Issuu on Google+


THECONTENTS COVER STORIES AND FEATURES

15 TREVOR HEROES The Trevor Project Hero Awards

15

16 BEYOND BORDERS SoCal’s Undocumented LGBT Youth

16

18 GOLDEN TRIANGLE Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing In Hollywood

22

18

22 LOVE WINS OUT NOH8 Campaign’s Adam Bouska & Jeff Parshley 28 STARTING OVER STARTS NOW True Beginnings From Absolute Surrender 30 CREATING FAMILY Honoring All Aspects Of Who We Are

30

28

32 THE NEW NORMAL The Frontier Of Transhumanism 36 HOLIDAY JEER Xmas TV Ads & Gender Stereotyping

36

32

THE DEPARTMENTS

THE CONTRIBUTORS Writers In This Issue

20

THE ROSTOW REPORT Lawyers Behaving Badly

10

THE LETTERS For Future Olympians

26

THE MEDIA Morgan Freeman, Frank Ocean

12

THE STATE Two New LGBT Judges

31

THE EPIDEMIC Eradicating AIDS

14

THE CITY Murder Suspect Still At Large

34

THE FAMILY Family Building Through Surrogacy

4 T H E F I GH T | D E CE MBER 2012

38

THE PROFILE Dress You Up

40

THE CALENDAR The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

41

THE RESOURCES Support Groups, Workshops

42

THE FINAL FIGHT Bad Red Kettle

ON THE COVER PHOTO BY Troy Christopher

<

08


THEEDITOR

L

os Angeles based photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley are celebrating the 4th anniversary of their amazing NOH8 Campaign this month. Proposition 8, passed on November 4, 2008 in California, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, triggered the photographic silent protest. The campaign, featuring subjects with duct tape over their mouths, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek, has grown to nearly 30,000 faces, including celebrities, politicians and everyday Californians from all walks of life. In an interview in this issue (“Love Wins Out,” page 22) Bouska and Parshley talk about their “accidental activism.” “We weren’t activists prior to the NOH8 Campaign,” says Bouska. “We were just looking for a way to speak out and in turn have been inspired by the community. It’s shown me the power and importance of using your voice... Everyone has something to contribute.” “We didn’t even know it would be a campaign when we took the first photo,” reveals Parshley. “We just thought we were making a cool photo that we could use to speak out with, to send a strong message about equality. We started the campaign after we realized how many people were listening to the message and sharing it. For me, it was one photo that changed my life.” It all began, reveals Bouska, after they posted their own personal NOH8 photos online. “We started receiving messages from supporters, friends, family, and every day people wanting to get involved. We saw an opportunity to bring the community together in response to something negative and wanted to contribute the best and most effective way we knew how—with photos!” “We felt like we were being silenced,” says Parshley. “We felt this way because our state allows the majority to vote on the rights of a minority. If this can happen with LGBT rights, who’s to say someone else’s rights aren’t going to be up for a vote soon. We all must protect our human rights because one day, they might be voted away.” Also in this issue, Uplift Project Founder Jeremy Manning writes about personal renewal and growth (“Starting Over Starts Now,” page 28). “I’ve started my life over so many times that I can’t even count,” reveals Manning, “but this time I’ve realized that a true beginning comes from absolute surrender. Like the fire that destroys a forest and fertilizes the ground from which new life springs. Everything we do to nurture our future, must begin with letting go. Because starting over starts now.”

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stanford Altamirano MANAGING EDITOR Mark Ariel ART DIRECTOR Nadeen Torio MARKETING CONSULTANTS Lisa Radamaker John Michael Gamban Stephen Marquez SOCIAL MEDIA Tim Kreslake WEBMASTER Nadeen Torio

GET THE FIGHT AT HOME Sent Via First Class Mail 12 Issues: $36 6 Issues: $24 Mail check or money order to: Third Step, LLC 611 S. Catalina St. Suite 307 Los Angeles, CA 90005 PUBLISHER Third Step, Inc. DISTRIBUTION Pride In Media The Fight Magazine is published monthly by Third Step, Inc. 611 South Catalina Street, Suite 307 Los Angeles, CA 90005 Telephone (323) 297-4001 Fax (213) 281-9648 Email info@TheFightMag.com

THE FIGHT MAGAZINE LEGAL CAVEATS By listing in The Fight Magazine, advertisers acknowledge that they do business in the spirit of cooperation, fairness and service, maintaining a high level of integrity and responsibility. Providers of products or services are fully and solely responsible for providing same as advertised. The Fight Magazine assumes no liability for improper or negligent business practices by advertisers. Advertisers and their agencies assume responsibility and liability for the content of their advertisements in The Fight Magazine.

Happy Holidays!

Publisher assumes no liability for safe-keeping or return of unsolicited art, manuscripts or other materials. The Fight Magazine reserves the right to edit all material for clarity, length and content. All contents © 2012 Third Step Inc. All rights reserved. Content may be reproduced with permission.

STANFORD ALTAMIRANO Editor-In-Chief

The Fight Magazine assumes no liability for any claims or representations contained anywhere in this magazine and reserves the right to cancel or refuse advertising at publisher’s discretion.

TheFightMag.com For Display Advertising, please call (323) 297-4001

6 T H E F I GH T | D E CE MBER 2012


DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 7


THECONTRIBUTORS ZINNIA JONES

ANN ROSTOW

Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer, and video blogger focusing on the impact of religious belief, political follies, and LGBTQ rights. Since 2008 her videos have been viewed over 7 million times. You can reach her on Twitter @Zjemptv. Her YouTube channel is at www.zinniajones.com.

Ann Rostow writes news analysis columns for THE FIGHT and other gay publications across the country. For weekly LGBT News updates, visit her blog at: annrostow.blogspot.com. Ann can be reached at: arostow@aol.com. DR. GUY RINGLER

PAULO MURILLO West Hollywood resident Paulo Murillo has been writing for gay media for over twelve years. He got his start writing a biweekly column called “Luv Ya, Mean It” for FAB! Newspaper. Visit his website at thehissfit.com, or friend him on Facebook.

Dr. Guy Ringler, a board certified physician in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at California Fertility Partners, assists Gay and Lesbian men and women build families through surrogacy and reproductive procedures. For more information call 310-828-4008 or visit: www.californiafertilitypartners.com

HENRY CAMPAGNA Henry Campagna recently received a M.A. in Clinical Psychology in the LGBT Specialization at Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA). He presently works as the Program Coordinator for both AULA’s LGBT Specialization and Colors.

JAMES GUAY, LMFT James Guay is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (#mfc39252). He works primarily with individuals and couples interested in embracing their lives anew. For more details about James

Guay’s background and specialties visit: www.jamestherapy.com or call 310-405-0840. JEREMY MANNING Jeremy B. Manning is the Founder of Uplift Project, a Non-Profit organization providing affordable fitness to survivors of abuse, serious illness and addiction. He is also the Founder and CEO of Manningupusa.com—the world’s FIRST integrated media channel using sports and fitness to overcome adversity. BRIAN-RAY MCCONNELL Brian-Ray McConnell works as the Community Relations Manager for Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH). His experience working at the only nonprofit organization in the nation to directly house and serve the LGBT elder community has given him an opportunity to learn and grow from seniors who are living LGBT history. He feels that working at GLEH allows him, every day, to help those who helped pave the way for his freedoms as a gay man.

For Breaking Daily LGBT News Visit

www.thefightmag.com 8 T H E F I GH T | D E CE MBER 2012


Proudly Serving the LGBT Community

Our office is committed to making you feel at home. We offer a full array of dental services to help you maintain healthy teeth. Our services include: • Kor ® Teeth Whitening • Veneers • Migraine therapy • Clear Correct™ Invisible Braces • Dental Implants • Crowns and Bridges • Dentures

• Cosmetic Fillings • Sealants • Root Canals • Extractions • Periodontal Therapy • Cosmetic Dentistry • Full Mouth Reconstruction

Call us today at (323) 933-9349 and take your first step toward a brighter smile! Valuable Offer To New Patients! This ad entitles you to an: Initial Exam, Cleaning*, and X-rays

ONLY $99

* In the absence of gum disease, Reg. fee $275

6200 WIlShIRE BoulEVaRD, SuITE 1109, loS angElES, CalIFoRnIa 90048 www.DrDonnaLieu.com

Chronic Low Back Pain and Constipation Study Have you been treating your chronic low back pain with prescription pain medication and experiencing constipation? A research study is currently underway in your area to test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational medication to help treat moderate-severe low back pain and the constipation that may occur in people taking prescription pain medications In order to qualify, you must: • Be 18 years or older • Be experiencing moderate to severe chronic low back pain for 3 months • Be taking a prescription pain medication for at least 4 weeks

Psychotherapy & Consultation • Create more fulfilling relationships • Feel confident about who you are • Enhance your sense of aliveness • Learn how to be more effective • Reduce your stress

Qualified participants may receive: • Study-related medical care • Study medication • Compensation for time and travel Health insurance is not needed to participate.

JAMES GUAY, LMFT Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (#mfc39252)

Providence Clinical Research

Beverly Hills

310-405-0840

Call

(818) 824-6965

for more information and to see if you qualify. www.LivingMoreFully.com DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 9


THELETTERS

FOR FUTURE OLYMPIANS Dear Editor, Greg Louganis, still looking good after all these years! Great interview guys (“Back On Board,” Issue 22). I remember how proud I was of him when he came out years ago, first about his sexual identity and then about his HIV status. This was not easy for someone who was so well known back in the late eighties. Louganis is a true role model, not just for the LGBT community, but for future Olympians, as well. Rob Sussman, Santa Monica

SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH Dear Editor, I just read the Henry Campagna’s article (“Becoming Who You Are,” Issue 21) and felt I had to write and let you know how moved I was by his words. It was uncomfortably easy to relate to his childhood feelings, especially the part about being a little gay boy, running around, trying his hardest to fit into a straight man’s world. Good for you Henry, coming forward and speaking your truth. I salute you! J. Perez, via the internet

IF I WERE THE EDITOR Dear Editor, Why do you give a platform to the crazies who send emails to the magazine about how to “overcome homosexuality,” and “get saved now?” THE FIGHT seems to me to be a positive publication, with mostly uplifting stories and news about the LGBTQ community. Just curious as to why you waste space on these fundamentalist extremists. I wouldn’t, if I were the editor. Name Withheld, via the internet

NOT JUST SEXUAL TEMPTATION Dear Editor, The Scriptures are clear about God’s design for sexuality, and that ultimate freedom is found through submission to Christ. The Gospel of Jesus has the power to transform hearts, and a vibrant relationship with Him changes every aspect of our lives. The first and most important step in the journey is to accept God’s forgiveness for one’s sins, and commit to a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Giving Christ Lordship over one’s life is key in overcoming any struggle one faces in life, not just sexual temptation. David Landings, via the internet

> WRITE TO THE EDITOR Email: editor@thefightmag.com Fax: (213) 281-9648. Letters may be shortened due to space requirements. 1 0 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012


MAKE YOUR HOME BEAUTIFUL! We work closely with you every step of the way to make sure you are completely satisfied. PUNCTUAL, FAIR, QUALITY SERVICE PROUDLY SERVING THE LGBT COMMUNITY SPECIALIZING IN REMODELING, ADDITIONS, AND NEW CONSTRUCTION

Call NOW for a FREE Estimate

626-991-8891 Lic# 920772

6641 SANTA MONICA BLVD. (Next to Arena Nightclub) TEL: (323) 469-1951 Monday-Friday: 6:30am-5pm Saturday: 8am-12noon Sunday: Closed

Kitchen Cabinets Starting at Only: $1228.15 Proudly Serving The LGBT Community

Fiberon Decking: Starting at $2.99 Per Foot

DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 11


THESTATE

GOV. JERRY BROWN

SUPERVISOR MARK FARRELL

SF WORKERS SAME-SEX COUPLE BENEFITS

S PAULA S. ROSENSTEIN

GOV APPOINTS TWO NEW LGBT JUDGES

C

alifornia governor Jerry Brown appointed last month the first openly gay appellate justice in the state’s history, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Brown also appointed out lesbian attorney Paula S. Rosenstein to the San Diego Superior Court. Among several judicial appointments announced by the governor’s office last month was that of Jim Humes, a 53-year-old gay man from San Francisco, to serve as an associate justice in the First District Court of Appeals. Humes served as Brown’s executive secretary for legal administration and policy since 2011, the Bay Area Repo reports. If confirmed by the Commssion on Judicial Appointments, Humes will fill a vacancy left by retiring Justice Patricia Sepulveda. Rosenstein, 52, is a former co-president of the Tom Homman LGBT Law Association in San Diego, and specializes in domestic-partnership and employment issues, according to BAR. If confirmed, Rosenstein, a Democrat, will fill a vacancy caused by the retirement of Judge Linda B. Quinn.

