Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 35, November 2, 2018

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Photo by Yunuen Bonaparte for Los Ángeles Blade; Dresses by Parygon and Dominique; flag designed by Alexandra Magallon.

N O V E M B E R 0 2 2 0 1 8 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 3 5 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M

We #WontBeErased Because we will VOTE

There are 10 million LGBTQ voters and 52 million Equality Voters across America. WE can be the difference. Text Vote18 to 30644 to make a plan to vote, and volunteer at HRC.org/TakeAction.



LA reacts to mass murder at Tree of Life Synagogue LGBT community vigil held at Temple Beth Am By JAN WILKENS and KAREN OCAMB The Los Angeles Jewish community and allies mourned the 11 victims of a mass shooting in Pittsburgh Oct. 27 during three separate services on three floors at the Tree of Life Synagogue. The suspected shooter, white supremacist Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was heard yelling “All Jews must die” before being shot and arrested. He was charged with 29 counts, including murder and several hate crime charges. The AntiDefamation League calls this “the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.” The night of the murders, LA’s Temple Beth Am held a community service and discussion. More than 70 people gathered to discuss life lessons, hosted by JQ International, an important LGBTQ Jewish organization. In addition to talking about coming out issues, the group addressed their two different realities: joy and celebration on one side and on the other, fear and grieving. After a moment of silence in honor of the Tree of Life victims, Moderator Rabbi Ilana Grinblat reminded the audience about the

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti hugs mourners at a vigil in Westwood for victims. Photo via Garcetti’s Facebook page

recent attacks on transgender rights. Rabbi Lisa Edwards, Senior Rabbi of the LGBTQ+ synagogue Beth Chayim Chadashim, emphasized the importance of LGBTQ+ synagogues as a safe space for queer Jews.

Their founders urgently searched for places to worship and, not accepted by mainstream congregations, they built their own synagogues. The panel was the first time Nate Looney

spoke about being trans* in the Jewish community. Nate converted in Reform Judaism but feels more connected to traditional observance. Even though being trans* and observing on a higher level might be challenging, Nate doesn’t stop asking his fellow congregants: “Why shouldn’t I be here?” Yoni Kollin concluded the event with a powerful and moving poem about pride— giving the audience courage to not stop fighting for the simple right to exist. Queer Jews have to make themselves visible, loudly and proudly, especially in these troubling times. The night after the killings, hundreds of Jews and their supporters rallied at the Federal Building in Westwood to honor the dead in Pittsburgh. An emotional LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is of Jewish descent, was among the speakers. “I am a Jew, and I’m an American,” Garcetti told hundreds of interfaith mourners during a candlelight vigil. “Stop the conspiracies. Stop the violence. Stop the hatred — not in this America.” “Tonight, as we join together in prayer for the Tree of Life victims,” Garcetti later declared on Twitter, “we’re reminded of the words of the great Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Kook, who said ‘we conquer senseless hatred with boundless love.’ And that is who we are — as Angelenos, as a community, and as a country.”

LA County Supervisors condemn Trump’s trans hate But will it impact attitudes on the ground? By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com In 1994, when now-Supervisor Sheila Kuehl made history becoming California’s first openly LGBT person elected to the State Assembly, she and the late transgender activist Connie Norman were friends. Kuehl’s stand with the trans community became deeper, more personal, stemming from a commitment to dignity and equality. “The administration in Washington, D.C. consistently ignores the fact that this country was founded on the principles of liberty and equality for all Americans. What

they ignore, we underscore. LA County will not simply stand by and watch the White House erase more than 1 million trans Americans. We say no,” Kuehl told the Los Angeles Blade. On Oct. 30, Kuehl and Supervisor Janice Hahn passed a motion to send a letter to Alex M. Azar II, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, from the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors—who represent more than 10 million people—condemning the Trump administration’s proposed gender policy change “to redefine the definition of gender under Title IX as a person’s biological sex as it was assigned at birth. This move would be a cruel and unnecessary affront to trans people, laced with bigotry and intolerance,” Kuehl said in a press release. “These actions

are a part of the Trump administration’s crusade to erase trans and non-binary people from society and render them invisible. It would require the Departments of Education, Justice, and Labor to adopt the new definition of gender in all their policies and regulations.” But while Kuehl is highly regarded by the trans community, to some such grand gestures feel less meaningful in light of daily discrimination. “It is nice that the office of Supervisor Kuehl is willing to introduce this resolution. But we as a community are tired of lip service. We want tangible actions. We want for the county to intentionally invest in our community” in addition to HIV funding, Bamby Salcedo, founder of the TransLatin@ Coalition, told the Los Angeles Blade. “I

am just frustrated because resolutions and commendations are not going to solve the social conditions of our community.” One inexplicable example: on Oct. 12, LA Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sentenced Nicol Shakhnazaryan to 30 days of community service—already served—and 2 ½ years of probation, despite his conviction for violently beating a trans woman in June 2013, CBS 2 News reported. Shakhnazaryan, 26, and four other men were caught on security tape assaulting 22-year-old Vivien Diego in Hollywood. She suffered a broken jaw, shattered cheekbone, two cracked ribs and a loss of hearing. She was hospitalized for seven days. After the sentencing hearing, she told reporters she still suffers from mental and emotional trauma—but her attackers escape jail.


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Dr. Ruth Gates, famous lesbian coral reefs scientist, dies at 56 Former UCLA researcher known for her brilliance and laughter By STAFF REPORTS In the world of a 24-hour news cycle vying for attention over tragedy, mass shootings, or midterm politics, the quiet human moments often get lost. Such was the case when Dr. Ruth Gates, a brilliant marine scientist at the University of Hawai’i and coral reefs advocate, passed away from brain cancer in Hawai’i on Oct. 25 at age 56. Her wife Robin Burton-Gates was at her side. Dr. Gates was renowned for her brilliance as a marine scientist and her charm and infectious, bright personality. “Laughing even underwater; that’s Ruth,” Tracy Ainsworth, a close friend and coral scientist from James Cook University, told the Atlantic Magazine’s Ed Yong. “She was so thrilled by the reef that she couldn’t contain her joy.” Gates died five months after being diagnosed. “We constantly laughed, even through her treatments,” her wife recalled. A University of Hawai’i spokesperson told the Los Angles Blade that Gates’ passion for sharing new scientific discoveries and coral reef conservation came through in her many public speaking events, in the Emmy Awardwinning film “Chasing Coral” that featured her research, and in communicating the urgency of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems. “I have heard from hundreds of people, scientists and non-scientists who have expressed their admiration and appreciation for all that Ruth meant to them and to the world,” Michael Bruno, UH Mānoa vice chancellor for research, told the Los Angeles Blade. “Ruth’s vision and passion will be missed by all of us who were fortunate to have worked with her. Most of all, I will miss her generous spirit. Ruth was always generous with her time and her knowledge, and we were all made better as a result.” Gates’ wife and colleagues emphasized that setbacks were barely a deterrence to the scientist, starting with her decision to be a marine biologist in elementary school after watching Jacques Cousteau documentaries. “She was told she wasn’t smart enough,

Dr. Ruth Gates in her laboratory. Photo courtesy Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology

and that she should go into athletics instead,” Burton-Gates told The Atlantic. She did both. Gates was the director of the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), a marine biology laboratory located on the stateowned Coconut Island in Kāne’ohe Bay— and she founded a karate school, the Coconut Island Dojo. A third-degree black belt, she would do knuckle and fingertip push-ups to the sound of breaking waves. And “when she hit the practice bag, it sounded like a gun going off,” Burton-Gates told The Atlantic. Born in England, she did her graduate studies and work in Jamaica in 1985, which coincided with the marine biologist community’s discovery of the rapid death and bleaching of the coral reefs in the Caribbean. “Gates showed that these bleaching events were more common in warmer waters—a crucial connection that decades of later work would confirm. It was a terribly important discovery,” said Peter Edmunds from California State University, Northridge, a coral scientist and close Gates friend of 34 years. After receiving her Ph.D. in Marine Sciences & Biology in 1990, Gates joined the faculty and research staff at the University

of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Thirteen years later, in 2003, she joined the University of Hawaii and started her own lab. It was there that her most significant discoveries in coral preservation and species regenerative efforts were made. “Ruth was not only a shining star in coral research, but an indomitable spirit in every aspect of life,” Gates’ friend Judy Lemus, HIMB interim director, told the Los Angeles Blade. “Her enthusiasm was contagious, and she absolutely loved what she did. Her loss will be felt deeply within our own community and throughout the broader research community.” “Gates was a tireless innovator and advocate for coral reef conservation. Coral reefs around the world have experienced massive die off as a result of warming ocean temperatures, increasing acidity, pollution runoff from land and other threats. The focus of her most recent research efforts was creating ‘super corals,’ coral species occurring naturally in the ocean that could be trained to become more resilient to these harsh conditions,” University of Hawai’i’s Marcie Grabowski, an Outreach Specialist for UH School of Ocean and Earth Science

and Technology told the Los Angeles Blade in an email. Gates had her detractors but would also admit errors. “She was always a disruptor,” Oregon State University researcher and friend Virginia Weis told The Atlantic. She suspects that Gates faced backlash because she was a female scientist who didn’t conform to traditional views of femininity. “The Aloha shirt-wearing guys were threatened by her and it didn’t faze her. She wasn’t quiet or silent.” “Gates was like a living embodiment of the worlds she studied—a reef in human form,” The Atlantic’s Yong wrote. “Reefs enrich the oceans by creating spaces in which thousands of diverse species can thrive. Gates nurtured a vast community of researchers by opening doors for them, and supporting their lives.” “Ruth was the first person I had a candid conversation with about what it meant to be a woman in science,” said Beth Lenz, who was one of her students. “She helped me grow into my scientific identity wholly,” trans student Shayle Matsuda, added, “and pushed me to be my authentic self unapologetically.”



