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.

News Round-Up: July 2, 2021

Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey
Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey
Tyler Posey (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

NME: Former Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey says he’s still figuring out his sexuality. “I’ve been with everybody under the sun, and right now I’m in the best relationship that I’ve ever been in with a woman, and she’s queer too. She’s helped me realize that I fit under the queer umbrella and that I’m sexually fluid, I guess.”

them: Around 1,000 people made history this week by taking part in the first-ever Pride event at one of America’s most conservative Mormon colleges. On Monday, current and former students of Brigham Young University (BYU) gathered at Provo, Utah’s Joaquin Park before walking a mile to Kiwanis Park, a grassy expanse just east of campus.

PBS: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that Andrew Bruck would be appointed acting attorney general for the remainder of Murphy’s term. Bruck will be the first openly gay attorney general in state history.

Instinct Magazine: Gilead Sciences is looking to get its ‘once every six months’ HIV inhibitor injection, Lenacapavir, approved by the FDA.

The Advocate: Sha’Carri Richardson, who made headlines recently for thanking her girlfriend after qualifying for the Olympics, will now miss at least part of the games due to a positive marijuana test.

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

News Round-Up: June 29, 2021

US Embassy in Russia flies the rainbow flag in honor of Pride Month
US Embassy in Russia flies the rainbow flag in honor of Pride Month
(image via the US embassy in Russia)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Gaily Grind: The U.S. embassy in Russia (above), along with the British and Canadian embassies, hoisted rainbow Pride flags on their buildings in Moscow, defying the country’s “gay propaganda” law signed by Vladimir Putin in 2013.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Former gay porn guy Paul Wagner is reportedly attempting a comeback on OnlyFans. More at the link.

New York Post: Reps for Donald Trump approached the social media platform Parler in January with an offer to have the then-president move his social media presence to the platform in exchange for 40 percent of the company’s gross revenues and a promise to “ban anyone who spoke negatively about him.” The owners said ‘no.’

CBS News: Champlain Towers South was reportedly facing $15M in repairs before it collapsed on June 24. A 2018 engineering report warned of damage to the concrete, and a contractor gave multiple photos to the Miami Herald showing evidence of corrosion and cracks in the building just days before the collapse.

Edge Media: The Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday passed a draft bill on LGBTI rights that will seek parliamentary approval to allow transgender people over 16 to freely change their gender and name without doctors or witnesses intervening in the process.

Vogue Magazine: First Lady Dr. Jill Biden covers the August issue of Vogue Magazine. Annie Leibovitz snapped the gorgeous cover image and Jonathan Van Meter wrote the article titled, “A First Lady For All Of Us.”

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:

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:

Instanbul Police Fire Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets At Pride Participants

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at participants of an LGBTQ Pride event in Instanbul

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at participants of an LGBTQ Pride event in Instanbul
(screen capture via Global News)

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at participants of a Pride March in Instanbul on Saturday, arresting 25 people.

Among those detained was AFP photographer Bulent Kilic.

From Deutsche Welle:

While thousands gathered peacefully in Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Milan and elsewhere in Europe for Pride parades, the authorities in Istanbul reacted with a heavy hand to those who gathered in the central Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

The march participants comprised several civil society groups that gathered under the motto “the street is ours.” Footage and photos of demonstrators showed some being pushed and dragged by riot police on Istiklal Avenue in the heart of the city.

Images posted on social media showed photographer Kilic pressed to the ground with police holding him down with their knees.

Reporters Without Borders in Turkey tweeted in support of Kilic, demanding his immediate release. AFP reported Kilic had been released later in the evening.

Authorities in Instanbul have banned Pride events since 2014 when 100,000 showed up for the festivities. Officials say “public safety” was a concern.

It’s been a rough year for LGBTQ advocates in Turkey as elected officials have grown more and more vocal in their opposition to queer communities.

“There is no such thing as LGBT,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in February during an address to his party. “This country is national, spiritual and walking toward the future with these values.”

In March, Erdoğan abandoned the landmark Instanbul Convention because it “normalizes homosexuality.”

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.


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.

#LubeLife Teams Up With Campus Pride For Sex Positive Campaign

#Lubelife, the leading personal lubricant brand sold on Amazon, is celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month by forming a partnership with Campus Pride, the only national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students.

Campus Pride is a volunteer-driven network “for” and “by” student leaders. Educational partners, staff and volunteers develop resources, programs and services to support LGBTQ and ally students on college campuses across the United States. Search their resources and learn how our various programs and services may assist you in creating a safer, more LGBTQ-friendly college campus community.

#LubeLife supports your sexual adventure and encourages people to #TakeItBackForGood.

#LubeLife will be donating $5 to Campus Pride every time someone posts about anal sex positivity on the #LubeLife website during Pride Month.

Also, #Lubelife will be donating 15% of the sales of its two anal sex lubricants during the month of June to support sexual health and stigma reduction programs for queer young adults with Campus Pride.

“#LubeLife is a fun, irreverent brand that is all about adventure and exploration; we wanted to put a spotlight on anal sex during Pride month because it is at the very core of sexual exploration, and the LGBTQ community has always been on the forefront of that,” said Tara Merkle, Senior Director of Marketing for #LubeLife.

“Sex is a part of life and we must talk about it,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride. “Every dollar raised will be put towards our sexual health awareness programs and stigma reduction for queer young adult leaders.”

Head over to the #LubeLife website for more info.

(image via Instagram/LubeLife)

Biden & Emhoff Make Appearances During ‘It Gets Better’ Digital Pride

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden makes appearance during It Gets Better Pride event

President Joe Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff each shared special messages for LGBTQ+ youth to remind them that they are not alone during today’s ‘It Gets Better: A Digital Pride Experience.’

“My administration, the Biden administration, will always stick up for you,” Biden told viewers. “We are committed to advancing equality. In the classroom, on the sports fields, at work, in our military, in our housing, in our healthcare system — everywhere — equity.”

The president also noted LGBTQ Americans he’s appointed to high level leadership roles including the first openly gay Cabinet Secretary, Pete Buttigieg and the first transgender person confirmed by the United States Senate, Dr. Rachel Levine.

This is not President Biden’s first video for the It Gets Better Project. In 2010, when the It Gets Better campaign was just getting its start in response to a string of suicides from LGBTQ+ youth, the then Vice President shared inspirational words and a message of support for the LGBTQ+ community — see his original video here.

Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff told viewers: “When times are tough and the whole world feels like it’s closing in, the best thing you can do for yourself is just reach out to someone. Being strong, being brave, is to know when to ask for support.”

Emhoff added: “I promise you, there are people out there who love you just as you are — people who recognize that the qualities that make you unique and special are the characteristics that make our whole society beautiful and diverse… don’t ever feel like you’re in this by yourself because you’re not. Remember: it will get better.”

For the last decade, the It Gets Better Project has upheld a mission to empower, uplight and inspire the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth.

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the organization celebrated Pride by hosting their first digital Pride event which garnered over 1.3M impressions. This year, they aim to reach even more LGBTQ+ youth around the globe while promoting and securing funds to sustain the life-affirming services the organization provides.

The 2021 talent line up features appearances by Kalen Allen, Mj Rodriguez, Laverne Cox, Aly & AJ, Zachary Quinto, Vincint, and Pabllo Vittar among others. Day One streamed live from the organization’s YouTube channel today, Wednesday, June 23rd and Day Two will air tomorrow, Thursday, June 24th from 11:00 AM PT – 3:00 PM PT.