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Pro-Palestinian activists protest LGBTQ group’s gala in NYC

Israel-Hamas war opposition to overshadow Pride events



Pro-Palestinian protesters protest outside Outright International's 2024 Celebration of Courage Gala in New York on June 3, 2024. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

NEW YORK — More than 300 people who protested outside an Outright International gala on Monday criticized the organization for its “silence and refusal to use” its network “and advocacy to provide immediate relief to Palestinians” who remain in the Gaza Strip.

Members of ACT UP, the Audre Lorde Project and other groups who were outside Pier 60 in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood handed out flyers that read “Israel bombs queers” and “no Pride in genocide” as gala attendees arrived. A press release notes upwards of 100 people held a “die-in” for 241 seconds “to signify the 241 days of Israel’s bombardment of Palestine.”

(washington blade video by michael k. lavers)

Actor Billy Porter is among those who Outright International honored at the gala.

Protest organizers in their press release noted Porter “signed onto a statement in support of the Zionist state of Israel” after Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization, launched its surprise attack against southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. The press release also criticized Porter over his “problematic comments in which he rebuffed James Baldwin’s anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian stance while claiming to be the best person to direct and star in Baldwin’s biopic.”

ACT UP further reiterated its demands for Outright International, which advocates for LGBTQ and intersex rights around the world.

• Amplify the struggle to decolonize Palestine

• Support local LGBTIQ Palestinian orgs with funding

• Advocate at the United Nations to stop US-supported human rights violations

• Disclose and divest from funders with links to Israel

Outright International on Oct. 27 publicly called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Maria Sjödin, the group’s executive director, on Monday noted the protest during their speech at the gala.

“Activism for a better world takes many forms, and that is a great thing,” said Sjödin. “One of those forms is to protest and some of you saw this action on the way in.”

The Washington Blade attended the gala, and saw some attendees wearing keffiyahs and watermelon patches that have emerged as symbols of Palestinian solidarity since the war between Israel and Hamas began after Oct. 7. Gala attendees cheered when Sjödin said Outright International “supports a peaceful protest without any reservation.” 

“Outright supports the spirit of the protest to bring attention to the loss of human lives,” they said.

The Israeli government says Hamas militants killed roughly 1,200 people on Oct. 7, including at least 260 partygoers and others at the Nova Music Festival. The Israeli government on Tuesday said roughly 80 people who were taken hostage on Oct. 7 remain alive in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says more than 35,000 people have died in the enclave since the war began.

The International Criminal Court on May 20 announced it plans to issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. Karim Khan, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, said the five men have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza and Israel. 

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous,” said President Joe Biden in a May 20 statement. “Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor (Khan) might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday by a 247-155 vote margin approved a bill that would sanction the ICC. Forty-two Democrats supported the measure.

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), who is a vocal supporter of Israel, on Sunday in an X post said “anti-Israel activists tore down the flag honoring me” on Fire Island as the first gay Afro-Latino person elected to Congress and “instead put up a flag honoring queer Palestinians.” The New York Democrat in another message wrote that ACT UP New York “proudly admits to illegally vandalizing the flag honoring me.”

Pro-Palestine protesters on Sunday disrupted the Philadelphia Pride March.

The annual D.C. Dyke March, which will be called Dykes Against Ge(NO)cide this year, will take place in Lafayette Park on Friday. A “Stop the Genocide” protest is scheduled to occur in front of the White House on Saturday at noon.

The Capital Pride Parade will begin three hours later at 14th and T Streets, N.W. Porter is among those who are scheduled to perform at the Capital Pride Festival that will take place on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., on Sunday.

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights are among the groups on Tuesday that demanded Pride parade and national LGBTQ rights groups “immediately ban the corporations responsible for fueling the genocide in Gaza and worldwide colonial violence from sponsoring or participating in Pride events.” The organizations also released a set of demands that include:

  • Ban weapons manufacturers from both participation in and sponsorship of Pride events.  
  • Support Palestinians and their resistance efforts. 
  • Condemn and work to dismantle pinkwashing and homonationalism. 
  • Call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and an end to arming Israel. 
  • Cut ties with all organizations that profit from war, detention, and incarceration, environmental destruction, and displacement. 
  • Ban police from marching and participating in Pride, and denounce state violence. 

