Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 27, July 5, 2019

Page 1








A M E R I C A’ S







Kamala Harris enjoys San Francisco Pride parade Democratic presidential candidate faces new ‘birtherism’ attacks By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com While the eyes of the nation might be focused on WorldPride in New York City commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, lots of political eyes were on San Francisco where newly surging Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris rode in the Pride parade. The junior senator from California, who has regularly participated in Pride since she was district attorney, was decked out in a shiny rainbowcolored jacket, an abrupt welcomed departure from her black pantsuit uniform. Before the parade she —and Speaker Nancy Pelosi—attended the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club breakfast. “We need

Sen. Kamala Harris in San Francisco Pride parade June 30. Photo by Kate Waters via Twitter

to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump!” San Francisco Examiner Joe Fitz Rodriguez reported on Twitter. “@KamalaHarris tore into @ realDonaldTrump’s “rap sheet” against LGBTQ cmty at an #SFPride #Pride2019 breakfast this morning, including banning

trans people from serving, silence on hate crimes, & more,” he reported. What’s the significance of Pride to you?” MSNBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard asked Harris as he walked alongside her moving car along the parade route. “For years and years—to celebrate the fight for equality, for the diversity, for inclusion. This is about fighting for civil rights. It’s about celebrating the accomplishments we’ve achieved but also knowing we have work ahead,” Harris said. And, Hillyard continued, compared to Donald Trump, who could be your Republican rival, what is the significance of your presence? “Well, this is a town that gave birth in many ways to the movement for LGBTQ equality,” Harris said. “And we have a current occupant of the White House who has been silent on so many issues that have included an increase in hate crime, a policy that has been about excluding and kicking out transgender men and women from the

military who have dedicated a life of service to fight for our and defend our democracy. You could go on and on. And so I think this is a moment where everyone knows we want to have champions for equality in our country and we don’t currently have that in the White House.” Harris concluded by wishing Hillyard: “Happy Pride! Happy Pride!” But Harris is not yet the Democratic presidential nominee so she was riding in an open car, welcoming fans without Secret Service protection – at the same time cable news was reporting on how Donald Trump Jr. re-tweeted an alt right troll’s ugly version of birtherism. “Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves,” Ali Alexander tweeted. “She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.” Trump campaign surrogate Don Jr. tweeted: “Is this true? Wow.” He eventually deleted the tweet after it had been widely shared.

Conservative gay journalist attacked covering Portland protest Andy Ngo appears targeted by antifa group By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Portland, Ore., is gaining a reputation as a flashpoint for violent encounters between far right and far left wing demonstrators and riot police. On June 29, Portland police dealt with three demonstrations of left-wingers antifa—which In the FBI labeled “domestic terrorists” in 2017 — protesting rightwingers Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed an extremist white nationalist group. All three groups apparently espouse violence as a tactic of protest. In one demonstration, as captured on video shot by The Oregonian’s Jim Ryan, a swarm of mask-wearing antifa activists surround conservative gay journalist Andy Ngo, editor at Quillette, punching him in the face and throwing milkshakes and other objects at him as he fled the scene.

Andy Ngo in the emergency room. Via his Twitter account

Portland police later tweeted that there were reports that the milkshakes contained quick-drying cement. While Ngo is well known in conservative media circles for covering antifa, The Oregonian describes him as “a right-leaning provocateur with online news and opinion outlet Quillette.” Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer tweeted: “Andy Ngo intentionally provokes people on the left to

drive his content. Being attacked today on video taken by an actual journalist (because Ngo is definitely not) is the greatest thing that could have happened to his career.” But Ngo is also a friend of gay conservative U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who has asked the Justice Department to investigate the attack. “This is a pre-meditated attack on someone because intolerant radicals don’t like that Andy happens to be gay, Asian and conservative.

They targeted him publicly before their protest. Mayor @tedwheeler knew this was coming. The people of Oregon must speak up today.” Apparent antifa fan Jarvis Dupont headlined his piece for the Spectator: “Conservative snowflake Andy Ngo can’t handle a peaceful beating - He was asking for it.” He compared antifa to rebels against Hitler. “[I]f fascists don’t want to be intimidated into silence and physically assaulted in the streets, they shouldn’t do and say stuff members of Antifa deem to be problematic,” Dupont wrote. Reporters such as CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted that any attack on a working journalist is “unacceptable.” “Even @ MrAndyNgo’s critics should have no trouble saying this: The assault against him was unacceptable.” The Oregonian reported that three people were arrested during the course of the afternoon for assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and harassment. So far, President Trump, who has called journalists “enemies of the people,” has not weighed in on the controversy.



LGBTQ Muslims want increased visibility ‘We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere’ By MATHEW FORESTA The LGBTQ response exploded on Twitter June 24 after Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim, tweeted about her joy attending the local Pride parade. “#HappyPride! I had a fantastic time dancing, hugging, and celebrating #TCPride with everyone this weekend!,” she tweeted, followed by five colorful heart emojis and a link to a photo. Not everyone was happy, of course. Omar and her fellow new Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an LGBT ally from Michigan, have received death threats and other expressions of hate since they refuse to be silent about their beliefs. Despite a powerful admonition from President George W. Bush six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center, many Americans still think Muslims are linked to terror. “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that,” Bush said at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17, 2001. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” “I have my own family members who think that I’m going to one day activate and become a scary terrorist or something. They think I’m just biding my time, and people really think that,” Kelly Wentworth, a white pansexual Muslim Imam living in Georgia tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I’m their family and they’ve known me my whole life, and they think that I’m just going to one day activate and become a killing machine or something.” Wentworth, who converted to Islam in college 20 years ago, says her Mosque very privately serves the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ Muslims are hyper-vigilant about the possibility of hate crimes or being targets of a mass attack. On March 15, a white supremacist terrorist murdered 50 people in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 50 others were injured before the suspected terrorist was arrested. The next day, candlelight vigils were held for the victims around the world—including in Pasadena.

Author Blair Imani Photo by Mathew Foresta

Southern California is home to about 500,00 Muslims, according to the Los Angeles Times, including Yaseen Nisar, who is gay. He tells the Los Angeles Blade that he fears an attack like Christchurch could happen in the United States. “I fear that because there is a lot of ignorance. A lot of people believe whatever negative media stereotypes are out there. They don’t take the time to introduce themselves and get to know Muslims,“ Nisar says. Blair Imani, a queer Muslim activist, writer, and ambassador for LA-based Muslims for Progressive Values, feels the same way. “It made me immediately think of Pulse, and the mass shooting that happened there. A close friend of mine is Brandon Wolf who was one of the survivors of Pulse, so that’s kind of always on my mind as a queer person,” Imani tells the Los Angeles Blade. “When the Christchurch Shooting happened there’s this feeling of the inevitability of violence, especially in the United States, that

being somebody of a marginalized identity your life is decided by the violent acts of other people.” Imani, who came out on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in 2017, is also a role model for the issue of equality in a new TOMS shoes “Stand for Tomorrow” campaign. She tells the Los Angeles Blade that being LGBTQ, Muslim, Black, and a woman isn’t hard per se. But living in a world infused with homophobia, racism, sexism and Islamophobia makes it “very frightening” to attend Mosque. “When you put guns into the equation, fear is just a part I think of the thought process sometimes when it comes to going to Mosque—or going to Synagogue for Jewish people, as well,” she says. “It’s hard to separate yourself to not think there’s going to be copycat attacks.” But Imani also feels that it is important to give people space to be afraid in order to acknowledge their humanity and talk about the trauma. This is necessary for healing, she says. And it’s important to acknowledge to the existence of Queer Muslims. Erasure

in the wake of tragedy is wrong, she says, contending that Queer Muslims were likely also killed in the Christchurch attacks. “As a person of faith and as a Humanist,” Imani says, “I’m constantly thinking about what our future could look like, and while it’s really scary to think about how we’ve constantly been held back it’s really beautiful to think that we can create this world together. A world that includes everyone and celebrates everyone in a way that is unique and genuine and real and powerful. It can always get better because the worst has definitely been before.” “I think it’s very important, too, that people understand LGBT Muslims exist. And I just wish that more and more LGBT groups in the country would actually say they support LGBT rights in the Middle East,” Nisar says. “If more and more people talk about things, saying they support LGBT Muslims, then what will happen is it will show greater visibility, because we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere.” - Karen Ocamb contributed to this story

