CAMPA-NAJJAR VS HUNTER IS NOW A ‘TOSS-UP’ DEVOTED CHRISTIAN CHALLENGES ANTI-LGBT CULTURE OF CORRUPTION, PAGE 06
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04 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Feinstein, de Leon converse in San Francisco Stating the obvious, civilly By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com February was such a long time ago. Grassroots fever seized the California Democratic Convention, unexpectedly thwarting the perfunctory endorsement of senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein and puffing a headwind into the sails of her primary challenger, State Sen. Kevin de Leon. “Time’s up!” young de Leon supporters rudely yelled as one of the Democratic Party’s most revered elder stateswomen closed her speech. Both failed to win the CDP endorsement, which made national headlines, but de Leon later won the CDP’s executive board endorsement, another humiliation for Feinstein but with far
fewer headlines. Other than an unexplained emailed death threat from a Lancaster man who is now facing two felonies, Feinstein and her camp seem confident, though her steady 20 point lead has dwindled to 14 points—40 to de Leon’s 26 in an Oct. 16 poll by KABC/SurveyUSA. But, having contributed a multimillion dollar loan to her campaign, Feinstein far outstrips de Leon in money. On Sept. 30, the end of the last fundraising quarter, Feinstein registered nearly $4.1 million, compared to de León’s $309,000 in the bank. So it was a bit surprising that Feinstein— who was elected in 1992 and last debated an opponent in 2000—would deign to meet with de Leon, no matter how much he screamed about her ducking a debate. After all, given her lead and all the other news to
report, who would notice? Finally, a compromise of sorts was worked out. The two sat down for an hour of civilized “conversation” in San Francisco with Public Policy Institute of California’s chief executive and president, Mark Baldassare, who asked each candidate questions and prohibited cross-talk before an in-person audience of 100 and a web stream audience at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 17. It was a watch-the-paint-dry exercise with Feinstein, 85, playing school marm to de Leon’s sound-bite-kid. “It’s time for a change,” he said, promising to be a “fresh” voice for California. “We are engaged in a battle for America’s soul against a president without one,’’ said de Leon, 51. “It’s time that we stop biding our time and biting our tongue’’ while Trump
“unravels…the California Dream.” Though both agreed that immigration reform should be a top priority, de Leon touted his legislation making California a “sanctuary state” and spoke empathetically about young people brought to the country illegally as children by their parents. “I wish Democrats in Washington would fight like hell for Dreamers the way Donald J. Trump and Republicans fight like hell for his stupid wall,” de Leon said. That left it to Feinstein to state the painfully obvious: de Leon presided over a Democratically controlled State Senate but the U.S. Senate is in the hands of conservative Republicans. “You can march, you can filibuster, you can talk all night. It doesn’t change anything. What changes things are elections,” Feinstein said.
Nunes re-election may be floundering Trump ally is begging for bucks By STAFF REPORTS In a race thought to be an easy victory for the conservative Chair of the House Intelligence Committee in the solid Republican red 22nd congressional district, Rep. Devin Nunes is struggling, despite an 8-point lead in the Oct. 4 University of California-Berkley/IGS poll. The incumbent, a staunch ally of Donald Trump, sits at 53% over his Democratic challenger, 34-year-old deputy district attorney Andrew Janz, with 45%. One shocker: the Fresno Bee endorsed Nunes’ Democratic challenger after having endorsed every congressional reelection since 2002. And where once he was a Republican fundraising headliner, Nunes recently sent a fundraiser letter to “conservative patriots” in the San Francisco Bay Area to solicit money, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Oct. 15. “I have become a constant target of attack for the political establishment, the mainstream media, far-left special interest groups and the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party,” Nunes wrote in the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Blade, “I have a
California Rep. Devin Nunes Photo by Gage Skidmore / Courtesy Flickr
close up view of the left’s freakish coalition— the powerful public employee unions, radical environmental organizations, myriad farleft groups and other bizarre elements that comprise the left-wing power structure.” Noting that Janz has raised millions of dollars and promising to raise “millions more,” Nunes added: “Replacing me in Congress with a leftist would be a major
victory for the Democrats. I am depending on conservative patriots like you in California to stand with me.” The Janz campaign has amassed a multimillion dollar war chest that is being spent on heavy media buys in the Fresno area as the race enters its final two weeks. The Fresno Bee editorial notes that the young Democrat is succeeding without Democratic
Establishment support. “Janz, 34, is a moderate Democrat who is campaigning without party support in his first election. The Democratic national committee has not seen his candidacy as a winner, given the 9-percentage-point advantage Nunes has in voter registration over Janz,” The Bee writes. “While that may seem a negative, it actually is a positive. Janz can act with a degree of independence from party politics and do what he thinks is best for the 22nd District.” The editorial also called Nunes out for his lock-step support of Trump. “Voters can also choose Nunes and remain stuck with the damaging partisanship he practices, the party-above-country mode that motivates him to protect President Trump from the investigation into Russian meddling more than meet his constitutional obligations as an independent arm of government. Then there is his lack of regard for the needs of his part of California,” The Bee opined. It is unclear if the Sept. 30 Esquire expose has done any damage, though many politicos were surprised to learn that Nunes’ family dairy farm is actually in Iowa, not in Tulare. Pollster Larry Sabato moved Nunes from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican” in his Crystal Ball forecast. – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.
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06 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Campa-Najjar vs. Hunter is now a ‘toss-up’ Devoted Christian challenges anti-LGBT culture of corruption By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org Stonewall Democrats laughed when Ammar Campa-Najjar described himself as Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare”— a Latino, Arab-American millennial who talks unabashedly about morality, underrepresentation of minorities and the administration’s “assault on our values” and “country over party.” “Whether you’re Latino or Middle Eastern or LGBTQ or maybe both–or all three–it’s a really defining time for our country. We have to stand for our values. An assault on any one of us is an assault on all of us,” said the 29-year-old challenging antiLGBT Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th congressional district, covering northeastern San Diego County. “We’ve seen how Donald Trump has really enabled the worst of the worst to come out of people. And right now it’s really about bringing people back together again,” Campa-Najjar told the Los Angeles Blade last July, noting that he has an LGBTQ stepsister and his stepfather, a Vietnam veteran, is a Trump supporter. Though the 50th CD is on the list of GOP seats Democrats are hoping to flip to win back the House, this race is a steep climb. Though Hunter was the target of an FBI investigation before the June primary, a San Diego Union-Tribune poll showed Hunter with 43% of the vote to Campa-Najjar’s 10%. Then the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego released a 47-page indictment charging the Hunters with 60 criminal counts, including illegally using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses such as flying their pet rabbit across the country and purchasing clothing itemized as “golf balls for a wounded warriors” nonprofit, as well as conspiracy, wire fraud and falsifying records. Hunter blamed the Democrats for the “witch-hunt” and threw his campaign manager wife under the bus: “Whatever she did, that’ll be looked at, too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it.” Unlike Trump, Hunter doesn’t wear corruption and irresponsibility well. A Monmouth University Poll subsequently
Ammar Campa-Najjar with his mother Abby Campa and his ‘abuelita,’ Abigal Campa, in 2017. Photo courtesy the Campa-Najjar campaign
revealed that Hunter was still leading with 49% but Campa-Najjar had jumped to 41%, with 10% undecided. Hunter could lose his legacy seat, handed down from his anti-LGBT father, Duncan Hunter Sr., who won reelection from 1981 to 2009 largely because of his position on the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Hunter Jr. has used his seat on that committee to collect campaign money and posit antiLGBT legislation like the proposed ban on transgender military service, advocated by the Family Research Council. House Speaker Paul Ryan temporarily removed Hunter from three House committees after the indictment. But he still uses his committee connections to wield political power. On Oct. 15, Hunter released a letter labeled “Security Alert” from retired brigadier general Terry Paul and two retired major generals, Randall West and T.L. Corwin—all three lobbyists with business before the House Armed Services Committee. They allege Campa-Najjar is a “national security risk” who would use “secret
information on U.S. military operations” to protect disengaged family in the Middle East. “Mr. Hunter’s ongoing attacks on me, his wife, and the Justice Department aren’t just political; they’re pathological,” Campa-Najjar said in a statement. VoteVets encouraged 148,000 Twitter followers to complain to the Marine Corps. But Hunter went even lower. “Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress,” says the narrator of Hunter’s ad on YouTube. “He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism.” That outraged the conservative San Diego Union-Tribune: “We endorse Campa-Najjar for Congress. He is far superior to the troubled incumbent. This fact is underlined by the despicable ad that Hunter has begun to air in recent days suggesting that his ‘Palestinian Mexican millennial’ opponent was linked to terrorist groups and was ‘working to infiltrate Congress.’” The Union-Tribune disputed the allegation that Campa-Najjar—who was raised by his single Catholic Mexican
mother after his Palestinian father left when he was a boy—is a risk to national security because his grandfather, who was killed by Israeli commandos 16 years before CampaNajjar was born and whom he has strongly disavowed, was a terrorist who helped plan the 1972 attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. “It’s also well-known that Campa-Najjar, a Christian, has had literally nothing to do with his grandfather. As Campa-Najjar notes, when he worked at the White House, he was ‘given a security clearance by the Secret Service after a thorough background check.’ With this smear, Hunter continues to demolish his own reputation,” said the Union-Tribune editorial. An Oct. 15 Washington Post editorial also noted that the “ad’s claims have been thoroughly discredited, earning a four Pinocchios rating from The Post’s Fact Checker, which concludes the Hunter campaign ignored or distorted basic biographical facts about Mr. Campa-Najjar.” The Post pointed out that Campa-Najjar’s
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • 07
Ammar Campa-Najjar Photo Courtesy Facebook
