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INTRODUCES

DESERT VISIBILITY In partnership with

Awards

Honoring local community members and organizations that are giving back to the Palm Springs communiy. For more information, visit losangelesblade.com/visibility


04 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

LOCAL

LGBTQ youth at greater risk of suicide: AMA Support efforts should be part of education, public health planning By STAFF REPORTS Medical and social scientific studies over the past two decades have shown that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents. Statistics revealed in a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association/Pediatrics Monday again confirmed that sexual minority individuals are at a much higher risk of suicide and attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers. Dr. Esterdi Giacomo, Micheal Krausz, Ph.D., and Dr. Fabrizia Colmegna, the

trio who conducted the study noted: “Our findings suggest that youths with nonheterosexual identity have a significantly higher risk of life-threatening behavior compared with their heterosexual peers. Public awareness is important, and a careful evaluation of supportive strategies (eg, support programs, counseling, and destigmatizing efforts) should be part of education and public health planning.” Transgender youth were the most affected, followed by bisexual, gay and lesbian teens. The comprehensive study reviewed in-depth studies that examined nearly 2.5 million young people aged 12 to 20 across 20 countries. The study also concluded that: “[...] studies within LGBTQ communities may have incorrect estimations because they are composed of people with higher

self-consciousness about their sexual orientation and represent a place of aggregation and support. On the other hand, focusing on bullying may increase quantification because of a biased selection for the implication of an explicit risk factor.” “This research highlights the need for increased support and acceptance of LGBTQ youth. Young LGBTQ people are at a higher risk for suicide attempts because of the public rejection they see and hear in the news, from their governments, and from their friends and families,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, said in a statement. “It’s important to remind LGBTQ youth that they are loved, never alone, and that their life has value.” If you or someone you know is feeling

hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www. TheTrevorProject.org. LGBT adults, as well as young people, can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Theyhave a special LGBT section: suicidepreventionlifeline. org/help-yourself/lgbtq. Additionally, trans individuals can contact the Oakland-based Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860 or translifeline.org. Their peer support hotline “is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7 am-1 am PST / 9 am-3 am CST / 10 am-4 am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.” The trans-led organization’s vision “is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid.”

Rev. Troy Perry celebrates MCC’s 50th anniversary LAPD offers thanks for forgiveness of law enforcement By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The Oct. 6 celebration of Rev. Troy Perry and the 50th anniversary of his founding Metropolitan Community Church was a testament to the loving spirit of this longtime LGBT social justice warrior and religious legend. Fellow warriors spoke, including Rabbi Denise Eger, West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, and Rodney Scott, former mainstay of Christopher Street West, the annual Pride parade founded in 1970 by Perry, Morris Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries. And special guests appeared, including State Sen. Kevin de Leon and famed attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit in 2004 on behalf of Perry, his husband Phillip De Blieck (they were married in Canada on July 16, 2003) and Robin Tyler and Diane Olson that ended up helping win marriage equality at the California Supreme Court. But LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala’s three-minute speech was

Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip De Blieck Photo by Karen Ocamb

monumental. “Rev. Troy—thank you for the forgiveness you and your church and your whole world have brought to law enforcement,” Girmala said. On behalf of the LAPD, who try “to be better each and every day—thank you for your forgiveness of

us for our past problems, indiscretions, and things that have changed this world for the better but sometimes for worse.” Elders’ jaws dropped. In March 1969, Perry led a march of 120 people protesting the seemingly casual vicious beating death of Howard Efland

by two LAPD Vice officers at the Dover Hotel. “I had told my congregation over and over that our church was built on a three-prong gospel: the gospel of Christian salvation, the gospel of Christian community, and the gospel of Christian social action. Absolutely: Christian social action. We are meant to go out and bring deliverance to people. So I told them ‘I want you to come and march with me,’” Perry said at the time. In his remarks, Perry sailed back in time, remembering how one of the first 12 MCC members would be murdered six months later and how LGBT people must remember their history. “I’m so glad our assistant chief of police is here tonight. Two years ago, I was invited by the Police Commission to do the Invocation and to speak. And I couldn’t not take the opportunity to say, ‘This is the first time I’ve been to the police commission in 46 years. It was 46 yeas ago when I sued you,’” Perry said. “I don’t want us to ever forget our history. Remember what we’ve done. Look at these young people that we’ve honored tonight. How thankful I am for all of you who have made the sacrifice – those eight clergy who were murdered – members of our church who were murdered. But we never gave up. We were faithful. God bless you all.”


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06 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

LOCAL

Trans vet used by GOP extremist in San Bernardino campaign Tim Donnelly trolls Trump-endorsed Paul Cook with anti-trans billboard By KAREN OCAMB  kocamb@losangelesblade.com The only congressional seat in California where Republicans are assured of a win Nov. 6 is in the 8th Congressional District— the conservative eastern desert areas of Victorville and Yucca Valley—where the June jungle primary produced two rightwing candidates, incumbent Paul Cook, endorsed by Donald Trump, and former Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, an anti-LGBT extremist who has previously challenged and lost to Cook. This time, Donnelly’s strategy is to challenge whether Cook is Trumpian enough for the district and he’s using an apparently appropriated image of transgender veteran Allison Hannan on a billboard to do it.  “Ask Paul Cook Why He Voted To Allow Our Military Funds To Be Used For SexChange Surgeries!” the billboard reads, next to a photo of Hannan taken for an OUT magazine profile of 18 transgender veterans. Hannan, who lives in a rural farming township in Southern New Jersey, found out about the billboard from Cassidy DuHon, the photographer for the OUT Magazine photo spread. Neither Hannan, nor DuHon, nor OUT Magazine gave Donnelly permission to use Hannan’s image for his congressional campaign, Hannan tells the Los Angeles Blade in an Oct. 7 email.   “I feel soiled that my image was used to advance the campaign of a homophobe/ transphobe and my face is on a billboard next to a hateful message,” Hannan says.  And Donnelly’s strategy is curious since the registration in the district is 37% registered Republican, 32% Democrat, and 22% no party preference suggesting he might need some crossover votes to win. Additionally, in 2016, voters rejected Donnelly in the primary and reelected Cook by 62%. “He is one of the very few people alive who could make Donald Trump look like a moderate on immigration,”  political science professor John J. Pitney, told the Los Angeles Times in 2016 about Donnelly, a former activist with the Minuteman border

Tim Donnelly, an anti-LGBT extremist, is using this billboard to target his opponent. Photo Courtesy Allison Hannan

militia movement. That Donnelly would use anti-trans messaging is not a stretch. In 2011, thenAssemblymember Donnelly called gay Sen. Mark Leno’s bill requiring LGBT history to be taught in schools “censorship.” “It’s a sad day for our republic when we have the government essentially telling people what they should think,” Donnelly told the New York Times, disparaging the law prohibiting schools from presenting gays and lesbians “in anything other than a positive light, and I think that’s censorship right there.”  In 2013, he pulled his son out of school after Gov. Brown signed AB 1266, giving transgender  K-12 students access and the ability “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their gender identities. Donnelly  told the Associated Press  that his 13- and 16-yearold sons were “horrified” at the thought of sharing bathrooms with trans students. “We don’t know yet how this policy is going to affect our town,” he said. The obscure billboard message refers to Donnelly calling Cook a “NeverTrumper” and blasting the  congressman for his vote opposing an amendment to the National

Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited the use of military funds toward gender transition surgeries. Cook says he voted against the amendment on the advice of Defense Secretary James Mattis. “It’s unsettling that Donnelly would oppose our president and put our troops at risk just to make a cheap political point,” Cook’s campaign spokesperson Matt Knox to the Victorville Valley Daily Press last month.  The billboard message isn’t even accurate, says Hannan. “I served in the Navy over 30 years ago. I had a physical on my way in and prior to my honorable discharge and had my wisdom teeth pulled. Other than that, I never even went to sick call or had any type of VA medical care. However, I totally agree that trans care should be provided to our service members who need it because it will help them so their services so much more effectively. The burden of living two lives takes a lot of energy that can be used more constructively if one can just be herself. Isn’t that a good thing for the service, nation and individual?” she asks.  Hannan received two Naval Commendations during her service from 1986 to 1990. After being honorably

discharge, she received her Bachelors degree at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she met her wife of 25 years, then obtained a law degree from Rutgers School of Law while working full-time. She’s worked for the State of New Jersey for 18 years, now as Director of Appeals and Regulatory Affairs. “I have only recently began the process of transition, and, for reasons of my super supportive spouse and kids, am taking it very slowly in a measured fashion. I start laser hair removal next month, but hormones and surgery are targeted for the next 5 years.  Most importantly, I am funding my care, not the VA, and the needs of my children and wife will always take priority if there is ever an issue of competing resources,” she says.   But what is truly galling about the appropriation of her image is the attempt to tarnish her military service. “What bugs me to no end is that my honorable service, like the others who have served honorably, is somehow devalued because of who we are,” Hannan says. “Further, the use of the property of others without their permission is troubling. Is not ‘property rights’ a big conservative platform?”   


