Vanguard Quarterly Spring 2021

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ABOUT THE COVER

For this Community issue of Vanguard, we're honoring the community-centric compassion and care that has seen us through the chaos of the pandemic and celebrating the start of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Center. When it's your turn, please get vaccinated.


VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y


A PUBLICATION OF THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER

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Message from the Center’s CEO Taking Our Shot: COVID-19 Vaccinations Start at the Center Get Your Group On: Center’s Social Networking Groups Go Virtual The Future is Black: Celebrating Our Blackness

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Policy Updates

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Take Five with Center Volunteers & Staff

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Thank You for Your Support!

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COMMUNITY ISSUE • SPRING 2021

Meet Circle of Life’s Rebecca Levison & Kathleen Sullivan

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Meet New Board Member Jordan Held

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Meet New Board Member Tamika Butler

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Group Meetings Schedule

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Center Notes

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Center Voices

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Why I Give: Mac Kahey

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 2021 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 mediarelations@lalgbtcenter.org


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As 2020 drew to a close, the Center’s fight to take care of each other and our community during the COVID-19 pandemic crossed an emotional milestone as the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered to our frontline workers. When it’s your turn, get vaccinated.


FROM THE CEO

STAYING CENTERED DURING THE PANDEMIC

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• Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean

n March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Earlier that day, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before Congress that the 647 confirmed cases in the U.S. would get much worse. A week later, Los Angeles County issued its first “Safer At Home” emergency order. As a result, we closed all Center locations for non-essential services. I doubt any of us could have imagined what the succeeding year would hold for all of us as individuals and for the organizations we care deeply about. It is no exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. Despite the anxiety, pain, and grief of the past year, today there is reason to hope. The American Rescue Plan Act—signed into law on March 11, 2021—provides critical resources to fight the pandemic and help people who’ve been hit hardest economically in the past year. COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. are on track to be available to everyone later this Spring. When it’s your turn, I wholeheartedly urge you to get the vaccine. Even with these hopeful signs, the effects of this pandemic will reverberate far into the future. Our economy needs to recover. We have not yet begun to realize the full scope of the mental health repercussions caused by what’s happened to us all, individually and collectively. What’s been lost to the pandemic is immense and it will take all of us working together to build back better with care and compassion. The LGBTQ community and the Los Angeles LGBT Center have lots of experience doing exactly that. And although I still feel uncertainty and worry about what the future might hold (I’m sure many of

you feel the same), I’m an eternal optimist who also feels hope and anticipation. I can’t wait to hug people again! No matter the uncertainty, there’s one thing I know for sure: your Center will be here every step of the way to meet the needs of our community. In the early weeks of the pandemic when everything was shutting down, our goal at the Center was to figure out how to remain open. This meant doing almost everything we do differently. And while technology helped us connect to our clients, it was our dedicated staff who made it possible for us to care for the people who needed us the most. Frontline staff made sure our buildings were safe and in-person services were available. Our work-from-home staff found innovative new ways to deliver a wide range of programs and otherwise support the Center’s mission. Our community of supporters stepped up as well, from the thousands of volunteers who joined our response efforts to the generous financial supporters who dug more deeply to ensure we could do what needed to be done. A year into this pandemic, here are just a few things that collective work made possible: • The Center’s Pride Pantry, which opened to meet the growing food insecurity caused by the pandemic, provided an average of 695 bag/boxes of groceries per week to clients through distribution sites at the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, Center South, Mi Centro, and Triangle Square. This vital service, which included providing clients with 31 TONS of produce, helped nearly 17,000 recipients. • Hello Club volunteers made more than 7,000 phone calls to check on


• •

The numbers are impressive, but the people and the stories behind the numbers are just as impressive. Here are just three of these stories: • One of our youth clients had been pursuing their GED since 2019 when they got derailed by the pandemic. But with a lot of coaching and support from our amazing Children, Youth & Families staff, they were able to get back on track and complete the four GED exams. They scored so high on all of their exams that they received college credits. They will start classes this Spring at Los Angeles City College. • Prior to the pandemic, a Senior Services client graduated from our Culinary Arts program and had successfully obtained a job as a chef. That accomplishment was cut short

as restaurants began to close because of the pandemic, leaving him unemployed with few options. Our Senior Services staff stepped in and helped him develop a long-term care plan to obtain employment and low-income housing. We helped him get several small grants to help tide him over and, eventually, get vaccinated against COVID-19. With this newfound momentum, he found employment as an in-home supportive services worker with hopes that this will help him qualify for low-income housing in the near future. • Legal Services had successfully helped a client, a trans woman from Jamaica, in obtaining her green card and she was on track to become a citizen. Our Legal Services staff represented her at her citizenship interview last March and then, in May, wrote an additional brief to support her application. But they couldn’t deliver the brief in person because—as has been the case for many public offices over the last year—the office building where it was to be delivered was closed. So, they sent the brief in overnight mail—but it was almost three weeks before the building was open and receiving mail. Consequently, the brief arrived late, and the citizenship application was denied. But our staff wasn’t deterred. They asked Congressman Adam Schiff ’s office to intervene, and the case was reopened. In January, after six more months of work with Schiff ’s staff and further follow-up by our staff, the application was approved. As a result, our client was sworn in as a United States citizen last month! Those are just three stories of lives forever changed for the better during a year of monumental challenges due to the pandemic. They show what we can achieve when we push through our fears to meet adversity with strength, determination, and compassion. As we move forward together to meet whatever challenges—and opportunities— lie ahead, I ask you to remember these stories, multiplied by the thousands of clients the Center was able to help over this past year. There’s no better cause for hope than that.

Karim Abay

Annie Imhoff

James Alva

Marki J. Knox, M.D.

Tess Ayers

Michael Lombardo

Secretary

Carlos Medina David J. Bailey Lucinda Moorhead LuAnn Boylan Michael Mueller Tad Brown Michael Ormonde Tamika L. Butler Loren S. Ostrow Sarah Dusseault Jayzen Patria Carolyn A. Dye Frank D. Pond Susan Feniger

Co-chair

Co-Chair

Don Thomas Alfred Fraijo, Jr. Amy Gordon Yanow Jordan Held

Treasurer

Frances Ampah

Melantha Hodge

Content Manager

Strategic Partnership Manager

Jaguar Busuego Production Designer

Megan Phelps Managing Editor

Nolan Ryan Cadena Operations Manager

Ari DeSano Platform and Systems Manager

Takashi Sato Production Designer

George Skinner Production Designer

Gil Diaz

Kurt Thomas

Media and Public Relations Director

Creative Services Manager

Kelly Freter Director

Greg Hernandez Writer/Editor

Tiffany Ward Production Manager

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our LGBTQ seniors and help get them the resources they needed while sheltering at home. Resistance Squad volunteers spent nearly 1,000 hours contacting elected officials in support of our policy work, including a critical get-out-the-vote partnership with Equality Georgia ahead of January’s Senate runoff election. Our Cultural Arts program actually produced theater in our parking lot! Quickly transitioning to all-virtual programs and services, our Senior Services program welcomed more than 44,000 client visits from LGBTQ people over age 50. Our first-ever virtual Models of Pride welcomed youth—and the parents and professionals who support them—from 34 states and eight countries. All-virtual since March, our innovative Trans* Lounge program for the trans and gender expansive community, welcomed more than 4,300 community members to more than 232 workshops, groups, and activities. We also welcomed 4,000 attendees to our various community and social networking groups, including coming out, Latinx family, bisexual, and transgender connection groups. Our Legal Services team provided service and support at more than 5,500 client visits and consultations. More than 103,000 meals were provided to youth experiencing homelessness.


VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

TAKING OUR SHOT


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As 2020 drew to a close, the Center’s fight to take care of each other and our community during the COVID-19 pandemic crossed an emotional milestone as the first vaccines were administered to frontline workers. The message moving forward: Get vaccinated when it’s your turn.

QUALITY COORDINATOR KEITH LEACH RECEIVED THE FIRST COVID-19 VACCINATION AT THE CENTER.


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ust after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, Co-Director of Health Services Dr. Ward Carpenter administered the Center’s first dose of COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of frontline health care staffer Keith Leach. “I’m extremely hopeful that we are on the path to end the pandemic,” said Leach, a quality coordinator with the Center’s Health Services department. “As a Black man living in America, I have seen my community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. I know firsthand just how dangerous COVID-19 can be—people whom I care about have been affected by the virus and it’s hit very close to home. I knew I needed to get the vaccine to protect myself and, hopefully, to show others that they should do the same. Getting vaccinated is essential to our wellbeing and our future.” Starting with Leach and following requirements set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Center administered its first batch of 400 Moderna vaccines to frontline workers, including Health Services staff members and the Security and Facilities workers who support the Center’s various health care sites. “This is a pivotal time for us to help combat the deadly surge of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles and beyond. Since the pandemic began, our dedicated frontline workers helped to keep our Center open for those in our community who rely on us. This vaccine will help us in that fight,” said Carpenter. “I strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves and consider taking the vaccine—when given the opportunity—because it is the only way to defeat this highly-contagious virus, to save lives, and to bring normalcy and joy back to our lives.” For many of the Center’s frontline workers, getting vaccinated was an emotional milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Health Services Compliance Coordinator Alejandra Galindo had fought the disease alongside her 79-year-old mother earlier in the year. Her sister-in-law passed away from the virus. “These nine months have been scary and hard. Having COVID-19 was a horrible experience,” Galindo said. “Getting this vaccine will help keep us safe.” Just days before he got vaccinated at the Center, Health Services Senior Program Manager David Flores lost a close friend from high school to the infectious disease. “He was the first thing I thought about, and there’s some guilt because I’m being afforded this opportunity that he wasn’t,” Flores said tearfully after being vaccinated. “I’m grateful


to the Center for the expeditious manner LGBTQ people who have been disenfran- his grandparents who are both battling in which these vaccines have been rolled chised by the medical community and, at COVID-19. “You hear all these myths about the out to cover frontline staff who are serving the same time, disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. A recent study report from vaccine, but they are not facts,” said our community.” Health Services Manager of Integrated the CDC found that the underlying health Valladarez, a housing navigator for Care Linda Santiman had been praying for conditions which increase the risk for more the Center’s Stop Violence program. “The severe COVID-19-related illness are more Center was able to provide us with a fact the vaccine. “In our lifetimes, we’ve never seen any- prevalent among LGBTQ people. Black sheet that helped ease my mind. Do your thing as dire or as lethal as this, and I know and Latinx communities were found to be research on facts, not myths. This is a pandemic and a health crisis. Knowing there’s this is a part of how we’re going to heal,” especially vulnerable. “We are in a unique position to be able a vaccine that’s available, I think we should said Santiman, who started at the Center as an HIV counselor 14 years ago. “Getting to get vaccines out efficiently to people jump on board.” Epidemiology assistant Ryan Assaf, vaccinated is a way to honor everyone, the who need them the most,” said Center first responders, and everyone we’ve lost.” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Bolan. whose two brothers are emergency room By February, based on vaccine availabil- “We’re the best poised to reach into com- doctors, gave this advice after being vacciity and Los Angeles County Department munities that have been disadvantaged, nated: “Don’t fear the vaccine. It’s here to of Public Health’s eligibility guidelines, who are suspicious about the vaccine’s ef- help you—it’s not here to hurt you. The the Center was able to start vaccinating ficacy, worried about discrimination, and benefit of the vaccine will always outweigh Health Services clients who were at least 65 that don’t want to show up at a vaccine the risks of getting the virus itself.” “While some of us may be uneasy about place where nobody looks like them.” years old. As more vaccines become available, receiving the vaccine, it is our only way “I came here to get vaccinated because this is where my doctor is, it is a familiar education about its efficacy, along with back to the life we all remember: spendplace. The safety of it felt good to me,” said myth-busting, is an important part of the ing time with extended family to working side-by-side, hugs, and to so many other Roger Burnley, who has been receiving Center’s ongoing work. Ace Seidel, an intern counselor with things that make life worth living. This is health care at the Center for more than a decade. “I don’t want to take a chance of Mental Health Services, described the vac- our chance,” said Dr. Carpenter. anyone getting this, and this first vaccine cine as “the ticket. It’s the key to getting shot is going to give me a sense of protec- our lives back—to being able to see our tion. After I’m fully immunized, I’m going families and hug our loved ones. It’s our road to freedom.” to feel much more freedom.” Steven Valladarez had been nervous As a community health clinic, the Center is uniquely positioned to reach about getting vaccinated but thought of

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

I strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves and consider taking the vaccine—when given the opportunity—because it is the only way to defeat this highly-contagious virus, to save lives, and to bring normalcy and joy back to our lives.


VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

Do your research on facts, not myths. This is a pandemic and a health crisis. Knowing there’s a vaccine that’s available, I think we should jump on board.


