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02 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Beverly Hills loses another lawsuit against Police Chief Spagnoli Lesbian civilian employee awarded $250,000 By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com The City of Beverly Hills is sticking by Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, despite losing another lawsuit claiming harassment and retaliation by police employees. On July 9, after almost three days of deliberation, a Los Angeles jury awarded $1.1 million collectively to Beverly Hills Police Lts. Renato Moreno, Michael Foxen and Shan Davis and lesbian civilian employee Dona Norris. Moreno was awarded $350,000 in damages for pain and suffering while Davis, Foxen and Norris were each awarded $250,000. Moreno v. City of Beverly Hills is one of more than 20 lawsuits against the city and Spagnoli brought by police employees alleging racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. Spagnoli’s views of Norris came to light in the lawsuit brought by former Capt. Mark Rosen that the city settled for $2.3 million last December. It found that Spagnoli “retaliated” against Rosen after he reported “unfair pay and discriminatory treatment of
Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli Photo courtesy Beverly Hills
gay female employees to Human Resources (HR) and Chief Spagnoli.” As the Los Angeles Blade reported last February, Rosen’s attorney Bradley Gage filed “undisputed facts” on Aug. 31, 2018 in Superior Court, including Exhibit 11 in which Davis declares: “On or about spring 2016, Captain Tony Lee, Chief Spagnoli,
and Lt. Davis were having a conversation. During the conversation, it was brought up that Donna Norris and her partner have a child. Norris’ domestic partner was referred to as her wife. Chief Spagnoli looked disgusted and said, ‘you mean she’s a lesbian?’ When Lt. Davis confirmed that Norris was a lesbian, Chief Spagnoli said,
‘ew, and gross.’ Then Chief Spagnoili said something to the effect of well don’t let her touch me. She also said, make sure she doesn’t stand next to me when they take photos for dispatcher appreciation week. The photos for dispatcher appreciate week never occurred.” Spagnoli admitted making some of the disparaging remarks during the civil trial “but said she didn’t intend for them to be offensive,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The jury rejected claims of discrimination. According to the Beverly Hills Courier, a male juror told attorneys “there was no corroboration of Davis’ claim that Spagnoli made disparaging remarks about Norris because she is gay.” “The City is pleased that the jury found no discrimination against any of the plaintiffs,” reads a statement. “The City remains committed to the police chief and her efforts to reform the department, and condemns those who are undermining those efforts, as was revealed in the trial.” The City, Gage said, “needs to realize that there is a problem in the 90210 that needs to be corrected, and the fact that so many other people are coming forward — with a jury finding four different employees are victims of harassment or retaliation — that’s significant.”
Moore’s family files amended lawsuit against Buck, Lacey Allegations include wrongful death in ‘drug den’ FROM STAFF REPORTS Attorneys for the family of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore filed an amended wrongful death lawsuit July 7 in U.S. District Court. In 2017, the Los Angeles Coroner determined that Moore died of an accidental crystal methamphetamine overdose in the West Hollywood home of gay political activist Ed Buck. Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, and a number of supporters contend that Buck “forcibly” injected Moore with the drug and have repeatedly called for Buck to be criminally charged. However, after three investigations by the LA Sheriff’s Department, LA District Attorney
Jackie Lacey declined to prosecute due to “insufficient evidence.” Undeterred, last February Nixon filed a civil lawsuit in LA Superior Court asking for unspecified financial damages, along with damages against Ed Buck for wrongful death, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence. The February filing also accused Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy DA Craig Hum of failing to prosecute Buck in part because he is a privileged white male. Last May, the suit was moved to U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The 34-page amended filing details Buck’s alleged engagement in human trafficking, producing and distributing “revenge porn” of his supposed “methfueled sexual encounters” with Moore, and
repeatedly recounts how Buck solicited and isolated Black men “for predatory sexual encounters during which he forcibly injects them or forces them to be injected with crystal methamphetamine in the confines of his West Hollywood-apartment–turneddrug-den.” “The new amendment is about making sure no box is left unchecked when it comes to all of the crimes that Ed Buck has committed,” Jasmyne Cannick, a spokesperson for the family, told KCBS TV-2 News Los Angeles. The amended suit is a result of “information we received from other victims of Ed Buck that Ed Buck loves to take pictures of these young men, loves to take videos of them in their inebriated state.” In a March 12 open letter to the Los Angeles Blade, Lacey explained that possible criminal prosecution requires “clear
evidence that a crime has occurred” that is also strong enough to convince a jury. “When there is no independent witness nor other corroborating evidence that another person was responsible for a death, prosecutors have few options,” Lacey wrote. Nixon and Cannick believe the DA’s refusal to prosecute Buck is “race-based,” reads their press release. “The civil rights causes of action against Lacey and Hum were historically used against prosecutors who similarly refused to prosecute Ku Klux Klansmen for their violent crimes against Black people.” A DA spokesperson told the Los Angeles Blade that the office does not comment on pending litigation. Buck’s attorney said in a statement that they “plan on fighting these allegations vigorously in court.”
04 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Smoking comeback is colorful and 2x deadlier OUT Against Big Tobacco Coalition exposes targeting of LGBT community By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org Nothing seemed quite as cool as the way Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart elegantly manipulated their cigarettes in classic black and white ﬁlms like “Jezebel” and “Casablanca.” In the 1950s, James Dean depicted smoking as rebel cool in “Rebel Without a Cause,” as did John Travolta in Grease in the 1970s, prompting thousands of young people to pick up the habit, become addicted and inject millions of dollars into the coffers of Big Tobacco. The industry undermined the 1971 ban on advertising of tobacco products on TV by creating product placement embedded in the shows. And Big Tobacco CEOs brazenly testiﬁed before Congress that nicotine was not addictive, knowing their own research showed otherwise, as revealed by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with the suing states attorneys general. But Big Tobacco greed requires a constant supply of new recruits. Conﬁdential Settlement records and research by the American Legacy Foundation revealed Project SCUM (Sub-Culture Urban Marketing), micro-targeting of minorities and gays through direct and indirect advertising, community outreach, and sponsorships, which the LGBT community did not recognize as market manipulation. The stealth and public campaigns succeeded and tobacco use skyrocketed, contributing to signiﬁcant health disparities between LGBT smokers and general public smokers. But the gradual shift of cultural attitudes and the municipal restrictions on smoking areas started stripping away the veneer of coolness to posit smoking as a stinky, dirty bad habit. But greed dies hard and Big Tobacco has been making a comeback, on screen and in the LGBT community. According to the CDC, PG-13 movies targeting youth went 62% without featuring tobacco since 2017.
Model advertising e-cigarettes, sponsored by Black Note Tobacco.
However, a 2018 report of tobacco-related incidents per PG-13 movie went up 34% and “audience tobacco impressions delivered by youth-related ﬁlms were 10.3 billion, up 103% from 2017. As Equality California Institute and 17 other LA-based LGBTQ and health service providers point out in a new OUT Against Big Tobacco Coalition campaign, the tobacco industry is now capitalizing on innovative ways to ensnare new users through slick advertisements, sponsorships and coupons for cool new colorful and ﬂavorful e-cigarettes. While consumers might think e-cigarettes are a way to break the cigarette habit or addiction, brands like Juul in fact deliver more nicotine and can be more harmful, according to three lawsuits ﬁled against Juul since April. “The Juul is a battery-powered device that converts liquid into a vapor, which the user inhales. It comes with preﬁlled cartridges called “Juulpods,” which have candy-like ﬂavors, and a USB charger that pops into a cellphone charging block or laptop,” reports
Buzzfeed News. “These features, which are supposed to make the Juul a ‘satisfying cigarette alternative’ for adult smokers, have also made it a hit among young people and nonsmokers. The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes like the Juul are not yet known, but nicotine has been long known as a highly addictive substance that can affect brain chemistry.” “For too long, Big Tobacco has preyed on LGBTQ people, getting us hooked on their toxic products and proﬁting off our deaths,” Equality California Institute Executive Director Rick Zbur says in a press release. “We won’t let them take advantage of the most vulnerable members of our LGBTQ communities any longer. We look forward to exposing them for exactly what they’re doing to our community and taking every action possible to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people.” The new campaign notes that “LGBTQ Californians are more than twice as likely to smoke as their non-LGBTQ peers, and nearly 30,000 LGBTQ people across the
country die every year of tobacco-related causes.” Additionally, “estimates of smoking rates among LGBTQ youth range from 38 to 59 percent, compared to just 28 to 35 percent of youth generally.” This is critical, Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director of Equality California and the Equality California Institute, tells the Los Angeles Blade that unlike cigarettes, which that visibly burn down with use, a vaper cannot tell from the covered cartridge how much has been inhaled. There is no way to tell, therefore, how much mood-altering vapor is harming the brain and psyche, producing emotional outbursts, anxiety and potentially deadly depression. The OUT Against Big Tobacco Coalition campaign is trying a kind of harm-reduction approach by not insisting that smokers and vapers stop now. Rather they are reaching out to teachers and GSAs to do trainings about Big Tobacco and building public support for restricting and controlling tobacco-related municipal policies. For instance, they want to restrict ﬂavored tobacco products and ban the redemption of tobacco-related coupons that are often distributed at LGBTQ events such as Pride and Halloween. “Tobacco companies reported spending $380 million on coupons in 2016 to offset the effects of tobacco tax increases, such as those imposed in the state of California in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 56 in 2016,” increases that encourage smokers to quit, the Coalition says. Several cities, including New York City and Chicago, have passed redemption restriction measures as a result. The Coalition is starting in West Hollywood and the San Fernando with the intension of expanding the campaign to cities throughout Los Angeles County. “There is still a lot of room to pass policies and make changes in our communities that will make it less likely that kids, teens and young adults will start smoking and easier for current smokers to quit,” Brandon Tate, Chair of the OUT Against Big Tobacco Coalition, said in the press release. “It’s really about activating and engaging people to take action and make our communities healthier.”
