Irish President Honors Brendan Fay 12 Edie Windsor Backs De Blasio 21 Mink for Christmas 27
A TIMELY REMINDER AIDS Memorial Dedication Reawakens Spirit to Confront 2017 Perils Â© GAY CITY NEWS 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Page 04 FREE | VOLUME FIFTEEN, ISSUE TWENTY FIVE | DECEMBER 08 - 21, 2016
In This Issue COVER STORY
POETRY Complex lives of Caribbean gay men 26
Housing Works’ King sees ways to foil Trump health cuts 15
CRIME A timely reminder 04
HEALTH Obamacare demise’s impact on LGBTQ health access 05
Hate crimes surge in wake of Trump victory 09
Fluid, but not ambiguous 29
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December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
MADRID GOES GLOBAL June 23rd - July 2nd World Pride 2017, the global celebration of LGBT diversity, is being hosted by the capital of Spain, a city which is bursting to share its vibrant annual Gay Pride celebration with visitors from all over the globe
Madrid is so well established as a beacon of pride that it is no surprise that it has been chosen to host World Pride 2017, following in the footsteps of Rome, Jerusalem, London and Toronto in hosting the globe’s biggest celebration of the LGBT community. The bid from Spain’s capital was approved unanimously by the Interpride worldwide association of LGBT Pride organizers, and the event certain to be bathed in sunshine
from June 23rd to July 2nd will bring together two to three million participants in a city whose annual Pride parade is one of the biggest and most vibrant in the world. In 2016, Madrid Pride attracted 1.5 million people as the local and international LGBT communities mingled with the rest of a city which has taken the festival to its heart. In 2017, Madrid is also the designated host of EuroPride, making for a gigantic celebra-
NEIGHBORHOOD SPIRIT THE HEART OF LGBT MADRID World Pride 2017 will also mark the 30th anniversary of Pride celebrations held in Madrid’s Chueca
tion not to be missed. World Pride 2017 week starts with the Opening Ceremony on June 22nd, kicking off a week of activities including a three-day International Human Rights Conference where LGBT activists and international experts will work on concrete proposals to boost equality and tolerance around the globe. Two million people will march to demand equal rights and celebrate diversity in Pride Parade on Saturday July 1st, before Sunday’s Closing Ceremony. The World Pride baton will be passed on to New York for 2019, the 50th anniversary of the city’s Stonewall riots, a development which sparked the fi rst LBGT movements around the globe.
“WHOEVER YOU LOVE, MADRID LOVES YOU” IS THE WORLD PRIDE 2017 SLOGAN
district, the neighborhood which has become the beating heart of Spain’s LGBT community. During Pride each summer, the streets in this elegant central district are thronged by revelers, music and street parties, helping to make Madrid a major destination for LGBT tourism. Rainbow flags fly with pride as the fiesta flows on and on. Chueca was transformed when the LGBT community adopted it as their place of residence in the 1990s, turning what was a rundown area into the capital’s trendiest, known for its many restaurants, bars and boutiques.
PROUD SPAIN TOLERANCE AND DIVERSITY Since the end of the Franco dictatorship in the mid-1970s, Spain has blossomed into a country known for its tolerance of sexual freedom. Spain is a world leader when it comes to recognition of sexual diversity. According to the latest survey on this topic by the Pew Research Center, 88% of Spaniards said they accepted equal rights for homosexuals, more than in any other country. And Spain’s 2005 law granting same-sex couples equal marriage and adoption rights was a landmark, since copied in many other jurisdictions. In recent years the focus has turned to transgender issues, with active campaigns to make it easier for individuals to change their gender identity and to ensure that minors can choose how they are treated in schools.
WWW.ESMADRID.COM/LGBT GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
A TIMELY REMINDER
In Sorrow, Anger & Determination, AIDS Memorial Dedicated On gorgeous December morning, activists, ofﬁcials recommit to progress, resistance in Age of Trump BY NATHAN RILEY
Memorial board member Ethan Geto.
Walt Whitman’s words inscribed in the gray granite floor of the Memorial.
The Memorial, facing Greenwich Avenue .
unny skies at the December 1 opening of the NYC AIDS Memorial Park in the West Village put the 18-foot steel canopy design on display like a bride or groom shown off at their best. Located in the new St. Vincent’s Triangle Park that once housed utility equipment for the adjacent former hospital, the Memorial achieves with grace what its neighbor across West 12th Street — originally designed for the National Maritime Union and now housing Lenox Hill Greenwich Village — accomplishes with volume. A squat white building with no rectangular windows, only several bands of circular portholes, the Lenox Hill building delivers emergency medical services that are the last echo of what St. Vincent’s long provided to the neighborhood. Architecturally, it bears the same resemblance to the Memorial that a battleship has to a yacht — imposing where the smaller craft is elegant. The porthole motif of that building is picked up in the circular black marble water fountain that is the Memorial’s centerpiece. The water element is amplified in ever-widening circles on the gray granite floor inscribed with a text installation — made up of 10,000 words from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” — designed by New York artist Jenny Holzer. The spiraling text reaches out toward the larger park, where chairs and tables foster passive recreation. With sharp baselines setting its boundaries, the Memorial has an apex with rounded shapes, topping the airy steel canopy composed of triangles. The Memorial is a landmark sculpture that in years to come will define the public perception of arriving in the heart of the West Village. Keith Fox, the CEO of Phaidon Publishers who five years ago assumed responsibility for bringing the project to fruition, called it “the most beautiful and the most significant AIDS memorial” in the United States. Fox, two urban planners, Chris
Roses placed at the center base fountain of the Memorial.
ON THE COVER: State Senator Brad Hoylman (second from right) joins NYC AIDS Memorial co-founder Paul Kelterborn, its board chair Keith Fox, and co-founder Chris Tepper in front of the Memorial on December 1, as one attendee at the dedication provides a reminder of the spirit that animated the fight against AIDS, which needs to be reignited given the new political dangers today. (Photos by Donna Aceto.) Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, and government relations specialist Ethan Geto won warm shout-outs for their dogged efforts to realize their vision in a patch of urban redevelopment for which there were many competing ideas. The four deflected the praise, stressing the LGBT community’s enthusiasm as critical in winning the support of elected officials who helped fund the $6.5 million project. Solidarity in the continued fight against the HIV epidemic was the consistent theme of the morning dedication, which was cohosted by the NYC AIDS Memorial Foundation and the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition, uniting more than 50 advocacy and service organizations with the city and state health departments. Memorial co-founder Kelterborn, the planner who has typically been the silent partner in the project,
spoke at the ceremony, offering an intimate explanation for his and Tepper’s motivation. Both gay men, who never knew a time without AIDS, were struck by the disconnect between their lives and generation and that of older gay men who lived through the plague that cost us more than 100,000 New Yorkers. They conceived of the memorial as a physical reminder to the young of what came before them as well as a refuge for those who recalled the pain they lived through. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who at one point paused to collect himself as he evoked the suffering and death of friends, was one of many speakers who trumpeted the decline in new HIV infections. The 2,493 new cases identified in 2015, they emphasized, represent the lowest level on record. At the same time, the mayor warned against complacency, noting that 10 percent of the
nearly 1.2 million Americans with living with HIV are in New York City. “This Memorial will stand for a long time to keep our memories fresh,” de Blasio said. Well over a thousand people gathered for the ceremony, and — as they inspected the new memorial, whose construction barriers had just come down overnight — many, like the mayor, remembered friends they lost but also the steeliness of activists who rushed forward during the worst days of the 1980s. There was also a mood of celebration, as speaker after speaker emphasized the city and state’s commitment to end the epidemic over the next four years. The mood shifted frequently, as well, to outrage, with jeers at every mention of President-elect Donald
MEMORIAL, continued on p.14
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Obamacare Demise’s Impact on LGBTQ Health Access At risk are individuals’ coverage but also federal support for community providers BY PAUL SCHINDLER
ith Donald Trump’s announcement he intends to nominate Georgia Republican Congressmember Tom Price, one of the fiercest critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as secretary of Health and Human Services, it’s clear the presidentelect is determined to push his repeated campaign pledge to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Still, w ith nearly 20 million prev iously u n i nsu red A mer icans now receiving coverage from their employers, through the network of health exchanges, or via expanded Medicaid eligibility, it’s impossible to predict precisely what the effort to dismantle the cur rent president’s sig nature achievement will look like, particularly with both Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan making favorable noise about retaining two of the law’s most popular features — the ban on insurers excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage and the ability of offspring up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans. How to preser ve coverage for pre-ex ist i ng condit ions wh i le eliminating the individual coverage ma ndate t hat most frequently draws the ire of GOP critics is something nobody has yet explained. On top of the incoming administration’s hostility toward the ACA, there is also excited discussion among Republicans about r e v i v i n g ide a s, lon g k ic k i n g around, for turning Medicaid into a block-grant program in which states receive a fixed amount of money — anticipated to be significantly lower than current federal contributions — to do with as they see fit, and even for privatizing Medicare, the primary health insurance program for seniors. All of which means that there is a lot of tough talk but few specifics coming from Trump, Price, a nd compa ny — but a lso t hat the future course of A merican health care remains murk y at GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
best. That uncertainty extends beyond the issue of how individuals access care; it also raises questions about how advances in the nation’s overall public health infrastructure — gains unfortunately little appreciated in the debate over Obamacare — will fare going forward. For LGBTQ Americans, a significant benefit under the ACA c a me i n t he for m of t he Ne w Access Poi nt prog ra m, wh ich aims to improve public health in underserved and vulnerable communities by expanding access to culturally competent primary ca re. T he “new access points” were 266 community health centers nationwide that were added to the stock of “federally qualified health centers,” non-profit institutions serving communities in need that enjoy substantial government support in doing their jobs. For the first time, five of those FQHCs had a specific focus on LGBTQ health needs, with two of them — the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Apicha — located in New York. The advantages of the FQHC designation are significant. First, there is a $650,00 annual grant to offset the unreimbursed cost of care, which often represents a substantial burden on non-profits ser v ing lower income communities. At the time of the New Access Point designations in the summer of 2015, Callen-Lorde, which serves everyone regardless of their ability to pay, reported its most recent annual unreimbursed cost of care at roughly $5 million a year in ser ving about 15,000 clients. Likely more significant than the annual grants, however, is the ability of FQHCs to receive cost-based Medicaid reimbursement. Medicaid, a joint federalstate insurance program for low i ncome A mer ic a ns, t y pic a l ly reimburses based on a standard schedule of allowable payments that does not take a provider’s specific cost of providing care into account. This benefit, then, also contributes to lowering a health
facility’s unreimbursed burden. Including five LGBTQ-focused health centers among the New Access Point program represented unprecedented progress for the community. Earlier attempts by such non-profits to win FQHC designation failed, in part based on gover n ment of f icia ls’ concerns about their ability to serve non-gay patients. The 2015 designations, then, ref lect a deeper understanding of unmet health needs within the queer community, something advocates will have to work hard to preser ve in an administration whose appointees — including Price at HHS, Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development, Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education, and even Trump’s choice of vice president, Mike Pence — have long and strong records hostile to the LGBTQ community. Here in New York, the FQHC designation has meant more care in more places. On July 1 of this year, Callen-Lorde opened a new 3,500-square-foot clinic in the South Bron x on Third Avenue near 161st Street, its first footprint outside of Chelsea, and its patient rolls have increased from 13,000 in 2012 to about 17,000 by this year. Apicha, long based in Chinatown, is planning a new facility in Jackson Heights, Queens, while Ca l len-L orde is i nvest igat i ng options for its presence in a third borough, in downtown Brooklyn. Other statistics also suggest that the combination of Obamacare’s broader coverage and the FQHC designations have been beneficial for New York’s LGBTQ hea lt hca re i n frast r ucture. At Callen-Lorde, the portion of its patients who were uninsured fell from 37 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2015, while the number of those on Medicaid rose from 18 to 27 percent. Bot h t rends sug gest t hat increased coverage access and the Medicaid expansion under the ACA offered protection to a bigger chunk of the LGBTQ community; they also added to the
greater financial security CallenLorde achieved by being an FQHC facility. Last year, when Apicha won its designation, its CEO, Therese R. Rodriguez, said, “This is an important moment for the LGBT community. With these awards, the federal government is allowing us to reach out to the margins of the community — LGBT folks, immigrants, people of color, and people living with HIV/AIDS — to make sure they receive healthcare.” Wendy Stark, executive director of Callen-Lorde, reflecting on what her agency has gained in recent years, put in even sharper relief what is at stake today. “Callen-Lorde serves as a critical safety net for thousands of people who are both uninsured and underinsured, as do community health centers across the country,” she told Gay City News in an email message this week. “ T hrough t he A ffordable Ca re Act we’ve been able to help over 4,000 people become insured — which is of course beneficial to the health of those individuals but also to the overall healthcare system, because people who can access preventive care and treatment when they need it are more likely to stay healthier and be less reliant on emergency rooms and other forms of expensive care. Interrupting or reversing these advances would be truly devastating to the health of our communities and to the healthcare system at large.” W hether those patients who now enjoy coverage either through excha nges or from Medica id’s expansion will continue to do so in the Trump years is unclear. A wholly separate question is what the future holds for the nation’s FQHCs. It’s important to recognize that FQHCs were not a creat ion of Obamacare; they date back half a centur y to Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, when they were created to address critical health
OBAMACARE, continued on p.35
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DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 !"# ()"*+ !"# / medicines into 1 pill taken once a day. Because DESCOVY ()"*+$ used together with other HIV-1 medicines.
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December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
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DESCOVY, the DESCOVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and LOVE WHATâ€™S INSIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. ÂŠ 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. GILC0265 10/16
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Hate Crimes Surge in Wake of Trump Victory Trend in New York matched nationwide as ofﬁcials step up in response BY DENNIS LYNCH
Parents found swastikas and the phrase “Go Trump” scrawled on playground equipment when they took their kids to play in Brooklyn’s Adam Yauch Park on November 17.
