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Allison Gandre & Achintya paez

July 2013

Walking Light on This Planet

Volume 4 Issue 12


Jade Le

Advertising & Marketing

William Fernandez | 808.281.4084 James Fowler | 808.268.7294 Kellye Pineda | 808.339.2551

Creative director Caleb Shinobi


Kamele Eskaran Linda Giang



4 Overcoming the Wall of Mush 25 Boy Sodomizers of America

6 LIfestyle

Puahi Benzon: Power House

Technical & Web Development Brandon Valdez

8 politics

video & multi-media

Ana Medina Brittney Nitta-Lee Tina Ludewig

9 workplace

Contributing Writers Chris Azzopardi D’Anne Witkowski Mickey Weems Pride at Work Hawai‘i

Mickey Weems

Legal & Research Public relations


Ana Medina Kamele Eskaran Kimo Orlando Lisa Baxter PJ Delanoza Tiffany Sabado

Letters and unsolicited content may be sent to: E-mail: Mail: Letters to the Editor eXpression! Magazine P.O. Box 22487 Honolulu, HI 96823

Entire contents copyrighted 2008–2013

eXpression! Magazine is published monthly in Hawai‘i and welcomes manuscripts, original works and various forms of expression for publication. eXpression! Magazine reserves publication rights to submitted materials. eXpression! Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials unless otherwise pre-agreed in writing. eXpression! Magazine does not take any financial or libel obligation to the content of its columnists. All materials submitted are consent to be original. All views and opinions are those of the writer and bear no implications on the opinions of eXpression! Magazine. Registered trademarks used within are hereby acknowledged, images and contents released and permitted. No implication regarding sexual orientation or preference is made in connection with any person, contributor, and or advertiser appearing in this publication.

A Guide to Coming Out and Surviving It

18 Style

Aaron Pennington McKenzie Margarethe Jessica Gardien

eXpression! Magazine is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

‘Bows Are Back, But Jay Drops the Ball

17 tips

Interns //

Work Can Be a Drag

10 Sports

Copy Editor

Glenn Honda, Esq.

Colleen Hanabusa and Not Punking Out

MAMo 2013

20 entertainment A Grant Gesture: Musician’s Tell-All on HIV and Addiction

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20 Mission Statement

to inspire Hawai‘i’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community by featuring people contributing positively to society.


eXpression! Magazine welcomes letters that are concise (up to 150 words). eXpression! Magazine reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Letters and unsolicited content must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Wells Fargo celebrates PRIDE

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C omm unity

By Mickey weems

Jack is the owner of Hula’s Bar in Waikiki and a leading figure for LGBT rights. When I interviewed him on Gay tourism in the Islands, he showed me several Gay travel magazines – places like Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia have full-page ads specifically tailored to the LGBT market. Little to nothing, however, from the Aloha State – what ads there may be are generic, even featuring

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presumably Straight couples. “What’s going on here?” he asked. “They’re just doing the absolute minimum.” Jack is alarmed by a decrease in Gay tourism. He and other business people have long encouraged the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) to engage in direct marketing to the LGBT community.

“There were more Gay tourists and businesses 35 years ago,” he observed. Yet during that same 35 years, Hawai’i’s LGBT community has grown. Jack pointed to a recent Gallup statistic: outside of DC, Hawai’i has the largest percentage of openly Gay people in the nation (5.1%). LGBT tourists should feel comfortable coming here rather than other, less Gay-supportive, destinations.

C ommunity

Jack’s efforts have not born fruit. The HTA and HVCB are friendly, but they haven’t done much beyond the pleasantries. There is no brick wall obstructing progress, but there is a wall of mush – no resistance, no reaction, and ultimately no action. “I don’t know where to take it from here,” Jack said.

HTA, Mike McCartney and the Wall of Mush I contacted the HTA and was told that it targets regions, not niche markets like the Gay community. I asked for an official statement on the issue of Gay tourism, and they graciously sent me one: “For Immediate Release: June 18, 2013 “Statement Attributable to Mike McCartney, President and CEO Hawai‘i Tourism Authority “REGARDING LGBT TOURISM “Hawai‘i is an island community of diverse cultures and customs and is known as a place of mutual respect, tolerance and aloha for all. “The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) focuses their efforts to market the

Hawaiian Islands in their major market areas, including North America, Japan, Other Asia (China, Korea and Taiwan), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and Europe. “Our unique people, place and culture make Hawai‘i an ideal destination for all people to enjoy.” This was my introduction to the Wall of Mush. The statement was pleasant, inclusive - generic. Ostensibly written to address LGBT tourism, it does not mention LGBT tourists. This statement could refer to any demographic – “Regarding LGBT Tourism” could be replaced with “Regarding Twerker Tourism” and no other changes would be necessary. Besides, the HTA does target niche markets like golfers and (Straight) couples for marriage romantic get-away, or family vacation packages. Is the HTA afraid to refer directly to Gay people? What kind of person is this “Mike McCartney”? I got my answer from Daniel Chun, another champion of the LGBT community who has extensive experience with local tourism. Don’t blame McCartney, said Daniel. “Mike McCartney has supported the Gay community for decades. In the ‘90s when he was in the State Senate, he defended

marriage equality even when it wasn’t popular.” Perhaps the HTA’s perspective has been adversely affected by exposure to Gay male publications. Hawai’i may be politically progressive, but there is a strong streak of social conservatism that favors modesty and decorum. Visions of Andrew Christian underwear and lube advertisements go against local mores.

