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Friday, February 26, 2010

Gay business leaders in New York City gather for event



The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce New York (NGLCCNY) recently held it's first annual gala. It aims strengthen opportunities and equality for LGBT businesses and professionals in the tri-state area. Check out this video from OURsceneTV to get a look at the event. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gay entrepreneurship flourishes in Curacao



This
clip from “Pink Planet” features Jacob Geltdekker, a gay entrepreneur in Curacao. Watch to see how sexual orientation, business and leisure combine to create an attractive destination for LGBT travelers. Curacao is a gay-friendly island that belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Netherlands. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Firm launches major LGBT market research project in Europe and South America



Out Now will soon launch what it claims to be the world's largest gay market research effort, “2010 Out Now Global LGBT Market Study,” encompassing 14 countries in Latin America and Europe.

With an overall population of three quarters of a billion, these regions are home to more than 35 million lesbian and gay people. This will be the first time a market study targets gay communities across so many countries at once. The Latin American countries to be studied are
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. The European research focuses on France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The study will cover many areas including income, consumer habits, education, media consumption, parenting, relationships, travel, employment, discrimination, aspirations, equality issues and more. Berlin Tourism Marketing is sponsoring the European research, while Delta Air Lines is lending support to the Latin American study. The work in Latin American is being conducted in conjunction with GNETWORK360, the region's leading LGBT networking organization.


Out Now's CEO, Ian Johnson, claims the research will break new ground. "We are seeing a lot of interest in this study due to its groundbreaking nature -- and its emphasis on understanding the tremendous diversity of LGBT people's lives all across this vast region," says Johnson. "We are pleased to help gay community groups, government offices, NGOs and companies to better understand, and meet, the needs of LGBT people."


Johnson continues, "It is so valuable to focus on the millions of LGBT people living outside of North America. This is the largest ever European gay and lesbian market study, and the first ever Latin American LGBT study. There are more than 35 million LGBT people living in these fourteen countries. This research will reveal much about their work situation, their family lives, relationships and parenting status, travel and consumer habits, people's experiences of harassment or acceptance, incomes and expenditures, buying power, retirement plans and their future aspirations."

According to Out Now's UK Consultant, Darren Cooper, the new research has generated a lot of interest from companies wanting to better understand gay and lesbian consumers. “With more and more destinations and companies looking to target LGBT consumers, the need for detailed research data has never been greater," says Cooper. "By better understanding this important market, companies will discover their competitive edge, enabling them to execute marketing strategies in far more effective ways. We are confident that Out Now's new global LGBT market study will be their key to gaining this advantage."


The research study is getting support from lesbian and gay community organizations. It runs from now until the end of May. Results will be released soon after.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

iPhone game features gay storyline



Factory Games is debuting its new iPhone game, Valet Hustle, in San Francisco. The company wants to generate buzz aomong the city’s sizable gay and lesbian community. The action puzzle game blends recreation with a unique backstory featuring both gay and lesbian protagonists.
"With Valet Hustle, we set out to not only create a game that is an absolute blast to play with incredible visuals and top notch audio, but we also wanted to make a social statement that gays and lesbians should have the same marital rights as heterosexuals," says Andrew Littlefield, co-founder and CEO of Factory Games. “Our inspiration for the backstory came from my good friend, Lulu Magdangal, a successful salon owner in San Francisco who surprisingly just happens to be a lesbian. With Lulu's help, we developed our unique, rags-to-riches backstory for Valet Hustle with a vastly different perspective from traditional videogames.”
Valet Hustle is an Anime-style 3-D action puzzle game with a simple premise: park cars, pickup customers and solve puzzles against a backdrop of rich, impatient car owners outside upscale nightclubs and restaurants. What makes Valet Hustle especially different from other games is the characters.
Depending on preference, players can take the role of either Ren or Akira, the young female or male offspring of a wealthy Japanese businessman. Both of these characters were kicked out of boarding school for openly kissing a fellow student of the same sex.
Ren and Akira are proud of who they are but have been forced to bow to family pressure and take over one of their father's businesses -- a parking valet company that services high-end nightclubs and restaurants. Ren and Akira are competent, capable characters with business savvy, but the game's players ultimately determine their success.
"It's cool to have been involved in the creation of Ren and Akira, two characters who triumph over prejudice by simply being themselves," says Lulu Magdangal, a story development consultant for the game. "I can only hope that Valet Hustle is the start of a trend and more game companies embrace both the gay and lesbian communities."
The company will give a portion of the proceeds from the Valet Hustle to Human Rights Campaign. Find out more at ValetHustle.com.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Singing for justice