Why ‘Boy Erased’ is so important It’s a quietly hopeful film about humanity By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblad.com “Boy Erased” is no salacious “Real Housewives” drama about “conversion therapy.” Rather, the new film by Joel Edgerton is a quiet, mesmerizing revelation about how a dedication to love can overcome anti-LGBT religiosity and lead to profound transformation. It should be required viewing for evangelical Christians and others wrestling with the belief that homosexuality is a sin but also desperately love and don’t want to harm their children. These are the people with whom out Assemblymember Evan Low hopes to connect to introduce a collaborative bill banning “conversion therapy.” The story—based on gay author Garrard Conley’s willing descent into hell to please his Baptist pastor father—subtly exposes the heart-wrenching moments when the inner call for personal authenticity clashes with the demanding expectations of others. Ironically, after the 19 year old boy confronts his own truth, stops the increasingly painful erasure of his own humanity and stands up for himself, it is his parents who are forced to look in the mirror, decide love or homophobia, and change. So-called “conversion therapy” has been around for ages. When homosexuality was officially considered a perverted mental illness, the “cure” was lobotomy, shock therapy, imprisonment in some sanatorium to change the despised behavior through “Clockwork Orange” style programs. “Queer”-bashing and murder were acceptable since, as the LAPD reveal later, “no human” was involved. Even after the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973, conservative religious institutions insisted that the Bible called for death for homosexuals and publicly declared that “AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality.” Increasingly, charlatans created “ex-gay” organizations such as NARTH and Love in Action (founded in San Rafael, California in 1973) to “convert” the gay-to-straight for money. In the early 2000s, LGBT non-profits such as Truth Wins Out exposed the “prayaway-the-gay” con artists. Even John

Martha and Garrard Conley at the LA Premier of “Boy Erased” at the Directors Guild on Oct. 29, 2018. Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

Smid—upon whom the “Boy Erased” Love In Action leader is based—came out, admitted no gay had changed and is now living with his husband in Paris, Texas. Smid recently gave his papers to the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., which gave them to the Smithsonian Institution. Conley is on Mattachine’s Board of Advisers. On Sept. 29, 2012, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed then-State Sen. Ted Lieu’s historic bill banning “reparative therapy” for minors, calling it psychological child abuse. “This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery,” Brown said. Today, however, “conversion therapy” appears permitted through anti-LGBT believer Vice President Mike Pence and the unregulated billion-dollar Christian camp “troubled teen” industry is thriving. The Williams Institute reports that an estimated 700,000 people have gone through “conversion therapy,” while Survivors of Institutional Abuse has documented hundreds of “conversion therapy”-related deaths through suicide, neglect, abuse, and murder. “Boy Erased” notes the profit-motive when Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) tells his mother Nancy (Nicole Kidman) that the head

counselor Victor Sykes (Edgerton) is keeping information from her to keep the money flowing. In an angry confrontation, Nancy confronts Sykes, asks for his credentials, and getting no response, rescues Jared. “Conversion therapy is evil,” Martha Conley tells the Los Angeles Blade at the film’s LA premiere on Oct. 29. “They kept so many secrets from us. And he wasn’t even allowed to tell me what was going on daily. When you start seeing that kind of thing, I don’t care what you’re taking your child to – you better get them out of there—because it later became a cult. So I just say, do your homework.” Edgerton says the film is one family’s story about “how people’s beliefs can affect the rights and freedoms of individuals.” “The threat of the walking back of trans people’s rights is so deeply connected to the story we’re telling here, sadly. We hope that as soon as possible, this film is irrelevant. But we hope it speaks to people and raises awareness,” he tells the Los Angeles Blade. “It’s about humanity. It’s not about the LGBTQ community on their own.” Garrard Conley hopes the film makes a difference. “A lot of people who’ve just seen the trailer have had a sense of solidarity with the story,” he tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I’ve had people as far away as Honduras saying that it helped them to not feel suicidal

for a moment. So that was a huge thing for me. You never know but I think when you tell the truth and tell it as accurately and with as much justice to the story as possible, you can reach a lot of people.” “Boy Erased” is relevant today. “Trump is trying to erase trans people,” he says. “Trans people are two-to-three times more likely to end up in ‘conversion therapy.’ Leelah Alcorn, who took her life, left a suicide note behind that said, ‘I just want to be treated like a human. I just want to be respected for who I am.’ And that’s our goal—to raise awareness of other people’s stories, as well.” But importantly, “Boy Erased” treats religious believers fairly. “They aren’t these villains twirling their moustaches like you would expect them to be. And so the movie doesn’t attack them,” says Conley. “It actually shows them as full human beings, with complicated histories. A lot of the ‘ex-gay’ folks were gay themselves. So we try to approach it with a bit of compassion while still holding them accountable for their actions. In my case, my parents did ask for forgiveness and I gave it to them. I know not everyone’s experience is that way. But we wanted to make a roadmap for people to do the right thing next. You can mess up. We all mess up. But you can still do the right thing.”



Vote as if your life depends on it ‘Pull the emergency brake,’ says HRC’s Chad Griffin By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Donald Trump put himself on the ballot this Nov. 6 hoping to crush the Resistance that has rejected his authoritarian presidency since Inauguration Day. Having remade the Republican Party in his own image, Trump, a self-declared “nationalist,” has also put white supremacy, racism, bigotry and the literal fate of the LGBT community on the midterm ballot, as well. Californians are particularly alert. Trump’s closing argument for voting Republican is a hateful anti-immigrant speech and a shocking video reminiscent of the racist 1988 Willie Horton ad for George HW Bush’s and Pete Wilson’s ugly Prop 187 ad that pictured undocumented immigrants running across the Mexican border as if they were cockroaches scampering after the lights were turned on. But Trump has gone darker. He intentionally misrepresents refugees, many women and children fleeing violence in Honduras as a Democratic-sponsored massive caravan of illegal aliens, hordes of criminal gangs and Middle Eastern terrorists diseased with leprosy, small pox, and HIV, threatening to invade America’s Southern border. He has floated ordering up to 15,000 military troops to stop the invasion, though the poor people’s caravan is many many, miles from the US border and poses no threat whatsoever. The latest polls indicate that the “Kavanaugh-effect” – the swing to Republicans after the controversial confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court—has worn off. Undecided voters are apparently swinging more towards the Democrats after Trump’s inappropriate narcissistic response to the murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh by a proud white supremacist who pointed to Trump’s caravan threat as inspiration for his actions. But polls may be unreliable, given the incredibly powerful roller coaster of events and climate of hate fraying nerves and wearing out emotions. Only recently were there two random

Gil Cisneros, with Rep. Mark Takano and HRC’s Chad Griffin Photo courtesy HRC

murders of African Americans after a white supremacist failed to gain entry to a black church. Shortly thereafter, 14 pipe bombs sent by an extremist Trump fan to CNN and top Democrats, including former Presidents Obama and Clinton, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Holder, as well as Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein. Trump never called any of the potential bomb victims to ask how they were doing, but he did fly to Pittsburgh, even though 50,000 people, including the mayor, asked him not to come until he renounced white nationalism, which to many sounds eerily like noises made by Nazis in the 1930s before the Holocaust. Tone deaf, Trump went and then made a 2020 campaign commercial featuring he and wife Melania touring the crime site, soft music and all, with no mention

of the murdered victims or why they were murdered. To many in the LGBT community, this is no hyperbole. Despite Trump’s promises to protect the LGBTQ community, LGBT rights and protections have been rolled back since Day One, not surprising considering Vice President Mike Pence’s long record of anti-LGBT hatred—he was the pointperson on the executive order to ban trans servicemembers from serving openly in the armed forces, for example. Then on Oct. 21, The New York Times made the TrumpPence agenda very clear: “’Transgender’ Could be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration” the headline blared. The California LGBT community has responded by pouring out to help Democrats take back the House, providing

an imperative check of accountability to this imperious president. But it’s still all about turnout. “Vote for Our Lives, Trans-voting=Transcending Bigotry, Hate,” says longtime trans activist and housing/HIV specialist Maria Louise Roman. “This administration does not care about our people. The true power is with the vote. We have marched for Two years—we must take real action by casting our vote.” “It’s important that our community understands the importance of this election. Please vote! Understand that we must put people into office who understand what needs to be done for us to get to a better place in our society. We need people in Continues on Page 12



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office who will do the things that need to be done, who work for our people, who are unapologetic, and will not conform to corporations who marginalize all of us. Vote! Claim your power!” says Bamby Salcedo, founder of TransLatin@ Coalition. The trans activist organization is holding its annual fundraising fashion show—GARRAS FASHION SHOW 2018—on Nov. 10 to support The Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness (see https:// www.translatinacoalition.org/ for more information.) Equality California has been on the ground, getting the word out, canvassing and fundraising money for the important congressional races expected to help Democrats win back the House. “There’s too much at stake in this election for LGBTQ voters and our pro-equality allies to sit on the sidelines. From transgender equality to affordable health care, commonsense gun safety to racial justice, every issue we care about is on the ballot. It’s imperative that we take back Congress and elect pro-equality champions across the state. That’s why Equality California is working night and day, talking to hundreds of thousands of pro-equality voters to make sure our community’s voices are heard on November 6,” Equality California President Rick Zbur told the Los Angeles Blade. “We’ve sent more than 650,000 pieces of mail, reaching nearly 850,000 voters. In our four top priority Congressional races (CA-25, CA-39, CA-45 and CA-48), we’re knocking on 6,685 doors, making 57,200 phone calls and sending 60,000 text messages. We’re also launching more than 30,000 robocalls for out State Sen. Ricardo Lara (running for State Insurance Commissioner) and candidates in a number of targeted districts and have been sending regular emails to our members in California and Nevada. We also have two fulltime organizers on the ground in Nevada, one in Reno and one in Las Vegas, working with the Nevada Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign. We’re really focused on helping to elect Jacky Rosen to the U.S. Senate and Nelson Araujo as Secretary of State.” Days away from Election Day, Nov. 6, the races look like this: Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a lead over State Sen. Kevin de Leon who is seeking to

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at California Democratic Party Convention Photo by Karen Ocamb

replace the senior senator who was elected in the Year of the Woman, 1992. Democrats in the House races the nation is watching are “Leaning Democrat” or “Toss-Up” within the margin of errors. Every vote counts here, since some reaces are expected to be as close as within a hundred votes and in fact may not even be finally decided on Election Night, considering early voting and mail-in ballots. In other words—don’t plan on surfing the Big Blue Wave until you see it coming. One key race for the LGBT community is bisexual candidate Katie Hill’s race against anti-LGBT incumbent Steve Knight in California’s 25th Congressional District. The 31 year old just got a boost as media reports revealed that one of Knight’s most prominent TV endorsers is a proud racist. “We’ve known for a long time that we have to put some kind of check on him and we’ve got to work towards getting him out as quickly as possible,” Hill told the Los Angeles Blade. “The first step in putting a check on

him is flipping Congress. We’re not gonna be able to do anything about the problems with Trump and with the things that he’s been doing until we have a Congress in place that’s actually going to hold him accountable and right now we don’t have that.” And, she notes, “Steve Knight is one of the many Republicans in Congress who, despite the fact that every single day a new revelation comes out about how problematic Trump and his administration are and how unethical and how much they go against the very values and core beliefs of our country, they refuse to do anything about it. So this is a perfect reason why we have to stay so focused on flipping the House and on winning these key swing districts.” Another race the LGBT community is eyeing is the possible unseating of antiLGBT Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th District. Equality California, the Human Rights Campaign, individual LGBTs have been working hard on behalf of Democratic

businessman Harley Rouda, who is in a tossup going into the election. Rohrabacher’s notoriety as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite congressman ties him directly with Trump, who is facing the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether he and/or his campaign colluded with Russian operatives to interfere with the 2016 election. “Unfortunately, Donald Trump is a bad example, in so many ways, for our kids and also for elected politicians. I think what we’ve seen in the Senate with this breakdown in decorum—Donald Trump has to take some responsibility for that happening by creating an environment where that type of behavior is not only acceptable but it’s almost encouraged. Rouda told the Los Angeles Blade at an LGBT fundraiser in Los Angeles Oct. 3. “The role Continues on Page 13