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • 07

LOCAL

Rouda really could unseat Rohrabacher Laguna Beach-based candidate wants to restore decency to Congress By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The midterm elections just weeks away will be close with Democrats still predicted to win the House and Republicans assumed to keep the Senate. But while the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh gave a bounce to GOP enthusiasm, polls following his swearing in as the new Supreme Court Justice and President Trump’s mocking of sexual assault victim Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally reflect what CNN calls a huge and growing gender gap that may—may—reflect a cultural turning point with political consequences. One of the starkest markers of that change is in Orange County, where some of the reddest of red anti-LGBT congressional districts have turned purple. Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, calls the evolution a “tectonic shift,” with changing demographics and the decline of Republican voter registration from 49% to 36%, plus an increase in Democratic and independent registration. One race getting a lot of attention is Laguna Beach businessman Harley Rouda’s challenge to unseat 30-year office holder Dana Rohrabacher—the anti-LGBT representative long known as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite congressman—in the coastal district that spans Seal Beach south to Laguna Niguel. A new video ad for Rouda points out that Republicans are also fed up with Rohrabacher, with one Republican man calling the election Rohrabacher’s “performance review” and determining he’s accomplished “absolutely nothing.” The ad does not mention LGBT rights but Rouda has repeatedly stressed his support in interviews, saying he will immediately sign onto the LGBT civil rights bill, the Equality Act, if elected. Laguna Nigel residents Tyler Robuck and husband Nic Robuck believe him. They attended a recent LGBT fundraiser for Rouda at the Los Angeles home of Alan Uphold and Jeff Olde and expressed passionate concern

Harley Rouda (center) with Alan Uphold and Jeff Olde in Los Angeles on October 2018. Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

about raising their three-year-old son Staton in Trump’s America. “Human decency is gone. The compassion for one another, the connection seems to be missing,” Robuck told the Los Angeles Blade. Rouda shares similar sentiments, one of the reasons why he stepped up as a citizen to run for office. “The 2016 election was a watershed event. It wasn’t just the fact that Donald Trump became president,” Rouda says. “It was the polarizing effect that he has had on our country.” Rouda says changing hearts and minds and restoring decency—and creating role models for Staton Robuck—takes leadership from the top. “The role of the President of the United States is to bring Americans together. That has always been one of the key roles of the President. This is the first time in our lifetime that we have ever seen a president who purposely and systematically is pitting Americans against Americans.” Rouda and his wife Kaira, an awardwinning author, actually have a history of stepping up when the duty of citizenship calls. A few years ago, they created a homeless shelter that allows families to stay together and when the white supremacist group America’s First announced a

demonstration in Laguna Beach a week after the violence in Charlottesville, the Roudas sprung into action. “We created #UnityRibbons. We took ribbons of every color and every size to represent the diversity of our country and our city and tied them around every signpost and every tree with hundreds and hundreds of volunteers helping us,” Rouda told the Los Angeles Blade. “So that when these people came into Laguna Beach, they knew they were going to be outnumbered by people who not only did not agree with their message, but were going to fight against that message every day of their lives.” The #UnityRibbons banner said: “Unity Over Division, Love Over Hate.” The flier for the event said: “Instead of confronting them at their rally, we’ve come together, activists and community leaders, and created our own rally the day before to bring together like-minded people who must demonstrate that America is better than this. In addition, we need a symbol to squash their evil ones. We are the majority. We are more powerful. We just need to come together to show our unity.” Rouda is also keenly aware that pockets of the 48th CD have a history of white supremacy. One of the four Southern

California members of the so-called “Rise Above Movement” arrested Oct. 2 for inciting that violence in Charlottesville lives in Huntington Beach. “If you recall, Dana Rohrabacher said that the violence in Charlottesville was perpetrated by Democratic operatives,” Rouda said. “Clearly, that’s not the case. Clearly that was never the case. Not only has he failed to admonish the white nationalists, he has embraced them. It’s just one more piece of evidence as to how he is unfit to lead and unfit to serve.” The contrast between Rouda and Rohrabacher couldn’t be more stark on issues from climate change to homelessness. But on the issue of civil and human rights, Rohrabacher’s job performance lacks common decency while Rouda and his family stepped up for civility without being asked to. “I welcome the opportunity to serve,” Rouda told the Los Angeles Blade. “And I need support in helping retire Dana Rohrabacher. I’m committed to working with the constituents—not just in the 48th District but across Southern California and all of America to do what’s right.” For more, see: https://www. harleyforcongress.com/


08 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

LOCAL

Why WeHo’s Tim Sullivan supports Prop 10 November ballot initiative impacts renters’ rights By KAREN OCAMB & CHRISTOPHER KANE The message on Tim Sullivan’s answering machine was shocking. He’s been receiving phone calls to his private West Hollywood apartment since his pro-Prop 10 ads started airing on TV. But they were mostly disembodied voices saying “No on 10” and then hanging up. This one was scary. “I know who you are and I saw your commercial and I know you’re a lie. You are not struggling,” the sometimes garbled voicemail said, ordering him to stop or be exposed. “The one thing I’ve never let anyone know about me is how poor I am, until now,” Sullivan tells the Los Angeles Blade. A resident of West Hollywood since 1987, Sullivan owns a boutique candle-making shop, sits on the board of Best in Drag, and for 17 years during the AIDS crisis, he was a board member for Aid for AIDS. With 27 years in a 12 Step program, he is beloved in the Los Angeles recovery community for providing many alcoholics and addicts their first jobs in sobriety. “The only thing I really get is Social Security, period. Any money I did have I put into this company,” which is not fairing well these days,” Sullivan explains. “It costs me a lot of money to run this company now. And the only thing I get out of it is kind of a living expense. It’s supplemental. If it’s $1000 a month, it’s a lot. So if you take my $1500 Social Security check, you take $1000 out for my rent, take $300 out for my supplemental Medicare insurance, and another $108 for my insurance for medications which are not covered under “others”—there’s nothing left,” says Sullivan. “It scares me because I don’t think I could live here if they take rent stabilization away from me.” Sullivan says he did the Yes on 10 ad “to protect people my age from being shifted out” by owners selling their property. “They have so many different ways of getting you out now,” says the almost 78-year old gay man with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). But hate won’t deter him. “I’m not going to be afraid of anything. I’ve come this far,” says Sullivan. Housing insecurity and homelessness are

Tim Sullivan in his West Hollywood apartment Photo courtesy Yes on Prop 10

significant issues in the LGBT community, particularly among LGBT youth and people of color. Rent control was a driving factor in the establishment of the City of West Hollywood in 1984, an effort lead by renters, seniors and gays—three categories Sullivan now fits. Proposition 10, the Local Rent Control Initiative, on the Nov. 6 ballot would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that limits the use of rent control in California and allow counties and cities to adopt rent control ordinances regulating how much landlords can charge tenants. Prop 10 would not allow government to reduce a fair rate of return for landlords. “The need to have affordable housing is important for all Californians,” West Hollywood City Councilmember and law professor John Heilman tells the Los Angeles Blade. “But there’s a particular need for LGBTQ individuals. Often times there’s lack of family support, which is what drives people to leave their home communities to relocate to California, which is more supportive—but

obviously the housing cost here is quite high, and it’s a big shock to people when they move here from other states.”   The West Hollywood City Council supports Prop 10, says Heilman, one of WeHo’s co-founders. “We’ve had rent control laws from the very beginning of our establishment as a city,” he says. “We all understand the challenge that many renters face with rising housing costs. And Prop 10 would restore to local communities the ability to control rent upon a vacancy.”  Local “authority to draft ordinances that makes sense for their communities,” is key, says Heilman, since rent control is not necessarily the best solution for every city in California. The Prop 10 battle asks which solution is best to resolve California’s housing crisis and the harmful displacement of renters: repeal Costa-Hawkins or let the market determine housing and rental costs? Researchers Nicole Montojo and Stephen Barton, Ph.D., authors of a Sept. 19 research brief  published by the Haas Institute for a

Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California/Berkeley, on housing and rent control, feel the need to answer that question is urgent. “Rent control is really about addressing the issues the people are facing right now, which the other [housing] strategies are unable to do. If we don’t have rent control right now—if we wait for building to catch up; if we wait for us to amass enough funding to pay for that affordable housing—it will be too late. People are being displaced right now,” Montojo tells the Los Angeles Blade. The coalition of property developers, real estate investors, landlords and others opposed to Prop 10 insist the initiative would discourage development of new properties during the housing crisis.   “It would be disastrous, not only for apartment developers but for California. No one would invest, development would stop, and the housing crisis would be exacerbated,” Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst with Sandler O’Neill & Partners, told


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • 09

LOCAL

Screen grab from YouTube of Yes on Prop 10 ad showing Trump-tied developers

the San Francisco Chronicle.   Heilman is skeptical. “I’ve always questioned this idea that rent control prevents or impedes new construction,” he says. “New construction has always been exempt under all rent control ordinances and under state law. The idea that somehow or another new construction would be deterred by rent control just doesn’t make sense.”   Montojo and Barton contend that free market solutions are insufficient to meet the needs of burdened tenants. “For a variety of reasons,” Barton says, “it’s not that simple. Housing is not like heirloom tomatoes or plaid shirts. It’s a much more expensive good, and it’s much more difficult to deliver.” Fixes proposed as alternatives to rent control would take too long to make a discernible impact, the researchers say. “California is now operating at a rate in which it will only add one percent of supply to its housing stock,” Barton says. “If you can overcome all the barriers—we have a shortage of construction workers now, for example—and doubled the supply, you’d still be adding only two percent of new housing stock to the supply. It’s a very slow process, even when it’s working.”  Additionally, setting aside units increases

the supply incrementally “but that alone is not going to solve the problem. We also need to build permanently supportive housing for people who are not able to maintain on their own—people with various mental/physical disabilities, and certain seniors—they need additional support. Just building the units isn’t always enough,” Heilman says. But “it’s difficult to explain to people why the supply doesn’t respond to the demand,” Montojo suggests. And that makes arguing to vote for Prop 10 difficult.   At issue, Heilman explains, is how homeowners who live in single-family homes or condos—people who are not directly affected by rent control, as they are exempt in most jurisdictions—are going to vote. “Are they going to side with their friends and neighbors who are renters?” he asks. “Or are they just going to vote against it or not vote at all on it?”   The No on 10 arguments are easier for voters to understand, Montojo says.  “The supply/demand argument tends to stick in people’s minds, whereas getting into the details of the importance of rent control is a much longer conversation that needs to be had.” And “it’s hard to get at that, to the

ballot language that people are seeing when they’re responding to polls.”   The Yes on 10 coalition is portraying their opposition in simple terms: greedy corporate landlords and real estate investors who want to guarantee climbing profits even at the expense of widespread displacement, housing insecurity, and homelessness.   A television ad released Sept. 30 linked four major donors in the No on 10 camp to President Donald Trump, hoping the predicted “blue wave” of Democratic voters will throw their support behind Prop 10, which is endorsed by the California Democratic Party.   Developers like those featured in the Yes on 10 spot, Barton says, have capitalized on the demand for housing in coastal California, reaping astronomical profits. “In terms of somebody’s wealth, we’re in a situation where people will buy properties for as much as 20 times the value of the net operating income. In other words, people will settle for a 5 percent rate of return. This means people have a tremendously highly valued asset whose value keeps going up. They can not only draw on the money, but they can borrow against it or use it as a security in other borrowing, often to buy even more property and expand their

empire,” he says. “What the opposition stands to lose is pretty obvious. If you own existing housing in, especially, coastal California, you’re getting massive increases in rents,” Barton continues. “This is a matter of tremendous windfall profits. Landlords didn’t double the quality of the buildings they’re providing. It’s just that the demand for access to locations that are high on jobs and amenities has increased. They’re getting a whole lot more money without having to invest much of their own money in fixing up the buildings or improving the buildings.”   Montojo feels Prop 10 is a referendum on the state’s values; a measure of how much voters care about who is pushed out of local communities and displaced because they can no longer afford housing. “If we allow rent to continue to rise,” Montojo says, “and if we don’t make a change right now to stabilize renters, this means people will be excluded. We wanted to call attention to the need to make an intentional decision about who we say is part of California and what that means in terms of the policy decisions that we make.”  Decisions that impact Tim Sullivan and those for whom he speaks.


