ABOUT THE COVER
On Whose Shoulders We Surely Stand: For this Community Issue of Vanguard and in celebration of the opening of Center South, we're highlighting some of the Black and Latinx activists and pioneers in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Read more about them at lalgbtcenter.org/cover
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." -Isaac Newton
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
Lef t to Right from Top: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Pedro Zamora Andy Vélez Craig Harris Richard L. Zaldivar Eliana & Rosa Martínez Magic Johnson Ray Navarro
8. Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera 9. Ronnie Burk 10. Phill Wilson 11. Pernessa Seele 12. Jewel Thais-Williams 13. Salt-N-Pepa
14. Ken Williams 15. Dr. Wilbert Jordan 16. Dennis deLeon 17. Reggie Williams 18. Moises Agosto 19. Oscar De La O 20. William Brandon Lacy Campos
21. Angie Xtravaganza 22. Hydeia Broadbent 23. Gil Cuadros 24. Los Angeles LGBT Center South 25. Helene D. Gayle 26. Twiggy Pucci Garçon 27. Marlon Riggs
28. Archbishop Carl Bean 29. Madrid St. Angelo 30. Ilka Tanya Payán 31. Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton 32. Katrina Haslip
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center presents
Jonathan Blake Flemings
Tickwanya Amanda Leigh Will Jones Jerry Lindsey
A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER
COMMUNITY ISSUE • SPRING 2020
Message from the Center’s Chief of Staff
Center South Opens
What’s Cooking from Culinary Arts Verse by Verse: LGBT Seniors Poetry Workshop
Take Five with Center Volunteers & Staff
Thank You to Our Supporters!
Meet Supporter Sue Burnside
Meet New Board Member James Alva
Group Meetings Schedule
Why I Give: Nico Santos
Photographers Iwan Baan
Irvin Rivera at Exclusive Artists
Photography By Lorenzo
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
Subscriptions Vanguard is published quarterly by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a nonprofit corporation. 1118 N. McCadden Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90038 Voice 323-993-7400 • TDD 323-993-7698 © Copyright 2020 Los Angeles LGBT Center • All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. • Publication of the name, quotation, or photograph of a person in articles or advertising is not an indication of the sexual orientation or the HIV status of such person. Moving, getting duplicate mailings, or wish to be removed from the mailing list? Email email@example.com
Hundreds helped open Center South, a 5,500-square-foot community space located near Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. Programs and services at the new facility focus on the health and wellness of LGBT people of color, including HIV testing; access to PrEP and PEP; housing case management; mental health services; and community spaces.
FROM THE CHIEF OF STAFF
• Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
LIVING WITH PRIDE, HOPE, AND INSPIRATION
t’s Monday. The day before Super Tuesday. The f irst case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been diagnosed in New York City. The stock market took its largest weekly loss since the crash of 2008. And the tweets keep coming. There is lots going on. Both the virus and the presidential primary have political implications and there has been a lot of finger-pointing and harsh rhetoric all around. Clearly, a lot is at stake, but for most observers— many of whom are just trying to make it through the day, pay their bills, and stay healthy—the cacophony is depressing and overwhelming. Is there anything going on that is remotely uplifting, anything that gives us cause for hope? Yes, there is. Every day at the Center I believe our work represents our nation’s highest aspirations. We represent the opposite of what we hear emanating from the White House and Congress on a daily, often
hourly, basis. We provide healthcare and it doesn’t matter where you come from or if you have the resources to pay for it. If you need to see a doctor or other health professional, you can. We provide housing for young people without homes. Moreover, we provide meals, showers and laundry facilities, and education and employment opportunities. We value these young people and believe that they are entitled to a future that is bright and are determined to help them find a path towards that. We represent those LGBTQ people who are seeking asylum, whose lives have been a great danger in their home countries as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And, we win these cases 100% of the time. We are not building walls or creating bans to keep desperate people out, we are welcoming them to our community and helping them to survive and then thrive.
Marki J. Knox, M.D.
Carlos Medina David J. Bailey Co-Chair
Loren S. Ostrow
Jayzen Patria Sarah Dusseault Frank Pond Carolyn A. Dye Don Thomas Susan Feniger Amy Gordon Yanow
Alfred Fraijo, Jr.
Strategic Partnership Manager
Jaguar Busuego Production Designer
Megan Phelps Managing Editor
Nolan Ryan Cadena Operations Manager
Ari DeSano Platform and Systems Manager
George Skinner Production Designer
Takashi Sato Production Designer
Media and Public Relations Director
Creative Services Manager
Tiffany Ward Kelly Freter Director
Greg Hernandez Writer/Editor
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And there’s more. creativity, and the joy that is central to In the past few years, we have opened who we are. We are—and always have Mi Centro in Boyle Heights, the Trans been—contributors to good in our sociWellness Center in Koreatown, and ety. We are to be celebrated and admired. Center South in Leimert Park in order That is what our Cultural Arts and Eduto expand our services in a culturally cation program does. competent manner to different parts of And, finally, we are activists and Los Angeles County. We recognize that leaders, standing up and advocating for LGBTQ people live everywhere and in social and economic justice. We educate cultures rich with history and experienc- and mobilize voters to exercise their es, but still need and deserve the services civic right for the sake of all of us. We we have to offer. We value and honor speak clearly, and sometimes loudly, in the diversity of our the name of justice, community. fairness, and equality For the aging popwhenever and wher ulation, we offer a ever we are needed. sense of community We are unwilling to and resources in addicompromise the health tion to the nutritious, and well-being of any free meals we provide in our community. every day. We orgaThese are just a few nize more than 100 of the things we do. activities every month Together, they create a that provide recreation, moral framework and a learning, and a healthy vision of what a society alternative to isolation built on fairness and and poor health. And human decency could we soon will be openand should be. Day in, ing the Ariadne Getty day out, the work of Foundation Senior the Center provides Housing to complea living example and ment our affordable a set of values that housing for seniors at create a sense of pride, Triangle Square. Our hope, and inspiration. community pioneers who have sacrificed We are what we have been yearning for. so much deserve an affordable and beauti- We are the example of what the world ful place to live in a community that will can become. We are the America that is embrace them as the full and complete already great. human beings that they are. We provide art and culture in our two theatres and art gallery. We reflect back the truths of our lives: our history, our
OUT COMING HOME Center South opens in South Los Angeles with programs and services focused on the health and well-being of young black and Latino gay and bisexual men and trans women of color. The Center’s newest location gives LGBT activists and residents alike a chance to build and celebrate community a little closer to home.
