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Can A Religious School Fire A Gay Teacher? 30% Of Trans & Bisexual Women Live In Poverty A Silent Epidemic

The Drag Economy Five Can’t Miss Things To Enjoy in San Francisco Living LGBT+ In Jacksonville Apple CEO Tim Cook: There's 'Much More' To Do To Help LGBTQ Youth Voters Split On Whether Country Is Ready For A Gay President Singer King Princess Set To Release Debut Album

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The “T” Is Silent

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‘Can

A Religious School Fire A Gay Teacher? By Nathan Heffeman

Lynn Starkey worked at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis for nearly 40 years. In May, however, the Roman Catholic school fired Starkey as a guidance counselor after officials discovered that she is married to a woman.

Catholic schools ask all teachers, administrators and guidance counselors to uphold the Catholic faith by word and action, both inside and outside the classroom."

being developed and sorted out in the courts and state and federal legislatures.” In order to understand the In July, Starkey, 63, sued the The issue of gay educators rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, school and the Archdiocese of being fired by or excluded from transgender and queer workers Indianapolis, claiming, in part, employment at religious employed by religious that they discriminated against schools is not new, and since organizations, one must her on the basis of her sexual 2014, several cases have consider both federal and state orientation. come before the courts. It’s law, the Constitution and also not unique to Indianapolis executive orders. In May, the school's principal notified Starkey, who has been or Catholic institutions. In Federal Law January, Karen Pence, the vice married to her spouse since Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights president's wife, said she 2015, that her contract would Act prohibits employers from would return to teaching at a not be renewed, stating in a Christian school at Virginia that discriminating on the basis of letter that civil unions are in race, color, religion, sex and refuses to hire LGBTQ violation of her contract and national origin. However, it “contrary to the teaching of the employees or to educate contains “multiple overlapping LGBTQ students. Catholic Church.” exemptions” when it comes to So, is this legal? While the The archdiocese — which is religion, according to Marcia majority of Americans across also being sued by a gay McCormick, a professor of law teacher who was recently fired all religious groups support and gender studies at Saint from a different Catholic school employment nondiscrimination Louis University. in Indianapolis — claims that it protections for LGBTQ people, For one, any employer can according to a recently has a “constitutional right to discriminate on the basis of released PRRI public opinion hire leaders who support the religion if religion is considered poll, the law is less schools’ religious mission.” necessary for the exercise of straightforward. "Catholic schools exist to the job, McCormick explained. communicate the Catholic faith “The law is in flux,” said Jenny For example, a Kosher butcher Pizer, law and policy director to the next generation," the shop may want to hire only for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ archdiocese said in a Jewish butchers. civil rights organization. “There statement sent to NBC News. Religious schools can are some principles we are "To accomplish their mission, discriminate in hiring in some sure of and some that are still 06 www.cityxtramagazine.com


circumstances. “They get singled out as getting this one provision that talks about schools being able to discriminate if the curriculum is directed toward the propagation of a particular religion,” McCormick said. A school run by Southern Baptists that seeks to encourage more people to convert to the faith could, according to this section of Title VII, hire only Southern Baptists.

workers can seek employment protection under federal civil rights law. They have done so in many cases, but the circuit courts are split on the issue. Luckily for Starkey, Indianapolis is covered by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled in the case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that sex discrimination encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

the ministerial exception, which lower courts had said existed but the Supreme Court had not spoken to." The exception applies only to employees serving a ministerial function, but it affords the religious employer tremendous protection against claims of discrimination.

