Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 36, November 9, 2018

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N O V E M B E R 0 9 2 0 1 8 • V O LU M E 0 2 • I S S U E 3 6 • 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



Anti-gay slur resurfaces at LA Football Club playoff game Crowd chants ‘puto’ despite warnings By CHRISTOPHER KANE The eight-month-old Los Angeles Football Club lost 3-2 in the Audi Major League Soccer Cup playoffs against Real Salt Lake in the Banc of California Stadium on Nov. 1. And unhappy LAFC fans didn’t keep their disappointment in check, chanting an antigay slur against the opposing team’s goalie, despite warnings from the LA franchise’s President and Owner Tom Penn and strong statements after previous outbursts. “Puto,” a Spanish word for male prostitute, is often used in Mexico as a pejorative slur against gay men. This summer, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) slapped Mexico with a $10,000 fine after fans of the country’s national football team shouted the insult from the stands during the June 17 World Cup Opener. The FIFA has been clamping down on the use of homophobic slurs. Tassal “Tass” Rushan, a FIFA European Champion from London who plays for Faze Clan, was banned from FIFA 19 competitive play after he used the slur “fag” in a YouTube video last June. “Due to where I’ve been brought

A screen shot of the LAFC game against Real Salt Lake shows the bullied goalie and a stadium sign against bullying.

up, the connotation of that word from my perspective until now, it was just another word for prick or idiot. Not even one per cent of me knew it had any type of derogatory connotation towards homosexuality at all,” he told EuroGamer.net.

During LAFC’s first home game against the Seattle Sounders on April 29, MLS Commissioner Dan Garber made a halftime announcement to warn fans who taunted Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei with the anti-gay slur. LAFC subsequently released

a statement saying that offenders will be removed from the stadium and their season memberships will be revoked if they are caught. LAFC fans then refrained from using the chant until the Nov. 1 playoffs. “The chant has no place in our City or Stadium and does not represent who we are as a Club,” reads a joint statement by LAFC and the 3252 Independent Supporters Union. “LAFC and The 3252 are committed to creating an inclusive, welcoming and safe experience at Banc of California Stadium for all fans.” Retired professional basketball player Jason Collins, who made history when he came out as gay in 2013, tweeted that he was “disgusted” by the “homophobic chanting” during the LAFC playoff game. But warnings from LAFC, MLS, and FIFA have so far failed to deter fans. The New York Times noted in June that FIFA gave referees the power to stop matches if fans continued using the chant, but those procedures were not enforced during Mexico’s June 17 World Cup Opener against Germany. LAFC’s official LGBT fan group emphasized action and enforcement over warnings and statements from franchise officials: “Videos, talking points, and ‘policies’ are not enough: the league must take decisive action in order to eradicate this chant permanently.”

Net neutrality’s fate uncertain following Supreme Court decision Roberts, Kavanaugh abstain from vote By CHRISTOPHER KANE The Supreme Court announced Nov. 5 that it will not hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld Obama-era Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules on net neutrality, which were rescinded after President Trump took office last year. Conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh abstained from the vote on whether to consider petitions from broadband companies to revisit that decision—which, if struck down by the Supreme Court, would have cemented into law the Trump administration’s shift away

from net neutrality. Among those regulations enacted by the FCC in 2015 are restrictions that prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down or blocking access to content of their choosing or implementing additional charges for video services like Netflix in exchange for more efficient access to consumers. In broad terms, net neutrality is a concept that holds that ISPs cannot discriminate—in terms of access or cost—by user, website, platform, or application. All data must be treated equally by the telecom companies that created and own the internet infrastructure. Civil rights groups consider the abrogation of those FCC guidelines a possible threat to open access for marginalized communities. LGBT people often rely on the internet for affirming messages and information about

their communities—resources that can help protect young people who are bullied or otherwise encounter rejection. “We wouldn’t accept AT&T and Verizon controlling whom we called and what we said on the phone. Accordingly, they cannot be permitted such control over internet content, accessibility and speed. But in the absence of net neutrality, it could happen. Such a reality would be a nightmare, particularly for LGBTQ people,” Lambda Legal’s Digital Content Manager Juliana Vanderlee said last year. “Stripping away net neutrality is the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to silence voices of already marginalized communities and render us invisible,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD in 2017. “The internet is a lifeline for

LGBTQ people to build community support networks and access LGBTQ resources on history, suicide prevention, and health— allowing broadband providers to regulate access is a direct and unconscionable attack on freedom of expression.” Meanwhile, the Justice Department agreed on Oct. 28 to stand down on its lawsuit, filed against the state of California, over a measure signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that offered some of the strictest protections for net neutrality. In exchange, California must agree to delay enforcement actions until Jan. 1, 2019. Further complicating matters: if Democrats take over the House, lawmakers are likely to attempt to reinstate the Obamaera FCC guidelines—efforts Trump would be expected to veto.



What’s next after Democratic House victory? Bisexual Katie Hill defeats anti-LGBT Rep. Steve Knight By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com LGBT ally Steve Schmidt, the former Republican strategist turned political pundit, repeatedly cautions that President Donald Trump, whom he calls the “greatest demagogue” in U.S. history, is inciting a “cold civil war.” “Trump has stoked a cold civil war in this country. His rallies brim with menace and he has labeled journalists as enemies of the people,” Schmidt tweeted after a lone-wolf mass mail-bomb assassination attempt against Trump’s Democratic hit list was uncovered. “That someone would seek to kill their political enemies is not aberrational but rather the inevitable consequence of Trumps [sic] incitement.” That was when Republicans held the White House, the Senate, the House and the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court and the administration had no qualms in publicly rolling back protections for LGBT people. In fact, after the New York Times announced that “Transgender Could be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump,” the LGBT community and many allies responded with outrage, becoming deeply invested in winning back the House of Representatives during the Nov. 6 midterm elections, while realizing that the Senate may stay in Republican hands. Despite hard work and millions of dollars—the Human Rights Campaign alone invested $26 million in a massive grassroots campaign deploying 150 HRC staff to more than 70 congressional, targeted Senate and key statewide races across 23 states— the dreamed- about massive big blue wave didn’t materialize and many of the progressive leaders that LGBT and ally supporters hoped would win big to stick it to Donald Trump either lost or were artificially deprived of winning. There were big wins, however—including out bisexual Katie Hill, 31, who won in California’s 25th District against longtime anti-LGBT Rep. Steve Knight in Northern Los Angeles County and part of Ventura. Hill was leading by roughly 5,500 votes, or 52.2 percent just past noon on Wednesday—and

Katie Hill Photo courtesy Equality California

Knight decided to concede. “The voters have spoken and they want a new congressman — or a congresswoman, for this district,” Knight told KCBSTV. “We wish her the best.” She’ll need it. At a Nov. 7 news conference in the East Room of the White House, Trump took a victory lap for personally having staved off the Democrat’s Big Blue Wave and weirdly praised House Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to take back the gavel as House Speaker, promising to work with her on “a beautiful bipartisan-type situation.” He’s promised bipartisanship before—then bailed, most notably with California senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was just handily re-elected, on the issue of gun violence. But Trump also threw down the gauntlet, promising to assume a Game of Throneslike “warlike posture” if the House dares investigate him or his administration. “They can play that game, but we can play it better, because we have a thing called the

United States Senate,” Trump said, referring to the Republican Senate which just gained two seats but is actually a separate branch of government run by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I could see it being extremely good for me politically because I think I’m better at that game than they are, actually, but we’ll find out.” For her part, Pelosi told Democrats at their victory party that the House would focus on “restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration,” as opposed to immediately following up on LGBT fan favorite Rep. Maxine Water’s repeated calls for Trump’s impeachment. LGBT ally Rep. Adam Schiff of Los Angeles, meanwhile, must most feel the burden of the sane free world on his shoulders as he considers assuming the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He told his supporters at a Burbank restaurant on Election Night, that the era of one-party rule

is over. It’s a message he’s been pushing while campaigning for others. “We’ve had a Congress completely unwilling to do its job, to be a co-equal branch of government, unwilling to push back against the basic indecency of this person in the Oval Office,” Schiff at a rally for Katie Hill, the Los Angeles Times reported. “And it is this combination of unethical president and a cowardly, rubber-stamp Congress that has our republic trembling, and why so much rides on our ability to flip the House.” Now flipped, Schiff is expected to investigate Trump’s finances, Trump’s campaign and the administration’s possible links to Russia, intentionally ignored by his Republican counterpart, California Rep. Devin Nunes, who was also just re-elected Continues on Page 06


