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Super Bowl 2020 will make LGBT history with rainbows, sparkle, drag

Inclusivity on full commercial display with 11 major brand commercials

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Sabra Hummus will feature drag queens, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, in its Super Bowl ad. (Image provided by GLAAD)

In 2000, RuPaul became the very first drag queen to star in a Super Bowl commercial. Flash forward 20 years later—this year’s big event today, where the Kansas City Chiefs will square off against the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, will have more ads that feature LGBTQ+ content than ever before.

“The level of diverse LGBTQ inclusion from at least nine brands during advertising’s biggest night, coupled with Katie Sowers’ trailblazing role on the field as Offensive Assistant Coach of the 49ers, mark a rainbow wave at the Super Bowl this year,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

“GLAAD has long been advocating for brands to feature LGBTQ people in ads. Now, we cannot wait for American families to see and cheer on LGBTQ icons like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Lil Nas X, Lilly Singh, Katie Sowers, Trace Lysette, Isis King, Jonathan Van Ness, Emily Hampshire, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Miz Cracker, and Kim Chi – it’s about time.”

History is also being made on the field with Sowers, the first woman coach to be on the field during the Super Bowl. She will also tell her poignant story—which in the past, involved sexual discrimination— in the Microsoft ad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xPn4DXIj5w&feature=youtu.be

As part of their work, GLAAD advocates for brands and companies to include LGBTQ people and families across advertising media.

“LGBTQ people have often been invisible during the Super Bowl – advertising’s biggest night – or relegated to ads featuring homophobic tropes and stereotypes,” noted Ferraro.

Other brands that you will see during the Super Bowl include Budweiser, who will profile Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris, World Cup champions and members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The couple recently got married to each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt-zXuAAD6Q

In a teaser airing on YouTube, the couple is seen, saying how “good” and “powerful” the commercial is.

TurboTax will bring trans actresses Isis King (“When They See Us”) and Trace Lysette (“Transparent,” “Hustlers”) for a fun “Pose-esque” commercial, with the tagline, “all people are tax people:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7G4LppV5qA&feature=youtu.be

Other highlights include a commercial from Doritos, which will air a dance battle between gay rapper/singer Lil Nas X and the always handsome actor Sam Elliott. Demi Lovato, who has spoken out about being fluid, is singing the National Anthem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OpuHa2vwdk&feature=youtu.be

Also, Olay is featuring bisexual TV host Lilly Singh, to portray an astronaut with Busy Phillips and retired astronaut Nicole Stott as part of the Procter & Gamble’s #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-0Ll60FkLg&feature=youtu.be

The Pop Tarts ad features non-binary “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness, looks fun as well. During a promo for the commercial, Van Ness quips that it’s “time for this snack to get a snack,” before flipping out over the “so dull, so dry, so crusty” pretzels on the table.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k3yWV3I37A&feature=youtu.be

Yet another fun highlight during the game will be the Amazon Alexa ad, which stars Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi in their home. The much loved talk show host already debuted the commercial on her show, much to the excitement of fans.

Making their debut in a Super Bowl 2020 ad are two former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” competitors, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, who are being featured in a Sabra hummus ad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ex5xnVm2po#action=share

Tide will feature Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire, who recently revealed her pansexual identity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEQDto3Se7Q&feature=youtu.be

“It is so important to have representation in the media, especially for minority groups like the LGBTQ community,” acknowledged cannabis influencer, Laganja Estranja. “I couldn’t think of two better queens to take the torch and lead the way!”

Not everyone is happy about the lgbtq-inclusive ad content. The conservative action group, One Million Moms, is trying to get the advertisements removed from the Super Bowl.

Created by the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group, the organization has asked the NFL and FOX to pull the Sabra commercial.

“Sabra Dipping Company LLC is choosing to push an agenda of sexual confusion instead of promoting its actual product,” they wrote in a petition to get the commercial deleted. “Normalizing this lifestyle is contrary to what conservative, Christian parents are teaching their children about God’s design for sexuality.”

Of course, GLAAD created their own petition (sign it ASAP if you have a moment!)

“Unfortunately, for the anti-LGBTQ activists, this year will mark the most diverse and LGBTQ-inclusive advertising seen during the Super Bowl in its history,” GLAAD wrote. “Add your name if you agree that it’s clear that One Million Moms’ tactics aren’t working, and it’s time for them to pack it up and go home.”

Earlier in the week, Esera Tuaolo hosted his third annual Inclusion Party around the Super Bowl and was organized by the non-profit organization, Hate Is Wrong.

