Page 1

Google In Big for Stonewall Monument 08

NY High Court’s First Gay Judge 12

Proud Trans Palestinian 68

PRIDE 2017






June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

COVER STORY Resistance takes lead in this year’s Pride March REMEMBRANCES The Pulse tragedy one year later 06 Family, friends, allies honor Gilbert Baker 10 INTERNATIONAL US bigot off the hook for Uganda hate push 26 March for Chechen gays 28

TRAVEL Last minute beat the heat escapes 60 FILM When desire & change happen online 72 THEATER Best bets for Broadway at Pride 74 BOOKS Lammys celebrate excellence in queer lit 76

FILM Alone, but never out of sight 73

THE LOFT at the DAVENPORT THEATRE 354 W 45th St (btw 8th & 9th Ave) · 212-239-6200 | June 22 - July 05, 2017



City Helps Hetrick-Martin Connect Youth to Care

Chirlane McCray’s visit to Astor Place highlights new model for addressing mental health needs BY PAUL SCHINDLER


lake Brown is a 20-yearold who grew up in the South Bronx, where as a young teen, she acknowledges, she was something of a “poster child” when her high school’s administrators tried to make the case that the school sorely lacked needed resources. That experience was searingly painful for her. As a child she endured sexual assault, and by middle school she would often cry and cut herself, as well as experience suicidal and homicidal ideation. “I felt nothing but worthlessness and ended up in the hospital,” she told Gay City News early this month at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), at Astor Place in the East Village, where she spent her junior and senior year at the Harvey Milk High School. The change in Brown when she arrived at Harvey Milk was dramatic and almost immediate. “I was bugging out with good grades,” she said, “going out in the world and letting them know it gets better.” One of her proudest moments came when she traveled to the White House for the ceremony where President Barack Obama dedicated the Harvey Milk postage stamp. An aspiring R&B and hip hop vocalist — she’s won three championships in music venues around town — Brown is also an HMI peer educator, engaging other youth at middle schools, high schools, and events like Queens and Brooklyn Pride. “I am very comfortable giving them the directive to come here,” she said of the advice she offers LGBTQ youth she meets in her outreach. “You have to be comfortable in sharing your story.” Sophie Cadle, 22, is also an HMI success story. Six years ago, she explained, she was living as an effeminate teenage boy with her bipolar grandmother. In January 2015, she “hit rock bottom,” street homeless and engaging in survival sex work and burglary. The theft



First Lady Chirlane meeting with staff of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.


Thomas Krever, CEO of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.


Chirlane McCray with youth affiliated with HMI, including (to her immediate right) Sophie Cadle and (to her left, in a black sweatshirt with a red map of Africa) Blake Brown.

landed her in Rikers Island and also the psych ward at Bellevue, where she was on suicide watch. Anti-depressants and abstinence from recreational drugs helped stabilize Cadle, and at Rikers she met trans women “and I grabbed their stories.” She recognized she did not want to endure a life in the prison system, but she also acknowledged her need to transition to living as a woman. “I never thought of transitioning before jail,” Cadle explained, “but then I wanted to create a whole new person.” Of what she has gained over the past two years, she said, “I am now

secure, confident, and empowering my peers. I want to work in trans youth advocacy, perhaps with an employment program.” Both Brown and Cadle are keenly aware, however, that the gains they’ve made are tough for many other LGBTQ youth to achieve. That’s what motivates the peer education work both do. It also prompted Cadle to voice her concerns about her transgender sisters and brothers to Chirlane McCray, when the city’s first lady visited HMI on June 6. There are simply not enough mental health services for transgender youth in New York, Cadle

told McCray, a message about which the first lady was already under no illusions. “There’s no way any time soon we will have enough mental health professionals, especially for LGBTQ youth from communities of color,” McCray responded to a group of HMI staff and young people affiliated with the agency. In fact, the first lady was visiting HMI as part of the city’s Connections to Care (C2C) program, currently a $30 million public-private partnership that is evaluating the integration of mental health support at community-based organizations (CBOs) serving low-income and other at-risk populations. HMI is one of 15 CBOs citywide where C2C is underway, with the goal of empowering their mental health professionals to share their expertise with other staff. The ultimate goal is enabling organizations like HMI to better identify the mental health needs of its clients and “connect” them to appropriate care. According to Darren Bloch, executive director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which oversees the C2C program along with 53 other efforts under the “ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All” umbrella, one in five New Yorkers is dealing with a mental health issue. A large number of those people go untreated, many of them unaware they face a specific — and treatable — problem at all. Bloch joined McCray on her visit to HMI, and he explained that the C2C program is based on “a model that already had some promising evidence behind it.” The goal in visiting HMI and in the overall evaluation of the C2C effort was, McCray explained, “really to see how it’s going. See how it’s working. It’s that simple.” The city, she said, spent 11 months visiting CBOs all over New York, in diverse settings, before launching ThriveNYC and its C2C component last year. “Nobody’s really taken mental health and tried to think through


HETRICK-MARTIN, continued on p.50

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



At Stonewall Site, Thousands Remember Pulse Victims Vigil features 49 haunting, veiled Human Beings, symbolic casualties of America’s gun madness BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


housands gathered near the Stonewall National Monument in the West Village on June 12 to remember the 49 LGBTQ people who were shot and killed by a gunman in a Florida nightclub one year earlier. “It’s been a mission this year to get some independence back,” said Keinon Carter, who was shot twice in Pulse, an Orlando club, by Omar Mateen. Now confined to a wheelchair, Carter was flown to New York City by Gays Against Guns (GAG), the group that organized the two-hour


Keinon Carter, who was severely injured in the Pulse attack, spoke to the crowd.


Forty-nine Human Beings representing the Pulse nightclub victims, a concept developed last year by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson, approach the vigil site.

Gays Against Guns formed in the wake of last June’s Pulse tragedy.

long vigil. One of 53 people who were injured during the shooting, he was greeted with cheers and applause by the Manhattan crowd. “Thank you everyone for coming out and showing support for the survivors of Pulse and the victims,” Carter said. The anti-gun violence group was formed immediately following the Pulse massacre and debuted in the 2016 New York City Pride Parade with a contingent of roughly 1,000 people. GAG has since gone on to mount protests aimed at the NRA, politicians who are backed by the NRA, Wall Street firms that fund the gun industry, and a host of other targets. In last year’s Pride Parade, GAG

A portion of the Human Beings contingent held up the names, pictures, and short biographies of the Orlando victims.



was joined by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson who organized 49 Human Beings, who were veiled, dressed in white, with each one carrying a sign with a picture and short biography of a Pulse victim. GAG has memorialized victims from other shootings as Human Beings, who remain silent, at its protests. The 49 Human Beings from the 2016 pride parade were reprised at this year’s vigil. They entered as the vigil began. As the names of the Pulse victims were read in four separate segments, the Human Beings who were named in DONNA ACETO

Stacy Lentz and Lisa Canistraci read from the list of 49 club-goers killed last June in Orlando.



PULSE VIGIL, continued on p.12


Crystal Demure, whose alter ego J. Harrison Ghee currently stars in “Kinky Boots,” performs.

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Google Supports Stonewall Nat’l Monument With $1MM

LGBT Community Center to partner with National Park Foundation to digitally document ‘69 rebellion



n an unmistakable sign of the role private philanthropy can — and may have to — play with federal funding threatened across a broad array of worthy social goals, Google has committed $1 million to support efforts at the LGBT Community Center to develop oral histories and other narratives related to the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 that can be preserved and disseminated in digital formats. The funding, announced at a press conference on June 18 — the beginning of Pride Week in Manhattan — will allow the Center to partner with the National Park Foundation (NPF), a non-profit advocacy group that supports the mission and facilities of the US National Park Service, to enhance the experience visitors enjoy when they travel to the Stonewall National Monument. The national monument was created in Christopher Park, across the street from the Stonewall Inn, last June 24 in an executive proclamation by President Barack Obama. According to a written statement from the Center, the Google funding, which comes in the form of a twoyear grant from its charitable arm,, will allow the 13th Street community facility and the NPF “to seek out and document robust, diverse narratives of the Stonewall Uprising and transform the reach of the national park beyond a physical place. The result will be a digital experience that broadly shares the story of LGBTQ civil rights, firmly establishing LGBTQ history in the fabric of American history.” That digital experience, speakers at the press conference emphasized, would be available to millions worldwide, whether or not they are able to visit the West Village national monument. The announcement of the Google grant was made at the Center by US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and West Side Congessmember Jerrold Nadler, and Schumer did not shrink from emphasizing the significance of the Silicon Valley giant stepping up in this political climate.



Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, at Sunday’s press conference.


Center executive director Glennda Testone.



Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation.

Senator Chuck Schumer chats with Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, who was 18 when he participated in the Stonewall Rebellion.

“This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity; it doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Schumer said. “Google’s generous pledge could not come at a more vital time. With federal funding under assault, Google’s investment will be a shot in the arm for the Center and its work to better the LGBTQ community.” Schumer’s remarks went beyond the shift in funding priorities in the new administration. He also noted that there are “people in Washington who would see our country backslide on equality,” and pointed to more than 100 anti-LGBTQ mea-

sures passed by state and local governments since Donald Trump became president. Perhaps most ominously, Schumer warned that an executive order from Trump has empowered the secretary of the Interior to review all national park designations made through the Antiquities Act — on which authority Obama relied in creating the Stonewall National Monument. Pledging to fight any effort to overturn the designation, the senator saluted those “brave New Yorkers who nearly 50 years ago taught this country the power of resistance.” When the national monument was dedicated last June, Obama’s

secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and the director of the National Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis, were in attendance, as was Valerie Jarrett, a top White House advisor. At Sunday’s event, the federal government was represented by Joshua Laird, the commissioner of National Parks of New York Harbor. Nadler’s remarks emphasized the sweat equity he has put into the project during the past several years. “Over the past two years since I and key partners started the effort to create the Stonewall National Monument, I have been


STONEWALL MONUMENT, continued on p.15

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

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Tears, Love, Anger, and Rainbows

Gilbert Baker is remembered by friends and comrades on Flag Day in Manhattan BY ANDY HUMM


undreds of New York comrades, family members, and admirers of Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, bid him an emotional and spirited farewell on June 14 — Flag Day (his favorite day) — starting at the Stonewall Inn and marching with many of his banners protesting hate and affirming LGBT identity to Hudson River Park. There, his flag was raised high with a telescoping pole. It was a gorgeous late spring evening when a heat wave broke and our hearts did, too, as we remembered this indispensable and indefatigable gay activist and artist who died on March 31 at 65. On a stage backed by a huge Rainbow Flag, speakers gave voice to Baker’s words and to their love for him. “Gilbert was a sweetheart,” said Ann Northrop, who opened the memorial. “I adored him, the guy who made this incredible symbol.” Emcee and producer of the memorial, Bruce Cohen, producer of the movie “Milk” and the TV miniseries “When We Rise,” introduced nine speakers — one for each symbolic color on Baker’s original flag. Cleve Jones, fresh from winning a Lambda Literary Award for his memoir, “When We Rise,” said, “One of the things we most agreed on was that the movement saved our lives.” He added, “And his flag saved millions of lives.” Jones led a memorial to Baker at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on June 8 that drew 700 to celebrate him in the town where their activism was born in the late 1970s. The two men shared a friendship of 40 years. Ken Kidd of Rise and Resist and Queer Nation said, “The difference between Gilbert and most people is that Gilbert knew he had to get up and do things to make the world a better place. He made sure he was in the center of it all but understood the concept of the collective better than anybody I ever met.” Baker’s comrade Cathy Marino-



Gilbert Baker’s niece, Lauren Cook Featherston, said her uncle was “larger than life and always had the soul of an activist.”


Longtime San Francisco activist Cleve Jones said Gilbert Baker’s Rainbow Flag saved millions of lives.


The Rainbow Flag is raised high at the Hudson River.


Larry Owens sings “Over the Rainbow.”