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Democrats retake House in dramatic fashion, now what? Continued from Page 04

after a briefly close race. “As long as Donald Trump is the president, it will be a poisonous atmosphere because he’s all about division. Nonetheless, we need to do our best in Congress to get the people’s business done. We need to show that we are more than just being about being opposed to him. We are not going to abuse our power the way the Republicans did. We are going to be responsible and tenacious in pursuit of our policy,” Schiff said. House Republicans have trouble brewing in-house, according to The Hill. With Speaker Paul Ryan retiring, the race is on to become the next leader of the House GOP. California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, often seen glued to Trump, has been widely expected to assume the mantle of House minority leader. But shortly after Democrats had re-taken control, far right conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio announced that he intends to challenge McCarthy. “In 2016, the American people elected Republicans to come here and change this town. I think the president is doing just that, but I don’t think they see the same intensity from folks in Congress, folks in the House of Representatives,” Jordan told Hill TV. “Have we replaced ObamaCare yet? Have we secured the border yet? Have we reformed welfare yet? No.” Jordan promised rigorous debate with the Democrats, as opposed to a possible bipartisanship approach Trump mentioned in his remarks. “Now that we’re in the minority, that’s about all what we can do is debate, but fight hard in the debate for the principles, for the things that we know the American people sent us here to do in 2016. Show them that we deserve to be back in power in 2020,” he said. One of those fights is expected to be with the Justice Department over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into what US intelligence agencies have called interference by Russian operatives in the 2016 election. Trump calls the investigation a “witch hunt.” Jordan, co-founder of the proudly anti-LGBT disruptive conservative House Freedom Caucus, will no doubt engage his Freedom Caucus co-founder, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Meadows has introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney

Rep. Adam Schiff Photo by Karen Ocamb

General Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing the Mueller probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. All of this came before Sessions resigned Wednesday—at Trump’s request. Trump has often slammed Sessions since the recusal, suggesting he would fire the Attorney General—the first member of Congress to endorse Trump—right after the midterms. Promise made, promise kept. Schiff and the Democratic House leadership can now shift their thinking to the multitude of possible clashes that may come in the approaching lame duck session of Congress. Another check on Trump’s power will surely come from the 113 newly elected women, including 28 first-time House members, many who ran inspired by the resistance movement such as Democratic activist Alexandria OcasioCortez, 29, of New York, the youngest member of Congress, now Hill, 31, and Sharice Davids, a lesbian Kansas Democrat and member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.. Both the Human Rights Campaign and Equality California raised massive amounts of money and inspired and organized thousands of volunteers. They targeted California races to not only flip the House to Democrats but also ensure solid pro-equality

victories up and down the ballot in California. “CNN’s exit polling had LGBT voters at 6% of the turnout and voting 82 percent for Democrats / 17 percent for Republicans. Re turnout: with 113 million voters overall, that’s roughly 6.8 million LGBT voters that turned out nationally. Since mail ballots are still being counted, it looks like LGBT voter turnout was at or above the turnout recorded in 2016 exits (7 million). While exit polling can be fickle, it’s impressive that LGBTQ turnout in the midterms matched a presidential cycle,” Olivia Alair Dalton, HRC’s Sr. Vice President of Communications & Marketing, told the Los Angeles Blade. We do not yet know the percentage of turnout from the LGBT community in California or Los Angeles. However, gauging by the levels of enthusiasm in each of the campaigns, social media and just walking down the street in West Hollywood, the engagement was very high. Not enough, however, to pass AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Prop 10, which would have returned rent control regulation to municipalities instead of developers and landlords. What will happen now, after the perceived losses in such key progressive races such as Beto O’Rourke in Texas to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, and Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams running to be the first AfricanAmerican governors of Florida and Georgia,

respectively? It is unclear if those races will be subject to recount or will face a legal challenge because of voting irregularities— but the immediate reaction has been one of deep disappointment in the progressive community, even with the historic “rainbow wave” and election of so many women. “While the outcome of yesterday’s midterm elections did not result in securing a safer and more just future for all, it did go a long way toward that goal,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Executive Director Kate Kendell in a statement. “More young people and women showed up to vote and more women and LGBTQ candidates won. We may yet save our nation and repair a U.S. Constitution in tatters. “At NCLR we will do our part, fighting in court and engaging these elected officials to demand that our community, especially the most vulnerable, are free to live their lives fully, safely and with full dignity,” she concluded. In statewide elections, the view was a bit more optimistic. Longtime LGBT ally Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, best known for helping start the nationwide opposition to then-President George W. Bush’s push for a federal constitutional amendment to ban

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same sex marriage, handily won his race to replace longtime ally Gov. Jerry Brown as California’s next governor. Equality California-endorsed candidate Eleni Kounalakis won a spirited race to become the next lieutenant governor. Less clear, is whether gay California Sen. Ricardo Lara won his race against Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner for Insurance Commissioner. Poizner was a high hope for Republicans who don’t much like Trump but like oldfashioned Republican policies, which Poizner espoused through coded campaign commercials. Lara seemed to rely less on earned media than on other means to reach voters, especially reaching out to the undermedia-served Latino community. While Poizner used to be Insurance Commissioner, he has not be visible for years. Lara, in the meantime, has not only been visible as a State Senator, but has taken on issues such as protecting undocumented immigrants, including LGBT people seeking asylum, and opposing efforts to bring back so-called “conversion therapy. Lara told the Los Angeles Blade that he would, in fact, look at such efforts as “consumer fraud” under his jurisdiction, if elected Insurance Commissioner. If his election is certified, Lara will make history as California’s first openly LGBT statewide official. As of Wednesday morning, he was leading by more than 105,000 votes. “With millions of ballots left to be counted across the state, it is already clear that Californians sent a clear message to Washington, rejecting the politics of fear and division, and electing leaders who will work to unite us and fight for full equality,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said. “The LGBTQ community has much to celebrate this 9Wednesday/Nov. 70) morning — with openly LGBTQ and proequality candidates making history across the country last night, a new pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and a historic number of women elected to the House, too. We congratulate and look forward to working with Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor-elect Eleni Kounalakis and pro-equality leaders in the Legislature and new Congress to continue making progress toward a world

HRC President Chad Griffin with Harley Rouda volunteers Photo courtesy HRCu

that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.” Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, took these midterms seriously, campaigning as if this was a presidential election. The organization ran a $650,000 voter engagement and get-out-the vote program that included a direct mail campaign reaching approximately 740,000 voters — including targeted mail supporting Lara and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond’s campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. He appears to be losing to an even better-funded campaign by charter schools enthusiast, Marshall Tucker. Equality California also vigorously supported eight pro-equality candidates for the California Legislature and pushed out robo-calls to approximately 520,000 voters supporting Lara, nine pro-equality Congressional candidates, 14 pro-equality state legislative candidates and 12 openly LGBT local candidates. Right now, HRC and Equality Californiasupported candidates Harley Rouda (CA48) and Mike Levin (CA-49) lead their antiLGBT opponents by slim margins, with the races still too close to call. The other proequality Congressional candidates the LGBT worked hard to elect—Josh Harder (CA-10),

Gil Cisneros (CA-39) and Katie Porter (CA45)—are currently trailing their anti-LGBT opponents but the numbers can easily change as the thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots are counted in each race in the next week or two. Equality California says that they partnered with NextGen America and the California Labor Federation to target the Hill, Cisneros, Porter and Rouda campaigns in what have been considered new swing districts. They knocked on 7,200 doors and contacted more than 123,000 voters through live phone calls and peer-to-peer text messaging, EQCA says in a press release. “Other priority races for Equality California included the contest to become California’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction and the effort to reelect Legislative LGBT Caucus Member Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes,” EQCA says. “Equality California-endorsed candidate Assemblymember Tony Thurmond currently trails Marshall Tuck by a slim margin in the Superintendent’s race, while Cervantes leads her challenger Bill Essayli by three votes. Equality California also strongly supported openly LGBTQ legislative candidates Joy Silver (SD-28), Jovanka Beckles (AD-15) and Sunday Gover (AD-77), who ran strong races and are

currently trailing their opponents in races too close to call.” One heartbreaking loss is that of Ammar Campa-Najjar to indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. in Orange County’s 50th District. While the race seemed like a long shot from the beginning, there were moments when he broke through and actually ran neck-and-neck, ahead or within the margin of error. History may look back and question whether Trump’s angry, fearful and inaccurate closing argument at campaign rallies about the supposed caravan of diseased and crime-filled immigrants (mostly women and children) who want to “invade” the southern border might have had an impact, as well as Hunter’s disgusting racist and unethical campaign ads implying Campa-Najjar, a devout Christian, was a foreign terrorist. As of Nov. 7, Hunter has 54.33% of the vote to Campa-Najjar’s 45.67%. “The days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over, and the American people will not stand for lawmakers who try to drum up votes by trafficking in hate,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Thanks to millions of Americans who stood up and fought back, we have succeeded in restoring a sane, pro-equality majority to the House and placing a check on this administration’s hateful agenda.”