In addition, the LGBT community would be in a better bargaining position if it presented a unified front with more specifically LGBT events to offer. These factors do not excuse the HTA and HVCB for years of inaction. Nevertheless, our community should do its part to make our case. See TOURISM on p24

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L ifesty le

Puahi Benzon By: Flavia Francesquini | Images: HTL | Stylist: Caleb Shinobi

My number one reason to avoid the gym is lack of time. Between watching cooking shows and Grey’s Anatomy, I barely have time to get to Liliha Bakery for fresh baked cookies! Puahi Benzon makes my whole elaborate lack-of-time excuse sound a little lame. He works full time as Vice President of Operations at a firm that keeps track of public records. He also has a part time job assisting an attorney with real estate and commercial litigation. Because that’s not enough, on his spare time he is starting a gorgeous jewelry line and, despite working these insane hours, Puahi still finds time to go to the gym. Everyday.

Age: 35 hometown: KaIlUa, OaHU ethnicity: HAwAIIAn, FILIPIno + okInAwAn turn on: SenSe OF HUmOr + a GooD SMILE turn off: arrOgance + cOcKIneSS

Puahi’s parents seem to have known something about their baby when they named him. “Puahi” is the Hawaiian word for something fast, lightning, like the flick of a match. Get to know him and you will see that spark in his eye. He is passionate about everything he does, and no aspect of his life suffers from a lack of enthusiasm - a characteristic that is the common thread shared by those who live happy and fulfilling lives. Both of his parents had children from previous marriages, and Puahi is one of the ten kids they have between them. A large family can sometimes offer challenges. But in Puahi’s case, he has found silent acceptance all around. He was studying Finance at Hawai’i Pacific University when his mom asked him if he were Gay. “I was shocked that she asked,” he said, “but I figured it was my best opportunity to say yes, so I did. She wasn’t sure how to react. I think she knew, but being sure was still hard for her. She was very quiet for a while and then never really talked about it again, but I know she has accepted me.” During that time, his dad was ill and the decision was made not to tell his father about Puahi’s orientation. Unfortunately his dad passed away, but

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Lifesty le

Puahi has had support from his siblings as well. “we don’t say much about it and part of it is cultural… but I have brought a boyfriend home to family functions and there is never an issue.” Being quiet at home is one thing, but what about behind the scenes in the bodybuilding world? Judging by the amount of testosterone exhibited in these events, homophobia could be rampant, or the very opposite could be happening. Are a lot of body builders Gay? Puahi is quick to disengage me from this line of questioning: “oh, let’s not generalize… there are some Gay guys into bodybuilding, but not all of course. And not all the ones who are Gay are willing to admit to it in the circuit. I never really have any problems – some people know about me, others don’t – it’s never been an issue.” Puahi started lifting in 2008 at the age of 30, and entered his first competition that same year. Two years later, he placed third in his weight class (150 – 176 lbs.) at Muscle Mania in San Diego. In 2012, he took third again in the Ikaika competition here at home. It takes him 6 to 9 months to get ready for competition. During that time, he follows a more strict diet and puts more hours in the gym – how he finds these hours, only Heaven knows. Some of his tips for those who are getting physically ready for the summer: lOw carb, HIgH PrOteIn dIet He goes down to no carbs, but we don’t need to go that far just to get into our bathing suits. gOOd lOOKIng PecS work your way up to benching 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps each. Start lIgHt Make sure your form is correct, then increase weights. bUddy SyStemS you are more likely to go to the gym if someone is waiting for you there. TIME choose a time of day that works for you and stick with it. Thinking about skipping the gym today? Then come up with an excuse that does not include lack of time. For extra inspiration, tack this page to the fridge! // july 2013 | 7


By Mickey weems

“I’m neither politically correct nor politically expedient.” This quote from Colleen Hanabusa, Representative from Hawai’i in the U.S. Congress, sums up her attitude towards politics. Hanabusa has been criticized for not supporting full marriage equality before December 2012. But her dogged insistence on getting civil unions through the Hawai’i State Legislature since 2009 was instrumental in successfully taking the first steps to government recognition of same-sex marriage. She also has a reputation for not backing down when she sees blatant ass-hattery, such as calling out FOX commentator Bill O’Reilly to his face when he implied that Asian Americans in Hawai’i must not be as “industrious and hard-working” as those on the mainland because so many on the Islands are not Conservatives. “I was told not to appear on his show,” she said in an exclusive interview for eXpression! Magazine. But she went on The O’Reilly Factor anyway. “I’m not gonna punk out with Bill O’Reilly!” she asserted, maybe just a touch of her hometown Wai’anae peeking through her calm demeanor. And she didn’t punk out when it came to answering the following questions, the first two taken directly from her critics.

Why did it take so long for you to declare your support for full marriage equality?

I had to re-examine some closely held beliefs and reflect on exactly what marriage meant to me in order to come to the position I hold today. I’m glad I did that, and I hope many, many more in our community engage in that personal reflection. But I also knew that I could not just claim to support a position just for the purposes of political expediency. I had to be able to say, “This is what I truly believe.” Like many people of my generation, I grew up with certain assumptions about families and relationships. With reflection, discussion, and personal experience, those views have changed over time. I believe that is what we are seeing in America today. To me, it is critical that we encourage that process. I am willing to say, “It took you awhile to get here, but we’re glad to see you.” I have always considered myself a person who supports equal rights for all Americans. I worked hard to get Hawai’i’s first civil unions bill passed, although that version was vetoed by Governor Linda Lingle.

