COVER STORIES AND FEATURES
17 EXPRESS YOURSELF Madonna Sued For “Promoting Homosexuality”
22 DON’T QUOTE ME Family Research Council’s Hypocrisy 24 AND THE BEAT GOES ON Dan De Leon’s Road To Recovery 30 THE LAST HOUSE ON THE BLOCK Kathy Watt Changes Lives In Hollywood 36 NO LEBANESE SPRING FOR GAYS “The Gay Paradise?” Not Exactly
38 GENDER SPECIFIC Questions Regarding Your Identity 42 YOUR BEST LIFE Realizing Your True Potential
46 MARRIAGE ALTERNATIVES The Problem With Domestic Partnerships
27 THE MIND Obsessions And Compulsions
12 THE LETTERS Into Manhood 14 THE STATE Harvey Milk Ship
28 THE LAW Dealing With The Police
16 THE CITY The Center’s “Simply Divine”
34 THE FAMILY HIV+ Breakthrough
18 THE ROSTOW REPORT A Little Dignity, Please
40 THE SPORTS Greg Louganis Documentary
22 THE EPIDEMIC Bone Marrow Transplant
44 THE CALENDAR Long Beach QFilm Festival
6 The Fight
ON THE COVER
10 THE CONTRIBUTORS Writers In This Issue
PHOTO BY J HORTON, www.jrhphoto.com HAIR BY Justin Harding GROOMING BY Israel Garcia, shahrla.com
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n recognition of National Recovery Month, a few of our main features in the current issue deal with overcoming addiction. After realizing that his drug addiction was dragging him down, Los Angeles based DJ and ﬁlmmaker Dan De Leon (“And The Beat Goes On,” page 24) decided to “start changing everything ... and do something new.” “I reconnected with my Buddhism practice,” reveals De Leon, “and I reconnected with my family and my oldest, closest friends, and I began researching and reading Alcoholics Anonymous.” This newly found clarity, states De Leon, “has removed every bit of obsessive-compulsive addiction related clutter from my mind and heart and left me with true authenticity.” Also in this issue Paulo Murillo interviews Van Ness Recovery House executive director Kathy Watt (“The Last House On The Block,” page 30). Watt, a former resident at the house, explains that it is part of their program to “get each individual prepared to go out and get a job. Sending you to the streets without any structure, without being self-supporting, will not instill in you the self-esteem that comes from taking care of yourself.” The Van Ness Recovery House has served the LGBTQ community, as well as heterosexual individuals, since 1973. Sadly, reveals Watt, one of her biggest challenges is keeping the doors open. “We are the only program funded by the county of Los Angeles where federal, state and county money cover less than 50% of the beds.” For more information about the Van Ness Recovery House, or to make a donation to the House, please visit: www.vannessrecovery.org.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stanford Altamirano MANAGING EDITOR Mark Ariel ART DIRECTOR Nadeen Torio MARKETING CONSULTANTS Lisa Radamaker John Michael Gamban Henry Campagna SOCIAL MEDIA Tim Kreslake WEBMASTER Nadeen Torio GET THE FIGHT AT HOME—FREE OF CHARGE! For a free first class mailed subscription to THE FIGHT (sorry, California residents only) email your address to: email@example.com If you would like to offer THE FIGHT at your location, please call (323) 297-4001 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. 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. 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.
STANFORD ALTAMIRANO Editor-In-Chief 8 The Fight
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The Fight 9
CONTRIBUTORS ZINNIA JONES
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. PAULO MURILLO West Hollywood resident Paulo Murillo has been writing for gay media for over twelve years. He got his start writing a bi-weekly column called “Luv Ya, Mean It” for FAB! Newspaper. Visit his website at thehissfit.com, or friend him on Facebook. ANN ROSTOW 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. DAVID HAKIMFAR Los Angeles based Attorney David Hakimfar received his law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. While there, he made the Honor Roll and National Dean’s List. Currently David Hakimfar is a Trial Attorney and Senior Partner of Hakimfar Law, PLC. He can be reached at: 1-888-789-PRIDE (7743).
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DR. GUY RINGLER 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 THOMAS MONDRAGON, LMFT West Hollywood based psychotherapist Thomas Mondragon is a professor at Antioch University Los Angeles’ LGBT Specialization in Clinical Psychology, providing students the skills needed for LGBT affirmative psychotherapeutic practice. He can be reached at: (310) 779-3113 or via email: email@example.com DR. PHILIP PIERCE Dr. Philip Pierce is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills and a Lecturer at UCLA. He can be reached at (310) 2482335 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to: www.DrPhilipPierce.com.
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REAL DIVERSITY Dear Editor, It was refreshing to see Trevor Wayne on your cover (THE FIGHT, Issue 019). It’s nice to finally see a more unique look for a gay magazine, instead of the more traditional “twink” covers out there. Regarding Trevor’s interview, I totally agree that sometimes, if you do not adhere to a certain “look” our community has a tendency to be “even more judgmental than everyone else.” So true. We must learn to celebrate real diversity. Bradley Connaught, Los Angeles THE NOTION Dear Editor, Zinnia Jones rocks! Loved her essay “What About The Children,” (THE FIGHT, Issue 019). I knew I was gay by the time I was 6 years old. And the notion that LGBT foster parents will “confuse” the children is really idiotic. Actually I believe these kids will grow up with a better understanding of different types of people and relationships. Kevin Price, via the internet INTO MANHOOD Dear Editor, Homosexuals destroy their health and their lives because of their dangerous lifestyle choice. I want to help people who are homosexual as well as those who are considering becoming homosexual to choose wisely, that is to choose to be obedient to God instead of a slave to the sin of homosexuality. I urge your readers to visit the web site www.peoplecanchange.com. There they can find the tools to begin their journey into manhood. God bless. Name Withheld, via the internet
WRITE TO THE EDITOR Email: email@example.com. Fax: (213) 281-9648. Letters may be shortened due to space requirements.
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The Fight 13
Scouts ban out members and troop leaders. In response to the firing, Camp Winton program director Alex Hayes quit in protest. A petition on Change.org, calling for Griffin’s reinstatement and an end to the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy, gathered 70,000 signatures, which Hayes and Griffin delivered to Scout officials last month in Sacramento.
Lawmakers Press For Harvey Milk Ship
tate Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced a resolution urging the Navy to name a ship for Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who was assassinated by a political rival, reports The Los Angeles Times. Kehoe noted that Milk began his public service in the Navy, serving during the Korean War as a diver aboard the submarine rescue ship Kittiwake and later as a diving instructor before eventually leaving the Navy as a lieutenant. Republican senators opposed the resolution (shocker!), saying Navy ships are traditionally named after states, cities, presidents and admirals. They said Milk’s military record did not rise to the level of justifying his name on a ship. In the end, Senate Resolution 36 was approved on a 25-8 vote, with no Republicans voting in favor.
