L O S
A N G E L E S
L G B T
C E N T E R ’ S
M E M B E R
M A G A Z I N E FA L L 2 0 1 5
WE BO ST YL HO E LL HE Y IG WO HT OD
EXPANDING THE CENTER’S REACH IN WEST HOLLYWOOD & INTO BOYLE HEIGHTS
INSIDE IN VOGUE WITH SEXUAL HEALTH
/ BISEXUAL VISIBILITY / HIT THE WALL
Vanguard Contributors Maritza Arreola
Education & Employment Specialist Los Angeles LGBT Center
FA L L 2 0 1 5
Health Education Specialist Los Angeles LGBT Center
Intern Los Angeles LGBT Center
Chief of Staff Los Angeles LGBT Center
Marshall Feldman, LCSW Clinician Los Angeles LGBT Center
Intern Los Angeles LGBT Center
Health Policy Director Los Angeles LGBT Center
Lorri L. Jean
CEO Los Angeles LGBT Center
Clinic Liaison Los Angeles LGBT Center
Legal Advocate Los Angeles LGBT Center
Betsy Martinez Photographer
Intern Los Angeles LGBT Center
John Palmer Designer
Intern Los Angeles LGBT Center
Hit the Wall
OUR WORK IS NOT OVER!
STONEWALL TAKES CENTER STAGE
Heading East & Growing West
THE CENTER EXPANDS IN L.A.
THE CENTER’S SMART APPROACH TO HELP LGBT YOUTH
WITH ANTHONY BRIGHT AND LEE FAELNAR TE
Battle of the Ball
Communications Coordinator Los Angeles LGBT Center
CENTER’S OUTREACH TO HOUSE & BALL COMMUNITY
Cans for Our Cause
9-YEAR-OLD MAKES DONATION TO YOUTH CENTER ON HIGHLAND
Project SPIN Coordinator Los Angeles LGBT Center
29 At-A-Glance: Senior Services 32
Wilson Cruz: Why I Give
DON’T MISS OUR FALL ENRICHMENT CLASSES
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 lalgbtcenter.org/vanguard_magazine.
OUR WORK IS NOT OVER! Lorri L. Jean, CEO
If there was ever a “Summer of Love” for LGBT people, 2015 would be it. When I think about all of the great things that happened for our community over the summer, it’s truly astounding:
against LGBT people across the board with no broad religious exemption.
• AIDS/LifeCycle raised $16.6 million, very likely making it the most successful AIDS fundraising event ever.
• Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump still opposes our freedom to marry, thereby adding more evidence to the proposition that only complete buffoons continue to oppose our rights. (I couldn’t resist.)
• Once hailed as the world’s greatest athlete, Caitlyn Jenner came out, bringing unprecedented visibility to transgender people. • The United States Supreme Court made the freedom to marry the law of the land throughout our nation, finding that the 14th Amendment applies to LGBT people, too. • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The little-understood impact of this decision (and its similar ruling regarding discrimination on the basis of gender identity) is that now LGBT people are protected in all 50 states, regardless of whether local laws protect them. • The Secretary of Defense announced his intention to lift the ban against transgender people serving in the military, issuing a directive to begin the work necessary to effectuate his intent. • The Boy Scouts of America lifted its mandate of antiLGBT discrimination. In other words, individual troops can still discriminate against adult LGBT leaders, but they’re no longer required to prohibit their service. • The fatally flawed Employment Non-Discrimination Act was finally scrapped and, instead, we’ve returned to seeking a comprehensive civil rights bill to protect us. The Equality Act was introduced in Congress to ban discrimination 4
• President Obama took his fight for LGBT rights international, speaking about the importance of our rights in Kenya (and, by implication, everywhere).
Just when I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m reminded of how much distance remains to be traveled before all people are treated with the equal dignity and respect they deserve. Never before in the history of our movement has so much progress been made in such a short period of time. So why do I—always the eternal optimist—feel so much sadness along with my euphoria? It’s because the summer of 2015 has also been a summer full of hate and tragedy and division. And the older I get, the angrier I feel at the ignorance and bigotry that persist. Here are just a few contrasting examples from the last few months: • Nine people were killed in a hate crime spree at an historic black church in Charleston, S.C., by a Confederateflag-waving gunman.
Keep hoping. Keep working. Keep trying to do the right things. Keep helping others. Keep believing what this summer indisputably proved: together, we can change the world for the better. • Keyshia Blige, 19, of Aurora, Ill., became the 19th transgender woman murdered this year—most of whom were women of color. • The White House revised the National HIV/AIDS Policy and released some new findings. There is much to be hopeful about these days in our fight against HIV/AIDS. But there are also alarming statistics:
• The number of new infections among young gay/ bi men is still on the rise.
• At the current rate of infection, one in two black gay/bi men will have HIV by the time they’re 35.
• As many as 30% of transgender women may be living with HIV.
• The right wing’s war on women and reproductive justice escalated with efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, a vital institution when it comes to women’s health in this country, especially poor women. • Additional mass murders were committed by crazed gunmen yet federal gun control legislation is nowhere on the horizon. • The shocking murders, deaths, and injuries of people of color in relatively innocent circumstances that were perpetrated by law enforcement officials, the very people who are supposed to help and protect us. • The strange reluctance of some elected leaders to unequivocally speak a very simple truth: “Black lives matter!” • And to top it all off, the economic divide in our nation continues to widen. We see evidence of it every day at the Center, as increasing numbers of LGBT youth and adults seek our help, who are otherwise unable to afford services they often desperately need.
before all people are treated with the equal dignity and respect they deserve. I don’t mean to undermine our joy at the progress we’ve been making. I’m thrilled beyond thrilled by it. But I’m also concerned about what all of these un-thrilling matters portend for our future. I feel less patient than ever before in the face of the idiocy of commission and omission that is literally killing people, either immediately or more slowly. And I’m more disgusted than ever by political leaders who still look the other way. As a result, I’ve lately found myself waking up in the wee hours on too many mornings, fretting about what more I can do–what more we can all do to help make things better. But then the sun rises and several great things happen. The darkness fades, and I am comforted by my morning cuddle time with Gina. My optimism almost always quickly returns. Then I get to go to work, where I’m supported by the most amazing people at the most amazing place. They—and all of you who actually ARE doing something to make the world better–are proof that there’s much reason to be hopeful about the future. The truth is, when I was given the helm of the Center in January 1993, it was hard to imagine we’d ever achieve some of the advances that were made this summer, not to mention those made over the intervening decades.Yet that never stopped us from believing progress was possible, or from attempting to do things that had never been done before, and succeeding. And that’s what all of us at the Center, with your help, will continue to do. It’s all that any of us can do. Keep hoping. Keep working. Keep trying to do the right things. Keep helping others. Keep believing what this summer indisputably proved: together, we can change the world for the better. Now that’s a great reason to get up in the morning!
Just when I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m reminded of how much distance remains to be traveled Fall 2015
WE ST HOL LY WO OD HEADING EAST & GROWING WEST This fall, the Center will grow its services in Los Angeles to better meet the diverse needs of our community and improve access to care.
EXPANDING CENTER-WEHO IN WEST HOLLYWOOD AND INTRODUCING MI CENTRO IN BOYLE HEIGHTS See page 8 ›› 66
BO YL E HE IG HT S
Fall 2015 77
Interior of Center-WeHo, overlooking Santa Monica Boulevard.
THE CENTER-WEHO WHERE SEXUAL HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY
8745 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood
The staff of the relocated and renamed Los Angeles LGBT CenterWeHo has one message for the community, reflected in a promotional campaign for the facility: “Whatever you’re into, protecting your sexual health and well-being is our priority.” Located just above Gym Bar and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Santa Monica Boulevard, the new 2,600-square-foot facility opens in early October and was designed specifically to provide sexual health
related services in a sex-positive environment. It offers free HIV and other sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, STI treatment, access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and a variety of free condoms. To help make the testing process faster and more efficient than ever before, appointments can be scheduled, and soon the availability of a new “Quickie Pass” will shave an average of 20 minutes off visits by Continued on page 10
Co-tenant and Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) Rudy Espinoz inside the City Labs space.
THE CENTERBOYLE HEIGHTS EXPANDING OUR COMMUNITY OF CARE 533 S. Clarence St. in Boyle Heights
This month the Los Angeles LGBT Center, in partnership with Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), launched Mi Centro, a new facility to serve the needs of LGBT people in Boyle Heights and surrounding neighborhoods. “The opening of the Boyle Heights facility realizes a longtime objective of the Center to expand services beyond our Hollywood sites,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “We have many clients who travel long
distances to obtain services at the Center and we also know there is a growing need for LGBT-specific services throughout eastside neighborhoods.We look forward to working with LEA and other collaborative partners to do an even better job of serving our community.” Located at 553 S. Clarence St., just east of the Los Angeles River, Mi Centro is part of City Labs, a new purpose-driven, collaborative space for organizations to thrive, grow, and serve the Boyle Heights community. Continued on page 10
›› Fall 2015
THE CENTER-WEHO cont’d.