Great expectations as Democrats win back House Pelosi says Equality Act will be a ‘top priority’ By CHRIS JOHNSON After a disappointing election night in 2016 and two years of President Trump in the White House, Democrats came back with an important win Tuesday night and were projected to win control of the U.S. House — a victory celebrated by LGBT rights supporters eager to thwart the administration and advance equality measures. NBC News and Fox News declared at late Tuesday night Democrats would win enough seats on Election Day to take control of the House, marking the first time since 2008 Democrats won a majority of seats in the chamber. Democrats needed a net gain of 23 seats to win control of the House, but the early call means they could win significantly more as the night progresses. Meanwhile, CNN declared the Senate would remain in Republicans hands after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) declared the winner against a Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Despite an expected “blue” wave, political observers expected Republicans to retain control of the Senate. Topping the list for what LGBT rights supporters were expecting from the House with Democrats in control was oversight of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies and advancement of the Equality Act. Sarah McBride, a transgender advocate and spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, identified the Equality Act as a top priority with Democrats finally in control of the House. “Voters across the country have helped to pull the emergency brake on the hateful agenda of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and with a pro-equality majority in the U.S. House and pro-equality leadership in the U.S. Senate, we’re hopeful that we can see the Equality Act pass through the chamber this Congress,” McBride said. “That would send an important message that the U.S. House of Representatives believes that LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination throughout daily life.” Although the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to bar anti-LGBT discrimination, is unlikely to become law if Democrats control only one

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled the Equality Act will be a ‘top priority’ with Democrats winning the House. Blade photo by Michael Key

chamber of Congress and President Trump is in the White House, McBride said movement in one chamber would be beneficial. “It would help build momentum for us to pass the Equality Act and have it signed into law by a pro-equality president when a pro-equality president is elected into office in 2020,” McBride said. “It would help to build momentum for state legislatures and more city councils to pass inclusive nondiscrimination protections.” Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said legislation to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in Congress has languished for decades and the time has come for action. “Given that so many LGBTQ people and their families face discrimination in multiple areas of their lives, it is well past time for a federal bill to provide protections, so we will certainly continue working with members of the House to pass federal legislation, to push for passage of the Equality Act and ensure that our community members are finally protected,” Carey said. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled the Equality Act would be a personal priority and she’d assign the legislation a low bill number between 1 and 10 designating the legislation a top priority with Democrats in control of the House.

In terms of the expected timing from LGBT advocates for movement on the Equality Act, the general consensus was as soon as possible, although no specific timeframe was offered. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the Equality Act the “centerpiece bill” for the LGBT community and said timing for movement should be “sooner rather than later,” but didn’t offer a specific deadline. Asked when she expects to see movement from the House on the Equality Act, Carey replied, “Yesterday.” “We will continue to push for the Equality Act very early on in this next session,” Carey said. “It is past time. We’ve been having this conversation for decades starting really in the 1970s when the first piece of legislation was introduced, but certainly into ENDA, and now the full Equality Act. But it is just well past time for our community to have protections.” But oversight of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies — such as the transgender military ban, efforts to define laws against sex discrimination to exclude LGBT people and “religious freedom” laws that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination — was also high on the list of priorities for LGBT rights supporters. Keisling said oversight and accountability

of the Trump administration are “by far the most important things” in the next Congress. “Finally, somebody will be holding President Trump accountable for all his lawless actions,” Keisling said. “So when the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education says it will no longer enforce federal civil rights laws, somebody can hold them accountable. Somebody can hold hearings, somebody can subpoena their records to find out why they’re doing.” Carey expressed a similar sentiment about the importance of congressional oversight under the Trump administration. “We’re expecting them to step up,” Carey said. “They should be using their authority to conduct hearings and investigations to stand up for the American people to ensure that this administration is held accountable. We have an unprecedented lack of transparency, corruption and selfserving actions from this administration, so we expect the House to step up and stand by the American people.” Carey also said her organization will stand with the House in efforts to preserve the Affordable Care Act, including protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and efforts to use religious freedom “to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others.” The Equality Act wasn’t the only piece of legislation important to LGBT rights supporters. Other bills not as high profile but still important to LGBT people were also mentioned. For the transgender community, Keisling identified the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in adoption, and the Screening with Dignity Act, which would enhance policies at the Transportation Security Administration for transgender passengers. Carey said she wants to see companion legislation in the House for the Census Equality Act, which would add questions to the U.S. Census allowing respondents to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, a version of the legislation introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) remains pending in the Senate. “We know that when our community isn’t counted through the U.S. Census and other federal surveys that it means that valuable and much-needed programming in federal funding is not directed to the needs of our community,” Carey said.


“We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.”

– Statement from 56 major companies against a reported Trump administration plan to eliminate transgender protections under federal law, via Washington Blade.

“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”

- 21st Century Fox-owned news network said after star Sean Hannity appeared with President Trump onstage in Missouri and called the media “fake news.”

“My mum is going to be very proud.”

– Idris Elba on being named People Magazine’s 2018 Sexist Man Alive, to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, Nov. 5.

#BeEpicEndAIDS #Dance2Cure

To Benefit amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research


When British bisexual Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS on Nov. 24, 1991, Republican right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh noted the occasion by playing a snippet of “Another One Bites the Dust.” It’s been 27 years, but Mercury may be having his cultural revenge. The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek as the legendary frontman came out as a box-office champion with a $50 million launch in North America—“the second-biggest start of all time for a music biopic behind 2015’s Straight Outta Compton ($60.2 million), even when adjusted for inflation,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. Perhaps a bigger welcome surprise is the opening weekend for “Boy Erased,” the based-on-real-life story of gay author Garrard Conley’s struggles with so-called “conversion therapy.” The story from actor/director Joel Edgerton starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe, topped the releases for limited specialty films. It’s about to go into wider release in 75 theaters and 25 markets. “Boy Erased made its mark with audiences this weekend. It’s a very emotional time in America and audiences seem to be seeing and hearing the urgency in this story, in large part because it’s a true story that actually happened to this young gay man, sadly not that long ago,” Focus Features president of distribution Lisa Bunnell told the Los Angeles Blade. “And we’re seeing really diverse audiences coming out to see this film – male/ female, old/young, LGBTQ/straight – it’s not the typical arthouse audience, but we were thrilled to see that core older female audience responding with 95% in the top two boxes and a 85% definite recommend. It’s a film that we hope families will continue to go see because it shows people that we have to go beyond tolerance and into acceptance.” - Karen Ocamb

Nicole Kidman at the LA premiere of ‘Boy Erased.’ Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

On Saturday, December 1 – World AIDS Day – amfAR will launch its inaugural Dance2Cure challenge with a festive kickoff event. The evening will feature a DJ, performances, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres. You don’t want to miss it! Special appearances by: Dance2Cure Creative Director Frank Gatson Dance2Cure Choreographers Tricia Miranda and Jason Samuels Smith To purchase tickets visit:




Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has become the first openly gay person to win election as governor. Blade file photo by Michael Key

Polis becomes first out gay person to win election as guv The LGBT community achieved a major first on Tuesday night when Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) became the first openly gay person to win election as a governor in the United States. NBC News declared Polis, a Democrat and five-term member of Congress, the winner over his Republican opponent in the Colorado gubernatorial race, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, shortly after polls closed in Colorado at 7 p.m. local time. In addition to being the first openly gay person elected governor, Polis — who’s in a relationship with Marlon Reis — is the first person in a same-sex relationship to be elected governor in the United States. The couple is raising two young children. Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement LGBT people “have dreamed of the moment when voters would overcome tired stereotypes and elect an openly gay man who stands proudly with his partner and family – and this is that moment.” “Colorado has undergone a transformation that parallels the changing attitudes in the country at large,” Parker added. “In just 25 years, Colorado went from being labeled a ‘hate state’ for its anti-LGBTQ voter-approved ballot initiative to becoming the first state in the nation to elect an openly gay governor. This is the evolution we will fight for in states all throughout the country – both red and blue – because we know voters are ready to support authentic, values-driven LGBTQ candidates who speak to the issues that matter most. Jared shattered a lavender ceiling in Colorado, but its effect will extend well beyond the state’s borders.” In Oregon, bisexual Gov. Kate Brown was re-elected, capturing 49.6 percent of the vote compared to Knute Buehler’s (R) 44.4 percent. CHRIS JOHNSON

but equally important political lesson,” Parker added. “It proves that an out LGBTQ candidate who unapologetically uses their political power to fight for equality can be reelected statewide in the era of Trump, even in a state that Trump won.” Initially, observers thought the Senate race in Wisconsin, which President Trump won marginally in 2016, would be among the most competitive contests in the country. Political organizations connected to the Koch brothers spent millions in the race in an effort to defeat Baldwin and ran vicious attack ads against her. But as Election Day approached, voters seem unmoved by the attacks and Baldwin seemed increasingly secure in her seat. With a couple of exceptions, polls showed her leading Vukmir by double digits. With Vukmir floundering, the Republican resorted to Trump-esque tactics to smear Baldwin. One TV ad declared Baldwin belonged to “Team Terrorist” and Vukmir in a tweet referred to Baldwin as “Princess Painkiller.” (Vukmir made the insult even though Baldwin’s mother has had a history of battling prescription drug addiction.) Baldwin’s victory on Tuesday night was the ultimate repudiation of those attacks. Vukmir had an anti-LGBT reputation as a member of the Wisconsin Senate. Her record includes support for a 2006 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and opposition to an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying measure. Anti-LGBT groups supported Vukmir in her campaign for the Senate and held a fundraiser for her in D.C. In contrast, Baldwin, the first out lesbian elected to Congress, has had a longtime record of support for the LGBT community in her previous role as a member of the U.S. House and in her current role as U.S. senator. As a U.S. House member, Baldwin helped guide toward passage the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. After winning election to the U.S. Senate, Baldwin was instrumental in helping push through the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act. Aside from legislation, Baldwin has spoken out both during the Obama and Trump administration on LGBT health issues such as the gay blood ban as well as issues affecting LGBT youth and seniors. CHRIS JOHNSON

