Volume 9 Issue 14
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SAN DIEGO LGBT PRIDE GUIDE
Glamorous evening for Pride fundraising Gigi Masters’ performing at “An evening of Glamor,” at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista on June 30. The evening was a fundraiser for the South Bay Alliance to help keep the South Bay Pride Art & Musical Festival. Other performers included Mia Pearl, Angel Fairfax, Rudy Ramrod, Sister Develyn Angels, Sister Bessie Mae Moo-cho and Regina Styles. After the show, performers answered questions from the South Bay audience on how they became drag performers and about the community involvement of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Imperial Court de San Diego.
Why tolerance isn’t enough
8 COMMUNITY VOICES
(Photo by Albert H. Fulcher)
An important endeavor
New fundraising effort for LGBT Veterans Wall launched as nomination deadline approaches
Special edition Pride week events
1 PRIDE 2018
By Morgan M. Hurley
Special edition LGBT Pride Directory
Contact us Editorial/Letters 619-961-1960 firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising 619-961-1958 email@example.com
San Diego Community News Network
The Benjamin F. Dillingham & Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor will host its eighth induction ceremony this November and with some changes afoot, the wall’s advisory council is reaching out to the community for help. Always held the Thursday prior to Veterans Day at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the annual event was launched less than two months after Sept. 20, 2011, the official repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Department of Defense directive that banned gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.
see Veterans Wall, pg 3
A phoenix rises from the ashes: the SDEBA Letter
A memorable photo from the 2014 induction in front of the Wall (l to r) 2014 inductees Frank Stefano and Dennis Fiordaliso; Bridget Wilson; the late Ben Dillingham; The Center’s then-CEO Delores Jacobs; 2014 inductees Bob Lehman, TJ Sequine and John Keasler. (Courtesy San Diego LGBT Community Center)
[Ref: “A farewell tribute to GSDBA,” Vol. 9, Issue 13, or online at bit.ly/ farewell-gsdba] It’s Pride month in San Diego and hundreds of LGBTQ and ally organizations, businesses, politicians and supporters are deciding on last-minute touches to parade floats and festival booths. We see more and more rainbow flags flying in front of businesses and houses. The spirit of Stonewall is in the air and the pulse of 1969 is rising in our community. Has it
see Letter, pg 18
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 â€“ 19, 2018
O C C A B O T C I X O T S I
S I TH S I E LIF N O N C I X O T
gay-sd.com FROM PAGE 1
2014 Veterans Wall inductee Dennis Fiordaliso approached the advisory council in 2016 with a concept for a lapel pin to be given to all past, present and future inductees. Should the concept be accepted, Fiordaliso, who along with local artist Julie Warren designed the pin, stated that they wished to donate the first production run of 100 units to the advisory council for distribution, and 2014 inductee Frank Stefano provided the funding to do so. These unique lapel pins are now presented to inductees at an intimate “Pinning Ceremony” in the weeks prior to the official induction ceremony. Fiordaliso and Warren then designed another lapel pin to honor veterans. “In December 2017, Julie and I wanted to produce a ‘generic’ veterans’ lapel pin in order to salute all LGBT veterans and LGBT active duty personnel for their loyal service,” Fiordaliso said. “The wording ‘Salute Our LGBT Veterans’ was conceived so that anyone could wear the lapel pin, military or civilian, gay or straight.” In April 2018, the two collaborators got together again and designed a third pin. “We wanted to produce a ‘generic’ Pride lapel pin, in order to promote a positive message about gender identity for all LGBT people, especially LGBT youth,” Fiordaliso said. “The use of the 1960s peace sign was viewed as a unifying symbol to encourage all people to remember our common humanity.” Both the “Salute Our LGBT Veterans” and the “Peace, Love, Pride” pins are for sale for $10 each and can be obtained by any LGBT Veterans Wall advisory council member.
To many, DADT was seen as a “compromise,” because gays and lesbians could enter the five services or continue to serve, as long as they were never “found out,” but discharges escalated under the policy. For decades prior to DADT, gay and lesbian service members lived in fear on a daily basis; they were pursued, hunted down in bars, and subjected to witch hunts, criminal investigations and bad conduct discharges. Transgender service members were never addressed under DADT or its eventual repeal, but they were always forbidden from serving. Before leaving office, steps were taken by President Obama to also end the ban on transgender service; however, under President Donald Trump, things have returned to a tenuous state, and while an extended court battle is expected, transgender service members are now serving under a status similar to DADT themselves. The Center’s LGBT Veterans Wall, a vision of local LGBT leader Nicole Murray Ramirez, seeks to honor those LGBT veterans who served in silence over those many decades, that have ties to San Diego, and once out of the military, continued to visibly work toward equality in their communities. To date, 67 LGBT service members’ names have been placed on the wall, which is located on the southwest corner of The Center’s auditorium. Dillingham, who along with Wilson were the first of four inductees of the wall’s inaugural ceremony in 2011, passed away in November of 2017. A special tribute will be made in memory of him at November ceremony, with a photo unveiling. Those nominated for induction to the wall each year go through a selection process, with final determinations made by the wall’s advisory council, who also produce the annual ceremony each year. Nominations for this year’s induction ceremony must be received by July 31. This year’s advisory council consists of seven former inductees: Morgan M. Hurley, who acts as chair (USN, 2013); Veronica Ferrer (USA, 2016); Shaun Flak (USMC, 2013); Sean Redmond (USAF, 2017); Joanna Sansoterra (USAF, 2016); Luke Terpstra (USA, 2012); and Evelyn Thomas (USMC, 2013). In the past, funding for the wall and its annual ceremony was covered by targeted donations, but starting with this year, the advisory council has been tasked with looking for ways to raise money to keep this important effort going strong. The fundraising goal for 2018 is $3,000. Funds raised will pay for the wall’s name plates, engraving, producing the ceremony, which includes food and refreshments, flowers, programs, a special LGBT Veterans Wall
pin for each inductee, use of The Center’s auditorium, Center staff time, miscellaneous other expenses, and coverage of an ancillary event, which gathers new inductees together with prior inductees in advance of the official induction ceremony. When fellow board members of Neutral Corner, a local transgender support organization that has been in existence since 1985, heard of the wall’s new fundraising goal from Zerrer, they immediately committed to a $1,000 match opportunity for this year’s efforts. For each dollar that the advisory council raises, Neutral Corner will match that, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $1,000. “We felt that trans men and women should take the lead in helping to fund The Center’s Wall of Honor,” stated Zerrer, Neutral Corner’s board president and a retired US Army major. “It’s an uncertain time for trans troops, with President Trump’s proposed ban on open military service. We believe that our financial commitment to keeping the wall up at The Center should demonstrate how valuable it remains to every LGBT person who enters The Center, that we assert our right to support and defend the country we can all call home.” Ways in which the advisory council may be looking to raise money this year include a bingo night; the sale of lapel pins (see sidebar); Facebook birthday donations — with advisory council member Redmond already conducting
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
a successful campaign this way to raise $285 — and reaching out to local veteran organizations for sponsorship dollars. Those with additional fundraising ideas can email Ben Cartwright, The Center’s representative to the advisory council, at bcartwright@ thecentersd.org. To learn more about Neutral Corner, visit neutralcornersd.org. “The Benjamin F. Dillingham III & Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor is a wonderful part of our Center that honors the many courageous LGBTQ veterans who served our country honorably, most of them in silence," Cartwright said. "Being able to celebrate these veterans is one of the highlights of my job each year. It’s been a pleasure working with the Advisory Council since I came on board at The Center in 2014, and I’m
so excited that the group has decided to expand their role beyond induction selections to also include raising funds and support for this program. The Center is committed to honoring our veterans and we appreciate the support of our entire community, along with the Wall’s founders, Nicole MurrayRamirez, Bridget Wilson, and the late Ben Dillingham, for their continued support.” If you know a local LGBT veteran who meets the criteria and you’d like to nominate them for this year’s induction ceremony, visit bit.ly/2sb5QEZ for details and get your packet in to Ben Cartwright by July 31. The ceremony will take place Nov. 8, from 6–8 p.m. at The Center. —Morgan M. Hurley is the former editor of Gay San Diego. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
events @TheCenTer Tuesday, July 10 & July 24
Prostate Cancer Support Group Serving the Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities 6:30-8 pm, The Center A group for all GBT individuals interested in knowing more about Prostate Cancer, getting assistance on fighting it, or how to prevent it. Second and fourth Tuesday of the month. For more information, contact Larue Fields at email@example.com or 619.692.2077 x205.
Wednesday, July 11*
GGG 6-8:30 pm, The Center *DATe ChAnGe due to 4th of July! Everyone is welcome to The Center for GGG! The popular board game and social night, presented by Men @ The Center, includes pizza, snacks, beer, wine, soft drinks, and hundreds of board games to choose from. Participants are welcome to come alone and meet new friends, or come with a group for a fun evening out. The popular Team Trivia game is hosted by John Lockhart and everyone is welcome to drop in. Suggested donation of $5 is requested for admission. For more information contact Ben Cartwright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.692.2077 x106.
Wednesday, July 11 & July 25
FTM/Trans Male Support Group 7-8:30 pm, The Center Support group for male-identified, questioning or self-identifying on the male spectrum folks who were assigned female at birth. Significant others are invited on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Trans Allies join the group on the 4th Wednesday of every month. For more information, contact us at email@example.com.