THE CENTER-BOYLE HEIGHTS cont’d.
enabling people to complete paperwork online at whatRUinto.org. Questions about PrEP? Medical providers will be available to help people determine whether PrEP, also known as the “HIV prevention pill,” is the right choice for them; if it is, prescriptions can be filled on-site. Although many insurance plans cover PrEP, staff can help those who are uninsured, or whose plans don’t cover the drug, get financial assistance for it. “Knowing your HIV and STI status and having easy access to HIV prevention medications like PEP and PrEP is so important,” says Dustin Kerrone, manager of the Center’s Sexual Health Education Program. “It’s the only way we can stop the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and get people who are positive the treatment they need. We built this new ‘sex-positive’ facility so we can test even more people, and do it in a welcoming, shame-free space where people can talk openly about their sexual practices and risk factors.” Nationally, one in seven people who are HIV-positive doesn’t know it, so they aren’t getting the treatment to protect themselves and their sex partners. The largest number of new infections is among young gay/bisexual men, particularly African-Americans ages 13 to 24. Here in Los Angeles, 83% of those living with HIV are gay/bisexual men. Transgender women are also at high risk. One study estimates that 30% of transgender women are living with HIV. The HIV tests used by the Center are the most accurate and reliable available, capable of detecting HIV as early as seven days after exposure.The other tests the Center offers are for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. Anyone who tests positive for an STI can get treatment onsite or at the Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic in Hollywood, which is also where HIV medical care is offered. For those who fear they may have recently been exposed to HIV, the Center-WeHo will offer postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP involves taking antiHIV medications within 72 hours of exposure to prevent the virus from spreading through the body. Center-WeHo will replace the smaller facility known as The Spot on San Vicente Boulevard and will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by phone (and soon online), but walk-in visits are also welcome. One hour free parking is available next to Tender Greens before 6 p.m., and up to three hours with validated parking at the West Hollywood city parking garage next to the library. All the same services offered at Center-WeHo will continue to be offered on the third floor of the Center’s McDonald/Wright building in Hollywood.
Mercedes Marquez, a member of both the Center and LEA boards, helped galvanize the joint project. “This new chapter in the relationship between LEA and the Center is one born of shared values and a deep demonstrated commitment to the struggle for freedom of and by LGBT people, wherever we are,” said Marquez. “Service needs in the Latino LGBT communities of Los Angeles are enormous.The Center and LEA are committed to working together, and with other Latino LGBT service providing organizations, to both deepen services and provide an LGBT space in Boyle Heights dedicated to dialogue and the celebration of Latino LGBT life and culture. ¡ Adelante!” LEA, established in the wake of the Proposition 8 ballot initiative by grassroots Latina and Latino LGBT leaders, has worked to increase support for LGBT individuals and families within the Latino communities of Los Angeles. “The name Mi Centro is a good example of our joint commitment to make this space welcoming and relevant to our Latino LGBT community,” said LEA Co-Founder and Advisory Board Chair Ari Gutierrez Arambula.“It is with acknowledgment of the long–fought struggles of our community for equal access to social services and opportunities that LEA welcomes the opportunity to work in alliance with the Center in expanding its service area through a satellite LGBT center in Boyle Heights.” Initially, the Center and LEA will offer a range of bilingual services that includes legal services, activities and educational opportunities for youth, programs for seniors, and other social services. Working with LEA and other community service organizations, the Center will carefully consider expanding its work in a way that is consistent with its values of service and collaboration. At the outset, the Center hopes to provide legal services and support for immigrants, domestic violence counseling, social services for the transgender community, and support groups and workshops for seniors and youth. Key to the success of any program will be partnerships with other social change organizations, such as MALDEF, a national legal organization fighting for the civil rights of Latinas and Latinos. “Boyle Heights is one of L.A.’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” said MALDEF staff attorney Matthew Barragan. “The collaboration of the Center and the Latino Equality Alliance will add to the sense of community, especially for LGBT people, and provide a safe space where community members can access a variety of services and support.”
JUNE 5-11, 2016 THE RIDE IS FILLING UP! Secure your spot for AIDS/LifeCycleâ€™s 15th anniversary. Join the community of over 3,000 participants on their journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, raising awareness and funds for the HIV-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Register now using code VANGUARD for $25 off at aidslifecycle.org/register.
/AIDSLifeCycle PRODUCED BY & BENEFITING
Fall 2015 11
Are you Strong, Relentless, Compassionate, Courageous, or Inspirational?
Choose an #IAM pride word and swap your social media profile pics. Download graphics & share your story using the same hashtagâ€” lalgbtcenter.org/out
Winter 2014 30
With two of the Center’s over 500 staff members and 3,000 volunteers
Name Anthony Bright Hometown Los Angeles Year Started at the Center 2015 Preferred Gender Pronouns He/Him Job at the Center Senior Services Manager of Programs & Administrative Oversight How do you describe the Center to other people?
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. What’s the best advice you give? The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. What’s one thing everyone should see or do in Los Angeles? Why? Drive down Pacific Coast Highway. The views are amazing and the trip will be memorable even if you’re just going from Los Angeles to San Diego.
The Center is an impressive, comprehensive, and tolerant force. I am still amazed at what the Center has been able to accomplish, and I boast openly about the environment in which I’m honored to work.
What’s a favorite pastime and why?
Name Lee Faelnar Te
Praise 3.” There’s one song titled “How I Want to Be Like You” which discusses how to be more like Jesus who gives his peace, shares his joy, and shows his love. What I’ve learned from that song is just to be your authentic self.
Hometown Manila, Philippines Year Started at the Center 2010 Preferred Gender Pronouns She/Her Volunteer Position at the Center Facilitator for the Transgender Perceptions program Event volunteer for Simply diVine, An Evening with Women, Anniversary Gala, Trans Pride, and Models of Pride How do you describe the Center to other people? I love how the Center is a great resource for the LGBT community and our allies. It’s a place where you can just be yourself, be accepted, and have fun. I feel like I’m with family–with people who understand me. I also think of the Center as a place where you can share your talents as a volunteer and give back to our community. What’s the best advice you’ve been given? When I was four, I had this album called “Kids’
I play basketball and I write. Both are passions of mine that help me maintain my sanity.
What’s the best advice you give? As a trans woman who believes in Christ, the best advice I can give is just to be your authentic self and let that authenticity shine. Learn how to respect somebody else’s authenticity because what’s authentic to you might not be the same for somebody else. What’s one thing everyone should see or do in Los Angeles? Why? Check out my church, Founders MCC. It’s a different experience. It’s an inclusive and accepting church. We respect other people and their beliefs; our goal is to just live harmoniously. What’s a favorite pastime and why? I love spending time with my friends, watching movies, listening to music, walking around exploring, trying different things. I feel like all of those things enrich me and develop my perspective in life.
Fall 2015 13
OF THE BALL
HOW VOGUE COMPETITIONS ARE HELPING THE CENTER REACH YOUNG MEN AT HIGH RISK OF HIV INFECTION The House of Blahnik is where Center Linkage to Care Coordinator Jamari Harville feels love– an extraordinary place for 16 people drawn together over the years by self-expression, survival, and fashion. They’re part of an underground dance/performance phenomenon rooted in Harlem known as the House & Ball community ››
Continued on page 16
Fall 2015 15
TODAY, LOS ANGELES’ THRIVING HOUSE & BALL COMMUNITY DRAWS YOUNG GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN AND TRANSGENDER WOMEN INTO STYLISTIC AND FEROCIOUS RUNWAY DANCE “BATTLES.” ›› From page 15 (short for House & Ballroom), as audaciously depicted in the 1990 documentary film Paris is Burning, in which vogue dancers—mostly black/African-American—compete with other Houses by strutting down a make-believe runway and striking their best poses with flailed arms, sashayed hips, and stare downs. Today, Los Angeles’ thriving House & Ball community draws young gay and bisexual men and transgender women into stylistic and ferocious runway dance “battles.” It has also become a base for the Center’s work to reach young gay and bisexual black men, a population testing positive for HIV at alarming rates. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gay and bisexual men represent approximately two percent of the U.S. population, but account for threefourths of all estimated new HIV infections. The crisis is sobering, especially for young black men who have sex with men (MSM), ages 13 to 24, who are the most affected by the HIV epidemic. Alarmingly, 58% of all HIV/AIDS diagnoses among young MSM in 2011 were among black youth. Brian Toynes, Program Manager for the Center’s Sexual Health Education Program
(SHEP), explains there are multiple socioeconomic factors and stressors driving the HIV epidemic among young black MSM: poverty, unemployment, racism, homophobia, lack of access to health care, higher rates of some sexually transmitted infections, lack of awareness of HIV status, and stigma. “At the Center, our support and care services can address a number of these factors,” said Toynes. SHEP staff members have been attending nearly every House & Ball event in Los Angeles over the past year, armed with an information table stacked with condoms, lube, and pamphlets about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (postexposure prophylaxis), which are proven biomedical interventions that reduce HIV transmission and can significantly alter the course of the epidemic. “For many of these men who approach us at the information table, it’s their first time learning about PrEP and PEP because they don’t live in LGBT neighborhoods like West Hollywood where these pills are more commonly promoted and used,” said Center Health Education Specialist Markqes Johnson. For many disenfranchised LGBT youth, the House & Ball community offers them
new, tight-knit homes of love and acceptance. Respect within the community is earned, not given. As such, the Center’s initial outreach efforts were met with some resistance. The team regrouped and approached local House & Ball legend Savanna Garcia as a potential emissary. “It’s hard to for them to accept you if they don’t know you,” said Garcia. With Garcia’s help, the Center made its first splash into the community by co-sponsoring Garcia’s annual Halloween Ball last fall. A breakthrough came when the Center hosted a February mixer known as “The Boom Boom Room” for the House & Ball community, held in West Hollywood. More than 100 guests attended. “So many members of the House & Ball community came to show their love. There was no drama,” recalled Johnson. “They came to celebrate their art and talent.” Staff members have noticed more clients bringing Center pamphlets from the Balls with them to their appointments. “We need to continue the fight—and the discussion—within the black community to rid the fear and stigmatization of getting tested or becoming HIV-positive,” said Harville.
Save the Date! Sunday, December 6 A Donation Drive for LGBT Youth and Seniors
Donate gently used items: Clothing • Accessories • Shoes Donate new items: Socks • Underwear • Backpacks Donate food: Non-Perishable • Boxed • Canned
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS COUNCIL
BEST SUMMER EVER! The Los Angeles Women's Network has reached a milestone: a record 200+ members! Thank you for joining us at our signature events. The Los Angeles Women’s Network is a diverse membership organization that supports the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s vital services for women and girls by providing opportunities for service, education, and networking. To learn more about the Network and its membership benefits, visit lalgbtcenter.org/lawn.
Fall 2015 17
October 10, 2015 University of Southern California
Now in its 23rd year, Models of Pride is the largest, free LGBTQA youth conference in the nationâ€”attracting more than 1,200 youth under age 25 each year. But the conference isn't just for kids!
PARENT AND PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTE
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
Parents, teachers, Gay-Straight Alliance advisors, therapists, and other adults who support LGBTQA youth can attend a full-day conference filled with speakers, workshops, discussion groups, and films. The Parent and Professional Institute follows the same schedule as the youth conference.
We need over 150 volunteers for this life-changing conference to be a success!
P R E S E N T E D
Register at modelsofpride.org/volunteer
CELEBRATING BISEXUAL VISIBILITY Held each September since 1999, Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, highlights biphobia and helps people connect with the bisexual community. This month, we invited three of our bisexual Center staffers to share their journeys. Continued on page 20 ››
Fall 2015 19
HERMAN MARCIAL I am bisexual. This marks the first time I officially state it in writing. Although most people know about me, there are two influential and important people that I have not officially told yet: my parents. Though I have grown accustomed to the notion that they figured it out a long time ago, the reality is I don’t know if they have. Like many bisexuals, I was to learn firsthand the hardships of being misunderstood. After most of my friends overcame the shock and disbelief of my coming out as bisexual, they began asking if I really knew I was bi or if I was really gay but too afraid to admit it. I realized that my close friends, family, and parents were the people I wanted most to understand me. As MARITZA ARREOLA the eldest of five boys, I strived to be For me, coming out was a struggle to balance two conflicting issues: that example my parents envisioned. wanting to be known as queer so I can find community, yet being afraid I see glimpses of pride in my parents’ to come out because of pervasive biphobic myths. When I do have the eyes whenever I visit and I am terprivilege to come out to a person who truly sees me for who I am, it’s rified of losing that if I come out to such a powerful experience. them. My parents are open minded, I was terrified to tell my dad for fear of how he’d react. The eventual loving people, but having never reconversation ended up being much easier than I had expected. I just gave ally touched on the issue of sex in him the simple facts: 1.) I’ve had feelings—from innocent butterflies for a general, I don’t know how they’ve grade school crush to sexual attraction and romantic love as an adult—for adapted to the notion of accepting people of many different genders. 2.) other sexual orientations. I’m still the same daughter my dad I know it shouldn’t matter what BRANDON BURCIAGA raised me to be. 3.) My bisexuality anyone thinks, but it does. Especially is another facet of my life which I When I was younger, I didn’t even know what the word my parents. When they read this can use to make the world a better “gay” was, really. I started talking to other guys online article, I hope they realize I haven’t place. Dad responded with tears in his and discovered people my age had the same feelings and changed. I continue to keep them eyes, saying his feelings for me hadn’t confusion I had about my sexuality. I was scared, but exand my family in my thoughts every changed. With a hug, I knew he was cited that I wasn’t alone. As I grew into an adult, I knew I day, and I am the person I am today seeing the real me for the first time. liked guys, but I still missed and had feelings for the girls I because of them. Above all, I want I think of coming out as a long, had dated. Why was I still having feelings for women? At them to know I love them with all complex journey with key moments this point along my journey, I realized something…I’m my heart. like the conversation with my dad, bisexual. and that what’s important for the I came out as gay to my parents years ago when I queer community: not just to come thought I only liked guys. All hell broke loose. Now my out, but to be able to come in… family accepts me as a gay man. I don’t want to tell them to have a space where you are seen about my bisexuality because my parents might say I’m and honored and celebrated, to love confused or say something reassuring like, “You like girls? and be loved, and to be safe in your Good, there’s hope.” authenticity. It’s funny to see how invasive people can be when asking about my sexuality. I usually end up rolling my eyes, laughing, or bickering when these questions come up. NO, we are not confused. NO, we are not selfish. NO, we are not promiscuous. NO, I am not going to cheat on you with the other sex. The struggle for many bisexuals is real and challenging. Finding a partner who accepts you for being yourself can be extremely hard. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a Sexual Health Specialist and clinic counselor at the Center. I have been able to help people understand their own journeys as bisexuals and witness their own coming out experiences. I also help train the entire staff about the disparities bisexuals face. I tell my story not only to share, but to help others on their journeys.
Fall 2015 21
Cans for Our Cause
My name is Sean and I’m nine years old. I came up with “Cans for a Cause” when I was talking with my mom one day. I wanted to help kids like me but who are homeless. I’m lucky to have a good place to live and good food, but some people don’t have that. At my church, one time a month we make food for the Youth Center on Highland. My dad cooks really good food at the church all the time, and sometimes me and my sister help out. We stuff bags with candy or wrap up the silverware or we serve the food. Sometimes we bring in jackets or soap for people who need it. My family has been going to All Saints’ Episcopal Church for almost as long as I can remember. I like going there.They have taught me that you should give what you have to other people even if you don’t know them. Jesus took the bread that he had and he fed the people who were hungry.That’s what we should all do. I also hate seeing trash everywhere.There are a lot of cans on the street and they just sit there. And when it rains, it drives the cans into the ocean.This is bad because the animals in the ocean can choke on them. So, I decided to take the cans to be recycled.They give me money for them and I decided to give the money to the Center to buy food or soap for the people staying there. I decided to give the money to the Center because I heard that a lot of the people at the Center got kicked out of their houses because they loved someone.Their parents didn’t like that their boy likes boys or their girl likes girls so they kicked them out. That’s wrong because kids need a home. It doesn’t matter if boys like boys.What’s important is that they love each other.
I was lucky to get a tour of the Center. Simon and Tim and Alex did a great job showing us around! I didn’t know how many people needed help and how many people the Center helps.They have a place to sleep and eat and a computer lab.You can watch TV, and you can even go to school there. It made me happy to give the money because they need a lot of stuff and the Center is giving them help. I think everyone should help out at the Center. Just do it because it will help give people a place to live and have a good life.
This summer, Sean donated $150 from his recycled can drive to our Youth Center on Highland. He and his family are members of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. Church members have individually been involved with the Center for many years, participating in fundraising events,
volunteering on an individual basis, and accessing Center services. The church has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community. At the height of the AIDS crisis 23 years ago, All Saints began a tradition called Monday Meal. Members of the church would feed people waiting in line for hours to be seen by medical clinics. That Monday tradition of service has been upheld through the years, feeding upwards of 100 homeless and low-income individuals every week. When parishioner Van Fletcher introduced the church to the Center’s Chief Development Officer, Bill McDermott, the idea of serving a hot meal to the kids at the Youth Center organically formed, not unlike their Monday Meals. In the spring of 2013, the church began serving a hot lunch for our youth clients the last Saturday of every month. Sean during his tour of the Center’s Youth Center on Highland.
GET THIS TOTE BAG FREE! BECOME A CENTER ADVOCATE
Support our work to help LGBT people be healthy, equal, and complete members of society through regular monthly contributions. Become a member of the Advocates—one of the greenest and most effective ways you can support the Center.
lalgbtcenter.org/advocates Fall 2015 23
Hitting a Grand Slam
The Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center has become a leading Los Angeles-area presenter of performing and visual arts. With well over 300 productions to its credit, the program has won a number of awards, nominations, and critics’ picks. The Tomlin/Wagner Center brings together a wide diversity of people through the arts, with productions and exhibits that highlight all people and facets of our community. By sharing entertaining, provocative, compelling theatre and visual arts, it strives to welcome and empower everyone, from the artists and performers to the audience and the community at large.
