Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 15, April 12, 2019

Page 1

Scenes from opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, PAGE 07

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



Rep. Adam Schiff on the LGBT Center’s new facility and Pete Buttigieg LGBT fans swarm Trump’s nemesis with gratitude By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Rep. Adam Schiff was a political rock star at the April 7 opening of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus. He received a thunderous ovation from the crowd onstage and was swarmed by fans profusely thanking him for standing up to President Donald Trump. LA LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean introduced Schiff as not only “the most brilliant member of Congress” but as the only member of Congress who has ridden the AIDS LifeCycle “and he did every single mile” of the 7 day, 545-mile bike trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Schiff joke that he couldn’t sit down for a week after that ride. Then he put the facility

Rep. Adam Schiff Photo courtesy the Los Angeles LGBT Center

into perspective, remembering how two years ago, the night after Trump won, he joined the LGBT community at The Village “to consider what had just happened in the presidential election. And what it would mean for our country and what it would mean for the cause of equality. And we knew there would be tough struggles ahead and indeed, some of our worst fears have been realized. But we have stayed together, we have fought together, and we will prevail together. And we see just what we’re capable of when we see this magnificent new campus.” Schiff told the Los Angeles Blade that he is confident the Equality Act will eventually pass both chambers of Congress. “We’re going to move it through the House, though I expect we’re going to run into the usual opposition in the Senate,” he says. “We will overcome that opposition. It’s just a question of how long it’s going to take us. But we are determined to press on.

I know there are a great many people who thought it would be decades in the future before we would see marriage equality. But we overcome that opposition and we will make sure the Equality Act is passed, as well. “I think those who oppose these efforts are going to be filled with shame when they look back and realize they were obstacles to progress,” he added. Schiff is also excited by the appearance of out Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the political scene. “I just read an interview with him and I have to say, I was extraordinarily impressed,” he said. “I can see why there’s such a tremendous buzz about him and this is a phenomenal new talent. And it just goes to show you that the country is filled with great people and talent who have a positive vision—that this sort of dark cloud that is descended on Washington isn’t representative of what’s best in the country... Mayor Pete is one of those great illustrations of what’s right in America.”

Los Angeles City Council calls for boycott of Beverly Hills hotels Pressure mounting for Sultan of Brunei to divest holdings By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The calls for boycotting the Dorchester properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei— including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air—just got a little louder. On April 9, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to approve a resolution by City Councilmember Paul Koretz saying the city will not conduct business nor participate in any event or other business using city resources at the two hotels. Additionally, the City of Los Angeles now officially discourages

city employees and city residents from using the hotels in any way unless and until the government of Brunei repeals “these cruel and inhumane laws.” The recent boycott was called in response to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s announcement that Sharia Law would go into effect in the tiny, oil rich nation on April 3. Anyone charged with homosexuality or adultery will be flogged or stoned to death with amputation for thieves. “This is as barbaric as anything that has happened in hundreds of years,” Koretz told reporters a City Hall news conference on April 2. “We can’t abide by it and we have some logical ways to show it by boycotting hotels owned by the government of Brunei somewhat indirectly and sending them a

message.” “Do not patronize these hotels. Do not stay in these hotels. And do not step foot in these hotels as long as they are owned by such a criminal enterprise,” said out City Controller Ron Galperin. The recent boycott was initially called by actor George Clooney in an op-ed in Deadline. “They’re nice hotels,” Clooney wrote. “But let’s be clear, every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.” On April 4, the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its condemnation of the government of

Brunei for the “extreme and inhumane penalties” but stopped short of endorsing a boycott after hearing from hotel workers. A boycott, “impacts the people who work there,” Mayor John Mirisch said, according to the Beverly Hills Courier, “A boycott is directed at the wrong people, the hardworking people who would be stoned themselves. That was not a part of our policy last time and it is not included now. The call is for divestment. They have no business owning a hotel of this history and elegance, and we strongly urge them to divest… It’s a personal choice.” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti must sign the resolution before it goes into effect. The City of West Hollywood will take up the issue at its meeting on April 15.



Jackie Goldberg leads in LAUSD special election but turnout is crucial Public education foundation of democracy By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Stop and think about this: on April 10, Jeffrey Rosen, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, refused to answer this simple question in his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing: “Was Brown v. Board of Education correctly decided?” The landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision ruled that “separate but equal” racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The ruling is foundational to providing fairness and a level playing field for kids to potentially achieve success through the public education system. But while it’s shocking that the Trump nominee sloughs off its importance, schools kids are actually facing another kind of segregation based on money. Jackie Goldberg is taking on that fight. The longtime out activist educator is running in a special May 14 runoff election for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified District School Board. She faces former public works commissioner Heather Repenning, who has the backing of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and SEIU Local 99, non-teaching LAUSD employees. Goldberg is supported by almost everyone else in the northeast and southeast LA district—including Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz—who fears that charter schools are decimating public education. Her supporters include the teachers union and HONOR PAC. Goldberg finished just short of the necessary 50 percent margin in the March 5 election, winning 48 percent of the vote over nine other candidates. Repenning came in second with 13 percent of the vote. Much of Goldberg’s vote came through name recognition from her fame as a Free Speech Movement leader at Berkley to her two terms on the LAUSD School Board where she fought against Rev. Lou Sheldon and his

Jackie Goldberg Photo via Facebook

Traditional Values Coalition to keep Project 10, Dr. Virginia Uribe’s dropout prevention program for LGBT youth at Fairfax High School. She also pushed for sex education and condom distribution during the AIDS crisis. In 1993, she officially came out as she ran for LA City Council, where she served two terms before running for the California Assembly where she served as chair of the Education Committee and for three terms, fought against right wing extremists on behalf of LGBT students and parents. “I think public education’s actually in trouble and it makes me very nervous and very worried,” she says. “Education has been the focus, really, of my entire adult life. And I am trying very hard to do something to change things.” Goldberg is concerned with how state legislators have ignored the crumbling

school system. “It is time for them to put money up for the schools again,” she says. “We’ve starved the schools since Proposition 13 – and they are starving – and when you starve a school system for years and years and years, what happens is that in increments, you lose everything,” including the once standard nurses and librarians in every school. The systematic underfunding of schools since 1978 “has opened the door to these billionaire privatizers who want to use charter schools to get rid of public education – to literally end it – so you don’t have these pesky things like running for school board,” Goldberg says. In these private schools funded by taxpayer dollars, self-appointed leaders “run everything; they make all the decisions. If you don’t like it – go somewhere else.”

The “privatizers,” Goldberg says, are trying to use the historically underfunded schools to illustrate that “public education doesn’t work. We’ve got to get rid of it. It’s time to privatize it. Put it in the market. Winners and losers – close the ones that lose. “Well, no,” Goldberg says adamantly. “Public education is one of the few places left in America that says you’re all welcome. Everybody’s welcome. We don’t care what language you speak, what country you come from – we don’t even care if you’re here legally or not. We don’t care if you’re smart or dumb. We don’t care if you’re severely disabled or you have no disability at all and you’re gifted and talented. We don’t care. We’re going to try to do our best for you. But the point is – our best for you is not good enough as long as New York spends $2 dollars for every dollar we spend. That’s crazy.” Eliminating public education is a direct threat to democracy since only the elite will get an education. “In all of history, there are no democracies that lasted without a strong public education system. None. That’s critical. That’s what got me to do this,” she says. “That and the fact that there are three board members out of seven that were elected with heavy amounts of charter money.” Goldberg says she is determined not to allow a board majority that looks out only for about 20% of the kids in the school district. This is particular important for the LGBT community since the religious right have historically used school boards as political stepping stones and now have two champions in the White House. “There are two big issues for our community,” Goldberg says. “One is how transgender kids are being treated. And the second is that while we have excellent rules and laws, in an individual day by day basis, a lot of them are not being carried out. And I don’t think it’s out of animosity. In some cases it is. But it’s just not in the forefront of people’s minds and I want to put it back in the forefront of their mind.” The election is May 14 but absentee ballots are available April 15. With her substantial lead, the only way for Goldberg to lose is if people fail to vote.


