Boston Pride Organization Dissolved Amid Turmoil

(image via Instagram/BostonPride)

Facing tons of turmoil over the past few months with calls of being “racist” and “trans-exclusionary,” the entire board of directors for Boston Pride has resigned.

Last month, the president of the organization, Linda DeMarco, stepped down. But that, apparently, was not enough.


Longtime Boston-based LGBTQ blogger BosGuy has this:

Activists were not satisfied by that response saying it was too little too late and that the all white Boston Pride board didn’t represent the LGBTQ+ community and needed to resign now. And a boycott Boston Pride event was scheduled on Saturday, June 12th in conjunction with the second annual Trans Resistance March and Vigil. 

In response to the mounting pressure, the Boston Pride Board issued a statement today at 4:30 p.m. that the entire Board would resign and Boston Pride will shutdown.

The sudden dissolution of Boston Pride puts into question if there will be a 50th anniversary Boston Pride celebration later this fall. Earlier this year Boston Pride had indicated in-person celebrations might be scheduled in October.

From the Boston Pride Board of Directors:

It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. There will be no further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization.

We know many people care about Pride in Boston, and we encourage them to continue the work. By making the decision to close down, we hope new leaders will emerge from the community to lead the Pride movement in Boston.

This decision was made with a heavy heart, out of love and hope for a better future.

Talking With LGBTQ Activist Aaron Baldwin On Pride Month, Pinkwashing & More

LGBTQ activist & Pride 365 Champion Aaron Baldwin
LGBTQ activist & Pride 365 Champion Aaron Baldwin
LGBTQ activist & Pride 365 Champion Aaron Baldwin

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast I’m talking with LGBTQ activist Aaron Baldwin about corporate support during Pride Month, pinkwashing (what is it?), how to best connect with our straight allies and more.

Aaron is a recognized LGBTQ activist who has led campaigns against LGBTQ workplace discrimination involving large corporations including Cirque du Soleil, Target and Rockstar Energy Drinks.

He’s also been an advocate for affordable access to HIV medications, marriage equality and environmental justice, and taken a significant role in the HIV/AIDS movement confronting HIV discrimination in the workplace.

Plus, he helped launch the first firm to offer life insurance to the positive community and served as the expert witness in the landmark HIV prevention discrimination case, GLAD v. Mutual of Omaha.

Today, Aaron is affiliated with Pride 365 – which works with businesses to bring an end to pinkwashing and to improve inclusivity in society and the workplace.

But I’ll let Aaron explain how and why all of that is important.

Read more about Aaron Baldwin here, and find info about Pride 365 here.

The Old Gays Celebrate Pride Month

The Old Gays (image via TikTok)

The Old Gays, a quartet of senior gay men who have developed a devoted following for their candid and often hilarious observations on queer life, have shared a video for Pride that is charming the TikTok world.

Each of the men take turns holding up photos of themselves as young men, and contrast how they felt about being gay when they were young versus today.

Bill: “When I was growing up, my father was always trying to out me. Well, here I am – free, proud and gay as can be.”

Robert: “My father suddenly died while I was in college. I wasn’t sure about my future. But here I am today – 78, proud and still chugging along.”

Jessay: “Growing up, I was terrified to come out to my mom. But I finally worked up the courage to do it, and she encouraged me to be myself. Well, here I am.”

Michael: “This is me at 20, one year before attending my first pride. I was uncertain of who I was. Now 55 prides later, I know exactly who I am.”

The four end the clip with a stop at Shake Shack to enjoy Pride Shakes at the fast food vendor. Proceeds from the shake go to support The Trevor Project.

The clip has been ‘Liked’ over 850K times so far 🙂

@oldgaysFree, proud & gay as can be 🏳️‍🌈 @shakeshack ##oldgays ##shakeshack ##shakeshackpartner ##ad ##out ##free ##proud ##gay ##pride2021🏳️‍🌈 ##lgbtq ##fypシ

♬ original sound – The Old Gays

InstaHunk Round-Up: Pride Weekend Edition

CBS News journalist Thomas Hanson

Checking in with the Hunks of Instagram this Pride weekend.

First up, CBS News journalist Thomas Hanson (above) reflects on the gospel of RuPaul this Pride Month.

