Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 4, January 25, 2019

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J A N U A R Y 2 5 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 0 4 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M

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LGBT protesters in Women’s March LA A show of solidarity, despite some differences By SUSAN HORNIK More than 400,000 cheering supporters exuberantly attended the third annual Women’s March in Downtown Los Angeles to stand up for women’s rights and equality. With this year’s theme, “Truth to Power,” many of the protest signs reflected a sense of frustration, anger and sadness. Millions more marched around the nation, including the nation’s capital. “It’s so, so important to be here,” bisexual Julio Santana told the Los Angeles Blade. “I really wanted to be part of a movement that advocates for women’s, trans and immigrant rights. And this protest can bring more awareness of what’s happening.” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, a potential presidential candidate, was adamant about the need for change. “We need to step up in our board rooms … to make sure women

More than 400,000 supporters attended the third annual Women’s March in Downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy the Women’s March

aren’t just given lip service but are given power,” he said. “We want gender equity now, in Los Angeles and across the country.” Despite the recent anti-Semitism controversy with the leaders of the New

York City organization, most of the people who attended the DTLA march supported the movement’s main goals—racial justice, LGBTQ and immigration rights, and fighting President Trump’s unfair policies. “We touch on so many issues because so many issues affect women,” said Emiliana Guereca, director of Women’s March Los Angeles. “And I think that’s part of why we’re successful.” Lesbian Rabbi Robin Podolsky, who was volunteering at the Jewish progressive organization Bend the Arc’s booth, felt the March reflected the diverse nature of Los Angeles with “a great feeling of solidarity.” Several people asked why the Jewish organization was there. “We explained that our group works on human rights issues within the U.S.,” Podolsky said. “We agree with the Unity Principles of the March and think lively debate and mutual learning within the broad movement is healthy.” Numerous celebrities talked to the crowd throughout the day, including trans actress/ activist, Laverne Cox. “Our coming together today is a

resistance. We come with demands for justice, for equity. We come today peaceably, but we also come to fight,” Cox said. “The achieving of basic human rights, dignity, justice or equity for one group of people does not mean that something is being taken from another group. That’s scarcity thinking and scarcity thinking will always drive us further from each other.” Many activists gave impassioned speeches, such as Michae Pulido, policy strategist and co-organizer of The TransLatin@ Coalition. “A huge reason why my community faces so much violence is because society cannot handle us, cannot take us-even though we’ve always been here. They are afraid of our magic, afraid of our ability to reject and transcend gender, afraid of our own unique femininity,” she said onstage. “It was disheartening that there were few trans women speakers,” Pulido told the Los Angeles Blade. “There must be more intentional inclusion of trans women within the March program, while also educating the staff and volunteers about trans inclusivity.”

‘The Favourite’ leads LGBT-inclusive Oscar noms ‘Rhapsody’ frontman Malek gets nod for playing Freddie Mercury By MARIAH COOPER The 91st Academy Awards announced the nominees for its class of 2019 Tuesday with “The Favourite” and “Roma” tying for the most recognition with 10 nominations each. “The Favourite” earned nominations for its three lead actresses with Olivia Colman scoring a Best Actress nomination for portraying Queen Anne and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz receiving Best Supporting Actress nominations. “A Star is Born” came in an overall close second pulling in eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Original Song nominations for Lady Gaga and a Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Bradley Cooper. Other LGBT-inclusive nominations include

Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz in ‘The Favourite.’ Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox

the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which became the highest grossing music biopic of all time. Rami Malek, fresh off a Golden Globe win, was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. “Green Book” also earned Viggo Mortensen a Best Actor nomination and Mahershala Ali a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of musician Don Shirly. Melissa McCarthy was nominated for her role as lesbian writer Lee Israel in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Richard E. Grant

received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for playing her gay friend Jack Hock. LGBT nominees on the list were Jeff Whitty for co-writing “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman for their Netflix documentary “End Game,” Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman for writing the original song “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” and Shaiman for Original Score for “Mary Poppins Returns.” The LGBT-inclusive film”Marguerite,” which

tells the story of a nurse and an aging woman’s friendship, was also nominated for Live Action Short. The Academy also finally gave some overdue credit to acting veterans Regina King and Sam Elliot with their first nominations. King was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Elliot received a nom for Best Supporting Actor for “A Star is Born.” Notable snubs in this year’s Academy Awards crop were a Best Director nomination for Cooper for his directorial debut in “A Star is Born” and Timothée Chalamet for Best Supporting Actor in the drug addictionfueled drama “Beautiful Boy.” Two film nominations were also historical film moments. Netflix received its first Oscar nomination for “Roma” and “Black Panther,” which earned seven nominations, became the first Marvel film to be nominated for Best Picture. The Academy Awards air on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC.






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LA teachers strike is over but issues remain More counselors needed for LGBT issues By CRAIG APPELBAUM The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union (UTLA) reached an agreement Tuesday, Jan. 22, to end the sixday long strike that affected almost 500,000 students in LA County. The agreement will reduce class sizes gradually over several years, provide more support staff, a fulltime nurse in every school and give teachers a 6% pay increase. The agreement was the result of an allnight bargaining session between the school district and union, which represents over 30,000 teachers in the district. “Today is a day full of good news,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti during a news conference announcing the deal, which was approved by a super-majority of the union. The agreement saw both teachers and students returning to the classroom, bringing to an end the first teachers’ strike in LA in 30 years. “Public education is now the topic in every household in our community,” said Supt. Austin Beutner at the news conference. “Let’s capitalize on that. Let’s fix it.” “You just taught the best lesson of your lives!” proclaimed a jubilant Alex CaputoPearl, head of the UTLA, at a victory rally. Gov. Gavin Newsom also welcomed the deal. “I am glad that LAUSD and UTLA have come to an agreement, and I want to thank the thousands of dedicated teachers, parents and students who were powerfully demonstrating their passion for our public schools over the last 9 days,” he said in a statement. The strike and the agreement focused attention on the slew of issues facing public education, including the fiscal liabilities of unsustainable pensions and privatelyoperated charter schools impact public education. The agreement calls on the Board of Education to vote on a resolution calling for a cap on charter schools. Reactions to the deal were positive from local teachers, although some had hoped for more. “A lot of teachers including myself didn’t feel like it went far enough,” said openly gay Sim Leng, a social studies teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in

Photo by Sim Leng

South LA. “But we also understand there are budgetary constraints.” For Leng, one problem left unaddressed by the deal is the lack of social workers and psychologists available to students, particularly those dealing with LGBT issues. “We have a lot of students with mental health issues, with depression and anxiety, including LGBT students,” he told the Los Angeles Blade. At his own school, Leng said a psychologist is only available part-time to students. “It’s not uncommon for a psychologist to be at a different school every day.” The California LGBT community has long cared about its relationship with public schools. In 1978, the LGBT community mobilized to defeat Proposition 6, a ballot

measure that would have mandated the firing of any gay or lesbian teacher in California public schools---or any teacher or school official who supported gay rights. Proposition 6, known as the Briggs Initiative, was defeated by more than one million votes—helped by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan’s opposition— marking the first time in state history California voters had rejected an anti-gay measure. Project 10, a dropout prevention program, was founded in 1984 by out Dr. Virginia Uribe in her Science classroom at Fairfax High School. “Every young person has a right to a sense of self-respect and dignity,” Uribe told the LA Times. “We’re supposed to be teaching them to live in an increasingly

diverse society. This shouldn’t be a place where prejudice is fostered. It’s where discrimination should be fought.” The program became a model for schools and teachers nationwide to staunch antiLGBT bullying, harassment and abuse, often viewed as an acceptable “rite of passage” to adulthood. Project 10 also drew the ire of anti-LGBT Religious Right activists such as Rev. Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition in Anaheim, who declared that gays were trying to “recruit” children. Some of those attitudes remain. Leng is hopeful the agreement will form the basis for further positive changes for students in the district. “We need to have an environment where our kids’ needs are being met academically and emotionally.” But the strike also fostered a spirit of helpfulness. At West Hollywood Elementary School, parent Carly Walker was the first to mobilize support for the striking teachers, creating a Facebook page for parents and enlisting local businesses in West Hollywood such as Bristol Farms and Veggie Grill to provide meals for the strikers. “It was incredibly powerful for the teachers to see how the parents stood behind them,” she said. When her children asked her why the teachers were striking, Walker was direct. “I told them they are striking for you.” WeHo Elementary parent Annabeth Gish and her sons—one a graduate of the school and one a current student—also joined teachers on the strike to show support. “It was a necessary example of how civic action can actually affect change,” Gish said. “I’m very proud both sides moved.” The agreement “is a good platform that will continue to affect change” Gish said, adding that her family’s participation in the strike was a “good way to get our children involved early.” “Garcetti deserves credit for stepping forward to mediate the settlement, thereby avoiding a longer strike,” reads an LA Times editorial. “L.A.’s public schools are responsible for educating nearly 500,000 children, many of them low-income or non-English speakers or students of color. The success of the city in the years ahead relies upon the existence of safe, adequately funded, high-quality public schools capable of educating a new generation of Angelenos. The strike may be over, but the real work lies ahead.”



A DoCuMeNtArY MuSiCaL By Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews

Devastated when his New York City church kicks him out for being gay, Griffin escapes across the world to volunteer in a small village. His "good intentions" are tested against the backdrop of an incurable epidemic, corruption and a dangerous abduction that leaves him questioning everything he has ever known.

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Presidential candidate Kamala Harris endorsed by Geoff Kors Making the first big LGBT endorsement for 2020 By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Just hours after California Sen. Kamala Harris announced she is running for president, Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors, the highly regarded former executive director of Equality California, told the Los Angeles Blade that he is supporting Harris and will work to get her elected. This may be the first high-profile LGBT endorsement in what is expected to be a large field of candidates, including a run by out South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and brother-like ally, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I am thrilled that Senator Kamala Harris is running for president. She is smart, passionate and always puts people first. Kamala’s work and leadership as District Attorney, Attorney General and Senator demonstrates that she knows how to bring people together and get things done,” Kors wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Blade. “At this troubling time in our nation’s history, we desperately need a leader and visionary in the White House and Kamala is that person. I strongly support her and will work to help get her elected. The race will be crowded with many good candidates, but I believe Kamala will rise to the top. Anyone watching her during Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings knows that she is a fierce advocate and that she will shine in debates.” Kors also stressed Harris’ long commitment to the LGBT community. “She has always prioritized the LGBT Community from her work to prevent the use of so called “gay and transgender panic defense” to hate crimes to her refusal to appeal the Prop 8 case, which was key in winning back marriage in California. She is a true hero to our community and the rights of all Americans to equality and justice.” But as Washington Blade correspondent Chris Johnson points out, Harris won’t automatically get a free ride from the LGBT community. Shortly after her announcement on GMA, Harris went to Howard University in Washington, D.C., her alma mater, to hold her first news conference as a presidential

Then-Attorney General candidate Kamala Harris with then-Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors at an EQCA gala in Los Angeles. Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

candidate. Johnson asked about her time as California Attorney General when her office represented the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that wanted to deny gender reassignment surgery prescribed to two transgender inmates in the California state prison system. “I was, as you are rightly pointing out, the attorney general of California for two terms and I had a host of clients that I was obligated to defend and represent and I couldn’t fire my clients, and there are unfortunately situations that occurred where my clients took positions that were contrary to my beliefs,” Harris said. She noted that the attorneys working for her in the attorney general’s office sometimes took approaches without her knowledge. “And it was an office with a lot of people who would do the work on a daily basis, and do I wish that sometimes they would have personally consulted me before they wrote the things that they wrote?” Harris said. “Yes, I do….But the bottom line is the buck stops with me, and I take full responsibility for what my office did.” Harris indicated she helped the Department of Corrections subsequently set up a process where transgender inmates could obtain transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery,

Johnson reported. “On that issue I will tell you I vehemently disagree and in fact worked behind the scenes to ensure that the Department of Corrections would allow transitioning inmates to receive the medical attention that they required, they needed and deserved,” Harris said. Johnson points out that a series of briefs signed by Harris during that time suggest the state supported denial of that treatment and care. In one brief dated April 10, 2015, Johnson reported, Harris and other state attorneys dismiss the importance of gender reassignment surgery in seeking to appeal a court order granting the procedure to transgender inmate Michelle-Lael Norsworthy. Last year, however, Harris demanded answers from Immigration and Custom Enforcement about the death of transgender inmate Roxsana Hernández in immigration detention. “I believe that we are at a point where we have got to stop vilifying people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and we’ve got to understand that when we are talking about a particular transgender community, for too long they have been the subject of bias, and frankly, a lack of understanding about their circumstance and their physical needs in addition to any other needs they have, and it’s about time that we have a better understanding of that,” Harris said.

