Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade kicked off from the northside Lakeview neighborhood at noon on Sunday, led by Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel. It was the first time in a long time that a sitting mayor has appeared in the parade, a salute to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. An animated Rahm Emanuel marched directly behind the parade’s lead banner and platoon of police on horseback. Dressed casually in a light blue shirt, white jeans, tennis shoes and black shades, Emanuel brought the crowd to a roar as he stopped to high-five a little girl and hoisted a young boy over the metal barricade for a peck on the cheek.

Emanuel is a regular at the parade, having appeared at the festivities almost every year while he served in Congress. He has been a relentless advocate of gay causes, including HIV/AIDS funding, civil unions and gay marriage. Joining him in the parade was Governor Pat Quinn, who recently signed the Illinois civil union legislation, as Illinois became the sixth state to allow civil unions or their equivalent, giving same-sex couples the same state-level rights that come with marriage.

The parade usually draws around a half-million celebrants, but coming right on the heels of winning the long-sought right for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and the historic passage of the New York bill allowing same sex marriage Friday night, this parade swelled to an estimated attendance of 750,000, which was likely a record number of rainbow-clad spectators.

Viewers can read a short history of the gay rights movement in Illinois here.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade

Chicago’s 2010 Gay Pride Parade

The Chicago Gay Pride Parade Celebration

Please Share This:

Share

New York Senate Votes 33-29 to Approve Gay Marriage!!

New York Senate Votes 33-29 to Approve Gay Marriage!!

The New York Senate voted on Friday to legalize gay marriage, a breakthrough victory for the gay-rights movement in the state where it got its start. New York became the sixth state where gay couples can wed, and by far the biggest. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who campaigned on the issue last year, has promised to sign it. Gay weddings could begin 30 days after that.

Although New York is a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state’s size and New York City’s international stature and its role as the birthplace of the gay-rights movement, which is said to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.

Gay-rights advocates are hoping the vote will galvanize the movement around the country and help it regain momentum after an almost identical bill was defeated in New York in 2009 and similar measures failed in 2010 in New Jersey and this year in Maryland and Rhode Island.

NY Sen. Tom Duane’s Moving Speech for Marriage Equality

Rachel Maddow: NY Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Stonewall: The Stone Wall Against Oppression

The Stonewall Riots: A Night That Changed the World

Please Share This:

Share

Harvey Milk Day 2011: You’ve Got to Give Them Hope

Harvey Milk Day 2011: You’ve Got to Give Them Hope

Although California is presently the only state with an official Harvey Milk Day, cities all across the country will be holding rallies and events today to honor the first openly gay man to be elected to public office and an icon of the gay-rights movement. Milk, who would have been 81 years-old, gave us his life 32 years ago, knowing that the first of any civil rights movement, who clearly and loudly proclaim their right to equality, most often meets a violent and sudden end. Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He fought to end discrimination against gays and lesbians and built coalitions of gay-rights groups, labor unions and small-business owners. He was 48 when he was killed a year later by a former supervisor, Dan White.

The Times of Harvey Milk, a documentary film, won the 1984 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The movie Milk, was released in 2008, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn as Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White. Milk received two Academy Awards, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. In August 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the gay rights movement stating, “He fought discrimination with visionary courage and conviction.”

Harvey Milk: The Candlelight Funeral Rites

A Documentary on Harvey Milk: 575 Castro St.

Harvey Milk: You’ve Got to Give Them Hope

Before there was the Academy Awards celebrated Milk, there was the widely acclaimed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film in 1984, and was awarded The Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The documentary chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, who was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected Board Supervisor. The film, at times humorous, at times nostalgic, and at other times quite tragic, tells the story of Harvey Milk’s rise to political power and emergence as a symbol of gay political achievement.

The Times of Harvey Milk documents through assembled historic film clips the tumultuous story of Milk’s grass-roots political organizing and election, through the shocking murders and their repercussions. It takes the film’s viewers along with the eloquent candle-light memorial joined by tens of thousands of San Franciscans on the evening of the assassinations, to the scenes of angry crowds who stormed San Francisco’s City Hall in the aftermath of the lenient sentence that Dan White received at his murder trial.

This Academy Award-winning documentary feature film depicts not only Harvey Milk himself, but also the political and social milieu of the era in which he lived. From this perspective, the film continues to have significant relevance for our nation today, standing as a classic portrait of communities and cultural values in severe conflict. The film was produced subsequent to Harvey Milk’s death using archival footage, so that Milk is credited posthumously as the lead actor. Other politicians, including San Francisco’s then-mayor George Moscone (who was assassinated along with Milk) and Moscone’s successor and now United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, also appear in the archival footage. Also featured in the film is then-schoolteacher Tom Ammiano, who has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1994, and was elected to the California State Assembly. The film’s outstanding narration is provided by the acclaimed stage and screen actor Harvey Fierstein, who at that time had just achieved great success with his own Tony Award-winning Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

The Times of Harvey Milk: The Full Version of the Documentary

Slide Show:The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

(Please Click on Image Above to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

Glee: Born This Way

Glee: Born This Way

This episode of Glee featured Kurt, played by Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer, returning to his old high school and receiving an apology from the closeted gay football player who had bullied him. Celebrating acceptance, the show’s cast sings Lady Gaga’s gay pride anthem Born This Way, and all seems well at McKinley High once again.

Glee: Kurt Returns

Glee: Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way”

Please Share This:

Share

President Obama Signs Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “Out of Many, We Are One”

President Obama Signs Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “Out of Many, We Are One”

With his signature today, President Obama put in motion the end of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which has hurt our military as a whole, has forced thousands of those who serve to do so under a cloud of anxiety and isolation, and has stood as a symbol of the barriers to unity and equality in our country.  As the President put it, “For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’  We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.'”

During the signing ceremony in a packed auditorium at the Interior Department, President Obama said, “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder.”  Quoting the Chairman of his Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Pres. Obama went on to declare, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives.  None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.”

President Obama Signs Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Please Share This:

Share

Senate Strikes Down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

Photography by: Jeff Sheng, Los Angeles

Senate Strikes Down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

In a major victory for gay rights advocates as well as President Obama, the Senate on Saturday repealed the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.  The repeal of DADT closed a 17-year struggle over a policy that forced thousands of Americans to leave the ranks of the military and caused others to keep secret their sexual orientation.

By a vote of 65 to 31, the Senate approved and sent to President Obama a repeal of the Clinton-era law, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a policy that critics said amounted to government-sanctioned discrimination, which treated gay and lesbian troops as second-class citizens.  The President is expected to sign the measure into law next week, delivering Pres. Obama a victory on one of his chief campaign promises.

Breaking News: Senate Repeals Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

Democrats and Activists Speak After “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

Slide Show: DADT/We Have To Give Them Hope

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

DADT: We Have To Give Them Hope

DADT: We Have To Give Them Hope

Photography by:  Jeff Sheng, Los Angeles

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a deeply touching series of portraits by Jeff Sheng, photographs of gay men and lesbians serving in the military, all of them in uniform and with their faces obscured in some way, by a hand, a door frame or by darkness.  The portraits are pervaded by a sense of lonely sadness and isolation.

Mr. Sheng has described his subjects, identified only by first names that are pseudonyms, as people who “didn’t want to risk their careers, but who wanted to take some kind of stand.”  Earnest and passionate about his work, Mr. Sheng said he struggles to avoid being heavy-handed as an artist.  “I merge a fight for social equality with photography, but I’m always trying to figure out how to do it intelligently,” he said.

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

Slide Show: DADT/We Have To Give Them Hope

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

%d bloggers like this: