‘PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE’ AMONG 140 FILMS FROM 50 COUNTRIES TO BE PRESENTED, PAGE 16
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02 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Kors wins re-election in Palm Springs Warren, Biden snub California Democrats/Latino Forum By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com All politics is local, goes the old saying, but that doesn’t mean popular politicians can take local voters for granted. It’s a lesson out Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors knows well—and applied as he successfully campaigned for re-election and won Nov. 5. Kors was the top vote-getting with 1,367 votes in Tuesday’s election, the first time ballots were cast in three of five new districts. Incumbents bisexual Christy Holstege and trans Lisa Middleton are up for re-election in Nov. 2020, if Middleton doesn’t decide to run for the State Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Stone. Kors, now Mayor Pro Tem, will become Mayor on Dec. 4 with his swearing in. “I am so appreciative of our residents for their support of my work and the work of our entire Council and community. Palm Springs is such a special place and I am honored to continue servicing the city I love,” Kors told the Los Angeles Blade via
Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors casts his vote for re-election. Photo via Facebook
email. “The new Council will have two gay men, one transgender lesbian, one bisexual women and one heterosexual Latina. Two of our Councilmembers are millennials and one is over 60.” Meanwhile, Election Day brought
surprising news for the California Democratic Party. Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has decided to join former Vice President Joe Biden in skipping the CDP’s state nominating convention and Latino forum in Long Beach Nov. 15-17.
CDP chair Rusty Hicks angrily called them out on Facebook. “When Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren decide to skip the California Democratic Party/Univision Noticias Presidential Forum, the only thing to say is...,” Hicks wrote, leaving a space to fill in the blank. “I respect your work/candidacy, BUT... you should reconsider your misguided decision to publicly snub California’s Democrats & Latino Voters across the nation,” Hicks said. “Your decision is a blatant disregard and disrespect to California’s grassroots leaders who make the phone calls, knock the doors, and give the money... in swing districts and swing states alike... year after year after year. It’s clear you don’t think you need us to win the Primary. But, you *just might* need us in the General. Just sayin.” Hicks asked the candidates to reconsider and “show us that you value the contributions of California’s hardworking Democrats who do the gritty house-to-house work it takes to win. Anything less is deeply disappointing.” Interestingly, many Democrats now consider California an early primary state— following Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada because Californians start receiving their vote-by-mail ballots on Feb. 3, 2020—the same day the Iowa Caucuses begin.
Daytime Emmy Awards recognize gender identity Non-binary recognition hits Primetime, too FROM STAFF REPORTS The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced its call for entries for the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Oct. 31. In a significant change from previous years, NATAS highlighted a new policy telling members and others eligible to vote that performers in gendered acting categories are encouraged to enter the one that best fits their gender identity. The Daytime Emmys will honor the category all eligible performers select to best represent themselves. “The changes we have instituted for
this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards reflect the increasing diversity of the programs and individuals honored, as well as that of daytime television’s many fans,” said Adam Sharp, NATAS president in an emailed statement. “Our Academy is determined to remain on the forefront of inclusiveness in our industry and we’re grateful to GLAAD and other organizations and voices who give their time and wisdom to help shape our competitions,” Sharp added. Additionally, what were formerly separate Younger Actor and Younger Actress in a Drama Series categories, respectively, have been combined into a singular nongendered Younger Performer in a Drama Series. This new category, along with the previously existing non-gendered children’s
and animation performer categories gives Daytime the opportunity to assess over time the effects of both methodologies with regards to gender in the awards show space. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people consistently find ourselves on the outside in Hollywood, in a variety of ways,” said Scott Turner Schofield, the first openly transgender actor on a daytime drama (“The Bold and the Beautiful”). “This thoughtful inclusion shows NATAS paying attention, listening, and doing the work of increasing inclusion— which will increase acceptance in Hollywood and beyond. I know I am not the only one who feels more proud than ever to be a member of the daytime community because of this positive change.” For the Primetime Emmys, administered
by NATAS’s sister Academy, non-binary performer Asia Kate Dillon entered Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in keeping with “actor” being a historically non-gendered word. Non-binary language is also showing up in primetime TV, with such shows as CBS’ “All Rise” featuring a non-binary homeless teen character with judge, attorneys and witnesses all agreeing to use the affirmative term “them” when referring to the teen. NATAS is continuing to seek guidance from LGBTQ community leaders, including GLAAD, regarding the new policy and language. 47th Daytime Emmy® Awards will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA in three separate shows on Friday, June 12th, Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th
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04 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Get mandated healthcare coverage now Covered California’s Peter Lee addresses LGBTQ issues By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org Lots of eyes roll when the Democratic presidential candidates go on and on about Medicare-for-All and who’s going to pay for it. Who cares, say presumably invincible young voters, checking their latest text messages, convinced their age is a guarantee of invincibility. Well, California residents of all ages need to care or suffer a state tax penalty. As of Jan. 1, 2020, it’s the law (SB 78) requiring every state resident to maintain minimum essential coverage for themselves and their dependents. California passed the law requiring the individual mandate after Congress zeroed it out while trying to kill the Affordable Care Act. But the California law also provides a three-year program to help certain people in need with subsidies through Covered California, the state’s public exchange where a variety of insurance plans can be purchased. And, says Peter V. Lee, the gay director of Covered California, there is culturally competent help to choose the insurance plan right for individual LGBTQ residents. “Every year, open enrollment is the time that people that don’t have coverage through their employer or Medicare can sign up to get covered through Covered California,” Lee tells the Los Angeles Blade. “This year is the biggest change since we launched in 2014 because first, there’s now a state requirement to have coverage. So people that decide to go without it are going to pay a penalty [depending on income]. “But more importantly, there are new state subsidies that make healthcare even more affordable for over a million Californians,” Lee continues. “From day one, we’ve been committed to reaching out to the fabulous diversity of California, including the LGBTQ community. So we want to make sure that this community, which actually has health disparities and a history of discrimination, knows that those days of discrimination is now a thing of the past.” Lee emphasizes that applicants cannot be turned away because of a pre-existing condition and notes his belief that “all of our
Covered California director Peter V. Lee Photo Courtesy Covered California
plans cover appropriate medically indicated gender re-assignment surgery,” as well. “My early work in healthcare was during the height of the AIDS epidemic when our community was denied health insurance coverage,” says Lee in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Blade. “And the AIDS epidemic is not over, even though it’s now largely manageable. We have issues of mental illness at a different rate than the general population, substance abuse, hepatitis, other issues. So, in many ways the issues that the LGBTQ community face are the same as in our general population—which is finding healthcare that’s truly affordable. We want to make sure that the disparities can be addressed by people having coverage that works for them.” Lee is blunt. “The starting point for barriers to coverage is dollars. And the fact that there are new subsidies is a core piece,” he says. “We know that three quarters of the general population—but I would add dollars for donuts it’s the same in the LGBTQ community—are people who are eligible
for financial health don’t know it, and don’t realize it.” About 7-10% of those enrolled in Covered California already identify as LGBTQ. That’s good but there are more who aren’t covered. “We’re talking about somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 LGBTQ people in LA eligible to sign it up. And that’s the problem, he says. Lee wants to be clear: “You cannot be treated differently because of some previous condition,” including being denied doctor prescribed treatment for PrEP or Hep C or PTSD. Additionally, though staff will not automatically ask the caller how they might want to be addressed, Lee says, “We speak to people in the way they prefer to be spoken to.” There is still a question regarding the new California law allowing pharmacists to dispense HIV medication over-the-counter without a prescription or prior approval of an insurance company. Every healthcare plan has a formulary “so the issue of which version of PrEP is
different from the formulary is going to depend on which health plan you’re enrolled in,” Lee says. “These are pharmacists or pharmacies we have relationships with. The issue isn’t just getting a prescription—it’s getting one as a covered benefit….The fact that it’s state law—that pharmacists can give it to you— doesn’t mean necessarily it would be reimbursed by your plan…,There’s no question that PrEP is a covered benefit, so the issue is, a pharmacist may not be part of a network, part of that health plans network.” The “brass tacks issue” is making sure to sign up by December 15th to get covered by January 1 and therefore avoid any penalty tax. “That’s a big deal,” Lee says. “California is making the Affordable Care Act work and protecting the rights of LGBTQ people getting access to affordable healthcare.” For more information and to get help selecting a healthcare plan, go to www. coveredca.com.
