San Diego Pride Considers Donating $170K Worth Of Profits

San Diego Pride’s giving back, and it’s giving back a lot.

San Diego Pride has announced on Thursday that it will be donating more than $170,000 to 59 different LGBTQ-serving charities and organizations around the world.

According to Patch, San Diego Pride has so much money to spend after having a successful 2018 Pride. They now plan to give over that extra money back to LGBTQ people.

"San Diego Pride, its events and year-round programming are made possible by our over 30 LGBTQ-serving nonprofit community partners, 87 sponsors, 5,600 volunteer shifts, 22,000 volunteers hours, 45,000 Festival attendees, and 250,000 Parade attendees," San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Lopez said. "It is this collective effort that builds on the legacy of those who came before us that makes this level of philanthropy possible."

"Our giving will have a tangible impact on projects locally, nationally, and globally that support and sustain LGBTQ communities in a myriad of ways," added San Diego Pride's Director of Philanthropy Sarafina Scapicchio. "This year's grants will help create new LGBTQ youth programs, feed and house people living with HIV, fund multiple LGBTQ-focused performing arts projects, provide legal support for LGBTQ victims of sex trafficking, scholarships for transgender students, emergency housing for homeless LGBTQ people and so much more."

As for which organizations San Diego Pride will donate to, some organizations include Accra Pride, Associação de Educação do Homem de Amanhã de Brasília, Being Alive San Diego, Blindspot Collective, Breakthrough Workshop Theatre, Casa Ruby, Inc., and more.

San Diego Pride plans to donate to Pride Community Grants to fund youth programs, sobriety services, LGBTQ arts and culture programs, queer communities of color, transgender community support programs, and health and human services programs.

Check out the official press release for more info and the full list of recipients.

Pride Wall Vandalized in Houston

The pride wall, located at Jenni's Noodle House in Houston, Texas was recently vandalized with hurtful messages, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The vandal or vandals painted in black a large X and the words "stop your gay agenda" 

The wall was created after another pride wall, located at Select Skate Shop was painted over in black with the word "select" in rainbow letters to contrast the black background. Select Skate Shop said that the decision was made because the wall kept being vandalized and it became expensive to repaint it every time.

The owner of Jenni's Noodle House, which has three locations throughout Houston, Jenni Tran-Weaver "jumped at the chance" to have Houston's next pride wall on the side of her restaurant. The new wall contains all traditional pride colors along with bright colors meant to represent the entire LGBTQ+ spectrum. The words "Be Visible" as well as a quote from Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case can be seen on the wall. It's a shame that someone would ruin a beautiful wall with an equally beautiful message but I'm not entirely surprised. 

In response to the vandalism, Jenni's Noodle House asked if anyone knew who was responsible for the graffiti in a Facebook post. They also wrote "Hater gonna hate. Noodle gonna rule." So at least they're in good spirits after this vandalism. However, Jenni should be mindful of the fact that the wall may get vandalized again, as it frequently happened when the wall was at Select Skate Shop. It is my hope that they find who vandalized the wall and dish out the appropriate punishment. In this day and age, hating or "disapproving" of LGBTQ+ people is definitely passé and has no purpose; not that it ever did. 

h/t: The Houston Chronicle

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate is First to Attend Pride Parade

Stacey Abrams made history by being the first major candidate for Georgia's governorship to attend and participate in the Atlanta Pride Parade, according to US News.

Abrams has been making waves in Georgia and made waves during the pride parade while she rode on top of a white Jeep as people chanted her name. Stacey Abrams, if elected, would be the first black woman in the position of governor.

Her policies include opposition to the religious liberty laws that have become so popular in the US, as she believes (and I do too) that such laws are discriminatory towards LGBTQ individuals and should definitely be opposed. 

Her participation in the pride parade is definitely a good sign, as it shows that politics and politicians are evolving and are becoming more open-minded towards things such as LGBTQ rights. It is my hope that politicians continue to go down this path because it's a good indicator of progress for LGBTQ rights and a sign that our voices are being heard. So get out there and vote!

h/t: USNews

LGBTQ Activists Create #HiddenFlag In Russian Photo Campaign

In that Russia currently has a ban on 'gay propaganda' - which would include even a simple rainbow flag - a group of activists have undertaken a secret mission to share the colors of pride.

According to Buzzfeed, Spain-based digital ad agency LOLA MullenLowe recently teamed up with FELGTB, Spain's federation for LGBT rights, to take a series of rainbow-themed photos in Russia during the World Cup.

Calling themselves 'The Hidden Flag,' they took the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia hiding in plain sight.

From the official website:

We have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behaviour and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia.

Yes, in the plain light of day, in front of the Russian authorities, Russian society and the whole world, we wave the flag with pride.

How? In a way that no one would ever suspect. Football shirts.

Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Six countries. Six brave LGBT activists, that together, form the flag that toured around iconic sites in Russia, traveling to every corner to fight against a struggle that will never be silenced.



There was one scary moment for the activists. As they were leaving Russia, one of the six participants, Colombian Mateo Fernandez, was detained for 15 hours by officials at the airport. 