UPDATE: At least eleven LGBTQ inclusive ads aired during Sunday’s broadcast including appearances by: Amazon Alexa: Ellen DeGeneres and wife, actress Portia de Rossi Budweiser: Ali Krieger & Ashlyn Harris, World Cup champions and members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team who recently married each other. The two appear after full championship team appears near the end of the ad. Budweiser also released a sweet teaser commercial featuring the couple. Doritos: Lil Nas X, out Grammy Award winner Microsoft: Out 49ers coach Kate Sowers shared her powerful story Olay: Lilly Singh, bisexual host of NBC’s A Lilly Late with Lilly Singh, and the host of the GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 19 Pop Tarts: Jonathan Van Ness, nonbinary star of Netflix’s Queer Eye Sabra: Drag queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, former contestants on VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Tide: Emily Hampshire, star of Schitt’s Creek, who spoke to The Advocate last week about being pansexual TurboTax: Transgender actresses Trace Lysette (Transparent, Hustlers) and Isis King (When They See Us), as well as other LGBTQ members of the ballroom community Under Armour: Kelley O’Hara, a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, who famously kissed her girlfriend after winning the World Cup. HGTV also aired a promo for the reboot of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ featuring out host Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

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Politics

Meet new LGBTQ+ liaison for the Democratic National Committee

Sam Alleman joins DNC after work in abortion rights movement

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Sam Alleman joins the DNC after working at Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

WASHINGTON – The new LGBTQ liaison for the Democratic National Committee comes from a background not in LGBTQ advocacy, but in the abortion rights movement, and sees the two as working “hand in hand” for a common cause.

Sam Alleman, who started Monday as LGBTQ coalitions director for the DNC, said in an interview with the Washington Blade that his previous job as political outreach manager for five years at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund will inform his LGBTQ work going forward.

“The reproductive rights movement goes hand in hand with what we’ve been fighting for in the LGBTQ equality and equity movement as well,” Alleman said. “There is no being LGBTQ without your ability to have bodily autonomy and to make those same choices.”

The relationship between the LGBTQ movement and abortion rights may be more pronounced in the coming months: A national battle is taking place over a Texas law banning abortion in the state for any woman pregnant for more than six weeks as the U.S. Supreme Court will consider litigation with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade. LGBTQ legal advocates, faced with a term at the Supreme Court with no major cases specific to LGBTQ rights, are already turning their focus to the abortion cases.

“I think that the gender equity lens here, as we move toward building out that permanent infrastructure that really brings all of those things together through more of a social justice lens, will be absolutely critical to being successful, particularly speaking to our younger demographics, to making sure trans and queer people feel included in a way that’s actually equitable and just,” Alleman said.

Alleman identified two key priorities for him in his new role at the DNC — turning out LGBTQ voters for Democratic candidates and building an internal infrastructure for the LGBTQ community — and said his previous work at Planned Parenthood Action Fund working with candidates and coalition groups will help him reach that goal.

“I really plan to use a lot of the lessons that I learned there in building out to making an inclusive campaign, both in programs and in voter contact infrastructure, within the party itself as well,” Alleman said.

Alleman, reiterating he was still in the first days of his job, said the process for building out the LGBTQ community infrastructure at the DNC is still in its initial phases. Alleman said his vision would be not only turning out LGBTQ voters, but finding a way that “allows them to plug in as volunteers and leaders within the party to do the voter contact to hold the events on the ground, to work with our state party partners, and making sure that their voices are represented.”

Key to building out that infrastructure, Alleman said, would be making sure all voices within the LGBTQ community are heard. Alleman made a special point to say queer and transgender people “who have been our partners for so long and deserve a seat at the table” will be an essential part of the infrastructure.

The voice of LGBTQ people, Alleman said, will be increasingly important in elections as the numbers of voters who identify as LGBTQ increase. Pointing to 2020 exit polls showing 7 percent of the electorate identified as LGBTQ, Alleman said more LGBTQ people than ever turned out in the presidential election and overwhelmingly backed Biden by 61 percent. (Republicans were also able to claim a small victory, having doubled their share of LGBTQ voters from 14 percent to 28 percent who voted for Donald Trump after the previous election.)

“We know that that demographic is only growing,” Alleman said. “Within under 18 year olds, approximately 16 percent of folks identify as LGBTQ in this country. So really my priorities are building out an infrastructure here at the DNC, that will turn out LGBTQ voters for Democratic candidates as they become a larger and larger subsection of our voting population.”

Alleman joins the Democratic National Committee days before a Virginia gubernatorial election observers see as a national bellwether for upcoming congressional midterm elections. Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic former governor who said in a interview with the Blade his opponent is the “most homophobic, anti-choice” candidate in Virginia history, is running against Glenn Youngkin, who said recently he continues to oppose same-sex marriage but “will support” the law.

