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Band-Aid Plan Reached for Displaced Clinic Clients BY DUNCAN OSBORNE Roughly three months after the closing of the city’s Chelsea sexually transmitted disease clinic for a two-year renovation touched off protests, the city health department and community activists reached an agreement that will replace the services lost when the clinic was shuttered on March 21. “This plan will help make sure that New Yorkers who have come to rely on the Chelsea clinic can get the services they need while we transform the Chelsea clinic into a world-class facility,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, said in a June 16 statement. “I Continued on page 2
SAGEDay is Dawn of a New LGBT Care Era BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Barbara Police and Pat Slone have been together for 40 years and have a problem that many couples can relate to — temperature wars. Police is always cold, explained Slone, “and I am always hot.” This can play itself out in windows opening and then closing, she noted. But Police, 66, and Slone, 72, can agree on many things — their love for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” for instance. “We watch it for Mariska Hargitay,” said Police, referring to the actress who plays Continued on page 6
GAYS OF OUR LIVES Veteran NYC gays reexamine their lives in Chelsea playwright Michael Boothroyd’s “Women & Children.” At the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity through July 9. See page 20.
Queer Geeks Claim Their Place in Cosplay, Comics, Games BY CHARLES BATTERSBY In decades past, geek media like comic books and video games would avoid direct mention of LGBT themes. This was because geek media was often seen as childish, while LGBT representation was viewed as inherently sexual and unsuitable for kids. In recent years, a new generation of gay and transgender creators have grown up and begun making their own comics and games, while publishers have embraced a new audience by presenting a more diverse roster of characters that includes openly gay and transgender people. The stereotypes of both subcultures are being eroded by the arrival of these openly queer geeks. Industry conventions like Comic Con will present panel discussions where publishers can promote upcoming projects, but the cons also have panels on more esoteric topics, including LGBT themes. Previously, a major con might have had a single panel devoted to “Diversity” — but the cons of today have multiple panels that address topics of interest beyond the stereotypical straight white male nerd.
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The proliferation of gay geeks is so extensive that there have been several cons that cater specifically to them. Gaymer X (gaymerx.com) is a West Coast event that is geared towards video game fans, and will see its third annual installment this winter. In New York City there is Flame Con (flamecon.org), which had its first incarnation earlier this month at the opulent Grand Prospect Hall. It celebrated all manner of geek culture, and hosted a dedicated lounge for gamers, along with a show floor for comic book artists and vendors. Panel discussions were held on a variety of gay-specific topics including kid-friendly gay comics, gay themes in the horror genre, and gay “anti-hero” characters that defy the traditional do-gooder image. One of the gay-targeted games on display was an upcoming mobile game called “Pridefest,” by Atari (pridefestgame.com). Tony Chien, the Senior Director of Marketing at Atari describes its story as “Your city was
Continued on page 4 VOLUME 07, ISSUE 19 | JUNE 18 - 24, 2015
Attacked in a ‘Safe Haven,’ Lesbians of Color Fight Back
Continued from page 1 thank Councilmember Corey Johnson for helping us coordinate with community partners to ensure low and no-cost services are available in the neighborhood.” The statement, which was written with Johnson and activists, also quoted Johnson, who represents Chelsea and is the out gay Health Committee chair, Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group, and James Krellenstein, a member of ACT UP New York. Harrington and Krellenstein were among the health department’s harshest critics. Activists who are now praising the deal previously charged that the Courtesy Gay City News health department never had a plan to A June 3 protest aimed particular fire at the mayor, for inaction after replace the lost services other than sendChelsea’s STD clinic closed. Since then, activists and the city have come ing clients to another city clinic that is 70 to an agreement on replacing lost services. blocks from the Chelsea clinic. iNState Tek Senator provides: Brad Hoylman, who Pick-up / Drop-off and On-site Computer Repair is also gay, and Assemblymember Dick will keep a mobile van at the Chelsea Community Health Center and Mt. Online Tech Support and Remote Computer Support Gottfried were also quoted. Both repre- clinic location to send clients to three Sinai Downtown Comprehensive Health Chelsea Online Service Requests http://intek.nyc/help nearby nonprofits that will provide HIV Center. The city is also paying for one sent as well. They—participated and sexually transmitted disease test- nurse practitioner at each site. That in aVisit May 15 meeting that was organized us at the West 44th Street Garage Sale, June 6 10 a.m.and to 5:00 p.m. and activists enter for your win treatment. The department will funding will “support approximately 60 ingtoand by from Johnson included andchance a $50.00 gift card from BEA | Restaurant & Bar. fund those services at the Community to 70 more sexual health visits per day senior health department staff. http://www.beanyc.com | 403 W 43rd St | (212) 602-1910 Under the deal, the health department Healthcare Network, the Callen-Lorde than what is currently offered,” the stateiNTek is located in the Hell’s Kitchen area of midtown Manhattan ment said. Six nonprofits will continue to operate mobile testing vans at the Chelsea clinic site. The statement said the vans “can accommodate approximately 10 to iNTek is located 15 sexual health visits per day.” Then, in the fall, the health departin the Hell’s Kitchen area ment will keep a “full-service” mobile of midtown Manhattan clinic outside the Chelsea clinic site that will provide “HIV and STD testing and accommodate approximately 10 to 15 more sexual health visits per day than what is currently available.” These facilities, along with the city’s eight other sexually transmitted disease clinics, will “create a patient care capacity that approximates that of the Chelsea Clinic,” the statement said. Since 2012, the Chelsea clinic had about 20,000 visits a year, more than any of the other city clinics. Previously, activists had chastised the health department — but a June 3
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protest held outside City Hall by ACT UP notably featured a shift in their target, when signs mocked Mayor Bill de Blasio. The health department believed it already had a deal on June 3. The clinic, one of nine the city health department operates, was vital because Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have the highest rate of syphilis infections in the city. That high syphilis rate is unchanged since 2007. Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen also have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the city. The syphilis and HIV rates in those neighborhoods result almost entirely from new infections among gay and bisexual men. The two neighborhoods also have high rates of gonorrhea and hepatitis C. The Chelsea clinic was also expected to be an important resource in the Plan to End AIDS that aims to reduce HIV infections in New York from roughly 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020. People who have a recent sexually transmitted disease may be at high-risk for acquiring HIV. Such people could be candidates for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves the use of antiHIV drugs by HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected. The June 16 statement quoted Charles King, the chief executive at Housing Works, an AIDS group, who conceived of the plan with Harrington. Some ACT UP members continued to express skepticism on Facebook, though in a quieter voice than they used previously. “All of these are improvements and some are solid programs that strengthen local institutions,” Jim Eigo, an ACT UP member, wrote on Facebook. “But adding abstract testing capacity in the general geographic area does not of itself replace the fragile ecosystem of a clinic and its people! And current light traffic at mobile testing vans deployed in the area suggest [sic] that, 90 days after the clinic closing, the city’s belated band-aids have barely begun to stanch a wound.” The health department had contacted Eigo to contribute a quote to the June 16 statement, but he got their message too late and was not quoted.
