24/7 crisis services for LGBTQ+ youth in Mexico launchesBy BRODY LEVESQUE
Mateo seems to be an average adolescent guy, at least in outward appearances and love of football as soccer is known here. But he keeps a deeply personal part of himself, “mi verdadero yo” (my real self) away from even his closest friends and family instead only divesting himself of his protective cloak on his weekend forays into the Zona Rosa of Mexico City, a neighborhood that is center of LGBTQ+ life in the Mexican capital city about an hour and a half away.
Mateo is gay and his family is homophobic as are many of his local friends and acquaintances in Tizayuca where he lives.
The stress and strain of being gay at times can be overwhelming he says although he can escape surreptitiously when he’s at home by binge watching LGBTQ content on Netﬂix and other platforms. Still Mateo says, there are those moments when he felt nothing but despair, helpless, and no one to talk to.
competency, recognition of the need for a integrated enterprise structure employed via SMS text messaging, WhatsApp, and online chat.
The approach to engagement with LGBTQ+ youth in the country Leslie said was a “whole of Mexico” team comprised of crisis counselors “coming from a cultural humble place.”
Leslie acknowledged that there are shortcomings in Internet communications access throughout Mexico as according to a 2021 study by Stanford University found that there were more than 90 million internet users, that is, approximately 71 percent of its inhabitants, yet access points were limited in the more rural states. But she pointed out that by setting up through the three primary means of communication, SMS text messaging, WhatsApp, and the online ‘Trevor chat” LGBTQ+ youth will have the means to communicate with counselors.
Oﬀering a safe space and with a staﬀ entirely of LGBTQ+ Mexicans led by Edurne Balmori, Executive Director of The Trevor Project Mexico, whose career resume noted numerous accolades and has a powerful track record in business, the 55 member in-country team which includes 35 experienced crisis counselors will be able to have positive impact Leslie noted.
She added The Trevor Project Mexico will rely on a volunteer-based model in which counselors will undergo extensive training and implement an evidence-based crisis support model.
“Emphasis is on cultural competency and understanding of the life experiences for the LGBTQ+ community and youth in Mexico,” Leslie added.
In a press release announcing the project on Tuesday, Balmori said;”Today we celebrate the activation of our services in Mexico, kicking oﬀ what we hope will be a global social movement around suicide prevention. For many LGBTQ youth in the country, expressing themselves and simply being who they are can put their physical safety and mental wellness at risk. At The Trevor Project Mexico, we will strive to end the stigma around the issue of mental health, provide LGBTQ youth with a safe and trusted space, and ultimately save lives.”
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see our vision of providing life-aﬃrming crisis services to LGBTQ young people beyond the U.S. being realized today with our launch in Mexico. This is a major milestone in our goal to end the global public health crisis of LGBTQ youth suicide,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project is committed to building a world where every single LGBTQ young person has access to resources that aﬃrm who they are, and we couldn’t be more optimistic about the impact we’ll have on this journey to support more LGBTQ young people around the world.”
It was his journeys into the Zona Rosa neighborhood and his online LGBTQ+ friends on Instagram that saved him more than once in those bleak intervals. Still he says a way to connect with counselors is badly needed especially in places in his country that don’t have access for LGBTQ+ youth to a gayborhood and a support system of community.
For Mateo and countless other LGBTQ+ youth in the 32 states that make-up Mexico not having a central safe space and people who understand changed as today, on National Coming Out Day, The Trevor Project announced the oﬃcial launch of its free, conﬁdential, 24/7 digital crisis services for LGBTQ young people in the country.
For the ﬁrst time in its 25 year history of service to LGBTQ+ youth, Trevor has expanded its crisis intervention services for LGBTQ youth outside of the United States. According to oﬃcial ﬁgures from the National Survey on Sexual and Gender Diversity (ENDISEG), 28.7% of the LGBTQ population in Mexico has thought about or attempted suicide in their lifetime, and as is the case in the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in Mexico.
The Los Angeles Blade had an opportunity to speak with Jess Leslie, Head of International Digital Crisis Services for the Trevor Project. Leslie told the Blade that groundwork to build out the new Mexico City-based Trevor Project Mexico placed emphasis on cultural
Leslie tells the Blade, the most important thing is that LGBTQ+ youth are aﬀorded the opportunity to have access to all the services that The Trevor Project has.
In the press release, Trevor noted that it is leveraging its relationships with several of its existing corporate and technology partners to enable and support this international work.
Of note, Google.org announced a renewed grant of $2 million this week, designed specifically to help scale The Trevor Project’s life-saving work to new international geographies. This grant will make Google.org a lead funder of the organization’s international work.
In addition, The Trevor Project was able to build and customize its crisis services platform for Mexico using Twilio Flex.
In an interview last Spring with NBC News when Trevor executives ﬁrst announced the expansion into Mexico, Cristian González Cabrera, who researches LGBTQ rights in Latin America for Human Rights Watch, told NBC there’s still “a lot to be done” and that The Trevor Project’s expansion in Mexico will be “very welcome.”
“Legal advances don’t always translate to social or lived progress for LGBTQ people in the region,” Cabrera said referring to the fact that same-sex marriage has been legalized in at least a dozen of Mexico’s 32 states. “Mexico remains a conservative country in certain aspects and regions, and LGBTQ people continue to experience all sorts of discrimination in all sectors of life, whether that’s education, health care, in the job market, et cetera.”
“Emphasis is on cultural competency and understanding of the life experiences for the LGBTQ+ community and youth in Mexico”(Screenshot/YouTube KPBS/PBS San Diego, Calif.)
Orange County gay teen has had it with homophobiaBy BRODY LEVESQUE
An openly gay senior at El Toro High School in this wealthy conservative enclave of Orange County has had it with homophobia, especially when it appears at his front door, literally. Earlier this month 18-year-old Landon Jones posted video captured from his family’s ring.com surveillance camera that displayed the homophobic abuse that occurred, which has now gone viral.
In the TikTok post Jones says “I have been called ‘faggot’ countless times at school, and it literally doesn’t bother me at all,” but he adds, “The fact that they came to my house does.”
In his Instagram post, ones noted “a group of boys from eltorohs most of them being on the eltoro football team have repeatedly harassed me and called me slurs. i usually don’t let these things bother me, in fact i laugh because they say they hate me yet continue to go out of their way to give me their attention. but last night i was visited by one of these kids at my house. my family and i are angry. we are done.”
An Orange County sheriﬀ’s spokesperson told NBC News that a school resource oﬃcer at El Toro igh School was able to speak to “individuals that may or may not have been involved in this incident” or “possibly have knowledge of the incident.” The oﬃcer said the person who walked up to the ones home hasn’t been identiﬁed, adding that the “investigation remains ongoing.” While Jones still attends El Toro High School, he transitioned
to virtual schooling at the start of the school year because of “bullying and a rough experience with the school,” he told NBC News.
In addition to the incident at his home, Jones in the same TikTok post also shared a homophobic bullying incident at a Starbucks near his home. ones told NBC News that he decided to share both incidents on TikTok, where he has nearly 700,000 followers, because “I’m sick of being silent about it. So I ﬁnally spoke up.”
A spokesperson for the school district said the “unconscionable acts committed against Landon ones do not reﬂect the feelings or values of Saddleback alley niﬁed School District (S SD) and El Toro igh School (ET S).”
“ET S and S SD administration, together with the Orange County Sheriﬀ’s Department (OCSD), immediately launched a comprehensive investigation to uncover the facts of the incidents,” Wendie Hauschild, the director of communications and administrative services for the school district, said in an email to NBC.
“ e can conﬁrm that the person seen in the surveillance video of the incident that took place at a private home is not a student in S SD. Due to the conﬁdentiality that we are re uired by law to uphold for our students, as well as other minors, S SD is unable to share further information regarding the results of
the investigation. S SD remains steadfast in its commitment to create inclusive, supportive, and safe environments for all students on our campuses.”
The TikTok video has generated more than 1.3 million views and over 11,000 comments including some celebrities and social media inﬂuencers. ones, reﬂecting on the outpouring of positivity said, “One of the last things that I had expected was the amount of support from the community that I would have gotten.”
is parents, Lauren and Nathan told NBC they hope their son’s story will give more people voices and show “that no one should ever have to go through this alone.”
Triple A: Please slow down around tow trucks & CHP on roadsides
Southern California’s highways are going to get much busier as the holidays approach and more Californians hit the roads. The Auto Club, CHP and a mother who lost her tow truck operator son are asking drivers to slow down or move over when approaching disabled motorists and emergency vehicles on the roadside shoulders.
An average of 24 emergency responders, including tow operators, are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside each year – meaning someone in this line of work is killed, on average, every other week in America.
“Deaths like these can be avoided if drivers slow down and move over when approaching emergency vehicles with lights ﬂashing,” said Auto Club Communications Manager Doug Shupe. “At 65 miles per hour, your vehicle travels over 95 feet in one second and that one second could change everything. Please give roadside rescuers the space they need to safely help stranded drivers.”
ecent data from the AAA Foundation for Traﬃc Safety ﬁnds not everyone understands the Slow Down Move Over law that re uires drivers to give roadside rescuers space or slow way down if they can’t move over.
AAA Foundation survey results show
Among drivers who report not complying with Slow Down Move Over laws at all times, 2 thought the behavior was somewhat or not dangerous at all to roadside emergency workers. This shows drivers may not realize how risky it is for people who are working or stranded along freeways and roads close to moving traﬃc.
