Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 14, April 5, 2019

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Photo Courtesy LA LGBT Center


A P R I L 0 5 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 1 4 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M



West Hollywood City Council censures Duran Former mayor apologizes, asks for forgiveness By STAFF REPORTS The West Hollywood City Council unanimously passed a ‘Resolution of Censure’ against Councilmember and former Mayor John Duran during their April 1 meeting, despite Duran’s public act of contrition and apology. The resolution was written by City Attorney Michael Jenkins who had been directed to prepare the censure action by councilmembers during the March 4 council meeting. The action came after weeks of protest and growing calls for Duran to be removed from his position as mayor after what had been labeled as unacceptable and inappropriate sexual behavior. Duran voluntarily stepped down as mayor but contested allegations of misbehavior, which he has said were based on unsubstantiated rumors and dismissed claims following an investigation. However, the censure is focused on Duran’s behavior that does not comport with the city’s image and policies. The ‘Resolution of Censure’ reads in part: Councilmember John Duran has made

‘I’ve made mistakes and I ask for forgiveness,’ former WeHo Mayor John Duran said. Photo by Karen Ocamb

statements in response to allegations of inappropriate behavior that are contrary to the City’s policies and values. Specifically, Councilmember Duran has made statements: that suggest that there is a different standard of appropriate workplace behavior for gay men; that attempt to publicly shame his accusers;

that include derogatory remarks about the ethnicity and physical appearance of his accusers; and that trivialize alleged misconduct with a former employee The resolution condemns Duran’s handling of the recent controversy, adding that “this particular transgression has caused many in our community to question whether the City will appropriately address

allegations of harassment and misconduct.” The resolution also states that Duran has “engaged in conduct and made statements contrary to City policy and conducted himself in a manner that demeans the office of Councilmember.” The council originally planned to discuss the resolution in public but moved the item to the consent agenda enabling the council to vote on the entire legislative package without discussing the issue—which Duran did not oppose. Duran apologized during council comments, noting that has “anger issues,” which can lead to inappropriate behavior. He also apologized for making “derogatory and body shaming” comments regarding a member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles who complained to the Los Angeles Times that Duran had sexually harassed him. An independent investigator told the Chorus that the complaint could not be substantiated. However, in an interview with the WeHo Times, Duran made derogatory remarks about the accuser as if to justify his innocence. “I’m sorry for my behavior,” Duran said. “I’ve made mistakes and I ask for forgiveness.” Duran did not respond to a direct request for comment from the Los Angeles Blade.

LA officials call for boycott of area hotels over Brunei law Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air owned by sultan By STAFF REPORTS On April 3, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, 72, one of the world’s richest men who is also the small oil-rich country’s prime minister, implemented a penal code change he announced in May 2014. The new law, which mandates death by stoning or whipping for gay sex and adultery, as well as amputation as a punishment for theft, has been decried by human rights advocates— including out Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin at a news conference on April 2. A March 28 op-ed in Deadline by actor

George Clooney —who was quickly joined by singer Elton John and a slew of others—drew attention to the potential human catastrophe about to unfold. He called for a boycott of the nine Dorchester hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air in Los Angeles. On April 2, Galperin, LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, and Karina Samala, Chair of the Transgender Advisory Council, called for a boycott of the two hotels. “As a citywide elected official, I represent a diverse community of Angelenos, and I call on everyone to boycott the hotels owned by Brunei’s royal family,” said Galperin who finds the law “sickening” and unacceptable. “I will not set foot in these establishments so

long as they are owned and controlled by a regime that is willing to kill LGBTQ people. While I feel bad for the many hard-working employees of these local hotels, no one should support or attend any events there while lives are on the line. I urge all people of conscience to join me in standing up to hate and brutality.” “The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles have a long romantic history in Southern California and have been luxurious destinations for tourists and locals for decades,” said Koretz. “But as long as Brunei enforces these barbaric laws, we have to do everything we can to publicly condemn their actions and, if that means marring their reputation and fabled history, then so be it. We can’t allow the

Sultan of Brunei and the country’s financial institutions to comfortably profit, while their new laws make being gay and adultery capital offenses and theft and abortions are met with degrading brutal punishments as well.” “We cannot sit idly by as a murderous regime profits off our friends’ and neighbors’ patronage, just because they’re nice hotels,” said Zbur. “The City of Los Angeles and the United States and world should place severe sanctions on Brunei for taking LGBTQ rights back to the Stone Age,” said Samala. “We are all human beings with a right to live in freedom.” Koretz introduced a resolution to the Los Angeles City Council asking for the city to support the boycott.



Dr. Virginia Uribe, Project 10 Founder, dies at 84 Pioneer for LGBT youth won epic struggle against Lou Sheldon By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Before ACT UP and Queer Nation, there was another LGBT empowerment organization that courageously defied the old socially accepted mythology of gay people as sexual deviants and predators: Project 10. Founded by kindly but determined and focused Fairfax High School science teacher and counselor Dr. Virginia Uribe, Project 10 became the basis for GLSEN, Gay-Straight Alliances, and pro-equality youth public policies, student curriculum and progressive changing attitudes toward LGBT youth. Dr. Uribe died late March 30 of multiple health issues at Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center in Silver Lake where she was receiving hospice care, according to her wife, Gail Rolf. Project 10 was named after the Alfred Kinsey sliding scale of human sexual behavior in 1948 that posited that roughly 10 percent of the population identified as bisexual or homosexual. Deeply rooted in the concept of liberty and justice for all, Uribe saw the desperate need of an unrecognized minority at risk because of unscientific societal norms and prejudices. “In the 1960s, way before Project 10, the school had no black faculty and the black students at Fairfax High School sought her out and asked if she would be their club advisor because of her principles and giving voice to those who have no voice,” Rolf tells the Los Angeles Blade. “So the gay kids went to her for the same reason, not knowing that, in fact, she was a lesbian. “A young African American student was attacked by other students for presumably being gay and the students at Fairfax who were LGBT had a sort of ‘Rosa Parks’ moment where they said enough is enough,” Rolf continues. “She was not out at the time but she realized that she needed to come out so she became one of the first educators in the Los Angeles Unified School District to come out – because of her work with Project 10.” The launch of Project 10 in September 1984 as a “little informal rap group at lunchtime”

Dr. Virginia Uribe Photo courtesy Gail Rolf

District pilot project was not only historic but groundbreaking in challenging existing attitudes. “Every young person has a right to a sense of self-respect and dignity,” Uribe told the LA Times in 1984. “In public education we serve the needs of all our students. Some are gay and lesbian and we need to serve them too. We’re supposed to be teaching them to live in an increasingly diverse society. This shouldn’t be a place where prejudice is fostered. It’s where discrimination should be fought.” Out LGBT students would act out, winding up with poor academic records, disciplinary problems, and after conflicts with their teachers, parents and other students, would drop out and often wind up on the streets. Closeted LGBT students would often suffer shame, depression and anxiety in silence, often resulting in mental and emotion issues such as alcohol and drug abuse. Project 10 provided LGBT and questioning students a supportive safe space to talk about their issues, their depression, shame and anxiety and develop a sense of empowerment and self-worth. If they stayed in school and graduated, they had a better shot at a productive life.

Uribe, who was only paid her regular teacher’s salary, started meeting quietly with students in her classroom during her lunch period. “They had no one else they could talk to,” Uribe said. “Their parents either didn’t know, or else did know, but wouldn’t listen. They obviously couldn’t talk with the straight kids. And a lot of these kids were very intelligent, but their grades didn’t show it.” Fairfax Principal Dr. Warren L. Steinberg and LAUSD Board members Alan Gershman and Jackie Goldberg were very supportive, in fact, Goldberg would become a champion after being elected LAUSD Board President. After the LA Times stories, people started sending in contributions to help support the project, Rolf says, so in 1986, they created Friends of Project 10 (FOP10), the nonprofit arm of Project 10, which Rolf ran as Education Director. The nonprofit helped fund a myriad of programs Project 10 developed, including the annual LGBT Prom, an annual Models of Pride youth conference, the Models of Excellence Scholarship Competition, a Youth Lobby Day, and the Make It Real Project. But Project 10 also became the perfect foil for the Religious Right, with ugly opposition

lead by Traditional Values Coalition head Rev. Lou Sheldon. As the AIDS crisis intensified, Sheldon called homosexuality a “deathstyle” and claimed gays were not only child molesters but recruiting children to be molested was the real “homosexual agenda.” He founded SHAPE (Stop Homosexual Advocacy in Public Education) at TVC. “Project 10 is clearly a recruitment program,” Sheldon told The Times. “It advocates for young people the homosexual life style. This is an absolute one-sided perspective. Why should taxpayers’ dollars support only one life style?” He adds: “Project 10 says you are born this way (a homosexual) and this is the way you are. That’s false information. It’s not conclusive that (homosexuality) is genetic. Homosexuality is only an underdeveloped stage of heterosexuality.” Uribe was undeterred and while the battles with Sheldon and the Religious Right were often frightening, in the end, protections for LGBT youth were expanded and even advocated by the Obama administration. Lou Sheldon, on the other hand, faded away. Go to losanglesblade.com for more on Uribe’s epic battle with Sheldon.