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Fired Eagle Scout Delivers 70,000-Signature Petition
gay former Eagle Scout allegedly fired from his job at a Scout-affiliated camp in California delivered 70,000 signatures to the Golden Empire Boy Scouts Council calling for the organization to rescind their antigay policy, reports The Advocate at www.advocate.com. Tim Griffin, 22, claims he was removed as an employee at Camp Winton because he’s gay; the Boy
School Sued Over Sex-Ed Courses
arents and physicians sued a Central Valley school district last month over its high school sex education curriculum, alleging it violated state law by only teaching about abstinence and failing to include instruction about condoms and contraception. The lawsuit against the Clovis Unified School District, which serves 39,000 students in Fresno County, alleges that the abstinence-only curriculum is risking young people’s health by denying them accurate information about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. The lawsuit was filed in Fresno by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, Inc. on behalf of two parents in the district, the American Academy of Pediatrics California District IX and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network. The law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided pro bono assistance. n
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CITY The IRIS by Cique du Soleil street team.
The Village Bakery and Café tea m at Simply diVine.
The Short Cake team at Simply diVine. Simply diVine co-chair Wendy Melford, left, and Patti Rayne of Trione Vineyards.
Lorri L. Jean, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO and Simply er mb me rd boa ter left, with Cen ley. Bai id diVine co-chair Dav
F L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center board member and Simply diVine co-chair Susan Feniger, a celeb chef and author of the new cookbook STREET FOOD.
rom chic eateries to trendy trucks, some of the city’s most popular restaurants served up samples—both savory and sweet - at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s “Simply Divine,” a night of delicious food, wine, beer and spirits last month. More than 600 guests attended the event, which took place at the boutique shopping nook Melrose Place. The event raised $150,000 for Center services. n
Simply diVine co-chair Susan Feniger, second from right, with guests.
Feniger, author of the Simply diVine co-chair SusanD, second from right. new cookbook STREET FOO
PHOTOS: LYDIA MARCUS
Stacy Paris, second from left, and other guests.
and other guests. Michelle Bonilla, Liz Lachman
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Ross Matthews (Chelsea Lately), right, and another guest.
EXPRESS YOURSELF Russians sue Madonna for $10.5 million for “promoting homosexuality.” BY VICTOR MELAMED
adonna is being sued for more than $10 million by a group of anti-gay Russian activists who claimed they were offended by her support for gay rights during a recent concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, reports www.lgbtqnation.com. Russian news agencies quoted Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing nine activists, as saying the suit was filed last month against Madonna, the organizer of her concert, and the hall where it was held, seeking damages totaling 333 million rubles, or nearly $10.5 million. The complaint includes a video taken at the concert showing Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross and asking fans to raise their hands to show the pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians that were distributed among the audience, reported RIA Novosti. In St. Petersburg, a law passed in February and which came into force on March 30, makes it a crime to disseminate “gay propaganda” or “promote” homosexuality to minors. Anti-gay Russian activists pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna’s concert on Aug. 9, this year. The lawsuit came just two days after Madonna angered conservative Russians with her support for the
punk band Pussy Riot—three of the band’s members were sentenced last month to two years in prison for a protest inside a Moscow cathedral. After the verdict was issued, Madonna called on “all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment.” St. Petersburg is one of four regions in Russia to criminalize the dissemination of “gay propaganda”—the others are the Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma regions. Supporters of the ordinance say the law is necessary in order to promote traditional Russian values. In March, Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party introduced a bill in the country’s parliament, the Duma, which would impose the ban at the national level. Homosexuality was punishable by prison terms in the Soviet Union and was only decriminalized by President Boris Yeltsin in 1993, although discrimination against gay people remains widespread. According to a 2010 survey by the independent Levada Center, a Russian non-governmental research organization, 74 percent of respondents said gays and lesbians were “amoral” and “mentally defective,” while only 45 percent said they should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. n
St. Petersburg is one of four regions in Russia to criminalize the dissemination of “gay propaganda” The Fight 17
BY ANN ROSTOW we keep piling on new ingredients. If you find it tedious, please know that I am skipping over all sorts of related items, including news of briefs, motions and appellate court schedules that may become moot. You're welcome!
Death Be Not Ridiculous
oy, it's getting crowded over there on the Supreme Court's petition board. In mid-August, the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders asked the Court to take direct review of the Pedersen case, a federal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act out of Connecticut that was recently settled by a lower court judge who found that DOMA was unconstitutional. The Supremes are now considering petitions for four DOMA cases, of which only one is technically ripe for review. The Massachusetts DOMA case was decided in our favor by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in May. As expected, it was then appealed to the nine justices. But we didn't necessarily expect that our side would then ask the Court to take direct review of three other victories against DOMA that had yet to face a federal appellate panel. In California, Lambda asked the Court to hear the Golinski case. In New York, the ACLU asked the Court to take on Windsor. And now, GLAD has petitioned for Pedersen to leapfrog intermediate review.
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Since each of these suits contain different mixtures of facts and issues, we are hoping that the Court will take them all and give DOMA the fullest possible analysis. It goes without saying that most legal analysts believe the Court, like almost every federal judge who has evaluated the 1996 law, will find that DOMA violates Equal Protection, and maybe the Due Process Clause. The justices meet to consider petitions in late September, so we'll soon discover whether or not they will accept one or more DOMA cases. They will also be considering whether to take review of the Prop 8 case. And finally, they'll be looking at a Ninth Circuit ruling that upheld a preliminary injunction blocking Arizona from cutting partner benefits for gay state staff. That last sentence was a mouthful. Or maybe a word-processor-full. But far better to stuff the Arizona details into one sentence than to discuss it at length, don't you think? I realize that I am constantly rehashing the contents of the Supreme Court's gay plate, but first of all, it's important. And second,
just read about a U.S. Open tennis referee who has been arrested for killing her 80-year-old husband with a coffee cup. I guess the woman tried to pass off his death as an accident, but eventually police became suspicious. A bizarre piece of news on many levels, but surely not a case of premeditated murder. You simply cannot deliberately plan to kill someone with a mug. Or who knows? I saw one of the most absurd plots on CSI Miami the other day. This woman lures a giant alligator into a man's swimming pool using some kind of meat as bait. Later, the man gets in without looking, turns his back and leans over the edge facing away from the pool, and gets eaten by the alligator! But how could she have assumed that her target would not notice a twelve-foot alligator in a small swimming pool? It's like the killers in early James Bond movies who try to kill 007 by releasing a cobra or a tarantula into his hotel suite. Why don't they just shoot him?
Let's Get Real
oving on, we have yet another case of faked gay bashing, this time from a thirty-something former Nebraska women's basketball star who
Most legal analysts believe the Court, like almost every federal judge who has evaluated the 1996 law, will find that DOMA violates Equal Protection, and maybe the Due Process Clause. carved antigay slurs on her own body and presented herself to the world as a bloody victim of violent discrimination. You may remember the man from a few weeks back who got drunk, attempted a Gabby Douglas-inspired back flip on the sidewalk, and landed facedown on the curb. He then told police he was gay bashed, temporarily winning love and support from the GLBT community in Missoula, Montana, until a video of his inept gymnastic appeared on You Tube. This time, the unhinged grandstander is Charlie Rogers, who came up with a wild story to explain her injuries on July 22. Four days earlier, USA Today reports, Rogers wrote a Facebook post that read: "Maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me." Rogers told police that she was attacked in her house by masked men who carved a cross in her chest and slurs on her legs and stomach. But Rogers had already shown someone the cross carving days earlier, and receipts from Ace Hardware showed she herself had purchased the box cutter and gloves that were found at her house. The various "crime scene" items, including the gloves, contained DNA from Rogers, and none from any male. After weekend rallies in support of Rogers, four statewide gay groups released a statement praising police with doing a thorough job of investigating the incident and urging the community at large not to focus on the actions of any one individual.
