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3rd man survives OD in Buck’s WeHo ‘drug den’, PAGE 02

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 3 8 • 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


02 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

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Ed Buck arrested WeHo resident charged with operating a drug house By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com “Y’all I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. This has been two years of my life fighting for this man to be arrested,” Black community activist Jasmyne Cannick tweeted late Tuesday night, Sept. 17, after learning that gay West Hollywood resident Ed Buck had been arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, charged with “operating a drug house and providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who suffered an overdose last week,” according a press release from the LA County District Attorney’s office. Cannick, attorney Hussain Turk, and several other community activists felt elated and vindicated. Buck, a white, former Democratic donor had escaped arrest after the LA County Coroner ruled the deaths of Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55, were accidental meth overdoses in Buck’s apartment on Laurel Avenue, Moore in July 2017 and Dean last January. In the past two years and 53 days, “numerous other Black gay men have stepped forward to share their stories that painted the picture of a racist, sick and sadistic man who preys on Black men,” Cannick tweeted. “And not just any Black man—vulnerable Black men who he uses his money to lure to his apartment. Gemmel Moore warned us. His journal told the sad story of how Ed Buck first gave him meth and got him addicted to meth.” But while detectives and the DA had Moore’s journal and other Black men may have come forward and talked with Cannick or the media, they apparently would not go on the record with either detectives investigating the deaths or with the DA’s office that offered limited immunity for possible victims. That was a major stumbling block: the DA could offer immunity for drug use or prostitution, but not from any other alleged crimes, outstanding warrants or parole violations. And without first person, on the record eyewitness victim accounts and hard evidence, Lacey said there was insufficient hard evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to win her case in court. She declined to prosecute. That dramatically changed when a

Ed Buck in 2011 Photo by Karen Ocamb

37-year-old man, as yet unidentified, suffered an overdose in Buck’s apartment on Sept. 11—and survived. Lacey has been under tremendous political pressure since her decision, as well as a recent ruling by District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney to allow Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, to again amend her wrongful death lawsuit against Lacey, Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum and Buck. Lacey seemed almost eager to move forward. “I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Lacey said in a press release. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.” Buck was charged with “one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house,” says the release. Lacey assigned the case to Deputy DA Cynthia Barnes in Major Crimes Division who has been with the DA’s office for more

than 20 years. She is perhaps best known for successfully prosecuting the hit and run murder case against Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight. The first paragraph of the Statement of Facts in the 13-page Memorandum Concerning Bail Deviation suggests a tone her prosecution might take. “Defendant Edward Buck is a violent, dangerous sexual predator. He mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness,” the document reads. “Using the bait of narcotics, money and shelter, the defendant lures these vulnerable victims to his home. From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes. These fetishes include supplying and personally administrating dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims. Buck’s aggressive and malevolent behavior led to the death of two men in Buck’s apartment, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean. Not deterred by the senseless deaths of Moore and Dean,

the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week. The defendant’s predatory acts and conscious disregard for life must be stopped.” In the document, Barnes argues for a $4 million bail. But the “bail deviation” is also of interest. “Order to place a hold on the release of the defendant from custody until the court is satisfied that no portion of the proffered bail was feloniously obtained, pursuant to California Penal Code 1275.1.” And how long might it take to determine that? She even included a “[Proposed] order” for a Superior Court judge to sign addressed to the Sheriff’s Department “or any other law enforcement agency having custody of Defendant-prisoner, Edward Buck,” prohibiting the acceptance of proferred bail without a prior hearing. The latest case is still under investigation but if Buck is convicted as charged, he faces Continues on page 04


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04 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

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Buck’s arrest: ‘Finally … some good news’ Continued from page 2

a possible maximum sentence of five years and eight months in state prison. Numerous media outlets have tried to reach Buck’s attorney Seymour Amster, to no avail. Previously, he has said that Buck is innocent of all allegations in the Moore and Dean cases. For Cannick, Moore’s mother, Justice4Gemmel, and many members of the Black and LGBTQ communities, Buck’s flagrant enjoyment of his freedom to pursue his cravings without consequence has been aggravating. CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein, for instance, caught Buck and a young Black man going to a 7-Eleven and the Beverly Center in a famous February 2019 confrontation after Dean’s death. Buck refused to answer questions and the young man told Goldstein he was aware of who Buck was. Charging Buck with operating a drug den is somewhat curious. Just as most of the community has been aware that Buck has continued his practice of seeing Black men in his rent controlled apartment, so, too, have the sheriff’s deputies known that there are drugs and drug paraphernalia there. In fact, the Los Angeles Blade specifically asked L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred about it after Dean’s death since the Coroner’s report in Moore’s case noted “24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a ‘piece of crystallike substance,’” according to the LA Times.  Alfred wouldn’t comment until the toxicology report came back after Dean’s autopsy. But he suggested that neighbors might want to contact West Hollywood’s Public Safety department if they were concerned about suspicious drug use and visitors to Buck’s apartment at odd hours. They might be able to use “nuisance laws,” sometimes known as “broken windows” or “quality of life” laws to force him to leave his apartment. Apparently, he didn’t offer that advice directly to the neighbors. There are a number of remaining questions such as whatever happened to the young black man who was spotted by a neighbor walking her dog last January before she saw an older man, presumably

Ed Buck after being arrested this week. Screen grab from KTLA

Dean, go into Buck’s apartment? He was not there when paramedics or deputies arrived. And what will become of the charges that racism resulted in the original bungled investigation? “If that incident had occurred in my home, the police would have kicked down my door, guns drawn and had me in handcuffs. There’s no doubt about it. That’s how it goes,” Jeffrey King, the Black executive director of In The Meantime Men told the Los Angeles Blade after Moore’s death. “That’s part of the bigger issue here. That

guy [Buck] was treated like a respectable citizen. But a drug-related accident occurred in a man’s house. He should have been taken down to the station and questioned, at minimum. This is a matter of race on a minimum level. The value of this kid’s life is not the same as a prominent person’s child— he would have been handled different. The police would have been relentless; the DA would have been relentless; the whole system would have been relentless,” King said.

Will Deputy DA Barnes consider racism an element of the crime or will she leave it up to the federal court to decide? For now, Cannick, Nixon and the whole team who worked so hard to see Ed Buck in handcuffs rejoiced with tears. “Being able to call Gemmel’s mother and Timothy’s sister and tell them that Ed Buck had been arrested was such a great feeling,” Cannick tweeted. “Finally! To share some good news. We’re not there yet but we’re getting there.”


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06 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

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Lorri Jean reflects on her journey to the Center Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrating its 50th anniversary By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com It’s spectacularly ironic, really. Just as the fabric of American democracy is being shredded by a wannabe dictator seeking personal profit, an organization started by a group of gay people being of service to the most marginalized of the marginalized in 1969 has become the nation’s oldest LGBTQ institution, still serving those in need. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and it is still growing, as evidenced by the historic opening of the huge Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood. The Center is not only a real establishment, it is also a metaphor, a modern beacon of hope modeling how grit, determination, organization and a family-of-choice kind of love can overcome enormous obstacles and create services and unique opportunities that wind up benefiting those beyond the circle. “We’ve suffered such great reversals under [President Donald] Trump in a way that we never had before—because we never had so much to lose before,” says Lorri L. Jean, the Center’s executive director for more than 20 years. “If the Center’s history has been anything, it has been weathering the best of times and the worst of times, persevering, and always prevailing. “I think that opening the Anita May Rosenstein Campus in the midst of the worst presidential administration for our community in history is an illustration of what’s next,” Jean says. “We cannot give up. We must continue to provide what our community needs. We have got to be laser-focused on getting rid of Trump and any anti-LGBT cronies—I don’t care what their party is. We deserve to have proLGBT presidents, pro-LGBT members of Congress. So we have to focus on that at the same time that we are continuing to care for those in our community who are most

New executive director Lorri Jean with LA Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center Board co-chair Ed Gould. Photo by Karen Ocamb

vulnerable and most in need.” As it turns out, Jean is a history buff, a very helpful trait when organizing a 50th anniversary celebration with as many of the pioneers as remain and can attend the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration and concert on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the historic Greek Theatre. Jean’s perspective on the Center may differ from the seven other executive directors over the decades. But her perspective on the Center’s history stems from a sense of her own history and her deep commitment to assume its profound responsibility to the LGBTQ community and the intersectional ground on which the community stands. For the longest serving keeper of the Center’s flame, Jean takes leadership of the institution very personally. It was February of 1979 when Jean first realized she is a lesbian—and it had nothing to do with Harvey Milk or Anita Bryant. She was in her last semester at Arizona State University and in a student government group for women. A closeted professor with

whom she socialized wanted to set her up on a date. “It was a woman! I was shocked, just shocked! I’m like, ‘A woman?’ To make a long story short, that set me off on selfexamination about well, why did she think I was a lesbian? Ultimately, at the end of that very tumultuous process of only a few weeks, I came to the realization that I was a lesbian,” Jean says. “It would be many months before I would have my first sexual experience.” Months later, Jean moved to Washington, D.C. to go to law school. She also became an activist in the LGBT community. “I became the president of what was the Gay Activist Alliance, whose name I immediately changed to the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance. My favorite insult happened at that moment when Frank Kameny, for whom I had great respect, accused me of ‘loose and slovenly thinking’ because ‘gay’ includes everyone,” she laughs. “I tried to explain to him why that was not the case.” Jean was running the all-volunteer GLAA

when the beginning of the AIDS epidemic hit. “It was the most rewarding, exciting, passionate work I had ever done,” she recalls. “So I decided that I wanted to work fulltime for the movement. But at that time, the salary scales were so terrible, and I had huge student loans from law school that I could only afford to take one of the top jobs.” In 1989, she applied to head the Human Rights Campaign Fund and was a finalist with Tim McFeely, who got the job. Realizing she needed to bolster her resume, she brazenly told her boss at the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) she wanted to be “the highestranking career employee running the Western regional office, or Region 9, which included California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and all of the civic territories. It was FEMA’s largest and busiest region. There had never been a woman in that job in any of the 10 regions and there had never been a man under the age of 55. I was, at that point, a 32-year-old out lesbian.”