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A new symbol of LGBT triumph LA LGBT Center’s ambitious Anita May Rosenstein Campus opens By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Strong women are emerging as political powerhouses in 2019. In addition to California Sen. Kamala Harris and the five other female presidential hopefuls, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Maxine Waters, Katie Hill, Katie Porter and Alexandria OcasioCortez rivet the imagination among the 127 outspoken women in Congress. That’s what we see in Trump’s America, strong women standing up and fighting back in their own fashion. What we may not see are the powerhouses on the ground, the strong women who are creating, funding, building achievements that blow our minds at the ribbon cutting and endure years beyond anyone remembers why that ribbon cutting moment made history. Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean and philanthropist Anita May Rosenstein are two such strong women whose vision, commitment and determination led to the grand opening of the massive Anita May Rosenstein Campus on Sunday, April 7, marking as monumental a moment in LGBT history as the Stonewall riots did for the gay liberation awakening 50 years ago. There’s nothing like this campus anywhere in the world—and no one else has even imagined it. Located at 1118 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood—just blocks down the street from where Center co-founder Morris Kight lived for many years—the two-acre complex on nearly one full city block directly across from the Village at Ed Gould Plaza will provide comprehensive intergenerational services for LGBT seniors and youth with emergency and transitional housing and beds, affordable housing, a new Senior Community Center, Youth Drop-In Center and Youth Academy, and employment programs. Phase II will add more apartments by mid-2020. Additionally, the Center is moving its headquarters to the AMR Campus, turning the current four-story McDonald/Wright Building into an LGBT health center. “Without a doubt, the Anita May

Anita May Rosenstein Campus across from The Village, with trees in lower left. Photo courtesy the Center

Rosenstein Campus will change lives,” LA City Council member David Ryu said Sept. 7, 2018 after the council approved his motions for $850,000 in funding. “I firmly believe that when completed, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus will be the pride of Hollywood.” The idea for the complex grew out of an in-depth planning process that began in late 2006 and culminated in February 2008. The Strategic Planning committee was comprised of Loren Ostrow, LuAnn Boylan, Marki Knox, Eric Shore, Glenn Tan and three staffers—Jean, Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings, and Chief Administrative Officer Kathy Ketchum. “We were trying to figure out what would be the future needs of our community,” Jean tells the Los Angeles Blade. They came up with five priorities: 1) medical care for the entire community (not just people with HIV); 2) housing, especially for youth and seniors who faced homelessness and discrimination; 3) expand services for seniors; 4) expand services for all youth, not just youth experiencing homelessness; 5) Build a public policy and community building department. (A 6th priority was

added in Aug. 2014 to expand substance use prevention and treatment programs.) “All of this expansion was to be in the context of making our services more geographically accessible, ensuring that we had the managerial capacity to implement plan goals and that new programs and services were financially feasible and sustainable,” says Jean. “It was a bold vision. But it was such a bold vision, Darrel and I freaked out. We said to the board ‘We’re not sure we’re up for this!’” Jean and Cummings previously left the Center burned out by years of aroundthe-clock pressure and upon their return, they promised themselves they’d find more balance in their lives. Wanting to keep the two prized executives, the board offered to change the plan. “No, it’s the right plan,” Jean recalls saying, suggesting that perhaps the two were not the right people for the job. Jean and Cummings took a few weeks of soul searching, though they finally told the board, “OK, we’re in.” But Jean was frank. “This is going to mean a capital campaign because the only way we’re going to be able to afford the space to

do all of these things that we’ve set our sights on is we’ve got to raise it,” she remembers telling the board. “’And I have my eyes on exactly the property I want – I want that property across the street from the Village, which belongs to the state of California. And I want to get it for free.” They immediately started working on the state of California and making their rounds, meeting with LA City Council member Eric Garcetti, in whose district is the Center headquarters. They preferred speaking with him rather than Council member Ferraro, in whose district sits the Village. And then the stock market crashed. “So that delayed everything because nobody knew what was going to happen,” Jean says. “We put many things on hold for about a year. We were still growing in the other program areas, if we had the money to support them— but we weren’t going to launch anything dramatic in light of the crash.” In addition to the crash, the Center was also in the No on Prop 8 coalition that 2008. Prop 8 passed and Barack Obama was elected as America’s first black president. Meanwhile, the Center kept working.


Lorri Jean, CEO Of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

“We began to achieve different bits,” Jeans says. “We became a federally qualified health center. We were setting our sights on what we were going to do for youth and what fell in our lap but Life Works. We got into the foster youth business when GLASS folded. And we began to open up other sites—Boyle Heights; last year Korea Town with our Trans Wellness Center; right now doing tenant improvements on a site in South Los Angeles; we did the new clinic in West Hollywood; Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing came to us and that was right, perfectly in

the wheelhouse.” The whole time, “we’re talking to the state of California about how we want that property. And so finally they agree to give it to us for $1. We were getting it for free!,” Jean says. And then comes a twist. “We found out that the federal government had equity in the property. And because it was an Employment Development Department building, it was the Department of Labor – headed by Sec. Hilda Solis! So we worked with Hilda and she agreed to let the state give it to us for a dollar,” Jean says.

And then another twist. Hilda Solis steps down to run for the board of supervisors — “before the deal was consummated. Tom Perez stepped in (as Obama’s new Secretary of Labor). He was brand new,” Jean says, “but we had a deadline running with the state that we had to fish or cut bait. And even though we got (Rep.) Adam Schiff’s help, Tom Perez did not have the guts to follow through on Hilda’s deal—and he had toured the Center! “So I will always be very disappointed in Tom Perez for that decision,” Jean says. “So we had to pay $12.7 million for it.” But the team was undeterred. “During this time, we began to define the scope of what this project would be,” though it was a number of years before they were secure in knowing they actually had the two acres, getting help from a number of people, including Assembly Speaker John Perez. “We pulled in a lot of favors to get that state building without having to go to a public competition,” she says. “Within a year after we bought the building it was appraised for more than $70 million.” They also knew they had to “over-achieve” in their fundraising. “We had momentum right out of the gate,” says Jean. “Before this campaign, no living donor had ever had ever made a seven-figure gift or a seven-figure pledge, excluding estate gifts. There have been a few people who’d reached the million-dollar mark in cumulative giving over the decades. But no one had ever said, ‘yeah – here’s a million dollars’ or anything above that. In this campaign, excluding some estate gifts, we have 15 people who gave seven figure gifts. Our biggest gift is $8 million from Anita.” Jean waxes poetic about one particular night of fundraising. “We were at an amazing party at a board retreat in 2013 at Anita May Rosenstein’s Laguna Beach home,” she says. “She hosted a dinner and that night I announced how much we had raised in the first two months. I think it was almost $4 million. Well, damned if Anita didn’t say, ‘I’ll match it.’ That inspired more gifts. One donor was so inspired, he said, ‘Maybe I ought to call my wife. What the hell – a million dollars, if Anita will match it.’ “So by the end of that night, we were at $13 million,” Jean recalls. “It was the most incredible, amazing evening of fundraising I have ever experienced in my life! And we


were off and running.” And then came 2016 and the election of Donald Trump as president instead of Hillary Clinton. “When Trump got elected, people got scared, myself included,” Jean says. “And there were a number of people who came to me from the community, donors, members of my staff who said should we re-think doing this Campus because what if we face all these cuts and we need that money for services and not for bricks and mortar. First of all, I said to them, if we don’t build the building the money goes back. People won’t give it to us for services. That’s how capital campaigns work.” More importantly, she said, “we have to do this project now more than ever. We have to show that we will not be stopped, that we cannot be stopped! It’s become to me an even more powerful metaphor. Here we have a president and his team of people who want to build a wall to keep the most vulnerable out. And what do we do? We build a beautiful campus to invite the most vulnerable in.” For Lorri Jean, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus now symbolizes the triumph of the LGBT community in Los Angeles. “This campus is a testament to more than those of us who worked on it. It is a testament to 50 years of Center staff and volunteers toiling. And it is a testament to this community,” Jean says. “Our community in Los Angeles has had the ability to envision things here that no one else ever did—from the Mattachine Society or Edith Eyde (Lisa Ben) and Vice Versa, or the ONE Institute, or the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Cooper Donuts— the first demonstration against gays in the military in the early 60s. The Metropolitan Community Church. People have had courage and boldness in our community in LA. And this could not have been created anywhere else. Something like this is not even being contemplated anywhere else in the world. “And that is a testament to this amazing Los Angeles LGBT community and increasingly, with our allies,” says Lorri Jean. “And I’m just proud of all of us. Proud of this community. LA doesn’t get its just due in terms of our role in our movement.” Perhaps until now.



Human Rights Campaign’s night of family unity Politics delivered with a dose of love By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The quietest shift happened at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles Saturday night, March 30. The stage was populated with more women, trans women and people of color than rich white gay men. And it was so normal, it went unnoticed. In fact, after champion skater Adam Rippon opened the show announcing that unfortunately singer Christina Aguilera was unable to attend to accept her Ally for Equality Award, formidable trans singer Shea Diamond came out, joking she’d dressed to impress the music icon, and launched into “American Pie” with such style and power no one was thinking of Aguilera five minutes later. “Just want my piece of the American pie,” Diamond sang with swagger. “Break the chains of old beliefs, I’m the flame that you can’t unsee.” And the black tie and gown crowd in the packed ballroom at the JW Marriott downtown jumped to their feet in applause and agreement. In his seven years serving as HRC president, Chad Griffin has transformed the nation’s largest LGBT lobbying organization into a “political powerhouse,” HRC/LA director Gwen Baba said. Now, on the cusp of his exit, Griffin is focused on the federal Equality Act, introduced on March 13. The bill would amend existing civil rights laws to provide protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HRC is now welcome at the national civil rights table as an intersectional equal, not merely as a political stepchild with deep ATM pockets. But as the HRC/LA gala logo illustrated, there’s also been a shift toward internal movement unity, signified by placing the transgender flag directly on top of the rainbow flag, with the black and brown stripes added. Unity in action—presented by the Walt Disney Company, which, to people of a certain age and business-minded entertainment industry folks, has a whole other resonance. Breaking the chains of old beliefs, indeed. Another subtle but significant shift was the sense of family equality. Heretofore,

