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Nationwide virtual celebration to prove COVID ‘Can’t Cancel Pride’

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Even if COVID-19 has interrupted planned in-person events around the world, we are still in the middle of Pride Month, and the feeling is strong – especially in light of Monday’s historic (and unexpected) Supreme Court decision that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered by Title VII protections barring discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex, a landmark victory in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality.

Just in time to meet the upswell in community high spirits, Procter & Gamble and iHeartMedia are inviting people everywhere to join “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community,” a virtual event demonstrating that even though we can’t come together this year to celebrate in the traditional way, nothing can cancel the heart of Pride and the spirit the LGBTQ+ equality movement embodies.

A virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19, “Can’t Cancel Pride” will bring together some of the biggest names in Queer culture and entertainment, including Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin and more, with brands like Bounty, Charmin, Dawn, Downy, Jared, Pantene and Tide on board to support the event, in an effort to drive LGBTQ+ visibility and bring together the community of millions unable to take part in live Pride events across the country.

The celebration will culminate with a one-hour special, hosted by leading iHeartMedia on-air personality Elvis Duran alongside actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages and iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com, as well as broadcasting on iHeartMedia stations nationwide (and on the iHeartRadio app) June 25 at 9 pm local time.

While “Can’t Cancel Pride” is definitely designed to serve up festivities for the season at home, it’s also meant to serve a second and very important function. With COVID-19 still exerting a damaging effect on the usual fund-raising efforts LGBTQ+ organizations rely on to survive, the community is facing loss of livelihoods, lack of access to critical life-affirming healthcare, increased domestic violence and social isolation, with many of the organizations they count on for these services on the brink of disaster – potentially setting the movement back decades.

P & G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the complex and significant obstacles facing the LGBTQ+ community. We must continue to fight hate and intolerance against all people while redoubling our efforts to elevate LGBTQ+ visibility and providing support for those in need.  ‘Can’t Cancel Pride’ is about showing the community that they are not alone and that they are seen and loved, as the pandemic has led to the closure of closed community centers and support systems that millions of LGBTQ+ people rely on every day.”

“There’s no question COVID-19 has impacted the LGBTQ+ community in a variety of ways, and at this time in the U.S., the struggle for equality and inclusion has never been more important,” says. Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia. “Now is a time we need to come together to support the organizations that help bring critical resources to LGBTQ people in need and ‘Can’t Cancel Pride’ aims to do just that. Like always, Pride will continue to represent the resilience, beauty and strength of the LGBTQ+ community around the nation and the globe.”

Rob Smith, Founder and CEO of The Phluid Project and a member of the ‘Can’t Cancel Pride’ advisory committee, adds, “This is a unique opportunity to focus on the heart and soul of the community and the movement we serve across the country, allowing access for everyone. Celebrating virtually affords us the opportunity to touch people in communities across the country and ensure that we are broadly able to showcase the incredible diversity and intersectionality of the LGBTQ+ community.”

The event has partnered with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to administer and distribute financial support raised by the event to LGBTQ+ organizations with a track record of positive impact and support of the LGBTQ+ community, including GLAAD, SAGE, The Trevor Project, the National Black Justice Coalition, CenterLink and OutRight Action International.

 And if Pride doesn’t feel like Pride to you without sharing those cute selfies on social mesia, “Can’t Cancel Pride” is encouraging viewers to share their special Pride moments using the hashtag #CantCancelPride throughout the month of June.

For more information and the latest “Can’t Cancel Pride” news – and to donate – visit cantcancelpride.com or text “RAINBOW” to 56512.

 

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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

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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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Sports

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

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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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Notables

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

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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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