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June 18 - 24, 2015
BY WINNIE McCROY For LGBT youth who come from across the boroughs and New Jersey to hang out in the West Village, this historically gay neighborhood is a place where they are able to be out and proud. For some, it is the only place where they can truly be themselves — but in August 2006, a group of young African-American lesbians who fought back after being harassed and attacked were vilified by the media, and charged by the criminal justice system. Director/producer blair dorosh-walther tells their story in the documentary “Out in the Night,” which is streaming on pbs.org through July 23. “My friends and my lives were in danger, so there was need to defend ourselves,” Terrain Dandridge told Chelsea Now. “If we hadn’t, someone would not be here today.” Another noted that they were afraid for their lives, and that their families didn’t even know they were locked up for 24 hours. The documentary opens with the sound of a police emergency call, street footage of the scene, and salacious headlines like “Attack of the Killer Lesbians” and “Lesbian Wolf Pack” touting the “gang beating” of a 28-yearold man just for “complimenting” a group of young women. For the young women who experienced the harassment, the situation could have easily turned deadly, as in the similar case of Sakia Gunn, the lesbian killed at a Newark bus stop. The four girls — Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese Johnson and Venice Brown — lived in New Jersey, and were used to tough streets. But they viewed the Village as “a safe haven,” a place to “hit on a few chicks, get a few numbers and go home.” When they passed a man sitting on a fire hydrant outside the IFC Film Center (Sixth Ave. at W. Third St.), that’s when trouble started. According to testimony read by an actor, the man thought, “One was slightly pretty, so I said hi to her.” “He said, ‘Lemme get some a that,’ and pointed to my crotch,” asserts Johnson in the film. But when she told him she was gay, Johnson said the man began calling them names, and threatening to rape them. As the man approached the women, he spit and threw a lit cigarette at them. “No means no; just take no,” said one woman as the situation unfolded. But when the man swung, they fought back. He choked one of the women
Photos by Lyric Cabral
L to R: Of the seven women arrested, Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Patreese Johnson and Renata Hill served jail time after refusing to plead guilty.
and pulled a handful of another’s hair out. In response, one stabbed him with a penknife. When the police arrived, arresting officer Christopher O’Hare said the girls were high-fiving each other. He arrested seven women, who were taken to Rikers Island, where some were kept for nine months. Hill’s lawyer, Susan Tipograph, said prosecutors insisted on keeping the women locked up while they pursued “Draconian sentences.” They were told they faced 25 years in prison if they fought charges. Three pled guilty. The others claimed self-defense. “They said in order for me to take the deal I need to plead guilty, but I’m not going to say that I’m guilty. I felt so confident I’m not pleading guilty, because I’m not guilty. I defended myself. Let the people judge it,” said
Johnson in the film. But the people were led by the media, which twisted the story. As dorosh-walther noted, “The headline ran, ‘Man is stabbed after admiring a stranger.’ An admirer? I really could not believe it. A man does not ‘admire’ teenage girls on the street at midnight. That is harassment.”
Continued on page 10
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JOSHUA HARMON DIRECTED BY
TRIP CULLMAN A WORLD PREMIERE FROM THE WRITER OF BAD JEWS
LIMITED ENGAGEMENT “It angered me that they accused us of hating men,” says Terrain Dandridge of media portrayals.
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The New York Post’s Laura Italiano was among the journalists who stoked the flames. The prosecutor painted a picture that had an innocent man saying hello to a group of angry lesbians, who attacked him unprovoked. It wasn’t until later, when she read the litany of anti-gay comments on the man’s website, that she had to reexamine the case. “I was stunned and felt as though the media betrayed us,” said Hill in an email to Chelsea Now. “The fact that the articles were written before even trying to get our side of the story really disturbed me. ‘Innocent bystander’ was nowhere near what this guy was. It angered me more that they accused us of hating men. I have a son, three brothers and a male best friend.” “This case is an example of the mainstream news media’s lack of understanding of intersectional identities. This was the perfect storm of these Black, lesbian, women, gender non-conforming, poor youth. Each of these identities played a role,” added dorosh-walther — who originally
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Mobile Van to Shuttle Clients of Shuttered Chelsea Clinic
June 18 - 24, 2015
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June 18 - 24, 2015
turned gray and dull, and it’s your job as Deputy Mayor to revitalize it.” The game is humorously self-aware of gay tropes, and has players customize a simulated city with rainbow decorations. The city’s pride parade can even run into protestors as part of the gameplay. Comic book conventions have seen a drastic increase in another subculture recently: cosplay. The term refers to fans who dress up as their favorite characters, often with elaborate handcrafted clothing and props. Flame Con was no exception to this trend, and had numerous attendees dressed as flamboyant interpretations of film, comic and game characters. Even at mainstream conventions, cosplay has become a safe way to explore identity, and it is quite common for fans to “crossplay” as characters of the opposite gender. Even though there was a push for LGBT inclusivity in the nerd community beginning a few years ago, the “T” for transgender was often an afterthought, or overlooked altogether in panels where all the speakers were cisgender. In the last few years, several major conventions have taken the step of presenting programming that looks exclusively at transgender themes (several of which were organized and moderated by myself). New York’s Special Edition NYC (specialeditionnyc.com) convention
Diego Comic Con followed suit later that summer, as did New York Comic Con that fall. This summer, within the span of a single week, New York City saw panels about transgender comic book characters at two conventions (Special Edition NYC and Flame Con). One of the panelists at Flame Con was P. Kristen Enos, the writer of “Web of Lives.” She pointed out that, “While panels on transgender themes feel like a novelty in a standard geek convention, there’s no way Flame Con could be taken with any credibility if their first con did not have a panel like this, and I’m glad that they did, and that I could be part of it. The audience already felt educated about the issues of transgender presentation that it allowed us as panelists to talk about topics deeper and further than at a standard convention.” Also a panelist at Flame Con, Jennie Wood — writer of the comic “Flutter” and the novel “A Boy Like Me” — said, “At one point I sat back during the panel and thought to myself, ‘Wow, what an honor to be here with such talented, wonderful, thoughtful people.’ There was such a warm vibe in the room...from my fellow panelists, our moderator, and the audience. And there was a level of maturity to the discussion that can sometimes be lacking on panels.”
Continued on page 24 .com
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Day Program Provides for LGBT Elders
Courtesy of SAGE
SAGEDay outings help to break isolation and maintain quality of life.
Continued from page 1 Olivia Benson. The couple named their dog Munchy after John Munch, a character from the show. Also at the top of their list is the new day program that is part of SAGE, which stands for Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders. The organization has been addressing older LGBT adult issues since 1978.
“We like the program very much,” said Police. “We have different things that we do each day — discussion, trivia, painting, dance [and] exercise. We have a lot of things that we do. We enjoy it.” SAGEDay was launched last November in partnership with the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. It is a social adult day program for LGBT elders who may have one or more limitations (cognitive or mobility issues, for example).
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Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
L to R: Pat Slone and Barbara Police have been together for 40 years.
Door to door transportation is provided, explained Scott Randall, outreach manager for the program, as he gave Chelsea Now a tour of the facilities that include a library, lounge and cyber center at the SAGE Center. In 2012, the SAGE Center opened at 305 Seventh Ave. (btw. 27th and 28th Sts.) and activities for the program are housed on the sixth and 15th floors. Participants are provided with a light breakfast, full lunch and a light snack, said Randall. The program (Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) offers support and structure, he said. There is an admission process, explained program manager Doreen Bermudez, after which each person is assessed and an individualized care plan is created. Activities are tailored for the participants, many of whom have memory loss. There are art workshops, storytelling sessions, games such dominoes, Trivial Pursuit and chess, as well as karaoke, said Randall. They also go on outings, most recently to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden. The social program aims “to enhance and maintain the quality of life” of participants, said Bermudez. “We are able to provide an environment that is safe and inclusive to LGBT [elders] and also address those unique needs,” she said. Older LGBT adults face singular issues — access to healthcare, inequality under the law, housing and isolation, said Bermudez. “We are trying to break isolation, and we are also building community with the older adults that are in the program that necessary might not have a network of support,” said Bermudez, who noted some are estranged from their family.
