g n i c u d o r t n I
Anita May Rosenstein Campus 1118 N. McCadden Pl. Los Angeles, CA 90038
THE ARIADNE GETTY FOUNDATION SENIOR HOUSING
The Center gave me a home when I had nowhere to go. - Ernesto
IN MAKING A LASTING DIFFERENCE.
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ABOUT THE COVER
e om H t a y l d u o r P
Located at 1127 North Las Palmas Avenue, The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing boasts 98 affordable housing units in the heart of Hollywood. The majestic 70,000-square foot edifice caps the Center’s decade-long dream of building an intergenerational campus (the Center opened the MichaelJohn Horne & Thomas Eugene Jones Youth Housing in April 2021). Let’s celebrate!
1. Lush courtyard with firepit and direct pathway to the Center’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Senior Center 2. Community room includes seating area and communal kitchen 3. Fitness room 4. Senior housing’s northern exterior 5. Lobby and community room lead to the outdoor courtyard Photos by Jim Simmons
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
in ACTION OUR SPONSORS AND COMMUNITY OF SUPPORTERS RAISED MORE THAN $1.1 MILLION DURING OUR AUGUST 14 TELETHON TO HELP FUND THE CENTER'S VITAL PROGRAMS AND SERVICES BEING PROVIDED DURING THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
OFFICIAL AIRLINE PARTNER
A PUBLICATION OF THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER
GRATITUDE ISSUE • FALL/WINTER 2021
Message from the Center’s CEO
Get to Know the Center's New Executive Director Joe Hollendoner
Welcome to The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing!
The Center's STOP Violence Program Reaches a Milestone
Our Health Services' Heroic Efforts During the Pandemic
The Center's Chief Medical Officer Passes the Torch
Our Seniors Express Themselves
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Group Meetings Schedule
Take Five with Center Volunteers & Staff
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 email@example.com
We did it again! The Center's second Love in Action telethon, which aired on KTLA 5, raised more than $1.1 million to benefit the Center's vital programs and services. KTLA 5 hosted a dance party in studio during the two-hour show with Center supporters and staff (from left to right): B.K. Habermehl; tote board emcee Heidi N Closet; Ryan Cassata; Cameron Varney; telethon host Jai Rodriguez; Blossom C. Brown; Heidi Chairez; Center CEO Lorri L. Jean; Brittany Ashley; and telethon host and KTLA 5 anchor Cher Calvin.
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Missed Love in Action? Scan the QR code to watch the show now with appearances by Adam Lambert, Eva Longoria, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, RuPaul, and more!
FROM THE CEO
IT'S BEEN A WILD RIDE--BUT WE'RE STILL HANGING ON
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• Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean
ately, I feel like much of my life has been a roller coaster ride:
though, Texas passed a law effectively banning abortions in the Lone Star State. This has prompted other red states that want to control women’s bodies to consider enacting similar laws.
• In the world of COVID-19, a few months ago the Center was preparing to revive in-person services that had to • In the world of public health, the go virtual at the beginning of Covid Center courageously took an early stand because the government didn’t consider on behalf of science, the public health, them “essential”. (Our critical frontand the safety of our staff and clients line services such as medical care and by requiring that Center employees be housing have never stopped being live vaccinated as a condition of employment during Covid.) Staff were beginning (subject to applicable laws, of course). to come back to work in our various I was deeply saddened that nine staff locations, we were having in-person chose to leave our employ rather than meetings, and it was wonderful to see to get vaccinated. people live and in person again. Then the Delta variant hit, and we had to put These days it seems like almost every the brakes on. Most of our staff is back “up” is followed by some kind of “down.” to working from home and delivering It has been maddening! It’s times like these programs virtually. when I am enormously grateful to work at • In the world of politics, if the recall of the Los Angeles LGBT Center because I Governor Newsom had been successdon’t have to look far to see signs of hope ful, the highest-polling replacement and evidence of so much that is good in the candidate was an anti-LGBT, misogyworld. Just a few recent examples include: nist conservative. Thankfully, the tide turned, and the voters retained Newsom • In the last month, after more than a year by a landslide. Around the same time, of frustrating Covid-caused delays, we
granted vouchers for 22 youth clients! These youth will be able to have 10 years of living in an apartment without having to worry about falling back into homelessness! That is a game changer for them! Our staff will do everything we can to help these youth get decent jobs and/or complete their educations to lay the foundation necessary for a stable and successful life. Just one example of the many long-shots we’ve achieved!
• After years of urging the Board of Supervisors to fund specific services for LGBTQ youth in the foster care program, where queer youth are horribly overrepresented and often harmed and abused, we were getting nowhere. We finally called on our community to help, urging people to make their voices heard and demand that something be done. You all rose to the occasion and that seemed to break the log jam. With the support of Department of Children & Family Services Director Bobby Cagle, a proposal recently was approved by the Board of Supervisors—spearheaded by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda L. Solis—to dedicate $3.6 million for such services in Year One. It was a desperately needed start, and we applaud everyone who has played a role in achieving this important first step!
• My successor, Joe Hollendoner, has now been on the job as Executive Director since July 6th. (He’ll assume the CEO role after I retire on July 1, 2022.) Nothing has caused me more concern over the past few years than worrying about whether the Board would find a new CEO who would be up to the task of leading this phenomenal organization and continuing its vital work. They couldn’t have made a better choice than Joe. He has spent the first several months totally immersing himself in the Center’s work in a way I never could when I was new. I’ve had the opportunity to see him in action. He’s smart, insightful, passionate, and hard working. His judgment has been stellar, and his sense of humor greatly welcome. You can learn a little bit more about Joe on the next page. I hope you’ll be able to meet him in person soon, and I know you’ll be as impressed as I am.
• When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, it included 70,000 housing vouchers nationwide for people experiencing homelessness, including youth. These vouchers were unprecedented as they would provide help for TEN years. Only 6,806 vouchers came to Los Angeles which, as of our last homeless count, had more than 66,000 homeless people. So, 6,806 vouchers was a drop in the bucket. But our Youth Services staff were undaunted. They jumped right on it and submitted applications on behalf of our youth clients. The Center was eligible to apply because we committed to providing wraparound services to these youth for the next year. It seemed like a total long shot. Imagine our joy to learn that we had been
The good news is, despite the challenges of the last 19 months, the Center’s work abounds with stories of hope and health, pride, happiness, and love. None of these things could happen without the support of all of you, our wonderful community. Thank you!
Marki J. Knox, M.D.
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
Don Thomas Alfred Fraijo Jr. Amy Gordon Yanow Jordan Held
Strategic Partnership Manager
Nolan Ryan Cadena Operations Manager
Ari DeSano Platform and Systems Manager
Want to learn more about the Center's new Executive Director Joe Hollendoner? Turn the page and say Hello, Joe!
Megan Phelps Managing Editor
Takashi Sato Art Director
Media and Public Relations Director
Greg Hernandez Writer/Editor
Tiffany Ward Production Manager
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finally opened our new Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing—98 units of affordable housing for seniors! The place looks great, and everyone has been moving in. The excitement and pride have been palpable. One of our earliest occupants asked whether it would be OK if he flew a rainbow pride flag in his window. “Of course!” we said. We want EVERYONE in the new building to be that proud.
Hello, H J
THE CENTER’S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAKES OUR QUESTIONS
• Joe Hollendoner joins volunteers in packing bags of produce at the Center's Pride Pantry (left). • Hollendoner meeting senior residents at Triangle Square, the Center’s affordable housing complex in Hollywood (below). • Hollendoner makes pasta with Culinary Arts Executive Chef Director Leslie Riley (right).
Hollendoner, who will succeed Lorri L. Jean as Chief Executive Officer upon her retirement in July 2022, has invested the last several months visiting the Center’s various locations to familiarize himself with the multitude of vital programs and services that our organization provides to the community. Hollendoner, formerly the CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, took some time out of his onboarding process to answer a handful of questions.
1. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THE CENTER SO SPECIAL? It’s a source of hope. I first became aware of the Center while I was watching an episode of Ellen that aired shortly after she “came out.” Her character attended a support group at the McDonald/Wright Building. As a teenager who was watching from my home in the suburbs of Chicago, I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe that such a place exists’ and, knowing that it did, gave me hope for my future. Since joining the team at the Center, I see the hope the Center continues to instill within so many LGBTQ+ people who are struggling.
2. AS YOU HAVE EMBEDDED YOURSELF IN VARIOUS PROGRAMS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE MEMORABLE MOMENTS?
One experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life was spending an evening volunteering in our youth shelter. I spent time not only speaking with some of the residents as we hung out in the drop-in space, but I also met with staff who shared why they’re so passionate about their work and what motivates them to show up for our community. I will forever remember that experience and will look back at it whenever I need to be inspired! That night truly showed me how fortunate I am to be leading an organization that’s so dynamic and impactful.
3. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? I’m a collaborative leader. I like to develop deep, authentic partnerships with the people with whom I work, whether internally or externally. I also think of myself as someone who is not only strategic and visionary but who also has the ability to execute on that vision. I seek to use my positional influence and privilege to advance justice for all. And, I try to incorporate joy and laughter into the work whenever possible.
4. YOU’VE BEEN PART OF THE LGBTQ MOVEMENT SINCE COMING OUT AS GAY AT THE AGE OF 16. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME INVOLVED SO YOUNG? When I came out I was attending an all-boys Catholic high school in the suburbs of Chicago. Neither my school nor my community was very LGBT-friendly,
which caused me to struggle. I remember one day in particular when I experienced a pretty significant physical attack at school. I ended up going to the principal’s office and telling him how unsafe I felt at school, and I asked that he do something to protect me. He took a pause and said that all he could do was pray for me. That resulted in me seeking support from a local LGBT drop-in center and getting involved with my local chapter of GLSEN—a national organization that works to end discrimination, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Through that, I discovered my passion for community work and advocacy. I wanted to give back to the LGBT community the support I had been given and make sure other young people didn’t have to experience the intolerance that I did.
5. LORRI L. JEAN IS ONE OF THE LONGEST-TENURED LEADERS IN THE LGBTQ MOVEMENT. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FOLLOWING IN HER FOOTSTEPS? Lorri is an icon in our movement who I have long admired and who I am so delighted that I got to know through my previous role at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation when our organizations collaborated on AIDS/LifeCycle. While it’s incredibly intimidating to follow in her footsteps, the support she and the Board have offered me throughout this transition makes me certain that I can continue the tremendous success the Center experienced under Lorri’s leadership. I deeply respect Lorri and want to make her proud.
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incee assumingg thee rolee ass thee Cen ter’ss Executivee Directorr in n earlyy July,, Joee Hollendonerr hass quietlyy madee hiss presencee known n amongg thee Center’ss nearlyy 8000 employees.
At the ornerof
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• THE COMMUNITY ROOM'S FLOOR-TO-CEILING WINDOWS OVERLOOK A LUSH COURTYARD.
Local Seniors Gain a New Lease on Life Inside The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing by Gil Diaz and Greg Hernandez
• PHOTO CAPTION
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ive months after opening Navigator Jonathan Willett, who helped the doors of the Michaeljohn many residents during the move-in process. Horne & Thomas Eugene Jones “It’s a place free of judgment, free of any Youth Housing, the Los Angeles LGBT hate for who they are. Finally, they can Center has reached another milestone: have some peace and live their lives within the highly anticipated opening of a warm, safe environment." Sprawled across nearly three-quarters The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing. Not only will the 98-unit of an acre, the senior housing includes affordable housing complex begin to 19 studios, 75 one-bedroom units, and transform the lives of many vulnerable four two-bedroom dwellings. One unit is seniors ages 62 and above, it also will reserved for an on-site property manager, represent the culmination of years of and 25 of them are designated as permanent supportive housing units for seniors planning and hard work. “The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior experiencing homelessness whose rents Housing is the final cornerstone which are funded by Los Angeles county and completes the Center’s decades-long city grants. “For many of our residents, this is the dream to build the intergenerational and revolutionary Anita May Rosenstein Cam- last place they plan to live for the rest of pus. We are immensely proud to provide a their lives,” said Senior Services Director nurturing housing community for seniors Kiera Pollock. “We know that we are who are on fixed incomes and for those the chosen family for most of our older previously experiencing homelessness,” adults who don’t have immediate family or said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “We are children to take care of them. Most of deeply grateful for the generosity of them live alone and don’t have anyone to Ariadne Getty and her foundation as they help support them—we’re here for them.” stepped up to work with us to improve THE NEED FOR the lives of many seniors while continuing AFFORDABLE HOUSING their ongoing support for LGBTQ youth. This incredible senior housing project The statistics are astounding: an would not have been possible without the support of many people, including estimated 65,000 LGBTQ seniors live in our developer partner Thomas Safran & Los Angeles—68 percent of whom live alone. LGBTQ seniors generally struggle Associates.” The cutting-edge 70,000-square-foot to afford housing and other necessities besenior housing edifice is located in the cause they are four times less likely than heart of Hollywood, one block east of their heterosexual counterparts to have McCadden Place—where The Village at children and grandchildren to support Ed Gould Plaza exists—and adjacent to them and twice as likely to live alone. “For decades, LGBTQ seniors have the Center’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Senior Center. With construction in- been on the frontlines advocating for terrupted abruptly by the COVID-19 equality. Without the progress they pandemic, the soaring five-story structure achieved and their personal sacrifices, the finally came to life when the first residents LGBTQ community would not have the began to inhabit their new abodes same rights it does today,” said Ariadne Getty. “COVID-19 has been incredibly this summer. "They feel like they are finally challenging, but even before the pandemic, coming to a place they can call home,” LGBTQ seniors faced disproportionate said the Center’s Senior Services Housing rates of homelessness. Unfortunately, the
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pandemic deepened disparities, making prices, in congruence with the COVID-19 The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior pandemic, has caused many of our Los Housing an urgent need not only for Angeles neighbors to suffer from extreme the Los Angeles community, but as an financial hardship. We receive thousands example and inspiration for communities of applications for our affordable housing communities, yet the demand far exceeds nationwide.” In addition to living their lives authen- the supply.” The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior tically and fearlessly, seniors will be able to enjoy the building’s other perks. They Housing initially was expected to be comhave access to a full range of wraparound plete by the end of 2020, but the pandemic services and support provided by the put a dent in the construction plans and Center’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg subsequently crippled a nation. Despite Senior Center, including case manage- COVID-19-related delays and barriers, ment; home-delivered meals; in-home TSA is proud of the senior housing’s result. “Thomas Safran & Associates holds a care and benefits assistance; connection to health and mental health care; HIV support mission to enhance the world in which and wellness; and counseling and support we live and enrich the lives of the people groups. Other life-enhancing services who reside in our buildings,” said Pynes. include daily meals catered by students “We partnered with the Los Angeles LGBT of the Center’s unique Culinary Arts Center because we truly admire the work program; employment training; and more that the Center has done. With the Centhan 100 monthly activities provided for ter’s support, we are excited to give back to our community and provide much needed free or at low-cost. Each unit is built with luxury vinyl housing and services.” In the senior housing’s lobby, residents flooring and includes premium finishes and have access to a myriad of amenities, inbeautiful new appliances. “This project is a notable development cluding a vast community room comprised in our company’s history and an example of a communal kitchen, dining tables, of what other cities should be doing,” said desktop computer lab, television viewing Thomas Safran & Associates (TSA) President area, billiard table, and upright piano. Jordan Pynes. “We have seen the demand Around the corner from the community for affordable housing grow exponential- room are the offices of the property manly in Los Angeles. The increase in rental agement, maintenance crew, and case
• SOME OF THE APARTMENTS INCLUDE UNOBSTRUCTED VIEWS OF HOLLYWOOD.