Thomas of Gays Against Guns quoted him, saying, “It’s a visibility thing. Just to be able to exist. Power is when we say, ‘I am gay!’” Alex Brandfonbrener, a youth activist from the LGTBQ public radio program “OutCasting,” had interviewed Baker about AIDS, and recalled that he told him, “I’ll be forever scarred by it.” Brandfonbrener then added, “But he brightened when I asked about his activism.” Baker’s close friend Richard Ferrara, who worked with Baker to popularize his flag on the East coast in 1994, said, “I learned from Gilbert what it is to give, never accepting anything in return.” Ferrera recalled getting arrested with Baker when, without a permit, they organized 20 people to carry a big chiffon Rainbow Flag they sewed to their T-shirts down Fifth Avenue. “Flags are torn from the soul of the people,” he quoted Baker as saying. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Con-


Richard Ferrara, Gilbert Baker’s close friend.

gregation Beth Simchat Torah said, “The rainbow is a celebration of diversity. Gilbert was a lover of diversity, of outrageous action, of beauty, and of the messiness of human beings. We will raise the flag in his memory. We will fight for beauty in his memory. We will demand justice and peace in his memory. We will love in his memory. We will overcome in his memory.” A joyous video of Baker’s life and work left many of us in tears — compounded by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus singing “Glory” as well as by a soulful rendition of “Over the Rainbow” from actor and singer Larry Owens. Justin Sams, who played Sylvester, a Baker friend, in “When We Rise,” talked about how pink in the original flag stood for sex and recalled Baker telling him about finishing it up in time for “Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day” in 1978: “We didn’t sleep the night before and finished the final stitches of the two huge flags as the dawn broke and sunlight streamed into the top floor

of the Gay Community Center. We weren’t tired. We celebrated by taking off all our clothes and rolling around on the soft cotton, infusing the fabric with the joy of sex, the most logical way to launch a flag for the lesbian and gay liberation movement. It really was all about sex. A spectrum of sexuality, and the freedom to express it, that we considered to be a human right.” Lauren Cook Featherston, Baker’s niece, said her uncle was “larger than life and always had the soul of an activist.” She said, “Gilbert used this love of art to change the world. I am a high school teacher in Austin, Texas, and every day I see the impact that Uncle Gilbert’s flag has made. I see kids with rainbow shirts and binders, or patches on their backpacks. On every classroom door, there is a rainbow sticker that says ‘Ally.’ The students might not know who created the flag, but they know that it means love and acceptance.” Featherston


GILBERT BAKER, continued on p.63

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Cuomo Puts First Gay Judge on State’s Highest Court Paul Feinman, on Manhattan appellate bench since 2012, wins Senate approval June 21 BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


he Republican-controlled State Senate approved an out gay man to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest bench, just days after he was nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo. “I’m overjoyed that Judge Paul Feinman has been confirmed by the State Senate to the New York State Court of Appeals as its first openly LGBT member,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay Manhattan Democrat. “This historic appointment by Governor Cuomo sends an important message to all New Yorkers about the importance of diversity and acceptance.” Cuomo announced the nomination on June 15 and the approval came on June 21, the last day of the legislative session. “It’s just an absolutely terrific day for the LGBT legal community in New York,” Matthew Skinner, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL), said on June 15. “It’s a day that has been long in coming… This doesn’t guarantee any outcomes, but we’re relieved to finally



Appellate Division Justice Paul Feinman, if approved by the State Senate, will become the first out gay judge on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench.

have a seat at the table.” Feinman, an appellate judge in Manhattan, was first elected to Civil Court in 1996 and reelected in 2006. He has presided over criminal and civil cases and even briefly oversaw arbitration efforts on a small claims case in which Gay City News was a party. The newspaper won that case in a trial presided over by a different judge. In 2007, he was elected to a Su-

preme Court judgeship and then appointed to the state’s Appellate Division by Cuomo in 2012. In New York, the Supreme Court is the lowest level of trial courts. Feinman was the first out gay man to join the Appellate Division, the intermediate court below the Court of Appeals. Previously, Feinman was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society and a court attorney for a State Supreme Court judge. The Court of Appeals is comprised of seven judges who serve for 14-year terms. A seat opened up with the sudden death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam in April. A quiet though “intense” lobbying campaign was launched to have Cuomo appoint an openly LGBTQ judge, Skinner said. “We were trying to get as many LGBT organizations in the city and individuals to speak out and say this was something that was really important,” Skinner said. The need for an openly LGBT judge on the state’s highest court was demonstrated in 2006 when the Court of Appeals denied gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in a 4 to 2 decision, saying it was up to the State Legislature to grant that right. The seventh

judge recused himself. The decision, which was written by Judge Robert Smith who is no longer on the court, was seen as particularly tough. “It was such a gut punch to the community,” Skinner said. “I think today we finally removed the stain of that decision… It’s hard to believe the decision would have been written in the vicious way that it was if the judges on the court had had to look another [LGBTQ] judge in the eye every day.” In a June 15 written statement, Cuomo said, “Justice Feinman will be an exceptional addition to New York’s highest court. He is a talented jurist who has dedicated his career to public service and standing up for a fairer and more just New York. While we continue to mourn the untimely passing of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Justice Feinman will help ensure that the Court of Appeals upholds the highest principles of law and fairness that embody the very best of New York.” Feinman, who through his law clerk declined comment, received a B.A. from Columbia in 1981 and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1985.

PULSE VIGIL, from p.6

each segment came on the rally stage and remained there. At the rally’s close, all 49 Human Beings were on stage. The vigil featured songs by Broadway performers, poetry readings, a dance performance, and music by the Lavender Light Gospel Choir and the Queer Urban Orchestra. In addition to the thousands who attended in person, 32,000 people watched it live on Facebook and the Facebook stream had 100,000 impressions. The gunman struck on Latinx night at the club and the dead and wounded were overwhelmingly Latinx and African-American. Carter, who is African-American, has a harrowing story. He was in the bathroom at Pulse when the shooting began. He first



Singer Aaron Paul was among the evening’s entertainers.

heard shots and then smelled gunpowder. He exited the bathroom and was shot in the leg by Mateen, who used an assault rifle. “I crawled to an area where my friend was,” Carter, who lost a brother to gun violence when he

was 15, told Gay City News following his speech. “I called the police.” He lay in one spot for roughly three hours and continued to hear gun shots the entire time. Mateen was wandering the club and ran-

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., addresses the vigil.

domly shooting people who were lying on the ground. His was shot a second time in the pelvis by Mateen as he lay on the floor. That second shot caused serious dam-


PULSE VIGIL, continued on p.24

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

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Smoking caused Rose’s lung cancer. She had to move from the small town she loved to get the treatment she needed, including chemo, radiation and having part of her lung removed. Recently, her cancer spread to her brain. You can quit.




June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


Joshua Laird, the commissioner of National Parks of New York Harbor.



overwhelmed with the response we have seen, locally, nationally, and even internationally,” he said. “I am deeply grateful to for providing the funding and expertise to ensure that future generations are able to access this vital part of the American story.” Glennda Testone, the Center’s executive director, emphasized the value of making the Stonewall National Monument a digital story available worldwide. “The inspirational funding that Google is providing to the LGBT Community Center will lift up LGBTQ history on a global platform, further magnifying the Stonewall Uprising’s place in the overall story of the LGBTQ civil rights movement,” she said. Will Shafroth, the NPF’s president, explained that $250,000 from the Google grant will go directly into the projected $2 million budget for “effectively launch[ing]” the national monument, which is expected to host a visitor’s kiosk on-site as well as the digital experience his group and the Center will help the National Park Service make available. “The national parks community is grateful for Google’s support to develop education programs for New York City students — and eventually students worldwide — that focus on the important issues of equality, human rights, civil rights, and more,” Shafroth said. According to a story in the New York Times, the idea for Google’s support of the national monument and the Center came from William Floyd, the company’s out gay head of external affairs for New York. Floyd was praised by several | June 22 - July 05, 2017

ers at the press conference. Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said, “The Stonewall National Monument is a testament to the brave people whose actions that night sparked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement. With our donation, my hope is we can capture and preserve their stories and, through technology, share them with the world to inspire all those who continue to strive for human rights.” The work Google’s donation and additional fundraising by the NPF will allow is expected to be completed by June 2019, when World Pride celebrates the Stonewall Rebellion’s 50th anniversary in New York. Among others at the Sunday press conference were Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, West Side Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, and out gay City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who shepherded the transfer of Christopher Park ownership from the city to the National Park Service. Among veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion present was Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, who was 18 when police raided the bar. At last year’s designation of the national monument, LaniganSchmidt recalled the Stonewall of that era as “a dingy non-descript building that was like a speakeasy, run by the Mafia” — but one, at least, where slow dancing, “a full embrace,” was allowed. In his proclamation last year designating the Stonewall National Monument, Obama acknowledged the role the Rebellion and the location continue to play in the lives of LGBTQ New Yorkers.


Officials and activists at the Stonewall National Monument dedication last June 27 included US Representative Carolyn Maloney, successful DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Representative Jerrold Nadler, City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

“The Stonewall Uprising is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement,” the thenpresident wrote. “On June 26, 2015, within moments of the issuance of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBT people headed to Christopher Park to celebrate the Court’s recognition of a constitutional right to same-

sex marriage… Within minutes of the recent news of the murders of 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida — one of the most deadly shootings in American history — LGBT people and their supporters in New York headed again to Christopher Park to mourn, heal, and stand together in unity for the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.”

The LGBT Community’s Own New York State Senator Brad Hoylman Representing Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper West Side, Midtown, East Midtown, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Columbus Circle, and Times Square. 322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1700 New York, NY 10001 (212) 633-8052

44 Years of Resistance! 15



Alexis Acevedo, a Bay Ridge resident, traveled to the festival with her lesbian aunt.



Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray return to the Slope to march.



Moni Hendrix and Melissa Medina wearing matching tutus.

rooklyn’s LGBTQ community, its families, and its friends flocked to Park Slope on Saturday, June 10 for the 21st annual Brooklyn Pride celebration, a day of inclusionary revelry with a festival and a parade that were bigger and more fabulous than ever, according to attendees. “I could not have imagined how many people and booths there would be,” said Windsor Terrace resident Moni Hendrix, a Pride regular. “There was great support from the community. This year was amazing.” Food stalls, musical performances, and other vendors typically pack six blocks of Fifth Avenue, between Second and Eighth streets, for the pre-parade festival. But this year the festivities were bounded by First and Ninth streets, expanding the good old-fashioned gaiety by two blocks. Much of the extra room was used to set up tables and chairs around stages at either end of the stretch, where acts that included pop mu-

A biker shows off her colors during the parade.

The Brucklachner family, from DUMBO, attending the Twilight March in Park Slope.

sicians Emergency Tiara and Matt Martin, Spanish rumba group Salvo and Hugo, and rock group Dolly Trolly performed. And while the festival’s celebration of Brooklyn’s queer culture was loud and clear, people and families of all stripes did not shy away from partaking. “You were welcomed, whether you are gay or not,” said Jawindy Swengbe, who drove an hour from the Bronx to attend the festival. More than 50 organizations marched in Pride’s “Twilight Parade” — about a half-dozen more than last year — which kicked-off on Fifth Avenue at Lincoln Place as the festival wound down. Three grand marshals led the procession: AIDS Healthcare Foundation New York regional director Michael Camacho, transgender activist Ron B., and a group of 20 hog-riding gals from the all-woman biker group the Sirens Motorcycle Club. Politicians practically fell over each other to get in step with their queer brothers and sisters as the

lineup snaked along Fifth Avenue toward Ninth Street. The elected officials who marched with pride included Mayor Bill de Blasio, with his wife Chirlane McCray, Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Letitia James, and out gay Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca of Sunset Park, Corey Johnson of Chelsea, and Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights.. Other marchers included the Kings County Pipe and Drum Core, the all-women’s drum group FogoAzul, Metropolitan Community Church, Episcopal Church of Brooklyn, Greenpoint Reform Church, and Club X Stacy, which drove in a truck bearing a Rainbow Flag and a troupe’s worth of drag performers. And though the procession followed a linear route from start to finish, there was nothing straight about it, according to organizers. “We marched gaily forward, because we don’t do anything straight,” said Brooklyn Pride co-chair Mickey Heller. — Colin Mixson



Drums of pride filled Fifth Avenue. | June 22 - July 05, 2017

Jawindy Swengbe traveled to Park Slope from the Bronx with a pair of rainbow-colored wings.


Showing the colors in Brooklyn.

Pop band Emergency Tiara plays the Brooklyn Pride Day festival.




Alphonso David addresses the crowd as TLDEF executive director Jillian Weiss looks on.


he Manhattan Penthouse on Lower Fifth Avenue was the venue for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s 12th annual Freedom Awards. The evening honored Governor Andrew Cuomo, in recognition of his work on behalf of transgender rights — with the nation’s first executive directive interpreting sex


Janet Mock with Jillian Weiss.

discrimination protections to protect trans people — marriage equality, gun safety, and a living wage. Cuomo’s out gay counsel Alphonso David accepted the award on the governor’s behalf. TLDEF also honored the law firms Cleary Gottlieb and BakerHostetler for their support with transgender rights litigation. Writer, TV host, and trans advocate Janet Mock hosted the evening.

State Senator

à Marisol Alcantara stands with the

LGBTQ Community both during Pride Month and throughout the year.


Jillian Weiss (right) with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Weingarten’s partner, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.

Let’s keep fighting for LGBTQ equality in our society

La senadora estatal

à Marisol Alcantara apoya la

comunidad LGBTQ tanto en el mes de su celebración como durante todo el año. Sigamos luchando por la igualdad LGBTQ en nuestra sociedad. Follow us @ny31Alcantara Like Us: Visit Us:


June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017








Debbie Brennan, the board chair at the Brooklyn Pride Community Center.



ROCKROSE.COM | (212) 691-9800

Bridge Street in DUMBO played host to the Brooklyn Pride Community Center Awards on June 15, an event that included cocktails and dinner as well. This year’s honorees were Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, described in the event program as a Queer Health Warrior, and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents Brooklyn’s 38th Council District that includes Sun-

Pride Center executive director Floyd Rumohr (right) with Matthew McMorrow, an aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

set Park, Windsor Terrace, and Red Hook. Daskalakis is the acting deputy commissioner of the Division of Disease control at the city department of health and has been an outspoken advocate of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for sexually active gay and bisexual men. Menchaca, a founding member of the Pride Center, is New York State’s first Mexican-American elected official and a staunch advocate of immigrant rights and tenant protections.



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Dr. Demetre Daskalakis.



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City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017




Leigh Bonner, originally from Orlando, and Emma Coats held candles and one another as they recalled last June’s horrific shootings at Pulse nightclub in Florida.


ride is never about forgetting. A small crowd gathered outside Old Stone House in Park Slope on June 11, the eve of the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, to remember the victims of that senseless act. Those who attended the intimate vigil were moved by its humble display of grief,

its organizers emphasized. “We would have liked more people, but the ones who came were really moved,” said Mickey Heller, co-chair of Brooklyn Pride. “There was a wonderful response from people who attended. They thanked us for having the event.” Mourners held candles and their loved


Bishop Zachary Jones speaks at the vigil held outside Old Stone House in remembrance of the Pulse nightclub shootings.

ones as they reflected on the brutal attack, which left 49 people dead and another 58 wounded after a 29-year-old security guard, Omar Mateen, opened fire inside the club last year on June 12. Most of those killed and wounded were Latinx LGBTQ people out for a fun summer Saturday night. The brief memorial ended on a hopeful

note with words delivered by an out gay member of the clergy from East New York’s Unity Fellowship Church. “Bishop Zachary Jones brought the people together, left them feeling good about themselves,” Heller said. “He encouraged them to continue on in joy and in love.” — Colin Mixson


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Rollerena (right) is among those reading the 49 names of those killed in Orlando.


