Los Angeles Blade, Volume 06, Issue 24, June 17, 2022

Page 1

(Photo Credit: [Booking photos] via the Kootenai County, Idaho Sheriff’s Office)



Police investigate death threat against Sen. Wiener Police executed a search of California State Senator Scott Wiener’s San Francisco home Sunday and his legislative offices in Sacramento with bomb dogs after a senior staffer received a credible death threat targeting the openly gay Democratic lawmaker. The threat against Wiener came during Pride month and on a weekend of threats of violence against the LGBTQ community. The threat was sent in an email to one of the senator’s principal aides who in turn notified Wiener at which point the authorities were engaged. It read in part, “Scott weiner is a fucking pedophile, he will die today.” Both the San Francisco Police Department and California Highway Patrol are investigating the threat, the SFPD’s public information officer Officer Kathryn Winters told the Blade. “This is an ongoing investigation which is being handled by the California Highway Patrol


(Blade file photo)

and the San Francisco Police Department Special Investigations Division, and we work with agencies such as the CHP in response to incidents such as this,” Winters said. “I’ve been getting death threats for years as a result of our work to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. I’m not going to stop doing that work no matter what threats people make. This is just another example of the growing attacks we’re

seeing on LGBTQ people around the country — including this past weekend in Idaho and San Lorenzo. These attacks are a direct result of the hateful, anti-LGBTQ political rhetoric coming from right-wing politicians and activists. Words have consequences,” Wiener said in a statement. The Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group whose membership espouse hate-filled anti-gay/anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the San Lorenzo Library located on Paseo Grande in Alameda County, California Saturday afternoon. Lt. Ray Kelly, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer said a that group of men described as members of the Proud Boys organization, entered the during library its “Drag Queen Story Time” event and made “homophobic and transphobic remarks against a member of the LGTBQ+ community who was hosting the event.” Witnesses reported that the men began to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs at the event organizer, drag queen Panda Dulce. The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety. Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the library and were able to de-escalate the situation. Kelly indicated that there was an active hate crime investigation as a result of the actions of the five Proud Boys. According to Kelly, in addition to drag queen organiser Panda Dulce there were parents and minor children also present. In a second incident mentioned by Wiener in a tweet, in his Sunday tweet, at the end of last week heavily armed Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear arrested armed anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, and a few self-labeled ‘street preachers’ who were attempting to disrupt the “Pride in the Park” in Coeur d’Alene City Park which returned after a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reported that Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white-supremacist insignia, shields and an “operations plan” to riot near an LGBTQ Pride event on Saturday afternoon. Lee White, the police chief of the Coeur d’Alene police department said those arrested were affiliated with Patriot Front, a white-supremacist group whose founder was among those arrested. Patriot Front was once known as Vanguard America (VA), one of the main organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Authorities received a tip about a “little army” loading into a U-Haul truck at a hotel Saturday afternoon, said Lee. Local and state law enforcement pulled over the truck about 10 minutes later, White said at a news conference. Many of those arrested were wearing logos representing Patriot Front, which rebranded after one of its members plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. BRODY LEVESQUE

L.A. County Parks launches free summer lunch program It’s Park Time, L.A. County! The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Education, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the Department of Public Health, will provide approximately 100,000 free snacks and lunches this summer to children at 46 county parks. The 2022 free Summer Food Service Program will kickoff on Monday, June 13, 2022, and conclude Friday, August 5, 2022. The program runs Monday through Friday, lunch will be served between the hours of noon to 1:00 p.m. and snack will be served between the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please note that there will be no lunch and snack on June 20, 2022 and July 4, 2022. Children and youth under 18 years of age are invited to receive a nutritious lunch and snack that includes vegetables, fruits, seeds and healthy dairy products like milk, string cheese, and yogurt. This

year the lunch and snack program will be in-person dine-in. “Food insecurity can have significant negative impacts on the healthy development of children and can increase the risks for depression and other mental health conditions among adolescents,” shared Norma E. García-González, Los Angeles County Director of Parks and Recreation. “Ensuring the consistent delivery of out-of-school-time lunch and snack programs through our department’s summer recreation programs and activities will expand access to nutritious food. Access to nutritious food partnered with quality out-of-school-time activities is especially needed for many families during this time of economic stress.” Created to help reduce the growing percentage of young people in the United States challenged by obesity or lack of consistent access to wholesome meals, the program aims to provide a healthy alternative for children when school is out for the summer.

For participating parks to qualify for the program, they must service areas within the geographical boundaries of elementary, middle or high school attendance area with at least 50% of its students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. To locate a summer lunch and snack site at an L.A. County Park near you, please visit Free Summer Lunch and Snack Program. Free Summer Lunch and Snack is a main component of the Every Body Plays Drop In Summer Adventures program. Every Body Plays Drop In Summer Adventures is part of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation summer series which also includes Every Body Explores and Every Body Swims. To learn more about these programs or to locate a participating L.A County Park near you, please visit https://parks.lacounty.gov/summer. FROM STAFF REPORTS



Proud Boys disrupt San Lorenzo Library drag queen story hour Hate crime investigation underway into harassment of children

By BRODY LEVESQUE The Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group whose membership espouses hatefilled anti-LGBTQ rhetoric disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the San Lorenzo Library located on Paseo Grande in Alameda County on Saturday afternoon. Lt. Ray Kelly, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer said that a group of men described as members of the Proud Boys organization, entered the during library its “Drag Queen Story Time” event and made “homophobic and transphobic remarks against a member of the LGTBQ community who was hosting the event.” Witnesses reported that the men began to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs at the event organizer, drag queen Panda Dulce. The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety. Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the library and were able to de-escalate the situation. Kelly indicated that there was an active hate crime investigation as a result of the actions of the five Proud Boys. According to Kelly, in addition to drag queen organizer Panda Dulce there were parents and minor children also present. In a statement the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department noted:

(Photograph via Google Earthview)

(Courtesy of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office)

“An active hate crime investigation is underway as is an investigation into the annoying and harassing of children. “ACSO will dedicate all resources to ensure the safety of members of our LGBTQ community. We will make sure any future events at the library are safe against hate speech and threats of violence. As we celebrate Pride Month, we will be swift in our response to any incidents where there are threats to harm members of this community. “We will release further details as the investigation continues.” One law enforcement source told the Blade Sunday evening that the Proud Boys may have been induced to act based on a post by the vitriolic anti-LGBTQ Tik-Tok account that has been actively attacking the LGBTQ community and has spread the false narrative that LGBTQ people are “grooming” children. Reaction to the actions by the Proud Boys was swift. State Senator Scott Wiener, a member of the General Assembly’s LGBTQ Caucus tweeted: “Yesterday: Proud Boys stormed Drag Queen Story Hour at San Lorenzo Public Library, wearing AK-47 shirts &


calling the drag queen “pedophile” & “it.” A right-wing militia was arrested for planning to attack Pride in Idaho. Direct results of political attacks on LGBTQ people.” “Myself and other Alameda County elected officials are sending an open letter asking that Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney to fully investigate and prosecute this as a hate crime,” Dublin California City Councilman Shawn Kumagai told the Blade in a phone call Sunday. Kumagai also sent the text of a letter that officials are planning on submitting which read in part: “We, as out and proud LGBTQ+ officials and community leaders are outraged about the senseless act of hate caused during the Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Public Library on June 11th. We call upon the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney to investigate and charge, to the greatest extent possible under the law, these acts of hate aimed at harming members of our community and our allies. Additionally, we urge our non-LGBTQ+ allies in offices across the region and state to provide additional support to our community during these increasingly challenging times. On Saturday June 11th, The San Lorenzo Public Library hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour. This event was part of a series of events throughout the Alameda County Library system designed to celebrate PRIDE month and uplift LGBTQ+ stories and experiences. During this event, members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing hate group, stormed the story hour yelling homophobic and transphobic slurs, with the obvious intent of threatening and intimidating the participants of the event. We strongly condemn this act of hate aimed at harming members of our community and our allies. We are living in a time where LGBTQ+ rights are under attack across several states in our nation, and sadly, even accepting and welcoming places like Alameda County are not exempt from this type of hate. Hate has no place in our community and must be met with decisive action.”