Thursday, July 12 & July 26
Free Legal Clinic 9:30-11:30 am, The Center The Access to Law Initiative, a project of California Western School of Law, holds legal clinics the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at The Center. At these clinics, attorneys will be available for free, 30-minute consultations to help evaluate legal issues. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 619.692.2077.
www.thecentersd.org The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 Twitter: @LGBTCenter
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
Jennifer Nettles sees the unseen Sugarland’s new gay-inclusive video and why ‘tolerance’ isn’t enough By Chris Azzopardi Just before releasing a hotly anticipated new album with Sugarland bandmate Kristian Bush, duo frontwoman Jennifer Nettles summed up her history of progressive politics and queer advocacy and love for chicken with one defiant tweet: “Steals recipe for world’s best chicken sandwich and opens ‘Chic-fil-Gay.’ Serves EVERYBODY deliciousness and is open on Sundays. Wins world,” she wrote on May 15, her unfettered outspokenness still a rare but significant thing in country music. “Or the spinoff of it: It can start as Chick-fil-Gay and then it could just turn into Chick-fil-‘Heyyy!,’ which would be super fun too,” she tells me with a robust guffaw. “Bigger,” the band’s first release since their long-established country sound was cranked to arena-rock heights on 2010’s “The Incredible Machine,” reflects on our emotionally and politically strained modern world (their powerful lament, “Tuesday’s Broken,” addresses America’s gun problem and school shootings) with love, hope, unity and inclusiveness, themes near and dear to Sugarland since the release of their 2002 debut. “These are the days of the underdog, the counted out, the ones you don’t see coming; times of the left-behinds...,” Nettles sings on “Not the Only,” counting herself among us. “Silent voices I’ve never heard, all waiting to say
the words, held up and kept inside, but we don’t have to hide.” Here, Nettles wins the world by phoning to talk about Sugarland’s mission to shine a light on the unseen, being political post-Dixie Chicks, and why it’s important for people (see: homophobes) to not get it twisted: that “Mother” lyric is most definitely referring to a gay couple in love. Chris Azzopardi (CA) Did recent world tragedies and the country’s overall divisiveness have anything to do with you getting back to your Sugarland roots? Jennifer Nettles (JN) Yeah. I had been feeling the urges to get back and do something and see what that would feel like again. At first it seemed to be a matter of the calendar, and then we started writing and then when we looked at this collection and what was coming out of us we realized, “Whoa, we have a lot to say, and this is actually the reason for the timing” – that these messages that we have are, well, no pun intended, bigger than what, initially, this reconvening was going to be. It was very much a bigger message for the world. (CA) I hear myself and my community’s struggles represented in some of these songs, and I feel emboldened by them. To what extent was the queer community on your mind while creating this album?
(JN) It was on our minds significantly. You hear those messages poke through within the music: messages of unity and inclusion, and of not only tolerance – sometimes tolerance to me is such a... “ack!” ... it’s not even the right word anymore. We need to move beyond just tolerance. And it even needs to move beyond acceptance. It needs to move into celebration and just outright humanism. (CA) I don’t think any person wants to just be tolerated. (JN) Tolerated, no – I don’t even know where that word came from. It’s clear that whoever started throwing that term around was already coming from a defensive standpoint. So that being said, I think you hear those messages celebrated in songs like “Tuesday’s Broken,” “Mother” and “Not the Only,” and even in songs like “Bigger.” But you hear it much more clearly and outright on “Mother,” where it says, “She’s got a ring to give to you she hopes you’ll give away. She don’t care who you give it to, where they’re from, if they pray like you…” (CA) And “first thing she taught you is love is love.” (JN) Yeah, that love is love, right? So you hear it very distinctly and you hear it in the messages of heartaches in “Tuesday’s Broken.” Even in the second verse you don’t know why the teenage girl is on the bed and why she is possibly considering self-harming because
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(l to r) Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland (Photo courtesy of Shervin Lainez) of not feeling love and not feeling celebrated and not feeling a part of her community and being online, dear God help us all. So you hear those messages, for sure, throughout. And for me, obviously always being a champion of the marginalized, always being a champion of those who are being oppressed – and all of these really horribly divisive tones that we hear now in our culture and in our community that have always been there but we’re hearing them now in a way that is super ugly – when you hear those messages of self-love and of inclusion on this record, absolutely the LGBTQA community was on our minds when we were writing this. (CA) In the lyric video for “Mother,” two gay men are seen holding hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gay couple featured in a major, mainstream country music video. Is that precisely why you chose to include them? (JN) Yes! I mean, not to say like, “Hey! We’re the first ones in country music to feature a gay couple visually!” But to be able to say, “Just so you know, what you hear in this and what you might be assuming is absolutely visually and literally true. Like, if you might be toiling around with the idea of what this might be about, let’s go ahead and show you.” (CA) It feels bold, but in 2018, I feel like it shouldn’t feel that way. (JN) No, you’re right, it should not feel bold. But the interesting thing is the reason many times it feels bold within the country music community is because everyone talks about the Dixie Chicks syndrome of what we saw all those years ago. I think times are different. I think it is time for people within all of the music community, but especially in the country music community, where we have such a beautifully diverse audience – we are not preaching to the choir here. We are offering messages. We are offering them to hopefully inspire people to be open and think differently for those who may not already. (CA) How have you passed that same sentiment onto your
own son? (JN) Magnus is 5, so certain concepts feel abstract in terms of “let me teach you a lesson.” What I do is show him through life. The gay community is a big part of our lives in terms of people. My manager is gay, and my personal assistant is gay, and these are people who are family to me. My PA was my roommate all four years of college. You know what I’m saying? It’s a family. So, it’s in life, it’s just a matter of fact. And if questions arise, as children many times will have, I will be very open and celebratory in that way. But children live what you show them, and if you show them love and if you show them openness, that is what they will enjoy. If you keep them closed off and you show them hate, that is what they will reflect. So, he reflects my values in that way. (CA) When confronted with backlash from conservative country fans, how do you stay motivated to keep letting your voice be heard in a genre that once sought to quiet artists like, for instance, the Dixie Chicks? (JN) I believe that times are different and social media is an echo chamber. People shout their hate and other people shout hate back. So, I try to be mindful. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to keep people in check. But really, at the end of the day, that’s just noise. The importance is the message that I am putting out there. And if somebody fires back and they don’t like it on social media, who cares. And if people are going to judge someone’s art and someone’s music based on this really new concept of an artist being more personally connected, because now we do have immediate access through social media between fans and artist, then you know, don’t listen to the music, don’t buy it. To each his own. (Laughs) (CA) There used to be a direct connection between the two, that you couldn’t say too much because people wouldn’t buy your music and record labels would worry, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
see Interview, pg 12
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
Senate Leader Atkins honors San Diego’s Veronica Zerrer as Veteran of the Year in the 39th District Notes from Toni Toni G. Atkins On June 20, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins recognized San Diego resident Veronica Zerrer as Veteran of the Year in the 39th District for 2018. Retired U.S. Army Major Zerrer was active in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1980, serving as a cryptologic technician, and then in the Army from 1980 to 1998, as a cavalry scout, platoon leader, company commander and staff officer while assigned to the 1st Infantry and the 35th Infantry Divisions. After active duty, she served in the reserves and embarked on a civilian career in social services and government. She has managed a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, a home-maintenance program for seniors and traffic-safety projects for the state of Kansas. She also worked as the tribal grant writer for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and was the director of development for the Orange County, California LGBT Community Center. Having relocated to San Diego, she is the president of the board of directors for both The Neutral Corner, Inc., San Diego’s longest active transgender education organization, and TransFamily Support Services, a nonprofit devoted to supporting transgender youth and their families. “Veronica served our country as a member of the Armed Forces for more than 20 years, and when she retired from active duty, she continued to serve her country – by serving her community,” Atkins said. “Today she does so by providing support for her transgender neighbors. Veronica embodies the principles of honor, duty and service, and I am proud to name her Veteran of the Year in the 39th District.” “I’m very grateful, and humbled, to be honored in such a manner by Senator Atkins,” Zerrer said. “Her commitment to our nation’s military personnel in California comes from the heart. She’s a tremendous supporter of California veterans, for which so many are grateful.t
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GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
Creep of the week: Jeff Sessions By D’Anne Witkowski Out of the blue the other day, my 8-year-old son asked me, “What would you do to get me back?” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Like, if I was taken.” I was actually too stunned to formulate a good answer. “Well, I’d do anything,” I said. He thought for a moment. “If you could only see me or Mommy,” he asked, referring to his other mom who is also my wife, “who would you choose?” I had no answer for this, of course. But I couldn’t help but think of the immigrant and asylum seeking families being torn apart at our border right now. Children being taken from their parents and put in cages by the U.S. government. In your name. In my name. In my son’s name. “You know what?” I said to my son. “I don’t like this game. I’m glad I don’t have to choose.” But, of course, many families EDITOR Albert H. Fulcher (619) 961-1960 firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING EDITORS (619) 519-7775 Sara Butler, x118 Jeff Clemetson, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Toni Atkins Chris Azzopardi Ben Cartwright Max Disposti Morgan M. Hurley Michael Kimmel Delores Jacobs Lambda Archives staff Nicole Murray Ramirez Frank Sabatini Jr. D'Anne Witkowski WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x118