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • 07

LOCAL

Lorri Jean leading the Center contingent in the 2019 LA Pride Parade Photo by Karen Ocamb

She got the job, moved to San Francisco and immediately had to handle the Loma Prieta earthquake. “We had a presidentially declared disaster an average of every 30 days for my three-and-a-half-year tenure there,” Jean says. But she gained lots of experience “managing people at a huge level and billions of dollars.” She also kept up her activism on the board of Lambda Legal. That board hired former Center board member Deborah Johnson as a consultant. “Deborah and I liked each other a lot,” she says. So when Johnson called and told her about a job in LA “with your name written all over it,” she balked over the location but was intrigued and submitted her resume. Then Board Co-Chair Rose Green called and schmoozed her. She went to LA and got a lot of help during the interview process from outgoing director Torie Osborn. “I interviewed in the old Center on Highland Avenue, which was a converted motel. It was one of the best LGBT centers that there was at the time. But it was a dump,” Jeans says. “I walked in there and I thought,

‘Oh, my God. My parents will think I’ve lost my mind.’ I mean, I was on the fast track, a young lawyer in the federal government, who’d been promoted to this important position,” Jean says. “Then they took me over and showed me the new building on Hudson Avenue and I was blown away. “As I learned more about all of the programs and services, I started to get hooked,” Jean says. “I went home and Gina [Calvelli, an attorney and Jean’s now wife] and I had begun seriously dating, but we weren’t living together. I said, ‘This place is amazing. I can’t believe other people in our movement don’t know about it. It’s doing more than any LGBT center I’ve ever heard of anywhere. It’s amazing. If you wouldn’t consider moving to LA, then you need to tell me right now because I don’t want to get hooked.’” Calvelli agreed to think about moving to LA, enabling Jean to continue the application process. “I really wanted the job and thank goodness, the board of directors offered it to me,” she says.

Jean had no idea that the Center would become her home and with it, the responsibility to be the keeper of such an important historical flame. “I understood that this was a very important movement institution,” she says. “I never thought that this would become my life’s career because nobody did that back then. In fact, a big part of my decision when the job was offered to me was what would I do afterwards? Would my career be ruined because I had run a gay and lesbian center? I had some people who I cared a lot about who advised me against it for that very reason. But it’s a good thing to be young because you feel like you can take more risks. I wanted to do it, so I ignored that counsel and took the job.” At the time, November of 1992, the Center was engaged in a multi-million dollar capital campaign and the annual budget, excluding capital, was a little under $8 million—in the middle of the second wave of AIDS. Jean had lost close friends in D.C., wrote last-minute wills and helped de-gay apartments before

the parents came. But the death of Gabe Kruks, director of programs under Torie Osborn, hit her in another way. With Osborn and other institutional Center leaders leaving, she called on her old friends Darrell Cumming and Kay Osberg. But she and Kruks established a rapport, giving her a lot confidence coming in as the new director. “Then Gabe died suddenly before I ever got here. It really struck me,” Jean says. “Gabe was going to be our fount of information. So when Gabe died, it was very concerning. It was shocking and sad. But I was young. I was an optimist. And I thought, ‘Well, heck. There’s nothing I can’t learn.’” Twenty years later, whether celebrating the pioneers at the 50th Anniversary Gala or prepping for the next AIDS LifeCycle ride, Lorri L. Jean still imparts that spirit of youthful optimism and eagerness to learn. And in a political world seemed set on going back to some old dream that never really was, Jean and the LA LGBT Center insist on forward progress.


LOCAL

08 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Calif. adds Iowa to state travel ban over repeal of trans protections Presidential candidates are now also on notice By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The LGBTQ Presidential Forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just got more interesting. The Sept. 20 event featuring 10 Democratic candidates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, is being sponsored by One Iowa, The Gazette, The Advocate, and GLAAD with trans “Pose” actress Angelica Ross hosting. Marriage equality advocates may recall that Iowa was the third state in the nation to pass marriage equality in 2009, after California passed the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 initiative that was eventually ruled unconstitutional. “You know, it wasn’t that long ago that there were still Democrats running for president who didn’t believe in freedom to marry for all people,” GLAAD spokesperson Zeke Stokes told The Gazette. “I think for a long time LGBTQ people, including myself, perhaps believed that progress was a train that only went forward….We have seen that electing the wrong person to the White House can put that train in reverse very, very quickly.” The Gazette did not mention, however, the dramatic shift to the conservative right since 2009, evidenced by action taken by the Iowa Legislature last April adding and passing within 24 hours a provision to the state Health and Human Services budget bill—House File 766—that repeals LGBTQ protections. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed and immediately enacted the law on May 3. After reviewing HF 766, which also targets abortion rights and Planned Parenthood, California Attorney General Xavier on Friday issued a ban against official state tax-payer funded travel to Iowa. HF 766 is a 109-page bill that covers Medicaid and all other publicly funded insurance services. On page 87, a new subsection amendment reads: “This section shall not require any state or local government unit or tax-supported district to provide for sex reassignment surgery

‘The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act,’ said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

or any other cosmetic, reconstructive, or plastic surgery procedure related to transsexualism, hermaphroditism, gender identity disorder, or body dysmorphic disorder. This division of this Act, being deemed of immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.” “Protecting transgender people from discrimination is settled law in Iowa, and has been since 2007,” Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, executive director of One Iowa, in a press release after HF 766 passed the legislature. “The Iowa Supreme Court made clear that the Iowa Civil Rights Act protects transgender Iowans against Medicaid discrimination in their unanimous ruling just over one month ago. In response, a small group of legislators want to pick and choose who deserves protections under the law, and it’s clear they think of transgender Iowans as second-class citizens. This amendment is a harmful attempt to deny transgender Iowans medically necessary care.” State Attorney General Xavier Becerra concurs, noting that HF 766 legislatively repeals a March 8 ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court that Iowa’s HHS administration of Medicaid cannot specifically target and deny transgender people gender-affirming, medically necessary care. “The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing

protections for those seeking genderaffirming healthcare,” Becerra said in a press release.  “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it. That’s why my office is adding Iowa to the list of states subject to state-funded or sponsored travel restrictions.” In 2007, Iowa added “gender identity” to its Civil Rights Act, prohibiting “any owner or manager of a public accommodation from refusing or denying service  to or discriminating against any person based upon listed protected characteristics,” the attorney general’s release notes.  ‘In March 2019, in Good v. Iowa Department of Human Services,  the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery was protected under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.” With Reynolds’ signature, “HF 766 makes it clear that coverage for individuals seeking gender-affirming care is no longer required in Iowa. As a result, it has the effect of repealing state protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Therefore, under California law (AB 1887), that “prohibits state-funded and statesponsored travel to states that enact a law after June 26, 2015 that voids or repeals an existing state or local protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual

orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Iowa’s new law, HF 766, has triggered the enforcement of California’s AB 1887 protections.” The attorney general’s office notes that since 1978, California has legally recognized that gender-affirming treatment is “medically reasonable and necessary” and that “transsexual surgery is not cosmetic as defined under Medi-Cal regulations,” the attorney general’s office notes. Additionally, insurers cannot deny coverage for gender transition care “if similar services are otherwise available to their other members, including, but not limited to, hormone therapy, hysterectomy, mastectomy, and vocal training.”   Becerra has been fighting for the rights of transgender Californians, including filing a motion earlier this month for a preliminary injunction  to block the Trump administration’s “Healthcare Refusal Rule” that would allow healthcare providers to deny care to LGBTQ individuals on religious or moral grounds. The 11 states currently under the ban are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Iowa. The California travel ban to Iowa goes into effect on Oct. 4, six days before the HRC/CNN LGBTQ Presidential Forum in Los Angeles.


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • 09

QUOTES “The nonbinary pronoun ‘they’ has been added to the dictionary.” — Merriam-Webster dictionary tweet, via Zack Ford’s newsletter Fording the River Styx.

“She was a people person.” — Desmond Vereen about her friend Bee Love Slater, 23, who was found dead in a burned car in Florida, the 18th trans woman killed this year, via CNN.

I was always a [MADtv] guy anyway.”

— Comedian Shane Gillis after being fired from Saturday Night Live for past racist and homophobic comments, Sept. 16 via TVline. com.