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06 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Rep. Judy Chu: witness to inhumanity Lawmaker also worries about trans asylum seekers in ICE custody By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Three days before Independence Day, California Rep. Judy Chu and 14 other Democratic lawmakers visited Border Patrol facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus organized the trip after doctors and attorneys monitoring migrant children under the Flores Agreement broke their professional silence and reported on the horrific conditions being endured by 250 infants and children locked up for days in squalid conditions without access to sufficient food, clean water or adequate sanitation at the Clint detention facility. One researcher told “CBS This Morning” that “young girls were taking care of a sick two-year-old boy who was in filthy clothing without a diaper, and that the children said they were fed uncooked frozen food and had gone weeks without bathing,” CBS News reported. Under the Flores rules, children must only be held for 72 hours before being transferred to Health and Human Services. There has been no reporting on whether any of these children or adults identify as LGBT, how they are treated by Border Patrol agents and their fellow detainees, or if any of them may have asked for asylum. Bamby Salcedo, CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, told the Los Angeles Blade that female trans asylum seekers are now being placed in ICE detention centers for deportation since the “trans pod” in New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center is reportedly overcrowded. ICE has been blamed for its inhumane treatment of trans women after the deaths of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez and Johana Medina Leon and denial of medical treatment to Alejandra Barrera. But it was the plight of the children that prompted Chu and her fellow investigators to journey to Texas on July 1, the same day ProPublica published a report about a secret Facebook group of roughly 9,500 current and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents who use the forum
Rep. Judy Chu en route from El Paso to Clint, Texas. Screen grab from Twitter video
to make cruel, racists jokes about migrants, including their deaths. One member posted the tragic AP photo of a drowned father and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down in the Rio Grande, asking if the photo was fake because the “floaters” bodies were so “clean.” ProPublica also reported on two disgusting photo-shopped images debasing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one showing a smirking Donald Trump forcing her into oral sex. “If they have these kind of derogatory feelings about us, you can only imagine what they’re thinking about these detainees. These are the ones in charge of them. There seriously has to be some change,” Chu said directly to camera for a Twitter post after leaving the El Paso center bound for Clint. In a phone interview with the Los Angeles Blade, Chu described the experience as “very shocking.” Border Patrol agents told the delegation they could not speak with the women and children being detained in cinder block cells. “Nonetheless, we did,” Chu says. “And
as soon as we got in to talk to the women, tears were flowing down their faces as they described their miserable conditions. They had been detained for over 50 days and had no idea when they were going to be let out. They were separated from their children. “Some of them had very serious conditions such as epilepsy and another had an aneurysm,” Chu continues. “They’d been asking for medications, but had gotten none of it. They also said that there was no running water. One woman said that she asked for it from the CBP agent and he said, ‘Well, drink out of the toilet bowls.’” From the El Paso center they drove to the Clint Border Station where the unaccompanied minors are warehoused, at one point holding up to 700 youth, Chu says. There were between 100-200 youth during their visit. “It was like a giant steel garden shed with no air conditioning. This is in an area where the temperatures routinely get over 100 degrees,” she says, adding that the facility supposedly had air conditioning but “we were so hot, we just couldn’t stand it.” Youth slept on the warehouse floors
in cinder block cells. “What really was heartbreaking was a toddler who looked so miserable. But, when we got there and waved to him, he came and pressed his face to the glass door. He was just so relieved to see people who were showing care and concern for him,” Chu says. “It makes me so angry that kids are being treated this way,” she says. “Their world now is just being behind bars. There is no justification for it. They have the right to an asylum hearing. The only reason that they are being detained is because of the policies of CBP. But in reality, they can be released on a program that is called Alternative to Detention until they get a fair hearing in court. They could be released on electronic monitoring or to a nonprofit group that is responsible for them. “Many of the youth, by the way, actually have relatives that are in the United States, so they could be released to them,” Chu says. “But the Trump administration has been making it more difficult for them to be placed with them by requiring fingerprints and background checks on every single person living in that house.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 12, 2019 • 07
Inspector General photo of migrant crowding
The most immediate issue “is the medical, nutrition and the hygiene standards for the kids,” noting the reports from immigration attorneys and the New York Times that exposed “appalling conditions of kids that hadn’t been able to get showers or to brush their teeth or where their clothes were caked with snot and tears, where they didn’t have proper meals for days,” Chu notes. “And when we questioned the CBP officials, they actually denied it all. They denied that any of those reports were true. I kid you not! They denied the entire collection of reports about the appalling conditions. They, in fact, took great pains to show us the storage rooms with all the supplies and basically implied that any of those kids could have had access to that at any point in time. “Clearly CBP was sanitizing the place before we came,” Chu says, noting they only saw 25 kids. But the Flores attorneys interviewed 60 children who “all those miserable conditions where toddlers were walking around soiling their pants, because there were no diapers. Where eight year olds were taking care of three year olds. Where kids were just sleeping on the cold concrete
floor. The Flores attorneys said that each of the kids reported, in essence, the same thing. So, I believe the kids. 60 kids cannot be telling falsehoods.” In addition to the children, Chu is “really concerned” about trans women falling ill and dying in ICE custody, such as Johana Leon. “These trans people face injury, abuse, and neglect in ICE detention centers. And, it’s unacceptable. Leon complained about her chest pains and she was transported to hospital and she spent weeks pleading for medical help,” Chu says. “We have to keep on pushing,” she says, noting that she voted against the justpassed $4.6 million border supplemental bill, preferring the House version. She’s concerned about how CBP might spend the money on more beds rather than caring for children and migrants’ medical needs. “There should be alternatives to detention,” Chu says. “And there needs to be a way for these migrants to have their day in court, so that they can actually plead their case. The system could be improved and changed. We are so much against the idea of
building more detention centers just to have this whole unwieldy and oppressive system of prisons in essence, throughout the United States.” She is also concerned about how the de facto prisons are privately run. “We have one here in California. Adelanto. It is just such a travesty. It’s a horrendous kind of situation where these migrants go in there for months on end, if not years. They make a profit off of denying care to these migrants,” Chu says. “Every time I’ve gone there, they have denied that anything wrong is going on,” Chu says. “It wasn’t until the Inspector General report this past year that there was great detail about the lack of medical care— as well as the nooses that they allowed to continue up there just as a way of creating even greater misery. There were migrants that tried to hang themselves and some did hang themselves. They just left the nooses up there as a way of even greater mental depression for these migrants.” Chu says the media dispute between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress, such as herself, who opposed the Senate version of the border bill “is a false
dispute. Pelosi also wants to make sure that there are standards of care for the children. She keeps on pressing it. We are putting our pressure on as a Democratic Caucus to continue on those amendments that were not approved in the Senate version—basic standards of care that has to do with medical care, nutrition and hygiene and addressing the fact that the money should go to where it’s targeted.” Additionally, Congressmembers should be able to inspect facilities unannounced and receive all reports, such as the latest report detailing sexual assault on a 15 year old girl in a Yuma, Arizona facility. “I want to make sure that everybody is safe and treated humanely in the detention centers, including trans people. I know that they are the most vulnerable and it just saddens and angers me to see how Miss Leon was treated,” Chu says. “The LGBT has to be concerned about this, especially with regard to the treatment of transgender people.”
08 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Spacey case in trouble after accuser invokes the Fifth Mystery over missing cell phone complicates proceedings FROM STAFF REPORTS A pre-trial hearing in the felony sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey descended into chaos on July 8 when Spacey’s 21-year-old accuser, William Little, suddenly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the stand. The move came after Spacey’s famed Los Angeles defense attorney, Alan Jackson, questioned Little about his missing phone, noting that the young man could be charged with a felony for deleting evidence. Jackson contends that text messages would back up the actor’s contention that the July 2016 incident in a Nantucket restaurant was consensual flirtation. Spacey, 59, who faces one count of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping the then-18-year-old busboy, was not in court for the hearing. On July 3, Little dropped his 2016 civil lawsuit against Spacey. There have been a flurry of court filings since January regarding Little’s missing mobile phone with Jackson challenging the accuracy of screenshots taken by Little from that phone and whether text messages had been deleted before it was provided to police investigators. The issue led Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett to order Little, his mother, former Boston television station WCVB news anchor Heather Unruh, and his father Nick Little, to testify about the disappearance of the phone and about who last had custody of it—the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) investigators or Little’s family. MSP investigators maintain in the court filings that they gave the mobile phone to Nick Little. However, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing Little’s family, said the family doesn’t remember that. “Your honor, we could not locate the phone,” Garabedian said. “My clients do not recall ever receiving the phone.” The
attorney also does not know about any deletions, but Garabedian said his law firm collected the phone’s backup data from Little’s MacBook Laptop and loaded it onto a portable drive. Little has denied deleting anything from his phone. However, when pressed on the stand by Jackson about whether he was aware that destroying evidence is a felony under Massachusetts law, Little responded, “I am now.” Little then invoked his 5th Amendment right, which caused Judge Barrett to immediately strike Little’s testimony. Jackson then asked Barrett to dismiss the case against Spacey, which hinges on Little’s claims. “This entire case is completely compromised,” he said. “This case needs to be dismissed, and it needs to be dismissed today.” Barrett did not dismiss the case but noted that Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael K. Giardino’s team would have a tough time bringing it to trial if Little won’t testify. “Once exercised, it may be pretty hard to get around this privilege at trial,” Barrett said. “The matter may well be dismissed for the reasons indicated.” During initial questioning, Jackson asked Little to review screenshots provided to MSP investigators, pressing him on the substance of the texts and whether or not those texts were complete. Little acknowledged that the screenshots were not inclusive of all messages that he had between himself and his girlfriend the night of the alleged groping sexual assault. Jackson also implied that Little’s mother, Heather Unruh, may have deleted text messages prior to the phone being delivered to police. “We know that somebody deleted it,” Jackson said. “If she’s gone through and scrubbed that phone to make him look like a little choir boy,” then she’s committed a crime and could be prosecuted. “That’s not fair to us.” MSP Trooper-Detective Gerald F. Donovan testified that Unruh had provided the phone and password, which Jackson noted meant she could have “scrubbed” the phone prior to turning it over. “She could do anything she wanted,” Donovan said, adding
Gay actor Kevin Spacey is accused of groping a teen.
