(Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)
AUGUST 05, 2022 • VOLUME 06 • ISSUE 31 • AMERICA’S LGBTQ NEWS SOURCE • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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‘Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights’ protesters vandalize LA landmark The Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division responded to a local protest last week that resulted in three arrests for felony vandalism. The “Urban Light” exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (LACMA) was damaged and doused with a red liquid during a protest about abortion rights. A spokesperson for the LAPD said that the group, ‘Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights’ gathered outside LACMA in the area of Wilshire Boulevard and Ogden Street at around around 12:00 p.m.. During the protest, two female protesters chained themselves to the light pole of an art exhibit, damaging the exhibit itself. One male protester threw an unknown red liquid substance on the art exhibit and surrounding area. LAPD oﬃcers made multiple attempts to work the group of protesters, who refused to leave the area. Around 3:25 p.m., oﬃcers issued a dispersal order., which was followed at around 4:00 p.m. with a second dispersal order.
The crowd refused to leave the area and after a ten minute wait at 4:10 p.m., uniformed oﬃcers along with Metropolitan Division oﬃcers, eﬀected the arrest of the two females and one male for felony vandalism. At 4:30 p.m., the area was cleared of all protesters without incident the LAPD said. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the LAPD. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program. FROM STAFF REPORTS
The ‘Urban Light’ exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was vandalized last week. (Photo courtesy LAPD)
Gas prices continue to drop Southern California gas prices continued dropping signiﬁcantly for the sixth straight week and are now 70 to 80 cents lower than their record levels reached in June, according to the AAA. “Details are in development and we’re anticipating ﬁnal summary points and a news release tomorrow. LA County has NOT yet put the appointment page up on its website be we expect this to occur ASAP,” Erickson tweeted. Free and by appointment only – all details will be added to the LA County Public Health website http://ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypox soon. Only for people 18+ who meet current eligibility criteria: http://ph.lacounty.gov/ monkeypox. Subject to available supplies of the JYNNEOS vaccine. @WeHoCity will share information about the LA County Public Health Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic on its website http://weho.org/news and with a news release and in social media Erickson added.Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.66, which is 16 cents lower than last week. The average national price is $4.28, which is also 16 cents lower than a week ago. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long
Beach area is $5.70 per gallon, which is 17 cents lower than last week, 64 cents lower than last month, and $1.34 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.62, which is 17 cents lower than last week, 65 cents lower than last month, and $1.29 higher than last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.75, which is 13 cents lower than last week, 54 cents lower than last month and $1.44 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.60, which is 16 cents lower than last week, 64 cents lower than last month and $1.32 higher than a year ago. In Bakersﬁeld, the $5.89 average price is 13 cents lower than last Thursday, 43 cents lower than last month and $1.62 higher than a year ago today. “Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices rose about 15 cents since last week from a four-month low point, but oil prices continue to stay lower due to economic concerns and rising interest rates,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Prices are continuing to drop locally and there are now several dozen stations in Southern California with prices below $5 a gallon. Make sure to use a tool like the free AAA Mobile app to ﬁnd the cheapest gas station near you.” FROM STAFF REPORTS
LA Public Health announces WeHo pop-up monkeypox clinic In a tweet Monday, WeHo City Councilmember John Erickson announced that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will launch a PopUp Monkeypox Vaccination Clinic with its pharmacy partner, starting on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 from 9AM to 6PM at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
According to Erickson, the Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic is to provide monkeypox vaccinations daily – Mondays through Fridays from 9AM to 6PM – for a limited time, approximately the next six weeks. LADPH told Erickson that the Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic will be open on August 3-5; August 8-12; August 15-19; August 22-26; and August 29-September 2. BRODY LEVESQUE
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022 • 03
Newsom declares State of Emergency for Monkeypox response
Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 31 declared a State of Emergency to bolster the state’s vaccination eﬀorts as California responds to the monkeypox outbreak. The proclamation enables the California Department of Public Health and other public health oﬃcials to coordinate a whole-of-state government response to monkeypox, seek additional vaccines and lead outreach and education eﬀorts on accessing vaccines and treatment. “California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” said Newsom. “We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community ﬁghting stigmatization.” State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) who has been advocating for immediate state action and was instrumental in the eﬀorts to get the City and County of San Francisco to declare a state of emergency released the following statement applauding Newsom for declaring a State of Emergency due to Monkeypox: “The monkeypox outbreak is an emergency, and we need to use every tool we have to control it. I’m deeply grateful to Governor Newsom for recognizing the peril we face, and thus declaring a state of emergency. This declaration will help expand vaccination, testing, and other critical strategies around the outbreak. I look forward to working with the Governor and his Administration to combat this dangerous health situation.” Last month, California public health leaders urged federal partners to make more vaccine doses available to the state as quickly as possible so that the state can expand eligibility to both conﬁrmed and probable exposures, as well as to individuals who are at high-risk of contracting the virus. To date, the state has distributed more than 25,000 vaccine doses and will make additional allocations in the coming days and weeks. Los Angeles County has received a separate allocation of vaccine. In all, the state has received more than 61,000 doses. The state is also supporting overall vaccination eﬀorts in collaboration with locals, including helping provide staﬃng and mobile clinics. The state allocates doses to local health departments based on a number of factors, including the number of reported monkeypox cases in an area and estimate of at-risk populations. As of July 28, the state had expanded its testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests a week. The state’s public health laboratory leaders have been working with local public health, academic, and commercial laboratories to ensure testing capacity is increasingly available and coordinated with the public health response. CDPH is also expanding treatment options. Access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) used to treat monkeypox is
California Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM
(Blade ﬁle photo via Oﬃce of the Governor)
limited, but the treatment can now be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state the State Health Department noted in a press release. Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang: “Equality California applauds the leadership of Governor Newsom to ensure that Californians are protected from the fast growing monkeypox outbreak in our state. While anyone of any sexual orientation can get Monkeypox, the fact is that, Monkeypox continues to disproportionately aﬀect gay, bisexual and queer men here in California and across the country. Equality California is committed to continue working with government oﬃcials, public health leaders and other LGBTQ+ organizations to increase awareness and education while ﬁghting stigmas.” BRODY LEVESQUE
Newsom rallies local water agencies to do more
Gov. Gavin Newsom convened local water leaders this past Friday, for the second time in recent months, to call for their continued action to drive down urban water use and help Californians make permanent changes to adapt to a hotter and drier future. Preliminary numbers that reﬂect 95 percent of the population show that Californians cut back on water use by 7.5 percent overall in June this year compared to June 2020. The increase in conservation comes a month after Governor Newsom directly called on local water leaders to step up their work to ensure all Californians are doing their part to save water. The climate crisis has resulted in weather changes that have altered the water supply across the western United States. The West is experiencing some of the driest conditions ever recorded. January through March were the driest ﬁrst three months in the state’s recorded history, and the state’s largest reservoirs are currently at less than half of their historical averages. This year’s budget provides an additional $2.8 billion over multiple years to support drought resilience and response, including $1.5 billion that will be allocated in the summer after additional discussions with the Legislature. These investments build on the
04 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
previous $5.2 billion three-year investment in the state’s drought response and water resilience through the California Comeback Plan (2021). The state is calling on Californians to take immediate action to avoid a crisis, including: • Limiting outdoor watering – cutting back by even just one day a week can save you up to 20 percent more water. • Taking shorter showers. Going to a 5-minute shower to save up to 12.5 gallons per shower when using a water-eﬃcient shower head. • Taking showers instead of baths – a bath uses up to 2.5 times the amount of water as a shower. • Using a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor areas to save 6 gallons of water every minute. • Washing full loads of laundry to save 15-45 gallons of water per load. More water-saving tips can be found at saveourwater.com. For the latest on the state’s drought response, please visit drought.ca.gov. FROM STAFF REPORTS
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California landlords raise rents by as much as 10 percent AB-1482 rent control law caps maximum allowable annual increase