Maggie Siddiqi, director of the Center for American Progress’ Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, told NBC News that The Supreme Court, however, in recent cases, employers are Other kinds of religious is scheduled to take up three claiming that many different organizations are also allowed cases this year that could have types of employees serve to prefer co-religionists in their a major impact on LGBTQ ministerial functions. hiring — a Catholic charity is workers’ nondiscrimination “That is really expanding the allowed to prefer Catholics in protections. definition beyond its original the hiring process. However, Title VII’s Ministerial intent,” which can “open the while religious organizations Exception door for discrimination against have leeway when it comes to all of these employees," Siddiqi hiring people of their own faith, In Starkey’s case, the said. archdiocese appears to be they are not supposed to drawing on what is called the Religious Freedom discriminate on the basis of ministerial exception to Title VII Restoration Act other protected characteristics like sex, race or national origin, under the First Amendment, An individual or a business which guarantees free exercise may also claim protections McCormick explained. of religion. under the 1993 Religious “That is where there is a big In 2012, the Equal Employment Freedom Restoration Act, a potential clash,” she said, Opportunity Commission sued federal law that prohibits the adding that the issue for an evangelical Lutheran church government from discriminating LGBTQ workers is twofold. and a school in Michigan on on the basis of religion. “Title VII has an expansive behalf of a former employee, RFRA comes up in the case of definition of religion — not just Cheryl Perich, a “called” R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral of beliefs but also practices,” teacher that underwent Homes Inc. v. Equal she explained. “There are a lot theology training and was Employment Opportunity of rules in a lot of religions considered to be in a Commission, one of the three about how people ought to ministerial position. Perich was LGBTQ workers’ rights cases behave when it comes to what diagnosed with narcolepsy and currently before the Supreme it means to be male and took disability leave as a result. Court. The case involves female, or to sexual or When she was ready to return Aimee Stephens, a romantic activity.” the work, the church told her transgender woman who was Then, she added, there is the she no longer had a job. The fired from a Detroit funeral issue of the definition of “sex” EEOC lost the case before the home after she informed her in Title VII. If it is interpreted to Supreme Court. employer that she was include sexual orientation and Pizer said this case “validated beginning her gender gender identity, then LGBTQ


transition. In district court, the funeral home claimed that to employ Stephens violated the owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and for the EEOC to compel him to employ Stephens was an overreach of government authority in contravention of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Circuit Court sided with Stephens, but the Supreme Court will have the last word in the matter. State Law In the absence of a federal law that explicitly protects workers from anti-LGBTQ discrimination, a worker can seek redress in state law. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank. Three additional states offer some form of LGBTQ workplace protections. However, more than 20 states — including some of those with explicit state-level LGBTQ worker protections — have religious freedom laws or religious exemptions to their nondiscrimination protections. Indiana, where Roncalli High School is, has such a law. In fact, in 2015, then-Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which spawned significant criticism by those who said it would 08 www.cityxtramagazine.com

open the door to anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Executive Orders & Department Rules In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 barring federal contractors who do over $10,000 of business with the government in one year from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion sex or national origin. In 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that added a religious exemption to the measure, using language lifted from Title VII. In 2014, President Barack Obama added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics in Johnson’s original order, affording specific protections to LGBTQ workers, but Obama left intact Bush’s protections for religious organizations. At the beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump vowed not to touch the nondiscrimination protections of LGBTQ workers in Obama’s executive order. However, he has issued a subsequent executive order that LGBTQ advocates argued undermine the efficacy of Obama’s measure. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued "religious liberty" guidance that elaborates principles such as “religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers’ religious

precepts.” Since then, many government departments under the Trump administration have followed suit, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which has proposed their own religious freedom rules to be overseen by a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. This month, the Department of Labor released its own proposed rule expanding religious exemptions available to government contractors and sparking outcry from many LGBTQ advocates. The rule expands the types of organizations eligible for exemptions to “employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose,” and also allows employers to “condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets without sanction by the federal government, provided that they do not discriminate based on other protected bases.” The Trump administration claims that religious organizations need extra protections from nondiscrimination law, because not having them prevents these organizations from seeking federal contracts. “It’s not just that they are changing a rule,” Pizer said


regarding the impact of the rule, “but the way the change is being done is an explicit signal that this administration favors religious interests over the equality interests of LGBT people and women.” What's Next? The Supreme Court will hear three cases in October that are expected to have a considerable impact on LGBTQ workers’ rights. Two of the cases deal with sexual orientation, the other with gender identity. In the meantime, the Department of Justice made clear in briefs filed this month that LGBTQ workers should not be covered by Title VII protections. In doing so, the DOJ puts itself at odds with the EEOC and the majority of Americans. Democrats in Congress have responded by reintroducing the Equality Act, a piece of federal legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected against discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and does not allow religious exemptions to civil rights law under Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


30% Of Trans & Bisexual Women Live In Poverty By Tim Fitzsimons

A new report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found the relatively high rate of poverty in the LGBTQ community is not evenly distributed, with bisexual women and transgender people shouldering a disproportionate poverty burden. When grouped together, almost 22 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people reported earning less than the federal poverty level of $12,490 per year for a single-person household. The cisgender straight community, on the other hand, reported a poverty rate of almost 16 percent. When researchers separated the L, G, B and T, however, they found cisgender (or non-transgender) gay men and lesbians reported similar levels of poverty to their heterosexual counterparts, while bisexual women and transgender people (of all sexual orientations) had a poverty rate of almost 30 percent. The study found gay men had the lowest rates of poverty at 12 percent, followed by cisgender lesbians at 18 10 www.cityxtramagazine.com