Come on, guys! Shooting up the Family Research Council headquarters and inventing hate crimes in not exactly the community image we need, now is it? But speaking of hate crimes, here's a nice story from Roanoke, Virginia, where a local college student had his car vandalized four times this year with antigay scratchings. Try as he might, Jordan Addison could not restore the car's surface, and the estimate for a full repair was an unaffordable $2,500. In stepped auto body shop owner Richard Henegar, who fixed the car for free. Henegar was then joined by a dozen other local business owners, who chipped in for $10,000 worth of extra work to make the car sparkle. Addison said the car looks better than he'd ever seen. Just as hate crimes are so deemed because they have a visceral impact on a whole community, so lovely gestures like this one operate in reverse, giving a lift to every GLBT person in Roanoke-and beyond I might add. I feel it. Thanks Roanoke.
A Little Dignity, Please
here's a story on my list about a mean father who left money for all his grandchildren in his will except for the progeny of his gay son. That son is required by the will to marry the mother of his children in order for any of them to inherit. This means that he and his partner's son will miss out on a six-figure trust. But instead of talking about that
(because what can you say?) I'm drawn to the openly gay Minnesota state legislator who was caught having sex with a 17-year-old boy in the woods near a highway rest stop. Democratic Rep. Kerry Gauthier did not break any laws, since the age of consent in the Land of a Thousand Lakes is 16. But the man is 56! And let's be honest. I know you guys love to trick and treat. But rolling around at the highway rest stop with a teenager that you picked up online is a tad tacky for a 50-something state legislator, n'est-ce pas? Gauthier has not commented on the scandal. And last week, he spent several days in the hospital experiencing shortness of breath, UPI reports. Let's wrap this up with the news that Singapore's highest court will consider whether or not to uphold the nation's sodomy ban, now that an appellate court has questioned the law. That would be something, wouldn't it? Isn't Singapore the place where it's illegal to chew gum in public? I was also intrigued and disturbed by the three women at a Delaware child care center who arranged toddler fights and video taped themselves urging the little ones to battle. "He pinched me!" one cried. "No pinching!" warned one of the refs. "Just punching." Did they place bets? And more good news about red wine, which can help senior mobility and reduce the likelihood of falls. Bring on the Pinot Noir, by all means. And send a note to the famous committee that's going to determine how to streamline Medicare costs. Maybe a small wine subsidy would be in order. It's cheaper than a hip replacement. n The Fight 19
DON’T QUOTE ME The Family Research Council’s incredible hypocrisy. BY ZINNIA JONES
n the wake of last month’s tragic shooting of a say “I would much prefer to export homosexuals security guard at the headquarters of the Family from the United States than to import them into the Research Council, right wing radio hosts Janet United States, because we believe that homosexualMefferd and Peter LaBarbera have found someone ity is destructive to society.” Sprigg did say “I think to blame other than the shooter: people who quoted there would be a place for criminal sanctions against what the FRC’s staff, campaigns, and official publicahomosexual behavior.” And Tony Perkins, president of tions have actually said. FRC, did say “While activists like to claim that pedoMefferd: “I was reading through for example what philia is a completely distinct orientation from homothe Human Rights Campaign had posted the day besexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap fore the shooting and they had a whole list there that between the two. ... It is a homosexual problem.” was very inflamHow exactly In a new, bizarre twist, anti-gay activists matory about the are we supposed Family Research to tone down blame LGBT groups for quoting them. Council, ‘they their own words? want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they If they’re really going to argue that mere exposure to equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this their own words is sufficient to inspire violence (a nostuff. I thought: if you were somewhat of an unstable tion they strangely find unthinkable when others point person and you read this sort of stuff and you were in out that their ongoing campaign of homophobia and line with what they believe I think it could drive some- transphobia might be in part responsible for anti-LGBT body to violence. So we’re back to the question of, to hatred and violence, LGBT youth suicide, family rejecwhat degree should there be public pressure on some tion and homelessness), then how can they hold others of these gay rights organizations to tone it down?” accountable for simply quoting what they said, but not Tone it down? These quotations are not something themselves for actually saying it? n that LGBT groups have made up out of whole cloth. The FRC and its representatives really said these Read more commentary by Zinnia Jones at: things. Peter Spring, senior fellow of the FRC, did www.free-thoughtblogs.com/zinniajones.
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Timothy Brown, “The Berlin Patient”.
Two Men Possibly Cured of HIV With Bone Marrow Transplant
wo more men from Boston seem to have been allegedly cured of HIV through bone marrow transplants according to reports coming out of the 19th annual International AIDS Conference, reports hivplusmag.com. The two men who were being treated at Brigham and Women’s
transplants, the men also remained on their antiretroviral medication regimens, according to NBC News. Within eight months of their respective transplant surgeries, it was discovered that the patients’ cells were replaced by cells from the HIVnegative bone marrow donors. The men also now show no signs of HIV
sented the finding with colleague Daniel Kuritzkes. “The next step is to determine if there are any traces of HIV in their tissue.” Kuritzkes added that the discovery suggests that “under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient’s immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV.” Researchers are now preparing to study other HIV-positive patients who have undergone a bone marrow transplant, reports hivplusmag.com. The doctors pointed out that one of the major differences between Timothy Brown (known as The Berlin Patient, who underwent similar treatment that seems to have eradicated HIV from his body) and these two new patients is that Brown’s bone marrow donor was specifically chosen because the donor had a genetic mutation that resisted HIV. The Brigham patients’ donors were not necessarily HIV-resistant. Timothy Brown released a statement regarding the news. “Words cannot begin to express my joy that two other men may have been cured of HIV,” Brown said. “This reinforces my determination and belief that we must fulfill my Foundation’s central mission of investing in cutting-edge therapies and
“We expected HIV to vanish from the patients’ plasma, but it is surprising that we can’t find any traces of HIV in their cells.” Hospital in Boston for cases of cancer at different times. One of the men is in his 20s and was infected at birth, while the other man is in his 50s, and has been infected with HIV since the early 1980s. After each receiving bone marrow 22 The Fight
in their DNA or RNA. Levels of HIV antibodies have also decreased. “We expected HIV to vanish from the patients’ plasma, but it is surprising that we can’t find any traces of HIV in their cells,” said Timothy Henrich, MD, who pre-
treatments to advance AIDS cure research. As I have said many times before, I want everyone to be cured of this disease. We can only hope that this case and today’s development represents the beginning of the end of this plague.” n
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AND THE BEAT GOES ON BY STANFORD ALTAMIRANO PHOTOS BY J HORTON
HAIR BY Justin Harding | GROOMING BY Israel Garcia | PHOTO ON THIS PAGE: RUFSKIN Aqua “Porter” Shorts www.rufskin.com, model’s own tank and shoes
PHOTO ON Fight PAGE 26: RUFSKIN Navy “Eward” Jeans, “Lanche” Shirt, White “Santiago” Tank www.rufskin.com, model’s own shoes 24 The
At the age of 34 one man suddenly realizes that life will never be the same. DJ Dan De Leon’s road to recovery.