By BRODY LEVESQUE Aug. 1 was the day across the state of California that landlords are able to increase rental rates by as much as 10 percent. However in some jurisdictions like the City of Los Angeles rental hikes are frozen. While the 10 percent rent increase is the maximum allowable annual increase for apartment complexes built before 2007 there are several stipulations that could keep landlords from increasing rent by that much, if at all. For instance, the 10% increase only applies to units that are not subject to local rent control rules. In Los Angeles, apartments built before October of 1978, which represent the majority of the city’s rental units, fall under rent control rules which allow for much smaller increases, according to the Los Angeles Times. And at least for now, due to coronavirus pandemic regulations, those landlords can’t increase rent at all. Juan Huizar, a Long Beach real estate broker and the President of the Sage Real Estate company told the Blade Monday that his ﬁrm receives a considerable number of inquiries from current renters, prospective tenants, and even landlords regarding the annual increase and the accompanying regulatory oversight. For the second year in a row Huizar’s company website has published a guide to answering questions about rent increases especially in today’s inﬂationary economy: According to the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, also known as AB 1482, landlords are allowed annual rent increases of 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living (Consumer Price Index) per year, up to 10%. Technically, there is no minimum amount landlords can raise the rent. Landlords are not legally required to raise the rent every year so a landlord in California may raise the rent by 0% or as low as 0.1%. However, there are exemptions to this rent control law. Certain properties are exempt from AB 1482, and landlords have the right to raise the rent however much they please. These properties are exempt from the Tenant Protection Act of 2019: • Single-family homes and condominiums as long as they are NOT owned by a corporation, a REIT (real estate investment trust), or an LLC where one member is a corporation. • Any duplex where the owner lives in the other unit • Mobile homes • School and college dormitories • Hotels • Commercial properties (retail stores, restaurants, etc.) • Buildings built within the last 15 years (including accessory dwelling units) • Rental properties provided by non-proﬁt organizations • Rental properties subject to pre-existing local ordinances If a rental property falls under any of these situations, the landlord must provide a notice of exemption from AB 1482 to their tenants. Landlords with properties that are
not subject to rent control laws can increase their rents as much as necessary. However, we still urge both landlords and tenants to double-check with their local city laws as some cities, which have had rent control laws in place before AB 1482, have special restrictions. What is the maximum a landlord in California can raise the rent? The answer to this question is sort of complicated because it depends on the city and county you’re located in. As stated in AB1482, every rental property in California (that is not exempt from rent control) can have an annual rent increase of 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living (Consumer Price Index) per year. The CPI is a measure, published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services, which is baJUAN HUIZAR, president of Sage Real Estate being interviewed. sically a measure of inﬂation in the econ(Photo courtesy Sage/Facebook) omy. The lawmakers of AB 1482 decided that When you add your region’s CPI to the minimum allowthe CPI percentage change should be based from April 1 of able rent increase of 5% using 2022 CPI numbers, you may the prior year to April 1 of the current year for the region end up with a two-digit number. For example, if you live in where the property is located. Long Beach, which is Los Angeles County, you may have What this means is that: a number of 12.9%. However, that is not the maximum a landlord can raise the rent in Long Beach. • there are diﬀerent CPI indexes available for diﬀerThat’s because California’s AB-1482 rent control law caps ent cities and regions in the United States, the maximum allowable annual rent increase to only 10%. and in order to calculate the maximum amount landSo in most cities and situations, California landlords who lords can increase rent in your area (5% plus CPI), are not exempt from rent control can only raise the rent by • you must use the April CPI for your metropolitan a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 10% starting August region in California. 1, 2022 until July 31, 2023. Before August 1, 2022, landlords must use the rental inAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022, the crease limits using the CPI numbers from April 2021, which nationwide CPI went up to 8.5% in March and 8.3% in April. we’ve provided in the image below. Here are the CPI numbers for California and its four major Please also be aware that there may be rent freezes due areas: to COVID-19 in your city. For example, there is currently a rent freeze in eﬀect for the city of Los Angeles (not Los An• For the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Area, the geles County) until May 2023. April 2022 CPI is 7.9%. This area includes Los AngeThe statewide rent control law AB-1482 is really the least les County and Orange County. strict law that covers the entire state and is the minimum • For the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Area, the standard. However, many cities and counties within Califor2022 CPI is 5.0%. This area includes Alameda Counnia have already had long-existing rent control ordinances ty, Contra Costa County, Marin County, San Francisthat may be stricter than the state rent control law. There co County, and San Mateo County. are also many California cities and counties that have de• For the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Area, the cided that the state law isn’t strict enough. Therefore your CPI rose to 10% in March 2022. This area includes city or county may be one of these areas in California with Riverside County and San Bernardino County. stricter rent control ordinances that overpower the state’s • For the San Diego-Carlsbad Area, the CPI rose to own rent control law. 7.9% in March 2022. This area includes all of San Because of this, it is very important for you to know the Diego County. speciﬁc rent control laws in your city or county. Whether • For any county or city that isn’t included in the four you’re a landlord or tenant, knowing the speciﬁc rent conmain areas, you’ll need to use the California State trol laws will help you learn whether they apply to you or CPI which rose up to 7.4% in 2022 according to the not, and can help you avoid legal troubles. California Department of Industrial Relations.
06 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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Biden nominates out California judge to federal bench
The White House released a list last Friday announcing the President Biden’s nominations of eight new federal judicial nominees and his intent to nominate a ninth federal judicial nominee. This is the president’s twenty-fourth round of nominees for federal judicial positions and his eleventh slate of nominations in 2022, bringing the number of announced federal judicial nominees to 132. If conﬁrmed, this slate would include: • The ﬁrst openly LGBTQ judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California • The second Latina to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California • The second AAPI woman—and ﬁrst Chinese American woman—to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California The president’s choice for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California is Judge Daniel Calabretta who has served as a judge on the Superior Court of Sacramento County, California since 2019. He is gay and previously served as a Deputy Legal Aﬀairs Secretary in the Oﬃce of Gov. Jerry Brown from 2013 to 2018 and as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice from 2008 to 2013. Judge Calabretta was an associate at Munger, Tolles and Olson LLP from 2005 to 2008. He served as a law clerk for Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court from 2004 to 2005 and for Judge William Fletcher on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2003 to 2004. Calabretta received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2003 and his B.A. from Princeton University in 2000. The president also nominated Araceli Martinez-Olguin as his choice for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Araceli Martinez-Olguin is a supervising attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, where she has worked since 2018. She previously served as the managing attorney at the Immigrants’ Rights Project at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, California from 2017 to 2018 and as an attorney for the United States Department of Education’s Oﬃce of Civil Rights from 2016 to 2017. Ms. Martinez-Olguin also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union and at Legal Aid at Work’s National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program. Ms. Martinez-Olguin served
as a law clerk for Judge David Briones on the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas from 2004 to 2006. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2004 and her A.B. from Princeton University in 1999. Biden’s choice for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California is Judge Rita F. Lin who has served as a judge PRESIDENT BIDEN delivers remarks in the Roosevelt Room. on the Superior Court of San (Oﬃcial White House Photo by Erin Scott) Francisco County, California since 2018. She was previously an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California from 2014 to 2018. Before that, Judge Lin was a partner at Morrison and Foerster LLP, where she worked from 2004 to 2014. She served as a law clerk for Judge Sandra Lynch on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 2003 to 2004. Judge Lin received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2003 and B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 2000. U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after the White House announced that President Biden nominated three additional individuals to California-based judgeships: “We applaud President Biden’s nominations of Judge Daniel Calabretta, Judge Lin, and Araceli Martinez-Olguin to serve on California’s district courts. Each has unique and extensive experience in the legal ﬁeld that will serve California well on the bench. We urge our colleagues in the Senate to support their swift conﬁrmation.” BRODY LEVESQUE
Padilla advocates for abortion rights during Planned Parenthood visit
Sen. PADILLA visits Planned Parenthood Los Angeles headquarters. (Photo courtesy Oﬃce of Senator Padilla)
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, visited the Planned Parenthood Los Angeles headquarters on Friday to meet with volunteers, advocates and workers, and highlight his eﬀorts to protect essential reproductive health care in the wake of the Dobbs decision. Padilla was joined by Sue Dunlap, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Celinda Vazquez, Chief External Ofﬁcer of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. The visit comes as nearly half of states across the country