Affordable housing and housing discrimination are also problems older LGBT adults face, said Cathy Renna, managing partner at TargetCue, a firm that provides public relations and marketing for LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations. “They will find themselves in situations where, as they age, finding housing that adequately addresses their needs is difficult. LGBT elders often experience discrimination in situations like nursing homes and assisted care facilities,” said Renna, a LGBT activist for 25 years, in a phone interview. “There are many examples of couples who’ve been split apart or individuals who kind of have to get back in the closet because there’s a homophobic environment,” she added. Since 2006, SAGE has been at the forefront of giving LGBT aging issues both a local and national platform, said Bermudez. Renna said that there has been a sea change in activism, advocacy and attitudes around aging issues within the community and outside of it. “Within our own community — the LGBT community needed to deal with its own ageism,” she said. “If you look at LGBT media and the LGBT community in general in terms of visibility, you rarely saw older LGBT people. SAGE has been instrumental in increasing the visibility of LGBT Americans within our own community as well as the larger community.” SAGE has centers throughout the city and 27 affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The SAGEDay program is currently funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health and has the capacity for 25 people, said
Continued on page 12 .com
June 18 - 24, 2015
NY State Downgrades Estimates of Medicaid PrEP Users BY DUNCAN OSBORNE The state health department has significantly reduced its estimate of the number of Medicaid beneficiaries in New York who are using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from 3,149 to 832. “I think the number from last year wasn’t done by Medicaid,” said Dan O’Connell, director of the AIDS Institute, which is part of the state health department, in explaining the disparity between the two estimates. The state health department now estimates that 310 Medicaid beneficiaries used PrEP — anti-HIV drugs used by HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected — between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. Over the 12 months that followed, 358 Medicaid beneficiaries used PrEP. Since June 30 of last year, PrEP use has grown, with the department estimating that 832 Medicaid beneficiaries took Truvada between then and the end of February 2015. Truvada is the only anti-HIV drug approved for PrEP. The PrEP users in the earlier two periods may be largely the same people, and those people may be among
the 832 PrEP users who began the drug regimen in the eight months after June 2014. “This is really a baseline of where we’re starting from,” O’Connell said. “Basically, for both of those time periods, there are about 300 people on PrEP.” The new PrEP data, which the state health department called “preliminary,” was released in response to a Freedom of Information request made by our sister publication Gay City News. The agency also released some limited demographic data about the PrEP users. For the period from July 2012 through June 2013, fewer than six PrEP users were 14 or younger, 41 were between 15 and 24, 203 were between 25 and 49, 56 were between 50 and 64, and six or fewer were over 65. (The department did not specify a number for age ranges where six or fewer beneficiaries were using PrEP.) In that first time period, 257 PrEP users lived in New York City and 53 lived outside the city. In the following 12-month period, beginning July 1, 2013, seven
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PrEP users were 14 or younger, 71 were between 15 and 24, 234 were between 25 and 49, 43 were between 50 and 64, and the remaining three were — as simple addition indicates — over 65. In that second time period, 283 PrEP users lived in the city and 75 lived outside the city. O’Connell supplied the estimate of 832 PrEP users for the third time period — July 1 of last year through February 28 of this year —without providing even the limited demographic data available for the earlier periods. There is no reason, however, to believe that the age breakdown from the most recent time period would be inconsistent with that from the first two time periods. The state health department did not supply demographic data on the gender or race of the PrEP users for any time period. The data on PrEP use by Medicaid beneficiaries does not include PrEP users who have private insurance, so the number of PrEP users in New York is certainly higher than 832. Estimates of PrEP use produced by Gilead Sciences, which manufactures and markets Truvada, have been consistently conservative, though they have shown steady growth in PrEP uptake over time. PrEP is a central component of the Plan to End AIDS, which seeks to cut the number of HIV infections in New York State from the current roughly 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020. The plan will also use post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which prevents infection in HIV-negative people with a recent exposure to the virus, and treatment as prevention (TasP), the use of antiHIV drugs by HIV-positive people to
make them no longer infectious to others. All three drug regimens have a proven effectiveness when taken correctly. The growth seen in the Gilead and state health department PrEP use estimates is likely attributable, at least in part, to increased public discussion about PrEP. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his support for the Plan to End AIDS at the start of last year’s LGBT Pride March in Manhattan. “There’s so much talk about PrEP,” O’Connell said. “We hope the governor’s announcement moved the needle.” Over 90 percent of new HIV infections in New York are in New York City, and every demographic group in the city except gay and bisexual men have seen declines in new infections in recent years. For the plan to work, tens of thousands of gay and bisexual men will likely have to be taking PrEP. A high percentage of those who are HIVpositive, probably at least 50 or 60 percent, must be virally suppressed, as well. A study presented in February at a scientific conference by Dr. Robert Grant, a researcher at San Francisco’s Gladstone Institutes, estimated that San Francisco would see a 70 percent cut in new HIV infections if 95 percent of the roughly 16,000 people in San Francisco who are in the “highest risk strata” for HIV infection, or nearly 14,200 people, were taking PrEP and 62 percent of HIV-positive people were taking anti-HIV drugs and were no longer infectious. New York’s epidemic is eight times larger than San Francisco’s epidemic.
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PEP: HIV’s Rigorous But Effective ‘Morning After’ Plan BY RICHARD E. GREENE, MD & PERRY N. HALKITIS, PhD, MS, MPH In the past few years, we have experienced a revolution in the prevention of HIV. Gone are the days when approaches based on changing behavior were the only options. Biomedical technologies have provided us another set of tools in the arsenal to fight AIDS. Robust scientific evidence has Kept Me demonstrated that individuals at high risk for contracting HIV can now significantly reduce their risk of contracting the virus if they take a pill a day for the duration of the time that they are high risk. Slowly but surely this strategy, called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), is being adopted by healthcare workers as something to offer people who are at risk. In fact, it is one of the key components of the New York State Plan to End AIDS. We call it a revolution, because it moves us forward in how we think and talk about HIV prevention, both between providers and patients and between sex partners (whether long-term, casual, or just potential). It moves us away from If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, sex-negative messages and removes a go immediately to a clinic or ER and ask for PEP. great deal of fear many high-risk folks had about contracting HIV through sex. PrEP offers us many opportunities in the way we think and talk about HIV prevention, and counters the often sex-negative behavioral strategies. For more information, call 311 or visit To date, one drug, Truvada (a combinyc.gov and search “HIV PrEP and PEP” nation pill containing two medications, tenofovir and emtricitabine), is approved Courtesy New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for PrEP, but others are on the way, as are injectable medications that would One of several PEP posters from a NYC social marketing campaign, each remove the burden of taking a pill every of which targets a different demographic. day — a reality that many HIV-positive then asked to follow up with an outpa- rience an occupational exposure from people, of course, live with. But PrEP is not the only innovation tient primary care provider. The problem that used by people who have sexual we have at our disposal. Post-Exposure is, providers who work in the ER or exposure to HIV.) How does PEP work? It is meant to Prophylaxis (PEP) is akin to the morn- the urgent care center generally haven’t ing-after pill used to prevent pregnancy seen the person before the high-risk be used after sex, and getting the first –– but for HIV. Many young people encounter. To make matters worse, many pills within the 36 hours after a risk know about PEP. In fact, as part of the primary care providers don’t prescribe exposure is critical. These high-risk expoongoing P18 Cohort Study at NYU’s PEP with any regularity. This prevention sures include having condomless sex as Center for Health Identity Behavior and approach, then, is often lost in the mix a receptive partner with someone who Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), we have of available strategies. In our study, of is living with untreated HIV. PEP works surveyed 460 young men and trans- those who used PEP, only a third were by getting medication –– in fact, a combination of three anti-HIV medications gender women ages 22 and 23, and 74 prescribed in an ER. PEP is not a new idea. Since 1996, –– into the blood and body to block the percent said they had heard of PEP. But only 8 percent have ever used it. (A simi- the Centers for Disease Control and uptake of HIV before it can take hold lar proportion has heard about PrEP and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the in your system and result in infection. use of PEP to treat health care providers This is why timing is essential. PEP can only 7 percent reported ever using it.) Why haven’t more people used PEP? who may have been exposed with needle sometimes be effective if initiated as PEP should be started within 36 hours sticks from HIV-infected patients. (In long as 72 hours after the encounter, of HIV exposure, so it is usually dis- fact, sometimes the term nPEP –– for but the sooner the better. After the pensed in hospital emergency rooms or non-occupational post exposure prophy- 72-hour mark, the pills are not likely to urgent care centers. People are often laxis –– is used to differentiate PEP used be effective. Unlike PrEP, which is only one pill, given a “starter pack” of the meds and by health care professionals who expe-
©2014 The City of New York, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. All Rights Reserved.