Hit the Wall September 18–October 25 Fri. and Sat.: 8 p.m. Sun.: 7 p.m. Davidson/Valentini Theatre Tickets: lalgbtcenter.org/theatre or call 323-860-7300 Foundation L.A. September 4–October 17 Mon.–Fri.: 6–10 p.m. Sat.: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Advocate & Gochis Galleries Free admission
The Center’s Cultural Arts Doubles Down on Programming to Commemorate Modern LGBT Movement The events of 46 years ago at New York’s Stonewall Inn—credited with sparking the modern LGBT movement—are getting a dramatic retelling through a partnership between the Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue to present the West Coast premiere of Ike Holter’s groundbreaking play Hit the Wall. With a cast of 10, a live three-piece rock band, original music, and choreography, Hit the Wall will run in the Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre through October 25. The theatre has been completely redesigned to make this production as immersive as possible, bringing audiences directly into the story and bringing the story to life. Stonewall happened long before the advent of smart phones and social media. No video and few photos exist of that first night that sparked a week-long rebellion. Countless conflicting memories and even contradictory written accounts vie to be considered “authoritative.” Even the date is elusive: If it happened at 1:30 a.m., does that make it June 28 or 29? Or was it the wee hours of June 27 and 28? No clear picture of exactly what happened that night exists, but everyone in our community wants to own it. “This story is our legacy, the whole community’s. It’s something we all did together—gay men, lesbians, trans people, drag queens, all of us!” said Adam Silver, a cast member and Sixth Avenue founder who is co-producing Hit the Wall with the Center’s Director of Cultural Arts Jon Imparato. “Hit the Wall isn’t told from just a gay man’s point of view. In fact, two central elements involve a lesbian love story and a trans person’s love story.” While Hit the Wall examines how we tell our history and the way it becomes mythology, the thrust of this trailblazing play, which is directed by award-winning Ken Sawyer (The Laramie Project:Ten Years Later; Deathtrap; The Goat or,Who Is Sylvia?; D’FunQT), is the intensity of the chaotic events and the people who were there as witnesses and participants in changing history. The cast portrays both individuals and archetypes who represent the diversity of characters and viewpoints. “It’s a remix, a mash-up of chronicle and legend,” says Silver. “The audience is right in the middle of the action. It’s unlike anything that has been staged before, and it’s going to be incredible. I’d be lucky to work on the show at any time, but it’s especially rewarding at this moment in our history.” The play includes original songs written especially for this production by Anna Waronker (singer for That Dog) and Charlotte Caffey (The GoGo’s). The cast features Jason Caceres, Burt Grinstead, Charlotte Gulezian, Matthew Hancock, Kristina Johnson, Roland Ruiz, Shoniqua Shandai, Adam Silver, Donnie Smith, and Blake Young-Fountain. The production is funded in part through the generosity of the Joseph and Fiora Stone Foundation. Running concurrently with Hit the Wall is an exhibit in the Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries called Foundation: L.A. Los Angeles saw history’s very first LGBT rebellions against police brutality, starting with the Cooper’s Donut riot in 1959.The downtown coffee shop had been a safe space for LGBT folk, situated between two gay bars. Police raided the shop and arrested five patrons, resulting in an impromptu riot in the streets. Almost a decade later, in 1967, officers detained patrons at Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern, inspiring another riot. The arrests triggered a small uprising and led to a more organized demonstration several days later. These protests laid the foundation for Stonewall. Foundation L.A. features a dramatic and informative collection of historical photographs and interpretive texts. Local artist Katelyn Dorroh created an installation in the inner gallery inspired by Cooper’s Donut: a large wraparound image of a coffee shop covers three of the four walls, with a seating area and a specially created zine with articles on the riot.
A NOBLE PROFESSION
Ann Noble has become one of Los Angeles’ finest theatre actors and a recurring cast member of the Center’s production stages, including roles in The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, The Goat, and most recently, Stanley Ann: The Unlikely Story of Barack Obama’s Mother.
Center–The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later and The Goat--introduced me to Jon Imparato (Director of Cultural Arts) and I was one of the actors they called in to audition for The Laramie Project. Funny enough, the monologue I auditioned with was from Stanley Ann.
This summer at the Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre, Noble played the lead in Stanley Ann, chronicling the extraordinary life of Stanley Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s late mother. Vanguard spoke with Noble about her portrayal of Stanley Ann, her first involvement with the Center, and why performing at the Center means so much to her.
V: What is it about performing at the Center’s theatres that feels special?
VANGUARD: Other than sharing little-known information about the life of our president, what makes Stanley Ann such a fascinating story? ANN NOBLE: It gives a broader perspective about President Obama. Look at what his mom went through! She was in Indonesia after the coup with her young children and she didn’t quit; she didn’t give up. She sent her child away so he could have a better life. And she let her mother— President Obama’s grandmother—raise him. That’s remarkable. It was an important story that had to be told. V: How did you first become involved with the Center? AN: About three years ago Ken Sawyer, who directed two very popular shows produced by the
AN: I love what Jon’s doing. He produces good theater. He does not produce anything unless it’s going to be top notch. I will literally drop anything to come work here. I love the space and how the space can transform. I know all the little quirks of it now; the little sounds that it makes. I know the dead spots and the live spots. It’s one of my favorite places to perform because it’s truly an intimate theater. You can act real. You can just “be.” V: There are so many worthwhile non-profits in L.A.; why do you support the Center’s work? AN: When I’m over at Triangle Square [The Center’s affordable apartment complex for LGBT seniors], one of the most important things I do is sit and listen. If you’re talking about LGBT seniors, you’re talking about people whose love used to be illegal, who were ostracized and isolated and humiliated and estranged from their families. They need to tell their stories because those stories are opening up the world for LGBT teenagers today who can say, “This is who I’m dating” without their worlds falling apart.
Fall 2015 25
RE COV ERI NG YOU TH
Each night, 40 percent of the 6,000 homeless youth on the streets of Los Angeles identify as LGBT. Many times, drugs and alcohol offer an accessible escape from the realities of life on the streets, leading to high rates of substance abuse. As part of September’s National Recovery Month, we took a closer look at the unique substance abuse issues facing the Center’s homeless youth clients. »
by CHRIS CONNERS, CLEMENT GIAMBRA, MARIO OLIVARES, and MAURISE PHILLIPS 2015 HIRE LA’s YOUTH SUMMER INTERNS
Fall 2015 27
The community support offered in the substance abuse recovery LGBT youth experiencing homelessness are often more susceptible to street industries, exchanging sex for food, drugs, or shelter to meet their programs at the Center provides a space for youth to reconnect in the immediate needs while waiting for the opportunity to gain permanent areas of their lives where there previously was no support. “What we’re doing is providing information and in a really nonhousing and ultimately live life off the streets. For these youth, however ambitious, life on the streets ultimately becomes dangerous while facing judgmental atmosphere so that the youth can make a decision on their the harsh conditions of the city’s high unemployment, low wages, and own,” said Rizzo. “They can evaluate how crystal meth is affecting their lives and have the resources so that if they do want to change that belack of affordable housing. havior they can be successful.” “Our youth clients abuse drugs for very different reasons than The Center’s recovery groups for youth are based adults. With crystal meth, it allows them to stay awake on the set of guiding principles from SMART at night so that they feel safer on the streets. (Self Management and Recovery Training), a It staves off hunger so that if they don’t have leading support group agency for self-emenough money for food or water they aren’t powering addiction recovery support groups. hungry or thirsty,” said Center’s Crystal Meth The program offers specific tools and techRecovery Services Manager Mike Rizzo. “A niques for each of the program points: buildlot of the youth are engaged in what we call ing and maintaining motivation; coping with survival sex–prostitution for enough money urges; managing thoughts, feelings, and beto stay at a hotel for a night or get food. Drugs PRECONTEMPLATION haviors; and living a balanced life. The proand alcohol allow them to do that work withPre-contemplators usually show up in gram offers a variety of tools and techniques out really feeling the emotional consequenctherapy because of pressures from others: that help individuals gain independence from es.” spouses, employers, parents, and courts. addiction and addictive behaviors. For many youth, homelessness persists They resist change and place responsi“It’s very critical that we alter the attitude because of the lack of treatment to address bility for their problems on factors such of self destruction. Our work is based on a their histories of complex trauma. Recovery as genetic makeup, addiction, family, harm reduction model, which is not abstipresents a considerable challenge to youth as society, destiny, the police, etc. They feel nence. It’s more about reducing harm to the they struggle to manage their current menthe situation is hopeless. individual and greater community,” said Cental health disorders and substance abuse while ter Health Education Specialist Jesi Harris. surviving in a hostile street environment. CONTEMPLATION “Preparing to change and actually changing– “In my experience working with youth, Contemplators acknowledge that they people always get stuck between those stages it’s particularly difficult because they don’t have a problem and begin to think about because that’s the scariest part. It’s fairly easy see it as a problem. They see it as a phase that solving it. Many have indefinite plans to to plan to change but actually changing is a they’re going through, or that they can quit take action within the next few months. difficult thing to do.” at any time, but that may not necessarily be When contemplators transition to the true,” said Rizzo. preparation stage of change. They begin
SMART RECOVERY: THE STAGES OF CHANGE
to think more about the future than the past.
