Photo Courtesy Katie Hill for Congress
PROUDLY RUNNING FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY BISEXUAL KATIE HILL TAKES ON ANTI-LGBT STEVE KNIGHT PAGE 06
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04 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Importance of the LGBT vote in California Trump Republicans working to erase our progress By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com “There is a war on truth,” Washington Post’s iconic reporter Bob Woodward told out MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Sept. 11, discussing his new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” This is not hyperbole. The Post has been fact-checking President Donald Trump and, as of Sept. 3, “Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims” in 592 days in office. The exchange between Maddow and the cautious, meticulous Watergate reporter sounding the “Wake Up People!” alarm gets to the heart of why the midterm elections are a critical necessity as a check on the liar with his finger on the nuclear button. “I feel like as a citizen, I am less worried about a president who is wrong than I am worried about a president who is sort of wrong in the head,” says Maddow. “And I don’t mean to say that in a snarky way. The president being ignorant about certain things or having bad policy ideas or being unable to learn things quickly is worrying. That you would want somebody more capable in the…but there are suggestions that it’s worse than that. At one point you say the president is emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable. I worry in particular about the emotionally overwrought part of it. Do you mean by that he is out of control?” “No,” says Woodward. Trump is dangerously and willfully ignorant, choosing his own beliefs despite mounds of evidence to the contrary. “He closes his mind to the information,” adamantly sticking to ideas he ingested 30 years ago. Even if you are “the most ardent Trump supporter, that has got to give you pause that the White House and the government are being managed this way.” In addition to his bottomless narcissism, Trump lacks the simple ability to even comprehend empathy or compassion. Trump started off the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with an exuberant tweet: “17 years since September 11!” Deplaning from Air Force One for the memorial service for Flight 93 victims in Shanksville, Pa.—including gay hero Mark
The upcoming election is a referendum on President Trump, whose supporters are working overtime to roll back recent LGBT advances.
Bingham—Trump pumped his fists greeting supporters at the airport. Trump “has no capacity for the duties of the office when it comes to expressions of dignity, empathy, and filling the chair that he is a temporary custodian of, that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln once sat in,” former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt told the Washington Post. The mourning LGBT community got a sense of this in 2016 when then-candidate Trump turned the mass shooting at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando into a campaign moment. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump tweeted. “I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” The 2018 midterm elections this November are a referendum on Trump and his Republican Party, which now controls both chambers of Congress and is working on owning the judiciary. With Trump-whisperer Mike Pence and chief adviser Tony Perkins in the wings, a Religious Right-driven autocracy is not beyond the realm of possibility if the Democrats don’t at least flip the House. California is on the frontlines of the resistance movement, from Gov. Jerry Brown gathering international leaders to work against climate change to pushback against
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ creating internment camps for the burgeoning number of undocumented immigrants under forced deportation—including LGBT refugees from violence seeking asylum. Sessions has increased by 50% the number of immigration judges to speed up the process while failing to prosecute people who lie to illegally buy guns, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Sept. 10. Last March, Sessions announced with much fanfare that the Justice Department would prioritize prosecutions of people who lie on their background check forms about criminal records or having a mental illness diagnosis—apparently an empty publicity countermeasure to the Parkland students organizing student walkouts across the country to call for gun restrictions. Democrats working to take back the House are counting on winning vulnerable Republican congressional seats in California’s Orange County. Though the Republican Party now has few registered voters than No Party Preference, Orange County is still heavily conservative, though attitudes and demographics are changing. These will be battles until the last vote is cast. Specifically: in CD 25, bisexual Katie Hill is now “Lean Democrat” against anti-gay
Republican Rep. Steve Knight; CD 39 is an open seat with Democrat Gil Cisneros in a serious fight with Young Kim; CD 45 is woman-vs-woman with consumer lawyer Katie Porter taking on Trump-supporter Rep. Mimi Walters; CD 48 is a knock-down contest between Russia-loving Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and LGBT-heralded Harley Rouda; in CD 49, the race for retiring Darrell Issa’s seat is between favored Democrat Mike Levin and Republican Diane Harkey; and CD 50 has become a spotlight race between indicted anti-LGBT Rep. Duncan Hunter is facing former Obama White House fellow, Ammar Campa-Naijar. While the congressional races are the focus, other races are also important. Lt. Gavin Newsom is running for governor against Trump-supporting John Cox. State Sen. Ricardo Lara is running for California Insurance Commissioner—which would make him the first openly gay person elected statewide. And while out LA County Assessor Jeff Prang’s reelection bid seems solid—no candidate’s race is safe from anti-LGBT and other sheer crap in the Trumpian age of hostility. Woodward’s Wake Up call must be heeded. LGBT citizens must eschew apathy and vote out of the necessity to restore American values and save the progression to full equality.
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06 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Proudly running for the LGBT community
Katie Hill is running for Congress in California’s 25th. Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb
Bisexual Katie Hill takes on anti-LGBT Steve Knight By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org The Congressional Leadership Fund, retiring Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s SuperPAC, is littering the Los Angeles airwaves with opposition ads so ridiculous they may well help get out the Democratic vote. The ads targeting young, out bisexual Katie Hill, a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District, are downright laughable. CLF’s latest ad against Hill, “Expensive,” for instance, closes with: “Liberal Katie Hill. Immature. Out of Touch. Expensive.” And in their effort to paint Hill, 31, as “immature,” they show her as a real person laughing. But just as voters once preferred a candidate
with whom they could imagine having a beer, like George W. Bush, in this hostile climate, women, young people and surely LGBT voters would much prefer someone with whom they can joke around than a ridged right-winger. Hill’s campaign ads have been sunny and likeable, with a devastating opposition ad featuring her Republican opponent, longtime anti-LGBT Rep. Steve Knight on camera saying he thinks Social Security is a “bad idea.” What a stark difference in values. Hill, the daughter of a registered nurse and police officer, is a CSUN graduate with a master’s in Public Administration. As executive director of People Assisting the Homeless, she grew the organization from a local non-profit to the state’s largest non-profit provider of homes for the homeless. She commuted to PATH offices in Silver Lake from her rescue
animal farm in Agua Dulce, near Santa Clarita, where she lives with her husband Kenny and their dogs, horses and goats. Hill spoke with the Los Angeles Blade Sept. 10, after former President Barack Obama visited Orange County to stump for Democratic candidates. Hill missed the rally to be with supporters. “I had this event planned with labor for months,” Hills says, “and they had already recruited hundreds of union workers who are the working families of our district and who wanted an opportunity to meet with their hopefully next congressperson. It just felt like something that I couldn’t back out of, despite the fact that it was an honor and a privilege to be recognized by President Obama.” One reason Hill decided to run for Congress was because of the Trump administration, finding the latest revelations about his presidency unsurprising.
“We’ve known for a long time that we have to put some kind of check on him and we’ve got to work towards getting him out as quickly as possible,” Hill says. “The first step is flipping Congress … to hold him accountable and right now we don’t have that.” Steve Knight, she says, “is one of the many Republicans in Congress who, despite the fact that every single day a new revelation comes out about how problematic Trump and his administration are and how unethical and how much they go against the very values and core beliefs of our country, they refuse to do anything about it.” Hill says that even though the district is “typically conservative,” Hillary Clinton won by seven points in 2016, “which is a pretty large margin. And that means that a lot of people who normally vote for Republicans voted for her because they believe that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 07
One of the laughable ads targeting Katie Hill that may backfire come Election Day. Screenshot Courtesy Youtube
CD 25 includes Lancaster and the Antelope Valley, areas long associated with anti-LGBT white supremacists. And yet Hill felt comfortable enough to come out as bisexual as a teenager. “I think most teenagers go through a process,” she says. “I started to really figure it out when I was about, I don’t know, 12. And then eventually in high school, I came out to a few close friends and then after high school, I came out to my now-husband and then to my family. So it’s kind of been an evolution.” Hill always felt “incredibly accepted by my family” but finds that a lot of people have difficulty wrapping their heads around bisexuality. “Like, OK, you might be a woman and like other women, you might be a man and like other men but when there’s both involved, it just kind of confuses people sometimes…especially when you’re in a committed relationship. And so I feel like part of this campaign has really been kind of an educational process and I think that’s a big part of why representation is so important.” In April 2011, Gary Gates, a gay demographer and scholar at the Williams Institute, concluded that there were roughly 9 million adults in the U.S. who identified as LGBT. And “among adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, bisexuals comprise a slight majority (1.8% compared to 1.7% who identify as lesbian or gay); women are substantially more likely than men to identify as bisexual,” he reported. Bisexuality is “exactly that you are who you
are from whatever stage you figure out that you’re bisexual and you end up ultimately falling in love with one person and if that person is going to belong to one gender or the other—that’s how you end up in a committed relationship with somebody and you retain your sexuality. The way that I’ve explained it to people is like I could’ve ended up being married to a man or a woman and it just happened to be a man,” Hill says. And people get that? “Eventually,” she says, laughing. “It’s made for some awkward conversations, especially, I would say, with folks above a certain age. But I think we’re getting there.” Did she know that Lancaster and the Antelope Valley were once considered hotbeds for hate crimes? “Oh, I definitely did. I lived in Rosemont in the early 1990s. I remember learning in elementary school about hate crimes because they had to shut down our school bathrooms to do a pretty extensive remodel because they’d been totally graffitied with Nazi symbols,” she says. “Everybody’s process looks different, right? But I think in terms of my sexuality, something that I went through and I think probably a lot of other people go through is, well, is this a phase? And especially when you hear that over and over again from people who you respect, like, ‘Oh, it’s just a phase, you’ll get past this. You’re just experimenting,’ those kinds of things. So I guess, in some ways, that made it easier
to not really have to face the fact that you might not be part of the hetero-normative society,” Hill says. “And so I think I didn’t,” she says. “It’s not like I was dating women, just obviously, when I was in Antelope Valley when those kinds of things were going on. So it didn’t really hit me that much at that point. But by the time that I started to really address it internally and with the people I care about, I had moved to Santa Clarita, which, although it is also known as a kind of conservative area, I felt like I was around people who weren’t hateful.” But she didn’t directly experience hateful people in the Antelope Valley, either. “It’s harder and harder for that to be acceptable anywhere in our region. And I don’t think it’s like that anymore in our district,” she says. “I would say my top two issues [in Congress, if elected] are insuring access to affordable healthcare for everyone and insuring that we’re working on making housing more affordable for everyone. And those are issues that really do disproportionately affect our community,” Hill says. “I also think equal rights across the board is something that I stand for. As a leader that represents the face of the LGBT community in Congress, I would see that as something that I need to be a champion for and do so at every opportunity, whatever piece of legislation that looks like, let’s consider it through an equality lens.” Hill gets upset over the transgender