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‘We, too, are Americans’ Queer & ally Angelenos reflect on Independence Day If there was a singular moment in global collective history when the world really did come together as one, it was on July 20, 1969 when Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong jumped onto the surface of the moon: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” In a time fraught with political assassinations and a country torn asunder by the war in Vietnam, the lunar landing was the ultimate symbol of hope and the fortitude of the American spirit. It was a symbol for LGBT people, too, as the Stonewall Rebellion three weeks earlier was beginning to transform into the movement for gay liberation. But 50 years later, the moonshot-inspired belief that anything is possible has been frayed by what former President Jimmy Carter calls the “illegitimate” presidency of Donald Trump, who hijacked and militarized the once sacred, non-partisan Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall. LGBT Americans are still officially second-class citizens whose existing civil rights face rollbacks everyday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stonewalls bringing the House-passed Equality Act to the US Senate. Nonetheless, the patriotic promise of the Declaration of Independence still courses through LGBT blood. Here is how some LGBT and ally Angelenos feel about Independence Day, 2019. – Karen Ocamb

“Since we became parents, my wife and I dress ourselves and our daughter in the red, white and blue regalia, decorate our ‘float’ with patriotic symbolism and take our rightful place in the small town 4th of July parade near our home. For us, this is a deepseeded statement of courage and belonging that we make in this patriotic parade equal to the statement our community makes by marching in an LGBTQ pride parade. We declare, through our participation and visibility, that we, too, are proud Americans and we, as LGBTQ individuals and families, are an integral part of America and the American Dream for which we battle shoulder-to-shoulder daily in the pursuit of happiness, justice and equality for all. #equality4all #firstgeneration #immigrant #lgbtq #lafamiliaisout” - Ari Gutierrez Arambula, Co-Founder, HONOR PAC, Advisory Board President of the Latino Equality Alliance and Programming Chair for the Stonewall Democratic Club.

“’Independence Day’ signifies our country declaring independence from tyranny but on a more personal level, to me, ‘Independence Day’ is something all of us in the LGBTQ community aspire to—to be free from hatred and unequal treatment. ‘Independence Day’ has not occurred yet for us but I believe it will! - Karina Samala, West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board.

“Independence is the gift of being free to celebrate all of who I am while helping others along the way.” - Jeffrey King, Executive Director of In The Meantime Men’s Group, Inc.

“On Independence Day, we celebrate the principle that has defined this nation for more than 200 years: that we are all created equal, and that our work to secure a more perfect union is never truly done. I use the 4th to reflect on the civil rights, worker rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights that have yet to be achieved for our brothers and sisters, and re-commit myself to that fight for equality and justice for which our country was founded.” – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.


“For me and many of my Trans siblings, independence means a dream that has become a nightmare. Independence means that I have the ability to walk out of my home without being afraid that I can be murdered simply because of who I am. Independence means living free without oppression and today, I am an oppressed person.” – Bamby Salcedo, Founder & CEO, TransLatin@ Coalition

“For me, every year, Independence Day marks a profound act of imagination; a group of colonists who dared to imagine that they could free themselves from a powerful British ruler. So many social movements since then have been born from a similar courageous refusal to be limited by what exists: the civil rights movement, the movement to end domestic violence and intimate partner violence, and of course, the amazing history of LGBTQ activism. This year, I deeply hope that queer communities everywhere can draw strength from our steadfast and historical resolve and all our successes and know that we can and must continue to prepare ourselves for the many struggles still remaining.” – Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, first LGBT person elected to the California Assembly.

“On Independence Day, I think of the courage of those revolutionaries, who risked their lives to secure the rights they knew to be inalienable — of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How can any of those rights be secured when the state places any impediment on the freedom to work, practice one’s faith, or love the person they love? And I think of the work yet to be done in a country now so deeply divided, to make us a more perfect union. – Rep. Adam Schiff

“Independence day is a reminder to continue to strive for a country in which everyone is free and everyone is equal. Happy July 4th!” – Rep. Karen Bass

“The Fourth is a day on which I hope everyone not only celebrates our nation’s independence, but also contemplates our interdependence as a society because we all depend on each other to live and thrive. Our reliance on friends, families and neighbors for support and social connection underscores why it is so important to stand together for what is right, to speak out for those in need and to push for full equality for everyone in the United States.” -- L.A. Controller Ron Galperin, first openly LGBTQ citywide elected official in Los Angeles


“Independence Day for me is a day to celebrate the nation’s progress (partial, as it is) toward living up to its highest ideals of liberty and justice for all, with the hope that our country soon will provide express and enduring protections against discrimination suffered by LGBTQ people.” - Jon W. Davidson, Chief Counsel, Freedom For All Americans

“The 4th of July is a celebration of the founding of our country. We still have a long way to go to live up to our founding principles and ideals, but I’m hopeful we will get to a point where we have full equality for all. And we need to continue to fight not just for members of the LGBTQI community, but for women and girls, immigrants and people of color and all other people who have been marginalized. Despite the problems we still face I’m still proud of the ideals that we strive to achieve.” – John Heilman, West Hollywood City Councilmember and WeHo Founding Father



“As an openly proud gay Latino Catholic man, I am grateful to be living in a country that provides a safe process for freedom. I celebrate our constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Our system of government is the greatest in the world. It is sometimes the people that occupy our government who are bad and abuse our system. Let us celebrate this Independence Day by reclaiming our freedom, rights, respect and preserving our democracy.” - Richard Zaldivar, Executive Director/Founder, The Wall Las Memorias Project

“This Independence Day falls around the 50th year of Stonewall and despite what’s happening with Congress and this president, I think people are beginning to rise up. We have some people calling for reparations! So even with the new Neo-Nazis and the old KKK, the majority of people still believe in the rights of others and the Declaration of Independence.” – Jewel Thais-Williams, founder of Catch One Disco and The Village Health Foundation

“Our nation’s birthday is a celebration of our freedom from tyranny and yet we all know that tyranny is still trying to hang on in many areas of our Great Society. As a gay elected official, this year’s Independence Day is especially memorable because of the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. So many have sacrificed so very much for the rest of us. We’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go. I am reminded of what our last legitimate president said about freedom. President Barack Obama explained it this way: ‘When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.’ So simple. So true. Happy Fourth of July.” - Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang.

“As a kid, Independence Day always meant delicious homemade strawberry ice cream, with me and my little brother cranking the handle of the old ice cream maker (and, if we were lucky, fireworks at night). Today, I think about the holiday as an aspirational metaphor for our society. Just as our nation was founded by casting off the yoke of British oppression, today it’s important to continue the struggle to end all other oppression within our country. It’s a tall order, but it remains, for me, one of the most inspirational tenets of our democracy: liberty and justice for all.” – Lorri L. Jean, CEO, Los Angeles LGBT Center

“American Independence Day, July 4, reminds me of the liberty granted by our Constitution. It is a reminder that these freedoms to live and love and pursue happiness can never be taken for granted but must be cherished, honored and defended. I give thanks to those who came before me, who did so in this time when there are assaults on our liberty daily, when the free press is under attack, and our own President tramples upon American values of welcoming the immigrant, defending justice, and making a place for all at the American table, I hope the 4th of July inspires us to take back our country from the corporate forces of greed and the white nationalism that is eating at our American soul. Time to celebrate and time to work for a better America, and time to register to vote!” - Rabbi Denise L. Eger, founding rabbi Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood

“Last month, I had the honor to attend Gov. Newsom’s LGBT Pride Month Celebration at the people’s house, the Governor’s Mansion. It was a privilege to attend an official Gubernatorial event that celebrates who I am, because historically that hasn’t always been the case for people who came before me. I am grateful to live in a state that allows me to be who I am without fear of persecution. I am grateful to work for an incredible LGBT ally, Asm. Burke, who allows me to be my authentic self. But our state government wasn’t always friendly towards the LGBT community. Now it is— but we must remain vigilant to keep it that way.” - Ari Ruiz, Commissioner, LA


The measure of the American Team’s hard-won June 28 victory in World Cup soccer is captured in this ESPN photo of out gay player Megan Rapinoe after her 2-1 point win over France. “Thanks for being such an inspiration to my daughter @mPinoe - you were unbelievable today,” sport writer Bill Simmons tweeted. Victory was not Rapinoe’s only statement of significance that day. “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team,” The Guardian reported her as saying. “I’m motivated by people who, like me, are fighting for the same things. I take more energy from that than from trying to prove anyone wrong. That’s draining on yourself. But for me, to be gay and fabulous during Pride month at the World Cup is nice. Go gays!” Earlier, Rapinoe besmirched President Trump by refusing a post victory celebration. “I’m not going to the fucking White House,” she said. Trump reacted, tweeting: “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Trump invited the rest of the team, adding: “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!” Teammates Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan backed her up. “I don’t support this administration nor their fight against LGBTQ+ citizens, immigrants & our most vulnerable.” Krieger tweeted. New York freshman Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez invited Rapinoe and the team to visit the House of Representatives. Rapinoe accepted. – Karen Ocamb

QUOTES “It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification.” – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez June 29 tweet about Ivanka Trump at the G20.

