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Volume 7 Issue 4 Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016

Coronation XL

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SDUSD’s 'state of LGBTQ'


Local school district’s policies lead the nation Morgan M. Hurley | Editor A twist on Mexican food


just wasn’t going to happen.” Hillary has now written a book about their shared journey (see our story on page 2), which will be released next week. Meanwhile across town, Rancho Bernardo High School freshman Jens Briscoe also has a family who has fully supported his transition to male but has run into problems at school. The 14-year-old told a local TV station that he has known since the second grade that he was a boy, but didn’t choose to come out as trans at school and start using the bathroom and locker room that he identified with until the second semester of this current school year. According to California State Law (AB 1266), Jens had every right to do so, but he said when he did, it was scary and he “knew someone would say something.”

With an audience full of interested parties, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) presented its “LGBTQ+ Update” — a report outlining the progress the district has made with regard to the support and protection of its LGBTQ-identified students — during its regularly scheduled board meeting on Feb. 9. The update was requested by openly gay board trustee Kevin Beiser last December, after previously directing the Superintendent’s [Cindy Marten] staff last spring through a series of motions to implement what he called a “wide variety of comprehensive efforts” to protect all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ. Beiser is also one of nearly 30 members of the 2015-16 LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, formed originally as the Safe Schools Advisory Group, to support a nondiscrimination policy to ensure a healthier

see Transphobic, pg 3

see SDUSD, pg 16

A tale of two families Amidst the attention-grabbing transphobic parents creating a stir across town, Jeff and Hillary Whittington (shown here with Ryland, left, and Brynley) publish a book that shows how caring for a trans child is really done. (Photo by Vikki Dinh)

Transphobic parents in Poway go up against a bastion of support Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Laughter and turmoil on stage


A tax break from Toni


San Diego has had a great deal of national attention when it comes to transgender children in the past few years. We’ve struggled together as a community when tragedy has hit, as it did four times last year when four area trans teens — Sage David, Taylor Alesana, Kyler Prescott and Emmett Castle — took their lives. We have also rejoiced together as a community when presented with the humble story of the Whittingtons, the San Diego family shown above. Jeff and Hillary Whittington immediately embraced their trans son Ryland, who had begun telling them he was a boy as soon as he could speak. Their alternative was to face the fears of a similar tragedy and as Jeff has said, “That

Honoring the heroines of the 80s AIDS crisis Founders of Mama’s Kitchen, Christie’s Place, Special Delivery, the ‘Blood Sisters’ and more By Margie M. Palmer

SDGMC's Oscar bash!

Index Community.................4 News Briefs..................5 Opinion...................6 LGBT Books................13 Puzzle................14

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The Lambda Archives has announced they’ll be taking a slightly different approach to their “Heroes, Pioneers and Trailblazers” gala this year. Redubbed “Heroines, Pioneers and Trailblazers: San Diego Women’s Response to Early HIV/AIDS,” the 2016 event will be a brunch held March 19 and it will honor 11 women credited with doing extraordinary things to help the local gay male community during the height of the AIDS crisis that took place in the 1980s. One highlight of this year’s event will focus on the San Diego

“Blood Sisters,” a group of primarily lesbian women who donated blood to those in need when gay men were barred from doing so. “We knew the stor y of the Blood Sisters was out there and we knew we needed to tell this stor y,” said Lambda Archives President Maureen Steiner. “During the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis, so many gay men desperately needed blood transfusions but gay men as a whole were not allowed to donate blood. It didn’t matter that their community desperately needed it.” Not only did these San Diego women step up, she noted, they did so in droves. “The lesbian community began looking into organizing women who could donate blood for their brothers; it started with a few,

The Blood Sisters began organizing drives at the San Diego Blood Bank for their gay brothers starting in 1983. (Courtesy Lambda Archives) then there were a half dozen and by the end, more than 200 pints of blood were donated by a loose band that called themselves the Blood Sisters,” Steiner said. “You really can’t quantify that contribution but you can talk about the impact that in my estimation,

really pulled the LGBT community together,” she said, noting that she’s unsure if there even was a community before that time. “You had some gay men and you had some lesbians but they

see Heroines, pg 13



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3,

‘No strings attached’ Local couple documents their path to parenting a transgender child By Kit-Bacon Gressitt Forty-one percent of transgender respondents to a national survey — conducted by the Williams Institute’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at UC Los Angeles — reported having attempted suicide. That’s almost 10 times the rate of the overall U.S. population. But statistics are just that, numbers — data without emotion or character — unless you have a personal connection. Consider this: San Diego County lost four transgender or gender-nonconforming children to suicide in 2015; four that we know of: Sage David, Taylor Alesana, Kyler Prescott and Emmett Castle. This makes the 41 percent disturbing, perhaps frightening, and devastating for those who loved them. For one local mother of a transgender child, it was motivating. Perhaps more than anything else, that 41 percent drove Hillary Whittington, a San Diego County

resident, to write “Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached” (William Morrow, Feb. 23, 2016). Part memoir, part instructive lessons, “Raising Ryland” tells her family’s story of her son’s transition from female to male. “Just even reading about [the suicides], it just kills me,” Whittington said in a recent interview. “I know we’re so lucky. A lot of people have attempted suicide. They’ve been through so much — even I can’t understand what it means to be transgender — but I can do my best to try to understand. I’ve read memoirs and talked to a lot of [transgen [transgender] people and I have friends, but I don’t know what it’s like for them.” Yet Whittington does know much more than most par parents. She has to — for Ryland’s sake. She’s become a passionate advocate for her son and an ally of the transgender community, yet her book speaks only for Ryland, their family, and herself. It recounts her doubts, familial conflicts, the turmoil of Ryland’s gradual revelation and her fears for him. Born with the body of a girl and the heart and mind of a boy, Ryland eventually communicated this to his family explicitly. When they were able to accept it, they

helped him to begin transitioning, with a boy’s haircut and all the accouterments of a playful male child. In May of 2014, the Whittingtons posted a video on YouTube sharing their stor y, with the hope of enlightening others. Then they unveiled the poignant video in front of 1,100 attendees at The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s annual Har vey Milk Diversity Breakfast, where the family received its “Inspiration Award,” and 6-year-old Ryland also spoke. There wasn’t a dr y eye in the room. Now 8, Ryland is well loved and admired. But it is what goes on outside accepting circles that puts transgender children most at risk, from unspoken rejection to outright bullying. “People just don’t understand,” Whittington said. “There’s a lot of curiosity about it, a lot of fear — they fear what they don’t understand. I’m sure from the outside it seems like this crazy thing that we did [allowing Ryland to transition at his age] — ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on inside that home?’ — just a huge curiosity by the average family that hasn’t been through it. But I think they do want to understand it. We’re all curious about things we don’t know. Hopefully, it’s for the right reasons. If we don’t expose the truth, people will never understand.” Whittington strove to help people better understand, but she struggled with the exposure Ryland and the family had already

Hillary Whittington hopes the book about her family’s journey with Ryland (second from left) will help other parents. (Photo by Vikki Dinh) received. While queries about reality television shows poured in — in response to their video — she wanted to protect Ryland from that level of scrutiny; to educate, not satisfy undue or hostile curiosity. “As far as our family was concerned, I felt a book was the way that I wanted to explain things, the platform that I thought was more educational, the least invasive,” she said. “Ryland just wants to be a kid. I want to protect him from what’s going on in the world.” And Whittington knows in order to protect Ryland, change is essential. “I want people to read my book who wouldn’t typically pick up a book about an LGBT topic,” she said. “I’m actually hoping that Bill O’Reilly reads my book and that some of the people who typically wouldn’t care to understand this, get a little glimpse into my world; what it’s like in my shoes. “I also want trans parents to read the book, because I don’t want them to feel that they’re alone. But I really hope for the big-

ger majority, because that’s what’s going to make change. There will be people who will criticize it, but hopefully I can change a couple minds with this book.” Hillary Whittington will be appearing at Warwick’s Books, 7812 Girard Ave., in La Jolla, on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. with “Raising Ryland.” To view the Whittington’s personal video about Ryland’s life, visit The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, ages 13 to 24. Call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386 or visit Editor’s Note: a version of this article first ran on —Kit-Bacon Gressitt writes commentary and essays on her blog, “Excuse Me, I’m Writing,” and formerly wrote for the North County Times. She can be reached at