Triangle Square Residents Receive COVID-19 Vaccine and Hope for the Future

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Frank McClane describes himself as running any necessary errands. After they receive their second vaccine “grateful and relieved” to have had the doses, the pair hopes to regain some sense opportunity to be vaccinated at Triangle of normalcy which, until 11 months ago, Square. “I am thankful to the Center’s Senior included daily walks. “I’m happy because now I’m closer to the Services for applying and procuring a place point where I can go outside, walk again, in a congested system to have made this and have some exercise each day. I’m miss- program possible,” he said. “The sense of ing that,” said Quinte. “We would do 3–4 relief, well-being, and peace of mind they have made possible as the world struggles to address this pandemic, I will never take for granted.” Some of the vaccinated seniors said they hope people afraid of being vaccinated will work through their fears and get their shots as soon as they become available. “Follow the science,” said Cibario. “Please get vaccinated when you have the opportunity. Do so as soon as possible. And after you get vaccinated, do not go back to your old way of life. Still remain socially distanced and safe. Just because you get the vaccine, it does not mean you can start to party down.” After getting her vaccine, Barbara Boyce looked back to when she was a small child and afraid of another life-threatening health threat. “I’m old enough to remember the polio together, it wouldn’t have been fair. One miles a day because this is a great walking vaccine,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, give getting vaccinated, and not the other, was area here in the Hollywood neighborhood. me that vaccine so I don’t get sick!’ PoSince COVID-19, no more walking, no lio was scary because you couldn’t go to not an option for us.” The opportunity came just two weeks more anything. So, needless to say, we’ve swimming pools and do a lot of stuff in the summer because you couldn’t have people later when the couple was among the both gained some weight.” Fellow Triangle Square resident Maria around.” residents of Triangle Square, the Center’s For Stanza, the vaccines are the only affordable housing complex in Holly- Cibario has also been hunkering down wood, to receive the first dose of the vac- since March a year ago, emerging only to way the world can get past the pandemic. “If we’re able to vaccinate enough of us, cine through a program administered by go grocery shopping which she does in the the virus cannot be passed on by us,” he early morning hours. Walgreens. “I feel wonderful, elated, and grateful,” pointed out. “It’s like the HIV virus: you “The most fearful thing is we know couples where one died from COVID-19 says Cibario, who was the first resident can’t pass it if you make an effort not to and the other lived,” Quinte shared. “It’s to become vaccinated by the Walgreens pass it. And the vaccination is it right now. scary and very hard to think about—the team. “It’s been stressful for the whole As a survivor of HIV, I know what it’s like. country and—worst of all—for us seniors. You take a pill to keep the virus down in fear of catching it and then giving it.” Quinte, 72, has left their apartment We know if we get sick, there’s very little your blood system. In this case, take a shot. only for doctor and dentist appointments they can do. We [may] have conditions that It’s going to take all of us vaccinating to keep us alive.” while Stanza, a decade younger, has been make it harder to get well quickly.”

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hen Edward Stanza’s medical provider offered him an opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, he turned it down because they couldn’t give a dose to his husband David Quinte. “Even though I have an immune deficiency issue, I wanted David to have it at the same time,” said Stanza. “After 38 years


Coming Out

30+

Lesbian Chat

Coming Out

F.L.EX. 2

2

2

R I E H T G N I P KEE N O P U O R G OUPS MIGRATE ONLINE GR NG KI OR TW NE AL CI SO THE CENTER'S H DURING PANDEMIC AC RE R EI TH ND PA EX D AN

Coming Out

Intersex

HerStories os!

¡Hablem

trans*

Village Readers


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hen Lauren Flans agreed to become co-facilitator of the Center’s popular HerStories social networking group, she never expected one of the participants to be videoconferencing from France. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person meetings from being held at the Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza, so the group, geared for LBTQ women who seek great conversation, began meeting online. And word spread—around the country and the world. “We just had no idea it would take off and continue. We have people from Arizona and Texas, and we have this amazing woman who wakes up at 4 a.m. in France to attend the group,” said Flans. “It’s also been good for people who are in Southern California and cannot leave their homes. It’s been incredible to open up the access.” As the pandemic took hold last year, all of the Center’s Social Networking Groups quickly transferred over to the virtual platform including 30+ Lesbian Chat, Transgender Perceptions, Bi-osphere, MasQ, Coming Out groups, Village Readers, and the Spanish-language ¡Hablémos! and Familias Latinx Entrelazadas (F.L.E.X.). The expanded virtual reach has let LGBTQ people feel connected across the miles. Before the pandemic, the Social Networking Groups had a monthly total of approximately 250 participants. The attendance number has grown steadily to

the bisexual community), for more than more than 400. “People have managed to find and join 13 years. He sees great value in using modour groups even if there are many hours ern technology to stay connected. “People in their daily lives don’t get to in between their time zone,” said Social Networking Groups Coordinator Caín share their coming out or bisexuality or Andrade. “Some people’s neurodiversity, trans experience,” he said. “This is their mental health, and mobility challenges moment during the week to be able to have prevented them from attending a open up and share with people. We are group physically. Now, they say, ‘Oh my still offering this during a really tough God, I’m so glad these groups are avail- time because we are a community that able online because now I can come.’ So, really bonds together.” Kevin A. Easley Jr. joined last year we’re definitely going to keep the virtual components even after we are able to meet as a volunteer moderator so, actually, he has never led Bi-osphere or a Coming Out in person again.” Before the global health crisis emerged, group meeting face-to-face. “I was trained on Andrade explained, the Zoom—the first time facilitators created a my fellow moderators safe and brave space trained someone via for all of their partici- pants. During the pan the internet,” he explained. “I virtually demic, they’ve worked shadowed the more to recreate that space experienced facilitaonline. Flans has found tors, observed how the computer screen they led the group and to be less of a barrier what kind of questions than expected when it they asked and how comes to interpersonal they asked them.” connections. Approximately 25 “It still feels intito 30 people attend the mate. It still feels like Bi-osphere meetings; a you’re connecting with smaller number for the people,” she said. “All Coming Out groups. of the things that I was “I’m always excited initially scared about when people find the moving to virtual have 90 minutes to join,” not impeded us at all. he said. “As soon as the If anything, it’s really helped us become closer. People also at- pandemic is over, I would love to facilitend more regularly. We now have a good tate my groups in person to finally meet group of people who attend almost every some of those faces I’ve been seeing all single week.” this time in front of the camera.” The peer support and discussion groups are all led by trained and dedicated volunteer facilitators like Flans. Ryan Provencher has been moderating For more information about groups, such as the men’s Coming Out the Center’s Social Networking Groups, group, MasQ, and Bi-osphere (a group for visit lalgbtcenter.org/groups

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

• Social Networking Groups Coordinator Caín Andrade


STRESS·LESS·SEX

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

GET TESTED.

Get tested for HIV and STDs and keep your sex partners safe. Go to FreeTesting.org or call 213-462-1468 for free (and judgement free) HIV testing. This project is supported by funds received from the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs.


VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

REGISTER BY JUNE 30TH AT:


18

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021


Big Queer Convo

Getting Personal About the Equality Act’s Potential Impacts on the Black LGBTQ Community • SHARON-FRANKLIN BROWN

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haron-Franklin Brown, the Center’s should not have to make those decisions chief human resources officer, was about their lives.” Brown and Hanley shared how their once fired from a job because she’s life experiences have shaped their advotransgender. It’s one of the reasons why passage of cacy and made them keenly aware of the • TYRONE HANLEY the Equality Act, which would add sex, importance of LGBTQ protections on a sexual orientation, and gender identity to federal level. where people discriminate against you. “I try not to get emotional when I talk You could potentially not get access to the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is deeply about where we’ve come as Black folks,” things that you need in order to survive.” personal to her. “Everyone deserves the right to live as Brown said at one point. “But it’s hard to If the Equality Act becomes law, their authentic self,” Brown said during not get emotional given I grew up poor Brown points out that it “doesn’t necesthe Center’s Big Queer Convo about the in the cotton fields of the Deep South in sarily remove the cloak of discrimination.” Equality Act and its impacts on the Black Louisiana, and there were constant barri“That has to happen within the hearts LGBTQ community. “This particular act ers put in place simply because I was Black. and minds of each individual,” she said. would actually send a clear message to ev- And then when you add gender identity “But it sends a message that you have eryone that our lives matter and that we on top of that—that intersectionality—it some recourse if you are discriminated should have the same rights and liberties just adds more.” against for some reason. The dream is this: Hanley also grew up impoverished and one day, regardless of who you are, you that are afforded to everyone and equal was raised by a single lesbian mother. protection under the law.” have the opportunity to live your authen“I know very intimately how much tic life free of harassment and discriminaBrown was joined by Tyrone Hanley, senior policy counsel for the National Black, low-income LGBTQ people are tion—and there’s equal protection under Center for Lesbian Rights, for the Feb- at the mercy of the powerful and the the law if you need it.” ruary 24 virtual conversation moderated privileged that can make life and death by the Center’s Director of Advocacy and decisions about their lives,” he said. “ParMobilization Joey Hernández as part of ticularly when you are living in poverty, Watch the full conversation at the Center’s The Future is Black series you constantly are put in these situations lalgbtcenter.org/BQC held during Black History Month. Some version of the Equality Act has The been put forth in Congress every year since the 1970s. But this year is seen as its best chance yet at finally becoming law. It would provide national, consisone day, tent non-discrimination protections for regardless of who you are, LGBTQ people regarding employment, housing, credit, education, federally you have the opportunity funded programs, public spaces, and jury service. Anti-LGBTQ discrimination is currently legal in 29 states. “It will provide some great relief for people across the country who don’t have those protections under state and local law,” explained Hanley. “People [currently] have to make these decisions of —and there's ‘Do I want to be open about my sexuality or my gender identity and potentially exunder the law if you need it. pose myself to discrimination if it means I can’t access basic things that I need to - Sharon-Franklin Brown survive?’ That is very scary, and people

dream is

authentic life equal protection

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to live your


Program Spotlight

Center’s Social Group for Black Seniors Provides Perspective During Black History Month and Beyond • CLARENCE R. WILLIAMS

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“There’s a learning that takes place in he first meeting of Ebony Sage impactful work in the Black community. Williams, who spent years working for that,” he says. “Many of our older folk Circle to take place after the killing of George Floyd last May had the Congressional Black Caucus, accepted have an incredible, rich history that never gets told, that never gets shared, and that to be virtual because of the COVID-19 the award for the group on that day. “There’s an African proverb that says: has value especially to a younger person. pandemic. But the devastation and rage among the participants was palpable on ‘Until the lion gets to tell his story, the They can be supported and be inspired hunters will always tell theirs,’” he told and know they can reach higher, they can the computer screens. “There was a lot of emotion—heavy the audience. “Through our lens, we are be more, they can be great.” The Center’s Senior Services also emotion,” recalls Clarence R. Williams, hoping to make a difference here at the one of the co-founders of this Center Center and actually create more of our included an array of special activities Senior Services social group. “For once, living history with millennials here and scheduled during Black History Month, including movie screenings, a book club, this modern-day lynching of a Black man to continue our stories.” Ebony Sage Circle started four years and workshops. before the world just brought up every“In order to move the country forward, thing—with participants saying, ‘No ago by a group of seniors who had been more! This needs to change, and change part of the Center’s Black History Month we all need to be part of a movement for racial justice and equity,” Senior Services right now, because we cannot step into planning committee. “You become a certain age, and the Director Kiera Pollock wrote as part of the rest of this century with all of this lingering from 50 or 60 years ago. We clubbing thing becomes something that the February issue of the Center’s senior you no longer care about. But, you still newsletter. “This means listening, reading, have to fix this now.’” Open to all Black–identified partici- want to meet people, you still want to learning, and engaging with each other, pants, Ebony Sage Circle aims to promote have social intercourse in a meaningful especially when it’s hard. Senior Services self-awareness, quality of life, learning, way,” Williams explains. “With expan- will continue to offer programming and unity of the Black voice in the LGBT sion of the Center, we have so many youth and opportunities for this growth and community. The group’s programming here—a lot of Black youth—and it’s really activism—not just during Black History combines social, educational, and instruc- important right now for us to start doing Month but every month.” more intergenerational work.” tional elements. Once it is safe to do so, Williams hopes “Many of us grew up in the 1960s and To learn more about the Center’s Senior 70s. Some of us participated in the early the group can resume recording oral hisServices, including upcoming activities and protests and marches for gay and lesbian tories in the form of conversations with workshops, visit lalgbtcenter.org/seniors rights,” Williams says of his fellow Ebony Black youth. Sage Circle participants. “This group is even more important now. We want to keep the space open because people need the reason to connect because of isolation and personal needs—even if it’s just a good conversation and an opportunity to cry and commiserate.” The group normally meets in person each month and enjoys activities such as visits to the California African-American Museum, dance parties, and annual trips to the Pan-African Film Festival. In 2019 the group was presented with the inaugural Freedom Riders Award at the Center’s The Future is Black celebration held during Black History Month. The award is given to an organization or group that strives to do outstanding and

"

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

Until the

lion learns how to write,

every story will glorify the hunter.


In Conversation

Cast Members from The Chi Discuss Impact, Importance of LGBTQ Visibility • JASMINE DAVIS

W I love the fact that there are a lot of people tuning in who might not normally tune in because they are seeing their likeness.

"

Don't ask the world to love you.

Love yourself

and

you will not depend on anybody else's love.

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

• MIRIAM A. HYMAN AKA ROBYN HOOD

hile in Chicago preparing to be heard, and to be listened to because to shoot another season we have some really powerful messages.” of Showtime’s The Chi, Hyman said. “What I really admire [about Jasmine Davis and Miriam A. Hyman The Chi] is this level of diversity. I love the aka Robyn Hood took time out to help fact that there are a lot of people tuning in the Center celebrate Black History Month who might not normally tune in because they are seeing their likeness.” with a captivating virtual conversation. The conversation between Davis and They opened up about LGBTQ representation on their own show and tele- Hyman got personal when they discussed vision overall, and shared some powerful what words of hard-earned wisdom they words of wisdom during the Center's The wanted to share with younger people who might be struggling. Future is Black event on February 25. Hyman recommended always being The Chi, created by Center supporter Lena Waithe, focuses on life in a neigh- “honest, open, and truthful.” “It’s that idea of being true to who borhood on the South Side of Chicago. Davis plays Imani, the show’s first trans- you are, being true to the things that you want, your dreams, your aspirations,” she gender character. “I love what Showtime and The Chi said. “It’s not letting anybody, anything, are doing. We’re opening people’s eyes hold you back whether it’s a close family to life, co-existing with others,” Davis member, mother, father, sister, brother, said. “That’s our job to educate and en- whatever. Putting that all to the side. Selftertain, to inspire. When you see this on love is so important.” For Davis, it’s also about self-love and TV, when your child goes out into the world or when you go out to a workplace, about finding your truth. “Don’t ask the world to love you,” she you’re not that ignorant, you’re not that fearful because we are depicting them in advised. “Love yourself and you will not depend on anybody else’s love. Do whata human way.” Hyman portrays Dre, a high school ever you want to do. It’s your life. No guidance counselor who happens to one can tell you how to live it regardless be a lesbian with two stepchildren. of what they say. Whoever you want to Hyman, also a songwriter and hip-hop date, whoever you want to love, whatever lyricist who records music under the career choice, do you. The only person name Robyn Hood, applauded the show’s who can make you happy is you.” diversity and its impact on society. “Because of the fact that Black people Watch the full conversation at have been sort of shoved to the side, it’s relalgbtcenter.org/TFIB ally important for us to amplify our voices,


