Gorsuch pens landmark ruling for LGBTQ workplace rights Page 12
J U N E 1 9 , 2 0 2 0 • V O LU M E 0 4 • I S S U E 2 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
Thousands turned out Sunday for the All Black Lives Matter march. (Photo courtesy Black LGBTQ+ Activists for Change)
Los Angeles celebrates Black LGBTQ lives Hollywood-WeHo march created change By KAREN OCAMB
The aerial shot took your breath away. “All Black Lives Matter” painted in huge rainbow letters across Hollywood Boulevard, “the street of dreams” that too often leaves LGBTQ dreams broken and tattered. But on this day — Sunday, June 14 — the day that 50 years ago featured the ﬁrst nervous but raucous Gay Liberation-lead Christopher Street West Pride parade — this day was electric with the spirit of uniﬁed protest against the ongoing horror and injustice of racism and wanton police brutality. That “enough is enough” ﬂicked switch for change has gripped people of heart, conscience and conviction since the 8 minute 46 second May 25 videotaped murder of handcuﬀed George Floyd by a white police oﬃcer arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd said as horriﬁed witnesses called out to police casually standing by as the black man, beloved by his family, friends and neighbors, called out for his mother then stopped breathing. Minneapolis police oﬃcer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for another two minutes, including a full minute after paramedics arrived at the scene, according to a New York Times analysis. Floyd’s death followed the shocking fatal shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a “no-knock” police raid on her Louisville, Kentucky house six weeks earlier; 10 weeks earlier 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger was tracked down by a white father and son and shot in Glynn County, Georgia. One murder after another and another — and then, two days before the All Black Lives Matter march, Rayshard Brooks, 27, who had fallen asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru, was fatally shot by Atlanta police after a long, mostly peaceful encounter during which he asked if he
could just please walk to his nearby home. After more than 400 years of explicit and implicit oppression with silent societal assent, a new generation living through the ugly racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic Trumpiﬁcation of America has had enough. Finally, the confederacy is being toppled, demands for police reform are being heeded, and a new awakening is taking hold. And on June 14, Black LGBTQ people — especially Black trans people — were ﬁnally included in the reckoning. LGBTQ people of color have long been the victims of not only systemic racism and police brutality but also degrading humiliation, even in death, in the abject banality of evil oppression. The Human Rights Campaign has named at least 13 trans people, mostly trans women of color, who have been murdered just this year. Stop. Take that in. 13 trans murders since January 1, 2020. That’s an epidemic on top of the coronavirus pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the lives of black and brown people in America. But on this day, Sunday, June 14, mostly masked men, women and children of all ages, races, ethnicities and beliefs from the farthest regions of Los Angeles County celebrated Black LGBTQ people, waved Rainbow and Trans ﬂags, marched in a new diverse coalition of the Rainbow spirit, convinced that a change is going to come. And on this day, June 14, as 25,000 people and numerous dogs peacefully marched from Hollywood to West Hollywood, there was not a police oﬃcer in sight. “I look around me and just keep crying. I am just so moved. I never in my life thought this could happen,” 37-year old Juliana from Inglewood told the Los Angeles Blade. “Our story is ﬁnally being heard and understood and people are coming together around justice and
JUNE 19, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
equality and in support of my community.” In many ways, Juliana symbolizes the intersectionality of the LGBTQ community and the diversity of the rest of society. “I am LGBT but ﬁrst I am a black woman from a poor family,” she says. “I look around me and I keep crying. I keep thinking about my cousin who lives in a white neighborhood who still gets reported by her neighbors and followed home by the cops. And the stories my mom used to tell me about my great grandmother in Mississippi — she was born a slave and somehow made it to 101 years old. I think of George Floyd and Breana and the many thousands of unjust cop killings, lynchings, and I cry. I literally am gonna cry now — but because this is so damned beautiful.” Something happened on this day, on Sunday, June 14, once reserved for the fun and ﬂamboyant LGBTQ party called LA Pride. Things have changed. People have changed. Even public policy is changing. But most importantly, as the LGBTQ community celebrates the shocking victory at the US Supreme Court on June 15, the thousands and thousands of blacks and whites who marched and interacted with LGBTQ people on that day in LGBTQ history, have had their hearts and minds changed and have come to believe – here on earth or viewed from above — that All Black Lives Matter. Now comes the hard part — to make that change work and last. And that starts with taking the Census and voting in November. But now, as well, anyone who woke up to the ongoing systemic oppression has a role in making sure that LGBTQ coming out is no longer risky but celebrated as a contribution of individual authenticity enhancing the greater consciousness of humankind. And that matters.
