April 10, 2014

Transgender Medical Symposium runs Friday and Saturday at Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale

News release from SunServe:


4th Annual Transgender Medical Symposium

April 10-11, 2014
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Embassy Suites Hotel
1100 SE 17th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316

Event Description

To provide state-of-the-art medical information to medical, mental health, and licensed allied health professionals in addressing culturally sensitive care and treatment for the transgender community.


Registration is required. To register, visit: www.FCAETC.org/events

(There is no fee to register.)


Coming Soon

(Details will be posted at www.FCAETC.org/events when available.)

Target Audience

Physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dentists, medical case managers, medical/nursing students, and support staff.

4th Annual Transgender Medical Symposium

Star guitarist Lee Ritenour to pay tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim with Jazz Roots finale at Arsht Center

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Lee Ritenour, one of the world’s most successful jazz guitarists, learned Brazilian bossa nova from the master, Antonio Carlos Jobim.

“I met Jobim when I was a teenager, actually, at Sergio Mendes’ house. I was playing with Sergio Mendes. He had a party. There was kind of a jam session, and Tom Jobim, as we call him, was there that night,” recalls Ritenour, who that night also met composer-pianist Dave Grusin, who would later win an Oscar and multiple Grammy Awards.

Ritenour, Jobim’s grandson Daniel (a pianist) and Grusin are among the performers who will pay tribute to the great Brazilian musician 8 p.m. Friday in “A Twist of Jobim,” the season finale of Jazz Roots at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Jazz Roots producer Larry Rosen has known Ritenour more than 30 years, when the guitarist was a star on Rosen and Grusin’s old jazz label, GRP Records.

“He always had a great expanse of musical knowledge. Brazilian music was a real big component of it,” Rosen says. “He carries that through to today in everything that he does.”

Ritenour’s wife, Carmen, is Brazilian and their son Wesley, 20, speaks fluent Portuguese, the musician says.

His first studio session was playing backup at age 16 for the Mamas and the Papas in 1968. Ritenour released his first album, First Course, in 1976.

“It was the beginning of the fusion movement and especially the West Coast fusion movement, where we were taking Brazilian rhythms, which we had kind of copped from that whole movement with Jobim that had just happened in the ’60s,” he says. “We were taking R&B grooves and taking a sort of fast fusion ideas and combining it with our love for jazz. That became kind of a contemporary fusion at the time.”

Three years after Ritenour joined the GRP roster, he and Grusin won a Grammy in 1985 for their album Harlequin.

Before Friday’s performance, Ritenour, 62, will hold a master class for Miami-Dade County Public Schools music students. The advice he’ll give:

“If they’re a player or a singer, then I really emphasize that it’s important for everyone to have their own voice. Don’t be a copy of another great. Say you love B.B. King or George Benson, Jimi Hendrix or whoever it is, there’s only one of those guys, so if you grow up sounding like Jimi Hendrix, it just doesn’t mean so much. Everyone grows up with their own voice inside them. It’s just how do you get it out, how does that happen,” he says.


Jazz Roots’ A Twist of Jobim starring Lee Ritenour, Daniel Jobim, Dave Grusin, Paulinho Da Costa and Céu will be performed 8 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014 at Adrienne Arsht Center. $55 to $150. Click here for tickets.

Federal judges hearing Utah gay marriage case appear divided


DENVER -- A three-judge panel appeared sharply divided as they questioned attorneys Thursday at a hearing over whether to uphold a lower court's ruling that struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage.

One of the judges, Carlos F. Lucero, compared the state's argument that the ban should to the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.

"To argue that public policy can trump a declared constitutional right would be a remarkable proposition," Lucero said.

But Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. suggested Utah does have the right to reaffirm what has been a centuries-long tradition of heterosexual marriage.

"You are just taking the position they are wrong on this. .... We'll just ignore what the people have decided and the Legislature has done," Kelly said. The swing vote in the case appears to be justice Jerome A. Holmes, who sharply challenged attorneys for both sides.

Gallery | 2014 Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball presented by Hispanic LGBT group Unity Coalition

2014-04-09 Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball 116

Hundreds filled Backstage at The Fillmore in Miami Beach Wednesday night as Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's Hispanic LGBT-rights group, held its annual Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball.

