Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 29, September 21, 2018

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S E P T E M B E R 2 1 2 0 1 8 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 2 9 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M

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Remembering the 1993 March on Washington Should another demonstration be organized? By CHRISTOPHER KANE An estimated 1,000,000 LGBT people and straight allies attended the “visionary, aspirational, and unapologetically bold” 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Freedom. It was “one of the most significant mass protests in the history of the United States,” according to speakers in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. gathered for a telecast forum Sept. 18 honoring the March’s 25th anniversary. Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith, then a March co-director, marveled at how so many people were mobilized before the age of cell phones and social media networks. “I realize how much of that experience continues to be a touchstone 25 years later. What was remarkable was the grassroots nature of it,” she said. Panelists recalled the March’s emotional and political power. Smith helped broker an historic Oval Office meeting with President Clinton. It was a time of turmoil as Clinton, who had promised to lift the ban

Supporters of the Campaign for Military Service arrive at the March stage in 1993. Photo by Karen Ocamb

on gays and lesbians serving openly in the US military, faced fever pitch opposition from Republicans in Congress and seemed to be wavering. America was also in the throes of the second wave of the AIDS crisis. Demonstrators held candlelight vigils to honor friends and loved ones who were struck down by the disease. But love prevailed. Flirtations singer Michael Callan

sang “Love Don’t Need a Reason,” one of his last performances before his own death from AIDS seven months later. And Rev. Troy Perry ceremoniously married more than two thousand couples in front of the IRS headquarters. “We were angry, we were frustrated, and we were mourning,” said Tony Varona, vice dean and professor at the American University Washington College of Law, who

spearheaded the panel with Tom Gaynor, managing partner at Nixon Peabody, LLC, providing his firm’s sponsorship. Underscoring the arch of history, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a candidate for governor in the November midterms, was honored for his leadership on marriage equality. In 2004, Newsom supported same-sex marriage before it was popular or politically expedient. Panelists suggested the same bold, forward-thinking approach to LGBT civil rights was evinced in the expansive 1993 March platform that called for protection from discrimination, more money for AIDS research and full civil rights for women and racial/ethnic minorities. The panelists discussed whether another March would be useful or obsolete. Neuroscientist and entrepreneur Vivienne Ming, remembering the Berkley street protests after Prop 8 passed, remarked, “It felt so good. You’re never going to get that on Facebook.” “This moment cries out for another March on Washington,” Smith said. “This is a moment when we have an administration that wants to drag us backwards and is dramatically altering the legal structure of this country.”

Judge denies Trump request to lift trans military ban Judge calls move discriminatory and unlawful By STAFF REPORTS U. S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal issued a ruling Tuesday, Sept. 18 denying the Department of Justice’s request to lift the preliminary injunction he issued last December halting President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. It was the fourth nationwide preliminary injunction after Federal courts in Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia previously issued injunctions against the ban last year. The California lawsuit, Stockman v. Trump, was filed last Nov. 20 by seven transgender individuals either serving in the armed forces or intending to enlist, Equality California,

and the California Attorney General. “Discriminating against capable soldiers because of their gender identity does not represent the values of our great nation,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Dec. 27, 2017 after the injunction was issued. “We are pleased that today’s ruling proves that discrimination against transgender Americans will not be tolerated. The President’s disgraceful ban on transgender people serving in the military not only compromises our national security, but it marginalizes transgender Americans who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep us safe. We are proud to be part of the fight to protect the rights of this honorable group of brave people defending our country.” Bernal’s decision means the preliminary injunction will remain in place, allowing transgender individuals to continue serving

President Trump’s attempts to ban trans service members are being blocked by judges.

in the military. In his ruling, Bernal noted that the ban was discriminatory and unlawful: “In the history of military service in this country, ‘the loss of unit cohesion’ has

been consistently weaponized against open service by a new minority group,” Bernal wrote in his order denying the motion. “Yet, at every turn, this assertion has been overcome by the military’s steadfast ability to integrate these individuals into effective members of our armed forces. As with blacks, women, and gays, so now with transgender persons. “The military has repeatedly proven its capacity to adapt and grow stronger specifically by the inclusion of these individuals. Therefore, the government cannot use ‘the loss of unit cohesion’ as an excuse to prevent an otherwise qualified class of discrete and insular minorities from joining the armed forces.” “Today’s ruling upholds our nation’s values and interests. The Trump administration’s transgender military service ban does not,” Becerra said in a statement.

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Rev. Troy Perry reflects on 50 years of Metropolitan Community Church

Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip De Blieck at Christopher Street West 2018. Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

‘I tried, always, to be fearless and faithful’ By CHRISTOPHER KANE The battles to secure equal rights for LGBT people have played out in marches, demonstrations, parades, courtrooms, the media, houses of worship, houses of government, hospital wards, and boardrooms. They are all places where Rev. Troy Perry has always been frontand-center, advocating for LGBT issues and everyone’s civil rights. Now, 50 years after starting the Metropolitan Community Church in his Los Angeles apartment living room, the good gay reverend looks back on an extraordinary life. “Scripture tells us, ‘they overcame him by the word of his testimony and the blood of

the lamb.’ In my church, your testimonies— your stories—are remembered,” Perry tells the Los Angeles Blade in a Sept. 17 interview. “I always tell our community, ‘Remember your stories. Remember how you came out. Remember how you went to your first march with a lot of fear and trepidation. Remember when you talked to your parents for the first time—when you told you best friend that you’re different.’ So, for me, that’s what’s going to happen, and for all of us, on the 25th anniversary of the 1993 March on Washington and on the 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Community Church.” Rev. Perry has a lot to remember. In 1970, with activist Morris Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries, he co-founded Christopher Street West to organize what was then the first Pride parade in the world on the West Coast, in conjunction with a commemoration of the Stonewall riots in

New York City. Nine years later, Perry helped plan the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In 1993, the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation saw LGBT and allied participants reach close to 1,000,000. During the historic events, Perry performed mass ceremonial marriages, including one for about 2,600 same-sex couples 25 years ago in front of the IRS headquarters. On July 16, 2003, Perry and his partner of 18 years, Phillip De Blieck, traveled to Toronto to officially get married. The following year, the couple joined Robin Tyler and Diane Olson in their annual quest for a marriage license at the Beverly Hills Courthouse— only this time their powerhouse feminist attorney Gloria Allred filed a lawsuit against the state for denying Tyler and Olson a license and refusing to recognize Perry and DeBlieck’s Canadian marriage as a result of

Prop 22. Their 2004 lawsuit was folded into other lawsuits leading to a 2008 victory for marriage equality in the state. Rev. Perry’s conviction that LGBT folks should not be excluded from marriage and family, institutions that are especially valued by people and communities of faith, now seems uncontroversial—the sure sign of an authentic pioneer. “In 1969,” Perry says, “I performed the first wedding at MCC for two young Hispanic men. That’s when I started fighting, right then and there, and decided this would be part of our doctrine.” He was mocked by other LGBT activists who said: “Who do you think you are—Reverend Moon?” (The Korean religious leader famous for performing mass weddings.) “They couldn’t get it through their heads why it was so important. I said, ‘I am fighting for the right of every person to be treated equally under



1969 Gay Rights demonstration led by Rev. Troy Perry down Hollywood Boulevard to police station. Screen grab from Pat Rocco and Bizarre Productions through UCLA Television Archives

the Constitution of the United States.’” It was a position later articulated by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Obergefell ruling. As a progressive activist, Perry—along with his congregation—faced opposition from people who opposed marriage equality, conservative religious leaders and bigots who committed acts of violence against them. “In 1975,” he says, “our church was burned by an arsonist in Los Angeles. There were four other MCC meeting places that were either burned by arson or desecrated, including the fire in New Orleans where our pastor and his lover and nine of our late members were burned to death in a terrible fire that killed 32 people at the Upstairs Lounge.” In the next few years, 21 MCC churches were burned by arson or desecrated and eight clergy members were murdered. “They’ll pay for that one day, if not in this life, in the life to come,” Perry says. Perry was invited to the White House five times—the first on March 26, 1977 in a meeting organized by Midge Costanza, a closeted aide to President Jimmy Carter and twice by President Bill Clinton—one for a conference on AIDS and another on hate crimes, both history-making. “I took a report,” he said, “and the other LGBTQ groups were thrilled because we document everything in our denomination. We took good records.” Perry also shared stories about hate crimes

when the Cuban organization CENESEX honored him last year with an award for his work for human rights and LGBT rights worldwide. “We had the American, Swiss, and French ambassadors sitting in the Karl Marx theatre in Cuba,” he says. “I told the story about all [the violence] that happened. I said, ‘that didn’t happen in your country; it happened in my country.’ And I said that in front of the American ambassador.” Rev. Perry’s congregation has not been spared from the discrimination caused by homophobia, regardless of their sexual orientation. “I’ve had heterosexual people fired from their jobs because they were a part of Metropolitan Community Church,” Perry says. “I had a woman member in my church in the 1970s and she was a nurse at White Memorial Hospital here in LA. And that Seventh-Day Adventist hospital— it was reported in the newspapers that she had joined Metropolitan Community Church because she was a minister of our denomination—and they fired her. I’ve had to watch that and our heterosexual members have had to pay the same price that we have just for being part of an organization.” Conservative religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant scorned MCC’s core principle that LGBT identities are perfectly compatible with Christianity. “It gave us a lot of power,” Perry says, “because they couldn’t quit talking about us.