State Senator Brad Hoylman is joined by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and City Councilmember Margaret Chin in a Washington Square press conference denouncing the recent spike in hate crimes.
ald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on November 8. The organization compiled the list from news articles and social media, but also directly collected information on its own. “Anti-immigrant” incidents were the most prevalent, and more than a third of those alleged incidents occurred in the first three days following Trump’s victory. But are there really more hate crimes being committed this year, or are we only seeing more because the media is covering them? Looking at the numbers, John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Frank Pezzella said that, unfortunately, it’s likely to be the former. “I think the election illuminated how divisive things really are and hate crimes spike during times of economic upheaval, strife, and the emergence of identity groups — every group wants to be identified and taken care of because of the problems that relate to them,” Pez-
OFFICE OF STATE SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN
OFFICE OF STATE SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
OFFICE OF STATE SENATOR DANIEL SQUADRON
ate crimes have surged in New York City during this divisive election year — and show no signs of letting up — but authorities at the state and local levels are mobilizing to address the problem. The NYPD has logged 25 percent more bias crimes so far this year over the same period last year — rising from 260 to 350 — a rate on pace to make 2016 the worst year for hate crimes in the city in at least eight years, according to available police figures. This week the NYPD reported that there have been at least 43 bias attacks since Election Day, more than double the number for the comparable period in 2015. “The trends are a bit disturbing,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill during a radio appearance on November 20. “More than an uptick.” This past weekend, a Brooklyn man threatened Aml Elsokary, an off-duty Muslim police officer, with his pit bull when he came upon her, wearing a hijab as she walked with her son. In 2014, Elsokary was awarded for bravery for running into a burning building to save a small child and a grandmother. Another Muslim woman wearing a hijab, a transit worker was shoved down a staircase at Grand Central Terminal. Hate crimes against Muslims more than doubled from last year and anti-Semitic crimes rose nine percent, O’Neill said, attributing the increase partly to the heated rhetoric from the campaign of Presidentelect Donald Trump. The spike in hate crimes around the state prompted Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a State Police Hate Crime Unit comprised of investigators trained as “bias crime specialists” who will assist local district attorneys to prosecute hate crimes. Nationwide, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has collected reports of more than 900 incidents of “hateful harassment” perpetrated around the country since Don-
A neighbor discovered these two swastikas etched into a serviceelevator door at State Senator Brad Holyman’s Fifth Avenue apartment building.
zella said, referring to a troubling normalization of formerly fringe ideologies, such as the “alt-right” white-nationalist movement with its “unabashed advocacy to return back to the things that used to be.” The connection to the presidential election is clear in some cases here in New York. The NYPD is investigating the swastikas and “Go Trump” messages crudely spraypainted at Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn Heights on November 18 as a hate crime. State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who belongs to Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBTQ synagogue in Chelsea, was in the news twice in the last two weeks for encountering antiSemitic messages. First, a woman found a swastika carved into a door in his apartment building, which made national news. Then a few days later, the senator opened an envelope in his mail to find an antiSemitic, anti-Israel pamphlet with
pictures of flames, human sacrifices, and Bible quotes. The return address led to a known far-right extremist living in Arizona. Hoylman said he believes the acts were directly related to Trump’s election and the presidentelect’s choice of Steve Bannon — whom he termed a “white nationalist” — for a top advisory post. “I’m very concerned about [the trend of hate crimes] especially since Steve Bannon has been put in a top White House post,” he said. “I strongly believe Trump should rescind his appointment. All of us should be concerned about that.” On November 16, out gay City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer received an email death threat from an unknown source after he called for a march to Trump Tower to protest the president-elect’s victory. “Rest of the people from Queens
HATE CRIMES, continued on p.36
Arbitrary Bureaucracy Foiled in Intersex Passport Case Federal court ﬁnds State Department must justify its binary gender requirement BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ust because” is not a good enough answer when the question is whether the State Department’s Passport Office was “arbitrary or capricious” in refusing to process a passport application from an intersex applicant who declined to check either M or F on the form. In a November 22 ruling, Colorado US District Judge Richard Brooke Jackson rejected the government’s motion to dismiss Dana Alix Zzyym’s challenge to the gender binary requirement on the application, though the judge reserved any ruling on the plaintiff’s constitutional claims. Instead, Jackson returned the matter to the State Department for “reconsideration.” Zzyym identifies as an intersex person, born “with sex character-
istics that do not fit typical binary notions of bodies designated ‘male’ or ‘female,’” according to an explanation in the complaint. To avoid using sex-based pronouns, the court refers to Zzyym throughout the opinion by the plaintiff’s first name, Dana, as Gay City News will do as well. In a press release about the court’s ruling, Lambda Legal, which represents Zzyym, mentions that Dana’s birth certificate says “unknown” in the space for sex, reflecting the ambiguous genitalia sometimes characteristic of intersex newborns. Dana applied for a passport in 2014 and wrote the word “intersex” below the “sex” category on the application form, rather than checking either the box labeled male or labeled female. Dana identifies as neither and explained that in a separate letter requesting that an X be used
as a marker in the sex field to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization standards for machine-readable travel documents. Some other countries have adopted the X for intersex people as well as transgender people who reject a gender binary choice. The Passport Office reacted like a typical hidebound bureaucracy and rejected the application immediately, without any evident policy consideration, merely explaining that “the Department of State currently requires the sex field on United States passports to be listed as ‘M’ or ‘F’” and noting that Dana submitted a driver’s license copy identifying Dana as “female.” Dana appealed to the State Department and included sworn documents from physicians with the US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wyo-
ming, where Dana received treatment as a Navy veteran, verifying Dana’s sex as “intersex.” Dana’s appeal was rejected, and this lawsuit followed. Dana made arguments on several grounds, first noting that the federal Administrative Procedure Act forbids government agencies from making decisions that are “arbitrary or capricious” in applying their statutory authority. Dana also alleged that the State Department exceeded the authority Congress delegated to it, since there is no statutory requirement that gender be listed on a passport. Dana also alleged that the refusal to process the application was a violation of rights protected by the due process and equal protection obligations imposed on the federal government by the
PASSPORT, continued on p.25
Another Judge: Gay Plaintiff Can Claim Sex Discrimination Connecticut case is latest in district court challenges to existing circuit precedents BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ne of the nation’s most senior federal trial judges, 92-year-old Warren W. Eginton of Connecticut, rejected an employer’s motion to dismiss a sex discrimination claim brought by an openly gay employee under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In a November 17 ruling, Eginton, appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1979, accepted the argument that Title VII can be interpreted to ban sexual orientation discrimination, despite prior contrary rulings by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, under whose jurisdiction his court is. Eginton’s ruling came less than two weeks after a federal district judge in Pennsylvania, Cathy Bissoon, appointed by President Barack Obama, issued a similar ruling in EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, bucking contrary
appellate precedent in the Third Circuit. Could this be the beginning of a trend? Lisa Boutillier, a lesbian who formerly taught in the Hartford public school system, claimed she suffered discrimination and retaliation because of her sexual orientation and physical disability in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title VII. Because Connecticut law explicitly bans sexual orientation and disability discrimination, she could have brought her case in state court and, by confining her claims to state law, avoided ending up in federal court where the adverse circuit precedent exists. Instead, however, her attorney, Margaret M. Doherty, included the federal claims and filed in the US District Court, prompting the school district to file a motion arguing that Title VII does not cover this
case. Eginton concluded that Boutillier failed to allege facts sufficient to qualify as a person with a disability under the ADA, so her ability to maintain her action in federal court turned entirely on whether she could allege a sex discrimination claim under Title VII. Eginton devoted most of his opinion to the Title VII question, sharply disputing the Second Circuit’s prior rulings refusing to allow sexual orientation discrimination claims under Title VII. The Second Circuit erred, Eginton charged, because it “failed to take the ordinary meaning of the [Civil Rights] Act’s text to its logical conclusions.” Instead, it relied on the view that Congress in 1964 had no intention of protecting gay people from discrimination. However, the judge wrote, “Straightforward statutory interpretation and logic dictate that sexual orientation cannot be extri-
cated from sex: the two are necessarily intertwined.” Eginton pointed out the inconsistency between the Second Circuit’s approach to sexual orientation and its cases about race discrimination, with the circuit accepting the argument that it is race discrimination when an employer discriminates against an employee for engaging in an interracial relationship. The Second Circuit’s cases are “not legitimately distinguishable,” he argued. “If Title VII protects individuals who are discriminated against on the basis of race because of interracial association (it does), it should similarly protect individuals who are discriminated against on the basis of sex because of sexual orientation — which could otherwise be named ‘intrasexual association.’” Eginton pointed out that the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision
TITLE VII, continued on p.24
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
Irish President to Honor Brendan Fay, Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy Leaders of Queens inclusive St. Pat’s Parade fêted for “very positive, far-reaching impact” on nation’s diaspora BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK
COURTESY: BRENDAN FAY
n Irishman who came to America and an IrishAmerican woman whose family has been here for nearly a century are going back to the old country to be honored by its president for “sustained and distinguished service to Ireland and Irish communities abroad.” Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy are two of the recipients of the 2016 Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad, which will be presented by President Michael D. Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, the presidential residence, at a state dinner in Dublin on December 8. In the letter announcing the awards, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan wrote to Fay and Walsh D’Arcy, “The central role you play for the Irish Community in the United States has a very positive, far-reaching impact, not the least with the LGBT community in New York.” Fay and Walsh D’Arcy are longtime activists and organizers, and 2016 saw the fulfillment of Fay’s decades-long battle, as the Lavender and Green Alliance became the first LGBT group allowed to march openly in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue. Fay, a native of Drogheda, County Louth, was one of the founders of the Lavender and Green Alliance in 1994, and of ILGO (the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization), which protested the Fifth Avenue parade annually — and for many years got arrested. In 1999, he founded the inclusive St. Pat’s for All Parade, which steps off on the first Sunday of March in Sunnyside and Woodside, Queens. Walsh D’Arcy is a community organizer, feminist, and human rights activist, whose ancestors emigrated the United States in the 1920s. “Here they found a community of Irish people in New York that worked to preserve Irish music, culture, politics — a community of people who took care of each other,” she said. Walsh D’Arcy became co-chair of
Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, the driving forces behind the annual St. Pat’s For All Parade in Sunnyside and Woodside, are in Dublin to receive the 2016 Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad.
St. Pat’s for All in 2007. This year marked the centennial of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising, the short-lived rebellion that was violently quashed by the British, but set the stage for the country’s independence in 1920. The revolutionaries declared an Irish Republic that “guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights, and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.” Fay adopted that idea and that goal when he founded St. Pat’s for All, and it’s displayed at the top of the parade website, on the ubiquitous green hoodies that the organizing committee members wear, and on the banner at the head of the parade each year. Fay said that his and Walsh D’Arcy’s award “is a huge recognition of the movement to make our Irish parades and celebrations more welcoming, and an acknowledgment of the hopes and efforts by LGBT immigrants seeking our place in the New York Irish diaspora. I’m humbled to receive this
award as a gay man and to return home to a transformed Ireland. I am reminded of the determination of activists that kept a movement through years of protest, arrests, and exclusion. Hope and steady confidence in the cause of equality kept us going for 25 years.” In addition to the state dinner, Fay and his husband, Dr. Tom Moulton, are using their time in Ireland to celebrate with family and friends and meet with local LGBT community leaders. Fay is also set to do a talkback after a performance of Irish musician and playwright Brian Fleming’s show “A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade,” which is about Fay and St. Pat’s for All. Flanagan, the minister for foreign affairs, commended all the recipients of awards this week for their impressive work overseas, saying the honors enable Ireland to recognize some of “the finest members of our diaspora for their contribution to Ireland, the Irish community abroad, and Ireland’s reputation. In the ever changing world we live in, this remarkable group of individuals have been a constant beacon for Ireland and the values we
hold dear.” Juxtaposing last year’s referendum victory for marriage equality in his homeland against the recent political upheaval in his adopted country, Fay said, “As we enter a new political phase here in the United States with President-elect Trump, some of my [Irish] friends are considering a return to the new and more welcoming Ireland. But I say that when people unite in common cause it is possible to overcome discrimination and transform communities and cultural life.” He sees the need for activism now more than ever. “The work for equality is ongoing,” Fay said, “in schools, in communities, in churches. We continue to make our cultural celebrations more welcoming and to address bullying and to show solidarity with arriving immigrants and refugees.” Fay isn’t staying long in Ireland on this trip. It’s parade-planning season, and he, Walsh D’Arcy, and their volunteer committee are looking to make this coming year’s St. Pat’s for All the biggest one yet, not turning anyone away, and welcoming every person and group that wants to march. December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
City Steps Up Drive to Increase PrEP Use Health department emphasizes role of doctors, clinics in identifying at-risk patients BY NATHAN RILEY
f a phrase could capture New York City and State’s approach to bringing down levels of new HIV infection, it would be “drugs into bodies.” Pills in the form of pre-exposure prophylaxis are the closest thing to a vaccine that science has discovered. Instead of a single injection that last years, the same protection is offered with daily doses of antiretroviral medicines. “The number of new cases in New York City is declining; the 2,493 new infections identified in 2015 is a significant improvement, with that number previously stuck at about 3,000 each year. But the new number is only a start. A further decline of more than 70 percent will be needed if the city is to reach its goal of 600 new cases a year, in an effort where the state-
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the health department’s assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, at the December 1 dedication of the NYC AIDS Memorial.
wide goal is 750. Reaching those goals, experts agree, would create an epidemiological state where the pool of new HIV infections would
begin a consistent decline. Such a d r a m at ic d r op w i l l require sustained successful public health interventions. Small,
steady steps must continue to build on themselves. With numbers on the decline, however, it seems clea r progress is underway, and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has begun a demonstration project with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to leverage that progress. Officials don’t call it “drugs into bodies,” they use the buzzword “status neutral” — an intervention that involves expanding the avenues for getting pills to people who are HIV-negative. O n e ph a s e o f t h a t p r o je c t reaches primary care physicians. According to Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the health department’s assistant commissioner for HIV/ A IDS Prevention a nd Control, drug reps have been hired to visit
PREP, continued on p.16
MEMORIAL, from p.4
Trump. Remarks by City Comptroller Scott Stringer — who while Manhattan borough president provided the project with its first $1 million in funding, enhancing its credibility — drew the most enthusiastic reaction from the crowd. The memorial, he said, “recognizes the sacrifice of those who came before us,” in whose passing “a part of our city was lost.” Rousing the crowd by insisting New Yorkers must not “normalize” Trump and accept bigotry, he said, “We must continue to fight. We are not going to let him take us back” to days of panicked homophobia. Charles King, the CEO of Housing Works, which co-hosted the ceremony, emphasized that the Memorial honors activism. Those who took on AIDS in the 1980s, he said, not only supported their friends who were sick but also bent the arc of scientific progress on the virus; they “accelerated discovery.” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had kind words for her predecessor, Christine Quinn, whose Council district included the new park and who along with her successor there, Councilmember Corey Johnson, contributed $2.5 million to the project. Johnson told the crowd the Memorial has particular significance for him, who at 22 in 2004 learned he was infected with the virus. “I wouldn’t be alive were it not for the activists who pushed the scientists to find the drugs that
Mayor Bill de Blasio greets the dedication ceremony’s host, Billy Porter.
make the virus undetectable,” he said with considerable emotion. In an impassioned poem, Timothy DuWhite, emphasizing that everyone defines their own subjective truth, told his tale of being infected by an ex-lover, whom he still loves, and his struggle to come to terms with the reality of his serosta-
tus while completing college. Kamilah Aisha Moon, also a poet, gave the dedication, including words drawn from Whitman, while Broadway star Billy Porter, who won the Tony for his role in “Kinky Boots,” was the program’s energetic host. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performed a medley of songs. December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Housing Works’ King See Ways to Foil Trump Health Cuts More upbeat than others, longtime AIDS warrior sees programs’ popularity as safeguard BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
hile not minimizing the threat that a Trump presidency and continued Republican control of Congress poseS to progressive causes, including AIDS funding, a leading HIV activist is arguing that Republicans will face serious obstacles if they attempt to enact their most extreme proposals. “The less rabid Republicans are saying, ‘Baby steps, baby steps, we need to do this in a bipartisan way,’” said Charles King the chief executive at Housing Works, an AIDS services organization. Republican Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, has vowed to privatize Medicare, the government health plan for those over 65 and for some disabled people, including some with AIDS; to turn Medicaid funding, which delivers
Charles King (left), the Housing Works CEO, at the December 1 dedication of the NYC AIDS Memorial, with Joey Pressley, deputy chief of staff to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
healthcare to many people with AIDS, into block grants given to the states for them to spend; and to convert Social Security into private accounts. Some people with AIDS are supported by Social Security disability funding.