1 2 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

Naked Guys gathering daily in the Castro District, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced the legislation to ban public nudity citywide, except for at permitted festivals and parades. Supervisor Christina Olague voted against the ban. “When we start to surrender some of these basic rights citywide, what’s next?” Olague said. “A lot of people think that that’s cliché, but I do ask that question. Piercing? Tattooing? Or yellow hair? What?” After the vote, disappointed protesters disrobed in City Hall, which is illegal. Once enacted, the ordinance would make it illegal for anyone over the age of 5 to expose his or her genitals in public. Exemptions will be made for parades and festivals held under a city permit. Firsttime offenders will face fines of $100. The fine increases to $200 if it’s the second offense within 12 months. Third-time offenders could be slapped with a $500 fine and potentially charged with a misdemeanor. n

an Francisco public employees who add their same-sex spouses or domestic partners to their health insurance have always faced a raw deal compared to their straight married counterparts: the premiums are considered taxable income and the employer takes additional federal tax out of the worker’s paycheck, reports The Los Angeles Times. But a San Francisco supervisor has now proposed to end the discriminatory practice and “reimburse those same sex domestic partners to make them whole.” Supervisor Mark Farrell, who introduced the proposed legislation last month, said it was crafted over the past year with help from Google, which has led the charge nationally to compensate gay and lesbian workers who receive unequal treatment compared to straight married couples under the federal tax code, Farrell said. Google helped Cambridge, Mass., craft a similar policy, he noted. The ordinance will be taken up by supervisors in January, he said. If it passes, it is expected to cost the city about $1 million a year.

SUPERVISOR SCOTT WIENER

NUDITY BANNED IN SAN FRANCISCO

T

he San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 6 to 5 last month to require clothing under most circumstances on the streets of San Francisco. Faced with complaints about a band of so-called

SUPERVISOR CHRISTINA OLAGUE


OUR VOICE. COMMUNITY IS BACK. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Miss A Single Issue! Get It At Home!

12 Issues: $36 6 Issues: $24 Sent Via First Class Mail

Mail check or money order to: Third Step, LLC 611 S. Catalina St. Suite 307 Los Angeles, CA 90005

DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 13


THECITY RUPAUL

KEVIN JAMES

GAY REPUBLICAN RUNS FOR MAYOR

A

Republican strategist is forming a super PAC to raise $4 million to get former U.S. Attorney Kevin James, a gay man, elected as mayor of the city of Los Angeles. Republican advertising strategist Fred Davis has already raised $500,000 in support of James, the Los Angeles Times reports. While only 16.3% of Angelenos are registered Republicans, Davis says his ads will portray James as an outsider who was not involved in creating the city’s beaurocratic and financial woes. Democratic challengers for the May 6 election include City Controller Wendy Greuel and city council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry. With 3.8 million residents, Los Angeles could be America’s largest city with a gay mayor if James is chosen. Nearby San Diego nearly elected Carl DeMaio, also a gay Republican, as its mayor earlier this month. He was defeated by city council member Bob Filner.

Transitional Living Program, which gives them a place to stay for up to 18 months while they work or go to school, save money, and prepare to live independently.

UCLA MASTER’S PROGRAM ON GENDER IDENTITY

U

CLA’s law school will start a master’s degree program next fall specializing in issues of sexuality, gender identity and gay and lesbian rights, officials announced. The new degree program was described as the first of its kind in the nation, reports The Los Angeles Times. The nine-month master’s program in “law and sexuality” will build on work of the Williams Institute, a law school think tank already devoted to those topics, according to Lara Stemple, director of graduate studies at the school. She said she expects the new classes will have an international focus both in the students enrolled and in studying such issues as anti-gay violence and gay marriage worldwide.

CELEBS SERVE HOMELESS YOUTH

R

uPaul, Santino Rice and Michelle Visage of Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race made a surprise appearance that made a special Thanksgiving feast for homeless youth fierce and fabulous! The reality TV judges joined other volunteers to serve an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal to homeless LGBT youth who’ve turned to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center for help and support. The event was hosted by World of Wonder, a company that supports the Center’s wide range of homeless youth services. The Center operates the Youth Center on Highland, where homeless youth turn for food, clothing and support. Some even find a home with the Center’s

1 4 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

WILLIAMS LAWSCHOOL

MURDER SUSPECT STILL AT LARGE IN WEHO

I

nvestigators have redoubled efforts to find and arrest a suspect dubbed the “Western Bandit,” who is believed to have committed at least nine robberies, one shooting in West Hollywood and a murder in Hollywood, reports WeHo News at www.wehonews. com. The man is believed to have been the suspect in the killing of a transgender woman on November 17, 2011 and the robbery and attempted murder in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park 30 minutes later. The crimes committed by the suspect have occurred along an eight mile stretch around WeHo— near Western Avenue from Hollywood to South Los Angeles, reports WeHo News. The latest robbery occurred on October 10, 2012. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, and has shot at victims multiple times. He is described as being African American, 35 to 45 years old, and fivefeet-nine-inches to sixfeet-tall. He has a stocky build, usually wears dark clothing and is armed with a handgun. Anyone with information is asked to contact robbery detectives at the LAPD’s Olympic Division at (213)382-6628 or (213)382-9102. n


Actress Ricki Lake and singer Sara Bareilles

(L-R) DJ Samantha Ronson and actors Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, and Amy Poehler

(L-R) Trevor Project Executive Director & CEO Abbe Land, actress Rachael Harris, stylist Cameron Silver, and Jeff Snyder

TREVOR HEROES Actor Kevin McHale Honoree Katy Perry

Actor Chris Colfer

Singer Ryan Tedder performs onstage

Actress Laura Benanti onstage

Actress Jenna Ushkowitz

Media and VIP Manager at Audi of America/Trevor 2012 Award Honoree Michael Patrick (L) and Actress Zoe Saldana

KATY PERRY, AUDI OF AMERICA HONORED AT â&#x20AC;&#x153;TREVOR LIVEâ&#x20AC;? IN LOS ANGELES Singer Jessica Sanchez performs onstage

Actor Matthew Morrison (L) and Renee Puente

K

Actor Andrew Rannells

Lara Embry, Jane Lynch and Trevor Project CEO Abbe Land

aty Perry received The Trevor Hero Award this month for empowering youth and increasing visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community. The Trevor 2020 Award recognized long-time Trevor supporter Audi of America as a progressive organization that supports the LGBTQ community. Trevor Live," directed by Adam Shankman, featured performances by: Sara Bareilles, Laura Benanti, Betty Buckley, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Barrett Foa, Anna Kendrick, Matthew Morrison, Dermot Mulroney, Kayla Radomski, Andrew Rannells, Naya Rivera, Kyle Robinson, Jessica Sanchez, Ryan Teddar, with celebrity Voice of God, Amy Poehler. "Trevor Live" featured special appearances by: Christa B. Allen, Justin Bartha, Chris Colfer, Whitney Cummings, Derek Hough, Sarah Hy-

land, Rashida Jones, Jason Kennedy, Ricki Lake, Samuel Larsen, Jane Lynch, Ashley Madekwe, Gabriel Mann, Joel Mchale, Kevin Mchale, Pauley Parrette, Connor Paolo, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Brittany Snow, Jenna Ushkowitz, Bebe Wood, and celebrity guest DJ Samantha Ronson. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people under 24. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. Honored by the White House as a Champion of Change, The Trevor Project is a leader and innovator in suicide prevention. Learn more at TheTrevorProject.org n DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 15


BEYOND BORDERS SOCAL’S UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT LGBT YOUTH ARE COMING OUT AND FIGHTING FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA.

BY HENRY CAMPAGNA

N

o longer living in a closet of fear and shame, a relatively new movement of people has recently emerged among immigrant youth, and they are coming out and fighting for who they are. These brave young activists are speaking out about their queer and undocumented identities, working together to create change in immigration policy, and leading a broader civil rights movement. Diego Gutierrez, 25, from Anaheim, and Claudia Ramirez, 26, from Los Angeles, are two of these courageous queer youth; undocumented, unafraid and unashamed to come out and share their stories with THE FIGHT, in which they discuss the challenges one faces as an undocumented queer youth, but also the beauty and power of the UndocuQueer experience. According to a Migration Policy Institute report, there are over 2 million undocu-

1 6 T H E F I GH T | D E CE MBER 2012

mented youth living in the United States. Gutierrez and Ramirez, both born in Mexico, were brought to the US at the ages of 8 and 4 respectively by their parents. Like many other youths in their situations, this is the only country they have ever known or can remember. Some youths learn early on in their childhoods about their immigrant statuses, and hide their statuses to avoid social stigma, harassment, and possible deportation and family separation. CLOSETS AND SOCIAL REPRESSION 2010 marked an important turning point in the immigrant youth movement. Many UndocuQueer youth throughout the country were at the forefront of several acts of civil disobedience and organizing efforts to hold politicians accountable and pass the Dream Act, which would have provided the opportu-

nity for immigrant youth to earn legal status by pursuing a college education or serving in the US military. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass. In the years leading up to 2010, “many undocumented youth were hiding from society and it was difficult, at first, for the movement to show [our] accomplishments as hardworking and law-abiding individuals,” reveals Diego Gutierrez. “Queer and undocumented students, such as myself, long familiar with closets and social repression, began to see our undocumented identity as another shameful closet that had to be liberated... Although we could face deportation or other serious consequences it is important to come out to spread our message and push forward our cause.” “By coming out, society witnesses first hand that we are neither criminals nor a drain on society. Our stories have also encouraged many