Chris, 21, is a client at the Center’s Youth Center on Highland and identifies with both male and female pronouns. He cites reaction to his gender identity as a contributing factor to him being homeless. Not accepted at home, Chris was bullied at school. He turned to drugs to help him cope with life on the streets. He arrived at the Center in February. “It’s amazing that the Center has an open atmosphere… I feel much more comfortable here than at home. I always feel like friends of the past
PREPARATION Most people in the preparation stage are planning to take action and are making the final adjustments before they begin to change their behavior. They have not yet resolved their ambivalence. ACTION People overtly modify their behavior and their surroundings, making the move for which they have been preparing. It requires the greatest commitment of time and energy. Change is more visible to others. MAINTENANCE Change never ends with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to pre-contemplation or contemplation stage.
dislike the fact that I made a choice to disclose my sexual orientation. Now that I am open about it they haven’t really bothered to talk to me or hang out. I would say I do indeed struggle with a substance abuse problem. These substances honestly make me feel creative. I experience pleasure. I experience the negative side effects as well. I’ve been sober for a week and I do want to quit. Every day I would struggle just to support my addiction… I have became socially awkward… Some of my friendships have not been the same.”
AT- A - G L A N C E
SENIOR SERVICES CLIENTS OF THE CENTER’S SENIOR SERVICES PROGRAM
450-600 ACTIVE PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS EACH MONTH
MONTHLY ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
71% 19% A LO N E
W / PA R T N E R OR SPOUSE
<$1,000 M O N T H LY *
LGBT SENIORS IN LOS ANGELES
24% 47% 29%
C U R R E N T VA LU E O F SENIORS HELPING SENIORS FUND**
“A L M O S T E V E R Y M O N T H ” “SOME MONTHS” “ O N C E O R T W I C E I N T H E PA S T Y E A R ”
65,000+ $1,950 14,300 104
SINGLE, WIDOWED, OR DIVORCED
MOST FREQUENTLY CITED
$1,000 – $1,999*
WHEN ASKED HOW O F T E N T H E Y D I D N OT H AV E E N O U G H F O O D, CLIENTS SAID:
H AV E AT L E A S T ONE DISABILITY
53% PAY I N G F O R D E N TA L C A R E
PLANNING FOR FUTURE CARE NEEDS
E ST I M AT E D N U M B E R
AV E R A G E M O N T H LY R E N T F O R 1 - B E D R O O M A PA R T M E N T I N L . A . LG B T S E N I O R S I N L . A . E A R N I N G LESS THAN $1,000 PER MONTH U N I T S O F A F F O R DA B L E H O U S I N G F O R LG B T S E N I O R S ( T R I A N G L E S Q U A R E )
46% 41% LO N E L I N E S S / DEPRESSION
ARRANGING FOR HOME R E PA I R S
* Monthly income of Triangle Square residents ** Established by seniors to provide emergency support for other LGBT seniors
Fall 2015 29
The Los Angeles LGBT Center is extremely grateful for the support of the following new Sustaining Donors and Circle of Life members.
L EGACY CI RCLE
SI LV E R CI RCLE
$1 00,000 & A BOV E
$ 1 , 500- $ 1 ,79 9
Martine & Bina Rothblatt
Dana Brenklin* James Brown
L EAD E R SH I P CI RCLE $50,000- $9 9,9 9 9 Anthony & Joey Rich*
Andrew Burk Allan Carp* Bruce Daitch Michael Gard Barbara Hare*
G O LD CI RCLE $6 ,000- $1 1 ,9 9 9
William Lanier* James Rayton* Matthew Rhodes
David Bailey & Ron Shalowitz*
The National Equity Fund
Paul Steinke & Jordan Von Netzer Paul Titcher*
Donor list as of August 2015
S I LV E R CI RCLE $2 ,4 00- $3, 59 9 Edward Dentzer Robert Lotterstein J Alan Shemelya* Miles Wall
CI RCLE O F LI F E Neil Big Christine Dean Eric Gordon Bruce Matsen and Dr. Ronald Wing
S I LV E R CI RCLE
John Oden and Dr. Mark Dizik
$1 , 800- $2 , 39 9
Ace Hotel Downtown LA Stephen Flynn Richard West & Eric Fischer*
For information about Planned Giving or becoming a Sustaining Donor, please contact:
Tim Lee Major Gifts Associate 323-993-8945
Rebekah Trachsel Major Gifts Associate 323-993-8932
Allan Carp Director of Planned Giving 323-993-8963
*Indicates an increase in 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.
BEQ UESTS 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.
CHA RITA BLE G IF T A NNUIT Y 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. 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.
1,000 STRONG In the last five years, membership in the Circle of Life has more than doubled to well over 600 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.
CHA RITA BLE REMA INDER T RUSTS 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.
INFO RMAT IO N For more information or to request a copy of our “Charting The Course” Life Planning Brochure for LGBT people, please contact Allan Carp at email@example.com or call 323-993-8963.
Fall 2015 31
Analysis and insight from the Center’s staff on current issues and events facing our community
Cummings, encouraging Congress to reauthorize and update the CARE Act, which was established after the AIDSrelated death of Indiana teen Ryan White.
Praise for White House’s Updated HIV/AIDS Strategy Health Policy Director Eric Gutierrez lauded the new federal plan, introduced in July, to address HIV/AIDS during the next five years. Excerpt: “Greater access to HIV testing, clinical care, and life-saving drugs through the Affordable Care Act has been a game changer and the updated National HIV/ AIDS Strategy: 2020 smartly emphasizes full access to recent breakthroughs like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). It also rightly focuses on the communities most at-risk, particularly transgender women and gay/bisexual youth and men of color. Here in Los Angeles, 87% of those living with HIV are gay or bisexual men. “An AIDS-free generation is no longer a dream and the updated NHAS: 2020 is an evidence-based and goal-driven blueprint that can help us realize that dream, but only if the ignorance, stigma, and inaction that have helped fuel the epidemic are defeated.”
Excerpt: “Americans might have seen Ryan White as an ‘innocent victim,’ but he was no victim. He was an activist, and he and his parents fought the bigotry and hysteria at no small cost to their personal lives. His courage gave many people— who up to that point were apathetic (or far worse)—an avenue into seeing AIDS for what it was: an epidemic that demanded a coordinated national response based on an informed public health policy and compassionate human values. “Congress will soon need to update and reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act. It is critical that we acknowledge at this point in time that the AIDS epidemic, yesterday and today, has always been the story of bigotry and discrimination. Those most at risk for HIV are those who already suffer at the hands of society: gay and bisexual men (especially gay men of color), transgender people, injection-drug users, the undocumented, the homeless, women of color, and those living in poverty—and often, individuals who fit into several of those categories at once.”
Institutional Abuse President Jodi Hobbs, and others to announce the introduction of the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs for Teens Act in Congress. Jean penned an op-ed for Huffington Post to explain why it was so important to pass the bill. Excerpt: “It isn’t ‘treatment’ to withhold food and water from a youth. It isn’t treatment to beat a teenager. And nothing should ever be considered treatment that involves denial of medical care, solitary confinement, electric shocks, or public humiliation. That’s not therapeutic. That’s child abuse. And yet that is exactly what’s happening throughout the country because residential programs that claim to help troubled teens are operating without necessary and appropriate oversight. This is not just a claim by our campaign coalition, it’s a fact documented by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.”
Marriage Ruling May Help LGBT Students Feel Safer
25 Years Later: HIV Stigma, Racism & Homophobia Continues to Kill Commemorating 25 years since the passage of the groundbreaking Ryan White CARE Act, Advocate.com published an opinion piece by Chief of Staff Darrel
‘Treatment’ Programs Are Often Child Abuse In July, Center CEO Lorri L. Jean traveled to Washington, D.C. for a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Survivors of
In an EdSource article regarding the influence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality trickling into classrooms, Project SPIN (Suicide Prevention Intervention Now) Coordinator Sara Train said the ruling is “a path to equality” for LGBT people and “a validation” that will affect school culture. Excerpt: “[Train] praised the words of President Barack Obama, who called the ruling ‘a victory for the children whose families will now be recognized as equal
to any other.’ Obama referred to the struggles of gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals who were able to ‘endure bullying and taunts’ and ‘slowly made an entire country realize that love is love.’
we keep working to make it better. Immigration for LGBT people is not about the American Dream, it’s about surviving. For me I want to travel and find the balance between work and my personal life.”
chiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses and, theoretically, from practice, despite the fact that some therapists claim to do reparative therapy.
“Train said, ‘The idea of any LGBT person being a second-class citizen, and not having rights, respect, and equal treatment, is now debunked.’ At schools, she said, hostility will be tolerated less.”
Schmider: “I am hopeful that my positive experience being transgender becomes commonplace. I hope in the next year the abundant acceptance and support I’ve felt from friends, family, colleagues, and strangers becomes an ordinary and unfantastic story for all trans people and that people will see that we are people who just want to be our true selves, and to love and be loved.”