• Community members and local media gathered for stage presentations during Center South grand opening.
ongtime South Los Angeles residents might remember the brick building on the northeast corner of W. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 2nd Avenue as the former home of Marla’s Memory Lane, a jazz supper club owned by actress Marla Gibbs, cast member of The Jeffersons and 227.
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
Now, the 5,500-square-foot structure is bringing new energy—and creating new memories—for the Leimert Park neighborhood as Center South, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s f irst-ever expansion into South Los Angeles.
“Center South is a jewel for this neighborhood and located in such a historical building,” said Clarence R. Williams, who lives nearby and was part of the Community Advisory Board formed during the planning of Center South. “It represents the presence of acceptance and engagement for the LGBT community. It is a much-needed seed for South Los Angeles.” More than 300 guests turned out for Center South’s grand opening in January. “Today is the realization of a dream of many years, but today is just the beginning,” Center CEO Lorri L. Jean said
in her remarks. “By working together with our partner organizations and local community leaders, I have no doubt that, together, we’ll ensure that Center South becomes a vibrant, vital, and beloved part of our South Los Angeles community.” In addition to spirited speeches made by Center, city, and county leaders, the joyous celebration included a ribbon cutting, music, food from Chef Marilyn's, and tours of the renovated property.
had long been involved in the planning of Center South’s services. He could barely contain his emotions as festivities for the opening were underway.
“I’m from L.A., and I’ve been waiting my whole life to see something like this,” he said. “There are out, proud queer people in these communities who have amazing lives, and now they have something here that they can adopt and make their own—a safe space for queer people of color.”
“I’m so happy to Los Angeles City see the building and Councilman Marthe space repurposed,” queece Harris-Dawsaid Jeanette Bronson, son, one of the feaa local resident who tured speakers at the volunteered to give grand opening celetours. “It makes you bration, spoke to the feel not only reprecrowd about Center sented, but also cared for by the general community. Before South’s serendipitous existence. Center South existed, people were trav“[This was a] place where [Gibbs] eling to Hollywood or West Hollywood to receive services—or not going at all.” trained African American actors, writers, and directors to go on,” he observed. Paul Chavez, the Center’s community “It is the spirit of activism that is in the engagement manager for Health Services, very bones and the cement and all the
drop-in space for community meetings and events. All of the programs and services are provided for free or at low cost to everyone, with a focus on serving the needs of young gay and bi men of color ages 12 to 29 and trans women of color. The David Bohnett Foundation donated a printer and eight new Lenovo desktops loaded with Off ice 2016 and Windows 10 software to create a CyberCenter inside Center South. An art exhibition space is also in the works.
• L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson welcomed Center South to District 8.
Oasis Clinic, was recognized during the opening celebration for his four decades of work on the frontlines of HIV and AIDS in South L.A. “I saw my first patient in 1979,” he said from the stage. “I didn’t know what he had. I think the hardest thing was seeing a young man in the 80s and 90s because, in my mind, I would wonder what is he going to look like a year from now and will he still be alive two years from now?’ So we have come a long way.”
Local young gay and bisexual Black and Latino men are encouraged to join any of the Center’s Community Health Programs social networking groups happening at Center South, including: Lit Life (which teaches sexual health and wellness); Positive Images (for those living with HIV); U/O Project (for those ages 16–29); and Continuum Project (which provides peer support to those between the ages of 18 and 65 who are at-risk for HIV). “Youth now have a place to convene and interact with people who look, speak, and feel like them and who have the same desires or fears, such as family abandonment or rejection,” said Flores.
Los Angeles County and joined forces with local organizations, including Bienestar Human Services, Black AIDS Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and The Wall Las Memorias Project, all of whom will have a part-time presence at Center South.
• Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan, founder of the Oasis Clinic, was recognized at the opening for his four decades of work on the frontlines of HIV and AIDS.
