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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Raymond Braun and GLAAD Partner for Southern Stories Tour

Today YouTube content creator Raymond Braun posted a new video for GLAAD exploring the LGBT community in the Deep South as part of GLAAD’s Southern Stories Tour.  Raymond, in partnership with GLAAD, set out on a seven day tour through 10 cities in six Southern states with one overarching mission; to accelerate equality in a region that is severely lacking in equality and inclusion. Raymond captured personal stories from LGBT Southerners that have experienced the culture gap of acceptance that is still extremely evident in this region of our nation.

Watch Raymond as he explores the Deep South and showcases the strength of LGBT Southerners as they continue to fight for total acceptance and equality for their community.



For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Monday, June 22, 2015

UNITE Magazine launches new LGBT publication in Virginia



Unite Virginia magazine, the first and only statewide LGBT publication in the Commonwealth, has officially launched both in print and online. Unite Virginia’s mission is to connect, inform and engage Virginia’s LGBT community and its allies. By highlighting the business interests of the historically underserved LGBT demographic, Unite Virginia provides the LGBT community a unified voice in Virginia’s broader economic narrative. Unite Virginia also incorporates a variety of lifestyle content—ranging from community conversations and political commentary to cultural articles and entertaining stories—which are designed to appeal to Virginia’s diverse population.

Unite Virginia is the latest addition to the UNITE family of LGBT publications that also includes editions in Nashville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Unite Virginia is the first member of the UNITE family to publish a statewide magazine.

Published by Justin Ayars, JD, Unite Virginia is distributed across Virginia and Washington D.C. The magazine is a partner of both the Virginia Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation, and the Equality First Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Although Virginia’s LGBT community is rapidly expanding its equality portfolio, it did not have a vehicle that united the community and permitted it to speak with a singular voice. We wanted to bring the UNITE brand to Virginia to connect the Commonwealth’s entire LGBT community and give it an economic voice,” states Ayars. “We are pleased that Unite Virginia now serves as the only publication that effectively integrates the story of the LGBT community into the narrative of Virginia’s diverse 21st century economy.”

Addressing the new venture in the Old Dominion, Joey Amato, Founder of UNITE Magazine, said, “Richmond is one of the most vibrant and amazing cities I’ve visited in the past year. Virginia’s people, culture, history, food and, of course, the LGBT business community are truly extraordinary. Justin and his team have created a wonderful statewide publication and I am so proud to have them in the UNITE family.”

To read the current issue, please click below:
http://unitemag.us6.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=e6f09b6d0ae3565f53bcb86d2&id=25826c1b54&e=974477d7bc


For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Friday, June 19, 2015

Foundation for a National AIDS Monument Receives $500,000 Matching Gift From Cedars-Sinai

 The Foundation for a National AIDS Monument, a non-profit organization building an HIV/AIDS Monument to memorialize, by name and likeness, those who died as a result of HIV/AIDS, today announced a $500,000 gift from Cedars-Sinai, the largest gift made to the Foundation. Cedars Sinai will present a $250,000 check to the organization during an event to be held on June 18 at the West Hollywood Library. Cedars-Sinai will then match additional donations made to the organization up to another $250,000. To date, the Foundation has surpassed $1.2 million in contributions for the monument.

The Foundation for a National AIDS Monument is immensely proud of our partnership with Cedars-Sinai and the generous contribution they have made to the AIDS Monument. Thanks to Cedars-Sinai's leadership, FAM has surpassed over $1.2 million in contributions in the first 6 months of our initial capital campaign and Cedar- Sinai's matching gift opportunity will lead to even more contributions in support of our work,” said Mark Lehman, chairman of the board of directors for the Foundation.

Cedars-Sinai has a deep and meaningful place in the history of the AIDS epidemic in West Hollywood and throughout the country. This gift and matching grant helps FAM memorialize, pay tribute and educate the community regarding HIV/AIDS in an extraordinarily meaningful way."

To date, the Foundation has raised over $1 million in just six months from over 50 different donors. The physical monument is designed by renowned artist Daniel Tobin and will be located in the heart of West Hollywood. Both a physical structure and interactive experience, the monument will memorialize the AIDS crisis and celebrate the lives of those that have passed, honor the institutions and organizations building awareness and fighting for change and inform this and future generations to the current state of HIV/AIDS resources, prevention and care.