Homophobe Kim Davis ousted in Kentucky The Kentucky clerk who became notorious for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex marriage has lost her bid for re-election as Rowan County Clerk, according to multiple media reports. According to the Associated Press, Elwood Caudill, the Democratic challenger who sought to unseat Davis, claimed 54.1 percent of the vote compared to the 45.9 percent won by Davis. The Associated Press declared Caudill the winner about an hour after polls closed in Kentucky at 7 p.m. Davis’ refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was a nationwide sideshow. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Davis shut down operations at her Rowan County office entirely with respect to marriage licenses. Six couples that were denied licenses sued her. Despite court rulings against her, Davis refused to issue marriage licenses, was found in contempt of court and was sentenced to five days in jail. CHRIS JOHNSON

N.H. sends Pappas to Congress, 2 trans women to state House Baldwin wins contentious bid for re-election Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) won re-election Tuesday night to her seat representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, becoming the first out lesbian and openly LGBT person to win re-election to the upper chamber of Congress. CBS News declared Baldwin, a Democrat, the winner over her Republican opponent, State Sen. Leah Vukmir, shortly after polls closed in Wisconsin at 8 p.m. local time. Baldwin won 55.4 percent of the vote compared to 44.6 for Vukmir. Meanwhile, in Arizona, bisexual Rep. Krysten Sinema fell narrowly short in her bid for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Flake. As of Wednesday morning, her opponent, Martha McSally, led with 49.3 percent of the vote to Sinema’s 48.4 percent. Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement Baldwin’s re-election was among the LGBT community’s highest priorities and her victory on election night is “phenomenal.” “Six years ago, Senator Baldwin became a historic first and redefined what is possible for an LGBTQ candidate seeking a career in public service, and tonight’s victory provides a different

Democrat Chris Pappas on Tuesday defeated Republican Eddie Edwards in the race to succeed retiring New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Pappas defeated Edwards by a 53-45 percent margin with 92 percent of precincts reporting in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Pappas, a member of New Hampshire’s Executive Council whose family owns a restaurant in Manchester, the state’s largest city, will be the first openly gay member of Congress from the Granite State. Also in New Hampshire, two transgender women were elected to the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. Gerri Cannon finished second in the Stafford County District 18, which includes the city of Somersworth, with 21 percent of the vote. Lisa Bunker will represent Rockingham County District 18, which includes the city of Exeter. Cannon and Bunker will join Virginia state Del. Danica Roem as the only openly trans members of any state legislature in the country once they take office in January. MICHAEL K. LAVERS


Hallquist falls short in Vt. governor’s race Christine Hallquist on Tuesday fell short in her bid to become the country’s first openly transgender governor. Hallquist, who is the former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, lost to incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott by a 55-40 percent margin. Hallquist is the first openly trans person in the U.S. to obtain a major party’s nomination in a gubernatorial race. Virginia state Del. Danica Roem, who is the first openly trans person seated in a state legislature, is among those who campaigned for Hallquist. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Davids, lesbian former MMA fighter, wins in Kansas A lesbian attorney in Kansas who formerly was a mixed martial arts fighter has won election to the U.S. House, setting her up to become one of the first female Native Americans to serve in Congress. MSNBC declared Davids, a Democrat, won over Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas), a Trump ally, at 8 p.m. local time. In addition to being a former mixed martial arts fighter, Davids earned her law degree from Cornell University and worked as a White House Fellow during the Obama-Trump transition. Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said Kansas voters “gave the boot to a Trump ally and replaced him with a groundbreaking LGBTQ leader who spoke her truth throughout the campaign.” “Sharice won the hearts of voters by putting forward a positive and solutions-oriented agenda while explaining how her experiences as a Native American LGBTQ woman influenced


her policy positions and beliefs,” Parker said. “When she earned her law school degree from Cornell, she passed on high-paying corporate jobs and instead worked on economic development issues, and went to live and work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This authenticity and commitment to public service resonated with Kansans and will also resonate with lawmakers on Capitol Hill during this next session, when Sharice and other LGBTQ members of Congress will push for legislation that advances equality.” Davids is one of two candidates running for Congress in 2018 who have become the first female Native Americans elected to the House. The other was Deb Haaland, who won in New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. CHRIS JOHNSON

Shalala to succeed Ros-Lehtinen in Florida Democrat Donna Shalala on Tuesday defeated Republican María Elvira Salazar in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Shalala defeated Salazar by a 52-46 percent margin. Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary during the Clinton administration who was president of the University of Miami from 2001-2015, in August defeated openly gay state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) in the Democratic primary in Florida’s 27th congressional district. Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and has a transgender son, is among Congress’ most vocal supporters of LGBT rights. Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement in 2017. MICHAEL K. LAVERS



Proud to be a transgender business owner Pollo West Corp. is proof that success comes when all are treated with dignity

Michaela Mendelsohn is CEO of the Pollo West Corp.

I am the leader of a franchise small business, and I am a transgender woman. For the past 30 years, I have been an El Pollo Loco franchise owner, and I serve as the CEO of Pollo West Corp., a multi-unit franchise in Southern California. Pollo West Corp. operates six restaurant locations, and we employ 175 people across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. In my role, it is my top priority to grow a business that is respectful and inclusive of all my employees and customers, not in spite of their gender identity, but because of it. The business world and the transgender community intersect in important and challenging ways. In the United States, transgender people face unemployment at a rate two to three times higher than the national average. Forty-seven percent of transgender people are fired, not hired, or denied a promotion due to their gender identity, and of those who are employed, 90 percent report being harassed or discriminated against at their workplaces. These statistics are humbling, and they’re why I’m called to speak out, advocate for transgender people entering into business environments, and continue to lead to make my business diverse and inclusive. Our success in creating a business that is diverse, respectful of difference, and

inclusive of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals is due in large part to the franchise model itself. Franchising places the recognition and responsibility of a larger brand into the hands of entrepreneurs like me to create, shape, and grow a small business. The franchise model drives the creation of small business opportunities, and it allows owners and operators to make the important decisions to pursue hiring that suits the needs of the business and expands opportunity for workers. In the areas where we operate, we know that franchising is an engine for business development and employment. In Ventura County alone, the franchise sector employs more than 18,000 people and contributes over $1.1 billion to GDP. I’ve implemented best practices at Pollo West Corp. – from hiring, to training, to management – to achieve our goal of a diverse and thriving workplace. I require management to complete “sensitivity training,” known in our business as “demystifying the workforce.” We hire consultants to conduct in-person training that includes role-playing as a way for everyone to learn what it is like to “walk in another’s shoes,” specifically including those of a transgender person. This training is integral in creating a business culture that encourages openness and respect for all my employees. Hiring and integrating transgender employees is a win on both humanitarian and business levels. We decided to take this success and create an organization called TransCanWork.org, which could help businesses succeed in hiring transgender and gender non-conforming individuals into their organizations. We are encouraged by the widespread national interest in our program. Policy implementation is not enough. At TransCanWork we are about changing corporate culture. The results have been encouraging. The steps that I have taken to create an environment of respect and diversity directly impact the face of our business – our employees and management. We see that when we promote the dignity of all people,

we are lifting livelihoods and opening doors to transgender individuals who might not otherwise have those opportunities. Over a five-year period, we have hired more than 40 transgender people. Of those, 25 percent have risen to management positions. They are hardworking, ambitious employees, and they have flourished in their professional lives due to a safe and respectful workplace. Sales and revenue at Pollo West Corp. have improved alongside our increasingly welcoming environment. We started in 1988 with one El Pollo Loco location, at the corner of Venice Blvd. and Western Ave. in Los Angeles. From there, my company has owned and operated 17 restaurants, some of which we’ve since sold. This growth and success shouldn’t be limited to my business. Every business, from a restaurant to a bank to a law firm or repair shop can benefit from increased diversity and an openness to employees and customers of all backgrounds. There are 1.4 million transgender adults living in the United States. If our hope is to live in a safe, peaceful, and respectful society, we must work together in Washington, D.C., and in statehouses across the country to ensure that laws are enacted to protect transgender people, and that small businesses like mine are given the tools and freedom they need to grow and succeed. My franchised business has empowered transgender people, and created opportunities open to all. I am proud to be a transgender woman, and a transgender leader of a company that is affording business opportunities to the trans community. All of my employees, and my transgender employees in particular, are able to look and see that you can be transgender, and you can succeed at the highest levels in a franchise small business like mine. The Pollo West Corp. story is evidence of success in the franchise business model, of advancement in the workplace when all people are treated with dignity and respect, and how franchised businesses must be free to grow their businesses with tools that uplift all people.

