Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 21, July 27, 2018

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Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb









A M E R I C A’ S







Cal-Poly yanks wrestling scholarship after anti-gay slur No public apology from disgraced student athlete By STAFF REPORTS California Polytechnic State University rescinded a full wrestling scholarship from an 18-year-old star recruit after he was caught on video yelling an anti-gay slur at a rally in his hometown of Oakdale in suburban Modesto, Calif. on June 30. Bronson Harmon and his father were present at the Families Belong Together march and rally and were among counterprotesters supporting the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, the Modesto Bee reported. In the video, posted on Facebook by Modesto resident Abdul Lasaing, Harmon is seen holding a 2016 Trump campaign poster facing the camera, at which point he realizes he’s being recorded by Lasaing and yells “Fuck you, faggot!” On the post that accompanied his video, Lasaing wrote: “I and a group of people were already walking back to our vehicles after the #KeepingTheFamilesTogether march when I heard a group of men shouting and trying to scare us … I was so in chocked [sic].”

Bronson Harmon Screencapture Courtesy Facebook

Lasaing continued, “I was flipped off and called a faggot for either my dark skin color or my #WorldPeaceSign?? Not sure.” During an interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Harmon justified his remarks with a partial apology: “Saying what I said is definitely not the right thing. I am supposed to be there to help the community,

be the best person I can be and represent the college the best way I can. But I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that.” The Tribune’s editorial board disagreed: “Harmon’s scholarship wasn’t revoked because he made a political statement. He

was stripped of his scholarship after video surfaced of his homophobic outburst. He’ll face other consequences as well, which include having his past come back to haunt him when future employers Google his name. He does, however, still have the opportunity to attend Cal Poly. He also can learn in other ways.” A spokesperson for Cal Poly’s Athletic Director Don Oberhelman, declined to comment in a phone call Friday with the Los Angeles Blade, other than to acknowledge that the university was aware of the video before the athletic department made its decision. Since the incident, Harmon appears to have gone silent. The last posts on his Facebook page are from June 2012 and his Twitter account (@bharmned22) – with a cover photo featuring Harmon and four of his football buddies, says “This account’s Tweets are protected,” adding that only confirmed followers have access. Though he joined in May 2016, he only has tweeted 187 times (as of July 23) to 355 followers. If he offered a sincere apology to the LGBT community, it is not public knowledge. (Reporting by The Modesto Bee, The San Luis Obispo Tribune, the staff of the Los Angeles Blade and wire service reports.)

LA District Attorney reviewing overdose death of Gemmel Moore Final conclusion still pending By STAFF REPORTS The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is reviewing the overdose death of Gemmel Moore, a year after the 26-yearold male escort was found dead in the West Hollywood apartment of Democratic Party donor Ed Buck. Sheriff’s homicide detectives presented their findings to prosecutors on July 10 after a lengthy investigation but neither the detectives nor the DA’s office would elaborate on the case. “It remains under review,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s spokesperson Greg Risling noted in an email to the Los Angeles Times, without elaborating on whether investigators had recommended criminal charges. Risling reiterated his statement to

the Los Angeles Blade. Moore’s July 2017 death was initially ruled an accidental overdose by LA County Sheriff’s investigators and Dr. Jonathan Lucas, LA County’s Medical ExaminerCoroner. Neither agency found evidence to suggest the death suspicious, they told media outlets, including the Los Angeles Blade. But in August 2017, after activists and Moore’s mother expressed grave concerns whether the fatal shot of drugs was selfadministered, LA Sheriff Jim McDonnell ordered homicide investigators to launch a new investigation. “When we became aware of the concern by the family, we had Homicide [Bureau] take at look at it,” McDonnell said in an exclusive Sept 2017 interview with the Los Angeles Blade. “We felt it was our obligation to look into those issues.”

Included in the investigation were notes that Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment was littered with drug paraphernalia, and entries in a journal found with Moore at the time of his death detailed Moore’s drug usage, referenced in the coroner’s report. “Ed Buck is the one to thank,” Moore appears to have written. “He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth,” the Times reported after reviewing pages of that journal, in which Moore purportedly wrote about using crystal methamphetamine. Another dynamic at play, according to activists and Moore’s mother, is the disparity of privilege. Moore was a black, homeless, sex worker. Buck, 63, is a white, longtime political donor and one-time West Hollywood City Council candidate known in LA/West Hollywood’s LGBTQ political circles.

The Times reported that Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon of Texas, had questioned whether Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the initial investigation. Moore had flown from Houston to Los Angeles the day he died, according to coroner’s investigators. His mother has told the Times that Buck bought his airplane ticket. Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, told the Times that the coroner’s office determined that Moore’s death was an accident. “This was a tragedy, but it’s no excuse to accuse an innocent man of acts he did not do,” Amster said. If authorities had a case, he added, “I think an arrest warrant probably would’ve gone out a long time ago.” It’s up to DA Lacey now. (Reporting by The Los Angeles Times and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade)


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Emma González is marching for our lives Bi student activist, other Parkland survivors bring tour to California By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Emma González is famous now. She’d rather be enjoying the summer before college hanging out with friends. But the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida stole away that carefree freedom, morally forcing the survivors to take on the responsibility of doing something about the gun violence that has impacted more than 150,000 students in the two decades since the mass shooting at Columbine High School. The 18-year old senior first caught America’s attention as the furious-faced warrior, fighting back tears, chastising politicians beholden to the National Rifle Association. “All these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see,” González said at an angry rally at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale three days after the shooting. “To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!” González let loose: “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA, telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this: We call BS! They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence: We call BS! They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun: We call BS!” A string of public appearances followed, helping generate funding for a national March For Our Lives tour to spread the message about gun violence prevention and nullifying the power of the NRA. “ On Feb. 26, Harpers Bazaar published an essay by González, with photos of her at a Valentine’s Day event one hour before the shooting and another (with hair) decked out for Pride week at school last year. “My Name is Emma González. I’m 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual. I’m so indecisive

Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb


Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

that I can’t pick a favorite color, and I’m allergic to 12 things. I draw, paint, crochet, sew, embroider—anything productive I can do with my hands while watching Netflix. But none of this matters anymore,” she wrote. “What matters is that the majority of American people have become complacent in a senseless injustice that occurs all around them.” González next caught America’s attention on March 24 at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., the main rally of about 800 student walk outs and rallies around the country. Head held high, tears streaming down her face, she stood before thousands of marchers and millions watching on TV. “Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR15 and my friend Carmen (Schentrup) would never complain to me about piano practice,” she said, a catch in her voice. “Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan.” González went on, naming the names of those shot dead that Feb. 14. And then she

stopped. For 6 minutes and 20 seconds—the time it took for the shooter to kill 17 people and wound 15 others—she stood silently, letting the confused crowd gradually absorb what that silence signified, filling the silence in their own imaginations with the screams of terror that must have accompanied the gun shots. Many wept. “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job,” she said before leaving the stage. “One final plug: Get out there and vote.” The Parkland students 20-state summer bus tour, March For Our Lives: Road To Change, stopped in NRA-loving towns to have civil conversations with gun-lovers, noting that they do not want to take away guns, but create common sense regulations to prevent gun violence. The tour hit Los Angeles County on July 17 and included a meeting LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who pledged to work with high schools and colleges for a voter registration drive on Sept. 25. But the town hall at the California African American Museum on July 19 illuminated another aspect of Emma González. The

Parkland students served as a draw but they also shared their platform with coalition partners and expanded the discussion to guns used during domestic violence, suicide and police shootings. And Emma González listened. When a question was asked of the panel, she reached for the microphone, paused, and then deferred to the community panelist. It was as if González and the Parkland students were modeling a different approach to public encounters: be authentic, have facts in hand, truly listen to the other person, and reply as a “human person.” González talked about coping and their intention to connect. “I’m a mess and I’m messy,” she said in an interview after the panel. “I’m very, very bad at organizing myself…We do eat whenever we get to restaurants. But we don’t think about eating as much, especially because the topics we’re talking about kinda take appetites away and like sadness fills your stomach more than food can. But then you smell food and you’re like rrrr I need that. “It’s hard to get enough food in the day and hard to get enough sleep at night,” González said, “because we have like 19hour workdays, essentially. And we ride the bus. We ride the bus a lot and it’s easy to sleep on the bus but it’s not a full night’s sleep, you know what I mean? It’s choppy and blocked up.” Meeting with people who have faced gun violence is “an incredible experience” but “it’s hard and it’s sad to know that so many people are affected by gun violence. And of course we knew that they were. But hearing it is a whole different experience. “We share our experiences as they share theirs—but it’s also incredibly healing to know that you’re not alone,” González said. “That’s the number one rule after you lose someone is go to somebody else, go to the people around you, be with the people that you love. And as you can see in ‘Big Hero 6,’ that doesn’t always happen. A lot of people push away the people around them because they feel like they’re alone. “In our case, all we could do was be with the people around us because they were the only people who knew what we had gone through,” she said. “I wanted to be around my family because I knew that they wanted me to be with them and they wanted to know that I was safe and they wanted to hold onto me like that. But I wanted to be with the


people at my school who had experienced that. I wanted to be with my friend who had sat next to me the whole time. It’s a different sort of connection and because of that, it’s easier for us to connect with the people around the country because we know, we’ve all experienced the same thing.” González noted that LGBT people are heavily involved in the March For Our Lives movement. “A lot of the people in our organization are LGBT+ so we bring it up in discussions and we make sure that people in the LGBT community are present in discussions,” she said. “I do believe, personally, that like we have brought those topics to light in conversation [but] the solutions that we have will directly affect and support the LGBT community.” González said she feels like she’s been threatened “generally,” as much as in the context of conservative verbal attacks on the Parkland survivors. “Anything is up for grabs to anybody around, ya know?” she said. “Like I’m a female. I’m a short female. I live in Florida. I’m Cuban and I have family members that live with me. I have survived a school shooting and I speak out politically and I’m bisexual—and all of these things are not desirable things to the people who are in power and especially the people who are getting money from other people who are in power. “But I’m an 18-year-old girl, at the end of the day,” González said. “I’m a human person and so are the people that I work with. And a lot of times, we either get put on a pedestal or we get treated like we’re untouchable, like we’re not human, we’re undefeatable. But a bullet could take down any of us just as much as anybody else. And it’s statistically more likely to happen nowadays. “But I mean, like we’re all the same and we all have the same amount of potential,” she said. “Anybody could have done what I had done. I didn’t even know what I was doing at the time. I looked back and saw what had happened. I did not think forward at all. None of that was like an intentional kaboom that had happened, it just did.” Most importantly: “Get out and vote. If you can’t vote then register other people to vote. Get people to the polls, make sure that people who need to vote, can vote,” González said, adding a plug for their merchandise. “Buy the shirts on our website because they can register people to vote. Electronics are lovely, lovely.”



