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Inside: Commemorative Gay City News 2017 Impact Awards Pull-Out Section

MARTIN DUBERMAN ASKS WHAT HISTORY IS Page 09 CHASI ANNEXY

PRESENTING SPONSOR MKT 17.065

© GAY CITY NEWS 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

FREE | VOLUME SIXTEEN, ISSUE SEVEN | MARCH 30 — APRIL 12, 2017


COVER STORY Martin Duberman asks what history is 09

PIONEERING ALLY Dr. George Weinberg coined homophobia: remembered at death & in his own words 04-05

HUMAN RIGHTS The Irish senator who named Trump for what he is 11

CRIME Williamsburg assailant sentenced — and then freed! GMHC 12 MEDIA Jimmy Breslin remembered 15

honors Bill Clinton, Staley brothers 17

TRAVEL Letting go on Riviera Maya 25 FILM Louis XIV dies 26

For security purposes, NO backpacks allowed. Random security and bag checks. An activity of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

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March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


POLITICS

Heritage of Pride Accedes to Resistance Groups’ Demand After pushback a week ago, June pride parade organizers say protesters can march up front

DONNA ACETO

(Left to right) Longtime activist Ken Kidd, who launched the drive to have resistance groups lead the pride parade in June, got word of HOP’s decision on March 28. At a March 13 HOP meeting, Cathy Marino-Thomas had warned that resistance groups would march whether or not sanctioned by the parade organizers. Sue Doster, who heads strategic planning for HOP, had in a meeting last week raised significant concerns about the resistance groups’ demand.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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he organization that produces New York City’s pride parade, rally, and related events has agreed to allow groups eager to confront the Republican Party’s control of the federal government near the front of the June 25 pride parade. “I’m extremely proud of the people who came out to raise their voices about this, and I think it’s emblematic of the people who are going to show up proudly on June 25,” said Ken Kidd, who was the lead organizer of the effort to get the resistance groups at the front of the parade. Following a March 28 meeting with Heritage of Pride (HOP), Kidd told Gay City News that the traditional first contingent, the Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club of New York City, will lead the parade, as they have since 1986, followed by the parade’s grand marshals, who have not yet been announced, the HOP float, and then the resistance groups. The groups who wanted in to the parade at the front include Rise + Resist, ACT UP, United GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

Thru Action, and Gays Against Guns. These groups have held recent protests in New York City and they attended the protests in Washington, DC, on January 20 when Donald Trump was inaugurated and the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. The resistance groups expect to be joined by other organizations on June 25. Members of these groups first approached HOP roughly a month ago and eventually met resistance themselves from HOP. At a March 13 HOP general meeting, staff and volunteers did not say yes or no to the request, but signaled a willingness to talk. But at a March 21 meeting of HOP’s parade committee, the organization was clearly pushing back. “Our current march route is at capacity,” said Sue Doster, who heads strategic planning for HOP, at the March 21 meeting. “You can’t add a half million people to that march and keep it safe for everyone.” Members of the resistance groups were not above telling HOP that they would be in the parade regardless of HOP’s decision. “One way or another, these re-

sistance groups are going to take over this parade,” Cathy MarinoThomas, the former head of Marriage Equality who is currently active in Gays Against Guns, told the HOP leadership at the March 13 meeting. “I predict that if there is no give here, this will be the first time there will be arrests.” In line with the many LGBQ groups that have abandoned, some explicitly, the radical roots of the movement, HOP has generally wanted the annual event to be seen as a celebration and less of a march, which was its original form. The parade, which always steps off on the last Sunday in June, memorializes the 1969 Stonewall riots that began the modern LGBTQ rights movement. At the meetings, some HOP members asserted that the current parade is merely a different form of protest and insisted that it be called a march and not a parade. Some of the members of the resistance groups that were seeking access to the parade are old hands at protest who have observed the change in the annual event with some dismay. The high profile sponsors have also irritated some people. While

corporate floats and contingents are a dominant and to some an offensive presence, the great majority of contingents in the parade remain small community groups During the back and forth between HOP and the resistance groups, Kidd pushed back against some of his colleagues who attempted to expand the demands by including an end to corporate sponsors and a reduced police presence. Ultimately, he commended HOP. “I think that they really did listen to us,” he said. In a statement, HOP wrote, “While no one group owned the resistance hashtag, it was clear that those in the room were capable of rallying peers to take action. This is why we feel confident in enabling the leadership present in those conversations to band together in the interest of reaching their goal of a strong message of resistance to the current political leadership… Recognizing these groups’ request that a strong element of non-celebratory protest be included in the front section of the March, we will place the collective group within the lead section of the 2017 event.”

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REMEMBRANCE

Coiner of “Homophobia” Fought It All His Life

Dr. George Weinberg, pioneering psychotherapist ally of 50 years, dies at 87 BY ANDY HUMM

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sychotherapist George Weinberg, who coined the word “homophobia” in 1966 — turning the tables on anti-gay people by branding them as the sick ones — has died in New York at 87. He had just completed an article for Gay City News, published on page 5, on the origins of his famous word. In his groundbreaking “Society and the Healthy Homosexual” in 1972 — a year before the American Psychiatric Association dropped homosexuality from its Index of Mental Disorders — Weinberg’s first line was: “I would never consider a patient healthy unless he had overcome his prejudice against homosexuality.” Weinberg himself was heterosexual and understood their fears and prejudices well. Almost all that was available in libraries from people in his profession at the time were what now have to be considered quack tracts on how homosexual desire was perverted and that prescribed deeply harmful “treatments” such as lobotomies and electroshock to overcome it. Weinberg’s approach encouraging self-acceptance — and telling gay and non-gay people to overcome their fears of homosexuality — was revolutionary and gave solace and dignity to millions. Yes, Stonewall in 1969 was the defiant act of self-liberation that catalyzed the LGBTQ movement but Weinberg’s book reached bookstores and libraries across the country with a message that transformed gay psyches and brought many into the movement. Early activists picked up the term “homophobia” and popularized it. Jim F. Brinning, a longtime Boston gay and AIDS activist, related a typical experience with Weinberg’s work. “Dr. George Weinberg saved my life,” he wrote on Facebook. “He was a big reason I came out. I struggled with who I was as a kid, bullied at school and at home. In the early ‘70s I had to figure out if I was sick or not because I felt like I would explode. In the early ‘70s I’d go to the library in my hometown of Montclair, NJ, and looked up everything I could about homosexuality. Everything

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ANDY HUMM

Dr. George Weinberg (right) joined iconic gay pioneers Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols at the 35th anniversary of Stonewall in the LGBTQ Pride March in Manhattan in 2004.

GEORGEWEINBERG.COM

Dr. George Weinberg.

was so negative. Then I found listed ‘Society and the Healthy Homosexual.’ I couldn’t believe what it was saying, it told me everything I had been feeling since a little boy was normal. Trying to repress who I am was abnormal. I took the book home and read it several times. It was an anchor. I didn’t check the book out of the library because I was too embarrassed, so I hid it in my jacket. That was in 1973, the year I came out.” Dr. Jack Drescher, MD, an out gay psychoanalyst and emeritus editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, wrote in his “Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man,” “George Weinberg has left an indelible mark on the world. His formulation of ‘homophobia’ transposed the medical model in a novel way: If same-sex attractions are not a mental illness, then perhaps intolerance of homosexuality might be considered one instead. George ingeniously demonstrated how a 20th-century theorist could construct a new clinical syndrome in the same way that 19th-century scientists created a disease called ‘homosexuality.’ For this and so many other things he will be missed.” Chapters in Weinberg’s ‘72 book included “The Bias of Psychoanalysis,” where he described and then destroyed the offensive theories on homosexuality held by Freud and his own contemporaries, including Dr. Lawrence Hatterer who had written, “I’ve seen some very destroyed human beings who have felt the ravages of attempts to sustain a permanent homosexual relationship.”

Of course, all of these charlatans based their diagnoses on the troubled gay men and women who came to them in a society almost universally hostile to them. Many of these people did indeed seek to “change” in order to survive in the pre-liberation days. But despite claims that they could alter sexual orientation, the consensus is that such changes are impossible. Indeed, Weinberg devotes another chapter to “The Case against Trying to Convert” and in recent years supported laws to ban so-called “conversion therapy.” Weinberg often said that that many in his profession never let go of their deep-seated feelings that there was something wrong with homosexuality, even though the official position of their professional associations is that homosexuality is a normal variation in human sexuality. Weinberg was aided in his formulations in the pre-Stonewall era by having self-accepting gay friends — and knowing other gay people who were hindered in life by their lack of self-acceptance. In his training as a psychotherapist, he refused to go along with the accepted clinical practice of trying to “change” homosexual patients — going so far as to turn off the tape recorder his superiors would review when evaluating him in order to encourage a gay patient to embrace his or her orientation. It was at the 1965 conference of the Eastern Homophile Movement in New York that he really connected to the pioneers of the movement. There he befriended and worked with some of the pioneering gay and lesbian activists of the day, especially Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols who had co-founded the Washington chapter

of Mattachine Society in 1961, an offshoot of group founded in 1950 by Harry Hay and Lilli Vincenz who was the group’s first lesbian member (and went on to co-found the paper that became the Washington Blade). Veteran New York gay activist Steve Ashkinazy wrote in an email, “When that book came out in 1972, Dr. Weinberg agreed to help the Gay Activist Alliance hold the very first serious, professional gay fundraising event ever — a book signing cocktail party” at Weinberg’s home on Central Park West where he also practiced. Before hand, we were all told to contact our wealthiest friends, and get them to come to this special event. There was a very nice turnout. I brought several very wealthy acquaintances (old tricks). Dr. Weinberg spoke brilliantly. As did Dr. Bruce Voeller, the President of GAA. Then they asked people to write checks. But NO ONE would. They gave up their pocket change: 5 and 10 dollar bills. But no one would write a real check, for fear of the paper trail that could potentially identify them and publicly out them” — a resistance that continued until the advent of AIDS. Weinberg was involved in the early LGBTQ rights movement, testifying for the New York city gay rights bill the year it was the first one to be introduced anywhere in 1971. He participated in the first march in 1970 commemorating the Stonewall Rebellion, telling Drescher, “I even tried to get a therapist friend of mine to go to the first gay march. He finally went with me to Sheep’s Meadow, where the parade ended up. A world famous therapist — I

WEINBERG, continued on p.16

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


HISTORY

How Homophobia Became a Word An early psychotherapist ally recalls discovering why his colleagues despised gay people BY DR. GEORGE WEINBERG

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ay of 1965. A small group of daring revolutionaries rented the auditorium of the Barbizon Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for a meeting of the East Coast Homophile Organization — a name that does not resonate today — but the group was one that changed the course of LGBTQ history four years before the Stonewall Rebellion. Of the roughly 25 homosexual men and women in the United States who were out publicly to everyone and not just to certain other gay people, about half of them were at that meeting. For the other attendees, secrecy was their way of life. In most states — including New York — you could do up to 10 years for a consenting homosexual act with another adult and you could be fired if you were known to be homosexual or even suspected of it. If you worked for the government, they fired you at once and you lost your pension. This led to a lot of blackmail. A practicing psychotherapist and heterosexual, I had met members of the budding “homophiles” group only recently and had agreed to talk at that Saturday meeting at the Barbizon. I had gotten my doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia where the handful of homosexual students lived in terrified secrecy. Colleges were as anti-gay as most of the rest of society and even my close friends who were gay were hesitant to tell me. The conference was organized mostly by Dr. Frank Kameny, an outstanding Ph.D. astronomer. Once a would-be astronaut, Frank was barred from continuing to work in his field after being caught in a homosexual act. It was as if the government were saying, “It’s not safe to let perverts look through the big lens at the sky.” Frank was to devote the rest of his pioneering life — 50 or so more years — to changing laws and attitudes toward gay people. He came up with the slogan “Gay is Good,” a radi-

GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

MACMILLAN BOOKS

Dr. George Weinberg’s 1972 book first brought the term “homophobia” to a wide audience.

cal departure from the view of the vast majority of people at the time — including many homosexuallyoriented people themselves — who viewed homosexuality as criminal, evil, and sick. The group called themselves “homophiles” to mean people sympathetic to the cause, whether gay or not. In my presentation to them, I declared that being gay ought to be about as consequential in actuality as being left-handed. I reminded them that the word for left-handed in Latin was “sinister” and that into the 20th century lefthanded children were often forced to write with their right hands, an approach that sounds ridiculous — even barbaric — to us today. My simple analysis of sexual orientation as a characteristic as neutral as handedness or eye color was embraced by them almost immediately. My own experiences with gay people had led me to this formulation. I saw them suffering needlessly. Nearly all were secretive about their private lives, many even with me. That included dear friends. Most hated themselves. Suicides were not uncommon. Their problem was not their orientation, but their self-hate. Their problem wasn’t with being gay, it was with an oppressive society. We needed a word for that, but

it would not come to me for a few years. None of my fellow psychotherapists were there and those who learned of my analysis were very unhappy with me. They felt sure that being gay was a treatable illness. It was a profitable hypothesis, binding gay patients for their lifetimes to “treatment” that was never going to work. Given societal condemnation, the desire of gay patients to “change” was intense. While some could be coached into altering their behavior and functioning heterosexually in order to fit into the culture, their desires never changed. Back then, I naively imagined that psychologists and psychiatrists simply didn’t understand the plight of gay people. They had never seen a successful and fulfilling gay relationship or one that lasted and so were convinced that they all ended badly. They took pains to warn children against being alone with gay people and by doing so further convinced themselves that gays were a rotted branch of humanity. Some had gay friends but not out gay friends. They said terrible things about gay people and found only agreement. I thought that I could teach them better. But how? I decided to try a method used by no less a person than Kinsey himself. A friend of mine who was gay and very “straight-appearing” told me that he had worked for Dr. Alfred Kinsey as a photographer. Kinsey liked him very much. One day Kinsey had asked him for a favor: “Visit me alone and stay at my home in Bloomington, Indiana, for a few days. I’ve also invited a man who is a top-notch lawyer; he is considering helping us with our next book, ‘Sex and the Law.’ I very much want him on board, but I’m not sure how he feels about gay people. After you have spent several days with him, he will like you. Then we invite your lover to join us. When he fi nds out you are gay, he will reconsider his viewpoint. He will revise his opinion of gays. Or at least let’s hope so.”

The plan worked perfectly for Kinsey. I decided to duplicate it, introducing the same man, C.A. Tripp (who in 1975 would write the groundbreaking “The Homosexual Matrix”), to a few therapist friends, including some outstanding figures in psychology. They all met several times over a period of months. They liked Tripp and encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a psychologist. They seemed a little disappointed that he wasn’t married but the topic went no further. Finally, it was time and we invited Tripp’s lover to join us. Once he brought his lover to meet them, however, they all turned against him — finding fault with him and regarding him as sick and unpleasant. They had been suddenly repulsed by him and felt tricked by me. They didn’t want to see Tripp again or even discuss him. It was as if he had become rancid. For them, homosexual people were either to be treated or viewed with dread and disgust or as dangerous. Reconsidering the reactions of these professionals, I thought back over signs I’d already had that they would react that way. They weren’t troubled by the exclusion of gays from jobs or their instant firing or even by their imprisonment or the fact that the police were slow to pursue people who murdered gays. They talked at length about the imagined harm that gay people could do to a society. Behind such hatred and prejudice, I realized, was stark fear. It struck me that gay people should know this. “They don’t just hate you. They are afraid of you.” Since the fear was irrational, gay people couldn’t make peace with those who held it — at least not by good behavior alone. Statistics didn’t help. For instance, data shows that a disproportionate number of molestations of children are done by heterosexual family members, adults who have trusted access to them — not by gay adults.

HOMOPHOBIA, continued on p.16

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HISTORY

Martin Duberman Asks What History Is “Jews Queers Germans” explores late Imperial Germany in novel not at odds with known evidence BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

JEWS QUEERS GERMANS

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arly in her discussion with Martin Duberman, the author of “Jews Queers Germans,” a “novel/ history, Alisa Solomon, a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, asked Duberman, “You’ve written in every genre there is… You chose to write it as fiction. Why?” Why indeed. Duberman, a distinguished professor of history emeritus at CUNY, has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is history. Some would say that he has stepped over those boundaries and defied the convention — or illusion — that holds that historians must hew to the known historical evidence and never venture beyond it. In “Jews Queers Germans,” Duberman is telling the story of Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a focus on just a few real participants in that time — Prince Philipp von Eulenburg, Magnus Hirschfeld, a leading sexologist, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Count Harry Kessler. Kessler, Hirschfeld, von Eulenberg, and other figures in the book were gay. In the course of the roughly 350-page “novel/ history,” Duberman asserts many facts that are known to be true and supported by the historical record. But he also goes beyond those facts to recreate scenes or conversations that may or may not have taken place, but seem to be reasonable given what that record tells us. “I didn’t choose to write it as fiction,” Duberman said during a March 28 panel

A Novel By Martin Duberman Seven Stories Press $14.95; 384 pages

SEVEN STORIES PRESS

CHASI ANNEXY

Martin Duberman and Columbia University journalism professor Alisa Solomon at the New York Public Library on March 28.

with Solomon held at New York Public Library’s main branch at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. “I didn’t feel it was fiction… If you read this book as history, you will be getting a thoroughly reliable account.” This is by no means Duberman’s first use of what some historians would say

GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

is a controversial method of recounting history. In “Black Mountain: A Exploration in Community,” a 1972 book that explored the 23-year history of Black Mountain College, Duberman came out of the closet and inserted himself into a debate that occurred among participants in the

Black Mountain community. “I was crucified in the historical journals for intruding my personal values,” he said. Some reviewers asserted that Duberman’s real sin in the 1972 book was to point out that historians have biases and opinions that are present in their work, but masked by the language and structures that are commonly used in histories. His coming out in 1972 also inflamed some critics. Duberman’s technique was merely “a different way of doing history,” as a reviewer of the book and later controversy wrote in 2009. “For as long as I have been a historian, I have been a discontented historian,” Duberman said. For most of human history, the great majority of human beings were illiterate. This has meant that the historical record was created by powerful elites who had the ability to record their existence and to shape it in a light that was most favorable to them. What we know very little about, and what Duberman portrays in “Jews Queers Germans,” is the “inner life,” as Duberman said, of historical figures. “I want to know what is going on inside,” he said. “That is the novelist in me.” But is this history? Many

historians would argue that it is not. Others might disagree. Honest ones would concede that history can be biased. “Historians all have frameworks, different frameworks, that affect what they talk about,” said Jonathan Ned Katz, a historian who attended the Duberman talk. Duberman, who has written more than two dozen books and won numerous awards, expects that “Jews Queers Germans” will receive the same treatment from historians that “Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community” received in the early ‘70s. “I think that historians will crucify this book as well,” he told Gay City News following the event. And he stands by his approach. “I would never contradict known historical evidence,” he said. “I believe it stands up as history.” All of this is not to say that historians should be free to tell histories in any way they wish. Duberman, in addition to never contradicting “known historical evidence,” said that a historian cannot consciously distort “the evidence for a political reason or otherwise,” which has certainly occurred among historians. In recounting the history of the LGBTQ community, or the role that LGBTQ people played in any history, the predominant sin is one of omission. That omission explains, in part, why some historians, including Duberman and Katz, have been successful. The have been willing to tell a history that other historians will never acknowledge. “History is wildly loaded from the beginning,” Duberman said.

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COMMUNITY

Reconciliation the New Spirit of St. Pat’s Parade As Lavender and Green returns for second year, inclusiveness extends to its role in organizing committee BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK

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he group of about 100 who marched with the Lavender and Green Alliance in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 — the second year in which an openly LGBTQ Irish group was allowed to participate — were all about the business of turning an inaugural opportunity into an annual tradition. As OutVets in Boston found out this year, it is possible to lose what’s already been gained. The veterans’ group was initially denied entry into Beantown’s parade, in which it had marched since 2015, due to a “late application” and for having a rainbow logo on its uniform jackets. Public outcry and politicians dropping out of the parade (including Massachusetts’ Republican governor and Boston’s Democratic mayor) not only got the group restored, but OutVets led the parade and were declared a permanent participant. “Let me say that it’s quite a sea change from the early ‘90s when we were having abuse and catcalls and beer thrown at us, and subject to arrest,” said Tarlach MacNiallais, the longtime member and supporter of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) and the St. Pat’s for All inclusive parade in Sunnyside, Queens. MacNiallais, who referred not only to years of protests but the humiliation heaped on Mayor David Dinkins when he once allowed the LGBTQ group to march with him, is now on the formation committee of the Fifth Avenue parade and marched with his husband, Juan Nepomuceno. “I’m here because I can be,” said former State Senator Thomas Duane. “I thought there might be a falloff this year, especially because some LGBTQ undocumented stayed away. You never know when ICE is going to show up.” Duane, who marshaled the marriage equality bill through the Senate until its enactment in 2011, added, “I am also here because of an adage I always tell people, old or

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DONNA ACETO

Lavender and Green enjoys its second year as an out LGBTQ Irish contingent in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

DONNA ACETO

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, Irish Senator Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and former State Senator Tom Duane.

young: never give up the franchise. It’s always possible to lose civil rights and equal protection. Being out and proud is the greatest tool we have. It may not seem as brave as in the old days, but it was, is, and always will be. For every person here, maybe there are 10 who are a little afraid to come.” Out gay City Councilmember Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights marched the parade route once with Mayor Bill de Blasio, but returned for the afternoon step-off of Lavender and Green. “This year, the parade’s selection of its grand marshal, Michael

Dowling, delivered a message of inclusion and hope that extends to the LGBT community,” Dromm said of the healthcare executive who decades ago was a top aide Governor Mario Cuomo. “After insisting on [LGBTQ inclusion] for 20 to 25 years, and working on it with Brendan, coming from ILGO, I am going to keep coming back. Being Irish is an important part of my own identity.” Brendan Fay, the founder of ILGO and co-chair of the inclusive St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens, wasn’t present for the march. Instead, he was in Drogheda, Ireland,

DONNA ACETO

Marriage equality pioneer Edie Windsor.

where he served as grand marshal of his hometown parade. St. Pat’s For All co-chair, Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, was on Fifth Avenue, as she said, “marching joyfully, because we worked so hard for this. So many people paid a very high price for this. I will be here every year.” Along with Dromm, Duane, and Walsh D’Arcy, the Lavender and Green group included marriage equality pioneer Edie Windsor and her spouse Judith Kasen, and New York State Labor Commissioner

ST. PAT’S, continued on p.18

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


HUMAN RIGHTS

Irish Stand Up to Trump Senator who called him “fascist” draws big NYC crowd

Handm a in Bro de oklyn

BRYAN MOORE

Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin addresses the crowd at Riverside Church on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

BY ANDY HUMM

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hile America was reeling from the election results, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin took the floor of the Irish Senate on November 11 and said with passion, “America has just elected a fascist, and the best thing that the good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him, ‘Is it okay to still bring the shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day?’” It rang so true and clear, while many elected officials in the US were saying they would try to find common ground with Trump, that the video has gotten — in aggregate — 45 million views. Ó Ríordáin, of the Labour Party, did not let his disgust for Fine Gael Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s normalization of Trump end there. When Kenny went through with a White House visit for St. Patrick’s Day, Ó Ríordáin threw together with American allies from a broad range of communities a threehour St. Patrick’s Day evening celebration of social justice called Irish Stand at the historic Riverside

GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

Church on West 120th Street where 50 years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his declaration against the Vietnam War. (Kenny must have been feeling the heat because standing next to Trump the day before he delivered a pro-immigration message that was interpreted as a challenge to him, calling St. Patrick “the patron of immigrants” and saying, “Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and became Americans.”) The invitation to the Riverside packed event read, “Let us remind this new administration, many of whom are Irish-American descendants of immigrants themselves, that the international community rejects the politics of division and fear. By working together, we can lead by example and make a difference in America and across the world.” Among the 30 speakers and art-

STAND, continued on p.22

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CRIME

Four-Year Sentence in Patterson Assault Quickly Stayed Appeals court judge frees Herskovic after defense attorney scrambles to block incarceration BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

A

Brooklyn man was sentenced to four years in state prison for his role in the 2013 attack that left a black gay man blind in one eye. But less than three hours later, the defendant won a release from custody while his appeal is argued before a higher court. After noting that Mayer Herskovic had not intended to cause serious physical injury to Taj Patterson during an early morning gang assault in Williamsburg, Judge Danny Chun said, “I did not find that in this particular defendant, but he was involved, he participated.” Patterson, now 25, was set upon by roughly 20 men, some of whom belonged to a neighborhood patrol organized by the Satmar community. The Satmar are among the Hasidic sects of Orthodox Judaism. The men first pursued Patterson along Flushing Avenue in cars and on foot. Once caught, Patterson was punched, kicked, knocked to the ground, and had a thumb

JB NICHOLAS

Mayer Herskovic was sentenced to four years in jail, but that sentence was almost immediately stayed pending appeal.

jammed in his eye. While no witness identified Herskovic, now 24, as the man who led the attack, his DNA was found on Patterson’s sneaker, which police recovered from the roof of a low building next to where the young man was assaulted. Patterson testified that the man who punched him in the face, jabbed a thumb in his eye, and kicked him in the face as he lay on the ground was the same

man who pulled off his sneaker and tossed it on to the building. Chun also sentenced Herskovic to one year in prison for unlawful imprisonment and 90 days in jail for menacing. Those sentences will be served concurrently with the four years for second-degree gang assault. Herskovic will have to serve six-sevenths of the sentence before being eligible for release. Chun also required that Herskovic

have three years of post-release supervision. Chun heard the non-jury trial and convicted Herskovic last year. He adjourned the sentencing twice and allowed Herskovic to stay out of jail while he had surgery. On March 16, Stuart Slotnick, Herskovic’s attorney, asked that his client be sentenced to the minimum – three-and-a-half years in prison. Herskovic faced up to 15 years in prison. “It was a crime that should not have occurred,” Herskovic said during his March 16 sentencing. “I wish I could take back what happened to Mr. Patterson so many years ago.” Herskovic identified himself as a construction worker who has worked with “white, black, Spanish, gay, not gay” co-workers. Patterson did not appear at the sentencing, but Tim Gough, a bureau chief and an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office who prosecuted the case with Tyear Middleton, also an assistant

SENTENCE, continued on p.13

Ex-Prosecutor: Release “Merits Enhanced Scrutiny” Herskovic’s lawyers question DNA evidence, but was it really just old-fashioned clout? BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

E

ven as they conceded that DNA evidence “is a very powerful, and very valuable, law enforcement tool,” the attorneys who won Mayer Herskovic’s release from custody less than three hours after his sentencing attacked the method used to analyze the DNA evidence that was key to his conviction. “Mayer Herskovic is an innocent man,” Stuart Slotnick said on March 16 after Herskovic was sentenced for his role in the 2013 assault. “We think the DNA evidence was completely and totally flawed.” Herskovic, 24, was convicted of second-degree gang assault, menacing, and unlawful impris-

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onment in the 2013 attack on Taj Patterson, 25, in Williamsburg. Patterson, a black gay man, was left blind in one eye in the assault. Danny Chun, the judge who heard the non-jury trial, sentenced Herskovic to four years in prison. Following the sentencing, Slotnick, along with Donna Aldea, a partner at Barket Marion Epstein Kearon LLP delivered a 46-page motion to a state appellate judge that suggested that the DNA found on a crucial piece of evidence might not have been Herskovic’s and even if it were Herskovic’s DNA, it may have ended up on Patterson’s sneaker by some method other than Herskovic touching the sneaker. “Even assuming that Mayer’s DNA was present on the heel

of the shoe, there would be no way to know if it got there from Mayer touching the shoe, and thereby leaving a few skin cells behind, or from Patterson stepping on the street where Mayer had spit earlier in the day, or on some other day,” Aldea wrote in the motion. Patterson was set upon by roughly 20 men, some of whom belonged to a neighborhood patrol organized by the Satmar community. The Satmar are part of the Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism. The men first pursued Patterson along Flushing Avenue in cars and on foot. Once caught, Patterson was punched and kicked, had a thumb jammed in his eye, and was knocked to the ground. No witness identified Hersk-

ovic as the man who led the attack. The core of the case was Herskovic’s DNA on Patterson’s sneaker, which police recovered from the roof of a low building next to where the young man was assaulted. Patterson testified that the man who punched him, jabbed a thumb in his eye, and kicked him in the face as he lay on the ground was the same man who pulled off his sneaker and tossed it onto the building. A second witness testified that she saw a man in the crowd throw something on to the roof of a nearby building. The tiny amount of DNA, 97.9 picograms, was first induced by technicians in the city medical ex-

APPEAL, continued on p.13

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


SENTENCE, from p.12

district attorney, spoke for him. “Mr. Patterson has indicated that he would have like to see the maximum, but no amount of time would ever bring back his sense of peace or bring back his vision in his right eye,” Gough told Chun. While Gough said that Patterson had expressed a desire to move on from the case, the effects of the assault remained in his life. “One of the things he told me is he will never forget being told by a doctor that he would never regain the sight in his right eye,” Gough said. The core of the case against Herskovic was that his DNA was found on Patterson’s sneaker. While Herskovic’s trial attorney, Israel Fried, attacked the reliability of the DNA testing, Chun was clearly unconvinced. Slotnick immediately appealed the sentence before an appellate judge, asking for a stay of the sentence and that his client be released pending a result on that appeal. He argued that the evidence against his client was insufficient and that Herskovic was not a flight risk. “Mayer Herskovic is an innocent man,” Slotnick told reporters as he was waiting to appear before an appellate judge after the sentencing. “We think the DNA evidence was

SENTENCE, from p.12

aminer’s office to make copies of itself, a process called amplification, and then compared to known samples of DNA from Herskovic and Patterson. A picogram is a trillionth of a gram and could be as little as five or six skin cells. The DNA evidence was processed by the city medical examiner’s office in a type of testing called high sensitivity or low copy number DNA testing. While many labs in the US do high sensitivity DNA testing, the city medical examiner is the only lab in the US that uses the method to produce evidence in criminal trials. Aldea suggested that the amplification process could have introduced errors into the DNA sample because it requires three additional amplification cycles. Any errors introduced could not introduce Herskovic’s DNA into a sample if it were not already in that sample, and any errors created by GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

completely and totally flawed.” The sentencing was completed by roughly 11 a.m., and by 1:00 p.m. Slotnick joined reporters who had been waiting for news on his efforts and announced his client would be released by the end of the day. “The stay has been granted so he’s going to be released,” Slotnick said. “We’re going to file an appeal so pending that appeal, he’s going to be out.” The prosecution relied on high sensitivity DNA testing, which uses samples that are measured in picograms, or trillionths of a gram. The testing was done by the city medical examiner’s office. While many labs in the US do high sensitivity DNA testing, the city medical examiner is the only lab in the US that uses the method to produce evidence in criminal trials. There could be as few as five or six skin cells in a picogram. The results are analyzed by software called the Forensic Statistical Tool, which produces a ratio indicating how likely it is that a particular individual contributed to the sample. The Forensic Statistical Tool is proprietary software used by the city medical examiner. Four other men were initially charged in the attack. Charges were dropped against two and the other two pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.

the amplification could only lessen the likelihood that the DNA there would be found. The medical examiner then analyses the data with its Forensic Statistical Tool, which is proprietary software that produces a ratio showing the likelihood that a particular individual contributed to the sample. “The reliability of High Sensitivity testing has recently been seriously questioned by courts and experts,” Aldea wrote. “Profiles created with high sensitivity analysis are deemed unsuitable for upload in the national CODIS databank; the FBI lab, among others, refuses to use it; and it has been denied admissibility in at least two recent criminal cases.” A far larger number of New York courts have admitted DNA evidence produced with this method, though the city medical examiner’s office has stopped using high sensitivity testing.

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APPEAL, continued on p.18

13


DISCRIMINATION

Second Circuit Bounces Sexual Orientation Bias Claim Manhattan panel cites precedent, but allows case to proceed on sex-stereotyping theory BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

A

three-judge panel of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Manhattan, has issued a mixed ruling concerning a gay man’s claim he was sexually harassed in his workplace in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In an unsigned March 27 opinion, the court ruled that plaintiff Matthew Christiansen could not sue under Title VII on a sexual orientation discrimination claim because of existing circuit precedents, but that he could maintain his suit on a claim he was victim of his employer’s unlawful sex stereotyping. The case was sent back to US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla of New York’s Southern District, who last year granted the employer’s motion to dismiss all federal claims and decline jurisdiction over state law claims. The ruling on this appeal, argued on January 20, was much awaited because it was the first time for the Second Circuit to address the sexual orientation issue since the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reversed its position, held for half a century, ruling in 2015 that sexual orientation discrimination claims should be treated as sex discrimination claims subject to Title VII, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex.” In a separate concurring opinion, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, joined by US District Judge Margo K. Brodie, suggested that if the full Second Circuit bench –– which can change a circuit precedent –– were to consider the question, they would both find that sexual orientation discrimination claims can be litigated under Title VII. The other member of the panel, Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston, did not join that opinion. Christiansen, described in the opinion as “an openly gay man who is HIV-positive,” worked at DDB Worldwide Communications Group, an advertising agency based in New York that is a subsidiary of Omnicom Group. He

14

alleged his direct supervisor subjected him to humiliating harassment “targeting his effeminacy and sexual orientation.” This began in the spring and summer of 2011, a time when marriage equality, on the cusp of victory in Albany, was much in the news in New York. The supervisor, not named in the opinion, “drew multiple sexually suggestive and explicit drawings of Christiansen on an office whiteboard.” These graphic drawings “depicted a naked, muscular Christiansen with an erect penis, holding a manual air pump and accompanied by a text bubble reading, ‘I’m so pumped for marriage equality.’” There was another picture that “depicted Christiansen in tights and a low-cut shirt ‘prancing around.’” Yet another showed his “torso on the body of ‘a four legged animal with a tail and penis, urinating and defecating.’” Later in 2011, the same supervisor “circulated at work and posted to Facebook a ‘Muscle Beach Party’ poster that depicted various employees’ heads on the bodies of people in beach attire,” including Christiansen’s head “attached to a female body clad in a bikini, lying on the ground with her legs upright in the air in a manner that one coworker thought depicted Christiansen as ‘a submissive sissy.’” The supervisor also made remarks about “the connection between effeminacy, sexual orientation, and HIV status,” and allegedly told other employees that Christiansen “was effeminate and gay so he must have AIDS,” though at the time Christiansen was keeping his HIV-status private. Christiansen included a disability discrimination claim in his complaint, but the district court found his factual allegations were not sufficient to maintain a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a conclusion that Christiansen did not appeal. Christiansen fi led a complaint with the EEOC in 2014, describing the harassment in detail, and after receiving the agency’s notice

of right to sue, fi led his lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. Omnicom quickly moved to dismiss. In addition to his Title VII and ADA claims, he also alleged violations of New York State and city antidiscrimination laws. The employer argued his claim under Title VII was really a sexual orientation discrimination claim rather than a gender stereotyping claim, and Failla, the district judge, agreed. Federal trial courts in the Second Circuit have frequently questioned the relevant precedent as confusing and difficult to apply. The circuit has ruled that, under the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in a woman’s suit against Price Waterhouse for its failure to make her a partner because she was viewed as insufficiently feminine, that an employee, including a gay or lesbian one, can bring a sex discrimination claim involving sex stereotyping, but if the court perceives that the employer’s mistreatment of the employee was really due to the employee’s sexual orientation, the claim will be rejected. Though this week’s ruling was premised on the rule that existing circuit precedent can only be overturned by the full circuit or the Supreme Court, the panel disagreed with Judge Failla’s conclusion that there was too much about sexual orientation in Christiansen’s complaint to allow him to proceed with a gender stereotyping sex discrimination claim under Title VII. Instead, the panel wrote there were enough allegations of gender stereotyping to survive the employer’s motion to dismiss. In his concurrence, Katzmann pointed to three theories under which sexual orientation discrimination claims should be treated as sex discrimination claims under Title VII: (1) that “sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination for the simple reason that such discrimination treats otherwise similarly-situated people differently solely because of their sex,” given that, as the EEOC has noted, “sexual orientation ‘cannot

be defined or understood without reference to sex’”; (2) based on the associational discrimination theory that other courts have applied in race discrimination cases, under which an employee suffers discrimination because he is involved in an interracial relationship; and (3) if there was gender stereotyping, including stereotyping the Second Circuit has not accepted as violating Title VII — that men should be attracted only to women and women only to men. Katzmann concluded, “I respectfully think that in the context of an appropriate case our Court should consider reexamining the holding that sexual orientation discrimination claims are not cognizable under Title VII. Other federal courts are also grappling with this question, and it well may be that the Supreme Court will ultimately address it.” The other cases are in the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, where the full bench heard argument on November 30 on this question, and the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, where a petition for en banc review is being filed by Lambda seeking reversal of a 2-1 adverse panel decision issued a few weeks ago. There is also another Second Circuit panel case argued in January, but the circuit’s precedent will likely produce the same result there. Christiansen is represented by Susan Chana Lask, a New York attorney whose complaint originally cast the federal claim as a sex stereotyping claim. Now that the case is being sent back to the district court to be litigated on that theory, Christiansen need not seek full circuit en banc review to proceed. The case attracted widespread amicus participation, including a brief filed by the EEOC, another from a long list of civil rights organizations led by the American Civil Liberties Union, and briefs on behalf of 128 members of Congress, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Lambda Legal, all arguing that the court should allow the case to proceed as a sexual orientation discrimination case. March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


REMEMBRANCE

Jimmy Breslin, New York’s Greatest Columnist, Dies Gruff, abrupt, charming, hilarious, tireless tabloid veteran won Pulitzer for AIDS columns BY ANDY HUMM

J

immy Breslin, who died March 19 at 88, was the greatest newspaper columnist in New York at a time when as top columnist for the Daily News, he could command half a million dollars a year and the tabloids he wrote for had immense power. Those days are over for newspapers, but in his day Breslin could make news and provoke outrage with his brilliant, spare writing and his feel for the little guy. Breslin was gruff and abrupt, but also hilarious and charming. He was a tireless tribune of the powerless. He wrote peerlessly about bookies and gangsters and political charlatans. But he won his Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1986 for his columns on the unfolding AIDS crisis, humanizing those sick from the virus for which there was then no effective treatment. Allen Roskoff, a veteran gay activist and a longtime friend of Breslin and his wife of 34 years, former City Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge, took Breslin to Uncle Charlie’s Downtown, a gay bar on Greenwich Avenue, and Champs in the Flatiron District to meet people with AIDS for the stories. Roskoff introduced him to David Camacho, a gay political activist from the Village with AIDS and his husband, James Duff, who went on to be a big TV producer (“The Closer�). Camacho was a young, handsome, bright guy who had the guts to be out about his disease and to show his disfigured face to the world at a time when some PWA’s were jumping off buildings to avoid the shame. Here is how Breslin captured David’s life: “He had two good weeks in July and then the fever returned and he was back in the hospital for half of last August. He got out again and returned to Eighth Street. The date this time doesn’t count. By now, he measured nothing around him. Week, month, day, night, summer heat, fall chill, the color of the sky, the sound of the street, clothes, music, lights, wealth dwindled in meaning.� GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

Another of the AIDS columns was about a young man from Georgia. In it, Breslin trenchantly covered how gay people from small towns get out and come to New York –– and how many of them ended up coming out to their fundamentalist families at the same time they disclosed their diagnoses. He quoted the man in this way: “There was never any one time when I said anything to my family or they said anything to me. I lived without words.� Breslin also hit on the heartlessness of insurance companies, especially when it came to AIDS in those days. “He had a rough exterior but a heart of gold,� Roskoff said. Gay civil libertarian Bill Dobbs, also close to Breslin and Eldridge, said, “Jimmy was an amazing fighter for social justice. His death is a huge loss, but his work continues to inspire.� When Breslin ran for City Council president in 1969 with Norman Mailer running for mayor, their campaign slogan was “Vote the Rascals In.� They also pushed for the city to be the 51st state. They lost. Breslin said, “Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.� The abuse scandals in his Catholic Church angered him so much that he wrote a 2004 book, “The Church that Forgot Christ.� Breslin was asked a few years ago, “What’s wrong with journalism today?� And he said, “They don’t go out! Television would be your answer. They’re all on television giving the news. As you listen to them talk, you know they haven’t left the office.� While most of the New York press treated Donald Trump as some kind of lovable rogue or admirable businessman, Breslin warned us about him in 1989 when Trump took out a full-page ad calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, young black men wrongfully convicted of rape and exonerated decades later. “Outside the courthouse,� Breslin wrote in Newsday, “beware always of the loudmouth taking advantage of the situation and appealing to a crowd’s meanest nature.�

Jimmy Breslin’s funeral program.

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15


HOMOPHOBIA, from p.5

But fear doesn’t succumb to data. Why do we fear groups that aren’t dangerous? The answer is that fear is perpetuated and enlarged by acts of fear. Kill those in a group, ostracize them, deprive them, talk against them, abuse them in any way, and you will magnify and renew your fear of them. You will have given them the right to hate you and you will fear them and not just hate them. Mistreat people and you will fear them. The oppressor doesn’t want to see himself as hateful so he condemns — often attributing supernatural powers to the victim. This once held for left-handed people and those born out of wedlock; it still holds among many regarding women and people of color. The word “homophobia” came to me as a way of summing up this irrational fear — and dread. Frank Kameny liked it and so did my other gay activist friends. Early leaders Jack Nichols and Lige Clarke, themselves a couple, used it in their articles for the underground press including the newspaper

WEINBERG, from p.4

thought he was going to pass out. All those people coming up to me saying, ‘Let me give you a hug.’ I thought he was going to die.” Weinberg also regularly debated on TV and radio with anti-gay psychiatrists, such as the infamous Charles Socarides who went to his grave in 2005 clinging to the sickness theory of homosexuality despite having an out gay son. As Weinberg told Drescher, “I had so much contact with Socarides over the years that we could have been married. I debated with Socarides, chided him, kidded him until he said, ‘I’m not going on the air with this guy.’ Socarides told [C.A.] Tripp [subsequently author of ‘The Homosexual Matrix’], who was kind of a formal guy, ‘I’ll debate with you on the air Dr. Tripp but not with that screaming faggot, George Weinberg.’ Tripp answered him, “How many mistakes can you make in one sentence?’ That’s how shaken Socarides was by me. We had a lot of fun.” In 2012, the Associated Press officially discouraged its reporters from using “homophobia” in its sto-

16

Gay, and so did I. Activists Barbara Gittings of Philadelphia and Lilli Vincenz of Washington used it regularly in speeches. It was more successful than I ever imagined it would be. Gay people could do more than say, “I am not the one who is sick. Maybe you are and here’s the illness that you have.” They had a diagnosis for their oppressors and could do more than play defense. I remember how exciting it was to see the word used by others. In fact, it still is. I used it in speeches and on TV when an occasional host had me on to present the case for accepting gay people and for gay people accepting themselves. I got a young graduate student to do a do a study of homophobia and its correlates. The word caught on. It was just what the movement needed. It caught on because it was right. There are a lot of downsides to getting older, but an upside is that I can quickly juxtapose in my mind the status of gay people then and now. It was all done by bold work of a handful of people armed with the insight that it was not gay people who had the problem but a sick society that did.

The early steps toward equality were small after that meeting in 1965 — a handful of gay demonstrations and uprisings in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and San Francisco. Then came the Stonewall Rebellion in Greenwich Village in ’69 and, as Dick Leitch of the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall group, said, “We went from no one being out to everyone being out.” The unique thing about Stonewall is that it led to immediate and ongoing LGBTQ organizing, first with the radical Gay Liberation Front in New York and London, then with the Gay Activists Alliance and Lesbian Feminist Liberation, and within a few years thousands of groups in cities across the country and around the world. One of the first great and essential victories of the early gay movement was getting the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its official index of mental disorders in 1973 — a seismic shift that catalyzed the progress of the movement. It put homophobia on the run. Despite immense progress, the battle against homophobia is not

won — certainly not around the world with more than 70 countries still criminalizing same-sex relations and not even in the United States where we have yet to enact a simple federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (though more than half the country is covered by such protections on the state and local level). As homophobia has ebbed, transphobia has increased as the right wing — for political advantage — spreads the fear of transgender people in restrooms. And the new Trump administration seized power by stoking fears of a host of “others” — immigrants in general but people from Muslim nations in particular, who are being subjected to Islamophobic exclusions. Until we can conquer our fears, we will be ruled by them — and millions of blameless people will suffer. Have no fear.

ries and Weinberg took them on in Gay City News, writing, “The AP’s recent dislike of the word because it is ‘political’ makes no sense. It is political because a large number of people have brought it to light and are opposing abuse. If one man beats up his wife nightly because he’s a drunk, it isn’t political. It is personal. If a million do and women organize in protest, it’s political. But it is still personal and psychological. ‘Political’ just means that many people are trying to do something about it. Homophobia doesn’t lose its status as a phobia just because many people are now on to it and are trying to cure it or to live in spite of it.” Weinberg’s formulation led to its application to the fear of Muslims (Islamophobia) and transgender people (transphobia), among others. George Weinberg was born May 17, 1929 in Manhattan to a father who quickly abandoned him and a mother, Lillian Hyman, who raised him well on her own. He often joked that he was a “disturbed child” because he was sent to a special private school and told Drescher in an interview that he “did very badly in school in everything except math

and English” at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and City College, where “as a lover of poetry” he “first met gay men.” He went on to a graduate work in psychology at Columbia and in English from NYU, starting a private psychotherapy practice in the 1960s. “The gay issue tormented me,” he told Drescher, “not only because I was making gay friends who were suffering hideous, marginal lives, and the police weren’t doing anything to help them, but I was also learning that many of my heroes throughout history had been gay. I thought about Houseman, Shakespeare, probably Jonathan Swift. I didn’t yet know about Newton. So many of these people had to have lived fearful, guarded lives. I think my having been labeled ‘disturbed’ in my own childhood had greatly increased my sympathy and understanding. The minute someone was called ‘disturbed’ or ‘abnormal,’ it became fascinating to me because it meant that this person was being was marginalized.” Weinberg was the author of 14 books on a range of topics, from popular psychology to William Shakespeare, from whose work he could

quote extensively from memory and who he had no doubt was gay. He wrote “Will Power: Using Shakespeare’s Insights to Transform Your Life” with his wife Dianne Rowe, who survives him. The Los Angeles Times reviewed Weinberg’s “Invisible Masters,” calling him “the kind of psychotherapist one might like to have — engaging, animated, mindful of the part his own personality plays in any exchange, sensitive, and thoughtful.” I had the honor of getting close to him as a friend and editor over the last 12 years and can testify to all of those qualities. Even as his health declined in recent years, he never stopped writing or seeing patients, or engaging in the controversies of the day. “I’ve always subscribed to Nietzsche’s line,” he told Drescher. “Society is advanced by those who oppose it.” Rowe said, “One of George’s favorite phrases was from Keats [‘When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be’]: ‘The faery power of unreflecting love.’ ‘Faery’ meaning magical. He loved with great immediacy and never judged or reevaluated people. He loved his patients and his friends all of his life.”