that Unruh told him she had deleted “frat boy activities” she didn’t want police to see. Before being questioned under oath, Unruh was given to opportunity to plead the Fifth, which she declined. “I have nothing but the truth to tell,” Unruh told Judge Barrett. Unruh then testified that, as a mother, she had deleted content that “concerned” her but she never told her son to delete anything nor did she delete messages Jackson was asking about. “I didn’t touch anything that was relevant to the case,” she said. With Little’s testimony stricken, the Cape and Islands’ prosecution team is faced with a legal version of a “he said—he said” scenario since no video tape exists from inside the bar area of the Club Car restaurant showing the alleged incident, nor have any other
witnesses come forward to testify that they saw Spacey grope Little. Jackson told reporters that he would be filing a motion to dismiss the case. A spokesperson told the Los Angeles Blade that the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office will be reviewing its options. Judge Barrett set another hearing for July 31. While the Nantucket case may be up in the air, Spacey is still under criminal investigation in Britain. A spokesperson for Scotland Yard told the Los Angeles Blade on July 8 that British detectives are continuing their investigation into the former artistic director of the Old Vic theatre after authorities received three more allegations of sexual assault from February to April of 2018, in addition to three accusations made in late 2017. – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 12, 2019 • 09
“Which Megan Rapinoe pose did you prefer? Was it the one with her arms outstretched like a marble statue in the Louvre, aka The PurpleHaired Lesbian Goddess, that we saw after her goals against France in the Women’s World Cup quarterﬁnals and against the Netherlands in Sunday’s ﬁnal? Or was it the pose we saw on her Instagram, the one with her arms overﬂowing as she held a preposterous trio of Women’s World Cup trophies for the tournament title, the Golden Boot (top scorer) and the Golden Ball (MVP)?” So reads the opening of a gushing July 15 Sports Illustrated cover story on the “World Class” US Women’s Soccer Team after their 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the ﬁnals for the FIFA World Cup. The sports bible singled out Rapinoe for ﬁnishing the World Cup with six goals, including
the game-winning penalty kick in the ﬁnals. After the win, instead of yelling “USA!” as is typical in world competitions, the U.S. crowd repeatedly chanted “Equal Pay!” to end the debate over how the winning female ratings-champs should be paid at least equal to their less successful male counterparts. Many were cheering for Rapinoe, in particular, after a months-old video went viral of her saying, “I’m not going to the f—king White House” if the team was invited, as is customary. President Trump scolded her in a tweet: “Megan should WIN ﬁrst before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Not only did she respond by scoring winning goals, she publically celebrated with her two engaged teammates, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, underscoring her earlier point that “you can’t win a championship without gays on your team.” – Karen Ocamb
QUOTES “You know, I ﬁnd myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations, and we both are the descendants of slaveholders.”
—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after NBC News reported that McConnell’s great-greatgrandfathers owned 14 slaves in Alabama.
“The LGBTQ community’s voice rings loudly in the effective process to build and sustain systemic change toward a stronger democracy.” - NAACP National Health Manager & LGBTQ Lead Rev. Keron R. Sadler in announcement about an LGBTQ Town Hall during the 110th NAACP Annual Convention in Detroit, Michigan, July 20-24.
Do not write him off. … Trump may emerge from the ﬂames, battered but intact, like [Arnold] Schwarzenegger in the ﬁnal scenes of The Terminator.” - British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch about President Trump in diplomatic cables leaked to the London Mail.
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10 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Gay Senate candidate calls for change in Saudi relationship Colo.’s Dan Baer would be first out gay man elected to chamber By CHRIS JOHNSON Daniel Baer, a former U.S. ambassador during the Obama administration who is now vying to become the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. Senate, said the time has come for the United States to change its relationship with Saudi Arabia. In an interview Monday with the Blade, Baer said the change he envisions is “hard to describe” in a single paragraph, but made clear Saudi Arabia, despite its longtime alliance with the United States in military affairs, is “not an ally” and must change regardless of the administration that is in power. “We have security interests across the region, and we need to have a more robust and accountable bilateral relationship,” Baer said. “That doesn’t give Saudi Arabia a special position that they don’t merit. It’s not that we should be looking for some way to be more aggressive or more confrontational with them. It’s just that Saudi Arabia does not merit — they are not an ally, they don’t share our values.” Previously, Baer served as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor under Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, then became U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. Baer spoke with the Blade shortly after winning the endorsement of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization that focuses on electing LGBT people to political office, and reporting an impressive haul of $1.35 million in fundraising for second-quarter 2019 in his bid to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate. Criticizing the Trump administration for using LGBT people and minority groups as “fodder for the president’s populism,” Baer took particular issue with the transgender military ban and new regulations allowing medical practitioners to deny health care to transgender people in the name of religious freedom. Baer was also skeptical of President Trump’s global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality and recalled former President Obama and
Gay former U.S. ambassador Daniel Baer is running for U.S. Senate in Colorado. Blade file photo by Michael Key
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat him to the punch in pursuing initiatives in favor of international LGBT rights. “I helped write the original policy of the United States government that we would advocate a move to drive our programs and our policy to achieve decriminalization worldwide back in 2011, I mean, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but coming from this administration, those words ring hollow,” Baer said, Bear was also critical of the new State Department commission on “natural law” established by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “I think it’s obviously an attempt for this administration to pick and choose which aspects of human rights they want to stand behind,” Baer said. “I think it’s incredibly disturbing, that it looks like this is an attempt to redefine what are universal rights, that are not only the foundation of our constitutional system, but that are now codified in international law thanks in large part to the efforts to the United States and our allies to accomplish that in the wake of World War II.” Read the full interview below: Blade: Given your expertise in foreign policy, how much will international affairs animate your campaign and career in the Senate? Daniel Baer: Well, a couple things. One, when I talk to people around the state of Colorado, obviously, the issues that come up more than any
specific policy issue is actually an issue of values, which is that people don’t want to live in a society that has the kind of open advocacy for hatred and division that we see emanating from the White House. And so, I think a lot of people out there are people like me, who are motivated by our concern in this moment for our communities and our states that motivates us to get involved in new ways, and that’s the primary kind of overarching concern. Obviously, when we talk about issues that most of us care most about are the ones that hit us close to home, to the kitchen table. That said, the conventional wisdom that is that voters don’t care about foreign policy. I found that that both underestimates the degree to which voters understand and are engaged with issues and their level of interest. Everywhere I go — rural areas, urban areas, – people understand that the issues that we care most about here in Colorado have a[n] international dimension, whether that is the economy, they understand trade and tariffs are something that impact jobs and the prices of agricultural goods here in Colorado. So, they understand that has an international dimension. A lot of people obviously focus on climate change and the existential threat that it poses. We understand that it’s not just a local action that has to be used to take on that threat, but also national and international action. So, issue by issue, education, even people understand that this is about preparing young people to be able to have a shot at a middle class life in a 21st century economy, and they understand the 21st century economy is a global one, so people understand that international affairs matters. Blade: But in terms of LGBT issues, where do you want to go? Baer: I guess in terms of LGBT issues, I feel like the strongest argument for one of the cases that I have to make with fellow members of the LGBT community is that I just don’t just happen to be part of that community, but I’ve also, throughout my career, spent time on issues that affect our community directly. Obviously, the work that I did at the State Department that you covered, including helping Secretary Clinton write her landmark speech and working out programs and diplomacy in a variety of countries around the world to help move towards decriminalization or keeping LGBT activists safe from harm.
That’s a meaningful, meaningful part of my background to me professionally and is meaningful to me personally, as well. And I think, going forward, certainly, if elected, I would want to be one of the co-sponsors of the Equality Act and I would want to deliver appropriate oversight of the Pentagon in reversing the ban on transgender troops that Trump has reinstated. I’m committed to continuing to be somebody who advocates for the dignity of all Americans and all people driving that through policy. Blade: What bothers you the most about how the Trump administration has handled LGBT rights? Baer: I guess what bothers me the most is when you look at the way that they have – it’s not systematic, it’s knee-jerk, and — but it is across — you know, it’s not just the trans troop ban. It’s also the way that they’ve moved to exclude LGBT people from healthcare. It’s also the rhetoric of the president. And, you know, I think what bothers me the most is that LGBT people like other people who are members of minority groups have found themselves as fodder for the president’s populism. We’re being used by him and his administration to fire up a base to distract from the real problems that face the United States and the world. And so, we’re being used as a means rather than end and that’s, that’s disgusting and disappointing. Blade: But in his tweet, recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, President Trump recognized a global initiative within his administration to decriminalize homosexuality. What do you make of that initiative? Baer: I helped write the original policy of the United States government that we would advocate a move to drive our programs and our policy to achieve decriminalization worldwide back in 2011. I mean, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but coming from this administration, those words ring hollow. I helped write President Obama’s presidential memorandum that came out on the same day as Secretary Clinton’s historic speech in Geneva, that outlined decriminalization as a priority of the United States government and charged all U.S. agencies engaged in work overseas with making that part of their work. Continues at losangelesblade.com
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12 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
In 1996, Sanders and Biden were on opposite sides of DOMA vote But opposition to bill didn’t translate into full marriage support By CHRIS JOHNSON A key vote on LGBT rights was taken 23 years ago in Congress and the results found two lawmakers who are now leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — Bernie Sanders and Joseph Biden — on opposite sides of the contentious issue. The vote was on the Defense of Marriage Act, an anti-gay law the Republican majority in Congress cooked up in 1996 to stymie President Clinton as he sought re-election. Drawing on (unfounded) public fears as Hawaii’s courts were leading the way for the state to legalize same-sex marriage, DOMA sought to bar the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex unions for the purposes of federal benefits. Moreover, DOMA sought to allow states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. When the House vote was set to take place on July 12, 1996 — 23 years ago this week — public opinion was overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage. Gallup, which first started polling on same-sex marriage in 1996, found 68 percent of the American public opposed same-sex marriage and 27 percent supported it. (The numbers are basically reversed in 2019.) The House vote on DOMA ended up being 342-67. Sanders, who was representing Vermont in the U.S. House, was among the small cadre of lawmakers who bucked public opinion and voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. Months later, when DOMA came up for a vote in the U.S. Senate on Sept. 10, 1996, Biden in his capacity representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate bowed to public sentiment at the time, voting in favor of the anti-gay law. The vote on DOMA in the Senate was 85-14 with Biden in the supermajority of senators. DOMA then headed to the desk of President Clinton, who signed the measure into law on Sept. 21, 1996.