don’t have that luxury. They can’t say while an ICE agent is taking their child’s shoelaces, “I don’t like this game.” They can’t say, while an ICE agent is cuffing them as their toddler daughter wails, “Let’s play something else.” They can’t say, while their child is in a van heading to an abandoned Walmart where they will sleep with a silver emergency blanket on the floor, “Have you had any breakfast?” Which is what I said to my son in order to change the subject. There are, of course, those who argue that if these parents didn’t want their kids taken away then they shouldn’t have been crossing the border to begin with. That the onus is on the parent fleeing violence or abuse or just looking for better economic opportunities here, rather than on the U.S. government to not engage in human rights abuses. Note: There’s no law requiring separation. This is a
conscious choice by the Trump administration. “Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said as a warning to those who might try to enter the U.S. without proper documentation. Now, Sessions claims that this zero tolerance, “You cross my border, I take your baby,” policy is necessary in order to protect children because making the journey to America is often dangerous and should be discouraged. Sessions apparently thinks that people coming into this country with children are using those children as a shield against prosecution. What other reason could parents have for not leaving their child behind? Not to mention Sessions’s assertion completely ignores the circumstances surrounding the families coming to America in the first place, which are in most cases quite dire. I mean, most Americans
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cannot even imagine a situation that would drive them to leave their homes, including everything they own and everyone they know, and risk their lives to enter another country where they have a chance to be safe and make a life for themselves. This is why so many Americans support Trump and Sessions and the whole hateful lot. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there is a large number of Americans who are thrilled with what is going on. This is what they wanted. Sessions has dreamed of this moment since he was knee high to a racist. Mind you, it’s not the majority. The majority of Americans didn’t vote for Trump and do not support these policies. Most people around the world are horrified by what is happening. And yet, besides voting these white supremacist scumbags out of office, what can you do? Well, first, you must do that. You must vote. You must help others register to vote. You must help the campaign of a candidate who actually stands for this country’s democratic values. Sitting on the sidelines
is not an option unless you want to be complicit in this ugliness. On June 30, many people did something tangible by attending a rally in Washington D.C. where thousands gathered to tell the Trump administration that they must stop breaking up families. Trump knows that this policy plays well with his base and he’s surrounded by sycophants and watches only Fox News. He needs to see that we are watching him. For those who didn’t make it to D.C., there are sister rallies being held all over the country. You can find one, or start one yourself online at gaybe.am/Z9. And, yes, rallies are not the answer to the problem. They are an initial response. But joining together is powerful act. Do it for the families that would be together if only they could. —D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.t
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GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
1974 ... A veteran, an attorney and a queen Conversations with Nicole Nicole Murray Ramirez Yes, 44 years ago, a longhaired Vietnam vet named Jess Jessop, an Abraham Lincolnlooking American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney named Tom Homann, and a trans street queen named Nicole went down to the San Diego Police Station (then on Market Street) and tried to get a police permit for our city’s first Pride march parade. You have to understand that it wasn’t until 1976 that homosexual relationships were made legal in California. So the police officials looked at us like we were deviants and psychos. They refused to issue us a permit and said, “There will never be a homo pride parade in San Diego,” and told us to leave before they would arrest us. We marched anyway, on the sidewalks mostly, and thus in 1974 was our first Pride march. The next year, Homann threatened a lawsuit, and the police granted us a permit. I had moved to San Diego from Hollywood and had participated in Los Angeles’ first Pride march. Jessop had also attended one, so we thought San Diego should join other cities holding Pride marches. With the help of LGBT students, anti-war activists, the Metropolitan Community Church, some gay bars, Imperial Court drag show fundraisers, and others, San Diego Pride was born. In 1975, I had the honor of being one of the speakers at our first rally in Balboa Park, and yes, many of our first Pride march participants had paper bags over their heads — the “unknown gays.” To me, the real heroes of our first Pride marches/parades were those LGBT students, military, blue- and white-collar workers, and proud lesbians — all those who had everything to lose yet came out of the closets and marched proudly in public. Now, 44 years later, let’s not forget them as we stand on their shoulders!
LGBT refugees, immigrants and dreamers
Pride Events to Check Out
● 41st Annual Mr.-Miss-Ms.
Pride Contest, Saturday, July 7 at Gossip Grill, 5–8 p.m. ● “Art 4 the Heart” LGBT artists exhibit, Wednesday, July 11 at the St. Paul’s Cathedral, 5–9 p.m. ● San Diego Launch Party, Wednesday, July 11 at Flicks, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Stoli's Harvey
Julie and Summer met at Pride and are now celebrating their 33rd anniversary next weekend. Take your photo at Rich’s Nightclub (Photos by Nicole Murray Ramirez) Milk Vodka Limited Edition and one night only. The Dating Game!
Nicole’s quickie movie review!
● “RBG” – A documentary on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Everyone should run and see this movie ... five stars! ● “Uncle Drew” – Bad acting, bad makeup and bad clothes. It was like watching a Depends commercial, and as about exciting as an afternoon here at my apartment complex, Shady Pines. ● “Jurassic World: Fallen
Kingdom” – Pure entertainment, fabulous, loved it. That night, I had a wet dream about actor Chris Pratt ... hum, too much information? ● “Adrift” – Should change its title to “Asleep.” After seeing this movie, you’ll want to go drown yourself. ● “Ocean’s 8” – Wow! Great acting, fabulous clothes and pure excitement. You’ll love it! ● “Book Club” – A “Golden Girls” for the 21st century. The entire cast is the cat’s meow ... perrrrfect! —Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since
1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the “Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest” by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at Hillcrestqueen5@gmail.com. Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and by no means reflect or represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN). The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.t
WE’RE PROUD TO SUPPORT SAN DIEGO’S LGBT COMMUNITY We’re lighting UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest in rainbow colors for the month of July. Join us in celebrating the LGBT community and our commitment to health care equality. Please join us for the fourth annual Pride Lighting Ceremony: The event will include live music from the San Diego Women’s Chorus and complimentary refreshments. 5
UC San Diego Medical Center
163 West Arbor Dr.
Free event parking
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Date: Monday, July 9, 2018
In the Bible, according to the Gospel of Matthew, it tells us that the holy family fled from King Herod to Egypt. So if Joseph, Mary and Jesus had come as refugees to the borders of the U.S. these last few years, they would have seen the child Jesus ripped from their arms and taken away! Thus, yes, I have marched in some demonstrations and so should we all. Especially because there are many LGBT refugees, immigrants and Stoli’s Harvey dreamers. Milk Vodka In fact, reLimited Edition cently there were nearly 40 available at Flicks on July 11 transgender
women at the San Diego border fleeing their Latin American countries because of discrimination and mistreatment. Well, I have been to the San Diego offices of the Survivors of Torture International and let me tell you that for years they have helped our LGBT brothers and sisters from countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the old Soviet Eastern Bloc, where being LGBT is not only against the law, but a reason to be tortured and killed. So, I am proud to tell you about the newly established Bruce M. Abrams GLBT Torture Survivors Fund to support our brothers and sisters that are now here in San Diego. A birthday party benefit is being held on July 26 in honor of Bruce and you all are invited. Call 619241-5672 for more information.
Location: In front of UC San Diego Medical Center 200 W. Arbor Drive San Diego, CA 92103 health.ucsd.edu
Free parking is available in the lot directly across from the hospital front entrance.
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
community has quickly realized how fragile the conquests are and how hate and prejudice can easily come back when we let our guard down. This year, celebrations of Pride are not for the faint of heart, and while for thousands of youth around the country, Pride is still an opportunity to come out and to even save a life, for the rest of us, the questions arise: Should we celebrate? Should we be demonstrating against policies that have seen many in our communities disfranchised? Should we say enough is enough and resume the spirit of the Stonewall riots and make sure that each and every person that is queer in this country is going to be heard and seen? Since the 2016 presidential election, some have commented on how Prides parades have become a political tool to push against the current administration. While Pride has always been an independent movement, it’s not new that that fighting for equality, dignity, human rights and visibility has been — since the beginning — lead by progressive and liberal ideals. We really had no choice. I mean, conservatism felt the right to discriminate, legislate against and imprison those in our community. That has never really changed. From Anita Bryant, to the current GOP agenda, the LGBT community is still one of their primary targets. However, despite this scenario, Pride’s independent
Max Disposti North County Update #WhyWePride is this year’s theme for Pride By The Beach in North County held Oct. 13 in Oceanside. However, this season of Pride comes in the midst of strong emotions and questions. For those of us that are LGBTQI service providers, the celebration of Pride always brings to mind the struggle and/or the collective accomplishment of the people we serve. The achievements that we want to preserve, the challenges of the present and, of course, the future. But the recent changes of leadership in this administration have soon felt like a big slap in the face, a cold shower effect. The annual congratulatory presidential note that since 2008 was mailed to all of the LGBT centers and Pride offices is no longer. The White House celebrations of Pride are now practically nonexistent or back into the closet and the rainbow lights projected on the White House celebrating the victory of marriage equality and Pride month are already a memory of the past. Note to self: There is nothing more dramatic and symbolic than turning the lights off and offering darkness as an alternative discourse. While our administration is not wasting time and opportunities to chip away hard-earned historic achievements, our
San Diego’s LGBT News source Volume 9 Issue 6 March 16-29, 2018
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Candidate Malbrough speaks, Nordstrom drops out
BEATING THE ODDS
Dockless bikes in Hillcrest
By William E. Kelly Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series. Read the first in the series online at bit.ly/2tGWqD9.
