Showing posts with label Awards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Awards. Show all posts

November 24, 2013

Daughter of Fidel Castro Receives LGTB Award in Montreal


  •   Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and the niece of former President Fidel Castro, was in Montreal recently to accept an award for her work promoting the civil rights of LGBT people in Cuba.
  • Castro received a warm standing ovation at Montreal’s sold-out Corona Theatre at the 10th annual Gala Arc-en-Ciel, the awards ceremony honouring LGBT activists and presented by the Conseil québécois LGBT each October. Previous winners of the gala’s international Grand Prix award include Svend Robinson, Louise Arbour and South African Supreme Court Justice Edwin Cameron.
  • “I am honoured to receive this award, which I dedicate to my mother, feminist and revolutionary Vilma Espín who, since the first years of the Cuban Revolution, defended the rights of historically marginalized social groups in colonial and neo-colonial dominated Cuba,” Castro told Xtra. “I also accept this prize as recognition of the work of those working with me, who have greatly contributed to our work at the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).”
  • Castro is a sexologist and the director of CENESEX. Since 2004 she has been the driving force lobbying for health care for transsexuals in Cuba, and in 2008 won approval from the public health ministry to offer free gender reassignment operations to Cubans.  Castro is also president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Centre for the Study of Sexuality, president of the National Commission for Treatment of Disturbances of Gender Identity, member of the Direct Action Group for Preventing, Confronting and Combatting AIDS, and an executive member of the World Association for Sexual Health.
  • Along the way she has publicly advocated for same-sex unions in Cuba, and her organization CENESEX has given sensitivity training to Cuban police, and continues to campaign for effective HIV/AIDS prevention.
  • “Just because someone is not heterosexual does not make them any less human,” Castro says. “They have all the same rights that I do, and I will continue to fight for their right to get married. The problem in Cuba is the same problem you have in other countries, and that is religion. And in Cuba, that is mainly Catholicism.”
  • But Castro points to a transgender politician who was elected this past February as a deputy in Cuba's parliament, the National Assembly of People's Power.
  • “Her name is Adele and she had widespread support,” Castro says. “That is a sign that things are improving in Cuba.”
  • This past May, Castro also received an award from the Equality Forum, an international LGBT think-tank based in Philadelphia. The US State department initially refused to grant Castro clearance to travel from New York, where she was visiting the United Nations. But the decision was reversed at the last minute and Castro travelled to Philadelphia to receive her award.
  • Unlike in Montreal, where locals have travelled to, and vacationed in, Cuba for decades, controversy followed Castro to Philadelphia. In a 2013 report, Human Rights Watch states that Cuba "remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent" and in 2012 "continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile."
  • While Mariela Castro’s language echoes anti-colonial rhetoric, not even her cousin Alina Fernandez – the daughter of Fidel Castro who escaped Cuba in 1993 with false papers and is currently a popular radio talk-show host in Miami –  doubts Mariela’s sincerity and good intentions.
  • "She’s sensitive and courageous, helping those who have historically been persecuted in Cuba,” Alina Fernandez told this reporter a couple of years ago. “At the beginning of the revolution, many writers and artists were accused of being homosexuals and were sent to UMAP camps [Unidades Militares para la Ayuda de Producción, or Military Units to Aid Production, established in 1965 to eliminate alleged "bourgeois" and "counterrevolutionary" values in Cuba]. I respect Mariela because she could have done anything else."
  • When I repeat Alina’s quote to Mariela – as well as Alina’s assertion that Mariela’s father, Raul Castro, “was always good to [Alina’s] family, whereas Fidel was indifferent” – she asks to clarify what happened in Cuba’s old UMAP camps.
  • There were no discussions of homosexuality at that time, when we were under threat from American state terrorism,” Castro says. “So Cuba had a state-wide crackdown and some homosexual people were also [arrested]. But after three years we stopped arresting homosexuals because of the homophobic attitudes and reactions [of other prisoners] in the units.”
  • That surely is of little consolation to LGBT victims of past state persecution in Cuba, but Mariela Castro is clearly unafraid to challenge the establishment.  So I ask her if the establishment is afraid of challenging  the daughter of Raul Castro? What was it like growing up as a Castro?
  • Mariella pauses for a moment, then says, “To have parents as well-known as mine, sometimes it bothered me because it caused some problems. But otherwise my childhood was normal. Growing up is difficult for everybody.”
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March 27, 2012

