Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 47, November 22, 2019

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N O V E M B E R 2 2 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 4 7 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M



Trans flag flies over California Capitol Speaker Pelosi also honors Trans Day of Remembrance By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Remember their names. Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle Washington, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsey, Chanel Scurlock, Zoe Spears, Brooklyn Lindsey, Denali Stuckey, Tracy Single, Bubba Walker, Kiki Fantroy, Jordan Cofer, Pebbles LaDime Doe, Bailey Reeves, Bee Love Slater, Jamagio Jamar Berryman, Itali Marlowe. Briana Hill. Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the Transgender Pride Flag be flown above the California State Capitol on Nov. 20 in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. So far this year, 22 transgender people are known to have been killed in America, most Black trans women. “By flying the Transgender Flag above the Capitol, we solemnly remember our fellow

Trans flag flies over Capitol Photo courtesy Equality California

Californians who lost their lives to anti-trans violence and all who loved them,” Newsom said in a statement. “They remind us that, despite our remarkable progress toward full inclusion, LGBTQ people still face an unacceptable level of violence and discrimination. As we honor their memory and work to build a California for All, we recommit ourselves to promoting safety and equality for the transgender community.” “It’s time to end the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, plain and simple,” said Palm Springs City

Councilmember Lisa Middleton, the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California. “On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we are reminded that, while California has been a leader in protections for transgender people and transgender representation, our work is far from over. From Palm Springs to Sacramento, Los Angeles to Washington, DC, and everywhere in between, our transgender community deserves to be safe, deserves a seat at the table and deserves to live happy, healthy lives.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also issued a statement. “On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn for all the brave transgender individuals who have suffered violence, bullying and discrimination or have been murdered for living as their true selves,” Pelosi said. “Sadly, since Day One, the Trump Administration has inflicted a shocking, hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda on America that undermines our founding promise of equality….Democrats are proud to protect and honor the service of our brave transgender servicemembers, in stark contrast to a cruel Administration that works relentlessly to humiliate the heroes who stepped forward to serve and protect our nation. And this year, House Democrats took bold action to finally, fully end discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans by passing the historic Equality Act,” said Pelosi said. “Today and on all days, we reaffirm our bedrock value that everyone is entitled to the right to life, liberty and happiness, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”

TrevorLIVE honors Cybill Shepherd, receives $6 million grant CDC reports 1.8 million LGBTQ Americans consider suicide By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The Trevor Project’s annual TrevorLIVE gala at the Beverly Hilton honored Cybill Shepherd, Hayley Kiyoko and the PwC Charitable Foundation, raising more than $1.2 million. Additionally, the LGBTQ suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization announced they were the recipient of a $6 million investment over the next four years from the PwC Charitable Foundation. The Foundation is also immediately providing nearly $2 million in pro-bono consulting services and other services.

Cybill Shepherd, a longtime LGBTQ ally, received the Champion Award and tearfully acknowledged her late sister, who was unable to live openly as a lesbian. “No, my sister did not have the support that these young people will be getting from this wonderful, wonderful organization; and so, I want to thank everyone here tonight, because we all have in our lives people that we would have liked to have saved.” Shepherd said. “There is still so much more to do. We recently put out research that there are more than 1.8 million LGBTQ young people in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year,” said Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project. “We are literally talking about life and death. That is why we need to build a global movement to end suicide among LGBTQ young people NOW. “

Paley was referring to their 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. Recently, the CDC released its School Health Profiles 2018 report. A key finding noted that youth who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, are not sure about their sexual identity, or have had same-sex sexual contact “experience higher prevalence of health-risk behaviors like substance use, sexual risk, and suicide risk, and experience greater risk of violence victimization than sexual majority students.” Additionally, the report said, “Transgender students are more likely to report substance use, suicide risk, sexual risk behaviors, and violence victimization, than cisgender students” “A safe and supportive school environment is imperative to a comprehensive public health approach aimed at ending suicide

among LGBTQ youth,” Amy Green, Ph.D., director of research for The Trevor Project, said in a statement. “Our recent survey of LGBTQ youth mental health shows that 39 percent of LGBTQ youth respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months. We know that youth who attend schools that have policies that are inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ have reduced rates of suicide attempts,” she said. Ongoing efforts by school districts “to support vulnerable populations such as LGBTQ youth are vital to saving lives and providing life-affirming care.” For more information, visit thetrevorproject.org. If you need to talk with someone, please call The Trevor Project helpline at 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678.




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Presidential candidates charm at Calif. Dem Party/Univision forum Buttigieg surges in Iowa poll By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com For several minutes on Nov. 16, the California Democratic universe stopped jousting for their favorite candidates and gave a rousing vote of confidence to Rep. Adam Schiff, who is steadily leading the House Intelligence Committee’s historic impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump. Introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal as “our protector,” Schiff opened his remarks to the three-day California Democratic Party (CDP) Endorsing Convention in Long Beach by acknowledging the one minute/20 seconds standing ovation and spelling out the constitutional threat. “Our democracy is at risk, more so now than any time in my life,” Schiff said, saying Democrats “will send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from.” “The most grave threat to the life and health of our democracy comes from within, from a president without ethical compass, without an understanding of or devotion to our Constitution and the beautiful series of checks and balances it established, setting ambition against ambition so no one branch of government could overwhelm another. And most importantly, so no despotism could take root,” said Schiff. “There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes he is above the law.” The highlight of the convention was the CDP/Univision forum with the appearance of eight presidential candidates; former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren skipped it. Univision legendary anchor Jorge Ramos Ramos said their absence illustrated a broader problem with Democrats: “they know they’re going to get about 70% of the Latino vote and they just take it for granted.” California Sen. Kamala Harris was the first up, answering a question from Yvette Mojica, a student at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, who asked about protections from school shootings.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg at Univision forum screengrab

“I’m sick of what happened to you, to your classmates,” said Harris, adding that even elementary students think shooter drills are “normal.” As president, she would take executive action if Congress didn’t present her with a bill in her first 100 days. President Obama did a lot of good, Ramos said but “he deported more than three million people. Was that a mistake? Do you think President Obama made a mistake?” Ramos asked. Harris dodged at first but after Ramos persisted, Harris relented. “I disagreed with it and that’s why I issued that policy for the sheriffs and the district attorneys of California telling them that these were not mandatory,” Harris said. That Harris did not used the word “mistake” was underscored when Ramos asked the same question of popular Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is the largest recipient of Latino contributions and drew crowds of young Latinos in LA – and Sanders answered quickly with a simple

“yes.” Sanders then pivoted. “What the American people want, and they want to stop this ugly demonization of the immigrant community and the racism that is coming from the White House,” Sanders said, pledging to reestablish legal status for 1.8 million “Dreamers” on Day 1 of his presidency. Harris, however, ended the day with the endorsement from the highly regarded, 10,000-member United Farm Workers. She had already been personally endorsed by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, who cofounded UFW with Cesar Chavez and Gilbert Padilla. Sanders, who emphasized that his health is good after his heart attack, secured the endorsement of the California Young Democrats and the earlier endorsement of the powerful National Nurses United. Sanders also endorsed the Rental Affordability Act a ballot initiative by AIDS Healthcare Foundation on the Nov. 2020 ballot.