Project Angel Food raised more than $800,000 at its 30th Anniversary Angel Awards Gala in Hollywood on Sept. 14, breaking the previous 1999 Angel Awards fundraising record of $700,000 when Elizabeth Taylor was honored. Longtime supporter Jamie Lee Curtis received the Project Angel Food Humanitarian Angel Award with Jami Morse Heidegger and Klaus Heidegger, philanthropists and creators of skincare products Retrouve and Kiehl’s Since 1851, honored with the Project Angel Food Leadership Award. “Jamie Lee Curtis and Jami and Klaus Heidegger have been involved with Project Angel Food for well over two decades and they are not afraid to throw on an apron, roll-up their sleeves and get involved,” said Executive Director Richard Ayoub. Project Angel Food co-founder and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson was introduced by her longtime friend, grief expert David Kessler, with whom she co-founded the organization. Project Angel Food co-founder Marianne Williamson with honoree Jamie Lee Curtis Photo courtesy Project Angel Food “This city was brash and young. Once AIDS arrived, there was a level of innocence that would never be the same again. When this organization was founded, it  was a time of such despair — there was such hopelessness. Such devastation,” Williamson recalled. “It’s wonderful the way that community, the city, has continued to nurture it, to appreciate it, to celebrate it, to keep it alive.” Project Angel Food Executive Director Richard Ayoub noted that about 98 percent of their clients live at or below the poverty level. Today, they feed 1,500 a day and by June of 2020, they expect to feed 1,750 people daily, a projected increase of nearly 20 percent, “It all comes down to creating and maintaining a space of dignity and improving the quality of life for our clients,” Ayoub said. “Each and every one of you with us tonight is part of this evolution. At the beginning, we borrowed a small kitchen in West Hollywood. Today, this kitchen belongs to all of you.” – Karen Ocamb


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10 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Gay tech entrepreneur running for Ind. governor Pete Buttigieg isn’t the only out gay person from Indiana with lofty political ambitions. Josh Owens, a tech entrepreneur who leads one of Indiana’s fastest growing companies where employees earn a minimum of $50,000, has launched a bid to become his state’s first openly gay governor. His Josh Owens seeks to campaign website is here. become Indiana’s first A Democrat who’s CEO openly gay governor. of  SupplyKick,  Owens filed Photo courtesy of the campaign paperwork for Indians’s 2020 gubernatorial race on Monday. “I’m running for governor now because I believe in an Indiana where teachers are paid what they deserve and where all are welcomed, respected and protected,” Owens said in a statement. “We need a leader who will ensure our state budget, policies and laws reflect a bold and inclusive vision for collective Hoosier success.” Key components of Owens’ platform include increasing teacher salaries and eliminating textbook fees for public school students; increasing the smoking age and decriminalizing marijuana; enacting statewide LGBT protections into law; and strengthening background checks for gun purchases. Owens is 34, but wouldn’t be Indiana’s youngest elected governor. Evan Bayh was 32 when elected in 1988 and James Ray was 30. In addition to being CEO of SupplyKick, Owens serves on the boards of TechPoint Indiana, Indy Chamber, the Orr Fellowship and previously chaired the Indiana Charter School Board. Owens has competitors for the Democratic nomination. Woody Myers, a black millionaire venture capitalist and former Indiana health commissioner who gained notoriety defending AIDS patient Ryan White, announced his candidacy in July. Other Democrats considering a run include State Sen. Eddie Melton and State Rep. Karlee Macer, according to the Indianapolis Star. The filing deadline in Indiana is Feb. 7, 2020. Whomever obtains the Democratic nomination will face off in the general election against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb — who’ll be difficult to unseat as a Republican incumbent in a “red” state. A lifelong Indiana resident, Owens grew up in Shelbyville where his parents and family still live. Owens graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville and later earned his master’s degree in economic history at the London School of Economics. Josh and his husband Andy live in Indianapolis. CHRIS JOHNSON

Lawsuit prompts move to repeal NYC conversion therapy ban Corey Johnson, the openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council, introduced a bill on Thursday to repeal a law the Council passed in 2017 that prohibits mental health professionals from performing socalled conversion therapy on both adults and minors. Johnson said he remains convinced the practice of attempting change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is harmful and ineffective based on assessments by virtually all of the nation’s mainstream mental health advocacy organizations, which have issued statements opposing conversion therapy. But he said a lawsuit filed in January of this year challenging the constitutionality of the law could result in court rulings harmful to the effort to ban conversion therapy, including a possible negative ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit was filed by the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of an Orthodox Jewish psychotherapist from Brooklyn, Dovid Schwartz, who charges that the law violates his and his patients’ First Amendment right to therapeutic counseling or “speech” of their own choosing. “Obviously, I didn’t want to repeal this,” Johnson told the New York Times. “I don’t want to be someone who is giving in to these right-wing groups,” the Times quoted him as saying. “But the Supreme Court has become conservative; the Second Circuit, which oversees New York, has become more conservative,” he said. “We think this is the most responsible, prudent course,” the told the Times. Ethan Rice, senior staff attorney and Fair Courts Project Director for the LGBT litigation group Lambda Legal, told the Washington Blade in a statement that Lambda Legal believes the New York City ban on conversion therapy is constitutional. But he said there is “no reason to waste time and money” fighting the lawsuit because an existing New York State law bans conversion therapy for minors. He said another state consumer protection law enables adults to bring consumer fraud cases against therapists engaging in conversion therapy. New York City became the first known jurisdiction to extend its ban on conversation therapy to adults. Laws banning conversion therapy for minors have been enacted in 18 states, D.C. and more than 50 municipalities, according to the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank affiliated with the UCLA School of Law. “State laws prohibiting licensed therapists from this outrageous and harmful practice are the gold standard for legislation on this issue,” Rice told the Blade. “There have been a handful of challenges to those laws, but they have all failed,” he said. “It is very well-established that states have the authority — and the responsibility — to regulate mental health treatments to protect patients,

especially minor patients, and especially when the potential harms are life-threatening,” Rice said. He was referring to widespread reports by mental health experts that young people who undergo conversion therapy to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, often under pressure from parents, have suffered from depression and attempted and in some cases committed suicide. In his lawsuit, Schwartz says many of his patients seeking conversion therapy are members of the Orthodox Jewish community. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Gay married couple sues after daughter denied U.S. citizenship A gay married couple from Maryland on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department over its refusal to recognize their daughter’s U.S. citizenship. Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase married in California in 2013. Their daughter was born via surrogate in Canada in February. “K.R.K. was born in 2019 in Calgary, Canada, during Roee and Adiel’s marriage,” reads the lawsuit  that was filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. “Both Adiel and Roee were U.S. citizens at the time of K.R.K.’s birth.” The lawsuit notes Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act says, “a baby born abroad to married parents is a U.S. citizen at birth when both parents are U.S. citizens and one of them has resided in the United States at any point prior to the baby’s birth.” Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal and the law firm Morgan Lewis, which represent the Kivitis, in a press release notes the State Department is treating the couple’s daughter as “born out of wedlock” because only Adiel Kiviti has a biological connection to her. “The focus here is our little girl whose rights are being infringed upon by our government,” said the Kivitis in the press release that announced the lawsuit. “Every parent wants to protect their child, to give them assurances of tomorrow, and this policy isn’t letting us do that.” “Our daughter will know her story,” they added. “She will know how she came into this world, she will know about all of the loving people who helped us become a family, and she will know how her parents fought for her rights and for the rights of other families.”   The Kivitis filed their lawsuit less than two months after Derek and Jonathan Mize-Gregg, a gay married couple in Atlanta, in July sued the State Department after it refused to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their daughter who was born via surrogacy in England in 2018. MICHAEL K. LAVERS


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12 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

NATIONAL

Trump misses chance to appoint first gay nat’l security adviser Ambassador Grenell was rumored to be in running for post By CHRIS JOHNSON U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Trump administration, has a brusque style that has offended some in his host country and journalists alike, but that didn’t stop him from appearing on the short list for President Trump’s next pick for national security adviser. In fact, that style might have helped him get on the list. Grenell’s open confrontation with German officials and members of the media echo Trump’s brashness with traditional U.S. allies and accusations of “Fake News.” But Trump on Wednesday named Robert O’Brien, the U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, as the new national security adviser following the firing last week of John Bolton. National security experts who spoke with the Blade said Grenell’s temperament and style fit Trump’s approach as president. Mark Groombridge, a gay D.C.-based national security expert and “Never Trump” Republican who’s known Grenell for close to 20 years, said Grenell knows how to play the game. “I think, personally, he disagrees with a number of President Trump’s foreign policy positions, but also knows there’s no point going against him,” Groombridge said. “But there’s one thing that this president values more than anything, and that is loyalty. And Ric knows how to play that game very well.” Despite an anti-LGBT record that has offended many in the LGBT community, Trump’s selection of Grenell as national security adviser would have been a milestone because he would have been the first openly gay person in that high-ranking position. Moreover, Grenell has spearheaded the Trump administration’s global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality (in so much that it exists), and could carry out that mission in his role as a senior Trump

United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and President Donald Trump  Photo via Twitter

adviser. In the aftermath of his recent dismissal of Bolton as national security adviser, Trump himself has told reporters he has “five people that want it very much,” whom he called “good people I’ve gotten to know over the last three years.” Media outlets quickly identified the five as Grenell as well as Stephen Begun, lead envoy on North Korea; Brian Hook, U.S. special representative on Iran; Douglas Macgregory, a retired Army colonel and conservative commentator; and O’Brien. Grenell, 52, reportedly lobbied Trump to become national security adviser, and heavily so. Grenell, according to Politico Playbook, made himself seen last Thursday at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. — a surefire (if unseemly) way to get Trump’s attention, and was also seen leaving the West Wing at the White House on Friday at around noon. As ambassador to Germany, Grenell has won allies in Trumpland, including Donald Trump Jr. and Trump himself, who reportedly approves of Grenell’s approach and public berating of the U.S. ally. 

