Losangelesblade.com, Volume 04, Issue 15, April 10, 2020

Page 1

HRC’s Alphonso David and the historic LA moment when everything changed PAGE 06

A P R I L 1 0 , 2 0 2 0 • V O LU M E 0 4 • I S S U E 1 5 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M


LGBTQs at high risk for COVID-19 Trans women of color more vulnerable By KAREN OCAMB The LGBTQ community is facing an existential threat. The Trump administration has erased, revoked or rolled back LGBTQ progress toward full equality and has wantonly unleashed anti-LGBTQ forces to strip or undermine state protections. But imagine if the nation’s healthcare system had actually implemented the LGBTQ healthcare data collection directive Health & Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius launched in June 2011. NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci briefly mentioned gay people with HIV/AIDS and the FDA ban on gay blood during a White House COVID-19 briefing, though the entire LGBTQ community does not have HIV/AIDS. However, the entire LGBTQ community does need to hear that public health officials care about them as a distinct minority, an atrisk demographic. This reporter repeatedly brought the Sebelius order to the attention of then-Los Angeles County Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding in 2013 when the county was accused by AIDS Healthcare Foundation of being “indifferent” to the LGBTQ community after the county failed to sound the alarm about a meningitis scare in which two of four gay men who contracted meningitis in a fourmonth period died. Fielding acknowledged that the county started tracking sexual orientation data in November of 2012 but did not connect the dots between the four gay men and meningitis until slammed by AHF. But it appears no public health department has bothered to collect LGBTQ data since then and identifying demographics and health disparities matter.

“We cannot underestimate COVID-19, a virus that knows no boundaries, infects people of all ages, and can cause significant illness and death, particularly among people who are elderly or who have underlying serious health conditions,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on March 23. Recently health professionals have warned of a potential “explosion” of the coronavirus in black, brown, Native American and other minority communities. “We cannot have a colorblind policy,” Stephen Thomas, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Health Equity, told Politico. “With a colorblind policy — ‘Hey, we’re all in this together’ — we’ll be left with an explosion of Covid-19 concentrated in racial and ethnic minority communities.” LGBTQ people live a multilayered, nuanced existence across all demographics with distinct differences, as recently noted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. For instance, an estimated 162,300 LGB and 9,000 transgender people age 65 and older live in California and are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. The Los Angeles Blade has repeatedly tried to ask public officials whether there is any attention being paid to the health and economic fallout in the LGBTQ community during the crisis. Rep. Adam Schiff sent a direct email. “One thing this virus is teaching us is that nobody is invincible, not even the healthiest or youngest amongst us,” Schiff said. “And when our mayors and governors tell us that they need us to stay at home to lower the rate of infection and flatten the curve, it’s

important to follow their advice. That means we must all practice social distancing by connecting with friends, loved ones and even potential dates online, rather than in person, until this virus is under control.” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti gave the LA Blade an interview early on and Gov. Gavin Newsom took one Blade question during a regular briefing. “Absolutely, yes,” Newsom said, adding that it is “a point of pride for me as a former mayor of San Francisco who’s deeply attached to the needs and desires and aspirations and the health of our LGBTQ community.” But LA County has not responded to email requests to the communications department nor has an LGBTQ question been taken during the county’s regular briefings, despite the desperate need for attention and specific resources. “St. John’s is continuing to see 500600 trans patients each month,” Jim Mangia, the out director of St. John’s Well Child and Family clinics, told the Los Angeles Blade recently. “Dozens of trans patients have presented with [COVID-19] symptoms in the last two weeks. It’s taking 5-14 days to get test results back - but we’ve already had one trans patient who has tested positive for COVID.” C. Chela Demuir, President and Executive Director of the LA-based Black Trans organization, The Unique Woman’s Coalition (www. theuwc.org), recently held a virtual town hall with Dr. Nina Harawa, an Epidemiologist from UCLA. “We’ve launched an emergency relief fund to offset challenges community may be dealing with,” Demuir told the Los Angeles Blade. “We’re also in the process of actively raising funds to support this fund via

BAMBY SALCEDO, MICHAE PULIDO, EBONY AVA HARPER, THOMI CLINTON during TransLatin@ Coalition-sponsored video conference (Screen grab)

CASH APP @theuwcofficial. We’re a small organization doing our part to pitch in. Donations go directly to community members in dire need of emergency assistance.” Bamby Salcedo, founder of TransLatin@ Coalition, and coalition partners Michae Pulido, Ebony Ava Harper and Thomi Clinton also held a video conference for the trans, gender non-conforming and intersex communities. They are pushing for an emergency fund to address many of their issues, especially given a preCOVID-19 high unemployment rate of 29% and “likely” poverty. “COVID-19 is a setback to all LGBTQ organizations but it’s a disaster for us,” Salcedo writes in an open letter circulated April 8. “TGI people are not part of discussions on how to address LGBTQ needs. For instance, we provide shelter to members of our community in our own places (if we have one) and we feed our people even when we do not have food to feed ourselves.” Salcedo adds: “We need for our siblings in philanthropy to step up to the plate and demonstrate that the principles of humanity and equity are a real driving factor in funding decisions. TGI people want to believe that ‘we are in this together’ building a world that we all want to live in.”



