Los Angeles Blade, Volume 06, Issue 22, June 03, 2022

Page 1


Shop the month-long pop-up marketplace featuring LGBTQIA+ artisans and makers Santa Monica Place – Level 1 EVERY WEEKEND IN JUNE Friday/Saturday 10 AM – 8 PM Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM santamonicaplace.com/pride


San Francisco LGBTQ cops, mayor pull out of Pride over uniform ban By BRODY LEVESQUE

SFPD Pride Shoulder Patches



By CHRISTOPHER KANE INGLEWOOD – In an exclusive interview with The Los Angeles Blade Thursday, Eric Strong discussed his candidacy detailed reforms he would bring to the Los Angeles County

against Strong and seven other candidates on the ballot Dramatic reforms within the LASD are necessary to efERIC STRONG


before joining the LASD, where he is currently serving as mittees, including as executive chairman of the Shooting

to the current regime, having done nothing to reform the

focus on this issue is twofold: the current system facilitates

ment of the law as seen in this case undermines the crediAlong with Rhambo, Strong is one of two candidates in

and deaths of family members at the hands of law enforce-

Racism, and racially motivated use of excessive force, are also issues that stem from the messaging and culture

Strong related a story of how, when serving as a unit

A graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Strong has received awards for his handling of some of the

Strong lives in Inglewood with his wife Sidra, who is also discernment, Strong said, which is reinforced by the high“One of the most concrete things, other than changing


LGBTQ+ patient s can expec t to be cared for by a team


- Melissa Wong, MD Cedars-Sinai Doctors and Life Partners

We’re committed to ensuring your comfort with staff who personally understand your concerns. That means making every single person who walks through our doors feel welcome and heard. As an LGBTQ+ Health Care Equity Leader for the third consecutive year, our continued commitment is to provide expert care tailored to every patient. From everyday care to our Transgender Surgery and Health Program, providing an inclusive experience is our priority. At Cedars-Sinai, we’re right here for the LGBTQ+ community.

Since August of 2019, Cedars-Sinai has achieved a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index, and maintains this Leader designation through 2022.




7 E N U J Y B E T VO

OUR CHOICE FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER As California’s Insurance Commissioner — and our only openly gay statewide elected official — Ricardo Lara has been a champion for LGBTQ+ equality and for all Californians: ▮Protecting consumers and saving billions for California drivers during the pandemic. ▮Fighting back against attacks on abortion access and reproductive freedom, including enforcing a new law protecting abortion access in California. ▮Taking bold action to address our climate crisis and protecting wildfire victims from losing their insurance coverage. ▮Expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare and guaranteeing universal healthcare for all California children. Ad paid for by Equality California Political Action Committee. Committee major funding from: LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) Caucus Leadership Fund California Apartment Association Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.


Beloved hotdogs & tamales vendor needs LGBTQ support

Rosy Milagro Rosales Gil, a 52-year-old single mother of two, has been a staple for the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ community’s late night plus afterhours club and bar crowd dispensing hotdogs, tamales, and a friendly smile for nearly 16 years.

les outside of Faultine over 15 years ago and then she set up a second stand outside of Bullet bar, and has also been serving us ROSY MILAGRO ROSALES GIL late into the night at the queer warehouse (Photo via GoFundMe) parties such as Ostbahnhof and Por Detroit among countless others. Tragically, according to Matias Gomez Constenla and Charlie Matula, last week persons unknown stole her food truck. “In that van was everything she used to cook her delicious food. This has been a huge staple in feeding the queer LA nightlife and we must help her,” Constenla and Matula said. “That is why we are starting this GoFundMe, so she doesn’t have to take on all the burden borrowed equipment and has been relying on others for transportation. With your help she can hopefully get a new van. If you can please donate and share this with others.” Constenla and Matula are asking the greater Los Angeles region’s LGBTQ+ community to visit the gofundme and please contribute. https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-rosy-recover-from-theft


Calif., New Zealand partner to advance climate leadership

Expanding California’s global climate leadership, Gov. Gavin Newsom this week established a new international climate partnership with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. California and New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, (MOC) to tackle the climate crisis, reduce pollution, and bolster the clean economy, while emphasizing community resilience and partnership with indigenous leaders. California and New Zealand outlined common objectives to achieve carbon-neutrality by mid-century, as well as their shared world-leading policies for zero-emission transportation, climate innovation, clean power generation, nature-based solutions, and zero waste initiatives. “Later is too late to address climate change, and California is taking aggressive steps to bolster the clean economy while reducing pollution in our communities – but we can’t do it alone,” said Governor Newsom. “This partnership with New Zealand, another global climate leader, will strengthen ties between our two governments to deploy critical solutions that are essential to addressing this existential crisis.” “No country is immune from the impacts of climate changes, so it’s just common sense to collaborate with likeminded partners to meet our mutual goals,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We both aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century. This agreement means we’ll work together to share expertise and experience and collaborate on projects that help meet each other’s targets.” California’s world-leading climate policies have led the state to exceed its 2020 climate

liability and accelerate clean energy solutions, and protect communities from extreme heat. FROM STAFF REPORTS 10 • JUNE 03, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM


West Hollywood government in action this week Marshall Icon

Next Gen Icon




Time So You Think You Can JoJo Goes Can’t Cancel Pride

WeHo Pride Weekend June 3, 2022 Saturday, June 4, 2022 day, June 5, 2022

WeHo Pride Street


dom Festival all

Friday, Sun-

Dyke March .

munity Activist

Women’s FreeFriday,

Melissa Etheridge


(Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook)

Janelle Monáe

OUTLOUD: Raising Voices

LGBTQ concert series Hidden Figures And Other Stories from Dirty Computer, De La Resistance Antebellum, Homecoming

JoJo Siwa

New York Times

The Memory Librarian:

Knives Out 2

WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival

Sunday, May 22, 2022 With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion, and Progress For All

New York Times



JOIN US IN PROMOTING EQUALITY ON LAND AND AT SEA Happy Pride from all of us at Celebrity Cruises®. We’re proud to the support the LGBTQ+community around the world and aboard our award-winning ships. With the largest Pride Party at Sea, our annual sponsorship of Miami Beach Pride, legal same-sex weddings on our ships, and LGBTQ+ events on every sailing, we’re passionate about ge!ing everyone on board with us.


06_04_NW_PRC_10 x 10_LA Blade_Celebrity Celebrates Pride-V2.indd 1

5/25/22 11:30 AM


WeHo presents Cedars-Sinai LGBTQ+ Cancer Symposium

Parallel Perpendicular

West Hollywood Library’s cations list



GLAAD president addresses World Economic Forum in Davos the event.

nomic Forum that took place this week in the Swiss resort town of Davos.

pandemic and recent systemic changes around the world, but we can also be disproportionately helpful in the recovery,” she said in the press release. “Corporate accountability cannot begin and end

ness” program, moderated.

a corporation spends its dollars, philanthropic and political. It ex-

SARAH KATE ELLIS speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 25. (Photo by Reto Hamme/GLAAD)


Air Force base axes ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ A drag queen story hour scheduled to be held at the library in honor of Pride month at Ramstein Air Base in Ger86th Airlift Wing on Thursday. According to Stars and Stripes, the 86th Air Wing’s public

The conservative outlet also reported that one mom of a brary for story time, she was “shocked to see the Ramstein

comment to its article about the event and also accused the Air Force of pushing a more “woke” agenda among ser-

story hour for children.”

“An advertisement was posted to the base library social media page before the event had completed Ramstein’s established processes for special observance coordination

said. According to Stars and Stripes, the cancellation of the drag queen book reading drew mixed opinions from the

the event will not take place. Ramstein leaders strive to foster a culture based on inclusion where all people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their political views, color of their skin or sexual orientation. The base’s established processes will ensure all future special observance events are properly reviewed and approved prior to advertisement.”

Ramstein. With tens of thousands of Defense Department personnel and their families, it is the largest U.S. military community overseas. An opponent of the wing’s decision launched a petition

enon in recent years, with men dressing up in clownish,

“Now more (than) ever we need to show our support to our enlisted members and spouses in the face of blatant talie Oyer, who described herself as spouse to a transgender wife. “I don’t know if anything can bring back the events

show after a 19 season run last Thursday. In a highly charged emotional hour, DeGeneres

children of servicemembers. Rubio urged him to cancel the the event, and respond to questions on whether other installations both at home and around the world have done similar events. Following receipt of Rubio’s letter, the Air “The last thing parents serving their nation overseas should be worried about, particularly in a theater with heightened geopolitical tensions, is whether their children are being exposed to sexually charged content simply be-

have not responded to a request for comment. BRODY LEVESQUE

that there was resistance to the show and that few gave it a chance of surviving, DeGeneres promised that she wouldn’t be gone for long. “Today is not the end of a relationship, it’s more of

the end of the show DeGeneres brought on guest Jennifer Aniston, the actress having been the co-


took partial credit for the cancellation. Rubio sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Ken-

her ‘DJ’ Twitch. During the course of the hour she discussed the progress that had been made since the series premiered in 2003, noting that she “couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show” when it started or make a reference to her wife, Portia de Rossi, because same-sex marriage wasn’t legal.

Brothers Stage 1 complex on the lot at Warner

the journey across the years and she then took a moment to dance through the audience with

Stars and Stripes also reported that the 86th Airlift Wing, axed a separate drag karaoke event scheduled to be held at the base enlisted club, according to community members posting on social media sites.




‘Secret City’ reveals long hidden stories of gay purges in federal gov’t By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | lchibbaro@washblade.com A new book released this week called “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington” is drawing the attention of LGBTQ rights activists and longtime Washington insiders alike for its never-before-told stories about dozens of closeted mostly gay men and at least one lesbian who worked for 10 U.S. presidents beginning with Franklin Roosevelt through George H.W. Bush. The book ends with the role LGBTQ people played under the 11th president it covers — Bill Clinton — by pointing out lesbian people to high-level administration positions. The book’s author, gay journalist James Kirchick, says he chose to end the book with his coverage of Clinton because Clinton, for the most part, ended the restrictions against gays and lesbians serving in sensitive civilian government jobs by lifting the longstanding ban on approving government security clearances for gays. In an interview with the Blade, Kirchick said he began his research for the book over a decade ago in his role as a Washington reporter with a longstanding interest in the Cold War and the U.S. government’s struggle to address the perceived threat of communism promoted by the then Soviet Union at the conclusion of World War II. He said that prior to that time homosexuality was perceived as a “sin, a very bad sin,” but not a threat to the safety and security of the country. But that changed at the start of World War II when the country developed what Kirchick calls a bureaucracy for managing military and governmental secrets needed to protect the country from outside threats. “From the Second World War until the end of the Cold War that followed, the specter of homosexuality haunted Washington,” Kirchick writes in the introduction to his book. “Nothing posed a more potent threat to a political career or exerted a more fearsome grip on the nation’s collective psyche, than the love expressed between people of the same sex,” he writes. Kirchick notes the development widely observed by historians and LGBTQ activists that homosexuals in important government positions were perceived to be a threat ernment restrictions forced them to hide their sexual orientation and made them susceptible to blackmail by foreign government agents seeking to uncover U.S. military secrets. In his 2006 book, “The Lavender Scare,” gay historian David K. Johnson reports how large numbers of gays were denied security clearances and forced out of their jobs because of fears of security breaches that Johnson said were never shown to have happened. Kirchick, who said he was inspired by Johnson’s book, expands on “Lavender Scare’s” reporting by providing detailed stories of dozens of individual gay people or people incorrectly thought to be homosexual who became ensnared in investigations into their alleged sexual orienta-