George Weinberg died in Manhattan on March 20 at the age of 87 (see page 4). At the time of his death, Weinberg was completing work on this essay with the editing assistance of Andy Humm.

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


GMHC HONORS BILL CLINTON, STALEY BROTHERS

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO

A

t its 35th anniversary Spring Gala, Gay Men’s Health Crisis honored longtime activist Peter Staley (seen here), his brother Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays Bank (seen here greeting GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie), and President Bill Clinton for his global AIDS work at the Clinton Foundation. The former president was unable to attend, but was represented by his daughter, Chelsea. Peter Staley received the Larry Kramer Activism Award, and the GMHC co-founder was on hand to present the honor, as was former board member Phil Donahue with his wife Marlo Thomas. The crowd of over 400 at the Highline Stages in the Meatpacking District on March 23 raised more than $700,000.

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GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

17


APPEAL, from p.13

“OCME ceased [low copy number] testing in early 2017 after implementing new technologies that align with revised FBI standards for DNA testing and provide enhanced power of identification,” the medical examiner’s office said in a statement. “We stand fully behind our LCN procedures while we are also committed to staying on

the cutting edge of new technology to best serve New York City.” While the federal courts regularly release white collar defendants while they appeal a conviction, it is far less common in New York state courts. “In my experience, in state court, it’s very uncommon,” said Frank A. Bress, a professor at New York Law School who teaches criminal procedure. “In federal court, it’s much more prevalent…In state court, it’s very rare.” While Herskovic was convicted of

a violent felony, he does not appear to be a flight risk. During the trial, he made all his court appearances while out on bail. With Chun’s permission, he even traveled to a foreign country for a wedding and returned to the US. The other explanation for Herskovic’s quick release is that he is a member of a politically connected community –– the Satmar –– and the courts are favoring him. “The state courts are political

ST. PAT’S from p.10

Roberta Reardon. They were joined by Irish Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, in town to appear at the Irish Stand, an evening of “multi-cultural prose, speech, song, and wit” celebrating inclusivity, diversity, and human rights at the Riverside Church, in a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union. Ó Ríordáin, who in a passionate speech to the Irish Senate in November declared, “America has just elected a fascist,” has broad government responsibilities for new communities, culture, equality, and drugs strategy. “I was here last year,” he said. “We marched with Bill de Blasio, and it was fantastic. I’ve been following this struggle for many years. For there to be a row over here seemed bizarre.” LGBTQ groups have marched in Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade for years. Each group in the Fifth Avenue parade gets to name its own grand marshal, and Lavender and Green chose prolific Irish writer, actor, and activist Malachy McCourt. At 85, McCourt gets around these days with a walker and a wheelchair — and rode in a horse-drawn carriage at the March 4 Sunnyside St. Pat’s for All parade — but remains busy, promoting his forthcoming book “Death Need Not Be Fatal.” “Well this is an astonishing development,” McCourt said. “When you’ve come out of an Irish slum and all of a sudden you’re a grand marshal, you’ve got to come to the conclusion that you’ve outlived your enemies. As Oscar Wilde said: ‘Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much.’ I think I’m near to the end of forgiving Ireland. It’s gotten very progressive as a state.” While marchers are not sup-

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DONNA ACETO

Lavender and Green’s sectional grand marshal Malachy McCourt marches in front of the group’s banner.

DONNA ACETO

An Emerald Society Pipes and Drums corps.

posed to carry posters or banners, no one objected to the man who walked with a large photo of Father Mychal Judge, the out gay FDNY chaplain who died on 9/11. Irish musician Brian Fleming brought his bodhrán and drummed the marchers along, with the assistance of Dylan James, a young New York banjo player. The crowds were thinner in some places along the parade route

by the time Lavender and Green stepped off late in the day, but many remained on the sidewalks on either side of Fifth Avenue — mostly cleared of the slush and ice from the week’s late winter snowstorm — from 48th to 78th Streets. The Lavender and Green group was greeted throughout with cheers and applause. Some shouted: “You are welcome here!” Only one protester was seen

as hell,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a former prosecutor in Brooklyn and Queens who teaches criminal law. “It’s a very powerful community. There are different communities that have power, and that is one of the communities that has power.” Bress and O’Donnell said that Herskovic’s appeal may have substance, but O’Donnell added that the release needed a closer look. “It could be meritorious, but it deserves enhanced scrutiny,” he said.

along the route, holding up antigay signs. As the parade progressed up Fifth Avenue, priests from St. Patrick’s Cathedral came out to personally greet the members of all the groups, including the LGBTQ contingent. As they approached Trump Tower, marchers were told not to shout or chant anything in front of the anti-immigrant president’s corporate headquarters and home. MacNiallais talked about the changes he has seen since he began his activism that led to breakthroughs in parades like New York’s. “They reached out to me and asked if would I be interested in volunteering on the formation committee to help organize the parade,” he said. “I think it says a lot about the spirit of inclusiveness that exists now. When you get to know people on a personal level, it’s less about, as we say in Belfast, ‘us’ns and them’ns.’ Getting to know each other on that level creates a more profound type of reconciliation.” MacNiallais later commented, “Some people would say our acceptance into the parade was purely as a result of the pressure and boycott, and while that has a lot to do with it, I don’t think it tells the whole story. I think there’s been a general shift in social attitudes toward LGBTQ people and that is exemplified by the new parade committee. Not only has the parade permitted Lavender and Green to march, they’ve gone out of their way to reach out to us. Dr. John Lahey [Quinnipiac University president and vice chair of the parade committee] marched behind our banner, and members of the committee have come out to our St. Pat’s for All parade and concert. It wasn’t a begrudging thing. “We all want to celebrate Irish heritage and culture, and we’re all part of the same community in the end.” March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Governor David Paterson Ana María Archila Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Christopher Bram Lisa Cannistraci Staceyann Chin JD Davids Andrés Duque Bryan John Ellicott Ashley C. Ford Suzanne Goldberg

Oriol R. Gutierrez, Jr. Bishop Zachary G. Jones Howie Katz

Terrance Knox Donna Lieberman Carmen Neely

Presented by

Anthony Nicodemo Eunic Oritz Leo Preziosi, Jr. Charles Rice-González

Manny Rivera Doug Robinson Therese Rodriguez Allen Roskoff Robyn Streisand Christopher Tepper Paul Kelterborn Jillian Weiss Jennifer Flynn Walker Edie Windsor Mel Wymore Emanuel Xavier

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FREE | VOLUME SIXTEEN, ISSUE SEVEN | MARCH 31 - APRIL 12, 2017


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March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

The 2017 Gay City News Impact Awards BY PAUL SCHINDLER The 33 individuals profiled in this commemorave special secon come from many walks of life — government, healthcare, business, labor, law, the arts, advocacy, and acvism. What all of them, in their unique ways, have in common is their engagement in the project of building community. And building community is a vital task as we face a future none of us likely expected a mere six months ago. Aer eight years in which the LGBTQ community made unprecedented strides toward full equality and dignity in our society — with a federal government increasingly proacve in embracing our rights and aspiraons — the world has been turned upside down. A society that seemed ready to embrace the noon that transgender rights are human rights is suddenly governed by leaders who have signaled a brutal turnaround. Our hopes for — at long last — a federal law protecng all of us from discriminaon, not only in employment, but housing, public accommodaons, credit access, and more, now seem like a far-off dream. And loose talk about so-called religious freedom threatens federal laws or regulaons that big-foot pro-

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tecons we've won at the state and local level naonwide. America is turning its back on new immigrants and hunting down many who live and work and love and contribute in our midst. The recent improvements in healthcare access remain — even with last week’s GOP meltdown — imperiled. Donald Trump’s vision is of an America without urgently needed environmental protecons, without support for the arts, without a State Department that represents values of equality, jusce, and democracy around the globe, but with a military that looks set to grab all the winnings. Community, coalion, purpose, and determinaon are the answers we must commit ourselves to. In the face of great danger, our community’s response so far has been heartening. We joined women around the world on January 21. We told Congress that they cannot turn their backs on decent and affordable healthcare. We’ve joined Rise + Resist. And protest and resistance will take a lead posion in this year’s LGBTQ Pride March down Fih Avenue. Our souls have been tried before, and we have persevered. The 33 outstanding individuals we honor here convince me that we will do so again. Tonight, we celebrate their amazing achievements, talent, strength, vision, and — yes — heart.

March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Governor David A. Paterson An Early Fierce Advocate for LGBTQ Rights

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avid Alexander Paterson served as the 55th gover nor of New York State, between 2008 and 2010. Coming to office on the heels of a guber natorial resignation was not the biggest challenge facing Pater son. Instead, it was the unfolding economic crisis of 2008. His warnings about an impending fiscal crisis in his Inaugural Address immediately raised eyebrows. Despite the enor mity of the challenges the Great Recession created, the new governor managed to reduce the Empire State’s budget deficits dramatically in each of the three years he was chief executive. Given the role that sub-prime loans and mounting for eclosures played in creating the crisis, it was noteworthy that Paterson was also the first gover nor to enact criminal penalties for predatory lending. Equally dramatic was action Paterson took in overhauling the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws that for 35 years had deprived judges of sentencing discretion and doomed tens of thousands of low-level drug of fenders to long prison sentences. Paterson succeeded Eliot Spitzer, to that time the most pro-gay governor in New York’s history, having introduced same-sex marriage legislation in 2007, his first year in office. As Gay City News noted when Paterson stepped up to the gover nor’s of fice in March 2008, LGBTQ leaders in the state breathed a huge sigh of relief that Spitzer’s successor came to office with an even stronger record of support for the community’s goals. Longtime gay activist Ethan Geto recalled that when the Assembly passed the marriage bill in 2007, “David, in what may have been an unprecedented act for a lieutenant governor, or any executive official, worked the floor of the State Assembly on the night that the vote

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on gay marriage was about to occur, encouraging and cajoling assemblymembers to support the bill and, importantly, making the crucial point that gay rights are fundamental civil rights.” Alan van Capelle, who then headed up the Empire State Pride Agenda, also took note of that. “Part of our winning strategy on the marriage bill was based on the counsel and advice of the lieutenant governor and his willingness to reach out to members of the Assembly,” van Capelle said. “And his commitment showed particularly on the day of the vote when he went to members he had spoken to right on the Assembly floor to shore up their vote. In my years going to Albany, I never saw a lieutenant governor, in fact any member of the executive do that.” Prior to becoming lieutenant gover nor in 2007, Pater son served as a state senator from Harlem for more than two decades, the last four years as the Democratic minority leader. He held the seat earlier held by his father Basil, an iconic Har lem Democratic leader. Knowing David Paterson throughout h i s S e n a t e c a r e e r, G e t o t o l d Gay City News that one of the new gover nor’s guiding political principles was “that gaining equality under the law for blacks was the civil rights battle of his father’s generation, but that achieving full equality of opportunity for LGBT people is the core civil rights battle of his own generation.” Born in 1954, Paterson grew into adolescence during the height of the black civil rights movement. Vision problems in his youth led to loss of sight in one eye and limited sight in the other, and Paterson has been legally blind since then. In college he learned that two men he knew well in his youth were gay, and Paterson said that helped him recognize the common

obstacles posed by discrimination and disadvantage. “When I was growing up nobody was openly gay,” he told Gay City News in a 2006 interview during his lieutenant governor run. “If they appeared to be gay, they got ridiculed with all sorts of epithets. I’m a human being and I once felt as they did.” It was not long into his Senate tenure that Paterson proved his mettle on gay rights. In the late 1980s, as hate crimes legislation was first discussed seriously in Albany, Republicans hoped to claim credit on an issue popular among constituencies including the African-American and Jewish communities. The GOP was unwilling to include protections for gay and lesbian New Yorkers, but counted on black legislative leaders to embrace any progress possible on the issue. Howie Katz, the gay activist who led the hate crimes bill coalition in New York for more than a decade (and another Impact Award winner this year), and Matt Foreman, who headed the Pride Agenda when the bill finally passed in 2000, both r ecall that Paterson was one of two African-American legislators who spearheaded the refusal to compromise on the inclusion of sexual orientation in the legislation. “He was just great, our key point person in the Senate on hate crimes legislation,” Foreman told Gay City News in 2002 at the time Paterson became Senate minority leader. “I know of no more principled person in the political community,” Katz said at that time. During Paterson’s time as governor, the state enacted the Dignity for All Students Act, an anti-bullying measure that for the first time protected transg e n d e r N e w Yo r k e r s i n s t a t e law. As he had done with the Assembly in 2007, Paterson took a hands-on approach to

the State Senate’s first vote on marriage equality in late 2009. Though he did not go onto the Senate floor during the debate — perhaps mindful of his role as head of a co-equal branch of government — when the vote came up short, he did not hesitate to show his continued commitment to the issue. He walked onto the Senate floor to embrace the bill’s supporters and to show his determination to LGBTQ activists in the gallery. Though that vote did not deliver equal marriage rights, the tally gave our community a roadmap to what needed to be done to secure victory. With the targeted flip of several seats in the elections that followed, the message had been sent. Mar riage equality prevailed the next time it came up in the Senate, in June 2011. Since stepping down as governor in January 2011, Pater son has hosted a popular drivetime radio show on WOR-AM, served as an adjunct professor of government at New York University, and since moved to the Touro College School of Osteopathic Medicine, an institution committed to increasing care in understerved communties. He served as chair of the State Democratic Party from 2014 to 2016, and now is the director of investments at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Ana María Archila Colombian Immigrant Who’s a Leading NYC Social Justice Voice

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aving emigrated from Colombia to the US at the age of 17, Ana María Archila has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for civil rights, access to decent and affordable health care, equity in education funding and resources, and immigrant rights. In 2004, Archila was named a Coro Fellow by a foundation dedicated to creating “the next generation of change-makers.” Her fellowship followed by a year her appointment as executive director of the Latin American Integration Center. In 13 years leading LAIC, which in 2007 merged with Make the Road Walking to create Make the Road New York, she strengthened adult literacy, youth development, and health access services to immigrants citywide and on Long Island.

Using a community organizing model, Archila worked to str engthen immigrant political participation through voter education and mobilization. LGBTQ organizing in immigrant and lower -income communities has also been central to Make the Road New York’s mission. Archila co-directs the Make the Road Action Fund and is now co-executive director of Make the Road’s sister organization, the Center for Popular Democracy, which works in partnership with high-impact, base-building groups, organizing alliances and progressive unions to create equity, oppor tunity, and a dynamic democracy with an agenda that is pro-worker, pro-immigrant, and dedicated to racial and economic justice. The group’s portfolio is broad, encompassing climate

justice, education fairness, housing, minimum wage and paid sick leave advances, and Wall Street accountability. Over her career, Archila has advanced her views in a wide range of media venues, both English- and Spanish-language. In Newsday, she outlined how state legislative redistricting practices have shortchanged the growing African-American, Latino, and immigrant communities on Long Island. In a Spanish-language essay in El Diario, Archila warned against educational policies that don't prioritize students’ needs. Prior to the nation’s embrace of mar riage equality, as Congress debated immigration refor m, Archila, in a Gay City News op ed, argued that the needs of binational same-sex couples and other LGBTQ immigrants

must be part of any acceptable legislative package. For the Washington jour nal The Hill, she explained how partnering among groups seeking change and policy experts can chart a path toward progress.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger Advocate for Change with Scholarly Instinct for Critical Thinking

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ndrea Batista Schlesinger is the deputy director of US Programs at the Open Society Foundations, an organization created by George Soros with the aim of building vibrant and tolerant societies with governments accountable and open to the participation of all people. The foundations’ key concerns are the rule of law, respect for human rights and minorities, defending diversity of opinion and an independent media, preserving democracy, and building civil societies that keep government power in check. The organization works to build international alliances to battle corruption and uphold freedom of information worldwide, and prioritizes the improvement of the lives of marginalized people. As deputy director of US Programs, Schlesinger oversees a

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portfolio that includes criminal justice and drug policy reform, battling discrimination, black male achievement, and national security and counterterrorism. Before joining the Foundations, Schlesinger served as a special advisor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, coordinating his Young Men’s Initiative to improve the life outcomes of young black and Latino males. During Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign, she advised the mayor on higher education, immigration, and housing. For eight years, Schlesinger led the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a think tank co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1966, which today carries forward his social change legacy by promoting economic justice, building community, and fostering human

rights globally. During her tenure, the Drum Major Institute was noted for its analytical work on immigration issues and the economic squeeze faced by the middle-class and its advocacy of ef fective policies to promote equity and justice. Schlesinger also created a program to connect students from underrepresented communities to policy careers upon completion of their education. In 2009, Schlesinger published “The Death of Why: The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy” (2009), an analysis of how and why easy answers in today’s world have discouraged the instincts for critical and independent thinking. Schlesinger, a University of Chicago graduate, has a double master’s in history from Colum-

bia University and the London School of Economics where she studied economic inequality in cities globally. Early in her career, she advised Bronx Bor ough President Fernando Ferrer on educational issues. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Christopher Bram Novelist, Essayist, and a History Nerd Since Youth

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hristopher Bram is the author of an eclectic range of nine novels and, most recently, several nonfiction works. His 1987 debut, “Surprising Myself,” told the coming of age story of a gay teen who, with the lover he meets working in a summer camp, moves to New York where he learns most of all about himself. “Hold Tight,” his second novel a year later, offered a dramatic shift in tone, in a erotically-charged tale of underground gay life and foreign espionage set in male brothel in World War II Manhattan. In seven novels that followed, Bram immersed readers in an impressively diverse array of worlds: a circle of gay friends reckoning with the loss of one to AIDS in “In Memory of Angel Clare,” a closeted State Department career spent in the Marcos-era Philippines in “Almost History,” the collision of an ACT UP East Villager and

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

a closeted gay Republican, who ends up murdered, in “Gossip,” spirituality and show biz in postCivil War America in “The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes,” the world of New York theater-hopefuls in “Lives of the Circus Animals” (Lambda Literary Award-winner for Best Gay Male Fiction), and forbidden love between a coupled gay artist and teacher and a visiting Iranian painter, who arrives in Virginia with his Russian wife as the US hurtles toward war in Iraq, in “Exiles In America.” “Father of Frankenstein,” Bram’s 1995 imagining of the final days of James Whale, the director of “Frankenstein,” is a heart-rending story of gay life in Old Hollywood, adapted for film in “Gods and Monsters,” with an Oscar-winning screenplay by director Bill Condon and starring Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave, and Brendan Fraser.

Bram’s work also include a collection of essays, “Mapping the Territory,” a sweeping history of gay writers over more than 50 years post-World War II in “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America” (which won the Publishing Triangle’s Randy Shilts Award), and his most recent, “The Art of History: Unlocking the Past in Fiction and Nonfiction,” a meditation on how our past is reflected and refracted in what we read. About that book, Bram told Gay City News, “I love history. I am a history nerd, I always have been. As a kid, I fell in love with history books long before I fell in love with fiction… My second novel, ‘Hold Tight,’ turned out to be an historical novel. I was delighted to discover I could combine my two great loves.” Raised in Virginia, Bram came to New York in 1978, where he met his partner, the filmmaker

Draper Shreeve. He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2000 and, in 2003, was honored with the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. Bram teaches at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Lisa Cannistraci Barkeeper With Unquenchable Thirst to Give Back to Her Community

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enrietta Hudson first opened its doors for business Halloween night 1991, but its co-founder and owner Lisa Cannistraci started tending bar at the 438 Hudson Street address half a dozen years ear lier. In 1985, a rainstorm drove Cannistraci, then working at a Wall Street establishment, to seek out the comfort of what was then a different lesbian bar, and she caught the owner’s eye. Before long, she was serving up drinks in the West Village. “I feel like I have been at 438 Hudson Street since March 1985, with maybe a year break out of that,” Cannistraci told Gay City News in 2013, pointing to some gap time between the earlier bar’s shuttering and Henrietta’s birth. “This is my 28th year here. If it didn’t rain, I would never have walked in…

and Henrietta’s definitely would not have been here.” In which case, many lesbians and untold numbers of LGBTQ community groups would have been the worse. Cannistraci quickly made Henrietta’s a go-to place for celebrating community victories and raising funds — hundreds of times — to support non-profit and political endeavors. No doubt a key ingredient in the bar’s role in local queer life is Cannistraci’s eager embrace of a community leadership role. She is particularly proud that when DOMA was struck down in 2013, in a case brought by her friend Edie Windsor, Cannistraci was serving as vice president of Mar riage Equality USA. In her 2013 interview, Cannistraci traced her activist roots to the boycott that followed

Colorado’s 1992 enactment of a voter referendum prohibiting gay and lesbian anti-discrimination or dinances. She recalled that tennis great Mar tina Navratilova originally supported the boycott, but changed her mind and said so one evening at Henrietta’s. Cannistraci sent her packing. Since 2002, she’s served on Manhattan Community Board 2, focusing particularly on LGBTQ, youth, and elderly issues on the Social Services Committee. Out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman, who once chaired CB2, ter med her “an indefatigable member of the West Village,” whose “insight on small business issues and commitment to LGBT causes have been invaluable” on the board. Hoylman of fered particular praise for the loving assistance

Cannistraci provided to the late Stonewall activist Stor mé DeLarverie into her 90s, securing legal guardianship and making sure she found an appropriate assisted living facility to spend her final days.