They could ignore other groups but trying to ignore us was impossible.” In the 1970s, he fought against Bryant’s “Save the Children” initiative, a campaign that sought to overturn an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance passed in the city of Miami. He worked with grassroots activists in Los Angeles and activists such as gay Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco to defeat the Briggs Initiative, a ballot measure that would have prohibited gay and lesbian teachers from working in California public schools. He launched a 10day fast to raise funds for the fight, which was successful in 1978. Perry’s congregation also suffered tremendously from AIDS while Falwell preached that the disease was divine comeuppance for immoral behavior. More than 5,000 members of MCC died from AIDS, Perry says. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed an MCC service in San Diego in which the worshippers prayed for people who were sick. But the epidemic also brought forth angels. “Bishop McKinney of the Church of God in Christ,” Perry explains, “which is a black Pentecostal denomination that does not agree with our stance on homosexuality, called a press conference and condemned the Westboro Baptist Church. McKinney said, ‘What a sick group of people who are coming to demonstrate against the church

just for praying for people who are sick.’ It completely turned the city of San Diego on its head.” To this day, says Perry, MCC is involved in civil rights and believes in inclusion—in both houses of worship and demonstrations like Pride. At the same time, he says, “What worked 40 or 50 years ago for Pride won’t necessarily work today. And that’s a good thing!” Today, amid outrage over the Trump Administration’s policies concerning LGBT issues, Perry supports the inclusion of political protest in Pride. “I absolutely believe with all my heart that it doesn’t have to be one or the other—you can have political messages, too.” “For 50 years I tried, always, to be fearless and faithful. I’m faithful to my concept of being a person of faith; but I’ve also tried to be fearless in the LGBTQ community as we fought the good fight,” says Rev. Troy Perry. “I’ve never asked anyone in my community, whether in my church or in any other organization, to do more than I would do…I look back at this incredible life, and I say to people, even if I die tomorrow, I have lived history, and it’s been an incredible journey for me as a gay man.” Rev. Perry is being honored on Oct. 6 at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Los Angles to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MCC. For more, visit: https:// celebrate.mccchurch.org/celebrate-50/.



AJ Valenzuela is running for Community College Board Out bisexual wants to serve Ventura County By KAREN OCAMB Lost in the uproar over heady political conflicts and fears of a conflagration poised to destroy American democracy as we know it are the skirmishes closer to the ground, the local grassroots fights over elected seats for the judiciary, controller, assessor, or on water boards and school boards that impact citizens more directly than most voters realize. Arthur “AJ” Valenzuela Jr., 27, is one such candidate. Valenzuela is a young bisexual Democratic activist running for Ventura County Community College District Trustee Area 1, an area that covers Ventura and Ojai. After incumbent Trustee Stephen Blum decided not to seek re-election, four people qualified to run for that seat. Valenzuela says he was recruited by Blum. “He thought I would be a good candidate because I used to be the Student Trustee on the Ventura County Community College District Board years ago, back in 2012-2013,” Valenzuela tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I had the experience with higher education at the community college level, was elected President of the California Community College Association of Student Trustees, did some advocacy work for U.C. Santa Barbara and also covered higher education for Assemblymember Das Williams. I was known as a local young activist that probably could give a better understanding of the student youth population when it came to community colleges.” Valenzuela comes to the table armed with policy positions on such hot button issues as free college tuition, workforce development and building community—and he has the personal experience to back it up. “I was that student that struggled with community college back when I went through it. Most of my friends went off to four year universities and I was that person locally who went to a local community college, went up to a four year university, came back and now I’m contributing to the community,” he says. “And I think I do have a lot to offer the community college system here locally as a young professional Latinx LGBTQ youth.” Valenzuela, a strong advocate for free

AJ Valenzuela Photo courtesy Valenzuela campaign

community college, is in favor of Democratic Socialism—which he says means the government is supposed to provide for the community. In the 1960s, he notes, “education was free until Prop 13 came along and Ronald Reagan.” K through 12 grade education is free now, and community college was free in the past so his plan to “break down barriers” is “nothing radical.” Besides, with the California College Promise that waives certain enrollment fees for eligible students at any community college, “we are halfway there now to providing free community college.” The California College Promise is a good start. “But let’s go to the next step—let’s see how we can make it two years free and so forth, extending it to four years versus in the long run. So I’m willing to work towards it in the realistic capacity that we have,” he says. Valenzuela has been involved in California politics since 2012, which accounts for endorsements from out former Assembly Speaker John Perez, State Sen. Kevin de

Leon and out California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman. “It shows my dedication to the community and to the Democratic Party,” he says. “I think it just shows that my reputation of being effective and progressive works for itself.” He supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ view of Democratic Socialism. “It means that people get a fair say in how things are distributed, that it’s done equally,” he says. “But I think we all have to give what we can as individuals. Some of us can give more than others. For example, I do believe that people should pay their fair share of taxes, especially as someone who comes from a family of long shoremen. I do think that we do get plenty of money and we give a good amount back in taxes because we benefit a lot from public taxes that go into contributing to our ports. So for me, as a young professional or a young blue collar worker, we are giving our fair share.” Valenzuela is highly cognizant of the burgeoning student loan crisis. “The student

loan crisis started becoming an issue in California after they started charging students for tuition for attending higher education,” he says. “For me, that just seems like it’s more privatization of community college because in the long run people are gonna have to pay back student debt.” Valenzuela says he was “very lucky” having to only take out $4,400 while attending UC Santa Barbara. “Once we provide free education for people, we have our Community College Foundation that can help students with the other needs that they have,” he says. “Ideally, I would like to see forgiveness of student loans just from the scratch. But I don’t know if that is politically possible at this time.” Valenzuela thinks it was “a tragedy” that Donald Trump was elected president. “It was unfortunate that a lot of people didn’t turn out to vote in 2016,” he says. But “I think young people are going to vote when it comes to people that meet their values.” For more, visit: http://ajforvccolleges.com/

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Williams Institute: Culture, not PrEP, linked to spike in STIs Author says ‘quiet sexual revolution’ happening By CHRISTOPHER KANE Rates of HIV screening are alarmingly low in some populations of gay and bisexual men in the United States and only a small minority of eligible patients are taking Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, according to a recent study by the Williams Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) test annually for HIV and include PrEP in their HIV prevention methods. With a probability sample, the first that offers nationwide estimates, researchers found only 4% of MSMs are using PrEP and as many as 25% of young gay and bisexual men have never been tested for HIV—while fewer than half are screened at least once per year. “Our findings suggest that health education efforts are not adequately reaching sizable groups of men at risk for HIV infection,” the study’s principal investigator, Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Williams Institute, said in a press release. “It is alarming that highrisk populations of men who are sexually active with same-sex partners are not being tested or taking advantage of treatment advances to prevent the spread of HIV.” Nationwide, the number of new HIV infections has decreased year-over-year since 2010, a public health achievement that still does not mitigate the potential risks associated with low rates of HIV screening and PrEP use. Meanwhile, the spike in sexually transmitted infections (STI) like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis among MSM has been partially attributed to riskier behaviors among men who use PrEP. That conclusion, which is fueled in part by peerreviewed research—and also, perhaps, by some sexual shaming or stigma—is challenged by the findings reported in the Williams Institute paper. Lead study author Phillip Hammack, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told the Los Angeles Blade: “Our data don’t support the idea that we can attribute the rise in STIs to PrEP use,

Only a small minority of eligible patients are taking Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention, according to a recent study.

at least not in a direct manner. I personally don’t think that’s what’s happening.” More responsible are a constellation of different cultural factors, from the availability of easy sex via hook-up apps to decreased anxiety about HIV/AIDS, Hammack explained. “I would speculate it has more to do with a culture shift about sex. More people are having sex today. We’re in sort of a quiet sexual revolution when it comes to new identities, new labels, and sexual behavior.” To an extent, Hammack said, low rates of HIV testing and PrEP use can be explained in the same way, along with various other factors, including stigma, which often prevents gay and bisexual men from discussing their sexual behaviors or identities with healthcare providers and non-LGBT-specific clinics are not always familiar with the full spectrum of diverse sexual identities and behaviors. Additionally, limited access to medications and financial barriers are in large part responsible for the low numbers of eligible patients using PrEP. Hammack told the Los Angeles Blade that HIV prevention efforts must focus on better educating healthcare providers, especially

in more rural areas. “A really encouraging finding of ours was that if folks had access to LGBT-specific resources and were out to their providers, they were much more likely to be tested and to be on PrEP,” he said. Physicians and healthcare providers must talk with men in sensitive, non-stigmatizing ways in order to really understand patients’ sexual risk profiles. For example, some MSMs may identify as straight and disavow membership in the LGBT community. Such a shift in approach is likely to result in an increased number of men who choose to take PrEP, the Williams Institute study suggests. Hammack explained that prior research, with samples of gay/bisexual men in urban areas, found only moderatelyhigher numbers of PrEP users, typically between five and 10%—still well below the rates recommended by the CDC and World Health Organization. More of the factors that can explain the low number of PrEP users, both nationwide and in large metropolitan areas, will be borne out in a forthcoming study that will include in-depth interviews of gay and bisexual men. Despite public campaigns

about the safety and efficacy of PrEP, Hammack explained, “In this [forthcoming] study, what we’ve seen is, frankly, a lot of misinformation about PrEP.” Along with undue fears about side effects, Hammack and his team discovered “a fair amount of sexual shame. ‘Well, I don’t want to be considered a PrEP whore’—that kind of language.” Some of the findings in the Williams Institute study are cause for celebration, however. HIV testing rates among black MSMs are higher than rates among white men. “What our findings on that suggest is that the testing campaigns that have targeted African-American men are paying off,” Hammack said. Still, while rates of new HIV infections have decreased in the general population, there has been an increase in new diagnoses among black gay and bisexual men. “I think we’re in a transitional moment in which we’re starting to see the effects of the aggressive efforts to reduce the impact of HIV on communities of color,” Hammack explained. “And it’s going to take some time before we see the actual infection rate numbers go down.”


“The world’s gone a bit crazy … when somebody like me, a nobody from nowhere, gets this gig just cause I don’t like men.” —Out comedian Hannah Gadsby, presenter at the Emmys on Sept. 17.

“The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in an imaginary future where an entire group of people is violently forced to work and make babies against their will. It’s what black people call history. It’s ‘Roots’ for white women.” —Comedian Michael Che opening the Emmys Sept. 17.