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The color of new LGBTQ leadership ‘We have not only COVID-19 but also the virus of institutional racism’ By KAREN OCAMB
This is what the color of change looks like. An estimated 25,000 protesters marched from Hollywood to West Hollywood railing against racism and police brutality, calling out the names of black victims of racist violence — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks. But what was different from the hundreds of other marches since George Floyd fell fatally silent under the knee of white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last May 25 was that among the names called out in this march were Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the Stonewall-era trans activists. Also called out was the name Tony McDade, 38, a Black trans man shot dead by Florida police on May 27. “Tony was a queer Black American who was gunned down by law enforcement,” Gina Duncan, director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida, told Mother Jones. “What brings Tony McDade’s murder so close to home is that this is a national pandemic,” Duncan says. “We have not only COVID-19 impacting our nation, but also the virus of institutional racism. No matter what your gender, no matter how you identify, we still have this pervasive culture of Black Americans suffering under overt discrimination by law enforcement. And when you look at the big picture, Tony McDade’s shooting is a symptom of that national virus that we’re dealing with as a country.” The Human Rights Campaign tracked 52 reported murders of transgender or gender non-conforming people in 2018 and 2019, the vast majority of whom were trans women of color, which the American Medical Association called an “epidemic.” And “the number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting and better data collection by law enforcement is needed to create strategies that will prevent anti-transgender violence,” says AMA Board Member S. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D. HRC believes at least 15 transgender or gender nonconforming persons have violently died this year in America. During the march, some shouted these names, too: Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, a Black trans woman was found June 9 in Philadelphia, stabbed with trauma to her head and face; and Riah Milton, 25, a Black trans woman, fatally shot when three suspects robbed her on June 9 in Liberty Township, Ohio. “All Black Lives Matter” shouted the protesters of all races, ages and backgrounds as they marched from the “All Black Lives Matter” art installation in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive on Hollywood Boulevard, past the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd and Laurel Ave, to the newly painted Transgender Flag
06 • JUNE 19, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
All Black Lives Matter march on Sunset Boulevard (Blade photo by Karen Ocamb)
painted at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd and San Vicente in West Hollywood. A name on no one’s lips is Howard Efland, a white gay nurse murdered by police on March 9, 1969 at the downtown SRO, The Dover Hotel. His name, like so many LGBTQ people before and since, has been largely forgotten, though Back2Stonewall’s Will Kohler reported on the anniversary of Efland’s murder last year. “LA vice officers Lemuel Chauncey and Richard Halligan claimed that Efland groped them,” Kohler wrote, “so they arrested him, dragged him naked, bleeding and screaming down a flight of stairs by his feet and into the street. In front of several witnesses, the two police officers, who were well over 6 feet, 2 inches, started beating the slightly built, unarmed and non-resisting gay man to death while he screamed ‘Help me! My God, someone help me!’ “The two police officers kicked him repeatedly, did kneedrops onto his stomach, and savagely beat him. While several witnesses claimed that Howard Efland died at the scene,” Kohler wrote, adding that the LAPD lied to Efland’s parents about cause of death, which the LA County coroner ruled an “excusable homicide.” The LA Advocate found out, prompting activist Morris
Kight and the Rev. Troy Perry to lead a march of 120 demonstrators to the hotel for a rally. “We were horrified and we did the first real organized protest about that — in that we asked that a coroner’s jury of civilians was put together — and they had two days of testimony of police brutality (us mostly), with the police saying he was a dirty faggot and so on. The homicide was called justified. We didn’t think it was justifiable,” Kight told the team at Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California. “That radicalized me,” said Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church and co-founder of Christopher Street West with Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries. “That was my radicalization of never saying, ‘I’m not gonna stand up for people’s rights.’” More names, witch hunts, lobotomies, brutal deaths, the AIDS epidemic — so many names lost in the fog of war for dignity and civil rights. All LGBTQ Lives Matter. Out LA City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, who helped then-Council member Eric Garcetti turn the Black Cat and the Mattachine Steps into historic sites, temporarily stopped the erasure of the temporarily permitted All Black Lives Matter art installation and on June 17 introduced a motion to memorialize the march. “We had a once-in-a-generation moment this weekend in Hollywood as tens of thousands gathered for a peaceful demonstration on one of the most recognizable boulevards in America,” O’Farrell said. “We now have a chance to memorialize the movement in a meaningful way. I look forward to working with BLAC (Black LGBTQIA Action Committee) and other community members on this project.” The motion directs city staff to work with BLAC on a permanent art installation around the Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave area. That starts the discussion process with appropriate City Departments and the Black LGBTQ community on an appropriate tribute. “BLAC is centered on effective partnerships designed to bring visibility and action to the unique needs of Black LGBTQ+ communities. Efforts like this, designed by BLAC member, Luckie Alexander [a Black transman], and in collaboration with Councilmember O’Farrell’s office, Trailer Park Group, and all other partners and individuals that came together to make this happen is true proof of collaboration. And for a new installation of some kind to live permanently becomes a symbol not just to the city, but to the world,” said Gerald Garth and Brandon Anthony, co-founders of BLAC & lead organizers of the All Black Lives Matter march. CONTINUES ON PAGE 10
Did SCOTUS just deliver a message? California reacts to the Title VII Ruling By BRODY LEVESQUE
In a stunning 6-3 decision on June 15, the nation’s highest court ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity are included within the parameters of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The federal statute prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch noted: “Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” The significance of conservative Chief Justice John Roberts assigning Gorsuch the task of writing the opinion and the two agreeing with the liberal minority of the court cannot be understated. Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, as did Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who wrote a separate opinion apparently to ding former President Obama. “Seneca Falls was not Stonewall,” he wrote. “[T] o think that sexual orientation discrimination is just a form of sex discrimination is not just a mistake of language and psychology, but also a mistake of history and sociology.” Alito’s dissent sounded like the late Justice Antonin Scalia in his famous marriage-warning dissent in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling. “What the Court has done today –– interpreting discrimination because of ‘sex’ to encompass discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity –– is virtually certain to have far-reaching consequences,” he wrote. Alito chastised his colleagues for taking “legislative” remedies, once the favorite conservative cry of “judicial activism.” Alito also took issue with the court’s “imposition of an updated 2020 viewpoint” of the lawmakers’ intent, arguing that in 1964 “homosexuality” was still a criminal offense and that gender reassignment was largely an unknown construct. “Courts must follow ordinary meaning, not literal meaning,” Alito wrote, adding that the ordinary meaning of “because of sex” does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Some see this as Alito telegraphing his concern that
the court may not be so automatically approving of future LGBTQ and religious liberty cases. Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center, shares that concern, while illustrating a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of the US Supreme Court. “Allowing judges to rewrite the Civil Rights Act to add gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes poses a grave threat to religious liberty,” Perkins wrote in a press release. “We’ve already witnessed in recent years how courts have used the redefinition of words as a battering ram to crush faith-based businesses and organizations.” Most Californians were thrilled by the ruling, starting with San Francisco-based House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who emphasized the need to pass and implement the Equality Act. “The Trump Administration continues to advance an outrageous, hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda that risks the health and well-being of countless LGBTQ Americans and their families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “To finally and fully end LGBTQ discrimination, not just in the workplace, but in every place, last year, House Democrats passed the landmark Equality Act. Now, (Senate Majority) Leader McConnell must end his partisan obstruction and allow the Senate to vote on this critical legislation.” Sen. Kamala D. Harris, on the short list to be presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pick for vice president, also issued a statement. “The Supreme Court’s ruling today sent a clear message to all Americans: our federal civil rights law protects LGBTQ workers and requires that they be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves. The Court held that the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Today’s decision will go a long way toward ensuring that LGBTQ people are protected in other critical areas, including education, health care, and housing,” Harris said. “Our work is far from over, but as we celebrate Pride Month, today’s ruling is a step in the right direction in the fight for full equality for the LGBTQ community in all of its diversity, and in every facet of life,” she added. Longtime LGBTQ ally Gov. Gavin Newsom touted California’s progressive credentials.
