Los Angeles Blade, Volume 06, Issue 19, May 13, 2022

Page 1

(Screenshot/White House-YouTube)


LA Sheriff seeks public help in fatal shooting An unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s or 30s, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds early Saturday morning at a South Los Angeles homeless encampment and was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the 2100 block of Firestone Boulevard in the Florence-Firestone area around 2:30 a.m. On scene, they found a woman unconscious on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds according to Deputy Raquel Utley from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department. It’s unclear at this time if the shooting was gang-related, Utley said. Anyone with information about the deadly shooting is urged to contact the LASD Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.


(Photo courtesy LA County)

OC man shoots boyfriend, SoCal police chase U-Haul An Anaheim man has been charged with attempted murder after shooting his boyfriend and then leading multiple Southern California police agencies in a multi-county high-speed pursuit in a U-Haul truck that ended with a SWAT team removing the suspect from the vehicle. According to the Garden Grove Police Department, Ali Samoodi, 51, shot the unidentified male victim that he was in a relationship with at about 2:45 a.m. and then fled the scene in the 5300 block of Santa Barbara Avenue, Garden Grove, in a U-Haul truck. The victim was taken to hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to his head and remains in critical condition. In the press release, the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) noted that the vehicle was tracked to Menifee where officers from Menifee Police Department attempted a traffic stop. “The suspect failed to stop and led Menifee Police Department, Riverside County Sheriffs

and the California Highway Patrol on a high speed pursuit for approximately 33 miles,” the GGPD release said. Police say that after “multiple traffic collisions” that left the U-Haul “no longer operable,” Samoodi stopped his vehicle near the 10 Freeway and Cedar Avenue in Bloomington, where he refused to get out creating a stand-off situation. “SWAT from the Riverside County Sheriffs responded and took the suspect into custody a short time later. The suspect did not sustain any injuries and was transported back to the Garden Grove Police Department,” the press statement continued. He was transported to the Orange County Jail and booked for attempted murder and other charges related to the pursuit. The investigation is ongoing and any witnesses are asked to contact Garden Grove Police Detective Terra Ramirez at 714-741-5839

Brazen robbery in WeHo — thieves use Rolls-Royce as getaway A robbery on the Sunset Strip early Sunday morning of two watches, one worth approximately worth $18,000, had a not-so-typical twist as the getaway according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was in a Rolls-Royce luxury car. A LASD spokesperson said that at around 1 a.m. near Sunset Boulevard and Larrabee Street, six men stole the watches and according to witnesses fled in a late-model Rolls-Royce. Several persons were detained and a female suffered minor injuries. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff – West Hollywood Station detectives at (310) 855-8850.

Costa Mesa Police seek public’s help in locating man assaulting women The Costa Mesa Police Department is seeking information on the whereabouts of a wanted suspect, Johnny Young. Young, a self-described involuntary celibate (incel), is wanted in connection with several hate crimes. Young has allegedly confronted several females outside of bars in Costa Mesa using vulgar and explicit language. These confrontations have led to him assaulting several people. He is known to drive a Chevy cargo van with a green stripe. Anyone with information is asked to contact efricke@ costamesaca.gov or 714-754-4908. Incel is commonly defined as: A person who regards himself or herself as being involuntarily celibate and typically expresses extreme resentment and hostility towards those who are sexually active. STAFF REPORTS

Costa Mesa Police are looking for JOHNNY YOUNG. LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MAY 13, 2022 • 03


Hollywood residents angry over Sunset Blvd. homeless encampment

thought that they would have some tools at their disposal,” Lawrence S. said. “But the city For those who live in the Hollywood neighborhood that surrounds the homeless encouncilwoman is only enforcing a part of that ordinance, which is the Care Plus Cleanup campment on Sunset Boulevard at Martel Avenue, the last seventeen months have been program. However, she’s only doing it when she feels like enforcing it, which is three times aggravating. in 17 months.” Many residents are frustrated over the increasing daily criminal activity that has plagued Residents say that the city’s efforts to clean up and clear out the encampment only rethe area, including vehicle break-ins which at times has resulted in multiple break-ins on sults in the homeless displaced for a couple of days sometimes less and then they return the same vehicles. to reestablish the encampment. This past Thursday the city again clean and cleared the “We’ve had tons of break-ins. Our garage has been broken into five times. Cars are encampment. vandalized. Mail is stolen,” local resident While an KABC 7 camera and reportLawrence S., who lives near the encamper Josh Haskell were working on the story ment, told KABC 7. “Our building, the buildhomeless people were in the background ing across the street, the building across reestablishing their presence across the the street that way — there’s just rampant street. crime. KABC 7 reached out to Councilwoman “I actually had my sister in-law come to Nithya Raman whose office responded with visit for the first time and she parked across a media statement: the street in broad daylight and within 30 “This encampment is a priority for our ofseconds, someone from the homeless enfice, and our Homelessness Team has been campment was down swinging a club at consistently bringing services and working her. The violence is escalating and we keep with the individuals living at this location. asking the City Council, what is it going to LAHSA outreach teams most recently identake? Do we need to wait till someone’s tified seven people living here and together murdered?” we worked to move three of them into shelThe encampment is located at 7323 Sunter just yesterday as part of our Encampset Blvd. and surrounds an AT&T building. ment-to-Home project, which has already It’s located in L.A. City Councilwoman Nithya moved 43 people in Hollywood indoors. Raman’s district who toured the encampAdditionally, a cleanup took place at this ment in 2021, joined by residents, including (Screenshot via KABC7) location yesterday and we are working to Terry S. move the remaining individuals into shelter “She promised. She said that she would as soon as beds become available. We are in continued communication with the residents be adamantly enforcing ADA compliance. That she’s looking into setting up a safe camping in the neighborhood regarding the status of our progress as we move forward.” location for the campers. Never happened,” Terry S. told KABC 7. FROM STAFF REPORTS “In August, 41.18, an ordinance, passed and we were very hopeful because finally we

Gas prices surge again to $5.76 per gallon Southern California gas prices rose in response to wholesale price increases last week and earlier this week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.76, which is seven cents higher than last week. The average national price is $4.25, which is 11 cents higher than a week ago. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.84 per gallon, which is six cents higher than last week, 12 cents lower than last month, and $1.73 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.81, which is seven cents higher than last week, 10 cents lower than last month, and $1.72 higher than last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.84, which is five cents higher than last


week, seven cents lower than last month and $1.77 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.77, which is five cents higher than last week, 10 cents lower than last month and $1.74 higher than last year. In Bakersfield, the $5.79 average price is four cents more than last Thursday, six cents lower than last month and $1.84 higher than a year ago today. “Gas prices rose throughout the U.S. this past week because of continued supply concerns related to Russian oil,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “Continued high gas prices have many consumers thinking about buying more fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles, and the new AAA Car Guide produced by the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center is now available to help them assess their options.” FROM STAFF REPORTS

