Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shout OUT! “Anyone But Me” Web Series Inspires New Resources List

I’ve been putting together a list of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) resources for a while now, always intending to post them during Pride Week in June. But then I’m almost always on vacation in June.

So, why did I finally post them now, in December? I was inspired by Anyone But Me, the new Web series I’m producing that premiered on StrikeTV on Monday, December 8.

Anyone But Me introduces a new generation of New York teens – gay, straight and ethnically diverse – coming of age in a post-9/11 world. When 16-year-old Vivian McMillan (Rachael Hip-Flores) moves from New York City to Westchester County, she’s uncertain about coming out at her new suburban high school. While she was completely out as a lesbian in the city, now she’s cautiously navigating new terrain.

Tina Cesa Ward, creator, writer and director of Anyone But Me, writes about this experience in her Anyone But Me – The Web Series blog:

Everyone tells his or her coming out story. I always found it funny that everyone tells it like that was the only time they've ever had to come out. Like after that first "I'm gay" moment, everything else has been easy ever since. But the truth is we all have to come out over and over again. If we change jobs, move into a different apartment building, go to a party with people we don't know. And for most of us, coming out to people can still be just as hard as it was the first time. That was what I wanted to explore with Vivian.

We see more of Vivian adjusting to her new life in episode #2, which premieres on Tuesday, December 16, on StrikeTV. ABM has also been selected as an Editor’s Pick video on, the Web site for “News, Reviews & Commentary on Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Entertainment and the Media” (which gave the show a great write-up last week and included it in its weekly recap Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever.); our episodes will begin streaming there as well on Monday.

So, in a somewhat shameless plug for the show, but a nonetheless well intentioned resource for the Vivians out there cautiously navigating new terrain, as well as the old hands who are out and proud, I have posted a new When You Need to Know listing of New York’s LGBTQ organizations and publications. The post follows below; you can also link to it from my new sidebar section, Shout OUT!, a collection of posts relevant to the LGBTQ community.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When You Need to Know: New York's LGBTQ Resources

New York's LGBTQ community is as diverse as the city itself. From activist organizations to athletic leagues, find the community resources you need here. This list offers a sampling of some of the most useful sites, but is by no means complete; check the links listings at each of the Web sites to find additional resources.

General Resources
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The second largest LGBT community center in the world and the largest on the East Coast, New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center hosts over 300 different groups and has 6,000 visitors weekly. Programs include social services, cultural and recreational activities, public policy activism, and educational services. 208 West 13th St.; 212-620-7310.

The Hetrick-Martin Institute
The home of Harvey Milk High School, HMI has been providing a safe haven to the city’s LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender & questioning) youth for more than 30 years. Aimed at kids 12 to 21, HMI’s programs include internships, support services and a variety of year-round after-school programs for arts & culture, health & wellness, academic enrichment and career development. Located in the heart of the East Village and open 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily, HMI also provides a place for LGBTQ young people to just hang out, with a cafĂ©, a living room, a homework room and a lounge. 2 Astor Place; 212-674-2400; Email:

Health Outreach To Teens (HOTT)
A service of the Callen-Lourde Community Health Center in Chelsea, HOTT provides free and low-cost medical and mental health care to LGBT youths ages 13-24. The confidential services include general medical care, HIV testing and primary care, STD testing and treatment, counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric evaluation and more. HOTT has its own youth-only medical suite
on-site at Callen-Lorde and also operates the HOTT medical van, which travels around Lower Manhattan and Midtown in the afternoons and evenings. 356 West 18th St.; 212-271-7200.

The Door
The only requirement for membership in The Door, a youth
empowerment organization, is age. Among The Door’s wide range of medical and mental heath care, educational, career and leadership development, and recreational services for all youths are LGBTQ programs such as coming-out therapy and Skittlez, which hosts weekly meetings for LGBTQ teens to socialize. Other LGBTQ youth activities include film screenings, speakers, sexual health workshops and creating a Door float for the Pride parade. 555 Broome St.; 212-941-9090.

YES (Youth Empowerment Services)
A service of the LGBT Community Center, YES hosts daily activity groups and a wide range of weekly events, including Lyfe Skillz workshops, SEX + discussions of sex and sexuality, Young Men’s and Young Women’s groups, job search and scholarship assistance, and more. YES is open to youth ages 13-21; drop by the office in person to join. Tuesdays-Fridays, 3:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 12:00-5:00 p.m. 208 West 13th St.; 212-620-7310 (ask for the YES program;

Activism & Support
Gay Men's Health Crisis
At the forefront of the fight against AIDS, the GMHC is a non-profit,
volunteer-based organization dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV and bringing dignity to the lives of those with HIV. It operates a hotline and provides interventions services, a meal delivery program, services for women and families, and more. 119 West 24th St.; 212-367-1000; Hotline: 212-807-6655 or 1-800-AIDS-NYC (1-800-243-7692).

ACT UP: AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power
Recognized as one of the most influential social justice organizations in the United States, ACT UP promotes political activism in the fight against AIDS. The group meets every Monday night, at 8:00 p.m., at the LGBT Community Center. Contact:

The New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
Founded in 1980 in reaction to violence against the LGBT community, AVP provides crime victim assistance, counseling, social justice advocacy and other services. Contact: 212-714-1184; 24-Hour Bilingual Hotline: 212-714-1141.