percent. These percentages were statistically indistinguishable from the poverty rates of their heterosexual male and female counterparts at 13 and 18 percent respectively. Overall, for gay and straight people, women face higher rates of poverty than men. Bisexual men reported a poverty rate of almost 20 percent, significantly less than their bi women counterparts. Bianca Wilson, one of the study’s authors, said researchers have some hypotheses for why poverty levels are elevated in these communities, including that they could be due to “experiences of discrimination, maybe the impact of minority stress, the impact of mental health concerns that come from experiencing discrimination. However, how that explains the particularly high rate among bisexual women is not clear.” Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist, said it doesn’t surprise her that bisexual people report higher levels of poverty, because it’s “pretty typical, historically, for bisexual people’s experience to be lumped with gay and lesbian

experience.” “Bisexual people have a much harder time finding community and safe space,” Ochs explained, “even when there’s an established LGBTQ community, it’s often not fully inclusive of bisexual-identified people.” During the Obama administration, Heron Greenesmith, a bisexual activist and researcher, participated in several White House summits devoted to issues specific to the bisexual community. “The news is that we have been talking about this for years with empirical, peer reviewed data on national data sets, and nothing has increased the programs and services dedicated to alleviating poverty where it really matters in the LGBT community,” Greenesmith said. Ochs noted that a fraction of 1 percent of all funds designated for the LGBTQ community is earmarked for bisexual issues specifically, according to a report by Funders for LGBTQ Issues. Greenesmith said that this lack of funding results in “a lack of structure in bi


communities, which produces a lack of leaders” that can advocate for community needs. Overall, Greenesmith said she thinks biphobia is a major component of many disparities the report unearthed. "It can have different names, you can call it bi erasure," Greenesmith said. "As I research the right as well, I am finding more and more data to show that sexual fluidity, as can be exemplified by the existence of bi folks, makes people really confused and nervous." As for the high rate of poverty among the transgender community, Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, found the Williams Institute figures “deeply unsurprising.” “It's quite simple: If you do not have stable access to housing, you are more likely to face violence. If you do not have gainful employment, you're more likely to face violence. And the prejudice and bias that denies so many people access to these opportunities leaves them exposed to any number of risk factors, including poor health and positive HIV status, as well as abusive situations like intimate partner violence,” Branstetter said. “It shows the massive potential for harm posed by the three Title VII cases before the Supreme Court to allow employers to avoid any consequences for discriminating against transgender people,”

Branstetter added. “It is not merely a philosophical, etymological matter of the definition of sex — it is literally the right of equal economic opportunity for every member of society that’s in front of the Supreme Court right now.” The burden of LGBTQ poverty is also uneven across location, according to the report. While straight people face poverty in urban and rural areas at roughly the same rate (approximately 15 percent), rural LGBTQ people have a poverty rate of 26 percent compared to their urban peers at 21 percent. Study author Bianca Wilson says that with so many unknowns presented by the data, her next project at UCLA's Williams Institute will be a qualitative study that will interview subjects and attempt to answer why certain groups within the LGBTQ community are so disproportionately impacted by poverty.


A Silent Epidemic By Jessica Colarossi

One in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, but Ulrike Boehmer, a Boston University School of Public Health researcher who studies health disparities in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people, says that cancer poses a particularly dangerous threat for members of the LGBT community, especially women.

discrimination, and insensitivity. For the LGBT community, cancer poses numerous threats, in particular. Compared to the national average, people who identify as LGBT have substantially higher rates of obesity, smoking, and alcohol use—all known risk factors for cancer. Additionally, there is a higher risk of breast cancer if a woman has never had In a first-of-its-kind study biological children; compared published in Cancer, to heterosexual women, Boehmer, an SPH associate professor of community health lesbians and bisexual women sciences, reports that women are three times and two times more likely to never have who identify as lesbian, gay, biological children, or bisexual (LGB) have less respectively. access to care after cancer treatment compared to Despite the intersection of heterosexual women. these cancer risks, there is a Post-cancer care is extremely severe dearth of data important to prevent collected about LGBT people recurrences, detect early and cancer, an issue Boehmer warning signs, and screen for has dedicated her career to long-term effects of cancer since the early 1990s, when treatments, making these her eyes were opened to the findings particularly troubling, unfair odds facing the LGBT Boehmer says. The end community. result? LGB women have “A very good friend of mine, poorer physical and mental who is a lesbian, was quality of life post cancer. diagnosed with breast cancer Boehmer’s study adds to at a very young age,” says growing evidence that Boehmer. suggests people who identify At a time when HIV/AIDS and as LGBT face numerous breast cancer awareness challenges in healthcare movements were at a peak, settings, often facing stigma, Boehmer solidified her 12 www.cityxtramagazine.com research focus on LGBT