TRANSPHOBIC And someone did. On Jan. 30, Holly Stuart Franz, the parent of another RBHS student, posted a lengthy commentary on her Facebook page announcing that her son, Jonathan, was affected by Jens’ decision to use the boys locker room, and would be speaking out at the next Poway Unified School District (PUSD) board meeting, on Feb. 9. Franz also itemized four “requests” to abide by the state law and accommodate students like her son, who have to deal with an “awkward position.” Unfortunately her requests all boiled down to creating a separate space for trans children. Next, instead of reaching out to school officials, Franz contacted the local Fox News station and pleaded her case in advance of the board meeting. This made the situation an issue on a much larger scale and it equated to potentially outing Jens Briscoe on a national level. Local LGBT community organizations quickly rallied to ensure there would be plenty of support at the Feb. 9 meeting. Max Disposti, executive director of the North County LGBT Resource Center, attended the meeting along with Kathie Moehlig, executive director of TransFamily Support Services, and many others. While Franz had about 20-25 supporters at the meeting, Disposti said there were more than 300 in attendance to support Jens and the rights of transgender children, a clear show of solidarity not only from the local LGBT community, but the school and district as well. “As a 64-year-old trans woman, I never thought I’d see the day that my trans siblings would be actively engaged in a struggle for our civil rights,” said Meredith Vezina, owner of “And it was incredibly gratifying to see so many allies standing with us at the PUSD board meeting. In my day, back in the early 1970s when I transitioned, we changed our gender markers, had sex reassignment surgery if we could afford to and blended in with society as best we could. We did our best to put the rest of the world at ease, so they would not be uncomfortable with our mere presence. But we paid a high price for it in terms of self-respect. “I found the atmosphere at the board meeting electric,” Vezina continued. “Before the meeting, high school kids, parents and supporters on both sides of this issue were engaged in passionate conversations. It was surreal and empowering to see young people respectfully educating middle-aged adults about the law.” Disposti said PUSD Superintendent John Collins stipulated in his opening remarks that AB 1266 is the law, that they are in contact

with the state of California and the Transgender Law Center, and that they’re not going to out transgender kids because of other people’s discomfort. Collins also called for no namecalling during remarks, requested a civil discussion, and said that the board would be making “no promises” at the meeting. Though Disposti felt the board could have extended the open debate time by about 30 minutes to accommodate a greater number of speakers, he felt the 10 (six in support of AB 1266 rights, four against) chosen were a good cross section of speakers. Those in support of Jens included three gay RBHS students; the mother of a straight RBHS student, who shares the same P.E. class with Jens; a local, renowned gender therapist; and Disposti — who said he had only come to show support and preferred that local students be allowed to express themselves, but his name had been called at random. When he took to the podium, he said he provided statistics that support the need to provide a safe learning environment for trans children. Franz — whom Disposti said pushed a religious agenda throughout her remarks and whose son used religion as his reason for his discomfort with Jens — said she felt “victimized” since coming forward and had received death threats. After the 10 speakers addressed the board, the meeting ended on a positive note, with Collins calling for a follow-up on the issue Friday, Feb. 12. However, Disposti said those in support of Franz verbally accosted him in the parking lot. “They were so angry that the meeting didn’t go the way they wanted and that the majority of the people there supported transgender youth,” he said. “So they were trying to pick a fight outside.” “While I appreciated the activists and professionals making their case, it was the passionate support from local parents and students that several days later still moves me,” Vezina said. “They made me feel it is OK to be myself. I was proud to be transgender. For one night, I was with the majority and it made this old trans woman feel really good. I know that this is only the beginning and there is a long difficult road ahead. But for that night I knew we were making histor y.” One of the reasons school districts are getting into trouble, Disposti said, is that they are implementing the law without training their faculty and equipping them to address issues as soon as they come up. He and his staff have been training the Oceanside School District with what he calls a “LGBT competency training,” with great success. “I brought [PUSD] the material [Feb. 12] and they committed right away to have us do the training in the near future,” he said. “We all

Holly Stuart Franz (right) talks to a reporter after the PUSD meeting. (Image by

felt this was a genuine conversation, we were able to really share with all those present the challenges of our LGBT population, how they are underserved and the role of school educators in making sure they are not left out. They asked, and asked, and asked, and they were very impressed and thankful for our presence. “I can tell you we are very pleased with the way the district, school board and RB High School have handled this from day one,” Moehlig said after the meeting. “We believe the district will be making the right choice if they get the entire PUSD staff trained and knowledgeable to make all K12 campuses safe space for our trans and all LGBTQ students” —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016

A full house at the Poway Unified School District board meeting Feb. 9 showed overwhelming support for the rights of trans children. (Images by



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


HIV/AIDS in the early days Out of the Archives Walter G. Meyer On Jan. 25, the most recent installment of “Out at the Archives” focused on HIV/AIDS in San Diego County in the earliest days of infection and detection. Though the subject is grim, the capacity audience in the Diversionary Theatre found some humor amidst the tears. The evening was moderator by Lambda Archives board member Steve Wrobeski and included Bridget Wilson, Terry Cunningham, and Cheryl Clark. Steve and Terry are retired social workers who dealt with hundreds, maybe thousands of AIDS cases; Bridget was a nurse for Dr. Brad Truax, one of the first physicians in the area to treat patients with HIV/AIDS; and Cheryl Clark was the preeminent local journalist reporting on HIV, AIDS, and re-

lated issues at the time. Cheryl still writes today on AIDS and related science. Local actor Marcus Newman lit a remembrance candle as he read the names and notes from an “AIDS notebook” found in our collections. Before the knowledgeable and impassioned panelists recalled the days of struggle, everyone joined in a speaking the names of loved ones lost. Following the fascinating looks back, Nicole Murray Ramirez presented Cheryl Clark with the long over-due Cleve Jones HIV/AIDS Leadership Award to acknowledge her early accurate, insightful, and compassionate coverage. “The panel was very interesting and helped a youngin’ like me get a better sense of how things were in early-1980s gay San Diego,” said Lambda Archives board member Jeff Graves. “I was horrified to hear about the gray ‘walking dead’ in Hillcrest at that time — how horrible! I’m amazed by the sense

of community, solidarity, and how people managed to stick together even if it meant using dark humor.” On other fronts, Lambda Archives is working with the San Diego Unified School District as a resource for school Gay/Straight Alliance groups and teachers who want to present LGBT history. We had the first of what are sure to be more meetings with the school district and their new emphasis in this area. And we have an exhibit currently hanging at the Archives of student artwork and historic antiLGBT politics. (See Vol. 7, Issue 3 of this publication for details.) We wish to thank the California Institute of Contemporary Arts (CICA) for its critical, invaluable encouragement and support for the last five years. The CICA recently presented us with a check for $25,000 towards our media digitization projects. We are so grateful to the CICA not only for initiating and sustaining these efforts, but for always making us feel that we are “doing the right thing.” Another fascinating project currently underway in San Diego is based on Balboa Park (top, l to r) Head Archivist Jen LaBarbera, President Maureen Steiner, archivist Ken Selnick — and and is called “Parkehanding them a check — CICA President Tom Reise. (Photo by Walter Meyer); (bottom) women wait ology.” The segment their turn at the San Diego Blood Bank in the early days of the AIDS crisis. (Courtesy Lambda Archives) focusing on the history of the “Fruit Loop” is noon at the San Diego Women’s deep experience in San Diego what brings it to our doors. Of Club. We are thrilled to announce LGBT activism and donate some course, we referred Nicole Murray that our featured speaker will be photos. She began helping us Ramirez and a few others to the former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. identify people and places in some artists creating this project and the of the similar photos in our collecresulting interviews were priceless. Jocelyn Elders. Tickets are available through the link on our web tions. She had such a good time Speaking of interviews, we site at or by seeing old friends on the trip down continue our strong program to calling us at 619-260-1522. For more memory lane that now she’s comrecord (on video, as many interinformation, see the cover story in ing in every week to help label and views with community members as this edition of Gay San Diego. process photos. possible). Steve Wrobeleski is doSo you want a cheaper and less Frank Stefano is a past board ing a tremendous job — especially serious event? Come to the Center member who keeps tabs on what’s now with the women who stepped on Wednesday March 2 at 6 p.m. going on – and what’s going wrong forward to reach out a hand to We are partnering with The Center – at Lambda Archives. Frank is those in need in those early days of for “Guys, Games & Grub,” the working overtime assisting with HIV/AIDS. The women — lesbian, monthly board game event, which planning for our March brunch funtrans and straight — receiving features John Lockhart’s popular draiser and even pitched in to help long overdue credit, are 11 women Team Trivia. We’ll have some hiswith setup and breakdown for the from our local community: Wendy torical trivia for you and some very recent Out at the Archives event. Sue Biegeleisen, Maria Galletta, Ruth Henricks, Nicolette Ibarra, special prizes along with pizza, There are so many ways you can Susan Jester, Laurie Leonard, Irene beer, wine and soda. Donations are help. While donations of “treasure” Milton, Carole Norman, Barbara requested at the door. are always welcome, we would love Peabody, Miriam Thompson Slater, This month, we’d like to single to have your skills on any of our and Barbara Vick. out a few volunteers for their help event committees, on-going tasks Be sure to join us in honoring at Lambda Archives: Wendy Sue such as data entry, general cleaning, these magnificent women with Biegeleisen and Frank Stefano. and collections processing. Whata gala brunch on March 19, at Wendy Sue came in to share her ever your passion, we can help you fill it here at the Archives. —Walter G. Meyer is the author of the critically acclaimed gay novel “Rounding Third,” a regular contributor to Gay San Diego, and the manager of Lambda Archives. Reach him at manager.lambda.archives@ — Lambda Archives of San Diego President Maureen Steiner contributed to this report.t


