February, 2023 News (49 Articles with 34,178 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for February, 2023 Enjoying Ugly Holiday Sweater theme at NW PA Pride Alliance's Meadville Happy Hour at Cussewago Creek Distillery on December 28, 2022. Photo by Michael Mahler.

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Local and Regional News

Ugly Holiday Sweater theme at Meadville Happy Hour on December 28

LGBTQIA+ community members and supporters enjoyed NW PA Pride Alliance's monthly Meadville Happy Hour with an Ugly Holiday Sweater theme at Cussewago Creek Distillery, 993 Water Street, Meadville, PA, on December 28, 2022. Happy Hour is the fourth Wednesday of each month and alternates between Julian's Bar and Grill in odd-numbered months and Cussewago Creek Distillery in even-numbered months.
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Have you considered supporting Pride in 2023?

The NW PA Pride Alliance has been fostering equality, respect, and diversity through our events in the Erie region for over ten years. We are grateful for all our supporters who have helped to make this mission a reality. We produce the Erie Pridefest, added the Meadville Pride and Street Fair for 2022, and our annual Pride Picnic celebrated at the Rotary Pavilion on Presque Isle. The Pride Alliance also hosts monthly happy hours in Meadville and soon here in Erie. We also support other local organizations as we shine a light and bring awareness to many LGBTQIA issues throughout our region. The NW PA Pride Alliance is grateful to those who have supported us in the past and would kindly ask that you consider supporting us as we move forward. If you want to become part of this great mission, please go to our website www.nwparide.org. You will see we have new levels for supporting Pride in our local community.
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La bella's is closed permanently

La bella's is closed permanently
La bella's restaurant, 802 W 18th St, Erie, PA, has closed permanently. Erie Gay News wishes owner Harry Miller all the best in whatever is next. Harry Miller has been a supportive community member for many years. A previous restaurant of his, la bella bistro near 4th and Cherry, hosted special Valentine's Day dinners for same-sex couples in the '90s. Harry was also one of the founders of the first LGBTQIA+ student groups in NW PA in the '70s, then called the Edinboro Homophile League at Edinboro College, and now known as Identity at PennWest Edinboro.
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Pride Night at the Otters

NW PA Pride Alliance would like to thank our friends Erie Otters Hockey Club for partnering to host the 3rd annual Erie Otters Pride Night on January 14, 2023!
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The Penncrest school board passes restrictions on reading and athletics

The Penncrest school board passes restrictions on reading and athletics
On January 12, the PENNCREST school board passed a ban that addresses transgender participation in sports and added "sexualized content" restrictions to a library policy that had been approved last year.
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Coming Out of the Dark - A Celebration of Light

Journey: Healing Together thanks those who could join us in celebrating the Winter Solstice on 12/21/22. Coming Out of the Dark honored the many who have healed and demonstrated post-traumatic growth throughout the year. Together we welcomed in the light of a new season of healing and growth.
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Community Spotlight #2: Bears Do Dinner

Bears Do Dinner is a local social group in Erie, PA, that started almost ten years ago, in July 2013. Each month, a restaurant is selected and announced in our Facebook Group "Bears Do Dinner - Erie, PA." https://www.facebook.com/groups/1475863226069226 . Individuals are on their own to join us for dinner. Everyone can enjoy the company of other bears and their friends, as well as the cuisine of that month's restaurant!
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Erie City Council Announces Process for Accepting Applications for Vacant Council Position

Erie City Council Announces Process for Accepting Applications for Vacant Council Position
Erie, PA - Erie City Council announces that it will be accepting applications to fill a one-year vacancy on City Council. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and residents of the City of Erie for at least one year to be eligible for appointment.
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City of Erie Earns Perfect 100 Score on 2022 HRC Municipality Equality Index (MEI)

The City of Erie is proud to announce a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) 2022 Municipality Equality Index (MEI).  The MEI examines and rates more than 500 municipalities on how inclusive their laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ residents, employees, and visitors.
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City of Erie and PennDOT Announce Public Plan Review and Comment Period for the Greengarden Boulevard and French Street Bikeway Projects

