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Meet the 2017 Echo Readers’ Choice Award winners

Mr. Phoenix Leather

Find out how Jerry Heitman is gearing up for the international stage LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 28, #8 | ISSUE 692 | May 2017 | COMPLIMENTARY






HEALTHYSEXUAL, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. © 2017 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. UNBC3908 01/17

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inside this issue Issue 692 | Vol. 28, #8 | May 2017

features NEWS 8 Letter From The Editor 12 News Briefs 14 Datebook 19 ASU Urban Arts Club celebrates diversity, expression and dance culture with Lavender Ball 23 Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party Palm Springs moves to May PREVIEWS AND REVIEWS


56 Without Reservations

Your Community, Your Voice Echo readers have determined the 2017 Readers’ Choice Award winners and we’re proud to reveal them here.


Mr. Phoenix Leather Find out how Jerry Heitman is gearing up for the 2017 International Mr. Leather contest May 25-26 in Chicago.

62 At The Box Office 64 Between The Covers

COMMUNITY 66 All Over The Map 68 The Right Side of History 70 Talking Bodies

ON THE COVER Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 Jerry Heitman. Photo by Scotty Kirby.



Meet the 2017 Echo Readers’ Choice Award winners

Arizona Entertainer of the Year Meet the four Tucson-based performers who earned 2017 titles at the statewide pageant in March.


A Survivor’s Strength Local leader advocates for more inclusive programs and services for LGBTQ sexual and domestic violence victims.

Mr. Phoenix Leather

Find out how Jerry Heitman is gearing up for the international stage LGBTQ NEWS, VIEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT | VOL. 28, #8 | ISSUE 692 | May 2017 | COMPLIMENTARY


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inside this issue web exclusives PHOTO GALLERIES Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about at this month’s events? Find out at gallery/2017-photos. COMMUNITY CALENDAR

Photo by Jason Lee Denton.

Davis Mallory MTV’s “Real World” veteran gives Echo the inside scoop on his new EP and upcoming endeavors.

Opening Nights From Scorpius Dance Theatre’s Animal to The Book of Mormon, here are six productions heading to local stages this month.

From pageants to advocacy, this is where the community goes to find out what’s going on in the gayborhood. community-calendar COMMUNITY DIRECTORY Looking for a local group to join? Have a group that’s seeking new members? Either way, this is the place to connect. community-directory MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Photo by Fernando Hernández.

Money Talks Family law attorney Claudia Work takes a closer look at Arizona family law for same-sex parents in Arizona..

online now

Photo by

Find out why Echo is the publication your future clients are already reading. marketing-solutions

Hit Me With Your Best Shot For all the Out & About photos in this issue – and more – visit Echo’s online photo gallery.


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letter from the editor By KJ Philp



nd now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – drumroll, please! Team Echo is proud to finally reveal the 2017 Echo Readers’ Choice Award winners exclusively in the pages ahead. If you can’t handle the suspense, go ahead and flip to page 28, but be sure to come back and finish reading. This year, our call for nominations ran from Jan. 19 to Feb. 28 and yielded more than 4,000 nominations – a very impressive assortment of community favorites this year, by the way! Then, the top five nominees in each of our 28 categories moved on as finalists to the voting phase, from March 6 to April 7. More than 71,000 individual votes via 3,600 ballots determined this year’s winners (thank you, SurveyMonkey for doing all that math for us)! So, who did you decide is the best of the best for 2017? Turn to “Your Community, Your Vote” on page 28 to find out. A celebration of these winners wouldn’t be complete without a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in any way; from nominating and spreading the word to voting and promoting, you are the reason these awards are special to us and to those who earn them! While we’re on the subject of awards and honors, we invite you to join us in congratulating this issue’s cover model, Jerry Heitman aka Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017. Find out more about his plans for the year

ahead, including his upcoming trio to International Mr. Leather at the end of May, on page 42. If you haven’t met the newly crowned 2017 Arizona Entertainer of the Year titleholders, we invite you to get to know a little bit more about the diverse collection of talents this impressive quartet is taking to nationals, on page 46. Speaking of national pageants, we owe a huge congratulations to Mister USofA MI 2017 Eddie Broadway. The Echo Hall of Fame inductee is the first king to bring the prestigious title back to Arizona since Brandon Packer (Mister USofA MI Classic 2014). Then back home on the local scene, we’re congratulating Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride Eva Angelica Stratton and Kristofer V. Lee, too! Stay tuned to the next issue of Echo for more from Eddie Broadway and the 2017 Pride royalty. On that note, Phoenix Pride 2017 was a celebration for the history books! As you might have predicted, we have a wonderful recap for you in the pages ahead – and even more photos we captured of you online at Thank you to everyone who came by the Echo booth to celebrate Phoenix Pride with us! It’s you who makes gaypril special to us and we appreciate your love and support! KJ Philp is the managing editor of Echo Magazine. He can be reached at

Echo Magazine now has free online classified advertising!

Have a job to advertise? Need to rent a property? Looking to build your client base? Post an ad in Echo at 8

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EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: KJ Philp CONTRIBUTORS: Tia Norris Anthony Costello Hans Pedersen Tamara Juarez Laura Latzko Terri Schlichenmeyer Art Martori Richard Schultz Liz Massey Michael J. Tucker Devin Millington Rachel Verbits Melissa Myers Megan Wadding ART DEPARTMENT SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Jake Rojas PHOTOGRAPHY: Devin Millington, LaQuan Photography and ADVERTISING DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING: Ashlee James ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVES: Gregg Edelman Randy Robinson NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Rivendell Media, 212-242-6863


MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 16630 Phoenix, AZ 85011-6630 PHONE: 602-266-0550 EMAIL: Copyright © 2016 • ISSN #1045-2346


Echo Magazine is pub­lished by ACE Publish­ing, Inc. Echo is a registered trademark of ACE Publishing, Inc. All rights re­served. Written permis­sion must be obtained in advance for par­tial or com­plete re­production of any advertising ma­terial contained therein. Opin­ions ex­pressed therein are not necessar­ily those of the pub­lisher or staff. ACE Publishing, Inc. does not as­sume re­sponsibility for claims by its ad­vertis­ers. Publication of a name, photograph of an individual or or­ganiza­tion in ar­ticles, ad­ver­tisements or list­ings is not to be con­strued as an in­dication of the sexual ori­en­ta­tion, unless such ori­entation is specifically stat­ed. Manuscripts or other ma­te­ri­als submit­ted re­main the property of ACE Publishing, Inc.

Bob wanted all of his extended family to be invited, especially those gay rodeo associates from New Mexico, Arizona, and the entire IGRA circuit. We have received commitments from many of his family members to attend including his three sisters, his father, as well as his beloved Arnie. Although Bob wanted a “party” we all know that there will be tears and his family members as well as his good friends will be allowed to speak during the celebration.  The Rev. Patrick Stout has agreed to lead us in prayer.

Within a few days after his passing we all started realizing what a large hole he has left in our lives as a well as our community. From his lover, his father and sisters, Arnie’s family, his huge gay rodeo family, and his many other friends from the Albuquerque Social Club, PFLAG, Men of Charlie’s, Phoenix Gay Pride, Lamda Car Club, etc. they have felt the loss.  We hope that being able to all come together we can continue the process of accepting this loss. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to the Bob Pimentel IGRA Rodeo Crisis Fund PO Box 560504, Aurora, CO 80046-0504.

Photo courtesy of ONE Community.

news briefs

ONE Community launches antidiscrimination billboard campaign In partnership with businesses across the state, ONE Community launched an educational billboard campaign April 3 that aims to raising public awareness that Arizona’s current nondiscrimination laws are not inclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, only five municipalities have ordinances that ban discrimination; however, Arizona has no statewide laws that protect gay and transgender individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, or discriminated against in housing and public accommodations. The educational campaign will encompass 14 billboards concentrated in

the metro Phoenix area and will run for eight weeks. The billboards will feature marquee businesses in Arizona that support inclusion and equality for all Arizonans including Devereux Arizona, FASTSigns on Central, GoDaddy, KEO Marketing, Community Tire Pros and Barrio Café, calling on the state to update its

policies for the betterment of all Arizonans. For more information on Arizona’s nondiscrimination policies, the importance of equal treatment to building a sustainable economy and how to join the ONE Community UNITY Pledge movement, visit Source:

Tucson-Based HIV Doctor Receives 2017 Leadership Award

Jonathan Brier joins Aunt Rita’s as Director of Marketing, Events

The Center for Health and Hope presented J. Kevin Carmichael, MD, one of Southern Arizona’s outstanding HIV physicians, with its 2017 Leadership Award March 24.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation announced the addition of Jonathan Brier, as the nonprofit’s director of marketing and events, to the team March 14.