health. Nearly 30 years later, Boehmer is still using research to bring awareness to the issue. How healthcare is failing LGBT+ patients In her latest study for Cancer, Boehmer analyzed survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, which was collected between 2014 and 2017. She selected study participants by looking for individuals who answered yes to both of these two survey questions: Have you ever been told you have cancer, other than skin cancer? and, Do you identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual? The study focused on cisgender individuals, which is a term used to describe a person who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth, after finding that there were not enough transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who met the study criteria to perform a proper analysis. Using this metric, Boehmer identified 70,524 cancer survivors, which included 1,931 LGB participants from


35 US states and Guam (breaking down to 782 LGB men and 1,149 LGB women). After comparing outcomes of the LGB group with the rest of the survey participants, Boehmer saw that LGB women and men had less access to care, resulting in a worse physical and mental quality of life, especially for women. “LGB women were the most disadvantaged,” Boehmer says of her outcomes analysis, even despite the fact that “this data was collected at a time when we have seen the benefits of gaining healthcare access and protections,” referring to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality. Boehmer says LGBT women (and men, for that matter) are more likely to have jobs that do not provide health insurance, and likely face other financial barriers even with insurance coverage, such as not being able to afford copayments that could prevent cancer patients from following up with their physician. There is also a knowledge gap among oncology providers with respect to LGBT experiences, Boehmer says, which can deter patients from reentering the healthcare system at all. She adds that doctors typically don’t ask patients about their sexual orientation, so the information is either completely left out or it is up to the patient to disclose. This lack of communication about sexual orientation leaves LGBT patients at a disadvantage, since providers are not fully informed about their

patients’ needs or values that informs their decision-making and therefore they are not receiving patient-centered care, “which is the goal of delivering high quality care,” she explains.

treat on the basis of religion. “This might make it even harder for LGBT people to feel comfortable in the healthcare system if it is possible for doctors [not to treat] LGBT “To this day, we don’t have individuals due to a religious sexual orientation data consist- belief,” she says. ently collected,” Boehmer says. The Trump administration has “There might be an epidemic also tried to scale back data going on” collection that includes individuals’ sexual orientation Boehmer’s friend eventually and gender identity. survived cancer, but many other LGBT women have not. “We need data to show what’s “The breast cancer movement going on with respect to cancer included a lot of lesbian rates and cancer mortality for activists who brought attention the LGBT community,” to this particular issue,” she Boehmer says. “We have a says. growing evidence base that there is a high rate of breast Audre Lorde, black feminist, cancer among lesbian and lesbian, award-winning poet, bisexual women and high rates and author of The Cancer of cancer among gay and Journals, was an early bisexual men.” advocate for LGBT breast cancer survivors. Just as How concerned is she about Boehmer was starting her the lack of data? “There might research, Lorde outlined a be an epidemic going on that political response to breast we’re not aware of,” she says. cancer and demanded political action before dying of cancer in 1992. Boehmer wrote about Lorde’s ideas, and why they are still relevant decades later, in an editorial for LGBT Health in 2016. Although the amount of national health data that includes sexual orientation has marginally improved over the last two decades, Boehmer says, in many ways the US is now going backwards on the issue. Barriers to care for LGBT people are being made even worse by health policies that support the idea that clinicians should be able to refuse to


That silent “T” has formed the basis of the 30 -page research paper Brioso authored on The “T” Is Silent India’s hijra By Kristen Manieri community, As part of a semester abroad in which includes eunuchs and New Delhi, student Erin Brioso male-to-female trans people ’14 spent time learning about that experience a unique set of India’s trans community. cultural and health challenges. “LGBT” rolls off the tongue much easier than “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans.” But take a look at the ordering: L…G… B…T. That last letter is, well, last—not unlike the way trans issues are handled in cultures around the world.