Ryan and many House Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, which currently supplies health insurance to an estimated 18 million Americans. They are also hostile to discretionary federal spending, which includes the Ryan White
CARE Act, a federal law that funds many AIDS services, the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which pays for HIV prevention efforts. It is not only services for people with HIV and AIDS that are at risk. Many of these federal programs are contributing to components of the Plan to End AIDS, an ambitious effort that aims to cut new HIV infections in New York to 750 by 2020 from the estimated 2,481 new HIV infections in 2014. King is credited with conceiving of the plan, along with Mark Harrington, the chief executive of the Treatment Action Group, a policy organization. One obstacle to Republican ambitions is politics. Medicare and Social Security remain very popu-
SAFEGUARD, continued on p.17
Keeping New Yorkers in their homes prevents homelessness. Yet too many renters face eviction in housing court with no resources or tools to ﬁght back. And they usually lose. That’s because 70% of tenants don’t have a lawyer, but 90% of landlords do. Join AARP New York in calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to support the Right to Counsel bill (Intro. 214-A), which would guarantee legal counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction in New York City Housing Court. Right to Counsel is fair and ﬁscally responsible. Preventing wrongful evictions can save taxpayers $320 million a year by keeping people in their homes and out of expensive homeless services.
Protect New Yorkers from Illegal Evictions GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
Call Mayor de Blasio at 1-844-655-7468 and urge him to support the Right to Council bill now! facebook.com/AARPNY @AARPNY aarp.org/NY
Paid for by AARP
PREP, from p.14
doctors to explain how two treatments work: PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, offered to at-risk negative person who wants protection from infection, and PEP or postexposure prophylaxis, a 28-day course of treatment for a person in the immediate aftermath of a potential HIV exposure. The objective here is to get physicians more attuned to thinking about t hose pat ients t hey have who may be at risk for HIV. A patient who has an STD could be a candidate for PrEP; doctors shouldn’t wait for a patient to become infected. Hence the title: “status neutral.” Patient screening for HIV risk should be on every doctor’s checklist, Daskalakis said, comparing that assessment to screening for diabetes. That disease can crop up at any age and is controlled by medication that doesn’t make it go away, but instead eliminates or mitigates its harmful effects. Primary care physicians are able to identify patients at risk for diabetes and treat them, without the patient having to see a specialist. The health department sees primary care physicians playing the same role in HIV prevention with PrEP, and its goal is to mobilize a greater number of health care professionals in screening for risk and taking preventive action. Ma ny of t hose most at r isk, however, do not have primary care doctors, so the city is also dramatically improving services at its eight currently open STD clinics. At the start of 2016, funding and hours at the clinics increased, a nd in recent weeks a second phase began, with one clinic offering one-stop shopping for HI V testing and medication, an initiative of which the de Blasio administration can be proud. With the Chelsea clinic currently shuttered for major renovation, the Riverside clinic on West 100th Street, in particular, has been picking up the slack, and there the customary testing services have been supplemented with free medication as well as medical and social services. Accordi ng to Daska la k is, already three walk-ins have tested positive for HIV and were given a free month’s supply of antiretro-
virals, with no co-pay, blood work was begun just as it would be in a doctor’s office, and a social worker was available to discuss the patients’ insurance coverage and options and to help locate a physician with whom they can continue their care. PrEP and PEP are available at the Riverside clinic on the same basis. A patient who reports a recent HIV exposure — within no more than the previous 72 hours — is given the full 28-day PEP treatment regimen at no cost, and at risk patients interested in starting PrEP are given a month’s supply with no out-of-pocket expense. W hen this approach is fully implemented across the city’s clinics, it will represent a big jump in efficacy of New York’s prevention and treatment outreach. In 2015, these clinics performed 45,956 HIV tests, with less than one percent coming back positive. Everybody asking for the test is a candidate for PrEP or PEP; under a “stay neutral” intervention, the message is that if you are in the game, medication should be considered. For the first time at any STD clinic, anyone getting tested can be offered medication on the spot. Two more clinics will start the program in February, according to Daskalakis. The number of HIV tests perfor me d at a l l c l i n i c s du r i n g the first six month of 2016 was 21,296, a level un for tunately 2,385 less than the first half of last year — likely attributable to the temporary closing of the Chelsea clinic. Still, at the lower number, New York has the opportunity for significant outreach to at-risk residents. One very positive statistic is that among those patients who need to return for a second visit, 98 percent of them do so, a sign that the clinics are effective in establishing productive relationships. T he R iverside Cl i n ic is at 160 West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues a nd has long been open 8 a.m. to 3 : 3 0 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed the first Wednesday of each month. As part of the city’s expanded clinic hours, it is now also open on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to noon, and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
New HIV Infections Hit Record NYC Low Gay, bi men, especially black, Latino, predominate; more progress needed to meet 2020 goal BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
he city health department reported that new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men fell 10.5 percent in 2015 over 2014, and new HIV diagnoses among women declined by eight percent in 2015 over 2014. For the first time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the total number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City fell below 2,500 in 2015. “We have yet aga in reached another historic low in new HIV diagnoses,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, said in a November 29 statement. “We still have more work to do to reach our goal of ending the epidemic and reduce the disparities that persist.” In 2014, there were 2,754 new HIV diagnoses in the city. An estimated 1,775 of those people were newly infected in 2014. The others were likely infected prior to 2014. In 2015, there were 2,493 new HIV
SAFEGUARD, from p.15
lar with many Americans, and the groups that protect these programs, such as the AARP, are very good at mobilizing their members. Every House member is up for reelection in 2018. In the Senate, 25 Democrats and eight Republicans will face reelection in two years. Generally, the party that holds the White House loses seats in Congress in midterm elections, and members on both sides of the aisle may be reluctant to cast unpopular votes. Another obstacle is money. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs under the provisions of Obamacare and they may object to unwinding those efforts. Medicare and Medicaid fund doctors, hospitals, clinics, and a host of services in every state while Ryan White, HOPWA, and CDC dollars are well distributed among the states. In King’s view, this is akin to defense funds or highway trust fund money GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
diagnoses and an estimated 1,696 of those people were infected that year. In 2015, 2,010 of the new diagnoses were among cisgender men, 441 were among cisgender women, and 42 were among transgender men and women. At 1,450 new HIV diagnoses, men who have sex with men accounted for 58 percent of all the new HIV diagnoses in the city, and black and Latino men accounted for most of the new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men. This pattern of more new HIV diagnoses occurring among men who have sex with men, with a greater impact among black and Latino men, has held for years. Among estimated new HIV infections from 2011 through 2015, men who have sex with men have accounted for 72 percent to 78 percent of the incidents. In 2015, 1,288, or 76 percent, of the estimated new HIV infections were among gay and bisexual men. The new 2015 infections were divided between men over 30 at 692 cases
and men under 30 at 597 cases. The city has endorsed the Plan to End AIDS, which aims to reduce new HIV infections in New York to 750 annually in 2020 from the estimated 2,481 new HIV infections statewide in 2014. The statewide estimate was produced by the state health department. Over 90 percent of new HIV infections in the state are in New York City. For its part, the city hopes to hit 600 new HIV infections in 2020. The plan uses pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), both treatments using anti-HIV drugs in HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected. Both drug regimens are highly effective when used correctly. The plan also treats those HIV-positive with anti-HIV drugs, which keeps them healthy and uninfectious. Other plan components include increasing access to stable housing, nutrition, and other services for HIV-positive people because those services make it easier for them to stay on their anti-HIV
drugs. Many of these services were previously available only to people with AIDS. In some respects, the plan is a classic public health strategy that builds on existing declines in an infectious disease with new interventions that drive the falling numbers down farther and faster. It is also an ambitious plan. From 2011 through 2015, the city saw a 30 percent decline in estimated new HIV infections from 2,424 to 1,696. This happened without PrEP, very little PEP use, no major focus on treatment as prevention among HIV-positive people, and fewer services for HIVpositive people. The city is betting that the widespread use of these drug and service interventions will cut new estimated HIV infections by 65 percent — 1,696 to 600 — from 2016 through 2020. The city health department did not respond to an email seeking comment and asking questions about the rate at which new HIV infections are declining.
being spent in every Congressional district, which creates a natural constituency that wants to continue to spend that money. “There’s a reason why military procurement is spread out in all 50 states,” King said. “There’s a reason why highway funds are spent in all 50 states.” This assumes that Republicans are rational and not driven by an ideology that opposes most types of federal spending and seeks to eliminate federal involvement in all sorts of services. King’s view is the exception and, judging by what is expressed in recent New York City town hall meetings and on social media, most people appear to be assuming the worst. “I think it’s going to be far, far worse than anyone is even contemplating,” said Corey Johnson, the out gay city councilmember who was instrumental in getting a major component of the Plan to End AIDS enacted in the City Council. “The only hope that we have is that,
potentially, Chuck Schumer, given that he’s the Senate minority leader, will have some influence is trying to stave off cuts… I think we’re going to see significant losses in federal dollars on many fronts.” On January 3, when the 115th Congress first meets, Republicans will have 51 seats in the Senate and Democrats will have 48, with an open Louisiana seat to be decided in a December 10 runoff. Representative Nancy Pelosi’s minority Democrats in the House of Representatives lack the filibuster threat that empowers Schumer and his colleagues in the Senate. The Plan to End AIDS, with its reliance on at least some federal cash, could face challenges. Part of the plan is implemented through the city health department’s HIV prevention and treatment program. Ryan White and HOPWA funds accounted for $183.7 million, or 94 percent, of that program’s $194.7 budget in the city’s 2016 fiscal year, which ended on June 30,
according to an analysis from City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Other plan elements, such as expanding services at the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration to people who are HIV-positive, but don't have an AIDS diagnosis, use federal dollars. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo are committed to reaching the goal of 750 new HIV infections statewide in 2020. While the city is spending some of its own money on parts of the plan, the Cuomo administration has been tight-fisted and is kicking in very little. The Cuomo administration is currently asking the federal government for $45 million for the plan to match dollars it has saved in Medicaid, which is jointly funded by state and federal governments. “I think it’s going to take some time to see how it’s going to unfold and there will be opportunities for us to fight bad things,” King said. “I don’t want to sound Pollyannish… We’re geared up to organize and spend time fighting.”
What is TRUVADA for PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)?
Â‹You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems
TRUVADA is a prescription medicine that can be used for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection when used together with safer sex practices. This use is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This includes HIV-negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex, and malefemale sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to prevent getting HIV-1. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
Who should not take TRUVADA for PrEP?
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about TRUVADA for PrEP? Before taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: Â‹You must be HIV-negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce Â‹Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. If you have flu-like symptoms, you could have recently ! "#$%$ &'& "#$%$ &'&(! include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, ))) ) * ! neck or groin. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: Â‹You must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. Â‹You must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Â‹To further help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1: â€˘ Know your HIV-1 status and the HIV-1 status of your partners. â€˘ Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months or when your healthcare provider tells you. â€˘ Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV-1 to infect you. â€˘ Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior. â€˘ Have fewer sex partners. â€˘ Do not miss any doses of TRUVADA. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. â€˘ If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. Â‹If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1"#$%$ ! treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 TRUVADA can cause serious side effects: Â‹Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis)) (! ) ! ) ) ) ) ! ) ) ++ ) * Â‹Serious liver problems./ ) ! (! !
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Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you are HIV-1 positive, you "#$%$ "#$%$ complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you also take 3'!64 3'&('"$4
What are the other possible side effects of TRUVADA for PrEP? Serious side effects of TRUVADA may also include: Â‹Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider
"#$%$ &'& ! ! ) provider may tell you to stop taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Â‹Bone problems) ! ) / ! Â‹Changes in body fat, !! ! ! "#$%$ medicines like TRUVADA. Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP are stomach3 4! )) !
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRUVADA for PrEP? Â‹All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you
) ) ! ) ! virus infection. Â‹If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant "#$%$ ! taking TRUVADA for PrEP, talk to your healthcare provider to decide if you should keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Pregnancy Registry:7$! ! ! ! 8 ) provider. Â‹If you are breastfeeding3 4 ! % "#$%$ ! ! ) ! Â‹All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter ) ) !! "#$%$ 9! ! ! Â‹If you take certain other medicines7"#$%$ &'&) healthcare provider may need to check you more often or change your ! 3$":;4 You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs
Please see Important Facts about TRUVADA for PrEP including important warnings on the following page. 18
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Have you heard about
TRUVADA for PrEP ? TM
The once-daily prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 when used with safer sex practices. • TRUVADA for PrEP is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV through sex. • You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA. Ask your doctor about your risk of getting HIV-1 infection and if TRUVADA for PrEP may be right for you.
visit start.truvada.com GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
IMPORTANT FACTS (tru-VAH-dah)
This is only a brief summary of important information about taking TRUVADA for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. This does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medicine.
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF TRUVADA FOR PrEP
Before starting TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: â€˘ You must be HIV-1 negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP
HIV-1 negative. â€˘ Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include flu-like symptoms, tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP.
TRUVADA can cause serious side effects, including: â€˘ Those in the â€œMost Important Information About TRUVADA for PrEP" section. â€˘ New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. â€˘ Bone problems. â€˘ Changes in body fat.