PEP often is composed of a combination of pills. A variety of antiviral pills combinations are used as PEP, although Truvada and Isentress (raltegravir) are commonly prescribed. The medications are meant to be taken for 30 days following the exposure, and it is important to take the pills regularly. It is also helpful to know any antivirals the HIV-positive sex partner with whom you had a highrisk exposure is taking in case that person’s virus has developed resistance to the meds you are prescribed. You should also disclose whether you are on Truvada as PrEP. It is also essential to be honest when being evaluated for PEP about what actually happened during sex, even though some people feel uncomfortable disclosing those sorts of intimate details. Perhaps the most important things to know about PEP are that it exists, it is effective, and how and when to get it. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, go to an ER or urgent care center (or your primary care provider, but only if they are available right away), and get started quickly. You will have a rapid HIV test to make sure you are negative when initiating the treatment and a screen for STDs and kidney and liver function. If you are unsure of whether you need PEP, it is always a good idea to be evaluated. Even if you start PEP and come to the decision with your primary health care provider that the encounter was not high-risk (in the case where the partner gets re-tested and is negative, for instance), you can stop the treatment. Once the 72 hours has passed, though, it will be too late to change your mind and decide to begin the PEP. Anyone who wants more information on PEP or PrEP can go to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, which has a wealth of information for patients and health care providers (at nyc.gov/html/doh/html/living/prep-pep.shtml). Richard E. Greene is assistant professor of medicine and the medical director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies at New York University. Perry N. Halkitis is professor of applied psychology, global public health, and medicine and the director of CHIBPS. Anyone interested in participating in CHIBPS studies or learning more about the research it carries out can visit chibps.org. Follow Halkitis on Twitter @DrPNHalkitis or visit perrynhalkitis.com. June 18 - 24, 2015
Doc Tells Real Story of the ‘Lesbian Wolf Pack’ Continued from page 3 became involved as an activist, believing that, “too often white filmmakers tell people of color’s stories, specifically African Americans and often stories about poor or incarcerated African Americans. This is prevalent in the documentary world as well and I did not want to add to it.” So she worked on the women’s cases for two years. When their appeals approached and she was the only one still “passionate and outraged by it,” she didn’t want the story swept under the rug, and “began a long interview process. I wasn’t going to make this film if they were not comfortable with me.” Between media depictions and the stereotypes that jurors were fed, the women “didn’t have a chance the moment they walked into that courtroom,” says dorosh-walther. Some of the most redeeming evidence was never exhibited, like footage of the man attacking the women, and the police radio transcripts that described it as only a minor incident with a penknife — not a gangland stabbing.
Photo by Lyric Cabral
Patreese Johnson opted for a trial, but found the system was not “giving us a fair chance to fight for our freedom.”
“It surprised me how crass and cynical the judge is — both through the transcripts and in an interview (off camera),” added dorosh-walther. “I didn’t have too much faith in our criminal legal system before I began this project, but I was shocked at just
how egregious it is day in and day out. The appellate court has often cited this judge for misinstruction to the jury and frequently lessens his sentences. But nothing happens to [him]. Where is the oversight? Why is this judge still on the bench?” Video footage from the IFC Center shows that the women were walking by when the man accosted them. After an initial skirmish, a group of men jumped in to protect the girls from the attack. But prosecutors never heard from them. “The system wasn’t built to be on my side, being black, young and a lesbian,” said Johnson. “I went to trial because I believed in the system. Watching ‘Out in the Night,’ I realized how much evidence could have helped out our defense. It was clear the system was not really seeking justice or giving us a fair chance to fight for our freedom.” The women were found guilty of varied Assault and Gang Assault
An Evening With
offenses, and sentenced to between 3.5–11 years in prison. All were sent to Albion Correctional Facility, near the Canadian border. “They didn’t tell how my daughter was attacked, and choked. It’s called gay-bashing, but they won’t call it that,” said Hill’s mother Mollie. “My daughter is in jail for eight years for defending herself.” The “New Jersey 4” eventually appealed their case, and got some of their sentences lessened, but not after most had served two years for defending themselves in a fistfight. Johnson remained in prison until 2013. Elements of homophobia, sexism, classism and racism are clear-cut in this case. Watching the powerful documentary will sicken some, and challenge most New Yorkers to question whether there is any justice at all in our criminal justice system. “None. Not at all. Not even a little bit,” answers dorosh-walther to that question. “I think that without the activist organization FIERCE, these women wouldn’t have had much support at all. I think this happens every day.” Most of the women involved say they wouldn’t do anything different, and are grateful to dorosh-walther for telling the world about the injustice that was done to them. “I would like for everyone who are angry…to fight with us for #BLACKLIVESDOMATTER…and get the word out about ‘Out in the Night’ and similar cases,” said Johnson. “No longer should anyone stand by and let the system continue to take advantage of our youth and their lives.” “Out in the Night” streams through July 23 at pbs.org/pov. For more info, visit outinthenight.com and facebook. com/OutInTheNight.
Richard Stevenson and Mark Zubro Two Giants of the LGBT Mystery Genre
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SAGEDay Cares Continued from page 6 Randall. As of now, around 10 people regularly attend, he said. At the end of September, funding will end and participants will be covered if they have Medicaid or are eligible for Medicaid. If not, the program costs $65 a day and $35 a day for transportation if needed, said Randall. Police and Slone don’t live so far from the SAGE Center as they reside at VISIONS at Selis Manor (135 23rd St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves). Police grew up in the Village, and is not a raving fan of Chelsea — she remembers, as a child, being forbidden to go above 14th St. Slone grew up near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and can remember its light flooding her windows at night. Both have been a part of SAGE for over 32 years, from the time when it was just a handful of people in Greenwich Village, where the organization first laid down roots. The couple met in the lunchroom at their workplace. “I was talking to a friend and I banged my tray into hers,” explained Slone, “and she turned around and I said, ‘Hello there’ and she said, ‘Well, hello there.’ ” The rest, as they say, is history. For more information on SAGE programs and services, call 212-741-2247 or visit sageusa.org.
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At this year's Pride, God's Love We Deliver will mark 30 years of serving the community by honoring the late, great Joan Rivers. Our theme for Pride this year says it all: Joan, Forever in our Hearts!
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Times May Have Changed, but We’re Still Queering the Pier JOSH
BY ALICIA GREEN America’s LGBT civil rights movement may have found its flashpoint at the Stonewall Inn, but it’s at the far end of Christopher Street where many found unconditional acceptance. Pioneered by those for whom the 1969 riots were fresh in memory, the Christopher Street Pier (aka Pier 45, West St. at W. 10th St.) still functions as a second home to gay youth, especially those of color. We recently spoke to members of the community, ranging in age, to find out why they come to the pier.