Then-Sen. Joe Biden and then-Rep. Bernie Sanders took opposite votes on DOMA 23 years ago this week. Blade file photos by Michael Key
Biden has built a reputation as a strong supporter of the LGBT community, famously coming out in favor of same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in 2012, but his vote on DOMA in 1996 sets up a key contrast between him and Sanders in terms of who came to bat first when times were tough for the LGBT community. But while observers say Sanders took a political risk in voting against DOMA in 1996 compared to Biden, whether it had an impact on the marriage equality movement was another question. Andrew Sullivan, a gay conservative commentator and early marriage equality proponent, praised Sanders when asked whether Sanders deserves credit for his vote against DOMA and whether it had an impact. “I do think it was brave and important for Sanders to vote this way — principled but unpopular,” Sullivan said. “It speaks very highly of him that he was against this Clinton-favored bullshit. I don’t think it made the slightest bit of difference though.” A chief reason for the lack of impact of Sanders’ vote against DOMA is the lack of any statement from the Vermont independent on the issue. The Washington Blade could find no statements from him in the congressional
record at the time, nor did research of contemporaneous newspaper accounts yield any first-hand comments from him. (For that matter, the Blade could find nothing from Biden justifying his vote in favor of DOMA.) From what can be found, Sanders didn’t frame his vote against DOMA in terms of LGBT rights. In 2015, when Sanders was running against Hillary Clinton, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate published an article that featured a 1996 quote in the Burlington Free Press from Sanders’ chief of staff justifying her boss’ vote on DOMA on constitutional grounds and state’s rights. “You’re opening up Pandora’s box here,” the Sanders staffer was quoted as saying. “You’re saying that any state can refuse to … recognize the laws of another state if they don’t like them.” That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of same-sex marriage, which formed a strong basis of Stern’s criticism of Sanders for calling himself a longtime champion of marriage equality. “Sanders’ exaggeration of his marriage equality record is strange and unwise,” Stern concluded. “If Sanders were honest about his evolution — and, yes, it was an
evolution — then he could still brag about supporting marriage equality long before his chief primary rival. Instead, he has attempted to reframe his somewhat tepid support as vociferous and unabating.” Moreover, Sanders — unlike Biden — was virtually absent in the marriage equality fight in the years that followed. When a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide was up for debate in 2006, Sanders was asked whether his state should legalize same-sex marriage. Reflecting on the political turmoil in Vermont when it legalized civil unions in 2000, Sanders replied, “Not right now, not after what we went through.” In 2009, when Vermont finally sought to legalize same-sex marriage, Sanders was absent from the discussion in his home state. Vermont, the first state to legalize samesex marriage though the legislative process, ended up only being able to do so after the state legislature held an override vote on the Republican governor’s veto. In the Vermont State House, the override succeeded by a single vote. Meanwhile, Biden, for beating President Obama to the punch in endorsing samesex marriage in 2012, continues to be remembered for his impact on the marriage equality movement. Biden’s words on “Meet the Press” led Obama to follow suit and started a national conversation on the issue, which in turn led to more states legalizing same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality nationwide. Nonetheless, Sanders in his 2016 campaign bragged about his vote against DOMA as evidence of his longtime support for the LGBT community, criticizing Hillary Clinton for not coming out against the antigay law sooner. (Clinton had supported DOMA at least through her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign.) In a 2015 interview with the Washington Blade, Sanders said he has a clear memory of being on the House floor in 1996 as he cast his vote against the anti-gay law. Continues at losangelesblade.com
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14 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
El Salvador police charged with murder of trans woman SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Three police officers in El Salvador have been charged with the murder of a transgender woman who was deported from the U.S. The three police officers — Carlos Valentín Rosales, Jaime Giovanni Mendoza and Luis Alfredo — with El Salvador’s National Civil Police’s 911 System in San Salvador face charges of deprivation of liberty by an agent of authority and aggravated homicide as a hate crime in connection with Camila Díaz Cordova’s death earlier this year. The three men made their initial court appearance on July 5. Díaz’s friend, Virginia Flores, told the Blade Díaz was reported missing at the end of January. Díaz was later found at Rosales National Hospital in San Salvador with multiple injuries. She died there on Feb. 3. “I am not 100 percent satisfied, because we already know that organized crime, as opposed to common crime, is the most harmful here in El Salvador,” Flores told the Blade. Flores, who had been close to Díaz since Three police officers have been charged with the murder of Camila she moved to San Salvador from Santa María Díaz Córdova, a transgender woman from El Salvador who was Ostuma in La Paz department in 2007. Flores deported by the U.S. in 2017. said Díaz became part of her family. Photo courtesy of Aspidh Arcoiris Trans “The police officers’ lawyers allege that Camila was on drugs, which is not true,” Flores told the Blade. “She was not a person with problems, she kept to herself,” added Flores. “She didn’t even swear and she only drank at home, but to say that she was going to drink on the street … I don’t believe it.” Asociación ASPIDH Arcoiris Trans in a statement demanded prosecutors use the reformed penal code to ensure this crime does not go unpunished and serves as an example to state agents. The trans Salvadoran advocacy group also demanded prosecutors apply the reformed penal code to every hate crime committed against trans women and members of the LGBTI community. Díaz asked for asylum in the U.S. because of violence against LGBTI Salvadorans and the government’s reluctance to defend their rights. The U.S. deported Díaz in 2017. “The Salvadoran government owes a lot to all of these families who have lost a loved one who was part of the LGBTI community or specifically a trans woman,” Flores told the Blade. “Trans women, out of everyone in the LGBTI community, are the most stigmatized, the most discriminated because the same LGBTI community sometimes discriminates against us.” LGBTI activists have reacted to the officers’ arrest positively, even though the case will generate uncertainty. “I think that this symbolizes a big advance in the issue of access to justice, which is one of the most (tenuous issues) for the LGBTI community in El Salvador, especially for trans women who have been targeted for murder and disappearances since the 1990s,” says ASPIDH Arcoiris Trans Programs Coordinator Amalia Leiva. The Díaz case has had its initial court hearing and will continue through the discovery case. Flores says she hopes officers who have been arrested will not be released, even though the judge has ordered they remain in custody ahead of their next court appearance, which has not been scheduled. The officers face up to 66 years in prison if convicted of Díaz’s murder. “I would expect that these people will not go free during the discovery phase, the case would continue to a final judgment, a trial, and that they will be convicted there,” said Flores. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Journalist among 3 trans women killed in Honduras A journalist is one of three transgender women who have been murdered in Honduras over the last week. La Tribuna, a Honduran newspaper, reported Santi Carvajal was shot in Puerto Cortés on the country’s Caribbean coast on July 6. Carvajal’s relatives told the newspaper she died at a hospital in the nearby city of San Pedro Sula. Carvajal hosted “La Galaxia de Santi,” a program that aired on a Puerto Cortés television station. The Blade received pictures that showed doctors treating Carvajal at the hospital while she was lying on a stretcher. A message posted to Carvajal’s Facebook page on July 6 confirmed she had died. “Santy is already in her magical galaxy,” it reads. “Rest in peace.” Indyra Mendoza, general coordinator of Cattrachas, a lesbian feminist network based in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, on Monday confirmed Carvajal was trans. “She was a very public trans person,” Mendoza told the Blade. Asociación Arcoiris, a Honduran advocacy group, on Monday said on its Facebook page that Bessy Ferrera, the sister of Rihanna Ferrera, a trans woman who ran for the country’s Congress in 2017, was killed in Tegucigalpa. The Blade on Monday saw a picture of Bessy Ferrera’s body slumped over on a set of stairs. “This news has undoubtedly taken us by surprise,” wrote Asociación Arcoiris on its Facebook page. “It leaves us with a lump in our throat and a feeling of powerlessness to see how we are being killed cruelly and the authorities of this country are doing nothing.” Mendoza told the Blade another trans woman, Antonia Laínez, was shot to death in El Negrito, a municipality in Yoro department in northern Honduras, on July 3. Media reports also say a cross-dresser was killed in Comayagüela, a city that borders Tegucigalpa, on Monday. “Today has been a very rough day,” Mendoza told the Blade. Violence based on gender identity remains commonplace in Honduras, which has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates. Activists in the Central American country with whom the Blade has spoken in recent years say members of Honduras’ National Police and the Honduran military among those who target trans women. Violence, along with discrimination and poverty, has prompted many trans Hondurans to migrate to the U.S. and Mexico over the last two years. Roxsana Hernández, a trans woman with HIV from Honduras, was in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody when she died at a New Mexico hospital on May 25, 2018. Perla, a trans Honduran woman who traveled to the U.S. with a migrant caravan that left from San Pedro Sula’s main bus station earlier this year, told the Blade on March 26 that Honduran police target people based on their gender identity. “The police, to be honest, make the decision to persecute us and arrest us,” said Perla when she and other LGBTI migrants from Central America were at Casa Ruby in D.C. “They even rape us and kill us.” Mendoza told the Blade that police have arrested two men in connection with Bessy Ferrera’s murder. Erick Martínez, a prominent Honduran activist who lives in Tegucigalpa, said Carvajal may have been targeted because she was a trans woman and a journalist. “People like her already have an implicit vulnerability because they are a transsexual woman,” said Martínez. “But this risk increases when you are known as a social communicator or journalist: Both profiles are high risk in Honduras.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
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16 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 03 ISSUE 28
Queer history emerging from the shadows ‘Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple’ a must read
Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple Photo Courtesy Amazon
Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.