HRC’s work continues amid COVID-19 Alphonso David and the historic LA moment when everything changed By KAREN OCAMB Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David looked forward to this year’s Los Angeles Dinner. The nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization planned to honor the incredible Janelle Monáe and Dan Levy at their annual star-studded gala and David could finally meet in person so many longtime supporters, some of whom remember HRC when it was the Human Rights Campaign Fund, and revel in opening HRC’s first LA office. In his first eight months since taking the job, David had already made an impression — being named #64 on City&State’s “2020 Law Power 100” as one of New York’s most politically powerful lawyers and as “the first civil rights lawyer and the first person of color to serve as president of the Human Rights Campaign in its 40-year history.” The March 28 gala would also enable David to exalt in the organization’s rallying of LGBTQ voters. On March 9, six days after Super Tuesday and 19 days before the dinner, HRC released a “March Voter Snapshot” of LGBTQ voting power, including 11 million LGBTQ voters and 57 million “Equality Voters,” or LGBTQ allies. “LGBTQ voters have shown up in record numbers in states across the country and cemented our status as a crucial constituency to court,” David said in a press release. “LGBTQ people and our allies are among the most politically engaged voters in the country, and Democratic presidential candidates are taking notice. LGBTQ and Equality Voters are fired up and ready to send the Trump-Pence administration packing.” According to NBC News exit polling, Super Tuesday states, including California, brought out 4,339,000 LGBTQ voters and 21,153,000 Equality Voters, nearly doubling LGBTQ representation in the electorate. “Los Angeles — and California generally — is a significant area in the country for us to engage and mobilize people and appreciate the importance of this election,” David told the Los Angeles Blade in an April 6 phone interview, including HRC-endorsed candidate Christy Smith in the CA 25th congressional race. In addition to electoral politics, David intended to talk to the HRC/LA audience about “the importance of focusing on people who are multiply marginalized. I’m talking about someone who is black with HIV and lacks access to healthcare in the South. We’re talking about an immigrant who was thrown out of her country because she’s a lesbian and faces persecution in her country and seeks asylum here in the United States. I’m talking about an Asian boy, who was bullied at school, and is suffering from some other type of condition and doesn’t have any types of protection in his, or her, or their home state.” And, David continues about his intended speech, “the black transgender woman who is afraid to walk home at night because she may face violence, be murdered, be attacked. That is in every single speech I’ve given. We launched the Transgender Justice Initiative, the first initiative that I launched when I took over as president of the Human Rights Campaign. I just hired a national director, Tori Cooper, who is a well-known activist from Atlanta. She’s now moved to Washington, D.C., where she’s overseeing our entire program to make sure


Human Rights Campaign President ALPHONSO DAVID (Photo courtesy HRC)

that we elevate members of the trans community and think about how we can address the crisis that is facing the transgender community.” David underscores his point. “When I say people who are ‘multiply marginalized,’ that is a community that has faced so many obstacles over time and has persevered — but we need to do a lot more in order to address the systemic barriers that transgender people face,” says the HRC president. “One of our biggest challenges: we have to think about how we can see ourselves in others who don’t look like us, because as a community we are incredibly diverse,” David says. “But unfortunately, those that are multiply marginalized don’t receive the resources, don’t receive the support that they should.” And in the Trump/Pence era of division and destruction, LGBTQ unity must succeed. “In order for us to coalesce as a community, in order for us to win and sustain our wins, which is just as important, we need to come together as a community,” David says. “And the most effective way that we can do that is to focus on those who are multiple marginalized. There was an anecdote that someone raised


with me a few years ago, which is, ‘If they’re coming for me today, they’re going to come for you tomorrow.’ As a community, I want to make sure that we take that principle, internalize that principle and use it to mobilize ourselves in order to advance our community to higher heights.” Super Tuesday made community coalescing seem eminently possible. But then came the novel coronavirus. It snuck up on Americans who’d been told that COVID-19 was a new animal-tohuman flu-like virus contained in a section of China, suddenly spreading rapidly through Italy, then Spain but not yet impacting the U.S. The Los Angeles Blade first reported on what was then considered the “low risk” for the coronavirus in California on Feb. 27, the first U.S. case for what became known as “community spread.” Cautiously, business went on as usual as concern began to build. Indeed, on Wednesday, March 11, HRC told the Blade that the LA gala was still on, though with extensive precautions and safety measures in place. Then the axe fell. Later that day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that nearly 200 people in the state were now infected by the fast-moving COVID-19 for which humans had no built-in immunity and he prohibited gatherings of 250 people or even smaller if people couldn’t stay six feet apart as if that “social distancing” could stop the pandemic. The next day, on March 12, 2020, the world as we knew it changed forever. Los Angeles City and County officials held a joint news conference in which L.A. County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer reported a total of 32 coronavirus cases. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti opened on an optimistic note, then got serious, limiting gatherings to 50 people. “Unlike the heroism we saw recently in the fires, [in this case] each one of us is a first responder,” Garcetti said. “Coronavirus is here. Your actions can help us flatten that curve, literally buying us days and weeks to get to a moment when the virus is less of a threat.” There was an instant cascade of cancellations, from NCAA’s March Madness to Broadway shows. HRC signed onto an open letter from more than 100 organizations specifying how COVID-19 could impact LGBTQ communities with vulnerabilities and underlying medical conditions. For instance: 37% of LGBTQ adults smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people; 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people. HRC cancelled everything, too. In a press release announcing the cancellations, David noted that HRC’s mission would continue. “Our focus remains on the goal of advancing the rights of LGBTQ people around the world and on the defeat of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in November,” David said. “We will continue to work toward this goal, and weather this crisis as we have weathered crises before — by uniting as a community.” One week later, on March 19, David wrote a letter to the community: “The LGBTQ community has known adversity. In fact, we have drawn much of our strength and power from times of great uncertainty. From blatant discrimination to government indifference, from the AIDS crisis to relentless attacks on who we are and who we love, from bills attacking our transgender siblings to regulations removing protections that have existed for decades, we have seen our fair share of struggle. “But in each of these struggles, we have banded together to overcome challenges that seemed insurmountable. With your help, we have harnessed our fear and our anger and turned them into strength,” David wrote. “Now, we are living in an extraordinary moment yet again. As the world watches the spread of COVID-19, many of us, myself included, are concerned and afraid for ourselves and our loved ones. And that fear cannot be minimized.