(18, from the Bronx, near Riverdale)
PATRIK-JAMES (41, originally from Mississippi)
JAMEL (21, from Brooklyn)
I come out here to kiki with the girls. There are more gay people, more open people [than in my neighborhood]. I can come here and express myself, and not be judged.
(18, from the Bronx, born in Brooklyn) I was just introduced to the pier like last month. It feels welcoming, like this is home. [My] second home basically. In my neighborhood, I feel like “OK, I’m dressed up. Now, I need to leave.” Over here, it’s like “Yes. I get to put on a show.” It’s like all eyes are on me in my neighborhood in a negative way. Over here, it’s like you’re just welcomed. Q: What do you like to do at the pier? A: I like to just sit down with friends and ki. Ki is like just get together, talk, just enjoy the time that we have, eat. It’s just amazing. Photos by Alicia Green
“It feels welcoming, like this is home.”
Q: Have you met new friends? A: I met friends of friends. It’s a great way to network with friends in the gay community since it is so small. You either come here and see people that you have vibed with before, or people you have negative pasts with, but you know you respect the place and you just chill here.
ASHANTI (60s, native Philadelphian, in NYC for 35 years) Things have changed [since the late ‘70s]. These piers weren’t what they are today. They were raggedy and horrible. Q: What was a typical day at the pier like for you then versus now? A: The crowds were much more fun. More openness. Just enjoying their lives. Now, it’s a little bit more gentrified. Q: How often do you come to the pier? A: I’d say about three times a week maybe. “Gays aren’t given enough recognition for their innovation.”
Q: What is one of your favorite memories or a good experience that you’ve had coming here? A: The old clubs [and] bars they used to have here. They’re all gone. The memories are still lingering on, but the clubs are gone. I would say this too: gays aren’t given enough recognition for their innovation. One of the innovative things they started here was the Halloween celebration or festival. Now, it’s been taken over commercially and they do it on Sixth Avenue. Originally, it was the gays who first started it on Christopher Street. I don’t know how many people know that.
to music out here. Talk about any kind of stuff we want to talk about, different guys we like. We’re not going to get judged by a stranger. Sometimes, some strangers will even join along.
June 18 - 24, 2015
Q: How often do you come to the pier? A: I used to come very, very often. Now, I come like once in a blue moon. Q: Have you had any good memories here? A: A couple years ago, I met my home “I come out here to kiki with the girl. But I didn’t meet her here, I met her at girls.” The Door [an LGBT youth drop-in center at Sixth Ave. & Broome St.]. I had never got her name or number. Then a couple days later, I pumped over here and we ki’d the whole day when I saw her. It was just so fun.
ALBERTO (50, originally from Brazil) It is one of the few existing places where gay people can be themselves. Not just me, but I think people from all ethnicities. [20-30 years ago], I used to come here because there were a lot of blacks and Latinos. People were doing everything you could imagine. Dance, they were doing vogue [and] a lot of stuff. The piers were actually run down. They were all wood, broken. There was a lot of crime, prostitution [and] drugs. This is really, really wonderful to see the changes, how [the pier has] become.
Q: Do you feel comfortable in your neighborhood being gay, or do you feel more comfortable when you come here? A: More here. It’s a just a place where…you could just be yourself, not really be worried. Up in the Bronx, or at least where I am at, it’s more Latinobased. Homosexuality isn’t as common over there. Over here, at least, I can be here…with other people like me. Q: How often do you come to the pier? A: As often as I can. During the summer, a lot more frequently. A couple times a week. During the school year, I’d say maybe about once [or twice] a week.
“This was taken by gay people first. Then it became a hot spot.”
Q: What do you think about residents pushing for an earlier curfew to get the gay youth out of the pier earlier? A: No. Definitely no. This was taken by gay people first. Then it became a hot spot. Now, we have all of these people who own these buildings and they want us out. We need a space, and this is one of them. We have to reclaim it back. Q: Have you ever had a problem with the locals here? A: No. Never. I’m lucky. Q: How would you say the pier changed your life? A: It changed my life because I think it is the safest place to come. Before it used to be after a certain hour you had to leave because you were afraid. But now…I like to come here any time of day. .com
Q: What is a typical day like at the pier for you? A: Just walking around, either lying down on the grass, sitting on a bench or standing over here looking at the water. And again, looking at eye candy because there are a lot of guys jogging out here that have abs. Q: Do you think the pier has changed your life in any type of way? Do you think it’s made you more comfortable being gay? A: Definitely. Even though it’s an area not many people think of, a lot of my friends, we just come here and chill. We can just be us. We can listen .com
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Left: Josh, with his boyfriend Ricky: “Even though it’s an area not many people think of, a lot of my friends, we just come here and chill.”
It’s a great view. It’s a great feel. You kind of get the New Yorker look because you get to see the whole city, but also it has some green. There are a lot of hot guys around here that are shirtless, so some good eye candy.
The AcceleDent System “I can remember coming here with a special someone, and having nice times here.”
When I was coming here two decades ago, it was very different. They’ve cleaned it up, and switched it up quite a bit. Now they have curfews. It used to be pretty much open all the time. They didn’t close it up like they do now. But the whole neighborhood has been going through a sort of gentrification process over the last how many ever years. Christopher Street, for example. You’ve seen the bars slowly disappearing. Certainly, the bars that cater to gay people of color are mostly gone with the exception of the Hangar, which is still there. In that regard, it’s very, very different. It used to be really gay down to where there was, right at the corner of Christopher Street…a big black gay bar. Not to mention, numerous places up and down [the street]. In that way, it’s kind of changed. But the gay community, certainly the gay community of color, is still regarding this place as obviously a place of interest. They still come and congregate here.
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Q: How long have you been coming to the pier? A: Since college. Q: Have you ever had any problems with locals here? A: No. Q: Can you share a good memory or experience that you’ve had at the pier? A: I can remember coming here with a special someone, and having nice times here.
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June 18 - 24, 2015
Disability Pride Gets its Parade on July 12 BY MICHAEL SCHWEINSBURG As we come together to celebrate the achievements of the LGBT community this month, get ready to witness the pride of the disability community. Disability Pride NYC (DPNYC) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is working with the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities (MOPD) to present the First Annual Disability Pride Parade, marching down Broadway, on Sun., July 12. Our day will start at Madison Square Park, where entertainers and speakers will pump up the excitement before we step off at noon from Fifth Ave. and 26th St. to join former US Senator Tom Harkin in front of the famed Flatiron Building. From there we will proceed down Broadway to Union Square’s north-end plaza. The parade will culminate with a three-hour extravaganza on the big stage, featuring luminaries and exciting performances from musicians, dancers, comedians and other stars of TV, stage and screen, as well as appearances by prominent elected officials. A three-block festival will continue along the park’s western perimeter. It has been acknowledged that the disability community comprises the largest minority group, yet we are rarely afforded our due respect and recognition. As pleased as we are that presidential campaigns so frequently mention their allegiance with the LGBT community, we are dismayed that so few make reference to the inequities faced by people with disabilities. Over the next few years, we intend to change that and propel disability rights issues to the forefront. Through the MOPD and our outstanding commissioner, Victor Calise, we have achieved recognition from the current administration here in New York City, along with their full cooperation and partnership. This year, together with MOPD, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act
Foreground, from right: Michael Schweinsburg, director of Disability Pride NYC; Luis Montalván and his service dog, Tuesday, at a protest on Montalván’s behalf. A decorated Iraq War veteran, Montalván was reportedly physically assaulted — with a garbage can lid — by a McDonald’s employee after entering one of the chain’s restaurants with Tuesday.