Liz Carmouche, a 125-pound bantamweigh t women's MMA fighter, is ranked No. (Courtesy of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu) 6 in the world.
Former Christian rocker comes out
First openly lesbian fighter makes Albert H. Fulcher | Editor In 2010, when Liz Carmouche decided she wanted to compete in the MMA (mixed martial arts) professionally, she did so with a “head on” approach. She was
her way to the top of MMA rankings
told it would take a year or more of training before she ever saw the ring. But the veteran Marine Corps aviation electrician beat the odds, getting her first chance to fight professionally within four months of starting her training.
Now after 11 wins and six losses, Carmouche is currently the No. 6 ranked 125-pound bantamweight women’s MMA fighter in the world.
see MMA, pg 11
Homelessness in the LGBTQ comm unity
Mayor brings interfaith discussion Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
OnStage Playhouse's "Spike Heels"
Magic with cast iron
The Interfaith Shelter Network (ISN) has been an effective program for the homeless throughout San Diego County, so far helping 8,000 homeless individuals gain access to resources and services to get their lives back on track. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined the (ISN) in asking LGBT-friendly congregations to join the network and open their doors to homeless individuals at the ISN Summit on March 5 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. “We know there are a number of LGBTQ individuals experiencing homelessness and they need our help. That’s why we are asking LGBTQ-friendly congregations, who understand their needs, to join our care network and provide a temporary place for them to begin turning their lives around,” said Faulconer in a press release.
to LGBT–affirming congregations
Candidate Ken Malbrough
(l to r) ISN Summit panelists, The Very Rev. Penny Bridges, Trisha Brereton, Fernando Lopez, Gary Owen, and Jonathan Herrera (Photo by Albert H. Fulcher)
The ISN Summit discussion addressing the summit. “This panel consisted of The Very is a network that works and Rev. Penny Bridges, dean, with your help and participaSt. Paul’s Cathedral; Trisha tion, I think you will see the Brereton, ISN executive dibenefits in so many ways. That rector; Fernando Lopez, San is why I am optimistic about Diego LGBT Pride executive our opportunities to begin makdirector; Gary Owen, ISN voling a real difference.” unteer; and Jonathan Herrera, Faulconer said that combatsenior advisor on homelessne ss ting homelessness is about crecoordination for the city of San ating that safe space for those Diego. in need, regardless of someone’s “You all represent the fabrace, color, religion, gender, sexric of our city for wanting to ual orientation, national origin, do the right thing and helpage or disabilities. ing people get back on their feet,” Faulconer said when see ISN,
● Opening statement “The county has $2 billion in reserve tax dollars just floating in a cloud of unknown use by county supervisors,” Malbrough said. He said he pledges to “seek community input” on how these reserve tax dollars can best be utilized and would like to see them invested in “chronically neglected or underfunded areas,” such as housing and public safety in underserved communities. “My priority is reducing our homelessness epidemic and addressing this issue region-wide,” he said. “Providing access to health and human services is the primary and more affordable method to avoid the pathway to homelessness and incarceration.”
see Candidates, pg 5
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On June 5, San Diego County will hold primary elections for the following seats: county board of supervisors; county assessor/ recorder/county clerk; county treasurer/tax collector; district attorney; county sheriff; county board of education members; community college district members; and superior court judges. In the first of this series, I spoke to Omar Passons and Lori Saldana, two of the six candidates I interviewed who wish to represent District 4 on the San Diego County board of supervisors . Each candidate I spoke to agreed to focus on the challenges facing seniors, and was offered the opportunity to state their priorities, objectives, goals and plans to address and achieve those priorities, as well as share their experience and qualifications. Following are the highlights of responses by candidates Ken Malbrough and Marcia Nordstrom.
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Max Disposti, North County LGBTQ Resource Center executive director (Photo courtesy of North County LGBTQ Resource Center) spirit has pushed forward, even under the most progressive legislative tenures. Just to mention a few: on marriage equality, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the push for the inclusive Employment Non Discriminatory Act (ENDA) are examples of when we have demonstrated, organized, shamed (even the president) and pointed out those political forces that were too slow to support progress. We made no discounts to anyone. I think people have easily forgot the angry and spontaneous protests right after the defeat of Prop 8. I remember when the leadership of the Democratic Party was still finding all the excuses to justify their slow-moving process. Yet, we pushed, demonstrated and then we won against all the odds. We changed heart and minds and we moved forward.
Why I Pride?
Celebrating my “Orgoglio” was never about just celebrating the good or positive times we were living in. We Pride because we exist through the things that we still need to fight about but also through just being our authentic selves. So while this 2018 Pride might appear bittersweet, let’s make sure we Pride. In honor to those that have lead the way. We Pride in solidarity with our trans sisters of color to make sure their deaths were not in vain. We Pride for our immigrant LGBT families that, more than ever, are dreaming for a future without violence and forced deportations. We Pride because we are unapologetically queer, because we learned that heteronormativity does not make us free and that we need to reinvent a new way to just be us without
forced assimilations. We Pride because we want to embrace our community all at once, as a universal hug that will make us feel stronger for the rest of the year. This is my 30th year of participating in Pride, and from Rome to San Francisco, Oceanside to San Diego, the need is the same: We Pride because we need it and because we exist! —Max Disposti is a human rights advocate, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He is currently also serving on the California Board of Behavioral Science (BBS), board of the Oceanside City Library and previously served on the city’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A fond farewell
Dear friends of The Center,
As I enter my last week as CEO of The Center, I am flooded with thoughts and memories, including those from last Friday! I want to thank everyone who came out for Friday's event or sent me a note. I can't thank you enough for your incredible support, not just on Friday, but over these past 17 years. I am honored, humbled and so grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to serve as CEO of The Center. It has truly been a highlight of my professional life and I cannot possibly thank you enough for this tremendous privilege. Over the past 17 years, we've rallied, walked, marched and organized in a collective quest for equality, freedom and fairness for all in our community. We have celebrated our victories and mourned our losses. Most importantly, we have continued to build a community — and a movement — that strives to include all of us. We have attempted to build a Center each of us can call home. While The Center has many achievements, I am most proud of the fact these are truly collective community accomplishments that so many
people helped make possible. Over the years, thousands upon thousands of San Diegans have donated time, energy, resources and expertise to everything we have achieved. And we've accomplished a lot together — the Hillcrest Youth Center, the Sunburst Youth Housing Project, the recently opened LGBT senior housing project, senior services, family services, Project TRANS, beginning services for youth in the South Bay, the Young Professionals Council and the YPC Academy, the first-ever Latin@ Services program at any LGBT Center in the nation, voting projects and civic engagement, producing the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast and so much more. The Center has always played a crucial role in our community's response to HIV/AIDS, and that commitment has never wavered. Through AIDS Walk San Diego, Dining Out For Life and the #BeTheGeneration campaign to end HIV as we know it, we remain more committed than ever to fighting HIV. We have much to be proud of. As I step down, I am excited to imagine the ways that this special place will continue to grow and thrive. The Center
Delores Jacobs (Courtesy photo) has a visionary incoming CEO in Cara Dessert. We have an incredibly talented, passionate and creative staff, as well as dedicated and committed volunteers, supporters and board members — and we have the dedication and support of people like you. You have helped our Center grow into one of the strongest and most comprehensive LGBT community centers in the nation. While I will no longer be The Center's CEO, I will proudly continue to stand with you as a supporter of this tremendous organization. With my very deepest thanks and respect, Delores Jacobs t
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
K L A T E L B A T C E T E D N U Undetectable means reaching a point where the amount of HIV in your blood is so low it can’t be measured. It is important for your health and means you have effectively no risk of passing HIV to a sexual partner.
cdc.gov/StartTalking /ActAgainstAIDS /StartTalkingHIV @TalkHIV
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
Where tortas and fruity things rule the day Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Lurking pleasantly in the shadows of trendy restaurants and bars that dominate this area of 30th Street and Adams Avenue is Senor Mango’s. The eatery’s dive-y exterior is further upstaged by the adjoining Leon Produce, which steals your eye with the kind of appeal any old-fashioned neighborhood market would. Senor Mango’s is tightly focused on tortas constructed with super-fresh rolls from a
local Mexican bakery. It’s also brimming with fresh fruits that make their regional trek into smoothies, bowls and escamochas. The latter is what drew me here, not to mention the cheap prices. There’s enough fruit adorning the small order counter inside to fashion a dozen Carmen Miranda headdresses — pineapples, mangos, papayas, bananas, etc. Seating inside is limited to about four tables plus two wobbly high tops sitting out front, although customers can plunk down on the picnic tables next door at Leon’s since both business share the same ownership. Escamochas are a Mexican fruit dessert of cubed, tropical
fruit piled into a tall glass with sweet cream or condensed milk poured into it. Common to popsicle shops (paleterias) in Tijuana — the city where I first sunk a long spoon into one — they’re a delicious cross between an English trifle and American fruit salad. Senor Mango’s puts out a fine version with the bonus of sliced almonds and shredded coconut strewn throughout. I ordered the small size ($5.75), which most would guess as large. Served in a clear, plastic glass, the mosaic of tropical fruits mingled beautifully with sweet cantaloupe in what turned out to be a meal in itself. Half of it came home with us.