D RS

allies to advocate for us and join our cause,” says Gutierrez. “Coming out can be scary and sadly even dangerous for some, but for many, it has become an empowering rite of passage. The people who come out have helped shape the movement by sending a powerful message to others that we are no longer scared or ashamed to show our true colors.” MORE ACTION MUST BE TAKEN Due to the activism of the immigrant youth movement, several laws have been passed in CA to help undocumented students attend college. In 2001, Assembly Bill 540 allows non-residents of CA to qualify for in-state (college or university) tuition fees. The California Dream Act of 2011 is the result of two bills, AB 130 and AB 131, which allow undocumented and documented students, who can meet certain provisions of AB 540, to apply for and receive private scholarships derived from nonstate funds, state-administered financial aid, university grants, and community fee waivers. But more action must be taken to support immigrants and these young activists who are pushing through various obstacles to protect their community. UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education reports that undocumented students are not allowed to apply for driver’s licenses in most states, are prohibited from obtaining government financial aid for school, and are ineligible for most scholarships. Yet, in spite of tremendous barriers, Gutierrez and Ramirez are committed to pursuing their goals. Gutierrez put himself through college, graduated, and earned a BA from Cal State Fullerton and interned with HRC in Washington, D.C, while Ramirez also put herself through college, graduated, and earned a BA from Cal State Long Beach and interned with the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago. Both Gutierrez and Ramirez have excelled academically, but face limitations in utilizing their degrees professionally. DISCRIMINATION WITHIN THE LGBT COMMUNITY “Many of us have the drive for college, but we don’t have the scholarships, money, or resources,” reveals Gutierrez. Many others are prohibited from legally working and realizing their potential due to their immigrant status. Additionally, undocumented students who are not “out” usually face limited social support. That’s why supporting undocumented youth is key, especially in terms of psychological and emotional resources. “We face specific stressors growing up

CLAUDIA RAMIREZ, DIEGO GUTIERREZ

“By coming out, society witnesses first hand that we are neither criminals nor a drain on society. Our stories have also encouraged many allies to advocate for us and join our cause.” undocumented, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. We struggle as immigrant youth, grow up fast, and don’t have time to reflect on it. It adds a lot of stress,” reveals Claudia Ramirez. Additionally, says Ramirez, the UndocuQueer endure discrimination and racism within the LGBTQ community. Many LGBT organizations do not have programs specifically addressing the needs of undocumented queer youth. This raises questions for the UndocuQueer: Where do I fit? Where will I be accepted for myself? “Not knowing where you fit in can be a juggle of identities,” says Ramirez. Ramirez is currently working with a group of activists to create safe spaces for undocumented queer youth to come together and process their feelings. She is one of the main leads for the C.I.R.C.L.E. (Collective of Immigrant Resilience through Community Led Empowerment) Project, which offers an environment that promotes communal support, collective healing, and self-empowerment. The C.I.R.C.L.E. Project is currently working with LGBT organizations such as Colors LGBTQ Youth Counseling & Community Center, Long Beach Center, Orange County Gay and Lesbian Center, and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, which all host or plan to host talking circle groups for

Undocumented Queer Youth to share their stories and get support. “These community talking circles are healing circles that not only address the stressors but also celebrate our experiences. We’re not victims. We empower ourselves through our storytelling,” states Ramirez. Additionally, Ramirez and her colleagues are working with different community organizations to address the issues facing undocumented queer youth. “I’m working on intersectional organizing, and developing in-service workshops to train staff and make them better allies so they have the right tools to be the best clinician they can be when working with undocumented people,” reveals Ramirez. WHY I DECIDED TO COME OUT In October of this year, Gutierrez and Ramirez came out publicly as both undocumented and queer to over 1,000 people during the opening of LifeWorks/LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s 20th annual Models of Pride conference at USC. Gutierrez and Ramirez joined a panel of 7 activists, of which included renowned leader Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez and is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Human Rights Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Huerta has led national efforts to stop the exploitation of farm workers, many of whom are undocumented and extend government protections and equal rights. Gutierrez and Ramirez have learned from the efforts of Huerta and others before to forge a path of new activism and emerge as leaders in the fight for immigrant and civil rights in America. “I don’t think anyone can identify an undocumented immigrant just by looking at them,” states Diego. “When people find out that I’m undocumented, they’re surprised because they don’t see me as undocumented. I’m educated, I finished my degree in political science, I have a stable professional job, and before that I did internships in DC. The general public doesn’t seem to associate any of that with undocumented people. That is why I decided to come out. I’ve put myself out there to let others know what we truly represent and how we don’t fit anyone’s stereotypes or prejudices. We want the same things as everyone else: good jobs, fair wages, and a fair chance to succeed. We feel like we are a part of society, except there are 9 digits that prevent us from reaching our goals.” n DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 17


Golden Triangle

TRIANGLE SQUARE IN HOLLYWOOD IS THE NATION’S FIRST AFFORDABLE LOWINCOME HOUSING DEVELOPMENT WITH A FOCUS ON LGBT ELDERS 62 AND OVER. BY BRIAN MCCONNELL

F

ounded in 2001, Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) is a non-profit organization committed to constructing and maintaining high-quality affordable residential communities that provide a safe nurturing environment for LGBT older adults. Housing issues seriously affect every generation of our community. Our elders, who are not always able to advocate for themselves and make their own decisions about housing, face a particular challenge in finding affordable housing options that provide them with a safe, secure and dignified space in which to live. There are currently 75,000 senior gays and lesbians in the greater Los Angeles area. Many of these individuals may feel left out due to family abandonment because of their sexuality and discrimination from the mainstream population. Triangle Square in Hollywood is the nation’s first affordable low-income housing development with a focus on LGBT elders 62 and over. It serves as the flagship for GLEH’s future developments, as well as a

1 8 T H E F I GH T | D E CE M BER 2012

ROSIE DELMAR

model for the standard of care that can be provided nationally. Located at the intersection of Selma and Ivar Avenue, Triangle Square consists of 96 one bedroom and 8 two bedroom units. The residential portion has been designed around an interior open courtyard with units surrounding it. Each residential floor contains a lounge area and a common laundry facility.

RUN AWAY AND DISAPPEAR One of Triangle Square’s residents, Wayne Blohm, better known as Rosie Delmar, served in the United State Army from 1959-1964, lastly serving in the Second Armored Calvary driving a 52-ton tank. She came out as transgender in 1967 and began her involvement with the Imperial Court of Los Angeles in 1970. She held titles as Princess, Queen Mother for Life and as XXII Empress of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles from 1992-1993. Rosie became a resident of Triangle Square in December of 2007 where she currently resides with her partner of 34 years. “I can be who I am here,” says Rosie on an interview with THE FIGHT. “I can come and go dressed as I please and no one says a word about it, no one is sarcastic about it, people accept me for me. It’s an amazing feeling, being accepted for who you are with no reservations; having a community that honors who I am.” Growing up, says Rosie, “I wanted to run away and disappear and be a woman. It was a long road to get to where I am today and I can’t believe that my dream came true without my having to disappear. I live at Triangle Square fully visible and proud to be a woman.” A PLACE TO CALL HOME “Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing has given me a place to live, a place to call home, and a community of other LGBT seniors with stories as colorful as my own,” says Rosie. “I cannot emphasize enough how important Triangle Square is to me. I have lived a very full life: I went from driving, as a man, a 25-ton tank in the Army to dancing my way, as a woman, across the country. My life is still wonderfully full and that is in large part because of GLEH/Triangle Square. I am the second transgender to be ordained as a Deacon at Unity Fellowship Christ Church, I am an Empress of the Imperial Court, I am a volunteer for many organizations, I am the hostess of Bingo at Triangle Square every Saturday night (all are welcome), I am Rosie Delmar, a resident of Triangle Square.” n The Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing mission is to improve the life experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender seniors by developing affordable housing, providing comprehensive care, and ensuring, through advocacy and education, a brighter future for the LGBT elder community. For more information please visit: gleh.org.


GLEH-Globes ad-FIN-r2o.pdf

1

12/4/12

5:12 AM

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 19


THEROSTOWREPORT

I THINK I DESERVE THIS MOMENT

P

lease readers, I know it’s been over a month, but let me rehash our sweet victories. I’ve been covering LGBT news for nearly twenty years, virtually without a break and I don’t know how many times I’ve had to moan and groan and look on the bright side or find the silver lining, so you know what? I think I deserve this moment. We fucking won! As an aside, I used to sprinkle the “f” word around quite liberally, until I came under the thumb of a rather rigid editor who initially didn’t like my column to begin with. Over time, I came to appreciate his talents and style, and I think the respect was returned. Initially, I was irritated when he deleted a few of my salty pronouncements, but he insisted that the f bomb was a weapon to be held back whenever possible, and I came to agree with him. That’s just to say that I’m using the word with particular intent. In the past, I have been overly optimistic, and loyal readers know that I approached this election with wary hope. But this is the first time in my life as a commentator that I have been too pessimistic. I did not think we’d win Minnesota, but we did. I was uncomfortable about Maryland, but we won. I thought we’d win Maine and Washington, but I steeled myself for disappointment. I needn’t have bothered. Stunningly, our champion in Iowa, Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, survived a vote just two years after three of his comrades on the court were summarily dumped by an anti-marriage electorate as punishment for their decision to legalize marriage in the Caucus State. And amid all the backslapping and congratulations that surround our marriage victories in Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, let’s not forget that our main victory last month was the reelection of the President. Just imagine if Romney had won. Our Supreme Court DOMA cases sent back to some earlier square. The justice department deciding once again to support the federal law against marriage. Binational couples living in fear once again. The specter of a new High Court justice, selected by Republicans and confirmed despite our best efforts. Our near-term legal fight for marriage thrown into disarray and possibly set back for a generation. 2 0 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

BY ANN ROSTOW

Finally, I know that everyone is insisting that Chris Christie’s last minute embrace was not the deciding factor in the reelection of Barack Obama. They’re probably right, but I can tell you this. I was going out of my mind in the run up to the election. I couldn’t watch TV for fear of disturbing information. Romney had good crowds. Our voters were waiting in six-hour lines in Ohio and Florida. Romney’s campaign had some secret formula for victory and an enthusiasm gap was widening. It was only when Chris Christie told America that the President was doing a heroic job that I began to relax in some deep part of my limbic partisan soul. I know he vetoed marriage equality, but last month, Chris Christie was my friend. Marriage equality will come to New Jersey in time, either by court action or again by legislative will. But the reelection of Obama was a yes or no proposition presented to the nation for a definitive answer. I think he helped us. And I think he did it on purpose. What that purpose was, I can’t say. I suppose we’ll have to wait for the HBO movie.

CHRISTIAN LADY LAWYERS BEHAVING BADLY

I

realize that the High Court is about to confer on ten gay rights petitions, including several challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. But alas, the outcome of the November 30th conference will be announced too late for this column. So instead of fresh reporting on the most significant LGBT news story of the last several years, I present you with inconsequential gay gossip and tidbits. Don’t despair dear FIGHT readers! We’ll have much more fun this way. Have you heard, for example, about the 40-something female Christian conservative New Hampshire lawyer who was nabbed by the feds for running off with an underage teen girl and convincing her to have heterosexual sex with some guy on videotape? Lisa Biron is also suspected of using an array of drugs, keeping an illegal handgun and loading her computer with child pornography. Told you we’d have more fun! Our Lisa has helped on at least one religious case with the Alliance Defending Freedom, nee the Alliance Defense Fund, a

It was only when Chris Christie told America that the President was doing a heroic job that I began to relax in some deep part of my limbic partisan soul. I know he vetoed marriage equality, but last month, Chris Christie was my friend. legal group renowned for its antigay litigation work. She also served on the board of the Mount Zion Christian Schools in Manchester for a couple of years. She is now charged with seven counts of child exploitation, including transporting a child for illegal sexual conduct, as well as manufacturing and using child pornography. Witnesses testified that they saw her in possession of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, and law enforcement types found a ton of ammunition in her house. Woah, Nelly! Don’t you love stories about Conservative Christians dropping off the straight and narrow? Me too, and particularly when there’s a twist in the tale. Usually, our bad girl stories involve lesbians, while our miscreants on the Christian right are generally male. Thank you Lisa for turning the tables on our stereotypes. Or did you? Is there something else in your metaphorical closet besides girls and guns?