Staceyann Chin Writer, Performance Poet, “Not-So-Easily-Categorized” Activist

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riter, per for mance poet, and activist Staceyann Chin has been honored by the American Immigration Council, Immigration Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, and the New York State Senate. Cowriter and an original performer in the Tony-winning “Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway” (for which she won a Drama Desk Award), Chin has won rousing cheers at the Nuyorican Poets Café, in onewoman Off-Broadway shows — including “Hands Afire,” “Unpeakeable Things,” and Border/Clash” — and in writing workshops from Sweden to South Africa and Australia. On “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” this proud Jamaican national spoke candidly about her experiences growing up on the island and the dire consequences of her

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coming out there. Chin, author of the memoir “The Other Side of Paradise,” opened her solo theater piece “MotherStruck,” directed by Cynthia Nixon and produced by Rosie O’Donnell, in New Yo r k i n D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 5 a n d has since toured the work. She has appeared at innumerable colleges speaking and performing, including NYU, Holy Cross, Harvard, the University of Illinois, the University of Califor nia at San Diego, Yale, and the University of the West Indies. In Chin’s telling, her activist life began with the fury of per formance poetry. Winner of the 1999 Chicago People of Color Slam, the 1998 Lambda Poetry Slam, the 1998 and 2000 Slam This, and WORD: The First Slam for Television, she and her her work have been featured in

Curve, Venus, Essence, the New York Times, Retorik Magasinet, Newsday, the Jamaica Gleaner, the Village Voice, and the South African T imes. Her chapbooks include “Wildcat Woman,” “Stories Surrounding My Coming,” “Catalogue the insanity,” and “The Mad Hatter: Volumes I and II,” and her work has been published in many anthologies. The Center for Women and Gender at Dartmouth selected her for a Visionary in Residence award, and she remains Poet in Residence at The Culture Project. In 2006, Der ek Walcott, a Nobel laureate in literature, invited Chin to study with him at Boston University. On the average day, she has said, Chin writes disjointed journal entries, feeds her dog, obsesses about global pover ty, and attempts to bridge the

divide between African Americans and the Caribbean. All while trying to be a-not-so-easily-categorized political body committed to being an everyday activist navigating today's America with integrity. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


JD Davids HIV/ AIDS Journalist and Social Justice Activist

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D Davids began his activist career in ACT UP Philadelphia, and, in 1996, he cofounded Philadelphia FIGHTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Project Teach (Treatment Education Activists Combating HIV), a program to train people living with HIV to act as peer educators in underserved communities hardest hit by the epidemic, focused not only on prevention but treatment outreach and advocacy, as well. Davids was also an organizer at HealthGAP (Global Access Project), a coalition of AIDS and human rights activists, people living with HIV, public health experts, and fair trade advocates campaigning against the neglect and greed that deny treatment to millions and fuel HIV's spread. Davidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; earliest concer ns included expanding clean syringe access, mitigat-

ing the harm of managed care, slashing the global price of HIV treatment, and confronting the horrors of prison medical care. In 2003, Davids moved to New Yo r k a n d f o u n d e d t h e C o m munity HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), a national network that focused its work on HIV/ AIDS, prevention, and social justice, building bridges to other movements addressing socioeconomic and racial inequality. CHAMP no longer exists in its original form, but its HIV Prevention Justice Alliance carries on its work supporting the emergence of new HIV activists of all ages at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Davids is the managing editor of TheBody.com, an online platform about HIV/ AIDS that aims to lower barriers between patients and clinicians, demys-

tify HIV and its treatment, improve the quality of life for those living with the virus, and foster community. In that mission, the site has a sister publication for health care professionals, TheBodyPRO.com. Given his expertise on HIV/ AIDS prevention and treatment, Davids was a member of the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Strategic Working Group and was named to Columbia University's Revson Fellow program that offers midcareer development for those who make substantial leader ship contributions to the city. Davids is a member of the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice board as well as the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, a queer Jewish collective that produces a legend-

LOUIE ORTIZ-FONSECA

ary Purim shpil. In response to the election of Donald T rump, Davids co-created #ActivistBasics, which provides approachable videos, podcasts, and curated content for new activists as well as those now re-engaging.

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GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Andrés Duque Advocacy in New York and Throughout the Americas

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or more than two decades, Queens resident Andrés Duque has been a leader in New York’s LGBTQ community, active in the fight against AIDS, in ensuring visibility for the Latino queer community as well as its accurate portrayal in the press –– particularly the Spanish-language media –– and as a writer and blogger on a wide range of issues, both local and internationally. During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Duque served as a top official at the Latino Commission on AIDS and also led Mano a Mano, a network that brought together 15 small, grassroots Latino groups. By working in coalition, the group was able to secure nearly a million dollars in grants to address the specific needs of LGBTQ Latino New Yorkers. Mano a Mano also took on the role of media watchdog, pressing

for visibility in the city’s Spanishlanguage media and also challenging homophobia where it reared its head. The network’s campaign against a morning radio program that featured virulently anti-gay content led GLAAD to launch its Spanish-language media program. Mano a Mano also played the lead role in challenging Latino community opponents of marriage equality. In the mid-2000s, Duque launched his popular Blabbeando blog, which was a pioneer among English-language media in shining a spotlight on the emerging LGBTQ civil rights movement throughout all of Latin America. As a Spanish-speaker with broad familiarity with and travel to Latin nations throughout the hemisphere, Duque brought a unique ability to understand and explain developments across many societ-

ies. Nominated for Blog of the Year by GLAAD in 2011, Duque’s work drew attention from mainstream media outlets, as well, from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio to Fox News. Duque has contributed to Gay City News, as well, along with The Advocate, El Diario La Prensa, Hoy, Fox News Latino, and Color Lines, and has appeared on NY1’s Spanish-language “Pura Politica” political roundtable. As a recognized community leader, Duque has served on the board of the Empire State Pride Agenda and Outright Action International and was a founding board member at both the Queens Pride House and the Audre Lorde Project, which advocates on behalf of the city’s diverse LGBTQ communities of color.

He also acted in advisory roles at GLAAD, the Stonewall Foundation, and the Civil Marriage Collaborative. Duque currently works as a housing specialist at the Queens Pride House.

Bryan John Ellicott A Young Man With a Long Record of Activism

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fierce advocate for social and reproductive justice — and specifically for the bisexual and transgender communities — Bryan John Ellicott was born and raised in Staten Island, where he lives. A longtime activist, he came to wide public attention when he filed suit against the city Department of Parks and Recreation for a 2013 incident at Joseph H. L yons Pool in Staten Island, when, at the age of 23, he was ordered to leave the men’s locker room as he was changing his T -shirt. The pool staffer who approached him explained someone had complained that he shouldn’t be there. Ellicott asked to speak to a supervisor, but two other staf f members backed up the first one, telling him he needed to either use the women’s locker room or leave.

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“I was humiliated and embar rassed for being singled out,” Ellicott said when the T ransgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed his suit, citing the 2002 city human rights law barring discrimination based on gender identity and expression. The city settled in 2015. Ellicott has testified on numerous occasions before the New York City Council on legislation af fecting the LGBTQ community, including the inclusion of a self-designated gender marker on the city’s IDNYC cards, the need for more comprehensive sex education in the public schools, the push to eliminate the tampon tax, and the requirement that all singleuse bathrooms in public places be made gender-neutral. At a press conference announcing enactment of three

new local laws r equiring the city and its contractors to collect more specific data on who uses their services, including whether they are LGBTQ, Ellicott said, “Some of our Staten Island elected of ficials like to say there aren’t a lot of LGBT people in their districts. Now we’ll be able to say, ‘Yes you do, and here’s where they live.’” Ellicott r ecently joined the staff of Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, an out gay Brooklyn Democrat, and is responsible for digital and social media coordination. Prior to joining Menchaca’s office, Ellicott worked at #VoteProChoice, a group working to elect officials who support women’s r epr oductive freedom. The vice president of the Staten Island Democratic Association, Ellicott is also on the exec-

utive boar d of the Stonewall D e m o c r a t s o f N e w Yo r k C i t y and a board member of BiNetUSA, the nation’s oldest advocacy organization for bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer -identified, and unlabeled people. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Gay City News Congratulates the 2017 Impact Award Honorees A special thank you to Presenting Sponsor:

Our other Sponsors:

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Ashley C. Ford An Urgent — and Influential — Young Voice

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shley C. Ford, an Indiana native now living in Brooklyn, is a writer, editor, and public speaker, but that description does little to capture her impact on conversations going on in America today. A recent example from Twitter provides illustration why. With the handle @ iSmashFizzle, Ford has nearly 74,000 followers. Last month, she tweeted: “A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.” US shool kids who can’t afford the standard cafeteria lunch are of fered paltry substitutes — often just a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk. According to CNBC, three quarters of all school districts have unpaid student lunch debts, meaning lots of kids getting little nutri-

tion to get through the day. If you doubt that social media works, consider this: that one tweet fr om For d spawned an online campaign that, according to the AP, paid off $100,000 in unpaid lunch debt in Minneapolis and $28,000 in next door St. Paul. Big results also turned up in Topeka, Kansas, Bellevue, Washington, and Evansville, Indiana. For all the talk about social media abuse, consider this as well: Ford’s ef forts to build support for the Ferguson, Missouri, public library gar nered $450,000 in donations. Ford is working on a memoir and is a senior features writer at Refinery29.com, a lifestyle site that aims to inspire creativity in life. She’s been published in The Guardian, ELLE, BuzzFeed, Slate, and Teen Vogue. Her speaking gigs have includ-

ed SXSW, Earlham College, and Hippocamp Nonfiction Writing Conference, and she's taught writing at the New School. Ford’s body of written work is impressively eclectic, taking on big social and political issues, but often bringing her personal lens to the matter. Last year for Fusion, she wrote about her father being imprisoned for rape and sexual battery during most of her 29 years in a piece that included the stories of three others in similar straits. For I-D, Ford wrote, “What Grace Jones Taught Me About Fashion and Ferocity,” and for ELLE, “I’m Not Grateful for Viola Davis’ Win –– It Was Long Overdue.” Whether in long or short form, Ford’s words carry weight. Rated a leading influencer among writers by Klear Influ-

NICK TURNER

encer Marketing, among her tweets with the greatest impact was: “White men make up the majority of mass shooters & domestic terrorists here, but you want to ban brown people. You don't care about safety.”

Suzanne Goldberg Civil Rights Litigator, Sexual and Gender Law Scholar

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ith nationally recognized expertise in discrimination law as well as sexuality and gender law, Suzanne B. Goldberg is a professor at Columbia University Law School. She came to her role as a scholar and teacher after a distinguished tenure as a civil rights litigator with Lambda Legal. In 1996 as a senior staff attorney at Lambda, Goldberg was co-counsel in the LGBTQ’s first major victory before the US Supreme Court, in the Romer v. Evans case. There, the high court struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2 –– which barred that state and its localities from enacting gay rights protections –– finding that the voter initiative denied gay and lesbian residents of their equal protection rights based on nothing more substantial than moral disapproval. That finding would prove a pivotal advance that paved

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the way for the significant victories the community has won at the high court in the two decades since. In 2002, Goldberg also served as co-counsel on Lambda’s challenge to the nation’s remaining sodomy laws, which triumphed at the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, too, the court concluded that moral opprobrium could not justify infringing on the “liberty interest” of gay people. In 2002, 14 states still had sodomy laws on the books, which could be used to prosecute consensual sexual conduct and also as pretext for denying government benefits, including employment. At Columbia, where she founded and directs the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Goldberg’s research investigates both procedural and substantive barriers to equality in American law, top-

ics she has discussed in the media, including on CNN and “20/ 20.” She is also the school’s first executive vice president for University Life, where she focuses on student life, intellectual life, and community citizenship –– with the goal of reinforcing and broadening the Columbia community’s commitment to respect, inclusion, and ethical leadership. Goldberg received Columbia Law School’s Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and since 2012 she has co-chaired the university’s Commission on the Status of Women. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty, Goldberg taught at Rutgers School of Law-Newark and at Fordham Law School. Goldberg is an honors graduate of Brown University, after which she was a Fulbright Fellow at the National University of Singapore. After getting her law degree from

Harvard, she clerked for New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Marie Garibaldi. In 2011, Goldberg was honored with the Community Vision award from the LeGal Foundation of the LGBT Bar Association of New York. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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Oriol R. Gutierrez, Jr. Editorial Leadership on Vital Health, LGBTQ, and Latino Issues

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s editor -in-chief of POZ magazine and its website, POZ.com, Oriol Gutierrez, Jr., has two decades of experience in editorial leadership on issues of health and wellness, the LGBTQ and other diverse communities, and the specific needs of the nation’s large Latino population. Founded in 1994, POZ is the leading general readership infor mation source for people living with and affected by HIV/ AIDS, providing investigative features and, through its website, blogs, social media engagement, videos, and daily news addressing a wide spectrum of needs and interests. Gutierrez’s insight into HIV issues is infor med by his own personal experiences, having been diagnosed with the virus in 1992.

POZ is among the magazines published by Smart + Strong, and Guiterrez also has responsibilities as editor -in-chief of both TuSalud, a bilingual Spanish/English magazine for Latino health and wellness, and hep, a magazine that does for readers affected by hepatitis what POZ for decades has delivered for those affected by HIV. TuSalud, launched in 2007 and available in doctors’ offices, health clinics, and community centers, is the nation’s leading health magazine for Latinos, covering fitness and nutrition as well as general health issues. hep, first published in 2010, is a selfempowerment source for people af fected by chronic hepatitis challenges, especially regarding the ever-changing state of treatment for hepatitis C infection. Prior to joining POZ, Gutierrez

was managing editor of DiversityInc magazine, which covers workplace diversity management. At Lesbian and Gay New York, a predecessor publication to Gay City News, Gutierrez co-founded LGNY Latino, the nation’s first bilingual Spanish/ English LGBTQ publication. Earlier in his car eer, he was executive editor of Pet Business magazine and publications business director for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Gutierrez is a frequent speaker and moderator at conferences, and has appeared on NY1, National Public Radio, and Sir ius XM Radio. MyLatinoVoice. com named him one of the “25 Most Influential GLBT Latinos.” Gutierrez is an NYU graduate, with a bachelor 's degree in journalism and a master’s in

publishing. He served in the US Marine Corps Reserve, and is a for mer vice president of print and new media for the National Lesbian and Gay Jour nalists Association. Gutierrez blogs at blogs.poz.com/oriol.

Senior Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones Spiritual Solace, Youth Outreach for LGBTQ African Americans

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enior Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones discovered the Unity Fellowship Church Movement in 1987, while living in Los Angeles. The movement had been founded by Archbishop Carl Bean, who had a decade before come to prominence by recording the Motown gay anthem, “I Was Born This Way.” Jones gravitated toward this ministry because of the HIV/ AIDS work it was doing. Unity Fellowship’s work caught on in African-American LGBTQ communities across the nation, and a group of New Yo r k a c t i v i s t s c o n t a c t e d t h e archbishop requesting a church here. Leaving behind family and friends, Bishop Jones unhesitatingly answer ed the call of the New York community, arriving here in 1992. As New York

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Newsday noted in 1994, only 10 people turned out for his first service on May 10, 1992 at the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street. In a matter of months, however, that number had mushroomed to over 300. The church now holds services on Sundays at 11 a.m. at 2578 Atlantic Avenue, between Alabama and Georgia Avenues, in Brooklyn. Early in his ministry her e, Jones organized Unity Fellowship Breaking Ground, an effort to assist LGBTQ youth in coming out to their families and finding counseling and support on issues including HIV/ AIDS and gender transition. “I r emember my youth and how difficult it was to communicate my heart to my family,” Jones recalled. “In many cases, I was living a lie and that was

torture. I didn’t want other young people to have to go through that alone.” Jones’ activism has focused on identifying more funding for LGBTQ organizations within the African-American community and spotlighting crimes committed against its members. He remained particularly dogged in keeping attention on the brutal 2005 murder of Rashawn Brazell, a young gay man in Brooklyn, demanding police attention and justice in a crime long thought of as a “cold case,” but which yielded an arrest last month. Jones was also a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s task force on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2020. The recipient of numerous awards, including from Gay Men of African Descent and Key

Women of America Concourse Village Branch, Jones is senior bishop of the entire Unity Fellowship Church Movement denomination, consisting of nearly 20 churches and fellowships. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Howie Katz Dogged Fighter for Hate Crimes Protections

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uring a career where he’s held senior posts in LGBTQ and Jewish community groups and on staff for top elected of ficials — most prominently, Governor David Paterson — Howie Katz played the lead role in mobilizing community and political support for New York’s hate crimes law. That statute, enacted in 2000, represented the first time lesbian, gay, and bisexual New Yorkers won specific pr otections under state law. Beginning in 1990 as the development director at the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Katz created the Hate Crimes Bill Coalition, a network of advocates from diverse communities pushing for comprehensive hate crimes protections for categories including sexual orientation. Katz and his allies — including elected officials such as then-State Senator Paterson — hung tough against Republican efforts to weaken the bill by excluding gay men and lesbians from protection. In 1992, Katz organized an eight-day, 160-mile walk from New York City to Albany to raise awareness of hate crimes, but with the GOP controlling the State Senate the slog to enact an inclusive law was a long one. When Katz and his fellow advocates cr ossed the finish line in 2000, he’d been serving for three years as the New York regional director of the AntiDefamation League, the first out gay of ficial to achieve such a post anywhere in the nation. In 2002, Katz became the national outreach director for American Jewish World Service. Between 2008 and 2010, Katz served as special assistant to Gover nor Paterson, where he played a lead role in the enactment of the Dignity for All Students Act, anti-bullying legislation that for the first time created protections based on gen-

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

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der identity and expression in New York State law. He was also part of the Paterson team that brought about long-overdue reform of the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. Throughout his career, Katz has been active in community organizations and political campaigns. He was a Human Rights Campaign board member from 1987 until 2001, and on the political stump he raised funds for Tom Duane’s first City Council campaign and advised Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer during his 2001 mayoral race. Following the tragic 1999 police killing of Amadou Diallo, an innocent and unar med Bronx man, NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir named Katz to an advisory council for an up and down review of training procedures. In the 1982 San Francisco Gay Games, he played in the competition's first-ever basketball game. Today, Katz, who recently lost his father at age 97, works with his family to care for his 94-year -old mother.

 New York State Nurses Association expresses its admiration for

  for her LGBTQ advocacy and commitment to health equality for all    

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Terrance Knox Arts Development Professional Dedicated to Leveling All Playing Fields

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s director of corporate buiness at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Terrance Knox creates new funding opportunities to support the arts at one of the nation’s most innovative and diverse perfor mance complexes. Knox, born in Oklahoma, raised in Kansas, and a 15-year Br ooklyn resident, works to create a level playing field for people of color and the LGBTQ community. A past pr esident and longtime board member of Brooklyn’s Lambda Independent Democrats, he has focused on advancing LGBTQ issues but also ensuring that the community works in tandem with other key Democratic constituencies, including African Americans and other people of color. In a 2008 op ed in Gay City News, Knox called out State Sena-

tor Marty Golden, Brooklyn’s one Republican member of the Senate, for his opposition to Gover nor David Paterson’s order that New York State agencies, in compliance with a state court ruling, honor out-of-state same-sex marriages. “What Marty may not understand is that there are many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and couples in his district, and some of them are already married,” Knox wrote. “Senator Golden joined this lawsuit filed by religious extremists and other homophobic legislators.” T h a t s a m e y e a r, L a m b d a endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, but even as the club’s president, Knox cautioned against the primary creating racial fissures. He told Gay City News he ran across

statements from Clinton advocates disparaging the Illinois senator’s “work ethic… comments that in a corporate setting would have an equal opportunity human resource staff member swoop in to calm things down.” When Obama, in his second Inauguration, stated, “The most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” Knox saw it as a teaching moment for all Americans, saying that for people he grew up around those words likely provided “an ‘aha’ moment.” Knox has also served on the Brooklyn Community Pride Center board since its founding, on the Brooklyn Hospital Community Advisory Board,

and as co-chair on Community Board 2’s Health, Environment, and Social Services Committee. With the Doe Fund, Knox works with men with histories of homelessness, incarceration, and HIV/ AIDS.

Donna Lieberman In Perilous Times, at the Forefront of Defending Civil Liberties

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onna Lieberman, as executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, has, since 2001, led the state’s leading legal advocacy group protecting those whose rights are most vulnerable, including people of color, immigrants, young people, and low income families and individuals. During her tenure, fighting for the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers has been a central mission of the group. In 2006, the NYCLU was among a number of legal advocates, including Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Roberta Kaplan of P a u l , We i s s , R i f k i n d , W h a r ton & Garrison, that brought the issue of marriage equality before the state’s highest bench, the Court of Appeals. Given its conservative composition, the New York court did not follow in

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the trailblazing path set by the Massachusetts high court three y e a r s e a r l i e r, t h o u g h C h i e f Judge Judith Kaye’s dissent became an influential beacon in the emerging legal conversation about equal marriage rights nationwide. With the judicial route blocked, the NYCLU was an important voice in the 2011 victory of marriage equality in the Legislature and, in tandem again with Kaplan and the ACLU, took up Edie Windsor’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the US Supreme Court struck down in June 2013. Though the high court specifically cautioned it was not ruling on the broader question of a constitutional right to marry, the precedent was cited again and again by district and appeals courts

that overturned marriage bans across the country. By June 2015, the high court had embraced marriage equality. Under Lieber man’s leader ship, the NYCLU pushed to reform the NYPD’s broken windows policies, end stop and frisk abuses, reduce criminalization in school disciplinary practices, cut back on solitary confinement in prisons, and put meat on the bones of the right to counsel in New York courts. When protesters massed at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York, the NYCLU fought to protect their right to assembly and r epr esent the large numbers arrested and held, some in defiance of a federal court order. Lieberman was also a key leader in the successful fight for New York State’s Paid Family Leave Act and founded the

NYCLU’s Reproductive Rights Project. A Harvard graduate, she earned her law degree at Rutgers. In 2005, she was awarded the Margaret Sanger Award by Planned Parenthood of New York City. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Carmen Neely Identifying Needs in Harlem and Committing Herself to Tackle Them

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n Carmen Neely’s telling, she didn’t have particularly high expectations when she threw a Pride block party in Harlem in 2010. “I thought it would be a one-time event,” she recalled. “I didn’t realize the need it filled.” Nearly seven years later, Har lem Pride, which Neely serves as president, has grown so big it can no longer be contained in its recent home, the 10-block ribbon Jackie Robinson Park. This summer, the event will take place on Manhattan’s far west side at 12th Avenue, between 135th and 138th Streets. The new space allows Harlem Pride to present an improved stage set-up, engage more sponsors, and host more activities, community tables, food vendors, and — of course — participants celebrating Pride. Neely, who earned her bachelor's of fine arts in theater management at Howard University and a master's in teaching from Fordham, discussed that “need” she hadn’t originally recognized at a Harlem community meeting sponsored by Manhattan Community Board 10’s LGBTQ Task Force and Borough President Gale Brewer held in late 2015. There, an overflow crowd numbering well over 100 — with more than 100 more turned away by security at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., State Office Building on West 125th Street — was testament to the hunger in Harlem for forging stronger social, political, and support ties among a diverse and growing queer population there. Among the topics discussed that evening were the need for a new leadership organization serving the neighborhood and the city's queer communities of color generally and also for a community center serving LGBTQ people living in Upper Manhattan. Both efforts are ones where Neely has also taken on leadership responsibilities. GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

As co-chair of the New York City Equality Coalition, she is of one of the black and Latino same-gender -loving and LGBTQ leaders who have joined together to advocate, educate, and marshal resources for their community’s benefit. Among their key goals are combating the tide of hate violence against LGBTQ people of color, particularly those who are transgender, advocating as well for trans people's housing and employment rights, supporting immigrants, and pressing for adequate funding for LGBTQ communities of color generally. Another key aim is establishing a Harlem community center, an effort where Neely is a board member. At the 2015 meeting, Brewer pledged her support in identifying needed resources, and last month she was joined by Congr essmember Adriano Espaillat, Assemblymember Inez Dickens, City Councilmember Bill Perkins, and Community Board 10 in establishing a task force to coordinate government, business, and community efforts for making it a reality.