On GMA, Harris said the American people “deserve to have somebody who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who will care about them, who will be concerned about their experience and will put them in front of self-interest.” She learned to fight from her Jamaican father and her South Asian mother who took her to civil rights marches. She also admires Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president, who won her New York congressional seat in 1969 under the slogan “unbought and unbossed.” Harris’ prosecutor side may have won her admirers during the Senate Intellegence hearings. But she will be asked tough questions from Black Lives Matter and other groups. Harris says her campaign is centered around “Truth. Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy.” These are “the values we as Americans cherish. And they’re all on the line now. The future of the country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” Harris said on Facebook. “That’s why I’m running for president of the United States. I’m running to lift those voices. To bring our voices together. Harris will officially launch her campaign in Oakland on Jan 27. (See KamalaHarris.org.)



Move over Kevin Spacey. An explosive new piece in the Atlantic mounts multiple new accusations of sexual misconduct against gay director Bryan Singer, 53, who was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody just weeks before the film was completed. The yearlong investigation with more than 50 sources includes interviews with four new victims who allege sexual misconduct by Singer when they were teens in the 1990s. The accusations run from seduction to rape. In one instance, “Andy” tells of hooking up with Singer with Apt Pupil star Brad Renfro, 15, in the bedroom. “I remember wanting Brad to join in,” Andy told Atlantic. “I don’t think Brad was gay, or even bi. I think he was going with the flow. We talked about it. Like me, he looked around at all of the things these guys had, all of the money. Maybe he thought the guys were going to do things for him.” In 2008, Renfro, 25, died of a drug overdose. According to Yahoo News, the story was initially expected Gay director Bryan Singer Photo via Film/Magic to appear in Esquire magazine as Bohemian Rhapsody was released. Singer has consistently denied all allegations of misconduct. Yashar Ali posted Singer’s latest denial on Twitter in which the director says the article was written “by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997. After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism.” Singer says, “this homophobic hit piece has been conveniently timed” to the success of Bohemian Rhapsody. BBC News notes that while Singer was fired from directing the Queen biopic for “unreliable behaviour on set,” he is nonetheless still listed as the film’s director by the Director’s Guild of America. Entertainment Weekly reports that “Bohemian Rhapsody, which won the Golden Globe for Best Drama at Sunday night’s ceremony, was likely left out of the DGA nominees due to its directorial shakeup, which saw original director Bryan Singer replaced by Dexter Fletcher before production wrapped.”

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Dear WeHo Residents, We all love West Hollywood and hope to protect what makes our city special. While the next few years will be challenging – with escalating housing costs and homelessness, public safety concerns and more traffic-generating development in the pipeline – I’m confident, as a community, we can be successful by working together on these issues. If re-elected, I will continue to be your neighborhood advocate on City Council – always keeping in mind, I am representing you. I respectfully ask for your vote on March 5th. Sincerely,

Councilmember Lauren Meister

“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.” – “Charmed” actress Alyssa Milano on Twitter Jan. 20.

“You are the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian.” – Lady Gaga, a Christian, Jan. 19 to Vice President Mike Pence who defended his wife teaching at an anti-LGBT school.

“[T]his is so much bigger than any one person. It is a little bit of pain but it’s going to be for the future of our country.”

– Eric Trump’s wife Lara Trump to digital news network Bold TV on Jan 21, on the federal government shutdown.



Supreme Court OKs Trump’s trans military ban ‘Discrimination is not a national security strategy’ By CHRIS JOHNSON The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued stays on lower court orders against President Trump’s transgender military ban, essentially giving a green light to allow the policy to go into effect. In orders from the court, the Supreme Court granted stays the U.S. Justice Department requested in two separate cases challenging the ban before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Karnoski v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump. The stays mean Trump’s policy against transgender service will be allowed to go into effect as litigation moves forward. The orders note U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would have denied the application for a stay. (Since at least five justices are required for the Supreme Court to grant a stay, the order suggests Chief Justice John Roberts as well as U.S. Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas agreed to grant the stay.) In a separate entry, the orders note the Supreme Court also rejected petitions for certiorari from the U.S. Justice Department calling for the Supreme Court to review these cases even before the Ninth Circuit had rendered a decision. It would have been a rare move for the Supreme Court to grant the cases at this stage without decisions yet from the appellate courts. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the interpretation of the orders to mean Trump’s policy can go into effect is “unfortunately” correct. “The court declined to hear the cases now, which permits our challenges to proceed in the lower courts, but it also is allowing the Trump administration to enforce the ban in the meantime,” Minter said. But Minter added the Supreme Court’s stay order is “only temporary and is in place only until the Ninth Circuit issues its decision and the Court decides whether to accept review of that case.” At the start of the year, four court orders were in place barring the Trump

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling speaks in front of the White House on Oct. 22, 2018. Blade file photo by Michael Key

administration from enforcing the transgender military ban. All that has changed with the Supreme Court orders. The Supreme Court grants the stay weeks after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its own order lifting a lower court stay against the transgender military ban, which reduced the number of orders to three. Technically, another order against the transgender military ban issued by a federal court in Maryland still stands, but it’s hard to see how that will be the case for long given the Supreme Court orders lifting orders in two other cases. Sharon McGowan, legal director for Lambda Legal, pointed out the Maryland court order against the ban is in a precarious position. “As a technical matter, there is still one remaining nationwide injunction in place – the ACLU’s injunction in the Maryland case (Stone),” McGowan said. “But we suspect that DOJ will likely be back in federal court in Maryland renewing their motion for a stay in light of what SCOTUS issued this morning.”

A Defense Department official noted one court injunction against the transgender military ban remains in effect, thus “nothing would change today.” The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s request to comment on the next steps in the aftermath of the Supreme Court orders. If the transgender military ban as developed by former Defense Secretary James Mattis is implemented, the change won’t affect transgender people currently in the armed forces. The Mattis plan allows transgender service members who are already serving openly to continue to do so, and to receive necessary medical care. However, the plan prohibits openly transgender people from enlisting in the armed forces, and service members who later come out as transgender are at risk of discharge and ineligible for treatment. Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a spokesperson for the Defense Department, said the Pentagon is “pleased” with the order from the Supreme Court and denied the Trump policy is a ban. “We will continue to work with the Department of Justice regarding next steps in the pending lawsuits,” Gleason said. “As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. DOD’s proposed policy is not a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DOD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DOD proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. armed forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.” According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, an estimated 15,500 transgender people are currently serving in the U.S. military. A 2016 RAND Corp. study came up with a smaller number, estimating between 1,320 to 6,630 are currently in the active duty component of the armed forces. Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research & Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, condemned the Supreme Court for allowing the transgender military ban to go into effect. “Allowing this dehumanizing policy to remain intact for even one more day gives

credence to a bogus rationale about the fitness of transgender people to serve their country,” Durso said. “This is the cruel centerpiece of the Trump administration’s agenda to prevent the full inclusion of transgender people in public life. It undermines military readiness and perpetuates the fear across the transgender and allied communities that this government will not protect them, not even those who would sacrifice everything to protect our nation.” Also criticizing the Supreme Court for allowing the transgender military ban to go into effect was Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The court’s extraordinary action today puts the honorable service of thousands of troops and military readiness on the line,” Keisling said. “The military sets a core standard of unity and acceptance for American society, with implications extending far past military bases and recruitment offices, and that is the goal of the Trump-Pence administration. Today’s action is an attack on transgender people around the nation. President Trump’s attempts to defend this ban are as farcical as ever and only serve to defame thousands of transgender troops. It is more important than ever for Congress to act immediately to defend thousands of brave and honorable transgender service members from this thoughtlessly destructive president.” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez rebuked Trump’s ban in the aftermath of the Supreme Court orders. “Prejudice is not patriotism,” Perez said. “Discrimination is not a national security strategy. This ban is nothing more than bigotry codified into law and an insult to all who have worn our nation’s uniform. Not only does it go against our values as Americans, it also makes us less safe.” Perez also said the Democratic Party would fight the anti-trans policy upon its implementation. “Democrats believe diversity is our nation’s strength,” Perez said. “We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who you love or how you identify. The brave service members who defend our freedoms should be able live freely. And we will keep fighting for the transgender community and all those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our country.”



Gay mayor Pete Buttigieg enters 2020 fray Joins growing crowd of Democratic prez hopefuls By CHRIS JOHNSON Pete Buttigieg, a combat veteran and mayor of South Bend, Ind., has signaled he plans to throw his name into the pool of 2020 presidential candidates, raising the possibility of a Millennial and an openly gay candidate joining the growing Democratic field. Buttigieg announced in a video Wednesday he’s forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 bid, which is considered the first step in running for president. Speaking to viewers as images of small town America and farmland pan across the screen, Buttigieg says in the video, “There’s no going back and there’s no such thing as again in the real world.” “We can’t look for greatness in the past,” Buttigieg says. “Right now our country needs a fresh start.” As Buttigieg touts having “propelled our city’s comeback by taking our eyes off the rearview mirror,” one image in the video shows Buttigieg walking through an abandoned, dilapidated warehouse that suddenly converts to a modernized, polished building. Another image displays Buttigieg with his spouse, Chasten Glezman, as they make dinner and pet the family dog. “I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now,” Buttigieg says. “We’re the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11. And we’re the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents.” Born in 1982, Buttigieg would represent not only the LGBT community, but Millennials in the 2020 presidential field. A Rhodes Scholar who graduated magma cum laude from Harvard University in 2004, Buttigieg has served as mayor of South Bend, Ind,, since 2012. Commissioned as a naval intelligence officer in 2009, Buttigieg deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 and remains a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve. In 2010, Buttigieg tried his hand at statewide office and ran to become Indiana State Treasurer, but came up short against incumbent Richard Mourdock after obtaining just 37.5 percent of the vote.

Pete Buttigieg has formed an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020. Blade file photo by Michael Key

Buttigieg first rose to national prominence when he ran in 2017 to become chair of the Democratic National Committee. His performance in the debates impressed political pundits as well as former President Obama, who met with Buttigieg. (Buttigieg ended up withdrawing from the race and endorsing Keith Ellison, who lost to DNC Chair Tom Perez.) In a February 2017 interview with the Washington Blade at the newspaper’s office in D.C., Buttigieg talked in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 about the importance of the Democratic Party connecting with the heartland of America. “For a party that really needs to reconnect across our 50-plus states and territories, I think I’m in a better position than most to deliver on that based on my experience, based on my bread and butter, which is local government and political organizing,” Buttigieg said. Serving as a mayor in the Midwest, Buttigieg has sometimes taken a nuanced approach to criticism of the Trump administration. When students at Notre Dame University staged a walk out during Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement

speech over his anti-LGBT views, Buttigieg told the Blade he “of course” backs the students and their reasons for protest, but still has “respect the office of the vice presidency, too.” Buttigieg isn’t the first openly gay person to seek a major party’s nomination for president. Gay activist Fred Karger unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in a long-shot bid in 2012. However, Buttigieg could become the first candidate the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has worked to support LGBT candidates since its founding in 1991, endorses for president. (Former Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe told the Blade in 2014 that a qualified LGBT candidate would run for the White House “within the next five presidential cycles, which is the next 20 years.”) Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and current CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement Buttigieg’s candidacy “would be a welcome contribution” to the 2020 field. “And while he is not running on his sexual orientation, his presence will undoubtedly elevate LGBTQ issues in the Democratic primary,” Parker added. “LGBTQ voters are

an important part of the primary base, and with Mayor Buttigieg on the campaign trail and on the debate stages, other Democratic presidential candidates will need to be outspoken and well-versed on LGBTQ equality issues.” Parker added Buttigieg is “well-positioned for this political movement” and “brings a sense of optimism and American solidarity that is entirely absent from the current national dialogue.” “He brings a unique set of skills and values to the race as a successful two-term executive, a first-generation American and a gay war veteran from a deep red state,” Parker concluded. “Mayor Buttigieg understands that Americans are tired of politics as blood-sport and instead want politicians to address real issues affecting real lives. He sees the similarities between the blue-collar worker in Indiana, the undocumented immigrant in Arizona, and the young lesbian in middle school in rural Virginia – and he believes with strong leadership all their lives can be improved. Our country is in crisis and it is essential diverse perspectives are heard in this presidential race.”