JUNE 19, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Supreme Court Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS and Justice NEIL GORSUCH (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
‘Our work is far from over, but as we celebrate Pride Month, today’s ruling is a step in the right direction,’ said Sen. Kamala Harris. (Photo courtesy of CNN)
“Nobody should ever have to fear losing their job simply because of who they are or whom they love,” Newsom said in a statement. “Today’s Supreme Court decision rights this injustice and brings the country in line with what has long been California law, ensuring that LGBTQ persons across our nation enjoy core civil rights legal protection at work. While the fight for equality continues, this ruling is a significant victory for the LGBTQ community, civil rights, and against discrimination.” Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, provided a larger context. “This historic Supreme Court opinion comes in the middle of an unprecedented global health and economic crisis and an epidemic of police violence against Black people, a time during which our communities are holding so much grief and rage,” said Hayashi. “Transgender people already face disproportionate discrimination in hiring and harassment at work, and now the Supreme Court has provided a measure of protection that will improve the lives of trans people Hayashi continued. “However, without a continued emphasis on the safety, well-being, and leadership of Black trans people, this victory will fall flat in perpetuating meaningful cultural change.” “This is a watershed moment for our community. We must now build on this win by expanding protections to housing and to all aspects of life. The era of discrimination against the LGBTQ community must
end, and it will end,” said State Sen. Scott Wiener, Chair of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus. In addition to the Bostock v. Clayton County Title VII decision, the Court refused to hear the Trump Administration’s challenge to a California “sanctuary” law, leaving intact rules that prohibit law enforcement officials from aiding federal agents in taking custody of immigrants as they are released from jail. “In California, we’ve seen the success that comes from building trust between law enforcement and our hard-working immigrant communities. The last thing we need to do is to erode that trust. Today, America is experiencing the pain and protest that occurs when trust is broken,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. “That’s why this fight mattered so much. We’re protecting Californians’ right to decide how we do public safety in our state. The Trump Administration does not have the authority to commandeer state resources. We’re heartened by today’s Supreme Court decision.” Out Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark J. Gonzalez was also pleased by SCOTUS’ decision to reject the Trump Administration’s challenge to SB54. “Since Inauguration Day, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller-like Republicans have made it their mission to take their bigoted ideals to terrorize our nation’s immigrants and divide our nation,” said Gonzalez. “I applaud SCOTUS’ ruling rejecting the
Trump Administration’s frivolous United States v California lawsuit against our State. Attorney General Becerra’s incredible defense of SB54 affirms that California, like all 49 other states, will continue to exercise its constitutional authority to decide how our law enforcement responds to immigrant rights and protections. While Jeff Sessions continues to campaign in Alabama on his decades of bigotry, the CAGOP, NRCC, Donald Trump and their party are not only going to have to prove their need for state and local cooperation with federal agents in court, but also reckon with their actions for years to come. Los Angeles Democrats will continue to stand on the side of all Americans, including immigrants, all across our county and our state.” Local elected officials reacted, too. “The Supreme Court decision that protects LGBT employees from discrimination at work is a milestone in our struggle for equality,” said openly gay Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who is also the first Native American to serve on the Los Angeles City Council. “Protecting employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on sex is a legal and moral victory for us all. This win was decades in the making, ignited by the Civil Rights movement and LGBT uprisings beginning in the 1950’s and 1960’s. We still have more to do, but let’s celebrate this incredible moment.” - Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.
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LOCAL CONTINUED FROM PAGE 06 Screen grab of trans ﬂag in West Hollywood
March called ‘once-in-a-generation’ moment’ Things are more confusing in West Hollywood. During the recent council meeting, Council member John Duran asked how the trans ﬂag got there, since it did not go through the required government approval process. The Los Angeles Blade was told by a reliable source that West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, West Hollywood Planning Commissioner John Erickson, who is a candidate for city council, as well as several other city advisors were involved. “This action was clearly meant to lift up trans voices and visibility and stand as allies for the trans community, as trans people -especially Black trans women - continue to fall victim to violence and murder,” Erickson told the LA Blade. “I believe it’s important to center trans voices in the conversation and I hope West Hollywood will do more to include them in the conversation as we work to build a more just future.” Erickson added: “While painting the ﬂag was not my idea, I support the action. While activists, advocates, and others are out ﬁghting to keep our transgender community alive, some seem to be more concerned with washing away advocacy, rather than ﬁghting for Black trans lives and supporting all members of our community.” West Hollywood Sheriﬀ’s Captain Ramirez said he doesn’t know who the female was who sought prior permission, nor does he know who came into the station. “I received a call and someone asked a question but I was under the impression that it would take place during the march,” Ramirez told the LA Blade. “Their question was would they be arrested and charged if they painted it in the intersection? I told them there is a section for graﬃti, but that their intention was peaceful and nonviolent so they would likely not be arrested. I didn’t want to be adversarial. But it was painted overnight. Members of the group came into the station overnight and requested permission, saying that ‘Ramierez was okay with it,’” so the late night oﬃcer
responded like the Captain. “That oﬃcer oﬀered cars to observe, block the intersection. That was done for the personal safety of those painting the mural. We didn’t want anyone to get hit by a car or accosted by someone who doesn’t support trans people,” Ramirez said. “That was around 2 to 3:30 AM the morning of the march. “I don’t think I was misled,” he said. “This was their way of memorializing all that has happened. We knew their actions would be peaceful and non-violent. These are tumultuous times and we need to work hand in hand with our community. We wanted to recognize the moment and have the trans community and black community celebrate it. The roar of the crowd showed their approval.” As to whether the painting is illegal, Ramirez said: “There may be a Cal-Trans code. It could be considered vandalism like a street mural or side-walk painting. Sometimes they are left forever.” Ramirez said the trans ﬂag can stay, “as it maintains its luster. I don’t know why this wouldn’t stay unless it violates Cal-Trans code.” However, there is some question as to whether Ramirez has the authority to make such decisions about city public spaces. Duran, a criminal defense attorney who is also up for re-election, is troubled by city oﬃcials possibly committing a misdemeanor crime “under the color of authority.” Duran is also concerned about setting a precedent. “There is a reason that law enforcement and government oﬃcials have to remain neutral on free speech,” Duran told the LA Blade. “For example, if this sets a precedent and a group wants to paint a Confederate ﬂag on Santa Monica Blvd, we can’t say ‘Oh, we agree with trans rights so that unauthorized mural can stay but your Confederate ﬂag has to go.’ Now we are regulating content. And the government cannot regulate free speech, whether it’s law enforcement or city government.”