Continued from Page 12

of the President of the United States is to bring Americans together. This is the first time in our lifetime that we have ever seen a president who purposely and systematically is pitting Americans against Americans.” Once thought a long-shot, young Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former official with the Obama administration, is seriously challenging longtime anti-LGBT incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter, who’s been indicted on campaign fraud charges, in the 50th Congressional District. Democrat Mike Levin looks like he will beat anti-LGBT Republican Diane Harkey to replace retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa in CD 49. Trump didn’t even want to stump for Harkey, already considering her a loser. Democrat UC Irvine law professor and consumer advocate Katie Porter has been increasingly gaining ground on Republican incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters in CD 45 with Porter relentlessly tying Walters to Trump. Democrat Gil Cisneros and Republican Young Kim are locked in a dead heat for CD 39, an open seat vacated by Ed Royce. Kim and the Republicans have been running a horrific ad against Cisneros, touting a sexual harassment charge by a woman who later retracted the allegation. HRC and EQCA have been strongly working on Cisneros’ behalf but Kim could be the first Korean elected to Congress, which remains a strong local draw in the district. On the local front, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom looks like he will run away with the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown and keep the progressive momentum going in the state Trump most loves to hate. His opponent, Republican businessman John Cox was trying to ride the coattails of out gay Republican politico Carl DeMaio’s Gas Tax Repeal, but that is floundering and Cox is too proud of his Trump endorsement for many voters. The question is – will there be a Super Majority in the State Legislature with which he can work to implement progressive legislation. Many establishment Democrats are backing Ed Hernandez for Lt. Governor—but many women are backing Eleni Kounalakis. Alex Padilla is sure to win re-election as Sec. of State and Democratic state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra is widely expected to win over his Republican challenger Steven

Maria Roman and Bamby Salcedo Photo by Yunuen Bonaparte

Bailey. Becerra has been incredibly prolific in filing lawsuits to protect California from Trump—including joining the lawsuit to stop Trump’s trans military ban. Another longtime LGBT ally, Betty Yee, is also expected to win re-election as Controller, as is Treasurer Fiona Ma. Out State Sen. Ricardo Lara’s race for State Insurance Commissioner has been complicated by a flurry of ads touting his opponent, Steve Poizner, who re-registered as an independent but still presents Republicanstyle policies. Not enough media attention has been paid to that point so Lara must depend on the Latino and LGBT votes, in particular. The race for Superintendent of public instruction has gotten expensive and nasty. But much of the LGBT community supports LGBT ally Tony Thurmond, since Marshall Tuck is believed to be Republican-lite. There has been a massive amount of money poured by real estate developers and landlords into misleading ads to defeat Prop

10, a measure that would return restrictions on rent control to municipalities, not the market place. The measure, lead by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is endorsed by the LA Times, the ACLU, the California Democratic Party and the City of West Hollywood. Finally, out LA County Assessor Jeff Prang is up for re-election and though he is expected to win, his opponent distributed some dirty trick material in the last days of the campaign that Prang had to try to fix. Votes will be needed for him. HRC President Chad Griffin says that based on research, there are 1.4 million eligible LGBT voters in the state of California. If LGBT voters turn out en mass, we could insist that we not be erased. “I think we will look back at this moment two years from now as one of the great awakenings of our democracy. In some ways, what Prop 8 did to a generation – the hatred that Mike Pence and Donald Trump spew on a daily basis – I believe is being responded

to by folks standing up, stepping up,” Griffin told the Los Angeles Blade. The enthusiasm “is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The only thing I can compare it to is my time in this state 10 years ago, after the aftermath of Prop 8. While times are dark, I’m also incredibly optimistic. This is our opportunity to pull the emergency brake. These elections – that is where we have power over them. “All of us have been told our entire lives that it’s the most important election of our lives,” Griffin said. “But with the future of our democracy on the ballot, and it is – and the equality of our future generations on the ballot – this election IS the most important election of our lives. “This has to be the election of no regrets. There is not a single person, especially LGBTQ people – who wants to wake up the day after the election asking could I have done more? No one wants to have that regret that’s why I urge all LGBTQ people and their allies—we have to turn out in force this election.”


Take this to the polls with you!

General Election




The following candidates and ballot measures are endorsed by Equality California:

/EqualityCalifornia @eqca @eqca


ELENI KOUNALAKIS Lieutenant Governor

ALEX PADILLA Secretary of State

BETTY YEE Controller

Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We endorse pro-equality champions who will fight for a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. Equality California’s rigorous endorsement process requires candidates to have a 100% pro-equality rating to be endorsed!

FIONA MA Treasurer

XAVIER BECERRA Attorney General

RICARDO LARA Insurance Commissioner

TONY THURMOND Superintendent of Public Instruction





Proposition 1: YES

Proposition 2: YES

Proposition 5: NO

Proposition 6: NO

Will dedicate funds to helping California veterans, farmworkers, people with disabilities and struggling families and children access stable, affordable housing.

Will leverage existing state funds to build supportive housing for Californians experiencing homelessness or at significant risk of becoming homeless.

Will cut critical funding for California’s public schools, public safety services and access to quality health care.

Will eliminate crucial funding for bridge and road safety, transportation and public transit projects across the state, jeopardizing public safety.

US CONGRESS CA-25: Katie Hill CA-27: Judy Chu CA-28: Adam Schiff CA-29: Tony Cárdenas CA-30: Brad Sherman CA-31: Pete Aguilar CA-32: Grace Napolitano CA-33: Ted Lieu CA-34: Jimmy Gomez CA-35: Norma Torres CA-36: Raul Ruiz 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-46: Lou Correa CA-47: Alan Lowenthal CA-48: Harley Rouda CA-49: Mike Levin CA-50: Ammar Campa-Najjar CALIFORNIA SENATE SD-20: Connie Leyva SD-22: Mike Eng and Susan Rubio SD-24: Maria Elena Durazo SD-26: Ben Allen SD-28: Joy Silver SD-30: Holly Mitchell SD-32: Bob Archuleta SD-34: Tom Umberg SD-36: Marggie Castellano

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY AD-38: Christy Smith AD-39: Luz Rivas AD-41: Chris Holden AD-43: Laura Friedman AD-44: Jacqui Irwin AD-45: Jesse Gabriel AD-47: Eloise Reyes AD-48: Blanca Rubio AD-49: Ed Chau AD-50: Richard Bloom AD-51: Wendy Carrillo AD-52: Freddie Rodriguez AD-53: Miguel Santiago AD-54: Sydney Kamlager AD-56: Eduardo Garcia AD-57: Ian Calderon AD-59: Reginald Jones-Sawyer

AD-60: Sabrina Cervantes AD-61: Jose Medina AD-62: Autumn Burke AD-63: Anthony Rendon AD-64: Mike Gipson AD-65: Sharon Quirk-Silva AD-66: Al Muratsuchi AD-69: Tom Daly AD-70: Patrick O’Donnell AD-72: Josh Lowenthal AD-73: Scott Rhinehart LOS ANGELES COUNTY County Assessor: Jeffrey Prang LOCAL ELECTIONS Anaheim City Council – District 2: Jordan Brandman

Duarte City Council: Bryan Urias Fullerton City Council – District 5: Ahmad Zahra Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Board of Education: Anthony Duarte Montebello City Council: Vivian Romero Orange City Council: Betty Valencia Rancho Cucamonga City Council: John Gallegos-Cordero Redlands City Council: Denise Davis Santa Ana City Council – Ward 2: Paul Gonzales Valley County Water District Board: Ralph Galvan Ventura County Community College Board of Trustees – Area 1: Dina Pielaet and AJ Valenzuela West Basin Water District Board: Scott Houston

Find your polling location, access your sample ballot and check out Equality California’s entire Official Pro-Equality Voter Guide: eqca.org/vote Paid for by Equality California (www.eqca.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Paid for by Equality California Political Action Committee. Committee major funding from: LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) Caucus Leadership Fund Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

NOVEMBER 02, 2018 • 15

“My entire life has been about fighting a system that was created to exclude me. Today I claim my space in this society. I will never be erased. The fight continues behind marriage equality…My People will not be Erased,” TransLatin@ board member Maria Roman tweeted after the unfurling of the Trans Flag at Dodger Stadium during the final World Series game in LA. (Photo via @CBSLA.) Near the top of the 6th inning of Game 5, members of TransLatin@ Coalition sitting in the reserve section on the third-base side, just above the suites located over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dugout, dropped a Trans Flag supporting transgender rights. The group was protesting the Trump administration’s plan to redefine gender. On Oct. 21, The New York Times revealed a memo entitled “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration” about a Department of Health and Human Services draft proposal to impose a strict re-definition of sex under Title IX, the law that bans discrimination based on a person’s sex in federally funded programs. “The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined ‘on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,’” The Times reported. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.” The flag, emblazoned with the phrase “Trans people deserve to live,” was dropped without fanfare and for the several minutes it was visible, there was no hostile response. Stadium security quickly descended on the group during their Facebook livestream and they were asked to leave. At least one person was detained but not arrested as the flag was seized. “People must understand that Trans people are part of our society. Our message tonight was to let the world know that we as Trans people deserve to be humanized, acknowledged and valued. We are claiming our righteous space in society,” said Bamby Salcedo, the CEO and president of Translatin@ Coalition. Salcedo was able to leave without incident. “Have a good night,” said the security person as she left. – Troy Masters and Karen Ocamb

“If we were ever going to be ‘eradicated,’ it would’ve happened long ago.” – Trans Reality TV star Jazz Jennings, 18, on Twitter.

“Laughing even underwater; that’s Ruth. She was so thrilled by the reef that she couldn’t contain her joy.” - Tracy Ainsworth about her close lesbian friend and coral reef scientist Ruth Gates, who died Oct. 25 at age 56. (See LosAnglesBlade.com for more)

“It’s only fitting that the first-ever Super Sports Equinox would be in Los Angeles and I couldn’t be prouder to be an Angeleno, today of all days. Go LA!” – Entertainer Lass Bass said about visiting the Kings (NHL), Rams (NFL), Galaxy (MLS), Dodgers (MLB), and Clippers (NBA) all on the same day, Oct. 28.



What’s at stake for LGBT Americans on Election Day Trans rights in Mass., House control to be decided By CHRIS JOHNSON As voters head to the polls on Nov. 6 for the 2018 mid-term elections, they will decide a number of races (and one ballot question) that will directly impact the LGBT community. Here is the Blade’s rundown of races to watch and the possible outcomes:

Massachusetts new battleground for trans rights The only LGBT-related ballot question in 2018 is Question 3 in Massachusetts, where voters will decide whether to uphold a law barring anti-transgender discrimination in public accommodations.