POLICY UPDATE

“Inequality

has no place in today's America and this law is a historic step forward for the country.” Center Calls for Passage of the Equality Act Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/eqa1

“We all

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

deserve an immigration system that reflects the promise of America.”

Center Applauds Introduction of U.S. Citizenship Act, Urges Action By Congress Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/usca

TODAY’S VOTE IS A HISTORIC STEP FORWARD FOR EQUALITY. BUT OUR WORK IS FAR FROM OVER. RECENT HISTORY REMINDS US JUST HOW QUICKLY BIGOTRY AND HATE CAN TAKE HOLD AND BE WEAPONIZED BY POLITICIANS AGAINST THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY.” Center Commends U.S. House of Representatives for Passing the Equality Act, Calls on U.S. Senate to Do the Same Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/eqa2


POLICY UPDATE

is to achieve our goal of creating a world where all LGBTQ people are free, equal, and complete members of society, we must start by acknowledging the many ways in which the system has failed our community, then work to change it.” Center Successfully Blocks Trump Administration’s Executive Order to Ban Speech about Systemic Racism, Sexism, and Implicit Bias Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/bias2

“ Public transportation is of critical importance to communities that have long been marginalized by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, and class. We are optimistic that Secretary Buttigieg will help address these historic inequities.”

Center Congratulates Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Historic "NM΁QL@SHNMË@RË First Openly LGBTQ /DQRNMË"NM΁QLDCË!XË U.S. Senate Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/ usdot

THANKS TO THIS DECISION, THOUSANDS OF DEDICATED TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS ARE ONCE AGAIN RIGHTFULLY RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE IN DEFENSE OF OUR FREEDOM.” Center Commends President Biden’s Reversal of Transgender Military Ban Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/tmb

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

“If the Center


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.

YOU BELONG HERE

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


GET TO KNOW

TAKE FIVE

CENTER VOLUNTEERS & STAFF MEMBERS

# $ # % &' # $ # % $ (

EVERY THANK YOU IS MEMORABLE Volunteering has given me a chance to give back to a community, an organization, and a movement that’s done so much for me. I deliver bags of groceries and pantry items to clients who either can’t afford them at the moment or can’t safely get out to make the purchases themselves. I’m thanked sincerely for every delivery, and every thank you is memorable. Every delivery includes a greeting card written by a Center volunteer. People are especially isolated and lonely right now, and a handwritten note reminding them that they’re cared for and part of a larger community goes a very long way.

"

!

I’ve had the opportunity to join the Trans Behavioral Health Program to support some of our interns creating a therapy group specifically serving the needs of the Center’s Black clients. I work at the Center because I want to be in a position to help the community and be connected to an organization that cares about justice and fairness— especially toward the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities. Working at the Center gives me hope that people can have the resources to survive this difficult time in our history, and also to thrive and become the best version of themselves.

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The Los Angeles LGBT Center is extremely grateful for the support of the following new Sustaining Donors and Circle of Life members.

DIAMOND CIRCLE $18,000-$34,999

SILVER CIRCLE $1,800-$2,399

MYDAR Foundation King J. Richter

Rochelle Ainsworth and Chester Ainsworth Catherine Berry Bryan J. Chamberlain, M.D.* Ben Dey and Michael Smith* Dustin Perlberg

PLATINUM CIRCLE $12,000-$17,999 Ken Willner and Jim Ostine*

GOLD CIRCLE $6,000-$11,999 Adrielle Bautista Steven Cannell and John Colicelli* Feel Something Foundation Kenith Goodman and Bradley Lagore Josephine Kujo Shawn Kravich Gerry Miller and Richard Ullman* William Randall Sheriff and Jeff Heglin* Millicent Ring and Irene Benavente*

STERLING CIRCLE $3,600-$5,999

For information about becoming a Sustaining Donor, please contact: Erin English Major Gifts Officer eenglish@lalgbtcenter.org 323-993-8974

Scott Gizicki Donor Stewardship Manager sgizicki@lalgbtcenter.org 323-993-8932

Kerri Balbone Bradley Bennett and Paul E. Drooks* Dave Fleischer Peter Glawatz Scott Kroha* Stephen Lachs and Michael Ruvo* The Maurice Marciano Family Foundation

SILVER CIRCLE $2,400-$3,599 Walter Chua and Eric Lund* Nathan McIntosh & Luke Birch* Virginia Pollack Mark Ridley Thomas

SILVER CIRCLE $1,500-$1,799 Frank Ackerman Glen Arakawa Oleg Baranovsky Dudley C. Beene Tyler Bittner Michael Clark Nisha Ganatra Sawyer Gilbert David A. Kalmansohn Jason Kennedy and Duane Manka Gabrail Khouri John R. Martineau Calen Ouellette, MBA Cesar Palana and Timothy Horth David Ryu and Virginia Yoon Peter Sadowski* The Shine Project Nellie Sims Roland Spreckley Jason Stone Jeannie Wilkinson and Tamara Becher

CIRCLE OF LIFE MEMBERS Eric Allen Brian Casentini and Brian Siegel Michael Hyman Matthew Michael Rhodes Kathleen Sullivan and Rebecca Levison Anonymous

CIRCLE OF LIFE IN MEMORIAM Janis V. Purins

DONOR LIST AS OF -!2- #0Í Í ̩( ,3 07Í Í *Indicates an increase in membership level.

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For information about Planned Giving, please contact:

Nellie Sims, J.D. Director of Planned Giving nsims@lalgbtcenter.org 323-993.7606

REALIZE THE POWER OF A GIFT. Making the Center part of your legacy in your will is the most important contribution you can make to the organization. Ways to give include wills and living trusts; beneficiary designations; charitable gift annuities, remainder trusts, and lead trusts; memorials and tribute gifts; and real estate. By including the Center in your estate plan or making another type of planned gift, you help ensure a strong and vibrant future for the Center as we build a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.

LEARN MORE AT LALGBTCENTER.ORG/LEGACY.