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6/8/22 10:04 AM


Former San Francisco first lady Gina Moscone dies On the morning of Nov. 27, 1978 the typically frenetic pace of the Moscone household was even more pronounced as Christopher, his brother Jonathan and sisters Jenifer and Rebecca were getting ready for school while father George was running late to get to his office. Overseeing the bustle was George’s devoted wife Gina quietly fixing breakfast and prodding the mayhem associated with teenagers and family members along. Little did anyone in the Moscone home realize that in just a few short hours life was going to take an abrupt and terrible turn as George, who happened to be the mayor of San Francisco, would be assassinated in his office by former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White. George Moscone with Supervisor Harvey Milk died in a hail of bullets, separately in their offices on the second floor of City Hall. Milk, an openly gay man and Moscone an ally of the LGBTQ community, had forged political bonds that proved to be beneficial to the city’s LGBTQ population. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s web portal SFGate published Nov. 23, 1998, 20 years after the murders, Christopher Moscone spoke about the effect the events had on his mother and family. For Christopher, his brother and his sisters, it was the end of one life, and the beginning of another. Like his siblings, Christopher divides his life into two parts.

Former San Francisco Mayor GEORGE MOSCONE and wife GINA (Undated family photo/ Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific)

The first part is until he was 16. When his dad — a St. Ignatius all-city basketball star in his day — played basketball with him, made him drink a raw egg, milk and coffee before games, flattened his hair in the morning with the water-and-

comb technique, left him notes on the breakfast table with pointers about his game. “He had a passionate love for us. He was always kissing us on the cheek, wanting us to kiss him, always embracing us — even when we had friends over and it could be embarrassing. . . . It seems like a lifetime ago.” Then there is the second part of his life — after the killing. His mother, Gina, and the mayor’s mother, Lena, learned about the assassination on the car radio as they returned from a funeral. To this day, he said, his mother keeps her grief mostly to herself, rarely talking about it. Gina Moscone’s passing was announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco. No details were released but in a statement the governor paid tribute to Mrs. Moscone: “Jennifer and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Gina Moscone. San Francisco will long remember her as a charming, gracious First Lady and a Trustee on the War Memorial Board, a person who gave so much to the City she grew up in and loved so much. Those who knew her will also remember her as a loving mother who doted on her children, all while remaining a fixture in civic life in San Francisco even after the passing of her beloved husband, George. Our hearts are with the Moscone family today as they grieve their mother.” BRODY LEVESQUE

Assembly, education leaders rally for Debt Free College Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Assembly Member Mike Fong (D-Alhambra) and education leaders in Los Angeles hosted a rally to urge the Legislature and Governor to pass the Legislature’s Debt Free College Plan. The Debt Free College Plan includes; 1) $25 million to expand free community college to all full-time students, 2) over $500 million for Cal Grant reform, which will provide 150,000 new students with Cal Grants, and 3) historic investments in the Middle Class Scholarship. Assembly Members Santiago and Mike Fong, in partnership with the Los Angeles Community College District, (LACCD) and other education leaders such as Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, are celebrating the Legislature’s Debt Free College Plan and urging their legislative colleagues and Governor Newsom to pass the proposal. This plan consists of; 1) $25 million to expand the College Promise program to all full-time students; 2) an historic investment in the Middle Class Scholarship; and 3) over $500 million to reform the Cal Grant and provide an additional 150,000 students with Cal Grant awards. The Debt Free College Plan furthers California’s goal of providing truly debt free education to all California students by removing barriers such as GPA and time-out-ofcollege requirements. “The Legislature’s debt free college plan furthers California’s commitment to a higher education that’s affordable for all Californians,” said Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “The current higher education system leaves students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. In California, we’re changing that. In 2017, AB 2

(Santiago) provided free community college (CC) to firsttime, full-time California students. This year, AB 2266 (Santiago) will expand free CC to all full-time students. We are also working on Cal Grant reform and debt free education at CSUs and UCs. We will continue to work toward completely debt free higher education in California!” “Debt-Free college should be the standard in California, and we’re on our way,” said Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). “California has always led on college access and affordability, and we can do it again with the first in the nation Debt-Free College plan—a game changer for California families. “As a former trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District, (LACCD), I am proud of the Legislature’s budget that provides millions of dollars to help our students access and complete higher education debt free,” said Assembly Member Mike Fong (D-Alhambra). “Costs to attend college is more than just tuition. We need to continue to advocate and provide funding for transportation, books, basic needs, and housing in embracing the hopes and aspirations of our students in their pursuit of higher education. This budget reflects the Legislature’s commitment to helping students succeed.” “The LACCD College Promise Program has experienced unparalleled success, with higher overall rates of completion and persistence among mostly first-generation students,” said Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. “This bill expands much-needed access to higher education, keeps college affordable for working families, and accelerates the journey to a no-cost Associates degree for all full-time students, keeping California globally com-


petitive in an inclusive economy.” “Equity has always been at the forefront of LACCD, and expanding College Promise to returning students is an important step in bolstering that,” said LACCD California state capital building Board of Trustees (Blade file photo) Member & Second Vice President Nichelle Henderson. “We have seen the dramatic impact College Promise has had on first-time students, with significant increases in their completion rates. Giving this same opportunity to returning students is the right thing to do.” “Our economy works best when it includes everyone,” said LACCD Board of Trustees Member & Immediate Past President Steve Veres. “The College Promise program has been a pioneer in helping underserved students access college where many have secured high-paying jobs. Expanding it to cover returning students as well will only strengthen our workforce for years to come.” The Legislature is expected to vote on the State Budget, which includes the Debt Free College Plan, on Monday, June 13 and the Governor must sign the Budget by June 15. FROM STAFF REPORTS



300,000 youth ages 13-17 identify as trans in U.S.: study Approximately 1.6 million people ages 13 and older—0.6% of the population—identify as transgender in the United States, according to new estimates from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. This includes 1.4% of youth ages 13-17 (about 300,000 youth) and 0.5% of adults (about 1.3 million adults). Transgender individuals are younger on average than the general U.S. population. Nearly one in five people who identify as transgender (18%) are ages 13-17, compared to less than one in ten (8%) who are ages 13-17 in the general U.S. population. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), and advanced statistical modeling, researchers estimated the population of adults and youth who identify as transgender nationally and in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. They also provide estimates regarding gender, age, and race/ethnicity. This report updates previous Williams Institute estimates of the transgender population released in 2016 and 2017. Results show that the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender in the U.S. has remained steady over time. With the availability of better data, our estimate of the number of youth who identify as transgender has doubled from our previous estimate. “Advances in gender identity data collection over the past five years have provided a more accurate picture of

youth in the U.S. who identify as transgender. Previously, we could only estimate that based on adult data,” said lead author Jody L. Herman, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “These new estimates show us that current policy debates regarding access to gender-affirm(Los Angeles Blade graphic)

ing care and the ability to participate in team sports likely impact more youth than we previously thought.” Additional findings:

Of the 1.3 million adults in the U.S. who identify as transgender, 38.5% (515,200) are transgender women, 35.9% (480,000) are transgender men, and 25.6% (341,800) reported they are gender non-conforming. Transgender individuals are younger on average than the U.S. population. Youth ages 13 to 17 are significantly more likely to identify as transgender (1.4%) than adults ages 65 or older (0.3%). Adults and youth who identify as transgender in the U.S. reside in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “Better collection of data about transgender people on federal surveys is vital to understand the characteristics, experiences, well-being, and needs of the transgender population in the United States,” said study author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute. “The CDC should make the YRBS and BRFSS gender identity questions part of the core survey rather than optional questions, and the U.S. government should include questions to identify transgender people in all federal surveys.” FROM STAFF REPORTS