Justice Through Music, a national nonprofit that works with famous bands to bring attention to important social issues, teams up with the protest band Op-Critical for a music video called “Prop 8.” It give an opposing voice to the California referendum used to overturn the state's gay marriage law. The video filters contemporary struggles for marriage equality through historic struggles for women's rights, civil rights and voting rights.

Op-Critical's Storm created the song to resemble a 1930's Delta Blues tune and recorded it on a 1937 National resonator steel guitar. The band offers the tune for download on its MySpace page and will donate 50 percent of all download sales to the Courage Campaign,
 which works to overturn the Prop 8 referendum. The video is dedicated to all who fight for marriage equality. Justice Through Music and Op-Critical urge viewers to also support the Human Rights Campaign

Friday, February 19, 2010

Revisiting the gay U.K. Heinz Deli Mayonnaise ad



Check out this ad, created by AMV BBDO for Heinz Deli Mayonnaise, that ran a couple of years ago in the U.K. It caused quite a stir. The company caved to pressure and pulled the ad, but then faced boycott threats by LGBT-rights groups for responding to homophobic complaints. Perhaps the ad could be repurposed in the United States for LOGO, a gay television network run by MTV Networks, or shows with a gay following, like “Real Housewives of Atlanta”?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

GLAAD announces categories and host cities for its 21st Annual Media Awards



This year Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nonprofit known for protesting negative and honoring positive portrayals of LGBT people in the media, has announced 152 nominees in 24 English and eight Spanish-language categories for its 21st Annual Media Awards ceremony.  

The GLAAD Media Awards has grown considerably in size and scope since its first awards event in 1990, when there were 34 nominees in seven categories. GLAAD now must narrow which categories it presents onstage, carefully selecting awards that reflect a mix of print, broadcast and online news, entertainment and Spanish-language media.

The following list highlights categories GLAAD tentatively plans to present onstage at the event. If a category is not listed below, the award will not be given out onstage this year.  Award recipients in categories not given onstage will be listed in the national program book and announced immediately following the New York event.


New York – March 13
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment
Outstanding Digital Journalism Article


Los Angeles – April 17
Outstanding Film - Wide Release
Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Reality Program
Outstanding Spanish-Language TV Journalism Segment

San Francisco – June 5
Outstanding Documentary
Outstanding Music Artist

Learn more about the GLAAD Media Awards and view its list of candidates at http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras


Feature: Welcome to Mardi Gras 2010 from mardigras on Vimeo.

HotelTravel.com is promoting gay-friendly deals for this year’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, which runs from Feb. 19 to March 6. According to HotelTravel.com’s chief marketing officer, Tom Racette, the global travel industry has come a long way with learning how handle the needs of gay travelers.

“In this day and age most major hotel chains have very gay friendly policies,” says Racette. “It’s hard to envisage any city more gay friendly than Sydney. The town wears its queer heart on its sleeve even when not hosting one of the greatest events celebrating the vibrancy of gay and lesbian culture,” he added.

The 2010 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, now in its 32nd year, has been expanded into a two-week series of events with an emphasis on the arts, music and theatre. Besides being big business, the festival, and especially its hallmark parade, has become known as one of the most lively, colorful events in the world.  Sydney residents, including straight people, turn out in huge numbers to support Mardi Gras. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Logo rolls out shows for 2010


Logo, a Viacom/MTV-owned entertainment network for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender viewers, their families and friends, has been rolling out its original programming lineup for 2010.  