QUOTES

10 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

“The resounding message from conservatives seems to be this: we are not giving another inch. We will no longer surrender our First Freedom at the demand of the Left.” – Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.” – Pop and country star Taylor Swift on Instagram announcing her support for Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen for Senate instead of Republican Marsha Blackburn in the Nov. 6 elections.

“WE MUST SAVE HER!”

- Distraught white nationalist Taylor Swift fan hearing that the singer is supporting a Democrat in the midterms, via The Daily Beast.

Jinx Beers, the feisty lesbian pioneer publisher, died Oct. 4 of renal failure, the June Mazer Lesbian Archives reported on Facebook. Beers would have been 85 on Oct. 12. “At a time when our community needed a voice, Jinx was there. She created the Lesbian News at a time when our community was not organized and needed someone, something to help us rally. She was never a part of our history for her own gain. She did it for our community. She kept such a low personal profile that some people thought she didn’t really exist! When we needed to mobilize, the LN was there, ALWAYS by the first of the month and readers stood in line to pick it up at its various distribution points,” Wendy Averill wrote for Mazer. “In 1975 she could not even get a checking account in the name ‘Lesbian News’ because NO bank would allow the word ‘Lesbian’ in the accounts! But she never let anything stop her.” Averill notes that, “If you were from the mid-west and your family wanted to commit you to a mental institution because you were a Lesbian, the LN was there for you. ‘Thank you, Jinx, you saved my life,’ so many people said to her.” Beers, she wrote, “was one of those exceptional and heroic figures who helped us make our dreams come true...Without you, our history would have been very different.” – Karen Ocamb


12 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

NATIONAL

Mixed reviews for Haley as she departs U.N. ambassador marked Pride month, withdrew from Human Rights Council By MICHAEL K. LAVERS U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley resigned on Tuesday. Haley in her resignation letter to President Trump wrote the U.S. “achieved great success at the U.N.” during her tenure, which included efforts to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and publicly criticizing Russia and other countries. “Through it all, we stood strong for American values and interests, always placing America first,” she wrote. “I am proud of our record.” Haley in her resignation letter, which is dated Oct. 3, said she would remain in her position until January 2019. She told Trump during a meeting at the White House on Tuesday that she does not plan to challenge him in 2020. “I expect to continue to speak out from time to time on important public policy matters, but I will surely not be a candidate for any office in 2020,” wrote Haley in her resignation letter. “As a private citizen, I look forward to supporting your re-election as president, and supporting the policies that will continue to move our great country toward even greater heights.” Haley was the governor of South Carolina when then-President-elect Trump announced her nomination less than a month after the 2016 presidential election. Haley, who was critical of Trump during the campaign, endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) before her state’s Republican primary. Haley has publicly condemned the ongoing crackdown against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. She has also publicly acknowledged Pride month. She met with Caitlyn Jenner in July 2017 to discuss global LGBTI rights issues. The U.S., along with France and Brazil, a few months later successfully blocked efforts to remove a reference to discrimination that includes sexual orientation from an Olympics resolution at the U.N. “The Olympics is an event that should focus on what brings us together – friendly

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced her resignation this week. Blade Photo by Michael Key

competition by the world’s best athletes – not what makes us different,” Haley told the Blade in a statement. “No athlete should face discrimination of any kind when representing their country in the games.” Haley’s tenure coincided with mounting criticism over the Trump administration’s foreign policies. LGBT rights advocates were among those who sharply criticized the U.S. over its decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council in June. The U.S. in September 2017 voted against a council resolution that included a provision condemning the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts. An American official told the Blade the U.S. backed language in the resolution “against the discriminatory use of the death penalty based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, while also requesting changes to make the larger resolution in accordance with U.S. law” that says the death penalty is legal. Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director

Gregory Angelo in a tweet said Haley “was a total class act as U.N. ambassador” and “always had an open door for Log Cabin Republicans.” “[She] never hesitated to stand up for LGBT human rights during her tenure,” he said. Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley’s reaction to Haley’s resignation was more mixed. “We appreciated her open door and willingness to discuss human rights concerns with us, even though we disagreed on some U.N. tactics, including her decision to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council,” Bromley told the Blade. “The Human Rights Council is the primary U.N. institution charged with documenting and responding to human rights violations targeting LGBTI individuals and other at risk communities globally. It has many faults, but the United States should be at the table fighting to make it better. And while we regretted the decision to withdraw, we appreciated the frank discussions we had with Ambassador Haley and her staff.” OutRight Action International Executive

Director Jessica Stern largely echoed Bromley. “We appreciated that Nikki Haley went on record noting the need for justice for LGBT people,” Stern told the Blade. “We also disagreed strongly on many issues.” The Trump administration has not publicly said whom it will nominate to succeed Haley. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, Ivanka Trump and former Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell are among those who have been cited as potential replacements. “We hope that her successor and the rest of her U.N. staff will remain engaged in support of human rights for LGBTI and other minority communities in an increasingly hostile global landscape,” Bromley told the Blade. Stern agreed. “We wish that the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is someone who values the multilateral system, engages respectfully with other countries, and recognizes the importance of universal human rights.” she said.


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • 13

NATIONAL

Homeland Security detains members of Mexican Gay Men’s Chorus But the profiling didn’t keep these gay men down By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Resistance. Defiance and solace through camaraderie and song. That’s what gave birth to the Gay Men’s Chorus movement, first in San Francisco when about 100 men moved their fourth rehearsal onto the steps of City Hall on Nov. 27, 1979 and sang for the first time in public at the candlelight vigil for assassinated gay Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Two months later, 99 gay men came together in Plummer Park to form the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. And for 40 years now, GMCLA has served as beacons of hope and love through the AIDS crisis and the roller coaster ride of politics and cultural warfare. They intend to do it again, despite the inconvenient threats from the Department of Homeland Security. The launch of GMCLA’s 40th anniversary season on Oct. 13 was intended to mark this unique convulsive moment in U.S. history with an extravagant celebration of diversity and building bridges with Coro Gay Ciudad de México—the Gay Men’s Chorus of Mexico City. “As we started, we watched lots of videos of gay choruses,” Oscar Urtusástegui, Board President and founding member of Coro Gay Ciudad de México, told the Los Angeles Blade about the origins of the joint concert, “and the one we most wanted to be like was GMCLA. For a 5-year-old organization such as ours, sharing the stage with such a prestigious organization is an honor, and at the same time makes the friendship much stronger between us.” Both he and GMCLA executive director Jonathan Weedman want their collaboration “to show that building bridges – between two choruses, two cities and two countries – only makes us stronger and more powerful,” Urtusástegui said. But their plans were almost ruined by the knee-jerk ignorance of profiling racism espoused by President Donald Trump. As members of Coro Gay Ciudad de México traveled through customs and immigration at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston on their way to Los Angeles Sunday morning Oct. 7, they were detained by Homeland Security after an

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Coro Gay Ciudad de México pose before rehearsal for Oct. 13 joint concert Photo Courtesy GMCLA

officer found sheet music in their luggage— despite having their airfare underwritten by GMCLA sponsor Southwest Airlines. The issue started when university professor Jorge Gutierrez was pulled aside to verify that he was not the same Jorge Gutierrez suspected of stealing a truck, according to an account in the Los Angeles Times. Several chorus members chatted with him about the concert while he waited, which led to officers becoming suspicious that the 52-member group was entering the U.S. as paid performers, not as tourists, as their visas indicated—plus that sheet music. A Homeland Security officer called Weedman and said he thought “these guys weren’t being truthful or forthcoming, and they were considering deporting them back to Mexico,” Weedman told The Times. Weedman assured the officer that they were not being paid, explained the nature of the concert and advised him that “it would be an international incident” if they deported the chorus since the concert host committee included LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. After a 13-minute chat, the Homeland official decided to let the chorus proceed to LA. “The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a call to comment on Monday,” The Times reported. By Monday night, the group was in LA and enjoying full rehearsals with GMCLA. “We are very glad that our brothers and sisters from Mexico City Gay Men’s Chorus all arrived safely late last night, after their experience being detained in Houston by the Department of Homeland Security,” Weedman told the Los Angeles Blade on Monday night, Oct. 8. “We have had this trip planned for over a year, all had been granted US Visas and this came as a great shock.  But given the serious deterioration of United States and Mexico relations under the Trump administration and the President’s endless offensive comments about the Mexican people—coupled with the appalling and inhuman treatment of people seeking asylum at the US-Mexican border—I can’t help but think they were singled out.”

“We are here to give a message of unity between two countries,” Professor Gutierrez told the Los Angeles Blade. “For us, it’s a dream to perform with the GMCLA and that dream almost vanished at the Homeland Security Department in Houston.  Our only fault was to carry in our luggage, sheet music.  I had to convince the officer we were not getting paid and we were only trying to fight for human rights because we think no matter what, everyone should be treated equally no matter where they come from.” “After the great invitation we received a year ago from our dear friend and now brother Jonathan Weedman, we have been not only working very hard, but also dreaming of sharing not only the stage but the experience with almost 300 of our new family, the GMCLA chorus,” said Urtusastegui. “On Sunday that dream almost vanished by a very bad experience at the Houston airport. But we are so lucky now to say we all made it through and this only gives us more reason to keep on doing what we’re doing, with more passion and more heart.”