Congressional candidates pitch Stonewall Hopefuls need grassroots support to win in heavily GOP districts By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Democrats have been debating whether congressional candidates should campaign on anti-Donald Trump sentiments or on local issues, arguing that Republican incumbents are out of touch with the voters they were elected to represent. The Trump avenue is tempting given the president’s penchant for secrecy, narcissism, blatant lying and his increasingly erratic and contradictory tweets and actions. But as Harley Rouda, candidate for California’s 48 District, explained at a July 23 Stonewall Democratic Club meeting in West Hollywood, it’s not either-or messaging— Trump or local issues. They are intertwined. But the LGBT community is anxious, watching the former Reality TV star rollback or erase rules, regulations, executive orders and laws that marked progress toward full equality under President Barack Obama. Trump appears to consider California an enemy, too, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke California’s Clear Air Act waiver. California’s fighting back, including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joining the Equality California lawsuit challenging Trump’s transgender servicemember ban, first unsuccessfully tried as a law introduced by Republicans Reps. Duncan Hunter and Vicky Hartzler. Stonewall Democrats cheered as the six introduced themselves and asked for help of the packed crowd at the West Hollywood auditorium. Everyone seemed keenly aware of the responsibility these candidates are shouldering as the key to Democrats flipping GOP seats, retaking the House of Representatives and putting an accountability check on Trump. Democrats need to win 218 seats in November for a House majority. There was nothing uppity about these candidates. It was as if they were giving a briefing to friends—indeed, law professor Katie Porter opened a huge spiral notebook but referred to it only once. Each candidate noted the obstacles to winning

Democratic candidates: Harley Rouda, Katie Hill, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Stonewall’s Jane Wishon, Mike Levin, Katie Porter, Gil Cisneros at Stonewall Democratic Club, West Hollywood, July 23, 2018 Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

but also shared their optimism at the real opportunity for change. “The main issue I’m running on is having real representative government—people who are not accountable to special interest groups, to corporations and lobbyists and the party but people who are really going to represent their districts and get things done,” says Katie Hill, 30, the married bisexual former executive director for PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) who was empowered to run by the Women’s March. Hill is running to unseat Steve Knight in the 25th congressional district who, she tells the Los Angeles Blade, is loyal to corporate donors, the National Rifle Association, the Koch brothers and Trump buddy Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield who hopes to be the next House Speaker. “When McCarthy tells Steve Knight how to vote, he votes that way because he’s dependent upon that for reelection,” says Hill. Steve Knight “has one of the worst track records on people from the LGBTQ

community, as well as women and anyone who’s not had a voice, typically,” says Hill. “But I think this is an exciting opportunity— as someone who identifies as bisexual, who is hopefully going to unseat someone who has his own personal track record of voting against our community—but his dad pushed for Prop 22. That eventually led to marriage equality by getting that shut down and Prop 8 shut down. I think we can show that we’re changing this around—that someone like me is the new face of representation.” The five other candidates who addressed Stonewall were: • Navy veteran Gil Cisneros vying for Ed Royce’s open seat against Royce’s handpicked successor, former Assemblymember Young Kim in the CA39 district; • Progressive UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter taking on low-key loyal Trumpite Mimi Walters for the CA45 district; • Businessman Harley Rouda working to unseat “Putin’s favorite congressman,”

longtime anti-LGBT hater Dana Rohrabacher in the CA48 district; • Attorney Mike Levin running against Republican state tax board chair Diane Harkey for Darrell Issa’s open seat in the CA49 district; • and Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official in the Obama administration, taking on ethically and legally troubled Duncan Hunter, an enthusiastic opponent of LGBT equality in the CA50 district. Each of the candidates pledged to sign onto the Equality Act on day one, as well as talk about LGBT issues during their campaigns. But first they have to get elected with the help and vital enthusiasm of grassroots volunteers and donors. They realistically noted that they are vying in reliably Republican districts and need strong turnout from Democrats and No-party-preference voters. “No-partypreference” now outranks Republicans in California voter registration and accounts for


Katie Hill pictured with West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman.

Ammar Campa-Najjar

Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

about a quarter of voters in these contested congressional districts, according to Politico. But Democrats just got some good news. On July 24, respected University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball poll shifted 17 House races in favor of Democrats, with several vulnerable Republican races moving from “likely Republican” to “toss-up,” according to The Hill. As of July 25, Real Clear Politics (RCP) lists seven generic congressional polls that all showed Democrats up by 6 to 12 points. In California, CA10 ( Jeff Denham vs businessman Josh Harder) is considered a toss-up, as are races in CA25, CA39, CA45, and CA48. RCP has CA49, Levin’s race, as “Leans Democrat.” CA50, Campa-Najjar v Hunter, and CA21 (David Valadao vs businessman TJ Cox, “Leans GOP.” CA22, Devin Nunes v county prosecutor Andrew Janz right now is “Likely GOP.” But Nunes is being roundly scolded for colluding with Trump over the Russian investigation, while reports have

surfaced of him spending $15,000 of political donations for Celtics tickets and $5,000 for private jet travel. Meanwhile Valadao is trying to cope with Trump’s tariffs hurting his agricultural district. A July 17 nonpartisan poll by Monmouth University specifically spells good news for Rouda in the CA48, giving him a slight 46%-43% edge over Rohrabacher. “At this early stage of the race, Rouda has more widespread support among his fellow Democrats (95% to 2% for the incumbent) than Rohrabacher has among Republicans (85% to 5% for the challenger). Independents prefer Rouda (49%) over Rohrabacher (31%) by a wide margin,” Monmouth reports. But there’s a caveat. Rohrabacher pulls his decades of support from conservative white Republican voters who did not graduate from college, just under one-third of the electorate in that district, according the Los Angeles Times. Rouda’s supporters are women, voters younger than 50 and non-

whites, who also make up about one-third of the district’s electorate. But “just over half the nonwhite voters in the poll said they were following the congressional race ‘not too closely at all,’” The Times reported. At the Stonewall meeting, Rouda underscored the importance of every vote, noting that he won his primary against Hans Keistead by 125 votes! Porter noted that the Republicans incumbents are vulnerable because they finally have good challengers—but the challengers are not known. She told a story about addressing a candidate forum and explaining why she would better represent than Mimi Walters. “And someone yelled from the back: ‘Why are you running against Maxine Waters?’” The story illustrated, she said, the dire need for voter education. While all the races are important to the LGBT community, one win would be especially savory—“Trump’s worst nightmare,” as Ammar Campa-Najjar


describes himself, trouncing Duncan Hunter. It’s a steep climb since the conservative district apparently doesn’t care that Hunter is under investigation by the FBI for use of campaign funds for personal expenses—which he has paid back. But Campa-Najjar is looking at voter outreach as an opportunity for commonality. “I think if you come from an underrepresented community, you care that there’s an assault on our values and our way of life,” Campa-Najjar told the LA Blade. “Personally, I have a stepsister who is LGBTQ and our stepfather is a Trump supporter. So we’ve seen how Donald Trump has really enabled the worst of the worst to come out of people. And right now it’s really about bringing people back together again. Whether you’re Latino or Middle Eastern or LGBTQ or maybe both – or all three – it’s a really defining time for our country. We have to stand for our values. An assault on any one of us is an assault on all of us.”


QUOTES “This is something that the intersex community has been pushing for for probably 25 years.”

- Hans Lindahl, communications director for the intersex non-profit interact about State Sen. Scott Wiener’s SCR-110 — a resolution to acknowledge and celebrate intersex people.

“It speaks to what it means to say that our bugs and our viruses, the things that make us different, are attributes, they’re features. We don’t need to be reprogramed or deprogramed. We’re fine how we are. We,too, are Americans.” – Out actress/singer Janelle Monáe on Stephen Colbert’s TV show about her new album “Dirty Computer.”

“On ‘Pose’ we almost take for granted that we go to set everyday and there are trans people in front of the camera and behind the camera, creating a world in which trans women of color are centered in this way. And that’s a rare gift.” – Trans writer/producer Janet Mock to The Wrap on the breakthrough FX drama “Pose.”

Photos Courtesy Facebook

“They’re A+ neighbors. They’re always engaged. Always people you could go knock on their door, call them. Email them. Just the most wonderful people,” a shocked David Rankell told KCBS2 about his gay Sherman Oaks neighbors, Tom Boulet and Ken Coll. The couple was found in the early morning of July 24 with multiple stab wounds. They were rushed to a hospital where they are in critical condition but stable condition after surgery. They are expected to survive. The couple’s adopted 21-year-old son Matthew Boulet was arrested outside their home where he allegedly calmly confessed to stabbing his fathers with a pocket knife after an argument, according to LAPD investigators. Boulet was home from college for summer vacation. “Whatever happened with Matthew going over the edge like that -- that it’s all going to be rectified in some way where everyone will heal,” neighbor Florence Riggs told KABC7. “Tom and Ken have been very significant on our block, great models of parenthood.” LAPD Lt. Mike Kozak told reporters that authorities are looking into whether Matthew Boulet may have mental illness issues. “He was very nonchalant when he said he had stabbed his two fathers and that he suffered a wound while doing so,” Kozak said. “He was very calm about it.” Later LAPD officers walked the couple’s two dogs, who had been cooped up inside the house since the early morning. Neighbors are apparently looking after the dogs as the couple recuperates. The son is expected to be charged with attempted murder.