“We don’t do gay at Nivea.”

– An unidentified advertising executive after rejecting an ad showing two men’s hands touching, according to journalist Zack Ford in his July 1 newsletter, “Fording the River Styx.”

“If you’re going to press me on doing a better job of lifting people up, I welcome that challenge.” – Out gay South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg to black trans activists at New York City’s AIDS Memorial on June 28, via Out Magazine.



Harris shines in first Democratic debate Biden suffers drop in polls; Buttigieg nabs endorsement, big fundraising haul By CHRIS JOHNSON Last week’s Democratic presidential debates were watched by record-breaking numbers of viewers and several hopefuls distinguished themselves among the 20 who partook over two nights, including Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s gay. Harris directly challenged Biden on race, helping trigger a bump in her poll numbers. And Buttigieg was subsequently endorsed by the Victory Fund, then announced a $25 million second quarter fundraising haul. Post-debate polls showed Joe Biden taking a hit, while Harris surged. A new poll from CNN/SSRS found Biden in first place with 22 percent support, his lowest showing to date. That same poll shows Harris moving into second place with 17 percent, followed by Warren at 15 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders at 14 percent. Harris pulled off an impressive performance Thursday night during the debate as racial issues haunted Buttigieg and Biden. When the smoke cleared after the debate concluded in Miami, Harris came out as a favorite based on her responses throughout the evening that served a combination of steak and sizzle, appealing to emotion as she laid out policy. Touting the importance of a universal health care plan, Harris pulled at the heartstrings when she talked about the hesitation a mother endures if she wants to take a child to an emergency room because of the child’s high fever, but is worried about the cost. When moderators momentarily lost control of the debate, Harris was the one issuing a call to order. “Hey, guys, you know what?” Harris said. “America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” But the moment of greatest contention among the candidates came when moderator Rachel Maddow asked Buttgieg, who made history that night by being the first openly gay person to participate in a major party

Sen. Kamala Harris emerged as a winner in last week’s Democratic presidential debates after challenging Joe Biden. Blade file photo by Michael Key

presidential debate, about a recent shooting in South Bend, Ind., by a white police officer who killed a black man. Citing a statistic that 26 percent of South Bend is black, but only 6 percent of its police force is black, Maddow asked him why that hasn’t improved. “Because I couldn’t get it done,” Buttigieg replied. “My community is in anguish right now because of an officer-involved shooting, a black man, Eric Logan, killed by a white officer. And I’m not allowed to take sides until the investigation comes back. The officer said he was attacked with a knife, but he didn’t have his body camera on. It’s a mess. And we’re hurting.” Recognizing the issue as a national problem, Buttigieg said this is an issue “facing our community and so many communities around the country,” calling for a moving policing “out from the shadow of systemic racism.” “And I am determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the exact same thing — a feeling not of fear but of safety,” Buttigieg said. But Buttigieg’s competitors on the debate stage weren’t letting him off the hook that easily. Directly questioning the South Bend mayor, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “the question they’re asking in South

Bend and I think across the country is why has it taken so long?” Buttigieg insisted he’s taken steps to increase police accountability and “the FOP just denounced me for too much accountability.” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) weighed in, telling Buttigieg, “If the camera wasn’t on and that was the policy, you should fire the chief.” Buttigieg said under Indiana law “this will be investigated and there will be accountability for the officer involved,” but Swalwell continued, “You’re the mayor. You should fire the chief — if that’s the policy and someone died.” Marianne Williamson, an author whose unconventional responses drew attention throughout the debate, jumped in with a call for slavery reparations. “All of these issues are extremely important, but they are specifics; they are symptoms,” Williamson said. “And the underlying cause has to do with deep, deep, deep realms of racial injustice, both in our criminal justice system and in our economic system. And the Democratic Party should be on the side of reparations for slavery for this very reason.” Biden was next in the hot seat. Harris said she agrees with Williamson the issue of race is still not being talked about truthfully and said “there is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend or a coworker, who has not been the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination.” That’s when Harris delivered the blow against Biden, who recently took heat for being nostalgic for the days when he reached out to others he disagreed with to get things done, including senators who built their careers on racial segregation. “I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris said. “But I also believe, and it’s personal — and I was actually very — it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.” Harris said she also took issue with Biden’s opposition to bussing because “there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day, and that little girl was me.”

But Harris concluded with a blow to Buttigieg, saying “as attorney general of California, I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents would wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.” Biden wouldn’t stand for the suggestion he is a racist. “It’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board,” Biden said. “I did not praise racists. That is not true, number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I’m happy to do that.” Biden delivered a counter-punch, referencing Harris’ career as a prosecutor. “I was a public defender,” Biden said. “I didn’t become a prosecutor. I came out and I left a good law firm to become a public defender, when, in fact — when, in fact, when, in fact, my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King, number one.” Immigration and corporate power shaped the earlier Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night as Warren delivered a strong performance and Sen. Cory Booker criticized Tulsi Gabbard for not being transinclusive in her vision for LGBT rights. Warren delivered comprehensive answers that helped her stand out on the debate stage, including her plan for why an economic shakeup is needed amid a strong economy. Just two days after the debates, the LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed Buttigieg for president. More than 1,500 people attended the announcement that took place at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighborhood. It coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride in New York. Victory Fund President Annise Parker in her introduction of Buttigieg described him as the “first viable LGBT candidate” for president. “He is redefining what is possible in American politics and the Victory Fund is ready to stand with him,” said Parker. “We believe he is the best candidate for president of the United States.” According to the Buttigieg campaign, he raised in the second quarter $24.8 million from 294,000 individual donors, who have each contributed an average less than $48. Further, the campaign says it has more than $22 million in cash on hand.

PRIDE STRONG From Stonewall to the steps of the Supreme Court, a half-century of progress toward LGBT equality should be celebrated — and held up as inspiration for generations to come. AARP salutes those who have fought and continue to fight the battle for a bias-free future and is proud to stand with the LGBT community while creating a new vision for aging — one complete with diverse stories and innovative ways for everyone to pursue their passions, openly and proudly. Learn more at aarp.org/pride



Millions attend World Pride in NYC to mark Stonewall’s 50th Separate Queer Liberation March may become annual event By LOU CHIBBARO JR. NEW YORK — Upwards of four million people lined the streets of Manhattan on Sunday for the WorldPride parade. The parade began at noon at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood. It ended more than 12 hours later. The Gay Liberation Front, the cast of “Pose”, UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and the Trevor Project were grand marshals of the parade alongside Monica Helms, a transgender activist who created the trans Pride flag. Parade organizers said 150,000 people marched with myriad groups that include OutRight Action International, Capital Pride and the Human Rights Campaign. “It’s beyond fantastic,” Helms told reporters during a press conference at the Empire State Building before the parade began. The parade took place two days after the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which began on June 28, 1969. A separate march took place on the same day that eschewed corporate floats and embraced a more activist tone. The Queer Liberation March, the second of two marches in New York City on Sunday that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, drew over 45,000 marchers according to one of its lead organizers. Longtime lesbian activist Ann Northrop, who is among the leaders of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which organized the Queer Liberation March as an alternative to the official New York City Pride March, said organizers believe the Queer march was highly successful and are considering making it an annual Pride event. The march followed the same route that the world’s first ever LGBT Pride march took in June 1970. It was organized by activists who were inspired by the now famous Stonewall Riots that erupted in New York’s

Millions of people turned out for the WorldPride parade in New York on June 30, 2019. The parade took place amid commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