Senor Mango’s 4607 30th St. (North Park) 619-584-0041 senormangos.com Prices: Smoothies, fresh juices and agua frescas: $3.25 to $5.50 Fruit salads and acai bowls: $5.25 to $8.75 Tortas, $6.25 Hubby’s fruit fix came with the “pico de gallo” salad consisting of watermelon, oranges, mango, jicama, and cucumber dressed in lime juice and sprinkled with a little chili seasoning. Exceedingly cool and refreshing, this is how you say hello to summer. Other fruity choices include a variety of licuados, which involve different blends of fresh fruit, granola, low-fat milk, ice cream and shaved ice. There are also trendy acai bowls, if you must. The menu extends to eight different tortas, one of them vegetarian. We ordered two, the chicken and the pork loin, listed as the “lomo.” The former was filled with a fair measure of everyday mayo-based chicken salad made with breast meat. It was layered between crisp lettuce, thick slices of avocado and a slice of Provolone cheese. The sandwich’s strong point was the springy, comforting torta roll, which we were told arrive daily from a local Mexican bakery. I jazzed up the innards with some of hubby’s brined jalapeno peppers that came with his pork torta. They imparted the southof-the-border kick I craved. The pulled pork on his torta is supposedly spiked with
An unassuming facade leads into a busy torta and smoothie shop guajillo chilies. We couldn’t see any, although the meat carried a faint, peppery flavor that proved capsaicin was present. That torta was garnished with lettuce and avocado as well, in addition to onions, tomatoes and American cheese. (If the processed yellow stuff doesn’t float your boat, ask for panela cheese instead.) All of the tortas are priced at $6.25 (plus tax). They’re outright bargains considering you need a wide grip for lifting them to your mouth. Consumed in conjunction with our fruit items, it seemed unlikely we’d finish them. Though based on their fine merits, we did. Other choices include ham, roast beef, tuna salad, and a meat lover’s version stacked with turkey, ham and roast beef. For that, you may need to balance it with a healthy shot of freshly made wheatgrass. No doubt, Senor Mango’s sells those too. —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. Reach him at email@example.com
The slightly spicy pico de gallo fruit salad A “small” escamocha
The “lomo” pork loin torta (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018 Showcasing her heritage and extensive travels throughout Mexico, chef Claudette ZepedaWilkins brings a host of regional Mexican dishes to the table at the new El Jardin in Liberty Station. The acclaimed chef, who worked at the former Bracero in Little Italy, teamed up with the locally based Rise & Shine Restaurant
Group (Breakfast Republic) for the project. Replete with a garden that yields ingredients for the bar and kitchen, the restaurant offers a variety of full and small plates such as slow-cooked pork shoulder, Sonoran scallops aguachile, enchiladas suizas, and more. 2885 Perry Road, 619-7952322, eljardinrestaurantbar.com.
“Majestic pancakes” are in the offing for the new brunch at Maestoso. (Photo by Dalila Ercolani)
The much-anticipated tasting room and restaurant by 619 Spirits Distillery opened July 2 in North Park. The venue allows owner Nick Apostolopoulos to pour and sell by the bottle five versions of his 619 Vodka: plain, plus those infused with coffee, rose petals, cucumbers and scorpion peppers. He will also carry spirits from other San
Diego distilleries for making onsite cocktails. Heading the kitchen is chef Bryan Rhodes, formerly of Solterra Winery & Kitchen in Encinitas. His introductory menu features salads, sandwiches, poutine, beef tartare and charcuterie. 3015 Lincoln Ave., 619-940-6456, 619vodka.com.
Maestoso in the Hub Hillcrest Market has introduced Sunday brunch (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to the tune of bottomless mimosas, pancakes with berry ragu, and pizza with pecorino cheese and eggs. The restaurant’s roving food cart, which has captured dinner guests since the establishment opened several months ago, will also wheel through the dining room and patio during brunch. It will contain items such as sun-dried tomato deviled eggs, French toast sticks and assorted pastries. 1040 University Ave., 619-642-0777, maestoso.com.
A handful of outgoing tenants at the Hillcrest Farmers Market recently made room for several new food vendors that could be joined by more than a dozen others if the city approves the market’s request to expand. Among the latest arrivals is Awafee, which specializes in gluten-free cakes, cookies and macarons. There is also House of Bao for Chinese dumplings; Pure Burger, which offers the vegan Impossible
Burger; Yallitizers for authentic Greek yogurt; and Honey Rolls, which makes ice cream to order on a sub-zero cooking surface. Market manager Mark Larson said a permit to add approximately 14 spaces to the blueprint is currently pending. The market accommodates 150 vendors and is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Normal Street, between University Avenue and Lincoln Street, 619-237-1632, hillcrestfarmersmarket.com.
Ice cream in the making with strawberries and Oreo cookies on a super-cold surface at the Hillcrest Farmers Market (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)
A local distiller has opened a restaurant and tasting room in North Park. (Photo by Nick Apostolopoulos)
The new Poke It eatery in Hillcrest, which specializes in customized poke creations and Baja-Asian burritos and tacos, will hold its official grand opening throughout the day on July 7 in the presence of firefighters from nearby Station No. 5. The event doubles as a fundraiser for the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation. Menu items include “ricetadas,” which use rice tostadas as vessels for a variety of seafood, veggies and sauces. Rice is also utilized to form the buns for chicken, salmon and tuna burgers. The beverage list features agua frescas, beer and sake. 690 University Ave., 619-773-6486, pokeitsd.com.
“Ricetadas” are hot sellers at the new Poke It in Hillcrest. (Yelp)
Nick Emerson 858-247-1532
Gorgeous Mt Helix home with AMAZING VIEWS!!! Nestled in the hillside, this quaint and cozy home offers seclusion from the hustle and bustle and picturesque views from every room! Great for entertaining with seamless indoor/outdoor living space. Rural living with convenient access to everything San Diego has to offer; 15 minutes to Downtown, Sea World, Old-town, 20 minutes to beaches, mountains, and world famous Coronado island. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a side of views in the AM and BBQ's with family and friends in the PM. Detached studio offers endless options; guest bedroom for visitors, crafts room, man cave, extra storage, whatever you want!!! Gated entry with recently repaved driveway and double wide carport offers plenty of room for all your adult toys! HOME IS CURRENTLY FUNCTIONING AS 2 MASTER SUITES, TAX RECORD REFLECTS 3 BEDROOM AND CAN BE CONVERTED BACK BY ADDING A WALL IN UPSTAIRS BEDROOM.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This “fusion” burrito shop in North Park is about to adopt a catchy, new name. (Facebook) What used to be Jalapeno Mexican Grill in North Park recently became Sonora Express under new ownership. The name, however, is about to change to Burrology in the next few weeks, according to co-partner and chef Danny Balle. “We’re looking to re-brand and focus more on our fusion burritos,” he said, referring to top sellers like the surf and turf with bacon and cream cheese,
and the “three meat” filled with carnitas, al pastor and carne asada. From the taco list, the “Rockefeller” with shrimp, steak, bacon and a cheese crust has also become a hit. The small walk-up eatery is open until 2 a.m. on weekend nights and has become a popular haunt for neighborhood bar crawlers. It runs a location in Serra Mesa as well. 3130 University Ave., 619-542-9448.
GAY SAN DIEGO July 6 – 19, 2018
COMMUNITY VOICES / INTERVIEW
Pride 2018, ‘A moment of great urgency’ Life Beyond Therapy Michael Kimmel Recently, speaking here in Southern California, former President Obama said, “This is a moment of great urgency. You are right to be concerned. The progress we have made is not a given.” These are scary times. As a psychotherapist, I keep waiting for the anxiety to end. And, it doesn’t. The Trump administration keeps attacking the fundamental rights of LGBTQ’ers, women, people of color, immigrants, poor people … anyone who’s not a straight, cis, rich white dude. And even a lot of rich white dudes are worried. I turned 65 on June 29. I remember the horrors of Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes, as well as the Kennedy, Clinton, Carter and Obama years. I can honestly say, as a psychotherapist, that we’ve never seen a more psychologically disturbed president than Mr. Trump. I met him — briefly — in the early 1980s at a fancy New York City dinner party when I was dating this tall, handsome southern guy (“Dale”) who worked for Andy Warhol at Interview magazine.
Dale and I were introduced to Mr. Trump at this elegant dinner party: Dale was there representing Andy Warhol and Interview. I was his date. Mr. Trump was rude, crude and socially unacceptable even back then. Our hostess called him, after he and then-wife Ivanka departed, “a short-fingered vulgarian” and we all laughed, thinking that this crude, grotesque fool would never amount to much. Oh, we were so wrong. Somehow the psychopath/fool got to be president. Looking back, I think we were lulled into some sort of complacency during Mr. Obama’s presidency. It still feels like a nightmare that Hillary lost. Nevertheless, here we are in July 2018 and Trump will be appointing yet another Supreme Court justice. Lately, in my dreams, I find myself crying, “Oh, Justice Kennedy, couldn’t you have waited until after the midterms?” So, as LGBTQ people, what do we do now? Let’s take our advice from Mr. Obama: “Do not wait for the perfect message. Don't wait to feel a tingle in your spine, because you're expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving.” It’s time to become the heroes we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to act, and to act responsibly, wisely and strategically.
