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GLAAD on Harvey Weinstein controversy

The accused sexual harasser has contributed to and been honored by several LGBT organizations

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Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence at GLAAD Awards in 2013 (Photo courtesy GLAAD)

After former President Bill Clinton, the next most prominent and powerful men at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in April 2013 were entertainment attorney Steve Warren, a GLAAD honoree, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and producer Harvey Weinstein, who presented Clinton with his GLAAD award, alongside actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Mostly known as the quick-and-hot tempered powerhouse producer who green-lit important indy films, Weinstein was at times awkward and downright giddy on stage as he tried to read from notecards while Lawrence mangled her reading from the teleprompter—all in good fun. But after the stunning, blockbuster New York Times revelations of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein by scores of women in Hollywood, the exchange between the heavyweight producer and his Oscar-winning “Silver Lining Playbook” star seems oddly awkward.

“Before we begin, I just want to congratulate Harvey and his wife Regina on the birth of their new baby boy,” Lawrence says, stroking his back. “Harvey gave us just what we needed, another—him. (Audience laughs). …If he’s anything like his dad, he’s going to be relentless, passionate and just about the best mentor an aspiring actor could ever hope for.”

“Thank you, Jen.” Weinstein says. “But you can stop kissing up to me for forgetting to thank me at the Oscars. (Laughter). Let’s just do what we’re here to do.”

After she screws up and reads his line from the prompter, with her name, Lawrence runs her hand down his arm in jest. “Sometimes I call him ‘Jennifer.’ It’s a pet name,” she jokes.

Weinstein congratulates gay attorney Steve Warren on his award. “That was an amazing speech, by the way,” Weinstein says. “I’ve seen Steve in action and I just want to say what a force he is for good and equality. He has incredible integrity in a business often filled with challenges.” (Laughter.)

That moment has its place in LGBT history, but it now has a “cringe-worthy” asterisk. “It is reprehensible to learn about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of power and gross treatment of women, especially given his role as a frequent proponent of social justice. As the leader of an organization that advocates for women’s rights and full LGBTQ acceptance, I stand with the women who have used their voices to speak up about this and commend the free press for telling their stories,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis tells the Los Angeles Blade.

UPDATE: Jennifer Lawrence added her name to the outcry against Weinstein, telling the Daily Beast:  “I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”

She added, “My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.”

Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company not only donated to GLAAD, but other LGBT organizations, as well. Variety reports that Weinstein contributed $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes initiative last year. HRC has not returned phone calls or emails.

Though one website says Weinstein has contributed to the American foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR has not yet responded to an email request for comment. It also notes that Weinstein contributed to GLSEN, which gave Bob and Harvey Weinstein the Chairman’s Award in 2012, Douglas Flores, GLSEN’s Chief Operating Officer, tells the LA Blade: “GLSEN has not received a financial contribution from Harvey Weinstein. Thank you for reaching out.”

Unlike several Democratic politicians who are returning Weinstein’s contributions or giving the money to charities, one senior communications expert told the LA Blade that is unlikely that the LGBT groups would return funds, especially monies contributed years ago.

Weinstein has apologized,  adding: “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” But that was not sufficient to keep his job with the company he co-founded and Deadline reported Monday, his name will be taken off company TV and movie credits.

The shunning has begun. If or how long it will last is a different matter. But it appears that the old “casting couch” sex harassment no longer has legs in Hollywood.

YOUTUBE of GLAAD Awards:

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Congress

Out U.S. Rep. introduces bill to create U.S. LGBTQ history museum

“It is vital to remember our collective past when certain states seek to constrain & repeal existing rights by passing laws that harm LGBTQ+”

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Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) has introduced legislation that would set up the process to create a National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History & Culture, potentially as an official site within the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Pocan, one of nine openly gay members of the U.S. House and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said in a statement Thursday the measures would are effort to preserve LGBTQ history “as our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history.” The pair of bills is H.R.9070 and H.R.9071.

“It is vital to remember our collective past – particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large,” Pocan said. “Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.”

The first bill, according to a news statement, would creates an eight-member commission of individuals with expertise in museum planning or LGBTQ+ research and culture “to look into the viability of establishing such a facility in the nation’s Capital.”

Among other things, the commission would be charged with recommending a plan on action for museum, including fundraising for the museum, and submitting to Congress a plan for construction of the museum, the statement says.