‘Daddy’ Facundo Rodriguez wished every a Happy Pride complete with a mega-Pride wall:

Bolu Okupe waved his rainbows high (and low) in Paris:

Speaking of Pride flags, Andrew Keenan-Bolger gave respect to all the flags in the Pride universe:

Quincy took the Pride rainbow to his famous beard:

Brooklyn’s Brownstone Boys put their Pride right out front:

Broadway’s Nick Adams got down with his disco balls for Pride:

Artist Anthony Varrecchia made out with a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles at the Stonewall Inn:

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, celebrated Pride at the White House:

Ignacio Pérez Rey made a funny down in Panama:

Pierre Vuala took a ride on a dragon:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQmBv2BrQH0/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

CrossFitter Dan Tai got out to nature (those are some serious calves, y’all…)

Former Army Captain Roberto Portales reminds folks to “adopt, not shop” when it comes to furry family members:

And my guy Brody sends his sassiest rainbow barks for a bright Pride:

This Is Pride Joy: ‘I Am What I Am’ Dance Redux Featuring J. Harrison Ghee

J. Harrison Ghee in 'I Am What I Am'
J. Harrison Ghee in 'I Am What I Am'
J. Harrison Ghee in ‘I Am What I Am’

As we celebrate the last weekend of Pride Month 2021, hit play and bounce-bounce-bounce along with this totally infectious remix of that gayest of gay anthems, ‘I Am What I Am.”

Broadway legend Jerry Herman delivered unto us his glorious theme song of self-love in his 1983 Broadway blockbuster, La Cage aux Folles. And while there have been many disco-tastic takes on the upbeat theme bop, this takes Pride joy over the top!

J. Harrison Ghee and company serve up some seriously up-to-date beatsbeatsbeats along with some subtle (but recognizable) shades of characters from Broadway musicals and plays.

Victor Borbolla and Javi Perez as ‘Tony and Maria’

I spy some Dorothy Gale & Toto (Wizard of Oz), Tony & Maria (West Side Story), Jenna and Dr. Pomatter (Waitress), Danny & Sandy (Grease), Dolly Levi (Hello, Dolly!), Joseph (of Dreamcoat fame), Les Miz patriots and more. Plus, there are cameos by Marti Cummings, Ianne Fields Stewart, and Davon Williams.

The whole magilla was directed & produced by Jimmy Larkin; James Alonzo White delivers fierce choreography; and Devin Lewis skillfully handles music production duties.

And let’s hear it for the terrific company that represents in all-shapes, all-sizes, all-ages, all-shades of rainbow Pride joy!

A little Les Miz anyone…?

Dancers: Nick Alvino, Andrew Avila, Keely Beirne, Bo Belza, Michael Ivan Carrier, Michael Graceffa, Abigail Isom, Derek Johnson, Andre Malcolm, Jarred Manista, Ryan Miller, Stanley Munoz, Anthony Murphy, Myke Myklegard, Tony Neal, Lucas Parada, Dobbin Pinkney, Becca Robinson, Lexie Sahagian, Hamly Tavarez, Spencer James Weidie.

Also featuring: Jeff Heimbrock, Brian Martin, Sean Potter, Tony Tillman, Liz Pryce Davies, Nick Eibler, Kerri George, Jonathan Gomolka, Lindsay Griffin, Jay Grogan, Evan Lacombe, Laura McCormack, Yassi Noubahar, Devon Perry, Karen Joy Pangantihon, Aidan Triola, and Bradley Allan Zarr.

As regular readers of The Randy Report may recall, I knew and worked with Jerry Herman. I know he would have LOVED this.

Bravo!

Biden Hosts LGBTQ Leaders: ‘Pride Is Back At The White House’

President Biden hosted leaders from the LGBTQ community at the White House in honor of Pride Month
President Biden hosted leaders from the LGBTQ community at the White House in honor of Pride Month
President Joe Biden (screen capture)

It was an LGBTQ kind of day at the White House today as President Biden hosted a reception for LGBTQ leaders in honor of Pride Month.

From the Washington Blade:

President Biden commemorated Pride Month for first his year in office on Friday with a reception at the White House, detailing the initiatives his administration has made on behalf of the LGBTQ community and declaring “Pride is Back at the White House.”

“We’re also making progress, but I know we still have a long way to go, a lot of work to do,” Biden said. “We must protect the gains we’ve made and fend off the cruel and unconscionable attacks that we’re seeing now to ensure the full promise of dignity and equal protection.”

Joining Biden on stage for the reception in the East Room was first lady Jill Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who could claim historic status of participating in the event as the first openly gay official to obtain Senate confirmation for a Cabinet-level role.

Biden was introduced by Ashton Mota, a 16-year-old transgender advocate from Lowell, Mass., and a leader with the GenderCool Project.