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LGBT History on McCadden The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus opens

Rep. Adam Schiff, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, lead donor Anita May Rosenstein, David Bailey, Center Board co-chair and Capital Campaign Chair, LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, top donor Ariadne Getty, and LA City Councilmember David Ryu open the Anita May Rosenstein Campus April 7. Photo by Troy Masters

Army vet Tony Sadowski, 75, has been using the Center’s services since the Gay Community Services Center was headquartered on Wilshire Blvd. Photo by Karen Ocamb

As LGBT people and allies around the world prepare to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the Los Angeles LGBT Center prepares for its own 50th anniversary, as well, another monumental moment in LGBT movement history occurred with the April 7 opening of the twoacre Anita May Rosenstein Campus for intergenerational services on McCadden Place in Hollywood. “We are immensely proud that the Anita May Rosenstein Campus allows us to greatly expand our services, especially to LGBT seniors and youth,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “The Campus is proof that a committed group of people who have the audacity to dream big and work hard are capable of creating something the world has never seen, something that now stands as a testament to

the fact that we will not turn back in our march toward full equality and humanity.” Rep. Adam Schiff helped secure funding. “I was here on the night after the [2016] election when hundreds of people gathered quite spontaneously to ask the most profound and worrying questions about what [Donald Trump’s election] means for the country, what it would mean for the community, what it would mean for all the hard-won progress towards marriage equality,” Schiff told the Los Angeles Blade. “And this center, this beautiful new Campus is a testament that we march forward, that we will not be deterred. Our community stands united behind equality no matter who is in the Oval Office—we shall overcome. I think it’s just a wonderful celebration of what’s possible when people work together.” – Karen Ocamb

More than $141 million was raised by more than 350 capital campaign donors and a record-breaking 15 seven-figure gifts for the 2-acre Anita May Rosenstein Campus. Photo courtesy the Los Angeles LGBT Center



LGBT History on McCadden

Lead donor Anita May Rosenstein and longtime Center Boardmember LuAnn Boylan

3rd largest donor Adriadne Getty and son August Getty

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, actress Joely Fisher, Rep. Adam Schiff

David Bailey, co-chair of the Center’s Board of Directors and Capital Campaign Chair

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Chris Leong, Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, Dominic Leong, and Gabriel Burkett of Leong Leong design architects

Killefer Flammang Architects Partners Wade Killefer, FAIA, and Barbara Flammang, AIA, with Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean

Photo Karen Ocamb

Photo Karen Ocamb



LGBT History on McCadden

Trans Chorus of Los Angeles performs at the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus

Black AIDS Institute Founder and former CEO Phill Wilson (center) with friends

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo by Karen Ocamb

The indomitable actress/comedienne/Center supporter Lily Tomlin

“Star Trek: Discovery” actor Wilson Cruz supported the Center’s Pedro Zamora Youth HIV Program in 1995 as the out teen star of “My So-Called Life”

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Tom E. Jones, Michaeljohn Horne and Board member Michael Lombardo after the Campus opening block party

Aerial view of the free block party celebrating the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo courtesy Los Angeles LGBT Center



LGBT people urged to be counted in 2020 Census

Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) has signed a law banning conversion therapy. Photo by the Rappaport Center; courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Mass. becomes 16th state to ban ‘ex-gay’ therapy for youth Massachusetts became the 16th state in the nation to ban “ex-gay” conversion therapy on Monday after Gov. Charlie Baker signed a measure into law prohibiting the widely discredited practice for youth. Brendan Moss, a Baker spokesperson, confirmed via email to the Blade his boss signed the legislation against conversion therapy. “Gov. Baker today signed HR140 into law and is proud of the commonwealth’s history of support for equal rights and protecting all citizens against discrimination,” Moss said. Mathew Shurka, strategist for the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Born Perfect national campaign to end conversion therapy, said in a statement the signing represents “a huge victory for LGBTQ youth and their parents in Massachusetts.” “These unethical practices destroy families and cause lasting harm to young people who urgently need acceptance and support,” Shurka said. A survivor of conversion therapy, Shurka testified before the Massachusetts Legislature about his firsthand experience with the practice and urged lawmakers to pass the bill. Other jurisdictions that have enacted similar laws against conversion therapy are Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington State, Maryland, Hawaii and New Hampshire. (Last month, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order against conversion therapy after the legislature failed to pass legislation against it.) Legislation banning conversion therapy has enjoyed bipartisan support. Baker is the seventh Republican governor to sign into law a measure against the practice. (Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage last year became the first governor — Democrat or Republican — to veto such a measure.) Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement the effort to pass the Massachusetts law “has been a truly bipartisan effort to address one of the most important public health issues of our time.” The practice of therapy aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or transgender status is considered ineffectual at best and harmful at worst. Major medical and psychological institutions — including American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics — widely reject the practice. CHRIS JOHNSON

The D.C.-based National LGBTQ Task Force was part of a coalition of more than 15 national civil rights and progressive advocacy groups that launched a campaign last week to encourage members of marginalized communities to make sure they are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. In a development that LGBT activists view as a positive change, the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire will explicitly ask couples living together to define their relationship to their partners in a new way – as “same-sex” or “opposite-sex” partners. Although the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census counted same-sex couples through questions about gender and relationships, the newly worded questionnaire in 2020 is expected to provide a more accurate count of the number of same-sex couples in the United States. However, to the disappointment of LGBT advocacy organizations, Census officials declined to include in the 2020 questionnaire questions asking about a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity so that non-coupled LGBT people could be counted. Nevertheless, the National LGBTQ Task Force has said it’s important for all LGBT people to take part in the 2020 census. “Over-counts of privileged people and undercounts of marginalized people reinforce systems of power and oppression in this country,” the Task Force said in a statement. “That’s why the Task Force is working with our colleagues in the LGBTQ and social justice movements to ensure that all of us, and especially people from marginalized communities, are counted in the 2020 Census,” the statement says. “Although the Census doesn’t explicitly ask about our sexual orientation and gender identity, it is still critical for us to be counted on the 2020 Census,” the Task Force statement says, adding, “We need to be counted so our communities can: Get access to federal funds for programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and public housing; have representation in our state, local, and federal government; and enforce our civil rights.” The Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank affiliated with the UCLA Law School, has used data on same-sex couples obtained from the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census to extrapolate an estimated count of all LGBT people in the U.S. But former Williams Institute official Gary Gates has said it would have been far better if the Census counted LGBT people directly. National LGBTQ Task Force spokesperson JR Russ said the group has created a “Queer the Census 2020” page on its website that will be updated each month to inform LGBT people on how the Census will impact them and how they can best participate in the Census. The page can be accessed via the taskforce.org. LOU CHIBBARO JR.



Kaine introduces bill to protect LGBT kids from abuse

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced legislation to protect LGBT kids from child abuse. Blade file photo by Michael Key

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced legislation this week that seeks to protect LGBT kids from child abuse. The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act seeks to prevent the mistreatment of LGBT youth. According to 2011 analysis from the National Institutes for Health, LGBT youth are 3.8 times to face sexual abuse and 1.2 times more likely to face parental physical abuse. The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act would amend the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act to accomplish four goals: • Direct the Secretary of Health & Human Services to conduct research to protect LGBTQ youth from child abuse and neglect and to improve the well-being of victims; • Expand demographic information collected to include sexual orientation and gender identity when reporting on incidences and prevalence of child maltreatment; • Open grant funding opportunities for the training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth; • And include individuals experienced in working with LGBTQ youth and families in state task forces. Co-sponsoring the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act is Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first out lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate. Kaine introduced the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act on the same day he introduced the Child Welfare Workforce Support Act, which seeks to address high turnover rates among child welfare workers. The bill would direct the Department of Health & Human Services to conduct a five-year pilot program on finding the best practices for recruitment and retention. “Abuse has devastating impacts on children’s lives, and more resources are needed to both prevent maltreatment and help those recovering from trauma,” Kaine said in a statement. “With high turnover rates among staff, America’s child welfare system often lacks workers needed to care for at-risk youth. By strengthening the child welfare workforce and specifically addressing the higher rates of abuse among LGBTQ children, these bills would help ensure that our child welfare system better supports vulnerable kids.” CHRIS JOHNSON