JUNE 19, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
BLAC leaders Gerald Garth and Lucky Fuller (Courtesy Cer Collins via Garth’s Facebook page)
LOS A N G E LES DODGER S SALU T E T HE EN T I RE L G B T Q + C O M M U NI T Y AT T H I S H I STO RI C MO M ENT IN OU R C O U N T RYâ€™ S H I S TO RY.
Historic ruling affirms protections for LGBT workers Plaintiff ‘ecstatic’ over Supreme Court’s Title VII decision By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com
In a historic development, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that existing federal law bars discrimination against workers for being LGBTQ, affirming long-sought federal protections for LGBTQ people in the workplace. The 6-3 decision, written by U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, determines anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Gorsuch writes. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” Joining Gorsuch in the majority was U.S Chief Justice John Roberts as well as U.S. Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Dissenting were U.S. Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The ruling doesn’t merely uphold the status quo, despite the widespread misconception anti-LGBTQ discrimination is already illegal. For the 29 states that lack state laws banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workforce, the ruling affirms discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace is now illegal in those places and nationwide. The decision was issued in three consolidated cases, Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Altitude Express, which sought to clarify whether anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, which sought to clarify whether anti-trans discrimination was sex discrimination. The transgender worker in the Harris case, Aimee Stephens, a funeral home director, passed away last month before she could learn of the decision to come from the Supreme Court. The gay worker in the Zarda case, Donald Zarda, a skydiver, had passed away before his case reached the Supreme Court. The gay worker in the Bostock case, Gerald Bostock, is still living. In each of these cases, LGBTQ workers argued they were unlawfully fired because of their sexual orientation, but the employers argued that was perfectly legal because no federal law explicitly bans anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Although employers argued before the Supreme Court Congress didn’t intend to include LGBTQ people when it enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gorsuch throws cold water on that argument. “The employers assert ‘no one’ in 1964 or for some time after would have anticipated today’s result,” Gorsuch writes. “But is that really true? Not long after the law’s passage, gay
GERALD BOSTOCK speaks to reporters on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Oct. 8, 2019. (Blade photo by Michael Key)
and transgender employees began filing Title VII complaints, so at least some people foresaw this potential application.” Gorsuch cites several cases establishing precedent on the scope of Title VII to reach the conclusion it bars anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Among them is the 1998 decision in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. — a decision written by the late U.S. Associate Justice Antonia Scalia that determined sexual harassment from same-sex workers amounts to sex discrimination under the law. Kavanaugh, who elected to write his own dissent, said justices are overriding the scope of Title VII by interpreting it to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination. “In the face of the unsuccessful legislative efforts (so far) to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, judges may not rewrite the law simply because of their own policy views,” Kavanaugh writes. “Judges may not update the law merely because they think that Congress does not have the votes or the fortitude. Judges may not predictively amend the law just because they believe that Congress is likely to do it soon anyway.” Alito, in a dissent joined by Thomas, takes to Webster’s Dictionary to dispute the meaning of “sex” includes LGBTQ people, then forecast dire consequences for the Supreme Court reading too much into Title VII. “Although the Court does not want to think about the consequences of its decision, we will not be able to avoid those issues for long,” Alito writes. “The entire Federal Judiciary will be mired for years in disputes about the reach of the Court’s reasoning.” LGBTQ rights advocates, many of whom had been fighting for decades to win LGBTQ non-discrimination protections at the federal level, hailed the Supreme Court ruling as a historic milestone.