The award was presented at a benefit concert at First United Methodist Church in Tucson. “Dr. Carmichael’s lifetime of service to persons facing HIV and AIDS is extraordinary,” said Dr. Donald E. Messer, the Center for Health and Hope’s executive director. “As a medical professional and humanitarian, his service in Arizona and Mexico has benefited countless individuals and families. His advocacy and care have inspired us, and we are honored to be able to recognize his contributions.” Dr. Carmichael was nominated by the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network. “We’ve worked with Dr. Carmichael for 22 years,” said Scott Blades, TIHAN 12

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executive director. “I have seen him go above and beyond what you might expect a physician to do, providing excellent care as he helped build a state-ofthe-art HIV clinic in Tucson.” After Dr. Carmichael came to Tucson in 1990 he began caring for a large number of people living with HIV and became actively working with the Tucson AIDS Project, Shanti, The People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson, El Proyecto Arizona y Sonora, and TIHAN. For more information on The Center for Health and Hope, visit centerforhealthandhope. org. For more information on TIHAN, visit

A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Brier has volunteered with Aunt Rita’s for more than six years and brings a diverse background in industries as varied as consulting, hospitality, real estate development, photography and film production to this full-time position.

Spencer, the nonprofit’s executive director. “[We’re] especially thankful for his dedication to our cause to eradicate HIV in our community.”

Brier will manage all of the foundation’s fundraising events, including AIDS Walk Arizona, SAVORlife and RED Brunch.

A native of Liberal, Kan., Brier moved to Arizona in 1996 to attend Arizona State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in counseling and religious studies. He’s been highly engaged with Phoenix’s nonprofit community since 1997, including serving as a committee manager for Phoenix Pride from 2002 to 2013.

“Aunt Rita’s Foundation is incredibly proud that Jonathan has joined the Aunt Rita’s team,” said Glen

For more information on Aunt Rita’s Foundation, or its 16 partner agencies, visit

“I’m so excited to join Aunt Rita’s, and I can’t wait to expand the fundraising efforts on behalf of the amazing HIV service community in Phoenix,” he said.


out & about NOH8 Photo Shoot April 8 at the W Scottsdale. Photos by KJ Philp.

For more Echo photos visit

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datebook april 21

Join GLSEN Phoenix in observing the annual Day of Silence: Breaking The Silence, a student-led national event organized in thousands of schools, bringing awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ.

april 22

april 29

Art for Aunt Rita’s, an afternoon walking tour and silent auction of 25 participating galleries in the Scottsdale Gallery District, is an opportunity to purchase donated artwork from noon to 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit Aunt Rita’s Foundation. april 23

You’re invited to A Family Together, a benefit for Joshua Tree Feeding Program starring the Miss Gay Phoenix Family in honor of Gabriel Medellin, beginning at 6 p.m. at The Rock, 4129 N. Seventh Ave., in Phoenix. april 27

Dining Out For Life is an international fundraiser for the fight against HIV and AIDS as part of which local restaurants participate by giving a percent of the day’s proceeds to Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. Find a list of participating restaurants:

may 7

Arizona State University’s Urban Arts Club presents Come As You Are: Lavender Ball, featuring voguing and waacking performances, a fashion show, dance battles, and more, will take place from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Fair Trade Café at Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix (See story, page 19.) april 29

Trans*Spectrum of Arizona presents Glitter and Gold, a formal/semi-formal prom featuring DJ Mike Hutton and professional photography, from 6 to 11 p.m. at 1st Congregational Church, 1407 N. Second St., in Phoenix. 85004. This event is open to anyone age 18 and up, couples optional.

april 29

The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association invites you to A Celebration of Life for Bob Pimentel beginning at 4 p.m. at Charlie’s, 727 W. Camelback Road, in Phoenix. 14

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may 14, 17, 23

The Phoenix Mercury will tip off against the Dallas Wings (3 p.m.), Indiana Fever and New York Liberty at 7 p.m. (respectively) at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., in Phoenix. may 20 & 21

The Phoenix Women’s Chorus presents “Songs of Unity, Diverse Voices,” a fundraising concert (tickets are free, donations accepted) that will take place at 7 and 4 p.m. respectively at Shepherd of the Hills UCC, 5524 E. Lafayette Blvd., in Phoenix. may 27

april 27-may 1

april 29, may 13 & june 17

The Bears of the West present Phurfest 2017, a weekend of pool parties, a banquet, a beer bust and the Phurfest Cub and Mr. Phurfest Contest, will take place at Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Airport, 2333 E. Thomas Road, in Phoenix (and various other locations).

Barbra Seville’s sixth annual Salsa Challenge, benefiting the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Program, will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. at Karamba Nightclub, 1724 E. McDowell Road, in Phoenix.

Join the Phoenix Phantomz, Arizona’s allwomen full contact football team, for home games versus the North County Stars, the Carson Bobcats and the Albuquerque Avengers (respectively) beginning at 6 p.m. at Moon Valley High School, 3625 W. Cactus Road, in Phoenix. may 6

The 30th annual Reno Gannon Memorial Jell-O Wrestling Extravaganza and Benefit Auction, benefiting the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, will take place from 6 to 10:30 p.m. at the intersection on Seventh Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, in Tucson.

The Miss Gay Western States America 2017 pageant, including the crowning of the system’s 15th titleholder and a celebration of the reign of MGWSA 2016 and Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road, in Phoenix. mark our calendars To have your event considered for Echo’s print and online calendars, submit your event details to echomag. com/communitycalendar. All submissions are subject to Echo’s discretion. events

OUT & ABOUT RED Is The Night March 24 at the Warehouse 215 @ Bently Projects, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit


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OUT & ABOUT LGBT Devils’ Pride Fifth Annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner March 18 at the Old Main, ASU’s Tempe Campus, Phoenix. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit


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A dance consisting of a series of stylized poses developed in discos of the late 1970s.


A form of dance created in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s disco era.

Come As You Are ASU Urban Arts Club celebrates diversity, expression and dance culture with Lavender Ball By Laura Latzko


skills in waacking and voguing, they have the space to express themselves, to find resilience and to connect with their community.”

The rise of ball culture (think: Paris Is Burning) cultivated a scene where individuals, belonging to houses and families, would compete by “walking” or dancing for trophies or prizes.

As part of the “Bodies on the Line” panel discussion, ASU Assistant Professor and playwright Nia Witherspoon, author of Butch Queens Up in Pumps Marlon M. Bailey, and members of Trans Queer Pueblo and will speak on such topics as identity politics in performance.

Arizona State University’s Urban Arts Club will spotlight voguing and waacking, and provide an open space for selfexpression, as part of its annual Come As You Are (CAYA) event April 27-29.

The event will also incorporate a fashion show with designs by ASU Fashion Major Natalya Dellinger and Jamie Lyon of Electric Lyon Fashion, dance performances by local troupes and spoken word by Joy Young.

The three-day event will include a “Bodies on the Line,” a panel discussion, voguing and waacking community dance workshops and culminate with the Lavender Ball, featuring performances, a fashion show, dance battles, and more.

Linda LaBeija, a poet, voguer and transgender and civil rights activist, and X-centric, a waacking and voguing practitioner from Los Angeles, will also be part of the CAYA festivities.

oguing and waacking, two styles of dance connected to avant-garde fashions and the expression of social, political and economic ideals, have been celebrated within the underground LGBT subculture since the 1970s.

According to Marcus White, assistant professor at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and co-advisor to the Urban Arts Club, these events encourage people of different races, classes, sexualities, gender identities, religious backgrounds and ethnicities to have a voice and define who they are in different ways. “CAYA is a space for folks to come and reimagine who they are and what is possible,” White said. “If they ever wanted to embody an alter ego or practice their news

Although the styles of voguing and waacking are associated with the LGBT community, White said they are open to anyone – and so are these events. “Regardless of if you’re gay or not, you can experience these forms. CAYA is a celebration of identity, celebration of becoming who you are, coming to the space as you are,” White said. “Voguing and waacking were created in LGB and trans communities, spaces and histories … The ball is designed to be a safe space for people to explore and expand possibilities.” According to Ruby Morales, ASU’s Urban

Arts Club president, the styles of dance, have historically been important vehicles of expression for oppressed groups. “The style comes from something a lot deeper, of people of color and gays not being able to express themselves in ways that they wanted,” Morales said. The Lavender Ball, she added combines a celebration of history with an element of fantasy, because attendees are invited to express themselves however they wish for the evening. “You can wear whatever you want. You can be whoever you want,” she said. “Whoever you’ve ever dreamed of being, tonight is the night you can be that person.” All events are open to the public and attendees of all ages are welcome. For more information, search “Come As You Are: The Lavender Ball” on Facebook or email

Come As You Are Event Series “Bodies on the Line” Panel Discussion 6:30 p.m. April 27 Location TBD Community Dance Workshops 6:30 p.m. April 28 ASU’s Nelson Fine Arts Center 28 51 E. 10th St., Tempe $5 per person, per workshop The Lavender Ball 6:30-11:30 p.m. April 29 Fair Trade Café at Civic Space Park 424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix General admission, $8-$10; students with ID, $5 at the door Tickets: Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.