Nearly a uarter of those surveyed (23 ) are unaware of the Slow Down Move Over law in their state. All states have such laws.
And, among those who are aware of their state’s Slow Down
Move Over law, about 15 report not understanding the potential conse uences for violating the Slow Down Move Over law. In California, failure to obey the Slow Down Move Over Law can result in a point on your driving record, and ﬁnes of at least $238 but up to $1,000. Even worse penalties are added if the violation results in a crash.
Additionally, a survey conducted by AAA clubs in Southern California and several other states across the country found
More than half of drivers associate Slow Down Move Over laws with traditional emergency vehicles, speciﬁcally those with their red or blue lights on. But when construction zones and vehicles/motorists stranded on the shoulder are mentioned, many believe moving over is just a courtesy, not the law.
hile more than 90 believe Slow Down Move Over laws re uire them to slow down and move over when encountering a ﬁre truck, police car, or ambulance with its lights on, a much smaller percentage ( 5 ) believe this is re uired when encountering a tow truck with its lights on.
osita Manu lost her 27-year-old son, Faapuna Mac Manu, nicknamed “Little Mac,” on December 19, 2012. er son was a tow truck operator who was helping a stranded driver with a ﬂat tire on the 05 freeway in Long Beach, when an impaired driver failed to move over from the lane closest to Manu’s tow truck and the stranded vehicle, and slammed into them. Manu was killed in the crash and left behind three young children.
“My son was a people person and was the type of person who would give his shirt oﬀ his back,” said osita Manu. “Little Mac wanted to help people and accommodate them as best as he could at the roadside.”
It’s not just tow providers and other ﬁrst responders being killed at the roadside. Between 201 and 2020, 1,703 people died while outside of a disabled vehicle, and 271 of those fatal-
ities happened in California.
“People need to be more mindful of one another,” said Manu. “ ow many more people have to die before people are going to get it?”
Since 2007, AAA has been instrumental in passing Slow Down Move Over laws in all states, including advocating for those laws to cover tow operators and other emergency responders. Additionally, AAA clubs have participated in educational and advocacy initiatives by creating public service announcements and reaching out to state oﬃcials. But there is more work to be done. AAA is committed to raising awareness of Slow Down Move Over laws and the dangers associated with working at the roadside.
These laws re uire motorists to move over one lane, if it is safe to do so, or slow down when approaching an incident where tow providers, police, ﬁreﬁghters or emergency medical service crews are stopped and working at the roadside. In California, the law has been expanded to cover municipal vehicles and the law in the Golden State applies to surface streets as well as freeways.
To protect roadside workers, drivers with disabled vehicles, and others, the Auto Club oﬀers these tips
Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.
Stay alert, avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
Slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with ﬂashing lights stopped on the side of a two-lane roadway, unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker.
On multi-lane roadways, slow down when you see the ﬂashing lights of an emergency vehicle at the roadside and, if possible, move over into an adjacent lane. If you are unable to switch lanes, slow down to a speed that is safe and reasonable.By LA BLADE STAFF
Parents hope their son’s story gives more people voicesLANDON JONES (Photo via Instagram)
De eteGrin r tren in over incomin CEO’ p t ri ht in t eet
Arison identiﬁed himself as a conservative’ supporting some Trump policies in a tweet he deleted, in a 2020 threadBy LA BLADE STAFF
Some LGBTQ+ Grindr users are advocating people delete the popular dating app after old Twitter posts surfaced supporting anti-LGBTQ right wing politicians by the new incoming openly gay Grindr Chief Executive Oﬃcer George Arison were shared and retweeted.
Arison, , identiﬁed himself as a conservative’ supporting some Trump policies in a tweet he deleted, in a 2020 thread that appeared to show support for former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the presidential race that year.
Grindr which boasts about 11 million gay, bisexual, transgender and queer users per month around the world, is preparing to go public this fall with a $2.1 billion valuation. Arison is slated to take over as CEO on October 19.
The contreversary over Arison’s right-wing leaning support, which extended to Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and irginia’s epublican Governor Glenn oungkin who have anti-LGBTQ+ records, comes on the heels of controversy stemming from Facebook posts published by former Grindr CEO Scott Chen:
“Some think marriage is between a man and a woman. I
think so, too, but it’s a personal matter,” he wrote. “Some people think the purpose of marriage is to have your own biological children. It’s a personal matter, too.”
In another tweet earlier this year as well Arison signaled apparent approval of Governor Ron DeSantis:
He also voiced support this past February for Virgin-
ia’s epublican Governor Glenn oungkin as the war in Ukraine commenced.
Arison, the openly gay founder and former CEO of Shift Technologies, takes over as the app continues revamping its help center, community guidelines, and safety tips. Grindr has also worked to ﬁght the sexual exploitation of minors and mitigate instances of bullying on the app.
In the months since the conservative leaning tweets Arison has also retweeted a mixture of progressive posts and voicing support for Ukraine.
Ahead of its merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and as it is preparing to go public, Grindr in addition to naming Arison CEO, also formed a board comprised of 60% LGBTQ+ members.
A spokesperson for the company referring to the online outrage over the past tweets and right-wing leaning retweets and tweets by Arison in a statement to media outlets said:
“George [Arison] is an out gay man, proudly married to his husband and the father of two children,” Grindr said. “George is passionate about ﬁghting for the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ people around the world.”
Triple A: Gas prices tumble, but still have a long way to go
The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.20, which is 22 cents lower than last weekBy LA BLADE STAFF
The early introduction of “winter blend” gasoline to Southern California gas stations has sent prices tumbling downward a week after they reached new all-time record high levels, according to the Auto Club’s eekend Gas atch.
The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $ .20, which is 22 cents lower than last week. The average national price is $3.91, which is four cents higher than a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.26 per gallon, which is 23 cents lower than last week, 85 cents higher than last month, and $1.81 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.20, which is 23 cents lower than last week, 83 cents higher than last month, and $1.80 higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.18, which is 28 cents lower than last week, 74 cents higher than last month, and $1.80 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.14, which is 23 cents lower than last week, 86 cents higher than last month, and $1.78 higher than a year ago. In Bakersﬁeld, the $ .2 average price is 10 cents lower than last Thursday, 85 cents higher than last month, and $1.86 higher than a year ago today.
“Gas prices would have to come down by about $1.20 a gallon from last week’s records in most areas to completely erase the spike that began in September, and there is a possibility they could drop even more if wholesale gas-
oline prices continue downward,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “ hen prices are dropping, it’s more important for consumers to shop around and make sure they are not overpaying for gas by using a tool like the free AAA Mobile app. Most drivers should easily be able to ﬁnd gas stations charging less than $6 a gallon for regular unleaded, and the local stations with the lowest prices today are charging less than $5. 0.”
The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:
If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club’s Automotive esearch Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inﬂated to the correct level.
Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops oﬀ as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise
control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
Minimize your use of air conditioning.
Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel. Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
Download the AAA App to ﬁnd the cheapest gas prices near you.
The eekend Gas atch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Oct. 13, averages are
Queer mi rien o een event c u e upro r in EncinitBy BRODY LEVESQUE
A Halloween event, “Boo Bash,” billed as the “queerest free Halloween party for youth and families,” sponsored by the TransFamily Support Services, which is hosting the event, has one North San Diego County school district in an uproar.
The controversy started last month when a ﬂyer advertising the event, described as a “Spooky Block-Style Party” with food trucks, trick-or-treating down businesses and a Disney villain drag show was posted to the Encinitas Union School District’s Peach ar platform webpage.
The ﬂyer was pulled down but a group of conservative parents, anti-LGBTQ+ activists and a couple of candidates running for seats on the school board protested Tuesday including parent oleene Burts, who told NBC’s NSD 7 San Diego “It is very clear what the agenda is, it is not a family-friendly event and the district is lying to our children and these are our children.“
The director of TransFamily Support Services told NBC 7 the advertisement wouldn’t have appeared on the Peach ar platform without the district’s permission. The district however, released a statement Tuesday saying that it was actually pulled from Peach ar three weeks ago because it did not meet approval criteria. The district gave no further explanation.
The homophobic and anti-trans ueer backlash was spread
online and across multiple social media platforms.
Then on Friday, Andr e Grey, Ed.D. the Superintendent of the Encinitas nion School District issued a statement on the EUSD webpage, part expressing sorrow and support for the District’s LGBTQ+ students and their families.
“Although this ﬂier was approved in error and we regret this mistake, we are especially saddened that the situation has negatively impacted families of gender diverse children. It is our intention to always be safe and inclusive spaces for all children and families. EUSD continues to be steadfast in our commitment to be a supportive district for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, linguistic background, economic class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical and cognitive ability.”
Grey also addressed the reactions from some in the community
As someone who is deeply proud to work in Encinitas, I have been saddened to see how our district has recently been portrayed in the media. I know many of you have reached out with these concerns as well. nfortunately, there has been inaccurate information spread via television and social media. I would like to provide accurate information
An E SD staﬀ member did allow a ﬂier to be posted in Peachjar advertising a Boo Bash event put on by TransFamily Support Services, a nonproﬁt regional support agency for gender diverse children and families.
EUSD is not hosting the event. This is NOT a district event.