  

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Anthony Nicodemo Leader On and Off the Court

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nthony Nicodemo, the head boys basketball coach at Yonkersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Saunders High School, chose a high profile perch to publicly announce he is gay. He told Gay City News several years back that he used a chance to speak out at the 2013 LGBT Sports Coalition Summit in Portland, Oregon, as a first step toward becoming a local community leader as an openly gay coach and teacher. His story garnered nationwide attention, with features in the New York Times and Outsports as well as on ABCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Good Morning America.â&#x20AC;? Nicodemoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s honesty also earned the respect of his young players. The season after he came out was a banner year for the Blue Devils, the team going 18-3 and winning the Yonkers city championship. For the first time since 1982, Saunders reached the state

sectional semi-finals. In Nicodemoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first year at Saunders, the team had only three wins. For the 2014-15 season, he was named the Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Coach of the Year. Since his appearance at the 2013 summit, Nicodemo, who teaches social studies at REACH Academy in West Harrison, has worked with the You Can Play Project, the Sports Equality Foundation, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and locally on the City of Yonkers LGBT Advisory Board as well as an advisory group for Center Lane, the LGBTQ arm of Westchester Jewish Community Services. A grant he secured funded a round of conferences educating male and female high school basketball players about bullying. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It went so well that we extend-

ed it,â&#x20AC;? Nicodemo explained, with a gathering â&#x20AC;&#x153;that had over 200 students, representation from over 60 schools, and included all the fall sports â&#x20AC;&#x201D; football, field hockey, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, cross-country running, swimming.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I used to say to my ex, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to come out, and when it happens, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to be a leader in the LGBT world,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? he told Gay City News. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And when I say that, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not out of cockiness or ego. I just tend to fall into a leadership role in the things I do.â&#x20AC;? Nicodemo happily credits others who went before him, pointing to the chance heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s had to work with Jason Collins, who finished up his 13-year NBA career as an out gay Brooklyn Nets player. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the reasons that this all started [for me] was being inspired by [Collins] coming out as a pro-

fessional basketball player,â&#x20AC;? Nicodemo explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the kind of guy you want representing you in the movement. Total class, and an unbelievable role model for kids.â&#x20AC;?

   

A Pillar of HIV and LGBT Advocacy TheBody.com and its parent company Remedy Health Media congratulate TheBody.comâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eceiving Managing Editor JD Davids for receiving the Impact Award from Gay City N News. Thi This award recognizes JD for his powerful contributions to the LGBT and HIV communities in New York City, as well as the tremendous impact of his activism. JD has been instrumental in a wide range of campaigns to build the power of LGBT people and people living with HIV, winning policies, programs and funding for their health and rights. Among many other achievements, his        tools such as PrEP and treatment-as-prevention, as well as communication strategies to bring accurate, lifesaving information to those in need. Remedy Health Media is honored to have JD Davids as an essential leader at our organization, and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to see all heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capable of in the years to come.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger and Governor David Paterson, MarĂ­a Archila, Christopher 18(4014$8,'$6(4510 0$$4$ 4&+,.$ 0'4($$6,56$&+.(5,0*(4+4,5612+(4 Governor David Paterson, AnaAna MarĂ­a Archila, Christopher Bram, Bram, Cannistraci, Staceyann Chin, JD Davids, AndrĂŠs Duque, Bryan John Ellicott, 4$/,5$$00,564$&,6$&(;$00+,0$8,'5 0'45737(4;$01+0..,&166 LisaLisa Cannistraci, Staceyann Chin, JD Davids, AndrĂŠs Duque, Bryan John Ellicott, Ashley Ford, Suzanne Goldberg, Oriol R. Gutierrez, Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones, Howie 5+.(;14'7<$00(1.'%(4*4,1.76,(44(<,5+12#$&+$4;.(0010(519,( Katz, Terrance Knox, Donna Lieberman, Carmen Neely, Anthony Nicodemo, Eunic Ortiz, $6<(44$0&(01:100$,(%(4/$0$4/(0((.; 06+10;,&1'(/170,&46,< Elisa Padilla, Leo Preziosi, Jr., Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Manny Rivera, Doug Robinson, Therese .,5$$',..$(14(<,15,4+$4.(5,&(10<$.(<$00;,8(4$17*1%,0510+(4(5( Rodriguez, Allen Roskoff, Robyn Streisand, Christopher Tepper & Paul Kelterborn, Jennifer 1'4,*7(< ..(015-11%;064(,5$0'+4,5612+(4(22(4$7.(.6(4%140(00,)(4 Flynn Walker, Jillian Weiss, Edie Windsor, Mel Wymore, Emanuel Xavier .;00!$.-(4,..,$0!(,55',(!,0'514(.!;/14(/$07(."$8,(4

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Eunic Ortiz Leveraging Digital Know-How to Create Change

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n expert in digital communications and public affairs, Eunic Ortiz has spent the past decade working in the labor movement, in private sector public affairs consulting, and at the New York City Council. During the same period, she has worked as a Democratic Party activist to bring LGBTQ concerns to the fore in the party at the city, state, and national level. Ortiz currently serves as director of online communications for 1199SEIU United H e a l t h c a r e Wo r k e r s E a s t , a union that represents more than 400,000 healthcare ser vice workers in New York and throughout the Northeast and beyond. Often described as one of the most power ful â&#x20AC;&#x201D; if not the most powerful â&#x20AC;&#x201D; labor organizations in the state, 1199 is also the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest health-

care union. 1199 was famously called â&#x20AC;&#x153;my favorite union,â&#x20AC;? by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and â&#x20AC;&#x153;the authentic conscience of the labor movement.â&#x20AC;? Prior to joining 1199, Ortiz was an account supervisor at FleishmanHillard, a public relations firm where she provided digital, social media, and stakeholder communications advice to clients ranging from New York City agencies to inter national governments and major US cor porations. Working for Speaker Christine Quinn at the City Council, Ortiz was a spokesperson and digital manager, responsible for the Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s online operations. Ortiz began her career as a news producer, first in her native Florida and later here in New York. Ortiz is a past president of the

Congratulations to this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recipients of the Gay City News Impact Awards!

Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest LGBTQ political club that works with elected officials in all five boroughs and is active in policy advocacy at City Hall and in Albany. One of her signature programs while the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s president was a scholarship program developed in tandem with the City University of New York to provide a full yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tuition to an LGBTQ student interested in a government and public policy career. Ortiz was a New York State delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Char lotte that re-nominated President Barack Obama for his second term. Ortiz has a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from New York University and earned her bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of science from the University of Florida and her associate of arts degree

from St. Petersburg College. Having grown up near Orlando, she now lives in Washington Heights.

Congratulations for the recognition of you hard work

With deep appreciation & respect,

NYS Senator Brad Hoylman Phone: 212-633-8052 Email: Hoylman@nysenate.gov www.nysenate.gov/senators/brad-hoylman

Jennifer Flynn Walker CONGRATULATES

You make us so proud

Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones, Carmen Neely Brian John Ellicott, and all of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s honorees. Brooklyn Pride Week June 5-10, 2017 BROOKLYNPRIDEORGsINFO BROOKLYNPRIDEORG s"ROOKLYN0RIDE)NC

Love, Mead and Mom

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Leo Preziosi, Jr. Modeling Pride, Confidence, and Self-Direction for LGBTQ Youth

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ore than 16 years ago, Leo Preziosi, Jr., was enjoying a career as a fashion designer when he read an article in Metrosource magazine about two high school students who committed suicide after being bullied. Inspired by the thought that something needed to be done and he was ready to take leadership in doing so, Preziosi dedicated himself to creating an organization to empower young LGBTQ adults to find meaning and take pride in their future by connecting them with community leaders to serve as role models and mentors. In 2001, he created Live Out Loud, a non-profit built on a singular premise — to inspire LGBTQ youth to live authentic lives by providing a tangible and ongoing platform for encouragement, guidance, and support.

Today, Preziosi continues his mission to bring innovative programming to high school students in the metropolitan area — and well beyond — and to inspire and lead by example. Live Out Loud has developed four key programs to achieve this end: the Homecoming Project, the High School Program, Behind-the-Scenes, and the Young Trailblazers Gala. Every month, through the High School Program, Live Out Loud works in 28 high schools, joining forces with Gay Straight Alliance Clubs (GSA’s) to provide insight into issues that matter and to set up students for success. The Homecoming Project has been rolled out in 26 states, with 150 panelists returning to their high schools to share their personal story. Behind-the-Scenes con-

nects youth with professional LGBTQ affinity groups at major corporations, allowing them to meet out professionals who offer mentorship and help them understand the career support they can access in the work world. Through the annua l Yo u n g T r a i l b l a z e r s G a l a , Live Out Loud has awarded $230,000 to 63 recipients pur suing their college goals. As a fashion designer, Preziosi — who ear ned a bachelor of science degree in textile production management and fashion design at FIT — worked for apparel companies including Gloria Sachs and Banana Republic. In 1990, he began his volunteer activism with DIFFA, the Design Industry Foundation for AIDS, in event production. His next opportunity was at Felissimo, a specialty retailer,

where he repositioned the tearoom and joined the marketing team collaborating with organizations including the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the United Nations, and the Rain Forest Foundation.

Charles Rice-González Novelist, Playwright, Cultural Entrepreneur, Activist

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uerto Rican-bor n, Bronxreared Charles RiceGonzález is a novelist, short story writer, cultural entrepreneur, activist, and professor. With choreographer and dancerArthur Aviles, Rice-González in 1998 founded BAAD!, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, a workshop and per for mance space located in Westchester Square that presents work empowering to women, people of color, and LGBTQ communities. Crowned one of that bor ough’s seven cultural pillars by the Br onx Council on the Arts, BAAD! has received honors including the New York City Mayor’s Art Award. Rice-González’s 2011 debut novel, “Chulito” (Magnus Books), a coming of age story set in a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and amidst the

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

queer youth culture of Manhattan’s piers, won the American Library Association's Stonewall Book Awards-Barbara Gittings Literature Award and a “Small Press Highlights” mention from the National Book Critics Circle. In 2014, he won the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award. Rice-González co-edited 2011’s “Macho To Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction” (Tincture/ Lethe Press). Among his playwriting credits is “Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo,” a psychedelic, queer, Latino mash-up of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” produced annually at BAAD! His play “I Just Love Andy Gibb” was published in “Blacktino Queer Performance: A Critical Anthology” (Duke Press, 2016).

Rice-González's short stories have appeared in anthologies including “Untangling the Knot” (Ooligan Press, 2015), “Who’s Yer Daddy” (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), “Love, Christopher Street” (Vantage Point, 2012), and “Ambientes: N e w Q u e e r L a t i n o Wr i t i n g ” (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011). Rice-González’s writing has also appeared in El Diario and The Nation. A graduate of Goddard College’s Creative Writing MFA program, since 2014 he has taught in the English Department at CUNY’s Hostos Community College, where he is an assistant professor and will serve as associate artistic director of the Center for the Arts and Culture. Rice-González was a founding member of Gay Men of the Bronx, a trailblazing grassroots

JOSÉ RAMON

group combating isolation and fostering community for gay men in the borough in the face of the AIDS crisis. He is chair of the Bronx Council on the Arts and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Manny Rivera Bringing Consumers’ Voices to Public Decisionmaking

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or more than 30 years, Manuel “Manny” Rivera has been an LGBTQ rights and HIV/ AIDS advocate on numerous fronts across the city. A member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis board of directors, Rivera is chair of the agency’s Consumer Advisory Board, one of several examples of him working on behalf of people living with HIV to bring their voices into policy decisions. Made up of GMHC clients, staf f, volunteers, and community partners, the Consumer Advisory Board, with regular meetings open to clients, provides input on the agency’s programs and services. Rivera has worked in similar capacities elsewhere. Serving on the New York City HIV/ AIDS Planning Council executive board, he was involved in developing spending priorities for federal R yan White Care Act allocations to the city. That council is a coalition of people living with HIV, caregivers, government officials, and community partners. Serving as well on the city's HIV Prevention and Planning Group, Rivera worked with the HIV unit within the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on bringing consumer input into its priorities and programs. On issues regarding the broader LGBTQ community as well as people of color living uptown, Rivera is a member of Community Board 10 and was the driving force in creating its LGBTQ Task Force, the first such initiative by any city community board. That task force, in tandem with Borough President Gale Brewer, convened an historic Harlem Town Hall in late 2015 to assess the needs of the queer community uptown. “Harlem is becoming the unof ficial home of black and Latino gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people,” Rivera said in opening up that GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

Kelsey Louie, CEO and the Staff and Clients of Gay Men’s Health Crisis

congratulate

meeting.” LGBTQ visibility has increased dramatically in Har lem, he said, lauding the support the community now enjoys among elected officials and neighborhood leaders, including CB10. As important as the convening itself are the developments that have followed. In its wake, Rivera was among the co-founders of the New York City Equality Coalition, which aims to advocate, educate, and grow the resources available to the local LGBTQ community. Among the group’s key goals are combating the tide of hate violence against LGBTQ people of color, particularly those who are transgender, advocating as well for trans people's housing and employment rights, supporting immigrants, and pressing for adequate funding for LGBTQ communities of color generally. Another key aim is establishing a Harlem community center, for which a broad swath of local elected officials, including Brewer, last month pledged their support in rounding up funding.

Manny Rivera Member of the GMHC Board of Directors & Chair of the GMHC Consumer Advisory Board

for his exceptional leadership and advocacy for people living with HIV and AIDS, and LGBT communities of color

We salute all of tonight’s honorees for the incredible work you do to ensure equality for all!

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

25


Doug Robinson Pioneering Parent Pursues Politics, Parks, People of Color Concerns

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oug Robinson has been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality and adoption rights for many years. He and his husband and life partner of 30 years, Michael Elsasser, are the proud parents of two sons, now 28 and 31, whom they adopted as infants at a time when it remained very controversial for gay men to do so. In 2004, Robinson and Elsasser joined with four other lesbian and gay couples in a lawsuit against New York City for the right to marry. Winning at trial the following year, their case was rejected by the state’s highest court in 2006. When mar riage equality became New York law five years later, on Sunday, July 24, 2011, Robinson and Elsasser were among the first five couples married in Manhattan, with Justice Doris Ling-

Cohan, author of the 2005 proequality trial court decision, presiding. Robinson was the city’s first out gay African-American elected official when elected to his local community school board in 1996, a post he held until 2004. In his Harlem neighborhood, Robinson has been active on park revitalization with Friends of Morningside Heights and was a founding member of both the West Harlem Home-owners Association and the Manhattan Parks and Green Spaces Coalition. On LGBTQ issues, he was a founding member of both the Out People of Color Political Action Club and Gay and Lesbian Employees of Citigroup (CitiPride), a board member at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and active with the Lesbian and Gay People of Color Steering Committee

of New York, the Center Kids program at the LGBT Community Center, Men of All Colors Together, and Gay Men of African Descent. As a keynote speaker, Robinson has addressed the Har vey Milk High School graduating class, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference, Columbia University’s Lesbian and Gay Association, and Yale’s Lesbian and Gay Association. Robinson’s many honors include a Citigroup Inspiring Pride Award, a New York City Parks and Recreation Volunteer Award, recognition by both the city comptroller and the public advocate, the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York’s Public Service Awar d, and the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation’s Har -

vey Milk Award. A member of the Obama New Yo r k S t a t e L G B T L e a d e r s h i p Team in 2008, Robinson considers himself part of the resistance to the nation’s current political leadership.

Therese R. Rodriguez Building Capacity for Primary Care in Underserved Communities

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ver the 20 years Ther ese R. Rodriguez has led Apicha Community Health Center, she’s grown it from an AIDS service group — originally, the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS — into a federally qualified health center delivering general primary care. Apicha is recognized for culturally competent care focused especially on Asian/Pacific Islanders, the LGBTQ community, and individuals living with HIV/ AIDS. In 2015, the organization was among the first five LGBTQfocused clinics named as federally qualified health centers under the Affordable Care Act’s New Access Point program. Federal embrace of Apicha and other LGBTQ clinics reflects an evolution in thinking. The government once doubted their

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

ability to serve non-LGBTQ clients, but its understanding of unmet queer community needs advanced so that focusing on this population became a public health priority. The designation involves annual funding of $650,000 to of fset Apicha’s unreimbursed cost of care for lower income clients as well as cost-based reimbursement under Medicaid and federal malpractice insurance eligibility. In 2015, Rodriguez told Gay City News, “This is an important moment for the LGBT community. With these awards, the federal government is allowing us to reach out to the mar gins of the community.” In 2003, Apicha became the first API HIV-focused clinic to offer HIV primary care. By 2009, the group of fered general primary care, and two years later,

Apicha prioritized the delivery of transgender services. Its Transgender Health Clinic now serves more than 450 patients, while the group’s primary care clinic provides PrEP and PEP to more than 600 patients. A $6 million state grant in 2013 allowed Apicha to expand the services it delivers in Lower Manhattan, and this year it will open a Jackson Heights site. Rodriguez was a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York State End of AIDS T ask Force, which developed a blueprint for ending the epidemic by 2020. A longtime Queens resident, Rodriguez was raised in the Philippines, where she earned bachelor of arts and business administration degrees from St. Theresa’s College. In 2016, she was selected as one of “20 Outstanding Community

Leaders” by Bridging Access to Care, and was among 100 outstanding Filipinas recognized in Joy Buensalido’s book “100 Women of the Philippines: Celebrating Filipina Womanhood in the New Millennium.” March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Allen Roskoff Early Gay Rights Activist Never Abandoned Passion for Justice

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or more than 45 years, Allen Roskoff has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and other social justice goals. Among his most noted achievements was his co-authorship of the city’s gay rights law. The first such civil rights bill when created in the early 1970s, it is testament to the difficult political resistance here that it did not become law until 1986. Roskoff joined the Gay Activists Alliance in 1970, immediately focusing on its political work by heading up its Municipal Government Committee. At the same time, he was unabashed about direct action, challenging the ban on samesex couples dancing in cabaret establishments by bringing a date to the Rainbow Room where they took the floor. The city’s Consumer Affairs Department quickly dropped the dancing ban, and the New York Post reported, “Gays Win a Waltz.” With the late Jim Owles, Roskof f founded the nation’s first gay Democratic club, and today he leads the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club — which he describes as his proudest achievement — joining LGBTQ progressives, straight allies, and party officials in reform-focused advocacy. Beginning with Bella Abzug’s House races, Roskoff has worked on hundreds of campaigns, including those of David Dinkins, Mario Cuomo, and Jesse Jackson. Joining City Comptroller Harrison Goldin’s staff in 1974, his was the first out gay appointment by an elected official. He later worked for Mario Cuomo, Dinkins, Public Advocate Mark Green, and Senators Marty Connor, David Paterson, and Tom Duane. Numerous groups and elected officials have honored Roskoff, including the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights which won the fight for a city gay rights

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

Being sick and hungry is an urgent crisis no one should face. Help us deliver hope, compassion and love, all wrapped up in a nutritious meal. ©DONNA F. ACETO

law, PFLAG, the Stonewall Democrats, the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, the Village Independent Democrats, and the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter. In 2009 Roskoff founded Candles for Clemency to press for fair treamtent of convicts with records of rehabilitation. Staging rallies near Gover nor Andrew Cuomo’s Westchester home, Roskoff was often a harsh critic of him for denying clemency bids. But when Cuomo, in late 2016, commuted sentences for seven felons, pardoned five others, and conditionally pardoned 101 nonviolent youth offenders, Roskoff offered fulsome praise: “We are excited to see that these elderly individuals receiving clemency will not have to die in prison. This is a proud moment for New York and our state’s ability to lead the nation in criminal justice reform. Our efforts show that through activism and relentless efforts results can be achieved. Gover nor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation.”

Volunteer. Donate. Advocate. godslovewedeliver.org

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

27


Robyn Streisand Marketing Leader Who Champions Diverse Business Ownership

poz.com Congratulations to POZ Editor-in-Chief Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. for being honored with a 2017 Gay City News LGBTQ Impact Award

Jennifer Flynn Super Gay and Super Organizer.

Love you.

CONGRATS Hugh, Jane and Rachel

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

I

n a 30-year career as a mar keting executive, Robyn Streisand has emphasized to clients the value of strategy, creative, and execution while also championing the strengths that diversity-based compagnies can bring to clients of all types. Streisand’s full service branding and strategic marketing agency, The Mixx, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and by demonstrating that they deliver creative that both excites emotion and causes action, her Manhattan-based team has been able to attract top Fortune 500 brands inter nationally, such as MercedesBenz, Disney, and Deloitte. Thr oughout her successful building of The Mixx, Streisand has consistently underscored the value to clients of having a diverse team at their disposal, savvy in maximizing the reach of their marketing efforts. “Diverse talent yields diverse solutions” has been her guiding philosophy. She pioneered t h e N e w Yo r k C i t y ’ s c h a p t e r of NGLCC, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a group that supports LGBTQ-owned businesses and offers them official certification as diverse businesses. Streisand has also been a leader in WBENC, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Str eisand has always been confident of what The Mixx has brought to the table for its clients and she has written that “the opportunities I had to work with like-minded entrepreneurs at other diverse companies” left her “consistently inspired by the tremendous talent that lives within these organizations and the results we were able to achieve together for clients.” Still, no matter how impressed her clients were with the work of The Mixx and some of her peer business owners, she wr ote, “T ime and again, I heard form

TOPHER SCOTT

clients a disheartening generalization: that their experience with our diverse company was the exception, rather than the rule… that there remained a concern about quality, scale, and long-term feasibility of working with diverse companies.” Which left Streisand ponder ing, “There had to be a way to help clients see what I see.” Out of that thinking, she decided, in 2014, to launch T itanium, a collectivee of 17 of what she terms “best-in-class, client-centric companies who also happen to be certified-diverse.” That group includes Rivendell Media, the leading national advertising representative for LGBTQ publications, including Gay City News, nationwide. T itanium works to lever age those companies’ “collective strength… in relationships sparked by shared goals, fueled by shared values, and solidified by shared accomplishments.” A 2016 Out 100 honoree, Streisand and her wife Linda live in New York City and have raised two daughters together. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Christopher Tepper Ensuring New York Will Remember the Fight Against AIDS

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hris Tepper is the co-foue r o f t h e N e w Yo r k C i t y AIDS Memorial organization, which recently completed the city’s first free-standing public memorial dedicated to the AIDS epidemic at the New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent’s Triangle in the West Village. Like co-founder Paul Kelter born, Tepper is a gay man who never knew a time without AIDS, and the two were struck by the disconnect between their lives and generation and that of older gay men who lived through the plague that cost us more than 100,000 New Yorkers. They conceived of the memorial as a physical reminder to the young of what came before them as well as a refuge for those who recall the pain they lived through.

The two men worked with Keith Fox, the CEO of Phaidon Publishers who more than five years ago assumed responsibility for bringing the project to fruition. At its dedication this past World AIDS Day, Fox called the finished product “the most beautiful and the most significant AIDS memorial” in the United States. Tepper and Kelterbor n also worked closely with governm e n t r e l a t i o n s e x p er t Etha n Geto, a longtime gay activist who helped steer the pr oject through the complex approvals necessary to allow the Memorial to become part of the new park created across the street from the for mer St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, where so many of AIDS’ earliest victims spent their final days. At the dedication, Mayor Bill

de Blasio said, “This Memorial will stand for a long time to keep our memories fresh.” While not volunteering on the memorial, Tepper works in real estate development at the Hudson Companies where he manages two ground-up residential rental projects, an af fordable housing preservation project, and a commercial adaptive reuse project, all in Brooklyn. Prior to joining Hudson, Tepper worked at Jamestown Properties’ Industry City project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, r epositioning the six million square foot industrial campus into a hub for creative of fice and retail. Before working at Industry City, he was vice president for development and planning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, where he oversaw the financing

MAX FLATOW

and redevelopment of several large historic industrial buildings. Tepper earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in finance from Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires.