“We have gone to therapy in higher numbers than the general public—not because we were sick but because we actually wanted to get healthy. Last year, the Los Angeles LGBT Center saw more than 1,600 people in our mental health services programs, as part of our ongoing work to build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.
Throwing a Lifeline for Mental Health
“Here’s the real deal: We are the only group who grows up with people who are not ‘like us.’ If we’re lucky, we’re accepted by others. If we’re not accepted, we’re in trouble. The coming-out process is about looking inward, discovering and accepting who we are, and then looking outward to find community. Many of us did and are still doing this in individual and group therapy.
Following an announcement from Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, that he was leaving his team citing mental health reasons, Center Mental Health Clinician Marshall Feldman authored an enlightening op-ed documenting the unique relationship LGBT people have with mental health.
“We seek therapy for what our families, friends, communities, and spiritual and religious organizations may not be able to do: provide us with insight, perspective, and understanding. Therapy provides a safe space to grow into the people we are, create the relationships we want and need, find a community, and connect with those we love who are not like us.”
Happy Hippies Show Off Their #InstaPride Center Legal Advocate Mariana Marroquín and Center Communications Coordinator Alex Schmider participated in the launch of the #InstaPride campaign, a two-week long photo series featuring portraits of transgender and gender expansive individuals taken by Miley Cyrus. The collaboration between Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation – a non-profit organization whose mission is to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth, and other vulnerable populations – and Instagram hoped to highlight and share stories of individuals whose lives and experiences fall outside the gender binary to serve as positive examples for young people. When asked what they believe the future holds for transgender rights, Marroquín replied: “Just like me, people keep coming from around the world looking for shelter, for a place to call home and make their true colors shine! I want LGBT kids to know that we care, Miley and her team care, and
Excerpt: “When we think about mental health, most of us wrongly conclude it’s about mental illness, not health. It’s an unfortunate fallacy; to many people, seeing a therapist = you’re crazy. “As LGBT people, we have a unique experience with mental health care. For example, it has been used against us. For years, just being LGBT meant you were sick. In the early 1970s, LGBT activists successfully challenged the American PsyFall 2015 33
The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Christopher Street West Present
The epidemic destroying gay/bisexual men over 50
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 â€˘ 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a frank and provocative discussion about the dynamics of crystal meth use in gay/bisexual men over 50. Moderated by John Duran Panelists: Brad Lamm, CIP and Jeffrey Erdman, Mr. CSW Leather 2016 Collaborating Sponsors:
ADDICTION RECOVERY SERVICES
RSVP: learningcurvela.org/bigqueerconvo LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER RENBERG THEATRE The Village at Ed Gould Plaza 1125 N. McCadden Place Los Angeles, CA 90038
Group Meetings 12-Step Groups
Social Networking Groups
AA Happy Hour Tues. - Fri., 6:15 - 7:15 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26-27, Dec. 25 & Jan. 1
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. Canceled Dec. 28
v Al-Anon Gay Focus Thurs., 7 - 8 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26
Oct. 7: Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Hanged America by Kevin Cook Nov. 4: Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai Dec. 2: Orlando by Virginia Woolf Jan. 6: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose
Alcoholics Anonymous It’s Come to This Mon., 6:15 - 7:15 p.m. v
v Crystal Meth Anonymous Sat., 9:10 - 10:10 a.m.
v 30+ Lesbian Chat Meet women outside of the bars Every 1st & 3rd Fri., 7:30 - 9 p.m. Canceled Jan. 1
Debtors Anonymous Tues., 8 - 9 p.m. v
v Gay & Lesbian CODA Tues., 8 - 9 p.m.
Community Groups v Bears L.A. 3rd Wed., 7 - 10 p.m.
v Marijuana Anonymous Wed., 8:15 - 9:15 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-860-7321
v NA: Heartbeat of Recovery Mon., 7 - 8 p.m. v OA Thurs., 7 - 8 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26
v L.A. Leather Coalition 1st Thurs., 7 - 9 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26
One Page at a Time Thurs., 8:10 – 9:10 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26 v
Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Thurs., 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26 v
v Sexual Compulsives Anonymous Mon., Wed., 8 - 9 p.m. Sat., Noon - 1:15 p.m.
UA: Artist in Prosperity Tues., 7 - 8 p.m. v
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 comingoutla.org. 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 TransLounge.org
Let’s Talk About Health Every Thurs., 6 - 8 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26 If you’re living with HIV, learn how to maintain the highest quality of life. Contact email@example.com or 323-860-7321 v
Positive Images HIV+ Men’s Forum v Every Wed., 7 - 9 p.m. m Every Mon., 1 - 3 p.m. Call 323-860-7321 to RSVP 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 CancerSupportCommunityBenjaminCenter.org
Project Fatherhood Every Mon., 6 - 7:30 p.m. Meet other GBTQ dads; free childcare provided. Call 213-260-7600 or visit projectfatherhood.org 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 323-8607353 or firstname.lastname@example.org v
v S.M.A.R.T. Recovery Every Sat., 9:15 -10:45 a.m.
v HERstories* A gathering place for all LGBT women who want strong community and great conversation Every Mon., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 21 & 28
HIV+Trans* Empathy and community for trans* individuals with HIV/AIDS. Trans* Lounge free membership required. More info at TransLounge.org v Men’s Speakeasy* Great conversation for gay and bisexual men Every Tues., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled Dec. 22 & 29 v Transgender Perceptions* Conversation & community-building for transgender people Every Fri., 8 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled Nov. 27, Dec. 25 & Jan. 1
Senior Groups For more information about Senior Services classes, please call 323-860-7322 or visit facebook.com/50pluslgbt. RSVP: Email email@example.com or call 323-860-5830 v Art Lab Call 323-860-5830 for date and time v Chair Yoga with Master Lakshmi Call 323-860-5830 for date and time v HIV+ 50+ Men’s Drop-In Support Group Thurs., 1 - 3 p.m. Canceled Nov. 26 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. Canceled Nov. 26 Metropolitan Community Church 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood Call 323-860-5830
1125 N. McCadden Place
McDonald/Wright 1625 N. Schrader Blvd.
1220 N. Highland Ave.
*Groups may not welcome late arrivals.
Fall 2015 35
Learning Curve PERSONAL GROWTH A CLEAR PATH Clear Away the Clutter and Organize Your Life 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: NOVEMBER SESSION Thurs., Nov. 12, 7 - 9 p.m. JANUARY SESSION Thurs., Jan. 14, 7 - 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29
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.
(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)
LANGUAGE & CULTURE 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
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. Visit LearningCurveLA.org for more information on classes.
6-Week Course: Tues., Oct. 13 – Nov. 17, 7:30 - 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $120 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12)
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
6-Part Course: Wed., Oct. 14 – Nov. 18, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $120 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 13)
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 how to lead and follow in this fun and energizing class. Instructor: Louie Angon
4-Part Course: Sat., Oct. 24 – Nov. 14, 3 - 4:45 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $69 per person; $129 per couple (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 23)
Learning curve Classes
GREAT WINES FOR THE HOLIDAYS Discover Wines of the Season
Are you looking for a special wine to give as a holiday gift as well as complement the perfect holiday dinner? Join us for this fun and fascinating sommelier-guided wine tasting journey through the world of wines with an emphasis on wines that inspire holiday cheer. Instructor: Jörn Kleinhans
Wine Tasting: Sat., Nov. 7, 4 - 6:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $65 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 5)
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO 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. Instructor: Dali Sadhana
4-Part Course: Thurs., Oct. 15 – Nov. 5, 7 - 9:30 p.m.
TECHNOLOGY ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC Professional Digital Image Editing
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 OCTOBER SESSION
L1: Mon., Oct. 19 & 26, 7 – 9:30 p.m. L2: Mon., Nov. 2 & 9, 7 - 9:30 p.m. NOVEMBER SESSION
L1: Sat., Nov. 14, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. L2: Sat., Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Each level: $99 Combine L1 & L2: $179 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)
Enrollment Fee: $99 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 14)
URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY Explore & Develop Your Creative Eye
Jump start your creativity and improve your compositional skills. This fun and creativity 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: Tues., Nov. 3 – Dec. 22, 7 - 9 p.m. No class on Nov. 24 & Dec. 1 Enrollment Fee: $129 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 2)
Fall 2015 37
Learning curve Classes
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED Photography Lighting Workshop
This fun, hands-on workshop will allow you to play with different photographic lighting sources that will take your photography to a higher level.
PERFORMING ARTS VOICEOVER TALENT The Behind-the-Scene Stars!
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
Instructor: Dali Sadhana
Sat. Nov. 7, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (with 1-hour lunch break) DECEMBER SESSION
Tues., Dec. 1 & 8, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $49 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins.)
FLESH PHOTOGRAPHY Photographing the Human Body
This fun and creative course will teach you different ways of capturing the beauty of the human body through the lens of your digital camera. Instructor: Dali Sadhana
4-Part Course: Thurs., Nov. 12 – Dec. 10, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $129 (Enrollment Closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 11)
YOUR WORLD PREMIERE AT THE COMEDY STORE Stand-Up Comedy Workshop
Learn to tap into your creative genius and rock the audience with humor. Find out what’s “hot” in today’s comedy world and try it out on the stage of the world famous Comedy Store. 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!