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Newsom on Supreme Court abortion leak: ‘It’s about controlling women’

Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his outrage over the leaked U.S. Supreme Court abortion opinion, telling reporters at a media event Wednesday the high court is on track to making a decision that would roll back women’s constitutional rights. The governor made the comments while standing with women carrying signs during a news conference held at the Planned Parenthood non-profit’s South Los Angeles location. “This is about controlling women. We know that, historically, it has been,” Newsom said. “It’s guys that look like me that are disproportionately deciding these decisions,” the governor added. “I think folks should really be pissed off at this moment.” “We look forward to going in front of the voters, affirming his constitutional right in our state in the Constitution, not just statute, because we now recognize the vulnerability of the moment we’re living in,” Newsom said. The goal is to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot this November, Newsom said. “At a time when countries around the world are expanding liberties, expanding freedoms, expanding rights, here we are, in the United States of America, about to roll back rights,” Newsom said. The governor said more freedoms are threatened, beyond reproductive rights. “Pay attention, America. They’re coming after you next,” the governor said. BRODY LEVESQUE

Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM spoke out against the Supreme Court’s leaked brief.

Bill allowing teens to get vaccinated without parental consent OK’d

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)’s Senate Bill 866, the Teens Choose Vaccines Act, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-0. It will now be heard by the full Senate. SB 866 allows young people 12 and older to get vaccinated without parental consent. SB 866 applies to all vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that meet the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) (Photo courtesy LA County) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young people 12 and over are already allowed to make critical decisions about their bodies without parental consent, including getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B vaccines, accessing reproductive health care and mental health care, and other health services. SB 866 builds on existing law to expand youth access to vaccines. “We should empower teens to protect their health, even if their parents oppose vaccination or simply aren’t making time to get their kids vaccinated,” said Wiener. “When we allow anti-vaccine parents to take away their teens’ right to get vaccinated, we’re sending the message that young people’s health is not important. Vaccines are a miracle of science, and we must make them available as widely as possible.” With the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread availability of highly effective and safe vaccines to treat serious COVID-19 illness, it’s more important than ever that young adults be able to access vaccines. Over a quarter of young people ages 12 and 17 — nearly a million young people — remain unvaccinated. These low vaccination rates can have dire consequences for teens; a recent study found that almost all teenagers who needed intensive care for COVID-19 were unvaccinated, and all who died were unvaccinated. Under existing law, young people ages 12 to 17 cannot be vaccinated without parental consent, unless the vaccine is specifically to prevent a disease that is sexually transmitted. This serves as a significant barrier to teen health in California, particularly in situations where parents and children hold conflicting views about vaccines. 06 • MAY 13, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

(Screenshot via KTLA)

Parental consent requirements for vaccines are also a barrier in cases where a child is experiencing medical neglect, or simply because working or otherwise busy parents are not available to take their children to medical visits. Low-income children may experience longer waits to get vaccinated because their parents may work longer hours — often without paid time off — and can’t take them to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. Young people age 12 and 17 can also get birth control and abortions (which have no age limit), as well as medical treatment for sexually transmitted infections, drug and alcohol-related disorders, injuries resulting from sexual assaults and intimate partner violence, and mental health disorders – all without parental consent. In addition, various states already allow teens to access vaccines without parental consent, including Alabama, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Oregon, and Rhode Island. This problem has implications far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Measles, for example, spreads efficiently among unvaccinated youth, whose parents have sadly chosen to block them from receiving a potentially life-saving vaccine. Measles was, at one time, considered eliminated in the United States. But vaccine misinformation and hesitancy has allowed it to spread once again. Allowing young people to get vaccinated is critical not only for physical health, but for mental health, too. The United States Department of Health and Human Services found that adolescents ages 12-17 are seven times more likely to experience a new or recurring mental health issue after getting sick with COVID-19. And studies have found that school closures over the past couple of years have led to negative impacts on teens’ mental health, and academic achievement, and have widened class-based academic disparities. While school closures may have been necessary earlier in the pandemic when vaccines weren’t widely available, we now have the tools to keep students and teachers healthy and in the classroom. Senator Wiener is a member of the California Legislature’s Vaccine Work Group. SB 866 is sponsored by ProtectUS, Teens for Vaccines, GenUP (Generation UP), and MAX the Vax. Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) is a joint author of SB 866. Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) is principal co-author of SB 866, and it is also co-authored by Assemblymembers Evan Low (D-Campbell), Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), and Senator Josh Newman (D-Orange County). STAFF REPORTS


Equality California Votes launches ad buy for ‘Robert Garcia for Congress’

Equality California Votes, a super PAC aligned with the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, announced a five-figure advertising buy in support of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who is running for Congress in California’s new 42nd district, on Wednesday. The ad, which will air on digital and Connected TV, is the first independent expenditure paid media effort in support of Garcia before ballots are mailed to all registered voters on Monday, May 9. “Voters in Southeast LA and Long Beach deserve a bold, battle-tested champion like Robert Garcia fighting for them in Congress,” said Equality California Votes spokesperson Samuel Garrett-Pate. “Mayor Garcia’s record speaks for itself: leading the nation in COVID-19 testing and vaccination, delivering hero pay for essential workers, growing the economy with good-paying jobs and helping small businesses recover. We’re proud to support Mayor Garcia’s campaign for Congress because we’re confident that he’ll deliver for all of us.” Equality California was the first organization to endorse Mayor Garcia, who would be the first openly gay immigrant elected to Congress. After losing two parents to COVID-19, Robert dedicated himself to ensuring other families wouldn’t experience the same pain, making Long Beach a national model for COVID-19 recovery efforts. Mayor Garcia, who was easily re-elected as mayor in 2018 with nearly 80 percent of the vote, holds a doctorate degree in education from California State University Long

Beach, a M.A. from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree also from CSU-Long Beach. He lives in Long Beach with his husband, Matthew Mendez Garcia, who teaches political science at CSU-Long Beach. California’s new 42nd Congress is majority Latino and includes the ROBERT GARCIA, KAMALA HARRIS, and RICK ZBUR in 2018 cities of Long Beach, (Photo courtesy of Equality California) Signal Hill, Lakewood, Bellflower, Downey, Bell Gardens, Bell, Maywood and Huntington Park. BRODY LEVESQUE