Sen. Kamala Harris spoke March 30 in LA. Blade photo by Karen Ocamb

HRC audiences have largely been grateful for the attention from important public figures—such as when the late civil rights icon Julian Bond and Blue Dog Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein came out in support of marriage equality, for instance. This year, the undercurrent of love and support was more family at Thanksgiving than family forged by frontline battles in the culture war. The father-son love between Griffin and actor/director Rob Reiner—with whom Griffin successfully fought against the tobacco industry and Prop 8—was so real, many choked up watching Griffin choke up. But Reiner has his own message to deliver. “We know what our marching orders are,” he said. “Whoever gets nominated from the Democrats, we’re all in, right?” Griffin nailed HRC’s political power, having spent $26 million on specific, targeted races and helping galvanize equality voters to flip the House, including in traditionally beat red Orange County. HRC turned out more than 7 million LGBT voters in the 2018 midterm elections, making the difference in numerous narrow races around the country. “If you come for us, we’re coming for you on Election Day,” Griffin warned. Griffin’s deep friendship with HRC National Leadership Award honoree Yeardley Smith was palpable, as was her fierce devotion to the cause of LGBT equality. “I am here to march with you, to rally

together and vote to stop the relentless and systematic assault by the bigoted, vindictive administration that’s hell-bent on stripping us of all the progress that we have made, politically and humanly over the past 50 years,” said Smith, known for her TV character Lisa on “The Simpsons.” “You do not get to cherrypick someone’s rights,” she said. The two Democratic candidates for president—Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker—also felt at home, as if everyone had grown up together. Booker joked about how often Griffin had asked him to speak and then delivered a passionate-pastor version of his stump speech that ranged from the “moral vandalism” of the Trump administration to an excerpt from a poem by the late black gay Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. “Demi-gods in the White House and the administration are working systematically to undermine and dismantle LGBTQ rights— from President Trump’s discriminatory and un-American ban on transgender Americans serving on the military to the Department of Justice’s refusal to protect LGBTQ Americans from employment discrimination to Betsy DeVos’ failure to protect our transgender students,” Booker said. Harris had the home-field advantage, having refused to defend Prop 8 in court as California Attorney General. She officiated

at the wedding of federal Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandi Stier. “These last two years and some months have certainly caused a lot of us to start talking to an inanimate object called a television and to shout at that thing,” Harris said, prompting agreeing chuckles from the crowd. “It has caused a lot of us to sign up for individual or group therapy, it has caused a lot of us to feel a lot of despair and depression and anxiety and fear. And I say, ‘Don’t let the bad guys win!’” Then Harris got serious. “This is an inflection point in our history,” she said. Look in the mirror and ask: “Who are we? We are better than this.” Harris stressed the importance of restoring “truth and justice,” noting that homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and anti-semitism are real and “born out of hate.” “We must stand together and never let anyone stand alone in their fight,” she said, noting that we “have more in common than what separates us.” Harris also referenced a poet—Emma Lazarus’ famous quote “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” “Let’s pass the Equality Act in the U.S,” she said. “Until all of us are equal, none of us are equal.” And in that room filled with family that night, that was more than a political slogan.

APRIL 05, 2019 • 09


Jaden Fields, Rizi Timane and Patricio ‘Cacahuate’ Manuel Photo courtesy Luckie Alexander

The International Transgender Day of Visibility was launched on March 31, 2009 to celebrate the vibrant lives of transgender people. Ten years later, Los Angeles City Council members Mitch O’Farrell and David E. Ryu, in conjunction with the city’s Transgender Advisory Council, honored transmen Rizi Timane, Patricio “Cacahuate” Manuel and Jaden Fields at City Hall. “If someone had told me as a child here in Los Angeles, that at 28, I would be standing here in City Hall being recognized as a black transman doing work for my community, I would not have believed them. We’re often not seen in the larger fight for trans rights,” said Jaden Fields, community activist, health educator and poet. “Growing up in Northern Nigeria, experiencing severe poverty, and also experiencing gender dysphoria,” said Rizi Timane, a Nigerian singer, actor, licensed therapist, “it has been a journey through all of the bullying and through all of the addictions. I think by sharing our stories, we warm hearts toward the transgender community.” “I really look forward to a day when we as transpeople don’t have to fight so hard to make our dreams a reality,” said Patricio Manuel, who made history as the first U.S. boxer to fight as both a woman and a man. “But until that day comes I say, ‘Put ‘em up!’” Luckie Alexander, Founder of Invisible Men and member of the LA Transgender Advisory Council, will hold an event at The Abbey in West Hollywood on April 18.

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“The great thing about this celebration is that the entire city will be involved — merchants, the City, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Santa Monica Place and the Pier to name a few.”

- Kevin Herrera, Senior Marketing & Communication Manager for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. located on the Third Street Promenade about the new SaMo Pride in June.

“I’m just being very public about my story and it’s causing a lot of change in my life right now.” - ‘American Idol’ contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon

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Spurious claims, far-fetched GOP fears dominate Equality Act hearing Republicans obsessed with men playing women’s sports By CHRIS JOHNSON A congressional hearing Tuesday on the Equality Act, legislation seeking to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in fundamental aspects of life such as employment and housing, quickly got sidetracked into fears over men participating in women’s sports. The issue became a central focus during the nearly four-hour congressional hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban anti-LGBT discrimination under federal law. Avoiding the issue of general anti-LGBT discrimination, critics of the Equality Act claimed the bill would allow men to infiltrate the safe spaces of women. Key among those arguments was the assertion the bill would undermine girls’ sports by allowing transgender women to participate, or at least men who would feign being transgender women to win easy gold medals. Julie Beck, a lesbian and former law and policy co-chair for Baltimore City’s LGBTQ Commission, testified against the Equality Act based on anti-transgender arguments, including opposition to transgender women in sports. Among Beck’s assertions were that male rapists would go to women’s prison and assault female inmates, female survivors of rape would be unable to contest male presence in women’s shelters, men would dominate women’s sports and girls who would have taken first place will be denied scholastic opportunities. “Everything I just listed is already happening, and it’s only going to get worse if gender identity is recognized in federal law,” Beck said. “The authors of this bill have done a lot of work to make it sound like gender identity is well understood and has been around for a long time, but it’s a new concept that can only ever refer to stereotypes and unverifiable claims.” Instead of the prohibition on gender

Rep. David Cicilline, lead sponsor of the Equality Act, touted the importance of the legislation in ending discrimination during his remarks at the hearing. Photo Courtesy Cicilline

identity discrimination in the Equality Act, Beck urged the committee to approve legislation that would ban discrimination on sex-stereotyping, which she said could “equally cover both RuPaul and Caitlyn Jenner and their rights to housing and employment — but only if we accurately recognize everyone’s biological sex.” Although Beck once worked as a gay rights advocate for the City of Baltimore, she was terminated for expressing anti-trans views and now has ties to the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation and spoke recently at the organization in opposition to the Equality Act. Presenting a more nuanced approach was Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a law professor at Duke University. Coleman, who has worked on Title IX in terms of women’s participation in sports, said the Equality Act should be modified with respect to transgender women’s participation in sports in schools and federally funded programs. “Those of us who are athletes know that separation on the basis of sex is necessary to achieve equality in this space,” Coleman said. “With respect, it is accepted, beyond

dispute, that males and females are materially different with respect to the main physical attributes that contribute to athletic performance.” Coleman added she thinks transgender women should be allowed to take part in sports, but the Equality Act should be modified to allow some basis for sex-based attributes, such as reduced testosterone levels, for transgender women’s participation. Advocates of the Equality Act pushed back by insisting the legislation was about ending discrimination and transgender women should have equal opportunities in sports. Rep. Val Butler Demings (D-Fla.) fumed over the concerns of sports, which she called a “technicality,” dominating the hearing about ending LGBT discrimination. “You all know the history of our country,” Demings said. “Our past is so ugly in this area. I would think that we would all do everything we can within our power to make it right, but instead, we sit here today, at least my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and look for a technicality to continue to justify discrimination in what I do believe is the greatest country in the world.” Defending the Equality Act as written was Sunu Chandy, legal director for the National Women’s Law Center, who said claims the Equality Act would jeopardize women in sports were spurious. “There’s no evidence to support the claims that allowing trans athletes to play on teams that fit their gender identity will create a competitive imbalance,” Chandy said. “Trans children display the same variations of size, strength and athletic ability as other youth, and there’s no recorded instances of a boy pretending to be transgender, presenting as a girl to fraudulently join a sports team.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the committee, anticipated concerns about sports in his opening statement. “Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination laws,” Nadler said. “All of them still have have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports

in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages has not been borne out.” But, nonetheless, Republicans on the committee sought to amplify these concerns about transgender women in sports to stir opposition. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), top Republican on the committee, said the Equality Act would “harm countless people who understand themselves to be transgender and would demolish the hard-won rights of women, putting them at the mercy of any biological man who identifies at any moment as a woman.” “The biological differences between the sexes remain scientifically certain,” Collins said. “Men are physically stronger than women, which has made it necessary for women to access clear legal protection.” Asserting the Equality Act “privileges the rights of men who identify as women over biological women and girls,” Collins cited as an example two individuals in Connecticut who won ahead of a cisgender woman in a track and field event last year. In response to that incident, Chandy said the women’s sports “haven’t been overcome” with transgender athletes winning races. Those two individuals in Connecticut, she said, went on to nationals, but one didn’t participate and the other came in 30th or 31st place. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who has a notoriously anti-LGBT record in Congress, said although men competing in women’s sports may not be widespread now, “there is no question that problem will continue to arise.” “I think when we consider laws to say something is equal like testosterone, the testimonies already indicate it’s clear in the medical literature, it does make a difference,” Gohmert said. Asserting the Equality Act would amount to telling women “it’s just too bad” men should be allowed in their safe spaces, Gohmert concluded the Equality Act amounts to a “war on women that should not be allowed.” Continues at losangelesblade.com