Lawmakers, activists rally against military trans ban Trump administration policy to take effect Friday By MICHAEL K. LAVERS Members of Congress on Wednesday joined activists who gathered at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool to rally against the ban on openly transgender service members that is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the week. California Congressman Gil Cisneros, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Navy, noted he was in the armed forces during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “Too many were forced to live their lives in secret, unable to be true to themselves,” he said. “We don’t want to go back to those dark days.” “This administration is attacking service members who have already proven their ability to meet strategic needs and pose no risk to unit cohesion or military readiness,” added Cisneros. Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown, who previously served in the U.S. Army, said he is “angry that we’ve got to be here.” “I’m angry that we have to remind our leadership that every single American deserves the right to fight for our nation,” he said. “I’m angry that we have a president who’d rather spend his time attacking people who are willing to fight and die for this country than working for the American people. I’m angry that our commander-inchief demeans the military service of others.” National Center for Transgender Equality Policy Director Harper Jean Tobin described the policy going into effect as “a disgraceful moment in our history.” “For the first time, one of our national institutions will be turning back the clock on equality, shutting its door to people who have already proven their ability to do the job. this Friday our country will be taking a big and disgraceful, shameful and unnecessary step backwards,” she said. Human Rights Campaign Press Secretary Charlotte Clymer served in the Army for more than three years. She said at the rally

Members of Congress and activists denounced President Trump’s trans military ban, which goes into effect on Friday. Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

that she handled the remains of service members once they returned to the U.S. “Every casket and transfer case I carried was covered by an American flag, every single one and that’s all I remember about any of them,” said Clymer. “All I know about those I carried was that they died in selfless service and they wore the flag of this country to the grave.” “No one at Dover Air Force Base or Arlington National Cemetery asked if those we buried were secretly transgender,” she added. “It didn’t matter then and it doesn’t matter now.” Retired Sgt. Maj. Jennifer Long of the Transgender American Veterans Association served in the Army for three decades. She noted at the rally that she was at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq. “I have served my country with honor and distinction,” said Long. “I am and always will be a patriot. I am a transgender veteran.” National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter; Equality California National Policy Director Valerie

Ploumpis and Sharon McGowan, legal director of Lambda Legal, also spoke at the rally. Trans people had been able to openly serve in the military since 2016. President Trump in 2017 directed the Pentagon to reverse the Obama administration policy. The announcement sparked widespread outrage among activists and criticism from then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of Congress. Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California are among the LGBTI advocacy groups that challenged the ban in federal court. “We’re looking at Americans who want to sign up and serve our country,” now retired U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told the Blade during a May 2018 interview. “These are the bravest individuals, the most patriotic folks that we would want there.” “It just doesn’t make any sense when we are still fighting in so many parts of the world,” added the Florida Republican. “We need patriotic, committed, able to serve individuals, whether they are male, female,

transgender.” The U.S. Supreme Court in January essentially gave the green light for the Trump administration to implement the ban. The Pentagon on March 12 announced it would take effect on Friday. The U.S. House of Representatives on March 28 approved a resolution against the ban that Kennedy introduced. Hannah Tripp, a transgender U.S. Air Force veteran who is on the OutServe-SLDN board of directors, at Wednesday’s rally said Americans “have voiced their support for open service. The leaders of our military have voiced the need for open service and transgender servicemembers have proven themselves integral to the combat effectiveness of our armed forces.” “I cannot promise you that we will win this fight by Friday night, but I can promise you that we will win,” said Kennedy. McGowan agreed, while describing the ban as a “despicable attempt to drive brave transgender men and women out of our military.” “We’re not here to go away,” she said. “We are here to fight. We are here to win.”



Buttigieg shares personal struggle of coming out 2020 hopeful zings Pence at Victory Fund brunch By CHRIS JOHNSON The excitement in the LGBT community over having an openly gay presidential contender was apparent Sunday as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg wowed an LGBT audience with his personal story of accepting his sexual orientation. Buttigieg, a previously unknown candidate who’s rising in popularity as he pursues the 2020 Democratic nomination, made the remarks during the annual brunch for the LGBTQ Victory Fund in D.C. The crowd — which gave him a standing ovation that lasted longer than the applause for any other speaker — was energized by Buttigieg as he narrated a story to which many of the LGBT attendees could relate. Growing up in Indiana, Buttigieg recalled being “an awkward 18-year-old walking the halls of Saint Joseph’s High School” and dreaming about becoming an astronaut, but being troubled over his sexual orientation. “Back then I would have believed that you could either be gay or you could be married. Not both,” Buttigieg said. “That if you were gay, you could either be out, or you could run for office. Not both. That in our country you could live with a same-sex partner or you could serve in the military. Not both.” First elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., in 2011, Buttigieg after serving for three years came out as gay in an essay in 2015, which during the brunch he said was the time when he was ready and for the simple purpose of wanting to date. Buttigieg said he found coming out as gay didn’t seem to matter to his constituents. In 2015, Buttigieg, two years after coming out, was elected with 78 percent of the vote, which was four percent more than when he ran during his first term. (It was the same year Vice President Mike Pence, then Indiana governor, had signed into law a “religious freedom” bill enabling businesses and individuals to refuse service to people for being LGBT.)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., speaks at the 2019 Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch. Blade photo by Michael Key

Soon after, met his future spouse, Chasten Buttigieg. The South Bend mayor said he found him when searching for dates on an Internet app, but joked it was “possibly not the app you’re thinking of.” “I clicked the button on the right,” Buttigieg said. “I had to meet him. And one of the best things about these last couple months has been watching America meet him too, and start to fall for Chasten just like I did.” Reflecting on Pence’s notorious antiLGBT history, Buttigieg had a message with respect to his marriage for the vice president. “I wish the Mike Pences of the world could understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, then your problem is not with me, your quarrel is with my creator,” Buttigieg said. But finding happiness with his spouse, Buttigieg said, was a long transformational process. He recalled during his youth, he would “have done anything to not be gay.” Buttigieg said the realization he’s gay started a “war” within him at the ages of “15, or 20, or frankly even 25” that if he had

lost would meant he “would not be standing here.” “If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water,” Buttigieg said. “That’s a hard thing to think about now.” Buttigieg added if he could’ve found the part within him that made him gay, he would’ve “cut it out with a knife.” That memory, Buttigieg said, isn’t just “awful to think about” because many youth have the same experience and hurt themselves “figuratively or literally,” but also because it would have meant he wouldn’t have found his spouse. “The best thing in my life, my marriage, might not have happened at all,” Buttigieg said, adding the relationship helped him upon the death of his father earlier this year. “Thank God there was no pill,” Buttigieg said. “Thank God there was no knife.” The crowd attending the Victory Fund brunch consisted of 820 people — predominately gay men — who each paid $250 for a ticket, according to the Victory Fund.

It was the second time Buttigieg had addressed the Victory Fund brunch in D.C., although during his previous appearance in 2017 — fresh from his unsuccessful candidacy as chair of the Democratic National Committee — he had significantly less notoriety than he does now. In terms of policy, Buttigieg talked about the need for a president to be “prepared to sign a federal Equality Act right away” to ban anti-LGBT discrimination and denounced President Trump’s transgender military ban. “The struggle is not over for our community, not by a long shot,” Buttigieg said. “And it is part of a struggle for freedom and fairness and a better life that goes far beyond the LGBTQ experience.” Building on the theme of freedom — a central component to his presidential campaign — Buttigieg said advancing LGBT rights is important because “every American struggles today to experience true freedom. Buttigieg has scheduled a major announcement for Sunday in South Bend, presumably that he is officially entering the 2020 race.