Peachjar is an optional information hub containing community events and opportunities for adults families within the district. None of these ﬂiers were sent to children and adults are charged with determining what is relevant for their families. All ﬂiers are stamped with the words, “distribution of this ﬂier does not imply endorsement by the Encinitas nion School District, its schools or staﬀ and is distributed in compliance with federal and state law.”CONTINUED AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM By LA BLADE STAFF
City of West Hollywood will Host a Community Forum about Proposition 1, a California Ballot Proposition and State Constitutional Amendment that, if Approved by Voters, would Enshrine Reproductive Freedom in the California Constitution
The City will host A Community Forum on Prop 1 Abortion in California, a moderated panel discussion about Proposition 1, a California Ballot Proposition and State Constitutional Amendment that, if approved by voters, would establish a Constitutional right to reproductive freedom in California, deﬁned to include a right to an abortion and a right to choose or refuse contraceptives.
The Community Forum on Prop 1 will take place on Tuesday, October 1 , 2022 at 7 p.m. at the City of est ollywood’s Council Chambers Public Meeting oom, located at 25 N. San icente Boulevard. Due to limited space, advance registration for in-person attendance is re uested please S P on the forum’s Eventbrite page.
The Community Forum will be broadcast live on Spectrum Cable Channel 10 in est ollywood, livestreamed (and available for future viewing) on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com wehotv, and livestreamed on AppleT , Amazon FireT , AndroidT , oku platforms by searching for “ e oT .”
City of est ollywood Governmental Aﬀairs Liaison ern n Molina will moderate the panel discussion panel participants will include oey Espinoza- ernandez, Public Policy Director for the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Luckie Fuller, Founder of Invisible Men and member of the City of est ollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board
amie ennerk, Public Aﬀairs Specialist for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Onyemma Obiekea, Policy Analyst for Black Women for Wellness (B ) and its sister organization, Black Women for Wellness Action Project (B AP).
Proposition 1 will appear on the November General Election Ballot for California oters. It was authored by the President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate, Toni Atkins, D-San Diego and co-authored by the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Anthony endon, D-Lakewood. Proposition 1 is a direct response to the une 2022 Supreme Court of the nited States (SCOT S) decision in Dobbs v. ackson omen’s ealth Organization, overturning the 1973 oe v. ade decision, ruling that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion.
The City of est ollywood was the ﬁrst city in the nation, in 1991, to declare itself pro-choice. More than three decades later, est ollywood continues its eﬀorts to vigorously defend women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare. The City has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare.
The City of West Hollywood regularly monitors policies and proposals that impact West Hollywood’s residents, including
women, LGBTQ residents, people with disabilities, seniors, people of color, and immigrants, among others, and the City will continue to be a champion and defender of health equity and reproductive freedom.
In May 2019, the City Council of the City of est ollywood, unanimously approved a esolution to denounce anti-choice legislation in Georgia and other states, such as Alabama. With approval of that esolution, est ollywood became the ﬁrst city in the nation to enact ﬁnancial sanctions and act against states that have passed extreme anti-choice legislation.
In September 2021, the City Council of the City of est ollywood unanimously approved a esolution denouncing the Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy (SB ), developing additional ﬁnancial sanctions until such time as the new law is revoked, and declaring the City of West Hollywood a safe harbor for reproductive freedom.
For more information, please contact ern n Molina, the City of est ollywood’s Governmental Aﬀairs Liaison, at (323) - 3 or at hmolina weho.org.
For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) - 9 .AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
The homophobic and anti-trans ueer backlash against the event was spread online and across multiple social media platforms
West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week City of est ollywood will ost a Community Forum about Proposition 1(Los Angeles Blade/TransFamily Support Services graphic) City of West Hollywood (Jon Viscott)
R ce to the mi term Schiﬀ on Trump, SCOTUS, LGBTQ voteBy KAREN OCAMB
No sooner had ep. Adam Schiﬀ stepped oﬀ the dais after the ﬁnal anuary Committee hearing on Thursday, Oct. 13 than he was hopping on a plane for Illinois, then Friday in Cincinnati, Ohio, then Saturday in Orange County, California, stumping there for military veteran ay Chen running against MAGA epublican Michelle Steele in California’s 5 Congressional District.
The former Impeachment manager and Chair of the ouse Intelligence Committee, who has had a target on his back since Trump’s election in 201 , has been sprinting around the country trying to help Democrats retain control of the ouse of epresentatives and the Senate on Election Day, Nov. .
“There is so much at stake in the midterms,” Schiﬀ tells me for the ace to the Midterm ouTube series I’m producing with Max uskins and the Los Angeles Blade. “It’s no exaggeration to say that our democracy is on the ballot.” ad ouse Minority Leader evin McCarthy been the Speaker in 2020, “he would have overturn the results of the election,” Schiﬀ says. “Someone that irresponsible, whose oath of oﬃce means so little, cannot be allowed to go near the Speaker’s oﬃce” and replace the extraordinary Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sadly, since the MAGA insurrection on anuary th, “the former president and his enablers have run with this Big Lie’ around the country, used it to usher in a new generation of im Crow laws and made our democracy even more vulnerable,” Schiﬀ says.
There’s a pall growing over the spreading angst. “There is a real danger that people start to lose faith in our democracy if it appears that one person or others are above the law, somehow,” says Schiﬀ who added his voice to the unanimous - Committee vote to subpoena Trump to testify. “It’s very important that the ustice Department, in particular, live up to the commitment that the Attorney General, Merrick Garland, made early on, that everyone would be the same before the law.”
Schiﬀ, a former federal prosecutor, publicly expressed frustration when the DO asked for the Committee’s ﬁles on the insurrection. “My reaction was, why don’t you have your own darn ﬁles hat have you been doing ’” he says.
“Certainly, they’ve been prosecuting the people that broke into the Capitol that day,” he continues. “But there were multiple lines of eﬀort to overturn the election, each of which is worthy of their investigation, as it has been of ours. And many of those lines of eﬀort really all of them were led by Donald Trump. And, while I appreciate the vigor they brought to the investigation of the president’s mishandling of classiﬁed information at Mar-A-Lago, which is important, the incitement of an insurrection, is even more important and that deserves the same level of urgency.”
I noted that Public ustice Executive Director Paul Bland published an op-ed in The ill recently calling for the “modernization” of the S Supreme Court by expanding the Court to 13 members and having term limits on tenure.
“I very much agree,” says Schiﬀ. “The Supreme Court was stacked by (then-Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell working with Donald Trump but it was stacked by withholding a justice, withholding giving a hearing for Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for almost a year and then, in completely hypocritical fashion, jamming an appointment down the country’s throat with Amy Coney Barrett while people were literally voting for oe Biden in the weeks before that election. And as a result, the two justices on that court that don’t belong in that court there are many others I don’t think belong because of their extreme ideology but those, in particular, don’t belong because Mitch McConnell gamed the system. And I don’t think we can just accept that.
“I’ve got two kids in their early twenties,” Schiﬀ continues, “and I’m not content to have them live their entire lives under a partisan reactionary Supreme Court. And let’s make no mistake this Supreme Court is not a conservative court, not in the constitutional legal sense. If it were a conservative court, it would have some respect for precedent. No, this is a partisan court with a reactionary social agenda. And so I think we need to unstack the court by expanding the court. And I’m supporting legislation to do that.”
Schiﬀ also supports term limits for justices who would be removed when their term expired and relocated to a court of appeals or a lower court. The Framers of the Constitution “never imagined that justices would be there for decades and decades. So, I think it would be consistent with what they intended, as well,” Schiﬀ says.
owever, he cautions, if epublicans take over either the ouse or Senate, “there’s no chance whatsoever of expanding the court. And more serious still, it means that they will legislate in ways that are antithetical to people’s rights. Now, for the next two years, we would still have oe Biden in a position to veto hostile legislation. But should the Supreme Court decide that, marriage e uality can go by the wayside, the way they did reproductive freedom, then we would be powerless to protect people through legislation in Congress. Conversely, if we hold the ouse and .if we grow the Senate by a couple of seats and ﬁnally do away with the ﬁlibuster, then we can pass a marriage e uality law that makes that the law of the land and puts it beyond the reach of this reactionary Supreme Court.”
But “there’s a real danger” that if this Congress doesn’t codify people’s rights, the Court “will follow the guidance of ustice Thomas in his dissent in the Dobb’s case and do away with marriage e uality, among other rights. And so many states, just like with abortion, have these trigger laws where if the Supreme Court decides that there’s no right to marriage e uality in the Constitution, then states will immediately repeal marriage protections and put lots of families at risk.
“ e all have a role to play right now,” says Schiﬀ, a trusted LGBTQ ally. “And the LGBTQ community, which is growing all the time in strength as a part of the voting population, could be the decisive inﬂuence in the midterms, both in terms of whether we hold the ouse and grow the Senate. But also, in repudiating Donald Trump. The epublican Party will not part company with him because he’s a liar. They’re okay with that. They will part company with him because he’s unethical. They’re O with that, too. They won’t even part company with him because he’s a danger to the country. e so obviously is they can live with all of that. They will only decide to part company with him when they decide that he’s a loser.
“And more importantly, he’s a loser for them,” Schiﬀ says. “And so, if we can upset the expectations and win these midterms, they will cast blame where it lies which is with Trump and all he stands for. And it will be the beginning or the continuation of the repudiation of Trump and Trumpism, which is so important for our country to move forward.