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Did the Echo cameras catch you out and about? Visit to see more from the current issue.

White Party Palm Springs Jeffrey Sanker moves annual white-hot party to May

Photos courtesy of

By Megan Wadding


effrey Sanker’s White Party in Palm Springs, California draws tens of thousands of gay men from all over the world for a weekend-long dance and pool party extravaganza.

DJs throughout the weekend include DJ Dan Slater, DJ Abel Aguilera, DJ Danny Verde, as well as, Tom Stephan and Bret Law, both of whom will be making their White Party debuts this year, and more.

The 28th annual festivities, which will include guest appearances by the hottest DJs from around the world, pool parties and celebrity sightings, will take place May 5-8 at the Renaissance Hotel and other locations throughout Palm Springs.

Sanker said he draws his inspiration for the wild parties by staying current and by paying attention to what is relevant in pop culture.

Originally, the White Party weekend was a large gathering of Sanker’s friends. This year, he said he expects more than 30,000 attendees to descend upon the desert throughout the weekend. “I am thrilled,” Sanker said. “The response has been amazing.” According to Sanker, the White Party weekend, which had always been held in April has now been moved to May for the first time, which he believes is the reason more people are able to attend. “[Attendees come from] all over the world,” Sanker said. “We see a lot from Canada, Australia and Europe, as well as many from all over the USA.” Many of the attendees come from Arizona each year, Sanker said. “We see a large contingency of Phoenix and Tucson boys every year,” he said. “Arizona boys are very representative of their state: HOT!” As always, the parties that fill the weekend will be feature music by DJs from all around the globe. “[There will be DJs] that are getting a lot of press in the LGBT[Q] community, as well as those that have worked with major labels and stars,” Sanker said. news

“I try to always keep my finger on the pulse of what’s hot, and what is up and coming, and travel the world for more ideas every year,” he said.

reigning over the White Party and the T-Dance this year, according to Sanker. “She was chosen as our Queen because she exemplifies everything that White Party stands for: creativity, acceptance, beauty, laughter and glamour,” said Sanker. “She is the epitome of confidence, and a champion of supporting those who are proud of who they are.” “There is something for everyone,” Sanker said. “See you on the dance floor! Pace yourselves[sic], boys!”

This year, there will be a total of eight parties in a 72 hour-period. The infamous White Party, which will take place May 6 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, will feature a military theme, an internationally known surprise performer. While Carlisle will headline as the Queen of the the weekend, she will perform her greatest hits as dusk hits May 7 at the White Party T-Dance, followed by a choreographed fireworks display, set to an exclusive remix, a White Party weekend tradition. This marks Carlisle’s White Party debut, and said she is very excited to be headlining this year. “I’ve been wanting to perform at this event for years, since it looks like too much fun and I’ve seen all the legendary artists who have come before me,” Carlisle said. “Plus, as a mom of a gay son who had a blast at the White Party last year and who will be attending with me this year, I’m so proud to be part of such a great iconic event.” This year, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star, Kyle Richards, will be

For more details on this year's parties and DJs, visit

Jeffrey Sanker's White Party Palm Springs May 5-8 Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel (and other locations throughout Palm Springs) 888 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs Megan Wadding is a freelance writer and travel addict with a degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganWadding.


MAY 2017


OUT & ABOUT 2017 Phoenix Pride Festival April 1-2 at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix. Photos by and Marcus Farrell.

For more Echo photos visit


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OUT & ABOUT 2017 Phoenix Pride Parade April 2 along Third Street, Phoenix. Photos by and Marcus Farrell.

For more Echo photos visit


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Your Community, Your Voice Join us in celebrating the 2017 Echo Readers' Choice Award winners:


MAY 2017


2017 readers' choice awards

Community FUNdraiser The local charity fundraising event that best puts the FUN in fundraising is:

AIDS Walk Arizona & 5K Run

Get Involved Your favorite LGBTQ nonprofit organization or cause to be a part of is:


Mark Your Calendar The community event at the top of your can’t-miss list is:

Phoenix Pride Festival

Mind Your Business The place you’ve found the best professional development, self-improvement or networking resources is:

IGNITE Community Chat Groups 2017 readers' choice awards


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Local Heroes Local Trailblazer They lead. They fundraise. They volunteer. They organize. They do it all. When it comes to who does it best, you voted for:

Stacey Jay Cavaliere

Amazing Ally LGBTQ allies are everywhere. We wouldn’t be the community we are today without them. We asked for the best of the best and you voted for:

Mayor Greg Stanton

Dazzling Advertiser For nearly 28 years, our advertisers have made Echo possible (and kept it free to you). But the one that wowed you the most is:

Stacy’s @ Melrose

Politically Correct Your ballots let us know that the elected official or political movement that had the biggest impact on you throughout the past year is:

Mayor Greg Stanton 30

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2017 readers' choice awards

Drag What A Drag … Queen They volunteer, they fundraise, they entertain and they’re not afraid to tell it like it is. When it comes to which queen does it best, you voted for:

Barbra Seville

What A Drag … King They volunteer, they fundraise, they entertain and they’re not afraid to tell it like it is. When it comes to which king does it best, you voted for:

Eddie Broadway The Star of the (Drag) Show There’s a lot more to putting together a drag show than meets the eye (contouring, for one). Week after week, you take your dollar bills to:

The Barbra Seville Show at The Rock Down For The Crown When it comes to seeing local titleholders pass down the crown, the pageant you scored a perfect 10 is:

Miss Gay Arizona America

2017 readers' choice awards


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Gayborhood Bars Raise the Bar Whether you’re looking for trivia, karaoke, darts or dance, your favorite watering hole is:

Bar 1

Happiest Happy Hour The place you prefer to stop and wet your whistle before heading home from a long day at work is:

Bar 1

Someone’s Going To Score Whether it’s coverage of the Olympics or a weekly Sunday (football) Funday, the sports bar you’d bet on is:

Roscoes on 7th

Just Dance Whether you twerk, two-step or tango, the dance floor you are most likely to be found working it on is:

Stacy’s @ Melrose


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2017 readers' choice awards

Cocktails and Dining Savor Local Flavor You don’t have to be a professional foodie to agree that the most delicious spot to wine and dine is:

Fez Restaurant & Bar

But First, Brunch No weekend is complete without a stellar brunch spread, and you’re most likely to be found sipping mimosas at:


Late-Night Bites Some nights call for a second dinner (no judgment), and the dining destination you head to after last call is:

Fez Restaurant & Bar

Master Mixologist They know your name and, more importantly, your favorite drink. The bartender who deserves the biggest tip is:

Nate Haag, Bar 1

2017 readers' choice awards


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Out & About Get Your Art On The best place for taking in all forms of creative expression, according to you, is:

Phoenix Art Museum

Retail Therapy From retail and services to entertainment and accommodations, you decided the best place to spend your money locally is:

Off Chute Too

It’s A Group Thing When it is time for fellowship, support, community or spirituality, you head to:


Get Sweaty Everyone has a favorite local LGBTQ team, athlete, gym, sporting event or league, and yours is:

LA Fitness


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2017 readers' choice awards

Music Greatest Hits Whether you’re into live shows or streaming new sounds, the local musical group or band that is No. 1 on your charts is:

Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus

I’m in Love with The DJ No party is complete without one, yet they never get the spotlight … until now. The DJ who makes your heart spin is:

DJ Tsunami

Star of the Show Of all the locally staged productions, podcasts and YouTube channels, the one that brings out the fanatic in you is:

Nearly Naked Theatre

Take The Stage From hosts/hostesses and emcees to co-chairs and event promoters, your favorite person who makes it all come together is:

Barbra Seville

2017 readers' choice awards


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The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. *Maricopa County Residents.


MAY 2017


OUT & ABOUT Pride Skate, Presented by Gay Skate Ariona March 29 at the Great Skate Glendale. Photos by

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MAY 2017


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MAY 2017


“The leather community represents brother/sisterhood where the values of respect, discipline and honor are earned and not taken lightly. Integrity is still a practiced value.”

cover story

Jerry Heitman

Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 Find out how Jerry Heitman is gearing up for the international stage By Laura Latzko


erry Heitman can still remember the smell of the leather chaps and saddles from the Kansas wheat and cattle ranch he grew up on. He loved it and found it very intriguing. However, it wasn’t until his junior year in college that he went to his first leather bar and met a hot man in black leather chaps and a biker jacket – in that moment, he knew that was what he wanted.