City of Erie and PennDOT Announce Public Plan Review and Comment Period for the Greengarden Boulevard and French Street Bikeway Projects
Erie, PA - The City of Erie and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invite the public to provide feedback on projects to create new bikeways along Greengarden Boulevard and French Street.
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Transitioning Families Info Session at Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life Feb 7

Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life will be hosting an info session for professionals and agencies that service gender-expansive communities to promote an art therapy group for this audience. This group is a structured curriculum developed by a master’s level counselor and art therapist geared toward lessening the traumatic impact of a transitioning family member upon the individual and their system.
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Game Night at Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life

Finding queer spaces to socialize, hang out, make friends, and play games can be difficult. As adults, it is hard to make friends outside of work, especially within your community. Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life is happy to host a monthly game night. There is a $10 suggested donation for a night of food, friends, fun, and gaming. Game Night will be offered on the first Friday of every month and hosted by art therapist Eric Reiche. To register go to our website (atraumainformedlife.com). Our next event will be February 3rd from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, friends and games welcome.
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Annual February Cabin Fever Weekend 2023

Erie Sisters and Brothers will hold their Annual February Cabin Fever Weekend at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel on Friday, February 24th through Sunday, February 26th, 2023
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LGBT+ Community Gives back Boots and Coat Drive

The LGBTQIA+ community once again comes together to collect boots and coats for Community Shelter Services of Erie PA. New or gently used boots in all sizes will be accepted as well as new and gently used coats on Saturday, January 28 from noon to 3 PM at Journey to a Trauma Informed Life, 201 W 11th St, Erie PA.
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NWPA Pride announces Erie Pride Dates

NWPA Pride will once again hold Erie's Pride fest and parade on the final Saturday in June 6/24/23 at Perry Square. The Pride Picnic will be held on 8/12/23 at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. Additional events will be announced soon. For more updates, please follow our social media and our new website, NWPAPride.org.
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Deadline for February 2023 print edition (issue #327) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, January 15, comes out Tuesday, January 24!

Deadline for February 2023 print edition (issue #327) of Erie Gay News is Sunday, January 15, comes out Tuesday, January 24!
For the next Erie Gay News (issue # 327, cover-dated for February 2023), please send in-person and online events, news items, and other info for late January 2023 and beyond by Sunday, January 15. We expect that the next edition will come out on Tuesday, January 24.
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Entertainment and Travel

Ebola Cherries presents DIGITAL DRAG IS FOR LOVERS with International Cast of Drag Artists

Ebola Cherries presents DIGITAL DRAG IS FOR LOVERS with International Cast of Drag Artists
(OGDEN, UTAH - Starting February 14, 2023) You thought this year would be different. You thought it would be enough time to catch a date during cuffing season. But just in time for Valentine's Day, these drag artists are sharing the love and ready to give you a reason to stay home this year!
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'The Qube' Launches New Podcast Series Raising Awareness for Black HIV/AIDS Day

CHICAGO, January 30, 2023 - In recognition of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, February 7, 'The Qube' (https://theqube.app/), a new streaming platform of music and podcasts produced by Black, Brown (BIPOC) and Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) creatives, is releasing a special podcast series titled "Black HIV in the South: How Did We Get Here?," a four part series that chronicles the history, impact and current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the Black community in the southern United States. Debuting February 7th, the podcast series is the first limited series released by the new platform.
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Popular LGBTQ Podcast Rebrands as "Queer Family Podcast, Pioneered Telling Stories of Diverse LGBTQ Families

Launched in 2017, the popular podcast has continued to grow and expand its audience and will rebrand as "The Queer Family Podcast, with Jaimie Kelton and Friends," with Jaimie as primary host, joined by guest co-hosts, past guests and telling new stories of diverse queer families. Originally co-hosted by Kelton and Robin Hopkins, the show was an audience success and stood out in a field with little to no content for queer families. After Robin's departure, E~ Bradshaw, a non-binary, black parent joined as co-host for one season.
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2023 Erie Visitor Guide Now Available

Erie, PA: Featuring a new dynamic design, larger photos, and a comprehensive easy-to-navigate directory of places to play, eat, shop, and stay, the 2023 Erie Visitor Guide is available and ready for distribution. The 72-page, full color annual visitor guide is a collaborative effort between VisitErie, Erie County's official destination marketing organization, and the Erie Times-News. It is VisitErie's primary promotional brochure used to market Erie County's tourism industry.
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"The Alaura Show" Debuts LGBT Focused Episode

