(Photo montage by Max Huskins)
N OVE MB E R 1 9, 2021 • VO L U M E 05 • ISSUE 4 7 • AMERICA’ S LGBT Q NEW S SO U R C E • LO SAN G ELESB LAD E. C O M
‘There’s no place like home,’ The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing ‘My sanctuary. It is safety. It is my place of peace.’ By BRODY LEVESQUE
completely — that I would inherit money. And the ﬁrst thing that I did was set up LOS ANGELES – The impact of a philanthropist’s work on a community may the foundation and that’s become my passion.” often be felt although the public at large may not actually be informed on the The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing is a result of Getty’s focus. character of that person sometimes mistaking the physical recognition such as Located on the LA LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus oﬀ Santa Monica naming rights on buildings as ego driven. Boulevard in Hollywood, the 70,000-square-foot building has 98 aﬀordable This simple truth is hardly applicable to the Ariadne Getty Foundation’s housing units for seniors ages 62 and above. It also has a series of large common founder and namesake, Ariadne Getty, as her work is not driven by ego, instead spaces and interconnected courtyards and areas for its residents tied to the a unyielding devotion to community. larger Rosenstein campus. While the building bears the Getty name, the focus In Los Angeles the Getty family name can be found in public spaces that very much reﬂects the spirit of enhance the culture and education her ambition to oﬀer a secure and of Angelenos, the two most notable communal safe space for LGBTQ+ being the J. Paul Getty Museum seniors. at the Getty Center and the Getty “The lack of aﬀordable Research Institute Library. housing in this country is at an At LA’s central library one of the all-time high and presents even largest exhibition spaces carries greater hardships for the LGBTQ the family’s name. community given the many biases Ariadne Getty’s signiﬁcant which continue to exist. It’s an even philanthropic eﬀorts however, are greater problem amongst LGBTQ more focused on a marginalized seniors,” Getty told journalist Greg community and aren’t comprised Hernandez in a Blade interview of a grouping of public spaces conducted in March of 2020. adorned with plaques. This quiet Getty’s assertion that a lack of unassuming mother of two instead housing presents greater hardship prefers to direct eﬀorts into for LGBTQ+ seniors has been funding organizations that directly backed by studies released by beneﬁt the LGBTQ+ community. the Williams Institute on Sexual Her foundation has been Orientation and Gender Identity underwriting the eﬀorts of the Los Law and Public Policy at the UCLA Angeles LGBT Center and GLAAD. School of Law and in a study that Getty joined the board of directors showed LGBTQ+ people are being of the latter in 2016 and on Feb ARIADNE GETTY left out of generational wealth for 1, 2018 at the World Economic (Photo courtesy of Ariadne Getty) many reasons including family Forum in Davos, Switzerland, rejection, systematic barriers and a Getty pledged $15 million to the lack of ﬁnancial education. organization, which focuses on media and increasing the visibility and acceptance With almost half of LGBTQ+ adults saying they have been excluded by a family of the LGBTQ community. member or close friend as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Getty is the mother of two twenty-something children who are members of according to a study by the Pew Research Center, a lack of familial ﬁnancial the LGBTQ+ community and is the mother-in-law to a high-proﬁle Trans social support is a common problem for many in the community. media inﬂuencer who is married to one of her kids. While naturally focused on It is that disconnect from family or death of a partner or spouse that leaves the younger set as a result, she also has deep compassion for LGBTQ+ seniors a substantial portion of LGBTQ+ seniors alone. Many of them at risk for telling journalist Karen Ocamb in an interview this past January: “I’m particularly homelessness which has reached epic crisis levels in Los Angeles. excited about the seniors,” Getty says. “My heart goes out to them so much An estimated 65,000 LGBTQ seniors live in Los Angeles — 68 percent of whom because they’ve lost lots of their friends and they’re lonely and the Center [LAlive alone. Many struggle to aﬀord housing and other necessities. They are LGBT] provides such a hub of activity. And I love the fact that we’re going to be four times less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have children and joining the youth with the seniors, because the seniors will be able to educate grandchildren to support them and twice as likely to live alone. the youth about really the history and the hardships of getting to where we are These factors were reﬂected in the high demand during the application today, where we still have so far to go. But this is a far cry from being gay in the process to become a potential resident of the Getty Foundation/LA Center Senior ’40s or the ’50s — let alone during the ’80s with AIDS. I think people, as they get Housing two years ago. older, get afraid of new things like technology and I think that the youth can help On Tuesday the formal dedication in a press-only event culminated the yearsthe seniors with just staying up to date and feeling a part of that side. That’s long process that opened the Senior Housing, celebrating the latest resource for deﬁnitely the thing that makes me the happiest: they’re in a Center where they’re the community. The process though had also been very much aﬀected by the surrounded by people. There’s no room for loneliness.” coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the Tuesday event, the in-house communications Getty had a dream. “My goal has always been that I’ll be somebody that would team at the LA LGBT Center interviewed Getty. give to community, to be a part of philanthropy on a larger scale,” she told Ocamb. The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Center is the “cherry on the top” which “It’s been many years that I’ve known that — I can’t shy away from the question 02 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
(Photos courtesy of the LA LGBT Center)
completes the Center’s dream of building an intergenerational campus—congratulations! How do you feel knowing that the Senior Center is ﬁnally open, particularly when we experienced delays due to the pandemic? “I’m feeling a big sigh of relief knowing there are more LGBTQ seniors who ﬁnally have the housing and care they need and deserve. For decades, LGBTQ seniors have been on the front lines advocating for equality. Without the progress they achieved and their personal sacriﬁces, the LGBTQ community would not have the same rights it does today. COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging, but even before the pandemic, LGBTQ seniors faced disproportionate rates of homelessness,” Getty answered. “Unfortunately, the pandemic deepened disparities, making the The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Center an urgent need not only for the Los Angeles community, but as an example and inspiration for communities nationwide. It’s only right that we meet this urgent need and repay their decades of hardships with the services LGBTQ seniors need to live and age with dignity and respect. The Senior Center is another step towards achieving that goal and ensuring that the most vulnerable seniors receive the care they deserve.” In an email to the Blade, Getty’s children Nats and August Getty expressed their admiration and support for their mother’s charitable work as now physically evident with the completion of the Senior Housing. “We couldn’t be prouder to have a mom who cares so deeply for the LGBTQ community. Since we came out as queer, our mom and her foundation, The Ariadne Getty Foundation’s commitment to LGBTQ equality has only deepened – and the new Los Angeles LGBT Senior Center’s Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing is a standing tribute to that commitment. Because of her advocacy and philanthropy, she has helped create a home where LGBTQ seniors can live and age with dignity and respect. As out-queer, young adults, our ability to be our authentic selves comes on the back of the