But it can be the basis for action. As we have time and again, we must raise our voices together to fight for our community, to lift each other up and to vote out those who are not protecting us.” David noted that while COVID-19 affects everyone, it has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ people. And he gave stats: 40 percent of all industries that LGBTQ people work in are likely to be impacted by COVID-19, impacting 5 million LGBTQ people; a disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants (15%) compared to their non-LGBTQ peers (6%); and 17 percent of LGBTQ people lack health insurance. The aging population and folks with compromised immune systems are also at a greater risk of infection. “This is an abnormal time amid an already abnormal few years. We can get through this. I know this, because we have gotten through crises before. But we cannot do it alone; we have to stand together,” David wrote. “Please be safe, please continue to wash your hands and please don’t give up.” The next day, March 20, HRC published a research brief to provide policymakers and community advocates with some of that critical data on the

HRC Super Tuesday tweet

health and economic risks LGBTQ people face during the COVID-19 CONTINUES ONpandemic. PAGE 08

(Screen grab)



LGBTQ people disproportionately impacted by COVID “That research report highlighted that one out of five LGBTQ people live in poverty,” David says, adding that LGBTQ people face greater healthcare risks “from kidney disease to high blood pressure to, unfortunately, lack of access to healthcare.” David has been on cable news and Twitter talking about the research data and HRC has produced a series of COVID-19-impact webinars: one primarily for black men with HIV; another with a medical physician who talked about the impact that COVID-19 may have on people who are living with HIV; another on older LGBTQ adults and another regarding child welfare organizations. On March 23, HRC signed onto a coalition letter to congressional leaders about including and prioritizing the needs of the disability community in legislation being considered around COVID-19. HIV/AIDS is considered a disability in the Americans with Disabilities Act. “We wanted to inform policymakers that when they develop solutions to COVID-19, we have to make sure that those solutions are thinking about the impact on LGBTQ people” and others, David says. The “good news” is that “in some instances we’re seeing policymakers respond. We saw the recent stimulus package include $90 million, as an example, for HIV/AIDS care and treatment. It also included $65 million for housing for people living with AIDS. It also included $25 million for carrying out activities for runaway and homeless youth. And we know that 40% of those who are homeless classify as LGBTQ.” However, “we need more because, unfortunately, the statistics are dire. One out of two black gay or bisexual men will get HIV in their lifetime and the issue isn’t so much within the COVID-19 crisis,” David says. “It’s compounded by the fact that people are living with HIV but have lack of access to health care. And when you don’t have access to healthcare, and you have HIV and you’re susceptible to COVID-19, the numbers are just really frightening — the number of people that are going to be impacted and the implication for people of color in this country (Blacks have since emerged with alarming rates of the virus),” he says. “So, we have to continue being more vocal, and I’m being more vocal and making sure that our research is in the hands of every single policy maker throughout the country.” But while it’s important to talk about people of color and marginalized communities, David notes that it’s another thing to “make sure that when we develop that policy, it has to be implemented in a nondiscriminatory way.” “We know in 29 states in this country, there are no state laws that specifically protect LGBTQ people,” he says. So Congress could pass legislation appropriating money for HIV/AIDS or people who are homeless and those states could still deny LGBTQ people the resources they need. Additionally, LGBTQ people may lack paid sick leave; or an LGBTQ young person could be sent home from school to face an abusive parent; an LGBTQ elder must choose between living alone in near poverty or going back into the closet to get into an anti-gay shelter. “I want to make sure that’s not lost in the conversation,” David says. “I’m raising the alarm that please, please, please make sure that when you develop policy solutions, you are mindful of how these policy solutions should impact the LGBTQ community, because we are disproportionately impacted.” Brian Brown, president of the almost defunct National Organization for Marriage (NOM), once infamous for pushing anti-gay Prop 8, has been turning those pleas for pro-LGBTQ policy solutions into fundraising scams. “Some of the nation’s wealthiest and most powerful LGBT groups, including the grossly-misnamed Human Rights Campaign (HRC), have issued a demand of media, governmental and public health officials that the LGBT community


Alphonso David tweet from home (Screen grab)

be given special consideration in the nationwide response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis,” Brown wrote in a recent fundraising email. “In light of what everyone is dealing with, it is more than a little off-putting that LGBT activists are demanding special considerations for their community.” Then, wrote Brown — whose Prop 8 coalition included evangelical Creationists — “Large elements of their agenda, especially their incessant push for gender ideology, requires that people ignore science, yet it is science and accurate data that we need most in designing strategies to combat COVID-19.” David transcends the invective, saying that while everyone is being impacted, some are being impacted more. “It’s not disregarding the impact that it’s having on others; it’s just appreciating the disproportionate impact that it’s having on us,” David says. “I am doing well. I am healthy,” David says. “Every single member of the Human Rights Campaign is effectively working from home, and we are advancing all of our priorities remotely,” adding that all the staff are safe and healthy at this point, including board member Jody Patterson, who contracted the virus but is now well. HRC staff may be working from home but they still face the challenge of how to “actually get out and mobilize people to vote. Not only in California but making sure that we can get out of our comfort zones and speak to others outside of the places where we know people will vote for a pro-equality candidate. And it’s going to be a lot more complicated with COVID-19,” says David. “How can you engage in political organizing in a way that’s impactful and effective in the virtual space? We’re advancing a lot of different tools in the virtual space.” The challenge goes deeper. Elections are a “meaningful tool” to achieving full equality,” David says. “But getting a pro-equality candidate into elected office in November, for me, is not the win. The win is sustaining that success over time.” But for this moment, Alphonso David is more mindful of a shared humanity and history. “Please support your fellow LGBTQ members of our community,” he says. “We will get through this crisis. We’ve gone through crises before, and we are resilient, and we will get through this crisis together.”