WHERE’S THE EDITOR?

O

n a totally irrelevant subject, I am incredibly annoyed by a story in the New York Times food section recommending that we bury pots of beans in our backyards. I feel genuine outrage! The New York Times is our country’s paper of record. Wednesday is food section day for most major papers. And this is a time of year


when many readers are hungry for new ideas for the seasonal table. So we turn to the Times and what do we find? A lengthy cover piece on the mechanics of digging a pit, messing around with beans on the stove, lighting a fire, tossing in a bunch of rocks and burning the fire to embers, taking the pot off the stove and sticking it in the pit for eight hours, for what? For some beans that could have sat in a low oven overnight. What’s the point? Is it simply an opportunity to show off your (self-satisfied) culinary imagination to your guests? I can think of no other excuse for this pretentious “recipe.” What next, Grey Lady? A “how-to” on sun-dried mammoth jerky?

THE BAD SCRIPT

B

ut before we delve into actual LGBT news, did any of you catch the recent gay-themed episode of The Good Wife? It’s a great law firm series, but this particular episode presented an off-the-wall scenario involving the Defense of Marriage Act. When a gay man on trial was denied the right to spousal privilege, a famed appellate attorney stepped in to undermine the man’s defense in order to set up a high level test case which would eventually lead the

Supreme Court to overturn DOMA. Who came up with this absurd idea? No famous appellate attorney would imagine that a single DOMA-related incident would be a good test case. No famous appellate attorney would intervene at the trial stage in any event, let alone to damage an individual defendant. And no famous appellate attorney would be totally unaware of the many existing challenges to DOMA. The writers included references to the government’s decision last year to stop defending the law. But they ignored all the ongoing DOMA cases. When the gay man wins his trial, the appellate lawyer tells everyone that they’ve just assured that DOMA “will continue for another decade.” Say what? Here’s my point. If you’re going to write plots based on today’s news, you can’t botch the context to this extent. For heaven’s sake! This show aired just ten days before the High Court was planning to review no less than eight DOMA petitions! Plus, the lawyer was played by the same guy who stars as a cop on Rizzoli and Isles. I always find it jarring when TV characters pop up as unexpected guest stars on other shows. It’s hard for me, for example, to accept that the hero in Revolution is the serial killer from The Closer. And readers: who is that guy who plays the newly elected mayor on Vegas?

I’ve seen him before! Maybe on Ally McBeal? Perchance I watch too much of this stuff.

IF THE SHOE FITS

S

peaking of homophobes, the style mavens at the Associated Press are questioning whether the term “homophobia” is appropriate, given that dislike of gay people is more a prejudice than a fear. But I agree with those who point out that the term applies to those who hate out of ignorance, and yes, out of mindless fear. Look. I’m an arachnophobe even though I’m intellectually aware that, let’s say, tarantulas are perfectly harmless and an important part of Nature’s plan. That said, would I let a tarantula climb up my arm? No. Would I support civil rights for tarantulas? No. And why is that? Because of atavistic and unreasoned fear! An instinctive revulsion that cedes nothing to logic, science or reality itself. So when we talk about true homophobes, we use the word accurately. We’re not talking about Chris Christie, much as we reject his political posturing. We’re talking about Tony Perkins, Ugandan lawmakers, Pat Robertson, the Alliance Defense Fund, Peter LaBarbera, and others of this ilk. The obsessed ones. n DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 21


LOVE WINS OUT CELEBRATING THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR NOH8 CAMPAIGN, ADAM BOUSKA AND HIS PARTNER JEFF PARSHLEY REVEAL HOW THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SILENT PROTEST CHANGED THEIR LIVES. BY MARK ARIEL 2 2 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012


izing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek, in protest. Four years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to nearly 30,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more. In an interview with THE FIGHT, photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley talk about activism, self expression, coming out and working together as a couple.

O

n November 4, 2008 Proposition 8 passed in California, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The defeat provoked a groundswell of initiative within the LGBT community at a grassroots level, with many new political and protest organizations being formed in response. The most visible response has undoubtedly been the NOH8 Campaign—a photographic silent protest created by photographer Adam Bouska, 29, and his partner, Jeff Parshley, 31. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbol-

WHERE ARE YOU BOTH FROM ORIGINALLY? WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD? Adam Bouska: I grew up in small town of Clinton, Illinois. I would describe my childhood as fortunate. I grew up in a Catholic household with two brothers, a twin sister, and two loving parents. We were each different and unique in our own way. One of my brothers was born mentally handicapped, which can have its difficulties, but only made our family stronger. My dad was the traditional breadwinner while my mom stayed at home. We weren’t rich but we had everything we needed. We were fortunate because we had each other. Jeff Parshley: I grew up in Hudson, New Hampshire. My parents separated when I was around five or six so I grew up with two homes. However, my parents always stayed close. I feel like I had a great childhood.

Bouska: The degrees of sexuality and labels had always been confusing to me growing up. I never fully understood myself, who I was, and how I fit into it all until I was in college. Looking back, I had attractions and different relationships, but I didn’t have that self-realization until I was older. I was okay with it. It was just another part of me, not who I was. Parshley: Looking back now, I can remember signs from much younger, however I ended up in a relationship for the first time when I was 19 years old ... It was much easier for me because I moved away from New Hampshire at that age. I was able to start over, so to speak. I feel like if I had come out while living in New Hampshire it would have been much more difficult for me.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE GAY? HOW WERE YOU WITH THAT SELFREALIZATION?

WHEN DID YOU COME OUT TO OTHERS? HOW DID YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS RESPOND? HOW DID THAT AFFECT YOU? DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 23


Bouska: I first came out to my friends after I started college in Chicago. I wanted to wait until I was at a point in my life where I felt comfortable with myself and my surroundings. Growing up I had always anticipated what coming out would be like and worried how things might change. When I came out, I was at a point in my life where I stopped caring what others thought—I just wanted to live my life for me. In terms of response—I was overwhelmed with love and support! Being able to confide in friends and family brought us closer than ever. My only regret when coming out, was not doing it sooner. Parshley: I came out to my friends little

RICKY MARTIN

by little. However, looking back, all they had to do was look at my “Top Friends” on Myspace and they could have figured it out... I told my mom over the phone. She was in a hurry because she had to leave for work. I told her that I needed to talk to her about something but it would take more than a minute. I suggested we talk after she gets out of work and her response was, “Is it that you are gay?” I said “Uhhhh... yea” and she said “I’ve known since you were 8 years old and I love you no matter what”. So for me that made it easier. I’m really blessed to have supportive people in my life that love me so much for who I am. WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO LOS ANGELES—AND WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO MAKE THE MOVE? Bouska: Change! I grew up in Illinois my whole life and I wanted something different. At the time Chicago was an amazing city, but 2 4 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

with the freedom of being young and being newly submerged in the photography scene I was ready for something exciting...and warm! Parshley: I moved to Los Angeles from Florida in 2005. I loved the weather in Florida but it just wasn’t my style. I had lived in Los Angeles for a few months in 2001 so I had a few friends here but not much of anything else... I needed a change in my life and I wanted it to be exciting. So I drove to L.A. ADAM, WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER? WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE FIELD? Self expression and creative control! I love photography because of the freedom. When

MILEY CYRUS

I first found photography I was experiencing photo shoots in front of the camera. I loved being a part of the production in any respect. JEFF, WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN? I went to school for Culinary Arts and prior to the campaign I was working as the General Manager of a restaurant/bar in West Hollywood so I was in the heart of the gay community. HOW DID BOTH OF YOU MEET? AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE THAT IT WAS A RELATIONSHIP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER? Parshley: I hired Adam to work with me on a charity calendar that benefited APLA. It was comprised of the staff of my restaurant and gave a theme to each month... We met during the Xmas holiday season so there

weren’t too many people in town at the time. We didn’t have many other options because our friends were out of town. So we just hung out with each other the whole time. I feel like we hit it off from the first day... We will have our 5-year anniversary on December 24th. HOW DO YOU MANAGE WORKING TOGETHER AS A COUPLE? Parshley: We have always worked together since the first day, (working on the calendar) so it’s pretty easy for us. Don’t get me wrong, we have our disagreements. We are both very creative and opinionated people so we both think our ideas are the best. Bouska: The best part about working as

SLASH

a couple is that we get to spend a lot of time with each other, doing what we love most! AT WHAT POINT DID THE IDEA FOR THE NOH8 CAMPAIGN COME UP? HOW DID THE CONCEPT OF THE DUCT TAPE AND “NO H8” COME ABOUT? Bouska: After posting our own initial NOH8 photos we started receiving messages from supporters, friends, family, and every day people wanting to get involved. We saw an opportunity to bring the community together in response to something negative and wanted to contribute the best and most effective way we knew how—with photos! Parshley: The “H8” came from Proposition 8 being labeled as Prop H8 and the duct tape is a symbol for us. We felt like we were being silenced. We felt this way because our state allows the majority to vote on the rights of a minority. If this can happen with LGBT rights, who’s to say someone


else’s rights aren’t going to be up for a vote soon. We all must protect our human rights because one day, they might be voted away. DID THE CAMPAIGN TURN YOU INTO ACTIVISTS? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW HAS THIS CAMPAIGN SHAPED YOUR VIEWS, YOUR LIFE? Bouska: We weren’t activists prior to the NOH8 Campaign. We were just looking for a way to speak out and in turn have been inspired by the community. It’s shown me the power and importance of using your voice... Everyone has something to contribute. Parshley: I was not an activist by any means. I was involved in the community and

SCOTT IAN AND PEARL ADAY

I was a part of it but I was not active. I felt an obligation after I started getting emails from all over the world saying how great the photos were and how inspired people are to get involved and do something. WHO WERE THE FIRST FOLKS PHOTOGRAPHED FOR THE CAMPAIGN? Parshley: I was first, then Adam and then our closest friends. We invited them over to our apartment (that was Adam’s studio at the time) and did photo shoots in our living room. We started with a collage of 9 photos. HOW DID THE CAMPAIGN GROW? Parshley: The campaign grew because people used their NOH8 photos! Just about all of the growth came from word of mouth and social media. Friends got other friends involved and it grew exponentially. AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE THIS

WAS BECOMING A FULL TIME JOB? Bouska: When our events started receiving hundreds of supporters lining up, we knew that we had to take things further. In addition to the support we were receiving from our local communities we were also getting thousands of NOH8 photos from supporters all over the world. Parshley: Two years into the campaign, my job in West Hollywood told me that I needed to cut back my time with the campaign and focus more on the restaurant. I felt like I had an obligation to the LGBT community though. If anything, in my head, I needed to spend more time on the campaign. I was ultimately let go because the NOH8 Cam-