“The County agreed to fund a new location in South L.A. where we could focus on HIV prevention, testing, and treatment among gay and bisexual men Center South is the latest step in the of color,” Jean explained at the opening. Center’s long-term strategic plan to best “But we knew that we wanted—and we meet the needs of the LGBT community needed—to do much more than that. We Yet, Center South opens its doors at a moving forward. The plan was approved wanted this to be a mini service center, a gathering place for all critical juncture when gay and bisexual by the Center’s Board LGBT people in the Black and Latino men are disproportion- of Directors in 2008 area. So, we’ve been ately testing positive for HIV. Alarmingly, after a community raising money to add 1 in 4 gay and bisexual Latino men—and survey of thousands of to what the County is 1 in 2 gay and bi Black men—will test LGBT people indicat- giving us so we could positive sometime in their lives if noth- ed the need for Center get a bigger space and services to expand being is done to curb HIV transmissions. create this wonderful yond Hollywood. “A lot of these men who unknowingly location.” Prior to Center are living with HIV may never have been Jean credited Main a setting where vital information is South, the Center ! rio J. Pérez, director provided to them—including about the opened Mi Centro in "#$ of the Los Angeles importance of getting tested regularly, Boyle Heights more County Department especially if they are sexually active,” than four years ago in % of Public Health – explained David Flores, senior program partnership with the Division of HIV and Latino Equality Almanager at Center South. liance. In 2018, the Center opened the STD Programs, as a longtime ally who In addition to HIV and STI testings, Trans Wellness Center in Koreatown— worked hard to steer money and resourcservices at Center South include PrEP the f irst of its kind in the nation—with es to the Center South project. (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP a handful of community partners. “I grew up a mile and a half from here, so (post-exposure prophylaxis) services; In opening Center South—the tenth this is a homecoming for me in many ways,” linkage and retention to HIV care; housing and employment navigation; mental facility operated by the Center—the or- Pérez said at the opening. “This is a culmihealth services; legal services; and a ganization received grant support from nation of visioning, planning, negotiating,
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
wood and all the materials—activism and resistance is in the very essence of where you are today.” Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan, founder of the
• Mario J. Pérez, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health—Division of HIV and STD Programs also spoke at the opening.
physical reshaping, and rebuilding.” Community Health Program Supervisor Percival Pandy, who works at Center South with Flores, grew up near Leimert Park and knows well the need for a safe space such as this one. “I had gay friends, I had transgender friends, all LGBT friends, and no one had ever created the narrative of needing a safe space. We were always watching each other’s back. We’d maneuver and go to places—such as the store or the movie theater—where we didn’t have too many problems. We knew when to avoid certain areas,” recalled Pandy. “Center South is a real communal space where community f inds itself and f inds ways to expand.” Pandy can’t help but wonder how his life would have been different had Center South been around when he was a youth.
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
“I never had any mentors so a place like this would have helped me with my self-esteem issues and made me feel like my neighborhood was more than a place that I had to f lee,” he lamented. “I grew up having to f ight for my aff irmation, and Center South is a place that is aff irming.”
“Even before our grand opening, people were curious about what was happening in their neighborhood. Those who identify as LGBT have made comments like ‘where have you been?’ and ‘we’re so glad you’re here’ and ‘we’re going to be stopping by,’” said Flores. “Others have told us that someone in their family is LGBT, and they def initely want them to check out Center South.”
• Top: Staff at Center South; Middle: Ribbon cutting during grand opening; Bottom: Inside Center South. Opposite page: Community members visit the resources at Center South.
A STORY OF HOPE
“I grew up just three miles away from here with all the things against me in the world, including being African-American, Mexican, and queer.” As a teen, Wooten would use public transportation to traverse to Hollywood for non-judgmental and affordable health treatment at the Center. The draining journey to and from the Center’s McDonald/Wright Building would sometimes take up to three hours each way.
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“I had to take a bus to the Green Line, transfer to the Blue Line, transfer again to the Red Line, and exit at the Hollywood and Highland stop. I did it because it was important, but you feel disassociated from the community because you’re going to a different community,” said Wooten, now 30. “I remember being on the train. I remember being nervous. I remember having symptoms. I remember all of those things. I hated it. Hours on trains and buses and I’m thinking, ‘why isn’t there a place to go in my neighborhood?’” In 2013 Wooten found himself at the Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic after testing positive for HIV. It
was a turning point in his life, and he began to fully understand the concept of community. “The thing I’ll always remember is the team of doctors, volunteers, support, resources, medical services, nutritionists, mental health services,” he shared. “I had all those resources at my f ingertips— from complete strangers.” He decided to give back and became a Center volunteer. For more than f ive years, he led a series of coming out discussion groups. In April Wooten will move to Namibia where he will be stationed as a Peace Corps HIV counselor. “I thought the virus would make me the weakest—or would kill me—but actually it’s making me become the best version of myself,” he said. “Social and sexual acceptance are so important as you navigate through the medical part of living with HIV. I’m now able to live with it proud and out loud.” Wooten looks forward for others to experience compassionate care that’s closer to home at Center South. “Accessibility makes life much less intimidating because you see people who look, talk, and think like you—all of us from the same community,” he said. “A center here means accessibility. It means representation. It means community.”
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
At Center South’s grand opening celebration, Ryan Wooten walked onto a makeshift stage, looked out at the more than 300 guests, and bravely began to share his story.
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Preparing the classic French dish happens during day 11 of the program, which brings together youth ages 18-24 and seniors ages 50 and over for a 12-week, 300-hour course. The recipe comes at a time in the program when cooking methods are more complex, and students need to incorporate time management and multitasking into their work. Bon appétit!
lbs. flat iron or beef shoulder, trimmed and cubed vegetable oil salt and pepper large carrot, mirepoix (1 inch pieces) large onion, mirepoix (1 inch pieces) Tbsp. flour Tbsp. tomato paste cups red wine cups brown stock head garlic, split bay leaf bouquet garni (peppercorns, parsley stems, thyme) cold butter to finish the sauce For the Garniture: Tsp. butter ea. pearl onions, Glacér a’Brun pinch sugar oz. bacon, lardons ea. button mushrooms, quartered salt and pepper parsley, finely chopped
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Scenes from My Life is Poetry reading at the Center.
