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North Carolina Is This Month’s Alabama 06, 26

NYPD Releases Stonewall Rape Suspect Photos 08

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Kathy LUVS her LGBTAQ12345Caitlyns

AIDS activists end occupation, blast Cuomo

Lavender and Green Alliance takes Fifth, at last







Chantal Akerman gets her NYC audience

Seasons of love

Using her powers for good




16 0 2 , 3 R P A 5 2 R A AM-7PM 0 1 M N U S AM-10PM



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De Blasio, Cuomo Ban Public Employee Travel to North Carolina New Yorkers join San Francisco, Seattle mayors in protesting draconian anti-LGBT law BY ANDY HUMM



orth Carolina — in a hurriedly-called special session March 23 — passed an omnibus law attacking transgender rights, repealing all municipal human rights ordinances that cover categories (such as sexual orientation and gender identity) that state law does not, and banning anyone from bringing a suit in state court under the state human rights law. It was signed immediately by Republican Governor Pat McCrory. North Carolina’s is the most egregious of state anti-LGBT laws adopted as part of the backlash against the Supreme Court’s opening marriage to same-sex couples nationwide last June. These reactionary laws are, in turn, provoking condemnation and boycotts from in-state businesses and out-of-state elected officials. Mayor Bill de Blasio, on March 28, banned all non-essential travel by city employees to North Carolina and will add Georgia to the list if Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of that state’s antiLGBT bill is overridden by the Republican-dominated legislature, as threatened.

North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory.

“It’s quite clear that voices of conscience all over the country are expressing outrage against these decisions that are reinstating discrimination against the LGBT community,” he said. “And it is also quite clear that a lot of the corporate sector is making quite clear that it will not participate in states that have such laws. My hope is that both these states will relent, but we

are certainly not going to have any non-essential travel to those states if these laws do continue in effect.” Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order, also on March 28, immediately banning all “publicly funded travel [to North Carolina] that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety.” His order states that “protecting New York State from inadvertently financing discrimination against protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is a compelling state sanctioned government interest.” The governor also wrote that “in a free society the will of the many cannot be the basis for discrimination against the few.” Cuomo and de Blasio join Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Ed Murray of Seattle in instituting public employee travel bans to North Carolina. Such bans were also implemented by them and others in response to Indiana’s antiLGBT “religious freedom” law last year, which was repealed after a national political and corporate furor.


TRAVEL, continued on p.44

North Carolina Law Draws Immediate ACLU/ Lambda Lawsuit Advocates already in federal court; Democratic state attorney general declines to defend new measure BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


ithin days of North Carolina GOP Governor Pat McCrory signing into law H.B. 2, an “emergency measure” passed with the unanimous support of Republicans in the state legislature to restrict public restroom access for transgender people and preempt localities from legislating on LGBT rights, the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Rights Project and the group’s North Carolina affiliate in collaboration with the Atlanta office of Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina filed a lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the measure. Filed March 28 in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, the suit was assigned to Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. North Carolina’s attorney gen-


eral, Roy Cooper III, named as a defendant in the suit in his official capacity, soon announced that he agreed with the plaintiffs that H.B. 2 was unconstitutional and so his office would not defend it. (Cooper appears headed for headed for victory in the Democratic primary contest to oppose McCrory’s reelection in November.) The proximate cause for the rush to enact H.B. 2 was the pending implementation of a new ordinance in Charlotte expanding the city’s nondiscrimination provisions to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Though other counties and municipalities in North Carolina already offered comparable protections, the debate in Charlotte spawned a frenzied outcry about men using women’s bathrooms, which led the legislature’s Republican leaders to call a special session to beat the Charlotte ordinance’s April 1 start

date. McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, acquiesced in the folly, and quickly signed the measure after its passage. The law, as enacted, went far beyond concern that the Char lotte measure somehow afforded “deviants” some kind of special rights. In addition to rolling back the gender identity protections, it affirmatively enacted a requirement that public schools and other government facilities statewide restrict access to any “multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility” to one sex or the other as defined by the user’s birth certificate. Since proof of sex reassignment surgery is required to receive a changed birth certificate, this onerous requirement would deny many transgender residents of the state access to public bathroom facilities. And the legislature did not stop there. The new law also bars any

local ordinances from offering employment and public accommodations nondiscrimination protections beyond what are offered in state law, a move that had the likely unintended consequence of eliminating some local civil rights protections afforded to military veterans. H.B. 2 also rejects any private right of court action to enforce what statewide nondiscrimination protections do exist, requiring instead that all complaints go before the State Human Rights Commission. And, in what quickly made H.B. 2 into something of an omnibus grab bag, the measure also tacked on wholly unrelated prohibitions on local governments legislating on public contracting, child labor, and the minimum wage. The lawsuit challenging H.B. 2 was brought in the name of two


LAMBDA, continued on p.44

March 31 - April 13, 2016 | | March 31 - April 13, 2016



NYPD Releases Suspect Photos, Video in Stonewall Rape Police confident alleged perp known to other patrons, can be IDed BY PAUL SCHINDLER



olice have released photos and surveillance video of the suspect wanted in the March 26 rape of a 25-year-old transgender woman at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. The NYPD described the suspect as an Hispanic man 35 to 45 years old, standing 5’9’’ to 5’11” and weighing about 250 pounds, with a goatee and wearing a shiny gray suit. According to police, the suspect barged in on the woman, who was occupying a single-occupancy bathroom, claiming he needed to wash his hands. The victim told officials that he then groped and sexually assaulted her. The New York Post reports that police sources told the newspaper that full surveillance video — not

released in its entirety — shows the suspect following the victim into the bathroom, where he spent about eight minutes, before exiting. The video released by the NYPD shows the suspect leaving the bathroom with a drink in hand and standing outside the door. According to the Post, police sources said the suspect then went back inside the bathroom. After the suspect departed the Stonewall, the victim contacted friends and also phoned 911, and was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital for treatment. On March 29, Robert Boyce, the NYPD’s chief of detectives, said, “People inside the Stonewall know him. We hope to have him identified in the next coming days.” Speaking to reporters the day before, Mayor Bill de Blasio commented, “Look, it’s a very disturbing incident taking place in a

A still from video released by the NYPD showing the suspect in the March 26 rape of a transgender woman at the Stonewall Inn.

site that’s very important historically and where something good happened in terms of creating more opportunity for people to live their lives.”

In a written statement, also on March 28, the seven-member LGBT Caucus of the New York City Council said, “We are outraged by reports of a sexual assault that occurred at the Stonewall Inn late Saturday evening. We applaud the NYPD for its swift action in seeking the suspect and urge anyone with information about this crime to come forward immediately. New York City has zero tolerance for sexual assault, and this crime will not go unanswered.” The NYPD handbill about the crime lists Detective Matthew Monahan, at 212-860-6857, as the contact for anyone with information. The public can also call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-8477 or, for Spanish, 888-577-4782, or submit tips at nypdcrimestoppers. com or via text to 274637, and then enter TIP577.








W W W . SO LO M O N J E W E L E R S . C O M March 31 - April 13, 2016 |

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HIV alone didn’t cause the clogged artery in my neck. Smoking with HIV did. Brian, age 45, California | March 31 - April 13, 2016



AIDS Activists’ Capitol Occupation Ends With Blast at Cuomo As state budget hurtles toward April 1 completion, $70 million demanded for ending epidemic




Charles King, the CEO of Housing Work and co-chair of the governor’s task force on the Plan to End AIDS, criticizing Cuomo on March 21.

spending, as the Cuomo administration did, has been a standard tactic used by mayors, governors, and presidents to refute charges that they are not spending enough to address the epidemic. Activists say that the plan, which will use anti-HIV drugs in HIV-positive and HIV-negative people to substantially reduce new HIV infections, requires new cash. AIDS groups sought $70 million in new dollars for the coming state fiscal year. Of that amount, $20 million would fund prevention programs at the AIDS Institute, a unit of the state health department, and $50 million would be the state’s share of the cost to expand housing, nutrition, transportation, and other services for people with HIV. Some science supports the assertion that stable housing and other services make it easier for HIV-positive people to stay on their medication and unable to infect others. Mayor Bill de Blasio has also endorsed the plan, but made expanding services at the HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA), a unit of the city’s Human Resources Administration, contingent on the state kicking in half the cost. HASA supplies housing and other services. Currently, HASA only accepts clients with an AIDS diagnosis, which is an advanced stage of HIV infection that anti-HIV drugs have made increasingly rare. Expanding services there to include all HIV-positive people would cost $66

million in the first year and $90 million a year for five years after that. Out of the $70 million ask, $33 million of the $50 million would pay for HASA expansion and $17 million would fund similar services upstate. More than 90 percent of the new HIV infections in New York are in New York City. The state is balking at funding what is seen as a new entitlement. Prior to the VOCAL-NY protest, AIDS groups held a press conference on the steps of City Hall where they called on Cuomo to spend the $70 million. “This was the governor’s initiative and the governor needs to step up,” King said at the March 21 press conference. Housing Works is known for its aggressive advocacy on behalf of people with HIV. ACT UP, the AIDS activist group, protested Cuomo when he marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. ACT UP was also on the task force that wrote the plan.


nding a protest at the State Capitol in Albany that extended across two days, AIDS activists, in a written statement, blasted Governor Andrew Cuomo for not adequately funding the Plan to End AIDS, an ambitious scheme that aims to reduce new HIV infections in New York from the current roughly 3,000 a year to 750 annually by 2020. “We will not allow you to make a mockery of our fight to end AIDS by allowing you to get national headlines with your historic commitment to ending this epidemic, only to turn around and not follow through,” Jawanza Williams, a leader of VOCAL-NY, the group that organized the protest, said in a statement. “I read the newspapers, governor, I realize you have a history of big announcements followed by little action. That will not happen here.” Roughly 30 members of VOCALNY seized a suite, dubbed the “war room,” near Cuomo’s office in the Capitol Building on March 28. Their plan was to hold the space for 24 hours while they read aloud the names of the 100,000 New Yorkers who were killed by AIDS since 1981. Late in the day, six activists were arrested by state troopers and the protest was suspended only to begin again the next morning. Cuomo endorsed the plan in 2014, but added only $10 million to the state budget for the current fis-

cal year to fund the plan. Activists were hoping for more than $100 million. Late last year, anonymous Cuomo staffers said in press reports that Cuomo would propose $200 million in new funds for the plan for the fiscal year that begins on April 1, or at least the staffers created the impression that this was the proposal. When the budget was released on January 13, the plan was to spend $200 million a year over five years in $40 million tranches. Th e pl a n wa s c r ea ted b y a 63-member task force that included every major AIDS group in the state and was co-chaired by Charles King, the chief executive of Housing Works, an AIDS group. A senior Cuomo administration official was the other co-chair. The groups had been unwilling to criticize Cuomo, but they became more forceful after January 13. The Cuomo administration responded by pointing to the dollars it already spends on healthcare for people with AIDS. “No one is more committed to ending HIV/ AIDS than Gover nor Cuomo, who with a $2.5 billion annual investment, has made New York State a national leader by pledging to end the epidemic by 2020 and providing quality support services to those impacted by the disease,” the administration said in a statement. “The budget — which is a negotiated document between the legislature and the executive — is not due until April 1, which every advocate should be aware of.” Pointing to mandated Medicaid



Activists affiliated with VOCAL-NY reading names of New Yorkers who died of AIDS during a State Capitol sit-in on March 28.

Several of the six activists arrested on the evening of March 28.

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


Trans People Remain Largely Invisible in Health Data CDC verifies high HIV rates, but experts agree standard collection methods fail

Dr. Tonia Poteat, who teaches epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, delivered the CROI’s first-ever plenary session on transgender people.



he annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections is the top HIV science and medical gathering in the US, so it’s not surprising that the federal Cen-


ters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chose this year’s CROI as the place to unveil new data estimating the lifetime risk of HIV based on a person’s race and ethnicity, age, sex, and state of residence. The analysis — which estimates that about one of every two black gay men and other black men who have sex with men and one in four Latino MSMs will acquire HIV — garnered a lot of attention from the mainstream media at the February conference in Boston. But transgender people went unmentioned. However, in December, the CDC released data confir ming that transgender women had the highest rates of HIV in a sample of more than five million HIV testing events carried out in 2012-2013. The non-recognition of transgender people is a common practice in research, according Dr. Scout, director of HealthLink (formerly the

Network for LGBT Health Equity) at CenterLink, the national association of LGBT community centers. In particular, population-level data like the lifetime risk numbers depend on having a “denominator” — an estimate of the total size of a particular population, in this case transgender people. Without that number, it’s impossible to create risk calculations parallel to other populations in the CDC’s report. “There is no population denominator for trans folk,” Scout explained. “But the feds create denominators, and they chose not to create a trans one by never testing and adding trans surveillance questions.” Scout added that the federal government says it is “urging” trans data collection by states in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), meaning that each state must individually decide to adopt the questions.