tireless advocacy of LGBTQ elders. It is only right that these seniors receive the care and support they deserve. We are thankful our mom has helped make that a reality.” In addition to Getty’s foundation, the Senior Housing received support from investors and government agencies, including the City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County; City of West Hollywood; State of California; California Community Reinvestment Corporation; Federal Home Loan Bank of California; and Wells Fargo Bank. Also partnering was property management company Thomas Safran & Associates. In a phone interview Tuesday, the company’s President Jordan Pynes told the Blade that community was the primary focus that was incorporated into every aspect of the design. From the physical layout to the interconnectivity with the center’s main campus, every element was purpose driven to make sure that residents had the ability to mingle and build that sense of community. Joining in the interview call, Kevin Napoli, cofounder of the LENA Group, Inc. told the Blade that all the elements of the design were based on the larger campus, but stressed that the focus was on the interconnected courtyards and common spaces. The eﬀect to engender interactions between all members of the center’s community and the seniors. Senior Housing residents will have access to the full range of wraparound services and support provided by the Center, including case management; home-delivered meals; in-home care and beneﬁts assistance; connection to health and mental health care; HIV support and wellness; counseling and support groups; and more than 100 monthly activities and events provided for free or at low-cost. “We are immensely proud to ﬁnally open the doors of The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing following months of construction interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—but the wait was worth it,” said LA LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Just in time for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays, our residents can celebrate with each other in a safe, warm environment where they are able to live freely and fearlessly as their authentic selves. We have many reasons to be grateful this year, and are particularly thankful for Ariadne Getty, her foundation, and our aﬀordable housing developer partner Thomas Safran & Associates, who stepped up to work with us to improve the lives of many low-income seniors!” “This is probably the most important home I’ve ever had,” said new resident Lisa Chilton. “For 10 years, whether it was renting a room or sleeping on various sofas, I had been in many other people’s space, trying to stay small, and following their schedules. My new home is my sanctuary. It is safety. It is my place of peace.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • 03
LGBTQ elder care facilities open nationwide, but discrimination persists
Advocates say seniors face challenges despite groundbreaking advances By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Wentzel, an out lesbian, shared her life with her partner of 30 years, Judith Kahn, at the couple’s home in Illinois until Kahn died in 2013 of colon cancer. As is the case with some same-sex couples who never married, Kahn’s family took legal possession of the couple’s home several years later, forcing Wentzel, who suﬀered from severe arthritis, to move into the Glen St. Andrew Living Community, a retirement and assisted living facility in Niles, Ill. According to a lawsuit ﬁled on her behalf in 2016 by the LGBTQ litigation group Lambda Legal, when word got out that Wentzel was a lesbian after she disclosed her sexual orientation to a fellow resident, she was called homophobic slurs, spat on, and assaulted on several occasions by other residents of the facility. The lawsuit, which later resulted in a court ruling in Wenzel’s favor, charged that oﬃcials at the Glen St. Andrew facility illegally failed to take action to prevent Wenzel from being subjected to abuse and threats by fellow residents and retaliated against her when she complained. Lambda Legal announced one year ago, on Nov. 20, 2020, that Wenzel passed away at the age of 73 of natural causes after a landmark 2018 appeals court ruling in her favor aﬃrmed that residential facilities such as the one in which she lived are legally responsible for the safety of tenant residents. “Marsha spent the rest of her days in a senior living community where she was out and aﬃrmed,” said Lambda Legal attorney Karen Loewy, who represented Wetzel in the lawsuit. Advocates for LGBTQ seniors were hopeful that the 2018 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruling in the Wentzel case would speed up the gradual but steady advances in the rights of LGBTQ elders in long-term care facilities and in society in general. A short time later, the New York City-based national LGBTQ elder advocacy group SAGE expanded its programs providing cultural competency training for the nation’s long-term care residential facilities. And in some cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, LGBTQ speciﬁc retirement and long-term care facilities began to open to provide LGBTQ elders with a wide range of “wrap around” services in addition to a safe place to live. But LGBTQ elder advocates were taken aback in October of this year when news surfaced that transgender U.S. Army veteran Lisa Oakley, 68, was denied placement in more than twodozen long-term care facilities in Colorado in 2020 and earlier this year. “When they found out I was transgender, a lot of the facilities didn’t want me,” Oakley told USA Today. “A lot of transgender people, I’m sure, face the same thing,” she said. “We’re humans, just like everybody else.” Oakley told other media outlets her ordeal in trying to gain admission to a residential care facility began in October 2020, when she became unable to care for herself due to complications from diabetes. Her ﬁrst choice was a facility in her hometown in rural Craig, Colo., where she had lived for the previous 25 years. She believes that facility turned her down because of her gender identity. A social worker who assisted in Oakley’s applications for long-term care facilities said the facility in Craig said Oakley would have to be placed in a private room, which was at the time unavailable, “because she still has her ‘boy parts’ and cannot be placed with a woman” in a shared room. Many other Colorado facilities to which Oakley applied for admission, according to social worker Cori Martin-Crawford, cited the COVID pandemic as the reason for not accepting new residents. But as COVID related restrictions began to subside, other facilities continued to deny Oakley admission. With Martin-Crawford’s help, Oakley ﬁnally found a facility that is LGBTQ supportive in Grand Junction, Colo., which is nearly three hours away from her hometown of Craig, where she had hoped to remain. LGBTQ activists expressed concern that the discrimination that Oakley faced took place in the state of Colorado, which has a state law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Experts familiar with long-term care facilities for older adults have said many private elder care facilities can get around state LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws by claiming other reasons for turning down an LGBTQ person. 04 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Michael Adams, the CEO of SAGE, told the Blade that the wide range of programs and initiatives put in place by SAGE and other groups advocating for LGBTQ elders in recent years have resulted in signiﬁcant changes in support of LGBTQ seniors. “It is the case now that in almost all states there are one or more elder care facilities that have been trained through our SAGECare program,” Adams said. “But it’s nowhere near what it needs to be,” he said. The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing facility “It needs to be that there are opened this week in Los Angeles. (Blade ﬁle photo) welcoming elder care facilities in every single community in this country” for LGBTQ elders. Adams was referring to the SAGE program started recently called SAGECare that arranges for employees and other oﬃcials at elder care facilities throughout the country to receive LGBTQ competency training. The facilities that participate in the program are designated “SAGECare credentialed,” and are included in SAGE database lists available to LGBTQ elders looking for a safe facility in which to reside. SAGE spokesperson Christina Da Costa provided the Blade with data showing there have been 136,975 professionals trained at a total of 617 SAGECare credentialed organizations nationwide. Out of 617 organizations, 172 are residential communities. Also, out of the total of 617 are 167 Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Senior Centers, and senior Ombudsman oﬃces. Da Costa said 278 of the credentialed entities that have received the SAGECare training throughout the country are “other aging focused nonproﬁt and for-proﬁt businesses.” Adams of SAGE said the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center opened the nation’s ﬁrst LGBTQ elder residential facility over eight years ago called Triangle Square. He said the L.A. Center opened a second LGBTQ elder residential facility a short time later. And this week, the L.A. Center announced it has opened a third LGBTQ elder residential facility in Hollywood that is part of a larger “intergenerational campus” that will bring together LGBTQ seniors and LGBTQ youth. SAGE, meanwhile, operates two LGBTQ elder long-term care residential facilities in New York City, one in Brooklyn called the Stonewall House and one in the Bronx called Pride House. The other U.S. cities with LGBTQ elder residential facilities include: Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco (which has two such facilities), San Diego, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, and Islip, N.Y. Adams said the LGBTQ elder residential facilities range in size, with the largest – New York’s Stonewall House – having 143 apartments that can accommodate 200 residents. He said others vary from 40 or 50 residential units to 120. Advocates for LGBTQ elders point to what they consider another important breakthrough for LGBTQ elders this year in the release of a joint SAGE-Human Rights Campaign Long-Term Care Equality Index report for 2021. Adams said the report is the ﬁrst of what could become an annual report and rating and scorecard for long-term care elder residential facilities and other elder facilities. CONTINUED AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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10/28/21 2:09 PM