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PULSE VIGIL, from p.12

age to major organs and bones, though he should eventually be able to walk again. “It’s been like a roller coaster of emotions,” he said as he made up and down motions with his hands. “Just the thought that I could have been number 50.” Though his physical recovery is slow, emotionally he is more resilient. As some dance music could be heard behind the rally stage, Carter was there in his wheelchair dancing with some friends.


Judy Torres, accompanied by the GAG Reflex singers, performs “I Will Survive.”

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Scott Lively Avoids US Law in Uganda Hate Campaign Federal court finds Massachusetts bigotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s noxious activity largely committed abroad BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


ven while describing pastor and attorney Scott Lively as â&#x20AC;&#x153;an American citizen who has aided and abetted a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI persons in Uganda,â&#x20AC;? US District Judge Michael A. Ponsor, in Springfield, Massachusetts, has dismissed a lawsuit against him brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. CCR is representing Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella group for LGBTI organizations within that country. While excoriating Lively for his actions, the judge, on June 5, held that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) does not give the federal court jurisdiction to decide whether Lively has violated international human rights. In a previous ruling on Livelyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s motion to dismiss the lawsuit shortly after it was filed, Ponsor had rejected Livelyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s argument that his action â&#x20AC;&#x153;simply did not violate international


Scott Lively, a virulently anti-gay Massachusetts pastor and attorney, has for now evaded the efforts of gay Ugandans to hold him accountable in a US court for his hate campaign in their country.

norms with sufficient clarity to place it within the narrow class of claims subject to ATS jurisdiction.â&#x20AC;? The court, in 2013, ruled that â&#x20AC;&#x153;widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.â&#x20AC;? Lively had also argued that the conduct the plaintiffs were objecting to took place outside the US, so a

court here could not try and punish him for it. At that time, Ponsor was not willing to dismiss the complaint on this basis without giving the plaintiffs a chance to conduct discovery in support of their claim that Lively engaged in sufficient activity here in the US to subject himself to the courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s jurisdiction. Lively, who lives in Massachusetts, had email contact with anti-gay individuals, including legislators, in Uganda on several occasions, and traveled to that country a number of times for meetings that led to the drafting and introduction of a draconian law that, in it original form, would impose the death penalty for â&#x20AC;&#x153;aggravated homosexuality.â&#x20AC;? CCR alleged that Livelyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s published anti-gay writings and speeches in Uganda represented an important element in that nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s anti-gay movement. Ponsorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s description of Livelyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beliefs and activities pulled no punches.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Defendantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s position on LGBTI people range from the ludicrous to the abhorrent,â&#x20AC;? he wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He has asserted that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nazism was in large part an outgrowth of the German homosexual movement,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; and that â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;in seeking the roots of fascism we once again find a high correlation between homosexuality and a mode of thinking which we can identify with Nazism.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He has tried to make gay people scapegoats for practically all of humanityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ills, finding â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;through various leads, a dark and powerful homosexual presence in... the Spanish Inquisition, the French â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reign of Terror,â&#x20AC;? the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause.â&#x20AC;? Ponsor also detailed how Lively had â&#x20AC;&#x153;worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by


SCOTT LIVELY, continued on p.27

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SCOTT LIVELY, from p.26

LGBTI people in Uganda, depriving them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.” After discovery had been finished, however, Ponsor concluded that it appears that a small number of email exchanges were all that would link Lively’s anti-gay activities in Uganda with the United States, and the judge considered this inadequate, particularly in light of a recent US Supreme Court decision in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. There, a group of Nigerian residents tried to sue two international oil companies in a US federal court under the ATS for engaging in the destruction of the local environment through a subsidiary in Nigeria the companies jointly owned. Both of the oil companies conduct extensive business activities in the US but are incorporated and headquartered elsewhere. The conduct alleged by the plaintiffs included having “aided and abetted the Nigerian military and police — providing supplies, transportation, and compensation — in carrying out beatings, rapes, murders, and arbitrary arrests of residents, including the four petitioners.” Awful stuff. But the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, found that the corporations’ business activities in the US were insufficient to give a federal court jurisdiction to hold them accountable for activities that took place entirely in Nigeria. Since the ATS was adopted in 1789, the federal courts have frequently wrestled with the question whether that statute allows a foreign national to file suit in a US court for something that has been done to them outside of America. In his opinion in the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, Roberts stated that there was “no indication that the ATS was passed to make the United States a uniquely hospitable forum for the enforcement of international norms.” Judge Ponsor acknowledged distinctions in Lively’s case. Lively is a US citizen living in Massachusetts, and he has published incendiary anti-gay books in the US that created an international reputation for him, leading homophobic individuals from Uganda to invite him to their country to lead an anti-gay crusade. As part of this process, he received emails | June 22 - July 05, 2017

from them in the US and sent emails from the US. But Ponsor did not think these distinctions sufficient to confer jurisdiction, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling and some lower court rulings in similar cases. “In this case, now that discovery is complete, the record reveals that Defendant supplied no financial backing to the detestable campaign in Uganda,” wrote Ponsor, “he directed no physical violence, he hired no employees, and he provided no supplies or other material support. His most significant efforts on behalf of the campaign occurred within Uganda itself, when he appeared at conferences, meetings, and media events. The emails sent from the United States providing advice, guidance, and rhetorical support for the campaign on the part of others in Uganda simply do not rise to the level of ‘force’ sufficient to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application.” Indeed, the judge pointed out, with the world now “wrapped in a vast network of internet communications,” allowing jurisdiction in a case like this would render the presumption against extraterritoriality a “fiction.” Ponsor also voiced concern about the foreign policy implications of letting foreign nationals sue in a US court in a case like this, which involved “highly placed members of the Ugandan legislative and executive branches in complicity with Defendant.” He also pointed out that the Ugandan judicial system “has weighed in vigorously on the local issues that Plaintiff wishes to have this court adjudicate here in the United States,” noting that country’s Supreme Court had invalidated the anti-gay statute, concluding that there was not a legal quorum of legislators present when it was snuck through without sufficient advance notice. The differences between this case and that involving the oil companies — and the particular factor of Lively being a US citizen — suggest that this need not necessarily be the end of the case. Ponsor noted that CCR had also asserted state law claims against Lively, and that those could be filed in a Massachusetts court. CCR might also file an appeal in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial judge took too narrow a view of ATS jurisdiction. Still, this dismissal is a definite setback in a case that has been pending for several years.

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New Yorkers Rally to Gay Chechen Cause

Rise and Resist, RUSA-LGBT lead march from Christopher Street to Union Square



ifty demonstrators drawn from the ranks of Rise and Resist — a group largely focused on protesting right-wing assaults by the Trump administration on American democratic institutions and ideals — and their allies took to the sunny streets of Greenwich Village and Chelsea on June 11 to call attention to the plight of gay people in Chechnya who are being interned in concentration camps and murdered by their government or their families. The marchers gathered on the Christopher Street pier at noon and marched through the West Village and Chelsea — past lots of sympathetic Sunday brunchers, among others — before rallying in Union Square. “Stop the Torture! Stop the Murder!” their signs read. The group was under no illusions that it could have much impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who enacted anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” laws in the run-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, or his antigay puppet — not Trump, in this case, but rather President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, a federal republic within Russia — both of whom deny the murderous crackdown on gay people is taking place, though it has been documented by Human Rights Watch. When French President Emmanuel Macron publicly confronted Putin about the Chechen crisis during their first meeting several weeks ago in Paris, all the Russian strong man would pledge to do was to look into it. Rise and Resist’s lead organizer on the demonstration, Branden Hayward, who said he is new to this kind of street protest, explained, “My sights are set in the immediate future on getting chief level executives at BP, Exxon, Shell, and Chevron that have enormous investments in Russia and claim to support LGBT rights to take action.” OutRight Action International has an online petition addressed



The messages carried in the June 11 march to bring attention to the repression and killings of gay men in Chechnya.


Branden Hayward, the demonstration’s lead organizer from Rise and Resist.


Rise and Resist’s Ken Kidd, a veteran of the 2013-2014 Queer Nation protests against Russia’s so-called gay “propaganda” laws.

to oil executives demanding they speak up about the detention, torture, and killing of gay men in Chechnya. “If Russia will not listen to other governments or even the United Nations, it is time to see if we can get money to talk in a language that they will listen to,” reads the OutRight petition at Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of RUSA-LGBT, a group for Russianspeaking LGBTQ émigrés, told the crowd, “We’re trying to save lives. More than 300 have been detained


CHECHNYA, continued on p.36


Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of RUSA-LGBT.


Many of the signs carried messages from gay men who have been incarcerated and tortured in Chechnya.

The treatment of gay men in Chechnya should remind the world of its indifference as the Nazis began their reign of terror on Europe’s Jews, gays, and other minorities 80 years ago.

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Massachusetts High Court Boosts Needle Exchange Cape Cod town loses effort to ban AIDS non-profit from distributing clean syringes BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


iving a very close reading to Massachusetts laws regulating the sale of hypodermic needles and authorizing the Public Health Department to set up needle exchange programs, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled on June 14 that there was no legal impediment to a private, non-profit group setting up a free needle-exchange program without the specific approval of local government authorities. The ruling came in response to an attempt by the Town of Barnstable to shut down a free needle exchange program in Hyannis, started by the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, referred to as ASGCC throughout Justice Barbara Lenk’s opinion for the high court. ASGCC started its “free hypodermic needle access program” in

2009, and has been operating in Hyannis, Provincetown, and Falmouth. The program is intended to help reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C by making sure that injectable drug users have clean needles and no need to share used needles. ASGCC made no attempt to get approval for its program by the local town government, probably anticipating that it would be controversial and likely denied. According to Justice Lenk’s opinion, “ASGCC seeks to ensure that its clients use a clean needle every time they inject opiates or other drugs. ASGCC therefore conducts an initial assessment of each person who requests needles or other services and provides only as many needles as staff believe will be necessary so that the client will be able to use a clean needle for each injection. ASGCC provides a collection receptacle for the return

of used needles at its facility, encourages clients to return needles, and gives each client an individual ‘sharps container’ for storing used needles before they are returned, but does not require a return of the same number of needles distributed in order to provide additional needles.” ASGCC also provide other free services, such as medical case management, peer support groups, housing, nutritional programs, testing for HIV and other bloodborne conditions, and risk reduction strategies. The current lawsuit got under way when town authorities claim to have discovered “improperly discarded hypodermic needles in public places” and determined that some of them came from ASGCC’s distribution activities. The town police hand-delivered a “warning” letter to ASGCC’s facility on September 22, 2015, and the town’s

director of public health mailed a “cease and desist” order on September 23, 2015, threatening action against ASGCC if it continued to distribute needles. ASGCC obtained assistance from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, a Boston-based public interest law firm, which filed suit on its behalf in the Massachusetts Superior Court. GLAD attorney Bennett Klein argued that the town’s order was not authorized by law and sought an injunction against enforcement of the town’s cease and desist order. Superior Court Judge Raymond P. Veary, Jr., issued a preliminary injunction and the case was certified for a quick appeal, eventually bypassing the Appeals Court and going directly to the Supreme Judicial Court due to the urgency of resolving the issue.


CLEAN NEEDLES, continued on p.70

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Final Win for Giuliani Adult Zoning Regs

Nearly a quarter century after ex-mayor’s election, his war on sex shops triumphs BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


ringing possible finality to a lawsuit bouncing throughout the New York state court system for 15 years, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench, ruled unanimously on June 6 that the 2001 amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance governing “adult establishments” do not violate the constitutional rights of businesses that provide sexually explicit materials or activities. Judge Eugene M. Fahey wrote the opinion, while Chief Judge Janet DiFiore did not take part in the case. The zoning ordinance was a major project of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s first term, as he had run for office contending the city had been overrun by adult businesses believed to cause harmful effects to the community. Under US Supreme Court precedents, such businesses cannot be banned outright due to First Amendment protection for expressive activity, but they can be regulated because of the “secondary effects” they cause, such as lowering property values and attracting criminal activity. Local governments can restrict the operation of such businesses by documenting the adverse secondary effects while showing that any regulation leaves enough places where adult businesses can still operate. Giuliani’s City Planning Department produced a 1994 study of secondary effects of sexuallyfocused businesses, which “identified significant negative secondary impacts, including increased crime, diminished property values, reduced shopping and commercial activity, and a perceived decline in residents’ quality of life,” Judge Fahey wrote. In 1995, the City Council adopted a zoning ordinance establishing “regulations barring adult establishments from residential zones and most commercial and manufacturing zones, and mandating that, where permitted, adult businesses had to be at least 500 feet



Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in 2001, campaigning for his successor, Michael Bloomberg.

from houses of worship, schools, day care centers, and other adult businesses.” Those restrictions would have forced most adult business in the city to close down or relocate to remote parts of the five boroughs. The ordinance applied to commercial establishments a “substantial portion” of which acted as “an adult book store, adult eating or drinking establishment, adult theater, or other adult commercial establishment, or any combination thereof.” The ordinance, however, did not define “substantial portion,” and some businesses proposed to reconfigure their operations to avoid being labeled as “adult establishments” in order to remain in their existing locations. Litigation ensued, out of which came a ruling by the Court of Appeals upholding the constitutionality of the zoning ordinance. The city, meanwhile, established guidelines for determining whether a business was in fact an adult establishment, under which those with at least 40 percent of its customer-accessible area or inventory devoted to adult purposes qualified. Businesses responded with a variety of creative reconfigurations — including adding non-sexually oriented stock — to qualify as so-called 60/ 40 businesses and thereby evade the zoning restrictions.