JUNE 19, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Tico Almeida, an attorney at WilmerHale who represented more than 200 businesses – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Univision, and Warner Media – in an amicus brief supporting the LGBTQ workers, said the decision “affirms the legal protections that give LGBTQ Americans the freedom to work without discrimination.” “The major businesses that signed our pro-LGBTQ amicus brief to the Supreme Court employ millions of workers, comprise over $5 trillion in revenue, and share a common interest in equality because they know that ending discrimination in the workplace is good for the U.S. economy as a whole,” Almeida said. In terms of federal law, the decision dramatically expands civil rights protections by assuring Title VII prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people. Only two federal judicial circuits — the Second and the Seventh — had previously determined anti-gay discrimination is sex discrimination. The idea anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination is more established in the U.S. jurisprudence, but the Supreme Court ruling now guarantees those protections nationwide. The Trump administration, through U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, argued before justices firing workers for being LGBTQ is permitted under Title VII. It remains be to seen how the Trump administration will implement the decision now that the court has ruled the other way. The White House and Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s request for comment. The surviving plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that determined whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans antiLGBTQ discrimination in the workplace on Monday said he is “ecstatic” by the justices’ ruling in his favor. “When somebody was finally able to put up the first page and only part of that, and I saw the very first few words, I pretty much went into shock,” Gerald Bostock told the Blade during a telephone interview from his home in Georgia, referring to the part of the ruling he read on SCOTUSblog shortly after its release. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we did it!” Bostock in 2013 was fired from his job overseeing the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program in Clayton County, Ga., after his supervisor learned he had joined a gay recreational softball league. Bostock in a 2016 lawsuit alleges he lost his job because he is gay. Bostock two years later petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case after lower courts ruled against him. “I didn’t ask for any of this, but I was willing to be the one to stand up alongside Aimee Stephens and Don Zarda to carry our fight all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Bostock. CONTINUES AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
T h e L o s A n g l e s L a ke rs a re p ro u d t o s u p p o r t L A P R I D E a n d t h e LG B T C o m m u n i t y.
Court ruling may force Trump retreat on anti-LGBTQ policies New HHS rule change in doubt as justices affirm trans protections By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling this week in terms of the immediate protections it granted LGBTQ people in the workplace, but the decision may soon provide more victories by forcing President Trump to retreat on much of his administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies. After all, many of the Trump administration rule changes in enforcement of civil rights law to exclude LGBTQ people rested on the idea the definition of “sex” didn’t include them. That has been undisputedly rejected in the ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined firing workers like Gerald Bostock for being gay or workers like Aimee Stephens for being transgender violates the ban on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On issues ranging from housing and health care to transgender kids’ access to school restrooms, the Trump administration may be forced to roll back many of its antiLGBTQ policy changes. If the Trump administration fails to reverse these policy moves, the U.S. government could be subject to costly lawsuits. Shannon Minter, national legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the decision is “bound to have far-reaching implications in the full range of other sex discrimination cases involving LGBTQ people.” “Those include pending challenges to the transgender military ban, a Fair Housing Act case on behalf of a lesbian couple excluded from a retirement community in Missouri that has been stayed in the Eight Circuit pending the resolution of the Title VII cases, a number of Affordable Care Act cases challenging denials of care to LGBTQ individuals, and every policy that the Trump administration has promulgated that is based on the false view that sex discrimination laws do not protect LGBTQ people,” Minter said. Ironically, that would be because of a decision written by U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee and textualist conservative judge whose confirmation LGBTQ rights advocates vigorously opposed. Omar Gonzales-Pagan, senior attorney for the LGBTQ legal group Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade “so many administrative pronouncements” would be subject to reversal as a result of the Bostock decision. “All of these are situations in which the administration relied on a cramped reading of sex discrimination and should be directly impacted by the decision, aside from the countless other cases laid out in the great roadmap by Justice Alito,” Gonzales-Pagan said. Top of the list for reversal is former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ memo in 2017 declaring the U.S. Justice Department won’t apply Title VII to cases of anti-transgender discrimination in the workforce. That memo on its face is in conflict with the law now that the Supreme Court has explicitly determined anti-transgender discrimination is
President Trump’s various attacks on the LGBTQ community were seriously undermined by this week’s Supreme Court ruling.
prohibited under Title VII. Also on the list are policies explicitly interpreting laws against sex discrimination other than Title VII to exclude transgender people, such as the Affordable Care Act, the Fair Housing Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The most high-profile of these actions is the rule the Department of Health & Human Services made final just last week undoing Obama-era regulations determining Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act applies to cases of antitransgender discrimination of sex stereotyping. Although a federal court had already enjoined the U.S. government from enforcing the Obama-era rule, the Trump administration by reversing the regulations in the back end effectively enabled health care providers to refuse services to transgender people, including transition-related care and gender reassignment surgery. Now that the Supreme Court has determined antitrans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, the framework of the HHS policy is contrary to the law. Minter said the reasoning the behind the HHS rule change can’t hold up in the wake of the Supreme Court’s determination in the Bostock case. “The ruling is also an extremely forceful rebuke to the lengthy analysis published by HHS Friday, in conjunction with issuing its new rule attempting to strip protections from LGBTQ people under the Affordable Care Act, which argued that sex discrimination does not protect ether LGB or transgender people,” Minter said. “The Court’s opinion eviscerates that analysis.” Anti-trans policies from the Department of Education, which were made by interpreting Title IX to exclude transgender people, are also poised for reversal in the aftermath of the Bostock decision. One is the policy of refusing to take up cases from transgender kids in school that are refusing them access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which
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is based on a narrow interpretation of Title IX. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said — publicly and reportedly in private meetings — the policy would continue until Congress or the Supreme Court says otherwise. Eliza Byard, executive director of the LGBTQ student group GLSEN, said DeVos told her the policy was dependent on the courts during a March 2017 meeting, so now the time has to come to make a change. “Secretary DeVos must immediately reverse her attacks on transgender students’ rights, which began with her very first official actions in 2017,” Byard said. “Now, she can no longer hide behind the claim of waiting for the courts. Trans girls are girls. Trans boys are boys. And the law protects them from discrimination ‘on the basis of sex.’ Like all children, they deserve to learn and grow free from fear and in community with their peers.” Also legally suspect now is the recent determination from the Department of Education based on Title IX against the participation of transgender girls in school sports, which was made as a result of a complaint from Connecticut girls who lost to transgender athletes in a track event. The Department of Education came down on the side of the girls who said the victory of the transgender athletes unfairly pitted males against females in a system designed to separate athletes by gender, but that reasoning is at odds with the Bostock decision. Trickier are other anti-LGBTQ rules from the Trump administration that weren’t based on narrow interpretations of the definition of sex, but the inherent powers of the U.S. government. Among them is the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s proposal to carve out an Obama-era rule prohibiting homeless shelters from turning away transgender people based on the ban on sex discrimination in the Fair Housing Act. The reversal under HUD Secretary Ben Carson, which isn’t yet final, allows homeless shelters to refuse to let transgender people stay consistent with their gender identity based on various factors, including, privacy, safety, practical concerns and religious beliefs. Also in this category is the rule change from various departments undoing an Obama-era regulation issued in December 2016 days before Trump took office barring federal grantees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Because the Obama-era policy was based on the inherent power of the U.S. government, the Trump administration invoked the same authority to reverse it, not any interpretation of “sex” under the law.