INTERNATIONAL

14 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Lebanon officials pressure activists to shut down conference Jair Bolsonaro has won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. He will face former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad in the second round of voting on Oct. 28. Photo by Agência Brasil Fotografias / Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Anti-LGBT figure wins first round in Brazil presidential election SÃO PAULO — A vocal LGBTI rights opponent won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday. Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman from Rio de Janeiro, won with 46 percent of the vote. Former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad finished second with 29 percent of the vote. The two men will face each other in the second round of voting on Oct. 28. Brazilians cast their ballots in what will probably be remembered as the most polarized election in the country to date with leftist voters facing a choice between a handful of candidates who they felt would support much needed social advances. Observers have noted Bolsonaro, on the other hand, was the perfect candidate for this year’s political climate in the country. The far-right militaristic, homophobic and misogynistic candidate represents the voice of every voter who was looking to shake-up the political class after 16 years of leftist governments under Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016. The feeling right now in Brazil is one of fear. People of color, women and LGBTI people organized themselves and marched against Bolsonaro in several cities and state capitals throughout the country right before Sunday’s vote. Organizers sought to give these underrepresented groups who Bolsonaro has openly targeted a sense of belonging and unity, but this hope didn’t go very far as cases of intimidation and violence started to take place in São Paulo, where LGBTI people had already reported being assaulted by Bolsonaro supporters, and in other cities. People in São Paulo’s subway, for example, were chanting, “homos be careful. Bolsonaro will kill all faggots” before a soccer game. As the presidential election heads into the second round with Bolsonaro going against Haddad, who is backed by Lula, many Brazilians have resigned themselves to having a far-right government run the country over the next four years. Ciro Gomes was the last hope for many Brazilian leftists and especially for LGBTI people in the country since polls indicated he was the only candidate who could beat Bolsonaro in the second round. The platforms of Gomes and Haddad both had proposals to protect LGBTI Brazilians, which included making homophobia a crime. Gomes only received 12 percent of the vote and has already endorsed Haddad in the second round. But will it be enough? Mathematically speaking, the candidates who lost the first round received enough votes to allow Haddad to become president. Observers note many voters are afraid of what Lula and leftists represent right now in the country and Bolsonaro has effectively tapped into it: Blaming women who shouldǹ t earn the same salary as men because they get pregnant, gay people who will teach boys to be gay and people of color who doǹ t like to work for a living. Observers note Bolsonaro’s supporters came out in force and forgot the inflammatory things he had previously said about minority groups going along with the will of the majority. Bolsonaro has also repeatedly said he is the change for which Brazilians have been waiting in this current political climate. Most LGBTI Brazilians feel the election will have a direct impact on their lives remain hopeful that Haddad can move more to the center and focus his campaign in a way that shows he supports leftist social and more centrist economic policies. This compromise may be the price he has to pay to defeat a candidate even the right-wing has called a fascist. FELIPE ALFACE

Lebanese security officials late last month pressured human rights activists to shut down a conference that was taking place at a hotel outside of Beirut. Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, a global LGBTI advocacy organization, was among the more than 80 people who were attending the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality’s annual conference on Sept. 29. Stern wrote on her organization’s website she was having lunch with Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality Executive Director Georges Azzi when “his colleagues alerted him” that two “plain-clothes officers” from Lebanon’s General Security Directorate had arrived at the hotel. Azzi told the Washington Blade on Oct. 5 during an interview from Beirut that the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni Muslim group that is based in the city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, criticized the conference on Facebook. Stern wrote the General Services officers “came to investigate a complaint” from the Association of Muslim Scholars. “The group had issued a statement accusing the conference of promoting homosexuality and drug use, and they called for the arrest of the organizers and for the conference to be cancelled on grounds of ‘incitement to immorality.’” she wrote. Azzi told the Blade the officers questioned him about the conference for more than two hours before they left the hotel. Stern wrote seven General Security officers — “including muscular men wearing uniformed vests” — returned to the hotel a few hours later and “informed the hotel management that they were shutting down the conference, no rationale given other than ‘orders.’” Azzi told the Blade the officers asked him to sign a “pledge” that he would agree to cancel the conference. “I said no,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what would happen.” Stern wrote some of the conference attendees remained in the lobby “to be witnesses” in case the officers took Azzi and others into custody. “We debated whether to contact the press and diplomatic community,” wrote Stern. “A woman came over to another foreigner and me and said, ‘Please stay here. Your presence reminds them they have an audience, and you make us safer.’ I took her words seriously, and I also wondered if we were a liability. LGBTIQ+ rights are often associated with the West and colonial imposition.” The Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality and representatives of Helem, a Lebanese LGBTI advocacy group, ultimately agreed to hold an LGBTI-specific meeting at another hotel the following day. MICHAEL K. LAVERS


Ricardo Lara

Insurance Commissioner

Tony Thurmond

Katie Hill

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Congress CA-25

Gil Cisneros

Christy Smith

CA Assembly District 38

Congress CA-39

Alex Villanueva

L.A. County Sheriff

Jeffery Prang

L.A. County Assessor

EQUALITY CANDIDATES California Statewide Offices

Governor - Gavin Newsom Lieutenant Governor - Eleni Koulanakis Attorney General - Xavier Becerra* Secretary of State - Alex Padilla* Treasurer - Fiona Ma Controller - Betty Yee* Insurance Commissioner - Ricardo Lara Supt. of Public Instruction - Tony Thurmond

U.S. Congress

CA-25 - Katie Hill CA-27 - Judy Chu* CA-28 - Adam Schiff* CA-30 - Brad Sherman* CA-32 - Grace Napolitano* CA-33 - Ted Lieu* CA-34 - Jimmy Gomez* CA-35 - Norma Torres*

CA-37 - Karen Bass* CA-38 - Linda Sánchez* CA-39 - Gil Cisneros CA-40 - Lucille Roybal-Allard* CA-41 - Mark Takano* CA-43 - Maxine Waters* CA-44 - Nanette Barragán* CA-45 - Katie Porter CA-47 - Alan Lowenthal* CA-48 - Harley Rouda CA-49 - Mike Levin CA-50 - Ammar Campa-Najjar

California State Assembly

California State Senate

Senate District 20 - Connie Leyva* Senate District 22 - Mike Eng Senate District 24 - Maria Elena Durazo Senate District 26 - Ben Allen* Senate District 30 - Holly Mitchell*

Local Elections

Fullerton City Council Dst. 5 - Ahmad Zahra Santa Monica City Council - Sue Himmelrich* Santa Monica City Council - Ashley Powell Palmdale Mayor - V. Jesse Smith Rosemead City Council - James Berry Haciende / La Puente United School District Board - Anthony Duarte*

City of Los Angeles

Senate District 32 - Bob Arculeta

Ballot Measure B: YES - Public Bank Ballot Measure E: YES - Align Primary Elections Ballot Measure EE: YES - Align LAUSD Primaries

AD 38 - Christy Smith AD 39 - Luz Rivas* AD 41 - Chris Holden* AD 43 - Laura Friedman* AD 45 - Jesse Gabriel* AD 46 - Adrin Nazarian* AD 48 - Blanca Rubio* AD 49 - Ed Chau* AD 50 - Richard Bloom* AD 51 - Wendy Carrillo* AD 53 - Miguel Santiago* AD 54 - Sydney Kamlager* AD 55 - Greg Fritchle AD 57 - Ian Calderon* AD 59 - Reggie Jones-Sawyer* AD 60 - Sabrina Cervantes*

Ballot Measures

Proposition 1: YES - Creates homes for Veterans Proposition 2: YES - Builds permanent supportive housing Proposition 3: NO - Favors big business over the environment Proposition 4: YES - Funds construction at children’s hospitals Proposition 5: NO - Worsens broken property tax system Proposition 6: NO - Eliminates critical transportation funding Proposition 7: YES - Allows permanent Daylight Savings Time Proposition 8: YES - Authorizes regulation of health clinics Proposition 10: YES - Expands local rent control authority Proposition 11: NO - Eliminates worker protections Proposition 12: YES - Regulates confinement of farm animals

AD 62 - Autumn Burke* AD 63 - Anthony Rendon* AD 64 - Mike Gipson*

Los Angeles County Offices

Sheriff - Alex Villanueva County Assessor - Jeffrey Prang*

Judicial Offices

Office No. 4 - Veronica Sauceda OFfice No. 16 - Patti Hunter Office No. 60 - Tony J. Cho Office No. 113 - Javier Perez *Incumbent LGBT+ District Flip

County of Los Angeles

Ballot Measure W: YES - Safe, Clean Water

STONEWALL

SPOTLIGHT Presorted STD

Not paid for by any candidate or candidate's committee. Printed by Stonewall Democratic Club FEC C00323923. Register to vote or find your polling place at LAVote.net

U.S. Postage PAID Canoga Park, CA Permit #822

Since 1975, Stonewall Democratic Club has been the home for progressive LGBTQIA Democrats and their allies in Los Angeles County. Stonewall endorsements are determined by a vote of the Club membership. Candidates complete a thorough vetting process, which includes a detailed questionnaire and candidate interviews. Stonewall values diversity - membership is open to all Democrats, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more at www.stonewalldems.org Stonewall Democratic Club

@StonewallDemsLA

@stonewalldemsla

For more on endorsements: https://www.stonewalldems.org/endorsements Stonewall endorsements are determined by a vote of the Club membership. Candidates complete a thorough vetting process, which includes a detailed questionnaire and candidate interviews.


16 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

VOLUME 02 ISSUE 32

The unclear future of LGBTQ rights at the Supreme Court Is there reason to hope the justices will surprise us?