LARRY KING

paign had consumed my time and focus. HAVE CELEBRITIES REACHED OUT TO YOU—OR DO YOU CONTACT THEM? Parshley: Originally we stated reaching out to people but like I said earlier, the campaign continues to grow by word of mouth and social media. So when I did my photo, I asked my friends to get involved. When people like Miley Cyrus and Ricky Martin or Slash and Larry King do a photo, they ask their friends to get involved. (Their friends are just a little more famous than mine.) HAVE ANY CELEBRITIES SURPRISED YOU, IN TERMS OF THEIR SUPPORT? Parshley: I think the only people to surprise us aside from John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, were Scott Ian and Pearl Aday. They came to an open public photo shoot in our studio in LA and they waited just like everyone and never said anything

to us about who they were. (We realized afterwards of course.) They were just there to support NOH8 because they believed in the message and they liked the way we portrayed the message. YOU ARE CELEBRATING THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NOH8 CAMPAIGN. LOOKING BACK, DID YOU IMAGINE BACK WHEN IT STARTED THAT YOUR AMAZING SILENT PHOTOGRAPHIC PROTEST WOULD TURN INTO WHAT IT HAS BECOME? Bouska: It’s crazy to think that we’ve come so far in just a short time, but exciting to imagine where it can go next. The NOH8 Campaign doesn’t have any formal paid

CINDY MCCAIN

advertising—It’s truly a community driven effort and we couldn’t do it without our amazing supporters. Parshley: We didn’t even know it would be a campaign when we took the first photo. We just thought we were making a cool photo that we could use to speak out with, to send a strong message about equality. We started the campaign after we realized how many people were listening to the message and sharing it. For me, it was one photo that changed my life. If we can go to another state and make one of these photos for someone and it can have the same affect on them as it did on me, we are going to have a bunch passionate people across this country that won’t stop fighting until homophobia no longer exists and discrimination is a thing of the past. For more info on The NOH8 Campaign, go to: www.noh8campaign.com. DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 25


THEMEDIA

FREEMAN FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has narrated a new national advertisement for the Human Rights Campaign, that heralds “the dawn of a new day” for LGBT rights, including marriage equality, in America. The ad features pictures of iconic American scenery, portrays historic civil rights advances, and depicts a variety of families. Freeman proclaims, “With historic victories for marriage, we’ve delivered a mandate for full equality. The wind is at our back. But our journey has just begun.”

OCEAN: COMING OUT MADE ME BETTER Frank Ocean says that opening up about his relationship was one of the most difficult steps in his life, but it also made him a better artist, reports The Advocate. Ocean revealed earlier this year that his first love was with a man at age 19. He told GQ that he initially worried about sharing his experience, and how it might affect his career, but he later realized that opening up made him better. “I had never been in love. I had never been heartbroken. When that happened, that’s really what changed everything. That turned me into a real artist,” he said. Ocean declined to state whether he is gay or bisexual by saying “you can’t feel a label.” He said, though, that he knew it would be wrong for him to just deny his feelings and solely date women.

2 6 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

GAY “FIFTH BEATLE” MOVIE A movie about the gay “fifth Beatle” will feature rising star Benedict Cumberbatch, who was nominated this year for an Emmy for his BBC role as Sherlock Holmes. The Hollywood Reporter says a new biopic about the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, will star Cumberbatch and be directed by Sherlock director Paul McGuigan. Epstein’s autobiography calls him “the man who made the Beatles.” And Paul McCartney once said, “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” Epstein was also a closeted gay man who died of an accidental drug overdose.

RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE ALL STARS WINNER Glamorous and composed queen Chad Michaels was crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars last month, reports The Advocate. Michaels, an amiable drag queen known for her perfect impersonation of Cher, bested Shannel, Raven, and Jujubee. Aside from regular judges RuPaul, Santino Rice, and Michelle Visage, SNL alum Cheri Oteri and Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto helped decide the series winner. Michaels, a fourth season favorite, takes home a $100,000 cash prize and will be the first drag queen inducted into the “Drag Race Hall of Fame.” The fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs in January on Logo.

THIRD MAN ACCUSES ELMO PUPPETEER A third man has come forward claiming to have had sex with Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash while under the legal age of consent. The man, who filed suit against Clash last month in federal court in Manhattan, claims he was 16 years old when he met Clash on a gay chat line in 2000, then went to his New York apartment, where Clash gave him alcoholic beverages and the two “engaged in sexual contact including oral sex,” according to the suit, which seeks an unspecified amount in damages. Clash resigned from Sesame Street, where he had worked for 28 years, saying the accusations had become a distraction that interfered with his ability to do his job. He has come out as gay but said he did not break any consent laws. A spokeswoman for Clash told the Daily News the latest suit is “without merit.”


Tao of Hypnosis 50% OFF

50% OFF

Achieve YOUR Desires Hypnosis can change your life NOW! Can You IMAGINE YOUR Success Story? 50% discount when you book and mention “The Fight”

Thorance Tweten, CHt Call: (424) 229-9292 www.taoofhypnosis.com

DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 27


STARTING OVER STARTS NOW GIVE UP EVERYTHING YOU’VE KNOWN FOR SOMETHING NEW. SURRENDER WHAT YOU WERE FOR WHO YOU WANT TO BE.

0 0 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012


G S W

BY JEREMY MANNING

A

few months after my dad died, when I was 9 years old, our landlord remodeled our house while we were still living there. He brought in construction and painting crews and he had the ceilings sprayed with stucco. I was still trying to wrap my brain around the idea that I would never see my father again when my mom told us that we had to move. I remember my older brother cried when we packed up the truck and moved to our new home in the Royal Mobile Home Park on the South side of Flint, Michigan. That was the first time my family started over, since I’d become a part of it anyway. At the time I had no idea of the significance of loss or renewal. When you’re a child, there is only loss. I struggled to grasp the depth of my mortality and tried with all my child-like might to grip the reality that was so rapidly slipping away from me. Since then mortality has always been my greatest resentment. God’s cruel joke was to love someone, knowing that one day they would have to die. No matter what we do in life, we too are only temporary. Devastation has a certain illusion of permanence, especially when you’re young, but it creeps in slowly and more in retrospect than foresight. I had no idea what our life would be like after dad died, even less of an idea how much his death had traumatized me. Even now, as I write this, I struggle with the reverie. Our life changed so much and I had no idea what to expect or how it would affect me. I remember the day when one of my teachers asked me to stay after school and told me how she’d noticed the changes. I’d transformed from a seemingly innocent child to a rebel with piercings and an adamant refusal to assimilate. I failed to grasp the importance of leather versus plastic shoes and struggled to understand the significance of social order at all. What did it matter? We were all going to die anyway, right? We spent the next several years bouncing around from trailer park to trailer park until joined the Army to escape. I’d spent a few years working odd jobs and living off my dad’s social security check before I decided to start my life anew. I needed discipline and structure to reinvent myself and pursue the life I always knew I wanted to live. In spite of my childhood desperation and delusions, I always knew there had to be something more to life than the one I’d been living. I left Flint once before the Army and re-

turned once after. Starting over seemed the natural progression of things at that point in my life, but that’s when my addictions and alcoholism started to develop so my perception became blurry and I lost myself in irrational ideas and drug abuse. When you find yourself rebuilding the foundation of your existence over and over again, it’s easy to get lost in the demolition of seemingly failed foundations. It’s like running while the ground crumbles beneath your feet and if you’re not fast enough you’ll fall. So I spent my life in full sprint, living with the fear of absolute devastation at any given moment.

When you find yourself rebuilding the foundation of your existence over and over again, it’s easy to get lost in the demolition of seemingly failed foundations. It’s like running while the ground crumbles beneath your feet and if you’re not fast enough you’ll fall. So I spent my life in full sprint, living with the fear of absolute devastation at any given moment. The thing about that kind of fear is that you perpetuate it as long as you’re focused on it. It’s like, as long as you concentrate completely on avoiding something, you inadvertently turn your fear into a goal. I’ve learned that you can never achieve anything as long as you pursue the problem. It’s not until you focus on the solution, the real change happens. After the Army I bounced around a few states and ended up in California where I started a new life with my first boyfriend. I spent most of that relationship trying to define the “me” in “we.” It was a very confusing time, but I learned so much from him and discovered that I was worthy of his love. More importantly I discovered that I’m worthy of loving someone else. Still, I was

consumed with the relentless feeling of despair and the idea that if I was unsuccessful I had no one else to care for me. After we broke up, that feeling multiplied so much that there was little else to do but reach out to a supportive community. For me, that was rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous-the ultimate game of renewal. The thing about recovery is that you have to give up everything you’ve known for something new. You have to surrender what you were for who you want to be. That’s a pretty fucking scary thing since everything I was until then was everything I’d ever known. What I realized though, was that the person I’d become was not who I wanted to be and so letting go of that was like saying goodbye to a boyfriend you loved because you had so much history, but you knew you couldn’t be with because the relationship was toxic. After a couple years of sobriety from meth I moved to LA to start a new life. The latest phase in my transformation and I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life. I wanted this since I was 10 years old but I never imagined the experience would be so profound. Shortly after the move, my mom died and I turned my life into service for those who still suffer. I created Uplift Project to provide affordable fitness to survivors of abuse, illness and addiction and that has since evolved into Manning Up USA. An organization provided news, resources and inspiration for using health and fitness to overcome adversity. I’ve started my life over so many times that I can’t even count, but this time I’ve realized that a true beginning comes from absolute surrender. Like the fire that destroys a forest and fertilizes the ground from which new life springs. Everything we do to nurture our future, must begin with letting go. Because starting over starts now. Jeremy B. Manning is the Founder of Uplift Project, a Non-Profit organization providing affordable fitness to survivors of abuse, serious illness and addiction. He is also the Founder and CEO of Manningupusa.com—the world’s FIRST integrated media channel using sports and fitness to overcome adversity. Manning can be heard on his weekly radio show, “Manning Up” on www.ftns.co every Monday at 1pm PST. For more information visit www.manningupusa.com or to contact Jeremy go to Facebook/manningupusa. DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 00


We must recognize that others’ rejection of us is not an accurate reflection of our worth but merely a rejection of the best part of themselves, their inherent capacity to love more fully. We must be courageously and fabulously ourselves in the face of religious, societal and familial oppression.