Newsom announces partnership at West LA VA Medical Center Governor also declares Nov. 11, 2021, as Veterans Day
FROM STAFF REPORTS The West LA VA Medical Center administers 90 to 100 Ahead of Veterans Day, California Governor Gavin boosters on-site daily through walk-ins or by appointment, Newsom visited veterans receiving COVID-19 vaccines and and is still administering ﬁrst and second vaccinations ﬂu shots at the West Los Angeles Veterans Aﬀairs Medical regularly. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Center Wednesday, where he highlighted the state’s ongoing (VAGLAHS), which includes the West LA center, is one of eﬀorts to increase vaccination rates and promote booster eight VA Healthcare Centers in California and oﬀers services shots for eligible populations and investments to address to veterans residing in ﬁve counties in Southern California. veterans’ homelessness. VAGLAHS is organizing a number of outreach events and Joined by California’s U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, California eﬀorts to vaccinate all veterans and eligible individuals. Department of Veterans Aﬀairs Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani, The Governor today also announced a partnership and California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary with the Hilton Foundation on a $69,000 grant to provide Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Governor also announced a $750,000 coordinated services to veterans to ﬁnd more permanent donation from Lennar Homes and Five Point Communities housing. The announcements build on the Governor’s that will purchase 86 tiny homes for veterans on the West unprecedented $22 billion investment to address housing Los Angeles Veterans Aﬀairs campus to help ensure that and homelessness, including $12 billion for homelessness veterans have a safe and digniﬁed place to live. Most of Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM speaking with a vet at the West LA and behavioral health services to help get tens of thousands the veterans from the “Veterans Row” encampment at San VA Medical Center. (Photo courtesy Oﬃce of the Governor) of people oﬀ the streets or avoid homelessness altogether. Vicente and Wilshire recently moved onto the campus. This package includes $25 million speciﬁcally for homeless “California is home to over 1.6 million veterans, the most veterans services and $20 million to support the West LA Veterans Aﬀairs campus. of any state in the nation. We’re continually working to ensure that our veterans and Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development their families receive the resources and support they need and have earned many times in collaboration with the California Department of Veterans Aﬀairs and the California over,” said Newsom. “Thanks to a partnership between California, the VA and Los Angeles Housing Finance Agency, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program County, more veterans in the region have a safe place to go to receive mental health (VHHP) ﬁnances the development of a variety of rental housing for veterans and their services and health care, including their COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are how we end this families, and has announced three awards today that are part of the West LA campus. pandemic, and boosters are how we keep our immunity strong.” VHHP will fund 189 of the 192 units, with awards for the three programs totaling $39.6 The Governor also issued a proclamation declaring November 11, 2021, as Veterans million. Day.
Through January 24
Getty Villa Museum FREE ADMISSION | getty.edu Image: The Calydonian Boar Hunt (detail), about 1611–12, Peter Paul Rubens. Oil on panel, 59.2 x 89.7 cm. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Text and design © 2021 J. Paul Getty Trust
06 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
WeHo wins 2021 ‘Most Business-Friendly City Award’
‘Signiﬁcant right now because of everything we’ve been through’ FROM STAFF REPORTS
The City of West Hollywood has been awarded the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s 2021 Most Business-Friendly (Photo courtesy City of West Hollywood) City Award. Awards were conferred at the 26th annual Eddy Awards evening ceremony on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at SoFi Stadium. The City of West Hollywood was a ﬁnalist among ﬁve cities with a population under 60,000 people; the four other cities named as ﬁnalists were the cities of: Culver City, El Segundo, Rosemead, and Vernon. “It’s an honor for the City of West Hollywood to be selected as the recipient of this year’s Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation award for Most Business-Friendly City,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “It’s especially signiﬁcant right now because of everything we’ve been through as a community in adjusting to the diﬃcult realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our city and our businesses have responded, throughout the pandemic, by working together to rise to the challenges of balancing shifting health-and-safety guidelines with creative solutions that support our community, our local economy, and one another.” The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s Eddy Awards annual dinner gala and awards
ceremony celebrates exceptional public and private leadership in economic development in Los Angeles County. The Most Business-Friendly City Award recognizes demonstrated outstanding contributions to economic development in the region in business, education, and government throughout LA County. This year’s awards stand out as they recognize cities that prioritized creating the most supportive environment for business recovery, reinvention, growth, and hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Most Business-Friendly City Award honors the community’s extraordinary resilience and collaborative eﬀorts, in celebration of economic reinvention by creating more equity and inclusion throughout LA County. In March 2020, the City of West Hollywood approved a declaration of local emergency in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic and it began implementing a series of immediate programmatic responses to address community needs and to provide regular updates to the community. Early in the pandemic, the City approved residential and commercial eviction moratoria to protect renters and tenants and the City regularly extended these moratoria and then aligned with state and county policies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood has taken extensive action to support businesses and workers. This includes weekly business-speciﬁc meetings, regular business outreach, enhanced technical assistance, and deferment and reduction of certain fees, as well as:
• A Small Business Grant and Microenterprise Program, which allocated general funds to assist eligible and qualiﬁed small businesses with small grants to meet operating expenses and retain or hire staﬀ; • A COVID-19 Free Webinar Series with informational presentations to assist community members in accessing information about a range of topics including health and safety information for businesses; mediation for commercial tenants and landlords; employer and employee resources; job assistance programs, and more; and • A temporary outdoor expansion program, called OUT Zones, to provide businesses in West Hollywood with outdoor commercial space in the public right-of-way to meet protocols set forth by the LA County Department of Public Health and State of California, which prohibited many indoor operations. More than 60 restaurants, shops, and personal care establishments expanded operations outdoors through OUT Zones. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) was founded in 1981 as a nonproﬁt public-beneﬁt organization to harness the power of the private sector in collaboration with LA County, to guide economic development, and to create more widely shared prosperity. The LAEDC drives action in support of a reimagined Los Angeles regional economy that is growing, equitable, sustainable, and resilient, and that provides a healthy and high standard of living for all. For more information, please visit www.laedc.org.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • 07
Trans Awareness Week begins as community is under siege
More than 100 anti-trans bills have been introduced in seven states By BRODY LEVESQUE