The network, which can now be seen in over 45 million homes, recently announced four new original series that the network hopes will build off success of last season’s hits, most notably “The Sarah Silverman Program,” which is produced through a partnership with Comedy Central, and “RuPaul's Drag Race.” Logo premiered its second season of “RuPaul's Drag Race” on Feb. 1.

“As we approach our five year anniversary, Logo is proud to launch our most extensive and widely appealing line-up of original programming yet,” said Dave Mace, senior vice president of programming at Logo. “We've had tremendous success since our launch in 2005 connecting with our LGBT viewers and their interests.”  

Four new series have been given a green light. They are "The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi," which casts an unblinking eye on the celebrity-filled, super-high-stress lives of "stylist to the stars;" "RuPaul's Drag U," where RuPaul and other drag queens apply a bit of fairy dust to the looks and lives of people in need;  "The Arrangement," which follows the all of the action of a high-end floral design competition; and "Kept," the much-talked-about show that takes an unflinching look at a few gay men in Manhattan who are, or aim to be, "kept" by another man.  

Logo also has ordered new episodes of some of its most popular original series including “Beautiful People,” the BBC series inspired by the eccentric childhood of style guru Simon Doonan, “Exes & Ohs,” which chronicles hapless lesbian heroine Jennifer's trials and tribulations, the "Real Momentum" documentary series and “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” which is executive-produced by Rosie O’Donnell.

“With these new projects, we're deepening that connection while also expanding our voice to include the LGBT community's families and friends,” said Mace. “We're presenting more opportunities for gays and lesbians to watch meaningful and entertaining programming together with their family members, gay or straight.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

NGLCC forms alliance with Gay Ad Network



Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2009  — The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Gay Ad Network recently announced plans for a strategic marketing alliance to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-owned businesses draw more customers.

"We are proud to partner with Gay Ad Network to help make their valuable online marketing services more accessible to our members," says Justin Nelson, president and co-founder of the NGLCC. The partnership highlights NGLCC programs and initiatives across 250 gay and lesbian websites represented by the Gay Ad Network.

Business members and corporate partners of the NGLCC can access exclusive online advertising packages from the program. Campaign activation fees and minimum contract term requirements will be waived.

"Our 29,000 national and affiliate members across the country are always looking for new ways to grow their businesses," says Nelson. "This is just one more way the NGLCC is helping them do that."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Take a trip back to 1967




This morning I was mesmerized by a CBS news documentary that aired in 1967, “The Homosexuals,” thanks to “Towlerload” pointing me toward an article by David White at “The Advocate.” Although not directly related to business news, it can’t hurt to reflect on how far we’ve come and how so much remains the same. Watch and see for yourselves.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Federal grant to help gay senior advocacy group open first national resource center

Michael Adams, executive director, SAGE

New York, February 10, 2010 – Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) has been awarded a three-year, $900,000 grant from federal secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, and the U.S. Administration on Aging. The money will be used to start the country’s only national resource center on LGBT aging. 

“The creation of the ‘National Technical Assistance Resource Center for LGBT Elders’ is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community,” says Michael Adams, executive director, SAGE. “SAGE is extremely gratified to be given this opportunity to create and oversee the Resource Center in close cooperation with the Administration on Aging.”

The center will help communities provide services and support systems for LGBT seniors.  It will offer training to service providers and LGBT agencies while educating older LGBT people on key issues.

“Agencies that provide services to older individuals may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the needs of this underserved population,” says Secretary Sebelius. “The Resource Center will provide information, assistance and resources for both mainstream aging organizations and LGBT organizations and will provide assistance to LGBT individuals as they plan for future long-term care needs.” 

SAGE is the nation’s oldest and largest organization serving LGBT older adults.   In 2005, SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at a White House Conference on Aging.  It is the first LGBT member of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.  In 2008, SAGE celebrated its 30th anniversary with its 4th National Conference on LGBT Aging, which was sponsored by AARP.  Learn more at SAGEUSA.org


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sen. Schumer’s recommendation could be first openly gay federal court nominee

Daniel Alter

New York City, Feb. 9, 2010 – Yesterday Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his recommendation to President Obama for a judge in the Southern District of New York federal court. His choice, Daniel Alter, would make history as the first openly gay male nominated for the federal court.