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Fast forward a couple decades and Heitman is celebrating his latest community title, he won the Mr. Phoenix Leather 2017 contest Jan. 8, and is preparing for his second trip to an international leather contest – his first experience landed him in the top 5 at the 2010 International Leather Boy contest. “[I] truly believe that a title is something that should be used as a

platform,” Heitman said. “I believe that titleholders have a responsibility to use the title so that they can be seen and heard. If you are going to represent the community, do it responsibility and do it to the best of your abilities.” While Heitman hopes to be donning another title at International Mr. Leather Contest, taking place May 25-26 in Chicago, he’s already gotten to work here at home. cover story

Hometown Hero Having been involved in the leather community since the early 2000s, including participation in such groups as the Phoenix Boys of Leather and the Arizona Men of Leather, the former Southwest Leatherboy said being a leatherman is part of who he is as a person. “The leather community represents brother/sisterhood where the values of respect, discipline and honor are earned and not taken lightly,” he said. “Integrity is still a practiced value.” Along with the title of Mr. Phoenix Leather, Heitman is also the Dean for the College of Monarchs for the Imperial Sovereign Empire of Arizona. While serving as the court’s Emperor VI, he helped create the Leather Knight Award, which honors a member of the leather community who shows excellence in leadership. Serving as Mr. Phoenix Leather, Heitman said, feels like a continuation of the work he did with the Imperial Court, and he plans to approach it in a similar way.

Maintaining Marriage Equality With this title, however, Heitman has the support of his husband, American Leatherman 2003, Bill Mitchell. Heitman and Mitchell were married in 2015 and, together, the husbands are committed to remaining visible amid the uncertainty of the current political climate. “This year I am focusing on C.O.M.E., an acronym that stands for “Continue Our Marriage Equality,” Heitman explained. “It is imperative we as a community continue to fight for our rights as married couples and not become complacent. We cannot allow ourselves to move backwards.” One little-known fact about Heitman is that he has a twin brother who is also gay and married. “This is another example of why marriage equality is important to me and [why] those like Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, and President Trump scare me to death,” he said. “We must not allow what we have fought for – and won – be taken away from us. We have already proven that together we can win this battle.”

A Leather Boy with a Service Heart While marriage equality tops Heitman’s list of messages and goals for his reign, he said he also plans to support many other aspects of the LGBTQ community. “Education is important and necessary for our community to grow and move forward,” he said. “My goal is to continue to support the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Fund and the Bryon Wiley Scholarship cover story

Fund spearheaded by Michael Gaffney and the Imperial Court of Arizona.” Additionally, he’s already reached out to Tucson’s leather community, including Mr. Phoenix Leather 2016 Daniel Christopher O’Leary, to offer my support beyond Phoenix. Another way in which he hopes to achieve that is by dispelling misconceptions surrounding the leather community as a whole – specifically the notion that it revolves entirely around sex, kink and fetishes. “There is also, that people don’t see a lot of, the friendships, the bonds, the unity, the standing up, side by side,” Heitman said. “It truly is a brotherhood and sisterhood [and] leather is the common uniting factor.”

The Need for Leaders Over the years, Heitman has seen the struggles and triumphs of the leather community – especially during the AIDS crisis – it’s emerging leaders have provided the strength needed for it to survive. “We lost a lot of mentors in the leather community because of the AIDS Crisis,” Heitman said. “I was proud to see the brotherhood and sisterhood that have lived through that [step up].”

times a week,” he said. Admittedly, Heitman has mixed feelings, which he said “go hand in hand,” as he looks toward to Chicago. “The most daunting is the fear and weight of not representing the Phoenix community well,” he said, “and the most inspiring [thought] is having the opportunity to convey to the international leather community the strength and solidarity of our local leather community here in Arizona.” Heitman will also carry the advice his predecessors, O’Leary and Pup Tugger (MPL 2015), passed along from their experiences, which he summarized as, “Stand for and be who you are. Stand true to yourself.” For more information on the 2017 International Mr. Leather Contest, visit

During his reign, Heitman also hopes to encourage younger people, in both the leather and greater LGBTQ community, to learn their history. “I’m glad that some of us have been able to pave a road that’s been easier. That’s been our goal,” he said. “But at the same time, I think it’s important that the younger crowd know their history so they can draw strength, passion and motivation from that history.” As the leather community continues to evolve, Heitman said it’s held on to it’s core values. “For most of the leather community, respect and honor are something that they hold … very near-anddear to their hearts,” Heitman said. “I think that comes from generations and generations back … I think that closeness, that respect, that honor and that creed still carries through.”

The International Stage As part of his efforts to prepare for the International Mr. Leather Contest, Heitman has been working on his speech as well as his physique. “... even though physical fitness does not define a leatherman, I want to be in the best physical shape I can be, so I have committed to working out three

Photos by Scotty Kirby.

Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.


MAY 2017


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Arizona Entertainer of the Year 2017 Statewide pageant crowns four Tucson-based titleholders By Laura Latzko


n the Arizona Entertainer of the Year system, excellence is measured by a contestant’s ability to entertain a crowd.

Femme 2017 to her resume. Echo: What type of artist do you see yourself as?

As part of the annual pageant, which took place March 4 and 5 at Aqua Nightclub in Phoenix, four performers set themselves apart from the other contestants to ear the 2017 Arizona EOY titles.

Woloshin: I see myself as a positive influence for people who have been through similar situations as I have, traumatic events … I want them to be able to listen to my music, shield themselves from it and learn from their experiences rather than be weakened by them.

Arizona EOY F.I. 2017 Isis D’Frost, Arizona EOY Femme 2017 Tora Woloshin, Arizona EOY King 2017 Romeo White and Mr. Arizona EOY 2017 Matt Finish will represent Arizona in the EOY system at the national pageant July 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.

Echo: With a background as a singer, what made you decide to try the EOY pageant system? Woloshin: Before I started permanently writing my life story on my body with tattoos, I did beauty pageants. [They were] so superficial, and it was so damaging to

Echo Magazine caught up with the newly crowned titleholders to get to know a little more abut them and their talents as they kick off their reign.

Arizona EOY F.I. 2017 Isis D’Frost With three years of experience performing in drag, Isis D. Frost isn’t new to pageantry. Frost, a former theater and choir kid, previously held the title of first alternate to Miss Gay Arizona USofA; however, being crowned Arizona EOY F.I. 2017 marks her first ticket to the national stage. Echo: What was it like competing against such fierce competition, including your drag mother Vivika D’Angelo Steele? D’Frost: It was really difficult to compete against them, especially because we are friends, and I do consider a lot of them family. It was difficult, but we all knew and we all understand our challenges and what we should do … My drag mom … has been very supportive with me winning. Echo: Do you feel like audiences got a true taste of who you are as a performer at the Arizona EOY pageant? D’Frost: I think that everybody got the real Isis. I feel like I laid everything on the table … EOY is very much about entertainment, so I wanted to show them that I am a great performer and entertainer. Echo: Has it been a different experience for you to be this leader and mentor in the community? D’Frost: I’m very much about creating a positive community and bringing everyone together. I have tons of ideas, and now that I do have this title, I feel that it amps up my voice to be a little bit louder. 46

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For Echo’s full interview with Arizona EOY F.I. 2017, visit

I really want to work with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation here and TIHAN, which helps and works for people with AIDS and HIV. I really want to do charity events with them, get their name out there and bring in not just the LGBT[Q] community, but everyone in Arizona. Arizona EOY Femme 2017 Tora Woloshin Pop artist Tora Woloshin started singing at age 4 and went on to compete in beauty pageants throughout teen her teenage years. Woloshin has toured with B.o.B., opened for Ne-Yo, appeared on the TV show “The X Factor” and even released her latest single, “Off the Chain,” in March. Now she’s added the title of Arizona EOY

For Echo’s full interview with Arizona EOY Femme 2017, visit feature story

my persona … I saw this [as a] competition that is so accepting, so openhearted and filled with so many beautiful, real people.


Echo: In what ways was this pageant experience different for you?

Finish: I won an award in 2015 called Mr. Exotic World at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. I was one of four male-presenting performers to be selected out of the world … It was my first year competing there, and I happened to win, and that’s lovely. But it’s like winning the Oscar for Best Actor, and you’re not allowed to win it more than once … I’m not sad about the accomplishments I achieved, but I wanted to get back into it and mix it up a little bit …

Echo: What made you decide to compete in the EOY system?