“These are critical midterms,” says Schiﬀ. “I think the LGBTQ community, as always, will play a critical role and I just consider myself very fortunate and very proud to be an ally.”
“There is a real danger that people start to lose faith in our democracy if it appears that one person or others are above the law, somehow”
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Sheriﬀ Vi nuev he’ ein e un e ABC not o t
A team of investigative reporters from ABC News aﬃliate ABC 7 Eyewitness News looking into claims made by Los Angeles County Sheriﬀ Alex illanueva that his department is being defunded, discovered that the LA County Sheriﬀ’s department budget was nearly $2 0 million higher in ﬁscal year 2022 than it was in 2019. ABC reported that on October , the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $3. billion budget for the department for ﬁscal year 2023, which reﬂected a $251 million increase.
Fifth District Los Angeles County Supervisor athryn Barger told ABC, “ hile the perception may be that that defunding is taking place, in fact, the sheriﬀ’s budget has increased.”
The issue over the Sheriﬀ’s budget has been a contentious campaign talking point, especially in the City Of West Hollywood where increased crime rates, a revamping and expansion of the City’s civilian Block by Block Ambassadors program along with a
une 3-2 vote by the e o City Council to slash funding to the Sheriﬀ’s Department, which is contracted to provide policing services, has created elevated levels of hyper-partisan style attacks in several council races.
Sheriﬀ illanueva is also up for reelection with his opponent, former Long Beach Chief of Police obert Luna promising reforms of the LASD and in part speaking of the budgetary issues, pointed out that the Sheriﬀ’s Department is in a crisis of leadership, accountability and public trust. Luna highlighted the ongoing conﬂicts between the Sheriﬀ and the Board of Supervisors.
ABC examined 109 agency budgets of which the LASD was one of the largest. According to Eyewitness News, roughly 0 of these agencies saw increases of at least 2 in their budgets between ﬁscal year 2019 and ﬁscal year 2022. In the case of illanueva’s budget, there was nearly an increase over the period of time analyzed.
illanueva told ABC it’s still a “direct defunding” because the budget isn’t keeping up with costs. Supervisor Barger said what he’s dealing with is no diﬀerent from other departments.
“This happens in probation, it happens in ﬁre,” she said. “They’ve got to cover that actual cost. That is something that he is asked to absorb. And so it does, in essence, make it look like it’s
being defunded, but in fact, his budget has increased.”
“ e plays as though he’s being targeted. And he’s not,” Barger continued.
ABC also examined the relationship between budgets and crime rates. Eyewitness News found that both national and local data show a weak relationship between the amount of money agencies get and crime.
illanueva acknowledged this but told ABC there is a relationship between personnel and crime. “ ith the actual cops on the street and detectives working cases, there is a correlation. When you have less cops, you got more crooks, plain and simple,” he said.
However, an Eyewitness News analysis of yearly changes in budgeted patrol and detective positions compared to violent crime shows that may not be the case. Despite having a .5 drop in the number of budgeted patrols and detectives in ﬁscal year 201 , violent crime did not increase. In fact, it dropped in the calendar year.
Also, LASD crime data through August 2022 shows a 1 increase in violent crime, but no change in the number of budgeted patrols and detectives.By BRODY LEVESQUE
th nnu AIDS W LA too p ce in We o Sun
WEST HOLLYWOOD – After a two year absence brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the streets of West Hollywood Sunday ﬁlled with people participating in the 3 th annual AIDS alk Los Angeles which returned with the theme “Be All Over It.” Craig E. Thompson, the CEO of APLA ealth, one of the non-proﬁt I AIDS service organizations which beneﬁts from the funds raised described the Be All Over It theme as a case of “ e’re over talking. e’re over people living with I not in care. e’re over the assault on our rights happening across the nation. e’re calling on individuals and organizations who have had enough to make a plan to Be All Over It’ with us and show the world that you’ll no longer stay silent on the issues you feel passionate about.”
The approximately 2-mile walk began at 9 a.m. at est ol-
lywood Park with the crowds of walkers heading north to Santa Monica Boulevard, east to La Cienega Boulevard, then reversing direction and heading west to Doheny Drive, east to San icente Boulevard and south to est ollywood Park.
AIDS alk Los Angeles was the world’s ﬁrst fundraising walk to beneﬁt organizations dealing with AIDS.
3 years ago, a group of fed-up activists, patients, advocates, and friends beginning at the Paramount Pictures lot and continuing through the streets of ollywood, put their soles on the line to shake the government into action during the AIDS crisis. Since that ﬁrst alk in 19 5, hundreds of thousands of walkers and their supporters have raised more than $92 million to combat I and AIDS. These funds are a vital lifeline that sustains APLA ealth’s programs and services beneﬁting more than
1 ,000 individuals living in Los Angeles County, which continues to have the second largest number of people living with I in the country.
The walk moved to West Hollywood because of security concerns that were raised following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It was held in downtown Los Angeles from 201 -19.
Craig Bowers, APLA ealth’s chief marketing and external aﬀairs oﬃcer in a statement noted that since its inception, the walk has raised more than $92 million.
APLA ealth also provides housing support, food, beneﬁts counseling, home health care and other services for people living with and aﬀected by AIDS and I . The funds raised assist APLA in providing those services.By LA BLADE STAFF
An e e ’ cri i o overn nce Bont unche inve ti tion
The leaked audio recording that has plunged the Los Angeles city council into chaos and is being met with outraged Angelenos calling for the resignations of Councilmembers Nury Martinez, evin de Le n and Gil Cedillo, who are heard on the recording with labor leader on ererra making racist and homophobic remarks, has now triggered an investigation by California Attorney General ob Bonta.
“The leaked audio has cast doubt on a cornerstone of our political processes. e will endeavor to bring the truth to light to help restore conﬁdence in the process for the people of our state,” Attorney General ob Bonta said in a statement ednesday. “As a father and a human being, I am deeply appalled by the remarks made by some of Los Angeles’ highest-ranking oﬃcials. Their comments were unacceptable, oﬀensive and deeply painful. There is no place for anti-Black, antisemitic, anti-indigenous and anti-LGBTQ, or any kind of discriminatory rhetoric in our state, especially in relation to the duties of a public oﬃcial.”
Bonta speciﬁcally will investigate the Los Angeles redistricting process that took place last fall which was the primary reason for
the meeting of the four people heard on the audio.
In a statement released by Bonta’s oﬃce, it notes that under the California Constitution and Government Code, the Attorney General has broad authority to investigate any potential viola-
tions of the law and ensure the laws of the state are uniformly and ade uately enforced.
“At this stage, the investigation will be conducted by the California Department of ustice’s acial ustice Bureau within the Civil ights Enforcement Section. During the course of the investigation, state attorneys will work diligently to consider all relevant information related to the city’s 2021 redistricting process and adopted map,” the statement said.
“ owever, it is important to note that the Oﬃce of the Attorney General has made no determination at this time with regard to speciﬁc complaints or allegations related to the conduct of those involved in the city’s redistricting process. The California Department of Justice is committed to conducting a thorough and independent investigation.”
The ongoing protests also caused another council meeting set for ednesday to be shut down as protestors ﬂooded the chambers and shouted down members. The City Council will meet again on Friday.By BRODY LEVESQUE
LGBTQ+ youth more likely to experience gun violenceBy ZACHARY JARRELL
LGBTQ youth are more likely than their straight and cisgender peers to experience bias-motivated violence that involves weapons during childhood and adolescence, according to a new Everytown for Gun Safety report released Tuesday. Speciﬁcally, the report citing a uman ights Campaign’s ( C) analysis noted that while of non-LGBTQ youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 17 of LGBTQ youth, 29 of transgender youth and 30 of uestioning youth had experienced these oﬀenses.
In partnership with the C and E uality Federation, the gun safety nonproﬁt’s report was inspired by the Pulse nightclub shooting that left 9 primarily LGBTQ and Latinx people dead and another 53 wounded.
The report, released on National Coming Out Day, came one day before the 2 th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death after being pistol-whipped, beaten and then left for dead tied to a fence outside of Laramie, Wyoming, in one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in American history.
“Our country’s gun violence epidemic has taken an enor-
mous toll on the LGBTQ+ community,” Everytown said in the report. “From the Pulse shooting in Orlando in 201 , to youth suicides and anti-trans violence across the country, our community has suﬀered terribly as a result of our nation’s inadequate gun safety laws.”
LGBTQ youth is at a higher risk of contemplating and attempting suicide, according to the group. Everytown adds that 90 of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal.
The group said ﬁrearm suicides could disproportionately impact LGBTQ adolescents, speciﬁcally transgender youth. “Members of the LGBTQ+ community are at greater risk due to the impact that social stigma, family rejection, bullying, harassment, and abuse have on their well-being,” the organization said.
Lawmakers across the country have introduced record numbers of legislation targeting LGBTQ youth speciﬁcally transgender kids. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that aﬃrmed their identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not.
The report said LGBTQ populations are at least two times more likely to experience violence than straight and cisgender people with bisexual people having the highest risk at seven times as likely. Lesbian and gay people are more than twice as likely, and transgender people are two and a half times more likely to experience violence.
The group also found LGBTQ people make up a signiﬁcant portion of the more than 25,000 hate crimes involving a ﬁre-
arm in the .S. each year an average of 9 a day.