DONOR PROFILE

• Center supporters and Circle of Life members +>;><<:Á%>NBKͱGÁ E>˗ Á:G=Á $:LAE>>GÁ,MEEBN:GÁ JB@AL

PORTLAND COUPLE, FORMER CENTER EMPLOYEES, INVEST IN ORGANIZATION'S FUTURE

ACROSS THE MILES In 2011 they rented their home in Portland, Oregon, to relocate to Los Angeles and work at the Center where Sullivan was director of Senior Services and Levison worked for Policy’s Leadership LAB. “It was the best job I ever had,” Sullivan said, wiping away a tear. “I really believe in what the Center does. I wanted to be part of the legacy, to be part of my generation giving to future generations.” The couple returned to Portland after five years and remained staunch Center supporters. In April 2019 they traveled back to Los Angeles to attend the block party celebrating the opening of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus. “The Center has just always been at the heart of community service and social service and that’s why it remains in our hearts a thousand miles away,” said Sullivan, who now works for EngAGE NW, which teams with developers to create affordable housing for all ages. The Center’s expansion “is such a

tangible way to show the need,” Sullivan added. “The great thing about the Center is there’s a lot of foreshadowing and planning and laying the groundwork. There’s always a willingness to do more and f ind a way to make it happen.” Levison agreed. “The culture of the Center is to tr y new things and to take the next step and to be one step ahead of the curve,” she said. “We really believe in the work.” That’s what made investing in the Center’s future such an easy decision. “I think LGBTQ people have a responsibility to support the community and I feel like this is one way,” Levison said of the Circle of Life program. “It’s our responsibility to come together and give and give as much as we can whether it’s a small amount or a large amount.”

The culture of the Center is to try new things and to take the next step and to be one step ahead of the curve. We really believe in the work.

For more information about our Circle of Life estate planning, contact Director of Planned Giving Nellie Sims, J.D., at nsims@lalgbtcenter.org

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

W

hen Rebecca Levison’s mother died last year after contracting COVID-19, the educator and her wife, Kathleen Sullivan, were suddenly faced with some decisions to make about her inheritance. Since they were both former employees of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and have remained donors, they decided to also include the Center in their estate plan through its Circle of Life program. “We’re not spring chickens but we’re also not very old,” Levison pointed out. “It’s kind of surprising to be working on an estate plan and thinking about the will and where money is going. Unfortunately, this life event has caused us to have to confront those issues. But now that we have gone through this process, it feels very comforting and responsible. It’s good knowing that when we’re no longer here, what we value and support is still going to be supported into the future.” The couple met through mutual friends on a group camping trip to Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington over Labor Day weekend in 1992. “I am not a camper and she is a camper, so I was probably a little cranky on that weekend,” Sullivan recalled. But they managed to become friends on that trip, and six years later they became a couple.


JORDAN HELD FROM CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL LOS ANGELES JOINS THE CENTER’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

HELD IN HIGH REGARD

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A

s a new member of the Center’s Board of Directors, Jordan Held, LCSW, looks forward to helping create greater strides in the Center’s work, including those benefiting the trans and nonbinary community. “It’s important we take the best step forward and ensure our work is provided to everyone in the LGBTQ community, especially with the Center CEO transition approaching,” said Held, a Boston native. “No organization is perfect, but the trans community is expecting the Center to expand and sustain more trans-related services and programs.” Held migrated to Los Angeles in 2015 to attend graduate school at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs—the same time when he began his own gender journey and came to the Center seeking services as a Health Services client. His life-affirming experience as a Center client influenced his decision to fulfill his graduate program’s internship requirements with the Center’s Senior Services and Children, Youth & Family Services, respectively. It was also during his graduate school studies when Held had the opportunity to select Center CEO Lorri L. Jean as his mentor through the Luskin School’s leadership career training program. Known as the Senior Fellows Leadership Program, the program provides students with individual access to policymakers and community leaders, such

as Jean. “I jumped at the opportunity to have Lorri as my mentor. I knew who she was—as well as the Center’s important work—before I arrived in California,” Held recalled. “Lorri has this wealth of knowledge which she has been happy to share with me. We have this symbiotic relationship: she shares her expertise about the Center with me; I share

As a Board member, I want to uplift the voices of marginalized folks within the LGBTQ community.

my insights as a trans-identified person and professional with her.” Continuing his life’s work to improve the lives of trans people, Held works at the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the nation’s largest multidisciplinary program of its kind which currently serves 1,700 gender-diverse youth and young adults ages 3–25 and their families. Held’s specialty includes gender-affirming therapy for youth living with symptoms of post-traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD) and trauma, oftentimes related to societal-based stigma and violence pertaining to their gender identity. “I didn’t come out as trans until I was 30 years old, and I realized that working with the trans community was precisely what I wanted to pursue professionally,” Held said. “There’s a hole in the breadth of services offered to my community, and there are enough cisgender providers mandating which services are given to trans people. I want to change that.” Since joining the Board of Directors in January, Held has attended its meetings via videoconference due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, a global health crisis can’t deter his determination within the Center to give a voice to the trans community. To him, the ongoing attacks on trans people, particularly trans women of color, is also a global crisis. “There is a constant barrage of political attacks on gender identity and the value of trans people. The support and affirmation of one’s identity means everything—it’s the difference between life and death,” he lamented. “As a Board member, I want to uplift the voices of marginalized folks within the LGBTQ community. Many of them have not been able to have a strong voice—so here I am.” Held lives in Studio City with his long-term partner Lauren and their German Shepherd Husky mix rescue dog, Kingston.


BIKING ADVOCATE AND DEI CONSULTANT TAMIKA BUTLER JOINS THE CENTER'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ON A ROLL!

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B

the Center’s Legal Services as a counsel for efore launching her own consulting away her bike and never touch it again. “But as soon as I finished the ride, I youth experiencing homelessness. firm specializing in diversity, equity, “I remember thinking what a place like and inclusion (DEI), Tamika Butler missed it!” she confessed. “Suddenly, I was served as executive director of the Los Angeles biking to the store, biking to hang out with the Center would have meant to me growCounty Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), a non- friends. AIDS/LifeCycle literally changed ing up—seeing other LGBTQ people like profit organization whose mission is to make my life and my relationship with my city! me as doctors, lawyers, and managers providing vital services to our commuLos Angeles a healthy, nity,” Butler said. “Everyone I met safe, and fun place to ride at the Center that day was full of a bike. warmth, compassion, and optimism. “When I moved to It was such an amazing feeling—to Los Angeles, I was con- The Center is a fantastic organization doing be seen and valued.” stantly in my car and Her affinity with the Center was no longer the active phenomenal work. What I love about the continued to blossom, and when person I had been in Center is that it's constantly evolving. I’m asked to join its Board of Directors, the Bay Area. My docshe shifted into high gear. tor said I really needed excited about being a support for the Center “I couldn’t say yes fast enough! to take better care of through its leadership transition, and I want The Center is a fantastic organizamyself,” recalled Butler, tion doing phenomenal and critical who identifies as a Black to be a part of continuing to center race, work. What I love about the Center: genderqueer woman. “A it’s constantly evolving,” she said. friend convinced me to equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work. “I’m excited about being a support get a bike and do AIDS/ for the Center through its leaderLifeCycle, despite my ship transition, and I want to be a concerns about being the chubby girl on a bicycle with small wheels.” When I was on my bike, I could see my part of continuing to center race, equity, After completing the seven-day, 545- environment and be close to many different diversity, and inclusion in our work.” Tamika and her wife Kelly reside in Los mile bike trek from San Francisco to Los communities.” A graduate of Stanford Law School, Angeles with their two-year-old son Atei. Angeles benefiting San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV-related services Butler’s first glimpse of the Center occurred The family is expecting a newborn baby in of the Center, Butler swore she would put when she met a colleague who worked for March.