06 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Do LGBTQ voters really know Jackie Lacey? DA’s coldness alienates some in community By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com As the country becomes more obsessed with the likely impeachment of President Donald Trump and Democrats fixate on who can defeat him in 2020, other issues seem to fade into the fog of political war. But as quietly terrifying as is this existential constitutional crisis for democracy, for some the chaos is offering the opportunity to challenge leaders, old ideas and unidentified inculcated biases as a parallel cultural war spins out on a deeper level. That’s why a recent New York Times headline was so attention grabbing, identifying the race for Los Angeles County District Attorney the “Most Important D.A. Race” in America. “Los Angeles has the biggest jail system in America and sends people to state prison at almost four times the rate of San Francisco, even though violent crime has fallen in both cities. And there has not been a death penalty case in San Francisco in decades, while prosecutors in Los Angeles are still seeking new capital cases after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions,” wrote Tim Arango last June, noting that both cities are known for their liberal politics. There are two other LA DA candidates— prosecutors Richard Ceballos and Joseph Iniguez, who are both gay and Latino. But the heat spiked after progressive San Francisco DA George Gascón decided to quit that job and return home to LA (he’d been in the LAPD for 27 years) to challenge establishment-backed DA Jackie Lacey. “They are polar opposites,” Patrisse Cullors, the lesbian co-founder of Black Lives Matter, told the New York Times. Cullors, who is also the California director of the Real Justice political action committee focused on criminal justice reform, said that in their meetings, Gascón has “been very clear that he wants to hold law enforcement accountable.” Lacey, meanwhile, has been repeatedly criticized for failing to charge and prosecute officers in numerous questionable fatalities, according to Black Lives Matter/LA and the families of Black men fatally shot by police.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey Photo courtesy DA’s office
After explaining why her office failed to initially charge former West Hollywood resident Ed Buck for allegedly giving Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean a quantity of crystal meth that killed them, Lacey withstood a barrage of angry questions at a meeting of the Stonewall Democratic Club. Buck is now in federal custody and won’t face trial until next year. But the Buck debacle raised Lacey’s profile in an unexpected way. LGBTQ voters joined liberals in supporting her 2012 race to
become the first woman and the first African American to serve as the most powerful law enforcement officer in LA County. Her story of growing up in tough South Central, graduating from Dorsey High School, going to the University of California/Irvine, from which she graduated in 1979 with a degree in psychology, and then graduating from USC Law School in 1982 resonated with heroic achievement. Lacey joined the DA’s office in 1986, prosecuting hundreds of cases, including
the first race-based hate crime murder while serving in the Hate Crimes Unit under out Deputy DA Carla Arranaga. When Democratic DA Gil Garcetti was defeated by Republican Steve Cooley, the new DA picked Lacey as his second-in-command as they proceeded to kill or downgrade many of Garcetti’s programs and allegedly retaliated against Garcetti supporters. But Garcetti was there when Cooley swore Lacey in that December 2012 after her historic victory in becoming the new DA. Lacey spent 33 years rising to the top in the DA’s office. Not an enthusiastically social person, Lacey’s primary public attention came at news conferences or in media reports when she repeatedly refused to charge and prosecute law enforcement officers who many thought had murdered their unarmed loved ones and gotten away with it. It was a key issue at Stonewall. During a follow up phone interview with the Los Angeles Blade on Nov. 5, Lacey was asked about the fatal shooting of unarmed homeless man Brendon Glenn for which LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor paid no consequences last year. The ACLU issued a statement saying, “if the evidence is clear enough for Chief Beck to take the extraordinary step of calling for prosecution of one of his officers, what more does Lacey need? Her decision suggests that no matter how egregious an officer’s conduct is, no matter the evidence she has before her, she does not intend to hold any officer accountable for unnecessarily and inexplicably shooting a member of the public.” Lacey’s critics believe she won’t prosecute police because she wants the financial and electoral support of law enforcement for her re-election bid. “As I addressed at the Stonewall, if that were true then we would never file any case on an officer. In fact, if you look at our records, since I’ve been here, we have filed criminal cases on 80-plus officers for both on duty and off duty conduct, including one officer-involved shooting. With regard to the Venice case, it was not Chief Beck’s job to be the prosecutor in the case. He’s the police. He’s not the prosecutor,” Lacey told the Los Angeles Blade. “We examined the evidence and we put out a pretty detailed report with videotape indicating that we thought differently,” she said. “There was a struggle…and he
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 07
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey Photo courtesy DA’s office
had to defend himself and that Brendan Mullen was reaching for his gun. So, we stand behind what we said and what we’ve written and invite the public” to review their “extraordinarily detailed” 81-page report. “So I disagree and I think that facts are on my side and victory will be on my side again,” Lacey said. Nonetheless, the grieving families felt there was a real disconnect between their pain and the way the justice department operates, as if Lacey will not prosecute a case unless she is convinced she can win. It’s not that simple, Lacey said. “Our ethical duty under the law is to file cases that we believe 12 ordinary citizens from the community would find that they could convict the officer on that evidence. And it’s tough. And I do care.” That was one of the most wrenching moments at the Stonewall meeting, when Lacey tried to tell the families that she did care—but she was not believed. Most of her public appearances have been via statements or newsletters or news conferences. The families and Black Lives Matter activists beseeched her for a human connection. Lacey, they said, was disconnected, out of touch, cold. “Well I disagree, obviously, with that conclusion,” Lacey told the Los Angeles Blade. “I did actually meet with Jasmyne
Cannick at one point. She came to my office. We did sit down and talk. So, I did speak with her about this case. She indicated that she had witnesses that would talk to us” or give information in the Gemmel Moore case. “And we’ve done it with regard to the community,” Lacey said. “Several years ago, I did go out and do a town hall and this was before the Buck case. What happened the other night happened during the town hall. I couldn’t talk. I was yelled at, criticized and after a while it seemed like no one really wanted a dialogue. No one really wanted to hear what I had to say.” The important thing to remember, Lacey said, “is that in the LA County district attorney’s office, we are progressive—look at the things that we’ve done with regard to training officers on how to deescalate situations with someone who has a mental illness. But we are bound to follow the law and no one, no matter who you put in this position, is going to break the law in order to please folks who are angry because then they would be abandoning their duties as constitutional officers.” Intellectually, voters might be able to grasp Lacey’s explanation about her positions, the efficacy of her programs and the legal imperative to exercise due process, test evidence and prove criminality in every case. But that perception of cold, calculated
aloofness is a shiver Lacey will have to shake off for voters to warm up to her. And there are many LGBTQ-related questions yet to answer: she attended USC/ Irvine during the anti-gay Briggs Initiative. What was her position? She joined the DA’s office in 1980s when the AIDS quarantine initiative was on the ballot. What’s her position on the criminalization of HIV/AIDS, then and now? Did any gay friend die of AIDS and did that give her a sense of compassion for the sometimes fatal institutionalized and systematic discrimination LGBTQ people must endure? Did she stand with the Black Church or with San Francisco DA Kamala Harris when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom shucked the law and started marrying same-sex couples in 2004? Where is Lacey’s heart, her belief system when it comes to LGBTQ people, not just when it’s politically expedient but in the quiet of her drive home? The Los Angeles Blade tried to find out by asking Lacey her opinion of Sen. Kamala Harris calling South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s comment about older Black voters having an issue with gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg “a trope”— it’s “nonsense” to suggest that African Americans are more homophobic and transphobic than anybody else or any other group, Harris said.
Lacey seemed unmindful that she was speaking with an LGBTQ publication seeking to know her better. “I would never presume that I speak for all African Americans, but rather I speak as an African-American woman and as far as I’m concerned, that is a non-issue in terms of elected office — that no one should be judged on their sexuality. And that’s my statement on that,” Lacey said. Pushed a bit, Lacey offered a little more. “I speak for myself and I would hope that we, as a country, would have come so much further along. My opinion, and I only give you my opinion, is that Mayor Pete is a qualified great candidate. And I would hope no one would use his sexuality against him. It shouldn’t be used because he has ideas that are worthy of support. And so, I just will not speak on behalf of the African-American community, but just speak up for myself that as far as I’m concerned, it’s about his ideas and qualifications.” Lacey’s words sounded like she agreed with Harris, but her tone suggested she agreed with Clyburn. There are four more months before the March primary—plenty of time to ask questions and get to know the candidates, if they let us. The question LGBTQ voters must ask of themselves is: Does it matter if candidates are not forthcoming? If it does, why?