Following Trump’s dissolution of the Iran nuclear deal, Grenell right from the start has worked to deter German investment in Iran. Just days after his confirmation, Grenell tweeted in rather dictatorial fashion, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” A look at his Twitter reveals he continues shaming German officials for interactions in Iran. Additionally, Grenell has helped browbeat Germany into spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense, suggesting if the country doesn’t meet its NATO obligation, the United States would otherwise move U.S. troops stationed there to Poland. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Grenell’s style “took getting used to,” according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. The liberal minority party in Germany called for Grenell’s expulsion, but he has remained in place. Groombridge said Grenell is right on the money in his approach as U.S. ambassador to Germany. “A lot of people think that the role of an ambassador is to improve relations between

the United States and the country that you’re serving in,” Groombridge said. “That is absolutely not the job of the ambassador. The job of the ambassador is to promote U.S. interests, and sometimes those interests align, and sometimes they don’t. [Grenell] is doing exactly what President Trump appointed him to do, and he’s doing it beautifully.” But there’s more to Grenell’s resume. Grenell in the Bush administration served as spokesperson for four different U.N. ambassadors, including John Bolton during the height of the Iraq war. Groombridge, who served with Grenell at the United Nations, said his combative style was evident in those days in dealing with journalists and the international organization. “I worked with Ric at the U.N., and he was very combative up there,” Groombridge said. “And a lot of people didn’t like him up there in the journalistic community, but Ric’s job wasn’t to get along with journalists like you. It was, sure there’s always going to be spin, but to promote U.S. national security interests.” Another gay D.C.-based national security expert, who has known Grenell for years and spoke on condition of anonymity for greater candor, said Bolton’s tenure was “by far” Grenell’s favorite of the four ambassadors. “He enjoyed the combative nature of it,” the expert said. “And to a certain degree, what we’ve seen Ric do by way of whether it’s Angela Merkel and European attitudes or whatever, being the spear carrier, if you will, for the pugnacious Donald Trump, Ric learned that style under John Bolton.” But that very allegiance to Bolton could have doomed Grenell in his bid to become the next national security adviser. After all, Trump clashed with Bolton because of his neo-conservative worldview — which includes support for previous U.S. regime change efforts in Iraq and Libya and prospective ones in North Korea, Iran and Venezuela — and objections to bringing the Taliban to Camp David days before the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Continues at losangelesblade.com


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INTERNATIONAL

14 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Cuban police detain LGBT activist in Havana

From left: Bruna Benevides of Associação Nacional dos Travestis e Transsexuais (ANTRA) and Alessandra Ramos, co-founder of Forum Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais Negras e Negros (FONATRANS), speak about transgender issues in Brazil at an International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights panel in D.C. on Sept. 13. Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

Trans Brazilians ‘afraid for our lives’ Two transgender activists from Brazil who spoke in D.C. last week said their country has become even more dangerous for trans Brazilians since anti-LGBTI President Jair Bolsonaro took office. The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights hosted Alessandra Ramos, co-founder of Forum Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais Negras e Negros (FONATRANS), and Bruna Benevides of Associação Nacional dos Travestis e Transsexuais (ANTRA) on Sept. 13. Benevides highlighted a report her organization released with the Instituto Brasileiro Trans de Educação (IBTE) released that notes 163 trans people were reported murdered in Brazil in 2018. This figure represents 47 percent of all reported murders of trans people in the world. Benevides said a trans person is killed in Brazil every 48 hours. The ANTRA and IBTE report notes 83 percent of these murders had “characteristics of extreme cruelty, such as excessive use of dismemberment, drowning and other brutal forms of violence” that include stonings and beheadings. “We see news of severely mutilated bodies with objects introduced into the anus of the victims and bodies burned, dismembered and repeatedly beaten,” reads the report. The report notes police arrested suspects in only 9 percent of these cases. It also indicates 82 percent of the trans people who were reported killed in Brazil in 2018 were of African descent. “Black transvestis and transsexuals are the majority in street population,” reads the report. “Proportionately, these are the ones with the highest rates of violence and murder.” The report also notes the average life expectancy of a trans Brazilian is 35 years. It does not specifically mention Bolsonaro, but Benevides and Ramos both said the country has grown more dangerous for trans Brazilians since he took office in 2018. “We are afraid for our lives,” said Ramos. Bolsonaro is a former Brazilian Army captain who previously

represented Rio de Janeiro in the country’s Congress. Bolsonaro, who defeated  former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party in the country’s 2017 presidential election, continues to face widespread criticism over his rhetoric against LGBTI Brazilians and other underrepresented groups. Ramos said Bolsonaro had a list of the names of LGBTI activists that “he thought were against family and pro-destruction of Brazil” on his office door when he was a member of the Brazilian congress. “He had photographs of us and he kept a list of all of us,” noted Ramos. “We believe that list still exists of course and we’re still on there as part of this list of people who are not welcome as part of his agenda,” she added. Bolsonaro in March  spoke  about his government’s “respect of traditional family values” and opposition to “gender identity” when he appeared with President Trump at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. Bolsonaro during his trip to D.C. also met Pat Robertson and other evangelical Christians. Julia Katharine, a trans actress and director, is among those who publicly criticized Bolsonaro last month for his decision to suspend public funding  of LGBTI-specific television projects and films. The ANTRA and IBTE report, among other things, notes 56 percent of Brazilians did not finish elementary school. Ramos said discrimination based on gender identity has increased in Brazil since Bolsonaro’s election, noting Uber drivers have kicked activists out of their vehicles because they are trans. “[Bolsonaro] really reached the men of Brazil: The cab drivers, the police officers, the firemen,” said Ramos. “All of those people voted Bolsonaro.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Cuban police on Monday detained an independent LGBTI activist in Havana. Leandro Rodríguez García, director of the Cuban Foundation for LGBTI Rights, an independent advocacy group, told the Washington Blade in a series of voice messages that authorities detained him at around 11 a.m. after he and Ileana Hernández, a human rights activist and journalist, left the European Union’s offices in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood. Rodríguez and Hernández had gone to the EU offices to speak with an official about Yunia Figueredo, another human rights activist who had been detained in Miramar earlier in the day. “We were detained leaving that place,” Rodríguez told the Blade. Rodríguez told Diario Las Américas, a Miamibased newspaper, he and Hernández were brought to a local police station. Rodríguez told the Blade that officers used “offensive and inappropriate words against him” while he was in custody. Rodríguez said he was fined $50 and forced to return to his home in Villa Clara province after authorities released him and Hernández. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top diplomat, was in Cuba when police detained Rodríguez. His arrest comes less than a month after the Cuban government  prevented him  from traveling to the U.S. in order to participate in a months-long program at the Washington Center. The Cuban government in recent months has detained numerous independent LGBTI activists, human rights advocates and journalists. Police on May 11 arrested several people who participated in an unsanctioned LGBTI march in Havana. A number of independent LGBTI activists were detained on the same day in order to prevent them from attending the event. Cuban police on Sept. 7 arrested dozens of people after they raided the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, a political party that opposes the ruling Cuban Communist Party, in the city of Santiago in eastern Cuba. Roberto Quiñones, a reporter for CubaNet, a Miamibased website that covers Cuba, this week began to serve a year-long jail sentence after authorities in April arrested him while covering a trial in the city of Guantánamo. Yariel Valdés González,  a Blade contributor, on March 27 asked for asylum in the U.S. based on the persecution he suffered in Cuba as a journalist. The Cuban government less than two months later prevented this reporter from entering the country.   MICHAEL K. LAVERS


16 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

VOLUME 03 ISSUE 38

A plan for comprehensive immigration reform With court providing Trump cover, solutions lie with legislature

Andrew L. Reback is a Los Angeles-based attorney who specializes in immigration issues. (Photo courtesy Reback)

As the president’s crusade to un-knit the fabric of America’s immigration system continues, the Supreme Court provides new cover. No one should be surprised that the high court has dropped yet another assist to the administration by bolstering both its efforts to build a wall and also turn away migrants seeking asylum on the southern border. The only way out of this mess is a legislative deal. Mr. Trump’s newest gambit is essentially a blanket rejection of asylum-seekers who might pass through Mexico before arriving at our southern border. Under the proposed rule, asylum-seekers cannot make a request for refuge in the United States if they are arriving at the southern border in transit from any other third country (effectively

meaning claims for asylum at the Southern border could only be made by Mexicans). The rule denies entrance to almost all Central American migrants seeking asylum who today make up the vast majority of asylum-seekers that migrate by land. The Supreme Court’s order allows the administration’s stringent new asylum policies to remain in effect while other court battles continue over their legality. Administration opponents see these actions as a cruel perversion of Immigration and Asylum laws, meant to purposely increase human suffering and deter new migration. For Administration supporters, these new rules are a necessary outcome from years of abuse to a strained system. In the face of this ideological chasm we seem to be left two choices: pick one side over the other and continue fighting while human beings suffer, or find a legislative compromise to fix the system. Since the political fight never seems to end, despite various election results over the last two decades, perhaps it is again time to explore a legislative solution. From this immigration lawyer’s perspective, it’s time to stop the insanity and make a political deal. Human lives hang in the balance. The President and his supporters are fixated on building a border wall. Their supposed argument is that the border wall supports national security, and every country should control who enters its borders. House Democrats should simply call the President’s bluff and pass comprehensive immigration reform that

funds the border wall. In that spirit, here is a comprehensive reform deal that is worth the price of a wall. First, provide green cards and a pathway to citizenship for DACA holders and their parents. Second, make Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permanent for all current holders of TPS. Third, update the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), specifically at Section 245(i), to allow for persons who have illegally crossed the border or have overstayed their visas to pay a penalty fine and apply for green cards based on a petition from a qualifying family member or employer-sponsor. Reviving Section 245(i) would legalize millions of undocumented immigrants and create billions of dollars of penalty fees. The penalty fee revenue could then be used to fund the border wall. The lives of immigrants already living among us and the hopes of migrants yearning for safe legal refuge in America depend on us being able to reach a deal. Our Dreamers and their parents, TPS holders, longtime undocumented immigrants, and migrants seeking asylum at our Southern border cannot wait anymore while we play politics. If the wall is really the President’s objective, put it on the table in a serious manner. I believe that the lives of human beings are more important than a concrete wall that can be torn down. As the saying goes, Speaker Pelosi should make him an offer he can’t refuse.