CREATING FAMILY

IT’S IMPERATIVE TO THRIVING DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, THAT WE CONTINUE TO HONOR ALL ASPECTS OF WHO WE ARE, INCLUDING OUR LGBTQ-SELVES. BY JAMES GUAY, LMFT

W

hatever holiday tradition a family celebrates, it often enough brings out family conflict, and in particular for LGBTQ people, can perpetuate homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism. The holidays take on new meaning in adulthood, when LGBTQ people are treated poorly: 1. When we are not invited to holiday events, 2. When our partners are not invited or included fully in family events, 3. When we are demeaned for showing affection to our partners or expected not to, 4. When we are presented with a general climate of hostility just for being, 5. When we are expected to conform to certain heterosexual and gender norms, 3 0 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

6. When we are expected to self-edit to the extent that leads to some aspect of self-annihilation. Sometimes the only way to be involved is to deny important aspects of who we are— namely our LGBTQ identity. This is much like being an actor in a play we dislike. It shines a spotlight on the hypocrisies in rigid, dogmatic and misguided fundamentalist religions that much of this discrimination originates from. These insults to our very being-ness wreak havoc on our souls. At this juncture, we realize the need to create a family of choice who more thoroughly and compassionately appreciate all aspects of who we are. We seek to find surrogate families

that provide the love and support our family of origin wasn't able to; gifts we all deserve. They give of their love authentically and freely, not bound by harmful versions of a God who would reject LGBTQ people. Sometimes our family of choice includes biological family members along the way and sometimes it doesn't. Traditions of our own unfold. Making the yuletide gay becomes a reality with all of its wit, creativity and expressions—gourmet aromatic meals, exquisite decorating tastes, poignant holiday drag shows, and house parties. It is this family of choice who show us the best of being LGBTQ and the best of being human. They don't compartmentalize their love for us by stating, "Love the sinner, hate the sin," as if it were even possible to reject something so core to who we are and still love us. It's imperative to thriving during the holidays and throughout the year, that we continue to honor all aspects of who we are, including our LGBTQ-selves. We must unwrap new traditions and include the most supportive people in our lives. We must recognize that others' rejection of us is not an accurate reflection of our worth but merely a rejection of the best part of themselves, their inherent capacity to love more fully. We must be courageously and fabulously ourselves in the face of religious, societal and familial oppression. n James Guay is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (#mfc39252) who provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups at his Beverly Hills office. www.LivingMoreFully.com, www.Facebook.com/JamesTherapy, 310-405-0840.


THEEPIDEMIC

AN AIDS-FREE GENERATION

THE PEPFAR BLUEPRINT TARGETS TUBERCULOSIS, THE LEADING KILLER OF PEOPLE WITH HIV, SETTING A COURSE FOR COORDINATED TREATMENT EFFORTS THAT WOULD ADDRESS BOTH DISEASES.

I

ntroducing the first formal strategy to tackle the global AIDS epidemic, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the PEPFAR Blueprint last month, saying the plan would not have been possible without science, and that science will carry it forward. Clinton was joined by U.S. Global AIDS Ambassador Eric Goosby, South African AIDS treatment advocate Florence Ngobeni-Allen, UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibe, and African Union Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Speaking before an audience of scientists, policy makers, advocates for AIDS treatment, prevention and research, Clinton said the work that the plan would carry out “represents our very best values in practice.” The Blueprint, as well as her declaration a year ago setting the goal of acheiving “an AIDS-free generation,” was sparked by new research that confirmed effective means of reducing HIV transmission— through treatment of those infected, through prevention of mother to child transmission, through circumcision, through pre-exposure antiretroviral use—could greatly lower HIV incidence. The Blueprint goes beyond those, however, targeting tuberculosis, the leading killer of people with HIV, setting a course for coordinated treatment efforts that would address both diseases. In addition to following accelerated scenarios of extending treatment, the plan promises to promote immediate universal access to antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-positive people diagnosed with tuberculosis and access to screening and TB preventive tuberculosis therapy for people diagnosed with HIV. It expands interventions, with a focus on populations largely neglected during PEPFAR’s work of the last decade: people making their livings in commercial sex work, injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and intensifies work to reduce the risks of women, improving access to family planning and reproductive health services, Clinton said. The immediate aim, to reach the “tipping point” at which numbers of new infections is surpassed by the numbers put on life-saving and preventive treatment, will be the first step towards achieving an AIDS-free generation, Clinton said. Clinton defines an AIDS-free generation as one in which no child is born with HIV, the odds of acquiring it are substantially reduced, and those infected with HIV receive treatment to prevent becoming sick with AIDS, the product of an infected, untreated, damaged immune system. n DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 31


THE NEW NORMAL

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT LOOK AT MY PATCHWORK SELF OF HORMONE PILLS AND MIX-AND-MATCH ANATOMY, AND CALL IT MONSTROUS, FREAKISH, AN ABOMINATION. YOU KNOW WHAT I CALL THIS? UPGRADES. BY ZINNIA JONES

F

or the past few years, I’ve had the chance to hear all sorts of amusing remarks from people who seemingly have nothing better to do than work themselves into a froth over the fact that trans people exist. Even though I’ve only identified as trans for a much shorter time, these people don’t really care to recognize distinctions like that. It certainly hasn’t stopped them from telling me I’m a “freak,” or an “abomination,” or that I’ll “never be a real woman.” Misguided and irrelevant as

3 2 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

these claims may be, it’s still worth charting out what’s going on here. Unfortunately, there’s a reason why people often choose this particular route of attack. Some of us do feel insecure and dissatisfied about the fact that we had to become our gender rather than having it handed to us as a biological default, and about being seen by many as lesser than both men and women. We try to make the best of our situation, and we want nothing more than to go about our lives without

trouble, but we’re denied that when people focus on this one aspect of who we are to deem us “freakish.” Consider what it means to be seen as somehow being monstrous, or an abomination. What sort of things come to mind? Artificial, constructed, mangled, lacking in internal consistency, shattered and repaired, incomplete, inauthentic, and unnatural. Contrast this with being seen as organically grown, an unbroken whole, the real thing, seamless and without defect. This maps


almost perfectly onto how trans people and cis people are commonly viewed. Keep in mind how both religious fundamentalists and random internet busybodies often claim that trans people are “in conflict” with nature or “denying nature.” Of course, “natural” and “unnatural” are never pinned down to concrete criteria, because there aren’t any. But here, these words are used to describe some of the most obvious differences between the histories of cis people and trans people. You can’t really avoid noticing how being cis is prized by nearly everyone, trans or cis, bigoted or accepting. Why? Because it means having a body into which your gender will always fit, one with all of its masculinization or feminization generated internally without supplement or assistance, and one which will always reflect who you are and allow you to be seen, unquestionably, as yourself. It’s just easier. On the other hand, being trans means becoming who we are through a patchwork process of intentional interventions. Our lives, our identities, and our very bodies have boundaries where the past and the future did not line up. Socially, physically and legally, we don’t have the option of a single unbroken gender that's consistent over our lifetime. We have no choice but to be something that people will often regard as monstrous. Ultimately, this can mean being exiled to a kind of gender demilitarized zone. I’ve abandoned life as a cis man, and yet I’ll never be a cis woman. My life is never going to be as seamless and organic as that of others. And when you’re disappointed with your own body for falling short of that idealized cis standard, it’s easy to feel like it’s a disappointment to those around us as well, almost like it’s something we need to apologize for. While I can hardly begrudge other trans people for feeling that way, it really is monstrous for people to hone in on that sore spot and jab at it for all it’s worth, using what’s often a source of deep and enduring hurt as a weapon against us. Maybe there’s more to it, though. People who either don’t know or don’t care about the scientific consensus have often claimed that our bodies are normal and healthy, so being trans isn’t something that should be treated physically. But what if we could be more than just normal? Why should we settle for what’s supposed to be good enough, when we have the option to become

something even better? Others may see this as choosing to reject what's “normal,” and in doing so, relegating ourselves to being abnormal. But I don’t see this as a choice between normal and abnormal. I see it as a choice between average, and awesome. Over the past two months, HRT has improved me in ways that I didn’t even know needed improvement. My skin isn’t rough anymore, and it’s better than it’s been in years. My libido is under my control now, instead of controlling me and intruding into my awareness when it’s not needed. My chest is visibly growing more and more every day— they actually stick out, where there used to be nothing but flat skin. And instead of either

We stand at the frontier of transhumanism, where what was once dismissed as mere futuristic fantasy is now realized in the present via technology. I saw myself growing up into a man, and I did what I had to do to wrench my destiny away from the blind whims of biology. Some people might call this “defying nature.” But that’s not a problem - it’s exactly the point. feeling totally numb or abruptly bursting into tears, I have a whole repertoire of emotions available to me now. I can be calm and content, I can cry without it overwhelming me, I can be happy and sad at once without any contradiction, and I never run out of emotions to the point of numbness anymore. These aren’t mood swings—they’re mood symphonies. This is all unbelievably cool, and I wouldn’t have known what I was missing without experiencing it firsthand. Some people might look at my patchwork self of hormone pills and mix-and-match anatomy, and call it monstrous, freakish, an abomination. You know what I call this? Upgrades.

Since the dawn of humanity, there have been certain features of our existence that were considered fundamental, unchangeable, and definitive of what it means to be human. For almost all of history, it was an unavoidable fact that those who were born a certain sex would remain that sex. Sure, living as another gender had sometimes been feasible in a social sense. But bodily? That was simply impossible—until it wasn’t. Now, that assumption has been pulled out from under us, and some people aren’t happy about that. They want us to go away. They want to be able to go on assuming that every woman they see is a cis woman, regardless of what the reality may be. They want us to deny ourselves this life-affirming treatment for the sake of some empty platitudes about “nature.” Similar reactions have been seen in the case of hormonal birth control. Fertile cis women simply had to deal with the possibility of pregnancy resulting from unprotected coitus—until they didn’t have to anymore. Fertility is no longer mandatory. It’s optional, and it doesn’t have to be a part of our lives unless we want it to be. Many people don’t like this, either. They think it’s interfering with how the human body is “supposed” to work, by taking control of something that we have no “right” to change. But with these developments, the reality of what it means to be human has shifted. However loudly some people may object, the fact is that these new possibilities are just as much a part of life as inevitable fertility and unchangeable sex once were. Even just a few hundred years ago, this would have been unimaginable. Now, I have the ability to choose this for myself, for no reason other than that this is what I want out of my life. I once called this “a taste of apotheosis,” and that’s exactly what it is. We stand at the frontier of transhumanism, where what was once dismissed as mere futuristic fantasy is now realized in the present via technology. I saw myself growing up into a man, and I did what I had to do to wrench my destiny away from the blind whims of biology. Some people might call this “defying nature.” But that’s not a problem—it’s exactly the point. That option was there for me when I needed it, and I’m not letting it pass by. If they really think that’s an abomination, then I’ll be their abomination. I’ll be their monster. And I’ll know that it was worth it. n Read more commentary by Zinnia Jones at: www.freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones. DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 33


THEFAMILY

FAMILY BUILDING THROUGH SURROGACY A SURROGATE MOTHER SHOULD BE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 21 AND 42 YEARS OF AGE, HAVE HAD AT LEAST ONE NORMAL PREGNANCY AND DELIVERY WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT COMPLICATIONS, AND HAVE A BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) LESS THAN 35. BY DR. GUY RINGLER

S

urrogacy with egg donation allows gay men to have children of their own. The process usually begins with a visit to the Reproductive Endocrinologist (fertility specialist) to learn about the treatment, have baseline semen and infectious disease tests performed, and to discuss options for finding the appropriate surrogate mother. I’ve had the pleasure of helping gay men build families through surrogacy for over fifteen years, and have screened hundreds of surrogate mothers. Surrogates are amazing women who devote a year—or more—of their lives to help others create a family of their own. In our medical practice, most surrogate candidates are affiliated with agencies that conduct initial social and psychological