WeHo calls on residents to reduce water use Southern California is experiencing severe drought conditions. Across the western U.S., scientists have found that the extreme dryness since 2000 has become the driest 22year period in at least 1,200 years, a megadrought that research shows is being intensified by climate change. Earlier this week Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issued a statement on the State Water Resources Control Board’s release today of the latest statewide conservation numbers indicating an increase in water use: “These are not the numbers we wanted to see, and they are not the numbers we need to see. We are in an unprecedented situation, where our water supplies from the State Water Project are so limited by drought and climate change that they do not meet demands. Southern Californians must decrease their water use. I know we can do it. “Our board’s action in late April to mandate dramatic cuts in water use in one-third of Southern California, and to urge 20 percent conservation in the rest of the region, generated widespread public attention to the drought’s severity. That new public understanding of our alarming water supply crisis, combined with the mandatory emergency conservation restrictions that went into effect June 1, must prompt strong action, or we won’t have enough water to get us through the year. “Our communities have for decades responded to our calls to increase their water efficiency and we are grateful for that. We would be in a far worse situation were it not for

those efforts. But now we need to work together to immediately cut our water use to get through this crisis together.” The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) water conservation rules now in effect. All LADWP customers — residential and commercial — are now limited to two-days-a-week outdoor watering as well as other water use restrictions. LADWP customers with street addresses ending in odd-numbers may water on Mondays and Fridays and customers with even-numbered street addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays, before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. LADWP’s new rules call for no watering between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., regardless of the day. New LADWP restrictions also include two recommended practices: the use of pool covers to prevent evaporation, and the washing of vehicles at commercial car wash facilities. Hand watering is allowed every day before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. if the hose is equipped with a self-closing water shut-off device. More information on the new watering days is available at www.ladwp.com/wateringdays. LADWP is also urging customers to act to take advantage of the many water- and money-saving rebates and programs available to both residential and commercial customers. Residential customers can find a comprehensive list of rebates and programs, including rebates for efficient clothes washers, toilets, and turf replacement, at www.lad-


wp.com/save. Commercial customers can visit www.ladwp. com/cwr for rebates and programs. West Hollywood residents and businesses are served by two water utility companies: Beverly Hills Public Works and LADWP. Both utilities encourage their customers to continue to use water efficiently. Residents and businesses should voluntarily reduce water use to help preserve the region’s water storage reserves in response to extreme drought conditions. In May 2022, Governor Newsom warned that he may need to enact mandatory water restrictions throughout the State. More than half of the water used in Southern California is imported from the Northern Sierra and the Colorado River. Both of those sources are facing severe drought conditions; crucial storage reservoirs have never been lower. The Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors has declared a Water Shortage Emergency calling for consumers and businesses to reduce water use and help preserve the region’s storage reserves. The West Basin Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors has moved to activate its Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WCSP) and declare a Water Shortage Emergency for the service area representing nearly one million people in 17 cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County, including West Hollywood. The City of West Hollywood offers tips for saving water on its website at www.weho.org/waterconservation. FROM STAFF REPORTS



The Anthony Meindl Trans Acting Fellowship Launches Outfest LA becomes an Academy Award Qualifier

The OutMuseum Streaming Platform Launches


The OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project Launches



The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Launches

1st Gay & Lesbian Media Conference takes place on UCLA Campus


Outfest Fusion: The Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Festival Launches


Conference is renamed Los Angeles International Gay & Lesbian Film and Video Festival and moves to the 4-star Theater on Wilshire


Outfest LA Celebrates its 20th Anniversary with its largest attendance in history


Platinum Oasis launches at the Coral Sands Motel


Festival moves to the original DGA HQ for first time – legitimizing the festival in the industry


Outfest LA Celebrates its first Opening Night at the Orpheum LA and becomes the largest film festival in So Cal.


Festival moves to the brand new DGA and showcases 115 Films from 15 Countries


The Screenwriting Competition (future Screenwriting Lab) is Launched


First Inaugural Outfest Sundance Brunch is held


Film Festival is renamed Outfest Los Angeles


Violence against LGBTQ community escalates during Pride month Factors driving extremism include ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, anti-trans bills

Pride 2022 has become a litany of violent threats against the LGBTQ+ community. A Drag Queen Story Hour is disrupted by alt-right nationalist white males menacing the event with homophobic and transphobic epithets in Alameda, County on the sixth anniversary of the massacre that took 49 lives in a mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando during a LGBTQ Latin Night event. The next day a state senator is threatened via email, that is deemed credible enough, to dispatch police with dogs trained to seek out explosive devices to his home and legislative offices. A Pride event in Idaho nearly ended in a riot or worse tragedy save for an alert citizen phoning in to law enforcement the fact that masked alt-right agitators armed with riot shields and tear gas were crammed into the back of a U-Haul box van headed to the event. Royal Canadian Mounted Police working in concert with the FBI and Florida law enforcement agencies arrest a 17-year-old Ontario teen who threatened to commit a mass shooting at a Palm Beach County, Florida Pride event. Whispers on popular alt-right channels, websites, and social media apps talk about disrupting other Pride events while the organizers of the two largest Pride gatherings in the U.S., New York City and San Francisco prepare security measures to deflect potential violence. NBC News reported Dan Dimant, media director for Heritage of Pride, the group behind NYC Pride, said that based on the group’s safety guidelines it does not plan to make changes to the march. “We are always in close coordination with local and federal authorities,” he said in a statement to NBC News. “This year our private security has a larger footprint than in previous years so that all of our attendees can enjoy a safe, fun, and memorable return to in-person Pride.” Dimant also noted that the group’s staff and executive board undergo active shooter training annually. But is 2022 any different than previous years in anti-LGBTQ+ activism and vitriolic hate speech in public by those arrayed in opposition to LGBTQ+ equality and rights ? According to several sources ranging from law enforcement to non-profit organizations and advocacy groups the answer appears to be a definite yes. Factors driving renewed anti-LGBTQ+ acts include codification of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, anti-trans youth sports bills coupled with a push to criminalize healthcare or investigate their parents for ‘child abuse’ for trans youth under the age of 18 and other laws considered or passed in the last 2 years by over 35 states. Stepped up rhetoric from Fox News, OAN, and online media personalities such as Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan, Charlie Kirk, and Matt Walsh alongside religious leaders such as extremist Dillon Awes, pastor of the anti-LGBTQ+ Stedfast Baptist Church in Watauga, Texas. Dillon recently sparked outrage after declaring that gay people “are dangerous to society” and should be “lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head.” In primetime mainstream media, Fox News and host Tucker Carlson in particular have been proactive in stirring up considerable aversion and hostility against LGBTQ+ Americans, especially the trans community. “From false accusations of ‘grooming’ to fearmongering about mutilation, Fox News has been instrumental in building outrage and the fake conspiracy theory that the existence of LGBTQ people is a threat to children. The network should not be surprised