U.S. gay activist harassed by Cuban officials

A caravan of more than 1,000 migrants left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Jan. 14. A source says some of the migrants who hope to reach the U.S. are LGBTI.

New migrant caravan leaves Honduras More than 1,000 Honduran migrants who hope to reach the U.S. left the country earlier this month. A source in Honduras told the Blade the migrant caravan left the city of San Pedro Sula on Jan. 14. The source noted Guatemalan officials said 890 men, 354 women, 161 boys and 130 girls have entered their country from Honduras. Erick Martínez, an activist who is based in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, told the Blade on Wednesday that some of the migrants who are traveling with the caravan are LGBTI. Rampant violence, poverty and a lack of economic opportunities are among the reasons that have prompted thousands of Central Americans to join migrant caravans. Many of them hope to seek asylum in the U.S., despite President Trump’s immigration policy that includes the separation of migrant children from their parents once they enter the country. Efforts to end the partial federal government shutdown remain stalled over Trump’s insistence that Congress appropriate more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump earlier this month during a televised address from the White House said there is “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” Trump on Friday tweeted he will “be making a major announcement concerning the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, and the shutdown” on Saturday from the White House. Trump has also threatened to cut aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador if their governments don’t do more to prevent migrants from leaving their countries. “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country,” reads Article 13 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which the U.S. voted in favor in 1948. “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution,” reads Article 14. The U.S. has also faced international criticism over the treatment of migrants who have been detained. Roxsana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV, died in ICE custody on May 25, 2018. Two migrant children have died in U.S. custody over the last month. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

A prominent LGBT activist from San Francisco says Cuban authorities “harassed” him during his recent trip to the country. Michael Petrelis had 10,000 “Love is Love” rainbow stickers and 1,200 Pride bracelets in his luggage when he arrived at Havana’s José Martí International Airport on Jan. 2. Petrelis told the Blade during a series of exclusive interviews from Cuba and San Francisco that an immigration official in street clothes “tapped on the shoulder from behind” shortly after he went through customs. Petrelis said the official asked to see his passport before bringing him to an “upstairs interview room.” Petrelis wrote several Facebook posts about his trip before he left San Francisco. He told the Blade there were printouts of them on the table when he was brought into the room. “The agent asked why I was bringing in so many rainbow items to Cuba and on a tourist visa,” said Petrelis, telling the Blade he planned to distribute them to people across the country. “I explained that these gifts would be shared with gay Cubans and no fee charged.” Petrelis said he was asked where was staying in Havana and “took down the information about the location and the number of days I would stay there.” Petrelis told the Blade the interrogation lasted about 30 minutes. “He said not to worry, which made me worry, and that I would be allowed into the country as a tourist,” he said. “Neither he nor any other agent ever opened my luggage, which I thought (was) quite odd, but I didn’t object.” Petrelis told the Blade a “uniformed agent” from Cuba’s Interior Ministry on Jan. 3 “showed up” at the home in which he was staying and “was again questioned why I brought so many rainbows with me.” Petrelis said the official summoned him to a meeting at what he described as a ministry barracks. Petrelis said two men — the man who he said interrogated him at the airport the day before and another official who identified himself as Carlos — interrogated him for two hours. Petrelis told the Blade that he spoke with a woman at the ministry before he left. “It was at the first meeting with him that he stated, through a young translator, I was not to attend ‘manifestations’ and certainly not the human rainbow at the (Cuban Capitol) that I had proposed, but which was never agreed to actually take place,” said Petrelis, recalling the interrogation. Petrelis said Carlos told him he could not attend any meetings, “but he never defined what constituted a meeting and I said I wanted to meet with friends from Facebook in Havana, Matanzas and Santa Clara.” Petrelis said Carlos called the National Center for Sexual Education, an organization directed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who spearheads LGBTI issues on the island. Petrelis told the Blade that Carlos told him to bring his rainbow stickers and bracelets to CENESEX’s headquarters in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. “Oddly, when I showed up at CENESEX, as ordered by Carlos with my rainbows, my friends there really wanted to convene a meeting with the national gay network of theirs,” said Petrelis. Petrelis told the Blade that one of the CENESEX staffers who greeted him said “not to worry about the Interior Ministry ban on meetings.” Petrelis said he was also confident that CENESEX would be able to quickly distribute the stickers and bracelets across Cuba. MICHAEL K. LAVERS



MLK: Don’t wait, be an agitator King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ a blueprint for civil rights activism

Karen Ocamb is news editor of the Los Angeles Blade.

It was an unusual Martin Luther King Day this year. Usually, young people learn about the civil rights icon’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech and federal workers are not choosing between rent or food during the fifth week of a government shutdown over an unnecessary border wall that Mexico declined to fund. Ironically, video footage was uncovered of King at the Berlin Wall in 1964, a symbol of division. “For here on either side of the wall are God’s children,” he said, “and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact.” King did not live to see the Wall torn down in 1989. He was assassinated by a racist on April 4, 1968 in Memphis. He was 39. But King knew the cost of freedom, which he wrote about in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” On April 12, 1963, King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy were arrested during their Birmingham Campaign. Eight clergy members took King to task, calling the strategy of direct action “unwise and untimely.” From his jail cell, King wrote a long letter in response that was later published in his memoir, Why We Can’t Wait. He wrote: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a

direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old

you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” King also chided the white clergy, noting that Jesus and the apostle Paul, among other moral heroes, had been called “extremists” and “outside agitators.” He wrote: “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” King encouraged his followers to be “outside agitators,” like a washing machine. “That agitator is in there, stirring up the water, knocking the dirt out of your clothes,” King said. “Well, that’s what I’m doing. I’m agitating to knock the dirt out of our society – discrimination, Jim Crow, segregation, racism. So they’re right. I am agitating – agitating to clean up our democracy. That’s what all of us need to do – agitate for a better America, a freer America, a fairer America.”

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At Lincoln’s memorial, the social divide erupts Trump’s white nationalism beclouds our shared spaces

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. Reach him at rrosendall@me.com.

The Lincoln Memorial is a popular destination where disparate groups often interact. This was illustrated the Friday before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by an encounter whose aftermath recalled Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 movie “Rashomon,” in which an event is remembered differently by different people. Two demonstrations were scheduled on the National Mall on Jan. 18. One was the Indigenous Peoples March, to protest injustices against indigenous peoples. The other was the annual March For Life, dedicated to overturning women’s reproductive freedom. The latter assembly included a group of students from Covington

Catholic High School in Kentucky, who were mostly white and wore “Make America Great Again” hats. Afterward, a video went viral showing Omaha Nation elder and Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips chanting and beating a ceremonial drum, surrounded by Covington students who were mocking him. Many on social media, and Covington officials, condemned their disrespectful behavior. Then more details came out. Right wing sites started claiming Phillips was the aggressor. On Sunday, according to The New York Times, Phillips clarified that he had approached the crowd to intervene because racial tensions between the students and a group of black men were “coming to a boiling point.” Phillips said, “I stepped in between to pray.” The mother of one of the Covington students wrote that the boys were harassed by “black Muslims yelling profanities.” She was apparently referring to a group called Hebrew Israelites, who, the Times reports, were “preaching their beliefs and shouting racially combative comments at the Native Americans and the students.” Apparently, any loud black man is automatically taken for a Muslim; except that even-toned black men, like Barack Obama, get the same biased assumption. Hebrew Israelites believe they are descended from the ancient Israelites, which

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must disconcert people who think Jesus was a fair-skinned European. The Hebrew Israelites, requiring no more permission than anyone else, embrace teachings and practices of Christianity and Judaism. I’m almost surprised that Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory has not been asked to apologize for them, even though she had nothing to do with the incident. She has resisted a flood of demands that she denounce Minister Louis Farrakhan. Her sin was working with the Nation of Islam on anti-violence initiatives after her son’s father was murdered. The Women’s March movement she helps lead embraces the Jews, LGBT people, and women who are Farrakhan’s favorite targets. Nobody demands that I prove my respectability by denouncing anyone. We are constantly immersed in double standards without even noticing. We treat them as wallpaper. The slogan on the students’ hats, like an old racist song, stirs an ersatz nostalgia for a time when white racial dominance was seldom questioned. Tapping white resentment was Trump’s ticket to power; the attendant social division beclouds our shared spaces and frays our nation’s fabric. On Sunday night, as I was reading news updates about the confrontation near where Dr. King gave his most famous speech, and as others were deciding what to wear to the

King Day march in sub-freezing weather, a rare phenomenon occurred: a total lunar eclipse. On my building’s roof, as the moon entered the darkest part of the earth’s shadow, a young woman arrived with a tripod and a digital SLR camera. I only had hot tea and the Redshift astronomy app on my iPhone. Several neighbors came out briefly to glimpse the cosmic spectacle. The weather recalled Obama’s first inauguration, when it was too cold for the eminent musicians to tune their Strads. As totality began, I looked up at the “super blood wolf moon,” and remembered my late friend Barrett, an amateur astronomer with whom I spent similar nights on his roof years ago. The red moon was high to the south, between Gemini and Cancer, awesome and beautiful. I fleetingly wished that all those squabbling people on the Mall could fit on my roof with me and look up humbly together, realize our common destiny, and have an epiphany about the folly of letting demagogues divide us. But it was past midnight, bitter cold, and I was out of tea. I walked back to my apartment, climbed into bed, and trusted in the daily miracle of morning. Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.

