News Briefs: Audubon society teams up with drag artist

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday June 22, 2022
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Drag artist Pattie Gonia has teamed up with the National Audubon Center to highlight conservation. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society
Drag artist Pattie Gonia has teamed up with the National Audubon Center to highlight conservation. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society has partnered with drag artist Pattie Gonia to invite the LGBTQIA community outdoors this Pride Month and to ensure that they have a safe and welcoming experience while there. As part of the collaboration the society has released the first two of four videos celebrating Pride in the outdoors.

From hiking in platform boots to ice skating in a famous dress made from recovered pieces of discarded trash, Gonia is the creation of avid hiker and backpacker Wyn Wiley, who said the character was born spontaneously on a hike several years ago, according to a news release. It's now become a way to call attention to climate change crises facing North America's wild lands, the release stated.

"People ask me all the time, 'how are the queer and environmental movements related?'" Gonia stated. "I say, first, 'no planet, no Pride!' Second, there's such an opportunity for people so versed in social justice, like the queer community, to join the environmental movement. Similarly, there's an equal opportunity for people versed in climate justice to help advocate for queer people."

Audubon has celebrated Pride Month since 2018 with LGBTQ-themed "Let's Go Birding Together" bird walks, as well as other events including a "bird drag tutorial," the release stated.

"I feel like a proud papa — seeing Let's Go Birding Together take off nationally in so many ways," stated Jason St. Sauver, the program's creator.

The video series was recorded at Audubon's Spring Creek Prairie Center in Gonia's home state of Nebraska, which is also the home to St. Sauver's birding project. Topics cover not only that program, but a Western meadowlark-inspired drag music video, a feature on imperiled grassland bird species, and a back and forth between Gonia and St. Sauver on careers in conservation.

To watch the videos, click here.

Pride Run to benefit LYRIC

The San Francisco FrontRunners annual Pride Run takes place Saturday, June 25, and this year will benefit queer youth agency LYRIC.

The 5k and 10k races will include about 500 participants and start at 9 a.m. in Golden Gate Park.

LYRIC offers several programs to LGBTQ young people and was recently in the news when it was the recipient of a bomb threat, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

Registration for the Pride Run is still open, and registration is $45. To sign up, click here.

San Mateo Pride Center anniversary

The San Mateo County Pride Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary Thursday, June 30, with a virtual program on Zoom from 6 to 8 p.m.

The event, which is free, will feature guest speakers such as county leaders, community partners, founding members, and attendees.

There will be a special performance by the Rebel Kings and the event will be hosted by Jesus u BettaWork.

The Pride center is a program of Star Vista.

To register, click here.

LGBTQ older adults panel

The California Department of Aging will host a moderated panel discussion featuring director Susan DeMarois and others on the topic of LGBTQ+ older adults Thursday, June 30, from 4 to 5:15 p.m.

"LGBTQ+ Aging with Dignity" will include gay state Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz); Blanca Castro, the state's long-term care ombudsman; Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., vice chair of the California Commission on Aging; Michael Costa, executive director of the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Aaron Tax, director of advocacy of SAGE; and Kevin Sitter, Ending the Epidemics project manager at the California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS.

The webinar is free. To register, click here.

SF Marathon adds nonbinary category

The San Francisco Marathon will add a category for nonbinary runners, producers announced June 21.

Jumping Fences Inc., the official event producers of the 45th San Francisco Marathon, officially announced California's first-ever nonbinary+ division and awards. This move comes at a time when numerous anti-LGBTQIA+ legislations are sweeping the nation, and other running races are being called on to expand their gender divisions, according to a news release.

The festival race weekend takes place July 22-24, the release stated.

"Our 45th San Francisco Marathon is putting inclusion and accessibility at the center," stated Lauri Abrahamsen, director of operations at Jumping Fences Inc. "We added these divisions and awards to our 45th marathon because it was past time to do so. We hope that this expansion of gender divisions, and our runners with disabilities program, will inspire more people to join the running community and feel that they belong."

To make the races more accessible and inclusive, the event organizers have expanded gender registration options to include nonbinary, trans, and two-spirited. The race weekend also includes a program for runners with disabilities.

The announcement follows the recent controversy with the Bay to Breakers marathon producers allowing participants in the San Francisco event to register as nonbinary but initially saying they would not have a separate awards category for them. After a public outcry, the race organizers reversed course and added such awards.

For more information, click here.

Sign up for trans survey

People interested in taking part of the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey can sign a pledge online to do so and receive email updates for when the survey launches later this year. Transgender people age 16 and older are eligible to take part, whether they identify as male, female, or nonbinary.

In 2015, nearly 28,000 people took the U.S. Trans Survey. It was the largest survey of trans people in the country, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The survey's data, covering everything from covering health, employment, income, and criminal justice issues, is used by the media, educators, policymakers, and the general public. It is also a vital resource for data about trans people of color in the U.S.

To sign the pledge to take the 2022 survey, click here.

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