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Looking to 2020 Democrats need coherent message, younger candidates to win

PETER ROSENSTEIN is a LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

The midterm elections are finally over and people can begin to breathe again. The results are as many anticipated, the Republicans held on to the Senate and Democrats took the House. Not what I hoped for but half a loaf is better than nothing and seeing so many more women elected is something to cheer for. What Democrats need to do now is show the electorate what they will do if they retake the Senate and the White House in 2020. We

will need a national platform to run on and it has to be able to be delineated in a few short sentences. It is clear the electorate is still divided and we still have a disgusting despot in the White House, a man who sees good in white nationalists and Nazis. One whose ex-wife once said he had a book containing the speeches of Hitler in his nightstand. So there is a complicated dance about to play out in the Congress. Democrats need to cobble together legislation on infrastructure, immigration, taxes and gun control as well as some fixes to the ACA, pass those bills and send them to the Senate. If they die a slow death there at least Democrats will be able to say in 2020 “If you elect us and give us the entire Congress and the White House this is what you can expect.” The question for some Democrats is can we move beyond the call for impeachment? Can we focus instead on oversight of federal agencies and hold to account the sleaze that Trump has brought into the administration to run his agencies? That kind of action makes sense. We have to do it smartly not with rafts of subpoenas but with intelligence. The Democrats have a good lineup as chairs of each committee. My choice for speaker is Nancy Pelosi. While there is some

discussion and concern about her age and representing the past, there is not another man or woman in the House today that is being spoken of as a serious alternative. Pelosi has proven she is a brilliant strategist. But I would like to see Pelosi take the position and immediately begin to develop a young leadership team that is diverse and strong and look to handing over the speakership to one of them in 2020 when she will turn 80. Feel free to call me ageist. While not having chosen a candidate I will support in 2020 my choice is a ticket with candidates under 70. All we have to do is look at our history of winning the White House to see it replete with young vibrant candidates: Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama. The search for the next candidate officially begins now. We must as a party ensure a fair hearing for women and minorities in the mix of candidates we choose from during the primary season. My desire for a younger leader on the ticket means I don’t want to see Biden, Sanders, Kerry, Clinton or Warren on it. It is time Democratic elders use their experience, wisdom, and fundraising prowess to help the next generation. When we win, the next Democratic president should definitely consider them for Cabinet positions, ambassadors and use them as advisers; but it

is time for them to step off center stage. If we want to continue to generate interest among millennials and those who have sat out previous elections we need to find the candidate that with their knowledge and campaigning ability excites the electorate. I have no doubt we will find that person in the next year and a half as they are forged by getting through a tough primary campaign. After his close loss to Cruz in Texas, Beto O’Rourke must be in the mix. The criteria for a Democratic primary candidate must be that they are a registered Democrat. There will be candidates who campaign on a more moderate platform and others on a more progressive one. Some will think the way to go is to promise things that can’t be accomplished. It will be important the candidate is someone who clearly understands our government works on compromise. That we can and should have lofty goals but also understand it often takes one step at a time to reach them. As President Obama has said, “Better is good.” My belief is that candidates like Stacey Abrams in Georgia (whose race is still to be decided as I write this) and Andrew Gillum in Florida, who lost, represent our winning candidates in the future — candidates who can expand the electorate.


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LISA VANDERPUMP Philanthropist, Businesswoman, TV Personality and Advocate

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Just Jake Former Scissors Sisters frontman on his book, tour, album and gay life in the Big Easy By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO

Jake Shears needed some time to find his footing. “After more than a decade as one of pop music’s most cocksure and buoyant frontmen,” his press bio says, “Shears suddenly found himself alone and adrift a few years ago, nursing a broken heart and staring down an uncertain future.” Since the early 2000s, Shears had anchored Scissor Sisters, the glam-pop band known for hits like “Filthy/Gorgeous,” “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin,’” “Fire with Fire” and “Let’s Have a Kiki.” They went on indefinite hiatus after the 2012 album “Magic Hour” but it took some time for Shears, who found himself single in 2015 after the demise of a decade-plus relationship, to figure out what was next. After relocating to New Orleans in search of inspiration, he’s come roaring back in 2018 with a January stint as Charlie in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, the February release of his memoir “Boys Keep Swinging” and his eponymous debut solo album, which came out last month to solid reviews. He wraps his solo tour with two shows at The El Rey Theatre this weekend. He spoke to the Blade by phone in early September (just prior to turning 40 in October) from his apartment in New Orleans. His comments have been slightly edited for length. LOS ANGELES BLADE: Was it hard adjusting to the humidity? JAKE SHEARS: No, I love it. I’m heading to London tonight and I’m just thinking like, “Oh God, I can’t just walk outside in a tank top and gym shorts 24 hours a day there.” I love it down here so much. It’s a pretty good life. BLADE: So you live in New Orleans pretty much all the time now when you’re not touring?

SHEARS: Yeah, I’m walking into my apartment right now. I split my time. I end up all over the place but it’s where I am for long stretches of the year. … I spend about a third of the year here.

to do that, moving to New Orleans was kind of symbolic and was part of that. And, you know, when that happens, when I’m happy and on the right path, I start writing songs. It didn’t take very long.

BLADE: Do you get recognized much there when you’re just out doing your normal routine? SHEARS: Well it’s like a small town here so you kind of get to know everybody anyway and then on weekends, like Decadence was last weekend and there were lots of gays in town so yeah. But other than that, not really. It’s just a really small town here so everybody already kind of knows one another.

BLADE: I read that you recorded the album in live takes straight through and said that was nerve wracking. Now that it’s all done, was it worth it? SHEARS: Oh my God, yeah. I couldn’t be happier with this thing. It’s been a big project and it’s nerve wracking in a way because just over the whole thing, I put a lot on the line. I hope I get to make a record like this again someday — just making a record exactly the way I want to. As far as the cost/benefit analysis, it cost me a lot. Just financially and time wise and all that stuff, but the benefit on the other side is that I’ve made something I’m just incredibly happy with and proud of.

BLADE: What’s gay life like in the South? Just with friends, dating, sex — all that. SHEARS: Well down here you don’t necessarily want to date other locals. … If you do sleep with somebody down here, you’re gonna see them for the rest of your life so you have to really think about whether you want that or not. But it’s just a funny little thing. It’s a sexy place to be. There’s always a huge influx of tourists so there’s always fresh faces and not only that, it’s people who are happy to be here and it’s a good vibe overall. It’s a very romantic city. You don’t have to wear a lot of clothes. It kind of fosters romance and flirtiness. BLADE: You said in another interview you went there seeking inspiration. How long were you there before that really hit and the songwriting started? SHEARS: About a week, maybe two weeks. It was pretty early on. I think it was more about the decisions I’d made in my life. I was making some big decisions just for myself that I needed to make. I really needed to change my life and once I made the decision

BLADE: Was it hard to keep it fresh doing take after take in the studio? SHEARS: No, no, no, no. When you’re recording like that, everybody was so rehearsed. It was really exciting. It never got boring, that’s for sure. BLADE: When you were writing and/or recording “Creep City,” did you have a hunch it would be the first single or did that come later? SHEARS: You know, it was really a toss up. I don’t think there was a really obvious first single on this record. I think it could have been a whole bunch of songs. I chose that song because I felt it was really good overall and I felt it really represented the whole album just sonically and I just felt like it was a great liftoff for the record. … I could also visualize a video for it. It’s one of my favorites on the record. It just sort of represented the whole thing in

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Those Cyndi Lauper songs are no joke. They’re really tough and I worked and worked really hard at it. You know, your voice gets stronger and everything but doing eight shows a week like that, it’s also cumulatively exhausting and so by the end — I did about a hundred performances — I was really having to crank up the engine to get that final high note and the big punch at the end of the song. So it was super challenging, yeah.

a way. BLADE: Would you say this is your breakup album? That’s such a thing, were you conscious of wanting to avoid any cliches? SHEARS: I don’t know if I can answer that. I don’t think it feels like a breakup album. I mean, this isn’t Beck’s “Sea Change.” It’s a pretty fun record. I don’t think it’s really about a breakup, I think it’s more about reassessing myself and sort of rediscovering who I am in this moment in time and I think it has less to do with a breakup necessarily, although that’s in there. Would you say that?