continue to restrict access to reproductive care. “I am grateful for the tremendous level of dedication and care that Planned Parenthood Los Angeles oﬀers to the surrounding community,” said Senator Padilla. “However, across the country women continue to experience the harmful and, in many cases, deadly conse08 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
quences of a post-Roe America. In the face of unending attacks on reproductive freedom, we will not give up the ﬁght to protect a woman’s right to safe abortion access.” “We want to extend our sincere thanks to Senator Padilla for stopping by Planned Parenthood Los Angeles to see the importance of our work ﬁrst hand. Senator Padilla is a long time champion for reproductive health care and access to safe and legal abortion and we’re thankful for his continued advocacy in this critical moment where people from all walks of life are looking to California to lead.” Celinda M. Vazquez, Chief External Aﬀairs Oﬃcer, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. Senator Padilla is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would guarantee access and the right to provide abortion services in the United States. Most recently, Padilla joined his colleagues in introducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022, legislation that would make it clear that it is illegal for anti-choice states to limit travel for abortion services and would empower the U.S. Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a person’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care. Padilla also successfully secured commitments from SafeGraph and Placer.ai, two data brokers, to permanently stop selling the location data of people who visit abortion clinics. This month, he also urged President Biden to prioritize health equity for people of color, and low-income, immigrant, and tribal communities in any executive actions to address the recent Dobbs decision. FROM STAFF REPORTS
States of Emergency: Monkeypox outbreak escalates Addressing the spread and risk, especially for the gay party circuit
By BRODY LEVESQUE Monkeypox has become a worldwide public health crisis, with more than 23,200 conﬁrmed or presumptive positive cases reported as of Tuesday across more than 70 countries where it is not considered endemic. In the United States the governors of New York, California and Illinois declared states of emergency as President Joe Biden named FEMA’s Robert Fenton as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as the White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator to lead federal eﬀorts to combat the pernicious viral outbreak that is rampant in the LGBTQ+ community among men who have sex with men. This monkeypox outbreak healthcare oﬃcials from the World Heath Organization, (WHO) the National Health Services, (NHS) agency in Britain, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) have repeatedly stressed is not a sexually transmitted disease but rather a contact type of virial transmission that means anyone is at risk of infection. Pediatric cases have been reported by the CDC and on Tuesday by The Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services. Cis-gender cases have also been conﬁrmed by the WHO and CDC. The disease is not fatal except in rare cases and there are vaccines available to combat its transmission, primarily the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which healthcare experts noted helps protect against monkeypox when given before (Screenshot/YouTube CBS News) or shortly after an exposure. Driving the emergency though is the explosion of cases. Mitigation and risk reduction are key experts like Jim Mangia, the president and CEO of St. John’s Community Health, a network of public health clinics serving South, Central, and East Los Angeles tells the Blade. Mangia and his peers acknowledge that supply chain issues in distribution at a federal and then state levels have also contributed to the tripling of conﬁrmed cases since June. But Mangia says that focused eﬀorts need to be made to stem the outbreak by educating the community on risk reduction and management. “MPV is a serious health concern that indeed deserves swift action from elected oﬃcials. But truly drawing from lessons learned during the HIV/AIDs crisis means not relying on vaccines alone – especially while waiting for the federal government and supply chain to catch up to our demand for them. We need community-wide education, prevention, and treatment strategies around MPV – and we need them now,” Mangia told the Blade. On the issue of supply chain an availability which has been a source of contention, the declaration of states of emergency will help but more relief eﬀorts are needed advocacy groups say. In Los Angeles, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to declare an emergency the day after California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to combat the outbreak. The move from the Los Angeles County Board came via unanimous vote of the ﬁve-member board on a motion led by Supervisor Holly Mitchell (D- Second District). The proclamation now allows government and public health oﬃcials to mobilize additional resources and request recovery assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act in order to increase and deploy funding and emergency planning to combat the outbreak more eﬀectively.
“We thank the Board of Supervisors for more formally recognizing monkeypox as a public health emergency with its proclamation today but must ask: now, what’s the plan?” said Aids Health Care President Michael Weinstein in a statement. “Vaccine doses are—and will remain—in critically short supply. However, there has not really been clear direction from County on where or how to even access vaccines, and we know that an additional 42,000 doses will soon arrive from the feds. The Supervisors should also immediately allocate an additional $10 million for both monkeypox and STDs, which have reached epidemic proportion nationwide throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.” Mangia in an op-ed written this week for the Blade pointed out: “There are other tools we should be advocating for in addition to vaccines. One is Tpoxx, an antiviral medication that hasn’t been approved by the FDA but is being widely and successfully used in Europe. Another is faster MPV tests – currently, the results can take several days. Only a few lab companies are approved to test MPV specimens sent by clinics and hospitals, and we need faster results to prevent further spread in real time.” The focus should be getting shots in arms both Weinstein and Mangia say. But early eﬀorts including pop-up clinics have been plagued by shortages and criteria set by health departments that doesn’t address the reality of the outbreak’s sourcing. Andrew Beaver, a former ACT-UP activist and Angeleno told the Blade, after witnessing long lines at a pop-up vax clinics outside the local bathhouses and saunas this past weekend, that the criteria needs to be more realistic. In an email Beaver told the Blade; “Of all the organizations distributing vaccines in LA JWCH (John Wesley Community Hospital) has been the most eﬀective. Rather than create criteria vax seekers had to prove they chose locations that were in and of themselves a kind of criteria. 100’s of men were willing line up for hours outside the bathhouses and saunas. All the locations were in SPA 4 where over 50% of cases live. If a gay man is willing to stand in line outside a bathhouse in a “not so nice” neighborhood…but a location that isn’t miles from where they live…then it’s fair to say they believe they should get vaccinated as soon as possible. JWCH allowed the men to self-select v the County or orgs to decide for them.” In a news release Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced with the arrival of additional JYNNEOS vaccination doses it had expanded the criteria to include additional residents at high risk of exposure to monkeypox. The Monkeypox vaccine is now also available to gay or bisexual men and transgender persons 18 years of age and older who: • Had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days including engaging in survival and/or transactional sex (e.g., sex in exchange for shelter, food and other goods and needs). • Residents who are immuno-compromised, including those with advanced or uncontrolled HIV, may be at high risk for severe disease and will be prioritized for vaccination, LADPH said. But says Mangia, attention must be given to addressing the spread and risk, especially by the gay party circuit and dating apps. “We also need to emphasize that MPV is not an STI. While it is spread through close physical contact, that contact can be nonsexual. Day care workers, nannies, massage therapists, tattoo artists, and others whose livelihoods involve skin-to-skin contact are also at high risk right now, and we need to be educating and advocating for those folks as well. Direct contact with the rash or body ﬂuids and sexual contact are the most risky activities; kissing, cuddling, and being in crowds of non fully clothed people are moderately risky; and sharing dishes, beds, towels, toiletry items or being in crowds with fully clothed people are possible ways of contracting MPV. Limiting those activities for now and communicating with each other about exposure are essential ways to prevent spread,” he said. For now the shortfall in the supply lends much greater impetus to addressing risk management and prevention an oﬃcial with the CDC told the Blade. “Realistically we are looking at supplies in less quantities than will be required- but if we can educate people on preventative measures that may greatly reduce the caseloads,” the oﬃcial said. A source at the CDC told the Blade health oﬃcials worry that the outbreak could become the country’s second major public health disaster in as many years if there is not an eﬀort to work faster to contain it. LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022 • 11
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Durbin, Ill. governor condemn anti-LGBTQ extremism
Following the escalation of anti-LGBTQ attacks against a bakery northwest of Chicago last weekend, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the majority whip, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed to the Blade their concerns over the rise of hate and extremism in America. On July 23, a man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after allegedly smashing the windows of UpRising Bakery and Café and spray-painting oﬀensive messages on the building in Lake in the Hills, Ill. After announcing plans to host a family-friendly drag show, the establishment was targeted with a campaign of harassment that, ahead of the vandalism, included an incident where a bag of feces was left outside with a note proclaiming, “pedophiles work here.” “No one should have to live in fear for being who they are,” Durbin told the Blade. “Yet we continue to see extremists target minority groups, including the LGBTQ community, with threatening, hateful acts.” More broadly, Durbin said domestic extremism and hate is among the biggest threats facing our country. “Groups like the Proud Boys are weaponizing violent extremism to target communities, traumatize our country, and leave unimaginable pain and fear in their wake,” he said. “That’s why we must ﬁnally pass my Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would put serious federal resources toward combatting these threats with research, training, and investigations.”