job in the Obama White House “reviewing letters sent to the president” and his public affairs position at the US Department of Labor “required him to pass FBI background checks (something the Fact Checker noted Mr. Hunter would be unable to do because of his indictment)…. The only danger posed by Mr. Campa-Najjar is to Mr. Hunter’s reelection chances.” Nonetheless, Hunter doubled down, enlisting his father after an Oct. 4 Los Angeles Times/University of CaliforniaBerkeley poll showed Hunter with only a 2% lead, well within the margin of error. “Mr. Najjar is a security risk,” Duncan Hunter Sr. said at an Oct. 16 press conference. “As an American congressman, he would have the right to know about American troop movements in the Middle East.” Campa-Najjar didn’t wait for a call from reporters—he went to the news conference and charged the former congressmember with “race-baiting” and promoting “disinformation.” “This is an act of desperation,” Campa-Najjar said. “Daddy had to come out and save him…. I’m my own man and the people of my district respect people who fight for themselves.” It’s a flash of anger from a contemporary Christian gladiator. Campa-Najjar speaks
with such authentic empathy and thought about the biblical principles of love, as well as the distortions caused by “toxic masculinity,” he sounds like an updated version of Thomas a Kempis’ “Imitation of Christ.” In fact, the real “nightmare” Campa-Najjar may pose to Trump and antiLGBT religious right hero Mike Pence is his grasp of humanity and real morality. “You have to extend love to those who you may not maybe share views with. That’s how we have to deal with Trump,” CampaNajjar tells the Los Angeles Blade. “Even that slogan that ‘love trumps faith.’ I think that is something that is rooted in our humanity but also can be found in our Christian teachings.” Agape, for instance, is “unconditional love. That no matter what you do, what you believe in, how different you may look or feel or love or live—that is irrelevant to the fact that you have to show people love,” he says. “The opposite of love is condemnation and then putting that condemnation into action by persecuting others is very far away from what God died for, in my view,” Campa-Najjar says. “In the Bible, there’s only one time where Jesus was angry, like outright angry, uncharacteristically outraged and it was
the event that led to his crucifixion. It was when he went to the temple and there were the money changers, the tax collectors, and those who were trying to basically get money out of everybody to give them something to leave at the alter for God,” he says. “And literally homeless people and widows and people with no money—the least of these— were giving pennies, whatever they had to scrape together, to get some commodity to offer to the alter to God—a pigeon,” a valueless “rodent with wings.” Campa-Najjar continues, as if recalling a memory: “And Jesus was so angry that he turned over the tables and the money and he said to them, to the religious elites: ‘you’re white washed and beautiful on the outside but you’re dead inside.’ And he was so outraged that it led to his crucifixion” since Pontius Pilot saw this act as meaning that “Jesus was no longer containable,” that he was a rebel who posed a threat to the elites. “I see that moment as today’s tax plan where it’s basically taking away from those who have almost nothing just to give more to those who are at the very top,” he says. “The income inequality that turns into gender and racial and generational inequality—that’s the kind of thing that morally outraged Jesus so
much that it led to his crucifixion. And I think right now we have an administration that is doing the same thing— but in the 21st century, in the form of giving tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of those who are really, really struggling,” the lower and middle class. “That’s the kind of outrage that I think even Jesus would express,” Campa-Najjar says. “And it’s OK and healthy and I think within our bounds as Christians to speak truth to power when there is gender, generational or income inequality, when the least of these are either religious minorities, or any minority, be it women or orientation, we have an obligation to speak out and defend them. On that grounds, we do have, as Christians, an obligation to speak up against the moral bankruptcy of all of this today.” Besides, Campa-Najjar says, “ I made a promise to my mom that her future granddaughter, her life would be fairer, her opportunities would be more equal and her rights would be more protected. And I can’t keep that promise with the way the world is going today. So I’m desperately looking forward to getting involved and making sure that we hold people accountable in Washington.” For more, visit campacampaign.com
08 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
OC Republican candidate Young Kim’s anti-LGBT record Democrat Gil Cisneros vindicated from false claim By CHRISTOPHER KANE Republican Rep. Ed Royce wholeheartedly endorsed former Assemblymember Young Kim to take his 39th Congressional District seat when he retires at the end of this year. Royce has represented sections of northern Orange, eastern Los Angeles and southwestern San Bernardino counties since 1992, receiving a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBT equality. For 20 years, Kim worked for Royce and according to her subsequent record in the Assembly, espoused many of the same antiLGBT positions. But Kim, who is in a tight “toss-up” race with pro-equality Democrat Gil Cisneros, is apparently now trying to hide her anti-LGBT voting record. Asked about her commitment to protecting healthcare access for LGBT folks and people of color during a meeting at Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton on Oct. 3, Kim cited her Assembly vote to “recognize individuals that are making contributions to our community [including] the LGBTQ community.” She was apparently referring to a 2015 resolution that established June as Pride Month—a resolution that sailed through the Assembly with a vote of 65-0. Kim failed, however, to recognize Pride Month on social media, through a statement, or by participating in any district celebrations. In 2016, Kim also supported Democrat Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill, AB 1732, that passed 55-19, requiring single-user restrooms to be gender-neutral. That 2016 vote was ironic since a cornerstone of Kim’s 2013 campaign for the 65th Assembly seat was her promise to overturn out Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 1266—a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Aug. 12, 2013 that allows public school students to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities. “That doesn’t represent the values of this community,” she told the Orange County Register in 2014. Kim’s campaign ads were condemned by The LGBT Center of Orange County. “Young Kim should be ashamed of the campaign ads. They are bigoted and will encourage discrimination and increased violence against
Republican Rep. Ed Royce and candidate Young Kim Photo Courtesy Facebook
an already vulnerable group of children,” Center Executive Director Kevin O’Grady said in a statement. Local school districts, meanwhile, contested the candidate’s claims that the measure would lead to harassment of women and girls, asserting its passage was positive for students. Once elected, Kim voted against a series of ultimately-successful bills in the state legislature that: required the California Energy Commission to implement outreach programs that included LGBT businesses; banned government travel to states that passed laws discriminating against LGBT residents; required the State Department of Education to assess information on resources provided to LGBT students; urged U.S. Congress to enact the Equality Act of 2015, which would extend protections of the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity; and prohibited state agencies from entering into contracts valued over $100,000 with businesses that discriminate against employees or dependents based on their actual or perceived gender identities. Kim, who also opposes same-sex marriage, told the Orange County Register that she believes sexual orientation
and gender identity are not immutable characteristics, but rather products of “the environment one grows up in.” “Young Kim has disrespected and actively voted against the LGBTQ community and for her to suggest otherwise is crass and shameless,” Gil Cisneros’s Campaign Manager Nic Jordan told the Los Angeles Blade. “At a time when LGBTQ rights are under constant attack by President Trump and his administration, Young Kim refuses to call out hate, stand up to bullying, and do what’s right. Gil Cisneros has served alongside LGBTQ servicemembers, has met with LGBTQ leaders of the 39th, and is ready to stand with the LGBTQ community and fight for equality, respect, and inclusion for all.” An Oct. 9 Politico poll has the 39th CD race as a “toss-up,” with Kim hoping to become the first Korean American woman elected to Congress in a district that is 25.8 percent Asian voters and 32.6 percent Hispanic. Until recently, Kim was leading Cisneros, thanks in large part to an ugly ad attack and campaign mailers from Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund in which a Democratic woman claimed Cisneros sexually harassed her. Cisneros fought back and eventually met with the accuser,
Melissa Fazli, who recanted her accusation. “I misunderstood the conversations that I had with Gil Cisneros at the Democratic convention and after. I don’t believe that Gil sexually harassed me,” Fazli said in a statement, the OC Weekly reported Oct. 3. She also complained that the Republican PAC had used her image and name “without her permission” and accused them of “weaponizing my story for their own political gain. I denounce their ads,” she said. “I believe Mr. Cisneros has a good heart and is truly sorry for the handling of my accusations.” The Congressional Leadership Fund was forced to pull the ads. Cisneros put out an ad to correct the record and scold Kim for cowardice in failing to “denounce the blatantly false ads while they were airing.” “Kim can try to wipe her hands of these attacks, but her refusal to call out her dark money allies speaks to her real character,” Jordan said in a press release. “Ultimately, it’s not surprising that Kim continues to demonstrate a complete lack of political courage considering she gladly and willingly has thrown her support behind President Trump.” The Kim campaign did not comment to OC Weekly.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • 09
HRC: LGBT voters could be the deciders in 2018 California’s estimated 1.4 million LGBTQ voters are ‘a force’ By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Chad Griffin is a traveling man, touching down in key states to rally campaigns the Human Rights Campaign has prioritized for the Nov. 6 midterms, including several in Southern California. After the 2016 election, HRC set up a “war room” to fight defensively for equality “non-stop.” But HRC also changed tactics. “We said we’re going to invest and have the largest grassroots expansion in our history—on the
offense,” HRC President Chad Griffin tells the Los Angeles Blade as he drives to a Gil Cisneros campaign event in Brea. That meant prioritizing races, putting organizers on the ground in key districts and states, including a full time staff in California. “You can safely say we’re making six-figure expenditures” in the prioritized California districts. The strategy is to energize the estimated million-plus LGBTQ eligible voters in California. “In 2016, 5% of the electorate identified as LGBTQ. That means 7 million voters in the last election identified as LGBTQ. We were one of the only voting blocs that increased our turnout election over election. While it was a depressing election night—much like 2008 here in California—there was a bright spot.