week and show our community that we are in this together,” Harper told the Blade. The San Diego LGBT Center kicked oﬀ Transgender Awareness Week 2021 on Nov. 13 With the news of the killing of Marquiisha Lawrence in Greenville, S.C. on Nov. 4, the by raising the Transgender Pride Flag over Hillcrest, San Diego’s ‘gayborhood.’ Several Human Rights Campaign has recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender community members, activists and representatives from the city and county’s elected non-conforming people than any year prior. oﬃcials were in attendance. At least 45 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year; This has become an annual tradition leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance HRC Foundation uses “at least” because too often on Nov. 20, which brings awareness to the these stories go unreported or misreported. continued struggle the transgender community Previously, the highest number of deaths faces and gives trans folks an opportunity to of transgender or gender non-conforming speak with their unique voices. people that HRC Foundation has tracked over Last month hundreds of out transgender a 12-month period was just last year in 2020, people and allies from across Florida and from when at least 44 transgender or gender nonas far away as Southern California gathered conforming people were killed. in Orlando to rally and to march, demanding “We are at a tragic and deeply upsetting justice, equality and acceptance. moment: With the death of Marquiisha Chanting, “Trans Solidarity,” and “Hey Hey, Ho, Lawrence, 2021 has become the deadliest Ho, Transphobia Has Got To Go!” participants year ever for transgender and gender nonin the third annual National Trans Visibility conforming people. Each of these 45 names March stepped oﬀ for their ﬁrst march to be represents a whole person and a rich life torn held outside Washington, D.C. This was also the from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry ﬁrst in-person parade since last year’s march and transphobia and stoked by people who hate was held mostly virtually, on account of the and fear transgender people and the richness COVID-19 pandemic. of their experience,” said Joni Madison, interim “There are so many of us who feel excluded president of the Human Rights Campaign. from our cities and our communities,” said Ariel “Dehumanizing rhetoric has real-life Savage of Riverside, Calif. consequences for the transgender community, Ebony Harper, executive director of California particularly transgender women of color but TRANscends, a statewide initiative that promotes especially Black transgender women. As we the health and wellness of transgender people have seen an unprecedented number of bills throughout California with a focus on Black and Participants at the National Trans Visibility March in Orlando, Florida last month. introduced in state legislatures attacking Brown transgender communities spoke to the (Photo by Dawn Ennis) transgender youth and trans adults, the Blade Saturday afternoon addressing the needs moment we are in is clear. They have attacked of the Trans community. transgender people’s right to health care, right to exist in public, and right to live openly, “While our community has some visibility in media, we still live under threats of with the ultimate goal of dehumanizing and erasing their lives and experiences,” she violence and having our rights stripped from us. That’s our reality. This isn’t a narrative; added. these are facts,” Harper said. In Tampa, Fla., another trans woman of color was found murdered further raising the This year alone, more than 102 anti-trans bills have been introduced in seven states — number of trans women who were killed this year. 47 to prevent trans kids from playing sports and the majority attacking how trans folks “In the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers, including a record number of antireceive healthcare. transgender bills and fatal violence, the trans community remains resilient and vibrant. “At least 45 transgender people were murdered this year, the majority Black and Latinx The strength displayed by transgender and nonbinary youth in response to these transgender women. I’m one of many Black trans women advocating for our community, attacks has been remarkable and should serve as a call to action for us all,” said Carrie but you as an ally can have a powerful impact. Spreading awareness, resisting ‘the status Davis, chief community oﬃcer for The Trevor Project. “Every person has a role to play quo’ for us, speaking-up, is harm prevention. That’s humanizing our experience. We are in creating a safer world for young trans people. The Trevor Project recently released a divinely human, just as you are divinely human. That’s what this week is about. It’s about study that found transgender and nonbinary young people who feel accepted by the our humanity,” Harper said. people in their lives are less likely to attempt suicide. This week, and every week, let us “I’ll be speaking at several Trans Day of Remembrance events here in Northern make clear that transgender and nonbinary youth deserve love, respect, and to live their California and I will talk about how you, the ally, have contributed to what we have now, lives without fear of discrimination and violence.” but we’re just getting started. Find you a Transgender Week of Awareness event this
08 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
WH unsure if Biden briefed on 2021 anti-trans violence
White House Press Secretary JEN PSAKI called deaths of transgender people ‘terrible, heartbreaking.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week she was unsure whether President Biden has been briefed on continued violence against transgender and non-binary people, with 2021 so far at 45 deaths and the highest number of killings ever reported. Psaki, asked by the Blade just days before the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, said reports of the violence are “terrible, heartbreaking” after saying she was uncertain
whether Biden was briefed. “I’m not sure, Chris, and I’m happy to ask the president’s — see with out domestic policy team if they briefed on that,” Psaki said. “That’s devastating, and that’s terrible, heartbreaking to hear. It is a commitment by the president to address violence, address threats to transgender people and anyone who is facing those threats, but I will see if he’s been briefed on that.” When the Blade followed up with an inquiry on what options are on the table to combat the violence, Psaki said she needed to do more research.
“In terms of reducing violence?” Psaki said. “Let me just see if he’s been briefed, and I’ll talk to our domestic policy team and maybe we can connect you directly with them.” Biden as a 2020 presidential candidate highlighted ongoing anti-transgender violence, including its disproportionate reported impact on transgender people of color. In his comprehensive LGBTQ platform, Biden repeatedly pledged he’d take steps to protect LGBTQ people from violence. In fact, Biden predicted the killing of transgender people would end if former President Trump were voted out of oﬃce, telling attendees at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2019: “The fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration.” The year 2021 reached a new record for anti-transgender violence upon the death of Marquiisha “Quii” Lawrence, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman who was shot and killed in her home in Greenville, S.C. Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement this week announcing 2021 has broken the record for violence against transgender and non-binary people a “tragic and deeply upsetting moment.” “With the death of Marquiisha Lawrence, 2021 has become the deadliest year ever for transgender and gender non-conforming people,” Madison said. “Each of these 45 names represents a whole person and a rich life torn from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry and transphobia and stoked by people who hate and fear transgender people and the richness of their experience.” The White House has given recognition to the grim milestone via White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who’s a lesbian and tweeted about the issue last week. “This year is the deadliest on record for transgender and non-binary people,” JeanPierre tweeted. “It’s unacceptable. Our hearts are with all who knew and loved the 45 people who have been killed this year. The march to end this epidemic of violence continues.” CHRIS JOHNSON
D.C. school postpones renaming theater after Chappelle of the Ellington community would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment.” The Washington Post reports that LGBTQ organizations, Netﬂix employees and some Duke Ellington students, including LGBTQ students, have criticized Chappelle’s comments about LGBTQ people in his Netﬂix special The Closer. “We have engaged in listening sessions with our students and have allowed space for diverse viewpoints,” the statement released by the school says. “We are committed to fostering a community where every individual feels both heard and supported.” “We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view, product or craft, but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.” LOU CHIBBARO JR.
