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04 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Trans boxer wins professional fight Patricio Manuel makes history against Mexican opponent By MARIAH COOPER Patricio Manuel’s six-year journey from Boyle Heights to the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., was fraught with emotional and regulatory punches. But on Dec. 8, Manuel made history by becoming the first U.S. professional transgender male boxer to win a match when he defeated Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar in a unanimous decision. Manuel began fighting as a female in the 2012 Olympic trials but was forced to withdraw after a shoulder injury. A few months later, he decided to transition. Manuel faced many challenges on his transition journey including surgery, hormone treatments, losing his coach and training facility after they chose not to work with him after transitioning, and getting a new license with help from Oscar De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions. The Fantasy Springs fight was his first in two years and only happened because Aguilar had dreamed of fighting in the US. Though he only learned of Manuel’s
Patricio Manuel is the first U.S. professional transgender male boxer to win a match. Screenshot via Twitter
transition two days before the fight, , who was fulfilling a dream by fighting in the U.S. for the first time, said he learned of Manuel’s transition only two days before the fight, Aguilar said it wasn’t a problem for him. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring he wants to win and I want to win too,” Manuel told the Los Angeles Times in Spanish. Twelve minutes after the opening bell, Manuel, 33, scored the big win from the three judges in his professional debut. In video captured by Golden Boy Boxing,
Manuel’s victory was met with boos from the crowd. “I hear some fans aren’t happy. It’s OK, I’ll be back. I’ll make them happy then,” Manuel said in a post-win interview. “It’s a funny thing when just living your truth becomes historic.” The win put the rocky road into perspective. “I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” Manuel said. “I’m a professional boxer now.” He added: “The best part of tonight —
once I got to the arena and starting getting ready, get the adrenaline rushing, step through those ropes, [greet] my opponent — I loved it all.” But Manuel’s not done yet. “I’m going to take some time off, enjoy the holidays and then fight at the end of February. That’s the goal,” he told The Times. “I definitely want to keep going. It’s been so long since I fought. The rust has been shaken off. Now it’s time to keep moving.” – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.
Ryan Murphy gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Celebs turn out in support of the prolific gay writer/producer By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com A longtime dream came true for the extraordinary award-winning writer/ producer Ryan Murphy on Dec. 4 when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The international attraction was his first stop when Murphy moved from Indiana to Los Angeles in 1989, never imagining that one day his name would be so honored. “My dream in life was just to be able to
be myself, which I know many people relate to—to say what I wanted to say, to create stories that move me, to tell stories about women, older women, gay people and trans people and flawed men. And that dream did come true,” Murphy said as his husband David Miller, their two sons Logan and Ford, and a slew of celebrities looked on. But there was a hitch, Murphy, 53, joked: “Except I imagined that when I told these stories I would have a full head of flawless blonde hair like I did in 1989 when I moved here.” The word “prolific” was invented to describe Murphy who wrote/directed and or produced: Glee, Nip/Tuck, The Normal Heart, Scream Queens, Feud, American Horror Story, American Crime Story (including The People v O.J. Simpson and The Assassination
of Gianni Versace), Pose, 9-1-1—to name just a few of his creative endeavors. Last February, Murphy signed a $300 million overall deal with Netflix where he will launch a comedy, The Politician, in 2019. “I think he’s shaped the face of television — literally,” FX CEO John Landgraf, who has worked with Murphy since season two of Nip/Tuck, tells Variety. “He’s made a handful of the most defining and innovative television shows ever. It’s rare to see someone who’s that brave and that original — and also that popular.” Murphy thanked those with whom he’s worked over the years. “None of my career would’ve materialized without a troupe of people who became my family,” Murphy said from the podium. “Young people ask me all
the time how I became successful and because I cannot say mental illness – I respond ‘my collaborators’ of course. That is the truth.” Some of those collaborators and artists were on hand to appreciate the recognition: actresses Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett, co-producer Brad Falchuck and new wife Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Krause, Emma Roberts, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Judith Light and NeNe Leakes. “I have loved every second. The stories that we’ve told pushed the envelope and celebrated the unseen and really did change the world in some way,” Murphy said receiving his star. “I have so much more to say and do, I am blessed and I am excited about what is to come.”
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*Offer applies only to single-receipt qualifying purchases. Ashley HomeStore does not require a down payment, however, sales tax and delivery charges are due at time of purchase if the purchase is made with your Ashley Advantage™ Credit Card. No interest will be charged on promo purchase and equal monthly payments are required equal to initial promo purchase amount divided equally by the number of months in promo period until promo is paid in full. The equal monthly payment will be rounded to the next highest whole dollar and may be higher than the minimum payment that would be required if the purchase was a non-promotional purchase. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%; Minimum Interest Charge is $2. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Promotional purchases of merchandise will be charged to account when merchandise is delivered. Subject to credit approval. ‡Monthly payment shown is equal to the purchase price, excluding taxes and delivery, divided by the number of months in the promo period, rounded to the next highest whole dollar, and only applies to the selected financing option shown. If you make your payments by the due date each month, the monthly payment shown should allow you to pay off this purchase within the promo period if this balance is the only balance on your account during the promo period. If you have other balances on your account, this monthly payment will be added to the minimum payment applicable to those balances. ††Ashley HomeStore does not require a down payment, however, sales tax and delivery charges are due at time of purchase if the purchase is made with your Ashley Advantage™ Credit Card. Offer applies only to single-receipt qualifying purchases. No interest will be charged on the promo purchase if you pay the promo purchase amount in full within 12 Months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the promo purchase from the purchase date. Depending on purchase amount, promotion length and payment allocation, the required minimum monthly payments may or may not pay off purchase by end of promotional period. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases and, after promotion ends, to promotional balance. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%; Minimum Interest Charge is $2. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Promotional purchases of merchandise will be charged to account when merchandise is delivered. Subject to credit approval. ††Only advertised accent chairs are eligible for the buy one get one free promotion. The amount of the 2nd accent chair will be deducted from the price of both chairs. Example: for a purchase of a $499.99 and $399.99 chairs, $200 will be deducted from both chairs. ‡‡Previous purchases excluded. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. Discount offers exclude Tempur-Pedic®, Stearns & Foster® and Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid™ mattress sets, floor models, clearance items, sales tax, furniture protection plans, warranty, delivery fee, Manager’s Special pricing, Advertised Special pricing, and 14 Piece Packages and cannot be combined with financing specials. Effective 1/1/2018, all mattress and box springs are subject to a $10.50 per unit CA recycling fee. SEE STORE FOR DETAILS. Stoneledge Furniture LLC. many times has multiple offers, promotions, discounts and financing specials occurring at the same time; these are allowed to only be used either/or and not both or combined with each other. Although every precaution is taken, errors in price and/or specification may occur in print. We reserve the right to correct any such errors. Picture may not represent item exactly as shown, advertised items may not be on display at all locations. Some restrictions may apply. Available only at participating locations. ±Leather Match upholstery features top-grain leather in the seating areas and skillfully matched vinyl everywhere else. Ashley HomeStores are independently owned and operated. ©2018 Ashley HomeStores, Ltd. Promotional Start Date: December 4, 2018. Expires: December 17, 2018.
06 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Meet the LGBT staffers — the power behind the lawmakers Out and on the inside fighting for change By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org January 20, 1961. Thousands of young people gathered around their television sets to watch John F. Kennedy, America’s second youngest President, deliver his stirring Inaugural Address. “We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,” said JFK, 43, glowing in that cold winter day. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Awakened to the heartbeat of patriotism, young people rushed to join the Peace Corp or find or create other noble ways to be of public service. Everything felt new. Splashes of color emboldened the counter-culture movement to wiggle like a butterfly out of the black and white conformity of the 1950s and indulge in a fresh freedom of expression. Almost 57 years later, a new generation is emerging out of stultifying siloes manufactured by the privileged to contain thousands of young people straining to be free from biased rules and outmoded definitions of progress. Many of these young people seem invisible – and yet they are the power behind the lawmakers and being of service in a country in which everyone, theoretically, is equal under the rule of law. And in California, the next generation of lawmakers is welcome. “Engaging millennials in the political process - whether through voter registration and participation, or by promoting them to senior leadership roles in our government is good for the future of California. I’m fortunate to have talented, hardworking advisors whose diverse backgrounds and perspectives make me a better Secretary of State,” Sec. of State Alex Padilla tells the Los Angeles Blade. And today, young new heroes like Ricardo Lara—who came out at San Diego State “ready to fight”—have worked hard and risen through the ranks, proudly representing both the LGBT and Latino communities. On
Carrie Holmes, Alina Hernandez, Jesse Melgar Photo courtesy JZSquared Photography
Nov. 6, he made California history becoming the first openly gay man elected statewide as Insurance Commissioner. “Growing up when California Republicans like Gov. Pete Wilson were leading the charge against people who looked and loved the way I do was a rude awakening,” Lara tells the Los Angeles Blade. “My parents had come to the U.S. without papers and became citizens. I felt like this was my country, but the hatred made me feel like a stranger. As a student I joined the campaigns against laws to deny undocumented immigrants the place in our society they had earned through their contributions to our state. That led to me to seek out mentors who stood against bigotry, and when I had my chance to run for Assembly, I took it.” Today, young LGBT staffers include Deputy Secretary of State Jesse Melgar, 31, Legislative Director Carrie Holmes, 39, and
LGBT Legislative Caucus consultant Alina Hernandez, 32. LGBT staffers also work in the executive branch, the state senate, the state assembly and as advocates -- out government operatives who work on the inside of California’s halls of power, with over 100 bright LGBT minds influencing public policy across the golden state each day. Melgar is already a political veteran. A former communications director for Equality California, the California Latino Legislative Caucus and Lara in 2016, Padilla appointed him Deputy Sec. of State and Chief Communications Officer to serve as a key player advancing Padilla’s voting rights agenda. “If we don’t step up, we get stepped on. When we think about immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights – they are all won or lost depending on how active and engaged our communities are,” Melgar tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I saw this growing
up, studied civil rights and inequality in college, and decided to turn my passion for social justice into a career in public service. Having diversity in all levels of leadership is important, particularly considering the current national political climate.” Melgar was inspired by mentors and now does the same for others. “Someone pushed the door open for us so it’s on us to keep those doors open,” he says. “This is particularly true for LGBTQ staff who maybe weren’t comfortable being out at home or in their communities or at previous jobs. By fostering an open, accepting environment that values diversity, we invite younger staffers to bring their full selves to work. We show them that their perspectives matter and that they are valued members of our teams, as they are.” Carrie Holmes, Legislative Director for Sen. Jim Beall and President of the Capitol
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 07
Photo courtesy Michael
Photo courtesy Chen
LGBTQ Association, says she’s a couple of years too old to be a millennial. “But I got a late start in my career so I’m generally in the millennial peer group.” Two personal goals: “I want to get my deadlift up to 300 pounds this year, and get a full night of sleep (I’m not joking, I have an 8-month old baby).” Holmes says the Capitol Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Association, founded in 2017 by Bish Paul, an Assembly staffer, is the first non-profit LGBTQ staff association in the country. “Any individual who has expressed an interest in public policy and is-or wants to be- engaged in statewide policy is welcome to join. Our membership includes legislative and administration staff, lobbyists, and policy stakeholders. Our purpose is to recruit and retain LGBTQ individuals, and provide professional development and networking opportunities.” The Association hosts a number of events,
provides an immediate support system for new LGBT staffers, started the Rainbow mentors program “to connect seasoned career folks with those either looking to start working in policy or looking for a career change.” “I think, within the LGBTQ community, we must take the time to reach out and open doors for others,” she says, “especially in the policy and political realm. It can feel like a very exclusive space and those of us working here need to look around, see who isn’t represented, and make the changes needed.” Alina Hernandez, 32, is the fierce, funny, former techie consultant to the California Legislative LGBT Caucus whose primary goal is to live a happy life. “I’m a professional gay,” Hernandez says. “I am the manager/agent of the most badass group of openly LGBT elected officials California has ever seen. I’m a little biased.”