2014-04-09 Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball 059This year's honorees:

Above, artistic director David Chacón Perez; Pedro Pablo Peña, founder and artistic director of the International Ballet Festival of Miami; and Barbra Streisand/Kristin Chenoweth director Richard Jay-Alexander.

At right, Sebrina Maria Alfonso, founder and conductor of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra.

Click here to view a complete gallery from Wednesday's packed party. Photos by Steve Rothaus / Miami Herald Staff.

Rainbow Survivors Network for LBT women with cancer to hold first meeting April 26 in Wilton Manors

From Dr. Nan Van Den Bergh, clinical professor, School of Social Work at Florida International University:


The Rainbow Survivor's Network is being developed as research has shown that gay women may not find "mixed" cancer support systems to be ideally suited to their needs. This is because of: 1) discomfort in "coming out" to strangers at a time when one is vulnerable and 2) different concerns and needs than other women regarding body changes and the impact on one's spouse or partner.​

We are holding our initial orientation 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 26, 2014 at SunServe Social Services in Wilton Manors.

Van Den Bergh notes: "This is a one to one mutual aid and peer support program connecting a current LBT cancer survivor with someone newly diagnosed. It is not a support group." 


Area Resource and Referral Organization for Women (ARROW Inc.) announces the initiation of South Florida’s first network for lesbian, bisexual and transgender cancer survivors. This one to one “buddy program” will match an LBT person surviving cancer with a newly diagnosed peer. Receiving encouragement and support from someone who has “been there” can be extremely valuable for anyone managing the many challenges associated with cancer treatment and recovery. This is not a support group, but a person to person mentorship program. LBT persons surviving ALL cancers are invited to be a part of this network.

For more information, please contact ARROW Inc. at: 305-892-0928 or 305-766-1220.

UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon: 'I'm gay'


AMHERST, Mass. -- Derrick Gordon had kept his secret for too long.

He couldn't be himself. He considered giving up the sport he loved. Because he was gay, he distanced himself from teammates.

"I was living life in shame," the UMass guard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It took a toll on me."

Gordon became the first openly gay player in Division I men's basketball on Wednesday, making the announcement on ESPN and Outsports. Now he hopes to inspire others in similar situations.

"It's crazy that I'm the first," he told the AP. "I didn't know that it would be this long, but if I'm the first, then I'll start it off."

Previous announcements by NBA player Jason Collins and Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam made his decision easier. Gordon said he talked with Collins several times before making his announcement.

"There was a time that I didn't want to play basketball anymore and that's the worst feeling ever," he said. "Right now I'm happy. I'm free just to live my life."

Click here to read more.

April 09, 2014

‘Separation of Church & Hate’ to be screened 7 p.m. Thursday at Church of the Holy SpiritSong


Being screened 7 p.m. Thursday at Church of the Holy SpiritSong in Wilton Manors: Separation of Church & Hate.

Drudgery to ‘delightful’: Grassroots Miami group brainstorms to transform transit to and from work

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Hate your drive to and from work? Most of us do, and a group of Miami-Dade County activists is brainstorming to turn the daily commute from drudgery to “delightful.”

chart“We went out and talked to people. We heard them saying, ‘We wish there were more transit options,’ but also a more fundamental thing: ‘I feel like I waste a lot of time in the car or I spend a lot of time getting where I want to go.’ It’s frustrating,” said Chris Sopher, an organizer of the grassroots group WhereBy.Us, which met in Wynwood Tuesday night to discuss transit options. “We ask the question how do we make that more delightful?”

WhereBy.Us, which is sponsored with a $18,500 grant from The Miami Foundation and Sopher’s employer, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has gathered data from the U.S. Census, IBM Global Commuter Pain Study and other sources. “Miami ranks third in the nation for commuter pain,” according to a WhereBy.Us graphic, noting that half the area’s population travels at least an hour a day getting to work and back.

“It’s frustrating,” said Sopher, 25. “You get to work angry because you fought traffic or the bus was late.”

WhereBy.Us is about a year old. Via social networking, dozens of people with similar interests (most from the urban core) quickly found each other, Sopher said.

Meeting eight times in 2013, members determined several immediate needs in Miami-Dade County: Better transit, “the difficulty of finding a community where you feel at home” and “wanting to explore and find hidden corners,” Sopher said. “There are a lot of interesting experiences in Miami to be had, but they are difficult to unearth.”