D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts announced last week that it has postponed for ﬁve months its plan to rename its theater after comedian Dave Chappelle, a graduate of the acclaimed performing arts high school, following complaints about his comments about LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, in a Netﬂix special program. The school initially said it would hold a ceremony to rename the theater after Chappelle, one of its most famous alumni, on Nov. 23. In a statement released on Friday, the school said it would go ahead with the remaining at a ceremony rescheduled for April 22, 2022. In the statement, the school said Chappelle’s Netﬂix stand-up special, The Closer, “contains controversial material juxtaposing discrimination against Black Americans with that against non-Black members of the LGBTQ+ community.” The statement adds that holding the event this month “without ﬁrst addressing questions and concerns from members DAVE CHAPPELLE performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Aug. 19, 2017. (Photo by kathclick via Bigstock)
10 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LGBTQ youth ﬁnd refuge at church-run shelter in El Salvador Hogar Hogar Santa Marta opened in August
By ERNESTO VALLE created it. SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — LGBTQ youth in El Salvador “If you want to believe, you believe,” said Carlos. “They frequently face violence in their families and communities, don’t impose religion on you.” and this abuse often happens with impunity. Many of these “I feel more complete and more secure,” he added, while community members have either ﬂed their homes or have saying that he has learned to put himself ﬁrst. “That has been kicked out of them because they are not accepted for been the most noticeable change that I have been able to who they are. have.” A shelter that supports this vulnerable population has With this self-empowerment in mind, the second stage opened. for the shelter’s residents is to learn how to ﬁght for The Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador in 2009 their rights and know how to maintain them. Sustainable created its Sexual Diversity Ministry, a pastoral mission that relocation, family awareness and creating a life plan are brings together LGBTQ people and their communities. The also part of this eﬀort. ministry has become a space in which everyone can live their Alejandro, 23, has already been able to leave the shelter faith free of discrimination. with the technical team’s support. He was able to get a job Hogar Santa Marta opened in August, and is one of the and ﬁnd a new place to live. ministry’s initiatives. Hogar Santa Marta (Blade photo by Ernesto Valle) He learned about the shelter from a friend who is a Bishop Juan David Alvarado of the Anglican Episcopal member of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador. Church of El Salvador told the Washington Blade this project The friend helped him present his case and he became the ﬁrst young person to live in responds to human needs, especially when there is so much injustice. He said the shelter the shelter. is a temporary home for young people as they work to solve their problems or ﬁnd a way “Even though I was only there for a month, I felt the necessary support from the whole to better themselves. team,” says Alejandro. “We as a church wanted to give an answer to LGBTQ people who have suﬀered human He said he feels very involved with the shelter because he is its ﬁrst successful case. rights violations,” said Alvarado. Alejandro said he had the opportunity during his ﬁrst meetings to propose ideas about Hogar Santa Marta has already helped a number of LGBTQ young people. Three of them how the shelter can approach future cases. Alejandro added it was very rewarding to him moved into the shelter and others have been able to receive assistance at their time of that both the director and the psychologist took his thoughts into account. need. Now that he has been able to ﬁnd a job, Alejandro said he will do everything he can “Our ﬁrst option is that people do not necessarily have to experience family abandonment, to remain stable. He will particularly rely on the psychological support the shelter still so it is about achieving a conciliation with families,” explained Cruz Torres, coordinator of provides him, which is the third stage of its work. This support lasts for up to a year after the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador’s Sexual Diversity Ministry. He added the goal admission and is supported through an alliance with NGO’s, the government and private is to allow these young people to remain with their families. companies. Young people as of now primarily contact the shelter through its social media networks. Hogar Santa Marta has made a variety of strategic alliances that allow it to carry out its A technical team evaluates the cases and then determines the way to proceed with each of work. One of them is with the U.N.’s International Organization for Migrants and speciﬁcally them based on whether they are victims of violence or forced displacement or have been with its Integrated Responses on Migration from Central America project. kicked out of their homes. The shelter hopes to use this partnership to further develop a psychosocial program “This method of using networks has been deliberate in order to control our growth and that will be able to help more vulnerable LGBTQ youth. Hogar Santa Maria hopes it can use not to have an immediate saturation,” said Hogar Santa Marta Director Eduardo Madrid, some of these same strategies that IOM uses. who explained the shelter’s opening was delayed because it was not ready to support “Some of the instruments that they have speciﬁcally respond to psychological issues,” young people who need support. Jacobo explained. Helen Jacobo, the shelter’s psychologist, and Madrid created a protocol to determine the Hogar Santa Marta’s programs have been made available to IOM in order to improve the process to use with a person who is seeking help. way it views sexual diversity-related issues. They also hope to receive support for when The technical team creates a proﬁle of the person when it establishes contact with them they implement a group management program once more LGBTQ youth live in the shelter. and notes the situation in which they are living. It then passes this information along to the Rosalinda Solano, the national coordinator of the IOM project, said she is very interested psychologist who will then schedule an interview. in following up on the in-home work and hopes to enter into a collaboration with the “We can ﬁnd out about their support networks, if they have a shelter or a safe place (to shelter, such as the one that provides psychosocial support to LGBTQ people who have live) through a small interview,” said Jacobo. been returned to the country. Carlos, 25, sought the shelter’s support because of a series of the problems the pandemic “We have also managed to identify other possible links, through proﬁles that can be made worse. linked to job opportunities,” she said. “I had to leave my house because of mistreatment, insults and beatings,” he recalled. Solano said the project seemed to be something very innovative and needed in the Carlos said he was relieved to arrive at a safe place, and even more so when he knew country, which does not have anything else. She hopes it will do something that has not that he would have a lot of support. been done before in El Salvador. “They have provided me with a lot of services, such as psychosocial support and I will get “It takes a fairly comprehensive approach, not it is just providing shelter,” she said. a job very soon,” he said with joy. There are two other shelters in El Salvador that speciﬁcally serve the LGBTQ community— The shelter ﬁrst oﬀers its residents a place to live with access to regular meals and ASPIDH ARCOIRIS TRANS’ Casa Trans and COMCAVIS TRANS’ Casa Refugio Karla Avelar— psychological therapy to address the traumas they have experienced. The shelter also but they primarily serve displaced transgender women. Hogar Santa Marta is the ﬁrst accepts donations to provide residents with their basic needs. LGBTQ shelter in El Salvador that a church created. “For my part I am very grateful, we have worked on ourselves as a person,” said Carlos “Young people see home with great hope for a new life,” said Alvarado. with an assured look that conveys happiness from behind a face mask with a smile drawn The shelter can be found at Facebook as Santa Marta LGBT and on Instagram as @ onto it. He also expressed that he is grateful the shelter allowed him to live there with his santamartalgbt. There is a link to a GoFundMe account there where donations can be pet that he took with him when he left his house. made. Religion is not imposed upon the shelter’s residents, even though a church group 12 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
December 3 & 4 Dynasty Typewriter
V O L U M E 05 I S S U E 47
PETER ROSENSTEIN is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
To win in 2022, Democrats must be laser focused