“Hijras have existed on the fringe of the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years. Historically, they were known as bestowers of blessings and curses; however, this practice has waned over the past few decades,” Brioso writes in her paper. “In society This is the pondering that today, all official docs requires guided the focus of the adherence to the binary gender research Erin Brioso ’14 identification of male or female, conducted during a recent semester-long study abroad in but hijras are not classified as either. Most Hijras can only India. hope to be beggars as “The status of sexual minorities discrimination against hiring is a prevalent topic of hijras is prevalent. In the last discussion, and currently few decades, hijra sex work issues like marriage equality has exploded. Numerous and the rights of sexual studies have been done to minorities are on the forefront, provide accurate statistics on not just in the U.S., but in other the prevalence of HIV/AIDS countries as well,” says Brioso, and other sexually transmitted who is active in the LGBT diseases within the hijra and community on campus. “I’ve transgender communities.” become increasingly aware of As part of her research during how absent trans issues are her stay in New Delhi, Brioso from this conversation explored the programs in place because they confuse people to support hijras, such as HIV and are not always clearly awareness, educational outdefined. Issues pertaining to reach, and counseling. She the ‘LGB’ often exclude and perpetuate the silent ‘T’ that is met with members of nongovernment organizations the trans community.” (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to make observations & later, 14 www.cityxtramagazine.com

recommendations.“The hijra community is experiencing extreme levels of illiteracy and have very few resources, as well as treatment and prevention options,” Brioso says. Through interviews with CBO officials and trans people, Brioso examined available health care & counseling resources, as well as education levels & occupation diversification. “In the end, I found that CBOs are making a difference. Confidence in seeking health resources has soared since CBOs were established; But low levels of education and little variance in occupational opportunity are keeping this population marginalized.” That finding has inspired Brioso to do more to ensure that “T” doesn’t remain silenced. She plans to return to India next year to build a program that promotes the basic human rights denied the hijra community. “The psychological effects that discrimination can have on a person—including depression, alcoholism, and suicide— require immediate action,” Brioso says. “My plan is to create a small therapy center for the hijra community in Delhi that would aid in their psychological rehabilitation.”


The Drag Economy By William Crawford

To look beyond the specific criticisms that can be levelled at Drag Race, the bigger question is: does it really matter if it is a poor representation of the drag scene? In the same way that American Idol or The Voice may not provide an accurate or particularly edifying guide to modern pop music, expecting a mass-market reality TV show of any kind to be enlightening about their chosen field may be wishful. Yet, when it comes to Drag Race, there is more at stake for the drag world as a whole, given how relatively few other major platforms it has – and therefore its influence is potentially more pernicious.

Masters notoriously released a video, following her appearance on the show, in which she described how she went on the show in order to get a pay rise after she found her stock falling. In 2017, meanwhile, the San Franciscan drag queen Vivvyanne ForeverMORE told Billboard: “It used to be that a local drag celebrity could sell out a venue, but now if you aren’t on the show, you might as well be brand new. That type of thing bums me out, because there are so many legends here in San Francisco.” Alongside the annoyance of audiences expecting to see Fundamentally, also, drag Drag Race-esque could be seen as an artform performances, Al-Kadhi's fear, that has thrived off being which they wrote about in the outside the mainstream – so Guardian last year, is that Drag where does that leave it when it Race UK could create a seemingly loses its two-tier economy. “There are a transgressive status? lot of people who make their Mark Edward has always money through doing drag, and understood drag as inherently unfortunately, the queens who disruptive and counter-cultural. [may] get all the jobs are the As a young man, he also ones who’ve been on the show. immersed himself in the And what does that do to all the blooming acid house other drag queens?” movement and its illegal raves US drag queens, certainly, – and he says that, from the have reported such an effect: very beginning, its anarchic season 7 contestant Jasmine spirit influenced his performance work. 16 www.cityxtramagazine.com

Some years ago, he created the drag persona of Gale Force, a formidable, ageing, working-class queen, with whom he has “displaced” drag by appearing in public spaces such as supermarkets and shopping centres rather than on stage. In 2012, he lived as Gale Force in a run-down council house installation as part of the Homotopia festival in Liverpool. He says he is ambivalent about the extent of drag’s popularity in 2019: “on one level, I love the way it’s going and on the other I wonder ‘are we losing something?’… we have drag brunches now, and drag hen parties, and drag queens reading children’s stories in libraries – which I absolutely love, may I add – but I wonder: is drag losing something by becoming mainstream?” Doonan, however, is not worried about drag’s de-fanging because he believes it remains a fundamentally political act. “Prohibition of drag goes back centuries. So just by virtue of doing it, in the past, you would