“Our goal is to provide a place where people can build the community projects they're excited about, not to do it for them,” he said.

Another Miami group, Urban Impact Lab, is partnering with WhereBy.Us in the traffic project.

“The larger point of all of this is that beyond a certain limited section, most Miami-Dade County residents really have very limited choices about mobility,” said Marta Viciedo of Urban Impact Lab. “We have to have as many cars as we have adult members of the household. That doesn’t feel like freedom to me. I want to be able to move around in different ways.”

Everyone’s affected by traffic and transportation, whether they drive themselves to work or take mass transit, Viciedo said.

“We actually have a fairly good transportation system right now, but the experience of it leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of our bus stops are very dirty, very exposed. There’s no sun covering. People riding transit don't feel respected. It isn’t classy,” said Viciedo, who describes herself as “completely trans dependent.”

“I don’t own a car,” she said. “I use public transportation and car sharing.”

Viciedo, 36, lives and works in downtown Miami, which, she said, is an easy commute.

“But I have meetings all over the county,” Viciedo added. “Sometimes I have to get pretty creative. The Metrorail is amazing. I gets me down to Kendall quicker than I can drive there, but anything a half mile off the Kendall station is problematic.”

Viciedo said that not only are residents interested in the program, “they are ready to take action.”

“They’re ready to do what they can and find creative solutions to our shared transportation experiences,” she said. “The budget is very small, but that brings out the highest level of creativity. When we can come together and brainstorm ideas, we can figure out to deliver something that has broader impact at a lower cost.”

Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, supports Freedom to Marry for gay, lesbian couples


CASPER, Wyo. -- Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson is starring in a same-sex marriage commercial in Wyoming and other western states.

Simpson says as a Republican he believes one of the party's core values is the right to be left alone. He says whether people are gay or lesbian or straight, if they love someone and they want to marry, they should marry.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/p22a6no), Simpson wants to send a message that western values include same-sex marriage.

The ad, paid for by New York-based Freedom to Marry, will play on local television in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and national cable networks.


Transcript from Freedom to Marry:

“I was raised here, Cody, Wyoming. It was a town of western values; independence, freedom. I’m a Republican and the Party’s basic core is government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone, and you want to marry them, marry them. I have had a wonderful married life, why shouldn’t somebody else have the joy of marriage. Live and let live. It is very simple.”

April 08, 2014

Streisand, Chenoweth director Richard Jay-Alexander to receive LGBT Unity Coalition award

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Richard Jay-Alexander is equally at home in Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall directing Barbra Streisand and Kristin Chenoweth, or in a South Beach gay bar listening to off-key karaoke.

“I support the arts. I go to things. Not just the big touring shows. I go to the little companies. I’ll go into the Design District. I’ll go see stuff at the little theater at the Arsht. I’m interested,” says Jay-Alexander, a full-time Miami Beach resident. “I am a busman’s holiday. So when people say, ‘What do you do to relax?’ It’s not like I have a coin collection or I go fishing. I’m reading a script or listening to a new musical. Or catching up on a singer. I love pop culture.”

Jay-Alexander has been part of the local scene for more than 20 years. His first friend here: Charles Cinnamon, dean of South Florida show-biz publicists. “To me, the most important person in my life in South Florida and the longest in terms of my heart and career choice is Charlie Cinnamon.”

On Wednesday, Cinnamon will accompany Jay-Alexander as he accepts a Legends Honor arts award from Unity Coalition, South Florida’s Hispanic LGBT rights group, at its annual Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball. Other 2014 honorees are Sebrina Maria Alfonso, founder and conductor of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra; producer and artistic director David Chacón Perez; and Pedro Pablo Peña, founder and artistic director of the International Ballet Festival of Miami.

Growing up as “Dickie Fernandez” in Syracuse, N.Y., Jay-Alexander says Unity Coalition's mission “speaks to me and I need to bang the drum a little bit.”

“I am Latino,” he says. “I’m Richard Jay-Alexander but I was born Richard A. Fernandez. Richard Alexander Fernandez.” He changed his name to join Actor’s Equity – the unions already represented actors named Richard Fernandez and Richard Alexander. He’s known as Richard Jay-.

Jay-Alexander says he grew up gay and bullied. “I was beat up. I still have a chip in my tooth that I kept on purpose to remind me of where I came from.”