Bi Bruneian man speaks out against new penal code Death penalty for gays triggers protests, boycotts By MICHAEL K. LAVERS A bisexual man in Brunei on April 5 said his country’s new penal code that calls for the death penalty for anyone convicted of consensual same-sex sexual relations is “weaponizing religion.” “Our religion is one of peace and one of tolerance,” he told the Blade during a WhatsApp interview from Bandar Seri Bagawan, the Bruneian capital. “I don’t see it as righteous or pious … it’s weaponizing religion.” The death penalty provision of the penal code, which is based on Shariah law, took effect on April 3. The man with whom the Blade spoke said he identifies as a liberal Muslim and has been with his partner since 2018. He asked the Blade not to publish his name, and stressed his thoughts about the penal code are “personal and my own.” He said the new penal code has been “polarizing” in Brunei with “people who are strongly opposed to it.” He also told the Blade there are Bruneians who “support” it. “The reaction in general has been polarizing,” he said in a follow-up email. “There are those strongly opposed to it, and others in reverent support. But from what I see, those in support don’t seem to really know what they are supporting, at least not in a critical analytical sense.” “I don’t think they are fully aware of the political, socio-cultural and economic impacts these laws may present, or event worse, I don’t think they care,” he wrote. “As they are blinded and feel they will be protected by God for being a more pious nation.” The penal code, which also criminalizes apostasy and adultery, began to take effect in 2014. The man with whom the Blade spoke said the Bruneian government planned to implement the penal code in phases. He said the decision to implement the provision

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Brunei Photo by Bernard Spragg via Flickr

with the death penalty for homosexuality “seems very rushed.” “My reaction to the news is really just now of confusion,” he said. “Why now? After a five-year gap? And all at once?” Fewer than 500,000 people live in Brunei, a small, oil-rich country on the island of Borneo. The State Department last week said the penal code “runs counter to its international human rights obligations.” President Trump has yet to publicly condemn it, but gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is among those who have done so. More than three-dozen members of Congress on the same day in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the State Department and the Trump administration to “take a stronger role in condemning these actions and take every necessary step in protecting and promoting LGBTQ civil rights on the world stage.” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on April 1 said the penal code would encourage violence against gay Bruneians, women and religious minorities in the country. Ellen DeGeneres,

George Clooney and Elton John are among those who support calls to boycott the Beverly Hills Hotel and other properties that Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei owns. “We urge the government to uphold its obligations, to protect the rights and lives of its population,” said ILGA Asia in a statement it released on Wednesday. The man with whom the Blade spoke said he thinks the Bruneian government and most of the country’s residents are unaware “of the bigger repercussions of the law.” He acknowledged the boycott of hotels that Bolkiah owns, but added Brunei’s economy “is already on a downslide.” “Right now, it has been a serious challenge to expand the local job market and attract outside investors into the country,” he said. “With these laws in place, it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine such laws as discouraging to would-be investors. But I suppose that is why there has been more push to grow and upscale local business ventures.” He applauded the governments of New Zealand and other countries that have publicly condemned the penal code. He said

the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should follow suit. “Government pressure does help,” he added. The man with whom the Blade spoke said the Bruneian government has yet to use the new penal code against anyone accused of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual relations. He told the Blade his “behavior hasn’t changed since the whole thing started,” even though the Bruneian government has banned him from leaving the country because he publicly criticized Bolkiah on YouTube in 2015. He said his family has urged him to keep a low profile and not publicly speak about the penal code. “I try to live my life the most socially acceptable way that I can,” he said. “It’s both worse and better than what people expect here, but again it’s still early to say.” He said he and his partner have not received any threats since the penal code took effect. “We still go about our daily lives, but I don’t know how much that will change,” he told the Blade.



Will we elect a white gay man before a woman? Fawning media attention for Buttigieg, but not for female candidates

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

We are living in interesting times. We have a disgusting pig in the White House who constantly denigrates women as well as just about everyone else except white men. Then from all I am reading the press is currently swooning over a 37-year-old gay white mayor from South Bend, Ind., suggesting he could be elected president possibly before the many qualified women running. So you have to wonder: Do misogyny and sexism still rule the media and the Democratic political establishment? Are we mired in the past? It seems we just might be. I want to be clear for the first time in decades I have no favorite candidate as we head into the Democratic primaries. I either was with the incumbent or in 1980 wanted Ted Kennedy to win. In 1984, Walter Mondale; in 1988, Gary Hart. In 1992, after Mario Cuomo decided not to run, and in 1996 it was Bill Clinton; in 2000, Al Gore and in 2004 Wesley Clark. Then in 2008, it was

Hillary Clinton; in 2012 Barack Obama was the incumbent and in 2016 Hillary Clinton. Clearly my past choices show I am not always good at picking a winner. Other women besides Hillary Clinton have run for the nomination including Shirley Chisholm and Pat Schroeder. None achieved what Hillary did becoming the candidate of the party and actually getting 66 million votes; nearly three million more than Trump but losing the Electoral College vote. One important question was answered — yes a woman can win the popular vote. I grew up in a time when white men were running everything and it seems we have not moved all that far from those times. While polls at this time don’t mean much they show three white men leading for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke. Two tired old men and one who is interesting but has a long way to go to show the nation he has what it takes to be president. I worked for a leader in the women’s movement, Bella S. Abzug. I marched with her and fought for the ideas of feminism along with Gloria Steinem and Bella in the ‘70s. I fought to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and nearly 50 years later we still can’t pass this simple amendment to the Constitution that reads: Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3: This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification. Since we still can’t pass the ERA we are forced to look around and ask how far we

have really come. The reaction to and the press coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was a prime example of the misogyny and sexism that still exists in our country. I write this as an acknowledged cisgender gay white male of privilege and can only wonder what women must be thinking. I am dumbstruck when some don’t seem to care. How can they not care we elected an African-American man as president and are now talking about a gay white man as president and still no woman. Women are the majority in our country. For years they made up the volunteer forces that elected all the men. Don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for Barack Obama and think he made a really good president. As a gay man my respect for Pete Buttigieg and his intelligence and drive is boundless. He represents my community well. Yet I have to question why the women in the race who are smart, with longer, more impressive careers, aren’t gaining the fawning press he is. I haven’t endorsed a candidate and my only criteria is no one over 70 should be on the ticket. We must take the time to look at all the candidates over the next year. We are 10 months out from the first primary in Iowa. Much can happen between now and then and it seems we don’t even have the full field announced yet. But there are women like Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar who deserve real consideration. Will misogyny and sexism rule like in 2016? Will we choose a candidate because in some people’s minds a woman has been ruled out as the head of the ticket? Will the comment, “I want a woman, just not this one” rule the day once again? We can only hope the answer to that is a resounding no.

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10 great things about Mayor Pete He’s young, smart, loves dogs — and he’s the anti-Pence

Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer. He contributes regularly to the Blade.

America is falling in love with Pete Buttigieg. The gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., is in the exploratory phase in seeking the Democratic nomination for president. He’s finding himself, among a very crowded field, being taken very seriously. And from what I’ve seen and heard, he’s got a powerful combination of Kennedy youth, Bill Clinton’s ability to connect, and Obama intelligence that might prove unstoppable

during the primaries. He’s now promising a serious announcement this Sunday. And ahead of that, I’ve assembled 10 awesome things about Mayor Pete. Chasten Chasten Chasten! Let’s just start with the obvious, this guy would make a great First Gentleman. Often introducing Mayor Pete at events, husband Chasten has a smile for days. A school teacher, a social media phenom, Chasten Buttigieg’s warmheartedness and keen sense of humor makes a perfect match to Mayor Pete’s calm and modest style. Buddy the One-Eyed Dog. Chasten and Mayor Pete adopted a one-eyed shelter dog named Buddy. Buddy shares the home with Truman their other dog who currently has more Instagram followers than I do. ‘Ulysses,’ He Actually Read It. I’ve always contended that no one has ever actually read James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Even Mayor Pete contends that it’s a book that’s more ‘studied’ than ‘read.’ But it remains his favorite book, so I have to believe he’s indeed the only one. But gays have been known to connect with Ulysses and lines like “. ..think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest

way home.” Mayor Pete’s memoir is titled “The Shortest Way Home.” For all I know, he could have read “Ulysses” in Norwegian. Did I Mention He Speaks Norwegian? Last month he was caught talking to a Norwegian reporter in fluent Norwegian. Apparently he’s a polyglot. And I am clearly not because I had to Google that word. Mayor Pete speaks Farsi, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, and (no kidding) Maltese. Stack this up with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania who at best speaks .75 languages and only reads at a fourth-grade level according to a recent study. He’s Adorable. He’s just adorable. I mean, his political meet-and-greets are called “Pete and Greets.” And He’s Unashamedly Christian. Last weekend as he toured the Sunday political news circuit, Mayor Pete took Trump, Pence, and their evangelical supporters to task, calling them out pointblank on their hypocrisy. If you’re like me and are simply tired of conservatives acting as they own Christianity, this sort of rhetoric comes as welcome relief. And he’s a veteran. Mayor Pete was commissioned an officer in the Navy Reserve

in 2009. He was even deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, that is, during his term as mayor of South Bend. If elected president, he’d be the first veteran to do so since George H.W. Bush. Important, considering conservatives have seemingly claimed patriotism with the same vigor as they have done religion. And that makes him the anti-Trump. Soft spoken, intelligent, dedicated — many, many things about Mayor Pete make him the anti-Trump. And the anti-Pence, too. If Mayor Pete doesn’t secure the nomination, him securing a spot on the ticket is a very real possibility. And wouldn’t it be great to match up two Indiana boys for that spot? One, an openly gay veteran against the other, the current Vice President who happens to be the most homophobic politician this country has ever produced. That’s a match up I’d like to see. And he’s just 37. So if it’s not his time right now, there’s still plenty of time. But whatever shakes out during this process, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about Mayor Pete.