managers. Residents also may utilize a fitness center and a coinless laundry facility. (The washing machines and dryers are activated by residents’ laundry debit cards.) The community room’s floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a lush outdoor courtyard enhanced with patio furniture, barbecue gas grill, gas firepit, and a pathway leading directly to the Center’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Senior Center. WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME Some of the new residents arrived at 1127 North Las Palmas Avenue with professional movers in tow while others trickled through the senior housing’s main entryway with little more than the clothes on their backs. Some of them gathered their belongings from storage units, some from their friends’ garages. All of the new residents, however, agree on one thing: securing a roof over their heads was a nail-biting experience that took a very long time. When the housing lottery opened in early 2020, more than 2,000 people applied online. In the midst of the lottery process, the pandemic emerged. Strongly advised by the Centers for Disease Control to self-isolate, many seniors found themselves cut off from the rest of the world. The pandemic only heightened their vulnerability to experience homelessness. By the time they were able to move into the senior housing, some of them were either couch surfing, living in cramped rooms or garages, or sleeping in a park. (Read some of our new residents’ compelling stories beginning on page 14.) “Our residents have experienced everything: from folks who have been homeless for a great deal of time, or been recently homeless, to low-income individuals who have faced evictions or been priced out of their homes,” explained Pollock. “Moving into our new senior housing is the first time they’ve been able to move into an affordable place and be supported as they age.” As an affirmation of the Center’s dedication to help LGBTQ seniors thrive, Pollock says a new resident shyly asked the onsite manager if it was okay to hang a Pride flag in their window. The resident quickly received an enthusiastic one-word response: “Absolutely!”
• APARTMENTS ARE EQUIPPED WITH LUXURY VINYL FLOORING, PREMIUM FINISHES, AND NEW APPLIANCES (TOP LEFT) AS WELL AS SAFETY HANDRAILS AND A FOLDING SHOWER SEAT IN THE BATHROOM (BOTTOM LEFT). SOME UNITS INCLUDE A BALCONY (LEFT).
The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing—by the Numbers
STUDIOS 379 TO 464 SQUARE FEET
FOR RESIDENTS AGES ONE-BEDROOMS 544 TO 612 SQUARE FEET
The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing received invaluable support from investors and government agencies, including:
STATE OF CALIFORNIA Treasurer Fiona Ma California Debt Limit Allocation Committee California Tax Credit Allocation Committee
LOS ANGELES COUNTY Supervisor Sheila Kuehl Los Angeles Community Development Corporation County Department of Health Services County Department of Mental Health
INVESTORS California Community Reinvestment Corporation Federal Home Loan Bank of California Wells Fargo Bank The David Mizener & Arturo Carrillo Senior Housing Gap Fund
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CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD
CITY OF LOS ANGELES Mayor Eric Garcetti Former Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu Los Angeles Councilmember Nithya Raman Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Los Angeles Housing Department
Meet Some of Our New Residents!
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t had been a decade since Chilton had a home of her own, but she was trying to remain even-keeled as she moved her belongings into a third-floor studio. The day after moving in, she took the bus to a friend’s barbecue a few miles away. When it came time to return home, the 63-year-old Chicago native began to shake and cry uncontrollably. “It was nothing but euphoria because, when I got ready to leave my friend’s place, I was coming back to mine—and it was going to be as I left it,” shared Chilton. “During these 10 years, whether it was renting a room or sleeping on various sofas, I had been in many other people’s space, trying to stay small, and following their schedules.”
"Home is my sanctuary." Chilton had always held a job. She Hollywood. She was careful not to stay too worked as a pastry chef, an accountant, and, long in any one place for fear of wearing for many years, as a code enforcement of- out her welcome. “It’s been collecting my things from all ficer and then a regulatory business license officer for the City of West Hollywood. these various places and figuring out what But two freak accidents while on the job in else I needed,” she said a few days after 2007 left her unable to work. Gradually her moving into the senior housing building. living situation declined. She had to give “I had downsized with each move and pretty up the rent-controlled apartment in West much gave away most of my things.” Now it was time to start over. Hollywood where she had lived since 1986. “This is probably the most important By 2011 she rented a room in a friend’s large house for six years and, since 2017, home I’ve ever had,” she said. “For many had been “going from sofa to sofa to sofa.” people, a home is a building where they Chilton had grown accustomed have stuff. For me, home is my sanctuary. to what she describes as “the homeless It is safety. It is a place of peace.” circuit” which involved shuffling between the homes of friends and family, from Redlands to Venice to Encino to West
imon was one of the first tenants to move into the complex. When the 73-year-old rang his own doorbell for the first time, he cracked at the remembrance of a Broadway musical: “This sounds like The Book of Mormon!” The semi-retired actor simply could not contain his excitement upon entering his one-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor. “In the words of Ethel Merman, ‘Today, this is the only place in the world to be!’” said Simon before dramatically breaking into a Merman song from the musical Happy Hunting: “Gee, but it’s good to be here! Frankly, I feel right at home!”
tanding in her new bedroom with movers setting up her bed, Lynn said to her friend helping with the move: “I love this place! I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.” After working as a registered nurse for more than three decades, Lynn knew she deserved better than to be living in a garage
He looked out the window and pointed a place that was mine, where I had some out the iconic Hollywood sign, the rights as the tenant. When you’re in a guest Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood house, there are no rights.” Simon, who appeared in several plays Roosevelt Hotel where the first Oscars for famed producer and director Joseph were held. “I’m certainly familiar with the view,” Papp, still works as an actor. He plays the he said. “I also see the church where Bing role of a patient for medical students and doctors learning how to interview their Crosby married his first wife, Dixie.” A native of New York City, Simon had patients. For six years, he was the buyer lived in a two-bedroom apartment he really loved in Los Feliz for 23 years. When the for A Different Light Bookstore in West building was sold six years ago, he moved Hollywood, followed by a 14-year stint as buyer for the Samuel French Film and into a friend’s guest house. “I had a nifty little place, but the Theatre Bookshop on Sunset Boulevard. “I’ve been out since about 1976,” said owners decided to move. Suddenly, I had a deadline to get out,” he shared. “I wanted Simon. “I always say I’m a professional gay.”
"I feel like the luckiest woman in the world." apartment in Ladera Heights without a kitchen—only with a mini-refrigerator. But money was tight and, for almost seven years, the 73-year-old made do. “It was small, but it was a roof over my head,” said Lynn, before taking a seat in her new bedroom due to her inability to stand for long periods of time.
“People keep saying I deserve this new apartment. I don’t know if I do or not, but I’m so proud and happy, and I’m looking forward to being part of the community,” she said. “I’ve already met a couple of guys who just moved in. Being LGBT, I’m with my peeps—and it’s wonderful!”
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"Today, this is the only place in the world to be!"
or Weiner, a semi-retired musician and comedienne who recently moved into her one-bedroom apartment, it was all about the piano. “I’m a piano player. When I walked into the senior housing’s community room and took a look at that piano, I said to myself, ‘You know, I’d live in a tent if that came along with it’—and I almost meant it,” she recalled. Describing herself as “55+++,” Weiner once had been a substitute teacher in
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"Who could be more fun to live with than a bunch of LGBT people?" Hawaii where she also actively participated in local theater. In recent years, she lived in Hollywood in a studio located four blocks away from the Center. Her studio perfectly fulfilled her needs, she said, until she discovered it was going to be demolished. “Before the pandemic, I had been coming to the Senior Center when they served hot lunch, and I would socialize. It was so nice!” recalled Weiner. “I saw the senior housing being built so I put my name in for the lottery. Even though I’m not usually
very lucky, something told me this apartment might come through.” She looks forward to playing the piano and leading sing-alongs with fellow residents. “I consider myself part of the LGBT community. I’ve been there, done that,” she said with a laugh. “Who could be more fun to live with than a bunch of LGBT people?”
"I never thought I’d be able to live in this brand new, beautiful building."