For more information, please log on to www.aidsmonument.org.

For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A QUEER APP FOR ALL GENDERS IS COMING

 New Kickstarter Campaign Promises an Inclusive, Human Alternative

The world's first community-driven, gender-inclusive queer app, known simply as "Q," is welcoming members on a Kickstarter campaign that has raised nearly $5,000.

The app's designer, Eric Cervini, decided to create Q while studying at Harvard last year. The campaign, Cervini says, is a response to the exclusion of many who identify as LGBT+ on today's queer apps.

"When we log on, we're constantly told to be a man, to have a perfect body, to act or to talk a certain way, to be someone other than who we truly are," Cervini said. "We deserve better."

Q, to be released to members only, allows users to choose from 20+ genders. Membership comes with access to the Q Forum, where users can suggest, review, and comment on new features, privacy measures, and community guidelines before they're made public.

Kickstarter Campaign

For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Openly Gay Super Hero Headlines New DC Comics Series

DC Comics will be launching a slew of diverse titles this June, including MIDNIGHTER, a series that follows an openly gay super hero penned by LGBT writer Steve Orlando.

The first issue arrives June 3, and marks the first gay male superhero to headline a mainstream comic.

"A theft at the God Garden has unleashed a wave of dangerous biotech weapons on the world, and Midnighter intends to put that genie back in the bottle by any means necessary. But something else was stolen from the Garden as well… the secret history of Lucas Trent, the man Midnighter once was!"

For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Colton Ford Stars In "All The Dead Lie Down" in Los Angeles

MAY 2ND – JUNE 6TH

Studio C Artists announces the Los Angeles premiere of Author Harrison David River‘s new play, AND ALL THE DEAD, LIE DOWN, (allthedead.studiocartists.com) directed by John Coppola, and produced by Michael Sonntag and Kila Packett.  The show stars Colton Ford (Top Billboard Recording Artist, Here! TV’s “The Lair” and "Threesome") and Kila Packett (Studio C's "Hi-Tech Hijack", CBS's "Hawaii Five-0").  Opening performance is Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, continuing on eight dates through June 6th at the Studio C Artists performance space along Theatre Row in Hollywood.

In AND ALL THE DEAD, LIE DOWN, Alvin and Foss spend Saturdays together. That’s the rule. That’s the routine - no work, no phone calls and no leaving the apartment. But when an unexpected call from Foss’ delinquent brother upsets the couples’ usual balance, the day becomes a minefield of long suppressed resentments and hurt feelings. The fact that one of them is HIV+ and the other is negative just exacerbates the situation.  AND ALL THE DEAD, LIE DOWN is a portrait of a couple at a crossroads, a couple pondering the questions - Is love enough to sustain us... And is it worth the risk? 

"I'm very excited to be involved with 'And All The Dead, Lie Down'. Although the story is about a gay couple, the issues that they're facing are universal; love, acceptance, patience and understanding... this is just the kind of acting project I've been looking for," says Colton Ford.

"I’m really thrilled to be doing this show with these two fantastic actors, Colton Ford & Kila Packett - you know, Colton has a following, and I think his fans are going to be really surprised to see how talented he and Kila are together in this heartfelt drama,” stated director John Coppola.

Harrison David Rivers’ plays include When Last We Flew (NYCFringe Excellence in Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Off Off Broadway Play), Where Storms Are Born, sweet, The Bandaged Place, And She Would Stand Like This, THE SEA & THE STARS, AND ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN and Look Upon Our Lowliness. He has also written the librettos for The Last Queen of Canaan (music by Jacob Yandura, lyrics by Rebekah Melocik) and FIVE POINTS: An American Musical (music and lyrics by Douglas Lyons & Ethan Pakchar). He is the recipient of a Many Voices Jerome Fellowship (The Playwrights’ Center), the Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists) and an Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship (NYTW). Harrison was a member of the 2011-13 Emerging Writers’ Group at the Public Theater. MFA Columbia.

Additional bios and photos for cast and production talent are available on the show website.