3 4 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

screening, and obtain medical records for review. After the candidate is matched with an intended parent, she completes her medical screening with a fertility specialist experienced in gestational surrogacy treatment. I begin with a careful review of her past medical and obstetrical history and records. A surrogate mother should be between the ages of 21 and 42 years of age, have had at least one normal pregnancy and delivery without significant complications, and have a body mass index (BMI) less than 35. The goal of surrogacy screening is to insure to the best of our ability an optimal environment for the developing pregnancy and to minimize risks in the ensuing pregnancy. The surrogate candidate should not have any chronic medical problem that could

complicate the pregnancy suck as high blood pressure or insulin requiring diabetes. She should not be taking any medication that could cause adverse effects on a developing baby, such as seizure medication. The surrogate’s prior deliveries should have been at or near term gestation which is defined as 37-40 weeks gestation. If a surrogacy agency has questions about a prospective candidate’s obstetrical history they usually contact us for additional review prior to the medical screening appointment. Surrogates should maintain a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition, moderate exercise, and avoidance of exposure to smoking or heavy alcohol intake. Many surrogates are working mothers. It is important to review the daily work lives of the candidates to make sure they are realistic about the amount of work and homecare they are able to balance during the pregnancy. Some very physical or active jobs may slightly increase the risk of complications during a pregnancy, so it is important to have a plan in place for after a pregnancy occurs. The medical screening includes testing for infectious diseases, urine drug testing, immunity to rubella, rubeola, and varicella, and a physical exam with uterine ultrasound and evaluation of the uterine cavity. Intended parents often have different expectations for their relationship with their surrogate. Some individuals want to become best of friends and be very involved in their life, while others prefer a more detached relationship during the pregnancy. The expectations of the surrogate mother vary as well. Some candidates have very busy lives and do not have the time or personal energy to start a busy friendship. All surrogates, regardless of their social expectations, have demonstrated a commitment to helping the intended parent have a baby. Your surrogate mother will become part of your family’s life story and you will most likely develop and maintain very fond feelings and memories toward this individual. Select a woman that best fits this role for you and your future family. Ask your physician to help find an appropriate candidate that will optimize your chances for a successful pregnancy. Happy Holidays! For more information call California Fertility Partners at 310-828-4008 or visit their web site: www.californiafertilitypartners.com.


DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 35


HOLIDAY JEER CHRISTMAS TV ADS INCORPORATE UNBELIEVABLE GENDER STEREOTYPING. EVERY WOMAN OUT THERE IS SILLY LITTLE GOOSE, GREEDY FOR A TENNIS BRACELET. EVERY MAN IS AN INCOMPETENT BUMBLER, AT SEA IN THE DEPARTMENT STORE AND INCAPABLE OF FINDING A PROPER GIFT ON HIS OWN. BY ANN ROSTOW

I

used to be one of those people who shrank from the notion of holiday spirit, decrying the premature arrival of unsightly house lights, plastic cartoon characters in stores, people in Santa outfits soliciting cash for the antigay Salvation Army, and the rest of it. The music. The false cheer. The Christianity of it all. Actually, just writing the above paragraph gave me a frisson of hostility. But still, I have mellowed over time, in part because, with age, the passage of time itself has accelerated and I realize that as quickly as it comes, the so-called holiday season is gone. Plus, there’s college football, tons to drink, fun gatherings and a “what the hell” attitude about quotidian responsibilities. So that’s all good. And finally, I’ve come to dislike cynicism in others, and thus find it bit unbecoming in myself. That said, I wanted to write about how deeply I hate Christmas TV ads. I was afraid that you’d think I was just another Scrooge, which is why I wrote that lengthy preface. But that’s not the case. As I implied, I actually like Christmas and I have come to tolerate most of the cultural baggage it lugs along. But not the ads. 3 6 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

First of all, quite a number of major retailers have taken to rerunning the same ads year after year. What the hell? Can’t you find it in your advertising budget to come up with a new spot once every twelve months? How hard is that? Then there’s the unbelievable gender stereotyping. Every woman out there is silly little goose, greedy for a tennis bracelet. Every man is an incompetent bumbler, at sea in the department store and incapable of finding a proper gift on his own. And how about the Father Knows Best type families that are all we ever see on these commercials. The two kids sneaking a peek at the tree. The happy couple wrapping the presents. The wintry foursome at the Christmas tree farm. Hey, I have no problem with happy families. But this one-size-fits-all imagery in a country that runs the gamut is annoying. Do you remember the doll evidence presented to the Supreme Court during Brown v Board of Education? Social scientists showed that little black girls were so indoctrinated that they preferred white dolls to black ones. Christmas ads do the same thing to those of us who don’t conform to the 1950s ideal. And that’s not just gay and lesbian households. It’s most Americans.


Furthermore, a disturbingly large number of these TV ads are unacceptably maudlin. It’s just not right! Off the top of my head I offer up one of the jewelry ads that takes place on an ice pond. This, by the way, is an example of a commercial that repeats every year, literally ad nauseum. The man, who looks sort of like Christopher Reeve, is shaky on his skates. His girlfriend bumps into him and the two of them share an obnoxiously cute giggle. Then he pulls out an engagement ring and she melts, doe-eyed, into his arms. Do you think I’m too harsh? Have you seen it? Plus, this ad borders on another irritating category, namely the Christmas commercials for items that should not, by rights, qualify as Christmas gifts. Once when I was a teenager, my older brother provided everyone in the family with a Christmas list that included new tires, an inspection for his truck, several generic tools and a range of other prosaic high dollar items. (I got him a pen.) A new car, a new washing machine, new gutters for the house, lawnmowers, these are not Christmas presents. They are basic things that you need, and by buying them “for Christmas” you cheat the recipient out of a

Do you remember the doll evidence presented to the Supreme Court during Brown v Board of Education? Social scientists showed that little black girls were so indoctrinated that they preferred white dolls to black ones. Christmas ads do the same thing to those of us who don’t conform to the 1950s ideal. And that’s not just gay and lesbian households. It’s most Americans.

real present like a scarf or a book. Likewise, an engagement ring in most cases is something that a would-be spouse has no choice but to acquire. If it arrives as a Christmas present, then the giver has effectively avoided his or her obligation to buy an actual present. Am I right? At any rate, commercials abound for durable goods and anything else that a corporation decides to link to the Christmas season, no matter how inappropriate. I mean, really. A gift certificate to the optometrist? A can of corn? Is anything off limits or can you just put a bow on it and call it Christmas? I’m reminded of the short story about the man who mixed up his packages and sent his elderly aunt some lingerie, while a flannel nightgown went off to his girlfriend. I forget the details, but in the end, the aunt and the girlfriend were both delighted. The Christmas spirit may be rooted in deep traditions, but it is best displayed with imagination and humor, with quirks and originality and above all, with warmth. Ad executives? Get your heads out of the middle of the last century and join us in the wild and whacky world of 2012. It’s not completely different. But it is different. n

Creative solutions for your individual and business marketing needs.

web | digital | print | soCial media | video | photography

contact ntoriodesign@yahoo.com www.ntoriodesign.com DECEMB ER 2012 | T H E F I GH T 37


THEPROFILE

DRESS YOU UP DESIGN YOUR IDEAL J. HILBURN SHIRT, SPORTS COAT, OR TROUSER WITH PERSONAL STYLIST RUBEN ZAMBRANO.

T

he fall and winter months are upon us. To the men who welcome the formality of dress habits, contemporary style and affordable custom-made, madeto-measure and ready-to-wear fashion, they need not look further than J. Hilburn—a men’s clothier that has paved the way for online personalized suiting since 2007.

J. Hilburn offers quality fabric selections, cuts, sizing and a professional service. Basically men design their ideal shirt, sports coat, or trouser to meet their specific and personal tastes with the help of a style advisor who is online and on standby ready to make house calls and offer guidance on the latest trends and suiting styles and a walk through the sizing process and fabric selection. A man representing the J.Hilburn brand is Los Angeles native Ruben Zambrano, a personal stylist who has been in the clothing industry for over 20 years, specializing in manufacturing, selling construction, as well as trend. 3 8 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

BY PAULO MURILLO

RUBEN ZAMBRANO. PHOTO BY DAVID ARENAS

According to Zambrano, men are now dressing up and embracing an easygoing California style. “For me, it all starts with a J. Hilburn shirt,” states Zambrano. “That’s my tagline. I like to offer an affordable custom made shirt made of beautiful Italian fabrics that look good and fit perfectly.”

“I’m allowed to do it for about $120, because J. Hilburn leaves the retailer out of the equation,” reveals Zambrano. “Once you are confident that you love that shirt, I will add a sports coat, trouser or a jacket,” explains Zambrano. “Everything 100% guaranteed for up to two months, or you get a store credit or a full refund.” Zambrano books appointments armed with swatches, measuring tools, look books and samples of ready to wear, or custom made items. “I offer a personalized service and I do it for free. I come to your home, or office and I deliver the clothes to you. We create a profile within the J. Hilburn system and there’s no obligation to buy.” For more information about the J. Hilburn, to book an appointment with Ruben Zambrano, or for information on how to start your own business being a J. Hilburn style consultant, call (323) 270-5334 or visit www.rubenzambrano.


THECALENDAR

LEANN RIMES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12

NOH8 CAMPAIGN 4TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Avalon , 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles, 8pm. For more info visit: www.noh8campaign.com. The iconic NOH8 Campaign, a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8, presents its 4th Anniversary Celebration. With special performances by LeAnn Rimes, Skylar Grey, Kerli and Australian DJ tyDi, the event will feature a gallery show of the 30,000+ faces of the NOH8 supporters. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15

GMCLA HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR Alex Theatre, Glendale, Saturday, December 15, 3pm and 8pm Sunday, December 16, 3pm. For more info and to purchase tickets visit: www.gmcla.org The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles annual holiday musical extravaganza will feature some of GMCLA’s most beloved “signature” performance numbers that have become audience favorites in addition to holiday standards performed “with a twist” that is uniquely GMCLA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30

GLEH ARCLIGHT FUNDRAISER: LES MISERABLES ArcLight Cinemas, 6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. Reception starts at 4pm. For tickets and/or more information visit glehpresentslesmis.eventbrite.com or 4 0 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

contact Brian McConnell, GLEH Community Relations Manager, at 323-957-7200. Enjoy a night celebrating one of the greatest musicals of all time while helping support a truly wonderful organization, Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH). Champagne and French desserts create a castle in the cloud-style atmosphere at the pre-film reception with a very special guest. Reception followed by a screening of the film in a stateof-the-art ArcLight movie theater. Start off your au revoir to 2012 while contributing to the mission of GLEH: improving the life experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender seniors by developing affordable housing, providing comprehensive care, and ensuring, through advocacy and education, a brighter future for the LGBT elder community. SUNDAY, JANUARY 13

GLEH PRESENTS: GOLDEN GLOBES VIEWING PARTY Jim Henson Studios, Los Angeles. Event is from 4:00pm - 10:00pm. For tickets and/or more information visit gleh.org/goldenglobes or contact Brian McConnell, GLEH Community Relations Manager at 323-957-7200. Join Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) for The 1st Annual Green Room... A Golden Globes Viewing Party at legendary Jim Henson Studios. Wear your finest Muppet-inspired accessory; watch the Golden Globes while you mix and mingle with friends and fresh faces, bid on fabulous silent auction items, enjoy decadent hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and cocktails at the sponsored bars; and experience exciting live entertainment! THROUGH MARCH 24, 2013

IN FOCUS: ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE Exhibition at The Getty Center, 200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. For more info visit: www.getty.edu Considered one of the great photographers of the second half of the twentieth century, Robert Mapplethorpe’s highly stylized explorations of gender, race, and sexuality became hallmarks of the period and exerted a powerful influence on his contemporaries.