We had invested aggressively to oust North Carolina’s Republican incumbent governor after he’d attacked LGBTQ people—trans people, especially with HB2 –in a state that voted for Trump by 4 points,” Griffin says. “That took a massive grassroots turnout of LGBTQ people and our allies across the state.” But that was no one-and-done success. HRC conducted research and now, says Griffin, “we have the breakdown for LGBTQ voter data for every single state.” Using exit polling/turnout data and 2016 Gallup data, HRC concluded that “the California LGBTQ voter number is an estimated 1.4 million eligible voters,” Griffin says. And that number is low, considering how many voters do not come out to strangers asking exit polling questions. Plus, research on millennials
indicates that between 15-20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ. “That is our low bar. But let’s just say that’s the number. With 1.4 million LGBTQ eligible voters in the state of California – that means we can be the deciding factor in all of these key races,” says Griffin. “We can be the deciding factor in who wins an election today. And then you add our allies to that—it is a force.” But that force flops if LGBTQ eligible voters don’t register and turnout to vote. “No one wants to have regrets” the day after the election that more could have been done, says Griffin, recalling the devastation after Prop 8 passed. “We have to turn out to vote.” See HRC’s Voting Center: https://www. hrc.org/resources/register-to-vote
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QUOTES “This has been unsettling, but I want to be clear: we will not be intimidated.” - Jason Galisatus, 25, openly gay candidate for the City Council of Redwood City to The San Mateo Daily Journal on Oct.13 about the anti-gay graffiti spray-painted on his fence.
“I know I’m GAY, but can I take you STRAIGHT 2 HOMECOMING?”
– gay Santa Ana Valley High School senior Alexander Duarte inviting his straight friend, Erick Pineda, captain of the football team, to homecoming, on National Coming Out Day.
“It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now.” – Researcher Debra Roberts on the devastating Oct. 8 global warming “clarion bell from the science community” report that has largely been ignored.
10 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
On Oct. 14, the ONE Archives Foundation kicked off its membership program with “Queer Noise,” a launch party at the iconic Catch One nightclub. The historic venue, owned by Jewel Thais-Williams from 1973 to 2015, was the first black LGBTQ disco in Los Angeles and a haven for LGBTQ women and people of color who experienced discrimination in other gay and lesbian bars. “Jewel’s Catch One” documentary is now on Netflix. “As stewards of queer history, we were delighted to honor Jewel for her enormous contributions to the LGBTQ community with our inaugural History Maker Award,” Executive Director Jennifer Gregg told 450 people in honoring Thais-Williams. Thais-Williams recounted a story about a black middle school in Philadelphia where the graduation rate was only 35%. A new principal was hired and by the end of three years, the graduation rate was 95%. “How did he do it? First off, he had all the kids wear uniforms. And the second thing that he did, was make it a priority – a pre-requisite, a must – for all grade levels to study African and African-American history,” she said. “I’m saying that to say how important it is for ONE Archives to be here, and how important it is for all of you to take the time to go down and visit, and see where your roots and your history came from. Then you can step out in faith, and know that we have big shoulders to stand on – and you, too, can make history.” Thais-Williams urged the crowd to “vote –and then follow it up with action. Begin with celebrating the organizations that are out there doing the work, start your own, just be active and be visible— and if you put the right energy into motion, it will manifest in success.” – Karen Ocamb
Jewel Thais-Williams and Rue Thais-Williams Photo courtesy ONE Archives
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
CA Assembly District 38
L.A. County Sheriff
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
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*
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*
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*
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
SPOTLIGHT Presorted STD
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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
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.
12 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Trump names second out gay judicial nominee Bumatay tapped for Ninth Circuit in jab at Feinstein and Harris By CHRIS JOHNSON President Trump has nominated to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals an openly gay federal prosecutor tasked with enforcing organized crime and drug laws, doubling the number of his out judicial nominees. The White House announced Trump’s nomination of Patrick Bumatay to the Ninth Circuit as part of a group of 18 nominees for judgeships as well as appointments as U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals. Log Cabin Republicans confirmed to the Washington Blade on Monday Bumatay is openly gay. Should the U.S. Senate confirm Bumatay, he’d be the second openly gay person appointed to a federal appeals court and one of the highestranking judges in the United States. Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, said Trump’s appointment of Bumtay to the Ninth Circuit was significant. “Patrick would make an excellent addition to the court — the historic nature of his nomination as an openly gay man adds an additional layer of prestige to what by all counts is an exceptional career in law,” Angelo said. Obama appointed the first and currently the openly gay federal appeals judge, U.S. Circuit Judge Todd Hughes. Hughes serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and is currently the highest-ranking openly gay federal judge. According to his White House bio, Bumatay is an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and works for the Organized Crime & Drug Enforcement Task Forces Section. Bumatay is detailed to the Office of the Attorney General, where he serves as counselor to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on criminal issues such as the national opioid strategy and transnational organized crime. Among the groups in which Bumatay has membership, according to his bio, is the San Diego-based Tom Homann LGBT Law Association, which seeks to advance LGBT issues in California. Bumatay is also a member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.
President Trump nominated Patrick Bumatay to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Photo by Palinchak / Courtesy Bigstock
Other positions in which Bumatay has served at the U.S. Justice Department include the Office of the Deputy Attorney General; the Office of the Associate Attorney General, where he oversaw civil enforcement programs; and the Office of Legal Policy. Bumatay clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich, a George W. Bush appointee who sits on the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. District Judge Sandra Townes, another Bush appointee on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Bumatay graduated with honors from Yale University and obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. According to Buzzfeed News, the selection of Bumatay and other judicial nominees is a jab at Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). For months, the White House has been negotiating with the Democratic senators for an agreement on nominees for open seats on the Ninth Circuit, which comprises California. In the end, there was no agreement and Trump named judicial nominees not included among the consensus choices proposed by Feinstein and Harris. It’s the second time Trump has named an openly gay person for the federal bench. The first was Mary Rowland, whom Trump nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Rowland’s nomination remains pending before the Senate. Trump’s nomination of Bumatay stands in contrast to his other 140 judicial
nominees, many of whom have antiLGBT records. The more extreme antiLGBT nominees litigated against marriage equality, in favor of California’s Proposition 8 and worked to facilitate anti-LGBT laws. Trump has a long way to go to beat Obama’s record in appointing openly LGBT judges. Obama nominated a total of 11 openly gay judicial nominees, according to an archived page on the White House website. (But Trump has now beat President Bill Clinton in naming out judicial nominees. Clinton named only one, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, who in 1994 became the first sitting openly gay federal judge. Batts currently serves with senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.)
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • 13
Anti-LGBT lawsuits already headed Justice Kavanaugh’s way Cases challenge protections under EEOC, Austin ordinance By CHRIS JOHNSON Precisely on cue with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, anti-LGBT groups have filed lawsuits challenging LGBT rights that may in the near future serve to test the new justice on his position on the issue. The complaints — two filed in federal court, one filed in state court — were filed in Texas and seek to challenge the City of Austin’s LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. agency charged with federal employment civil rights law, over its interpretation of Title VII to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce. But Austin’s LGBT-inclusive ordinance has been on the books for some time and the EEOC has taken charge of anti-LGBT discrimination for years under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (The EEOC determined in the 2012 decision of Macy v. Holder that federal law bars anti-trans discrimination in employment and in the 2015 decision of Baldwin c. Foxx federal law bars anti-gay discrimination.) Conspicuously, the two federal lawsuits were filed on Oct. 6, the exact date Kavanaugh was confirmed as a U.S. associate justice to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh won’t have a chance to act on the newly filed lawsuits anytime soon, but they will likely percolate through the courts, giving anti-LGBT groups the opportunity to file petitions for review. The newly confirmed justice, chosen by President Trump from a list of potential nominees backed by the Federalist Society and the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation, could be the fifth and deciding vote on whether to preserve LGBT rights if the petitions in the federal cases come before the Supreme Court. (The lawsuit in state court raising state claims will be left to Texas state court. Kavanaugh or the Supreme Court wouldn’t be asked to review the decisions.) The federal lawsuit against EEOC asserts the LGBT protections violate the religious freedom of churches under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing them to hire employee who are LGBT
Anti-LGBT lawsuits are already headed to U.S. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Blade file photo by Michael Key
despite religious objections of the employer. (Current law doesn’t require churches to hire pastors who are LGBT contrary to religious beliefs, but does prohibit religiously affiliated organizations from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination for non-ministerial positions.) Similarly, the federal lawsuit against Austin’s ordinance asserts a violation of the Free Exercise Clause under the First Amendment in addition to making religious freedom claims under the Texas Constitution and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A shared plaintiff in the two federal lawsuits is the U.S. Pastor Council, a Houston-based community of Christian conservatives that also unsuccessfully pushed for the antitransgender bathroom legislation in Texas. In the case against EEOC, the Houston-based Hotze Health & Wellness Center, a Christianowned business in Houston that seeks to refuse to hire LGBT employees is a plaintiff. In the state lawsuit, Texas Values, a social conservative non-profit in Austin, is the sole plaintiff. The religious freedom claims in the lawsuits may be seeking to capitalize on Kavanaugh’s remarks during his confirmation hearing, when Kavanaugh said in response to questions from conservative senators like Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that religious freedom should be protected in the “public square.” “The Framers understood the importance of protecting conscience,” Kavanaugh said.