The running schedule for AND ALL THE DEAD, LIE DOWN is as follows: Saturdays, May 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and June 6th at 8:00PM.  Approximate running time is 75 minutes.  The ticket price is $20.00 for general admission ($15.00 for early bird within 24 hours of the performance), and reservations can be made by visiting allthedead.studiocartists.com.  Studio C Artists is located at 6448 Santa Monica Blvd., on Theatre Row, in Hollywood, CA.

For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

San Antonio Mayor Calls LGBT Protections a “Waste of Time”

Mayor Ivy Taylor, elevated after pro-equality Julian Castro left office, derides the non-discrimination ordinance he championed

Taking part in a “faith forum” for mayoral candidates on Sunday, Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio, Texas attacked a recently-enacted non-discrimination ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) city employees and contractors from discrimination.

Taylor, a Democrat and former member of the city council who succeeded Mayor Julian Castro when he was appointed to President Obama’s cabinet, told the crowd, “I did not feel we should have even been debating that issue. […] I thought it was a waste of time.” Taylor voted against the ordinance when it was before the council.

If Mayor Taylor thinks protecting her own citizens from discrimination is a waste of time, then she has no business serving the people of San Antonio—as mayor, as a city council member, even as dog catcher,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “She should apologize for her shameful comments immediately and take some lessons from the former mayor on how to lead on behalf of all the residents of this great city.”

Mayor Taylor’s shameful comments come at a moment when more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation are being considered by the Texas legislature.


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Transgender SGT. in Military Limbo

Currently, he is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at Wheeler Airfield in Oahu, Hawaii. Sgt.Ortega is female-to-male transgender and transitioned on active duty over four years ago. While posted in Fort Wainwright, Alaska in 2011, he began to live in accordance with his male gender identity.

After a voluntary Psychological Evaluation a few weeks ago, his results returned negative for gender dysphoria and the U.S. Army deemed him fit to perform his normal duties without facing separation orders. However, he is in administrative limbo because his gender marker in the Military Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is still listed as female. Sgt. Ortega’s Command has requested clear guidance from the DOD as to whether this means Shane can stay in the military or not.

Sgt. Ortega is not able to accommodate media interviews at this time, but has offered the following comment:

My commitment to serving this country runs deep. I have been a team and squad leader, a crew chief, and a machine gun section chief. I have been on over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought side-by-side in foxholes and remote operating bases. As I fight for my country in foreign lands, all I want it is to be able to serve openly while keeping the job that I love. I will continue to fight this fight for the 700,000 transgender veterans that have gone before me who were forced to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are.”

A recent Associated Press story suggests military leaders worry about attempts by the Pentagon to lift the transgender service ban. Joshua Block, attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project expresses, “Sgt. Ortega is living proof that trans people are ready, willing, and able to serve their country, and that military regulations labeling trans service members as automatically unfit for duty have no basis in reality. Soldiers like Shane should not have to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are."

Washington Post feature story

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

FILM: A SINNER IN MECCA



In the film, openly gay Muslim director Parvez Sharma (A Jihad for Love) documents his pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where filming is strictly prohibited and homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.  Sharma felt these were risks he had to take as he embarked on his Hajj pilgrimage, a journey considered the greatest accomplishment and aspiration within Islam. On his journey Sharma aims to look beyond 21st-century Islam’s crises of religious extremism, commercialism and sectarian battles. He brings back the story of the religion like it has never been told before, having endured the biggest jihad there is: the struggle with the self.

Sharma is already a marked, gay Muslim man following the release of his first film on Islam and homosexuality called A Jihad for Love.  Even before A SINNER IN MECCA’s film’s first public screening, Sharma has already received a barrage of hate mail and death threats, as evidenced in the comments on the film’s trailer on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzshP2k5FMk



For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com

New LGBT "GoFundMe" Counters Memories Pizza Campaign



It's now critical that the LGBT community and allies prove that discrimination against minorities has no place in modern society. An anti-discrimination fundraiser "Love is Stronger Than Hate" has now been started, with all proceeds going to the Human Rights Campaign, to aid them in their efforts to promote equality.

A new online fundraiser by the LGBT community has been launched in direct response to recent news that a pizza restaurant in Indiana has garnered support for discriminating against the LGBT community. Their public announcement led to an online fund being set up, which has raised more than $800,000.

For more LGBT business news, visit http://www.echelonmagazine.com