Jon Davidson is chief counsel for Freedom for All Americans. (Photo Courtesy Davidson)

The Supreme Court’s new term began Oct. 1. The justices have not yet accepted any cases squarely addressing LGBTQ rights questions; however, numerous appeals raising key issues for our community are waiting in the wings. As Brett Kavanaugh settles into his new position on the Court after a fractious confirmation process, many in the LGBTQ community are wondering which, if any, pending cases the Court will choose to hear and, if it does take on any such cases, how it will rule. There’s no question that there’s a lot at stake. There are four petitions now pending before the Court asking it to decide whether federal sex discrimination laws encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If the Court agrees to hear any of these, its ruling could determine whether LGBTQ people are protected under current federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, education, housing and credit. Two cases challenging President Trump’s attempt to bar transgender people from the military are at the federal courts of appeals, one step from the Supreme Court. One of them—Lambda Legal’s and OutServeSLDN’s Karnoski v. Trump case—is being

argued to the Ninth Circuit on Oct. 10. Several cases already on appeal could again put before the Court as to whether there are circumstances in which businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate. In one, a Hawaii bed & breakfast owner is expected to soon petition the Court to review a decision that rejected her claim of a right to refuse a lesbian couple lodging. Three suits questioning whether schools can bar transgender students from restrooms that match their gender identity also are now on appeal. So, too, is a case asking whether the city of Philadelphia acted properly in terminating its contracts with two religiously affiliated foster care agencies that refused to abide by the city’s sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies. Accordingly, it could be a big year for LGBTQ Americans in the highest court of the land—but it might not be. The Supreme Court doesn’t have to consider any of these cases. Out of approximately 7,000 requests that the Court review lower court decisions each year, the Court agrees to hear about only 80, or slightly more than one percent of them. Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation brings even more uncertainty to the Supreme Court this year. Lacking a record of LGBTQ rulings, we still do not know for sure how Kavanaugh will rule on sexual orientation or gender identity questions. He has a record of ruling conservatively on many issues. Nonetheless, during his confirmation hearing, he repeatedly quoted from an opinion authored by his mentor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, that, “The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over.” Even if the new Justice Kavanaugh does end up siding with members of the Court who have dissented from the Court’s prior landmark victories for LGBTQ rights in any cases the Court agrees to hear, it may

be possible to swing Chief Justice Roberts to join with the four justices who have ruled in favor of LGBTQ people in the past. Roberts previously voted with those justices in decisions rejecting a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, allowing cities to sue banks that targeted people of color for highrisk loans, and restricting the police’s ability to obtain suspects’ cellphone location data without a warrant. And notwithstanding Roberts’ criticism of the Court’s marriage equality decision, he subsequently voted to summarily reverse the Arkansas courts’ judgment that the state did not have to list both same-sex spouses’ names on their children’s birth certificates. The Chief Justice’s votes sometimes reflect institutionalist concerns with preserving the Court’s legitimacy and stature. That impulse may cause him to decline to overturn certain prior precedents. It also may lead him to vote against hearing cases that may be especially divisive or to find ways to avoid particularly controversial outcomes that would subject the Court to criticism. That’s especially likely to weigh on his mind because of how partisan Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation turned out to be. There also are important cases already on the Court’s docket that go beyond LGBTQ concerns. For example, the Court has agreed to hear Gamble v. United States. That appeal asks the Court to overturn its precedent that the Constitution’s bar on double jeopardy— which prohibits prosecuting someone twice for the same offense—does not bar separate prosecutions for violation of state and of federal law based on the same conduct. The issue is important because, if that precedent were reversed, a presidential pardon of those indicted for federal crimes could preclude states from prosecuting them as well. Time will tell. In the meantime, it’s imperative that we not give up hope and that we not put all our apples in the Supreme Court basket.

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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • 17

Same-sex domestic partners get more equality New law allows reassessment of biased property taxes By JEFFREY PRANG No one should be at risk of losing their home because they are in a same-sex relationship. Despite good faith efforts, many registered domestic partners have not been treated equally under California’s property tax laws. In the earlier days of the struggle for marriage equality, progressive cities and counties were the only governmental bodies that recognized same-sex partnerships and created domestic partner registries. In 1985, West Hollywood enacted the first such registry, with San Francisco following suit in 1989. When the State eventually offered its own registry in 2000, it was unclear to many whether those couples who had already registered with local governments would be automatically recognized at the State level. Consequently, many couples who had registered at the local level did not register again with the State. Similar questions had arisen when same-sex marriage first became legal statewide in 2008, and then again in 2013 – particularly because some states had announced they would automatically convert domestic partnerships into marriages. In 2005 and 2007, the State Legislature passed bills extending to domestic partners the property tax exclusion that had only applied to married couples; this exclusion allows a family home to be transferred between spouses without re-assessment. It is particularly important in the event of the death of a spouse, where the surviving spouse inherits the family home. Because assessed value is the sole determining factor of property taxes in California, reassessment can result in significantly higher property taxes. And for an elderly individual living on a fixed income, this could mean the difference between keeping the home and being forced out. Even well-meaning legislators were not always able to keep up with the confusions

Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang (center) with his husband Ray Vizcarra and Assemblymember Laura Friedman, co-sponsor of AB 2663. Photo courtesy Prang

resulting from this unpredictable progress towards marriage equality. The 2005/2007 expansion of the interspousal exclusion only benefited same-sex couples registered at the state level beginning in 2000, overlooking those who had registered locally beginning as early as 1985 but had not re-registered with the State. To this day, the injustices of the decadeslong fight for marriage equality are still being corrected, but it gives me great pride to say that we have once again chipped away at those disparities. With the Governor’s signing of Assembly Bill 2663 on September 29, 2018, this tax exclusion will also apply to those who had been left out of the previous expansion. The need to correct this disparity was brought to my attention by an elderly couple who were attempting to plan their retirement and had concerns about legal protections relating to their home. Like my now-husband and me, they had initially registered as domestic partners when that was all that was available. We easily could have found ourselves in a similar situation, overlooked by policymakers and forced to bear a substantial financial burden as a

result. But it doesn’t matter that it could have happened to me. That is the very point of the fight for real equality – that all people will be treated with the same dignity and respect, and be afforded the same opportunity. The challenge with something like the interspousal exclusion from property tax re-assessment is that it is an obscure element of a complex system of laws and regulations. An honest effort was made by the State Legislature to increase equality in the 2005/2007 policy changes, but it remains unfair that a benefit that is available to heterosexual couples regardless of whether they fully understand it, or even know of its existence, is not available to same-sex couples for exactly those same reasons. It is these types of double standards that we must seek to correct. Although my role as County Assessor is predominantly administrative, it has provided me with insight into what needed to be corrected. My own experience showed how a couple could find themselves in this position only too easily, and I was inspired to rally support for new legislation. Thanks to the dedication of Assemblymember Laura

Friedman, San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu, and Equality California, the bill has now been enacted into law. LGBT couples who had previously registered at the local level but not with the State beginning in 2000, and whose homes were unfairly re-assessed from 2000 to 2015, may soon file for a reversal of these re-assessments and receive prospective tax relief. The deadline to submit the “Claim for Reassessment Reversal for Local Registered Domestic Partners” to the County Assessor is June 30, 2022. The inequalities of the past will never be fully erased. But by finding and remedying yet overlooked and unintended consequences of past discrimination, we will continue to move towards that truly fair and equal society for which we strive.

Jeffrey Prang is the Assessor of Los Angeles County. He previously served for nearly 18 years on the West Hollywood City Council, including for four terms as mayor. He lives in LA with his husband of 15 years, Ray Vizcarra.


Capturing LGBT history is a mission for documentarian Jeffrey Schwarz His subjects are the flamboyant and famous, mixed with the weird and wonderful By JOHN PAUL KING

Jeffrey Schwarz may not be a household name, but he makes movies about people who are. The out filmmaker has always gravitated toward celebrities as the subjects for his movies. As a student at New York’s SUNY Purchase Film Department, his senior thesis was a short film called “Al Lewis in the Flesh,” in which he profiled the actor-turnedrestaurateur who was known and beloved for playing Grandpa on “The Munsters.” Since then, he has built a niche for himself as the creator of a series of documentaries covering the lives of famous icons of the LGBT community. He sees it as a responsibility. “I feel like, as a gay person, it’s part of my job to be visible personally,” he says, “and to incorporate LGBT themes into my work.” He’s certainly done that. His films – such as “Wangler: Anatomy of an Icon,” “I Am Divine” and “Tab Hunter Confidential” – have gained progressively more exposure and popularity, and garnered him not only a reputation and a fan following, but an award in 2015 from San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival for his

“major contribution to LGBT representation in film, television, or the media arts.” It’s an honor he shares with a list of other illustrious awardees; but there’s a special symmetry in the fact that the first recipient of the Frameline Award, in 1986, was Vito Russo – the noted film historian and AIDS activist whose book, “The Celluloid Closet,” had awakened Schwarz’ interest in LGBT presence in cinema and had later been the basis for the film which began his own career. “I’ve always loved movies,” he says, “and when I first came out I read Vito’s book, ‘The Celluloid Closet.’ It opened me up to looking at them in a way I had never thought about, at how LGBT people were represented on film. I went through that book and tried to see every movie I could.” A few years later, as he was finishing college, he heard that filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman were planning a movie based on Russo’s book, and he knew he had to get on board. “I called their office and said, ‘I’ll do anything, I’ll sweep the floors.” He laughs, “That’s practically what I did, at the beginning.”