“It’s akin to the free speech protection in many ways. No matter what God you worship, or if you worship no God at all, you are equally American…If you have religious beliefs, religious people, religious speech, you have just as much right to be in the public square and to participate in public programs as others do. You can’t be denied just because of religious status.” In response to these lawsuits, pro-LGBT groups may have to seek relief soon from either the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. The lawsuit against the EEOC was assigned to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee with a reputation for being hostile to LGBT rights. (O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction against Obama-era guidance instructing schools Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires schools to allow transgender kids to use the restroom of their choice.) The other federal case against Austin’s LGBT-inclusive ordinance is pending before U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman, an Obama appointee. Jonathan Mitchell, an Austin-based attorney whose law firm Mitchell Law PLLC filed each of the lawsuits, declined to comment on whether the timing of the lawsuits was intended to coincide with the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing a practice of not commenting on pending litigation.
LGBT legal experts were hesitant to ascribe the filing of the new litigation with the addition of the new conservative to the high court, but predicted they were the kind of lawsuits they would expect anti-LGBT groups to file in greater capacity in the aftermath of the confirmation. Jon Davidson, legal director for Freedom for All Americans, said he isn’t sure whether the lawsuits were timed to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but foresees “more aggressive litigation moves in federal courts by antiLGBTQ forces due to the increasing number of appointments of federal judges with histories of opposition to LGBTQ rights and Justice Kennedy’s retirement.” “I believe these lawsuits are a continuation of efforts by anti-LGBTQ organizations and politicians’ efforts to weaken, if not invalidate, local nondiscrimination protections in Texas and elsewhere, notwithstanding the history of local government regulation in this area,” Davidson said. “I further believe the lawsuits are a continuation of efforts to distort the concept of religious freedom from the right to believe a license to use religion to act in violation of others’ rights. All of us care about religious freedom — that’s why it’s part of the Constitution’s promise to all Americans. That will never be up for debate. But religious freedom should be used as a shield, not as a weapon, and its reach should not be distorted in order to harm LGBTQ people or anyone else.” James Esseks, director of the LGBT and HIV project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said Kavanaugh’s test “may come sooner” given cases on LGBT rights were already waiting for the new justice before the Supreme Court prior to his confirmation. Among them is a petition from Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan challenging a ruling from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals asserting it violated Title VII by terminating the employment of Aimee Stephens for transitioning. Two other petitions seeking clarification on whether Title VII applies to anti-gay discrimination are also pending before the Supreme Court. “A growing chorus of appeals courts — and a solid majority of the American people — agree that firing someone because they are LGBTQ is against the law,” Esseks said. “The high court may weigh in on whether laws prohibiting sex discrimination in the workplace apply to discrimination towards LGBTQ people this term.”
14 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Central America leaders concerned over Trump immigration policies More LGBT migrants opting to stay in Mexico By MICHAEL K. LAVERS The president of Honduras last week reiterated his government’s concern over the separation of migrant children from their parents after they entered the U.S. Juan Orlando Hernández in remarks that he gave at the State Department during the opening of the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America said his government has “a solution for the 119 Honduran children who have been separated from their parents here in the United States.” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Pence, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray and Mexican Government Secretary Alfonso Navarrete are co-hosting the two-day conference. Hernández, along with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Salvadoran Vice President Óscar Ortiz and representatives of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador are also participating. Nielsen did not speak at the opening of the conference, but Hernández specifically referred to her in his remarks. “We have a solution in mind, Secretary Nielsen,” said Hernández, speaking through an interpreter. “If you look at your conscience, if we all put ourself (sic) in the shoes of these parents — imagine if a child from your country found himself or herself in that situation, you could understand the rejection this has caused in my country, the huge pressure we face.” “It’s a matter of humanity,” he added. “It is impossible to understand for some how an issue that is in the biggest interest of children and family reunification — well, this continues to be a pending matter. I cannot go back to Honduras without an answer.” Ortiz echoed Hernández’s concerns. “We are very concerned about family reunification, especially about the young children that have remained here in the United States,” said Ortiz, also speaking through an interpreter. The Trump administration earlier this year announced it will end the Temporary Protected Status program for the up to
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández on Oct. 11, expressed concern over the continued separation of migrant children from their parents during a conference at the State Department. Photo by Ocastellanos99; courtesy Wikimedia Commons
200,000 Salvadorans who have received temporary residency permits that allow them to stay in the U.S. Ortiz expressed concern over this decision, even though a federal judge last week temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending TPS for Salvadorans and citizens of other countries that include Haiti and Nicaragua. Trump earlier this year reportedly described El Salvador as a “shithole country.” “The issue of TPS — we need more time in the Northern Triangle,” said Ortiz. Honduras and El Salvador have two of the world’s highest per capita murder rates because of violence that is frequently associated with gangs and drug traffickers. Anti-LGBTI violence remains commonplace in Central America’s Northern Triangle — which includes Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, poverty and a lack of access to education and health care are among the issues the region’s LGBTI community also face. LGBTI Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans are among the more than
225,000 migrants who have tried to enter the U.S. over the last year, even through advocates have told the Washington Blade the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy continues to spark fear throughout the Northern Triangle. Pence at the conference said more than half of undocumented immigrants who have been taken into custody after they entered the U.S. from Mexico during the same period were from El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala. Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran with HIV who was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on May 9 when she asked for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego, died at a New Mexico hospital two weeks later while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. A gay Honduran man who is seeking asylum in Mexico told the Blade in July during an interview in Mexico City that he fled the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula earlier this year after gang members attacked him and killed a female friend after they raped her. Activists in Mexico with whom the Blade
spoke said more LGBTI migrants are choosing to remain in their country because of Trump’s immigration policy. “This man (Trump) speaks and people stay where they are,” said Andrés Cruz Hernández of Comunidad Cultural de Tijuana LGBTI, an LGBTI community center in the Mexican city of Tijuana, during an interview that took place less than a mile from the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Honduran first lady Ana García in a June 19 tweet warned Hondurans who want to migrate to the U.S. that they “will be separated from your little ones when you arrive illegally.” García also visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas, after Trump issued an executive order that ended the separation of migrant children from their parents. Nielsen in July met with Videgaray and the foreign ministers of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in Guatemala City. Nielson announced the creation of an office within her agency that she said will advise their governments about the reunification of migrant children who have been separated from their parents. Published reports indicate hundreds of migrants remain separated from their children. The Associated Press on Tuesday reported the children of migrants who have been deported may be put up for adoption. Pence at the conference reiterated the Trump administration continues to support economic development initiatives in the Northern Triangle. Pence also said the region’s governments must do more to combat violence and stem the flow of migrants. “The leaders in the room, the governments that you represent, should tell your people don’t put your families at risk by taking the dangerous journey north to attempt to enter the United States illegally,” said Pence. “The truth is your message can probably be summed up by telling them that if they can’t come to the United States legally, they shouldn’t come at all. Say it with strength and say it with compassion as neighbors and as friends because it’s the truth.” The conference took place two weeks after 28 activists from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua attended a workshop outside of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa that focused on bolstering the LGBTI community’s participation in the region’s political process. The LGBTI Victory Fund organized the gathering alongside two advocacy groups from Honduras and Guatemala.
Proposition 10 is a critical step towards solving California’s housing affordability crisis.
From young people to seniors, the LGBT community needs protection from unfair rent increases. Without it, Tim S, 77, would never be able to afford West Hollywood — he’d be forced to move out of his longtime community. “We need new laws to protect us,” he says. a 120 Meanwhile, LGBT youth between the age of 13 and 25 are percent more likely to become homeless than their straight peers. Affordable housing could save their lives.