Tanya Saracho’s dream ‘Vida’ visionary honored for her work mentoring youth By SUSAN HORNIK

Mentoring is one of the most important experiences a young person can ever have. Which is why veteran playwright and television writer Tanya Saracho is grateful to the I Have A Dream Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all children have the opportunity to pursue higher education, fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams. Saracho, who identifies as queer, serves as creator, showrunner and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series “Vida,” and is humbled by all of her success. “It takes one person to nurture and that’s the reason why I am here,” Saracho says at a recent fundraising gala where she was honored. “This organization is incredible. It makes a difference, if you have someone hold your hand through things and encourage you at a formative time, that can truly change their life.” Saracho has already had an amazing career. She was named Best New Playwright by Chicago Magazine and has had plays produced at New York City’s Primary Stages and 2nd Stage, as well as Victory Gardens Theatre, The Denver Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Saracho’s television credits include “How to Get Away with Murder,” HBO’s gay best friend series “Looking,” “Girls” and “Devious Maids.” “Vida” returns for a second season May 6 on Starz and will feature all Latina directors, including Saracho, who will make her television directorial debut. As was the case in season one, the series will have a writing staff






comprised of all Latinx writers. Saracho has been thrilled with the reception fans have given the series, which is expanding to 10 episodes in season two. “When we first started out, we were introducing our characters to the world, and now we can get a bit more in-depth,” she says. “So, now, we have the luxury of a little bit more space, so people can sort of really live in their stories and we can introduce new characters.” Named one of “TV Scribes to Watch” by Variety in 2018, Saracho was recently awarded the New Voice Award by Final Draft. “Vida” also won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and was honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition with the 2019 Impact Award. The series won the Audience Award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and will make its season two premiere as an Official Selection of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Look for the two sisters, Emma and Lynn, to find a way to work together to bring this bar back up from the ashes and have it running again, Saracho says. “It’s hard to make a living owning a bar and when it’s a family-run business it can get even more challenging.” Non-binary actor Ser Anzoategui, who plays the still-grieving Eddy on the show, is dealing with the after effects of her homophobic attack and is in the hospital. “Broken ribs, a hip that’s displaced, all beat up and that shakes your spirit, too,” Saracho says. “She is dealing with where is she going to convalesce. She is figuring out what part she plays with this family. Is she part of them? Does she have the right to be there with

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them? It’s all about negotiating the first part of the season and then accepting them in a specific way.” Saracho doesn’t believe audiences have accepted seeing more non-binary characters on television. “I don’t think people understand gender nonconforming, non-binary identities. Ser allowed us to cast them as female. I have not seen much depictions of non-binary people. There are not enough narratives out there.” Saracho would also love to see more nonbinary actors hired too. “It would be great to see more creators and show runners dare to put non-binary characters and stories onscreen. They exist, people need to look. Hopefully, people will be more inclusive about their storytelling.” Saracho is ambitious, hard at work for her upcoming project for Starz, “Brujas,” which is about four Afro Latinx witches, that is currently in development. “I also want to shepherd other projects,” she says. “So like a Native American ‘Vida,’esque series with a full Native American cast. I am from the border of Texas, I would love proper border narratives that tell a story. I feel like everything there is such an enigma, and unless you are from the area, and know the two-tongue reality, you don’t really understand. I have so many stories I want to tell.” Saracho is also involved in activism, working with America Ferrara’s immigration organization. “The world is becoming less tolerant and we must fight back with love.”





From left are Chelsea Rendon, Tanya Saracho and Mishel Prada at the I Have a Dream event on March 31. Photo by Jordan Horowitz








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‘Blowin’ Up’ movie stereotypes Triple whammy of female-fronted films powerful, memorable By JOHN PAUL KING

Judi Dench in ‘Red Joan.’ Photo courtesy IFC Films

Menashe Noy, Oshri Cohen and Liron Ben-Shlush in ‘Working Woman.’ Photo courtesy Zeitgeist Films

The intersectionality between women’s issues and those facing LGBT people is something that has rarely gotten much attention on the big screen, but with increased sharing of long-ignored experience and stories within our common cultural spaces has come a growing awareness of just how much they have in common. In April, a trio of movies that focus on the plight of women in a world weighted by tradition against them will be gracing screens in L.A., offering three distinct opportunities to contemplate the commonalities of these two widely diverse communities and foster a sense of solidarity between two groups that can only be stronger when united in common cause. The first of these is “Blowin’ Up” (out today), a documentary exploring the criminalization of sex work and its devastating effect on an entire, diverse segment of the female population. It looks at the United States’ first problem-solving court around prostitution — created in Queens County, N.Y., in 2004, and presided over by the Honorable Toko Serita — as it attempts to redress the way women and young girls arrested for prostitution are shuffled through the criminal justice system. With unparalleled access to the workings of the court, director Stephanie Wang-Breal captures what it feels like to go through these criminal proceedings as a female defendant and reveals how the overwhelming majority of women arrested are undocumented Asian immigrants, black, Latina and transgender youth. She lets us hear directly from these women in their own words and helps us begin to understand the complex scenarios that bring them into the courtroom. As the film progresses and a new administration takes over in the White House in 2016, the courtroom’s fragile ecosystem is tested and the fates of those who pass through become less certain. Though the film was conceived and shot before the SESTA/FOSTA act was signed into law by the Trump administration, relegating millions of sex workers of all genders who had empowered themselves through the internet back to the potential dangers of returning to the streets to make their living, Wang-Breal reveals, through her candid and intimate coverage, how legally encoded stigmatization creates existential hardship not just for women in general, but for a diverse array of populations within that larger community. Another film, “Working Woman” (also out today), is an Israeli drama from filmmaker Michal Aviad that explores the #MeToo experience through the perspective of Orna, (Liron Ben Shlush), a mother of three young children with a husband struggling to start his own restaurant. Returning to the workplace to help support her family, she lands a job with a former army superior (Menashe Noy) who is now a successful real estate developer. As Orna embraces her new position and tries to balance its demands with her home life, she begins to experience escalating sexual harassment from her boss and her increasing financial success seems tied parallel a pattern of predatory behavior that ultimately brings her career and marital relationship to the brink. Aviad, known as a longtime feminist, has created a provocative and politically charged film that finds strength in the nuances of its layered story. Through complex