The biggest surprise of the convention was the news that out South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had surged to the lead in the CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll. He jumped to 25% with a three-way battle for second place with Elizabeth Warren registering 16%, and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coming in at 15%. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar jumped to 6%, while Harris, philanthropist Tom Steyer, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang all ranked at 3%. After a pleasant exchange in Spanish — Buttigieg speaks seven languages — KMEX anchor Leon Krauze asked him about former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick entering the race. “Some seem to doubt whether the current group of candidates is strong enough to beat President Trump. Is it?” “First of all, I think every one of the candidates competing on the Democratic side would make a monumentally better president than the one we have right now,” Buttigieg said, adding that he thinks he’s “the best person to go into that competition, but the job is for each of us to go out there and prove it.” Buttigieg was also asked about Obama’s recent advocacy for centrism. “Here’s what I agree with is the idea that the role of activists is to move the country as far forward as possible and to tug the politicians forward,” Buttigieg said. “That’s different from the role of those seeking office and holding office who have to balance the concerns of different constituencies. But I also believe that being bold and having big ideas should not be measured by how many people you alienate. Because the things I’m proposing, for example, it’s true that they’re not as extreme as some of the others, but they would still make me the most progressive president of my lifetime.” As the Los Angeles Blade went to press before the Nov. 20 MSNBC/Washington Post Democratic debate, WMUR TV reported that Buttigieg surged to 25% over Biden and Warren at 15% in a new poll in New Hampshire, the first-in-the nation primary state.



Margaret Hoover explains the GOP Could Republican LGBTQ ally be a bridge to right-wing relatives? By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com Overheard almost all the time everywhere: There has never been a more divisive time in American history than now. No caveats for the Civil War or the protests against the war in Vietnam. But to those who are confused, frightened and angry about the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump as the unraveling of democracy, today feels much like William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming:” “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” The poem was written in 1919 about the social and economic chaos that followed the end of World War I. It’s an era Margaret Hoover, Republican political commentator, LGBTQ advocate and host of PBS’ “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover,” knows something about. After World War I, Hoover’s great grandfather Herbert Hoover, an engineer and businessman, was called upon by President Woodrow Wilson to lead the salvation of war-destroyed Europe through massive organized food relief efforts. The stock market crashed seven months after Hoover was sworn in as president of the United States and his term became historically associated with the beginning of the Great Depression. Margaret Hoover believes that Herbert Hoover has been misunderstood over the years and in studying his life to provide his defense, she was deeply inculcated with the concept of “American Individualism,” which she later turned into a book with the subtitle: “How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party.” The concept of individual freedom led her to the fight for LGBTQ equality and not giving up on the legacy of the GOP. “I haven’t left the party. I have too many elephants in my collection to give them all up. Some of them were my great-grandfathers. They are precious relics of a long history of principled men and women standing for values I still agree with — individualism tempered by communal responsibility,

‘Firing Line with Margaret Hoover’ host Margaret Hoover Photo courtesy ‘Firing Line’

robust international leadership tempered by realism, economic libertarianism, suffrage, abolition,” Hoover tells the Blade. “Conservatives missed the boat on modern civil rights, but Republicans helped pass both the Civil Right Act and Voting Rights Act,” she notes, reflecting on an era of congressional bipartisanship. “When I feel utterly disconnected to the GOP, perspective is a useful tool. In 160-plus years, it’s really the last 30 years that have elements that give me pause. And in a two-party system, neither party will ever have a monopoly on virtue. I’d rather help fight to make the GOP

better where it’s falling short.” Hoover thinks she and legendary attorney Ted Olson may be the only two well-known Republicans who came to their support for LGBTQ equality based on their deep belief in individual freedom, rather than in response to having an LGBTQ relative. Hoover served on the Advisory Council for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) when Olson successfully argued the federal case against Prop 8 with Democratic stalwart David Boies. “The first time I remember thinking about LGBT equality was when I was 12, when a

friend’s dad came out,” says Hoover, now 41. “It was the early ‘90s, and I just did the math then and decided that LGBT Americans shouldn’t have to relate to their government any differently than straight Americans.” Additionally, she says, “I always thought LGBT freedom was entirely consistent with the brand of Western Conservatism I grew up with in Colorado — the same western conservatism that was socially libertarian, that explained why Barry Goldwater’s family brought Planned Parenthood to Arizona and why he famously remarked at the end of his life that you don’t have to ‘be straight to shoot straight,’ regarding gays serving openly in the military.” Hoover’s not happy with how Trump has taken over the Republican Party. “I think the president has abused the powers of his office and betrayed the trust the American people bestowed on him. I suspect he’ll be impeached,” Hoover says. “But one can’t engage with the question of impeachment absent the reality that a House impeachment vote will likely lead to an acquittal by the Senate. Ultimately, I worry that our system has become so hyper-partisan that no one can think for themselves anymore because going against your party will cost you your job. There’s no moral courage.” But while Hoover recognizes that arguing with staunch Trump supporters can be painful — such as at a holiday meal — she urges compassion to avoid severing connections that could be repaired in time. “In dealing with anyone you love in politics — and I’d be careful not to call Trump supporter’s cultists — my mom and dad and family aren’t cultists, too many smart people have fallen into an ‘us against them’ that is tearing us apart. So check yourself,” she says. “When dealing with anyone I love in politics, I think of my friend Jean Safer’s book — “I Love You but I Hate Your Politics” — and I just focus on the love part. “For the politics,” she continues, “rededicate your personal efforts to changing your elected leader or the policies you care about or the president. But the people in our lives, and the love in our lives, are the relationships that make or break us as happy humans thriving in the world. When the relationships in our lives are off, we’re off. So, you have to separate how you love, and how you think about politics.” In addition to AFER, Hoover has put



Margaret Hoover with Meghan and Cindy McCain on ‘Firing Line with Margaret Hoover’ Screengrab

her personal efforts toward the American Unity Fund – her non-profit “dedicated to advancing the cause of freedom for LGBTQ Americans by making the conservative case that freedom truly means freedom for everyone.” This is not just a nice note on the resume. Hoover advocates for the cause of LGBTQ Americans everywhere, including during a June 2018 appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” pitching her new “Firing Line” show. Colbert — who became famous among conservatives during his Comedy Central

show “The Colbert Report” (2005-2014) — watched the original “Firing Line” as a kid and marveled at creator William F. Buckley, the father of conservativism and a TV star, and for 33 years, the longest running host of a TV show. After noting that she would not even try to be William F. Buckley, Hoover suddenly digressed into an LGBTQ tangent when asked if she was a conservative. “I consider myself a conservative to a certain extent. I moonlight as an LGBT advocate. I run an LGBT advocacy organization (big applause) that works

with Republicans,” Hoover said. “We make the case that freedom means freedom for everyone. And where that really lends itself at this moment in time is to secure full civil rights protections for LGBT Americans because there are still 28 states where you can be fired for being gay! All these things that Republicans don’t know — and those states are mostly red states so you need Republicans to engage Republicans on that front. There are many people who are socially conservative who would not say I’m conservative because of those views.” On “Firing Line,” Hoover has a polite, civil

“contest of ideas” for roughly 30 minutes with one guest to explore a subject in depth. Some interviews broke news such as her interview with Rep. Alexandria OcasioCortez on Israel and the Palestinians and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on prosecuting Jared Kushner’s father. Others are subjects that need further investigation, such as discussing cyber security for the next elections with Sen. Mark Warner. Other interviews are both professional Continues on page 8