How to have a second date Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel I know that dating may seem to be passé, but whether you call it hanging out, “Netflix and chillin’,” or dating, it’s pretty much the same thing. Something I hear over and over from my single clients is, “How do I get to know a potential partner?” One client put it more succinctly: “Once I meet someone I like, how do I get to have a second date?” In other words, “How can I help our first date go so well that both of us want to see each other again?” Here are a few ideas: •Be willing to listen. Some of us get so ner vous that we blab on and on. Be aware of how much you’re talking. Remind yourself to listen. •Notice your insecurities, but don’t fight them too much. If you’re shy, don’t go to the opposite extreme; just be your shy self, only a little more forthcoming than usual. •Overconfidence is usually a cover-up for feeling not good enough. Be brave and let yourself be real. Remind yourself, “I am good enough just as I am.” You don’t need to be 10 pounds thinner or three inches taller. You’re just fine as you are. •Be interested in your date. Ask them questions. Most of us like to be asked about ourselves. Plus, don’t you want to learn who this person is? •Be clear about lust and love. You may lust after their body, which is fine, but don’t confuse it with love. If you want to have sex on the first date, know that this is about your bodies, not your emotions (heart) or thoughts (brain). Now, let’s break down your date into three parts, look at the challenges each holds and see how you can give them your best shot. The initial meeting This is often the most difficult part of a date; you don’t really know them and vice-versa. You’ve seen their online photos, but the real person may look different; sometimes, VERY different. If this person has knowingly deceived you, you have a right to be unhappy, e.g., if this woman had an amazing body on OKCupid but is almost unrecognizable in person, that’s deception. If you’ve been deceived, decide before you sit down to coffee or food whether you want to hang in and see what happens, or you prefer to call it off before the date gets going. It’s your call. If they look like their photos and the conversation is flowing well, enjoy it. If talking is awkward, tr y changing the subject to something easier and see if things improve. It takes a while for most of us to find a “rhythm” with someone new. Give them (and yourself) a chance to connect. Tr y to keep your judgmental mind as muted as possible. The middle of the date This is a time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling about this person? Is it relaxing and easy to be with them, or tense and difficult? If things are a bit rocky, monitor your anxiety. If you like him/ her but are afraid they’re not into

you, don’t jump to conclusions. Most of us are not very good at mind reading and shy people are often misjudged as aloof or bored. If you don’t care for this person at all — and that is cr ystal clear to you — this is when you might cut it short. If you’re meeting for coffee or a drink, you can finish your drink and say, “I don’t think it’s a good match, but thank you for meeting me.” If you’re having a meal and are “stuck,” you need to wait it out, as graciously as possible. The ending For some people, this means hooking up. For others, it means a handshake, hug or kiss. Your gestures could say, “I like you a lot,” or “goodbye forever.” Avoid extremes — don’t be overly complimentary or distant. Be friendly and kind, whether you like them or not. Eventually, we’re all the rejected and the rejectors, so be classy about it. Regardless of the outcome, you gave it your best shot and you can feel good about how you handled it. You were brave, took a chance and put yourself out there, honestly and respectfully. That’s what matters most. Now, about that second date … —Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016



On Feb. 24, FilmOut San Diego will present “My Beautiful Launderette” in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Stephen Frears film’s release. The special screening is the second film the local nonprofit has hosted in the month of February, the first being “Victor, Victoria” on Feb. 10. Frears’ classic British social comedy stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a young and street-wise gay man and his unexpected relationship with a young Pakistani man, played by Gordon Warnecke, who opens an upscale laundromat in a working class South London neighborhood to gain pride from his parents. Though comedic in nature, the uncommon love story between the two men in Hanif Kureishi’s “richly layered script” also addresses homophobia, sociopolitical marginalization and racism during the often troubled times when Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of England. FilmOut San Diego presents monthly screenings throughout the year in support of its annual LGBT Film Festival, which will take place June 3 – 5 at Observatory North Park (formerly the Birch North Park Theatre). “My Beautiful Launderette” screens Wednesday, Feb. 24. The 90-minute film will start at 7 p.m., at Landmark Hillcrest Cinema, located at 3965 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest. For more information, visit

Members from 11 nonprofits honored gather together for a photo at the SDHDF’s HIV Funding Collaborative luncheon. (Photo by Big Mike)

SDHDF DONATES MORE THAN $215K TO LOCAL CHARITIES The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF), which entered its 20th year of philanthropy in 2016, hosted a luncheon Jan. 29 to honor 11 local nonprofits that offer HIV/AIDS programs and services. Through the SDHDF’s grant program, the HIV Funding Collaborative (HFC), the organization presented checks totaling $215,000 worth of critical funds to assist and support their important work. “San Diego boasts a wonderful array of culturally and gender-sensitive HIV programming,” said Ian Morton, SDHDF’s senior programs analyst, in a statement. “Whether preventing or treating HIV, it is imperative that we have programs that reflect the diversity and needs of individual San Diegans. Through the HIV Funding Collaborative, we are able to support advocacy programs with childcare options and syringe exchange programs, which can benefit communities impacted by addiction while keeping dirty needles out of playgrounds, and legal services for individuals dealing with employment or housing discrimination.” The following organizations were honored at the luncheon, and those given $20,000 included: Being Alive, to support their general funding program; Christie’s Place, to fund their integrated HIV

services for families, women and children; Family Health Center San Diego, in support of their Safe Point syringe exchange; Mama’s Kitchen, to fund their AIDS nutrition program and pantry service; North County LGBTQ Community Center, for their HIV/AIDS project; San Diego Volunteer Lawyer’s Program, for their HIV/AIDS legal services project; San Ysidro Health Centers, for their Our Place and CASA programs; Stepping Stone, for programs supported by their general fund; and Vista Community Clinic, for a program that provides PrEP to needy North County populations. Fraternity House was given $15,750 to support their Mental Health, Education, Nutrition and Healthy Direction (MEND) project; and San Diego Youth Services were given $19,993 to support their Peer Education Empowerment Program (PEEP). Since its inception in 2009, SDHDF has donated more than $1.6 million through the HFC program, and it is considered one of the largest HIV/AIDS funding vehicles in the region. For more information about SDHSF, visit them at, or follow them on Facebook (San Diego Human Dignity Foundation) or Twitter at @sdhdf.

see Briefs, pg 15



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016

Letters Feedback about the paper Just a quick note to say how great the newspaper looks. The format makes it easy to read, as well as being visually appealing. Congrats to you. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re a great woman and a great symbol for the women’s community. —Chris Allen, via email

Friends of ‘The Stone’ [Ref: “They keep coming back,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at jso4dtw] This is a great article, thank you for the good news about Stepping Stone and keeping the community informed about such a great and vital agency. Very informative article … applause to you and Gay San Diego! —Wayne Back, via Thank you for reminding everyone how valuable Stepping Stone is to the LGBT community in San Diego. Stepping Stone saves lives — please give what you can to this amazing organization. —Chris Thomas, via An ongoing honor to be part of the Stepping Stone family. A wonderfully comprehensive article — building bridges in the community! —Alice Henry-Taylor, via

Guest Editorial

Honoring the legacy of Brad Truax By Councilmember Todd Gloria Dr. Brad Truax was a trailblazing leader for San Diego’s LGBT community. His hard work helped our community begin to build the political power that would serve as the foundation for the many victories for equality we have celebrated over the last three decades. As a medical doctor, he played a key role in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, advocating for resources to combat the crisis up until his own death from AIDS-related complications in 1988. In response to his contributions and in an effort to honor his work, a city-owned house in Bankers Hill, built in 1910, was named for Dr. Truax. For several years, the house served as a hospice for AIDS patients and was one of the few locations they could get the care they needed. Today, the house, located at 2513 Union St., has been vacant for years and fallen into disrepair. Restoration of the building is estimated to cost upwards of $1 million according to a report presented by city staff at a recent committee hearing. Due to funding limitations, it is unlikely the city would prioritize fixing the house over other competing needs like public safety and road repair. For this reason, city staff has recommended selling the house. The proposed sale of the building has generated a lot of public discussion and suggestions focused on various community goals. Some EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ken Williams, x102 Jeff Clemetson, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Toni G. Atkins Charlene Baldridge Big Mike Kit-Bacon Gressitt Michael Kimmel Walter G. Meyer Margie M. Palmer Frank Sabatini Jr. Katrina Young WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich

see the property as a potential site for a park or improved public access to nearby Maple Canyon. Some see historic value in the building and want the house preserved and restored. Others want to ensure the city continues to recognize and honor Dr. Truax and the many San Diegans we have lost to AIDS. I believe that continuing to allow the house to deteriorate is unacceptable but that there is a way we can satisfy many of the interests expressed by community members. After listening to public comments at a recent City Council committee meeting, I laid out a vision to move forward that was unanimously supported by my colleagues. First, I directed city staff to perform a historic survey of the house prior to selling the property. This action will ensure that any historic elements are preserved and that the city receives a fair price for the parcel.  Second, working with the Mayor’s Office, I asked that any sale proceeds be kept in the Uptown community for the construction of additional park space. The Truax House property is not suitable for a public park. It does not provide direct access to Maple Canyon, has a number of topographical challenges, and its lack of visibility from the street presents public safety concerns. We have identified up to five proposed parks in the immediate area that could benefit from funding from the sale of the parcel. One of these future parks, located at West Maple and Albatross EDITORIAL INTERNS Joseph Ciolino Tori Hahn LAYOUT ARTIST Suzanne Dzialo

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DISTRIBUTION Gay San Diego is distributed free every other Friday of the month. COPYRIGHT 2016. All rights reserved.