Milestone anniversaries make us remember the past. Fifty years ago on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. As I raise a glass to honor Armstrong’s historic, awestruck footsteps, I’ll be thinking of hidden LGBTQ history. The upcoming anniversary reminds me of Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut. “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their televisions and see that they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists,” Gloria Steinem said when Ride made her historic 1983 flight into space. Few knew until after her death that Ride had been in a same-sex relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy. As I’ve written before in the Blade, I don’t judge Ride for not revealing her sexual orientation, “deciding to come out, even as marriage equality increasingly becomes a reality, is still a personal, and often, difficult decision.” But, I hope Ride’s sexual orientation won’t be hidden from history. Sometimes straight people wonder why it’s important for hetero and queer folk to learn about LGBTQ people in history. “Who cares if Sally Ride or anyone in history was gay?” a cousin asked me once, “it’s what they did that counts.” It matters because until recently few
people could be openly queer. Though we’ve achieved marriage equality, you can still be fired just for being gay in more than half of our states. The Trump administration is pursuing an anti-LGBTQ agenda. Bullying is a problem for many queer students, especially, those who are trans. As a youth, in school, I, like many LGBTQ people, didn’t learn about any queer people in history. Even now, queer folk are often absent from history books and lessons. How inspiring it would be for queer kids and adults to learn that some of our nation’s most renowned icons from Walt Whitman to Eleanor Roosevelt to Sally Ride were queer. Thankfully, queer history is emerging from the shadows. The latest reveal to come my way, through a report in The Washington Post, is a new book, “Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple, 1890-1918,” edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey. Rose Cleveland, a teacher and author, was the sister of President Grover Cleveland. Cleveland, who never married, served as first lady during part of Cleveland’s first term. Cleveland, who was born in 1846, and Whipple, who lived from 1856 to 1930, were wealthy, educated, independent women. When they met while visiting Florida in 1889, Cleveland was no longer the official hostess at the White House. Evangeline (then Evangeline Simpson) was a wealthy widow. (In 1896, Evangeline married Henry
Whipple, an Episcopal bishop in Minnesota. He died in 1901.) Both women owned several homes. Partly because she was, for a time, first lady, Cleveland’s book “George Eliot’s Poetry” was a bestseller. At their first meeting, they sparked to each other. From that moment onward, the two women had a 28-year relationship “encompassing friendship, romance, sexual attraction and partnership,” the editors write in the introduction to “Precious and Adored.” Their letters, mostly from Cleveland to Whipple, reveal a complex bond that endured from the Victorian era to World War I, the editors say. They had nicknames for each other. Cleveland called Whipple “Wingie” and “Eve.” She’d sign her letters with “Viking” or “Myself.” “You are mine by every sign in Earth & Heaven, by every sign in soul & spirit & body,” Cleveland wrote to Whipple. Whipple begged Cleveland to “come to me this night.” Yet being of their era, they wouldn’t have thought of themselves as part of “women who shared an identity built on same-sex attractions,” the editors write. Though assigning a sexual orientation to Cleveland and Whipple after their time, is anachronistic, “it’s still possible,” Ehrenhalt and Laskey say, “to recognize their relationship, and their letters, as queer.” When some still want to deny our place in history, that’s something to celebrate.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 12, 2019 • 17
Immigrants are an enrichment, not a threat Oppose the GOP alliance between mob and capital
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. Reach him at email@example.com.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of conservative Never Trumpers blaming liberals in advance for our trickster president’s re-election, as if they hadn’t spent decades paving the way. One playground for recriminations is America’s border with Mexico. A conservative colleague accuses me of helping to reelect Trump by being soft on the so-called immigration crisis. I proudly plead guilty. I refuse to prove my patriotism by pandering to fear and loathing I do not feel. I have known some undocumented immigrants, and I would trust those good people with the keys to the city as I would never trust the mountebank in the executive
mansion. As the Center for American Progress declared last month, “[D]espite the toxic, nativist rhetoric and policy President Donald Trump regularly peddles, the United States is neither being invaded, nor does it face an unmanageable migration crisis.” Recent headlines, we should note, are damning: “Detained migrant children got no toothbrush, no soap, no sleep. It’s no problem, government argues.” “Graphic, sexually explicit Facebook posts roil Border Patrol.” “DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley.” That last one is from the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. This is America in the age of Trump. As Adam Serwer wrote in The Atlantic in October 2018, “The Cruelty Is the Point.” The fact that the policy of deterrence is not working does not matter to Trump. The only thing he cares about is provoking his base. All I directly witnessed of Trump’s MAGA 4th of July celebration was the noise of ﬁghter jets ﬂying over my apartment; the ﬁreworks a dozen blocks south were entirely obscured by smoke. The TV cameras showed a folly in which overhype, vanity, and bad weather ignominiously combined. After his Forgettysburg Address confusing two wars and inventing 18th century airports
set off a torrent of mockery, Trump blamed his teleprompter. The enduring problem, however, is a habitual bullshitter’s inability ever to admit an error. Behind the snafus and stupidity crouched a more insidious beast: a belief that America is made great not by its ideas but by its military stockpile. Belligerence and resentment may boost voter turnout, but do not enhance governance. The argument that allowing economic migration will set off a stampede is like the argument that gay marriage would cause straight men to leave their wives. In fact, illegal immigration is down. Migration is a constant of human history. Harping on rules of asylum is beside the point. America’s colonialist practices in Central and South America, including economic exploitation, toppling of governments, and ﬁnancing of insurgent groups, contributed greatly to the problems from which the migrants are ﬂeeing. We owe those countries help, not punishment. Author Suketu Mehta writes in “This Land Is Our Land” an immigrant’s manifesto: “I am angry: about the staggering global hypocrisy of the rich nations, having robbed the poor ones of their future, now arguing against a reverse movement of peoples— not to invade and conquer and steal, but to work. Angry at the ecological devastation that has been visited upon the planet by the
West, and which now demands that the poor nations stop emitting carbon dioxide. Angry at the depiction of people like my family and the other families that have continued in my family’s path, because they had no other choice, as freeloaders, drug dealers, and rapists. I’m tired of apologizing for moving. These walls, these borders, between the peoples of the earth: they are of recent vintage, and they are ﬂimsy.” The threat to our republic is not from migrant families, but from a president whose vandalism is fueled by authoritarian nationalism. Populist candidate Trump ran against immigrants and Goldman Sachs. President Trump kept demonizing immigrants but put several Goldman Sachs execs in his administration. As Mehta notes, Hannah Arendt called this old game the “alliance between mob and capital”—enrich plutocrats at the expense of the working class, then scapegoat strangers. We must object. Our national creed is inconsistent with rule by fear. Trump’s grandiosity was triggered by the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris. To that I say: Vive la résistance! Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.
30 must-see movies at Outfest 2019 All our picks from romance to horror to Judy Garland docs By DAN ALLEN
With its dizzying lineup of more than 150 films in 26 languages from 33 countries, Outfest 2019 will once again be sheer nirvana for LGBTQ movie-lovers. But where to begin in navigating its busy schedule, which runs for 11 full days from July 18 to 28? We’ve broken it all down to bring you the can’t-miss highlights for this 37th edition of LA’s beloved LGBTQ film fest. BEST GAY COMING-OFAGE TALE THIS IS NOT BERLIN Teens Carlos and Gera discover the gay-friendly bohemian subculture of 1980s Mexico City.
BEST GAY ROMANCE COSTARRING GRINDR END OF THE CENTURY Argentine New Yorker Ocho and Spanish Berliner Javi find sex and love on the beaches of Barcelona.
BEST LESBIAN COMINGOF-AGE TALE TO THE STARS Loner Iris has her 1960s rural Oklahoma world
BEST GAY THRILLER COSTARRING GRINDR SEQUIN IN A BLUE ROOM An Australian teen obsessively searches for
BEST FRENCH FARCE ABOUT GAY WATER POLO THE SHINY SHRIMPS Hilarity ensues when a homophobic French Olympic swimmer reluctantly takes a coaching job for a campy gay water polo team. BEST STEAMY POLYAMOROUS LESBIAN ROAD MOVIE
BEST QUEER COMING-OFAGE HORROR COMEDY BIT Small town trans girl Laurel moves to Los Angeles, where she’s courted by a group of feminist vampires.
BEST DOC ABOUT TRANS FATHERHOOD SEAHORSE: THE DAD WHO GAVE BIRTH English trans man Freddy McCall faces myriad challenges as he carries his own child.
BEST DRAG RACE DOC THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE RUPAUL WHY CAN’T I BE ME? AROUND YOU Albuquerque mechanic and drag race fan Rusty Tidenberg navigates transition against a conservative Southwestern backdrop.
rocked by carefree newcomer Maggie.
Tomer Heymann follows the life of Israeli porn sensation Jonathan Agassi.
the mysterious man he hooked up with at an anonymous sex party. BEST FAMOUS LESBIAN BIO-PIC VITA & VIRGINIA Authors Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West find turbulent love in 1920s London.
A M E R I C A’ S
THE DAUGHTERS OF FIRE Three women set off in a van from southern Argentina on a liberating polyamorous journey. BEST DOC ABOUT A GAY PORN STAR JONATHAN AGASSI SAVED MY LIFE Famed documentarian
BEST DOC ABOUT AN LA GAY INSTITUTION CIRCUS OF BOOKS LA’s iconic gay bookstore is fondly remembered in this Outfest Opening Night Gala film.
BEST DRAG RACE DOC THAT DOES INVOLVE RUPAUL TRIXIE MATTEL: MOVING PARTS RuPaul’s Drag Race champ and internet sensation Trixie Mattel is profiled in this behind-the-scenes look featuring many other RPDR queens.
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BEST DOC ABOUT THE MOVIE SHOWGIRLS YOU DON’T NOMI How the 1995 movie Showgirls, once considered a colossal flop, went on to become a camp classic. BEST ROMA LESBIAN LOVE STORY CARMEN & LOLA Spanish teens Carmen and
BEST FILMS ABOUT LGBTQ REFUGEES FIREFLIES, LABEL ME, UNSETTLED In Fireflies, gay Iranian refugee Ramin explores freer life in Mexico; in Label Me, Syrian gay-for-pay hustler Waseem seeks asylum in Germany; and the American doc Unsettled follows LGBTQ refugees
husband, only to become embroiled in the feud between her gay father and her cult-inducted mother. BEST JUDY GARLAND DOC SID & JUDY A look at the rocky but resonating romance of Judy Garland and her third husband, Sid Luft.
BEST FILMS ABOUT GAY GUATEMALANS JOSÉ, TEMBLORES In José (winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion), a poor Guatemalan teen explores his gay identity; in Temblores, a middleaged man is forced into conversion therapy by his family.
A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON
Lola find love despite the conservative traditions of their Roma families. BEST CHINESE FAMILY DRAMA WITH A GAY TWIST A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON Xiaoyu returns to China with her American
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BEST LOVE STORY INVOLVING MISTAKEN TRANS IDENTITY ADAM The younger brother of a queer NYC college student romances her female friend, who believes he’s trans.
from Angola, Congo and Syria. BEST HETERO-CURIOUS MILLENNIAL LOVE STORY STRAIGHT UP James Sweeney wrote, directed and stars as young gay Angeleno Todd, who’s determined to try to date women.