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Ruling could give Supreme Court crack at trans military ban Trump admin barred from enforcing discriminatory policy By CHRIS JOHNSON A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its decision to keep in place an injunction barring the Trump administration from enforcing its transgender military ban, setting the stage for an initial review of the policy at the U.S. Supreme Court before U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy steps down. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied last week the U.S. Justice Department’s request to dissolve a preliminary injunction against the ban, which the administration made in the aftermath of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ report justifying President Trump’s policy The Ninth Circuit had previously denied the Trump administration’s request to dissolve the injunction instituted by U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, but the Justice Department made another attempt after Mattis delivered his report to Trump in May. The administration has maintained Mattis’ recommendations justify the transgender military ban, although transgender advocates say the recommendation is filled with junk science. But in a two-page decision, a threejudge panel on the Ninth Circuit rebuffed the Trump administration’s request to dissolve the stay, determining a reversal of the injunction would alter the status quo as litigation against the ban proceeds through the courts. “The district court’s December 11, 2017 preliminary injunction preserves the status quo, allowing transgender service members to serve in the military in their preferred gender and receive transition-related care,” the decision says. “Appellants ask this court to stay the preliminary injunction, pending the outcome of this appeal, in order to implement a new policy. Accordingly, a stay of the preliminary injunction would upend, rather than preserve, the status quo.” LGBT rights groups that filed the lawsuit hailed the decision as an affirmation of transgender people serving in the military and as a blow to the Trump administration. The ruling marked the second time the Ninth Circuit rebuffed the administration

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted, ‘In a win for Americans & our #LGBTQ community nationwide, once again, #Trump’s regressive ban on #transgender people in the #military was rejected.’

on the transgender military service ban, leaving the tally of eight rulings from six courts in favor of halting the policy. The lawsuit, Karnoski v. Trump, was filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN on behalf of nine transgender people – six current service members and three wishing to serve – as well as three organizational plaintiffs: the Human Rights Campaign, the Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association. Sarah McBride, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said as a result of the decision “another court has held off Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s desperate attempts to impose their extreme antiLGBTQ agenda on the U.S. military.” “After a string of victories for transgender troops and enlistees at the district court level, this appeals court ruling reinforces that there is simply no need or legitimate reason to bar capable and willing transgender Americans from serving their country,” McBride added. But the ruling from the Ninth Circuit presents the Trump administration with an opportunity — yet again — to take up the issue with the Supreme Court. The Justice Department could file a request to stay the injunction with Kennedy, who’s responsible for issuing stays on

decisions from the Ninth Circuit. Kennedy could decide the matter himself, but would likely refer the matter to the entire court for a determination. Although Kennedy has signaled he’ll retire from the court, his departure won’t happen until the end of this month, which means he’d have an opportunity to weigh in on the matter before stepping down. It will potentially be his last decision from the bench and his last LGBT case after writing the decisions in four milestone gay rights cases after 30 years on the court. Jon Davidson, chief counsel at Freedom for All Americans, said if the Justice Department were to file a stay request before the Supreme Court, the administration “likely will file such a motion before the end of this week.” “I think that, assuming the Court considers any such stay request before July 31st, Justice Kennedy might well join Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan in denying the request (which would mean a stay request would be denied), based on his views about the harms of the government denying individuals ‘equal dignity’ and because the Karnoski case is just one of four in which district courts have enjoined the transgender military ban,” Davidson said. “If the court does not consider a stay request until August,

it may be hard for DOJ to get five votes in favor of a stay (which would require at least one of Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor or Kagan to vote in favor of a stay).” If the Justice Department were to ask the Supreme Court for a stay, it would be a reversal of its earlier position on litigation against the transgender military ban. After the Ninth Circuit’s earlier rebuff last year of the administration on the policy, the Justice Department declared in December it wouldn’t go to the Supreme Court right away, but “wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the president’s and secretary of defense’s lawful authority in district court in the meantime.” Things have changed now because the Pentagon study the Justice Department expected has come out. Nonetheless, the Trump administration is staying mum on its plans. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment in response to the Washington Blade’s question on whether the administration would file a stay request before the Supreme Court. Peter Renn, senior attorney with the Western Regional Office at Lambda Legal, affirmed the Trump administration “could seek a stay of the preliminary injunction” with the Supreme Court, but said chances for a stay are low. “If the government does seek a stay, and the request is referred to the full Supreme Court, it is unlikely that a majority of the Supreme Court would allow the government to immediately enforce its discriminatory plan,” Renn said. “If there is a vote on a stay by the end of this month, it is difficult to imagine that Justice Kennedy will want to cap off his tenure on the court by allowing the military to toss aside transgender people, and their sacrifices for our country, as if they were disposable.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded via two tweets last week: “In a win for Americans & our #LGBTQ community nationwide, once again, #Trump’s regressive ban on #transgender people in the #military was rejected. We previously joined a brief continuing to challenge the #Trump Admin in this case….. CA continues to stand up against the #TransMilitaryBan as a plaintiff in a separate case in CA. In that case, we obtained a nationwide injunction where the court ruled that the ban is discriminatory & unlawful.”



Israelis strike to protest anti-gay surrogacy law 100,000 demonstrators block roads in Tel Aviv By CHRISTOPHER KANE An estimated 100,000 Israelis took to the streets in protest on Sunday, July 22, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration blocked an amendment to a law that would have extended surrogacy rights to same-sex couples. The law allows single women to have children through surrogates via the national healthcare plan— but the exclusion of gay men was greeted with outrage from Israel’s LGBT community. Netanyahu initially signaled his support for the amendment on July 16, but reversed course two days later, reportedly under pressure from Orthodox Jewish coalition partners who oppose any legislation that condones homosexuality. Israel has increasingly supported LGBT rights, but the ultra-Orthodox contingent still holds considerable power. Out lesbian Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood and immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, told the Los Angeles Blade: “Time and again, those of us who are to the center and to the left are constantly fighting against the encroaching right-wing Orthodox power. These are fundamentalist Jewish parties. They are reading their Bible—their Torah— with a strict and narrow viewpoint.” Eger believes Netanyahu is perhaps not personally anti-LGBTQ, but rather may be siding against Israel’s LGBTQ communities because it is politically expedient. On Sunday, the beginning of Israel’s work week, gay rights groups called a strike with the support of major companies and the national labor movement. Protests clogged the streets leading to Tel Aviv, whose City Hall was illuminated by the Star of David and colors of the rainbow. Straight allies joined the LGBT demonstrators, in many cases to voice their opposition to other recently enacted conservative policies. Among its other provisions, the widelycriticized “nation state” bill that was recently passed by Israel’s Parliament, removes Arabic from the official languages, alongside Hebrew, that are recognized in the country. “Those of us who are connected to Israel,”

Gay rights groups called a strike on Sunday in Israel with the support of major companies and the national labor movement. Photo Courtesy Facebook

Eger said, “and are Zionists, as I am, are appalled at the ‘nation state’ bill.” Another incendiary development happened on Friday, July 20, Eger said, when an Orthodox rabbinist called the police to arrest a conservative rabbi for performing a commitment ceremony (of opposite-sex partners). In Israel, where civil marriage does not exist, only imams, priests, and Orthodox rabbis are permitted to ordain weddings and funerals. “The interests of the national religious and ultra-Orthodox factions, pose a significant threat to Israeli democracy and push us far from democracy in the direction of theocracy, as witnessed by the interrogation of a Conservative Rabbi for the absurd transgression of performing a wedding ceremony,” wrote leading Reform Rabbi Meir Azari in an email to members of a progressive Jewish organization. Reaction to Friday’s arrest coalesced with opposition to the “nation state” legislation and outrage against Netanyahu’s volte-face on including gay men in the surrogacy law. Considering that Israel’s total population is roughly equivalent to Virginia’s, the number of protestors who turned out Sunday in cities from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beersheba is remarkable, Eger said. “It’s a wonderful, important, and incredible exercise of democracy.”

The demonstrators are impassioned, as the subject of family planning is deeply personal, and the exclusion of same-sex couples will, in many cases, force gay men to travel outside the country to find surrogates. Many say the process can cost upward of $100,000. “Look me in the eyes and tell me I don’t deserve to be a father,” a protestor shouted near Netanyahu’s residence before he was detained by Israeli police, which has arrested and released three people so far in protests in Jerusalem, according to The Times of Israel. “Both reform and conservative Jews here in America have supported the protests of the LGBTQ community [in Israel],” Eger said. And LGBTQ people are completely integrated in Israeli society, she explained. “There’s no division; no dividing line.” Several of the country’s major gay rights groups have circulated petitions on social media that call for supporters to join what they call the Global Strike for LGBTQ Rights in Israel. At the same time, Havruta, an Israeli LGBT organization of religiouslyinclined Jewish people—which aims to promote tolerance and understanding in the Orthodox community—shared a post on Facebook that reads, in part, “I do not know what a right to parenthood is. I do not think that surrogacy for same-sex couples is a cause for celebration, but I know that

we have the strength to heal this rift, and therefore we must heal it…I have no intention of striking Sunday.” Members of Havruta feel that intimate behavior between people of the same sex is immoral. “There are always people who are LGBTQ Jews who struggle because they came from or live in the Orthodox world,” Eger explained. “These people are far, far right in the religious world.” She compared these groups to movements in Catholicism that preach acceptance of LGBTQ congregants while maintaining that same-sex behavior is verboten. “ They are struggling,” Eger said, “because they want to stay in that very far-right world and they’re struggling with their homosexuality.” By contrast, “The majority of the LGBTQ organizations in Israel work to try to help LGBTQ people be proud of who they are and live full, healthy lives— including in their intimate lives.” The American Jewish Committee endorsed the strike. But major Jewish and LGBT organizations based in the United States, including the Human Rights Campaign, have not yet issued statements on social media that concern the protests in Israel. Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke before the Christians United for Israel in Washington, DC and apparently did not mention the strike.