After earning a theater degree in 1974 from State University of New York at Oswego, Jay-Alexander moved to New York City and got small acting jobs in the plays Zoot Suit and Amadeus. He soon became a dance captain and stage manager in producer Cameron Mackintosh’s organization.

His big break came in 1987, as executive producer and associate director of Mackintosh’s huge musical hit, Les Misérables.

In 1996, Jay-Alexander cast former Menudo singer Ricky Martin as Marius. “Everybody thought I was nuts to bring him to Broadway. They thought I was insane because nobody heard of him,” he says. “I saw him at Radio City Music Hall and got on my hands and knees and said, ‘Please come do this show.’”

Jay-Alexander says he and nightlife promoter Debbie Ohanian helped connect Martin with Miami composer Desmond Child, who in 1999 wrote the Latin singer’s first big English-language hit, Livin’ La Vida Loca.

After a falling out with Mackintosh, Jay-Alexander reinvented himself as a concert and recording director, working with musical stars including Bernadette Peters, Polly Bergen and Johnny Mathis.

In 2000, Streisand hired Jay-Alexander to take over direction of her “Timeless” tour. Their relationship blossomed and since then he has co-directed (with Streisand) all of her world tours.

“That girl has captured my heart,” he says of Streisand. “As I always say to people, I like her so much I forget how talented she is. Then she opens that mouth when we are working. It’s just a pretty spectacular experience.”

This week, he directed Streisand’s younger half-sister, Roslyn Kind, for her sold-out opening at New York City nightclub 54 Below. He has also worked with Bette Midler, Donna McKechnie and Chenoweth, who  appears April 14 on Bravo TV’s Watch What Happens Live, with Andy Cohen, Real Housewife  Vicki Gunvalson – and Jay-Alexander as “guest bartender.”

On May 3, Chenoweth performs at Carnegie Hall in a Jay-Alexander-directed concert, “The Evolution of a Soprano.”

“He has given me confidence, and has complete and utter belief in my talent,” Chenoweth tells the Miami Herald.  “I have complete and utter confidence in him and his gifts.” (Scroll below for the complete quote.)

Jay-Alexander is confident and no-nonsense, particularly when it comes to his reputation.

“I’m passionate. It’s genuine. It gets me in trouble a lot, actually. Sometimes people can’t take it. I’m a tornado. You get a lot with me,” he says. “It’s a lot for people to handle and sometimes it’s like ‘We love you, but don’t get too close. We want you, but do it our way.’ I’ve learned to detect this now so I don’t get in trouble when I get hired. It’s hard. If you hire me, you have to be absolutely sure about what you want.”

Jay-Alexander is also not shy.

“The one huge thing that I teach people now is that in the morning, you open the door, wave to your neighbors and you plié for the paper. No more bending over at 60. I plié for the Miami Herald, I plié for The New York Times, I plié for The Hollywood Reporter, I plié for Variety and I close my door and I’m in my own world for the first two hours of the day.”


The Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball is 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday at the Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets $100. Click here to buy tickets.


In the video below, Richard Jay-Alexander sings at the New Year’s Eve 2012 Miami Beach wedding reception of TV weather anchor Sam Champion and artist Rubem Robierb.


Kristin Chenoweth on what it's like working with Richard Jay-Alexander:

It's a easy answer.

It's also a long winded one.

He is a bad influence on any trip to a mall. Or restaurant. He gets me to buy things I don't need.

He gets me to eat things I don't like!

However. In a rehearsal hall, he is invaluable. He has encouraged me to 'let go' of material that audiences expect of me. He has encouraged me and more importantly , Given me permission to try songs I would never normally touch, and tell my 'truth.' He has pushed me to greater heights more than I ever thought possible. He has given me confidence, and has complete and utter belief in my talent. I have complete and utter confidence in HIM and his gifts. He understands music at its deepest level, and he understands a true artist's process.  He works with all his artists differently though, because each of us has our own process. That is another talent he processes....

Whoever he’s working with he gives of himself 100 percent. There is no stone unturned ,and Richard Jay works more diligently than me and I'm a crazy person, type A personality! He constantly impresses me with his knowledge of HISTORY of any given song.

So, while he may be a detriment to me when we've been to the mall, I can't imagine not having my Richard Jay to go through my concert life together. He is one of a kind. Singular. And he holds my heart. "