Woloshin: Being able to be yourself and not worry about what are they going to think of me because I have a tattoo or what are they going to think about me because of my experiences, it’s so good to truly be myself and not have to worry about being judged for it. Echo: Do you hope to build more of a base in the LGBT[Q] community as an EOY titleholder?

Echo: What do you hope to accomplish at the national pageant?

Woloshin: The LGBT[Q] community has always been a big supporter of me, as I have been a big supporter of it. I am actually bisexual … and I absolutely adore the LGBT[Q] community and prefer to surround myself with [you].

Finish: …I want to raise the bar. Male performers notoriously get away with a lot. I’m hoping to set the bar really really high. I’m going to give the guys at nationals a run for their money …

Arizona EOY King 2017 Romeo White The opportunity to serve the community is what sparked Romeo White’s entrance into the drag world, back in 2010, and kept him pursuing new heights. Don’t let his shy personality fool you, White has earned the title of Mister Tucson Pride, Mister Tucson Pride, Mister King of the Desert Mister USofA MI 2010, and has competed at the national Mister USofA MI pageant twice as first alternate representing Arizona. Echo: What made you decide to run for EOY this year? White: The system really interested me because it really allows the entertainer to be who they are. They don’t have to try to fit into a certain demographic or a certain stereotype. They definitely want you to embrace who you are. To me, that was really intriguing – especially being transgender, because that’s not always something that’s very accepted. Entertainer of the Year is very accepting. Echo: As an entertainer, how have you been able to evolve without changing who Romeo is? White: I don’t think that will really ever change. No matter how much older I get, it works for me and people like the goofy, sexy thing because it is different from what some of the other male entertainers and kings do. Echo: What made you decide to compete again on the state level after taking a few years off? White: In my time that I was running for regional stuff and [Tucson Pride], I wanted to really commit that time to myself and the community … Now, everything fell back into place for me to try it at the state level and see what I could do for the community as a state representative. Echo: Even though you scaled back on performing for a while, what keeps drawing you back in to drag? White: It’s my passion for helping people. feature story

For Echo’s full interview with Arizona EOY King 2017, visit

You can help somebody without or without a title, but when you are a titleholder, your face is out there is a different way … Mr. Arizona EOY 2017 Matt Finish Excellence in performance has always been important to Matt Finish. He’s a veteran of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a comedic, all-male drag ballet company. He co-founded the Tucson burlesque troupe Don’t Blink Burlesque. He earned the prestigious burlesque title of Mr. Exotic World on his first attempt. Still, the Arizona EOY pageant marked the first time the classically trained ballet dancer and burlesque performer has participated in a competition for male entertainers. Echo: What was it about the first burlesque show you attended that made you decide to do it yourself? Finish: They were so glamorous and sexy, and they were having fun. At that point, I was getting a little burned out on ballet. It’s very structured … Just creatively, I was a little stifled … Then, way back in my undergrad years, I was also a go-go dancer … [The burlesque dancers] were just having the best time, and that’s what it came down to. I wanted to have fun

For Echo’s full interview with Arizona EOY 2017, visit

Laura Latzko is a Phoenix-area freelance writer, originally from Michigan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Hollins University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.


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OUT & ABOUT Kim Chi Live April 5 at ASU West, Glendale. Photos by KJ Philp.

For more Echo photos visit


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OUT & ABOUT 2017 Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride Pageant March 19 at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe. Photos by

For more Echo photos visit


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feature story

A Survivor’s Strength Award-winning advocate, author and CEO works to increase visibility and awareness for LGBTQ sexual and domestic violence victims By Tamara Juarez


exual and domestic violence is prevalent across all demographics, including the LGBTQ community. In fact, an average of 61 percent of bisexual individuals and 43 percent of gay and lesbian individuals experience sexual violence at least once during their lifetime, according to a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010. Incidents of domestic violence and other forms of sexual violence, such as rape and sexual assault, occur in the LGBTQ community as frequently as the rest of the general population. However, most cases do not identify the sexual orientation of the victim when recorded in a database at local shelters or advocacy organizations, limiting the amount of information available about victim demographics. Considering the additional obstacles minority victims face when attempting to escape an abusive relationship, most experts agree that sexual and domestic violence is under-reported in the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Victims Face Unique Obstacles There are many factors that can discourage LGBTQ members from reporting sexual violence. Tasha Menaker, director of sexual violence response initiatives for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and 52

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Domestic Violence, believes one of main problems with the process is institutionalized heterosexism and cissexism. “Rarely do domestic and sexual violence outreach and awareness campaigns include the LGBTQ community,” she explained. “And, as a result, survivors may be less knowledgeable about their options following victimization, their rights as victims and the availability of community resources.” Unlike heterosexual victims, LGBTQ survivors face additional obstacles – such as outing themselves – when seeking help or in the process of reporting the crime to law enforcement, healthcare providers or shelters. From Victim to Survivor, LLC’s CEO, founder and president Melisa Mel, who recently received the 2017 Beth McDonald Arizona Woman of the Year Award, explains some of the unique challenges LGBTQ victims face. “It’s very hard for a victim to come forth,” she said. “But when you’re LGBT[Q], it’s even harder, because now you’re not only concerned about victim blaming, you’re also concerned about judgement.” As a LGBTQ community advocate and victimology expert, Mel asserted that experiencing loss is another factor the LGBTQ community. “We’ve all lost friends or family over

being gay, or we’ve lost opportunities at work, or opportunities from our own fear of what might happen,” she said, “that constant hiding, that constant judging yourself or being judged affects how you’re going to reach out when you’re a victim.” This also lends itself to another factor that may prevent LGBTQ individuals from leaving a toxic situation: Weakened support systems creates a stronger attachment between the victim and abuser and can lead the victim to believe that they have no one else who they can depend on besides their abuser. As both sexual violence survivor and a member of the LGBTQ community, Mel said it’s critical to understand the different obstacles minority victims face in order to create an effective safety plan. There is a long list of the things that must be considered, she said, including whether the person is publicly out, if they have a supportive family, how far they need to get away, if there are children or pets involved, if it’s physical or emotional abuse and if the abuser has weapons.

Tracking Victim Information In order to make reporting sexual and domestic violence crimes less challenging for LGBTQ victims, Mel said, the Phoenix community must raise awareness around the issue and begin feature story

More about From Victim to Survivor, LLC Melisa Mel (pictured, right) is the CEO, founder and president of From Victim to Survivor, LLC, that’s mission is to connect with any who relate to or care about abuse on any and all levels. Additionally, Mel’s vision for her work is to “see gaps of understanding bridged between all who come in touch with victimization. whether between victims, survivors, first responders, aggressors, perpetrators, or mere bystanders.” For more information, visit

The Beth McDonald Arizona Woman of the Year Award In 2003, Beth McDonald created this award as a way of giving back to the community. Each year since, she has recognized women for their accomplishments in the community. The 2017 award was presented to Melisa Mel at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch Feb. 17. For more information on the annual award, and how to make nominations, visit Photo courtesy of

“We’ve all lost friends or family over being gay, or we’ve lost opportunities at work, or opportunities from our own fear of what might happen, that constant hiding, that constant judging yourself or being judged affects how you’re going to reach out when you’re a victim” Melisa Mel

implementing different strategies to make programs and services more inclusive for minorities. To start, local shelters and nonprofit organizations could consider tracking the number of LGBTQ people that use their services and resources, which would increase people’s knowledge of the actual number of LGBTQ victims in the Valley – intel that would help determine the steps needed to create further progress. For now, however, most of the resources dedicated to assisting sexual and domestic violence victims do not track cases based on sexual orientation. Angie Swart, the chief program officer for Chrysalis, a 24-hour crisis shelter in southern Phoenix, explained the reasoning behind the lack of data collection. “When a person comes in, they can be in a crisis, so what we try to do is minimize the data we collect to only what is critical or crucial data needed to report on,” she said. “But we are feature story

realizing that this is a piece of data we need to get along with other critical information.” Beginning last year, Chrysalis added sexual orientation to the list of information that the shelter asks victims for upon intake, but there a few bugs to work out before the updated database can start yielding insightful information. “Our agency is a leader [in] providing services to the LGBT[Q] community, but we ourselves are still playing catch-up with capturing data correctly,” she said. “Our database didn’t allow for us to capture LGBT[Q] clients until this year.” Chrysalis has served members of the LGBTQ community thought its nonresidential program since it was founded more than 35 years ago, and offers resources and help to any victim of sexual or domestic violence, including transgender individuals. Additionally, Swart said she hopes to see other shelters and nonprofits following a similar path by becoming all-gender inclusive and culturally responsive.