Hoover working on legislation to replace Equality Act Continued from page 7 and personal, such as her interview with friend Meghan McCain and Cindy McCain after the one-year anniversary of Sen. John McCain’s death. “I’m a huge fan of ‘Firing Line’ and grew up watching it,” said Meghan McCain, another LGBTQ ally. “It’s such an iconic brand.” Hoover surprised them with a 1998 clip of John McCain on the original “Firing Line” with Buckley. Meghan, then 13, had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio and her father was concerned she would take up smoking after watching DiCaprio smoke on film. She didn’t. Hoover noted how Democrats are now mentioning McCain to signal bipartisanship. “I think my husband would have a real chuckle over it, I really do,” said Cindy McCain, who noted how close McCain was with Democratic icon, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Meghan had a different view. “I remember people taking real low blows and low shots at him — and I also appreciate people respecting and bringing him up. But I also think that maybe if you hadn’t demonized him so much and demonized Mitt Romney so much, maybe it wouldn’t have bred the feeding ground for Trump because Trump didn’t just come,” she said. John McCain was “always looking to reach across the aisle, to work alongside — he was a truly decent, wonderful man. I’m not just saying that because he’s my father,” said Meghan. “And now we have someone who has, I believe, no character, no discipline, has no interest in working with the other side, and I think that it was the beginning of it, if we look back now in the past 10 years.” When Trump speaks ill of her father, “I go crazy. I turn into the She-Hulk,” Meghan said. “I get very emotional and very angry, and normally have to call you (Hoover). Or my husband.” Meghan, who identifies as a conservative, not a Republican, told Hoover that her father insisted that she join ABC’s “The View.” “I was called a mushy RINO (Republican In Name Only) for most of my career,” she says. “All of a sudden, I’m like the queen conservative and no one’s more surprised

about it than I am.” She’s worried about the party, postTrump. “Whatever you want to say about the left or people like AOC, they do a really good job of speaking to young people,” Meghan said. “And I think, for us — and I always laugh — Young Republican groups start at 40. I think post-Trump America, for the party, is gonna be a very, very dark place to rebuild.” How millennials approach politics is of concern to Hoover, too. “Here are these authoritarian regimes that are gaining in ascendance and credibility and you ask millennials now whether they think it’s imperative that you live in a liberal democracy – only 30 percent of them agree. So, I do think we need to make these arguments anew,” she told Colbert. But, he retorted, do they only hear the word “liberal” and not know that the base of the idea of liberal democracy is a free democracy? “What I think we need to do both on the show and generally — and this is probably the largest contest of my life — is make the case for the ideas behind the Bill of Rights, for free speech, for freedom, for individual freedom,” Hoover said. “I think that is the major contest of our moment.” But, Hoover said, “the party has been Trumpified. The conservative movement is more a conservative populism that has very little to do with the tenants and pillars that Buckley put together and that (Ronald) Reagan put together.” She has more in common “with George Will and (the late) Charles Krauthammer and the folks who have a real problem with the president and his approach.” Hoover notes that her “Firing Line” style is very different from the erudite and elitist William F. Buckley. “Buckley was trained in Oxford style debate performance in an era where formality reigned supreme and WASPs ruled the elites,” Hoover tells the Blade. “I’m a product of a cultural moment where reality TV and millennials yearn for authenticity in a more diverse country that’s known what conservatives are for decades, thanks to Buckley. But his tradition — the legacy of

engaging someone in a long form exchange of ideas, to understand how they think and what they think and what ideas they think will solve our current problems — has hit a nerve. What’s old is new again.” Hoover also believes that “Buckley unfairly gets cast as a homophobe, which I think is a myth, because of one terrible and over-reported moment with (gay) Gore Vidal on television in 1968.” The two men did not like each other but were under contract with ABC to do a debate, during which Vidal called Buckley a “cryptoNazi” and Buckley called Vidal a “queer.” Michael Lind, an intellectual who knew them both, wrote in Politico in 2015 that “The Best of Enemies” documentary about the feud gets “just about everything” wrong, “but especially the battle between left and right.” As it turned out, Buckley actually had gay friends, including his National Review best friend, Marvin Liebman, also a co-founder of the conservative movement, who came out in a moving letter published in the July 9, 1990 issue of the National Review. “I am almost 67 years old. For more than half of my lifetime I have been engaged in, and indeed helped to organize and maintain, the conservative and antiCommunist cause,” Liebman wrote. “All the time I labored in the conservative vineyard, I was gay.” Buckley’s editor in chief response to Liebman, his “brother in combat” and “dear friend,” was formal but written with “affection and respect” for Liebman. Buckley wrote that he understood the “pain” inflicted by society on gays “sometimes unintentionally, sometimes sadistically. It is wholesome that we should be reproached for causing that pain.” He also promised that National Review “will not be scarred by thoughtless gay-bashing.” But Buckley added that his “JudeoChristian tradition” considers homosexuality “unnatural, whatever its etiology.” Liebman was amused, the Washington Post reported at the time. “He’s been my best and closest friend. That’s just the way he is,” Liebman said. “I don’t feel remotely put down by it. You know, he has these crazy ideas — Judeo-Christian bull. But he’s a nice man.”

Interestingly, Buckley’s older brother Jim, a former U.S. senator from New York for whom Liebman had fundraised, picked up a hefty dinner check, then raised his glass in a toast. “‘This is my way,’ he said with the characteristic Buckley grin, ‘of saluting an act of courage,’” the Washington Post reported July 9, 1990. In another act of courage, Sean Buckley, Jim Buckley’s college-age grandson, came out as gay on April 26, 2015 in The Daily Beast, which at the time was run by Hoover’s husband, John Avlon. The couple met during former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid; they both subsequently became CNN contributors. But what Liebman described as anti-gay “Judeo-Christian bull” is still around and still a GOP obsession, now termed “religious liberty.” Hoover believes a congressional Republican strategy is needed to secure LGBTQ equality. “I support full political freedom for LGBT Americans and a fully comprehensive bill to secure LGBT freedom in federal law,” Hoover tells the Blade. “I’m unconvinced the Equality Act is a realistic path toward bipartisan passage of a bill that will do this. At the same time, I reject the notion that religious liberty is inherently at odds with LGBT freedom. “I’ve been working for three years on an alternative to the Equality Act that will become public soon, that takes a page out of the historic LGBT nondiscrimination law in Utah where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported protections in employment and housing for gay and transgender people in the state— the most religious state in America!” she says. “By taking the concerns of religious leaders sincerely, we can strike a balance that fully protects LGBT Americans from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and beyond, and earn the necessary bipartisan support for achieving these protections nationwide in the near-term.” Right now, Hoover hopes, “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” illustrates how intellect, compassion and civility can set an example to make bipartisan progress.