The city cried foul, arguing such reconfigurations did not change the essential character of these businesses, which it began to cite for “sham compliance.” When such businesses again when to court, the Court of Appeals, in 1999, found that having established the guidelines, the city had to live with them. Businesses that technically complied could not be excluded from their locations under the zoning ordinance, the high court concluded. This, in turn, led the City Council to adopt amendments in 2001, providing that even an establishment that met the 60/ 40 test could be considered an adult business depending on a list of criteria they spelled out. For example, any business operating peep booths would qualify as an adult bookstore, regardless of compliance with the 60/ 40 test. Business owners then returned to court, contesting the constitutionality of the 2001 amendments. One lawsuit was brought by bookstores selling pornography and sex toys, most of which operated peep booths; the other by nightclubs that provided strip shows and, in some cases, lap dances by performers. The central argument in these suits was that the 1994 City Planning study could not be used to justify the new definitions of adult establishments because it was

conducted with reference to the original zoning guidelines and so did not document the “secondary effects” that the city had to demonstrate in justifying its policy. The owners argued that the alterations they had made substantially changed their businesses, lessening such secondary effects. This issue first made its way to the Court of Appeals in 2005, after Supreme Court Justice Louis York found the 2001 amendments unconstitutional but was reversed by the Appellate Division, which ruled that a new “secondary impact” study was not required because the plaintiffs’ conversion of their businesses under the 60/ 40 rule had not really changed the sexual character of the businesses. The Court of Appeal disagreed with the Appellate Division’s approach and sent the case back for further proceedings. In doing so, the high court established a threestage test for the zoning regulations. First, the city had to show that it had a “substantial interest in regulating a particular adult activity.” On that score, the 1994 City Planning study did the trick, so the burden was put on the plaintiff businesses to show that the city’s evidence “does not support its rationale.” If the plaintiffs met that burden, the city in turn would have to show that the businesses had not so transformed themselves that they “no longer resemble the kinds of adult uses found to create the secondary effects” in the original study. The 2005 Court of Appeals disagreed with the Appellate Division, finding that “plaintiffs had furnished evidence disputing the city’s factual findings, shifting the burden back to the city to supplement the record with evidence renewing support for its rationale.” Since new evidence had to be introduced, the case was sent back to Judge York for more factfinding — which took until 2010! At that point, York concluded that the city had provided “substantial


ZONING REGS, continued on p.98

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



CHECHNYA, from p.28

and more than 20 killed by the government. We cannot do anything with Putin and Kadyrov, but we can pressure the government here in the US to issue special visasâ&#x20AC;? so that the crackdownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s victims can find refuge here. However, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even here and in Europe,â&#x20AC;? Gorshkov added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;they are not safe from the brutal and violent Chechen diaspora,â&#x20AC;? noting the dangers gay men may face even if they manage to escape Chechnya â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and Russia altogether. On May 23, US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, introduced House Resolution 351 to condemn the violence and persecution, but the activists hope to pressure Congress to go further and offer emergency visas to the fleeing Chechen gays â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which, so far, the US has not. They urge New Yorkers to focus on co-sponsors of Ros-Lehtinenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolution from the Empire State, including Democrats Jerry Nadler, Sean Patrick Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey,


One simple sign carried the essence of what the anti-gay authorities in Chechnya are unwilling to acknowledge.

and Brian Higgins and Republicans Dan Donovan, Claudia Tenney, and John Katko. Rise and Resistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ken Kidd, a veteran of the Queer Nation antiPutin protests in 2013 and 2014, said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not enough people know about this. This is genocide, and our country is not doing enough.â&#x20AC;? Veteran gay activist Rick Landman â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a son of Holocaust survivors who noted that even amidst

the dire climate in Nazi Germany prior to World War II his grandfather â&#x20AC;&#x153;kicked Julius Streicher in the assâ&#x20AC;? while Streicher was still the regimeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading anti-Semitic propagandist â&#x20AC;&#x201D; talked about how the treatment of gay people in Chechnya is based in the classic political tool of â&#x20AC;&#x153;scapegoating.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;When they need someone to pick on and dehumanize, they pick on us now,â&#x20AC;? Landman said.


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Faye Kilburn, 29, of Rise and Resist said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The biggest injustice in the world is being persecuted for who you are. While we were marching, someone yelled at us, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;There are bigger problems at home!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Because this is happening in a different country, it is easy to feel helpless.â&#x20AC;? The activists, however, believe their efforts could help bring the plight of the Chechen gay men to the fore in global politics. Hayward said that their demonstration â&#x20AC;&#x153;was an amazing combination of gay rights movement vets from groups like ACT UP and people in their 20s and 30s. It was history and the future.â&#x20AC;? Among those marching were Jim Fouratt, a veteran of the Gay Liberation Front formed in 1969 during the Stonewall Rebellion, and Mark Milano who has been with ACT UP since the 1980s. The activists encouraged donations to Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian group working to get victimized gay men out of Chechnya with emergency visas. That effort can be supported at




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48 years after the Stonewall riots, New York University joins Greenwich Village in celebrating a turning point in LGBTQ civil rights.

We salute the leaders, friends, and allies, then and now, whose tireless advocacy continues to further equality, inclusion, and support for individuals from every community â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in New York City and beyond. | June 22 - July 05, 2017



What You Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Know May Compromise Your Privacy

Digital Safe Space aims to educate LGBTQ activists, non-profits on safeguarding their data BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


hen John Podesta, Hillary Clintonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign manager, clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered his user name and password on the spoof Google page the link took him to, he gave up thousands of emails he had sent and received to what US intelligence agencies have said were Russian hackers. Those hackers gave those emails and thousands more that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee, US intelligence agencies said, to the WikiLeaks website, which published them prior to the November 2016 election. The extent to which those emails may have altered the results of the 2016 races for the White House and Congress is unknown. They were certainly embarrassing and troublesome for Clinton and the Democrats.


Noah Landow, president of Macktez, Alan Klein, and Michael Horst, vice president of Macktez.

And that could have been avoided if Podesta had been just a little more suspicious. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The weakest link in the chain is the person who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand these issues,â&#x20AC;? said Alan Klein, a consultant who offers public relations and technology consulting services. Klein, who is a colleague and friend of this reporter, has teamed up with Macktez, a technology consulting firm, to launch a joint ven-

ture called Digital Safe Space to educate activists, LGBTQ non-profits, and other organizations on how to protect themselves from hackers, government spies, and others who may want to steal or ransom their data or launch attacks that are intended to monitor or squelch their advocacy. While software, hardware, and the use of tools such as multi-factor authentication can reduce the

threat hackers pose to the systems used by individuals and organizations, it is ultimately the operators of those systems who are most likely to let hackers in and are most in need of training. Users have to be taught to recognize suspicious emails and websites, to use complex passwords, and to understand that there are crooks and worse trolling the Internet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In large part, education is really the key,â&#x20AC;? said Michael Horst, vice president at Macktez during an interview at the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grand Street offices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being armed with that knowledge is very effective.â&#x20AC;? These concerns are not theoretical. On the day that Gay City News sat down with Horst and Klein, the New York Times reported that the Mexican government had been using software from an Israeli company to illegally monitor the activity of anti-


PRIVACY, continued on p.86



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Rockland Judge Broadens Co-Parent Rights

Family Court goes beyond custody, visitation finding in 2016 Court of Appeals ruling BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


ockland County Family Court Judge Rachel E. Tanguay, ruling on a previously unresolved question under New York law, decided that when a lesbian couple had children together and raised them together as a family for several years before splitting up, the co-parent was entitled to have her parental status recognized for all purposes through what is known as an Order of Filiation. Judge Tanguay’s ruling last month in A.F. v. K.H. takes New York law one step further than the Court of Appeals’ landmark 2016 decision in Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., which had overruled a 25-year-old precedent to hold that a co-parent can seek custody and visitation in such a situation. A.F. and K.H. became registered domestic partners in 2005, according to the fi ndings of a Family Court attorney referee at an earlier stage of this case, and they decided to have children, with K.H. becoming pregnant through donor insemination with sperm from an anonymous donor. The women had two children whom they raised together until separating in July 2011, ironically right around the time that the New York Marriage Equality Act went into effect. There was no dispute that they considered each other to be “parents” of both children. In fact, when the children were born they were given A.F.’s surname. But after the break-up, K.H. resisted A.F.’s assertion of parental rights and even took the step of getting the court to change the children’s surname to hers. A.F. sued to preserve her contact with the children. At that time, the binding precedent in New York courts was Alison D. v. Virginia M., a Court of Appeals ruling from 1991, which had been reaffi rmed by the court in 2010, under which a person in the position of A.F. was deemed


to be a “legal stranger” to the children, without standing under the Domestic Relations Law to seek custody or visitation. As a result, A.F.’s lawsuit was unsuccessful, with the Appellate Division affi rming the trial court’s dismissal of her case in 2014. From that point forward, A.F. had no contact with the children until her new lawsuit got underway. After the Court of Appeals decided Brooke S.B., overruling Alison D. and providing that under certain circumstances a lesbian co-parent would have standing to seek custody and/ or visitation with children she had been raising with her former partner, A.F. decided to try again. In her new custody case, she also sought a formal Order of Filiation from the court that would confer on her full parental rights for all legal purposes, not just custody and visitation. This ultimately was the sticking point in the case, because after it was clear that the Family Court was going to apply Brooke S.B. to allow A.F. to revive her custody and visitation claims, K.H. agreed to a negotiated settlement about custody and visitation. That left the Order of Filiation as the only issue for Judge Tanguay to decide. K.H. and the attorney appointed by the court to represent the children’s interest continued to strongly oppose such an order. Under an Order of Filiation, A.F. would have equal rights to participate in all significant parenting decisions, extending to such matters as education, medical care, inheritance, and other circumstances where parental status may be significant, and she could also object to any adoption of the children by a new partner or spouse of K.H. In Brooke S.B., the court carefully acknowledged “limited circumstances in which such a person has standing as a ‘parent.’” “Specifically,” wrote Tanguay,

“the Court rejected ‘a test that will apply in determining standing as a parent for all non-biological, non-adoptive, non-marital ‘parents’ who are raising children.” Instead, in a cautious way, the Court of Appeals last year narrowed its decision to the precise facts of the case before it, and wrote, “We stress that this decision addresses only the ability of a person to establish standing as a parent to petition for custody or visitation.” Seizing upon this language, K.H. argued that the Court of Appeals had not ruled that a person in A.F.’s position was entitled to be recognized as a parent for all purposes. “At fi rst blush,” wrote Tanguay, “it would appear that the Court of Appeals in Brooke was attempting to limit its holding to conferring standing to a party only.” But, the judge pointed out, the court reached this point by “broadening the defi nition of ‘parent’ to include a non-biological, non-legal ‘parent’ under certain circumstances.” And the court got there by tracing the evolution of case law and statutes, including, of course, the 2011 Marriage Equality Act. Indeed, the Brooke S.B. decision came more than a year after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, in an opinion that stressed the importance to children being raised by same-sex couples of having two legally recognized parents. In Brooke, Judge Eugene Pigott, concurring with the court, wrote, “Today, a child born to a married person by means of artificial insemination with the consent of the other spouse is deemed to be the child of both spouses, regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation.” So the issue in the Rockland County case case was whether to bring that one step further to cover same-sex couples who had their children and split up before marriage equality was available

in New York. Although A.F. and K.H. were registered domestic partners, that status under local law did not confer any legal parental rights, which are a matter of state law. Ultimately, Tanguay concluded, the lack of a modern statutory scheme that would explicitly handle this situation is “manifestly unfair not only to the non-biological parent, but to the children who deserve to have a two-parent family when same was intended at their conception.” The best interests of the children should be the overriding factor, experts on family law agree. “The majority in Brooke concluded its opinion by stating, ‘We will no longer engage in the deft legal maneuvering necessary to read fairness into an overly-restrictive defi nition of parent that sets too high a bar for reaching a child’s best interest and does not take into account equitable principles,’” wrote Tanguay, who continued, “This court will not allow legal maneuvering that permits A.F. to be a ‘parent’ for purposes of custody, visitation, and child support, but without more. It is simply inequitable, and not consistent with prevailing common law as set for herein.” She granted A.F.’s petition and decreed that the court “issue an Order of Filiation for each child listing A.F. as their legal parent forthwith.” A.F. is represented by Sherri Donovan of New York City. K.H. is represented by Adrienne J. Orbach of White Plains. Shiza Khan of New City served as appointed attorney for the children. K.H. was given 30 days to take an appeal from this decision, which was issued on May 25. An appeal would not delay A.F.’s contact with the children, since the parties had have come to agree on the visitation question, so the only issue on appeal would be whether A.F. will be accorded all parental rights through the Order of Filiation. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |



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Invader in the Pleasure Dome: One Year Later

Gay man’s 12-month roller-coaster ride after cancer prompted his prostate removal BY PERRY BRASS


his month marks a year since Dr. Ash Tewari performed a roboticassisted, laparoscopic, radical prostatectomy — known as a RALP — on me at Mt. Sinai Hospital uptown. For the first several months after having my prostate removed, I was living in this almost euphoric fool’s paradise believing that I had returned to home base, cancer-free and back to normal — that is if normal consists of no longer having this small, strange, temperamental organ with all the nerves that route through it and that, to a great degree, controls urination and sexual response. I was very lucky in many ways: Tewari did a great job with the operation itself, and sexually I was doing well, much better than many men in my circumstances who after a radical prostatectomy have found themselves with erectile dysfunction that does not respond to the usual medications — Cialis or Viagra. For them, another method is necessary — either injecting a form of prostaglandin directly into their penis, instantly dilating the penile arteries (a kind of “express” erectile enhancer), or using Alprostadil (brand name, Muse), a newer delivery format of prostaglandin that involves inserting a thin plastic tube directly into the urethra, popping the drug in that way. I started going back to the Gay Men’s Prostate Cancer Support Group at Mt. Sinai at Union Square, supported by MaleCare (a nationwide advocacy and support group), and just hearing about these methods made me shudder. Six weeks after my operation I had my first follow-up PSA reading, a blood test that tracks a prostate-specific antigen in your blood stream, marking infections and inflammations there. Ideally, my PSA should have been 0.00 — that is, no PSA reading in my blood. Ideally, however, doesn’t usually happen. My first reading