Bridging Law Enforcement and the LGBTQ Community Advocates and victims aren’t the only ones impacted by the implementation of inclusive programs. Police officers and sex crime investigators, including Phoenix Police Department’s Lt. Jeff Benza will also see a positive effect from having victims report cases of sexual and domestic violence. Benza said he assures victims will be treated with the utmost respect and professionalism regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. “When we do our investigations, we don’t care who the victim is. We just care if they were victimized, and then

focus on how we can stop the suspect,” he said. “Making sure they have a voice is very big for us and an investigation ... to have a vocal victim who is willing to prosecute and own the investigation with us helps.” The law enforcement officer of 18 years emphasized the importance of having victims share their stories in court and how each victim plays a critical role in empowering current other victims and help prevent future sexual and domestic violence crimes by putting abusers behind bars. Mel, who has written eight books about victimology and vulnerable populations, agrees with Benza, and claims that one of the most powerful things the LGBTQ community can do to lessen the burden of reporting a sexual and domestic violence crime is to facilitate discussion about the topic and make people feel safe about sharing their stories. “There’s a ton of other community members who need to hear from [LGBTQ victims],” she said. “A gay man speaking on how his partner abused him is a very powerful thing to hear [for] another gay man that is being abused, because it makes them think, ‘if he can do it and come out, then so can I,’ and seek help.”

TAKE IT ONLINE For a list of local resources for anyone experienceing sexual or domestic violence, visit

Tamara Juarez s a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. During her spare time she loves to read, hike and make bad puns.


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Saturday, May 6, 2017 Discover, interact with, and marvel at artists using innovative technology and media. We also honor Dorothy Lincoln-Smith, SMoCA emeritus advisory board member. Expect the unexpected! Tickets: Call 480-499-8587 or visit VIP Ticket: $250/Guest, 6 – 10 p.m. VIP Virtual Table: $2,500 (up to 10 guests), 6 – 10 p.m. General Ticket: $175/Guest, 7 – 10 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities: Contact Catherine Turner, corporate relations and events manager, or 480-425-5353 Squidsoup, Submergence. Photo: Paul Blakemore

7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251


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without reservations

Buck & Rider Story and photos by Rachel Verbits

Tequila Sunrise.


f spring had an official cuisine, we estimate that it would be light, fresh and vibrant. Add in an al fresco dining experience set to the sound of waves crashing and a cocktail as the sun sets over the ocean and you have a picture perfect dining experience for this time of year. And while most of that scenario isn’t attainable here in Arizona, our palate led us to the next best thing: Phoenix, meet Buck & Rider. Anchored on the southwest corner of Camelback Road and 44th Street, with an impressive view of Camelback Mountain, this ocean-centric restaurant has been offering the best quality – and variety – of seafood the briny deep has to offer since the fall of 2015. As for the elements of spring, visitors are greeted by a garden of colorful flowers in bloom and lush greenery that provides both ambiance and a backdrop

for anyone dining on the perfect patio. Then, upon entering, the desert seems to melt away as you find yourself in a building inspired by a swanky beach town along the Australian Coast. Dive deeper into the restaurant to discover the centerpiece, and main attraction, of Buck & Rider: Abby’s Oyster Bar. Here, seemingly endless amounts of lobster, crab and, of course, oysters are chilled over ice and ready to be shucked. Then, there’s the raw bar menu. Separate from the main menu, this menu changes daily (yes, daily!) and is stamped with the day’s date to reflect the fresh selections customers can choose from. And by fresh, I mean to say the absolute freshest seafood you can get in Phoenix. Buck & Rider has its offerings flown in every morning from around the world, and served the same day. So fresh, that there isn’t even a freezer on the premises.

Featuring a selection of seasonal raw oysters, such shellfish as jumbo gulf shrimp and Alaskan king crab and an assortment of sushi rolls, the raw bar was the perfect first stop on my maiden voyage. As much of a seafood lover as I am, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never had raw oysters before this visit. But, looking at the surrounding tables, it was clear that they were not to be passed up. Luckily, Buck & Rider has options ranging from mild to extra briny, making this a perfect place for “raw” beginners and experts alike. My oysters, which arrived perfectly shucked and served over ice with hot

Left to right: Mini Lobster Roll Nik Niks, The Buck & Rider and Mer Blue oysters and Pan-Roasted PEI Mussels.

Deviled Crab Dip.

sauce, cocktail sauce and horseradish. The Buck & Rider oyster was crisp, moderately briny and even a little bit sweet. And, perfect for an oyster newbies, the Mer Blue was mildly briny, easy to eat and absolutely addicting. If you’re not quite ready to go raw, the deviled crab dip makes for an equally delicious seafood starter. As the house signature dish is a creamy concoction of crabmeat and potatoes, served with watermelon radish, Belgian endive, and “everything” crackers for dipping. There’s a healthy dose of jalapeño mixed in too, so I planned ahead and paired it with a Tequila Sunrise. Of course, this isn’t the Tequila Sunrise you likely sipped on your last vacation. Here, the unique take on a familiar drink includes blanco tequila, roasted pineapple, citrus, coconut water, house made hibiscus tea, and these spring-y flavors come together in a heavenly combination. The taste of silver tequila is complemented by the naturally sweet fruit and fragrant tea, is a combination that’s rightfully hailed as a customer favorite. Starters and cocktails were easy enough, but it was time to cast my net in deeper waters. The main menu boasts an impressive dining out

variety of surf and turf combinations, from such selections as USDA Prime cuts of ribeye, New York strip and filet mignon, which can be ordered alone or served with your favorite seafood accompaniment. From panseared scallops and sushi grade white fish ceviche to sea bass sandwiches and grilled salmon, it will be quite some time before any true seafood fan runs out of new combinations to try. In my opinion, lobster is a must-have component to any sea faring experience. So the mini Lobster Roll “Nik Niks” was the next selection I made. Lightly dressed cold-water lobster is layered on top of toasted, buttered rolls for a deconstructed, picture-perfect meal. These petite puffs of heaven are great for sharing as an appetizer, too. I’m a “save-the-best-for-last” kind of foodie, and for good reason. Once I dug into the pan-roasted PEI mussels nothing else mattered. In fact, I’ve been thinking of them ever since. Steamed to perfection, the mussels are served swimming in a chorizo and white broth with thick slices of rustic sourdough to soak up every drop of goodness. The mussels are light while the broth is hearty, creating the perfect balance. Buck & Rider is riding the wave of success. Aside from the award-winning food (named Best Seafood Restaurant 2016 by Phoenix New Times), the best part is that they “guarantee by going the extra mile, you will enjoy a bounty of seafood that cannot be found anywhere else in the Southwest.” But don’t take our word for it, sea for yourself!

Buck & Rider 4225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun

Rachel Verbits is a published writer and a selfproclaimed foodie who spends her time exploring all the amazing eats Arizona has to offer.


MAY 2017


Make Plans to Dine Out!

Thursday, April 27th

Each year, local restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to support the efforts of Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS! Look for a list of participating restaurants at

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OUT & ABOUT Saguaro Cup 2017 April 8 at Papago Softball Complex, Phoenix. Photos by Marcus Farrell.

For more Echo photos visit


MAY 2017


have pride in where you live.

at the box office

By Hans Pedersen

Power Rangers Now playing in theaters | PG-13 | 124 minutes | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

From Beauty and the Beast to Star Trek, LGBTQ characters are making small in-roads into big-screen franchises, including this reboot of the 1990s live-action kids TV series. In the revamped Power Rangers, Yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G) is one of the first LGBTQ characters to appear in a big-budget blockbuster. When Trini is asked if she’s struggling with boyfriend trouble, it becomes clear she’s actually having girlfriend problems. As Trini questions her sexuality, her moments of self-realization help propel the action forward as this group of high schoolers with impressive superpowers tries to save humanity.

Lovesong Available on DVD May 16 | 84 minutes | Drama

Sarah (American Honey’s Riley Keough) and her best friend, Mindy (Donnie Darko’s Jena Malone,) take a road trip together in this memorable Sundance indie directed by So Yong Kim. The two women hit the road and end up exploring their close friendship and forging an even deeper connection. But once one of them prepares to get married, the other tries to rekindle the romance with mixed results. Nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards, Lovesong is a uniquely sophisticated tearjerker.