He was hired as an assistant editor, essentially continuing his education by learning from Epstein and Friedman, as well as editor Arnie Glassman. He also got to know all about Vito Russo. “All his materials were there in Rob and Jeffrey’s office, so I just did a deep dive into his life, and later I decided to make a film about him.” It was a project that was close to his heart, but there was also a bigger purpose. “There are huge swaths of gay people that have no idea who he was. He made such a huge contribution to the movement through his writing and his activism – he was one of the founding members of ACT UP. He left such an incredible legacy, and I thought it was criminal that so many people didn’t know who he was – he had such a great, inspiring story.” It’s this sense of transmitting history – the history of LGBT culture, an underground narrative often unknown and unsung by all but the few who were there to witness it firsthand – that Schwarz has tried to infuse into all his work. “I always look for subjects that highlight people

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Jeffrey Schwarz Photo by John Paul King

or events in the past that people might not be aware of, that I think should be recognized.” There are other requirements, too. “Primarily I look for a great story, and a hero you can root for,” he explains. “I look at documentaries like any other movie – it’s a story, these are primarily entertainments. If you can learn something along the way, all the better, but it has to keep the audience emotionally engaged. You can’t really do that with just anybody – these people have to be bigger than life in some way.” His choice of subjects reflects this; Jack Wrangler, the gay porn icon who went on to marry singing legend Margaret Whiting; Glenn Milstead, the chubby actor who never identified as a drag queen but became a legend as Divine; Tab Hunter, the closeted screen heartthrob who abandoned the movies to live his life in the open; and, most recently, Alan Carr, the flamboyant pop impresario responsible for an array of era-defining entertainment milestones in the seventies and eighties. “Some of these subjects might have been familiar to people who lived through those

periods – but not necessarily to younger people. Someone like Alan Carr – you mention his name and they might know it, but they definitely know the cultural touchstones that he left behind. You mention ‘Grease,’ and they say, ‘Oh, he’s responsible for that?’ and they get interested and they get curious.” The Carr documentary – “The Fabulous Alan Carr” – made the rounds of film festivals in 2018 and is now available on demand from a number of streaming services, but no sooner was it finished when the prolific Schwarz began work on his next project. “It’s called ‘Swanson on Sunset’ – the story of Gloria Swanson’s attempts to make a musical version of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in the 1950s, decades before Andrew Lloyd Webber even thought of it. She worked with a pair of young songwriters who were also a gay couple – the whole project got derailed when she developed a crush on one of the young men and a love triangle ensured. It’s juicy stuff.” It’s a departure from Schwarz’ usual format of profiling well-known gay icons – although Swanson certainly qualifies as cultural

touchstone for the community, as does “Sunset Boulevard.” Nevertheless, he says, it fits his agenda of passing on queer history that might otherwise go untold. “Most people probably know who Gloria Swanson was, but it’s also highlighting these two men, Dixon Hughes and Richard Stapley, who are completely unknown. They had this fascinating encounter with her that is a stranger-than-fiction kind of story, and I’m very excited about it.” So who does he see in today’s pop culture that would make a good subject for a future documentary? “I’m really interested in Jake Shears, and, of course there are people like Harvey Fierstein, Dan Savage – the list goes on. But we don’t know yet – we’ll find out in the future, when people will be making movies about the times we’re living through now.” As for Schwarz himself, he shows no sign of stopping. With the Swanson film still to come, and a hefty slate of future projects planned after that, it seems likely that he might be the one making those future movies himself.

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QUEERY 20 QUESTIONS FOR NIA CLARK

Photo Courtesy Clark

By ROB WORONOFF

Some people were born to overcome, born to excel and destined from birth to change the world. Nia Clark, 35, is one of them. As a transgender youth of color who spent most of her childhood in foster care (she entered the system at 8 years old), Nia consistently struggled to find acceptance and support from the adults around her. Read that sentence again. And again. But while many foster children take their bad situations and make them worse, Nia focused prodigiously and spent her spare time as a teenager doing brainy things like reading Shakespeare and teaching other students about HIV prevention. She has since that time spent more than a decade racking up an impressive list of accomplishments. Nia has worked tirelessly to change the foster care system from within as a child welfare consultant, direct care counselor, trainer, and LGBTQ youth advocate. From 2015-2017, she was the Mentoring Coordinator at LifeWorks, the youth development and mentorship program at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In her role, she matched over 200 LGBTQ+ youth with adult mentors. In 2016, she served as consulting producer of the Emmynominated MTV documentary, “Transformation,” a film featuring herself and six trans and gender-diverse youth navigating their identities. Nia is currently a trainer for the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children – All Families Project, an initiative that provides a framework for child welfare agencies to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being by improving their practice with queer youth. Thoroughly impressed by Clark’s hard work and extensive background in child welfare, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) enlisted her help in launching a three-year national pilot project to provide more inclusive mentoring services and resources to thousands of LGBTQ youth across America. Nia is presently a social work major at California State University, Los Angeles. On Nov. 16, my husband Tom Tarr and I will appear with Nia Clark in Riverside County Superior Court. When we walk out of the courtroom that day, Nia will have something she has never had — two loving and legal parents. After being in each other’s lives for 20 years, we will finally be family! Nia is, on every professional and personal level, a wonderful human being who simply makes the world a better place. And no parents could possibly be prouder of all their child brings to the world.

20 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

queery NIA CLARK How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out in 1991 at the age of eight. I was already in the system and told my first foster mother I was a girl. She responded by placing me in a mental institution in Rockville, Md., for over six months. I was released on the condition I stopped saying I was a girl. My birth mother had by far the worst response to me coming out. I called her on the phone when I was 12. “You are mentally ill,” she said. “You belong in foster care. I’m glad you don’t live with me. You’re going to die of AIDS.” She hung up immediately after. Who’s your LGBT hero? I have always admired and revered We’wha, the first well-known Two Spirit person. She was a Zuni Ihamana from New Mexico who, like me, was an orphan that faced adversity and challenged binary European standards of gender identity & expression in the late 1800s. What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I love the Hollywood Overlook on Mulholland Drive. Describe your dream wedding. I spent 14 years in foster care being claimed by no one. My wedding will be the public antithesis of that! I want a full autumnal spectacle in a big church, replete with purple orchids, a sumptuous white dress, and a gaggle of friends and family. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Child welfare has literally been my life’s work. I love working with children and young adults. What historical outcome would you change? Instinctively, my first response would be the Transatlantic Slave Trade, but I’m gonna throw a curveball to change it up. Of the countless racial, systemic, and institutional failures in this country, I believe the Reconstruction era was truly a missed opportunity for black folks to cultivate and develop the solid socio-economic foundation to advance as a people. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Sept. 14, 1985: The premiere of The Golden Girls. On what do you insist? Wearing ballet flats. I tried so hard to be the girl who wears high heels.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? The Genderbread Person, a visual tool for to teach other people about sexual orientation and gender identity & expression or, as many of us educators call it, SOGIE. If your life were a book, what would the title be? The Little Wanderer If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Absolutely nothing. I love men too much! What do you believe in beyond the physical world? Love. I believe it endures. It transcends all corporeal realms, all space and time. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? You must do your part to call out and end transexclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). Women have fought so hard to not be objectified and relegated to their privates. We tell women everyday they are not defined by a mastectomy or their ability to have children. Why would any cisgender woman exact the same oppression on a trans person? Trans.Lives.Matter. What would you walk across hot coals for? Gummy bears. My favorite candy! What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? I can’t stand when cisgender ask trans folks about “the surgery.” People always ask if I’ve had “the surgery,” as though there is this one defining medical procedure that makes me a woman. It’s not only rude to ask what anyone’s genitals look like, but it also negates all other aspects of a trans person’s journey. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? Priscilla, Queen of the Desert What’s the most overrated social custom? Telling white lies. What trophy or prize do you most covet? My teddy bear, Charlie. He was given to me when I was 11 years old, making him my oldest and most prized possession. He’s pretty beat up but he’s always been there, good times and bad. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That I am not defined by my trauma, but rather empowered by it. Why Los Angeles? I lived in Boston for 30 years. I’m here because LA has no snow!


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22 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

FILM

Rupert Everett goes Wilde in ‘The Happy Prince’ An Oscar-worthy turn as writer, director and actor By JOHN PAUL KING

Colin Morgan and Rupert Everett in ‘The Happy Prince.’ Photo Courtesy Front Row Features

When it comes to classic literary figures, there are few that still lay claim to as much widespread name recognition as Oscar Wilde. This is especially true, perhaps, within the LGBTQ community, where Wilde is considered an icon, a kind of gay great-grandfather whose flamboyant style and scandalous sensibilities have inspired generations of young queer people to live their own truth. Even so, many people – if not most – are less familiar with the body of work he left behind than they are with his tragic personal history. “The Happy Prince,” a new film about Wilde’s final days, is not likely to change that. For those unfamiliar with the story, Wilde – who like countless men of his time was closeted and married to a woman – was having a love affair with the young Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, whose father was the Marquess of Queensbury. When the Marquess publicly called out Wilde as a “sodomite,” Wilde attempted to sue him for libel – which backfired when the Marquess produced proof in court of Wilde’s same-sex liaisons. Because homosexuality was illegal at the time, the author was then tried and convicted for “gross indecency” and sentenced to two years in prison. Upon his release, with his health shattered and his reputation destroyed, he fled to France, where he briefly lived in poverty before dying at the young age of 46. “The Happy Prince” – written and directed by out actor Rupert Everett, who also stars as Wilde – takes its title from a short story included by the author in a book of children’s fables. In the film, this bittersweet tale is spun by the author, in installments, to a pair of young companions – but apart from those segments, and a few pertinent lines from his final work, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” the film draws very little from Wilde’s writings. Instead, it takes a speculative journey into the mind of the great author as he lives out his last years – grappling with his conscience, re-examining his relationships, remembering his past, and coping with his declining health, all while maintaining his characteristic bemused detachment, and indulging in as much decadence as he can beg, borrow or manipulate his way into. It’s a highly effective approach to a subject that is bigger than a two-hour movie can accommodate with integrity. Unlike most biopics, “The Happy Prince” eschews the usual formula of trying to cover an entire famous life in favor of focusing on a short, key period; by so doing, it avoids the usual pitfalls of contrivance and cliché that often give such films an inauthentic feel, allowing Wilde’s essence to be distilled into a sort of snapshot – illuminating his humanity, rather than his importance. Everett fares well in his debut as a writer and director. His film – a passion project ten years in the making – maintains the aesthetic of a period piece without becoming stodgy, and his ever-fluid camera allows for imaginative flights of fancy which transport us in and out of Wilde’s memories and fantasies without confusing us. His screenplay sharply weaves the ongoing themes of Wilde’s life and work – the embrace of hedonism, the prodigious classical knowledge, the egalitarian humanism that contrasted his savagely sly observations of society – into an intimate character piece which examines the great man as he confronts his conflicted nature in the face of his own mortality. His most impressive work, however, is in front of the camera. Almost unrecognizable under makeup and prosthetics, he gives the performance of his career; complex, conflicted, cruel and combative yet caring and compassionate, he delivers an insightful and layered look at this legendary figure that makes him not only likable – at times despite himself – but entirely relatable. Above all, he captures the bravado and wit for which Wilde is perhaps most famous, and shows us a man determined to be completely himself even during the most difficult and degraded time of his life. Surrounding him is an excellent supporting cast. Colin Morgan provides a “Bosie” as charismatic and appealing as he is vain and shallow; contrasting his fickleness are the easy charm of Colin Firth and the earnest sincerity of Edwin Thomas as the last remaining loyal friends from Wilde’s circle; and Tom Wilkinson has a show-stealing turn as an Irish priest. The only disappointing note comes from Emily Watson – a superb actress, but saddled here with the dour and thankless role of Wilde’s wife, Constance. Seen simply as biographical fiction, “The Happy Prince” is a solid enough film – but it would have little contemporary relevance without its keen awareness of the homophobia at the very root of its story. Within the context of its late Victorian setting, it explores the subject with an immediacy that will resonate with every queer audience member who has ever felt the humiliation, shame and fear of living in an environment of bigotry. In one particularly harrowing sequence, Wilde and his cohorts are taunted and chased by a gang of young men; it’s an unexpected interruption, a jolting reminder of the stories of anti-gay violence that pop up in our news feeds today. The fall from grace experienced by Wilde after his sexuality was exposed is easily intellectualized by historical distance, but situations such as this one – and others throughout the film – make it chillingly personal. This layer of social commentary gives “The Happy Prince” an added weight; but ironic though its title may be, it’s ultimately a pleasing affair. It is, after all, nearly two hours spent with one of the brightest wits in history, a larger-than-life personality who said, “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.” Thanks to the loving treatment he gets in the hands of Everett and his stellar cast, it’s the most enjoyable tale of degradation and despair you’re likely to see this year. “The Happy Prince” is now showing for a limited release in Los Angeles.