Chappelle assaulted on stage, jokes attacker was trans man

Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl last week. A suspect is in custody for rushing the stage while brandishing a plastic replica of a gun that shoots forth a blade, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. After regaining his composure, Chappelle joked that the attacker “was a trans man,” a reference to the comic’s controversy within the LGBTQ+ communities. (Screenshot via KABC)


The suspect has been identified as 32-year-old Isaiah Lee, who is being held by LAPD on $30,000 bail. Chappelle and the man scuffled on the floor of the stage before the man ran away behind a screen. Security staff surrounded and tackled the man, and according to Chappelle, stomped him in the rear corner of the stage. Lee was rushed to a local hospital. So far, there’s no evidence that Lee identifies as transgender. Chappelle, beloved by many for his clever television program Chappelle’s Show, has long been a controversial figure to the LGBTQ+ communities. Last October, following the premiere of his Netflix The Closer, which featured insensitive cracks about trans women’s genitalia and TERFs (or trans-exclusionary radical feminists), among other topics, several trans employees of Netflix staged a walkout. Additionally, trans comedians told CNN they felt that the comments were an example of “punching down” on those with less power and a betrayal of the astute social commentary for which Chappelle is known. Chappelle eventually agreed to meet with members of the community to discuss the tenor of his jokes about trans people. The Bowl incident echoes the Academy Awards ceremony in March, in which eventual best actor winner Will Smith walked on stage and delivered a blow to the face of Chris Rock due to an off-the-cuff joke the comic made about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairstyle. It also further raises questions about the safety of comedians who are known for caustic humor. The comedian was performing at the venue as part of the Netflix Is a Joke Fest, an 11-day stand-up comedy festival. Rock, who also performed during the concert took the stage with Chappelle, and asked “Was that Will Smith?” JEREMY KINSER


Jean-Pierre makes history as new White House press secretary Becomes first Black, lesbian official to be face of the administration

By BRODY LEVESQUE Jean-Pierre, who had jumped in between Cook and the Senator after he took the miThe White House announced Thursday that Karine Jean-Pierre has been promoted to crophone kept the activist away from Harris until security arrived and removed him. At be Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary. Jean-Pierre will replace the time of the incident, Harris, like most other candidates in early stages of the primary current Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who will depart from the White House on May 13. process, didn’t have a U.S. Secret Service detail for protection. “I am proud to announce that Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as the next White House Press Jean-Pierre joined the Biden-Harris campaign in May of 2020 and then accepted the poSecretary, President Biden said in the statement released Thursday. “Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration. “Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.” Jean-Pierre was named to her first role in the Biden administration as Deputy White House press secretary under Psaki in November of 2020. Although Jean-Pierre is not the first Black woman to hold the position as Deputy White House press secretary, that honor belonging to former President George H.W. Bush’s Deputy White House Press Secretary, Judy A. Smith in 1991, and not the first openly gay person to brief the press, Eric Schultz served as Deputy White House Press Secretary during the Obama Administration in 2014; Jean-Pierre’s place in history, however, is cemented as a result of her being the first both Black and lesbian deputy press secretary. Now her place in history is marked by her elevation as the first both Black and lesbian White House press secretary. The daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti, Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique and later raised in Queens, a borough of New York City. A longtime activist KARINE JEAN-PIERRE was promoted to White House Press Secretary last week. She starts May 13. and communications specialist, she has a Master’s in Public Affairs conferred on her (Screenshot/White House YouTube) by New York’s Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she taught as an adjunct professor and lecturer in international and public affairs sition of Chief of Staff to Senator Harris in August. Speaking with NBC News journalist Tim since 2014. Fitzsimons; “The sun was setting and the lights got much more prominent,” she said, reDuring the first term of President Barack Obama she served as the regional political ferring to late June 2015, when she watched the White House lit in rainbow colors to mark director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. the historic Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage Speaking with the Advocate magazine in June of 2011 Jean-Pierre reflected on her tenure nationwide. “People had signs and people were crying, and there was just so much joy.” working for the Obama Administration as an openly LGBT staffer. “I remember thinking how proud I was of this administration, that I had worked for that,” “What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama Jean-Pierre, said. “It really brought together, in that one moment, how important LGBTQ didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT,” she rights were and how much that administration fought for our rights.” says. “Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been She told NBC News at the time, if elected, Biden and Harris would “continue the work an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT that Joe Biden and Obama did” by supporting LGBTQ rights and “continuing to put forth issues.” policy that protects the community.” In 2016 after her White House stint, Jean-Pierre served as a Senior Advisor and National Jean-Pierre, her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter reSpokesperson for Washington D.C. based MoveOn, a progressive non-profit public policy side in Washington D.C. advocacy group and political action committee. Her primary portfolio at the non-profit GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded to the announcement on Twitter was addressing President Trump’s rhetoric and platform of hate, violence, racism, immiwriting: grant-bashing, and women-bashing. “Karine Jean-Pierre is a brilliant communicator and person of tremendous intelligence, She also served as the deputy campaign manager for former Democratic Maryland Govhumor and poise, skills that will serve her and our country well in her new role. There are ernor Martin O’Malley’s 2016 campaign run for the Oval Office. few jobs more visible or more important to our democracy than to share information with Jean-Pierre received national recognition after a June 1, 2019 incident during the Movethe White House press corps and answer their questions. To have an out queer person On Big Ideas Forum she was moderating in San Francisco, when 24 year-old Aidan Cook, of color speak for the President of the United States says everything about Karine’s talent a member of the animal right activist organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), rushed and heart, and recognizes that LGBTQ people can belong, contribute and succeed in every the stage grabbing the microphone out of then California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’s room. Our whole community looks forward to seeing Karine deliver for our nation and hand. The Senator was a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at represent every LGBTQ person with pride.” the time of the incident. 10 • MAY 13, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM


Republicans: Block kids from TV shows with LGBTQ characters

A group of five U.S. senators sent a letter Wednesday to the Chairman of the Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, Charles Rivkin, asking for a new rating so parents can block their children from watching shows with LGBTQ characters. In the two-page letter signed by Republicans Roger Marshall, Kansas; Mike Lee, Utah; Mike Braun, Indiana; Kevin Cramer, North Dakota and Steve Daines, Montana, they cited The Telecommunications Act of 1996, placing emphasis on “studies indicate that children are affected by the pervasiveness and casual treatment of sexual material on television, eroding the ability of parents to develop responsible attitudes and behavior in their children.” The Senators also took aim at Disney’s ongoing opposition to a recently enacted state law – dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure in the letter. The letter “strongly urged” the Monitoring Board to update its guidelines to ensure parents are aware of the “disturbing” content. One industry source, who is aware of the letter, told the Blade Thursday that Senate GOP lawmakers “are targeting content that currently has what is generally considered ‘G to PG-13’ standards and if enacted would prevent many