Icon Ivy Bottini bids farewell to WeHo The making of the legendary ‘Give ‘em Hell!’ lesbian/feminist activist By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com

Photo by Jon Viscott

Short, white-haired, walking with a cane— Ivy Bottini commands attention when she walks into a room because she’s earned it. But after almost five decades of making a difference in Los Angeles County—roughly two of which were as a pot-stirrer on the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board— Bottini, 93, is moving to Florida on Feb. 1 to live with her daughter. She plans to continue painting, go fishing, and find a Democratic club so she can keep giving ‘em hell—whoever the deserving “they” might be. Bottini leaves WeHo with her not only her wit and wisdom but the history of how she became an activist: her struggle to embrace an authenticity that dare not speak its name; then standing up to hypocritical freedom fighters who tried to determine who gets to be free. But Bottini did not spring full-born, ready to fight, from Athena’s brow. Like other female mortals before the Women’s Liberation

movement, she went along with society’s flow, assuming her expected role as suburban wife and mother—until she just couldn’t anymore. That part of Bottini’s story—told in her book “The Liberation of Ivy Bottini, A Memoir of Love and Activism”—is as important as all the protests she’s organized. Her story may not be a blueprint for every LGBT activist, but it illustrates how grappling with personal truth in lifechanging moments may yield an ineffable inner light of freedom that no one can extinguish. Born to Long Island cab driver and former boxer Archie Gaffney and his unhappy housewife on August 15,1926, Bottini’s tomboy life was good until her father died in a car crash. Suddenly their expenses were severely limited. Luckily, she got a full scholarship to the Pratt Institute of Art and Design to study advertising, graphic design and illustration. After graduation, she worked in New York City art and advertising agencies—before the

freer era depicted in “Mad Men.” In 1952, she married the young man across the street, Eddie Bottini, had two daughters, Laura and Lisa, and quietly struggled with her silent attraction to women. “I became an activist as I think a lot of lesbians or women who aren’t sure of their sexuality and are struggling might have become an activist. After falling in love with all my gym teachers—that was a clue—and with all other teachers in grammar school and then junior high and high, I really was struggling growing up with how I felt about girls and women,” Bottini told the Los Angeles Blade in an extensive interview. “I was still falling in love with women quietly, silently.” Bottini, an art director and illustrator at Newsday (from 1955-1971), finally called an old friend from school and asked to come over. Embarrassed, she asked Doris, “this wonderful dyke,” to take her to a gay bar. To

1 6 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 0 4 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M • J A N U A R Y 2 5 2 0 1 9

which Doris replied, “God we (their basket ball team) thought you’d never get it.” They went to Jan’s on the north shore of Long Island where Bottini was mesmerized by a woman dancing on the small dance floor. The next night Bottini went back alone, sat at the bar and finally worked up the courage ask that same woman, Nancy, to dance. “That changed my life that evening. I just felt when I walked in there by myself, I felt like I had walked into my home, where I was supposed to be. So over the next handful of years, I struggled,” she says. Then in 1966, Newsday reporter Dolores Alexander told Bottini about an amazing interview with Betty Friedan, whose book The Feminine Mystique “was all the rage.” Dolores took Bottini to a women’s meeting in New York City “and soon I was helping to found the first chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)” with Dolores. She also joined national NOW where she served on the board for three years. Meanwhile, Bottini was also having a great clandestine time hitting the ton of gay bars on Long Island with Nancy and her partner. But by September 1968, “I just had had it,” living a secret double life, Bottini says. “I was on the Long Island Railroad in a snowstorm coming back from a New York NOW meeting and when we got to Garden City, I just got off the train.” It wasn’t her stop and it was cold. She found a payphone and called her psychiatrist. “I was really struggling,” she says. When he answered the phone, Bottini was quietly crying explaining her circumstances. “I can’t go home anymore. And he said, ‘sorry,’ and hung up. And so I yelled out—it was late at night—I yelled out ‘fuck you!’ I was so angry at him. I never went back.” Bottini called a friend in Levittown who invited her over and offered her a room for as long as she needed one. She joined a social club and called her husband to say she couldn’t come home as long as he was there. Eventually he left and she went home, though the couple didn’t divorce until 1972. Delores Alexander called Bottini about a

3-bedroom condo with a great kitchen, balcony and view on West 93rd Street for $350 a month. She snapped it up and moved in with her daughter Laura while her youngest daughter moved in with her dad. “My life became totally different in one fell swoop,” she says. Bottini came out unexpectedly when answering a question at a 1968 New York City NOW press conference. Without realizing it, she referred to herself as a lesbian. But once out, she doubled down. “I accepted that I was a lesbian and as I accepted this, my life changed considerably,” Bottini says. She was elected president of New York NOW and served two terms. Her consciousness raising workshops were picked up by NOW chapters throughout the country, as was the national NOW logo she designed at the request of national NOW President Aileen Hernandez. In 1969, Bottini introduced the struggle for lesbian rights into the women’s movement through a panel entitled, “Is Lesbianism A Feminist Issue?” But she was shocked by the response of the “mother” of the feminist movement, Betty Friedan. Bottini organized the August 26, 1970 Strike for Peace and Equality to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The women’s march drew an estimated 50,000 people marching down Fifth Avenue. But one moment threw shade on the glorious celebration. Bottini handed out lavender armbands to show solidarity with the oppression of lesbian sisters. Though prominent feminists such as Gloria Steinem accepted them readily, Friedan, Bottini later told the Los Angeles Times, threw the armband on the ground and twisted it with her heel. “My point was, ‘How can you have a women’s movement and leave a huge amount of women out?’ “ Bottini told The Times. “But Friedan just never got that. She doesn’t understand that lesbianism is the bottom line of the women’s movement. If you can’t get past the fear of being thought of as a lesbian, whether you are or not, then you never are really free….Sexual politics is civil rights.”

Friedan called Bottini a “lavender menace” and, Bottini believes, plotted a “purge” of lesbians, starting with voting her out of NOW leadership. The LA Times notes that a 1973 Friedan essay in the New York Times Magazine “smacked of downright paranoia; Friedan even claimed a woman was sent to seduce her and then blackmail her into silence while unnamed lesbians took over NOW.” Before she was expelled, Bottini helped produce the “NOW YORK TIMES” with “All the news that would give The Times fits.” And her Strike Committee helped organize radical feminists and NOW protests around New York City, including the brazen takeover of the Statue of Liberty on August 10, 1970, hanging a 40-foot banner declaring “WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE.” In fact, the Statue of Liberty was an accidental event in lieu of vandalizing another New York statue. When she took over as president, Bottini instituted weekly NOW meetings for different programs, after which the group would grab beers at Remo’s, a bar in Greenwich Village. One night a lesbian couple from Queens who skipped the meeting showed up at the bar. Concerned, Bottini asked what happened. “And Pat said, ‘We’re gonna blow up a statue.’ And I said, ‘Did I hear that correctly? What are you talking about?’” Pat recounted how every night driving home from work, Bottini recalls, they passed an “eight-feel tall statue of this Greek god with hair blowing in the wind and he’s got a spear, a pitchfork, and he’s got rippling muscles and a bare chest and a loin cloth and legs of steel. And his pitchfork is over the head of a woman and is bleeding and the name of the statue is Civic Virtue, and we’re gonna blow it up.” “I thought, ‘Oh my god, she’s serious.’ And my brain is going two hundred miles an hour and I’m thinking no, no, no, no you can’t. You’re gonna go to jail,” Bottini says. “And I’m thinking she’s such a good worker, I can’t afford to lose her— never mind that she’s gonna be in jail. So I said, ‘Oh ya know, that’s small potatoes, a local statue. I’ll tell you what,

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if we’re gonna do something like that, we have to make a big statement. So let’s go take over the Statue of Liberty.” Bottini chuckles, remembering. “And then I could hear myself and the other part of my brain is going, ‘are you out of my your mind?’” Over the next few weeks different committees get to work. “And when women divide into committees, you might as well give up because that’s gonna happen.” This is happening at the same time that Bottini is organizing the Women’s March for Equality so she gives the committees free reign. “So comes the 10th of August and now we are at the day we will take over the Statue of Liberty. We go over on two different ferryboats and we get off and some of the women start sauntering hither and yon up to the statue. Their clothes were a little bulgy. They had a forty-foot piece of oil cloth, cut in pieces, put around different women’s bodies so they looked pregnant. “I’ve got a picket line going and we’re walking around the very narrow oval that picket lines used to walk,” Bottini recalls. “And they have guitars and they’ve written different lyrics for popular songs and suddenly there’s something going on. And I turn and look at the statue and here the banner is just being dropped over the side of the railing at the top of the pedestal. It’s huge. And it says ‘WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE.’ “So, okay, that was great,” Bottini continues. “Now we gotta get the hell off the island because we’re on a federal island and you’re not supposed to be where we are and doing what we’re doing. And there are no ferryboats. They stopped all traffic coming to the island. So I looked back toward Manhattan and I see three police boats heading our way. Then I see two fireboats. So I think we are definitely going to the federal pen. We’re gonna get arrested. “They land and the captain gets off the middle boat and he’s got a bullhorn and he’s standing down on the little wharf. He yells up to me: ‘What are you women doin’ up there?’ And I go, ‘We’re playing guitars and singing.’ And he says, ‘Uh huh. Okay. How long are you

gonna be?’ Which is not what I expected, ya know? And I go, ‘Oh, uh, probably no more than a half hour.’ And he goes, ‘Okay, I’ll be right here.’ And I said, ‘Thank you and I’ll be right here,” Bottini says, laughing. As Bottini returned to singing and marching, the captain ordered the three police boats to put on their sirens. “It’s going wup, wup, wup,” Bottini adds. “And the two fireboats were shooting off their water canons, which went way the hell up in the air. And so we got the wup, wup, wup and the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh goin’ and we had a party.” After which the ferryboats docked, the women boarded and went home. Photos of the takeover appeared in newspapers around the world, including the front page of a paper in Paris. Bottini left NOW in 1971 after being voted out, moving to Los Angeles to focus on her other loves—acting, comedy and the growing gay rights movement. She studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute and later toured the country for several years performing her lesbian feminist one-woman show, “The Many Faces of Woman.” At one point she had to go home suffering from Graves Disease but moved to Silver Lake full time in 1975. Bottini was hired by Susan Kuhner, Director of Programs at the LA Gay Community Services Center, as director of their women’s program. (Kuhner was later interim co-executive director with Steve Schulte.) She left when she was hired by David Mixner and Peter Scott as Southern California Deputy Director of the campaign to fight the anti-gay Briggs Initiative. It was during that successful campaign that she met lesbian real estate broker Gail Wilson. “She was a wonderful human being,” Bottini recalls. “But when I first met her, I was at odds with her. Gail raised a lot of money and she had a lot of people that knew her from AA so she was a very successful realtor.” But at one event, Wilson was advising her gay and lesbian audience about how to act professionally in the straight world. “When I heard ‘you should not come out,] I thought, ‘Oh, this is not gonna be good.’ The place was packed and Gail is saying, ‘Don’t come

out, just do your job, keep your private life to yourself.’ And I was going to go through the roof because that’s exactly why we were being attacked because they never thought we’d fight back. Like, we weren’t gonna come out of the closet and stand up for ourselves because horrible things could happen to you. “So I got up and spoke and I didn’t mince any words. And I thought, ‘Well, she’s gonna hate me for the rest of her life. But she was a wonderful, magnanimous human being. And she said to me a month or so later, ‘What are you gonna do?’ And I didn’t know. Maybe go back to the center. She said, ‘No, no, don’t do that. Go get your real estate license and come work with me in my real estate office.’ So I said Okay. I mean, you show me a door that’s open and I’m gonna walk through it, ya know?” Bottini went on to become a successful real estate agent while continuing to paint and speak out against the closet and any type of assimilation. All those seemingly little life-changing moments helped create the powerhouse who took on politicians and the gay male establishment, including her Stonewall Democratic Club friend Morris Kight, when AIDS hit and no one knew what to do. Bottini and her longtime gal-pal Dottie Wine organized a town hall meeting at Fiesta Hall in West Hollywood where Dr. Joel Weisman gave out information about how the new HIV virus was spread through bodily fluids, information that literally saved people’s lives. “I saw the danger,” says Bottini. “I saw the danger that we were about to get hit with while it was happening and we didn’t even know it. People’s lives were just being torn apart with deaths—and children being taken away from lesbian mothers—it was too much. I saw a tapestry of hurt and that’s what I was fighting. “What I will miss most is the camaraderie in the city,” Bottini says. “It’s hard for me to say which issue was more important because they were all leading to the same place. It was leading to our liberation and our internal heart.” Oh, and Bottini’s most prized award? The apology she finally got from NOW.

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Best of LGBT LA 2019 Your picks for the city’s best in nightlife, food, activism and more By SCOTT STIFFLER

Readers of the Los Angeles Blade began nominating their picks for our 2nd annual Best Of LGBT LA awards in early fall. And after more than 15,000 votes over 40 categories, we can finally reveal the winners, some incredible choices and very special people among them. The Los Angeles Blade is pleased to salute them and wants to give special thanks for Sean Loeffel of Spoonfed LA and Bar Joe for hosting our winners and helping make our Best Of LGBT LA Awards truly a magnificent honor.

Photo Courtesy Shangela

BEST DRAG QUEEN WINNER: SHANGELA The only contestant to compete on three separate seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Los Angeles Blade fan favorite Shangela is eternally enshrined in global pop culture amber, as creator of the versatile interjection, “Halleloo.” In music video and solo stage performance, Shangela continues to impress, and is still earning new fans, for her work alongside Lady Gaga, in “A Star Is Born.”