This is not the time to attack moderates in the party Democrats have had a few weeks to think about and digest recent election results and clearly it had to be sobering. Virginia lost and New Jersey won by a thread. Across the nation, signs voters are retreating to their side of the aisle and independents are not happy with Democrats. In most areas it was only moderate Democrats who could win. In Buﬀalo, N.Y., the socialist candidate for mayor who managed to win the Democratic primary was soundly defeated by a write-in candidate. In New York City, the moderate candidate won the Democratic primary and became mayor. In Ohio, Shontel Brown, the more moderate Democratic candidate won the open congressional seat having beaten the left-wing candidate in the primary. Yes there were some progressive wins such as the mayor of Boston. But overall it was moderate Democratic candidates who managed to hold on. Now it’s time to look at the House of Representative seats that will be open because of retirements or people moving on to run for higher oﬃce. It may be tempting for everyone to jump into those races but Democrats need to look at who is retiring and ﬁnd candidates who can replicate their wins if they were Democrats. If those open seats were Republican then Democrats must look at the general electorate in the district or state to see who has the best chance of winning. One of the best chances for a Democratic pick-up of a Senate seat is in Pennsylvania. Clearly the statewide electorate in Pennsylvania is moderate to moderate right. Currently one of the candidates who seems to have the best record for such a win is Connor Lamb who is leaving his House seat to run for the Senate. Democrats will have to look at the open seat he leaves and determine who best can win in a very moderate district. This will happen in a number of other states like Florida, where Val Demings is leaving her seat to run for the Senate and Charlie Christ is leaving his seat to run for a second term as governor. In each case Democrats will need to be realistic when they look at whom to support in the primary and make
the determination on who can win not only the primary but the general election. This is not the time to attack moderate Democrats in Districts where only a moderate can win. It will be the time to tout what Democrats and President Biden have done on issues that will reverberate around kitchen tables. I recently heard about an LGBTQ group touting the teaching of ‘porn literacy’ in the schools. While understanding the concept behind this, helping young people digest and understand the things they are seeing, the term ‘porn literacy’ will be as much of a lightening rod as ‘defund the police.’ To recognize that just look at the ﬁghts in many districts against their school boards from the right. The ﬁght in Virginia against teaching ‘Critical Race Theory’ by people who don’t know what it means, and where it isn’t even taught. The ﬁght over the obscenity of trying to remove Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Beloved” from a school library. These are race-baiting ﬁghts but they made a diﬀerence in the gubernatorial campaign against the Democrat. Maybe it’s time for those like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to stop casting protest votes, like the one she cast against the hard infrastructure bill, which will bring billions to New York City, including to its subway system, which is used by thousands of her own constituents. Will she and other progressives cast a vote against the ﬁnal Build Back Better bill if it doesn’t have everything they want in it? AOC is smart and should continue to ﬁght for what she believes, but she asked to be elected to a legislature in which all progress is based on compromise, the system set up by our founders, and she needs to come to grips with that. It is a role diﬀerent from one who is only an outside agitator. Those inside are responsible for actually passing legislation beneﬁcial to their constituents. While things look diﬃcult for Democrats today there is still time to turn that around. Intelligent messaging, action by Congress, and a laser-like focus on winning congressional seats can make the diﬀerence.
14 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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Major DANIELLE STEWART
lives in Beckley, W.Va. She serves as chair of the city’s Human Rights Commission as well as on the boards of directors of numerous nonproﬁts. Reach her at email@example.com.
Sens. Manchin and Capito: We need your support Equality Act would protect LGBTQ West Virginians
I’ll never forget the day the Common Council for the city of Beckley, W.Va., voted to amend our nondiscrimination ordinance to protect individuals from discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. It was heart-warming to see the freedom and dignity of all LGBTQ people aﬃrmed in my home community. It’s made Beckley stronger and a brighter place to live, work, and visit. As a transgender veteran, the passage of the ordinance felt especially fulﬁlling to me. I served my country proudly for 23 years, including three combat tours—two to Iraq and one to Afghanistan— earning three Bronze Stars for my service, in addition to other awards. When I returned home, I was left vulnerable to discrimination in key areas of life. That’s because West Virginia is one of 29 states where LGBTQ people are not protected by either an explicit statewide law, or federal protections prohibiting discrimination in housing, healthcare, and public spaces like restaurants and stores. I’m grateful to have protections in Beckley, but when I leave the city or visit a place where discrimination is allowed, I lose that security. It bothers me that I served my country, deployed to places where many people did not want to go, and yet I’m told in most of this country that I don’t deserve to be protected and guaranteed respect and dignity. As service members, we take the oath to protect the Constitution of the United States, and I believe that the Constitution includes and protects all of us; “We the People” means everyone. I came out for the ﬁrst time to anyone in 2010, but it wasn’t until years later, after I retired from the Army, that I came out more publicly. The government policy at the time denied open service to transgender people. The Army spent years and millions of dollars training me, and other transgender people, to protect our freedom and nation; yet we would be discharged if we tried to serve as our authentic selves. I cannot fathom why, in an all-volunteer military, we would turn away qualiﬁed people. My experience in the military gave me a glimpse of anti-
16 • NOVEMBER 19, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LGBTQ discrimination, and I’m glad that categorical employment discrimination is no longer government’s policy. Still, discrimination continues to happen. One of my friends who is transgender got a job after many rejections, but was quickly taunted by her employer and fellow employees using her pre-transition name, intentionally called the wrong pronouns, and generally creating a hostile work environment. A gay male couple in my neighborhood was one of the ﬁrst same-sex couples to marry in West Virginia; but two weeks later one of the men was ﬁred, supposedly for “performance issues” that had never surfaced prior to his marriage. I personally have been misgendered and harassed at a fast food restaurant nearby, the workers at which repeatedly ignored me when I corrected their use of “sir” and male pronouns. It’s well past time that we address this, by taking action at the federal level. Right now, the Equality Act is pending in the U.S. Senate, having already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. We need our senators — including Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito — to come aboard and support the passage of comprehensive federal protections. Our senators have the opportunity to make bipartisan history, to say, together, “We believe in equality in West Virginia.” With a spotlight on our state like never before, it’s up to our senators to illuminate the path forward, get to work, and ensure everyone has a chance to thrive. It’s been a scary year to be transgender, as state after state passes demeaning anti-transgender laws. These bills send a pervasive, cruel message that transgender people are not welcome. It pains me to say that right now, I am the most guarded that I have ever been in the United States, nearly as guarded as I was while deployed for combat overseas. That’s a sad reality, and there’s really only one way to ﬁx it. We need to pass the Equality Act. We need to protect all LGBTQ Americans, including veterans like me. We need to live up to West Virginia’s state motto: “Mountaineers Are Always Free.”
! n e p O w o N
The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing
At the Corner of
Gratitude and Hope An estimated 65,000 LGBTQ seniors live in Los Angeles—68% of whom live alone. Many struggle to afford housing and other necessities. They are four times less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have children and grandchildren to support them and twice as likely to live alone. The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing, created in partnership with affordable housing developer Thomas Safran & Associates, received invaluable support from investors and government agencies, including: City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County; City of West Hollywood; State of California; California Community Reinvestment Corporation; Federal Home Loan Bank of California; and Wells Fargo Bank. We thank Ariadne Getty, her foundation, and Thomas Safran & Associates for stepping up to work with us so that LGBTQ seniors can thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society!