bathroom issue. “Every time I hear this kind of thing come up, it just bothers me to my core that we’re even talking about this,” she says. “If you talk to people in my generation, it is so obvious that, you know, if somebody identifies as a woman, let them use the woman’s bathroom; someone identifies as a man, they, of course, should use the men’s bathroom. Why are we even talking about this?” Hill is also adamant about always being inclusive. “If you’re talking about passing legislation that’s going to protect people but you write in something that is inherently discriminatory or allows for discrimination, then you’re kind of missing the point,” she says. “’Okay, well sure, we’ll treat you like a human being but we still want to know what your genitals look like before you can use a bathroom.’ I mean that’s just stupid.” But Hill has to get to Congress to make that point. “This is the most important election we’ve seen in our lifetime and frankly we’ve all gotta give it everything we’ve got and we’re gonna see the attacks coming against me in even greater numbers until the election and we need everyone’s help,” Hill says. “So whether it’s knocking on doors or donating, we’re asking everyone to dig deep, to get involved however they can and help us out because we can’t take anything for granted, realizing that this thing could come down a few hundred votes, it really could.” And that’s no laughing matter. For more, go to katiehillforcongress.com.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 11
Ammar Campa-Najjar Photo by Karen Ocamb
Harley Rouda Photo by Karen Ocamb
Harley Rouda is making waves for Dana Rohrabacher For 30 years, anti-LGBT Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has been known as a surfer in his 48th district, that includes the coastal communities of Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. In Congress, he is known as Putin’s favorite congressman,” a designation that did not escape the notice of the FBI, which notified the member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him. Nonetheless, Rohrabacher still visited Russia multiple times and, before the 2016 election, he even met with Wikileaks founder Julian Asange, which promoted his questioning by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Catching the “blue wave” into the CD 48 is businessman, philanthropist, attorney, and tech entrepreneur Harley Rouda, determined to dethrone Rohrabacher, an ardent supporter of President Trump and a longtime advocate for anti-LGBT policies, the latest of which he espoused last May 16 to a delegation of Orange County Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. “Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” said Rohrabacher, according to realtor who was there. A gay realtor group protested and the Republican lost the endorsement of the National Association of Realtors. “We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” Rohrabacher told the Orange County Register later. “A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.” Rouda called Rohrabacher’s comments “outlandish and unacceptable,” noting that everyone has the right to buy or sell a home. “What Dana Rohrabacher fails to understand is discrimination is discrimination,” Rouda told the Los Angeles Blade. “It shows how backward his thinking is.” Rohrabacher, Rouda said, is “completely off the wall with the values we have here in the district. I would also add that he supports offshore drilling—I do not. He does not believe in climate change—I do. He doesn’t believe in protecting a lot of different rights, including women’s rights—I do. So, we have plenty of differences between he and I. And, of course, his love of Russia is contrary to what I believe in, as well.” “While Dana Rohrabacher has sought to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people at every turn, Harley Rouda has spoken out for the equal dignity of all members of our community. Harley Rouda is the pro-equality leader the people of California deserve and we look forward to working with him in Congress to pass the Equality Act and secure full federal equality for all Americans,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin at a campaign event in Huntington Beach. KAREN OCAMB
Can Ammar Campa-Najjar oust Duncan Hunter? When former President Barack Obama appeared at an Anaheim rally to spur Democratic voter turnout in the November midterm elections, Ammar Campa-Najjar was not onstage among the happy congressional candidates hoping to flip longtime GOP red seats blue. He was backstage, invited by Obama, his former boss. But, unlike his fellow candidates, Campa-Najjar’s 50th District was won by Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, in 2016, and the 29-year old business owner needs all the independents and disenchanted Republicans he can win over. And as improbable as it once seemed to unseat Rep. Duncan Hunter from the legacy seat he and his father have held for almost 40 years— Campa-Najjar actually has a shot at winning! Hunter’s San Diego County voters apparently are not pleased with the indictment of Hunter and his wife for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, including buying personal items that were reported to their campaign finances director as a write-off for the Wounded Warriors Project. The LGBT community hopes Campa-Najjar will eject Hunter from that seat. Hunter has carried on his father’s anti-LGBT legacy, upping the stakes by joining with Rep. Vicky Hartzler to introduce a ban on transgender servicemembers in the armed forces, despite the military’s plans to allow open service. Their legislative effort failed but President Trump turned it into a tweeted executive order. Campa-Najjar calls himself “Trump’s worst nightmare”—a pro-equality Christian whose mother is Mexican American and father is Palestinian. After his father left, his mother struggled financially to support her children. Campa-Najjar’s first job was as a church janitor at age 15. Obama’s election and heartfelt book, “Dreams of My Father” inspired him to go to San Diego State college, after which he worked on Obama’s re-election campaign, then joined the administration in communications for the U.S. Department of Labor. He then worked for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce before starting his own public affairs business. “I think if you come from an underrepresented community—there’s an assault on our values and our way of life,” Campa-Najjar told the Los Angeles Blade. “I have a stepsister who is LGBTQ and a step father who is a Trump supporter. So we’ve seen how Donald Trump has really enabled the worst of the worst to come out of people. 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.” KAREN OCAMB Continues on page 20
12 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Waters’ call for impeachment applauded by Stonewall Young Democrats Congresswoman among those honored as heroes By AUSTIN MENDOZA U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell were among a group of luminaries honored on Sept. 8 at the 2018 Hero Awards, presented by Stonewall Young Democrats. Waters received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while O’Farrell was chosen as Elected Official of the Year in a end-of-summer ceremony in Brentwood. Also honored were LA Community College District Trustee Andra Hoffman, Dr. Paul Song and journalist Lisa Ling, and Stonewall Young Democrats Vice President Tanner Brown. Waters has been a torchbearer in the fight for people with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ rights for decades. Now, she is a leading voice for the impeachment of President Donald Trump—and is well aware that successfully impeaching Trump could lead to a more antagonistic administration run by longtime anti-LGBT figure Vice President Mike Pence. “I am not dismissive of the argument that says Pence could be worse,” Waters told the Los Angeles Blade. “I truly believe that people see Trump and Pence as part of an
Rep. Maxine Waters continues to call for President Trump’s impeachment. Photo courtesy Stonewall Young Democrats
administration that has been divisive and who needs to be gotten rid of. So if we get rid of Trump, I think we can knock out Pence easily....I think, in many ways, he comes with the package, and I don’t think people are going to see him in such a great light. I think people are going to be more emboldened to get rid of him once we get rid of Trump.” Despite pleas from Democratic leadership to tone down her impeachment rhetoric, Waters instead doubled down during her SYD acceptance speech. Trump “is
responsible for the kind of division coming back that we thought we had cured a long time ago,” she said. “If you cannot talk about impeachment given what we have learned about him and the way that he’s defined himself, then impeachment means nothing.” Waters also alluded to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s apology to Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the interruption by protesters during his confirmation hearings. “We don’t ask permission to protest. We protest when we
understand that we have to make America hear us and see us and understand that we all have something to say,” Waters said. She added that she comes “from the school of those who use protest to move America forward and to change this country, and I’m proud of that.” Concluding her speech to a standing ovation, Waters asserted: “We cannot be intimidated, we cannot be made to fear anybody who would undermine our ability to have a decent quality of life. You have shown us that, LGBTQ community.”
Transphobic comment overshadows LGBT media gathering New NLGJA president Sharif Durhams ‘mortified’ By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com PALM SPRING, Calif. — Gay Columbus, Ohio meteorologist Marshall McPeek, a longtime member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, apparently skipped all the references to the importance of respecting transgender people in the NLGJA Stylebook and its recent supplement on terminology. In a crassly symbolic display of the murky chasm between a mission statement and practice, McPeek opened his remarks at NLGJA’s closing reception Sept. 8
in Palm Springs with “Ladies and gentlemen, things and its” in welcoming the audience. Black TransGriot blogger Monica Roberts yelled at the stage: “Oh no, he did not…. There are no things or its here!” And though an immediate tweet by reporter Mary Emily O’Hara on McPeek’s comment went viral— apparently no one else in the room rose with a similar public condemnation. McPeek subsequently apologized, as did NLGJA. “People were understandably hurt and offended by last night’s remarks. As journalists, we understand uniquely that words matter. We apologize and are committed to working to make NLGJA more inclusive and diverse,” NLGJA’s statement read. “No Mr. McPeek and by extension, NLGJA and FOX News [an event sponsor], there were no ‘things and its’ in that Hotel Zoso
room that September 8 night. There were trans, gender non-conforming (GNC) and non-binary (NB) people in there,” Roberts wrote. “How do you think that ‘things and its’ comment, which has been derisively and sometimes violently spat at the trans community by all transphobic comers over the last few years made us feel?” “When I heard about the comment, I was mortified,” incoming NLGJA’s first AfricanAmerican President Sharif Durhams said in a statement to the Los Angeles Blade. “People have used slurs about my race and sexual orientation. There are comments that are painful and that you can’t take back. We’re supposed to provide a space that’s safe. “We have and have had transgender and non-binary members on our board of directors, and we listen to them. Transgender
and non-binary members pitch panels, and we ask them to lead those panels. Transgender and non-binary members weigh in when we change our stylebook and when we work with media organizations on fixing problematic coverage. We’re going to continue to do all of that,” he continued. “I spent our entire conference talking with members and potential partners about programming I want to launch around coverage of transgender people. We’re going to do that, too,” Durhams said. “The whole point of this is to expand the circle of people who lead this organization. We’re going to ask more people to join us, and they will have a say in what we do next.” Please visit losangelesblade.com for more coverage.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 13
“I am Gay, Latino, Catholic and American. My spirit has been broken but I have not been defeated. Nor will I settle for today’s version of Make America Great again. America is great and will always be great.” — Richard Zaldivar, executive director of The Wall Las Memorias Project, 2018 USCA Plenary Speech, Orlando, Florida
“I’ve been intrigued that people really seem to like it better when I wear a suit. I mean, I like wearing a suit, it’s great, but I think when they try and imagine me as governor, I think wearing a suit seems to be important. Little things like that, that you wouldn’t think would make a difference, actually seem to.”