At this point in time, the rights of our community — and those of all other “minority” communities — are threatened on a daily basis, from the Supreme Court to Congress to the executive branch of our government. It’s time for us to act. And vote. And make sure that everyone we know votes: our neighbors, co-workers, people at the gym, people at the bars/cafes/restaurants we patronize. Encourage everyone you know to vote. If we can re-take the Senate and House of Representatives, we can counter the idiocy of Trump. Please take action by giving time and money to causes you believe in. Money helps get the right people elected and time spent advocating for what’s right is always productive. And, above all, keep the faith! Don’t give up. Trump and his minions are hoping we give into the chaos his administration is sowing, distracting us from the real, long-term harm his administration’s policies are generating. We can counter those destructive ideas by doing the right thing on a daily basis. As individuals, we can perpetuate respect and honor, kindness and consideration. Trump is trying to erode our sense of decency and respect for others. Don’t fall for it!
Psychologically, Trump is trying to get us so confused that we just give up and surrender. Don’t go there! Trump is only temporary. He will pass. But, while he’s here, let’s be vigilant, strong and consistent. Let’s keep doing what we know is right: treating others with respect, helping those who need help and advocating for what is good for ALL humankind, not just a wealthy few. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but, in reality, this isn’t a particularly happy Pride. It is, however, a most important one. It’s a time of great urgency. In such times, we need to be clear on what we want, now more than ever. Speak up. Take action. Act strategically. Let’s minimize the damage until this, too, has passed. And, believe me, it will… —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 619955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.t
gay-sd.com FROM PAGE 4
INTERVIEW (JN) No, I don’t think it can be because, especially now – again in the age of social media where you have a direct outlet to the world, not just to your fanbase but to the world – I don’t think that dynamic exists anymore. The publicists and labels can’t worry about that in the same way because it’s like, look, you’re gonna be who you are. (CA) But some artists choose not to use their platform for political reasons. For instance, your collaborator on “Babe,” Taylor Swift, isn’t known for making political statements and she gets a lot of flak for that. (JN) Really? (CA) Yeah, she isn’t as politically outspoken as you, for example. Do you think artists have a responsibility to use their platform to speak out on matters of concern? (JN) I think human beings have a responsibility. I definitely feel a calling within myself to speak my truth. I’m very outspoken in my own personal life as well so it bears to reason that I would be that authentic in my public life. Some people aren’t very outspoken, even in their privates lives.
see Interview, pg 19
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Involvement in the community brings great change Back Out with Benny Ben Cartwright San Diegans are lucky as we get to experience the nationwide celebration of Pride in June, and also locally in July. Hillcrest and surrounding neighborhoods in San Diego come alive as we celebrate San Diego Pride month! As Pride approaches this year, I’m reflecting on my 20-years of involvement with the celebration, and the leadership development that brought me to where I am today. In 1998, when I first volunteered for the San Diego Pride, our community was in a different place. The real lifeand-death scare of AIDS was just starting to dissipate after haunting our community for most of the 80s and 90s. The military was living under its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. No state had yet legalized same-sex marriage. Matthew Shepard’s murder happened later that year, and many of our LGBT community organizations did not even include the B and the T in their titles (Pride was “San Diego Gay & Lesbian Pride” at the time; and The Center was still called The San Diego Lesbian & Gay Men’s Center). It was even a crime in the city of San Diego to “crossdress” until that year (although rarely enforced by the 1990s). Our community was in a constant state of reaction, and we have so many leaders who came before, many who are still active today, to thank for this work. Being 18 years old at the time, I wanted nothing more than to be involved with the community. I admired from afar many of the community leaders who I saw at the time in the various gay press and at events and wanted one day to be like them. I wanted to stand up for what was right, make change, and inspire my fellow community members to get involved. But I didn’t exactly know how to do it. At that time, local programs for LGBT youth were very limited. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that The Center’s Hillcrest Youth Center opened, and there weren’t really any services that focused specifically on youth. There was a weekly meeting at The Center called “Gay Youth Alliance” that was attended by many but that wasn’t necessarily enough. Even our local universities were mostly lacking services to their LGBT students at the time, too. In fact, when I got to San Diego State University as a freshman that year, the only thing that existed for LGBT students was the LGBT Student Union, which had about five members at the time. Despite these challenges, those who were growing up at the time, were coming out into an exciting gay world that had come a long way since the Stonewall Riots put the LGBT civil rights movement in the forefront of the public’s
attention 30 years earlier. Gay neighborhoods like Hillcrest were thriving, Pride events around the globe were getting bigger and bigger, and we were beginning to see more and more LGBT people in the media after Ellen DeGeneres’ very public coming out in 1997. And many of us youth wanted to have a pivotal part of that movement. But we lacked mentorship. For one, we lost a very big part of a generation of men before us to AIDS. The community was still catching up from being in crisis mode for nearly two decades and thinking about the next generation of leadership wasn’t really at the forefront of its mindset. There were many youths who were involved with the community — I know many of them personally. But we struggled to have our voices heard. We wanted safe spaces to congregate, organize, and learn, but it wasn’t a community priority. And being youth, we didn’t have the resources or knowledge to get what we wanted. But we persisted and many of us continued to speak up and there were some amazing adults in the community who heard us. In 2000, The Center and some visionary community members opened the Hillcrest Youth Center. This space, originally on Fourth Avenue in Hillcrest, was an incredible addition to the community for youth. It provided a structured, safe, fun space for LGBT youth to meet, hang out, and connect to resources if needed. With the opening of the HYC, it felt like our youth were finally considered to be valuable members of our community. But it wasn’t just providing a space for us, we wanted our voices to be heard and have a place at the table. It took a few more years, but finally in 2009, The Center, under the leadership and vision of Dr. Delores Jacobs, who recently left the organization, created the Young Professionals Council (YPC). Jacobs, whose 17-year term as The Center’s CEO ended last week, was honored on Friday, June 22, at a special celebration attended by hundreds of community members. Of all of Jacobs’ numerous accomplishments over the years, one that
particularly stands out is the creation of the YPC. This program, which provides leadership development, networking, and social opportunities for young community members aged 21-40, expanded in 2012 to include the YPC Academy. Seven classes have now graduated the program, with an alumni list of over 150 community members. Now working at The Center, I’ve had the honor of being one of the staff liaisons to this program since 2014 and have had the opportunity to interact with all of the graduates of the program. The community is truly investing in the younger generation now and equipping them with the tools to lead today and into the future. Being 38 years old, I’m in an interesting point in life. I’m not necessarily a young community member anymore, but I also still have so much ahead of me and more to learn. It’s really exciting to see an incredibly engaged group of people younger than me willing to step up and get involved and help lead our community. It seemed like just 10 years ago, it was really hard to get anyone young to be involved. Maybe it was because no one was asking, or maybe it was just a different time, but today, it’s exciting to see our “millennials” really get involved. I’ve become a mentor to many, and do my best to guide, lead, and most importantly, step aside when folks younger than me want to step up. It’s an exciting time for our community and I hope that this year at Pride, we can all celebrate those younger than us and the contributions they have and will make to our community. We are always going to need new leadership and a good leader lets others learn and lead! I’m happy to be a part of this process in our community. Happy Pride! —Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or outreach@thecentersd. org. Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography.t
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Opening LGBTQ exhibits celebrate Pride Out of the Archives Archives Staff Just in time for Pride, two major exhibits are opening to celebrate the LGBTQ community of San Diego. Opening July 5 at the Women’s Museum in Liberty Station is “Women of Pride,” celebrating queer women of San Diego. Many of the items, photos and videos on display come from the collections of Lambda Archives. Among the items on loan will be Gloria Johnson’s Susan B. Anthony
sign from Paradigm (a women’s bookstore), and a few lesbian-themed pulp fiction books that were considered racy in their day. On July 8, the San Diego History Center will open its large exhibit. “LGBTQ+ SD: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs” will be the most expansive celebration of local LGBTQ history ever mounted in San Diego. Photos, videos, and a wide array of memorabilia will greet visitors. But the first thing that will catch their eye is the brilliantly lit, giant rainbow flag draped above the atrium. This is the flag
Photos being readied for the “LGBTQ+ SD: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs” exhibit. (Photo courtesy of SDHC) Award from NOW, the original Pride flag that flew at University and Normal, the
that was carried for years in the Pride Parade and was hung from the California