(ADA), which is the codification of our civil rights. Senator Harkin was the author of the final bill that became the ADA law and will serve as a grand marshal. Our parade will be a centerpiece of a monthlong series of events, being organized through MOPD to celebrate this important anniversary. There will be museum exhibits, lectures, sports and recreational activities, the bus from the cross-country ADA Legacy Tour, and performances and other activities throughout the five boroughs. Visit nyc.gov/ada25nyc for more details on all the events.
Dick Gottfried wishes you a
The parades’ goals are to instill or reinforce pride among all members of the disability community, including caregivers, family, friends, supporters and allies; to change the public perception of people with disabilities; and to tear down the silos that segment our community. DPNYC was founded nearly four years ago by Mike LeDonne, an accomplished jazz musician who has a daughter with multiple disabilities. While walking her to school four years ago (when she was a first grader), he rightfully became increasingly annoyed that other parents would allow
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their children to point and gawk at young Mary. He wondered why those parents felt comfortable displaying such a blatant form of discrimination. He had never really engaged with the broader disability community. Indeed, he wasn’t aware we were so strong in number. He remembers thinking, as a parent, that so many heritage groups enjoyed parades and celebrations of their culture, but that the disability community had not achieved that status. So he set about to change that. He worked at it for years, and last year a committee was formed, and together we began to make remarkable progress. Mike worked for months to organize a benefit concert for the parade and wound up creating what has been referred to as “The Woodstock of Jazz.” This Jan. 8, in the acoustically perfect E. 15th St. meeting hall of the Religious Society of Friends, 16 jazz greats came together for the “Jazz Legends for Disability Pride” event. The all-star roster included Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Brad Mehldau, Jimmy Cobb, Harold Mabern, George Coleman, Bill Charlap, Buster Williams, Russell Malone, Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, Renee Rosnes, Joe Farnsworth, Kenny Washington, John Webber and, of course, Mike himself. To ensure that this milestone event truly reflects our community’s diversity, we have been convening outreach and planning meetings citywide since January. So come join us on July 12, and be a part of history. On full display will be the beauty and dignity of difference, a celebration of diversity and a grand statement of pride.
iPad Mini & a Bottle of Absolut Vodka
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To get involved, please visit disabilitypridenyc.com to register for participating in the march, to volunteer, or to learn more — or send an email to me, at Director@ DisabilityPrideNYC.com.
EASY AS 1, 2, 3!
Assembly Member Same Sex Marriage
DICK GOTTFRIED Introduced first bill you a in NYSwishes Assembly
GENDA Same Sex Marriage
Introduced first bill (Transgender Rights) in NYS Assembly IntroducerGENDA and lead [Transgender Rights] sponsorIntroducer in NYS Assembly and lead
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A Pride of LGBT Theater Festivals
HAPPY PRIDE FROM THE WHITNEY! Whitney Museum of American Art 99 Gansevoort Street #NewWhitney
June 18 - 24, 2015
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Known the world over for their sophistication, it comes as no shock to New York City audiences that our vibrant Broadway community has its share of those who identify as something other than strictly heterosexual. This may seem like a recent trend — but scholars believe it can be traced all the way back to Neanderthal times, when long winter nights were enlivened by dramatic interpretations of the last successful hunt. A free thinker in the group (first to accessorize the ubiquitous fur pullover) suggested adding a musical number augmented by something he called “chor-e-oog-raphy.” His longtime traveling companion found a new use for the popular opposable thumb, by coming up with what we know today as “jazz hands.” Their two female besties (besties themselves) constructed the sets, and theater was born. The show (“Mammoth Follies of 50,000 BC”) proved so popular, it was moved to a bigger cave. Audiences were delighted — although there were grumblings from those in the front row, who were required to pay three stones (at the time, an exorbitant amount) for premium seating. Flash forward to modern times, and we see this publication contributing its own innovation to the presence of LGBTs in theater — an introductory paragraph, largely unrelated to the topic, used to help reach the required word count. As the bi-curious caveman said to his good buddy upon their court-ordered acceptance into a hetero-only hot springs steambath, “They’re throwing us a bone!” THE QUEERLY FESTIVAL On June 25, Horse Trade Theater Group premieres the Queerly Festival — a new Pride month tradition that hands its East Village stages (The Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Marks) over to comedians, storytellers, poets and playwrights, who inject queer identity into an already specific worldview (readhead, Southerner, sports fan, misfit). Day 1 Queerly shows include “Lipsynk Karaoke,” in which sometimes drag king Stanley Epps (aka fulltime performance artist Jennifer Nikki Kidwell) presides over the lip-synch-style elevation or slaughter of gay anthems by Cher, Barbra, Judy, Grace Jones and, yes, even Clay Aiken. Sign up at 7 p.m. — the trouble starts in another 30 minutes. At 8 p.m., “Queerly Canadian” stars our trailblazing neighbors to the north.
For information about new exhibition tours exploring gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ perspectives in American art, visit whitney.org/Pride. Tours are free with admission. .com
Photo by Jenn Kidwell
Do your best Judy or Cher, when Jennifer Nikki Kidwell (as Stanley Epps) hosts the Queerly Festival’s “Lipsynk Karaoke.”
Photo by Max Ruby
Molly “Equality” Dykeman and an all-star stable of misfits perform on June 26, as part of the Queerly Festival.
Host Jillian Thomas and her cast of comics and burlesque performers deliver the highly advanced entertainment you’d expect from a country that enacted anti-discrimination laws in 1998, legalized same sex marriage in 2005 and has allowed gay adoption for decades. At 9 p.m., NYC drag leeeeeegend Flotilla “not on Facebook, bitches!” Debarge holds court with a cabaret show featuring old standards and new material. Another modern classic, Molly
“Equality” Dykeman, is among the June 26 festival highlights. Her 8 p.m. “Queerly Misfits” show has the foul-mouthed, pill-popping, girl-loving gal using sketch and song to praise outcasts of all persuasions. The guest performers are Melissa Gordon, Paul Hutcheson, Cara Kilduff, Alan Warnock and our favorite ukulele-playing, nun-marrying bi (lingual and otherwise) gal, D’yan Forest. On June 28 & 29 at 8 p.m., The BTK Band, which debuted in 2007 in the upstairs
lounge at The Stonewall Inn, brings their “hard-drinking improvised storytelling” to Queerly, with a formidable contingent of go-go dancers in tow. Take note, programmers of those dreadful Hallmark Movie Channel hetero rom-coms! Subcultures clash and hearts collide, when July 1’s “With You!” has a women’s rugby team struggling to save “the only sport and safe space on campus for queer athletes.” East Village native Una Aya Osato plays all of the parts. Same date, at 9 p.m., the Pride show from Horse Trade’s monthly “TenFoot Rat Cabaret” goes all lavender, with their operatic, glam-punk celebration of Otherness. The “Trans Variety Show” at 7 p.m. on July 2 is a showcase curated, written, directed and performed by NYC-based trans dancers, comedians, actors and performance artists. “Queerly Southern,” 8 p.m. on July 3, celebrates the Great Gay South with storytelling from David Crabb and Lucas Womack. The Queerly Festival happens June 25–July 3 at The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St. btw. Second Ave. & Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($8-$15), visit horsetrade.info.