LGBTQ+ children from seeing stories about kids like themselves.” In addition to the chairman, the Board includes 18 industry representatives from the broadcast, cable and creative communities appointed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and five public interest members, appointed by the Board chairman. The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board is responsible for ensuring there is as much uniformity and consistency in applying the Parental Guidelines as possible. The Monitoring Board does this by reviewing complaints and other public input and by facilitating discussion about the application of ratings among members of the Board and other relevant industry representatives. The Monitoring Board typically meets annually or more often, if necessary, to consider and review complaints sent to the Board, discuss current research, and review any other relevant issues. BRODY LEVESQUE

A group of five U.S. senators asked the Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board for a new rating so parents can block children from watching shows with LGBTQ characters. (Photo credit: Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board)

Art teacher fired for discussing LGBTQ topics in Florida school

Casey Scott, a married self-identified pansexual Floridian, says she was fired from Trafalgar Middle School by Lee County Florida School District officials after discussing her sexuality while answering a student’s question. In an interview with local NBC News affiliate WBBH News 2, Scott said that an art project by students drawing, coloring and creating flags expressing who they are led to the controversy.


(Screenshot/WBBH NBC 2)

That project led to a discussion centered on student sexuality. She pointed out that there were flags created by students, some of whom identified as non-binary, bisexual, and gay. When asked by students about her identity she said that she told them she was married and pansexual. Scott told NBC2 that she hung the pictures on her classroom door and that’s when school administrators reacted. “They said it would be in the best interest if I got rid of them now,” she said. She snapped pictures showing how she got rid of them

by placing them in a recycle bin. “I went over to the recycling bin. I grabbed all their flags and all the kids were staring at me. And I crumbled their flags in front of them,” she explained. She told the station that first she was sent home and then later informed by the Lee County School District her contract was terminated. School District officials showed NBC 2 complaints from parents who were concerned about the conversation and the artwork. The district also released handwritten accounts from students which described they were allowed to draw any type of flag they chose even creating flags expressing who they are. The Teachers Union of Lee County spokesperson Kevin Daly told the station that Scott could legally be fired and he confirmed she did not belong to the teachers union. “During that probationary period they can let you go without cause,” Daly said. Daly believes the firing could be a wake-up for all teachers when it comes to discussing LGBTQ issues. “There is kind of a heightened state of where is the boundary? And what are employees supposed to do? Or allowed to do, when a topic comes up in discussion,” Daly said. The Lee County School District action firing Scott took place just days before Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law. But the school district has had a problematic relationship with its LGBTQ+ students previously. In April of 2021, during a school board meeting as parents and students protested against a one-page flyer removed from schools that was outlining the rights of LGBTQ students, and the schools’ trans-inclusive bathroom policy, The Daily News reported.

The flyer stated that “all students are allowed to access the restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodation as requested.” As soon as the meeting started, a man who later identified himself as Ryan Monroe, stood up and started shouting, “No boys in the girls’ room.” His protest elicited applause from some in the room, but it also had him escorted out of the meeting by local law enforcement. Outside of the board meeting anti-LGBTQ+ parents and supporters of their postion carried signs quoting the Bible (“Male and Female, Gen. 1:27”) or stating that the board’s “gender policy harms girls.” Member of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters — some wearing T-shirts that read “Equality” or “Protect” — held transgender and LGBTQ Pride flags. During the meeting, local resident Crystal Czyscon, whose son is trans, told board members that, “to remove this poster now — after it has already been put into place and while it is being used as the standard — would have a very negative impact.” Czyscon said that the anti-transgender debate is already negatively affecting her son. “He said to me, ‘You know mommy, I hope that college helps me believe in school again,’ because he’s so discouraged, he’s thinking about dropping out and playing video games.” A year later Czyscon speaking to NBC 2 expressed concern for the mental health of the Trans and nonbinary students in Scott’s classes. Czyscon believes that district officials made a mistake. “I would like to see a statement from the school board recognizing they have to have a mental health counselor come in and speak with the children impacted by their actions toward this teacher,” Czyscon concluded. BRODY LEVESQUE



Gay Lithuanian MP sharply criticizes Russia

A gay man who is a member of Lithuania’s Parliament last week said his country could be Russia’s next target. “Historically after independence in the early 90s, Lithuania was very critical and fearful of its attitudes towards its neighbors,” MP Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius told the Washington Blade on April 28 during a telephone interview from Vilnius, the country’s capital, in reference to Russia. “The current events in Ukraine simply prove that we were right.” “We have to understand very clearly that Russia is using not only military force, not only its gas and oil, but it is also using its soft powers,” added Raskevičius. “These soft powers are certain, specific world views which Russia tries to impose to its neighboring countries and those ideas are usually anti-human rights and anti-liberal democracy, so they are portraying human rights and liberal democracy as a threat, rather as a benefit to the society.” Raskevičius further stressed that LGBTQ rights are “part of this Russia propaganda campaign.” “They’re portraying the West as being rotten, plagued with abominations,” he said. Lithuania borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Latvia, Belarus, Poland and the Baltic Sea. The country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, a year before it dissolved. Raskevičius, 33, is a member of the liberal Freedom Party. He worked for what is now called the Brooklyn Community Pride Center in New York and the Lithuanian Gay League, among other NGOs, before his election to the Vilnius City Council in 2019. Raskevičius in 2020 won a seat in the Lithuanian Parliament, which is known as the Seimas. Raskevičius noted he is the second openly gay person elected to the Seimas, but the “first one” with a “pro-LGBT human rights agenda.” Raskevičius currently chairs the Seimas’ Human Rights Committee. Raskevičius said more than 50,000 Ukrainians have sought refuge in Lithuania since Russia invaded their country in February. He told the Blade he knows of “isolated incidents” of LGBTQ Ukrainians in the country, noting that “LGBT people went to more open or progressive places than Lithuania.” Raskevičius said LGBTQ organizations are among the NGOs from Russia and Belarus that have relocated to Lithuania after their governments cracked down on them.