Cuba approves new constitution with marriage equality Cuban lawmakers this week unanimously approved a new constitution that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The vote took place after Mariela Castro — the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who directs the country’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) — and other members of the Cuban National Assembly spoke in favor of a proposed amendment that would define marriage as a “voluntary union into which two people who are legally eligible can enter.” Activists who work independently of CENESEX in recent years launched campaigns in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples on the Communist island. Five Evangelical church groups last month publicly expressed their opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians. Cuba would become the first Caribbean country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples if the new constitution is approved in a referendum that is expected to take place later this year. Sunday’s vote took place nearly six decades after gay men were among those who were sent to labor camps, known by the Spanish acronym UMAP, following the 1959 revolution that brought Mariela Castro’s uncle, Fidel Castro, to power. The Cuban government until 1993 forcibly quarantined people with HIV/AIDS in staterun sanitaria. Fidel Castro in 2010 apologized for the work camps during an interview with a Mexican newspaper. Cuba since 2008 has offered free sex-reassignment surgeries through its national health care system, although only a few dozen people have been able to receive them. Mariela Castro, who is a member of the National Assembly, and CENESEX since that year have organized a series of events across the country each year that commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. A three-judge panel in Havana last October granted Violeta Cardoso custody of her late daughter’s three young children who she is raising with her partner of 32 years, Isabel Pacheco. The ruling is believed to be the first time the Cuban government has legally recognized a same-sex couple. Independent LGBTI activists with whom the Washington Blade regularly speak say they continue to face discrimination and even arrest if they publicly criticize the Cuban government. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Trans Puerto Ricans can change gender on birth certificates Transgender people in Puerto Rico are now able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. A federal judge in March ruled the U.S. commonwealth’s previous policy — a 2005 decree from the Puerto Rico Supreme Court that said trans people could not amend the gender marker on their birth certificates — was unconstitutional. The ruling took effect on July 17. Local media reports indicate several trans Puerto Ricans have already changed the gender marker on their birth certificates. “They can change their gender on (their) birth certificates after years of struggle,” tweeted Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, on July 18. Lambda Legal in April 2017 filed a lawsuit against the previous policy on behalf of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and three trans Puerto Ricans. Daniela Arroyo-González, who is one of the plaintiffs, in a Lambda Legal press release said it “is a huge relief to finally have an accurate birth certificate that is a true reflection of who I am.” She added the new policy “makes me feel safer and like my country finally recognizes me.” “Birth certificates are more than a piece paper,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar González-Pagan. “For transgender people, it’s a life-changing and essential tool to access necessary services, travel, work and live with safety and dignity.” “We are pleased to see the Puerto Rican government comply with their constitutional duty to respect the privacy, dignity, and liberty of transgender Puerto Ricans,” added González-Pagan. The new birth certificate policy took effect nearly 10 months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Prince Harry and Elton John discussing the AIDS 2018 Plenary Session. Photo Courtesy Twitter

Prince Harry, Elton John launch coalition to fight HIV Prince Harry and Elton John are collaborating on a new effort to raise HIV awareness in men. The Duke of Sussex and the singer appeared together at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday to announce the launch of the MenStar coalition which was founded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Unitaid, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences. Kensington Palace announced that the MenStar coalition, “will expand the diagnoses and treatment of HIV infections in men, with the aim of ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.” The coalition will also “support innovative approaches in delivering effective HIV/AIDS services for men, increasing earlier uptake of testing, treatment, and achievement of viral suppression.” According to People, the coalition’s first initiative is an HIV self-testing campaign for young men in Kenya. On stage, Harry praised John for his dedication to servicing communities in need. “I am honored to be sharing the stage with someone who has always put people at the center of his work, Sir Elton John,” Harry said of John. “For over a quarter-century, Elton has worked tirelessly to fund research and services in communities around the world. And today, he has come to Amsterdam to announce his latest endeavor, a billion-dollar global partnership to break the cycle of male transmission of HIV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.” In his own speech, John emphasized the importance of HIV awareness/outreach for men. “We cannot solve the whole problem if we’re only addressing half the situation,” John said. “If we want to win this fight, if we want to end AIDS once and for all, we must make men part of the solution.” Harry is continuing Princess Diana’s legacy of fighting HIV/AIDS. She opened the first HIV/ AIDS unit in a London hospital in 1987 and also famously shook the hand of an AIDS patient without gloves. John, who was a close friend to Diana, has remained close friends to the royal family. In addition to performing at Diana’s funeral, he also recently performed at Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle. MARIAH COOPER



Combating the ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy How to help reunite children and their parents

Tai Sunnonon is founder and CEO of the Strategic Insights Group.

May 6, 2018, was a normal Sunday for me. Until I turned on the news and heard about the White House’s “Zero-Tolerance” immigration policy—having children stripped from their parents’ arms, even those seeking asylum, as a deterrent for immigrants crossing the U.S. Southern borders illegally. It was a crass and cruel political move with no plan, no thought given to how to reunite detained parents with children scattered to mini-jail-like facilities around the country. Border agents didn’t even put numbered wristbands on parents and children to match them up later. For the next several weeks, I experienced dismay, frustration, anger and disappointment. The latter was the hardest. As the Founder and CEO of the Strategic Insights Group, a missiondriven, social justice consulting firm in Los Angeles, I simply knew that I had to act. But how? Let’s put President Trump and politics aside for one moment. Any rational person can agree that forcibly separating children from their parents is a bad idea. If we can agree on that premise, then we can agree that reuniting them in a safe, timely manner is our goal. Now, let’s bring back Trump. Let me be crystal clear that Trump made this Executive Order to prosecute all illegal entries, vis-à-vis the separation of children from their parents. There is no law that mandates this practice. Let me also be clear that this practice occurred under Obama’s Administration, though not to the degree and magnitude that we see now. Since May 6, approximately 3,000 children

have been taken from their parents along the Mexican border with the US, primarily in Texas. 103 of those children are under the age of 5. Many of these families crossing the border are seeking asylum. They fled legitimate problems that we do not face in this country. Women are fleeing domestic violence in countries where wives are essentially seen as the property of their husbands. Mothers are fleeing gangs attempting to recruit their children, with dire or deadly consequences if they do not join. Fathers and young men cannot find work throughout Central America. LGBT persons are fleeing deadly persecution. They are all coming for the American Dream– because that’s what we sold the world on. So, how did I get a handle on the crisis to help reunite families? 1. Learn the truth. 2. Provide tangible ways for other people to help. Unfortunately, the July 26 federal court deadline to reunite all families was never realistic, despite the government having once told Congress that reunification would be as easy as pushing a computer button. The strategic insights group was in McAllen, Texas—focal town for family reunifications—from June 27 to July 2, seeking answers and a pathway forward. We encountered numerous problems: Lack of attorneys and paralegals. Attorneys are needed for children and for parents. In some cases, there is 1 attorney for 20 families. That means that during court hearings, the attorney gets about 3-minutes per family. Weak reunification system. The children who were forcibly taken from their parents were asked to provide their name and date of birth (DOB) at the detention center. If they were too young to know or provided the wrong DOB by mistake, the detention center cannot release the child. Missing parents. The government either deported parents or put them in detention centers, giving them several choices without properly advising them of what those choices entailed. At one point, the government told parents they would have to pay to have their children returned. That proposal was quickly rescinded after an outcry. But locating parents will take time. Deficient coordinating strategy. There is little to no coordination with Homeland Security or among the federal detention centers, youth centers and nonprofit community organizations

working tirelessly to reunite families. As bleak as the crisis is, there are ways individuals can help. First, learn more about the crisis and how to help by following the news and attending community forums. It is imperative as a citizen that you know what the government is doing in your name. Second, give. There are several organizations working with boots on the ground in various capacities along the border states. Here are three we recommend: LUPE | La Unión del Pueblo Entero | Supports members of low-income communities to be self-empowered and to advocate for issues that impact their lives. LUPE was founded by César Chávez and has been working in the border communities for decades. With nearly 50 staff members, they have intimate knowledge and capacity to help reunify families. https:// lupenet.org/ | https://www.facebook.com/ LUPErgv/ ACLU TX | American Civil Liberties Union | Works to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people by the Constitution https://www.aclutx.org/ Las Americas | Provides legal needs for lowincome immigrants http://las-americas.org/ | https://www. facebook.com/lasamericasIAC/ It should go without saying that voting in November will matter in getting the right local, state and federal people in office who care about human rights. But there are still people who think these human rights issues don’t involve them. If you’re reading this—you care. So can you ask 3 of your friends to care and vote, too? This is a call to action like no other. It’s shameful that the Trump administration is closing the doors on people fleeing harshness and cruelty. Let’s get these families reunited! And let’s vote for candidates that believe in human rights this November 6! Come learn more about this dire situation and how you can help at a free event sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and hosted by the strategic insights group—on Tuesday, July 31 from 7 to 8:30pm at West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. https://www. weho.org/Home/Components/Calendar/ Event/17748/15

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Treason. Treason. Treason. An indispensable weapon in our battle to regain democracy

Gabriel S. Hudson, Ph.D., teaches at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education and The Schar School of Policy and Government. He is the author of ‘Christodemocracy and the Alternative Democratic Theory of America’s Christian Right.’ (Photo by Oliver Lawrence)