Paid for by Yes on 10 – a Coalition of Teachers, Nurses, Seniors and Renters for Affordable Housing, Sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and ACCE Action. Committee major funding by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, California Teachers Association, and California Nurses Association. Funding details at www.fppc.ca.gov
16 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 02 ISSUE 33
Remembering Queer Nation during LGBT History Month Dedicated to all the names on the AIDS Memorial Quilt By RICHARD NOBLE Los Angeles Queer Nationals stood in line for the taping of the “Arsenio Hall Show” with hidden T-shirts, some with pink triangles and pockets full of Queer Nation stickers. Inside, we waited for Andrew Dice Clay to hit the stage. The supposed comedian was nasty to women and gays and we wanted it to stop. Arsenio heard we were there and asked the audience if anyone wanted to talk about it. So I stood up. He asked me why I was there and I said, “I’m gay” and we didn’t like the way Hollywood treated women and the LGBT community and we were going to start holding Hollywood accountable. Arsenio was surprised. I had just “come out” on national television. We wanted to show that gay men and lesbians were a lot more than the serial killers Hollywood depicted us to be in films. The closet was an institution we were going to smash. And when he 1990/91 films Paris is Burning and My Own Private Idaho were overlooked at the Academy Awards, we shut down the red carpet with a queer kiss-in. Many of us were whisked off to jail. Sadly, not one celebrity came forward. One day at a party for Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, I personally asked Sean Hayes if he was gay while I sat next to Ian McKellan. Sean’s snarky response was, “It’s none of your business!” I hope he would come out and show courage in the midst of the AIDS crisis, when we needed it most. LGBT activists of the 1990s did not play games. We were experiencing what we considered a Reagan Holocaust of our people for his slow and late anorexic response to the AIDS epidemic. Our friends and lovers were dying every day. In New York City, we staged a die-in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral protesting Cardinal O’Connor who preached that homosexuality was a sin and blocked distribution of condoms to fight AIDS. In Los Angeles, I disrupted President Bush’s campaign at the Museum of Tolerance by yelling, “What about gay people?” Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda wasn’t
Richard Noble in 1991 before AB 101 veto. Photo courtesy Richard Settles
much different. I jumped on the field at a Dodger game to ask Lasorda why he didn’t, in the good name of his dead gay son, come to support all those still dying from AIDS. All he could say to me was, “Why don’t you shut your mouth before I knock your god damn teeth down your throat?” Every day it confirmed to me why militancy was necessary to break down the silence and bigotry of a culture created by selfish conservative Christianity. Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and Traditional Values Coalition head Rev. Lou Sheldon also attacked the LGBT community. We were hopeful that Wilson would sign AB 101, our gay civil rights bill, as he had promised. Sheldon was beating the Anita Bryant drum to oppose any advancements for the LGBT community. We started showing up wherever they were to condemn religious homophobia and both political and legislative discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Wilson vetoed AB 101. From San Francisco
to Los Angeles, we felt the state of LGBT civil rights went up in flames—and so did the state flag, literally on the street of LA. We were militant, we were angry and we had nothing to apologize for. In the 1990s, we were outraged and for weeks, we got arrested at demonstrations. From the Ronald Reagan State Office Building in downtown Los Angeles to the Westwood Federal Building, we screamed and we marched. In the evening, we shut down the streets of Hollywood and West Hollywood. We marched to wherever Wilson was staying and went to battle with the cops, eventually dispersing or sitting in a full bus, handcuffed. Officers walked through the bus trying to identify people. A few of us were let go with notices to appear before a judge. I ended up paying a $500 fee. Thinking of my greatest fears and deepest sadness, I considered the language of Hitler in his speeches as he built national pride using the idea of God, the Father, looking over Germany. I saw a lot of parallels between Hitler’s Germany and the Republican Party so I built a symbolic concentration camp in West Hollywood and refused to eat for 7 days. One day, a Jewish man came and sat down with me and told me stories of the camps and then showed me the number he has branded on his arm. I will never forget how he touched me that day. One night, all alone, a lesbian couple walked over to me behind the barbed wired and emptied all their money in wads of bills and put it in my hands, telling me it was for whatever I needed. That was 27 years ago. I now see gay men thrown to their death by ISIS from rooftops and gay propaganda laws in Russia. Donald Trump swore on the campaign trail to protect us better than President Obama did. Instead, he’s rolled back LGBT rights and protections and Republicans are as hurtful as they have always been. I hope those who voted for Trump are wiser now. Nov. 6 will tell. Please vote. Or maybe we need to bring back Queer Nation.
Richard Noble is a longtime LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS activist.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • 17
The children our community most needs to help CASA of LA helps youth in foster care and many are LGBTQ
Dan Hanley is development director for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy CASA of LA)
The impact is mind-blowing to me. Community volunteers. Community volunteers advocating for a child in LA County’s child welfare system who has been abused and/or neglected. Our data at CASA of Los Angeles shows that the typical child in foster care had an average of four placements in a new home every year. Imagine what this does for the child, let alone for the trauma they experience with every move. Now imagine one of these kids identifying
as LGBTQ, which approximately one-in-five children in Los Angeles County foster care do. Imagine the increased level of trauma of having to come out every time they are moved to another home. Or imagine even just having to figure out whether or not it’s safe enough to have the discussion, not just with the new family, but the relatives, the school, the neighborhood. Knowing you are different makes life tougher growing up. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to identify as LGBTQ as a young person and being moved around in the foster care system constantly. During my time here at CASA of Los Angeles I have met children who have lived in more than 20 places. When our volunteers step in, the number of home placements drops to 1.7 in the year after their case closes - a huge difference from having four placements the year prior to having a CASA volunteer. Imagine that these same volunteers become a steady advocate for these kids, kids who are in a super tough situation that most of us can’t comprehend. Many of the children we help have experienced abuse or neglect, have emotional or medical issues, or have educational needs. The foster system also has a strong correlation with homelessness and
trafficking. More than 25 percent of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system, and up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. They are literally the some of most vulnerable among us And imagine how a reliable volunteer who really cares can change a life. Having come out in the ‘80s while serving in the U.S. Navy, I desperately tried to find community. I had been alone identifying as a gay male since middle school. And while still not out to most of the world, I found many organizations in Virginia and the D.C. area that were willing to help, be supportive, and just be there for me. Most of these places relied on volunteers, and in fact I sat across from many volunteers who were there to support me, and in some cases, remind me that I was safe there. The youth and children we serve at CASA/ LA also really just want to be safe and cared about. Our CASA volunteers go above and beyond to ensure the kids we serve don’t just think, they know there is someone who cares about them. So many take this for granted, and in the eyes of the children and young people we serve, someone who is “simply volunteering” has changed their lives. I have seen time and time again the
difference a volunteer has made in the life of a child. It’s powerful to watch. Imagine how powerful it is to experience. When I think about the 1,200 and more children and youth we will serve this year with advocacy from a CASA volunteer, I smile when I think those who identify as LGBTQ might have the chance to have a CASA volunteer who also identifies as LGBTQ. I have been able to see that and it’s wonderful. It’s also wonderful to see a volunteer who identifies as LGBTQ advocate for a child who may not identify as LGBTQ but who thrives with the support of a volunteer who knows what it feels like to feel scared and alone. I know there are people reading this that might be thinking that they simply do not have the time, that this seems like way too much. And for some it probably is. Don’t let that stop you from volunteering in another way, a way that helps the world become the world you want it to be. Regardless of whether your passion is around children, animals, the environment or anything else really, you can make a difference by volunteering. There is honestly something for everyone. Building a community takes effort and volunteering is one of the cornerstones to making sure our community stays together.
Oliver Mayer returns to the ring with ‘Members Only’ Sequel to ‘Blade to the Heat,’ a game-changing gay play for New York and Los Angeles By JOHN PAUL KING
Playwright Oliver Mayer may not be gay, but he’s an LGBTQ pioneer, nonetheless. His play “Blade to the Heat,” which debuted in 1994 at Joseph Papp’s New York Public Theatre before its sold-out Los Angeles run at the Mark Taper Forum two years later, was a watershed moment in queer theatre; centered on a closeted Latino boxer in the late 1950s, it was a story about the struggle of being gay not only within a hyper-masculine and homophobic environment, but also as a person of color. It was controversial, but it was also a hit. Even Madonna wanted the rights to it. Now, over 20 years later, Mayer – who is an associate professor at the USC School of Dramatic Arts – has returned to the world of his groundbreaking play with a sequel, “Members Only.” Produced by the Latino Theater Company at Los Angeles Theatre Center, it begins its World Premiere run on Oct. 25. “Members Only” continues the story of protagonist Pedro Quinn, who will be played by Ray Oriel – the same actor who portrayed the role in the Mark Taper production 22 years ago. Also returning is Sal Lopez, as Alacran; the two will be joined by Jon Huertas from the TV hit, “This Is Us,” along with Darrin Henson, Carolyn Zeller, Ron Alvarez, Hansford Prince and Geoff Rivas – as well as Marlene Forte, the playwright’s wife of 12 years, who had wanted to be in the original show but, having no agent at the time, couldn’t get an audition. The new work picks up with Quinn after two decades in the ring, still closeted and still fighting – despite the ravages of age and the ghosts of his past. It’s the dawn of a new era in America, where people of color are beginning to find equal footing, where sexual
behavior and identity have become more open-ended, and where women are pursuing goals previously denied them because of their gender – such as a young female boxer whom Quinn has taken on as his protégé. It’s also a world on the brink of a plague. “When I wrote ‘Heat’ in the ‘90s,” Mayer says, “I deliberately set it in 1959-1960 to make things harder on the characters. And even though it took place in the past, people saw it as an ‘AIDS’ play, because it was about a certain kind of mystery and violence around the sexual coming-together of men – and I think they were right.” He hadn’t intended it, but he recognized that there was, as he puts it, a “seed” in what he had written that could be viewed in the context of the then-current culture. “With ‘Members Only,’” he says, “I wanted to take that seed and let it bloom – to deal with that actual moment in time with the surviving characters from the original play.” There were other compelling reasons to revisit his previous work. “It was important to me when I wrote ‘Blade’ that Quinn was not going to be a victim. He was not going to come out dead – it was one of the first plays with a gay lead that didn’t die at the end. Yet I thought that the guilt, the regret – the need for absolution – would have only grown in 20 years.” He reflects, “Maybe it says something about me, too – about how I feel some level of regret for being unable to do anything, except just love people, about some of the terrible things that have happened in my lifetime. So, I thought if I moved Quinn up into a moment when there was this crisis – that was global but that you
could still feel, person to person – maybe this character, who has not lived an ‘out’ lifestyle, could have a chance to come into the light.” Mayer, who is Latino, is also still exploring the relationship between sexuality and ethnicity. “A big part of both these plays,” he says, “is that I’m dealing primarily with communities of color – black and brown, specifically – and these communities have a history of cruelty and fear, of a lack of understanding around non-binary sexuality.” He adds, “It’s important to me for an audience – particularly an audience of color – to check itself, to see these things onstage and realize, ‘Yeah, we could do a lot better.’” There’s also the experience of women. “One of the big relationships in this play is between Quinn and the female boxer,” he points out. “This piece takes place before women were welcomed into boxing gyms. There were women in the sport, but they were considered freaks – they were certainly abused, in various ways, and not taken seriously. This young woman is trying to break into this world, and there’s a real threat of physical violence against her in this gym, because it’s so macho – she could be raped.” It’s a situation that resonates in our current cultural climate, but as Mayer explains, there are parallels to be found throughout “Members Only.” “Unfortunately, I think we have the same problems that we had back then,” he says, “and in some ways it’s because we feel we’ve advanced. We have to be careful of backsliding, and to be aware of the complexities of living an adult, sexual life in this country.” It’s the reason, he says, that he felt the need
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to elaborate on the resonance with AIDS that was found in the earlier play. “I set this play right before the disease was named – when it was still called ‘GRID,’ when it was this mysterious thing that people didn’t know much about. These characters are on the front lines, they’re all in danger and don’t know it.” As someone who came into adulthood during this exact time, his own memories informed his writing. “In 1982 I was 17,” he remembers. “I lived in LA, and my mother worked at County General. I was about to leave for Cornell, and I was really a virgin – I had some sexual experience but never all the way – and I didn’t know a damn thing. And she stopped me and she said, ‘There’s something out there, wear a condom.’ It went right through me, because she’d never spoken to me like that and never has again.” “I’m a mama’s boy,” he continues. “I did what she told me, and all these years later I tend to think she may have saved my life. I was an activist in school, and I went to a lot of meetings for Latino students, and a lot of our LGBT brothers and sisters were there – and I think about them, because they were also in this moment, ’82-’86 or thereabouts, when it was still very shadowy and full of misinformation – of fear that any particular sexual experience might be the one that brands you forever.” Reflecting, he adds, “I think about our own moment, and I realize that AIDS is back, and I’m also afraid of the next scourge. I don’t want to live in fear, but as someone who’s lived on the planet for over fifty years I know that the next ‘unknown’ is coming that’s going to change everything. It’s important to brace yourself, even if you don’t know what that is going to be.” It’s for this reason the playwright thinks it’s important for people to be able to recognize their own world in his material. “It’s essential for an audience to be able to see itself on stage,” he says, “and the great news, the thing that has changed in 20 years, is that there’s a broader canvas of diversity among characters and the actors playing them. That includes ethnicity and race as well as sexual behavior and other kinds of identifiers – and you don’t have to be of those particular categories to see yourself.