Buttigieg raises $7 million in first quarter

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot Photo courtesy of the Lightfoot Campaign

HISTORIC: Chicago elects its first black lesbian mayor The run-off election Tuesday night in Chicago resulted in a historic victory for Lori Lightfoot, who became the first openly lesbian and black woman elected mayor of the city. The Associated Press called the race for Lightfoot, who was running against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, at 8 p.m. local time. According to early results, Lightfoot claimed 74.2 percent of the vote compared to the 25.8 percent won by Preckwinkle. Lightfoot’s victory will make Chicago the largest city in the United States with an openly gay mayor. Previously, that distinction was held by Houston, where Annise Parker served as mayor from 2010 to 2016. Parker, who’s now executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, was on the ground in Chicago and commended Lightfood in a statement. “A Black lesbian taking power in the nation’s third-largest city is a historic moment for so many communities that are too often ignored in American politics,” Parker said. “Chicago’s enormous influence on the national dialogue provides a platform for Lori to promote more inclusive solutions to the challenges facing our cities and nation – and to be a credible messenger as well. Lori will certainly remain focused on the issues facing Chicago. But as the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor of an American city – a title she takes from me – she is also now a key leader in the movement to build LGBTQ political power nationwide.” Also commending Lightfoot was Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who said her victory extends the treads of milestone victories after the 2018 election. “As the first openly LGBTQ woman of color to be elected mayor in any of America’s 100 largest cities and the first black woman to serve as mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot is an inspiration to thousands of LGBTQ people of color who have a new role model in elected office,” Perez said. Two other lesbian candidates — Satya Rhodes-Conway in Madison, Wisconsin, and Jolie Justus in Kansas City — were running for the offices of mayor elsewhere in the country. Both won their races. Justus will now face Quinton Lucas in the June general election. Rhodes-Conway ousted longtime Mayor Paul Soglin in another landslide to become Madison’s first openly gay mayor. CHRIS JOHNSON

Pete Buttigieg claimed a $7 million haul in first quarter fundraising for the exploratory committee for his 2020 presidential bid — an impressive score for an openly gay candidate who was virtually unknown months ago. Buttigieg announced the figure Monday on Twitter, saying his campaign was “out-performing expectations at every turn.” The fundraising total doesn’t list the number of donors, but a quarterly campaign finance report with more details is due April 15. In comparison to Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders raised $5.9 million and Beto O’Rourke raised $6.1 million on the first day of their presidential bids. Buttigieg’s standing in the polls has increased dramatically. A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed he had support from 4 percent of Democratic voters. Last week, an Emerson poll in Iowa put him in third place in the state, which holds the Iowa caucuses and the first presidential contest of the primary season. But Buttigieg still faces challenges. A report in Politico found Buttigieg lags in campaign infrastructure in comparison to other Democratic contenders. “Local operatives said the 37-year-old lags in the sprawling pack of 2020 candidates in building infrastructure in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — a problem that Buttigieg’s campaign is trying to correct quickly as money starts rolling in,” the report says. CHRIS JOHNSON

Gay, trans detainees allege abuse in N.M. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this week again defended the treatment of its detainees amid allegations that a dozen gay men and transgender women suffered abuse while they were being held at an ICE detention center in New Mexico. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Dreamers Project and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in a March 25 letter to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security said the gay and trans detainees suffered “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse” at the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, N.M. Otero is located roughly 30 miles north of El Paso, Texas, which is on the U.S.-Mexico border. Management and Training Corporation, a Utah-based company that operates two dozen private prisons across the country, operates Otero. “People detained at Otero report that guards bark transphobic commands like, ‘Walk like a man! You better sit like a man!’,” reads the letter, which was also sent to Otero Warden Dora Orozco. “They force transgender women to bathe and sleep in units with men who sexually harass and threaten them. Some of the men even intrude on women while they are in the shower, leering at them and offering to ‘help’ them bathe. Other men ask women for sex while they try to sleep.” The letter notes guards “subject the gay men and transgender women to frequent pat-down searches.” It also says the dozen gay and trans detainees “cannot eat in the cafeteria or walk through the detention center without enduring homophobic and transphobic slurs from other detained people, which the guards do not address.” The letter notes medical staff do not provide the detainees with “necessary medical care,” noting trans women have been told that ICE “won’t give you hormones.” The letter also notes guards have placed the inmates into solitary confinement after they complained about the conditions. MICHAEL K. LAVERS



Mariela Castro group to honor Cleve Jones An organization the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro directs will honor LGBT rights activist Cleve Jones in Havana in May. The Rainbow World Fund, a San Francisco-based organization that describes itself as “the world’s first and only all-volunteer, LGBTQ-based humanitarian aid organization,” on Tuesday said in a press release that Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education will honor Jones on May 10 during a gala at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater. The press release also notes Jones has been chosen as a grand marshal for a march that will take place in the Cuban capital the following day. The march and gala are part of a series of CENESEX-organized events in Havana and in Camagüey that will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Cleve Jones will be honored by Cuba’s National Center The Rainbow World Fund press release says CENESEX Director for Sexual Education in May during its annual series Mariela Castro invited Jones to Cuba. It also notes Jones will travel of events that commemorate the International Day to the Communist island with a delegation from the Rainbow World Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Photo by Gil Goldstein via Wikimedia Commons Fund. “This is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity to learn about and give support to the Cuban LGBTQ movement,” said Jones in the Rainbow World Fund press release. “I’m excited to visit Cuba for the first time and to learn what life is like for LGBTQ Cubans and for people living with HIV/AIDS.” Jones founded the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and is a co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Jones was also the lead organizer of the 2009 National Equality March in D.C. The Rainbow World Fund press release says sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display in Cuba for the first time. It also notes the Rainbow World Fund has pledged to raise a total of $50,000 “to support projects” in the country. The Rainbow World Fund notes CENESEX has asked the Rainbow World Fund “to fund” $25,000 in scholarships “to allow hundreds of LGBTQ activists from all 16 Cuban provinces to participate in several days of training and educational programs during the” IDAHOBiT events. “For many, this will be the first time to travel outside of their home provinces, let alone attend a large LGBTQ gathering,” reads the Rainbow World Fund press release. “This will be a unique opportunity for the activists to share resources, tools and strategies to reach the next level in their movement to achieve full civil rights and recognition in Cuban society.” The organization says it plans to use the additional $25,000 “to fund other humanitarian projects on the island.” CENESEX’s IDAHOBiT events will take place less than three months after Cuban voters overwhelmingly approved their country’s new constitution. A draft of the new constitution once contained an amendment that would have extended marriage rights for same-sex couples, but the Cuban government in December announced it had been removed amid criticism from evangelical churches in the country. LGBTI rights advocates who work independently of CENESEX sharply criticized the decision. Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, a gay Cuban blogger who supports Mariela Castro, wrote after the Feb. 24 referendum the new constitution “expressly prohibits and punishes (anti-LGBTI discrimination) under law,” recognizes “the right of all people to form a family and protects all families” and defines marriage as “a social and legal institution.” Mariela Castro and her supporters have said they plan to seek changes to Cuba’s Family Code that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Cuban LGBTI activists who work independently of CENESEX have told the Washington Blade they face harassment or even arrest if they publicly criticize Mariela Castro and/or the Cuban government. Access to the website of Tremenda Nota, the Blade’s media partner in Cuba, was blocked on the island on the eve of the referendum. Cuban authorities in January interrogated Michael Petrelis, another San Francisco-based activist, several times after he brought 10,000 rainbow stickers and 1,200 Pride bracelets into the country that he planned to distribute. Petrelis was scheduled to fly to Havana last week, but he was not allowed to board his flight from Mexico because the Cuban government would not allow him to enter the country. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

State Dept. criticizes Brunei penal code The State Department on Tuesday said Brunei’s decision to implement provisions of its new penal code that would impose the death penalty against anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexuality “runs counter to its international human rights obligations.” “All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled,” said deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino in a statement. “The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.” “We continue to encourage Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he added. Provisions of the new penal code, which is based on Shariah law, are scheduled to take effect on Wednesday. The new penal code has sparked widespread outrage around the world and prompted renewed calls to boycott the Beverly Hills Hotel and and other properties that Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei owns. Germany is among the other countries that have also criticized Brunei over the new penal code. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday said the country, which is on the island of Borneo, must respect international human rights and norms. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Cayman Islands legalizes same-sex marriage The chief justice of the Cayman Islands Grand Court on March 29 ruled same-sex couples can legally marry in the British territory. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie issued his ruling in the case of Chantelle Day and Vicky Bodden, a lesbian couple who tried to apply for a marriage license in 2018. Local media reports indicate Day and Bodden have been together for seven years and are raising their adopted daughter. Day and Bodden were among those who were in the courtroom when Smellie issued his ruling. “Love wins,” Day told the Cayman News Service. The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and Cuba. The British territory’s government in 1998 refused to allow a gay cruise ship with 900 passengers to dock. Religious officials in the Cayman Islands in 2010 pressured authorities to prohibit an Atlantic Events vessel from visiting the territory. Bermuda’s top court last November ruled a law that rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples in the British island territory is unconstitutional. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

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Take nothing for granted Ensuring equality for LGBT people everywhere

Valerie Ploumpis is board co-chair of OutRight Action International.

