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Fourth Annual ClexaCon to bring together LGBTQ+ creators and fans in Vegas



A panel at ClexaCon 2019 (Photo courtesy ClexaCon)

Las Vegas will soon be the setting for ClexaCon, a huge multi-fandom event celebrating LGBTQ+ women, gender nonconforming individuals and allies who work to bring empowerment and diversity to the entertainment industry’s progressive and prolific LGBTQ+ community.

Committed to leading the push for diversity, equality and inclusion of quality LGBTQ+ content in entertainment, the convention is set to hold its fourth annual installment (and its fourth consecutive in the Nevada city), from April 16-19, at the Tropicana Hotel. It’s the largest multi-fandom event of its kind, promising a program of panels, meet and greets, celebrity autographs and photos, and workshops from elite LGBTQ+ “gamechangers, industry tastemakers, media influencers and actors,” according to their press release.

ClexaCon is an event that hopes to bring together creators and fans as it strives toward promoting better and equal LGBTQ+ representation in the media, by providing resources to teach and motivate more LGBTQ+ individuals to participate in creating narratives that accurately reflect the diversity of American culture.

The festival’s creators hope to challenge the tropes about lesbian, bisexual and queer women and gender nonconforming individuals, and use ClexaCon to champion them behind and in front of the camera, by driving the conversation on how to achieve a more inclusive industry.

Danielle Jablonski, one of ClexaCon’s co-directors and producers, says, “We believe that it is vital to support and nurture LGBTQ+ women and non-binary creators so that they are able to write authentic stories and push for better representation in all aspects of the entertainment industry moving forward.”

More than 50% of the featured guests and speakers at this year’s convention identify as LGBTQ+, and panels will focus on topics such as LGBTQ+ actors playing LGBTQ+ roles, transgender representation, bisexual representation, queer people of color representation, improving representation in front of and behind the camera, and supporting LGBTQ+ content creators to tell our stories.

They’ve also put together a roster of big ticket  participants that includes cast members from both the original “L Word” and the rebooted “Generation Q,” as well as stars from “Person of Interest,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” and Marvel’s “Runaways,” among many others. Some of the names include Kate Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker, Amber Benson, Felicia Day, Jaime Murray, Jes Macallan, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Janet Varney, and Lyrika Ocano.

This year’s edition also adds a music showcase with several featured LGBTQ+ musicians, a cabaret event featuring LGBTQ+ performers, and Karaoke, to go along with a full film festival, a burlesque show, and several parties.

For more information about the schedule, lineup, and tickets, visit the ClexaCon website.

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Online Culture

LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr moves to moderate illegal content

It announced that it is moving to moderate its platform with an AI-based system from tech start-up Spectrum Labs



Grindr logo/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Grindr, the largest LGBTQ+ dating app globally with roughly 11 million monthly active users in virtually every country in the world announced that it is moving to moderate its platform with an AI-based system from tech start-up Spectrum Labs.

On Thursday, AXIOS reported that for years, Grindr has chosen not to implement an AI system for content moderation, not because it didn’t want to augment its keyword-based filtering system, but because it was concerned that the models weren’t sensitive enough to keep users safe without introducing other types of bias.

The dating app since its launch in 2009, has grown to become a fundamental part of the queer community a spokesperson noted. Content moderation via machine learning is tricky, controversial and not always good,” Grindr spokesman Patrick Lenihan told Axios.

In its reporting, AXIOS noted that “rather than simply police content for certain words or phrases, Spectrum’s contextual AI service works to solve specific issues, such as identifying the sale of drugs and sex as well as trying to detect underage users.”

Spectrum CEO Justin Davis said that Spectrum has a set of algorithms it has tuned over the years, but also works with each customer to make the system work for their environment. As a result, it can take weeks or months to get its tools up and running.

In addition to the issues outlined, Grindr along with other competitors and dating apps are also combatting harassment and illegal scams that cost users, according to the Federal Trade Commission, over $500 million in 2021.

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NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell talks to Billie Jean King on impact of Title IX

The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women



Screenshot/YouTube NBC Nightly News

NEW YORK – This week marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX which was signed into law June 23, 1972 by then President Richard Nixon. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

Title IX states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Two years after Title IX was signed into law, King founded the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974. In 1971, before Title IX passed, only 1% of college athletic budgets went to women’s sports programs. At the high school level, male athletes outnumbered female athletes 12.5 to 1. 

The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women, and while female athletes and their sports programs still have fewer teams, fewer scholarships, and lower budgets than their male counterparts, since Title IX’s passage, female participation at the high school level has grown by 1057 percent and by 614 percent at the college level.

The impact of Title IX stretches into professional sports as well. More opportunities have emerged for young women to turn their sport into their career, particularly in the WNBA. Collegiate and professional coaching opportunities have increased as well.

An openly Out lesbian, King and her longtime partner Ilana Kloss joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as co-owners in September of 2018.

NBC News reported that fifty years after Title IX was signed, the impact of the law is still being felt by women in sports across the country. Tennis legend, Billie Jean King, who has devoted her life to fighting for gender equality in sports, spoke with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell regarding Title IX. She explained that while we have come a long way there is “much more to do.”

Billie Jean King Discusses Title IX Fifty Years Later:

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First-ever Out doctor elected as new AMA president

The anesthesiologist & LGBTQ health expert will serve as the first openly gay AMA president when he steps into the position later this month



Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld has been named president-elect of the American Medical Association (Photo courtesy of AMA)

CHICAGO – Physicians and medical students have elected Wisconsin-based anesthesiologist Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld as the first openly gay president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA). Ehrenfeld was elected June 14 at the AMA House of Delegates’ annual meeting.

“Well, it’s certainly just an amazing feeling to know that you’ve got the confidence of your colleagues from such a broad array of practice types of modalities and perspectives,” Ehrenfeld told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview. “The association is a very diverse and increasingly diverse organization, and that’s a good thing. It’s more representative of the country and to see such broad support for a vision to move forward was really sort of heartening for me.”

The anesthesiologist and LGBTQ health expert will serve as the first openly gay AMA president when he steps into the position later this month.

“When I joined the AMA 22 years ago, roughly, I didn’t think it was possible that a gay person could be the AMA president. And certainly 175 years ago, when the AMA was founded, that felt like something that wouldn’t have been possible,” Ehrenfeld said. “And so, to look at how the association, how medicine, health professional organizations have evolved, it’s pretty remarkable when you look at what that has looked like, and that’s a reflection of society in general. But certainly, you know, another pink ceiling has been shattered.”

Ehrenfeld previously served on the AMA’s Board of Trustee’s Executive Committee. He also worked on the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians; a long-term project that was unveiled at the annual meeting.

“A big component of that is helping physicians prepare the health system so that we can make sure that we can renew our commitment to achieving optimal health for all,” Ehrenfeld said. “To do that, we have to make sure that we prioritize the needs of physicians to improve patient care.”

Ehrenfeld is an associate dean and tenured professor of anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and has advocated for issues affecting multiple marginalized communities, such as transgender representation in the military. He emphasized the importance of diversifying the medical field to ensure better service for patients.

“We need folks from every community but particularly marginalized communities to step forward and enter the profession. That’s how patients get better care,” Ehrenfeld said “There’s data that when we have a more diverse healthcare workforce, and when we’re a more diverse community, that those health disparities inequities, actually start to go away.”

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