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart.” —Porn actress Stormy Daniels on sleeping with Donald Trump in her upcoming book Full Disclosure, via The Guardian.


There were big moments among the surprises during the low-key 70th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater Sept. 17, including the dearth of Trump and #MeToo references. The opening musical number, “We Solved It,” noted TV’s diversity—a record 36 nonwhite actors nominated this year—featuring SNL stars Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon, with Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Sterling K. Brown, Ricky Martin and brief appearances from the token “straight white guy” Andy Samberg and telephone prop-holding RuPaul. Indeed, four of the eight stars who opened the show were openly gay—but the RuPaul phone tells Thompson the diversity problem has not been solved. As if to underscore the point, the first winner was white straight Henry Winkler. And Sandra Oh was expected to make history by becoming the first Asian woman to win a Lead Actress Emmy—but that didn’t happen. LGBT references fared better, including a nod to legendary producer Craig Zadan in “In Memoriam.” RuPaul’s Drag Race made history, winning Outstanding Reality Competition Program and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in the same year—and securing five Emmys altogether for its 10th season. But the most explicit LGBT speech came from Ryan Murphy, who won for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special and Outstanding Limited Series or Movie for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”—Darren Criss won Lead Actor for his role as gay killer Andrew Cunanan. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace is about homophobia, internalized and externalized,” Murphy said acceptance his Emmy. “One out of every four LGBTQ people in this country will be the victim of a hate crime. We dedicate this award to them … And mostly this is for the memory of [Andrew Cunanan’s victims] Jeff [Trail] and David [Madson] and Gianni, and for all those lives taken too soon.”



‘These charges are serious and disqualifying’ Kavanaugh confirmation in doubt after sexual assault allegation By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com With Christine Blasey Ford coming forward as the individual alleging sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, LGBT groups joined the calls to hit the brakes on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court and instead launch an investigation into the claims. Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer for the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal, compared the allegations to the testimony of Anita Hill against now U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and said they “demand a thorough investigation.” “We are pleased that a number of senators from both parties have recognized that the Senate has an obligation to the country to delay any further consideration of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court until such an investigation can take place,” McGowan said. “This should not be a partisan issue. At this moment, Republicans and Democrats – men and women alike – have an opportunity to do more than just talk about their commitment to taking issues of sexual assault seriously. Now is their opportunity to take concrete action to back up those words.” After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced she had sent an anonymous accusation that Kavanaugh as a teenage student at Georgetown Preparatory School attempted to sexually assault a woman, Ford came out as the alleged survivor of sexual assault in an interview published Sept. 16 in the Washington Post. Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in Northern California, said the assault took place in the summer in the early 1980s, when at a party Kavanaugh tried to pin her down and attempted to remove her clothes. When she tried to scream, Ford said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth. Ford said Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend at the time, jumped on top of them, causing all three of them to tumble and allowing her to break free. Ford said she initially locked herself in a bathroom, then fled the house. Ford said she told no one about the

LGBT groups are calling for a halt to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination amid sexual assault allegations. Blade photo by Michael Key

incident until 2012, when she was in couples’ therapy with her husband. According to the Post, Ford provided notes from the therapist at the time that don’t mention Kavanaugh by name, but says she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who became “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” Her husband, Russell Ford, corroborated to the Post his spouse told the allegations to a therapist, used Kavanaugh’s last name at the time and expressed concern he might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court. That ended up coming to pass when President Trump nominated Kavanaugh this year for the seat occupied by U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Post also reports Ford consulted Debra Katz, a D.C.-based lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. After Katz recommended to Ford she take a lie

detector test, Ford undertook one in early August administered by a former FBI agent. According to the Post, the results concluded Ford was being truthful. Kavanaugh, who had previously denied engaging in sexual assault when the charges were anonymous, repeated his denial in a statement responding to Ford coming out publicly with the allegations. “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation,” Kavanaugh said. “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” Ford’s story prompted senators on both sides of the aisle to the call for a halt to the confirmation proceedings for Kavanaugh. After a week of raucous hearings earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on his nomination Thursday. The committee has invited Ford and Kavanaugh to testify on Monday but Ford’s attorneys have since indicated they want an FBI investigation into the allegations before

she testifies. Republicans have so far pushed back and President Trump has said he does not support an FBI investigation. Prior to the accusation from Ford, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was likely in the Republican-controlled Senate. Nonetheless, progressive and LGBT groups engaged in a concerted campaign to thwart his nomination over concerns he’d issue antiLGBT rulings from the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade. Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, commended Ford for coming forward and said the Senate must put the brakes on the Kavanaugh nomination. “Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process has been anything but transparent, and now with this grave charge of sexual assault, this process must be halted immediately,” Griffin said. “Moving forward with this confirmation process without conducting a thorough investigation would be deeply troubling and offensive to the American people, but more importantly to survivors of sex crimes across the country. It would communicate their trauma isn’t worthy of justice if a person sitting on the nation’s highest court can be confirmed without being investigated for alleged sexual violence.” A week prior to the Kavanaugh committee vote, Feinstein said she delivered material on the allegations to the FBI so the agency can conduct an investigation into the allegations. The FBI reportedly said it wouldn’t conduct a criminal investigation into the matter and instead referred the issue to the White House for review. It remains to be seen what action the FBI will now take in the aftermath of Ford going public with her allegations. Rick Zbur, executive director for Equality California, went further in his statement and said the time has come for Trump to withdraw the Kavanaugh nomination. “These charges are serious and disqualifying,” Zbur said. “They would be for any person in any circumstance, and are particularly so for someone nominated to serve on the nation’s highest court. Ms. Ford should never have had to come forward, but now that she has chosen to share her story, it is critical that law enforcement be given adequate time to thoroughly investigate Judge Kavanaugh’s conduct. The stakes are too high for his nomination to proceed, and the White House should withdraw it immediately.”




JARED POLIS Where: Colorado Could be: 1st openly gay person elected governor


KATE BROWN Where: Oregon Could be: 1st out bisexual re-elected governor



Where: Vermont Could be: 1st out transgender person elected as governor


LUPE VALDEZ Where: Texas Could be: 1st out lesbian elected governor


TAMMY BALDWIN Where: Wisconsin Could be: 1st out lesbian re-elected to U.S. Senate


KYRSTEN SINEMA Where: Arizona Could be: 1st out bisexual elected to U.S. Senate


GINA ORTIZ JONES Where: Texas Could be: 1st out Texan elected to Congress


LAUREN BAER Where: Florida Could be: 1st out Floridian elected to Congress


ANGIE CRAIG Where: Minnesota Could be: 1st out Minnesotan elected to Congress

Candidates for governor U.S. Senate candidates U.S. House candidates Other statewide candidates


SHARICE DAVIDS Where: Kansas Could be: 1st out Kansan & 1st female Native American in Congress


KATIE HILL Where: California Could be: Only out woman in U.S. House


RICK NEAL Where: Ohio Could be: 1st out Ohioan elected to Congress


CHRIS PAPPAS Where: New Hampshire Could be: 1st out person in New Hampshire in Congress


MARK TAKANO Where: California


NELSON ARAUJO Where: Nevada Could be: 1st gay person of color elected to statewide office


MARK POCAN Where: Wisconsin


RICARDO LARA Where: California Could be: 1st gay person of color elected to statewide office


DAVID CICILLINE Where: Rhode Island

Gay incumbents seeking re-election to U.S. House


MAURA HEALEY Where: Massachusetts Could be: 1st out person re-elected as state attorney general




DANA NESSEL Where: Michigan Could be: Second openly gay state attorney general


JOSH BOSCHEE Where: North Dakota Could be: 1st openly gay person elected to N.D. statewide office

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Trump tries empathy after dismissing Puerto Rico death toll Storms in Carolinas approached differently By MICHAEL K. LAVERS President Trump visited North Carolina on Sept. 19 to assess the devastation caused in the Carolinas by Hurricane Florence. Though the rain has stopped, “this event is not over,” Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long told him. “The rivers are still cresting. We still have a lot of work to do.” Trump called Hurricane Florence “one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country.” He added: “To the families who have lost loved ones, America grieves with you and our hearts break for you. God bless you. We will never forget your loss. We will never leave your side. We are with you all the way….To all of those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help you will recover.” Hurricane Florence is blamed for 32 deaths so far. But Trump’s response to the tragedy in the Carolinas is a far cry from his response to the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria one year ago, on Sept. 20, 2017. Just the opposite. Despite a study produced by researchers at George Washington University that placed the death toll at 2,975 Puerto Ricans—equivalent to the number of deaths caused by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001—Trump refuses to acknowledge the calamity. “3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 13, referring to Maria and Hurricane Irma, which brushed the U.S. commonwealth less than two weeks earlier. “When I left the island, after the storm had hit, they had anywhere from six to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3,000.” Trump accused Democrats of inflating the death toll “in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.” “If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list,” he said. “Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico.”