OutRight Action International was founded in 1990 on the brink of a period of immense change for LGBTIQ people - the same year that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases, and a year after Denmark became the first country in the world to recognize same-sex unions. The subsequent decade saw laws criminalizing same-sex relations fall in many parts of the world, and anti-discrimination legislation appear in countries ranging from the U.S., to South Africa and Ireland. Almost 30 years later, it is immensely satisfying to look back at the hard work and sacrifices of our community and allies that have led to incredible progress here in California, and much of the U.S. At the federal level, so-called sodomy laws have been toppled and marriage equality is the law of the land. California has led many other states in protections for LGBTIQ people, including banning “conversion therapy,” legally recognizing non-binary gender identities, and including accomplishments and history of LGBTIQ people in our state’s public education, to name a few. However, the last few years have been a sobering reminder that we can never

take progress for granted. Not here at home, and certainly not around the world. Same-sex relations are still criminalized in around 70 countries. Hundreds of LGBTIQ people continue to be illegally detained and tortured with total impunity in Chechnya. After decades of incredible Pride marches in Istanbul, Turkey, they have been banned and violently attacked. Organizers of an LGBTIQ conference in Lebanon were threatened. Concertgoers in Egypt were arrested and prosecuted simply for lifting a rainbow flag at a concert. Over the last few days, news headlines have reported the impending implementation of Sharia law in Brunei, which includes death by stoning for samesex relations. Even in countries known for their championing of the human rights of LGBTIQ people, we have faced challenges. We have seen restrictions to Pride marches in Paris and Brussels, openly transphobic comments and policies proposed by the President of the United States, an 80% surge in hate crime against LGBTIQ people in the UK. I could go on. In this context, we have an uphill battle to keep fighting for progress in the recognition of our right to be who we are and live our lives without discrimination, harassment and violence. We also have a responsibility to prevent backsliding of the progress achieved so far here, and to stand in solidarity with our communities around the world who face more extreme conditions. This is precisely why organizations like OutRight are crucial. OutRight is one of the oldest global organizations fighting for LGBTIQ people everywhere, as well as the only LGBTIQ organization with a permanent status and presence at the United Nations headquarters in New York. OutRight is a trusted partner and ally for grassroots LGBTIQ activists around the world and conducts important and groundbreaking research. Despite the increasing backlash against

LGBTIQ people globally, we have celebrated a number of incredible successes over the last year. In September of 2018 the High Court in India repealed a colonialera ban on same-sex relations, quoting text written and advocated by OutRight at the UN. With OutRight’s help, several civil society organizations have achieved legal registration in the Caribbean, a region in which a majority of countries still criminalize same-sex relations. In Sri Lanka and the Philippines hundreds of medical professionals, police officers, counselors and community leaders have been trained on support for LBT survivors of domestic violence. Hundreds of activists from around the world, many of them from countries where their very existence is criminalized, and where their homes and offices are regularly monitored or raided, have been brought by OutRight to New York to speak directly with governments and international policy makers at the UN. The current context makes our work more challenging, and more important. It also makes our alliances more crucial, more urgent, and more relevant. For the human rights of LGBTIQ people are not only a concern for LGBTIQ people, they concern every single one of us. The time to stand up for human rights, for democracy, for dignity, and for freedom is now. Please join OutRight in the fight for all of our right to be who we are, to love who we choose, and to live lives free from hate – here in California, and everywhere in the world. OutRight will host events in Pacific Palisades on April 13 from 11 am-1 pm and in Palm Springs on April 14 from 5-7 pm, featuring their Deputy Executive Director Maria Sjödin and Rikki Nathanson, a trans activist from Zimbabwe. For more information or to RSVP, visit www. outrightinternational.org/palisades or www. outrightinternational.org/desert or contact development@outrightinternational.org.

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LGBTQ patients need access to all care everywhere Working to end discrimination by Catholic hospitals

Amanda Goad is the Audrey Irmas director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California.

Oliver Knight was in a hospital gown with an IV in his arm when his doctor suddenly informed him that the hospital had canceled his surgery. Having surgery is an incredibly stressful experience. Preparing ourselves emotionally and physically takes its toll, so it’s a big deal for a patient if your scheduled surgery doesn’t proceed as planned. But Oliver had to cope with the additional trauma of being denied medical care for the sole reason that he is transgender. This hospital actively discriminates against people like him by denying gender-affirming surgery such as the hysterectomy that Oliver had planned to undergo. What happened to Oliver clearly violated his rights and our California values. To challenge this discrimination, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, the

ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the law firm Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP recently filed a lawsuit against St. Joseph Health Northern California, the hospital in Eureka, California that denied Oliver’s treatment. But Oliver is not alone. All over California and other parts of the country, patients at Catholic hospitals are being denied critical gender-affirming and reproductive care. And the problem is growing, because Catholic health care systems are the fastest growing in the nation—currently one in six patients nationally is treated in a Catholic hospital. The Catholic chain Dignity Health is the largest in California, with 31 hospitals across the state. In addition to Oliver’s case, the ACLU, with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, is pursuing a similar lawsuit on behalf of Evan Minton, another transgender man whose scheduled hysterectomy was cancelled when officials at a Dignity Health hospital near Sacramento realized he was transgender. Catholic hospitals follow policies set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been clear that it does not recognize transgender people or the need for gender-affirming care. Indeed, the Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that gender-affirming surgeries “are not properly viewed as health care because they do not cure or prevent disease or illness. Rather, they reject a person’s nature at birth as male or female.” Even worse, it has further proclaimed: “[c]laiming that this is a civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with

and promote a mental disorder.” Catholic hospitals generally allow hysterectomies and other sterilizing surgeries to treat an underlying health condition. But because the Catholic bishops do not recognize gender dysphoria as a legitimate medical condition, they consider gender-affirming surgeries impermissible and “intrinsically evil” as a result of their impact on fertility. Thus, hospitals like the one Oliver dealt with turn away transgender patients who need surgery while routinely providing the same care to cisgender patients. Transgender patients needing genderaffirming care are not the only members of the LGBTQ community who are negatively affected by the religious restrictions on health care imposed in Catholic hospitals. Catholic health care also prohibits in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART)—the Catholic directives state that ““[r]eproductive technologies that substitute for the marriage act are not consistent with human dignity.” As LGBTQ families often use assisted reproductive technologies to conceive, this has a disproportionate impact on our community. Finally, due to their strict ban on abortion and broad definition of what an abortion is, Catholic hospitals don’t apply the prevailing standard of care for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage management. These practices can--and have—resulted in infertility, infection, and even death. Despite these frightening realities, most patients—like Oliver Knight—have no idea when they walk into a Catholic hospital that they may be denied care and discriminated

against. All Care Everywhere is a campaign launched by the ACLU Foundations of California and the National Health Law Program, rooted in our belief that everyone should get the care they need, regardless of who they are or where they live. Catholic hospitals serve the general public and are a major, and increasing, part of the health care landscape. Everyone is entitled to their religious beliefs, but this does not give them the right to harm other people. All Care Everywhere is bringing attention to this problem and sharing stories with the California Department of Public Health and the California Attorney General’s office to hold Catholic hospitals accountable. If you have experienced care denial or discrimination from a Catholic hospital, or know someone who has, share that experience with the team at All Care Everywhere (www.allcareeverywhere.com). We are also spreading the word about how Catholic hospitals make patient care decisions, so that people with options can choose other health care providers. But unfortunately, for many Californians, the only hospitals near them or covered by their insurance are run by Catholic health systems, which listen to bishops instead of patients and their doctors. So we need to take action. Join us in putting an end to Catholic hospitals’ discrimination against trans people and others seeking reproductive care. With enough of our voices, we can no longer be ignored or denied. Together, we can make California a place where all of us can get all the care we need, everywhere.

This black and white artwork was one of numerous pieces which were wrapped delicately and transferred to their new home, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, this week. Photo courtesy Los Angeles LGBT Center

Works at the Anita May Rosenstein Campus include those created by the Center’s youth members, previously displayed in the hallways of the Center’s Transitional Living Program, and in the staircases of the Center’s McDonald/ Wright Building. Photo courtesy Los Angeles LGBT Center

Art at ‘Center’ of forward-thinking campus Photography of George Hurrell, Keith Haring silkscreens among collection By SCOTT STIFFLER

Marking its half-century milestone with no sign of growing moss, the Los Angeles LGBT Center makes a bold move this month, with a new addition enlivened by art that gives props to the past, nods to the present and visions of things to come. Iconic pieces from their existing collection, as well as newly commissioned works, will adorn the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, which houses the Center’s new administrative headquarters, 100 beds for homeless youth, a Senior Community Center and Youth Services programs — and, in 2020, 99 affordable housing units for seniors and 25 supportive housing apartments for youth. “This is not a gallery,” says Jon Imparato, director of cultural arts and education, of the Campus, which packs a visual punch at every turn. “It’s just an extraordinary space. The wonderful thing is, people donate art to us because they know we’re making history. … A building like this lifts us up as queer people, because it says we deserve to be in a space that was designed specifically for our community, that is safe and beautiful.” The Campus sits directly across from






The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, from which Imparato oversees the Center’s theater and gallery programming. “I grew up here,” says the New York City native and veteran actor, recalling how he set foot in L.A. in 1990 and found himself, two years later, “working with outreach to homeless LGBT kids. I did that for 10 years with the Center” until they were opening The Village. “My boss (Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings) said, ‘I need help with the programming,’ and I came on as a consultant” before segueing, six months later, into his current position. “We are able to give voice to many queer artists and queer artist of color, that wouldn’t otherwise have a voice,” Imparato says of their two-venue theater program. Of The Village’s Gochis and Advocate galleries, he says, “We’ve helped a lot of young queer artists understand the ropes of having a professional exhibit.” When it came time to curate content for the Campus, Center CEO Lorri L. Jean and Imparato wanted The Village’s creative legacy to have a presence. “From the very beginning,” Imparato says,

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of the Campus’ planning stage, “we knew there was going to be an actual timeline of the history of the Center, and L.A.’s history, going on one wall. … We knew we’d bring the art from our main building, which is the (Keith) Haring collection, and some other things we have, like an AIDS quilt. And our interns (from the Chinese intern program) made a beautiful origami piece that’s framed. Things like that are very special to us, personal stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. … Then, Anita and Arnold Rosenstein have donated six pieces from their collection. We just hung them — in the main lobby, when you come into the Campus.” Pieces from the Rosenstein collection include L.A.-born artist and social activist Robert Walker’s “They’ll never guess,” John Okulick’s “Topo,” an untitled piece by sculptor Guy Dill, from his “Black Innes” series and visual artist Tom Holland’s “Thalma.” Upcoming work includes a nod to the facility’s intergenerational housing element. A series of photographic portraits by Aaron Jay Young will pair seniors and youth, and is set to hang in one of the Senior Center common spaces.