Throughout his dire straits, Arrigo ith Parkinson’s Disease and I wanted to educate myself—and that’s nearly blind, Arrigo spent what I’m doing with Parkinson’s,” said remained connected to the Center and much of the past two years Arrigo, who served as vice chair of the received free lunches during the week. either splitting the cost of a motel room City of West Hollywood’s Disabilities He used his smartphone to participate in with a friend—only when he could afford Advisory Board for 16 years. “I have my community chats and classes offered by to do so—or spending the night in a park. good days and bad days but, basically, I’m Senior Services via Zoom. On move-in day, the Center’s Housing In September he moved into a second- a strong person.” When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Navigator Jonathan Willett and other floor studio which he proclaimed as “so he hit hard times financially and was staff members helped Arrigo move his clean—I love it!” “I’m very excited to move in here,” said evicted from his longtime West Holly- furniture including a futon, coffee table, the 65-year-old on the day he received his wood apartment. He put his belongings bookshelves, lamps, and a television. Arrigo received new pots and pans, dishes, keys. “I never thought I’d be able to live in into storage. “My wallet was stolen soon after I lost and towels. this brand new, beautiful building.” “It’s all yours,” said an emotional Since losing much of his eyesight at my apartment, and I didn’t have an I.D. age 20, Arrigo has managed to remain or a credit card to rent a hotel room,” he Willett to Arrigo. “No more hotels. No recalled. “At one point the storage company more sleeping in the park.” remarkably positive and resilient. “When I found out that I tested auctioned my stuff because I couldn’t pay positive for HIV in 1987, all my friends them. Now, all I’ve got are the clothes on were dropping dead from AIDS so my back.”
college or trade school; a computer • ARIADNE GETTY (MIDDLE) WITH HER TWO CHILDREN AUGUST (LEFT) AND NATS (RIGHT) lab; and more. “Ariadne Getty is the real deal,” said community. “I fully immersed myself Jean. “She gives because she sees that by reading all that I could to better there are important needs that must be understand and support them. I also met, and she wants to help. She gives quickly learned of the critical need to because her heart is ﬁlled with compassupport the LGBTQ community on evsion and empathy. She gives because ery level,” said Getty. “Unfortunately, she feels she has a responsibility to addressing the level of discrimination, make a difference. But, Ari is more mental and physical medical issues, than an amazing philanthropist. She is homelessness, addiction, employment a genuine and loving woman whom I am discrimination, and acceptance among proud to call my friend.” a myriad of other issues was not as far Now, with the completion of the 70,000along as I imagined.” square-foot Ariadne Getty Foundation To address the disparities and Senior Housing located a stone’s throw inequities experienced by LGBTQ folks, from the Youth Academy, Ari has elevated the focus, funding, and activism of her stature as one of the truest allies The Ariadne Getty Foundation (AGF)— of the LGBTQ community as well as the which Getty herself fondly describes as intergenerational movement. Sprawled “a living/breathing entity which evolves across nearly three-quarters of an acre, just like I do, and just as the world the towering five-story Senior Housing does”—has been in steadfast support of boasts 98 units of affordable apartthe LGBTQ community since the estabments for seniors ages 62 and above. lishment of the AGF. “I am proud of our It also includes a community room, work over the last decade in advancing fitness room, laundry facilities, and a LGBTQ equality. The AGF is committed lush outdoor courtyard. to continuing our work to ensure every “LGBTQ equality would not be where LGBTQ person has the opportunity to it is today without LGBTQ seniors. lead a meaningful and successful life Yet, there’s no doubt we have a ways free of barriers because of who they to go—and our LGBTQ youth are a love or how they express their gender,” part of the movement to help us get said Getty. “I hope there is a day when there,” explained Getty. “Intergenerational our work is no longer necessary. Until programs and services help teach the then, you can find me in the arena.” LGBTQ community where we came For generations to come, The from, where we are, and where we need Ariadne Getty Foundation’s sparkling to go in our journey to LGBTQ equality. solid aluminum signs perched atop the By creating a campus that houses both Youth Academy and the Senior Housing LGBTQ youth and seniors, not only are undoubtedly will foster an immense we creating a space that fosters comsense of pride and empowerment to munity from young to old, but we are all who enter their main doors. Just as fueling the LGBTQ equality movement. remarkable is the woman who has had I believe that the intergenerational the Center’s back for eight years—and campus at the Center should become counting. a standard practice at centers across “Ari,” said Jean, “is a visionary with a the globe.” heart of gold.” Always the self-effacing benefactor, Ari was always an ally and credits FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARIADNE GETTY FOUNDATION, VISIT: her two adult children, August and Website: ariadnegettyfdn.org Nats, for instilling an even greater Instagram: @ariadnegettyfdn fervor to further support the LGBTQ Facebook: @ariadnegettyfdn
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fter giving her rousing speech at a 2013 fundraiser attended by some of Hollywood’s LGBTQ trailblazers— Ryan Murphy, Jane Lynch, Dustin Lance Black, among them— Center CEO Lorri L. Jean was introduced to a woman from the packed audience who eventually would play a major role in the Center’s future: Ariadne Getty. “Lorri was so impressive when she spoke that I knew I had to meet her,” recalled Getty. “We were introduced, we immediately connected, and our friendship has just blossomed from that day forward. Every conversation is a learning experience with Lorri.” From that evening on, many social gatherings occurred between ally, activist, and philanthropist Ari, and Lorri, leader of the world’s largest LGBT organization, whether it was a cookout at Lorri’s house or a tête-à-tête lunch appointment. These meetings resulted in Ariadne gaining an insider’s look into the needs of the LGBT community’s various age groups—with eye-opening revelations. “I learned that so many LGBTQ youth experience homelessness after coming out to their family and were left without the education, nutrition—and most importantly—the love they needed to succeed,” said Getty. “As a mother and an ally, I understood the immediate need and worked closely with the Center, as a direct services organization, and provided the resources needed to open The Ariadne Getty Foundation Youth Academy so more LGBTQ youth could receive the care and support they need to lead meaningful, healthy lives.” The Youth Academy opened its doors in 2019 inside the Youth Center as part of the Center’s flagship Anita May Rosenstein Campus. The academy provides vital programs and services for youth to achieve their full potential: one-on-one mentoring by specially-trained adults; financial assistance to support their goals of completing their GED and attending
THE CENTER'S REVERED
Violence Program TURNS
by Greg Hernandez
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hen psychology student Susan Holt began a mental health internship in 1987 at the Center, then known as the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, she had no idea she had found her life’s work.
Holt’s internship occurred at the same time the Center was collaborating with the California School of Professional Psychology on a groundbreaking survey focused on domestic violence within the gay and lesbian community. Within a year, she found herself managing and co-facilitating the Center’s first groups for domestic abuse and violence and abandoning any plans to become a general practitioner. In 1996 the Center launched the STOP Violence Program with Holt at the helm. STOP (Support, Treatment/Intervention, Outreach/Education, and Prevention) marks its 25th anniversary this year as the largest and most comprehensive LGBTQ-specific domestic violence program in the nation.
“This is truly a specialty,” said Holt. “LGBTQ domestic violence is not the same as domestic violence in the heterosexual community. There are really significant differences. If you don’t understand those differences, then you’re not going to be helpful, or even safe, as a service provider for those who need help.” As common among same-sex couples as it is among heterosexual couples, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in which an intimate partner or former partner attempts to control the thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions of the other. It may include physical, sexual, psychological, and/or financial abuse. The STOP Violence Program helps an average of 300 people per month by offering a wide variety of services including crisis intervention, counseling, therapy groups and safe housing. It also offers basic necessities such as food, clothing, and transportation for members of the
LGBTQ community who are affected by domestic violence and other crimes. “It’s help that’s specialized for the LGBTQ community,” said Holt. “Not for their non-LGBTQ neighbors, not for their non-LGBTQ friends—but for themselves—because that’s the way it’s been developed. We’re able to assess everyone who comes in for any mental health issue for risk of domestic violence—and that goes a long way. Other providers generally don’t do that.” Giving a Name to the Problem There had been a lack of visibility around LGBTQ domestic violence. People in the community didn’t even realize that’s what they actually were experiencing. “Clients kept coming in with those experiences, but it was not getting named and certainly not being addressed,”
• The Center's STOP Violence Program is comprised of 13 staff members, including Program Manager Susan Holt (right) and Mental Health Clinician Iordana Gamiz (below).