While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: â€˘ You must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. â€˘ You must stay HIV-1 negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. â€˘ Tell your healthcare provider if you have a flu-like illness while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. â€˘ If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. â€˘ If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. â€˘ See the â€œHow to Further Reduce Your Riskâ€? section for more information. TRUVADA may cause serious side effects, including: â€˘ Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. â€˘ Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark â€œtea-coloredâ€? urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain. â€˘ Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have HBV and take TRUVADA, your hepatitis may become worse if you stop taking !"! # !$ healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time.
ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP (PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS) TRUVADA is a prescription medicine used with safer sex practices for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection in adults at high risk: â€˘ HIV-1 negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex. â€˘ Male-female sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. To help determine your risk, talk openly with your doctor about your sexual health. Do NOT take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: â€˘ Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. â€˘ Take lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) or adefovir (HEPSERA).
TRUVADA, the TRUVADA Logo, TRUVADA FOR PREP, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and HEPSERA are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: April 2016 ÂŠ 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. TVDC0050 09/16
Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP include stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. These are not all the possible side effects of TRUVADA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP.
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December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
In Trump’s Wake, de Blasio Wins A Big Supporter: Edie Windsor DOMA vanquisher, alarmed by president-elect, looks to mayor as city’s defender BY NATHAN RILEY
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
die Windsor, whose 2013 victory over the Defense of Marriage Act at the US Supreme Court set in motion a rush of federal court rulings that within two years led to marriage equality nationwide, is now ardently supporting the reelection of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Following this month’s victory by Donald Trump, Windsor was deeply affected by a November 20 meeting she attended at the LGBT Community Center called by out gay Cit y Cou nci l member Corey Johnson to strategize about progressive responses to the unexpected political upheaval. “It was filled with people very concer ned,” she sa id. “People who cried. It’s terribly serious in some people’s lives.” What would happen to the gay com mun it y ?, spea kers at t he meeting asked. To immigrants wor r ie d ab out dep or t at ion s ? To Musl i ms fea r f u l of host i le attacks under the climate of bigotry unleashed by the presidentelect’s campaign. The mood in the room, Windsor found, was one of dejection and worry. T hen t he m ayor st a r te d t o speak, and the mood shifted. “He was offering sanctuar y,” Windsor recalled. “New York is a very special city.” De Blasio promised that the pol ice wou ld protect people from hate crimes and city official wouldn’t help deport immigrants. “We will not allow registries,” Windsor quoted the mayor saying. “We will not allow deportations.” De Blasio “has a great deal to offer people” during this crisis, Windsor asserted, noting he will join with other cities in opposition to the new administration. A united New York can put pressure on the US Senate, which she argued “has incredible power. It can stop who is chosen for the
Edie Windsor at her Greenwich Village home earlier this fall.
Supreme Court.” The Democratic minority in the Senate, whose leverage comes through the use of filibuster rules that require t he suppor t of 60 members to move for w a rd on mo st que stions, is led by New York’s Chuck Schumer. In Windsor’s telling, the effect of the mayor’s talk at the Community Center was electrifying. “I never saw so many people ag ree to volunteer,” she sa id. “ T he aud itor iu m w a s packed with people.” Wi ndsor sa id she lef t t he meeting confident that de Blasio would mobilize public opinion to make New Yorkers’ views matter over the next four years. “I t h i n k we w i l l have much more act iv it y in t he cit y,” she said, efforts that could form the basis for coordinated activism among many other big cities. “I watched h im tur n t h is crowd into 100 percent volunte er s,” Wi nds or s a id, add i n g that a downcast audience overwhelmed by Trump’s victory was turned around and “volunteered to defend the Constitution.” Windsor, who is 87 and recently married Judith Kasen, continues her lifetime of activism. It was the 2009 death of her first wife, Thea Spyer, whom she had married in Toronto in 2007, that led to her DOMA lawsuit. Though she a nd Spyer l ived toget her 40 years, the final two as legal
Edie Windsor with First Lady Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio at a November 30 fundraiser for the mayor’s reelection at Yetta Kurland's law offices.
spouses recog n i zed by New York (though the state did not yet allow such marriages here), u nder DOM A t he IR S t reated Windsor as a single woman, a decision that made her liable for
$363,053 in taxes that a widow in a straight marriage would not have to pay. Though the Obama administration refused to defend the law in court, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives was happy to do so. By a five to four vote in June 2013, the Supreme Court overturned DOMA. The logic in that ruling was quickly and almost universally adapted by federal courts over the following 18 months to undercut all state bans on samesex marriage — a tsunami that by Ju ne 2015 resu lted i n t he high court revisiting the marr iage issue a nd deliver ing the ultimate victory. W i n d s o r w a s t h e fe a t u r e d guest at a November 30 de Blasio fundraiser hosted by two attorneys, Yetta Kurland and Erica Kagan, at the downtown offices of the Kurland Law Group.
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PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus PUBLISHER
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BY ED SIKOV
boutique is where you buy “artisan pantyhose,” we are — thankfully — reminded. “On TV, a commentator speculated that Mrs. Clinton had lost because of her party’s focus on things like trans rights —‘boutique issues,’ they were called. A boutique — a place where you’d shop for, say, artisan pantyhose — is not the first place I’d associate with an individual’s quest for equal protection under the law, but then what did I know? I was now one of the people from whom the country had been ‘taken back.’ The phrase echoed unpleasantly in my mind. A boutique issue? Is this what my fellow Americans had thought of my fight for dignity all along?” This is Jennifer Finney Boylan writing on the op-ed page of the New York Times. I was particularly glad to see her there, given the extraordinarily offensive transblaming piece by Boylan’s fellow Columbia University professor, Mark Lilla (about which I wrote in the previous issue at gaycitynews. nyc/poorly-educated-columbiap r o f - t h r o w s - u s - b u s / ) , which appeared in the Times first. (Technically, Boylan teaches at Barnard College, but Barnard is affiliated with Columbia; Barnard students receive diplomas from Columbia.) To my disappointment, Boylan didn’t blast her benighted, bigoted colleague but instead left his name and foolish, selfish argument tastefully out of her own commentary. As Jim Naureckas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) points out, Boylan also left out any reference to the Times’ regular columnist Frank Bruni, who’d been interviewed by MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle the morning after the election. Ruhle: “When many of the initiatives that represent Obama, when you think about LGTB initiatives, and it matters to so many people, many people could say, transgender bathrooms in high schools, how many people is that going to impact in this country? Not so many.” Bruni: “I think in a lot of ways the Democratic Party has become this collection of boutique issues.
That they think if you add them all together, you get to 51 percent or 52. But when you do those sorts of boutique issues, and you put all your firepower and all your rhetoric there, there’s a lot of the country that feels ignored. I really think the Democratic Party has to do some big soulsearching here.” I was shocked by Bruni’s remarks, because he is, after all, a gay man who has written eloquently on subjects like LGBT rights, marriage equality in particular. Bruni apparently doesn’t consider marriage equality — or any issues of vital importance to gay white men — to be a “boutique issue,” whereas the much more personally intrusive issue of bathroom legislation, which criminalizes the use of a bathroom labeled for a gender other than the one listed on one’s birth certificate, is somehow so parochial that it gets stamped as “boutique.” But consider the implications of such laws. Even people who have surgically altered their bodies and conform in every way to sex and gender expectations would be forced to use the wrong bathroom, and if they didn’t, they would face arrest and all the attendant humiliation. A boutique issue? Really, Frank? “It seems likely that the omission of Bruni’s name — a familiar one, of course, to regular readers of the Times op-ed page — was a deliberate choice,” Naureckas writes. Of course it was. The best way to make sure that your letter to the editor gets tossed in the trash by the Times is to criticize the Times or any of its writers. For example: Wrong: “To the editor: David Brooks is a pig-headed idiot when he writes, ‘blah blah blah….’” Right: “To the editor: David Brooks makes many good points when he writes ‘blah blah blah,’ but his take on one teensy-weensy issue is misguided.” I’m all but certain that the Times actively discourages their opinion writers from criticizing other Times opinion writers. But to the real point: the idea that transgender rights turned off a lot of uneducated straight white people is unfortunately probably accurate. It comes as no surprise to find that bigotry runs very deep in America.
So are we now supposed to forget our morals and drop our politics and go cravenly chasing after uneducated straight white people for their votes? What’s the point of getting somebody to vote for your candidate if it means throwing your own values out the window? Talk about a pyrrhic victory. In any case, the overthrow of North Carolina’s bigot governor, Pat McCrory, indicates either that transfriendliness is not in fact the “boutique issue” that brought down Hillary Clinton or that the trans community’s corporate and sports-organization friends, who brought palpable economic pressure to bear on North Carolina (PayPal, the NBA, the NCAA, Google, and others), successfully changed voters’ minds about the wisdom of legislating bathroom use. Or both. “An attitude toward biology.” In an inadvertently hilarious Times piece called “What the Alt-Right Really Means,” Christopher Caldwell explains that “the word ‘racist’ has been stretched to cover an attitude toward biology, a disposition to hate, and a varying set of policy preferences, from stop-and-frisk policing to repatriating illegal immigrants. while everyone in this set of groups is racist in at least one of these senses, many are not racist in others [my emphasis]. Not many of the attendees at the Washington gathering favored the term ‘white supremacist.’ The word implies a claim to superiority — something few insisted on. ‘White nationalist’ is closer to the mark; most people in this part of the alt-right think whites either ought to have a nation or constitute one already. But they feel that almost all words tend to misdescribe or stigmatize them.” Oh, boo-hoo! The poor neoNazis are feeling stigmatized! They’re not really white supremacists! They’re really white nationalists. I’m so glad we’ve cleared that up. The sentence and phrase I emphasized are total balderdash.
BOUTIQUES, continued on p.24
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
Finding Our Feet — Together BY KELLY COGSWELL
ast Tuesday, or maybe a decade ago, I ventured out in the rain to an anti-Trump meeting at an enormous Episcopal church uptown, where water was leaking into the foyer from the small domed entry and pooling on the tile. Inside, the large sanctuary was respectably full. The crowd was about half fi rst-time activists of all ages, the rest middle-aged veterans of groups like ACT UP, with stunned but determined faces. T he group agreed on a tact ic — direct action, with or without arrests — then talked about issues for a while, before breaking into the usual sub-groups to introduce themselves and begin organizing. In the media committee, we agreed the media played a huge role in Trump’s election and would be an essential tool to fight back, shaping the meaning of our actions, creating our own — truthful — narrative of what Trump was up to. We still left without a name or an action. The biggest problem for anti-Trump activists isn’t tools, but where on earth to start. In some ways, the Trump-Pence regime is a crisis even broader and deeper than the early years of the AIDS epidemic when activists had all the intersectional issues that exist today, but only a handful of targets: drug companies and researchers, homophobic evangelicals and the Catholic Church, CDC definitions that ignored women, government programs controlling health care access, and information that betrayed queers, people of color, and the poor. Today's hydra has too many heads to count. And they’re not just out to destroy the usual
suspects, but the basic rules Americans have played by. Or aspired to, even when they failed us. I still want what I pledged my life to when I was six: liberty and justice for all. One person suggested holding a demo about free speech and assembly that would be as bold as possible, so that six months or a year from now we will have a yardstick to measure what we’ve lost when attacks on the Constitution and basic civil liberties take hold and the once unthinkable becomes commonplace. Pretty soon we’ll believe we’ve always had a president-elect randomly creating policy tweet by unfettered, random, hateful tweet, while his minions bring their calculated determination to stripping women and queers of their rights. And the other asylum inmates now in charge are perfectly justified in picking fights with China or Iran. Stymying trade agreements. All agreements really, like terrifying three-year-olds. Sometimes in the name of profit. Sometimes in the name of God. Lately, I wonder whatever happened to reports of a new wave of evangelicals that were gay-neut ra l, pro-env ironment, less obsessed w ith abortion. A re they busy at home installing solar roofs or did their fragile white egos catch fire with the politics of resentment? Is it them bashing the nearest queer, or Jew, or Muslim? Oh, poor white man lusting after more than a house and car and food. Oh, poor white woman, who sleeping next to a disappointed spouse, dreams of a bare-chested Putin on a galloping horse. Equality can’t compare. Or the drudgery of democracy in which every vote counts and must be counted. I know what resentment is. I’m familiar with hate. I’ve put up with their bullshit dyke-
baiting and woman-bashing for 50 years. And on bad days, I want what they do. To burn the whole thing down. I don’t even care if I go with it. But then I see a little light somewhere. Hear a scrap of good news. Like very early Monday morning when US District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered a recount to begin immediately in Michigan. “With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison,” he wrote. Just before that, the Obama administration halted construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. And for a moment I could see the point of the phone calls and emails, donations and demos. If there’s a way forward, we have to draw the line beginning w ith the case of Standing Rock, where some very determined people were willing to put their bodies on the line over a period of weeks, and months, until the small encampment of Native Americans grew into an enormous movement. Because that’s what change takes: time, patience, and activism in the flesh. It’s the only way we have to remind politicians and business people that we exist beyond their policy reports and number crunching, and we won’t be ignored. The problem remains, though, that everybody can’t be everywhere, can’t do everything. And choosing a direction is especially difficult for those of us at the crossroads of identities. I’m beginning to believe it doesn’t matter what you choose or how. Perhaps we should just leave it to chance. Like the woman passing a Planned Parenthood who saw protesters outside, and stopped, and went inside to volunteer. That’s all any of us has to do. Pick one thing. Get plugged in. Make a stand. For information on the next NYC Trump Resistance Meeting, visit facebook.com/ groups/762691670546792/.