By CHRISTOPHER KANE Durbin, who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, ﬁrst introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in 2017 and reintroduced it this year with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). A companion bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) passed the House on May 18, but Senate Republicans ﬁlibustered the legislation on May 26. “I am deeply troubled by the empowerment of extremism we’re experiencing at this moment in history,” Pritzker told the Blade. “But Illinois will continue to ﬁght against it at every turn.” “I welcome every eﬀort by LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations to pursue additional policy at the state and federal level to ensure this nation is safe for all who call it home,” he added. Pritzker said the “disturbing” attacks against UpRising Bakery are wholly inconsistent with “the Illinois I know.” He pointed to an incident in which a homeowner’s Pride ﬂag was stolen and replaced with an American ﬂag and the entire neighborhood decided to decorate their homes and yards with rainbow ﬂags in a show of solidarity. The state’s record on human rights came into sharp relief with developments over the border in Indiana, whose legislature convened a special session this week to consider legislation that would outlaw most abortions and permit criminal prosecution of women who lie to terminate their pregnancies. Asked about these developments, Durbin took the opportunity to draw a stark contrast. Unlike Republican legislatures, he said, which are “hellbent on instituting draconian restric-
tions at the expense of women and people who rely on” healthcare including abortion, Illinois — a “safe haven surrounded by states with increasingly restricted access” — plans to hold a special session to “bolster Illinois Gov. J.B. PRITZKER (Photo courtesy Oﬃce of the Governor of Illinois) abortion protections.” At the federal level, Durbin said, “I’m committed to ensuring that our state remains open to those seeking care, which is why I cosponsored the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act.” Durbin was joined by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in introducing the bill, which was defeated by Senate Republicans earlier this month. “We are a hub for the heartland on reproductive rights,” Pritzker said, “and so long as I’m governor, we always will be. I’m incredibly disturbed by the attacks on healthcare freedoms at our borders, so I’ve directed my administration to do everything in our power to double down on Illinois’ support and protections and I’ve asked that the Biden administration do the same.”
Mich. court rules existing law bans anti-LGBTQ discrimination In a 5-2 decision late last week, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in Rouch World, LLC v Department of Civil Rights that the state’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The case, brought by the Michigan companies Rouch World and Uprooted Electrolysis, sought to challenge the state’s Civil Rights Commission for its interpretation of the law that classiﬁed sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. The lawsuit came in the wake of the companies’ refusal to serve transgender customers and those in same-sex relationships, prompting customer complaints that resulted in Civil Rights Commission investigations. Given the arguments of the case, the court was asked to determine whether the law’s inclusion of the word “sex” as a protected category applied to instances of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. Republican Justice Elizabeth Clement joined Democratic Justices Richard Bernstein, Megan Cavanagh and Elizabeth Welch — as well as Democratic Chief Justice Bridget McCormack — in the majority opinion. “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily constitutes discrimination because of sex,” Clement wrote in the court’s majority opinion. “Accordingly, the denial of ‘the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or public service’ on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes discrimination ‘because of … sex’ and, therefore, constitutes a violation of the [Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act] under MCL 37.2302(a).” In his dissent alongside fellow Republican Justice David Viviano, Brian Zahra asserted his belief that the court had overreached in its ruling.
“This court’s function is to interpret and apply the laws that the Legislature writes,” Zahra wrote. “That is not what the majority opinion has done.” While the ruling was not at odds with his own views on the matter, Zahra wrote, the court’s mandate was not observed by its majority in the case. “Though I take no issue with today’s outcome, because I do not recognize the manner in which it has been achieved by the majority opinion to be faithful to the judicial role, I dissent,” Zahra wrote. Similar arguments of overreach were made by the plaintiﬀs in the case who argued that the state legislature, not the Civil Rights Commission, held sole power to expand the law. “The Legislature has declined to add ‘sexual orientation’ numerous times over the nearly 50 years since the [Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act] was enacted by the Legislature,” the plaintiﬀ companies wrote in their case brief last November. “Further, the Legislature explicitly rejected adding ‘sexual orientation’ to the [Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act]. The unelected [Michigan Civil Rights Commission] is not the Legislature and is not politically accountable to the people.” Previous, bipartisan eﬀorts have been made by state lawmakers to codify sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the law. Such eﬀorts, however, have failed to gain requisite traction in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. In writing the majority opinion, Cavanagh rejected such narratives as pertinent to the duty of the court. “Should the Legislature disapprove of an application of a statute’s enacted language, the Legislature remains free to amend the statute,” Cavanagh wrote. “This court, however, is bound by the language that the Legislature has enacted, not
14 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
what the parties or amici believe the Legislature should have enacted or what any individual representative believed was enacted.” Following its announcement Thursday afternoon, LGBTQ advocates in the state heralded the decision as a victory for equality in the state. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who had argued the case before the court in conjunction with entities including the American Civil Liberties Union, released a statement following the ruling. “Now, more than ever, it is critical that those of us elected to public oﬃce work to preserve and protect the rights of all residents,” Nessel said. “Today’s ruling conﬁrms what we have long known — that the protections aﬀorded by the [Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act] cover all Michiganders.” The decision garnered similar praise from other top state oﬃcials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “As a mom, a governor, and proud ally of the community, I am so grateful for this ruling,” Whitmer said in a statement. “It will save lives, protect families, and help ensure that every Michigander is treated with dignity and respect by law.” With the court’s expansion of the law’s protections, members of Michigan’s LGBTQ community are now shielded from discrimination in all areas outlined in the law’s language. Such includes protection in sectors including employment, housing, education and public accommodations. “For too long, LGBTQ+ Michiganders had been left out of our state’s civil rights protections,” Whitmer said. “No longer. Because of this ruling, nobody can legally be ﬁred from their job or evicted from their home because of who they love.” JOSH ALBURTUS
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Ukrainian president backs civil partnerships for gay couples
The president of Ukraine on Tuesday said he supports a civil partnership law for same-sex couples. Kyiv Pride backed a marriage equality petition that was submitted to Volodymyr Zelenskky on July 12 with more than 28,000 signatures, which is higher than the legal threshold that requires him to consider it. Zelenskky in his response to the petition notes his support for marriage equality, but acknowledges the Ukrainian constitution deﬁnes marriage as between a man and a woman and it cannot be amended while the country is under martial law. Zelenskky on Tuesday nevertheless directed his government to submit a report on whether same-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships through the country’s existing legal framework or a bill that would go through Parliament. “I appealed to the prime minister of Ukraine with a request to consider the issue raised in the electronic petition and report about the relevant results,” said Zelenskky. Zelenskyy last year pledged his country would continue to
A participant in the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin on July 23, indicates her support for LGBTQ Ukrainians. (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
ﬁght discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity after he met with President Joe Biden at the White House.