In 2018, she staffed numerous LGBT specific legislative bills and resolutions, managed listening tours, appointment workshops, and “I helped to facilitate obtaining the option for capital staff to choose to add their preferred pronouns on business cards. At the end of the day, I will go to battle for what is right and inclusive,” which she sees as a community effort. Hernandez also takes lots of meetings, including with “conservative activists who think my very existence is a sin in the eyes of God,” she says. “I also take meetings with people who are struggling to come out or want to share their experiences about being LGBT in this political climate. People trust me with their secrets that they have sometimes not even told their own family. In no way is this an easy job—it takes time and patience. This job cannot be defined by a duty statement.”
Jo Michael, 32, Equality California’s legislative manager, knows these stories, having helped shepherd through more than 25 successful pieces of sponsored legislation that included educating lawmakers and the public about LGBT policies, especially regarding the transgender community. “It’s particularly challenging in the context of doing legislative work in the Capitol,” Michael told his alma mater, McGeorge School of Law. “That can be a significant hurdle...to make clear there is no ‘gay agenda.’ It’s about making sure people are not discriminated against and not excluded from the places other people enjoy access to on a regular and daily basis. It’s about equality and being able to have justice as opposed to being able to have anything that’s special or different.” Michael, named one of the Best LGBT Lawyers under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2015, has been working to advance social justice and LGBTQ civil rights since he co-founded his high school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. “The roads to many of the advances the LGBTQ community has achieved show that LGBTQ people being open and visible helps change hearts and minds. I’ve been so inspired to see and to be a part of the impact of openly LGBTQ staff in the Capitol community and to advance Equality California’s legislative program in Sacramento for 6 years,” Michael told the Los Angeles Blade on Dec. 7, his final day at Equality California. Elle Chen, 23, Legislative Aide to Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, has also served as a Senior Fellow in the State Senate, consulting on public safety and other policy areas. She has a sense of both the fresh perspective young LGBT staffers can bring to public service, as well as the passion creating the arc of history that led them to the Capitol. “You stand on the shoulders of those who come before you,” Chen tells the Los Angeles Blade. “Let history inform your policy perspective and acknowledge the narratives that still have yet to be heard.” For more information about the Capitol Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Association, visit their website at CapitolLGBTQ.org. For a longer version of this story, go to losangelesblade.com.
08 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
California Democratic Party firings shift power to Bay Area Is there a conspiracy afoot? By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com So much for due process. There was a Queen of Hearts “Off with their heads!” feel to the shocking, abrupt firings of seven top party staffers by acting California Democratic Party chair Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker on Dec. 11, two weeks before Christmas. The action, which also included closing the CDP’s Los Angeles office, seemed designed to rid the party of anyone associated with out former party chair Eric Bauman, who resigned less than a month ago as an investigation was launched into allegations of misconduct. Without notice and without a statement explaining the action, Rooker fired CDP political director Clark Lee, part of the team that flipped seven congressional seats, elected a super majority to the Legislature and elected endorsed judges. Also fired were longtime Bauman associates Adam Seiden, a close senior adviser; senior strategist Sandra Lowe; communications director John Vigna; creative director Jeremy Thompson; operations director Tina McKinnor; and LA director Tim Valencia. A source told the Los Angeles Blade that staff in the LA office were completely blind-sided. Acting party spokesperson Roger Salazar, a crisis management consultant, told Politico, the LA Times and other media outlets via email that “senior staff who came in with former Chairman Eric Bauman are no longer employed by the California Democratic Party.” “This is not unusual when there is a change in leadership and is in keeping with the scaling back of party operations after an election year,’’ Salazar said. “These moves are not necessarily a reflection upon the work of each of the individuals involved, but are part of a desire by the acting chair, in consultation (with) the Speaker’s office and the office of the Governor-Elect, to start fresh and keep the party moving in the right direction.” Politico later reported that neither incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom nor Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon had been consulted by Rooker before the firings. Rooker’s silence allowed a vacuum to be filled with speculation about what prompted the abrupt firings—speculation that led to Kimberly Ellis, the Oakland-based
Mark Gonzalez, chair of the Los Angeles Democratic Party Photo by Karen Ocamb
activist who narrowly lost to Bauman in the heated and ugly election for CDP chair. The Berniecrat wing of the CDP is reportedly still incensed, according to Democratic sources, and seized the harassment allegations as an opportunity to oust Bauman and replace him with Ellis. The official election for a new chair is next May in San Francisco. Also mentioned in the conspiracy mix is San Francisco-based Christine Pelosi, the powerful chair of the CDP’s Women’s Caucus, who sources say wanted to run against Bauman for party chair until Ellis entered the race. Sources she is building a base to run for her mother Nancy Pelosi’s congressional seat. Interestingly, Nancy Pelosi served as CDP chair from 1981-1983. For some Democratic activists, shutting down the LA CDP office was the middle finger to Los Angeles, signaling a power shift to the Bay Area. “I was surprised (by the firings). I have worked with many of those folks actively as a volunteer with the party for more than 17 years,” Mark Gonzalez, chair of the LA County Democratic Party, told the Los Angeles Blade.
“I haven’t spoken to Alex yet. I am definitely deeply surprised but there is probably a reason for it that I just don’t know.” Gonzalez said there is a lot he doesn’t know about the CDP machinations, including “if there is an actual investigation that is taking place at the moment. I can’t credibly say that I know that for a fact.” And while he doesn’t think that Rooker herself thought in terms of a North-South power struggle, “I do think the future of the party and who are potential candidates for chair may be factors that led to Eric’s resignation. There is still a lot of bitterness from that fight.” But, Gonzalez added, “at the end of the day, you can’t discount that if there was something wrong that was happening and folks needed to speak up about it— then I stand by the victims. I’m not going to question that. Obviously, there is an investigation that has to play its course.” That said, LA can’t just be ignored since LA County accounts for one-third of the state’s voting base. “LA County is the one that delivered for the rest of the state,” including the tight races for Superintendent
of Public Instruction and electing Ricardo Lara as Insurance Commissioner, the first out gay man to win a statewide race. “Our votes brought in a number of people so having a Los Angeles office is reflective of having boots on the ground. And we need the resources. We can’t always afford to have to go up to Sacramento.” Gonzalez also emphasized that the LA County Democratic Party has done “some really significant work” such as electing a Democratic Sheriff, overwhelmingly electing endorsed judicial candidates and doing well in smaller cities. “I think 93% of our endorsed Democratic candidates won in our Nov. 6 election and that is something we can definitely be proud of.” But “2020 is right around the corner,” Gonzalez added. “It’s one thing to get folks into a congressional seat but now it’s about making sure we protect them. Super Tuesday is next March and California is in play. We’ve got to keep our eye on the prize because if we’re going to take the White House back—that started yesterday. We’re working to make sure we win tomorrow.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 09
TIME’S UP makes the Bloomberg 50 List Marriage equality heroine Robbie Kaplan has a key role By JOHN PAUL KING Vox has been keeping a list since the once untouchable Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s forced resignation. From April 2017 until Sept. 2018, “more than 250 powerful people— celebrities, politicians, CEOs and others—have been the subject of sexual harassment, assault, or other misconduct allegations. More survivors are coming forward nearly every day, many of them inspired and emboldened by those who have gone before,” the cite reports. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, in February, USA Today took a survey of 843 women in the entertainment industry and 94% said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. More than one-fifth or 21% said they were forced to do something sexual at least once. The “Weinstein effect” has its own Wikipedia page to describe the worldwide impact of people accusing famous or powerful men of sexual misconduct. On Dec. 1, Glamour magazine published a detailed list of 92 men facing sexual harassment allegations, including the most recent—Judge Brett Kavanaugh before he was confirmed as a US Supreme Court Justice; astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson; and the latest to be credibly accused, Les Moonves, the former chief executive of the CBS Corporation. CBS has had a smattering of important LGBT characters, including last year’s lead in Instinct, a procedural with a married gay NYPD behavioral consultant played by bisexual actor Alan Cumming. Moonves was forced to step down in September after twelve women alleged to The New Yorker that he had sexually harassed or assaulted them. The CBS board hired two law firms to determine, in part, if he violated the terms of his employment agreement – which would give the network just cause to withhold the $120 million severance package to which he would otherwise be entitled. The investigators’ report, leaked to the New York Times, concluded that Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and
The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund panel: Rachel Tuchman, Fatima Goss Graves, Robbie Kaplan, and Christy Haubegger. Moderated by Nina Shaw. Photo via WikiMedia Commons
outside of the workplace,” and includes previously undisclosed allegations of sexual misconduct against him such as having a CBS employee “on call” to perform oral sex. It further claims that Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators, who found him to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.” The Moonves scandal provides ample proof that the TIME’S UP Defense Fund has plenty of work still ahead. Founded on Jan. 1, 2018 by more than 300 women in Hollywood, including high-profile leaders such as Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Shonda Rimes and showrunner Jill Soloway TIME’S UP was created in part to honor the #MeToo movement’s efforts to give voice to the victims of sexual abuse and misconduct. Its defense fund, managed by the National Women’s Law Center, offers free consultation for economically disadvantaged women from all professions seeking redress for harassment claims. Bloomberg recently included the organization on its list of 50 “whose
2018 accomplishments were particularly noteworthy.” Bloomberg recognized Tina Tchen (partner, Buckley Sandler LLP), Roberta Kaplan (out partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP), Hilary Rosen (out partner, SKDKnickerbocker LLC), and Fatima Goss Graves (president and CEO, National Women’s Law Center). Tchen and Kaplan are co-founders of the fund; Rosen’s firm provides public relations assistance and administration is handled through Goss Graves’s law center. “We’re approaching 3,800 requests for help,” Tchen, who served as Assistant to President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2017, told Bloomberg News. “Two-thirds of the people are low-income – it’s first responders, it’s teachers, it’s fast-food workers.” Kaplan, who argued the landmark marriage equality case, US v. Windsor, before the Supreme Court, explained the Fund’s importance in defending low- and middle-income women, with many lawyers working pro-bono. “The way judges and juries calculate damages is you take the woman’s salary and
figure out how much she lost as a result of the behavior and what kind of future salary would she lose,” Kaplan said. “With someone not earning a lot of money, those numbers have not been very high.” Therefore, these cases don’t attract good lawyers. “The standard contingency fee is one-third of what’s recovered. So, for multiple years of work on a case, a lawyer might get $30,000.” But, Kaplan added, “A lot of the lawyers in the network have agreed to do this on a pro bono basis.” Even so, according to Tchen, there’s a need for caution in dispersing resources. “Any one case could overwhelm the resources of the fund,” she noted. “There’s a balance between being equitable and providing enough money that would actually draw lawyers.” The Defense Fund has committed to providing financial support in 68 cases so far, and according to Kaplan, that’s just the beginning. “I don’t even think we’re in the first half of the baseball game here,” she said. “We’re in maybe the second or third inning. The pervasiveness of the problem has been stunning.” – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.