OCTOBER SESSION Tues., Oct. 13, 7 – 10 p.m.
Instructor: Adam Barnhardt
NOVEMBER SESSION Tues., Nov. 17, 7 – 10 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 17 – Nov. 21, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
DECEMBER SESSION Tues., Dec. 15, 7 – 10 p.m.
(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16)
Enrollment Fee: $49 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)
6-Part Course: Enrollment Fee: $120
CREATIVE ARTS NEW COURSE
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.
FANTASY FACES Halloween make-Up & Special FX Workshop
Whether you are planning to celebrate Halloween as a zombie, a kitty cat, a super hero, or any other character, our award-winning make-up artist will show you how to stand out from the crowd with a creative and inspired Halloween look.
Instructor: Mark Flores
Instructor: Kevin Spencer
Workshop Weds., Oct. 21, 7 - 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29
Thurs., Oct. 15 – Nov. 19, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $99 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 14)
Don’t wait. Enroll Now! 323-860-7300, ext. 3 • LearningCurveLA.org
(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20)
LIFE DRAWING LOUNGE Capturing the Beauty of the Human Form
Beginner and experienced artists are all 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
Every Tues., 7 - 9:30 p.m. Canceled on Dec. 22 & 29 Enrollment Fee: $18 Multi-session Discount Passes are available online
ART OF WOMAN Life Drawing for Women Only
A creative space for women with artistic vision to practice and develop their skills. This special 4-part life drawing course is for female students and will feature female models only. Instructor: Mary Worthington
4-Part Course: Thurs., Oct. 29 – Nov. 19, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $69 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 28)
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: Sat., Nov. 7 – Dec. 12, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. No class on Nov. 28 Enrollment Fee: $79
YOURS, MINE & OURS Wealth Management for Same-Sex Couples
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
Become more aware, focused, and mentally clear as you delve into classical mindfulness-based meditation techniques in an LGBT affirmative setting.
Instructor: Rebecca Dreyer
Instructor: Matthew Silverstein, Ph.D., LMFT
Wed., Oct. 28, 7 - 9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 27)
Instructor: Christine Wilson
Workshop: Wed., Nov. 11, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10)
Enrollment Fee: $99 (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: NOVEMBER SESSION Tues., Nov. 10 – Dec. 15, 7 - 9:30 p.m. JANUARY SESSION Tues., Jan. 19 – Feb. 23, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $120 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session begins)
WEALTH & SECURITY 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., Oct. 14, 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Enrollment Fee: $18 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Jan. 18)
The government has a plan for the money you leave behind after you pass away… do you? Don’t wait until it’s too late to manage or protect your assets. Learn the most important elements of estate planning and how you can protect your interests, as well as how to transfer property at death and plan for retirement.
Sat., Nov. 7 – Dec. 19, 7 - 9:30 p.m. No class on Nov. 28 Sat., Jan. 23 – Mar. 5, 7 - 9:30 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 19, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU Managing Your Estate Planning Issues
LGBT Affirmative Classical MindfulnessBased Skills Practice
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.
(Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 6)
WRITING FOR THE STAGE Intensive Playwriting Workshop
HOLIDAYS IN THE BLACK Learn to Create a Holiday Budget
Before the holiday season lures you into debt and financial burden, take some time to plan your holiday spending in advance and keep the joy of giving in perspective with a holiday budget that won’t break the bank.
Become a member of the Center’s new education and empowerment workshops, social events, and groups exclusively for the trans* community.
How does Trans* Lounge work?
• Sign-up online for free.
• Review and rate our library of workshops, groups, labs, and events.
• Your feedback determines our schedule.
Instructor: Rebecca Dreyer
• RSVP for the programs you rated highest before everyone else.
Some programs include:
Tues., Nov. 10, 7-9 p.m. Enrollment Fee: $29 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 9)
• All About Hormones
• Hair & Make-up Workshops • Trans* Coming Out Labs • HIV+Trans* Support Group
• Networking & Social Mixers
AWAKENING Saturday Morning Meditation
• Dressing for Your Body Type
Start your weekends by opening your eyes, your heart, and your soul while centering your mind and body. Instructor: Marc Caldwell Class: Every Saturday morning For class times and blackout dates, visit LearningCurveLA.org
• Everything About Trans*-Related Surgeries • Journaling and Biography Writing Labs • Photography Labs • Skin Care Workshops • Embracing Body Image • Knowing Your Rights and Understanding the Law • And many more…
Enrollment Fee: FREE (Donations requested) (Drop-In, No RSVP Necessary)
Enrollment Fee: $25 (Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 13) Fall 2015 39
#DecisionDay Rally June 26 was a historic day for the LGBT community, as the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the freedom to marry! (1, 7) Thousands of people packed West Hollywood Park for a two-hour celebratory rally filled with rousing speeches, led by (2) Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. In partnership with more than two dozen local LGBT organizations and allies, the rallyâ€™s other speakers and performers included (3) trans activist Maria Roman; (4) Tamika Butler of National Center for Lesbian Rights; (5, l-r) Prop 8 plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo; (6) actress/singer Jenifer Lewis; (8) Ari Gutierrez, Co-Founder and Advisory Board Chair of Latino Equality Alliance; (9, l-r) and Supreme Court plaintiffs Matthew Mansell and John Espejo with their children, Wyatt and Elyse, inspiring (10) some spectators to seal the emotionally charged evening with a kiss. 40
Photo by Jon Viscott
AIDS/LifeCycle Thank You Party
(11-13) Participants of this year’s ride reveled at a party held in their honor at the Center, which included (14) an exciting announcement of the final numbers: a record $16.6 million was raised in the fight against HIV/AIDS!
(15) The Fosters’ Sherri Saum, (16, l-r) Dayn Conrad, Valerie Milano, Danny Salazar, John Ehlers, (17, l-r) Joe Keenan, Center Board Member Jayzen Patria, (18, left) and Will & Grace alum Shelley Morrison were among the guests who donned their garden chic attire and spent “An Afternoon in Tuscany” with their parasols and (20) an accordionist–to raise money for the Center’s Senior Services and elder housing, held at the estate of (19, left) event Co-Chair and Center Board Member Michael Mueller, who was joined onstage with (right) fellow Center Board Member Bruce Vilanch.
Fall 2015 41
Continued from page 41
Casino Night The Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network held its second annual Casino Night, hosted by (21, center) YouTube celebrity and Network member AmbersCloset, as (22–23) 200+ guests pressed their luck to raise thousands of dollars for the Center’s services for women and girls.
24 Photo by Garrett Miller
The MisMatch Game
(24) With a cast of comic minds impersonating the likes of Bea Arthur and Danny Bonaduce, the Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts presented another installment of Dennis Hensley’s The MisMatch Game, a parody of the ‘70s game show. Since its debut in 2004, the production has raised well over $100,000 for the Center.
Circle of Life Summer Luncheon (25) With National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Executive Director Kate Kendell serving as keynote speaker, the Center hosted its Circle of Life members and their guests at the W Hotel Hollywood, among them (26, l-r) Shirley Ann Hill and Joyce Briscoe, (27, l-r) Cal Shively, Center Board Member Carlos Medina, Arthur MacBeth, Bobby Meza, and Frank Shoufer, and (28, l-r) Rose Greene, Robert Gotham and Michael Manuel.
WORK IN PROGRESS: An Exhibit of Life Drawings (29-30) An exhibit of life drawings done by J.B. Harter and Learning Curve students made its debut at The Advocate & Gochis Galleries, with an opening reception and live nude models 28 for attendees curious about trying their artistic skills. 42
OUT Under the Stars
(31-33) More than 1,800 guests attended the outdoor screening of Clueless at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in late August, raising funds for the Center’s services and celebrating the campy flick’s 20th anniversary. Presented by the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network and the Young Professionals Council, the film was introduced by (34) cast member Elisa Donovan.
YouTube Stars at the Center (35) Led by the Center’s Children, Youth & Family Services Director Curt Shepard (second from left), twin brothers Aaron and Austin Rhodes, who became viral sensations after posting their emotional coming out video on YouTube, toured the Youth Center on Highland with their mother, Deena, who was inspired to create her own safe space for LGBT youth in the family’s home state of Ohio. (36) Fellow YouTube vlogger Connor Franta (center) toured the Center in July, hosted by (left) the Center’s Chief Development Officer Bill McDermott and (right) Board Member Susan Feniger.
Black & White Dance (37-38) Dressed in black-and-white, LBT women cut a rug on the dance floor during their annual event held at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza.
Fall 2015 43
CENTER NOTES CULTURAL ARTS
Changing the Game Former NBA player Jason Collins and former NFL punter Chris Kluwe were featured in a noholds-barred Big Queer Convo focused on homophobia in professional sports at the Center’s Renberg Theatre in July. After appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May 2013 to publicly announce that he is gay, Collins became the first active out male athlete from one of the four North American major professional sports leagues. Kluwe is known by many for the furor he created last year after writing an op-ed that said the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings fired him because of his public support for marriage equality. The Center’s next Big Queer Convo on October 6 will feature an informative discussion about the increase of substance abuse, especially crystal meth, among gay/bisexual men over 50. To RSVP for this event, visit learningcurvela.org/bigqueerconvo.
