December, 2020 News (51 Articles with 73,323 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for December, 2020 Governor Tom Wolf addresses the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs at their November 20 quarterly meeting via Zoom

This began publication in December 2002 after a hiatus

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Local and Regional News

Blanket and Sock Drive for Ryan White Program on Oct 29

On October 29, 2020 NW PA Pride Alliance and Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) teamed up to host at Blanket and Socks drive. Thanks to the support of the Erie LGBTQIA+ community over 200 blankets and dozens of pairs of socks were donated to the local individuals served by the Ryan White Project. Both organizations hope to continue partnering on Giving Back events into 2021.
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NW PA Pride Alliance Thanks Donors and Supporters

2020 was certainly a challenging year. NW PA Pride Alliance is grateful for wonderful donors and supporters like you who helped us bring Pride to Erie. Like the rest of the world, changes had to made quickly to ensure the health and safety of the community. Although we were able to host the first ever Pride night with the Erie Otters in January 2020, many other events were changed or canceled.
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PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs meeting on Nov 13

The Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs held their quarterly meeting on Friday, November 20. After welcoming remarks from Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, commissioners were sworn in. Pennsylvania was the first state LGBTQ commission in the nation when it was formed in August, 2018.
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Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Council meeting on Nov 5

The Erie Mayor's LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council meet on Thursday November 5 via Zoom. Chief of Staff Renee Lamis gave an update on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (HRC) for the City of Erie. Our score had not been finalized as of the meeting. There has been some improvement since last year. We are seeking clarification about some topics, and may also consider some programming about the importance of reporting hate crimes. There are also an update on the response rate for the 2020 US Census. The US Supreme Court stopped the census data collection earlier than originally planned.
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Sometimes Friends Are the First to Know

Are you concerned that a friend is in an abusive relationship? Maybe you are reluctant to hurt your friendship by asking questions, even though you have heard yelling, witnessed tears, or noticed unexplained bruises. You don't want to invade their privacy. If your friend needs help, they'll ask for it, right? Maybe. Or maybe they are waiting to be asked, hoping you will be the one to start the difficult conversation.
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Hate Crimes Reporting

Hate Crimes Reporting
Currently, Pennsylvania's hate crimes law do not cover sexual orientation nor gender identity/expression as protected categories. The City of Erie's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is calculated on the basis of accurate reporting of hate crimes for those categories as well. One of the barriers to passing LGBTQIA+ inclusive hate crime legislation is that many legislators believe that it is not a problem.
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World AIDS Day on December 1 and HIV Testing Sites

World AIDS Day on December 1 and HIV Testing Sites
This year, the Erie County HIV Task Force will not be hosting an in-person gathering for World AIDS Day. As Erie Gay News goes to press, there had been requests for organizations to submit videos to be posted for World AIDS Day on December 1. If we receive any, they will be posted to EGN's web site at www.eriegaynews.com. Erie Gay News encourages everyone to be tested for HIV, There are several sites in Erie that offer free and confidential HIV testing. All providers in the area are currently using rapid testing, which gives results in two minutes!
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PA LGBTQ Townhall on December 9

The Pennsylvania Commission on LGBT Affairs will host a Pennsylvania LGBTQ Town Hall on Wednesday, December 9 from 6 to 7:30 PM on Facebook Live. Join Us and speak on issues affecting you and the LGBTQ+ community. Visit facebook.com/PACLGBTQ to join via Facebook Live. Speakers required to register by December 7 by December 7 at https://forms.gle/1QBxkS1gikzR8ZEA8
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LGBTQ Groups Urge NY Governor Cuomo to Sign Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill

LGBTQ Groups Urge NY Governor Cuomo to Sign Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill
A5240/ S6479 has broad support, awaits the Governor's signatur

Albany - November 12, 2020 - Today, over 100 LGBTQ elected officials, organizations, and community members wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo to urge him to sign the Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill, A5240 (O'Donnell) / S06479 (Salazar). The bill makes all single stall bathrooms in New York State gender neutral, to ensure that transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary New Yorkers can use public facilities without fear of harassment or discrimination

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In Memoriam: Georgia Carpenter

In Memoriam: Georgia Carpenter
On Monday, October 26, 2020, Georgia Leona Carpenter, mother of three children and grandmother to seven, passed away at age 59. Georgia was born in Olean, NY on September 21, 1961 and lived in Eldred, PA.  In her late teens and early 20s she worked with migrant farm workers, and learned to speak Spanish fluently.
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Transgender Day of Remembrance (Virtual Vigil) on Nov 20

This Transgender Day of Remembrance event is a virtual memorial vigil. Intended to be a quiet, and contemplative event honoring those we have lost in the past year to acts of violence. TransFamily of NWPA will be presenting a "Reading of the Names". The names of those killed in the United States due to anti-trans violence. The event will be hosted on Zoom.
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New Survey Available for LGBTQ+ Community