“Over the past eight months, queer and trans people have been at the forefront of mobilizing for a liberated Palestine,” said Firas Nasr, a nonbinary activist and organizer who is based in D.C., in a press release. “Yet Pride organizations — and national LGBTQIA+ orgs that claim to represent our community — have largely remained silent while championing corporations behind the genocide.”

Nasir is among the upwards of 200 people who marched from Dupont Circle to the Human Rights Campaign in February and called upon it and other LGBTQ rights organizations to “demand an end to genocide and occupation of Palestine.” No Pride in Genocide organized the protest.


LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations

Pride organizers urged to ensure Jewish people can safely participate in events

A Wider Bridge sent letter to Capital Pride Alliance, other event organizers



Members of A Wider Bridge and other LGBTQ Jewish groups participate in the Israel Day Parade in New York on June 2, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Felson)

A Wider Bridge has called upon Pride organizers across the country to ensure Jewish people can safely participate in their events.

The group, which “advocates for justice, counters LGBTQphobia, and fights antisemitism and other forms of hatred,” sent a letter to the Capital Pride Alliance and more than 60 other Pride organizers.

“We know that the 2024 Pride season promises to be enormously important for our community,” wrote A Wider Bridge Executive Director Ethan Felson. “With LGBTQ+ rights under attack, our collective energy, commitment, and passion are needed more than ever. We deeply appreciate your tireless work to ensure that our voices are heard and that our community can come together, even in challenging times, to protest injustice and to celebrate our identities.”

“We write with a pressing concern,” added Felson.

This year’s Pride Month will take place eight months after Hamas launched its surprise attack against southern Israel.

The Israeli government says Hamas militants killed roughly 1,200 people on Oct. 7, 2023, including at least 260 partygoers and others at the Nova Music Festival. The Israeli government on Tuesday said roughly 80 people who were taken hostage on Oct. 7 remain alive in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says more than 35,000 people have died in the enclave since the war began. The National LGBTQ Task Force and Outright International are among the groups that have called for a ceasefire.

A press release that announced A Wider Bridge’s letter notes antisemitic attacks increased 337 percent between Oct. 7 and Dec. 7, and 93 percent of Jewish people said “antisemitism is a real problem in America.” The press release further notes LGBTQ Jewish people “have previously faced discrimination at Pride events” that include three people who said organizers of Chicago’s Dyke March in 2017 refused to allow them to participate because they had Jewish Pride flags.

“This year, ahead of Pride, we are seeing and hearing about attacks online against queer Jewish and Zionist individuals,” said A Wider Bridge in the press release.

The letter includes five recommendations for Pride event organizers.

  • Engage with local LGBTQ+ Jews: Actively reach out to your local LGBTQ+ Jewish community, learn what their specific safety concerns are, and establish a relationship if you don’t already have one.
  • Consult with safety personnel in advance: Assuming that law enforcement will be present at Pride, make it clear that they should respond to anti-Jewish harassment or violence according to agreed-upon protocols for any such behavior. Share relevant guidelines with Pride marshals and provide de-escalation training so they are equipped to reduce tensions.
  • Carefully vet performers: In this tense political climate, it is more important than ever to vet performers both for the ability to speak respectfully to and about a diverse audience and to set clear expectations for performances at your event.
  • Familiarize yourself with and display inclusive Pride flags: Jews have been excluded from Pride spaces for wearing a Jewish star or bringing Pride flags with Jewish stars, an ancient symbol of Jewish identity. Familiarize yourself with symbols that Jewish LGBTQ+ people may wear or display.
  • Do not allow gate-keeping of LGBTQ+ Jews: Do not use litmus tests to determine which Jews are welcome at Pride, such as only permitting Jews with certain beliefs around or relationships with Israel and Palestine. All Jews should be welcome at Pride events.

Capital Pride has yet to respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on the letter.

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LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations

Record number of students reached by HRC’s anti-bullying program this year

Schools are seeing a wave of anti-LGBTQ harassment and hate crimes



Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools program reached a record 750,000 students in fiscal year 2024 — supporting communities that are contending with the dramatic rise, in recent years, of anti-LGBTQ harassment and reported hate crimes in schools.