Perry Brass, one year after the removal of his prostate because of cancer, writes about what has gone well and what continues to create stress and risks.

came back 0.04; six weeks later it was 0.05. I was happy with both of these. If it was rising — and it’s possible for it to be rising simply because of some isolated cells infected with inflammation from the operation itself — it was in small increments. As good as my sexual situation was, though, urination was a disaster. The fi rst month after the operation, I had no control of it at all. I was using as many as nine “pads” (adult incontinence items like disposable briefs) a day. I could never be more than a few yards from a bathroom, although I discovered that there were worse things than producing some tiny leakage if your pad filled up. It was still warm enough for me to wear shorts, which made it easy to change pads. I also noticed that sometimes the leaking and urgency were simply nerves: I could hold it in,

if I had to, but I became scared of doing that. My worst fear was that, at some point, urine would just start pouring out of me, leaving a humiliating yellow trail behind. In mid-September I had a consult with Dr. Avinash Reddy, Tewari’s consulting physician. I had been complaining about the leaking, and he decided to do a cystoscopy — a test using a camera inside a thin plastic tubing placed up your urethra that can view inside your bladder. Often a cystoscopy can detect infection or other problems. I had been dreading this, because my previous urologist, Dr. Craig Nobert, had done one on me after my trans urethral resectioning of the prostate operation (TURP) two years earlier, and it hurt like screaming hell. I was tense as piano wire when Reddy started it, and I apologized for being so nervous. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve never had this done. But if it were done on me, I’d be terrified.” That helped. It actually did not hurt nearly as much, and it was very useful. Reddy brought his report to Tewari, and they decided that another approach was needed. The fact was, I was leaking and peeing so much because my bladder could not fully empty due to a constricted urethra. Reddy explained what I needed: a dilation of my urethra. “It’s a quick, one-day operation, no over-night, but you’ll have to wear a catheter for eight days afterward,” he said. I was not happy about that, after having gone through sheer misery with a catheter for almost two weeks after my prostatectomy. But something had to be done. I was no longer sleeping, what with getting up seven times a night to pee. The dilation was scheduled for two weeks later, at three in the afternoon, again at Mt Sinai uptown. I was in great spirits though hungry because, since it involves anesthesia, the procedure has to be done on an empty stomach. I arrived at 1 p.m., as told, got

through intake instantly, went through pre-surgery counseling, and finally was sent to wait, in a hospital gown, in a small room by myself. At 3 p.m. nothing happened. Finally, I was informed there’d been a delay — no operating room was available. The delay stretched on for hours, and I felt like a stranded passenger at JFK whose flight could not take off. I was moved up to the surgery floor where I waited another hour. Finally, at 6, I was led into the operating room. Everyone was tired, I could tell. I was their last procedure of the day. The operation was short — about 45 minutes — and I was unconscious for it. It’s an old procedure and has been done for hundreds of years. Basically, several stainless steel rods are pushed up your urethra to open it — simple as that. In the past, before anesthesia, it was done using bamboo rods, the thought of which made me flinch. I woke up in a recovery area and was quickly wheeled downstairs to a release area, where a nurse came to inspect me. The catheter was back in me, and she quickly told me how to empty the bag and change it. I was lucky; I’d already had experience with one, and at home I’d kept all the needed equipment and supplies. Back at home, it seemed like “déjà vu all over again.” Here I was, recovering from yet another operation involving my… peepee. I’d had three now in two years. On my own, I experimented dealing with the catheter. Most men intuitively go for the loosest underwear they can get away with while wearing one, but I realized that’s why it hurts so much. It’s the friction caused by your anatomy swinging around there with a plastic tube up it. I started wearing my regular white cotton briefs, which kept the plastic tubing fi rmly in place inside me. That way, I found enough relief that I could exercise and move without problems, so the eight days weren’t horrible.


PLEASURE DOME, continued on p.46

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federal judge in Miami has dismissed a fraud lawsuit brought against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), finding that federal law allowed the agency to pay bonuses to its employees for linking clients who test positive for HIV to care even if those clients ultimately chose to get that care from AHF. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The fact that the federal government and the State of Florida each formally declined to intervene in the legal action brought on behalf of three former AHF employees spoke volumes about the merits of the case, and todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dismissal of these unfounded whistleblower claims by the court is a tremendous victory not only for AHF, but for the patients and public we serve daily,â&#x20AC;? Michael Weinstein, AHFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s president, said in a June 20 statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thank the court for its wisdom in this ruling.â&#x20AC;? The lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by three former AHF employees, alleged that bonuses and incentives paid to AHF employees were effectively kickbacks for steering HIV-pos-

itive clients to AHF for their care and treatment. Since that care was reimbursed by the federal government and Florida, those payments violated the federal False Claims Act, a federal anti-kickback law, and a similar Florida statute, the lawsuit alleged. As fraud whistleblowers, the three employees, Shawn Loftis, Mauricio Ferrer, and Jack Carrel, would have been entitled to a percentage of any judgment or settlement against AHF, which could have run to tens of millions of dollars. AHF has an annual budget of roughly $300 million, with a substantial portion of that money coming from Medicaid, the government-run health insurance plan jointly funded by states and the federal government, and other federal government funders. The agency operates in 15 states and the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital. A loss in this case could have crippled AHF. While federal law bars medical providers from paying clients and non-employees to select a particular provider, it carves out a safe harbor for employee compensation, allowing employers to incentivize employees


AHF, continued on p.48

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PLEASURE DOME, from p.42

Getting it off, though, was not easy. For some reason, the small balloon that held the catheter in place would not deflate. Tewari’s P.A. Anthony tried it several times. I started to freak out, but he assured me that eventually it would come down. It finally did, and I could urinate again, easily, without it. It took about a month for the dilation to kick in, then it did and I went back to being able to sleep and pee normally. I was also doing pelvic rehab, a procedure often prescribed for men coming out of a prostatectomy. Basically, a stainless steel probe that can be programmed to increasing levels of vibration is stuck up your butt, so that it can stimulate the muscles in your groin area, increasing their strength. Or, as Anthony called them, “kegels on steroids.” Pelvic rehab is very intimate: it’s like having a vibrating dildo up you, except that it feels more like a battalion of ants, at first slowly crawling up your ass, then marching faster and faster until they’re


doing a full-blast run. The degree of stimulation starts at 1 and goes to 80. I could get up to about 57 my first time with it, then it became unbearable. Dr. Steven Kaplan, my “pee doctor,” as I called him, signed me up for a round of four of them, once a week. I noticed that pelvic rehab was always done by a female tech or clinician. I wondered if most straight men felt too uncomfortable having a man sticking a vibrating probe up them. At my gay men’s support group we talked about this — that it’s done so “clinically” with almost no connection between the patient and the clinician. One of the men had it done in New Jersey by a male clinician who was more supportive, more personal. “He also understands the male anatomy is not like the female one,” my support group mate said. “We react differently.” I was starting to sense that gay men are changing urology — we are more open about our feelings and our bodies. Also, more out gay men are going into the field. It was once so homophobically

closed down that most gay medical students were scared of it — after all, you are in contact with men and their sexual organs in this specialty. But this is changing, and men in my group talked frankly about the gay urologists and clinicians they went to. Alicia, the young woman who put me through my first month of pelvic rehab, hardly spoke. She would come into the room without asking how I was or if the treatment were actually working. I asked her once why she did this. “I know everything that’s going on from the data on the computer,” she replied. “I send a report to Dr. Kaplan, so I don’t need to ask you anything.” I did not improve that quickly, so Kaplan signed me up for a second month. By this time, I was doing kegel exercises seriously at home, the dilation did kick in, my sexual response was fine, and urinary problems were diminishing. In early December, I went for another PSA. On my next visit, after pelvic rehab, Anthony asked to speak with me alone. My PSA had made a dramatic climb: to 0.11. “This is still low — we don’t really pay attention to it until you hit 2.0,” he explained. “But we’ll monitor you more.” In January, it went up to 0.13. I was starting to get anxious. Hugh, my husband, who’s a retired doctor, told me, “Don’t worry. It’s only a number, and it’s still very low.” In March, it went up to 0.18. Anthony told me that in three months, they’d do another. I was crying when I left Tewari’s office. It was like I had not left the trenches of the cancer war, although as a soldier in it I’d still not experienced anything close to the combat so many other men I’ve met had. That was what scared me — what could be up ahead? This June 8, I had blood drawn again. The result: 0.291. Now I was anxious. I felt I was clearly back in the trenches, as I faced another consult with Tewari. I saw him the next Friday. He was with a new young P.A., Kacie, who was cheerful and made me feel better, not quite so anxious. Tewari was very consoling; we discussed my rising PSA. “We need to find out what’s really going on, the cause of it,” he said.

He ordered three tests: another MRI, a PET scan, and another cystoscopy, which Reddy would do again in two weeks. He also suggested I take Zyflamend, an antiinflammatory medicine. Cancer is generally considered to be a form of inflammation, so anything that reduces inflammation is good. I’d been on an anti-inflammatory diet — no sugar, no red meat — for three months. Tewari suggested I stay on it and assured me that I was making great progress — which is true, at least as far as my urination was concerned. But I needed to convince myself of that, also. I had dinner with my friend Ricardo Limon that night. I told him how anxious I was. Ricardo, who has a background in Buddhism, said, “You need to embrace this and claim it. Don’t hate it and try to separate from it. That will only cause suffering. But if you can embrace the cancer and everything that goes with it, you can overcome a lot of the fear. Not all of it — we all get afraid — but a lot of it.” I am trying to do that now. It is strange being in this stage of prostate cancer: that I am both healthy and yet still have cancer. And that as much as I wanted it to leave, this persistent invader in the Pleasure Dome has still left some of its calling card within me. Award-winning writer and gender rights pioneer, Perry Brass has published 19 books, including poetry, novels, short fiction, science fiction, and bestselling advice books (“How to Survive Your Own Gay Life,” “The Manly Art of Seduction,” “The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love”). A member of New York’s Gay Liberation Front, in 1972, with two friends, he co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Project Clinic, the first clinic specifically for gay men on the East Coast, still operating as the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Brass’ work, based in a core involvement with human values and equality, encompasses sexual freedom, personal authenticity, LGBTQ health, and a visionary attitude toward all human sexuality. He is currently working on a memoir, set in 1965, when he was a 17-year-old gay kid living on the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |





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Among those on hand June 14 for the ribbon cutting of Apichaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expanded facility at 400 Broadway were (at left) Councilmember Daniel Dromm and (at right) CEO Therese R. Rodriguez..


picha Community Health, on June 14, officially opened its expanded facilities at 400 Broadway in Chinatown, more than doubling the number of exam and counseling rooms. The agency provides comprehensive primary care, preventive health services, mental health, and support services, with its core constituencies being Asian and Pacific Islanders, the LGBTQ community, individuals living with and affected by HIV/ AIDS, and other underserved populations.


AHF, from p.44

for performance. In any case, AHF said its employees presented clients who tested positive for HIV with a list of medical providers that included AHF and allowed the client to select their own provider. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What the regulatory history makes clear is that by enacting the employee safe harbor, Congress has already made a considered policy choice to exempt the conduct with which [the plaintiffs] take issue,â&#x20AC;? Judge Kathleen Williams wrote in her June 9 decision. The decision was filed under seal and was unsealed on June 20. Currently, AIDS groups urge people who test positive for HIV to immediately enter treatment. Early treatment keeps HIV-positive people healthy and can reduce the amount of virus in their bodies to the point that they cannot infect others. This treatment as prevention philosophy is the prevailing view among AIDS groups, researchers, public health officials, and doctors. The possibility of a lawsuit for paying incentives to employees to do more HIV testing and make more referrals to treatment could have led other AIDS agencies to curtail their HIV testing efforts. False Claims Act lawsuits, such as the one filed by the three former AHF


Declaring, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Health care is a human right, a social justice issue, a racial justice issue, an LGBTQ issue, and an immigrant rights issue,â&#x20AC;? Apicha CEO Therese R. Rodriguez specifically thanked the H. van Ameringen Foundation and City Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson, and Daniel Dromm for helping the agency put the resources in place for the expansion. Next spring, Apicha plans to launch a second comprehensive health center in Jackson Heights, Queens.

employees, are first filed under seal. The government is required to investigate the allegations and decide if it will join the lawsuit. These lawsuits are rarely successful when the federal government declines to join the lawsuit, as was the case here. But the federal government went further in this case by filing a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Statement of Interestâ&#x20AC;? in which it said that the plaintiffs had misconstrued federal law. One federal program that is named for Ryan White, an HIV-positive Indiana teenager who died in 1990, encouraged referrals by employees to their employer, the government wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[The plaintiffs] rest their claim on the purely legal argument that a bona fide employee of a Ryan White Program grant recipient, such as AHF, may not be paid for referring patients to his or her own employer to receive appropriate services,â&#x20AC;? the government wrote in its May 30 statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[They] are incorrectâ&#x20AC;Ś The Ryan White Programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statutes and regulations do not restrict grant recipients, such as AHF, from paying employees to refer patients needing medical care to that same grant recipient if, as here, it is an otherwise â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;appropriateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Ryan White providerâ&#x20AC;Ś [T]he relevant legislative history indicates that Congress embraced the notion of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one stop shoppingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for patients with HIV/ AIDS.â&#x20AC;? June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

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to rent an available apartment, without being told itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not available to me.

YOU DO HAVE THE RIGHT.                 



Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair/Commissioner





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how we deliver comprehensive services to everybody no matter where they live, where they learn, where they study in a way without stigma and in a way that is truly accessible,â&#x20AC;? McCray explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So we have these 54 programs.â&#x20AC;? Thomas Krever, the CEO of HMI, offered perspective on how the C2C program is strengthening his organization. HMI educates 80 students at the Harvey Milk High School and serves roughly 2,500 youth in a wide array of counseling, health and wellness, educational enrichment, and arts, culture, and recreation programs. Its street outreach efforts engage another 11,000 youth each year. Nearly all of the youth who access the HMI facilities come from communities of color, with an estimated 80 percent from low-income families. Challenges facing these young people run the gamut from housing insecurity to families who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The needs are exorbitant,â&#x20AC;? Krever said. Any youth arriving at HMI gets a mental health assessment, and in fact more than 40 percent, or about 1,100, are referred for long term counseling programs. But Krever and his staff are well aware that deep-seated issues may not present during an initial assessment. A big part of that has to do with building trust, something McCray acknowledged in her comments to Gay City News. â&#x20AC;&#x153;How could they possibly have the capacity to trust when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been treated in such a harsh way in their lives?,â&#x20AC;? she said. Kreverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organization has always worked hard to keep an institutional eye out for hidden challenges holding its youth back, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a tall order. HMI has a Clinical & Counseling staff of six, including a psychiatrist. Many other staff members across the spectrum of services have social work and health care backgrounds that have trained them to be attuned to their clientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs. Lillian Rivera, as director of advocacy and capacity building, takes overall responsibility for keeping staff trained and informed about the strengths different departments bring to the table. What the C2C program aims to

add to this is expertise on making skills transferrable across the organization, which has a staff of 90, to develop â&#x20AC;&#x153;a common languageâ&#x20AC;? that can inform all of HMIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. According to Bridget Hughes, the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s director of Youth Services, that perspective reflects â&#x20AC;&#x153;a cultural shift. While we codify our practices, we are working to infuse all our after-school programs with a mental health awareness.â&#x20AC;? HMI now has monthly professional development trainings, which build skills, but also, Hughes emphasized, â&#x20AC;&#x153;relationships.â&#x20AC;? From Kreverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vantage point, the effort amounts to â&#x20AC;&#x153;codifying 40 years of our workâ&#x20AC;? in a youth setting that is â&#x20AC;&#x153;not your average swim and gym.â&#x20AC;? What Krever and Hughes said about the C2C initiative squares neatly with the perspective of McCray and Bloch. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re training the people who are already doing this work,â&#x20AC;? McCray said of the 15 CBOs in the C2C program. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re already doing it, whether theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re social workers, whatever their title is. They are providing services to communities like this one, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just not necessarily trained, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no common language.â&#x20AC;? Asked if the effort is all about leveraging resources, the first lady responded, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, we call it taskshifting. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re leveraging, again, people who are already doing the work and giving them additional training and giving them support from professionals so that they can do their work better.â&#x20AC;? Both McCray and Bloch came away from HMI impressed with what they saw. Saying heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visited many CBOs around the city, Bloch called the afternoon at Astor Place â&#x20AC;&#x153;inspiring.â&#x20AC;? Discussing the awareness and fluency she witnessed among the HMI youth regarding both mental health issues and self-empowerment, McCray said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so encouragingâ&#x20AC;? given the â&#x20AC;&#x153;depression and rageâ&#x20AC;? experienced by young people, â&#x20AC;&#x153;especially those living on the margins.â&#x20AC;? Over the next two years, the city will complete an evaluation of the 15 CBOs currently engaged in the C2C program. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to go to scale,â&#x20AC;? McCray explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to bring this model to more CBOs around the city because the need is so great. We just want to make sure that it works.â&#x20AC;? June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017


SPIRITUAL PRIDE A welcoming congregation at Fifth & 55th

Faith. Action. Join Us. Vision & voice for LGBTQ people of faith

A Progressive and Radically Inclusive

Expression of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Love

Our worship services are Sundays at 10:30am 201 W. 13th Street New York, NY 10011 (212) 243-5470


>`]cRZgS[^]eS`W\U:50B?1V`WabWO\aO\ROZZWSab]e]`YT]`XcabWQS Proudly empowering Christians to work for LGBTQ Justice

The Church of the Transfiguration An Episcopal Church Little Church Around the Corner

1 East 29th Street Btwn Madison & Fifth Ave. 212-684-6770 Sundays 8:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 5:00PM Inclusive Congregation SUPPORTS GAY PRIDE 52

For information about our LGBT Fellowship, please email

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |




Sunday, June 25th at 6:30 pm

firm in faith · united in Christ 865 MADISON AVE | NEW YORK, NEW YORK


Join Us

for this Celebrated Service During Pride Week—Featuring The Choir of St. Luke in the Fields



at Choral Evensong

Harold Darke—O Gladsome Light John Sheppard—Magnificat and Nunc dimittis William Byrd—Sing joyfully unto God The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is a lively, inclusive parish located in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.

Wishing you

Happy Pride 2017

We reflect the variety of peoples in our world: different genders, sexual orientations, all forms of families, all abilities and special needs, in every socio-economic grouping, and from many cultures. We are all one in the body of Christ.

The Church of St. Luke in the Fields | 212.924.0562 | June 22 - July 05, 2017




ST. PETER’S CHELSEA Lavender Light Gospel Choir veteran MariaElena Grant..


We mean it. 346 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011 212.929.2390 |


n the Life,” an LGBTQ news and cultural affairs television program, made history when it premiered on PBS 25 years ago. The show was like nothing before, yet it stayed ahead of its time, exploring teen suicide, a Muslim lesbian, gender diversity, and the first Pride celebration in Montana — all in its first half-dozen years. “In the Life” alumni gathered at the LGBT Community Center on June 13 to remember 20 years of groundbreaking programming. John Scagliotta, the show’s creator, recalled that the original working title for

“In the Life” creator John Scagliotta.

the show was “Different Drummers.” But then he heard that the late Mabel Hampton, an African-American SAGE member, once asked for her recollections of being a lesbian during the Harlem Renaissance, responded, “Oh, we were all in the life.” Those returning included Maria-Elena Grant, a longtime member of the Lavender Light Gospel Choir, who appeared with her fellow singers in the program’s very first episode, something that she recalled as a “big move” that brought the choir “out of the closet in a way.” All 20 seasons of “In the Life,” plus segments that never ran, are available and searchable on the UCLA Film and Television Archive at

Producer Charles Ignacio and host Katherine Linton.

To advertise contact: Gayle H. Greenberg 718-260-4585 STEVEN FREDMAN

The June 13 panel with the UCLA Film and Television Archive website in the background.


June 22 - July 05, 2017 |



Prison rights activist Randy Florke with Allen Roskoff, the Jim Owles Club president.

Congressmember Sean Patrick Maloney, former Public Advocate Mark Green, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer. TOM KORDENBROCK

Michael Urie, currently starring in “The Government,” introduced awardee Randy Rainbow.


Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer with former Mayor David Dinkins.

he Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club held a splashy Pride Awards ceremony at the Flatiron home of former Public Advocate Mark Green on June 5. Honorees included the renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer; actor Denis O’Hare, a Tony-winner for “Take Me Out”; Randy Florke, recognized for his work


Denis O’Hare and Allen Roskoff.

as a prison rights activist; actress Debra Monk, who won a Tony for “Redwood Curtain”; and comedian and Internet sensation Randy Rainbow. Among those in attendance were former Mayor David Dinkins, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and Congressmember Sean Patrick Maloney, Florke’s husband.


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 | June 22 - July 05, 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



Job, Housing, Safety Disparities in Stringer Survey

Community profile highlights particular disadvantages based on gender identity, race, ethnicity BY PAUL SCHINDLER


survey of LGBTQ residents of New York recently completed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer points to clear disparities in employment and housing opportunities, food security, and public safety that respondents experienced due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. And despite one score in which the LGBTQ community seems better situated than the average New Yorker — access to private health insurance — transgender and other gender-nonconforming (GNC) members of the community report widespread discrimination and harassment in the full spectrum of care environments. Stringer’s findings are all the more telling since the survey of 359 respondents was not based

on a scientific sample. Those participating were disproportionately from Manhattan and from the non-Hispanic white population, and they skewed younger, better educated, and wealthier than New York City residents generally. That fact is significant given that the disparities found in the comptroller’s report were greatest in communities of color and among transgender and other GNC respondents. Stringer’s effort — which relied on social media and outreach to advocacy and service organizations — did yield a strong response from the transgender community, with 10 percent of the sample identifying as trans, while 47 percent said they were cisgender (that is, not transgender) males and 40 percent cisgender females. Commenting on the survey results, Stringer said, “We’ve made big strides, but there is undoubt-

edly more to do. No one should face economic insecurity, harassment, or unequal public treatment because of who they are or who they love. We launched this survey to pinpoint the gaps in services, identify where New York City can improve, and spotlight how we can be a more inclusive city. In 2017, too many states across America are fi xated on backwards ‘bathroom bills’ and want nothing more than to turn back the clock on progress. New York City must continue to be a leader when it comes to building communities where everyone feels safe and respected.” Among survey respondents, more than one-fifth, or 21 percent, said they had faced employment discrimination in the form of not being hired, not being promoted, or being fired or forced to resign because of their LGBTQ status. As with many other measures in the

survey, trans and GNC respondents reported greater discrimination in employment, with 42 percent saying they had experienced such adverse impacts. A far larger nationwide study of transgender Americans carried out by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) in 2015, with a total sample size approaching 28,000, found that 30 percent of respondents cited such discrimination. In the area of housing, nearly one fifth, or 18 percent of respondents, indicated they had experience with homelessness at least during one period in their life. Here, disparities within the overall sample existed on both racial/ ethnic lines and on the basis of gender identity. Forty percent of Hispanic respondents said they had been


DISPARITIES, continued on p.70


I Comptroller Scott Stringer listens as Sue Wicks accepts her honor.

Thomas Krever, CEO of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.


n a June 20 bash at Macy’s in Herald Square, City Comptroller marked LGBTQ Pride Month by honoring Sue Wicks, a former New York Liberty player who was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013; the Hetrick-Martin Institute (see story on page 4); Luis Mancheno, a board member of Equality New York; and the cast of Oxygen TV’s “Strut.”

Equality New York board member Luis Mancheno.

Comptroller Scott Stringer acknowledges cast members from Oxygen TV’s “Strut.”

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |




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Museum Exhibit Documents Queens Coming Out “Lavender Line,” in Flushing Meadow through July 30, shows activists turning adversity into pride and power BY ANDY HUMM


undreds of proud activists crowded into the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadow Corona Park for the June 9 opening of an exhibit on the unique history of the LGBTQ movement in New York’s most diverse borough. “Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens” emptied the closet of out gay City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, a co-founder of the Queens Pride Parade, which was created 25 years ago in the wake of the hate crime murder of Julio Rivera and a massive controversy over including gay issues in a proposed multicultural school curricula dubbed “Children of the Rainbow.” It was that controversy that brought public school teacher Dromm out publicly. The exhibit also includes contributions from out gay Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, including the St. John’s University gay student group banner he helped carry in the first Pride march in 1993 in Jackson Heights, and photographs by Richard Shpuntoff, who documented the movement from that first march and directed a documentary, “Julio of Jackson Heights.” The exhibit was opened by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, who called it “a story that has gone untold for too long.” Dromm paid tribute to the veteran activists in the room, including Alan Sack, “who cradled Julio Rivera as he died,” Ed Sedarbaum, “the grandfather or the movement” in Queens, Maritza Martinez, who co-chaired the Pride committee with Dromm for 12 years, the councilmember’s mother Audrey Gallagher, a founder of Queens PFLAG, and former State Senator Tom Duane, “the first grand marshal” of Pride. “The LGBT movement in Queens is all about intersectionality — integrating an anti-racist, anti-xenophobic message. We are indeed your family, friends, and neighbors.” Borough President Melinda Katz proclaimed June 9 “Queens Pride Day” and recalled writing her 1986 college thesis on how AIDS affected businesses in New York City.



Councilmember Daniel Dromm (center, with tie and jacket) joined by other veterans of the first Queens Pride Parade in 1993.

A flyer from the first parade, showing then-Councilmember Tom Duane and State Assemblymember Deborah Glick among the grand marshals.


Memorabilia recalling the outcry over the 1990 hate crime murder of Julio Rivera in Jackson Heights and the anti-gay opposition to the Children of the Rainbow school curriculum.



Early anti-violence activism in Queens.

Maritza Martinez, a co-founder with Daniel Dromm of Queens Pride, which she co-chaired for a dozen years.

THE LAVENDER LINE: COMING OUT IN QUEENS Queens Museum Flushing Meadows Corona Park Through Jul. 30 Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $8 for seniors; $4 for seniors Free for students


Councilmember Dromm with Alan Sack, who cradled Julio Rivera in his arms as the young man lay dying after being brutally attacked.

Photos of Queens Pride celebrations over the past 25 years.

Van Bramer spoke of the challenges of growing up gay in the borough on his way to becoming an activist and now the out majority leader of the Council. “Our Pride Parade told generations of LGBT youth that you don’t have to move to be who you are,” he said. Martinez said that when she and

other organizers proposed a Pride March in Jackson Heights, “We were told it wouldn’t work and wouldn’t last. Twenty-five years later, it is larger than ever.” The exhibit includes not just historical photographs and artifacts from the Queens LGBTQ movement, but audio and video interviews with leaders in the movement conducted


by students from LaGuardia Community College, which organized the exhibit with the Queens Museum. The South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association’s SALGA Dancers treated the crowd to lively choreography in the spirit of the multicultural borough. Sedarbaum said, “It’s really nice that we can go down in history so young people can go ahead and reshape the world the way that they want.” June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

Proudly Celebrating Gay Pride Month


Borough President

Ruben Diaz Jr.