rgentina-born Dan De Leon has forged a maverick career as DJ, music producer, event promoter and filmmaker. His productions have hit the BILLBOARD TOP 10 Dance Chart and have appeared on the world’s top DJ compilations including those of the preeminent GLOBAL UNDERGROUND. His remix work includes BILLBOARD #1’s and numerous Top 10’s and Top 20’s for Nelly Furtado, Kristine W, Noelia, Debby Holiday, Salme Dahlstrom, Consuelo and others. In an interview with THE FIGHT, De Leon, who moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was two years old, talks about finding his way in Hollywood, his marriage, his divorce and how overcoming addiction has turned his life around. WHAT WAS THE COMING OUT PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU? I came out when I was 19, living at home and just a year into college. I had decided to get one of my ears pierced, just for fun, and when I came home that night all hell broke loose. My parents were both really bent out of shape. Over an earring! My Latina mom got so worked up over it, she finally exploded and revealed what was truly on their mind… She shouted at me “Are you gay?!” I thought, I could lie and say no, and continue living a lie and living a double life pretending to be straight—or I could just tell the truth and let the universe decide what to do with it. It was a terrifying gamble, but I decided to say “Yes.” My mother raised her arms up into the air and screamed, as if to ask God, “Why?!, Why me?!, Why me?!” before falling to her knees like Columbus landing on that beach back in 1492. She quickly crumpled into a fetal position on the floor and started shaking and crying hysterically. My dad (a doctor) leaped to her side and checked her vitals, asking me to give them a moment as he calmed her down. When I returned my dad informed me that they still loved me and that it was okay. It was not as easy for my mom to accept, but when she came around she came around in a big way. She is easily the single most supportive mother of a gay son I’ve ever met, sponsoring PFLAG student-teacher groups and be-
coming an ambassador of tolerance. I’m lucky. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR CAREER? DID YOU HAVE AN ABSOLUTE VISION OF WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE? When I was 15 I decided wanted to be a film director. The idea of being in control of a story, telling a story in my own unique way, exciting an audience and propelling them into fantasy and drama and an escape from everyday life—that really turned me on. Two years later over the summer after high school I produced my first feature film and landed at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. The year after that I wrote and directed my first project, a 16mm short film called “Anything Once,” and that took me to film festivals all over the world. At that point in my life I felt that I needed to find an idea I was passionate about to write into a feature screenplay. While searching for this idea I fell into the late 90’s California desert rave scene. The experiences at raves and underground parties changed the way I looked at music, my connection to myself and the people and things that I loved—it was magical to me. The more I saw the more I knew that capturing this scene and telling the story of the people behind this movement was the idea I’d been waiting for. I decided I would learn how to DJ in order to better understand what it means to be a DJ. I began writing a screenplay with the help of a DJ friend named Ben Berger who was teaching me how to spin, when tragically, Ben got caught up with a dangerous crowd and was murdered. That event changed everything for me. I’d lost my innocence in the club scene. I’d lost my close friend and my technical adviser. I decided to pick up the torch and push on, but with Ben gone I had to actually become a DJ to get inside the heart of the story. That choice proved far more meaningful than I could have imagined, I fell in love with the art of DJ’ing and took off on an amazing adventure that continues to this day. Unfortunately Ben’s death and its aftermath also left me emotionally vulnerable and scarred and I began to experiment more heavily with party drugs.
I was married in 2006 to a man I thought was perfect for me and then found myself amidst divorce in 2010. Gay marriage and gay divorce all in just under 4 years. I learned the hard way that drugs and love do not mix. To any degree. Ever. The Fight 25
WHAT WAS THE BREAKING POINT? WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GET SOBER? I was married in 2006 to a man I thought was perfect for me and then found myself amidst divorce in 2010. Gay marriage and gay divorce all in just under 4 years. I learned the hard way that drugs and love do not mix. To any degree. Ever. The divorce was the first major turning point. Once we broke up, I started the journey of reconnecting with myself, of rediscovering myself. There was no relationship to blame anymore, no husband’s shoulder to cry on, no excuses. I had to take responsibility for who I was and who I was to become. I spent the next year or so in denial, just trying to get by and make it through the hostile waters of emotional destruction. It wasn’t until early 2011 that I really got my wake up call. A year after my divorce—my marriage was gone but nothing else had really changed. I’d made some professional progress and made some changes but I was still fighting the same battle with myself, my supremely retarded functional addiction and a realization that I’d morphed into someone else. Someone who was fighting to stay professionally relevant while harboring negativity, depression and lack of passion. The partying and the ups and downs had turned into 25 days of pain and 5 days of bliss every month. That wasn’t any fun. It was dragging me down bit by bit, faster and faster each and every day. I turned 34 in August of 2011 and something finally clicked. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Everything had to change. I just had to change. One of my best friends was struggling with a very intense crystal addiction, a situation far more dangerous than I thought mine was, and yet I couldn’t help but realize that while I was preaching to him to get into a program I was still playing my functional addict game. So, I decided I would start changing everything and making moves, and do something new. At this point I could only see change as a positive. HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT HAPPEN? I reconnected with my Buddhism practice, reconnected with my family and my oldest, closest friends, 26 The Fight
and I began researching and reading Alcoholics Anonymous. Ultimately I decided that for me, through spirituality, practice and support, that I would attempt this on my own without entering a program or joining AA. However, my heart is in a very similar place and I’ve worked very hard and am intensely proud that I have been free of party drugs for a year now, and counting. The fact that I’ve done it “on my own” is not a point of pride in and of itself, I am just happy to be free and happy to have moved on. HOW DOES YOUR NEW FOUND SOBRIETY AFFECT YOUR WORK NOW? I love what I do and I love doing it. The clarity has removed every bit of obsessive-compulsive addiction related clutter from my mind and heart and left me with true authenticity. I’m able to dedicate myself to whatever is in front of me and do it knowing that I want to be there and I am choosing to do it, own it, and be fully present and responsible for it. I own what I do now in a way that feels so refreshing to me… I have a renewed sense of vigor and enthusiasm that has electrified my work and my personal life. Every set, every audience, whether there are 500 people or 5,0000 people on the dance floor, I am there for the music and to deliver entertainment, experience and pure creative energy. The only thing between my audience and me is the dance floor between us, and that is everything. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS? WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BE DOING? I don’t think there is any higher calling than seeking to inspire others, and that’s what I hope to do for the rest of my life, through my work in music and film. I’m DJ’ing, remixing, producing, songwriting and screenwriting full time and I feel the most blessed and positive and satisfied than I’ve felt in a decade. If I continue to create, inspire and spread love and positivity through music and tell compelling stories that inspire me and those I touch to think and to feel and to grow—that is everything I’ll ever need to do. n For more info visit: www.djdandeleon.com
Obsessions And Compulsions
BY PHILIP PIERCE, PH.D.