In addition, according to the organization, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals are uniquely impacted by gun violence. Of transgender homicides from 2017 to 2021 including 5 incidents in 2021, a 93 increase compared to 2017 73 were killed with a gun.
Black transgender women represent the overwhelming majority, 73 , of the victims, according to the group. Black people make up an estimated 13 of the transgender population in the United States.
“Bias-motivated crimes based on race, religion, nationality, disability, and gender remain at troublingly high levels, and LGBTQ+ people hold many of these identities as well,” the group said.
Everytown said the nation must adopt common-sense gun violence prevention measures, like
The Disarm ate Act, which would close a loophole allowing people convicted of hate crimes to access or acquire guns.
Extreme isk laws, which would disrupt dangerous individuals from accessing guns.
Creating federal oﬃces of Domestic Terrorism to formally establish a coordinated response to the threat of white supremacists and violent extremist groups targetting marginalized communities.
No single solution can stop gun violence in the United States,” the group said. “Only through a comprehensive approach can we eﬀectively reduce and prevent all forms of gun violence.”
Jury verdict: Life sentence in Parkland mass shooting caseBy BRODY LEVESQUE
After seven hours of deliberation in a penalty phase trial that lasted three months, the jury issued its verdict of life without parole for the 2 -year-old man who killed 17 people in the 201 alentine Day’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas igh School in Parkland, Florida.
The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict as required for execution in capital murder cases as required under Florida law.
The trial included graphic videos, photos and testimony from the mass-murder and its aftermath, heart-wrenching testimony from victims’ family members and a tour of the crime scene by the jurors of the bullet-ridden and bloodsoaked three story Freshman classroom building that has been sealed since the crime occurred.
The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to the charges against him a year ago, will be formally sentenced in November by Broward County Circuit Court udge Elizabeth Scherer to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the mass murder.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the massacre is the deadliest mass shooting that has ever gone to trial in
the U.S. Nine other people in the U.S. who fatally shot at least 17 people died during or immediately after their attacks by suicide or police gunﬁre. The suspect in the 2019 massacre of 23 at an El Paso, Texas, almart is awaiting trial.
Lead prosecutor Mike Satz kept his case simple for the seven-man, ﬁve-woman jury. e focused on Cruz’s eight months of planning, the seven minutes he stalked the halls of a three-story classroom building, ﬁring 1 0 shots with an A -15-style semiautomatic riﬂe, and his escape.
Cruz’s lead attorney Melisa McNeill and her team never uestioned the horror he inﬂicted, but focused on their belief that his birth mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy left him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Their experts said his bizarre, troubling and sometimes violent behavior starting at age 2 was misdiagnosed as attention-deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder, meaning he never got the proper treatment.
In the aftermath of the massacre several now-former Marjory Stoneman Douglas students went on to becoming leading gun reform activists calling for changes in gun laws and banning assault riﬂes.
The group they founded, March for our lives,’ has become a national movement.
The group found LGBTQ people make up a signiﬁcant portion of the more than 25,000 hate crimes involving a ﬁrearm in the .S. each year
The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict as required for execution in capital murder cases as re uired under Florida lawProtests in Orlando, Florida, after the June 12, 2016 Pulse nightclub mass-shooting (Photo Credit: Lambda Legal) The 17 victims of the mass- shooting murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Photo by Parkland, Fl resident Sharon Aron Baron)
A vigil held Friday evening in the Slovakian capital city to honor the two victims killed and a third who was badly wounded in a Wednesday night shooting outside of the Tepl re bar, a popular LGBTQ+ establishment in the old city, was also attended by the nation’s president and the European Parliament’s Vice-President.
Organized by the Initiative Inakos (Iniciat va Inakos ), a LGBTQ+ non-governmental agency, there were an estimated 20,000 plus people gathered according to oﬃcials. The murders shook the tight-knit Slovakian LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Slovakia is a fairly conservative European nion member country where same-sex marriage is not legal.
A spokesperson for the Pol cia Slovenskej republiky, the country’s national police force, said that his agency has classiﬁed the shootings as premeditated murder, motivated by hatred of a sexual minority.
19-year-old uraj rajcik, the son of a prominent member of the far-right extremist last party, a radicalised student from Bratislava, had left social media posts ﬁlled with anti-Semitic and
ov LGBTQ peop e ter mur er
anti-LGBTQ+ messages including a so called ‘manifesto’ which the gunman had posted prior to the rampage.
rajcik, who had an online history of hate-ﬁlled rhetoric had posted a picture of himself outside the Tepl re bar this past August along with other writings and posts that led Pol cia Slovenskej republiky investigators to conclude that the crime was planned.
According to Pol cia Slovenskej republiky, the gunman was outside of the bar for nearly an hour before opening ﬁre at around 7 p.m. local time. Investigators said multiple rounds were ﬁred but did not disclose the number nor the weapon used. Police say he was found dead from a self-inﬂicted gunshot.
During the vigil for the shooting victims, Slovak President uzana Caputova told the crowd, “I’m sorry that our society was not able to protect your loved ones,” adding, “ ou belong here, you are valuable for our society.”
BBC Europe reported that European Parliament ice-President Michal Simecka was also at Friday’s event. Simecka expressed his determination to have the European legislature discuss the murders during a session next week.
“To express our sympathy, but also to call on the Slovak authorities to take clear steps to put an end to the language of hatred towards LGBTI people,” he said.
In addition to political leadership at Friday evening’s vigil, Elena Martin okov (Eleny Martin okovej) the president of the Association of Parents and Friends of LGBTI+ people spoke expressing
her grief and anger towards the environment in the country that fostered far-right hate.
In a Facebook post published by o ice P IDE, she told the crowd;
“I’m going through a lot of pain. Since I heard about this tragedy, I’m in spirit with the parents of the murdered children. They were adults, but they were mainly children, grandchildren, cousins, friends, colleagues who will be greatly missed and the wound and pain the survivors will feel will never heal.
Many tragedies aﬀect us in life, some of them cannot be prevented. es to some of them. And this is exactly the one that could have been prevented. Long-term and intensively spreading and inciting hatred towards LGBT+ people in our public space. It is hatred that blinds people, prevents them from thinking sober.
Certain people are responsible for this tragedy. They are the ones who are intensively and increasingly inciting and spreading hatred towards the LGBTI community. They are all over the place. In the National Council of Slovakia, in government, among many church representatives, in extremist groups, among disinformation spreaders and those who do not have credible information, or when they have it, they do not understand them or do not want to understand. I hope this tragedy will not leave the public indiﬀerent. e must act, we must act now. e will not be uiet. e are not going to be intimidated.“By BRODY LEVESQUE
Taliban kill 22 year-old gay man in Kabul, Afghanistan
A twenty-two year old aspiring gay medical student was tortured and killed by Afghan ﬁghters two months ago after being stopped at a checkpoint in the country’s capital city.
Pink News ﬁrst reported the death of amed Sabouri, who was detained and then tortured with the video evidence of his killing sent to his family members in August.
According to a source who spoke via Telegram with the Blade on Friday, Sabouri had been detained at one of the hun-
dreds of Taliban checkpoints in Kabul used by the terrorist group to enforce adherence to Islamic Sharia law and religious rules instituted after they took control of the country in August of 2021.
The source added that it was reasonable to speculate that there had been content on Sabouri’s mobile that served as the justiﬁcation for his being detaining by the so-called Taliban freedom ﬁghters leading to his torture and death.
The Taliban have often used the contents of the mobile phones seized to then extend the circle of LGBTQ+ persons they seek to persecute, imprison and torture.
Many in the Afghan LGBTQ+ community have taken measures to disguise their existence in country so as to not attract the Taliban’s attention. Several hundred LGBTQ+ Afghans have also ﬂed to neighboring Pakistan to escape persecution.By BRODY LEVESQUE
CitizenGO Africa, a Catholic activist organization, has launched a boycott campaign against Netﬂix over its proLGBTQ+ content.
The boycott comes two months after its parent organization, CitizenGO, which is based in Brazil launched out a similar campaign.
CitizenGO Africa, which is based in enya, says the boycott stems from “ urassic orld Camp Cretaceous,” a 2022 series which is currently showing on Netﬂix. In the 9th episode of the program’s ﬁnal season, azz reveals to Sammy how she feels about her and they end up kissing.
“As you can imagine, the issue has unleashed a wave of outrage around the world. If we parents can’t have peace of mind when our children watch a series inappropriate for them, we are simply not going to take that risk anymore,” said CitizenGO Africa in a statement. “A Netﬂix children’s series has included a lesbian kiss in a series aimed at 7-year-olds ave we gone crazy? Betting on the LGBT agenda doesn’t seem to have gone very well.”
CitizenGO Africa has also demanded Netﬂix CEO eed astings choose between promoting family values and
“Mr. eed astings, decide whether you want to pursue the LGBT agenda or the family agenda. They are not compatible. Lesbian kiss is absolutely inappropriate for 7-year-olds. As long as he doesn’t back down on LGBT indoctrination in children’s series, we will support this boycott campaign,” said CitizenGO Africa. “The ball is in Netﬂix’s court. It has to decide whether to follow the LGBT agenda or the families’ agenda.”
CitizenGO Africa and its parent organization intends on collecting 500,000 signatures for the petition they plan to submit to Netﬂix.