08 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
New Trump rule puts LGBTQ asylum seekers at greater risk Waiting in Mexico remains dangerous By BRODY LEVESQUE LGBTQ asylum seekers from Central American countries stuck at the Mexican border at San Diego’s San Ysidro district are being placed at greater risk of persecution and violence through the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, immigrant advocates say. The MPP, colloquially referred to as “Remain in Mexico,” was implemented last January by then-Sec. of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen and would supposedly protect “individuals from vulnerable populations” waiting in Mexico to be processed by U.S. government officials. Meanwhile, the Trump administration began testing a secretive program known as Prompt Asylum Claim Review (PACR) to speed up the deportation of asylum-seeking migrants who legally crossed the U.S.Mexico border to apply for asylum and are being held in detention by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency. PACR’s streamlining of the process gives asylum seekers a decision in 10 days or less, rather than the months or years the process takes now. The “rapid” reviews determine if an asylum seeker’s “credible fear of harm” if sent back to their countries of origin is valid. A Homeland Security spokesperson declined to comment to the Los Angeles Blade. But a source at CBP confirmed that PACR, implemented initially in the El Paso, Texas region, is slated to expand to the two principal CBP/ICE facilities nearest the border at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in the San Diego area and the Adelanto ICE Processing Center – West in the San Bernardino area as soon as this December. Overshadowing the situation for LGBTQ asylum seekers is the reality that nearly 88% of LGBTQ people in Central American countries have been victimized by sexual and gender-based violence—roughly two thirds of asylum seekers from Mexico alone, according to a special report by the UN High
CBP Patrol Vehicle at Pacific Ocean edge of the San Diego Sector U.S.-Mexico Border. Screenshot via KTLA Los Angeles
Commissioner for Refugees in 2017. The report, ‘No Safe Place,’ published November 27, 2017 by Amnesty International, details the lack of proactive measures by the authorities to punish criminals, especially crimes against LGBTQ people — particularly when corrupt police are responsible for the attacks. The Trump administration’s MPP program increases the potential harm. A November 3, 2019 article published by the San Diego Union-Tribune outlined the grave dangers faced by LGBTQ asylum seekers who faced persecution in their countries and then are left to contend with the process on the Mexican side of the border, especially in Tijuana. While the Trump administration has severely limited asylum qualifications for Central Americans fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants can still request asylum based on persecution because of their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation. But their path is far from easy the Union-Tribune reported. “Here, the same as at home, the police discriminate against us,” Pedro Luis Perez, a 27-year-old gay asylum seeker from
Guatemala told the paper in early October. “We’re very vulnerable. I don’t feel safe here in Mexico.” A Department of Homeland Security Assessment of the MPP program, published October 28, 2019, reported 13,000 completed cases and more than 55,000 migrants returned to Mexico. It estimates that 20,000 people are currently held in Mexico, which according to DHS, proves that MPP works because “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.” A source with CBP indicated to the Los Angeles Blade that a percentage of those returned to Mexico under the MPP program had failed to make the required appearances at the CBP Border Station for hearings. That’s because, Ursela Ojeda, a policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission told the Guardian UK last month, of the sheer number of violent crimes occurring in the border towns. “There is no way to know why they just missed court – they could have been kidnapped, they could have been killed, they could have been put on a bus by the Mexican government and shoved to another part of
the country with no way to get back,” she told The Guardian. “Advocates have been warning about the dangers’ of the program,” the Guardian wrote. But “a new report by Human Rights First revealed that there were at least 340 reports of rape, kidnapping, torture and other violent attacks against people returned to Mexico while they wait for their case to be heard in US immigration court.” “The Trump-Pence administration continues its horrific and immoral crackdown against people escaping violence in their home countries,” HRC Global Director Jay Gilliam said in a statement to the Washington Blade’s Michael K. Lavers who covered a briefing on LGBTQ asylum seekers on Oct. 23 at the Russell Senate Office Building. Lavers reported that criticism continues over the treatment of LGBTQ detainees in ICE custody. Sending migrants back to Mexico is “extremely dangerous because it exposes them to criminal cartels that control broad areas of the Mexican border,” Brian Griffey, regional researcher at Amnesty International, told NBC News September 9. “These people in some cases have been sexually assaulted, abducted, or otherwise harmed while they’re waiting to access the U.S. asylum system to pursue their claims,” Griffey said. “These people largely don’t have lawyers, they don’t have any means of getting information about the court, they are just given basically a temporary paper they’re supposed to come back to this bridge or other port of entry, and until then, they’re on their own.” “This is really an abandonment of the United States legal obligations towards refugees, which is pushing the world’s most vulnerable people back into a cauldron of violence in northern Mexico that even the U.S. State Department warns people not to go into because it is so dangerous,” he added. On Nov. 5, a District Court judge heard oral arguments in a motion to block the Trump administration from applying what amounts to an asylum ban. A source told the Los Angles Blade that the attorneys are hoping for a favorable ruling.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 09
“To be clear: our campaign doesn’t buy into the homophobia narrative ﬂoating out there. AT ALL.” – Nina Smith, traveling press secretary for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, tweeted Nov. 4 regarding supposed concern that Black voters won’t vote for a gay candidate.
“I couldn’t think of anybody better to have them because they’re the original Spanx.”
– Olivia Newton-John hearing that Spanx founder Sara Blakely bought the singer’s skin-tight black leather Grease pants for more than $162,000, per “CBS This Morning.”
“It’s too late for moderation. We cannot vote somebody in that isn’t brave enough to stand up and do the immensely difficult work that needs to be done to save us from catastrophe.” – Actor Jane Fonda on repeatedly being arrested over climate change, on “The View” on Nov. 5.
Apparently, Donald Trump can grab anyone anywhere because he can, as he once noted to Access Hollywood during his presidential campaign. In this case, Trump wrapped his arms around the Washington Nationals’ Kurt Suzuki after the catcher donned a MAGA hat at the White House Nov. 4 during the team’s World Series victory tour. “It was amazing,” Suzuki told USA Today via text message. “That was the president. Just trying to have some fun. Everybody makes everything political. It was about our team winning the World Series.” Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats infielder also offered Trump some props, giving the president a team jersey and publicly thanking him for “continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world.” No word on whether Trump felt Zimmerman up with gratitude, too. But the infielder did feel something – a backlash as his Wikipedia nickname was changed briefly from “Mr. National” to “Mr. Nationalist,” an apparent nod to Trump’s white nationalist fans. The political is personal to Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle who declined the White House visit, citing Trump’s divisive rhetoric. “There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country,” Doolittle told The Washington Post. “I just can’t do it.” Doolittle feels “very strongly” about Trump’s “issues on race relations;” his mocking of a disabled reporter (Doolittle’s brotherin-law is autistic); and his wife’s moms are a lesbian couple. He told the Post he didn’t “want to turn my back on them.”
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10 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Buttigieg has no regrets about coming out later in life ‘You’re ready when you’re ready’ By CHRIS JOHNSON MASON CITY, Iowa — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the gay candidate beating expectations in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, said Monday he doesn’t regret coming out later in life, asserting “there’s not a lot to be gained” by rethinking the issue. “I guess my life would be very different,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t know if it’d be better or worse. You’re just — you’re ready when you’re ready. I suppose if dating had been available to me in my 20s I might not have done a lot of the other things I wound up doing. But there’s, there’s not a lot to be gained trying to rewind and guess what otherwise would have been.” Buttigieg made the comments in response to a question from the Washington Blade on his campaign bus tour over the weekend in Iowa, where reporters, including the Blade, were embedded with him. Recent polls in Iowa indicate he’s a top-tier candidate competing with Joseph Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Reporters asked Buttigieg a range of questions — both personal and policy-based — in between his appearances at rallies and other events in the state. On the final day of his tour en route to a meet-and-greet event in Britt, Iowa, media outlets, including the Blade, pressed the candidate on his coming out process. One reporter opened up the questioning by asking Buttigieg if he wouldn’t be running for president if he hadn’t come out how and when he did. In June 2015, Buttigieg — at the age of 33 — came out as gay in an essay for the South Bend Tribune titled “Why Coming Out Matters” a few months before he was up for re-election as mayor. “It’s hard for me to kind of picture alternate universes,” Buttigieg replied. “But I’m running for president because of what is needed right now, and that’s mainly about vision. And if I saw another candidate offering what I was offering, I would
Mayor Pete Buttigieg invited reporters, including from the Blade, aboard his campaign bus last weekend in Iowa. Blade photo by Chris Johnson
probably be following that, not leading. But I don’t know that that would be different if I weren’t gay. You know my story is part of me, and it’s all part of the same person — and therefore part of the same picture — but where I think America needs to go isn’t about me, it’s about America.” The Blade followed up on that question by asking Buttigieg about whether he missed an opportunity to impact LGBT acceptance in Indiana by waiting to come out until later. After all, just months before Buttigieg’s essay was published, Indiana was ground zero in the LGBT rights movements. ThenIndiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that enabled sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination in the state. As the Blade pointed out, Pence signed the law in April 2015, then was forced to sign a “fix” to the measure in May 2015 amid a media frenzy and widespread condemnation from the business community and LGBT rights supporters. Although Buttigieg kept quiet about his sexual orientation until one month after Pence signed the “fix,” the candidate said he “didn’t miss any opportunity to make an impact.” “I was one of the leading voices to push back on it,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t know
what would have happened if I had come out in the middle of that, but I’m guessing it would have been more about me and less about why the policy was terrible.” Buttigieg added his advocacy against the law was more effective in his capacity as mayor of South Bend as opposed to a newly out gay man. The decision on coming out, Buttigieg said, was personal and unrelated to making any kind of impact on public policy. “I reached this very personal decision,” Buttigieg said. “And frankly kind of resented the fact that it was going to have to be, you know, it would have anything to do with politics in the outside world, but I was also realistic about the fact that I was in a visible, leadership elected position.” In making the decision to come out a few months before his re-election, Buttigieg said he had to think about whether it would imperil his position as mayor and his platform to speak, “especially when I found myself as a leading Indiana elected voice against Pence’s anti-LGBT law.” (Despite Buttigieg’s assertion he was a leading voice against the law, a report in the Associated Press concluded he hedged that criticism with efforts to collaborate with Pence in his capacity as governor. At the time, Buttigieg was critical of state lawmakers over the religious freedom law
and tweeted he was “disappointed” with Pence, but several weeks later attended a Pence event in South Bend.) Nonetheless, Buttigieg has been a favorite in the LGBT community, which has helped propel him to become the first openly gay candidate being taken seriously in a presidential race. Gay donors excited to see Buttigieg succeed are a significant contribution to the impressive fundraising numbers regularly posted by his campaign. Buttigieg, asked by a reporter on the campaign bus how his decision to come out helped his political career, said he would leave it to analysts to talk about the impact, but said it has helped him empathize with other communities. “You don’t have to think you’ve been in somebody’s shoes, you don’t have to pretend there’s an equivalency between what you’ve been though and what somebody else has been through to tap into, and what somebody else has been through to tap into your own story to relate, or as propulsion to support somebody,” Buttigieg said. “And I suppose being gay is not the only way I felt that, but it’s the most powerful.” Given Buttigieg came out at the age of 33, when other LGBT people — even his own age — had come out earlier and made contributions to the LGBT movement, the Blade asked the candidate whether he thinks he’d bring the experience of activists who had fought for LGBT rights to the White House. “Everyone’s experience is different, right?” Buttigieg replied. “So, what I will say is that if I’m elected president, it would be a new thing in America, and it’ll be a step in America’s LGBTQ experience. Again, even within the LGBTQ community, there’s so much diversity. It’s not like I know anything personally about what it’s like to be a trans woman of color, other than, again, I think I have a reserve of empathy I can tap into.” When another reporter asked about Iowa voters who say they’re unconcerned with his sexual orientation, but think it may be an impediment to others, Buttigieg said “way too many layers of convolution get added on to these things.” Continues at losangelesblade.com