Signed into law by Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in 2016, the Massachusetts law has been targeted by anti-trans groups, who put the measure up for referendum. Anti-trans groups stoked fears the law will enable sexual assault by allowing men to enter women’s restrooms. (That is false. In fact, a study from the Williams Institute, at the University of California, Los Angeles, have found nondiscrimination protections have increased safety in public restrooms.) Signs are good Massachusetts voters will uphold the law. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll published on Monday found 68 percent of voters favor keeping the law in place compared to the 28 who want it repealed. The outcome of the vote either way would have a significant impact on transgender rights. If voters affirm the non-discrimination law, it would signal growing support for transgender rights and discourage anti-trans political

attacks elsewhere. But if voters reject the transgender protections, it could set a precedent for anti-trans attacks to come.

Candidates could boost LGBT representation in U.S. House A bevy of lesbian, gay and bisexual candidates are seeking election to the U.S. House and could significantly shake up LGBT representation in Congress if they’re victorious. The LGBTQ Victory Fund has endorsed 12 congressional candidates who will be on the ballot next week. Four of them are openly gay incumbents: Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I..), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.). (With Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) departing Congress to run for governor, Cicilline will become the most senior openly gay member of the House next year.) Each of these congressional candidates

could achieve milestones in their own right. In Kansas, attorney and former mixed martial arts fighter Sharice Davids is challenging Rep. Kevin Yoder (R). If elected, Davids would be first female Native American in Congress and first out lesbian to represent Kansas. Polls have consistently given Davids a lead in the race by single digits. Other candidates would be the first openly gay people to represent their states in Congress: Lauren Baer in Florida, Angie Craig in Minnesota, Rick Neal in Ohio, Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas and Chris Pappas in New Hampshire. Katie Hill in California and Tracy Mitrano in New York could be the only out bisexuals in the House. The election of each of these candidates would double the size of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the House, making it comparable to the size of other minority caucuses.

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LGBT candidates to watch WASHINGTON BLADE

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


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



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


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


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



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

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


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


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

Candidates for governor U.S. Senate candidates

U.S. House candidates Other statewide candidates


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


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


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


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


MARK TAKANO Where: California


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


MARK POCAN Where: Wisconsin


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


DAVID CICILLINE Where: Rhode Island

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


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




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


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



Critical election could shift balance of power Continued from Page 16

Gubernatorial candidates could make history Other LGBT candidates could make history by being the first openly gay and transgender persons elected as governor. Democrats have nominated to run for governor in 2018 one candidate each of every segment of the LGBT community: Lupe Valdez, a lesbian, in Texas; Jared Polis, a gay man, in Colorado; Kate Brown, the incumbent bisexual governor in Oregon; and Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, in Vermont. Polis, a five-term member of Congress, seems most poised to achieve a milestone. Polls in recent weeks have Polis between seven and 12 points ahead of his Republican opponent, Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. If Polis wins, he’d be the first openly gay person elected governor in the

United States. As the incumbent governor in Oregon, Brown also is favored to win election. However, the race is actually tighter than Polis’ in Colorado. In several polls over the past few weeks, Brown has polled between one and five points ahead of her Republican challenger, State Rep. Knute Buehler. Real Clear Politics designates the race as a “toss up.” Unlikely to win are the other two candidates. Valdez has consistently lagged behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in polls by double digits, in some cases by more than 20 points. Despite the historic nature of Hallquist’s candidacy as a transgender nominee for governor, Hallquist is also behind incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

Democrats poised to take control of House The election outcome that will have the biggest impact on the nation as a whole,

not just LGBT people, is the possibility of Democrats taking control of the U.S. House, ending the monopoly of Republican control in both Congress and the White House. Observers say the Democratic takeover of the House is a likely outcome. Politics guru Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eights pegs the chances of that happening at 86.4 percent. (The prospects of Democratic takeover of the Senate, however, are basically inverted at 17.6 percent). With Nancy Pelosi running the show as House speaker (again), political observers expect strict oversight of the Trump administration and committee chairs to issue subpoenas requiring federal officials to testify. That oversight could include scrutiny of anti-LGBT policy from the Trump administration. But Pelosi has identified also as a personal priority the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination on the

basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit. Democratic control of one chamber of Congress is likely not enough for the Equality Act to become law, but movement in the House could set the bill up for passage in subsequent years with a more favorable Senate and White House.

Sinema in tight race for Senate in Arizona Kyrsten Sinema achieved a historic first this year when she became the first open bisexual to win a major party nomination to run for U.S. Senate, but despite expected Democratic gains, a win for her on election night in Arizona is in question. Continues at losangelesblade.com



Senate races could dampen LGBT enthusiasm on Election Day Dems could come up short in contests determining control of chamber By CHRIS JOHNSON Chances are good for a “blue” wave on Election Day that will sweep Democrats into power in the U.S. House, but over in the Senate, the odds favor Republicans maintaining control and possibly even gaining seats — a chilling prospect for LGBT rights supporters despite anticipated victories elsewhere. Such an outcome would mean the Republican-controlled Senate would continue green-lighting the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT appointments and block any pro-LGBT legislation approved by the House. The Democrats’ best chances for pickups in the Senate — Nevada and Arizona —

are now in serious question. In Nevada, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (D-Nev.) has consistently polled ahead of Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen by single digits, although his lead is within the margin of error. In Arizona, where bisexual candidate Kyrsten Sinema is seeking an open seat, polls are back and forth and it’s unclear who has the advantage between her and Republican candidate Martha McSally. Democrats also may lose seats in Missouri and Indiana and are likely to lose a seat in North Dakota. Recent polls have shown Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) trailing their Republican challengers. In Heitkamp’s case, much of the polling has shown to have a deficit in the double-digits. In Florida, polls have given Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) a modest edge over Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott. But the race is still essentially tied and could go either way. One bright spot for Democrats is the re-

election campaign for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in Congress. Once thought to be a competitive race, Baldwin in recent polls has been ahead of her competitor, State Sen. Leah Vukmir. Republicans currently hold a 51-seat majority in the Senate and Democrats would have to run the board in a year when many of their seats were up for grabs to win control of the chamber. Even though polling predicts a good year for Democrats, particularly in the House, Republicans are the favorites to hold on to the Senate. If those predictions play out, anti-LGBT appointments and judicial nominees from the Trump administration requiring Senate confirmation would continue to go forward. Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer for the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal, said control of the Senate will be crucial in determining whether Trump’s judicial nominees will continue to go forward or be halted. “The Senate plays an incredibly important

role in terms of confirming the president’s nominees — not only to the Executive branch but even more importantly to the judiciary,” McGowan said. “As we have seen, many of Trump’s most controversial judges have either squeaked through by a party line vote. But others, like Ryan Bounds, have been turned back by just one or two GOP skeptics. So who controls the Senate — even if only by a razor thin margin — will likely determine what kind of federal judiciary we will have for the next 30-40 years.” Under the status quo with Republican control, anti-LGBT judges will likely still go forward like newly confirmed U.S. Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan, who filed legal briefs against marriage equality and sought to block Virginia transgender teen Gavin Grimm from using the boys’ room. Sharita Gruberg, associate director of the

Continues on Page 22

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Odds favor Republicans to retain control of Senate Continued from Page 20

LGBT Research & Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, echoed the possibility of the Senate continuing to confirm anti-LGBT nominees. “If Republicans retain control of the Senate, we will continue to see the rapid confirmation of anti-equality judicial nominees,” Gruberg said. “The Senate has already confirmed 84 of Trump’s judicial nominees, the vast majority of whom have a clear anti-equality record.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has promised to move forward with the Equality Act in the House if the Democrats win control. But with Republican control of the Senate the pro-LGBT legislation would advance in one chamber, but be bottled up in the Senate. Gruberg said despite the advantages of a Democratic-controlled House, efforts to

pass pro-LGBT legislation would be in vain if the GOP still controls the Senate. “Democratic control of the House will prevent the Senate from passing anti-equality legislation,” Gruberg said. “But a divided Congress combined with the president’s opposition to pro-equality measures means long overdue comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ people likely won’t be enacted either.”

Could King go down in Iowa? New polling from the progressive San Francisco-based firm Change Research has found anti-LGBT Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)’s hold on his congressional seat is more tenuous than widely believed. Data from the organization published Tuesday found the Republican is in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten. Among the 631 likely voters polled in Iowa’s 4th congressional district, King has support

from 45 percent of the district compared to the 44 percent who support Scholten. That marks a significant change. According to Change Research, President Trump won the district by 27 points in 2016 and King won by 23 points. Just one month ago, another poll from Emerson College found King was ahead in Iowa’s 4th congressional district by 10 points. What’s driving the current data? Change Research found opinion on Trump in Iowa’s 4th congressional district is divided. Fifty-one percent of voters there view him favorably compared to the 46 percent who view him unfavorably. Moreover, Change Research finds opinion on King is “quite negative” in Iowa’s 4th congressional district. Thirty-eight percent of voters view him favorably and 48 percent view him unfavorably. If Scholten is successful in defeating King, the Democrat would be taking down a member of Congress who not only has

consistently voted against LGBT interests over his eight terms in Congress, but has made anti-LGBT rhetoric and views — as well as his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views — an animating component of his political career. In 2009, when the Iowa Supreme Court was among the first to legalize same-sex marriage, King called for the resignation of the justices and a residency requirement for marriages so “Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca.” When three of those justices were up for retention at the ballot in 2010, King bought $80,000 of radio advertising to campaign against them. None of the three were retained. Years later, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, King said the decision “perverted” the word marriage and called for a resolution on the House floor that would encourage states to defy the decision. Continues at losangelesblade.com



Synagogue massacre sparks outpouring of grief 11 perish in Pittsburgh attack, including respected HIV doctor By MICHAEL K. LAVERS

4.625 in.

The massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday has sparked an outpouring of grief from the city’s LGBT community. Sue Kerr, a local activist who edits Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, an LGBT blog, told the Blade the “intersections of Pittsburgh’s Jewish and LGBTQ communities are many.” Kerr said LGBT youth were among those who led vigils that took place across Pittsburgh on Saturday. Kerr also told the Blade many local performers devoted “their weekend benefits to the fund for the survivors, and many of our LGBTQ neighbors affiliated with the congregations.”