Fernandez told Gay Star News he wasn’t sure if he was detained because he’s Colombian or if the authorities in Russia had come to realize he is engaged in LGBTQ activism. He was placed in a small room and interrogated about his activities while in Russia.

The authorities took his phone and belongings and held him for almost a full day asking questions. Fernandez says the group had agreed, if anything happened, they would all just say they were in the country as tourists.

At one point his phone was returned and he contacted the ad company. A rep for the ad company offered to come help but Fernandez worried it would only raise more suspicions.

The 29-year-old admits he cried three times during the questioning but was eventually released. Having missed two flights, he flew to safety in Amsterdam.

Fernandez told Gay Star News that as a gay Colombian, he’s been ‘randomly selected’ more often than most travelers at international airports.

Members of The Hidden Flag confirmed that the campaign photos weren’t released until the entire group was safely out of Russia.

“When we were doing it, I was scared shitless,” says the Colombian. But he adds, “It was completely worth it.”

Visit the official website for more photos from the campaign as well as info about each activist.

Blake Mitchell Discusses A Scary Incident He Experienced After New York City Pride

Blake Mitchell's weekend at New York City Pride took a major turn for the worse after he left.

He was heading eastbound on a highway when he saw two semi-trucks nearly collide with one another on the opposite side of the road. In their effort to avoid a collision, one of the semi’s slammed into a passenger van in front of it. As a result, the van flipped on its side and proceeded to skid down the highway.

Blake went into action and, with the help of some strangers, pulled a father and his two daughters from the van. It was good timing, as the van had begun to leak gasoline and they were lucky to be able to pull them to safety without the wreckage igniting.

He talked about how this experience resonated with signs that are seeing all over NYC, primarily with the MTA: “If you see something, say something.” He breaks down how we should help each other out in situations like these, regardless of our social or political backgrounds, and how a little more kindness in the world can go a long way.

Way to go Blake. Watch the clip below:



Ellen DeGeneres Shares Her Favorite TV Show Pride Moments

In observing Pride Month, Ellen DeGeneres shared a video of her favorite inspiring LGBTQ+ Pride moments on her show.

The three-minute video includes Ellen's announcement of her wedding, Laverne Cox's appearance on TIME Magazine and Sam Smith saying he wants to be a spokesman for the LGBTQ community.

Also in the highlight reel are transgender military veterans sharing their stories as Donald Trump proposed banning their service as well as touching coming-out stories.

Hit the play button below and feel good.



Gay Employees Asked Red Hen Restaurant Owner to Remove Sarah Huckabee Sanders

In a revealing interview with the The Washington Post, Red Hen restaurant co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson has shared some more details about White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ removal from the establishment Friday night

Wilkinson was actually at her Virginia home when she received a call about the Trump staffer’s arrival at the eatery. Sanders was the last to arrive to the 8-seat captain’s table at the tiny 26-seat restaurant in Lexington, VA.

The Red Hen’s chef called Wilkinson to tell her the situation—and to ask how to proceed. Wilkinson got in her car and arrived at the restaurant, where she positively identified the press secretary, in a black dress, with seven other guests.

Wilkinson huddled with the Red Hen’s staff and asked for their input. She told the Post that many of the employees of the Hen are gay, and were uncomfortable serving a woman who has supported the Trump administration’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military, business that refuse service to the LGBT community like Masterpiece Cakeshop, and the separation of migrant families from their children.

Wilkinson asked if her employees wanted her to give Sanders the boot, and they said yes.

The co-owner met with Sanders on the patio briefly where she said, “I’d like to ask you to leave.”

According to Wilkinson, Sanders politely complied. Their main courses hadn’t arrived, and they offered to pay for their drinks and appetizers; Wilkinson told them that was all on the house.

Wilkinson doesn’t regret her headline-making decision one bit:

“I would have done the same thing again,” Wilkinson said.  “We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one.”

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation. I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”

’86’ is a term used in restaurant. It means to take something off the menu, or to refuse service. Here’s the whiteboard at the Red Hen on Friday night.

Something of a microcosm of our divided country, the Red Hen has received equal parts hostility and praise from outsiders. Many are protesting the restaurant for giving Sanders the boot; others are praising Wilkinson. The Red Hen’s Yelp page has been blowing up with over 2,000 new reviews, now split down the middle with a 2.5/5 average rating. Obviously, most of these people have never set foot in the restaurant.

Here’s the Red Hen’s Yelp page, where you can leave a rave review or two: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-red-hen-lexington-3

h/t: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2018/06/23/why-a-small-town-restaurant-owner-asked-sarah-huckabee-sanders-to-leave-and-would-do-it-again/?utm_term=.86de43711cc4


Cutie Gay Baker Huascar Aquino Competes on 'Chopped'

My face instantly lit up on Tuesday night when I saw that openly gay baker (and my good friend) Huascar Aquino was competing on the legendary food competition show Chopped.