Damage and debris from Hurricane Maria on a beach in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, on Feb. 1. Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

“The president’s statements questioning the number of people who died as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria are deplorable,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal from Puerto Rico, told the Washington Blade from the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan. “They demonstrate that the president is not only divorced from reality, but also his utter disregard for people’s suffering and, frankly, his cruelty.” “Nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma,” he added. “Their lives matter.” Wilfred Labiosa, co-founder of Waves Ahead, a group that is helping LGBTI Puerto Ricans and other vulnerable groups recover from Maria, echoed Gonzalez-Pagan when he spoke to the Blade on Sept. 13 from Puerto Rico. Labiosa added Trump’s tweets “reflect the lack of acceptance of Puerto Ricans as U.S. citizens.” “It reflects that Puerto Rico is not a commonwealth but a colony of U.S. that we can be dispensable to the U.S.,” Labiosa told the Blade. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is among those who remain vocal critics of

Trump’s response to Maria, which included throwing paper towels into a crowd of people at a suburban San Juan church less than two weeks after the hurricane made landfall. Cruz said Trump’s comments show “a lack of respect for our reality and our pain.” “He simply is unable to grasp the human suffering that his neglect and lack of sensibility have caused us,” said Cruz. “3,000 people died on his watch and (it is) his inability to grasp that makes him dangerous.” Maria had winds of 155 mph when it made landfall. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans did not have electricity or access to safe drinking water for months. Labiosa and other activists in Puerto Rico with whom the Blade has spoken have said people with HIV/AIDS did not have access to antiretroviral drugs in the days and weeks after Maria’s landfall. They also said LGBTI Puerto Ricans faced discrimination at emergency shelters across the island. BuzzFeed reported that FEMA approved only 75 of the 2,431 requests for funeral assistance it received from Puerto Ricans after Maria. Trump defended his administration’s response to Maria as he

spoke with reporters at the White House about Florence. “While he is busy trying to ‘save face,’ he will continue to turn his back on all those who suffer,” Cruz said in a statement. “Simply put: He is fully unhinged from reality. One thing is for sure, our lives matter and we do not need a tweet from Trump to remind of us that.” Labiosa agreed, noting his organization and others continue to help Puerto Ricans recover from Maria and Irma. Labiosa also told the Blade that Waves Ahead, SAGE Puerto Rico and other groups that continue to provide assistance to LGBTI Puerto Ricans are also working to respond to the island’s growing mental health crisis. “The community, diaspora, and local non-government entities are making the difference by working hard to provide the necessary services to those devastated by the hurricanes,” he told the Blade. – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story. Editor’s note: Michael K. Lavers is in Puerto Rico to report on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Follow him on Twitter at @mklavers81



Stakes high as Mass. voters consider overturning trans law Outcome could lead to a rollback of rights elsewhere By JON DAVIDSON The Nov. 6 election will be monumentally consequential for LGBTQ people. Voters not only will decide who will control the House of Representatives and the Senate and who will hold numerous state and local government offices; they also will decide whether Massachusetts will continue to have a state law that protects transgender people against discrimination in public places, such as restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices. This is the first time a law prohibiting gender identity discrimination is being put to a statewide vote. It should be the last time as well. For that to happen, however, LGBTQ people need to do all we can to support the Yes on 3 campaign. There are many reasons we should care about this ballot measure. One is that what happens in Massachusetts this November could lead to significant rollbacks in the rights of LGBTQ people nationwide. Massachusetts has long been a leader in LGBTQ rights. It was the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry. It was the second (after Wisconsin) to bar sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. If our opposition can persuade voters to overturn a nondiscrimination statute protecting transgender people in a place like Massachusetts, it will be a perilous harbinger for similar laws in other states. Anti-LGBTQ forces will be emboldened to go after gender identity and sexual orientation protections elsewhere, and there’s no reason why California won’t be target number two. Indeed, the head of the Massachusetts Family Institute explicitly told Politico that November’s Massachusetts vote is a bellwether that will determine where they seek to repeal LGBTQ protections next.

Jon Davidson is chief counsel for Freedom for All Americans.

On the other hand, if Massachusetts voters uphold these protections, it will help pave the way to enacting explicit sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination protections nationwide, including at the federal level. What has happened in Massachusetts has had repercussions before. In 1992, Massachusetts’ then-governor, Republican William Weld, appointed a Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. That commission recommended that schools protect students by, among other things, including gay content in school curricula and libraries. Anti-LGBTQ forces unsuccessfully sued to challenge that. One couple who joined the suit objected that their son was read a story at school about two princes who fell in love with one another. When California voters were considering Proposition 8, which sought to overturn marriage equality, Prop. 8 proponents brought that couple to California for a statewide bus tour to “prove” that allowing same-sex couples to marry would lead to same-sex marriage being taught in California’s schools (even though that unsuccessful lawsuit long predated Massachusetts allowing same-sex couples to marry). We’ve thus seen it already: What happens in Massachusetts doesn’t stay there. Our community needs to remember Prop. 8’s subsequent passage just 10 years ago and what it felt like to have the state’s voters take back a right we had just won.

The message of rejection by a majority of the electorate was heartbreaking. We can’t let a setback like that happen again, even on the other side of the country. It was transgender people who led the Stonewall rebellion. LGB people and T people also share the same opponents. Those opponents misunderstand, fear, and dislike lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and transgender people for very similar reasons—because we don’t conform to their gender stereotypes. Whether they think men should only be with women, women should only be with men, or people should forever identify as they were identified at birth, it is a very narrow definition of what kind of men and women are acceptable that is the base of all anti-LGBTQ bias. Indeed, laws like the one now under attack in Massachusetts don’t only protect transgender people; they protect all people discriminated against because they are perceived as gender non-conforming. A study released last week by the UCLA-affiliated Williams Institute think tank proved that Massachusetts localities that enacted gender identity nondiscrimination protections prior to the state nondiscrimination law actually had fewer privacy and safety criminal incidents in restrooms and changing rooms than similar localities in the state that did not have such protections. There’s little doubt that anti-LGBTQ forces nonetheless will continue to use scare tactics, falsely asserting that legally protecting transgender people in public places endangers women and children in restrooms and locker rooms — just like they falsely asserted that letting same-sex couples marry would lead to the destruction of marriage. If lies and scapegoating of members of our community can prevail in one state, those tactics will spread. We can’t afford a flashback to the Prop. 8 election. Go to www. freedommassachusetts.org/take-action/ to learn how to help.

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Renewed hope in India I now have more explicit legal protections there than here By GAUTAM RAGHAVAN When I came out to my dad, one of the first things he said was: “I wonder how many people in our family were gay but couldn’t say anything.” I once looked through the family tree he has kept for 25 years, scanning seven generations of direct ancestors and distant relatives, wondering whose truth died with them. During one visit to India, my grandmother took me to visit an old friend of hers. He was smartly dressed and well spoken, the sole occupant of an apartment littered with books and art. As my grandmother explained, he was a “confirmed bachelor” who had never married. I think of him often. I’ll never know for sure if he was gay or not, but I do know there were generations of gay men in India who only had two options: a marriage based on a lie or a quiet life alone in the closet. And I wonder how different my life would have been if my family had stayed in India instead of immigrating to America when I was three years old. Which option would I have picked? Thankfully, I had other options. I grew up and came out in an America just beginning to awaken to the cause of LGBTQ equality. I followed Ellen DeGeneres out of the closet and Edie Windsor to the altar. Later, I followed my dreams all the way to Barack Obama’s White House. For these reasons, among others, I will always be extraordinarily proud to be an American. In no other country is my story – immigrating, coming out, marrying the person I love and starting a family, serving the highest office in the land – even possible. And yet, that pride has always come with a corresponding set of complicated emotions about India, a deep personal connection tempered by sadness, guilt, and resignation. Recently, my husband and I have talked about living abroad for a year or two when our daughter is older. In many ways, living in India would be a powerful way to teach

LGBTI activists in India celebrate a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law. Photo courtesy of Meera Parida

her about a country that may not be a part of her genetic makeup but is nonetheless a very real part of who she is, who her appa is, and the values we hope to instill in her. But every time we talk about it, I rule it out. How could we live as a family – even temporarily, and even with the privilege of American citizenship – in a place where our very relationship is criminal? All of that changed on Sept. 6, when India’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 377, the provision of the penal code criminalizing homosexuality, and further ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this ruling. Not only did Section 377 codify discrimination, it was used for years as a tool by government and police to raid, arrest, and stigmatize queer Indians. In their judgements, the Justices spoke to this long history of

oppression, calling Section 377 “irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary,” speaking to the inherent dignity and equality owed LGBTQ individuals, and calling for full and equal protection under the law – a goal we have yet to attain here in America. It’s not lost on me that, as a consequence of this historic ruling, I now have more explicit legal protection in the land of my birth than in the land that I love. That said, this is just the first step. Much like Lawrence paved the way for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the freedom to marry, India too will have to grapple with the meaning and implementation of full equality for its LGBTQ citizens. But for now, it signals the beginning of an end to loveless marriages and closeted confirmed bachelors. Even more importantly, it shows the way to a future of endless possibilities and unlimited options

for future generations of Indians – and Indian Americans. In January, my husband, daughter, and I will travel to India for a family reunion. In many ways, we will be returning to exactly the same country we’ve visited before. But in one very important way, we will be visiting a new land, with renewed hope for the future.

Gautam Raghavan served as President Obama’s liaison to the LGBTQ and AAPI communities from 2011 to 2014, currently advises the Indian American Impact Project and Biden Foundation, and is the editor of the forthcoming ‘West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House’ to be published by Penguin Books on Sept. 25.

Your ‘must do’ 2018 fall arts season guide There’s a whole lot of LGBT in the mainstream By CHRISTOPHER CAPPIELLO

As fall approaches, the Southland’s cultural institutions gear up for the beginning of another arts season. You can’t DVR these offerings, but if you’re willing to gather in the dark with a gang of strangers, LA’s dance, music, opera and theater companies have some exciting and ambitious offerings this fall. Here are some highlights:

DANCE “Romeo and Juliet” The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents the complete score to Sergei Prokofiev’s beloved ballet based on Shakespeare’s tragic love story, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. In tandem, dancer/choreographer (and “Black Swan” star) Benjamin Millepied choreographs portions of the piece, danced by members of his LA Dance Project. Oct. 18-21, Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles). laphil.com. Jacob Jonas the Company Under the direction of its LA-born namesake, Jacob Jonas the Company takes its exciting, visceral, athletic work to the Wallis this season as company-in-residence. Combining balletic dance with acrobatics and some break-dance sensibility, the young company’s fall offering is an intimate evening in the Lovelace Studio Theatre. Oct. 24-27, The Wallis, (9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills). thewallis.org. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company – “Analogy Trilogy” The restlessly inventive dance legend Bill T. Jones gives LA audiences the rare experience of seeing all three “Analogy” works in a single, seven-hour event (including one intermission and a 90-minute dinner break). “Analogy: Dora” is based on Jones’ 95-year-old motherin-law who defied the Nazis as a nurse in France. “Analogy/Lance” follows the partying excesses of a 1980s New York club kid, and the latest piece, “Analogy/Ambros,” is based on the main character in W.G. Sebald’s novel “The Emigrants.” The event is capped with

a Q&A with the artists. Nov. 3-4, Royce Hall at UCLA Westwood (10745 Dickson Ct., Los Angeles). cap.ucla.edu.