In one story Kirchick tells about Oliver Sipple, a former U.S. Marine who saved the life of President Gerald Ford by deas he emerged from an event in San Francisco. The widely publicized incident prompted some gay activists to publicly disclose that Sipple was gay and should be hailed as a hero. The book reports that Sipple was not out publicly and became emotionally distraught after being outed. His parents reacted in a hostile way after learning from press reports that their son was a homosexual and told him he was no longer welcome to visit his parents, according to the book. A far more positive story emerged during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The book reports on a development reported by the Washington Blade and other media outlets at the time it became known in 1979 when Jamie Shoemaker, a gay man who worked as a linguist with the U.S. National Security Agency, or NSA, had his security

tained D.C. gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, who was a government security clearances, to represent him. In a development that surprised many political observers, former Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who Carter had appointed as director of the NSA, determined that Shoemaker was not a threat to the agency’s secrets and could retain his security clearance and his job. Inman made that determination after Kameny and Shoemaker made it clear that Shoemaker was an out gay man who had no problem disclosing his sexual orientation at work if doing so did not jeopardize his job. Shoemaker betion while working for at least 10 U.S. presidents. The presidents the book covers include Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. A statement announcing the release of the book says uments, interviewed more than 100 people, and viewed documents from presidential libraries and archives across the country to obtain the information he needed for “Se-

under Franklin Roosevelt. In “Secret City,” Kirchick tells how despite Wells’ reputation as an invaluable adviser to Roosevelt, the president made it clear Wells could not remain in the administration after word got out that he had solicited one or more young men for sex who worked as porters on parts of the country.


high-level security clearance at a U.S. government intelligence agency such as the NSA and possibly at any government agency or department. Shoemaker, who has since retired, told the Blade that in recent years, an LGBTQ employee group at the NSA has invited him to return to the agency’s headquarters as a guest speaker for the group’s LGBTQ Pride event with the at the NSA in recent years is viewed by activists as a development illustrating the dramatic changes that have taken place in support of LGBTQ workers at security agencies like the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI. “The story of the secret city is also the story of a nation overcoming one of its deepest fears,” Kirchick writes in the concluding chapter of “Secret City.” “Only when gay people started living their lives openly did the hysteria start to become plain for what its was,” he writes. “Across the broad sweep of American history, no minority group has witnessed a more rapid transformation in its status, in the eyes of their fellow citizens, than gay people in the second half of the twentieth century,” Kirchick concludes.


Biden recognizes Pride, denounces attacks on LGBTQ rights Federal agencies announce plans to join annual celebration

By CHRIS JOHNSON President Biden, keeping with the tradition of Democratic presidents issuing a proclamation recognizing Pride month, pointed out in his statement the occasion comes as states are advancing and enacting laws against LGBTQ youth. As a result of the anti-LGBTQ measures, Biden said in the statement on Tuesday, Pride festivities come at a time of “relentless attack” on LGBTQ people. “An onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ legislation has been introduced and passed in States across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care,” the statement says. “These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQI+ families in fear and pain.”

from discussing LGBTQ issues or identities in grades K-3 or other “age inappropriate” settings. “As I said in my State of the Union Address — especially to our younger transgender Americans — I will always have your back as your President so that you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” Biden writes. ”Today and every day, my Administration stands with every LGBTQI+ American in the ongoing struggle against intolerance, discrimination, and injustice.” Another tradition for Democratic presidents for Pride month is hosting at the White House a celebration with LGBTQ leaders and allies in the Democratic Party. The practice was started under former President Obama, went on hiatus during the Trump The White House has yet to announce plans for any Pride reception this year. In response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade on whether a Pride celebration would take place, a White House spokesperson responded with a comment about Biden’s general support for LGBTQ people. “President Biden has always been a champion for families – and that includes LGBTQI+ families. We are proud of the historic progress this administration has taken to ensure everyone – no matter who they are or whom they love – has an equal place in our country, and we are excited to keep building on those actions this Pride Month and beyond,” the spokesperson said. The White House spokesperson said the Biden administration has general plans to “be focused on spotlighting the voice of LGBTQI+ people across America, especially our LGBTQI+ children and families,” but stopped short of providing any details. Meanwhile, a number of federal departments and agencies are keeping with the tradition of holding Pride events for their LGBTQ employees, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Justice.

PRESIDENT BIDEN denounces anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures in a Pride month statement. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Among the measures being advanced in state legislatures are laws banning transgender youth from participating in school sports and making it criminal for medical providers to provide transition-related care to transgender youth. Some of these measures have been approved by Republicans who are potential 2024 presidential contenders. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared transition-related care a In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation prohibiting teachers


group for LGBTQ service members and civilian workers within the Defense Department, on June 7 at 9:30 a.m. Speakers at the event are scheduled to include Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary of defense; Shawn Skelly, who’s transgender and assistant secretary of defense for readiness; and Gina Ortiz Jones, who’s a lesbian and deputy secretary of the Air Force. Lt. Col. Bree Fram, who’s transgender and deputy chief of acquisition policies and procedures, is set to present remarks at the ceremony. At the Department of Energy headquarters, Secretary Jennifer Granholm is set to join on Monday at 10 a.m. The event is consistent with the ceremony in which she particiA Justice Department spokesperson said the department will host an observance the Justice Department, will take part. The event is scheduled for later this month, the spokesperson said, but disclosed no further details.

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The Point Foundation rejects Don’t Say Gay, transphobic anti-healthcare and sportsrelated bills, and all hate laws that discriminate against and seek to erase LGBTQ+ people. For 20+ years, Point Foundation has celebrated the pride and resilience of the community by providing financial, community, and educational support for LGBTQ students in higher education. No matter how much hate is trying to block you from speaking, from showing up, or from a healthy happy life, we will always work to make sure there is space for you in higher ed, exactly as you are.