Verse by Verse LGBT Seniors Share Their Rich Histories Through the Powerful Intimacy of Poetry
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
ixteen LGBT seniors gathered at reading. “But after I read it, I thought, from the City of Los Angeles Departthe Los Angeles LGBT Center for a ‘Thank goodness I read that.’ This is my ment of Cultural Affairs. poetry reading all their own. Their sexuality. It’s sexy. I’m 85 now, and at 83, deeply personal writings were the results I had an amazing sexual relationship and “The reading is the culmination of of the eight-week My Life is Poetry work- then wrote about it. I experienced such weeks of poetry writing in the workshop. shop offered through the Center’s Senior swooning.” What you hear is people’s personalities, Services department. interests, passions, and life experiences,” The group’s autobiographical poetry he explained. “I created the workshop Cassandra Christenson has been part ran the gamut, with topics including out of concern about queer seniors’ visiof the workshop for 15 years, but the nostalgic hook-ups, childhood jobs, a bility, representation, connection to their prospect of reading her poem Seasons wicked stepmother, addiction to choco- community, and their need for an artistic of Love in front of more than 40 people late, the presidential impeachment, Kar- outlet. With the idolization of youth, our inside the Center’s Harry & Jeanette en Carpenter, and Christmas dinner at culture’s value in the wisdom and stories Weinberg Senior Center still made her grandma’s house. that come with age has diminished.” nervous. The poems are developed in what Steven Reigns, the poet laureate of “Right at the last minute I did not West Hollywood from 2014 to 2016, has Reigns describes as a supportive and want to read that poem. I tried to get been teaching the workshop for 15 years safe environment, both creatively and another poem off the f lash drive, but I at the Center. The f irst of its kind in the emotionally. Students are taught how to wasn’t able to,” she confessed after the country, the class is supported by a grant excavate past experiences and turn them
STRAIGHT PEOPLE CAN KISS MY GAY ASS by David Parke Epstein I don’t know why I still remember him but I do New York City Summer of ‘77 I’m 27 it’s 3 A.M. downtown at the docks I meet him inside a bar for forbidden men only smells like poppers and beer tribal dance ﬂoor with a secret all-gay orgy room downstairs in the dark
into poetry. By the end of the workshop, students emerge with at least two to three poems that they can share publicly at the reading.
Yes, I remember the ﬁrst dance with him I still remember the song Grace Jones “I Need a Man” she screams so do we a hundred blood brothers on the dance ﬂoor hungry for love and dick
I still remember him not his name I remember he’s a lapsed Catholic an Irishman he pulls me close hip to hip straight in the eye says to me, “If my father up in heaven ever ﬁnds out I’m here, he’ll climb down and stone me to death personally.” Then he laughs and kisses me Nobody knew a Plague was coming Nobody knew we’d all be dead
“This is where I feel supported, and I feel connected,” she said. “I know these are the LGBTQ seniors who are my tribe. I love being here.” While she loves the writing part, the public reading was another matter. “It’s not natural at all for me to do it,”
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Erin O’Keeffe said participating in the workshop during the past two years has done more than help her discover that she loves writing.
SO THAT I MAY THINK ABOUT YOU by Noé Garcia I’m turning off the light
To this lone pretender,
So thoughts can take a ﬂight
In complete surrender,
With my imagination
Hugs that are oh so tender,
To deep, deep contemplation.
With all your warmth and splendor,
So I may think about you.
You give your heart and soul to me
There’s nothing there I can’t do.
In my romantic fantasy.
Tired of being hated,
Lustful oral fervor,
There I’m intoxicated.
You’re the manly server.
In quiet seclusion,
With erotic effervescence
It’s a sweet allusion
And ﬁery luminescence --
Which starts and ends in sorted ways Thoughts to make lecherous men blush -And which makes for happier days.
You serve a slow, orgasmic rush.
It’s just like prostitution
To love someone tonight,
Though without persecution --
Gently with all my might,
Kissing you countlessly
Like chivalry to a knight,
And oh, so carelessly.
So that I don’t feel blue,
It’s the ﬁnest substitution
I’m blowing out the candlelight
When living in destitution.
So that I may think about you.
I HAD IT ALL - MORE THAN ONCE
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
by Bonnilee Kaufman
Thanksgivings seemed easier when we were vegetarian & girlfriend cooked up creamy mac & cheese she raved over my version of collard greens somehow everything I touched turned Jewish. That was a long time ago. Now I scramble for roasted tradition for oven comfort but can’t ﬁnd my way back. I imagine monastic life living behind high arching walls no regrets not even memory stands tall, sturdy cottonwood trees understand the value of shedding. Cotton wisps everywhere penetrate the ground at my feet.
O’Keeffe shared. “I have a lot of anxiety about speaking in front of people so I just psych myself up. I read my poem in the mirror a lot, read it to my cat.” Nick Paul participated in the workshop for the f ifth time and described it as a great form of self-expression. “I miss it when I can’t write and share my poetry with everyone,” he said. “I go to other workshops around town, but Steven Reigns is the best. The man is brilliant, and he brings out the best in us. I really appreciate it. I went through a cancer scare a couple of years ago, and Steven was so supportive and kept saying, ‘Whatever you do, come back.’ It’s very inspiring, and I’ve made a lot of good friends here too.”