Professional Groups & Networking
Gay Professionals MeetUp Groups in New York
Find a LGBT professional or special-interest group for just about everything at this listing of New York-area Meetup groups. is a social networking site for local clubs, formed on the premise that “more than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities”; the challenge can be finding them. Meetup groups for New York’s LGBT professionals cover the spectrum, from the NY LGBT Entrepreneurs Group to the 40-Plus Single Gay Men's Film Group and NYC's Adventure Group for Girls. Listings include number of members, meeting schedules, listings of recent events and members’ comments.

Out Professionals
Based in New York, Out Professionals is a nationwide business and social networking association for gay men and lesbians. With more than 1,000 members, it hosts a number of career, community and cultural events each month, such as film screenings, social events and cocktail parties, seminars and workshops, networking opportunities and more. Contact:

OP.Lynk: Women’s Network of Out Professionals NYC
A special-interest group within Out Professionals (listed
above), OP.Lynx aims to empower lesbian professionals in New York by “'lynking' them with other like-minded business professionals and groups at informative and inspiring panel discussions, networking mixers and special events.”

New York Chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
With members including journalists, media professionals, educators and students who work within the news industry, this group works to foster fair and unbiased coverage of LGBT issues as well as professional development for its members. Local chapter events include monthly mixers every second Tuesday, fundraisers, parties, forums and more. Contact: Get individual email addresses for the group’s officers at the Web site.

LeGal: The LGBT Law Association of Greater New York
Serving the LGBT legal community in New York, this organization promotes the advancement of LGBT legal professionals and addresses legal issues of concern to the LGBT community. It hosts regular forums and networking events and provides a walk-in legal clinic, a lawyer referral service, CLE classes and more. Contact: 212-353-9118;

Events & Recreation
Heritage of Pride
Get information about New York's annual Pride
March, Rally, Festival and Dances, held each June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. HOP, organizers of the event, meets monthly; check the Web site for meeting schedules. Contact: 212-80-PRIDE;

The New Festival Inc.
With an annual film festival and other year-round programs, this non-profit arts organization showcases LGBT film and video in the New York metropolitan area. The annual NewFest LGBT film festival (usually held in June) features an international array of films and is considered one of the world’s most comprehensive showcases for LGBT film and video. Later each year is the annual NewFest@BAM, a special series spotlighting the best of the fest, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Rose Cinemas. Check the Web site for other programming events. Contact:

NY Lesbian & Gay Contradance Series
Bringing "gender-role free" American Folk Dancing to the New York area, this group sponsors monthly events at the LGBT Community Center. Dances are on the second Friday of the month, 7:30-10:30 p.m. (this is accurate as of 12-10-2008, but check the Web site for schedules, workshops, dance camps, etc.) Admission is $10 per person (sliding-scale admissions are accepted). Contact:

Out of Bounds
This non-profit organization supports New York's LGBT sports leagues and recreational groups, such as the NYC Gay Hockey Association, NY Pride Rowing Association, Fast & Fabulous Cycling Club and a host of others. The Web site features news, a calendar of LGBT sports events, a listing of affiliated LGBT athletic leagues and more. Contact:

Gay City News
A bi-weekly newspaper serving the New York gay and lesbian community, Gay City News covers local, national and international news.

Homo Xtra
A weekly guide to Manhattan's gay nightlife and culture, HX bills itself as "the Totally Biased Politically Incorrect Party Paper." The Web site for the print publication features articles and reviews; listings of clubs, restaurants, bars, film festivals, shows, etc.; and more.

Next Magazine
Covering gay nightlife, travel, theatre, celebrities and other topics, Next Magazine also provides weekly arts and entertainment listings, profiles, reviews, gossip and more, punctuated by photos of guys who are easy on the eyes.

New York Blade Online
This gay owned-and-operated weekly newspaper provides local and national news coverage of issues in the LGBT community, lifestyle coverage, arts and entertainment listings, and more.

GO Magazine
Published 10 times a year, this New York-centric magazine bills itself as the "Cultural Roadmap for the City Girl." With national news and entertainment coverage, it tends to focus on the New York scene, and its Web site features a number of “Very Best of NYC” listings for theatre, art, dance and more.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Web Series About Teenagers in New York Premieres Monday, 12-8, on StrikeTV

I'm sometimes preoccupied with wondering what it would have been like to grow up in New York. A Columbia student I know who grew up on the Upper East Side says I romanticize his life (to a degree I suspect he finds annoying) when I imagine erudite discourse around the family dinner table, Saturday mornings spent playing soccer in Central Park, a high school packed with cool kids all bound for the Ivy League. He's right: I do have a romantic notion about being a teenager in New York. The key word is teenager: No matter where you are, being a teenager just has that built-in Life Sucks factor.

Anyone But Me is a new Web series that offers a fresh and frank perspective on coming of age in New York in the post-9/11 world. It doesn't romanticize; it's got plenty of the Life Sucks factor. It also has plenty of humor, drama, hope and relevance.

At this point, it's only fair for me to disclose that I'm the producer of the show, which was created, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Tina Cesa Ward. Susan Miller, an Obie award-winning playwright (My Left Breast) who was a consulting producer/writer for Showtime's groundbreaking The L Word and ABC's landmark series thirtysomething (among myriad other hit television shows), is the Executive Producer and co-writer.

In the first episode, which premieres on Monday, December 8, on StrikeTV, 16-year-old Vivian McMillan, the daughter of a NYC firefighter, is forced to move from the city to Westchester County due to her father's health problems, the result of 9/11. She's uncertain about how to be herself in her new suburban school, missing her friends in the city, a bit unnerved by the sudden motherly attentiveness of her aunt. In a word (or two): Life sucks.

Watch the trailer at our Web site and be sure to tune in for Monday's series premiere on StrikeTV.