“The wounds of this weekend tore through all of us, reminding us of our shared vulnerabilities and resiliency as we waited to learn the names of those lost to the gun violence and the rhetoric of hatred,” said Kerr. A gunman killed 11 people and wounded six others, including four police officers, when he opened fire inside the synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The massacre is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history. Federal authorities have charged the gunman with hate crimes, weapons and other charges. Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, on Saturday posted onto his Facebook page a picture of him with his parents at his bar mitzvah that took place at the synagogue. “Horrified to see what’s unfolding at the 10.0 in. Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill,

Pittsburgh where I was bar mitzvah’ed,” wrote Wolfson. “We will learn more, but how many more must die (!) before we get our country back on track? We need fewer guns in America, and must vote in elected officials who will turn our country around.” One of the victims was a well-respected doctor who was known for his compassionate treatment of his patients with HIV/AIDS. NBC News and other media outlets reported Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, began to treat people with HIV/AIDS in the early days of the epidemic. Michael Kerr of ACT UP New York on his Facebook page wrote Rabinowitz was his doctor until he moved from Pittsburgh to New York City in 2004. “In the old days for HIV patients in Pittsburgh he was to one to go to,” wrote Kerr. “Basically, before there was effective treatment for fighting HIV itself, he was known in the community for keeping us alive the longest. He often held our hands

(without rubber gloves) and always always hugged us as we left his office.” Kerr wrote he and Rabinowitz “made a deal about my T cells in that I didn’t want to know the numbers visit to visit because I knew I would fret with every little fluctuation and I also knew that AZT was not working for my friends.” “The deal was that he would just let me know at some point when the T cell numbers meant I needed to start on medications,” said Kerr. “The numbers were his job and my job was to finish my master’s thesis and get a job with insurance and try to not go crazy.” Kerr on his Facebook page wrote Rabinowitz in the fall of 1995 “gently told me” that “it was time to begin taking medications.” Kerr said he still takes one of the medications Rabinowitz recommended to him. Continues at losangelesblade.com

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Brazil’s next president a notorious homophobe By FELIPE ALFACE SÃO PAULO — Jair Bolsonaro will become Brazil’s next president after he won the second round of the country’s presidential election this week. Bolsonaro defeated former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party by a 55.1-44.9 percent margin. Bolsonaro will take office on Jan. 1. Observers have noted Bolsonaro won the polarized presidential election, in part, because Brazilians have grown weary of corruption associated with the leftist governments of Lula and former President Dilma Rousseff that governed the country for 13 years. Public opinion polls indicated Brazilians were willing to support anyone who was not a member of the Peoples’ Party, including a presidential candidate without a clear government platform, who

appeared unprepared for interviews and refused to participate in debates against Haddad. Aside from appearing unprepared and having passed only two bills during his 27 years as a congressman for Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro throughout his career has also been known for his homophobic and misogynistic behavior. The thing that may spark the most concern among Brazil’s LGBT community is his commitment to Catholic groups that he would defend the “true sense of marriage” between a man and a woman. This position signals he would support the repeal of marriage equality that became a reality across the country in 2013. Bolsonaro has also targeted people of color, Brazil’s indigenous community and women, in addition to the LGBT community. Attacks involving his supporters against these minority groups have increased since

he launched his campaign. One such case happened in Santo André, a city just outside São Paulo, where a 19-year-old man was threatened with a gun by a man he met on Grindr. Another case involved a 19-year-old woman who was beaten and had a swastika carved into her skin with a knife by three men because she was wearing a T-shirt with the saying “ele não” or “not him,” a phrase used by minority groups that campaigned against Bolsonaro. Witnesses say a group of people who stabbed a trans woman to death in downtown São Paulo on Oct. 16 yelled, “It is just the beginning. Gay people won’t have it easy when Bolsonaro is president.” The president-elect has previously used this phrase during interviews and it has been evoked in other attacks that took place across the country. So what is in store for LGBT people for

the next four or more years if Bolsonaro himself is re-elected or if one of his allies becomes president? Bolsonaro’s critics say the answer is simple: Fear and returning to LGBT ghettos. Another bigger concern is the impact a Bolsonaro administration will have on the rights of LGBT Brazilians. The Brazilian Senate recently released for public comment a proposed amendment to the country’s nondiscrimination that would criminalize homophobia and impose the same punishment as those who are convicted of crimes against women, people of color, seniors and people with disabilities. Less than 10,000 people opposed the proposal, compared to 400,000 people who said they support it. The Senate has yet to vote on the amendment, and a date has not been set. Activists are concerned Bolsonaro would veto the proposal if it were approved in 2019.



Adding insult to injury DOJ challenging pro-trans 6th Circuit ruling on Title VII

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

One of several LGBTQ cases the Supreme Court may hear this term involves a woman named Aimee Stephens who was fired from her job as a funeral director after she told her boss she was transitioning and intended to start dressing in business attire traditionally worn by women. She sued under Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex (as well as race, religion and national origin). She won at the Sixth Circuit, which unanimously ruled that, because discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, she could proceed with her suit. That court held that was true for two reasons. First, discrimination against someone who is transgender is based on a sex stereotype that people should only identify and present as the sex they were identified as at birth. Second, discriminating against an individual who is transgender necessarily takes their sex into account. It either is based on what people thought their sex was when they were born or what the individual currently knows their sex to be or both. Just because there are separate terms for “gender identity” and “sex” doesn’t mean a job termination based on someone’s gender identity isn’t a form of sex discrimination. As the Sixth Circuit noted, if someone was

fired because they converted from Judaism to Christianity, their employer couldn’t credibly argue that was not religious discrimination because Title VII doesn’t mention the word “converts.” Likewise, it’s well-settled that an employer who refuses to hire female employees who have children cannot defend that by noting that Title VII doesn’t reference the term “mothers.” Nonetheless, in a brief filed on Oct. 24 by the Department of Justice (which these days might be better known as the Department of Injustice), they take the position that the Sixth Circuit’s decision is “erroneous.” That position is contrary to the view of the EEOC, the principal federal agency that interprets and applies Title VII, which brought the suit on Stephens’ behalf. Together with the recently leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo, this latest legal position by the Trump administration is perhaps the worst body blow by that administration to our community. That memo apparently proposes the adoption of regulations that would consistently define “sex” under federal law as either male or female, as something that cannot be changed, and as determined by the genitals a person is born with. That position—which negates the very existence of transgender and intersex people—is a turnabout from the Obama administration’s and is inconsistent with both science and basic human dignity. While contesting the correctness of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, DOJ’s brief urges the Supreme Court not to take up Stephens’ case now, but instead hold it until the Court takes up and decides either of two Title VII cases dealing with sexual orientation-based employment discrimination or, if the Court takes up neither, not hear Stephens’ case at all in order to await further circuit rulings on the issue. There are a number of reasons DOJ may be urging that. They may think the gender identity issue is harder than the sexual orientation one and that they will have an

easier time winning both if the Supreme Court hears the sexual orientation issue first. While there currently is a split in the circuit courts on whether sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, six of 12 federal circuits agree that gender identity discrimination is. Second, having the Justice Department undermine a case brought by the EEOC is a bad visual. Third, they may not want to go up against the ACLU, which intervened on appeal in the case to directly represent Stephens. But why is the Trump administration taking these anti-LGBTQ positions? Perhaps they are playing to biased members of their base. This may just be another effort to undo anything the Obama administration accomplished. Or it may be because the current administration is filled with antiLGBTQ advocates, like Roger Severino, the director of HHS’s Office of Human Rights, who previously worked for the Heritage Foundation. This should not be mistaken for a partisan dispute. One of the judges who joined the Sixth Circuit’s opinion was appointed by President George W. Bush, and numerous other federal judges who have agreed with the opinion’s conclusions also have been appointed by Republican presidents. The non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute found last year that 60 percent of Republicans favor laws protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination. Similarly, New Hampshire, a state with a Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature, enacted express protections against gender identity discrimination in June. But because the strong judicial decisions so far are subject to possible review by an increasingly conservative Supreme Court, one thing is clear: enacting additional statutory protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination is more critical than ever.

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A time for healing, prayer and remembrance Congregation Kol Ami leader on anti-Semitism

Rabbi Denise L. Eger is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, a longtime LGBTQ activist and the immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

I didn’t think my heart could break into smaller pieces but the Oct. 27 mass murder at a synagogue in Pittsburgh during Sabbath morning services has left me crying and my heart in shards. I am scared for America. Tree of Life synagogue is a vibrant place on Saturday morning, hosting three different congregations. It is in the heart of Squirrel Hill, a leafy neighborhood in Pittsburgh, where the Jewish community is centered. But it is a diverse neighborhood as well, with lots of different ethnic and religious groups. Mr. Rogers’ home is a mere few blocks away from the synagogue. Eleven people murdered in cold blood as they sang of peace and welcomed a new baby into the covenant of his ancestors

and many people injured including six police officers. What was supposed to be an uplifting morning worship service turned into one of the bloodiest mass murders in a house of worship. The murderer, now in custody, is a vociferous anti-Semite whose social media pages is filled with anti-Semitic screed, brought his AK47 into Tree of Life Synagogue and opened fire. He told police “All Jews must die.” Anti-Semitism is real. It’s always been here in the United States. But since Donald Trump’s ascension to politics and the presidency, his rhetoric has given new permission to the anti-Semites to air their ugly lies and untruths about the Jewish people and the Jewish community and foster violence and murder. The rise of the American Nazi party, right wing hate groups like the Proud Boys, and other right-wing extremists have used anti-Jewish code words in their materials, rallies, and publications. Fox News commentators, the president and his cronies have picked up on those words as he tries to signal his base that all those who aren’t white straight Christian Americans have no place in the good ole’ US of A. And there is growing anti-Semitism on the left, as well. Jews long part of coalitions to welcome the stranger, stand with the poor, march for civil rights for brown and black people, and our LGBTQ community have been increasing told you are not welcome. The Jewish community has been a part of and shared in the suffering, been victims of violence and exclusion along with

other minorities in America. Anti-Semitism is a cancer eating away at our society. It is rising here and in Europe. In Los Angeles County this past year, 72 percent of all hate crimes were directed at the Jewish community The shooting that Saturday, coupled with the increase in vandalism of synagogues with swastikas, Jewish community bomb threats, online anti-Jewish poison and Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville. Virginia and other places with menacing chants like “Blood and Soil” (which were the chants of Nazi is Germany during the 30’s and 40’s) and “Jews will not replace us” has the Jewish community on high alert. And it should have everyone of good conscience on high alert as well. Each day of the hatred, the targeting, the code words that for those in the know are AntiSemitic in origin, activates the trauma we hold in our Jewish communal psyche. Words matter. And these words of hatred are leading to actions. The environment of hate fueled by Fox News, the president’s rhetoric and the deep divisions between red and blue America is stoking this violence. We are already watching as the government locks up innocent refugees and their children who are escaping the drug lords and violence in their home countries. We see the mass incarceration of black and brown people by law enforcement while white people get away without conviction for the same crimes. The erosion of our civil rights and the purposeful disenfranchisement of

voters is a blatant reminder of the tactics of dictators. We see the policies of the administration trying to erase LGBTQ people and our civil rights. Attacks on the free press and targeting of journalists who try to report the truth and point out the hypocrisy of the administration’s policies have all the markings of a government that is no longer by the people, for the people. Our challenge is to cross the lines of identity politics and join together to defeat at the ballot box those who espouse such heinous bigotry that fuels and inflames the angry backlash of the MAGA crowd. Only by going to the ballot box can we defeat the UnAmerican and Unpatriotic thread that is Trumpism. As a rabbi, my ethical teachings in the Torah are built around two key ideals: First, that all people are created in the Divine image regardless of our race, or gender, or sexual orientation or gender expression or nationality or religion. We are all reflections of the Force that Sustains the Universe. And I also turn to this phrase: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” For in my neighbor, I see the Divine and all that is holy. If only we would live by these maxims and truths we could strengthen each other, lift each other and pray for the best for our neighbor. These teaching help build empathy for one another. This is the America I once believed in and hoped for. I remain committed to working for it to once again. Let’s start changing America by loving each other enough to care for one another and by getting out to vote!