QUEERCOM LGBT just won’t cut it. You’ll need to deploy every color of the queer abbreviation rainbow and then some if you want to equal the types of comedy at this three-day Pride-themed festival hosted by the Peoples Improv Theater (PIT). QueerCom serves up a flaming hot menu of improv, stand-up, sketch, drag, storytelling, solo shows, musical acts, screenings, panels and full-length musicals. Take that, LGBTQIAA! Among the highlights: the ladies of hard-hitting improv troupe Punch! share their June 26, 9:30 p.m. opening night bill with fellow female PIT regulars Buzz Off, Lucille — who deploy fake moustaches for “Buzz Off, Lucas,” a sketch show exploring gender and sexuality. At 11 p.m., color-queer hosts Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster’s “Ethnic Realness” show pours water on the homo-racial hellscape with the help of hand-picked comedians, musical acts and drag royalty. Day #2 (June 27) ringers include a 2 p.m. “Straight People in Comedy” panel, whose professional LGBT comics, writers and actors ponder the role of gays as more than punchlines in a world of comedy that, like the world at large, is largely Continued on page 20 June 18 - 24, 2015
Museum Exhibit Examines the Nazi Assault on the Gay Community
Festival Productions That Are, Well, ‘Festive’ Continued from page 19 shaped by its heterosexual majority. A 5 p.m. event serves as the launch party for “Spooners.” Directed by Bryan Horch, this web series is based on his short film of the same name. Walter Replogle and Ben Lerman star as two likable goofballs in love, whose lives are frequently interrupted by intrusive visits from the incomparable Frank DeCaro, as meddling mom Goldie. The first two episodes will screen, along with stand-up by DeCaro, sketches from Murderfest (Replogle’s troupe) and funny songs by Lerman. Try not to hog the complimentary light hors d’oeuvres at the aftershow celebration, in PIT’s Love Bar. These boys are brilliant, on a budget! At 8 p.m., hip-hop troupe North Coast improvises an epic “Hip-Hopera” heavy on beat-boxing and comedy. On June 28, drag your sunburned, post-Pride March mess to The PIT and get a second wind, with 7 p.m.’s double bill — featuring Molly Horan’s sketches about lesbian and bisexual women, along with the debut of Matt Smith’s sassy, self-deprecating tales of empowerment earned by escaping his small town and drawing on the wisdom of Golden Girl Dorothy Zbornak. At 8 p.m., “Street Behavior” screens its epic Season 2 finale. The web series soap opera focuses on urban gay characters who struggle to define themselves in a world that isn’t always compatible with their notions of religion, sexuality, and DL existence. QueerCom happens June 26–28 at The PIT (Peoples Improv Theater), 123 E. 24th St. (btw. Park & Lexington). For tickets ($10), call 212-563-7488 or visit thepit-nyc.com.
THE PLANET CONNECTIONS THEATRE FESTIVITY A mere handful of overtly queer shows populate this festival, but audiences of every persuasion can feel good about getting on board with its mission: to inspire social change by “showing meaningful work done in as environmentally responsible a way possible.” What’s more, each production selects a nonprofit to benefit with their work. God’s Love We Deliver and Gay Men’s Health Crisis are among this year’s recipients. Playing five performances from June 26–July 7, “Taking Flight: Songs of Hope” is Unitarian Universalist musician and social activist Sarah Jebian’s combo of popular music and personal songs addressing gender equality, reproductive justice and LGBT equality. “Blanche on a Winter’s Eve,” playing four performances through July 11, is writer/performer J.P. Makowski’s oneman show about a woman who receives a heavenly vision the night before Christmas, then sets off on a romantic quest that takes her through the snowy city and into a den of hipsters. Elsewhere in the festival, you’re invited to eavesdrop on a typical Chelsea gathering: The slut! The perv! The threesome-friendly couple who treat pets as if they were biological children! The uptight celibate who keeps everyone else in check! These gay friends may be straight out of central casting, but the secrets they reveal when the drinks start to flow have more to do with basic human drives than their go-to gossip topics (like Grindr, Truvada, and which first lady was the best mom). That’s the biggest surprise, and the greatest strength, of “Women & Children” — which begins with increasingly isolated group leader
Photo by Giancarlo Osaben
Your drag mother’s favorite weeper gets the musical spoof treatment, when the loonies from UNAUTHORIZED! present “Steel Petunias!” at the QueerCom Festival.
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with the ascendancy of liberalism in Germany during the Weimar Era, from 1919 to 1933. As explained in the exhibit, those years brought to big cities like Berlin “rapid growth, social diversity, and a permissive atmosphere” that saw flourishing artists’ communities, as well as cafés, bars, and dance halls that allowed same-sex “friendship leagues” to form. But that tolerant heyday vanished with the 1933 appointment of Hitler as chancellor. Armed with the 1871 German Criminal Code provision known as Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexual acts between men, Hitler seized the opportunity to persecute those labeled as degenerates, alleging that they threatened the country’s “disciplined masculinity.” The law did not apply to lesbians, and in general women were targeted less than gay men. The exhibit touches only glancingly on the treatment of lesbians, but notes that women were prized as wives and mothers for a nation that faced a declining birth rate. The lesbians who were persecuted were typically deemed “asocials,” a Nazi catchall term for non-conformity. Their stories are not well-documented, and thus are an obvious missing element of this exhibit.
Photo by Kelsy Chauvin
Through Oct. 2, Battery Park City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage presents an exhibition (produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC) that examines the Nazi regime’s persecution of Germany’s gay community.
In all, about 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s anti-homosexuality statutes, and of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. Somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them died. Other groups that
suffered similar fates included the Roma (Gypsies), those with disabilities, Soviet prisoners of war, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. While the exhibit is educational and sorrowful, it manages to convey both the big picture of homosexual victimization
Continued on page 23
The Tale of Two de Blasios Courtesy Anthony Grasso Photography
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BY KELSY CHAUVIN Coinciding with LGBT Pride Month, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City has a new exhibit about the plight of gays during the Holocaust. “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945,” which opened on May 29, examines the history of gay men and lesbians during Adolph Hitler’s regime as well as the German criminal statute that led to their systemic oppression. “The exhibition explores why homosexual behavior was identified as a danger to Nazi society and how the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate it,” said exhibition curator Edward Phillips. “The Nazis believed it was possible to ‘cure’ homosexual behavior through labor and ‘re-education.’ Their efforts to eradicate homosexuality left gay men subject to imprisonment, castration, institutionalization, and deportation to concentration camps.” The traveling exhibit is on display in Lower Manhattan through October 2. It was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm. org) in Washington, and consists of a series of panels organized according to phases in the persecution of gays over the 12 years of Nazi rule. The panels cover topics beginning
Veteran NYC gays reexamine their lives in Planet Connections Theatre Festivity’s “Women & Children” (through July 9).
Marcus favoring sober pursuits, such as handcrafting “non-snow” snow domes whose little people drown after the user shakes up a doomed Titanic. Playwright Michael Boothroyd, playing Marcus, infuses him with just enough potential to outgrow the bitter shell he’s been wearing since surviving the plague years. “Without the struggle,” he wonders, “what do I do?” Other characters in this well-acted one-act are in hot pursuit of that question, as it applies to life beyond the next quickie,
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what constitutes cheating, and how to fill the void when designer dogs are the only gay adoption option. “Women & Children” plays July 7 at 4 p.m. and July 9 at 6 p.m. All Planet Connections Theatre Festivity shows are at The Paradise Factory (64 E. Fourth St. btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($18), call 866-8114111 or visit planetconnections.org. “Women & Children” info: facebook. com/MostPoliteProductions. .com
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June 18 - 24, 2015
Wartime’s Lethal Homophobia
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Continued from page 21
MADONNA or BETTE MIDLER
and individual stories that offer elements of uplift, resistance, and even limited triumph. One of those is the story of Willem Arondeus and Frieda Belinfante, two out queer Dutch artists who joined the anti-Nazi resistance and eventually led a group that in 1943 destroyed a Nazi records office in Amsterdam. Belinfante managed to escape by disguising herself in male drag, hiding in Switzerland and eventually emigrating to the United States in 1947. Arondeus, however, was captured and executed. His last message proudly stated, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.” Individual stories like these are a key part of the mission at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which calls itself “a living memorial to the Holocaust.” “The mission of our museum has always been to tell the story of the Holocaust not from the point of view of the perpetrators, but from the perspective of the victims,” said the museum’s director, Dr. David G. Marwell. “This exhibition tells the story of lesser-known victims of Nazi persecution and is an important contribution to our understanding of the period.” Part of that living legacy will unfold throughout June with several special events. Sundays in June at noon, the museum hosts “Yellow Stars, Pink Triangles,” a new tour of its core exhibition with a focus on the Nazi persecution of gays. The tours will be conducted on a walk-in basis. In addition to the space devoted to LGBT exhibit
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Photo by Kelsy Chauvin
The museum’s director, Dr. David G. Marwell, said, “Many people don’t know the full extent of the Nazi campaign to eradicate homosexuality.”