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Nov. 8-10, Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles). laphil.com.


The Music of Harold Arlen: The Wonderful Wizard of Song Harold Arlen is one of the giants of the Great American Songbook, having composed the music for so many beloved classics, including “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Stormy Weather,” “The Man Who Got Away,” and the songs for “The Wizard of Oz” (he snagged an Oscar for “Over the Rainbow”). CSUN’s The Soraya presents an evening celebrating his work, hosted by son Sam Arlen, and featuring Broadway stars Eden Espinosa and Joseph Leo Bwarie. Dec. 1, The Soraya CSUN (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge). thesoraya.org.

John Beasley’s MONK’estra Award-winning, versatile jazz pianist John Beasley brings his MONK’estra ensemble to the Broad this fall. A Grammy-nominated gang of virtuoso musicians, MONK’estra evokes the spirit of the masterful and mysterious Thelonious Monk as they play some of his iconic jazz music in fresh, innovative arrangements. Oct. 12, The Broad Stage (1310 11th St., Santa Monica). thebroadstage.org. The Mariinsky Orchestra St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Orchestra is one of the oldest and most revered in Russia. Renamed the Kirov Orchestra by Stalin, the ensemble reclaimed its original name after the fall of the Soviet Union. Under the tireless direction of the powerhouse conductor Valery Gergiev, the orchestra tours constantly. This fall they bring a program featuring great works by Igor Stravinsky, the Petersburg native who spent much of his later life in West Hollywood (with numerous appearances at the Hollywood Bowl). Some criticize Gergiev for snuggling up to Putin, but there’s nobody better to interpret Stravinsky. Oct. 25, The Soraya CSUN (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge). thesoraya.org. “The Tempest” The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents a special evening featuring the incidental music for Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” written by famed Finnish composer Jean Sebelius. The program also includes scenes from the play performed by actors from San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre and staged by artistic director Barry Edelstein. Sebelius is a major figure in Finland (his image was on the 100 Finnish mark note before the country adopted the euro), and the program is conducted by Susanna Mälkki, chief conductor of the

OPERA “Don Carlo” LA Opera kicks off its season with ambition, presenting Verdi’s sprawling epic “Don Carlo” with a smashing cast. Acclaimed Mexicanborn tenor Ramón Vargas sings the title role of the conflicted prince angry at his father for marrying his fiancée. LA Opera’s general director and resident legend Plácido Domingo -- famous for his Don Carlo as a young tenor – sings the baritone role of kind-hearted pal Rodrigo, while LA Opera favorite Ana María Martínez sings Elisabeth. As if that wasn’t enough, the great Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto sings King Phillip for the first two performances, defying time along with Maestro Domingo. Sept. 22-Oct. 14, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles). laopera.org. “Satyagraha” LA Opera continues its bold commitment to the work of Philip Glass by presenting the minimalist American composer’s second opera, “Satyagraha,” examining Gandhi’s formative years facing oppression and injustice in South Africa. With a book comprised entirely of verses from the Bhagavad Gita

2 0 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 2 9 • 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 2 1 2 0 1 8

‘The Cake’ at the Geffen Courtesy of geffenplayhouse

(sung in Sanskrit), the opera traces young Gandhi’s growth from a well-meaning attorney to the leader of a movement. The stunning English National Opera production is directed by Phelim McDermott, whose mesmerizing staging of Glass’s “Akhnaten” was at the Chandler two years ago. Oct. 20Nov. 11, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles). laopera.org.

THEATER “All Night Long” The Open Fist Theatre Company presents the Southern California premiere of longtime Bay Area theater artist John O’Keefe’s mindbendingly absurd and entertaining 1980 play about a day (and night) in the life of a sitcomlike American family. O’Keefe takes audiences on a wild ride, careening between reality and dream, the conscious and subconscious, in a piece that defies categorization. Through Oct.

21, Atwater Village Theatre (3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village). openfist.org. “Six Characters in Search of a Play” Playwright Del Shores is best-known and loved for his play “Sordid Lives” and the Logo series inspired by the play’s characters. Now, with apologies to Luigi Pirandello, he takes the stage himself, inhabiting six characters he has met in real life but has not yet found a way to use in a play. Celebration Theatre presents this limited run of brand-new Shores material. Sept. 27-30, The Lex Los Angeles (6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood). celebrationtheatre.com. “The Cake” The Geffen Playhouse presents a remount of the Echo Theatre Company’s acclaimed 2017 premiere of Bekah Brunstetter’s play about a North Carolina baker whose devout religious beliefs are challenged when she’s

asked to bake a cake for the wedding of a friend’s lesbian daughter. Most of the Echo’s original cast (including Debra Jo Rupp from “That ‘70s Show”) makes the transfer to the Geffen stage in this timely and topical piece. Through Oct. 21, Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood). geffenplayhouse.org. “Dear Evan Hansen” The first national tour of the 2017 Best Musical Tony Award winner, “Dear Evan Hansen,” comes to town with a lot of buzz and most seats already sold. The show has become hugely popular among young people, as it tells the story of the titular teen who lives with severe social anxiety. When a classmate dies of suicide, Evan concocts stories that lead to social-media popularity but also moral dilemmas. You might snag some mezzanine seats on weeknights. Oct. 17-Nov. 25, Ahmanson Theatre (135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles). centertheatregroup.org.

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Gay Days Anaheim comes of age Queering the magic kingdom By BILLY MASTERS

Gay Days Anaheim is where many a queen finds a prince charming. This year the event will be held October 5 7, 2018. Photo provided by Gay Days Anaheim

In these days when people routinely lie about their age, Gay Days Anaheim is proud to say it’s turning 21. OMG….21 and now they serve alcohol! Back in 1997, a group of gay people in Southern California tried to organize a day when our community could be out and proud at Disneyland – similar to the event that had been happening at the sister park in Orlando since 1991. From those little seeds grew an event that has attracted thousands of people from all over the world. That single day event has become a full weekend in Anaheim that will take place this year on October 5 to October 7, which is Columbus Day weekend (we gays love a long weekend). While it is not an official Disney event (the company doesn’t sponsor specific gatherings in its parks), the shear volume of members of the LGBT community (including our allies) has transformed this weekend from a grassroots meeting to a major happening. Last year’s festivities attracted over 30,000! “What I love most about being at Disneyland during Gay Days is how different the parks feel,” says producer Eddie Shapiro. “On any other day, you stay pretty focused on the people in your group. The energy is inward. On Gay Days, it’s the opposite-- everyone is very much focused on who else is there, everyone smiles at everyone else. It’s like being at a really big party. And that’s why wearing red is important-- so everyone knows, even from 100 feet away, who is there for Gay Days!” And in case somehow didn’t pack a red shirt, don’t panic — Gay Days Anaheim has a different collectible red T-shirts each year. “This year’s shirt is inspired by Toontown, so look for Jessica and Roger Rabbit to make an appearance. The shirts and the official pin are available in our Welcome Center, just off the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. There will also be a lot of free giveaways in there, so it’s often people’s first stop when the get to the resort.” As to the events we can only list a few highlights here. Friday night is the Wonderland dance party with popular Tiger Heat DJ Ray Rhodes and Detox from “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars” at the Rumba Room Live at Anaheim Garden Walk. After spending Saturday in Disneyland itself, the Kingdom dance party takes place once the sun goes down at Highway 39 with DJ Roland Belmares. In addition to more RuPaul girls (Mayhem Miller, Delta Work and Mariah Balenciaga), I suspect most people will be interested in a special performance by heartthrob Garrett Clayton. Shapiro says, “Garrett is a dream, and I don’t just mean to look at. He’s designing special costumes for this and having new arrangements made. It’s his first live show since he came out and I think he feels liberated!” Park devotees can enjoy Disney’s California Adventure on Sunday. But if you’d like something a bit more relaxing and refreshing, hit the official Gay Days Anaheim pool party, PLUNGE! at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. Other events throughout include the first ever Gay Days Anaheim free film screening under the stars. Since it’s October, why wouldn’t they show “Hocus Pocus”? Disney and gay favorite Bette Midler camps it up with Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker in this perennial Halloween favorite on Friday night on the lawn of the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. Saturday you can check out “Confessions of a Mormon Boy,” Steven Fales solo show prior to its off-Broadway run this fall (and he is certainly worth checking out). For more information, tickets, and a full list of events and times, check out their website at GayDaysAnaheim.com. And, as they say, see you on theMatterhorn.



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from $21 to $500.

Essentially Marilyn: The Exhibit, Fri. Sep. 21 @ 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM at The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles (465 N. Beverly Drive, at S. Santa Monica Blvd.). In celebration of her enduring artistic legacy, the Paley Center will showcase a new exhibit, presented by Profiles in History, featuring an extraordinary private archive of Monroe treasures including signature costumes from her films Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Prince and the Showgirl, and How to Marry a Millionaire, personal artifacts such as her heavily hand-annotated script from 1955’s The Seven Year Itch (providing a unique window into her artistic process), wardrobe pieces, and much more. The exhibit is framed by beautiful large-format photographs of Monroe captured by her friend, famed fashion and celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene, and unique historic video from the Paley Archive chronicling the icon’s contributions to television. Suggested contribution: $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for students and senior citizens; $5.00 for children under fourteen; Paley Center Members free.

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Wednesday Tea Salon at Tom of Finland House, Wed. Sep. 26 @ 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Tom of Finland Foundation (1421 Laveta Terrace). Have some erotic, hand-blended Tea, sumptuous cakes and sweets, relax and have a nice cuppa tea...View kinky/sexy art, chat with fellow kinky people and art patrons/snobs and remove yourself from our hideous political reality — chill in Tom of Finland style. You know what that means. For more information, and to RSVP, email antebellum@ earthlink.net.