Holiday movie & TV preview
Lesbian romance, ‘Rent’ adaptation, and Lady Gaga make the season bright By JOHN PAUL KING
It wasn’t all that long ago – barely one or two Decembers ago, really – that the holiday lineup of movies and TV shows oﬀered very little in the way of LGBTQ inclusion. It may have been the time of year to don our gay apparel, but the closest thing to gay representation we were likely to get on our screens was an elven dentist and a few misﬁt toys. This year, however, is a diﬀerent story. The seasonal entertainment landscape of 2021 brings with it the usual crop of mainstream (read: straight) crowdpleasers with queer appeal (Lady Gaga as scheming real-life social-climber and Gucci murderer Patrizia Reggiani? Yes, please!), but it also comes bearing a much heftier-than-usual bag of gifts in the form of actual queer content, with actual queer characters and stories, and with some of our favorite stars. Not all of them are holiday stories, of course, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all make the season brighter – and the Blade is here to help you sort through the bounty with our annual Holiday Preview, a roundup of titles our readers will want to check out. The list is below:
(Netﬂix and in theaters 11/ 19): Perfect for Broadway lovers, this is the hotly anticipated ﬁlm adaptation of the posthumously produced autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who revolutionized musical theater as the creator of “Rent” but died suddenly of an aortic dissection at 35 before he could see it grow to a global phenomenon. The ﬁlm follows the young theater composer – played by Andrew Garﬁeld – as he struggles to write what he hopes will be the next great American musical while waiting tables in a NYC diner, dealing with pressures in his personal life, and watching the artistic community around him be ravaged by the ongoing AIDS crisis. Fittingly enough, this hotly anticipated ﬁlm about a Broadway giant is the feature directorial debut of another Broadway giant – none other than “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, himself. Written by Tony-winner Steven Levenson (“Dear Evan Hansen”), it also stars Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Mj Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter (aka Black Thought of The Roots), Judith Light, and Vanessa Hudgens.
House of Gucci
(In theaters 11/24): As mentioned above, this tale of true crime and high fashion stars LGBTQ ally Lady Gaga, and it’s already been called “disappointing” by the real-life Gucci family – so you know it’s going to be juicy. Inspired by the shocking true story of Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), whose marriage into the family behind the Italian fashion house takes center stage as the ﬁlm chronicles three decades of love, betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately murder. Directed by multiple Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott, this sure-ﬁre award season contender also stars Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, Al Pacino, Reeve Carney, and an unrecognizable Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci.
(Showtime and in theaters 11/24): Another import from the Broadway stage, this seasonally appropriate adaptation of Stephen Karam’s Tony-winning drama centers on a dysfunctional NYC family as they help their youngest daughter Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) move into her new apartment with her boyfriend (Steven Yuen) on Thanksgiving Day.
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PHILEMON CHAMBERS and MICHAEL URIE in ‘Single All the Way.’ (Photo courtesy of Netﬂix)
This sets the scene for a relatable – if occasionally uncomfortable – holiday dinner in which personal issues become fodder for discussion and family conﬂicts start rearing their ugly heads. More than just another cutting domestic drama for the holidays, this one goes deep to oﬀer a slice-of-life observational commentary on the state of family life in America today. Amy Schumer co-stars as Brigid’s older lesbian sister Aimee, and Jayne Houdyshell reprises her acclaimed Broadway performance as the girls’ mother, in an ensemble cast that also features Richard Jenkins and June Squibb. Playwright Karam not only wrote the adaptation himself, but also directed, making his debut behind the camera and ensuring that this one is sure to be a must-see for fans of theater and ﬁlm alike.
Saved by the Bell, Season 2
(Peacock TV 11/24): Peacock’s reboot of the classic ‘90s sitcom returns for a second round, and besides the obvious appeal in the camp and nostalgia departments, it also features a trans leading character portrayed by a trans actress. Populating the halls of Bayside High is a cast that includes Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Mario Lopez, John Michael Higgins, Haskiri Velazquez, Mitchell Hoog, Josie Totah, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Belmont Cameli, Dexter Darden, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiﬀani Thiessen, and Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle).
Single All the Way
(Netﬂix 12/2): Yet another Tony-winner (Michael Mayer) directs this promising entry to the Holiday roster, Netﬂix’s ﬁrst-ever gay-themed Yuletide romance starring Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty,” Broadway’s “Torch Song”) as a gay man who asks his best friend (Philemon Chambers) to pose as his boyfriend at his family’s Christmas dinner to avoid being questioned about his perpetually single status. Unbeknownst to him, his mom (Kathy Najimi) has already planned to set him up with her handsome personal trainer (Luke MacFarlane) – which obviously means that festive hijinks are sure to follow. This slice of seasonal sweetness also features Barry Bostwick (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) and Jennifer Robinson, and capping it oﬀ is the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge, rounding out her “White Lotus” year with what will undoubtedly be another mesmerizingly dotty performance in a supporting role.
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Holiday movie and TV preview The Bitch Who Stole Christmas
with a heavily inclusive LGBTQ cast and queer storylines that feature a gay couple (played by Mark Indelicato and Vincent Rodriguez III) and one of the ﬁrst transgender love stories ever to be found in a holiday rom-com. The series consists of ﬁve hour-long episodes tracking the Diaz family as they search for love and purpose across ﬁve diﬀerent holidays during the year. Also starring are Emeraude Toubia, Desmond Chiam, Rome Flynn, Isis King, Todd Grinnell, Constance Marie, and Benito Martinez.
(VH1 12/2): In the “why didn’t they do this sooner?” category is this holiday special from Emmywinning TV icon and “Drag Race” legend RuPaul, who takes the screen as “a workaholic big-city fashion journalist” who (according to the show’s oﬃcial description) goes on assignment to “a Christmas-obsessed small town” and “ﬁnds herself in the middle of cutthroat housewives, a high-stakes ‘Winter Ball’ competition, and a sinister plot that could destroy Christmas fore-evah!” Joining Mama Ru onscreen will be 20 “Drag Race” winners and a host of other celebrities. We’re there.
Under the Christmas Tree
(Amazon Prime 12/17): From Gloria Calderón Kellett, the critically acclaimed showrunner of the queer-inclusive reboot of “One Day at a Time,” comes Amazon Prime Video’s ﬁrst holiday miniseries, complete
MICHAEL URIE and JENNIFER COOLIDGE in ‘Single All the Way.’
20 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 19, 2021
(Photo courtesy of Netﬂix)
(Lifetime 12/19): Lifetime’s ﬁrst-ever lesbian romance begins when “Christmas tree whisperer” Charlie Freemont (Tattiawna Jones) ﬁnds the perfect tree for the governor’s holiday celebration – in the backyard of marketing whiz Alma Beltran (Elise Bauman). The two women spar, naturally, but it’s not long before – with a little help from the tree and “some Christmas fairy dust” from the town’s resident pastry chef (Ricki Lake) – the romantic sparks begin to ﬂy.