Erie, PA - A new survey is available to help make LGBTQ+ voices heard. The LGBTQ+ Satisfaction Survey is free and has no affiliation with any company or organization. The survey asks participants to rate their happiness with where they live, work, and vacation.  It asks some questions of a personal nature and delivers links to those who may need assistance with counseling, getting more involved in the community, assistance with family/friends who are having trouble with LGBTQ+ acceptance, finding friends in the community, finding gay counselors, etc. The survey can be taken by the LGBTQ+ communities around the world, so community members are encouraged to share. If the participant chooses, they may say where they live and give recommendations for LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
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Deadline for December 2020 print edition (issue #301) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, November 15, comes out Tuesday, November 24.

Deadline for December 2020 print edition (issue #301) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, November 15, comes out Tuesday, November 24.
For the next edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 301, cover dated for December 2020), please send in online events, news items, and other info for late November 2020 and beyond by Sunday, November 15. We expect that the next edition will come out on Tuesday, November 24.
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Entertainment and Travel

Dramashop Live Staged Reading of Stop Kiss by Diana Son on Nov 20 & 21

Dramashop has 2 more staged Live Staged Readings of Stop Kiss by Diana Son on Nov 20 & 21. A poignant and funny play about the ways, both sudden and slow, that lives can change irrevocably,&quo; says Variety. After Callie meets Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. Their first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate. (www.dramatists.com)
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Political, Activism and Legal

ACLU Comment on Settlement of Aimee Stephens' Historic Discrimination Case

DETROIT - December 2, 2020 - Chase Strangio, deputy director for the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project, issued the following statement related to the settlement in Aimee Stephens' case following this year's historic ruling from the Supreme Court: "This settlement marks a closing chapter in Aimee Stephens' remarkable fight for justice. We are sad that Aimee is not here to experience this moment with her wife Donna and grateful for all that Aimee, Donna, and the many trans fighters for justice and their families have done to bring us to this place. As Aimee always said, this fight is about more than just her and it will stretch far beyond this case. The Biden administration must make it clear that across all areas of federal law sex discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ people and Congress must pass the Equality Act to close critical gaps in our civil rights laws that leave so many LGBTQ people, women, and many people of color vulnerable to discrimination. We will honor Aimee's legacy by continuing her fight for a country where all trans and non-binary people belong and feel safe."
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LGBTQ+ Advocates Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Jeanne Manford's Birth

WASHINGTON-On Dec. 4, the mother who inspired a movement of parents, families, and allies to advocate for their LGBTQ+ loved ones would have been 100 years old. PFLAG celebrates Jeanne Manford's centennial birthday with a strong commitment to the advocacy that resulted in establishing what is the nation's first and largest organization of its kind.
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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) Mourns the Death of Chae'Meshia Simms

WASHINGTON, DC - November 30, 2020 - Chae'Meshia Simms, a Black trans woman in her 30s, was found dead in her car on November 23 in Richmond, Virginia. Police were called following reports of a car crashing into a garage, where Chae'Meshia was found having suffered from a gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Friends and family held a candlelight vigil for Chae'Meshia on November 27, and she has been remembered as a good, kind, and funny person.
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Powerful, Inspirational Voices on the Frontlines of the AIDS and Covid-19 Pandemics Speak Out on World AIDS Day - December 1st

SAN FRANCISCO (November 27, 2020) - 2020 marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States, a pandemic that has led to nearly 700,000 lives lost and still no cure four decades later. This year, our nation struggles through another pandemic - the fight against Covid-19 - where the horrific loss of life has surpassed 250,000 in a matter of months.
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Lambda Legal Sues on Behalf of Teen Over Trans Exclusion in Health Benefits

(Tacoma, WA, November 23, 2020) - Today, Lambda Legal and Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC filed a federal lawsuit challenging Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois's ("BCBSIL") administration of a blanket exclusion of gender-affirming care in an employer-provided health insurance plan provided by Catholic Health Initiatives Franciscan. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma on behalf of a 15-year-old transgender boy, "C.P.," and his parents, and argues the exclusion is in direct violation of the nondiscrimination provisions under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
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National Black Justice Coalition Mourns the Loss of Asia Jynae Foster

Washington -- The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Asia Jynae Foster.
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SPLC: Transgender Woman Sues Georgia Dept of Corrections After Repeated Sexual Assaults and Denials of Medical Care

ATLANTA, Ga. - November 23, 2020 - Today, Ashley Diamond, a Black transgender woman represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) for the second time for its failure to protect her from sexual assault and provide her with adequate healthcare while incarcerated.
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New Study of Military's Transgender Policy Finds Ban Hurts Readiness