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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • 17

Tremenda Nota, yet another publication you can’t read in Cuba Increased attacks on our team drive seven journalists to leave island By TREMENDA NOTA STAFF Just over a year after its founding in December 2017, Tremenda Nota  was censored in Cuba. Our website was blocked in February of this year on the eve of a national referendum to ratify a new Cuban constitution.  During the referendum process, the Cuban Parliament considered the establishment of marriage equality for same-sex couples, but later decided to postpone such a change. Tremenda Nota is Cuba’s leading publication focused on the LGBTI+ community and produced original reporting and commentary on the subject. Our censorship, still in effect today, was imposed after we published an article revealing a national survey conducted by the Cuban government in 2016. The survey’s results showed popular opinion supports equal rights for LGBTI+ people, contradicting the Parliament’s professed rationale for postponing marriage equality. Tremenda Nota  is the first Cuban digital magazine that covers stories exclusively about women, the LGBTI+ community, the black community, migrants and discrimination. Attacks on our journalists effectively silence these groups. Since its founding, our reporters, editors, and collaborators have suffered harassment

by the Cuban State Security apparatus. Members of our team have been arrested, interrogated, and threatened. In some cases, police officers have destroyed our work product and have confiscated our equipment. The increasing attacks on our team since mid-2018 have driven at least seven of our journalists to leave Cuba, relocating temporarily or permanently to other countries. The pressure we face grew in May 2019 after a team of our journalists covered an independently-organized LGBTI+ march in Havana. (In Cuba, only political actions organized by the government are permitted.) One of the seven, photojournalist Yariel Valdés González, has been detained in the U.S. since March 2019, when he presented himself at the border and requested political asylum. Valdés was cited and threatened by Cuban State Security at least three times in his final six months in Cuba for his work with  Tremenda Nota  and with the  Washington Blade, our media partner in the U.S. He was also denied permission to travel outside the country. He was able to leave Cuba only after promising two State Security officers that he would not return. Although Valdés has clear evidence of the persecution he suffered in Cuba, U.S. immigration authorities have unjustifiably delayed the granting of his asylum petition. He will appear before a judge for the third time on Sept. 18. Tremenda Nota  is profoundly troubled that a journalist with Valdés’ history, after requesting asylum due to persecution

suffered in the course of his work, has been deprived of liberty for more than five months. Other effects of persecution are psychological. At least two reporters and an editor for Tremenda Nota have required treatment for post-traumatic stress, a result of the arrests, interrogations, and surveillance they have faced. We have not published details of these stories to protect the privacy of the journalists affected, particularly those who continue to live in Cuba, where they face constant and ongoing pressure against independent journalism. Such persecution is not unique to our team. On Wednesday, Sept. 11,  Cubanet  reporter Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces was imprisoned in the province of Guantánamo, making him the first journalist in recent years to be indicted and prosecuted for his work. With no guarantee of a fair trial, Quiñones was condemned to a year of prison and “correctional labor” for the crime of “contempt,” a penal concept often used against civil activists and political dissidents. This imprisonment represents a turning point in the government’s attitude toward independent journalism. Since Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003, the arbitrary detentions of independent reporters have been limited to relatively brief periods. The prosecution of Quiñones, together with official warnings to other journalists to cease their work, highlights the danger of reporting in Cuba for any independent journalist. Based on its duration and extent, the

harassment against Tremenda Nota appears to be a concerted strategy to destroy our publication. Similar systematic attacks have been directed against other independent media publications. In the case of a magazine for women, the Black community, and the LGBTI+ community, the government’s strategy can only exacerbate the disadvantages suffered by these marginalized groups, denying their freedom of expression and free access to information. This policy contradicts the official discourse about the construction of an inclusive country. It robs the debate of diverse voices the government itself has committed to support, only because they speak from a platform beyond the authorities’ control. The actions of the government against  Tremenda Nota  is inescapably connected with homophobia, transphobia and the patriarchal tone of the Cuban Revolution. Even while there is no guarantee of the free exercise of independent journalism in Cuba, Tremenda Nota will continue writing and filming the stories of women, LGBTI+ people, migrants, the black community and other groups who are marginalized by the prevailing discourse, by history, or by power.

Tremenda Nota is the Blade’s media partner in Cuba. This article was published on Tremenda Nota’s website on Sept. 16.


10 bogus reasons Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott can’t come out Time has come for pioneering performers to be honest By MICHAEL MUSTO

It seems like almost everyone famous is out these days—but not Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. The two rapper/singer/everythings have long floated through the changing landscape while clinging to their closet with a sort of half-hearted determination. It’s almost like they want to come out, but just can’t seem to get there. I admire them both a lot and would love for us to be able to more openly celebrate them as part of the community. But I’ve heard lots of reasons defending their reticence through the years, and I’m here to take issue with them. For example:

THE HIPHOP WORLD IS HOMOPHOBIC

Well, a lot of worlds are homophobic. The whole world is homophobic. But you can fight that by being honest. You can educate rather than pander. Why would you want to continue appealing to homophobes anyway?

If a fan wouldn’t like you anymore if you said you’re a lesbian or bisexual, do you really want to court that fan? A lot of celebrities have found freedom in the openness, and would never turn back.

THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO TELL WHO THEY SLEEP WITH

They still wouldn’t have to. Coming out simply involves saying “I’m queer.” You don’t need to go into detail about what you do with whom—unless you want to, of course, in which case I’m all ears.

IT’S THEIR OWN BUSINESS Yeah, but they are public figures who are examined and talked about and who reveal things about themselves all the time. Missy has spoken about her Graves’ disease, while Latifah discusses how her brother’s death led

to her (then-) depression and drug use. But queerness? No, too personal. To make samesex love the cutting off point of revelations strikes me as downright creepy. And if a straight celeb is asked about something straight—or chooses to tell about it (which they always do)—no one finds it any kind of transgression. Years ago, I interviewed Missy and was warned in advance by the publicist that questions about her personal life were off limits. I knew what that meant—and I had never heard it from anyone else, by the way.

THEY’VE ALREADY COME OUT No, they haven’t. Coming out means saying it on the record, not just showing up at queer events and supporting causes or sitting with a woman. The support is nice, but I feel all that is invalidated if you act as if the words “I’m queer” are unspeakable.

1 8 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 3 8 • 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 • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 1 9


Queen Latifah

Missy Elliot

Photo by kathclick / Courtesy Bigstock

Photo Courtesy Atlantic Records

EVERYONE KNOWS THEY’RE OUT

That’s not true—some people even still think the Village People were all straight—but let’s say it’s true and everyone knows Latifah and Missy are out. Then what the hell is the problem with saying it???

BUT LATIFAH ALREADY DID A PRIDE EVENT

Yeah, it was a paid gig. A lot of performers do Pride events. That is not a coming out any more than me appearing at a Hamptons synagogue this past summer made me Jewish.

IT’LL HURT THEIR CAREERS Well, I grew up in a more idealistic time when career and money weren’t everything—ethics and doing the right thing actually counted, even for celebrities. Especially from celebrities. Aside

from that, Latifah and Missy have been around so long that it would probably help their careers if they came out. There would be a bump of big publicity and they could stop dancing around the issue, while also emboldening LGBTQ youth who look to them for signals. Besides, didn’t the openly gay Lil Nas X have the record of the year? Thank u, next. And by the way, yes, I do write a LOT about white celebrities too, having outed people starting in the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Rosie O’Donnell, Boy George, Ellen Degeneres, George Michael, Jodie Foster, and moving on to Anderson Cooper, Shepard Smith, and many more. Those folks all came out, as did some black celebs, though the late, great Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston— whom I also wrote about—never did, and I think that was because of a still lingering wrongheaded sense that the black market can’t handle it. (Not that white celebs don’t still cower, and believe me, I will keep covering them.)

IT’S SALACIOUS, PRURIENT, AND IN BAD TASTE

No, it isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with being queer. Why is it always the gay stuff that gossip lovers suddenly feel crosses a line? And besides, I didn’t make these people queer—I’m just saying they are.

THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT

So true. And I can do whatever I want. Which is say, “Come out already! This is tiresome!”

EVERYONE COMES OUT IN THEIR OWN TIME

Yeah, but in my lifetime would be great. In their lifetimes would be good too. And then they can get the inevitable GLAAD award for their courage.

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 3 8 • 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 • 1 9


20 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

TELEVISION

Emmys 2019 a rainbow cascade Historic diversity on display By SUSAN HORNIK

Atmosphere at the Governors Ball during night one of the Television Academy’s 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Photos by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Lights! Camera! Awards! If you are in the television industry, chances are your life has been nonstop, attending numerous Emmy events. The 71st annual awards show thankfully features an impressive range of LGBTQ nominations, airing live on Sept. 22. Last weekend, the Creative Emmy Awards, now a two-day experience, had an array of LGBTQ winners. “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” RuPaul Charles on Saturday picked up his fourth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program. He dedicated his win to Drag Race co-executive producer Jacqueline Wilson “who we just lost recently.” “Oh my goodness, wow, that was very sweet of you… really, really lovely,” RuPaul said onstage, acknowledging the series “for all the kids who dance to the beat of a different drummer.” The series also won for Outstanding Hairstyling and Outstanding Costume. “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness outshined everyone, wearing a stunning silk metallic bow dress by Christian Siriano, on the red carpet. It’s no wonder the much loved series won four awards, Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program, Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program, Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program, and

Outstanding Structured Reality Program for the second consecutive year. Other LGBTQ winners were Hannah Gadsby for Netflix’s “Nanette,” which won Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, and FOX’s “RENT: Live,” which received the Emmy for Outstanding Production Design for Variety Special.

Governors Ball At the Governors Ball, Patina Catering will show off its culinary prowess with a lavish menu. Lindt Chocolate has fantastic samples of chocolate for guests, including the Lindt Chocolate Pot de Crème, a highlight of the Governors Ball dessert collection. Sterling Vineyards will pour its 2015 Platinum Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the flagship Iridium Cabernet Sauvignon, which Emmy winners will receive as a personalized bottle in the Emmys Winner’s Circle. The award-winning bartender Charles Joly will be creating Ketel One Vodka official Emmy cocktails, and Ferrari Trento is serving sparkling wines guests will sip while toasting Emmy winners. Don Francisco’s Coffee will brew a variety of its aromatic coffees.