Marchers from UN Globe at the 2019 World Pride march in NYC. (Photo courtesy UN Globe)

to discover that its audience is listening to their dangerous lies, especially when its primetime stars are calling for violence against the trans community. LGBTQ people deserve to be who we are and to spend time with the people that we love without fearing that a far-right group is going to show up. Fox News and the right-wing media need to turn down the temperature of their hateful propaganda before somebody is hurt or killed.” Media Matters LGBTQ Program Director Ari Drennen told the Blade. In a phone call with a senior U.S. Justice Department official, the Blade was told that in tracking the hate & extremist groups in the United States, FBI agents and other Justice investigators noted that since the Trump era there seems to be a sharp uptick in the alt-right’s anti-LGBTQ+ messaging. Asked if public statements including social media posts on Twitter and other platforms by right-leaning public figures contributed to the surge in violent rhetoric, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw, who likened opponents to the so-called Don’t Say Gay law to pedophiles and said it could be aptly titled the “anti-grooming” bill, the official agreed with that assessment. The word “grooming” has long been associated with mischaracterizing LGBTQ people, particularly gay men and transgender women, as child sex abusers. Tony Hoang , the Executive Director of the largest statewide LGBTQ+ rights organizations in the country, Equality California told the Blade in an email; “These violent acts targeting the LGBTQ+ community are the logical result of the rhetoric we’ve heard from anti-LGBTQ+ extremists and politicians, which has been building for years now — and especially in recent months. This is the boiling point. When anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and Fox News hosts demonize and dehumanize us, when they lie and accuse adults who support LGBTQ+ kids of child abuse and pedophilia, their hateful and dishonest words are a call to arms for their followers. These politicians may think that their attacks are political games that will earn them votes, but they’re going to get people killed.” The noticeable surge also caught the attention of President Joe Biden who acknowledged the rise last month in his remarks on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. “We continue to witness disturbing setbacks and rising hate and violence targeting LGBTQI+ people in the United States and around the world. This is wrong,” the president said. A source with the New York City Police Department reflected that as it prepares for Pride festivities and the parade marking the 52 anniversary of the Gay Liberation March held the year after the rioting at the Stonewall Inn in the West Village there are grave concerns. The official noted that the first time it will be held in person since 2019, when it attracted an estimated 5 million attend-


ees additionally pointing out that in February, a party for the Black queer community at the Brooklyn bar, Nowadays, was interrupted by a pepper-spray bomb. And in May a man walked into another LGBTQ+ establishment, Rash Bar, with a bottle of flammable liquid and set the venue on fire. In December of last year, agents from the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and charged a Long Island man for mailing letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses. In the criminal complaint and affidavit for arrest, federal prosecutors allege that one letter threatened that there would “be radio-controlled devices placed at numerous strategic places” at the New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,” referencing the massacre in which 49 persons were killed and dozens wounded at Pulse. “There are times when we should be wary of overreacting to a momentary backlash or even a mere difference of opinion. This is not such a time. The danger now is that we as a country will under react to one of the most serious threats our nation has ever faced: an increasingly open hostility to freedom and democracy by the Maga wing of the Republican Party. These extremists are mounting an aggressive takeover of our nation’s politics and, among other scapegoats, viciously targeting LGBTQ people and, particularly, transgender kids,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told the Blade Tuesday. Also creating an environment of hostility towards LGBTQ+ people is the rise of the Christian Nationalism movement, which is also tied to White Nationalism online through platforms like ‘GAB’ whose founder and CEO Andrew Torba bragged recently on that platform: “We have multiple members of Congress embracing Christian Nationalism. We have the most watched News show on TV talking about the Great Replacement. We have normalized the widespread use of the phrases “anti-White” and “anti-Christian” in normie right wing circles. We have eliminated the taboo of criticizing the Tribe. All of these things were utterly unthinkable even three years ago, yet here we are. Little by little, inch by inch the dissident Christian right is gaining ground.” A federal Joint Terrorism Task Force has been charged with addressing concerns over the safety of Pride events in several metropolitan areas, but noting the arrests in Idaho last week, the Justice official told the Blade that the burden really rests on observant citizens notifying authorities to potential threats. Chicago will hold a number of Pride events from June 18 to June 26. Following the incident in Coeur d’Alene, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown “put those who might be planning something on notice” during a news conference Monday, according to NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV. “We are going to be vigilant to ensure that this event, as well as others, go off safely,” he said, according to WMAQ-TV. “And we’ll hold you accountable if you’re planning [and] if you’re doing anything to jeopardize the safety of others.” But the Chicago Police Superintendent also echoed the words Justice official expressed to the Blade stressing that everyday folks need to be on alert and take steps to notify police before tragedy strikes.

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Idaho police arrest armed extremists protesting Pride Heavily armed Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear arrested armed anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, and a few self-labeled ‘street preachers’ who were attempting to disrupt the “Pride in the Park” in Coeur d’Alene City Park which returned after a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reported that Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white-supremacist insignia, shields and an “operations plan” to riot near an LGBTQ Pride event on Saturday afternoon. Lee White, the police chief of the Coeur d’Alene police department said those arrested were affiliated with Patriot Front, a white-supremacist group whose founder was among those arrested.

empowered. These extremists drove from 11 different states to terrorize LGBTQ+ people. Just weeks ago, another white supremacist drove all the way to a Buffalo supermarket to murder Black people. Over a year ago, fascists and white supremacists tried to violently take over our nation’s capital. And exactly six years ago today, 49 lives were stolen from us in the deadliest attack on LGBTQ+ people in our country’s history. Racism, domestic terrorism, anti-LGBTQ+ violence – some of the greatest threats in America are all inextricably linked. We cannot stand by as white supremacists try to violently grasp onto their last remaining strings of power. By coming together, we can elect leaders who know our worth and are willing to prove it by passing legislation to save all of our lives and protect us from this violence and hatred.”


Self-described ‘street preacher’ who protested Pride is arrested by Coeur d’Alene police. (Screenshot/Twitter video)

Patriot Front was once known as Vanguard America (VA), one of the main organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Authorities received a tip about a “little army” loading into a U-Haul truck at a hotel Saturday afternoon, said Lee. Local and state law enforcement pulled over the truck about 10 minutes later, White said at a news conference. Many of those arrested were wearing logos representing Patriot Front, which rebranded after one of its members plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. Also creating concern for law enforcement and the Pride Alliance which sponsored the event was the counter-Pride rally held by the North Idaho motorcycle club, Panhandle Patriots Riding Club, which had announced the rally last month on the group’s Facebook page. Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of Equality Federation reacted to the news of the arrests in a press statement provided to the Blade: “This is beyond terrifying. These white supremacists traveled to Idaho specifically to harm LGBTQ+ people. This isn’t a random event. This is what happens when legislators pass laws saying it is okay to discriminate against and cause substantial harm to LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender young people. The mere existence of LGBTQ+ people is under increasing attack from violent and extremist politicians and their supporters. When our states and towns make it illegal for trans youth to play sports or receive gender-affirming care, anti-LGBTQ+ individuals feel


During a press conference on Monday, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said that his department has received death threats after arresting thirty-one members of the Patriot Front, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ+ white nationalist “hate” group. White indicated that his department has fielded about 149 calls in the aftermath of the arrests. He said about 50 percent of the calls have been praise from the community, who offer their names and express pride in the department. “And the other 50 percent — who are completely anonymous, who want nothing more than to scream and yell at us and use some really choice words — offer death threats against myself and other members of the police department merely for doing our jobs,” White said. “Those people obviously remain anonymous.” Chief White told reporters that his officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the Patriot Front members along with the group’s founder Dallas-based Thomas Ryan Rousseau in traveling in a U-Haul box truck wearing face coverings, white-supremacist insignia, carrying riot shields and had an “operations plan” to riot near at the LGBTQ “Pride in the Park” in Coeur d’Alene City Park Saturday afternoon. Chief White said he observed documents in which the group allegedly planned to create a confrontation, including the use of smoke grenades, before retreating down Sherman Avenue. “It didn’t delineate which group exactly, whether it was police officers or the Pride people, that they were planning to confront,” White said. “It was more vague than that.” The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office released the identities of all 31 who were arrested, all of them charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy and bonded out of custody. It’s unclear if they have all retained attorneys. Of the entire group, only two were listed as residents of Idaho in the sheriff’s booking report. The rest of the group included seven individuals from Texas, six from Utah, five from Washington, three from Colorado, two from South Dakota, one from Alabama, one from Wyoming, one from Oregon, one from Illinois, one from Arkansas, and one from Missouri. Patriot Front was once known as Vanguard America (VA), one of the main organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which rebranded after one of its members plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. Authorities received a tip about a “little army” loading into a U-Haul truck at a hotel Saturday afternoon. Local and state law enforcement pulled over the truck about 10 minutes later, White said. “This one concerned citizen rather than pulling out their phone and recording this for their 15 minutes on YouTube — or Snapchatting it or something like that — took the time to call 911 to report some suspicious activity,” White said. “And as a result, we likely stopped a riot from happening downtown.” According to the Kootenai County, Idaho Sheriff’s Office, by Sunday afternoon all 31 men had bonded out of the Kootenai County Jail. BRODY LEVESQUE