Although her name was unjustly absent from the Best Supporting Actress nods during this week’s Academy Award nominations, it’s comforting to note that Shangela has further cemented her status as an eternal All-Star, by slaying her peers and emerging as the winner in this fiercely competitive category. RUNNER-UP: JACKIE BEAT Being the target of an acidic quip from Jackie Beat is like getting a hickey from Kenickie — it leaves a shameful mark, but can also be worn

as a badge of honor. Tell that to our Best Drag Queen winner, Shangela, of whom Beat remarked, “The only thing better than actually winning this award is being named Runner-Up to someone half my age, who is most famous for popping out of a box and yelling, ‘Halleloo!’ What a fucking honor. Just kidding! I love you, Shangela... CONDRAGULATIONS!” When not insulting winners, Beat can be found on stage, in “Golden Girlz Live!” and touring with Sherry Vine, in their “Battle of the Bitches” show.

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Photo Courtesy The Collective Realty

BEST REAL ESTATE FIRM (Tie) WINNER: THE COLLECTIVE REALTY This hip, 100 percent LGBT-owned boutique real estate firm hosts charity events through the year, whose past beneficiaries have included The Trevor Project. At their West Hollywood and Silver Lake/Echo park offices, buyer and seller expectations are exceeded by a team of fierce negotiators, representing everything from estates to condos. Owner Anthony Vulin assures that all of his mortgage brokers and appraisers are vetted as LGBT friendly, so you can invite them into your home with confidence. The Collective Realty also advocates for LGBT home ownership and nondiscrimination, by lobbying statewide, and in D.C. WINNER: BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES Taking you through the home buying or selling experience, and being by your side during life’s greatest moments: That’s the mission and the reward, of those who work at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. “As Realtors, we have the obligation to be culturally competent, to understand the needs of our clients, and to guide them toward wise decisions in their real

Photo Courtesy Equinox West Hollywood

estate choices,” says president and CEO Mary Lee Blaylock, who also notes, “Working with the LGBT community is a privilege. Our sales associates take pride in their ability to represent the interests of their clients, and to help them navigate the diverse array of communities throughout the Southern California area. We are grateful to have earned your readers’ trust and it is our pleasure to continue to serve all.”


WINNER: THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM Cultivating a curiosity about, and enjoyment and understanding of, the visual arts is the J. Paul Getty Museum’s mission, one achieved by collecting, conserving, exhibiting, and interpreting works of outstanding quality and historical importance. The Museum is also continually producing exhibitions, publications, scholarly research, public education, and programming in the visual arts. These elements are enhanced by the uniquely evocative architectural and garden settings at the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which houses European

paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts and photography. RUNNER-UP: LACMA Since 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, mirroring Los Angeles’s rich cultural heritage and uniquely diverse population. Today, LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of more than 135,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of art history, from new and unexpected points of view.

BEST FITNESS OR WORKOUT SPOT WINNER: EQUINOX WEST HOLLYWOOD With a design reminiscent of classic local nightclubs of the 1950s and ’60s, high energy meets high drama, at this 35,000-square-foot fitness club. Offering a full complement of classes, trainers, equipment, and amenities that facilitate high-performance living, the iconic West Hollywood location features one of the largest and most luxurious spas Equinox has to offer, along with a Kids’ Club,

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Photo Courtesy Trader Joe’s

and rooftop sundeck. “If it’s not fitness,” they say, “It’s not life.” RUNNER-UP: BARRY’S BOOTCAMP Known for a workout that’s military-level tough, but administered by instructors more likely to inspire cries of victory than tears of regret, Barry’s is a true local success story. Founded in West Hollywood in 1998, its strength and cardio interval fitness experience provides an immersive, high-intensity, onehour workout that’s fun and effective.

BEST GROCERY STORE WINNER: TRADER JOE’S Fast service and friendly faces at the checkout make those long lines at Trader Joe’s well worth the wait — but it’s the tempting free samples and addictive signature products that explain the chain’s loyal following. As for their win in this category, certain elements of the Los Angeles Blade staff wholeheartedly agree with our readers, having succumbed on many occasions to the sweet siren call of those Milk Chocolate Macadamia Nut Laceys Cookies. Not a cookie person? They’ve got a cake or a pie for that. RUNNER-UP: GELSON’S MARKET Our readers’ love for Gelson’s is real, although it’s worth noting that Martin Sheen, as fictional character Robert, gives a shout

Photo Courtesy Gay Varisty League

out to the superiority of their rotisserie chicken, in the latest season of “Grace and Frankie.” Granted, he shops in San Diego — but whether it’s the meat, seafood, wine, or deli selections, consistency is a hallmark of this national chain. So, Los Angeles, the compliment applies.

BEST LGBT SPORTS LEAGUE WINNER: GAY VARSITY LEAGUE California’s largest LGBT Recreational Sports league welcomes and unites all, regardless of sexuality, gender identity or athletic ability. There are no try-outs, and attendance at practices, although certainly encouraged, is not mandatory. Even the dress code is casual. Yes, you’ll look good in VGL Apparel, but rocking your favorite comfortable clothes is not a scandal. Just dress to express, park your offensive language on the sidelines, and leave the nudity where it belongs: at home, or in the lobby of your very liberal workplace. Finally, a sports league that not only gets you moving, it totally gets you! RUNNER-UP: WEHO DODGEBALL Take your gym class trauma and consign it to history. From prom queens to drag queens, you never know who will be on the business end of those soft rubber “no sting” balls that are the humane hallmark of WeHo Dodgeball.

Photo Courtesy Aids Healthcare Foundation

Their membership, which numbers in the thousands, is united by a desire to make elimination-based competition fun, party down at GYM Sportsbar after each matchup, and participate in fundraising efforts that benefit local charities.


WINNER: AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION AIDS Healthcare Foundation was started 31 years ago by a handful of friends, who sought to provide AIDS hospice care to predominantly gay men who were being shunned by their employers, landlords, and families. Today, AHF is a $1.5 billion organization serving more than 1 million, 60 thousand patients in 43 countries. “A respect for diversity has been embedded in our DNA since our inception,” says Senior Director of Communications Ged Kenslea, “and that’s reflective in the number of affinity groups we work with, including Impulse United, LOUD, BLACC, FLUX, In The Meantime Men’s Group, and SPARK. In our overseas clinics, we do not import doctors or staff from the U.S. We hire local professionals to manage our sites and facilities, and to treat our patients. So both inside AHF and in our external relations, we listen to, and participate in, the diversity of

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Congregation Kol Ami is West Hollywood’s Reform Synagogue. Come celebrate with us and join your voice to ours.

Rabbi Denise L. Eger and Rabbi Max Chaiken look forward to welcoming you to explore your spirituality and to help build a world of love. We are a community of LGBTQ People and Allies who work hand in hand to heal the world. Celebrating our 27th year in West Hollywood.

1200 N. LA BREA AVE WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA 90038 • KOL-AMI.ORG • (323) 606-0996

Thank you for voting us


REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE We know that reputation matters. Thank you for trusting us with your business and recognizing us as the elite brokerage in Southern California.

bhhscalifornia.com Š2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. Los Angeles Blade’s Best of LGBT LA 2019.


Photo Courtesy Shorty’s Barber Shop

conversations and life experiences.” RUNNER-UP: CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD


WINNER: SHORTY’S BARBER SHOP Founded by Chris Bair in 1999, with only four chairs, Shorty’s Barber Shop now boasts 26, along with a staff whose diversity mirrors that of the community they love. “When you walk in,” Bair notes, “there’s always somebody you can connect with, who will make you feel comfortable.” And when you walk out with some merch (the styling putty and soy paste are customer favorites), you can feel good about that, too. All of their products are ethically created, and never tested on animals. Besides the perfect cut, Shorty’s also puts a premium on giving back, by working with the likes of Concrete Hero, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. RUNNER-UP: CHAZ DEAN STUDIO Chaz Dean Studio prides itself on capturing the essence of its clients, by helping them create a look that feels authentic, yet also reveals a side of them that they have never seen. The stylists, all experts at cut and color, are able to achieve your goal without heat or chemical damage. Best of all, the look you walk out the door with will be easily maintained at home.

Photo Courtesy The Abbey

BEST DANCE PARTY WINNER: SALVATION SATURDAYS AT THE ABBEY Whether you’re at The Abbey for a liquid pick-me-up, going there to pick somebody up, or just getting picked up (it’s a massively popular Uber and Lyft drop-off/pick-up point), Salvation Saturdays is a must, for anyone cruising their way through Boystown. Dance floor bottle service, go-go dancers who identify as male, female, or somewhere in-between, and beat-keepers hand-picked by resident DJ Dawna Montell whip the welcoming crowd into a fabulous frenzy. A team dedicated to maintaining the multimillion-dollar lighting and sound system make sure the gyrating guest next to you isn’t the only source of quality stimulation. RUNNER–UP: DTLA PROUD DTLA Proud’s mission is to strengthen and empower the local LGBTQ and ally community in Downtown Los Angeles through visibility, volunteerism, partnerships and events — and what better way to be visible than by getting your groove on, at the festival’s popular popup water park? Nightlife promoters were part of the team that founded DTLA Proud, and have worked hard to ensure their DJs are

Photo Courtesy Tyler Booth

drawn from a diverse lineup of musical styles and identity spectrums.

BEST BARTENDER WINNER: TYLER BOOTH There’s nothing down low about the moves Tyler Booth busts, when he two-steps from behind the bar to entertain the crowd, in full-on “do-si-do” mode. Self-described, and confirmed by our voters, as “an awesome dude,” Booth is an actor whose charm and skills are definitely not the stuff of some fictional role. Buoyed by Flaming Saddles owners Chris Barnes and Jacqui Squatriglia to up country western’s queer quotient, this buff bartender is a tall drink of water, who knows how to authoritatively snap the cap off a brewsky, or mix a cocktail with tender loving care. RUNNER-UP: KIMBER BERING Known for spiking the drinks she serves at The Abbey with words of encouragement that deliver a sense of intoxication all their own, Kimber Bering created some of the menu’s signature cocktails — including, as a tribute to Prince, The Paisley Peach. As local winner of the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, she represented LA in 2016, and has gone on to judge that competition. Bering performs around town, and can be found on Spotify, as “Kimber Chronic.”

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welcome to l.a.’s hippest boutique real estate firm with some of l.a.’s most experienced real estate agents.

Photo Courtesy Ariadne Getty

BEST STRAIGHT ALLY WINNER: ARIADNE GETTY Ariadne Getty has described herself as an “introvert” — but her public work paints a different picture, one of a determined, tireless, and engaged activist working to make a better world for her two gay adult children and LGBTQ youth all over the globe. As President and Executive Director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation, last year she pledged $15 million to launch the GLAAD Media Institute, which brings advocacy trainings to national and international LGBTQ organizations. She also pledged $2 million to help build the LA LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus, which will host more than 100 new beds and apartments for LGBTQ youth and seniors. Earlier this week, she made sure LGBTQ issues were center stage, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual meeting of world leaders. The Ariadne Getty Foundation hosted LGBTQ-focused events showcasing global CEOs and LGBTQ activists calling for positive change. She also appeared on several panels, speaking about the urgent need for LGBTQ acceptance. She is a recent addition to the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA board of directors, the recipient of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Vanguard

Photo Courtesy Revolver Video Bar

Award, and the namesake of GLAAD’s newly launched Ariadne Getty Ally Award. Getty’s recognition by the Los Angeles Blade as “Best Straight Ally” is proof our readers are anything but reserved, in their appreciation of this introvert’s empowering words and deeds. RUNNER-UP: JOELY FISHER With great comedic timing and a glint in her eye that makes even the most lavenderleaning guy think fondly of the road not taken, LGBTQs, and anyone high up on the human decency spectrum, admire this awesome ally’s longtime labors on behalf of the community, whether through public declarations of support, personal friendships, or the roles she chooses to accept.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR WINNER: REVOLVER VIDEO BAR Gay-owned and operated, Revolver Video Bar has been a West Hollywood staple worth stampeding to for more than 30 years — and not just because of the buzz created by their $2 tequila and vodka drinks, 3-9 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively. Karaoke and drag shows cast their spell on customers, while live DJs and go-go dancers turn up the heat on already smoking-hot cruisers and boozers. RUNNER-UP: HAMBURGER MARY’S There’s no beef to be had with Hamburger Mary’s WeHo, whose generous menu of drag

Photo Courtesy Project Angel Food

entertainment makes everything between the buns all more fun to gobble up. And you can feel good about losing your shirt at Drag Queen Bingo: Besides basking in the glory of rotating hosts Roxy Wood, Willam, and Calpernia Addams, all proceeds go to charity.