Program staff has grown from the early days and is currently comprised of 13 members who include clinical psychologists, social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, and pre-licensed associates working toward a license with a specialization in domestic violence. The program works in concert with the Center’s Legal Advocacy Project for Survivors, which has attorneys trained in LGBTQ-domestic violence issues. It also has broadened its services to address LGBTQ family violence. Mental health clinician Iordana Gamiz describes the work as hard but fulfilling. She is impressed with the program’s impact that Holt has managed to build over the years. “She created categories to understand domestic violence through an LGBTQ lens because there are so many differences,” said Gamiz. “There are primary aggressors, secondary aggressors, defending victims, primary victims…not only male abusers and female victims. It’s really accurate when you look at the complexities and the dynamics of the relationships.” LGBTQ people are more apt than heterosexuals to fight back in self-defense which can lead to confusion among providers, law enforcement, and the court system. A domestic violence incident might, for example, simply be classified
as a fight between two men or two women which sometimes results in batterers being assessed as survivors and vice versa. “Horrible ramifications come from that,” Holt points out. “Adequate assessments are not being done in the mainstream community. They see it as a fight. It’s minimized as such, and it’s always conceptualized as a gender-based problem. We don’t have services as a result for the people who need them. A lot of the services available, if they are not LGBTQ-specific, can do real harm. We still have a very long way to go in that regard.” Helping Victims and Abusers Holt learned the only way to tackle the problem was not only to work with victims but also to work with the abusers. This led to the Center developing one of the first court-approved LGBTQ-specific batterers’ intervention programs in the nation. “I work with people who are the abusers,” said Gamiz. “This has been the richest experience for me because providing assistance to batterers has helped me to become a better therapist and also understand the complexities of humans in a better way. They need a lot of help.” While plenty of batterers are court-ordered into therapy, a greater number seek help with what they describe as an “anger management problem.” “People will come in for services when they think they have an anger management problem,” explained Holt. “When
you label it as domestic violence, then it gets much, much more difficult for people to accept that’s what they are actually experiencing.” Envisioning The Bigger Picture Not content with only helping Center clients, Holt has been committed to contributing to permanent community and policy change. She has made it a goal of the STOP Violence Program to bring attention to the lack of appropriate services and to develop effective strategies to ensure broader availability of LGBTQ-affirming survivor services. It bothered Holt greatly that graduate students were coming into the agency’s internship program with absolutely no training in domestic violence. She considered this dangerous to clients and played a major role in creating California legislation signed into law in 2004 requiring domestic violence education in all graduate programs of behavioral and mental health. The law also requires that clinicians have knowledge of LGBTQ abuse dynamics. “I am really proud and thrilled of the work we’ve been able to do in California,” said Holt. “I want to make sure that increasing numbers of people are trained in this so, as we go on, more and more people are getting appropriate, non-damaging, and effective treatment and intervention.” The Center’s STOP Violence Program can be reached at 323-860-5806 or firstname.lastname@example.org The Center’s Legal Advocacy Project for Survivors can be reached at 323-993-7649.
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recalled Holt. “I was there repeatedly when services and advocacy were needed. I saw this as such a huge problem. It was really concerning, and no one had any information about this….no one.”
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THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER’S ONLINE ADVOCATE & GOCHIS GALLERIES PRESENTS
THE ADVOCATE & GOCHIS GALLERIES CELEBRATES THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF ART DIVISION, THE GRASSROOTS LA ARTS ORGANIZATION SERVING UNDER-REPRESENTED YOUTH. OUR COLLABORATION FEATURES WORK BY LONG-TIME ART DIVISION STUDENTS IN A STUNNING RANGE OF STYLES. CONGRATULATIONS, ART DIVISION! ARTWORK FROM TOP LEFT A HOLOBIONT PARTY IN THE MICROBIOME, KIRA OIKAWA-CLARK LUNA LLENA, KATA GARCIA SHED, KEVIN RODRIGUEZ COATLICUE, KEVIN LOUIS TABA
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HEALTHFUL Why Health Services Staff Pushed Through the Pandemic by Greg Hernandez
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uring the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Health Services remained open—and there’s no sign of closing its doors as the global health crisis inexorably heads toward the two-year mark. The Center's newly-appointed Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kaiyti Duffy says this dedication to remain open is keeping with Center tradition. “Health services at the Center have very sacred roots in the early days of HIV when it became this place for people to come for care when nobody else would see them,” said Duffy. “That’s such a sacred history to have: to be this medical home. We have since grown and opened our doors to the wider queer community.”
of the initial pandemic lockdown,” said the Center’s Health Services Director of Performance Improvement Claudia Alvarez, R.N. “We’ve learned from this past year that certain things can be accomplished without all of us having to be under the same roof.” According to Alvarez, much of the care during the first year of telehealth was reactive. “Our initial mindset was ‘let’s take care of people—what do they need right now?’” recalled Alvarez. “Now we have begun to ask ‘how do we redesign workflows so we can work on preventative health?’ For example, although people are not coming in for visits, we can work on mailing colorectal and cervical cancer screening kits to them.”
A CALL TO ACTION DURING PANDEMIC
Jeffrey Rodriguez, who oversees sexual health and education programming, says it has taken flexibility and ingenuity to have patients tested continuously for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and to maintain PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) services uninterrupted. “Other agencies that were doing testing completely shut down. They just stopped because they didn’t know what they were—or were not—capable of doing,” said Rodriguez. “We felt like the Center still needed to offer testing and treatment. Sexual contact was still happening. It may have slowed down for some people, but patterns of behavior don’t necessarily change overnight, even during a pandemic.” Much of Health Services’ vital work can be credited to the 12-member team doing lab work for HIV rapid tests and the measurement of transgender clients’ hormone levels. “Our techs never received any time off or had the ability to work from home. How can you draw blood from home?”
Eric Rodriguez oversees a team of clinic liaisons who are the first point of contact whenever anyone calls or walks into the McDonald/Wright Building, the Center’s main medical facility. “It’s been a call to action during the pandemic,” said Rodriguez. “Healthcare doesn’t stop, it never stops. Patient care doesn’t stop. We can equate this to what happened in the 1980s and 90s with HIV and AIDS. You have to step up and be there for your community. It’s kind of a make-or-break situation, and we just have to keep going.” In March 2020 the Center implemented a telehealth platform which enabled a majority of routine appointments to be conducted by phone or online. As a result, 80 percent of this year’s visits have been done through telehealth; 20 percent conducted face-to-face. “I was very happy and surprised when we were able to transition to a telehealth environment within two weeks
TESTING NEEDED BECAUSE SEX STILL HAPPENS
stated Assistant Laboratory Supervisor Brandi Francis. “We just banded together and actually became a closer team during the pandemic. We had to figure out a way to get everything done within a smaller amount of time.”
INCREASED NEED AT TRANS WELLNESS CENTER For staff members of the Trans Wellness Center (TWC), their work has also been non-stop and as critical as ever. The Center’s location in Koreatown served 600 more clients during fiscal year 2021 than in the previous fiscal year. “Some clients didn’t even know COVID-19 had hit Los Angeles yet because they didn’t have regular access to news. So, we were breaking the news to them,” recalled TWC Site Manager Cameron Varney. “It made us appreciate how needed are the services we provide. It made us feel like we truly have a sense of purpose.” Bringing together services and resources under one roof for trans and gender non-conforming people, TWC is a partnership between the Center and five local organizations: APAIT (Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team); Bienestar; Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Friends Community Center; and Translatin@ Coalition. The Center is the lead agency coordinating management and operations. “Our clients had nowhere else to go,” said Varney. “We thought our attendance numbers would go down, but they went up significantly—it was really eye-opening.” Knowing that many Health Services staff endured the stress of the pandemic and their ongoing workload, Duffy admires them all the more. She encourages those who took care of others to start taking care of themselves. “We’ve really never had a breather or time to decompress,” said the chief medical officer. “It’s going to be a challenge moving forward.”