Playwright Oliver Mayer. Photo courtesy Mayer
Hopefully, we’ve been working on ourselves as humans enough that our compassion for each other is a little more defined.” Even so, he acknowledges that the current state of discourse in our country is strained. “There’s unbelievable levels of tribalism,” he says, “ but I do think that’s the reason why the theatre means more now than ever. People who might feel tribal by day come together in a dark room in the evening and they have to deal with a storyline that they have to figure out on the other end, hopefully as human
beings, over a drink. Maybe they can realize that they are no longer quite as tribal – quite as binary – as they were before.” He goes on, “I think that’s why, even though the theatre is always tottering, the actual need for plays is actually keeping it alive. Especially with companies that represent certain community bodies, like the Latino Theatre Company – even though they’re broker than a joke, they’ve got a reason to produce like they’ve never had. That makes me hopeful.” It also makes him proud to be part of the local LA theatre community. “I’ve put more than 30 years of my life into this community of artists,” he says, “and it’s no coincidence. I think we’re really great. I don’t want to oversell us, but it’s been enough to keep me here, and to make me want to continue.” While that explains why Mayer remains a fixture of the local theatre scene, it doesn’t answer the question of why this straightidentifying playwright keeps returning to plays that explore gay subject matter. He laughs about that. “It’s funny,” he says. “I’ve written gay characters, or at least non-binary characters, throughout my entire 33-year career.” Chuckling, he adds “I guess I’m a little bit gay.” More seriously, he continues. “I write about it because it’s hot – and I mean that in more ways than one.” “As a dramatist,” he explains, “my sense tells me to go after stories that are edgy and difficult – like a boxer who might be coming out as a gay man.” He goes on, “In my personal experience, and especially by my mother, I have been educated and relaxed into knowing that love is love – people come together, and they find happiness, and that is completely comfortable to me.” “But even so,” he concludes, “I’ve trained myself to look for the drama in a story. In our American story, gay sensibility goes hand in hand with discomfort, with a threat of violence – and that’s the stuff of drama.” Mayer’s latest drama promises to be a must-see milestone for all fans of provocative, challenging theatre – not just the LGBTQ ones – and it runs at LATC Oct. 25-Nov. 18. For tickets and more information, visit www. thelatc.org.
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20 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
The AIDS crisis comes home in ‘1985’ Speaking across the generations By JOHN PAUL KING
Michael Chiklis, Cory Michael Smith, Adrian Langford, and Virginia Madsen star in ‘1985.’ Photo courtesy Wolfe Releasing
Yen Tan’s “1985” takes a long time to reveal that it’s about AIDS, but for any gay man over 30, the title alone will likely be enough to give it away from the very start. Set, obviously enough, in 1985, Tan’s movie takes place in a small suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, where a young Manhattanite, Adrian is returning for a holiday visit with his conservative, blue collar family. The reunion is cheerful enough, on the surface, but fraught with an undercurrent of tension; the evangelical values of his deeply religious parents have long prevented Adrian from opening up to them about his sexuality, and his escape to a career in New York has left his younger brother feeling resentful and abandoned. To make matters worse, Adrian is carrying a new secret – one tied directly to the still-unspoken truth of his identity – and must come to terms with the knowledge that this return to the home of his childhood may well be his last. In his screenplay, Tan takes a different approach than most previous films about the AIDS crisis – which typically take a queer-centric view of the experience, setting their drama in large urban centers among a community of gay men and often focusing on activism – and brings it into the heart of a Middle America that was bent on ignoring it. In doing so, he avoids relying on the tropes of its setting and situation by infusing each of his characters with the equal humanity that they deserve. Adrian, the formerly-closeted small-town gay boy who must return to the home from which he got away, is easily relatable to any of the millions who face the same holiday pilgrimage year after year; but so are his parents – whose awkwardness and discomfort are no less genuine than their son’s, and who, in the hands of a less honest filmmaker, might easily have been portrayed as mere stereotypes. These three characters, along with little brother Andrew and former high school girlfriend Carly, engage each other throughout in scenes that illuminate the personal impact of the epidemic. Much of what happens between them may seem banal, on the surface, especially between parents and son; but Tan gives us a symphony of subtext that speaks volumes and leaves us aching for them all. It helps that “1985” is blessed with gifted performers. Cory Michael Smith is remarkable as Adrian, a character with immense emotional weight. His solemn and guarded performance embodies his increasingly difficult struggle to carry it bravely, avoiding the sentimental choices of playing him either as victim or as hero, and instead making him beautifully – and painfully – human. Michael Chiklis is the picture of blue-collar manhood as the dad, but there’s a sensitivity underneath, struggling to be understood and to manifest in his relationships. In direct opposition to him Virginia Madsen as the mom, who seems the obedient housewife and homemaker, but whose nurturing instincts make her a beacon of unconditional love – even if she can’t quite bring herself to say it. Rounding out the principal cast are Aidan Langford, who is touching and genuine as preteen Andrew, and Jamie Chung, who brings dimension to her role as Carly – a character who must put aside her own bruised feelings to become the much-needed receiver of truth from someone who hurt her long ago. As for Tan’s direction, he has crafted a subtle, quietly powerful film. Shot on Super 16 film by regular Tan collaborator Hutch (who also collaborated on the story from which the filmmaker built his screenplay), the movie’s silvery black-and-white cinematography evokes a vaguely melancholic nostalgia which contributes to the its carefully orchestrated emotional resonance – ultimately paying off in little moments that pack an enormous wallop. Yes, it’s manipulation, but it’s earned; this is no cynical, pandering tearjerker, but the work of an artist who seeks to deliver a truthful experience. What is perhaps most remarkable here is that Tan – who is gay but, at 43, too young to have experienced the AIDS pandemic firsthand – has managed to create a film that speaks to the experience of an entire generation that survived it. Inspired by the stories of dying men with whom he worked in his first out-of-college job (at a company buying life insurance policies for cash in the ‘90s), he brings to the topic the perspective of hindsight. The distance of time, while it does not reduce his movie’s sense of tragedy, allows it to glimmer with the warmth of hope – something that was hard to find in the middle of those dark days when a positive diagnosis meant certain death. There is so much sadness in “1985,” but it’s a bittersweet movie – not a bleak one – that offers a kind of emotional closure denied to so many for so long. To reveal how it does so would be unfair. Although Tan’s film, like its characters, is painstakingly discreet in discussing its subject matter (notably, and impressively, it never once mentions the words “AIDS” or “gay”), revealing that Adrian is dying of the disease is no spoiler; it’s the movie’s delicate journey toward bringing resolution to the seemingly unresolvable that is its true secret, and it’s one that deserves to be experienced firsthand.