CHRISTY SMITH (far right) with elementary school students (Photo courtesy of Christy Smith)

Why I’m running: Christy Smith trans rights under threat By CHRISTY SMITH

SANTA CLARITA – I’m Christy Smith, a former State Assemblywoman, local school board member, education activist, mom, and 40-year resident of Santa Clarita who is running to serve the



were signed into law, including a landmark law that removes bar-

CHRISTOPHER JACKSON, 562-826-6602 All material in the Los Angeles Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be

more are under the most dire, imminent threats they’ve faced in

reproduced without the written consent of the Los Angeles Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Los Angeles Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Los Angeles Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Los Angeles Blade is available from authorized distribution

causes that demand our activism: voting rights, the climate crisis,

points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, CA. Multiple copies are available from the Los Angeles Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh

The energy that stems from the incredible relentless activism

at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Los Angeles Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Los Angeles Blade is published bi-weekly, on Friday, by Los Angeles Blade, LLC. Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, CA., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Los Angeles Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Los Angeles Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to tmasters@losangelesblade.com.



The Los Angeles Lakers are proud to support LA PRIDE and the LGBTQ Community.

Own your


Why I’m running: Ron Galperin accountable for producing results By RON GALPERIN

LOS ANGELES – We are in a pivotal moment in our State and our nation. Trust in government is at an all-time low. Many have lost faith in the ability of government to perform. Our political discourse has devolved and facts are too often substituted with spin. And so the kind of work that a Controller does – helping to keep government working, hon-

and for equity.

nalist, an attorney and a businessperson – along with an understanding of government, having open checkbook, putting every account online, trackers for every dollar spent and dashboards

Controller RON GALPERIN (right) with husband Rabbi ZACH SHAPIRO (left) and their twins MAYA and ELI. (Photo courtesy of Ron Galperin)

ponent of contracting equity – seeking to have more government contracts with small, mi-


that they trust, for ideas and for solutions to our greatest challenges. -


though this position yields a great deal of power and impacts the day-to-day lives of every -

the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, State Lands Commission, California State -


help them get access to health, mental health and other critical services they so badly need.

see a better future for all Californians.

Celebrating the strength of pride. At Huntington Health, we’re proud to care for every member of our community. During inclusivity and celebrate our designation as a LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. It’s an honor to help ensure the health and well-being of our LGBTQ+ friends, neighbors and colleagues. We are here for you when you need us.

Lil’ Kim is ‘queen of Pride’ and she loves it

Superstar on importance of her LGBTQ fan base — and friendship with Lil Nas X By JEREMY KINSER WEST HOLLYWOOD – Don’t waste your time wondering how Lil’ Kim feels about her enormous LGBTQ following; she is happy to provide you with the answer. “I’m the queen of Pride and I love it,” the hip-hop superstar says with a laugh. That might sound like a lofty self-appraisal, but she’s not wrong — at least not this week. Lil’ Kim will headline the inaugural WeHo Pride festival on Friday, June 3. of performing at the Los Angeles festival in 2012 and being presented with the keys to the “I just feel like family when I’m performing for a mainly LGBTQ crowd,” the rap superstar, the community, says. “It just feels like I’m so at home and with family and they’re with me It hasn’t always been a family-friendly life for the entertainer, which might explain her empathy for the often-marginalized LGBTQ communities. Born Kimberly Denise Jones in Brooklyn, the future recording artist was kicked out of her home at an early age so spent part of her youth on the mean streets. While still a teenager, Kim was discovered by the The band’s debut album launched two hit singles and set Lil’ Kim on a solo career path. came the highest-charting U.S. debut record for a female rap artist. Soon came a string of other albums and hit singles that became club bangers such as the undeniably racy “How thought ‘They’re gonna love this record,’ she recalls. “And that’s what happened. I wasn’t loud and proud, it was made with an LGBTQ mind.” She seems genuinely happy to give back to her devoted LGBTQ fans whom she credits with changing her life. “They made me be unafraid of my sexuality,” she admits. “They made me not care. They say, ‘You made me come out.’ You know, I hear that a lot, believe it or not. A lot of my LGBTQ fans say, ‘You helped me come out. You helped me with my sexuality. I was going through a dark and tough time, or I was going through a moment where moved by the feedback she’s received from queer fans. “That made me cry at some of my shows backstage, seriously, because I know how tough it can be for some of my LGBTQ fans and for me to be a big part of who they are. It makes me cry.” Producing such sexually provocative material, Kim must realize that she’s inspiring the next generation, which includes newly minted superstar Lil Nas X. Last year, his debut al“I love him,” she says. “He and I are actually friends. We are really cool. He gave me a


(Photo courtesy JJLA)

to say, I was just like, struck by her as I love how she was so supportive of LGBTQ communities.” that that was gonna happen,” she remembers. “Never set out for that to happen. We never tried to be outrageous adventurous. We never tried to be over the top. I was just being myself. Anyone who knows me, even when I went to the club with my girls, I would always

And what’s next for the entertainer after Pride? Perhaps she’ll follow other performers “We’re actually trying to work something out now,” she shares. “I would love to do that up the perfect place for me.” low.


Karen Ocamb: A proud eyewitness to LA AIDS/LGBTQ history By JEREMY KINSER WEST HOLLYWOOD – Karen Ocamb has been an eyewitness to AIDS and LGBTQ history since the late 1980s. Born Jan. 24, 1950, her father was one of the

the Nazis at El Alamein. After the war, her father became a “lifer” in the Ocamb:

Ohio. The family moved around until her father became a real estate broker.

JEWEL THAIS-WILLIAMS, journalist KAREN OCAMB, and BAMBY SALCEDO at an LA Blade party at Pump.