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The Center, one of the largest and most experienced providers of LGBT health and mental healthcare, is also one of the few Federally Qualified Health Centers with providers who specialize in primary care for LGBT people and people living with HIV. During the first nine months of 2021: • The medical clinic cared for more than 7,500 patients who amassed more than 18,000 visits. • The bustling pharmacy filled 142,000 prescriptions. • Mental Health Services, including psychiatry, cared for 3,175 patients amounting to nearly 25,000 visits. • The Sexual Health and Education Program consulted with 8,700 patients who accumulated 16,000 visits. Additionally, 4,392 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered this year to clients and staff.
Moving to Research Full-Time at the Center, Dr. Robert Bolan +>˔><LKÁͱGÁ ͬͮÁ2>:JKÁ:KÁ AB>?Á&>=B<:EÁ(˕<>J
VANGUARD | FALL / WINTER 2021
graduated from medical school and completed my formal training in the 1970s when there was no education about LGBTQ health issues. The consequences of the Stonewall riots in 1969 for the social revolution we called “gay rights” were just beginning to be felt. Inspired by those brave souls who stood up for their human rights to be respected and to love whomever they chose, I resolved to devote my career to improving health care for our community. During my residency, I began volunteering at a gay STD clinic in Milwaukee where I met physicians from Milwaukee’s Public Health Department, all of whom would gather once a week and volunteer their services. I quickly met others in nearby Chicago doing the same work, and I learned the Centers for Disease Control was very supportive of these gay STD clinics around the country because they were addressing a need which local and state public health programs were unable to handle appropriately. I had moved to San Francisco from Milwaukee in 1979 because of the rapidly growing gay community there and because of an organization for doctors like myself, the Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights. As my private practice began to grow, the first cases of HIV were beginning to emerge in 1979 and 1980—well before the first official reports in 1981—and we had no idea what we were seeing, or even, that this was a new infectious disease. Very quickly the horror grew. When I started working at the Center—known then as the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center—in May 1996, I had been employed as the medical director of the new HIV Program at the University of Southern California’s Department of Family Medicine. It was at the very beginning of the new “combination therapy” era of the HIV epidemic. From 1986 until 1994, we had only single drugs to treat HIV. The virus would quickly develop resistance mutations to them, continue its relentless course, and people continued to die. But, later, we had
HAIL THE new, more powerful drugs—the protease inhibitors—which, when combined with the older drugs, actually decreased hospitalizations and deaths. With my USC connection, I was able to assemble a team of residency-trained family physicians to provide full primary care and HIV management for our patients in the Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic. Our program grew stronger as we incorporated primary medical care into the existing networks of specialty and social services in Los Angeles. Among the things of which I am most proud is our HIV Fellowship Program. We were able to train excellent physicians— one of whom is still with us: our Medical Director of HIV Medicine Dr. Jason Hall. I am also proud of the fact that, as we strengthened our primary care medical faculty and began to directly employ those providers, rather than have them “on loan” from USC, we were able to build a medical group that could provide continuity care for all members of our community without regard to a particular diagnosis. In other words, we were no longer just an
HIV clinic. Then we attained our Federally Qualified Health Center status in 2013, and it became financially possible for us to be health-care providers for everyone in our community without regard to insurance status. The comprehensive nature of our services, including an integrated pharmacy and nursing case management, is what makes the medical services work. During this time there have been incredible advances in HIV treatment. Now, not only is control of HIV infection possible, we can also prevent transmission with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The task for the next several years is to work to remove all of the barriers preventing the equitable uptake and consistent use of PrEP. The Center will continue to be the beacon of hope, announcing to all that— together—we can do anything. I am proud to have been your Chief Medical Officer for the past 25 years, and I have complete confidence that Dr. Kaiyti Duffy can lead the Center’s excellence in health care for the next generations of our rainbow community.
r. Kaiyti Duffy is the Center’s new Chief Medical Officer and will work closely with her predecessor Dr. Robert Bolan through the rest of 2021 before he moves into full-time research at the Center. “Dr. Bolan hired me to become the Audre Lorde Health Program medical director and to be succeeding him now as chief medical officer is quite overwhelming,” admitted Duffy, 42. “He’s been such a notable queer health activist in fighting HIV and understanding its impact on the population. I have such admiration for him professionally and deep fondness for him personally.” In the fall of 2019, Duffy was medical director of the youth center at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. It was a job she loved and thought she’d stay with for a long time. But life had other plans. When her partner got a job as a public health professor at Occidental College and moved to Los Angeles with their older son, she knew a change was in store. Duffy stayed behind in Chicago with their
younger son trying to figure out her professional future. “It was going to be so hard to leave a job I really loved and probably impossible to find one nearly as satisfying,” she recalled. Serendipitously, her mentor from medical school met the Center’s Health Services Co-Director Dr. Ward Carpenter at a meeting and told him about Duffy’s situation. Carpenter said, “Send me her résumé.” The very next day, Duffy received a call from Dr. Bolan. Within a week, she flew to Los Angeles to discuss becoming medical director of the Center’s Audre Lorde Health Program for lesbian and bi women. “This was probably the only other job in the country which I would have wanted to take—and it materialized!” Duffy shared. “It’s really incredible the way it’s worked out. Shortly after coming aboard, the pandemic hit, and Duffy found herself conducting COVID-19 tests at the Youth Center and on Center employees.
“I connect well with young people, and I connect well with folks when we’re in crisis,” she said. “I took it upon myself to be an active participant. You hired me for one job. I see there’s this other emergency, and my hands are on deck. I will be here as a partner in whatever way you need.” Duffy also showed she isn’t afraid to put up a fight. She became alarmed when the clinical laboratory where the Center sends its cervical cancer screenings was rejecting specimens from trans men. The lab assumed the specimens had been sent in error. Duffy pointed out to the company that anyone with a cervix, no matter how they identify, needs to be screened for cervical cancer with pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) testing. “The tests were being rejected even after our lab workers were writing instructions in capital letters: ‘THIS IS A TRANS MALE WITH A CERVIX WHO DOESN’T HAVE PERIODS AND IS ON TESTOSTERONE. PLEASE PROCESS ACCORDINGLY,’” she recalled. With Bolan’s support, Duffy challenged the company’s policy. After months of providing them with research and patient stories, she succeeded in getting the company to agree to revise its algorithm so that specimens will no longer be rejected automatically based on a patient’s preferred identity. “That was our journey together,” said Duffy, of Bolan. “He’s done so much challenging institutions—he guided me through that.” Fighting the good fight alongside Bolan has prepared Duffy well for her new leadership role. “We’re in a moment where Health Services is going to grow and really fulfill the pledge to be a medical home for all queer-identified folks,” she said. “We will maintain our commitment and services to folks living with HIV and, at the same time, provide quality health services to other communities. We’re growing in communities of color. We’re a center that is diverse and equitable—we want to serve everybody.”
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The Center’s New Chief Medical (˕<>J Á"O à(>FVQFà"R̩V, Steps Up to Her New Role Unexpectedly
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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
Our one-on-one mentoring program offers LGBTQ youth the opportunity to be matched with an adult in our community who will support them in goal-setting through ﬁve achievement areas: home, health, education, career, and personal development. We train each mentor with skills to be there for their mentee - not as parents or teachers, but as people who are there to guide them in being their absolute best selves. The lifelong bond between a mentor-mentee begins with a 12-month commitment in our program. Mentors and mentees are required to meet four hours a month in-person and communicate once a week.
WANT A MENTOR?
9 Are you 24 years of age or younger? 9 LGBTQ or ally? 9 Do you need help with achieving goals in home, health, education, career, and personal development? 9 Are you looking for support or someone you can relate to? To apply as a Mentee, visit lifeworksla.org/mentee
WANT TO BE A MENTOR?