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22 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LA queer synagogue brings 1920s Berlin cabaret to life Jeremy Lawrence performs ‘Lavender Songs – A Queer Cabaret in Weimar Berlin’ at Beth Chayim Chadashim By JAN WILKENS
Actor and writer Jeremy Lawrence brought a sense of 1920s Berlin to life at Beth Chayim Chadashim. Photo by Jan Wilkens
Berlin in the 1920s — between the two World Wars — was a hedonistic metropolis enjoying an era of creativity and sexual freedom that was unprecedented in modern world history. Theaters, bars and nightclubs attracted thousands of visitors every night, enjoying songs, dance and glamorous cabarets. Boundaries of reality and illusion, social and political differences and the sexes — even gender — blurred. The “Golden Twenties” was a period of cultural enrichment, shortly before the Nazis came to power and destroyed the diversity of Berlin’s nightlife, indeed Germany itself. Jeremy Lawrence, a New York artist, brought that era to life in a performance of “Lavender Songs – A Queer Cabaret in Weimar Berlin,” held Oct. 13 at Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the world’s first queer synagogue founded in 1972. For more than 20 years, Lawrence has worked to translate the songs of Weimar Berlin into English, performing them in New York. His BCC performance was an exclusive preview of the East Coast premiere of his new show, calling the synagogue his “spiritual home.” Lawrence, who transformed himself into Tante (aunt) Fritzy, took the audience on a stroll through some of Berlin’s hot spots of queer life: Tiergarten, the legendary city park where anonymous sexual encounters were commonplace; gay bars where Tante Fritzy met all kind of men – from communists to national-socialists; and a ménage à trois in the bedroom of a married couple. Tante Fritzy, a “sucker for happy endings,” sang about her quest for the enjoyment of desires and the sadness of unrequited love. Berlin was a fast-moving city, where lusty encounters were quick and easy and Tante Fritzy lived it. She delighted the audience with her salacious humor, her charm and her lust for life. Her songs, characterized by distinctive simplicity, were deeply moving and soulful. One audience member said Tante Fritzy’s journey made vivid how vibrant and open Berlin was 90 years ago, something that seems almost unimaginable considering what happened when Hitler rose to power. The parallels to today’s America are obvious. For Jeremy Lawrence, the 1920s are a reminder for a democracy’s fragility, yet as much as it is a political system that fosters cultural freedom it can change quickly. “In the face of the Trump ascendency,” he says, “it couldn’t be more important to show today’s audiences how the cabaret artists of the Weimar Era responded fearlessly to the rise of Hitler with subversive satire and ebullient sexual naughtiness.” In a Q&A that followed the performance, Lawrence emphasized the role of satire in resistance.“Resist!” he proclaimed. Queers and Jews, after all, shared the same plight during the Nazi era and were also the writers and performers of German political cabaret. At the end of the performance, Tante Fritzy went back to her Berlin apartment and transformed back into a regular, working-class man. Wistfully moved by current political events, he concludes with a sentence with a double meaning — relevant in the 1920s and again today. “Be careful out there, he is not going away.”
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIME. DON’T STAY SILENT, DON’T STAY HOME.
VOTE Join the over 10 million LGBTQ Voters and 52 million Equality Voters and make a plan to #TurnOUT and vote at HRC.org/Vote or text VOTE18 to 30644.
24 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
BlackMan WhiteBaby means to challenge you ‘As a queer person of color, going into boy’s town feels like the gay white man’s club and I’m just there on a day pass’ By SUSAN HORNIK
JMR Art Gallery’s latest opening is showcasing the work of BlackManWhiteBaby, who creates bold selfportraits which intersperse racial and sexual themes. The queer artist has predominantly utilized Instagram as a way to explore his photography. Recently, his collection of photographs, a series he calls, “Tar and Feather” was featured during a gender-neutral fashion show put together by gender fluid designer, Radimo. BlackManWhiteBaby also was one of the runway’s impressive models. We talked to BlackManWhiteBaby about his art show, and how it reflects race in America. Los Angeles Blade: Tell us more about this exhibit. BlackManWhiteBaby: My show, “American Traditions,” reflects race in America by using stereotypes, real life stories and situations. One example is my piece entitled, “White Lives Matter.” I’ve noticed some white people responding to Black Lives Matter by saying, “All lives matter.” If that were true we wouldn’t have the need for Black Lives Matter. When African Americans say, “Black lives matter. We are saying, “All lives matter!” A lot of people don’t understand that. My show shines a light on this lack of understanding and what the words Black Lives Matter truly mean. Blade: What inspired your show? BlackManWhiteBaby: My inspiration for this show was my need to understand the race and gender issues we struggle with in this country. I remember working out in the gym, looking up at the television and seeing angry, young, white, men with tiki torches. I was one of only two black people in the gym that day. I remember my body feeling as if all of its survival instincts kicked in at once. I thought, “Is the other black guy feeling the same as me right now? I wonder what these white people around me are thinking. When are we gonna figure this shit out?!” I later learned that Heather Heyer was killed by a young white man over a Confederate statue and it made me so sad. And then I felt angry. I think I’m still angry about it. There’s a piece called, “Heather” in the show. Heyer is the inspiration for this piece.
BlackManWhiteBaby’s photographs are an autobiographical and provocative exploration of race, gender identity, childhood trauma, politic and sex. Photo courtesy BlackManWhiteBaby
Blade: What’s it like to go from being an Instagram artist to an art gallery? BlackManWhiteBaby: To be honest, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. My art is me and me is not that vulnerable in real life! As an IG artist, no one could harm me because I have the power to make my work, myself or you disappear! Going into an art gallery from expressing myself on Instagram is a really difficult transition. I went from people saying, “BMWB for president!” to only talking about image quality. It felt like it was no longer about the message or the concept. It became about art collectors, editions and a bunch of highbrow formalities. It was really scary and kind of
disappointing at first. This is why I chose to do my first solo show, “American Traditions,” different than traditional art gallery events. There are a few high-brow formalities, but there’s also spoken word, a BMWB video installation, and DJ ATrak is playing a set as part of the final live installation. Blade: Talk about the gay themes you explore. BlackManWhiteBaby: “American Traditions” challenges traditional gender norms through its use of gender-queer, non-binary characters. I think it’s time the gay community address its own tendencies to shame others and at times, act a bit racist. I think the gay community needs to check itself. Specifically, gay white males. Is there a difference between a heterosexual white man and a gay white man when it comes to privilege, entitlement and racial tendencies? Gay white men are part of a marginalized group yet at the same time they are white men. As a queer person of color, going into boy’s town feels like the gay white man’s club and I’m just there on a day pass. It’s not easy to identify—sometimes it’s just a feeling. The other time, it’s that guy brushing up against you to whisper in your ear, “Hey dark chocolate, what’s your number? You look like you could rape me.” Yes, this really happened to me. Blade: What suggestions do you have on how this behavior can be combatted or overcome? Is it systemic or just cultural? BlackManWhiteBaby: That’s a good question and I’m not sure I know the answer. Maybe start with sensitivity training. It feels like a little bit of both. Systemic in a similar way to how religion is marketed to the public, by showing repeated images of a white man with blond hair as our savior. Gay men are repeatedly shown images of young white men as being the standard of good health, beauty and sex appeal. Cultural in this situation is hard for me to define. Meaning I would hope that a marginalized group of people would be much more sensitive to racial issues than most. But I don’t think that’s always true. People believe certain things and teach that to their children. Sometimes this doesn’t fade away over time and it becomes a part of their belief system, which then can become part of a larger system— even if they are gay. I just read something about a group called, Twinks for Trump. I think that says it all. Blade: What’s next for you? BlackManWhiteBaby: The Broad Museum I hope! Until then I’ve got a new series I’ll be shooting. This is an extension of a piece in the show called, “Topsy & Eva, When little girls dream big.” I also designed a limited edition hoodie for the show and partial proceeds will go to the NAACP legal defense fund. I think BlackManWhiteBaby will be designing a few more clothing items down the line.
26 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
It’s awards season for everything under the sun, including porn. See Oct. 21.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride - 10 Year Anniversary is tonight from 7 p.m.-midnight at Old Los Angeles Zoo (Griffith Park Dr.). The most outrageously scary year yet. Get lost in the four Scare Zones as you explore SoCal’s wildest (and sexiest) dark maze, go door-to-door in the most terrifying neighborhood, ride the Scary-Go-Round, see a psycho-psychic, catch a show at Theatre Macabre and tons more. It’s your own personal Purgatory...and of course, the iconic Haunted Hayride in its 10th year will be the best it’s ever been. Holding nothing back and just scream your queer. Sept 29 - Oct 31. Tickets at losangeleshauntedhayride.com.
Models of Pride 26 is today from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. at California State University (5151 State University Dr.). Hosted by LifeWorks Mentoring and Los Angeles LGBT Center, Models of Pride is the world’s largest free conference for LGBTQ youth and allies, including parents and professionals. The full-day event includes an opening session, over 130 workshops, lunch, a resource fair, college fair, job fair, dinner, entertainment hour and outdoor dance party. Models of Pride was created in 1993 by the Gay and Lesbian Education Commission of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as a means of providing a safe and positive environment where LGBTQ youth could network with each other and expose themselves to new ideas and information. LifeWorks, the LGBT youth mentoring and development program of the Los Angeles LGBT Center took over as presenter of the conference in 2010 and the event has grown to more than 1500 participants. For more information visit modelsofpride.org.
2018 Str8UpGayPorn Awards is tonight from 8:3010:30 p.m. at the Avalon Hollywood (1735 Vine St). Hosted by “multi-talented comedian, actor and drag superstar” Bianca Del Rio, the biggest (emphasis on big) night in gay adult entertainment is coming to Hollywood.
Joining Bianca on stage are gay adult superstars Boomer Banks and Blake Mitchell, who will co-host this one-ofa-kind awards show. The Str8UpGayPorn Awards will bring the top stars in gay adult film, fans and surprise celebrity guests together for one unforgettable night at the historic Avalon Hollywood. Think of it as Porn Con. All the porn you can touch. VIP Tickets includes cocktails and seating on the first floor with the stars. General Admission includes great seats with a perfect bird’s eye view of ceremony. Action on the red carpet is guaranteed.Visit straightupgaypornawards.com
Stonewall Presents: Protecting Voter Rights is tonight from 6:30-9 p.m. at West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room (625 N. San Vicente). With the November elections fast-approaching, Stonewall Democratic Club is presenting a program on protecting the rights of voters. Our guest speakers are Dean Logan, LA County registrar-recorder/county clerk, and Coby King, director of the California Democratic Party’s Promote and Protect the Vote program. Join us for phone banking after the program. Bring your laptop, mobile phone and charger.