itself, the Jewish Museum also provides reading and conversation areas with related books to further explore the suffering the LGBT community endured under the Nazi regime. “Many people don’t know the full extent of the Nazi campaign to eradicate homosexuality,” said Marwell. “We look forward to shedding light on this important subject.”
“Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” is on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl., at First Pl.) though Oct. 2. Open Sun.–Tues. & Thurs., 10 a.m.–5:45 p.m.; Wed. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; and Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors, $7 for students, and free for children under 12 (and Wed. 4-8 p.m). For tickets, visit mjhnyc.org or call 646-437-4202. For more information, visit mjhnyc.org/npoh.
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June 18 - 24, 2015
June 18 - 24, 2015
Comicdom Comes Around to Gender Diversity
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Transgender superhero Sera, from the “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” series.
Continued from page 4 There have been too many transgender characters and stories to name them all in one article, but many of them follow recurring patterns. Back in the Golden Age of the '30s and '40s, comic books would address themes of gender-change — but only for plot purposes. Heroes and heroines would frequently disguise themselves as persons of the opposite gender, usually as part of contrived situations to dupe foolish enemies. One character in particular, Madame Fatal, was based entirely around this concept. She was actually a young man who disguised himself as a little old lady in order to lull enemies into a false sense of security. In the decades since, characters ranging from Captain America to Jimmy Olsen and even Batman have used this gimmick in their stories. It was usually played for laughs, but sometimes was depicted seriously (to prove that certain characters were true masters of disguise). On occasion female characters would disguise themselves as male in order to appear more threatening. These characters weren’t truly transgender, although the stories might have unintentionally resonated with trans readers. Another long-standing use of gender change as a plot device is having a character cursed by being transformed into the other gender. In geek media, the writers are free to use outlandish science or magic to accomplish this. Characters would have their gender changed forcibly, often in an effort to tell stories about
June 18 - 24, 2015
From Special Edition NYC’s “Secret Identities: Transgender Themes in Comic Books” panel. L to R: P. Kristen Enos, Charles Battersby, Marjorie Liu, Marguerite Bennett.
sexism, but inadvertently overlooked the opportunity to address the trans experience of feeling trapped in a body of the wrong gender. It was rare that a comic character willingly changed gender until the late '80s rolled around and comic books entered their “dark and gritty” phase. The readers had grown up, and the comic industry took its first tenuous steps into transgender representation with adult-oriented comics published by the same mainstream companies that made Superman and Spider-Man. However, this new generation of transgender characters were usually supporting characters, and rarely had their own set of super powers or fought evil. A notable exception was Coagula of “Doom Patrol,” who was a male-to-female trans who gained the power to turn solid objects into fluids, and vice versa (a deliberate metaphor for gender fluidity). A more recent example of a transgender superhero is Sera in the series “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin.” She appeared with little fanfare a few months ago, and readers didn’t even know that she was trans until three issues into her story. Marguerite Bennett, who wrote Sera’s sub-story within this storyline, was a panelist at both Flame Con and Special Edition NYC, where she discussed the character. Sera was born in a male body, in a society where only women can become warriors. She eventually “Found a way to make me myself” and became a magical swordswoman who has been incorporated into the Marvel Comics continuity, fighting alongside Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
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The video game industry is a relatively young one compared to comics, and it has only recently been accepted by the general public as a narrative art form. For decades, games used the same plot device gender themes that were seen in other geek media such as curses and disguises. However, as the players and game developers became increasingly diverse, the industry responded. The “Saints Row” franchise has several installments that allow players to take their character to a cosmetic surgeon to change gender mid-game, or even create a character who is gender non-conforming right from the start. Last year’s “Dragon Age: Inquisition” featured a subplot in which one of the supporting characters, Krem, is female-
to-male trans, and comes from a culture where this is accepted. A few long-running franchises like “Street Fighter” and the Mario family of games have transgender characters among their casts as well, and have garnered a cult following for the characters Birdo and Poison. Even two decades ago, the notion of a transgender geek would have been seen as a paradox. However the sci-fi/fantasy settings of games and comics have allowed writers and designers to address gender identity in ways that more realistic settings can’t. The blossoming transgender community among nerds has also proven to be an unexpected safe place for trans people to find kindred spirits, while sharing their love of superheroes and epic adventure. .com
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June 18 - 24, 2015
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Editor Scott Stiffler
Editorial Assistant Sean Egan
Art Director Michael Shirey
Graphic Designers Andrew Gooss Chris Ortiz
Web Master Troy Masters
Contributors Stephanie Buhmann Sean Egan Alicia Green Michael Lydon Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane Zach Williams
Aquarius A wise queen knows that broken heels, Leo Block their number or quit those public procmelting makeup and windswept wigs are no match for lamations that you’re bothered by the persistent booty calls of a recent fling. Nobody believes it. a winning smile and a defiant Pride March strut. Pisces Folding laundry and finding a fling on the Virgo Your comical misreading of a Pride March roof deck of the Eagle: these two things can be easily banner produces a spicy addition to your bag of boudoir accomplished in the time it takes to play the “Yentl” tricks, and a trip to the ER with a special new friend. soundtrack. Libra Ignorance is bliss, unless it arrives on the next Aries Be careful what you wish for: One man’s right bar stool in the form of a tipsy Millennial who scoffs to marry is his mother’s right to demand grandchildren. at your vast knowledge of MGM musicals. Taurus Like a dream date waiting under the Arch Scorpio Proud Mary, stop burning bridges and start after the Dyke March, your reward will come only after forming alliances. A little humility brings a former you’ve made some noise while navigating a long and friend back into the fold. winding route. Sagittarius Don’t let plans made next Monday fade Gemini A thrill, a trick and a happy hour cocktail: over time, like the lavender strip painted on Fifth Ave. these cheap things are well within your Pride weekend on the last week of June. budget. Enjoy! Capricorn You alone possess the precise turn of Cancer You will awaken from an intense dream about phrase capable of deflecting the toxic barbs a bitter a magical roller disco with an uncontrollable desire to queen lobs at a vulnerable chum. mount a no-frills production of “Grease.” Do it!
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June 18 - 24, 2015
YOU WERE WARNED BY MICHAEL SHIREY Weather forecasters had warned of thunderstorms, but instead the afternoon was sunny and felt tropically humid — perfect for the 18th annual Folsom Street East festival, held Sunday, June 21. Celebrating “the rebellious spirit” of the “kink and fetish scene,” the block party this year billed itself as “the New York you were warned about.” Proceeds from the event, held on West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Streets In Chelsea, benefited the New York City Anti-Violence Project, whose goal is to put an end to violence against the LGBT community, and Visual AIDS, an arts organization that supports the work of artists living with HIV/AIDS. June 18 - 24, 2015
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