— Bisexual actress/activists Cynthia Nixon who’s challenging Andrew Cuomo in New York Democratic governor’s primary.
“This is an abomination.”
– A twitter user about a photo showing President Trump energetically pumping his fists after deplaning Air Force One to attend a 9/11 memorial for the crew and 40 passengers—including gay businessman Mark Bingham—whose United Airlines Flight 93 crashed outside Shanksville, Penn.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center got some good news recently. On Sept. 7, the LA City Council a p p r o v e d $850,000 to help in the construction of the Center’s $135 million Anita May Rosenstein Campus across the street from The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. The campus will include the Center’s headquarters, provide 98 affordable housing units for seniors, 25 for youth; 60 transitional living beds; 40 emergency overnight beds; a commercial kitchen; parking; and numerous services. Additionally, on Sept. 4, the West Hollywood City Council passed an item offered by Mayor John Duran pledging $2.1 million in funds for the Center’s senior housing at 1116-1118 N. McCadden Ave., known as McCadden Plaza. The city has pledged to pay for 13 of 98 units for very low-income seniors. The money will come from unallocated reserves in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, according to city documents. Duran’s proposal notes that an estimated 65,000 LGBT people over the age of 64 live in LA, 68% percent of whom live alone. In West Hollywood, seniors are more than 15% of the population, many renters living alone without the support of children or grandchildren. “When we open our Anita May Rosenstein Campus early next year, it will not only be a beacon of hope and inspiration to LGBT people everywhere, many lives will be transformed,” Center CEO Lorri
14 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Kavanaugh’s answers leave LGBT legal experts unsatisfied Trump nominee won’t say if he supports Obergefell decision By CHRIS JOHNSON Brett Kavanaugh invoked during his confirmation hearings language against anti-gay discrimination, but his refusal to say whether he supports landmark Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay rights leaves LGBT legal experts unsatisfied. During his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh was queried on gay rights before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — both of whom are potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. The senators asked the nominee about his views on marriage equality and discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the workplace. In both exchanges, Kavanaugh invoked the Ginsburg rule — the idea that judicial nominees shouldn’t answer questions about Supreme Court decisions, or potential future cases, lest they be forced to recuse themselves if they are required to adjudicate the underlying issues on the court — but made statements against antigay discrimination. When Harris queried Kavanaugh about whether the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was correctly decided, the nominee referenced five rulings on LGBT rights written by former Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat he’d occupy on the high court. Kavanaugh referenced the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, decided narrowly in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who asserted a First Amendment right to refuse to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The Supreme Court ruled for Phillips on the facts of the case on the basis of perceived anti-religion bias in the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. “In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and this is, I think, relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion joined by Chief Justice [ John] Roberts and Justice [Samuel] Alito and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch and Justice [Stephen] Breyer, the days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and
Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing responses left LGBT legal experts unsatisfied. Blade File Photo by Michael Key
worth are over,” Kavanaugh said. Asked by Harris if he agrees with that statement, Kavanaugh replied, “That is the precedent of the Supreme Court.” When Harris followed up by asking Kavanaugh again if he agrees with Obergefell, Kavanaugh dodged. “Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence, each of them, to answer in that line of questions,” Kavanaugh said. Dale Carpenter, senior legal policy adviser for the pro-LGBT American Unity Fund, said observers can’t learn much about Kavanaugh on LGBT issues from his response. “This is part of the tea-leaf reading of these hearings,” Carpenter said. “I don’t myself attach any special significance to statements of that kind, and the reason I don’t is that the way that something like that is phrased is entirely consistent with a view that you should not discriminate against gay people, but I’m not necessarily going to extend civil rights protections to gay people to forbid it.” Carpenter said judicial nominees in confirmation hearings will “speak in cryptic ways.” As an example, Carpenter referenced U.S. Associate Justice Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing in 2009, when she was
up to become U.S. solicitor general. Kagan bluntly replied in a written questionnaire same-sex couples had no constitutional right to marry. Six years later, Kagan would go on to be part of the majority ruling in favor of marriage equality in the 2015 Obergefell decision. “You can read it as a present tense statement to say that the court has not recognized a right to gay marriage, so that sort of strategic ambiguity is employed by nominees on both sides to try and pacify potential opposition,” Carpenter said. Jillian Weiss, a transgender civil rights lawyer who represents LGBT employees, said Kavanaugh’s statement against anti-gay discrimination was “not significant.” “It was a quote from Justice Kennedy, not his own opinion,” Weiss said. “My concern is he’s more pragmatist rather than principled. If he sticks to conservative judicial principles, he’ll focus on the meaning of the text today, as Justice Scalia did when he ruled sex discrimination includes samesex harassment. We in the modern world understand ‘sex’ to include gender, and all that implies. Or will he revert conveniently to what a congressman thought in 1964?” Booker’s question for Kavanaugh was on discrimination against gay people in the workplace. Citing the lack of explicit protections under federal law for LGBT workers, Booker said in many states a gay person could be married one day and summarily fired from work the next day for posting wedding photos. In response to Booker’s question on whether that would be morally wrong, Kavanaugh declined to answer directly and made a vague reference to be willing to hire “all Americans” because of their talents and abilities. “I’m a judge and therefore with the cases that I know you’re well aware of pending about the scope of the civil rights laws, the employment discrimination laws,” Kavanaugh said. “Of course, Congress could always make those clearer.” Kavanugh was apparently referencing cases percolating through the federal judiciary on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in the workforce, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Petitions calling for resolution of that issue are pending before the Supreme Court.
Booker also asked Kavanaugh about his time as staff secretary in the Bush White House and whether he was involved with former President George W. Bush’s push for a Federal Marriage Amendment. The Trump administration has refused to make public Kavanaugh’s correspondence from the time he served as staff secretary to Bush. In response, Kavanaugh without directly answering the question recalled the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Bush administration was “part of something he talked about,” a possible reference to the State of the Union addresses in which Bush called on Congress to pass the amendment. Pressed further by Booker, Kavanaugh said, “As staff secretary, things related to that speech he gave would have crossed my desk.” As Kavanaugh continued, Booker cut off the nominee and asked him if he expressed an opinion about the Federal Marriage Amendment. Kavanaugh said he didn’t recall and made a vague reference to individuals evolving on the issue of same-sex marriage. “There’s been a sea change in attitudes in the United States of America, even since 2004, as you’re well aware,” Kavanaugh said. Katherine Franke, a professor of law, gender and sexuality studies at Columbia University, said Kavanaugh was tight-lipped in responses to Booker’s questions, but revealed more than what he stated. “The nominee adamantly refused to answer either question, on the grounds that the issue of protections for LGBT discrimination was being litigated in lower courts and Obergefell was the ‘law of the land,’” Franke said. “He also refused to disclose whether he expressed any views on same-sex marriage when he was part of policy debates on the issue when he served in the Bush White House. While his non-answers to these questions tell us very little about how we would rule on these issues if and when they might come before the Supreme Court, his body language and sharp tone in response to Sen. Booker’s questions told a different story.” On the other side, Kavanaugh was queried by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of religious freedom, which has been code within conservative circles to mean antiLGBT discrimination. Continues at losangelesblade.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 15
GOP lawmaker caught on tape: Orphanages better than gay adoption ‘Gay households are not healthy environments for children’ By CHRIS JOHNSON In an exchange with high school students that was caught on tape, a Republican congressman from New Jersey was tongue-tied over the prospect of same-sex couples adopting children and suggested kids would be better off in orphanages than with LGBT families. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) made the remarks May 29 when addressing student constituents in the auditorium of Colts Neck High School. They asked the congressman about his opposition to adoption by samesex couples, according to a source familiar with the recording. A source familiar with the tape, who delivered the recording on Monday exclusively to the Washington Blade, said it was obtained in recent days. The recording begins with Hannah Valdes, a senior at Colts Neck High School, telling Smith she has a gay sister who has said in the future she wants to adopt a child with her partner. The student asks the New Jersey Republican whether “based on household studies” her sister would be “less of a legitimate parent” than someone in a different-sex relationship and why she shouldn’t adopt a child. In an apparent reference to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling for marriage equality, Smith says “the issue, legally, is moot at this point especially with the Supreme Court decision” and tells the student her sister is “free to adopt.” Although the Supreme Court settled the issue of marriage, attempts are still underway to deprive LGBT families of the right to adopt. An increasing number of states have passed laws allowing religious-affiliated, taxpayerfunded agencies to refuse placement to LGBT homes for religious reasons. In the U.S. House, Republicans incorporated as a component of appropriations an amendment from Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) that would penalize states and localities for having policies prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in adoption. But that wasn’t enough for Valdes, who pressed Smith on why he thinks her sister shouldn’t be able to adopt. Smith, apparently
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) was caught on tape saying orphanages for kids are better than gay adoption.