BEST NON-PROFIT WINNER: PROJECT ANGEL FOOD Man cannot live by bread alone — but for those impacted by life-threatening illnesses, the more than 11,000 free meals cooked and delivered every week by Project Angel Food feeds their nutritional needs, while bringing comfort and hope into their homes. In addition to this service, Project Angel Food provides nutritional counseling, to ensure those in Los Angeles County struggling with illness will not be burdened by hunger and malnutrition. “A world where every sick person is fed, nourished, and loved” is their vision, backed by the core values of empathy, integrity, inclusiveness, and joy. RUNNER-UP: THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER Every year, more than half a million people representing the full diversity of the community access their free or low-cost programs, in the areas of Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, and Leadership and Advocacy. Looking fit and feeling fierce at age 50, the Center is steadfast in its mission to fight

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Photo Courtesy DJ Morningstar

against bigotry, while building a better world, and is always ready to welcome new guests and volunteers — or have you help spread their message of love, by scoring some sweet swag from their online store.

BEST DJ WINNER: DJ MORNINGSTAR You get back what you give, as demonstrated by the winner in our Best DJ category. Describing the vibe at the LGBT clubs he plays as consistently “fun, freeing, energetic, friendly, and loving,” DJ Morningstar (Kian Amiri) says the gay community “essentially saved my life,” by making him feel valued, and supporting the liberal ideology he embraces. Pride events are among DJ Morningstar’s favorite gigs, and a chance to deliver what the people want: “A big, booming, female voice; powerful soul on top of an energetic dance beat.” The gay community, “is always on the right side of history, no matter the cause,” he says, which allows him to be “unapologetically outspoken” without “worrying about repercussions, as you would at straight, corporate clubs.” RUNNER-UP: DJ ASHA “I think these are very special places to DJ,” says DJ Asha, of her work at LGBT venues, including Micky’s and Beaches. “People need a safe space, a place,” she noted, “where they

Photo by Kathclick / Courtesy Bigstock

can be free to express themselves, make friends, look for love, hook up, or whatever.” The open-format DJ, who hosted LA Pride six times, is not locked down to a specific genre — so you’ll always hear a variety of sounds, within one set, no matter what crowd she’s playing to.

BEST LGBT RED CARPET EVENT WINNER: GLAAD The world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, every year at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles holds a dynamic red carpet that draws some of Hollywood’s most iconic celebrities in support of equality. One reader posted, “it rivals the Golden Globes and it’s held in the same room.” J- Lo, Leo, Taylor, Mary J., Britney, Cher, Madonna, just to drop a few names, have posed and mingled with our community, joining with GLAAD to protect all that has been accomplished and to creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. RUNNER-UP: OUTFEST Over the past three decades, OUTFEST has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected more than 20,000 LGBTQ films and videos. The red carpet rocks with glam poses, celebs and future celebs. OUTFEST has become one of Hollywood’s most important film marketplaces.

Photo Courtesy Lyft


WINNER: LYFT We all love a good pick-up app. How about a Lyft? The more politically correct of the two major ride-sharing services, Lyft has 100 percent, 24-hour coverage of Los Angeles and you can be on your way to anywhere in just a few minutes. Just open the app and you’re almost there, whether you need a luxury ride or one to carry the whole gang. Lyft is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars but Los Angeles Blade readers give it 5 stars. RUNNER-UP: UBER Uber is everywhere too and when it was first launched it had the feel of a truly luxurious chauffeur service. The shine is still there and many people still prefer it.

BEST PET BUSINESS OR VET WINNER: WEST HOLLYWOOD ANIMAL HOSPITAL The go-to vet practice of many people in West Hollywood because it offers modern full service Veterinary services every day. It has a hometown feel; it’s founder Dr. Monica Revel, DVM, was born and raised within one mile of its location and it shows. Pet lovers

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art is just the beginning Explore all the Getty has to offer. Plan your visit today.



Critically acclaimed exhibitions A dynamic array of changing exhibitions and art from our permanent collection

Shopping Five stores, including the Children’s Shop, offering one-of-a-kind gifts

+ +

Gardens Artful landscapes at every turn and the Central Garden in its winter splendor

Seasonal menus Everything from lattes outdoors to family celebrations at our elegant restaurant— all served with panoramic views of LA

© 2019 J. Paul Getty Trust

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come from around SOCAL like a return home: “I wouldn’t take Max anywhere else unless it’s an emergency and we live in Laguna where we relocated 4 years ago from Beverly Hills. (9000 N Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069) RUNNER-UP: VCA-MILLER-ROBERTSON ANIMAL HOSPITAL Home to Dr. Mark Nunez, last year’s winner in this category. Full disclosure: Dr. Nunez is the primary care doctor for our publisher’s senior dog, Lilly. “Mark is always fully engaged and he listens without judgment and corrects without scorn,” said one commenter. (8807 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069)

BEST LGBT SOCIAL GROUP (TIE) WINNER: PRIDE RECOVERY LA Provides addiction treatment for the LGBT community, through LGBT-affirmative therapy, group and individual therapy, and psychiatric care, but it’s their after care and support program that one reader cited as the reason they are a winner: “They are my family,” the reader posted, “I can always go home and know I will be OK.” (8300 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90048) WINNER: LOS ANGELES GAY AND LESBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LAGLCC describes itself as “the premier advocate of the Los Angeles Lesbian,

Photo Courtesy West Hollywood

Gay, Bisexual and Transgender business community, representing hundreds of businesses, advancing common business interests, economic growth, and equality in the workplace and society for its LGBTQ members, businesses, and allies by providing educational, networking, and community building opportunities.” The group’s monthly mixer functions are must-attend features of the local social scene. RUNNER-UP: AIDS LIFECYCLE For many people the fundraising marketing that precedes the 545-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles bike ride is about much more than AIDS; it’s about family and community at its very best. Not only do you get to pedal forward in life, you get to ask people to pay it forward. AIDS Life Cycle represents our community at its very best.

BEST PLACE TO LIVE WINNER: WEST HOLLYWOOD There’s just no place like it. What can we say? A lot, actually. The little town of 39,000 residents remains Los Angeles’ hottest destination for the entertainment industry with its boutique hotels, celebrityowned restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping and world-renowned events like the HBO Emmy Party, Sir Elton John’s

Photo Courtesy W W Hollywood

Annual Oscar Party, LA PRIDE and the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, the largest Halloween street party in the world. West Hollywood continues to set the standard for progressive, creative individuals on the cutting edge of trends and new ideas, working together as a community in one of the most exciting destinations in the country. And it is home to one of the largest concentrations of LGBT people in the world. RUNNER-UP: BEVERLY HILLS At the other end of the rainbow is Beverly Hills, pot of gold included. It’s an aspirational town for sure and there are more Mazarattis, Rolls Royces and Bentleys sold here than anywhere in the world. It’s quiet, sequestered, manicured and intensely beautiful and the perfect place for wealthy LGBT families. And there are many. It’s where West Hollywood gets its water supply as they are always reminding.

BEST HOTEL WINNER: W HOLLYWOOD It seems Los Angeles Blade readers know a thing or two when it comes to family and friends from out of town: they all want to experience Hollywood. It’s perfectly located, giving easy access to Universal, DTLA, Pasadena, all points west. And while you’re family is visiting, you and your friends can

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“One of the most ENTERTAINING and hysterically funny shows I have ever seen!” –Broadway World

“Grant’s soliloquy is SPELLBINDING, gossipy, heartbreaking ... SHOULD NOT BE MISSED.” –Will Call.org

Written and Performed by

Barra Grant

With Monica Piper Directed by Eve Brandstein



PHONE LINE: 323.285.2078 FOLLOW US: LAGayBlade10x10_r2.indd 1


Greenway Court Theatre

544 N. Fairfax Ave. LA, CA 90036

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Photo Courtesy Cedars Sinai

visit one of the best pools in town as a bonus. (6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028) RUNNER-UP: KIMPTON LA PEER “Imagine a space where art, music, fashion, poetry, film and architecture intertwine to a cacophony of spatial harmony,” says Icelandic-born, Los Angeles-based cutting edge designer Gulla Jónsdóttir, of the new Kimpton La Peer. Consider it for a weekend staycation for you and your honey. (627 N La Peer Dr, West Hollywood, CA 90069)

BEST DOCTOR/MEDICAL PROVIDER WINNER: CEDARS SINAI URGENT CARE One of the world’s best hospitals, not surprisingly, also runs the best Urgent Care locations in the nation. Cedars-Sinai’s urgent care facility in Beverly Hills keeps extended hours seven days a week, providing immediate healthcare needs that are not life-threatening. You’ll walk in and find expedited service from some of the world’s best doctors. (8501 Wilshire Blvd #150, Beverly Hills, CA 90211) RUNNER-UP: PACIFIC OAKS MEDICAL GROUP One of the earliest responders during the AIDS crisis, Pacific Oaks Medical Group is a leading community provider of medical care to our diverse community. And the group’s recent addition of Dr. David Alajajian is

Photo Courtesy Lebron James

apparently a big hit with our readers. (150 N Robertson Blvd #300, Beverly Hills, CA 90211)

BEST CAR DEALERSHIP WINNER: BEVERLY HILLS BMW This dealership is located on Wilshire just east of La Brea, displaced from Beverly Hills during construction of the Purple line, but it remains the go-to BMW dealership for many of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills’ BMW owners. The immaculate shop runs like clockwork and there’s never a wait. Last year at SUR, they delivered $200,000 worth of cars and leather jackets to our Best Of awards. Our readers apparently have not forgotten. (5070 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036) RUNNER-UP: MERCEDES BEVERLY HILLS Mercedes is the most popular luxury brand in the several zip codes surrounding West Hollywood and 9 out of 10 local owners work with Mercedes of Beverly Hills to keep their cars current and in top condition. (9250 Beverly Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210)

BEST PRO LOCAL ATHLETE WINNER: LEBRON JAMES LeBron and the Lakers are both reader favorites. Our readers were over the moon about his decision to join the ranks of prominent Angeleno sports stars when he

Photo Courtesy Adam Schiff

moved west from Cleveland. One reader wrote: “LeBron is almost as magic as Magic and I admire him for taking a pioneering stand for people of color and justice.” His solidarity with Colin Kaepernick resonated with our readers as a fitting addition to the ever progressive Lakers, just after the team’s first ever LGBT night. RUNNER-UP: GUS KENWORTHY Since the Seoul winter games everyone has been in love with Gus and his sexy Instagram and love of dogs. Who wouldn’t want to be loved by Gus? Sorry Adam, we love you too but, hey.