Trans activist declines White House invitation

The co-executive director of an organization that advocates on behalf of transgender and gender non-conforming immigrants declined an invitation to attend the White House’s Pride Month celebration on Wednesday. Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement Co-Executive Director Jennicet Gutiérrez on Tuesday told the Blade during an interview that she “very consciously” decided “not to attend” the event “because the community is under attack.” “There are people that are coming after us, both politicians and white supremacists, and it just doesn’t feel right to me coming and celebrating and listening to a speech when there are all these attacks happening,” said Gutiérrez. “I don’t see how that can be a solution to what we are dealing with in our daily lives.” Gutiérrez is a trans woman who was born in Mexico’s Jalisco state. Gutiérrez noted she and her Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement colleagues over the last eight years have organized around a variety of immigration-related issues that include ending the detention of trans people in immigrant detention centers and stopping the deportation of trans people who ask for asylum in the U.S. “Those things are still happening,” said Gutiérrez. “So, that’s why I made the conscious decision to decline the invitation.” Gutiérrez noted three trans women — Victoria Orellano, Roxsana Hernández and Johana “Joa” Medina León — died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody or

immediately after their release in 2007, 2018 and 2019 respectively. (Neither President Obama, nor President Biden were in the White House when Orellano, Hernández or Medina passed away.) Pablo Sánchez Gotopo, a Venezuelan man with AIDS died in ICE custody in Mississippi on Oct. 1, 2021.


(Photo courtesy of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement)

Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule that closed the southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants because of the pandemic, remains in place. The White House in April announced it would terminate the rule the previous administration implemented in March 2020. Title 42 was to have ended on May 23, but a federal

judge blocked the Biden administration’s plans. “Title 42 is still in place and people are stuck, and that’s not OK,” said Gutiérrez. “Communities here are willing to welcome them, to support them, to get them back on track so they can find their way and fight for dreams overall.” Gutiérrez in 2015 heckled Obama during a White House Pride month reception. She pointed out that Biden was standing next to him. Gutiérrez also noted many attendees booed her. “I was really surprised by the reaction,” said Gutiérrez. “I thought I was surrounded by people that truly care about change, that were fighting for the most vulnerable among us and when they were just bullying and silencing.” Gutiérrez further described the treatment she received at the reception as “very humiliating.” “It was really heartbreaking and that’s also part of the problem,” she said. “If we can’t get behind people who are facing so many injustices, then how are we going to fight for all of us … it’s been shown that time after time trans folks and non-binary individuals are often left behind.” The 2015 reception took place two days before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Obergefell ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country. Growing concerns over whether the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down Roe v. Wade will loom over this year’s event. The White House has yet to respond to the Blade’s request for comment on Gutiérrez’s decision. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

LGBTQ groups protest DeSantis appearance in NYC An appearance by anti-LGBTQ Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking to the Jewish Leadership Conference at Chelsea Piers sparked protests Sunday by LGBTQ advocacy groups and several elected officials including U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). The appearance by the Florida governor, who signed the state’s infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and during a press conference last week where he also suggested he might urge the state’s child protective services to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows, was decried as insensitive

and offensive during Pride month held every June to commemorate the 1969 LGBTQ uprising at the Stonewall Inn which is located about 2 miles away. State Sen. Brad Hoylman who represents Chelsea has joined other Democratic politicians and New York City leaders and urged Chelsea Piers to say no to hate and demagoguery. “The bottom line is Chelsea Piers is providing a venue to propagate hate toward the LGBTQ community and that is unacceptable on many levels, including that it is Pride and that it is in Chelsea, the heart of the community,” Hoylman said.

The venue told the New York Times that it would donate money to groups that support LGBTQ rights to mitigate the fallout. The Times reported the decision by Chelsea Piers to donate money has not mollified critics. Other groups are canceling upcoming events at Chelsea Piers. Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for GLAAD, said his organization would “refrain from future events” at the complex, “given the platform that Chelsea Piers is giving to one of the most anti-LGBTQ and dangerous politicians today.” BRODY LEVESQUE

VP Harris addresses D.C. Pride festival

Vice President KAMALA HARRIS speaks to Sunday’s Pride festival crowd in D.C. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

In a surprise appearance, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke from the main stage of D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival late Sunday afternoon before a crowd of as many as a thousand people who had been watching the Capital Pride concert that had been taking place prior to Harris’ unannounced appearance.

To the delight of the crowd, Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C. Pride events, introduced Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, on the stage, drawing thunderous applause. “Happy Pride everyone!” Harris told the crowd. “Oh, what a glorious day. Listen, we have so much to celebrate, and we celebrate each other every day,” she said. “We celebrate the progress we have made,” she continued. “And we celebrate the fact that we are in this to stand for what we stand for and fight for what we stand for,” she said. Harris’ appearance at the Capital Pride Festival on Sunday came exactly one year after she and Emhoff joined hundreds of LGBTQ participants in D.C.’s Capital Pride


Walk as it reached 13th Street, N.W., near Freedom Plaza, becoming the first U.S. vice president to participate in an LGBTQ Pride event. Her unannounced appearance in last year’s Pride Walk came as a surprise to the Capital Pride organizers as well as to the delighted onlookers who saw Harris and her husband join the walk, which was an abridged version of the Capital Pride Parade that had been cancelled in 2021 as it had in 2020 due to the pandemic. In her short speech on Sunday, Harris referred to the Pulse nightclub shooting exactly six years ago in Orlando, Fla., which took the lives of 49 mostly LGBTQ people, saying, “no one should fear going to a nightclub for fear that a terrorist might try to take them down.” LOU CHIBBARO JR.


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V O L U M E 06 I S S U E 24

Yuval David

is an Emmy-nominated actor, director, and filmmaker who has won more than 100 international film festival awards. He is an active leader in the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, working with several prestigious organizations to save people in life-threatening situations.