10 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
New Facebook community standards spark controversy Restrictions anger LGBT artists and activists By SEAN SHEALY A House Judiciary Committee hearing Dec. 11 prompted smug laughter from Democrats when anti-LGBT Iowa Rep. Steve King tried to play “gotcha” with Google CEO Sundar Pichai whose search engine Republicans think is guilty of anticonservative bias. Holding up his phone, King asked Pichai why his 7-year-old granddaughter found an unflattering photo of him while playing a game. “Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company,” Pichai said. Not so funny is the apparent move by Facebook to erase all mention of human sexuality, especially regarding LGBT people, from its platform. The issue was raised by LGBT artists and activists who noted an uptick in what they consider censoring of certain posts. This follows an announcement from another social
media network, Tumblr, that it is deleting all blogs carrying “adult content” in violation of its newly revised community standards rules that take effect Dec. 17. LGBT users are now concerned about Facebook’s new guidelines/rules, revised Oct. 15, which they believe extremely limit what they can safely post without reprisal, being booted off the platform temporarily or permanently. Consider “how interwoven our intimate encounters, desires, and relationships (including, but not limited to, sexual matters) are with digital platforms. Consider how much of your personal and professional life experiences may be integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tinder,” Steven W. Thrasher writes in The Atlantic. “But its adult content wasn’t strictly limited to porn. The site is— was—a haven for people who might not be able to connect sexually in other ways.” “Tumblr was my safe space and my digital gallery for my work. But it is difficult to use my Facebook artist page because of recent efforts
to censor and stifle both images and language. When Tumblr made its announcement that was devastating as nearly half of my support and patrons came via its platform,” Phoenix-based gay artist Brandon McGilltells the Los Angeles Blade. “I have about 3500+ posts of original content. It’s going to be hard to keep track of what they’ve removed and what they did not, it is just so frustrating. As an artist, this impacts me, but as a community we are on a slippery slope friends. We must be visible, we must be present, and we must fight back. Or we lose our voice completely.” Facebook has come under fire for its failure to take down content such as terrorist and extremist videos, as well as content generated by bots posting fake news—while seemingly targeting legitimate posts from real users for deletion. In a recent action coinciding with Tumblr’s announcement, the social media giant quietly introduced a new policy that updated its content-moderation rules. It bans users from expressing “sexual slang” and or any
hint of “sexual positions” and erotic art when mentioned with a sex act. Suggestive comments such as “looking for a good time tonight” when soliciting for sex is also forbidden. It also bans talking about “sexual roles or fetish scenarios,” or mentioning preferences in sexual partners in profile descriptions. Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told the LA Blade Dec. 11 that the revised content-moderation rules implementation also reflect input from third-party organizations that work on women’s and child online safety issues. Budhraja added that Facebook is in the process of hiring more content reviewers and using computer algorithms to help it take down problematic content. However she noted that an independent set of panels will be used to determine disputed posts regarding what should and shouldn’t be taken down according to the new rules. Continues at losangelesblade.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 11
Court hears Trump trans military ban Injunction remains in effect; unclear how judges might rule By CHRIS JOHNSON A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave no clear signal during oral arguments Monday on whether they’d keep in place one of four injunctions against President Trump’s transgender military ban, raising the real possibility the panel would reverse the order against the policy. After one hour of arguments in which a dominant theme was hair-splitting over the difference between being transgender and having gender dysphoria, the questioning left no clear indication of the eventual ruling. One judge seemed poised to reverse the injunction, another seemed inclined to keep it and the other gave mixed signals. At issue is whether U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly should have lifted her preliminary injunction against Trump’s transgender military ban in the aftermath of the report of Defense Secretary James Mattis in March justifying Trump’s plan to exclude transgender people. Although the Mattis policy generally bars transgender people from service, it exempts those who’ve already come out during the period of open service that started under Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during the Obama years. The Mattis policy also allows transgender troops who enlist in the future or who have yet to come out to continue to serve as long as they don’t transition. U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams, a Reagan appointee, raised questions that were overtly in favor of allowing the ban to proceed. U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee, had mixed questioning for both sides. U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins, an Obama appointee, seemed inclined to keep the injunction in place, asking questions about whether the Mattis policy has changed anything. Even if the D.C. Circuit were to reverse Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction against the Trump policy, three other nationwide injunctions against the policy remain in effect and those court orders against the policy would remain in effect. The Trump administration would still be enjoined from implementing its ban on transgender service.
President Trump’s administration continues to push for a ban on trans service members. Photo by Gage Skidmore / Courtesy Flickr
Much attention was placed on the distinction Mattis placed in his implementation on service members who are transgender and transition and those who continue serving in their biological sex. The Mattis policy would allow transgender people to serve as long as they serve in their biological sex and “do not require a change of gender and remain deployable within applicable retention standards.” Representing the Trump administration before the court was Justice Department trial attorney Brinton Lucas, who argued that provision in the policy — as well as the part allowing the estimated 937 transgender troops who came out in the Obama years to stay in the military — demonstrates the Trump administration has changed its approach and lifting the injunction is warranted. “Their entire argument is we haven’t changed,” Lucas said. “We believe that we have.” In his closing remarks, Lucas called it “truly extraordinary” four separate courts have placed injunctions against the transgender military ban and said the U.S. government is calling for a “simple amount of deference,” much like the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately awarded the Trump administration on the travel ban to Muslim countries. Arguing on behalf of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders in favor of keeping the court injunction in place was Jennifer Levi, who said the Mattis policy “bans only transgender people and all transgender
people” and gender dysphoria is a “defining characteristic” of being transgender. Williams — who told Levi “the record in the case is against you” — repeatedly referenced the portion of the Mattis recommendations allowing transgender people to serve in their biological sex, pointing to a RAND Corp. study finding 18 percent of transgender service members reported having no desire to undertake transition. “There seem to be people who spend decades in their biological sex and then decide to transition,” Williams said. When Levi responded those service members don’t wish to transition “because of discrimination,” Williams said the terms “do not wish” demonstrates a subsection of transgender people who are fine for the time being in their biological sex. Levi, however, said the distinction “doesn’t remedy the constitutional injury” against transgender and warrant lifting the injunction against the policy. “Gender dysphoria here is being used as a proxy to exclude transgender individuals,” Levi said. When Williams suggested the transgender ban could be justified because of the high suicide rates in the transgender population, Levi said the military doesn’t apply the standards, for example, to white people compared to black people, drawing on findings white people suffer a higher suicide rate than black individuals. A couple of times issues became contentious between Williams and Levi.
When the judge asked the attorney to comment on the transgender experience in terms of the “world” as opposed to proposed policy, Levi commented on the “Carter world” of open service, Williams scoffed and said that wasn’t sufficient. “The government is playing word games by arguing that transgender people can serve in their birth sex. That is a contradiction in terms,” Levi said in a statement after the arguments. “This is not a game. What’s at stake here is the lives of dedicated service members, who are willing and able to serve—and are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.” In contrast to Williams, Griffith repeatedly asked whether heightened scrutiny for laws against sex discrimination should apply to the transgender military ban, indicating he may be inclined to uphold the order against the policy. Additionally, Griffith asked whether allowing transgender service members to stay in the military as long as they remain in their biological sex creates a “null set” that essentially bars all transgender service members. “You can be a transgender individual as long as you don’t act like one, as long as you suppress your gender identity,” Griffith said. When Griffith asked Lucas whether there are transgender people who can serve in their biological sex, Lucas replied, “Yes,” referencing those who don’t wish to transition because, for example, they identify as nonbinary. But when Griffith posed the same question to Levi, she compared the situation to allowing gays to serve in the military while requiring them “to act heterosexually.” Griffith also asked Lucas whether the grandfather clause in the Mattis policy allowing transgender people who came out during the Obama years undercuts the rationale for the policy. In response, Lucas said the military has different standards for accession than it does for retention, noting the military keeps service members with PTSD, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, but doesn’t have the same policy for their enlistment. Despite those questions, Griffith also voiced concerns over judicial precedent requiring the judiciary to give deference to the military over combat readiness, pointing out the proposed ban used to be the policy of the military until the final year of the Obama administration. “You are asking the court to make decisions we are not equipped to make: Who is combat ready and who is not” Griffith said.
