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Blade contributor receives GLAAD Media Award nomination

Yariel Valdés González wrote about time in ICE custody

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Yariel Valdés González (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Blade contributor who wrote about his time in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

GLAAD on Wednesday announced it nominated Yariel Valdés González in the Outstanding Print Article category for his “Diary of an ICE Detainee” series the Blade published last July.

Valdés, 31, on March 27, 2019, asked for asylum in the U.S. because of the persecution he suffered as a journalist in Cuba.

Judge Timothy Cole in September 2019 granted Valdés asylum, but ICE appealed his decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Valdés remained in ICE custody until March 4, 2020.

Valdés currently lives in Wilton Manors, Fla., with his boyfriend.

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GLAAD president participates in World Economic Forum

Annual event takes place in Swiss resort town of Davos

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GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 25, 2022. (Photo by Reto Hamme/GLAAD)

DAVOS, Switzerland — GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis participated in the World Economic Forum that took place this week in the Swiss resort town of Davos.

A press release notes GLAAD and the Ariadne Getty Foundation on Wednesday hosted a panel “on the intersection of LGBTQ people and corporates today” that CNN Business Editor-at-Large Richard Quest, who anchors the network’s “Quest Means Business” program, moderated.

Ellis spoke alongside BSR CEO Aron Cramer, Intel Corporation Executive Vice President Christy Pambianchi, Mastercard Executive Vice President of Sustainability Shamina Singh and Randstad CEO Sander Van’t Noordende. Axios Chief Technology Correspondent Ina Fried and Commonwealth Fusion Systems Head of Operations Joy Dunn also held a “fireside chat” that took place during the event.

Ellis participated in a number of other panels while in Davos.

“LGBTQ people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and recent systemic changes around the world, but we can also be disproportionately helpful in the recovery,” she said in the press release. “Corporate accountability cannot begin and end with employee benefits and hiring practices — it extends to how a corporation spends its dollars, philanthropic and political. It extends to how a corporation takes public stands against anti-LGBTQ legislation and in favor of pro-LGBTQ legislation, because this legislation impacts LGBTQ employees and consumers.”

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Target & vendor remove T-shirt from webstore after ACT-UP NY objects

Silence = Death and its accompanying reversed pink triangle symbol was created by artisans with The Silence=Death Project

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

MINNEAPOLIS – Retail giant Target and its vendor partner, New York City-based retailer The Phluid Project, removed a T-shirt which used the iconic slogan Silence = Death and its accompanying reversed pink triangle symbol from availability on the Target web store Friday.

In a story first reported by longtime Rolling Stone editor Daniel Kreps, a series of tweets this week called out both Target and The Phluid Project for not clarifying if proceeds of sales of the item would be channeled to ACT-UP NY,  the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), a non-profit.

ACT-UP NY also sells t-shirts and other apparel with the iconic imagery to generate funds for its efforts to raise awareness and contribute to HIV/AIDS campaigns including funding for Housing Works, New York’s largest AIDS service organization and Health GAP, which fights to expand treatment for people with AIDS throughout the world, which are direct outgrowths of ACT-UP.

Silence = Death and its accompanying reversed pink triangle graphic symbol was created by artisans and graphic designers from The Silence=Death Project. The six-person collective in New York City was comprised of Avram Finkelstein, Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris Lione, and Jorge Soccarás.

The Silence=Death poster was also used by ACT-UP as a central image in their activist campaign against the AIDS epidemic. Because of ACT-UP’s advocacy, the slogan and pink triangle remains synonymous with AIDS activism.

A spokesperson for Target, Brian Harper-Tibaldo told the Blade that “This shirt was designed by our vendor partner, The Phluid Project, who is working directly with ACT-UP to address their concerns. The item is only available on Target.com and we’ve temporarily pulled it from our assortment until the concern is resolved.”

The Phluid Project’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Garett Smith, told the Blade in a phone call Friday afternoon that once he had learned about the social media exchange he communicated with Target to suspend sales of the T-Shirt. Smith said that he was in communication with ACT-UP NY and that steps were being undertaken to mitigate the issue.

Smith emphasized that his company is queer owned and operated, he himself is a gay man who is also HIV positive and his goal is for fulfillment and empowerment for LGBTQ+ people. He reiterated his mission statement posted to the firm’s website which reads; “We strive to amplify the rising voice of today’s youth, which rejects binary gender norms, and favors an inclusive world that allows individuals to wear what makes them feel good—that is, what best reflects who they really are inside.”

A Federal records check by the Blade showed that there was no registered Copyright or Trademark for the slogan and its image, and that technically it is in the public domain, a fact that ACT-UP NY noted in their tweet Friday. At issue for the collective was what it defined as ‘corporatization’ of the iconic imagery.

The Phluid Project’s Smith said that he believes in monies and profits being part of a reinvestment into the LGBTQ+ community especially given the political attacks on the community, mainly Trans and queer non-binary people currently.

ACT-UP NY in a June 2018 tweet after a similar controversy with global footwear giant Nike after a compromise earlier with clothing company Levi Strauss & Co noted that their position is that companies should not profit off queer people’s lives without sharing those profits.

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Lambda Legal & Black & Pink: Legal system anti-LGBTQ+ bias survey

“Everyone who interacts with the criminal system, whether a victim or are suspected of a crime has legal rights & must be treated fairly”

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Courtesy of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department NC

NEW YORK – Lambda Legal, in partnership with Black & Pink National, launched the new Protected & Served? community survey Thursday, a study that will explore discrimination and bias against LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the criminal legal system.

The findings of the Protected & Served? survey, will inform and support new research, advocacy, litigation, and policy efforts to address the discrimination and abuse experienced by LGBTQ+ people and living with HIV in the criminal legal system, and hold them accountable.

“Everyone who interacts with the criminal legal system, whether they are a victim of a crime or are suspected, accused, or convicted of committing a crime, has legal rights and must be treated fairly,” said Senior Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist for Lambda Legal, Richard Saenz. “However, we know that is not the case for many people, especially LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV. If people in our communities have had an experience with the criminal legal system or another government entity such as child protective services, we need to hear from them so that together we can make change.”

“The idea that we are supposed to compartmentalize the harm we experience from systems of police while engaging with these systems for our care and safety is a recipe for disaster,” said Executive Director for Black and Pink National, Dominique Morgan. “And if these systems truly desire to be our core system of care and justice, they should welcome feedback that allows them to see their true impact. The Protected and Served? report is a much needed mirror to police, jails, prisons, and school security.”

The first Protected & Served? report, which explored government misconduct by police, prisons, the courts and school security against LGBTQ+ and people living with HIV, has been an important resource for litigators, advocacy groups, scholars, journalists, and government entities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

This year’s updated report will build on the success of the first report by expanding the survey to include questions about the experiences of more marginalized populations within our communities, including incarcerated people, young people, sex workers, and immigrants, and will ask questions about interactions with the U.S. immigration system, government systems focused on youth such as child protective services, and broader law enforcement.

The survey will also ask how these experiences have influenced trust, or distrust, in the criminal legal system.

Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, an LGBTQ+ led research, evaluation, and philanthropic strategy firm, will facilitate the survey and contribute to the report.

The survey, which is anonymous and confidential, will open today, May 5, 2022, and will be open until July 8, 2022. Online participants will have an opportunity to enter a drawing to win 1 of 10 gift cards in the amount of $100. The report will be published in late 2022.

For more information, including the survey, please visit www.ProtectedAndServed.org

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