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 11
Democrats take control, Roem wins re-election in Virginia Historic night as party flips assembly for first time in a generation By MICHAEL K. LAVERS MANASSAS, Va. — It was a historic election on Tuesday, as Democrats regained control of the Virginia General Assembly for the first time since the 1990s. Democrats gained six seats in the House of Delegates and two seats in the state Senate. The results in Virginia are widely seen as a referendum on President Trump heading into the 2020 election. All five openly LGBTQ members of the General Assembly — state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and state Dels. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria), Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County), Danica Roem (D-Manassas) and Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) — won reelection. Roem made history as the first openly transgender state legislator to be reelected, defeating Republican challenger Kelly McGinn by a 57-43 percent margin. Roem — a former journalist who has represented the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2018 — is the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. Roem is the first openly trans state legislator to be re-elected. Her support of the expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid program and efforts to reduce traffic congestion on Route 28 are among the issues on which she campaigned. Family Foundation Action, an antiLGBTQ group with which McGinn has strong ties, and the Prince William County Republican Committee are among those that attacked Roem based on her gender identity. “To the people of the 13th District: Thank you so much for the confidence you’ve shown in my team and me by such an overwhelming margin,” tweeted Roem after she won re-election. “I’m grateful to represent you because of who you are — never despite it.” Roem spoke to supporters who were attending an Election Night party at City Tavern in Manassas the Manassas
Va. state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) won re-election this week. Blade photo by Michael Key
and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee organized. “The way that we won this race was by taking care of our constituents for the last two years,” said Roem. “It was by doing what the people asked us to do.” LGBTQ activists across the country applauded Roem’s re-election. “Danica Roem has once again made history, becoming the longest-serving and first openly transgender elected official to be re-elected in our nation’s history,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a statement. LGBTQ Victory Fund President Annise Parker echoed David. “In 2017, Danica wrote the playbook on how transgender candidates can defeat antiLGBTQ opponents through authenticity and attention to everyday issues — and her reelection victory sets it in stone,” said Parker in a press release. “Voters did not head to the polls to make history, yet they proved trans candidates can win battleground races in battleground states despite transphobic attacks from opponents.” Daye Pope of the Trans United Fund in a fundraising appeal it sent to supporters
described Roem’s re-election as “a victory for trans rights and for working people everywhere.” Roem referred to her constituents when the Washington Blade asked her at City Tavern whether she considers herself a pioneer. “The people who I represent said, ‘Yeah we know she’s trans and she’s a good legislator and she’s great at constituent service and we think that she’s doing a good job,’” she said after she spoke to her supporters. “I hope the message that sends to trans people around the country is that politics is open to you too, and not just politics but whatever you want to pursue in life it’s open to you too and people will actually respect your right to do it,” she added. Democrats celebrated across the state. “Tonight, Virginia Democrats have once again made history,” said Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker in a statement. “Starting this January, for the first time in decades, Democrats will control the House, Senate and the Governor’s Office.” Swecker’s statement did not specifically reference Gov. Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax or Attorney General Mark Herring — the state’s highest ranking elected officials — who faced calls to resign earlier this year over racist yearbook photos and sexual assault allegations. “This landmark victory is a tribute to our candidates, their commitment to the issues that matter, and the work of a strong Democratic Party of Virginia and our partners,” said Swecker. Activists have long sought a Democratic majority to spur passage of LGBTQ-specific bills that have stalled in the Republicancontrolled General Assembly. They also hope to see ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and progress on more stringent gun laws and other issues. The Human Rights Campaign in August announced a “six-figure” investment in Virginia to help Democrats regain control of the state legislature. Two HRC staffers attended the Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee’s Election Night party in Manassas at which Roem spoke. A press release that HRC released after Democrats
regained control of the General Assembly noted the organization endorsed 27 candidates and “committed to invest” more than $250,000 “to elect pro-equality candidates across Virginia.” “Tonight’s election results send a powerful message that Virginians support a bold, progressive vision for the future of the Commonwealth,” said HRC’s David. “For far too long, anti-LGBTQ politicians have had a chokehold on Virginia’s legislative process and blocked efforts to pass statewide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, sowing hate and division while putting the lives and livelihoods of LGBTQ Virginians at risk.” Roem told the Blade after she spoke to her supporters at the Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee’s Election Night party that her efforts to reduce traffic congestion on Route 28, extend Virginia Regional Express train service to Gainesville and other legislative priorities will not change with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly. Roem, however, added “it’s time for us to pass a Virginia version of the Equality Act.” “We have a mandate from the people to pass nondiscrimination (bills) that are comprehensive and inclusive of all our LGBTQ constituents,” she said. “We will be getting that done.” A Family Foundation Action late last month faced criticism over a transphobic ad that noted Roem was a co-patron of state Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico County)’s bill to require insurance providers to cover transition-related health care for trans policyholders. “The people wholeheartedly rejected that message,” Roem told the Blade, referring to the ad. “That was a direct attack and the people rejected it.” Roem did not rule out the possibility that she would introduce the trans health care bill herself in 2020. “The people want inclusive health care that covers your health care needs, no matter what your health care needs are,” she said. “These are not wants. It’s not cosmetic. These are needs and I’m going to be making sure that I’m protecting my transgender constituents and I’m going to protect their families as well.”
12 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
German lawmakers to consider conversion therapy ban
Congresswoman Natalia Castillo has become known for defending and promoting the rights of sexually and gender diverse Chileans since she took office. Courtesy photo
Demand for rights marks Chile’s political crisis CONCEPCIÓN, Chile — In less than three days a protest organized by students against the increase in subway fares turned into an imposing and unexpected national protest over years of inequalities in Chile that completely paralyzed the country and put the entire Chilean political class on notice. Millions of people have taken to the streets over the last few days to demonstrate their discontent. Some of the massive marches have nevertheless ended with protesters attacking businesses, torching and looting supermarkets in the worst unrest the country has seen in decades. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency, deployed soldiers to the streets and imposed a curfew that deepened the conflict by unleashing the worst cases of human rights violations in the last 30 years in the Latin American country. A group of lawmakers have announced a constitutional complaint against Piñera. “These weeks have been a time bomb that we all knew was going to explode, but we did not know that it would explode now and with such intensity,” said Alessia Injoque, executive president of Fundación Iguales, a Chilean LGBTQ organization. Franco Fuica, legislation and public policy coordinator of Organizando Trans Diversidades (OTD), a trans advocacy group, has a similar opinion. “We are living a social revolution,” he affirmed. The crisis in Chile has been brewing for a long time. Dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1973 staged a coup to topple Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected Socialist president. Pinochet reversed Allende’s model and began to implement a diametrically opposed economic formula. The country became a sort of neoliberal laboratory and a cruel dictatorship that persecuted, tortured and killed its opponents. A group of liberal economists who were educated at the University of Chicago, where they learned the ideas of Americans Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, who were known as the “Chicago boys,” led Pinochet’s economic changes. They implemented economic and social reforms that privatized everything, and were enshrined in Chile’s 1980 constitution that remains in place. A report the U.N. Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published in January that analyzed the evolution of poverty, spending and social inclusion revealed Chile continues to maintain its high rates of inequality. “One percent of the population holds 26.5 percent of wealth,” the investigation concludes. “We have been in an unfair system for years, where everything is done to ensure the same people always win. Beyond that injustice, there was impunity where nothing happened to people who caused a lot of damage that runs from pain to frustration. The government was indolent and everything came to a head,” said Injoque. The trans activist said they were truly afraid. “I had chills when I found out that soldiers were out on the streets,” they said. “Piñera declared war against my grandchildren on national television, deployed the army to shoot and kill them for peacefully protesting (against) their enormous suffering and the people realize there is complicity there and I hear another loud clamor: ‘Resign Piñera,’” Pamela Jiles of the Frente Amplio, a new political force in the Chilean Congress who has lead the impeachment movement, told the Blade. ESTEBAN GUZMAN
A German lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban socalled conversion therapy for minors in his country. Reuters reported the measure that German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is gay, introduced would punish anyone who carries “out conversion therapy on under-18s, or coercing, deceiving or threatening anyone older into such treatment” with up to a year in prison. Anyone who advertises or offers the widely discredited practice would be fined 30,000 euros ($33,383.70) if the bill were to become law. “Homosexuality is not a disease,” Spahn told Reuters in a statement. “Therefore, even the term therapy is misleading.” “This supposed therapy makes you sick and not healthy,” added Spahn. “And a ban is also an important social signal to anyone who struggles with their homosexuality: you are okay the way you are.” The World Psychiatric Association is among the organizations that have publicly condemned conversion therapy. Several U.S. jurisdictions have banned conversion therapy for minors, including D.C. A federal judge in September dismissed a lawsuit that challenges Maryland’s law that prohibits the widely discredited practice. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Drag queen son of Argentine president does Pride Among the hundreds of thousands who took part in Buenos Aires Pride last Saturday was the drag queen son of Argentina’s new President-elect. In Argentina’s elections last week, a coalition led by Alberto Fernàndez took power. Fernàndez, who will be sworn in on Dec. 10, has spoken in support of LGBT rights and has also praised his 24-year-old son, Estanislao Fernàndez, who is a drag queen and cos-player with a large social media following. Estanislao posted a message to his Instagram as he rode upon one of the 30 floats at the Pride festival. Translated into English, it read: “Today we send a message of love and acceptance from Buenos Aires to the world. The most important day of the year arrived, the one in which we remember with affection and pride all those who fell so that we can be free and happy. It’s also a day to celebrate and celebrate being proud of being who we are but also a day of claims, we have advanced a lot as a society and we are on a very good path, but until discrimination, violence, hatred and impunity against us cease to exist, the claims continue.” As for Estanislao’s father, his new government is being welcomed by many in the LGBTQ community, and the new President tweeted a message of support for Pride on Saturday. “We are going to build an Argentina with more rights, in which love and equality reign. We are going to build an Argentina for everyone, everyone, and everyone.” This was Buenos Aires’ 28th annual Pride parade. Organizers of Saturday’s event estimated around 300,000 took to the streets – a far cry from the crowd of about 300 people that took part in the first event in 1992. JOHN PAUL KING
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14 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 03 ISSUE 45
Evangelical support for Trump negates anti-LGBTQ relevance Moral vacuum provides opportunity
Gabriel S. Hudson, Ph.D., a democratic theorist, teaches at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education and The Schar School of Policy and Government. He is the author of ‘Christodemocracy and the Alternative Democratic Theory of America’s Christian Right.’