performances and well-crafted writing (Aviad collaborated with Sharon Azulay Eyal on the screenplay), her movie unfolds in little moments that paint a compelling portrait of sexual harassment and the devastation it wreaks on three entangled characters, finally building with precision to a surprising ending. Though its story is about a straight woman, the situation it addresses is all too common for LGBT people and strikes a universal chord of recognition that makes it hard not to find an access point into its humane and empathetic look at the subject. Timely and devastating, this thoughtful and penetrating look at the toxic effects of a culture that commodifies sexuality in the workplace made waves at both the Jerusalem and Toronto International Film Festivals, as well as festivals in Warsaw, Chicago and Philadelphia. It’s in Hebrew with subtitles. Finally, in “Red Joan” (out April 19), the formidable Judi Dench stars as an elderly widow living out a quiet retirement in the suburbs when she is arrested by the British Secret Service and charged with treason for decades of sharing nuclear secrets with the Soviet government. Based on the true story of a woman who was exposed and named as a “traitor” by the Secret Service in 2000, the movie reveals the dramatic events that shaped her life and beliefs, from her days challenging sexist expectations as a physics student at Cambridge, through the tumult and heartbreak of an affair with a dashing political radical to the devastation of World War II and the atmosphere of mistrust and paranoia which came in its wake. As directed by British theater legend Trevor Nunn, who draws on his stage-born instincts for finding the human drama at the heart of a story, it’s a movie that functions as both political thriller and romantic melodrama. Nunn, working from a screenplay by Lindsay Shapero, interweaves Joan’s present-day scenes as she struggles to defend herself to her interrogators with the flashback saga of her becoming the longest-active Soviet agent in the U.K. Building the narrative of both timelines together serves to illuminate the conflicts between patriotism and idealism, love and duty, courage and betrayal that ultimately inspire Joan to risk everything in pursuit of world peace over nationalist politics, ultimately framing her as a woman who spent a lifetime being underestimated while quietly changing the course of history. Dench is, of course, riveting as the lifelong spy caught at last, effectively making the case for the noble intentions behind Joan’s choice to “betray” her country, but it’s Sophie Cookson, who stars as the younger Joan, that brings to life the passion that makes them noble feel like truth. Together, they convey the strength and perseverance it takes for a woman to endure, much less triumph, in a male-dominated world that insists on seeing her only as secretary, wife, mother or grandmother. It’s also worth noting, without giving anything away, that the movie features a crucial subplot involving Joan’s friendship with a gay man who’s closeted by necessity in a country where homosexuality is deemed a criminal offense. By offering a glimpse at how living under an oppressive system often pits should-be allies against one another, “Red Joan” adds a layer of observation that seems particularly apt within our current political climate.

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Hollywood’s original ‘it’ girl New Louise Brooks biopic is from ‘Downton Abbey’ creator By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Elizabeth Mcgovern and Blythe Danner in ‘The Chaperone.’ Photo by Barry Wetcher; courtesy PBS Distribution



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Louise Brooks need a chaperone. The 15 year old from Wichita, Kan., has just been accepted to train with the acclaimed Denishawn Dancers in New York City. Fame and fortune await, but her parents insist she needs someone to protect her from the evils of the city. Luckily, staid society matron Norma Carlisle is available for the job. Beneath her starchy façade, Norma has her own reasons to get out of Wichita. She’s haunted by memories of her infancy in a New York City orphanage and wants to track down her true identity. She’s also fleeing a queer sexual scandal that could destroy her family’s reputation (no spoilers here). That’s the set-up for “The Chaperone,” the latest cinematic outing from “Downtown Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes. He’s reunited with star Maureen McGovern and director Michael Engler for a refined exploration of Jazz Age passion that has some tasty surprises for LGBT fans of period drama. With style and heart. the movie shows how the summer they reluctantly spend together will change the lives of both women. While studying under Ruth St. Denis and “Papa” Ted Shawn, Louise begins to flex her artistic and erotic muscles and quickly becomes the epitome of the 1920s flapper. After the credits roll, she becomes a sensation on Broadway and in Hollywood before becoming an international pansexual screen goddess in the classic silent German films of G.W. Pabst. Norma also becomes a rebel in her own right. Before returning to Wichita and establishing her own unconventional household, she discovers the truth about her birth mother and reignites her own passions. For fans of PBS period drama, “The Chaperone” will be sheer perfection. Fellowes’ adaptation of Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel is elegant and economical. The dialogue is crisp and sharp, the characters are quickly established and clearly drawn and the complex themes are presented with an assured and gentle insistence. The epilogue is an unexpected gem. Out director Michael Engler makes the entire production look lovely and effortless. The movie has a confident flow and a great eye for period detail (especially corsets, both as costume pieces and metaphors). The acting is, of course, sublime. Maureen McGovern shines as Norma. Even at her most dour, Norma is filled with deep concern for her wayward charge and a nascent sense of social injustice. Like Louise, audiences will be surprised and delighted by Norma’s hidden passions and sly humor. Haley Lu Richardson (M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split”) is delightful as Louise. She beautifully captures the spirit of a young woman poised on the brink of international stardom who’s not quite as innocent as she should be but not nearly as naughty as she thinks she is. The strong supporting cast includes a charming Géza Röhrig (“Son of Saul”) as the German handyman who helps Norma in her quest, Campbell Scott (“Longtime Companion”) as Norma’s husband, a delightful Victoria Hill as Louise’s musical mother, Miranda Otto (“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) and Robert Fairchild as the somewhat bohemian dance instructors and a stern Blythe Danner as Mary O’Dell, a mysterious Irish visitor. There are also wonderful cameos from Matt McGrath, Jane Houdyshell and Lilias White. For LGBT fans of “Downton Abbey,” “The Chaperone” is an exquisite morsel of art, scandal and uplift that will help pass the time until the television serial makes its big screen debut this fall. For LGBT cinephiles who like their Jazz Age a little less refined and want to experience Louise Brooks in all her decadent splendor, both “Pandora’s Box” and “Diary of a Lost Girl” are available online.

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APRIL ——— 25 – 27, 8:30PM



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As a survivor of New York’s ever evolving cultural landscape, unclassifiable performer and living legend John Kelly, adds his voice to our interrupted cultural and generational dialogue. By combining his 40+ years of journal writing with movement, video, and song Kelly beautifully reflects on his experiences in New York’s gender performance art scene during the 1980’s AIDS crisis.

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Doing Dinah Shore A Big Dyke romp in the desert By CHRISANNE EASTWOOD

The scene at this year’s Dinah. Photo courtesy Chrisanne Eastwood

Dinah Shore Weekend, the annual Palm Springs lez/bi/queer/femme/butch/boi/etc. she-spree has long surpassed its humble fourdykes-in-a-camper-driving-cross-country-towatch-some-LPGA-golf beginnings. It is now a multi-venue circuit of full-throttle, dripping wet girlie parties and head-banging concerts. The gals heading to the desert are pierced, tatted and primed to get seriously crunk with their crushes. And I think I might have finally outgrown it. I tried hard. H, my GMB (gay male bestie), came with me because a. he had never been to Palm Springs and b. he still had no idea what lesbians do together. Plus he said he’d hold back my hair if he had to. The drive in from L.A. was long, slow and hot. “Like my men,” H quipped. Ugh. I blasted Nancy Sinatra singing “Sugar Town” because she and I are Twitter buddies and Palm Springs was definitely Papa Frank’s kinda town. I felt more ring-a-ding-ding than nose ring, but wanted to look hip for the kids. Thank goodness I packed my caftans from Ross Dress For Less. Brightly patterned polyester levels any playing field. Because I wasn’t ready to get my freak on yet, our first stop was the Palm Springs Visitors Center. We needed a map to see how the old, glamorous other half lived and played. It was DEAD MOVIE STARS’ time! In the golden age, Palm Springs was known as “Hollywood’s Playground,” an oasis from the heartless cruelty of Tinsel Town. Countless stars had desert hideaways where they could both rest and play, often while the spouse was back in Beverly minding the kiddies. Valleywood. The area west of Palm Canyon Drive between Vista Chino and Alejo is a target rich environment for celebrity hovels. H was too busy with Grindr to be my navigator, so I both drove AND read the map and nearly coasted into Zsa Zsa Gabor’s backyard. Dahlink, vat a vunderful surprise! We started with the queer-friendly folk: Dinah Shore, Liberace, Debbie Reynolds, Randolph Scott. Gorgeous one stories with crazy angles and lines. Like living in Legos. Then we slithered to Scandal. We teared up at the secret love nest of Spencer and Katharine Hepburn. We mourned at the house of Gable and Lombard, a great love cut short by tragedy. Gallows humor dominated our visit to Peter Lawford’s hide-a-hump — the spot where JFK first met and def hooked up with Marilyn Monroe. Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse were street mates (imagine those Key Parties)! We swiveled our hips at the honeymoon shangrila of Elvis and Priscilla where I wowed German tourists with my Elvis impersonation! For our finale, we crossed Palm Canyon on Alejo and