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Tower in Balboa Park after the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality. The flag is on loan from San Diego Pride. The Archives provided most of the material for the exhibit and the sleuthing on the part of its staff uncovered hidden treasures and it was arranged for them to be borrowed by the SDHC. Educational programs created in conjunction with the San Diego Unified School District, Pride, The Center, and community leaders. Other events including several of Lambda Archives Out at the Archives panels will take place at the museum and since the exhibit will likely be up for 18 months, there is time for the public to have input on what topics should be covered. Part of the documentary, “San Diego’s Gay Bar History,” written, produced and directed by Paul Detwiler for KPBS, will play on a loop. A good deal of the research for the film was done at the Archives at the same time that work was being done for the SDHC exhibit so it was a natural blending of these two important manifestations of LGBTQ community history. The bar documentary debuted at FilmOut and is now available to stream on the KPBS website. Senator Christine Kehoe and local businessman Robert Gleason spearheaded the Archives fundraising committee to provide money for the SDHC exhibit with help of generous supporters and some corporations. Already people are offering to sponsor buses to bring students to learn about the rich diversity of San Diego. As a way of promoting the exhibitions and getting people interested in their history, on Monday July 25, Urban MO’s hosted their theme trivia night with questions of local LGBTQ history provided by Lambda Archives. Teams from St. Paul’s Episcopal, SheFest,
The rainbow flag in the atrium of the San Diego History Center (Photo by Walter G. Meyer) the Gay Men’s Chorus, and Stonewall Citizens Patrol, among many other groups as well as teams composed of individuals-at-large, competed for some great prizes and purchased hundreds of dollars worth of raffle tickets provided by local businesses and books signed by the Archives’ Historian in Residence, Lillian Faderman. Professor Faderman curated the SDHC exhibit. The Democrats for Equality team included Senator Christine Kehoe who has made so much local history that she was an answer to one of the questions. Lambda Archives’ next walking tour is scheduled for Sunday, July 29, at 11 a.m. Participants can learn even more of their LGBTQ history, so it will also make a good accompaniment to the exhibits. More walking tours are being planned in conjunction with the History Center and
Women’s Museum. The Women’s Museum is located at 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 16, in Liberty Station. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors and Museum members are free. The San Diego History Center is nestled in the heart of Balboa Park at 1649 El Prado, in the same building as the Museum of Photographic Arts and the Model Railroad Museum. There is no set admission fee, but it is suggested that visitors donate $10 for entry. —Lambda Archives, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to collecting, preserving and teaching the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in San Diego and the Northern Baja California region, is located at 4545 Park Blvd., in University Heights. To learn more, stop in or visit their website at lambdaarchives.org.t
Love photos, a collection being readied for the“LGBTQ+ SD: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs” exhibit. (Photo courtesy of SDHC)
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Mayhem and marriage Theater Review Jean Lowerison Magic, mischief, mayhem and (promised) marriage are just some of the elements of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” playing through July 22 at The Old Globe’s outdoor Festival Theatre. The script offers lots of leeway for stage business, opening with a storm at sea and a shipwreck and continuing with three subplots, a magician and several sprites of different appearance running around. Director Joe Dowling and his tech staff take good advantage of this. This “Tempest” also offers a gender switch in eminent stage actress Kate Burton as the magician Prospera. Burton is a wonder to watch, with her fine delivery and command of the text. She is also an engaging presence in a part that is often played with an off-putting, angry attitude. Since “The Tempest” is largely about theater, set designer Alexander Dodge has put a theater in the center of his dual-level stage, complete with seats and a revolving slanted stage. But because several other sites — such as Prospera’s cell, an island and a shipwreck — are called for, he smartly leaves a good deal to
the audience’s imagination. Prospera, the dethroned Duke of Milan, has spent the last 12 years stranded on an isolated island with her young daughter Miranda, after being deposed and left there to die by her ambitious brother Antonio and his friend Alonso, King of Naples. Fortunately, the elderly lord Gonzala made sure Prospera had provisions, including her prized books. She’s been studying magic and has become quite proficient at it. Gonzala is another role written for a man. Here it’s played very well and with exceptional compassion by Lizan Mitchell. The second subplot involves Prospero’s brother Antonio and Alonso’s brother Sebastian, who conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo so that Sebastian can become King of Naples. This requires more magic, this time by Ariel. The third subplot is the romance between Miranda and Alonso’s son Ferdinand, whose dad thought he’d died in the storm. When Prospera engineers and observes their first meeting, she’s convinced the two are meant for each other. Dowling has assembled a sterling cast, with nary a weak link. Sam Avishay and Nora Carroll are adorable as the young lovers Ferdinand and Miranda. It’s not a Shakespeare play without fools; “The Tempest” gives us drunken butler Stephano (Robert Dorfman)
‘The Tempest’ Runs through July 22 The Old Globe Lowell Davies Festival Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way Balboa Park Tuesday through Sunday; 8 p.m. Tickets: 619-234-5623 or theoldglobe.org and jester Trinculo (Andrew Weems). A more amusing pair would be difficult to find. René Thornton Jr. and Daniel Ian Joeck are truly despicable as the villains Antonio and Sebastian. Alonso (Robert Foxworth), who was also in on the plot to unseat Prospera, at least has the decency to repent late in the play. Manoel Felciano is excellent as the saddest character, Prospera’s deformed servant Caliban. Philippe Bowgen, who made his Globe debut last year as Picasso in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” makes a
(l to r) Nora Carroll as Miranda and Kate Burton as Prospera in “The Tempest,” by William Shakespeare. (Photos by Jim Cox) terrific — and amazingly agile — Ariel. After all the negativity of usurpation, storms and murder plots, the ending of “The Tempest” is a bit of a surprise: After working the necessary magic, Prospera assembles all the parties — even the plotters — and forgives everyone for everything. “The rarer action
is in virtue than in vengeance,” she says. Wouldn’t it be nice if we mere mortals took a leaf from her playbook? —Jean Lowerison is a long-standing member of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle and can be reached at email@example.com
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FROM PAGE 1
really been almost 50 years? So much progress has been achieved, and yet not enough. This year, San Diego LGBT Pride calls on our community to “Persist with Pride.” San Diego’s LGBTQ & Ally Chamber of Commerce is ready to answer that call. Almost exactly one decade after the Stonewall riots, in June 1979, 21 business owners founded an organization in which everyone was welcome and encouraged to be themselves without risking the failure of their businesses because they were gay or lesbian. In 1979, there was no “LGBTQ” and if there was, it would not have been wise to add the acronym to the new organization’s name. The founders and early members wanted a safe place for gay and lesbian business owners to meet, socialize and network. Born in a closet, they named the organization the nondescriptive “Greater San Diego Business Association” (GSDBA) to keep the members and their businesses safe. These early founders, and those who followed, accomplished quite a bit in the organization’s first 30 years. Much of that success can be attributed to the vision, dedication and hard work of Dr. Joyce Marieb, who joined the organization as its CEO in 2000. In the early years of the new millennium, Dr. Marieb attracted a series of strong and engaged board members to begin to GSDBA’s growth and she knew exactly how to do it. According to a 2009 article in San Diego Uptown News, “The phrase ‘money is power’ was an ideal she held close to her heart. And she felt this idiom could be used to improve the clout of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community.” Dr. Marieb unceasingly worked to build an increasingly better GSDBA until her retirement in 2009. When she turned the keys over to her successor, GSDBA had approximately 800 business representatives on record and close to $600,000 in financial reserves.
A change in leadership is a sensitive time for most organizations. GSDBA’s internal reorganization, after Dr. Marieb’s retirement, was challenging as it surreptitiously occurred during a series of events that changed GSDBA’s environment. Innovations in mobile communications, the start of a global recession and positive progress in LGBTQ civil rights changed the chamber of commerce playing field. First, the mass use of the new “smartphone” in 2008 expanded networking and advertising opportunities for businesses. But the 2009 recession hit small businesses hard and U.S. Chambers of Commerce collectively saw their membership numbers drop. Lastly, the cumulative effects of the social and political progress made by the LGBTQ community and the news that, as consumers, we spent over $750 million in 2009 generated new interest among corporate marketers who began to pour millions of dollars into advertising focused on the LGBTQ consumer. Unfortunately, Dr. Marieb’s successor and his board of directors did not anticipate these innovations and events, nor the ramifications to GSDBA’s future. The organization was ill-prepared to professionally assess the chamber of commerce environment and develop a strategic plan to move GSDBA towards the future. Consequently, in 2009, GSDBA membership decreased consistently for several years and the organization suffered annual losses of between $60,000 and $80,000 from 2010-2014. Given that the decline of the organization continued for four years with no solution proposed, the board asked the CEO to resign from the organization. Just prior to this request, the board chair had resigned. With tension building among the board, a previous board member was asked to serve as a temporary chair and he hired a former board member to serve as the organization’s general manager while the search for a new CEO was underway. However, following the selection of a new CEO, the temporary chair of the board was asked to resign.