GELT ROOM AN AFTERNOON OF COMEDY, CASINO GAMES & CELEBRATING CHANUKAH Diversity comes in all shapes and forms and without being categorized or discriminated against, some diverse creatures may not be self-aware enough to know they are “different.” Which is one reason why “Narwhal the Little Magical Furry Unicorn,” a 10-week-old puppy in Missouri has become such an Internet sensation. Narwhal has a tail growing out of his forehead, according to Nov. 14 story on CNN. The little boy was apparently discovered in freezing weather with frostbite literally nipping at one paw. He was rescued by Mac’s Mission, a nonprofit for special needs dogs that took him in, along with an older dog assumed to be his father, named him and is taking care of him until he’s ready for adoption. X-ray scans show that Narwhal’s tail is just extra, not connected to anything. Nor does it appear to cause him pain so vets see no medical reason to remove the doggy unicorn horn. “The unicorn face tail does not bother Narwhal and he never slows down just like any normal puppy,” says MacMission’s Facebook post. There has been a rush of online interest in taking him home. An organization spokesperson told CNN that it has already received over 50 adoption applications. “Everyone is super interested in him,” the spokesperson said — but “we are hopeful they are seeing the other available dogs as well!” - Karen Ocamb

“WEHOANS. Sad news. The passing of Justin Wells long time member of our recovery community. This is heartbreaking….He is survived by his husband Zack Ament his father, mother, sister and a baby boy on the way who will be named Justin. All our love to all of them. Arrangements are pending for December 7th. RIP my young warrior. We love you eternally.” – West Hollywood City Councilmember and attorney John Duran Nov. 16 on Facebook.

“These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred.” - Pope Francis Nov. 15 on how homophobic and racist political rhetoric reminded him of Hitler in the 1930s, via PBS.

“It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring, and supportive and do it in the community.” - Tim Tassopoulos, COO of Chick-fil-A to the website Bisnow about how the fast-food chain will stop giving donations to anti-LGBTQ causes.

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Despite Harris deal, few surgeries granted to Calif. trans inmates ‘She failed to act with a commitment to transgender justice’ By CHRIS JOHNSON Sen. Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign said Tuesday anti-trans bias may play a role in the implementation of a policy she helped create under pressure to provide transgender inmates in California with gender reassignment surgery, after a Washington Blade public records request found only seven prisoners ever got the male-to-female procedure out of 130 who asked. Harris, a supporter of LGBTQ rights, nonetheless continues to be asked about her work as California attorney general in litigation seeking to deny gender assignment surgery to transgender inmates in the state prison system — and the data indicate that Harris cast the settlement in a rosier light than ended up playing out. Despite the policy she announced in 2015 enabling inmates to obtain gender reassignment surgery, the data from California Correctional Health Care Services — provided to the Washington Blade after a request under California’s Public Records Act — reveals only a small percentage of inmates who have requested the procedure have been able to obtain it, raising questions about its effectiveness. In a letter dated Nov. 8 to the Blade, the state prison health system reveals 130 inmates requested male-to-female gender reassignment surgery since the policy was announced, but only seven were granted the procedure in the same time period. Meanwhile, 51 inmates requested femaleto-male gender reassignment surgery, but only 10 obtained the procedure. Based on these numbers, only 5 percent of inmates who requested male-to-female gender reassignment surgery obtained the procedure under the policy Harris helped create and has promoted on the campaign trail, and only 20 percent of inmates who requested female-to-male gender reassignment surgery have obtained it.

Some advocates are criticizing Sen. Kamala Harris over newly released data showing very few California trans inmates are able to access transition-related care. Photo Courtesy CNN

Kate Waters, a spokesperson for the Harris presidential campaign, said anti-trans bias may be playing a role in implementation in response to a Blade inquiry on the data. “Kamala Harris believes every American has a right to adequate and comprehensive health care, including transition-related care for those at correctional facilities,” Waters said. “Toward the end of her tenure as attorney general she worked behind the scenes to establish a policy around granting gender-affirming surgeries to individuals who are currently incarcerated — the first of its kind in the country. It’s clear the implementation of this policy should be evaluated and examined for bias.” Over the course of her presidential

campaign, Harris has had to defend herself amid questions about litigation in which she sought to block transgender inmates from having gender reassignment surgery. In fact, at her first news conference for her 2020 presidential campaign in D.C. at Howard University, it was the topic of her first question, which was asked by the Washington Blade. At the time, Harris implied she disagreed with the position of her client, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, but defended the agency in court because it was her duty as a public official. “I was, as you are rightly pointing out, the attorney general of California for two terms and I had a host of clients that I was obligated to defend and represent and I couldn’t fire my clients, and there are unfortunately situations that occurred where my clients took positions that were contrary to my beliefs,” Harris said. Harris also indicated she wasn’t fully aware of the litigation happening within her office. “It was an office with a lot of people who would do the work on a daily basis, and do I wish that sometimes they would have personally consulted me before they wrote the things that they wrote?” Harris said. “Yes, I do.” The issue came up in an interview with the Los Angeles Blade and at the Iowa LGBTQ forum hosted by GLAAD in September, where Lyz Lenz, a columnist for the The Gazette, asked the 2020 presidential hopeful about it. In both of those instances, Harris brought up in favorable terms a policy agreement she helped institute at the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitations as evidence she redirected the litigation into something positive for the transgender community. “I did it quietly, because I actually disagreed with my client initially, when they had the policy, and so I did it behind the scenes,” Harris told the Los Angeles Blade. “I helped to resolve and change the policy. The issue for me was to make sure the right thing would happen.” Harris added: “Let me just be very clear: I don’t want to take full credit for that,

because I don’t deserve full credit for that. I don’t want what I said to be interpreted as that. There were a lot of people involved in that.” In an interview with the National Center for Transgender Equality, Harris brought up the issue on her own and in particular underscored the importance of that policy. “I made sure that they changed the policy in the state of California so that every transgender inmate in the prison system would have access to the medical care that they desired and need,” Harris said. “I know it was historic in California, but I believe, actually, it may have been one of the first if not the first in the country where I pushed for that policy in a Department of Corrections.” As California attorney general, Harris in 2015 defended the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, which was being sued for refusing to provide gender reassignment surgery to two transgender inmates: Michelle Lael-Norsworthy, who was serving time in prison in Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif., for seconddegree murder, and Shiloh Quine, who’s serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery. Transgender advocates maintain transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, is medically necessary and should be afforded to inmates in prison, where the costly procedure would be provided at taxpayer expense. Withholding the treatment, transgender advocates argue, is cruel and unusual punishment, therefore a violation of the Eighth Amendment under the U.S. Constitution. At one point, when a trial court ruled against the state in the Norsworthy case and ordered the state to grant her gender reassignment surgery, Harris as attorney general appealed the decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where she continued to argue the procedure should be blocked. Among Harris’ critics for defending the California state prison system in those cases is Chase Strangio, a New York-based transgender advocate and attorney. Continues at losangelesblade.com



Chick-fil-A to end anti-LGBTQ donations Controversial fast food chain Chick-fil-A has long been the target of protests and boycotts over its donations to anti-LGBTQ causes, but that could soon be a thing of the past. The fast-food giant has revealed that it plans to stop its well-documented donations to anti-queer lobbying groups, citing the chain’s expansion as the reason for change. Speaking to the website Bisnow, COO of Chick-fil-A Tim Tassopoulos said, “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.” Chick-fil-A has a long history of donating to groups like the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home – all of which have anti-LGBTQ positions and policies. In addition, CEO Dan Cathy’s comments against marriage equality have cemented a widespread impression of a company with homophobic corporate policies, and further added to the stigma with which the restaurant is associated by a large sector of the public. That stigma has had real-world consequences; Chick-fil-A has been the target of repeated calls for boycotts; earlier this year, the landlord of the chain’s UK popup restaurant said he would not renew their lease due to the company’s history of homophobia, and several airports cited the same reason as the cause in denying applications for Chick-fil-A to open new locations in their facilities. Beginning next year, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain – which donated to more than 300 charitable organizations in 2019 – will change its philanthropic structure to focus on three initiatives with one accompanying charity each: education, homelessness and hunger Chick-fil-A has yet to issue an official company statement. JOHN PAUL KING