Nearly three years into the Trump presidency, I have all but lost my capacity for shock. Every day a scandal erupts, a norm is violated, an institution is strained. But one odd phenomenon that hasn’t surprised me is Donald Trump’s continued support among the religious right. White Evangelicals support Trump in greater numbers and with more consistency than any other demographic. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that “regular churchgoers are the most supportive of Trump.” Still today, Pew notes the job approval for Trump among Evangelicals is nearly 80%, while his overall approval rating hovers just above 40%. Trump is not the epitome of faith, hope, and charity one would expect in an evangelical savior. The man compulsively lies. He embodies pride and greed. He paid a porn star to conceal his adultery shortly after the birth of his fifth child by his third wife. But, he’s their guy! For decades the leaders of the Christian Right told us that high moral character was a prerequisite for office. It certainly was when President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a blowjob. They argued the U.S. had a unique, providential relationship with the God of the Bible and warned that too much sin in
our midst would provoke the Lord and remove His protection. After 9/11, Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell famously told televangelist Pat Robertson: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle... I point the finger in their face and say, “you helped this happen.” Falwell later apologized for the timing but not the essential message - a warning he repeated before and after the 9/11 attacks. When Disney started hosting annual gay days at Disneyland in 1998, Robertson warned: “homosexuality will bring about terrorist bombs. It’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor… I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those [pride] flags in God’s face if I were you.” With each incremental step toward equality, LGBTQ people were told their existence would bring down civilization. Our immorality would doom the nation. We were scapegoated for everything from natural disasters to financial crises. And yet, among 2019’s political Evangelicals, immorality warrants a dismissive shrug. The mass amnesia among the Christian Right is astounding. Recently, after the White House released a photo of prominent Christian leaders laying their hands on President Trump and praying, attorney and political commentator George Conway trolled those leaders hard, tweeting: “Blessed be thy hush money, mayest all quid pro quos be thine, and mayest thy falsehoods persuade the multitudes.” The jokes write themselves. The finger pointing and pearl clutching were never sincere. Scripture was always selectively used to score rhetorical points. The championing of faith was a tactic to garner greater wealth and influence, not the other way around. They weren’t participating in politics to forward their beliefs; they were feigning faith to win in politics. And Donald Trump is giving them a win. Trump is the hero of Evangelicals because
he barks at the people they’ve always hated. They view the advancement of equality for LGBTQ people as an illegitimate subversion of authentic America brought on by a cabal of academics, journalists, secularists, and - worst of all - elites. They don’t care about Trump’s ethical failings because he reinforces their belief that they are the “real America” and the supposed not-us-among-us are the true enemies of God, not the pussy-grabber in chief. Now, not all Evangelical leaders are on the Trump Train. Southern Baptist Seminary president Albert Mohler described Trump as an “excruciating crisis” and warned “when it comes to Donald Trump, evangelicals are going to have to ask a huge question: Is it worth destroying our moral credibility to support someone who is beneath the baseline level of human decency for anyone who should deserve our vote?” It appears he got his answer. To most politically active Evangelicals, real Christians support Donald Trump. The ideal Christian is not someone who is modest, generous, forgiving, or sexually chaste. The real Christian “owns the libs.” The emperor was always naked. Now he doesn’t even pretend to wear clothes and doesn’t care who’s laughing. The support of Trump has provided the religious right with short-term solace at the expense of long-term influence. Great! The most potent weapon against LGBTQ rights - self-righteous moral condemnation and admonitions of an angry God - has been fully neutralized. Outside of their echo chamber, no one believes their politically convenient assertions of faith anymore. This, my friends, is an opportunity. Public discourse benefits from moral reasoning. For too long, craven hypocrites have cornered the market on collective conscience. Now, with the high ground ceded for a White House photo op, those truly motivated by empathy can more effectively make a moral case for equality. The religious right’s cultural subversion has changed the game. It’s our turn to ask the question: What would Jesus do?
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 15
Edie Windsor’s ‘Wild and Precious Life’ Smoking hot memoir celebrates queer icon’s life
Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.
“Tell me, what else should I have done?/ Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?” queer poet Mary Oliver wrote in her poem “The Summer Day.” “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?” More than half of LGBTQ people in the United States can be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Then there’s the increase of anti-queer hate crimes and the Trump administration push for “religious freedom.” If you’re queer, it can feel scary or hopeless to make plans for your life. Sometimes, like the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” you need some courage and hope. A new posthumous memoir, “A Wild and Precious Life” by gay rights icon Edith (a.k.a. Edie) Windsor with journalist Joshua Lyon, has arrived just in time. Windsor, who died at age 88 in 2017, wasn’t cowed by fear or despair. She did more with her life than most of us would do if we had 10 lives. Often, our icons are venerable, heroic, historic gods, but, not quite human. And their memoirs are often worthy, but dull. This isn’t the case with Windsor or her memoir. “A Wild and Precious Life,” her illuminating, smoking hot memoir, brings the renowned LGBTQ activist vividly to life. Reading it, we’re not only with Windsor as she stands on the steps of the Supreme Court after its historic United States v. Windsor ruling. It gets up close and personal when she picks up lovers in bars and counts cards in casinos. Lyon worked with Windsor to compile and
craft the memoir. After her death (she died before the work was finished), he added to the “memoir/biography hybrid.” Lyon contributes much to the volume – from information about queer history to insights about Windsor gleamed from interviews with her family and friends. Windsor’s heroic role in the struggle for marriage equality can never be overstated. In 1963, Windsor fell in love with psychologist Thea Spyer. The couple were together until Spyer, who had multiple sclerosis, died in 2009. In 1996, former President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. This infamous law (for which Clinton later apologized) defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman. In 2007, Spyer and Windsor married in Canada. But, Windsor had to pay $363,053 in inheritance taxes because the U.S. government didn’t recognize their marriage. Windsor successfully sued the U.S. government. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the queer community who hasn’t felt the impact of DOMA being struck down. In the preface to “A Wild and Precious Love,” Lyon speaks for many of us who are thankful for what Windsor did for marriage equality. One day, Windsor interviewed him to see if she wanted to work with him on her memoir. The day of the meeting, “happened to be the eighth anniversary of the day I’d met my husband,” Lyon writes, “so I went in with the attitude that even if I didn’t get hired, I was lucky to get a chance to thank the woman who made our marriage possible.” “A Wild and Precious Life” is funny and frank about Windsor. She loved to sing Judy Garland songs and adored the color pink. So much that she decorated the bedroom she shared with Spyer completely in pink from the walls to the sheets on the bed. Windsor “drove like a maniac,” Judith Kasen-Windsor, who married Windsor in 2016, told Lyon, “she said stop lights were just a suggestion.” Windsor’s bravery, commitment to queer activism and love of life shine through her “A Wild and Precious Life.” “Don’t postpone joy!” was her motto. In our time, LGBTQ advocacy and joy are needed as never before. Let’s do all we can to carry on Windsor’s legacy.