The sudden and continuing back-to-back change in CEO and board leadership made it clear that GSDBA was in a tenuous, transitionary period and the remaining board members understood that change was imperative if the organization was to remain open. GSDBA’s main mission and objective always was, and continues to be, the business success of our members — today’s and future LGBTQ businesses — but how could we reverse GSDBA’s downward spiral? Revenues were down. Membership was down. Member engagement was down. New members, seeing little value in membership, joined and left after only a year or two. In February 2014, five years after Dr. Marieb’s departure, the membership database showed 693 member representatives and reserves were less than six figures. At the beginning of 2015, after we installed a new member management system, the initial cleanup of member records and deleted members with unrecorded past due accounts resulted in membership of just 505 representatives. A significant difference from the 800-plus being touted by the previous GSDBA administration at the helm from 2009-2014. In 2015, with the new CEO in place, the board of directors conducted a thorough analysis of the chamber’s operations and programs. First, we looked at how other chambers were responding to the decline in membership. The predominant thinking among many business and chamber scholars is that “the future success of a Chamber of Commerce will be determined by its strategic development into a major, respected, dynamic center of community influence focusing not just on traditional business issues but on the overall financial health and well-being of the community.” Today’s chamber of commerce, LGBTQ or otherwise, needs to serve as an economic pillar in its community. This was our starting point; at the core of our strategic plan would be the expansion of GSDBA’s mission to include not only supporting LGBTQ business owners to reach prosperity but also LGBTQ consumer awareness and activism, a
gay-sd.com perfect means by which our businesses could reach more customers. Naturally, this plan required that we have a good understanding of the LGBTQ consumer. Again, we did our research and what we learned was amazing and very surprising! Experts estimated the LGBTQ buying power in the U.S. in 2015 was $917 billion. That is roughly equal to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire state of Florida and more than the GDP of every other state, except California, New York and Texas! The board also sought feedback from, and had conversations with, both current and former members and asked them to reflect on GSDBA’s current state and its relevancy, given the economic, political and social environment. The message we received was clear: It was time for a major change. So, we got to work. We modernized the best of the organization’s 40-year’s worth of programs and initiated several new programs to take advantage of new communications technology. When it was all said and done, this would not be the same GSDBA anymore! The new LGBTQ & Ally Chamber of Commerce boasts two robust websites with a new integrated membership management system. We recently launched two mobile apps: a business-to-business app for members only and a business-to-consumer app, BuyLGBTQ, a mobile version of the old business directory, which is available to the public anytime from anywhere. In fall 2018, we begin a series of new member-only programs including “Chamber to Chamber Networking” events that will expand our business-to-business reach throughout San Diego County and “Fun-Network-Prosper” events for small groups of members who enjoy similar activities. We developed and launched the LGBTQ Job Board, San Diego’s first and only job-posting site that exclusively promotes LGBTQfriendly and safe work environments. We developed and launched the LGBTQ Health & Wellness Referral Network (HWRN), the first program of its kind in the entire country to mandate training as a
1 ___ spit (kiss) 5 Dog in “The Thin Man” 9 Recess at St. Peter's 13 Guy embraced by homophiles? 14 Illegal block by Esera Tuaola 15 Cry before claiming immortality 16 Maneuver slowly 17 Tru friend? 19 Start of a message on a Denver church's marquee sign 21 Witherspoon of “Legally Blonde 2” 22 Dry, to Antoni Porowski of “Queer Eye” 23 Slippery swimmers 26 Name of many gay bars 31 Gasteyer of “SNL” 34 Cross-dressing artist Frida 37 Used firehouse poles 38 More of the message 41 Sherman Hemsley religious
sitcom 42 Subway token taker 43 Queens on a chessboard, ironically 44 Yellow Brick way and others 46 Travel with your first mate 48 Canon camera 51 Hangout for Natalie Barney 55 End of the message 60 “Giant” star 61 Continent of Margaret Cho's parents 62 Catch sight of 63 “Enchanted” Disney character 64 Courteous chap 65 Dick Tracy's girlfriend Trueheart 66 Circle of life for “The Lion King?” 67 And so
—SDEBA board of directorst
Q Q PUZZLE PUZZLE
SIGN OF THE TIMES
component of inclusion in the network. HWRN will serve as a major resource to the LGBTQ community looking for providers who understand our need for a safe, culturally competent and inclusive environment to optimize our community’s health and well-being. We have also started to invest in our community’s economic future with the Aspiring Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs (ABLE) program, designed to assist and mentor LGBTQ youth on how to make their dream of business ownership a sustainable reality. Finally, there was the name change to San Diego Equality Business Association (SDEBA) — the pinnacle of the strategic plan. As we considered a new name, we asked ourselves, “What binds our member businesses together?” When we thought about other chambers, such as the National City Chamber of Commerce or the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, it was clear what bound them. For one, it is the sidewalks, the street lights and parking. For the other, it is a lifetime of shared culture. For our members, it is their values: equality, diversity and inclusion. When we took into account the increasing number of ally SDEBA business members, the name organically presented itself to us: San Diego Equality Business Association! Representing much more than a name change, SDEBA represents an exciting organizational evolution that was three years in the making. Upon her retirement, Dr. Marieb stated in the 2009 San Diego Uptown News article, “We are the business arm of the equality movement … This is business with a cause. It is business to help LGBT people be competitive in this society … The GSDBA is the umbrella organization that allows the LGBT business community to have a larger venue for getting information, networking and building relationships … I think money is power,” she said. “Power used for the good results in equality.” We couldn’t agree more, Dr. Marieb! SDEBA will build prosperity and power.
solution on page 17 DOWN 1 Weapon of Caesar's day 2 “Show Boat” director James 3 Way of the theater 4 Tickle pink 5 BenGay target 6 Cabbage salad 7 Foursome of drivers 8 Fruit of Adam and Steve? 9 Big hairdo 10 Key West tree 11 Barrie buccaneer 12 Wide shoe spec 18 Homo leader to toga-wearers? 20 Offends the olfactories 24 Actor Jude and family 25 “I ___ Andy Warhol” 27 What hangs from a Cuban 28 David Bowie genre 29 Vidal's “___ from Golgotha” 30 Biblical garden 31 Open a crack
32 Sea bottom captain 33 In midvoyage, maybe 35 Thornton Wilder's “The Bridge of San ___ Rey” 36 Chili pot 39 And, to Rilke 40 Franklin, religiously 45 Goes out with 47 “ ___ aux Folles” 49 More queer, but not less straight 50 Upright erection 52 Cutting light 53 Rubber-stamping 54 “Faboo!” 55 Home, to Glenn Burke 56 Part of Etheridge's equipment 57 Elton John's 88 58 In good shape 59 Like the end of a bacchanal? 60 Shark foe in “West Side Story”
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INTERVIEW (CA) Have you prepared for the country conservatives who may have an issue with you broaching gun policy on “Tuesday’s Broken”? (JN) Yes, but I feel really confident, Chris, in the sense that, look, what happens is everyone on the far margins scream and are terribly afraid that suddenly each of their rights are going to be completely obliterated by comprising at all. If you give anyone an inch, they’re gonna take a mile and pull you to the opposite pole – I don’t believe that. I believe that sensible gun control is possible. I believe we are in a challenging time right now with lobbyists and the NRA and different money powers, and I believe the waters are convoluted. I believe there needs to be tort reform within our Congress and within the ways we vote on all of these issues. Those are huge, broad issues, but at the end of the day, I believe it’s absolutely possible for us to do anything we want to. We can change the rules, we can remake the rules. We wrote ’em the first time. It’s possible to fix this. It’s possible to look at gun laws, it’s possible to look at mental health, it’s possible to look at all of these pieces. We just have to be willing to do it and to elect the people who are going to do it. (CA) Have you thought about how this album could bridge gaps between people who think like you and your conservative fanbase? (JN) Look, art has many purposes. Sometimes it’s to entertain, sometimes it’s to inspire and sometimes it is even to provoke, and all of those are valid. What I hope we are able to do in Sugarland and in all of my music is to be able to inspire dialogue and to invite conversation. Rather than pressing the buttons, I want to sit in a corner, point a subversive finger and say, “What do you think about this over here? How could we make it better?” (CA) To ask you a lighter question that’s tour related: Do you have a favorite Christian Siriano dress that you can’t wait to wear? (JN) (Excitedly) Mmmm! There are several pieces I cannot wait to wear! I mean, he really
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did his thing on this, and we had such fun in this collaboration just because it already had a theme to it. So, he was able to then just take that and really have fun with it because the theme for the tour, visually and aesthetically, is this beautifully, other-world vintage circus-y look, so we had a lot of fun doing research for that. (CA) How will the healing vibes of the album translate to the stage? (JN) We try to make it feel transportive so when you leave you feel like you have been offered an escape and some asylum and some refuge, and that you leave feeling seen. (CA) Sugarland is known for sneaking cover songs into the shows. Have you considered any cover songs that may fit the healing vibes of the album? (JN) The fun part about the live shows is that over the course of the tour they will continue to evolve. We’ve got some cover choices and a remix situation that’s super, super funky and fun, and we also have a sort of an all-skate that we like to do at the end with all of our openers to come on and join us, and that’s usually a big, fun party. I am sure that within that we will be able to figure out messages of unity; the potential is ripe for all of those messages. (Laughs) Right now, we’re leaning toward the fun party side, but that’s not to say that isn’t about unity too. (CA) What do you hope your queer fans take away from this album? (JN) I would harken back to our conversation regarding the tour: to feel seen. I think it’s such an interesting time where we are supposedly more technologically, in terms of ideas, connected than ever. But at the same time – the last song on the album, “Not the Only,” especially speaks to this – a lot of us still feel very alone and very unseen, and I hope that within the queer community, within the gay community, the trans community – the LGBTQA! All the letters! I hope that everyone feels seen, and let’s say again: celebrated. —Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at chris-azzopardi.com and on Twitter, @chrisazzopardi.t
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