having difficulty finding words for his response, said he believes “there are many others who would like to adopt who can acquire a child” and “the waiting periods are extremely long.” When another student asks what makes these “others” more suited to become parents than her fellow student’s sister, Smith starts to reply, “in my opinion a child needs every possibility of,” without finishing his sentence. That might have been a prelude to saying a child needs every chance of being raised by a mother and a father. That’s when Smith praised orphanages. In that context, Smith suggested even being raised in an orphanage without parents would be better for a child than having LGBT parents. “Somebody mentioned orphanages before,” Smith said. “I mean, orphanages are still a possibility for some kids.” One student is heard uttering an indignant response over the idea the congressman would rather have kids in orphanages than being raised by LGBT parents: “You’d rather have kids in an orphanage than with — ?” Speaking to the Blade, Valdes said there’s more to the exchange with Smith on gay adoption than what’s heard on the tape. Earlier in the assembly, another student asked about one of Smith’s votes in 1999 in favor of an amendment that would have banned adoption by gay parents in D.C. The student, Valdes said, asked Smith if he would still vote in support of banning gay adoption, and whether his views have
changed since 1999. In response, Valdes said, Smith said his position hasn’t changed. “Rep. Smith responded by saying that he does not approve of gay adoption because gay households are not healthy environments for children to grow up in,” Valdes said. “He then stated that ‘numerous household studies’ show that children that have heterosexual parents have better lives than children that have homosexual parents.” It’s hard to know what “household studies” Smith was referencing. According to Cornell University, at least 75 studies have concluded children with same-sex parents fare no worse than other kids. At that moment, Valdes said she thought of her gay sister and raised her hand for the question challenging his views on gay adoption, which was heard on the recording. “After I asked my question and challenged him, an administrator cut in to change the topic,” Valdes said. “Rep. Smith started to discuss a recent project he was working on, but the auditorium was already filled with tension, and most of the audience was already talking about what Rep. Smith had just said. More students began to raise their hands, and the administration quickly realized that their students would likely be asking more questions regarding LGBT rights. Instead of taking further questions, the assembly was promptly ended and all of us were sent back to class.” Valdes said Smith exhibited “prejudice and homophobic views” that “were offensive,”
and the entire student body of Colts Neck High School was “in shock that someone had come to our school with these opinions.” “We have an LGBT club at our school... which exemplifies just how accepting our school is,” Valdes said. “Prejudice in our hallways is not tolerated, so it was shocking to have an elected official — a congressman no less — stand in front of hundreds of students, openly shaming the LGBT community. I knew that there were multiple students in the auditorium who were a part of the LGBT community, and that they were simply too scared to say anything to this congressman. In a situation like this, I just simply could not stay silent.” Despite the exchange, the school praised Smith for coming to speak with students. Brian Donahue, principal of Colts Neck High School, tweeted after the event thanking the lawmaker and saying, “Our students appreciate hearing first hand how our government functions.” Donahue didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s request for comment on whether Colts Neck High School was OK with Smith making comments against LGBT adoption at a student assembly. Smith, a longtime member of Congress who has represented New Jersey’s 4th congressional district in the U.S. House since the start of the Reagan administration, has built a substantial anti-LGBT track record in Congress aside from his 1999 vote against gay adoption. In recent years, the Republican has repeatedly earned a score of “0” from the Human Rights Campaign on its biennial congressional scorecard. Among his anti-LGBT actions include votes for the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide. In the early years of the Obama administration, Smith voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and hate crimes protections legislation. In recent years, Smith co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination, and voted for an amendment that would have barred the U.S. military from paying for transition-related health care for transgender service members, including gender reassignment surgery. Continues at losangelesblade.com
16 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Activists in Commonwealth countries praise India ruling Many hopeful that fall of Section 377 leads to wider change By MICHAEL K. LAVERS Activists in Commonwealth nations with whom the Washington Blade spoke this week said it remains unclear whether last week’s landmark India Supreme Court ruling that struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law will bolster efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in their own countries. Maurice Tomlinson is a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network who is challenging Jamaica’s antisodomy law. He also represents three LGBTI Barbadians who are challenging a similar statute in their country. Tomlinson told the Washington Blade that even though the India Supreme Court ruling is not binding on other Commonwealth countries, it “will still be very persuasive.” Tomlinson also noted the India Supreme Court ruling said the country’s colonialera sodomy law, known as Section 377, “was exported across the Commonwealth as part of the British colonizing project.” Jamaica and Barbados, along with Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa, still have colonial-era sodomy laws that are similar to India’s Section 377. A judge on Trinidad and Tobago’s High Court in April struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law. The chief justice of the Belize Supreme Court in 2016 ruled a statute that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in the country is unconstitutional. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya is challenging the country’s sodomy law. British Prime Minister Theresa May in April said she “deeply” regrets colonial-era sodomy laws the U.K. introduced in India, which is the world’s second most-populous
Singapore is among the Commonwealth countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.
country, and in other Commonwealth nations. British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch in June told the Blade during an interview before he hosted a Pride month reception at the British Embassy in D.C. that Commonwealth countries that have yet to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations should do so. “We just urge all of our friends and partners in other countries around the world to move on as we have done to make their societies more open, more liberal, to embrace antidiscrimination in relation to the LGBT community as we have,” said Darroch. “It just makes your society a better place.” Tomlinson agreed. “Not only has Britain apologized for imposing and exporting this law, but the constitutional rights that are violated by this egregious statute are present in most Commonwealth countries,” he told the Blade. A State Department spokesperson told the Blade the U.S. “welcomes the decision by India’s Supreme Court on Section 377.” The U.S. Embassy in India was illuminated in rainbow colors last week to celebrate the ruling. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the U.N.’s LGBTI rights watchdog, praised the ruling. He also urged countries that have yet to repeal their
sodomy laws to do so. “It is my sincere hope that, today, all other countries that still criminalize homosexuality and other forms of sexual orientation and gender identity, will carefully examine this ruling and decide that the time has come to bring themselves to full compliance with this human rights imperative,” he said. The Delhi High Court in 2009 struck down Section 377, but the India Supreme Court in 2013 overruled the ruling. Indian lawmakers in 2015 rejected a bill that would have repealed 377. Jean Chong, co-founder of Savoni, an organization for queer women in Singapore, told the Blade on Tuesday during a Skype interview the India ruling has sparked “a great deal of excitement” among advocates in her country. Chong pointed out Singapore’s penal code since 1997 has only criminalized consensual sexual relations between two people of the same-sex. Chong told the Blade the Singapore government will likely ignore calls from the U.K., the U.S. and the U.N. to repeal the country’s sodomy law, in part, because Malaysia and other neighboring countries, such as Brunei, have not done so.
Two women who were convicted of having sex in a car were publicly caned in a Sharia court in the Malaysian state of Terengganu on Sept. 3. Those who are convicted of homosexuality in Brunei face the death penalty under the country’s penal code. Advocates also continue to express concern over the ongoing anti-LGBTI crackdown in Indonesia, which is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. “If we look at our region, there is no real surrounding pressure to do the same,” Chong told the Blade, referring to Singapore and calls to repeal the country’s sodomy law. Kat Kai Kol-Kes, a transgender rights advocate in Botswana who contributes to the Blade, on Monday said the India Supreme Court ruling “has been received with some jubilation” in her country. “But I recognize that it seems distant to the greater LGBT+ population in Botswana,” she added. Batswana LGBTI rights advocates in recent years have celebrated a number of legal victories. The country’s highest court in 2016 ruled Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, an LGBTI advocacy group, should be allowed to register with the government of Botswana. Kol-Kes reported a court last November ruled in favor of a trans man who wanted to change the gender marker on his documents. Botswana in 2016 deported Steven Anderson, an anti-LGBTI pastor from the U.S., after he told a radio station the government should kill gays and lesbians and described the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre as “disgusting homosexuals who the Bible says were worthy of death.” Kol-Kes told the Blade that LGBTI Batswana “aren’t quite living in isolation from the rest of the Commonwealth LGBT+ populations.” She nevertheless added their reaction to the India Supreme Court has been tempered somewhat, in part, because the country is preparing for elections that will take place next year. “We still have a ways to go, but I think we are well on our way to seeing Botswana achieve what India did in 2009 without the 2013 hiccup,” said Kol-Kes, referring to India. “I face the 2018 ruling with hope that history won’t repeat itself and that LGBT+ people of India can map their lives without looking over their shoulders in case they are used as political pawns.”