9 Are you at least 28 years of age or over? 9 Do have life experiences that can be helpful to a youth? 9 Can you provide guidance, leadership, and time to a youth? 9 Do you have good communication skills?
For more information contact LifeWorks Mentoring at email@example.com or 323-860-7373. Los Angeles LGBT Center The Village at Ed Gould Plaza 1125 N. McCadden Place Los Angeles, CA 90038
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To apply as a Mentor, visit lifeworksla.org/mentor
“IT’S REALLY A
TO SHARE YOUR STORIES”
Popular Center Workshop Helps Seniors Turn Past Experiences Into Poetry by Greg Hernandez
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arry Bishop struggled to get through his poem Waiting about his visit to the AIDS Memorial Quilt when it was on full display at the National Mall. I am full to overflowing with their memories. I see their ghosts in every mirror that I pass. They haunt the dark and empty spaces of my life spaces that should have been filled with their laughter, their love and their light. Bishop’s voice broke and tears fell, but he seemed determined to forge ahead with a spellbound virtual audience watching on Zoom for the My Life is Poetry reading. The late-summer event was the culmination of a six-week workshop offered annually by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. His powerful and deeply emotional reading had viewers wiping away tears and sending messages of support. “That was the first time I read it aloud from start to finish. I’m blown away by the reaction,” said Bishop, 57. “It was not an easy poem to write and not easy to perform. It was a process. I was depressed about it—thought about not participating. But, my partner said, ‘Of course, you’re going to do it.’” For the past 16 years, the My Life is Poetry workshop has been taught by Steven Reigns, the poet laureate of West Hollywood from 2014 to 2016. The first of its kind in the country, the workshop is
supported by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and offered through the Center’s Senior Services. “I think some of the most valuable writing being done right now is by the seniors in this class,” Reigns observed. “It’s really a bold act to share your stories. This is the kind of poetry that we don’t hear enough of in the world.” The poems are developed in what Reigns describes as a supportive and safe environment, both creatively and emotionally. Students are taught how to excavate past experiences and turn them into poetry. “Every time I start a workshop with Steven, it reminds me of how very important the memories are that we are writing about,” said Margaret Jenson, who took the workshop for the fifth time. She shared her poem My Kitchen Table on the night of the reading: The last kitchen table in my memory was my brother Bill’s. It was the final game of Scotch Bridge before he got too sick and passed away. It’s a telling game where old jokes and rivalries played out among the cards. My sister had shared privately that the old childhood teasing and jokes were triggers for my brother’s anger so I did not indulge. My brother urged me to tell why I wouldn’t play that game. Jenson, 83, was only able to participate
in the class this summer because it was held virtually. It was bittersweet, too, because it was the first time she took part without her close friend, Margo, who died in March. “Margo is how I learned about the poetry workshops at the beginning,” Jenson shared. “She had been to a reading and was raving about it. I decided that would be something interesting to do. Margo and I did several of the workshops together until her health began to fail.” The COVID-19 pandemic has made meeting in person impossible for the past two years, so the group has been meeting virtually to share and critique each other’s works in progress. Reigns begins each class by sharing a poem from a published author and suggests the seniors use it as a trigger in their own memory to write their own poem. The workshop’s creative and safe environment helped Bishop to delve deep into his everlasting feelings of grief and loss connected to the AIDS epidemic. “I feel like I have been processing it my whole life,” he shared. “There’s a crowd of people who I am missing who should be here, and it’s been particularly hard with COVID. This is my second time at the pandemic rodeo, and now, everyone can see what it is like. I wish to God they didn’t have to.”
• My Life is Poetry participant Barry Bishop
Waiting by Barry Bishop I met them all so long ago, and yet it seems like only yesterday that I wandered through that quilted, patchwork desert lost among the ruins of so many lives undone. I remember breaking down in a stranger’s arms weeping as each name was read aloud. They were forever stitched upon my heart that day, bound to my memory with needle and thread. And even after all these years, I still yearn for the embrace of those I’ve never met. They were my lovers, my brothers, my sisters, my parents, my children, my friends… And time has since unspooled them from my hands like so many tangled skeins of thread. Their memory slowly unraveled by the years into a loose tapestry of love and loss. I am full to overflowing with their memories. I see their ghosts in every mirror that I pass. They haunt the dark and empty spaces of my life spaces that should have been filled with their laughter, their love and their light. I search in vain through crowded streets for a glimpse of those I’ve missed the most but just like my own, their faces have begun to fade. I miss these people with all my heart. And the sound of their unsung songs still holds me in their thrall. Their stilled voices have left my own at a loss. So time has finally made a quiet man of me. I’ve grown from a wild and weary youth to a somber, solemn sage. And I welcome this change of season.
I sit alone now, at peace with the memories of those who might have been, the lives they might have led, and all the loves I surely lost. I wait content in the knowledge that I’ve lived a life that was big enough for us all. And though none of them were ever cured, I know in my heart that they’ve all been healed. And so I am waiting…waiting at table for my dark host to come.
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For all the years I’ve sailed these lonely seas, I’ve been anchored by a million and one threads. Each a tether to my heart holding me fast as I rose and fell time and time again with the tide.
Keeping the Trans/GNC/ENBY Community connected Trans* Lounge offers over 20 online groups and workshops each month, including: • Trans History
• 5edeƓning 0asculinities
• Group for Trans & ENBY Folx on the Neurodiverse Spectrum
• Cooking Class / Chosen Family Dinner
• Groups for those having Gender $fƓrming Surgeries
• Binder Exchange • and much, much more!
Join today! Registration and all groups and classes are 100% FREE!
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Pr Zig id Z e ag
An Empowered Space for the LGBTQ+ Community with Disabilities Join us VIRTUALLY Every 4th Thursday 7–8:30 P.M. For more information visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com or visit socialnet.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org Club Intersex For people to share their experience, strength, and hope as members of the intersex community. Every 1st & 3rd Thurs., 6–7:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email email@example.com or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org 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 Wed., 7–8:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org HerStories For all LGBT women who want strong community and great conversation.
Community Groups (Cont.)
Community Groups (Cont.)
Mondays, 8–10 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email email@example.com or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org
Procedures 7:30–9 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org
Lit Sessions For young men of color to connect and share their experiences dealing with identity, racism, homophobia, community, relationships, and sex. Monthly, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. RSVP for dates. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-860-3799. M Group Monthly, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. RSVP for dates. To RSVP, call 323-860-3799. MasQ Explore your male identity however you choose to express it. Tuesdays, 6–7:30 p.m. To learn how to connect virtually, email email@example.com or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org Redeﬁning Masculinities For all people and identities who WANT TO ACTIVELY REDElNE AND explore the possibilities of what it can and should mean to be masculine in this world. 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. Wednesdays, 3–4:30 p.m. Trans* Lounge membership required for access to videoconference links. Register for FREE at translounge.org Surgery Suite A space to discuss genderAFlRMING SURGERIES IN A SAFE supportive space. Now expanded to three times per month for ADDED FOCUS ON YOUR SPECIlC gender journey. Every 1st Thurs.: Trans Masculine Procedures Every 2nd Thurs.: Open discussion with a medical professional Every 4th Thurs.: Trans Feminine
A Touchy Subject Let’s have a conversation via Community Health Programs’ Facebook Live or in person at Center South, 2313 W. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Los Angeles 90008. RSVP required for inperson attendance. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-860-3799. Tuesdays, 5 p.m. 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 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. 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 easyto-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
Community Groups (Cont.) 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 email@example.com or visit socialnet.lalgbtcenter.org U/O Project An open and honest virtual platform for young men of color ages 18–29 to connect with community members and health educators. Monthly, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. RSVP for dates. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-860-3799.