be breaking taboos, but now you're making sure those taboos don’t get reinstated. Yes, it's [political] putting on a frock and walking down the street, just as it’s political for women to put on a suit and dress as a man.” It is also undeniably true that for some LGBTQ+ viewers, having such a strongly LGBTQ+-centred show being given a mainstream cultural platform has been monumental in making them feel ‘seen’ – and still feels revolutionary. By the same token, Doonan believes the social impact that Drag Race has had in educating non-LGBTQ+ audiences about the community is

profound – highlighting, through the contestants and their backstories, issues from body image to the battle for civil rights and homophobic violence. “It’s reaching and preaching to a wide audience of people who are inevitably becoming more accepting.” But while its value on that front may seem self-evident, it is also arguable that the visibility it offers to LGBTQ+ artists, and by extension, the community, may, in some ways, be counter -productive. Al-Kadhi wonders whether the show has in fact “led a little bit to straight people tokenising [us] and then coming to a drag show and wanting to [just] watch someone do the

splits.” They add that they don’t see the idea of drag going mainstream as a worry – they are only concerned about it being watered down in the process. “If it’s mainstream, but it still has political bite, then that’s great, but if it’s just drag queens standing on a Pride float for decoration, then I just think that’s emptying it out of its politics. I want a drag queen to go on TV and say something that will humiliate that TV company and reveal something … not just go on and look pretty and be fabulous … I think my feeling is that [drag performers] should always be political and if they’re not, then I’m not really that interested.”


Five Can’t Miss Things To Enjoy in San Francisco By Jennifer Wilson

The end of summer can be such a melancholy time. The back-to-work blues kick in as we long for more late-night pool parties and cook outs. Except for San Francisco, where the summer months are foggy and freezing and we all can’t wait for the dawn of a new autumn. Well, lucky us, because summer is over, and now the real party begins! Fall in San Francisco means sunshine, sexy festivals, and some of the biggest holiday bashes of the year. Nevermind Disneyland, the Bay Area in autumn is the happiest place on Earth (sorry, Mickey!)! And it just so happens ManAboutWorld released brand-new guides to SF, Oakland, and the underrated Silicon Valley. So come with us to explore the perfect weather, the vibe, and the pending anticipation of Folsom.

bloody mary’s for the perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

drink from Liholiho chef Ravi PARTY: There’s no shortage of Kapur and bar maestro Yanni parties — official and unofficial Kehagiaras. at the Folsom Street Fair, POP-UP: At Sorrel, Pop-Up including the infamous Top of Restaurant Chef Alex Hong is the Hole house party above the cooking up refined, pretty bar “The Hole.” The party Italian-influenced American moves to the DNA lounge food that clearly shows his fine starting late Sunday afternoon dining background (we’re and is a great event to start out talking dishes like lamb the evening. But the hottest shoulder dumplings with wild ticket is always Folsom’s Real mushroom tea or burrata Bad Party. Sold only through agnolotti with corn and black hosts and a few selected truffle.) venues, this is the best party to end your weekend. CULTURE: A hot new gallery complex in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, the Minnesota Street Project is made-up of 10 top-quality commercial galleries, including the Rena Bransten Gallery and the art photography startup Casemore Kirkeby. ManAboutWorld presents five of the hottest things going on in LOUNGE: Located at the the city. This month’s issue bottom of the rear stairwell of includes the complete list and the Liholiho Yacht Club, Louie’s more. Gen-Gen Room is hidden in plain sight behind beaded door BRUNCH: Dobb’s Ferry in curtains bearing an idyllic palm Hayes Valley is an excellent tree. The reservations-only brunch location. Add in cocktail bar features an entirely bottomless mimosas and different menu of food and 18 www.cityxtramagazine.com


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Living LGBT+ In Jacksonville By David Vandygriff

As a transplant from Washington DC it took me time to adjust 10 years ago to the slower pace of Jacksonville. I feel in love with the city but not so much the gay drama of the LGBT+ community. I must admit DC was much more inclusive within the LGBT+ community and supportive of our brothers & sisters. That being said Jax has come a long way in 10 years. Passing an updated HRO was a huge hurdle but our community remains divided in many ways. Especially when it comes to the black and white LGBT+ communities. Recently a young gay black man was dragged behind a van and remains on life support. In the post to help raise money for the individual it only drew a few donations. It started me thinking of why? If this had been a white young man/ woman there would have been protest and an outpouring of fundraisers within our community for the individual and family. Why has this NOT happened? That is a question all LGBT+ leaders and organizations should be asking themselves and addressing. We can do better and MUST do better! 20 www.cityxtramagazine.com