Tonia Poteat, PhD, assistant professor at the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, delivered the first-ever plenary session that focused on transgender people at CROI 2016. In a follow-up interview, she said it is unclear why the federal government cannot mandate inclusion of gender identity questions in the BRFSS. “I think it would be very useful to look at many other surveys that already ask ‘sensitive’ questions, like the National Survey of Family Growth, which asks some pretty detailed sexual behavior questions,” she noted. “I can’t imagine it would be too sensitive to include gender identity. It would also be very helpful, from a population size estimate perspective, to include gender identity on the national census.”


INVISIBLE, continued on p.15

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


INVISIBLE, from p.14

“We’re starting to do a better job of collecting transgender information in surveillance data so we will be able to have diagnosis numbers, but the problem is we don’t have the population denominator as part of our calculation,” confirmed Kristen Hess, PhD, a CDC official who presented the lifetime risk data at CROI 2016. Indeed, the CDC includes a two-step process for gender in the National HIV Surveillance System, which reports statistics on HIV diagnoses, in which respondents report not just their sex assigned at birth but also current gender identity. As reported by journalist Liz Highleyman in TheBodyPRO. com, using the two-step method in HIV testing forms resulted in a 69 percent increase in identifying transgender participants over just asking one question about gender. The inclusion of the two-step question allowed CDC to produce the analysis verifying high rates of HIV-positive testing results among transgender women. However, integration of this method has been uneven. “Parts of CDC have been really progressive in using the two-step method, and there’s other parts [of CDC] that have not even heard of the two-step method,” Poteat said. “At the [National Institutes of Health], it’s the same thing. Different institutes are still differing in how they approach the questions and if they feel it’s relevant.” In CDC’s online fact sheet “HIV Among Transgender People,” the agency notes that “identifying transgender people within current data systems can be challenging.” While the agency goes on to recommend the two-step method, the fact sheet’s authors appear to focus primarily on transgender people themselves as the reason for why accurate accounting poses challenges — rather than on other factors cited by advocates, such as explicit or implicit assumptions made by those filling out the forms or the inherent limitations in using just one question to accurately assess a person’s gender identity and experience in a brief surveillance form. “Some transgender people may not identify as transgender due to fear of discrimination or | March 31 - April 13, 2016

ous negative experiences,” the fact sheet reads. “Since some people in this community do not self-identify as transgender, relying solely upon gender to identify transgender people is not enough. Gender expression may fluctuate for some transgender people due to issues such as perceived safety or reluctance to identify as transgender in certain situations.” Comprehensive change needs to start at the top, Poteat said, noting that Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, held an LGBT meeting more than a year ago to set an agenda for research on sexual and gender minorities. While Poteat is seeing some follow-through on how data is collected, she said, there’s much more to be done.

The inclusion of the two-step question allowed CDC to produce the analysis verifying high rates of HIV-positive testing results among transgender women.

“The best case scenario would be a combination of specific studies that recruit sizeable numbers of trans people to address pressing health concerns in the community — HIV, mental health, etc. — as well as broad inclusion and visibility of trans people in national — or local — population-based data collection efforts,” she said. In the meantime, how should researchers and public health entities like the CDC characterize the lack of transgender-specific data in their published or presented analyses, rather than leaving trans people unmentioned? At a press conference following the conference presentation of the lifetime risk data, the CDC’s Hess confirmed that the analysis did not


INVISIBLE, continued on p.28



At Least 250 Strong, Lavender and Green Takes Fifth Ave on St. Pat’s In a bittersweet day for some marchers, crowds are thin but not unfriendly toward parade’s tail end BY DUNCAN OSBORNE



wenty-five years after LGBT groups were banned from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that takes Fifth Avenue every year, the Lavender and Green Alliance marched behind its own banner in that parade. “It’s kind of hard to understand that it’s taken this many years,” said Paul O’Dwyer, an attorney who represented some of the hundreds of people who were arrested during protests of the ban as he waited to step onto Fifth Avenue. “I’m glad this has happened, but there’s a certain bittersweetness.” In 1990, the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization applied to join the 1991 parade and was waitlisted, though parade organizers, then the Ancient Order of Hibernians, eventually stated that it would not allow LGBT groups to march. In 1991, then-Mayor David Dinkins invited the ILGO members to march with him, a move that enraged parade organizers, John Cardinal O’Connor, then the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and many in the crowd who lined Fifth Avenue. Dinkins and the ILGO were subjected to anti-gay slurs and had objects thrown at them. The parade was marked by controversy every year since then.

At least 250 marched with Lavender and Green, including here City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the group’s leader Brendan Fay, Mayor Bill de Blasio, victorious DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor, Councilmember Daniel Dromm, former State Senator Tom Duane, and Councilmember Corey Johnson.

In 2014, the parade lost sponsors over the ban and in 2015 some of the more conservative members of the committee that organizes the march were voted out. The current committee was more accommodating. In 2015, OUT@NBCUniver sal, an LGBT employee group at NBCUniversal, a Comcast unit and the parade's broadcast sponsor, marched. Following that, the participation of the Alliance, an Irish LGBT group, was negotiated. Lisa Fane, who was arrested pro-

testing the ban, also described the feeling as “bittersweet.” The ban was first implemented when AIDS was killing many gay men in New York City and some in the generation that first challenged the ban have died or moved away. “There are a lot of people who are not here to see it happen,” she said while waiting to join the march. “It just shows you what happens when people are determined.” The Alliance contingent, which had at least 250 members, includ-

ing Mayor Bill de Blasio, stepped off at about 4:15 in the afternoon. Marshals, including board members from Heritage of Pride, the group that organizes Manhattan’s annual Pride March, kept the crowd moving and were there to counter any objections to the Alliance. There were few. As the group stepped onto Fifth Avenue, one man booed loudly. Asked what or whom he was boo-


ST PAT'S, continued on p.19




Lavender and Green’s Brendan Fay with Edie Windsor.

The Lavender and Green contingent included the grand marshals of the March 6 inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens, Colum McCann and Loretta Brennan Glucksman.

March 31 - April 13, 2016 | | March 31 - April 13, 2016



US Court in Connecticut Allows Trans Plaintiff’s Title VII Suit Gender identity bias is sex discrimination, district court judge finds BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



S District Judge Stefan R. Underhill has ruled that a transgender doctor could go forward with her sex discrimination claim against a Connecticut hospital under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Underhill noted his court is not bound by any controlling ruling on whether gender identity should be treated like sex under the 1964 Act either from the US Supreme Court or the New York-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction Connecticut courts fall under. He concluded that more recent opinions finding that “sex” in the Civil Rights Act should be broadly construed to include gender identity are more persuasive than older rulings that rejected this view. Underhill issued his ruling in Fabian v. Hospital of Central Connecticut on March 18. According to her complaint, Dr.

Deborah Fabian applied and was very nearly hired as an on-call orthopedic surgeon at the hospital after being recruited for the position by Delphi Healthcare Partners, a third-party provider of physicians and management personnel. Fabian, who initially presented herself in the hiring process as Dr. David Fabian, claims she was “all but hired” and had even been sent a proposed contract, which she had signed, and that she considered the final interview with hospital officials to be a “formality.” Indeed, relying on representations from Delphi, she and her wife sold their home in Massachusetts in planning for the move to Connecticut. During the final interview, Fabian disclosed that she was a transgender woman in the process of transitioning and would be reporting to begin work as Dr. Deborah Fabian. She was later informed she would not be hired. Fabian took her discrimination claim against the hospital and Del-

Dr. Deborah Fabian.

phi to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging a violation of the 1964 Act’s sex discrimination provision as well as Connecticut’s comparable statute. Since Connecticut had, at that time, not yet enacted a transgender rights law, Fabian’s claims under both federal and state law were that the hospital had engaged in unlawful sex discrimination. The hospital, seeking summary judgment against her, focused on several lines of attack. It argued Fabian was not being considered for a staff employee position, but rather to be an independent contractor retained through Delphi, so she could not make an employment dis-

crimination claim against the hospital. Secondly, the hospital argued that its decision not to hire her was based on its conclusion during the final interview that she was reluctant to take late-night calls to the Emergency Department and was uncomfortable with its new electronic records system, and that she wanted a job involving more surgery. Finally cutting to the chase, the hospital also argued that sex discrimination protections under either Title VII or Connecticut law did not cover gender identity discrimination claims. Underhill found that the hospital’s claim that Fabian was being considered for independent contractor status rather than outright employment involved factual questions that could not be resolved at this stage in the litigation. Especially in the health care field, the issue is complicated, and the Supreme Court has identified more than a dozen distinct factors to consider in making such a determination. Underhill found that an evidentiary hearing, at a minimum, would be necessary before this issue could be decided.


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Prelates outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral along the parade route.

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ST PAT'S, from p.16 | March 31 - April 13, 2016


ing, he quickly said it was de Blasio he objected to and not the Alliance. The man declined to give his name. After the parade, two marchers told Gay City News they saw a woman giving thumbs down. When they responded with waves, she gave them the finger. At Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, two Christians were preaching under large signs. They said they had never before appeared at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and insisted their visit had nothing to do with the Alliance first being in the parade. “This is idolatry,” said Shakira as she stood on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue holding a sign intended as a warning to a number of sinners, including the “sexually immoral.” She would not give her last name. As the contingent passed in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, de Blasio stepped to a group of three prelates who were standing on the sidewalk greeting marchers. One of the three waved to the contingent and members responded in kind. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the current head of the archdiocese, was not among the three. “I think this says that New York City is whole again, that the people in New York City are unified, and that we’re learning to overcome divisions,” de Blasio said earlier in the day. “Look, I always say, this is a beacon, this city is a beacon around the world of what it looks like for everyone to come together. It’s not perfect, but we proved, once again, we could create a more perfect union, and this is a day to celebrate what’s good about New York City.” The absence of any hostility can

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be explained by a changed society. While LGBT people continue to confront prejudice, it has become generally unacceptable in America to make anti-LGBT statements, though there are exceptions to this. In a more liberal setting, such as New York City, there can be political and social costs attached to being anti-LGBT. It is also true that there was not much of a crowd at a late hour in the parade. When the parade steps off at 11:00 am, the people lining Fifth Avenue are standing four or five deep. When the Alliance marched, some blocks had a handful of onlookers on one side of the avenue and none on the other. The reception may not reflect the complete or even true reaction of people who enjoy this parade. Frank McGreal, a parade committee board member, declined to say if the Alliance will be admitted in future years during the March 3 press conference announcing the group’s acceptance into the parade, but Alliance members said they were told in meetings with parade committee members that it may be possible to place the Alliance higher in the line of march if this year’s appearance was uneventful.



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CBST Is Coming Out and Coming Home The world’s largest LGBTQS synagogue to introduce its new sanctuary, offices this coming Sunday DONNA ACETO

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum shows one of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s five Torahs.

Architect Stephen Cassell of Architecture Research Office.



n Sunday, April 3, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the city’s LGBTQS (the S is for “straight”!) synagogue and the world’s largest such body, will march at noon from its longtime space in Westbeth in Greenwich Village to its rented Friday worship space at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea to the 2 p.m. dedication of its new home at 130 West 30th Street. It is a journey long in the making for a congregation that survived rejection at its outset in 1973 and the devastation of AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s to come together 15 years ago to begin raising $23 million for a permanent home — one that is stunning in its architecture and reflective of its mission to embrace LGBTQ and non-gay people from a wide variety of Jewish traditions. Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi of CBST for almost a quarter of a century, said that its Westbeth space deep inside the courtyard of a huge artists’ apartment complex “reminds me of an old lesbian bar: you have to know where to find it and once you’re inside, no one knows you’re there.” The new synagogue in the 18-story landmarked 1929 Cass Gilbert Building, which is now residential, has floor-to-ceiling windows (explosion-resistant in these perilous times), with the 50-foot length of its street frontage opening into the high-ceilinged Sheffer Family




CBST’s new sanctuary.