Photographed by Hollywood glamour photographer George Hurrell, a limited edition portrait of late actor Gilbert Baker will adorn the walls of the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus. This portrait was formerly displayed in the lobby of the Center’s Highland Annex. Photo courtesy Los Angeles LGBT Center

Old school meets next gen in another manner, when the Center’s George Hurrell collection makes its way to the new Campus. Hurrell’s notoriety as a photographer spanned several decades, during which he created crisp, compelling black and white images of stars from MGM, Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures including Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth. Hurrell’s work might give some passersby first-time exposure to a bygone era. “Some queer kids know old Hollywood, and some don’t,” Imparato says, noting he expects one element of Hurrell’s work to resonate across various bands of knowledge. “I think it’s glamour,” he says. Visitors to the third-floor administrative offices will come across another series of iconic images in the form of limited edition prints by Keith Haring, gifted to the Center in 2011 by supporter Tyler Cassity. “Apocalypse” is a collaboration pairing free-form text by William S. Burroughs with paradoxical images by Haring. Created in 1988 — the year Haring (1958-






1990) was diagnosed with AIDS — the 10 silkscreens, Imparato says, “embody the frustration and rage many (LGBT) Americans experienced as they watched their government and public health system ignore the growing epidemic.” Asked how contemporary viewers might receive these images, Rachel Gladfelter, Director of New York City’s Pace Prints (whose exhibition of “Apocalypse” closed on Jan. 12), said, “LGBTQs, and anyone for that matter, with or without familiarity of Keith’s aesthetic or legacy, can relate to the universal struggle with the dichotomies of life and death — particularly in the context of the AIDS crisis, religion and sexuality and mass consumerism and advertisement.” Looking toward the future, a colorful canvas and neon work titled “You are Beautiful,” by dynamic, L.A.-based street pop artist Mr. Brainwash, will greet visitors to the Youth Center. “It was a special request by the donors (Ernie Schmider and his husband, Omar Rodriguez, and Ernie’s ex-wife, Pame Schmider), who bought the naming rights (to



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the entranceway),” says Bill McDermott, the Center’s chief development officer. “He’s been unbelievably generous to us,” says McDermott, of longtime supporter Mr. Brainwash, who has, gratis, created full-size mural work for the Center, given auction items for numerous fundraisers and donated sculptures destined for one of the Campus courtyards. “We’re thrilled to have an artist whose works are so positive and life-affirming, putting his fingerprint on this new complex,” McDermott says, noting it was “the vision of the Schmiders” to place Mr. Brainwash’s work in the Youth Center entranceway, “to send a message that all are welcome — whatever gender, whatever place they are on the road to discovering their self-identity. And I think this piece perfectly captures that.” Open house Sunday, April 7 11 a.m.-5 p.m. All-day festivities with ribbon cutting (noon), tours and entertainment lalgbtcenter.org/opening






‘Pose’ cast teases season two Patti LuPone to guest star on Globe-nominated FX series By SUSAN HORNIK

The cast and crew of ‘Pose’ at PaleyFest LA 2019 at the Dolby Theatre on March 23. Photo by Michael Bulbenko, courtesy the Paley Center for Media

Much of the power of FX’s landmark series “Pose” comes from its factual basis. Although fictional, much of what is seen happened in 1980s New York in black and Latinx gay culture. Making its debut during PaleyFest, Executive Producer Ryan Murphy moderated a panel, acknowledging the blend between fiction and reality. “One of the beautiful things about this show is that we can say it really did happen and we really do remember,” he said. “We don’t have a large written history and archive. There have been so many deaths and so much that has been lost about this period. Writing about AIDS and HIV is such a powerful thing to do.” In addition to Murphy, Dominique Jackson was at the panel, along with Indya Moore, Billy Porter, MJ Rodriguez, co-Executive Producer Janet Mock, writer/ producer Our Lady J and co-Creator/Producer, Steven Canals. The groundbreaking “Pose” has the largest cast of trans actors and characters ever on a scripted network. For season two, the provocative series will jump ahead to 1990, on the very day that Madonna’s “blockbuster hit, “Vogue” is released, Murphy said. During the discussion, fans at the Dolby Theatre were thrilled to hear Murphy announce that the lovely Rodriguez (who plays Blanca in the series) and Porter will be sharing a number of pivotal scenes with the Grammy- and Tony-winning Broadway icon Patti LuPone. “We’ve come up with this great role for Patti LuPone. She loves the show and we wrote this part and she said, ‘Yes, I want to do it.’ So she’s coming to play with us in a couple weeks,” Murphy said. Murphy talked warmly about each cast member getting their role. “The second Indya Moore walked in the door… game over,” Murphy said. “We knew she was the one. What I didn’t have in me, that she does, is bravery. She instantly used her fame and success as a platform for activism.” While the characters deal with the epic tragedy of HIV and AIDS, trans writer/ producer Our Lady J stressed the importance of focusing on light vs. dark. “To stay out of the tragedy and into the experience of living rather than the experience of dying is something the world needs to see.” Offscreen, Lady J is living with HIV. “In 2004, I was living in an abandoned building in Brooklyn, and I found out I had HIV. I was at rock bottom. One night, I was going to throw all of my things out of the window. Instead, I went and ran across the Williamsburg Bridge. I had a mantra as I was running. I said, ‘I’m going to survive, I’m going to thrive,’ and that became, ‘I am surviving, I am thriving.’” Talking about the character, she said, “Blanca pretty much says that, that’s her energy. I knew there was an authenticity in this piece that never existed outside of what I had felt.” Look for season two to have more of the exquisite chemistry Pray Tell and Blanca have onscreen, which flows even more smoothly due to their relationship offscreen. “It’s kind of crazy because me and Billy have known each other since I was 19 years old, when I was doing ‘Rent’ in 2011 in New York City,” she said at the Television Critics Press Tour. “And I feel like we just built upon that relationship and it was just easy for us to navigate the whole thing together.” Added Porter: “We watched this luminous creature walk into the room for ‘Rent,’ and it was like we had never seen the role before. It was as if Angel became a whole new thing. And I didn’t understand, really, what that was. I just knew that it needed to be nurtured, and I knew that I could sort of be of use. I taught her how to work with her train. But, you know, it was wonderful to sort of work in that environment and then, since then, see the evolution of this beautiful lady sort of flower into what she has become.” The cast is already back in production this week. Season two is expected in June.

Fun fact: In the original pilot script, Porter’s character, Pray Tell, didn’t exist. But once they brought the dynamic actor/singer in to talk to producers, they were so impressed they wrote in his role on the show.



Dynamic duo Broadway legends Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon revisited in uneven new FX series By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon and Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse in ‘Fosse Verdon.’ Photo by Pari Dukovic; courtesy FX