You’ll be ready when your dream home is. With a SureStart Pre-approval , you’ll benefit from: ®


• Confidence throughout your home search • A competitive advantage over other homebuyers without a pre-approval • The ability to act quickly with a complimentary pre-approval letter

Ask us how you can get ahead in the home buying process. Brent Zambon Lending Manager 858-652-8879 brent.zambon@citi.com citi.com/brentzambon NMLS# 406514

Donna Forman Home Lending Officer 619-405-5589 donna.forman@citi.com citi.com/donnaforman NMLS# 447990

Andrew Ranacis Home Lending Officer 310-795-2967 andrew.ranacis@citi.com citi.com/andrewranacis NMLS# 454325

Terms, conditions and fees for accounts, programs, products and services are subject to change. This is not a commitment to lend. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Certain restrictions may apply on all programs. This offer contains information about U.S. domestic financial services provided by Citibank, N.A. and is intended for use domestically in the U.S. Final commitment is subject to verification of information, receipt of a satisfactory sales contract on the home you wish to purchase, appraisal and title report, and meeting our customary closing conditions. There is no charge to receive a SureStart Pre-approval. However, standard application and commitment fees will apply for the mortgage loan application.


©2020 Citibank, N.A. NMLS# 412915. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Citi, Citi and Arc Design and other marks used herein are service marks of Citigroup Inc. or its affiliates, used and registered throughout the world.

LA Blade 03262020.indd 1

3/26/2020 2:00:44 PM


Fauci: Gays acted with ‘courage’ during AIDS epidemic Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday the visibility LGBTQ people brought to themselves during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic helped change public perceptions and attitudes. Fauci made the remarks during the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing when responding to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on black Americans, saying the disease has “shed a light” on health disparities in the United States much like HIV/AIDS did with LGBTQ people. “During that time, there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community,” Fauci said. “And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism — I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so.” As head of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Fauci was responsible for developing medications to treat HIV/AIDS at the height of the epidemic. His efforts resulted in drugs still used today, although that came after activism of groups like ACT UP pushing the U.S. government to release the medications. The impact of HIV/AIDS on LGBTQ people, Fauci said, is similar to the impact COVID-19 is having on African Americans. “When you’re in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does ultimately shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society,” Fauci said. State data on COVID-19 is beginning to show that African Americans suffer from the disease at a greater rate than others. In Michigan, for example, 35 percent of all COVID-19 cases are black or AfricanAmerican, as are 40 percent of all deceased cases, according to state data. But African-Americans make up just 14.1 percent of Michigan’s population.

From left, Vice President MIKE PENCE, NIAID Director Dr. ANTHONY FAUCI and President DONALD TRUMP attend a news conference on the coronavirus. (Screen capture via CSPAN )

Fauci said COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on black people not because they’re getting infected more often, but because the population suffers from health disparities. “When they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma — those are the kind of things that wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give them a higher death rate,” Fauci said. CHRIS JOHNSON

Trump says he had nothing to do with FDA easing gay blood ban

PRESIDENT TRUMP, responding to the Blade, said he had nothing to do with relaxing the FDA’s gay blood ban changes. (Screen capture via CSPAN )


President Trump, in response to a question from the Blade, said Friday he had nothing to do with the recent Food & Drug Administration decision to ease the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. “No. I didn’t know anything about that,” Trump said. “That was done by the FDA, very capable people at the FDA.” Trump made the comments during the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing, which the Blade was able to attend as a result of being in the seat rotation for reporters in the White House briefing room. A spokesperson for the LGBTQ media watchdog GLAAD, which had been pushing the FDA to lift the gay blood ban, said Trump’s response isn’t surprising. “The inclusion of this issue in such a prominent venue is a signal to the FDA that the LGBTQ community will not stop fighting this ban until all of us can donate blood without restrictions,” the spokesperson said. “Trump could have used this

press conference to stand with LGBTQ Americans as well as the leading medical and scientific experts who are now calling on the FDA to end the three month deferral. However, given his poor track record on LGBTQ issues and listening to science, his non-response was disappointing but not surprising.” The earlier policy, established in 2015, barred men from donating blood if they’ve had sex with another man in the past 12 months. The new policy shortens the period of required abstinence to three months before gay men can make a donation. Some LGBTQ advocates hailed the move as progress, while others said the policy should be changed further and be based on individual risk factors, not a blanket ban on men who’ve had sex with men. HRC National Press Secretary Lucas Acosta responded to Trump, saying, “LGBTQ people are not Trump’s priority. Never have been, and by every indicator, never will be.” CHRIS JOHNSON