Lobby and social space on the way to the 299seat Wine Family Sanctuary in the rear. That space was also opened up to natural light by ceiling windows in a design by Stephen Cassell of Architecture Research Office, where 15 to 20 staff members toiled on the project. CBST will also have administrative offices on the first and second floors and a lower level that includes the multi-use Kuriel Chapel, the Evan Wolfson Community Hall, and meeting/ classrooms, including the Hibsher-Orient Room, named in honor of longtime gay activist and attorney Bill Hibsher who was the driving force behind the capital campaign from the beginning. The gender-neutral restroom — private stalls and a line of sinks with walls covered with CBST history — required a variance from the city that acknowledged the diverse make-up of the community (though it could be a model for all new restrooms as society fights over who can go where). When the architects were engaged in 2007, 40 spaces were looked at before the West 30th Street space was chosen. “This space reflects our soul — our rich and complex history.” Kleinbaum said. The scores of members who died of AIDS will be remembered, though the synagogue now has a board president in his late 30s who “doesn’t know a single person who died of AIDS.” When CBST was formed in 1973, no synagogue in New York would rent them space and they turned to Holy Apostles, which had been welcoming gay groups since before Stonewall. At

the Sunday dedication, 36 Jewish groups and congregations will be represented, including rabbis from all Jewish movements. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and LGBT movement leaders — including CBST member Cynthia Nixon — are also slated to be on hand. A few years after being founded, the congregation made a home in Westbeth, but eventually required larger space for Sabbath worship and were back in Holy Apostles on Friday evenings. Its High Holy Day services, which bring in thousands, will continue at the Javits Center, and the LGBT Pride service will also need to be held in a larger space, but all regular worship and social and social justice gatherings will be housed in the new space. The layout of the sanctuary — moveable oak benches on three sides and a three-sided balcony — creates an intimate worship space that bears a marked resemblance to the intimate Donmar Warehouse theater in London (which the architect has never seen so great minds think alike). But while that is a black box, this is a richly detailed sanctuary that lets shifting light in and is centered on a three-layered ark large enough for the congregation’s five Torahs. “CBST is radically traditional,” Kleinbaum said, endeavoring to satisfy the desires for: “1) music and liturgy, 2) intellectual life, the life of the mind, and 3) community and social life.” She said most synagogues are good if they can satisfy one or two of those needs. CBST hopes to provide all three well into the future. March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


At ’95 Confirmation, Merrick Garland Disclosed Democratic Ties Though a supporter of Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, his first big DOJ job came under George H.W. Bush BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

R | March 31 - April 13, 2016


ecords from Merrick Garland’s nomination hearing for the federal circuit court in the District of Columbia show that he volunteered for a string of Democratic candidates beginning in the late 1970s, though his most significant federal government job began during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. “I provided volunteer assistance on a Presidential Debate for President Clinton in October 1992 and for Michael Dukakis in October 1988,” Garland wrote in response to questions during his 1995 nomination hearing. “I did some volunteer work for Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in 1983-84. As a college student, I worked two summers for the campaign of my then-congressman, Abner Mikva, in 1972 and 1974.” Mikva, a Chicago area Democrat, served eight years in the House. Garland, now a nominee for the US Supreme Court, was nominated for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Bill Clinton. With Republicans then in control of the US Senate, his nomination was delayed for 18 months. He has served on that court for 19 years. He has little in the way of a record on LGBT issues, as the most important cases for the community have not gone through that circuit. According to his résumé, he was an associate independent counsel from 1987 to 1988 on the federal Wedtech investigation. The Bronx company was suspected of public corruption and the investigation eventually reached into the Reagan administration, where L yn Nofziger, who was Reagan’s press secretary when he was governor of California, and Attorney General Ed Meese were tarnished by it. Nofziger’s conviction on illegal lobbying charges was later reversed and Meese, who was forced to resign, was never charged. Garland joined the US Department of Justice in 1989 as an assistant US attorney and continued

Judge Merrick Garland meets with President Barack Obama.

“Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing,” Chad Griffin, HRC’s president, said in a statement.

working there until he joined the appeals court in 1997. At his 1995 nomination, he was a principal associate deputy attorney general working as chief of staff for Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general. Garland mostly prosecuted drug, public corruption, and fraud cases, but he is best known for running the investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He was a special assistant to the US attorney general from 1979 to 1981. In the late ‘70s, Garland clerked for US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who was among the most liberal members of the court, and Henry Friendly, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. In private practice at Arnold & Porter from 1981 until he joined the Justice Department, he handled civil and criminal defense matters. Garland was also a lecturer on antitrust law at Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree. Garland rose from associate to partner at Arnold & Porter, which is

headquartered in Washington, DC. In 1995, an eclectic gr oup endorsed Garland in letters to the Senate committee that weighed his nomination. Supporters included Terry Branstad, then as now the Republican governor of Iowa, and Charles Cooper, then an attorney at Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, but best known to the LGBT community as the lawyer who defended Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that banned samesex marriage in that state. Prop 8 was overturned in a federal case in 2013. Cooper served in the Reagan administration. Garland was also supported by Michael P. Barnes, a prosecutor in Indiana and then the president of the National District Attorneys Association. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT lobbying organization, and the National LGBTQ Task Force issued statements applauding the nominee and calling on the US Senate to confirm him. After the death of Antonin Scalia in February, Repub-

licans announced that they would not even consider a nominee, leaving that to the next president. The court currently has three justices who are entirely or almost always conservative, one who is often a swing vote, and four who are generally seen as more liberal. An Obama appointee could tip that dynamic in favor of the more liberal justices. “Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing,” Chad Griffin, HRC’s president, said in a statement. “There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate, and the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to give him swift and fair consideration. The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold the rights of all citizens, and we must hold accountable any politicians who tamper with our nation’s highest court for their own gain.” In a written statement, Rea Carey, the executive director of the Task Force, said, “Judge Garland is a highly qualified candidate and now the US Senate must fulfill its obligation of holding a fair hearing and vote on his confirmation to the Court... We urge the Senate leadership not to play politics with our judicial system and move the hearing and voting process forward swiftly.” Despite the insistence by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley of Iowa that Garland will not get a vote on his nomination, at least 14 GOP senators have now agreed to meet with Obama’s pick. On March 29, Illinois’ Mark Kirk, who is up for reelection in November, became the first Republican senator to sit down with Garland. “I think we should do our job,” Kirk said, arguing that the Senate owed the nominee “rational, adult, and open-minded consideration.” Kirk and Maine Republican Susan Collins are the first GOP senators to say that Garland, who in the past won wide praise from Republicans, deserves a full Senate vote.


Louis Bradbury, board co-chair Michael Harwood, Larry Kramer’s husband David Webster, Larry Kramer, Mary Fisher, emcee Judy Gold, board co-chair Robbie Kaplan, CEO Kelsey Louis, and board member Nicholas Coppola.

GMHC FÊTES DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, MARY FISHER, LOUIS BRADBURY Photo Essay by Donna Aceto The annual Spring Gala of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, held March 21 at Cipriani 42nd Street, honored screenwriter and director Dustin Lance Black and advocate Mary Fisher, along with the group’s former board chair Louis Bradbury. Black won the Academy Award in screenwriting for the 2008 “Milk,” and was a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8 in federal court. Based on the trial transcript from the Prop 8 case, he wrote “8,” which was broadcast live with a cast that included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon, and John C. Reilly.

Fisher, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, came to national attention with her address to the 1992 Republican Convention. Since then, Fisher, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, has remained active in the fight against AIDS and on issues of global women’s empowerment. Bradbury served on GMHC’s board from 1990 through 1997, four years of which he was president. During that time, the agency established the David Geffen Testing Center as well as a medical partnership with Weill Cornell Medical Center. Bradbury was co-chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda from 2011 through 2014, during which time the group helped win the victory on marriage equality in New York.

Screenwriter and director Dustin Lance Black.

AIDS activists Larry Kramer and Mary Fisher.

Actor Alan Cumming with GMHC co-chair Michael Harwood.


GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie.

Louis Bradbury and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, an assistant commissioner in the city health department in charge of HIV/ AIDS policy.

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Donna Minkowitz, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Sam Oglesby, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, Benjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz





ince the last Media Circus — the one where I lambasted Maureen Dowd and her nudnik pal Max Mutchnick — news coverage of the presidential primaries has reached either the nadir or the zenith, depending on your taste for sick amusement. Mine’s pretty damn high, so I’ve been in a very merry mood since Ted Cruz responded to the National Enquirer’s cover story about his alleged serial adultery by blaming Donald T rump and uttering what may well be the greatest line in the history of American politics: “Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

is a rat, I still don’t have any desire to get fucked by him.” The alleged serial adulterer Cruz could have avoided making himself the laughingstock of the nation had he been just a little more careful with his conjunctions: he said “but” when he meant “and.” Or did he? We have yet to hear the true, um, inside story from a rodent close to the alleged serial adulterer speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing his erstwhile sex partner. With any luck, we’ll read all about it in the National Enquirer. By the way: cheers to MSNBC’s hunky Ari Melber for managing to keep a straight face when clarifying the reason why the news channel deigned to report a story that came

that he was HIV-positive by reading it in the National Enquirer. Still, Melber’s restraint in the face of a juicy journalistic gift from the gods was most amusing. Just imagine the unrestrained glee in editorial of fices around the country when the alleged serial adulterer Cruz opened the door to the story of his own alleged serial adultery as covered by the sleazebag Enquirer. Gifts like this don’t fall from the sky every day.

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Gail Collins, in a transparent effort to keep the op-ed page of the New York Times from careening into the topic of bestiality, took the easy way out by wondering what the statement means. But Gail! The sentence’s meaning is per fectly clear! As is so often the case with sexual intercourse, a but lies at the crux of the matter. Restated, the alleged serial adulterer Cruz’s comment would go like this: “Despite the possibility that Donald Trump

from such a disreputable source. The Enquirer, Melber solemnly explained, is notoriously inaccurate, not a reliable source of information. But, Melber quickly continued, the instant the alleged serial adulterer Cruz made a statement about the Enquirer’s story, it became legitimate news. Melber is right; the National Enquirer isn’t known for its fealty to — what’s the word? — truth. But every once in a while it gets a story right. For example, Anthony Perkins learned

will certainly come face to face with history now that the Republican-dominated state legislature has voted — and the Republican governor has signed — into law an utterly unprecedented regulation that specifically forbids localities from enacting anti-bias protections for LGBT people. So much for conservative claims about the wisdom of local governance. In North Carolina it’s now illegal to make discrimination illegal. Editorials across the

country blasted the law, the legislature, and the gover nor, Pat McCrory. In North Carolina alone, the major newspapers all agreed that the law was an embarrassing stain on the state. The Charlotte Observer: “It was, in the end, about a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett. They were men who fed our worst impulses, men who rallied citizens against citizens, instead of leading their states forward. This is what Pat McCrory did Wednesday. In just 12 hours. It wasn’t the stand in the schoolhouse door. It was a sprint past the bathroom door and straight into the South’s dark, bigoted past.” The News & Observer in Raleigh: “What the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act is really about is respect, or rather the ultimate expression of a lack of it — insult. McCrory and his fellow Republicans who control the legislature have used this shoddy bill to slap people in the face. They’ve used it to reject the difficult and often brave efforts of transgender people to express who they are. Instead, transgender people are told by this law that they are whatever sex appears on their birth certificates. That the insult may be born more of ignorance than meanness does not excuse it.” The News & Record in Greensboro: “In Louisiana, legislators from the backwoods and bayous haven’t overturned gay, lesbian, and transgender protections in New Orleans or even Shreveport. Similar protections are found in the ordinances of Atlanta, Ga.; Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, Fla.;


MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.27

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


Identity, Politics, and “Authenticity” Post-St. Pat’s BY KELLY COGSWELL


wo weeks ago, Irish queers marched behind their own banner in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time ever in New York. In the photos they look so happy. More importantly, the crowd did, too. Most of them didn’t even know it was a landmark year, assumed that battle was long over if they knew about it at all. Nevertheless, I remember how faces in the crowd were twisted with hate the first time we tried to march in 1991, and all those years afterwards. They’d spit and curse. Scream that we had our own parade. The gay parade. And that they hoped we’d all die of AIDS. Then they’d go home and dig up the phone numbers of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, as well as of our spokespeople, and leave death threats on our answering machines. Some of us were bashed, some attacked. Some lost jobs. I participated because I was queer, though not particularly Irish. And watched how these activists were gradually exhausted, frustrated. Even bored by a battle that went on year after year after year. The group splintered and reformed. Friendships and relationships were strained, sometimes destroyed. The broader LGBT community abandoned the fight because the parade was ridiculous after all. An excuse for straight people to get drunk on green beer. Or ogle underage girls in skimpy costumes smeared with lipstick and twirling batons. I heard more than once: If they don’t want you, why would you want them? Irish queers took pains to explain that identity is compli-


MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.26

Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Bloomington and Indianapolis, Ind.; Lawrence, Kan.; Louisville and Lexington, Ky.; St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; and on and on. In North Carolina, however, it’s painfully obvious that official state policy is hostile to the gay and transgender communities. From Amendment One to a law allowing state officials to refuse to facilitate legal same-sex marriages to, now, repealing local protections against discrimination, the state of North Carolina has made it abundantly clear that this population is unwelcome — whatever attitudes cities hold to the | March 31 - April 13, 2016

cated and you can have more than one at the same time. You can be Irish and queer. Irish and female. Irish and Jewish. Irish and black. Marching as out LGBT people was a way for Irish queers to assert their existence within their broader Irish community. Other queer immigrant groups understood, and fought their own battles for inclusion in similar parades. Identity was the heart of the problem. Not just what queers deserved to do as citizens. But, in fact, who got to be Irish in the non-Irish world of New York. The ultraconservative Catholic parade organizers there, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, were quite clear that being gay somehow disqualified you. Ideally, you would be not just straight but safely married with a passel of kids. There were also issues of identity within the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, where some were Irish-Americans and others recent immigrants, a little puzzled about how the hyphenated identities in America worked. Each had very different understandings of what that word Irish meant. Nevertheless, they organized around it. Like they organized around “lesbian” and “gay”. Then eventually “queer.” This battle, and plenty of others, wouldn’t have been won without “identity” politics. I’m not sure what other kind of politics there is. There is always some aspect of “identity” uniting us. Race. Class. Nation. There are just as many dividing us, though, so that if you start pulling threads the whole thing unravels. Abroad, I’m visibly American, but it’s complicated to define my relationship to those tourists demanding ketchup or those soldiers in Iraq. I have tits and a cunt but women some-

trary… It was a sad day for North Carolina and its cities.” And finally Asheville’s Citizen-Times: “The PPP [Public Policy Polling] poll also showed one thing that likely isn’t in dispute, that the legislature has an approval rating of 18 positive and 52 negative. It’s no surprise they’re hoping to find a group less popular than themselves to be the attention of the public’s focus. They need a devil. Sadly, they’ve decided their own constituents will suffice.” But, predictably, the braying ignoramus element also demands to be heard. Here’s Larry Thornberry in the Amer ican Spectator: “Sex is not a matter of whim or choice. It’s a matter of far more important and

times scream at me in the bathroom. I have a certain amount of privilege associated with this skin, but beware of the assumptions you make because of it. And as a lesbian, well… There is something we recognize in each other when we pass on the street, but sit a bunch of us down at a table and we’re suddenly mute strangers. We need to begin to think about this contradiction in coherent ways. The main argument for marriage equality was that our identity was meaningless. Lesbian and gay couples were the same as hets and deserved the same rights. Nevertheless, activists found enough in common to organize together as queers. In fact, that’s the only reason they could organize at all. I see identity as an artificial thing that takes root. It has meaning and consequences which vary from one person to another. In one person over time. Activists are lost when we begin to believe our own PR — that these differences actually mean something specific and fixed. We end up with territorial battles like the bitter feuds between some dykes and some trans women. As if it matters what a “woman” is, when none of us is safe in the street. The word “Muslim” has become so weighty it is almost impossible to pronounce. Some hear it as an equivalent for terrorist. For the so-called progressive left (of all races) from the US to Britain and France it often seems to mean victim or saint. They denounce troublesome secular-minded Muslims as “inauthentic,” “self-loathing,” or even “Islamophobic.” I’m not surprised. Despite this month’s St. Pat’s victory, it sometimes seems we’ve gone nuts. That we’ve increasingly become our own Hibernians, dividing into camps, imagining there’s only one way to define things — ours. And everyone else is an enemy. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

unchangeable things, including but not limited to brain function, chromosomes, hormones, and plumbing. You can pump a man full of female hormones, deprive him of all that unfeminine hair, even deprive him of his marriage tackle. But that doesn’t make him a her. It just doesn’t. No matter how much progressive ideologues insist that it does.” And the world is flat, Larry. It just is. No matter how much science insists that it isn’t. This dingleberry person is self-evidently a moron, as is the commenter on a article about the North Carolina law, who writes, in toto, “Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina.” Uh, no. Boys do not share

a single, vast penis; girls do not collectively have one ginormous ‘gina. What the writer means to say is “Boys have penises. Girls have vaginas.” But although this moldy verity is now grammatically correct, it is still simply not true. Some boys have vaginas; some girls have penises. Sex is biological; gender is cultural. We aren’t talking sex when we talk trans. We are talking gender, the cultural expression of one’s innermost self through clothing, hair, and other forms of appearance and presentation. Hence the term transgender. Get it? No? Then please — until you do — just shut up. Follow @EdSikov on Twitter and Facebook.



On Drugs, Harm Reduction’s Time Has Come BY NATHAN RILEY


arm reduction counseling empowers drug users to take control of their health and provides support to individuals who are told that only losers use meth. Getting high is a natural desire and occurs in virtually every culture; it doesn’t have to be associated with escaping the problems of real life. That 1960s belief persists among some antidrug warriors, but public health practitioners prefer the more pragmatic conclusion: drug use is a constant and the sensible premise for policy is “How do we live with it?” Criminalizing use heightens health risks, demoralizes users, and is contrary to basic human rights. This coming month will be a test for these competing philosophies. A special session of the United Nations General Assembly on April 19 will debate drug prohibition as international opinion moves away from prohibition. The debate is muted in the United States, at least among elected officials. Bernie Sanders avoids the issue, as does Mayor Bill de Blasio. But the rigidity of the anti-drug opposition is receding. In New York City, harm reduction counseling will be offered to meth users. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation offers these services in its Stonewall Project. Those curious about harm reduction approaches can check out and the Speed Project at new. While some people try meth and stop, others don’t. Programs are needed for those who have the habit. So it is good news that the city is playing catch up by funding a collaborative program of clinical and community-based services to “help people who use methamphetamine mange or reduce their use.” The objective is to reduce harms associated with meth — especially transmission of HIV, STDs, and hepatitis C.


INVISIBLE, from p.15

account for transgender people and that her slides and presentation had not noted this nor included it as one of the limitations of the study. “We can do a better job of that in the paper to make it clear,” she acknowledged. As of late March, the CDC had not yet published the lifetime risk assessment. However, Scout, who serves on a research advisory panel to NIH, suggested what the agency may say in its article: “We are work-


This is one among 10 programs sponsored by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as it implements the New York State Blueprint on Ending the Epidemic. Other city programs help individuals who have stopped using meth stay off it. The images of death and decay surrounding meth interfere with users’ choices. The message that the chemicals in meth alter the brain and create dependency may leave users hopeless, saying “The drug is destroying me. What does it matter what I do?” This pessimism can escalate risky behaviors. Harm reduction counseling offers ways out of this trap.

Dependency and addiction are not peculiar to drugs, and harm reduction questions the theory that the chemical properties of drugs provide an adequate explanation for addiction.

Drug use, even meth, comes in three types: use, abuse, and dependency. Distinguishing these types helps people realize they can still control their life. Use means a person tweaks over a weekend with friends, goes to work, and the rest of their life stays intact. Meth is an illegal substance, and there are risks associated with products produced by outlaws, but a person who goes on with their life after doing meth is simply a user.

ing to develop measures and add them to federal surveys that allow us to identify and quantify the risks for trans people. All available literature shows risks for trans women, especially trans women of color may be higher than any other single population.” Poteat stressed that ideally public health and science will reach the point where it’s no longer acceptable to publish data that doesn’t disaggregate findings by gender identity. “However, until then, it’s most

Not all meth use, of course, has such a benign course. After a person tries crystal and discovers it rocks their world, increases concentration, gives great energy, and heightens sexual arousal, then watch out. Those ebullient feelings cannot be reproduced by constant use. Abuse can be a four-day bender. What happens next is crucial for a person’s health. Abuse can be an attempt to manage use, if it is followed by abstinence. If the binge costs a person a job then a person is not managing their use. Dependency is different; it’s the belief that a person must have the drug. Often the dependency is accompanied by physical pain, depression, and anxiety. Prohibitionist ideology errs by emphasizing a lock step movement from use to dependency. This is a terrible thing to tell a user. Equally problematical is the absolutist reliance on a 12-Step response — I am powerless before meth (alcohol, food, heroin, take your pick). For some people, a 12-Step program works; others may need rehab. But each person must find their own way of handling habitual use or dependency. Addiction is related to dependency but it occurs when a person’s life is harmed: per formance on the job declines, friends are lost, intimate relations are impaired. William S. Burroughs, the novelist, depended on heroin, but kept at his profession and turned his habit into an aspect of his charm. Few of us have Burroughs’ wealth, which enabled his life. Still, his example illustrates how meth users can take steps to improve their health and happiness even if they use the drug. Dependency and addiction are not peculiar to drugs, and harm reduction questions the theory that the chemical properties of drugs provide an adequate explanation for addiction. Gambling has no chemical properties, but it certainly leads to addiction; ditto for shopping, eating, or video games. Getting addicted doesn’t mean a person is a loser or has become one. It’s a problem that people from all walks of life confront. Harm reduction helps people make adjustments. It offers hope and doesn’t start by demanding abstinence.

appropriate for researchers to either clarify — as a limitation — that they did not gather or report transgender status in their study,” she suggested. “In fact, if their data collection didn’t distinguish sex at birth from current gender identity, it’s unclear if their ‘sex’ data reflects birth-assigned sex, anatomical sex, current gender identity, or a mix of those things depending on how the respondent and/or data collector understood the question.” Poteat added, “It’s also futile to report that the sample included

transgender people but not to provide disaggregated data for that population. I’ve seen this occur many times when MSMs and trans women participate in the same study. Even if the sample was small, the data can be provided with all of the caveats provided for data with small sample sizes. This may also move researchers toward recruiting significant numbers of trans people into their studies so that they can have sample sizes of trans people large enough to make statistically significant conclusions.” March 31 - April 13, 2016 | | March 31 - April 13, 2016



Death Invites an Audience The films of Chantal Akerman win broad New York exposure in April BY STEVE ERICKSON



Directed by Chantal Akerman Icarus Films In French with English subtitles Apr. 1-14 BAM Rose Cinemas Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl. ICARUS FILMS

elgian lesbian director Chantal Akerman’s “No H om e M ovie , ” w h i c h depicts her mother’s final days, would be an extremely sad film under any circumstances. However, it must play very differently in the wake of Akerman’s suicide last fall than it did for audiences who caught its initial film festival screenings in 2015. It seems to have taken Akerman’s death for her work to get its due in New York. There have already been several one-off screenings of her films at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this year. The two-week run of “No Home Movie” at BAM kicks off “Images Between the Images,” a month-long retrospective of her 40 films. Film Forum’s presentation of Marianne Lambert’s “I Don’t Belong Anywhere,” a documentary about Akerman, is accompanied by a weeklong re-release of her 1975 classic “Jeanne Dielman.” On April 15, Anthology Film Archives will continue the run of “No Home Movie” for another week, playing it with her rare 2006 Israeli-made film “La-Bas.”

Chantal Akerman in Marianne Lambert’s “I Don’t Belong Anywhere.”

“I Don’t Belong Anywher e” emphasizes Akerman’s resistance to identity politics and refusal to be categorized. In the film, she reiterates her refusal to have her work screened at feminist or LGBT festivals. Yet she kicked off her career by outing herself explicitly. Just when it seems like “I Don’t Belong Anywhere” is evading the issue of her sexuality, it shows a clip from her 1974 debut feature, “Je tu il elle,” in which the director has real sex with another woman. In “I Don’t Belong Anywhere,” Akerman reveals that her mother and many women of her genera-

tion took “Jeanne Dielman” and its second-wave feminist equation of housework (done in the service of men) and prostitution as an insult. “No Home Movie” is the ultimate mea culpa. Here, Akerman captures conversations with her mother both profound and trivial. She doesn’t offer much context, and seems to dart in and out of her mother’s life. “No Home Movie” was obviously filmed on and off over the course of several years, as Akerman taught at Columbia and periodically came home to Brussels, but the chronology isn’t clear. It grows darker, both visually and tonally, in its second

I DON’T BELONG ANYWHERE Directed by Marianne Lambert Icarus Films In English and French with English subtitles Through Apr. 5 Film Forum, 209 Houston St. Screenings are free

half as her mother’s health worsens. “No Home Movie” features slightly distorted colors, which are probably the result of shooting in natural light with cheap video cameras. Most of the time, Akerman left her camera on a tripod for carefully framed extended takes.


DEATH, continued on p.35

Modern Estrangement BY STEVE ERICKSON


he Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Real” series is one of three major documentary festivals in New York. Where “Doc-NYC,” held at the IFC Center and SVA, generally embraces more formally conventional work and the MoMA program “Documentary Fortnight” emphasizes its international focus, “Art of the Real” holds a view of non-fiction that includes elements of narrative and avant-garde cinema. For instance, it has shown Narimane Mari’s brilliant but completely fictional “Bloody Beams” (which, to be sure, won the top prize at a documentary festival in Copenhagen).