Lady GaGa Wins GLAAD Outstanding Music Award


Craig Zadan (L) and Neil Meron Zadan and Meron's first big TV success was Gypsy starring Bette Midler in 1994
Lady GagaLady Gaga did not attend the Los Angeles ceremony

BBC/UK 

 Lady Gaga and Dancing With The Stars were among the winners at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad) awards in Los Angeles. 
Dancing With The Stars won outstanding reality TV programme for featuring contestant Chaz Bono, the transgender child of singers Cher and Sonny Bono.
Lady Gaga won outstanding music artist for her album Born This Way.
Glaad promotes positive images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the media.
The producers of new TV musical drama series Smash picked up the Vito Russo award at the ceremony.
Winners Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are also behind movies including Oscar-winning musical Chicago and Hairspray.
The prize is named after the late gay rights activist and presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant contribution to promoting equality.
Zadan said being gay was "part of who I am, so it impacts the work that we do".
Meron said he and Zadan had spent years trying to "fight, persuade and manipulate" the entertainment industry to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters and stories.
They also recounted how they had received death threats following their controversial 2003 mini-series The Reagans, which argued that former US President Ronald Reagan failed to recognise the Aids crisis.
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein presented openly gay high school pupil Katy Butler with a special award for spearheading a campign to persuade US film censors to lower its rating for documentary Bully.
HBO's Cinema Verite, meanwhile, picked up the best TV movie or mini-series award.
It starred Tim Robbins, Diane Lane and James Gandolfini and was based on the 1973 PBS American Family documentary that featured the first openly gay person on television.
Best talk show episode went to Oprah Winfrey's programme for the episode Coming Out on the Oprah Show: 25 Years of Unforgettable Guests.
Playwright Tony Kushner won the theatre award for his play, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.

March 26, 2012

KIss Off at GLAAD Awards

John Stamos, Naya Rivera & Cory Monteith's Three-Way Smooch
From left: Naya Rivera, John Stamos and Cory Monteith and their winning bidders
Fernando Leon/Getty
    Things got pretty steamy between Glee stars John Stamos, Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith Saturday night – on stage at the GLAAD awards, that is. 

It all started when Rivera, who was co-hosting the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York along with Monteith, announced she would sell her "sweet lady kisses to the highest bidder" to help raise funds. 

Monteith wasn't going to let the offer go unchallenged, offering his own smooching services – complete with freshly applied ChapStick – to interested bidders. 

A sporting Monteith told the audience, which was in attendance to support gay and lesbian issues, "I have kissed Naya and it is fricken' awesome," but Rivera had fighting words: "It's officially a kiss-off," she announced, between "my juicy lips and his thin ones." 

As the auction heated up and went into the thousands of dollars, a surprise suitor popped up: One of the night's presenters, John Stamos, bid for Monteith's services. As the crowd whooped and cheered, the bidding for a kiss with Monteith went higher, until Stamos had an even better idea: He decided to jump on stage and offer himself up for bidding. All three stars quickly drew a price of $5,000 each. 

As Rivera greeted the man who won her in the auction and Monteith greeted his winner, Smash star Megan Hilty, Stamos met his bidder, a strapping male. 

To more laughter from the audience, Stamos joked to the man, "I got the better prize. Come to daddy!" before all three stars all had a quick kiss, with Rivera's bidder dipping her for a romantic smooch, as the audience roared. 

Rivera is certainly enjoying her single life. She tells PEOPLE exclusively she's currently not serious with anyone, but isn't sitting home worrying about it: "I say this all the time: I'm always dating. I'm 25 and so of course I'm going out and trying to hang out with cute boys."

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