PERSPECTIVE: Snide Lines
Forward Ever, Normal Never: Taking Down Trump BY SUSIE DAY
his dream. Something is in the house, something’s breaking, the things I love are going away. I reach for Laura, she becomes translucent, evaporates. I wake up, telling myself this dream means I’m worried about how tired and worn Laura has grown from years of activist work trying to get people out of prison. I’ve always GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
nagged her about doing too much, and now, with Donald Trump slouching toward Washington, that’s inevitable. Doing too much will be a necessity. Laura and I were married a little over three years ago, but we’ve actually been together in one form or another since 1988, when I, on assignment for a feminist newspaper, interviewed her in the DC Jail. Laura and five other political prisoners were charged for the protest-
bombings of US government sites, including the Capitol Building. Our relationship has since been built on years of rock-solid personal insecurities and constant political arguing; also writing and activism. I had hoped that, by now, we could start to kick back and, in our debilitating golden years, embrace a pinko form of bourgeois individualism. Then: Trump. What will be taken away? I don’t have to mention, do I, how dras-
tically against gay marriage the Trump administration will be? Last time I checked, the legal right of queers to marry was upheld by the Supreme Court. But that needn’t stop Trump, who recently proposed jail time and loss of citizenship for burning the American flag — an act twice protected by the Supremes. And, given already rising hate crimes, there will be equal opportunity suffering. Ecological accords will be broken. Walls will be built… People often compare the ascendance of Trump and his cabinet of deplorables to the rise of the Nazis
NEVER, continued on p.24
BOUTIQUES, from p.22
Why do people support stop-andfrisk policing despite its statistically confirmed concentration on black people? Why are some folks so intent on repatriating illegal immigrants? And “an attitude toward biology”? What attitude could that be, Chris? Enlighten us, please. “Most people in this part of the
NEVER, from p.23
— an almost nostalgic comparison given the fact that 1933 Germany didn’t have the nuclear option. Apropos of Trump’s take on flag burning, one of the first things Hitler did as chancellor was to rescind freedom of speech, assembly, the press… Then the arrest of political opponents, the forcing of Jews to register their property, wear Stars of David. Remember those “good” Germans, who may have lamented, but went along because they could — because they still fit in to what remained normal? Here and now, mainstream pundits talk about how we should never take for granted, or “normalize,” the Trump regime. But the Trump phenomenon grows from the fact that Americans have already normalized too much: steadily eroding unions and labor laws; the devastation of welfare; prison expansion; the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq; millions of immigrants already deported — all of which rests on an implicit white-über-alles that allows most of us to conduct business as usual, as black citizens are regularly gunned down by cops. Face it: this Trump thing has been coming on for years. In the activist communities I inhabit, normalizing will be less
TITLE VII, from p.10
in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, which held that the firm was guilty of sex discrimination in denying a woman partnership because she was seen as insufficiently feminine, “bolsters” his conclusion in holding that “sex stereotyping could constitute discrimination because of sex… Indeed, stereotypes concerning sexual orientation are probably the most prominent of all sex related stereotypes, which can lead
alt-right think whites either ought to have a nation or constitute one already.” Um, isn’t that because they think whites are superior to everyone else? It’s really very simple: if you support a racist policy like stop-andfrisk, you are a racist. If your attitude toward biology has anything to do with seeing blacks as inferior to whites, you are a racist. It is not
unfair to call racist white people racists. It reminds me of an old family story. Some time in the 1930s, my grandfather was listening to an acquaintance voicing pure, vicious anti-Semitism in no uncertain terms. Finally my grandfather said, “You know that I’m Jewish, right?” Without missing a beat, the acquaintance replied, “Yeah, but
you’re a white Jew.” I don’t think he was distinguishing my grandfather from our Ethiopian coreligionists. No, he was employing white as a synonym for all that’s good in the world. Just like the racist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi alt-right does every minute of every day.
a problem than figuring out new ways to fight Trump. The old ways — demonstrations, petition signing, sit-ins — may connect us and make us feel better, but will they work? Since November 8, there have been, in Manhattan alone, scores of Facebook-generated demonstrations. Can we keep this up four more years? Just how do we take on a growing list of execrations, in an increasingly complicated world where social media can mean selfsurveillance? How, for instance, do we confront Trump’s proposed registration of Muslims? There was a piece in The Forward recently: “All Jews Should Register as Muslims: Because We Know the Horrors Of Religious Registration All Too Well.” And Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, announced, “This proud Jew would register as a Muslim.” “Hey, what about me?” I thought. Registration for everyone! Then I noticed a hashtag: “#RegisterMeFirst.” I began to think just how and when I would join Laura and her fellow Jews to register as Muslim, in keeping with proud decades of to-the-barricades protest — But wait. Later, I was in a conversation with our friend Arun Kundnani, author of the book, “The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamopho-
bia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror.” Arun said he was unconvinced by this kind of activism. Speaking of “normalizing,” what I hadn’t considered was that there is already in this country a history of registering Muslims, as well as an ensconced surveillance system. According to Arun, some version of the National Security Entry-Exit Registry System (NSEERS) that George W. Bush used from 2002 to 2005 to register more than 80,000 non-immigrant visitors (students, temp workers, etc.) from 24 Muslim countries could be expanded to include permanent residents and naturalized citizens. But this system wouldn’t be as obvious as forcing Muslims to wear crescents on the street. In fact, Muslims need not be required to come forth and identify themselves. There is at work what Arun calls “Algorithmic Fascism,” by which the National Security Agency scans millions of online and social media records of everyone in the United States and analyzes metadata (with 99 percent accuracy, Arun estimates) to determine whether they’re Muslim or not. The government could then ask selected individuals to register. “That means,” said Arun, “it won’t work for non-Muslims to resist by voluntarily registering
themselves as Muslim in solidarity.” Better, he adds, to work on an approach like sanctuaries to protect Muslims who refuse to cooperate when the feds call them to appear. This is only one issue. How do we stop the “hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” that Trump wants to use in “interrogations?” How do we fight the criminalization of abortion and forced “conversion therapy” of young queers that may soon be routine? How do we reach people in prison whose lives are already getting worse? How do we support organizations like Black Lives Matter and BDS? How do we love each other in the face of this oncoming hatred? Here in our little New York City apartment, Laura and I are quieter than usual. Watching the light fade, treasuring what of our lives we suspect will disappear — maybe suddenly; maybe over years, without our consciously realizing. Soon, Laura will turn 72. I hold her thin, tired body as she sleeps, listen to her breaths. There is so much more to come. And we are already so tired.
to discrimination based on what the Second Circuit refers to interchangeably as gender non-conformity.” The judge added, “Homosexuality is the ultimate gender non-conformity.” Eginton quoted extensively from a recent Seventh Circuit decision, Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, where a three-judge panel dismissed a sexual orientation discrimination claim because of circuit precedent, but two members
of the panel submitted an opinion suggesting that the circuit should reconsider its position. The Seventh Circuit later voted to grant “en banc” review by all its judges, with arguments heard on November 30. Eginton pointed out the paradox stemming from the Second Circuit’s distinction between sex stereotyping and sexual orientation discrimination, writing, “Essentially, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees for exhibiting stereotypical gay behav-
ior, yet, at the same time, employers are free to discriminate against employees for actually being gay.” Eginton noted that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopted this view in 2015 and that a Second Circuit panel will soon rule on appeals from trial court dismissals of sexual orientation claims in several cases from New York, which he acknowledged might well decide the question on which he is currently challenging the circuit’s precedent.
Follow @edsikov on Twitter and Facebook.
Susie Day is the author of “Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power,” published by Abingdon Square Publishing.
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PASSPORT, from p.10
Fifth Amendment. The State Department filed a motion seeking judgment on the Administrative Procedure Act claims and dismissal of the remaining ones. The court heard arguments on July 20. Reserving his judgment on Dana’s constitutional claims, Judge Jackson focused on the Administrative Procedure Act issue, finding that the essence of that involves a requirement that the government have a reason for its policies. “I find that the administrative record contains no evidence that the Department followed a rational decisionmaking process in deciding to implement its binary-only gender passport policy,” wrote Jackson, who noted that nothing in the State Department’s “collection of rules” on this question “contemplate[s] the existence of a gender other than male or female.” Faced with such a “new issue” as Dana raised, is it sensible to insist on identifying a person as having a sex that both the person and qualified medical authorities reject as inaccurate? Jackson pointed out that the Department “simply justified the Department’s decision to deny Dana’s application by referring to” its policy. After litigation commenced, realizing it had to come up with some sort of justification, the State Department formulated a more elaborate explanation, but Jackson rejected it, finding that none of it “rationalizes the decisionmaking process behind this policy.” The policy, the judge concluded, was not concerned with accuracy, as such, but rather with being able to fit Dana’s information into its predetermined formal classifications. The State Department’s argument that the computer chip embedded in identity documents only accommodates “M” or “F” as gender identification does not explain why changing that would “be worse than accommodating this presumably small population of intersex individuals,” Jackson wrote. The government also asserted GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
that it was necessary for passport information to “sync with law enforcement databases that exclusively use binary gender systems,” but it conceded that not every such database actually includes sex designations. Jackson also expressed puzzlement as to why then the Passport Office was willing to accept either a female designation for Dana as reflected on the driver’s license or a male designation if Dana provided a physician’s letter backing that up. “How does the Department sync a transgender individual’s passport information with law enforcement records that might list that very same passport holder as the opposite sex,” he asked. “Without answers to these questions, I cannot conclude that the government rationally decided to formulate a binary-only gender policy.” Jackson rejected as “pure speculation” the State Department’s argument that without a gender marker or with an X on the passport, Dana might encounter problems in traveling to other countries. “Isn’t that solely the problem of the passport holder who made the choice?,” the judge wrote. “The current record does not explain why these factors rationally support the policy in place.” Jackson said it was possible the State Department could yet supple a rationale for its policy, but he rejected this first attempt. The next appropriate step, he concluded, was to send the matter back to the department for “reconsideration,” without dismissing Dana’s complaint or ruling on its constitutional claims. Given the pending change of administration, a key question is whether the State Department will persist in resisting Dana’s request or liberalize its policy in line with the Obama administration’s decision several years ago to loosen its procedures for transgender people changing the sex designation on their passports. If the State Department hangs tough, this issue will be resolved in the Trump administration. Jackson was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2010.
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ne of Trinidadian writer Colin Robinson’s new poems from his inaugural collection, recently published by the UK’s Peepal Tree Press, begins, “I crossed water and waited/ at the ridge of the sea my notebook open.” That image provides a single, orienting snapshot of the speaker as our cicerone, guiding us through a collection that concerns itself with many different people, passions, places, tones, textures, and troubles. The speaker’s attention can veer even within a single poem from the intensely personal to the mythologizing, from the philosophical to the desperate. “Ours are simple/ urgent choices,” the speaker tells us. Included in one fell swoop as dramatis personae are health activists inventing new HIV prevention messages that Robinson was a leader among, the writers of color in New York City that helped nurture his developing craft, his mother, (“to my friends she’s/
ROBINSON, continued on p.34
MANHOOD AT THE OVAL there was no teargas today just an interminable string of singles the english batsmen hit over hours that made my eyes water from yawning i had no idea i was reprising a manly ritual when i agreed to take my godson to the fifth test at the oval whispering my inability to answer his string of earnest questions because although i can trick him into upholding my adult dignity by dint of the agecraft we practise with children who are charming enough to pretend to be fooled there is no such hoodwinking the men everywhere within earshot for whom cricket is incubated in vesicles between their legs who hold this masculine knowledge
Poet and activist Colin Robinson.
(transfused to them by uncles brothers peers bullies and the occasional father) as casually as they might grab their crotches i had no idea my dead father when i left home this morning would be a memory sitting in the same stand i am sure he took me to that once like always when we never got to be male together because the match started late and the crowd got unruly and this was the jittery 1970s (before prices and highways and containers of bulletproof children in shaven vests kept people out of their place) and a young policeman hurled a canister and there was a stampede and the crowd broke down a gate
i do not remember if it was football but i remember the press of people and the stinging in my eyes and throat and the fear in my stomach and the panic all around i do not remember my father with nostalgia or warmth that he was my safety my pride his funeral a place of awkwardness erasure margins not tears like that day at the oval chris is awkward with me always sometimes ashamed when i challenge him to multiply or remember but this shrunken wizened 14-year-old is my pride and shame he makes me smile try hard feel bad
when i am just as neglectful as my father i have never felt safe in manhood and thirty years since i last set foot in queens park oval just below the surface of my grand gesture of godfatherhood is the panic like that day at being discovered as a fake or worse discovered to be faking until behind me a male voice talks loud on the phone in a trini accent shares that england have declared “we” have gone in to bat and chris guyle is at the wicket gayle another voice corrects him and i am the man laughing
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
The Mink Who Stole Christmas Back Cult comedian’s dark streak helps make the season bright BY SCOTT STIFFLER hen the world seems cold and cruel, devoid of the kind of seasonal spirit that motivates you to throw back the covers and forge ahead instead of curling up and calling in sick, there’s one surefire way to give gloom the heave-ho, ho, ho: Knock back a cocktail, wrap yourself in Mink, and laugh it off. “I want Christmas to be a secular holiday. I want everybody to have access to it, because everybody lives with it — the decorations, the cards, the parties,” said Mink Stole, whose appearance in every John Waters film since 1966 makes for a clip reel that includes pleasuring Divine with rosary beads, waving a “No Grinding” sign at dancing teenagers, and being phone pranked into unleashing a tirade of expletives on Kathleen Turner. In real life, however, when discussing the holidays, this cult comedy icon is not prone to salty language… right? “Love it or dread it, dammit, ya gotta deal with it,” insisted the Baltimore native, whose comforting and joyous use of that swear word also gets star billing in the title of her upcoming solo show, “Mink Stole: It’s Merry Christmas, Dammit!” First performed in Manhattan two years ago — and consumed with gin-soaked delight by a certain representative from this very publication — it’s a tart, consistently engaging, occasionally introspective collection of unconventional songs, vivid recollections (a downscale winter in Provincetown with Waters, Divine, and friends), and origin stories that rebuke the party line so many of us grew up with. “Christmas was a holiday that the early Christians stole from the Romans,” said the Catholic-raised Stole. “It was not originally about Christ at all. Early Christians just coopted it.” Likewise, the record is set straight, or at least bent toward justice, in her roster of secular musical numbers — which includes a “Twelve Days of Christmas” rendition that turns that soul-crushing endurance challenge into an uplifting (albeit mandatory) exercise in audience participation. “I’m also singing ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ in French,” promised Stole, “which is a really different story. It has noting to do with the Christ Child. I’ll be doing standards and originals. I try to cover all the moods of the holiday.” In deference to the current mood of the country, this year’s show will veer considerably from the 2014 model, as Stole was quick to point out in our post-election phone interview — mutually, if naively, scheduled with
MINK STOLE: IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT! The Cutting Room 44 E. 32nd St. Dec. 10, 7 p.m. $25; $50 for VIP meet & greet Plus $20 food & drink minimum spincyclenyc.com or 212-352-3101 Debut CD “Do Re Mink” at minkstole.com
JOSÉ A. GUZMAN
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
Mink Stole and Divine in John Waters’ 1970 “Multiple Maniacs,” which was reissued earlier this year in restored form.