The bill would also instruct the commission to address whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, based in the nation’s capital and the world’s largest museum and research complex, per the news statement. The full study, the statement says, would have to be completed in 18 months.

If the Smithsonian were to adopt the a museum on LGBTQ history and culture, it would be similar to other museums under its jurisdiction focused on minority populations in the United States, including the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian.

The second bill, according to a news statement, would be eligible for consideration by Congress after the commission completes its work and issues its recommendations and allow for formal creation of the museum. More than 50 lawmakers, including all nine openly gay members of the U.S. House, co-sponsor the legislation.

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Utah

New survey shows 72% of Utah residents back same-sex marriage

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah said he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality

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Mayor of Salt Lake, Erin Mendenhall, raises Pride Flag, June 1 2021 (Photo/Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY – The results of a poll run by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Desert News found 72% of Utah’s residents agree that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as cis-gender marriages.

“For a state that less than 20 years ago passed laws and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, there has been a seismic shift in opinion,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey also found that 23% of those surveyed disagreed, while 5% expressed that they don’t know.

The poll shows Utahns are aligned with the nation as a whole on the issue. A Gallup poll in May found 71% of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage, a new high.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, told the Desert News that he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality.

“Utah is a pro-family state, and we recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. When we see loving, committed couples joining in matrimony, our natural impulse is to support and encourage that love. This gives me great hope for the future,” he said.

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Mississippi

Art spotlights people of color lost to AIDS in the South

The conference was attended by LGBTQ activists from the South, featured 100 quilt panels. Attendees participated in quilt-making workshops

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The National AIDS Memorial and Southern AIDS Coalition have announced a new initiative to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS among communities of color in the South. (Photo courtesy of the National AIDS Memorial)

JACKSON – The National AIDS Memorial has joined forces with the Southern AIDS Coalition to stage a series of art exhibitions and educational forums to honor Black and Brown people in the South who have been lost to HIV/AIDS.

The initiative, titled Change the Pattern, began in Jackson, Miss., on Wednesday with curated quilt exhibitions, displays, educational forums, advocacy, storytelling and quilt-making, according to a press release from the National AIDS Memorial. A $2.4 million grant from the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., funded Change the Pattern.

More than 500 hand-stitched quilt panels from the area were featured in what the National AIDS Memorial says is “the largest display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt ever” in Mississippi.

“By creating an empowering message and safe spaces for conversation, we can uplift, inspire and make progress toward ending the HIV epidemic, challenge cultural stigmas and continue the legacy of advocacy that the quilt represents,” said National AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham in the release. 

Change the Pattern was announced in honor of Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day during the Southern AIDS Coalition’s annual Saving Ourselves Symposium that took place in August. 

The conference, which was heavily attended by LGBTQ activists from the South, featured 100 quilt panels, and attendees participated in quilt-making workshops to make new quilt panels representing their loved ones.

Interested LGBTQ advocacy organizations in the South were invited to apply for funding to support local quilt-making workshops in their communities so as to ensure that the legacies of Black and Brown people are captured through newly-sewn panels on the quilt through the Memorial’s Call My Name program, according to the National AIDS Memorial press release. 

The application process opened on Sept. 15 with up to 35 eligible organizations receiving as much as $5,000 to support hosting local workshops. 

The first major Change the Pattern Quilt was founded 35 years ago as a visual representation of the need to end stigma and provide equitable resources to communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS, according to Southern AIDS Coalition Executive Director Dafina Ward.

“Change the Pattern is a call to action and change in the South,” said Ward. “Quilt-making has such a deep cultural connection in the Black community and in the South. The sharing and telling of these powerful stories through the quilt, coupled with advocacy and open dialogue, can help end HIV-related stigma and bring the stories of those we’ve lost to light.”

As the Change the Pattern initiative occurs, conversations about how to handle health epidemics within LGBTQ communities of color have become national topics, especially with the prevalence of monkeypox cases amongst Black gay men.

Despite earlier panic about the disease, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a report released on Wednesday said that individuals who were vaccinated against the disease were less likely to be affected over the summer compared to those who weren’t. 

The effectiveness and duration of immunity after a single dose, however, is not known, and few individuals in the current outbreak have completed the recommended two-dose series, according to the report. 

The most recent CDC data reports that 25,509 monkeypox cases have thus far been confirmed in the U.S. Only one death has been reported.

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