ichael reads the page and then he reads the page again. It still doesn’t feel right—what if he missed something? That thought keeps repeating… and if the same thought keeps coming, it must be important, right? Although, he’s on deadline and knows he has to move on, he reads the page again. Michael is an extremely fit 30 year-old executive who describes himself as a perfectionist and repeats almost everything he does multiple times: reading, writing, checking door locks. And the more anxious and stressed he is, the more times he needs to repeat the tasks. Michael has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and his untreated condition is about to cost him his job! Many adults with OCD say their symptoms started when they were children or adolescents. There are many different types of obsessions, e.g., fear of contact with germs, constant doubting and ruminating, fear of harming others. OCD sufferers try to get temporary relief from anxious thoughts by performing compulsions, such as frequent washing of their hands or performing mental rituals like praying (to replace a bad thought with a good thought). Fortunately, there are now effective treatments for OCD. High doses of medications such as Prozac or Zoloft can be very helpful; however, without Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—symptoms will return once the medication is stopped. Effective psychotherapy involves exposing patients to their fears (without performing rituals) until the anxious thought is significantly reduced; in this way, the OCD sufferer learns that the compulsive activity is not necessary. This technique, Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP), is coupled with cognitive restructuring to change certain non-productive beliefs, such as overresponsibility, that contribute to the problem. Dr. Philip Pierce, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills and a Lecturer at UCLA, can be reached at (310) 248-2335. The Fight 27
Dealing With The Police
If you’re not a lawyer, chances are that you weren’t properly schooled on your constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement. BY DAVID HAKIMFAR, ATTORNEY AT LAW
efore we start, you must take a couple things into consideration. First, constitutional rights could apply differently depending on where you are (e.g. say bye-bye to privacy at the airport). Second, always be polite and respectful to the law enforcement. You want to always be on your best behavior as you may be videotaped. Let’s get started with a simple situation: You’re strolling down the street and suddenly confronted by Officer Joe. Ofc. Joe has a few
28 The Fight
questions. Ask Ofc. Joe a key question: “Am I free to go?” If “yes,” you may continue on your walk and pick up the latest copy of “THE FIGHT.” You have the right not to answer any questions. And if you don’t want to, tell Ofc. Joe you aren’t going to, and calmly walk away. If Ofc. says “no,” you have been legally detained. Being “detained” is not the same as being “arrested,” though an arrest could follow. Keep in mind, whether you are detained or arrested, you still
do not have to answer Ofc. Joe’s questions, unless he asks your name. Beyond that, advise Ofc. Joe that “I am remaining silent.” Now, if Ofc. Joe has a “reasonable suspicion” that you might be armed and dangerous, he may conduct a pat down to the outside of your clothing. If Ofc. Joe tries to search beyond a pat down and/or asks for your consent to do so, advise him that “I do not consent to any searches.” DO NOT physically resist Ofc. Joe if he keeps searching anyway. Should Ofc. Joe arrest you, the most important constitutional right and words you should say: “I WANT AN ATTORNEY!” The reasons are two-fold. First, the moment that you ask for an attorney, all interrogations should stop and not begin again until your attorney is present. Second, as long as you remain silent, it includes your right to be silent. As mentioned above, your constitutional rights vary depending on your location. For example, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, Ofc. Joe can require you to show your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance (but you do not have to answer questions). If detained, arrested, questioned, or contacted by any law enforcement agency, immediately contact Pride Legal for a free consultation with one of their independent lawyers at 1-888-789-PRIDE (7743) or go to www.pridelegal.com. This article is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional counsel and should not be used as such. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. n David Hakimfar is a Trial Attorney and Senior Partner of Hakimfar Law, PLC.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE BLOCK BY PAULO MURILLO
Van Ness Recovery House executive director Kathy Watt on sobriety, internalized homophobia and changing lives. 30 The Fight
n recognition of National Recovery Month, I went back to the Van Ness Recovery House in Los Angeles, my own personal ground zero, where five and a half years ago, the wreckage from my drinking and drugging collided with my recovery and my life was dramatically changed for the better. Opened in May 1973, the Van Ness Recovery has served the LGBTQ community, as well as heterosexual individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. In the trenches of the insanity that is early sobriety is Kathy Watt, the programâ€™s executive director, who is also a former client. In an interview with THE FIGHT, Kathy spoke about the dangers of dark, secret and anonymous sex, HIV/AIDS, doing the work to remain a healthy self-supporting clean and sober member of society, and how even though the Van Ness House may be the last house on the block, it is a house that anyone can call home.
It is part of our program to get each individual prepared to go out and get a job. Sending you to the streets without any structure, without being self-supporting, will not instill in you the self-esteem that comes from taking care of yourself. WHAT SETS THE VAN NESS HOUSE APART FROM OTHER RECOVERY HOUSES? Since Van Ness Recovery House started in 1973, the most unique components are that the program targets a specialized population that didn’t have treatment options, those being gay men and lesbians, which has since expanded to LGBTQ and also heterosexual. The second part that’s unique is that we're here to rehabilitate you. We don’t baby-sit you, or get you off the street and dry you up and give you some tools to stay sober. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY REHABILITATION? Rehabilitation means that while you enter the program, you may need the support of public funding to help pay for your treatment and get you back on your feet. It is part of our program to get each individual prepared to go out and get a job. Sending you to the streets without any structure, without being self-supporting, will not instill in you the self-esteem that comes from taking care of yourself. Prior to sobriety, you were taking from family, friends and society—those feelings can only be repaired, you’re only able to forgive yourself, if you get back on track and give back to society by footing the bill for yourself. WHEN DID YOU BECOME A RESIDENT AT VNRH? I came in here 2 months after the house had moved to Beachwood after being on Van Ness in 1976 and I completed the program. DID YOU STAY SOBER AFTER YOU COMPLETING THE PROGRAM? No. I had too much false pride. I was 7 months sober, it was the night before I turned 30; I was ironing my pants to go to a Monday night [12 step] meeting and a guy knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted to get high. I spent the night doing coke and I was sober as sober could be. I knew there’d come a time when drugs and alcohol would quit working and clearly they had quit working for me. I came back to the house in the morning and the program director said to me, “You need to just do the program.” And so my sponsor and I worked the steps and on me accepting being a lesbian. And I stayed sober.