BLADE: When you’ve been off the grid for awhile, do you have to get back in shape or do you always stay pretty trim? SHEARS: Goodness (laughs). I’ve got my moments. I’m a Libra so I have a lot of balance in my life. I work really, really hard and I play really, really hard. I really try to keep a balanced existence. I’m constantly just trying to take care of myself in the midst of the chaos of what I do.

BLADE: Well, listening to it, I felt it was very bombastic and joyous so I was surprised when I read the lyrics and saw how dark some of it is. SHEARS: Yeah, I love that and that’s one of my favorite things to do. I have like a real big dark streak in me and I love making happy, really fun music that has heavier themes to it. I just love that juxtaposition. That’s absolutely there, but it was really important to me to make, you know, a fun record with different colors to it. I love making my ballads too. That’s definitely part of what I do. BLADE: Why did you feel now was the time for a memoir? SHEARS: I wrote the book at the same time I was making the album and I thought it was really good as I was sort of reassessing where I am and who I am now, I had to go back and reassess where I’ve been and what I’ve done and I think they both kind of informed each other and it was sort of a good way to put certain things to bed in a way and make peace with certain things. It’s kind of a cliche to say it was good therapy but in a way it was good to reevaluate parts of my life while I was making this new thing and it was awesome to get to do both of them together. BLADE: Would you like to do more Broadway or was “Kinky Boots” a one-off? SHEARS: No, I do, I do. I love it so much. I mean, theater is a world I love being in. I love writing theater and making musicals. Now I love being in them. I definitely am going to

BLADE: But you never just put on 20 pounds when you’re off the road for a year or something like that? SHEARS: Oh, I’ve had moments of not being as in shape as I wanna be but I’m doing the best to take care of myself when I’m eating well or whether that’s just getting enough sleep and not drinking too much. I just do my best to try to feel as good as I can because otherwise life just isn’t much fun.

Jake Shears plays two nights at the El Rey Theatre this weekend. Photo by Raphael Chatelain

continue. Now that’s part of my DNA and I absolutely would love to be in another show and I’m going to be writing more shows. BLADE: How vocally taxing was it compared to your regular stuff? SHEARS: I gotta say, it was really hard.

BLADE: Where did that cool vintage car in the “Big Bushy Mustache” video come from? SHEARS: It’s my neighbor’s, LeRoy. I’m looking out right now at his back yard. He’s in the video too. The videos you see from this album are basically community productions. I made those videos out of my pocket on a shoestring and everybody from the locations to the costumes — everything that you see, people pitched in, everybody got together and it was so much fun. It took over a hundred people to make those videos and that’s one of the things that really warms my heart. It was a whole bunch of people banding together. The “Creep City” video — that’s just a snapshot of the New Orleans community. Continues at losangelesblade.com

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‘Lez Bomb’ is a Thanksgiving feast with a twist of lesbian love Cloris Leachman and Bruce Dern star By SUSAN HORNIK

A closeted woman brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, only to have her comingout efforts thwarted by the unexpected arrival of her male roommate.

Lesbian writer/director Jenna Laurenzo is having a good year. Her hilarious holiday comedy, “Lez Bomb” is out on demand Nov. 9 and will be on Amazon before the end of year. “Lez” is about a young woman (Laurenzo) who comes home for Thanksgiving to come out to her eccentric family. The movie is a follow-up to her short film, “Girl Night Stand,” an internet hit which attracted millions of viewers. Laurenzo is so funny, she’s gotten the attention of comedic geniuses Bobby and Peter Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb And Dumber,” etc). Bobby is executive producing “Lez Bomb” and Peter is producing “Green Book,” which she co-stars in, along with Viggo Mortensen. Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik talked exclusively to Laurenzo about her many projects. Los Angeles Blade: How did you get Bobby Farrelly to produce the film? Jenna Laurenzo: I was at ITV: The Independent Television Festival with my short film, “Girl Night Stand.” Rob Moran (who has appeared in many of the Farrelly brothers films) had already come on to produce “Lez Bomb.” He knew we were both up at the festival, so he had us meet and chat! After Bobby saw the short, he then read my feature length script. We connected a lot on the themes, and the way in which they were being explored through comedy. He came on as EP in the greatest sense. Often those producer credits aren’t clear or indicative of involvement. Bobby was very involved, giving thoughtful feedback and becoming one of the greatest mentors I’ve ever had. I could not be more grateful for the many take aways I have on this film, because of his generosity to encourage, support, challenge and push me to be the best storyteller I can be, always striving. Blade: How much of “Lez Bomb” was based on your own experience? Laurenzo: This was inspired by my own family; we shot the film in my childhood home. My mom’s actual motel which my grandfather built in the 1950s, and the coming out emotions are the years of confusion I had went through in my own life, crammed within a 48-hour-period set against Thanksgiving. So, the film is very much rooted in my own experience. Though there are moments and plot points that are largely exaggerated for comedic purposes.

the rainbow that represents those who went on that journey, however it unfolded. Blade: What advice would you give to someone who wants to come out? Laurenzo: I waited a long time to come out, and by the time I came out, I was angry at my parents for not comprehending something I hadn’t given them the opportunity to know. When I finally did it, they just wanted to understand, but most importantly — they wanted me to be happy. The same with my closest friends. Sometimes we hold onto things we think are going to disappoint those closest to us — because the reality doesn’t match their expectations. And we often put more weight on it when reality doesn’t match our own expectations. But life throws curve balls, all the time. Coming out was one of the greatest gifts I was given, being forced to look inside and really inquire about what makes me happy. This has carried over into all aspects of life, and taught me to be deliberate in my decisions, instead of habitual. Personally, it was the most challenging to tell that first person. And then slowly, with each person, it was easier and easier. My advice would be to tell someone you love and trust, and have faith they’ll understand. Not everyone will, but that’s their own journey, not a reflection on you. Blade: How can lesbians thrive in the world of Trump? Laurenzo: I’m not sure the question should just be about lesbians. I think we should be looking more at unity, sexuality aside, of those who want to bring about much needed change, in a positive, more empathetic and compassionate direction. It’s important to voice our stories, and provoke those who show judgement, to question where their motivations are coming from. Blade: “Lez Bomb” stars the much loved Cloris Leachman and Bruce Dern. How was it to work with them? Laurenzo: My god, what a gift. Cloris and Bruce are both firecrackers, both in life and on set. I was in awe of their bold decisions, spontaneity and freedom. The camera rolls, and they are free. While editing the film, I kept saying —you can really see why they are the legends they are. Working with them was a masterclass in the craft of acting, comedic timing, and bold, yet grounded character choices.

Photo courtesy Amazon

Blade: Is it easier for a person to come out now? Laurenzo: I can’t answer that for everyone, and it would be irresponsible for me to make a blanket statement. Often we assume its externalities that make coming out more challenging, and forget the person coming out has to come out on their own terms and their own timeline. While “coming out” is arguably more acceptable, there are still many people and places in the world that judge. My parents and friends love and support my wife and I, yet I still haven’t been able to comfort her in public without a guy making a sexual grunt or a derogatory statement being yelled out a window, and we live in a “liberal city.” That is my own personal experience. Some people came out with ease, some with struggle, but we can’t take it for granted. It still is the minority, and the majority should show compassion vs. assuming they can lump this journey into a single experience that covers the entire LGBTQ population. Coming out experiences are as vast as

Blade: What’s the most challenging: directing, writing, producing or acting? Lauremzo: Depends on the day! They all have their challenges and their rewards. Blade: The movie, “Green Book” has been getting great Oscars buzz. Tell us about your character. Laurenzo: I play Sebastian Maniscalo’s wife, Fran. Being on that set was a whirlwind and dream come true. It’s impossible to watch Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini work, without being inspired. Playing Linda’s sister-in-law, I had to fight every inclination to ask all about (her popular television comedy) “Freaks & Geeks!” On set in these family scenes, I just tried to soak up everything —Peter Farrelly directing, and these actors bringing the incredible characters to life. Continues at losangelesblade.com