“Fosse/Verdon” is a giddy ride through the long tumultuous relationship (professional and personal) between show-biz legends Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. When the eight-episode limited FX series, which starts April 9, pulls in tight on Fosse and Verdon and their circle of friends, the results are amazing, a passionate portrait of ground-breaking artists who thrive on applause and follow spots while they try to outrun their doubts and insecurities. Unfortunately, when the focus pulls away from the central relationships, things get a little fuzzy. Even for the most dedicated musical theater queen, it’s hard to cram decades of Broadway and Hollywood history into an eight-hour miniseries. Bob Fosse (1927-1987) wanted to be the next Fred Astaire. Instead he became a legendary director and choreographer, winning eight Tony Awards between 1956 (“The Pajama Game”) and 1986 (“Big Deal”), an Oscar (“Cabaret”) and an Emmy (“Liza With a Z”) and creating iconic dance moves and production techniques that changed theatre history. Gwen Verdon (1925-2000) started dancing on stage when she was 6 years old. She won four Tony Awards between 1953 (“Can-Can”) and 1959 (“Redhead”), but suffered a long professional dry spell between her Tony nominations for “Sweet Charity” (1966) and “Chicago” (1976). Fosse (a stunning Sam Rockwell) and Verdon (a luminous Michelle Williams) met in 1955 when they were working on the stage production of “Sweet Charity.” She became his chief muse, one of the greatest interpreters of his choreography and often his unbilled collaborator. The pair married in 1960 and had one daughter, Nicole. They separated in 1971, but never divorced. After his death, she became the guardian of his artistic legacy and began a successful second career as a film and television actress. “Fosse/Verdon” ambitiously tackles their entire relationship and even includes flashbacks to their childhood performances. It sometimes gets exhausting, confusing and a little repetitive. He uses alcohol, drugs and chorus girls to keep his demons at bay; she raises Nicole, comes to Bob’s rescue and waits for her next great role. Yet, in the middle of all this muddle, there are some magical moments that slow down and shine a spotlight on these fascinating people. When Fosse and Verdon meet, for example, creative and erotic sparks fly and the audition quickly becomes a mutual seduction. It’s amazing to watch the two of them work together on the sets of “Sweet Charity” and “Cabaret.” He is too inarticulate and impatient to explain his innovative choreography to the dancers; she coaches the dancers, works with the technicians and finds the right costumes for Sally Bowles. He, of course, gets the Oscar. There’s also a powerful episode where the principal characters gather at a beach house to mourn the death of Joan Simon (Aya Cash) after Bob is released from a psychiatric hospital. Bob is with his new girlfriend Ann Reinking (Margaret Qualley) and Gwen is with her new boyfriend Ron. Also in attendance are Nicole (who gets sick after smoking a cigarette) and family friends and award-winning writers Neil Simon (Nate Corddry) and Paddy Chayefsky (Norbert Leo Butz). The rainy weekend at the beach is a great chance to get to know the characters better. Episode writer Charlotte Stoudt and episode director Thomas Kail (Broadway’s “Hamilton”) dive deep into relationships old and new and offer fresh insights into the personal and professional passions that drive the characters. Stoudt, Kail and the designers also capture the 1970s with great flair; there’s a chocolate souffle for dessert and a bight yellow fondue pot on the counter. Best of all. Michelle Williams offers a heart-rending performance of “Where Am I Going?” from “Sweet Charity.” Throughout the series (or at least the five episodes that were available for review), the acting is superb. Williams is simply magnificent as Verdon; she brings the legendary dancer to fiery life in a richly nuanced performance that throbs with passion. Whether onstage or off, Williams dazzles. Rockwell is terrific as Fosse, even when the role gets a little repetitive. Both actors sing and dance very well and embody their legendary characters with admirable ease. Instead of relying on heavy prosthetics, they appropriately accomplish their transformations with theatrical flair, relying on vocal mannerisms, costumes, wigs and make-up, and those fabulous Fosse movements. The terrific supporting cast also includes a sensational Paul Reiser as embattled “Cabaret” producer Cy Feuer, Evan Handler as Hal Prince and a great Susan Misner as Joan McCracken, Fosse’s second wife. The editing is crisp and the pacing is assured, but sometimes the writing trips over itself. Most notably, the script borrows heavily from “All That Jazz,” Fosse’s stunning fictional cinematic autobiography. Montages of Fosse’s self-destructive behavior are lifted directly from the movie, as is Nicole’s tearful musical eulogy for her father. Luckily, Sam Rockwell never repeats Roy Schneider’s classic line, “It’s showtime.” There’s also very little context for the action. There’s almost no mention of Fosse’s rivals Michael Bennett and Jerome Robbins. Supporting characters come and go in a confusing blur and most of the celebrity impersonations (Liza Minnelli! Ben Vereen! Joel Grey!) are unremarkable and indistinct. It’s also a little odd that there are no visible LGBT characters. Despite these weaknesses in the writing, “Fosse/Verdon” is a must-see for LGBT fans. The performances are sensational, the show looks great and the story is entrancing. It’s a great show to watch in a queer bar surrounded by other enthusiastic fans; if you’re watching at home, make sure you have a musical theater maven on hand to help you follow along.



‘Tucked’ charms despite flaws ‘Odd Couple’-type pairing features two generations of drag By JOHN PAUL KING

Derren Nesbitt and Jordan Stephens in ‘Tucked.’ Photo courtesy Gravitas Features

When Jamie Patterson’s “Tucked” premiered at LA’s Outfest last year, it was one of the festival’s most popular films; it took home both the Audience Award for Narrative Feature and Grand Jury Prize for International Narrative Feature, and when the young British director took the stage alongside leading man Derren Nesbitt to accept the honors, the two were met with enthusiastic applause. A sort of May-December buddy comedy between two drag queens, the film has now received a VOD release and is available on all digital platforms. Set in a damp and gritty London, Patterson’s heart-tugging two-character dramedy is a slice-of-life story that follows Jackie (Nesbitt), a 74-year-old drag performer who is diagnosed with only weeks to live. Refusing the doctor’s advice to “take things easy,” he determines to continue the work he loves until the end; that’s when a young queen named Faith (Jordan Stephens), is hired at the club. Assuming the role of mentor — or “fairy godmother,” as he puts it — to this newcomer, Jackie soon discovers his youthful charge is facing housing challenges, so he invites Faith to stay with him. The two couldn’t seem more opposite on the surface: Jackie, once married to a woman, identifies as a straight man who loves to dress as a woman, while gender non-conforming Faith refuses to be defined by “what’s between my legs.” Yet when they are thrown together, they quickly find themselves developing a bond that transcends the differences between them. When Faith learns that Jackie’s estranged daughter has yet to be told of her father’s terminal condition, they push him to reunite with her and make peace before it’s too late. Patterson, who also wrote the screenplay, uses this simple and poignant set-up first and foremost as a vehicle to explore two thoughtfully drawn characters, but in the process, there are many observations to be drawn about queer culture and the evolving concept of gender. Jackie is from an old-school generation; heavy on the camp, he relies on a time-tested formula of bawdy humor and over-the-top physical appearance in his act; in his personal life, though he still wears feminine attire, he bristles at the assumption that his fondness for women’s clothing makes him gay. Faith, on the other hand, represents the younger wave of drag queens; gender is an open question for them and when they perform as a chanteuse at the club, there is no essential difference in their persona; Faith is Faith, onstage or off. Yet, as they (and by extension, we) quickly come to learn, there is much the same within their experience to bind them together. Both are alone and without family in their lives; they are each, in their way, equally confident in their own skins, yet they are each also still coming to terms with issues around their own sexuality and gender; most importantly, perhaps, they are both survivors who have faced hard times throughout their lives, which makes them formidable allies as they face new ones together. It’s a symbiosis that comes to them at a time when they both need it most and it serves as a subtle reminder that, when we unite around our common bonds, we are stronger as a community. The performances are superb. As Jackie, Nesbitt, a six-decade stage and screen veteran perhaps best known as a vicious Nazi commander in the 1969 war drama “Where Eagles Dare,” is just as brave, raw and compelling as he is fierce, dignified and charming. Actor/hip-hop performer Stephens makes Faith both vulnerable and tough while also tapping into a deep well of heart and soul. Together, their chemistry wins us over instantly, and the oddball nature of their pairing never once stretches credibility. But there are problems. A story about a drag queen that focuses on a white, cisgendered straight man (essentially, a transvestite performer) feels a bit tone-deaf in 2019, when so much of the conversation around representation in the media centers on presenting more diverse and authentic stories. That the film is written and directed by a straight male (and features two straight actors as its drag queens) only adds fuel to the fire of that discussion. There are also those who might see the movie’s refusal to question Jackie’s insistence that he is completely straight as a cop out, or even as a deliberate attempt to straight-wash a queer narrative in order to make it more palatable for mainstream audiences. Viewers will be hard pressed to keep emotional distance watching “Tucked.” Written with sensitivity and warmth, it strikes a comfortable balance between tender drama and low-key comedy; there aren’t really any laugh-out-loud moments, perhaps, but there are quite a few chuckles, and the movie keeps a smile on your face throughout.



Rosie’s reveal riles Hasselbeck Revelation of benign crush sends former ‘View’ co-host to her knees By BILLY MASTERS

Rosie O’Donnell recently confessed a crush on Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

“I’ve been getting in shape for tonight with the Jussie Smollett workout. You hire two trainers and sweat for eight weeks. It wipes out all your belly fat — and credibility.” - Sean Hayes begins his acceptance speech at the GLAAD Awards. With the stroke of a pen, Jussie Smollett’s troubles came to an end, at least legally. All 16 criminal charges against him were dropped. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty according to the guy who dropped the charges! Joseph Magats, first assistant Cook County State’s attorney, says, “I do not believe he is innocent. We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett. The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped. This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.” Except, of course, the court records were sealed — something that likely would not have happened to “any defendant” unless their “similar circumstances” were deep pockets, celebrity and lawyer Mark Geragos. This may not have been a “plea deal,” but make no mistake — it was most certainly a deal. Ironically, it’s not even a deal anyone is happy about. Let’s start with the city of Chicago, which has sent a letter to Smollett’s attorney along with a bill for $130,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. The letter implies prosecution should the bill be ignored. The letter was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The next person unhappy with the deal may surprise you: Smollett himself! His lawyer released a statement: “It is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie an apology for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough.” In fact, he believes he paid more than enough. Smollett’s attorney has indicated that he’s considering suing the city of Chicago. So, he’s lucky and stupid! But you know the biggest surprise? Donald “The Art of the Deal” Trump is unhappy with the deal Jussie got! “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation.” Do you realize how screwed you are when Donald Trump considers you an embarrassment? Sadly, it’s also the first thing Trump has been right about. We all know there was tension when Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were both co-hosts on “The View.” But was it sexual? In the upcoming “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View” by our very own Ramin Setoodeh, Ro reveals the depth of her crush. “I loved her,” she says. Joy Behar pipes in, “I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.” Both parts — hmm. Rosie adds, “I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it. She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals. There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren’t at least a little bit gay.” Getting back to her feelings, O’Donnell clarifies, “There was a little bit of a crush. But not that I wanted to kiss her. I want to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team ... but it was in no way sexualized.” Needless to say, these revelations make Lizzie very uncomfortable. “The truth is, what she said, if you took her words and replaced ‘Rosie’ for ‘Ronald’, there would be an objectification of women in the workplace. So that’s disturbing and it’s wrong. Whether you’re a man or whether you’re a woman, and you’re objectifying women in the workplace, it’s wrong.” Have I missed a memo? I think there’s a difference between “objectifying” and “having a crush,” especially one that isn’t acted upon. What Hasselbeck did when she heard this news is also telling. “I’ll be very honest. I read it and I immediately started praying. Because I’m like, ‘How am I going to handle this?’” So, lemme get this straight: Hasselbeck actually attempted to pray the gay away? Of course, some people look better the less they wear. Take Mark Consuelos, who enjoys walking around the set of “Riverdale” with as little clothing on as possible (note to self: get a job on the set of “Riverdale”). Most recently, he was carrying a Nespresso machine and said to KJ Apa, “KJ, have you seen my Nespresso machine?” KJ said, “I think you’re holding it, bro.” At the risk of objectifying the willing, check him out on billymasters.com. Since I had to zip out of L.A., I missed the GLAAD Media Awards. And apparently what I missed was Shangela bringing down the house with a tribute to Beyoncé that included “Baby Boy,” “Single Ladies,” “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women.” Knowing Shangela, the only thing she remembers from the night was getting a standing ovation from Queen Bey herself! Naturally, we’ll run the video on our website. When “View” co-hosts are praying the gay away, it’s time to end yet another column. I don’t know how to break it to Hasselbeck, but her prayers aren’t working. She hasn’t prayed any gay away, she’s just prayed the paying jobs away! I think she better change her prayers — or perhaps change denominations, especially if she wants to bring in a few denominations! No such problems at billmasters.com, the site that will answer all your prayers, both big and small. And if you have a question, send it along to billy@billymasters.com and I promise to get back to you as soon as I have an answer! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.