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PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

By far, the most important public health institution serving the San Diego LGBT community. —Anthony Gioffree, via

Truax House on Union Street (Photo by Walt Meyer) streets, could provide much needed direct access to Maple Canyon. Finally, I proposed the city name one of these new parks for Dr. Truax and make it the home of the San Diego AIDS Memorial. This would create a community asset that would provide a place for reflection and be capable of hosting annual events like World AIDS Day. With the help of a local task force that is already raising money for an AIDS memorial, we could ensure this 21st-century tribute to Dr. Truax and the more than 7,600 San Diegans who have died of AIDS will be maintained in perpetuity.  The entire City Council will vote soon on whether to sell the Truax House. We must end the status quo that has allowed the house to deteriorate to a condition that is unworthy of its namesake. Let’s take action to create needed park space for Bankers Hill and build a fitting tribute to our community’s history.  —Todd Gloria represents District 3, which includes Hillcrest and Bankers Hill, on the San Diego City Council.t

Thank you for a wonderful article on this amazing organization. Hugs and Candi kisses … —Candi Samples, via So beautifully written. Thank you so much. We appreciate you so much!! —Mike Seymour, via

Straights in gay bars [Ref: “Guest Editorial: Survey: straight behavior in gay bars,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at z34sbe7] This is an extremely wellwritten editorial about a very tricky subject. Well done! Thanks for presenting it in an objective manner, showing more than one point of view. Your editorial has given me a lot to think about. —Michael Kimmel, via As a straight woman, I have frequented gay establishments

OPINIONS/LETTERS: Gay San Diego encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff.

SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email.

see Letters, pg 12

Business Improvement Association

Gay San Diego 123 Camino de la Reina, Suite 202 East San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 519-7775 Twitter @GaySD



#WeAllMatter Continuing the conversation about bars Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Last issue, local activist Eddie Reynoso wrote an OpEd seeking feedback to his questions about how — in this ever-evolving world of growing LGBT acceptance — we think the increasing number of straight people patronizing gay bars should behave. He also took it a step further and asked how we should we treat them. The very same night that opinion piece was published in the LGBT newspaper that I am the editor of, I joined three gay male friends at a local gay bar. It was anything but typical. In an ironic twist of fate, while there, I experienced both sexism and ageism by the bar’s owner. But before I share the name of the bar, let’s add some historical context. I’ve lived in San Diego and been going to bars that cater to its LGBT community since 1987. In the 1990s (and again in the 2000s), I played in the “gay” San Diego Pool League. Those first several years I played for a team sponsored by The Loft — a bar that is typically known as a “men’s bar” — on a team made up entirely of women. At that time, women only had two and never more than three bars in operation, compared to nearly 20 bars that men frequented, and the pool league played at just about every one of them, including Cheers, Numbers, Bourbon Street, #1 Fifth Avenue, Shooters (now True North), Wolfs (now Bluefoot) and The Eagle, among many others. While there was a certain amount of discomfort for us at a couple of the bars, which two decades ago were not unlike the movie “Cruising,” we were never mistreated during pool nights, especially by our hosts at The Loft, who welcomed us with open arms at all times (and still do). There was, however, a wellknown bar owner back then (Shooters, Bourbon Street, Pecs) who — despite (or maybe because of) the fact he owned Pecs when it was a lesbian bar called Bellas — was even better known for his disdain for lesbians. I found this out first-hand when I, along with a group of friends, went to Shooters one Sunday afternoon

for pool practice. After one and a half hours of minding our own business, sequestered in a side room off the main bar, playing pool and drinking plenty of beer, we were literally kicked out by this bar owner and he did not mince words explaining why. We subsequently found out that he had a standing rule at each of his bars to “underserve and under-pour” women, specifically so their patronage did not become a habit. This standing discourse permeated our community, curiously at a time when women were doing whatever they could to help the men in our community who were still dying from AIDS. I’m sure it also impacted how some men were treated when they wandered into our bars, too, since I remember a man suing The Flame for maltreatment. The result of that lawsuit was the launch of the popular “Men’s Night” on Tuesdays and eventually, women’s nights started popping up at men’s bars, as well. In the 2000s I returned to the pool league, playing for Patti’s Front Office, a Mission Gorge bar that was owned by a lesbian but incredibly mixed in its clientele, and again rotated through the San Diego LGBT bar scene. Since those early days, with both male and female gay friends in tow or even on my own, I’ve frequented just about every bar in this city on a number of occasions. I have always enjoyed dropping into The Hole; was a frequent patron of Joe Martinez’ shift at Numbers; loved stopping into the piano bar at Park Manor; spent a great deal of time and money on the back patio at The Caliph; was a Friday night regular at the former Martinis; played in the darts league for #1 Fifth Avenue and often started my Sundays on their patio; ate breakfast every Sunday for years at the old Redwing; and have never thought twice about walking into The Eagle when escorted by a gay male friend or two … that is, until Feb. 5. That Friday night, nearly 25 years after being kicked out of Shooters, the owner of The Eagle singled me out and asked one of my friends to escort me out of his bar. Granted, The Eagle is known as a men’s leather/fetish bar and it was indeed a Friday night and I am a lesbian; however, there is plenty of context here. As many do on a Friday night, my three friends and I did some



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bar-hopping, and while doing so, remembered it was Coronation weekend and one of us suggested going to The Eagle. I knew the potential crowds might make it tough to get a drink, so I begged off. Two in our group went, while another friend (whom I’ll call “George” and who is an extremely well-known personality within the local LGBT community) accompanied me elsewhere. About 20 minutes later we were texted: “It’s not crowded and there are women here.” Since “George” and I had encountered lines and closures at other area bars, we decided to meet them there. As I’ve stated, this was not my first rodeo at The Eagle. I’ve been there half a dozen times in the last five or six years, and dozens of times before then. The man working the door did not turn me away. As I made my way to the other side of the bar where a seat was being held for me, I passed three other women. Three younger women. I asked for and was served a beer at the bar. Before I could take a sip, it happened. The owner walked up to “George” and said this: “Who is this, your mother?” He pointed at my face, at which time I noticed we were probably about the same age. George, visibly shocked, replied in the negative. “Well we don’t like women in here,” the owner then said, before walking away. After shouting a few things out loud about the absurdity of the owner’s behavior, George grabbed me by the hand and we left. A couple minutes later, our other two friends — both also very prominent members of the local LGBT community — followed. They, too, had raised quite a ruckus before leaving behind their full pitchers of newly purchased beer.

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016 As we walked to our car and on our way to another bar that accepted us unconditionally, my three friends were, understandably, up in arms over this. Though each of them had spent good money that just went to waste, they were more upset at the discrimination I had experienced. Is this how, in 2016, when we demand equality from the rest of the world, that we treat members of our own community? I think not, but I promise you, I will never step foot


within that establishment again. The small stab at my selfesteem only lasted temporarily, however, as it was redeemed the following night when I sat front and center at the head VIP table at Coronation XLIV, as the personal guest of Empress Nicole the Great, Queen Mother of the Americas. The irony is not lost on me. I’m interested in all responses. —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at


In our second installment of the series about Stepping Stone, we got the address of this important nonprofit incorrect in the first paragraph of the story. That paragraph should have read: For four decades, Stepping Stone — the “little rehab that could” located at 3767 Central Ave., in City Heights — has served as a drug and alcohol recovery oasis for the LGBT community. After being alerted by staff and readers, we immediately corrected it online, but we regret the error in the newspaper.


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016



doctor’s orders Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. When a friend suggested meeting for a spontaneous dinner recently, we ended up at Casa Adams, a homey Mexican restaurant in Normal Heights that was on my radar for a while since hearing the food features some unusual twists. My friend arrived ahead of me. She had already polished off a basket of table chips and was starting on a fresh margarita after sending back the original one, which she said was too sweet. “Holy (expletive!),” I blurted after taking a sip of the “fixed” version. It was pure tequila with barely a hint of syrup or citrus. “Ah, what the heck. I’m going to live it up before my medical appointment tomorrow morning,” she said, referring lightheartedly to a certain non-emergency endoscopic examination recommended to people over 50 years old, the one that requires fasting for a half day or so before the procedure. “Umm, what time is your cut off for eating?” I asked skeptically, right after we placed our orders and started delving into a refill of chips. “Ten o’clock tonight I think, but actually I’m not sure,” she replied while calling up the specific instructions on her iPhone. “Oh my god, I was supposed to switch to liquids-only starting at noon today! I had spaghetti for lunch and now alcohol, chips and salsa.” At the point of no return, she begrudgingly rescheduled the appointment for a later date while obliterating the high-powered margarita. Pretty much everything we consumed thereafter was out of the ordinary. From the starters list, for example, the BBQ pork quesadilla struck us more as a primer to ribs and brisket rather than to burritos and enchiladas. The tangy pulled pork tucked inside was accented with allAmerican barbecue sauce as well as sautéed mushrooms, which didn’t compliment or detract from

the meat. There was nothing Mexican about the dish, other than a couple plops of guacamole and sour cream on the plate, both of which paired weirdly to the quesadilla. But then again, this is a place where you’ll find allspice in the enchilada sauce, eggplant in tacos, and chipotle cream sauce where you least expect it. Skipping over full entrées such as Jalisco-style New York steak, fajitas, shrimp rancheros, carnitas plates and others, I chose the broiled chicken burrito from the a la carte menu. “That sounds terrible,” my friend exclaimed, assuming that flame-grilled poultry (opposed to shredded or marinated) would somehow skew the flavor of a classic chicken burrito. It didn’t. The cubed breast meat was appealing — slightly charred and wonderfully tender. What jangled the filling was the super-creamy chipotle sauce mixed with melted shredded cheese. Even when applying bright-tasting house-made red salsa to the quesa quesadilla, with the hope of balancing it with some acidity, it remained too heavy to finish. My friend ordered an enchilada filled with cheese and shredded chicken, plus a rolled beef taco that was plumper than most and supposedly made to order. The latter was fresh and crispy, although the beef was devoid of seasonings and needed some love from the table salsa. We immediately agreed the enchilada sauce tasted different from all others, guessing at first it was due to cinnamon in the recipe. Our waiter, Mario, shook his head ‘no’ when we asked. He’s also the owner. When we threw out the possibility of allspice, he gestured affirmatively, as if to demonstrate that he never verbally or voluntarily gives away the recipe secrets, all of which originate from his mother, a native of Leon Guanajuato, Mexico. I enjoyed the allspice in the brownish-colored sauce because it provided an added, compat-