Bold global queer cinema shines at AFI Fest 140 films from 50 countries to be featured By DAN ALLEN
Period lesbian romance along the dazzling French seaside. Forbidden gay desire between Georgian dancers in the closeted Caucasus. Slice-of-life immigrant tales of a Filipina transwoman and a Kazakh lesbian. Queer coming of age in small-town Argentina. It’s all just part of the especially rich global queer palette coming soon to Hollywood courtesy of AFI Fest 2019, which opens Thursday, Nov. 14 with “Queen & Slim,” fittingly written by out and Emmy-winning writer/actor/producer Lena Waithe. In all, more than 140 films from over 50 countries will be presented at this year’s festival, which runs through Nov. 21. Anyone who caught screenings at the most recent Outfest will be familiar with AFI Fest’s main venue, the TCL Chinese Theatres at the heart of Hollywood, which served as Outfest’s temporary home base this year as the DGA Theater underwent renovations. Outfest 2019 viewers may also recognize the savvy programming stamp of Mike Dougherty, Outfest’s new director of programming, and a longtime associate programmer at the always queer-forward AFI Fest. After a decade of issuing free public tickets to its screenings, AFI Fest returns to a paid ticketing system this year—which might on the face of it seem like a bummer for fest-goers, but those who’ve been to recent AFI Fest screenings know that the free ticket system tended to dole out more tickets than there were actual seats, sometimes leading to long lines and frustrated, turnedaway ticket holders. This new system should alleviate those issues for a more seamless and stress-free festival experience. Here’s our rundown of the LGBTQ-themed titles not to miss at this year’s fantastic AFI Fest: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) Nov. 15 & 16 Acclaimed French queer filmmaker Céline Sciamma — writer/ director of the lesbian classic “Water Lilies” and the trans classic “Tomboy,” as well as screenwriter of the 2016 gay hit “Being 17” — returns with this gorgeous tale of 18th century painter Marianne, who’s commissioned to secretly craft the wedding portrait of young Héloïse, a recent convent departee who’s reluctantly engaged to a man she’s never met. Long walks by the seaside lead to irrepressible intimacy between the young women, during what they know will be Héloïse’s last moments of independence. The film won the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. AND THEN WE DANCED Nov. 20 & 21 In Sweden’s official Oscar entry for this year’s Best International Feature Film, Merab is a young traditional dancer training for the National Georgian Ensemble, whose sense of competition—and much more—is awakened by the arrival of the talented, alluring
The AFI Fest runs Nov. 14-21.
and irreverent Irakli. The two dancers navigate their attraction within the confines of a traditional Georgian world that’s at once strictly homophobic and deeply homoerotic. OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE Nov. 20 & 21 Director Ric Burns (whose credits include the excellent “Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film”) brings us the fascinating story of famed neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, whose inspirational based-on-reality book “Awakenings” later became the Penny Marshall film of the same name. Shunned by his mother for being gay, Sacks became a champion weightlifter as a young man, but also developed a crippling drug habit. After getting sober and becoming celibate, Sacks turned to writing, where he was able to share the special grace he found in the lives of those with neurological disabilities (most notably in his 1985 book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”). This film, along with “Welcome to the USA,” is presented by AFI Fest community partner GALECA, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics. SEARCHING EVA Nov. 19 & 20 Born in a conservative small town in Italy, 25-year-old Eva Collé has now forged an utterly rules-free existence for herself in hedonistic Berlin, sharing unabashed glimpses via Tumblr and Instagram of her experiences as a fashion model, sex worker, drug taker, sexual explorer and identity shirker. Director Pia Hellenthal documents Eva’s chaotic life through a blitz of image and sound, often narrating with comments—both positive and negative—from Eva’s own social media and internet followers.
FAMILY MEMBERS (Los miembros de la familia) Nov. 15 & 16 When siblings Gilda and Lucas head to the ocean to spread the ashes of their recently departed mother, a nationwide bus strike traps them in their quiet Argentinean coastal hometown. Here they’re forced to get intimate and deal with their grief—with both tender and subtly amusing results—as Gilda pines for (and sends nude pics to) her boyfriend back in Buenos Aires, and Lucas crushes on a hunky local martial arts enthusiast. LINGUA FRANCA Nov. 17 & 19 Undocumented Filipina trans woman Olivia is a home health care aide for Olga, an elderly woman with dementia in Brooklyn’s heavily Russian Brighton Beach neighborhood. When Olga’s grandson Alex returns from rehab, Olivia and Alex find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another, despite their complicated individual circumstances. Transwoman Isabel Sandoval, herself a Filipina immigrant, wrote, directs and stars in this tough but tender tale of difficult lives intertwined, which recently premiered at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. WELCOME TO THE USA Nov. 20 & 21 In this world premiere from Kazakhstani director Assel Aushakimova, 36-year-old Aliya is thrilled to have won the American green card lottery, but now she must say goodbye to the people she loves the most in her hometown of Almaty, including her elderly mother and her longtime recurring girlfriend. KNIVES AND SKIN Nov. 15 & 16 A high school girl goes missing in an eerily quiet suburban town, shattering the social fabric and piercing the facade of normalcy in this quirky, spooky, mystical and musical take on the missing person genre— with a lesbian twist—from writer/ director Jennifer Reeder. SAINT MAUD Nov. 15 & 16 In this spooky psychological thriller set on the dreary English seaside, Maud is a reclusive and religious home health care nurse with a traumatic past, who makes it her personal crusade to save the soul of her new patient Amanda, a cancer-stricken former dancer and socialite who also happens to be lesbian (played by the always extraordinary Jennifer Ehle). Continues at losangelesblade.com
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 17
Near the beginning of “Cubby,” as its 26-year-old protagonist is dropped off by his mother to start a new life in New York, she tells him with brusque candor, “Mark, you are somewhat unbearable…but all the unbearable people move here! You’re going to kill it.” From what we see in the next 90 or so minutes, she’s two-thirds correct. “Cubby” is the debut feature film of writer, actor, and co-director Mark Blane, who has used a sort of semiautobiographical fantasia as the vehicle for a quirky, taboo-rattling Indie comedy about an immature, socially-challenged young man coming of age in the big city. It’s not a new story, by any means, but the way he tells it is undeniably unique. Blane plays Mark Nabel (an easy-to-spot anagram for Blane, just to make sure we know he’s playing a version of himself), a sheltered Midwesterner with artistic dreams and a portfolio of fetish-themed homoerotic sketches to prove it. After living his entire adult life in his mother’s garage, he finally gets his ticket to the big city in the form of a job offer from a prestigious art gallery. There’s just one problem – the job is a lie, concocted by Mark as a means to escape his cloying and over-protective mother and try to make it on his own. At first, his new life looks promising enough; he manages to talk his way into a shared-rent apartment with an old school acquaintance, meets a nice boy in the community garden, and even finds employment as a baby-sitter for Milo, the precocious child of a busy professional couple, with whom he quickly develops a special bond. Unfortunately, the sustainability of Mark’s new situation is as tenuous as his grasp of reality; going off the anti-psychotics that keep him stable in favor of street drugs obtained from his hippie-ish roommate, he soon finds that the demands of adult life are more than he can handle, and things quickly begin to fall apart. Not only are his roommates threatening to kick him out, his job is at risk – and with it, his friendship with Milo, the one person who seems to accept and love him just as he is. In order to turn things around, Mark will have to find within himself maturity required to meet the responsibilities expected of him – with a little help, perhaps, from “Leather Man,” a handsome older “Dom” conjured by a psychedelic cupcake from memories of a porn magazine he discovered as a child, who becomes his imaginary friend and counsels him on the importance of discipline and self-control. In most cases, the premise of “Cubby” would make for a charming feel-good comedy – irreverent, perhaps, but ultimately heartwarming and, well, safe. Blane’s approach, however, shifts the whole thing off its familiar base and into a territory that feels uncomfortable, at best, and downright off-putting, at worst. This has nothing to do with the movie’s sexual content. Indeed, Blane could have stood to confront us more with his character’s queerness or his fascination with leather and bondage. Mark’s interactions with Leather Man are more sweet and tender than erotically charged, and his sexuality plays little part in his journey outside of being a condition of his character – though
it is arguably a factor in a key plot development that comes late in the film. Nor is it because of the talent involved; Blane and co-director Ben Mankoff do a fine job of crafting their film with a gritty, urban look that both complements and contrasts its content, and the cast capably delivers performances that match the tone perfectly – Blane, in his first film role, brings plenty of personality to the screen, and Patricia Richardson’s performance as his mother is a scene-stealing standout. What makes “Cubby” difficult is its misanthropy, and this is not necessarily a criticism. There are enough of these little Indie films out there that charm and amuse us while reinforcing our core values; most of them, however, feature likable characters. “Cubby” foregoes this custom, and instead peoples its story with characters who are very hard to like indeed. True to his mother’s observation, the various New Yorkers we encounter through Mark are largely an insufferable lot. From his self-absorbed and cruel roommates to the self-righteous moms he meets when he takes Milo to the park, everyone who crosses his path – with the exception of that boy from the garden, of course – is unabashedly unpleasant. As for Mark himself, much of what he says and does throughout the film is, to put it bluntly, cringeworthy. He is petulant, manipulative, rude, overbearing, disingenuous and stubborn; he is childish, as opposed to childlike, making him less an anti-hero than simply a boorish oaf. Yet somehow, it works. As Mark struggles to make his way among these hostile and abrasive New Yorkers, we are able to see that they, too, are struggling, just as unsure of themselves and their control over the lives they lead as he is, and – in their own ways – equally childish. They serve as a foil for him, helping us to see his shine as he works his way toward meeting them on their level. Taken all together, they create a portrait of humanity comprised of broken, uncertain souls mustering all they have to rise to the task of facing their daily life. On paper, it sounds pretty bleak; on film, it manages to be empowering. It’s unclear whether all of this is intended by Blane’s movie, which he has written and co-directed in a style that seems as influenced by the grotesquery of early John Waters as it does by the quirky Indie dramedies of the 21st century. It may be laying too much on “Cubby” to interpret it as a message of empowerment for a world increasingly afflicted by anxiety, social and otherwise – though the fact that the title refers to a safe space where Mark found comfort as a child suggests that such issues are at the very heart of its story. Nevertheless, the fact that it’s possible to read it that way speaks volumes about its creator’s distinctive voice. Because in the end, that’s what makes “Cubby” – as well as its awkward hero – lovable in spite of itself. It’s a film that is often infuriating and sometimes difficult to watch, but it has a voice of its own that is not quite like anything else you’ve ever seen – and there are very few films out there today, Indie or otherwise, that can lay claim to that.