“Well here it is, if anybody wants to see it,” snarls Norman Foster, hauling a stack of film cans onto a counter, somewhere towards the last third of “The Other Side of the Wind.” And, after seeing what’s been made of this half century aborning “passion project,” assembled by a host of dedicated craftspersons from the countless reels of footage, that its perpetrator Orson Welles never managed to pull it into shape is a question easily answered. For “The Other Side of the Wind” is an unmitigated disaster. Less “unfinished” than barely begun — a premise without a narrative, a beginning without an ending or even a middle. As a result Morgan Nevill’s documentary about Welles and his film, “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” makes more sense than anything that’s been assembled as “The Other Side of the Wind.” Welles’ artistic history has always been chaotic with great highs, deep lows and little clarity overall. When his fame in theater and radio brought him to Hollywood’s attention, Welles was given carte blanche by RKO studios to make “Citizen Kane,” the darkly satirical film a clef about newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. While the screenplay, written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and re-written by Welles won the Oscar, it gained little glory in its time. Over the years however it came to be regarded as a classic. As a director Welles worked sporadically on films of very different kinds made in very different circumstances. “The Lady From Shanghai” (1947) and “Touch of Evil” (1958) were made for major Hollywood studios, Columbia and Universal. “Macbeth” (1948) for Republic. But “Othello” (1951), “Mr. Arkadin” (1955), “The Trial” (1962), “Chimes at Midnight” (1965), “The Immortal Story” (1968) and “F For Fake” (1973) were all made in Europe without the financial and technical resources afforded by Hollywood, and “Arkadin” was wrested away from him and recut by others more severely than his Hollywood films. Consequently while an artist of international reputation Welles longed to return to U.S. to make a film -- but on his own terms. Making “The Other Side of the Wind” encapsulated all his hopes of doing so — and all the traps as well. The film centers on a “Maverick” director named “Jake Hanneford” (played with his usual breezy charm by John Huston) who after a long sojourn in Europe (guess who, hint, hint) has returned stateside for a birthday celebration bringing together all manner of close friends, acolytes and sycophants that he hopes will help him complete a film he started called “The Other Side of the Wind.” That much is clear, but the rest is a decided blur. And the name of that blur is Oja Kodar. While Welles began his career working with screenwriting veteran Mankiewicz, he elected to end it with an amateur, Kodar. A Croatian-born actress who he met while filming “The Trial” she quickly became the center of his personal and professional life , most notably in “F For Fake.” That Kodar would star in “Wind” was no surprise. But what takes one aback is the fact that she has no lines of dialogue. She’s seen in the film-with-the-film (which is also called “The Other Side of the Wind”) traipsing around in the semi and sometimes complete altogether. Most of her scenes involve her having simulated and rather desultory sex with a young actor (Robert Random, a passingly attractive blank) who we learn left the film-within-the-film when its director “Jake Hanneford” made a pass at him. This circumstance, most likely inspired by John Ford (who Maureen O’Hara once caught in a compromising position with Tyrone Power) leads one inevitably to consider the role the same-sex oriented have played throughout Welles’ life and career — which is considerable. Right at the start are Micheal MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards, the acting couple who gave Welles his first break at the Abbey Theater in Dublin Ireland. Welles memorably cast MacLiammoir as Iago in “Othello” and MacLiammoir went on to write an account of the film’s making “Put Money in Thy Purse” that remains one of the best books written about Welles. And then there are the gay fictional characters that dot the Welles oeuvre: Glenn Anders sinister “George Grisby” in “The Lady From Shanghai,” Mercedes McCambridge’s lesbian gang leader in “Touch of Evil” and the young Prince Hal and his boytoy Pons in “Chimes at Midnight” (which inspired Gus Van Sant’s “My Own Private Idaho”). And so doubtless would the closeted “Jake Hanneford” had Welles been up to making sense of “The Other Side of the Wind” and completing it. Continues at losangelesblade.com

Gone With ‘The Wind’ of Orson Welles A legendary filmmaker’s most personal work By DAVID EHRENSTEIN




AFI Fest 2018 presents the brightest new queer cinema And very likely, next year’s Best Picture By DAN ALLEN

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in ‘The Favourite.’ Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox

Last year, the American Film Institute’s AFI Fest presented the LA premiere of “A Fantastic Woman,” the trans-themed Chilean tour de force that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Two years ago, AFI Fest hosted a conversation with the director and cast of “Moonlight,” in the leadup to their Best Picture Oscar. So what queer delicacies might be in store for this year’s AFI Fest audiences? In a word, plenty. In its eight days of free and open-to-the-public programming in Hollywood, AFI Fest 2018 will present major LGBTQ-themed productions like “Green Book,” starring “Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali as a gay Jamaican classical pianist being chauffeured around the Deep South by Viggo Mortensen in the 1960s; and “The Favourite,” starring Olivia Colman (Claire Foy’s replacement as Elizabeth II in season three of “The Crown”) as a different kind of British ruler—the 18th century’s lady-loving Queen Anne—with her special favorites played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Smaller but bolder queer-themed films from around the globe are on the AFI Fest roster too, like the Kenyan lesbian love story “Rafiki,” the Canadian coming of age story “Genesis,” and the ‘70s French gay porn-backdropped thriller “Knife + Heart.” And the festival will pay homage to two of the greatest icons of lesbian cinema, with screenings of Barbara Hammer’s “Nitrate Kisses” and Chantal Akerman’s “Meetings Of Anna.” AFI Fest 2018 kicked off last night with the world premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” starring Felicity Jones as young lawyer (and future Supreme Court superstar) Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The festival runs through next Thursday, Nov. 15, and in all will show 134 films from 45 countries, screened at a duo of classic Hollywood venues, the Chinese Theatres and the Egyptian Theater, with panels and other events taking place at the nearby Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. We spoke to AFI Fest Director of Programming Lane Kneedler about the esteemed festival and its exciting queer lineup this year. Los Angeles Blade: What’s in store this year at AFI Fest in terms of LGBTQ-themed content? Lane Kneedler: We’re thrilled to have such great LGBTQ content at AFI Fest this year, across several of our sections. We have “Green Book” in Galas, “The Favourite” in Special Screenings, and “Genesis” and “Diamantino” in World Cinema. In our New Auteurs section we have three films: “L’Animale,” “And Breathe Normally” and “Rafiki.” In our Cinema’s Legacy section we’re showing both “Meetings Of Anna” and “Nitrate Kisses,” plus “Magic ’85” in our Short Film showcase, and the tremendous “Knife + Heart” from AFI Fest alum Yann Gonzalez in our Midnight Section. It’s turned out to be a really strong year for LGBTQ content. Blade: Is LGBTQ inclusion something that AFI Fest consciously strives for, or is it just that more and more good LGBTQ films are being made these days, as part of the wider pool of available programming options? Kneedler: Both. Being in a place such as Los Angeles and understanding what the 2018 audience is responding to puts LGBTQ content foremost in our minds before we even start watching films for the year. This is also the result of us looking for filmmakers that are deserving of a larger stage to showcase their work on. We see ourselves as a necessary megaphone to help emerging artists connect with audiences who might not otherwise experience their voices. This is especially true in our New Auteurs section and applies to LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ films as well. Blade: Last year’s trans-themed AFI Fest selection “A Fantastic Woman” went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the year before that, AFI Fest hosted a conversation with “Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins and cast months before they received their Best Picture Oscar. Any predictions about films at this year’s AFI Fest that you think could be serious Academy Award contenders? Kneedler: We’re thrilled to have intimate conversations with two incredible actresses at the festival this year, Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman, both of whom have incredible performances this year which we are proud to celebrate. More and more films every year are viewing AFI Fest as a necessary component of a successful awards season launch. I don’t know what film is going to win Best Picture, but I’m pretty sure it’s playing at AFI Fest. Blade: What are a few of your favorite films at this year’s AFI Fest? Kneedler: So hard to choose, I love all my babies so much. But if I had to, I would want to put a spotlight on some films that are a little more under the radar of general audiences. When I saw “One Day” at Cannes this year, I immediately knew I wanted to program it—as a young parent it rang so true to my experience of the hectic and emotional day to day experience of having children. And of course, “Knife + Heart” was the craziest thing ever to watch. We were thrilled to have Yann’s short film “Islands” play as an official selection at the festival a few years back, and to have him return with this project is such a delight. It’s set in the gay Paris porn scene of the 1970s—what’s not to love! Tickets for AFI Fest 2018 are available at afifest.afi.com/2018/sections. Tickets are free, so they go quickly—but they’re released over time, so keep checking for the latest updates.