(top to bottom) BBQ pork and mushroom quesadilla; a chicken enchilada; a rolled beef taco; a well-stuffed, broiled chicken burrito (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.) ible dimension to the cheese and chicken. Most other enchilada sauces dominate mainly with chili powder. My companion wasn’t so nuts about it, indicating that the meal overall wasn’t one she’d prefer if accidentally dining again on the night before a medical procedure. Though if I were to return anytime soon, I’d look to other dishes such as the lobster burrito, carnitas torta or the chile Colorado plate, to see what curious ingredients

might show up in those recipes, and whether they offer a polite departure from the norm. As for the margaritas, I’ll gladly drink one or two, but only with the support of Lyft getting me home. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at

Casa Adams 3038 Adams Ave. (Normal Heights) 619-284-2272 Prices: Soups, salads and appetizers, $3.35 to $11.95; combination plates, $9.95 to $10.35; entrees, $10.15 to $19.95; a la carte items, $3.15 to $10.15


Farewell to Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge in North Park, which recently closed after serving as a community gathering spot and cultural hub for artists, writers and musicians since 1997. Owner Claire Magner reportedly shuttered the business because of financial losses. Magner also owns the adjacent Sunset Temple, off Kansas Street, which will remain open for rental events. 2906 University Ave. Master Chef Loren Villalobos, who owns Tapas Picasso Restaurante in Hillcrest with her husband, David Alsman, said they are looking to move the Spanish-style restaurant as soon as possible to another location, preferably within the neighborhood or to North Park. The couple has operated the restaurant for 25 years. Villalobos cites conflicts with the landlord, Ranpac Property Management, as reason for taking the business elsewhere. “They wanted us to do renovations and they didn’t give us the opportunity to negotiate,” she said. “They aren’t renewing our lease, so I have to let it go.” Property manager Roy Salameh acknowledges that Ranpac asked Villalobos and her husband to make unspecified upgrades to the restaurant. “But they weren’t willing,” he said. “Although we’re doing our best to work with them until they find a new property.” Ranpac also owns the vacant spaces on either side of Tapas Picasso. The address to the right of it, however, was recently leased for an upcoming seafood restaurant due to open in spring. Tapas Picasso: 3923 Fourth Ave., 619-2943061,

The “carnivore” (Courtesy Grater Grilled Cheese)

The Big Front Door sandwich shop is coming to Bankers Hill (Facebook)

A second location is in the works for The Big Front Door, which established its roots with much success four years ago on Park Boulevard in University Heights. The eatery’s offshoot will open in about eight months within the mixed-use Fourth Avenue Lofts in Bankers Hill. The 2,500-square-foot space, currently under construction, will feature an outdoor patio and allow for the addition of breakfast service. 2870 Fourth Ave.,

Sample the latest and greatest craft beers from more than 70 local breweries at the fourth annual Winter Brew Fest, which will be held from 7 – 10 p.m. on Feb. 19 and 20, in the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. The tasting event originated a decade ago in Denver by RightOn Productions before expanding into San Diego’s teaming craft beer scene. Breweries taking part this year include Ballast Point, Thorn St. Brewer y, Alesmith, Goose Island, Legacy Brewing Company, Green Flash, and more. The event will also feature live music. Tickets are $40 in advance via the web site, and $50 at the door (cash only). A portion of the proceeds will benefit the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, and Outdoor Outreach. For more information, visit 2131 Pan American Plaza.

Grater Grilled Cheese is coming to Friars Mission Center plaza by the first week in March, into the space previously occupied by Meze Express. Popular for its namesake sandwiches using five-cheese blends and breads sourced from Bread & Cie, the concept began five years ago as a food truck before expanding into a brick-and-mortar eatery on Pearl Street in La Jolla. Its newest location will feature the same roster of grilled cheese sandwiches with protein options that include Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, hamburger patties and soy chorizo, although salads and traditional deli sandwiches will be added to the menu. 5618 Mission Center Road, Suite 1002,

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


(All photos courtesy H2 Public Relations)

Rosa Geremia of Cucina Enoteca

Donna Antaloczy of Ironside

Karrie Hills

Katie Grebow

Gina Freize of Venissimo

Lisa Redwine

Some of San Diego’s top female chefs are uniting for a fourcourse wine dinner March 8 to benefit the Center for Community Solutions, a local non-profit that provides emergency shelters to victims of domestic violence. The dinner, to be held at 6:30 p.m. at Cucina Enoteca Del Mar, also celebrates International Women’s Day and more specifically, Festa Della Donna, which commemorates the women’s liberation movement in Italy in the 19th century. The dinner will be crafted by Rosa Geremia of Cucina Enoteca; Donna Antaloczy of Ironside Fish & Oyster; Gina Freize of Venissimo Cheese; Karrie Hills, formerly of The Red Door; and Katie Grebow, formerly of Café Chloe. Acclaimed local sommelier Lisa Redwine will oversee the wine pairings. The cost is $125 per person (plus service fee and sales tax). Tickets can be purchased at 2730 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, 858-704-4500. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at


GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


‘Whatever love wants’ Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Playwright Edward Albee (b. 1928) once said, “I don’t think that it is the responsibility of a playwright to present a dilemma and then give its solution.” That surely applies to Albee’s entire body of work and most especially to his 1962 Broadway play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” seen now through Feb. 28 at The Horton Grand Theatre, in Intrepid Theater’s guest residency at the Gaslamp Quarter venue maintained by Lamb’s Players Theatre. Longtime Lamb’s artistic leaders, Deborah Gilmour Smyth and Robert Smyth, take the leading roles. A search of the original Broadway production’s reviews reveals that the discomfiting piece was equally pilloried and praised. It’s also fair to say that the play’s goings-on both exhilarate the intellect and upset one’s tenuous sense of being a rational human being. For instance, Albee titles its three acts “Fun and Games,” “Walpurgisnacht” and “The Exorcism.” One sits in the dark marveling at each revelation and then thinks, “Hey, wait a minute.” Forget the film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, though it was quite likely the best thing they ever did. Forget also the fine pairings one has seen just in San Diego. (Ellen Crawford and Mike Genovese at the Rep, the late Glynn Bedington and Dale Morris at Compass, James Sutorius and Monique Fowler at the Old Globe, to name just few). Depending upon the actors and the director’s subtle nuances, each production brings the individual playgoer to a new, illusory vision of this play, which mixes reality, fantasy, and cruel fun and games in one boozy night, then leaves it to the playgoer to

construe meaning. George (Robert Smyth, reaffirming this writer’s opinion that he is among the best actors in San Diego) teaches history at a small, fictional college in New England. He is married to Martha (the brilliant, inventive and vocally resplendent Deborah Gilmour Smyth), daughter of the college president. The two return from a faculty party at 2 a.m. and after reviling George vigorously, Martha announces she’s invited Nick (wondrously natural Ross Hellwig), a new professor (it turns out to be biology), and his vacuous wife, Honey (Erin Petersen in my opinion her best local outing) over for a nightcap. Apparently, it was at the behest of the unseen Daddy. George and Martha proceed to entertain (drink, provide drink, tell stories and spar with one another) and to provoke the younger pair until all that appeared decent and sincere on the surface is blasted away. Everyone’s true nature, or not, and motivations are revealed until no one and nothing are as they seemed. George either hates Martha or loves her with a loving care that surpasses our understanding. As the two sit in the evening’s wreckage at the end of the play, George having read aloud the Latin Mass prayer for the dead, it may be a new beginning. Or not. To see “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” requires mental energy and an investment of time. With meticulous direction by award-winning director Christy Yael-Cox, scenic design by Mike Buckley, lighting design by Curtis Mueller, costume design by Jeanne Reith and sound design/original music by Kevin Anthenill, and these four fine performances, it’s one fine investment. And the Horton Grand is the perfect venue. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” By Edward Albee Intrepid Theatre Company in residence at the Horton Grand Theatre 444 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter Thursdays-Sundays through March 13 Tickets $48 (some discounts apply) or 619-437-6000 Recommended for adults only

(top, l to r) Nick (Ross Hellwig), Honey (Erin Petersen), George (Robert Smyth), and Martha (Deborah Gilmour Smyth) in happier moments; (bottom, l to r) Ross Hellwig, Deborah Gilmour Smyth, and Robert Smyth (Photos by Daren Scott)


Empress Jaena Reign and Emperor James von Rothschild are presented to the crowd

Regal wear was the style

Coronation XLIV Imperial Court de San Diego The 44th crowning of the Emperor and Empress of the Imperial Court de San Diego took place Feb. 6 at the Mission Valley Marriott. It is the oldest LGBT social service nonprofit in San Diego. Outgoing Emperor Mikie Too and Empress Toni Saunders were honored by other monarchies in attendance —Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Denver and others — throughout the evening, for their successful reign during 2015. Coronation Chair was Empress XXXIII Lala Too, who was celebrating her 10-year anniversary, and Empress Nicole the Great was also on hand, celebrating her 10 years as Queen Mother of the Americas and her 35th as a San Diego monarch. At the end of the evening, Emperor James von Rothschild and Empress Jaena Reign were crowned as the XLIV monarchy.

(All photos by Big Mike)

Empress Lala Too performed.