A FORMER RESIDENT RETURNED TO THE HOUSE TO PASS AWAY HERE THIS PAST SPRING. HOW DID THIS IMPACT THE RESIDENTS IN THE HOUSE? At the beginning of HIV/AIDS, Van Ness House made a commitment. This is your home. In 1985 there were many young men of all ages who got sober knowing they were going to die, purely because they wanted to die sober. I believe you should get to die where you want to, and if we’re your home, then we’re going to be here for you. This past April we had an alumni whose mother called and said her daughter is very near the end. She remembered I told people that if the time came that they were going to pass away, they could come home. I said yes, it’s absolutely true. I got off the phone; I got the residents together and told them exactly what was happening. I told them how [this former resident] came to Van Ness House as a just turned 18-year- old starting her transition from male to a young teenage woman and that all these years had passed and this is where she wanted to die. So for about three quarters of the residents it was like wow, what an amazing gift. For two of three who themselves have HIV/AIDS and were not sure if getting sober would cause their health to get better or not, they were scared. Whether they were here for six hours of five months, they saw firsthand that this is home. We are family. By the time she had been here two days, every resident was willing to do anything they could to make her comfortable. Her passing was peaceful. It was quick. The Fight 31
IS IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE TO STAY SOBER? I believe—and I’ve seen after doing this work for 22 years—that yes. It is a bigger struggle for any quoteon-quote specialized, different, non-mainstream drug addict to stay sober. Anyone who has something for which society will judge, marginalize or oppress, I believe has a tougher time, because you just have more issues, more parts of who you are to talk through, write through, and you need more trust that it will be okay—but having said all that, does it make it impossible? No. If somebody comes in and they’re willing to be open-minded, they can stay sober. I don’t think anybody is such a special case that being sober is not an option for them. WHAT SORT OF SEXUAL WRECKAGE DO YOU ENCOUNTER AND WHAT WORK DO YOU DO AROUND SOBER SEX? For most people in the Van Ness House, their sexual lives have become behaviors and patterns that are dark, anonymous and secretive. We start right off the bat with what are the things that you need to talk about to change that pattern. We do it intimately and we do it graphically. We live in metropolitan Los Angeles here. We have a very high concentration of HIV. We are also lucky to have a lot of billboards to remind people to use condoms. But less than 10% of our resident have ever gone to the store and actually looked to realize that there are many options of condoms. We have a conversation about STDs. We have conversations about how your viruses are not identical twins. No two bodies are the same. While you may think you’re jumping in with everybody that’s just like you, the reality is, you’re not. Taking care of your sexual health has to be paramount. 32 The Fight
DO YOU DEAL WITH A LOT OF INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA? The people that cross the thresholds of the Van Ness House can say they’re gay, lesbian, transgender, or just say they’re an alcoholic addict. Admitting is not the problem, it’s the accepting and asking what are the parts of yourself that you’re willing to throw away, don’t believe you can accept as equal and therefore continue to engage in destructive behavioral patterns. Many people come here thinking they get rejected because they are gay or transgendered, but once the consistency of sobriety happens and we become that son, brother, sister family member that shows up…what our sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender is—very few families care. The idea that their family member is no longer killing themselves is what matters, but that takes a long time and so until that time comes and if it never comes, we are home. WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES AT WORK? Keeping the doors open. We are the only program funded by the county of Los Angeles where federal, state and county money cover less than 50% of the beds. When Van Ness House got its first contract, the county drug and alcohol program office funded 10 beds. Today they fund 3.2 beds. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Watching people’s lives change. Watching people become the person they never dreamed possible. Watching people fulfill what they thought were crazy wild ideas come to fruition. When someone goes home and their family opens their door and they remember coming here as residents and saying their family will never talk to them again. Watching the miracles happen. WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THE FUTURE FOR THE VAN NESS RECOVERY HOUSE? We’re in uncharted waters. Who knows what the Affordable Care Act will be. What we do know is, that the county of Los Angeles has recently gotten its own insurance plan Healthy Way LA and they don’t cover drug and alcohol treatment, so when it comes to the Affordable Care Act and its implementation, where will drug and alcohol treatment be? I don’t know. We’ve never been at this juncture before. Keeping the doors open is tough. But our doors have never closed. n To learn more about the Van Ness Recovery House, or to make a donation to the House, please visit: www.vannessrecovery.org.
HIV-Positive Family Building Men living with HIV can have biological children of their own. BY DR. GUY RINGLER
he goal of assisted reproduction for individuals with HIV is to help build families with minimal risk to the unborn child and the birth mother. Since the early 1990â€™s sperm washing and assisted reproductive techniques have been used to help minimize the transmission of the virus HIV negative recipients. The initial step to minimize the risk of transmitting infection from an HIV positive sperm provider to an HIV negative recipient is to reduce the amount of viral particles present in semen. Antiviral therapy can help reduce the amount of virus present in se-
34 The Fight
rum even though it may not eliminate the virus from semen. Sperm wash procedures can significantly reduce the amount of virus present by separating virus from the sperm cells. A sperm wash procedure involves separating sperm from seminal fluid, thereby removing the viral particles that may be present. Washed sperm may be placed into the cervix at the time of ovulation as an intracervical insemination (ICI); placed inside the uterine cavity as an intrauterine insemination (IUI); or may be used to fertilize eggs in an IVF cycle. In an ICI and IUI procedure several million sperm are placed into
the cervix, or uterus, respectively, at the time of ovulation. In an IVF cycle several thousand washed sperm placed into a petri dish containing the eggs. ICSI may be used during the IVF cycle to optimize fertilization rates and further minimize the exposure of the eggs to sperm. In this procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into each egg, thereby minimizing exposure to sperm and any viral contaminants. The combination of semen testing for the presence of HIV, followed by sperm wash and IVF/ICSI, should afford the least amount of risk of viral transmission to the embryos, the recipient of the embryos, and the future child. The Bedford Foundation (a nonprofit laboratory that has developed a highly sensitive PCR-based assay to detect presence of small amounts of virus directly in the semen) has reported results from over 500 treatment cycles with no evidence of viral transmission to the recipient of the sperm or the babies born. n Dr. Guy Ringler is a board certified physician in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at California Fertility Partners, a medical practice dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of male and female reproductive issues. Additionally, Dr. Ringler is on the board of The American Fertility Association (www.theAFA.org.) For over twenty-five years California Fertility Partners has been helping Gay and Lesbian men and women build families through surrogacy and reproductive procedures. For more information call 310-8284008 or visit their web site: www. californiafertilitypartners.com.