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BEST ONE-COUNTRY LGBTQ STUDY QUEER JAPAN The full spectrum of Japan’s LGBTQ rainbow is explored in this fascinating doc. BEST DOC ABOUT TRANS ATHLETES CHANGING THE GAME Three brave high school
students blaze a path for young trans athletes. BEST GAY ITALIAN GRANDPA LOVE STORY AN ALMOST ORDINARY SUMMER Wealthy Tony and blue-collar Carlo shock their families when they announce their engagement.
BEST DOC ABOUT PRESERVING LESBIAN HERITAGE THE ARCHIVETTES A look at New York-based Lesbian Herstory Archives and the personal lives of its volunteer archivists.
THIS IS NOT BERLIN
TRIXIE MATTEL: MOVING PARTS
VITA AND VIRGINIA
YOUR DON’T NOMI
BEST DOC ABOUT BRAZIL’S GAY LEATHER SCENE MR. LEATHER São Paulo’s sexy leather scene takes center stage as five men vie for Mr. Leather Brazil.
BEST REVIVAL SCREENINGS THE QUEEN, TONGUES UNTIED, COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT The groundbreaking 1968
A M E R I C A’ S
doc The Queen, featuring NYC drag legends Flawless Sabrina and Crystal Labeija, is screened in its newly restored Kino Lorber print; the iconic exploration of black gay maleness Tongues Untied celebrates
its 30th anniversary; and marking three decades too is Common Threads, the Oscar-winning doc about the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Go to festival.outfest. org/2019 to purchase tickets and for more info on this year’s Outfest.
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22 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Fire lit by ‘Paris is Burning’ still glows, on ‘Pose’ Celebrating the real people who were the limelight of an era By SCOTT STIFFLER
Voguer, Brooklyn ball, 1986. Photo by Jennie Livingston / Courtesy of Janus Films
Take away its time capsule footage of gritty 1980s New York City, and the creative expressions and personal challenges charted in “Paris is Burning” seem, in ways both inspiring and sobering, utterly contemporary. Seven years in the making, Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary introduced NYC’s African American and Latinx Harlem ball culture to a global audience. Between origin stories (“shade came from reading”) and the definition of a House (“a gay street gang”), “Paris is Burning” follows voguers, drag queens, and trans women on their quest for respect and recognition—not just in the form of towering trophies awarded in categories like “Town and Country” and “Executive Realness,” but also from a society, the film’s current press notes, “rampant with homophobia and transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty.” Now, nearly 30 years later, a digitally restored version of the film is getting a national roll-out, opening locally July 5, at Landmark Nuart Theatre (11272 Santa Monica Boulevard). Its June run at NYC’s Film Forum was a fitting full-circle journey. Karen Cooper, director of the nonprofit indie and foreign art film mecca, booked “Paris is Burning” for its original American theatrical premiere, after screening it at an independent film market in NYC. “Audience reception was tremendous,” Cooper recalls, of the 1990 run. “The first show (afternoon!), on a Wednesday, sold 89 tickets. The reviews were very strong. Vincent Canby, in the New York Times, was particularly enthusiastic, and the Times had tremendous clout in those days.” This time around, audience and critical reception “have both been positive,” Cooper says. “The cultural climate has done a huge shift, in that LGBTQ people are no longer ‘invisible.’ I think the film is not ‘shocking”’ in the way it may have been nearly 30 years ago—but neither is Fellini or Pasolini, and they remain great filmmakers.” Joined by cast members Freddie Pendavis and Sol Pendavis, “Paris” director Livingston was on hand at a June 15 Film Forum screening, for a conversation moderated by artist and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris. Two days later, Jevon Martin introduced a Film Forum screening, “in hopes that they [contemporary audiences] would tie into the fact that the LGBTQ community is still homeless now, just as it was back then.” The same community needs are present today, notes Martin, who serves as executive director of Princess Janae Place, an organization he founded in 2015 to honor its late namesake by “educating the LGBTQ community on their rights to housing and addressing the needs of the LGBTQ community, with emphasis on TGNC [Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming] people of color.” Martin, who knew many of those featured in “Paris,” served in NYC as father of the House of Khan, then father in the House of Legacy. Currently, Martin contributes to the ballroom scene as “the creator of the transman realness category.” Martin has “been a part of ballroom since the late ’90s, helping others and spectating. I walked my first butch realness category at Paris is Burning ball, at the Minisink
Townhouse in Harlem, when my auntie Paris [Dupree] was alive.” Of Dupree, one of those featured in the film, Martin recalls her as “a butch queen. She was a showgirl and a straightforward person. Paris didn’t take no sh*t from anyone, and you didn’t mess with Paris. Everyone knew that if you did, you would get knocked!” (“That’s gay slang for ‘beat up,’ ” Martin notes, for the uninitiated.) Dorian Corey, another from the film, “was also my auntie, a showgirl and seamstress,” Martin says, calling her “elegant, beautiful, kindhearted, and stern. She wouldn’t hold her tongue either. What you saw was what you got. She never sugar-coated anything.” Corey, Martin recalls, “sewed clothes for a lot of people, and everything she wore was designed by her. Nobody messed with her, either. It just so happens that when she passed away, her apartment on 140th Street was left to her close friend, and some guys came by to get some clothes for Halloween. They found the mummified body of a man, in a garment bag in the closet, with a bullet hole in his head.” That scenario may well play itself out on the small screen, as Martin says the Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy-created FX series “Pose” (set in the same era as Livingston’s “Paris”) has woven the documentary’s people and events into its own plot. “But told in a unique way,” he notes. “By that, I mean the storylines of the characters are similar, but the details are changed, so as not to be the same.” Martin cites, as one example, the character of Angel Evangelista (played by Indya Moore), whose experience on the show is reminiscent of Tracey “Africa” Norman, “a transwoman and a model. Nobody knew she was transgender. She was later found out.” Martin, who was cast as a ballroom judge in two episodes and can be seen in the background in other ballroom scenes, says, “We are still filming. So hey, you never know what other areas I might be cast in. Plus, Season 3 has been announced!” The “Paris is Burning” effect, Martin says, “is very positive. The film is our history. These are the people that were the limelight of that era. Some are still alive today to tell their stories. Those that have passed on have left their legacy to pave the way for the new kids.” From the runway on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” to each new episode of “Pose,” Martin notes the ballroom scene “has been brought to mainstream,” showcasing “the glitz and glam of our community. Yet there is still much work to do, to make sure we are all safe from discrimination and physical abuse.” One thing that still bothers Martin, as stated in comments prior to June 30’s NYC Pride March, “is that Pride was built on the backs of transwomen of color, and that’s been whitewashed and erased. The existence of the Pride March has been turned into a corporate parade. Year after year, it’s being diluted from Stonewall being a riot.” Like those in “Paris is Burning,” Martin says, contemporary TGNC people of color “want visibility. We want people to know why we are celebrating, and not lose the true meaning behind Pride.”
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Looking for some refreshing page turners for the summer? Dive into these new LGBTQ novels that are light on the mind. Award-winning journalist Robbie Corey-Boulet takes on the LGBTQ movement in Africa and how it differs from those in the United States and Europe in his novel “Love Falls on Us: A Story of American Ideas and African LGBT Lives” (Aug. 15). He argues that the international LGBT activists and allies have created winners and losers within the movement. If someone from an African country identifies with the those of the global movement, then they find support. If their identity doesn’t happen to align so neatly, funding and care can be unavailable. Especially in a world where LGBT rights are being reversed even in “developed” countries, Corey-Boulet investigates the right way to address LGBT issues in Africa. This novel is for those who care to know the difference in approach. Upcoming pop artist, Boy Untitled (Mark Tennyson), is releasing his first self-titled EP and accompanying illustrated book of poetry “A Wanderer’s Love Letter to the Universe” (out this month). Both the EP and book reflect a tumultuous time in Tennyson’s life over the course of two years. There are five parts representing stagnation, recognition, action, vision and evolution. Tennyson is a Los Angeles-based artist who began their career in the art scene and slowly transitioned to the sultry, electronica side of pop music. “Diary of a Drag Queen” (out now) is exactly what the title suggests. Crystal Rasmussen takes readers through her crazy life on a daily basis over the course of a year. She spills the details about her experiences dating men three times her age, sleeping with a VIP for her journalism career, being fired by a well-known magazine and much more. If you’re looking for a new perspective on life, this is the book for you. Tehlor Kay Mejia tells the tale of Daniel Vargas, the top student at the Medio School for Girls in “We Set the Dark on Fire” (out now). Daniel has two options after graduation: maintain her husband’s household or raise his children. The only problem is that her paperwork was forged by her parents to give her a better opportunity. Although there’s a few hiccups at her graduation, she gets through the day without anyone discovering her secret. Her new challenge is to spy for a resistance group causing a shift in her newest options: hold onto the privilege her parents sacrificed for her or pursue freeing Medio and a forbidden love. If you enjoy the tale of King Arthur, “Once & Future” (out now) by Cori McCarthey and Amy Rose Capetta is the novel for you. The main character, Ari Helix, crash lands on Old Earth and pulls the legendary sword from its place making her the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Merlin, who has aged backwards and is now a teenager, informs Ari that together they must break the curse that keeps bringing back Arthur. They must save humankind, defeat the oppressive government and bring peace to all. No big deal. “Like a Love Story” (out now) follows three teenagers impacted by AIDS. Abdi Nazimian uses the stories of Reza, Judy and Art to address the complexities of being gay during the 1980s. Reza is an Iranian boy who knows he’s gay but won’t admit it because he worries about the disease affecting him. Judy is a fashion designer who has a strong relationship with her uncle who has AIDS and is active with ACT UP. Art is Judy’s best friend who rebels against his conservative parents by photographing the epidemic and is the only out gay student at school. Somehow Reza and Judy end up dating leaving room for heartbreak and disappointment. “Red, White & Royal Blue” (out now) is a romantic comedy by Casey McQuiston where the First Son, Alex Claremont-Diaz, and his nemesis, Prince Henry, are forced into a fake friendship to help with his mother’s re-election campaign. After a confrontation between the two was leaked to the tabloids, they were forced to truly get to know one another and their once fake friendship turns into a secret relationship. With President Claremont’s campaign picking up, Alex must make a decision on which matters to him more: his political image or the potential love of his life. In their first published work, Mason Deaver delivers “I Wish You All the Best” (out now). It’s a story following a non-binary (like the author) character, Ben De Backer, who has recently come out to his family. Disowned and thrown out on the street, Ben has no other choice but to go live with his sister and her fiance who, along with their therapist, are the only other ones to know their identity. Ben tries their best to get through the rest of their senior year by keeping a low profile however, Nathan Allan has other plans for them. In poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” (out now), he explores topics such as race, class and masculinity. The novel is a written letter from a son to his mother who cannot read. It unearths the family history of Little Dog whose roots stem from Vietnam. Written when the speaker is in his late 20s, Vuong takes readers through Little Dog’s life that includes information that even his mother has no clue about including an unforgettable revelation.