VOLUME 04 ISSUE 15 ADDRESS 5455 Wilshire Blvd #1505, Los Angeles, CA 90036 PHONE 310-230-5266 E-MAIL tmasters@losangelesblade.com INTERNET losangelesblade.com PUBLISHED BY Los Angeles Blade, LLC PUBLISHER TROY MASTERS tmasters@losangelesblade.com 310-230-5266 x8080 (o), 917-406-1619 (c) SALES & MARKETING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER BEVERLY DENICE SPARKS bsparks@losangelesblade.com 310-230-5266 x8072 SALES EXECUTIVE ROMAN NAVARRETTE roman@losangelesblade.com 310-435-3022 PALM SPRINGS ACCOUNT EXEC BRAD FUHR, 760-813-2020. brad@gaydesertguide.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA sales@rivendellmedia.com, 212-242-6863 MARKETING DIRECTOR STEPHEN RUTGERS srutgers@washblade.com, 202-747-2077 x8077 EDITORIAL CALIFORNIA EDITOR KAREN OCAMB karenocamb@losangelesblade.com NATIONAL EDITOR KEVIN NAFF knaff@washblade.com, 202-747-2077 x8088 INTERNATIONAL EDITOR MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com CONTRIBUTORS



All material in the Los Angeles Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Los Angeles Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Los Angeles Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Los Angeles Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Los Angeles Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, CA. Multiple copies are available from the Los Angeles Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Los Angeles Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Los Angeles Blade is published bi-weekly, on Friday, by Los Angeles Blade, LLC. Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, CA., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Los Angeles Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Los Angeles Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to tmasters@losangelesblade.com.


Circunstancia y responsabilidad: Mujeres Trans detenidas en centros de inmigración en la era de COVID-19 Sabemos que la pandemia del COVID-19 es la pandemia que ha estremecido el mundo y está afectando a mucha gente de muchas maneras. Muchas personas han sido infectadas con este virus y muchas más han perdido sus vidas a causa de esta pandemia. Los gobiernos han hecho mandatos para que la gente se quede en sus casas, las tasas de depresión han incrementado en muchas personas que están solas, muchas personas están perdiendo sus trabajos, mucha gente está en pánico al respecto y la economía ha sido desbastada a nivel global. La verdad es que, para muchas personas, esta es la primera vez que experimentan una crisis de esta magnitud y ni siquiera saben cómo pueden lidiar con una situación como la que estamos pasando hoy en día. La verdad también es que muchas de las personas en nuestra sociedad solamente se enfocan en hablar de ciertos tópicos que son convenientes para la sociedad como la economía, el desempleo, la falta de artículos médicos necesarios, etc. Pero nadie habla en realidad de la responsabilidad que tenemos como sociedad de proteger a las personas que son las más vulnerables como las personas Trans que se encuentran en los centros de inmigración mientras esta pandemia se sigue regando como fuego en las montañas. Sabemos que muchas Mujeres Trans vienen a los Estados Unidos huyendo de la violencia que estas mujeres experimentan en sus países. Infortunadamente, el encontrar el sueño americano es mucho más difícil para Mujeres Trans Latinas Inmigrantes por la continua discriminación que seguimos enfrentando dentro de la suciedad de esta sociedad. En esta sociedad existe una invisibilidad de las necesidades de las Mujeres Trans Latinas, y específicamente las necesidades de las Mujeres Trans Latinas que se encuentran en los centros de detención de inmigración. Sobre todo en estos tiempos de COVID-19, donde nuestras hermanas

que están en los centros de detención de inmigración nos necesitan porque ellas no tienen a nadie que abogue por ellas. Yo, como una Mujer Trans Latina que estuvo en las cárceles, prisión y centros de detención de inmigración, y que no tuvo a nadie que abogara por mis necesidades, entiendo de la importancia de escuchar la plegaria de nuestras compañeras y entender que ellas también tienen miedo de esta epidemia y que también están a riesgo de contagio por que hay personas que tal vez sin saberlo han estado en contacto y pueden traer el COVID-19 a donde ellas deben de estar protegidas al cuidado del sistema de inmigración o como se llama en inglés ICE. La verdad es que los oficiales, enfermeros/as y personas que trabajan en estos centros de detención al igual que otras personas que ingresan al sistema, podrían ser personas que traen el COVID-19 a estos centros de detención y pueden infectar a las personas que están detenidas ahí y en este caso nuestras compañeras Trans. Kelly González quien es una compañera que tiene casi tres años detenida bajo la custodia de ICE, junto con otras compañeras me mandaron un video expresando su preocupación y miedo de la posibilidad de contraer el virus de COVID-19 por que las condiciones en esos centros de emigración son deplorables y tienen miedo a morir. Un artículo habla de las posibilidades de infección en el Centro de Detención de Aurora (Colorado) donde Kelly se encuentra. A pesar de que Kelly es fuerte, en conjunto con otras compañeras encerradas en Aurora, decidieron arriesgarse y hacer este video para que la gente sepa cómo se sienten ellas con todo lo que está pasando, su miedo a ser infectadas y la posibilidad de morir. Imagínense, saber de una pandemia que está matando gente, que es fácil de contagiar y que toda persona está en riesgo de contagio, especialmente cuando no hay mucha sanitación, sobre todo en los centros de detención de inmigración y que

BAMBY SALCEDO es la presidenta de la Coalición Translatin

no tienes la manera de tomar las medidas necesarias porque el sistema de inmigración esta al cargo de tu vida. Sabiendo que el sistema de inmigración tiene el peor record en proveer servicios de salud que cualquier clínica u hospital en cualquier lugar de los Estados Unidos, esto a cualquier persona le causaría terror, y la verdad es que yo estoy aterrorizada por las vidas de mis hermanas que están en todos los centros de inmigración. En esta época de COVID-19 debemos de entender que esta pandemia nos está afectando a toda la humanidad. La pregunta que tenemos que contestar es, ¿Como es que vamos a tomar en cuenta a las personas trans que están detenidas en los centros de detención como Kelly y todas las demás compañeras? Y, ¿Cómo es que vamos a asegurarnos que a nuestras hermanas que están ahí no van a ser contagiadas? De igual manera tenemos que preguntarnos, como es que vamos a responsabilizar a nuestros elegidos políticos para que se responsabilicen y tomen en cuenta de que las mujeres trans en los centros de inmigración no deben ser víctimas de las circunstancias.