Huascar's story is really one that is embedded in the American dream. I first got to know him three years ago after I reviewed a similar location in New York City (for a separate publication) and a mutual friend of ours recommended that I try his place as well. At the time it was called H Bake Shop (that spot has since closed and is now Huascar & Co. Bake Shop). So I took a friend to see what the fuss was about, and suffice to say, I left with the happiest smile on my face as what Huascar was able to create for us was truly unlike anything I have had before.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States a number of years ago where he developed a love for pastries by learning at the Internationally renowned French Culinary Institute Of New York City. Just a heads up this is the same place that LEGENDS in the culinary industry such as Bobby FlayDavid Chang & Dan Barber have gone to and where deans include just the run of the mill dynasties in their own rights like Jacques PepinJose Andrews and Jacques Torres are deans there.  You know, no big deal whatsoever. 

After his time at the FCI, he honed his abundance of talent at historic NYC locations like The Four Seasons and Landmarc, which then led to him opening up his own location a couple of years ago.  Oh, and one more thing.  Huascar won on the Food Network hit show Cupcake Wars back in 2013, in which the theme was for Jessica Alba’s brand The Honest Company. The win came with a sweet $10,000 dollar prize and national recognition, which is great for anyone regardless of what their field is. You can watch that episode here.

He officially opened up his second location, Huascar & Co. Bake Shop in early 2017, which has earned him a ton of fanfare and praise from food critics and people alike. His location has earned 4.5 stars on both Yelp and Facebook and with good reason. HIs sweets that he creates are out of this world amazing. If you are ever in New York City, please try his PB & J and Scarlet Velvet Cupcakes. It tastes better than a hot dude, no joke. 

Huascar competed on Tuesday night's Chopped, where Martha Stewart was the judge for this round (she's appearing on the newest season of the long-running cooking competition program). It didn't surprise me that he made it all the way to the final round and impressed the three judges along the way because he is just that good. Sadly, he lost in a very tight battle, but I know what an amazing baker and chef he is and he should be proud that he got that far, not just on the show... but in life.

For more information on Huascar and his location, click here.


Pride Event Takes Place In Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp

Here’s an inspiring story to start off the week with some positivity. This weekend, the first ever LGBTQ+ pride in a refugee camp took place.

Rainbow flags flew and demonstrators marched through Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. The organizers of the event were from Refugee Flag Kakuma, and most of the participants were LGBTQ+ refugees who fled from neighboring Uganda.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in Dec. 2013, inciting a punishment of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality.” Violent and brutal attacks against LGBTQ+ people are common in the country, often carried out by state officials.

Rlwage Eibusone, a Ugandan transgender refugee who marched in the parade, told AFP: “I’m really happy. I feel like I am with my family and I’m very happy for it.”

A statement from Refugee Flag Kakuma read: "The very first pride event, in Kakuma refugee camp, was fabulous…The event was so colourful, with two LGBTIQ friends and comrades from the USA and England.

“We thank everyone, who has helped out in any capacity to see that our event is a success. May the almighty God bless you all, we love you all, thanks for your good heart and support.”

The slogan of the event was “Stop Homophobia.” Crowdfunding raised thousands of dollars for the parade.

Kakuma refugee camp is the third largest of its kind in the world, housing over 185,000 refugees.

h/t: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/06/18/pride-event-takes-place-inside-refugee-camp/

5 Potential Headliners for World Pride in New York City Next Year

As someone who resides in The Big Apple, I can already tell you that the excitement around this city hosting World Pride in 2019 is already building and we haven't even had our own pride yet this year (next weekend). 

Yes, NYC is the first domestic city in the United States to host World Pride. It's extra special as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, so we sort of feel obliged to make it that much more incredible and best previous cities like Madrid and Toronto in the process (no shade).

This year's NYC pride headliner is Kylie Minogue, which is fabulous and she would be a wonderful addition for next year's should she decide to come back. But let's get down to the brass tax: World Pride 2019 needs several amazing headliners as we want this to be something we truly never forget. One simply isn't enough.

This is also something that people from all around the world will be flying in for, so the international presence will need to be felt on some level with the people who will perform. That being said, here are 5 artists (err, 6) who I think would be an absolute thrill to have at World Pride next June.

Ricky Martin: We've seen one of our own perform at sold out stadiums all over the world, and that heat that he brings in all of his performances can easily translate to the stage that will be World Pride. 

Madonna/Lady Gaga: Y'all want a gag? Get these two to perform... separately, and together. Chances are Gaga will more than likely be there, given that she's from New York, but to have both these ladies who are massive LGBTQ icons under one roof would almost be too good to be true. 

Jennifer Lopez: J. Lo, similar to Ricky, knows how to put on a show. She's captivating the minute she hits the stage, and she's adored by the gay community. Just like Gaga, she's a fellow New Yorker, and would make our city proud with one of her fierce performances.

Sam Smith: One of our own, is cute, and can sing like no other. He would be perfect for a part during pride where we are waving our lighters back and forth while singing along to "Stay with Me".

Beyonce: Take what she did at Coachella but with an LGBT angle. Think about it. You're welcome.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.