LA Blade: LA Blade: brations. Ocamb:


West Hollywood cityhood movement. was

“do more.” Karen still lives in West Hollywood where she share her memories online to counter the erasure of AIDS/ LGBTQ history. LA Blade: Ocamb

lose control of their bowels. There was such shame and


LA Blade: Ocamb:

A Champion for LGBTQ+ Equality & Abortion Rights BY JUNE 7TH, VOTE FOR


California Democratic Party

Equality California

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County

Stonewall Democratic Club

LGBTQ Victory Fund

Governor Gavin Newsom

Rick Chavez Zbur has spent his life fighting for equality and justice as a leader in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement and as the former Executive Director of Equality California for over 7 years. Rick served on the boards of Lambda Legal and Children Affected By AIDS Foundation, and now Planned Parenthood—Los Angeles. In the State Assembly, Rick will fight for all of us. rickchavezzbur.com




Paid for by Rick Chavez Zbur for Assembly 2022


Janelle Monáe announced as grand marshal for WeHo Pride Out performer will ride in parade on June 5 By JEREMY KINSER

The resume for Janelle Monáe continues

Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, AIDS Healthcare

non-binary and is an acclaimed actor, author, rapper, singer, songwriter, and widely considered one of the most beautiful people in Hollywood, can now add Pride Grand Marshal Icon to their accomplishments. Monáe will ride in the inaugural WeHo Pride

erly Hills Democratic Clubs, DTLA Proud, Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Stache, and American Airlines. Organizations who will participate in the parade and festival include:

parade will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Crescent Heights Boulevard and head west along Santa Monica Boulevard to the City’s Rainbow District. Earlier this year, Monáe announced that she you up to fall in love with any beautiful spirit.” The singer’s most recent album, 2018’s Dirty Computer, was nominated for two Grammy Awards and carried to a GLAAD Media Award win for Outstanding Music Artist. They’ve also appeared in the 2016 Academy Award-winning best picture Moonlight, as well as the fact-based hit Hidden Figures the same year. Last month, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories from Dirty Computer, based on the popular album, was published.

AHHS (Alternative Herbal Health Services), les, American Airlines, Andrew Christian Inc.,

Banda Las Angelinas, Beaches Weho, Best in Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los Angeles Blade, JANELLE MONÁE will ride in the inaugural WeHo Pride parade as its grand marshal on June 5. (PHOTO BY SAMI DRASIN)

New York Times bestselling author and social media sensation. Last year, Siwa came out as pansexual to her millions of fans on social media and inspired a generation of young LGBTQ+ community members and their allies. Siwa is currently on the judges panel for Season 17 of So You Think You Can Dance. West Hollywood is thrilled to be producing #WeHoPride for our community this year and events give the diverse LGBTQ community a place to advocate for equality as well as a place to celebrate exactly who they are – exactly who they were meant to be.”

tal Health Services, E. Roosevelt, Eden Entertainment Group Equality California Institute Coalition Mary’s, Handle With Care, Human Rights Campaign (SheBrew), Imperial Court of Los Angeles & Hollywood, InVision LA, Jet Blue, JQ International, Kaiser Permanente, Kitten Kay Sera Krafton (Mobile Sports Company), KTLA, LA Cares, LA County Department of Public Health

array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. The OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, a three-day concert series that will feature such marquee-name headliners as Lil’ Kim, Marina, Jessie J., and Years & Years. Rainbow”, Special Guest - Janelle Monae, Stache, Stonewall & West Hollywood Beverly Hills

comedians, poets, and activists.

Times, WeHo Trolley, West Coast Singers: the LGBTQ+ Chorus of Los Angeles, West Hollywood Aquatics, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, West Hollywood Elite CheerleadAssociation of Southern California), WhipShots, Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and



Whipping it good for Pride By SUSAN HORNICK

Boozy Activation Schedule Heart



PRIDE goers can sip on specialty cocktails whipped up just for the occasion and a boozy












JUNE 3-5

Primary elections June 7: The Los Angeles Blade’s endorsements LOS ANGELES – These are uncertain times that demand greater voter engagement and

Angelenos and their fellow Southern Californians head to the polls. those hard fought rights. Some housekeeping: • 2021. More disturbing was a trend of a troubling increases in homicides in these cities were


• • sponsiveness and are holding both parties accountable. •

races here in Southern California.

well as other local candidates.

The Los Angeles Blade’s picks endorses Eric Strong. Blade endorses Rep. Karen Bass

State Senate District 22 – Susan Rubio

Seat 60 – Sharon Ransom


• •

U.S. Senate: Full Term: Alex Padilla Short Term (ending January 3, 2023): Alex Padilla U.S. House of Representatives: Congressional District 3: Dr. Kermit Jones Congressional District 4: Mike Thompson Congressional District 6: Ami Bera Congressional District 7: Doris Matsui Congressional District 8: John Garamendi Congressional District 9: Josh Harder Congressional District 10: Mark DeSaulnier Congressional District 11: Nancy Pelosi Congressional District 12: Barbara Lee Congressional District 14: Eric Swalwell Congressional District 15: Kevin Mullin Congressional District 16: Anna Eshoo Congressional District 17: Ro Khanna Congressional District 18: Zoe Lofgren Congressional District 19: Jimmy Panetta Congressional District 21: Jim Costa Congressional District 23: Derek Marshall Congressional District 24: Salud Carbajal Congressional District 25: Raul Ruiz Congressional District 26: Julia Brownley Congressional District 27: Christy Smith Congressional District 28: Judy Chu Congressional District 29: Tony Cárdenas Congressional District 31: Grace Napolitano Congressional District 32: Brad Sherman Congressional District 33: Pete Aguilar Congressional District 34: Jimmy Gomez Congressional District 35: Norma Torres Congressional District 36: Ted Lieu Congressional District 37: Sydney Kamlager Congressional District 38: Linda Sánchez Congressional District 39: Mark Takano Congressional District 40: Dr. Asif Mahmood Congressional District 41: Will Rollins Congressional District 42: Robert Garcia Congressional District 43: Maxine Waters Congressional District 44: Nanette Barragán Congressional District 45: Jay Chen Congressional District 46: Lou Correa Congressional District 47: Katie Porter Congressional District 49: Mike Levin Congressional District 50: Scott Peters Congressional District 51: Sara Jacobs Congressional District 52: Juan Vargas California Senate: Senate District 2: Mike McGuire Senate District 6: Paula Villescaz

