Pandemic Pride

Baltimore Pride coordinator Lakesha Davis has led Baltimore Pride through two of its most unusual and difficult years. After a second somewhat muted, mostly virtualized Pride season, what’s in store for the fall? Richard Finger sat down with Davis to find out . How long have you been involved with planning Pride festivities for Baltimore? I started in 2017 as part of my internship for my Master’s program. I was trusted into the position of chairing the entertainment committee. The following year, I was the Pride chair running the entire festival. I have been blessed with an awesome team to help […]

Queer Youth Under Stress: New Survey from The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project 2021 Survey The Trevor Project started in 1998 as a suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth. Besides directly supporting youth through its phone and text hotlines, the Trevor Project has become a major force in advocating for better social conditions and more accessible mental health care for LGBTQ young people. This month, the Trevor Project released the results of its third annual survey on LGBTQ youth mental health. Thirty-five thousand young people throughout the United States, aged 13-24, were included in this study. Thirty-eight percent reported identifying as transgender or non-binary. Participation by youth of color was […]

He Wrote That First AIDS Report in 1981

This June 5, 2021 marks 40 years since the famous report in a CDC publication, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), in which Dr. Michael Gottlieb outlined the troublesome cases of five gay men dealing with pneumonia and skin cancers. It is widely considered the “start” of scientific acknowledgement of the emerging AIDS crisis – before it even had a name – and the first writing about it in a scientific or governmental publication. The peculiar new cases were already on the radar of other clinicians who served gay men, of course, including the writings of New York physician Dr. Lawrence Mass in The […]

Philadelphia loses foster care case in Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. – In a unanimous 9-0 ruling bound to have a long-ranging impact, the U.S. Supreme Court found the City of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment rights to religious freedom of Catholic Social Services (CSS) in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The Court determined that Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with Catholic Social Services for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. The eagerly anticipated decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that Philadelphia cannot bar CSS from […]

Australian high school students cite anti-LGBTQ harassment

Penrith, Australia – A university study of LGBTQ high school students shows 30 percent experienced physical harassment as either a victim or a witness, and 90 percent heard homophobic language daily. Western Sydney University conducted the survey. The University polled 2,376 LGBTQ students aged 13 to 18 at government, independent and Catholic schools across Australia. Only six percent of the students reported seeing intervention by educators in the incidents, although anecdotes of gay students being called “faggot” and suffering physical assaults were common. The research reveals the experiences of the students significantly shaped their sense of connectedness to their school. […]

Photographer uses negative words to confront bullying

Phoenix, AZ – So culturally accepted is verbal bullying that the children’s rhyme “Sticks and Stones” can be recited from heart by any English-speaking child or adult. Traditionally used to ward off name-calling and boost confidence in kids, the mantra has been given new meaning in the form of a series of photographs by Phoenix-based portrait photographer Holly Shoemaker. She is an advocate for survivors of assault and abuse, as well as a LGBTQIA+ and BLM ally. Of prime importance to Shoemaker is creating a safe space for the subject. “I love being able to create something and show someone […]

New York Gay Magazine published from 1970 to 2000

New York City – Derek de Koff writes in Queerty that those of you watching HBO’s The Deuce may remember a scene in a recent episode that finds Vince Martino (James Franco, who also plays his twin brother) inquiring about a gay bar guide, asking a bartender, “The gay one, too? What’s it called? ‘Michael’s Stick’?” The bartender clarifies: The name is Michael’s Thing. As Dangerous Minds reports, this was a real publication that ran for over a thousand issues, although it seems few issues were ever archived and there’s hardly any mention of the magazine on the Internet. After […]

June means celebrating Juneteenth and LGBTQ Pride

Charlotte, NC – Ask anyone what freedom means and you are almost certain to get numerous answers. Among them, “not being enslaved or incarcerated, the ability to make choices without fear of punishment or reprisal and the ability to move about at will.” Each year in June, the idea of freedom shines, however, as we celebrate two monumental moments in American history with Pride and Juneteenth events. While the two honor different fights for freedom, they both share a common purpose of cultural visibility and equality. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 gave rise to the country’s LGBTQ rights […]

US Senate votes to designate Pulse a national landmark

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on June 10, to designate the Pulse nightclub a national landmark. In 2016, a gunman entered Pulse shortly after midnight on June 12 and began shooting patrons. By the time the three-hour standoff was over, 49 people were dead and another 53 were injured. The legislation naming Pulse a national memorial was sponsored by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and passed unanimously. The companion bill passed the U.S. House on May 12. Scott was governor of Florida at the time of the shootings and visited hospitals and attended funerals. He called it one […]

US Justice Dept to defend anti-LGBTQ religious schools suit

Washington, D. C. – The Department of Justice announced on June 8 that it will “vigorously” defend a religious exemption from federal civil rights law that allows federally funded religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students. The announcement surprised some LGBTQ advocates who said the wording went further than just an obligation to defend an existing law. In the filing, the Biden administration said it “shares the same ultimate objective” as the conservative Christian schools named in the case. At issue is a lawsuit filed by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which filed a lawsuit in March on behalf of […]