“Our local community demonstrates quite a high level of solidarity,” he said. “This is what the struggle for freedom is all about. It’s not only about physical security, but also security from Russian propaganda or soft power.” Raskevičius also called for continued military cooperation and more economic sanctions against Russia. “What is really important is not to get used to the war,” he said. “It has already been more than 60 days and you know people are getting used to seeing the terrible things on their TV and it becomes routine … we should be very mindful that we push harder because if Ukraine doesn’t win, we become the next one in the line.” Raskevičius added Lithuania places “a lot of trust in our security partners, including the United States and NATO.” “I wouldn’t say there is panic or any kind of that stuff, but it’s very close,” he said. “(Ukraine is) less than 1,000 km (621 miles) away and we have quite a nasty history with the Soviet Union and Russia, so we know what it’s all about it.” Lithuania bans discrimination based on sexual orientation The country on Sunday officially lifted restrictions for male blood donors who have sex with men, but opposition to LGBTQ rights remains strong. Raskevičius noted Lithuania is one of only six European Union member states that do not legally recognize same-sex couples. He has introduced a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships. LGBTQ rights opponents who Raskevičius said have “documented ties” to Russia in 2021 launched a petition to remove him as chair of the Seimas’ Human Rights Committee “because apparently a person who is gay cannot chair the committee who is in charge of all human rights.” Recall supporters claimed more than 300,000 people signed the petition, but Raskevičius noted journalists discovered the vast majority of them were fake. Raskevičius told the Blade that opposition to the civil partnership bill was the “pretext” behind the petition. He acknowledged the ongoing debate over whether lawmakers should consider the measure “with war in our neighborhood,” but he stressed “it’s the best time to do so.” “We have to choose whether we want to belong to the sphere of influence coming from the East, or we want to move into the West,” said Raskevičius. Raskevičius’ son is 2 1/2. He told the Blade that fatherhood

Lithuanian MP TOMAS VYTAUTAS RASKEVIČIUS (Photo courtesy Raskevičius)

has shaped his work in support of LGBTQ rights and human rights. “For a very long time LGBT people were not visible in Lithuania,” said Raskevičius. “LGBT parents was another level of invisibility. These people exist, but they don’t publicly share their experiences because they are concerned about the well-being of their kids.” “Me and other parents involved in my child’s upbringing made the conscious decision to talk about our experiences publicly,” he added. “We want to encourage people they are not alone.” The European Court of Human Rights last month heard a challenge to Lithuania’s so-called “gay propaganda law” that specifically bans the distribution of information to minors that “expresses contempt for family values, encourages the concept of entry into a marriage and creation of a family other than stipulated in the Constitution of the republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the republic of Lithuania.” Author Neringa Dangvydė Macatė in 2019 filed a lawsuit against the law after Lithuanian authorities censured her children’s book that featured two same-sex couples. Bob Gilchrist, the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Lithuania, is among those who have publicly criticized the statute. “Our law is also framed in terms of protecting minors from the detrimental kinds of public information and defines information about LGBT relationships as potentially detrimental,” noted Raskevičius. “Based on that legislation, public authorities could censor public information.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Honduran gov’t admits responsibility for trans woman’s murder

The government of Honduras on Monday publicly acknowledged it is responsible for the 2009 murder of a transgender activist. Vicky Hernández was a trans activist and sex worker with HIV who worked with Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an advocacy group that is based in San Pedro Sula, the country’s second largest city. Hernández’s body was found in a San Pedro Sula street on June 29, 2009, hours after the coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya from power. Hernández and two other trans women the night before ran away from police officers who tried to arrest them because they were violating a curfew. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights last June issued a landmark ruling that found Honduras responsible for Hernández’s murder. The admission was part of the settlement. Solicitor General Manuel Antonio Díaz Galeas and Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina García were among those who attended Monday’s ceremony that took place in front of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa’s offices. President Xiomara Castro, who took office in January, participated virtually. Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which represented Hernán12 • MAY 13, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

dez’s family alongside Cattrachas, a lesbian feminist human rights group that is based in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, also attended alongside Hernández’s mother, Rosa Hernández. “We should love our children for who they are because they come from the womb,” said Rosa Hernández. “No one has a right to take a life.” Kennedy noted the Honduran government “has taken the first steps by publicly acknowledging and taking responsibility and apologizing for murdering Vicky.” Violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation remains pervasive in Honduras. Thalía Rodríguez, a prominent trans activist, was killed outside her Tegucigalpa home on Jan. 11. Cattrachas notes she and Hernández are two of the more than 400 LGBTQ people who have been killed in the Central American country since 2009. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Honduras to pay reparations to Hernández’s family and enact laws that protect LGBTQ people from violence and discrimination. Kennedy in her statement noted Castro has pledged “to making these necessary reforms.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

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V O L U M E 06 I S S U E 19

Carlos Gutierrez

is deputy director and general counsel for the LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute, which works to improve access, increase inclusion, ensure safety and empower entrepreneurship for LGBTQ+ communities around technology.

Musk’s ‘Free Speech’ Twitter policies could harm LGBTQ communities

Disallowing anonymity poses grave risks to queer users everywhere The recent news that Elon Musk plans to serve as temporary CEO of Twitter means the public won’t have to wait much longer to see how he will follow through with his promise to change Twitter’s approach to free speech and content moderation. Twitter is billed as a social platform for everyone, but Musk’s approach - or lack thereof - to censorship and “free speech” has many advocates voicing concern about the consequences of reducing or removing content moderation on the platform, potentially making Twitter a platform rife with disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech targeted at minority and marginalized communities such as the LGBTQ+ community. Each social media platform has its own social culture and Twitter offers a valuable virtual community for LGBTQ+ individuals. Erin Reed, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist with a Twitter following nearing 44,000, said the platform has been instrumental in communicating and organizing with other advocates and interacting directly with legislators. Many other organizations and advocates use the platform to communicate with, organize and mobilize marginalized communities. Twitter has given birth to social trends such as #gaytwitter and #blacktwitter that fuel change and connection for marginalized communities as well. Twitter, like most major social media sites, has spent years creating elaborate guidelines to reduce the amount of disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech on its platform. The platform operates on carefully crafted online speech rules and policies around hate speech, misinformation, and political advertising. Content moderation is critical in that process but Musk has said that he supports vastly loosening the company’s content moderation policies, suggesting it should only remove content if it is required by law. This is problematic for LGBTQ+ and other oppressed communities around the world. While social media companies do make use of internal content moderating practices to set their own parameters and community standards, they must also consider established laws in countries where their users live. So as Musk pushes for Twitter to follow the laws of the countries in which it operates, he would reduce the safety of LGBTQ+ users who live in countries where LGBTQ+ speech is banned and taboo. Russia is a prominent example where LGBTQ+ speech is banned and criminalized, and Twitter’s content moderation rules, if they merely follow the law, would lend support to the silencing of Russian LGBTQ+ speech. In our own country, a proliferation of “Don’t Say Gay” laws as seen in Florida and a dozen other states, 14 • MAY 13, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