12 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Gay friend defends Trump pick for AG amid criticism ‘He has not only treated LGBT people fairly, but mentored them’ By CHRIS JOHNSON A longtime gay friend of William Barr, President Trump’s pick as the next U.S. attorney general, has come to the defense of the nominee amid concerns from LGBT groups he’d continue the anti-LGBT legal positions of the Trump Justice Department. Paul Cappuccio, a former general counsel for Time Warner who’s raising children in a same-sex marriage, told the Blade during an interview he worked for Barr when Barr served as attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration and said “there’s been no one who has been more supportive of my same-sex family than Bill Barr has, not only with my partner, with my children, for whom he’s ‘Uncle Bill.’ I know several people who are openly gay — who he has mentored — front and center,” Cappuccio said. “I was not open the entire time I knew him, but I was open a lot of the time I knew him.” Cappuccio, who said he’s “thrilled” Barr may come back as attorney general, said the Trump nominee “feels extremely passionate” that “justice is about fairness for an individual, and people are entitled to be treated as individuals no matter what their political views, their race, their religion, their sexual orientation.” “About that, he’s always been passionate, and I’ve seen it with a first-hand seat, including sitting next to him in the attorney general’s office for a couple years, so I feel quite comfortable and happy that Bill could be attorney general again,” Cappuccio said. Cappuccio said Barr is “a person who is about enforcing the laws, not undermining them, not trying to remake them” and that he “accepts precedent,” which Cappuccio said bodes well for preserving the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality nationwide. “Do I think Bill Bar would have, if he was on the Supreme Court, would have voted to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right?” Cappuccio said. “I don’t know, but I know he would do nothing to undermine the decision, right? And that’s what matters because he’s going to be our nation’s chief
William Barr in the early 1990s as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush.
law enforcement officer.” Cappuccio added Barr is a “devout Catholic,” but is “a person who has never been one to judge anyone, and for whom — and this is how he measures himself — the equal fair treatment of an individual is the ultimate requirement and test and goal.” “For what it’s worth, I have direct experience with him as a person and seen how he has not only treated LGBT people fairly, but mentored them,” Cappuccio said. “He’s been a huge force in my life. For example, I got to tell you, I wasn’t always open, and when he found out, he looked at me and said, ‘You feel like you couldn’t tell me? You couldn’t tell me you want to marry someone? I can’t believe that.’ And that was one of the sweetest things. ‘I want to meet this guy’ is what he said.” Despite Cappuccio’s praise for Barr, who most recently served as a counsel for Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the Trump nominee once made anti-gay comments expressing concerns about greater tolerance for the “homosexual movement” in the United States than the religious community. “It is no accident that the homosexual movement, at one or two percent of the population, gets treated with such solicitude while the Catholic population, which is over a quarter of the country, is given the back of the hand,” Barr once wrote. “How has that
come to be?” Barr expressed those views in a 1995 article for “The Catholic Lawyer,” a conservative Catholic publication for St. John’s University School of Law, in an article titled, “Legal Issues in a New Political Order.” “We live in an increasingly militant, secular age,” Barr wrote. “We see an emerging philosophy that government is expected to play an ever greater role in addressing social problems in our society. It is also expected to override various private interests as it goes about this work. As part of this philosophy, we see a growing hostility toward religion, particularly Catholicism. This form of bigotry has always been fashionable in the United States.” As evidence of the subordination of religious attitudes to the will of the government, Barr pointed to a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 1987 requiring Georgetown University to give an LGBT student group equal rights to the organizations on campus despite the school’s Catholic views. (Georgetown University has since embraced the school’s LGBT student body.) “Another example was the effort to apply District of Columbia law to compel Georgetown University to treat homosexual activist groups like any other student group,” Barr wrote. “This kind of law dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality.” (Other media outlets have reported the article is dated October 2017, but that publication is a reprint. The website for St. John’s University’s Law School indicates the article was first published in 1995.) Barr’s views in that 23-year-old article suggest his tenure as attorney general will continue to uphold the precedence of “religious freedom” over LGBT rights. Prior to his termination, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued guidance outlining those views in a “religious freedom” memo as directed by Trump in an executive order last year. The Justice Department also participated in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the U.S. Supreme Court on the side of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a samesex couple over religious objections. Jon Davidson, chief counsel for the LGBT group Freedom for All Americans, said he was concerned that Barr’s comments in the 1995
article demonstrate he’ll continue the Justice Department on the same path as Sessions. “While I am not aware of anything William Barr has done recently that explicitly indicates where he stands on discrimination against LGBTQ people, he made a number of disparaging comments in the 1990s about ‘homosexual activist groups’ and the ‘homosexual movement’ that are troubling,” Davidson said. “Those comments suggest that the Department of Justice under his stewardship is unlikely to alter course in any significantly positive way for LGBTQ people, as compared to the anti-LGBTQ positions advanced by the DOJ under Jeff Sessions.” But Cappuccio dismissed concerns over views Barr expressed in the 1995 article, saying the underlying issue is “in truth a little more complicated than it gets portrayed, which is the right for religious people to hold their views versus the requirement that you can’t let them discriminate against people.” “He’s not going to ever let people be discriminated against, OK?” Cappuccio said. “I think he was making in that article a broader point about that there’s a school of thought — and he identified like three schools of thought in that article — that taking a moral view, even by a religious institution, is kind of like illegitimate in a secular society, and he was raising that. I don’t think you can read that article and think he’s focusing on — I think he gave 100 examples of that issue.” Cappuccio added he doesn’t “sweat” the views expressed in the article because of his long, first-hand friendship with Barr, which includes a close relationship with his family. “When I heard he was thinking of going back to attorney general, my first reaction was ‘Does this mean he can’t babysit my daughter Mia anymore?” Cappuccio said. “But I’m telling you…and this is important to me, he’s a good guy on this issue and…this is not in any way, shape or form anyone you need to be worried about.” Cappuccio said “frankly, my constitutional views would probably be there’s not a right” to same-sex marriage under the U.S. Constitution as decided in the Obergefell decision, even though he thinks it’s good policy, but added in terms of enforcing the law, including that ruling, Barr will be “nothing but a good thing for every individual, including gay individuals.” Continues at losangelesblade.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 13
“It’s like a manhood thing for him — as if manhood could ever be associated with him — this wall thing.”
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Democratic colleagues after an Oval Office confrontation with President Trump Dec. 11 over funding his border wall.
“What’s on the horizon: if we can have a long-action form of PrEP that allows folks to have protection for three or four month increments, we will also hopefully reverse this trend of intermittent PrEP use that we see.” - Mario Perez, LA County Dept. of Public Health Division of HIV & STD Programs, to In The Meantime Men at National PrEP Summit at the Biomedical Conference in LA Dec. 3-4.
“So a lot of people thought, you know, I got a call from the Secret Service or got in fake Hollywood trouble. But, no, this is real-life trouble.”
– Comedian Kathy Griffin on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Dec. 7 explaining how the government investigated her for “conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States” after she posed for a photo holding a fake bloody Donald Trump head. Griffin was the guest of the Washington Blade at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner during the controversy.
Andrea Gaylord was quickly evacuated when fire swept Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 8, forcing her to leave behind her two beloved dogs, Madison and Miguel. The raging Camp Fire eventually killed at least 85 people, ravaged territory the size of Chicago, destroyed 14,000 residences and took more than 17 days to contain, displacing thousands in Northern California. It took weeks for the animal rescue organization K9 Paw Print Rescue to find Miguel in another city. But volunteer rescuer Shayla Sullivan had a harder time finding Madison. She spotted him sometimes in the canyon and left out fresh Coming upon Madison at his home in Paradise. Photo via Facebook food and water, hoping he would show up, according to Sullivan’s Facebook post. She even kept a piece of clothing that smelled like Gaylord near the home “to keep Madison’s hope alive until his people could return,” Sullivan wrote. But when the evacuation order was lifted—a miracle. Gaylord returned to her burned out property and found Madison appearing to guard the family home. “I’m so happy I’m crying as I write this! He didn’t give up through the storms or the fire! A LOOOOONG month it must have been for him!” Sullivan wrote. “Imagine the loyalty of hanging in through the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Gaylord told ABC10. “You could never ask for better animals.” Fighting through tears, she added: “You are the best dog. The best.” — Karen Ocamb
14 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 02 ISSUE 41
LGBT equality remains a distant dream in Asia Failed Taiwan marriage referendum underscores widespread intolerance By VICTOR MAUNG The most LGBT-friendly country in Asia has rejected marriage equality. Amnesty International says the Nov. 24 referendum results are a bitter blow to the Taiwanese LGBT community that wishes their island nation would be the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. What’s more, for the rest of the dreamers in Asia it’s a painful reminder that realizing genuine marriage equality at home could take another generation. Even though Taiwan is deemed the most progressive country and a haven for LGBT activism in Asia, two initiatives to add same-sex marriage in the Civil Code and gender equality education in schools were both rejected. A pre-election survey that suggested as many as 77 percent of Taiwanese opposed legalizing same-sex marriage is a clear indication that acceptance on LGBT rights is not nationwide, even in Taiwan. As I grew up in one of the most conservative countries in Asia, I am not surprised to see these results because I know acceptance on LGBT rights in Asian countries is always limited to certain niches. Often, mediadistorted views of seemingly widespread acceptance are giving false hopes. Asian countries present a broad spectrum of LGBT rights conditions, from harsh punishments to discrimination to growing acceptances. As of today, same-sex relationships are illegal in at least 20 Asian countries and are punishable by death in seven of them. For the rest of Asia, LGBT individuals find themselves lucky to struggle with relatively mild miseries, such as family acceptance or workplace discrimination. As I have traveled as a reporter across Asia, I found a common unspoken consensus among the non-LGBT populace in Asia.
A referendum on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Taiwan failed on Nov. 24. Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association
Since we are “abnormal” or “deviant” of norms, we shall be allowed to grow only within certain niches. In other words, either as an individual or as a community, if we have grown to the point that the majority feels intimidated, it has the right to say, “too much.” More or less, this reflects the attitudes of the majority in Asian countries. You won’t see them in the media but people act on it when they cast their votes. On the other hand, the irony is same-sex marriage has become the ultimate symbol of accepting secularism and diversity, so support for LGBT rights has been politicized. From the late-Cambodian King Sihanouk to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, it’s not hard to see why these Asian leaders showed support for LGBT rights but never actually acted to risk public support. Support of gay rights is a symbolic gesture to show their Western counterparts how secular and liberal they have become. In Taiwan, the motives to show the world how it is different from the authoritarian mainland in the era of the regime’s rising global power is behind the push for becoming a paragon
of freedom and tolerance in Asia. This kind of “acceptance with an agenda” might fool the international media, but the message of acceptance is never passed down to the grassroots level. When I attended the ILGA Asia conference in 2013, I came to the conclusion shared by many other activists: Marriage equality is too far-fetched for us, at least in our lifetime. Demands for LGBT rights are not just fighting the repressive laws and homophobic groups. We are fighting the beliefs, traditions and systems backed by patriarchy, collectivism and fundamentalism, which have been institutionalized and cherished by the society. If you are from one of the bottom Asian countries, you have additional fights against corruption, ignorance and misconceptions against the minorities. This is the reality of being an LGBT person in Asia.