bowed to the original Frank Sinatra house, now on the National Register of Historic Places and available to rent! This lady was a tramp. Next stop, The Dinah. I dumped H in the shopping district, put on my glitziest caftan, and and said, ‘lez go.” Since 1991, The Dinah, billed as “the largest and most famous lesbian/queer girl party in the world” by its creator Mariah Hansen, has dominated the scene. With an emphasis on breaking new music artists, The Dinah 2019 teemed with dykes and queer girls, a few oldsters like me, and kick-ass performers. Rap and hip hop artists including Kodie Shane, Snow Tha Product, Bri Steves, Leikeli47, pop’s Dorian Electra and Grammy-winning headliner Daya wowed the young, grinding, lit and loving it crowds, both poolside and at the Palm Springs Convention center. The Dinah is still The King for the Queens. But. It was a little loud for me. Just sayin.’ And I had no idea what they were saying/ singing. But the beats were infectious. I bounced. I did. I bounced. Fortune Feimster, the lesbian comic breakout star from “Chelsea Lately,” “The Mindy Project” and “Office Christmas Party” headlined The Dinah Comedy Night. Feimster killed with her southern coming-out tales as the totes mixedaged crowd howled their approval. She said it was a “page out of my journal” kind of night. Made me want to read the whole damn thing. The Dinah was not the only party in town for me to crash. Krave Spring Break, a hip-hop infused pool splash took over The Saguaro Hotel. DJs and dancers had the place vibrating day and night. Kittens, Carisma, Lazy Eye, Siya, Young Ezee and Knoxx worked the crowds. Channel Q radio boomed in the lobby. Vendors hawked T-shirts and sex toys. Poolside balconies flew Pride flags, Xmas lights, sponsorship banners. The water was filled with beach balls and dykes. There were many more big girls than at The Dinah, so I felt more at home with zaftig sisters. And get this: I even saw some — gasp — boys! We’ve come a long way, baby. But I wanted to go where it all started: Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Since 1972, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has held a professional golf tournament here. And, since 1972, fans of women’s golf, including a whole lot of lesbians, have been coming to watch it. Walking around the storied 18th green at Mission Hills, I saw dads instructing their daughters, men chuckling about “girls playing golf,” legions of family members silently cheering their golfing kin. Continues at losangelesblade.com

APRIL 12, 2019 • 25


First Gay-Bi Men’s Prostate Cancer Treatment Study Launched By MORGAN WRIGHT

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be very frightening. There’s the fear and stigma that goes with having cancer, plus treatment can have major effects on men’s sexual and urinary function. When you’re gay or bisexual, you can also feel very isolated both from other gay men and from straight men with prostate cancer. As Dr. Simon Rosser, principal investigator of the Restore study, explains, “When my husband was diagnosed, I couldn’t believe so little was known about prostate cancer in gay men. After all, this is the most common cancer affecting all men, including us. But we don’t talk about it, many clinics feel very heterosexual, and for many of us, prostate cancer carries a stigma. We can feel old, sexually broken, and alone.” Now, that’s about to change. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have teamed up with gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer to develop a rehabilitation program designed specifically for our community. The Restore I team spent two years interviewing gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer. Those interviews, combined with a comprehensive survey, documented the effects of treatment. They found that while gay and bi men have similar challenges to heterosexual men, there are some additional challenges as well. Most men reported urinary incontinence, with almost half of the participants reporting some urine problems during sex. Weak or no erections, no ejaculation, and difficulties in receptive sex were almost universal problems. It also became clear that there was no standard treatment for these very common symptoms. While some doctors did recommend treatments, the recommendations were all over the board. As Dr. Rosser notes, “We need to know what works and doesn’t work in helping men restore their function. An evidence-based, rehabilitation program that works for gay and bisexual men will transform treatment.”

The resulting study, RESTORE II, an evaluation of the treatment of prostate cancer side effects in gay and bisexual men, is now recruiting participants. To Dr. Rosser, this is among the most exciting studies funded by NIH. “It’s both and honor and truly exciting to be part of the first study in an area. This kind of research really takes a team effort. Our team includes a urologist, oncologist, urinary specialist, gay sex experts, computer scientist, psychologist, statistician, health communication folk, online interventionist, social worker, support network, nurse and clinician. Together, we have developed a start-of-the art, rehabilitation curriculum based on gay and bisexual men’s experience in treatment. Now, we need to test if and how it works. A major challenge in prostate cancer treatment is that rehabilitation takes time. For that reason, participants in this study will be followed for two years. As is common in a randomized controlled study, half the participants will receive the new treatment – a combination of drugs, behavioral exercises, an online guide to good gay sex following prostate cancer treatment, individual coaching and social support; while half will be asked to continue whatever they have been doing up to now. “This study is designed to test what works in improving treatment for gay and bisexual men. We have an amazing opportunity to advance treatment, not just for gay men, but potentially for all men with prostate cancer,” says Rosser. The study is enrolling guys right now. Rosser adds, “The best way to get into contact with my team is through phone or email. You can contact us by calling 612-568-8860 or send an email to restorestudy@umn.edu. “ The Restore Study is a National Institutes of Health- funded study through the University of Minnesota. Reach out through email (restorestudy@umn.edu) or phone number (612-568-8860)

Are you a gay or bisexual man who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer? Join the first study on prostate cancer rehabilitation designed for and by our community.

Visit restorestudy.umn.edu to learn more and take the eligibility survey Email: restorestudy@umn.edu Phone: 612-568-8860 NIH grant #1RO1CA218657-01



Easy on the gas Latest fuel-friendly models are chic, peppy By JOE PHILLIPS


Hybrids. Plug-ins. Electric vehicles. Even most traditional gas engines now sip gas rather than guzzle it. Yup, it’s easy to be green these days. Here are three faves. CHRYSLER PACIFICA PLUG-IN HYBRID $40,000 Mpg: 32 city/33 highway Zero-60 mph: 7.4 seconds

Sometimes what walks like a duck and quacks like a duck turns out to be, well, no ugly duckling. So it is with the Chrysler Pacifica, targeted directly at soccer moms and dads, but with eye-catching styling and deft handling. As a gearhead who is no minivan fan, I was bowled over with how well the Pacifica handled tight corners and twisty switchbacks. Step on the gas, and this hybrid bursts forward — such is the beauty of electric motors. And when the V6 gas engine kicks in, the acceleration is smooth and peppy. This is one hunky hauler that thinks it’s a dashing Dodge Charger, not a plus-sized ride. That sportsedan motif continues in the second row, where there are bolstered captain’s chairs instead of a bench seat. Alas, this means less room for passengers. And because the battery pack is stored beneath the footwell, there are no foldaway second-row seats or convenient vacuum-cleaner system like in the traditional Pacifica. But the user-friendly cabin can be decked out with all the bells and whistles, including 20-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, dual 10-inch touchscreens for rear-seat infotainment and a tri-pane panoramic sunroof that stretches the length of a soccer field (or so it seems). Sure, this hybrid costs more than a traditional gas-model Pacifica, but EV tax credits bring the price down. Plus, you get bragging rights: No other automaker makes a hybrid plug-in minivan. FORD FUSION ENERGI PLUG-IN HYBRID $37,000 Mpg: 43 city/41 highway Zero-60 mph: 8.5 seconds

Ford will stop producing sedans in the coming years, focusing instead on pickups and crossover SUVs. So why consider the automaker’s latest midsizer, the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid? Three reasons: It’s a great plug-in hybrid, there are oodles of green vehicles in showrooms (so salespeople are willing to deal) and discontinued vehicles have a way of staging a comeback (Ford Ranger or Toyota Supra, anyone?). The Fusion is nicely styled, with a front end that mirrors a $250,000 Aston Martin Rapide super sedan. The Fusion’s interior may not be as upscale, but it’s more dapper than a Toyota Prius plug-in. Almost every safety and comfort feature is here, including pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, 10-way heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, smartphone integration and more. But for some reason, the power moonroof is an option instead of a standard feature. And the battery eats up half the trunk, leaving just 8 cubic feet for storage. Still, the satisfaction here is knowing you can trek 588 miles without having to fill up or recharge.