How would Jesus vote? With empathy and morality

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

It is difficult to say how Jesus would vote— his message was primarily apolitical. Besides, as a Jew, it is unlikely the Roman republic would have been permitted him to vote. And there is no evidence he attempted to influence electoral outcomes at all. And yet, he did. Jesus exercised political influence through his message of morality and his teachings of empathy, which were as threatening to the rich and powerful then as they are now. Jesus purposefully courted public relationships with the most despised people of his time, including prostitutes and tax collectors. He taught that the most oppressed and rejected were the most spiritually prepared to practice selflessness. According the the New Testament, Jesus intentionally dined with the morally despicable because

those most hated by society often showed the most kindness to others. Jesus admonished the Pharisees, the keepers of Jewish law who critiqued the morality of others, saying (Matthew 21:3233): “Tax collectors and prostitutes will get to the Kingdom of Heaven before you.” In John (Chapter 8), he challenged moral hypocrisy and violent self-righteousness, protecting an adulterous woman from being stoned by religious authorities, saying “he who is without sin to cast the first stone.” In the Bible, the treat of immigrants, particularly refugees, is clear. In Exodus, God warns the Jews not to turn away foreigners and that hostility toward immigrants will incur his judgment. Later, in Kings, Jews are instructed to care for foreigners as family members. In the New Testament, Jesus clarifies that these commandments still apply. In Luke, when asked about neighbors, Jesus emphasizes the importance of showing mercy, especially to those that are not of one’s country. Jesus, however, reserved his harshest rebukes for the wealthy. In Matthew, he warns his followers that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get into heaven. In Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy, Paul reminds early Christians that the love of money - not money itself, but greed - is the root of all evil. Jesus expects early Christians to forfeit all of their worldly possessions to give to the poor in order to follow him. And when early Christian followers Ananias and Sapphira lie about not giving up all of their wealth in the book of Acts, they are struck dead by the

Holy Spirit. Roman authorities and conspiring religious leaders were so concerned about Jesus’ conspicuois empathy, they considered him a revolutionary threat to their entrenched Establishment—rendering him a political hero to the subjugated populous, whether he liked it or not. Considering these storied accounts, it is inconceivable that Jesus would not have volumes to say about present political controversies. This Nov. 6, for instance, Californians will vote on four propositions that directly address treatment of the poor. Propositions 1 and 2 would reallocate state funding to better provide housing for the poor and homeless. Proposition 3 promises greater availability of safe drinking water to those in need and Proposition 5 makes it easier for the elderly to afford their homes. Jesus would also warn us not only to welcome but care for immigrants in need. It is unthinkable that he would turn away the caravan of migrants currently approaching the southern border, let alone condon using them for political fearmongering. President Trump is considering removing legal protections for transgender people—but Jesus protected the oppressed from public scorn and even stoning. And although a strong economy and recent tax cuts bode well for the party in power, Jesus reprimanded anyone who forfeited empathy for financial gain. Jesus knew people would do unspeakable evil in his name. He cautioned future believers to resist the efforts of Christians who claim to act on his behalf but fail to live

up to his message of tolerance, acceptance, and empathy. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you,’” he says in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus may not be physically present to offer moral clarity. But he told his followers what he expected of them before he returned. “’I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me,’” according to Matthew 25:36-40. That passage was shouted loudly at Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a meeting of the Federalist Society recently. So, how exactly would Jesus vote? With morality based on empathy. With a heart for the downtrodden and discarded. With animosity to greed. What would Jesus say to the racists, the homophobes, the indifferent to the poor? To the self righteous, the judgmental, the avaricious? He has already answered. “I never knew you.”

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Hugh Grant loves a good scandal But he’s proper at heart By SUSAN HORNIK

Amazon held a press conference recently with Hugh Grant, in the hopes of getting him some much deserved awards consideration for his delicious role in “A Very English Scandal.” The true life series is based on what happened to British politician Jeremy Thorpe, who secretly had a gay love affair with Norman Scott, which went sour in the 1960s. Thorpe eventually tries to murder his ex, and all of it comes out in court. At the time, Grant remember the salacious story being in local British news for weeks. “Like everyone in Britain, we were loving it. It was just such juicy stuff. He was this prominent member of the English establishment in his beautiful suits, he’d been to the best schools… he was famously debonair, witty, charming, and well-connected,” said Grant. “And then all his dirt comes pouring out, that he had a secret life, gay sex, and then

attempted a bungled murder. It was fabulous, we all loved it,” he acknowledged. Thousands of excellent jokes ensued. “They were pretty disgusting. ‘Join the liberals and widen your circle!’ I remember that one. That was hilarious to schoolboys like me,” Grant said. Known for much loved movies like “About a Boy,” “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” Grant has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in television. “I was the last of the snobs to get over that difference between film and TV. So I was slightly horrified when these scripts turned up from (director/executive producer) Stephen Frears and I realized it was television. But it was just so good,” he said. Grant felt the book upon which the series was based was “cleverly” blackly comedic. “I loved the tone; it’s kind of dramatic but it’s also irreverent and even slightly camp.”

Russell Davis wrote the screenplay for “Scandal.” “Davis reinvented ‘Doctor Who’ – he’s a proper genius screenwriter and I don’t say that lightly because it’s very difficult to please me with writers,” said Grant. “But I really think he’s very brilliant.” Things have changed since Thorpe was in the news, and Grant is happy to see that the public is much more accepting of gay life. “It is astonishing what’s happened in our lifetime, really...amazing how far we’ve come. I can remember what my own parents thought when I was a boy, if the subject of homosexuality came up. They were nice people but you know, ‘We don’t want to talk about that. It’s horrid.’ And that was the attitude in the ‘60s, early ‘70s,” he recalls. Grant noted that the writer, (Davis) is a gay man and very involved in gay politics. “I think that was one of the big interests for

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him in this project, demonstrating how far we’ve come and how terrible things were for gay men.” Playing his lover in the series is gay actor, Ben Whishaw, who Grant has previously worked with in the animated comedy, “Paddington,” and then with the film, “Cloud Atlas.” “It’s bizarre that we keep working together and that I always seem to want to kill him or something,” Grant quipped. “But I’m lucky. He’s incredibly good. He’s the sort of great genius actor of his generation in our country, and that keeps me up to the mark.” Two of the series’ producers are also gay men and were very keen that Norman (played by Whishaw) should be a gay actor. “That feels right and proper that he is,” said Grant. The veteran actor has no issue with gay love scenes. “I didn’t think it was any more awkward than doing a straight one. At 8 o’ clock in the morning, and, ‘Hello Ben, how are you? How was your breakfast?’ And then…I have my tongue down his throat. I kissed him and threw him on the bed and no one shouted ‘Cut’ so I thought ‘Christ, what do I do next?’ So I sort of licked his nipples. And afterwards it’s ‘So what’re you having for lunch then?’ It is quite weird.” If you’re ready to binge watch the series on Amazon, get ready to have a tiny bit of sympathy at first for the dastardly, charming Thorpe. “The whole fun of Thorpe for me was that he was in many ways, appalling, a terrible narcissist who would do almost anything for his career, ruthless,” said Grant. “To order a murder is a pretty big thing, that’s pretty sociopathic. So in many ways he was a monster.” Still by researching him, reading books, watching video, talking to a lot of his friends and ex-colleagues, Grant realized there was deep anguish there as well. “The tragedy is one of being a gay man at that time, and being really unable to express your love in its natural form. I also think that his narcissism was so extreme that that’s a kind of tragedy as well. You can’t really engage with other people if you’re so obsessed with yourself.”

Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott. Photo courtesy Neflix

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queery ALEXIS ORTEGA How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I’ve been out since I was 17 – my senior year of high school. I think the hardest person for me to tell was my dad. I was scared I would be letting him down, but thankfully that wasn’t the case at all. He and my mom are two of my biggest supporters. Who’s your LGBT hero? Oooo tough. I’m enamored by the queer folks of color who’ve paved the way. The unnamed and the revered. If I had to name a name, right now I would have to say Audre Lorde.

Photo Courtesy Ortega

By TROY MASTERS tmasters@losangelesblade.com

Alexis Ortega is a proud product of Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley. Her passion and dedication to LGBTQ issues infuses everything she does. And, at age 31, Lex, as her closest loved ones know her, is just getting started. The eldest of three children, Alexis is fiercely independent and maybe just a little bit headstrong. A doer, she often winds up with the heavy lifting. “I would rather hold a burden than give it to others,” she says. As a result, she’s constantly putting other people ahead of herself, so valuing her relationships with colleagues, partners, fellow advocates and allies. Since her days at Stanford University, Lex often refers to the LGBTQ community as her home. “I straddled multiple worlds and communities and often don’t fully fit into any one space,” she says. And it may have always been that way for Lex. Her biological family is “a mixed-generation household.” Her father was born and raised in Mexico (he migrated to the US in his late teens) and her mother is a thirdgeneration Mexican-American raised in the Pacific Northwest. But once she discovered her queer identity, she felt immediately at ease, and has never really looked back, working in LGBTQ spaces and organizations for nearly nine years, and loving every minute of it. Today, her work with the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, in the Coachella Valley, has sparked a new fire in her soul. Working with queer and trans young people of color, specifically Latinx communities, fills her heart. The creation and growth of Eastern Coachella Valley Pride is like bearing witness to the birth of a new community. She is proud of the leadership the young people of Coachella and Thermal have shown. When she’s not working at her day job, Lex is volunteering for all things queer. “It’s ridiculously hard for me to say no,” she says. Right now, you can find Lex volunteering for the City of Palm Springs, as they expand into district elections, and serving on the Strategic Coordinating Council of Alianza, an alliance of residents, nonprofits, and government, working for a thriving Coachella Valley that strives to center the voices of the people who live in the Eastern Coachella Valley, and bridge connections to cities like Palm Springs.

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I loved Truckstop at HERE, back when I was barely 21. It’s been a minute since I’ve been out to LA, so not sure anymore! Describe your dream wedding. I’m not a marriage-type of gal. With that said, I think any reason to celebrate love between partners that includes family, friends, and loved ones, with good music, and great food is a great time.