L.A.’s essential LGBT services during COVID-19 crisis Help is available for isolation, depression, health and survival By TROY MASTERS

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, critical services for the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles County and other areas of Southern California have had to adjust to meet the diversified needs. Of particular concern are the needs of those who are home-bound even in the best of times such as elderly, the disabled, or those with serious medical issues. The Los Angeles LGBT Center, which is a focal resource point for the greater community, has remained open but within the restrictions and guidelines of both local and state officials. Crucial HIV and STD care is provided by the various locations of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the testing and treatment facilities have remained opened with some restrictions these last few weeks. Center facilities like the primary location on Schrader in Hollywood and the Center Weho are still open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but they are adhering to state and county guidelines with social distancing. They are also screening every person who enters their buildings for Coronavirus symptoms, and they have encouraged anyone who feels unwell to stay home and speak to healthcare professionals before entering one of their sites. Lunch and critical need services are currently all that is being provided with the LGBT Center’s youth and senior programs, while their housing units have remained open. Any staff members who can are now working from home, and some other parts of the Center’s workforce have taken on new duties, including delivering meals to seniors in the community. Mental health services, meanwhile, have gone to virtual sessions. The Center has also established a phone check-in service called the Hello Club, which is striving to check on any community member who might feel isolated. They have also started a CARE fund to help provide for those in need. Anyone who is looking to donate can go to lalgbtcenter.org/ care. Their main website at lalgbtcenter.org provides several other ways, too, for people to donate their time and money to support

APRIL 10, 2020

LGBTQ causes that can help during the crisis Other essential service providers to the LGBTQ community are also retooling their support services due to the ongoing crisis. The Trevor Project says its crisis contact volume has been significantly higher than in recent months and has spiked at nearly twice normal volume. In preparation for COVID-19, The Trevor Project underwent a rapid, massive tech transformation to move its physical Lifeline call centers in NYC and LA to completely remote operations to ensure crisis services remained 24/7 and uninterrupted. There are many reports of LGBTQ young people being forced to return to or remain in unsupportive or abusive environments. The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7 can be reached at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678. PROJECT ANGEL FOOD 922 Vine Street Los Angeles CA 90038 323-845-1800 angelfood.org/ Project Angel Food serves men, women, and children throughout all of Los Angeles County who are debilitated by serious illnesses and cannot shop or cook for the food they need to survive and heal. They are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, congestive heart failure, COPD, diabetes, end-stage renal disease, HIV/AIDS, strokecardiovascular accident and/or other serious diseases. Many are struggling with two or more illnesses. At a time of exceptional need, Project Angel Food is in critical need of donations and volunteers. AIDS Project of Los Angeles 611 S. Kingsley Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90005 Primary hours: 213-201-1600 After hours: 213-201-1600 Apla.org During the COVID-19 outbreak, APLA





• A M E R I C A’ S

Health will continue to provide critical services including medical care, mental health, and emergency dental services. Our HIV support programs will remain open, including our Vance North Necessities of Life Program’s food pantry, emergency housing support and transportation assistance. PrEP and PEP services will also remain available at all our locations. For the most up-to-date information, visit aplahealth.org/coronavirus AIDS Healthcare Foundation 6255 Sunset Blvd., 21st Fl. Los Angeles, CA 90028 323-860-5200 Ahf.org Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global nonprofit organization that provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1.4 million people in 45 countries. AHF is currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S. and throughout Los Angeles provides comprehensive healthcare to people living with HIV through the first comprehensive Medicare plan in the nation specifically for people living with HIV. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AHF has adjusted some of its key services in the following manner to better serve and protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff: AHF Pharmacy - AHF operates 56 individual AHF Pharmacy sites in 14 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. https://www.ahfpharmacy.org/. AHF Pharmacy sites may also fill a potential third month prescription for antiretroviral medications without a new order from a doctor or provider. AHF Healthcare Centers: AHF operates 68 AHF Healthcare Centers in 14 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. https:// hivcare.org/ These sites are open on a more limited basis. Newly diagnosed HIV-positive individuals referred by linkage programs will be seen in the health care centers. Telecare is also offered. HIV & STD Testing: AHF operates 24 AHF Wellness Centers in 9 states and D.C. as well as 15 Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) in 9 states. Visit freehivtest.net. The Mobile Testing




The 405 at 4 PM on Friday April 3 as seen near Getty City overlook. (Photo by Troy Masters)

Units have suspended operations during this time. Some AHF Wellness Centers have temporarily suspended operations; others are operating with reduced hours to care for individuals needing immediate treatment. In Los Angeles, AHF’s ‘Wellness on Western’ Wellness Center is open with regular service. AHF Out of the Closet thrift stores. https:// outofthecloset.org/ (20 locations in 7 states) are temporarily closed for retail sales. TransLatin@ Coalition 3055 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 350 Los Angeles, CA 90010 833-847-2331 translatinacoalition.org/ TransLatin@ Coalition is an organization formed by Trans Latin@ leaders to organize and advocate for the needs of Trans Latin@s immigrants who reside in the U.S. The organization functions not only to advocate for trans inclusive policies and immigration rights in the public sphere, it also offers the shelter and support of the community and is especially relevant now. Many immigrant trans people are unable to access the benefits others are now receiving during the pandemic and through connection with their community, TransLatin@ Coalition offers the support of like-impacted family, often food and connectedness to shelter and medical care. The State of California’s comprehensive COVID-19 website of resources is COVID19. CA.GOV. The City of Los Angeles is also offering resources at lacity.org.