The petition is titled “Netﬂix A lesbian kiss in a series for 7-year-olds ”
Att. eed astings, CEO of Netﬂix.
I am writing to you with concern after learning about the Lesbian kiss in episode 9 of the children’s series Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.
Not only do they settle for the lesbian kissing scene, but they subsequently use the scene to validate the lesbian relationship of two teenagers among their friends and family. Not the kind of messages suitable for 7-year-olds which is the age
you recommend for the series and it’s certainly not the kind of messages I want for my kids.
I want to know that I can put on a children’s series for them knowing that they won’t try to indoctrinate them with LGBT ideology. If not, I don’t want either the uneasiness or the risk for my kids.
Thanks to these kinds of decisions, Netﬂix is at pre-pandemic trading levels, a third of what it traded at last November. Do you want to keep losing customers?
I ask you to immediately remove the indoctrinating content from Netﬂix’s children’s section or I will campaign for outraged users to massively unsubscribe from your channel.”
The Gulf Cooperation Council last month asked Netﬂix to take down programming that it says violates Islamic values.
Saudi Arabia, the nited Arab Emirates, Bahrain, uwait, Oman and Qatar, the six Arab States that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council published a collective statement that condemned the “ urassic orld Camp Cretaceous” episode.
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Aunt Lilia Johnson’s buttermilk pie fed a voting rights movement
ow could I miss the signiﬁcance of my family’s grassroots organizing
As a child, I didn’t care about social justice. The struggle for fairness, equality and love was never a part of my radar. I was young and enjoyed being young, hanging out, listening to music and going to the mall and church because that’s what we children did.
Social issues were for adults; those issues kept my parents and the rest of their team busy. But they took their calling seriously. They nurtured people, exercised their ministry, registered people to vote and actively participated in religious and civilian activities in Black communities. They attended funerals, weddings and community events, making their presence known.
I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where the current population, according to the census, is about 58,686 residents. My parents, family, friends, and enemies alike were all within that small community. I was aware of my family’s commitment to voting registration and watched my Aunt Florence Blackshear, my mother’s sister-in-law, staﬀ the voting polls during every voting cycle at East High School. I remember my mother’s best friend of 40 years, Lelia Pickett Johnson; I knew “Aunt Lilia,” as I called her, had been navigating the systemic racism of her home state of Alabama since 1918. In her day, mortality records were highest among African Americans.
One day I visited Aunt Lilia while she was making a buttermilk pie. I can almost hear the mixer going and the pie shell being patted into place in round tin pans. My Aunt Florence brought Church’s fried chicken over. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was more than just food. It was the catalyst for gathering and organizing. They were working in the spirit of resistance and organizing for their community. I want to look back and wonder, how could I have missed the purpose of social justice? But I had no idea about the importance of voting rights.
Currently, voter suppression is now at the core of those Ohioans creating barriers to voting for Black Americans. Ohio House Bill 294 is dubbed a Trojan Horse by many that threatens to limit access to voting booths, impose voter IDs on those voting, and cancel early voting.
There are laws like this that are popping up in 49 states. Voting rights should always speak to our collective moral values. And taking away voting rights speaks of our lack of values and moral compass. Proverbs 14:34 says that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” And in a speech given on May 15, 1957, Rev. Martin Luther King indicted both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party when he declared that the right to vote is one of moral duty.
Our country’s values are tied together with voting rights as well as the ﬁght to take away those rights. The Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act triggers memories of a time when African
Americans were faced with violence, harassment, intimidation, and death. Many risked it all so that all would have the right to vote.
The 201 election was the ﬁrst documented proof of our democracy’s fragility. The insurrection and rise of Donald Trump show us that conservative ideology’s undercurrent of white supremacy ampliﬁed the dormant fascism within the system. That fascism is created from white fear, anger, theology and in pews of white evangelical churches.
But white supremacy is more insidious than we know. In his article “White Christian America Needs a Moral Awakening” in Atlantic magazine, author Robert Jones wrote, “White Christian churches have not just been complicit in failing to address racism: rather, as the dominant cultural power in the U.S. they have been responsible for constructing and attaining and sustaining a project to protect white supremacy.”
That day at Aunt Lilia’s dining room table ﬁve women got together to prepare a working lunch and dinner. Their goal was to feed a multitude of guests who were members of the Mahoney Valley NAACP. They were supporting social justice during a time when there was no social media or cell phones. They spread the work that was needed in their community via the power of the pulpit, telephone, ﬂyers and word of mouth so that they could do their part in changing the landscape for fairness and equity.
But it was so much more than that. That dining room table also held the knowledge and spirit of the ancestors behind the veil in 2022. They called us to remember who and whose we are. They also call out to our white allies to act: silence and compliance breed complicity. The dishes at Aunt Lilia went beyond chicken, buttermilk pie, and fried greens. They were dishes of justice and lived prophetic action. And above them all was the Apostle Paul’s “great cloud of witnesses” ancestors who suﬀered in the scorching hot ﬁelds of slavery, ancestors who were bent, but not broken, under Jim Crow, ancestors who struggled for air to breathe in the hulls of slave ships that had conditions not even suitable for animals. Their sacriﬁce and survival should encourage us to break the hold of white supremacy every time we cast a vote, register others to vote, and take others to vote, as well as give money to candidates and organizations like the NAACP. Food isn’t just about nourishment; it is a pathway to action, and with the right mindset, it can be the ﬁrst step toward changing the world.
(This Article is dedicated to ﬁve badass women my mother Evangelist Idella Cora Thomas; mother sister-in-law Aunt Florence Blackshear; Lelia Pickett Johnson; Lelia Buttermilk pie baked with love, eggs and a agenda; and Phyllis Liggens.)
In a recent video clip that has gone viral, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart interviewed Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge regarding the state’s ban on all health care for trans minors, and their defense of it in court.
Rutledge attempts to defend her position by claiming that for every expert who supports access to care, “there’s an expert that says we don t need to allow children to be able to take those medications.” She also claimed that “98 percent of the young people who have gender dysphoria… are able to move past that and once they had the help that they need no longer suﬀer from gender dysphoria. 9 percent without medical treatment.”
Stewart challenges her on both these assertions, and calls them out as “an incredibly made up ﬁgure.” However, he (rightly) doesn’t dive down the rabbit whole of who the state’s “expert” witnesses were, or where that 9 percent ﬁgure came from, and why it’s completely non-credible.
First, there’s the “experts”. In the state’s court ﬁlings they cited only four: Dr. Stephen Levine, Dr. Mark Regnerus, Dr. Paul Hruz, and Dr. Patrick Lappert. All of them have clear biases, mostly based on religion.
Dr. Stephen Levine is an octogenarian professor emeritus who has never treated trans children. He makes his money acting as a hired gun for states that don’t want to provide health care to transgender prisoners. Some of the prisoners he denied care to have killed or castrated themselves using improvised implements.
In his credentials he claims to be an expert based on working with the World Professional Association of Transgender Health; the truth is that he left the organization 20 years and 3 standards of care ago, because he didn’t like the fact that trans people demanded a say in their own health care.
Dr. Paul Hruz is a pediatric endocrinologist, but has no experience with trans youth. He is a member of the American College of Pediatrics, a small SPLC designated hate group masquerading as a medical organization.
e is also aﬃliated with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a powerful religious-right legal organization that opposes gay marriage, abortion, and the decriminalization of homosexuality. Hruz is an active member of the Catholic Medical Association and has received certiﬁcation in ealthcare Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, both of which oppose all health care for trans people on religious grounds.
He’s also said in the past that he’s okay with trans kids being hurt by the positions he takes because, “some children are born in this world to suﬀer and die.” Courts have rejected his testimony previously, ﬁnding him, “not ualiﬁed to oﬀer expert opinions” on the matter.
Dr. Mark Regnerus is a sociologist notorious for producing deliberately biased, low-grade research published in low-end
journals meant to sway courts against gay marriage, which was paid for by hate groups. He has zero experience working with trans youth. Courts have found his work “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration”. He too has no experience whatsoever working with trans youth.
Finally, there s plastic surgeon Dr. Patrick Lappert. He is no longer certiﬁed to practice medicine. e does, however, “run a Botox clinic in a strip mall in Alabama next to a Pizza Hut.” He has never worked with trans youth, nor published peer reviewed articles on them. He has, however, endorsed a book on how to perform do-it-yourself home conversion therapy on your trans child until they either pretend not to be trans or kill themselves.
None of these “experts” work with trans youth, and none of them have produced peer reviewed research on trans youth. They’re simply people who happened to have a medical license at some point in their lives and object to trans people in general, usually on religious grounds. They also get paid to do so. Thus, Rutledge saying “experts disagree”, is no diﬀerent than Exxon or Chevron hauling in “scientists” from the American Petroleum Institute (API) to claim that there’s broad disagreement about climate change.
Then there’s Rutledge’s claim that 98 percent of trans youth desist without intervention. This is an oddly specific number that she doesn’t cite, because she d look even worse if she did.
The source of the 9 percent ﬁgure comes from Dr. ichard Green’s 1987 book, “The Sissy Boy Syndrome: The Development of Homosexuality.” It’s every bit as bad as it sounds. Green always had a fascination with curing “Sissy boys” dating back to 1961. He was George Reker’s supervisor in the 1970s when Rekers was torturing gay boys to make them stop acting gay, in the belief that it would make them straight.