HYUNDAI IONIQ EV $31,000 Range: 124 miles Zero-60 mph: 8.9 seconds

For over three decades, Hyundai has been on the cutting edge, building trendy, reliable vehicles at affordable prices. Now the South Korean automaker has built the iconic Ionic, a dedicated green machine available in three configurations: hybrid, hybrid plug-in or electric. While the hybrid model boasts 58 mpg, the electric can travel up to 124 miles before recharging. And Hyundai plans to increase the battery pack soon, further improving driving range. All three models look similar, though only the electric has a glossy black grille and distinct taillights. Inside, large control knobs and high-resolution infotainment screen are a plus, but a low roof line and raised rear seats mean backseat passengers can feel squished. Still, there’s plenty of room in the front seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddles shifters helps you weave effortlessly through traffic. The Ioniq takes aim at the similarly priced Toyota Prius — no slouch in the eco wars — which comes as a hybrid or plug-in (there is no Prius EV). Both the Ioniq and Prius adopt the same (and to me, annoying) split rear-window setup that hinders driver visibility. While the Prius seems a bit quieter inside, the Ioniq offers a better warranty and lifetime battery coverage. Such competition should lead to even more green vehicles in the future.

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‘The View,’ Ru and Renee Taylor New book captures bitchy backstage drama on chatfest By BILLY MASTERS

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters on “The View.’ file photo courtesy NBC

“Let’s see how long I last.” — Patti LuPone says of her latest venture as a member of Twitter. Her first Tweet? “Contain me with only 280 characters? Fuck that.” All that with 240 characters to spare. If you’re anything like me (and I believe many of you are), you have been waiting with bated breath for the tell-all book about “The View.” “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View’” could only have been written by a gay man. That gay man, Ramin Setoodeh, had unprecedented access to virtually every member of the talk show, both behind and in front of the camera. He had previously written various pieces for Variety, Vanity Fair and other publications. Once the book was announced, virtually everyone was willing to go on the record; the only holdouts of note were Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Even to someone like me who has had more access than most to the inner workings of ABC’s venerable daytime drama, much of this was news. Quotes by Barbara Walters herself, executive producer Bill Geddie and others will shock and titillate you. One of the biggest scandals recounted in the book stems from the time after Meredith had left, Star had been fired and Rosie had yet to début as moderator (although she was backstage). On the panel with Barbara that day were Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and guest host Lisa Loeb. The prime “Hot Topic” was that the morning-after pill had been approved by the FDA. Hasselbeck made it clear in the pre-show meeting that she was passionately against the pill. Alas, her passion was a bit out of control. Lizzie got more vitriolic than Walters was comfortable with and the grande dame attempted several times to calm things down. Finally, Walter scolded, “Could you stop now? We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way.” The show went to commercial, Elisabeth quickly left the set and first erupted to Behar, forgetting, of course, that they all still had their mikes on. “Fuck that! I’m not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air!” Joy attempted to calm her down, but Elisabeth kept complaining about “that woman,” and stormed off to her dressing room saying she quit. Meanwhile, a producer told Barbara (who was also still miked) that Elisabeth wouldn’t come back on the air. “She has to! Bill, she has to. This is why we shouldn’t have done this discussion.” Then Behar came back and confirmed the news. Barbara’s response? “Well, that’s ridiculous.” Geddie darted downstairs to Hasselbeck’s dressing room to avert a disaster. Bear in mind, it’s only a three-minute commercial break. He does some fast talking, lying, cajoling and gets her to return, with Barbara alternately apologizing and defending herself. In case anyone doubts the veracity of this combustible scene, turns out that “someone” made a copy of the audio from everyone’s mikes in the sound booth. To hear it all transpire in real time, check out billymasters.com. It was announced last week that RuPaul will be getting a daytime talk show. FOX announced that the daytime “RuPaul” show will get a three-week trial run starting June 10. This is an idea the network has tried several times in the past with attempts to launch shows with people like Kris Jenner and Fran Drescher. Good luck. Speaking of our favorite “Nanny,” I caught up with Fran last week at the opening of Renée Taylor’s onewoman show “My Life on a Diet” at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills. Fran (accompanied by her dashing ex-hubby Peter Marc Jacobson) enthusiastically talked about her upcoming return to sitcom television. A pilot of “Uninsured” was ordered by NBC and the cast just had its first table read. “And everyone is so nice,” gushed Fran. “If it’s not going to be fun, why bother?” And she sure knows about fun — Drescher has been on the road lately performing her own show, “Schmoozing with Fran Drescher.” She spends half of the show onstage alone telling stories. And then Peter comes out to interview her and also take questions from the audience. I have heard the show has been a smash hit on the road, so much so that she’s gonna be at Town Hall in Provincetown this summer, courtesy of Rick Murray and The Crown & Anchor. You can grab tickets for the August 10 show at onlyatthecrown.com. Back to Renée Taylor. Quite simply, she’s a national treasure. What a lady! The 86 year old effortlessly weaves her way through a lifetime of struggles with her weight, which mirrored many of the other struggles in her life and career. Ironically, once she accepted herself, fame, fortune and love arrived at roughly the same time. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. The love Taylor has for the audience was reciprocated by the capacity audience, led by Drescher and other members of “The Nanny” cast. Also in the crowd were veteran actors Hal Linden and Barbara Eden, who recently appeared together in “Love Letters.” “My Life on a Diet” is in the midst of a national tour. It plays here in Beverly Hills through the weekend. For more dates and info, check out mylifeonadietplay.com. Do you have a spare $100 million? If so, you could buy Grindr. Yes, the popular “gay dating” app is for sale and not necessarily by choice. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has ruled that the ownership of the California-based app by a Chinese gaming company is a security risk. Apparently, the government is concerned that the personal data of users could be compromised. When I’m the only one who hasn’t been compromised on Grindr, it’s time to end yet another column. If you have a question, send it along to billy@billymasters.com and I promise to get back to you before China offers me millions for my website! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.




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N.M. guv signs law decriminalizing minor pot possession

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation into law decriminalizing the possession of personal use amounts of cannabis. Senate Bill 323, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses, or in situations where the defendant possesses greater amounts of marijuana, will remain punishable by the possibility of jail time. Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana.

Guam legalizes adult marijuana use

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation into law decriminalizing possession of personal use amounts of cannabis.

HAGATNA, Guam — Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has signed legislation legalizing the personal possession of marijuana by adults, and establishing regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. Guam is a U.S. territory with an estimated population of 165,000 people. Upon signing the measure into law, the governor announced, “We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society. We have to take it and control it, monitor its use and effects, benefit from its medicinal efforts, allow our people to live in a safer environment.” The Cannabis Industry Act (Bill No. 32-35) permits those age 21 or older to legally possess and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana flower and/or eight grams of concentrated cannabis. The measure, which took immediate effect, also permits adults to privately cultivate up to six cannabis plants (no more than three mature) in an “enclosed, locked space.” Public consumption of cannabis will remain a violation of law. The act creates a new regulatory board to draft rules governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. The board has a one-year timeline to adopt rules necessary to permit for the operation of licensed cannabis establishments. Lawmakers resolved that the policy change “enhances individual freedom, promotes the efficient use of law enforcement resources, [and] ... enhances revenue for public purposes.” Guam joins the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island as the second U.S. territory to legislatively enact adult use marijuana legalization.

Fewer Colo. companies sanctioning employees over marijuana failures DENVER — The percentage of Colorado companies that engage in pre-employment screening for cannabis is declining, as is the percentage of businesses that impose policies calling for the dismissal of employers who test positive for THC metabolites on a drug screen, according to survey data compiled by the Denver-based Employers Collective. According to the survey, only 48 percent of Colorado companies with “well defined” drug testing policies will fire an employee for a first-time positive test result for cannabis — down from 53 percent in 2014. Five percent of companies surveyed reported having dropped marijuana from their preemployment testing within the past two years. “What we’re seeing here is basically it’s (concerns about employees misusing marijuana in the workplace) a nonissue,” an attorney for the group said. Standard workplace drug screening identifies the presence of inert drug metabolites (breakdown products), but not the active drug itself. Carboxy-THC, the most common metabolite of THC, may be detectable in urine for weeks or even months following previous marijuana exposure.

W.Va. guv signs marijuana banking measure CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation into law facilitating banking access to licensed medical cannabis businesses. The law takes immediate effect. House Bill 2538, states, “The Commissioner of Financial Institutions shall not prohibit, penalize, incentivize, or otherwise impair a financial institution from providing services to a person or entity involved in a medical cannabis-related business functioning under the Medical Cannabis Act.” West Virginia legalized medical cannabis access in 2016, but the program is yet to be operational. Federal law discourages banks and other financial institutions from engaging in relationships with marijuana-related businesses. Cannabis news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Learn more at norml.org.

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