We live in bizarre times. A democratic norm is violated weekly. Today’s scandal detracts from yesterday’s outrage. Immigrant children are still separated from their parents but we moved on to President Trump insulting our allies in NATO. That horror was eclipsed by the disastrous summit with Russian President Putin in Helsinki. That outrage was crowded out by Trump threatening war with Iran via Twitter and the Environmental Protection Agency threatening to revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver. It’s hard to keep up, and it’s even more difficult to effectively counter because we are always absorbing the shock and reacting after the fact. Now, it looks like the president has provided aid and comfort to an enemy. On foreign soil, Trump openly rebuked the

unanimous findings of our intelligence community to defend a hostile foreign power that flagrantly attacked our elections and is continuing disruptions for the November midterms. There’s a term for that and it’s important that we use it: Treason. The steady stream of news reporting suggests the President is in real legal jeopardy. Though we cannot know exactly what conclusions Special Counsel Robert Mueller will reach in his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, we can predict with near certitude that about half the country will reject his findings outright, regardless of the strength of the evidence. We know there is a battle coming and we need to be strategically preemptive in our messaging. Often a political loss can teach us about strategy. I remember watching election results in 2008. Everyone cheered watching Barack Obama’s presidential victory. I also remember anxiously watching the results for Prop 8—the initiative that stripped away same-sex marriage rights in California. After we stopped reeling, we picked through the Prop 8 rubble to look at what had gone wrong. Political consultant Frank Shubert, who successfully led the ProtectMarriage.com campaign, built out from their anti-gay religious base to project a fear of what might happen if same-sex marriage remained law. Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, pounded that message daily, regardless of how many facts and figures and experts said they were wrong and lying. The lesson of the Prop 8 battle was to get ahead of the adversary’s messaging. Don’t merely respond; direct the debate. Democrats are now debating whether to even discuss impeachment. Only two

presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, but they were both acquitted by the Senate. Richard M. Nixon resigned before the House could vote. Despite presidential incompetency and criminal behavior, impeachment has generally been considered a bridge too far. Now it’s not far enough. Both the Constitution and Title 18 of the U.S. Code provide a vague characterization of the term “treason” without precise criteria for what counts as treason. But both have strong antecedents in law and constitutional interpretation, if treason wasn’t automatically off the table in “what if” debates. Here, NOM’s Brian Brown may inadvertently be useful. Brown now also heads the World Congress of Families, part of a wave of U.S. evangelical leaders, including Trump friend Franklin Graham, who laud Putin and Russia for their anti-gay laws. Gay Republican Fred Karger, a former GOP presidential contender, contends that Brown’s activism against LGBTQ people before the Russia Duma and in concert with Russian officials may have violated the Logan Act, a federal law that prohibits unauthorized citizens from collaborating with foreign governments. No one cared. But now there are questions about whether Trump’s most adamant supporters violated the Logan Act by collaborating with Russia to ultimately benefit Trump, if not at his behest. Was their secret collaboration with a hostile foreign power treasonous? At some point, the Supreme Court will likely weigh in on the Russian investigation. With a conservative majority nearly certain, it is essential that we develop a plain-text, originalist, Scalia-esque interpretation of the Constitution to prepare for battle. The wording of Article 2, Sect. 4 provides that

opportunity: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” It is the precise wording and punctuation that is important for Constitutional interpretation. The use of a singular “Conviction” of Treason—separated by commas—suggests that only the President needs to be convicted to remove his Vice President and Cabinet officers. If Trump is convicted of Treason specifically, a plain text reading of the Constitution strongly suggests the entire crew goes. That also means no President Pence. Even if whipping out the entire administration with one conviction is pure fantasy, pushing for that fantasy is strategically smart. By loudly advocating for elimination of Trump, Pence and the cabinet, merely impeaching the President sounds like a compromise. Hammering the charge of Treason best positions progressives to utilize and maximize Mueller’s findings. It may be a pipe dream to remove the entire team. We have to be proactive; we cannot afford to keep reacting. Treason’s unique usage in the Constitution makes it an indispensable weapon in our battle to regain democracy. We should start using it now. You would not be alone. Former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump’s performance next to Putin “treasonous.” “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous,” Brennan tweeted during the event. “Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Scotty Bowers was in high demand as a Hollywood escort in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Photo Courtesy Greenwich Entertainment

Corroborating Scotty Salacious vintage Hollywood sex claims of 2012 book explored in new doc By JOHN PAUL KING

Scotty Bowers’s name had long been floating around as a sort of urban legend from Hollywood’s golden age when, in 2012, his memoir “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” was published. In the book (co-written by Lionel Friedberg), he claimed to have spent four decades providing sexual services to many of the movie factory’s most famous stars, either personally or by connecting them to other attractive young men or women in his stable of sex workers from whom he says he never took a penny for himself; he just liked “making people happy.” The reaction from most readers was skepticism. Most of the people outed by Bowers were long dead, unable to comment on his claims; on top of that, he never kept written records of any transactions — they were all kept in his head to protect his clients’ privacy. Without such proof, it was reasoned, why should he be believed? For director Matt Tyrnauer — whose documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” hits theaters July 27 — the question is not “why” so much as “why not?” Tyrnauer spent two years filming with Bowers, now in his 90s, and says, without






hesitation, “There’s no question in my mind that he is telling the truth.” “I found literally hundreds of instances of corroboration that prove Scotty did what he said he did and was where he said he was,” he says. “I’ve seen interviews with people who were sex workers at the gas station during that period, who confirmed in person, on camera, everything that Scotty claims; there are letters from the period in which he’s mentioned, testimony from trustworthy people who knew him at the time, the list goes on and on.” One example is shown in the film, when Bowers takes the director to the home of one of his still-living associates from the old days. This now-elderly former hustler gleefully attests to the veracity of Scotty’s claims and pulls out an old book given to him by actor Charles Laughton. Inscribed within is a personal note, signed by Laughton, containing explicit language that leaves little doubt as to the nature of their relationship. There was more, Tyrnauer says, that was not on camera. “He produced an index card which is tantamount to the ‘little black book’ that everyone asks about. Scotty didn’t keep a little black book, but this index card contained about a dozen names of clients, with

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addresses and phone numbers. Among those names was the designer Bill Blass, and there was another name of someone who was still alive who I called and confirmed that he had worked with Scotty.” Bowers ran this operation loosely from the mid-‘40s to the mid-‘80s. It’s perhaps corroborating in some fashion that for some of the A-listers mentioned, this is not the first time their sexuality has been questioned. Spencer Tracy was married and had a family but also had a decades-long relationship with his frequent co-star Katharine Hepburn, who has been posthumously outed by various sources, including a 2006 book by gay biographer William J. Mann. Hepburn and Tracy were two of Bowers’ clients, the “Scotty” movie claims. Bowers claims to have had sex with J. Edgar Hoover — no newbie on the gay speculation list — and arranged liaisons for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the movie claims. One of the strongest arguments for Bowers’s believability is Bowers himself. Even in his 90s, he’s still full of vitality. Imagine his stamina at 30, coupled with the good looks on display in the pictures from his youth, and it’s easy to think that movie stars would want to have sex with him. His personality is also a likely factor. Exceedingly personable and still sharp, in the





Scotty Bowers today at his home in Los Angeles. Photo Courtesy Greenwich Entertainment

film he serves as his own best character witness. It’s not just how he comes off on camera, Tyrnauer says. “What you see is what you get with Scotty. There is no masquerading or pretense. He is who he is, utterly charming.” Even setting aside Tyrnauer’s own discoveries, there’s no shortage of information supporting Bowers’s tale. Plenty of people with long connections to Hollywood history have been willing to vouch, on the record, for its accuracy. Yet many still doubt. Says Tyrnauer, “I don’t blame them, why not question? But why wouldn’t it be true? What I’m getting at in the film, is that these Hollywood myths propagated by the studios are mysteriously enduring, but I don’t think it’s outlandish to think that movie stars had complex sex lives. Why shouldn’t they? Why should we pearl clutch and claim that they didn’t?” It’s here that Tyrnauer gets passionate. “There seems to be a propensity to straight wash Hollywood history. It’s OK to talk about Cary Grant’s romances and his many wives, as long as it’s hetero, but the minute it becomes about his lifelong romance with Randolph Scott, the minute it becomes queer history, it’s suddenly a problem. What’s that about? Why is that permissible? And why should we say that it’s irrelevant?”







He goes on, “I think that Hollywood is one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. Hollywood was the myth factory that set the tone for our point of view about what life is and what life should be. Understanding it is important and part of that comes from recognizing how prominent people involved in the Hollywood story had to navigate sexuality off-screen.” Tyrnauer says even in liberal Hollywood, the overall cultural taboo of gay sex in the’40s and ‘50s has to be considered. “It wasn’t cool to be gay, then,” he says. “These people were vulnerable to ruination if their sexuality was revealed. And there were many people out there who were determined to reveal it, including the LAPD vice squad, which was rabid and fascistic in its persecution of queer people, and was ready to extort movie stars, to collude with the press to shame them and destroy their lives. These stories are all of a piece, and Scotty’s story touches them.” It’s for this reason that “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” spends less time rehashing tales that can be found in Bowers’ book and more time exploring the context in which they took place. It’s also why the film focuses mostly on


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Scotty himself. Though he doesn’t identify as gay — he sees himself as what we would now call “fluid,” is married to a woman and was even at the height of his exploits — he is presented as a seminal figure in the queer history of American culture, a kind of sexual pioneer. Far from being a shady hustler selling a bill of goods for a little attention and a taste of late-life fame, in Tyrnauer’s film he can be seen as a hero. It’s in this role that he garnered the honor of being presented a key to the City of West Hollywood on July 25. “It’s very fitting for Scotty to be honored by the city of West Hollywood,” Tyrnauer says. “He helped build the city as a key figure in the LGBTQ community for decades, who was trusted and revered by many men and women who were, decades ago, victims of repression, marginalization and violence at the hands of the vice squad and other oppressive forces.” For some, though, the reason for the presentation is best expressed in the words of WeHo Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico, who commented, “It’s been said with a wink that Scotty Bowers helped put the ‘wood’ in Hollywood.” For Scotty, who “just wanted to make people happy,” that’s probably the best reason of all.






queery QUENTIN LEE How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? Since I was 19. I kept telling my mom for 10 years until she accepted my sexuality when I was almost 30. Who’s your LGBT hero? Oscar Wilde lived as truthfully and creatively as possible in Victorian England. I have his action doll on my desk to encourage me to be as brilliant as him everyday. What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I have been clubbing since I came out. I loved the Factory and Rasputin, clubs you would dress up for, dance and have loads of fun with friends. Tigerheat on Thursday is that spot now. Multi-racial, multi-sexual and intergenerational.

Photo Courtesy Lee


Since I was twelve, I’ve wanted to have children. I thought I would have to marry a woman but I knew early on I was gay. From high school to my second year of college, I volunteered a lot. I was a camp counselor, volunteered at Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Quebec Society for Disabled Children and as big brother in Berkeley. I wasn’t sure why I wanted to work with kids so much but now, having a 2-year-old son, I realize I was preparing to become a father. I came out during my junior year in college and for a time was not too concerned with having kids, socializing and working on my budding career as a filmmaker. When I first came to Los Angeles for film school, fresh out of graduate school at Yale in mid-90s, a friend donated her eggs to a gay couple that later founded an agency called Growing Generations. As I became an established filmmaker that yearning to be a parent came back and I started seriously thinking about having a kid through surrogacy. I even entertained having a child with a girlfriend but I eventually got scared away when a woman wanted to be my housewife. What a bargain, right? I’d work like a dog to support a woman I wasn’t romantic with and raise a child jointly. It didn’t take a genius producer to figure out what a bad deal it was. When I finally decided to have a kid before it was too late, I went to meet with my friend at Growing Generations who showed me a photo of their surrogate daughter, now a young woman attending Yale. I was sold immediately. And so in 2015, I took the plunge and signed up. Within three months, I got a surrogate match. A year and a half later, before I could even properly say farewell to my single and carefree life, my son was born in Ohio. I decided to make Gay Hollywood Dad as a documentary witness to our journey and gift to my son that no one can take away. I look forward to Casper being my muse and live a new life through his beautiful brown eyes.