Offbeat ‘Cubby’ a coming-of-age tale with lies and leather Loveable film overcomes not-so-loveable characters By JOHN PAUL KING
Mark Blane plays a sheltered Midwesterner with artistic dreams and a portfolio of fetish-themed homoerotic sketches to prove it. Image Courtesy Breaking Glass Films
18 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
‘9 to 5’ sequel is DOA And why is Elton John giving diamonds to Taron Egerton? By BILLY MASTERS
The much-hoped-for sequel to ‘9 to 5’ ain’t happening, according to Dolly Parton. Photo by Joe Seer / Courtesy Bigstock
“I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad and make millions off my father’s presidency. I’d be a really rich guy.” — Donald Trump Jr. clearly has no clue. I want to start this column with a public service announcement. Years ago, I was one of the first people to publicly advocate the use of PrEP to combat exposure to HIV. Believe it or not, I took some flack for that, which I shrugged off, like so many trailblazers before me. Today, people speak about it openly. But PrEP is not a cure, nor is it without side effects. Truvada (the most popular of the PrEP meds) has been linked to numerous kidney issues. In fact, there is a class action lawsuit in the works (which I may or may not be a part of). The company that makes Truvada (Gilead) also makes the allegedly much safer Descovy. But don’t take my word for it. Be your own best advocate. Do the research. erhaps make a switch. Just take care of yourselves. We hear that Elton John gave Taron Egerton a diamond ring. And he did it right in front of David Furnish. Is a thrupple in the offing? Actually Elton was thanking Taron for his performance in “Rocketman.” And the diamond ring in question was actually a diamond EAR-ring. Taron explains, “He gave me the first ever diamond earring he bought in 1972. He gave it to me when I was at his house with David in the drawing room of their lovely house with my girlfriend.” I’ll pause here for dramatic effect. “Elton was in a robe and just dropped it into the palm of my hand.” Surely not the first time Elton was in a robe and dropped something into the palm of someone’s hand. In the travesty that is “Dancing with the Stars,” Sean Spicer continues to elude elimination. At this point, the judges are going to have to give him negative scores just to jettison him. But an unlikely person is standing up for Spicer - Karamo Brown! Last week’s dumped dancer said, “Through this process, Sean’s trailer has been next to mine and I have literally every day been planting seeds in his heart. And literally, I could see each week those seeds...blossoming and that’s why he got emotional. Sean is literally someone who I would’ve never thought I could be friends with, and I’m going to walk away from here calling him a friend.” But did he give him a diamond? If you have been watching the current season of “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix or in the UK, keep reading. If you want to be surprised when PBS runs the season sometime in 2025, skip to the next paragraph. At long last, David not only won star baker, he won the whole bloody competition. We even got to see him celebrate with his look-alike Bulgarian boyfriend (there’s
a Bel Ami porn waiting to happen). However, the gay couple that has touched Billy’s heart (always a good place to start) is Henry and Michael - who keep popping up in rather affectionate photos. Henry, while not denying dating rumors, simply scoffed. Michael, on the other hand, revealed that he’s been fielding quite a few propositions — from middle-aged American housewives! He also received an offer to do gay porn. Know your audience. I’m never surprised when I hear about break-ups from the “Bachelor” franchise. This past summer, “Bachelor in Paradise” featured its first same-sex couple, courtesy of Demi and Kristian. It was not only manufactured and contrived, it resulted in an even more manufactured and contrived proposal. Almost like clockwork, the ladies have announced they are no longer together. Demi, who spent the season ping-ponging between a guy (Derek) and a girl (the aforementioned Kristian), said, “We ultimately want what is best for us in the long run and for us right now, that means being apart and growing individually.” In other words, they’re no longer under contract with the show. Sad news for those of you waiting for a “9 to 5” sequel. Dolly Parton announced it ain’t happening. “Well, actually I think we dropped that whole idea. I don’t think we’re going to do the sequel. We never could get the script where it was enough different than the first one, and that one turned out so good.” She did, however, add, “We might do a completely different thing together, Jane, Lily and I.” That different thing will likely be an appearance on the final season of Lily and Jane’s series “Grace and Frankie.” Tick-tock. Our “Ask Billy” question this week comes from Justin in Chicago: “Did you see Aaron Carter’s penis? Everyone online is talking about it, but I can’t find it anywhere.” Aaron says his “dick slip” was an accident, but I contend there are no accidents. Yeah, because everyone who does an Instagram Live video is fully aroused in loose-fitting shorts, right? To be fair, it certainly appeared to be sizeable. However, one must also consider that Carter has the physique of a young Calista Flockhart. But since you asked, you can see it (Carter, not Calista) on BillyMasters.com. When we’re slipping in a surprising “Ally McBeal” reference, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. For more surprises, check out www.BillyMasters.com. If you have a question for me, send it along to Billy@ BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before some porn studio produces “The Great British Bang Off.” Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 19
“Pain and Glory” (“Dolor y Gloria”), the 21st film by out Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar, is a sublime masterpiece by a queer auteur at the top of his game. It’s a profound and effortless journey through themes that have obsessed the master filmmaker throughout his amazing career: desire and sexuality, the need to create and communicate, the blurred lines between past and present and between reality and fiction, the lure of drugs, religion, the complicated bonds between mothers and sons and the challenges of maintaining both friendships and romantic relationships. Passionate and precise, it’s a dazzling artistic achievement and a glorious collaboration between a master craftsman and his long-term creative colleagues, along with a few new partners. The semi-autobiographical “Pain and Glory” (Spanish with English subtitles) is about the trials and tribulations, and ultimate triumph, of filmmaker Salvador Mallo. (Almodóvar says it’s part of an unintentional trilogy with “Law of Desire” and “Bad Education,” which also focus on male film directors and their artistic and personal obsessions.) Mallo is played by frequent Almodóvar collaborator Antonio Banderas, who won the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his incandescent portrayal of man in search of redemption. As the movie opens, Mallo is at a standstill, waylaid by a variety of physical and psychological conditions. (Juan Gatti’s delightful animations accompany Banderas’ recitation of his many ailments.) Suffering from chronic back pain, he’s unable to write and fears that he will never have the physical strength to work behind the camera again. Under the influence of several drugs (prescribed and otherwise) and unable to move forward, Mallo is adrift in a sea of memories. In memory, Mallo is reunited with his late mother Jacinta, played as a young provincial woman by Penelope Cruz and as an old woman by Julieta Serrano. (Both women are long-time Almodóvar collaborators and both turn in searing performances.) Newcomers Asier Flores and César Vicente play Salvador as a 9-year old boy and Eduardo, the handyman who is the object of Mallo’s first crush. In reality, the restoration of Mallo’s film “Sabor” (“Taste”) leads to a series of reunions. He meets up with the actress Zulema (Almodóvar veteran Cecilia Roth) and with two of the most important men in his life: his former lover Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia) and the actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandía) who starred in “Sabor.” The line between memory and reality becomes porous when Alberto convinces Salvador to let him stage his short story “The Addiction” as a dramatic monologue. “The Addiction” is about the passionate relationship between Salvador and Federico during the wild period in Madrid in the
1980s following the fall of Franco. These fascinating threads weave seamlessly together as Mallo slowly gathers the strength to pull his life together and resist the allure of living in the past. With the help of his devoted friend Mercedes (Nora Navas), he begins work on a new project called “The First Desire.” The final tableau is sublime. Almodóvar’s brave and daring work in “Pain and Glory” is simply stunning. He is in complete command of the camera and every shot displays his mastery of sound, color and pacing. His work with long-time collaborators José Luis Alcaine (director of photography) and Alberto Iglesias (original score) is amazing, as is his work with new partner Teresa Font (editor). The design of the film is exquisite. The visual contrast between his childhood in the poor provincial village of Paterna in Valencia and his present-day life in Madrid is arresting. It’s fascinating to note that the design is so deeply influenced by Almodóvar’s own life. Banderas’ hair is styled the same way as the director’s and the actor is often dressed in clothes from the director’s own closet. Mallo’s Madrid apartment is based on Almodóvar’s residence and the set was filled with the director’s own furniture and furnishings. The acting is outstanding. Banderas turns in a magnificent, multi-layered performance as the artist in crisis. This is the eighth film Almodóvar and Banderas have made together. Both men started their careers as part of the artistic resistance to the autocratic regime of General Francisco Franco. Banderas made his film debut in Almodóvar’s “Labyrinth of Passion” (1982) and was featured in several of the director’s early films. After successful careers in Hollywood and Madrid, the two men enjoyed a cinematic reunion in “The Skin I Live In” (2011). Based in part on their long artistic partnership, Banderas creates a nuanced portrait of an artist who is clearly based on Almodóvar but who is clearly not Almodóvar. Banderas captures Mallo’s physical pain and growing despair with remarkable clarity. Banderas is also at the top of his game and it’s wonderful to see him in a role that’s worthy of his talent. The rest of the cast is equally strong. Cruz and Serrano are magnificent as Mallo’s mother in different time frames. Vibrant young Jacinta blazes with her fiercely over-protective love for her son, yet also joyously breaks out in song while washing clothes in the river with the other women of the village. Frail old Jacinta is bitter, isolated in the big city and poisoned by her homophobia. Remarkably, the two wonderful actresses create one seamless performance. Likewise, Flores’ fine performance as young Salvador shows the roots of the man he will become. It’s destined to be a classic movie in the LGBT canon and is a must-see for all queer cinephiles.