You strike me as a “sure bet” politician, careful not to make promises until you are certain you can follow through. If this is a fair assessment, what is the difference between “sure bet” and “leading from behind”? See HANABUSA on p26

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Images courtesy of colleen hanabusa


By: Pride at Work Hawai‘i

Across the U.S. ninety percent of Trans workers report experiencing mistreatment on the job, or taking actions like hiding who they are to avoid it. They face harassment from co-workers, discrimination because they fail to comply with gender-based norms, improper forms of address, dress codes that deny their authentic gender expression, government and companyissued IDs that don’t reflect who they are, lack of safe access to appropriate restrooms and locker rooms, and denial of essential health care. Despite this, the vast majority (78%) of Trans workers report that they feel more comfortable at work, and their job performance improves, once they transition.* Even in Hawai’i, where the Civil Rights Commission has long considered gender identity and expression protected classes in employment, and where a 2011 law expressly forbids anti-Trans discrimination, stories abound about unfair and illegal treatment faced by Trans workers, including: - During his transition, a transman was questioned by his employer about his gender identity, and then required to explain his entire transition process to his employer’s board of directors. He was later released from his position. - An employer attempted to force a transwoman to comply with a dress code policy that required her to wear her hair “as a man.”

The following are guidelines that can help to maintain a harassment-free and supportive environment for Trans employees in the workplace:

Prohibit Discrimination

Expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in all policies and collective bargaining agreements.


Institute protocols for gender / physiological transitioning that clearly delineate expectations of transitioning employees, their supervisors, colleagues and other staff, including the need to respect the privacy of Trans employees.

Education and Training Programs Incorporate education about gender identity and expression in diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity compliance training programs.


Change a transitioning employee’s name and gender in all appropriate personnel and administrative records, including personnel directories, e-mail address and business cards. See DRAG on p27

*February 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Do you have LGBT workplace issues you’d like us to discuss? Contact us at or 543-6054. PRIDE AT WORK HAWAI‘I advocates for full equality and inclusiveness in the workplace for LGBT workers and its families to build solidarity between the Labor movement and the LGBT community. // july 2013 | 9


UH fans never forgot about the ‘Bows.

but Jay Drops the Ball By Mickey weems

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When June Jones took the Rainbow out of Rainbow Warriors football in 2000, he was careful not to mention the real reason why he made the change: the rise of Gay pride, which inspired homophobes to turn the word “rainbow” into a synonym for “faggot.” Jones kowtowed to the haters and proved himself a coward. Many UH football fans, however, could give a shit about the haters or The Gays. They continued to chant “GO ‘BOWS!” at games, and fourteen years later, that tradition is still going strong. Their stubborn attachment led to outright anger with Ben Jay when he decided

ex cathedra to further Jones’ Gay-shame agenda and erase the Rainbow from all men’s sports teams. Jones and Jay never said anything about faggots, and this is part of the problem. If an issue is never addressed, it is difficult to ever resolve. Jay gave in to (presumably Straight) fans’ pressure and brought back the Rainbow Warriors for all men’s teams. Like Jones, Jay’s silence on the LGBT angle was deafening. Homophobes, however, did not keep silent as they insulted Jay, UH Football and the LGBT community. Internet forums had plenty of Gayhate messages - bigots called


the athletic director “Ben Gay.” The smart bigots got their point across by substituting “fairy” for “faggot” as to prevent their posts from being blocked. When eXpression! requested an interview with Jay, the response was unfortunate. We were told that there was nothing to talk about. The decision to bring back the ‘Bows had nothing to do with LGBTs. Ben Jay is a busy man who does not have time to talk with us face-to-face. But maybe he might get back to us by email. It has been weeks since we first tried to get a statement. We are still waiting. Jay’s refusal to address the subject is tragic. UH is missing a great opportunity to clean up a reputation tarnished by Jones over a decade ago, and further degraded by the “faggot dance” comment made by Coach Greg McMackin, in 2009. The sports industry is rapidly changing for the good. Pro hockey has released LGBTsupportive videos, as have sports teams (including football teams) across the USA. Our most recent triumph in Hawai’i has been the reinstitution of the Rainbow Warriors, a symbolic victory

The sports industry is rapidly changing for the good.

Pro hockey has released LGBTsupportive videos, as have sports teams (including football teams) across the USA.

for LGBT people that brought forth congratulations from Waimanalo’s own Esera Tuaolo, one of the few out pro football players, and still presents a terrific opportunity for UH Manoa to gain some much-needed positive publicity, especially after last year’s Stevie Wondergate. If Ben Jay and the Powers That Be at UH Manoa got their heads out of their collective asses, UH Athletics would lead the way in the anti-bullying movement. An ad campaign could promote UH Rainbow Warrior Pride that includes all people of any orientation, gender expression, ethnicity and religion. Gay folks are more than willing to share our most visible symbol, just as long as we are not rendered invisible. But this requires Jay to step up, So far, he has not done so. When Jay was at Ohio State University, he worked with the great Jim Tressell, the first college coach to openly accept Gay football players into his team. But none of that foresight and compassion appears to have made its way to Ben Jay. He does not have the courage to do something great. Sad to say, Jay is not half the man that Tressell was.

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Walking Light on This Planet By: Flavia Francesquini | Images: HTL | Stylist: Caleb Shinobi

Equilibrium is what most of us search for on a daily basis - whether consciously or not. Anything we either lack or have in excess will inevitably cause mayhem in our lives. This innate search for balance is well represented by the Yin and Yang symbol, a reminder that we were meant to live harmoniously with nature and one another. Hawai’i is the perfect place to find natural representations of balance - just sit on a surfboard off the coast of Kailua and look up at the majestic Ko’olaus. Yin and Yang can also be represented in unexpected forms, like two beautiful women whose differences are so complimentary to each other that they cause people to pause and smile. Meet Allison Gandre and Achintya Paez, partners in business and in life. They have joined their amazing talents to help others achieve their own well-balanced place in the world.