“Daniel Alter couldn’t be a more perfect choice,’ says Schumer. “He is a brilliant attorney who possesses the knowledge, balanced views and temperament required of a federal judge. His outstanding leadership skills, his commitment to justice, and his extensive experience make him an exceptional choice for a position on the federal bench.”  

Alter graduated from Columbia College and Yale Law School. He began his career as a clerk for two federal judges, John M. Walker and Guido Calabresi, who both served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Alter served for six years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he specialized in first amendment issues and quickly became an in-house expert on terrorism. He worked on al Qaeda cases and joined the prosecution team for the African embassy bombing trials. Alter is also a strong advocate for civil rights, serving as the National Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Anti-Defamation League. He led the ADL’s charge against hate crimes at home and abroad.

Schumer adds, “I’m proud to nominate Daniel Alter. Period.  But I am equally proud to nominate him because he is a history-maker who will be the first openly gay male judge in American history. I strive to appoint those with three qualities: excellence, moderation and diversity, and Mr. Alter fits that prescription to a ‘T’.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mexican President Calderon fights gay marriage

2009 Marcha Gay in Mexico City

A law takes effect on March 4 that allows gay and lesbian residents of Mexico City to marry and adopt children. Mexican President Felipe Calderon and others are looking at tactics to block it.

President Calderon claims the country's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but legal experts disagree. Regardless, Caldron’s administration and attorney general, Arturo Ch├ívez, are challenging the law in court with a constitutional clause protecting family. Roman Catholic groups support the president’s conservative position.

Mexico City’s legislative assembly passed the law 39-20 on Dec. 21. It defines marriage as "the free uniting of two people." The city wants to boost gay tourism and has been working with travel agencies to create promotions that target same-sex couples.

The list of places where same-sex marriage is legal currently includes Belgium, Canada, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province and the U.S. states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa all allow same-sex marriage. It becomes legal in Washington, D.C. in March and in Portugal later this year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The David Bohnett Foundation awards $500,000 to LGBT computer centers

Paul Moore, program manager, David Bohnett Foundation and Lorri Jean, CEO, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center; photo by Patricia Williams.

Beverly Hills, CA, Feb. 4, 2010 – The David Bohnett Foundation announced yesterday grants totaling $500,000 to 24 David Bohnett CyberCenters nationwide.

The centers give LGBT communities a place to access technology for professional, educational and recreational activities.  “The Centers provide a safe environment for members of the LGBT community — from youth who may find themselves without a support system—to seniors, who may have little or no familiarity with computers," says Michael Fleming, executive director for the Bohnett Foundation.

The very first David Bohnett CyberCenter opened at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center in 1998. It has since served as a model for similar computer centers. There are now 63 David Bohnett CyberCenters in the United States. In 2004 the foundation launched its “refresh” program to help each CyberCenter acquire new equipment every three to four years. 

"In today’s increasingly Internet-driven world, the David Bohnett CyberCenters have proven to be a lifeline for people of all ages,” says Fleming. “We are happy to provide regular ‘refresh’ grants enabling groups to keep pace with the many advances in computer hardware and software.”

Technology entrepreneur and philanthropist David Bohnett’s established the foundation in 1999 to help improve society through social activism. It provides funding, state-of-the-art technology and technical support to innovative organizations and institutions. Grants total over $35 million to date.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

APA urges an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


Washington, DC, Feb. 4, 2010 – The American Psychological Association issued a statement today urging the Pentagon and Congress to quickly end the ban on gays and lesbians who want to serve openly in the military.

The APA, which strongly opposes "don't ask, don't tell," points to decades of scientific research that demonstrates no threat to the troops or their abilities. The APA’s president, Carol Goodheart, notes that a repeal would improve the mental health of gay and lesbian people already serving in the armed forces.