A miracle many years in the making has occurred along Santa Monica Boulevard at McCadden Place and it will be revealed on Sunday April 7 as some of Los Angeles’ most celebrated personalities gather to open the Anita May Rosenstein Campus of the Los Angeles LGBT Centers. See Apr. 7 for detail.


Protest: Trump in L.A. | The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Fri. Apr. 5 @ 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Sunset and North Elm Drive (Beverly Hills). Trump and Pence are visiting Calexico and then flying to Beverly Hills for a Fundraiser. Last time Pence was in town he haunted WeHo with his blaring motorcade and no one paid much attention. Not so this time. After 2 years of working to take LGBTQ rights away, demonizing trans people and immigrants, threatening to shut down the U.S/Mexico border, working to take away the right to abortion, rallying his fascist base, pumping them up with fascist White Supremacist venom, chanting “Lock them up!” he’s emboldened by his Attorney General’s summation of the Mueller Report and on a warpath against his opponents. Join Refuse Fascism in protest; they don’t have to win. Queering the discourse on Israel/Palestine, Fri. Apr.5 @ 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism (3502 Watt Way). Amid the political turmoil and human rights concerns in the Middle East and rising charges of anti-Semitism around the world, the time is right for for a civil and respectful conversation between scholars, journalists and activists across a wide range of perspectives, including LGBTQ activists from Israel and Palestine. Participants will explore the boundaries of language used in discussing Israel and Palestine, the media coverage, the split of opinion among American Jews and explore the possible outcomes. LGBT issues are among the many topics that will be discussed. For more info on the event and speakers, visit: https://bit.ly/2F3CeyR. The event is free.


GMCLA Presents Turn Back Time: The Best of GMCLA, Sat. Apr. 6 @ 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Alex Theater (216 North Brand Avenue). For its 40th Anniversary Spring show, GMCLA is going through the archives and pulling out the stops for favorite songs the Chorus has performed over the decades. Whether you’ve been in the audience for years or discovered the Chorus recently, you’ll want to join them as they turn

back time to highlight some hits from GMCLA’s first 40 years! Cher is rumored to neither confirm nor deny she’ll be in attendance. Same for Madonna and Britney. Tickets are available at gmcla.org. Camp Out 5.0 - A Fundraiser for Camp Brave Trails, Sat. Apr. 6 @ 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at The Garland North Hollywood (4222 Vineland Avenue). The 5th Annual Camp Out Fundraiser for Brave Trails is a way to raise funds to send LGBTQ kids in need to camp and help them build powerful leadership skills and community. Enjoy outstanding food and drinks, a Talent Show by camp staff they promise will “blow your mind,” and loads of other exciting surprises. Donation expected.

springtime with cherry blossom festivals, a kind of salute to Southern California’s Japanese roots. Delicate pink flowery trees are everywhere and eventually it’s like a blizzard of giant flakes as they fall. One of the most beautiful is a huge grove planted by the Japanese community in honor of internment camp survivors and located in Santa Ana. Enjoy the formalities of traditional geisha tea ceremonies, Japanese cuisine, music and religious ceremonies, art, face painting, fish printmaking, sumi-e (Japanese brush painting), and a special Japanese treat. Free.


Preparing for Passover: Class & Wine Tasting, Thu. Apr. 9 @ 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at Congregation Kol Ami (1200 N. La Brea). Rabbi Denise Eger presents a special class, “Preparing for Passover,” a classic and wine-laden primer on preparing the perfect Passover Seder with all the compliments. You will be prepared to celebrate the parallels between the LGBTQ community and Jewish journey toward freedom (and understanding). Free.

Anita May Rosenstein Campus Grand Opening Community Celebration, Sun. Apr. 7 @ 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Anita May Rosenstein Campus of LA LGBT Center (1116 N. McCadden Place). Expanding across a full city block in the heart of Hollywood, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus now stands as a beacon of hope for the LGBT community in Los Angeles and beyond. The Campus is the product of more than a decade of dreams and hard work, a public gathering place that brings the generations together to celebrate and learn from one another. It will provide expanded employment and educational opportunities for LGBT youth and seniors and offer them safe, affordable housing in a community built on the pillars of pride, strength, and love. Emcee: Shangela, RuPaul’s Drag Race, A Star Is Born, will host an event featuring Lily Tomlin, Lorri L. Jean (Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO), David Bailey (Capital Campaign Chair and Center Board of Directors Co-Chair), Anita May Rosenstein (Philanthropist and lead donor), Adam Schiff (United States Representative), Eric Garcetti (Mayor of Los Angeles), David Ryu (Los Angeles Councilmember), Sheila Kuehl (Los Angeles County Supervisor). The event is open to the public. Japanese Cherry Blossom Family Festival, Sun. Apr. 7 @ 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM at Bowers Museum (2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana). Before the jacaranda trees bloom and, in a normal year before California poppies begin to flower, Los Angeles also greets


APR 13

24th Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books, Sat. Apr. 13 and Sun Apr 14 @ University of Southern California (3551 Trousdale Place). The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal of bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival has become one of the most anticipated cultural attractions in the city, attracting upwards of 150,000 people and has evolved to include live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment and artists creating their work on-site. There’s also a photography exhibit, film screenings followed by Q&A’s and conversations on some of today’s hottest topics.

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


Cannabis Culture Provided by NORML


N.J. lawmakers delay legalization vote

TRENTON, N.J. — Lawmakers have postponed scheduled floor votes on legislation that sought to legalize and regulate the adult use marijuana market. The delay was announced after it became unclear whether the measure possessed enough votes to pass on the Senate floor. Despite the delay, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy continues to back the plan, as does Senate President Stephen Sweeney. “The fight is not over,” Sen. Sweeney said. “Anybody who thinks this is dead is wrong. This is not an issue that’s going away. Marijuana will get passed in the state of New Jersey one way or another.” Commenting on the delay, NORML Political Associate Tyler McFadden said: “Voters and lawmakers both agree that the practice of treating marijuana consumers as second-class citizens must end. Unfortunately, legislative intransigence regarding how best to create a regulatory framework has resulted in, at least for now, a continuation of the failed policy of marijuana criminalization in the Garden State.”

Medical marijuana linked to greater employment in elders BALTIMORE — The enactment of medical cannabis access laws is associated with better reported health outcomes among older Americans and greater labor participation, according to data published in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. A pair of researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore and Temple University in Philadelphia assessed the relationship between medical marijuana laws and health in those ages 51 and older. They found that those who qualified for medical cannabis access reported experiencing less pain, and greater overall health compared to matched respondents in non-medical states. Those eligible for medical cannabis access also showed increased participation in the workplace. “These findings suggest that access to medical marijuana through MMLs (medical marijuana laws) allows at least some older adults to better manage symptoms associated with health conditions that can interfere with productivity and quality of life,” authors reported. “Our findings suggest that there are potentially important social benefits to MMLs that must be considered in policy decisions regarding medical marijuana regulation.” The findings expand upon a previous working paper authored by the pair in 2016.

Washington: Teens not using more pot after legalization

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy backs a plan to legalize marijuana.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The enactment of adult use marijuana sales in Washington State is not associated with upticks in self-reported marijuana use by most teens, according to data published in The Journal of Adolescent Health. A team of investigators from Washington State University, the University of Massachusetts, and the Colorado School of Public Health assessed trends in teen marijuana use and employment in the years immediately prior to and immediately following the enactment of retail marijuana sales (2010 to 2016). They reported that, “marijuana use decreased significantly among working and non-working 8th and 10th graders.” Marijuana use similarly declined among 12th graders who were not employed. Among 12th graders who were employed more than eleven hours per week, self-reported cannabis use increased over the study period. The study’s authors acknowledged that this latter finding was not unexpected because “the workplace may expose adolescents to peer or adult coworkers’ potentially unhealthy behaviors, including substance use.” Authors further acknowledged that working youth were also more likely to have reported using cannabis prior to the passage of legalization.

Texas official removes hemp from controlled substances act AUSTIN, Texas — An amendment authored by the Texas Department of State Health Services removes industrial hemp and certain hemp-derived cannabinoids from the state’s controlled substances act. The order takes effect on April 5. The order states that under Texas law, “The term marihuana does not include hemp,” as defined under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Act. The language also exempts certain compounds extracted from industrial hemp from the state list of controlled substances. In December, the president signed legislation into law amending the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including ... extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. The new order comports Texas’ statutes with the federal law. Speaking to Congress in March, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the Department is working to create federal hemp regulations by 2020. Under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, US states that wish to license commercial hemp cultivation must submit their plan to the USDA. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org



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