Representing The Entire Borough

Of The Bronx

Paid for by New Yorkers for Diaz. | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Last Minute Beat the Heat Escapes It’s not too late to break out for a New York State getaway



o you never got around to planning that amazing summer vacation for this year. Okay, totally understandable, your life is crazy busy. You’re still a good person. But now it’s 92 degrees outside and your co-workers are jetting off to glamorous long weekends in beautiful locales. Meanwhile, you are about to lose your hard-earned vacation days and your weekend plans consist of binge-watching TV with a struggling air conditioner as company. Fear not! One of the best things about living in New York State is that you are never more than a couple hours away from a rejuvenating getaway that lets you feel the effects of an extended vacation in just a few days. Many New Yorkers already know about the beauty of Long Island in places like the Hamptons and Fire Island. There are many other great seaside getaways too, from Robert Moses State Park to Jones Beach and Long Beach, with some areas featuring beachfront hotels and spas. There’s also great shopping at places like Americana Manhasset and the Tanger Outlet Center, award-winning wineries on the North and South Forks, and sightseeing at historic Gold Coast mansions and museums covering topics from aviation to whaling. Just north of the city in the nearby Hudson Valley region, art lovers take in the views from Olana, home of Hudson River School artist Frederic Church, or stroll outside among the sculptures at Storm King Arts Center, the Fields Sculpture Park at Omi, or Opus 40. Others gaze down on the river from 21 stories up on the Walkway Over the Hudson. The region’s wine trails beckon, and there is lodging for every taste, from luxurious to historic to intimate. Nearby, the Catskills have been drawing summer visitors for decades. Guests catch concerts under the stars at Bethel Woods, site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, try their hand at fly fishing,



Volleyball at South Edison Beach in Montauk.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts at the original site of the Woodstock festival in the Catskills region at Bethel.


Aboard the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls State Park.

or tube or raft down the Delaware River. Lodging options range from the fun and funky to full service resorts, charming inns and B&Bs, and even glamping. Just a little further north in the Capital-Saratoga region, it’s time for the annual running of the thoroughbreds at stately Saratoga Race Course, and outdoor music at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and at the theater in Washington Park in Albany. Craft beverages await at Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany, and at Brown’s Brewing Company in Troy and North Hoosick. In America, the word “vacation” was first used for vacating the city to the cooling forests of the Adirondacks. You can be active and go hiking, kayaking, or whitewater rafting, or choose to relax by taking the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain, where the temperature is always a few degrees cooler. In the Thousand Islands-Seaway, you can tour the Antique Boat

Canoeing in the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary in the Hudson Valley in Garrison.

Museum and ride on one of its vintage wooden cruisers. Join a scenic cruise to see the mansions on Millionaire’s Row and tour island castles. The appeal of Cooperstown goes well beyond the Baseball Hall of Fame, with award-winning craft beer and outdoor concerts at Brewery Ommegang and lakeside opera at the Glimmerglass Festival. You might decide this is the summer to finally try the Finger Lakes, with summer wonders like afternoon trips on wine trails, stone paths among and behind waterfalls at Watkins Glenn State Park, breezes through the “Grand Canyon of the East” at Letchworth State Park, and cruising along the Erie Canal. Further west, just a quick and inexpensive flight away from New York City, nothing cools you off like a walk or cruise under Niagara Falls. Or maybe you want a more calming experience, like a Summer Wind Cruise on Chautauqua

Lake in Jamestown. There are outdoor performances at venues like the Chautauqua Institution, Canalside on Buffalo’s waterfront, and Artpark in Lewiston. While out west, you can tour the works of Frank Lloyd Wright as the region celebrates the architect’s 150th birthday. And that’s just the beginning. Everywhere you look across the state there are sandy freshwater beaches, amusement and water parks, museums and historic sites, open air dining, and so much more. So, don’t sit at home, sweating it out while the summer passes you by. Get out and venture around New York State — it’s not too late to have the time of your life. Ross D. Levi is vice president of Marketing Initiatives, Empire State Development/ NYS Division of Tourism, and coordinator of I LOVE NEW YORK LGBT. More information on planning a New York State LGBT vacation is available at June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


Jamie and Rebekah Bruesehoff.

NYC Black Pride’s Lee Soulja-Simmons.

fter a number of years of holding the annual Pride Rally on a Hudson River pier, Heritage of Pride, in a bow to the dire political straits America finds itself in, took the event back to the streets this year, holding it in Foley Square downtown on June 16. Threatening skies and occasional showers held the number of attendees down to several hundred, which is unfortunate given the line-up of community leaders who spoke, including Aaron C. Morris of Immigration Equality, Lee SouljaSimmons of NYC Black Pride, Mariah Lopez of STARR, or Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform, Reverend Jacqui Lewis,

pastor of Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTQ youth, James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBTQ and HIV/ AIDS Project, Gabriel Blau and Luis Mancheno of Equality New York, and Britain’s Andrew Gilmour, the United Nations assistant secretary-general for Human Rights. Michael Adams, who heads up SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, warned of the Trump administration’s efforts at “erasure” of LGBTQ seniors by eliminating questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from important national surveys. Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, talked about that group’s new ampersand symbol that aims

Middle College Church’s pastor, Dr. Jacqui Lewis.

The rock band BETTY performed.


A | June 22 - July 05, 2017

to underscore the need for unity among all human rights struggles. And Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer made the simple observation that in the face of the threat posed by the Trump presidency, “We care about each other more than ever.” But nobody’s message had greater resonance and poignancy than that of Rebekah Bruesehoff, a 10-year-old transgender girl from New Jersey, who appeared with her mom Jamie. “I don’t need to wear makeup or dresses or act in a certain way to be a girl,” she said. “I don’t need to prove I’m girl enough. I know who I am.” To which her mom responded, “I love her with all my heart and I fight for her as hard as I can.” — Additional reporting by Paul Schindler

Former State Senator Tom Duane.

STARR’s Mariah Lopez.

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis.



Russian Anti-Gay Laws Slammed by Euro Court

Free speech, equality provisions of Convention on Human Rights, which Moscow signed in ’98, cited BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


seven-member chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in a June 20 ruling, held that local and federal laws in Russia barring actions to “promote homosexuality among minors” or “non-traditional sexual relations” violate the free speech and equality provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Parliament of the Russian Federation ratified the Convention in 1998, during that country’s period of liberalization, but in 2015 the Parliament approved a draft law endorsed by President Vladimir Putin authorizing Russia to ignore rulings from the European Court of Human Rights inconsistent with the Russian Constitution. The case consolidated applications to the court by three Russian gay rights advocates, Nikolay Bayev, Aleksey Kiselev, and Nikolay Alekseyev, each of whom had been prosecuted under either the local laws or the federal law, all of which make it an administrative offense, punishable by a fine, to “promote homosexuality” or “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The three applicants had demonstrated with banners asserting the normality of homosexuality, in two cases near schools and libraries where children were likely to see them and in another in front of a government building. Each man was fined, and their appeals were rejected by the constitutional courts in Russia. In defending the laws, the Russian government insisted that it acted within its authority and consistent with the European Convention to protect the morals of youth and address the demographic and health concerns of the nation. The government pointed to the severe demographic challenge faced by Russia, which suffers from a declining population, and the consequent goal of pushing Russian youth into heterosexual family relationships to produce



Anti-gay laws have mushroomed across Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.

more children. It also the noted the risks of HIV transmission through gay sex. The applicants pointed to the European Convention’s guarantees of free of expression and equality and contended the Russian government did not provide adequate justification for censoring their messages. The seven-member chamber — whose judgment Russia will appeal to a larger grand chamber of the court — included judges from Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia, Cyprus, and the Netherlands, as well as a Russian judge, who was the lone dissenter. The court thoroughly rejected the Russian government’s arguments. The government admitted the laws restricted freedom of expression, but claimed the restriction fell within the “margin of appreciation” that is justified. While noting the government’s argument that the “margin of appreciation” is wide “where the subject matter may be linked to sensitive moral or ethical issues” on which there is no European consensus, in this case, the court said, “there is a clear European consensus about the recognition of individuals’ right to openly identify themselves as gay, lesbian,

or any other sexual minority, and to promote their own rights and freedoms.” The panel cited a prior judgment the court made in a case brought by Alekseyev in opposition to the earliest local enactment of a similar law. Seeking to justify its position, the government alleged the “incompatibility between maintaining family values as the foundation of society and acknowledging the social acceptance of homosexuality,” but the court was not swayed. “The Court sees no reason to consider these elements as incompatible, especially in view of the growing general tendency to include relationships between samesex couples within the concept of ‘family life’ and the acknowledgement of the need for their legal recognition and protection,” its opinion stated. After noting the strong trend in Europe toward recognition for same-sex relationships and suggesting the court’s jurisprudence had to move with the times, the panel also pointed to the strong desire same-sex couples have evidenced to form families and raise children. The court added, “The Govern-

ment failed to demonstrate how freedom of expression on LGBT issues would devalue or otherwise adversely affect actual and existing ‘traditional families’ or would compromise their future.” Its conclusions, the panel noted, are clearly in line with longstanding rulings. “The Court has consistently declined to endorse policies and decisions which embodied a predisposed bias on the part of a heterosexual majority against a homosexual minority,” the opinion stated. “It held that these negative attitudes, references to traditions, or general assumptions in a particular country cannot of themselves be considered by the Court to amount to sufficient justification for the differential treatment, any more than similar negative attitudes towards those of a different race, origin, or color.” The panel specifically rejected the idea that because the majority of Russians strongly oppose homosexuality, that would justify the government in abridging the freedom of expression of gay people seeking to protect their rights. The court also rejected public health and demographic justifications for the Russian laws. “Population growth depends on a multitude of conditions, economic prosperity, social-security rights, and accessibility of childcare being the most obvious factors among those susceptible to State influence,” wrote the court. “Suppression of information about same-sex relationships is not a method by which a negative demographic trend may be reversed. Moreover, a hypothetical general benefit would in any event have to be weighed against the concrete rights of LGBT individuals who are adversely affected by the impugned restrictions. It is sufficient to observe that social approval of heterosexual couples is not conditional on their intention or ability to have children.” As a remedy, the court ordered that the Russian government re-


RUSSIA, continued on p.99

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |




Justin Sams, who played who played Sylvester, a Baker friend, in â&#x20AC;&#x153;When We Rise,â&#x20AC;? recalled Gilbert Baker recounting the night he finished his first Rainbow Flag.


CBST Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum pledged, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will overcome in his memory.â&#x20AC;?


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BrigidMary McGinn and Cathy Marino-Thomas, members of Gays Against Guns, remember their friend.


GILBERT BAKER, from p.10

quoted Baker saying of the flag in 1978, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know this is the most beautiful thing I will ever do. And I know this is the most important thing I will ever do.â&#x20AC;? Out gay Chelsea City Councilmember Corey Johnson called Baker â&#x20AC;&#x153;an activistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activistâ&#x20AC;? and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The legacy of Gilbert is his love for the resistance.â&#x20AC;? The memorial concluded with waves of Bakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s banners carried in procession to the river: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Buy Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lies!,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stop the Hate!,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Republican Hate Kills!.â&#x20AC;? and one emblazoned with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dignity!,â&#x20AC;? made for the LGBTQ Catholic group. Patty Baker, Gilbertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mom from Conroe, Texas, was on hand. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was a very loving son,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always agree but we respected each otherâ&#x20AC;Ś We need tolerance and diversity and to treat each other with respect. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what he what he would have wanted.â&#x20AC;? Ardonna Cook, Gilbertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sister from Houston, said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was always giving stuff away. You wanted something, he gave it to you. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rare.â&#x20AC;? | June 22 - July 05, 2017


Gilbert Bakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, Patty.

The legendary Rollerena said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;His flag and all the work he put into it brought us together. And nothing is going to turn us back!â&#x20AC;? Also in the crowd was Bakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dear friend, Charley Beal, an organizer of the event, who said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for New York to come out of the closet and put the Rainbow Flag on a flagpole on the Hudson River where the world can see it,â&#x20AC;? as has been done for years in Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco. Baker submitted such a design to Governor Andrew Cuomoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commission that is selecting a memorial to the victims of last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pulse massacre in Orlando and other hate crimes. The competition closed in November, but no winner has been announced. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we are not visible, we are not free,â&#x20AC;? Beal said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And if we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a flag, all of New York is in the closet.â&#x20AC;? On this day, Bakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rainbows filled the streets where the modern LGBT movement was born, capped off by his friends raising his flag â&#x20AC;&#x201D; if only for a few minutes â&#x20AC;&#x201D; high above the Christopher Street pier.


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PERSPECTIVE: Time to Be Counted

Kevin Spacy Has No Place Mocking Closets BY ANDY HUMM


evin Spacey tried to make no fewer than four “jokes” about being in the closet while hosting the Tony Awards, but was shown up by multiple out gay and lesbian winners and presenters — calling attention to his immature and offensive insistence on not owning up to his gay identity. It started with Whoopi Goldberg opening a door and Spacey saying, “Whoopi, how long have you been in that closet?” Knowing laughter ensued as Goldberg has had her own issues around identity, telling an LGBTQ audience in 2002, “There was a time I played on both sides of the street. Now I just go straight down the middle of the street.” But in 2014, when asked about her bisexuality, she told Out Smart

magazine, “If they wanna believe I’m bisexual, and it makes them feel better, fine.” Next, Spacey got up as Norma Desmond and sang, “I’m coming out!” to a “Sunset Boulevard” tune. Then addressing Chris Cooper, nominated for “A Doll’s House, Part II,” Spacey said, “Last time I saw Chris we had such a good time. He kissed me in the garage and then he shot me in the kitchen. And then we did a film called ‘American Beauty’ together.” Finally, Spacey, infamous for hitting on younger actors on his sets, introduced presenter Orlando Bloom “hailed for his Broadway debut in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where he played the pretty one.” Enough! The times are too serious for “humor” like this when LGBTQ rights are being decimated by the Trump


Kevin Spacey as the president of United States in his Netflix series “House of Cards.”

administration here and gay people in places from Honduras to Chechnya to Saudi Arabia face government roundups and executions. It’s one thing to just refuse to talk about it, but those who do refuse haven’t earned the right to joke about it. To some, Spacey was poking fun at his own closetedness. But the question is why a 57-year-old man in America — in the theater world, no less — behaves this way.