I would wish I could make everyone queer haha! Just kidding. But if that really happened, I would be a part of the movement that espouses the beauty in our differences. No one should change their sexuality or identity, it’s society that should change its prejudice against difference. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I’m honestly not sure what I believe beyond the here and now. I look forward to discovering and uncovering my thoughts about that as I age. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Get rid of the ego. Share power, build meaningful partnerships, and mentor queer and trans folks of color. What would you walk across hot coals for? Well I might just try it to prove to myself I can do it! But I’d like to do think I would do it for humanity and justice. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That we’re sinners. Enough with that nonsense.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? I think most issues are LGBTQ issues, because we are as diverse as the rest of society. But specifically, racial equity, particularly with regards to criminal justice and immigration.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? Oh I suck at picking favorites, unless the question is “what is your favorite number?” I guess I just like too many things! First one that came to mind is Carol, and I was in awe of Moonlight.

What historical outcome would you change? The rise of colonialism and the systematic decimation of indigenous peoples and culture.

What’s the most overrated social custom? The idea that parents always know best. Sometimes parents and caregivers don’t always. And that’s ok. We need to own our faults and mistakes better, as examples for the younger generation.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Anything related to the internet! The early days of Napster, Myspace, and the evolution to what we have today. On what do you insist? Coalition building and humility. Something I try to live by every day. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? A picture of my Halloween costume as Miguel from Coco. If your life were a book, what would the title be? Live, learn, grow. If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

What trophy or prize do you most covet? I don’t know that I covet any trophy or prize for myself right now. I wish there were more opportunities for queer and trans folks of color to be celebrated and uplifted for their work. What do you wish you’d known at 18? I wish I would’ve sought out mentors earlier and relished my youth a little more. I wish I would’ve learned to judge people less. Why Los Angeles? Southern California will always and forever be home to me. Our diversity (and weather!) is one of the best qualities about living here.


Odds are good that you have heard of the website Daddyhunt.com – even if you’ve never used it. What you may not have heard, however, is that there’s also “Daddyhunt: The Serial.” Yes, it’s true. The popular dating app and website, which has catered to older men and the younger guys who admire them since it was founded in 2005, has produced its own web-series – which dropped its third season on Oct. 24 – that provides exactly the kind of intergenerational gay love stories you’d expect, revolving around men who connect through the Daddyhunt app. It provides more than just romance, though; since its second season, the show has been co-produced by BHOC (Building Healthy Online Communities), a public-private partnership between dating sites and apps and HIV and STD prevention organizations, in a collaboration dedicated to promoting healthy and responsible sexual practices. The series – which consists of short (90 seconds) episodes – has proven to be not only popular, but acclaimed for its mission. Season two won numerous awards, including “Winner: Top Shorts Online Film Festival,”and the accompanying public service announcements have been viewed more than 5.7 million times since they were launched in April 2017. Dan Wohlfeiler, director of BHOC, says the organization started working with dating site owners after a friend told him, “You all in HIV and STD prevention are trying to do the hardest thing in the world – changing people’s behavior.” This led to a shift in focus toward harm reduction, and BHOC started developing strategies for disseminating information about HIV and STD prevention - especially on dating and hookup sites. Wohlfeiler had been talking for some time with Carl Sandler, the CEO and co-founder of Daddyhunt, about how the Daddyhunt website and app could incorporate these strategies. “He sent me the first season of ‘Daddyhunt: The Serial,’ and I was hooked. It had incredibly talented actors, terrific production values and a really compelling script. We started talking about how we could do a second series with a storyline about some of the big issues that gay men are facing when it comes to HIV – PrEP or condoms? Or both?” Sandler was eager to jump on board. “I immediately thought that this was a great idea,” he says, “because we want to educate our users about condoms, PrEP, the importance of routine testing and other safe sex practices.” The challenge, of course, was to write scripts that raised all the issues and gave enough information without turning the show into something that feels like a sex ed class. The solution was to create storylines that incorporated the issues while also including PSAs that could go into the details. Wohlfeiler explains, “Since we had all these great actors in one place, we filmed five PSAs that had much more specific information. Some are about very specific issues. It’s safe to say that the one called, ever- sopoetically, ‘Butt and Throat,’ is the first one to tell viewers that they need to get checked for STDs wherever they might have been exposed. Other PSAs in the series aim at helping people make the choice that’s right for them about PrEP, condoms and being undetectable.” “We wanted to make it clear,” he adds, “that there are a lot of options – and that the important thing is to have a sexual health strategy.” Sandler is proud of what they have accomplished so far. He says, “By working together with BHOC, we have managed to reach not only Daddyhunt users but millions of viewers, entertaining and educating them about these important topics.” He’s not exaggerating. The first two seasons have cumulatively received an incredible 5.7 million views, and the positive feedback online has confirmed that gay men are hungry for this kind of show and information. When they embarked on season three, the show’s team decided to create it with two goals. First, they wanted to have a more diverse cast, since HIV disproportionately affects African-American men. Second, they wanted to go deeper into other important issues that so many gay men face – what it means to have an undetectable viral load, for instance, and how to tell a partner that you may have inadvertently exposed them to an STD. They filmed a new set of PSAs, on these themes, as well as others. There’s even one on writing a dating profile, with an emphasis on informed decisions about your own health and the importance of keeping it friendly – such as avoiding the “no femmes, no fats” language used by many on dating and hook-up apps. With STDs at their highest level in decades, and new HIV infection rates rising, especially in communities of color, many people are looking for reasons why, and often point fingers at dating apps. Wohlfeiler states, “What this project has shown is that apps also are ready, willing, and dedicate resources to helping prevent new HIV and STD infections. It’s been the most gratifying part of my career - to build those partnerships that result in lasting change, and also deliver important information to people in a way that they can hear it.” All this work in the interest of public health is important and appreciated, of course – but is the show any good? “Daddyhunt: The Serial” is charming, funny, sweet, and sexy. It’s performed by a talented cast that’s also pretty easy on the eyes. There are countless shows like this depicting the romantic misadventures of heterosexual couples, but precious few of them that focus on same sex relationships. “Daddyhunt” would be a treat just on the basis of filling that need; the fact that it’s also good is a welcome bonus. You can see for yourself by watching “Daddyhunt: The Serial” on Facebook at facebook.com/Daddyhunt or on the “Daddyhunt” YouTube channel.


Daddy wants you to download this An app takes responsibility for HIV prevention messaging By JOHN PAUL KING

BJ Gruber and Jim Newman in season three of ‘Daddyhunt, The Serial.’ Photo courtesy Daddyhunt and BHOC



Taking on a new fight with ‘Members Only’ Events of today echo the earliest days of the AIDS crisis By JOHN PAUL KING

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Theater Center

When playwright Oliver Mayer debuted his groundbreaking “Blade to the Heat” over two decades ago, people saw it as an “AIDS play.” The saga of a closeted Latino fighter struggling with the secret of his sexuality within the hyper-masculine world of professional boxing, it was set in the late 1950s – long before the first documented cases of HIV began to appear. Even so, its story about navigating a secret stigma within a homophobic environment resonated with audiences of the ‘90s in such a way that drawing parallels to the era of AIDS was inescapable. Now, Mayer has returned to the world of “Blade” in a sequel, “Members Only,” which picks up the threads of the original play in 1982 – placing its characters in a historical moment when the epidemic – with all its life-andculture-changing implications – was poised to descend upon the world. Doing so has allowed him to explore directly the topic which was only obliquely touched in his original piece, of course; but it would be a mistake to think “Members Only” is an “AIDS play” – at least, entirely – any more than its predecessor. Mayer may now be able to address the subject within his narrative, but he weaves it among the threads that continue through the lives of the old characters and into to the lives of the new; more than that, he uses all of those threads to connect, once more, the issues of a bygone era to those that face us now. “Members” once again centers on boxer Pedro “Pete” Quinn; still fighting and still closeted, he has gone on to a championship career. When a young female boxer who trains at his gym is confronted by harassment and misogyny, he takes her under his wing; but even as he assumes the role of her protector, he finds himself facing new threats of his own – from two former “frenemies” planning to make a film about a tragic incident in his past, and from a mysterious new sickness emerging within the world where he lives his secret life. “Members Only,” while it relies heavily on plot points which originated in “Blade,” is a stand-alone piece – to a point. It’s not necessary to have seen the original, or even to be familiar with its storyline, to be able to follow the action. Even so, the surviving characters carry a lot of pre-existing emotional weight, and audiences who have not experienced their previous history firsthand may have difficulty getting sufficiently invested in them before things start getting heavy. Those who are there for the first part of the journey, however, will likely be absorbed from the moment the lights come up to reveal protagonist Pedro Quinn – played here, fortuitously and remarkably, by Ray Oriel, reprising the role he took on in the history-making 1996 Mark Taper production of “Blade” – re-enacting the climactic moments of the original play to set the ground for what is to come over the next 90 minutes. In either case, this world premiere production mounted by the Latino Theater Company at LATC transcends standard narrative conventions by presenting the story and its characters through a ritualized approach which elevates them to the realm of myth. Emotional connections are forged at a deeper, primal level, and the specifics of conflict serve to illuminate repeating patterns that resonate within the larger context of shared cultural experience. Audience members are reminded throughout that they are not just seeing a play; they are also participating in a tribal ceremony. This is accomplished by director José Luis Valenzuela through his imaginative staging, which takes place on what is essentially a bare stage – over which hangs a complex of jumbo screens, evocative of those over a boxing ring, upon which real-time video of the action is periodically broadcast – and incorporates choreographed, ceremonial scene transitions that are part of the action instead of interruptions to it. It’s also reflected in the performances of the excellent cast, who heighten their style just enough to transform their characters into archetypes while keeping them grounded in the “real” world of the play. Oriel uses the weight of his history in the role to give a powerful presence to Quinn, as he takes this modern-day Latino Oedipus on a redemptive journey from self-loathing regret to heroic atonement. Jon Huertas, of “This Is Us,” is charismatic as Vinal, Quinn’s former rival on his own quest for resolution; and Gabriela Ortega is lovably scrappy as Lone, Quinn’s female protégé. Perhaps most unforgettable is Marlene Forte, as Sarita, who embodies the transformation from vengeful Fury to merciful Mother with remarkable dexterity. Also deserving special mention is Darrin Dewitt Henson, who brings grace and understanding to his turn as Quinn’s gay doctor, who becomes the face of AIDS even as he warns of its coming. The real star, though, is Mayer, who, in revisiting the themes from “Blade,” succeeds in both reasserting them and bringing them into an updated relevance. The struggle to reconcile opposing cultural identities is, if anything, timelier today than it was in the period settings of either play; Quinn’s dilemma of being gay within a homophobic community still feels uncomfortably relevant in 2018, and Lone’s quest for acceptance as an equal in the male-dominated world of boxing has inescapable resonance in the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. There’s also deft exploration of intolerant traditional values within the Latino community – and all communities of color, for that matter – as well as the pernicious projection of self-hatred which manifests in bigotry and violence. Lastly, he underscores everything with the insight that triumph is temporary. Even as Quinn approaches victory in the conflicts that have shaped his life, new battles loom in the shadows of the future; he can prove his strength against another man but he is powerless against the ravages of time and age, and wider acceptance of his sexuality comes even as a gay plague is on the horizon. The fight is never over, whether for one or for all, and – as the play’s ending makes powerfully clear – there’s always a punch that you don’t see coming. “Members Only” runs at Los Angeles Theatre Center Oct. 25-Nov.18. For tickets and more information, visit thelatc.org.