Jackie Beat, Sherry Vine deliver for the sheltered-in-place Digital drag shows take off while we await the all-clear By SCOTT STIFFLER Protecting the herd by sheltering indoors for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t preventing drag queens from reaching out and touching you (digitally speaking, that is). Bereft of bookings in the brick and mortar realm, big-name acts are stepping up their online game, in an effort to keep you entertained—and cultivate some coin, in the process. Based in Los Angeles, two of our favorite funny, filthy, anything-goes girls aren’t gathering moss while biding their time away from the world’s finest clubs, theaters, bars, and back alleys. Reached via email, Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine weighed in, Q&A-style, on upcoming digital offerings, and plans for when the all-clear comes. The Blade: Should the need for social distancing drag on, might we see a digital version of “Battle of the Bitches” (Beat and Vine’s two-person, traveling comedy act) and/or “Golden Girlz Live!” (a long-running stage version of the iconic sitcom)? Jackie Beat: That is always an option, yes! I have become quite spoiled with these digital shows: No undergarments, no shoes, flaw-erasing RuPaul first season lighting and filters, and not having to tolerate my co-star/“friends!” Sherry Vine: If it goes on, Jackie and I are prepared to start an OnlyFans site where people can tip us to kiss, etc. We actually have talked about this. Maybe we could do “Golden Girlz” or “Battle” on Zoom... Blade: Have the two of you been working on/discussing future projects? Jackie: Of course! You should be seeing one involving Alaska Thunderfuck very soon! Sherry: Yes! We are working on several projects. We had to cancel “Who’s The Boss,” so that will return in the fall. “Golden Girlz” is still hopefully on for September. We also postponed shooting the pilot of a very exciting, secret project that we’ve been working on, but we intend to

APRIL 10, 2020

& ring light! NOTHING BUT THE BEST FOR MY FANS… Even in quarantine! (I SPENT A LOT!) Next show, 4/20!” Blade: Sherry, what can we expect from “Let Me Be Your Jukebox,” another one of the Digital Drag Fest shows, via www. stageit.com (April 20, 6-6:30 PM PST)? Sherry: Sherry will be your human jukebox. You don’t even need a nickel! Just request a song during her all-live singing/ comedy/parody show. With hundreds of parodies of your favorite pop stars, Broadway, disco classics, Disney, and more, you can ask Sherry to perform one of your favorites, suggest a parody of your top Gaga hit, or just sit back and enjoy. JACKIE BEAT is keeping busy during quarantine.

SHERRY VINE says she’s working on several new projects during the COVID-19 downtime.

(Photo courtesy Beat)

(Photo courtesy Vine)

reschedule that as soon as we can. There are a few other projects we are allegedly writing/working on during this time. But we have both been bingeing on Netflix, lol. Blade: Has this forced time away from public performance impacted your creativity, output, and approach to using online/social media as an expression of your artistry? Jackie: Yes! Just ask Bianca Del Rio... According to her, I am posting way too much! Making memes, ripping Trump a new one, etc. But honestly, what does she know? She’s one of the least successful drag queens in history! Sherry: To be honest, when the selfdistancing started, I thought I would be so motivated to create and get projects done, lol. And I’m actually the opposite of how I normally am. I force myself to work out every morning. I’ve been doing a super-fun online dance class with Ryan Heffington. Then I create, write parodies, etc. BUT I am also spending a good amount of time eating, watching TV, and drinking red wine, lol. I will definitely be fasting before returning to the “real world.”





• A M E R I C A’ S

Blade: How can we access your work? Jackie: Best way is to visit my website, MissJackieBeat.com, and check the schedule! Blade: Jackie, you’ve got another stageit.com Digital Drag Fest show, “Jackie Beat’s Greatest Tits,” on April 20, 5 p.m. PST. What can we expect from this 30-minute show? Jackie: My last show SOLD OUT, so don’t waste time getting tickets to this digital drag delight that promises to feature nothing but feel-good classics... Absolutely NO Coronavirus references! A 100% COVID-19 free zone! Just a bunch of classy songs about drag, dick, ‘n’ donuts. ALL LIVE SINGING! I am also guesting on Flaming Saddles Brunch, April 12, and Rhea Litre’s Quarantine Queen, April 13, both on Instagram Live.

Blade Notes: In April 6 Twitter and Instagram posts, Beat said, “Okay, I just bought a vocal processor, new microphone, mic stand, cords, green screen backdrop, 3 sequined backdrops in gold, black & hot pink, backdrop stand




Blade: Have you had any notable virtual interactions with fans during this period of social distancing? Jackie: Just very genuine ones saying things like, “I needed to laugh, thanks” and of course, tens of thousands saying I’m the best and “so much better than Bianca.” But please don’t print that because I don’t want her to feel bad. That’s not my style. EVERYBODY SAY LOVE! Sherry: I’ve gotten a lot of sexy pics sent to me, lol! That had never happened before! I’ve been calling friends instead of texting. This is the time to connect old school! Blade: Sherry, are there dates yet for the Instagram Live sessions? What can we expect? Sherry: I don’t have dates set yet for Facebook and Instagram live shows. I will be announcing them the day before. Mostly I will use the free shows to “audition” new material and try out some ideas. That way people don’t feel ripped off if they’re a flop! Blade: The all-clear is called and we’re allowed to gather in public again. What are the first things you’re going to do? Jackie: SUCK DICK! Sherry: Suck dick! I mean, perform. Oh, ok—BOTH!