are highlighting the ongoing risks to LGBTQ+ identity and speech here at home. More troubling, Musk himself has used the platform to repeatedly target and mock issues of importance to the LGBTQ+ community. His infamous tweet “Pronouns suck” is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2020, he said social media accounts displaying personal pronouns were “an esthetic nightmare.” Later that same year, the Human Rights Campaign demanded an apology after he posted a meme mocking users who put their pronouns in their social media bios and then tweeted a meme mocking transgender people. In addition to concerns over how his personal views will influence the social environment of the platform, many have also raised concerns about Musk’s intention to require authentication for “all humans,” since this would make anonymous accounts on Twitter impossible and could disproportionately harm trans people on the platform. Requirement for authentication for “all humans” would force users to operate under their full, legal names, which many transgender people do not do. In addition to the proven benefits of using a transgender person’s chosen name, plenty of evidence refutes the notion that tying one’s online identity to one’s legal identity creates more safety for social media users. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has reported that anonymity is essential to protecting users who may have opinions, identities, or interests that do not align with those in power. LGBTQ+ individuals use Twitter and other platforms anonymously for fear of persecution or targeted harassment. In addition to social oppression, across the world, gay and transgender individuals face legal pushback including arrests, threats, and - in very real and extreme cases – the death penalty. Disallowing anonymity on Twitter’s platform would expose them to such harms and run counter to Musk’s touted mission of free speech at all costs. Defaulting to the law of each individual country where Twitter operates allows the company to shirk its responsibility to manage content. Furthermore, it diminishes the safety of its marginalized users by leaving the door open for disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech and harassment. Musk’s desire to restrain Twitter’s “overly aggressive content moderation policies” could eventually hurt us all, especially marginalized individuals and communities that will be subject to more harassment and hate speech rather than less if Musk’s “free speech” and anonymity policies are instituted by Twitter.


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Julia Scotti

is a nationally known trans comedian, actor, and fan favorite of ‘America’s Got Talent’ audiences around the world.

Regarding Dave Chappelle being attacked

Dismantling the wall that separates us from anarchy and mob rule do care about though is this seeming trend toward violent response when someone is unhapRegarding Chappelle, in the past I’ve made no secret about my feelings for Chappelle, so I py with the comedians’ words. won’t rehash them again. This essay is about him being attacked on stage last night and to a It pains me to have to defend this guy (Chappelle), but there is a bigger issue here. What lesser extent, what happened to Chris Rock at the Oscars. does it say about us as a nation when our only response Comedy is one of the last bastions for truly Free Speech. to being dissatisfied with the outcome of an event is to Ask any comic if they feel the same way and I would bet resort to violence? If an election doesn’t turn out the way that they would agree. One of the reasons people come to we want? Storm the Capitol. Unhappy with certain people see us is that comedians often reflect what the audience trying to pass laws guaranteeing equality? Ridicule them, is feeling but dares not say aloud. Sometimes it is risky, intimidate them and threaten their families until they acbut we hope that if we present it in a humorous, absurd quiesce to your way of thinking. If a comedian says someway, you will see what we see. thing you don’t like, goad them into responding to your In general, most comedians will adhere to the unwritheckles until you can record it and become a social media ten rule of “Not Punching Down,” that is, not picking on star, or worse, attack them onstage. those who can’t fight back. Chappelle, of course, violates I don’t know what Chappelle’s attacker’s motivation this rule constantly. In fact just after the attack, he joking was. I understand that he got quite a beat down from the referred to his attacker as a trans-man. security people at the venue. Now I’m sure that his lame attempt at humor was an Take a step back from the news and try to see us from effort to try to diffuse the tension onstage and return to a different perspective. Through my lens at least, it seems normal. But joking or not, there are some in that audience that every time something like this happens, we remove who will believe that their idol was indeed attacked by a DAVE CHAPPELLE was attacked last week on stage. another block from the wall that separates from anarchy deranged Trans man. I don’t know if the attacker was or (Photo courtesy Netflix) and mob rule. It’s sad, really. Very, very sad. wasn’t. I don’t care and neither should Chappelle. What I


‘Everything Everywhere’ does the multiverse right Quirky film boosted by Jamie Lee Curtis’s ‘feud’ with Marvel By JOHN PAUL KING