Greenwich Village in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar on June 28, 1969. That first march was named the Christopher Street Day Liberation March after the street where the Stonewall Inn is located and where the rioting began and continued for several days and that has been credited with launching the modern LGBT rights movement. Northrop and others involved with the Reclaim Pride Coalition said they wanted the Queer Liberation March to retrace the route of the 1970 march, which travelled from the site of the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, where a rally was held, and using 6th Avenue to reach the park. Organizers of Sunday’s Queer Liberation March and its own rally held in Central Park noted they chose not to allow floats, including the large corporate sponsored floats that participated in the official New York City Pride March, saying such displays were not in keeping with the atmosphere of protest and rebellion associated with Stonewall. “This exceeds our wildest expectations,” Northrop told the Blade at the rally. “This was spectacular, and we’re thrilled that everybody took the leap of faith with us to come out, because this was a whole new thing,” she said. “And we just organized it from the ground up. And we had no idea how many would put themselves on the line and show up. And

they did,” Northrop said. “They did with full hearts and they did with total creativity.” Among the speakers at the rally held in Central Park’s Great Lawn was Larry Kramer, the playwright and nationally recognized gay and AIDS activist who cofounded the AIDS protest group ACT UP. Kramer, who appeared on a stage set up at the rally site in a wheelchair, gave a pessimistic view of the state of the nation’s fight against AIDS and anti-LGBT oppression and bias close to 40 years after he began that fight in the early 1980s. “There is no cure for this plague,” Kramer told the rally. “Too many among us still get infected. We have become too complacent with PrEP,” he said, referring to the HIV prevention drug. “We search for a cure and we’re still in the Stone Age. The treatments we have are woefully expensive and come with troublesome side effects. And their manufacturers are holding us up to ransom,” he said. “I almost died three times,” said Kramer. “I started a couple of organizations to fight against the plague. In the end, we failed. I certainly feel that I failed.” That comment drew shouts from people in the audience saying, “No you haven’t” and “We love you.” Kramer responded calling on the LGBT community to “fight back” against what he called a current dangerous political climate. “If you love being gay as much as I do, fight back,” he said. “Our world needs every bit of

help it can get, because I do not see enough of us fighting this fight and performing our duty,” said Kramer, adding: “Please all of you do your duty of opposition in these dark and dangerous days.” Kramer was joined on stage by more than a dozen activists, with some displaying ACT UP signs and who chanted the slogan that Kramer and his 1980s era activists coined at numerous protests: “Act Up! Fight back! Fight AIDS!” Transgender activists Sasha Alexander and Olympia Sudan were among more than a dozen other speakers at the rally who reminded the gathering of the violence and threats faced by transgender people, especially transgender women of color. The two joined other speakers, both trans and cisgender, in calling on the LGBT community and the public at large to remember and give credit to the late Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two trans women of color who played an important role in the Stonewall riots and subsequent organizing for LGBT rights. Several speakers called for he decriminalization of sex work, saying the current criminalization of prostitution adversely impacts trans women of color who are forced into sex work as a means of economic survival due to job discrimination. The lesbian singing group Betty was among the singers and other artists performing at the rally. Northrop said the city’s parks department required that the rally take place in the Great Lawn, which is located one mile from where the march entered Central Park at 6th Avenue, making the total length of the march four miles. She said organizers will consider shortening the march if organizers decide to hold the Queer Liberation March again next year and in subsequent years. “Everyone’s talking about it,” she said in discussing whether another Queer march should take place. “Now that we’ve seen this become a reality and people can believe it’s possible I hope then we would just grow bigger and bigger every year and that the corporate takeover of Pride would gradually phase out.” Michael K. Lavers contributed to this report.



Activists, politicians, celebrities join forces in New York for Pride Historic celebration fills Times Square with revelers, rainbow colors By LOU CHIBBARO JR. A Stonewall 50 Commemoration Rally at the site of the Stonewall Inn gay bar last Friday and a World Pride closing ceremony in New York’s Times Square on Sunday brought together top New York elected officials, LGBT activists, some of whom were present during the Stonewall riots, and big name entertainers. All of them proclaimed the importance and historic significance of the June 1969 Stonewall riots in New York’s Greenwich Village that are credited with igniting the modern LGBT rights movement. Among those who spoke at the Friday rally on Christopher Street outside the Stonewall Inn were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. De Blasio and Gillibrand, who are candidates for U.S. president, told the several thousand people at the rally that they would work hard to advance LGBT rights gains at the federal level and would strongly oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back LGBT rights gains. Singers Melissa Etheridge and Deborah Cox were among the entertainers that performed at the Times Square closing ceremony. Lesbian comedian Margaret Cho served as master of ceremonies. Elsewhere, Madonna performed a set that included her smash “Vogue” on Pride Island. Throughout the event, including during the performances and speeches, several of the giant electronic billboard signs on the skyscrapers surrounding Times Square flashed messages in support of LGBT Pride next to images of rainbow flags. Several of the speakers at both events came from countries in Europe as part of New York City Pride serving as the 2019 host for World Pride, the international LGBT Pride event that takes place every two years in a different country. This year marked the

Last weekend’s Stonewall commemoration culminated in a Times Square party that featured Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge and other celebrities. Blade photo by Daniel Truitt

first time World Pride has taken place in the United States. At the closing ceremony in Times Square, Lars Hendriksen of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Franciska Rosenkilde, Copenhagen’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Leisure, announced that Copenhagen will be the host for the 2021 World Pride. The two thanked New York City for serving as an excellent host for this year’s World Pride and urged New Yorkers and others attending the 2019 World Pride to come to Copenhagen in 2021. At the Friday rally, de Blasio said he was delighted that World Pride was taking place in his home city. “I want to tell you I have a tremendous special honor,” he said. “I am the mayor of the largest LGBT community on the face of the earth. And I’m proud of that,” he told the crowd. “We are proud of that. We should be so proud of how far we have come because remember, when they said the love that dare not speaks its name? Now we can shout that love from every rooftop, can’t we?” he said. De Blasio told the rally that he announced

a few weeks ago that the city is arranging for a first of its kind program to build statues of two transgender “heroes who helped fight for the liberation of everybody” – the late New York trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. “In this city we are honoring heroes who got ignored and who were taken out of the history book and were not given their place, but they led the way too,” he said. Gillibrand said she too was honored to commemorate the significance of the Stonewall rebellion. “There is no place better than New York City for Pride celebrations,” she said. “Right here celebrating Pride at the Stonewall Inn we have the ability to start the national conversation about the future of gay rights in America and the fights we are taking forward and the fights we will achieve,” she told the gathering. “Right here 50 years ago this is where it all started. Our community rose up and fought back,” she said. “People were willing to risk everything, their lives, what they did, what they loved. They risked all of this,” she said.

“And 50 years later all those battles were not fought in vein. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is in the dustbin of history.” Nadler, who serves as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would continue to push for LGBT rights advances in the Democratic-controlled House at a time when the GOP-controlled Senate and the Trump White House are not supportive. “I’m here to deliver a message on behalf of the United States House of Representatives because the rest of our federal government won’t do it,” he said. “That message is happy Pride.” Nadler noted that the House recently passed the Equality Act, the LGBT civil rights bill that’s now stalled in the Senate. “We have a lot further to go and we will be standing with you every step of the way until I can bring you a greeting not just from the House of Representatives but from the Senate of the United States and the presidency of the United States and hand over a copy of the Equality Act that’s signed into law,” he said.



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Why I’m endorsing Kamala Harris for president A progressive champion fighting for LGBTQ rights

Assemblymember Evan Low is the past Chair of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus.

As millions of people around the country and around the world came together to celebrate Pride, it’s important that we remember the struggle and sacrifices of the activists who spent decades fighting for civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Just two presidential elections ago, it would have been hard to imagine a candidate who boldly stood up for the LGBTQ+ community. However, before it became a politically expedient thing to do, Kamala Harris was on the frontlines of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Harris, the daughter of an Indian American mother and an African-American father, understood from a young age that love is something to be celebrated and that no one should have to apologize for who they love. It’s why she has consistently shown herself to be a true progressive champion when it comes to fighting for LGBTQ+ rights as San Francisco District Attorney, as California’s Attorney General, and as a United States Senator. In 2004, as District Attorney, Harris established an LGBT hate crimes unit, which included a Victim Advocacy Unit, as well as a Sexual Assault Awareness Program. At the time, these were some of the first programs to combat hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community in the country. While progress nationally was lagging, and crimes based

Photo by Sheila_F/Courtesy Bigstock

on sexual orientation and gender identity were not recognized as federal hate crimes, Kamala Harris led the fight to abolish the use of gay and transgender “panic defenses” in criminal trials, which were often used to defend violence against LGBTQ+ people. Furthermore, when most Democrats supported civil unions, Harris demonstrated her commitment to the LGBTQ+ community by officiating some of the first marriages between same-sex couples. Kamala didn’t stop fighting for the LGBTQ+ community with her early efforts in San Francisco. As California’s Attorney General, Harris successfully defended a California law banning conversion therapy. Later, when Proposition 8, which only recognized marriages between a man and woman as valid in the State of California, landed on her desk, Harris refused to defend it, and filed briefs in support of marriage equality. She even pushed the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its ban on blood donations from gay men. As a senator, Harris has sponsored landmark legislation such as the Do No Harm Act, which would ensure that religion cannot be used to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals. Kamala Harris is also a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender

identity. A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris has aggressively questioned appointees and nominees put forward by the Trump administration. She asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross about his decision to direct the Census to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in the upcoming Census and later introduced the Census Equality Act to ensure that members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t go uncounted in the future. Few if any candidates in the large 2020 presidential field can match Sen. Harris’ deep commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Time and again, she has demonstrated her strong support of the LGBTQ+ community and her willingness to buck political trends to do the right thing. A Kamala Harris presidency would give the LGBTQ+ community a fierce advocate in the White House, with an unparalleled commitment to equal rights. That is why I am supporting Kamala Harris for president of the United States of America. She embodies the kind of energy and spirit we need in the White House to ensure that people in the LGBTQ+ community don’t go unseen, unheard, or uncared about here at home or around the world. We should proudly stand behind a candidate who is committed to dignity, acceptance, and equal rights and who has the skills to make those ideals a reality for everyone.