The Queen Mother presented permanent titles to (l to r) Ryland and Brynley Whittington and Chase Gleason. A tribute to Kurt Cunningham

(l to r) Maureen Steiner (Lambda Archives) and Shannon Wagner (Being Alive) Empress Lala Too (center), who chaired the event, is shown surrounded by other Coronation attendees at the Mission Valley Marriott.

Chad Michaels performed as Joan Crawford.

Crown Princes Summer White and Julie Hoffman

Departing Emperor XLIII Mikie Too

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


Claim your EITC! Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins Last month, the Assembly passed HR 33, a resolution that I co-authored with Assemblymember Mark Stone proclaiming Jan. 22 to be California Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. That day, I held an event at the Jacobs Center in Valencia Park aimed at promoting the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). I want everyone who’s eligible for this benefit to claim it on their tax return. It’s extra money for the lowestincome workers and their families. I can tell you from my own experience growing up poor in Virginia how much every little bit helps when it comes to putting better meals on the dinner table and new shoes on the kids’ feet. I’d like to acknowledge a few of the people who participated in the kick-off on Jan. 22; Dr. Shirley Weber (who moved the EITC through the budget process last year), and entrepreneur and investor Joe Sanberg, who has generously funded the outreach campaign CalEITC4me. Also speaking were Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation; Doug Moore, executive director of the UDW Homecare Providers Union; and Laura Tancredi-Baese, CEO of Home Start, one of several San Diego agencies where local residents can obtain free tax assistance through the VITA program. We also want to thank everyone who attended the kick-off. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. But too many people who are eligible for the benefit — which can add up to thousands of dollars every year — don’t file for it, not only depriving themselves and their families of money they are entitled to, but also depriving local communities of an economic boost. Now, many low-income Californians have a second benefit that they can claim, and so we have yet another reason to spread the word and make sure people know how easy it is to get these helpful credits. The state credit will help roughly 1.5 million low-income working


LETTERS for nearly 30 years. I guess I am naive or blind in my perceptions but I have never found to be out of place or treated as a segregated straight entity. Maybe because my spirit, my attitude or the way I carry myself shows that I’m not in “awkward” state and I accept you as a person — not which gender you chose to be with. But here’s where it goes: I, as a straight person who patrons a gay establishment, should have the common sense to know that while welcomed, I am “visiting.” It would be no different if I traveled to another country — I respect the culture, enjoy the people, have fun on my trip but understand it is not my “home.” It will take a community to educate the straights in understanding where they fit in when a patron at a

Californians and pump $380 million into local economies throughout the state. Families can get up to roughly $2,600, depending on their number of children and level of income, lifting tens of thousands of people out of poverty. But for that to happen, people have to know about it. That’s where Joe Sanberg is helping. CalEITC4me is a public-private partnership that is funding a statewide outreach campaign and hosting a website, CalEITCforme. org, that provides all the information people need to find out if they qualify for the state and/or federal EITC, and how to claim them. The state’s economy is rebounding from the recession, but the recovery hasn’t reached all Californians. Wages are still lagging. But the state’s budget is strong, so in addition to paying down debt, saving more money for a rainy day, and bolstering education, the Legislature is continuing to strengthen the social safety net for those who are struggling. The state EITC is the cornerstone of those efforts, and an effective way to invest in people. Please help me spread the word. Around the district: Taxpayers also should be aware that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is available throughout San Diego. Generally, those with incomes less than $54,000 qualify. To make an appointment, please call 2-1-1 for the site nearest to you … Human trafficking is modernday slavery — and unfortunately, the FBI has identified San Diego as one of the cities with the highest intensity of incidents. That’s why I’m proud to have introduced two bills to give law enforcement more tools in the fight to rescue these victims, some of whom are trafficked for sex. The first bill would establish a pilot housing program for young victims so they can be safe from their captors and have access to the appropriate services to recover. The second would establish a statewide task force made up of law enforcement officials, courts and social service providers to determine best practices to detect and prevent this crime. —Toni G. Atkins is the Speaker of the California State Assembly. For more information, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter, @toniatkins.t gay or LGBT establishment. Question now is “how”? —Renee Cummings, via As a person from a younger generation, I find it totally accepting for straight people to go into gay bars and act in whatever way they want. Several years ago, my sisterin-law was celebrating her 40th birthday and my brother asked me for a recommendation of a cool, hip place for all of her sisters and friends to drink, eat and dance. At the time I was living in Los Angeles, so I suggested The Abbey in West Hollywood. The Abbey has for many years become more inclusive of other cultures, sexual preferences. Straight people are very welcome here and in my opinion that is a good thing. If we talk about breaking the wall of division between gay and straight lifestyles, we as a gay

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community need to do our part. We need to not discriminate, stereotype or find it rude for straight people to come into our bars. The oppressed should tr y ver y hard to not become the oppressors. Let them into your life as your equals. Who knows, that gay bar you really enjoy may survive if it were more inclusive. —David Ramos, via

Feeling Chippr [Ref: “From turmoil to technology,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at tinyurl. com/jy7wwfb] Thank you so much for covering us on! Very grateful for this opportunity! If anyone is interested, join us for an exclusive San Diego beta access (before the national launch) on! Cheers! —Chippr Team, via gay-sd.comt

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Out on the Page Katrina Young

When gay men were no longer allowed to give blood in the early ’80s, lesbians in San Diego organized to do it for them. These photos were taken at San Diego Blood Bank in 1983. (Photos courtesy Lambda Archives. ) They were reaching out when people didn’t want to touch, or be in the same room as anyone who had HIV; they soldiered on and said ‘these people need our love and support and we are here to give it.’” Emceeing the “Heroines, Pioneers and Trailblazers” event will be Ashley Walker, former executive director of the San Diego Human Relations Commission. Honorar y chairs in attendance will include Katherine Stuart Faulconer, co-chair of the AIDS Memorial Task Force; City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez; and Speaker of the

California Assembly Toni Atkins and her wife, Jennifer LeSar. In addition, former U. S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders will be the featured speaker at the brunch, which will be held at noon on March 19 at the San Diego Women’s Club, located at 2557 Third Ave., in Bankers Hill. Advance tickets are on sale now at —Margie Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can write to her at

The Multicultural LGBT Literary Foundation is in the process of reviewing books for its Words of Wisdom (WOW) collection. Through WOW, libraries of LGBT books are donated to local high schools. In an effort to stay true to the mission, we try to stay mindful of incorporating books that address race, class and LGBT lives, among other things. For more information, visit One of the books currently up for review is “Love and Lies” by Ellen Wittlinger and a sequel to “Hard Love.” “Love and Lies” has received great reviews from many of Wittlinger’s existing fans and fans of characters from the previous novel, Gio and Marisol. This sequel is Marisol’s comingof-age story. As an impressionable high school graduate and recently out lesbian, Marisol quickly learns that there is much more to being an adult than simply flipping a switch after high school. She has deferred college for a year to take time to write a novel, and of course, fall in love. She may accomplish those goals but not without some growing pains. Marisol is overly confident (more endearing than arrogant) which only adds to her naiveté and leaves her wide open for her world to be turned upside down by an expertly manipulative woman, because “she doesn’t understand that people can be cruel to each other.” Not only does her love life go up in flames, she also jeopardizes her friendships and almost gives up on her dream of writing a novel, all because she was blinded by love. “Love and Lies” is an overall decent read. It reminds me of the

enthusiasm, eagerness and fragile ego of my own early adulthood (and it makes me laugh at how much I did not know back then). Wittlinger does a great job of capturing that young spirit. The characters and plot are very predictable but that is needed to make them so honest and relatable. Without their transparency, we might lose the most important feature of this book, the life lessons. Lessons like when Marisol takes a job at Mug, a local coffee shop. Although she has taken this job by choice and still has her parents helping her with money, she learns that for her coworkers, this job is their lifeline and they don’t have any options. She soon realized “that choosing to grow up was a luxury and one they hadn’t had.” Marisol relishes the idea of people pining over her and being jealous or intimidated by her. She admittedly feels bad for these people but the fact that she has an impact on them, good or bad, is a positive for her. When Marisol hurts someone, she is sincere in her apologies and wants a swift acceptance, without regard for that person’s healing process. However when Marisol herself is hurt, it is the end of her entire world and not just the end of that toxic relationship. She may come off as somewhat self-absorbed, but that may be true for most young adults and it doesn’t make her unlikeable. It makes her real. In the end, Marisol seems to have matured and learned that it is not always about her. “Love and Lies” leaves her a more compassionate, aware and stronger person. —Katrina Young is a lover of LGBT literature, particularly works from authors of color. She is an emerging writer and public speaker. Connect with her on Twitter @ ktrnyoung or email her at katrina@






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‘Love and Lies’


kept their distance from one another; their identities were ver y separate and were defined ver y differently. It wasn’t until around that time that the community started to come together.” Lambda Archives board member and event chair David Ramos said that other honorees will include activists and others that came for ward to help during the HIV/AIDS crisis. “We wanted to tell the stor y of how women stepped up and played an important role during that time,” he said. This year’s honorees include “extraordinary” women who founded organizations then that are still providing services to those living with HIVAIDS even today. The lesbian, straight and trans women receiving what Steiner calls “long overdue credit,” include: Special Deliver y founder Ruth Henricks; Mama’s Kitchen founder Laurie Leonard; Susan Jester, founder of Walk for Life (AIDS Walk); Christie’s Place co-founder Irene Milton; Maria Galetta, cofounder of Christie’s Place and Casa Nicole in Tijuana; Mothers of AIDS Patients co-founders Barbara Peabody and Miriam Thompson Slater; and Carole Norman, registered nurse, who is now part of the AIDS Memorial Task Force. Other honorees — such as Wendy Sue Biegeleisen, Nicolette Ibarra, and Barbara Vick — helped pull together the group of women who later became known as the Blood Sisters, and will be credited for their contributions to the LGBT community at that time as well. “The core mission of the Lambda Archives has always been the same; to honor ordinar y people who have done extraordinar y things,” Steiner said. “These women should be recognized because although they may not seem heroic today, what they did in their time and in their place was extraordinar y.