Lesbian Love Octagon, a concert reading is tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Bootleg Theater (2220 Beverly Blvd.). A musical comedy about dyke drama. With queer women it’s never just a love triangle, is it? This one’s an octagon... a musical set in the ‘90s starring Anna Goodman, Angelica Rowell, Bri Sarikcioglu, Caitlin Lee Reid, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, Felicia Blum, Julie Ouellette, Justine Woodford, Lindsay Zana, Liz Eldridge, Gretchen Wylder, Natalie Salins, Nicole Pacent, Nicole Stouffer, Samantha Christensen, Shaan Dasani, Victoria Ortiz and Julie Lake from “Orange is the New Black.” Book and lyrics by Kimberlea Kressal, music and additional lyrics by Will Larche, directed by Gina Young. Tickets at the door, $15. Visit bootlegtheatre.org for details.
Room Service: The Drag Show is tonight from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at Sofitel Los Angeles (8555 Beverly Blvd.). Beverly Hills’ premier drag event is back for monthly celebrations, this month at the swanky Sofitel Los Angeles and indulge yourself in a night of cheers, queers and the champagne of beers. Liberate your inner party monster with an assortment of crafted cocktail libations, revel in the inner beauty and performances of Los Angeles’ most elite drag talent, and chow down on a bevy of delicious bar snacks inside the world class Riviera 31 lounge. Room Service offers a first of its kind safe place for the LGBTQIA community at an upscale hotel in Beverly Hills. Featured performers are: Diana Dzhaketov, Biblegirl, Calypso Jete, Marta Beatchu, Salina Estitties. Join the family and change Beverly Hills forever. Tickets at Eventbrite.com. Judy Grahn In Conversation is tonight from 7-9 p.m. at West Hollywood Library (625 N. San Vicente Blvd). The City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian Speakers Series presents legendary poet, activist, and scholar Judy Grahn in conversation with Anya de Marie. Grahn was arrested, interrogated and dismissed from the armed forces on charges of homosexuality in 1961, an episode that shamed, angered and ultimately radicalized her. In spring of 1965, she picketed with Mattachine Society for gay rights in front of the White House, the first such picket, and then began writing and publishing prolesbian works. Grahn is the author of 13 books and holds over 20 awards for her writing. She has a Ph.D. in integral studies with a concentration in Women’s Spirituality. De Marie is a dancer, educator and codirector of the Commonality Institute. This event is cosponsored by WeHo Reads, Mazer Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles LGBT Center/Audre Lorde Health Program and Red Hen Press. Free of charge. Search Eventbrite, for details.
E-mail calendar items to email@example.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.
THE VIEW IS JUST THE BEGINNING
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28 • OCTOBER 12, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
McCormack’s gay kiss, Gaga heads to Broadway and more Rumored ‘Funny Girl’ revival to co-star Rosie O’Donnell By BILLY MASTERS
Eric McCormack (right) accepts the Point Impact Award from Cheyenne Jackson at Point Foundations Point Honors gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 13, in Beverly Hills. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Point Honors
“Shit, I’m attracted to everything.” — Jake Choi expresses his sexual orientation. If only I could place him. If only I could place him, although the nudes on BillyMasters.com sure look familiar. Melania Trump recently declared, “I’m the most bullied person in the world” - a statement that has some credence. To put it into context, the day she made this statement happened to be the 20th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard - a young gay boy who was beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyo. In a twist that further connects these two stories, it was announced on this sad anniversary that his ashes will be interred at Washington’s National Cathedral. Yes, that Washington - within sight of the place Melania occasionally hangs her pith helmet. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown was filling in for Joy Behar on “The View” last week. On Friday, reporter Tom Llamas was promoting his sit-down with Melania. One of the topics was the accusations of infidelity against Mr. Trump. Yvette said, “Is it possible that she’s not concerned with his mistresses because she was one of them?” The response from the White House was swift. A spokesperson for the first lady said, “Check your facts before you accuse someone of being a mistress. She’s your @FLOTUS - she deserves your respect & certainly not your lies. Disgusting.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders Tweeted, “Sad @TheView continues their disgusting attacks on @FLOTUS. The left’s ‘war on women’ they disagree with is a disgrace. @FLOTUS is strong, accomplished, and has a lot more class than the women who bully her.” Yvette said, “I stand by every word I said. My mom taught me that respect is earned. And thankfully we live in a nation - at least for now - where I don’t have to bow down to dear leader or his third wife.” She added, “My views are my own. And I own every one.” Last week was the Point Honors Los Angeles 2018 Gala. Oodles of gays were on hand, including Greg Louganis, Adam Shankman, and Thomas Dekker (who gets sexier as he gets older). The evening featured a mini-concert by Leona Lewis, which was spectacular. But the highlight was the award presentations. First honoree was Steven Canals, creator of “Pose”, who acknowledged all those whose shoulders we stand on. The next honoree was Eric McCormack, who was introduced by Cheyenne Jackson. When Eric took to the stage, the two kissed on the lips - not the first time (obviously). Video of the speech and the kiss can be found on BillyMasters. com. Congratulations to actor BD Wong, who married Richert Schnorr in Brooklyn. Fun fact: the two met in 2010 at a singles mixer that was sponsored by an online dating app. One of the people at BD’s wedding was Rosie O’Donnell. The night before, she returned to stand-up comedy and made a bit of news. She announced that Lady Gaga would headline a Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” and that she, Rosie O’Donnell, would play her mother. Nobody else has said a word about this project, but I suppose anything is possible. It should be noted that while not a prerequisite, Fanny Brice is somewhere in her late teens when the show begins. Barbra was all of 21 years old when she made the part her own. Gaga is 32, and this production will surely take a few years to happen. y then, she may be more likely to be cast as Mrs. Strakosh! Tilda Swinton’s got some tongues wagging due to her appearance in the remake of “Suspiria” (directed by Luca Guadagnino, who previously helmed “Call Me By Your Name”). In it, she plays Madame Blanc, the head of a dance studio in Berlin. She also plays Dr. Jozef Klemperer, an elderly Jewish psychiatrist. Being an actress’ actress, Tilda decided that while inhabiting the person of Dr. Klemperer, she would wear what she calls “a weighty set of genitalia.” She had the false phallus custom made for her, “so that she could feel it dangling between her legs.” I do hate when friends of mine are embroiled in a scandal. But I will put on my impartial journalist cap and tell you about Chris Marchant, the hunky violinist in Well Strung (who also strutted his stuff on “The Amazing Race”). The group is typically in summer residency at Provincetown’s Art House. Marchant, who is no stranger to showing skin in snaps, posted a photo taken in a Provincetown cemetery that features his shirtless torso leaning against an obelisk with the caption, “Can’t wait to get back to Ptown for Halloween and to help with the launch weekend of @ptownbrewingco.” Well, people were outraged - not about the post, but about the photo. One person said, “Someone wasn’t buried there for you to take an abs pic” - although I suppose it depends on the person. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind Marchant’s sexy skin leaning against my erect obelisk - but that’s another story. Initially, Chris was defensive - as one is wont to do. Then, after the story went viral, he deleted the post saying, “While it was never my intention to offend, I understand that it was disrespectful to take such a picture against a memorial to the life of someone I never knew. I deleted it, because the point of the post was to help a friend, and I would never want for my personal actions or words to harm the efforts of anyone else. I apologize for any offense I caused.” That wasn’t hard...or was it?
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Honoring local community members and organizations that are giving back to the Coachella Valley. For more information, visit losangelesblade.com/visibility
30 • OCTOBER 19, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
U.S. Bank’s Hany Haddad and GMCLA President Jonathan Weedman.
The choruses performed in Spanish and English to the theme of building bridges.
As great as the choral presentation was, LA’s own Mariachi Arcoiris was brilliant. The band includes the world’s first trans Mariachi singer, Natalia Melendez.
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
The marquis at Alex Theater. Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles performed Dos Coros, Una Voz with the Coro Gay Ciudad de México to a capacity crowd at Alex Theater in Glendale on Oct. 13. Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
(L-R) Cheyenne Jackson, Jorge Valencia, executive director & CEO of Point Foundation, Point Impact Award Honoree Eric McCormack, and Point Horizon Award Honoree Steven Canals pose backstage at Point Foundation’s Point Honors gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 13 in Beverly Hills, California.
Mellisa Nielsen speaks onstage at Point Foundation’s Point Honors gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 13 in Beverly Hills, California.
11-year old Lily Soloway stole the show as the youngest reporter to ever work a red carpet LGBT show in Los Angeles, interviewed Nico Santos (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Jason Collins (NBA basketball player) Steven Canals and Hailie Sahar (“Pose”), Greg Louganis (Olympic diver), Cheyenne Jackson and many more.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Point Honors
Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Point Honors
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
The Studio 54 of Los Angeles, Jewel Thais Williams’ Catch One, was the scene of Queer Noise on Oct. 14, celebrating the Williams’ and the launch of One Archive’s first membership drive. Hundreds of people danced the night away with some of LA’s hottest music scenesters.
Launch of Out Now, new radio home for LGBTQ news, talk and new music (online or on the air at 97.1 HD2), celebrated National Coming Out Day at The Abbey.com.
Los Angeles Blade Photos by John Paul King
Photo courtesy The Abbey
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Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 33, October 19, 2018