Anastasiia Baraniuk and Yulia Mulyukina, a lesbian couple who once lived in the Ukrainian city of Dniper, are among the millions of people who have ﬂed the country since Russia began its war on Feb. 24. Baraniuk and Mulyukina last month told the Washington Blade in Berlin the fact that they are unable to legally prove they are in a relationship has prevented them from asking for asylum in the U.S. and Canada because the countries’ immigration systems are based on whether they are married or “common-law partners” respectively. “Right now we are looking for a way to get the proof that we are a couple,” said Baraniuk. “We don’t want to stay in Berlin.” Kyiv Pride on Tuesday welcomed Zelenskyy’s announcement. “Congratulations to the community, the Pride movement,” tweeted Kyiv Pride. “Thank you to the authorities.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Blinken, Russian counterpart speak about Griner Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday spoke with his Russian counterpart about eﬀorts to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The Associated Press reported Blinken urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to accept a deal to obtain the release of Griner and Whelan, an American citizen who is serving a 16-year prison sentence after his conviction for spying. American oﬃcials have reportedly expressed a willingness to release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S., as part of a prisoner swap. Blinken, according to the AP, described the call with Lavrov as a “frank and direct conversation.” “I urged Foreign Minister Lavrov to move forward with that proposal,” said Blinken. “I can’t give you an assessment of whether that is any more or less likely.” Oﬃcials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February detained Griner — a Phoenix Mercury center and two-time
Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife, Cherelle Griner, — after customs inspectors allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. The State Department has
determined that Russia “wrongfully detained” her. Brittney Griner’s trial began in Moscow on July 1. It continues to take place, even though she had pleaded guilty to charges that she smuggled drugs in Russia. Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted. Friday’s call took place two days after Blinken for the ﬁrst time publicly acknowledged the U.S. has oﬀered Russia a deal to secure the release of Brittney Griner and Whelan. “We are determined to bring her home along with Paul (Whelan) and for that matter, any and every American who is being unjustly detained anywhere in the world,” said Blinken on June 15 during a roundtable with LGBTQ and intersex journalists in which the Washington Blade participated. “It’s something that I am personally focused on, and I want to leave it at that because it is obviously an ongoing issue. But just know that this is a matter of intense focus for us.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Grindr user kidnappings spark concern in South Africa The number of kidnappings linked to popular gay hookup site Grindr are surging in South Africa. Queer sex workers are the ones who are particularly vulnerable to these kidnappings. They are often robbed and attacked by people who pose as potential clients, but do not report the crimes because they are afraid law enforcement will ridicule them. Queer sex workers who are targeted on Grindr do not report their cases for the same reason. One such victim is Jake. He told Exit, an LGBTQ and intersex newspaper, that he was held hostage for six hours and was only released after his kidnappers extorted $600 from him and his family. According to Jake, which is not his real name, a man on Grindr who posed as a potential client refused to send his picture because he said he had a wife and children. Jake agreed to meet him at his home and upon his arrival, four more men arrived and then then threatened to kill him if he didn’t give him the money.
Jake managed to gather the funds, and was let go unharmed. “We continue to learn about the worrying trend in kidnappings that have been emanating from Grindr connections in areas around Gauteng province. We view this as a form of conversion in itself,” said Access Chapter 2, a South Africa LGBTQ and intersex rights organization. “Queer people cannot continue to be victimized for seeking and accessing their erotic justice while law enforcement is not reactive. At Access Chapter 2 we support everyone’s right to freely engage, interact and make meaningful connections online, without fear.” “We will continue to monitor this trend as we engage with survivors and law enforcement to access justice for those dehumanized and victimized,” added Access Chapter 2. “We urge the community to exercise more precaution in screening connections that they may want to meet in person. Remember if you notice anything suspicious report to Grindr and block the questionable proﬁle.”
16 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
A Grindr spokesperson on Monday told the Washington Blade the site “takes the privacy and safety of our users extremely seriously.” “Grindr publishes a Holistic Security Guide and Safety Tips available from within the Grindr App and on Grindr’s public website, and we encourage users to be careful when interacting with people they do not know,” said the spokesperson. “We encourage our users to report improper or illegal behavior either within the app or directly via email to help@ grindr.com, and to report criminal allegations to local authorities and, in these cases, we work with law enforcement as appropriate.” Grindr has also shared a safety message with its South Africa users. “Grindr wants to ensure all dating app users can maintain their personal safety, both online and oﬀ,” reads the message. DANIEL ITAI
is executive director of LPAC, the national committee supporting LGBTQ+ women candidates running for political office.
Supporting LGBTQ women in primaries is vital for our democracy
Majority of LPAC endorsees are running for state legislatures For ten years, LPAC has been at the forefront of supporting candidates who champion LGBTQ equality, women’s rights, and social justice. As the only national political organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ women to local, state and federal oﬃce, LPAC ﬁrmly believes that having LGBTQ women at the table makes a real impact in the quality of our democracy. As Americans face down callous attacks on reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality, it is clear LPAC’s work on the frontlines of politics supporting LGBTQ women is more important than ever. When LPAC was founded in 2012 only one openly LGBTQ woman had ever been elected to Federal oﬃce, then-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. Since then there has been progress – Baldwin was elected to the U.S. Senate, Kate Brown became the ﬁrst openly LGBTQ person elected as a governor, Maura Healey became the ﬁrst LGBTQ state attorney general, and Lori LIghtfoot was elected as the ﬁrst LGBTQ mayor of Chicago. However LGBTQ women are still underrepresented in public oﬃce, and LPAC is committed to continue this game-changing work. So far this year LPAC has endorsed 100 LGBTQ women vying to become everything from city council and school board members to Congresswomen and governors. This is the most candidates LPAC has ever endorsed in an election cycle. Making this many early endorsements in advance of the November elections was an important strategic decision. The ﬁrst step to increasing LGBTQ women’s representation is to make sure they are competitive and win their primary elections, otherwise they will not even appear on the general election ballot. Endorsing candidates and providing ﬁnancial support provides a critical strategic edge in their path to victory. This is particularly important for LGBTQ women, who face institutional barriers when they run for oﬃce. Even when there is not overt bias and discrimination, LGBTQ women are often assumed to be less competitive than straight candidates or even gay men, and passed over when it comes to endorsements and fundriasing from political organizations. This is despite the fact that LGBTQ women actually often outperform other candidates in elections. Take for example the 2018 midterm elections. In races for the U.S. House, 30 Democratic challengers defeated Republican incumbents. Of those successful challengers, three were LGBTQ women – Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, and Katie Hill. And on the Senate side, only two Democrats ﬂipped Republican-held seats. One of those ﬂips was an LGBTQ woman – Kyrsten Sinema. Clearly, when they ad-
vance from primaries LGBTQ women are formidable, viable candidates with general election voters. This election cycle, LPAC has been committed to making sure LGBTQ women receive the early support they deserve. LPAC has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than 50 candidates in primary races, and consistently stepped up with endorsements and contributions to level the playing ﬁeld by making an impact when it matters. Take three examples of candidates who had primary elections in May of this year. Oregon Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tina Kotek received early support from LPAC, in terms of both an endorsement and ﬁnancial backing. As Oregon’s longest continually-serving State House Speaker, Kotek was clearly the best Democrat to run in November. LPAC made a substantial contribution to her campaign in March, and she went on to her primary in May with 56% of the vote. LPAC has since doubled down on the investment and look forward to seeing Kotek become the ﬁrst open lesbian to move into a Governor’s mansion. This is going to be one of the most expensive gubernatorial races in the country in 2022, and LPAC is proud to be leading the way among LGBTQ organizations in providing ﬁnancial support to make sure Kotek wins. Jamie McLeod-Skinner in Oregon’s 5th Congressional district received her ﬁrst national and LGBTQ endorsement from LPAC. This was a bold move, as McLeod-Skinner was challenging a Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader. It was a risk LPAC was willing to take because the committee had been working with McLeod-Skinner from the early days of her campaign, and knew from political experience that she not only had a campaign plan in place to provide a path to victory in the primary, but also that she would be the best candidate for the general election. LPAC was conﬁdent in an early endorsement and investment. Other organizations followed LPAC’s lead, and McLeod-Skinner won the primary by a substantial margin. State Rep. Renitta Shannon’s campaign for Georgia Lt. Governor also received its ﬁrst LGBTQ endorsement from LPAC. Rep. Shannon was ultimately just 3% away from making the runoﬀ election. This race is illustrative of the barriers LGBTQ women face when they run for oﬃce. Rep. Shannon was the only woman in the ﬁeld, and the only LGBTQ person, however other national groups that focus on women and LGBTQ candidates did not endorse her. The 2nd place ﬁnisher (a straight white man) had ﬁve times the amount of funds and barely made his place in the runoﬀ. If Rep. Shannon had been fully funded and able to adequately reach voters via paid communications, she likely would
18 • AUGUST 05, 2022 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
have been successful. The majority of the 100 candidates LPAC has endorsed this election cycle are running for State Legislatures. This is important, as the states have truly become the frontlines in the battles for reproductive health, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and other important policy matters. And throughout the country, it is LGBTQ women who are leading these ﬁghts, oftentimes against long odds. When it comes to abortion rights, there are numberous examples of LGBTQ women leaders to chose from. In Ohio, State Senator Nickie Antonio has been at the head of Democratic eﬀorts, both in her past State House service and current State Senate seat, to block Republican eﬀorts in the state pass a “trigger law,” which would have automatically ban abortion in the state when Roe was overturned. In Texas, State Reps. Jessica González, Mary González, Celia Israel, Ann Johnson, Julie Johnson, and Erin Zwiener have been vocal opponents of extremist GOP legislation targeting reproductive healthcare and voting rights. They all participated in a walkout in the Summer of 2021 which delayed passage of these harmful Republican laws. In Colorado, State Reps. Daneya Esgar, Leslie Herod, and Brianna Titone, along with State Sens. Joann Ginal and Sonya Jaquez Lewis, all co-sponsored legislation, passed in April 2022, which enshrined a woman’s right to choose into state law. This ensured that when Roe was overturned Coloradans continued to have access to safe and legal abortion services, and has allowed Colorado to serve as a haven for Americans in neighboring states seeking abortion services. LGBTQ women are also leading the way at the Federal level. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is the lead sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation which would guarantee equal access to abortion across the country. Sen. Baldwin is also a lead Senate sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which recently passed in the U.S. House and would require the Federal government to recognize samesex marriages. Rep. Angie Craig and Congresswoman Sharice Davids were leaders in cosponsoring both pieces of legislation in the U.S. House. In example after example, LGBTQ women serving in local, state, and federal oﬃces are truly leading the way in the ﬁghts for our rights and our Democracy. As frontline leaders, it is crucial that those LGBTQ women serving in oﬃce are re-elected, and that more are elected in November to join them. In order for that to happen they must win primary and runoﬀ elections, and LPAC is proud to lead the way and step in early to support those eﬀorts.