Senate District 8: Dave Jones Senate District 10: Aisha Wahab Senate District 14: Anna Caballero Senate District 18: Steve Padilla Senate District 20: Daniel Hertzberg Senate District 24: Ben Allen Senate District 26: María Elena Durazo Senate District 28: Lola Smallwood-Cuevas Senate District 34: Tom Umberg Senate District 36: Kim Carr Senate District 38: Catherine Blakespear Senate District 40: Joseph C. Rocha California Assembly: Assembly District 2: Jim Wood Assembly District 4: Cecilia Aguiar-Curry Assembly District 6: Kevin McCarty Assembly District 10: Eric Guerra Assembly District 11: Lori Wilson Assembly District 12: Sara Aminzadeh Assembly District 16: Rebecca Bauer-Kahan Assembly District 17: Matt Haney Assembly District 18: Mia Bonta Assembly District 19: Phil Ting Assembly District 20: Shawn Kumagai Assembly District 21: James Coleman Assembly District 22: Jessica Self Assembly District 23: Marc Berman Assembly District 24: Alex Lee Assembly District 25: Ash Kalra Assembly District 26: Evan Low Assembly District 27: Esmeralda Soria Assembly District 28: Gail Pellerin Assembly District 29: Robert Rivas Assembly District 30: Dawn Addis Assembly District 35: Leticia Perez Assembly District 37: Gregg Hart Assembly District 38: Steve Bennett Assembly District 39: Andrea Rosenthal Assembly District 41: Chris Holden Assembly District 42: Jacqui Irwin Assembly District 43: Luz Rivas Assembly District 44: Laura Friedman Assembly District 46: Jesse Gabriel Assembly District 47: Christy Holstege Assembly District 49: Mike Fong Assembly District 50: Eloise Gómez Reyes Assembly District 51: Rick Chavez Zbur Assembly District 52: Wendy Carrillo Assembly District 54: Miguel Santiago Assembly District 55: Isaac Bryan Assembly District 56: Lisa Calderon Assembly District 57: Reggie Jones-Sawyer Assembly District 58: Sabrina Cervantes

Assembly District 60: Corey Jackson Assembly District 61: Tina McKinnor *SPECIAL ELECTION* Assembly District 62: Tina McKinnor Assembly District 62: Anthony Rendon Assembly District 63: Fauzia Rizvi Assembly District 64: Elizabeth Alcantar Assembly District 65: Mike Gipson Assembly District 66: Al Muratsuchi Assembly District 69: Josh Lowenthal Assembly District 70: Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen Assembly District 74: Chris Duncan Assembly District 76: Brian Maienschein Assembly District 78: Chris Ward Assembly District 79: Akilah Weber Assembly District 80: Georgette Gómez *SPECIAL ELECTION* Assembly District 80: Georgette Gómez LGBTQ+ candidates in other local election races: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 3 : Rebecca Kaplan Anaheim Union High School District, TA 1: Billie Joe Wright Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Ken Carlson Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder: Devin Murphy Covina City Clerk: Drew Aleman El Cerrito City Council: Carolyn Wysinger Fresno City Council, District 1: Annalisa Perea Hart Union High School District, TA 2: Andrew Taban Monrovia City Council: Sashary Zaroyan Monterey City Council, District 1: Thomas Wong Palm Springs City Council, District 3: Ron deHarte Pasadena City Council, District 7: Jason Lyon Pasadena Community College Board of Trustees, District 7: Alton Wang Riverside County Board of Education, TA 2: Dr. Eric J. Mooney Sacramento City Council, District 1: Nate Pelczar San Diego City Council, District 2: Dr. Jen Campbell San Dimas City Council, District 2: Eric Nakano San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mandelman San Jose City Council, District 3: Omar Torres San Leandro City Council, District 1: Celina Reynes James Aguilar San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Laura Parmer-Lohan Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Jimmy Dutra Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools: Dr. Amie Carter Sunnyvale City Council, District 5: Richard Mehlinger Fox West Basin Municipal Water District Director, Division IV: Scott Houston


Fox Soul network feature is the best show you’re not watching By SCOTT STIFFLER All the truly great dinner parties end up in the kitchen. So it’s a good sign indeed when four opinionated panelists enter the set, walk past the dining room table, and crowd around an island where their personal chef’s expertly rolled grape leaves pair with wine to form the only force capable of bringing these motor mouths to a screeching, if temporary, halt. Before long, this rainbow tribe of locked-in

specialist kids. He checks all of the boxes of family life. Removing that he is a same gender-loving individual, everything falls into that traditional expectation. So he represents that space, if you will—a fatherly space of understanding. Chris Curse, international beauty expert and hairstylist Chris is from, and still lives in, Chicago. He thinks independently and speaks his mind. He will admit his approach comes from a space of, “I see what I see in front of me.” He has a lot to do with aesthetics; how people present themselves to the world.

and to task — dishing, yes, right there in the kitchen, on the questions presented by the dinner guest who’s about to drop by. Emmy-nominated celebrity hairstylist-spiritualist-parent-model Lacey “Legs for Days” Cartier is the guest and not for nothing, we’re told, “She also represents the transgender community.” This leads to a spirited, overlapping

sonality Aaron, who [regularly] butts heads with Chris, and brings that very hopeful feeling of what life could be if we could

It’s Oct. 11, 2021 and that’s the fertile ground covered The cast of ‘The House’

fest meant to provoke conversation among viewers long after the panel (you can call them “The Fam”) go their separate ways. If you’re a longtime fan of “The Fam,” you know paratively mild, compared to all the ground that’s been covdeck was candied salmon bites, and the guest was Anthony Cherry. “Celebrity hairstylist tells how he went from a drug dealer selling crack, to navigating what homosexuality looks like from an urban perspective,” says the episode encapsulation. Whoever wrote that deserves an award, as do the show’s creators, bookers, and battle-worn (but not weary) four-person “The Fam” panel. The fact that they’re all still talking to each other is its own kind of award—and if “The House” an award it truly deserves: Best Show You’re Not Watching. You really need to work on that—and to get there, here are excerpts from our recent conversation with Blade: Give us the origin story and elevator pitch. Jones but it was always a talk show format for Black LGBTQIA+