Data on the expanded reach of HRC’s pre-K-12 anti-bullying program, now in its 16th year, was included in the group’s fourth annual Welcoming Schools report, released on Tuesday.

“Welcoming Schools has continued to serve as a beacon, providing accessible training, resources, and actionable policies and practices at a time when proposals for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation specifically targeting our youth is at a devastatingly high level,” the group’s president, Kelley Robinson, said in the report’s introduction.

A third of the more than 550 anti-LGBTQ bills that were introduced across the U.S. last year have targeted LGBTQ inclusion in classrooms, disproportionately impacting transgender and gender-expansive youth, HRC noted in a press release announcement.

The “unsurprising result” of these legislative attacks, the organization wrote, has been a documented rise in bullying and harassment encountered by queer youth in educational settings.

According to an analysis of FBI statistics reported in March by the Washington Post, “the number of hate crimes on K-12 campuses” in states with restrictive laws “has more than quadrupled since the onset of a divisive culture war that has often centered on the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.”

The paper also found that “calls to LGBTQ+ youth crisis hotlines have exploded, with some advocates drawing a connection between the political climate and the spike in bullying and hate crimes.”

And in a survey published in November by HRC and the University of Connecticut, nearly 60 percent of LGBTQ teens reported that they had experienced bullying in school over their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Cheryl Greene, senior director of the Welcoming Schools program, said in the press release that “this work across local school districts is crucial to the success of our kids in school, especially as we’ve seen and heard from families who are uprooting their lives and moving states just to find more accepting, inclusive environments.”

“Our 2024 annual report showcases the tremendous impact of our trainings and resources in fostering environments where all students can thrive,” she said.

Robinson highlighted that Welcoming Schools’ “latest initiatives showcase our commitment to expanding opportunities for secondary-level training, making resources more accessible through Spanish translation, and embracing the power of e-learning.”

This year, the program’s ninth annual National Day of Reading was titled, “A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth” saw 36,000 participants and reached 130,000 people on social media. 

According to the report, “Since 2011, Welcoming Schools has trained educators in all 50 States, plus D.C., Aruba, Bahamas, Denmark, El Salvador, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Qatar, Taiwan, and Uganda.”

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LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations

Blade contributor wins GLAAD Media Award

Erin Reed recognized for Outstanding Blog



Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D-Missoula) with her fiancée, journalist Erin Reed at the 2024 GLAAD Media Awards in New York on May 11, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Erin Reed)

Los Angeles and Washington Blade contributor and journalist Erin Reed took home a GLAAD Media Award this past Saturday as she was honored for her reporting on LGBTQ laws, people, and moments around the world with special emphasis on in-depth reporting on issues affecting the trans community, of which she along with her fiancée, Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D-Missoula) are part.

Reflecting on her recognition by the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization winning for Outstanding Blog: Reed said:

“When I started reporting on queer and trans issues several years ago, I never envisioned myself becoming a journalist in this space. Instead, I was simply trying to help people understand where to get their healthcare resources, what laws challenged those resources, and what they could do to advocate for themselves through the legislative process and courts. I moved to writing long-form content almost two years ago when I realized that major media outlets were leaving a giant void in reporting on queer and trans issues.

I have been so blessed to be in the position I am in, where I can tell our stories every day. I cannot do this without standing on the shoulders of giants — the trans kids I saw tonight at the Gender Cool Project, the trans elders who fought for our healthcare long before us, and the activists in every single state messaging me every time they see something important. I also could not do it without all of you, the subscribers who make this work sustainable.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You make this work worth it.”

The 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards:

Honorees Jennifer Hudson and Orville Peck took the stage with host Ross Mathews as Loren Allred and Scott Hoying performed live. (Photos courtesy of GLAAD/Getty Images)

GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, introduced by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, said in part: “10 years ago when I started at GLAAD, It was a much different landscape …And now we have the urgent need to protect it all. Our latest poll shows that more than half of American voters are turned off by candidates who are anti-trans. Hating us is becoming a losing proposition. We have to keep telling our stories, raising our voices, pushing back on the rhetoric.”