During his remarks, Biden’s made note of the recent spate of state laws targeting transgender youth, including restricting their access to transition-related health care and schools sports. Biden called the bills “nothing but bullying disguised as legislation.”

Biden also named Jessica Stern, currently executive director of OutRight Action International, as a special diplomatic envoy at the State Department for LGBTQ rights. Her responsibilities will include ensuring that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect LGBTQ rights around the world.

Additionally, Biden signed into law a congressional resolution designating the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as a national memorial. On June 12, 2016, the club was the site of the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in U.S. history when Omar Mateen opened fire on club goers killing 49 people and wounding 53 more.

Today: It Gets Better – A Digital Pride Experience

The 2021 It Gets Better Pride Experience

It Gets Better - A Digital Pride Experience 2021

Make sure to check in for year two of It Gets Better: A Digital Pride Experience today beginning at 11 a.m. PT.

This year’s live stream extravaganza includes Pose star Mj Rodriguez, Emmy nominee Laverne Cox, celebrity fashion designer Christian Cowan, international superstars Pabllo Vittar and Calle y Poché, pop duo Aly & AJ, dance and fitness stars Caleb Marshall and Mark Kanemura, and so many more.

Plus, you won’t want to miss a special It Gets Better message from President Joe Biden and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

Hosted by YouTuber/comedian Kalen Allen featuring Monique Heart in an epic drag transformation, come celebrate Pride in style and help us uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe.

Click here to watch along and view the full schedule and lineup. And tell your friends and family to come join the Pride celebration!

Toasting Pride Month With Five Husbands Vodka

Ogden’s Own, an award-winning leading distiller of craft spirits and the largest independently owned distillery in the state of Utah, is welcoming Pride 2021 through a brand-new, special-edition label for its Five Husbands Vodka.
Celebrating Pride Month with Five Husbands Vodka honoring LGBTQ leaders in Utah
(Image via Instagram)

Sometimes, LGBTQ allies can come from unexpected places.

While Utah has long been considered a conservative state in regard to social issues and especially as the home of the Mormon Church, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn about a Odgen’s Own, an award-winning independently owned distillery in the state welcoming Pride 2021 with a brand-new, special-edition label for its Five Husbands Vodka.

The 2021 Five Husbands Vodka bottle is available for customers at the Ogden’s Own Distillery store with proceeds going directly to Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, two charitable organizations that support the Utah LGBTQ+ community.

(image via Instagram)

As part of the distillery’s ongoing commitment to celebrate Pride all year long – not only during Pride Month – the new Five Husbands bottle features five members of the Utah LGBTQ+ community on the label.

Each 2021 “Husband” is well regarded for using their creativity, influence, and talent to build towards a better, more inclusive tomorrow.

The 2021 “Five Husbands” featured on the label represent a broad range of professions and areas of expertise, but the common thread binding each Husband is that they are all Utah locals that are passionate about representing the LGBTQ+ community and spreading the message of inclusiveness on as large of a stage as possible.

• Johnny Hebda – Johnny is a jack of all trades. A Nashville, TN native that has lived in Utah since attending BYU following the completion of his Mormon mission, Johnny currently serves as VP of Sales for AMP Smart, one of the nation’s fastest growing smart home companies. Additionally, he is a professional actor, model, director, and producer who is passionate about channeling his showbiz chops into social causes.

• Georgios Spiliopoulos – aka “DJ GSP,” Georgios is a native of Athens, Greece who has been a professional DJ for more than 15 years. In addition to being a DJ and music producer, Georgios is an event organizer and promoter, graphic designer, and record label owner. He has lived in London, Rio De Janeiro, Los Angeles and now makes his home in Salt Lake City.

• Rob Moolman, Ph.D – Rob is the Executive Director/CEO of the Utah Pride Center, a role he has served for more than three years. Among his many accomplishments with Utah Pride is establishing the SAGE program, which offers services for aging members of the LGBTQ community. A longtime friend of Ogden’s Own, he has partnered with the distillery on several occasions through the years to engage the community in LGBTQ+ events, causes and initiatives.

• CJ Hamblen – CJ is a real estate professional and aspiring personal fitness trainer, currently working as a leasing agent in Midvale, Utah. Born in Dallas, TX and raised in Sugarhouse, UT, CJ is a true creative, a music lover, and secret comic book and superhero aficionado. As an ardent believer in bringing awareness to both the LGBTQ+ and black communities, CJ is eager to use the Ogden’s Own platform to accomplish this in Utah and across the nation.

• Troy Williams – Troy is the executive director of Equality Utah and serves as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, ensuring that state laws include and protect LGBTQ Utahns and their families. Before his current role at Equality Utah, Troy produced reality television, including the TLC series, Breaking the Faith, which followed teens in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints fleeing polygamy – making a partnership with the creators of Five Husbands (and Five Wives!) Vodka an ironic twist of fate.

(image via Instagram)

“Since the beginning, Ogden’s Own has been about supporting the LGBTQ+ community here in Utah through not only our words, but our actions, and we feel that this is our strongest statement to-date,” said Steve Conlin, co-founder and CEO of Ogden’s Own Distillery.

“Each of our Five Husbands is equally impressive, not just because of their individual accomplishments, but because of their character and commitment to making Utah a great place to live,” Conlin added. “We’re humbled to honor such an incredible group of people through our new Five Husbands bottle and can’t wait to celebrate Pride 2021 by sharing their stories.”

Ogden’s Own has served as the official alcohol sponsor of the Utah Pride Festival for several years and once again will for Utah Pride 2021.

For more information regarding Ogden’s Own’s canned cocktails, future availability of the products, and updates on all of Ogden’s Own brands, please visit www.ogdensown.com.

(image via Instagram)

Pride 2021: Pride At Work

Guest post by B.A. Schaaff from the Department of Labor and vice president of Pride at DOL
Guest post by B.A. Schaaff from the Department of Labor and vice president of Pride at DOL
(image via Pride at DOL)

Guest post by B.A. Schaaff

Pride Month is a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people to be proud and visible in a world that tells us not to be. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate and honor the work of LGBTQ+ people as we fight every day for equity and inclusion in society, in the law and in our workplaces.

Thanks to the tireless work of advocates, we’ve had many recent encouraging wins at the national level:

  • Last June, in Bostock vs. Clayton County, the Supreme Court affirmed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • In January, President Biden issued an Executive Order 13988, Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, and  another executive order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which includes LGBTQ+ persons. He also rescinded a 2020 executive order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that had a chilling effect on diversity and inclusion training programs among federal agencies and contractors.
  • The Biden-Harris administration has stated strong support for the Equality Act, which would amend existing federal civil rights laws to expressly include non-discrimination protection on the basis of sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), providing security and equality to LGBTQ+ people in accessing housing, employment, education, public accommodations, health care and other federally funded services, credit and more.
  • In March, President Biden became the first U.S. president to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility.

In the past year, anti-racism protests have sparked important conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. The Department of Labor has recommitted to being an inclusive workplace, and continues to offer trainings related to sexual orientation and gender identity, including those related to the use of gender-inclusive language and pronouns. I’ve been proud to provide these trainings and support those efforts as a vice president of Pride at DOL, an affinity group for the department’s LGBTQ+ employees and contractors and our allies.

As part of the department’s efforts to implement the sexual orientation and gender identity executive order, our Civil Rights Center – a member of the Title VI/Title IX Interagency Working Group led by the Department of Justice – will serve on the Title IX and Executive Order 13988 Committee. This committee will serve to provide opportunities for interagency collaboration to advance EO 13988’s goal of protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring the Bostock decision is applied to Title IX and other relevant statutes, and making federal agencies welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.

The department is also working to reverse the impact of the prior administration’s executive order on diversity training. Our Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs is examining promising practices for diversity training as one component of broader efforts to eliminate bias from employment practices. In addition, the department is conducting an equity review to better understand how well our policies and programs are reaching historically underserved populations, and launched a related data challenge.

But there is still more work to do, and our pride can come at a price. Being visible sometimes means being exposed to harassment, discrimination, and violence. This is especially true for transgender people, particularly those who are women and people of color. Equity and inclusion require creating an environment — through language, policies and practices — that not only tolerates but recognizes and affirms people’s identities and relationships. Only with this can employers create a sense of belonging and value in their organization.

So as we celebrate Pride Month this year and every year, let’s recognize all the work that has been done and that is necessary to keep pushing forward.


B.A. Schaaff (they/he) is an attorney in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor and is vice president of Pride at DOL.

The Bidens Uplifting Message To LGBTQ Community For Pride Month

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden send a message to the LGBTQ community for Pride Month
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden send a message to the LGBTQ community for Pride Month
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden

In a special Pride Month message, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wish all of us a bright and happy Pride.

The Bidens note that Pride represents many things: defiance in the face of injustice, courage to live our truth, and justice as in the Supreme Court ruling which made marriage equality the law of the land.

But above all else – Pride stands for love.

At the beginning of the month, the president issued the first proclamation acknowledging Pride Month in five years.