Victor Maung is a journalist and LGBT rights activist who was born in Myanmar. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 15
GOP’s appointment in Samarra The party selling out democracy indicts itself
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. Reach him at email@example.com.
There is an old Baghdad fable of a man who sees Death in the marketplace and flees to Samarra, where Death is expecting him. America feels like a death watch nowadays. Last week, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote “Why We Miss the WASPs,” describing nostalgia for what he couldn’t quite bring himself to call white supremacy. Michael Harriot at The Root had the perfect riposte: “I must admit, this utopian Whitekanda sounds alluring in its dreamlike vanilla-ness.” But as Harriot knows too well, this is deadly serious. Times commentator Charles
M. Blow discusses post-election power grabs by Republicans after they lost statewide races in Michigan and Wisconsin. He writes, “Republicans across this country are doing everything they can to impede, alter and override the power of the personal vote.” A new election may have to be called in North Carolina‘s ninth congressional district due to Republican election theft. Aggressive voter roll purges, gerrymandering, and voter ID laws give the lie to Chief Justice John Roberts, who claimed in 2013 when voting to overturn Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, “America has changed.” In 2014, Mother Jones listed actions by GOP lawmakers in several states “running buck wild with new voting restrictions.” The threat to democracy goes all the way to the top. We learned on Dec. 7, in sentencing memos from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, that Individual-1 (that’s our president) directed felony violations of campaign finance laws. Trump tweeted in response, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” He is mistaken, but the denial of reality runs deep in his party. People have speculated that Trump will refuse to leave office when the time comes. Recent GOP efforts show this is not an idle concern. But Democrats will take control
of the House in the 116th Congress, and will be there to bring out the truth if he fires Mueller. Trump can whistle past the graveyard all he likes. A cold, remorseless hand will soon be at his throat, drawn ever closer by his own actions. Our problems did not begin with Trump and will not end with him. The oligarchs, dirty tricksters, false narratives, and double standards defending power and privilege will still work their mischief. A recent example was CNN’s rapid firing of Marc Lamont Hill for defending Palestinian rights at the UN on Nov. 28 to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the nakba, the displacement of Palestinians by Israel. I disagree with Hill’s support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement because it holds Israel to a different standard than others. But Hill apologized for using the phrase “from the river to the sea,” historically used to reject compromise with Israel. His full remarks in context make clear that he was calling for a consistent recognition of rights. He rejects anti-Semitism. Hill states, “I believe in a single secular democratic state for everyone. This is the only way that historic Palestine will be free.” I’m afraid he is right. No one has undermined
the two-state solution more than Netanyahu and the annexationists. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cultivated Jared Kushner for two years. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a Kushner family friend, and the Kushners are backers of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Israelis and Saudis have a mutual enemy in Iran. Israel authorized the sale to the Saudis of spyware implicated in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudis’ mass starvation of Yemenis and blockade of Qatar mean little to Jared, who is ignorant of the region’s history. Given all this, and the instant wrath against anyone who criticizes Israel, it is sadly unsurprising that some are demanding that Temple University fire Prof. Hill. Academic freedom, anyone? As long as America betrays its own values, we should desist from lecturing others. We sow terrible seeds when we overlook depredations by our allies and ignore the cries for justice of those they oppress. All human beings matter. Dissident voices like Prof. Hill’s, try as some might to silence them, keep the flame of freedom lit. Copyright © 2018 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.
Gift ideas for the festive season
Nik Kacy Footwear
Feel Good Foods
These are a few of Los Angeles Blade’s favorite things By SUSAN HORNIK
While Santa doesn’t need help choosing gifts for your friends and family, you do! Are you a eee bit flummoxed deciding what to buy? Read Los Angeles Blade’s massive gift guide and let us help you find just the right item!
For The Fashionista NiK Kacy Footwear is a brand inspired by the fashion needs of both its founder and the larger LGBTQ community. Kacy, who identifies as genderqueer and transmasculine, designed their first collection of gender-equal shoes in order to provide a solution for the on-going divide between shoe designs and the gender binary. Their first collection, named “Fortune,” consists of five classically masculine-influenced styles, now modernized with colorful contrasts and re-proportioned to fit everyone in and outside the gender spectrum. NiK’s desire for gender equality extends further by expanding their label to include the latest collection of androgynous
(gender-neutral) styles titled “Destiny,” and the upcoming “feminine of center” collection, featuring high-heel styled shoes in the same genderfree sizes ranging from 34-47 (US women’s 3.5 to men’s 14), as well as, an agender accessories line, including holster wallets, belts and bracelets. If you want to look organized and stylish, check out Be Brilliant Bags. They are perfect when you are on the go, traveling, heading to the gym or out in a night on the town.
For The Foodie Does your honey have a sweet tooth? Coolhaus is incredible ice cream, created by the uber successful, lesbian entrepreneur, Natasha Case. Ship a bundle of ice cream right to their door! ! Each delicious treat is handcrafted with hormone free, real California milk, cage free eggs, fair trade chocolate. If you are headed to Gelson’s, there are terrific foodie gift baskets there. These beautifully wrapped packages are worthy of any holiday party, filled with two handcurated bottles of wine – Kendall
Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and La Crema Chardonnay – along with decadent Chocolove Bar Dark Chocolate Cherry/Almond, Guylian Masters Selection Mini Praline Chocolates, Walkers Shortbread Salted Caramel/Chocolate, J.Destrooper-Almond Thins, Carrs Crackers Entertainment Collection, Raincoast CrispsCranberry Hazelnut, Gelson’s Finest Mix Nut Deluxe R/S, Roasted Salted Pistachios, Bonne Maman Preserves Apricot, Columbus Salame Dry Chub, and Giuliano Martini Pimento Olives to make that perfect holiday martini. Foodies would love Sun Basket, a healthy meal kit company, mostly using organic ingredients. There are a lot of terrific food choices in their meal plans and everything is so delicious! It’s very convenient to get food directly to your door! Eating each dish is almost as much fun as preparing all the ingredients that get sent to you. I loved the chicken tom kai gai soup, a paleo version of a Thai take-out favorite, which can be made in just one pot. Their custom lemongrass paste adds an authentically punchy,
bright flavor to the broth. DiamoTech’s innovative nonstick, visually lovely cookware is sure to please any cooking connoisseur. Their four layer design enforces aluminum for uniform heat distribution, enabling home chefs to cook without oil, butter or grease. Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. They have three unique & complex blends - Spice 94, Garden 108 & Grove 42 - served with tonic or mixed to create sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails. Available nationwide online through their website, and Whole Foods. Feel Good Foods offers delicious gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan crave-worthy flavors that are ready to heat and eat within minutes and built to share. For a busy person who is short on time, these snacks are perfect when They are on the go! Try the veggie potstickers and egg rolls! As the leading plant-based meal delivery service, Veestro offers over 50+ a la carte chef-crafted meals that can be delivered directly to your door. Think
Herb Crusted Turk’y, Cauliflower Milanese, Pecan Pie and more. The perfect gift for busy people who want to eat healthier, but don’t have the time to shop, chop and cook meals from scratch.
For That Hunk Who Loves to Be Healthy
Kick off 2019 by gifting a new Fitbit! Your honey will be raring to go on long walks with you! Fitbit is dedicated to health and fitness by building products that help transform people’s lives, believing you’re more likely to reach your goals if you’re encouraged to have fun, smile, and feel empowered along the way. Celebrities love trying out the amazing, chemical free, nut butter and milk machine NutraMilk. Many use the gorgeous machine in their kitchen for all their homemade, tasty almond shakes. And it makes a great nutella! Check out US Cryotherapy Studio City, for a great service like Whole Body Cryotherapy - experience colder weather than Santa at the North Pole! Cold air therapy in the whole-body chamber will
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Dog for Dog
The Four Feet Fleet
Cleopatra Cat Eye Stamp
Shine Weightless Serum
rejuvenate your body, skin and mind and will leave you feeling warmer than when you arrived! You can also get a Cryo Facials - soothing collagen stimulating cold facial to increase cellular regeneration, reduce blemishes, minimize wrinkles and promote clear skin.
For Man’s Best Friend Dog For Dog toys and treats are wonderful for your pup! But even more great is that the company helps to save four-legged lives; every purchase helps dogs in need! Woof! Silvercar by Audi, a premium car rental service, will be rolling out the The Four Feet Fleet - a “pawsome” special holiday promotion that gives travelers with dogs the ability to take their furry friends along for the ride home or on vacation! Starting November 15 through January 5, premium pet hammocks will be available at select Silvercar locations, for use in Silvercar’s silver Audi A4 and Q5 models, so your fourlegged friends can stay safe and
comfortable while you drive.
For That Person You Just Don’t Know What to Buy Thoughtfully Gifts can definitely be of help! The company has some wonderful presents to choose from. Choose from items like holiday cocoa/tea variety gift sets and global cocktail mixers! Best of all, 10 percent of all profits go toward the Thoughtfully Initiative, which supports local, regional and national nonprofit organizations. Gay artist Scott Coblio’s fine-art photography has evolved from live-subject portraiture (in the style of Golden Age of Hollywood photographer George Hurrell) to doll, mannequin and puppet photography and film-making (his feature film debut, 2007’s “Murderess” featured an all-marionette cast!) “My aim is to showcase not only the beauty of these figures but to explore the magical and surrealistic effects of animating them into “living” subjects,” he said in an artist statement.