The Fight 35
NO LEBANESE SPRING FOR GAYS
While there has been some improvement in Lebanon in regards to LGBT rights, the situation remains precarious. BY KASEM YOUNIS
non in regards to LGBT rights, the situation remains t the beginning of the summer a few LGBTprecarious, at best, writes Amaya-Akkermans. sites ran features on Lebanon, describing it as According to article 534 of the Lebanese penal a melting pot of cultures from East and West, code, homosexuality remains illegal. And even though praising its vibrant night life: “A visit to Lebanon rea Lebanese judge ruled in 2009 against the use of veals Roman treasures, natural wonders, outstanding article 534 to prosecute homosexuals, the practice food, cosmopolitan fun and a growing gay scene.” albeit not generalized—continues. While there is no doubt that the traditional view of In July of this year Lebanese security authorities Lebanon as the freest country in the Arab world is not swooped in on a gay cinema in Beirut, shut down the without foundation, the truth is that “the Lebanese movie house, arresting 36 male attendees. have fought very hard for those freedoms and those According to a report on the Gay Star News website, freedoms remain increasingly threatened due to a “an unknown number” of the 36 combination of laissez-faire This past July a number policy and tight censorship,” had been released after an unjournalist Arie Amaya-Akkerof “suspected” gays were named doctor administered an mans recently wrote on the anal exam—a procedure meant arrested in Beirut and Egyptian based news website to detect sperm. forced to undergo anal www.bikyamasr.com. In an email to The JerusaA Lebanese user commentlem Post, journalist Michael exams—a procedure ing on an LGBT website article J. Totten, an author at the meant to detect sperm. entitled “Beirut and Lebanon: website World Affairs who The Gay Paradise Of The Arab World” wrote: “It is has written about Lebanon, said he was saddened really a terrific place once you get past the routine to hear of the incident. “I wouldn’t describe Lebanon as a bastion of gay power outs, the incredibly high prices, the harassrights, but it’s much more advanced than anywhere ment of gays in virtually any public venue, the crimielse in the Arab world,” he wrote. “Homosexuality is nal status of homosexuality, the corrupt, racist and homophobic police department, the sporadic tirestill technically illegal there, but I’ve met a number of burnings and gun fights and the control that Islamic out gay Lebanese in Beirut, and the city has a number and Christian fundamentalists have over large parts of gay and gay-friendly night clubs.” Nonetheless, he said, “it shouldn’t be surprising… of the country both in terms of territory and media. that the country where Hezbollah lives still has a long But yeah, other than that it’s terrific.” way to go.” n While there has been some improvement in Leba36 The Fight
GENDER SPECIFIC What’s in someone’s pants is only one small part of who they are as a person. To trans people, this tends to be obvious, but to others, it may not be. BY ZINNIA JONES
uring my recent interview on the Godless Business podcast (www.godless.biz), I was asked whether I was “pre-op” or “post-op”— terms that refer to whether a transgender person has had genital surgery. Since this wasn’t really the focus of our conversation, I just answered the question and moved on. But after we were done, it occurred to me that there’s a lot more to be said about this, such as how relevant the pre-op/post-op distinction actually is in trans people’s lives, what kinds of questions would more accurately reflect our experiences, and when it’s appropriate to ask about these things. To start with, it’s really important to understand that unless they’ve indicated that they’re willing to talk about this, trans people might not want to answer just any question about being trans. Agreeing to talk about it in the context of an interview is one thing, but in our everyday lives, respect for boundaries is important. Think about it: There’s a difference between “Hi, how are you doing?”, and “Hi, how are your genitals doing?” The latter can be intrusive and presumes a degree of personal familiarity that usually isn’t there. 38 The Fight
If you wouldn’t say that to someone who’s not trans, then why would you say it to someone who is? Unless you know them really well and they’re okay with talking about it, don’t just assume that they’ll be fine with this. For a lot of trans people, being trans is something that’s already on their mind a lot, and sometimes, the last thing they want is to talk about it with random people who may not even understand them and are potentially hostile. Having a body that isn’t fully in step with your identity is a pretty personal thing, and like anyone else, you can’t expect trans people to be completely open about their own private history. Recognize that the usual norms are still in place—about asking people how they have sex, what their genitals look like, the surgeries they’ve had and the medications they’re on—and understand that for trans people, these can be even more sensitive topics. And just because you heard one trans person voluntarily talking about this, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is therefore a subject of casual conversation that’s suitable for all occasions. Treat it as opt-in, not opt-out.
Of course, that only covers people who you already personally important to some trans people, modifying our anatomy is far from our only means of exerting know to be trans. If you don’t know that someone is trans, then you definitely shouldn’t just ask them control over this. At times, it can be artificially forced into greater about it. If they are trans, and they haven’t told anyone, consider that they simply may not want people prominence in our lives by laws in some areas that prevent us from receiving identity documents that match to know. Confronting them out of nowhere would be disrespectful, if not extremely unnerving. our gender until we have surgery—a requirement that’s But aside from the matter of when it’s improper to all the more troublesome when such operations are unask questions, it’s also worth examining what kinds desired or out of reach. Yes, not all of us seek that kind of surgery. The dichotomy of “pre-op” and “post-op” of questions would be more fruitful when the topic is on the table. Whether someone is pre-op or post-op depicts it as something that either happened already, tends to be one of the most common starting points or hasn’t happened yet. This ignores that for some of for those who are trying to understand trans people, us, it may be something that never happens—there is no “yet.” Some people can’t have it for medical reabut it’s far from the most useful. It’s easy to see why this is the first thing that would come to mind: most sons. Many just don’t have the means to afford it. And of the world still regards some of us simply don’t Having a body that isn’t fully in gender as being defined want it—we’ve decided by genitals, and this is step with your identity is a pretty that we’re satisfied with a quick way to eliminate personal thing, and like anyone what we have. So, what sort of things an unknown and deterelse, you can’t expect trans peo- are more relevant to our mine where trans people ple to be completely open about goal of going about life fall within that system. The problem is that as our preferred gender? their own private history. this system is incomWell, you could ask what plete and inaccurate. What’s in made us realize that this was something we wanted for ourselves. You someone’s pants is only one small part of who they are as a could ask us when and how we came person. To trans people, this out—we each have our own stories, tends to be obvious, but to much as with anything else you have to come out about, and this tends to others, it may not be. Maybe it’s just something you have be one of the first steps in the proto experience firsthand: if your cess of transitioning. Another major body, identity, and presentation milestone is presenting full-time as our intended gender, something with much are all in sync, you might think your genitals have something to do greater significance to our everyday lives with the fact that you’re seen by oththan the state of our genitals. You could ers as your gender and treated apask what sorts of interesting things we’ve noticed as a result of having lived in two propriately. But for us, it’s clear that whether we’ve had genital surgery different genders. You could ask us about isn’t usually relevant in our day-towhat kind of difficulties we’ve faced as a day lives. result of transitioning. And you can ask what you can do to support trans people When body and identity are no longer linked together and restricted in a meaningful way. to being all-male or all-female, it Just as with anyone else, there’s so becomes obvious that genitals don’t much more to our lives than surgery. And when we do have the opportunity to learn always matter all that much. We don’t go around pulling people’s clothes from each other, it would be a shame to off to tell what gender they are—we miss out on the full breadth of human use other clues. The way that someexperience. n one goes about life as their gender usually hinges on features other than Read more commentary by Zinnia Jones at: their anatomy, so while it may be www.freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones. The Fight 39
SPORT Back On Board
Greg Louganis documentary in the works.
ack on Board, an upcoming documentary about four-time Olympics gold medal winner Greg Louganis, will chronicle his journey from diving prodigy to HIV spokesman, reports The Advocate. Director Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney recently followed the sports icon to London to record his mentoring U.S. divers during the Olympics. While there, Louganis spoke to Queerty’s Lawrence Ferber, saying “So much has changed. We started [shooting] last year and I was just getting back into diving. Now, I’m in London, and an athlete mentor. So many twists and turns. Going through different phases of life. From where I was after Breaking the Sur-
40 The Fight
face, and what happened there, to where I am today it’s been a powerful experience.” “Greg’s story is connected to so many important moments in American history including the Olympics, the AIDS epidemic, the gay rights movement, and even the recent housing crisis. His return to diving, after a long absence, gave us a natural way to tell his unique story and explore his enduring legacy,” the filmmakers wrote on their Kickstarter campaign page. The filmmakers hope to get their film finished and released by 2013, which will mark the 25th anniversary of Louganis’s incredible performance in the 1988 Olympic Games. n
Creative solutions for your individual and business marketing needs.