Page turners for the beach or pool ‘Love Falls on Us,’ A Wanderer’s Love Letter’ among summer book highlights By YULANI RODGERS
24 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Apollo 11 anniversary reminds us to dream big Exhibit celebrates 50th anniversary of lunar landing By JOHN PAUL KING
The Apollo 11 moon landing turns 50 this year. Photo Courtesy NASA
With the 50th anniversary of Stonewall just behind us, another fast-approaching historic milestone is making its way into our public consciousness this month. This year also marks a half century since NASA’s Apollo 11 put the first man on the moon – an event that captured not just the nation but the world, and one of those moments so significant that everyone who was alive and aware to see it can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing at the time. For Angelenos who want to commemorate the occasion in a fittingly spectacular way, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena is presenting “Apollo 11: The Immersive Live Show,” which opened on July 5 and continues through Aug. 11 before moving on to an 18-city tour across the U.S. Already drawing raves from awe-inspired audiences, this dazzling multi-media experience takes place inside a stateof-the-art, custom-built venue with a 1,600-seat theater called the Lunar Dome. It’s a celebration of one of mankind’s greatest achievements, meant to inspire the imagination of future scientists and explorers; but it also serves to remind us, among other things, just how many world-changing things were happening in 1969. Looking back, it was a time that was perhaps not that different from our own. An unpopular president sat in the White House after a divisive and controversial election that had seemed to crush the youthful hope of a once-hopeful liberal left; the country was escalating an ongoing course of military action that many viewed as immoral and even illegal, the civil rights movement was reeling from half a decade of racially charged mob violence, and a new and chilling kind of evil was beginning to encroach upon American life in the form of murderers like Charles Manson and the Zodiac Killer. Yet as the hit musical “Hair” had proclaimed the year before, it was also the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” a new era that was supposed to bring positive and sweeping transformation. And it wasn’t just the Broadway stage that had been invaded by hippies; the counter-culture had begun to infiltrate the mainstream in films like “Easy Rider” and books like “Slaughterhouse Five,” and the music of young people was rich with voices of change, many of them highlighted at the Woodstock music festival. In the summer of ’69, this turmoil of conflicting ideologies was momentarily stilled as the nation turned its attention to the moon landing. For many, it felt like a shift had taken place; this was an event of global importance, a victory for the whole human race, and it seemed like a doorway was opening into a brave new world. In retrospect, it’s somehow fitting that the Apollo 11 mission came three weeks after Stonewall. For a younger generation, which might never have had reason to juxtapose the two events in their imaginations, it might seem an odd match; but for those in the queer community who were around at the time, feeling the stirrings of a long-brewing liberation movement that had been sparked by the laststraw raid at Stonewall even as they watched mankind break its earthly shackles for the first time, it would be easy to imagine them as being twin harbingers of hope at a time when hope was hard to come by. Fifty years later, NASA is again developing missions to the moon, and the fight for LGBTQ equality rages on as we continue to defend our hard-won advancements.
The connection between the two is once again made unavoidable by the close proximity of their anniversaries, calling extra attention on the fact that, to date, none of the 561 individuals that have been selected to go into space have ever identified openly as LGBTQ. (Astronaut Sally Ride came out in her obituary in 2012.) Last week, the Out Astronaut Project teamed with the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) to create opportunities for LGBTQ persons to become actively involved in space-related research, with the aim to train and fly the first LGBTQ-identified person to conduct climaterelated research in space. Fortunately, “Apollo 11: The Immersive Live Show” is ahead of the curve on LGBTQ inclusion. The production features three “out” actors in an ensemble cast of 20. Performing under 40,000-square-feet of stunning 360° video projections, with the help of world-class theatrical design, a full orchestral score and life-size rockets, they take audiences on an epic journey to the Moon and back. One of the show’s LGBTQ performers is Tom Trudgeon, who plays Frank “Chronos” Wilson, a former Korean War bombardier who ran the Trench in Mission Control for NASA during the Apollo flights in 1969. He understands why some people see a connection between Stonewall and the moon landing. “With the success of Apollo 11, with men walking on the moon, the entire world celebrated and cheered the victory,” he says. With the first rebellious brick thrown at Stonewall, a new power emerged, and pride was born.” Though his character may not be gay, he thinks “Chronos” still embodies qualities shared by the rioters at Stonewall and the LGBTQ community in general. He explains, “In the show Chronos says, ‘I am grateful nobody was keeping a body count back then. That’s why nowadays I prefer setting my sights on the heavens.’ He carries the weight of destruction and PTSD but aspires to utilize his talents in a positive way.” He reflects on the cultural context in which these two monumental events took place. “It was a devastating and precarious period in our history,” he says, “with Korea, Vietnam, the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr., and civil rights and LGBTQ+ oppression. Every last being in touch with their humanity was desperate, screaming, clamoring for hope. Both Apollo and Stonewall… gave us exactly that – hope!” Five decades later, Trudgeon’s description sounds unsettlingly familiar in a world torn apart by its own version of the same conflicts that raged back then, and hope is just as desperately needed. In pausing to remember these two seminal events of our modern history, it’s perhaps a great opportunity to also take stock of all the advancements we’ve made in their wake, and to set our sights, with renewed resolve, on the goals we have yet to achieve. With this in mind, “Apollo 11: The Immersive Live Show” seems more than just a blockbuster spectacle designed to blow our minds and dazzle our senses – although it certainly does that, too. It’s a chance to connect to a cultural touchstone that just might give us all the hope we need to keep pushing forward for another 50 years. For tickets and more information about “Apollo 11: The Immersive Live Show,” visit visitpasadena.com.
26 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Vanderbilt leaves estate to Cooper And Aaron Schock’s full-frontal nudes finally emerge By BILLY MASTERS
Anderson Cooper is rumored to inherit $200 million after the death of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Photo by Joe Seer / Courtesy Bigstock
“Do you know what, I’ve been giving that some thought recently because a couple of other parents said that to me as well. I think, you really don’t start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think – obviously absolutely fine by me.” - Prince William’s response to the question of how he’d react if one of his children said they were gay. Never let it be said that I can’t admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong in print and TV. But it’s not my fault. I blame Anderson Cooper. The silver fox told Howard Stern five years ago that he would not be inheriting money from his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. “My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund. There’s none of that. I don’t believe in inheriting money. I think it’s an initiative sucker.” Aside from her Midtown apartment (which goes to Coop’s brother, Leopold “Stan” Stokowski), the rest of Gloria’s estate goes to Anderson. And that is estimated to be roughly $200 million. In other words, that’s a lot of sucking. On the other hand, I will shout from the highest rooftop that I was right about the case between Kevin Spacey and the Nantucket barback. I previously said that Spacey would get off...in the legal sense. To briefly recap, three years ago Kevin is said to have attempted to get an 18-year-old busboy off - in the physical sense. He allegedly plied Will Little with drinks in the Nantucket establishment where he works. All the while, Will was texting his girlfriend the blow-by-blow (in the metaphorical sense). Shortly thereafter, Little’s mother went public, police got involved, and charges were filed. I hasten to add that I believe every aspect of this story so far. To support their case, the family presented screencaps of select text messages, and the police also examined the phone. Spacey’s team claimed the only way to determine what really happened was to see ALL of the messages. They asked to examine the phone. The family said it was “missing.” The court ruled the phone had to materialize by July 8. On July 5, the family dropped the civil suit. Hmm. With the civil case dropped, Spacey still has to hear the disposition of the criminal charges on the 8th. I believe those charges will also be dropped. I certainly ain’t saying Spacey is innocent, but he will get off (physically and metaphorically). Meanwhile in Ptown, I was busy with the sun, sand, surf, and studs in skivvies. Call me oldfashioned, but over July 4, I consider myself a patriot - as much of a patriot as those brave soldiers who stormed the airports and took to flight during the War of Independence. Someone I’d never war with is the gorgeous Gavin Creel, who was at the Ptown Art House courtesy of Seth Rudetsky. The show was a delight - you can always tell when Seth has a personal relationship with his guest. This was effortless - like Gavin’s mellifluous range. Seth has a cavalcade of guests stopping by all summer long, so check out PTownArtHouse.com for the latest schedule. Then there’s Varla Jean Merman, who never disappoints — even when she’s bored. Yes, this year’s show is called “A Star is Bored” and, trust me, you’ll be anything but. The songs, the costumes, the video, the cheese - it’s all there. Varla even pays homage to those who came before her - so it’s almost educational. Catch it before it turns up on your local PBS station during Pledge Week! Get your tix early at PTownArtHouse.com because she’s got a limited schedule and is selling out each and every show. To continue promoting Billy Masters’ Fabulous Friends, congrats go out to the insanely talented Sam Harris. The film version of his stage show “HAM - A Musical Memoir” will premiere at Outfest in Los Angeles on July 23. I’m told the film is gorgeous and, of course, Sam is incandescent. You can snag tix at Outfest.org. Time for our weekly Schocking Story. Aaron Schock - I know you all secretly lust after him solely as a sex object. And I’m gonna give you about nine more reasons to want him. Yes, we’ve featured a few dozen nude photos of him from every conceivable angle. But the latest clips we’ve received are from video chats which feature him full frontal (including face), fully aroused, shaking his money maker in your...well, face. At this point, I think I’ve got less footage of actual gay porn stars! Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Mark in Boston: “Rapper Lil Nas X has come out as gay this week. This is a big deal, as he is a big star. Do you have any nudes of him? He must be on a gay website somewhere.” I believe the timing of Nas’ coming out actually connects to nudes. On June 23, the rapper Tweeted, “Can’t believe my nudes leaked wtf.” Then he came out, which as we say in the media biz “changed the narrative.” Unless, of course, you’re Billy Masters - I ain’t so easily distracted. BTW, Nas ain’t so lil, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com. When I’m linking Lil Nas X to the Jack’d breach, it’s definitely time to end another column. Look at that - I tied it all together. I pulled it off - both metaphorically and physically. You can get a bit of both by checking out www.BillyMasters.com - the site that’ll lead to some pulling of your own. If you have a question for me, dash it off toBilly@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before anyone else takes the Old Town Road. So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
ANNUAL SPORTS ISSUE JULY 19 ADVERTISE 310-230-5266
28 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
As John Paul King points our in his article about the Lunar Landing exhibit at the Rose Bowl, see July 20 listing, our imaginations blur the experience of Stonewall and the first steps on the moon. Happy Lunar Landing 50th Anniversary.