This year’s lineup looks more politically oriented than usual, with exposés on Korean sweatshops and a look back at Germany’s radical Red Army. However, a film needs an unusual approach to make it into “Art of the Real” — the kind of documentaries usually shown by HBO and PBS, as good as many of them are, wouldn’t make the cut. This year, the festival expands its definition of documentary even further by offering up several programs of shorts by non-narrative filmmaker Bruce Baillie. The shadow of the films produced by Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab hangs over Spanish director Mauro Herce’s “Dead Slow Ahead” (Apr. 21, 6:30 p.m.; Francesca Beale Theater), which documents life onboard a cargo


“Art of the Real” continues to push the boundaries of documentary One of the cargo ship sailors in Mauro Herce’s “Dead Slow Ahead.”

ship. Still, there are some significant differences between his film and “Leviathan.” “Dead Slow Ahead” is less frantic — even if it, too, seems excited by shots in which the camera caresses the exteriors of machinery — and more interested in engagement with the ship’s crew. That said, it keeps its distance from them, seemingly aware of the class differences between Herce and the Filipino sailors who toil onboard the


REAL, continued on p.34

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


Our ямБrst line of treatment is this


not this


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Kathy LUVS Her LBGTAQ12345Caitlyns


Ever sharp, Kathy Griffin returns to New York in April, this time boroughing through Brooklyn and Queens.



hough the ostensible reason for our being in touch was to discuss her “Boroughing Through Brooklyn and Queens” mini-tour in April, Kathy Griffin started our chat with two satisfying tidbits. First, that she was wearing Nordstrom pajamas. And, then, that she had done her homework on this newspaper in advance. “I have to be honest, looking at your newspaper’s website, I do admire the directness of the title of your publication,” Griffin said. “It just says it! This is what we are: we’re Gay City. We are News. We are talking about a boisterous reunion for W.O.W. I mean, God love ya! As a proud supporter — and I’m gonna say member — of the LBGTAQ12345Caitlyn community — what would you like to ask me?” So, doing my part, I steered toward Griffin’s “Boroughing,” which will take her to the Kupfer-


berg Center for the Arts at Queens College on April 9 (65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, 8 p.m.; and to Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on April 10 (2900 Ave. H, 6 p.m.; “Although I sold out Carnegie Hall in December, there is so much happening that I have to return, and, yes, to Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a different audience and they have beautiful venues. I have all new material because so much really crazy shit is happening that I can barely keep up. I have an actual kick-ass story about that fool Donald Trump when he was driving me around one of his golf courses in his golf cart and in the back seat was me and Liza-freaking-Minnelli. “I just had an amazing run in with DiCaprio, whom I never met before a month ago and I actually got to use the great Lily Tomlin as my wingman/ gateway to meeting him. He may not enjoy me and my genius comedy, but even Leo cannot turn down an opportunity to met Lily.

“I am always working, watching every episode of ‘I Am Caitlyn.’ Let me just be very clear: of course, I support the LBGTQA12345Caitlyn community but I will be making fun of Caitlyn. I am a comic, and you have to admit that while I completely support her journey and bravery there are just parts of that show that are just fucking funny. I’m sure you know many long-term transgender activists, but I don’t know any who have a hair and makeup squad that they take on their road trips in the bus. Jenny Boylan, who’s a professor at Barnard, knows her shit, and there she is trying to convince Caitlyn that the Republican Party is not going to support her in any way and never has. She has this longtime transgender activist rolling her eyes, and Candis Cayne literally has to go to the back of the bus and wait it out. “Caitlyn is very into the hair and makeup, which is why, thank God, I can make fun of her. I have been immersed in this community long before it was cool, and I

just can’t think of a transgender person who can get a bag from Donatella Versace before it hits the stores. While the community is really doing grassroots work, they now have a new spokeswoman named Caitlyn who appears to be more worried about her bags, like when Jenny Boylan said, ‘I just feel like I’m losing brain cells just talking to you.’ “And now, my friend, we are in the middle of a Twitter feud between Kim Kardashian and Bette Midler. I’m telling you, right now, I’m Team Bette, Team Pink, Team Chloë Grace Moretz. I am fearless and never will hold back. It’s gonna be fucking Queens and Brooklyn, for fuck’s sake. “ When I wondered about Griffin’s feelings about the very judgy treatment she got from a rather prudish Midler during one of her TV shows, set in Vegas, she shrugged, “That’s just because the legends are moody. They’re up! They’re down! They do it all! I just learned there’s a category of my friends — Cher, Liza, Bette, Fonda — the legends. They get a legend pass, so when I’m lucky enough to be in their presence, that’s just the deal!” I also asked her about her shortlived replacement of the late Joan Rivers on TV’s “Fashion Police”: “It just wasn’t the right show for me. They asked me to do it, told me I could do what I wanted with it. That didn’t happen, and then bad shit happened. Look, I was so close to Joan, and she danced that show in a way that was so perfect for her that I feel it came back too soon. I expressed that over and over, and I don’t even know what’s going on with the show now.” Griffin has a MacMillan book coming out December 27 of this year. “Celebrity Run-ins A-Z.” “All these tiny snippets of all these encounters,” she explained. “I’ve been around so long I’ve kind of met everyone.” To which I replied, “And you’ve outlived many of them. Remember when Oprah was relevant?” “Excuse me! How do you think she feels about Gayle, who now has more air-time than she does? That is the ultimate LGBTQUA2 betrayal! And Stedman [Graham, Oprah’s longtime boyfriend] is like Rob Kardashian. He’s just missing.


KATHY, continued on p.39

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |

Veterans Kicking Strong

Darlene Love, Vivian Reed come alive on New York stages



NOH BY DAVID NOH | March 31 - April 13, 2016



f she doesn’t already, Bette Midler, soon to be the new Dolly on Broadway, should know what a deep influence she has had on her fellow entertainers. In three interviews this past week — including with Kathy Griffin (see cover story on page 32) — very talented and very different ladies each, coincidentally, found serious reason to mention Midler as a vital influence on their lives. For singer Darlene Love, her friendship with Midler is a beacon in a life that has had its hard knocks. Things once got so low for her that she had to work as a maid. Now set to appear this weekend at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (2900 Ave. H, Apr. 2, 8 p.m.;, the agelessly ebullient and juicy rock legend laughed in her deliciously hearty way, “You know, I don’t feel sorry for people for who say they can’t find a job. There is always something you can do. I started cleaning houses because it was something I could do. I only had a 12th-grade education and couldn’t be a secretary or a doctor. I knew it wasn’t going to be forever, not with the talent that God has given me and I think I needed to be in that space for a time to get new life in me, and new blood. “There’s nothing wrong with being down, as long as you don’t stay down. I could have called a lot of people for help but I had to pull myself out of it by myself: ‘This is between you and me, God.’ It worked, and all these years later I am in the prime of my life with great

Darlene Love appears at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on April 2.

jobs and wonderful TV shows ! I am booked solid through 2017, turning down jobs, me, without a hit record since 1962!” That record was, of course, Phil Spector’s “He’s a Rebel,” but the first time Love heard it, “I didn’t like it, at all! I kept saying, ‘Oh Lord, this song ain’t gonna sell one copy,’ and to my amazement, it sold over three million. It sounded stupid to me, and that’s why, a lot of times, you gotta let the producers make the choices, and you just give it your all.” Another song, indelibly associated with Love is Ellie Greenwich’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, which she per for med while in the show “Leader of the Pack” in 1984. David Letterman’s music director Paul Shaffer played the piano in the play, and when Letterman came to see it, he was particularly struck by the tune, saying it was the best Christmas song ever. Fast forward some 30 years later and there Love was, singing it for the last Christmas on Letterman’s show.

Previous Celebrity Honorees and Attendees

James Cummings and Justin Mohatt



Mitch Draizin and Philippe Brugère-Trélat




IN THE NOH, continued on p.38




Ridden Hard

In working like animals, the humanity of vaqueros in northeastern Brazil is revealed



Juliano Cazarré as Iremar, at work with the bulls and at the sewing machine.



he striking film “Neon Bull” is set in the Sertão region of northeastern Brazil, which is home to Iremar (Juliano Cazarré), a vaquero, or cowboy. Iremar works with Galega (Maeve Jinkings) and Zé (Carlos Pessoa) doing rodeo shows. Iremar and Zé prepare bulls for a sport where cowboys on horseback pull the bulls’ tails to take them down. Iremar, however, dreams of being a fashion designer and spends his spare time making sparkly outfits for


Galega, who moonlights as an exotic dancer. Director Gabriel Mascaro emphasizes the contrast between the characters’ harsh reality and their hopeful dreams, which is what makes his film so affecting. “Neon Bull” immerses the viewer in this remote world, from a slow opening pan across the rodeo bulls to a highly stylized scene of equestrian massage. This slice-of-life story eschews dramatic tension and large plot developments for impressionistic moments. One surreal episode involves Iremar picking up man-

nequin parts in the muddy landscape. A comically explicit scene has Zé and Iremar conspiring to procure horse semen to earn extra money. And there are erotic moments when different characters seek sexual release as a way of coping with their long days of hard work and often-lonely existence. “Neon Bull” deftly captures the characters’ palpable sense of longing for a different life, which provides the film’s emotional core. Iremar’s desire for a better sewing machine may be why he toughs it out cleaning up and smelling like manure for days on end. When

REAL, from p.30

Brazilian director Sergio Oksman’s “On Football” (Apr. 20, 6:30 p.m.; Francesca Beale Theater) seems aimless and unfocused for its first two thirds and then takes an unexpectedly dark turn that brings its real agenda into the



ship. Herce uses devices like cutting the sound during a karaoke party and replacing it with loud electronic drones. In fact, the sound design throughout the film is remarkable, combining the natural clanks and creaks of the ship with synthesizer music. The film has a poetic streak, as it focuses on clouds for long stretches while the ship seems to idle. It contains a sense of dread, as well; we seem a step away from the equally isolated, allmale world of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” much of the time. If there’s a dystopian quality to Herce’s images, as well as plenty of beauty, that’s undoubtedly the point; transporting wheat from the Ukraine to New Orleans by sea involves some risk, a prospect acknowledged in the film’s first subtitled lines of speech.

A scene from the Louisiana bayou in Roberto Minervini’s “The Other Side.”

light. Oksman, who’s now based in Madrid, shot the film during a return trip to São Paulo that coincided with the 2014 World Cup. He tried to bond with his estranged father Simao, who left the family when Oksman was a child. Much of their reunion consists of Simao and Sergio driving around in an old car talking about the World Cup and their memories of previous games while a cameraperson appears to lurk in the back seat, filming them. The film relies so heavily on imag-

he meets Geise (Samya de Lavor), a woman who sells cologne and works as a security guard in a clothing factory, he may find a way to get into the world he wants. In the meanwhile, Iremar helps Galega with her costumes and also acts as a surrogate father for her young daughter, Cacá (Alyne Santana). Cacá also has dreams — of owning a horse and reuniting with her long absent father — but her situation seems as unlikely to change as anyone else’s. The young girl is unhappily resigned to her hardscrabble life, living in a makeshift camp with the three adults. “Neon Bull” takes a small narrative turn when this “family” dynamic is upset. Zé, who is good with horses, is asked to leave the camp to handle a prize stallion elsewhere. He is replaced by Júnior (Vinícius de Oliveira), a handsome, long-haired man who attracts both Cacá and Galega’s attention and inspires a bit of jealousy in Iremar. That little dramatic happens in the film may frustrate viewers who invest in these characters. Mascaro wisely allow viewers to fill in the blanks about Cacá’s father as well as about Iremar’s future. Part of the magic of “Neon Bull” is its absolute authenticity. Mascaro puts considerable empha-


NEON, continued on p.43

es of people talking in cars that it evokes Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” and “Ten.” As one might guess, football is just a pretext to explore father/ son relationships. We don’t learn much about Sergio, but we do discover that Simao is a stressed-out workaholic who can’t afford to live any other way. Even when it succumbs to drift, the film is notable for its handsome cinematography. The final 20 minutes pack an uncommonly sobering punch; Sergio couldn’t have known how his film would end when he began this project.

Italian director Roberto Minervini’s “The Other Side” (Apr. 8, 7 p.m.; Walter Reade Theater) continues his exploration of American subcultures from his “Texas trilogy.” This time, he ventures into a Louisiana bayou world where people hate Obama and love meth. The film runs the risk of European condescension toward poor Americans, most of whom are never going to have a chance to see the film, but it largely dodges that bullet.


REAL, continued on p.35

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |








Chantal Akerman’s mother in Akerman’s film “No Home Movie.”