Polls show an exceedingly close race in a state President Biden won handily in the presidential election. An Emerson College/Nexstar Media poll found the race is a dead heat and McAuliffe and Youngkin are tied with 48-48 percent each. The election is Tuesday.

Asked what he sees as his role in the closing days of the Virginia election, Alleman reiterated he was still on Day One of his role at the DNC, but believes Democrats are “doing everything possible to turn out different constituency groups for Terry McAuliffe and Democrats, up and down the ballot in Virginia.”

“My role as I start to step in here is really working to make sure that our national partner organizations are doing everything possible to turn out that book as we head into GOTV, and be a partner to them as they drive their supporters out to make sure that we’re not leaving anything on the table come next Tuesday when we elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia again,” Alleman said.

Lucas Acosta, a spokesperson for the DNC who joined in on the interview with Alleman, said the DNC is working with groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (his former employer) to highlight the records of both Virginia candidates.

“I think what happened last week — Youngkin’s comments on same-sex marriage — are concerning,” Acosta said. “That’s definitely something that we are going to continue to highlight in the closing days of the campaign. That obviously is just a further example why Youngkin is not the moderate he purports to be, but rather a Trump acolyte, who is going to turn back time on rights for a litany of Virginians, including LGBTQ folks.”

Democrats have enjoyed an advantage as a result of the sea change in support in favor of LGBTQ rights. But things may be beginning to shift as LGBTQ issues change and move away from same-sex marriage to other battlegrounds, such as transgender people participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

Washington Post columnist James Hohmann reported this week on new data from the National Republican Senatorial Committee finding gender and race issues play out in favor of Republicans among suburban voters, if they’re on terms like critical race theory or concepts like “genderism.” According to the data, 65 percent said “allowing biological males to compete against women in high school and college sports is hugely unfair and will erase many of the gains women have made in athletics over the last 50 years.”

Just this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 25, which effectively bars transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, making the Lone Star State the latest state to enact such a measure in defiance of federal laws against discrimination based on sex.

Alleman, asked whether the DNC would change the way it approaches these issues, said he wasn’t aware of the data and questioned whether the conclusion of the data “really makes much sense.”

“I think we’ll at least continue to push forward the message of what we’ve done as Democrats which is fight for these individuals to be treated just the same as everyone else,” Alleman said.

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Federal Government

State Department to issue passports with ‘X’ gender marker

Special LGBTQ rights envoy celebrates ‘significant step’

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(Public domain photo)

WASHINGTON — The State Department on Wednesday is expected to issue the first U.S. passport with an “X” gender marker.

Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad, on Tuesday told the Los Angeles Blade and the Associated Press during a conference call the State Department will initially issue a gender-neutral passport to one person.

Stern said the State Department will begin “offering the ‘X’ gender marker option to routine passport applicants” in early 2022. A State Department official said the delay is necessary because the U.S. Office of Management and Budget needs to approve “the required form updates.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June announced the State Department will allow passport applicants to “self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F'”

People who identify as intersex, non-binary or gender non-conforming can choose a gender-neutral gender marker for their passports and Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a document that confirms an American who was born overseas is a U.S. citizen. The new policy that Blinken announced in June no longer requires “medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents.”

“Offering a third gender marker is a significant step towards ensuring that our administrative systems account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics,” said Stern during the conference call. “Because people do not always fit within a male or a female designation, it doesn’t benefit anyone to have inconsistencies between people and systems.”

Stern added passports with an “X” gender marker will “reflect the true gender of the passport holder and make people safer, hopefully by reducing the likelihood of dehumanizing harassment and mistreatment that so often happens at border crossings when a person’s legal documentation does not correspond with their gender expression.”

“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” said Stern.

The State Department’s announcement comes a day after it publicly acknowledged Intersex Awareness Day, which commemorates the world’s first-ever intersex rights protect that took place in Boston in 1996.

Dana Zzyym, an intersex U.S. Navy veteran who identifies as non-binary, in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with an “X” gender marker. The State Department official with whom the Blade spoke on Tuesday declined to say whether Zzyym is the first person who will receive a gender-neutral passport in the U.S.

“The department does not generally comment on individual passport applications due to privacy considerations,” said the official.

Lambda Legal, which represents Zzyym, in a press release said their client on Wednesday received a passport with an “X” gender marker.

“I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex,’” said Zzyym in the press release. “I’m also ecstatic that other intersex and non-binary U.S. citizens will soon be able to apply for passports with the correct gender marker. It took six years, but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognizes I am neither, is liberating.”

Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad. (Photo courtesy of OutRight Action International)

President Biden in February signed a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

The White House in June named Stern, who had previously been the executive director of OutRight Action International, a global LGBTQ advocacy group, to her position. Stern said the issuance of passports with “X” gender markers demonstrates the Biden administration’s commitment to LGBTQ rights.

“I am proud that the United States seeks to protect and promote the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons globally and this is an excellent example of leading by example,” said Stern.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina are among the handful of other countries that issue gender-neutral passports.

The State Department official said their colleagues have “been coordinating with Canada and New Zealand on best practices as we work towards this goal, based on their experiences.” They said the State Department has also “coordinated with several LGBTQI+ organizations, both directly and through the White House Domestic Policy Council, throughout this process.”

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California

A Black Trans Woman’s fight for Transgender health equity

Jasmine is one of very few Black trans women who is an Executive Director of a clinic with such broad-ranging direct services

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Courtesy of Jasmine Bright

By Ebony Harper | SACRAMENTO – If you know Jasmine Bright, you know she is a force to be reckoned with. Jasmine is a mother to the rejected, a sister to those that need a shoulder, and a warrior queen for our trans babies (and adults). Don’t let the pretty face fool you. She turns into a momma bear when her community is under any threat of harm.

Jasmine’s experience of being both a healthcare administrator and one that has faced her trauma and hurdles as a Black trans woman gives her a unique mantle of leadership.

Jasmine just received the promotion she deserves after serving as the Director of the Hormone Clinic of Sacramento’s Gender Health Center (GHC) for the past few years. Now, we will know Jasmine as the new GHC Co-Executive Director alongside Lauren Pulido, a former California State Capitol employee. Jasmine is one of very few Black trans women who is an Executive Director of a clinic with such broad-ranging direct services. This is huge!

When you first meet Jasmine Bright, you will be immediately captivated by her beauty. Once you have a conversation with her, you recognize that Jasmine is not just a gorgeous face – she’s beauty, brains, and a whole lot of compassion. Raised by her mother, Jasmine’s journey started in Pittsburg, California, until the family relocated to Sacramento. Jasmine became a caretaker from the start; she loved taking care of her younger siblings and continues to be the family protector.

Jasmine came out at a young age when she was in junior high school. Jasmine’s mother did not know much about being trans. As a Black mom, she loved and protected her daughter. Jasmine’s mom was a trans advocate before it was hip as she took on Jasmine’s school for denying her daughter the right to use the girl’s bathroom. Mother wasn’t playing that! Her mom immediately stepped into an advocacy role for her young trans daughter to prevent Jasmine from experiencing the same traps other Black trans people fall into. She was going to love her child regardless AND dare somebody to say something! She was ready to risk it all for her child.

Jasmine Bright with her mother (Courtesy of Jasmine Bright)

Jasmine’s mother understood the safety risk and emotional trauma behind making Jasmine use a bathroom she didn’t belong. Jasmine’s mom took on the school and won! Jasmine’s mother demonstrated the strength and compassion of a supportive Black parent of a trans child. Jasmine learned how to be nurturing, strong, and resilient from her mother and transplanted these family values to Sacramento’s LGBT community as the new GHC Executive Director.

Jasmine’s dedication and perseverance are inspiring. Alongside Lauren, the two GHC Executive Directors imbues transgender health and wellness services with new life, passion, and grit while modeling how Sacramento can effectively administer trans healthcare. Their vision is to co-create a world where “trans people are unbound from all facets of structural marginalization; manifesting a world where people recognize trans people as experts of their own lives and gender-affirming care.”

As a Black trans woman with over fifteen years of experience as a healthcare provider, Ms. Jasmine Bright weathered her fair share of storms- only to come out triumphant on the other side unscathed. It takes grit not to be deterred and forge a bright path for a new future while building a legacy for those who will come after her. We see you, Jasmine! We thank you!

Ever since Jasmine Bright was a little girl growing up in Pittsburg, she dreamed of providing support to those in need. Well, dreams do come true!!!

Jasmine Bright (Photo Credit: Gender Health Center)

If you want to learn more about Gender Health Center and how you can support their work, go to www.genderhealthcenter.org

********************

Ebony Harper is the Executive Director of California TRANscends, a statewide initiative that promotes the health and wellness of transgender people throughout California with a focus on Black and Brown transgender communities.

The California legislature recognized Ms. Harper for her work. Harper sits on the State of California Transgender Advisory Council, the board of Mirror Memoirs, and serves as the newest board member for the Transgender Law Center and Borealis Philanthropy. 

Twitter @ebonyavaharper

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