Senior Groups 50+ All Senior Services programming is available virtually and can be accessed by computer or phone. For more information about our program and to sign-up for our monthly newsletter, please contact email@example.com or 323-860-5830 You can also visit us at facebook.com/50pluslgbt To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-860-5830. Asian/Paciﬁc Islander Support Group Every 1st & 3rd Monday, 3–4 p.m. Employment Tips 50+ Every 2nd Tuesday, 3–4 p.m. Housing Supportive Network Every 2nd & 4th Thursday, 3–4 p.m. LBQ Women’s Chat Thursdays, 10–11 a.m. Men Living with HIV Thursdays, 1:30–3 p.m. Men of Color Aging 50+ Every 3rd Saturday, 2–4 p.m. Men’s Social Group Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–Noon R&B Line Dancing Tuesdays, 11 a.m.–Noon TransC.A.R.E. Tuesdays, 2–3 p.m. Veteran’s Support Group Wednesdays, 1–2 p.m.
NOTE: Meetings may not occur on the following holidays: November 25 (Thanksgiving), November 26 (Day After Thanksgiving), December 24 (Christmas Day - Observed), and December 25 (Christmas Day)
VANGUARD | GR ATITUDE
NEWS & NOTES ON THE BANNED WAGON The Center is one of eight LGBT centers nationwide helping to recruit participants for a pilot study that may potentially be the ﬁrst step in altering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current blood donor policy. The polling bans donations from gay and bisexual men—a ban whose origins stem from the AIDS epidemic nearly 40 years ago. Known as the ADVANCE (Assessing Donor Variability And New Concepts in Eligibility) study, the FDA-funded research was launched by three of the nation’s largest blood centers: Vitalant, OneBlood, and the American Red Cross. Each of the LGBT centers is responsible for recruiting 250 to 300 gay and bi men between 18 to 39 years old. Study participants will have a blood sample drawn for HIV testing and answer questions to determine individual HIV risk factors. To enroll in the ADVANCE study, visit ADVANCEstudy.org
VANGUARD | FALL / WINTER 2021
A DECADE TO THRIVE
Nearly two dozen youth enrolled in the Center’s Transitional Living Program (TLP) will receive rental housing assistance vouchers for an unbelievable 10 years from the federal government. Administered locally by the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, the vouchers are funded by the federal American Rescue Plan. Recipients must either be, or be at risk of, experiencing homelessness. Youth Services staff applied for the federal vouchers on behalf of TLP youth after learning the Center was eligible to apply because of its commitment to provide wraparound services to the youth through 2022.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORT The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded $2.1 million to the Center—the largest private grant received in the Center’s history—to create a workforce training program for LGBTQ youth who formerly experienced homelessness and those experiencing high barriers to employment. Championing community projects throughout his 28th Congressional District, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) secured $775,000
for the Center to support the expansion of our Federally Qualiﬁed Health Center. When completed, the project will allow for expanded testing, treatment, and prevention services to address HIV and STIs in Los Angeles County. The Trans Wellness Center was one of ﬁve organizations sharing a $250,000 donation from Savage X Fenty—a lingerie brand created by singer and actress Rihanna—upon the company’s launch of its ﬁrst-ever Pride campaign.
PRIDE PANTRY 2.0 Eighteen months after its launch from the Anita May Rosenstein Campus’ Pride Hall in response to the pandemic, the Center’s popular Pride Pantry food distribution program has relocated to its new headquarters at the Campus Annex (1111 North Las Palmas Avenue.) Thanks to dedicated volunteers and staff, Pride Pantry continues to disperse more than 2,000 boxes and bags of food monthly from its main Hollywood location and two other Center facilities: Mi Centro in Boyle Heights and Center South in South L.A. near Leimert Park. If you, or someone you know, may beneﬁt from the Pride Pantry, email pridepantry@ lalgbtcenter.org
ANALYSIS & INSIGHT According to a recent study by the Williams Institute, approximately 1.2 million LGBTQ adults in the United States identify as nonbinary. Many people do not know the deﬁnition of nonbinary, a term which is sometimes recognized only as a default alternative to man or woman, as reported by USA Today:
A California study indicates LGBTQ people between the ages of 18 and 29 have increasingly become addicted to substances during the year-long pandemic lockdown. A common thread cited by experts: people’s in-person communities were gone, and loneliness crept in, as reported by Los Angeles Daily News:
Excerpt: “And because we’re still using nonbinary as a default term, we’re erasing components of the culture and the community that in some ways have existed before the modern context with the word ‘nonbinary.’ People who don’t speak English, who speak Spanish, who were born outside the U.S., who are a bit older than the age range may have different contexts (for nonbinariness) in their respective cultures.”
Excerpt: “For some folks, I think they didn’t realize they had a problem until the pandemic. If you are someone between the ages of 18 and 26 and your social circle is a lot of your support and when you no longer have that, you start looking for other things. And if you are perhaps 19 years old living at home with a family and you are not out, there is shame around that.”
SARAH MCCUSKER Mental Health Clinician V Health Services
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The Biden administration has directed health insurance companies to offer PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) without copays or deductibles. When taken daily as prescribed, PrEP is 92%_95% effective in protecting HIV-negative people from transmission. The federal guidance will help PrEP distribution become more equitable, as reported by Bay Area Reporter:
In response to the pandemic, the Center launched Pride Pantry last year to help feed the most vulnerable members in the community. They sign up online to receive weekly boxes of both non-perishable groceries and fresh produce—and each box receives special attention, as reported by The Thrive Market:
Excerpt: “We commend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for their guidance to ensure PrEP is more accessible and affordable for everyone who needs it. By dismantling the existing regional and community disparities which prevent access to the life-saving daily medication, we will be another step further in ending the HIV epidemic.”
Excerpt: “Our bags contain a variety of fruits and vegetables and 90% of the items can be eaten raw. A typical produce bag will include apples, oranges, carrots, celery, kale, and red leaf lettuce. Providing healthy food has always been a priority to Pride Pantry. Nutrition is important, and we spend a lot of time thinking about what goes in the boxes."
Director of Government Relations Public Policy
Administrative and Events Coordinator Culinary Arts
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EDEN ANAÏ LUNA Manager – Transgender Economic Empowerment Project Legal Services
GET TO KNOW
CENTER VOLUNTEERS & STAFF MEMBERS
I GET TO BE PART OF A COMMUNITY AS THE REAL ME
Growing up gay, closeted, hating myself, and then coming to the Center was indescribable—very surreal. I had the overwhelming feeling of “So, this is what it’s like!” The Center is the place where I can wear my big earrings without shame, where I am taken seriously, where I can contribute to others’ lives in the same way other volunteers contribute to mine through their kindness, acceptance, and love. The Center has brought me love, and I have, in turn, learned to love myself. At my high school graduation in June, I came out to my whole school while giving a speech about LGBTQIA+ representation. I was fortunate enough to be able to share this experience with three amazing volunteers one day at the Center, and it was so extremely
VANGUARD | FALL / WINTER 2021
reassuring to feel their support. I had no queer friends from high school and, as a recent graduate, I needed a community. The Center has been precisely that. I became a volunteer to learn from people here who are comfortable in their own skin. I get to be a part of a community as the real me. To anyone who is considering becoming a volunteer, this is a place where you can be yourself and thrive and, through your service, help others do so as well.
HAVING SPACE TO WORK IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING AS OUR AUTHENTIC SELF IS TRULY A RARE AND SPECIAL THING
I had a strong desire to find a community and work in a place where I could be me authentically. I have found that at the Center. As a trans woman who was never able to medically transition, I have been given the incredible opportunity to experience life in a way I never thought possible. That has included undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy and being able to have a support system that has been invaluable to me. Being a part of the LGBT community and having space to work in a professional setting as our authentic self is truly a rare and special thing.
My job involves conducting financial screening interviews and enrolling clients living with HIV into the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the screenings have taken place online instead of in-person, which has meant losing some of the face-to-face aspects of my job and some of the personal touch I was able to bring to each client. But hearing how relieved most of the clients are for still having access to care has given me the strength to muscle through these difficult times. The pandemic has reminded me of how important it is to have community.
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