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Paid leave for all Paid Parental Leave policies should reflect family diversity

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Nury Martinez and David Ryu (Photos courtesy Ryu’s office)

As we celebrated Pride month, we were both lucky enough to share a float in the 49th Annual LA Pride Parade. This parade is not just some of the most fun you can

have while inching down Santa Monica Boulevard, it’s an example of Los Angeles at its best. Thousands of people, from all walks of life, coming together to celebrate love and our LGBTQ community is inspiring no matter who you are. As we danced, clapped, and cheered, we saw a lot to be proud of: Friends standing with friends, moms and dads offering free hugs to LGBTQ youth, and families of all kinds, united in love and pride. As we celebrate Pride throughout the month of June, from Valley Pride to Pride on the Port to Pride South L.A. and more, it’s remarkable to realize how far we’ve come. It was only 11 years ago that California outlawed gay marriage, and today, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parents across our city and state are starting families and raising kids like any other new parents. But LGBTQ folks face unique challenges when they become parents. LGBTQ parents are four times more likely to parent an adopted child, and six times more likely to raise foster children. Furthermore, LGBTQ couples are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to adopt a child with special needs. To make matters worse, many parental leave policies in the private

sector are heteronormative - they are built around old assumptions of what families look like, and offer fewer options to dads or adoptive parents. That’s why the paid parental leave motion we introduced earlier this year is built around every family. Currently, California state law allows new parents to take up to six weeks of bonding time with a new child - but only allows 60 to 70 percent of your income if you take this leave. In Los Angeles, we know that this 30-40 percent gap is what keeps many parents from taking their leave. Our motion would close that gap, allowing new parents - whether you adopt, foster, or give birth - 100 percent of their salary for six weeks of bonding time with a new child. Especially for LGBTQ parents, who are more likely to foster or adopt, having that bonding time is crucial to developing a healthy and happy child. In our City, where the cost of living is so expensive, we must prioritize our families and new parents, allowing them the freedom to bond and develop a connection with their children. This, in turn, helps raise a generation of strong and healthy Angelenos. Right now, our paid parental leave proposal is undergoing independent

economic analysis to understand its impacts on businesses and the local economy. But we already know that businesses with strong paid parental leave policies in place save money in the long run, and have happier and healthier employees. We also know that policies like these reduce the wage gap between men and women, and help build a stronger and more equitable labor force. This is probably why every country on Earth - except Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, and the United State of America - have paid parental leave policies already in place. Los Angeles doesn’t wait around for the federal government to get it right - we’re ready to act now with a policy that will benefit every parent, give a strong start to every child, and support the love and wellbeing of every family. We’re ready to bring fully paid parental leave to Los Angeles, and we hope you’ll join us. Because love is the only thing that makes a family - love that knows no gender, sexuality or background. Here in Los Angeles, we should support that love, not just with marriage equality, but with equal opportunity to have a child, start a family, and raise the next generation of Angelenos.

What are you doing for summer vacation? Some of LA’s busiest residents share their plans FROM STAFF REPORTS

Now that Pride season 2019 is a wrap, the rainbow of vacation options suddenly appear in minds everywhere. Whether you are thinking Grand Canal, Baja, Palm Springs, the open skies of Montana or an island getaway down under, the options for LGBT travel are a plenty. The LGBT travel market is said to be valued at an estimated $211 billion (worldwide). At least that is the number the travel industry likes to throw around when considering us as targets for marketing the next big thing, but lost in that number may be a basic misunderstanding. We tend not to be big planners when we decide to get away. We tend to work hard and then, after accomplishing something big, we decide to get out of town. The Los Angeles Blade reached out to some of the key players in the creation of Pride celebrations here in Los Angeles as well as a couple of everyday locals, asking about their plans. Jeff Consoletti, perhaps the hardest working person in LGBT Pride showbiz — he is the man behind the staging of LA Pride and of Pride Island at World Pride in NYC for Stonewall 50 — says he can’t wait to get out of town. Why do you want/deserve a vacation? My team and I at JJLA just finished producing NYC WorldPride’s Pride Island Festival, featuring Grace Jones and Madonna. This coming off of an epic LA Pride Festival weekend and several other smaller events in between! Time to relax! Where do you hope to go? Heading to Cape Cod for some beach, fun, family and “lobstah!” When do you hope to go? I’m already there! LOL. What will you be doing on vacation? As little as possible! What do vacations do for your brain/ soul/work ethic? Summers on Cape Cod take me back to my childhood and let me reset, relax and unwind. There is nothing quite like it and the area just truly lets me unplug and recharge. Do you have a go to place, a favorite






Jeff Consoletti

Brian Rosman and his husband Tyler Diehl.

Photo courtesy JJLA

Photo courtesy Rosman

destination you return to over and over again or do you try something new? My partner Rob and I spend July 4th week annually in Provincetown and visiting my folks in Falmouth. Nothing beats summers on the Cape, especially over the 4th. Do you plan it or wing it? Wing it! Where will you stay and how will you get there? We rent a house and stay with family for a few days as well. We fly to Boston and rent a car so we can visit all our favorite spots. Brian Rosman, the owner of Dog and Duck Public Relations and Christopher Street West’s messaging man and his husband are double dipping this year, just back from the Bahamas after LA Pride but now ready for a real vacation. Pride is that exhausting. Brian, who lives in Los Angeles and Nashville is all set for Puerto Rico. Why do you want/deserve a vacation? Everybody deserves a vacation. It’s important to get yourself out of your dayto-day routine. It opens you up to new experiences and helps you be a more

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complete person. Where do you hope to go? Puerto Rico When do you hope to go? Any time. All the time. What will you be doing on vacation? I like to do a lot of things: relax, eat well and be adventurous. I love to try great restaurants, the ones that are daily favorites of the locals as well as the dining destinations and culinary experiences. I love to explore new environments and pretend what my life would be like if I lived there. I find my morning coffee shop, hit up the local gym and find a nice quiet place to enjoy a day at the beach. Places like Puerto Rico also have great outdoor adventures. I love mixing together active, gluttonous and relaxing vacations allin-one. What do vacations do for your brain/ soul/work ethic? I’m just a better person overall after a vacation. Do you have a go-to place, a favorite destination you return to over and over again or do you try something new? I like to try new things. I just got back from





I also loved the Galapagos, because the sea lions have never been hunted, so when you step off the boat, you walk among them! But no matter where we went, every year we would go to Cancun in October for our vacation. We had a timeshare right on the ocean, and bought it 25 years ago. We got to walk on the beach, scuba dive (usually in Cozumel), watch the newly born turtles return to the sea, and just relax. We never missed one year. Last year was Diane’s final visit to Cancun. This year, I am returning with close friends as Diane wishes to have her ashes scattered in the ocean there.”

Robin Tyler (l) is pictured here with her wife Diane Olson in Cancun, their go to place.

Arturo Jimenez

Photo by Karen Ocamb

Photo by Troy Masters

the Rosewood Baha Mar which was beautiful. Next up, we’re headed to the Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. The property is beautiful and they take great care of you. Do you plan it or wing it? I do a mix of both. It helps that I’m married to a travel agent. He looks after the best places to stay and I plan our restaurants and adventures. Where will you stay and how will you get there? We’re loyal to Delta and Marriott Bonvoy. We try to fly Delta whenever we can. They are a great airline that supports our community. We’ll be staying at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach in San Juan, which is a Marriott Bonvoy property. Robin Tyler is one of our community’s treasured influencers, a pioneering force since the early 1960s when she first caught the world’s eye as a Judy Garland impersonator, later becoming a lesbian activist and entrepreneur and a forceful personality at the 1979 March on Washington, among many other things. Her greatest role, however, may have been as wife of Diane







Olson, a relationship that changed the course of history. The couple went to the Beverly Hills Courthouse and demanded a marriage license, which they were denied. Tyler and Olson, along with Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip Ray de Blieck (already legally married in Canada) then sued for the right to marry in California, leading to a decision in May 2008 declaring the constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples. Since Diane’s death in January from brain cancer, Robin has been finding her footing and was woman about town during LA Pride, attending many events and getting lots of love. “I owned a tour company for lesbians for 25 years. My late wife, Diane Olson and I traveled all over the world with women! Elephants are my favorite animals and while Kenya only has 1,500 left, Botswana has 150,000! We stayed in a lodge along the river and went on boat expeditions to see the elephants. Then we went to Chief’s Island, where there were only two camps, and only 24 allowed per camp. My favorite camp in Africa is Mambo. There was terrific viewing of lions and cubs on the Island.