'The Alaura Show' Debuts LGBT Focused Episode
Filmed at Rainbow Mountain Resort Monroe County, PA - Airing January 13, 2023 R&B Singer, Published Writer and Motivational Speaker Alaura Lovelight filmed the eleventh episode of her new television show "The Alaura Show" at Rainbow Mountain Resort in Monroe County, Pennsylvania in November 2022. This LGBTQIA focused episode highlights stories of the LGBT community, o?ers an inside look at the daily struggles and triumphs, and the importance of the LGBT community as a safe and open space for others. The show is in its first season and is available on ONNJ (On New Jersey) on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Human Rights Campaign Condemns Wyoming Senate for Latest Shameful Attack on Life-Saving Care for Transgender Youth

Cheyenne, WY - February 3, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemned members of the Wyoming Senate for yesterday's passage of SF 111, a bill that would, if passed, make Wyoming only the second state to impose felony penalties (including charges of child abuse and up to 10 years of imprisonment) on those who provide age appropriate, medically necessary, life-saving care to transgender youth. The bill will now head to the House for consideration. This legislation is the result of ongoing far-right pressure placed upon lawmakers, spearheaded by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and political extremists peddling propaganda and disinformation on social media and other platforms. It is one of hundreds of bills being pushed by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations across dozens of states.
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Human Rights Campaign: The South Dakota Legislature is Continuing its Discriminatory Mission to Legislate Transgender Youth out of Existence

Pierre, SD - February 2, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemned members of the South Dakota House for passing HB 1080, a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. If the legislation were to become law, healthcare providers could lose their medical license or other certifications if they continue to administer age appropriate, medically necessary, life-saving care to transgender children. The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration. This legislation is the result of ongoing far-right pressure placed upon lawmakers, spearheaded by political extremists and disinformation campaigns on social media and other platforms. It is one of hundreds of bills being pushed by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations across dozens of states.
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ACLU Seeks to Challenge Pennsylvania Law That Hypercriminalizes People Living With HIV

Attorneys at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, and Transgender Law Center are investigating a potential challenge to Pennsylvania § 5902(a)(4), a sentencing enhancement that hypercriminalizes people arrested for sex work if they are living with HIV. While arrests for prostitution generally result in a misdemeanor, this subsection makes it a felony if the person knew they were living with HIV, greatly increasing potential sentencing length. Even if the person is not charged or convicted under that subsection, it sometimes is used as leverage to get the person arrested to plead to the misdemeanor offense.
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Advocates Promise Swift Legal Action Against Restrictions on Health Care for Oklahoman Trans Youth

OKLAHOMA CITY - February 2, 2023 - Lambda Legal, The American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Oklahoma today promised swift legal action in opposition to proposed restrictions on critical and often life-saving health care for transgender Oklahomans should any be signed into law.
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BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign on the College Board Caving to the Will of Extremist Conservatives like Ron DeSantis by Censoring African American Studies Curri

WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 1, 2023 - Today, the College Board released a revised curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies, which attempts to erase Black history by stripping out the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the Black queer experience, and Black feminism. Other topics, like the Black Lives Matter movement, are now optional.
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Human Rights Campaign on End of Mpox Public Health Emergency Declaration: "Today We Enter a New Phase in a Continuing Fight"

WASHINGTON - January 31, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - marked the end of the Mpox Public Health Emergency, lauding the incredible efforts by the LGBTQ+ community to remain healthy while noting that Mpox continues to have disproportionately severe impacts on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and individuals living with HIV.
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Utah Bans Health Care for Transgender Youth

SALT LAKE CITY - January 29, 2023 - Ignoring the warnings of medical organizations, civil rights activists, transgender youth, and their families, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed into law a measure banning gender-affirming health care for transgender people under the age of 18. Similar laws passed in Arkansas and Alabama are currently enjoined by federal courts.
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Human Rights Campaign Rebukes Utah Legislature for Advancing Ban on Gender Affirming Care for Transgender Youth, Urges Governor Cox to Veto