Activism takes action

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough when lives are at stake The LGBTQ community is the most diverse community in the world because we are part of every other community. That means that the LGBTQ movement must aid LGBTQ people around the world, not only those who are close to home. Dozens of countries have laws criminalizing same-sex relations and LGBTQ gender expression. Legal sanctions against LGBTQ people vary in scope and application. These range from fines to life imprisonment and the death penalty. In many nations, the laws might not be enforced, but severe consequences for LGBTQ people include not having protection under the law, facing bullying, harassment, violence, discrimination, a lack of equal access to employment, education, health services, and police protection. When I took an active role in fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people throughout the world, my goal was to help people in desperate need. I wanted to utilize my reach and my network, pushing my contacts to help me help others. This mentality led me to meet recently with officials at the White House, the State Department, and Foreign Service. We discussed specific cases of individuals overseas, who are desperately seeking to escape their life-threatening situations because of their LGBTQ identity. I asked these government officials what they could do to help people in desperate need of being rescued. My approach was to connect government agencies, nonprofit organizations and the victims in need. This manner of advocacy made me a liaison between those who can help and those who need help. Since my teenage years, I have been active as a Jewish and LGBTQ activist. As my connections grew, I have pursued more ways to make a difference. With my public profile, due to my work in entertainment and media, I’ve been speaking out about the needs of marginalized and victimized groups, and people in need started reaching out directly to me. Throughout my life, I’ve been sensitive to those reaching out for help. I recognized their desperation, openly pleading for help. I know I can help, and I also know I must help. Maybe it is because I am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, and a child of immigrants who are children of immigrants, and maybe it is because


people in my family struggled to survive, which is the only reason I am here. Within my own life experiences, I know what it is to be a victim and a survivor. While it is everyone’s moral duty to help others, maybe those who have experienced hardship understand this the most. When I met with these officials, I made it clear that there are specific cases of people who are in desperate need of immediate help. These are urgent matters that can save people’s lives. As a Jewish leader and activist, it is my duty to help these people. This is what Judaism is about: “Love thy neighbor as thyself, whoever saves one life saves the world entire,” and the ultimate concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. These days, people call themselves activists when they post content supporting those in need on social media. But that is not advocacy, it does not go beyond “thoughts and prayers.” Activism takes action, and that means stepping out of your comfort zone and away from your phone to help others. Rainbow Railroad, Dignity LGBTQI, Freedom House, The National LGBTQ Task Force, Israel Gay Youth, and The Agudah among others, are each amazing organizations that I have partnered with to advocate to help those in desperate need. When I meet with government officials, I remind them that I represent them as much as they represent me. We are in this together. This is how you defend democracy. We need help. Everyone who can assist those in need must do so, especially during Pride month, as so many LGBTQ people’s lives are in danger throughout the globe. As a supporter of democratic countries, I support any nation that supports and accepts women and LGBTQ people. It makes it clear which countries do not do so, and I do not support countries that do not support these two groups. Yet, even within the democratic countries, I saw gaps and jumped to help. On an almost daily basis, people contact me on social media, often using private or anonymous accounts, asking to help save their lives. I take action in the steps to rescue them and connect them to organizations that can help guide them to safety, a fresh start in a world that needs healing.


CREATIVE DESIGN/PRODUCTION AZERCREATIVE.COM DISTRIBUTION CHRISTOPHER JACKSON, 562-826-6602 All material in the Los Angeles Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Los Angeles Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Los Angeles Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Los Angeles Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Los Angeles Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, CA. Multiple copies are available from the Los Angeles Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Los Angeles Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Los Angeles Blade is published bi-weekly, on Friday, by Los Angeles Blade, LLC. Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, CA., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Los Angeles Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Los Angeles Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to tmasters@losangelesblade.com.


Dr. N. Adam Brown

is an emergency physician, COVID expert, health communicator, and strategist.

Monkeypox arrives — what’s the big deal? Most cases identified in gay or bisexual men

Earlier this month, California health officials confirmed the first case of Monkeypox. California joins 11 other states and counting with this potentially deadly disease. So far, most cases have been identified in gay or bisexual men. With Pride events taking place around the world this month, how concerned should we be? Is this the tip of the iceberg? Let’s break it down. What is Monkeypox? Monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to its more deadly cousin Smallpox. Scientists identified Monkeypox in 1958 first in monkeys (hence the name) and later in humans in the 1970s. Despite the name, bush animals and rodents are the natural reservoir for the virus. How did we first hear about this strain of Monkeypox? In May, health officials first identified an outbreak of Monkeypox in Spain, which then spread to the U.K. While some women and children have developed the disease, most cases were disproportionally found in gay and bisexual men. Health agencies traced those exposures back to gay dance parties, saunas, and intimate activities. What are the symptoms of Monkeypox? Symptoms often start with headache, fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph glands. Within 1-3 days of the fever, a rash with blisters typically develops on the face, hands, and soles of the feet. In more recent cases, however, patients have seen lesions around the mouth and groin only. The lesions can appear flat or raised, fluid filled and then slough off into a scab, lasting 2-4 weeks. While most cases go away without treatment, Monkeypox can be deadly with a death rate of 3-6%. How does Monkeypox spread? In the past, most Monkeypox outbreaks outside of Africa were caused by imported animals. Now, the virus has appeared to spread between people within a community. Monkeypox virus is transmitted in several ways with the most

common coming from direct skin-to-skin or mouth-to-skin contact with an infected person, infected animal, or a contaminated surface or linens. Ulcers or lesions are particularly infectious. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted illness, but can transmit during sexual contact. Why are more gay men being seen with Monkeypox? While there is a disproportionate rise in Monkeypox cases among the LGBTQ community, Monkeypox is not a “gay disease.” It can be transmitted between anyone. Stigmatizing the virus has dangerous consequences and will only matters worse. That said, the virus was likely introduced first in the gay community and then spread. Secondly, most Monkeypox cases have been identified in STI clinics. Because of positive sexual health awareness and practices, gay and bisexual men are more frequently screened for STIs and seek evaluation when new rashes occur. What do I do if I think I have Monkeypox? If you develop a fever, swollen lymph glands and a rash, you should contact your healthcare provider and self-isolate. So is this a big deal? Maybe — but it’s still early. We are learning more about the severity of this Monkeypox strain. What we know so far is Monkeypox is not COVID-19, and scientists have already developed a vaccine. However, with the sudden emergence of Monkeypox outside where the virus is typically found demonstrating person to person spread, healthcare professionals and the public are appropriately concerned. So what does this all mean? Know the facts about Monkeypox to reduce your risk. Avoid close intimate contact with individuals who have symptoms. Wash your hands and clean surfaces in high traffic areas. And if you develop new skin rashes or unexplained blisters, isolate and alert your healthcare provider. For more, visit WHO.


Summer of 2022: a queer screen roundup Kevin Bacon stars in horror flick ‘They/Them’