Paul Kelterborn Lending His Talents to Honoring His Community’s Resolve

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aul Kelterborn is a co-founder of the New York City AIDS Memorial, the first significant marker in New York City to commemorate both the deaths of more than 100,000 here from an epidemic that emerged in the early 1980s and the spirit of resolve that the earliest activists showed in response. Kelterborn and his fellow urban design professional, Chris Tepper, were motivated as young gay men to acknowledge the loss that their older peers experienced and to educate their own generation and those to come about a virus that was allowed to spread largely unchecked as government wasted years doing little while the LGBTQ community mobilized to save itself. At the Memorial’s dedication this past December 1, the work of Kelterborn and Tepper was acknowledged, along with the leadership of Keith Fox, the CEO of

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

Phaidon Publishers, and of government relations expert Ethan Geto. The New York City AIDS Memorial Park is a portion of the new St. Vincent’s Triangle Park in the West Village opposite the former campus of St. Vincent’s Hospital, the site of so many deaths from 1981 into the 1990s. The success of the Memorial’s team in winning approval for a portion of the new park to be devoted to acknowledging the epidemic is a testament to the passion, determination, and smarts that its leaders brought to the table. At the World AIDS Day dedication of the Memorial, Charles King, the CEO of Housing Works, which cohosted the ceremony, reminded the crowd of more than 1,000 that the structure honors activism. Those who took on AIDS in the 1980s, he said, not only supported their friends who were sick but also bent the arc of scientific progress

on the virus; they “accelerated discovery.” Corey Johnson, the out gay, HIVpositive city councilmember who represents the West Village, with considerable emotion told the same crowd, “I wouldn’t be alive were it not for the activists who pushed the scientists to find the drugs that make the virus undetectable.” Kelterborn currently works as director of design innovation for the real estate company Time Equities, Inc. He spent three years doing creative and marketing work for Jamestown Properties, and for the prior three years was responsible for public programs and community engagement at the Municipal Art Society of New York. Kelterborn, who lives in Williamsburg, is a graduate of Oberlin College with a degree in sociology, completed a landscape architec-

ture summer program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and has a master’s degree is city planning, real estate development, and urban design from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Jennifer Flynn Walker Fighting for Housing and Healthcare Access

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longtime activist, commun i t y o r g a n i z e r, a n d n o n pr ofit leader, Jennifer Flynn Walker is currently a partner with Walker Strategies, a public relations and political strategy firm. In that capacity, she has spent recent months working with another of this year’s Impact Awardees, Ana María Archila at the Center for Popular Democracy, in fighting the new T rump administration’s efforts to undo progress made during the Obama years in expanding healthcare access. Flynn Walker previously spent two decades as a successful community organizer and nonp r o f i t m a n a g e r, m o s t v i s i b l y as co-founder of VOCAL-NY, a statewide grassroots member ship group that empowers lowincome people affected by HIV/ AIDS, the drug war, and incar -

ceration. The group, which she led for a decade, does public education, leadership development, participatory research, and direct action. Flynn Walker’s work, over an extended period of years in the face of elected officials’ resistance, led to the expansion of affordable housing access for people living with HIV in the city. Flynn Walker was also a director at HealthGAP, the Global Access Project, which presses for solutions to enhance access to HIV treatments worldwide. She expanded the group's work into three new nations on two dif ferent continents.She was the first activist based in and whose work focused on the US selected for Columbia Univer sity’s Human Rights Advocates Training Fellowship. Among Flynn Walker’s honors

are the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award and the New York City Council Hero Award. In 2001, she was named one of the most promising AIDS activists by POZ Magazine and eight years later HIV Plus Magazine highlighted her as one of the leading 25 LGBTQ AIDS activists over the previous quarter century. F l y n n Wa l k e r h a s w r i t t e n extensively on HIV/ AIDS and other social justice issues, and she has appeared widely in the media, including on CNN, National Public Radio, “Democracy Now!,” and “The O'Reilly Factor” — that last engagement demonstrating particular moxie. She’s also been frequently quoted by publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and The New Yorker.

Flynn Walker serves on the board of directors for Met Counc i l o n H o u s i n g , H e a l t h G A P, and the North Star Fund. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Marist College and her master’s from the New School.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GAY CITY NEWS IMPACT HONOREES — THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT IN MAKING NEW YORK THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE. GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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Free and Public Event

Poe: Animated Lois Rakoff, Community Director of the Poe Room, and NYU present “Poe: Animated.” Join us for a screening of animated short films based on Poe’s short stories. This event is free and open to the public and an RSVP is required. RSVP by calling 212-998-2400 or by filling out the online form at bit.ly/2nVSQxc. Community members and NYU come together and partner on the Poe Room Event each fall and spring. When: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:00 - 8:00 pm Where: NYU School of Law 245 Sullivan Street Room 216 (between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South)

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

Jillian Weiss Scholar, Courtroom Advocate, Transgender Leader

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he executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) — which battles discrimination and advances equality through impact litigation and by filing “friend of the court” briefs in cases brought by others — Jillian Weiss came to her role with a three-decade background both in courtroom advocacy and as a legal scholar. Weiss earned her bachelor’s d egr ee fr om Yeshi va U ni ver sity and has a law degree from Seton Hall Law School and a Ph.D. in law, policy, and society from Northeastern University. Prior to joining TLDEF, Weiss was a tenured professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey. We i s s a l s o p r a c t i c e d l a w in her own fir m, successfully representing transgender clients, not only by arguing that employment discrimination against them is illegal when based on gender stereotyping — something held to be impermissible by the US Supreme Court as early as 1989 — but by asserting more generally that anti-trans discrimination, per se, is a form of sex discrimination outlawed by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That argument is now at the forefront of transgender legal advocacy, and it was advanced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Obama administration and has also been accepted by some federal courts. In 2015, Saks Fifth Avenue, after initially arguing discrimination against trans employees is not forbidden by federal law, settled a discrimination case Weiss brought in a Texas federal court on behalf of Leyth Jamal, a transgender woman fired after complaining about harassment she faced on the job. In early 2016, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals revived a suit

J. HEROUN

Weiss brought on behalf of Jennifer Chavez against Credit Nation Auto Sales, reminding a district court that the circuit had earlier found that transgender plaintiffs’ claims of discrimination because of gender non-conformity could be brought under Title VII. In 2014, the EEOC chose a case Weiss brought on behalf of Brandi M. Branson, who said she was fired by the Lakeland Eye Clinic in Florida based on anti-trans discrimination, as one of the first brought to establish that discrimination against transgender employees is, in and of itself, sex discrimination. The company settled with Branson. In another case Weiss brought with the EEOC on the same theory, Deluxe Financial Services in Minnesota settled with Britney Austin, who faced anti-transgender harassment on the job. Weiss is a past board member of Lambda Legal and has been chair of the annual national Trans Law Symposium. She has also consulted with organizations, including Harvard University, Boeing, and the New York City government regarding gender identity policy as well as employee gender transitions. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Edie Windsor Marriage Pioneer Tireless in Her Ongoing Engagement

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die Windsor and Thea Spyer were 30-something New Yorkers when they began dating in 1965. They got engaged two years later, but “never thought” marriage would be possible. Forty years later, in 2007, legal same-sex marriage in Canada allowed them to wed. L e s s t h a n t w o y e a r s l a t e r, Spyer, who had long suf fered from multiple sclerosis and mor e r ecently a heart condition, passed away. A discriminatory $360,000-plus federal estate tax levy thrust longtime marriage activist Windsor onto a much larger stage. With her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, she filed suit against the Defense o f M a r r i a g e A c t . A f t e r Wi n d sor won two rounds in court, the Supreme Court took up the House Republicans’ appeal and, in June 2013, ruled the US gover nment must recognize legal same-sex marriages. The court made clear it was not deciding the underlying constitutional question about the right to marry, but its ruling was cited again and again in pro-equality rulings that brought the issue back to the Supreme Court by 2015 for its final resolution. When Windsor took on DOMA, she was no stranger to activism. An early marriage equality advocate, by 2010, she was already the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGE, and had long been involved as well with the LGBT Community Center and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Still, in the wake of her DOMA win, Windsor’s vigor at 84 in using her new-found fame to serve the community was astonishing. Whether at the Center’s annual Women’s Event, a rollout of a national senior housing initiative by SAGE, or a rally for homeless LGBTQ youth, she seemed to be everywhere. “Because of my name,

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

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because I am Edie Windsor, I have a certain amount of pull,” she told Gay City News. “And I feel an obligation when somebody asks me to please come speak or even to put my name on their ad — ‘Yes, yes, and I promise I’ll be there.’” Seeing her always engaged and smiling, it can be hard to imagine what the loss of Thea meant. Recalling the years between Spyer’s death and meeting Judith Kasen, whom she married in September, she said her life was “very full with the community, but that’s not the same. And when Judith came into my life, I had just admitted to my best friend, ‘You know, I’m really lonely.’” Of her recent activism, Windsor said, “If I had to survive Thea, okay, and didn’t know I was going to meet Judith, I can’t think of a better way to live. It’s all joy and love.” Windsor recalled a recent speech, after which “everybody kept thanking me. And I said, ‘Thank you.’” She added, “So I’m grateful to live in this great world.”

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Mel Wymore Upper West Side Leader’s High Visibility Transition

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29-year resident of the U p p e r We s t S i d e , M e l Wymore has served on Manhattan Community Board 7 since 1996 and in recent years focused considerable energy, as well, on leadership within the transgender community. And, in the public face he gave to his gender transition while serving his neighbors in a high visibility post, he modeled for many of them what the experience of being transgender is like — and how much trans Americans can contribute to their communities when given a fair shot. In talking about his community board work, in which he served two ter ms as chair, W ymor e told Gay City News his proudest achievement was negotiating a community benefits agreement with the developer of a large parcel at the south end of West End Avenue. “I brought together a wide array of people,” he explained. “ We c a n a s k t h e m t o c u t o f f the top of their buildings, but we want to solve school overcrowding and get affordable housing and open space, and we are losing small businesses.” The results, he said, included 600 affordable housing units, a new school, and $20 million in developer parks improvements. Most importantly, Wymore added, “Everybody can say, ‘I was heard.’” He also helped found several neighborhood organizations — including ones delivering food to residents of a single-roomoccupancy hotel and creating accessibility solutions for people living with disabilities. Wymore’s personal story during his years on the community board is compelling. When he first joined CB7, Wymore was living as a married w o m a n , b u t t w o y e a r s l a t e r, with two small children, came out as a lesbian. A decade later he began seriously examining

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

his gender identity. In 2009, on his first night chairing CB7, he told his 49 fellow board members about his transition. “Why do I have to do this publicly?,” he said, rephrasing Gay City News’ question about his commitment to leading through visibility. “I feel there are millions who do not live the life they want. It’s not so easy to relate my story to my community work. But it’s about being a full participant — in the human race or on your block. We w a n t t o h a v e a u t h e n t i c conversations.” L a s t y e a r, W y m o r e h e l p e d found and served as executive director of T ransPac, a group that raised and distributed more than $85,000 in the fight to achieve a State Senate majority willing to enact the long-stalled Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act. Having decided this month to take a second shot at the City Council, after a strong second-place showing in 2013, Wymore has stepped down from T ransPAC and is back in the political trenches. March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


Emanuel Xavier A Daring Spoken Word Poet Transcending a Troubled Youth

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manuel Xavier, named an LGBT History Month Icon by the Equality Forum, an inter national LGBTQ civil rights and educational organization based in Philadelphia, is one of the first out gay Nuyorican poets, an LGBTQ and AIDS activist, and an advocate for the rights and needs of homeless youth. Xavierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s published poetry collections include â&#x20AC;&#x153;Radiance,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nefarious,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Americano,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pier Q u e e n , â&#x20AC;? a n d â&#x20AC;&#x153; I f J e s u s We r e Gay,â&#x20AC;? and he is author of the novel â&#x20AC;&#x153;Christ Like,â&#x20AC;? and editor of the anthologies â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mariposas: A Moder n Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bullets & Butt e r f l i e s : Q u e e r S p o k e n Wo r d Poetry,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Me No Habla With Acento â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Contemporary Latino Poetry,â&#x20AC;? that last based on a monthly spoken word event that, calling on his Ecuador -

ian and Puerto Rican roots, he curated at El Museo del Barrio. A former homeless teen, Xavier survived an abusive childhood and years as a street hustler and drug dealer to become one of the most significant, daring, and unlikely voices to emerge from the spoken word poetry movement, using political, sexual, and religious themes throughout his work. Xavier appeared twice on HBOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Russell Simmons presents Def Poetryâ&#x20AC;? and performs regularly around the world as a spoken word artist. His word/ music collaboration album, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Legendary â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The Spoken Word P o e t r y o f E m a n u e l X a v i e r, â&#x20AC;? inspired a choreographed dance presentation and a music video. About his most recent poetry collection, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Radianceâ&#x20AC;? (Rebel Satori Press, 2016), the poet

and editor David Grof f wrote, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Emanuel Xavierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest book radiates in diverse directions, back into a past of New York club kid glamour and violence, into a family history of lost connections, and into loves for feited and found â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all of which the poet illumines with steadyeyed honestyâ&#x20AC;Ś As he confronts a health challenge to the very brain that is the root-place of these sharp and poignant poems, radiation becomes radiance, a hard-won inner light that lets us all see how â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;splendid is our survival.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Latinorebels. com wrote the book is â&#x20AC;&#x153;bringing urgent attention to the perils of the marginalized in the wake of the Pulse Orlando Massacre and the challenges of the Black Lives Matter movement.â&#x20AC;? Xavier is a r ecipient of the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Her -

itage Award and a World Pride Award. In 2014, he spoke at the UN as part of the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA, and the following year he was a featured speaker at TEDx Bushwick.

                        

  

      

 

  

    

   



Dennis G. Trainor

Bob Master

Gladys Finnigan

District 1 Vice President

Assistant to the VP

Assistant to the VP

GayCityNews.nyc | March 31 - April 12, 2017

2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

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2017 Gay City News Impact Awards

March 31 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


JIM EIGO HONORED BY ACT UP AT 30

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO

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arking 30 years of AIDS activism, ACT UP held a March 22 event to recognize the work of Jim Eigo (in a T-shirt, holding a microphone, and in the group shot), a founding member of the group’s Treatment and Data Committee, upon his retirement. Longtime ACT UP members Eric Sawyer (in checked shirt and in the group shot), Andy Velez (with suspenders and in the group shot), and Peter Staley and Jay Blotcher (both in the group shot) were among those on hand at Housing Works’ Keith D. Cylar House on East Ninth Street.

COMING IN SEPTEMBER OF 2017

Manhattan. 2 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10011 A new day care center for children ages two to five will open its door for 2017/2018 school year. The GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

center will be offering enhanced academic programs, dance/ movement, languages, sports, and art classes. The specific disciplines will be finalized based on the enrollment and the selection made

by the parents. For information and application please contact our Main office at 212-938-1223 ext. 112 vborsen@lifeadjustmentcenter.com

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PERSPECTIVE: Snide Lines PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

jgoodstein@cnglocal.com FOUNDING EDITOR IN-CHIEF & ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Cuomo, Cuts and Why Laura Likes Her Petition More than Me

PAUL SCHINDLER

editor@gaycitynews.com

BY SUSIE DAY

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

y the time you read this, the New York State legislature will have probably passed its 2017-18 budget. The budget is about $152 billion, but there’s a relatively tiny $2.6 million cut Governor Andrew Cuomo quietly buried inside that’s worth noticing. Cuomo’s cut would eliminate 39 jobs at New York’s 17 maximum-security prisons. But 39 is a small number, compared to the nearly 22,000 men and women held inside these prisons, serving long, often life sentences. These thousands of incarcerated people have families, friends, and children. Cuomo’s proposal would cut their prison visiting days, from seven to three a week. I live with Laura, who spent over 14 years in high-security prisons. When she heard about Cuomo’s visiting-day cut, she started working maniacally to overturn it. Within groups like Release Aging People in Prison/ RAPP and Challenging Incarceration, Laura’s attended meetings, press conferences, spoken to state legislators. She also promotes — obsessively — a petition against the cut, to be delivered to Cuomo before the budget vote. She’s hoping at least 5,000 people will sign it. So far, 4,150 have. Laura’s emailed this petition to countless lists and individuals. At home she breaks off conversations to search her iPad for the URL that will tell her how many people signed in the last four minutes. She’s wrecked scheduled TV viewings of “Veep” reruns to tweet it to new lists. Checking this petition is the fi rst thing she does in the morning; the last thing at night. Why must I compete with a cyber-petition? Why has Laura become nuts?, I ask her. “Because when I was in prison, visits were a lifeline,” Laura responded. “I couldn’t be at my father’s bedside when he was dying, or at his funeral. But at least I was able to see Pop in his last years before he became ill. There’s no way you can do that over the phone or a video camera. Visiting with friends, family, I kept my humanity. I didn’t

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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS CHRISTOPHER BYRNE (Theater), SUSIE DAY (Perspective), BRIAN McCORMICK (Dance)

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Donna Minkowitz, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Sam Oglesby, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Ed Sikov, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, Benjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz

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NATIONAL DISPLAY ADVERTISING Rivendell Media / 212.242.6863 Gay City News, The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender NYC, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Gay City News, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Phone: 212.229.1890 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Gay City News. Gay City News is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, CEO Fax: 212.229.2790; E-mail: jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

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feel like a piece of garbage dumped in a cell. I’m fi xated on this stupid petition because it’s a way to channel my rage about how powerlessness I feel to protect the people I love in prison.” I’m now motivated to gather talking points rebutting Cuomo’s cut. Studies show that prison visits (a) reduce disciplinary infractions; (b) aid rehabilitation; (c) help those released reenter society, while (d) reducing recidivism. New York State has surpassed most states in giving families access to incarcerated loved ones; it also leads in lowering crime rates. Cutting visiting days would jeopardize this record, while the $2.6 million saved represents less than 1/1000th of the Department of Corrections $3 billion budget — increased this year by $6 million. Currently, there are about 105,000 children in New York State with parents in prison or jail. They’re mostly children of color; virtually all from poor families. “People are sentenced to prison for years,” said Laura. “That’s their punishment; they’re not supposed to be mistreated. There’s a bill of rights for children of incarcerated people, which includes the right to touch and visit with your parent.” There are always so many kids at prison visits. I know because Laura and I have visited friends in New York prisons for years. We see fi rsthand that visiting rooms are already overcrowded. Yet most families and friends of incarcerated people can afford to travel maybe once or twice a year to a prison, usually hundreds of miles upstate. Privileged people like Laura and me can afford to stay overnight in upstate motels (some sporting up to six evangelical TV channels). But everybody has to take time off work, pay for transportation, save up money for vending machine food in visiting rooms. Once you get to a prison, you’re treated with the methodically inane, Trump-like logic of the penal system. Remove for inspection: jewelry, watches, shoes, jackets, belts, bras with metal underwire. Stare into camera flash for irisscanning photo. Extend hand for

stamp with “security” ink. Present hand with stamp — visible under ultraviolet light — to enter and exit visiting areas. This last is a stunningly shrewd way to insure that prisoners, such as our six-foot, black friend Herman, can’t escape by posing as two five-foot, white females like Laura and me. This whole, sad routine enables you to spend sometimes up to six hours sitting across a metal table from a person dear to you, someone who goes through far worse than this every day, has for years, and will for more years. It means so much to talk, to touch hands for a second. If you’re five years old, it means the world. Even given all seven days, you can be turned away if a visiting room is too crowded — no matter that you rode a bus all night to get there. Visiting only Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays would mean more people turned away, more stressed, noisy visits. Imagine trying to have a conversation at Grand Central Terminal during rush hour. In 1973, New York started a free bus program for prison visits. But it was voted out in 2011 without much pushback from communities that were already being gutted by gentrification. This time there’s more fight. So maybe as you read this, 5,000 people will have signed Laura’s petition. Maybe they’ll have persuaded the Legislature to remove the cut that Cuomo assumed would pass because it wouldn’t hurt the people who support him. Even then, all will not be well. Because the lived realities underlying this petition will remain. Whether or not this cut passes, there’ll be similar proposals — not only from Cuomo — inside and out of the prison system. Sensible, belttightening policies, by which people already treated like cattle will be treated like meat. These are the incremental corrosions to our humanity that we must stop. Meanwhile, Laura’s petition is up to 4,279… Susie Day is the author of “Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power,” published by Abingdon Square Publishing. March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus

Trans 101… and Beyond BY ED SIKOV

“R

ecently a few strangers have reached out to me on social media to disclose that they are or might be transgender. They’ve asked for advice. Awash in my own struggles with identity, these requests for guidance have challenged me. How can I help? How can I disentangle my own struggles from theirs in order to be objective? I haven’t even read any Judith Butler yet.” This is the opening paragraph of a terrific piece I came across on Medium, an online publishing platform developed by one of Twitter’s cofounders. I get an email once a day alerting me to a particular story. Sometimes I read ‘em, sometimes not, but for obvious reasons this one caught my eye. Its title: “How Do I Know If I’m Trans?” The author, Mattie Lents, tells us that she was born male in 1987. She was into girly things from an early age: wanting to be a mom, not a dad, and playing dress-up with her sister’s party dresses. Her family was cool about it, but clouds soon darkened the sky: “When I brought my sister’s tutu to show and tell and danced in it for the class, my pre-school requested that I be sent to a psychiatrist.” Uh-oh. “I told him about how I felt different from other kids. How I wanted to play house but was sometimes pushed away, was scared by the games boys played, and how I sometimes fantasized about killing myself. He escorted me out, brought my mom into the room, and advised her that I was in serious trouble. I would certainly need further treatment, likely medication, and possibly some form of hospitalization. “My mom was shocked. After much deliberation, she and my stepfather decided that the course of diagnosis and treatment might lead to more harm than good. We put the psych visit behind us and never went back. To this day I’m deeply grateful for that decision, fearing what might have happened

GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

in 1990s Texas to a trans kid being treated for mental illness.” Um, ever see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre?” Now this is where the piece takes a masterful turn: “When we first recognize that our sense of identity is not in alignment with our culture’s gender norms, facing the rising tide of both hostility and celebration surrounding the trans revolution, we can become overly focused on the question ‘Am I transgendered? Or is this something else?’ That question is often bursting with emotion — fear, excitement, confusion. But the impulse to attach an identifier onto our experience can be motivated by concepts of gender still boxed-in by rigid ideas that don’t reflect reality. What I’m trying to say is, before you consider adopting the word trans as your own, look as hard as you can at the phenomenon of gender itself. This exploration is important because it will protect you from taking on aspects of gender which you in fact have no affinity with. If you believe that there are only two genders— men and women — then you will expect you have to choose between one or the other in your social presentation. But you don’t. Gender is widely variant and endlessly complex. There are as many ways to be a man as there are men, and as many to be a woman as women.” She goes on to discuss people who are born intersex. Turns out it’s a lot more common than most of us think. In fact, it’s about as normal as people having red hair — 1.7 percent of the population. “The story of binary biological sex is largely a fiction, sustained by the repression and even elimination of all variance,” Lents writes. This is a key point, one that trans activists and gender studies majors often misinterpret. Back when I taught college-level sex and gender studies classes, I would introduce my students to the idea of binary oppositions, one of the cornerstones of Structuralist theory. Students were increasingly outraged by this idea, but I think they missed the point. Binary oppositions are always fictions; they’re the stories a culture tells itself about

itself. They’re an attempt to make sense and order out of the chaos of real life. The categories male and female exist in a pure form only in our heads. They are by definition not pure in the real world. In fact, they’re completely malleable. As for Lents’ statistical claim, according to a study published in the American Journal of Human Biology, 1.7 percent of babies are in fact born intersex. But this figure includes those whose sexual variation does not appear until puberty or later. Many clinicians don’t think the latter categories should be classified as intersex, but this view seems to me to be tainted by discomfort with the enormous range of human sex and gender expression, since those clinicians often are the very people who devote their professional careers to medical interventions designed to reclassify intersex people into conventional sex and gender categories — male or female. And on the subject of statistics, the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, a UCLA think tank, has found that the number of people who identify as trans in the U.S. is 1.4 million as of June 2016, when the results of the study were released. 1.7 percent of people identify as bisexual, and 1.6 percent identify as exclusively gay or lesbian. So one would not be incorrect to infer that there are more intersex people than gays and lesbians, as shocking as that may be. The practical advice Lents offers to people who are questioning their gender identity starts with this assumption — that there are many, many things you can do to make gender conform to you rather than the other way around. “What is it about living as a male that excites you? Do you want more muscularity and physical strength? Then lift weights! Get your food right — go beast-mode on protein. You like short hair? Go to a cool barber, get that part and fade you’ve been wanting. Are you tired of being spoken over because you’re perceived as feminine? I know I am. It’s troubling how the more I appear female

the more my opinion is deemed of less value in serious conversation while suddenly it’s like I’ve dropped my invisibility cloak at the bar.” By far the most troubling challenge for somebody of transgender identity is the ever-fascinating question of what’s going on under a person’s clothes. Like many cisgender people, I’ve actually asked trans folks what’s going on under their clothes and been told that the question is really quite rude. I think I’ve finally seen their point. What business is it of mine to know the type and structure of someone else’s genitalia? They’re not asking me for a full description of mine. Lents continues: “Therapy was vital to my journey in transitioning. Reject the stigma around it. It doesn’t mean you’re sick, it means you’re a human who is looking to live their truth in a society still consumed by false ideas. If you are concerned about money, seek out free or group counseling. If there’s nothing near you, look for online therapy. The world is full of beautiful people ready to extend a hand if you’ll only ask for help. And if in the course of working with your therapist you become increasingly sure that the only way for you to move forward is to pursue medical changes, know that it is valid. Cast aside the judgment of those who don’t understand. I would suggest that you take things slowly and mindfully. Start with things that are less invasive first and see if you feel the relief you were looking for. For example, I started by growing my hair long and getting laser facial hair removal.” Her point is that gender reassignment surgery is an option, not a requirement. This remarkable woman ends her essay on a joyous note: “No matter who you are, no matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to dig deep. I urge you to find compassion for those who are different from you. And I celebrate all those who express their endlessly variant genders with freedom and joy. Your very being is a revelation and a gift to us all.” The inevitable backlash... Scrolling through the comments section at the end of the piece, I was disturbed to find this troll turd lying in the weeds, bad punc-

TRANS 101, continued on p.22

21


PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad

bedfellows in the extreme right. The problem is that direct action is really only a tool, especially good as triage to keep the patient alive, while we try to find a path through this flaming shit storm, hopefully coming out somewhere different than where we went in. But so far, the largest difference I see between my pre- and postTrump community is the fullness of our demo calendars and the amount of alcohol we’re sucking down in anger and fear. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are still full of activists that are just as factchallenged as voters who want to Make America Great Again. Do you hate that the Republicans took the White House? Let’s bash a hillbilly. Are you enraged at trans murders and legal defeats? How ‘bout we erase the many times trans people and lesbians have worked successfully together, and blame the dykes? Or let’s slam Hillary. Why not? We’re the Democrats. We’re the queers. We’re puritanical crabs in a barrel. That’s just how we roll. Since George W. Bush was elected in 2000, we’ve preferred to scapegoat whole regions rather than support the large groups of embattled activists of all races in the South that have been resist-

ing Christian Zealots and White Nationalists for decades. More and more we chase our enemies from campuses instead of debating and debunking them. We attack our allies like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with the same zest as Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump, if they don’t stick exactly to our scripts, our language. We refuse nuance. Reflection. Doubt. Even generosity. Maybe because we are desperate to believe we are different from the monsters who so clearly want us powerless and afraid. Health care is the least of it, when they reject not just our identities, but our bodies, our pleasure, our love. When they want us dead. But believing ourselves separate, believing ourselves different is a fundamental mistake. Audre Lorde wrote that “the true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.” We have more in common than we think. We’re equally governed by fear. Things like race and class, ability, and politics divide us, but only in the middle ground. When you get extremely close, our DNA is practically identical. Pull back as far as you can go, we are indistinguishable as ants. Countries and borders seem irrelevant. Our faces despising our enemies look the

same as their faces despising us. Everything in them is in us. We all embrace hate, usually under a different name, like uprightness. Justice. Self-defense. I’ll admit naked hate is even good for some things, like getting a crowd on the street, but then what? Love? It embarrasses me to talk about it, admit that Maxine’s speech has begun to make sense. Love seems so soft. So retro. There’s no street cred in it. And it took me so long to get Old Testament angry. I was raised female in the Southern Baptist Church. Turn the other cheek, they said, and I did. I was so fucking humble and mild and loving I was ready to kill myself to save them the trouble. When I finally tried to get mad, I had to get past the fear of being that shrill, shrieking cunt of a woman. The angry, man-hating dyke. You don’t know what it costs me even now to raise my voice. Send something back in a restaurant. And yet. And yet. I’ve been in the world long enough to know just how corrosive anger is. You can’t build a movement, or a life, on it. If we want to endure beyond Trump, and we have to, only love, pure love, will be radical enough.

viction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.” “All stories are too late,” he said, “otherwise they wouldn’t be needed.” Terry McGovern, lesbian and AIDS activist on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union, talked about how her “Irish American mother died on 9/11” and how she and the NYCLU “will fight vouchers for public education, fight for reproductive freedom, and defend justice. We will not stand for this.” Joy Reid of MSNBC quoted Dr. King: “The time has come when silence is betrayal.” And Aisling Reidy of Human Rights Watch invoked King’s dictum: “Our lives

begin to end when we are silent about things that matter.” Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, of St. Pat’s for All and Lavender & Green, the LGBTQ group that marched that day in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the second time joined by Ó Ríordáin, said of Trump, “Irish American people will not sit down and take this kind of abuse from our government.” Imam Shamsi Ali said, “Help us to break the walls that separate us” and condemned the “racist” campaign of Trump against immigrants. Daniel Altschuler of Make the Road New York urged the assembled to call Irish American Republican Congress-

members Dan Donovan of Staten Island and Peter King of Long Island “who support the Muslim ban.” Ó Ríordáin wrapped up the long but spirited evening, saying that when he gave his Senate speech, “I thought it wouldn’t go further than the room. I called the president a fascist and I think I was proved right.” He spoke of how “we need each other” and how important it was for LGBTQ people and Muslims and others “not to be in the shadows.” He said, “Those who stand for an immigrant ban have no Irish lived experience.” “There is unity in strength and strength in unity,” he said.

this mental illness.” As a matter of fact, I recently got into a Twitter war with someone who could have been this asshole’s twin. There were no trans people, the idiot insisted; it

was all a lie. And all those people who think they’re trans? They’re mentally ill. Simple! By the end of it I was shaking so violently that I couldn’t type. I’ve got to resolve

not to engage with these morons. They’re bad for my mental health.

More Radical Than Hate BY KELLY COGSWELL

A

couple of decades ago, the Lesbian Avengers did a Valentine’s Day action at Bryant Park reuniting the statue of Gertrude Stein with a papier-mâché Alice B. Toklas. Veteran activist Maxine Wolfe launched the proceedings with a speech explaining that the purpose of the action was to make “visible the fact of lesbian existence and lesbian love in all its forms and expressions including… the love we have for ourselves and each other when we organize and take direct action together on our own behalf.” I don’t think I really understood it at the time, but now it reinforces my idea that we’re missing something essential in our resistance to Trump. We’re certainly not lacking in organizing skills. If there’s something queers know how to do, it’s how to monitor politicians and throw a demo. We ACTed-up against AIDS. Avenged lesbian invisibility. STARred in the fight for trans rights. Even now, we’re winning battles, stopping Muslim bans dead — but not anti-immigrant hate. Putting Trumpcare on pause — but not destroying our unlikely

STAND, from p.11

ists was out State Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan who said that his mother died when he was 12 on March 17, 1973 and it was “the hardest day of my life,” so “I don’t do St. Patrick’s Day.” But he spoke this night “in the face of fascism in my own nation” and called Trump’s “narcissism a very serious disease. It eats at your soul and you lose all capacity for sympathy.” Niall Connolly sang a song based on a Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” Which that speaks of a time when “The best lack all con-

TRANS 101, from p.21

tuationand all: “You’re either male or female. So if you believe youre trans its a lie. You can get help for

22

Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

Follow @edsikov on Twitter and Facebook. March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


PERSPECTIVE: The Long View

Is Pentagon Gay Panic Aiming to Deflect from Probe of Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Harassment? BY NATHAN RILEY

I

n the wake of the junior senator from New York humiliating takedown of the commandant of the Marine Corp for failing to protect females from harassment and intimidation, the Pentagon has opened a homophobic investigation replete with images of soldiers in gay porn and being victimized on gay sites in Tumblr. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ripped into General Robert Neller for failing to take responsibility for misogynistic threads on Marines United, a Facebook site with 30,000 followers until it was shut down. Some threads contained revealing photos of women soldiers accompanied by Donald Trump-like comments about pussy. While some photos were selfies, others were peeping tom pics of women caught

unawares in various stages of undress. Other selfies were revenge porn uploaded by men upset that a relationship ended. The failure of the armed services to protect its women is a festering sore. That women face mass harassment has been public since the Tailhook scandal broke in 1993. An investigation into the gathering of more than 100 Marine and Navy aviators in Las Vegas led to allegations that 83 women and 7 men were assaulted. In 2010, Gillibrand turned into a bulldog on this issue, making it clear she wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rest until the harassment ended. She had complaints from aggrieved women, she held hearings and received promises. The Marine United scandal proved that these promise are empty. This frustration boiled over at a Senate Armed Forces Hearing, where a furious Gillibrand raked the

sheepish Neller over the coals, leaving him to admit, with a hangdog look, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have an answer for you. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lame answer, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best I can tell you right now.â&#x20AC;? A former top prosecutor in the Air Force, Don Christensen, seethed that the generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s confession was received with sympathy when his remarks demonstrated ineptitude. Christensen is executive director of Protect Our Defenders, an organization that demands strict enforcement of rules against sexual harassment and seeks criminal charges in cases of rape. He sees little real progress in the effort to integrate women as equal members of armed force. In a telephone interview, Christensen said the bottom line is that top brass â&#x20AC;&#x153;really donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the women there.â&#x20AC;? If they got serious about protecting women, there would be dismissals, court martials, and military orders that would change menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s behavior.

Two days after this Senate hearing, the Pentagon opened an investigation that tried to equate humiliation of women with the humiliation of male soldiers whose pics appears on gay Tumblr sites or soldiers who broke military discipline by appearing in military gay porn. The spotlight on gay Internet sites immediately complicated the investigation into misogyny in the Armed Services and appears to be an effort to create divisions between the LGBTQ and feminist movements. Tom Vanden Brook, USA Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pentagon correspondent who has followed this issue for years, reported that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;scandalâ&#x20AC;? caused by the Marine United site had expanded to include â&#x20AC;&#x153;a slew of gay pornography web pages with images of men wearing military uniforms engaged in sex acts.â&#x20AC;? A spokesperson for the Armed

ä&#x2030;´

GAY PANIC, continued on p.24

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Services confirmed the investigation –– one that seems sure to slow the momentum of the investigations into aggressive behavior by men toward women. The focus on gay pornography provides excuses for minimizing the bullying of women. USA Today explained that this “slew” of gay pornography showed “the complexity of policing social media sites where sensitive images can be uploaded in an instant for all to see.” For “all to see” is more supposition than fact; presumably it is gay men who chose to look at gay porn. The public opts out. The feminist efforts to stifle harassment shouldn’t become confused with decisions by men to participate in or enjoy gay activities. Complaints about the gay gaze have no comparable history to the constant stream of complaints about cruel and hostile conduct by military men against women soldiers. Nonetheless USA Today, quoting a Naval NCIS military spokesperson, reported that Navy, Marine, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard investigators have “established a multiservice task force to expand the investigation.” Caught squarely in this pincer grip is Aaron Belkin, a leader in the fight to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He is an advisor to Protect Our Defenders and declined to comment for this article. The news that GIs in porn might be disciplined brought an immediate reaction from OutServe-SDLN that “provides free and direct legal assis-

tance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law.” Matt Thorn, the group’s executive director, is ready to seek representation for any personnel caught in a new dragnet. The power of investigators to create a gay panic was a point emphasized by the chair of the Free Speech Coalition, a 25-year-old old civil liberties organization close to the porn business. Jeffrey J. Douglas cautioned against presuming that sexual exposure always involves victimization. “The armed forces haven’t adopted well to a changed environment,” he commented over the phone. “Images that would have been shocking a generation ago no longer appear so” A service member who posted “without thinking that it is improper when faced with an investigator who tells him, ‘If you say it was done with your approval then you are in a world of trouble and if you say it wasn’t with your permission you’re in less trouble.’ You pick,” Douglas added. In this way a willing participant can be turned into an accuser and a voluntary act made to appear compelled. USA Today quoted spokespeople from the Air Force, Marines and Navy as saying they are using facial recognition technology and combing through gay websites to identify armed service members who might appear on gay sites. Supporters of a long overdue crackdown on sexual harassment of women must be alert that their cause could be an excuse for an end run around new laws accepting gays into the military. March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


TRAVEL

Daydreaming On Riviera Maya A Yucatán vacation to leave 2017’s stresses behind you BY KELSY CHAUVIN

icked back in a lounge chair on the shore of the Yucatán Peninsula, cocktail in hand as a Caribbean breeze fills the shade beneath my beach umbrella, I’m reminded that daydreams can come true. Lately, I’ve been daydreaming a lot. Stress from life and work, from the election, and from winter’s crazy rollercoaster weather has led many of us to think about escaping to more soothing lands. Thank goodness for daydreams, inviting us to divert to a sunny beach literally any time. But the beauty is that whisking off to a dreamy reality is within reach. And it’s worth a splurge to arrive at a tropical haven where worries are confined to decisions like pool versus beach, piña colada versus spritzer. Mexico is particularly suitable for spending some pesos and showing love to our southern neighbors. Bonus: From New York City, direct flights to Cancún are barely four hours long. Plus roundtrip airfare can be had for just $300, or even less if you have frequent-flier miles to book with.

K

Riviera Maya Cancún is the gateway to the strip of Gulf of Mexico coastal towns that make up Riviera Maya. The name encompasses a 92-milelong region from Puerto Morelos (near the Cancún Airport) south to Punta Allen. But its most famous coastal cities are Playa del Carmen and Tulum, with resorts of all sizes tucked between them. Playa del Carmen is the larger beachside destination, home to a downtown commercial area that’s bustling day and night. Its main drag is the pedestrian-only La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), with more than a mile’s worth of souvenir shops, restaurants, street performers, street vendors, tour agencies, pharmacies, and, of course, bars galore. That includes one LGBTQ bar GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

KELSY CHAUVIN

Sailing in the Caribbean off the coast of Mayakoba.

KELSY CHAUVIN

The beach at Mayakoba.

KELSY CHAUVIN

The wonders of nature at Tulum.

with the kind of name that wards off spring breakers: Club 69. It’s at the south end of the Avenida, down an alley near Sixth Street. And while it’s not exactly a glamorous place to sip a Corona (some may say it’s downright crusty) and has a nominal cover charge, it is at least a dedicated gay dive complete with a rainbow “69” sign and drag shows. But La Quinta Avenida is long and offers lots of choices for sipping and dining. Among the best is Aldea Corazon (grupoazotea.com/ aldea-corazon) near 14th Street, which looks like a small, open-air

KELSY CHAUVIN

An interior pool at the Banyan Tree hints at the resort’s Asian touches.

restaurant at first. Walk past the bar to find a huge, tiered, tree-covered dining area out back that’s a lovely retreat from street hubbub. The menu is short but interesting, serving tacos in handmade tortillas along with authentic soups and local dishes –– plus excellent margaritas –– at surprisingly inexpensive prices. Travelers who want a dose of city with their tropical escape might consider booking with a reliable brand like the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort, or Thompson Playa del Carmen. They each offer their own brand of luxury; the for-

mer with on-site private beach access, the latter with a sexy rooftop pool and sea views. Mayakoba Just north of Playa del Carmen is Mayakoba, a posh resort compound that stands out from others in Rivera Maya. The enclave is a development with four luxury resorts: Rosewood, Fairmont, Andaz, and Banyan Tree. They offer unique styles, dining options, and dedicated beach clubs with restaurants, and share access to a

MEXICO, continued on p.33

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FILM

French Icon Passes from the Stage “The Death of Louis XIV” is serious filmmaking the world is making less space for BY STEVE ERICKSON n cinema, death usually means a gunshot and a dimesized spot of blood or a photogenic elderly person lying in bed and giving one final sigh. Some horror movies have delved further into the weaknesses of the body, especially the possibility of becoming a victim of violence in excruciating ways. There are a handful of films devoted to the process of slow death –– Maurice Pialat’s “The Mouth Agape,” Todd Haynes’ “Safe,” Frederick Wiseman’s lengthy documentary “Near Death,” Cristi Puiu’s “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” –– and they’re not easy viewing, particularly the Pialat film. Spanish director Albert Serra’s “The Death of Louis XIV,” made in France, joins their company. The title lets you know upfront what it’s about, and it would be almost impossible to give spoilers for this film. It’s about a man lying in bed and dying for 110 minutes. He finally passes away about five minutes from the end.

I

THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV Directed by Albert Serra In French with English subtitles The Cinema Guild Opens Mar. 31 Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Howard Gilman Theater 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com

CINEMA GUILD

Jean-Pierre Lèaud in the title role in Albert Serra’s “The Death of Louis XIV.”

“The Death of Louis XIV” begins in Versailles in August 1715. Following a hunting trip, Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud) discovers a painful black spot on his leg. It soon bothers him so much that he becomes bedridden. As the spot spreads, he develops a fever and it becomes obvious that his leg has developed gangrene. Doctors treat him with exotic but useless elixirs made of donkey milk and frogs’ sperm and blood. The king tries to hold on to po-

litical power, but clinging to life itself is becoming increasingly hard for him. The Film Society of Lincoln Center is opening “The Death of Louis XIV” in conjunction with a retrospective of the films of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Making his debut at age 12 in François Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” he became that director’s alter ego in a cycle of films and quickly incarnated the rebellious spirit of the French New Wave. This series includes the expected Godard and Truffaut

classics, but also offers opportunities to see lesser-known gems like gay director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Porcile” and Jacques Rivette’s “Out One: Spectre,” as well as Philippe Garrel’s extremely rare “La Concentration.” But there’s something a bit sinister about Serra’s casting of an actor so central to French film history in a film completely devoted to mortality. After the ‘60s, parts didn’t dry

LOUIS XIV, continued on p.27

Childhood’s End Over three years, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Gage follows girls on the cusp of being adults ALL THIS PANIC Directed by Jenny Gage Factory 25 Opens Mar. 31 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com

BY GARY M. KRAMER

TOM BETTERTON

Sage, one of the subjects in Jenny Gage’s “All This Panic.”

26

ll This Panic” artfully documents a handful of teenage girls in New York on the cusp of adulthood. Shot over a three-year period, the film is a mix

“A

of observational footage along with interviews and intimate moments of the subjects with their friends and families. Each personality is distinctive. Lena is a bright and gangly adolescent with braces and a curfew when she is fi rst introduced. Her parents are divorced, and confl icts in the family come to light over the course of the fi lm. While Lena feels weighted down by the family drama, she puts pressure on herself to fi nd a boyfriend. Lena’s best friend is Ginger, a wild young girl who doesn’t want to grow up. She chooses not to

PANIC, continued on p.27

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


LOUIS XIV, from p.26

up for Léaud, but his innocence faded. In Jean Eustache’s “The Mother and the Whore,” he essentially held center stage in a requiem for the hopes raised by the French New Wave and the leftists who rebelled in May ’68. In real life, he suffered from mental illness and attacked his landlady. Olivier Assayas’ “Irma Vep” cast him as a washed-up director who couldn’t complete a film. Once the image of youth, he’s now an old man whose real mortality is in sight. Watching “The Death of Louis XIV,” it’s impossible not to think about this. Serra makes the kind of hardcore art cinema that’s unfashionable these days if you want to get distribution: long takes, minimal narrative, slow pacing, extremely dark cinematography, and dim lighting. While he doesn’t aim for the complete austerity of the duo of Jean-Marie Straub and the late Daniele Huillet, he’s obviously influenced by them, even if he gets more full-blooded performances from his cast. “The Death of Louis XIV” demands to be seen on the big screen because of its formal qualities; paradoxically, that same rigor will probably ensure that it will only play theaters in about a

PANIC, from p.26

go to college after high school seemingly because she lacks direction. Ginger talks about having floated from person to person in high school rather than making close friends, and that makes clear the difficulties she has with commitments. Her sister Dusty, by contrast, is far more responsible and likable. There is plenty in the fi lm that shows how teenage girls can be self-centered, even annoying, but “All This Panic” emphasizes the confusion and awkwardness of growing up. It also demonstrates how attitudes formed at a young age can shape lives. One of the fi lm’s best subjects is Sage, a middle-class AfricanAmerican feminist who embraces her strengths and what makes her different. She offers the fi lm’s shrewdest observation when discussing how teenage girls are often objectified sexually while GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

dozen American cities. This is a film to sink into, not to watch on a laptop or TV monitor. Serra looks beyond cinema, aspiring to the vision of Rembrandt. There are some unintentional bits of humor along the way: Léaud’s enormous curly wig makes him look like a member of an ‘80s hair metal band whose stylist had an accident while giving him a perm. Even so, I can’t help wondering if the death being mourned here isn’t just one man’s. Jean-Luc Godard and Agnès Varda are the only surviving major French New Wave directors. The tradition they participated in threatens to get lost as Luc Besson makes action films in English that efface all traces of their French nature in order to pass as Hollywood product all over the world. French cinema isn’t dead, as films like Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” Julia Ducournau’s “Raw” and Serra’ s own funeral rite show. But the space for the kind of unabashedly serious filmmaking represented by “The Death of Louis XIV” is shrinking all over the world and disappearing into one-night appearances at festivals and museums. The fact that “The Death of Louis XIV” will play for at least a week in New York may be the best argument against its relentless focus on death.