Riding on a High Note It’s official: the final numbers are in and AIDS/LifeCycle 2015 raised a record-breaking $16,620,297 in the fight against HIV/AIDS, exceeding last year’s fundraising total by nearly $1.2 million! Thanks to the nearly 3,000 participants who made the 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation can continue providing critical services for people living with HIV/AIDS and prevention programs to help prevent new infections. Join hundreds of other people from dozens of countries and nearly every state in the union for the 15th Anniversary of AIDS/LifeCycle, June 5 – 11, 2016! Register now using code VANGUARD for $25 off at aidslifecycle.org/register. 44
Center Director of Strategic Initiatives Alan Acosta moderates conversation between Jason Collins (left) and Chris Kluwe (right).
He’s a Champ One of the dedicated volunteers supporting the Center’s services for homeless youth was profiled by PBS SoCaL as a Community Champion for making an extraordinary impact on the lives of others. Alan Reade has been assisting the Youth Employment Program by recruiting LGBT professionals to speak with youth members on Fridays about their careers. Some of the professionals whom Reade has successfully recruited to speak include filmmakers, authors, financial advisors and realtors.
Making a Mental Note The Center’s Mental Health Services has received a three-year grant to continue operating its nationally recognized STOP Intimate Partner Abuse/Violence Program, which provides services for survivors of domestic violence including court-approved batterers’ intervention programs tailored to LGBT people. The $141,000 grant, awarded by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, is only one of three given to organizations in California that have developed and supported domestic violence services for the state’s underserved LGBT community. For more information about the Center’s Domestic Violence Services, visit lalgbtcenter.org/domestic_violence_services. LEADERSHIP & ADVOCACY
Having a Field Day In support of the Center-led campaign to regulate the lucrative industry of residential programs that claim to help “troubled” youth, including those considered troubled because they’re LGBT, actress Sally Field has signed on as honorary chair of the Protect Youth from Institutional Abuse (PYIA) campaign. “Entrusting the safety and well-being of your child to someone else is one of the toughest decisions a parent can make,” said Field.
“So I can only imagine the horrible grief of the thousands of parents whose misplaced trust in programs for ‘troubled’ teens has resulted in the abuse and even death of their kids. “Residential camps, schools, and wilderness programs should not be allowed to masquerade as legitimate treatment programs while they have unlicensed staff administering barbaric treatments—like food deprivation, beatings, and electric shock—to children. That’s why we must pass common sense, bipartisan legislation to regulate this multimillion-dollar industry and protect all kids.” In July the Center joined forces with Survivors of Institutional Abuse, Mental Health America, and U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to introduce a federal bill to reform and regulate these types of programs nationwide. For more information and to sign the petition, visit PYIA.org.
A Decade of Stopping Abuse Center Deputy Director of Policy & Community Building Terra Russell-Slavin will be honored with the Betty Fisher Award in October by the Domestic Violence Council for her outstanding contributions made to the domestic violence community in Los Angeles County. Slavin managed the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project (DVLAP), which is celebrating its 10th year at the Center. “One of the constant refrains I have heard from survivors of domestic violence is that they thought they were alone, that domestic violence didn’t happen in our community,” said Russell-Slavin. “One of our greatest successes has been the opportunity to shed light on this issue and to ensure that LGBT survivors have access to resources, support, and the knowledge that, not only are they not alone, but that the largest LGBT organization is there to support them.” The program has served more than 1,500 clients during the past decade and provided trainings to more than 7,700 service providers, including law enforcement and social workers. For more information about our Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project, call 323993-7649 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOCIAL SERVICES & SHELTER
Hire Source Beginning in July, youth from the Center’s Children, Youth & Family Services participated in the Los Angeles HIRE LA’s Youth Program, an initiative to provide first time work experience to youth and young adults 14 to 24. The Center has participated in the program in previous years, but this year the Center was awarded a contract by the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department to provide 40 youth with paid work experience at various departments at the Center. Each young person had the opportunity to receive 120 hours of structured paid work experience in various departments throughout the Center, including Cultural Arts, Special Events, Development, Health Services, WeHo Life, Marketing & Communications, Facilities, Senior Services, and Children, Youth & Family Services. Fall 2015 45
WHY I GIVE. BY WILSON CRUZ Home. It conjures in me feelings of warmth and nurturing, sustenance and healing, love and pride. Home is that place in which you feel understood, taken care of, loved unconditionally, and welcomed with open arms. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 22 years now—give or take a few years for those times I returned to my birthplace of New York City. I always come back to L.A. It’s the city in which I’ve chosen to live and the Los Angeles LGBT Center has always felt like home to me. For the first few years I lived in L.A., I was very much in search of a home. As a matter of fact, my first few months in the city, I was homeless. I was a 19-year-old kid who was about to play the first openly gay teenager on primetime TV, but on Christmas Eve of 1993—three months before I began to film the series My So-Called Life—I came out to my dad. Needless to say, he was none too pleased about it and kicked me out of our family home. I ran to my blue Chevy Sprint hatchback, and with the clothes on my back and $200 from a friend, I drove from Rialto to L.A. It was only 60 miles away, so L.A. was familiar to me. I had hung out in WeHo and made friends at places like the Six Gallery coffee shop (now long gone). Driving into the city with tears streaming down my face, I assured myself: I can do this. It’s only three months. I can crash on people’s couches and make do until we start filming. For the most part, that’s what I did, and I’m so grateful to the people who helped me out. I didn’t want to take advantage of those folks and wear out my welcome, so
a few times—more times than I’d like to remember—I slept in that blue Chevy Sprint and called it home. It wasn’t the most comfy place in the world, or the safest, but it was mine. Then a fellow throwaway youth told me about the Center’s youth drop-in center. This was my first encounter with the Center. I walked in and, with very few questions asked and no judgment whatsoever, they fed me, let me shower there, and gave me a bed and a pillow. I remember feeling a great sense of comfort and gratitude for the dignity they allowed me on the nights I spent there. To be able to face another day—one more day. To be allowed to get through that day and be one day closer to ending the nightmare I was living with a full belly, clean skin, and rested mind was a godsend, and I will remain forever humbled and grateful for the kindness I was shown. That’s why I give: because the Center has given so much to me and to thousands of young people who have had nowhere else to turn—young people who just need to know that they are worthy of the time and effort to be loved exactly as they are. In the two decades since that experience, I have been a witness to the great work and long reach of the Center. Just a couple of years after I was a homeless teen, I attended the openings of the Jeff Griffith Youth Center, the Pedro Zamora HIV Youth Clinic, and the Jeffrey Goodman Specialty Clinic. It is safe to say these programs saved thousands of lives. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve referred a friend to the Center for help with HIV testing and meds or assistance with mental health
issues. They’ve been a lifeline for so many people who needed emergency care that’s given with an open heart. As if taking care of our health and the well being of our youth wasn’t enough, the Center opened the Village at Ed Gould Plaza a few years later for our cultural needs, and I was there for that, too. Since it opened, I’ve seen gorgeous productions of theatre, stand-up comedy, important panel discussions, wedding receptions, memorials, benefits, movie and television screenings, art openings, and readings. I’ve gone there to join hands and recommit myself to the fight for equality after an election loss, and thankfully, I’ve gone there to hug and celebrate and thank the community after a political win! You name it, I’ve experienced it at the Village, where we come to celebrate life and see it illuminated right before our very eyes. I mean, where else would you want to be at moments like that, but with family? So, you see, the Center is more than a provider of services or a community center to me. The Center is where I’ve gone to be fed, washed, loved, cared for, and helped. It’s where I go to laugh, cry, and celebrate. The Center is where I go to feel safe and feel most like myself and proud. That’s what happens when you go home.
A recipient of the Center’s 2009 Vanguard Award, Wilson Cruz is an actor, producer, and longtime LGBT activist. He is currently filming a recurring role on NBC’s Heartbreaker and serves as executive producer of the upcoming documentary Playing Gay - How LGBT America Came Out on TV.
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue present the West Coast premiere of
Hit the Wall
by Ike Holter Directed by Ken Sawyer Original Music by Anna Waronker & Charlotte Caffey
REVOLUTION STARTS WITH A HOT N IGHT O U T
PERFORMANCES Previews September 15-17 Runs September 18-October 25 Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 7 p.m.
TICKETS lalgbtcenter.org/theatre (323) 860-7300 $30 Previews $20 #hitthewall
T H I S P R O D U C T I O N I S F U N D E D I N P A R T T H R O U G H T H E G E N E R O S I T Y O F T H E J O S E P H & F I O R A S TO N E FO U N D AT I O N .
Fall 2015 47
McDonald/Wright Building 1625 N. Schrader Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY! Celebrate the U.S. Supreme Courtâ€™s historic decision on marriage equality all year long! Get a limited edition #LoveWins T-shirt for only $35, while supporting the Centerâ€™s mission to build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.
Order yours at lalgbtcenter.org/store today!