To read more poems from the My Life is Poetry workshop, visit lalgbtcenter.org/poetry
The 2020 Census is here! Although the goal of the Census is to count everyone living in the U.S., certain populations are inevitably undercounted, including LGBTQ people. We need to be counted as part of the 2020 Census so our communities can:
D Get access to federal funds for programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and public housing
DHave representation in our state, local, and federal government
DEnforce our civil rights
The Census counts. So do you. Self-respond online, by mail, or by phone before April 30!
Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org/census
The Los Angeles LGBT Center is the largest provider of programs and services to LGBT people in the world. With 10 locations across Los Angeles, the Center is supported by nearly 800 staff members and thousands of volunteers. The Center’s compassionate, talented, inspiring, and fun-loving staff and volunteers are united in our mission to build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.
And we’re missing just one thing: You. Learn more about the opportunities waiting for you at lalgbtcenter.org/careers & lalgbtcenter.org/volunteer
YOU BELONG HERE!
GET TO KNOW
CENTER VOLUNTEERS & STAFF MEMBERS
I’m a volunteer immigration attorney helping LGBT people navigate the process of applying for asylum. I have helped more than 50 people get asylum approvals, and many of them were through pro bono work at the Center. More than half of these clients have been from Mexico—many of them transgender men and women. Others have been from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, Latvia, Mongolia, China, and Nepal. I work with a vulnerable group of people. Having the opportunity to give back to your community is entirely rewarding.
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Once I started working at the Center, I realized how much I love our mission and everything we do. I’m able to help my community, and my heart becomes filled with love when I see clients get their HIV meds, hormones, housing, therapy, and more. The Center has brought back my confidence as a professional and helped me become a proud trans woman. Working here has shown me that I have a place in this world like everyone else. This awareness brings joy to my soul because it allows me to have a positive impact in the lives of LGBT people who are going through tough times in their lives as I once was.
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
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LOCAL POLITICAL CONSULTANT INVESTS IN THE CENTER’S FUTURE
MAKING IT COUNT
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
• Center supporter and Circle of Life member Sue Burnside
rowing up as part of a Burnside’s consciousness when longtime youth and senior services in a unified setmiddle-class family in Palm Center board member LuAnn Boylan ting across nearly one full city block. “The Culinary Arts program on the Springs, Sue Burnside recalls that started inviting her to the Center’s Annithe only money which her family ever gave versary Gala Vanguard Awards and other Campus is just amazing,” she said. “It helps the Center feed everyone and gives youth events. away was at church. “At first, it didn’t move me at all. But and seniors a chance to train for a culinary “Other philanthropy wasn’t part of my the next year, LuAnn invited me again and career.” reality,” she said. A graduate of the University of SouthBurnside—a national political grass- then again the next year after that,” she roots consultant who has helped LGBT recalled. “I knew what an impact she had ern California, Burnside is president of candidates get elected to statewide and made on me when I found myself bidding Burnside & Associates, which worked on local office, including Los Angeles Coun- $6,000 for a Hollywood Bowl package successful congressional campaigns for Janice Hahn, Joe Baca, ty Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles that even included cusJane Harman, and Lois School Board Member Jackie Goldberg, tom-fitted sunglasses. Capps as well as the and former Los Angeles Board of Educa- I outbid everyone and I really want to make presidential campaigns tion member Jeff Horton—has come a long won!” of John Kerry and Al Burnside added: sure that the Center way in her attitude about giving. Several Gore, among others. years ago she decided to include the Los “Even though I didn’t In addition to being Angeles LGBT Center in her estate plan use the Center’s ser- will always be there a staunch supporter of vices, I realized what for people. through its Circle of Life program. the Center, Burnside is “You can’t take it with you, can you?” a valuable resource it co-chair of the Gay & she quipped. “But, you can leave money was and that it served Lesbian Victory Fund’s behind to make someone else’s life better so many people. The even if you aren’t here. It’s about leaving Center has been so incredible with its HIV Campaign Board and sits on the board of behind resources for people who have had and AIDS services—nearly every single Equality California. “The level of service the Center provides things go wrong or have no family in their gay kid in my high school class died from is really unbelievable from health care, selives other than their chosen family. They an AIDS-related complication.” Burnside has been especially impressed nior programs, and mental health to youth are looking for help, and the Center is there. I really want to make sure that the with the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein services and the culinary training program,” Campus, which opened last year. The she added. “There is not one segment of the Center will always be there for people.” Giving back gradually began entering Campus brings together a multitude of community that is missed.”