SAVE the DATE Thursday–Saturday

June 17–19

and livestreaming

• Art Exhibit • Big Queer Convo • Community Building Workshops • Costume Contest • Dedicated Trans Pride Discord Server • Games • VarieTy Show • Virtual Dance Party

And so much more! Sponsored by

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

For more information, visit transpride.lalgbtcenter.org


Group Meetings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 12-Step Groups are temporarily not being held at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza. Please check the internet for information on virtual 12-Step meetings.

Coming Out Coming Out Workshops for Women Coming Out Workshops for Men Coming Out Group for TGI/ENBY+ Community 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, or email groups@lalgbtcenter.org

Community Groups Bi-osphere Explore and discuss the many shades of today’s diverse bisexual community. Mondays, 6–7:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email groups@lalgbtcenter.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org Club Intersex A community-run support group for people to share their experience, strength, and hope as members of the intersex community. Every 1st & 3rd Thurs., 6–7:30 p.m. Familias Latinx Entrelazadas (F.L.E.X.) – Spanish Language Group Apoyo y guianza para familia y aliados de la comunidad LGBTQ+. Support and guidance for family and allies of LGBTQ+ community. Every 4th Tues., 7–8:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email groups@lalgbtcenter.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org HerStories A gathering place for all LGBT women who want strong community and great conversation. Mondays, 8–10 p.m.

Community Groups (Cont.) To learn how to connect virtually, email groups@lalgbtcenter.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org MasQ Explore your male identity however you choose to express it. Join us in redefining masculinities! Tuesdays, 6–7:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email groups@lalgbtcenter.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org Redefining Masculinities For all people and identities who want to actively redefine and explore the possibilities of what it can and should mean to be masculine in this world. Bring topics, questions, and issues to share and explore. Every 2nd and 4th Tues., 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org Share, Show & Tell Senior Services and Trans* Lounge members gather to share a poem, song, recipe, arts and crafts, or something near and dear to them. So much we can learn from one another, and there is always a story behind each painting, book, article of clothing, object, or even a pet. Wednesdays, 3–4:30 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org Surgery Suite Surgery Suite provides a space to discuss gender-affirming surgeries in a safe, supportive space. Now expanded to three times per month for added focus on your specific gender journey. Every 1st Thurs.: Trans Masculine Procedures Every 2nd Thurs.: Open discussion with a medical professional Every 4th Thurs.: Trans Feminine Procedures 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org

Community Groups (Cont.) Trans* Spectrum Safe, small, quiet, controlled space for neurodiverse members of the Trans/GNC/ENBY community. Limited to 15 people maximum per meeting. Every 1st and 3rd Tues., 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org Trans Tales from the Vaults Our trans and queer history is rich and vibrant but also human, gritty, and sometimes salacious. Exciting interactive workshop which is part listening party, part talkback session as we explore our transcestors through the trans historical podcast One from the Vaults. 1st and 3rd Wed., 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org TRANSforming Your Kitchen – A Chosen Family Dinner In this fun 90-minute group, get together with other Trans* Lounge foodies to create delicious, easily accessible, and easy-to-prepare meals in your own kitchen. We provide you with a list of ingredients in advance so you can follow along at home and prepare an amazing dish along with the rest of the group. Our knowledgeable instructors will answer all of your culinary questions along the way. The best part: once you have created your yummy masterpiece, the remainder of our time is spent enjoying a delicious meal together. Every 3rd Thurs. 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org Transgender Perceptions Conversations and communitybuilding for transgender and GNC people. Fridays, 7:30–9:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email groups@lalgbtcenter.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org

Senior Groups 50+ All Senior Services programming is available by video conference and can be accessed by computer or phone. For more information about Senior Services classes, or how to connect virtually, please call 323-860-7322 or visit facebook.com/50pluslgbt To RSVP, email seniors@lalgbtcenter.org or call 323-860-5830 Alzheimer’s LGBT Caregiver Support Every 2nd & 4th Thurs., 10:30 a.m.–Noon Asian/Pacific Islander Support Group Every 1st & 3rd Mon., 3–4 p.m. Balance & Strengthening Fridays, 10–11:30 a.m. Beginning Tap Dancing Lessons Wednesdays, 2–3 p.m. Bereavement Support Group Tuesdays, 1:15–2:45 p.m. Brain Power Thursdays, 1–2 p.m. Chair Yoga Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–Noon Employment Tips 50+ Every 2nd Tues., 3–4 p.m. Iyengar Yoga Mondays, Noon–1 p.m. LBQ Women’s Chat Thursdays, 10–11 a.m. Men Living with HIV Thursdays, 1:30–3 p.m. Housing Supportive Network Every 2nd & 4th Thurs., 3–4 p.m. Meditation & Mindfulness Mondays, 3–4 p.m. Men of Color Aging 50+ Every 3rd Sat., 2–4 p.m. Men’s Social Group Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–Noon Qi Gong Mondays, 2–3 p.m. R&B Line Dancing Tuesdays, 11 a.m.–Noon Sable Talks 2nd & 4th Thurs., 11 a.m.–Noon Tai Chi & Sound Bath Saturdays, 10–11 a.m. TransC.A.R.E. Tuesdays, 2–3 p.m. Veteran’s Support Group Wednesdays, 1–2 p.m.

VANGUARD | COMMUNIT Y

12-Step Groups


CENTER NOTES

NEWS & NOTES

A WHOPPER OF COMPASSION Amid a global health crisis, more than 1,000 volunteers stepped up to help the Center last year and donated a whopping 32,240 combined hours of their time and talents. They were critical in enabling the Center to launch new programs in response to the pandemic, including Pride Pantry, the Hello Club, and Senior Angels. Some of them performed important tasks, such as screening visitors entering the Center’s health clinics and pharmacy. Learn more and become a volunteer at

lalgbtcenter.org/volunteer

THE CORNERSTONE OF HEALTH RESEARCH

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

“I look forward to working with the Center’s board, staff, and partners to ensure that the Center not only continues to be a trusted provider of care to the communities it currently serves but that we deepen our work to address the racial disparities and systemic racism that prohibits all members of the LGBTQ+ community from thriving,” said Hollendoner. “I also remain committed to maintaining and expanding the Center’s role as a national and global LGBTQ+ movement leader.” Read more at lalgbtcenter.org/CEO

Center South, the Center’s facility in South Los Angeles, received a Certificate of Recognition from California Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager, who represents the 54th Assembly District including nearby Leimert Park neighborhood. “There’s so many Black and brown families who have LGBT folks in their families, and I wonder about them every single day,” she said following her tour of the 5,500-square-foot building. “By being here, the Center is saying ‘I am here for you.’ And that really is important.” Read more at

lalgbtcenter.org/54

GOOD FOOD

The Center and its research study partners, collectively known as the Four Corners: Trans & Nonbinary (TNB) Health Research Advisory Network, released their first report identifying areas and directions for researchers who are developing future projects addressing the TNB communities’ health needs. Major findings included the need for diversity and TNB leadership among research teams and more nonbinary-specific research, among others.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to support the Center’s innovative Culinary Arts program, an intergenerational training program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and low-income LGBTQ seniors. Taught at the Center’s commercial kitchen in the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, culinary students have prepared as many as 450 boxed meals per day to feed the Center’s senior clients experiencing food insecurity, the 100+ homeless youth who visit the Youth Center, and senior and youth residents at multiple Center locations.