Tongue firmly in cheek, ubiquitous actor Richard E. Grant describes his new LGBT film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” as “a buddy movie that goes from bar to bookstore to bar to bookstore to bar to courtroom.” Set in New York City in 1991, the movie stars Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, a celebrity biographer whose books have gone out of fashion. Unable to get an advance on her planned biography of Fanny Brice, and desperate to pay the rent, the lesbian author stumbles into a lucrative new career. She becomes a literary forger, writing and selling fake letters from Brice, Dorothy Parker, Noël Coward and other witty luminaries. Grant plays Jack Hock, Israel’s best (and only) friend who becomes her willing accomplice in the scheme, which ultimately collapses when Israel and Hock flood the memorabilia market. Not surprisingly, the actor sees the unlikely friendship between Israel and Hock in classic Hollywood terms. When he first read the screenplay, he immediately thought of Ratso (Dustin Hoffman) and Joe Buck (Jon Voight) from “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), the gritty homoerotic buddy movie directed by openly gay filmmaker John Schlesinger. Like the iconic buddies, Grant says Israel and Hock “are two people who shouldn’t have become friends. They’re in New York City, surrounded by incredible numbers of people, but they’re so isolated and lonely that they form this co-dependent relationship and they get involved in scams out of dire necessity.” Once he finished the script, which is based on Israel’s memoir of the same name, Grant tried to find out more about Jack Hock. “After I read the screenplay I hoped the memoir would provide incredible insight and detail about Jack Hock,” he says. “Well, being the ego-centric self-obsessed women that she was, there is scant detail about Jack in Lee’s book.” Grant did get the basic outline of Hock’s life from the book (and from Wikipedia) — “He’s gay. He’s a grifter. He’s HIV-positive. His friends have died of AIDS. He was from Portland. He was blond, tall and died in 1994 at the age of 47. He went to jail for two years for holding up a taxi driver at knifepoint arguing over a fare.” But, two key details helped the actor ground his approach to the character. Convinced that it would stop him from getting lung cancer, Hock used a short cigarette holder. “I took that as a key to his affection and how he saw himself,” Grant says. “I could see him clutching the cigarette holder and holding forth at bars.” Hock, it turns out, was quite successful at his work. “When Lee thought a forged letter was worth five hundred bucks,” Grant notes, “Jack would come back with two grand. From that I deduced that he really knew how work a scam and seduce or fool people with some kind of charm, even if he didn’t know who Fanny Brice was.” The final step in Grant’s artistic process was to find the right metaphor for the quirky relationship Hock and Israel. “I always think of characters in animal terms,” Grant says. “Lee is essentially a porcupine. She’s prickly, antisocial, difficult and you don’t want to mess with her at any point. Whereas Jack is essentially a kind of Labrador Retriever. He just assumes that he might go up to anybody and they’ll like him. When Jack Hock falls in with Lee Israel, they develop this very unusual love-hate relationship which seemed to me to be the core of the story. I think Lee and Jack come to truly need each other. She has no one and he has no one and yet suddenly these two intensely lonely people have each other.” Following his breakout performance in his first movie role as an unemployed and unemployable actor in “Withnail and I” (1987), Grant has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Some of his famous film performances include “Ready to Wear,” where the straight ally also played gay; “Gosford Park;” “Twelfth Night;” and “Logan,” where he played Dr. Zander Rice. He also wrote and directed “Wah-Wah,” an autobiographical movie about his childhood in Swaziland. On television, he has appeared in “Downton Abbey,” “Doctor Who” and “Girls” and starred as “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Later this month, he will be onscreen in Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Next year he can be seen in “Star Wars: Episode IX” and in the third and final season of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix with Neil Patrick Harris. Unfortunately, he is sworn to secrecy on his roles in both of those projects. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is in D.C.-area theaters now.

Grant’s gay grifter Actor offers queer update on Hollywood buddy movie in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Richard E. Grant and Melissa Mccarthy in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Photo by Mary Cybulski; courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures




Your voice has never mattered more than it does in this election. Photo courtesy LA County Registrar


Los Angeles March for Trans & GNC Rights is today at 4 p.m. at Pershing Square (532 S. Olive St.). From micro-aggressions to murder, to be trans, gender non-conforming, or non-binary is to walk into the mouth of violence every morning and hope not to be swallowed whole. People of all genders are called to march from Pershing Square to City Hall in recognition of the necessity for trans rights and protections. Our legislators will know that we are a generation that does not tolerate any form of assault –interpersonal or state sanctioned –against people for their gender expression. Join together in continuing the fight for the rights of our sisters, brothers and friends. For details, search” Los Angeles March for Trans & GNC Rights” on Facebook. Palm Springs Pride 2018: Youth Power for Change is today through Sun. Nov. 4 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at Arenas Rd. from Calle Encilia to Indian Canyon and Between Palm Canyon Dr. and N. Museum Dr. (in Palm Springs’ new downtown development space). This year Palm Springs welcomes the new generation as empowered youth are at the forefront of building a national movement that will shape public policy for generations. Celebrate a changing world and acknowledge that youth have always been on the frontlines from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. A large number of events are listed at pspride.org.


Grand Avenue Arts: All Access is today from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at more than 10 participating cultural institutions along Grand Avenue in DTLA. Los Angeles is a playground for arts and culture, and Grand Avenue is its epicenter. For the fourth year in a row, Grand Avenue Arts invites all to explore, be curious, pop in and choose their own adventures at locations such as The Broad (221 S. Grand Ave.) Los Angeles Public Library (630 W. 5th St.), Grand Park (200 N. Grand Ave. – featuring Dia de los Muertos altars and art!), MOCA (250 S. Grand Ave.), Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave.), and many others. All events are free and open to the public. For more information go to grandavearts.org. HRC Palm Springs Garden Party 2018 is today from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at a concealed private address. The Garden Party brings together more than 800

HRC members, friends, families and allies for an afternoon of celebration and inspiration featuring an open cocktail reception, thought-provoking speakers and special celebrity guests and honorees. During the most important election of your lifetime, this is a great opportunity to listen, learn and share as the community energizes the vote. For details, visit hrcpalmsprings.org.


2018 issue contest. The magazine hosts a networking party at the The Den On Sunset and will be announcing the winners and handing out proclamations. Come show your support, have a happy hour priced drink, and meet your neighbors and business owners. For details, visit wehoville.com.


Out of the Box: Rare or Unseen Photos is today from 2-5 p.m. at West Hollywood Library (625 N. San Vicente Blvd.). June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives is hosting a gallery which is exhibiting 50 or more rarely seen or unseen photos. These photos will be beautifully mounted on metal throughout the Werle Building in West Hollywood. Each photo will include a caption identifying its story. The Archives is inviting you to personally participate by bringing a photo of your own with a caption to donate to the archives. Be a part of the incredible history that the members are so passionate about preserving. The Archives encourages all lesbians to deposit the everyday mementos of your lives so that others can discover them in the future. Tickets are free at Eventbrite.com.

The November 8th Downtown Art Walk is today at 6 p.m. in DTLA. The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk takes place on the second Thursday of each month, in the galleries and artist studios of DTLA’s Historic Core. On Nov. 8, the Spring Arts Collective will host a Lounge inside The Last Bookstore (453 S. Spring), on the mezzanine level, and will be in their gallery from 6-9 p.m. to hand out maps and information on the open exhibitions in the area. The Spring Arts Collective is a great place to start your Art Walk, featuring five resident artist studios: Lovejoyart, Andrea Bogdan, Liz Huston Studio Shoppe, Dove Biscuit Studio at The Last Bookstore and FOLD Gallery. Additionally, yarn supply shop Gather DTLA also offers displays of textile-based art. For more information visit DowntownArtWalk.org, and for tour tickets visit Eventbrite.com.



YPC Presents: Election Night Mixer is today from 5-7 p.m. at Cal Mare (131 La Cienega Blvd.). It’s time to get out and VOTE in the midterms. Knock-off work a little early, cast your ballot and for hors d’ oeuvres and a hosted bar. Meet fellow Center supporters and watch the early returns among friends. Hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Young Professionals Council and the Beverly Center’s Cal Mare. All Center members and supporters welcome. Complimentary valet parking available on 3rd Street courtesy of the Beverly Center. Event is complimentary for Center members and their guests. Tickets are free at Eventbrite.com


WHM and WEHOville Best of WeHo 2018 release party is tonight from 7-9 p.m. at The Den On Sunset (8226 W Sunset Blvd.). Join West Hollywood Magazine (WHM) as it celebrates the winners of the “Best of WeHo”

Trans Unity Rally is today at 6:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Park (647 N San Vicente Blvd.). A rally in direct response to the Trump administration’s memo on Oct. 21, 2018 considering the narrow definition of gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX. According to the Mission Statement: “This rally is to focus on cultivating stronger allyships between our straight & LGB brothers & sisters as well as the transgender community itself. This is call to action to all communities we need to make a statement that we are here for our Trans Families.” For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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



Halloweenie was a blast at the Belasco Theater, raising more than $200,000 for the youth outreach programs of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

400,000 people descended on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood for 2018 Halloween Carnaval.

West Hollywood Mayor John Duran is radiant after crowning the queen of the Carnaval Alyssa Edwards.

Photo courtesy City of West Hollywood

Photo Duran’s Facebook

Standing – L-R:Chris Venhoff U.S. Bank Ella Janelle TCC Kit Parente TCC DeeAnn Hopings TCC Rob Woronoff Sanctuary Palm Springs Barbara Carpenter The L-Fund Matthew Schreiner U.S. Bank Doug Hairgrove Safe Schools Desert Cities David Powell Desert Business Association Ron deHarte Palm Springs Pride Gloria Kapp Safe Schools Desert Cities Troy Masters Los Angeles Blade Alexis Ortega LGBT Center of the Desert Kneeling – L-R: Sahara Huazano Eastern Coachella Valley Pride Miguel Navarro LGBT Center of the Desert Jillian Fowler U.S. Bank Hidden behind Jillian Angel Flores Eastern Coachella Valley Pride

In Palm Springs on Oct. 29, about 125 people were in attendance as Los Angeles Blade, the Desert Business Association and US Bank presented the Desert Visibility Awards. In this photo honoree Barbara Carpenter receives an award for her work with the L-Fund.

Photo by Michelle De Vita

Photo by Troy Masters

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