By JOHN PAUL KING two young men – and it doesn’t Since the summer season help matters when one of them starts with Pride month, we can turns up dead. Starring Daisy always count on June bringing Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, plenty of great LGBTQ entertainHarris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, ment options to our screens. Sterling Macer, Jr., and David This year has been particularly Strathairn, this screen adaptabountiful – we’ve already hightion was written by “Beasts of the lighted several standout titles Southern Wild” scribe Lucy Alibar for our readers, like the smart, and directed by Olivia Newman. sophisticated, and stingingly funAnything’s Possible (July 22, ny rom-com “Fire Island” (now Prime Video) streaming on Hulu) and the dazWe may have thought we had zlingly diverse re-imagination of seen all multi-hyphenate perthe iconic series “Queer as Folk” former Billy Porter’s many tal(available to watch on Peacock), ents, but we were wrong. The as well as the return of “Love, Tony- and Emmy-winning Porter Victor,” Hulu/Disney’s popular makes his debut as a feature film coming out/coming of age sedirector with this “delightfully ries (beginning its third and final modern” Gen Z coming-of-age season on June 15) – so it’s unstory about a confident trans derstandable if viewers are still high school girl named Kelsa making their way through these KEVIN BACON stars in queer horror film ‘They/Them.’ (Photo courtesy Peacock) who is busily navigating her way and some of the other movies through senior year when she and shows on our must-see list. discovers that a shy classmate has developed a crush on her. Written by Ximena García If you’re one of those who are still catching up, however, you’d be well advised to do it Lecuona, the story is described as “a romance that showcases the joy, tenderness, and quickly. June is not quite done rolling out its offerings, and that’s just the beginning. The pain of young love,” and it stars Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. And in rest of summer has more in store for queer viewers – and once again, the Blade is here to case you’re wondering, Porter does not appear, himself – though he is credited as Execuoffer some suggested titles that we think are worth looking out for in the weeks to come. tive Music Producer alongside Justin Tranter, which is yet another reason to look forward Being BeBe (Now streaming, Apple TV/Prime Video) to this one. Director Emily Branham brings us this intimate documentary charting 15 years in the Uncoupled (July 29, Netflix) life of drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Benet), who immigrated to AmerNeil Patrick Harris returns to the sitcom milieu that has brought him fame in a sitcom ica from the homophobic environment of his native Cameroon before becoming the first so perfect for him it’s shocking nobody ever thought to make it before – but perhaps we champion on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and launching a career as one the leading artists celehad to wait for him to be the right age to play Michael, a 40-something gay man who thinks brating Black Queer Excellence today. It’s an up-close look at a performer whose emotional he has a picture perfect life until his husband blindsides him by walking out the door and journey raises timely concerns at the intersection of LGBTQ, BIPOC, and immigrant lives away from their marriage after 17 years together. He’s now confronted with the nightmare today. scenario of being middle-aged, queer, and single in New York City – but when he starts to The Umbrella Academy, Season 3 (June 22, Netflix) recognize the possibilities of living a single life, he decides to make the most of it. From The popular comic-book-inspired fantasy drama series comes back for a much-antici“Emily in Paris” creator Darren Star and longtime “Modern Family” producer Jeffrey Richpated third installment after leaving its titular collection of superhero siblings stranded in a man, it looks to be a prime opportunity to enjoy Harris at his comedic best in a sharp, sexy, strange timeline at the end of the last one. Hip and irreverent, this violent, decidedly adult and very queer eight episodes of television. superhero saga had a huge cult following even before Netflix brought it to the screen, and They/Them (August 5, Peacock) show creator Steve Blackman’s slick, stylish adaptation of it has spawned a whole new From horror cinema heavy-hitters Blumhouse Productions comes this queer fright flick army of fans – many of them queer, thanks to the material’s inclusion of two queer charac(pronounced “they-slash-them”) described as a “queer empowerment story set at a gay ters among the leads and an “outsider” vibe that gives it a generally queer sensibility. This conversion camp” and starring Kevin Bacon as a counselor hoping to help his “guests” find season will surely be essential viewing for LGBTQ viewers, since it marks the return of Elliot “a new sense of freedom” by shedding their queerness. Unfortunately, a mysterious killer Page to the character he originated before transitioning, in a storyline carefully crafted starts claiming victims, and the campers must work together to protect themselves from by Blackman (who consulted with GLAAD and brought in writer Thomas Page McBee to more than just heteronormative programming. Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan consult, alongside Page himself) in which the character (formerly Vanya) transitions to be(also responsible for the beloved horror series “Penny Dreadful”) created, wrote, and dicome Viktor and begins using he/him pronouns – a historic moment in television, whether rects, bringing his vision as an out gay man to a classic genre with surprisingly few queer you’re a fan of superhero shows or not. Besides Page, the series stars Tom Hopper, David entries. Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky, Theo Germaine, Carrie Preston, Quei Tann, Austin Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Colm Crute, Monique Kim, Anna Lore, Cooper Koch, and Darwin del Fabro star. Feore, Ritu Arya, and Justin Cornwell. Besides all these, don’t forget we also have new seasons of queer-inclusive sitcoms Where the Crawdads Sing (July 15, in theaters) “Rutherford Falls” (June 16, Peacock) and “What We Do in the Shadows” (July 12, FX), so Though Delia Owens’ best-selling novel does not tell a specifically queer story, it has there will be more than enough strong LGBTQ content to hold us over until the release of drawn many queer fans. That’s probably because its lead character Kya, an abandoned Billy Eichner’s hotly anticipated gay rom-com “Bros” in September – but you’ll have to wait girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina, is until our Fall Preview issue to find out more about that. relegated to the status of “other” when she is drawn into the nearby town community by 18 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 17, 2022

Bryan Ruby, out baseball and country music star: 2 icons in 1 ‘Music has always been a refuge for me’

By ROB WATSON pa Bay Rays baseball team. The Rays were holding their 16th annual Pride Night and had We know the theme: “Be your authentic self.” Many trail blazers in different genres emgiven their players a rainbow themed insignia to wear. body it. They stand up, and publicly declare themselves to be unique, real and visible. They Team insignias are not optional. Several team members refused the LGBTQ laced insigawaken the public to the fact that human diversity is the norm and embracing it is not only nias, however. Usually refusing to wear the designated insignia is an insubordinate stance a badge for them, but offers everyone who observes them a chance at a similar freedom. for a player to take and comes with fines from the team organization. No repercussions Most trailblazers pick a single lane in which to challenge misconceptions. happened in this case however. The players claimed religious beliefs as justification and Bryan Ruby has done it in two, neither of which have appeared to be very LGBTQ friendly the team allowed their behavior. until now. Not only has he broken the barrier of being the only out gay baseball player in When asked by the media what he thought, Bryan replied, “We get one night at the ballany professional league, but he has also just launched a new single as an out gay profespark to be ourselves all year, and it just was an indication that a lot of people still believe sional country music singer/songwriter. that we just don’t belong there and that we are not welcome and, even on Pride Night, His image on his music releases is sultry, sexy and thirsty. For baseball, his long brown we’re still second-class citizens.” locks are tucked back and his For that, he received both pumped muscles outline his praises, and a ton of hate mail. “I baseball uniform. In either case, was inundated, pretty vile stuff.” he is beautiful, not just for who The most poignant feedback he is, but because of what he was from a single communicarepresents, and his generosity tion, however. “I got a message to make it available to boys who from a member of the Tampa cannot see anyone like themBay Rays. An emotional message. selves in the world today. It was one of their players who He remembers coming to tracked down my number texted terms with his sexuality. “It was me after Pride night. There are scary. Growing up I played basepeople like me in the sport. There ball since I was 6 or 7 years old. is one hidden on the Tampa Bay My dad was the ballplayer. He Rays team, afraid to speak up. It was a pitcher and is a current gives me purpose for the Proud baseball coach and I was that kid to Be in Baseball organization. who had that little tee ball bat, We can connect with other playthrowing in the driveway at home ers who have nowhere else to go. and played for years. Before I Teams will do Pride events which knew anything about sexuality, I is nice but in terms of the actual was a ballplayer. At 14 or 15, the stuff that helps the players, it is guys on my team started talking uncharted territory.” about girls and pressure came Country music is also unchartin. Oh, you’re a jock. ‘Where’s the ed territory for most LGBTQ peogirlfriend?’ type thing.” BRYAN RUBY (Photo by Kristen Lucas) ple. Not only is country music “Not being able to look around not a typical environment for gay and see somebody who was gay, men, but it is also not one usually associated with baseball players either. Bryan observed, that was like me was really kind of crushing. They say, if you can see it, you can be it. What “It does kind of go counter to the macho type of mold that we are sort of expected to have happens when you’re that kid, and you have that dream, but you can’t see anybody like as male team sport athletes. Whether it’s baseball or football or hockey, but music has you?” always been a safe refuge for me. If I have a tough game if I don’t play well, I just put my Instead of his passion for other guys, he focused on the passion for the sport. He loved headphones in listen to music and chill out and that has always been there. It has become travelling, being transported as a pro-ball player to places like South America. He remema second passion of mine and it’s sort of almost taking over.” bers the thrill of a stadium there where the whole town had shown up, and the stadium Taken over it has. He has written numerous country songs that have hit various country was filled, and the wild and enthusiastic response when he hit a double in front of this charts including iTunes Top Country. He won Season 7 of the talent-search competition crowd of strangers. “I love this, I am a baseball player,” he confirmed to himself. Nashville Rising Song. Bryan busted past the paradigm that if a pro-ball player comes out that he won’t play He just released his first single, a rocking country anthem destined to be a hot dance pro ball ever again. Coming out took “a weight off his shoulders” and he played better and chart hit, “Left Field.” It is an inspiration to be your real self and allow your best life to than ever. He got offers after he came out from three leagues, more than he had any year emanate from “left field.” Bryan’s voice reverberates classically country with a deep sexy previously. He launched the Proud to be in Baseball organization, which is paving the way lower register. for gay kids to play safely and proudly. They have something Bryan did not. They CAN see The proceeds from the sale of the single go 100% to the Proud to Be in Baseball orgasomeone who is gay, like them. They can see Bryan. They can see their future, one where nization. “After I came out, I didn’t come out just to get attention in the media. I asked they do not have to pretend to be someone else. myself what can we actually do to help younger people like me who don’t think they can After he came out, it took the assurances of his teammates for him to understand the be themselves? They shouldn’t have to get to the point that I’m at and feel like they’re the depths of his safety. He was dating his boyfriend Max, but never had Max to a game. Max only ones that exist which is totally, totally not true. Whether they’re in Nashville or they’re had not seen him play, nor had he ever sat in the designated “Wives and girlfriends” secin Laramie Wyoming or they’re in Venezuela or whatever. No kid should have to feel like tion. That changed one day when Bryan was confronted by his team. They were having a there are no adult versions of them and that they’re alone playing their sport in the world,” big party for the playoffs and asked if Bryan would be attending. He said that he would Bryan emphasizes. be. They looked him straight in the eye and said, “We just want you to know, that if you In the United States, our ballplayers are our heroes. Our country western singers are are going to be there, your boyfriend sure as hell better be there with you by your side.” our consciences. Home run. With Bryan Ruby, gay kids now have one of each. Recently, Media outlets turned to him as a spokesperson when controversy hit the Tam20 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 17, 2022