imaginations. Last weekend, the Marvel Studios blockbuster machine unleashed its latest piece of cinTo that end, “Everything” balances its quirky, surrealist humor by showing us a few more ematic eye-and-brain candy, “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” in which the plausible universes, as well. To gain the skills necessary to defeat her nemesis, Evelyn must titular hero traverses multiple versions of reality to save the universe from chaos and devisit other versions of her life; she experiences herself as a movie star in martial arts films, struction. or a skilled hibachi chef, or a world-class opera singer, and visiting these realities drives Marvel, of course, didn’t invent the concept of the “multiverse” – in fact, they’re not even home the point that one small decision the first ones to release a movie about – like choosing whether to marry someit this year; another multiverse film beat one or not – can divert our path toward a “Dr. Strange” into theaters by nearly six vastly different lifetime. We see the powweeks – and it’s been enjoying a slow, er of the past to shape our future, for betword-of-mouth-fueled juggernaut of box ter or for worse, through empowerment office success ever since. or regret, and the power in ourselves to That movie, a genre-bending indie prochange a multitude of worlds with a sinduction titled “Everything Everywhere All gle choice. Inevitably, too, we see the niat Once,” caused a bemusing stir on social hilistic despair that comes of recognizing media last week, when Jamie Lee Curtis one’s insignificance in the face of a vast (one of its stars) launched a tongue-inand seemingly uncaring universe; what’s cheek feud with “Dr. Strange” in a string the point of living in a world of infinite of Instagram posts. It was all in fun, but potential outcomes if none of those outone couldn’t help recognizing a sense of comes matter? authentic pride when she teased, among If that all sounds a little too philosophiother things, that her film “out marvels cal for your tastes, don’t worry; Kwan and any Marvel movie they put out there.” Scheinert pull off the rare feat of encomPerspective is everything, of course, passing these speculative issues within a but she’s not wrong. While Marvel fans story that is not only relatable, but wildly will undoubtedly find “Dr. Strange” a satentertaining – and a lot of it has to do with isfying trip into the multiverse and back, the cast of avengers they’ve assembled. the rest of us would do well to seek out First and foremost is Yeoh, whose sta“Everything Everywhere All at Once” while tus as a martial arts screen icon is just it’s still on the big screen – and yes, that one of the strengths she brings to the taeven applies to people who couldn’t care ble; her performance is a career-topping less about any universe but this one. KE HUY QUAN, JAMIE LEE CURTIS, and MICHELLE YEOH star in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’ triumph in which she commits to making Conceived, written and directed by Dan the beleaguered, unremarkable Evelyn Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively palpably and painfully human even when immersed in the most outrageous of circumknown as “Daniels” since their early career directing music videos), it’s a fast-paced wild stances, and in the process gives us the kick-ass heroine for the ages we never knew we ride that begins in one of the most mundane realities imaginable – the life of a middle-aged needed. As her put-upon husband, Quan is an invaluable asset; the former child actor (who Chinese-American immigrant named Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), who operates a laundromat appeared in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies” before moving bewith her mild-mannered husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), endures strained relationhind the camera for a career as a sought-after stunt coordinator) brings his own history to ships with her elderly father Gong Gong (James Hong) and her lesbian Gen Z daughter Joy the mix, too, and brings us an entire array of Waymonds, all manifesting different flavors of (Stephanie Hsu), and faces a tax audit – conducted by a humorless and hostile IRS agent his irresistible underdog charm. Hsu contains multitudes as Joy – no spoilers, but her trou(Curtis) – which could bankrupt the family business. This stressful quotidian mix is suddenbled relationship with her mom is not limited to this universe – and screen veteran Hong is ly disrupted when a visitor appears, claiming to be from another universe, and tells her full of surprises as Gong Gong. Finally, Curtis uses the various iterations of her frumpy tax that a powerful evil being has undertaken a sinister plot that threatens to destroy not just accountant to turn her supporting role into a scene-stealing audience favorite. his universe and her universe, but all the universes. Further, he informs her that she is the The fun these performers clearly have with their roles goes a long way toward keeping only person in ANY universe who has a chance of defeating this malevolent force in battle. things light, no small accomplishment in a brainy cinematic excursion like this one. More Needless to say, she is hesitant to believe him – but it’s not long before she is leaping from importantly, they seem to fully understand and embrace what this madcap sci-fi comedy timeline to timeline as an unlikely inter-dimensional warrior on a mission to save existence caper is really all about – and that makes all the difference, because “Everything Everywhere itself from annihilation. All at Once” may be an action-packed adventure dealing in the same epic conceptual scale At the risk of making a spoiler-ish statement, that mission turns out to be as absurd as as “Dr. Strange,” but it’s less concerned with titanic battles and cosmic catastrophes than it it is apocalyptic. The Daniels’ film – which had been baking in their heads since 2010 – has is with the very small, very ordinary concerns of everyday human life. Sure, it exploits the no desire to ply its audiences with high-tech wizard battles in outer space or any of the multiverse as a plot device to enable its imaginative and far-fetched flights of fancy, and it other tropes of the sci-fi adventures it simultaneously spoofs and salutes; instead, it draws does so with relish, but it ultimately uses it to remind us – gently, and without laying it on on a long tradition of existentialist thinking – something that, for obvious reasons, goes too thick – that we have the power to change our reality with every choice we make. hand-in-hand with stories about existing in a reality full of infinite possibilities that all lead The fact that it delivers that message in a story that puts Asian and queer characters to oblivion – to accentuate the ridiculous. One of the worlds we visit, for example, is popfront-and-center is just another great reason to call this disarmingly oddball movie the ulated by human beings who have hot dogs for fingers, and that’s just the most blatant of brightest gem of the season. the many delicious absurdities the film serves up. It makes for a lot of laughs, but it neverWell, that and the hot dog fingers. theless sets us to ponder the implications of infinite possibility we concoct within our own 16 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MAY 13, 2022










JUNE 3-5


Danica Roem’s new book is far from a typical politico’s story

‘Burn the Page’ an inspiring, gonzo page-turner By KATHI WOLFE

‘Burn the Page’ By Danica Roem c.2022, Viking $27

| 320 PAGES


Party drinking. Heavy metal gigs. People doing yoga to the soundtrack of “The Pursuit of Vikings” by the Swedish metal band Amon Amarth. Car breakdowns. Vivid descriptions of anxiety-induced vomit. More energy than a zillion shots of Red Bull. Inspiring and badass stories that will make you, no matter how cynical, want to tell your own story, be kind to people and work to help change what’s messed up in the world. This isn’t what you’d find in most politicians’ memoirs. But “Burn the Page” by Danica Roem is far from a typical politico’s book. Roem, 37, isn’t your usual politician. In 2017, Roem was elected as a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates. In 2018, she became the first out transgender seated state legislator in the country. Roem was reelected in 2019 (becoming the first trans person to be reelected to state office). She was elected to another term in office in 2021. On May 9, Roem announced that she is running in the 2023 election for Virginia’s state Senate, the Blade reported. If she wins then, she will become the country’s second out transgender state senator. In “Burn The Page,” Roem lets us know that running for office, along with many other things in her life, wasn’t easy for her. She grew up in Manassas, Virginia. After her father died by suicide when she was three; Roem was raised by her mother and her grandfather. It was hard for Roem to sort out her sexual and gender identity at a time when many queers weren’t out. Heavy metal became a safe place for her (you could wear make-up in a heavy metal band). Roem graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree. Before entering politics, she was a journalist. Because Roem wrote for local papers, she was not paid a livable wage. “Picture it: a five-foot-eleven, long-haired brunette metalhead trans lady reporter wearing a rainbow bandanna, an A-line skirt, and a black hoodie,” Roem writes about herself as she was in 2016 just before she thought about becoming a candidate for office.

Then, though she had been a reporter for a decade and interviewed governors, Roem had to work two jobs. She drove a 1992 Dodge Shadow America and worked at a kebab shop for $5 an hour. Along with the kebab gig, Roem worked part-time for a local paper. When she interviewed for the job, the editor, Roem writes, asked her why “the fuck” she wanted to work there. She had no health insurance. Roem feels bad, she writes, about behaving like a “lady dick” then, because she was so exhausted. For good measure, a “transgender rights organization in need of a storyteller,” she writes with sardonic humor of her 2016 life, “passed her over...for another transgender storyteller with flashier credentials.” As if things didn’t suck enough, Roem hardly ever got to see her partner or step-daughter because she was commuting so much for her jobs. But, despite those hardships, “Burn the Page” isn’t a pity party. It’s a kick-ass account of how Roem has reclaimed her story and got things done. When members of the anti-queer Westboro Baptist Church protested Roem, the heavy metal band Lamb of God led some 200 protesters with kazoos in a counter demonstration. As a legislator, Roem has worked not only on LGBTQ issues, but on traffic congestion, Medicaid expansion and other issues that impact her constituents. “This is a book about both the importance of the stories we tell one another,” Roem writes, “and the power in setting fire to the stories you don’t want to be in anymore.” As the anti-LGBTQ laws being passed nationwide make all too clear, transphobia still exists. But there is power in shaping the narrative about your life. “Everytime you share your own story,” Roem writes, “you do something to counteract another narrative that sometimes lurks in the shadows and other times is not so subtle.” “Burn the Page” is an inspiring, fun gonzo page-turner. It’s a must-read.