A M E R I C A’ S



Arturo Jimenez works at Zara and inadvertently helped dress Madonna’s Madame X staging. He didn’t know it but one of his customers happened to be a dresser for the show’s staff and was so appreciative of his recommendations they sent a nice package from Sugarfina. “It was all a big surprise to me. I loved knowing that.” Why do you want/deserve a vacation? Pride has been exhausting for our home and work has been crazy with the sale at Zara. We didn’t get to go to New York. Where do you hope to go? Parks of Utah, I hope. Maybe Santa Fe. When do you hope to go? This month or next. What will you be doing on vacation? Looking at landscapes. I’m thinking Georgia O’Keefe, a dream adventure. What do vacations do for your brain/ soul/work ethic? I hope it’s a reboot of everything. Do you have a go-to place, a favorite destination you return to over and over again or do you try something new? I’m from Costa Rica and going home is always nice. Do you plan it or wing it? Mixture. Where will you stay and how will you get there? A mixture of glam and trash. Motel 6 to Four Seasons!






Latino Equality Alliance celebrates 10th anniversary Awards scholarships, honors cast of ‘Vida’ FROM STAFF REPORTS

A group of students was awarded scholarships by the Latino Equality Alliance on June 26.

Ten years ago, a group of Latinx activists marched for LGBTQ civil rights and gay marriage but that wasn’t enough for them. They knew they had to continue the fight and continue to garner support for the LGBTQ Latinx community on the east side of Los Angeles. “We resolved that we really want to “Be WHO we ARE, WHERE we ARE!” And that means increasing community and family support in our own communities,” explained Ari Gutierrez Arambula, president of the Latino Equality Alliance Board. LEA made a commitment to educate within the local community — education that was in-language and in-culture — to increase support for the LGBTQ marriage initiative and more importantly, to make Latinx communities welcoming and safe for everyone, especially the youth, which is a key difference between LEA and all the other Latinx LGBTQ organizations in Los Angeles. The Latino Equality Alliance celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 26 and its impact on local LGBTQ youth and families at the 4th Annual Purple Lily Awards where they also awarded local students with scholarships to further their education. Honorees this year included the cast of STARZ Network’s critically acclaimed series, “Vida,” all who work passionately to create a safer, healthier and brighter future for the LGBTQ community, as well as Los Angeles City Council Member Nury Martinez, community activists Elena I. Popp and Ridge Gonzalez, and community advocate Javier C. Angulo. “Over the past 10 years, LEA has made tremendous inroads with youth and their families bringing to light LGBTQ structural policy issues in schools and in the community that needed to change,” said LEA’s Executive Director Eddie Martinez. Arambula addressed the crowd with pride and praise for attendees. “With you tonight, we are acknowledging where we’ve been and how we got here. Where we go next depends on support from our community to continue our efforts to not just survive but thrive as LGBTQ Latinos – OUT, Brown and Proud!” Congratulations, LEA. Keep up the amazing work, here’s to the next 10 years.





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An entertaining ‘Mysterious Circumstances’ at the Geffen Sherlock Holmes-themed literary conspiracy thriller shines By JOHN PAUL KING

Alan Tudyk and Ramiz Monsef in the world premiere of ‘Mysterious Circumstances.’ Photo courtesy Geffen Playhouse

‘Mysterious Circumstances’ Runs through July 21 Geffen Playhouse Tickets at geffenplayhouse.org

With the rise of “fan culture” in today’s world, almost everyone knows someone who fits the stereotypical image of an individual so fanatical over their favorite fictional world that their obsessions dominate their lives. Indeed, if we’re being truthful, most of us have a strong enough loyalty to our own preferred “fandoms” that we can even relate to the impulse, at least a little. One might think this is a recent development in the history of human behavior but it’s really nothing new; consider, for example, the fans of British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or rather, of his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes), who over a century ago raised such an outcry when the writer killed off their beloved hero that he eventually gave in and resurrected him. This formidable fan community, still going strong today, has been rabidly devouring every shred of memorabilia and clamoring over every new revelation since long before anyone had ever heard the words “Star Wars.” One such fan is at the center of “Mysterious Circumstances,” a new play by Michael Mitnick currently in its masterfully staged premiere run at the Geffen Playhouse. Based on a New Yorker article of the same name by David Grann, it’s a deceptively whimsical examination of the real-life mystery surrounding the death of a world-renowned English scholar and collector of Doyle’s work, Richard Lancelyn Green, who was found strangled to death with a bootlace in his own locked London apartment with no evidence of any forced entry or exit. As revealed in Mitnick’s inventively theatrical recounting of the saga, Green (magnificently played by Alan Tudyk) was a loner with a lot of money whose passion for Doyle and his enigmatic creation had made him the world’s foremost expert on the subject. In the months before his death, he became involved in an imbroglio over a box of long-lost manuscripts, letters, and other documents that had gone up for auction after the passing of Doyle’s granddaughter — who had, according to Green, intended to donate the papers to the British Library. He tried, unsuccessfully, to block the auction; he told friends that he was being threatened by an unidentified American and feared for his life. With the discovery of his body, it seemed that his fears might have been well-founded – but police were stymied by the lack of evidence and conflicting details in the investigation, and they were ultimately unable to determine if Green’s death had been a murder or a suicide. True to the spirit of intrigue that infuses the Holmes stories themselves, Mitnick’s play creates a sort of literary conspiracy thriller around Green’s final days, with all of the melodramatic trappings that made their transition into modern pulp fiction largely through Doyle’s work; but as a playwright, he has the luxury to bring a deeper level to the proceedings, and weaves the cloak-anddagger plotline around the much more pertinent matter of Green himself. As he narrates the story of his own death, he also reflects on his inner life – particularly the supplanting of his need for human connection by the one he feels to a dead author and a fictional character – and offers us glimpses of the loneliness and desperation that increase as he grows more and more isolated from

the world. That’s not to say “Mysterious Circumstances” doesn’t deliver a mystery; on the contrary, it relishes in doing so, offering up an assortment of colorful characters as suspects – a neglected boyfriend, a jealous rival, even an opportunistic dentist – and tracking a multitude of loose threads through a sea of possible clues. It also expands the mystery by bringing it into the motives that shaped Doyle and his writing, by way of interwoven scenes depicting key episodes in the author’s life and career; for an added level of fun, it even brings Holmes and his trusted sidekick Dr. Watson into the action to investigate the crime from their own fictional plane of existence. There is much to delight audiences to be found in this spectacularly staged production. Director Matt Shakman and set designer Brett J. Banakis pull out all the stops in creating an immersive, bombastic experience, dispensing liberal amounts of theatrical magic to dazzle us and challenge our perceptions. The aforementioned Tudyk, widely known for his roles in films like “Death at a Funeral” and his award-winning voice work, makes Green a simultaneously endearing and frustrating figure, bringing empathy to this reallife enigma; he also doubles in a suitably over-the-top turn as Sherlock Holmes, showing off his considerable comic skills to make those sequences a highlight of the show. Surrounding him is an ensemble of equally talented actors – five men, one woman – who take on the multitude of other roles; Ramiz Monsef stands out both as the Watson to Tudyk’s Holmes and as the love interest that Green (who was gay) lets slip away, as does Helen Sadler in her impressive rendering of all the females in the play. Yet, as ingenious and sumptuously realized as it is, “Mysterious Circumstances” doesn’t quite leave us with the same savory satisfaction of a good Sherlock Holmes tale; perhaps because the case it describes was never resolved, the play likewise never arrives at any tangible conclusions about the “mysterious circumstances” of Green’s state of mind; and though it strongly suggests a solution to the mystery of its plot, it leaves us to speculate over the reasons why – casting an appropriately existential pall over all we have seen as it allows all its carefully crafted intellectual architecture to evaporate into the blackout like so much ephemera. Still, just because it doesn’t satisfy doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. In the end, of course, the mystery being enacted for us here has nothing to do with long-lost papers or mysterious Americans; those things, like the MacGuffins and red herrings in a Hitchcock movie, are merely the engines that drive the real plot. The play doesn’t ask who killed Richard Green, or really even why they did it. Rather, it asks us to contemplate how a person can allow their life to become detached from the world of their fellow humans, and what it does to them when they do. Perhaps most impressively, it applies the principles of logical and empirical investigation that were first championed and popularized in popular culture by Doyle himself to the deeper questions raised by Green’s story. For that alone, Sherlock Holmes would be proud.