New book explores history of Fire Island Scholarly memoir recounts 1938 hurricane and its aftermath

By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Ugh, it’s been a week. Two hours into Monday and your brain was already screaming for something fun, something far removed from work, a getaway that lets you play. You need to dance this weekend. You need to feel the sun on your face and sand between your toes. And you may need to bring “Fire Island” by Jack Parlett with you, too. Geographically speaking, Manhattan and Fire Island are a mere 60 miles apart. Sixty miles – and half a world. Stretched out and narrow but walkable, the island is home to several vacation communities. Two of them, Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines, both located in about the middle of the island, feature prominently in LGBTQ history. Parlett says that Native Americans sold Fire Island to white Europeans for a pittance, after which activities there were shifty and possibly illegal. By the 1820s, conversely, it was a hot vacation spot for the elite; in certain places, it was the place for finding romance, too, which Parlett says was a sign of the future. Famous men like poet Walt Whitman were big fans of Fire Island and over the next century, a then-quiet queer subculture began to grow. Sometimes, it grew with families and children in the picture, the latter raised by nonconformists and theater people. Even so, despite these many changes, Parlett says that Fire Island wouldn’t be what it is today, were it not for a hurricane that hit the island on the afternoon of Sept. 21, 1938. It devastated Fire Island and


resulted in a real-estate bust. Cottage prices fell significantly, and vacationing there suddenly became affordable for gay New Yorkers. Throughout the 20th century, Fire Island became a playground for performers, thinkers, and writers such as James Baldwin and W. H. Auden. It was a source of controversy for locals who objected to nude bathing. It was a source of embarrassment for Noel Coward. It allowed everyday gay men and women to dance, drink, and party freely. And later on, it was a place to mourn. Considering that this is a book about a getaway destination, “Fire Island” isn’t much of a vacation-y read. It’s actually pretty dry, in fact, and filled with people that were once very famous but aren’t exactly household names anymore. Their drama and the love triangles they struggled with are mildly interesting, in the way that you might perceive great-grandma’s old Confidential magazines in the attic. And yet – the history. Author Jack Parlett offers a lot of solid information beyond those tired scandals to further show how Fire Island came to be a gay hot-spot and why that was important. These tales envelope the rest of the island, as well as current events in America, as a whole, and the impact those outside influences had on LGBTQ life, even today. More scholarly than not, this book also includes a fair bit of memoir for readers who are looking for something less frivolous. If you want a book for fun, though, “Fire Island” is weak.

‘Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise’ By Jack Parlett

c.2022, Hanover Square Press $27.99 | 272 pages

BMW speed demons


Two fun, flashy high-performance rides By JOE PHILLIPS

Just in time for Pride month, two BMW sport sedans celebrate just how fun, fast and flashy a true high-performance ride can be.

BMW M3 COMPETITION xDRIVE $78,000 Mpg: 16 city/22 highway 0 to 60 mph: 3.2 seconds

Talk about a pocket rocket, it’s hard to beat the thrill of the BMW M3 Competition xDrive sport sedan. This 503-horsepower speed demon streaks from 0 to 60 mph as fast as many premium sportsters, including the glitzy new 621-horsepower Maserati MC20 super coupe — which costs a whopping $215,000. Along with the lower price tag, the M3 has room for twice as many passengers and boasts three times as much rear cargo space as that two-person Maserati. While this high-test BMW may be classified as a compact car, there’s ample legroom, decent headroom and a sharply angled dashboard for improved driver visibility. My test car had optional carbon-fiber racing bucket seats, trimmed in snazzy aqua blue and lemon yellow and backlit with illuminated M logos. While the futuristic design is truly a piece of art, scooching in and out of those sci-fi seats — which sit lower than standard seats and have sharply angled side bolsters—was quite a challenge. And, hello, it didn’t help that a “thigh separator” (a raised, hard-padded object stuck in the middle of the bottom cushion) protruded oh-so-close to my scrotum. Let’s just say I got more than my fill of butt-clenching exercises during the week-long test drive. But once situated comfortably behind the sculpted steering wheel, all was forgiven. The M3 cabin is superbly sleek, with modish armrests and a duo of sweeping digital display screens. The eight-speed automatic transmission is wicked smooth, making it practically unnoticeable as the car shifts through gears. And the overall handling is rousing yet controlled, especially with the all-wheel drive. When not grooving to the guttural exhaust growl, I enjoyed jamming to a sparkling 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo. There are plenty of other creature comforts, such as smartphone integration, wireless charging pad and Wi-Fi hotspot. Driving aids include blind-spot monitor, head-up display, collision alert and pedestrian detection. There’s even a system to automatically pull the car over if the driver falls asleep at the wheel. As you could tell, I didn’t have to worry about that happening.


BMW M440i GRAN COUPE xDRIVE $60,000 Mpg: 22 city/29 highway 0 to 60 mph: 4.5 seconds

If the BMW M3 Competition xDrive is a badass sport sedan, then the M440i Gran Coupe xDrive is more buttoned-down — but only to a point. The M Sport trim level on both vehicles includes sturdier brakes, suspension, and stability control. And each car can be ordered with all-wheel drive, a big plus considering the number of downpours and icy road conditions in this part of the country. But the M3 is extra taut, tight and tuned — a race car enthusiast’s dream — whereas the M440i feels as suave as an Aston Martin. Think of it as trading flash for finesse. Styling is just as sharp, though the body cladding, side air vents and rear spoiler are all less pronounced on the 4 Series. It’s also wider and sits higher off the ground. And instead of having a trunk lid, the M440i is a hatchback with a more swoopy profile and easier access to the cargo area. Despite smaller wheels and about two-thirds the horsepower of an M3, the M440i is still plucky and a delight to drive. And safety features and optional amenities are comparable. Inside, the cabin exudes refined BMW luxury but loses the Jedi spaceship vibe so noticeable on the M3. Gauges and the infotainment layout are the same, with similar but fewer performance-oriented readouts on the digital screens. I still found the M440i cabin to be plenty sporty, with premium fit and finish. And there’s beaucoup insulation to block annoying road noise. Perhaps most important, my tush welcomed the return to more traditional seats.



2022 Los Angeles Pride Parade (Photos by Jorge Barragan)


City of West Hollywood California 1984


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