Describe your dream wedding. I hate weddings. I did a brief stint as a wedding videographer and hated other people’s weddings, self-indulgent and boring. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Fighting for equality for Asians in America of course. What historical outcome would you change? Nothing. I believe Trump, like Hitler, is a historical necessity. I voted for Hillary, but I also accept and support Trump as my president. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to criticize and bitch about him. But I accept the outcome of a democracy… and that of history. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? I have to say it was the movie version of Goonies.I would love to see the deleted scenes with the octopus. On what do you insist? Freedom of speech and democracy. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? About particles traveling faster than the speed of light, “Yeh that’s how we can travel through a black hole maybe?” If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“Dress Like a Boy.” I wrote it during my depressing year being a graduate student at Yale, missing my bisexual and non-monogamous ex-boyfriend at Berkeley (fiction). If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Nothing because I have really enjoyed being a gay and Asian man. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? My mind and psychology is already something beyond the physical / material world. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Be yourself and push the agenda you’re passionate about. What would you walk across hot coals for? The well-being of my son, I suppose. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? Homophobic straight acting gays. Get over it! What’s your favorite LGBT movie? Torch Song Trilogy. It was the first gay movie I saw. What’s the most overrated social custom? Thanksgiving. As a Canadian, we also have Thanksgiving in November. What trophy or prize do you most covet? The Nobel Prize in Literature. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That I was sexy. Why Los Angeles? I fell in love with LA as a teenager watching Brian De Palma’s Body Double from the VHS I bought at Akihabara in Tokyo. Los Angeles seemed so beautiful and romantic. So I applied to UCLA for college but UCLA didn’t accept me and I got into Berkeley for undergrad. It took me two more tries to eventually get into UCLA Film School. LA is both chill and dynamic. You can work like a maniac not feel lonely knowing others are working hard too. Yet you can totally blow off work and be a bum and feel good about it.

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Outfest 2018 reflected diversity among LGBTQ filmmakers Closing Night Gala premiered ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ By JOHN PAUL KING

The stars of ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ (L-R: Sasha Lane, Forest Goodluck, Chloë Grace Moretz) introduce the movie’s LA premiere at the Outfest Closing Night Gala. Los Angeles Blade Photo by John Paul King

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Outfest 2018 ended its 10-day run on Sunday, July 22 with a jam-packed turnout gathered at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel to hear the announcement of winners from this year’s festival and watch the Closing Night Gala screening of Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” The festival is an annual tradition among LA’s LGBTQ and film communities. Founded in 1982 by UCLA students, Outfest promotes LGBTQ equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen. It stresses the building of community through the connecting diverse populations through film, where they can discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBTQ lives. For three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, while educating and mentoring hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protecting more than 20,000 LGBTQ films and videos. This year’s installment was true to Outfest’s mission statement, with a particularly strong showing of selections among its screenings of narrative and documentary films, both narrative and short, and its newly-expanded highlighting of queer-centered episodic programming. In addition to the high quality of material this year there was a clear focus of diversity and inclusion, with a record number of projects created by women, trans individuals and people of color. The evening kicked off with actor-comedian Drew Droege, who took the stage to start the awards ceremony. Before announcing the first set of winners, he began with some remarks about the inspirational nature of the Outfest experience and the importance of sharing LGBTQ experience and narratives onscreen – particularly in our current era – and a call to everyone in the audience to participate in that effort. “If you have an idea, make it! If you have a phone in your pocket, you can make a movie,” he said. “Now is our time to tell our stories. We’re in a terrifying world right now. All we can do is just tell our stories, and be seen and see each other. And just fucking take care of each other!” As for the awards themselves, they reflected Outfest’s emphasis on diversity, with the winners representing a wide and balanced mix of identities within the larger LGBTQ (and allied) community. One of the big winners of the night was the film “Man Made,” a documentary profiling MTF trans bodybuilders as they prepare for Atlanta’s “TransFit” competition. The movie took home two prizes, the viewer-voted Audience Award for Best Documentary Award and a Special Programming Award for Inclusion. In his acceptance speech for the first of these, trans director T Cooper said, “As a trans man, I don’t see my story out there very often, and so I took care of these guys’ stories like it was my own story.” He continued, “I just can’t say how grateful I am to Outfest for supporting trans stories like this.” Director Amara Cash, whose film “Daddy Issues” won the Audience Award for Best Narrative First Feature, was gushing when she took the stage – after a lengthy run from her seat in the balcony all the way to the podium – to accept. “I just want to thank Outfest for programming this film – it’s very racy, and fluid, just like me!” She went on to add, “To be accepted by the community has been such a meaningful thing for my life. I’m bisexual, and it’s really hard to figure out what you are, and who you are, and why you are – and for Outfest to embrace me, and embrace this film, it means the world.” Black first-time filmmaker Jamal Sims – already famous as a choreographer for his work with the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature for his film “When the Beat Drops,” which explores and celebrates the world of “bucking.” An electric and subversive underground dance scene and a new form of self-expression, bucking has emerged in the clubs of the Deep South much as voguing exploded from the ballrooms of NYC during the 1980s. Queer activist, author, producer and TV personality Jacob Tobia, when presenting a Grand Jury Special Mention Prize to Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzell for their short film “Happy Birthday, Marsha,” threw in a dig at last year’s documentary “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” – a film which met with controversy when its director, David France, was accused by Gossett of co-opting a trans narrative and blocking her own efforts to bring the trans icon’s story to the screen. “From Netflix documentaries to history books,” he said, “credit has not always been given where credit is due – but Not. Any. More.” Continues at losangelesblade.com


The 49th annual Comic-Con, the world’s biggest comic book and geek culture convention, showcased LGBTQ panels focusing on inclusion in Hollywood, and offered sneak peaks at upcoming gay storylines and inclusive casting news. “Summer is usually one of San Diego’s busiest times, with the Pride Festival and Comic Con happening nearly backto-back and bringing thousands of visitors to the area. No two events bring as much energy, excitement and fun to our city,” Hard Rock Hotel’s Rana Kay told Los Angeles Blade. “Our location across from the Convention Center put us right in the thick of Comic Con. It’s four straight days of parties, celebrities and fans!” These days, there was more gender-fluid cosplay than ever before, with men dressed up as Wonder Woman and women attending Comic Con as Iron Man and Batman. Best of all, no attendee seemed to care that the cosplay doesn’t adhere to traditional male/female roles. “The public awareness of gender versus biological sex, respecting people’s pronouns has impacted our culture in a good way,” said Xander Jeanneret, who was wearing a sticker from Skybound Entertainment, which illustrated the pronouns he wanted to be addressed as. “For the most part, nerds are very accepting people.” There were a number of LGBTQ-related panels, like “Transformation Magic: Transgender Life in Comics from Street Level to the Stratosphere,” which addressed how trans comic creators are creating original content and their financial and creative challenges. Also, there was a panel discussion about the portrayal of queer characters in LGBTQ graphic novels for kids: ie developing authentic stories to comics as a safe space for all identities. “With all these panels, it really seemed like Comic Con welcomes the LGBTQ community with open arms,” said Jeanneret. One of the biggest LGBT casting announcements came from the producers of The CW/Warner Bros. Television’s hit drama, “Supergirl.” The DC Super Hero series will debut TV’s first transgender superShero. Transgender activist Nicole Maines (“Royal Pains,” “The Trans List,” “Becoming Nicole” book) will join the show in the series regular role of Nia Nal, aka Dreamer. In a statement to the press, Nia is described as the newest addition to the CatCo reporting team, “a soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others, Nia’s journey this season means fulfilling her destiny as the superhero Dreamer.” At night there were numerous parties, including Entertainment Weekly’s annual closing night party at FLOAT at the Hard Rock Hotel. The most anticipated party of Comic-Con, this year’s bash featured activations from presenting sponsor HBO, a photo booth from participating sponsor Instagram and tunes from DJ Michelle Pesce. “I love Comic Con for so many reasons; probably the most because it’s an amazing mix of people, with tons of fantastic cosplay and LGBT fans really pushing the envelope on gender-bending fun, both at the show and the events all around the Gaslamp area,” said Rick Rhoades. During the EW party, Nafessa Williams, who stars in “Black Lightning” is the first African American superShero,

talked with Los Angeles Blade about her role. “Representation is important. What I find most rewarding about this role is when young gay black women tell me that after seeing my character onscreen, they feel normal and safe to be out as a lesbian,” Williams said. She added: “That’s my only job as an actor,: to take on jobs that are going to inspire. We gotta be who we are unapologetically.” “Black Lightning” season 2 will premiere on The CW on Oct. 9. Williams is a superShero in real life too. “I have always wanted to fly. I have lived in the West Coast for years, to be able to get there quickly would be great. I think I could help save the world if I could fly. We don’t have a lot of time, and if we can get to people who are in need quicker, then maybe we can solve some issues,” Williams said. During the panel for Netflix’s “Voltron: Legendary Defender” the showrunner, Lauren Montgomery, announced that the lead character will be getting a partner this season. “It’s something that’s been part of his character from the get-go,” added executive producer, Joaquim Dos Santos, who said that the news was delayed due to their strategy of shifting around the character backstories, along with the decision to not kill off Shiro. When a fan asked if Shiro and Adam was gay or bisexual, Dos Santos said: “They’re in a relationship.” The superhero series returns on August 10th. Malcolm Venable, gay senior editor at TV Guide, attended his very first Comic-Con. “It was eye-opening, to say the least. I’m not exaggerating when I say I was changed,” he enthused. “Historically, when it comes to huge events, I have covered -- let’s just call it what it is -- snootier and more exclusive fare like New York Fashion Week, the Grammys and other award shows where the crowd is peacocking and low-key competing with one another for best outfit, best connection to get backstage and so on. And I saw that at Comic-Con, for sure, but I was most struck by the openness, the welcoming atmosphere and the sense of inclusion that felt natural, not forced,” he acknowledged. Venable loved the inclusive vibe. “Everyone was super friendly and respectful; it felt like the black and brown people, women, people with physical disabilities and the LGBTQ people were welcomed with respect, open arms and smiles. I was expecting to spend my days colliding into sweaty nerds but ended up finding a little slice of nirvana where everyone could be themselves,” he noted. “I can’t recall seeing much specifically LGBTQ cosplay, but there was some representation in panels: from ‘Black Lightning’s’ black lesbian character to the news that there might be a queer love triangle on ‘Riverdale.’” “There could be more -- I was actually hoping to see more queer cosplay -- but when I saw a gang of Asian girls dressed as backup dancers from Beyonce’s legendary Coachella performance, I squealed with delight,” he quipped. “It clicked for me: Comic Con is, for fans, a place to celebrate identity, revel in feeling like an outsider and reject conforming, which is the queerest thing ever. I can’t wait to go back!”