FRI JULY 12
Lights for Liberty West Hollywood is tonight from 7:30 PM to whenever at West Hollywood Park alongside San Vicente Boulevard. Join ROAR (Resistance, Organizing, Action, and Resilience ) in West Hollywood Park for Lights for Liberty, a community vigil to shine a light on the horrific abuses of the Trump administration in human detention camps. ROAR, the Jewish leadership training group is organizing this event with co-sponsors Hollywood NOW, the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles (HRCLA), the Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Westside Democratic HQ. The event in WeHO Park happens simultaneously at locations around the nation, including five of the Trump administration’s detention camps. Guest speakers will include members of the West Hollywood City government, Stonewall President Lester Aponte, Hollywood NOW President John Erickson, Co-Chair of Community Engagement for HRC Los Angeles Sepi Shyne and more. Free. Lotus Festival Kick-off Concert is tonight from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Echo Park Lake (751 Echo Park Avenue). Enjoy a concert in celebration of the kick of the festival that honors the bloom of Echo Park Lake’s beloved floating flowers, the annual Lotus Festival. Expect plenty of food, music, dragon boat races and— fingers crossed—the lotus flower beds in full bloom. The historic event celebrates the contributions of Asian-Americans to L.A., and this year, the 39th, will honor the Thai community. Tonight’s concert features Brazilian Soul Trio’s contemporary jazz, samba, soul and pop and featuring Carla Hassett along with Ben Reddell Band, a Texas-based country rock group. The festival is free and runs from noon on Sat. July 13 and Sunday July 14.
SAT JULY 13
GlamCocks Present: HOT MESH! is tonight from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM at Catch One (4067 W. Pico Blvd). It’s time to make your commitment to Burning Man known to this family of burners. Enjoy a creative, energetic, body-positive, open-minded, and pro-LGBTQ space that invites participation and self-expression for everyone. It will be transformational and memorable for sure. Proceeds from our events go toward funding art
projects, nightlife offerings and community workshops at Burning Man. It’s this kind of event: “Expanding your roost, behave with beauty, connect with intention and always ask before touching.” $25 dollars at the door. Cyndi Lauper with Orchestra is tonight from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the Hollywood Bowl (2301 Highland Avenue). Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning icon Cyndi Lauper performs her biggest hits with Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra including “Time After Time”, “All Through The Night”, “Change Of Heart”, “True Colors” and more, while Cécile McLorin Salvant showcases one of the best young voices in jazz. Tickets available at hollywoodbowl.com starting at $75.
TUE JULY 16
Stonewall Young Democrats General Meeting is tonight from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at Kitchen 24 West Hollywood (8575 Santa Monica Boulevard). LA’s popular LGBT Democratic club is getting lots of action with the runup to the 2020 elections and is right now focusing an L.A. City council seat vacated by Mitch Englander who resigned last October, District 12 (Chatsworth, North Hills, Northridge, Granada Hills, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Sherwood Forest and West Hills). This meeting will focus on endorsements in that race as well as planning for the group’s influential Hero Awards. The event is free of charge and is open to the public.
WED JULY 17
Art Universe is the thing to do today from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM at Century City Westfield Mall (10250 Santa Monica Boulevard). Embark on a visual journey that will transports you to a series of artistic worlds and in which each piece is brought to life. This animated, virtual spectacle is a fully immersive, 360° dome theater, outfitted with surround sound and lay back and enjoy an experience that combines the future of art, entertainment, and technology. It features LGBT artists and animators from Likuid Art and 360ART including Android Jones, Greg “Craola” Simkins, Karen Bystedt, RISK, and Chris Saunders. Tickets available at the dome, up to $15.
THU JULY 18
Outfest Opening Night Gala featuring the film Circus of Books is tonight from 8:00 PM to midnight at The Orpheum Theater (842 S. Broadway). Outfest kicks off with fimmaker Rachel Mason’s movie, telling the story of the essential landmarks in queer Los Angeles, Circus of Books: the gay erotica emporium, cruising hotspot haven, and unofficial community center on West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard and on Sunset in Silver Lake. But somewhere between the racks of multi-sized dildos and racy DVDs available for purchase in the safety of broad daylight, you’d never expect to find that the premier purveyors – and producers – of hardcore gay pornography in the United States were a clean-cut mom-and-pop duo running sexually explicit contraband by day while raising a family of five in the suburbs by night. Must see. Visit tickets.outfest.org for all ticketing information.
SAT JULY 20
Apollo 11: the Immersive Live Show is a special treat today from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the Rose Bowl (1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena). An Immersive 360° Adventure invites audiences to go on an epic journey to the Moon and back. In 1969, NASA launched its most daring mission, sending astronauts to land on the moon and returning them safely home. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the lunar surface you can now experience the greatest stories in human history yourself. Apollo 11 is a groundbreaking new show with an original story performed by a full cast and presented in the spectacular lunar dome with 40K square feet of video projections. This truly immersive experience takes you from the thrill of the countdown to the enormous Saturn V rocket launch and on an unforgettable journey to the moon. Dreams about the endless possibilities of space. Read John Paul King’s review of the event in this issue of Los Angeles Blade. Visit apollo11show.com for ticketing info. 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 • JULY 12, 2019 • 29
Compton Pride About 500 people turned out for the first ever Compton Pride, an event held at Compton College in Los Angeles and presented by Stars Behavioral Health. The Compton of lore was not on display but the reality of Compton was — a loving community of diverse faces who celebrate family and are filled with aspiration and joy. The event honored Jewell ThaisWilliams and brought together dozens of performers, community notables and politicians.
Love and positivity was the message of the day.
Hip hop artist Reign delivered her vibe to Compton Pride.
Photo courtesy Compton Pride
Photo courtesy Reign
TransChorus of LA took its brand of diversity and love to Compton.
DeMann and Britney Jones pose backstage at Compton Pride.
Photo courtesy Maggie Szabo
Photo courtesy Jones
Nothing quite like a well-turned Compton leg. Photo courtesy Compton Pride
Short shorts are back, say the girls of Compton Pride. An older gentleman decked out in lycra, a throwback the 90s. Photo courtesy Compton Pride
One of the events booths was The Alexis Arquette Family Foundation partnership with the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the LAC+USC Medical Center. A sign nearby noted it had been 23 days since the last reported trans person was killed. Photo by Alexis Project
30 • JULY 12, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
More financial institutions working with marijuana industry The total number of financial institutions willing to work directly with state-licensed cannabis business continues to grow, according to quarterly data provided by the U.S. Treasury Department and first reported by MarijuanaMoment.net. Since the close of last year, the number of banks actively servicing marijuana businesses increased over 10 percent. The total number of credit unions servicing the industry rose by nearly 20 percent. Federal law discourages banks and other financial institutions from maintaining relationships with marijuana businesses because the plant remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. In February, NORML submitted testimony to Congress in support of legislation to amend federal law in a manner that facilitates relations between the cannabis businesses and the banking industry.
Adults substitute cannabis for prescription meds: study NEW YORK — Adults who purchase retail cannabis typically report using it to mitigate pain and to improve sleep, and often use it in place of conventional medications, according to data published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. A team of investigators from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the University of Miami assessed marijuana use trends among 1,000 adult use customers in Colorado. Seventyfour percent of those surveyed said that they consumed cannabis to promote sleep, while 65 percent reported using cannabis to alleviate pain. Among those respondents with a history of taking prescription sleep aids, 83 percent reported either reducing or ceasing their use of those medicines. Among those respondents with a history of consuming prescription opioids, 88 percent reported mitigating or stopping their use. “Our findings suggest that de facto medical use may be highly prevalent among adult use customers, and that access to an adult use cannabis market may influence individuals’ use of other medications,” authors concluded. “Our findings ... suggest that adult use customers may be similar to medical cannabis patients in their use of cannabis as a substitute for prescription analgesics and sleep aids. ... While adult use laws are frequently called ‘recreational,’ ... our findings suggest that many customers use cannabis for symptom relief.” Longitudinal studies assessing the use of prescription drugs following patients’ enrollment
in state-sanctioned medical cannabis access programs frequently report a decline in the use of conventional medicines, specifically opioids, antianxiety drugs, and sleep aids.
Metered dosing of herbal cannabis effective in patients HAIFA, Israel — Hospitalized patients administered cannabis via a metered dose inhaler report symptom relief and no severe adverse effects, according to clinical data published in the journal Palliative & Supportive Care. Israeli investigators assessed the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of metered dose cannabis inhalation in a group of hospitalized patients. The device allowed for patients to self-administer precise quantities of cannabis in a vaporized (noncombustion) form. All patients reported reduced pain symptoms following cannabis inhalation. Several subjects also reported relief from nausea and spasticity. No severe adverse effects were reported by any of the study’s participants. Three-quarters of the participants reported the inhaler to be “easy to use.” Authors concluded, “[T]he current study results have demonstrated the feasibility of administrating cannabis using the Syqe Inhaler, allowing for the first time, to administer small, safe, accurate, precise, and reliable dosages of cannabinoids” in a hospital setting.
Del. lawmakers seek to reduce penalties for juveniles DOVER, Del. — Lawmakers have advanced legislation amending criminal penalties for juveniles who violate the state’s marijuana possession laws. The bill now awaits action from Democratic Gov. John Carney. Senate Bill 45 eliminates criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession offenses (up to one ounce) for those under the age of 21. Instead, juvenile offenders will face a fine-only civil penalty. Those with past criminal convictions for juvenile offenses will be eligible for the mandatory expungement of their records. Under current law, marijuana possession offenses are decriminalized for those ages 21 and older, but remains criminalized for those under the age of 18. Those between the ages of 18 and 21 may be eligible for civil sanctions, depending on their past criminal history. If signed into law, the new measure will take immediate effect. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.
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