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A new study has found that the current ban on military service by transgender Americans has harmed the armed forces, contradicting claims by the Trump administration that the ban was needed to protect readiness, unit cohesion, and overall effectiveness. The 36-page report instead found that the policy, which President Trump implemented in 2019, ended up "compromising recruitment, reputation, retention, unit cohesion, morale, medical care, and good order and discipline."
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TX State Board of Ed gets an "F"

TX State Board of Ed gets an 'F'
AUSTIN, TX - Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students throughout Texas have equal rights to education as their straight and cisgender peers. LGBTQ+ students deserve curricula in all areas, including sex education, that reflects their lives and experiences. Out Youth's Texas Gender & Sexuality Alliance Network denounces the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for their failure to lead our state and update the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) to provide realistic, age-appropriate, comprehensive, and inclusive sex education.
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Join Thousands of LGBTQ Activists for "Creating Change"

WASHINGTON, DC, November 19, 2021 - Thousands of LGBTQ advocates, activists, leaders, and allies will, for the first time ever, gather virtually for the 33rd Creating Change Conference from January 28 through January 31, 2020.
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National Black Justice Coalition Statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Washington -- Tomorrow, November 20th, is Transgender Day of Remembrance - a day to honor trans family who have lost their lives to acts of anti-transgender violence. It's also Transgender Day of Resilience - a day when we celebrate and support the brilliance, resistance, and importance of our trans sibilings who are alive.
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LGBTQ Groups issue details of 10 ways the Biden administration can support LGBTQ people

"November 12, 2020-The Movement Advancement Project, along with Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, GLSEN, National Center for Transgender Equality, and SAGE, released a list of actions the Biden administration can take immediately after taking office in January to support LGBTQ people and their families. The groups also outlined longer-term priorities and legislative opportunities, including passing the Equality Act.
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West Virginia Medicaid Participants and State Employees File Lawsuit to Challenge Unlawful Ban on Transgender Health Care Coverage

(West Virginia - November 12, 2020) A federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia's blanket exclusions of coverage for gender-confirming care in West Virginia's Medicaid and state employee health insurance plans was filed today. The class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of Christopher Fain, a Medicaid participant; and Zachary Martell and Brian McNemar, a dependent and state employee, respectively. The suit was filed by Lambda Legal, Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and the Employment Law Center, PLLC.
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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) Mourns the Loss of Angel Unique

WASHINGTON, DC - November 9, 2020 -- Angel Unique, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 25. She was found dead at a Motel 6 in the Memphis Whitehaven neighborhood, where she stayed overnight. Angel was a cosmetologist and would have celebrated her 26 birthday this December. On October 30, Angel's friends and family held a vigil to remember her and share memories. Her friend, Shinese Weddle, remembers Angel as "very funny, very nice to everybody she met," and a family member saying she was "a bright person with a positive spirit." Weddle also believes that Angel was killed because she was trans.
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Health

APA criticizes appeals court ruling overturning local ban on so-called conversion therapy

WASHINGTON - The American Psychological Association voiced grave concern regarding the rationale used by a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in overturning two local Florida ordinances intended to protect minors from potentially harmful efforts by licensed mental health providers to change their sexual orientation.
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Thanks For The Beer

Thanks For The Beer
I'm usually a jeans and T-shirt guy. One night a few years ago, I made an exception. I sported some dapper duds for an upscale holiday party. A sweater and slacks. I excitedly arrived at the suburban desert home of this friend of a friend. This would be my first time at a soiree inside a mansion.
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AHF Reminds HIV Patients Care is 'Just a Call Away' during Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (November 20, 2020) As rates of COVID-19 escalate in the US-with a reported 60,000 hospitalized as of earlier this week and more than 100,000 new infections logged daily over the past week, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is rolling out a new nationwide public service billboard and transit advertising campaign to remind HIV and AIDS patients that medical care is "Just a Call Away" and can be arranged through telemedicine appointments by AHF via its www.HIVcare.org website.
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Mastering COVID Fatigue

We're in uncharted territory, brothers and sisters. None of us has ever lived through a pandemic before. And the news isn't good: more and more people are getting the virus, hospitals are filling up as businesses and activities shut down
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HIV-Related Death Rate in U.S. Fell by Half From 2010 to 2017

In a sign of hope, the rate of HIV-related deaths among people 13 years and older in the United States fell by nearly half from 2010 to 2017, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
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Erie County Department of Health issues statement regarding isolation and quarantine

Erie, PA - The Erie County Department of Health Director Melissa Lyon issued the following statement regarding isolation and quarantine related to COVID-19 in Erie County: "The public needs to understand that the Erie County Department of Health is currently unable to contact the majority of persons diagnosed with COVID-19. If someone is told that they have COVID- 19 disease, immediately isolate yourself; do not wait until the health department contacts you to take this action. Stay in isolation for 10 days from when your symptoms started or 10 days from the test date if you did not have symptoms. You are out of isolation on day 11. Isolation means no contact with anyone in your household, or very minimal contact if it is not possible to use your own bathroom.
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PA Council on Aging Releases Interactive Health & Wellness Guide for Older Adults