Events designer Sequoia Productions came up with this year’s “Brilliance in Motion” theme. The party is an inside-outside experience for the guests on the top of the LA Live deck, just a few hundred feet away from the Microsoft Theatre exit doors. “We were initially inspired by the television Academy Key Art background,” enthused Cheryl Cecchetto, President and CEO of Sequoia. “It has a beautiful fountain and our interpretation was to create our own version of water. So we took 500 miles of string fabric, flipped it upside down and created these huge circular pools of chandeliers. When you see water drops on water to create these circular motions—that’s where we came up with the circular chandeliers. It’s really fabulous with the flow of 4000 guests coming through.” The four colors used at the Ball are purple, magenta, coral and red. “We also thought it was really interesting to have the four prominent colors throughout the inside tent area, because we could easily say to somebody, ‘the right-hand side purple area or the lefthand side magenta area’ when we’re directing them to their various sections.” Cecchetto noted the nostalgic feeling surrounding the Ball, since the deck is being torn down next year. “This is


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • 21

our second consecutive year on top of the structure, but it’ll never take place again. The florals themselves have been produced by LA Premiere and we consistently use the color palette of florals on linens on carpet and of course, all of our accents are an Emmy gold.” Living Spaces is producing all this fantastic new furniture for the party. “This pristine new beautiful furniture is being donated after the events. The Television Academy is donating 50 percent of it to the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and 50 percent of it to Habitat for Humanity. We at Sequoia Productions on behalf of the Television Academy always feel extremely proud to say that we recycle and find opportunities to reuse items. Added gay executive Gary Levitt, executive VP of Sequoia Productions: “We are always thrilled when anyone from the LGBTQ+ community is recognized for their contributions to society and the community. It is important that we continue to be acknowledged, visible and heard so the younger generations that follow feel empowered and confident to strive for the best life they can live and accomplish everything they wish for themselves.”

Looking good With L’Oréal Paris providing touch-ups for Emmy nominees and winners, you can expect all the LGBTQ nominees to look great. A red carpet hair trend fans will definitely be seeing this year are hair accessories, said stylist Kristen Cole, who works for Andy LeCompte hair salon. “Headbands, velvet and satin bows, and decorated bobby pins are a huge trend. Celebrities, such as Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman, have both been spotted on red carpets wearing these looks. With the huge success of HBO’s “Euphoria,” which features a trans character, Cole expects to see seriesinspired hair trends this year. “Something very modern chic meets edgy 90’s hairstyles.” Fellow LGBTQ nominee Kate McKinnon is bringing back the classic chignon, but with a modern twist, “I love the fact that this classic hairstyle was created with texture. It definitely gives more of an updated version of the chignon,” said Cole. The Hollywood stylist hopes Laverne Cox will be wearing her hair up for the Emmys. “She is stunning in a romantic low ponytail. The loose hair framing her face creates a soft and effortless look. This is one of my

TELEVISION

favorite hairstyles to see on the red carpet. It’s soft and feminine, and really compliments her features.” Veteran colorist Madison Clifford, who also works for Andy LeCompte Salon, loves how Cox always looks amazing at awards events. “She really knows how to wear hair color that compliments her gorgeous complexion. I’d expect to see her on the red carpet wearing her hair down with glam waves, donning a deeper balayage tone similar to what Beyonce has been rocking this summer.” In addition to working behind the chair, Clifford has a passion for fashion; working backstage styling hair at New York Fashion Week, as well as working on set doing hair/makeup for editorial and commercial shoots. Clifford is equally excited to see what nominee Billy Porter will be wearing. “His style is so fun, I can’t wait to see what he pulls out on the red carpet. I’d like to see him in an icy platinum color, or something vibrant and wild.” If you are looking to get red carpet ready, Clifford would love to have you into the West Hollywood salon for a hair makeover. “I’m really in love with a chocolatey brown, with subtle warm balayage or a copper based red. Since we lose warmth in our skin during the cooler months, it’s nice to bring it out in the hair to balance our complexion.”


22 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

FILM

Go-go boy doc sequel stresses power of positive stripping ‘All Male, All Nude: Johnsons’ boasts huge heart By JOHN PAUL KING

‘All Male, All Nude: Johnsons’ is available on DVD/VOD starting Sept. 24.

When filmmaker Gerald McCulloch released his documentary “All Male, All Nude” in 2017, it was, for many audiences, an eye-opening first look behind the scenes at a gay male strip club. Peeling through the taboos to explore the truth behind the fantasy they present every night onstage, its profile of dancers and other workers at Atlanta’s legendary Swinging Richard’s dispelled negative assumptions about the nature of their business as it revealed the unique, almost familial bond that ties them together. It revealed more than that; McCulloch – who is also behind the popular “Bear City” film franchise – made sure to live up to his title’s promise with plenty of full-frontal nudity. Now McCulloch is back with a follow-up feature, and he’s made the title even more specific. “All Male, All Nude: Johnsons” doesn’t leave much room for doubt about what you’re going to see. It won’t be a spoiler to say he once again delivers the goods, and frequently, at that. There’s more than just cheap titillation going on here, however; the director wants to show you more than a good time, he wants to introduce you to a whole lifestyle. At first, it feels almost as if his film is a feature-length infomercial about Johnsons – the Florida “go-go club” to which the title refers. Making waves in the Ft. Lauderdale community, the club represents the dream of its owner, Matt Colunga, who was profiled in the earlier film and now takes center stage to introduce us to the boys who work for him. For a while, everyone on camera gushes about how wonderful the club is and how great it is to work for Matt, whose professed goal is to provide a safe, fair, friendly and fun environment for both his patrons and the people who work there. Then, as the film dives deeper into some of the dancers’ stories, there’s a sense it has become a recruitment video for the stripper industry; after all, dancing in your undies is fun, it’s sexy, and it’s lucrative, so why wouldn’t you want that job? Just as it starts to feel as if the picture we’re being shown is a little too rose-tinted to be believable, the film goes deeper into some of the stories to remind us – albeit gently, if ominously – that homophobia is still seething in the larger world outside this insular community; that comes in McCulloch’s inclusion of material documenting the pushback from business and civic leaders in Ft. Lauderdale and Wilton Manor. It also comes in the personal stories of some of the subjects – including Colunga himself – who have encountered judgment and worse in their “outside” lives from people who shame them for their sexuality, their profession, or both. In addition, to show that there is discord in even the happiest of families, not all of the brood stays in the nest during the course of events covered by the documentary; to reveal the circumstances of those developments is unnecessary – the film deserves to reveal its own secrets, after all – but it’s safe to say they do nothing to undermine the impression that Johnsons and its crew have a good thing going, no matter what problems anyone on the outside might have with it. As in the first “All Male, All Nude” film, the goal here is to show these people in a positive light, and that’s what shines through the candid portraits it gives us of men such as “Alexander,” an exceptionally handsome young man who supplements his Johnsons income by performing at children’s parties by day. Even if there is the occasional taboo-testing shock (like realizing the Spiderman you hired for your 6-year-old’s birthday party might also be a male stripper), the message coming through is never anything but positive. Part of the purpose behind that, of course, is to help viewers see past the prejudices and stereotypes they’ve been conditioned to believe – even if they are avid strip club patrons – and recognize that these men are no different from anyone else, working a job to pay their bills and sock away some cash for the future. Underneath that, though, is a deeper message, implied and inferred through the repeated refrains in their testimonials, about the empowerment that comes with a sex-positive attitude. What McCulloch seems to be saying, by proxy through the guys in front of his camera, is that in claiming and celebrating the erotic nature of our own bodies, we take away the power of shame and guilt imposed on us by a repressive view of sexuality. The rest of the world may not understand these men, but they understand themselves, and they make no apologies for who they are; it gives them a confidence that runs deeper than their good looks and toned bodies, and we are as attracted to that as much as we might be to their physical pulchritude. It’s a worthy message, but one can’t avoid thinking that being sex-positive might be easier for the modelgorgeous boys on the screen than it is for the more average among us in the audience; the fact that borderline fat-shaming is featured in one section of the movie, even as it decries the idea of slut-shaming in others, only serves to reinforce those doubts. Some viewers might also wish for McCulloch’s film to delve into the “dark” side of the business, the drugs and other excesses so often associated with the stripper lifestyle; it never does, though it sometimes hints at it, in hushed tones, as it stresses the ability of successful dancers not to lose themselves in the good-time fantasy of the job. Still, “All Male, All Nude: Johnsons” can be forgiven for coming across as a little shallow; if it sometimes feels more like a Bravo reality series than a “serious” film documentary, it makes up for its occasional vapidity by never letting us lose sight of its huge heart. It has so much empathy and admiration for its subjects that we cannot help being carried along as it takes us on a tour of their lives and drops us off, at the end, feeling glad we’ve spent the last 90 minutes or so in their company. Of course, the fact that these subjects frequently bare their bodies as well as their souls goes a long way toward helping is enjoy our time with them, too – and they would all be perfectly fine with that.


LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • 23

The first hybrid car, built by Ferdinand Porsche, no less, had its coming-out party at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900. Yet it took almost 100 years for mass-produced hybrids to make their debut in dealer showrooms. Sure, the Toyota Prius quickly became the belle of the ball, but now automakers are showcasing gas-sippers with much more snob appeal. LEXUS LS 500H $85,000 MPG: 26 city/31 highway Zero-60 mph: 5.4 seconds

Lexus introduced the first luxury hybrid — a version of the midsize RX crossover — back in 2005. But to show just how seriously the automaker wants to be an eco-chic crusader, the lavish LS 500h hybrid sedan is the company’s overall flagship vehicle. At over 206 inches in length, this full-size ride is plenty big, with acres of legroom and trunk space. Yet the car feels light and airy, with swift acceleration and no roly-poly wobbling as you weave through traffic. Redesigned last year, the LS 500h now has Apple CarPlay (though no Android Auto), as well as Amazon Alexa to start the engine, lock/unlock the doors and check the fuel level. There’s a laundry list of standard safety and comfort features, but it’s hard to resist many overthe-top options: 23-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, 24-inch head-up display and 28-way adjustable seats that can heat up, cool down and massage you to paradise. Despite the severely sloped roofline, the rear seats recline to help tall passengers fit comfortably. The glam interior is eerily quiet, with four-zone climate control, power sunshades and ritzy, hand-pleated Alcantara door panels that look like premium acoustic material from a high-tech sound studio. The overall design, both inside and out, is bold and angular. While the BMW 745e and Mercedes 560e plug-in hybrids may be more performanceoriented, the LS 500h is just as glamorous and boasts a key Lexus selling point: superb reliability. MINI COOPER SE COUNTRYMAN ALL4 PHEV $37,000 MPGe: 65 in electric/gasoline mode Zero-60 mph: 6.7 seconds

Cute. Compact. Classy. The Mini Cooper SE Countryman plug-in hybrid is built on the same platform as the itty BMW X1 crossover, with some rather wonky styling and a host of high-end features. The ride is sporty rough, which means your tush feels each and every pothole. But that’s a good thing, because the steering and suspension are tight and controlled. There’s plenty of Euro cred here, from the zippy acceleration to the high-quality materials,

which helps differentiate this Mini plug-in hybrid from a bevy of other smallish, ho-hum hybrids. And to help it stand out from other Minis, as well, this Countryman is available with funky neon green paint on the side-view mirrors, the charge port, each of the four wheels, and the badging on the grille and rear hatch. When the battery is being charged, a pulsing light encircling the charge port also glows green. Fully charged, the range is up to 270 miles. In electriconly mode, the range is about 12 miles — though this increases to 35 miles on the 2020 model. Inside, the large, circular infotainment system also glows green, as well as other colors. The cabin feels roomy, though there could be a few more storage compartments. But there are plenty of luxe amenities: push-button start, heated windshield wiper system, simulated leather upholstery, power-folding mirrors, power liftgate, suede headliner, panoramic sunroof and more. By combining these creature comforts with a fuelfriendly powerplant and some whimsical design cues, Mini has produced one fun hybrid. RANGE ROVER SPORT HSE MHEV $74,000 MPG: 19 city/25 highway Zero-60 mph: 6.2 seconds

The Sport is Range Rover’s first mild-hybrid vehicle, available with 355 hp or 395 hp. While curb weight is 5,135 pounds, this husky SUV is surprisingly agile. A best-in-class chassis helps, offering a pillowlike ride whether ferrying passengers over rocky terrain or breezing down the freeway. Acceleration is downright sprightly, with vise-like brakes that quickly stop the Sport but without any herky-jerky shuddering common on some other large SUVs. With such high ground clearance, the self-leveling air suspension lowers the vehicle to easily load passengers or cargo. Inside, the cabin is so refined it should be in Architectural Digest, with sculpted wood trim, real leather seats, ambient lighting and a fixed panoramic sunroof. Third-row seating is an option, though there’s only room for kids or pets. All the latest safety gear is here, including blindsport monitoring, forward collision warning (with automatic emergency braking), a driver-monitoring system and traffic-sign recognition. The puddle lamps add a touch of class, as do heated/ventilated front and rear seats. And while there are numerous stereo configurations, offering umpteen speakers depending on how much you want to spend, the infotainment system has a tendency to periodically conk out or freeze on a particular radio station. That’s annoying, considering how much the Sport costs. But drivers may overlook such a glitch because the sound quality is so stunning the rest of the time.

AUTOS

High-end hybrids Lexus LS 500H, Mini Cooper SE Countryman among ’19 standouts By JOE PHILLIPS

LEXUS LS 500H

MINI COOPER SE COUNTRMAN ALL4 PHEV

RANGE ROVER SPORT HSE MHEV


PHOTOS

The 71st Emmy Awards kicked off last weekend (Sept 14 and 15, 2019) with the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. A cascade of Emmys were handed out in technical and acting categories, and there were plenty of expected wins and some major surprises, including a large number of LGBTQ winners, as Susan Hornik reports in this issue of the Los Angeles Blade. Here are just a few.

24 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Netflix’s Queer Eye took home four Creative Arts Emmys, including yet another for outstanding structured reality Program. Photo provided by Emmys from Invision/AP

Jane Lynch accepts an award at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards for her role in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, on which she plays comedienne Sophie Lennon..

Cherry Jones accepts her award at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys for her role in “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Photo provided by Emmys from Invision/AP

Photo provided by Emmys from Invision/AP

Neil Patrick Harris presents an award at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys.

LGBTQ ally Norman Lear won the “Outstanding Variety Special (Live)” Emmy for ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons.’

Photo provided by Emmys from Invision/AP

Photo courtesy Emmys from Invision/AP


CAP UCLA in association with the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Presents A Pick Up Performance Company(s) Production

AIN GORDON 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous Fri, Oct 11 & Sat, Oct 12 | Freud Playhouse 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous tells the largely unknown story of a courageous gay psychiatrist whose activism resulted in the APA’s removal of homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.

FIND YOUR STORY cap.ucla.edu | 310-825-2101

@cap_ucla | #capucla

Funds for the CAP UCLA presentation provided by Diane Levine; Teri Schwartz, Dean UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; and the James A. Doolittle Endowment.


26 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

GOSSIP

Ryan Murphy ready to take over Netflix Lange to play Marlene Dietrich; Kidman and Streep star in ‘Prom’ By BILLY MASTERS

Ryan Murphy’s massive Netflix deal is taking shape. Photo by kathclick / Courtesy Bigstock

LOS ANGELES PREMIERE !

2 WEEKS ONLY! BEGINS TUESDAY! SEP 24-OCT 6 HOLLYWOODPANTAGES.COM • 800-982-2787

I’m not on a diet. I’m NEVER on a diet. LOOK AT ME!” — For those of you who didn’t know, Meghan McCain is just fine with her weight. I’m fascinated by people who dedicate their lives to conversion therapy.  It just always strikes me as...I dunno, peculiar.  Or, more often than not, just the last part of that word - “liar.” So, color me surprised when I heard that the leader of one of the largest conversion therapy programs came out as...wait for it...GAY!  McKrae Game ran “Hope for Wholeness” for almost two decades. Not only is he now admitting to being gay, he also has some choice words for his former vocation.  “Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful. Because it’s false advertising.” He may no longer work in the field, but he hasn’t left heterosexuality completely behind.  He is, in fact, still married to a woman. BTW, he says she knows he is gay. If she didn’t before, she certainly does now! Last week, Ryan O’Callaghan, an openly gay former member of the New England Patriots, released his memoir, “My Life on the Line.” One passage has drawn quite a bit of interest: “I can promise you there’s plenty of closeted NFL players. I think it’s safe to say there’s at least one on every team who is either gay or bisexual.” A week before that book was released, NFL free agent Ryan Russell published an essay on ESPN.com. Here’s the salient passage: “Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly. I want to live my dream of playing the game I’ve worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I’ve always been.”  Apparently that person isn’t gay - he’s bisexual. Let’s check back in a few months and see how that’s going. Then there’s Jerry Falwell Jr. and Ben Crosswhite, his “personal trainer” (so that’s what we’re calling it now). It’s been reported that in 2016, Falwell signed documents transferring ownership of an 18-acre fitness facility owned by Liberty University (his very Christian college) to Crosswhite, a recent Liberty graduate.  While the purchase price was $1.2 million, the university reduced that by $650K in order to lease the tennis courts back from him through 2025. On top of that, Liberty financed the balance at 3-percent interest. Such favorable terms leave me with one question - exactly what is Crosswhite training?  Publicly, Falwell credits Ben for helping him lose 75 pounds.  Whatever they were doing, I suspect the word “pound” was employed. It bears mentioning that only a few weeks ago, we revealed that Falwell lent a young pool attendant in Miami almost $2 million to start a youth hostel. Details of Ryan Murphy’s marriage with Netflix are starting to take shape. There’s a new show called “The Politician” that debuts later this month and stars Ben Platt, Jessica Lange and Gwyneth Paltrow. Speaking of Miss Lange, she will star in a series about the legendary Marlene Dietrich. Ryan also plans lots of Broadway-centric shows, including the just-filmed “The Boys in the Band” starring the entire cast from last year’s Broadway hit, a film version of the Broadway musical “The Prom” starring Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, and a miniseries about “A Chorus Line.” There will be a limited series about designer Halston starring Ewan McGregor, and a docu-series about Andy Warhol.  Most tantalizing for me are two projects. One is a series called “Ratched” starring Sarah Paulson in the origin story of the nurse from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Paulson’s real-life love, Holland Taylor, will join Patti LuPone for “Hollywood,” which explores Tinseltown’s relationship with the sex industry. That series will also star Darren Criss, who is an executive producer, and is due to debut next May. Speaking of Patti LuPone, she is returning to Broadway. I reported it months ago, but it’s now official that she will reprise the role of Joanne in the transfer of the West End production of “Company.” As you’ll recall, that production was notable for swapping the gender of several characters, most notably the lead Bobby, who became Bobbie.  While Rosalie Craig led the London cast, Tony winner Katrina Lenk will play Bobbie on Broadway.  The show opens on March 22nd, which just happens to be Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday. See ya there! You know where else you might see me? At the upcoming Gay Days Anaheim October 4-6. Way back in 1998, I was part of a scrappy band of people who wore red T-shirts and descended on Disneyland. From those roots, it’s grown into a destination for gay people around the world. You can get more details and tickets at GayDaysAnaheim.com.  This week’s “Ask Billy” question is one many of you had.  Karl in Chicago writes, “You said James Van Der Beek will be on ‘Dancing with the Stars’.  But hasn’t he already done that show?  You ran photos of him dancing.” Yes and no. While playing a fictionalized version of himself on “Don’t Trust The B---- in Apartment 23”, his character competed on DWTS. Continues at losangelesblade.com


CALENDAR

28 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Whittier will celebrate its first ever Pride on September 28, the latest in a growing calendar of LGBTQ local celebrations in SoCal.