San Diego’s Comic-Con brought out the queer stars and superheroes A rainbow of nerds and celebs from every comic media By SUSAN HORNIK

Nafessa Williams, who stars in ‘Black Lightning’ is the first African American superShero. Photo by Jeff Hitchcock / Wikimedia Commons



Seeing White Esteemed gay author comes to life in vivid new memoir By KATHI WOLFE

Image Courtesy of Bloomsbury

Are you turned on by secretly perusing the dictionary? Do you drool with desire over the smell of library books? Probably not, in our Grindr, YouTube, Internet meme age. You likely don’t think reading is sexy or transgressive. But you will after dipping into “The Unpunished Vice” by Edmund White. The word iconic is an overused cliche. Yet, there’s no other way to describe White, 78, our most eminent queer writer. The number of literary prizes he’s received is mind-boggling. This year alone, White, a memoirist, essayist and novelist, was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Career Achievement in American Fiction and the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Visionary Award. But White, growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s and 1950s, didn’t start out as an esteemed openly queer man of letters and literary activist. (White was a founder of the 1980s queer writers group The Violet Quill.) When White grew up, homosexuality was illegal and considered sinful or, at best, a sickness. If you were caught having queer sex, you were arrested. You wouldn’t have thought about leaving the closet or meeting folks who were out. This wasn’t good for White, who liked boys. In “The Unpunished Vice,” an essay collection that blends memoir and literary criticism, White vividly evokes how reading has informed and nourished his life and work. You couldn’t make up White’s life if you tried. When he was 12, his mother gave him a biography of Nijinsky, the queer Russian ballet dancer. “Was it just that he was an iconic artist ... and she wanted to stoke my artistic fires?” White wonders, “Or was it innocent compliance with a sissy steak I’d already manifested?” When he was a child, words were magical and sometimes sexual for White. His mother was a psychologist. During an era when no one spoke and rarely wrote of sex, especially queer sex, White eagerly looked up “penis,” “intercourse” and “homosexuality” in his mother’s medical dictionary. These words “were exciting just because they appeared in print,” he writes. As a teenager, White was a Buddhist. He embraced Buddhism so he could “root out” his desires for boys. At his boarding school in Michigan, White was disappointed when he met a boy from Thailand who’d been a Buddhist monk for a year. He’d never meditated he told White, and the older monks had only wanted to play cards and feel up boys. It was a time, White writes, when “the three most heinous things in America were heroin, communism and homosexuality.” White spent one summer at Walloon Lake in Michigan. His father made him do yard work for a month. Loading a wheelbarrow with pine needles on a hill would, his father believed, cure him of being gay. White got through it by reading “Death in Venice” by Thomas Mann, a tale of a man’s infatuation with a 10-year-old boy. White read it secretly at night in his bedroom. “Teenagers ... are particularly prone to the seductive power of dark narratives,” he writes. White’s longing for travel and the queer writer’s life writer has been amply satisfied. He’s lived in Paris, traveled to Istanbul and written 28 books. His works range from “A Boy’s Own Story,” one of the first novels about coming out, to “The Farewell Symphony,” a seminal novel about a lover dying of AIDS to biographies of Genet and Proust. “The Unpunished Vice” gives us engaging glimpses into White’s reading and writing life. He and his husband, the writer Michael Carroll, are an amusing couple. Carroll, 25 years younger, can’t stand opera and ballet — the culture White adores. Most moving, is the essay on White’s recovery from a 2014 heart attack, during which he has torrid dreams about silent film star Valentino, but no interest in his life-long passion of reading. A few of the essays on writers such as the piece on “Anna Karenina” are a drag. They read like lectures. (White recently retired from teaching at Princeton.) And while White’s stories about his writer friends are fun (who knew Joyce Carol Oates dances in the corridors at Princeton?), the name dropping’s a bit much. But don’t be put off by this. “The Unpunished Vice,” is a good, sexy read. ‘The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading’ By Edmund White Bloomsbury $28 240 pages


I escaped the Palm Springs midday desert heat in a UFO. Okay, not a real UFO, but in the dome-shaped quirky desert landmark known as the Integratron. While it kind of looks like a 1950s sci-fi spaceship, the 38-foot tall white cupola was constructed by ufologist George Van Tassel in 1959 to attract extraterrestrials and was funded in part by billionaire Howard Hughes. While ET never paid a visit to the Integratron, desert tourists regularly pay to take a “sound bath” in the wooden building that is billed as an acoustically perfect structure. For $30, participants lie on cushions on the floor of the upper level of the building and listen to a concert of sorts by someone playing a series of huge round glass bowls, using a wand around the inside of the glass to put out a series of tones. The Integratron is in the high desert, near Joshua Tree National Park, which stays about 10 degrees cooler than Palm Springs. The building itself has AC, making it comfortable no matter how hot it gets outside. The high desert, including Joshua Tree, is still doable in the summer, but hike before 11 a.m., bring plenty of water and avoid any long or strenuous walks. The summer nights in Joshua Tree are popular for stargazing. August is the best month for viewing the Perseid Meteor Shower. If you don’t want to drive the 45 minutes to get to the high desert, perfect summer hiking can be found around the summit of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Summer temperatures shed about 30 degrees in the 10-minute ride to the top in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Greater Palm Springs is seeing more summer visitors than ever before and businesses are not taking that for granted. Hotels, spas and restaurants are offering deals to entice you to head to the desert in the summer. LGBT businesses have banded together again this year to offer a “Summer Splash” program showcasing hotel and restaurant deals. The site palmspringssummersplash.com spells out the offers. An example of some of the bargains include the fabulous InnDulge, which offers $99 rooms for weekday stays. InnDulge deservedly stays very busy throughout the summer. La Dolce Vita throws in free spa treatments with room stays. Escape Palm Springs and the Bearfoot Inn have $99 rooms and if you pay for two nights, you get the third free. Of the Greater Palm Springs’ 16 gay resorts, all are for men and clothing optional. All but Cathedral City Boys Club (CCBC) are in Palm Springs proper. Sadly, the city’s formerly lesbian resorts Casitas Laquita, Queen of Hearts and its sister property Desert Hearts Inn, have been sold and have gone mainstream. Century Palm Springs also unfortunately is no more. The Warm Sands resort shut down after being sold recently. If you have been to CCBC recently, you would have noticed room renovations and redone play spaces. But the resort’s big change will be unveiled later this summer when a brand-new restaurant and bar called Runway will open. The bar will aptly feature a runway that will showcase drag shows and other live entertainment. The resort plans to offer all-inclusive options that will include all meals and beverages. Plans are in the works to add

20 condo-style units in a five-story building on the back of the property where the waterfall is now. If the final plans are approved, that could be up and running in a couple of years. The hip new building will be lit up in Pride rainbow colors at night. If a summer visit to the desert isn’t in the cards, fall is a busy time for Palm Springs. Things start to cool down but activities heat up in late September with Cinema Diverse, the Palm Springs LGBT film festival on Sept 2023. Desert AIDS Walk is Oct 20. Palm Springs Leather Pride runs October 25-28. Halloween is big with a street party on Arenas Road and Palm Springs Pride week runs November 1-4.

Nightlife Old timers will remember that gay nightlife in the desert was centered just south of Palm Springs in Cathedral City. But that began to change in the early 1990s when Streetbar, Palm Springs’ oldest gay bar, opened on Arenas Road. There are still three gay bars in Cathedral City and soon to be four with the addition of CCBC’s Runway. Cat City’s other bars include the piano lounge bar, Studio One 11, the leather/bear bar Barracks, and Trunks, formerly Digs and with the same ownership as the WeHo institution by the same name. Almost all of Palm Springs’ nightlife is on Arenas Road. The newest bar is Stacy’s, with the same owner of the popular Stacy’s in Phoenix. It’s next to Bongo Johnny’s which is still closed after its kitchen was destroyed in a fire in March. Another newer Arenas Road addition is the video bar QUADZ, formerly Spurline, a newly remodeled streetbar. Beloved owner Dick Haskamp passed away in March but Haskamp left the business to a couple of employees who continue to run the bar in the same way that has made it a Palm Springs mainstay. The other popular bars on the block include Chill, Hunters, Score and around the corner on Indian Canyon, Tryst. Since the closing of Delilah’s years ago, there are no lesbian bars in Palm Springs, but all the Arenas nightspots are lesbian-friendly. The leather/bear bar Tool Shed is on the edge of Warm Sands on E Sunny Dunes Road, next to the cool LGBT-themed store Q Trading and nearby Gear leather shop and Townie Bagels. Toucan Tiki Lounge continues to be very popular on N Palm Canyon Drive, on the north end of town. It regularly hosts a lesbian party known as Velvet. For information on the next Velvet search on Velvet-PS on Facebook. By the way, Toucans is next to the fabulously gay WorkOUT Gym. The facility is small but has all the equipment you need and has reasonably priced day, week and weekend passes, If you are staying at the Vista Grande, Bearfoot Inn, or InnDulge, you can work out there for free. For more information, check out the official Greater Palm Springs visitor’s site, visitgreaterpalmsprings.com, The city’s official tourism site includes a comprehensive LGBT section, visitpalmsprings.com.


