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At­lanta’s an­nual LGBT film fes­ti­val Out On Film has an­nounced “Strike a Pose,” the highly an­tic­i­pated doc­u­men­tary on the lives of Madonna’s Blond Am­bi­tion tour dancers, as its first film. The film is cre­ated by Ester Gould and Rei­jer Zwaa and is ap­prox­i­mately one of 100 films that will be fea­tured in Out On Film 29.

It’s been 25 years since the tal­ented troupe of gay men and one straight burst onto the scene in “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” the doc­u­men­tary that in­tro­duced them to the world and for­ever etched a place in pop cul­ture and the hearts of mil­lions of fans across the globe.

Six dancers ap­pear in “Strike a Pose” - Kevin Stea, Carl­ton Wil­born, Luis Ca­ma­cho, Jose Gu­tierez Xtrav­a­ganza, Salim Gauwloos and Oliver S Crumes III. (One of the orig­i­nal seven, Gabriel Trupin, died from com­pli­ca­tions due to AIDS in 1995 and is rep­re­sented in the film by his mother, Sue Trupin).

“2016 is an ex­cep­tional year for LGBTQ films and ‘Strike a Pose’ is one of the stand­outs,” says Jim Farmer, Out On Film’s fes­ti­val di­rec­tor. “Many of us in the LGBTQ com­mu­nity saw ‘Truth or Dare’ grow­ing up and were in­spired by the out and proud dancers in the film. 25 years later, they are just as vi­tal and charis­matic. I think their sto­ries will res­onate deeply with our au­di­ence.”

Out On Film 29 is sched­uled for Septem­ber 29 – Oc­to­ber 6 at the Mid­town Art Cin­ema. The full sched­ule will be an­nounced ap­prox­i­mately Au­gust 22.

Ful­ton County HIV/AIDS task force un­veils strat­egy to ‘end’ AIDS

There are alarm­ing rates of new HIV/AIDS in­fec­tions in Ful­ton County, and in an on­go­ing ef­fort to com­bat the prob­lem, the Ful­ton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS on June 27 rolled out Phase II of their Strat­egy to End AIDS.

Ful­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers Chair­man John Eaves and Com­mis­sioner Joan Garner cre­ated the Task Force in De­cem­ber 2014. The Task Force, which is com­prised of a num­ber of health pro­fes­sion­als, com­mu­nity advocates and lead­ers in treat­ment and sup­port ser­vices, un­veiled Phase I of their pre­lim­i­nary ob­jec­tives on World AIDS Day on De­cem­ber 1, 2015.

Phase II was un­veiled at the Cen­ter for Civil and Hu­man Rights, where Chair­man Eaves and Com­mis­sioner Garner were joined by Con­gress­man John Lewis, Ful­ton County Health Di­rec­tor Dr. Kath­leen E. Toomey, Ful­ton County HIV Task Force Co-Chairs Dr. Wendy Arm­strong & Daniel Drif­fin, and Dr. Me­lanie Thomp­son, the Task Force’s “Strat­egy to End AIDS” Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor.

Ful­ton County’s rate of new HIV di­ag­noses con­sis­tently re­mains at over 600 per year, more than dou­ble that of San Fran­cisco’s. Gay and bi­sex­ual men make up over two-thirds of those new di­ag­noses, four out of five of them were black and more than half were less than 30 years old ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Ge­or­gia schools re­ceive mixed re­views on in­clu­sive­ness

Col­leges and pub­lic high schools in the Ge­or­gia school sys­tem are re­ceiv­ing mixed re­views on in­clu­sive­ness and their ef­forts to make their cam­puses safe for LGBT stu­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to the AJC, “LGBT ac­tivists say some schools dis­cour­age stu­dents from start­ing al­liance groups with the word ‘gay’ in the name for fear of re­tal­i­a­tion.”

How­ever, “Ken­ne­saw State Univer­sity is lauded by LGBT stu­dents and or­ga­ni­za­tions for cre­at­ing hous­ing specif­i­cally for LGBT stu­dents. LGBT com­mu­nity lead­ers say other pos­i­tives in­clude mul­ti­cul­tural pro­grams for LGBT stu­dents, along with gen­der-neu­tral bath­rooms around cam­puses.”

De­spite the na­tional spotlight on ac­cess to bath­rooms for trans­gen­der peo­ple, in­clud­ing stu­dents, Ge­or­gia’s six largest school dis­tricts do not track the num­ber of trans­gen­der stu­dents in its sys­tem and are not re­quired to do so by law.

Madonna’s ‘Blond Am­bi­tion Tour’ dancers re­unite in new doc­u­men­tary, ‘Strike a Pose’ (Pub­lic­ity photo)

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