I Am Not Your Negro Available on DVD May 2 | PG-13 | 93 minutes | Documentary

Taekwondo Available on DVD April 18 | 105 minutes | Comedy, Drama

You may have to hunt for gay content in this gentle, homoerotic tale, but there is a payoff. In this tender drama from Argentina, directed by Martin Farina and Marco Berger, Fernando gathers a bunch of buddies for a summer vacation at his country home, and the muscled, shirtless dudes sit by the pool, boasting of sleeping with women. But Fernando also brings along Germán, a new friend from his martial arts class who doesn’t tell the other guys he’s gay. Soon personal boundaries between Fernando and Germán dissipate as their passions rise to the surface. 62

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An incredible and essential Oscar-nominated film centered around late gay novelist James Baldwin (Giovanni’s Room) and his incisive commentary on race relations in our country. In this revealing documentary, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, director Raoul Peck tries to complete Baldwin’s unfinished project about the lives of civil rights activists Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Using archival footage and Baldwin’s writings and authoritative interviews, Peck has crafted a powerful chronicle about contemporary black history that nobody should miss.

Hans Pedersen is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. movies We offer expertise in both elective and reconstructive procedures. With a focus on providing patients with care that is compassionate and highly skilled, Elite Plastic Surgery treats you with the level of care you deserve.


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between the covers

The Art of the Affair By Terri Schlichenmeyer


t’s all about who you know: The guy who bags your groceries might have stock tips for you. A co-worker could introduce you to your next best friend. Your stylist may also have a great restaurant recommendation. A former classmate could land you a referral for your next new job. It’s all about who you know or, as in the new book The Art of the Affair by Catherine Lacy and Forsyth Harmon, it’s who you’ve dallied with. Somehow, in some way, the people you meet leave fingerprints on your life. A laugh you’ll never forget, a bon mot you’ll quote or even an attitude can be a memorable springboard for an idea. That goes doubly for creative types, for whom romantic (or platonic) relationships, their “carnage of affairs” could lead to “countless works of art.” These unions, whether legal or otherwise, also left a tangle of threads between many artists and writers. Essayist and editor Edmund Wilson, for instance, helped launch the career of Anaïs Nin, who later wrote erotica. Nin was “unapologetic about her… affairs,” of which there were many, including a banker, “probably a homosexual,” and novelist and playwright Gore Vidal, who himself had “a short affair” with writer James Baldwin, who called another man

Local audiences may remember Liz Fallon as Charity Valentine in either Arizona Broadway Theatre’s staging of Sweet Charity or Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical.

Illustrations by Forsyth Harmon. 64

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“the love of his life.” Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington both collaborated professionally with Grammy-winner Ella Fitzgerald, but it was Marilyn Monroe who helped boost Fitzgerald’s career. Monroe talked the owner of a Los Angeles nightclub into booking the singer, and she attended each of Fitzgerald’s performances there. Monroe, of course, had her share of affairs, too, as well as a friendship with Truman Capote, who was repeatedly insulted by none other than Tennessee Williams. Williams was no fan of Tallulah Bankhead, and the two publicly snarked at one another for years. Bankhead was an exhibitionist and didn’t care who saw her naked – which, presumably, included her lover, Billie Holiday.

The Art of the Affair by Catherine Lacey and Forsyth Harmon. Bloomsbury, 2017 | $20.

lend to the love affairs they so diligently discovered. Light, gossipy and a little scandalous, The Art of the Affair shows that it’s who you know that’s important – and I know you’ll like it.

Oh, and playwright Williams…? He was a friend of Gore Vidal, who also knew Truman Capote and Anaïs Nin … Did you ever go somewhere with someone who seems to know everybody? That’s what it’s like to read The Art of the Affair. Author Catherine Lacey and illustrator Forsyth Harmon play a sort of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” in their book – except, not surprisingly, Bacon isn’t here. Instead, readers are taken back many decades to look at the dalliances and relationships of artists and stars of the early 20th century, and because very few contemporary artists grace these pages, there may be many times when you won’t recognize the people among the threads. That can be remedied through inference, but a better explanation (at least for some artists) might have been nice, as would an index. Still, I liked the tidbits in this book, the mini-factlets between ties, and the obvious delight that author and artist

Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm, lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books. She’s been reading since age 3 and, to this day, she never goes anywhere without a book. books


Firing Up Our Bright Ideas By Liz Massey


here’s an old cliché about our community that happens to be largely true: LGBTQ people have historically been tastemakers in American society, creating or recommending the food, fashion, films, music and other items that became crowd favorites. There is a reason the Bravo series was titled “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and not the reverse. For many years, the relationship between LGBTQ people and innovation remained a subject of fascinating speculation, but in the past decade and a half, there’s been some legitimate research that provides some insight on what we’re actually contributing. These results not only point the way toward how we can leverage our strengths as conceptual pioneers, they also show how we can champion diversity as a key to conquering today’s most vexing world problems. Show Me The Data One of the first people to address the relationship of the gay community to innovation was economist Richard Florida, who found as far back as 2002 that LGBTQ-friendly and -tolerant cities had a higher rate of innovation than more homohostile territories. A more recent study that appeared in a late 2016 issue of Management Science found American firms in cities with legal protections for LGBTQ people had 8 percent more patents and 11 percent more patent citations than firms located elsewhere. That study found that the key to this dynamic is that the legal employment protections help firms recruit more and better talent, eventually building a deep bench of creative team members who set that firm apart from its competitors. Why does something as basic as respecting LGBTQ dignity have such a profound effect? It could be because social 66

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diversity boosts out-of-the-box thinking. In a 2014 roundup of research on diversity and small-group decision making reported in Scientific American, interactions between people with different racial or political backgrounds led to better performance, including better problemsolving and better preparation for discussions. As Katherine W. Phillips, the author of the article, asserted, “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity does not.” But all this good news related to LGBTQ people’s effect on innovation needs to be tempered with the reality that none of those potentially awesome ideas that are generated will see the light of day if there’s no support of diversity at the top of a company. Researcher Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her colleagues, writing in the Harvard Business Review, noted that companies needed leaders with “2-D diversity” – that is, exhibiting both inherent and acquired (experience based) diversity – to reap the rewards of a diverse workforce. Without that type of leader in place at a company, she found that women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals were up to 24 percent less likely to win endorsement for their ideas. Time For Some Fresh Thinking In light of what the research tells us, it’s possible to draw a few conclusions about what our community could do with this information. Promote workplace leadership diversity initiatives. Not just because it’s morally right (which it is), but because companies with diverse leadership perform better and are better able to harness the advantages of a diverse workforce. Partner with industry to highlight the data on diversity’s value. Yes, a heterogenous team is “harder” to manage,

as in, one has to think more deeply and step out of one’s own experience more often. But the rewards are better ideas that lead to better products and services, and (hopefully) a better life for those impacted by the innovation. Co-sponsor innovation challenges on topics relevant to our community. There’s a thriving social innovation ecosystem out there, including international platforms such as Open IDEO and the local studentled community Changemaker Central at Arizona State University. Our community organizations could sponsor challenges related to LGBTQ youth homelessness, the impacts of stigma upon our health, or how to reduce the impact of unconscious bias on marginalized people. See ourselves, first and foremost, as agents of change. Out of necessity, our community has often had to solve complex social issues on our own. Consider what we did during the AIDS crisis to provide palliative care, advocate for drug treatments, and advocate for legislation that protected persons living with HIV/ AIDS instead of demonizing them. When we operate out of the mindset that we have it within ourselves to create positive new solutions to current challenges, it becomes much easier to act on good ideas, and spend less time in despair. Regardless of how and why we’ve evolved into an innovative, “early adopter” sort of community, it’s worth celebrating in these politically charged times that we already have a family pedigree for coming up with groundbreaking solutions. As the psychologist, author and inventor Edward de Bono has said, “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

Liz Massey has been involved in LGBTQ community-building activities in Kansas City and the Valley of the Sun, and is a former managing editor of Echo Magazine. She can be reached at COMMUNITY

Michael R. Mourglia Feb. 21, 1952 – Feb. 26, 2017

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From 2001 to 2004, Bob served on the Phoenix Pride board of directors. Most of the Phoenix community never knew how much he did for Phoenix Pride, as it was done quietly and efficiently. Bob is survived by his loving partner of 11 years, Arnie Chavez; his father, Robert Pimentel Sr.; his three sisters; several nieces and nephews; and his constant canine companion, Monique. Bob was preceded in death by his mother Beverly Pimentel. Bob was an amazing, generous and selfless man, loving partner, son, brother, uncle and friend. Memorial donations can be made to IGRA “Bob Pimentel Memorial,” P.O. Box 560504, Aurora, CO 80046-0504

6232 N. 7th Street • Suite 110 • Phoenix, Arizona 85014 Office (602) 264-9331 • Fax (602) 279-1766 • Cell (602) 541-3477 Email • Website •


MAY 2017


The Right Side of History

Putting the T in Equality By Kevin Patterson


he transgender members of our community are underrepresented and underserved. Now that I have your attention, there are a few things Equality Arizona (EQAZ) needs your help on.