Parker slams media for saying black voters won’t back LGBTQ candidates The head of the LGBTQ Victory Institute took the media to task last week amid a flurry of media reports Pete Buttigieg isn’t faring well in the South because black voters are reluctant to support a gay presidential candidate. Annise Parker, CEO of the Victory Institute, made the remarks in her “State of Victory” speech at the annual LGBTQ International Leaders Conference, which the organization hosted this year in D.C. Parker said the media reports echoed earlier whisper campaigns against openly gay and lesbian candidates decades ago. “But what was once whispers are now New York Times stories, and Washington Post columns,” Parker said. “Right now, some pundits and opposition candidates are pushing the lie that black voters will not vote for LGBTQ candidates. It is wrong.” Late last month, The State, a South Carolina-based newspaper, published a memo on internal Buttigieg campaign focus groups indicating black voters in South Carolina find the candidate’s sexual orientation a barrier to supporting him. Additional stories were published in Politico and the New York Times to the same effect. Repudiating these stories, Parker laid out the case for the many levels why the notion black voters won’t support LGBTQ candidates isn’t right. “It is wrong factually, according to opinion polls,” Parker said to extended applause. “It is wrong morally, because it treats the black community as monolithic and ignores LGBTQ black voices, like those in the room. And it is wrong empirically because we see LGBTQ candidates winning the hearts and minds of black voters across this nation.” Parker cited the recent wins of LGBTQ candidates as evidence the narrative is incorrect. Among them Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s both the city’s first openly lesbian mayor and first black woman to serve as mayor. CHRIS JOHNSON

Zoe Spears was shot to death in June 13. Photo Courtesy GoFundMe

Remembering 22 trans murders in 2019 Days before the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group issued a report detailing the murders of each of the 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed this year. The report, produced by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and titled “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in the United States in 2019,” includes a short bio for each the 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed in 2019. Among them is Zoe Spears and Ashanti Carmon, black transgender women who were killed in Prince George’s County outside of Washington, D.C. Also included is Jordan Cofer, one of the nine victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Amid heavy scrutiny of the incident, and another mass shooting that took place the same weekend in El Paso, the media website Splinter reported close friends knew Cofer was a transgender man. Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the report is intended to draw attention to the anti-trans climate enabling this violence. “Transgender women of color are living in crisis, especially black transgender women,” David said. “While the details of the cases documented in this report differ, the toxic intersection of racism, sexism, transphobia and easy access to guns conspire to deny so many members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community access to housing, employment and other necessities to survive and thrive.” David urged a wide spectrum of institutions to take action to stop the anti-trans violence and to draw additional scrutiny to the transgender murders. “Every one of these lives cut tragically short reinforces the urgent need for action on all fronts to end this epidemic — from lawmakers and law enforcement, to the media and our communities,” David said. CHRIS JOHNSON



TDOR report shows 331 trans murders last year

Pope Francis is speaking out against the resurgence of hate speech but official anti-LGBTQ Catholic teachings haven’t changed. Photo by Zebra48bo via Wikimedia Commons

Pope compares anti-LGBTQ hate speech to Hitler Pope Francis last week compared politicians who use hate speech against LGBTQ people and other minority groups to Adolf Hitler. “It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” said Francis during an international law conference, according to Reuters. “And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” “With the persecution of Jews, Gypsies and people with homosexual tendencies, today these actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ a culture of waste and hate,” added Francis. “That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.” Francis made his comments against the backdrop of continued government-sponsored persecution, violence and hate speech based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in Uganda and dozens of other countries around the world. The Vatican’s tone toward homosexuality and other LGBTQ-specific issues has moderated since Francis assumed the papacy in 2013, but activists have pointed out to the Blade that church teachings on them have not changed. “It is very important that Pope Francis is speaking out against the resurgence of hate speech that is occurring in many countries, and recognizes that this speech endangers the lives of minorities, including LGBTQ people,” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, a group of LGBTQ Catholics, told the Blade on Friday in a statement. “I hope that leaders and individuals around the world understand why the Pope is speaking out against this trend, and take stock of their role in creating climates that can lead to violence.” Duddy-Burke added she hopes “his words are also understood to be applicable within the Church, and that Catholic leaders who say hateful, disparaging and dehumanizing things or act to limit the human rights of LGBTQ people and others immediately change their ways.” Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group that ministers to LGBTQ Catholics, in a statement described Francis’ remarks as a “long time coming.” “This simple message will save lives, protect people from harm, help keep families together and work towards eradicating hateful attitudes,” said DeBernardo. “When the Pope speaks, people listen — regardless of faith or political leanings.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

As the world commemorates the International Trans Day of Remembrance, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide released the annual results from its Trans Murder Monitoring research project, “to join the voices raising awareness of this day regarding hate crimes against trans and gender-diverse people, and to honour the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten.” The TMM project is devoted to the systematic collection, monitoring and analysis of reported killings of gender-diverse/trans people worldwide. It was established by TvT Worldwide in 2009, using data from 2008 onward. This year’s update, which was published on the organization’s website November 11, reported 331 cases of reported killings of trans and genderdiverse people between Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019. The update is reproduced below: “On the occasion of the International Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which is held on 20th of November 2019, the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) team is publishing the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) research project update to join the voices raising awareness of this day regarding hate crimes against trans and gender-diverse people, and to honour the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten. The TDoR 2019 update has revealed a total of 331 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019. The majority of the murders occurred in Brazil (130), Mexico (63), and the United States (30), adding up to a total of 3314 reported cases in 74 countries worldwide between 1st of January 2008 and 30th of September 2019. Stigma and discrimination against trans and gender-diverse people is real and profound around the world, and are part of a structural and ongoing circle of oppression that keeps us deprived of our basic rights. Trans and gender-diverse people are victims of horrifying hate violence, including extortion, physical and sexual assaults, and murder. In most countries, data on murdered trans and gender-diverse people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the actual number of cases. JOHN PAUL KING

Landmark trans ruling in Zimbabwe A judge in Zimbabwe on Nov. 14 issued a landmark ruling in favor of a transgender woman who filed a lawsuit over the abuse she suffered after her arrest for using a women’s restroom. Police in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo in January 2014 arrested Ricky “Rikki” Nathanson after she used a women’s restroom in a hotel. Nathanson — who is the founder of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy and Training (TREAT), a trans advocacy group in Zimbabwe — told the Washington Blade earlier this year she was kept in jail for three days. The Southern Africa Litigation Center, a South Africa-based group that supported Nathanson during her case, in a press release said she “was forced to undergo invasive and humiliating medical/physical examination (sic) and asked to remove her clothes in front of five male police officers in order to ‘verify her gender’” while in custody. Nathanson in August 2014 filed a lawsuit against Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs minister, the commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the assistant commissioner of the Bulawayo Central Police Station and the leader of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party’s Youth League who instigated her arrest. A three-day hearing in Nathanson’s lawsuit took place in the Bulawayo High Court in 2017. The judge who ruled in Nathanson’s favor awarded her $400,000 in damages for what the Southern Africa Litigation Center, described as “unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and emotional distress.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS









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Staying sober during the holidays 7 tips to help you remain alcohol free during stressful season By ADAM OUANES Surviving the holidays is a difficult task for many LGBTQ people, but for sober members of the community it can almost feel like an impossible feat. It seems like alcohol is woven into the fabric of the holiday season. Between family obligations, office parties, and your friend’s annual, ugly holiday sweater party, it can feel like liquor has an inescapable presence. Not to mention the stress of dealing with family members and financial pressures can really take a toll, which makes relaxing with a peppermint Schnapps hot chocolate all the more enticing. Though every person has their own go-to strategies that allow them to pursue their sobriety, here are seven uncomplicated tips that can help you remain alcohol free throughout the holiday season. Whether you’re a sober individual in recovery or simply looking for ways to cut back on overconsumption of alcohol this holiday season, adhering to a few, simple strategies can help you successfully navigate through feeling overwhelmed to drink. Set clear boundaries for yourself and others. If you’ve made the decision to begin the journey of sobriety, then that is the number one priority. It is perfectly OK to say no to anything you feel may put your sobriety at risk. If you are afraid that being at a family event will be too stressful and triggering for you, then don’t feel obligated to engage. What to say when someone offers you a drink? No is a complete sentence. If someone offers you a drink, it’s OK to say no and leave it at that. Most people won’t think twice about your response and will move on. In the event that someone pushes you to say more, try coming up with a brief response beforehand so you are not caught off guard. For example, “I’m just trying to be healthier” is a perfectly legitimate and truthful answer. Keep a drink in hand. Nonalcoholic, of course. This is a way to avoid the dreaded

“Would you like a drink?” question altogether. Many people choose to nurse a club soda with lime, club soda and cranberry juice, or some other variation to easily blend in. After all, no one can spot the difference between a La Croix in a glass or a gin and tonic. Bring your own transportation. It can be helpful and comforting to know that you have the ability to leave a situation on your own whenever you may need to. In case you get uncomfortable, or conflict with family arises, it is helpful to be able to escape

immediately. Know your limits. You are responsible for your sobriety, and it is OK to honor your limits. You will become acutely aware of the situations that trigger your desire to drink or use other substances. Early on in recovery, this might even look like setting time limits for yourself when you need to be at a party. If you are at a family event and find yourself in a conflict with a family member, try to remove yourself from the situation. Fighting with family can be extremely triggering, and it’s best to make sure you are safe. Calmly walk away, and either go to a safe space to collect yourself or leave. “Bookending.” If you are concerned about a particular family event, one good strategy is to bookend the event with something to do before and something to do or somewhere to go after. Bookending is a great way to ensure an easy escape in case the event is too much to handle. Try grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend prior to the event and setting up a hangout session with another friend afterwards. Use this holiday season to make some new, alcohol-free traditions. There are a lot of awesome holiday events you can engage in that don’t necessarily have to be centered around drinking. Try having a holiday cookie decorating party with your friends and watch some bad Hallmark Christmas movies. Gingerbread house contests can get pretty intense among friends too. Zoo lights are a fun way to get out of the house and in the holiday spirit if you don’t mind the cold. There are plenty of events like your local Gay Men’s Chorus holiday show and other theater productions. All it takes is a little bit of reorganizing what the holidays means to you. Creating new traditions and honoring your self-care choices can brighten up the season and help you not only survive, but also thrive this holiday season.

Adam Ouanes is a therapist intern at an LGBTQ health center in Philadelphia and an MSS candidate at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. A primary focus of his work is looking at the inherent challenges faced by the LGBTQ community due to collective trauma.

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Don’t give up! Remain fierce on Transgender Day of Remembrance

James Wen is a member of the West Hollywood and Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Board.

November 20, 2019 marks the 20th observance for International Transgender Day of Remembrance. This somber ceremony was first organized and founded by transgender community member Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 in memory of the November 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a black transwoman living in Alston, MA. Sadly, in 2019, people are still killing black transwomen and trans/non-binary people of color. The United States has already added 22 known murders of transgender & non-binary community members, of which 21 are our black trans/non-binary siblings.

Worldwide, there have been 331 reported killings of transgender and gender diverse people over the previous 12 months. The majority of these murders are occurring in Brazil and Mexico with a combined total approaching 200 deaths, while the United States is third place with 22 known murders. What??? Make no mistake -- unlike the celebratory pageants in our community, this third place is a literal dead end for all of our fallen siblings. Instead of their vibrant hearts and souls shining light in the world, it is our remaining courageous community members who thrust brightly lit candles toward the sky at an annual vigil creating one torch. This human stand for liberty is a metaphor clearly spotlighting that there is an epidemic in America: black transwomen are killed at a disproportionate rate. For the past 20 years, specifically transgender women of color, are murdered. The epidemic goes deeper than the gender we identify and speaks directly to our nation still learning what it means to be a diverse and inclusive country of people. The days of waiting for change to come to the door are moving behind us and the act of physically visiting with our neighbor is re-emerging. While the speed and ease of electronic communication has left an indelible mark on society, the human race is still a social being.

As a community, we are stepping forth into the light shined by the collective human torch when we become visible trans and non-binary people interacting with people who do not know our community. Our vulnerability and creativity on issues help expand how unmet needs can be met. On this journey, one repeatedly hears “Don’t give up!” That message isn’t just for the trans and non-binary individual. The message for humanity is also: “Don’t give up on each other.” We may not have walked a 1,000 miles in each other’s shoes -- however, we are all able to work on respectfully listening more deeply to one another’s stories of plight, rise in courage, and intersect at our common human needs. What tops your list? For me it is love and safety. I am thankful the caring people in my sphere who listen, help advocate with me, and are curious. Who is in your sphere? Do they listen, help advocate, and are respectfully curious about you? Who has your back and stands with you even when it rains? Is it a person, is it a group, is it an organization? Then there are rules, red-tape, disagreements, wieldy legislative processes, and let us not forget the ones who intend harm. How do we work to have our needs met

when that’s in the way? One of my teachers shared with me that the only job that will be left when the world reaches peace will be listening followed by teaching and serving. Think about it. How have I learned to overcome obstacles? I reached out to safe people invested in listening, teaching, and serving or they miraculously came to me. Some taught me how to be better selfadvocate, some helped me pick out my first suit, some taught me how to see objections in a new way, while others simply offered me a ride home, some nosh, and a place to lay my head. I listen better because I keep company with good listeners and then we create action together or sometimes we intersect as we act on what is meaningful action to achieve an outcome. Our freedom from violence, and into a harbor of safety must not be compromised nationally and globally. On this November 20th, let us join together in a commitment to press forward through being actively engaged in good works that create meaningful and lasting transformation. From engaging civically (i.e. voting, advocating, speaking) to helping another trans/non-binary community member to be safe, healthy, housed, fed, employed, and cared for - you may never know, that in doing so, you may have saved life!

s and more make great gay gifts — for


Old albums new on vinyl, lavish box sets and more make great gay gifts — for others or yourself!