hen James Alva was eight years old, he was riding in a car with his mom and grandmother and saw a guy walking down the street wearing a Harvard University sweatshirt. The inquisitive kid asked his mother what Harvard was; she explained it was a college and that he’d need really good grades to go there. Alva, the newest member of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Board of Directors, never forgot that conversation as he worked his way into being accepted into both Harvard and Stanford universities. He chose Stanford, where he twice served as president of his class and became a first-generation college graduate. “I was hellbent on changing the narrative for my family,” recalled Alva, a native of Hacienda Heights. “Education was always big for us as a means to a new opportunity—a transformative opportunity. There’s always been this sort of inner drive in me that’s been there since the time I was very young.” He inherited a hard work ethic from his parents, who ran their own small business for 35 years. After college, Alva worked his way up to becoming the lead of Citi’s corporate philanthropy division for Southern California and Texas. He manages a multi-million dollar
philanthropic budget to help expand finan- inferior,” he added. In addition to being Senior Vice Presicial inclusion in underserved communities. Alva has helped to establish numerous dent & Market Manager at Citi Community small businesses and other organizations in- Development, Alva was recently elected cluding a community bank in Los Angeles, chair of Southern California Grantmakers’ a technology accelerator in San Francisco, Board of Directors. He also serves on the and the Los Angeles County Center for boards of the Foundation for the Los AnFinancial Empowerment. He also worked geles Community Colleges and the California Latino Economic at the non-profit orgaInstitute. nization Small Business Despite the full plate, Development Centers. Alva could not pass up At the beginning of the opportunity to also his career, Alva worried The Center has really be a part of the board that being openly gay stood out to me for of the Center, which might hold him back he became acquainted professionally. “It kind quite a bit of time. with through his work of put me back into There's a really good at Citi. some of those ugly feelsense of community “The big part of my ings of wondering, ‘Am identity which I hadn’t I less than?’” he recalled. and dignity at the integrated with a board His initial self- Center—I'm drawn was the LGBT part,” doubt resulted in an said Alva. “The Center epiphany that has since to that. has really stood out to served him well: “I’m me for quite a bit of a professional who also time. I’m thoroughly happens to be Latino, and also happens to be gay, and I deserve impressed with the leadership and the staff. to be in this room as much as anyone else.” There’s a really good sense of community “That sort of drive has really motivated and dignity at the Center—I’m drawn to me for a long period of time: to demonstrate that.” Alva and his husband Eddie, an educator, to others that they shouldn’t assume that because of who someone is, our abilities are live in Los Angeles with their dog and cat.
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
• Center Board Member James Alva
JAMES ALVA JOINS THE CENTER’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Join one of our Social Network Groups
Bi-osphere • ¡Hablemos! • Transgender Perceptions • HerStories Coming Out Workshops (Men/Women) • MasQ
lalgbtcenter.org/socialgroups | firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVE the DATE Thursday - Saturday
June 18, 19, & 20 • Job Fair • Art Exhibit • Self-Defense Workshop • Name & Gender Change Clinic • Clothing Swap • Happy Hour Social Mixer • VarieTy Show VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
• And much more!
For more information, visit lalgbtcenter.org/TPLA Los Angeles LGBT Center Anita May Rosenstein Campus 1118 N. McCadden Place Los Angeles 90038
Los Angeles LGBT Center The Village at Ed Gould Plaza 1125 N. McCadden Place Los Angeles 90038
V AA Happy Hour Tuesday–Friday, 6:15–7:15 p.m. Canceled July 3 V
Al-Anon Gay Focus Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. V
AA: It’s Come to This Mondays, 6:15–7:15 p.m. Canceled March 30 and May 25 V Crystal Meth Anonymous Saturdays, 9:15–10:15 a.m. V LGBTQ+ CODA Tuesdays, 8–9 p.m. V Marijuana Anonymous Wednesdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. V
NA: Heartbeat of Recovery Mondays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Canceled March 30 and May 25 V OA Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. V SCA – Step Study Thursdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. V
Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Thursdays, 6:15–7:15 p.m. V
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous Mondays, 8:45–9:45 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Canceled March 30 and May 25
Community Groups V 30+ Lesbian Chat Meet women outside of the bars Every 1st & 3rd Fri., 7:30–9 p.m. Canceled July 3 V Bi-osphere Explore and discuss the many shades of today’s diverse bisexual community Mondays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled March 30 and May 25 MW
Gay Men’s Prostate Cancer Support Group Every 1st & 3rd Tues., 7–9 p.m. Sponsored by Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center. Call 310-314-2555 or visit CancerSupportCommunity BenjaminCenter.org Mi
¡Hablemos! Latino/Latinx discussion group Every 2nd Tues., 7–8:30 p.m. V
HerStories A gathering place for all LBT women who want strong community and great conversation Mondays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled March 30 and May 25 V LGBT Adult Special Needs Support Group Every 2nd Wed., 6–7:30 p.m. V
UA: Artist in Prosperity Tuesdays, 6:15–7:15 p.m.
MasQ Explore your male identity however you choose to express it. Join us in redefining masculinities! Tuesdays, 8–9:30 p.m.
Women’s AA Wednesdays, 8:45–9:45 p.m.
Coming Out Coming Out Workshops for Women Coming Out Workshops for Men Safe, nurturing workshops for anyone who is facing their own coming out process. Call 877-OUT-4-LIFE for recorded information and instructions for enrollment.
Trans* Spectrum Safe, small, quiet, controlled space for neurodiverse members of the Trans/GNC/ENBY community. Limited to 15 people maximum per meeting. RSVP at translounge.org Every 1st & 3rd Tues., 7:30–9 p.m. V
Transgender Perceptions Conversations and communitybuilding for trans and GNC people Fridays, 8–9:30 p.m. Canceled July 3
Community Groups (Cont.) V Village Readers An LGBT reading and discussion group. Every 1st Wed., 7:30–9 p.m. April 1: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones May 6: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin June 3: The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading by Edmund White July 1: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong
Senior Groups For more information about Senior Services classes, please call 323-860-7322 or visit facebook.com/50pluslgbt To RSVP, email email@example.com or call 323-860-5830. SC Alzheimer’s LGBT Caregiver Support Every 2nd & 4th Thurs., 10:30 a.m.–Noon SC Art Lab Fridays, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Canceled July 3 V Beginning Tap Dancing Lessons Wednesdays, 1:30–2:30 p.m. SC Bereavement Support Group Tuesdays, 1–3 p.m.