CONTINUES AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Fulfilling the promise of Juneteenth Tensions will ease when America deals with legacy of slavery
Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr. is president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, Inc.
This Friday is the American holiday known as Juneteenth although this holiday is largely unknown to many Americans as it commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger announced federal orders in Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. The federal order was the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862 effective as of Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed slaves who resided in the states in rebellion almost two and a half years earlier, and the Confederate states were defeated in April 1865. However, Texas was the most remote of the former Confederacy states with few Union troops, which meant enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and uneven. There were stories where many slave owners were said to have purposefully withheld the news of the proclamation from their slaves. The remaining slaves, those in the North, were freed by state action, or by the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in December 1865. One can only imagine the joy and excitement that my ancestors and other former slaves felt when they heard the news of their freedom. The cries of jubilation, the prayers of thanks to a merciful God who brought them out of bondage and the answer to generations of prayer. Then came the waves of fear and trepidation of the unknown. How would they survive in a hostile environment? Where would they live or eat or earn a living? Would they be hunted down and enslaved again? How would they find their family members separated and sold by cruel and uncaring masters. Despite these incredible odds, thousands walked off the plantations without compensation for their toil, without
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a penny to their name, with only the clothes on their backs and with only a promise, a promise of freedom and all that freedom brings. It’s important to revisit the meaning Juneteenth as America wrestles with the legacy of slavery, the failure of Reconstruction and agony of Jim Crow. America has never compensated former slaves and there are many who behave as through the South won the Civil War. America must deal with unrest and division as the result of turning law enforcement into a paramilitary force that invade Black and Brown communities rather than engage them. The police must stop murdering all Black people including our transgender siblings. America must deal with its failure to dismantle the visages of racism that permeates every fabric of our nation. America continues to fail to fulfill the promise of freedom given to an enslaved people and their ancestors in Texas on Juneteenth 1865 to live, work and determine their own destiny with the assurance of access to and protections by America’s institutions. Finally every few years, America seems to be at war with itself when it comes to dealing with race and unfortunately this pattern with continue until we, in the words of Lincoln, “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Internal tensions will cease when America deals with the legacy of slavery.
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Here’s what I tell my students about racism Coping with societal challenges through empathy This year, teachers have been ﬁghting a hard battle. We were thrust into distancelearning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and been grappling with how to speak with our students about the even more pervasive pandemic of racism and violence directed toward Black Americans. This is painful: our students depend on us as SIRIDA GRAHAM TERK is a humanities teacher educators not only for academic lessons, but and department chair at Milken Community Schools. also for how to deal with societal challenges through empathy, grace, and strength. As a woman of color who teaches in a Jewish independent school in Los Angeles, California, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to teach by example in my journey from student to educator. At age 10, I became one of the ﬁrst Black students to integrate the independent school system of Baton Rouge — even then in the early 80s, a period of de facto segregation. As a student of mixed heritage and one of the ﬁrst people of color to attend an all-White school, I felt like I was “too Black to be White and too White to be Black.” It was an incredibly challenging time for me. I constantly questioned my identity and where I belonged. During those years when I struggled as “the other,” one teacher supported me. He was White and though it wasn’t a secret that he was gay, it wasn’t socially acceptable, either. In that way, we were “others” together. He understood my uncertainty, saw me as who I could be, and helped me ﬁgure out how to be more comfortable with my identity. Years later in graduate school, studying to become an archaeologist and curator, I found out that my favorite teacher had been murdered. He was the victim of a hate crime. At that moment, everything stopped. It brought me right back to middle school and all my vulnerabilities around being “the other.” It was a horriﬁc reality check, thrusting the persistence of hatred and ignorance in our world to the forefront of my conscience. How many other young people, kids like me, had that teacher helped? Who would be there for them now? And then it occurred to me: it would be me. That’s when I decided to become a middle school teacher. When I ﬁrst came to Milken Community Middle School, I saw the way they integrated the humanities with issues of identity, privilege, and civic responsibility. I knew: this is where I belong. I didn’t know it then, but Milken’s model of self-reﬂection and community engagement is all “Facing History.” Facing History and Ourselves is an organization that gives teachers the resources to use the lessons of history to examine the breadth and depth of injustice to build a future without it. It was the ﬁrst time I had been exposed to anything like that, and it was like walking into a lesson on my own life story. Yet in all my years at Milken, the intersection between the perspectives of individuals and the narrative of human history has never been so important as right now. It is crucial that all students understand the need for empathy, the diﬀerence between by-standing and upstanding and who falls within their universe of obligation -- because the cycle of history that they are just starting to witness is at a turning point. The scary historical topics I teach, of stereotyping and scapegoating, have been showing up more and more in our news and in our neighborhoods. Anti-Jewish crimes made up 83% of religion-motivated crimes in LA County in 2018, and the 2020 murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are only the most recent and appalling in a list of injustices against Black people in this country. There seems to be no shortage of present-day antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia and others forms of bigotry. Yet, this rise in hate and racism is almost surreal...until it’s at your front gate. Which for us, it is. In December, the Nessah synagogue here in Beverly Hills, the largest Persian synagogue in the country, was broken into and vandalized. This violation was deeply felt among our community.