Almodovar’s ‘Pain and Glory’ is a sublime instant classic Banderas delivers award-winning performance By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Antonio Banderas won the top Cannes Film Festival acting prize for his work in ‘Pain and Glory.’ Photo by Manolo Pavon; courtesy Sony Pictures Classics
20 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
A Stritch in time Late Broadway legend gets deluxe bio treatment By KATHI WOLFE
Photo courtesy Nike
‘Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch’ By Alexandra Jacobs Farrar, Straus and Giroux $28 352 pages
Fuck! This is a fab read! Don’t be put off! Long before everyone used the profanity, Elaine Stritch, the queer icon, actress and singer, known as “Broadway’s enduring dame,” embraced the f-word. With her gender-bending white men’s shirts and black tights, it was part of her inimitable style. Everyone from Noel Coward to Elton John adored Stritch, who died at age 89 in 2014. She won a Tony Award for her 2001 one-woman show “Elaine Stritch At Liberty” and an Emmy for her work on “Law and Order.” Her iconic interpretation of Stephen Sondheim’s song “The Ladies Who Lunch” in the 1970 musical “Company” earned her lasting acclaim. Stritch aficionados loved it when she appeared as the mother of Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) on NBC’s “30 Rock.” Yet, she had a drinking problem and could be difficult to work with. Many, including Harold Prince, thought Stritch was an “employment risk” and a “pain in the ass.” “How do you solve a problem like Elaine Stritch?” Nathan Lane asked at her memorial service. “How do you hold a fucking moonbeam in your hand?” Fasten your seatbelts! “Still Here,” a new bio by Alexandra Jacobs, will take you on a fast-moving ride through Stritch’s glamorous, funny, sad, fascinating, lonely life. Along the way, you’ll encounter celebs from Marlon Brando to Rock Hudson to Bea Arthur. Stritch was born to an upper-middle-class Catholic family in Detroit. “The Stritches were committed but not strict Catholics,” Jacobs writes. Yet, her family “put the convent in conventional.” Stritch went to a convent school and Cardinal Samuel Stritch was her cousin. Years later, the columnist Earl Wilson erroneously reported that Stritch was the Cardinal’s daughter. One day, “she went to meet the holy man in person,” Jacobs writes. “Ushered in by a nun, she sat down on a red-backed seat with a stool under it. ‘Elaine, that’s my chair,’ he told her.” From childhood on, Stritch wanted to be in show business. At age 5, she fell in love with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers when an uncle took her to see “The Band Wagon” in New York. As a child playing on the porch one day, “Elaine fatally swatted enough flies to spell out her name,” Jacobs writes. “‘It was her way of supposing her name in lights,’ according to her friend Julie Keyes. ‘And that’s what billing is about,’ Elaine told her.” When she was 18, Stritch left the convent school and suburban Detroit behind to make it in the theater in New York. Moving there in 1943 “as a young woman in pursuit of fun, music, nightclubs and theater with all the trimmings was fantastically auspicious,” Jacobs writes. In the middle of World War II, It was the year when “Oklahoma!” (the “Hamilton” of its time) opened on Broadway and the first American Fashion Week was held. Elaine’s impatient personality was a perfect match, Jacobs writes, for the atmosphere of New York, which was “one of urgency and carpe diem in the face of an uncertain future.” Some of the best writing in “Still Here” is Jacobs’ evocation of this period. Stritch is so excited when she goes to try-out for the road company of “Oklahoma!” that she forgets to put her skirt on. She goes on a date with Marlon Brando, one of her classmates in the Dramatic Workshop at the New School. They had a wild night: he read to her from “Wuthering Heights.” Stritch dated many men from producer Jed Harris to actors Gig Young and Ben Gazzara. She had a crush on Rock Hudson. Later in life, she married actor John Bay. Because of her “low voice; her style of dress and hair, which increasingly tended toward the masculine; her delay of marriage; her many gay friends,” Jacobs writes, people have wondered if Stritch was queer. Though gender-bending in her style, Stritch wasn’t a lesbian, Jacobs says. Yet, she writes, Stritch was “without prejudice” toward homosexuality. “Live and let live,” Stritch would say. “Look into their eyes/And you’ll see what they know/Everybody dies,” Stritch sang in “The Ladies Who Lunch.” Reading “Still Here” will make you feel as if Stritch, brought back to life, is looking into your eyes and singing just for you.
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Imagine the entertaining you could do in this stunning Spanish-style 2,330-square-foot home with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Enjoy an after-dinner stroll each evening? You can do it here. The area is filled with leafy streets to explore. Or stroll to Wilshire Boulevard, only a block away. Are you a gym aficionado? LA Fitness is just down the street. Or are art movies your style? Two art theaters are nearby. Tired of cooking? Need a late-night snack, or is the bar scene your style? Choose from a myriad of trendy places in the area. Need to de-stress? Your heated spa is waiting in the tranquil yard. Whatever your joys are, they’re waiting for you at 156 S. La Peer Drive. It’s a good life!
©2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS.
22 • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Hundreds of thousands of people descended on Palm Springs from around the world for 2019s three day Palm Springs Pride (Nov. 1, 2 and 3) and more than 75,000 lined the streets for the Sunday morning parade.
On Fri. Nov. 1, The Palm Springs Pride Run and Walk 5K raced through the beautiful and historic neighborhood of Old Las Palmas and thousnds of dollars were raised for The LGBT Community Center of The Desert (“The Center”) and Safe Schools Desert Cities.
Desert Care Network sponsored the Palm Springs Pride Media Breakfast, kicking off the annual Parade. Photo by Troy Masters
Photo Palm Springs Pride Run
A marcher at the head of the parade helps carry the Rainbow Flag section sen by Cleve Jones.
The Desert Theater contingent.
Photo courtesy Palm Springs Pride
Photo by Troy Masters
The next generation follows the flag.
Los Angeles Blade was one of several dozen booths at the weekend long Palm Springs Pride Festival.
Photo courtesy Palm Springs Pride
Photo by Troy Masters
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 08, 2019 • 23
1,600 lung injuries linked to vaping: CDC Updated data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has identified a total of 1,604 incidents of lung injury related to the use of portable vaping cartridge products, including 34 deaths. A specific cause of the illness remains unknown, though some experts have speculated that the injuries may be related to additive ingredients in the e-liquid products, such as Vitamin E oil, or the presence of a specific metal-binding agent in certain types of portable cartridges. The agency states that the overwhelming majority of products associated with the illness were obtained via the unregulated “informal” market. The CDC’s latest advisory concludes: “To date, no single compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury), and there might be more than one cause. Because most patients report using THCcontaining products before the onset of symptoms, CDC recommends that persons should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC. Persons should not buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC, off the street and should not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. In addition, because the specific compound or ingredient causing lung injury is not yet known, and while the investigation continues, persons should consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.”
Patients report cannabis offers relief for spinal cord injury symptoms PHILADELPHIA —Many spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with a history of cannabis use say that it provides them “great relief,” according to data published in the journal Spinal Cord Series and Cases. A team of investigators affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed cannabis utilization and attitudes in a national sample of patients with SCI. Forty-two percent of respondents reported being either past users or current users of medical cannabis. Among them, 63 percent reported that cannabis offers “great relief”
from symptoms – including the alleviation of pain and spasticity – while 30 percent reported that it provided more limited relief. Only six percent said that cannabis provided no relief from SCI symptoms. A majority of respondents also said that medical cannabis was more effective than prescription medications in treating their condition and that it possesses fewer adverse side effects. Authors concluded: “Our findings support the notion that MC (medical cannabis) may have an important role – either as adjuvant therapy or as monotherapy – in treating a number of common symptoms experienced by individuals living with SCI. There is certainly a need for expedited clinical trials evaluating efficacy of MC in chronic SCI, and no justification for cannabis’ continued classification as a Schedule 1 drug, a designation indicating that it has no accepted medical use.”
6 in 10 physicians say cannabis a ‘legitimate medical therapy’ ROCHESTER, Minn. — Nearly six in 10 primary care physicians believe that medical cannabis is a “legitimate” therapeutic option, according to survey data published in the journal BMC Family Practice. Investigators with the Mayo Clinic surveyed the attitudes of primary care providers in a large Minnesota-based health care system. Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “medical cannabis was a legitimate medical therapy.” That finding is consistent with both national and statespecific surveys similarly showing that most doctors are supportive of medical cannabis access. Nonetheless, half of respondents expressed discomfort in talking to their patients about medical cannabis options, a finding that is also consistent with prior data. Many expressed a desire to receive additional education about cannabis in order to become better versed in the subject. Authors concluded: “Providers generally believe that medical cannabis is a legitimate medical therapy. Significant opportunities exist to: 1) close knowledge gaps for clinicians through the collection and dissemination of information about the effectiveness of medical cannabis for state qualifying conditions; 2) alleviate concerns about drug interactions by exploring opportunities for information sharing between dispensaries and traditional medical practices; and 3) expand the knowledge base about how medical cannabis impacts patient QOL (quality of life).”
More than 1,600 injuries, including 34 deaths, have now been linked to vaping, according to the CDC.
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