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Tired of sifting through the heteronormative glut that feels like it’s about 99 percent of what’s stocked at area malls? Wanna make it look like you did a little more than swing by the Hickory Farms kiosk? There are some queer gems — if you know where to look.

Yvonne Craig as Batgirl (a la the ‘60s “Batman” TV show) gets her own Hallmark Keepsake Ornament this year. $16.99 at hallmark.com.

We mentioned this release last year on CD but now Diana Ross’s compilation album “Wonderful Christmas Time” is out on black or translucent cherry red vinyl. It’s out now for $34.98 at shop.udiscovermusic.com.

Janet Jackson released her ’86-’01 classic albums (plus a double-disc remix compilation) in both black and color (or photo) sets. “The Velvet Rope” (1997) is $24.98 in black or $29.98 in red at janetjacksonshop.com. Also, 90 (!) “Rhythm Nation” remixes were gathered in September and released digitally.

“Cheap Queen” is the debut album (out in October) from unabashedly queer artist King Princess. Look for her on “SNL” this weekend (Nov. 23) and on tour in 2020

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gay-themed coming-of-age story is “one of the the year’s major acting discoveries.” It releases on DVD ($24.99), Bluray ($27.99) and streaming formats Dec. 10 at Amazon, etc.

with Harry Styles. Look for it at kingprincessmusic.com or anywhere music is sold or streamed.

R.E.M. celebrates the 25th anniversary of its classic album “Monster” with several configurations — a remix album from producer Scott Litt, previously unreleased demos, a ’95 concert, extensive video footage and new liner notes. Lead singer Michael Stipe is queer. Bundles range from $22 for the standard vinyl reissue to $135 for a set with T-shirt, socks, hoodie, patches and more at store. remhq.com.

Got a “Drag Race” fan on your list? “The Ultimate Fan Guide to RuPaul’s Drag Race” (hardcover, $16.99) came out this summer. All 127 queens featured in seasons one10 and “All Stars” seasons one-three are profiled. Available at Amazon, etc.

Anybody on your list having “Game of Thrones” withdrawal? “The Complete Collection” drops on Blu-ray Dec. 3 for $282.99 at shop.hbo.com.

Mariah Carey has a bounty of tie-in goodies to go along with the deluxe anniversary edition of her classic ’94 album “Merry Christmas” Get the two-CD set with this stocking for $39.98 at mariahcareyshop.com.

Revisit early gay iconography with the coffeetable book “Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual” ($37), a tribute to the early ‘70s provocateur. Available at Amazon, etc.

“The Movie Musical!” by Jeanine Basinger ($45) bills itself as “irresistible and authoritative.” Available at Amazon, etc.

“Charlie’s Angels: the Complete Collection” is out on Blu-ray this week. It lists for $169.98 but look for discounts at Amazon, etc. Proceed with caution though — some fans pointed out that a previous DVD release featured syndication (i.e. edited) versions of the episodes. No word yet if they’ve been restored for this set. Let’s hope complete really means complete.

If you want a rougher, more complicated (and unexpected!) gift this season, you could do worse than giving out the “Cruising” soundtrack, new on a threevinyl (black, blue and white), which came out this summer. William Friedkin’s notoriously gay-themed 1980 serial killer movie starring Al Pacino features the complete music from thefilmfromWaxworkRecordson180-gramvinylfeaturing the original masters from composter Jack Nitzsche. $65 at Amazon, etc. The controversial film, dubbed “technically a mess” in a 1980 Blade review, has become a cult favorite.

Got a Barbie fan on your list? Mattel celebrates a late, gay New York artist/legend with “Keith Haring x Barbie.” It’s $50 at barbie.mattel.com.

Joni Mitchell is one of the rare popular acts who may have a roughly equal following of gay men and lesbians among her devotees. The singer/songwriter has just released “Morning Glory on the Vine,” a book of early lyrics, poems, drawings and paintings. It’s widely available, retailing for $40. Here’s one you may have missed. “The Harvesters” (aka “Die Stropers”) is set in the Free State region of South Africa where 15-year-old Janno’s world turns upside down when his fanatically religious mother brings home Pieter, an orphan, who inadvertently awakens Janno’s sexual identity. This debut feature from Etienne Kallos was an official Cannes selection. Hollywood Reporter said the

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TranLatin Coalition strikes a pose and more than a little gold Celebrating transgender awareness with joy and style By SUSAN HORNIK

Ground Breaking Activism Redefining and Reforming All Systems (G.A.R.R.A.S.) is an unlikely — or perhaps revolutionary — name for a fashion show extravaganza that has now firmly planted itself at the top of Los Angeles’ newly burgeoning fashion industry (it’s show calendar now rivals New York). But to the gender nonconforming community and numerous high fashion models, designers and stylists, it’s no surpise at all because the trans community, particularly the Latinas at TransLatin@ Coalition in Los Angeles know how to throw a party for a cause. Raising funds for the TransLatin@ Coalition is imperative, said Maria Roman, vice president and chief operations officer of the coalition. “Last year, we raised $120k, which gave us the ability to launch transitional housing for trans people in need. This year, we hope to raise even more.” Roman believes attending the uplifting fashion show is an ideal way to combat the somber feelings the Los Angeles trans community feels

as they commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. “While Transgender Day of Rembrance is a very sad day for our incredible community, remembering the lives of those who have passed away, we hope that by showcasing trans lives who are living and thriving in our society, we can focus on empowerment and inspiration,” Roman said. Every event participant is an activist who impacts their lives and that of others, noted Roman. “People provide their art, time, talent and many other multiple skills, while raising funds to uplift and mobilize the trans and gender nonconforming community. This creates a beautiful space of self expression and total acceptance.” The TransLatin@ Coalition is an organization that non binary shoe designer, Nik Kacy, has been passionate in supporting since the first time they met its founder, Bamby Salcedo. “Her journey from turning her life around and triumphing, creating a empowerful and

much needed organization that helps so many trans people of color (particularly black and brown trans women) is something that continues to inspire me,” enthused Kacy. “In our partnership as friends and as influencers in the LGBTQ+ community, we have supported one another in many ways,” said Kacy. “ I’m proud to say that for 2019, the Coalition was our first time fiscal sponsor for Equality Fashion Week, which enabled us to provide vendors the opportunity to support us via a tax-deductible sponsorship. Equality Fashion Week was also one of G.A.R.R.A.S’ community partners this year and we are so proud to continue to keep the collaboration going!” G.A.R.R.A.S is also an opportunity for the broader community to support trans leadership, pointed out Salcedo. “As the first trans led organization in Los Angeles, providing direct, supportive and life saving services to trans, gender nonconforming people, it’s important that we continue to support the work that trans