GROUPS ASIAN/PACIFIC GAYS AND FRIENDS www.apgf.org GAY ASIAN PACIFIC SUPPORT NETWORK www.gapsn.org LOS ANGELES GAY AVIATION CLUB Pilots, Flights Attendants, Mechanics. www.unusualattitudes.info CLUB NUR Gay Middle Eastern. www.clubnur.com GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF LOS ANGELES www.gmcla.org THANK GAYS IT’S FRIDAY STANDUP COMEDY Every Friday, 8:30 p.m. MJ’s Bar, 2810 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles. (323) 650-1503 GAY & LESBIAN SALSA Every Monday, 8 p.m. Little Temple Bar, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., Silverlake, 90029. gaysalsanight@yahoo. com or www.facebook.com/gaysalsanight GAY TRAFFIC SCHOOL Third Tuesday and Wednesday of every month, 6-10 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles 90038. 1-800-Gay-4-You or www.laglc.org POP LUCK CLUB Second Sunday of every month, 11 a.m. Locations vary. Los Angeles based organization for Gay Dads, Prospective Dads, and their families. www.popluckclub.org PROSTATE CANCER SUPPORT GROUP 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, at the Gay & Lesbian Center. RSVP to Dennis@malecare.org or call (323) 860-7340. GREAT AUTOS OF YESTERYEAR The largest LGBT classic car club on the West Coast. www.greatautos.org LOS ANGELES PRIME TIMERS Social group for older mature gay men and admirers. www.laprimetimers.org LOS ANGELES GAY BRIDGE CLUB www.communityvisions.org/IAGLBC LOS ANGELES GAY/LESBIAN SCIENTISTS www.lagls.org LOS ANGELES GAY FOR GOOD Gays making a commitment to volunteer for social welfare and environmental service projects. www.gayforgood.org LOS ANGELES GAY NATURISM California Men Enjoying Naturism. cmen.info BI-OSPHERE P.O.V. Every 2nd Wednesday, 8-9:30 p.m., The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7302. M-F between 6-9 p.m. Topic-driven discussion for women and men who identify as, or are exploring bisexuality. MEN’S SPEAKEASY Every Tuesday at 8 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7302. Fun, alternative space for gay and bisexual men to meet and make new friends. LGBT BOOK CLUB First Wednesday of each month, 7:30-9:30 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7302, M-F between 6-9 p.m. USC LAMBDA LGBT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION alumnigroups.usc.edu/lambda/ LOS ANGELES BLACK PRIDE www.myblackpridela.com GREATER PASADENA AID FUND www.greaterpasadenaaidfund.org POSITIVE IMAGES WORKSHOP Every Monday, from 7-9 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza,


> EMAIL YOUR EVENT OR GROUP TO 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. If you’re looking for ways to deal with HIV, the Live Life Better Workshop can help you learn coping skills, build a support system, and work toward your health goals. An RSVP is required. For more information or to reserve your place, call (323) 860-7321. The e-mail contact is positiveimages@ lagaycenter.org. TRANSGENDER PERCEPTIONS Every Friday, 8 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7302. M-F between 6-9 p.m. Social networking group offers a safe and welcoming opportunity for people of any age and gender identity to learn from others and to share experiences. GET CENTERED Meditation Class. Every Saturday, 10-11 a.m., $10. Gay & Lesbian Center, 1625 N Schrader Blvd. Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7300. SENIORS SERVICES Ongoing, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7359. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUPPORT Ongoing, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, 1625 N Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-5806. MPOWERMENT WEEKLY WORKSHOPS Tuesdays and fridays, 6 p.m. APLA, 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Los Angeles. More info: Donta Morrison, tel: (213) 2011561. For young gay men of color—ages 18 thru 24—looking for a safe place to hang out. “Each week offers a great opportunity to vent, laugh, make friends, and simply celebrate who you are.” SUPPORT FOR HIV-POSITIVE WOMEN Second and fourth wednesdays, 7 p.m. The David Geffen Center, 611 south Kingsley Dr., Los Angeles. More info: call Women At Risk at (310) 204-1046. SOCAL SOCIAL CLUB For more info: www.Socalsocialclub.com. Southern California’s social & business network for lgbt professionals. 12 STEP GROUPS All groups meet at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 860-7302 M-F between 6-9 p.m.

editor@thefightmag.com

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS Mondays, 6:10-7:10 p.m. CRYSTAL METH ANONYMOUS Saturdays, 9:10-10:10 a.m. DEBTORS ANONYMOUS Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m. MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS Wednesdays, 8:15-9:45 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m. SEXUAL COMPULSIVES ANONYMOUS Mondays, 8-9 p.m. Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m. Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m. Thursdays, 8:15-9:15 p.m. Saturdays, 12:15-1:45 p.m. WOMEN’S NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS Saturdays, Noon-1 p.m. SPORTS LOS ANGELES LESBIAN SOFTBALL www.lagaysoftball.com LOS ANGELES LESBIAN TACKLE FOOTBALL www.californiaquakefootball.com LOS ANGELES LESBIAN RUGBY www.eaglerockrugby.com WOMEN’S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOLF www.womensgolf.org/wscga LOS ANGELES LESBIAN POKER www.lalpg.com LOS ANGELES WOMEN ON A ROLL Luncheons, Comedy Nights, and Conversation Groups. www.womenonaroll.com

SAGA LA Gay Ski & Snowboard Club. www.sagala.org V.O.I.L.A. Volleyball. www.lagayvolleyball.com GREAT OUTDOORS The largest gay outdoor recreational organization in Southern California. www. greatoutdoorsla.org GAY AND LESBIAN SIERRANS Camping, Outdoors, Hiking Angeles. www.sierraclub.org CHEER LA Cheerleading. www.cheerla.org

HOLY SPIRIT holyspirit-la.org, 4201 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029 UNITED UNIVERSITY CHURCH uniteduniversitychurch.org, 817 West 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089 DIGNITY CENTER dignitylosangeles.org, 126 South Avenue 64, Los Angeles, CA 90042

DIFFERENT SPOKES Cycling www.differentspokes.com Rides start in various locations in the greater Los Angeles area.

HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH-HLYWD hopelutheranchurch.net, 6720 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BLADES Ice Hockey. www.bladeshockey.com LOS ANGELES FRONTRUNNERS Running and walking club. www.lafrontrunners.com WEST HOLLYWOOD SOCCER CLUB Comfortable, supportive environment for learning and playing the world’s most popular game. www.gaysoccer.com LOS ANGELES GAY SCUBA CLUB www.barnaclebusters.org LOS ANGELES GAY ROCK CLIMBING www.lalgbtclimbing.com WEST HOLLYWOOD AQUATICS Swim and Water Polo Teams. www.wh2o.org

WORSHIP

LOS ANGELES GAY FLAG FOOTBALL www.laflagfootball.com There’s also lesbian tackle football.

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH mccla.org, 4953 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

WEST HOLLYWOOD GAY RUGBY www.larebellion.org

BETH CHAYIM CHADASHIM SYNAGOGUE bcc-la.org, 6090 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

GAY & LESBIAN BOWLING LEAGUE www.tavernguildleague.com

HOLLYWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH hollywoodumc.org, 6817 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028

LA ROWING www.larowing.org

LOS ANGELES GAY RODEO CLUB www.gsgra.org

LOS ANGELES POOL LEAGUE Friendly Billiard teams. www.lapl8ball.com

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES fccla.org 540, South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020

KOL AMI REFORM SYNAGOGUE kol-ami.org, 1200 North La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90038

WEST HOLLYWOOD PRESBYTERIAN wehopres.org, 7350 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046 MOUNT HOLLYWOOD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH mthollywood.org, 4607 Prospect Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027 IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH immanuelpres.org, 3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010 ST. MATTHEW’S LUTHERAN CHURCH stmatthewsnoho.org, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, CA 91602 CHRIST CHAPEL OF THE VALLEY christchapel.com, 11050 Hartsook St., North Hollywood, CA 91601 ST. PAUL’S LUTHERAN CHURCH stpaulssm.org, 958 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403 ST. MONICA CATHOLIC COMMUNITY stmonica.net, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403 WEHO CHURCH wehochurch.com, 916 N. Formosa Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046 ST. VICTOR’S CATHOLIC CHURCH saintvictor.org, 8634 Holloway Dr. West Hollywood, CA 90069 ST. LUKE LUTHERAN stlukelutheran.com, 5312 Comercio Way, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Decorative Sleep AIRELOOM BEDDING • SLEEPER SOFAS • CUSTOM FURNITURE CUSTOM MATTRESSES

Proudly Supporting The LGBT Community! Telephone: (310) 275-4655 257 North Robertson Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211

DECEMB ER 2012 | TH E F I GH T 41


THEFINALFIGHT

BAD RED KETTLE DON’T GIVE TO THE ANTI-GAY SALVATION ARMY. BY ZINNIA JONES

T

his holiday season, you may see bellringers from the Salvation Army soliciting donations outside of storefronts. You should be aware that the Salvation Army is actually a Christian church, and its charitable functions are administered by this church. While there are plenty of religious groups that provide social services to those in need, the Salvation Army's beliefs and activities are not so innocuous. In their position statements, the Salvation Army describes marriage as "one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others". Their statement on homosexuality says: Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. ... 4 2 T H E F IGH T | D E CE MBER 2012

Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God's will for society. They go on to declare that sexually active gay people are ineligible for the Salvation Army, and call for "a lifestyle built upon celibacy and self-restraint". These aren't just internal matters of church policy, either. The Salvation Army has involved itself in the political arena as well. • In 1986, the Salvation Army of New Zealand assisted in a petition drive against a law to repeal the country's ban on homosexuality. • In 1998, the Salvation Army withdrew from $3.5 million in contracts with San Francisco because of the city's requirement for contractors to extend benefits to the

same-sex partners of employees. As a result, shelters, food services, and drug rehab programs in the city all suffered cutbacks. • In 2000, the Salvation Army of Scotland spoke out against the proposed repeal of Section 28, which prohibited any discussion in schools of the "acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". • In 2001, the Salvation Army extended benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees, only to reverse this policy after outcry from the Christian right. • Also in 2001, the Washington Post reported that the Salvation Army had been in discussions with the Bush administration, which had committed to issuing a regulation exempting the Salvation Army from any state or local laws that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexuality. The administration refused to issue such a regulation after their dealings were publicly exposed. • In 2004, the Salvation Army in New York City once again threatened to close all of its services in the city due to a law requiring contractors to provide equal benefits to same-sex partners. • And in 2012, a media relations director with the Salvation Army of Australia stated on a radio show that it was part of their "belief system" and "Christian doctrine" that gay people should die. When we give our money to the Salvation Army, we're helping to support a church that believes gay people are less than equal, that they should be subject to open discrimination, and that their relationships are inferior in the eyes of God. And this church has been working to ensure that their personal religious beliefs are reflected in the law. That's the ugly truth behind the change we drop in their red kettles. While the Salvation Army does plenty of good things to help communities in need, so do many other charities - charities which focus on providing these essential services with no religiously-based prejudice against minorities. Organizations like Goodwill, Toys for Tots, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America can do everything the Salvation Army does. The difference is that they'll do it without taking a piece of your donations to fund a politically active anti-gay church. Read more commentary by Zinnia Jones at: www.freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones.



THE FIGHT LGBT MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012