Harrisburg, PA - November 16, 2020 - The Pennsylvania Council on Aging (PCoA) today released an interactive guide with information and resources to help older adults cultivate a healthy mind, body and spirit amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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As COVID-19 Soars, AHF Urges 'Don't Share Air' in New National Billboard Campaign

LOS ANGELES (November 12, 2020) As rates of COVID-19 continue to skyrocket in the US-with a reported 60,000 hospitalized as of earlier this week and more than 100,000 new infections being logged daily, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is rolling out an urgent new nationwide public service billboard and transit advertising campaign headlined and hash-tagged "#DontShareAir." The goal is to encourage mask use and social distancing as a means to reduce new infections of the deadly novel coronavirus that has wreaked humanitarian and economic devastation across the country and around the globe.
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Erie County Department of Health is sponsoring a design-a-mask contest for area residents

Erie, PA - The Erie County Department of Health and County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper encourage Erie County residents to enter the new "Masks of Erie County" design-a-mask challenge, which is aimed at reiterating the importance of wearing masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Contest details are available here: https://eriecountypa.gov/covid-19/masks/. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, Dec. 1.
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Central Outreach Wellness Center Erie Now Open

Central Outreach Erie is open, taking appointments and welcoming walk-ins. Providing free HIV, STD, and Hep C testing, the medical center specializes in culturally competent healthcare. HIV treatment is available. To get set up with PrEP, simply text us at 412-322-4151. If you need the cure for Hep C, you can find that at Central Outreach also. Other services include hormone replacement therapy, addiction and recovery resources, and homeless outreach.
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Erie County COVID-19 Messaging Study Seeks Responses from LGBTQIA+ Community, Among Others

The Erie County Department of Health and County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper are working in conjunction with Stevens Strategic Communications, a medium-sized public relations firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, to conduct a study to determine how to best communicate COVID-19-related health and safety messages to underserved populations.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Georgia On My Mind

This column could be filled with the names of those in the LGBTQ community who expect or should be considered for position in the Biden/Harris administration. But there’s something even more important at the moment that needs to be addressed.  There are two runoff elections for the United States Senate in Georgia which will decide who controls the US Senate. The Democratic candidates in those elections are Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. We need to elect both of them on January 5th.
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The Amazon Trail: Rats Fleeing a Sinking Ship

I've heard the idiom "like rats fleeing a sinking ship" often lately, and while the metaphor is apt for what's going on in the United States, at our house it's even more befitting.
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Contests

Enter to win The Happy Hypersexual!

Enter to win The Happy Hypersexual!
Enter to win The Happy Hypersexual! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, Dedcember 18 and Friday, January 8.
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Enter to win The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation!

Enter to win The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation!
Enter to win The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 15 and Tuesday, January 5.
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Enter to win The Octopus's Holiday: A Different Kind of Christmas Story!

Enter to win The Octopus's Holiday: A Different Kind of Christmas Story!
Enter to win The Octopus's Holiday: A Different Kind of Christmas Story! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 10 and Friday, January 15.
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Enter to win The Family Tree DVD from Ariztical Entertainment!

Enter to win The Family Tree DVD from Ariztical Entertainment!
Enter to win The Family Tree from Ariztical Entertainment. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 29.
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Enter to win a paperback of In The Shadow Of The Bridge by Joseph Caldwell!

Enter to win a paperback of In The Shadow Of The Bridge by Joseph Caldwell!
Enter to wina paperback of In The Shadow Of The Bridge by Joseph Caldwell To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, December 4 and Friday, December 25.
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Enter for a chance to win Lazarus Rising by Joseph Caldwell!

Enter for a chance to win Lazarus Rising by Joseph Caldwell!
Enter for a chance to win Lazarus Rising by Joseph Caldwell! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, December 1 and Tuesday, December 22.
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Enter to win a digital download of Dirtwoman from Ariztical Entertainment!

Enter to win a digital download of Dirtwoman from Ariztical Entertainment!
Enter to win a digital download of Dirtwoman from Ariztical Entertainment. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, November 27 and Friday, December 18.
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Enter to win The NuAuthentic!

Enter to win The NuAuthentic!
Enter to win The NuAuthentic! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, November 24 and Tuesday, December 15.
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Enter to win Two Dads Under the Christmas Tree!

Enter to win Two Dads Under the Christmas Tree!
Enter to win Two Dads Under the Christmas Tree! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, November 20 and Friday, December 11.
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Enter to win Song Lang DVD!

Enter to win Song Lang DVD!
Enter to win Song Lang DVD! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, November 13 and Friday, December 4.
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