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - January 27, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemned the passing of SB 16, advanced by the Utah Senate today, that, if signed into law, will effectively ban the provision of gender affirming care to transgender patients under the age of 18. It will now head to Governor Spencer Cox's desk for a signature or veto.
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STATEMENT: Lambda Legal on FDA Blood Ban Changes: A Welcomed Huge Step Forward, Yet Further Work Needed

(New York, NY - January 27, 2023) Lambda Legal responded today to new draft recommendations by the FDA on blood donation policies proposing changes to time-based deferrals in assessing blood donor eligibility, including a gender-inclusive approach and individual risk-based screening processes to reduce the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion. These recommendations are not final and will undergo a rulemaking process with a 60-day comment period to gather input and recommendations.
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Human Rights Campaign Applauds FDA for Taking First Step Toward Dismantling Discriminatory Blood Donation Restrictions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 26, 2023 - Today the Human Rights Campaign - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - applauded the Biden administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for taking an important first step toward dismantling antiquated and discriminatory policy preventing men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. The new policy - which is being reported in news outlets but expected to be officially announced by the administration on Friday morning - moves away from discriminatory policy based on identity and toward a science-based, individualized risk assessment approach.
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BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign Condemns North Dakota House for Advancing Bill Criminalizing Drag Performances

Bismarck, North Dakota - January 26, 2023 - Today, the North Dakota House advanced H.B. 1133, an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that restricts drag performances. The bill would classify drag performances as "adult-oriented businesses'' and ban them from taking place on public property, as well as other locations where those under the age of 18 are present. If this bill becomes law, any individual who violates this discriminatory restriction would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 360 days in prison and a $3,000 fine. The bill, which passed by 79-13, will now be sent to the North Dakota Senate for consideration
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Pennsylvania's Laws Impacting LGBTQ+ People Rated in Human Rights Campaign's Annual State Equality Index

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 26, 2023 -Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and the Equality Federation Institute released their 9th annual State Equality Index (SEI). The SEI is a comprehensive state-by-state report that provides a review of statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families.
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Human Rights Campaign Foundation State Equality Index: 91% of Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills in 2022 Failed to Become Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 26, 2023 -Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and the Equality Federation Institute released their 9th annual State Equality Index (SEI). The SEI is a comprehensive state-by-state report that provides a review of statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families.
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Lambda Legal to 4th Circuit: Affirm Lower Court Ruling Striking North Carolina's Discriminatory Transgender Health Care Ban for Transgender State Employees

(Richmond, V.A. - Wednesday, January 25) Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal brought by the North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell and the Executive Administrator of the North Carolina State Health Plan (NCSHP) asking the court to reverse a lower court decision finding that the State violated the rights of transgender state employees by categorically excluding transgender health care coverage from the state employee health plan.
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Biden-Harris Administration Releases First-Ever Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity

January 24, 2023 - Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing the first-ever Federal Evidence Agenda on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Equity, a roadmap that federal agencies will use to ensure they are collecting the data and evidence they need to improve the lives of LGBTQI+ Americans. This Evidence Agenda delivers on a commitment made by President Biden in a June 2022 Executive Order on LGBTQI+ equality, and is an important step forward in the Administration's work to expand the federal collection of data about sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics ("SOGI data"), and advance equity for LGTBQI+ Americans.
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Equality California Statement on Monterey Park Mass Shooting

LOS ANGELES - January 2, 2023 - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to the mass shooting in Monterey Park on Lunar New Year's Eve: "My heart breaks for the victims of last night's shooting in Monterey Park, their families and loved ones. A day of celebration for so many in our API communities, as we welcome the Lunar New Year, has become a day of mourning. Equality California stands ready with our partners to support those impacted, as we continue to combat hate and gun violence that fueled this horrific attack."
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BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign Condemns Arkansas Senate for Advancing Bill Restricting Drag Performances

Little Rock, Arkansas - January 24, 2002 - Today, the Arkansas Senate advanced Senate Bill 43, an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that restricts drag performances. The bill would classify drag performances as "adult-oriented businesses'' and ban them from taking place on public property, as well as other locations where children and teenagers are present. The bill - which passed 29-6 - will now be transmitted to the Arkansas House for consideration.
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Over 120 Bills Restricting LGBTQ Rights Introduced Nationwide in 2023 So Far