It’s not only a divide among the white and black LGTB+ communities, there is a divide among the HIV positive and negative community. The ‘clean’ only guys on apps remain a stigma attached to HIV poz. Causing a barrier to preventing new HIV infections within our community, which is once again divided along racial lines once again in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville black community has the highest new infection rates of HIV in Jacksonville. Why is what we all need to be asking ourselves. We can do better and MUST do better! As we look at our wonderful city, we have many great people. However, many refuse to allow our community to have unity in many different ways. From racial divides, HIV stigma, and clickish groups that refuse to open their hearts and minds to everyone. We have a long way to go in developing an inclusive community. Just ask a transgender person how hard it is to date in the Jacksonville LGBT+ community. We can do better and MUST do better! I hear some say this and that about this one and that one. Often passing judgement

against someone is seen as easier than asking and understanding what happened with this person. No one is perfect and we should be more understand of a person’s mistakes. We must learn to reach out to those most effected in our community. We must learn to have a community that is not held back by addiction caused by years of trauma at the hands of our oppressors and at times at the hands of our own brothers and sisters. We can do better and MUST do better! I was taught by a wonderful person that we must listen to those that may not agree with us. By doing so we often find something we have in common. Instead of focusing so much on what we do NOT have in common, how about we focus on what binds us together as a community? There is always good in everyone, it depends upon YOU to see the good over the bad. Thus we can do better and MUST do better, but it starts with you.


Apple CEO Tim Cook: There's 'Much More' To Do To Help LGBTQ Youth By Drew Bennett

Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, the cast and producers of CW's "Riverdale" and Apple CEO Tim Cook gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Friday evening to be honored as advocates for LGBTQ youth at the 15th annual GLSEN Respect Awards ceremony. Cook, leader of the first company in the world to be worth $1 trillion, dedicated his award to a 62-year-old man who came out to his wife of 26 years after reading the 2014 Bloomberg op-ed where Cook came out publicly. Apple also sponsored the annual event, along with Disney, Wells Fargo, Gucci and Amazon Studios. "GLSEN knows well and has held as its mission for nearly 30 years, that what we learn and what we're told to value as children can define the course of our lives," Cook said onstage, accepting the Champion Award. "If a teacher, a parent, an authority figure takes time to show kindness, to represent the great diversity of our humanity and to create space for authentic conversations when we're young, it stays in our hearts forever and it builds better people as a result." 22 www.cityxtramagazine.com

"Unfortunately, we still see far too often the consequences of failing our kids. Trans and non-binary young people kicked out of their homes and attacked on our streets. Bullying and harassment in our schools," he continued. "And a broader society that still sends the message, when the going gets tough, it's the least among us who get targeted first. There is so much more each of us can do to change these things and that's what brought me here." Originated in 2004, GLSEN hosts its annual Respect Awards in Los Angeles and New York to highlight the work of people who have made an impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth. Founded in 1990 by a group of teachers, GLSEN dedicates itself to creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ students in grades K-12, conducting research and creating resources for educators to use in their communities. "This is our third time together since our world changed," GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard said in her opening speech, referencing the 2016 election. "Each time we gather, the exact dimensions of what

we face become clearer. It is crucial that we are here because two weeks ago, the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, described LGBT issues in schools as ground zero in the secular war on religion." Things continued to get political during the evening with moments like the crowd's one-minute booing of United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and exasperated references to the country's current state of affairs. Alabama became a recurring butt-of-the joke as both "Hidden Figures" star Spencer and Cook closed out the night with references to humble beginnings in their southern, Conservative home state. "I can't help but imagine how much it would have meant to me, growing up in a small town, just a few mostly empty miles from the Gulf Coast, to know that somewhere out there was a room like this, filled with people who cared so much," Cook said. The event also celebrated the cast and creatives behind the CW's "Riverdale" with the Gamechanger award.


Executive producer and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Variety how he went from receiving a cease and desist letter from Archie Comics after writing and planning to premiere a play depicting beloved comic book character Archie as gay in 2003 to being honored for his work on the television adaptation of the same character. "It's such a Cinderella story," Aguirre-Sacasa said. "When that happened, I reached out to the very nice lawyer that sent the cease and desist letter and I said, 'I love these characters and this is a love letter to them. It's my dream to work for Archie Comics and write for Archie Comic books and write the Archie musical.' The guy was like, 'That will never, ever happen.' Times change." Madelaine Petsch, who plays lesbian character Cheryl Blossom on "Riverdale," also shared what the award meant to her. "It's such an incredible feeling to be able to bring to life a character on screen that can inspire real lives. It's life changing," Petsch told Variety. "I've had so many people come up to me and tell me they had the courage to come out to their family and friends because my character came out." Also honored at the event were Amazon Studios CEO Jennifer Salke, introduced by "Transparent" star Judith Light, and Texas high school senior Elle Smith.