For That Elf Who Likes His Liquor Shots Box is a monthly liquor sample subscription service that allows you to try a variety of handselected craft distilled liquors. Pack a few bottles away for your weekend Palm Springs trip! You can’t help but fall in love with Paso Robles, which is a wonderful place for a weekend away. Wine lovers will appreciate Justin Wines’ 2015 Isosceles, a lovely blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon supported by Cabernet Franc and Merlot. check out their website for other wonderful selections. Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice and cocktail garnishes is perfect for Dirty Martinis, Bloody Mary, and Michelada. And the blue cheese-stuffed olives or jalapeno-stuffed cocktail onions make for amazing garnishes. Ketel One Botanical has an attractive gift box that contains everything you need to kick start your holiday celebration. Inside the carefully curated box you will find stylish accessories including a marble cheese board to build your perfect charcuterie platter, a
set of festive gold coasters, a vase and a discount for blooms via The Bouqs. Best of all, you get to “pick your Botanical” a 750ml bottle of Ketel One Botanical Peach & Orange Blossom, Cucumber & Mint, or Grapefruit & Rose. Q Mixers makes tasty Tonic Water, Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, Grapefruit Soda, Indian Tonic Water, Club Soda, and Kola to mix with all your favorite spirits. Sweetened with organic agave nectar rather than sugar or high fructose corn syrup, the drinks have a higher carbonation content than other mixers. Your drink is as delicious on the last sip as on the first.
Stocking Stuffers While most people know they can have their favorite West Hollywood restaurants deliver a Postmates meal as a gift, what is not as known is that you can also custom order from local stores like Best Buy and Apple deliver too. Also TopShop TopMan, Victoria’s Secret and The Pleasure Chest are on the app too. Even a simple gift card for their favorite restaurant makes a great
gift! Black Angus gift cards can be any denomination (up to $300). Currently, Black Angus is running an offer through 12/31/18, for every $50 in gift cards purchased, you’ll receive a $10 bonus bucks promotional card to be used 1/1/19 – 2/7/19. The gift card promotion is valid online or in our locations.
Beauty The Cleopatra Cat Eye Stamp is a unique product that solves a key problem, creating a perfectly symmetrical “cat eye” or “winged eye” look in less than 60 seconds with minimal effort. The patentprotected stamp is a compact penshaped applicator that features a cat eye stamp on one end, and a slender nib on the other. It is available in two different sizes, bold and sleek. Looking to have fantastic hair for the holidays? Check out celebrity hairstylist and QVC goddess, Lisa Chiccine, who created her signature refined, Shine Weightless Serum that will make your boo’s hair look stunning, Formulated with silk proteins, this item provides a concentrated formula to help solve flat, limp hair.
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18 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
‘ Love Actually ’ will bring you back to life A rollicking good time and a multimedia masterwork of stagecraft By JOHN PAUL KING
‘Love Actually Live’ runs Tue. Dec. 4 through Mon. Dec 31 at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Bram Goldsmith Theater (9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.) Photo Courtesy Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
If you’re a fan of the now-classic rom-com, “Love, Actually” – and who isn’t, really? – you’ll want to be at the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts this holiday season for “Love Actually Live.” A multimedia-concert celebration of the soundtrack to one of the most beloved holiday movies of all time, it’s an elaborate and ambitious world-premiere production from the team behind Los Angeles’ award-winning “For The Record” series, co-produced by the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Shane Scheel and Siobhan O’Neill and inspired by the Universal Pictures/Working Title motion picture written by Richard Curtis. It’s a production that Wallis Artistic Director Paul Crewes says, “reinvents the way the story is told.” For this one-of-a-kind presentation, The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater is transferred into a giant, immersive, cinema for the modern day – a three-dimensional world where scenery and video screens intertwine, providing a canvas upon which actors weave between projections as they bring unforgettable scenes to life through the movie’s album. The film, along with original custom-video content illustrating the London-based setting, is displayed on screens that travel throughout the stage, immersing the singers and musicians in a cinematic spectacle. An all-star cast, accompanied by a 15-piece orchestra, perform songs from the hit film, including “Christmas Is All Around,” “The Trouble with Love Is” and “Both Sides Now.” The lineup of outstanding vocalists includes Rumer Willis, Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor Steve Kazee, Kelley Jakle, Rex Smith, Grammy Awardnominee B. Slade, Carrie Manolakos, Justin Sargent, Zak Resnick, Doug Kreeger, Olivia Kuper Harris (of Postmodern Jukebox), Tomasina Abate, Sean Yves Lessard, Cairo McGee, Glory Curda, Tom Zmuda, Alex Csillag, Megan Shung, Carson Higgins and Emily Lopez. “I couldn’t be more excited to have so many ‘For The Record’ alumni back with us this year, to bring ‘Love, Actually’ to life,” says executive producer Shane Scheel. “Every song on the ‘Love, Actually’ soundtrack helps tell the story of this beloved holiday movie, and the vocalists comprising this company will bring joy, tears and adoration to audiences nightly.” Created by Scheel and Anderson Davis, “For The Record” is an unconventional theatrical series, staged in a variety of immersive venues, that brings the soul of treasured directors’ films front and center: the soundtrack. Part rock-concert and part musical theater, this new generation cabaret experience is carving out a new place in the market that transcends the “jukebox musical,” and has featured the works of acclaimed directors such as Quentin Tarantino, John Hughes, Baz Luhrmann, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese. “For The Record” has performed at venues around the country, including productions at the Montreal Jazz Festival and SXSW, a three-year residency in Las Vegas and a show on the Norwegian cruise ship, Escape.
Until now, the format of “For The Record” has been to pay tribute to a director’s entire canon of work – but “Love Actually Live” is a different experience, focusing on one specific film and incorporating actual footage from the movie into the presentation. Scheel explains, “A couple of years ago, I was watching one of my favorite films and realized how great the soundtrack is and shared the idea of turning ‘Love Actually’ into a show with my collaborators, Anderson Davis and Jesse Vargas.” After a three-night workshop last year in the Wallis’ smaller Studio Theatre was a success, the team started working on a full-scale realization. “This is the largest FTR production to date,” Scheel says. “The addition of the film content has added a substantial multimedia component to the show. We have also expanded the size of orchestra for this show and the cast is nearly double any previous production.” Crews says that FTR’s latest offering “will move and embrace audiences of every generation.” “This production has live music, live performance and edited excerpts from the film,” he explains. “It’s a unique process where we are mixing the precision of film with live performance – the two are interwoven in telling this story, rather than layered when you play live music alongside a film.” He admits it’s been a massive undertaking – “the process has been intense,” he says – and that the FTR and Wallis teams have been working together for months to make it happen. He’s quick to add, though, that director Anderson Davies “is at the epicenter of this amazing piece of work.” As for the film itself, “Love,Actually” has had audiences laughing, crying and hugging since it first premiered in the U.S. in 2003. With an all-star cast including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson (among many others), it’s a heartwarming romantic comedy about eight couples whose lives intersect shortly before the holidays. Its hilariously unpredictable plot examines how love inspires experiences that are alternately exciting, unexpected and unequalled. Since its debut, “Love Actually” has become a new holiday classic, and according to Entertainment Weekly, “one of the great Christmas movies” of all time. Crews believes the reason the film has become so beloved is also the reason FTR’s new theatrical interpretation is such a perfect fit. “The love stories told are so engaging,” he says, “and the soundtrack is fantastic.” As for why “Love Actually Live” is such an appropriate holiday offering in the current cultural climate, he offers this further observation. “Talking about LOVE (not hate) is always timely.” The show began preview performances on Dec. 4, but the official opening night is Dec. 12. It’s sure to be popular, so get your tickets now. For tickets and more info go to TheWallis.org or call the Wallis Box Office at (310)-746-4000.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 19
The race to the Oscars heats up this week with two highly anticipated releases. The period drama “Mary Queen of Scots” stars two actresses who competed for the Best Actress Oscar earlier this year as two rivals for the English throne. “Mary Poppins Returns” (opening everywhere Dec. 19) has already earned four Golden Globe nominations for Best Musical or Comedy, Best Score, Best Actress (Emily Blunt) and Best Actor (Lin-Manuel Miranda). For anyone who needs a quick refresher for “Mary Queen of Scots,” England’s Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) has a shaky claim on the crown (after all, her father King Henry VIII had her mother Anne Boleyn beheaded). Elizabeth is worried that her cousin, Scotland’s Queen Mary (Saoirse Ronan), has her eye on the English throne, although Mary denies any such ambitions and is having enough trouble keeping her own crown on her head. Like so many directors before her, Josie Rourke finds cinematic gold in this rich material, effectively focusing on the specific challenges of being a woman and a leader. Visually, the movie is stunning. Working with costume designer Alexandra Bryne, cinematographer John Mathieson and a very talented design team, Rourke creates a lively visual contrast between the two queens. Elizabeth’s court is all formal pomp and pageantry; Mary’s court is full of music and dance and frolicking. Rourke’s work with her stellar cast, especially her two leads, is flawless. Both queens are suitably regal and imperious, but they wield their power in very different ways. Robbie’s Elizabeth is all icy restraint where Ronan’s fiery passion often overrules her fierce intellect. The supporting cast is excellent, most notably David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) as Protestant cleric John Knox, Brandon Coyle (“Downton Abbey”) as Mary’s treacherous father-in-law and Guy Pearce (“Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Elizabeth’s chief councilor William Cecil. Where Rourke is less successful is her collaboration with screenwriter Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) who based his script on the work of historian John Guy. Willimon and Rourke focus on issues of gender and sexuality in fascinating ways, although it is sometimes jarring to see Mary as a paragon of contemporary tolerance. They effectively highlight Elizabeth’s role as the Virgin Queen; Elizabeth says that holding onto the crown has turned her into a man. Mary follows her passions, but her disastrous marriage to the gay Henry Darnley (Jack Lowden) leads to her downfall as the Scottish rebels yoke the toxic powers of sexism and homophobia to take her down. Where they are less successful is the overall balance and pacing of the picture. The final act of the movie is lethargic as Willimon suddenly turns his full attention to Elizabeth and her increasing isolation. “Mary Poppins Returns,” on the other hand, is a sweet escapist holiday confection, although it starts out in an unexpectedly dark place. It is two decades since everyone’s favorite nanny has flown away. England is mired in “The Great Slump” (aka “The Great Depression”) and the Banks family is in serious trouble. Michael is a recent widower with three small children and the bank is ready to foreclose on the family home. Luckily Mary Poppins flies in with her talking parrot-head umbrella and fixes everything (again). Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is quite charming as Mary Poppins, happily embracing the character’s delightful quirks and mercurial moods. She handles the musical numbers effortlessly and is especially delightful in the surprisingly saucy music hall number “A Cover is Not the Book.” Her fine performance may not erase memories of Julie Andrews, but she definitely makes the part her own. In a somewhat awkward move, Bert (Dick Van Dyke) the chimney sweep is replaced by Jack the lamplighter (Lin-Manual Miranda). Unfortunately, the lamplighter’s “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is just a pale imitation of the sweep’s “Step in Time” and new character never quite gels, despite Miranda’s impressive skills as a song-and-dance man. The supporting cast (including out actor Ben Whishaw as Michael, Emily Mortimer as Jane, Julie Waters as the befuddled housekeeper and Colin Firth as a villainous banker) is strong. Meryl Streep has a lot of fun as Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy and Angela Lansbury is simply magical as The Balloon Lady. For LGBT fans of the legendary “Mary Poppins,” “Mary Poppins Returns” may not erase memories of the original movie, but it will inspire some wonderful new memories. Working in a very different vein, in “Mary Queen of Scots” Josie Rourke and her awardwinning stars offer indelible cinematic images and bravura performances in a queer feminist revisioning of two of history’s most powerful women.