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Fred Segal One Year Anniversary Bash, Sat. Sep. 22 @ 10:00 to 8:00 PM at Fred Segal Sunset (8500 Sunset Blvd). Celebrate West Hollywood’s iconic Fred Segal Sunset store’s one-year anniversary. The store will host a styling Anniversary Bash, complete with birthday cake, champagne, a photo booth, and DJ. Fred Segal will provide customers with a pet adoption, InkBox 2-week temporary tattoos, a tarot card reader, complimentary cookies and treats from the Fred Segal Café, a gift included with every purchase, and more! Admission is Free.

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Stonewall Democratic Club General Membership Meeting, Mon. Sep. 24 @ 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at West Hollywood Library (625 North San Vicente). Throughout September and October, Stonewall also has opportunities to help elect Democrats at the state and federal level through phone banking, canvassing, and road trips to competitive districts. With the November elections fast-approaching, Stonewall is wrapping up its endorsements with votes on local races at its September meeting. The group will be considering their recommendations for endorsements in several local races: Sue Himmelrich and Ashley Powell for seats on the Santa Monica City Council; V Jesse Smith for Palmdale Mayor; James Berry for a seat on the Rosemead City Council; Andrea Lofthouse-Quesada for a seat on the Alhambra City Council; Anthony Duarte for Hacienda - La Puente Unified School District. RSVP on Facebook @StonewallDemocraticClub.

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13th Annual Christmas In September At The Abbey, Tue. Sep. 25 @ 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM at The Abbey Food and Bar (692 North Robertson). 13 years ago, David

Florence and the Machine is one of the most dynamic and unique acts in music. Catch her High As Hope Tour 2018, Tue. Sep. 25 @ 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Hollywood Bowl (2301 Highland Avenue). Photo Florence and the Machine Facebook

Cooley (Founder & CEO of The Abbey Food & Bar, started a conversation with a guest who worked for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The guest explained they were in need of toys, that by September the toy inventory is depleted and the hospital runs out of toys until Christmas donations. Christmas in September was born and it now one of the most popular fundraisers The Abbey hosts. The event has provided tens of thousands of toys for children and families in need. Come bring a toy and have a drink. Donations required. Florence and the Machine: The High As Hope Tour 2018, Tue. Sep. 25 @ 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Hollywood Bowl (2301 Highland Avenue). Just to get onstage, Florence Welch has to induce herself into what she calls a “trance state.” She listens to whatever music she’s been loving lately and simply zones out. As she’s been readying herself for months of twirling dervish performances on Florence and the Machine‘s latest North American tour, she’s been listening up, a demanding Hollywood Bowl crowd in mind. “Sometimes I’ll put on something and listen to it over and over again,” she told Rolling Stone. “I have to start giving myself over to whatever it is that’s in charge of performances — the performance spirit or whatever the fuck it is. I don’t know, because it’s not really me.” Tickets available at http://hollywoodboxoffice.com/

Los Angeles’ 18th Annual Diversity Employment Day Career Fair, Thu. Sep. 27 @ 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles Westside (6161 West Centinela Avenue). The 18th Annual Diversity Employment Day Career Fair will be the largest diversity and inclusion recruiting event in the United States. Dozens of major employers will be on hand seeking to recruit a diverse workforce. Crane Aerospace & Elec, Fraser Financial / Mass Mutual, Amgen Inc, UCLA, KKABC-AM Radio / KLOS-FM Radio, Burbank Police Department, US Customs and Border Protection, DeVry University, Spanish Broadcasting System, New York Life, Skyworks Solutions, Milgard Window & Doors, Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters, INC., Penny Mac, USC Marshall, Carlisle Interconnect Technologoies, Napa Valley College, Dignity Health, Easterseals Southern California, Tradesy, TELACU Education Foundation, Los Angeles County Fire Department and many more. Admission is free.

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Lambda Literary LitFest LA 2018 Launch, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (244 San Pedro St). The second annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles is a celebration of contemporary voices honoring and expanding on the rich, diverse tradition of LGBTQ writers and readers in California’s Southland. It’s a full day of programming, featuring panels, talks, readings, and—new this year—low-cost workshops for festival attendees, “It’s Very That: The Ever-Evolving Queer Label,” 3:45 PM to 5:00 PM, for instance, is one of the themed workshops. It’s moderated by Zach Stafford, explores the LGBTQ community as a vibrant, diverse collection of human experiences with stories that reflect a limitless richness across a landscape of genre and media. Examine the Queer aesthetic. You get the idea. All events are free.

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

ICONS OF STYLE A C E N T U R Y O F FA S H I O N P H OTO G R A P H Y, 1 9 1 1 - 2 0 1 1

Image: Yohji Yamamoto, Autumn/Winter 1995 (detail), 1995, David Sims. Chromogenic print. Courtesy of David Sims. © David Sims. Text and design © 2018 J. Paul Getty Trust


Through October 21, 2018 at the Getty



‘Insatiable,’ ‘Insecure’ and a ton of reboots Billy Porter joins AHS, ‘Will & Grace’ returns and Roseanne dies By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Alyssa Edwards in ‘Dancing Queen.’ Photo by Jake Giles Netter; courtesy Netflix

The cast of ‘The Conners’ sans Roseanne.

Now that new shows and new seasons premiere throughout the year, the falls television season has lost some of its luster. Nevertheless, there are some great offerings on their way, including LGBT fan favorites and series with interesting queer content. Here is a sample of the shows on their way this fall, based on the latest information available. Schedules are subject to change, so check local listings. Four queer series have already hit the small screen. “Insatiable” (Netflix) premiered Aug. 10. Focusing on a teenaged girl who wants to get revenge on her bullies, the show includes several LGB characters. The third season of “Insecure” (HBO) dropped Aug. 12 and the show has already been picked up for a fourth season. Based on conversations with fans and writers after a male character revealed that he once had sex with a man, showrunner Issa Rae says she is ready to tackle LGBT issues in the show. “The Deuce,” starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, returned to HBO Sept. 9. The action has jumped forward five years to 1977 and gay bartender Paul is becoming part of the burgeoning gay bar scene. The eighth season of “American Horror Story” premiered last week on FX. Subtitled “Apocalypse,” the show is a crossover between “Murder House” (season one) and “Coven” (season there). The new season will combine characters, themes and plot elements from both seasons. All of the major cast members will return, with some of the actors playing multiple characters. Joining the cast will be Joan Collins (the original “Dynasty”) and Billy Porter (“Pose”). “9-1-1” returns to FOX Sept. 23 for its second season. Angela Bassett plays LAPD police sergeant Athena Grant, whose husband Michael has come out as gay. Aisha Hinds plays out firefighter “Hen” Wilson and Tracie Thoms plays her wife Karen Wilson. Anchored by openly gay Jim Parsons as super-nerd Sheldon Cooper, “The Big Bang Theory” will begin its final season on CBS Sept. 25. The popular tear-jerker “This Is Us,” which has been hailed for its sensitive handling of race and sexuality, returns to NBC Sept. 25. During the first two seasons, Randall Pearson (played by Emmy-winning actor Sterling K. Brown), is reunited with his bisexual biological father William “Shakespeare” Hill (Ron Cephas Jones). William introduces the family to his ex-boyfriend Jessie (Denis O’Hare) before his death from cancer. In flashbacks, William (played by Jermel Nakia) abandons his infant son at a firehouse following the death of his girlfriend. It’s not clear how the chronologically flexible show will handle the bisexual storyline in season three or if creator Dan Fogelman will add additional LGBT plotlines. Starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet as a gay couple, ABC’s “Modern Family” returns for its 10th and final season Sept. 25. The producers have announced that there will be a spin-off, but casting for the new show has not been announced. Under the watchful and wildly inventive eye of openly gay creator Lee Daniels, the cross-over series “Empire” and “Star” return to Fox Sept. 26. Both shows feature prominent African-American LGBT characters. Trans actress Amiyah Scott plays Cotton, the trans daughter of salon owner Carlotta Brown (Queen Latifah). Twenty years after the original series went off the air, the revival of “Murphy Brown” returns to CBS Sept. 27. Candice Bergen returns as the infamous title character, rejoined by Faith Ford (Corky Sherwood), Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana) and Grant Shoud (Miles Silverberg). Jake McDorman joins the cast as Murphy’s son Avery, a journalist who shares his mother’s quick wit and competitive spirit, and Nik Dodani plays the social media director for “Murphy in the Morning.” The gang still hangs out at legendary watering hole Phil’s, now under the management of Phil’s sister Phyllis (Tyne Daly). The award-winning “How to Get Away with Murder” returns to ABC Sept. 27 for a fifth season. Viola Davis stars as pansexual law school professor Annalise Keating and the show includes several other LGBT characters. Openly gay actor Leslie Jordan is part of the cast of the new show “The Cool Kids” which premieres on Fox Sept. 28. Set in a retirement home, the show also stars camp icon Vicki Lawrence (“Mama’s Family” and “The Carol Burnett Show”), David Alan Grier (“In Living Color”) and Martin Mull (“Roseanne”).