(Photo courtesy Fox Soul)

Levy. He had known [panelist] Cheryl Rich for many years Doug and I developed the idea. We started the development process at the end of 2019…come March 2020, the pandemic hit, then we were delayed again come May 2020 with the murder of George Floyd. Simultaneously, transgender murders were at an all-time high. We knew that if we waited for the “right time,” that time may never come, shot 11 episodes in 4 days. Blade Jones one network that would want us and be willing to air our picking us up and seeing the necessity of our voice on the network. Fox Soul saw and immediately understood what we were attempting to do—that we are modeling ways to rebuild Black families and communities and bond the Black LGBTQIA+ community together in order to build a stronger, better society for all of its members. For that, I am eternally


Blade: Take us one by one through The Fam. Jones: Antonio LeMons, clinical psychologist and trauma

in doing so, opens us up to a perspective of being open and acceptive of everyone. Cheryl Rich, been there, done everything She represents that voice of, “I made it through the rough side of the mountain.” Cheryl is the voice of the survivor, speaking love and tolerance and reminding us that they [potential allies who may not share our views] are doing the best they can, coming from their history. Blade: We’re told early on in Season 1 that raised voices fast, that often and with such intensity, doesn’t that leave Jones: They are four opinionated people and we get personal in asking them to share their real life—and yes, it does take a toll. Who wants to be told your experience is all agreed, at the end of the day, we are in one boat and a rising tide will lift that boat. We all want to provoke these conversations, planting seeds in the audience’s mind to hopefully demystify some of what is confusing about what a break, because they are going through a meat grinder [shows are shot back-to-back]. Blade: Have you heard about getting picked up for anJones: Season 3, we’ve not gotten the word yet. But we do anticipate it coming pretty soon. We’re going to be present for Pride LA and Fox is aware and supportive of that, so [Season 3] feels like it’s in the works.

Pride season makes a comeback June 3

9TH ANNUAL LGBTQ+ PRIDE NIGHT AT DODGER STADIUM 7:10 PM – 10:00 PM PST $68 to $206 https://www.mlb.com/dodgers/tickets/specials/lgbt-night The Los Angeles Dodgers are teaming up with L.A. Pride for “Pride Night at the Stadium” as they square off against the New York Mets. A special pre-game ceremony will recognize frontline workers and feature surprise guests. A post-game DYKE MARCH

WOMEN’S FREEDOM FESTIVAL 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Free Thelproject.org After the Dyke March, check out this femme-friendly festiAdmission.

into the heart of the Rainbow District for the inaugural WeHo

ment, and a whole lot of fun to WeHo Pride weekend with

PRIDE on Robertson Stage


June 11


June 4


urday afternoon pool party on the rooftop of the Andaz Hotel. Among the other highlights are a Saturday night dance party


10pm- 4am

wehopride.com/ The Dyke March will feature the presentation of the Melistel for a weekend of female-friendly dinners, pool

following the Dyke March at the #WeHoPride Street Fair stage


with a featured performance from Milck, singing her latest

12:00 PM - 7:00 PM $20

OUTLOUD RAISING VOICES MUSIC FESTIVAL (JUNE 3 THROUGH 5) West Hollywood Park 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM PST or Sunday only Weareoutloud.com.

This high-energy concert features show-stopping perfor-

/ Posse / Salina Estitties / Stacy Christine / Stewart Taylor / Zee


June 12

FUTURE LOVERS BLOCK PARTY 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM $80 The inaugural LA Pride Hollywood block party will shut

fun, but it also brings a way for us to offer our support for the

June 9


and numerous RuPaul’s Drag Race

June 16

TRANS PRIDE (JUNE 16 - 18) Rosenstein Campus

Stop by West Hollywood’s Plummer Park with your entire tween 12-4 p.m. and enjoy a free family-friendly day that will

Free Lalgbtcenter.org/transpride

erage areas, craft cocktails and beer gardens, photo opps,

June 5


ing beyond Pride Month.

12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Free wehopride.com/


drag shows by Meta World Piss, Die Anna, and Guide. MASTERBEAT UNITED IN PRIDE and Academy Hollywood

Show. Trans Pride Los Angeles is hosted by the Trans* Lounge

By ED GUNTS en spoken-word performances; made visual art; modeled for A:

Q: A:

.” Q:

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other medium? A:

Q others? A

Q: Q: A: Q:


A: Q: A:







Stories Beyond the Rainbow

An Evening of Original Queer and Trans Musicals



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Congregation Kol Ami 1200 N La Brea Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90038 This event is part of the City of West Hollywood’s #WeHoPride programming

City of West Hollywood California 1984

A month of Pride on the screen By JOHN PAUL KING

If you’re a regular Blade reader, you already know that “Fire Island” is set to kick


it drops on Hulu on June 3. But while the Andrew Ahn-directed gay rom-com written by Joel Kim Booster (who co-stars with Bowen

Heather Brewer, the story follows Juliette, a

smart, funny, and gloriously queer entertainment to keep us going all month long, there’s


shows headed to our screens in June – which

description, each of these antagonists quickly learns that their opponent is not too easy to defeat, but way too easy to fall for. We’re

what feels like decades. featuring stories about characters representto comedy – a welcome change from the slim


list. Don’t worry: as always, the Blade is here to help. Here’s our list of the notable titles BENEDICTION – June 3, in theaters. Siegfried Sassoon was a queer English wordsmith-turned-soldier who became one of the leading poets of the World War I era with -

(Image courtesy Peacock)



decide not only who he wants to be with, but more broadly, who he wants to be. It’s not an easy process, especially with post-high-school plans looming and a whole new set of prob-

star – but be warned, it’s not a happy story. BALONEY “clothing optional” documentary that chronicles 18 months in the life of Baloney – a mostly


this year’s DragCon, where it was nominated for Best Documentary. QUEER AS FOLK

lutely. Sounds like an all-around win to us. -



assortment of characters than the group of predominantly white gay men featured by its