their thoughts are discounted. “People see you, but they don’t hear what you say,” Sage says, with righteous outrage. Director Jenny Gage, obviously cares about what teenage girls think and feel — and she wants viewers to, as well. Another of the fi lm’s strong subjects is Olivia, a teenager beginning to acknowledge her attraction to women. The way that her sexual identity is weighing on her mind is palpable. Olivia is afraid to come out to her parents because she has not figured out how to be comfortable with herself. That’s a mature reaction, and offers her –– and viewers –– hope that she will be okay when she does decide to talk to her parents. Later in the fi lm, another young woman admits to falling in love with a girl she likes and explains how she conspired to nudge their

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PANIC, continued on p.35

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THEATER

Highs and Lows Brilliant new musical, disappointing classic, and play that goes “meh” BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE or all of us despairing about the indifference, blatant self-serving, and divisive hatred that define the current political regime, there is a welcome balm on the New York stage today in the form of the musical “Come From Away.” This show will make you feel good, if not euphoric, but it achieves that end not by being escapist entertainment but that by reminding us that there is goodness in people, that the desire to provide help and comfort in a times of crisis can transcend superficial differences between people. Most wonderfully, the show does this in a lighthearted, celebratory mode, made all the more moving because it’s based on a true story. Planes in the air on 9/11 in the hours after the attacks in New York and Washington were not allowed to land in US airports, and so for nearly 40 aircraft and approximately 7,000 passengers, this meant being diverted to the airport at Gander, Newfoundland. Built largely as a refueling stop decades earlier, the advent of long haul carriers meant that Gander and its large airport were largely forgotten. This small town insulated from the world was thrown into chaos as it nearly doubled in size with the people from all over the world who, in local parlance, came from away. How the town responded by embracing the strangers and helping to ease their pain and disorientation is what makes up the plot. With book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the show interweaves the stories of the people –– and animals –– displaced and scared by events with those of the town folk. The company’s 12 actors play multiple roles, adroitly juxtaposing individual stories against the larger issues of how a crisis of this magnitude is managed. In the end, the townspeople welcome the visitors into their homes and lives, regardless of whether they are gay, Muslim, or can’t

COME FROM AWAY

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28

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THE GLASS MENAGERIE

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Jenn Colella and the cast of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s “Come From Away,” now at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

JULIETA CERVANTES

Finn Wittrock and Madison Ferris, with Sally Field in the background, in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Sam Gold, at the Belasco Theatre.

speak English. Relationships are formed and some are broken, with humor and tragedy existing side-by-side. Sankoff and Hein have an uncanny ability to balance complex and disquieting emotions with comedy and also an evident belief in the power of the human spirit to overcome prejudices and fears. The score is a synthesis of styles — Celtic, folk, country —

that consistently works. The lyrics are inspired, cleverly capturing the way real people would talk and so achieving a level of everyday poetry that beautifully reveals characters. The company is uniformly excellent. They work together as a flawless ensemble. In particular, Chad Kimball as one half of a gay couple and as a townsperson imbues both roles with heart and

Belasco Theatre 111 W. 44th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $35-$149; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., 10 mins., no intermission

depth. Jenn Colella as an American Airlines pilot is a standout. I’ve long been a fan of hers, and her rendition of “Me and the Sky” about how the thing she loves most, flying airplanes, has been irrevocably changed soars. Under Christopher Ashley’s direction, the fast-pace story is masterfully told, making brilliant use of even the smallest details, clearly delineating each character, and leaving no heart untouched. If the current political climate is causing you anxiety, you must see this show to be reminded that not everyone is as selfishly misanthropic as our current president. I just might need to go once a week for the next four years. Far from being illuminating, Sam Gold’s deconstruction of “The Glass Menagerie” is a full-on assault on Tennessee Williams’ iconic play, an intellectual exercise that results in an incoherent and tedious evening. Coming so closely on the heels of Gold’s brilliant work in “Othello”

THEATER, continued on p.29

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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THEATER, from p.29

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Janie Dee in Penelope Skinner’s “Linda,” directed by Lynne Meadow, at New York City Center through April 2.

for New York Theatre Workshop and “Fun Home,” Gold can be credited for being a visionary risk-taker, though here the risk doesn’t pay off. “The Glass Menagerie,” is arguably one of Williams’ most lyrical plays. Constructed as a memory, the language has an inherent poetry as fragile as the eponymous collection of figurines. Tom, the narrator and a character in the play, tells the story of his life with his mother Amanda and his disabled sister Laura in a St. Louis tenement in the 1930s, though you wouldn’t know that from the virtually bare stage “designed” by Andrew Lieberman. The pivotal event of the play is the arrival of a Gentleman Caller, ostensibly to court Laura. Juxtaposed against Amanda’s unreal memories of her belle-of-the-ball Southern youth and her desperation for Laura is Tom’s desire to escape the suffocating home environment and his dead end job in a shoe warehouse GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

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as he dreams of being a writer. In working against the language, Gold and Joe Mantello as Tom create a vision of the character as one suffused with unresolved anger. Time has not softened his rage. It works directly against the script in which Tom says, “I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” There is nothing remotely pleasant about this interpretation of

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THEATER, continued on p.35

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OPERA

A Met Trio A “Fidelio” revival, final “Werther,” red dress “La traviata” BY DAVID SHENGOLD n March 16, the Met revived “Fidelio” in Juergen Flimm’s visually unappetizing, dramatically fussy, and often just wrong-headed production, full of upstaging and misdirected focus (like the final scene’s ludicrous Marzelline meltdown and crowd lynching of Pizarro). I nevertheless enjoyed myself. Sebastian Weigle led unevenly, but enough of the resplendent score hit home to compel admiration and some tears. The musical totality outweighed the negatives. Out Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka seemed utterly natural as the cross-dressed Fidelio/ Leonore, maybe a touch placid. Where Karita Mattila gave a luminous-voiced but transparently feminine and somewhat self-regarding Star Turn and Waltraud Meier swept all vocal prob-

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lems away with her keen dramatic focus, Pieczonka, though solid and likeable, proved more earthbound. Occasionally strident, she offered accomplished, honest, but unstarry singing. Klaus Florian Vogt — whose “choirboy” Lohengrin has amazed me in Dresden and here — proved disappointing in this. His Florestan emerged consistently ill-tuned and short-breathed, with the clearish timbre too often curdling as it projected. Company debutante HannaElisabeth Müller offered an acceptable but unremarkable Marzelline, with somewhat splayed top notes; she may be covering the “Rosenkavalier” Sophie but she hardly sounded worth the importing. Jaquino — a slippery careerist in this production — was unusually well voiced by David Portillo. Greer Grimsley’s voice in a smaller theater sounds enormous; not so at SAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE

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the Met. But its inky impact suited Pizarro well. Falk Struckmann, a real actor, is hardly the roundestvoice Rocco imaginable but every moment of his complex characterization merited watching. Guenther Groissboeck’s rather extrovert technique makes wonder about his longterm prospects; for now, he sounded duly noble as Fernando. Amazingly James Morris, whose first Met Fernando came in 1972, sings the last two shows here April 5 and 8. I found the usually sublime Prisoner’s Chorus as underanimated by Weigle as by Flimm –– though the voices sounded pleasant. Kang Wang used the First Prisoner’s lovely music to audition for Calaf, but Paul Corona sounded nobly mellow as the Second Prisoner. The season’s moving last performance of Massenet’s “Werther” (March 9) featured the title role’s “cover” — the performer who understudies another, supposedly more audience-worthy singer. The French tenor Jean-Francois Borras had covered Jonas Kaufmann when Richard Eyre’s rather overstuffed staging was new three years ago and took on one performance. Since then he’s appeared several times in “La Boheme” and once as the Duke in “Rigoletto.” But Borras’ is a voice best heard in his native repertory. Even though the year’s main Werther, Vittorio Grigolo, has pretty good sung French by the standards of most Italian tenors, it proved a huge pleasure just to hear Borras string the Gallic words on his phrases with utter naturalness. Unlike the always-onall-eight-cylinders Grigolo, Borras also channels the airy, “voix mixte” style associated with classic francophone tenors. He paced himself well, with only the ringing high B natural of Werther’s Act II apostrophe to God getting slightly out of hand. More Borras singing Massenet awaits us in next season’s “Thais.” The only colleague to approach Borras’ level of expressiveness in French was the substantive Paristrained Serbian baritone David Bizic. As Charlotte, for whom the men compete, Isabel Leonard looked pret-

ty, as ever, and 100-percent contemporary, as ever. Her singing was basically acceptable but hardly the stuff of which real –– not “manufactured” –– star reputations are forged. Anna Christy’s Sophie had more “face” and dramatic punch, but sounded too soubrettish. Edward Gardner’s warm orchestral reading was the best thing he’s done at the Met. Willy Decker’s soon-to-vanish “red dress” staging of “La traviata” rediscovered one of its best protagonists in Sonia Yoncheva. The Bulgarian diva, one of the singers on the Met fast track who most belongs there did not sing a perfectly intoned or uttered performance March 7, but what she had to offer in passion, warm sound, and overall rightness for so many roles’ manifold challenges more than compensated for the flaws: a real Violetta –– and they are few. She generated effective chemistry with Michael Fabiano’s Alfredo. Very boyish onstage when properly bewigged, Fabiano made the interesting choice to make the usually ardent, fairly shallow character be more complex — just as complicit in Violetta’s destruction as everyone else. He certainly sang ardently, and with welcome dynamic variety — save for blasting out many notes A and above; no Alfredo ever sounds great yelling out an unwritten C as “O mio rimorso” ends, and Fabiano’s was pressured and unlovely. Vocally, not a single sound Thomas Hampson uttered as Germont evoked the great performances in Mozart, Rossini, Berlioz, and Busoni roles that established and sustained the baritone’s deserved Met and worldwide fame. There are parts in which the very intelligent Hampson could sustain his reputation with honor; the Sprecher, Rangoni, Dr. Schoen. Germont, the “Hoffmann” villains, and Don Giovanni — all on his future calendar — are not among those parts. Nicola Luisotti tended to drown his singers out insensitively. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues. March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

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Great Left Coast Actor Arrives Stark message, droll wit of “Church and State” features Rob Nagle BY DAVID NOH ason Odell Williams’ antigun play “Church and State” is that rare work that combines a stark message, sadly all too pertinent today, with droll, dry, and highly diverting wit. It centers around incumbent North Carolina Senate candidate Charlie Whitmore (Rob Nagle) and how his stance on gun control is seriously affected by a shootout at a local grade school. Arguing pro and con around him, as well exerting varying but intense influences on him are two wonderfully strong women, his formidable wife (Nadia Bowers) and campaign manager (Christa Scott-Reed). The play is admirably compact and effectively if modestly staged, and, with its swift dramatic arc –– encompassing everything from “Designing Women”-style Southern humor to stark tragedy that elicited real gasps from the audience –– it packs an emotional and intellectual punch unmatched by anything I’ve seen this season. Coming back to New York after 19 years on the West Coast for such a terrific part is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Nagle, who is easily recognized among his theatrical peers as a great actor, but a represents new commodity for New York audiences. “I was here, working double shift as a waiter,” he told me, after a particularly exhilarating third preview Sunday matinee performance, “and running off to audition and act in some tiny space. People said I’d hate LA, but I don’t, and have come to find my community out there of theater, friends, and family. But this was a wish I had since college to go to NY to work, and I’m thrilled to be back and start this conversation.” The script of ‘Church and State,” as Nagle tells it, fell into his lap. “This director, Elina de Santos, and I had been wanting to work together for a long time. She said they were going to do the Los Angeles premiere of it and for me to look at the part of the senator. “That title sounded like an essay

CHURCH AND STATE

J

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RUSS ROWLAND

Rob Nagle is a Senate candidate thrown off stride by a tragic school shooting in Jason Odell Williams’ “Church and State,” now at New World Stages.

on government. What’s this going to be about? And then I could not stop reading it, and, you know, it’s very easy to put down most scripts and go make some tea or look at your Facebook. But I couldn’t put it down and said, ‘Oh shit.’ My wife Heather said, ‘Is it that bad?’ ‘No, it’s really good, and I’ve got to do anything to be in it. Both Elina and Gary Grossman, the artistic director, had told me they’d thought of me for the part. Next thing I know I’m in auditions to find the other actors and it kept growing in rehearsal. “And then Orlando happened. You can feel pretty silly going into

work to make a play happen, but if it’s a play like this… It was incredible and thrilling and chilling and moving, and we had to find a way to laugh a lot. Jason canceled a family vacation in Mexico to spend it with us in previews and the opening. We opened in June and played through September. “When the decision was made to open the play in New York, I said, ‘I’ll get back there myself to be part of this.’ It took some hurdles along the way in investors’ meetings, trying to prove myself with a new director [Markus Potter] and entirely new production, and then it happened.”

Nagle observed that the tone of the play has changed since the first production, and after the election: “Now the world is really heavy. Every tweet is some fresh horror. As a result, along with what’s always been there, I feel certainly as emotional and affected as this character, but am now leaning more into being the smart politician who takes a horrible event and tries to make something good come from it. It’s gone deeper inside of me, and now Charlie Whitmore has gotten smarter about how he’s going to approach the future.” Nagle’s quality as an actor was evident from the moment he enters the play. There was something –– an alertness, a mischievous eye gleam, the totally reassuring ease of a natural stage animal –– which made me pay attention, so I was amazed to discover this: “I was very shy when I was younger. My older brother did all the talking, so I literally couldn’t even pick up the phone to request an extra paper for my route without my mom writing me out a script. Then he went on to private school and I went to public school, and suddenly my voice came out. I discovered acting when I was 10 and knew what it was like to get that attention and be somebody besides me. My parents can’t figure it out: ‘You were so shy and now you stand before 2,000 people doing Shakespeare in a park!’” The unpredictable randomness and sometimes miracle of chance encounters are among LA’s allures for Nagle. “I was sick of waiting tables, so worked as a temp for a commercial

NAGLE, continued on p.33

March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


NAGLE from p.32

production company in Santa Monica. My wife got sick and said, ‘Well, you can have my husband for the day.’ They said, ‘Heather’s hot! Why would we want her husband?’ I ended up working for director Jesse Dylan, Bob Dylan’s son, for 10 years. Lots of commercials, music videos and three features. “It was like getting an education you never could in film school. I’d see photographs of little Jesse, literally under the stage where his father was performing, looking out into the crowd and I’d see the makings of a director. I read scripts and did coverage and helped with interviews. “I actually met Bob Dylan a couple of times. I never had a conversation with him because you don’t, unless he wants to have a conversation with you. I remember going

to the house when Jesse’s daughter Anna was getting married. I didn’t know he was there, but I was walking around the house when, through the window, I catch him clocking me, like the lone wolf. ‘Who’s that guy?’ and you realize his whole life is ‘Who’s that guy?’ “It was extraordinary. I’m sitting across the table from Bob and Sara [his ex-wife], thinking ‘What am I doing here?’ Jesse was like, ’You want to meet him?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Oh, I’m gonna piss my pants!’ Sarah called me the next day, ‘Oh, that was you outside! I thought it was a p.a. from the company. I didn’t realize it was you –– we talk on the phone all the time!’ “Tom Waits was shooting with Jesse at the Ambassador Hotel before it got renovated. I went to get some plates of food for Jesse

and Tom, and then I walk out of the room. Tom calls me, ‘Get back here!’ I go back and he says, ‘You’re Rob? As in Rob of… Rob! Ohmigod, I didn’t know you were here!’ He once left a message about a shoot the night before they were to start:’[perfect funny/raspy Waits impression] ‘I know Jesse’s coming back from the airport and I have some ideas for the video you might pass on to him. I know we got me on stilts with a bunch of emus running around. What if we had a bunch of black balloons filled with helium? See what he says!’[heh, heh, heh!] Anyway, see you tomorrow!’ If the phone hadn’t died, I would have had that voicemail forever! Another time we were chatting away, and he said, ‘Wait… hold on!... .I had to make a left turn.’[laughs].” The theater scene in LA –– Do they even have one? Where is it? ––

has always fascinated me. Although not a joiner, as he says, Nagle is part of two theater companies. “The Troubadour does mash-ups of classic works like ‘For the Birds,’ Aristophanes’ ‘The Birds,’ but with music by Wings, Sheryl Crow, A Flock of Seagulls... you get it? Very LA, but crazy/ good. We’ve done ‘Two Gentlemen from Chicago,’ ‘Abba-memnon,’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’s Midsummer’s Dream’… incredibly hilarious modern commedia del arte. “My other company, Antaeus, was founded in 1991 for classical theater, because the original people who stated it got tired of hiring out of New York and London. I have now been running it with two other actors for six years. We’re opening ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ tonight with Harry Groener as Big Daddy.”

MEXICO, from p.25

swanky golf course. One of Mayakoba’s coolest features is the network of canals through a sprawling tropical jungle and mangrove reserve that’s home to dozens of colorful birds and a few monkeys. A low-wake electric boat takes guests either on daily nature tours or to the string of hotels and beach clubs. There are bike and walking trails through the 1,600-acre complex, so you can self-propel or take a golf cart to pop between hotel pools and restaurants (and still charge to your own room), or browse the little shops and stalls at El Pueblito market. Just outside the market, descend into Mayakoba’s dark cenote — a cave created by collapsed limestone bedrock — where the silence is disturbed only by an occasional bat flying past. Banyan Tree Mayakoba differs from the other hotels because of its Asian influences, reflected in the décor, conscientious service, breezy architecture, and dining options like Saffron, with its talented Thai chef. Asian hospitality is especially apparent in the spa, from the aromatherapy to massage techniques, plus the uber-soothing “Rainforest Trail” with eight different hydrothermal/ detoxifying therapy experiences. GayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

KELSY CHAUVIN

Playa de Carmen at night.

The expansive Banyan Tree respects the region’s heritage as well, and hosts an evening-long outdoor dining experience called HAAB that lets guest see, hear about, and taste flavors from ancient Mayan civilizations — including a lot of different tequilas. (FYI, unlike other resorts around here, the Banyan Tree is not all-inclusive, so guests should budget for the separate dining and drink tickets.) The real highlights are the Banyan Tree’s villas. Rather than traditional hotel rooms, guests get their own walled-off villa with a huge bedroom, a hammock porch, a detached living room, plus a small pool, hot tub, and shady

patio all to themselves. They are lovely and luxurious, factors so critical to enjoying a deeply relaxing getaway. The chance to indulge at a resort that’s so beautiful and leisurely is, after all, a big part of why we endure daily stressors — to escape them. It’s the mellow majesty of beachside vacations that deliver us from tension and equip us with all the best daydreaming material. And if nothing else, margaritas and vitamin D should do the trick. Side Trips and Transport The Tulum Mayan Ruins are less than an hour’s drive south of Mayakoba and are an enlightening

cultural addition to a trip. Reserve in advance for a guided tour (best to aim for a morning excursion to beat the heat), which guarantees entry given that the number of daily visitors is now limited. To and from Cancún Airport, consider booking a taxi or shuttle in advance through your hotel, and be prepared for sluggish traffic outside Cancún since the highway is under construction through at least 2017. Kelsy Chauvin is a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, specializing in travel, culture, and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kelsycc.

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March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc


THEATER, from p.29

the character. It’s as if Gold respects neither the play nor the audience and needs to hit us over the head with Tom’s failure as a writer, brother, and son. Rather than draw us in to Tom’s tragedy, Mantello stays at a cool distance that leaves the audience cold. Worse yet is the interpretation of Amanda. Yes, Williams famously thought his mother was a monster, but as written the play seeks to fi nd some compassion for Amanda. That is gone in this production. Sally Field in the role gives an erratic performance that fluctuates between rage and fl irtation. Whereas Cherry Jones, in the most recent Broadway production, found every nuance in the character and made Amanda heartbreaking, Field gives Amanda no plausible foundation. Her performance is a series of eruptions rather than a coherent whole. In casting Madison Ferris, an actress with muscular dystrophy, as Laura, Gold doesn’t serve the actress or the play. To be sure Ferris is brilliant in her scene with The Gentleman Caller, but Laura’s disability is largely in her own mind, as

PANIC, from p.27

friendship into more. Gage clearly has affection for all of the young women she follows in “All This Panic.” Each of them reveals something about herself in discussing if they have ever been in love, and it’s touching when Lena recounts the heartbreak she felt when a boy she had a crush on did not reciprocate her feelings. Sex is a big deal for these teens, and there are candid discussions about losing one’s virginity and or pregnancy scares. When Ginger needles her Dusty about how far she has gone with a boy, her sister is cagey. The scene, fi lmed on a rooftop, demonstrates Gage success in eliciting authentic reactions from her subjects. They obviously feel comfortGayCityNews.nyc | March 30 - April 12, 2017

Don’t let the overstuffed plotting fool you. “Linda” is

a relatively superficial play about a 55-year-old woman’s struggle to “have it all.” It is largely a collection of tropes and triggers about what success means for women and the price they have to pay for that. Linda is a successful executive whose daughter is a mess and husband is unfaithful. At her age, she’s at risk of being marginalized at work. Angst ensues. Playwright Penelope Skinner merely skims the surface of all of these issues, relying on the audience to fi ll in the emotional gaps that are indicated rather than explored. This is lazy playwriting, and though the play has its charms and is often diverting, it’s ultimately shallow and unsatisfying. The piece is partially redeemed by the fi ne performance of Janie Dee in the title role. She is convincing if not overly complex in her performance. Lynne Meadow’s direction is workmanlike and mechanical, as is the incessantly rotating set by Walt Spangler. Having it all, as the play makes abundantly clear, isn’t really possible. One only wishes we had a little more in terms of a play.

able expressing their discomfort in front of Gage’s camera. An earlier scene of the sisters fighting illustrates both how close they and how different. “All This Panic,” while addressing teenage drinking and drug use, it never judges the girls. Their parents seem to accept that their kids will party, and Sage’s mother is angrier that her daughter lied about a pot pipe than that her daughter may have used it. The fi lm emphasizes the girls’ character; they are figuring themselves out and viewers share the highs and lows of that their scary journeys. As these teens fi nd a sense of self-worth and security, they come into their own. “You don’t realize how tough it is until you’re out of it,” one young woman observes about high school toward the end

of the fi lm. That also rings true about adolescence itself. Watching Lena blossom from gawky teen to a responsible young adult is gratifying to watch.. Gage details their coming of age by showing how the girls express themselves by dying their hair (sometimes badly) and, in more serious ways for some of them, by cutting themselves and struggling with depression. If “All This Panic” does not get too deep into any of the topical issues it raises, perhaps that’s because a sharper focus would upset the delicate balance Gage creates. The fi lm is far more of a slice of teenage life than it is a hard-hitting exposé of youth culture and issues. “All This Panic” may not be especially profound, but it certainly is poignant.

written by Williams. Making it so literal changes the dynamic of the play. It renders Amanda as more monstrous in her denial and Tom more selfish in his abandonment of the family. They become cruel rather than lost and undermine the play. Only Finn Wittrock as The Gentleman Caller seems to be in the play Williams wrote. Tom describes him as “an emissary from the real world that we were somehow set apart from.” Wittrock is charming, self-conscious, and endearingly clumsy as the high school star –– on whom Laura had a crush –– who hasn’t fulfi lled his promise. Perhaps it’s fitting that he should seem like he’s from a different play. Casting Field is certainly one way to sell tickets. She’s an accomplished actor that people should normally flock to see. Here, however, she seems stuck in an academic experiment more fitting in an undergraduate theater program than a Broadway stage. When the production concept is so at odds with the play, one can respect the effort but regret its failure.

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March 30 - April 12, 2017 | GayCityNews.nyc

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