Later, it turned out his “success stories” ended up killing themselves, while still being very much gay. For those who don’t remember, Rekers was one of the leading proponents for conversion therapy on gays for decades, right up until he got caught on vacation with a rent boy
Green didn’t make much distinction between gender and sexual orientation at the time. His 1987 book was basically a continuation of Reker’s work, endorsing parents enacting strict gender roles for gender variant children in hopes of making them “normal acting”.
Green’s book was written back in the days of the DSM-III, when the diagnosis of juvenile gender identity disorder was ill-deﬁned. nder older editions of the DSM a diagnosis of gender identity disorder didn’t actually require a cross-sex identity. Playing with dolls, wearing tutus, and playing with girls was suﬃcient. Green and his ilk also mostly ignored girls who exhibited generally masculine traits. Thus, the 98
percent ﬁgure wouldn’t apply to trans men anyway.
The 9 ﬁgure in the book comes from the fact that based on one cohort of the 44 pre-pubertal “Sissy boys” brought in for “treatment”, only one ended up trans. Green’s book looked at 44 feminine acting kids, but didn’t account for whether or not they identiﬁed as trans, and pronounced all but 98% cured.
This is like taking 44 people with a stomachache, giving them some Tums, and declaring that Tums cured cancer 98% of the time because only one of the people died of stomach cancer, when in reality only one of them had it to begin with. Later desistance research by Kenneth Zucker suﬀered from the same methodological ﬂaws.
It is also worth noting that the Arkansas law applies to medical care. Only teens receive blockers or hormones. Green and ucker’s deeply ﬂawed research applies to pre-pubertal youth, not to teens. Even Zucker admitted that if dysphoria lasts past the onset of puberty, it is unlikely to go away.
Thus, Rutledge either had zero idea what the research really said or was lying. Neither of which help her defense of the law. Rutledge also ignored the fact that the Endocrine Society considers blockers “completely reversible”, and that these are only administered after the onset of puberty and in the presence of persistent gender dysphoria, yet banned them anyway.
It seems telling that Rutledge relied on numbers from a largely discredited book on homosexuality written over 35 years ago, rather than far better research published last year. A 2021 study with a large cohort found that when modern diagnoses are applied using the DSM-5, and an insistent, consistent, and persistent cross gender identity is present, only 2.5% of trans youth patients end up identifying as cisgender.
Similarly, the idea that regret is common is not supported. Meta-studies put the long-term regret rates for adults at about 0.2-0.3%. This compares VERY favorably with basically every other sort of medical intervention. Rutledge also conveniently ignored the overwhelming body of legitimate experts and peer reviewed research in support of access to care, resorting to creating a false “both sides” argument.
Thus, both the experts and the 9 ﬁgure are complete nonsense, just as Jon Stewart said (but with more explanation). sing the climate change analogy again, it’s as if Rutledge had used experts from the American Petroleum Institute, who pointed to data from the 70s & 80s to say the science isn’t completely in yet, and that there’s lots of disagreement on whether anthropogenic climate change is even real. But, instead of killing the planet, she’s content to keep her goals more manageable and settle for transgender children.
ERIC TANNEHILL is a twenty-something queer activist and university student.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge & her “experts” ow could I miss the signiﬁcance of my family’s grassroots organizing
Murder she wrote- but “Gay Icon” she boastedBy ROB WATSON
Celebrities with long successful careers often are labeled as icons and legends. Sometimes those terms are bestowed too generously. Unpacking the words, they usually end up meaning that the celebrity was popular, they had an eager fan base, and we can remember the roles they played, the awards they won, and the songs they sang.
This time those words are accurate and really mean something. We have just lost a true legend, a true icon, and possibly the biggest kick-ass diva of all time, Angela Lansbury.
Angela Lansbury brought a unique set of personas to many parts of American culture over her eight-decade long career. If you ask kids, they know her from her standout imprint across the Disney experience from Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, to Eglantine Price in Bed nobs and Broomsticks to her small role in Mary Poppins eturns. In worldwide Theater, she owned some of the most unforgettable characters ever experienced including Mama ose in Gypsy, Mame and Sweeney Todd’s Mrs. Lovett. For suspense buﬀs, she was as signiﬁcant as Agatha Christie herself, not just for bringing a number of ChrIstie characters to life, but by invading American Television as its ultimate mystery writer, Mrs. essica Fletcher, of Murder, She rote.
Or, as uPaul calls her, “Murder She Sat Down and She rote.”
Therein lies a clue to one of the most signiﬁcant iconic sides to this multi-faceted cultural tsunami: the gay one.
“I am very proud of the fact that I am a gay icon,” she boasted at age in an interview while staring in Blythe Spirit in London.
It was the only type of “icon” Lansbury ever bragged about publicly. She credited her notoriety with the gay community to her role as Mame. “Everything about Mame coincided with every young man’s idea of beauty and glory and it was lovely,” she said.
Her beauty and style were only parts of the glamorous magic she conjured, however. She lay the blueprint for the classic drag queen. She weaved her unique
look into fabulosity and dared you to call her anything else but beautiful. She grabbed life by the balls and took you along for a ride whether you had your seat belts fastened or not. She made you love her whether she was a controlling stage mother, a murder obsessed writer, a human-meat baking cannibal or a soothing teapot.
She also had the other requisite for the ultimate drag queen: she created the shade-throwing mistress like none other. “Gaslighting” has become a popular diagnosis of the current political landscape. A major P strategy is to attempt to re-write reality with what “gaslighter” mouthpieces themselves call “alternate facts.” This methodology to make sane people feel crazy and question their perceptions was typiﬁed in the 19 movie “Gaslight” in which Charles Boyer enacted psychological torture on innocent Ingrid Bergman.
Who was the shady smart ass bitch maid helping along? It was Nancy, or Angela Lansbury in her ﬁrst role. She was an icon right out of the gate.
er ultimate shady bitch, however, was likely a role she played in 19 2 as The Manchurian Candidate’s Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin, who demonstrated how politics could bring motherhood to a whole new level of evil.
Her characters were abashedly unafraid. They confronted everything from oppression, to poverty, to put-downs, to just sheer bad luck. She went elbow to elbow with murderers and people who would literally eat you alive. Much of the time, she played the deductress ﬁguring out who had done the killing.
It the end, however, we are left with one ultimate truth, one for which, we are all the better for.
She was the one who slayed.
Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO. He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela Lansbury died Tuesday in LA at age 9 . She enjoyed an eclectic, award-winning movie and stage career that spanned over 75 years
Harry Styles walks queer tightrope in gloomy ‘My Policeman’
Elegant ﬁlm undermined by emotionally detached visual tropesBy JOHN PAUL KING
Harry Styles seems to be everywhere these days.
The former One Direction member turned solo artist not only dropped a critically-acclaimed, chart-topping album earlier this year, he turned up last month on movie screens as the leading man in “Don’t Worry Darling” – not to mention becoming a major focus of celebrity gossip on our social media feeds over the various contro versies concerning the latter’s troubled produc tion and press tour.
Now, just a few weeks later, Styles is back on the big screen again, this time in the title role of “My Policeman,” the Amazon-produced adapta tion of Bethan oberts’ 2012 novel about an in tertwined relationship between a policeman, a schoolteacher, and a museum curator and the reckoning it exacts from their lives three decades later.
It’s a less high-proﬁle project than his last one (though perhaps just as controversial in some circles) but nevertheless likely to garner at least an equal amount of attention thanks to his superstar presence – especially since it gives his fans a fresh opportunity to speculate about his sexual orientation by placing him in the center of a very queer romantic triangle.
Directed by Michael Grandage from a screenplay by on Nyswaner, the ﬁlm’s non-linear exploration of that triangle begins when aging couple Marion and Tom (Gina McKee and Linus Roach) take their former friend Patrick (Rupert Everett) into their home for care after he suﬀers a debilitating stroke.
His arrival dredges up decades-old memories of the trio’s shared past – when a young, closeted, and conﬂicted Tom (Styles) courted and married a young and na ve Marion (Emma Corrin) while carrying on a secret aﬀair with a young and deeply-smitten Patrick (David Daw son) in the repressively homophobic London of the 1950s – and revives all the repressed emotions that go along with them.
As the premise for a tale of star-crossed love, it’s not exactly new territory. In an era when the need for more positive and empowering LGBTQ+ narratives grows more pressing every time Marjorie Taylor-Greene opens her mouth to belittle Pete Buttigieg and his family, tales of old school repression and the devil’s bargain of living safely in the closet feel more and more tired something which undoubtedly factored into the mixed response the ﬁlm elic ited from audiences and critics after its debut after the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago.
The movie’s approach to the material doesn’t help. Under the guidance of Grandage, a veteran of the UK theatre scene whose emphasis on the tragic beauty of it all sets a dreary mood from which the story can never uite break free, the ﬁlm leans heavily into an artsy approach, full of stylistically elegant but emotionally detached visual tropes and heavy-hand ed symbolism — the primal turbulence of a J.M.W. Turner painting as a metaphor for the tempestuous impulses of burgeoning queer sexuality being only one of the most obvious examples — that tends to distance us from the human authenticity of the situation rather than illuminate it for us.
Likewise, the screenplay’s puzzle-box approach, in which the details of what’s REALLY go ing on between these protagonists become a mystery to be solved, puts more focus on the details of their triangle than on its consequences. As anyone who’s ever been forced to live a secret double life for the sake of social acceptance can surely attest, that’s a clear-cut case of missing the forest for the trees.