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Voters Split On Whether Country Is Ready For A Gay President By Cindy Jacobson

As the Democratic Party fields its first serious presidential contender who is openly gay, half of American voters say that they personally are ready for a gay or lesbian president, but are split about whether the country as a whole is ready. According to a POLITICO/ Morning Consult poll of registered voters, 50 percent of respondents said they were either definitely or probably ready to have a commander in chief who is openly gay, compared with 37 percent who said they were either definitely or probably not ready. But voters were more pessimistic when asked whether they thought the country was ready for an openly gay president — 40 percent said they thought the country was ready, with 45 percent saying the country was not ready. That gap grew even wider when voters were asked whether they thought their neighbors were ready for a gay president. About a quarter of respondents answered affirmatively, while 46 percent said their neighbors were either 24 www.cityxtramagazine.com

definitely or probably not ready for a gay president. Pluralities of both Democrats and Republicans, as well as independents, all said they did not believe that their neighbors were ready for a gay president. The POLITICO/Morning Consult survey results are far from hypothetical. The poll reveals a mixed bag of potential implications for the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate in the race. The mayor of South Bend, Ind., began his run as a longshot but has since shown flashes of being a real contender in the race. But Buttigieg’s sexuality “may be an issue for some voters as he remains in contention for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult”s vice president. “Notably, 58 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats say they aren’t ready for a gay or lesbian president. The comparative figures not ready for a female president are 36 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats.” The POLITICO/Morning Consult survey results come

days after McClatchy published internal focus group findings indicating that Buttigieg’s openness about his sexualty is one reason the young mayor has struggled to gain traction among black voters, a major Democratic constituency. According to a report summarizing the focus groups’ findings, undecided black voters in South Carolina viewed Buttigieg’s sexuality as “a barrier” to earning their votes, though not necessarily “a red line that they wouldn’t cross.” They also cited his age, name recognition and relative inexperience in government compared with other frontrunners in the race. Voters were polled on their opinions of a number of different traits, from being a vegan to being nonreligious to being unmarried. Of those, they were only more likely to say the country isn’t ready for a president who is nonreligious or agnostic than they were to say the country isn’t ready for a gay president. They were also surveyed about whether the country is ready for a Hispanic president — 56 percent say it is. The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Oct 25.


Singer King Princess Set To Release Debut Album By Micheal Simmons

Twenty-year-old singer-songwriter King Princess is set to release one of pop music's most hotly anticipated debut albums on Friday, "Cheap Queen," more than a year after she shot to stardom with a single name-checked by Harry Styles and Kourtney Kardashian. The buzz around the Brooklynborn singer, whose full name is Mikaela Straus, has built since her single "1950," inspired by "The Price of Salt," the Patricia Highsmith novel about a forbidden lesbian affair. The soulful ballad has more than 10 million YouTube views since it appeared in February of last year. Speaking at the Glastonbury Festival in June, Straus said she was "really, really excited" about the album. "It's going to be fierce," she said, adding that the songs had been inspired by "the usual girl heartbreak."

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"Honey, heartbreak, hard times, friendships, you know, that shit, all the good shit," she said. As her stage name suggests, she plays with gender roles, appearing in the "1950" video in a cowboy outfit with a pencilled-in mustache. She sings of a girlfriend who rescues her "when the dudes try to chase me... cause I'm just a lady." But she said it was important that LGBTQ artists aren't pigeonholed, as they might once have been. "The thing about queer people's careers in the past is that it's been focused on a narrative of sexuality and you don't get the substance," she said. "And I, before anything, want to deliver the music and then give you the gay shit, too, on top of it like an extra treat."

"There's amazing queer people in the audience, (but) there's also people who just love music and are there to just jam out and that is just equally as important to me," she said. Straus was one of the first signings to Mark Ronson's Zelig Records, an imprint of Columbia Records, after the musician and producer known for working with Amy Winehouse and Adele heard her "Make My Bed" EP. "We had dinner and started hanging out a bit and talking about music," she said. "You get to meetings and it feels super sterile most of the time, and it was just really nice to talk with somebody who produced some of my favorite records and is just a super fan of music in general."


Profile for cityXtra Magazine

CX November 2019 Issue  

South's MOST Read LGBT+ Publication

CX November 2019 Issue  

South's MOST Read LGBT+ Publication

Profile for cityxtra