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18 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 02 ISSUE 28
I refuse to choose between identities Vote for unity and hope this November By MARK GONZALES Every now and then, as LGBTQ leaders, we come across a question that pops up seemingly at random: Am I an LGBTQ leader, or am I a leader who happens to be LGBTQ? If you add in the fact that I’m also Latino, then that question gets another whole layer of complicated. It’s a dilemma that people of many demographics face in their lifetime. Are we Latino leaders, or leaders that happen to be Latino? Are we African-American leaders, or are we leaders who happen to be African American? In an age where one’s identity is blurred, yet still significant, and during an election where our collective ability to freely express our identities is at stake, we must reconcile that when faced with the choice between our identities and our political affiliations. It’s our duty to look that dilemma in the eye and say that that we refuse to choose. I am not an LGBTQ leader or a leader who happens to be LGBTQ, I am both an LGBTQ leader and a leader to all my constituents who happens to be LGBTQ. Separating a piece of your identity from your role as a leader is a slippery slope. It is a part of you. But if forced in to a bind where I am told to choose a piece of my identity over my larger role in the community, I take a step back and say that I live in a country founded by people who refused to conflate their identity with their role in society—and I follow their lead. Los Angeles has been lucky to have LGBTQ elected officials who are open and honest about their sexual identity, are active in the LGBTQ community, and effectively lead their administrations with mastery and passion. Even after serving successfully, though, there are those that still face the old homophobic tropes that should have died
Mark Gonzalez is chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. Photo courtesy Gonzales
out long ago. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Should it light a fire under us? Absolutely. This is why these midterm elections are so important. It is why we must support good Democrats like Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffery Prang and 45th Congressional Candidate Katie Porter. Our rights are on the verge of being stripped away by those who would keep us down and we in the Los Angeles County Democratic Party are not resting until the electeds who would marginalize us are gone and replaced with people who would raise the community up rather than put people down. With that fire lit under us, we at the LACDP have hit the ground running to make sure that Los Angeles leads the way as it always does. We installed regional headquarters throughout the county to focus on reaching out to each area of L.A. and we organize trainings for our leaders and the troops on the ground to spread that message of hope and positivity that prevails in the Democratic Party. It’s a message that just so happens to prevail against the Republican message of fear, divisiveness, and regression as well. It’s that message that is spreading far and wide throughout California and the United States. Because it matters more than ever, our local Democratic Party has an army of
volunteers and activists fighting for our sisters and brothers in every community, because we know that we do not have to choose between fighting for ourselves and fighting against all inequality. Taking back the House is not the endall—but it is the most important next step. We have a glorious opportunity to bring back representatives who actually represent – not to mention representatives who will confirm judges who are truly just. If we win, will that age-old question of choosing between our identities be completely done away with? Probably not. But if we just register one more person to vote, take one more person to the polls, or just convince one more person that their vote really does matter, maybe we can get one step closer to reconciliation. If we all do our part and work like we never have before to elect good Democrats up and down the ticket on Nov. 6, someday our posterity will no longer be faced with choosing between being an LGBTQ American or an American LGBTQ. We are both, we are proud of it, and we will be heard on election day. To find out how to volunteer with the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 19
Reclaiming our democracy An existential moment in time By ERIC BAUMAN It seems like every election in recent memory has been called “the most important election of our lifetime.” That’s not just because the media likes hyperbole. It’s because the stakes keep getting higher and higher. And when you consider what’s at stake for the LGBT community – as well as women, people of color, people with disabilities and workers of all stripes—you can see that this truly is a make-or-break existential moment for our Nation. After the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, I intellectually understood that a future Court could overturn the precedent. But in my heart, I didn’t believe that those rights would ever seriously be threatened. But an emboldened Republican Party that makes Mike Pence it’s second most important official is a Party willing to go any lengths to invalidate my marriage to Michael—and yours too. And that same Republican Party would think nothing about passing humiliating, transphobic bathroom and other laws. They would think nothing of allowing states to ban LGBT couples from adopting. They would think nothing of repealing the hate crimes law that bears Matthew Shepard’s name. And they definitely would think nothing of passing laws expressly permitting the firing of an employee because they are LGBT and it conflicts with the owner’s “morals.” And that’s just what’s at stake for LGBT people. In addition to those policies that will directly target LGBT people, the indirect consequences of a Republican triumph this November will be equally devastating. LGBT people are far more likely to live in poverty than their heterosexual peers. But LGBT people who have the protection of a labor union earn the same wages, enjoy the same benefits, and most importantly, have ironclad workplace protections to keep them from being fired simply for being who they are. Union rights, already under
California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman Photo Courtesy CDP
a furious assault, might very well be erased altogether with just a few more years of Republican rule. The hard-won gains of people of color in our society are already threatened. Voting rights are being sharply curtailed. Education, healthcare and job opportunities will worsen. The systemic injustices in our prisons, jails and courtrooms will become far worse. Immigrants from Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and of course, Mexico, Central and South America, will be subjected to the arbitrary and often cruel abuses of ICE. People with disabilities will lose the legal protections that have been in place for a generation opening the world up to them. Those laws – often attacked as an inconvenience for businesses large and small – ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of our society. The prospect of repealing those laws, which protect a huge number of LGBT people as well, is simply cruel. As Chair of the California Democratic Party, I am more than willing to point out the long and tragic list of areas where
Republicans are totally lacking in morality and basic human decency. But it’s not enough that voters know the harm Republicans can and will inflict if the electoral restraints on their impulses are removed. Democrats must be clear about OUR BOLD VISION for the country - what we stand for and how we will lead and succeed. A Democratic Congress will stop the Republican assault on our community and offer a powerful contrast to Trump’s politics of division with a powerful, uplifting agenda that will make a profound difference in the lives of LGBT and so many other Americans. On issue after issue, we are fighting to bring dignity and opportunity for every person in our country. Our approach to healthcare alone will be transformative in the lives of all people, especially LGBT people. A truly universal, single-payer system will ensure that every one of us receive comprehensive, high quality healthcare. Our community has a unique set of chronic health concerns, and adequately treating the conditions LGBT people are more likely to suffer from can be incredibly expensive, even with (inadequate)
insurance plans. The California Democratic Party has called for the Medicare-for-All approach for years and Democrats running for high office in states as diverse as Florida and Pennsylvania are promoting the same platform. For Democrats, universal and high-quality healthcare is both a right for every person and an obligation of our society. We believe a college education should be tuition free. California’s commanding presence on the world stage is directly tied to the fact that we invested in tuition-free college for any student who worked hard in high school, though we’ve reneged on this promise in recent years. Despite the gains we have made, there are still far too many LGBT kids who get kicked out of their homes after they come out. For these kids, college affordability is critical to simply avoiding a lifetime of poverty and deprivation, by allowing a young person to receive a college education or career training. And most importantly of all, a Democratic Congress will treat our community—women, people of color, people with disabilities, people of different faiths and people with different backgrounds—as full and equal citizens. With a reality TV personality in the White House who celebrates white supremacists and regularly expresses his sexism, xenophobia, racist tendencies and his homophobia, and a Supreme Court dominated by an extremist, straight white male majority, a Democratic Congress is more than just a vital check on this unprecedented threat to our democracy—it is democracy’s salvation! A Democratic Congress will be a statement that we are and will never cease to be, fully equal, fully patriotic, fully devoted Americans. That is the most important reason for each and every LGBT person vote this November. This is the moment where, to paraphrase the phenomenal Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, we can reclaim our time—and our country.
Eric C. Bauman, RN, is Chair of the California Democratic Party.
20 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Continued from page 11
Gil Cisneros Photo by Karen Ocamb
Mike Levin Photo by Karen Ocamb
Katie Porter Photo by Karen Ocamb
Katie Porter energizes race against Mimi Walters Katie Porter is California’s Elizabeth Warren. If she thinks something’s wrong, she not only persists but she fights. Just ask her Establishment-endorsed 45th CD Democratic primary opponent. And Porter refuses to just ignore the outlandish claims by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s SuperPAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund—she produces an ad calling them out. “We must restore sanity to our politics. We must stand up for what’s right for the American people and reject politics as usual,” Porter said on her Facebook page after appearing at the Sept. 9 rally with former President Obama. During a Sept. 8 debate hosted by CNBC, Porter’s Republican opponent, Rep. Mimi Walters, noted that Porter was a law student of Warren’s at Harvard—as if that alone should disqualify the Democrat. Asked if she thought President Trump is dangerous, Walters said: “No I do not believe that. I think he has a very good team around him. I believe he’s doing what he thinks is right.” Walters added: “I can’t be held responsible for his actions. I can only be held responsible for my own actions. The one thing about this president, he certainly communicates with the people of this country and lets them know what he thinks.” Porter feels differently. “I think that some of Trump’s actions represent a real threat to our democracy,” she said. Part of Congress’s job is to be a check on the presidency. If you’re not asking the right questions, if you’re not looking at the evidence of the corruption, you won’t see it even when its there.” Walters, Porter told the Los Angeles Blade, “is a supporter of Trump’s hateful agenda. She is anti-woman, anti-family and anti-environment. I have spent my whole career fighting for families. I’m a single working mom myself. I understand how hard it is for families to make ends meet and to get along and to take care of each other.” KAREN OCAMB
Gil Cisneros fighting for more Mike Levin wants to bring than a congressional seat science back to Congress Democrat Gil Cisneros is running to replace anti-LGBT
Republican right wing stalwart Rep. Ed Royce, who is retiring. Royce’s handpicked successor for the 39th congressional district seat is Young Kim, a former state legislator. But Kim is not well-known outside the Orange County area so House Speaker Paul Ryan’s SuperPAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), is running campaign ads maligning Cisneros, a decorated former Naval Officer who won the California Mega Millions lottery in 2010 and became a philanthropist. His foundation is dedicated to improving education for Latinos; he also serves on former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative advisory board. CLF is trashing Cisneros’ honor, touting an allegation of sexual harassment made by onetime Democratic Assembly candidate and documentary filmmaker Melissa Fazli who accused Cisneros of being drunk and propositioning her in an elevator during the California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego last February. Cisneros denied the allegations at the time. Nonetheless, CLF is grotesquely highlighting the allegations. On Aug. 23, Cisneros issued a long, detailed account fighting back harder against the “patently false allegations of misconduct. The allegation has been discredited by multiple eyewitnesses and an Emmy award-winning Fox News television reporter.” Lost in the cacophony is the praise for Cisneros’ accomplishments and plans, including a 4-page pamphlet aimed at veterans with much of the fourth page dedicated to LGBT rights in the military. “In Congress, we need leaders who have the courage to stand up to the divisive Trump agenda,” said out Rep. Mark Takano, Chair of the pro-LGBT Equality PAC in endorsing him. “I am proud to join organizations like VoteVets in supporting former Lt. Commander Gil Cisneros, because we can count on Gil to promote diversity in all branches of government and oppose the ban on military service by transgender Americans. As a lifetime educator, I know how important it is to champion equity and equality. When Gil gets to DC he will join me in reinforcing these values for our community and country.” KAREN OCAMB
Mike Levin has a broad smile, even when talking about the need to fight for clean energy against the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. Levin, 39, son of a Mexican-American mother and a Jewish father, has degrees from Stanford and Duke University School of Law and founded CleanTech OC, a clean energy trade association in Orange County. He’s also a longtime Democratic Party activist, having served as the executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County for several years. Three days after announcing his intention to challenge longtime anti-LGBT GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, Levin confronted Issa at a March 11, 2017 town hall. As the two talked over each other, Issa yelled: “Ask your question, young man!” “Why do you blindly follow Trump in gutting the EPA and [ignore] science?” Levin hollered back, followed by general uproar, the OC Weekly reported, adding the town hall “didn’t go well” for Issa. In January, Issa announced he would not seek re-election in the 49th CD. Republicans put up Diane Harkey most polls have the district leaning Democrat. The Human Rights Campaign notes that Harkey supports so-called “conversion therapy,” among other anti-LGBT policies. Recently, the Levin campaign produced an eight-and-ahalf-minute documentary detailing how Harkey “has funded her campaigns with the profits from a real estate Ponzi scheme that defrauded scores of seniors.” Levin is a pro-LGBT record, including posting tweets such as his short tweet on March 23: “Dear @realDonaldTrump: The LGBT community is fit for service. YOU are the one who is unfit for service.” “Imagine waking up after the morning of the November election and Donald Trump has lost control of the House,” says out “Star Trek” actor George Takei in a 50-second YouTube video in his May 22 endorsement of Levin. “Oh myyy. NOW imagine you have played a part in that defeat by helping elect Mike Levin in one of the most competitive seats in America!” KAREN OCAMB
Gary Levitt is the man behind the marketing machine that is the Emmy’s. Photo by Susan Hornik
Emmys’ rainbow sparkles for a close-up Stage. Sets. Lighting. Action. By SUSAN HORNIK
The Governors Ball at the Emmys is already one of the finest and most extensive parties on the Hollywood red carpet calendar, but this year celebrates the event’s 70th annual awards, so some extra special attention is being paid to this year’s celebration. Los Angeles Blade estimated that nearly $20,000,000 has been spent on advertising alone just on the race to become a nominee and tens of millions more to win. The event itself better be over the top! We just had a take a sneak peak through the eyes of some of the most talented event crafters in the business. Meet the Emmy makers. For the past 21 years, Sequoia Productions has created glamorous décor for the Governors Ball. “We really wanted to shake it up this time,” enthused Cheryl Cecchetto, founder and president. “It’s not a sit down dinner, there will be a lot of mingling and socializing. We encourage everyone to walk around and have a great time.” There will be lots of blues, purples and gold at the Ball, which adds to the “charm and sparkle” of the event, noted Cecchetto.