City of West Hollywood California 1984


‘Queer Country’ explores origins of growing genre of music Tracing an evolution, from k.d. lang to Lil Nas X

By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Two steps. This way, two more that way, tap your heels together, step-and-bow left, step-and-bow right, turn and again. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of doing this and you won’t bump into everybody on the dance floor. Also eventually, you’ll see that country music has a place for you even when, as in the new book “Queer Country” by Shana Goldin-Perschbacher, you never thought you had a place for it. Usually, when one thinks about country music, rural living comes to mind: cowboys, pick-ups, Christian values, conservatism, heartbreak and honky tonks. Stereotypically, few of those things have seemed LGBTQ-inclusive and listeners might have felt unwelcome, were it not for today’s boundary-breakers and “queer country,” which, says Goldin-Perschbacher, is becoming more of a music category with fans. Goldin-Perschbacher is quick to say that “queer country” is not a genre on its own. Some out musicians might closer identify themselves with Americana or folk music; k.d. lang’s music is more countrypolitan, but with humor; and you can attend queer Bluegrass festivals, if you want. None of this defines the various artists: In many ways, LGBTQ artists have really had no other options than to embrace all labels. Then there’s the issue of how to do queer country: Goldin-Perschbacher refers often to Patrick Haggerty, who was the first gay artist to officially record the album “Lavender Country.” He recorded it in Seattle, shortly after Stonewall; at that time, Haggerty was especially determined that his album be honest and sincere in its reflection of gay life – things that continue to concern queer artists who use irony, drag, and camp in their work. And there’s that struggle to go mainstream. Goldin-Perschbacher writes about k.d. lang’s career and how it progressed. You’ll read about Chely Wright and Lil Nas X and how they used non-traditional ways to rise to stardom. And you’ll read about many artists who do what seems

best for them, and count LGBTQ listeners and cis audience members among their fans. There really is no way “Queer Country” could ever be considered a “beach read.” This isn’t the relaxed, rangy kind of book you want to sunbathe with; instead, author Shana Goldin-Perschbacher speaks to the academic, rather than the casual listener, with language that seems to fit better in school, than in sand. The analyses border on the high brow just a bit, with some amount of repetition to underscore various points. Even so, this is an important work. In writing about this almost-hidden branch of country music, Goldin-Perschbacher also tells of the efforts she’s made to help some artists to gain a wider audience. This lends more ‘Queer Country’ of an insider feel; the intimately extensive inBy Shana Goldin-Perschbacher terviews with artists, and excerpts from other c.2002, University of Illinois Press works, let readers know that they should keep $110 HARDCOVER | $24.95 PAPERBACK | 288 PAGES their eyes (and ears!) open. Give yourself some room to absorb, if you tackle this book. It’s not for everyone, but C&W listeners and “queer country” fans may find it necessary. Step one is to find somewhere comfortable to sit. Reading “Queer Country” is step two.




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DAWN ENNIS (Photo courtesy GLAAD)

Los Angeles Blade’s Dawn Ennis wins GLAAD Media Award ‘Pose’ takes top honors for outstanding drama series By BRODY LEVESQUE

The publisher, editor, and staff of the Los Angeles Blade congratulates our Sports Editor and contributing writer Dawn Ennis on her being awarded a 33rd Annual 2022 GLAAD Media Award in the category of ‘Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “‘No Time For Intolerance:’ Dr. Rachel Levine Has A Job To Do,” written for Forbes magazine online. Ennis who works as the Sports Editor for the LA Blade is an award-winning journalist for Forbes.com, The Daily Beast, Out Magazine, Senior Executive, CTVoice Magazine, Xtra Magazine and StarTrek.com. She is additionally an on-air correspondent for “CTVoice Out Loud” on WTNH-TV and hosts the “RiseUP With Dawn Ennis” talk show. In 2013, she was the first Trans journalist in the U.S. to come out in network TV news while working at ABC News. Ennis who lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, is a parent to three kids and an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford where she teaches journalism, advertising, public relations, podcasting and media literacy for the UH College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Communication. The Washington Blade was nominated in the Outstanding Print Article category for a four-part feature “Diary of an ICE detainee,” but lost the award to the AP. During the New York ceremony, GLAAD announced award recipients for the following categories live onstage:

• • • •

Pose received the award for Outstanding Drama Series [presented by Laverne Cox] “HIV/AIDS: 40 Years Later” TODAY (NBC) received the award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment [presented by Amber Tamblyn and Nyle DiMarco] Power Rangers received the award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming [presented by Cynthia Nixon] Sesame Street received the award for Outstanding Children’s Programming [presented by Cynthia Nixon]

• •

Additional award recipients announced in New York City:

• •

• • •

Outstanding Broadway Production: (TIE) Compa Company and Thoughts of a Colored Man Outstanding Music Artist: Lil Nas X Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist: Lily Rose, Stronger


Than I Am (Big Loud Records/Back Blocks Music/Republic Records) Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode: “Elliot Page” The Oprah Conversation (Apple TV+) Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “HIV/AIDS: 40 Years Later” TODAY (NBC) Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-Form: “Pride of The White House” (MSNBC) Outstanding Print Article: “Lawmakers Can’t Cite Local Examples of Trans Girls in Sports” by David Crary & Lindsay Whitehurst (The Associated Press) Outstanding Online Journalism Article: “‘No Time For Intolerance:’ Dr. Rachel Levine Has A Job To Do” by Dawn Ennis (Forbes.com) Outstanding Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Transnational” [series] by Eva Reign, Alyza Enriquez, Freddy McConnell, Vivek Kemp, Courtney Brooks, Sarah Burke, Hendrik Hinzel, Alyza Enriquez, Dan Ming, Trey Strange, and Daisy Wardell (VICE News) Outstanding Blog: Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism Article: (TIE) “Claudia: La Enfermera Trans que Lucha Contra el Covid en Ciudad Juárez” por Louisa Reynolds (Nexos.com) and “Somos Invisibles”: La Discriminación y los Riesgos se Multiplican para los Indígenas LGBTQ+” por Albinson Linares (Telemundo.com) Outstanding Spanish-Language Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia: “Expulsados México: Cómo la Comunidad Transgénero se Unió para Ayudar a los Migrantes” por Patricia Clarembaux, Anna Clare Spelman, y Celemente Sánchez (Univision Noticias)

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