VO L U M E 06 IS S U E 31
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is president and CEO of St. John’s Community Health, a network of public health clinics serving South, Central, and East Los Angeles.
Monkeypox vaccines are coming — we must mitigate spread for now
Clinics expected to have doses available by summer’s end Monkeypox virus (MPV) is on the rise – and many are understandably frustrated by the federal government’s slow response. The LGBTQ+ community has been demanding vaccines since day one, with many drawing similarities between today’s lackluster approach to MPV and the inhumane response to HIV/AIDs in the ‘80s and ‘90s. MPV is a serious health concern that indeed deserves swift action from elected officials. But truly drawing from lessons learned during the HIV/AIDs crisis means not relying on vaccines alone – especially while waiting for the federal government and supply chain to catch up to our demand for them. We need community-wide education, prevention, and treatment strategies around MPV – and we need them now. I was a young, gay man during the HIV/AIDs crisis. Last week, a friend and I reflected on how, out of our large social group from our early twenties, we are the only two left alive. Everyone else we loved during those years was killed by AIDS. The Republican dominated government at the time didn’t care if we lived or died – and many preferred the latter. As AIDS dominated our lives, groups like the Gay Men’s Health Crisis mobilized, setting up hotlines to circulate information, writing and disseminating guidelines for safer sex, and creating tight-knit networks to support the sick or suffering. Simultaneously, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) activated the LGBTQ+ community and allies to demand governmental action. Now, we can draw on our community’s past resilience. We must keep ourselves safe, from both MPV and from the dangerous, homophobic messaging that’s emerging around it. First, LGBTQ+ people must avoid perpetuating the dangerous myth that MPV only impacts us. The scientific truth is that pathogens often first spread among social groups in close contact with one another – for example, outbreaks of meningitis among college students. MPV is continuing to primarily impact the LGBTQ+ community because the virus hasn’t yet had the biological need to move onto another social group. This is important both in terms of combating homophobia, and also in recognizing our community’s responsibility to help prevent MPV’s spread. We also need to emphasize that MPV is not an STI. While it is spread through close physical contact, that contact can be
nonsexual. Day care workers, nannies, massage therapists, tattoo artists, and others whose livelihoods involve skin-toskin contact are also at high risk right now, and we need to be educating and advocating for those folks as well. Direct contact with the rash or body fluids and sexual contact are the most risky activities; kissing, cuddling, and being in crowds of non fully clothed people are moderately risky; and sharing dishes, beds, towels, toiletry items or being in crowds with fully clothed people are possible ways of contracting MPV. Limiting those activities for now and communicating with each other about exposure are essential ways to prevent spread. There are other tools we should be advocating for in addition to vaccines. One is Tpoxx, an antiviral medication that hasn’t been approved by the FDA but is being widely and successfully used in Europe. Another is faster MPV tests – currently, the results can take several days. Only a few lab companies are approved to test MPV specimens sent by clinics and hospitals, and we need faster results to prevent further spread in real time. Today, a multibillion dollar industry fuels many issues that plague our community – including major circuit party promoters, hookup apps, and corporations who infiltrated our pride events. These industries depend on our money, and are only interested in getting our bodies where they need them in order to cash in. Exploitative messaging from these industries can permeate our collective consciousness. They tell us we need and deserve certain things, and we need and deserve them immediately. They don’t care about our safety, and they aren’t advocating for our actual lives. They’re just contributing to a sense of urgency in the name of their bottom line. It’s up to LGBTQ+ people to get to the root of what’s important. We must organize ourselves, act with care for each other, and demand a comprehensive strategy from LGBTQ+ institutions and the government – rather than just looking for quick-fix solutions for ourselves. Clinics in California are expected to have thousands of vaccines available by summer’s end. In the meantime, we need community-informed prevention and treatment strategies from our leaders. And now more than ever, with both MPV and COVID-19 threatening our health, we must treat each other with consent and respect.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022 • 19
If she was your girl, oh the things Peppermint would do to you
Performer talks love of Janet, new music, and political attacks on drag queens By KEVIN NAFF in 1986 and says she learned all the dance routines over the years. If she was your girl, oh the things she’d do to you. I’m not talking about Janet “There’s something about the way her music and live performance is packJackson — I’m talking about Peppermint. aged and presented, it came off as memorable and iconic and forward thinking The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 9 runner-up has parlayed that success into and progressive and made a big impact early on in high school,” Peppermint a diversiﬁed career in music, theater, LGBTQ advocacy, and more. From her said. “I learned the moves to ‘If’ immediately and remember every chance I got work with RuPaul as the ﬁrst out trans woman competitor on that hit show to in high school and in summer camp, if you were her groundbreaking role in “Head Over Heels” as around me you were not safe because you were the ﬁrst trans person to originate a starring role on learning the Janet moves, I would force everyone Broadway, to her work as a GLAAD board member, around me to do the routines.” Peppermint is a force in the LGBTQ movement. Peppermint estimates she spent $30,000 on her She’s not shy when asked about recent con“If” recreation and paid for it out of pocket. The troversies involving Republican attacks on drag video features 10 dancers with about 30 crew on queens, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis anset. It was ﬁlmed in one day and she says she studnouncing he would pursue legislation making it ied all angles of the original performance to match illegal for a parent to take a child to a drag perforthe choreography. It took three takes to nail the mance. In Arizona, the Trump-endorsed candidate iconic breakdown dance at the end of the song. for governor last month also attacked drag queens. Angel Ayala created the costume; she hand“I think the attacks are terrible and dirty,” Peprolled the bones on the vest (Kim Kardashian repermint told the Blade. “They are trying and succently purchased the original costume at auction ceeding in distracting us from protecting the most for $25,000). Peppermint says she studied Janet’s vulnerable of our population — trans children. The jewelry and replicated it, scouring the internet drag entertainers are adults and it’s a fun celebralooking for similar pieces and ultimately making tory scene that is inclusive of everyone and certainsome by hand to match the originals perfectly. ly not harmful. The only people supporting this are “My look in replicating Janet’s look, I wanted it insidious and ﬂat out lying or have probably never to be as close as possible, which I nailed except seen drag in real life.” for the six-pack abs,” Peppermint said, “but I look Peppermint this week announced plans for a Nosexy.” vember tour of her new show and music. Speciﬁc She noted the importance of ﬁnding talented dates will be announced soon; visit peppermintondancers since every moment in the video is tightly line.com for more information. choreographed. But the main reason for a recent conversation “I wanted to update it a bit and make it as incluwith the Blade, was Peppermint’s viral video recsive as possible with trans and nonbinary dancers, reation of Janet Jackson’s iconic “If.” The song was queer dancers, people of color, which is similar to the second release from Jackson’s 1993 “janet.” the original video with its mostly Asian cast,” she album, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 said. chart. Its accompanying video and choreography She says “If” is, of course, her favorite Janet vidhave proven timeless, inﬂuencing many other arteo; while her favorite Janet song is “Throb” and ists, including Peppermint. Her recent meticulous her favorite Janet tour is the “Velvet Rope.” recreation of the video won tens of thousands of PEPPERMINT has her makeup done to match Janet JackPeppermint says she’s never met her idol Janet, fans on YouTube and even led to a re-Tweet by Janson’s on the set of ‘If.’ (Photo courtesy Peppermint) but hopes to one day, adding, “I did this for myet herself. self, it was a passion project.” Will there be another Jackson’s video created a stir when it was reJanet tribute video? Peppermint says yes, sometime next year, but declines to leased, revealing a bold and overtly sexual Janet that many fans weren’t exspecify which video she plans to recreate next. pecting. “If” features intricate choreography that depicted Janet grabbing the In the meantime, she’s focused on her upcoming fall tour and her own origcrotches of male dancers who simulated oral sex on her. The original video was inal music about a breakup titled “Letter to my Lovers,” a trilogy about the bealso groundbreaking in its depiction of technologies that weren’t invented in ginning, middle, and end of a relationship. “I wanted to do something that’s a 1993, such as web cams and touchscreens. love letter to the trans community and letting people know you’re deserving of “This song, the choreography is so iconic, professional dancers have seen it in love and deserve to hear a trans woman singing about love to some ‘90s R&B other pieces over the years and it’s been a blueprint for so many songs and vidthrowback.” eos by other artists,” Peppermint said. “Just as people borrowed from Michael And for those who haven’t seen the Hulu rom-com “Fire Island,” Peppermint Jackson and ‘Thriller.’” stars in the ﬁlm. Peppermint fell in love with Jackson’s music following the release of “Control”
20 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022
Director of ‘They/Them’ on queering the horror genre John Logan puts conversion therapy where it belongs
By JOHN PAUL KING Even if you’ve never heard of John Logan, the odds are pretty good you’ve heard his words. That’s because the former playwright, now writer and director of the new horror ﬁlm “They/Them” (premiering on Peacock Aug. 5), has been bringing his literate sensibilities to Hollywood screens for more than two decades now, earning three Oscar nominations during a career that has included screenplays for movies ranging from “Gladiator” to “Sweeney Todd” to “Star Trek: Nemesis,” not to mention a pair of James Bond blockbusters (“Skyfall” and “Spectre”). He’s also the man behind “Penny Dreadful,” Showtime’s Victorian horror “mashup” series that became a cult sensation during its alltoo-brief three season run. Now Logan has returned to the horror genre he loves to make his debut as a feature ﬁlm director, and he’s brought more than just a queer sensibility. He’s brought a whole bloody queer story, as well. Diving headlong into classic ‘80s slasher movie territory from its very ﬁrst frames, “They/Them” brings together a collection of queer teens at a retreat deep in the woods – the Whistler Camp, run by third-generation proprietor and chief counselor Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) – where their parents have sent them in hopes of making them straight. Though the staﬀ seems friendly and understanding enough at ﬁrst, it’s not long before the “therapy” starts to become more aggressive; to make matters worse, a sinister outside presence seems to be menacing the camp, and the campers, led by trans nonbinary rebel Jordan (Theo Germaine), are soon ﬁghting for their lives as well as their identities. Apart from the genius of putting conversion therapy into a horror movie where it belongs, Logan’s movie scores high points all around for solid LGBTQ representation. Indeed, it’s as much a rousing queer empowerment story as it is a horror tale, and though hardcore horror geeks might ﬁnd its scares to be relatively tame, it reaches beyond shock value to turn the genre itself into a vehicle for cinematic queerness – something long overdue for the countless queer audiences who have always been drawn to horror. The Blade talked with Logan about his vision for “They/Them” on the eve of the ﬁlm’s world premiere at LA’s Outfest. Our conversation is below. BLADE: Queer audiences have always loved horror movies, but horror movies haven’t loved them
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back until recently. Is that part of the reason behind this one? JOHN LOGAN: That was the entire reason behind this one. When I was a kid, it would have meant so much to me to see a gay hero in a horror ﬁlm. It’s a genre that SHOULD celebrate KEVIN BACON introduces his not-so-friendly queerness, because horror is about the “othstaﬀ in ‘They/Them.’ er” – about the realization that people are not all the same. But queer characters in the ‘70s and ‘80s were mostly nonexistent, or they were jokes, or victims, or killers. They were never admirable people you’d aspire to be. And horror cinema has always had a very complicated relationship with gender and sexual identity, even back to the 1930s and the classic Universal cycle of horror ﬁlms – except for “Frankenstein,” made by a queer ﬁlmmaker, where the most sympathetic character is the monster. When we engage with storytelling in cinema, we want to see ourselves represented in some way. I wanted to write the movie that I didn’t get to see when I was 14 or 15 years old. BLADE: You mentioned wanting to see a gay hero. One of the things that stands out about your movie is that none of these kids are “scream queens.” They’re all pretty heroic. LOGAN: We wanted to take the tropes and subvert them completely. So, we have joyously celebrated things like, “There’s the camp in the woods, and it’s scary, and there’s a masked killer, and the killer uses diﬀerent weapons,” and all the things I personally love about slasher movies – but it’s all in service of the great subversion, which is that these kids are not victims. They are not running and hiding, they are ﬁghting for their identities. They are heroes. BLADE: Speaking of subversion, the setting isn’t the only “camp” in the movie. There’s a lot of humor in it, from a certain perspective. LOGAN: [Laughs] I would like to think there’s a “raised eyebrow” throughout. I mean, we have a singing and dancing musical number in it, we have some outrageous humor in it, as well. It’s meant to be a sort of exuberant exploration of the queer lifestyle in all its forms, from the most extravagant to the most romantic to the most erotic – as extreme as we could possibly get it. But it’s all played very straight, which is a testament to the actors, really. BLADE: That’s another thing that stands out. You have a terriﬁc cast, and Theo Germaine is a charismatic lead. LOGAN: Thank God Theo fell into my lap. The movie begins, essentially, with Jordan’s face and it ends with Jordan’s face, so I knew it was really going to be important to ﬁnd the right actor. Theo is so extraordinary, they’re so accessible to the audience. My heart breaks watching that character, because they’re emotional, but they’re empowered and strong – and that’s all from Theo. Also, I’m not trans, I’m not nonbinary, and I’m also 60 – so I had to ask Theo to help me understand this character – not just the language around them, but how this young, trans, nonbinary human being moves through the world. And not only Theo, but Quei Tann and all the other actors were very generous with their own experiences, which is what, for me, makes them seem very authentic on screen, because they are playing versions of themselves that they can believe in. BLADE: That’s the diﬀerence authentic representation can make. LOGAN: Yes, and it also helped that the process of shooting really mirrored the story, in a way. None of the actors knew each other, and they were suddenly in Georgia, all slammed together in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception – and gradually, they built this tribe, this family, going through an experience much like the campers in the ﬁlm go through. It was amazing to watch how they bonded and got together. BLADE: One last thing – for the cinema buﬀs among our readers, it will be impossible not to notice shots and references that seem like nods to some of their favorite classics of the past. Are those on purpose? LOGAN: All intentional. I may never direct another movie as long as I live, so I want to tip my hat to all the movies I love. There are shots that are a direct mirror of ‘Psycho,’ for example, or ‘Blue Velvet,’ or obscure slasher movies like ‘The Burning’ that nobody would know but me – and I worked really close with my DP, Lynne Moncrief, to ﬁnd those moments. It felt important for us pay homage to the whole continuum of horror movies behind us, because we are building on all those as we try to step gingerly – or bravely – into a future where queer horror is ﬁnally the popular mainstream entertainment it deserves to be.