Thousands of LED lights contribute to the Emmys’ “Under the Stars” design element. Patina Catering is returning as the official caterer of the Television Academy’s exclusive Emmy celebration. Chef and Patina Restaurant Group Founder Joachim Splichal, Vice President of Culinary Gregg Wiele, Patina Catering Executive, Chef Alec Lestr, and Patina Catering Executive Pastry Chef, Frania Mendivil have created a menu of more than 35 different fine-dining small plates that are inspired by Michelinstarred restaurant Patina and the Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse, along with a lavish assortment of intriguing dishes and desserts. Menu highlights include potatoes with shaved summer truffles; brown butter gnocchi, flat iron steak with red wine bordelaise; mini Gruyere popovers; Nashville hot fried chicken sliders with dill pickle and purple cabbage slaw; Angus beef sliders with aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and tomato aioli; Filipino BBQ chicken skewers with scallion salad and banana ketchup; grilled cheese with heirloom tomato soup; and olive oil poached salmon with lime soya onions, puffed wild rice, and soft herbs.
There are lots more vegetable dishes on the menu too. “Our veggie and vegan dishes are more in demand each year! If you are gluten free or pescatarian, it’s all there for you too,” said Cecchetto. New items being offered are the cashew ceviche that is lime-marinated, hearts of palm, cucumber, leche de tigre, avocado mousse, and crispy blue corn; sweet corn agnolotti with lime brown butter and toasted hazelnuts; truffle French fries, and a farmer’s market edible garden of five salads, which spotlight locally sourced best-of-the-season produce, such as Valdivia Farms heirloom tomatoes. “Everyone on the Patina team is unbelievably creative and the kindest, most generous team to work with,” Cecchetto says. If you are looking to throw your own Emmys Awards viewing party, Cecchetto advises to let people relax and enjoy it when they first come in. “An event is like a set of stairs, you have to take it one stair at a time. Make sure they feel comfortable,” says Cecchetto. Cecchetto’s gay business partner is Gary Levitt, who is Executive VP, working on
2 2 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 2 8 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M • S E P T E M B E R 1 4 2 0 1 8
the advance coordination, marketing and contracting of the event. “I am onsite for the Emmy Governor Balls (for Creative Arts & Primetime) to support the Sequoia Team. I oversee the smooth flow of arrivals into the Governors Ball as well as the VIP food and beverage service, the Television Academy executives and their guests,” Levitt says. Levitt is thrilled to see the LGBTQ community being recognized for their abilities. “I love that the entertainment industry is more accepting of us. The nominees are being acknowledged for their skill set. People look up to them, they are role models. This shows people that they can achieve anything they want. And that’s really important,” Levitt says. Gay florist Kevin Lee, president of La Premier Events, has created a beautiful floral display in the indoor/outdoor space at the Microsoft Theatre. “You have to install fresh flowers in less than 12 hours and make them look so fresh and perfect. It’s a bit of a challenge but I make it work,” Lee says. For lucky attendees, Sterling Vineyards will be pouring the soon-to-launch Platinum Cabernet Sauvignon, which is debuting at the
Governors Ball, as well as the flagship Sterling Vineyards Iridium Cabernet Sauvignon, an ultralimited wine Emmy winners will receive as a personalized gift in the Emmy Winner’s Circle. In total, over 2,000 bottles of Sterling Vineyards wines will be uncorked at this year’s Governor’s Ball. That’s 12,000 glasses of wine or the equivalent of 396 gallons of wine. Fun fact: Bottles placed end to end run the length of nearly three Emmys red carpets, extending over 1,900 feet. As Ketel One Family Made Vodka is the official spirits partner of the awards, television’s biggest stars are raising a glass to celebrate with curated cocktails by awardwinning bartender Charles Joly and Liq Pro’s president, Andy Seymour. If you want to make your own Emmy cocktail as you watch the show, Seymour had great advice. “The fun thing about making cocktails is that you can make it as easy or hard as you would like. It’s like cooking. Understanding some basics is always a good idea,” Seymour says. If you have a group of people and don’t want to stand all night behind the bar, making individual
drinks all night, Seymour recommends a punch drink, which is “fun and light.” “Then people can serve themselves and you can all watch the awards together,” he quipped. Hosts can try this recipe for Enlightenment, one of the official drinks at the Emmys. 1 1/2 oz Ketel One Family-Made Vodka infused with strawberries 3/4 oz lime juice 1/2 oz honey syrup 1 oz Sencha green tea 1/16 oz Chareau liqueur Carbonated Yuzu and Strawberry pearl Combine the first five ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake and strain liquid into carbonating vessel and charge with CO2. Pour into a chilled glass over yuzu and strawberry pearls. Tie flowering lavender to the outside of the glass to finish. And the winner is….
S E P T E M B E R 1 4 2 0 1 8 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 2 8 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M • 2 3
QUEERY 20 QUESTIONS FOR IAN LAWRENCE
24 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
queery IAN LAWRENCE How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I’ve been out since Thanksgiving, 2001. My mom was saying cruel things about my girlfriend, and I had to make a few things clear. Mess with my friends, let alone my partners, or look out.
Photo by Carlos Guillen
By JOHN PAUL KING
As a director of the American Institute of Bisexuality and the president of amBi, Ian Lawrence is out and proud about his bisexuality, and a tireless bisexual advocate – but he admits it took him a while to get there. He began his involvement with bi activism in 2000, after returning to San Diego, where he’d gone to college, after what he calls his “disastrous first relationship with another man” in South Africa. “I was a little lost bi guy,” he says. Getting involved in the local bi community – organizing conferences, working Pride events, etc. – helped him “make sense of things” and find his “place in the world.” But when he moved back to his hometown of Los Angeles in 2004, he was in for a shock. “I assumed LA would have a huge bi scene,” he says, “but instead it was a desert. Like many other bi people, he “slipped into a pattern” of moving back and forth between the gay and straight worlds. “I never got to show up as my whole self,” he says. All that changed in 2008, when he joined amBi, a social network for bisexuals and allies. Two years later, he received an email saying the group would disband if nobody new stepped up to take over the leadership positions. He stepped up – and under his guidance, the group “really took off.” That led to his involvement with the American Institute of Bisexuality, a charity dedicated to promoting research and education about bisexuality. As part of his work there, he launched bisexual. org, which has since become the most-trafficked bi resource on the internet. In 2014, he was branded “the new face of bisexuality” by the New York Times, when they put his picture on the cover of their magazine after an interview. “That was my ‘big coming out.’ I think it’s funny now, but at the time I really wondered how it would impact my life to have my sexuality THAT out there.” Currently, he’s working with amBi to organize the first-ever official Bi Pride celebration in the U.S., which will take place at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium on Sept. 22. He says it’s an important step toward helping the bi community – which he points out is actually “a slight majority of the LGBT community by identity” – gain some longdeserved visibility and acceptance. “Being bi is about a lot more than sexuality,” he says. “It’s a culture of in-between, of understanding multiple viewpoints, of navigating between worlds.” For him, the mission is all about “bringing that bi in-between perspective to the world.”