Mink Stole appears at The Cutting Room on December 10.
the notion of adding a female president to our list of topics. Instead, the call had Stole recalling her day-after reaction to Trump’s victory. “I spent Wednesday in a virtual fetal position,” she recalled. “I was physically numb. I felt like I felt when my sister was killed in a plane crash. I’m devastated. I mean, I am sad, truly grieving — and I tell you what’s making me madder than anything: It’s that we who voted for Hillary are being called on to put aside our differences and unite with the powers that be. I can remember when Obama was elected. None of that came from the Republicans. But at the same time, I am a Democrat, and Democrats are kinder, gentler people, generally. I don’t want to be a hater.” So far, Stole hasn’t had the opportunity to see if her face can execute a 180-degree turn of the cheek: “No one has admitted it [voting for Trump] to me, and I think that’s sad,
too, that people are ashamed of it. Maybe they just fear my wrath.” Still, Stole noted that the chilly scene of winter set for January 20, 2017 “adds another element to my ‘Merry Christmas, Dammit!’ title. It’s an element I wasn’t expecting, but it makes sense. We have to fight the negativity, to keep our sense of humor. So I have updated [the show]. I probably will not be telling my sad stories, that my father died on Christmas. I think I’m not going to go there this year.” Given the weight of the holiday since the loss of a parent as an adolescent, she explained, “The most I ever hoped for from Christmas is a nice day. I feel like if Christmas has been pleasant, that’s a win.” This year, “there will probably be 35 to 40 people” celebrating with Stole on December
MINK, continued on p.39
Bucking One’s Fate Three shows about challenging the script life has written BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE or a l l it s i n herent, a nd i nesc ap able, ebullience, the classic musical “Sweet Charity” has never been so nua nced a nd mov ing as in t he stunning, stripped-down production now at The New Group. The stor y of a taxi dancer looking for love, constantly disappointed, and yet clinging relentlessly to her romantic ideals has usually been seen in productions emphasizing the leading lady’s songand-dance bravura. And why not? With a terrific book by Neil Simon and one of Cy Coleman’s best, and most famous, scores with precise lyrics by Dorothy Fields as well as fond memories of both Gwen Verdon (on stage) and Shirley MacLaine (on film), this 50-year-old gem has always dazzled. Yet, it’s also remained somewhat emotionally distant, as if the bleak reality of Charity’s life was too grim for musical comedy. The audience was never really asked to consider Charity, or the show, as anything more than confectionary entertainment. On a closer look, that’s fairly ironic, and Leigh Silverman’s production doesn’t let the audience off so easily. The result is revelatory. Mounted in a space seating a scant 230 people or so on a virtually bare stage, the production's scale imposes new intimacy and immediacy on the show. Would this have been possible 50 years ago? Perhaps not, but thanks to such serious recent musicals as “Fun Home” and “Here Lies Love,” the refusal to dodge the show’s more somber themes makes this “Sweet Charity” bracingly contemporary. There’s still plenty of classic show biz in this “Charity,” particularly with Sutton Foster in the role. Easily the most accomplished musical comedy actor of our time — in terms of dancing, singing, and acting — Foster shines from beginning to end in a perfectly calibrated performance that is definitive and exhilarating. Sure, her Charity bounces back from every setback with a pert smile and a high kick, but she also lets us see that this resilience comes at a cost. The comic moments are expertly realized — and are richer juxtaposed against moments of subtle heartbreak that wouldn’t play as powerfully in a larger space. The supporting company is outstanding, too. Joel Perez, fresh from his excellent work in “Fun Home,” plays four roles, delivers two show-stopping numbers, and demonstrates versatility and range that is beyond impres-
The New Group at the Linney Theatre 480 W. 42nd St. Through Jan. 8 Tue.-Fri., Sun. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $95-$175; ticketcentral.com Or 212-279-4200 Lottery tickets at the todaytix app Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission
Sutton Foster and Joel Perez, with Emily Padgett, Donald Jones, Jr., and Cody Williams (background) in Leigh Silverman’s production of “Sweet Charity” at the Linney Theatre through January 8.
DEAD POETS SOCIETY
Classic Stage Company 136 E. 13th St. Through Dec. 18 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $60-$125; ovationtix.com Lottery tickets at the todaytix app One hr., 35 mins., no intermission
Jason Sudeikis (right) with Bubba Weiler, Thomas Mann, William Hochman, and Cody Kostro in Tom Schulman’s “Dead Poets Society,” at Classic Stage Company through December 18.
MASTER HAROLD... AND THE BOYS
Signature Center 480 W. 42nd St. Through Dec. 11 only Tue.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $35-$75; signaturetheatre.org Or 212-244-7529 One hr., 10 mins., no intermission
Sahr Ngaujah, Leon Addison Brown, and Noah Robbins in Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold… And the Boys” at Signature Center through December 11 only.
sive. Shuler Hensley as Oscar, the guy Charity almost lands, is magnificent. Like Foster, he organically inhabits the character; he’s a real, feeling, and flawed person, who also lands every laugh.
Choreography has always been a huge component of “Sweet Charity,” and Joshua Bergasse’s work for the diminutive space is outstanding. He pays homage to Bob Fosse’s
FATE, continued on p.39
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Michael Johnston and Hannah Marks in Clay Liford’s “Slash,” which opens at the IFP Media Center Theater in Dumbo on December 9.
Fluid, But Not Ambiguous Two teens explore fantasy fiction and their own sexuality BY GARY M. KRAMER l a sh,” n a me d for the popular genre of fan fiction, is an ex t remely likable coming of age comedy-drama. The film, written and directed by Clay Liford, has 15 year-old Neil (Michael Johnston) writing erotic stories about Vanguard (Tishuan Scott) and his same-sex encounters with a Kragon (Lucas Neff) on the planet Milliarcha V. Neil keeps his writing in a private notebook he carries everywhere like a security blanket. When his fellow students at school discover it, Neil is mocked for his M4M fiction, though he has a strong supporter in Julia (Hannah Marks), an artsy bisexual girl who also writes fan fiction. Neil may write about men kissing and more in his fiction, but that is all fantasy and not based on any of his own experiences. In real life, Neil is a virgin attracted to Julia. He
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
SLASH Directed by Clay Liford Gravitas Ventures Opens Dec. 9 IFP Media Center Theater 30 John St., btwn. Pearl & Jay Sts. DUMBO ifp.org
is also curious about Jack (Dalton Phillips), a handsome lead actor in the school play who flirts with him. When Neil sends Jack some of his writing, Jack responds by sharing it and teasing him. However, Julia is more caring and coaches him on how to write using less flowery prose. When she encourages him to post his work online in an adult fan fiction forum, Neil is hesitant because he does not want to lie about his age. But Julia, ever the
SLASH, continued on p.34
Two Legends – One Alive Film's top choreographer; Puerto Rican dancer and national treasure BY DAVID NOH lthough it was said he never had a dance lesson in his life, the most famous choreographer in cinema has got to be Busby Berkeley (1895-1976). As a holiday treat, Film Forum is hosting a festival devoted to him, filled with those signature, splashy, overhead aerial shots — that made his reputation — of kaleidoscopic patterns formed by human bodies (209 W. Houston St., through Dec. 15; filmforum.org/series/busby-berkeleyseries). The child of a single actress mother, he choreographed on Broadway in the 1920s and got his movie start with Samuel Goldwyn, working on the early talkie Eddie Cantor musicals. (Among those being shown is a childhood favorite of mine, “Roman Scandals” (1933; unfortunately already screened on Dec. 7, with its gleaming Deco ancient era look and the delectable young Gloria Stuart, the gay leading man, handsome David Manners, and cherishable torch singer Ruth Etting performing “No More Love” against a background of downcast slave girls, one of them a very young Lucille Ball.) Berkeley’s most famous films are present and accounted for: “42nd Street” (1933; Dec. 10, 12:30, 4:25 & 8:20 p.m.; Dec. 13, 2:35 p.m.; Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m.), which really made his career, bringing musicals back into vogue after too many of them turned off the public, and remains as compellingly entertaining with its cliché-rife plot — clichés, by the way, that were endlessly repeated in other musicals precisely because they were so fabulous. Besides those famous geometric set pieces and the title song, staged to present a splashy, gritty picture of Times Square, complete with the murder of another Berkeley specialty, the nubile chorine, the film features the sumptuously gifted star Bebe Daniels, who introduces “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” which she sings twice, each with a glamorous nonchalance that marks a true superstar diva. Harry Warren and Al Dubin wrote the songs as they did for most of Berkeley’s Warners films, filling the screen and audience ears with fecund, irresistibly catchy melody and snappy lyrics. That other classic, “Gold Diggers of 1933” (1933; Dec. 11, 12:30, 4:30 & 8:30 p.m.), is here, with Ginger Rogers, clad in Orry-Kelly coins, singing “We’re in the Money” in pig Latin, and her gorgeous partners in grift, cherubic Joan Blondell and stately, wonderfully versatile Aline MacMahon. In the terrific “Footlight Parade” (1933; Dec. 11, 2:25 & 6:25 p.m.; Dec. 12, 12:40 p.m.), James Cagney gets to show off his musical chops, namely his oddly staccato style of danc-
FILM FORUM CARNEGIEHALL.ORG
FILM FORUM VIA PHOTOFEST
Chorines in Mervyn LeRoy’s “Gold Diggers of 1933.”
Dick Powell and Dolores del Rio in Douglas Sirk’s “Wonder Bar.”
Chita Rivera, at 83, had her Carnegie Hall debut on November 7.
ing, and in “Shanghai Lil,” one of the film’s “prologues,” he plays a soldier off to war, leaving behind his chattering sing-song girl (the always inept, yet somehow endearing Ruby Keeler in yellowface, adrift in a Burbank opium den). “Gold Diggers of 1935” (1935; Dec. 14, 12:30, 4:15 & 8 p.m.) contains Berkeley’s most justly celebrated number, the dazzlingly Expressionistic “Lullaby of Broadway,” throatily warbled by talented, woefully underused Hawaiian starlet Wini Shaw. But this festival is wonderfully awash in rarities, too, like “Wonder Bar” (1934; Dec. 14, 2:25, 6:10 & 9:55 pm.), rarely revived today because of its blatant racial stereotyping, which at one point depicts heaven for black folk as largely a matter of watermelon eating. Apart from that, it’s a pretty splendid entertainment, thrillingly Deco-designed, showcasing Al Jolson at his ebulliently brash — if at times, questionable — best, Dick Powell singing the lovely “Don’t Say
Goodnight,” and that always agreeably sleazy sheik Ricardo Cortez (nee Jacob Krantz), twotiming two physically similar brunettes, Dolores del Rio and Kay Francis, both at their most gorgeous. As queer history goes, the film is notable for a scene in which a man asks a couple on the dance floor if he can cut in, only to take up with the man, not the woman, as an observing Jolson flaps his wrist and cries, “Woo woo!” The beyond-exotic del Rio also stars in “In Caliente” (1935; Dec. 15, 2:35 & 6:40 p.m.), quite negligible apart from the number introducing maybe the catchiest song ever written, “The Lady in Red,” again warbled by the effervescent Shaw. In “Fashions of 1934” (1934; Dec. 8, 2:20, 5:50 & 9:20 p.m.), you will see why Bette Davis had really no choice but to become the groundbreaking, mannerism-wielding, always slightly bizarre
IN THE NOH, continued on p.31
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
IN THE NOH, from p.30
great actress that she evolved into, for here a clueless Warners tried to turn her into Garbo. As a piratical designer for a New York dress house, surreptitiously snapping shots of the latest haute couture in Paris for knock-offs, she wears a shoulder-length platinum blonde bob, with her eyelashes caked in mascara and mouth an emphatic scar (which she would later retain). Itâ€™s really a nothing part, otherwise, in a nothing froth of a movie, in which even the great designer Orry-Kelly came a cropper as did so many other costumers when called upon to do fashion shows â€” see Adrian in â€œThe Womenâ€? or Bernard Newman in â€œRoberta,â€? as well. They canâ€™t help but overdo it, and their onscreen collections slide into the vulgar or outlandish. â€œNight Worldâ€? (1932; Dec. 12, 2:45, 6 & 9:10 p.m.) is a very satisfying, raunchy Pre-Code romp, all of it taking place, Grand Hotel-style, in a Prohibition nightclub. Talented Mae Clarke and Lew Ayres lead the cast, which also includes Boris Karloff playing a pivotal character ironically called Happy MacDonald. After his Warners stint, Berkeley moved over to MGM, where he directed the engaging â€œFor Me and My Galâ€? (1942; Dec. 13, 6:45 p.m.), some Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals, as well as Esther Williamsâ€™ soggy vehicles, and his sometimes-abusive taskmaster directorial style rubbed some stars the wrong way (Garland had him removed from â€œGirl Crazy.â€?) At Fox, he made â€œDown Argentine Way,â€? with perhaps the single campiest musical number of all time, â€œThe Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat,â€? revealing Carmen Miranda, flanked by every size of Technicolor phallic bananas imaginable. With the demise of the big studio musical genre in the 1950s, work dried up for him, with â€œJumboâ€? being his last choreographic movie credit. But in the 1960s, revivals of his films in a nostalgia craze brought his name into the limelight again and, in 1972, he choreographed the Broadway show â€œNo, No Nanette,â€? with two Warners alumni, Keeler and rambunctious Patsy Kelly. Personally, Berkeley was a complex guy, married six times and a heavy drinker. He suffered from GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
manic depression and tried to commit suicide on at least one occasion. In 1935, he was the drunk driver responsible for an automobile accident in which two people were killed and five seriously injured. After the first two trials for second-degree murder ended with hung juries, he was acquitted in a third trial. Debbie Reynolds worked with him and recently recalled, â€œHe would drink a little bit, to say the least. Heâ€™d shoot these wonderful shots where theyâ€™d put him on a camera and send him 100 feet in the air, and they would tie him on, because he often fell off, and of course almost killed himself. But heâ€™d get back up and have another bottle, and so we finally learned to sing, â€˜Somewhere thereâ€™s Busby, how high the boom!â€™ So it just became a joke, after a while. We didnâ€™t pay any attention to him. If he fell off, weâ€™d just run forward and catch him.â€? Letâ€™s let the man I consider the greatest director of film musicals, Stanley Donen, have the final say here: â€œThe funniest thing is not who influenced me positively, but who influenced me negatively. I had such an aversion to what Busby Berkeley did; in my early formative years, I thought it was terrible. Now, I think itâ€™s wonderful. But then, I wanted to do anything but what Busby Berkeley did.â€? Another seminal dance figure, Chita Rivera, made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall on November 7. It seemed like every gay man in New York packed the place, greeting this ultimate Broadway veteran with the kind of nigh-hysterical love that only divas of the very highest order can elicit. Looking almost monotonously spectacular at age 83, Rivera worked that Carnegie stage six ways from Sunday, singing and dancing her heart out in what was basically an enlarged version of her act I caught at the Carlyle earlier this year. Joined at times by Andy Karl, the ubiquitous Alan Cumming, Stevie van Zandt, and the New York Gay Menâ€™s Chorus, she really rang in the holiday season with style, and I have only kudos for her and Daniel Nardicio, who has made the most amazing impresario progress, from throwing the funnest Underwear Parties ever to producing A-list spectacles like this. Bravi!