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people have been doing to support our community, with little to no resources.” The Coalition also supports local trans leadership, providing support to trans people who are incarcerated in correctional settings and in immigration detention. This is the third year fashion designer Johanna Padilla will be participating in the runway show. “It brings my two loves and passions together—fashion and advocacy—by placing trans beauty center stage and showcasing the diversity of fashion with trans people,” Padilla said. “The coalition has really helped me provide a platform to showcase my talents as a trans individual over the years.” Padilla’s latest collection, Fallen vs. Angels, illustrates the beauty of the trans experience “while symbolizing the way the world views us vs how we view ourselves,” she said. “You can expect a lot of sparkle, fantasy, sultry and a whole lot of trans bodies!” Padilla quipped. Not to mention many bright and

bold colors as well as numerous crystals! “My style is a mixture of old Hollywood style burlesque and Victoria’s Secret,” she explained. “But more inclusive—making everyone and anyone feel beautiful, regardless of size, color and where they are in their transition,” Sharpe Suiting will also be a part of the runway fundraiser. “Bamby and her organization have been a positive influence on me ever since I found my identity as a transgender person of color for the past 20 years,” said Leon Wu, the founder and CEO. Sharpe’s presentation concept for this Saturday’s show is RICH BITCH. “As part of our concept, we will be highlighting jewel-toned suiting separates and silk gowns accented with golden chains, accessorized with silk scarves and pocket squares,” said Wu. “The style will be a very avantegarde representation of retro ‘80s and being rich in our own self-love and colorful identities.” Highlighting trans women and androgynous identities from the male to female spectrum of

color, Wu’s runway participation is dedicated to “all the trans people of color with the hope that they can live a very RICH and empowered life, despite the struggles we have been through together as a trans community.” Performance artist Jazzmun has participated in the show for the last four years. “This time, I’m presenting garments I’ve worn throughout my career as an entertainer. I’m calling it “Memories Of Me: A Love Story,” she said. Jazzmun added: “I support The TransLatin@ Coalition and all the great work they do. It’s an honor to help raise money for an organization that provides and enhances the lives of our trans and gender non-conforming communities. The night is enchanting and amazing! We deserve to look and feel our best. Fashion is for everyone.” The TransLatin@ Coalition (TLC) presents G.A.R.R.A.S. Fashion Show on Saturday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, 120 South Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles.

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In the Grindr age, the bathhouse is down, not out Younger patrons opt for apps instead of anonymous encounters By JOHN PAUL KING

Apps like Grindr have hurt business at bathhouses, but some say don’t count them out yet.


On a recent Saturday night in one of Los Angeles’ few remaining bathhouses, the crowd was pretty sparse. “There were maybe less than a dozen guys, total, at least that I saw. Most of us were older, a couple younger dudes walking around with jockstraps on, maybe looking for daddies, maybe looking for drugs, I don’t know.” So says “Alex,” a 51-year-old gay man who tells us that he “used to go to the bathhouse a lot” when he was in his 30s, and only started coming back “about four or five times a year” when “daddies started to be a thing.” During his latest visit, “Alex” told us that things picked up later in the evening, “around closing time” for the nearby bars, and that he was able to “get what I came for and get the hell home.” Still, he admits that he’s noticed a definite drop in the numbers over the last year or so. “There just aren’t as many guys, and the ones who stopped coming are mostly the younger ones.” His observations reveal a common thread among the men who spoke anonymously to the Blade about their bathhouse experiences. “Bathhouse culture” is still out there, but it’s a pale shadow of the glory days, when New York’s Continental Baths boasted entertainment from a young Bette Midler as a diversion to enjoy while waiting for the next towel-clad “Mr. Right Now” to come sauntering in, and even the muchhumbler clubs that dotted major cities around the country were cultural hubs for a community for whom sexual freedom required anonymity. The reasons behind the decline of this once-revered institution are generally assumed to be one or a combination of a few basic factors. “It was different before AIDS,” says “Tom,” 54. “Bathhouses just seem sketchy since that.” “Ramon,” 43, says, “It used to be heaven, but the drugs have really killed it for me. Half the guys are high, or looking to get high, and they’re not there for sex at all.” “Kevin,” 48, offers the most commonly held opinion. “It’s the apps, obviously. These kids figure, why should they go out and pay $50 or more and not even know what they’re gonna have to choose from when they can find somebody to scratch that itch without even leaving home?’” While these men may hold varying opinions about the cause, the effect is clear to all of them: younger men are staying away from bathhouses in droves. Jim Anzide refers to this phenomenon as the “death of the bathhouse.” Anzide, who works with The Lavender Effect, says he recognizes that – for younger gay, queer, and questioning men in the age of Grindr and Scruff – the loss of this particular cultural institution may not mean very much, but he also asserts that there’s a whole hidden history behind it, even just within this city, that should be remembered and preserved. “Even before California was a state, there were people here,” Anzide says. “They were here for the gold rush, they were here as lumberjacks – there were all these men travelling around the country, and they needed places to bathe and sleep.” To satisfy the demand, entrepreneurs came up with idea of a bathhouse. The original concept was that only women would be allowed to use it during the day, and only men in the evening – which meant that the men could stay overnight. “Men outnumbered the women by a huge margin, and urges needed to be fulfilled,” Anzide says. “Things happened.” As the state developed, the need grew for such facilities

in densely populated areas; in Los Angeles, where the city declined to open public bathhouses, the entrepreneurs stepped in again, and the privately run baths they opened eventually evolved to become havens for closeted gay men in search of anonymous playmates. One such club, located on 4th Street in DTLA with the eyebrow-raising name of “The Klyt,” closed its doors for the last time only last year; it was rumored that Rock Hudson once had his own key to the back door. It was this environment that awaited today’s gay elders when they were first introduced to the secret world of the bathhouse in their younger days. “It was scary,” says Anzide, “but it was like a secret haven, where you could go and just hook up with whoever you want, and there was no connection – you just go in anonymously, have this, have that, and get out.” “Then AIDS happened,” he continues, “and everybody scaled back, because everybody was afraid.” Eventually, the bathhouses began to come back – after all, the need for connection was still important, especially among gay men for whom intimacy was only just beginning to be possible again. Then, another plague hit. “Adam,” a former manager at one of LA’s most popular clubs who spoke to the Blade anonymously, remembers what it was like when the meth epidemic was surging through the culture during his tenure in the mid 2000s. “It was a nightmare,” he says. “I 86’d about 600 people for drug abuse during my last 10 years at the club. It was very hard to deal with.” Drugs had always been a part of bathhouse culture, but this was different. People were dying of overdoses in the clubs, and transmission rates for HIV and other STDs skyrocketed as users of meth and other drugs grew careless about condoms. Still, “Adam,” suggests meth may have been a convenient excuse, rather than the reason, for the disappearance of the bathhouse, which he claims has been at least partly due to harassment by public officials. “The meth is part of the culture,” he says. “It’s not just in the bathhouses, it’s in the whole community and they bring it in with them. But the health department, the city, the police – they just don’t like the idea of men having sex with men, and so they find every reason they can to fine you, to make you jump through hoops. My single biggest headache running the club was dealing with the politics around it.” Though he says he was “never a bathhouse guy” himself, “Adam” says he grew to appreciate them during his stint within the industry, and he laments the idea of their loss. “I came to realize how important it was for so many men in the gay community – the ones who have no social circle, who are older, who may be overweight, who feel intimidated. There are a lot of gay men that just think of them as whorehouses, they’re really against them, but there’s a really huge chunk of the community that appreciate them being there.” This sentiment touches on the reason, which Anzide is eager to add to the conversation, why it would be unwise to count the bathhouse as being down and out forever. “Don’t get me wrong, the bathhouse will come back, he says. “It will be a different thing than what we saw, but that need will come back, that need for connection, and physical presence – to see you, and feel you, and taste you… I can’t get that through my phone.” A longer version of this article is available at losangelesblade. com.



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