DEATH, from p.30

If the film has a clear precursor, it’s her fellow suicide victim Jean Eustache’s 1971 “Numéro Zéro,” a feature-length interview with his grandmother. But Akerman leaves far more empty space than Eustache did. “I Don’t Belong Anywhere” fills in many of the mysteries of Akerman’s work, including the influence of the Holocaust on her films and life (which also comes up in “No Home Movie,” as her mother was a concentration camp survivor), but it doesn’t quite do justice to her entire filmography. No feature-length documentary could, although Akerman’s own “Akerman by Akerman” comes close. Unlike equally talented female filmmakers like Elaine May and Vera Chytilová, Akerman was apparently able to work without the commercial and political hurdles they faced. “I Don’t Belong Anywhere” devotes a surprising amount of attention to her misfired


REAL, from p.34

The film’s first hour concentrates on junkie lovers Mark and Lisa, whose relationship plays out as Mark hides from the law while his mother dies of cancer. He plans to turn himself in and try to get sober in jail after she finally passes. When this happens, he disappears from the film, and Minervini instead focuses on a militia who claim that martial law is around the corner. Nobody in the film has anything close to progressive politics — Mark repeatedly refers to Obama by the N word — but the militia leader is a frustrating figure because he offers cogent critiques of American military intervention in the Middle East and drug laws before claiming the UN is going to round up gun owners and send them to “FEMA | March 31 - April 13, 2016

attempt at making a “mainstream” film, “A Couch in New York.” Akerman describes what a pain it was to direct William Hurt. Despite the casting of an American star and a rom-com plot, “A Couch in New York” proved to be far less commercial than “Jeanne Dielman” — a 210-minute film in which a woman peels a potato in real time — in the long run. Akerman fills “No Home Movie” with images of desolate nature: desert landscapes and trees, mostly devoid of leaves, flapping in the wind. (The sound design captures the wind’s oppressiveness particularly well.) These scenes seem intended to speak for her grief over her mother’s loss — they’re another version of the empty spaces in her mother’s Brussels apartment. The final image of “No Home Movie” is particularly horrifying now because it perfectly expresses that void. Akerman could see it and she could give voice to her recognition of it, but she succumbed to it anyway.








THE ART OF THE REAL Film Society of Lincoln Center Apr. 8-21 144-165 W. 65th St.

camps.” Mark and Lisa’s story is filled with a surprising amount of sweetness and tenderness, and there’s even an appealing camaraderie among the militia. Despite these surprising ambiguities, “The Other Side” helps explain the widespread enthusiasm for Second Amendment libertarianism: its subjects are so alienated from mainstream politics that they see no alternative. It’s frightening to think what a French or Italian TV audience will make of American life after seeing this film.

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Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in the Roundabout revival of “She Loves Me.”

Gavin Creel and Jan Krakowski in “She Loves Me.”

Seasons of Love

Romantic love rings true, while chemicallyinduced affection arrives clinically dead BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


ith themes ranging from the search for love to the conflict between passion and rationality, infidelity, and the crushing of romantic ideals, “She Loves Me” is a wonderful reminder that musicals were once primarily adult entertainment. In its sumptuous, charming, and darn near perfect revival at Studio 54, the show is also proof that a man’s intellect can be every bit the equal of a physical spark in creating sexual attraction. The 1963 show, which made a star out of Barbara Cook and had a buoyant 1993 Broadway revival, has never looked better. The sophisticated score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick has been a favorite of musical fans ever since. The story isn’t new. We’ve seen it everywhere from Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 movie “The Shop Around the Corner” to Nora Ephron’s 1998 “You’ve Got Mail.” Two people who interact like oil and water in person have, unbeknownst to themselves, been corresponding via letters and fallen in love sight unseen. Comedy is as inevitable as the romantic swelling of relief when the lovers are revealed to each another. Here, the setting is a Budapest parfumerie in 1934, and the lovers are Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash, who convinces the owner, Mr. Maraczek, to hire her when she manages to sell a product no one else in the store believes in.


Though the parfumerie is an intimate little shop, it is also a hotbed of intrigue. Maraczek is afraid his wife is unfaithful. Two clerks — the trusting bombshell Ilona Ritter and the oversexed Steven Kodaly — are carrying on an affair. These stories unfold amidst the daily business routines during the rush to Christmas. The characters in “She Loves Me” are endearingly well developed, with lovely songs that go to the heart of each. When Amalia is stood up by Georg for their first meeting at a restaurant — he has discovered that his work nemesis is his epistolary sweetheart and can’t face her — she sings, “I make believe nothing is wrong… Don’t let it end, dear friend.” It’s a moment of simple honesty imbued with Amalia’s fear that she’s been a romantic fool. There is not a dry eye at the act break. And there’s much more to come — including the title song and the score’s best-known song, “Vanilla Ice Cream.” The company is uniformly stellar. Zachary Levi plays Georg with just the right amount of nebbishy sex appeal and earnestness and some surprising physicality that can only be motivated by love. Jane Krakowski is splendid as Ilona — sweet, sexy, and hilarious. She and the always top notch Gavin Creel, as the cad Kodaly, create comic magic. In supporting roles, Byron Jennings as Maraczek, Michael McGrath as a clerk fearing for his security, and Nicholas Barasch as the delivery boy aspiring to a clerkship are all strong, as is the solid ensemble.

But it is Laura Benanti as Amalia who merits the most superlatives. Benanti has a glorious voice, a spectacular heart, and a flair for self-aware comedy that gives Amalia a depth and poignancy not evident on the page. The intricately gorgeous set by David Rockwell, perfect period costumes by Jeff Mahshie, and lighting design by Donald Holder bring to vibrant life the world of Maraczek’s little shop and 1934 Budapest itself. Under the heartfelt and precise direction of Scott Ellis, this jewel of a musical has never been more dazzling.

The set-up for Lucy Prebble’s new play “The Effect” is a clinical trial of a psychoactive drug. It raises interesting, if not particularly original questions about depression and drugs and whether our behavior is driven by our innate psychology or influenced by the chemistry of our bodies. The plot centers on what happens when two volunteers in the study — Connie and Tristan — end up in a tempestuous relationship. Is it them or the drug? Is a placebo at work? Is any of this even knowable? The play raises all sorts of interesting ideas, but the execution is purely clinical. As with her previous play “Enron,” Prebble is far more adept at polemics than at creating real characters, whose motivations here seem sketchy and manipulated to advance the playwright’s points.

In the first act, we’re given little reason to actually care about Connie and Tristan. The subsequent revelation that the study’s sponsor and the attending doctor had a past relationship comes out of nowhere, and ends up making the second act seem like a different play altogether in terms of story and structure. An implausible twist that follows — spoiler alert: we learn that the doctor is herself being tested, but why and for what is unclear — just seems like sloppy playwriting. Director David Cromer does the best he can to negotiate the play’s inconsistent structure, and the set by Marsha Ginsberg appropriately conveys the high end and cold aesthetic of a wealthy drug company. The cast does a reasonable job, making even the play’s most forced language sound almost like something real people would say. Prebble’s questions are ultimately far more satisfying and edifying than any answers she puts forward. “The Effect” is a trial that simply goes nowhere conclusively.

SHE LOVES ME Roundabout at Studio 54 254 W. 54th St. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $52-$147; Or 212-719-1300 Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission

THE EFFECT Barrow Street Theatre 27 Barrow St., btwn. W. Fourth & Bleecker Sts. Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m. $59.50-$99.50; Or 212-868-4444 One hr., 40 mins., with intermission

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


Roaming Operagoer Memorable evenings in Sarasota, London, Paris BY DAVID SHENGOLD


ictor DeRenzi has put Sarasota Opera on the map through an ultra-complete Verdi cycle that “Aida” and the rare “La battaglia di Legnano” completed this year in the company’s wonderfully intimate and refurbished 1920s theater. For better and worse, Sarasota is also probably North America’s Ground Zero for traditional productions: most everything “come scritto,” with visuals out of — no pun intended — “The Victor Book of the Opera.” Regie well done is most welcomely practiced on over-familiar repertory; the current tendency of handing newly revived rarities to theatrical directors intent on personalizing their content makes little sense. How can one meaningfully riff on “Vasco da Gama” or “Aroldo” to audiences not knowing it? So Sarasota’s generally high-quality festival offers limits but also rewards. A visit is recommended, but know what awaits you. “Fidelio”, with its ameliorist, one-person-canbeat-oppression message, is probably the work most subject to ironic, critical Regie repackaging. In Germany, the dialogue is often jettisoned in favor of actors declaiming Adorno or political | March 31 - April 13, 2016

slogans. Tom Diamond managed to make this staging — visually so traditional it evoked the famous photos of Margarete Matzenauer and Elisabeth Schumann in the Met’s 1915 revival — quite moving. I’m not sure I’d ever seen a wouldbe “realistic” Fidelio” before, but it was instructive to see that it works when presented sincerely. That said, I hope I wasn’t the only audience member who contemplated Florida’s avidly pursuit of capital punishment and its huge racial disparities in incarceration rates. On March 11, Ekhart Wycik led a good, propulsive reading, aided more by the winds than the brass, which strayed at key junctures — though Act II’s trumpets delivered strongly. An audience unused to German opera applauded every number; many merited it, but Wycik needn’t have stopped to encourage it when dramatic tension was thereby lost. Similarly, director Diamond shouldn’t have prompted or permitted Vanessa Isiguen — quite a good soubrette Marzelline once warmed up — to simper audibly over Leonore, cross-dressed as “Fidelio,” to win laughs that punctuated the wondrous Canon Quartet. Isiguen showed distinct promise, but Marzelline is not Adele in “Fledermaus.” All

soubrettes should learn that less is more when courting audience affection. Kara Shay Thomson, who started her career as a fine Musetta and Adina, proved a credible, really admirable Leonore. Her voice lacks individuality of color but she managed the difficult music’s every detail impressively, with shining spinto tone for dead-on high notes but also the requisite agility. Moreover, her commitment and deep feeling shaped the whole opera, as they must for a successful Leonore. Her German sounded nearer the mark than anyone else’s. At best, Michael Hendrick, with a huge if sometimes wild can-opener of a tenor, sounded arresting as Florestan. Pitchwise, he fared best solo rather than in duets and ensembles, where he often sharped. Sean Anderson’s Pizarro, like his Iago in 2012, gave great villainy but pushed his middleweight baritone unmercifully, juddering at climaxes. Jeffrey Beruan captured Fernando’s nobility in sound. I was astounded to see that Sarasota’s program, like many European ones, lists characters in descending order of class, with Fernando — last heard, and the seventh lead — listed first: the King headlines “Aida!”

De Renzi is a fine Verdi conductor, and March 12’s “Battaglia” sounded excellently rehearsed, with the rather good overture sparkling with detail. The score in places adumbrates later


OPERA, continued on p.42



IN THE NOH, from p.33



“That last show was heartbreaking especially with him, because you don’t get to see him be emotional. All the people who worked for him at NBC came to CBS. People stop me on the street all the time — in Australia even! — saying ‘Christmas isn’t Christmas until we see you on “David.”’ I told him, ‘I don’t know whether you realize you had a whole lot to do with keeping my career going.’ I really thank God for my talent, but if it wasn’t for David, thousands wouldn’t know who I was, like the young people.” These two signatur e songs helped get Love, who cheerfully admits to being a very healthy 75, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011: “Omigod, other than going to the White House…! The wonderful thing is that your peers elect you and it’s really an honor for them to say, ‘You’ve done enough for the business. You were there when it started and are still alive and doing well.’” Bruce Springsteen, Stevie van Zandt, and Elton John helped Love secure the award, but beyond those angels, she recalls that it was Midler who formally inducted her. “I don’t think they even knew how close Bette and I are,” she explained. “I can count on her for anything and vice versa. I was in California and we were both leaving at the same time, so I said, ‘We’ll probably be on the same flight.’ She said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘I’m leaving tomorrow around one. What flight are you on?’ ‘Oh no, no, no, honey I have my own plane, and what you need to do is come and go home with me.’ That’s the type of person she is. When I got on the plane with my son, she said, ‘Oh, is he going with us?’ [Laughs.] “She’s been to a couple shows of mine, and I didn’t even know she was there. She’ll come and sit at the bar, see the show, and go home. She doesn’t want any fuss — her car drops her off and picks her up. We had fun in California when she took me to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for dinner. She was driving one of those little mini things and I said, ‘That’s not a car!’ She said, ‘I just need something to drive to the grocery store, nothing big.’ She’s a big homebody and loves her daughter ad husband, a very calm

Vivian Reed begins a residency at the Metropolitan Room on April 2.

person. She’s very normal: ‘Oh, come in and sit down!’ I don’t have her private number but I have her assistant Jill’s number. I’ll leave her a message that way, and within 10 minutes, she calls me back, one of the very few superstars I can call and get in touch with right away.” “My love life? Omigod, I’ve been married to the same man for 31 years. The love of my life, he helps with my career, and we just got back from Jamaica for two weeks, which we do every year, right after the Super Bowl. On vacation, we are not tourists, looking at places. We stay at an all-inclusive hotel, and have Darlene and Albert Time — and you can read between the lines! [Laughs.]” As for her acting career, Love said she loved doing the “Lethal Weapon” movies, as Danny Glover’s wife, and thought she’d be offered good films after that, “but then I got nothing. Director Clive Donner told me that producers and directors want to cast you for who you are. They want Darlene Love.” What about the Broadway musical “Carrie?”