And just a couple days later, hate came to our school. Graﬃtied on Milken’s front gate were the words “time to pay.” Similar threats and swastikas were found at two other local schools as well. More recently, police brutality compounded with the COVID-19 crisis has shown how pervasive racism and bigotry remain in our society, and how quickly people resort to hate-based violence. This follows a troubling pattern: Hate crimes are on the rise here in our city and across the country. In LA alone, hate crimes have reached their highest point in nearly a decade. In class, we’ve been using these moments of vulnerability to look closely at diﬀerent elements of “anti-other” sentiment, what connects us, and how we can use those connections to expand our universe of obligation. With Facing History’s help, we are harnessing this otherness and vulnerability to build a bridge to solidarity, to humanity. Sadly, hate-motivated violence is increasing at all levels of society, harming even our young people in their schools and communities. What I’ve come to realize is this: only by seeing each other’s realities as just that, pieces of a complex, interwoven, communal reality, will we ever make progress as a society. But acknowledgement starts with dialogue and needs empowering tools like listening to stories of “the other,” ﬁnding points of commonality, exercising empathy, and expanding our universe of obligation. The only way we will confront hate successfully is by giving young people the tools to spot and address it in even its smallest forms. Our children need these lessons, and so do we.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM JUNE 19, 2020 • 17
The divisiveness of ‘Disclosure’ New doc says trans depictions in pop culture have long been offensive, unfair By KAELA ROEDER
Dil (Jaye Davidson) disrobes for Fergus (Stephen Rea) in “The Crying Game” and he runs to the bathroom to vomit. The scene is later parodied in “Ace Ventura.” Candis Cayne makes history as a trans actress in a trans role as Carmelita on ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” only to discover watching it they’ve lowered her voice electronically in her first scene. Trans is a trope used for cruel comedic effect in dozens of movies and shows from “Soapdish” to “Married … With Children” and used to exploit guests on trashy ‘90s talk shows such as “The Jerry Springer Show.” A new eye-opening and mostly comprehensive documentary on Hollywood’s depiction of the transgender experience titled “Disclosure” created by trans filmmaker Sam Feder starts streaming on Netflix on June 19. The documentary follows several transgender media industry leaders and their experiences watching transgender representation on screen throughout their lives and later becoming actors and filmmakers themselves. Well-known creatives such as Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski and Chaz Bono are featured as well as clips from everything from early silent D.W. Griffith movies to classic Hollywood fare like the Cary Grant vehicle “I Was a Male War Bride” to Flip Wilson and Milton Berle to “The Jeffersons,” “Paris is Burning,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “The Crying Game,” “Ace Ventura” and dozens more. “Disclosure” covers a wide range of topics, from studying the dawn of the film industry in the early 20th century to problematic storylines in the present day. Feder, who directed, and Cox, executive producer, spoke by Zoom Monday about the process with the Blade and the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper. WASHINGTON BLADE: How did this film get made and what was the impetus for it? SAM FEDER: There were two documentaries that really changed my life. One was “The Celluloid Closet,” and that’s about gay and lesbian representation in Hollywood. The other is “Ethnic Notions” by Marlon Riggs, which is about black representation in film in Hollywood. I always wanted to see that history for trans people with that type of critique and analysis and nuance. Then fast forward to 2014 and trans visibility was increasing and mainstream society was
LAVERNE COX recalls her thorny history with Hollywood in the new documentary ‘Disclosure’ out today on Netflix. (Photo courtesy Netflix)
talking about us more than ever before, and I wanted to give trans and non-trans people more context to understand these changes in our culture, this history and how we got to this point of visibility. And, it was really important that we not lose sight of the fact that visibility in itself is not a goal. It is the means to an end. So, I felt like there was more to the story than what the public was seeing and talking about and I wanted to tell that story. WINDY CITY TIMES: Why do you call it “Disclosure”? FEDER: I don’t even know where to start with this one. So the idea that the responsibility of the trans person is to disclose their identity is so pervasive and it is such a violent assumption that anyone owes someone else an explanation of their history. It’s framed in this way, that you have done something wrong if you do not disclose. I think most trans people can relate to that tension and that understanding and I think a lot of us have internalized that as well, that we feel this anxiety around like, “Do we need to tell? Do they know?” But that is always upfront, first and foremost, so it really came from the idea that also all the images we see really also rely on the fact that we’re not real. They just say, over and over again, that we’re not who we say we are. Laverne, do you have anything to add to that because that’s you know, I mean, it’s your thing. You came up with the title and I assume it resonated with you in some way.
COX: Absolutely. I was on a reality show in 2008 called “I Want to Work for Diddy” and I remember I met a guy at the Duane Reade Pharmacy, I think around 2009 or 2010-ish. I am in the Dwayne Reade Pharmacy, and then he asked for my number, and then we meet like an hour and a half later or something for drinks at a nearby bar. We are sitting at the bar and I was just like, “So yeah, I’m trans” and “I’m transgender, whatever.” This was like 2009. He knew that I was trans but he was just so surprised that I just sat down and just was like, “Yeah, I’m trans, whatever.” He had dated trans women before who were scared to disclose, who were not always comfortable disclosing. It was obviously for safety reasons, too — to disclose sometimes meant violence. Unfortunately that is their history of what it means to be trans and so I just — it was so empowering for me to just sit there at that bar and just be like, “I’m trans. What’s the problem?” And it’s been such a beautifully empowering thing for me to just be able to stand up, or I’m like, “oh Google me” … I love owning my transness. It’s so freeing to be in this space of full ownership of who you are, for me personally. I’m not saying this needs to be, you know, the situation for other trans folks — but my God. How freeing it’s been you just be able to sit at that bar, and I’m like, “You have an issue? OK, let’s go. I have stuff to do, if you have a problem then I can move on.” It is just a beautiful thing. BLADE: How did you get permission to use all those movie and TV show clips in the film? FEDER: All the clips that we use in the film came from personal stories and personal anecdotes and that was the nexus of telling this history. I did about 80 interviews with trans people who have worked on one side of the camera or the other and wanted to gather their memories of transgender representation, and from there accrue the database from which became the primary document of the film. While we were creating the story, it was crafted in such a way that you create original arguments with the footage. When you can create an original argument among certain context, you have fair use over material. So, we practiced our first amendment right. CONTINUES AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 19, 2020 • 19
Protesters take a rest in front of the former Circus of Books on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. (Photo by Troy Masters)
JULIAN from Inglewood. (Photo by Troy Masters)
Marchers at Sunset and Crescent. (Photo by Troy Masters)
Huge crowds for All Black Lives Matter protest
Boarded up stores along Hollywood Boulevard became works of art. (Photo by Norman Schwartz)
20 â€˘ LOSANGELESBLADE.COM â€˘ JUNE 19, 2020
Marchers along Sunset. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)
An aerial view of Hollywood Boulevard as hundreds of thousands of marchers assembled peacefully for the All Black Lives Matter march, one of the largest public assemblies in Los Angeles history. (Photo Charley Cullen Waters)
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With your support, our CARE Fund (Community Action Response Effort Fund) Withthat your support,and ourservices CARE Fund (Community Action Fund) will ensure resources are available for those who Response need themEffort the most.