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Come Over to Squirt.org and Join the Action. LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 03, 2022 • 47

Meet the Makers at Santa Monica Place’s PRIDE Marketplace By BEKAH WRIGHT

Inclusivity is one of many reasons to celebrate in Santa Monica this June, as the 3rd Annual SaMo PRIDE gets underway. On the month-long schedule: events, art installations, and activations throughout the city from Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Santa Monica in collaboration with the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism. Make a beeline for--Santa Monica Place’s Made with PRIDE Marketplace, held each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Santa Monica Place General Manager Stephanie Eglin says, “We saw a unique opportunity to bring a fresh, one-of-a-kind retailing experience to our consumers while supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.” One needs merely follow the “Miles of Pride” light installation on the Promenade to Santa Monica Place to join the fun. Streetlet, a business that connects small businesses with hoods, partnered with Santa Monica Place to make this a reality. “We worked together closely to design an opportunity to set these businesses up for the best chance at success,” Streetlet Co-founder and CCO, Negin Singh says. Something Streetlet and Santa Monica Place accomplished by researchThe uniqueness of Made with PRIDE Marketplace is its approach to connecting makers with the community. “We focus on makers who have a strong ‘why,” Singh says. “These are small business owners who truly believe in their product and are passionate about the community they serve. They channel their creativity into their products; we help elevate their PRIDE Marketplace’s designated pop-area at Santa Monica Place will showcase 15 LGBTQIA+ makers throughout the month. Shoppers can get a head start learning about the stories behind the artisans via social media (@santamonicaplace and @streetlet). At PRIDE Marketplace, individual signage will provide insight into the makers’ journeys. Even better, Eglin says, “The artisans are eager to connect, so guests looking to speak with them will have the opportunity to do so onsite.” Who shoppers can expect to meet? “There’s true diversity in their stories,” Singh says. “Many of these small businesses are innovating within their own spaces, changing up the game when it comes to who gets to participate in culture. We truly believe we’ve got household names in the making within this group, and we’re so excited for customers to discover them

Humankind Launches New Wave

When faced with dilemmas, Haily Marzullo has a motto: Be the impetus behind Marzullo launching her own business. “I’d been searching and found nothing,” she recalls. “With my expertise in marketing, brand, and continuous hustle, I created Humankind.” Marzullo’s mission for Humankind--“To launch a new wave says of juggling a new business while taking consulting gigs to bring in income. “I haven’t raised a single dollar [of funding].”

ing orders in my house, to moving to a warehouse,” Marzullo says. “Humankind has grown in phases, month over month. This year has been our biggest yet.” Indeed, Humankind just launched an exclusive, limited-edition swim/sportswear line with Target. “The partnership will see Humankind in every Target store nationwide and online, a big step in the right direction towards giving LGBTQIA+ people an accessible retail location,” Marzullo says. “That didn’t use to happen; the world At Humankind’s Made with PRIDE Marketplace pop-up, shoppers can meet Marzullo and learn more about Humankind’s Pride swim line. Featured are size-inclusive, mix-andmatch sports bra tops and trunks with UV protection. Marzullo is excited about interacting with customers and learning how to meet their needs. Plus, “Being in a safe space that makes people feel comfortable gives them opportunities to explore Humankind in ways they might not have been able to

Cynthia’s Macrame: Weaving Passion for All

Soul Food Candle Company Proclaims: #SecuretheScent

For Cordova, macrame is a love story that started with the delivery of a monthly craft box. “The macrame box arrived six months in,” she recalls. “I just kept making macrame projects.” Then, things got a little out of hand. “It started with macrame plant hangars, then I got into weaving,” she says of her growing desire to create. “There’s a black hole of money when it comes to buying art yarn.” To fund her newborn passion, Cordova launched Cynthia’s Macrame she’s been sharing her art through pop-ups. Enter SaMo Pride. “I’m really pumped to be in a space with a bunch of other queer people,” Cordova, who is LatinX and LGBTQIA+, says. Cordova hopes meeting her and experiencing her work will inspire others. “Macrame and weaving have historically been see her and realize these crafts are open to everyone. Cordova, after all, is used to people being magnetically drawn to her work. “They’ll say, ‘The textures! I just want to squish it in my hands!’” Her response, “Wherever the wind takes you.”

Artists at heart, life partners Ko and DeMarkus Trinidad-Williams always knew they wanted to launch a business together. When COVID hit, DeMarkus says, “We took the opportunity to be fearless.” A product the two share a love for: candles. In their eyes, though, something was missing in the market. “There were no brands representative of our identities: Black, LatinX, Puerto Rican, LGBTQIA+,” Ko says. “We wanted to make products that resonated with our identities and sparked nostalgia.” Another goal: creating a safe space where the LGBTQIA+ community can purchase products without feeling judgement. “We tend to feel [judgement] in stores that might not be advertised to our demographic,” DeMarkus explains. Their solution for these goals: Soul Food Candle Company, which sells candles, clothing, and accessories. Candle fans visiting the Made with PRIDE Marketplace will be introduced to Soul Food Candle Company’s four signature scents: lemon-lime, sandalwood, musk-scented Besitos De Coco, citrus, honey, vanilla musk-scented Trap House Honey, warm spices, jasmine, amber-scented Cocoa Butter BBY, and bergamot, lavender, cedarwood-scented Sandalwood Silked Waves. Also on tap will be limited edition candle scents with a Pride theme. Festooning the candles is artwork serving as additional touchstones—a jibaro hat, bamboo earrings, and a do-rag. ent shades of melanin. DeMarkus expounds, “With the pride get the brown and black stripes.” At the Made with PRIDE Marketplace, Ko hopes shoppers will feel seen, heard, and represented when perusing Soul Food Candle Company’s products. “Deep conversation tends to happen with people sharing their stories when they experience our products,” Ko says. “This is so important to us; we call our customers our Soul Food Fam.” As for communities, Soul Food Candle Company is putting forth its own hashtag: #securethescent.