Who’s your LGBT hero? Dr. Fritz Klein. He was a pioneering sex researcher and activist who did so much for the bi community. What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I used to enjoy Fubar back when it was truly trashy. Describe your dream wedding. I already had the first part of it. My husband and I got married almost exactly a year ago in a small ceremony on Kauai. I should have invited everyone I know! We’re going to do a part two in Brazil — “My Big Fat Voodoo Wedding.” My husband follows candomblé. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? The environment. How can we take care of any other issues if we don’t have a healthy planet? What historical outcome would you change? The Treaty of Versailles and the way the end of WWI was handled. Despite President Wilson’s promises of “Peace without Victory,” what came after was a mess. The GOP blocked Wilson’s better intentions, the British and French went to town, and the way things were handled was very unjust and hypocritical. That led directly to WWII and was a root cause of many problems that we continue to see in the Middle East. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? The death of Michael Jackson. On what do you insist? Kindness. There are few things I value and respect as much as genuine kindness. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? A video of Geoffrey Owens talking about the dignity of work and working people. If your life were a book, what would the title be? Something with a bad pun in it. Like “Bi on Life.”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? I’d offer everyone the glorious option of becoming bi. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? While I do believe there is more to life than we understand on a sensory level, I think there is enough mystery to the world we can see, measure, and perceive to keep us occupied for millennia. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? I don’t know if this is good advice because it won’t win you any popularity contests, but social media has really degraded the level discourse. Every day I see my LGBT friends up in arms about news topics that they’re digesting in ways that aren’t quite accurate. LGBT orgs routinely fundraise based on hyperbole and exaggerations. Oh, and we have to stop letting ourselves be trolled. What would you walk across hot coals for? Enlightenment. Also, really good bulgogi with banchan. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That our sexuality is all about sex while straight people’s is holistic. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “3” by Tom Tykwer What’s the most overrated social custom? Social niceties that compel people to be “friendly” at the cost of being genuine or honest. What trophy or prize do you most covet? I’d really love to be a father. I’d love to get drawings from my kids to hang on the refrigerator. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That computers and the internet are going to take off. I totally didn’t see that one coming. Why Los Angeles? I am a 4th generation Angeleno. I’ve thought about moving somewhere else, but the combination of weather, landscape, and the incredible variety of interesting people here — I just haven’t found another place that can beat it. Not in the U.S. anyhow. I do hear the call of Barcelona and Berlin from time to time.
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26 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Rust Belt anxiety drives Pulitzer-winning play ‘Sweat’ is a labor of immersive love By CHRISTOPHER CAPPIELLO
Mary Mara and Portia in the Center Theatre Group production of ‘Sweat’ at the Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography
At a recent Habitat for Humanity event in Indiana, former President Jimmy Carter pointed out that in America today, it was rare for those with great wealth to interact with those in need. Given the ticket prices, something similar could be said of contemporary American theater audiences. Lynn Nottage’s working-class drama “Sweat” in some way bridges that gap by putting onstage the lives of working-class, financially strapped factory employees in Reading, Penn., a demographic often overlooked in our theater, and one that was pivotal in the 2016 presidential election. Nottage famously spent two years visiting Reading to immerse herself in a community left behind by globalization, and the play comes to the Mark Taper Forum (135 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles) with almost unfairly high expectations, having collected a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony nomination for Best Play last year. While director Lisa Peterson’s production falls short of those expectations, there is much to take away from the affecting drama exploring some of the complex fault lines that turned a reliably blue state red. (Full disclosure: Nottage and I were at Brown at the same time, but we’ve never met.) “Sweat” switches back and forth between 2000 and 2008, starting with two scenes in 2008 where we learn that Jason (Will Hochman), a young white man with white supremacist tattoos on his face, and Chris (Grantham Coleman), a young black man who has found religion, have been released from prison for an unnamed crime committed eight years earlier. While Jason is belligerent and resentful toward his parole officer (Kevin T. Carroll), Chris is polite and deferential, although he’s “not sleeping too good.” From there the play switches back to 2000, with a series of scenes set a month apart in that year, as we see the events that led up to the young men’s incarceration. Most of the action is set in a local bar, a sprawling, industrial space in Christopher Barreca’s impressive design, where a gang of locals hang out after work at a nearby factory. Cynthia (Portia) is the mother of Chris, and she has put in 24 years “on the floor,” while lifelong friend Tracey (Mary Mara), the mother of Jason, has logged 26 years. Birthday girl Jessie (Amy Pietz) rounds out the trio and drinks way too much. Stan (Michael O’Keefe) has been bartender since a workrelated accident ended his time at the factory. Colombian-American Oscar (Peter Mendoza) is the ambitious bar back, working quietly to clean and restock while planning a better life. The tale unfolds gradually, with small and large resentments accumulating on many sides. When Cynthia applies for a management job, Tracey does the same, even if she doesn’t really want it. When Cynthia is selected, Tracey puts it down to racial preferences and the friendship seems permanently changed. Cynthia’s ex, Brucie (John Earl Jelks), wrestles with addiction, and causes friction with awkward, desperate interactions with both her and Chris. Looming over the proceedings is the unseen factory, where automation and cutbacks are threatening many of the lives involved. A prolonged strike heightens the tension for all, creating a financial squeeze on top of the emotional conflicts. When Oscar answers an ad for nonunion workers, politics and prejudice prove a combustible combination. Someone’s balance sheet is no doubt improved by the play’s events, but in Nottage’s microscopic examination of the lives underneath the headlines, we see the steep human price of increased profitability. The cast has mixed results owning Nottage’s challenging dialogue, which often gives characters long, overly self-aware speeches reporting important experiences from their past. Peterson’s staging sometimes leaves actors sitting quietly listening when more reaction and interaction should be allowed. Coleman brings heart and brains to Chris, and we believe he has his sights set on bigger things than a life on the floor. Portia is moving as a woman genuinely striving for a better life, caught between her employer and her friends. Mara’s spunky Tracey grows more nuanced as the play progresses, but too often she is playing to a bigger room than the Taper. Mendoza, whose character travels farther than most in the play’s story, wonderfully captures Oscar’s earnest ambition. One wishes there was more of Brucie in the play, as Jelks – the lone holdover from the Broadway production – is superb as an aging man watching the economy leave him behind. Yee Eun Nam’s projections help orient us in time, whether it is the 2000 presidential election or the market crash of 2008. Emilio Sosa’s contemporary costumes are perfect, and fight director Steve Rankin is responsible for the evening’s most upsetting surprise, when we finally discover the crime at the heart of the story. Nottage’s play is not perfect, but it is a powerful exploration of regular Americans fighting displacement and disregard. After the 2016 election results, many people wondered, “How did this happen?” “Sweat” provides some palpable answers. Directed by Lisa Peterson and written by Lynn Nottage, “Sweat” will play through Oct. 7. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.
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Alliance provides the basic necessities of life - food and shelter - to people struggling with poverty, homelessness and HIV/AIDS.