Senior Groups (Cont.) SC Men Living with HIV Thursdays, 1:30–3 p.m. SC Housing Supportive Network Every 2nd & 4th Thurs., 11 a.m.–Noon SC Juggling Hour Call 323-860-5830 for dates SC Men of Color Aging 50+ Every 3rd Sat., 2–4 p.m. SC Men’s Drop-In Support Group Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–Noon SC Qi Gong Call 323-860-5830 for dates and times SC R&B Line Dancing Tuesdays, 11 a.m–12 p.m. SC Stitch N Bitch Club Call 323-860-5830 for details
Thursday Hikes Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. Call 323-860-5830 for details Valley Social and Networking Group Thursdays, Noon–1:30 p.m. Metropolitan Community Church 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood 91601 Call 323-860-5830 SC Veteran’s Support Group Last Tuesday of each month, 1–3 p.m.
SC Bingo 1–2:30 p.m. Call 323-860-5830 for dates SC Brain Power Every 1st & 3rd Thurs., 1:30–3 p.m SC Chair Yoga Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–Noon SC Farmer’s Market (Free) Every 2nd & 4th Mon., 11 a.m.
Get Out & Bowl Every 2nd Tues., 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Call 323-860-5830 for details
Mi Centro 553 S. Clarence St., Los Angeles 90033
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza 1125 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles 90038
Anita May Rosenstein Campus, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Senior Center 1118 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles 90038
McDonald/Wright Building 1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles 90028
Empty = Offsite
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
NEWS & NOTES
A NEW CENTER PERK Scheduled to open this spring, the Center’s new Liberation Coffee House will serve Verve Coffee and a full selection of artisan pastries, sandwiches, salads, ﬂatbreads, and delectable snacks. The 1,641-squarefoot space located on the street level of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus’ southwest corner will be staffed primarily with graduates of the Center’s Culinary Arts program. The business name is an homage to the Center’s Liberation Houses, which provided room and board for $1.50 per day in the early 1970s to LGBT people experiencing homelessness.
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
As a recipient of the L.A. Justice Fund—funding allocated for immigrants’ increased access to legal representation and counsel before the Immigration Courts—the Center’s Immigration Law Project has successfully represented more than 60 refugee clients, with more than 40 of them granted asylum. Most of the asylees hail from anti-LGBT countries where homosexuality is punishable by law, including death.
One client, Raiza Daniela Hernández, is an El Salvadorean trans woman and trans rights activist. She ﬂed her country and was detained by ICE at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego for seven months. After winning her asylum case, she and the Center’s Legal Services immigration attorney Tess Feldman traveled to Washington D.C. to share her story at the House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Immigration. Hernández also spoke at a Congressional Brieﬁng and press conference in support of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act aimed to improve healthcare and safety protections for immigrants, with special protections for trans and LGBT immigrants in ICE custody. Hernández’s lawful permanent residency Green Card is expected to be approved soon. To learn more about the Center’s Legal Services, visit
tion received the Freedom Riders Award for providing outstanding and impactful work in the black community. Guests also enjoyed performances, resource fair, gallery exhibit, and local soul food.
CAMPING OUT The Center’s Senior Services co-hosted a groundbreaking conference geared for LGBT widows and widowers at the Anita May Rosenstein Campus in February. Produced by Soaring Spirits International, the daylong Camp Widow featured workshops, discussions, and resources for those who have lost a partner, spouse, or signiﬁcant other. The keynote speaker was award-winning designer, author, and advocate Nate Berkus, who lost his partner in 2004.
EMBRACING OUR ROOTS As part of Black History Month, more than 400 guests attended the Center’s fourth annual The Future is Black celebration. This year’s theme was “Embracing Our Roots” and keynote speaker was Yazmin Monet Watkins, author of Love Without Limits: The Bi-Laws of Love. Princess Arthur was honored with the Marsha P. Johnson Award, given to a burgeoning youth community activist. Actress and activist Jazzmun Crayton was saluted with the Bayard Rustin Award for her prominence in advancing black and LGBT rights. The Village Health Founda-
A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY For the ﬁrst time, the Center registered as an Ofﬁcial Charity Partner for the iconic LA Big 5K, held in conjunction with the Los Angeles Marathon. More than 75 members joined the Center Crew team. Adorned with specially designed Center Crew T-shirts and a pair of branded running socks, the Crew raised more than $32,000 to beneﬁt the Center’s vital programs and services.
ANALYSIS & INSIGHT Los Angeles Police Department data indicates that 58 percent of reported crimes against transgender people were violent, ranging from robbery to assault with a deadly weapon. Media coverage of these crimes— particularly the murders of black trans women—has left the community on edge. As reported in Crosstown, people need to reexamine their anti-trans prejudices:
After receiving a $3,000 grant from the Hate Crime Security Fund—awarded to organizations vulnerable to hate crimes within L.A.’s Fourth Council District—the Center is installing security cameras at one facility following a vandalism incident. As reported by KNBC-TV, the safety of staff and clients among the Center’s 10 locations is a priority:
Excerpt: “Imagine living a life where you are constantly having to be hyper-aware of your surroundings and whom you interact with out of fear that some sort of retaliation will occur for just living our authentic lives. You probably know a trans person. Talk to someone. Read something. Learn before you hate.”