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contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.ntoriodesign.com
The Fight 41
YOUR BEST L The intoxicating gay relationship with one’s intricate inner world becomes the recovery road to homosexual self-realization, inspiring a life that can be lived with untold meaning, direction and potential. BY THOMAS MONDRAGON, LMFT
or my gay clients dealing with different addictions, a crucial aspect of recovery answers an inner call tentatively proclaiming hope to find the meaning of their lives, often for the first time. This can ignite a powerful process of rescuing a damaged sense of self from a lifetime of negative and traumatic messages and events that led to internalized beliefs and a toxically shamed felt experience of being defective, not good as, unworthy, unlovable—because one is gay. Many of my clients talk about feeling different early on, a difference not accepted as good, not celebrated, not nurtured, and were instead left horribly isolated, lonely, confused, and ultimately self-hating. Who wouldn’t want to escape from such relentless terrorizing feelings and beliefs implanted before a child could ever fight back! ELUSIVE OUTER FIX Toxic shame is the core of all addictions. For gay men, homophobic societal and familial beliefs were pummeled into us opposing our desire for love with another man. This then left us disconnected from an imaginal conviction that being gay is soulful and numinous, full of meaning and potential waiting to be discovered. We can say that this seditious idea is the high that was being sought after, symbolized in that same glorious feeling where we get turned on catching a glimpse of a hot guy walking by. But that subversive high is always an elusive outer fix when it is not understood as ultimately needing to be experienced on the inside as testimonial evidence of our innate goodness, worthiness and lovableness. For my gay clients, therapy then becomes a crucible where long repressed hurts, fears, traumas and anger can importantly start to come out of the shadows and felt, keys to unlock a transformative exploration into 42 The Fight
what it means to be gay. Clients often find that their depression and anxiety is sourced in early traumas and repressed emotions rooted in the secret crushes and desire for love they had as children and teens. With no safe way to feel or express themselves, instead they experienced overpowering pain that understandably demanded the numbing addictions provided. All this can now be empathically witnessed. PARADOXICAL REVELATION For many courageous gay men, hitting rock bottom begins the process of getting to know themselves more authentically. Instead of escaping, I’ve watched so many take steps to connect the dots between their addictions and feeling the psychological impact of childhoods fiercely bereft of mirroring, holding, and honoring of their gay selves, which would have developed gay boys into men more able to tolerate and process complex feelings and value their erotic hot buddy fantasies. The paradoxical revelation is that in slowing down to actually look within as adults, this more conscious relationship with that long-neglected crushed gay kid and other split off aspects of the traumatized dark self is by nature gay love. And this intoxicating gay relationship with one’s intricate inner world becomes the recovery road to homosexual self-realization inspiring a life that can be lived with untold meaning, direction and potential. n
Toxic shame is the core of all addictions. For gay men, homophobic societal and familial beliefs were pummeled into us opposing our desire for love with another man.
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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
Olympia Dukakis (L), Brenda Fricker, “Cloudburst” FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
LONG BEACH QFILM FESTIVAL The Art Theater and The Long Beach LGBT Center. For more info visit: qfilmslongbeach.com. The longest-running gay film festival in Long Beach. All proceeds benefit the Long Beach Center and their LGBTQ community programs. Films include: CLOUDBURST, LOVE OR WHATEVER and RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
FOLSOM STREET FAIR San Francisco’s South Of Market District On Folsom Street Between 7th And 12th Streets. For more info visit: www.folsomstreetfair.com SF’s annual street party for all things leather, with various fetish events planned all weekend. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
ISLAM AND HOMOSEXUALITY The Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. 8pm. For more info call: 323-860-7300 ext 3. The L.A Gay & Lesbian Center, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut 44 The Fight
Los Angeles, examines the seldomdiscussed discrimination faced by LGBT Muslims, from both a U.S.based and a worldwide perspective. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
TOM OF FINLAND ART FAIR WEEKEND Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, West Hollywood. For more info visit: tomoffinlandfoundation.org. Over a quarter century of dedication to protecting, preserving and promoting erotic art. Kicks off with a public reception for artists, collectors and all who enjoy art. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2
OPEN PHOTO SHOOT FUNDRAISER The Living Out Proud Resource Fair, hosted at The Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. For more info visit: www.noh8campaign.com A portion of proceeds from each photo purchased during the open photo shoot will be added to NOH8 Campaign’s Team Donation; all of the proceeds from which will ultimately be donated to AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES.
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
EMAIL YOUR EVENT OR GROUP email@example.com
POSITIVE IMAGES WORKSHOP Every Monday, from 7-9 p.m. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS Mondays, 6:10-7:10 p.m.
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.
DEBTORS ANONYMOUS Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m.
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) 201-1561. 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.
CRYSTAL METH ANONYMOUS Saturdays, 9:10-10:10 a.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 LA ROWING www.larowing.org DIFFERENT SPOKES Cycling www.differentspokes.com Rides start in various locations in the greater Los Angeles area. 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
LOS ANGELES GAY RODEO CLUB www.gsgra.org
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
LOS ANGELES POOL LEAGUE Friendly Billiard teams. www.lapl8ball.com GAY & LESBIAN BOWLING LEAGUE www.tavernguildleague.com
KOL AMI REFORM SYNAGOGUE kol-ami.org, 1200 North La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90038
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES fccla.org 540, South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020 HOLLYWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH hollywoodumc.org, 6817 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028 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 HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH-HLYWD hopelutheranchurch.net, 6720 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 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
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The Problem With “Marriage Alternatives” Why civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples are simply inadequate. BY ZINNIA JONES
evada’s domestic partnership law provides for rights and responsibilities that are similar, but not identical, to marriage. Among these are hospital visitation rights and the ability to make healthcare decisions for one’s spouse if they’re unable. But that wasn’t good enough for Spring Valley Hospital. When Terri-Ann Simonelli asked, last month, if she would be able to make decisions on behalf of her partner Brittany Leon, who was experiencing complications with her pregnancy, they were told a domestic partnership wasn’t enough.
As long as certain classes of people are barred from marriage their relationships will never be seen as equal.
law, she accused the reporter of bias and hung up the telephone. This is why civil unions, domestic partnerships, reciprocal beneficiaries and all other recently-invented “marriage alternatives” for samesex couples are simply inadequate. Most people are completely unfamiliar with what these new legal devices actually mean in a practical sense, whereas the properties and implications of a marriage are firmly established and widely recognized. They know what a marriage is, but they don’t know what a “domestic partnership” is. As long as certain classes of people are barred from marriage and instead offered these weak substitutes, their relationships will never be seen as equal. No one can honestly believe that the rest of the world will treat these loving commitments as they would treat marriages—even the government couldn’t bring itself to treat them as marriages. n
An admissions officer told them the hospital policy required gay partners to secure power of attorney before making any medical
Read more commentary by Zinnia Jones at: www.freethoughtblogs. com/zinniajones.
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decisions for each other. They protested, even offering to go home and return with their domestic partnership document. But they said the admissions officer told them that didn’t matter —Simonelli would need a power of attorney. Leon later lost the pregnancy. The hospital still isn’t budging. A woman who identified herself as public relations representative at Spring Valley Hospital told a Review-Journal reporter in a phone interview that the hospital policy requires gay couples have power of attorney in order
to make medical decisions for each other. When asked if she was aware of Nevada’s domestic partnership