28 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
A lesbian turn of the century affair out, loud and proud Filmmaker Wash Westmoreland’s latest By JOHN PAUL KING
Denise Gough and Keira Knightley star in ’Colette.’ Photo Courtesy Bleecker Street
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The name “Colette” may not mean much to a modern generation of Americans for whom reading is largely a thing done by their grandparents in the days before the internet. Once upon a time in France, however, it was the name of a rock star – or at least the closest thing they had to one at the turn of the 20th century. Born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in a small village of rural France, she began her rise to fame with a series of semi-autobiographical novels – published under her husband’s name – about a young country girl named “Claudine,” which became a sensation among the young, smart set of Paris. It was a time when female writers were largely dismissed as secondary talents, but her success was undeniable; eventually, she divorced, started writing under her own name, and became lauded as one of French literature’s brightest lights. She was also openly and unapologetically bisexual, a woman ahead of her time in terms of personal and professional liberation – a fact which is at the center of a new film biography, directed by out gay filmmaker Wash Westmoreland from a screenplay he co-wrote with his late husband, Richard Glatzer, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Focusing mainly on the author’s early life and career, “Colette” begins with the marriage of its title character (Keira Knightley) to established Parisian writer Henry Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West), who has “branded” himself under the nom-de-plume “Willy” and commissions works from his hired stable of authors to be published under his own name. At his encouragement, his new bride soon becomes one of them; sophisticated, sensual, and scandalous, her book is a hit. The couple – and the sexual adventures of their open marriage, as fictionalized in the continuing series of novels he pressures her to write – becomes the talk of Paris; but after years of living under her husband’s shadow, Colette begins to hunger for the recognition she deserves. Literate, insightful, and charming, the script aspires to deliver more than just a biopic; while offering details about its subject, it also paints her as both a feminist and a pioneer of queer visibility – an activist for both causes simply by her unwillingness to live inside the accepted conventions of her time. Westmoreland and Glatzer first conceived and wrote “Colette” way back in 2001, around the time of their breakthrough feature, “The Fluffer.” At the time, presumably, nobody wanted to finance an expensive, LGBT-themed period piece by a former porn director and his TV-reality-show-writer boyfriend, so the pair had to put the project on hold until they had established themselves with films such as the Sundance-winning “Quinceañera” and the Alzheimer’s drama, “Still Alice,” for which Julianne Moore won a Best Actress Oscar. Nearly two decades later, the completed film has benefitted from their patience; sumptuous costumes, meticulous sets, authentic locations and gorgeous cinematography (by Giles Nuttgens) all combine for as authentic a recreation of Belle Époque France as one could wish. From the dazzling natural beauty of the fields and forests near Colette’s family home to the richly-appointed literary salons of Paris’ artistic elite, the movie presents us with a sort of period travelogue that is also a feast for the eyes. Likewise, the prestige achieved by Westmoreland as a filmmaker has allowed for the casting of top-notch talent. Knightley is exquisite as Colette; her growth from an worldly teenager girl to independent woman is charted with confidence and sensitivity, avoiding the expected tropes of most coming-of-age melodramas and instead illuminating the evolution of an extraordinary personality. As Willy, West provides the charisma and larger-than-life bravado necessary to make him a worthy match for such an exceptional partner, while also bringing enough humanity to keep him likable. For all its production values, “Colette” would fall flat without outstanding performances in these two roles, and these co-stars deliver them with seemingly effortless grace. The supporting ensemble is equally important, and for the most part they rise to the task. Noteworthy are Fiona Shaw as Colette’s mother, here as warm and wise as she is cold and callous as Abby Borden (in “Lizzie,” her other standout film this season), and Denise Gough as the Marquise de Belbeuf, a gender-bending aristocrat who becomes Colette’s lover. The one sour note comes from Elinor Tomlinson as Georgie Raoul-Duval, who gives this American socialite a cartoonishly over-the-top Southern accent that undermines the sensuality she would – and should – otherwise possess. Continues at losangelesblade.com
30 • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Billy Masters gets his wig on But Neil Patrick Harris plays drag both ways By BILLY MASTERS
Lady Bunny managed to give new life to WigStock as the iconic DeeLite as the event returns to the East Village in Manhattan. Photo Courtesy Lady Bunny and WigStock
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“How you feeling, Birmingham?” - Britney Spears greets the audience at the ﬁnal stop on her “Piece of Me” tour. Alas, she wasn’t in Birmingham — she was in Blackpool. Oops, she did it again. And we won’t even discuss the Madonna-esque British accent. But you’ll hear it in action on BillyMasters.com. Back in 2005, a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers used in “The Wizard of Oz” were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn. — which gives you a pretty good idea of the security at that museum. In a caper analogous to the famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990, the friends of Dorothy broke into the museum late at night through a window and purloined the pumps, which are estimated to be worth between $3-5 million! Anonymous tipsters told the feds where to ﬁnd the fancy footwear in a sting that lasted a year and crossed four states. The shoes were eventually recovered in an undercover raid in Minneapolis. Oh, the humanity! And yet, somehow Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, and Anthony Anderson are escaping the long arm of the law. After extensive investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s oﬃce, the charges against all three men have been dropped. When it came to Spacey, the statute of limitations has passed. In the matter of Anderson, the wronged party refused to cooperate (and we all know what that means). As to Steven Seagal...eh, who cares. With all the drama going on with Harvey Weinstein, it’s no surprise that “Project Runway” was lost in limbo. While the show will be returning to its original home, Bravo (after 11 seasons on Lifetime), there will be a major change — no Heidi and no Tim. Quelle horreur! “After 16 incredible seasons, I am saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to ‘Project Runway’, a show that I was honored to host and help create,” says the ever-modest Klum. She was less sad to announce she’s starting her own competition fashion show on Amazon and that she’s poached Tim Gunn as her sidekick. I guess that means more Milano and Mizrahi. What’s getting lost in the shuﬄe is that Zac Posen simply took himself out of the equation. It’s the end of an era. After 63 years, the “Village Voice” is a thing of the past. Although the weekly print edition stopped last year, it remained an online entity. But last week, Peter Barbey, who bought the paper three years ago, gathered the staﬀ and told them the news. “Today is kind of a sucky day. Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing ‘Village Voice’ new material.” And that’s that. It’s easy to point ﬁngers, but certainly online publishing, social media and hookup apps are contributing to trouble for some print media. Interestingly enough, while one publication is shuttering, an app is expanding. According to ﬁlings with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Grindr is planning an initial public oﬀering — meaning they will be on the stock market. Do you want the good news or the bad news ﬁrst? In an uncharacteristically charitable move, I will share the good news ﬁrst. Wigstock 2.HO was a HUGE success. While I personally believe the show was stolen by the legendary Lypsinka, one must give credit where credit is due — Neil Patrick Harris slipped back into Hedwig’s pumps eﬀortlessly and put on a fantastic set, totally earning all plaudits he received for his interpretation. And earlier in the day, he, David and their kids manned the wig cannons and shot wigs out to the capacity crowd — which was super cool. But on the not so cool metric, during an appearance on SiriusXM a few days before Wigstock, he pissed oﬀ quite a few people with what he felt was the downside of playing Hedwig. “The limping of the wrists, the cocking of the hip, the tits out and the ass out, and sort of walking with a sway and sort of the overt femininity of the characterization that I had, that was hard to get into my whole body without feeling like I was mocking it initially. I didn’t want to feel like I was pretending.” When asked if the transformation made him feel less masculine, NPH said, “for sure.” At that point, Mrs. NPH (David Burtka) felt compelled to chime in, “I like manly guys.” Yeah, because when I think of the epitome of masculinity, my mind immediately thinks of Neil Patrick Harris. Bitch, please. Be that as it may, I will post Lypsinka’s and Hedwig’s numbers on BillyMasters.com. Continues at losangelesblade.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 • 31
SHE RECOVERS in LA, Fri. Sep. 14 @ 5 PM at Beverly Hilton Hotel (9876 Wilshire Boulevard). Celebrating Recovery Month and the strength, diversity, inclusion, and innovation of women for women in the world of recovery, She Recovers helps show women (and the world) what recovery looks like and help end stigma. The event will explore innovative recovery strategies, resources, products and services, and recognize change makers in the women’s recovery sphere. Well-known and respected thought leaders whose personalities, books and platforms have already inspired tens of millions of people will be on hand. Enjoy workshops, sponsors and exhibitors showcasing the diverse range of wellness aids that heal and sustain body, mind and spirit. Visit http://www.cvent.com/events/sherecovers-in-la for tickets and more info. OUT on Magic Mountain, Fri. Sep. 14 @ 8 AM to 11 PM at Magic Mountain (26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia). Play all day and night at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s annual “Out on the Mountain” Gay Night, as the entire park goes gay for the pay, “which provides an safe and inclusive environment of fun for the LGBTQ community,” but with wild rides, crazy dance parties, and sexy performers. It’s worth the schlep over the mountain. We promise. Tell them the Blade sent you for 50 percent off.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sun. Sep. 16 @ 1:05 PM kickoff at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (3911 Figueroa Street). Put your quarterback wig on and squeal like a pig. It’s football time in LA and the Rams even have gay cheerleaders to help you cross the 50 yard line. It’s LA’s first home game and everyone is demanding their best season. Tickets are $61 to $150 and available at ticketmaster.com.
“King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh,” Mon. Sep. 17 @ 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily until Jan 19 at California Science Center (700 Exposition Park Dr.). Talk about gender queer! The King Tut exhibit has it all. From the finest goldwork, the interiors to die in, glitter galore and, well, ‘wonderous things, marvelous things.” Travel back to ancient Egypt at California Science Center’s latest, highly anticipated exhibit, “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.” This is your last chance in life to see this exhibit, the final leg of a massive world-tour that has taken the 3,000 year old boy king around the world, marking the centennial of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. 150 artifacts include gold jewelry, carvings, sculptures and ritual antiquities. Among the highlights are a life-sized statue of the pharaoh, ceremonial bed, golden shrine with scenes of Tutankhamun and his distinctly manly wife, Ankhesenamun. Ticket are $19.50-$29.95 and available online at californiasciencenter.org.
From Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011, see Wed. Sep. 19: Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1995 (detail), 1995. David Sims (British, born 1966). Chromogenic print, 88.9 x 71.1 cm. Photo courtesy David Sims. © David Sims / Trunk Archive
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011, Wed. Sep. 19 @ 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily thru Oct 21 at The Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive). Fashion photography, beautiful clothes and unusually pretty faces is just one aspect of the art of Fashion. The Getty Museum’s latest exhibit, “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 19112011,” examines the genre’s evolution from commercial medium to highbrow art, from print to web. The collection’s timeline runs through all the key moments of both fashion and history: the Great Depression, WWII, Hollywood’s Golden Age, the sexual revolution, ready-to-wear, supermodels, grunge and social media. And the more than 160 images on display — as well as costumes, illustrations, magazine covers, videos and ad campaigns — were taken by iconic names like Man Ray, Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts and Peter Lindbergh, in addition to lesser-known photographers, such as Inez & Vinoodh. For more information visit getty.edu.
West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Cultural Diversity Certification Training, Thu. Sep. 20 @ 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM at West Hollywood Library Community Room (625 N San Vicente Blvd). WeHo’s Chamber of Commerce, the City of West Hollywood and Trans Can Work present a Cultural Diversity Certification Training Lunch & Learn event, perfect for any business interested in: Hiring an untapped pool of
talent, Lower turnover/Higher retention, HR tips and updated laws, Diversity and Inclusion Training, Creating a welcoming work culture for the ever-increasing TGNC workforce. Learn more about the gender diverse and trans community and the unique needs you should understand. $35 at the door.
WeHo’s 1st Bi Pride Celebration! Sat. Sep. 22 @ 1:30 PM to 7:00 PM at West Hollywood Park Auditorium (647 North San Vicente). They’re the “B” in “LGBTQ,” but people who identify as bisexual don’t usually get much attention in the public eye – at least not compared with all the other letters in the alphabet soup that makes up the community. The Los Angeles chapter of amBi is taking steps to change that with the first city-wide Bi Pride celebration in the country, which it will host together with the City of West Hollywood and HRC LA. The First Annual Bi Pride celebration will begin at 1pm with a rally in front of the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, followed by a Bi Visibility Walk through the heart of West Hollywood, and will culminate with a party back at the Auditorium. Artists will include Torrey Mercer (performing her new single, “Boys/Girls”), and LA Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence Kai Hazelwood, who will be offering a chance to experience her project, “Story Time Silent Disco.” The event is free.
E-mail calendar items to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
In Conversation with Matt Holzman
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