There’s something about Mary … ‘Poppins Returns’ and ‘Queen of Scots’ celebrate eclectic ladies By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie in ‘Mary Queen of Scots.’ Photo by Liam Daniel / Courtesy Focus Features
Home is where your story begins Buying a home is likely one of the most important purchases you’ll make and can be the beginning of a lifetime of memories. That’s why choosing a lender — and the right home mortgage consultant — is as important as choosing your mortgage.
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Private Mortgage Banker Phone: 310-285-4553 Cell: 310-924-8360 Ramona.Edery@wellsfargo.com NMLSR ID 1776322 Information is accurate as of date of printing and is subject to change without notice. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ©2017 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. NMLSR ID 399801. REV 3/18
20 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Consider a gift to LGBTQ non-profits in LA Support a cause this holiday season, from politics to HIV to immigrant rights By SCOTT STIFFLER
Parked outside of bars and at community events, AIDS Healthcare Foundation testing vans are a familiar, and welcome, sight. Photo courtesy AHF
You get back what you give. But when your end-of-theyear generosity extends to a non-profit working for the betterment of LGBTQ people, the tax benefit that a charitable contribution provides pales alongside the lives it can change and save — and if you should ever find yourself in need, the life you save may be your own. Here are a few worthy destinations for your dollars. EQUALITY CALIFORNIA (eqca.org)
The nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, noted Executive Director Rick Zbur, brings the voices of those people “and our allies to institutions of power,” locally and nationwide, in the name of “creating a world that is healthy, just, and equal.” Those efforts includes “advancing pro-equality legislation that will actually improve ‘lived equality.’ It’s not just about civil rights protections. It’s about improving the lives of people in our community.” Although Equality California receives assistance from government and foundation sources, most of what funds their education, electoral, advocacy, and mobilization mission comes from “individuals and companies that support our work,” Zbur noted. “We have to raise all of that [annual budget] every year, largely through grassroots donors.” And 2019, he said, will be a year when their agenda finds itself in alignment with a political landscape conducive to achieving real and lasting change. “We’ve got a historic opportunity,” Zbur said, with “supermajorities in both houses of the California legislature, and a pro majority in Congress” — hence their eye on statewide efforts to “protect kids in our schools. And in Congress, we’re really working hard to gain support, not only for the Equality Act, but a host of other bills” addressing senior rights, conversion therapy, and the panic defense. Discussions are already underway with potential Congressional bill authors. “There’s a whole lot of things we can do at the federal level,” Zbur noted, based on advances gained in California. AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (aidshealth.org)
Global in its reach and a robust presence in Los Angeles, AHF serves people living with HIV and AIDS: 1,045,550 clients in 43 countries. Not bad, for an organization that began in 1987 by collecting coins and cash door-to-door, to open the first HIV hospice in Los Angeles. Today, AHF is a 1.5 billion agency, noted Senior Director of Communications Ged Kenslea, who said individual donations
“are important. They tie people to positive actions, from South Central Los Angeles to South Africa.” While there has been great progress made, he said, “There are easily 18-20 million people living without lifesaving care, worldwide,” even though, “in some of these countries, the cost can be as little as $100 a year. HIV and STD testing are also a robust component of the AHF mission, with mobile units making regular appearances outside bars and community events. Having said that, “The audience for the Blade,” Kenslea noted, “is going to know, first and foremost, our Out of the Closet thrift store chain, and we also run the chain of AHF pharmacy outlets. We now have 48 pharmacies in 12 states, and those are full-service, including opportunities for HIV or AIDS patients to get custom detailing by pharmacists, who are very knowledgeable about managing HIV care.” Funds generated from the pharmacy, Kenslea said, are “put back into the community, in terms of the free services that we do.” Although this source constitutes the majority of AHF’s revenue, “It does not diminish the impact, and our appreciation, of individual donors… Until this epidemic is over, and until there is a functional measure to prevent people from acquiring HIV, we, as a community, need to mobilize as best we can.” THE COALITION FOR HUMANE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS OF LOS ANGELES (chirla.org)
Founded in 1986, CHIRLA is dedicated to achieving a just society fully inclusive of immigrants, by serving immigrant families and individuals who “act as agents of social change to achieve a world with freedom of mobility, full human rights, and true participatory democracy.” At seven locations throughout California, including downtown, south, and east Los Angeles, all services are free of charge. But funding those services, of course, costs — which makes your contribution a crucial component. “It’s about people empowering people,” said Director of Communications Jorge-Mario Cabrera, “and the donations we receive by individuals add up.” On Cabrera’s mind these days, is “the migrant caravan that’s coming. One of the first concerns that I personally had, was the LGBTQs who are part of that caravan. We know they are fleeing, because homophobia is rampant.” Even within the caravan, he noted, “You can have discrimination against queer folk — not only on their way to the promised land, but
also in terms of the violence and human rights violations in places like El Salvador and Nicaragua.” Whether part of the immigrant community living in the states while living with HIV, or en route to this country, LGBTQs, Cabrera said, benefit from CHIRLA services and resources. “We just sent a delegation of eight immigration attorneys to Tijuana, to work with the migrants seeking asylum,” he noted, “and that was largely paid for by our general fund.” THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER’S CHILDREN, YOUTH, and FAMILY SERVICES (lalgbtcenter.org/social-service-and-housing/youth)
Next year will see the Center celebrate its half-century mark. But it’s not resting on that laurel, or resting at all, for that matter. In April, “a new campus to house all of our youth programming,” will open, said Simon Costello, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Services — who prefaced that good news by noting, “The holiday time is particularly challenging for the young people we work with, who are disconnected from their families. When we ask why they’re not home, they say they were asked to leave because of who they are, and how they identify.” The Center, he said, strives “to give these people a place to stay,” and is making strides to double that effort. The housing program currently accommodates 62 — but when the campus opens, that number will grow to 100, shortly followed by “an extra 24 supporting apartment units.” In addition to housing, Costello noted, “We put a lot of work into education and employment.” A new Youth Academy on campus will provide those they serve with “an opportunity to get their [high school] education or a college degree, and a meaningful career path, so they can gain independence.” Your donations will help secure those goals. And the need has increased in proportion to the numbers of homeless youth drawn to Los Angeles — forty percent of whom identify as LGBTQ. “In the last 18 months,” Costello noted, “our number of visits has grown by double digits. I think that’s not unrelated to the current political climate. These young people are more marginalized than they have been in the past.” As for a present that will pay dividends in the future, Costello said monetary donations are always appreciated — but “gift cards, socks, and underwear” are also “things that make these programs work.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 21
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced on Twitter last Wednesday that he had been hired to host the 91st Academy Awards. A day later, he announced – also on Twitter – that he was stepping down from the job. The quick turnaround followed a firestorm of controversy over homophobic tweets and comments from Hart’s stand-up act from as far back as 2009. The comedy routine in question came from his 2010 TV special, “Seriously Funny,” in which Hart joked, among other things, that “as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.” Hart’s Twitter feed has been laced with homophobic comments throughout his career – in one particularly offensive tweet, he called out another Twitter user by saying their profile picture looked “like a gay billboard for AIDS.” He also repeatedly used phrases like “no homo,” and lambasted his critics with homophobic slurs. By Thursday morning, several outlets reported that Hart was deleting many of these tweets – most of which dated from 2011 and before – but by then they had already been screen-captured and shared by thousands on social media. Later Thursday, Hart finally responded to the outcry with two videos posted on Instagram – first claiming to have “evolved” and then sharing that the Academy had given him an ultimatum to apologize or step down. He refused to apologize, claiming that he had “already spoken on” concerns about his homophobic remarks. A few hours later, Hart announced via Twitter that he had chosen to step down, “because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words of the past,” he said. “I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.” In the wake of his Thursday night announcement, conservative pundits chimed in on social media to criticize the “PC mob” for forcing Hart to step down, while Hollywood PR gurus suggested that the comedian’s handling of the situation had only served to exacerbate the public outcry. Andrew Blum, head of the crisis PR firm AJB Communications, told Variety Friday morning, “In this day and age you’ve got minutes, if not seconds to deal with a crisis. You always offer the most apologetic statement first and he didn’t.” Instead, Hart delayed in responding to the controversy for a full day, before taking a defensive stance in his initial Instagram post, chiding critics by telling them to “stop searching for reasons to be angry” and seeming to position himself as a victim of PC culture run amok. It’s not all that different from his belated response over criticism around the notorious 2010 comedy routine. In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Hart confessed that he “wouldn’t tell the joke today.” His reasons, however, had nothing to do with the obvious anti-gay bias involved; instead, he deflected by saying, “the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now.”