BEST PUBLIC OFFICIAL WINNER: ADAM SCHIFF No congressman has been more consistent in his criticism of Donald Trump than congressman Adam Schiff, the U.S. Representative for California’s 28th congressional district since 2013. With the Dems now in majority control of the House, Shiff wields significant power over the fate of Trump as House Intelligence Committee chairman. On LGBT issues he bats 1,000 and in our estimation he’s a smart man, an avid reader of the Los Angeles Blade’s Karen Ocamb. RUNNER-UP: WEST HOLLYWOOD CITY COUNCIL A uniformly progressive city council comprised of longtime gay rights activists,

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We embrace the LGBTQ Community as an integral part of our community and invite you to make plans to join us in June for the 2019 LA PRIDE Kickoff party at Dodger Stadium!

u o y k n g n i t o v Photo Courtesy Congregation Kol Ami

Photo Courtesy My 12 Step Store

ONGREGATION KOL AMI advocates and allies of the LGBT community. Mayor John Duran, Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico and Council members Lindsey Horvath, Lauren Meister and John Heilman are known for fast acting government responsiveness and well attended, well-run meetings. The city ranks among the best-run local governments in America.

his spirited Invision Church to WeHo. In services held every Sunday at the Sunset Strip’s famed Viper Room, Invision gives the LGBTQ community its own down home, rollicking and near evangelical place of worship. (8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069)


WINNER: MY 12 STEP STORE RJ is widely considered to be one of the hardest working people in the sobriety community, not above working the register, helping customers select gifts for their loved ones, or packing items he ships out to customers around the world. My 12 Step Store is an exceptional and rare model of service to the LGBTQ community, part community center and part business, selling inspirational and motivational sobriety themed gifts. My 12 Step Stores sober mixers are one of the most popular events on the mix and mingle calendar. (8730 Santa Monica Blvd B, West Hollywood, CA 90069) RUNNER-UP: CHI CHI LARUE’S From the bright pink exterior to the exclusive state-of-the-art merchandise and apparel inside, Chi Chi LaRue’s stands out, loud and proud, as West Hollywood’s only gay-owned

WINNER: CONGREGATION KOL AMI Since its founding in 1992, Kol Ami has become an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ and West Hollywood communities. Kol Ami’s commitment to progressive spirituality, diversity, inclusion and social justice is celebrated nationwide. It is known for being innovative while remaining rooted in Jewish tradition and practice. Rabi Denise L. Egers broke barriers to create a more inclusive Reform movement that has resulted in more LGBTQ inclusion at Synagogues worldwide. (1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90038) RUNNER-UP: INVISION CHURCH Since MCC left West Hollywood about a decade ago, there has been no LGBT specific Christian Church service in the area but that changed when pastor Josh Johnson brought


Photo Courtesy Alfred’s Coffee

and operated adult boutique. (8861 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069)

BEST COFFEE SHOP WINNER: ALFRED’S COFFEE MELROSE PLACE It’s like a very intentional selfie. It’s a little embarrassing how indulgent and fun it is, this coffee shop where everyone is drop dead gorgeous but somehow it’s still all about the coffee. You’ll find it in the heart of LA’s trendiest retail destination, proudly brewing Stumptown Coffee Roasters. (8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, CA 90069) RUNNER-UP: BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE They seem to be popping up everywhere, this one part Oakland, one part LA coffee house is not cheap but it is certainly delicious. (8301 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048)

BEST LOCAL BREWERY WINNER: ARTS DISTRICT BREWING COMPANY One of Los Angeles’ few craft brewpubs, opened December 2015 in Downtown LA’s historic Arts District. With an on-site, 15-barrel brewhouse capable of producing 3,300 barrels of beer each year, Arts District Brewing Company debuted with nine original beers

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We believe that Food is Love, and we would like to share that love with you. At Spoonfed we would like to invite you into our home to relax, even for just a moment.

We strive to be a respite in a busy world, making your life easier and providing that little pick-me up when the daily grind gets to be, well, too much of a grind. We’re your girl Friday - here for you all day, for a quick breakfast bite, a cup of coffee with friends, a business lunch, maybe a cocktail to unwind, or the occasional dinner date. Food is Love.

323 347-7000 959 Seward St Los Angeles, CA 90038 located on the corner of Seward and Romaine in Hollywood

Photo CourtesyArts District Brewing Company

and now offers 30+ all brewed on-site. Enjoy an entertainment area with a photo booth and multiple classic bar games available, including pinball and Skeeball machines. (828 Traction Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013) RUNNER-UP: SANTA MONICA BREW WORKS Just a group of guys who share a mad love for great beer and the City Of Santa Monica. The brewery’s “Beach Brewed” philosophy is said to embody “the spirit of the worldrenowned Santa Monica lifestyle. (1920 Colorado Ave C, Santa Monica, CA 90404)

BEST RESTAURANT WINNER: TORTILLA REPUBLIC It’s Viva Mexico at its very finest. Every bite will have you saying “F*uck Trump and his crazy wall” because the best food in the world comes from our neighbor to the south. It’s a Los Angeles Blade favorite. (616 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069) RUNNER-UP: BOTTEGA LOUIE Get ready WeHo! The Gourmet Market, Patisserie & Café located in downtown Los Angeles will soon open on Santa Monica Boulevard and life will never be the same. (700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017)

Photo Courtesy Susan Feniger

BEST CHEF WINNER: SUSAN FENIGER, BORDER GRILL Iconic culinarian, author, and entrepreneur Feniger has been helping to define the culinary landscape of Los Angeles since 1981. She’s opened a host of successful restaurants, but Border Grill remains her crowning achievement. Opened with co-chef and business partner Mary Sue Milliken in 1985, its modern, street-food-inspired Mexican cuisine has been defining the city’s culinary landscape ever since. As if having an iconic LA eatery and being a celebrity chef weren’t enough to make us love her, Susan is also an out and proud member of the community, currently sitting on the board of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. RUNNER-UP: JON ROLLO, GREENLEAF GOURMET CHOPSHOP Revolutionizing the gourmet fast-casual dining experience the “Commander-in-Leaf” of Greenleaf has always had an appetite for fresh ingredients and living a healthy life – something he embodies with the farmto-face concept of his restaurant, where he uses local, fresh, natural, organic ingredients to create dishes that are both delicious and

Photo Courtesy James Corden

wholesome. In his free time, you can find Jon working out at Barry’s Bootcamp, training for a triathlon, and raising his daughter and son with husband, Joey Gonzalez.

BEST LOCAL TV PERSONALITY WINNER: JAMES CORDEN This Tony-winning actor may be from the other side of the Atlantic, but as the host of “The Late, Late Show,” he’s been regularly taking over the streets of Hollywood to film celebrity flash mobs, musical numbers, and the spectacularly popular “Carpool Karaoke” since 2015 – and that makes him as much an Angeleno as anyone. It’s no wonder we’re proud to lay claim to him; smart, funny, and talented, he’s got a pure love of “show business” that makes his late-night talk show a must-see event for millions. He’s also a strong LGBT ally who uses his public platform to promote LGBT equality – for instance, by performing a song in protest of Trump’s intended trans military ban in 2017. RUNNER-UP: ALEXANDER RODRIQUEZ The iHeart radio personality is one-third of the all-gay Latinx panel on “Glitterbomb,” LATV’s explosive pop-culture talk show

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Photo Courtesy MedMen

Photo Courtesy Madonna Cacciatore

that offers a queer Latinx perspective on entertainment news. Along with fellow hosts (actor Enrique Sapene and EW senior editor Patrick Gomez), he brings wit, humor, and first-hand experience into the show’s look at Hollywood A-lister life.

ratings for its outstanding customer service and wide selection. As they say on their website, “Whether you vape, rollup, or use a piece, Zen Healing has a strain for you.”


WINNER: MADONNA CACCIATORE She moved to LA as an actress, after a regular role on a short-lived TV reboot of “The Fugitive” gave her a taste of Hollywood; but it’s her dedication to another calling that has brought her true prominence in our local community. A longtime LGBT activist, she made a splash in the headlines when the LA Times featured a photo of her holding hands with then-partner (now wife) Robin McWilliams in their cover story on June 26, 2015, when the Obergefell victory made marriage equality the law of the land – but she had already been building her leadership role in the community for years as the director of special events at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In 2018, she was chosen as the new executive director of Christopher Street West – giving her the opportunity to bring her years of experience to the table as she shepherds the non-profit, which has faced challenges in the last few years, toward the 50th anniversary of LA Pride in 2020. RUNNER-UP: ARI GUTIÉRREZ ARAMBULA A tireless community leader, Ari is dedicated

WINNER: MEDMEN Founded in 2007 by Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin (who are also CEO and president, respectively), this Culver Citybased company has grown up to be one of the leaders in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry, dedicated to “writing the book on the modern cannabis industry, from how facilities are designed and constructed to setting the bar on quality and excellence.” They’re also the single largest financial supporter of progressive marijuana laws at local, state, and federal levels. But what’s probably most important to the many satisfied consumers at their elegant boutiques in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills (as well as four other locations in the Los Angeles area) is their philosophy that standards, practices and reputation matter – and the high quality of the product that results from it. RUNNER-UP: ZEN HEALING WEST HOLLYWOOD With two locations, this longtime (since 2003) local-fave dispensary scores high Yelp


Photo Courtesy LA Dodgers

to increasing support and quality of life for the LGBTQ and gender non-conforming members of the Latinx community and their families – a community for which she has been an advocate for 30 years. She is the founding Advisory Board President of the Latino Equality Alliance, and the co-founder of HONOR PAC, a non-profit organization providing advocacy, leadership development and public education that honors cultural traditions and is accessible to youth and their parents.

BEST LOCAL PRO SPORTS TEAM WINNER: LOS ANGELES DODGERS They may have lost the 2018 World Series to the Boston Red Sox, but LA’s “Boys In Blue” will never lose the hearts of the city they’ve called home since 1958. Part of the reason is the team’s determination to connect with the community by embracing diversity. In the words of Erik Braverman, the Dodgers’ vice president for marketing, communications and broadcasting who spoke to the Los Angeles Blade for a 2017 article, “LGBT people are as important to the organization as any other community.” For six consecutive years, the Dodgers have hosted an official LGBT night, and for the past two have made it an official kickoff party for LA Pride. RUNNER-UP: LOS ANGELES LAKERS Just as it is with the Dodgers, love for the

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Photo Courtesy Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Lakers is part of our city’s DNA. In 2018, the basketball organization hosted its own firstever LGBTQ Pride night, honoring first active openly gay NBA player Jason Collins with the Laces of Unity Award (recognizing individuals in sports who have significantly contributed to the LGBTQ community) and featuring Amanda Palmer, the first female and first openly lesbian referee in NBA history, as the night’s honorary team captain.

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS WINNER: MITCHELL GOLD + BOB WILLIAMS Started in North Carolina back in 1989, this elegant furniture company began with the simple idea of providing “comfort for all,” and nearly 30 years later, its signature store in Beverly Hills is a must-visit for any Angeleno with an eye toward decorating their home with stylish and modern home furnishings. In addition, its founders are activists and advocates for the LGBT community – Gold is co-founder of Faith in America, a nonprofit that educates people about the harm religious bigotry causes LGBT Americans that recently merged with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and has served on the board of HRC for the past seven years, and Williams is known for his philanthropic work for equal rights; together, the men received a Groundbreakers Award from NYC’s Housing Works, dedicated

Photo Courtesy Walt Disney Concert Hall

to ending AIDS and homelessness. RUNNER-UP: JOSH JOHNSON HOME A Tennessee native who became known as “Sparkle Josh” during his stint in HGTV’s “Design Stars,” this flamboyant celebrity interior designer has a design philosophy of “Livable Luxe,” which he describes as the pairing of affordable elegance with functional practicality, and his status as a celebrity designer has made him a designer to celebrities — or anyone who wants to live like one.


WINNER: WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL This downtown landmark, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and opened in 2003, is not just part of the Los Angeles Music Center – with its sleek, shining, non-linear design, it’s an icon of urban architecture and a signature LA building, and with its hear-a-pin-drop acoustics, it’s a worldclass performance hall. Intended as a gift to the people of Los Angeles by Lillian Disney (widow of Walt), who in 1987 donated $50 million to fund a venue that could serve as a tribute to her late husband’s devotion to the arts and to the city, today it fulfills that purpose by providing a home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, as well as by hosting variety of

Photo Courtesy Palm Springs

artists and events from around the world. RUNNER-UP: GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE Founded by Gilbert Cates in 1995, and named for its donor, music executive David Geffen, this not-for-profit theater company is housed within a historic 1929 building – one of the first 12 structures built in Westwood Village – that was once the Masonic Affiliates’ Club for students and alumni of UCLA. In its two venues there, the Geffen mounts eight top-quality theatrical productions per season, showcasing both new works and timehonored classics, often performed by familiar actors from film and television – one of the definite perks of living in a movie town.