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • 23

A top comic suddenly changing course and taking on a serious dramatic role is no new thing — Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Rooney, Jerry Lewis and a host of others have done it before. But Melissa McCarthy’s turn at the “serious” bat in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is something quite special. It’s a dramatic role with some comic underpinnings, but it bears not a trace of the performer’s past — even when it raises a chuckle or two. Ever since her breakout performance in “Bridesmaids” (2011), coupled with her sitcom “Mike and Molly” and her stinging parody of Trump spokesman Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” McCarthy has been the “go to” person for broad, almost cartoonish roles. None of this is on view in her “Can You” portrayal of writer-turned forger Lee Israel. There’s plenty of humor here but it doesn’t proceed from McCarthy’s wheelhouse. She doesn’t exaggerate in any way. Moreover none of it can be called “Chaplinesque” either. She’s not “bittersweet,” like Giulietta Masina in “Nights of Cabiria” or Roberto Benigni in “Life is Beautiful.” If any comparison could be made it would be with Peter Lorre in a less intense version of “M.” For the character she plays can feel fate closing in on him just as Lorre’s child-killer does. And while the film’s anti-heroine is no murderer, she’s just as desperate and pathos-invoking. Adapted by Nicole Holofcener (“Walking and Talking” and “Enough Said” ) and Jeff Whitty ( a leading player in “Shortbus”) from Israel’s memoir of the same name and directed with considerable sensitivity by Marielle Heller (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”), “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is among other things one of the most refreshingly original LGBT films seen in years. What marks it is the exceptionally subtle way its LGBT aspect reveals itself, not just through McCarthy’s performance as a very low-keyed lesbian, but Richard E. Grant’s sparkling supporting turn as Israel’s gay pal Jack Hock. We truly haven’t seen their quirky, highly singular likes on the screen before, and they’re a major reason why this film is so special. Lee Israel had been in the ’60s and ‘70s a successful writer of celebrity profiles for upscale magazines. A piece she wrote about Katherine Hepburn in 1967 for Esquire was the closeted lesbian actress’ first full-throated performance of the myth she proceeded to sell for the rest of her life of her grand love affair with her frequent co-star Spencer Tracy. Israel went on from articles to full-scale write biographies of Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Kilgallen and Estee Lauder. The last-mentioned a failure as the famous beautician decided to pen an autobiography — which scotched commercial prospects for Israel’s book. After that Israel’s career dimmed drastically — which is where the film begins. “No one is interested in a Lee Israel book,” an editor tells her of her desire to write a new book about Fanny Brice. Desperate for money, Israel sells a note that Brice had written that came into her possession. The dealer who she first shows it to says it’s nice but would be more valuable had it included colorful details of one sort or another. So Israel forged new lines to supply such details and made a sale. That proving a success, she set about manufacturing forgeries from start to finish, using a dozen old typewriters and carefully “treated” paper (to create the appearance of age). Specialty booksellers were happy to buy them — believing their authenticity. By the time her criminal career came to an end it was estimated that Israel had forged some 400 letters supposedly penned by notables such as Dorothy Parker (that’s where the title of the film and the book it’s based on comes from) Noel Coward and other literary wits. As shown in the film, this all came to an end with her unsuccessful attempt to steal documents from a specially housed collection in order to copy them. In June 1993, Israel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property, for which she served six months under house arrest and five years of federal probation In the film our first view of McCarthy’s Lee Israel shows a desperately sad woman trying to care for her sick cat, seemingly her only companion. As we’re introduced to her pal Jack Hock the picture fills out considerably. Hock is taken to very forward flirting with the waiter at the coffee shop they go to. Israel’s sexuality doesn’t come into play until a bit later on when she takes to wooing a bookstore owner (nicely played by Dolly Wells) to whom she has sold a number of her forgeries. McCarthy is especially subtle here, portraying the loneliness of a woman who, while adventurous in her letter-forging, is exceptionally shy in her personal life. In this way Hock comes to embody the daring that Israel wishes she had. Grant’s Hock is right in line with the performances he’s given in “Withnail and I,” “Hudson Hawk” and “The Player.” But McCarthy’s is quite new in every way. As a result we regard Lee Israel in full as a flawed but oddly sympathetic human being. There’s already Oscar buzz about McCarthy’s performance. But what’s more important is the question of whether this hard-working actress will get a chance at playing a role this deep again. I, for one, sincerely hope so.

FILM

Forgive and never forget Melissa McCarthy in a breakout role By DAVID EHRENSTEIN

Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Photo by Mary Cybulski / Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


24 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

BOOKS

Noir mystery Old-time murder tale features gay twist By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Image Courtesy Bold Strokes Books

A nice little getaway. That’s all you wanted: two days alone, just you and your amour, with nothing to do but follow your whims. It was perfect, idyllic — until it wasn’t, and Responsible You won out over Romantic You. As in the new novel “Death Checks In” by David S. Pederson, it’s back to work. Detective Heath Barrington had it all planned out: he and his boyfriend, Officer Alan Keyes would take the train from Milwaukee to Chicago, grab a cab to the downtown area, check into the Edmonton Hotel and enjoy a wonderful weekend. It was 1947 and being gay could get a man in trouble, but Heath knew there’d be more anonymity for him and Alan in a larger city. The weather would be perfect for exploring nightclubs and sightseeing; there was plenty of entertainment nearby and a live show with a band inside the Edmonton. That, of course, meant that Alan would need a tuxedo so Heath offered to purchase one for him, which was when the men met Victor Blount, haberdasher. Blount was a small man with a French accent and a dramatic way about him. He said he was an expert tailor, that he dabbled in photography and that he could secure “discreet” entertainment for Alan and Heath. That was odd, but Blount wasn’t the only character at the Edmonton: the hotel’s assistant manager was a blustery guy who had his eye on one of the regular guests, a “full-figured,” flirty widow from New York. A dotty old lady from nearby came to the Edmonton often enough for waitstaff to know her preferences. And the one-eyed piano player and his songstress-wife left an impression on Heath by arguing loudly with Blount, who seemed to be overcharging them. Two days. That’s plenty of time for a romantic rendezvous, had Heath left work alone. But when Blount was found dead in his back room with “W” scrawled on the floor in his blood and a spool of green thread in his hand, two days was also long enough to solve a crime. Strictly looking at “Death Checks In” as a mystery, it’s not bad. That it’s a noir whodunit is nice, the main characters are familiar from past books, it has that old-black-and-white-movie feel you know you love, and it’s sweetly chaste, in a late-1940s way. But it’s also tedious since a lot of its action comes through dialogue, of which there is too much and in too much fussy, stiff detail. It’s wordy and feels like filler. It doesn’t help that author David S. Pederson added an eccentric old woman in this story, who constantly clucks like a chicken. Yes, that’s written into numerous sentences. No, it’s not fun. Overall, if you can avoid doing that “speed it up” movement with your hand, or if you like noir mysteries that are more on the light side, only then will this book fit. For you, then, “Death Checks In” is a worthwhile getaway.

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26 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

GOSSIP

Cher gets raided, the Queen’s footman is fired And Katy Perry to be honored at amfAR Gala LA By BILLY MASTERS

Cher’s assistant’s nephew was apparently the target of a raid on the diva’s Malibu estate Photo by DFree / Courtesy Bigstock