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Bisexual journey ‘Greedy’ is a book to share A tale of universal experiences – rejection, love, vulnerability By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER
Share, and share alike. That may, in retrospect, be the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard. You’re not asking for the stars and the moon; you just want what you want and why pass it around? As in the new book “Greedy” by Jen Winston, who’d ever think that getting what you deserved to have was wrong? Back in the “aughts,” when Jen Winston was rocking her AIM handle and pretending to be boy-crazy, she had no word for liking boys and girls – though she knew she did. Had she questioned anyone, she would have been told that it was a phase, an experiment, or a matter of confusion but she never asked. She instinctively knew that doing the “gay stuff” was hard. As she grew up and learned the word for what she felt, the idea of being with a woman became more appealing but not quite comfortable. Yes, Winston quietly told herself she was bisexual, but bisexuality “never felt queer enough.” Besides, dating straight men was like the equivalent of “comfort food,” though it never worked and was really not much fun. Various roommates through the years indulged in her search for love, though, by crowdsourcing answers to questions posed by online dates. They also looked the other way as Winston learned that selfpleasure could be ugly, and she didn’t want to be “U-G-L-Y.” She tried threesomes but they were loaded with potential rejection; she tried chatrooms but they were scary. She learned that “we” is a painful word when you’re not part of it. Bisexuality comes with a lot of frustrating myths and bisexual people, says Winston, are sometimes not included in the LGBTQ community. Bi people aren’t especially promiscuous – they’re not trying to steal your partner from you – and they’re not all just white or female. They are well aware that dating sucks, fairy tales are hard to believe in, and that there are lots of different ways to be gay. You want it all: You want hearts and romance but you also want down and dirty. You want to be heard, but you don’t want to talk about it. You want to be enough but not so much that it’s weird. And you want it with laughs, though that’s not the main thing about this book. While its cover indicates lightheartedness and author Jen Winston seems perfectly happy to tell funny, tongue-in-cheek tales about herself, “Greedy” sports a serious vein that almost feels like a shout. Winston writes of universal experiences – rejection, falling in love, vulnerability, and wanting so much to be adored – and she makes light of them in a way that clearly isn’t meant to be all that humorous. We can chuckle, yes, but she also lets us pretend that we don’t care about those hurts – even though, like Winston, we all know that we do. Be aware that there are chapters here that are very graphic and are not appropriate for just anyone. If Winston’s journey is your journey, too, though, “Greedy” is something to share.
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‘Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much’ By Jen Winston c.2021, Atria | $18 | 336 pages
Father & son writing team give ‘Simpsons’ gay character a boyfriend Rob LaZebnik, 59, one of the creative writers and co-executive producer of the longest running cartoon comedy in American television history, ‘The Simpsons,’ teamed up with his son Johnny, 27, also a television creative writer to produce an episode that gives the character of Waylon Smithers a boyfriend. The episode set to air on Sunday, November 21 the start of the Thanksgiving holiday week is titled ‘Portrait Of A Lackey On Fire.’ The synopsis for the episode reads: “Smithers finds true love with a famous fashion designer, but will his new relationship destroy Springfield?” The long-suffering assistant to the show’s Über wealthy and twisted maniacal character of Montgomery Burns, falls in love with fashion designer Michael De Graaf, voiced by four time Tony award and six time Emmy award nominated Out actor Victor Garber. Smithers is voiced by Emmy award winner Harry Shearer. The 2016 season episode of ‘Tom Collins’, had Smithers come out as gay after years of speculation. For the elder LaZebnik, who wrote that episode, his inspiration was his son Johnny who is gay. For the writing duo, this up coming episode brings the storyline full circle as they explore a gay relationship. In an interview with the New York Post published Thursday, the elder LaZebnik told the paper; “To be able to work with Johnny on this was, like, such a dream and to be able to see how truly funny and talented he is was just, you know, super fun and rewarding.” His son noted, “I know my dad is a comedy writer. I grew up with him — obviously, I know he’s a funny guy,” Johnny, 27, told The Post. “But actually getting to sit down and write jokes with him was so much fun. And there were some moments where I was like, ‘Dad, that’s disgusting — we can’t put that on television,’ which I didn’t expect to be saying because I’m usually the disgusting one.” “We now have this piece of content that we put into the world together that is a combined brainpower of the two of us.” The younger LaZebnik also told the Post; “So often, gay romances are a subplot or alluded to or shown in some kind of montage or as a punchline. “And what I think I was really excited about, with this episode, we get to see – without spoiling too much – the beginning, middle and who knows how it ends of a gay relationship, of really getting into the nitty-gritty of how gay people date, how they meet, what it’s like.” He added: “That was really special to me to get to highlight characters who are not punchlines, who are fully formed.” FROM STAFF REPORTS
24 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 19, 2021
Waylon Smithers (left) kisses his first boyfriend, fashion mogul Michael De Graaf (Photo courtesy of The Simpsons & 20th Television)
‘The Simpsons’ writer ROB LAZEBNIK, right, with his son JOHNNY. (Photo courtesy of Rob and Johnny LaZebnik)
Fun holiday gifts for car fans
Something for everyone, from Bentley trikes to a Mercedes tree topper By JOE PHILLIPS
For all those gear heads in your life, here are some fun holiday gifts to get their motors running. Many of these stocking stuﬀers are aﬀordable. Others, well, not so much.
Bentley Trike for Tykes
Leave it to Bentley to create a fancy fuchsia trike ($500). With six modes, from stroller to tricycle, parents can adjust this three-wheeler as a toddler gets older. Along with the “Big B logo,” the Bentley name is emblazoned on the down tube. Yes, there are more subdued colors, but why bother?
Ford Sherpa Blanket
Cuddle up with a warm and fuzzy Sherpa blanket ($30), made of 100% polyester and the Ford logo embroidered in the corner.
MINI Travel Bag
For quick weekend getaways, MINI has a large soft-luggage travel bag ($190) with extendible handle, two wheels, large main compartment, outer pocket and removable zipped pockets.
Mercedes Tree Topper
What better tree topper than a Mercedes three-pointed metal star ($52), which measures 8 inches across. Post on social, and dare anyone to top that!
Aston Martin Wristwatch
Just in time for the holidays, there’s the Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition ($18,000). Made by Girard-Perregaux), this ritzy wristwatch has a high-grade stainless-steel case, ﬁnely polished edges on the bezel, sapphire-crystal pane on the back, and racing-green paint applied to the dial 21 times.
Simple but elegant, Jaguar’s compact suitcase ($282) has a polycarbonate shell, aluminum frame and multidirectional wheels that look like real alloy car wheels. Two larger suitcases also available.
Subaru Holiday Sweater
Just shy of being an entrant at some ugly-sweater contest, this festive Subaru holiday sweater ($70) is 100% acrylic and incredibly comfortable.
Front End of a 1962 Ferrari 268 SP
Only one 1962 Ferrari 268 SP race car was ever built, and now there’s a full-scale replica of the front end ($22,000). A pedestal is available, or enthusiasts can mount this work of art on the wall.
Ferrari Vintage Steering Wheel
Porsche Table-top Clock
The alarm tone on this tabletop clock ($250) sounds just like a throaty Porsche 911 engine. Includes Martini Racing design, as well as a countdown function and analog/digital display.
Rolls-Royce Portable “Pursuit Seat”
Rolls-Royce, known for its relentless pursuit of perfection, now has a portable “Pursuit Seat” ($8,800) — perfect for any derriere. The adjustable seat is anything but old school, made of carbon ﬁber, polished aluminum and cushy leather (tastefully embossed with the Spirit of Ecstasy insignia, of course). 26 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 19, 2021
For more frugal fare (kinda sorta) Ferrari oﬀers a vintage three-spoke steering wheel ($4,010). Such steering wheels were used in Ferraris between 1959 and 1965, and this full-scale repro—made of mahogany and polished aluminum—features the iconic prancing horse in the center.
Bentley Heritage Bear
Many automakers oﬀer cuddly teddy bears, and Bentley is no exception. The limited-edition Heritage Bear ($57) is decked out in snazzy ﬂeece jacket, suede-like helmet and racing goggles. There’s even a dust bag with drawstring for safekeeping.