Learn more at

Learn more at

lalgbtcenter.org/fourcorners

lalgbtcenter.org/culinaryarts

HELLO, JOE! Joe Hollendoner, currently the CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF), will succeed Lorri L. Jean as the Center’s next leader. Hollendoner will assume the role of executive director in July and work with Jean prior to succeeding her as CEO upon her retirement in July 2022.

A VISIT FROM SYDNEY


CENTER VOICES

ANALYSIS & INSIGHT Mi Centro, the Center’s facility formed in partnership with Latino Equality Alliance in Boyle Heights, provides a space for LGBTQ youth and their families to feel safe and empowered. It offers Familias Afortunadas, a Spanish-language support group, as told in LA Metro’s Community Conversations:

Listen more at

JO CERDA Youth & Family Connections Manager Children, Youth & Family Services

bit.ly/micentro

Excerpt: "We are now with an administration that is willing to put the lived experiences of LGBT people at the forefront—where we deserve to be—and be able to get the resources and demand for those resources in order for us not just to survive, but to thrive."

JOEY HERNÁNDEZ Watch more at

Watch more at

CAMERON VARNEY Trans Wellness Center Site Manager Health Services

bit.ly/translives

The Biden administration is receiving praise for its diverse Cabinet picks and pledge for inclusiveness for the next four years. One of the first Executive Orders signed by President Biden ensured anti-discrimination protection for the LGBT community at schools and workplaces, among others, as seen on KABC-TV:

bit.ly/LGBTQthrive

Excerpt: “We have just as much right to exist as everyone else. It’s really important to recognize the intersections of identity that are playing here when we talk about privilege and power. Trans women are too often marginalized and ostracized, and we need to change that fundamentally by recognizing their humanity.”

Director of Advocacy and Mobilization Public Policy

Excessive alcohol consumption disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people—a reality made worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by Queerty:

Excerpt: “People have had to confront their drinking in a way they hadn’t prior because they’re at home all the time. Their family, or partner, are maybe seeing behaviors they might not have noticed before. There’s more attention being paid to that, and so people are having to confront their alcohol consumption. Some people crossed that invisible line during the pandemic, and I think we will see the repercussions of that for a long time. Isolation is a huge indicator of alcohol abuse.”

SARAH McCUSKER Mental Health Clinician V Health Services

Read more at

bit.ly/COVIDalcohol

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Excerpt: “Let’s bring this conversation into our community and welcome folks to be able to be vulnerable, to be themselves, to come in without having this agenda of ‘I have to come in and know the proper terms,’ or ‘I have to be able to feel a certain way because I’m going to be judged for not knowing or for saying hurtful things.’ I wanted to create a safe space for all folks to come into the conversation authentically and say whatever they feel.’”

The vicious attacks and murders of transgender women, particularly trans women of color, continues to escalate—2020 marked the worst year on record for transphobic violence nationwide. In order for people to live their lives authentically and courageously, others need to understand trans and nonbinary folks have always existed, as seen on KTTV-TV’s Good Day LA:


WHY I GIVE

VANGUARD | SPRING 2021

MAC KAHEY I

Iwas born and raised in Los Angeles—South L.A. to be exact—and yet, unbelievably, I never stepped foot into the Center until three years ago. I heard about the Center, but it wasn’t until I moved to Hollywood that I had the chance to take a tour of it. Wow, I was f loored! I didn’t realize all of the life-saving programs and services the Center offered for our community, particularly to youth experiencing homelessness. I love that the Center not only helps provide youth with emergency shelter and hot meals, but also offers a full range of services—such as GED tutoring, employment services, and college scholarships—aimed to inspire youth to get back on their feet. I am fortunate enough to have been raised by a family who is accepting of me as a gay man. (I knew they would be accepting of me after I witnessed my mom and sister binge watching on a full season of RuPaul’s Drag Race!). But, I realize that many LGBTQ youth around the world aren’t as lucky—and it’s utterly heartbreaking to see them surviving on the streets. That’s why I want to use

my prominence on social media to help the Center pursue its mission of helping LGBTQ people thrive because positive energy and having a purpose in life is precisely what I preach to my followers. My most memorable project benef iting the Center was—I have to admit— one of my earliest experiences when I felt like an adult. In celebration of my 22nd birthday, I hosted a clothing drive benef iting the Center’s youth. I was so nervous about this clothing drive because I didn’t know how many people would show up. More than 150 people showed up at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza! We ended up f illing three huge bins with new and gently-used clothes, shoes, bags, and toiletries! Whenever I think of that moment, it f ills my heart— and it keeps me pushing to do more for the Center. When I was asked to host last year’s virtual Models of Pride conference for LGBTQ youth, I was honored to do it because I am f ierce, fabulous, free—just

like the conference’s theme! But, seriously, it’s because I support the Center to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ youth where they can be themselves, be authentic. Also because, at this very moment, it’s a game changer to be a proud gay Black man on social media. For once, people in “the industry” want to listen to me. They want to have conversations with me about my experiences. My entire livelihood is a conversation piece right now. I’m loving it! Let’s keep this conversation going about diversity, equity, and inclusion because I’m pushing for a long-lasting change. I know change may not happen overnight. So, if you f ind yourself in an uncomfortable place or space—no matter your age, your identity, your background—I want you to keep looking forward. Don’t be distracted, and don’t be discouraged. Life happens when you try. And if you need a little push to try, there’s no better place to turn to than the Center.

Mac Kahey (a.k.a. MacDoesIt) has nearly 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube. Follow the 24-year-old influencer on social media @macdoesit


N O W

D E L I V E R E D !

Located on the corner of McCadden Place and Santa Monica Boulevard at the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus

liberationcoffee.org


Anita May Rosenstein Campus 1118 N. McCadden Pl. Los Angeles, CA 90038

“It makes me smile

every time I see the sign. By being here in South LA, the Center is saying

‘I am here for you.’

And that really is important.

Read more from Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager’s visit to Center South at LGBTNewsNow.org/54