2. Respecting an individual’s pronouns is quite possibly the most important thing you can do, regardless of what the context of your conversation is. If you’re unsure of which pronoun to use, just ask.

You may have heard the phrase “no one is free until we are all free.” At EQAZ, this quote has become the rallying cry for a new direction we are pursuing: Putting the T in equality.

3. While many trans individuals seek to “pass” (be recognized as the gender they identify with) and take various steps to help them achieve “passing” in their transition process, some individuals wish to remain nonbinary, gender fluid or genderqueer, all of which are still part of the “T” and fall under the trans umbrella.

I know this is new territory for many (myself included), but if we continue to shy away from these conversations we’re inevitably hindering the progress we’ve made together and contradicting the campaign for equality, inclusivity and tolerance that we’ve worked so hard to establish. For many Arizonans, marriage equality created a false sense of safety and comfort. My family, with the help of the Why Marriage Matters Campaign, EQAZ, Lambda Legal, and other organizations, was on the battlefield for these cases. But while this was a major win for our state – one that afforded many in the LGBTQ community well-deserved justice – the truth is that many within our own community are still hurting, are unattended to and are struggling for basic rights both politically and socially. EQAZ has spent the past eight months digging into the populations within the LGBTQ community that are underrepresented and underserved. Throughout this process, and the recent conversations I’ve had with trans community members, I’ve heard one overwhelming message: How can we ensure that the “LGB” members truly understand what is important to the “T” members and what unique risks and struggles are they facing? While we can, and should, come together as one community united in solidarity, the truth is that we must first learn how to be good advocates for each other. One of EQAZ’s goals is to share how the “LGB” members can be the best advocates for the “T” members, here are six tips we’ve come up with to get you started: 1. An important distinction is to remember regarding transgender individuals, is that we are speaking about gender identity and not sexual orientation. Trans folks subsequently identify with many other characteristics (gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual), but for the sake of this column, we’re focused only on gender identity. 68

MAY 2017


4. If someone identifies as transgender, that alone makes them “trans enough.” Therefore, your urge to label them, ask about their bodies or categorize their transition experiences or journey is offensive and unnecessary. 5. Gender policing, according to Wikipedia, is the imposition or enforcement of normative gender expressions on an individual who is perceived as not adequately performing through appearance or behavior. Gender policing serves to devalue or delegitimize expressions that deviate from normative conceptions of gender, thus reinforcing the gender binary. Be aware of this and please don’t do it. 6. Understand that there are still many inequities that prevent transgender Arizonans from experiencing equality with their “LGB” brothers and sisters (violence, employment discrimination, healthcare and immigration, to name a few). This is why it’s important for trans people to know that EQAZ has committees solely focused on the forward movement of our “T” community, including the nuances of trans people of color. Remember, “no one is free until we are all free.” To the trans-identified readers out there, I invite you to get in touch with us at to share your stories, create more trans visibility, to help us educate the community and keep the conversation going. Help us, as “LGB” citizens, to be good advocates for those who are underrepresented and underserved.

Kevin Patterson , a proud father, husband, community leader and the board president of Equality Arizona (EQAZ), is relentlessly dedicated to the pursuit of equality and justice needed to make Arizona the ideal place to live and love. community

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massage therapist about cupping, taping, scraping or other effective therapeutic techniques.

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The bottom line is that this isn’t optional! Deep tissue massage is, in fact, injury prevention. If you neglect this domain, it is 100 percent inevitable that your exercise routine will cause an injury down the road. 3. Physical Therapist

Assembling Your Wellness Team By Tia Norris


ou’ve seen the rituals of seasoned Olympians on the world’s biggest stage and the post-game status updates of your favorite professional athletes on social media, but did you realize that every individual athlete – from the occasional weekend warrior up to the most elite all-stars on the planet – needs a team of experts in their corner to keep them performing at their best as well as free of injuries? It’s no surprise that the best of the best have strength coaches, athletic trainers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, physical therapists and so many others working with them on a regular basis. I refer to this roster of experts as a “wellness team.” Now for the surprise, however: Everyone needs a wellness team – including you. To help underscore the importance of this essential step to achieving your goals, I have included a brief description of my own wellness team members (in order of my usage and recommendation to the general public).

1. Personal Trainer If you only employ one person in your life to be in charge of your diet and fitness, this is your one-stop shop. But be warned, many trainers talk the talk, but tragically fail to walk the walk. You must do your research to find the perfect fit for you. A great personal trainer will be able to teach proper weightlifting techniques, coach 70

MAY 2017


you on proper nutrition habits, design an individually specific program just for you, correct and rehab minor injuries and prescribe mobility-related tasks specific for your imbalances. A trainer also provides knowledge, accountability and motivation in the realm of diet and fitness, which is priceless. Remember, even trainers have trainers – there is magic in the power of two! 2. Massage Therapist If the personal trainer is the wrecking ball, the massage therapist if the clean-up crew. And no, we aren’t talking about a day at the spa here. There are many problems that a trainer simply cannot correct with exercise alone. The trainer works in tandem (hopefully) with the massage therapist to attack issues from different angles. For example, let’s say your trainer is constantly harping on you about your posture, particularly your low back and hips. There is only so much squatting, stretching and lunging that the trainer can make you do to correct this problem. So, the massage therapist then can manually work the affected muscle groups to release tension, which will make your next gym session much more productive. For the general public, I recommend one hour of massage every two weeks – no less than one hour every three weeks – regardless of your activity level. Of course, if you’re exercising more, you should get more work. And ask your

Let me just be blunt here: most physical therapists (like personal trainers) suck. Sorry, I’m not sorry. If you end up with an injury or critical imbalance, you’ll find yourself spending quality time with a physical therapist. If you don’t have a good one you’ll be forced to endure the b.s. thoughtless, massproduced “corrective techniques” that the therapist learned from their textbook. What you really need is someone who thinks outside the box. If, at the physical therapist, you are not getting better, not being asked constantly what’s going on with you and your injury or are bored and/or wondering if your physical therapist is a dumbass, then you’re in the wrong place. Find a new one, STAT! 4. Chiropractor, Acupuncturist I use a chiropractor for structural issues. If you cannot solve your problems through exercise and massage, you may want to see a chiropractor. They, too, might be able to attack your problem from a different angle. The chiropractor might also be able to do cupping, dry needling, scraping, or other effective therapeutic techniques in house. I use acupuncture if I’m too f*cking stressed. I know plenty of people who use acupuncture for many purposes, but my go-to is if I’m too mental and can’t break out of my own head. Again, if you aren’t able to solve what ails you with the above mentioned measures, give acupuncture a try and see how it goes. Every person on the planet will benefit from having a wellness team of some sort. The more active you are, the deeper your bench needs to be. Start making contacts and taking care of yourself … your performance and recovery will only benefit! Tia Norris is the president and head trainer at FitPro, LLC, a local fitness company. Find out more at health & fitness








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Please support our advertisers who help keep Echo free. To find out more about advertising in Echo, call 602-266-0550.

ACCOUNTANTS/TAX PREPARATION Robert F. Hockensmith, CPA, PC p. 67 Steve Price, CPA p. 75 ADULT ENTERTAINMENT/ RETAIL Flex Spas Phoenix p. 81 Pleasure World p. 69 The Chute p. 80 AIR CONDITIONING & HEATING Valdez Refrigeration

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APARTMENTS Alta Filmore/Alta Midtown p. 61 East and West Apartments p. 73 El Cortez Apartments p. 72 Illuminate/Baron Properties p. 10, 11 Madison Grove Apartments p. 13

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DENTISTS My Dentist Open Wide Dental

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BAR & CLUBS Bunkhouse Charlie’s Stacy’s @ Melrose

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COUNSELING SERVICES Building Blocks Counseling

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INSURANCE Benefits Arizona p. 69 Edward Vasquez, Allstate p. 3

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Maricopa County Community College District p. 36

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ATTORNEYS Jackson WhiteAttorneys At Law Phillips Law Group Tyler Allen Law Firm


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WELLNESS Avenger Fitness, LCC p. 73 Central Phoenix Gym p. 80 Elite Plastic Surgery p. 63 FitPro, LLC p. 74 Gilead PrEP p. 2 Gilead Truvada p. 20, 22 JWW Fitness p. 74 Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS p. 44, 45 Spectrum Medical Group p. 79 TERROS Health-LGBTQ Consortium p. 81 Triumeq p. 38-41 Willo Medi Spa p. 75 lambda directory

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Echo Magazine May 2017  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. December issue. Le...

Echo Magazine May 2017  

Echo Magazine – Arizona's leading media outlet dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in news, views and entertainment. December issue. Le...