Kevin Jennings: new leadership at Lambda Legal

By : Karen Ocamb OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings, photo courtesy of Lambda Legal.

Kevin Jennings is not a lawyer so why was he tapped to lead Lambda Legal, one of the LGBTQ community’s most important national organizations?

“Well that was sort of what I said when Lambda called me,” Jennings told the Los Angles Blade by phone before officially starting on Dec. 2. “They said, ‘We’re not looking for a lawyer. We have lots of brilliant lawyers. We’re looking for an experienced organizational leader,’ — and that I am. I’ve been a leader of the LGBT movement for over 30 years and this is really a critical time for a movement, particularly for Lambda. The right wing has a very clear strategy to use the court and all of [President] Trump’s horrific judicial appointments to roll back everything we’ve won over the last 40 years. Lambda is going to be a key player in stopping that.”

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PHOTOS: Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit brings fun and education to LGBTQ youth

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The City of Orlando, Zebra Coalition and LGBTQ organizations across Central Florida celebrated LGBTQ youth with the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit at Valencia College’s West Campus on Oct. 19.

Dozens of LGBTQ youth, parents, guardians, community leaders and local educators spent the day learning about topics such as queer history, politics and health services to name a few. LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, Hope & Help, QLatinx, UCF’s LGBTQ+ Services, GLSEN, One Orlando Alliance and more held a information fair providing information to the youth on what each of them do for the community.

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Finding Hope: Suicide risk high among LGBTQ youth in Idaho

By : wire report
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NAMPA, Idaho (AP) | According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGBTQ+ people are at a higher risk than the general population for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, and experts tell us, in Idaho, those rates are especially high among LGBTQ+ youth.

“It was very clear what needed to happen to remain alive and healthy,” Jess Cziapewski, trans woman from Idaho told Boise television station KIVI .

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Kevin Jennings named CEO of Lambda Legal

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Jennings is the new CEO of Lambda Legal. Photo courtesy Jennings.

Longtime LGBT rights advocate and former Obama administration official Kevin Jennings will become the CEO of Lambda Legal, the organization announced Monday.

“Being Lambda Legal’s CEO is a dream job that anyone would love to have, and I am thrilled to be stepping into this role at such a critical time for Lambda and our nation,” Jennings said in a statement. “From my childhood as the son of a Southern Baptist preacher to when I became a member of the Obama administration, I’ve known what it’s like to be the target of hateful, anti-LGBT bullies, but those attacks only made me more determined to challenge them.”

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Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade launch LGBTQ shirt line

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade and their family. (from Instagram)

Actress Gabrielle Union and basketball star Dwayne Wade are showing support for their son by launching a line of LGBTQ-inclusive T-shirts.

The couple is partnering with clothing company YnG DnA to create the limited-edition shirts, reading “Please Remain Inclusive and Dedicated 2 Equality.”

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‘Riverdale’ to receive award from LGBTQ education group GLSEN

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: “Riverdale” cast. (Photo from Facebook)

LOS ANGELES (AP) | The cast and creators of “Riverdale” will receive an award from a gay rights education group for the show’s portrayal of LGBTQ relationships in a high school setting.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) announced Sept. 9 that “Riverdale” will be honored with its Gamechanger Award. The group cited the show’s “groundbreaking storytelling about LGBTQ relationships” as why it was chosen to receive the honor.

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Octavia Spencer to be honored by GLSEN with Inspiration Award

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Octavia Spencer. (From Wikimedia Commons)

LOS ANGELES (AP) | Octavia Spencer will be honored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network with its Inspiration Award at a gala later this year.

The group known as GLSEN announced Aug. 13 that the Oscar-winning star of “Hidden Figures,” “The Shape of Water” and “The Help” will receive the honor at the group’s Respect Awards, presented in October in Beverly Hills, California.

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Disney earns perfect score on HRC workplace equality report

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | The Walt Disney Company earned a perfect score of 100 on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is a national survey administrated by the Human Rights Campaign that evaluates corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

“We are committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming environment for all our employees,” said Latondra Newton, senior vice president and chief diversity officer of The Walt Disney Company, in a post on the company’s website. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality and recognize that we thrive when all people are valued and encouraged.”

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Idaho LGBTQ youth feel unsafe at school, survey shows

By : wire report
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) | Most of the Idaho youth who took part in a national survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer teenagers say they regularly hear homophobic remarks at school.

The Times-News reports the findings consistent with the national results of GLSEN’s 2017 “National School Climate Survey.” The organization was previously called the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network but now goes by the acronym, which organization members pronounce “glisten.”

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Luke Blankenship: St Pete Pride Executive Director

By : Scion Crowder
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Scion Crowder

Luke Blankenship started college wanting to work in LGBTQ advocacy, and shortly after found himself running the largest Pride organization in the state of Florida: St Pete Pride.

Luke was named executive director (ED) in May, making him the youngest ED of a Pride organization in the country. He joined St Pete Pride five years ago as a general volunteer and since then worked as logistics coordinator, parade director, development director and now ED. He oversees the day-to-day operations in collaboration with the board of directors and oversees sponsorships, financial strategy, event planning, magazine production, the social media presence and maintains local government and city relations. Luke is constantly working towards becoming a better person and ED. He may be young but he is continuing to educate himself by attending leadership seminars and is currently in the process of becoming a certified nonprofit ED.

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Halsey slams Victoria’s Secret for transphobic comments

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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Halsey performed at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which aired on Dec. 2, but the 24-year-old singer followed up her performance by criticizing the brand’s transphobic controversy in an Instagram post.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was filmed in November in New York City. Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands, made some controversial comments about diversity among the underwear label’s models in a November interview with Vogue.

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Yara Shahidi urges fight against ‘identity blind narrative’

By : wire report
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LOS ANGELES (AP)| Yara Shahidi brought the crowd to its feet at the GLSEN Respect Awards as she warned against an “identity blind narrative” in the struggle for acceptance of all.

“We should all feel deserved and supported in expressing our right to being our whole selves, limited by nothing regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity, sexuality, ability, religion or any other identity that we choose,” the 18-year-old “grown-ish” actress said Oct. 19 at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, California. “More than that, the common spaces we must maneuver through should be safe spaces in which our presence and existence are inherently valued.”

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