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DVRKO shows you how to like it Los Angeles’ Dance music shining star “from the future” By SUSAN HORNIK
The remix album for “This Is How,” the debut single from the mysterious artist known as DVRKO featuring Sarah De Warren, is out now. After an initial launch shrouded in secrecy, the Main Mix of “This Is How” has been streamed on Spotify over 350,000 times within two weeks of its release last month; the single was also quickly added to the popular ‘Friday Cratediggers’ Spotify playlist. The combined Spotify monthly listeners of “This Is How” remixers has clocked in at over 2.4 million. At radio, the Gozzi Radio Edit and Gozzi Remix of the song is already airing on “The Remix Top30 Countdown” (iHeartRadio) nationally syndicated mixshow, “Club985” mixshow on KLUC-FM Radio Las Vegas (Entercom), and Dash Radio’s ElectroCity. Other remixes from Jayceeoh and Tony Arzadon are now available in the remix album and are making waves in a variety of national radio markets from Miami to Seattle with more radio stations being added each week. Having been proﬁled in early interviews published in Billboard and DJ Times – with more editorial coverage and interviews to come in the weeks ahead – and following a fun-ﬁlled Memorial Day takeover of EDM.COM’s Instagram account where DVRKO played all remixes of “This Is How,” the full remix album is now available. Remixes of DVRKO x Sarah De Warren’s “This Is How” include works by: ATLAST, BIJOU, Dark Intensity, dialedIN, Freshcobar, Gozzi, JAYCEEOH, Sak Noel, Sam Silver and Tony Arzadon. Los Angeles Blade talked to the artist about his career: Los Angeles Blade: Who is DVRKO? DVRKO: Who? The traps don’t work. Yeah we still have that owl problem at the studio. DVKRO however a mask and a man panhandling top lines down by the docks. A backstory, love, tragedy, music. Worlds together in a future where it’s needed more. Sound and compression, maybe a production chain with a Talkboy in it for no reason. Ask Macaulay. Inclusive and passionate, ethnicity, sexual orientation or identity, want everyone to move with what I can make. It’s EDM, it’s dance, be ready. I will bring pancakes. Los Angeles Blade: Can you please tell us about your music, speciﬁcally “This Is How” and your upcoming song, “Lights Up”? What went into writing those two songs? DVRKO: This is How. A story of tattered hope, love, laser dragons maybe, and how it all gets shredded together and fuses. Enough of it and it’s the only thing we return to, it might have been the weapon, but it’s the cure. Lights Up. A world polarized so many times. It’s 2020. A bell tolled. The ﬁrst taught us how vulnerable the world was. Another bell tolled and brought to those deaf to the world more cause that needed reform. The world needs hope, and it’s time. Lights Up is a story of redemption. Swab your ears with it. Los Angeles Blade: What’s next, for DVRKO? DVRKO: Growth, more music, more of the story. More of who I am. Most importantly so much more music. Never a set format, never stale. Some releases only on laserdisc. It would upend itself if not beautiful but it is. Be ready.
22 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 19, 2020
DVRKO (Photo by Kavan The Kid)
Los Angeles Blade: Give your thoughts on the news about Black Lives Matters, trans and gay rights advances in the news. DVRKO: DVKRO! Neon waterfalls of pulsing bass. A future from the past and a story. It’s EDM and it’s DVKRO. Inclusive entirely, bring ears of every kind and swab them with my iterations of sound until you move. Repeat and be part of the resistance. The world realized it was weak in the tone of a bell heard globally. Another bell tolled and brought tone to ears deaf. Music for movement, equality inherent, join me in the journey. SONANCE! The movement is for the unit of humanity, it’s what music should do. Gender, ethnicity, identity of any sort, a point of embrace. Deﬁnitely a laser dragon at some point. Deep pulsing movement that shakes your soul, remit cognition and feel the connect. FUEL! A light ﬂame burns in the distance, seeking fuel, hoping the world will ﬁnd it. The world is ready. Fuel me up. Bring your tokens. I will poorly make egg salad sandwiches. HOPE. As the world departs a monochrome desert, color it will ﬁnd painted in aural beauty. Let’s all break the dial oﬀ before the world tries to change the station again. Bring two chairs, I like to put my feet up.
is Honored to be
Organizational Grand Marshal DO YOU HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS? ARE YOU UNABLE TO SHOP OR COOK FOR YOURSELF? PROJECT ANGEL FOOD IS HERE TO HELP. Visit www.angelfood.org/apply DONATE TODAY DON www.angelfood.org/lapride50
Losangelesblade.com, Volume 4, Issue 25, June 19, 2020