"The military can be seen as a highly stressful environment, especially in wartime,” says Goodheart. “The current policy works against effective access to mental health services by increasing the anxiety of gay and lesbian military personnel and discouraging them from seeking mental health care."

Admiral Mullen, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary Gates testified on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee in favor of allowing gay men and lesbians to openly serve. President Obama made a campaign promise to put an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but he has yet to issue an executive order to stop it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Minority Chambers of Commerce voice net neutrality concerns

Justin Nelson

Washington, DC, Feb. 3 2010 – Yesterday the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National Black Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held a teleconference to discuss a joint letter they submitted to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on net neutrality.  

The U.S. Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce also endorsed the letter, wherein the groups challenge the FCC's claim that codifying Internet openness principles will help to expand broadband networks. The chambers thanked the FCC for its transparent process but recommended the focus turn toward broadband expansion and adoption rather than regulation.  

"Broadband access is critically important to the economic growth and success of small businesses," says Justin Nelson, president, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. "But invasive network regulations stagnates the expansion of broadband infrastructure which is needed to meet the growing needs of small businesses in an increasingly interconnected world."

The chambers agreed that broadband networks and services encourage innovation and job creation.  They want the FCC to aim for policies that lead to more investment in broadband networks so more consumers and businesses can benefit from high-speed Internet access.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Galileo Capital Management unit targets gays



London, Feb. 2, 2010 – Galileo Capital Management has launched LGBT Capital, a specialist corporate advisory and investment management unit targeting businesses worldwide that serve the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LGBT) market. It provides corporate advisory and business development services.

LGBT Capital also announced plans for a new fund that will invest in companies providing products and services to the LGBT population. A press release issued by LGBT Capital predicts the rights of gay people will continue to expand and lead to growth among companies that serve them. These businesses will look to raise capital, merge and acquire—activities that require specialized advice and capital-raising options.

“LGBT-oriented business owners often have the desire to expand but also frequently lack the expertise, correct capital structure or knowledge to access funding” says Paul Thompson, co-founder of LGBT Capital. “We believe there is a significant opportunity to provide the financial expertise typically found within an investment banking context to LGBT companies, which in turn would allow quality companies to secure funding.”

The unit’s principals, Anders Jacobsen and Paul Thompson, together have over 40 years experience as investment managers with firms such as Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial, Inc., Bankers Trust and Chase Manhattan Bank. For more information, visit http://www.lgbt-capital.com.

Monday, February 1, 2010

GLAAD criticizes CBS for its Super Bowl decisions




Los Angeles, Feb. 1, 2010 - Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation, an advocacy group that focuses on LGBT media representations, has asked CBS to explain its decision to not air a commercial with gay content during the Super Bowl this Sunday.

The network sent a letter to the advertiser, ManCrunch, claiming the “creative is not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday.” GLAAD is urging LGBT community members and allies to speak out against CBS, noting that it has agreed to run an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl produced by the fundamentalist Christian activist group, Focus on the Family.

Focus on the Family has a long history of spreading homophobia and working against LGBT equality. The decision by CBS follows years of turning down LGBT-inclusive commercials from the United Church of Christ.

“CBS has a problem when they do something like this at the same time as they allow an anti-gay group like Focus on the Family to place ads during the Super Bowl,” said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios in an article posted yesterday on its blog. “This network should come clean to the public about what’s going on because this seems to be a homophobic double standard.”

The network was recently criticized by GLAAD for blurring a same-sex kiss between Adam Lambert and a band member during a news segment on the “CBS Early Show.” It was covering Lambert’s controversial performance at the American Music Awards. The kiss led to accusations of a double standard in the media regarding same-sex affection between males, which are often framed with an “ick” factor, vs. similar behavior between females being tolerated and in some cases eroticized by heterosexual men.

A growing number of businesses are trying to appeal to gay and lesbian consumers. A study conducted in 2006 by the research firm Packaged Facts, in collaboration with Witeck-Combs Communications, a gay and lesbian marketing agency, revealed the buying power for gay and lesbian Americans to be $660 billion. It is expected to pass $835 billion by 2011.