“Isn’t it amazing that my career has taken me to all these places. Who would have thought I would be in one of the greatest flops of all time? People actually have recordings they made when it was going on and these fans are wonder ful, sending them to me. But we all knew it was going to be a train wreck when they wouldn’t let us have anything to say. They knew everything, and we just did what they told us to.”

Like Love, another blazing talent, Vivian Reed — a twotime Tony nominee who is opening a residency at the Metropolitan on April 2 with her show, “Standards & More” (34 W. 22nd St., through Jul. 21; — has also not had such a smooth and steady go of it. After the big splash she made in the 1970s, I always wondered why she wasn’t around mor e. Every time I’d see her in the random, special venues where she’d pop up — the plays “The Second Tosca” and “Invisible Life,” or Daniel Nardicio’s

recently produced Piaf tribute concert — she invariably brought the house down with her amazingly healthy soaring pipes and riveting charisma. The answers are various, including her taking a major break to look after her mother in hometown Pittsburgh, who died a year ago, and the fact that, following her Tony-nominated success in the all-black musical revue “Bubbling Brown Sugar,” she went with the show to Europe and may have stayed there too long. A la Josephine Baker, she took Paris by storm and was known as La Panthere Noir. A besotted Pierre Cardin took her under his wing and, when she opened in his theater, all of the chairs were suddenly red, to match one of her gowns. She performed at all the Maxim’s restaurants he opened around the world, and he produced a big TV special for her, which, per his request, cannot be reshown. When Reed finally retur ned to America, she could not get into auditions. Bill Bartheimer, who produced ‘Sophisticated Ladies,” which Reed was going to take to Europe, finally revealed the answer, telling her, “There are rumors out on you that you are difficult to work with, even a bitch. Unbelievable because I’d heard these things before I hired you, but you didn’t know it. You were unaware, but I watched you very carefully a lot and saw that you were the kindest, sweetest person along with being a complete professional.” Today, Reed realizes that those rumors came partly from cast members jealous of the reviews that would spotlight her (in “Bubbling,” and also Miki Grant’s ground-breaking African Amer ican revue, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope”). At the same time, she acknowledges that she is more than a little driven. The “Sweet Georgia Brown” number in “Bubbling Brown Sugar” featured her with two male backup dancers: “So there’s those three parts and if one part falters, it affects the whole number. I was a perfectionist and I didn’t party, and I would definitely complain if there was something happening in any of my numbers. I would go


IN THE NOH, continued on p.39

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


IN THE NOH, from p.38

straight to management. Today I would handle things differently — I was so young then, remember.” Bette Midler’s appearance on Phil Donahue’s show at the time she was making a comeback after not getting work for four years struck a deep chord in Reed, who teared up as she described watching it. Midler told Donahue that all the knowledge and craft she’d acquired actually led her astray when she would, for example, tell a cameraman which side of her face was more photogenic. She would subsequently be labeled a controlling bitch who wanted to tell everyone how to do their job. “That moment was me, on a


smaller scale! That show was so fascinating, and Bette will never know what she did for me that day.” Romance has not been an entire stranger to the career -obsessed Reed, but she is cautious in love. “I’ve had some great loves in my life and been proposed to twice. But both of those men wanted me out of show business and that wasn’t going to happen. I’m not going to say that I haven’t entertained the thought of someone coming along who really understands my career and the fact that it comes first. But they have to bring something to the table, too, and I have to see how they are as an individual, how giving they are in terms of their niceness and how they treat people.”

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KATHY, from p.32

They just emerge occasionally for a body check to make sure they’re alive, and then their handlers put them back where they belong. Stedman is probably riding a bike in Hawaii. “Everyone gives me new material, including my 95-year-old alcoholic mother I caught watching the Fox channel last week. What am I gonna do with her? Dave, I tell you right now: I’m going to commit voter fraud. I just might have to get her drunk on November 8 and go into the voting booth and dangle her chad for Hillary and just tell her she voted for Trump. Get ready for a Kathy Griffin mug shot ! “I am a typical Hillary fan, but I also love to feel the Bern-er. I don’t like the fact that we eat our own, just when the Republican Party finally is doing that to themselves, or that my Bernie fan friends are mad at me, because I’m not mad at them. I’m a 55- year-old woman: it’s harder and different, and when she was first lady and wrote a heath care bill, as a younger woman I had never seen a first lady like that. She was doing more than ‘Just say no to drugs,’ and then she became a US senator and then secretary of state. And I love that the Bern-er is moving her more to the left. I also don’t want any fighting, because the possibility of President The Donald is terrifying! We should get our shit together and face the fact that a health debate is better than people arguing about their dick size!”

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I mentioned to Griffin that I remembered how, under the Clinton administration, for the first time, really, it became okay for people to know you were gay. “That’s right. Gays are still mad about DOMA. And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, yet Bill and Hill both said, ‘Look it was a step and never meant to be the be and end-all. I testified personally about the reality of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, because I went to Iraq and Afghanistan and Donald Trump didn’t. So don’t tell me about what it’s like to really fight for your rights when you’re trying to sell your steaks and your water at your golf club that your supporters can’t even afford. But I’m getting too political! Let me get back to my dick jokes.”

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Using Her Celebrity Powers For Good Bob the Drag Queen on having fun, making people laugh, and changing lives BY MICHAEL SHIREY



10 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BOB THE DRAG QUEEN 1 Bob stands for "Big Old Bottom." 2 Bob is from Atlanta. 3 Bob actually does not have a drag mother. 4 P rior to doing drag, Bob was an actor, bartender, waiter, and real estate agent. 5 B ob makes A LOT of her outfits. Her favorite outfit she created is a stained glass leotard featuring the Virgin Mary.


ou may have heard of Bob the Drag Queen. You may have seen her strutting around at one of her many gigs around town. And you may have seen her on the eighth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” But don’t worry — if you somehow have no idea who Bob the Drag Queen is, I am here to fix your life. “My name says it all — my name is Bob. I am a drag queen. I live in New York City, and at this point I am probably most known for being a contestant on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’” Bob the Drag Queen has been doing drag since 2009. Inspired by the first season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she has quickly become a stand-out and fan favorite for the show’s latest run. A lot has changed for Bob since Season Eight kicked off in March, and she is making the most of her time with RuPaul, whom Bob describes as a “really big praying mantis — like a six-foot four gorgeous praying mantis” who intimidates everyone, including RuPaul herself. Attendance at Bob’s shows has skyrocketed. Recounting her recent show at Barracuda Bar in Chelsea, her first official appearance there since the show started, Bob said, “I’ve had busy nights at Barracuda before — but never like that. Like usually busy would be like if we had every seat filled and people standing in the back, but this time there were literally people standing at the foot of the stage with their toes pressed up against the stage, and I was like, ‘Oh you are like right there.’” She has also noticed a more diverse audience — including a lot more women. This spike in audience has given Bob reason to restructure her shows. She notes that “Drag Race” fans are not used to long form drag (Bob’s shows usually run around an hour and a half).

Bob the Drag Queen.

“I think I am really fucking funny,” said Bob, who considers her stand-up to be on point. She is, however, updating her look, constantly working on new outfits and wigs. The self-proclaimed “Queen for the People,” Bob is using her newfound popularity to launch Charity 4 the People, a fundraising initiative whose goal is to raise money for nonprofits that focus on queer youth, the elder ly, women who have been victims of domestic violence, and those with life-challenging illnesses. It is a big project with a very lofty goal — $100,000 to be exact. There are several parts to this initiative. First off, each week Bob will auction off a signature

6 Bob actually prefers her stand-up comedy to performing songs and numbers. 7 T hat said, her favorite numbers to perform are "God Warrior" and "Vogue." 8 B ob's favorite drag queen of all time is Jackie Beat. 9 B ob's favorite drag queens from Season Eight are Acid Betty and Chi Chi Devayne. 10 Bob has nine tattoos. Her favorite one is Whoopi Goldberg (done in the style of Al Hirschfeld) on her forearm.

look from the latest episode of “Drag Race,” with proceeds going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. So far, outfits have sold for around $300 a piece. The largest part of Charity 4 the People will be a companion comedy tour, which kicked off at Industry Bar on March 22. Bob — joined by local queens Sherry Vine, Monet Xchange,

Miz Cracker, and Judy Darling — raised a little over $1,000, which was donated to T rinity Place Shelter, which helps LGBT homeless youth. Bob is hoping to make this a national tour, with bars across the country donating Bob’s normal fee to an agreed-upon local charity.


BOB, continued on p.47

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


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OPERA, from p.37

works — “Luisa Miller” and “Traviata” for two. The central baritone/ soprano duet is the most moving, effective number. Nothing could make the patchy, melodramatic libretto convincing, but it was salutary to hear this ultra-patriotic hymn to a unified Italy onstage. Todd Thomas — like Thomson, a practiced, capable artist deserving wider recognition — handled the grizzled baritone lead with aplomb and breadth. As his friend/rival Arrigo, Martin Nusspaumer showed a promising sound but squeezed legato technique; ill after a few vocal breaks, he yielded the part to studio artist Matthew Vickers, who was excellent, convincing, and clarion. Jennifer Black showed mettlesome presence and a penetrating, interestingly resinous voice in its lower two octaves. She may just

Glass’ Egyptian opera is less involving than “Satyagraha” but worth hearing as led splendidly March 17 by Karen Kamensek. Anthony Roth Costanzo proved phenomenal in the lead, his bright, clear countertenor projecting with ease and phrased with great distinction. A remarkably agile, impassioned performer, he imbued the innovative, gender-bending pharoah monotheistic with huge emotional stakes. Emma Carrington (Nefertiti) unfurled sumptuous mezzo tone, impressively sculpted. Rebecca Bottone’s softer-grained Tye complemented her colleagues. ENO’s chorus triumphed. Phelim McDermott filled Tom Pye’s high tech sets with spectacle and Kevin Pollard’s splendid costumes, but too busily. The ceaseless juggling was an all too mordant commentary on Glass’ repetitive tendencies. ENO drew sold out, excited crowds.

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have had a bad afternoon, but the top was persistently messy, flat when not screamed and approximate technically. Lida — surely Verdi’s most kvetchy heroine — needs complete vocal mastery. If Black can get it together, she’d have a future in this repertory. Bass Young Bok Kim (Barbarossa), a company fixture, showed excellent style and voice.

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disclosed some fine productions — two headed stateside, the English National Opera’s “Akhnaten” to Los Angeles and the Bastille’s “Meistersinger,” originated by Stefan Herheim at Salzburg in 2013, to the Met. Both should find warm welcomes.

The Parisian “Meistersinger” was also a justly hot ticket. No fan of Wagner’s padded, self-congratulatory “comedy,” I found myself thinking that Herheim’s astonishingly visually inventive reading — involving, to avoid spoilers, fairy-tale changes in perspective and historically apt referents — was the only successful “Meistersinger” staging I’ve ever seen. Cogent conductor Philippe Jordan, an out gay artist, garnered ovations. Michael Volle — Salzburg’s Sachs — jumped in at the last minute for Gerald Finley with extraordinary command and ease, a great impersonation, as was Guenther Groissboeck’s silken Pogner.


OPERA, continued on p.43

March 31 - April 13, 2016 |


OPERA, from p.42

Showing endurance, vocal scope and charm, Brandon Jovanovich aced Stolzing, the trickiest role to cast; if Jonas Kaufmann bails yet again, he should bring it to the Met. Julia Kleiter’s sympathetic Mozartean Eva soared when needed. Bo Skovhus’s “divo” Beckmesser proved too finicky and attention-getting, Toby Spence’s capering, youthful-looking David dryish and patchy. But — as with the whole production — nothing was random or unintelligent.