More books for your COVID downtime From history to LGBTQ studies, something for all tastes By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

This is part three of a three-part series spotlighting some of the best books to read while passing time during the COVID-19 quarantine. Visit losangelesblade.com for previous installments. HISTORY If you’re looking for something empowering while you’re stuck at home, try “Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights” by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe. During the Civil Rights Movement, Roundtree was an attorney who not only helped her clients but also took on a racist system in North Carolina and nationally. Another book to find is “Race Against Time” by Jerry Mitchell. As a reporter, Mitchell opened Civil-Rights-era crimes, and this is his story. You might not find “The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh” by Candace Fleming in the adult biography section of your library or bookstore. You may find it in the Young Adult section, but that doesn’t mean this book is just for teens. Adults will thrill to the story of Lindburgh, his feats and accomplishments, his life and tragedy, and the beliefs he held that tarnish his legacy today. Civil War buffs will want “Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War” by Cody Marrs close by. Here, Marrs takes a look at that which has been written and told for generations, and why those tales still matter. Also look for “Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War” by S.C. Gwynne. The title is appealing, all on its own. World War II buffs will thoroughly enjoy reading “Inge’s War” by Svenja O’Donnell. It’s the story of a story that O’Donnell learned as an adult, when she reached out to her grandmother and discovered family secrets, triumphs, and villainy. Speed demons in need of a little zoom will want to find “Faster” by Neal Bascomb, a book about a race car driver who was the victim of racism; an automaker who was the victim of financial mayhem, and an heiress who dreamed of her youth. Add in a bit of history, Nazi Germany, and a fast-paced story and really, how can you resist? If you love reading slice-of-life historical tales, then look for “The Jamestown Brides: The Story of England’s ‘Maids for Virginia’” by Jennifer Potter. It’s the true story of the women who left their homes in Great Britain in 1620 to join settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, the hardships they endured, and what it was like to live in America at the country’s very infancy.


LGBTQ STUDIES OK, so you’re up for something unique now, and you can’t go wrong with “Uncomfortable Labels” by Laura Kate Dale. What makes it different is that Dale is a gay trans woman who is also autistic and this book is about her self-discovery and her life. Here’s a book for parents, and for transgender readers: “What We Will Become” by Mimi Lemay, a story of a little girl who knew she was a boy, and his mother, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who loved her child enough to give up her old life. Maybe when this is all over, a bit of poetry is what you’ll need, and “Daddy” by Michael Montlack will be what to look for at the end of this virus’ run. Some of the poems are musings, some are heartfelt, others read a bit like individual paragraphs, all are compelling. You’ll find “Daddy” available in later April. CHILDREN‘S BOOKS Books are great antidotes to being cooped up for weeks, and “Johnny’s Pheasant” by Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett is a good one to have. It’s the story of an injured bird, a grandma’s love, and a boy with dreams. Another goodie for little readers is “Bedtime for Sweet Creatures” by Nikki Grimes, pictures by Elizabeth Zunon. It’s a tale of goodnight, and it’s perfect for little sleepyheads. For the middle-grader who worries about the earth, “Bugs in Danger” by Mark Kurlansky, illustrated by Jia Liu is a great find. This book looks at climate change, environmental issues, why the bug population has declined over the past few years, and what we can do to stop it. Another book to find is “Wildlife Adventure” by Coyote Peterson. It’s a book with facts and activities and it might make the time go a little faster. Little biography lovers will be happy to sit home with Work It, Girl bios, like “Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama” or “Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison,” both by Caroline Moss, illustrated by Sinem Erkas. These books offer a great story, plus learning, plus an update on the lives featured. For the 9-to-13-year-old, a bio couldn’t be better. The child who loves to people-watch will enjoy reading “Hmong in Wisconsin” by Mai Zong Vue, even when there aren’t a lot of people around. This is a story of immigration, bravery, war, and learning in two different cultures.

Young adults with a growing interest in politics will enjoy ‘Becoming RBG.’

The young adult with a growing interest in politics will enjoy “Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice” by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner. It’s a graphic-novel-style biography on Justice Ginsburg, from her earliest years to her current battles. A lottery ticket and all that comes with sudden wealth are at the root of “Jackpot” by Nic Stone. When Rico Danger finds a winning ticket and shares with “Zan” Macklin, it seems like every problem either friend has ever had might be over – but money changes things, especially relationships. Another book to look for: the coming-of-age “If Anyone Asks, Say I Died from the Heartbreaking Blues” by Philip Cioffari. It’s the story of an 18-year-old, first love, and doing what’s right. If the quarantine lasts a while, there’ll be time to read “Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio” by Derf Backderf. It’s a graphic-novel sort of history book about what happened on that horrible day in 1970, but be patient: this book releases on April 7, so look for it.

APLA Health’s priority is our community. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we will continue to provide critical services including medical care, mental health, and emergency dental services. Our HIV support programs will also remain open, including our Vance North Necessities of Life Program Food Pantry, emergency housing support and transportation assistance. For the most up-to-date information, visit aplahealth.org/coronavirus | @aplahealth