Excerpt: “We always do a security assessment, especially in these modern times with the current federal administration. We have seen a rise in rhetoric against the LGBT community. Education [about our community] leads to tolerance and understanding."
JESSICA STONEHAM Director Facilities
Watch more at
There is an STI epidemic in Los Angeles. As infection rates continue to rise, it’s important that ﬁghting the epidemic remains at the forefront of public health policy decisions, which should include the role the community can play in helping to ﬁght the epidemic, as discussed on Channel Q radio:
Together for more than six decades, a gay couple— one of whom fought in the Korean War and one who survived the battle off Samar in World War II—came to the Center in 2014 to get help accessing Veterans beneﬁts with help from the Senior Services Department. Many LGBT veterans, regardless of their age, fear living their authentic lives, as reported by the Palos Verdes Peninsula News:
Excerpt: “We need to support each other in getting routine regular testing—whether we have symptoms or not. Eighty percent of STIs don’t have any symptoms so if you’re just waiting until you have a symptom, you can be passing this along and absolutely have no idea that you’re doing it.”
Excerpt: “There’s a lot of veterans who don’t want to identify with military because of the bad experiences they had with being pushed out. [This couple was] a beacon of light to be able to live that life together.”
DR. WARD CARPENTER
Co-Director Health Services
Activities Coordinator Senior Services
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VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
Read more at
GINA BIGHAM Manager of Trans Lounge & Education Empowerment Programs Cultural Arts
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
5 Photo: @PhotographyByLorenzo
(1) January: Women's March Los Angeles; (2) February: Spirit of Survival: Senior Services Ancient Art of Mask-Making Reception; (3) February: South LA Connects Community Wellness Celebration at Leimert Park Plaza; (4) February: Early Flex Voting for the 2020 Presidential Primary Election at the Center's Pride Hall; (5) February: Center partners with Cirque Du Soleil VOLTA Equality Night at Dodger Stadium; (6, 7, 8) February: The Future is Black: Celebrating Our Roots; and (9) March: Center Crew participates in LA Big 5K.
VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y
WHY I GIVE
VANGUARD | SPRING 2020
was 15 and lost in the San Francisco airport. My brother and I had f lown alone from the Philippines to the United States, and we had missed our connecting f light to Portland, where we were going to live with my father. In the pre-internet era, we were two teenagers clueless as how to rebook a f light, so we called our aunt who lived in the Bay Area. She left work, drove to the airport, fed us, bought me the cutest teal San Francisco sweatshirt, and got us on a f light to Oregon. “This is what we do,” she said. “We have to look after each other.” As immigrants, we’re no strangers to hardship. My big Filipino family is constantly checking in, making sure everyone has what they need. We all came to this country to pursue our dreams, so we lift each other up whenever we can. When I moved to Los Angeles a little over a decade ago to pursue stand-up comedy, all I had was pocket change and a dream. Literally. I was broke, unemployed, and the only reason I wasn’t homeless was because my cousin let me crash on her couch in Altadena while I f igured things out. My millions of other cousins made sure I was fed. My uncle lent me his old, beat up Chrysler Sebring.
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When the Center asked me to be a The key fob was broken so, every time I manually unlocked the driver’s side door, part of their Hearts of Gold concert to the alarm would sound which meant I celebrate their historic 50th anniversary, I jumped at the opportunity because had to crawl through the passenger side to avoid the stares of people thinking I we are a family. We know struggle. We all have to look out for each other. It is was stealing my car. incumbent upon those It was a struggle of us who have the to f ind a job and a means to lend what place to call my own. help they can to enThe challenges of life sure that everyone has felt insurmountable. the chance to pursue To make things even their dreams. Every harder, I couldn’t little bit helps. Our breathe. The L.A. air community survives caused my asthma to and thrives only if f lare up, and I was out of ref ills on my inhaler. Without health we have each other’s backs. I’m proud to support the Center which, since 1969, insurance or the cash to cover a doctor’s visit, my uncle suggested I research slid- has helped the most vulnerable members ing scale clinics—and that’s how I dis- of the LGBT community: youth, seniors, immigrants, and people living with HIV. covered the Los Angeles LGBT Center. During my f irst years as a struggling Through the Center’s clinic, I got stand-up comedian, the Center allowed free STD screenings and primary care me to breathe. Because of their help and that was affordable for a restaurant host the help of my big Filipino family and making $10 an hour...though, come to think of it, I might still owe the Center my big queer chosen family, I have the career I always dreamed of and am now money. I’m pretty sure I skipped out on my last payment. We can call it even, in a position to give back—to help others breathe. right? Santos stars as Mateo in NBC’s #1 comedy, Superstore.
O P E N I N G
T H I S
Liberation for a New Generation on the corner of McCadden Place and Santa Monica Boulevard at the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus
S P R I N G
Anita May Rosenstein Campus 1118 N. McCadden Pl. Los Angeles, CA 90038
Turn to someone next to you and say
s u o e g r o g e ‘ Y ou’r
” ’ t h g i n to Feed your soul and get inspired! Read more about the Center’s celebration of Black History Month 2020 at LGBTNewsNow.org/TheFutureIsBlack