Photo courtesy ABC

Continues at losangelesblade.com



‘Lizzie,’ ‘A Star is Born,’ ‘Boy Erased’ among coming attractions Fall film slate includes festivals, competitions, remakes and plenty of queer content By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Nicole Kidman in ‘Boy Erased.’ Photo courtesy Focus Features

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in ‘A Star is Born.’ Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny in ‘Lizzie.’ Photo by Eliza Morse; courtesy Roadside Attractions

HBO is slated to air “Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age,” a controversial new documentary about searching for love on your smartphone. “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” a documentary about the legendary actress, activist and LGBT ally airs Sept. 24. The Hollywood fall movie season kicked off this month with the release of “A Simple Favor” a comedy/thriller set among the PTA crowd. The movie stars Anna Kendrick (“Into the Woods” and the “Pitch Perfect” movies), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl”) and features out actor Andrew Rannells (“Girls” and Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon”) as a PTA dad. Also newly out is “Pick of the Litter,” the family-friendly documentary about puppies training to be guide dogs for the blind. Other movies also currently out include: “Bel Canto,” a thriller starring Julianne Moore as a world-renowned opera singer who becomes trapped in a hostage situation; “Lizzie,” a retelling of the Lizzie Borden story with a lesbian twist starring Kristin Stewart and Chloë Sevigny; “Love, Gilda,” a documentary about the late comedian Gilda Radner; “Life Itself,” a drama about a young New York couple written and directed by Dan Fogelman (TV’s “This Is Us”) and starring Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas; “Fahrenheit 11/9,” Michael Moore’s provocative documentary about the Trump administration; and “The Children Act,” with Emma Thompson as hard-driven Justice Fiona Maye, Stanley Tucci as her long-suffering husband, and Fionn Whitehead as a young man whose life hangs in the balance. “Nureyev: All the World His Stage,” a documentary about the gay man who has been called the best male ballet dancer of all time (he died in ’93), opens Sept. 25 and is said to feature avant garde and “very sexually provocative” previously unseen footage. Issues of creativity, gender, sexuality and professional jealousy are at the center of “Colette” (Sept. 28), starring Keira Knightley as the famous French author. Also opening that weekend are the documentary “Science Fair” and “The Old Man & the Gun,” an all-star heist movie with Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Watts and Tika Sumpter. The “Halloween” franchise returns for a final installment. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode for one last battle with Michael Myers on Oct. 19. The most highly anticipated release of the fall season is undoubtedly the fourth version of the Hollywood classic “A Star Is Born.” Bradley Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a country singer who mentors a young singer named Ally (Lady Gaga). As her career skyrockets, his career fizzles in a downward spiral fueled by alcohol and age. LGBT audiences will also be drawn to two other movies opening that day: “Tea with the Dames,” a documentary featuring interviews with Dames Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Joan Plowright; and “The Happy Prince,” an Oscar Wilde biopic written and directed by openly gay actor Rupert Everett who also stars with Colin Firth and Emily Watson. Some of the other LGBT releases on the schedule for area theaters include “1985” (Oct. 26) about a closeted young man (Cory Michael Smith) who visits his family to discus his sexuality and his health; “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Nov. 2) about openly gay singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and his Queen bandmates; and “Boy Erased” (Nov. 2), a drama about conversion therapy starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and featuring Joel Edgerton (who also wrote and directed), Cherry Jones, singer Troye Sivan and filmmaker Xavier Dolan; and, “Suspiria,” a film about the mysterious happenings at a Berlin dance company directed by Luca Guadagnino (“A Bigger Splash,” “Call Me By Your Name”), starring Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton. Some of the other releases to be on the lookout for include “Beautiful Boy” starring Timothée Chalamet (Oct. 12); family drama “What They Had” starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon and Blythe Danner (Oct. 26); “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” starring Melissa McCarthy in a well-received dramatic role (Oct. 26); “Widows,” a crime drama starring Viola Davis; and Eddie Redmayne in the Harry Potter-adjacent “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”



Cher, Gaga, Idina and (maybe) Madonna Diva-heavy fall features ABBA tribute, ‘A Star is Born’ soundtrack and tons more By THOM MURPHY

Cher’s Abba tribute album comes out Sept. 28. Photo courtesy of the Karpel Group

Godmother is a new queer outfit to watch out for. Photo courtesy of Noisy Ghost

This fall’s album release schedule looks promising for fans of all genres. Several major artists are slated to drop cover albums, several re-releases are in the works and there is lots of new material across the board, including the soundtrack to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s new film “A Star Is Born.” Last week, “American Idol” winner and country icon Carrie Underwood released her new album, “Cry Pretty,” which marks 13 years since the release of her debut album “Some Hearts.” David Guetta, the French DJ and mastermind behind songs like “Sexy B*tch” and “Titanium,” is also out with “7,” his aptly titled seventh studio album. The lead single, “2U” featuring Justin Bieber, has already been a major success, landing at the Billboard no. 16 spot. Willie Nelson’s album of Frank Sinatra covers, “My Way,” was released last week as well. On Sept. 21, R&B singer Macy Gray comes out with a new album entitled “Ruby” on the heels of her 2016 jazz album, “Stripped,” a major success on the jazz charts. The 21st also sees the release of “Piano & A Microphone 1983,” a previously unreleased nine-track recording of Prince at the piano. “Bridges,” the new studio album by Josh Groban which features a cover of Celine Dion’s “S’il suffisait d’aimer,” is also scheduled. His 2015 album “Stages” was a set of wideranging Broadway covers that put the singer at the Billboard no. 2 spot. Also on the 21st — and from the other side of the Atlantic — queer pop newcomers Godmother release their self-titled debut. And “Bobbie Gentry: the Girl from Chickasaw County — the Complete Capitol Masters” is slated for release featuring eight discs with seven remastered studio albums and a generous stash of 75 unreleased recordings and never-before-issued live tracks taken from her BBC TV series. It’s looking like a holy grail moment for fans of the mysterious “Ode to Billie Joe” singer who pretty much disappeared from the public eye in 1981. On Sept. 28, Cher is scheduled to release her much anticipated ABBA cover album, “Dancing Queen.” Her first studio release in five years, “Dancing Queen” arrives on the heels of her performance in this year’s “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again,” for which she recorded ABBA’s “Fernando” and “Super Trouper.” She gets the Kennedy Center Honor on Dec. 2 (broadcast Dec. 26 on CBS). Also on Sept. 28, country legend Loretta Lynn will release “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” which features new Lynn-penned originals along with new recordings of two of her classic songs, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin.’” It was delayed last year after Lynn’s stroke. Rod Stewart is slated to release his new record, “Blood Red Roses.” And Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) releases her ninth solo album “Holler” with 14 new songs on double LP and other formats. On Oct. 5, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga release the soundtrack to their upcoming film “A Star Is Born.” The album is loaded with original music, in addition to a few classics — Lady Gaga performs a rendition of “La vie en rose” — all recorded live for the film. Idina Menzel is set to release a new live album, entitled “idina, live,” from her 2017 world tour on the same day. The recording includes songs from the musicals “Wicked,” “Rent” and “Frozen.” Additionally, Oct. 5 sees new music from pop duo Twenty One Pilots. “Trench” is the group’s first release since its 2015 Billboard no. 1 album “Blurryface.” And rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah is out with a new album called “The Lost Tapes.” On the same day, former Journey frontman Steve Perry is slated to release his third solo record, “Traces.” Perry has already put out the lead single “No Erasin,’” along with a new music video. The fourth in a series of David Bowie boxed sets is scheduled for release on Oct. 12. “Loving The Alien (1983–1988)” will contain 11 CDs and a 15-piece vinyl set, which includes previously unreleased music and new artwork. It also looks as though Christmas may come early this year. Also on Oct. 12, English rock legend Eric Clapton is releasing his first Christmas album, “Happy Xmas,” which features a number of classics, including a version of “Jingle Bells.” And RuPaul’s third Christmas album — “Ho Ho Ho” came out in 1997 and “Slay Belles,” in 2015 — will make its debut in October as well. Other anticipated but so far unscheduled releases this year are expected from T.I., Madonna, My Bloody Valentine, Zayn, Carly Rae Jepsen and, as always, Frank Ocean. And be prepared for a surprise or two along the way.



Trans themes front and center in many fall ’18 books ‘Black Queer Hoe,’ ‘Rise of Genderqueer’ among anticipated titles By GRACE PERRY

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In her powerful debut, “Black Queer Hoe” (Haymarket Books, Sept. 4), Chicago performance poet and playwright Britteney Black Rose Kapri wrestles with questions about sexual freedom and sexual exploitation in a world where black queer women are frequently denied basic rights to bodily autonomy. Kapri is refreshingly unapologetic and provides crucial insights and perspective into many conversations currently playing out across the country surrounding race, gender, sexuality and power. In his new poetry collection, “The Rise of Genderqueer” (Brain Mill Press, Sept. 4), Wren Hanks challenges assumptions about gender, dismantling the status quo from every angle. A trans writer from Texas, his poems are raw and authentic and create a space for his extraordinary voice. Akemi Dawn Bowman’s new novel “Summer Bird Blue” (Simon Pulse, Sept. 11) tells the story of Rumi Seto, a mixed race teen suffering from the tragedy of losing her sister while simultaneously attempting to understand her own identity as asexual. A raw story about loss, grief and identity, “Summer Bird Blue” is a powerful read that sheds light on the strength and perseverance of humanity. If you love graphic novels, Tillie Walden’s “On a Sunbeam” (First Second, Oct. 2) is a must read. Set in the deepest reaches of space, “On a Sunbeam” is an epic graphic novel that takes the reader on one girl’s journey of falling in love at boarding school then losing everything. A story of love and second chances, Walden beautifully writes and illustrates what one critic has called “her best work yet” in this fall’s release. If you have a young person in your life, “Jack (Not Jackie)” (little bee books, Oct. 9) is a wonderful gift idea. In this moving picture book, Erica Silverman tells the story of a big sister who realizes her little sister Jackie may not in fact be her sister at all. Jackie doesn’t like to wear dresses or have long hair and wants to be called Jack instead. Author of acclaimed fiction “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” Becky Albertalli alongside Adam Silvera release their new young-adult romance “What If It’s Us” this October (HarperTeen, Oct. 9). Ben has just broken up with his boyfriend when Arthur moves to New York City for the summer to work on Broadway. Although Ben is heartbroken and not interested in starting a new relationship, when he meets Arthur at the post office, he’s forced to reconsider. “What If It’s Us” is a story of fate and trying to figure out what exactly the universe has in store for us. Lambda Award Winner Julia Watts releases her latest young-adult novel, “QUIVER” (Three Rooms Press, Oct. 16), this fall. Set in rural Tennessee, it tells of a friendship between two teenagers on opposite sides of today’s culture wars. Libby comes from a strict evangelical family while her new neighbor Zo is a gender fluid feminist, socialist (and of course vegetarian), and yet despite their differences, they are drawn to each other and connect instantly. Creator of Amazon’s “Transparent” Jill Soloway is finally releasing her powerful memoir “She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy” (Crown Archetype, Oct. 16), which reveals her personal journey from a straight, married mother of two to a queer and nonbinary activist. Her memoir deconstructs the harmful dominant narratives still shaping our society, challenging the status quo and encouraging the reader to think critically about issues from consent and #metoo to gender and inclusion. If you love poetry, Mary Lambert’s new collection “Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across” (Feiwel & Friends, Oct. 23) should definitely be added to your fall reading list. A writer and LGBT activist, Lambert is also a songwriter and collaborated with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to create the Grammy-nominated queer anthem “Same Love.” The poems in her new collection tackle issues of sexual assault, mental illness and body acceptance. In “The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist” (Mit Press, Oct. 23) Ben Barres, esteemed neurobiologist at Stanford University, tells the story of his life from his gender transition to his scientific work and finally his advocacy for gender equity in the sciences. This book, completed shortly before his death in 2017, explores his experience as a female student at MIT in the 1970s and his transition from female to male in his 40s alongside fascinating accounts of his scientific accomplishments.