To BolT The BiBle BelT: Allison GAndre Gandre grew up smack in the middle of the Bible belt in a small Texas town. Although she lives up to the myth that Texas’ women make the most successful Miss America contestants, Gandre had very different plans for herself. She made her way out of there soon after graduating from University of Texas in Austin, where she earned a pre-medical // july 2013 | 13

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Left: Left: Achintya Achintya Paez Paez| Right: | Right: Allison Allison Gandre Gandre WARdRoBe WARdRoBe PRovIded PRovIded By: By: lBdB lBdB KAhAlA KAhAlA AddITIonAL AddITIonAL FASHIon FASHIon STyLISTS: STyLISTS: CyrinA CyrinA hAdAd hAdAd + + MArC MArC WATerMAn WATerMAn MAke MAke uPuP ARTIST: ARTIST: AnGel AnGel deihl deihl

science degree in nutrition while also concentrating in exercise physiology, human performance research and advanced sports nutrition. She went on to receive her doctorate from Bastyr University in Seattle. A traveler with a curious mind, Gandre has worked in Europe and has extensive experience with people suffering from injuries, struggling with auto-immune diseases, facing weight issues, or dealing with chronic pain. Hawai’i had always been one of her favorite places, one she visited as often as possible. “I have always felt drawn to Hawai’i since I was a child!” she said enthusiastically. “I was not sure why, just that I wanted to be here and I made the move two years ago.”

walking light and living healthy Eat clean Have a protein-based diet free of pesticides, artificial colors etc. Hydrate Dehydration causes all kinds of problems from constipation to foggy minds. The formula is to divide your weight in half and drink that in ounces. (If you weigh 140 lbs, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water every day). Move your body Whether you like to dance, to walk, or to swim, do it! Manage stress and fears Feeling stressed will exacerbate any health condition. A deep breath will snap you out of a stressful moment. Simply breathing in and out changes body chemistry and it helps to calm down. Add a positive thought to breathing - a child, a pet, the beach, a favorite song - and feel even better. Be mindful Pay attention to thoughts for they create reality. If walking around with negative thoughts, shift the mind into a better gear.

Perhaps Gandre was meant to be here in order to meet Paez, the Venezuelan who stole her heart. She recalled having lunch in Kailua and feeling the strong impulse to walk up to Paez’s clinic. Gandre was looking around the reception area when Paez came out and asked if she wanted to make an appointment. “I felt silly just standing there so I said, ‘Sure!’ Looking back on it makes me laugh, but from the very beginning there was such a connection between us. I wasn’t sure what it was then, but I knew that there was an unstoppable energy between us.” Even as Gandre spoke of this exciting time in her life, she remained soft-spoken and calm. This was her demure bearing throughout the entire time we talked.

yAnG To yin: AChinTyA PAez The Yang to Gandre’s Yin, Paez is one of those people that emanates the type of happy, contagious energy. She too left her hometown at the age of 18 and didn’t look back. For the next 14 years she traveled the world searching for knowledge and studying meditation and healing techniques. “Once I started moving I couldn’t stop,” she said. “But like Allison, I always had an inclination to come to Hawai’i.” Paez lived in Hawai’i for a about five years before she went back into the world for more experiences. “I like to travel, I like to learn, and I learned a lot of what I know about Oriental medicine in India. But I have also learned a lot of Western medicine in Maui.” For those not familiar with the term, “Oriental medicine” has been practiced for more than 2,500 years in places such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Tibet and India. Practitioners of Oriental medicine focus on bringing balance between body, mind and soul. Paez, a licensed acupuncturist and a clinical hypnotherapist, is a passionate connoisseur of the art of healing. It was just natural that she would join forces with Gandre to help others. “We share some of the same philosophies, but use different tools,” said Gandre. “We both go to the root of the prob-

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as pain, infertility, immune system dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, and digestive disorders. Gandre and Paez talk about “trash can diagnosis”: “This is a term we came up with for something that has been deemed incurable, but it’s not so,” explained Gandre. “We have helped people who had been labeled with chronic diseases or conditions that completely debilitated them to the point where they couldn’t function. But they are now working and doing the regular things they did before they got sick.” “We have seen people who have come to us after a stroke, or something just as debilitating, and they had tried everything,” added Paez. “I’m not dismissing Eastern medicine because I think there is a place for it, but we have a different approach and we can help these people.” Paez and Gandre have found a way of practicing medicine that follows the body’s natural rhythms. Their patients see a tremendous difference in treatment styles as soon as they come for the first visit. While regular doctors at bigger offices may spend no more than 8 minutes with each patient, the first consultation at The Lotus Clinic takes an hour and a half. Gandre and Paez agree that this is the only way to truly get to know someone and what their needs really are.

TiPs for BeTTer livinG

lem instead of treating the symptoms.” Gandre, they have opened a second Paez adds, “We all have three levels: clinic in Kaimuki. While some of what physical, emotional and psychological. they offer may seem very holistic in naThere has to be balance between these ture, there is a science behind it. areas - this balance is what we try to achieve and our approaches are very TrAshinG The TrAsh CAn complementary to each other.” diAGnosis All this healing takes place at The Lotus The patients they see come from all Clinic in Kailua, a place Achintya start- walks of life. Most are adults who sufed twelve years ago. Since meeting fer from a wide range of illnesses such 16 |

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At the end of 45 minutes with these lovely women, I felt like an old friend. They wanted to know about my life and what brought me to Hawai’i. They were genuinely curious in a way that made me want to order a smoothie and schedule an appointment. Gandre told me that they try to “walk the talk” - they live what they preach by being aware of the environment, recycling, buying local, eating well, supporting civil rights and women’s issues, and doing what they can to live in balance with nature and others. “We try to walk light on this planet,” said Paez.


By Flavia Francesquini

I Know You Like Your Closet, But It’s Much Nicer Out Here! I love to play poker. Admittedly, it has a lot to do with being with a handful of good friends, sharing stories, joking around, puffing cigars and sipping on cold beers. But it’s also about the game itself. It’s about counting the chips, calculating odds, knowing when to fold and when to go all in. Most of us in the LGBT community have - or will - come to a point in life where we have to come out to the people whose opinion matter most to us. Whether we do it consciously or not, most of us practice coming out on a few people we don’t mind losing before we get to the people we truly hope will continue to love us. The folks who raised us (whether they are our parents or not) are often the toughest to approach on the subject because their reaction can be so detrimental to our own self-image. Coming out to our loved ones in many cases is betting the farm, going all in, leaving no chip behind. It’s the hand that will change the game forever.

Dealing with rejection can be devastating. Some would argue that learning a loved one is Gay can be just as overwhelming, but perhaps looking at this issue from each other’s point of view will help us come to a better understanding for all involved.

All in. In the next issues, we will explore the ups and downs of stepping out of the closet. I encourage you to write to me with your questions, concerns and suggestions as we discuss what we can do to make the process less painful and more productive. This short series will aim to assist anyone thinking about coming out or already dealing with the consequences of doing so, but it’s not just for those who are taking the risk - we will offer insights to those on the other side of this conversation, the ones who receive the news. Parents, relatives and best friends can benefit from knowing what it is like for us, when we place all our chips on a hand that will change how we play the game for years to come.

Send your letters to (Attn: Flavia).

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Sty le

MAMo Wearable Art Show and Maile Andrade By: Mickey weems | Images: Kapulani Landgraf

This May was the eighth annual Maoli Arts Month (MAMo), a celebration of the Native Hawaiian visual arts community. One of MAMo’s highlights is the Wearable Art Show. Fashionistas across the Islands live for the event, which features collections of some of Hawai’i’s top designers, including this year’s MAMo Awardee, multimedia artist Maile Andrade.

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Wearable Art Show - May 22, Hawaii Theatre The fashion show began well before the models hit the stage. People arriving at the show brought their A-game: Hawaiian chic at its best. Stealing the pre-runway limelight were Paulette Kahalepuna and granddaughter Lele Wong, sporting avant-garde potatochip hats of their own creation. Wearable art, indeed. Designers each had 10-minute slots, giving the audience eight different visions of what Hawaiian fashion can be.

lively commentary from start to finish. Many designers featured live music in their shows, from Hawaiian oli and mele (Nunes) to Hawaiian and Tahitian-French (Wahine Toa) to Italian, French, and Spanish (Manuheali’i, with Aaron Sala on the grand piano).

MAMo 2013 Awardee of the Year: Maile Andrade Sophistication is what comes to mind when contemplating the work of Maile Andrade. When asked to define it, she said three words: “Selection and editing.” Considering that Andrade is adept in all kinds of media, her biggest challenge is deciding what not to show.

Models for kakau uhi (tattoo) artist Keone Nunes were first on stage. Hawaiian chant, song, dance and stage-surfing accompanied distinctive traditional patterns done on skin and saffron-colored malo as well as contemporary beach gear. Wahine Toa, Lauwa’e, Puamana Crabbe, Manuheali’i and Hina brought the rainbow in their bold patterns for casual and formal aloha wear. The show ended in a Marquez Marzan fantasy in yellow, white and orange fabric with subtle prints upon which his multicolored jewelry sparkled in surreal splendor. Vicky Holt Takamine and Robert Uluwehi Cazimero provided

Her selection and editing give cohesion to her work as she layers pattern upon texture upon message in ways that deepen the Andrade experience. Her celebrated fabric is case in point: sensual velvet on sheer, blending shine and shadow in the midst of shifting colors and repetitive embedded shapes, as if warp and woof contain entire conversations. Andrade used her ten minutes in the Wearable Art Show to transport the audience to a 1950s Hawaiian-bohemian café. Jazz music set a retro mood as blackclad beatniks draped in colorful Andrade tunics and scarves hit the stage. Beret-bedecked poets Imai Kalahele and Noelle Kahanu read verses about mo’o, na’au and newa as seriousSee MAMo on p27

Serving the LgBt community Since 1993

Tyronne Dang MD Board Certified (Internal Medicine) Provider of the Year ( 2004)

1441 Kapiolani Blvd Ste 1810 Honolulu HI 96814 Call 951-1511 for appointment // july 2013 | 19


addiction with addiction and the result: his HIV diagnosis.

By: Chris Azzopardi Images: Garoar Olafsson

Musician’s tell-all interview on HIV, addiction and revealing new album. John Grant’s head is like a prison, and inside are words waiting to get out. These words flood the melodies of the songs on his second LP, the critically praised Pale Green Ghosts, and they also free-flow in conversation like he’s been wanting to get something off his chest. The former Czars singer was personal without any probing, a patient sitting across from his therapist, exorcizing all his inner-most demons and the sea of emotions welling inside: anger, disappointment, regret.

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All of Grant’s words are laced with these feelings. And these feelings are a result of, as Grant put it, “self-hatred” and “self-loathing.” Without reservation, the Iceland-based artist chatted with the same easy candidness about his debut, 2010’s Queen of Denmark, and its recently released follow-up Pale Green Ghosts, rife with frank confessions regarding his flawed self-assurance, being a target of small-town homophobia, his

“Who wants to hear about some diseased faggot and his disease that he got that he deserved because he’s living this horrible lifestyle?” Grant said outright when he explained his HIV catharsis piece, “Ernest Borgnine,” a self-proclaimed “expression of anger and absurdity” that sorts out his behavior through the perspective of the track’s actornamesake – a song he said isn’t a fit for radio audiences. No matter; it wasn’t for them anyway. It was written for Grant. “I needed to explore why I allowed myself to get HIV after I spent so much time getting sober and turning my back on self-destructive behavior,” he said. “Why did I have to keep the self-destructive behavior in the realm of sex for myself?” It was always some realm for Grant. The realm of drugs, of

alcohol, of sex. “It didn’t matter what I could get my hands on to achieve that different state of mind,” he said. “I can do it with food, or with spending money.” He could do it, unprotected, with an HIV-positive man. And he did, resulting in his seroconversion. “This shouldn’t have happened – and yet, here we are. And what does it say about you that you still allowed this to happen?” By turning the song’s perspective onto Borgnine, an actor Grant adores and once met at a New York restaurant, he found his answer: “That you weren’t completely willing to let go of your self-loathing. That I still had a long way to go ... and still had many things that I needed to let go of. “I was holding onto things that were still hurting me. The truth is, it was self-destructive behavior just like any of the other addictions that needed to be dealt with – and it came directly from the self-hatred and self-loathing of the last 25, 30 years or whatever.


Getting the HIV diagnosis was a huge wake-up call for me that I still have a long way to go.” Being open about his status, which he revealed during his opening gig for a Hercules and Love Affair show in London last year, was part of the process. That was, for him, acknowledging he wasn’t invisible anymore. That fantasy world he’d always escape to? It was gone. “I have a very strong tendency to want to avoid things and hide from them,” he admitted. “I was standing on a stage when I said it and I was about to sing a song that had everything to do with that, but I didn’t want to be dramatic. I knew I wouldn’t be able to decide until that moment. “This whole shame thing is what gets me into a lot of trouble anyway – this hiding, this feeling like I should be ashamed and that I’m a lesser human because of this.” Now, though, he’s more because of this, as Grant’s revelation – to himself, and to the world – has broken down the same doors that many HIV-positive people hide behind for fear of being judged. Not to mention, he’s been sober since 2004. “I don’t think that I’m this maverick who’s going to change the way people think about certain things,” Grant said, “but I can talk about my own experience. And by being open about it – who knows, maybe there’s people out there dealing with certain issues. Maybe they’re ashamed about it and maybe they’ll think to themselves, ‘Well, if he can say something about it – and he’s up on stage – then

maybe I can admit it to myself. Maybe I can deal with it.’” The cover of Pale Green Ghosts doesn’t reveal much: sitting in a coffeehouse Grant frequents in Reykjavik – the largest city in Iceland and also the capital where he currently lives – he is stoic, still and alone at a table with two books and a brew. There’s mystery and intrigue, and none of the transparency of his unambiguous words.

“It was really early in the morning, “There’s a part of me that wants and I didn’t want to show any to look strong and not vulneremotion,” he said. “I suppose able at all because I learned that’s what a man is,” he said. in photos maybe I look serious, because I don’t want to reveal “I’m sure that’s in my subconscious when I’m having my too much of my vulnerability with my eyes, which is really photo taken. I want to appear easy to do in photos if you don’t strong and like an impenetrable fortress ... which I’m not.” control it.” That Grant can be completely guileless musically, but less so in photographs is His sharp tongue is his shield. telling – a contradiction that’s Even when he’s self-analytinot lost on him. cal on album standout “GMF,” // july 2013 | 21


saying he’d be the underdog if ever cast in a film, he masks his insecurities with biting wit and self-boasting that even he doesn’t seem to entirely believe (the song’s acronym refers to him, the “Greatest Mother Fucker”). “Humor has always been my default protective mechanism,” Grant said. I told him he’s good at self-deprecation. Grant laughed. “Yeah, I’m a pro.”

rich baritone of his), the sound echoes ’80s electro – the music of the singer’s adolescence in which Green Ghosts is firmly rooted. “That’s when all the problems really started and where I began to see that I was up to my ears in shit,” he said. Grant spent the first 12 years of his life in Buchanan, a city on the far west side of Michigan that’s no more than five square miles. His first album, Queen of Denmark reflected those tumultuous childhood years.

One of the most poignant moments on Green Ghosts comes “It was a nightmare,” he said of during the coda, “Glacier,” small-town life. “It was like a which is about “the whole Gay horror movie because you saw marriage circus” and his feelings yourself turning into this creaof frustration, despair and disap- ture that was completely unacpointment. The song inspires ceptable. The more you realized with a mantra that could just as there was nothing you could easily be his own – “don’t bedo about it, the more horrible it come paralyzed with fear when became because you were also things seem particularly rough” starting to realize just how seri– but in conversation, that pasous the people were, who were sion turned to anger. telling you that it was not OK – and that people would much “The Bible is not the Constitution rather abandon you as a person of the United States, and in this then deal with your ‘sickness.’” country, you don’t get to force your beliefs on somebody else,” That time, though, was also he said. “You don’t get to do the beginning of the bond he that. That’s called totalitarianmade with the music that would ism. That’s called a dictatorship. inspire Green Ghosts: electronic, That’s called a theocracy. And new wave and romantic sounds that’s not what we have here in of the ’80s. The Eurythmics’s the United States of America. sophomore LP, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) was his first “It’s an atmosphere of compascrush, but he also fell in love sion on that song, where I’m with Devo and Yazoo. saying, ‘Don’t let it destroy your life.’ That’s why I wrote What’s the sound of a 44-yearthis song, because I know that old man who’s weathered there are a lot of other people everything from drug addiction out there who feel that way. Of to HIV? “Lots of distortion and course, these days, it does Wall of Sound guitars mixed seem like there’s a lot of changwith huge cinemascapes and es, you know. But there are still electronic Vangelis-esque Blade a lot of problems, too. I don’t Runner-scapes.” think that things have changed as much as a lot of people think It’s a sound that could inspire they have.” his next album, which he suggested may follow the trajectory Though Grant’s stream-of-conof his work so far and explore sciousness songwriting is at the the next phase: adulthood. forefront of his work (as is that 22 |

// july 2013

“The songs just trickle in and happen, whether you like it or not,” he said of the follow-up LP, “and then – this is gonna sound really stupid and retarded – but the songs choose what kind of clothes they’re gonna be wearing sonically, and it really makes sense to me. “I think you will also hear the sounds of Pale Green Ghosts, though, just because I love synthesizers so much and I can’t get enough of them. But maybe I’ll do a country album at some

point, too, because there’s lots of country music that I think is amazing. I could do anything. That’s the tough part: figuring out what you’re going to do, because you can do anything. I can imagine doing a metal record, too.” How about a country-metal record? “Yeah,” he laughed, “thereby ending my career permanently.” See? He’s much more in touch with reality these days.

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Continued from p5

What the State Can Do “It is difficult for individual businesses to have the resources to promote a destination worldwide,” said John Tanzella, President and CEO of the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA). He noted that the State of Hawai’i has not done much in recent years. “Hawai’i has so much potential to increase its visitation from Gay and Lesbian travelers. I believe their hotels and inbound tour operators would welcome this growth in revenues.” John recommended that the state do the following: 1. Join the IGLTA.

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// july 2013

2. Create an LGBT web page or micro-site featuring history, art/culture, beaches, hikes, etc. with an LGBT spin. Utilize the knowledge of local businesses already marketing to the LGBT traveler. 3. Host LGBT press fams (special tours and workshops) for national and international media.

What We Can Do These things that could be factors that led to the Wall of Mush: The local LGBT community has not presented a unified business front, neither has it endorsed a comprehensive, year-long calendar of events. Having two Prides and a split

community in prior years did not help. Also, there is an impression that Gay tourism means advertising for a bunch of cracked-out Circuit boys, or Pride parades featuring go-go boys in thongs, and Leathermen in butt-less chaps. But there is good news. First, we now have a single Pride event on one day. The community is finally taking steps towards a position to act as a united front. Second, there is money available to each of the four counties for specific events that attract favorable attention abroad. The Rainbow Film Festival is one such event that has benefited from that money. Like the Rainbow Film Festival, these events must be more than Circuit parties or Leather runs. If we want help from the state, we should come up with things that fit into the image the state has generated for Hawai’i as a tourist destination. One area that is

wide open is sports, such as volleyball, softball, golf, soccer. Annual tournaments or even a Hawai’i version of the Gay Games/Iron Man would be great for three reasons: they are seen as healthy rather than sleazy, events can be geared to women as well as men, and advertisements can feature non-sleazy, but hot women and men in athletic gear - the best of both worlds. Promotion of events dealing with education, Oceania intercultural exchange and even Gay families could help to change the impression that the LGBT community is only about men’s hedonistic excess. Hawai’i has first-class LGBT cultural events such as the Rainbow Film Festival and Universal ShowQueen. But we need a fuller calendar. If we encourage the HTA and HVCB to do more to bring LGBT tourists because there are plenty of LGBT activities, there is no reason why things could not change for the better.

C ommunity

By D’Anne Witkowski

Get it? Because Gays are all about the butt sex. It’s now okay to be a Gay Boy Scout, but not a Gay Man Scout. As we all know, the second a Gay male turns 18, he turns from a child into a child predator. At least on the planet inhabited by the anti-Gay Right. On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council voted to end the long-standing ban on Gay Scouts, but to keep the ban on Gay troop leaders in place. Gay rights folks are only half impressed. Unsurprisingly, the anti-Gay Right is going berserk. A lot of nastiness erupted on Twitter after the announcement. Peter LaBarbera, founder and president of the ironically named Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, sputtered, “Boy Scouts dug own grave,” and warned of an anti-Gay splinter group. Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber Tweeted, “Boy Scouts of America: Born February 8, 1910 | Died, May 23, 2013 #RIP,” as if death notices don’t deserve at least a phone call. But by far the nastiest comments came from the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. “BSA now stands for Boy Sodomizers of America,

because that’s what will happen,” Fischer tweeted. “Mark my words.” Get it? Because Gays are all about the butt sex. Letting Gay kids be Boy Scouts, instead of ostracizing them like God intended, means that the entire organization is basically going to be a big rape party. No longer will Boy Scouts make pinewood derby cars or learn how to build campfires. The BSA in Fischer’s twisted fantasy is all anal-penetration all the time. “Mark my words” is a nice touch, too. As if Fischer is gleefully waiting to be proven right, as if this is actually what he wants to see happen. But perhaps Fischer is just speaking out of unhinged anger after being proven wrong. In February, Fischer ranted on Focal Point, his radio show, the following prediction: “...the ban on homosexual Scout masters and homosexual participants, that ban is going to be upheld. It’s going to be defended. It’s the end of the game. This is game over. This is the Super Bowl and the good guys have won. Make no mistake about this, this is a huge win for the

pro-family movement; it is a big, big, big setback for Big Gay.” Oops. Granted, one could say he was half right since, after all, Gay grown-ups are still banned, but Fischer was adamant that BSA would never change its stance on young participants as well as adults. He had no contingency plan. It never dawned on him that BSA would adopt a more humane policy toward Gays of any age. Now that they’ve done it, Fischer is sure he knows why. He Tweeted, “Boy Scouts have sold their soul for a mess of corporate pottage. They will wind up with lots of money and no scouts.” That’s right. It’s all about the Benjamins. Just a bunch of

greedy bastards in neckerchiefs up in the BSA. No doubt money is going to start pouring in now that the queers are here. And with cash in hand, the Gay BSA take-over will be complete. Before long, Dan Savage will get a fleur-de-lis tattoo on his forehead and Elton John will perform “Can You Feel the Cubs Tonight” at the next National Scout Jamboree. Or, in all likelihood, nothing much will happen except some Gay kids who previously felt excluded may join. Some kids who are freaked out (or, more likely, whose parents are freaked out) may quit. And Gay kids who are already members will take comfort in knowing that an organization that requires a serious level of dedication doesn’t officially forsake them. Mark my words.

// july 2013 | 25

Continued from p8 Hawai’i Governor John Burns famously said that anybody can take a stand—although his language was slightly saltier—and it’s true that it’s easy to say that you support a particular position. But it takes real belief and real commitment to get things done. I’m not the type to say things or take positions just because I want people to like me. If I say something, I’m going to back it up. If I make a promise, I’m going to deliver. There’s an easy way to look like a leader: Find a parade, run to the front of it, and pretend it was your idea all along. And then there is the harder process of actually being a leader: find a new path, chart a new course, and convince people to come along with you. I have no interest in being the former. I welcome the challenge of doing the latter.

I know I’m not going to get everybody to agree with me one hundred percent of the time. I was elected to do what is right, not to do what is popular.

Describe your work with Kim Coco Iwamoto and other LGBT activists/politicians. I have enjoyed working with Kim Coco Iwamoto, and have been proud to support her career. She has proven herself to be a committed, effective advocate in a number of areas in addition to LGBT issues. She demonstrated great courage and leadership in running for office in Hawai’i, and serving well and proudly on our Board of Education. But I also recognize her for her personal commitment to our state, serving as a certified therapeutic foster parent, a mentor, and a leader. We haven’t always agreed, but she has been respectful about differences of opinion, which I consider to be an important quality in a leader. I have also developed a good working relationship with JoAnn Adams, an attorney and active LGBT activist in Honolulu. Again, there have been times when we have disagreed, particularly around the initial passage of Hawai’i’s civil unions law. Jo-Ann and some other activists would have liked to

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// july 2013

Colleen Hanabusa and I spoke for an hour and 45 minutes. Besides LGBT issues, we discussed Wai’anae, her education (Saint Andrew’s Priory, BA, MA in Sociology and Juris Doctor at UH Manoa), her Buddhist faith (Jodo Shinshu), environmental/energy issues, the role of the U.S. military. I chose only what was directly relevant to her reputation in the LGBT community for this article. There is, however, so much more to Representative Hanabusa.

see the law pass more quickly; as an elected official, it was my duty to ensure that the law we passed was as strong as we could make it. However, I now count Jo-Ann among my strongest supporters, and I was proud to have her standing up for me this past December while the Democratic Party of Hawai’i reviewed and voted on candidates to succeed the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye in the U.S. Senate.

Continued from p9


Grant restroom and locker room access according to an employee’s gender presentation, regardless of what stage that person is in their transition process.

Dress Codes

Modify dress codes to avoid gender stereotypes and allow Trans employees to dress, use make-up, wear facial hair, and wear their hair in accordance with their gender presentation.


Cover essential medical needs, such as those defined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care, in employerprovided health care and disability insurance plans.


Provide equal recognition to the partners and children of Trans employees. When Trans workers are accorded full dignity and respect, everyone benefits. The worker feels more secure by being able to maintain authenticity in gender presentation, the employer gains a more productive worker, and a safer workplace is created for everyone, regardless of gender expression.

Continued from p19 faced yet playful models struck dramatic poses. The daring juxtaposition of monochrome/color and Kerouac/Kanaka Maoli worked.

‘Ike Loloa

‘Ike Loloa, May 17 - October 7 “Daring juxtaposition” is par for the course for Andrade. Besides her runway triumph, the 2013 MAMo awardee displayed the breadth of her artistic prowess in her exhibition, ‘Ike Loloa: A Long Insightful Journey in the Bishop Museum’s J.M. Long Gallery. ‘Ike Loloa features a range of media: monochrome sketches on paper, a row of glass faces infused with writing and multicolored symbols, large shiny metallic baskets, a swirl of smaller dyed baskets made of lauhala leaves with a triangular glass jewel in the center of each basket, solid ceramic sentinels with rocks in their abstracted mouths, her signature scarves,

a long insightful journey May 18-October 7, 2013 Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

a quilt incorporating military-issue gloves. Each piece requires moving closer for intimate encounter, none more so than “Enter-Generational,” four composite images of her kinfolk in glass square portraits. From a distance, the faces are clear. Walk closer and the faces blur, then begin to sparkle. ‘Ike Loloa has elements of marvelous continuity. In 2009,

Andrade created glass faces for the museum’s permanent display in Hawaiian Hall. Those faces are maybe 50 yards from Long Gallery. Juxtapose those unmarked faces that reference ancestors stretching back into the mists of time with the row of newer, more colorful faces in ‘Ike Loloa, and we have the ki’i of an entire people. Such continuity is MAMo’s strength and the source of its sophistication.

// july 2013 | 27

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