LGBTQ activists expressed regret that Hart had opted to resign instead of taking positive action. On Friday morning, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted, “Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” and saying that “he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.” Indeed, some industry observers on Friday pointed out the Academy’s own culpability in creating the crisis by not performing “due diligence” before approaching Hart to host. The fiasco was seemingly born of a reckless effort by the organization to boost its relevance and regain audience. As its much-criticized (and now recanted) decision to add a “Best Popular Film” category to its awards roster earlier this year clearly revealed, the Oscars are desperate to increase their ever-declining viewership – the 2018 broadcast had the lowest numbers since Nielson started tracking Oscar ratings in 1974. The Academy – in typically tone-deaf fashion – chose to tackle the problem by naming as their host an immensely popular comedian with proven audience appeal, but in doing so it ignored an already well-documented track record of homophobic remarks. With LGBTQ-focused films like “Boy Erased” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” predicted to be in the running, this year’s Oscars are shaping up to have a strong queer presence. Placing Hart in the center of the proceedings was always a bad idea. Last week’s scandal is just the latest indication that the Academy – like much of old-guard Hollywood – is struggling to keep up with the changes in the way the market works. They relied on outdated attitudes and assumptions preserved in a bubble, only to be caught off-guard by the politics and algorithms of social media. The rules have been rewritten; the open forum of the digital age is a great equalizer that has shifted the balance of power – and it is hostile to closed-door clubs like the Oscars. As of this writing, the Academy has yet to comment on the Hart debacle, nor has it named a replacement host – though according to Variety, an Oscar insider has commented that the organization was “taken by surprise” by Hart’s decision to resign instead of apologizing and are considering a “no-host” option for the awards. Meanwhile, other celebrities – such as Whoopie Goldberg and Stephen Colbert – have mounted campaigns to be considered for the job. Whether any of them (or no one at all) ends up as the host, the Academy would be wise to remember its status as the film industry’s most prestigious awards body. By pandering to mass appeal, it diminishes its own integrity and threatens to alienate its most loyal and ardent members and followers – many of whom are members of the LGBTQ community. As GLAAD’s Ellis pointed out in another tweet last Friday, “The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment.” In light of this latest blemish on the Academy’s public image, making the next Oscars as queer as possible might be a good idea.
After Kevin Hart fiasco, will Oscar find an emcee? History of homophobia, refusal to apologize take down a host By JOHN PAUL KING
Kevin Hart withdrew as Oscars host last week. Photo via Facebook
22 • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Awards season takes off and other taudry bits Dunaway knocks a drag queen off Broadway; Andy, Anderson give Times Square another go By BILLY MASTERS
Eden Espinosa, Max von Essen, and Nick Adams, Falsetto’s sexy new cast is coming to the Ahmanson April 16-May 19. Photo by Marc J. Franklin / Courtesy Playbill.com courtesy Ahmanson
“It would not have been possible without the help of the president, who not only gave us the impetus for this reboot but provided us with fresh fields to plow daily that Diane English and our superb writing staff have cultivated fearlessly and with unique wit.” — Candice Bergen graciously accepts her latest Golden Globe nomination for playing “Murphy Brown.” As last week drew to a close, Kevin Hart said he was hired as host of the upcoming Academy Awards. Then the gays protested him as host of the Academy Awards (I’m not going to recap why - look it up for yourself). Then he resigned as host of the Academy Awards. Am I the only one who thinks it a bit, dare I say, queer that all this news has come from Hart himself and not the Academy? Maybe I should announce that the Academy asked me to host, but I’ve pulled out (as if). Here’s another thing I’m wondering about — is there a height restriction for hosts? I say if you’re not tall enough to ride Space Mountain, you can’t host the Oscars. But you can ride me. That’s all. I typically wouldn’t have a Fayewatch item this early in the column. But trust me, this is no normal Fayewatch. Then again, there is no such thing as a “normal” Fayewatch. For the past few years, Miss Dunaway’s professional output has been limited to a curious extended commercial for Gucci and shuffling onstage at two consecutive Academy Awards, thus ensuring her spot when it’s time for the inevitable “In Memoriam” segment. That was all a warm-up for her grand return to Broadway. Ah, the Great White Way. Faye hasn’t appeared there since 1982 — I believe she was 82 at the time. And she’s finally found a vehicle to harness her unique talents, such as they are. She will star in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman show about...brace yourself, Katharine Hepburn! Well, when you think of people suitable to play dead grand dames, who else? The press release indicates that the run will take place sometime next summer and will be a “strictly limited engagement” (I will refrain from the obvious joke). Here’s something the press release doesn’t say - the first choice for the role of Miss Hepburn was the divine Charles Busch! And I should know: I was there. Back in 2011, Busch starred in a one-night-only performance of Matthew Lombardo’s revised play, which was a benefit for the Ali Forney Center. Needless to say, he was magical. Charles was courted for a full run, but Busch marches to the beat of his own drum and declined. So, essentially Faye is replacing a fella in a frock. How curious - usually it’s the other way around. I’m more than a bit intrigued by the cast of the national tour of “Falsettos.” One might think that Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells would be hard to top — well, not that hard. Then it was announced that the tour will star Max von Essen and Nick Adams, and more than my ears perked up. First off, they’re both gay, which is always a plus. And Max is a leading man of the first order. He’s been the stand-by for some great people (Ricky Martin in “Evita” and virtually everyone in “Les Misérables”) and, for a while, he was in the running for the real-life role of Mrs. Neil Patrick Harris - but that’s another story. Nick, on the other hand, is more known for his body than his body of work - although that’s mighty impressive as well. So for him to flex his thespianistic muscles in this role is a tantalizing prospect, indeed. Fingers crossed he’s up to the challenge. With Eden Espinosa rounding out this luxurious cast, you have a great show that’s not to be missed when it comes to a city near you. CNN is gonna take another stab at making magic work between Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be DVRing (and scanning) because faithful fans know I always ring in the New Year with loved ones watching not one, but two Lindsay Wagner movies. This year we have two new films - the Hallmark Channel’s “Mingle All The Way” (which has virtually the same plot as every other Hallmark Channel flick) and “Samson”, where Lindsay plays the Biblical hero’s mother. That Bionic Woman’s got range! Time for another installment of “Billy’s Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions.” This week, we’re delivering the perfect 2019 calendar. I am happy to once again spotlight the work of the Warwick Rowers. This group of hot athletes has been raising funds through their calendar since 2009. Obviously the men change, but the standards remain high. The gay and straight rowers have twice been named UK Charity Calendar of the Year by whomever votes on these things...presumably a bunch of Brits. This year’s calendar features a special guest - two-time Olympic rower Robbie Manson from New Zealand. And let’s just say his openly gay oar is prominently featured.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • DECEMBER 14, 2018 • 23
Newport Beach Harbor Christmas Parade celebrates 110 years. See Dec. 21.
L.A. Kings Holiday Ice Rink skating is today from 5 p.m.-midnight at L.A. Live (800 West Olympic Blvd.). One of the best outdoor ice skating experiences in the world is at Microsoft Square and open through Jan. 6 (weather permitting). Skate your eggnog and tasty pudding off at this fun family activity, romantic date night or a fun way to pass the time before and after a sports game or concert. You will fall on your ass a few times, but what the hell. Have fun. Tickets can be purchased online at facebook.com/LAbucketlist.
the only progress that we’ll make on LGBTQ issues in the next two years will be at the state and local levels. And so supporting this event with a contribution will go a long way toward making LGBTQ equality a reality. For information, visit www.equalityfederation.org. All tickets include hosted bar, small bites, DJ and live entertainment. Tickets start at $40 with 100 percent of proceeds going towards the Equality Federation.Search Eventbrite for more information.
GMCLA’s Holiday Spectacular: Calling All Angels is today at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sun. Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. at Alex Theatre (216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale). Have a holly-jolly Christmas at the best show of the year as Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles brings it. Step under the mistletoe and you just might be surprised. The chorus is a Los Angeles institution and has performed for more than 40 years, one of the most important cultural treasures of LGBT LA. Under CEO Jonathan Weedman the chorus has hit a new high note. We think a star is born.Visit gmcla.org for details.
Stonewall Young Democrats is today from 5-7:30 p.m.at V Wine Room (903 Westbourne Dr.) Stonewall Young Democrats is a community of LGBTQ youth who are passionate about political and societal issues. Join them at this holiday event where you can network, discuss politics with like-minded individuals and, well, just enjoy being a Young Democrat. This year celebrate the holidays at West Hollywood’s only micro-boutique California Winebar, V Wine Room, specializing in extremely boutique California producers.Bring your friends and be ready to network with other SYD members and local activists as we gear up for another exciting year in politics. 2019 is the year of LGBTQ youth. For more information, visit stonewallyoungdems.org.
The Big LGBTQ Holiday Party is today from 4-7 p.m. at Bendix Building (1206 Maple Ave.). The Equality Federation, strategic partner to CA-based LGBT organizations, brings it’s popular event to Los Angeles for the first time. Equality Federation Board Members Tony Hoang,Michael Chavez, Robbie Martin, Joseph Arroyo, Nick Loui, Tim Smith and Justine Gonzalez invite you to mix and mingle this holiday season with LGBTQ entertainment and tech professionals, artists, nonprofit leaders, allies and more at the the iconic Bendix building with stunning views of DTLA. With Trump in the White House and the GOP controlling the Senate,
Anita May Rosenstein Campus Hard Hat Tour is today at 3 p.m. at Los Angeles LGBT Center (1125 North McCadden Pl.). LGBT giving on your mind? This is our best bet for giving in 2019. Pony up and help the Los Angeles LGBT Center build a facility that will launch LA LGBT community well into the future, slated to open in April. On the tour you will you will hear all about the transformative impact this new facility will have on the LGBT community in LA and beyond. We’re sure you’ll leave inspired and informed. Join Bill McDermott at the Center and wear your favorite well-worn clothes and sneakers. It’s a construction site, after all. Free, but please
be generous. For more details, visit lalgbtcenter.org.
Christmas Boat Parade Cruises is today from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Newport Beach Harbor (309 Palm St., Newport Beach). Light up the harbor at this don’t miss it Los Angeles tradition as Newport Landing offers cruises during the Newport Beach Boat Parade. Sail around Newport Bay with over 20 miles of gorgeous waterfront estates and multi-million dollar yachts. During each cruise, hundreds of yachts, sailing ships and cruise ships navigate the harbor and create a festive boating experience. You will just be shocked at what a festive and beautiful experience this is. Enormous multi-million dollar yachts are often outdone by tiny one man boats as the residents of Newport Beach go all in on a magical tradition of decor and imagination. Well worth the traffic. Tickets and more information at christmasparadeboats.com.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Fri. Dec. 20 through Jan. 7 from 9 a.m.-midnight at Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Pl., Universal City). This holiday season, the wizarding village of Hogsmeade transforms with festive decor, lights, garlands and wreaths. Stroll the streets while you try bites and Butterbeer from the Three Broomsticks, take in a showing by the Frog Choir and see the all-new holiday spectacle with dazzling lights against the majestic backdrop of the Hogwarts castle. See website for schedule and pricing at universalstudioshollywood.com
E-mail calendar items to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 41, December 14, 2018