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Manon Lets Go! Puccini, Dove, Verdi offerings at Lincoln Center BY DAVID SHENGOLD
Juilliard Opera Theater scored yet another success presenting Jonathan Dove’s diverting (and timely, if not perhaps deathless) “Flight” on November 16. The 1998 opera riffs on a real case of a refugee stuck stateless by circumstances in an airport, showing his interaction with a group of people going — or trying to go — on “normal” trips, for work, variety, or in hope of romance. Keenly directed by James Darrah, and housed in excellent designs by Ellen Lenbergs — augmented by video effects of sky and storm by Adam Larsen — the comedy of manners played out well. The piece has a somewhat perky British sensibility, incorporating an impromptu gay affair between a randy steward and a thitherto dull-seeming nerdy husband that — with what seemed to me almost unexamined misogyny — coincided in time with a “Bacchae”-like attack on the Refugee by four of the women. The score, very skillfully orchestrated, is eclectic to the point of “Thieving Magpie” status; bits culled from “Falstaff” and “ Jenufa” rub shoulders with gestures reminiscent of “Company.” Steven Osgood prepared the excellent Juilliard Orchestra well, and dealt with Dove’s wide-ranging stylistic and dynamic demands capably. As usual at Juilliard, every singer displayed some promise and accomplishment. The school’s modelhandsome countertenor “It” boy Jakub Józef Orlinski moved wonderfully as the Refugee. His singing is luminous and appealing most of the time: when forcing he flats slightly and the words are not ideally comprehensible. Soprano Rebecca Farley offered
KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
he Met revived last year’s direly misconceived production of “Manon Lescaut” and improved on it in some ways — though, heard November 30, Marco Armiliato’s adequate, routine traversal didn’t match Fabio Luisi’s way with the score. Paula Williams dispensed w it h some of t he mea nder i ng absurdities of Richard Eyre’s Act One “Nazi brunch alfredo,” but we still got the exiled prostitutes dressed as if they had just been hauled in from performing “Gotta Have a Gimmick” at Minsk y’s. Where Act Four is meant to transpire is anybody’s guess. Anna Netrebko has an apt, gorgeous spinto timbre for the title role. For two acts she was pitchy and approximate technically, making some lovely notes on occasion but often disconnected both to pitch and to text; she seemed to be playing Real Parisian Housewife Musetta, or a less charming version of her own shop-to-drop self. She made little contact with Marcelo Álvarez’s earnest, hardworking, semaphoric-handed but sincere Des Grieux, who sounded reasonably good when not flatting or glottal-gasping through climactic high notes and shaded his dynamics throughout. Russians and diva worshippers shouted approval of everything Netrebko did. I found it disappointing. After the second (interminable) intermission, we had a completely different level of performance, with the leading lady in a simple prison dress that seemed, welcomely, to take the Kardashian flounce out of her acting. Both leads offered committed, usually successful, and more focused vocalism that made — in Puccini’s intense Act Four, especially — their interplay moving and exciting. Suddenly, we were at a striking performance of a great opera. Christopher Maltman has always struck me as an unnecessary import fueled by British hype, but he gave a fully worked-through performance as Lescaut — last
year a complete cipher courtesy of Massimo Cavalletti — in more resonant tones than I’d heard him produce before. Brindley Sherratt repeated his strongly sung and characterized Geronte, Zach Borichevsky his vocally lackluster Edmondo. The most distinguished among the minor role singers were Avery Amereau (Musico) and Richard Bernstein (Captain).
Anna Netrebko in the Metropolitan Opera production of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut.”
spectacular high-register singing and admirable dramatic acumen as the Walkuere-like Controller. It’s a shame the sound design masked her extraordinary vocalism in extra resonance. Skirting caricature, Amanda Lynn Bottoms fielded a pleasing, individual mezzo timbre and proved moving as an Older Woman waiting in vain for a boy toy lover. One enjoyed clean negotiation of “veddy” British high tenor writing by Matthew Swensen’s orientation-pliable Bill and elegant lyric baritone singing from Xiaomeng Zhang, as a diplomat bound for Minsk. As with Orlinski, his tonal focus was sometimes challenged at high fortes. I’m glad finally to have seen this opera — and so well performed. Some vocal works haunt New York season after season, without respite. To me, Brahms’ “Requiem” and Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony — whatever their merits — fall into this category. However, Giuseppe Verdi’s splendid “Requiem” is always welcome: a thrilling piece at the border of sacred music and operatic theatricality. Lincoln Center Great Performances hosted the piece at Geffen on October 30, with the visiting London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The LSO played it here under Colin Davis in 2005 — a reading particularly distin-
guished by soprano Anne Schwanewilms. Here Gianandrea Noseda — one of the LSO’s two principal guest conductors — took the helm, and quite thrillingly. He exerted tight control over phrasing and dynamics — a good thing when a cell phone interrupted the “Libera me” and he held off the choral entry. Plus, the reading had propulsion and exciting feeling. Pretty, slim Erika Grimaldi, a dark — almost bitter-toned — lyric soprano, is a frequent Noseda soloist; other than a nice float at the top and a certain idiomatic intensity, it was hard to hear why. Perhaps in late verismo roles her approach would work; Verdi needs some “morbidezza,” or softness. Grimaldi’s metallic, unyouthful sound got lost under the chorus. Daniela Barcellona’s mezzo, musically deployed, emerged attractive yet somewhat afflicted with vibrato. Francesco Meli being ill, rising tenor Giorgio Berrugi stepped in very impressively, with shining tone and clear projection. He didn’t really execute trills, but few tenors do in this music, heard live. He’s someone to watch. Bass Vitalij Kowaljow intoned his music with solid gravity. Simon Halsey’s chorus astonished with its dynamic precision. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues. December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
ROBINSON, from p.26
SLASH, from p.29
instigator, insists, emphasizing that by posting in the forum Neil will join the ranks of slash writers — a symbolic coming out. Some of the most appealing moments of “Slash” show how Neil learns to embrace his outsider status, not just as a writer, but also as a possibly gay teen. Liford sensitively treats Neil’s social and sexual confusion without making his character a stereotype or a victim — despite the teasing at school from Jack and others. The film ably hits home in delivering its message of not being ashamed of who one is. One of the more humorous scenes in the film has Neil’s parents, Blake (Robert Longstreet) and Cheryl (Brandy Burre), discovering their son’s erotica online. They offer to help him pursue his interest in writing, and end up embarrassing him not for exploring same-sex themes but rather for his dangling participles. In a surprisingly tender scene, Blake giving Neil dating advice regarding Julia as well as money to attend the upcoming Comic Con with her.
Father Hard Head” does what art and poetry on rare occasions sometimes can: confers upon the invisible a dignity of careful and loving perception that simply did not exist before.
The Comic Con event, which includes a live reading, is the focus of the second half of “Slash.” Neil has become emboldened by the success his work receives on the site, garnering the attention of Denis (Michael Ian Black), a 38-year-old moderating a live reading at the event. While Neil and Denis direct message each other online — Denis sees a kindred spirit (and potential lover) in the hot new writer — Neil quickly feels in over his head in this very adult world. To its credit, Liford carefully navigates what could become an inappropriate relationship between the two. Neil is initially reluctant to meet Denis at the conference — until, for his first time, he takes a hit of ecstasy. That leads to Neil kissing Denis, who sits the young man down for a heart-to-heart about what how old he really is and questions of acceptance and self-acceptance, as well. Here, “Slash” is at its best, taking what could have been a very uncomfortable incident and turning it into a teaching moment. A later scene where Neil’s underage status wins him a place among outsiders at the film’s climactic live reading —
when they should have simply embraced him for who his — is weaker. Liford wisely keeps Neil and Julia’s sexuality fluid throughout the film, exploring questions of how these two appealing characters grapple with the variety of their desires. Both Johnston and Marks deliver strong performances, and they have a nice chemistry together. It is easy to see why the shy, repressed Neil would fall for the outspoken Julia, but also why Julia is attracted to this sensitive teen who is so different than her other outsider friends. It’s notable that a subplot about a betrayal between the two friends never escalates into something torturous. “Slash” is winning because it upends expectations. The film is a low-budget charmer, and to observe that Liford may have spent more money on the sets and costumes for the film’s handful of sci-fi fantasy sequences than he did for the real life story is a compliment, not a complaint. The imaginative fantasies of two teens who see themselves as misfits are brought to life sweetly, and that is what makes “Slash” so satisfying.
He’s very well rounded like his lover like(s) me An engineer, I have to pry it out He jokes, I’m 569 years old Dog years, I ask, what to divide by google it’s a prime number We are linked online by another man he too does not remember We chat routinely about random things BRB I cam a quickie with a mewling chubby boy Fantasy is cute in ways reality doesn’t match up to LOL I type, I never had a good imagination, he IMs back how Mills & Boons are a good lesson in writing to make a kiss last four pages I ask what tongue you grew up speaking I had to allow my language to fall on all ears Today we move to a higher order talk fetishes, we like the same things But my numeracy gets the better of me once again as I calculate the probability that in any triangulation two times out of three there will be a remainder either two or one
PEEPAL TREE PRESS/ KRISTON BANFIELD
the old lady/ who could real cook”), his absent and unknowable father who never completely tamed “the excess length of his pride,” and a host of lovers and friends, none of them casual in any way we think of as “casual.” They have come together in chat rooms or bars, collectives and action groups, and are sometimes ill and perhaps dying (“you devolve/ I am constant now”). “You Have You Father Ha rd Head” sets these relationships in colors brightened by the Caribbean sun and in emotionally charged relief. This softens a reader’s absorption of a very shrewdly honed critique of simplistic identity politics and what Robinson defines in metaphor as a gay male Caribbean diaspora. Indeed, the collection breathes into words a force of living language that describes a heretofore largely hidden and marginalized group: the generations of boys becoming men without any template other than the Creole slurs like “batty boy” and a similarly razor-thin road for opportunity and self-esteem. Ma ny gay men ra ised on T r inidad a nd Tobago have found they must reverse the cliché of being abandoned on a island and journey to some more tolerant one like Manhattan to find themselves one day “walking through New York streets/ with the mother I insisted/ embrace my queerness” or perhaps returning to pick up familial obligations, like a suitcase that also contains all the weight of the Caribbean’s uniquely charged homophobia. “I have never felt safe in manhood,” the speaker states in language so starkly simple that it takes one’s breath away. “You Have You
Robinson, in a n ema il, r uefully descr ibed h i msel f, h av i n g not t o o lon g ago taken that lonely return trip back home at the age of 45, as one of the biggest “bullermen” in the countr y, “the spokesperson for C A I S O, t h e l e a d i n g LGBTI advocacy group” who w rote a Sunday newspaper colum n “as a gay man” for two years. But, in a small but significant act of generosity, which this landmark collection writes large, he asked me to take note that “the cover art was done as a custom image by a wonderful young local artist, Kriston Banfield.” The painting is of a young black man in a field of fertile greenery, holding in one hand a long needle, the other a comb, the tools to tame and soften, if he can, his hard homo head. “It actually is speaking back,” Robinson said of the image’s symbolism, “along with one of the early poems, ‘Writing is an Arsenal,’ to Essex Hemphill's idea in ‘When My Brother Fell’ of what tools are valuable to warrior artists.” Artists who, in this case, are marking out safer space for their brothers to grow and thrive, defining themselves, not in reaction to or in spite of their homeland’s hardheadedness, but in a softly shared embrace of understanding and love.
INDIVISIBLE for Shadath
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
OBAMACARE, from p.5
disparities, largely at that time in inner city communities of color. The “New Access Points” program merely pushed the effort to offer care to more diverse underserved communities. Significantly, since their introduction, FQHCs have expanded well beyond their urban roots, and now serve as critical primary care providers in many exurban and rural areas in every state. According to Kate Graetzer, advocacy and communications specialist at the Community Health Care Association of NYS (CHCANYS), the critical community-based care delivered by FQHCs across the nation has translated into “strong bipartisan support” for a program she said has grown “exponentially” and is highly regarded for its quality of services and ability to reduce costs. Nationwide, Graetzer explained, the program has been a “cornerstone of state efforts to streamline health care delivery.” Tom Van Coverden, president of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), in a blog posting on that group’s website, echoed Graetzer, in part, by cit i n g t he “oppor t u n it ies” afforded by the “incredible bipartisan support” FQHCs enjoy. He also, however, warned of “serious bumps [and] unexpected curves” as the result of November’s election. Beyond the immediate need for Congress to extend the basic financing authorization for health centers — no small matter, given the possibility of a 70 percent reduction in grant dollars if that is not accomplished — Van Coverden’s post and a memo NACHC sent to its member groups
identified the repeal of Obamacare, with the potential for ending the employer mandate, exchange pla n subsidies, a nd Medica id expansion, along with a restructuring of Medicaid into some form of a block grant program as potential major “bumps” and “curves” facing FQHCs. Neit her t he federa l or st ate associations, however, would hazard guesses as to what is coming down the pike — in large part because neit her t he incoming president nor his Republicans in Congress have offered specific legislation or even detailed proposals, with a wide array of contradictory statements coming from Trump himself. In his blog post, NACHC’s Van Coverden wa r ned that FQHCs will have to “tell the Health Center story” and must do so with “data.” Graetzer, at CHCANYS, acknowledged t hat t he h ig her rate at which patients have been insured since the enactment of the ACA has strengthened FQHCs’ financial position and ability to do their job, but she said it was not clear how repeal would affect those gains, especially given the strong constituency behind the FQHCs themselves. Clearly, however, both associations a re on what Graet zer termed “high alert” regarding the near future in Washington. As for health consumers, her CHCANYS colleague Steven Greenberg, who is the group’s external relations st rategist, sa id, “ T hey should w at c h w h at ’s goi n g on , t he y should learn what’s going on, and they should advocate not only for the continuation but also for the expansion of everyone’s right to health care.”