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016





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GAY SAN DIEGO GAY DIEGO Feb. 5SAN - 18 , 2016 Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


‘Steve Jobs’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this portrait of the Apple CEO and tech-world genius; starring Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels. $15. Additional screening Saturday, Feb. 20. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit or call 619295-4221. ‘Feminist Food for Thought: Black Feminism(s)’: In honor of Black History Month this discussion will focus on key theorists and their impact on feminist thought. Free event with food included. 1 p.m. The Pride Center at SDSU, 5141 Campanile Drive, College Area. Visit on.fb. me/1RKK4xJ. Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Honors: The Center presents this annual awards event; this year honors Hon. Tony Young with the Lifetime Achievement Award and four other civil rights honorees, including Dwayne Crenshaw, Camille Davidson, Vernita Gutierrez and Dion Brown. The event will feature a soul food buffet, entertainment and the awards program for a $15 donation. A share of the proceeds will benefit the Bayard Rustin National Stamp Campaign. 8 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit on. Mr. San Diego Leather Bear 2016 contest: Contestants will compete for this title with over $1,000 in cash and prizes going to the winner. 8 p.m. Sunset Temple, 3911 Kansas St., North Park. Visit


Young Professionals Council Februar y social: Join the YPC for an afternoon of drinks and games. Contact YPC co-chairs Rick Cervantes (ricky. or Prab-

ha Singh ( for more information. 4 – 6 p.m. Tabletop Commons, 1263 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit facebook. com/YPCSD. Girls Night Out San Diego: Monthly dance for the local women’s community, consisting of a night filled with dance music with DJ Susu, celebrations, flash mob dances and more. 6 p.m. Brass Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit LezDanceSanDiego. ‘San Diego Birthday Celebration and Show: Vocalist Celeste Barbier will be singing songs new and old to celebrate her birthday. 7 – 10 p.m. Heat Bar and Kitchen, 3797 Park Blvd., Hillcrest. Visit Man-Upp presents ‘Bulge: A monthly social event; this edition features music by DJ dirtyKURTY and jock shots served by The Jock Boys. This event also raises money for The Center. 8 p.m. Pecs Bar, 2046 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit


Ladies pool party: A special event with music by DJ Susu Jones and DJ Kiki Koenig by the heated pool and pool games inside it. Buckets of beverages available. $20 (or free with Troupe Pass). 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Visit Trans* Pride 2016 planning committee: This meeting will cover several items for Trans* Pride 2016 with presentations on various committees. 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Metropolitan Community Church, 2633 Denver St., Bay Park. Visit

North Park, 2891 University Ave. Visit


PrideFIT run club: Meets every Monday, hosted by Miguel Larios. 6:30 p.m. Corner of Sixth Avenue and Upas Street. Visit 


‘A View from the Top’ business social: GSDBA is hosting a social with food and drinks (the first one is complimentary). Guests and non-members welcome. $15. 6 – 8 p.m. University Club atop Symphony Towers, 750 B Street, Suite 3400, Downtown. Visit ‘The Book of Mormon’: This Tony Award-winning Broadway musical comedy by the creators of “South Park” opens today at San Diego Civic Theatre. Runs through March 6. 7 p.m. Visit


FilmOut Screening: “My Beautiful Laundrette” — starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Gordon Warnecke, this classic film is celebrating is 30th anniversary. $10. 7 p.m., Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas, 3965 Fifth Ave. #200, Hillcrest. Visit


‘Humanizing Homelessness in San Diego’: Panel discussion with San Diego artist Neil Shigley and area experts on homelessness coincides with Shigley’s exhibition “Invisible People, Invisible Structures.” His artwork presents hyper-detailed drawings of local homeless people to challenge viewers to acknowledge their individual stories. 6 – 7:30 p.m. San Diego History Center, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit Dana Goldberg in ‘A Little to the Left’: Comedian Dana Goldberg returns to MA4 for one night only bringing her quick wit and playful stage presence. Doors open at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $20 – $25 reserved seating with $15 food/drink minimum. Martinis Above Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit

FRIDAY, FEB. 26 ‘Tantrums and Tiaras: Battle of the Bar Queens’: An annual pageant featuring wellknown local bar personalities competing in drag in swimsuit, talent and evening gown competitions. Money raised benefits The Center. 7 p.m. The Observatory

‘WaistWatchers the Musical’: This show takes a light-hearted look at four women dealing with food and body image issues while parodying over 22 popular songs. 90 minutes (no intermission). Runs through March 27. 8 p.m. Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Visit

‘Spotlight’: Cinema Under the Stars presents this riveting true story on the Catholic Church scandal and starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and more. $15. Additional screening on Saturday, Feb. 27. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. For more info, visit or call 619295-4221.


Pride Youth Marching Band picnic and potluck social: An afternoon of food and games for anyone interested in meeting LGBTQ+ band kids from around the region and/or those interested in joining this year’s Pride Youth Marching Band. Please bring something to share for the potluck. 1 – 3 p.m. Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado. Visit HRC San Diego 8th annual Bowling for Equality: This annual event features an afternoon of bowling in the name of equality. The first wave of bowling has sold out but there are spots open in the 3 – 5 p.m. slot. Kearny Mesa Bowl, 7585 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Visit 3rd annual Leather Fetish Ball: An evening of entertainment, music and a love for leather. This pansexual event aims to celebrate all genders, sexualities, and leather and gear fetishes. General admission $20, VIP $40. Sunset Temple, 3911 Kansas St., North Park. Visit


Community Food Distribution: The first Tuesday of the month, receive emergency food, pre-screen for food stamps and sign up for a range of other services, including employment and medical and well as low-cost utility programs. San Diego LGBT Community Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit thecentersd. org and


Guys, Games and Grub: The name says it all! A $5 suggested donation for attending the event will go to men’s programming at The Center. 6 p.m. San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit Pictionar y: Come play with Tiger and Sister Ida Know on the back patio. Match your skills, win fun prizes and raise money for a good cause. 7:30 – 10 p.m. #1 on Fifth, 3845 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest.



Red Carpet Party: This “Hollywood meets Bollywood” event includes a buffet dinner, entertainment, raffles, a ballot contest and more. $35 per person or $60 per couple. Benefits the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. 4:30 p.m. Bombay Exotic Cuisine of India, 3960 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit on.fb. me/248Wl3W.

MONDAY, FEB. 29 – LEAP DAY Feeling Fit Club: 50 or Better class for older adults and suitable for all levels on Mondays and Wednesdays. Improve balance,

‘Now or Later’: Tonight’s performance of this political drama exploring American freedoms and political backlash will feature a pre-show happy hour with the play’s executive producer and/or director. Runs through March 13. 7 p.m. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Visit —Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. Email calendar items to or jen@


solution on page 15


ACROSS 1 Broadway prompter’s job 6 Chicken hawk and falcon 11 “Evita” composer ___ Lloyd Webber 13 Seek a Hail Mary 14 She plays Martha, a hotel maid in “Addicted to Fresno” 16 The New York Liberty’s org. 17 Still in the closet, perhaps 18 “___ I say ...” 20 Hägar’s comics wife 22 Place east of Eden 23 Houston hurler 24 Fruit sugar ending 25 Rainbow pennants at a pride parade, e.g. 28 Unusual power 29 She plays Shannon, a hotel maid in “Addicted to Fresno” 31 Lincoln-Douglas event 34 Shagged 38 R.E.M.’s “The ___ Love” 39 Liberace’s choice of fur 43 Sondheim’s Sweeney

strength, flexibility, etc. Exercises can be done sitting or standing. 1 – 2 p.m. For more info contact La Rue Fields at seniors@thecentersd. org. The Center, 3903 Centre St., Hillcrest. Visit

44 Resell, as tickets 46 Part of the work wk. 47 Sweaty place 48 Musket attachment 49 Makes a lame excuse? 52 Like the “fruit loop” section of a city 53 She plays Kelly in “Addicted to Fresno” 56 Result of excessive rough play 58 2008 “Survivor” locale 59 Bottoms’ description of tops? 62 Way off the highway 63 Train that comes quickly 64 Barcelona boy 65 Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas 66 Food, clothing, shelter, and sex? 67 Hairy twin of Genesis

1 Event for Queer Palm films 2 Lacking Viagra? 3 Where to see Tom, Dick, or Harry 4 Piece-loving org. 5 Tale of adventure 6 “Gay Priest” author Malcolm 7 Possible commitment ceremony vow 8 Splits 9 Indicate 10 Allan of Minnesota and others 12 Stable sound 13 Eagle, at times 15 In the midst of 16 British TV doctor 19 Pacifier 21 Go up against 23 On the ocean 26 Fruity drinks 27 Director Norman of “Longtime Companion” 29 Housing for Leopold and Loeb 30 “Rubyfruit Jungle” novelist ___ Mae Brown

