MAJOR! filmmakers Annalise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez
WATCH: Gay Heavy Metal, Trans Films, Queer Comics, and Butch Voices

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com October 20 2013 7:25 AM ET

MAJOR! The Story of a One-time Attica Prisoner Turned Legendary Activist

new documentary film by queer filmmaker Annalise Ophelian (Diagnosing Difference) and trans musician StormMiguel Florez, MAJOR! focuses on Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a black transgender woman, former prison inmate, a former  sex worker, an elder, a community leader, and an internationally-recognized human rights activist. From the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion to her current work as Executive Director of the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, she’s worked tirelessly for transgender rights for over 40 years. Known best as "Miss Major," the activist is in her 70s and isn't slowing down. She's also been a big voice in getting folks to understand the disproportionate rates of incarceration, unemployment, homelessness, violence, and HIV that impact transgender communities, something the film will go into as well.. 

 

Biopic on Michael Alago, the Gay Guy Behind Metallica

Michael Alago is the gay music executive responsible for signing Metallica, White Zombie, and others. Filmmaker Drew Stone's biopic tells the uniquely American story of Alago’s journey from humble roots in Brooklyn, into the netherworld of downtown New York’s music and arts scene in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Alago rose from running the Dead Boy’s fan club to becoming a live booker at the legendary Ritz nightclub and then onto a storied A&R career at Elektra Records, Geffen Records and Palm Pictures, where he signed and executive produced acts as diverse as Metallica, White Zombie, Flotsam and Jetsam, PiL, Cyndi Lauper, and Nina Simone.

The film is worth a gander especially for the amazing photos of Alago (who looks like he's 12 years old in his early shots of him with rockers like U2's Bono) and to hear how Alago succeeded professionally as a gay man in a metal music sub-culture known for its perceived homophobia.

 

QU33R, a New Queer Comics Anthology

Last year, Justin Hall edited the amazing compilation, No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, that took readers on a journey from the beginnings of LGBT comics history to the present day.QU33R, from Ignatz-Award-nominated editor Rob Kirby, is an all-new project featuring queer comics legends as well as new talents that picks up where No Straight Lines left off. It features 241 pages of new comics from 33 different contributors — legends and new faces alike. Organizer Zan Christensen says, "Where No Straight Lines set down our history, QU33R shines a light on our future!"


BUTCH Voices Gets Butches Baking?

At the 2013 National Biennial BUTCH Voices Conference, Oakland offered up a city proclamation from Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large; butch fashion designer Saint Harridan celebrated the diversity of masculine-of-center and trans bodies and fashion;  butch-owned Café Gabriela catered; women watched the international award-winning film Stud Life by CampbellX; and keynote speakers CherrÍe Moraga and Jay Toole wowed. BUTCH Voices has been building a masculine-of-center community since 2008.

Since the conference is produced solely through the efforts of an all-volunteer board and a minimal budget, BUTCH Voices is asking fans and supporters to chip in to help cover all of 2013's costs so that the conference continues in the future.

Organizers say: "At the core we are about improving the recognition and respect for masculine-of-center people and their families. This year’s conference proved our commitment by enforcing deeper accessibility; providing safer space to address prevailing issues of racism, transphobia and misogyny within butch circles; and fully utilizing social media to promote daily positive representation of butches, studs, machas, and other masculine-of-center folks. We love the cultural work we do but, despite its extraordinary gains- we currently need your financial support."

Watch these two videos, including highlights and Baking With Butches, to get inspired.

 

Get Trans Bodies, Trans Selves in to Schools and Libraries

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a book and outreach project intended to improve the lives of trans and gender nonconforming people. According to the editors, "the book itself is a resource guide that brings together writing by prominent authors on the broad, multidimensional spectrum of trans and gender nonconforming identity, as well as on health, legal, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more… all for the support of transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender-questioning people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, providers, and others."

It is being published by Oxford University Press in Spring, 2014, but organizers are trying to gather enough money themselves to support a national outreach project that would expand on the publication of the book giving the book at reduced or no cost to individuals unable to pay, to schools, libraries, community centers, and other support services.

 

Help The San Francisco Transgender Film Fest Return to the Roxy

The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival made history as North America’s first transgender film festival in 1997 – and has built community, launched careers, and mentored emerging transgender filmmakers and festivals around the world while screening films that promote the visibility of transgender and gender variant people and challenge mainstream media stereotypes of our communities. 

They need help this year, to pay for the theater rental and tech crew to the tune of $7,500 by Nov. 2. The 12th San Francisco Transgender Film Festival will take place November 8-10.

After selling out each year, the fest is moving back to the famed Roxie Theater, a move that organizers say is "especially important this year – as our community was heartbroken by the December 2012 death of SFTFF co-founder Christopher Lee. Christopher was a pioneering FTM transgender filmmaker, activist and community leader. Christopher made the world’s first feature film starring FTM people of color and the first-ever FTM trans adult films."

Donations to the fest are tax-deductible as well.