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train their officers to identify a hate crime, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. An officer responding to a call typically has only a few minutes to assess if bias played a role in an incident, Pezzella said. Offenders, knowing that a hate crime is more seriously punished, often try to hide their bias, and the vast majority of incidents are not as cut and dry as an offender admitting to a deep-seated hatred of gays, Jews, or black people, for example, Pezzella said. “Just calling someone a name is not enough to do it, and often what happens is officers think, ‘Why take the chance to arrest for a hate crime when you can just arrest for an ordinary crime?’ There’s possibly a better chance of sticking, of getting a conviction,” Pezzella said. “You also have to prove motivation.” The officer has to identify that a perpetrator had a “bias motivation” during the act of a crime such as a robbery, harassment, or assault to arrest a person for perpetrating a hate crime. Political affiliation is not grounds for a hate crime charge at the federal level or by New York state law, so many politically motivated assaults in the news recently won’t pass muster. For example, the NYPD is not investigating as a hate crime the case at a Boerum Hill diner when a man punched a woman in the face after an argument about Trump’s election. Similarly, anti-immigrant comments recently made by visitors
to the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side aren’t serious enough in the eyes of the law to warrant hate crime status either. That type of incident is typical of what many have encountered this year, according to Shelby Chestnut of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). “So much of what people are experiencing doesn’t necessarily fit into the framework of a bias incident that police deem to investigate,” she said. “There’s more of a general feeling of being unsafe in our communities. There’s a sentiment that it’s suddenly okay to be anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant, antiMuslim following this election.” Pointing out that victims of hate crimes are not always willing to report incidents to police in the first place, Pezzella’s John Jay colleague Eric Piza noted that the federal Crime Victimization Survey last year found that 47 percent of victims of all types of crimes do not report them to police. “There’s a whole host of reasons why people might not report a hate crime,” said Piza, an assistant professor at John Jay and former Newark Police Department crime analyst. “One is that for the victim, it’s a traumatic experience and people want that to be over as soon as possible. In a lot of cases, you have to wait for police, make a statement, and, especially if there’s a low likelihood of the person being caught, there’s a low chance they want to do that. And the other side of it is
Hundreds March to Create Hate-Free Zone in Queens
a sSouth Asian group dedicated to helping low-wage immigrants through social and policy change. Out gay Jackson Heights City Councilmember Daniel Dromm delivered remarks expressing solidarity with the protesters. “I feel that we here, the people who came to this rally tonight, have something to show the rest of America, which is that we can all live together in peace and harmony,” Dromm said. “We all will stand united in this battle. And I must say, that as the councilmember in this district, I will do everything in my power to resist the Islamophobic, the homophobic, the misogynistic policies and agenda of the Trump administration.”
HATE CRIMES, from p.9
do not agree with your homosexual lifestyle, so get the fuck out of this country you fucking traitor,” the email read. “I will keep a close eye on your every moves [sic] so that when it’s time to execute traitors, I will try my best so that you [sic] name is included in that list of traitors. Execution is the penalty for a traitor, that is the Law Of This Land!” The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force immediately launched an inquiry into the threat, Van Bramer telling Gay City News the unit was “all over it.” On December 4, Van Bramer’s office scrambled to remove graffiti reading “kill fags & dykes” from an Astoria bus shelter ad for the 2017 World Pride in Madrid. Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris reported that similar words were scrawled on another bus shelter ad in Astoria the same day. The SPLC has not verified every incident its has recorded, and there won’t be an “official” number for this year’s bias crimes nationwide until 2017 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases its hate crime report for 2016 as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The UCR is the most comprehensive report on hate crimes in the country. But watchdogs warn that the UCR is flawed, and even if it were perfect, it wouldn’t really paint the whole picture. The UCR is entirely voluntary and at least 4,000 law enforce-
ment agencies nationwide do not participate in its hate crime reporting. Around 1,750 departments out of the 15,000 departments that do participate have reported hate crime incidents. Even New York State underreported its bias crimes in past years due to inconsistencies between the city and state hate crime reporting that were discovered after Hoylman successfully petitioned the state comptroller to audit the two systems in 2013. The comptroller found that between 2010 and 2012, there were errors in reporting when the NYPD communicated its statistics to the state, meaning the state counted fewer hate crimes in the city than the NYPD had, and subsequently reported fewer numbers to the federal government. For example, the audit found that the state reporting system only allowed a single bias per incident filed, even if there were multiple at play. The comptroller pointed out in one case “an agency reported multiple biases on its hate crime incident report: both anti-male homosexual and antiArab. Because its system allows staff to only record one bias per incident, the division reported the case only as an anti-male homosexual incident.” But even with full reporting, Pezzella said that the national figure would likely still be lower than the actual number of bias incidents that happen nationwide. For one, small departments across the country might not have the resources to properly
Nearly 1,000 turned out on December 2 to declare a hate-free zone in Queens.
Neighborhood organizations and immigrant groups turned out with banners and signs on December 2 to declare a hatefree zone in Queens. The march began at Diversit y Plaza in Jackson Heights and ended in Corona. Nearly 1,000 people were involved in the demonstration against the backlash immigrant, ethnic, and LGBTQ communities may face with a Trump administration in the White House. LGBTQ, Muslim, Jewish, Latino, South Asian, Asian, and black organizations were present at the opening news conference led by Ana liza Caballes, deputy director for Desis Rising Up and Moving,
HATE CRIMES, continued on p.37
HATE-FREE, continued on p.37
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
HATE CRIMES, from p.36
that some people think the police won’t take their side of the story.” Pezzella added that the NYPD has a “built-in problem” because many groups protected by hate crime statutes often have, or historically had, a strained relationship with the police — including LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, and people of color. The fear of or animosity toward police can discourage victims from dialing 911. Chestnut said that fear of deportation or legal trouble is particularly palpable in the immigrant LGBTQ community, even in so-called “sanctuary cities” such as New York, where the police department doesn’t work directly with federal immigration enforcement agencies. “It is ultimately dangerous to report an incident of violence to police where you could be targeted for your immigration status, [and] if you’re an LGBTQ immigrant you are at a much greater risk — the fear for reporting is very real,” she said. Many LGBTQ immigrants who are deported face risk of further victimization in their home countries if their status becomes part of their official record. Pezzella suggested that the NYPD reach out and let people know they want to hear their stories, and said that assigning out LGBTQ or foreign-born officers to neighborhoods where those communities are experiencing harassment could encourage people to report crimes. The UK did that with LGBTQ officers and had suc-
cess, he said. Chestnut noted that witnesses to hate crimes can help by refusing to remain silent and asked people to sign AVP’s “bystander pledge” to act if they witness hatemotivated violence. The pledge, promoted with the hashtag #IWILLNOTSTANDBY, includes advice on safely intervening to halt a bias attack. The man who targeted Hoylman may have been 3,000 miles away, but the state senator believes that people who want to change the nation’s toxic political climate for the better should start in their neighborhoods. “As New Yorkers are frustrated by the national political climate, they should get involved — join the community board, go to precinct community [council] meetings, get involved with your block association, contribute money to your favorite advocacy group,” he said. “There’s the saying, ‘A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,’ and I think there’s a lot of work to be done to restore the feeling of safety and respect in our national political dialogue, and I think starting locally is a good option.” Chestnut agreed with Holyman’s advice to think nationally and act locally, saying that New York should be an example for the rest of the country. “In New York City, we’re fortunate that there’s an organization for every reality that someone is facing,” she said. “We should ensure that resources and support go to regions of the country that don’t have as much wealth as we do — and think of how New York City can lead that.”
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HATE-FREE, from p.36
Dromm added that he and other members of the City Council were meeting to discuss ways to mobilize against policies that President-elect Donald Trump may be looking to enact. Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from the Justice Commit tee, an organization dedicated to stopping police violence and systemic racism, was at the rally to push for solidarity between the different groups regardless of who is in office at all levels of government. Jewish Voice for Peace is campaigning against Steve Bannon being tapped as chief White House strategist for the GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
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Tr ump adminis t r a tion b e c ause of his Islamophobic views and to confront what that group views as not only a fascist regime, but a crisis situation for Jews and Muslims. Bannon is a founding member of Breitbart News, a news website that has proudly embraced the mantle of “altright.” “ We think it’s our responsibilit y to stand and suppor t Muslims, people of color, people who are vulnerable,” said Rosalind Petchesk y, a Jewish Voice for Peace leader. “We think the threat of antiSemitism is being used to deflect from the rampant Islamophobia. At the same time, anti-Semitism is real... Breitbar t, we know, is anti-Semitic.” — Mark Hallum
December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
FATE, from p.28
original style while creating new, intelligent, and vibrant movement consistent with the focus of the production. It’s doubly remarkable in such close quarters. Clint Ramos’ take on the clothes of 1966, Jeff Croiter’s lighting, and especially MaryMitchell Campbell’s pared down orchestrations, played by an all-girl band, are all exceptional and critical to the success of the production. Tickets for this limited run are, understandably, in short supply. You should go to any lengths to score them. Charity certainly would. I never saw the movie “Dead Poets Society,” so the play by Tom Schulman, who also wrote the screenplay, was completely new to me. The story is in the vein of postWorld War II fiction about adolescents at boarding schools and owes a great debt to “A Separate Peace” and “A Catcher in the Rye,” or more recently “The Secret History,” among many others of that ilk. Thus, the story of teenage boys discovering themselves and challenging their parent-dictated life plans at the urging of John Keating, a charismatic and iconoclastic teacher, seems both familiar and hackneyed from the outset. It quickly becomes obvious why the boys would be drawn to Keating and his message of carpe diem. Particularly in contrast to the stern, tradition-obsessed headmaster, Keating represents a different approach to life, one that specifically appeals to teenage boys struggling to develop identities and chafing at the strictures of school and parents. Inevitably, as the formula for this type of narrative goes, the boys pay a terrible price for their
MINK, from p.27
25: “It’s a big group; brothers and sisters, their kids and their kids — and we get along pretty well,” which is a far cry from her early days as a member of the John Waters “Dreamlander” ensemble. “For years,” recalled Stole, “I was this huge embarrassment. Basically, my mother would try her damnedest to keep anything I did away from anyone she knew, especially her [second] husband, which is ludicrous, because he didn’t care. By the time [1988’s] ‘Hairspray’ came around, many of my mother’s friends told me they liked what I was doing, and she’s actually an extra in the movie, so things did change.” The American landscape has changed, as well, having managed to make peace with the brand of depravity that Waters and Stole once trafficked in. Earlier this year, a scrubbed-up version of 1970’s Waters-directed “Multiple GayCityNews.nyc | December 08 - 21, 2016
The second half of “Master Harold… And the Boys” will have you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, the opening of Athol Fugard’s powerful story of race and relationships in South Africa in 1950 is freighted with exposition. Perhaps that’s necessary to establish the world of the play, but it seems forced. The story concerns what goes on in a tearoom in the small town of Cape Elizabeth. The “boys” are Willie and Sam, two black men who work in the shop. Master Harold (known familiarly as Hally) is the son of the owner who spends his afternoons in the tearoom and, given an invalid father, is largely being parented by the two men. One day things explode. Hally, traumatized by his relation-
ship with his father, lashes out at Sam and, in his upset, Hally’s assertion of superiority as a white man who is the owner’s son destroys the relationship Hally enjoyed with Willie and Sam. The play is a metaphor for the childishness of apartheid and the suffering it caused for all involved. Under Fugard’s direction, once the conflict emerges, the production becomes both exciting and harrowing. Sam’s love for Hally and his desire to help the boy become more sensitive run headlong into Hally’s cultural programming. The racism that he has never expressed bubbles to the surface, and Sam is its target. Hally childishly displaces his rage at his father onto Sam in a racial outburst that is chilling, and it’s clear that targeting discontent in this way is the default in a culture built on master and servant roles. The three men in the cast are all extraordinary. Sahr Ngaujah as Willie is the more passive of the men, but no less engaged. He serves an important role as a foil to Sam, who finally cannot suppress his own feelings of love and shame. As Sam, Leon Addison Brown gives the kind of integrated and passionate performance that is unforgettable. His final moments will break your heart, if he hasn’t done so previously. Noah Robbins as Hally is compelling as an unsettled and pained adolescent whose sense of powerlessness drives him to assert his racial superiority. The gorgeous tearoom set is by Christopher H. Barreca. Simple but effective costumes are by Susan Hilferty, and the beautifully rendered lighting is by Stephen Strawbridge. It’s comforting to imagine that in a more sophisticated and sensitive time, we’ve moved beyond the kind of hateful confrontation that drives this play. Unfortunately, in some measure, the play is not just a metaphor for apartheid but for our time as well.
Maniacs” played the IFC Center for several weeks. “I love the restoration,” said Stole. “For me, ‘Multiple Maniacs’ is like watching home movies. So many people who are in the movie are no longer alive4 that it’s bittersweet. There were things I had completely forgotten, like when Divine takes a sledgehammer to a car. I love that… and I am still amazed when the stuff we did when we were practically children has any relevance now.” Indeed, “cinematic atrocity” acts such as Divine’s straight-from-the-source, real-time ingestion of dog poo (the final scene of 1972’s “Pink Flamingos”) may no longer offend in an era when far greater transgressions await on YouTube — but the old gang’s celebration of recreational pleasures and uncompromising individuality in the face of repression is just as relevant today, and will perhaps be even more so over the next four years. Which begs the question: Isn’t it time for Stole to pen her
memoirs so struggling artists and budding activists can benefit from the wisdom of this swear-spouting, card-carrying Democrat? “Writing is the hardest thing in the world to do,” said Stole, though she didn’t necessarily rule out an autobiography. “When I imagine writing a book, I imagine walking around my house with a joint in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, while some amanuensis is writing down everything I say.” Spring for the VIP tickets to Stole’s show, and you can quiz her on this matter, or any other, during the meet-and-greet. Just be sure to wish her a merry you-know-what, instead of a happy… well, you know. “I really hate that phrase, ‘Happy Holidays,’” said Stole. “I want to be wished well for every holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s. I think ‘Happy Holidays’ is just a cheap shortcut. So Merry Christmas — and if you celebrate another religion, that’s an extra.”
brief freedom, and Keating takes a fall. It’s all fairly bland, and Schulman has written types rather than characters so it’s difficult to engage in any emotional or substantive way. Still, the play, now at Classic Stage and artfully staged by John Doyle does have a comfortable, lived-in sensibility that gives this production sufficient charm to create a benign, entertaining evening, with a few tugs at the heartstrings. The principal appeal is the performance of Jason Sudeikis as Keating. His native warmth, charismatic mien, and wry humor are perfectly matched to the character, and it’s no surprise the boys would flock to — and want to emulate — him. Assigned their given types — shy, aggressive, hormonally rampant, and so forth — the actors deliver the goods, compensating for the lack in the writing with lots of youthful enthusiasm. Unfortunately, buoyant as all that is, ultimately “Dead Poets Society” can’t overcome the sentimentality of this piece, and for all its good intentions, the lessons, such as they are, are lost.
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December 08 - 21, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc