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C E N T E R ’ S



Protecting Youth FROM TORTURE The Center’s New Campaign to Regulate Residential “Treatment” Programs for Youth CENTER CEO: MARRIAGE EQUALITY ISN’T SAME AS FULL EQUALITY


JUNE 5-11, 2016 REGISTER NOW! Cyclist and Roadie registration for AIDS/LifeCycle 2016 is now open! Our more than 3,000 participants made this year’s 545-mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles a record-breaking success, raising more than $16.3 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Be a part of the historic 15th Anniversary Ride – register now using code VANGUARD for $25 off at /AIDSLifeCycle




Marketing & Communications Staff Gil Diaz


Marketing & Communications Manager

Kelly Freter

Associate Director Marketing & Communications


Where is it legal to abuse youth?

Melantha Hodge

Marketing & Communications Project Manager

Joe Hui

Social Media Coordinator

Jim Key

Chief Marketing Officer

Phillip Kent Knight Webmaster

Jesse Finley Reed Creative Director


Callie Rodgers

Marketing & Communications Coordinator


Alex Schmider

Communications Assistant Protect Youth FROM Institutional

Kurt Thomas

#PYIA #SaveKids


Vanguard Contributors Trish Bendix

Editor in Chief


Dr. Robert Bolan

Medical Director Los Angeles LGBT Center

David Fleischer

Leadership LAB Project Director Los Angeles LGBT Center

Melantha Hodge

Marketing & Communications Project Manager Los Angeles LGBT Center




Disappointed but Undaunted





Trick or Treatment?


Center Voices



Learning Curve


Photo Finish

Let’s Go Places






Lorri L. Jean

CEO Los Angeles LGBT Center




Center Notes


Trish Bendix: Why I Give

Subscriptions Vanguard is published quarterly by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a nonprofit corporation. 1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, Voice 323-993-7400 • TDD 323-993-7698. Copyright 2015, Vanguard. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. Publication of the name, quotation or photograph of a person in articles or advertising is not an indication of the sexual orientation or the HIV status of such person. Moving, getting duplicate mailings or wish to be removed from the Vanguard mailing list? Visit

Summer 2015




I was standing in the Boise airport recently searching the departures screen to find the gate for my flight home when a former AIDS/LifeCycle rider said hello. Each of us had been visiting our sole surviving parent who lives in the “Treasure Valley.” We talked about what a terrific and affordable place it was to live, except for the politics (which are dominated by conservative Mormons who keep killing local efforts to pass laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination). He referred to the then-impending Supreme Court decision on marriage and said something to the effect of, “Now that we’re about to get equal rights, I’ve been considering moving back to Idaho.” When I told him that we could still be fired in Idaho simply because of our sexual orientation and that no federal law prohibits employment discrimination against LGBT people (only 18 states prohibit discrimination in all employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity), he was surprised. And I know he isn’t alone. I frequently talk with LGBT and straight folks who erroneously believe that it’s illegal to discriminate against LGBT people, except for marriage. When I tell them the facts, including that even fewer states prohibit discrimination

When I told him that we could still be fired in Idaho simply because of our sexual orientation and that no federal law prohibits employment discrimination against LGBT people… he was surprised. 4

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against LGBT people in housing, they’re always shocked. This is one of the reasons there has been so much concern among LGBT leaders that once the freedom to marry becomes the law of the land, people will think our fight for equality is over. It’s appropriate to be concerned that when major milestones are achieved, energy may dissipate for the critical battles that remain. That’s why it’s important to keep reminding ourselves the freedom to marry is not the be-all and end-all and we cannot rest until “liberty and justice for all” is a reality in every sphere. But that doesn’t diminish the significance of actually winning the freedom to marry. Far-Reaching Impact of SCOTUS Ruling Assuming the U.S. Supreme Court decides in our favor (I’m writing a few weeks before the decision is anticipated), same-sex couples will be able to marry in every state in the union. And we will do so by the tens of thousands. Over time, this will fundamentally change how we are viewed in towns and cities across the country, especially in those areas—like the South—that have been so resistant to LGBT equality under the law. (Even if the unthinkable happens and we should lose in the Supreme Court—which scarcely seems possible—it will be a temporary setback only.) While winning marriage won’t immediately end all other forms of discrimination against us, I predict history will judge it to have been THE decisive battle in our fight for full and complete equality. Yet, because we’ve been through so many ups and downs on the marriage front in California, the decision may feel a little anticlimactic. I think we owe it to ourselves and our movement (and our Center!) to take a step back and savor this truly profound achievement. It All Started 25+ Years Ago More than 25 years ago when Lambda Legal began leading the debate on whether we should fight for marriage, it was something that many in our community and most leaders in our movement felt was impossible to

It’s important to keep reminding ourselves that the freedom to marry is not the be-all and end-all and we cannot rest until ‘liberty and justice for all’ is a reality in every sphere.

achieve in our lifetimes. For that reason, and based upon philosophical objections, many felt fighting for marriage was not a worthwhile endeavor. In the late 1980s I was among them. But in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court issued its first-of-a-kind ruling that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was gender discrimination in violation of the state constitution’s equal protection clause, I changed my mind. That decision and Lambda Legal launched the actual movement for marriage equality (the decision also spawned a backlash—the anti-LGBT ballot measure tactic still used by our opponents today). Lambda’s effort was led by Evan Wolfson, who 10 years later left Lambda to found Freedom to Marry. The Los Angeles LGBT Center was the second organization to join Lambda in the fight (in fact, the term “freedom to marry” was coined by a Center-led team of volunteer PR professionals). When we had trouble convincing other national and significant LGBT organizations of the importance of this battle, Lambda and the Center called a national leadership meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1995. As a result of that meeting, virtually everyone got on board. I believe Lambda deserves special thanks for its pioneering leadership. Without their vision, courage, and determination, this day would not have come so soon. Of course, many other organizations and leaders followed in their wake, doing vitally important work; they all deserve thanks, as does everyone who volunteered and/or gave money, whether it was to fight Prop 8 or to support the myriad efforts leading up to this remarkable nationwide victory. It is thanks to all of these players that we are winning this battle not only in the U.S., but in many other places around the globe. And we’re not just winning in the courts and in legislatures, we’re winning people’s hearts and minds.

nation in the world to vote to make marriage legal. And, it wasn’t a squeaker, it was a landslide! Who would have imagined such a deeply Catholic country would be the first nation to actually vote in our favor? And Mexico isn’t far behind. Even the Catholic Church is being forced to take notice in a different way. The Archbishop of Dublin gave voice to what many of us have been saying for a long time. “The Church needs to take a reality check,” he said. Musing that the young people who had voted yes were the products of 12 years of Catholic education, he acknowledged that “For many … inside the church becomes almost alien territory to them in today’s society.” Sadly, he nevertheless held firm in support of discrimination. If religious institutions are to survive, they must evolve in accordance with society, just as they’ve done over the centuries on countless other issues of equal or even greater importance. Of course, that evolution won’t happen overnight. Nor will the positive ramifications of our marriage victories, even though these victories will certainly speed up the pace of other progress. We’ll no doubt suffer setbacks occasionally, including an almost certain backlash in the coming months. And no victories will stop our most extreme opponents from continuing to do everything they can to push us back into the closet and dismantle the protections we’ve already gained. But in a nation whose central, most fundamental institution is inclusive of LGBT people, how long can it be before other barriers crumble as well, never to be resurrected? I’m already living to see things I never thought possible when I first came out. It’s exciting to contemplate the continuing victories that lie ahead.

North America: Leading in Marriage Equality I was astonished in May when Ireland became the first Summer 2015



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Summer 2015

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C E N T E R ’ S



Connecting Hearts and Minds Center Proves How 20-Minute Conversations Can Lastingly Reduce Anti-Gay Prejudice LEARNING CURVE ›› NEW COURSES CYNTHIA BOND TELLS TRUTH THROUGH FICTION WHY I GIVE: RUBY ROSE


We’re glad that later this year we’ll have independent, honest quantitative data from our current work canvassing voters to reduce prejudice against transgender people in Florida.

In the last issue of Vanguard, we reported on the groundbreaking results from the independent year-long study of the Center’s work to persuade voters to support marriage equality. It has now been widely reported that the data from the study—published in the peer reviewed journal Science—appears to have been faked by Michael J. LaCour, one of the co-authors. In mid-May, Don Green of Columbia University, the co-author of the Science article and one of the nation’s most prominent and respected political scientists, was as surprised as we were to learn that Michael could not produce the raw data of survey respondents who were purportedly canvassed. As soon as Don learned the news, along with other concerns that in his view undermined the credibility of the findings, he asked Science to retract the study. For many on our Leadership Lab team— including staff and volunteers who have dedicated years to this work—the news was a punch in the gut. The joy we felt when the success of our voter persuasion methods had been validated by independent research was replaced

by serious disappointment that we don’t have authoritative scientific proof our canvassing methods are as effective as we believed them to be at that time. But as the National Journal reported in its article about the retracted study, “the fraudulent results are an indictment of the data, not of the hypothesis.” We’ve got good reason to believe our approach to voter persuasion and prejudice reduction is on the right track. Over the past six years we’ve learned by patient trial and error, and from our own best efforts at self-measurement, what does not work and also a great deal about what does. Self-measurement, however, isn’t a substitute for independent evaluation. We’re glad that later this year we’ll have independent, honest quantitative data from our current work canvassing voters to reduce prejudice against transgender people in Florida. I look forward to sharing those results, whatever we learn from them. Because the truth is: the mission to reduce prejudice and change voters’ hearts and minds is too important for us to ever be discouraged for long, even when we’ve had to face a setback like this recent one.

Summer 2015



Summer 2015

Youth Imprisoned in Military-Type Facilities for Being LGBT? Shocking Story of “Troubled Teen” Industry and the Center’s Campaign to Regulate It by Jim Key

Summer 2015


When she was just 15 years old, Rebecca Lopez of North Hollywood was abducted from her room by two strangers and, fearing for her life, taken to a remote camp at least five hours away. David Wernsman, a 17-year-old honors student, was asleep in his Greeley, Colorado, home when two large men grabbed him from his bed, tied a belt around his waist, and took him to a compound in the Dominican Republic, guarded by men with guns. Their parents never reported the abductions to the police, because they—in conjunction with residential treatment programs for troubled teens—had planned the “kidnappings.” Why did they consider the two high school students “troubled?” Both were living their lives openly gay. The story of Wernsman’s abduction and the torture he endured at Escuela Caribe is depicted in the powerful 2014 documentary Kidnapped for Christ, coproduced by Center supporters Mike Manning and Tom DeSanto and directed by Kate Logan. The film sparked the ire of Center staffers who were surprised and outraged by what they watched. “Once we began investigating, we were shocked to learn not only how many programs there are like the ones where David and Rebecca were sent,” said 10

Summer 2015

Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, “but how they employ torture techniques to treat any kid considered ‘troubled’—including those who are simply LGBT—and that they operate without any government regulation or oversight whatsoever. In fact, nail salons are more regulated than this multimillion dollar industry of residential boot camps and wilderness ‘treatment’ programs entrusted with the lives of young people.” Speaking about his time at the camp, Wernsman said it “was an endless nightmare of torture, including public beatings and humiliation, hard labor, and sometimes solitary confinement in a windowless cell where we relieved ourselves in a bucket.” Lopez was degraded, deprived of all rights like a prisoner, and forbidden from having physical contact of any kind with anyone. It’s tough to know exactly how many youth residential treatment programs there are, and how many young people have been abused, but in 2007 Congress held hearings on the industry and released the results of a damning investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO reported that in just one year (2005), more than 1,600 employees of these programs in 33 states were involved in incidents of abuse, several of which resulted in death. California has more than a dozen of these programs.

When Bob Bacon sent his 16-year-old son to a treatment camp in Utah, he didn’t know it wasn’t regulated. Even after interviewing the owners, he thought this was a place where his son Aaron, a poet, would be cared for by staff who were experts at helping kids struggling with drugs and dealing with social pressure. They told him his son would get to explore the beauties of Utah while writing in his journal each night. Thirty days later, Aaron was dead. There was no poetry in Aaron’s journal, just horrific firsthand accounts of torture. For two weeks he was deprived of any food, all while hiking up to 10 miles a day. During the freezing nights in the wilderness, he had only a thin blanket to cover him; for five nights he had nothing at all. By the 10th day, he had lost 20 percent of his body weight and control of all bodily functions, but the staff refused to provide any medical treatment. When Bacon saw his son’s bruised, battered, and skeletal body, he couldn’t believe it was him.

“My wife and I will never escape our decision to send our gifted 16-year-old son to his death ” _

BoB Bacon

Where is it legal to abuse youth?

I signed.

The national non-profit organization Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) reports the deaths of more than 300 young people linked to these programs. And even those who survive don’t leave—or escape—unscathed; they frequently suffer a lifetime of trauma from their experiences in captivity. Legislation to regulate the troubled teen industry was introduced in Congress in 2007 and has been introduced every year since, but has never advanced beyond the House of Representatives. “If you’re in a plane stuck on the tarmac for more than two hours, you’re protected by the government,” said Jean. “There are federal regulations that require the airline to give you food and water. But if you’re a teen in a treatment facility, it’s legal to deprive you of food and water for days because the programs consider it therapy. We must close the loopholes and religious exemptions that allow these programs to operate unregulated, and the Center is committed to doing that. ” Late in March, the Center—together with SIA—launched a national campaign to finally pass state and federal legislation to provide sensible regulation and oversight of the troubled teen industry. “We’re building a broad, national coalition of organizations and individuals who will hold federal and California legislators accountable for protecting

Protect Youth FROM Institutional

#PYIA #SaveKids

Campaign to Protect Youth from Institutional ABuse (PYIA) What does state Sen. Ricardo Lara’s California bill SB 524 do? The Protecting Youth from Institutional Abuse Act will close the legislative loophole that has enabled residential programs that “treat” youth to operate without government oversight. It will require all programs that promote behavior modification services for youth to be licensed and regulated by the Department of Social Services, just like group homes for youth. What is the status of SB 524? It passed the state Senate by a vote of 31-1 and will now go to the state Assembly for consideration. What about federal legislation? At press time, we’re working with U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff to introduce legislation with bipartisan support that would set reasonable, enforceable oversight standards for the health and well-being of youth in residential treatment programs. It would ensure all currently unregulated programs throughout the nation, religious or otherwise, would not be allowed to disguise abuse and neglect as “treatment.” What can I do? Please sign our petition and learn more about the campaign at We’ll contact petition signers when it’s time to urge legislators to support the bills and to convince Gov. Brown to sign California’s bill.

young people,” said Dave Garcia, the Center’s Director of Policy and Community Building. “Here in California, we’re cosponsoring state Sen. Ricardo Lara’s Protecting Youth from Institutional Abuse Act (SB 524) which has

already passed the Senate and now goes to the Assembly. And in Congress we’re working with U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and other members of Congress to finally pass federal legislation.”

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Driven to Lend Their Support

Above: AIDS/LifeCycle’s Media Team poses with some of the new Toyota Prius Vs.

During AIDS/LifeCycle, 2,350 cyclists found themselves sharing the road with 49 new Toyota Prius Vs on the way to Los Angeles. Fresh off the assembly line and driven by AIDS/LifeCycle staff and volunteers, including those on the safety and medical teams, these fuel-efficient vehicles were components of the latest partnership brokered between the Center and Toyota Financial Services (TFS). As Presenting Sponsor of the Center’s Models of Pride LGBTQ Youth Conference and An Evening with Women, TFS, a leading provider of automotive financial services for Toyota customers and dealers in the U.S., has been stepping up its support of the Center since 2010. Why is one of the world’s most recognizable companies supporting equality and the work of organizations like the Center? VANGUARD spoke with TFS President and CEO Mike Groff (pictured below) for answers.

hundreds of young people, seniors, and everyone in-between on a daily basis.

seven-day journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Simply providing a place for a person to feel comfortable and to make friends, or offering medical care and emergency shelter, is truly lifesaving work.

How does TFS’ support of the Center meet with the company’s corporate values?

There are a lot of great causes out there, but why has TFS chosen to invest in the Center? As a finance company, you can imagine we don’t invest our dollars lightly. But as we got to know the Center, the staff, and the services offered, we weren’t just impressed—we were amazed! Across the Toyota family, we believe continued growth toward a more inclusive culture is necessary for business success. Our customers, business partners, and employees should see themselves represented in our workforce, in our marketing campaigns, in our dealerships, in the communities we serve, and in the organizations we support. TFS supports the Center in a variety of areas. Tell us about a few that stand out for you. We are extremely proud to have grown our support over the years. For example, we’ve gone from being a Table Sponsor of An Evening with Women to being its Presenting Sponsor this year.

How did you first become involved with the Center? We first learned of the work being done by the Center through several of our Toyota team members who were donating their own time and money to the Center. Several years ago, more than 20 other executives, team members, and I toured the Center. I’m glad we did because there’s nothing like visiting the Center to see first-hand the difference being made in the lives of 12

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We’re also thrilled to continue as the Presenting Sponsor of Models of Pride, the largest LGBTQ youth conference in the nation. In fact, youth who are involved in Center programs are eligible to apply for the TFS “Making Life Easier” college scholarship program and internship program. Most recently, Toyota and TFS sponsored AIDS/LifeCycle by lending 49 brand new Prius Vs for use by the staff and volunteers who supported the 2,350 riders on their

Beginning in January 2002, Toyota was one of the first auto companies to provide truly comprehensive domestic partnership benefits. We’ve expanded benefits over the years to include industry-leading transgender inclusive benefits as well as strong protections and assistance for our LGBTQ team members, and all team members across the company are provided with extensive and ongoing diversity training. In recognition of our efforts, Toyota has earned a 100% score for eight years in a row on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. We are a company founded on respect for people and a belief that diversity of thought and inclusiveness gives us an advantage in our industry. Supporting the work of the Center means we are supporting the next generation of workforce and leaders across our communities—and right here at Toyota. What would you like the LGBT community to know about Toyota Financial Services? We are a company made up of all types of people. We are people who live, work, and enjoy life right alongside our neighbors who have their own hopes, dreams, and struggles. Every week we’re working with at least one of over 15 local and national LGBTQ partner organizations to find better ways to leverage our financial and volunteer support. We do this because when we build stronger, healthier communities, we build a stronger economy and better neighborhoods. I don’t consider it altruistic or out of step with what any corporation should be achieving. It’s just what good neighbors do.



With two of the Center’s nearly 500 staff members and 3,000 volunteers

Name Melody Darden Hometown Los Angeles, California Year Started at the Center 2005 Preferred Gender Pronoun She Job at the Center Youth Advocate and Security How would you describe the Center to other people? I would describe it as a one-stop shop that’s woven into the LGBT community and expands to care for everybody, and that’s what I like about it. You can get services that are not provided anywhere else. I like that it helps not only the young adults, but everyone through their senior years. You don’t find that very often or that mixture of people being served anywhere.

Name Efren Matos Hometown Cuba, but L.A. is my home Year Started at the Center 2012 Preferred Gender Pronoun He Volunteer Position at the Center General volunteer, doing everything from writing birthday cards by hand to folding condom boxes How do you describe the Center to other people? This is my second home. I feel so wonderful here. That’s why I like to give my effort, energy, and time—all that I can—because I feel like I’m home here: respected, valued, and appreciated. It’s like this is my family. It’s a place where you can be who you are. You don’t have to pretend. You feel secure here, among your own peers, your people. It’s a wonderful feeling.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Treat people like you want to be treated. What’s the best advice you give? Never judge a book by its cover. What’s one thing everyone should see or do in Los Angeles? Why? I think everybody should go to Disneyland! Spend the night at the Disneyland Hotel and have the funnel cake or homemade donuts they make fresh every day. They also should experience some of the tours in Hollywood–I’ve been on a couple of them and they’re pretty awesome. What’s a favorite pastime or thing you spend time doing and why? Mine is always reading because I feel knowledge is power; our brains can always learn something. I like all kinds of books. We can learn something from old people, young people, and the people who came before us.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Trust yourself and follow your dreams. Be positive and stay away from negativity. What’s the best advice you give? Be yourself, embrace who you are, and be kind to each other. What’s one thing everyone should see or do in Los Angeles? Why? Theater! Theater! Any kind of theater – live theater. It’s very educational and rewarding. When I go to the theater and I come out of a show, I feel like I’m up in the clouds. To me, it’s the most important thing in my life besides my relationships. What’s a favorite pastime or thing you spend time doing and why? Right now, volunteering here because most of the people need support and love. The best thing I can do is to help make organizations powerful and strong to help others succeed.

Summer 2015 13


Summer 2015

A Mother’s Love Compels Her to Ride 545 Miles as an AIDS/LifeCycle Participant By Jim Key

At the age of 68, Anne Stacy of Houston, Texas, isn’t the oldest rider on this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle (that honor goes to an 86-year-old cyclist). Nor did she travel the farthest (several people ventured all the way from China). However, Stacy may be one of the sweetest and most endearing mothers to do the 545-mile fundraising ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “When my son did AIDS/LifeCycle last year, he called to say he wanted me to ride with him this year. I said ‘You’re nuts!’” Stacy recalled. “We had done two-day rides together, but I couldn’t imagine doing a seven-day ride. Well, he signed me up anyway and once they sent me the shirt, I figured I needed to do it.” Her son, Gavin Houser, who finished his second AIDS/LifeCycle soon after moving to Los Angeles from Texas last year, has been living with HIV for eight years. He said he’s more fortunate than many other openly gay, HIV-positive guys. “My mom has been there to help me through some of my darkest moments,” said Houser, 39. “Through it all, she has never been anything but loving and supportive of me.” To which Stacy replies, in a southern drawl, “How can a mother have anything but love for their child?”

GEARING UP FOR THE 2015 RIDE Of course, loving a son or daughter doesn’t typically extend to completing a seven-day bike ride with them. “There were a few years that were tough for Gavin and me, before he went into recovery,” says Stacy, a grandmother to her daughter’s three children. “It was the two-day MS ride from Houston to Austin that helped us reconnect. There’s just something about the shared experience of biking that helped make our relationship even stronger. We did that ride for seven years before Gavin moved to L.A.” This year, though, it wasn’t just the two of them riding together. They were joined by Houser’s boyfriend, R.J. Pena, who is HIV-negative. All are members of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s team, Centerions. “We’re riding to support the Center’s work to fight HIV stigma,” said Houser, “and to educate people about the value of PrEP. Before I met R.J., I faced the same kind of horrible discrimination many HIV-positive guys face. It’s tough, especially when you’re newly diagnosed, to read some of the [things] people write on apps like Grindr.”

The trio is part of a community of nearly 3,000 AIDS/LifeCycle participants this year from nearly every state and 21 countries who have raised $16.3 million to help end AIDS and care for those living with HIV. THIRD DAY OF A LONG GRIND On June 2, the third day of the ride, the threesome celebrated after finishing the longest hill of the route, an incline affectionately known as “Quadbuster.” “We made it!” said Houser. “Not only do we still love each other, we all still like each other. Though, for a few minutes after riding into camp today, when we couldn’t find our gear truck, that was touch and go. But we were all really pumped to ride into camp today and are excited about Red Dress Day on Thursday!” On Red Dress Day–the fifth day of the ride–Houser and his mother wore matching red dresses, designed by his nieces. Opposite page: Anne Stacy of Texas joined her HIV-positive son, Gavin (left), his boyfriend R.J. (right), and 3,000 other participants in this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

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Become a member of the Center’s new education and empowerment workshops, social events, and groups exclusively for the trans* community.

Sign-up at! • Review and rate our library of workshops, groups, labs, and events. • Your feedback determines our schedule. • Membership and most offerings are FREE. Introductory and upcoming programs include: • • • • • • •

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Understanding Electrolysis Talks Skin Care Workshops Trans* Book Club Embracing Body Image Knowing Your Rights and Understanding the Law


As the largest LGBT service organization in the world, the Center is a beacon of hope and inspiration for our local, national, and international community. We spoke with activists from six countries whose personal (r)evolutions connect them to our ongoing work to build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.

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The criminalization of homosexuality in Jamaica dates back to the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act, which calls for a punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment with hard labor for those convicted of the “abominable crime of buggery.” Article 76 of the law makes sexual acts between men illegal. The act also provides law enforcement the ability to obtain proof of penetration for suspected homosexual acts and provides the power to detain any person whom they suspect to have committed or intend to commit these crimes. While rarely enforced, the mere presence in Jamaican law continues to legitimize discrimination and violence toward LGBT people based on sexual orientation. Members of the LGBT community are denied access to basic rights and services, resulting in alarming rates of homelessness and HIV. (Human Rights First).


Summer 2015



In 2009 a friend and I survived a violent sexual assault in my home country of Jamaica, at gunpoint, because of our sexual orientation. Fortunate to still be alive, I made a commitment to help others and it’s that decision that has helped me maintain my sanity. There’s so much shame and blame around sexual violence.Women in the community who have reported sexual attacks have had police officers refuse to take a report, saying “You got what you deserved.You dress like a man so you should have been able to defend yourself. If you weren’t a lesbian this wouldn’t have happened to you.” When the people who are supposed to protect you won’t take action, it’s tough to get justice.The police told me that I should leave “this lifestyle” and go back to church. But I was determined.You can steal my dignity but you aren’t going to take away my legal recourse. That’s when I got really involved in LGBT activism. In 2012 I was at a World Bank meeting while attending the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. and heard a term—“quality of citizenship”—that really resonated with me. It means that for a country to grow and progress, each person should have the same quality of citizenship. Citizenship is a key aspect of being human, and as a citizen of Jamaica, I deserve to have the same quality of citizenship as heterosexuals there.

get it yourself. So in January 2013 I started Quality Citizenship of Jamaica (QCJ) with some friends.We decided to focus specifically on advocacy for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women and it’s the only LBT registered nonprofit in Jamaica. From the beginning, we decided we were going to be “out” as the leaders of the organization. I didn’t see the point in having a nonprofit for the community and not having a face to represent it, even though it’s dangerous. We launched a survey to find out about the issues LBT women were facing and how they wanted us to help them. One of the issues was health care.There is still not enough information and sensitivity on how to work with LBT women, so we want to do trainings about health care and other issues.We also provide support to women who have suffered violence, accompanying them to the police station to file a report. One of our dreams is to build something that looks like the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Jamaica. It’s difficult to find individuals and organizations that are willing to share with you the strategies that led to their success, so I’m so grateful to have learned so much from the Center! Angeline Jackson is the convenor, founder, and executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica ( and spent time at the Center as part of the Emerging Leaders Program.

I also learned that if you keep asking for something and don’t get it, you need to

Summer 2015 19



After moving to L.A. from Canton, Ohio, at the age of 20, I joined a local church, thinking that would be where I could easily connect and find community. Coming from a religious background, that just seemed natural to me. I got very involved in my church as a volunteer, head usher, and Bible study leader. It became my new home, and my fellow parishioners were my new family. But when I came out at 25, my new home crumbled. The church and its members made clear they disapproved of me being gay and quietly dismissed me from my posts. For a long time, I tied my self-worth to how my family saw me. For most of my life it was easy: I was the golden child. Then in an instant of self-revelation, I became the black sheep. Though nothing about me had changed, they saw me as someone completely different. I came to the Center because, above all else, I needed to find another family. The first thing I did was join some of the support groups. I was struck by how warm and welcoming everyone was and how easy it was to be myself. When the Center helps people finally be themselves, 20

Summer 2015

you can see the light of God that wasn’t there before because they’re connecting to their inner self. I had been so nervous and scared to be vulnerable with people and realized that I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. Awestruck by the services the Center provides, I felt compelled to tell more and more people about it and that sort of spurred me into my kind of activism. Knowing and understanding that acceptance is such a strong act of love, I decided to start organizations and meetups that offer safe havens—particularly for lesbians—to feel instantly welcomed and part of a community that seeks deeper connections than the bar scene offers. In 2009 I founded The L.A. Femme Society, an organization that creates cultured social events specifically for queer women. By cultured events, I mean gatherings at art galleries, museums, film screenings, or even a bar for an upscale mixer in which the desire to get together is to explore and share our diverse interests. I want to defuse the bomb that is our sexuality, or how our sexuality is portrayed, because we’re all just human beings. We have no one lifestyle.We don’t live a gay lifestyle, we live a human lifestyle. The L.A. Femme Society is now 2,000 members strong and it just keeps growing. The popularity of this group reflects the need in our community to connect and support each other. I think that’s the most valuable thing you can give anyone—a family, a community to belong to.

Some people ask if I’m holding on to any bitterness or regret about my journey. I am grateful for my experiences; I would not be who I am without going through what I have. I live by the credo “presence is peace.” All those things that happened in my past make me who I am today, but I also stand on my own today. I wouldn’t be so passionate about bringing people together or telling people’s important stories—particularly through my film production ventures— if I hadn’t been forced to resign from my church, if I hadn’t experienced the loneliness and shame of being ostracized by my family and friends, if I hadn’t been lost before being found. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is how to be truly comfortable with myself and trust myself completely. The sense of independence I’ve gained from my experiences is something so invaluable – it cannot be given or taught. It can only be lived. My aunt told me once, “This is why you’re in this family. Your life is to teach this lesson [of acceptance] to yourself and to others.” I would think that my family probably looks at me like the prodigal son, as if one day I’ll come home. But I think I feel the same about them—one day they’ll just see me as me again and realize it’s been me all along. Katie Covell is on the board of directors of the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network. She is a network television producer, editor, and director, and is founder of The L.A. Femme Society (


Summer 2015 21



Summer 2015



There’s this music video that’s always stayed with me. In it, a little girl with long pigtails, dressed as a bumblebee, is wandering through town after being ridiculed at a school talent show. She’s alone and dejected. Throughout the video, it’s clear she doesn’t have a place where people understand her. Finally, she comes across a gate in the middle of nowhere, which she pushes open and finds, to her delight, a group of other bumblebees just like her, dancing in the green fields. When I came to the Center for my first appointment to talk about my transition, I felt like that bumblebee coming home. I’d never felt like that before. For some reason, surrounded by trans* women like me, I thought this is home, this is what I’ve been looking for. Like most worthwhile things, it’s taken a while for this bumblebee to find her way. Born in Colombia and raised in San Diego, I’ve learned most of my life’s greatest lessons through my first love: soccer. My first few years playing soccer as a kid, my team came in last place. By the third year, my friends and I resolved to practice and play every day from sun up to sun down. The next year, we were league co-champions. My second year playing soccer, the coaches passed me over for the All-Star team. I was devastated. I looked at my dad and said, “But, I’m just as good as them.” My dad put his hand on my shoulder and he said, “If you want to be an All-Star, you can’t just be as good as them, you have to be better.” Those words were so powerful to me that they inspired the greater part of how I try to live my life – in soccer and all aspects. The best way to live—the best way to make a difference—is to be a kickass person in one area.You have to be the best at what you do, and you have to prove it to the world. I was playing soccer in college on a scholarship when I tore my knee. It was debilitating because soccer was my first passion and my biggest outlet. I dedicated myself to recovering from my injury and training

to become an even better athlete. Two years later, I was playing professional and semiprofessional soccer. Somewhere along the way, I just realized that it’s a complete fallacy to expect that your dream—whatever it is—can be attained without relentless drive, effort, tenacity, and commitment. To pull that metaphorical apple off the tree, you’ve first got to till the soil, plant the seeds, water the ground, and patiently wait for the tree to grow, all while enduring periodic droughts. It’s such an appropriate metaphor, because farming is challenging and very necessary and because reaching that moment when you attain your goal requires many hours of work. I remember being nine years old and telling my parents I wanted to be and look like the women in Cosmopolitan magazine. My parents told me, “You can’t be like that.” And I responded, “Why not?” Life takes a lot of hard work and I used to be the kind of person who thought things shouldn’t be so hard or shouldn’t take so long. But my soccer tenure has proven otherwise. I know I’m on the right path. It’s taken years of hard work to become the woman I’ve always been, and it won’t always be easy. But the commitment I’ve made to wake up every single morning at sunrise to do my hair and apply my makeup, means I’m not fantasizing about some unreachable apple, I’m working toward it. Isabella Valera is a member of the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network.

Summer 2015 23




I started to wonder if I might be gay while I was a 17-year-old journalism student at the most prestigious university in my hometown of Moscow, Russia. After I finally accepted my sexual orientation, a friend and I created the only lesbian magazine in Russia, Agens. It wasn’t a political act – we just wanted to tell the stories of Russian queer women. Because I was writing about what I truly loved, it was my favorite job in journalism. Russia’s federal propaganda law passed the same week we published our second issue. Just like that, we lost all our advertisers. We also lost stories. We were working on an article about lesbian parents and had found about 12 couples who were willing to be interviewed. Once the law passed, they didn’t want to talk to us because they were afraid for the lives of their children. We also lost contributors. Everything fell apart. I was left pretty much alone. It was terrifying. I remember talking to my friends and we didn’t know what to do, because it was so bad there. Today I’m in Los Angeles and, not surprisingly, feel more confident about being an activist. In Russia, activists were people who would go out on the streets protesting. And they would get beaten up and end up in the police station. So I always hoped I could make a difference in another way. Now I realize, through my involvement at the Center, that there are many ways to be an activist; each of us has the power to be an activist.


Summer 2015

Through the Center I’ve met so many amazing people and have had so many opportunities to do things that are meaningful to me. Everybody at the Center really wants to help you, and you want to help them back. The Center is more than just an organization; it’s family. Right now I’m working on a project for Russian LGBT immigrants who are coming to Los Angeles. When I was leaving Russia, I told a friend that part of me felt like I was dying there and that part of me was going to be reborn here. I was right. Being here has really changed me, and I’m so grateful to have gotten an American education. I want to give the same opportunity to other Russian LGBT immigrants. Milena Chernyavskaya is a member of the Los Angeles Women’s Network and a volunteer at the Center.

In June 2013, the Russian duma in Moscow passed a new law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. It has led to an environment of increasing violence and hatred of LGBT individuals, and LGBT defenders are being subjected to fines and prosecutions as “foreign agents.” The law sets administrative fines for LGBT propaganda at 4,000 to 5,000 rubles for individuals (about $120 $150 U.S. dollars) and up to 800,000 to 1 million rubles for NGOs, corporations, or other legal entities (about $24,000 - $30,000 U.S. dollars). More severe administrative fines are allowed for propaganda transmitted via the Internet or other media networks or by a foreign citizen. Foreigners are also subject to 15 days of prison and deportation from Russia. (

Summer 2015 25



Summer 2015

binary. So I want to be an advocate for inclusion within our diverse community.



As an LGBT immigrant from Hong Kong, my experience adjusting to life in the U.S. was multilayered and caused me to become a bully. I was just seven when I moved here and because I didn’t speak English, I got bullied a lot. As I tried to stake claim to my existence, I became a bully myself. If I hadn’t, I would have kept getting beat up. I hated that part of myself. In the culture I come from, people care too much about what others think. For a long time I was really closeted and depressed because I didn’t really know how to define the feelings I had. It wasn’t until college that I met some friends who helped me put into words what I was feeling. From there I was able to understand why I never felt like I was in my right body. I’m one of the very fortunate ones, because when I came out to my mom, she was really supportive and just wanted me to be happy. And I was very lucky that when I came to Los Angeles, the Center was here for me. I’m striving to help people learn that there is this incredible community of people here who are evolving together, coming into our own together, and helping each other. Activism is about doing something now, not waiting for the next protest. What can I do with my life to make a difference? That betters my community? I believe in doing what your heart says. You have to do it now while you can. I cannot stand idly by—that’s just not in my nature—and what has always driven me has been my passion for equality. And though I believe it’s important to remember where you’re from and to retain your culture, I also believe it’s important to break barriers that keep you from achieving full equality. Society wants you to adopt a particular gender pronoun. I feel very much a part of both the trans and the lesbian community, so about a year ago I finally came to terms with the fact that I am gender fluid and don’t conform to the gender

It’s ironic that third world countries have a pronoun to define third gender, but not the U.S. There’s this huge community of us who identify as this other gender and yet we have not developed a word to identify us that makes sense or is grammatically correct. It’s almost like saying we don’t exist yet. So I believe we have a lot of growing to do as a nation. My whole life, buying clothes would take forever; nothing fit right. The most powerful experience I’ve had was after my top surgery and feeling truly authentic for the first time. Every shirt I put on fit perfectly. It is not easy to say “cut me open” and suffer so much pain just so I can have this physical body. It is not for ego, or superficiality, which is what others think sometimes. It is literally because it is more painful to not have surgery than to have it. When you decide to transition, it’s literally because you feel like you will die if you don’t. Currently, we’re going through a revolution in the queer and mainstream fashion industry and I’m excited to be a part of the movement. For too many years I could not find shoes that catered to both my style and my fit. Why does style have to be limited by gender? It shouldn’t, and that’s my message with my footwear company. It’s like saying I can’t wear a baseball hat because I’m not a baseball player. I’m not creating men’s shoes for women. I’m creating the first gender-equal footwear line. I want everyone to be able to wear shoes that help them feel authentic without sacrificing comfort, so I’m starting with a masculine-ofcenter collection ranging from sizes 34-47 EU unisex sizing (US women’s 4.5-men’s 13). I’m also in the R&D phase of creating my next collection which will be focused on feminineof-center styles in the same size range. I think it will really change the face of the footwear industry and I’m excited about it. NiK Kacy is a Sustaining Donor, Los Angeles Women’s Network member, An Evening with Women committee member, and a volunteer at the Center. Learn more about NiK Kacy Footwear at Summer 2015 27

GALCK is going through a restructuring to more effectively and efficiently spur Kenya’s LGBT movement forward, so the team decided we should spread our wings as far and wide as we can to get new perspectives about how to develop our organization.



My LGBT activism began after a high school romance resulted in jail time. I fell head over heels for a guy at the boarding school I attended in Kenya.We used a book to pass letters and when we’d bump into each other on the way to classes, we’d hand the book over very strategically – each of us knowing what it held inside. Eventually, one of the letters was found. The day after my mom brought me home, she called police officers who grabbed me, cuffed me, and locked me up in a police cell. For seven nights, at the age of 17, I was sleeping on a cold floor with drunks and murderers.There was no bathroom, and we only had one meal a day. I hated my mom, I hated my boyfriend who had denounced me, I hated myself, and I hated the whole world. Fortunately, I had a friend who knew I was gay and referred me to the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK). I never knew something like that existed in our country and was shocked by how amazing it was. I always imagined something like it existed in Europe or the U.S., but not in Africa and especially not in Kenya. I went to GALCK feeling like I wanted to die, but they gave me a new sense of hope. I started going there almost every day because just being around other queer people was some sort of medicine for me. It empowered me in ways I will never understand. When there was an opening at GALCK for interns in programs and communications, I leapt at the opportunity and got it. I wanted to nurture and build my skills while surrounding myself with people who knew how to run an organization. I still strive to surround myself with people who have the skills I want to develop – that’s why I came to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. 28

Summer 2015

GALCK’s executive director told me,“As much as I want to hold on to you, you need to go out, see the world, get exposed to different perspectives, experiences, and cultures.” Gratefully, I was selected for a grant from Open Society, a global foundation that supports a variety of humanitarian efforts around civil rights, and got connected to the Center. When I describe the Center, I say it’s “super big” – there are so many programs and activities that are running simultaneously. As the largest LGBT organization in the world, the Center has seemingly been very strategic and careful in ensuring that as much as it’s growing and multiplying, everything is still running efficiently and systematically. By far, the Center’s services for youth are most meaningful to me: creating a safe space for homeless LGBT people is incredible. I also really appreciate the GED program because in Kenya we don’t have a high school alternative. If you drop out of high school, that’s it. The fact that the Center is leading and guiding young kids to excel through education is beautiful. Sometimes I worry I’m not that good at being an activist because of my personality. Most activists are outspoken and determined, marching on the streets and aggressively demanding and willing to do anything and everything to forward the cause. When I get angry, I sit down and I become quiet. Sometimes I worry I’m too subtle to be an activist.There have to be those people who make it better for someone else to do the best job they can. So that’s ultimately what I want to keep doing. I want to make it easier for other activists to do their jobs. Upon completion of his internship with the Center, Brian Macharia interned with the Rainbow Community Center in San Francisco.


Summer 2015 29


The Los Angeles LGBT Center is extremely grateful for the support of the following new Sustaining Donors and Circle of Life members. Donor list as of March 2015


SI LV E R CI RCLE $1 , 500-$1 ,79 9

Eugene Kapaloski**

Gary Braitman & David Robinson*** Michael Buster***

DIAMON D CIRCL E $18,000-$49,9 9 9

Jeff Collins*

Gregory Evans**

Eric Finley **

David Rosenauer

Kristin Flickinger & Traci Dinwiddie

& Rex Walker**

Gregory Davis

Thomas Ford* Christopher Fraley & Victor Self*

PLAT IN U M CIRCL E $12,0 00-$17,9 9 9 Zachary & John Cambouris** Neil Hedin & Brad Springer**

GOLD CIRCL E $6,00 0-$1 1 ,9 9 9

Howard Fulfrost, Esq. Alvan Gendein, M.D.** Dr. Tenika Jackson & Nyema Vernon* Latham & Watkins Candace Matson** Daryl McCullough** James McGruder Paul Menke

Kenith Goodman **

Mark Puente*

Michael John Horne

Erik Richard

& Tom Jones**

Margaret Rosenthal*

Paul Morris

Curtis Sanchez & Steven Afriat**


Claire Skiles * Alison Smith **

STE RL IN G CIRCL E $3,60 0-$5,9 9 9 Clint Birdsong & Ryan Booms**

Maurice Spidell & Robert Minton** Scott Vandermyde* James Wetmore*

Ryan Derry, Esq. & Scott Davis** Kenneth Jamison** Joseph Patrick**

SILVE R CIRCL E $2 ,400-$3, 59 9 N. Keith Ashburn, M.D.** Michael Cagle** W. David Hardy, M.D. & Barry Goldblatt**

CI RCLE O F LI F E Cal Shively

For information about Planned Giving or becoming a Sustaining Donor, please contact:

Tim Lee Major Gifts Associate

W J & Jackie Henneberg**


Stephen Knutson

Rebekah Trachsel

Anne-Marie & Wylie Peterson**

Major Gifts Associate 323-993-8932

S ILV E R CI RCLE $1,800-$2, 39 9

Allan Carp

Robert Bolan, M.D.**


Director of Planned Giving

J. Lynne Boylan** Douglas Dyakon** Terry Foreman Glenn Smith


Summer 2015

*Indicates Multi-Year Pledges **Indicates an increase in membership level ***Indicates Multi-Year Pledges and increased membership level

Planned Giving is a set of methods by which a donor can leave financial assets to a nonprofit at his or her death, or methods to invest money so that the donor receives benefits during his or her lifetime and bequeaths the remaining funds to the nonprofit. There are several planned giving vehicles that are easy to establish.

B EQU ESTS The Center can be a beneficiary of your will or trust. Here is sample bequest language that you can take to your attorney: I bequeath $__________ (or description of property or percentage of your estate) to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Tax I.D. 95-3567895 to be used in support of the Center’s work (or a specific program that you would like to support at the Center). The Center accepts gifts of tangible property, securities, and real estate, as well as cash.

CH ARITAB L E GIF T AN N U ITY Through a simple contract, you agree to make a donation of cash, stocks, or other assets to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In return, we agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

1,000 STRONG In the last five years, membership in the Circle of Life has more than doubled to well over 500 people. Now the Center is embarking on an ambitious goal to increase the size of the group to 1,000 people who include the Center in their estate plan or make another type of planned gift. Making the Center part of your legacy in your will is the most important contribution you can make to the organization. It ensures a strong and vibrant Center continuing to build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.

Payments can be scheduled monthly and quarterly. Your initial gift is partially income tax-deductible. Your gift annuity payments are partially income tax-free throughout your estimated life expectancy. A charitable gift annuity can be established with a gift of $10,000 or any amount over $10,000 that you wish to gift.

CH ARITAB L E RE M AIN D E R TRU STS With a charitable remainder trust, you can receive income each year for the rest of your life from assets you give to the trust you create. Your income can be either variable (charitable remainder unitrust) or a fixed amount (charitable annuity trust.) After your lifetime, a portion or the balance of your trust goes to the charities you choose. One of the benefits of a charitable remainder trust is that you receive a partial income tax deduction.

IN FORM ATION For more information or to request a copy of our “Charting The Course” Life Planning Brochure for LGBT people, please contact Allan Carp at or call 323-993-8963.

Summer 2015 31

Analysis and insight from the Center’s staff on current issues and events facing our community

Leading the Way for Community Health Centers and LGBT Primary Care Preceding the National Association of Community Health Centers’ conference scheduled in August, the Center’s Medical Director, Dr. Robert Bolan, wrote an opinion piece for the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County to emphasize the need to achieve greater health equity and improve access to care and treatment for LGBT people. The Center is one of only seven community health centers nationwide designed specifically to serve the LGBT community. Excerpt: “As noted in a recent UCLA study, few clinics are equipped to adequately treat LGBT patients. Too many of them think incorrectly that they have no LGBT patients and don’t recognize the need for additional expertise and cultural competency. Some make offensive assumptions or fail to take adequate sexual and social histories and therefore can miss asking relevant medical questions. Still others are unaware of the health disparities and risk factors often found in LGBT populations. “As is true for members of any distinct community, however socially, ethnically, culturally defined, lack of easily acquired knowledge about LGBT health or lack of cultural competency in communication will lead to substandard care. As we have seen far too often here at the Center, one bad experience with an uninformed clinician or intake staffer untrained in LGBT cultural competency is all it takes to drive a LGBT patient from medical care or from pursuing further treatment.”


Summer 2015

How Many Kids Must Die Before Youth “Treatment” Programs Are Regulated? To launch the Center’s campaign to Protect Youth from Institutional Abuse (see p. 10), Center CEO Lorri L. Jean authored an eye-opening op-ed for, explaining why “treatment” programs that claim to “cure” people of their homosexuality are extremely dangerous for LGBT youth. Excerpt: “We expect California’s legislation to set an example for the rest of the country, but state legislation isn’t enough.When the abuses of these organizations are exposed in the media, it’s common for them to close and reopen in another state, often under a different name. And parents frequently send kids to programs outside their home state. That’s why we absolutely must have federal legislation. “Though we know it won’t be easy, and though previous attempts have failed, LGBT groups have never been a part of the movement to regulate this industry. Now the world’s largest LGBT organization is dedicated to building a broad coalition, partnered with allies in Congress, to finally bring sensible regulation to this industry.”

As a Lesbian in Hip-Hop, I’m Living Empire Following the first season success of the groundbreaking television series Empire, about a family running an urban music business, Marketing & Communications Project Manager Melantha Hodge— who has nearly 10 years of experience working closely with R&B artists such as Chris Brown, LeToya Luckett, and Melanie Fiona—wrote an insightful piece for about the challenges of working in the predominantly maledriven and homophobic urban music industry. Excerpt: “Many of these homophobic views in the urban music business mirror the homophobia that still generally exists in the black community. “My biggest drive is to break down the walls of the industry. I want to witness anti-LGBT lyrics become a thing of the past. I also do not mind answering tactful questions about my personal and professional experience as a lesbian, because I have no problem using my sexuality as a conversation starter. “The music industry can be very challenging, competitive, and cutthroat. At the same time, I have my girlfriend, family, friends, and mentors who are rooting me on — their support keeps me going. They want to see me build my own empire and inspire other LGBT people of color so that together we can dismantle the ingrained homophobia in the urban music community.”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center Presents

The Golden Summer Concert Series

A series of summer nights filled with great food and fantastic live entertainment Open to all ages! Free admission

Food available for purchase. sd ue T o



rie Se r l a eci ose Sp Cl

c Ta

Tuesday, July 14:

Brian Frank

Friday, July 31:

Maestro/Alex Lane & Carl Cliver

Thursday, Aug. 27:

Cynthia Wang & Tanya Witt

All concerts are from 6:30-9 p.m. RSVP required to guarantee seating: 323-860-5830 Los Angles LGBT Center The Village at Ed Gould Plaza

1125 N. McCadden Place • Los Angeles, CA 90038 Summer 2015 33

Sunday, July 26 1-4 p.m.

The Home of Michael Mueller & Nicholas Bode Hancock Park


Tickets: $150 Buy tickets online at Sponsored by

Carolyn Dye, Hany Haddad, James McGruder & Michael Mueller


Summer 2015

Group Meetings 12-Step Groups

Peer-Led Groups

Social Networking Groups

AA Happy Hour Tues. - Fri., 6:10 - 7:10 p.m.

Village Readers An LGBT reading and discussion group Every 1st Wed., 7:30 - 9 p.m.

V Bi-osphere* Explore and discuss the many shades of today’s diverse bisexual community Every 2nd & 4th Mon., 8 - 9:30 p.m.



V Al-Anon Gay Focus Thurs., 7 - 8 p.m.

July 1: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris Aug. 5: Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron Sept. 2: Pee-Shy by Frank Spinelli Oct. 7: Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Hanged America by Kevin Cook

Alcoholics Anonymous It’s Come to This Mon., 6:10 - 7:10 p.m. Canceled Sept. 7 V

V CMA: Let Go and Let God Fri., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled July 3

V 30+ Lesbian Chat Meet women outside of the bars Every 1st & 3rd Fri., 7:30 - 9 p.m. Canceled July 3

V Crystal Meth Anonymous Sat., 9:10 - 10:10 a.m. Canceled July 4

Community Groups

V Debtors Anonymous Tues., 8 - 9 p.m.

V Bears L.A. 3rd Wed., 7 - 10 p.m.

V Gay & Lesbian CODA Tues., 8 - 9 p.m.

V Generation Y Tues., 6 - 8 p.m. Meet other young men (16-24) to talk about dating, relationships, and living with HIV. Contact or 323-860-7321

Marijuana Anonymous Wed., 8:15 - 9:15 p.m. V

V NA: Heartbeat of Recovery Mon., 7 - 8:15 p.m. Canceled Sept. 7

V L.A. Leather Coalition 1st Thurs., 7 - 9 p.m.

V OA Thurs., 7 - 8 p.m.

One Page at a Time Thurs., 8 - 9 p.m. V

V Sex & Love Addicts Anon Thurs., 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. V Sexual Compulsives Anonymous Mon., Tues., Wed., 8 - 9 p.m. Canceled Sept. 7 Thurs., 8:15 - 9:15 p.m. Sat., Noon - 1:15 p.m. Canceled July 4 V UA: Artist in Prosperity Tues., 7 - 8 p.m.

Women’s AA Wed., 8 - 9 p.m. V

Coming Out Coming Out Workshops for Women Coming Out Workshops for Men Safe, nurturing workshops for anyone who is facing their own coming out process. Call 877-OUT-4-LIFE for recorded information and instructions for enrollment. More information at Trans* Coming Out Labs Whether you need to embrace your true gender identity or share it with loved ones, these labs can help. Trans* Lounge free membership required. More info at

The Village

1125 N. McCadden Place


McDonald/Wright 1625 N. Schrader Blvd.

HIV+Trans* Empathy and community for trans* individuals with HIV/AIDS Trans* Lounge free membership required. More info at V Men’s Speakeasy* Great conversation for gay and bisexual men Every Tues., 8 - 9:30 p.m. V Transgender Perceptions* Conversation & community-building for transgender people Every Fri., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled July 3 * Groups may not welcome late arrivals

V Let’s Talk About Health Every Thurs., 6 - 8 p.m. If you’re living with HIV, learn how to maintain the highest quality of life. Contact or 323-860-7321

Senior Groups

Positive Images HIV+ Men’s Forum V Every Wed., 7 - 9 p.m. M Every Mon., 1 - 3 p.m. Canceled Sept. 7 Call 323-860-7321 to RSVP

RSVP: Email or call 323-860-5830

V Gay Men’s Prostate Cancer Support Group Every 1st & 3rd Tues., 7 - 9 p.m. Sponsored by Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center Call 310-314-2555 or visit V Project Fatherhood Every Mon., 6 - 7:30 p.m. Meet other GBTQ dads; free childcare provided Call 213-260-7600 or visit Canceled Sept. 7 V Rated M Last Tues., 6 p.m. Meet other young guys (18-24) to talk about dating, relationships, and healthy, erotic sex. To RSVP or for more information, contact 323-860-7353 or

S.M.A.R.T. Recovery Every Sat., 9:15 -10:45 a.m. Canceled Sept. 7 V

For more information about Senior Services classes, please call 323-860-7322 or visit

V Art Lab Fri., 10 a.m. - Noon No experience necessary Canceled July 3 V Chair Yoga with Master Lakshmi Call 323-860-5830 for date and location

Comunidad Latina 50+ 50+ Latina/o LGBT programming. Call Yuisa Gimeno at 323-860-7369 for date and time. V HIV+ 50+ Men’s Drop-In Support Group Thurs., 1 - 3 p.m. V Larry’s Computer Club Wed., 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. V Lunch for Everyone Call 323-860-5830 for date and time V Men’s Drop-In Support Group Wed., 10 a.m. - Noon V Movies for Everyone Call 323-860-5830 for date and time V Stretch & Balance with Bobby Wed., 11 a.m.

Valley Social and Networking Group Thurs., 12:30 - 2 p.m. Metropolitan Community Church 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood Call 323-860-5830

Location Key


V HERstories* A gathering place for all LGBT women who want strong community and great conversation Every Mon., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled Sept. 7



1220 N. Highland Ave.

Empty= Offsite

Summer 2015 35

Learning Curve

Creative Arts Updated

LIFE DRAWING LOUNGE Capturing the Beauty of the Human Form Beginner and experienced artists are welcome to join us for our casual and carefree life drawing sessions at The Village. Perfect for any artist interested in discovering or developing their artistic talents. Artists must provide their own drawing pad and drawing media. Our instructor is available for help and instruction as needed or requested. Instructor: Ron Anderegg


Course Schedule Learning Curve is the world’s only adult education and empowerment program specifically serving the needs of today’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, our friends, and allies. Our program offerings are unlike those of any other adult education program in the world.

Every Tuesday evening, 7 - 9:30 pm Enrollment Fee: $18 Multi-session Discount Passes are available online at

WRITING FOR THE STAGE Intensive Playwriting Workshop

Learn the craft of playwriting in our popular hands-on course. Learn structure, character, conflict, climax, resolution, and much more. All experience levels are welcome. Instructor: Richard Steel 6-Part Course: AUGUST SESSION Sat., Aug. 1 – Sept. 12, 1 – 4 p.m. No class on Sept. 5 SEPTEMBER SESSION Sat., Sept. 26 – Oct. 31, 1 – 4 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $99 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

Although our mission is to present high-quality, low-cost courses designed to satisfy our community’s specific needs, everyone is welcome to participate in our various programs, regardless of sexual- or gender-identity.

ART OF WOMAN Life Drawing for Women Only

Visit for more information on classes.

SEPTEMBER SESSION Thurs., Sept. 10 – Oct. 1, 7 - 9:30 p.m.

A creative space for women with artistic vision to practice and develop their skills. This special fourpart life drawing course is for female students and will feature female models only. Instructor: Mary Worthington 4-Part Course: AUGUST SESSION Thurs., Aug. 6 – 27, 7 - 9:30 p.m.

Enrollment Fee: $69 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

WORDS & MUSIC Hands-on Musical Theatre Workshop

Learn to transform your idea into the musical of your dreams. Topics include story development, structure, composition, song/lyric writing, and everything else you need for success. Instructor: Mark Saltzman

6-Part Course:

Tues., Sept. 29 – Nov. 3, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $120 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Sept. 28)


Summer 2015

Learning curve Classes

THE WRITTEN WORD AS ART Exploring the Art of Creative Writing

Explore different styles of writing through various exercises, including poetry, character development, and expository assessment. Course will also engage and challenge you to develop and create your own personal projects. Instructor: Giovanni Hortua 5-Part Course: JULY SESSION Sat., July 25 – Aug. 22, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. SEPTEMBER SESSION Sat., Sept. 19 – Oct. 17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $79 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

WRITE THAT SPEC SCRIPT NOW! Television Writers Workshop

Aspiring writers need a polished spec script to make it in the world of TV. Learn what it takes from a working writer/producer/showrunner. All genre and formats welcome. Instructor: Mark Brown 6-Part Course: Wed., Sept. 16 – Oct. 21, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $120 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Sept. 15)

Language & Culture FORBIDDEN SALSA Salsa Dancing for Everyone

No other style of dance communicates love, passion, and heat like salsa. Learn the fundamentals, starting with solo footwork, then move into patterns with a partner. Master the art of leading and following in this fun and energizing class. Instructor: Louie Angon 4-Part Course: JULY SESSION Sat., July 18 – Aug. 8, 3 – 4:45 p.m.


VOULEZ-VOUS PARLER FRANCAIS? Conversational French for Beginners

Learn the world’s most romantic language, including basic vocabulary, casual conversation, and simple grammar construction in this newly updated and expanded college-style course. Instructor: Nadine Cohen 10-Week Course: Tues., Aug. 4 – Oct. 13, 7:30 - 9 p.m. No class on Sept. 22 Enrollment Fee: $199 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 3)

SPANISH FOR EVERYDAY LIFE Introduction to Conversational Spanish

Students will be guided through different aspects of learning the language. Topics will include vocabulary, key phrases, cultural particulars, geographical differences, and mucho más. Instructor: Giovanni Hortua 10-Part Course: Wed., Aug. 5 – Oct. 7, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $199 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 4)

Career NO BUSINESS LIKE YOUR BUSINESS Starting a Small Business in California So, you think you’re ready to quit the rat race and start your own business? Learn the basics of LLCs, corporations, DBAs, and partnerships in this course which is vital for every startupminded entrepreneur. Instructor: Christine Wilson Workshop: Wed., Sept. 16, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Sept. 15)

AUG. SESSION Sat. Aug. 22 – Sept. 19, 3 – 4:45 p.m. No class on Sept. 12 Enrollment Fee: $69 per person; $120 per couple (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

OLD WORLD VS. NEW WORLD WINES Wine Tasting and Comparison Workshop Enjoy this fun wine tasting experience as you compare various types, qualities, and brands of wine. Students will explore a variety of different wines using systematic tasting methods and blind tastings. Learn the language of wine during class discussions. Instructor: Dr. Michael Pariser, Sommelier Tasting Workshop: Sat., Aug. 1, 4 - 6:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $65 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 30) Summer 2015 37


Performing Arts

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC Professional Digital Image Editing

VOICEOVER TALENT The Behind-the-Scene Stars!

Create incredible images using the world’s best digital imaging software. Learn how the professionals use these tools for retouching, compositing, and editing down to the pixel level. It’s the app for transforming your images into anything you can imagine. Instructor: Dali Sadhana AUGUST SESSION L1: Mon., Aug. 3 & 10, 7 - 9:30 p.m. L2: Mon., Aug. 17 & 24, 7 - 9:30 p.m. SEPTEMBER SESSION L1: Thurs., Sept. 10 & 17, 7 - 9:30 p.m. L2: Thurs., Sept. 24 & Oct. 1, 7 - 9:30 p.m.

Held in a professional recording studio, you will get mic time and receive digital copies of your work. Your new career in V.O. is only one class away. Instructor: M.J. Lallo

Workshop: JULY SESSION Tues., July 14, 7 - 10 p.m. AUGUST SESSION Tues., Aug. 11, 7 - 10 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $49

Take charge of the mess in your home and/or office once and for all. Learn how to turn your chaos into an organized and clutter-free expression of the person you are inside. Instructor: Regina Lark, Ph.D., CPO Workshops: AUGUST SESSION Sat., Aug. 15, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. SEPTEMBER SESSION Sat., Sept. 26, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

Each level: $99; Combine L1 & L2: $179 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

A CLEAR PATH Clear Away the Clutter and Organize Your Life


Learn to tap into your creative genius and rock the audience with humor. Find out what’s hot in today’s comedy world. Topics include joke-writing, character creation, improv skills, and stage persona. At the end, perform your own comedic stand-up piece at The Comedy Store! Instructor: Adam Barnhardt 10-Part Course:

Sat., July 18 – Sept. 26, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. No class on Sept. 5 Enrollment Fee: $199 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on July 17)

LGBT Dreaming Introduction to LGBT Affirmative Dream Work

Are you curious about the meaning of your dreams? This course offers an introduction to the use of LGBT affirmative dream work for personal growth. We will explore basic techniques for approaching dream imagery and gaining insight into its relevance for you. Dream sharing and dream work can also help support community wellness, and we will consider this new and very ancient idea. Instructor: Matthew Silverstein, Ph.D., LMFT

Workshop: Tues., Aug. 25, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 24)

GUITAR, FROM A TO EZ Introduction to Acoustic & Electric Guitar Learn how to play the guitar without the anxiety of a private instructor breathing down the neck of your guitar. This fun and easygoing group environment includes basic scale, chord theory, and open chords. Students must provide their own guitars. Instructor: Mark Flores 6-Part Course: Thurs., July 30 – Sept. 3, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $99 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on July 29)

Personal Growth SACRED SENSUALITY Tantra for Queer Women

This course provides an overview of the tantric lifestyle as a path to sexual healing, intimacy, and sexual communication skills. Learn meditation, breath work, techniques, and exercises to get you started on the path to achieving a sacred level of sexuality. Day-Long Workshop: Sat., Aug. 8, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $99 per person; $189 per couple (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 7)


Summer 2015

Wealth & Security YOURS, MINE & OURS Wealth Management for Same-Sex Couples

Financial planning can be different for queer people. This workshop will focus on real world solutions to some of our unique challenges when it comes to planning for retirement. Instructor: Rebecca Dreyer Workshop: Wed., July 22, 7 - 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on July 21)

I DO, DON’T I? Understanding Marriage in California

Do you and your future spouse know the laws that will apply to you? Learn the facts and myths so that you can make an informed choice when you say “I do.” Instructor: Christine Wilson Workshop: Wed., Aug. 19, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 18)

Learning curve Classes WOMEN, WEALTH & WISDOM Seven Steps to Financial Security

As women, we still face great difficulties conquering our financial demons. This class was designed specifically for women to learn how to assess your current financial standing, the power of the Coffee Factor™,” the different types of retirement plans, and build financial baskets to help you realize your own economic security. Instructor: Rebecca Dreyer Workshop: Wed., Aug. 19, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 18)

Wellness AWAKENING Saturday Morning Meditation

Start your weekends by opening your eyes, your heart, and your soul while centering your mind and body. Instructor: Marc Caldwell Class: Every Sat. Morning, 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. For holiday cancelations and blackout dates, visit Enrollment Fee: FREE (Donations requested) (Drop-In, No RSVP Necessary)


VIDEO OUT Video Production Workshop

Learn everything necessary for producing compelling short films. Topics include writing, directing, cinematography, editing, production planning, sound, and a whole lot more. Instructor: Andrew Bender 10-Part Course: Sat., Aug. 8 – Oct. 17, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $199 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 7)

DIGITAL SLR CRASH COURSE Mastering Your Digital SLR Camera

This densely packed course is perfect for new and experienced photographers who want to master their cameras and develop solid creative skills. Course exercises include basics of photography, portraiture, table-top photography, composition, color, and so much more.

EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED Photography Lighting Workshop

You’ve learned what your camera can do and how to manipulate its settings to capture good images in natural light, but what about creating your own lighting sources? This fun, hands-on workshop will allow you to play with different photographic lighting sources that will take your photography to a higher level. Practice using different types of lighting equipment designed to help enhance your creativity and skills. Instructor: Dali Sadhana 2-Part Course: JULY SESSION Weds., July 22 & 29, 7 - 9:30 pm SEPTEMBER SESSION Mon., Sept. 2 & 9, 7 - 9:30 pm Enrollment Fee: $49 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

Instructor: Dali Sadhana 4-Part Course: AUGUST SESSION Thurs., Aug. 6 – 27, 7 - 9:30 pm SEPTEMBER SESSION Mon., Sept. 14 – Oct. 5, 7 - 9:30 pm Enrollment Fee: $99

Don’t wait. Enroll Now! 323-860-7300, ext. 3

(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION LGBT Affirmative Classical MindfulnessBased Skills Practice

Become more aware, focused, and mentally clear as you delve into classical mindfulness-based meditation techniques in an LGBT affirmative setting. Instructor: Matthew Silverstein, Ph.D., LMFT Workshop: Tues., Sept. 22, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $18 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Sept. 21)

Photography & Video BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY Let L.A. Unlock Your Creative Eye

Jumpstart your creativity and improve your compositional skills. This fun, creative, and inspiring course will expose you to various techniques designed to motivate and help you capture more compelling images. Throughout the course, various optional weekend excursions will be planned to allow you to practice what you learn while capturing the urban beauty that Los Angeles has to offer. Instructor: Ralph Buck 6-Part Course: JULY SESSION Tues., July 21 – Aug. 25, 7 - 9 p.m. SEPTEMBER SESSION Tues., Sept. 8 – Oct. 20, 7 – 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $129

(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins) Summer 2015 39














AIDS/LIfeCycle From May 31 – June 6, more than 2,350 cyclists (1, 5, 7, 8) and 619 volunteer roadies made the journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Some of the unique and exciting sights and activities along the way included (2) a water stop manned by a crew of Cher impersonators; (3, 6) a hosted BBQ lunch by schoolchildren in Bradley; (4) a cavalcade of cyclists celebrating Red Dress Day; (9, right) cameo appearances by Coney, AIDS/LifeCycle’s safety mascot; (10) a delicious ice cream social at a rest stop known as Paradise Pit; (11) and bear hugs given at the popular rest stop known as the Otter Pop Stop. (12, 13) Cyclists who crossed the finish line at the VA Center in West Los Angeles were greeted by family, friends…and future husbands.


Summer 2015

14 15






An Evening with Women More than 1,100 guests packed the legendary Hollywood Palladium in May to raise a record-breaking $600,000 benefiting the Center’s programs and services for women and girls. Hosted this year by (14, center) CSI cast member Pauley Perrette and co-chaired by (from L-R) Brent Bolthouse, Annie Goto, and Kelly Lynch, the spectacular lineup of performers included (15) No Doubt, (16) Orange is the New Black cast member Ruby Rose deejaying at the Siren Studios after party, (17) comedian Sarah Silverman, and (18) singer/songwriter Sia. Among the guests were (19) interns of the Center’s Emerging Leaders Program and (20, L-R) Amanda Grumman-Goldsmith, Mona Tavakoli, and Young Professionals Council Co-Chair Tommy Johnson.

Summer 2015 41

Continued from page 41




LA PRIDE (17-18) Colorful flag guards, (19) AIDS/ LifeCycle participants and (20) youth clients added to the diversity and inclusivity of the Center’s Pride Parade contingency, held in June in West Hollywood.


AfterEllen Live: Stand-Up and Shorts


(24) Hosted in March by (second from left) Editor-in-Chief Trish Bendix, the hilarious women of THE LPHABET, among them (from L-R) Ever Mainard, Britt Ashley, Lianna Carrera, Amy Jackson Lewis, Faith Choyce, Lindsay Hicks and Fawz Mirza, performed in the Renberg Theatre for a special evening with the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network.

Get Centered Luncheon




Summer 2015

(21) Held at the W Hollywood Hotel, guests, among them (22, L-R) Mynxii White and Brandon McClure, (23, L-R) Raymond Liu, Kate Dorrlacombe, Evan Ingwers and Lily Dai, learn more about the Center’s vital and life-changing programs and services.


From China with Love (25) In June the Center hosted a reception at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza for seven LGBT couples from China who officially wed in a public ceremony in West Hollywood. The lucky couples were selected in an online contest sponsored by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.



D’FunQT (26) Featuring the inimitable comedian D’Lo, the acclaimed queer transgender Sri LankanAmerican starred in a brilliant new solo show at The Davidson/Valentini Theatre to sold-out audiences in April.



Latin@ Queer Arts & Film Festival Sponsored by the Center for the second year in a row, LQAFF held its four-day festival at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in April, with special guests (27) singer Magaly “La Voz de Oro” and (28, L-R) L.A. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, with Cuatro Lunas cast members Gabriel Santoyo and Alejandro Belmonte, and associate producer Fernando Licon.




Simply diVine (29, L-R) Co-chaired by Center Board Members Susan Feniger and David Bailey, and Laurie Deddens of Pavilions West Hollywood, more than 850 guests, among them (30, L-R) Jay Redublo, Young Professionals Co-Chair Ibrahim Briones, Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, Ken Sanchez and Winnie Huang, flocked to McCadden Place in front of The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in March for the premier food and wine event’s 10th anniversary. (31) Members of Eye of Newt Circus provided entertainment, as (32) guests feasted on unlimited gourmet food samplings.


Summer 2015 43


AIDS/LifeCycle 2015:

RECORD BREAKING! In June AIDS/LifeCycle participants from 21 countries raised a record-breaking $16.3 million for the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation, exceeding last year’s amount by nearly $800,000. More than 2,350 cyclists and 619 volunteer roadies made the 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the fight against AIDS, May 31 – June 6. In February, registration for AIDS/LifeCycle closed earlier than ever before and for only the third time in its 14-year history. Next year’s ride is already filling up quickly! Register for AIDS/LifeCycle 2016, June 5 – June 11, at!

Promoting Healthy Lives for LBT Women More than 300 women gathered at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in April for a free LBT health and wellness fair that featured interactive workshops, panel discussions, and guest speakers on topics that included aging, family creation, financial security, and the formation of “healthy” relationships.


Summer 2015

LifeWorks Awards $37K in Youth Scholarships At a reception in May, the Center’s LifeWorks program distributed scholarships totaling $37,500 to 11 LGBT youth who might otherwise have been unable to afford college tuition, books, and related expenses. Recipients were chosen based on financial need, community involvement, and other factors. Among the generous individuals and companies that provided scholarships this year were Comcast NBCUniversal; Edison STEM; and Steven Greene and David Cruz who make possible the Felice Samuel Greene Scholarship, named in honor of Steven’s mother. Some of this year’s recipients will be enrolled at prestigious and highly competitive institutions, including New York University, Pitzer College, California State University – Northridge, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Trans Pride L.A. Rocks The Village On June 19-20, the Center hosted its 17th annual Trans Pride L.A. festival, one of the oldest and largest trans celebrations in the country, at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza. Sponsored by the Amazon Original Series Transparent, the two-day festivities included a Big Queer Convo discussion with trans pioneers Sandy Stone and Kate Bornstein; a Name and Gender Change Clinic sponsored by the Transgender Law Center; interactive workshops, including Bollywood dance and a self-defense workshop; an art installation dedicated to trans bodies, body image, and body politics; and a VarieTy show showcasing trans performers. Representatives from more than 30 organizations that support the trans community were in attendance to offer information on a wide array of services and issues vital to trans individuals. For more information about Trans Pride L.A., visit

Michelangelo Signorile Takes the Stage In partnership with Book Soup, the Center hosted the bestselling author of Queer in America at the Renberg Theatre to discuss his latest provocative book, It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, in which Signorile exposes the bigotry of the brewing religious conservative backlash against LGBT rights and challenges the complacency and hypocrisy of supposed LGBT allies in Washington, the media, and Hollywood.

Summer 2015 45


I heard about the cool things the Los Angeles LGBT Center did for women way before I moved to L.A. Working in lesbian media for the last eight years could have helped, but my knowledge about An Evening with Women and the Los Angeles Women’s Network wasn’t because of a press release—it was word of mouth from the women who love their city’s queer community center and what it does for them and with them. I’ve only been a Los Angeles resident for a little over a year now and – while most Angelenos might argue I’m not yet one of them – among the reasons I’ve felt so welcome is the Center’s many programs, events, and spaces for LBT women. I was invited by the Network to tour the Center and was impressed with the incredible array of help available through its many different facilities. I became a member of the Network and was part of an instant community of likeminded women who want to connect with one another for friendship, networking, and camaraderie. With women’s spaces dying all over the United States, it’s important there are opportunities like the ones the Center provides. Now, not only do I see my lesbian-identified general practitioner at the Center’s Audre Lorde Lesbian Health Program and attend regular free or low-cost events, but in my job as Editor in Chief of, I’ve been lucky enough to work with the Network as a media partner for the 360: Community


Summer 2015

Health and Wellness Fair for LBT Women. Talk about a day of positive learning and connecting—everyone in attendance was so grateful to be there, and talking with one another about everything from mental and physical health to aging to sex to creating. In one word: inspiring.

Being a member of the Network and supporting the Center has given me nothing but joy. AfterEllen and the Network also partnered for a sold-out live stand-up and short film show that benefitted the Center and I finally got to attend my first-ever An Evening with Women in May, covering it from the red carpet and watching the show with the ladies of the Network, all of us enjoying stellar performances from No Doubt, Sia, and Sarah Silverman. Being a member of the Network and supporting the Center has given me nothing but joy. The work they are doing is not only great but pivotal to the LBT women of Los Angeles. We don’t have a lesbian bar here anymore—there’s not one place you can go that you are guaranteed to find others like yourself on any given day except for the Center. That’s something worth supporting as a member, a volunteer, or a client, because we’re worth it.
















Performed by ANN NOBLE Directed by MARK BRINGELSON Written by MIKE KINDLE



(323) 860-7300 All performances are $20 Net proceeds benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center


July 7-8 | 8 PM | $15 LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER THE VILLAGE AT ED GOULD PLAZA 1125 N. McCadden Place Los Angeles, CA 90038

Summer 2015 47

McDonald/Wright Building 1625 N. Schrader Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028

benefiting homeless youth services at the los angeles lgbt center

CHAIRS FOR CHARITY featuring extraordinary chairs and artwork from designers, celebrities, artists, and tastemakers

Sept 24 – 26 The Washbow 8571 West Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232

For tickets or to donate a chair or an auction item, please visit or email

Official Airline of Chairs for Charity: Sponsors:


Vanguard Magazine Summer 2015  

The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Quarterly Print Magazine

Vanguard Magazine Summer 2015  

The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Quarterly Print Magazine