BEST DAY TRIP WINNER: PALM SPRINGS Los Angeles’ relationship with its neighbor in the desert goes back to the 1920s, when the town’s growing status as a getaway spot made it appealing to Hollywood’s rich and famous as a quick and easy escape from the rigors of their glamorous everyday lives. It serves much the same purpose today, but it’s grown into an internationally recognized resort destination – which means world-class entertainment, luxurious hotels, and glittering casinos await any Angeleno ready to make the 90-minute drive (OK, only if there’s no traffic) to get there. It’s not just about pampering yourself, though

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Celebrate Family, Community, Diversity, & PRIDE. photo by: Bob Jagendorf

Todos Santos Plaza June 1st, 2019 12p-6p Concord, CA

Come celebrate with us, visit www.rainbowcc.org/concord-pride

Photo Courtesy Arclight Hollywood

that’s part of the allure; there is also a thriving cultural scene, lots of nightlife, magnificent restaurants, a weekly street festival, and an annual week-long celebration of the Modernist architecture long embraced as a definitive part of the city’s identity. Of course, Palm Springs is something of an LGBT Mecca, too – but odds are good that, if you’re reading this, you already knew that. RUNNER-UP: AVALON, CATALINA ISLAND Located on the southeast end of Santa Catalina Island, Avalon has been a popular destination for visitors since the early 1900s. Like Palm Springs, it has always attracted the glitterati crowd, from film stars to presidents, and is known today for its resorts and casinos – along with the numerous other attractions offered by a picturesque seaside community. Only a short ferry ride away, it’s one of the best opportunities for Angelenos to have a sun-soaked mini-vacation and still be home in time to feed the pets before bedtime.

BEST MOVIE THEATER WINNER: ARCLIGHT HOLLYWOOD In a city built by the movies (and

Photo Courtesy The Hollywood Bowl

those who love them) it’s no surprise that the favorite pick is this landmark multiplex on Sunset, which is home to 15 screens (including the historic Cinerama Dome) that feature state-of-the-art projection and sound technology, and amenities like a gourmet snack bar, no commercials before the show, and – a favorite flourish for conveniencehungry Angelenos – reserved seating that eliminates the need for standing in a long line. On top of all that, Arclight offers an impressive selection of movie offerings, from the biggest entertainment blockbusters to the edgiest indie art films, all in the name of catering to the sophisticated interests of its cinemaloving clientele. As a bonus, moviegoers stand a good chance of seeing some of their favorite stars off the screen as well as on – it’s a popular location for the people who make movies to go and sit in the audience for a change. RUNNER-UP: PACIFIC THEATERS AT THE GROVE Offering its own kind of Hollywood appeal, this elegantly designed multiplex in the heart of one of the city’s most popular malls (adjacent to the historic Farmer’s Market). It’s a haven for film lovers, with its own state-of-

the art auditoriums that feature large screens, surround sound, and luxury stadium seating – and if you want to pair your moviegoing experience with a meal, the Grove location ensures a wide selection of nearby eateries that will be perfect for discussing what you’ve just seen over lunch or dinner.

BEST LIVE MUSIC WINNER: THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL Steeped in history — it’s seen the likes of everyone from Billie Holiday to Billy Joel — the Hollywood Bowl reigns, as Southern California’s premier destination for live music. Its iconic concentric-arched band shell is recognized the world over, just as sure as the venue itself is recognized by our readers as the best of the best. RUNNER-UP: THE GREEK THEATRE Located within Griffith Park, the historic Greek Theatre stands as one of the nation’s most beloved and recognized outdoor entertainment destinations. This iconic venue has also served as a site for numerous high school graduations, community events, and backdrops for television shows and motion pictures.

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Cannabis Culture Provided by NORML

Nine US governors – all Democrats – received an ‘A’ grade for their marijuana positions, including gay Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado. Blade file photo by Michael Key

More governors advocating for marijuana legalization

AG nominee would leave state marijuana programs alone

To kick off the 2019 state legislative season, NORML released its 2019 Gubernatorial Scorecard. This database assigns a letter grade ‘A’ through ‘F’ to states’ governors based upon their comments and voting records specific to matters of marijuana policy. “Following the publication of our 2018 Scorecard, there has been a dramatic shift in opinion among elected officials in favor of marijuana policy reform,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Never before have we seen so many governors go on record and pledge their support for legalizing the responsible use of cannabis by adults. As a result, we expect there to be unprecedented levels of legislative activity at the state level surrounding the need to regulate the commercial cannabis market in 2019 and in 2020.” Key Findings: 27 U.S. governors received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher (22 Democrats, 5 Republicans). Of these, nine governors – all Democrats – received an ‘A’ grade; this marks a significant increase since 2018, when only two governors received ‘A’ grades. They are: Gavin Newsom: California Jared Polis: Colorado Ned Lamont: Connecticut J.B. Pritzker: Illinois Gretchen Whitmer: Michigan Tim Walz: Minnesota Phil Murphy: New Jersey Kate Brown: Oregon Jay Inslee: Washington Of the 24 Republican governors receiving a letter grade, only five (21 percent) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher. Of the 22 Democratic governors receiving a letter grade, all of them (100 percent) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher. Among the 20 governors taking office for the first time in 2019, six (30 percent) received an ‘A’ grade. All are Democrats. There exists now, for the first time, significant political support among U.S. governors for marijuana policy reform. However, this support is more partisan than ever before. While almost half of all Democratic governors are now on record in support of adult use regulation, no Republican governors publicly advocate for this policy. This partisan divide is not similarly reflected among the general public. According to national polling data compiled by Gallup in October 2018, 66 percent of the public – including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – favor legalization.

In Senate testimony last week, nominee for Attorney General William Barr committed to not use the limited resources of the Department of Justice to prosecute state-regulated and compliant marijuana businesses. His statements came response to questions from Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — each of whom represent states where marijuana is legally regulated for either medical or recreational purposes. In January 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded what is known as the Cole Memo, a 2013 Justice Department memorandum, authored by former Deputy Attorney General James Cole to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states. This memorandum directed prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and not to prosecute those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale — provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines. Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the 10 states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. Additional states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes. Members of Congress in recent years have approved amendments protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” However, this amendment does not provide protections to state-regulated activity governing activities specific to the adult use of marijuana. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll. Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@ norml.org.



Human Rights Watch Southern California and Outfest presents a screening of TransMilitary, see Tuesday, January 29. Photo Courtesy TransMilitary


OMG: 1980s Flashback in Concert, Sat. Jan. 26 @ 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM at Microsoft Theater (777 Chick Hearn Court). It’s never too late, apparently to experience every Valley Girl’s wet dream! It 80’s Weekend #7 and it brings together live on stage OMD, The Bangles, Bananarama, Jody Watley, When in Rome, Rob Base, Tiffany, The Firts. We’re not kidding. It’s a throw-back to end all throw-backs and just when you thought your worst stonewash denim days were behind you! Ticket cost is up to $180 and can be purchased only at Microsoft Theater on the day of the show. Atlas - Mr. Atlas Leather 2019 Dance Party, Sat. Jan. 27 @ 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at Catch One (4067 West Pico). Not your daddy’s leather contest! ATLAS is a brand new interactive leather contest and dance party hybrid where the music never stops and “YOU ARE THE JUDGE!” It’s an evolutionary party with no buzz-kill... just men everywhere, packed on a dance floor filled with shirtless men, listening to the driving beats of DJ Pagano from London and DJ Dan Darlingtonof Brüt Party NYC. Five of the hottest men will flex, perform, and do whatever it takes to give you a night you won’t forget. You will pick the winner. Check out www. mratlasleather.com for details.


Stonewall Democratic Club honors Ivy Bottini, Mon. Jan. 28 @ 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room (625 North San Vicente). She’s the hottest Golden Girl to hit Los Angeles since, well, ever. Ivy Bottini, the legendary 93 year old pioneer of the women’s movement, feminist, pioneering AIDS services organizer, founder of West Hollywood and activist, is leaving town to start a new life chapter in Florida. She plans on driving across country but she has a few friends who want to say a fond ‘see you soon.” Stonewall Democratic club will devote a portion of their regular meeting to doing just that. Additional featured speaker is Alfred Fraijo Jr. Esquire of the Sheppard Mullin Law Firm and CoFounder of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN). And business as usual. Open to membership. I Was Confused from the Beginning, Mon. Jan. 28 @ 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM at Lyric Hyperion Theatre & Cafe

(2106 Hyperion Avenue). It just sounds like fun, living at the corner of Queer Rage and Debilitating Ambition. We’re not sure what it all means, but that may just be the point of angst? It’s a show about a deep drive to be successful and where that drive might come from: This is a work in progress showing, so please come help us figure this thing out! Those of you who think you know what this means are invited. Tickets available at Eventbrite. $7.


TransMilitary Film Club Screening, Tue. Jan. 29 @ 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM at United Talent Agency (9336 Civic Center Drive). Human Rights Watch Southern California and Outfest presents a screening of TransMilitary and Q&A reception about the the largest employer of transgender people in the United States — the United States military. Amid rapidly changing policies that technically at present bans them from serving, 15,500 troops identify as transgender. TransMilitary documents four brave men and women who risk their families’ livelihoods by coming out to the Pentagon’s top brass in the hope of attaining the equal right to serve. With a new commander-in-chief at the helm, they must traverse a series of successes and defeats, as their careers hang in the balance. The film earned an Audience Award for Documentary at the South by Southwest Film Festival 2018.


50 Years of Queer Big Queer Convo: The New Normal: Television and the Emergence of LGBT Identities, Wed. Jan. 30 @ 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza (1125 N. McCadden Place). This conversation with seasoned LGBT influencers focuses on the entertainment industry’s portrayal of the LGBT community on television since the late 1960s. It’s part of a special series that explores the history and impact of LGBT people on the arts and media over the last halfcentury in celebration of the Center’s 50th anniversary. The panel will be held in the Renberg Theatre, and a reception will be held at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza courtyard A panel discussion follows and includes

Jane Anderson, Actress, Playwright, Screenwriter, and Director; Wilson Cruz, Actor; D’Lo, Performer, Writer, and Community Activist; Peter Paige, Actor, Director, and Screenwriter. The event is free.


Room Service: The Drag Show, Thu. Jan. 31 @ 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM at Riviera 31 (Sofitel Hotel, 8555 Beverly Blvd). Beverly Hills’ premier drag event is back for a monthly celebration after a record breaking attendance last month. Head down to the swanky Sofitel Los Angeles and indulge yourself in “handcrafted libations, revel in the beauty and performances of Los Angeles’s elite drag talent, and chow down on a bevy of delicious bar snacks” inside the world class Riviera 31 lounge. Diana Dzhaketov, Bible Girl 666, Calypso Jete, Anita Procedure, Gigi Goode, and Kiara are out to change Beverly Hills forever.

FEB. 2

POZ Life Weekend Seminar, Sat. Feb. 2 @ 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at The LIfe Group (1049 Havenhurst Drive). A place where compassion, education, community and love is offered to HIV+ people unconditionally. There are no demographic boundaries. It’s a place HIV+ men, women, and family members can come be themselves, feel comforted and supported in their effort to learn how to either live a long healthy productive POZitive lifestyle, or help someone they know and love overcome the fears associated with being HIV+. The morning includes a diverse group of presenters addressing men, women, people of color, gay men and heterosexual HIV positive and negative individuals. Founded in 2005, The Life Group LA provides much needed information and emotional support through medical forums, emotional support groups. All services are offered in a nonjudgmental and safe environment with compassion and understanding and free of charge.

E-mail calendar items to tmasters@losangelesblade.com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-specific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.


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