‘It can be hard to wake up to something so unreal,’ Raue rocks LA Nostalgia permeates the room as venue feels like Whisky a Go Go
By NOAH CHRISTIANSEN The phenomenon of teenage angst is one met with general discomfort and chaos: the phase that ‘isn’t just a phase’, the transition to adulthood, and worst of all, growing pains. Yet, as the sound traveled through LA’s BlackRose, audience members embraced the feeling and passion of teenagedom as the two musicians on stage performed. In a culture where the space between childhood and adulthood is dissipating, the feeling of Raue’s sound is nostalgic. Raue performs at the BlackRose in The Urban Dictionary defines Raue as a German colloquialism referring to Los Angeles. strength of character, which this dynamic duo of teenaged musicians clearly (Photo by Noah Christiansen) display in their music and performance. Raue (pronounced roo-ay), a band based in Santa Cruz, California is com“Our message is to spread love unconditionally,” Kalenian explained. It would be an unposed of two members: singer/guitarist Paige Raue Kalenian and drummer Jax Huckle – derstatement to call this band inclusive as inclusivity feels all too general. In fact, Raue’s both of whom differ from the conventional teen we see today. sound queers the space that its in – not queer solely in the aspect of sexuality, gender, or Kalenian released her first highly anticipated eponymous album titled Raue in 2021. identity, but in the sense of transformation. A true political praxis that manifests a radical The album contained themes of somberness, loneliness, and deja vu. Huckle joined the queerness that seeks to envelop spaces with kindness, love, and difference. band a few months later where they collectively released the band’s first EP titled Erase Kalenian isn’t the only member of Raue who feels this way – Huckle also opened up with and Rewind this year; the EP contained similar themes as the first album (albeit with more his discussion of the pertinent aspects of vulnerability both on and off stage. “I feel like maturity and experimentation). it’s a matter of showing the crowd that you’re vulnerable,” he says, “that’s the first step The BlackRose’s stated mission to provide a platform for all artists to perform their craft, to having the crowd open up.” He’s not wrong. In the beginning, the crowd was stiff. At a highlighting all art forms including music, dance, visual arts, musical theater, burlesque, usual concert venue, audience participation is always optional. But, when Kalenian jumps and beyond – well suited the performance. off stage with her guitar, just feet away from the audience, it’s impossible to not move with Feeling as though the venue was the Whisky a Go Go of the punk rock scene, the nostalthe music. “She’s all around,” Huckle says, “She likes meeting everybody.” gia found within Raue’s performance permeated the room through the various aesthetics: With deep messages in the music, there is a sense of closeness between the band and Black sport coats riddled with pins in patches, floppy dyed hair, and skinny ties hung loose. the audience. As Kalenian instructs the audience members to sing the chorus to a song Unlike typical teenage style today, the members of Raue dress as if they are a punk rock with themes of loneliness, people have a sense of relationality to the music. I mean, who band in the 90’s. can’t relate to these lyrics: “Sitting here by myself and I feel lonely / Does that mean anyIn a cathartic homage to the sound of Nirvana, Green Day, and Alanis Morissette, audithing to you?” ence members saw energy unlike any other performance. Kalenian defines Raue’s sound Although the singer gets a lot of attention naturally, there is no doubt that the eclectic as “90’s grunge punk rock.” personality was shown through the drummer’s performance. With the waving of drumIt was obvious from the start what this band was, but when they covered “My Hero” by sticks like a magical baton constructing the audience that is the orchestra, the character of the Foo Fighters, it was clear that these teens had a rich musical upbringing. Yet, it was Huckle was brought to life among the loud drum licks. When asked about the meaning of difficult to truly label this band. Kalenian calls it a “Paradox of Ineffability” – a language that punk rock, Huckle responded by saying, “All punk rock has a deep message. Even if it’s loud comes close to defining a sound, but not quite encapsulating all of what the sound has to and messy – it’s human expression.” offer. When the show was coming to an end, Kalenian turned around to show the crowd what The LA Blade had the pleasure to interview Raue after their performance. The band was on the back of her coat: the words “I LOVE YOU!” with a picture of a screaming cat members took the Blade into a quiet, dimly lit patio in the back of the BlackRose. Quite the underneath the letters. opposite space in comparison to where the performance took place. As Raue makes their way to release more music and continue to perform across the After a discussion about the perks of touring from place to place to perform music, Kelestates, it is no question that this band mixes the ubiquitous flare of teenage angst into their nian described what Raue’s purpose is in the music industry. sound – not something to be criticized, but to be embraced.
24 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022
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O er in De t Be d eb t f ree in 24 to 48 WAN T E D! Old P orsche mon ths. N o u pf ron t f ees 3 5 6 / 9 1 1 / 9 1 2 f or to en roll. A+ BBB rated . restoration b y hob b yist Call N ation al Deb t R elief 1948- 1973 O n ly. An y 1- 888- 231- 4274. con d ition , top $ paid ! P L E ASE L E AV E I N SU RAN C E ME SSAGE 1 -7 0 7 -3 3 9 -5 9 9 4 . SAV E BI G on HO ME E mail: I N SU R AN CE ! Compare p orscherestorati on@ 20 A- rated in su ran ces y ahoo. com compan ies. Get a q u ote w ithin min u tes. Av erag e DO N ATE Y O U R CAR sav in g s of $444/year! TO KI DS Fast Free Call 1- 844- 410- 9609! P icku p – R u n n in g or N ot ( M- F 8am- 8pm Cen tral) - 24 Hou r R espon se Max imu m Tax Don ation M E DI C AL / H E AL T H – Help Fin d Missin g Kid s! Call 1- 888- 491Aloe Care Health, 1453. med ical alert system. The most ad v an ced DO N ATE Y O U R med ical alert prod u ct CAR O R TR U CK on the market. V oiceTO HE R I TAGE FO R acti ated o i THE BL I N D. Free 3 needed ecia o er Day V acation , Tax call an d men tion Ded u ctib le, Free o er code C R 2 Tow in g , All P aperw ork to get 2 o o ie Taken Care O f . CAL L Compan ion . Call tod ay 1- 844- 491- 2884 1- 844- 790- 1673. C ABL E / I N T E RN E T / SAT E L L I T E T V DI R E CTV f or $79.99/ mo f or 12 mon ths w ith CHO I CE P ackag e. W atch you r f av orite liv e sports, n ew s & en tertain men t an yw here. First 3 mon ths of HBO Max ,
M I SC E L L AN E OU S e di erence in w in n in g an d losin g market share is how b u sin esses u se their ad v ertisin g d ollars. CN P A’ s Ad v ertisin g Serv ices’ pow er to con n ect to n early 13 million of the state’ s
read ers w ho are an en g ag ed au d ien ce, makes ou r serv ices an in d ispen sab le marketin g solu tion . For more in f o call Cecelia @ ( 916) 288- 6011 or cecelia@ cn pa.com RE AL E ST AT E L AN D FOR SAL E Sn eak P rev iew L an d Sale! Sat 8/13 throu g h Su n 8/21, 5 Acres, reg $79,900; SAL E P R I CE $69,900! P riv ate, seclu d ed 2- to- 6- acre homesites, pan oramic 10+ miles v iew s, ov erlooks Big Horn R iv er. P riv ate road s, u n d erg rou n d electric/ ca e, ig s eed er optic in tern et, CE N TR AL W ATE R , an d in cred ib ly low W yomin g tax es! 5 min u tes - d ow n tow n Thermopolis, W yomin g ! 1 hou r - historic Cod y! E asy 2- hou r d riv e to en tran ce Y ellow ston e N ation al P ark. E n j oy ton s of ou td oor recreation ! P erf ect f or primary resid en ce/ v acation home. ce ent nancing Ca 1- 877- 333- 0204 x 10 or R ed R imR an ch.com RE AL E ST AT E / L OAN S R E TI R E D CO U P L E $1 MI L f or b u sin ess pu rpose R eal E state loan s. Cred it u n importan t. V .I .P . Tru st Deed Compan y w w w .v iploan .com Call 1- 818- 248- 0000 Broker- prin cipal DR E 01041073. N o Con su mer L oan s.
BLADE! 26 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 05, 2022
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