“Please give it up for Garrett Colton.” — Mariah Balenciaga introduces Garrett Clayton at Gay Days Anaheim. Oops. Clayton said, “Thanks, Mariah, for getting my last name wrong.” I would have added the word “bitch,” but y’know, I’m a professional. With all the news we’re being bombarded with day in and day out, it’s not surprising that most media outlets didn’t cover my being detained by TSA. It all happened after leaving Masters Manor in Boston for Los Angeles. At Boston’s Logan Airport, security flagged what was termed as a “suspicious mass” in my luggage. Excuse me - did they inadvertently give my bag a mammogram? Upon further inspection, the officer discovered a large unidentified metallic item. That’s when it hit me - Big Mama Masters had sent me off with a baked potato wrapped in aluminum foil. Imagine, I almost missed my flight over a suspicious potato. Thank God it wasn’t loaded! Moments after I landed at LAX, the police raided Cher’s Malibu estate! Although the Dancing Queen was not in residence, the fuzz weren’t looking for her - they wanted her assistant’s nephew. Allegedly, said 23-year-old lad is accused of supplying narcotics to someone who had a drug overdose. My God, hasn’t Cher suffered enough? In addition to many fabulous things I have on my upcoming agenda (including my virgin excursion to New Orleans - and for Halloween, no less), I am thrilled to be attending the Point Foundation’s Gala on Oct. 13. As I’ve told you many times in the past, this is one of my favorite non-profits. Point supplies scholarships to LGBTQ (and probably other letters of the alphabet) kids to attend college - and most of these kids have been thrown out by their families because they’re gay! At the upcoming gala, Eric McCormack is being honored with the Impact Reward, and there will be a performance by Leona Lewis. Check them out at PointFoundation.org. Britain’s Royal Family is always good for some scandal. This week, we hear one of Queen Elizabeth’s gay footmen has quit. First, I have no idea how many footmen QEII has - I mean, she’s only got two feet! Be that as it may, the gay footman (as if there’s only one gay footman) quit because he was told by the Royal Household management that he needed to “tone down the gayness!” Girl, he’s the Queen’s footman - it doesn’t get gayer than that! As it happens, Ollie Roberts is not only the Queen’s first openly gay footman, he was her personal footman. Apparently the 21-year-old Ollie is quite active on social media and has given interviews to lots of gay press. He was accused of “courting publicity” and demoted to just being a regular footman - which is ultimately why he quit. Unless he was taking selfies with Lizzie’s feet or wearing open-toed shoes, I say leave him be. Have you heard about this ill-conceived remake of “West Side Story” which Steven Spielberg is making? After all the hullabaloo about finding unknowns through an open casting, Spielberg ended up casting Ansel Elgort as Tony. Here’s a little footnote to the story - your beloved Billy was actually privy to a conversation between composer Leonard Bernstein and Michael Eisner when he was heading Disney. Eisner wanted to remake “WSS” as an animated feature with cats playing all the roles. Needless to say, it never happened - but he bought us all lunch. By the by, the AmfAR Gala Los Angeles is on Thursday, Oct. 18 and takes place at the Wallis Annenberg Theater in Beverly Hills. Yes, I’m supposed to tell you that the event is honoring Katy Perry, and that the chairs include such people as Orlando Bloom, Matt Bomer, Gerard Butler, Goldie Hawn, Eva Longoria, Madonna, Robert Pattinson, Ryan Seacrest, and Robin Thicke. And, obviously it raises money for AIDS research. But, as far as I’m concerned, the most important thing is that the evening will feature a rare stateside performance by Dame Shirley Bassey. Trust me, you won’t wanna miss that. You can get more info and tickets at amfAR.org. I’ve already mentioned that I’ll be cavorting in New Orleans over Halloween. But people everywhere can celebrate on Oct. 29 when NBC airs “A Very Wicked Halloween.” This special, subtitled “Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway,” centers on “Wicked” and brings together the musical’s original stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth to host and perform. Must see, indeed. The cast of the Broadway hit “Head Over Heels” just recorded their original cast album with a bonus track. They assembled the classic Go-Go’s lineup to re-record “This Town”, which will be the first new studio recording from The Go-Go’s in over 15 years. It drops digitally on Oct. 12 and physically on Nov. 9. When I’m head over heels about a new release from The Go-Go’s, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. You don’t need a presidential alert to remind you to check out www. BillyMasters.com - the site that features lots of guys with their heels over head. If you have a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before that gay footman gets a job giving pedicures! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.


CALENDAR

28 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Katy Perry blows kisses to the paparazzi at last year’s amFAR Los Angeles Gala, one of the LGBT red carpet season’s most intense shows. See Oct. 18 for this year’s superstar line up. Photo courtesy amFAR

OCT. 13

HalloQueen Party is tonight from 6-10 p.m. at a secret location (address will be provided after you RSVP). The LGBTQ Center Long Beach presents a ghoulish, adults-only (leave the goblins with the sitter), outdoor Halloween party. Hosted at a secret historic, midcentury modern home in Long Beach, this event will be the kick-off to a frightening fall season of horror. Feast as Notorious JEN spins spine-chilling jams. Best costume wins Palm Springs vacation. Naughty warning. Tickets available by searching clickandpledge.com. Up to $100. Los Angeles Burning Man Decompression 2018 is today from 1-11 p.m. at Los Angeles State Historic Park (1245 North Spring St., Los Angeles). The LA League of Arts brings the art and culture of Burning Man to the local DTLA community with their annual Los Angeles Burning Man Decompression Art & Music Festival. Decom is the oldest and largest official event associated with Burning Man in Los Angeles. This year, the art will be center stage, as varied as it is on “the playa” (how Burners refer to the desert, at the main festival in Nevada.) From fire-breathing dragon art cars and black-light body-painting, to eye-candy sculptures that provide the perfect selfie-moment, there is an abundance of creativity to be discovered at this year’s Decom celebration. Tickets are $25 and available at the park or in advance on losangelesleagueofarts.com. Point Foundation Gala is tonight from 6-10 p.m. at Beverly Hilton Hotel (9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills). Point Foundation will present its Impact Award to Eric McCormack, one of the most beloved actors of TV, as well as film and stage. The award recognizes an individual making a significant impact on improving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) plus allied community. Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. Information about attending or supporting Point Honors is at pointfoundation.org/HonorsLA18.

OCT 14

QUEER NOISE: Honoring Jewel Thais Williams

and Catch One is tonight from 6-11 p.m. at Catch One (4067 West Pico, Los Angeles). QUEER NOISE is the launch party for the ONE Archives Foundation’s membership program. And in celebration, ONE will celebrate the legend herself, Jewel Thais Williams. Some of Catch One’s most famous celebs will return to the space for a spectacular event. Celebrate queer expression with a night of live music, DJs, comedy and performance across three rooms at the Jewel’s Catch One. Admission comes with a complimentary year-long membership and supports our free exhibitions, public programs and education initiatives. Tickets are $60 per person, and $35 for students that present a valid student ID at check-in. Purchase QUEER NOISE tickets at www.onearchives.org/queernoisetickets.

OCT 18

amFAR Gala Los Angeles is tonight from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles). The ninth annual amfAR Gala Los Angeles returns this year for what promises to be another unforgettable and spectacular evening. The black-tie event will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, live auction and special performances. The amfAR Gala Los Angeles consistently draws some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Tom Hanks, Diane Sawyer, Heidi Klum, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, Sean Penn, Lady Gaga, Cheyenne Jackson, Dermot Mulroney, Cuba Gooding Jr., Matt Bomer, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denis O’Hare, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Lea Michele, Emma Roberts, Sarah Hyland, Sophia Bush, Jaime King, Zendaya, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Sharon Stone. Last year’s gala was hosted by James Corden, honored Julia Roberts, and featured performances by Chris Martin and Fergie. This year we will be honoring singersongwriter and activist, Katy Perry. To date, amfAR Gala Los Angeles has raised more than $13 million for amfAR’s lifesaving research programs. For details, visit amfar.org/LA2018. CAA’s 16th Young Hollywood Party is tonight from

8:30 p.m.-2 a.m. at 6523 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Task Force hosts its 16th Annual Young Hollywood Party (YHP), a social mixer that is legendary for connecting professionals. You must put in face time at this event if you want to work in this town, as the event brings together celebrities and professionals from across the entertainment and sports industries to help raise money to support Communities in Schools of Los Angeles (CISLA). It’s a great cause that has given thousands of inner city youth in Los Angeles, despite poverty and abandonment, mentorship and assistance toward realization of their potential. Tickets cost up to $60 at the door or on eventbrite.

OCT. 19

2018 GLSEN Respect Awards is today from 5:30-11 p.m. at Beverly Wilshire Hotel (9500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles). The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Respect Awards were introduced in 2004 by GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth. Held annually in Los Angeles and New York, the award show honors the work of student leaders, educators, community organizers, influencers and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. This year’s event features “Love, Simon” director Greg Berlanti and his husband, soccer star Robbie Rogers, singer Justin Timberlake, actress Jessica Biel, actors Matt Bomer and Simon Halls, actress Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will be presented with the Champion Award and Yara Shahidi with the Game Changer Award. Visit glsen.org/respect

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.


3237 CANYON LAKE DRIVE | HOLLY WOOD HILLS This exquisite 1965 mid-century modern home in the prestigious Lake Hollywood Estates is a total dream! This was the home of Luc Leestemaker, a famous DutchAmerican abstract expressionist artist. This home includes a beautiful art studio that could be used as a photographer’s workroom, as an artist’s workshop, or in whatever manner you see fit. With its breathtaking view of the Hollywood sign, this home’s backyard is designed for entertaining guests. The residence is extremely private, since the home sits on a corner lot of a cul-de-sac. The kitchen, having been extensively remodeled in 2014, is clean and modern. Elegant hardwood floors create a magnificent ambiance throughout the home. It is complete with high ceilings, closed-circuit cameras, recessed lighting, a gas fireplace in the living room, two master bedrooms, and a loft. Additionally, there is a sun porch with panoramic views of the canyons. Between the beauty, history, and landmark views, this is a home that is not easily forgotten.

4 Bedrooms

4 Baths

2,725 sq. ft.

15,685 sq. ft. lot

Offered at: $2,398,000

AMY PACE

DONNA D’AURIO REALTOR® | DRE 02012908

REALTOR® | DRE 01939929

c: 626.529.6780 DonnaD@bhhscal.com Zillow: AP Real Estate Group

TRUST

GUIDANCE

c: 626.379.9039 AmyPace@bhhscal.com Zillow: AP Real Estate Group

AP Real Estate Group

RESPECT

I N N O VAT I O N

CO M M U N I C AT I O N

©2018 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS.


PHOTOS

30 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Los Angeles Lakers celebrated its first ever Pride night by inviting the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to perform the national anthem. Photos by Troy Masters

Indigenous Pride LA day was held at Barnsdall Park in celebration of the Two Spirit/ Indigenous LGBTQIPA+ community.

U.S. Bank’s Hany Haddad addressed the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce at the group’s annual MegaMixer.

Gay Days Anaheim was such a success you could barely move around Disneyland, the gayest day in the Magic Kingdom. The event was oversold with more than 5,000 in attendance.

Photo courtesy Indigenous Pride LA

Photo by Mark Morales

Photo courtesy Gay Days


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Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 32, October 12,2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 32, October 12,2018

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 32, October 12,2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 32, October 12,2018

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