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Another successful ‘ Brown and Out’ in Boyle Heights Sold out performances, special features keep audiences engaged FROM STAFF REPORTS

Scene from one of the productions at Brown and Out. Photo courtesy Brown and Out

There’s something about the power of the Latinx community when it comes to arts and entertainment and word of mouth grassroots marketing. We over index in social media and we feel the need to spread the word when something is exceptionally good. Moreover, we feel the need to come back multiple times with our cousins, family, neighbors, etc. to enjoy it again and again. Add Brown and Out 5 to the list of masterpieces to reap the benefits of the Latinx dollar. But does it stop there? Is there a domino effect that can lead this group of talented LGBTQ artists on the Eastside across the bridge to the gates of Hollywood? Is that even a goal? A recent article on this publication’s digital site on Brown and Out 5 has garnered more than 200 shares to date and dozens more happened when each cast member or producer shared it on their own personal pages. Sold out performances and special features week to week to keep the audiences engaged and coming back are an added component that the producers were adamant about integrating into the shows and plays nicely with how diverse each short play is written and portrayed. One of the three producers of the festival, Abel Alvarado, explained the importance of involving the audience week to week. It allows the audience to feel immersed in the experience and connects them to the production on a more personal level. We really believe in REPRESENTATION, so with the audience talk backs, we are putting not only our stories and production front and center, but also the amazing talent representing various segments of the community. It worked. Brown and Out 5 will close this Sunday with back-to-back shows and a successful run, not to mention more critical acclaim and buzz than ever before. The appetite is there for queer Latinx stories. But is this enough for a community within a community that just wants to make sure their stories are heard and represented in an authentic way? Is there room in today’s television and film landscape for these festival stories and talented writers to share the LGBTQ Latinx experience, alongside current hits like “VIDA” and “Pose?” Filmmaker and Latina transgender activist “Lady Diana” - Diana Feliz Oliva, thinks so. Her short film “ Tacos y Tacones” was the first ever film to be shown within the Brown and Out theater festival and has gotten rave reviews and love from audiences week to week. It is currently making the rounds for film festival submissions. “ I wrote this film to give visibility and an authentic voice to Trans Latina stories. I wanted my film to reflect the real issues that many Trans Latinas encounter on the streets and some of the brutal honest conversations they have,” added Feliz Oliva. A self-proclaimed perfectionist she is making a few changes and has already set her sights on Hollywood and Netflix. “I think this film can be a pilot for a Netflix series. I want to see Trans Latinas portrayed accurately, demonstrating their fierceness and resiliency as a community.” Producer of the festival, Matthew Ramos, pulled double duty behind the scenes as he also directed “Tacos y Tacones” and championed for the originally planned play to be created into the short film. “ I knew that it had to be a film because the script was so funny it could be interpreted as superficial. By casting real Trans women of color we were able to capture all the emotional colors without giving the opportunity to the audience to clock the legitimacy or integrity of the story.” When talking to anyone involved in the festival it is clear that this is just the beginning for them. You can see that drive – that fire in their belly that is sure to get them to the next level. They would love to see a Brown and Out Film Festival in the future and will get back to the drawing board for Brown and Out 6 before the summer is over and even envision a Pride festival at the iconic Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. Alvarado closes by quoting the infamous, Dr.Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror, “Don’t dream it, BE IT!” Brown and Out does just that.

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Tick, tick, tick ‘Boom!’ Shout! Factory reissues gay classics like ‘To Wong Foo,’ ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ et. al. By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze in ’To Wong Foo.’ Photo courtesy Shout! Factory

In between the fireworks and the barbecues, the Fourth of July weekend is the perfect time to relax with some great new releases on DVD/Blu-ray and a variety of streaming services. For Pride Month, Shout! Factory released four classic queer films on Blu-ray for the first time and produced new commentaries, interviews and special features for them. Directed by Beeban Kidron from a script by out screenwriter Douglas Cater Beane, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” (1995) stars Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo as three drag queens (Vida Boehme, Noxeema Jackson and Chi-Chi Rodriguez) who get stranded in a tiny midwestern town during a cross-country road trip. The excellent supporting cast includes Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner and Robin Williams. The Blu-ray includes commentary by Leguizamo, Kidron and Beane. A notorious bomb on its release in 1968, “Boom!” quickly became a camp classic. The movie features a script by Tennessee Williams (based on his Broadway flop “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”) and incandescent performances by cinema legends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Taylor, who became an early AIDS activist, stars as Sissy Goforth, the richest woman in the world; Burton plays her lover, the penniless poet Chris Flanders. Writer and actor Noël Coward appears as the Witch of Capri. The Blu-ray includes commentaries by out filmmaker John Waters and out film critic Alonso Duralde (The Wrap). .In “Jeffrey” (1995), with a great script by Paul Rudnick, Steven Weber (“Wings”) plays a struggling actor who swears off sex because he’s terrified of contracting AIDS. Weber is fine in the title role, but the movie is stolen by Patrick Stewart as the flamboyant Sterling and Bryan Batt as his boyfriend Darius, a dancer in the chorus of “Cats.” The Blu-ray includes commentaries by both Weber and Duralde, as well as interviews with Weber and producer Mark Balsam. The fourth Shout! Factory Pride offering is another film that was an infamous flop on its release (1980) that became a camp classic. With gay Hollywood mogul Allan Carr as lead wrier and producer and Nancy Walker (“Rhoda,” “Mary Tyler Moore”) at the helm, “Can’t Stop the Music” is a highly fictionalized and hysterically straight-washed biopic of the Village People. Packed with macho men, glamorous gals and glitzy production numbers (including one set at the pool at the YMCA), the movie also stars Steve Guttenberg and blonde bombshell Valerie Perrine. The Blu-ray includes an interview with Randy Jones (the Cowboy) and commentary by Jeffrey Schwarz (“The Fabulous Allen Carr”) and out comedy writer Bruce Vilanch. In addition to the queer classics, Shout! Factory is also releasing a special limited edition of “The Babadook.” Since the wily monster has somehow become an unofficial LGBT mascot (when he’s not terrorizing innocent Australian families), they’re releasing 2,500 copies of the Blu-ray in a special rainbow slipcover. Other recent releases include “Southern Pride,” the new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Malcom Ingram. Now streaming on Amazon and other platforms, the film profiles bar owners Lynn Koval and Shawn Perryon, two queer women who decide to hold Pride events in Biloxi and Hattiesburg, Miss. Released in Sept. 1985, “Buddies” was the first feature film about AIDS. Lovingly restored by Jenni Olson and the team at the Vinegar Syndrome, the historic drama about an AIDS patient (Geoff Edholm) and his “buddy” (David Schachter) is being released for home viewing for the first time. A number of movies from the “Blade’s 2018 Top Ten List” are also now available for home viewing. Recent releases include “1985,” “The Cakemaker,” “Disobedience” and “The Favourite,” as well as the delightful queer Dutch coming-of-age story “Just Friends.” These titles and many more are available on demand or for purchase from the excellent gay-owned company Wolfe Video at wolfevideo.com. The best movie of 2019 (so far) has also been released on DVD/Blu-ray, Netflix and a variety of other channels. Written and directed by Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), “Us” is the tale of a trip to the beach gone horribly wrong as the Tyler and Ross families encounter mysterious doppelgängers of themselves. An incisive critique of the American Dream, the articulate and finely tuned horror movie stars Lupito Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss. Instead of an American dystopia, writer/director Leo Herrera offers the vision of queer utopias called “Stonewall Collectives.” Asking the provocative question, “what if AIDS had never happened?,” Herrera offers an alternative version of American history in the new web series “The Fathers Project.” In this fictional documentary, film historian and activist Vito Russo is running for President in 2020 and artist Robert Mapplethorpe has the world’s biggest social media fanbase, surpassing all of the Kardashians combined. Information on Herrera’s project can be found at iftheylivd.org, but uncensored episodes can only be found at kink.com/fathers. When Herrera encountered mounting censorship problems on mainstream distribution and social media sites, the fetish website provided a safe haven for the visionary series. Episodes are available for free. Finally, to celebrate the movie’s induction into the National Film Registry, Disney has released the 70th Anniversary edition of “Cinderella” on DVD and Blu-ray. The animated classic about a young woman, a prince and a fairy godmother teaches an important lesson about wearing the right shoes and features the queer mouse couple Gus and Jaq.