Also in London, it was nice to return to the elegance and fine orchestra of Covent Garden even for a somewhat muted “Trittico” (March 15) in Richard Jones’ too extra-heavy update. Nicola Luisotti’s players made beautiful sounds, but he took a very episodic approach to “ Tabarro.” Out American singers Patricia Racette and Carl Tanner worked strongly as the lovers. Racette makes the absolute most of somewhat receding resources, fielding a potent high C, while Tanner dispatched Luigi’s tough music with power. Lucio Gallo


NEON, from p.34

sis on the bodies of both the bulls and the human characters, who in many ways behave like animals. The bulls are seen being guided in their pens, fed, and cleaned, and their lives are not unlike Iremar’s. He too is a creature of habit, forced to repeat the same tasks day after day. He eats, sleeps, and pisses, just like the animals. The only difference is that his dreams provide an escape from his routine and an outlet for creativity. The emphasis on the characters’ bodies reveals truths about them. Just as Iremar combs and sands the bull’s tails for the rodeo, Júnior brushes his long hair, which is a symbol of his identity. Galega is seen waxing her crotch in private, while Iremar washes his lean, muscular body in a homoerotic sequence, demonstrating how the two characters care for their appearance. Mascaro seems interested in the both the organic and mechanical demands placed on animals and humans alike. The physicality of the bulls and their

proved an ineffective Michele. Luisotti had to keep the orchestra low for lyric soprano Ermonela Jaho’s extremely touching but overparted Suor Angelica. Jaho had to scream the climaxes, and she and Anna Larsson (Principessa) resorted too often to parlando. Lauren Fagan lent Genovieffa striking, lovely timbre. Numerous extras marred Angelica’s lonely suicide. “Gianni Schicchi” worked the best as an overall musical concept, though many among the ensemble sounded worn. Gallo’s amusing, idiomatic Schicchi was still weak vocally. Fun to see Rebecca Evans (Nella) and Marie McLaughlin (Ciesca), looking “Mamma Mia”-ready. Gwynne Howell (Simone) remains a classy bass at 77, and Elena Zilio, another veteran, made an amusing Zita. Susanna Hurrell’s Lauretta sounded completely ordinary — like a conservatory student. Easily the best sounds emerged from Paolo Fanale’s forthright Rinuccio. David Shengold (shengold@ writes about opera for many venues.

keepers are a focus of attention, but both the animals and the characters behave like machines in providing labor. During a midnight rodeo, the bulls are sprayed with florescent paint and trotted out as “neon bulls,” but their performance is not so different than Galega dancing in the horse mask and hoof costume Iremar makes for her. A lighthearted scene of the characters dancing mirrors the interaction between the bulls and horses in the rodeo arena. Both animals and humans “per for m” in ways that define who they are. “Neon Bull” succeeds in part because Cazarré delivers such an un-self-conscious performance as Iremar. The handsome actor is alluring whether he is handling the animals, working on his designs, or encouraging Cacá to find her father. In support, Santana is particularly strong as Cacá, who may be the most sympathetic character. Watching Iremar clean Cacá up after she falls in manure may be the most oddly touching — and representational — moment in this impressive film.


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TRAVEL, from p.6

Praising Cuomo’s move, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, an out gay Upper Manhattan Democrat, urged support for a measure he introduced last year at the time of the Indiana controversy that would codify a ban on non-essential travel by state employees to any state adopting such an anti-LGBT law. Queens Democrat Michael Gianaris has introduced a similar measure in the Senate. The prospects for the idea in either chamber is unknown. US Representative Alma Adams, a Democrat whose district extends from Charlotte to Winston-Salem, praised the actions of these elected officials as well as “organizations and corporations in North Carolina and across the country [that] have denounced this blatant act of discrimination. North Carolina’s governor and the Republican-controlled legislature would rather put our local economy at risk than grant law abiding citizens equal rights.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest, on March 28, said, “We are concerned about the potential harmful impact of this law, especially on transgender youth, and believe it is mean-spirited and sends the wrong message." The North Carolina law was a direct response to Charlotte passing an LGBT rights ordinance


LAMBDA, from p.6

state university employees, Joaquin Carcano, a transgender man at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Angela Gilmore, a lesbian at Northern Carolina Central University Law School, and a student, Payton Grey McGarry, a trans man at UNC Greensboro. The complaint raises both constitutional and statutory claims. H.B. 2, the suit alleges, violates the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses by imposing harms on LGBT residents of the state without sufficient justification. The complaint asserts that this type of discrimination should be subjected to a heightened level of judicial scrutiny, a point not yet expressly embraced by the Supreme Court but starting to make its way in the lower federal courts. The Due Process Clause claim includes a privacy claim, arguing that the bathroom restrictions will require transgender people to “out” themselves, exposing them to danger, and, in light of the state’s demanding criteria for issuing new birth certificates, effectively dictating surgical procedures to make them eligible to access public facil-


that was due to go into effect on April 1. The anti-LGBT law, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, also wipes out protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Buncombe, Mecklenburg, and Orange Counties and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Raleigh, as well as laws that that protect people based on sexual orientation alone in Durham and Guilford Counties and the municipalities of Bessemer City, Durham, High Point, and Winston-Salem. Scores of corporations from American Airlines to the Bank of America have denounced the new law, but few have announced actions such as moving offices out of the state. (Writing in, Jon Schwarz reports that American, Bank of America, Lowe’s, and Microsoft, while strongly critical of the new law, have all been contributors to top North Carolina Republicans, including the governor and the leaders of the State Senate and House of Representatives.) The NBA, NCAA, and ESPN’s X Games said they oppose the law and will consider moving tournaments out of the state. Hollywood director Rob Reiner, active in the fight against Proposition 8 in California, wants the entertainment industry to boycott North Carolina, and he has vowed not to shoot a film in the state until the law is repealed. The High

ities appropriate for their gender. The complaint also asserts violations of Title IX of the federal Education Act Amendments, which forbid sex discrimination by educational institutions that get federal money. This argument relies on recent decisions by the US Department of Education that educational institutions must allow transgender people to access restroom

Point Market, the world’s largest home furnishings trade show and the “largest economic event” in the state “with an annual economic impact of $5.38 billion,” according to its release, said that “dozens of customers have cancelled plans to attend” in response to the anti-LGBT law. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and Equality North Carolina filed suit against the law on March 28, charging the state with violations of the US Constitution’s federal equal protection requirement as well as Title IX, a statute that bars sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal funding. A successful Title IX challenge could cost North Carolina billions in education aid. Similar threats were used against Geor gia after it passed a “religious freedom” bill that was in essence a “right to discriminate” measure. The governor’s veto there came on March 28. The outcry against North Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana — and Arizona in 2014 — came in response to laws that actively promoted discrimination against LGBT people. None of those four offers any affirmative statewide LGBT protections — which puts them in the same category as more than half of all states, a situation that has occasioned little controversy, except among the advocacy community.

ing anti-gay discrimination. Unlike the Colorado amendment, H.B. 2 does not single out LGBT people for exclusion from protection on its face, but rather by prohibiting local governments from extending any nondiscrimination protections beyond what state law provides. Romer, however, would seem to apply, given the stated rationale for the legislature’s hasty action.

The Due Process Clause claim includes a privacy claim, arguing that the bathroom restrictions will require transgender people to “out” themselves, exposing them to danger.

and locker room facilities consistent with their gender identity. The complaint also attacks the preemption of local laws protecting LGBT rights, in reliance on the Supreme Court’s 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans, which struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that prohibited the state or its political subdivisions from outlaw-

Since T itle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination in employment, applies to state and local government workplaces, H.B. 2’s restroom provisions are likely in violation, given an EEOC precedent on this point. Title VII claims must be filed initially with the EEOC or designated state civil

rights agencies — subject to an “exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement” — before they can be brought in federal court, so no Title VII claim was asserted in this challenge to H.B. 2. However, it is possible that transgender state and local government employees will file such complaints, generating additional litigation as the ACLU-Lambda case works its way through the federal courts. The EEOC is busy litigating, directly and through amicus briefs in private litigation, to establish its position on the interpretation of “sex” under Title VII in non-federal employment cases in the courts, and a private “bathroom” case under Title IX is pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a ruling is imminent. Such a ruling would be direct binding precedent on the district court in the case challenging H.B. 2. The legal team representing the plaintiffs includes Christopher A. Brook for the North Carolina Legal Foundation of the ACLU, Elizabeth O. Gill and Chase B. Strangio of the ACLU’s national LGBT Rights Project, and Tara L. Borelli, Peter C. Renn, and Kyle A. Palazzolo of Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office. March 31 - April 13, 2016 |

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EMPLOYMENT, from p.18

The main question, to which the judge devoted most of his opinion, was whether Fabian was alleging a kind of discrimination covered by Title VII and Connecticut law. Underhill noted that for decades after Title VII was enacted, both federal courts and the EEOC had consistently taken the position that gender identity claims were not covered. That status quo, however, began to change after the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, where the high court accepted the plaintiff’s contention that her promotion had been denied because the firm’s partners felt she failed to conform to their stereotyped views about how a “woman partner” should act, groom, and dress. With sex stereotyping accepted as evidence of sex discrimination, some federal courts, by the early 21st century, embraced the argument that discrimination against transgender persons involves sexual stereotypes in violation of Title VII. That view was endorsed by the EEOC in a 2010 decision involving federal employment, and subsequently adopted by the Justice Department. Underhill wrote that he agreed with the courts “that have held that Price Waterhouse abrogates the narrow view” that had been taken in earlier decisions. “The narrower view relies on the notion that the word ‘sex’ simply and only means ‘male or female,’” he continued. “That notion is not closely examined in any of the cases, but it is mistaken. ‘Male or female’ is a relatively weak definition of ‘sex’ for the same reason that ‘A, B, AB, or O’ is a relatively weak definition of ‘blood type’: it is not a formulation of meaning, but a list of instances. It might be an exhaustive list, or it might not be, but either way it says nothing about why or how the items in the list are instances of the same thing; and the word ‘sex’ refers not just to the instances, but also to the ‘thing’ that the instances are instances of. In some usages, the word ‘sex’ can indeed mean ‘male or female,’ but it can also mean the distinction between male and female, or the property or characteristic (or group of properties or characteristics) by which individuals may be so distinguished. Discrimination ‘because of sex,’ therefore, is not only discrimination because of maleness and discrimination because of femaleness, but also discrimination because of the distinction between male and female or discrimination because


BOB, from p.40

“I want to use the queens from the town to do the charity,” explained Bob, saying he hopes local talent will also being willing to donate their time to the shows. Bob will also be selling “I’m a Queen 4 the People” bracelets, along with auctioning off a variety of raffle items — including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” memorabilia — that will contribute to meeting the $100,000 goal. Bob was quick to assure me that the charity drive will not lose sight of his overriding goal of entertaining audiences. “This is not like one of those fundraising | March 31 - April 13, 2016

of the properties or characteristics by which individuals may be classified as male or female.” Underhill pointed to an array of historical references to such broader understandings of the word “sex” dating back to the 18th century, but also including the 1960s when Title VII was adopted. Even in the absence of direct evidence about what the drafters of the “sex” amendment thought in 1964, the judge found indirect evidence that a broader understanding of the word was in wide use at that time. Underhill also quoted a favorite hypothetical case put forward by those who argue that gender identity discrimination is covered by sex discrimination protections: just as an employer who had no bias against Christians or Jews could be held to have discriminated because of religion if they discharged an employee for converting from one religion to the other, an employer who has no particular bias against men or women could be held to discriminate because of sex if he discharged an employee for transitioning from male to female. No court, Underhill insisted, would make the mistake of finding no discrimination because of religion in the case of the religious convert. “Because Christianity and Judaism are understood as examples of religions rather than the definition of religion itself,” he wrote, “discrimination against converts, or against those who practice either religion the ‘wrong’ way, is obviously discrimination ‘because of religion.’ Similarly, discrimination on the basis of gender stereotypes, or on the basis of being transgender, or intersex, or sexually indeterminate, constitutes discrimination on the basis of the properties or characteristics typically manifested in sum as male and female — and that discrimination is literally discrimination ‘because of sex.’” So, Underhill concluded, “on the basis of the plain language of the statute, and especially in light of the interpretation of that language evident in Price Waterhouse’s acknowledgment that gender-stereotyping discrimination is discrimination ‘because of sex’... discrimination on the basis of transgender identity is cognizable under Title VII.” With the hospital’s summary judgment motion dismissed, Fabian’s suit can proceed to trial unless a settlement is reached. Fabian is represented by Theodore W. Heiser of Sullivan Heiser LLC, of Clinton, Connecticut.

tiatives that really takes itself super seriously. Our goal is to have fun, make people laugh, and change lives,” joked Bob, who seems well prepared to tackle the mission he has set before himself. “You might even end up being offended if you come to one of these charity events. Because that’s just kind of how I am. If I cannot offend at least one person, goddammit, then I fucked up.” Duly noted Bob, duly noted. As Gay City News was going to press, Charity 4 The People had raised over $2,500. For the latest on Bob the Drag Queen or to contribute to Charity 4 the People, check out



March 31 - April 13, 2016 |

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