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Emmy’s 70th was a coming of age for LGBT Dozens of statuettes awarded to LGBT producers, TV shows and actors By SUSAN HORNIK

The 70th annual Emmy Awards gave the LGBTQ community historical, almost matter of fact visibility, with more LGBT winners than ever before. Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik played a major part in her whirlwind week covering numerous awards events. Here’s a recap:

Winner Highlights Executive producer Ryan Murphy was elated about winning the Emmy for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” “This was a story I was passionate about very early on,” he said backstage at the pressroom. “I wanted to tell the story. I was in LA five years when Andrew Cunanan started his spree. I felt it was a story that needed to be told. The themes and issues that we talk about in the show are as modern as ever, if not more so.” Murphy added that he was always “happy” to make a political statement in everything he does. “The statistic that I said, which was one out in four LGBTQ Americans will be the victim of a hate crime, is true and heinous. As a gay man who was told when I started off in the business that I could not even write in 1998 a gay character... the idea that now, 20 years later, I get to tell the story and proselytize for my community is important to me,” Murphy said. RuPaul made Emmy history with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” becoming the first competition show to win the Outstanding Reality-Competition Series and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program award in the same year. During the pressroom interview, the veteran drag performer/singer/actor talked about why the series is so popular. “There’s an interesting balance of entertainment and deep stories that really touch our audience. We started out this show to celebrate the art of drag, and in doing so, we brought along a bunch of kids who had varied backgrounds,” he said. “We have challenges that are fun, but these kids bring their courage and their stories, and that is what the heart is,” he added. RuPaul also said the series “adds a little relief” during this time, in which “we’re living in a country that is very divided.” “We celebrate people who dance outside the box, and those are my favorite kind of people,” he noted. “Those stories need to be told, and I think there is value in those stories for everyone, not just drag queens.”

HBO Party

HBO hosted its 20th anniversary Emmy party at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sept. 17 and it brought out some of the night’s biggest stars, straight and LGBT alike. Photo by Susan Hornik

This was HBO’s 20th large scale Emmy party and the 16th consecutive HBO Emmy Party, held at the Pacific Design Center. All designed by Billy Butchkavitz, this year’s theme was the Garden of Eden, where the event designer incorporated flora, fauna, insects and serpents all with a modern twist. All of the decor structures, textiles, carpets, furniture, tabletop dressings and large scale sculptures were all curated to create a fanciful garden setting. Of course the food was impressive too; Wolfgang Puck Catering designed a custom buffet supper for the thousands of HBO guests. At the party, writer/performer Frank DeCaro, talked with the Blade about the excitement he felt after watching the awards. “I can’t truly gauge the state of LGBTQ representation on screen — that’s a job for GLAAD — but I can say it was a banner year for LGBTQ wins at the Emmys. Ryan Murphy, RuPaul, ‘Queer Eye,’ ‘Drag Race,’ and ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ all took home major awards,” he enthused. “These aren’t sanitized-for-your-protection gays, either. These are full-strength gays. Some are quite literally screaming queens, and hooray for that. As one of Ru’s team once said to me, ‘When a drag queen wins an Emmy, we all win.’ Now let’s make sure the trans deliciousness of ‘Pose’ snatches armloads of trophies next September.” Indie actor Massimo Dobrovic had a grand time dancing to the fabulous EDM beats at the party, and felt hopeful about a more inclusive Hollywood community. “I can’t hide my enthusiasm toward all the marvelous LGBTQ friends that won. Ricky Martin has been one of my biggest idols all my life, because of his charisma, dancing ability and persona. Ryan Murphy inspires me everyday of my life, as I also work on horror-themed programming,” Dobrovic said. Massimo has three projects, “Behind the Curtain of the Night: Secrets of Karma” coming out this fall with Marcia Cross and Brandon Fraser; “Nation’s Fire” coming with Bruce Dean and the miniseries, “Age of the Living Dead.”

Emmys Gifting Suites GBK Productions produced their signature luxury gifting lounge for nominees and presenters. Over 100 celebrities, influencers and press enjoyed the music, food and this season’s most exclusive products. Among the many guests were gay nominee Tituss Burgess, Tyler Henry and Rex Lee. Gay hairstylist Chaz Dean, who runs Wen Hair and Bodycare, donated a year’s supply of products and dry styled the guests. Guests were welcomed by title sponsor Pilot Pen, where they were gifted G2 pens, fountain pens, and a Plumix calligraphy set. Other highlights included chair massages from Burke Williams along with a gift bag containing Youth Cell activator, a pumpkin mask and a three-day spa pass. Continues at losangelesblade.com



LA Film Festival brings a world of LGBT diversity to the big screen Oscar Wilde, Monty Clift, queer uncles, weddings and hillbillies spice it up By DAN ALLEN

With a bold shift to the fall this year and a wider variety of venues across the city, the LA Film Festival returns this week with a bold slate of fresh independent cinema, including a broad range of global movies with LGBTQ themes. Rupert Everett’s much-anticipated Oscar Wilde biopic makes its splashy Los Angeles debut as a LAFF Gala event, and two queer films—the Brazil coming-of-age drama “Socrates” and the Hollywood documentary “Making Montgomery Clift”—will have their world premieres at LAFF. Here’s the rundown of the LGBTQ titles to watch at LAFF 2018: “The Happy Prince” Tuesday, Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 N. Santa Monica, Blvd., Beverly Hills) Rupert Everett makes his directorial debut in this moving look at Oscar Wilde’s final chapter, with Everett also starring as the banished British playwright and poet, struggling to survive in exile by relying upon his brilliant wit and irony, but consumed by failing health and memories of happier days. Colin Firth and Tom Wilkinson costar, with Irish hottie Colin Morgan as Wilde’s confoundingly irresistible paramour Bosie, and Emily Watson as Wilde’s long-suffering wife Constance. Hailed by critics at film festival appearances around the world this year, the film makes its Los Angeles premiere at this LAFF Gala presentation. “Socrates” Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. ArcLight Culver City (9500 Culver Blvd., Culver City) In this world premiere of the powerful first feature from Brazilian-American director Alex Moratto, 15-year-old Socrates faces not just the sudden death of his mother and the struggle to survive on his own, but also his sexual awakening, which draws him to another hot but troubled teen. The film was produced by a crew of 16-20-year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project providing social inclusion through filmmaking to underrepresented youths in the coastal Baixada Santista region of the Brazilian state of São Paulo.

This year’s festival entry ‘Hillbilly’ examines the red/blue divide on LGBT issues, unpacking the ‘hillbilly’ stereotype, queers and all.

“Moroni for President” Sunday, Sept. 23, 6 p.m. ArcLight Hollywood (6360 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles) Troubled by what he sees as the lack of progress on the Navajo (or Diné) reservation where he was raised, young gay Mormon college professor Moroni Benally decides to shake up the status quo and run for president of the largest Native American nation. As the election and the film unfold, we meet other LGBTQ characters, including the pageant-loving assistant of the incumbent Navajo Nation president, and Alray Nelson, founder of The Coalition for Diné Equality, the nation’s primary LGBTQ rights organization.

Photo courtesy LA Film Festival

“Making Montgomery Clift” Sunday, Sept. 23, 8:30 p.m. ArcLight Hollywood (6360 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles) In another LAFF world premiere, Monty Clift’s nephew Robert co-directs (with Hillary Demmon) this fascinating look at the iconic but troubled star, as seen through the eyes of his own family. The documentary dives deep into the priceless archives left behind by both Montgomery and his brother Brooks—and also visits a host of Hollywood insiders who remember the star—to paint a more complete picture of the acclaimed actor and queer hero. “Mr. Soul!” Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. The Writers Guild Theater (135 S Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills) In another uncular homage, Melissa Haizlip co-directs (with Samuel Pollard) this fascinating look at her uncle Ellis Haizlep, who created the groundbreaking PBS series “Soul!”—the first nationally televised all-black variety show to be hosted and produced by an openly gay African-American. As the film reveals, Haizlep not only gave a proud voice to black stars and the black experience during a time of deep racial turmoil (the show ran from 1968-1973), but he was also unflinchingly unapologetic about his sexuality in an era when such a thing was revolutionary. “The Wedding Banquet” Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. The Writers Guild Theater (135 S Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills) Celebrating its 25th anniversary in this special LAFF screening, “The Wedding Banquet” launched director Ang Lee’s career on the global stage, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. In the now classic, culture-clashing comedy, Wai-Tung’s perfectly happy New York City life with his partner Simon is disrupted when his Taiwanese parents insist on helping to find him a suitable wife, then arrive from Taiwan to help plan the wedding.


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