Palm Springs is getting a facelift and its star is rising Though it’s 120 degrees outside, you’ll love it By ED WALSH

Joshua Tree is not only a much cooler gay destination near Palm Springs, but August is also when meteors swarm the night sky from all directions leaving glowing trails in their wake. Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service



Summer’s gossip scoops Harry Styles, Elton John, Kevin Spacey and more making waves By BILLY MASTERS

Elton John on vacation in St. Tropez with his husband David Furnish, actor Neil Patrick Harris, his husband David Burtka and both couples’ children. Photo Courtesy Twitter

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“I’ve had experiences with men, even while I was dating the woman who became my wife. It was like, ‘Wow, does that mean I am gay?’ And my wife laid it out for me. She calls it ‘two spirit’, which is what the Native Americans call someone who can love both man and woman. I really like that.” - Jason Mraz on his same-sex experiences. I believe his Indian name may be “Sleeps With Everyone.” Last week I told you that Dame Diana Rigg publicly chastised Lauren Ambrose for taking matinees off from “My Fair Lady.” Now it’s just been announced that the person leaving the company is...Dame Diana Rigg! I suppose it makes sense - she’s in two scenes, serves tea, no song, and a handful of lines. Is this parting of her own accord? We don’t know, but she will be gone as of Sept. 9. In cheerier news, happy birthday, Dame Diana! When Harry Styles helped a girl come out to her mother as gay, I cheekily said, “the ball’s in your court, Harry.” I never imagined my opinion held such weight. But at the last show on his tour, he covered Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” - which already is about a girl-ongirl crush. When Harry sang it, the pronouns didn’t change, nor did the descriptions like “I want her long blond hair, I want her magic touch, Yeah, ‘cause maybe then you’d want me just as much.” After the song, Harry quipped, “Eh, we’re all a little bit gay.” Baby steps, lad. Remember when people thought Richard Simmons was being held prisoner in his home by his housekeeper? Well, one person decided to investigate that story and got a bit carried away. Scott Brian Mathews is a private detective. Why he became fascinated with Simmons is unknown, but it has been alleged that he installed a tracking device on a car belonging to Richard’s housekeeper, Teresa Reveles. Allegedly, this is how he knew when Simmons was on the move - such as when he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai for dehydration. Simmons and Reveles have filed a lawsuit against Mathews, and the LA City Attorney has opened an investigation. “Richard and Teresa are very thankful to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office for its cooperation in this matter. Everyone is entitled to the same basic principles to privacy and security. No one has the right to infringe on that,” said Simmons’ attorney. Guy Pearce has opened up about working with Kevin Spacey on “LA Confidential.” During a television interview, he characterized Spacey as “Tough one to talk about at the moment. Amazing actor - incredible actor. Hmm, slightly difficult time with Kevin. He’s a handsy guy. Yeah, thankfully I was 29 and not 14.” Once the quote went viral, Pearce “wished to clarify his comments regarding Spacey and that while he was not sexually assaulted, he was made to feel uncomfortable.” Go on... Just when you thought it was safe to watch “The View,” next season will bring yet another retooling of the panel. As the show went on summer hiatus, Paula Faris announced she was leaving both her part-time gig at “The View” and hosting “Good Morning America Weekend” to...wait for it...do faith-based podcasts for ABC! The breakout star of the current panel has been Sara Haines. She’s so good, ABC is pulling her from “The View” to co-host the third hour of “Good Morning America” with that lisping Michael Strahan. The combustible relationship between Sunny Hostin and Meghan McCain smoothed over when the gals found a common denominator - drinking. They are suddenly much more chummy and likely staying put. Needless to say, Whoopi and Joy ain’t going anywhere. With “Mamma Mia 2,” many people think Cher is jumping on the ABBA bandwagon. Not so. “I was a HUGE fan. I saw the musical on Broadway three times and was dancing in the aisles with everybody.” And her connection with ABBA isn’t done. “After I did ‘Fernando’, I thought: it would really be fun to do an album of ABBA songs, so I did. It’s not what you think of when you think of ABBA, because I did it in a different way.” Elton John and Neil Patrick Harris have continued their parental bromance with another round of summer vacations. Elton, Neil, the two Davids and the various children took off for Saint-Tropez in France. The group has been seen frolicking all over the South of France. It must be working - they’ve been doing vacations together since 2011! Meanwhile, Lance Bass has announced that he and hubby Michael Turchin would like to have kids. The only thing standing in their way is an egg. “We’ve gone through a lot of egg donors already. I think we’re on our fourth that we’re looking at right now. It could take a while.” I assume they’ll also need a womb - possibly a womb with a view. Personally, I think they’re only doing this to get on the Elton John vacation circuit! Jack Mackenroth is better known for taking off his clothes than making them. The “Project Runway” alum has been doing porn for JustFor.Fans and OnlyFans.com to supplement his income. “The money is really incredible. I’m going to nursing school in the fall, so this is a means to an end for me. I charge the cost of three lattes at Starbucks a month, but people are so demanding; there’s no way I can have sex and film something everyday.” He’s willing to bend over forward and backwards to make ends meet, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.



Rodeo Drive’s BOLD Summer will feature artists Project M and jazz group The Amanda Castro Band, a fireworks show and more. Photo Courtesy Facebook


Full Moon Yoga is tonight from 8-9 p.m. at The Spa at Terranea Resort (100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes). Yoga nuts at all levels are invited to worship under the bright full moon of the warm summer night sky. Raise your awareness and celebrate your body at one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful places, on the cliff sides of Rancho Palos Verdes. A $20 charitable donation required. Yoga mat not included. Space is limited, and reservations must be made by calling The Spa at 310-265-2740 or email terraneasocial@destinationhotels.com. West Hollywood’s Movie Songs 1928-36 is tonight at 9 p.m. at Gardenia (7066 Santa Monica Blvd.). This is sheer queenious. It’s been 90 years since Al Jolson warned us that “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!,” and then burst into song in “The Jazz Singer,” announcing that the Hollywood Party was on. The movie musical giddily made itself up as it went along giving us timeless tunes and stars amid the taps and two-strip technicolor. Jeff Macauley has kept up the tradition in clubs from Los Angeles to New York since 1990 and the whole cabaret world has taken note. Broadway has nothing on Hollywood. For more information call Jeff at (323) 467-7444.


Chris Cox at The Abbey is tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at The Abbey Food and Bar (692 N Robertson Blvd.). Grammynominated and multiple IDMA award winner Chris Cox is one of the most talented and successful dance music artists in the U.S. He’ll be spinning his chart-topping hits at The Abbey and you won’t go wrong. With over 50 #1 Billboard Dance Club hits, he is defined by his standout remixes that have made him a global phenomenon. Rising to prominence in the late ‘90s as Thunderpuss, Cox has mixed tribal-tipped rhythms into the potent vocals of artists like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilara, Britney Spears, Shakira, Janet Jackson and the Pet Shop Boys. He continues to create mind-blowing mixes for such chart topping artists as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Katy Perry,

Janet Jackson, Cher, Fall Out Boy, Kelly Osbourne, Celine Dion and vocal legend Shirley Bassey. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/abbeyweho for details.


Lillian Faderman Discusses Harvey Milk is today at 2 p.m. at Skirable Cultural Center (2701 N. Sepulveda). Distinguished scholar Lillian Faderman discusses her lively and engaging biography of the “first openly gay man elected to public office in the US,” Harvey Milk. A man fiercely committed to protecting all minorities, Milk was shot by a homophobic associate on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. Milk’s assassination at the age of 48 made him the most famous gay man in modern history -20 years later, Time magazine included him on its list of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th century. Hear Faderman comment on this remarkable political figure, who’s remembered as a forceful champion of LGBTQ communities, racial minorities, women, working people, the disabled and senior citizens. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Faderman’s work “a multifaceted portrait of a complicated man.” Books will be available for purchase, and a signing follows this program at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. $5 at the door. For details, visit skirball.org.


Rally for Fair Rents for L.A. County Now! is today from 8:30 a.m.-noon at LA County Office of the Assessor (500 W Temple St.). Los Angeles Center for Community Law and Action will lead a rally to vote and freeze rents in 2018 rather than allowing rent controlled apartment rates to increase. Los Angeles is in the midst of the nation’s most critical housing inflations, increasing sudden homelessness and taxing public services as never before. The rally will include prominent community activist speakers and a march.


A Special Evening with Dionne Warwick: Then Came

You is tonight from 7-9 p.m. at The Paley Center for Media (465 N Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills). Despite the Psychic Friends Network, we love Dionne. For more than five decades, the multi Grammy-winning artist maintained worldwide superstar status with an unparalleled string of hits including “Walk On By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” which remain popular among audiences of all ages today. Meet her at The Paley Center and preview of the new PBS special chronicling her extraordinary career in song, “My Music Presents: Dionne Warwick - Then Came You,” featuring tributes from friends and admirers including Gladys Knight, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson and her main songwriter Burt Bacharach. For more information, visit paleycenter.org or call 310-786-1000.


Rodeo Drive kicks off it’s second annual BOLD Summer campaign tonight from 6-9 p.m. Enjoy live performances by multigenerational artists Project M and jazz group The Amanda Castro Band, a spectacular fireworks show, bites of local flavor from delicious food trucks and so much more. A great chance to view the award-winning #OnlyOnRodeo social art installation. For details, visit facebook.com/rodeodrivebh. Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Los Angeles Bowling Night is tonight from 7-10 p.m. at Bowlmor Santa Monica (234 Pico Blvd.). Lesbians Who Tech + Allies is the largest LGBTQ technology community in the world -- committed to visibility, intersectionality and changing the face of technology. The 40,000 member community comes from every background and live in over more than 40 worldwide. In Los Angeles, come and knock a few pins down and a few beers and tequila shots back as it’s ladies night at Bowlmor Lanes. For more information contact Natacha, City Dir. at 323-445-7902 or by email at natacha@wearetonik.com.

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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