GLAAD presented the following awards onstage in New York:

  • “Our America Who I’m Meant to Be – Episode 3” received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-Form presented by Don Lemon
  • Family Karma” received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program presented by the cast of “We’re Here” (Jaida Essence Hall, Latrice Royale, Priyanka, Sasha Velour)
  • Melissa Etheridge: My Window” received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Broadway Production presented by Uma Thurman
  • “Jennifer Hudson Surprises HIV Activist with $10,000” “The Jennifer Hudson Show” received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode presented by Carla Gugino and Mary McDonnell
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue” received the GLAAD Media Award for Queer Fan Favorite presented by Cody Rigsby and Beanie Feldstein

GLAAD also announced these winners in an offstage video reel in New York:

Outstanding Podcast: “Las Culturistas” (iHeart)

Outstanding Film – Streaming Or TV: “Rustin” (Netflix)

Outstanding Documentary: “Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later” (MTV Documentary Films), “Kokomo City” (Magnolia Pictures), and “The Stroll” (HBO | Max Documentary Films)

Outstanding New Series: “The Last of Us” (HBO)

Outstanding Kids & Family Programming or Film — Live Action: “Heartstopper” (Netflix)

Outstanding Broadway Production: “Melissa Etheridge: My Window,” by Melissa Etheridge

Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “New York City Gay Bar Deaths Classified as Homicides” (NBC News Now)

Outstanding Live TV Journalism — Segment or Special: “Indiana Students Put on LGBTQ-Themed Play Themselves After it’s Canceled By the School” “Yasmin Vossoughian Reports” (MSNBC)

Outstanding Print Article: “As Drag Bans Proliferate, Maren Morris Goes Deep With Drag’s Biggest Stars on Why the Show Must Go On” by Stephen Daw (Billboard)

Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “The AP Interview: Pope Francis Says Homosexuality Not a Crime” by Nicole Winfield (

Outstanding Online Journalism — Video or Multimedia: 7 Remarkable Trans Elders Share Lessons for the Next Generation” (

Outstanding Blog: Erin Reed (“Erin in the Morning”)

Spanish Language — Outstanding Online Journalism Article: Personas mayores LGBTQIA+ ‘tienen que regresar a un clóset para poder buscar vivienda’” por David Cordero Mercado y Joaquín A. Rosado Lebrón ( and

Spanish Language — Outstanding Online Journalism — Video or Multimedia: “Conoce a la primera diputada negra y trans de Brasil” por Natalia Barrera Francis, Joyce García, David von Blohn, Paula Daibert y Claudia Escobar (Descoloniza – AJ+ Español)

GLAAD previously announced Special Recognition awards for “The Dads” (Netflix), “Love in Gravity, Relighting Candles” (Hulu), “Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce” (AMC Theatres), “The Tennessee Holler, Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story, Drag Latina” (Revry / LATV), “Enamorándonos” (UniMás), “El sabor de la Navidad” (ViX), “Wendy, perdida pero famosa” (ViX)

GLAAD also previously announced that +Life Media received the Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media.

The following winners were announced at the 35th GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on March 14:

Outstanding Drama Series: “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)

Outstanding Comedy Series: “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series: “Fellow Travelers” (Showtime)

Outstanding Film – Wide Theatrical Release: “Bottoms” (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Outstanding Film – Limited Theatrical Release: “Monica” (IFC Films)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (MTV)

Outstanding Music Artist: Renee Rapp, “Snow Angel” (Interscope)

Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist: David Archuleta (Archie Music)

Outstanding Children’s Programming: “Blue River Wedding” “Ada Twist: Scientist” (Netflix)

Outstanding Kids & Family Programming or Film — Animated: “Hailey’s On It!” (Disney Channel)

Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: “Out”

Outstanding Video Game: “Baldur’s Gate 3” (Larian Studios)

Outstanding Comic Book: “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra,” written by Alyssa Wong (Marvel Comics)

Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology: “Four-Color Heroes” by Richard Fairgray (Fanbase Press)

Outstanding Scripted Television Series — Spanish Language: “Las noches de Tefía” (Atresplayer)

Outstanding TV Journalism — Spanish Language: “Adolescentes trans relatan su experiencia” “Noticiero Telemundo” (Telemundo)

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