SEPT 21

WeHo Bi Pride is today from 1:30 PM to 9:00 PM at West Hollywood Park Auditorium (647 N. San Vicente). For the second year in a row, The City of West Hollywood along with the Human Rights Campaign LA and the amBi bisexual social community will host the City’s Bi Pride Celebration on September 21, 2019, in the West Hollywood Park Auditorium.The social event is part of three days of programming around Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, which takes place on Sunday, September 23, 2019. The events in WeHo are open to the public and are free of charge. Hearts of Gold: Celebrating 50 Years of the LA LGBT Center today from 8:00 PM at the Greek Theatre (2700 N. Vermont Avenue). The “Hearts of Gold “ lineup, assures LA LGBT Center CEO Lorri Jean, “will reflect the phenomenal diversity of our community, and will have people leaving not only incredibly entertained, but feeling hopeful for the future. And I feel our community can really use that hope, given the attacks we’re getting from the Trump administration. We have come through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we have always prevailed. We’ve made progress that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago. And we shall also prevail over these current difficult times we’re facing.” The star studded line-up Features Sia, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Kathy Griffin, Tig Notaro, Nico Santos, Bruce Vilanch, Ty Herndon and more. Tickets range in price and are available at losangelesblade.com.

SEPT 22

SUMMERTRAMP DTLA Water Park Last Chance For Romance is today from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Escondite Bar (410 Boyd Street). The pan-sexual romping extravagaza will come to a close after today so come on down and get wet, slip and slide your way to love and revel in your body (or a few others). It’s LA’s most fun outdoor sexy event and is presented by Mario Diaz and Andrés Rigal and featuring a host of SoCal super DJs. And, of course, the slipperiest water features you will ever find. Tickets range in price up

to $20 and are available on line at restlessnites.com/ septsummertramp.

SEPT 24

14th Annual Christmas In September At The Abbey is this evening from 7:00 PM to 10:00 at The Abbey Food and Bar (692 N Robertson Blvd).14 years ago, Abbey and Chapel owner David Cooley started a conversation with a guest sitting at the bar. He worked for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and explained they were in need of toys. Many people are generous during the holiday season and donate toys but forget about CHLA the rest of the year. By September, the toy inventory is at its lowest point and the hospital would run out of toys until Christmas when people would donate again. David offered to give CHLA a Christmas in September and host a toy-drive at The Abbey that has provided tens of thousands of toys for children and families in need. Bring a toy for a teen or infant. The event is free of charge.

SEPT 25

30th Anniversay of City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board is this evening from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at La Peer Hotel (627 N. La Peer). Hosted by WeHo Cares, this event celebrates the 30th anniversary of the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, created in 1989 to make recommendations to the City Council on matters relating to the Gay and Lesbian community, including education, empowerment, equal rights, hate crimes prevention, and other issues. Current and past Board members will be in attendance. We’ve come along way, baby, and so has WeHo, now the most progressive city in America. This is an open public event. There is no charge to attend. No RSVP is required.

SEPT 27

Lambda Literary’s “The Importance of Queer History” is tonight from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, hosted at Book Soup (8818 Sunset Boulevard). The 2011 passage of California’s FAIR Education Act mandated that

LGBTQ accomplishments be taught in our history and social studies classrooms to show that gay Americans have been an integral part of our society and continue to shape our current world. A few other states have joined in this movement, but still, we have a long way to go before LGBTQ+ history is fully integrated into school curriculum. Moderator Amy Spalding (THE SUMMER OF JORDI PEREZ) joins authors James Brandon (ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME) and Abdi Nazemian (LIKE A LOVE STORY) for a roundtable discussion about Queer History literature. Tickets available at BookSoup.com.

SEPT 28

Whittier Pride 2019 is today from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM at Central Park, Uptown Whittier (6532 Friends Ave, Whittier, CA)Richard Nixon’s hometown is positively LGBTQ, at least today, attracting a Pride lineup that is almost as star-studded as any of SoCals many Pride celebrations. The first annual Whittier Pride festival is a family friendly day filled with entertainment, food, and activities, local vendors, musicians and fierce drag queen performances. The event supports Whittier YouthBuild: A non-profit that provides educational and occupational opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth ages 16+ “who are invested in creating a sustainable future for themselves, their families and communities” Conejo Valley Pride Festival is today from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza (2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA). The 2nd annual Conejo Valley Pride festival is a family-friendly festival featuring headliners David Hernandez and Effie Passero of American Idol fame, drag queens, musical performances, vendor booths, tasty eats, and a superfun kids play area with several large inflatables, face painting, macaroni art, teen lounge and more. Tickets available online in advance are $5 for all. Tickets at the door will be $10 for adults and $5 for kids, seniors, and military. For more information go to www. conejovalleypride.com/tickets E-mail calendar items to tmasters@losangelesblade.com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-specific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.


A night celebrating LGBTQ journalism Washington Blade 50th Anniversary Gala

FRIDAY, OCT. 18 Intercontinental Hotel - Wharf

• Dinner • Open Bar • Guest Speakers • Performance by Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon


CANNABIS CULTURE

30 • SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

Utah lawmakers to revise medical cannabis access law

Oral THC reduces pain in geriatric patients: study

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers were scheduled to convene a special session this week to amend the state’s nascent medical cannabis access law. Specifically, lawmakers are seeking to revise the law so that public health departments are no longer responsible for the overseeing of the distribution of medical cannabis products. Instead, legislators are proposing that regulators license up to 12 privately owned dispensaries throughout the state. “My administration is dedicated to ensuring that quality, medical grade cannabis products are accessible to patients by March of 2020,” Republican Gov. Gary Herbert  said  in a statement. “Removing the requirement for a state central fill pharmacy will provide efficient and timely distribution of this substance for those who need it.” Voters in 2018  approved  Proposition 2, which legalized the use and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients. Shortly thereafter, lawmakers held a special legislative session where they voted to repeal and replace the initiative law with their own legislation. Specifically, lawmakers eliminated patients’ option to home cultivate cannabis, narrowed the list of qualifying conditions, and placed additional restrictions on the dispensing of cannabis products, among other changes.

POTSDAM, Germany — The administration of oral THC (dronabinol) safely and effectively reduces pain in geriatric patients, according to clinical trial data published in the German journal Schmerz. A team of German researchers assessed the use of dronabinol in elderly (over 80 years of age) subjects with chronic pain. Oral THC administration was associated with a pain reduction of 30 percent or greater in over half of the patients. Ten percent of subjects experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in their pain. Authors concluded: “This study is one of the few analyses of the use of dronabinol in geriatric patients. We show that cannabis-based drugs (in this case dronabinol) are an effective, low-risk treatment option that should be considered early in therapy.” Dronabinol has been FDA-approved in the United States since 1985 as an anti-emetic and as an appetite stimulant.

Domestic hemp production soars in 2019 State regulators have licensed farmers and researchers to cultivate over 500,000 total acres of industrial hemp in the first half of 2019, according to data compiled by the organization VoteHemp.com. “Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp cultivation in the US has grown rapidly,” the group summarized in a press release. “The number of acres of hemp licensed across 34 states totaled 511,442 in 2019 – more than quadruple the number of acres licensed from the previous year. State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 16,877 farmers and researchers, a 476 percent increase over 2018 [totals].” Congress  enacted legislation  in December removing industrial hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC) and products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, the United States Department of Agriculture is still in the process  of  finalizing  federal regulations to oversee the plant’s commercial production. Currently, 46 states have redefined hemp as a crop distinct from cannabis, according to VoteHemp.

Cannabis derivative offers hope in fighting pancreatic cancer BOSTON — The administration of a cannabisderived flavonoid enhances  radiotherapy treatment in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer, according to findings published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology. A team of researchers affiliated with the DanaFarber Cancer Institute at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts assessed the anti-cancer activity of a non-psychoactive cannabis derivative, FBL-03G, in preclinical models of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Researchers reported that the inclusion of FBL03G during radiotherapy “induce[d] apoptosis and inhibit[ed] cancer cell concentration” in culture. In animal models, the compound “slowed tumor growth” and was associated with a “significant increase in mice survival.” They concluded, “[T]he FBL-03G results reveal a new potential non-cannabinoid cannabis derivative with major potential for consideration in further investigations in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, where new therapy options are urgently needed.” Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest-to-treat forms of the disease, killing over 90 percent of sufferers within five years. Preclinical  studies  identifying anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids date back to the mid-1970s. Far fewer studies exist assessing the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis-specific flavonoids, but recently some scientists have expressed interest in their  antiinflammatory potential. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.


JOIN US FOR

HOLLYWOOD PANTAGES BLADE NIGHT! WED, SEPT 25, 2019 • 8PM PERFORMANCE WITH PRE-SHOW EVENT AT WOOD & VINE

FOR YOUR BLADE DISCOUNT GO TO: HollywoodPantages.com/LGBTQNight $ 51/$ 66 (Reg. $ 69- $ 89 + fees)

LOS ANGELES PREMIERE !

TWO WEEKS ONLY! PLUS ENJOY COMPLIMENTARY APPETIZERS BEFORE THE SHOW! Join us starting @ 6:30 at Wood & Vine (right across the street from the theatre.) Show your ticket and enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar while you mix and mingle on their beautiful patio.


AHF Wellness Centers (855) 783-2434 2146 W Adams Blvd (888) 836-5946

3500 E Pacific Coast Hwy (562) 494-4983

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Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 38, September 20, 2019  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 38, September 20, 2019

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 38, September 20, 2019  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 38, September 20, 2019

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