Two months ago, the East Hollywood café Cuties – the only self-proclaimed LGBTQI+ coffee shop in Los Angeles – announced that it was in trouble. Opened in the summer of 2017 after a successful Indiegogo campaign, the café grew out of “Queers, Coffee, and Donuts,” a monthly pop-up which provided a safe space and gathering point for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, genderqueer, non-binary and trans communities. Intended by founders Virginia Bauman and Iris Bainum-Houle as “a queer-centered community space,” Cuties serves up gourmet-quality coffee and donuts while also hosting community events, support groups, workshops and film screenings; they provide a meeting location for activist groups with no space of their own, and keep their supporters and clientele in the loop with a regular newsletter. Importantly, Cuties was also an anomaly in the LA queer scene, a rare and much-needed social environment that wasn’t a bar or a nightclub – something appreciated by the sizeable sector of the LGBTQ+ community who are underage or don’t want to be surrounded by alcohol. Like most new small businesses, though, the café had a hard time meeting its financial needs. Late in August, Bauman published a post on Medium thanking its patrons for their support so far, but revealing that Cuties was struggling. “We knew that this experiment had to be self-sustaining,” she wrote. “So far, it isn’t.” Bauman said that unless the café could raise sufficient financial support, it would have to close its doors. A campaign was launched to raise pledges through the Patreon website. The goal was set at $12,000 a month, and if it could not be met by the end of October, Cuties would be closing. On Nov. 1, the Cuties team sent a message to its supporters on Patreon. Signed by “Iris, Virginia, Leslie [social media coordinator Leslie Foster], and the entire Cuties team,” it was a declaration of success. “Psst, hey lovelies, we’ve got some good news for you,” the message begins. “CUTIES IS STAYING OPEN!” The $12,000 goal had not quite been hit, but according to the announcement, the contributions were enough, combined with the increased business generated by the publicity around the coffee shop’s difficulties, to keep things going. “Cuties would not exist without YOU,” the message continues. After thanking the shop’s supporters for participating in the various strategies adopted as part of the its campaign to stay open – contributing to the Patreon account, sharing the information on social media, coming to events, frequenting the shop, alerting media, throwing fundraisers, and more – it goes on to say, “You made an impact. You made a difference. You made sure LA’s only LGBTQIA+ coffee shop and community space can stay open.” Echoing the feelings of many within the community, the Cuties team summed up the victory by saying, “We could all use a win right now and this is one for the books.”

Even though the café has been saved for the moment, the message also points out that the fight goes on. “Our work as a shop and community is not done,” it stated. “To assure Cuties is safe for many years to come we need to keep up the momentum.” Keeping the café open will require that the contributions from its Patreon supporters remain ongoing, and that additional subscribers continue to come on board. “We need you to keep showing up when you are able,” said the staff. “We need you to keep telling publications, celebrities and allies about us. We need you to keep throwing events in our space.” These requests for ongoing support are not merely an effort to maintain a profitable coffee shop. Bauman, who is a transgender woman, and Bainum-Houle, who identifies as queer femme and gender-fluid, wanted to create a coffee bar that was geared towards LGBTQ+ people and their allies. Instead of catering to the tropes of LA’s trendy scenesters, they set out to make a location where members of the queer community could feel welcome and comfortable. The project, which they conceived in 2015, became a priority for them after the Pulse Nightclub shootings and the election of Donald Trump – along with his barely-concealed antiqueer agenda – made it clear that there was a dire need of safe gathering places, especially for the most marginalized members of the community. The funding they seek is necessary for them to continue offering the kinds of community-supportive services that have been the real reason for Cuties all along. Their Patreon account – which at the time of this writing had reached $11,570, just $430 short of its target amount – is ongoing and will continue to accept new pledges. Any amount, from $2.00 per month and up, is welcome; but starting at $5 there are tiers of membership which offer premiums as an additional incentive for giving. Though the struggle goes on, the Cuties team is thankful for the support that has helped them overcome the financial obstacle that had seemed destined to bring their experiment to an early end. Their message concludes with their thanks. “Thank you for your faith in us,” it says. “Thank you for support. Thank you for saving Cuties for everyone. We are here for the folx who need us now and the folx who don’t realize they need Cuties just yet. We are here for our LA community. We are here for travelers like you from all over, both near & far who need a safe space to land, whatever journey you are on. Here’s to YOU. Onward, to the future. Cuties is needed now more than ever.” The message is signed with “Love.” Cuties is located in East Hollywood, at 710 N Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. Their Patreon page is at patreon.com/cutiescoffee. And you can sign up for their newsletter at hicuties.com


Cuties Cafe makes fundraising goal and keeps on smiling Appeals continue By JOHN PAUL KING

The business of catering to a narrow niche of a niche takes a whole lot of love. Photo Los Angeles Blade archives



The viral comedy king brings his wicked act to Los Angeles Nov. 2. Photo courtesy Randy Rainbow


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 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.

NOV 10

“The Rainbow Bridge Motel” LA Premiere Screening is tonight at 7:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. at the Downtown Independent Cinema (251 S. Main St.). Benefitting the Los Angeles LGBT Center, this one-nightonly event offers a pre-release sneak peek of a new, must-see comedy about a gay destination wedding gone wrong in Niagara Falls. The offbeat, indie comedy features Wilson Heredia (winner of Best Actor Tony for “Rent”), Diane Gaidry, and “Real World” star Ruthie Alcaide — one of the very first women ever to publicly come-out while on television. Support the amazing work of the Los Angeles LGBT Center by seeing the movie, and come party with special celebrity guests afterwards by preordering the film on iTunes and flashing the receipt after the screening to join the fun. Tickets start at $12.99 and are available at Eventbrite.com.

NOV 11

Mr. Precinct Leather Contest 2019 is today at 3 p.m. at Precinct DTLA (357 S. Broadway). Come join Jeremy Lucido Events as one of DTLA’s hottest clubs chooses its representative to compete in the annual Mr. LA Leather competition, as selected by a panel including Mr. Precinct Leather 2018, Spike, and other leather titleholders from around the city. Hosted by Sister Bearonce Knows, the event begins with a meetand-greet of contestants from 3-5 p.m., followed by the contest and stage show at 6 p.m. Featuring music by

DJ Brian McB, and performances by Biqtch Puddin’ and Ursula Major, the event is part of an all-day beer bust with $3 drafts, a full food menu and no cover charge. For more information, see the event’s Facebook page.

NOV 12

Trans Awareness Week kicks off today from 5-7 p.m. at UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center (220 Westwood Plaza # B36). November 12 is the beginning of #TransAwarenessWeek, which runs through Friday, Nov. 16, and the LGBT CRC has events every day through Friday. Activities include a Medical Transition Workshop; an ongoing Gender Gap Clothing Drive where you can pick up gender-affirming clothing, free of charge; a seminar about Trans Art and Activism featuring Sophie Labelle, creator of Assigned Male Comics; and an LGBTQ Ally Training for Staff and Faculty. Learn about the transgender community through social media (@UCLALGBT) and stop by the CRC all week for resources, buttons and stickers. For more information and schedule, visit the event’s Facebook page. Marianne Williamson Live is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Saban Theatre (8440 Wilshire Blvd.). Founder of Project Angel Food, Marianne Williamson was named by Newsweek in 2006 as one of the 50 most influential baby boomers. According to Time magazine, “Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity.” The internationally known author and spiritual teacher will give a talk based on “A Course in Miracles.” Tickets are $15, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Reservations are available on Eventbrite.com.

NOV 14

Still I Rise is today at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Well Child & Family Center (326 West 23rd St.). “Celebrating our audacity to thrive,” this event presented by St John’s Well Child & Family Center and FLUX celebrates an important year for the trans community “by reclaiming our strength and standing in solidarity with one another to embody the resilience we have always represented,” highlights the resilience of trans survivors of violence, and honors trans military veterans and currently

enlisted trans service members. Featuring a keynote address by trans veteran, FLUX member and activist Ms. Billie Cooper, there is also a panel discussion and special appearances by actor/activists Marquise Vilson and Jazzmun Crayton. Free luncheon and giveaways will be provided. For free reservations and more information, visit Eventbrite.com.

NOV 15

Randy Rainbow Live is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre (4401 W. 8th St.). The comedian, actor, writer, host and internet sensation best known for his viral comedy videos brings his act to Los Angeles. His popular series of political spoofs and musical parodies have garnered international acclaim and hundreds of millions of views, and Dan Savage called him “the best thing to come from the GOP race.” Tickets are $42.50, and are available through Ticketmaster and other online ticketing sites.

NOV 16

Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat is tonight at 8 p.m. at Congregation Kol Ami (1200 N. LaBrea Ave.). Join us for Congregation Kol Ami for their annual Shabbat observing Transgender Day of Remembrance, with special guest speaker Eli Mendelson and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles. Elias “Eli” Mendelson has been in the fundraising industry for 20 years and is the volunteer chair of Pride in the City, City Of Hope’s employee diversity resource group. In March 2017, with COH’s Diversity & Inclusion Office, he became the first employee to publicly go through a gender transition on the job. Trans Chorus of Los Angeles is a chorus of transgender, gender non-conforming/gender nonbinary and intersex individuals using their voices to bring awareness, understanding, power and VICTORY for the Trans Community. 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.



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