Some of the buzziest films from the world’s top film festivals are headed to this year’s Outfest, part of the Full lineup for its 37th edition. A slew of unique special events are also on tap, as is a shift in home base for the fest, to Hollywood’s historic TCL Chinese Theatres. Kicking off as usual with a gala premiere at DTLA’s Orpheum Theatre, LA’s LGBTQ film festival will open on Thursday, July 18 with “Circus of Books,” a saucy and moving new documentary that’s fresh from its triumphant world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. With its local and long-beloved subject matter — the sadly recently shuttered Circus of Books emporium of gay erotica on Santa Monica Boulevard — the doc is a natural prologue to this year’s Outfest. Several more of the year’s most exciting global film festival hits will also be coming to Outfest, often with their talented creators and casts in tow. From Sundance, there’s Martha Stephens’ “To the Stars,” a 1960s Oklahoma teen girl love story featuring Malin Åkerman and Tony Hale; Centerpiece screenings “Adam” (Rhys Ernst’s boundary-pushing dramedy/ romance involving mistaken trans identity) and “This is Not Berlin” (Hari Sama’s 1980s gay punk coming of age story from Mexico); and Closing Night film “Before You Know It,” an endearingly offbeat comedy starring Hannah Pearl Ult (who also wrote and directed) as part of a dysfunctional family trying to run a small New York theater. From Tribeca comes Centerpiece screening “Changing the Game,” showcasing how trans athletes across the nation are shifting the face of high school sports. Hits from this year’s Berlin International Film Festival include “Brief Story from the Green Planet,” the Argentine story of a young trans woman who comes to the aid of an extraterrestrial, which took the Teddy Award for Best LGBTQ Feature; and “A Dog Barking at the Moon,” Chinese director Xiang Li’s semi-autographical family drama involving a father’s long-hidden gay affair, which took the Teddy Jury Award. And from SxSW, Outfest will screen two Audience Award winners: “Saint Frances,” about a young nanny working for a lesbian couple who faces an unwanted pregnancy; and “The Garden Left Behind,” about a young trans woman and her grandmother who navigate life as undocumented immigrants in New York City. Outfest 2019 will also host nearly 30 world premieres, including Rodrigo Bellott’s poignant “Tu Me Manques,” inspired by his hugely successful Bolivian play; Elegance Bratton’s documentary “Pier Kids,” which traces several years in the lives of queer and trans youth of color who gather on New York City’s Christopher Street Pier; and Megan Rossman’s “The Archivettes,” a profile of New York’s Lesbian Herstory Archives and the personal lives of the women involved with it. North American premieres at this year’s Outfest will include the documentary “Queer Japan,” revealing the multiplicity of shades of that country’s queer rainbow; “Label Me,” tracing the power struggle in a relationship between a Syrian refugee and a German man; and “Sequin in a Blue Room,” following an Australian teenager’s dangerous quest to find a stranger with whom he had a memorable encounter at a sex party. Outfest will also include numerous special events this year that are sure to be hot tickets, including the LA premiere of Kino Lorder’s restoration of the seminal 1967 documentary “The Queen,” featuring Flawless Sabrina and Crystal Labeija; a 30th anniversary screening of Marlon Riggs’ groundbreaking celebration of black gay love “Tongues Untied;” and the third annual Trans Summit, with keynote speaker Angelica Ross from FX’s “Pose.” Shifting away from its longtime hub of the Directors Guild, Outfest moves its main center of focus this year to the TCL Chinese Theatres on Hollywood Boulevard. Outfest’s edgy and much-adored Platinum series will also get a new home base this year, in the shape of DTLA’s Museum of Contemporary Art. And after its return last year following a venue renovation hiatus, Outfest’s popular Under the Stars series is back again this year at the Ford Theatres, with sure-to-sell-out events like a live performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Trixie Mattel, followed by a screening of the new documentary “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts;” a conversation with comedian and LGBTQ ally Kathy Griffin, followed by a screening of the new concert film “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story;” and a screening of the new documentary “Sid & Judy,” offering a glimpse into the life of Judy Garland through the eyes of her third husband, Sid Luft. For the second year in a row, more than two-thirds of Outfest’s content has been directed by women, people of color and trans filmmakers. “Our communities have long been advocating for this inclusion,” says Christopher Racster, who marks the end of his tenure as Outfest’s Executive Director this year. “A remarkable filmmaker like Nisha Ganatra, our Achievement Award recipient, should have so many more features to her credit, in the two decades that have elapsed between her award-winning first film and her current box-office smash Late Night. Outfest Los Angeles continues to shine a spotlight on those stories we must see and those creatives whose voices we need to hear.”


Hot favorites at Outfest 2019 Shining a spotlight on creatives whose voices we need to hear By DAN ALLEN

‘Circus of Books’ is a saucy and moving new documentary that had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Outfest 2019 Runs through July 18 Tickets on sale at outfest.org



LA Pride Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore is pictured here with her Sydney (Australia) Mardi Gras counterpart, Kate Wickett as about 40 Angelenos joined LA Pride’s contingent at Stonewall 50 in Manhattan on June 30, 2019.

LA Philanthropist and politico John Gile is pictured here near the Stonewall Inn with Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Mayor Pete, and Valerie Ploumpis, Equality California’s woman on the ground in Washington DC.

Photo by Robin McWilliams

Photo courtesy John Gile

LA Pride’s Estevan Jose Montemayor (President of Christopher Street West) found Ashley Smith, President of the Board of Directors for Capital Pride in DC. at Stonewall 50.

Venice Pride hoisted a 1400 square foot Pride flag throughout the entire Stonewall 50 parade route. Venice Pride President Grant Turck and several board members were in attendance along with dozens of Venice residents.

Photo courtesy Smith

Photo courtesy Venice Pride

Robin McWilliams, wife of LA Pride Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore, is probably glad Pride is over. She has live-streamed and photographed just about every possible rainbow colored event on both coasts for the past three months. Pictured here with Angeleno Patti Millers somewhere in the West Village.

Facebook invited several LGBTQ influencers to speak at an event at Stonewall Inn, including Bamby Salcedo and Michae Pulido of TransLatina Coalition and Marquita Thomas, bon vivant and Executive Director of the LA Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Madonna Cacciatore

Photo courtesy Facebook




Velázquez introduces bill to end marijuana prohibition

‘We must recognize that legal cannabis businesses are often small businesses that fuel local economies and create new jobs,’ said House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velázquez.

House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velázquez along with Reps. Jared Golden and Dwight Evans introduced a package of legislation, (H.R. 3540, H.R. 3543, and H.R. 3544) that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and extend several Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives to small businesses operating in the cannabis sector. “Chairwoman Velázquez is now the first Committee Chair ever to introduce legislation that would end the federal marijuana prohibition,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “As this nascent industry begins to grow, federal policy should strive to reduce roadblocks for those qualified entrepreneurs who have historically been the targets under the criminalization of cannabis. Enterprising individuals who would benefit most from the critical resources that the Small Business Administration provides must not be discriminated against as a matter of fairness and opportunity.” At the time of introduction, Velázquez said, “As our society continues to move the needle on this issue, we must recognize that legal cannabis businesses are often small businesses that fuel local economies and create new jobs. That is why I am pleased to introduce legislation to extend affordable lending options to small businesses that operate in the cannabis space, while simultaneously recognizing the structural disadvantages facing entrepreneurs from communities of color.” This legislative package is introduced on the heels of a Committee on Small Business hearing, which discussed the positive impact that the SBA could have if it were able to engage with small businesses in the rapidly growing, state-legal cannabis marketplaces. Thirty-three states, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physicianauthorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the 10 states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional 13 states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes. To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated

economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue. Specifically, a 2019 report estimates that over 211,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

63 percent of adults support marijuana legalization: poll NEW YORK — More than six in 10 U.S. adults believe that the personal use of cannabis ought to be legal in every state in the country, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Survey Monkey and Axios. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they support “legalizing the recreational use of marijuana on a national level.” Eightyseven percent of respondents said that they support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes.” Both percentages are consistent with other recent national surveys. Though nearly two-thirds of respondents favored legalization, only about one-quarter of those surveyed expressed interest in using marijuana themselves.

Cannabis safe for fibromyalgia patients: study PETACH TIKVA, Israel — The administration of herbal cannabis is safe and effective in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, according to clinical data published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. Israeli investigators assessed the use of cannabis over a six-month period in 211 patients with the disease. Eight-one percent of subjects reported “at least moderate improvement in their condition ... without experiencing serious adverse events.” Patients were most likely to report overall reductions in pain and overall improvements in their quality of life following cannabis therapy. Twenty-two percent of subjects “stopped or reduced their dosage of opioids,” and 20 percent reduced their use of benzodiazepines – findings that are consistent with those of other studies. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.





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East LA 5326 Beverly Blvd (323) 721-0510

Valley 4940 Van Nuys Blvd, Ste 200 (818) 380-2626

Hollywood 1300 N Vermont Ave, Ste 407 (323) 662-0492

Westside 99 N La Cienega Blvd, Ste 200 (310) 657-9353