WASHINGTON - January 19, 2023 - As the 2023 legislative session begins, politicians across the country already introduced 124 total bills restricting LGBTQ people, targeting their freedom of expression, the safety of transgender students, and access to health care for gender dysphoria.
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Harvard LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic Secures Victory for Survivors of LGBTQ+ Veterans

Harvard LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic Secures Victory for Survivors of LGBTQ+ Veterans
CAMBRIDGE, MA - Late last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it would expand survivor benefits to spouses who, due to anti-LGBTQ+ laws, were unable to get legally married and were thus ineligible for survivor benefits. This expansion of benefits was secured through a joint effort of Harvard's LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic and Veterans Legal Clinic on behalf of Lawrence Vilord, the surviving spouse of a Vietnam war combat veteran who was not able to marry his spouse prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
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LGBTQ Equality Updates for January 2023

MAP's Equality Maps provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of LGBTQ laws and policies in the United States. In this regularly changing landscape, these are the state and local policy updates as of January 2023.
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Health

Register for PrEP In Black America's "The Power Of PrEP" Webinar On February 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Just two months after the ten-year anniversary of Food and Drug Administration approval of PrEP, Black advocates gathered in Atlanta, GA at our inaugural PrEP in Black America Summit to address the dismal PrEP utilization rates in the Black community. On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we will gather again at our "The Power of PrEP" webinar to discuss the outcomes of the Summit and preview a roadmap that will serve as a framework to increase PrEP uptake in the Black community and help end the HIV epidemic
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Prevent a blood shortage - donate in February

[Feb. 1, 2023] - Spring is close, but February often brings unpredictable winter weather that can cause blood drive cancellations and make it difficult for donors to make it to their appointments safely. As the American Red Cross continues to monitor seasonal challenges that could impact the blood supply, donors are urged to make and keep appointments to help prevent a shortage in the weeks to come. Donors of all blood types - particularly type O blood donors, the most needed blood group by hospitals - and platelet donors are needed daily to meet demand.
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Donate now to keep blood and platelets stocked when winter weather hits

[Jan. 19, 2023] - As National Blood Donor Month continues this January, the American Red Cross celebrates those who give blood and platelets to help save lives − especially now, as we work to ensure a stable blood supply amid the threat of icy winter weather and severe seasonal illness. Donors of all blood types - particularly type O blood donors, the most needed blood group by hospitals - and platelet donors are needed daily to meet demand.
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Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center Announces Appointment of Executive Director

ALLENTOWN, PA - January 9, 2023 - Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is pleased to announce that after a months-long search led by DRG Talent, longtime Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ community leader Ashley L. Coleman (she/her) has been appointed to serve as the Center's Executive Director.
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HIV Vaccine Challenges

It's been over four decades since HIV was reported in the US. Since then, many have asked 'Why isn't there a cure or a vaccine for HIV?' While there are vaccine trials underway [more on that next month], understanding the difficulty of discovering one is important to the future of Ending the HIV Epidemic. Among the viruses our bodies fight off, HIV is unique due to its ability to avoid creating an immune system response to end or contain infection. Most viruses produce an immune response which clears the body of the infection, sometimes without medication needed. Think of how with a cold or the flu, we experience symptoms of our immune system fighting the virus and eliminating it; such as a fever, body aches, etc. While it has been documented that very few people in the world have managed to do this to HIV and not using antiretrovirals, most individuals living with HIV require life-long medication therapy.
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Red Cross, Peyton Manning huddle up for a lifesaving play this January

[Jan. 9, 2023] - This January, the American Red Cross and Pro Football Hall of Famer and blood donor Peyton Manning are asking people to score big for patients in need - while getting a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona - by giving blood or platelets. 
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Contests

Enter to win Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era!

Enter to win Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era!
Enter to win Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, February 10, and Friday, March 3.
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Enter to win The Words That Remain!

Enter to win The Words That Remain!
Enter to win The Words That Remain! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, January 17, and Tuesday, February 7.
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