Still, “My Policeman” manages, despite its presentation and pretensions, to highlight a subtle truth that is often overlooked in stories about the closet; it has to do with
the trickle-down eﬀect of societal homophobia, the long-term impact of stigma and secrecy not only on queer people but on those with whom their lives become entangled, and while the mov ie may not match the zeitgeist of the moment, it tells a necessary story.
As much as we may wish the suppression of queerness to be a thing of the past, it remains a tragic reality for many in a world where the deni al of LGBTQ+ equality and acceptance continues to wield its insidious inﬂuence.
The presence of multiple openly queer actors among the cast plays an important role in driving home this point.
Dawson, a lesser-known actor outside of the UK, delivers a heart-rending performance as the younger Patrick, single-handedly preventing the movie from becoming lip-service to queer representation, and veteran Everett, a queer el der already ensconced as an icon for taking on groundbreaking LGBTQ roles, oﬀers up some of the movie’s most memorable and aﬀecting moments as the elder version of the same character; Corrin, an openly queer and non-binary performer lauded for their portrayal of Princess Diana in “The Crown,” infuses their role as the straight female caught in the middle of an inevitably doomed arrangement with the nuance gained from lived experience to get to the true depths of their character’s journey.
That, inevitably, brings us back to Harry Styles. It’s impossible to separate his role here — as a closeted gay man prevented by cultural expectation from embracing his truth and the fulﬁllment of living it without reservation from his history of seemingly calculated vague ness about his own sexual identity.
It’s an issue which becomes especially pertinent in light of the pop icon’s participation in several explicit (if not quite graphic) sex scenes, which will surely bring renewed accusations of “queer-baiting” from those who believe unequivocal representation trumps his insistence on living a life unencumbered by labels.
Perhaps inﬂuenced by this viewpoint, many critics have harshly branded his performance as mannered and opaque, an enigmatic pose that undercuts both his character’s authentic ity and the movie’s assertion of the toxic eﬀects of self-obfuscation.
e respectfully disagree.
As a portrait of someone who perceives himself (not inaccurately) to be trapped on a high wire, Styles’ close-to-the-chest portrayal is dead-on. In a movie wrapped in old-school restraint, the ambiguity of his emotional truth is more honest than any self-revelatory bar ing-of-soul could ever be in capturing the in-the-moment experience of trying to build a life between the acceptable and the forbidden; the breakthrough moments are left to the capa ble oach, when the older version of Tom is ﬁnally forced to come to terms with the choices he has made.
This may leave us longing for a more deﬁnitively ueer Tom in those scenes of his younger life, but it’s an artistic choice that’s arguably truer to the style — and the message — of “My Policeman” than any sentimental pandering to romantic fantasy could ever be. Beyond all that, Styles’ undeniable charisma cements the notion that his character would be such an ir resistible force in the lives of his two paramours. Without it, the movie simply wouldn’t work.
In the long run, none of that may matter when it comes to uestions of whether arry Styles’ evasiveness about his sexual identity is a genuine expression of self or an eﬀort to play to both sides of the fence. It might not even be enough to rescue the ﬁlm from its own self-imposed heaviness – but it might be just enough to make ‘My Policeman’ worth your attention.DAVID DAWSON and HARRY STYLES in ‘My Policeman.’
An ‘Inheritance’ e e erveBy JOHN PAUL KING
Once in a while, a reviewer can ﬁnd themselves stymied by the sheer force of the impact they felt from the thing they are meant to impartially review.
For one reviewer, at least, “The Inheritance” is just such a thing.
That’s why, in tackling the challenge of communicating my response to this epic play, I have set aside my usual policy of “keeping myself out of the e uation” and instead decided to adopt a ﬁrst-person, subjective voice for it would be impossible for me to pretend that there wasn’t something personal about my relationship with it. I would argue, in fact, that such a pretense would be impossible for any gay man, because “The Inheritance” is about each and every one of us.
ritten by Matthew López and divided into two full-length parts, it’s loosely adapted from or rather, inspired by gay author E.M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel “ oward’s End.” Instead of dealing with the mores and customs of Edwardian English society, it’s a contemporary story set in New ork, focused on a group of gay men living in the years after AIDS decimated an entire generation of their friends and elders.
That’s all I knew when I walked in the door of the theatre, apart from its production his tory an acclaimed and award-winning 201 London premiere directed by Stephen Daldry, followed by a multi-Tony-winning transfer to Broadway the subse uent year and its rep utation for inducing a powerful cathartic response from LGBTQ+ audiences. That’s all you really need to know, too.
In the est Coast premiere production staged by director Mike Donahue at the Geﬀen Playhouse, I worried that the New ork setting might feel a little out-of-step with the Los An geles ueer community, but it didn’t take long for me to attune myself to the vast landscape of common ground lying just beneath the surface details.
As I watched actors assuming their positions on the stage before showtime, carrying lap tops and books and getting comfortable in a way that evoked a casual afternoon at Star bucks more than an austere theatrical presentation, I was struck by a feeling of being among them, rather than apart.
hen someone on the stage ﬁnally spoke, that feeling did not disappear it lingered and remained a part of my perspective even across the lengthy dinner break between the show’s three-hour-plus parts, and even when the players assumed a more traditionally theatrical approach in telling the massive story.
That story, like all great stories, is made up of many smaller stories, each layered and inter secting among the others. Its major ﬁgures long-term couple Eric and Toby (Adam antor and uan Castano), child-of-privilege Adam and down-on-his-luck hustler Leo (both Bradley ames Tejada), and older couple alter and enry (Bill Brochtrup and Tuc atkins) move between past and present, moment and memory, even actor and character, surrounded by an ensemble of others who step in and out of roles as re uired.
Together, at the prompting and with the guidance of E.M. Forster himself (Brochtrup, again), they enact a sweeping tale that encompasses a hundred years of history and more, in which each of their individual fates is decided by a chain of events and choices that extends far beyond themselves.
To say more about the narrative would be both diﬃcult and unfair. My readers should be aﬀorded the opportunity, just as I was, to let it all unfold as it happens.
hen they do, they might ﬁnd themselves caught up, perhaps even despite themselves. I confess, when I took my seat before the performance, I was carrying a bit of healthy skepti cism. Surely, I thought, the play could not live up to all the hyperbolic buzz which surrounded it after all, hadn’t reviews for the Broadway production been mixed adn’t some critics demerited the piece for being shallow, or for diverging into lengthy debates about ueer culture and political ideology
My skepticism lasted only until the ﬁrst moment I felt tears unexpectedly welling up be
hind my eyes. It came remarkably soon, over a simple throwaway line that conjured such a primal response that I reacted to it before my critical brain had a chance to understand why. This was a phenomenon that repeated itself countless times throughout the play more than that, there were many moments, cumulatively built, that engaged my intellect yet still overwhelmed me with emotional response. It’s rare for me, as a longtime veteran of watch ing theatre, to be fully moved in this way and the fact that it happened not once, but nu merous times throughout “The Inheritance,” was an unexpected gift I was grateful to receive. In expressing that gratitude, I must single out some among the individuals responsible, but it should be acknowledged that, for me, there was not a single weak link in the chain. Brochtrup, distinctly diﬀerentiating his two important roles with the skill of a seasoned thespian, also captures the things which connect them with shimmering clarity antor’s Eric is as endearingly real as the best gay friend you’ve ever known Castano’s Toby is a dynamo, electrifying to watch and dominating the stage appropriately so during every scene he’s in Tejada (who joined the production as a last-minute replacement after an injury re uired a previously cast actor to depart the role) is heartbreakingly vulnerable in each of his dual roles, and compelling in his ostensible position as the central voice of the narrative atkins’ enry, who must surmount the challenge of being likable in a role which positions him as an antagonist, succeeds with his understated, close-to-the-chest performance in doing exactly that and lastly, Indigenous actress Tantoo Cardinal is a blessing in a late-appearing role that gives her a chance to distill the myriad emotions we’ve felt so far into a single, profoundly resonant monologue delivered without a trace of manipulative sentimentality.
I could talk about more. I could talk about amie Todd’s scenic design or osh Epstein’s lighting or Sara yung Clement’s costumes, but my praise for each of these elements can be conveyed appropriately by saying they are executed with elegant and eﬀective simplicity I could list all the awards the piece has won in its previous productions, but you can easily look that up yourself. I could discuss themes and literary references, or the metaphoric applica tion of the title to the play itself, but that would be pedantic.
hat I will say instead is that while watching “The Inheritance” I felt like I was watching my own life being enacted on the stage. I recognized myself and every gay person I have ever known in every character, and my own history and experience reﬂected in thousands of ways, both large and small, throughout.
This was more than a play, it was a tribal ritual, an invocation of community connection and shared experience that stretches back across millennia and forward into an uncharted and uncertain future. In seeing it, I felt seen an expression never fully comprehended until lived ﬁrsthand.
It made me proud of my ueer heritage it made me feel lucky and honored to be a gay man.
ho can ask for a better inheritance than that(L-R) ADAM KANTOR, MIGUEL PINZON, and TUC WATKINS in The Inherit nce’ t Geﬀen hou e hoto eﬀ Lorch
I felt like I was watching my own life being enacted on the stage