31 Amount of AZT, e.g. 32 Suffix with prefer 33 Limbs of hairy gay guys? 35 Olympic diver Greg 36 “Love Is Not All” poet St. Vincent Millay 37 Time of decision 40 Having a cool head 41 Energetic subject of a queen? 42 Loeb’s partner 45 Chem. pollutant 47 Where commuters get off (abbr.) 50 Instrument of the Phantom of the Opera 51 Bones below elbows 54 They call balls 55 Belt 56 Chelsea’s mom, initially 57 Battery size 60 Radclyffe’s lady 61 Small amount



Dj dirtyKURTY (Facebook)



On Saturday, Feb. 27, HRC San Diego will host their eighth annual “Bowling for Equality” event at Kearny Mesa Bowl, located at 7585 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in Kearny Mesa. Different this year is that the event is split up into two separate bowling times; the first wave is from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m., and is currently sold out. The second wave, from 3 – 5 p.m., is still available. Cost for the fundraiser is $35 per bowler, which includes two hours of bowling, shoe rental, annual HRC membership or renewal. Groups of five can take over an entire lane for $175, and receive two hours of bowling, shoes and memberships for each of the bowlers in the group. Laura Jane Willcock will emcee and there will be free food, raffles and great prizes. Those wishing to become a “lane captain,” email hrcbowling@ Presenting sponsor for the event is MO’s Universe and other sponsor opportunities are still available, including: Kingpin ($1,000); Lucky Strike ($500); Participating ($300); and Lane ($150). More information, tickets and details for each sponsorship level and what those sponsors receive in return are available at hrc. org/sandiegobowling or find the event on Facebook.

Linda Kurtyka, known professionally as dj dirtyKurty, is heading down under! The talented and popular local deejay will be performing at the Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on March 4, at the Chick Mardi Gras Eve Fluoro Party as simply DJ Kurty. Hosted by Chick social club, located along Oxford Street in Sydney’s gayborhood of Darlinghurst, Kurty will be taking the stage in the wee hours of the morning leading up to the parade on March 5. Chick’s Facebook page announced her appearance on Feb. 8. “KURTY is one of the USA’s hottest female DJ’s and music producers out there! Known for her captivating and hard hitting mixes of Deep funky house to Electro Progressive house, what truly sets KURTY apart is experiencing her LIVE. Her unique ability to tune into the crowd takes you through an unforgettable experience. Her high energy, as she famously dances and sings behind the decks, embraces you while she pulls you along with her on a captivating musical journey. KURTY will be bringing us home from 1:30 a.m. with the most electrifying set, you won’t want to miss this!” Other DJs announced by the Facebook page so far are DJ Maud Scott and DJ Du Jour. The San Diego-based DJ/producer/remixer and promoter is a native of Tom’s River, New Jersey but migrated to San Diego by way of San Francisco in 2003. A longtime resident DJ at Rich’s Nightclub in Hillcrest,



Kurty has also spun tunes at Flicks, CityFest, the Pride Block party, Corepower Yoga, The Abbey in West Hollywood and various other nightclubs in San Diego and Los Angeles. In 2013, Kurty walked the Camino de Santiago — also known as “The Way of St. James” — a 300-mile pilgrimage by foot through the back roads of Spain that took her 30 days to complete. We profiled her journey here For more information about dj dirtyKurty’s gig at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, visit or to see all the activities during the week, visit


Los Angeles-based veteran lesbian comic Dana Goldberg

GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016 returns to the stage at Martinis Above Fourth | Table + Stage on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Goldberg, named by The Advocate as one of the top comedians in the country, has been doing stand up since the age of 17, when she entered a talent show in high school. “I hit my first big joke and I heard the most deafening laughter I’d ever heard, and that was it,” Goldberg told Gay San Diego in 2014, just prior to a previous appearance at Martinis. “I just went into this zone. I had a great show and everything hit. I was excited, the audience was right there with me, and it was just one of those moments where I was like ‘this is what I am supposed to be doing.’” The Albuquerque, New Mexico native is a longstanding favorite of Olivia cruises and vacations, HRC


galas, Dinah Shore Weekend and P-Town, among various others. She calls her material “LGBT- and human-centric,” and accessible to a wide audience, where everyone is welcome. Martinis is located at 3940 Fourth Ave., in Hillcrest. For more info and tickets, visit or find the event on Facebook.t

Dana Goldberg at an HRC event (Facebook)



GAY SAN DIEGO Feb. 19 - March 3, 2016


SDUSD learning environment for all within the SDUSD. “Though the Safe Schools Task Force came together in 2010 and many efforts preceded them, the current push to reform our district rode the wave of community outrage that was sparked when a student was beaten at Morse High School and that incident was caught on camera,” said Fernando Lopez, director of operations at San Diego Pride and a member of the advisory committee.   More than 50 local LGBT community leaders and concerned citizens — as well as many parents supporting their LGBTQ children — attended the Feb. 9 meeting, which was held at the district’s headquarters located at 4100 Normal St. in University Heights. Lopez said the efforts Beiser’s motions referred to were a list of seven key initiatives identified last year by the committee and a group of relevant and LGBTcentric organizations. Though all were addressed at the board meeting Feb. 9, not all have yet been completed, but progress has indeed been made. “I am very happy that we are heading in the right direction,” Beiser said after the meeting. “We still have a lot of work to do.” Lopez agreed. “The goal of reforming an entire school district is no easy task, and no one is yet ready to stand in front of the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner,” Lopez said. “The gains made thus far are a result of voting for the those compassionate to our issues, the hiring and commitment of the supportive staff and ongoing collaborative community relationships. “No one person or organization led to these successes and the work is far from over,” Lopez continued. “It is imperative that we all remain vigilant, vocal, and active in the work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ youth.” Here is a list of the policies and initiatives that were part of the update presentation, and their status: • Full-time LGBTQ+ staff — completed One of the seven initiatives was to hire full-time employees to both administrate the program and ensure accountability. As a result, the district’s new representatives in the Office of Youth Advocacy, LGBTQ Division, led by Executive Director R. Vernon Moore, were introduced at the meeting: Program Manager Sophia Arredondo and Michael (Mick) Rabin, project resource teacher. • Single-sheet sign off on LGBT policies — completed This process ensures faculty members are aware of and commit to adhering to all California laws protecting LGBT youth. • Online/real-time bullying reporting — completed The new “Simplified Bullying Complaint Process,” championed by Beiser, has been implemented at all school sites to support a safe environment on school campuses for all students and offer a recourse for any student who feels they are the target of bullying. The process, which was the culmination of input from various departments within the SDUSD, offers students an anonymous, online method to report bullying. Completed forms will be routed to the site’s principal and the Office of Youth Advocacy for action.

“With a lot of these things that we’ve implemented or will be implementing soon, we’ll be the only school district in the United States that has 100 percent mandatory LGBTQ training for all staff members as well as a variety of other initiatives that we have undertaken with the help of the community [organizations]; PFLAG, GLSEN, The Center and others,” Beiser said. Lopez, who was present at the meeting, was pleased with the district’s progress in these areas. “As someone who grew up being constantly harassed because of my sexual orientation and gender expression throughout my educational experience as early as the third grade by fellow students, educators, and administrators — it was a bit surreal to sit and hear our current school board and superintendent talk about these amazing life-saving policy and procedural changes that I got to be a part of creating,” Lopez said. “I wanted to reach back to my 3rd-grade self getting pushed and called a ‘fag’ on the playground to tell him what he’d be a part of some day.” Other key initiatives still in progress are: • Mandator y training of all faculty — in progress These sessions will last two hours and start with a definition of what “LGBTQ+” means and include in-depth explanations of current state laws regarding students’ rights (CA AB 9, AB, 48, AB 1266). Topics can also include content from partner organizations such as GLSEN, the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), PFLAG, San Diego Pride, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, and others as needed. So far, approximately 1 percent of the district’s 17,000 employees have been trained, with recent trainings taking place at De Portola Middle and Logan Elementary schools. However, now with a fulltime staff, the goal is to train all schools by spring of 2017. In addition to the mandatory training, the school district has adopted a series of voluntary employee training classes as well. Many of the district’s high schools and middle schools teachers recently participated in such training, called “Healthy Relationships for LGBT Youth and Allies.” This training focuses on the goal of giving LGBTQ students safe, inclusive environments. • FAIR Act compliance — preliminar y planning stage Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful education Act (AB 48), also known as the LGBT History Act, “compels the inclusion of the political, social and economic contributions of LGBT persons and those with disabilities” into curriculum and textbooks of public schools in California. A plan was recently developed by a team led by Dr. Wendy Ranck-Buhr, an SDUSD employee and LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee member, with development to begin over the summer and implementation by fall. • Climate sur vey, benchmarks and goals — not started These are survey-style assessments regarding the school climate at every school in the district. While delayed, plans are in place to have each school surveyed in the coming months and then goals and benchmarks can be set for each going forward. “Passing policies is one thing,” Lopez said. “It’s the

implementation, education, and on-going support that will ultimately change the culture of our schools that ser ve over 130,000 young people ever y year, and it is those young people who will go on to thrive and shape this city or have an [immeasurable] impact on the world.” For those interested in getting more involved, there is an “educator mixer to support LGBTQ youth,” on Friday, Feb. 26, at T-Lounge in Hillcrest. Visit tinyurl. com/jqfnssa. For more information about the SDUSD’s LGBTQ+ advocacy programs, policies and other initiatives, and the presentation slides given at the meeting, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at

The opening slide of the SDUSD's LGBTQ+ update.


Gay san diego 02 19 16  


Gay san diego 02 19 16