Spacey told Playboy years ago that he is not gay, took a girlfriend to the Academy Awards in 2000, and told Gotham magazine, “I’ve just never believed in pimping my personal life out for publicity. I’m not interested in doing it. Never will do it. They can gossip all they want; they can speculate all they want. I just happen to believe that there’s a public life and there’s a private life.


168 West 4th Street, NYC

SPACEY, continued on p.65



A traditional Spanish and Mexican restaurant located in New York’s West Village neighborhood.



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SPACEY, from p.64

Everybody has a right to a private life no matter what their profession is.” Kevin Sessums wrote a famous piece in 2010 confronting Spacey. “We gay men have always proudly claimed you as a member of our tribe, and yet you don’t proudly claim us back,” Sessums said. Spacey replied, “I don’t live a lie. You have to understand that people who choose not to discuss their personal lives are not living a lie.” He compared “exposing” people like him to bullying gay teens. We can all agree that someone’s truly private life is his or her own business. We are not entitled to know the details of anyone’s sex life — though these are fodder for the tabloid press when it comes to heterosexual celebrities and Spacey made the cover of the National Enquirer with pictures of him canoodling with a guy in the Hollywood Hills. A double standard by some media about this treats homosexuality as if it is something dirty, disgusting, and shameful. Spacey has been “joking” about his closet for a long time. When he lived in London, he was mugged while out cruising at 4 a.m. in a Southwark park. At a pre-scheduled press conference the next day about his directorship of the Old Vic (where he did a terrific job, by the way), he ignored all questions about the incident saying, “I just want to thank David Beckham for getting me off the front page” with a juicier scandal. Spacey has never acknowledged that he has benefited from the work of millions of people who have come out and tens of thousands of LGBTQ activists who made it possible for him not to be arrested for expressing his sexuality and, if he so chooses, marry a man he loves. His lack of solidarity with his own people stands in sharp contrast to many of the Tony winners and presenters on June 11. Out Cynthia Nixon, Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for “The Little Foxes,” said, “I share this with my God-sent wife [Christine Marinoni] and our beloved children, Sam, Charlie, and Max. It is a privilege to appear in Lillian Hellman’s eerily prescient play in this specific moment in history. Eighty years ago, she wrote, ‘There are | June 22 - July 05, 2017

people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it and other people who just stand around and watch them do it.’ My love, my gratitude, and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.” Bravo. Out gay Gavin Creel, Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for “Hello, Dolly,” paid tribute to his teachers, made a plea for theater scholarships, and said to his partner Henry Gottfried from the cast of “Waitress,” “Henry, I love you so much!” Out gay producer Scott Rudin, a winner for Best Revival of a Musical” for “Hello, Dolly,” thanked “my husband John Barlow who literally has listened to every extant version of ‘Put on Your Sunday Clothes’ without complaining too much. Thank you!” Out lesbian playwright Paula Vogel introduced her nominated play “Indecent,” a theatrical backstory about “God of Vengeance,” a play from a century ago where “during a lyrical love scene in the rain between two women, the entire cast is arrested for obscenity.” A scene from William Finn’s nowclosed “Falsettos,” nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, was performed by the cast featuring a gay male couple and a lesbian couple. (The show will be in cinemas starting July 12 — visit falsettoscinema. com — and on PBS in October.) Ben Platt, Best Actor in a Musical, said, “To all the young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anyone but yourself because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” Spacey also turned the Tonys into the Kevin Show, doing his Johnny Carson imitation, his Bill Clinton imitation, and playing his character from “House of Cards.” He’s a good actor, but this made the show more about him that the world of Broadway that the Tonys are supposed to celebrate. And as long as I’m judging the Tonys, let me just say that Bette Midler’s acceptance speech as Best Actress in a Musical for “Hello, Dolly” flouted time limits but was absolutely hilarious and the hit of the show. It is, after all, just a trade show, but she and several of the other winners such as Cynthia Nixon made it about so much more.



Time For Radical Activism on Overdose Deaths




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wave of revulsion and anger swept through the drug reform community with the news that the New York City health department’s final count for 2016 overdose deaths was 1,347. That’s a 46 percent increase from 2015. The sixth consecutive year of rising deaths from unintentional “poisonings.” Every seven hours someone dies of a drug overdose death in this city. Black New Yorkers were especially hard hit by the surging numbers. Overdose fatalities in that community grew from 178 to 326, a staggering 83 percent increase. But the problem is not confined to communities of color or those facing economic challenges. Of New York’s 42 “neighborhoods,” as defined by city demographers, deaths in the wealthiest five grew from 89 to 147, a 65 percent increase. Reactions to this news from elected officials made supporters of a public health approach even more livid than the raw numbers themselves. After six years of failure, politicians want more police. Mayor Bill de Blasio called for “a lot more work by the NYPD to interrupt the supply” and then absurdly gave “credit to the NYPD and FDNY for saving more and more lives all the time.” Public health advocates draw the exact opposite conclusion. Clearly, escalating fatalities demonstrate that police enforcement isn’t saving lives. The mayor, though well acquainted with progressive thinkers over his long political career, did not mention harm reduction or any of the programs used in Canada or Europe that help drug users stay alive even when they overdose. VOCAL-NY, a group originally known as the New York City AIDS Housing Network that grew up out of the public health activist movement founded by ACT UP in the

late 1980s, immediately blasted the city’s blind adherence to a war on drug strategy. A disgusted Jeremy Saunders, the group’s co-executive director, said adding more detectives to drug enforcement has “turned emergency rooms into crime scenes.” Police descend on the hospitals treating a person recovering from an OD demanding, “Where did you get the drugs? ” At the very moment when doctors have an opening to offer patients a chance to enter medically-assisted therapies like methadone or buprenorphine, the police destroy any chance of trust and the possibility of a constructive dialogue. The mainstream media was absent from VOCAL’s recent news conference on the steps of City Hall, so they never learned about the latest public health invention: fentanyl strips. The strips, somewhat similar to those used in pregnancy tests, change color if the heroin is laced with fentanyl — a highly potent opioid that if ingested in any more than a tiny amount will cause a user to lose control over their breathing and suffocate. The official response makes it clear that, in the face of a public health emergency, the government is not prepared to authorize harm reduction measures like having users shoot up in sites where an overdose prevention worker is on hand to administer naloxone if an overdose occurs. A naloxone intervention is the single most effective way to reduce overdose deaths. History is repeating itself. Politicians initially ran away from needle exchanges during the AIDS epidemic when drug paraphernalia laws shut off access to sterile syringes, forcing users to share needles and, with them, blood carrying HIV. Mayor David Dinkins set up a tiny program far away from drug users, and it shut down when users didn’t show up because they felt unwelcome. Out of the crucible of the AIDS

epidemic, pressure to try innovative new public health approaches in order to save lives became an instinct activists relied on. ACT UP and other AIDS activists, including some now leading groups like VOCAL, chanted “Clean Needles Save Lives.” Out of desperation in the early years, the National Lawyers Guild AIDS Network supported extra-legal programs. They reasoned “acts which would be criminal if engaged in without legal authority, such as forced inoculations and quarantine, are lawful if ordered in accordance with public health laws.” Activists drew reassurance from a past Supreme Court ruling that their actions were justified — and could be defended. A 1973 ruling from the high court in Doe v. Bolton recognized that protecting a person’s body could outweighs the interest of the government in guarding the health and morals of the public. The National Academy of Science, reporting on needle exchange, quoted the Doe v. Bolton majority finding that, “The significance of these decisions lies in the revelation of how far-reaching is the right of an individual to preserve his (or her) health and bodily integrity.” In practice, the AIDS activists in New York who ignored the constraints imposed by politicians found protection in the courts. On June 25, 1991, a Manhattan criminal court, ruling in New York v. Bordowitz, acquitted eight syringe exchange volunteers, noting, “The distinction, in broadest terms, during this age of the AIDS crisis, is death by using dirty needles versus drug addiction by using clean needles. The defendants’ actions sought to avoid the greater harm.” Public health supporters and drug reformers should follow the lead established by AIDS activists a full generation ago and no longer wait for legislative approval. Extra-legal safer consumption spaces are the best answer to what is clearly a growing health emergency. Activists should be prepared to open them now, so that they can provide immediate and direct assistance to drug users whose lives aren’t being protected by current law and practice. They must act now to avoid the greater harm. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


Notes on the State of the Queer Union BY KELLY COGSWELL


ast week, I bought seeds and potting soil, rigged a couple of egg cartons, and planted tomatoes and herbs. Before I went to bed yesterday, I saw the first pale sprouts of basil emerging. I check back every half hour now, to see what else has poked out. At least that hasn’t changed. Stick some seeds in some dirt, add water. Something will grow despite the violence in the air. So much rage that I no longer know how to talk about it, much less confront it. It seems like a decade since 49 people, mostly queer and Latino, were slaughtered in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, by a guy with a lot of guns, even more rage, and a history of domestic violence. Since then, the US saw fit to install a monstrously angry maniac in the extremely White House, egging on the most fragile men among us to do their worst with four a.m. tweets. Each day seems like month. Every day, we are attacked and ha-

rassed, sometimes killed. A couple of weeks ago, I was just standing on the subway and this guy walked through the car, caught sight of my apparently inappropriately masculine hairdo, and started loudly saying, “Fucking lesbians, fucking gay men. I don’t want them in my country.” It sounded bizarre coming from a short, brown, Latino man with a thick, Spanish accent. But so what? He’d swallowed whole the anti-gay, white nationalist rhetoric, and not even the faggot an arms-length away met my eyes as the guy continued to repeat, “Fucking lesbians, fucking gay men. I don’t want you in my country.” I monitored him until he got off, wondering if anybody would help if he came over and smashed my face in, or tried to, like the guy who shattered the eye socket of that dyke on the Q train recently. Last week, as if in answer to the critics that lefties don’t care enough to get violent, James T. Hodgkinson, a Sanders supporter, shot up Republican congressmen practicing baseball. While his politics may

have been somewhat different than the usual attacker, he was still the usual male with a history of violence — a profile so common every case of intimate partner violence should be treated as a sign of incipient terrorism. Who needs Syria when you can practice on the woman in the kitchen? Good times in New York, 2017. Good times in the US. Meanwhile, in France, the sane centrist Emmanuel Macron won the presidential election, and his party just gained a parliamentary majority, so he should be able to pass the modest reforms France has needed for decades, and push for social and economic equality for poor minorities. Just as important, his pro-EU stance has given new life to a foundering European Union. Instead of ending the EU, Brexit and the American fiasco have made the need for European self-sufficiency increasingly clear in all matters from defense to the regional economy and the environment. That’s good news for European queers who benefit every day from the EU, whether they realize it or not. Not only is the EU an important funder of LGBTQ projects on the regional and local level, almost every local lawsuit on queer issues

like marriage, adoption, basic civil rights cites EU agreements because they are often more progressive than those of member states. If Italian queers ever get to tie the knot, if French dykes gain access to insemination, if queers from countries experiencing a populist, rightward trajectory are able to protect themselves, they will likely owe at least a little to the EU. I don’t know what we’re going to do here in the States where the buck stops with a federal government actively hostile to its citizens, especially social minorities. Even before Trump, before the Minnesota jury that acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, in the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile, there was no justice for Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Ramarley Graham, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin... Now, every civil right imaginable is under attack, along with the very premise of democracy. If we can’t reach up for help, we’re gonna have to reach out, go horizontal. Our lives may depend on it.

serts. That’s because going from 0 to 1 is a gigantic step forward when seen in isolation; it’s only when you learn that there are many numbers after 1 that you realize how tiny that initial step is. I suggest that Pollak take a quick look at an article on titled “As a Gay Republican, I Cannot Defend the GOP Platform.” Written by James Richardson, a former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, the article goes a long way toward explaining why we find the Republican Party to be, shall we say, a little bit hostile to us. As Richardson explains, “It designates pornography a ‘public health crisis,’ because masturbation is a transcendent threat to American wellness that obviously must be addressed. It supports socalled sexual conversion therapy for minors, even as every mainstream mental health and medical

organization discredited the repugnant practice decades earlier. It marks children reared in a ‘traditional two-parent household’ as inherently superior to those reared outside the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ dynamic, even as reputable science demonstrates otherwise.” Moreover, Richardson writes, “The committee separately rejected a positively mild resolution designed only to encourage dialogue on the virtue of same-sex marriage, even a year after the United States Supreme Court affirmed the fundamental right of every American to wed the person of their choosing…. It would be easier to defend the belief that earth is the center of the universe than some of the nonsense installed as official party dogma for the next four years.” None of this troubles Pollak in the slightest. He leaves out the fact

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


Breitbart’s Obtuseness, High Tech’s Hypocrisy BY ED SIKOV


he other reason the gay rights movement appears to have adopted a one-sided political approach is that its leaders seem to think that they simply do not need Republican support. Although Americans, and Republicans in particular, have been increasingly tolerant toward the LGBTQ community — with Donald Trump specifically name-checking the movement at the 2016 Republican National Convention — the gay rights movement has generally preferred to fight its cause in the courts rather than appealing to the goodwill of voters.” | June 22 - July 05, 2017

The next time you feel faint when standing up, try the Breitbart method for returning your low blood pressure to its normally astronomical level. (Every sane person has hypertension these days; the times demand it. And I just heard of a new syndrome called the Trump 10 –– the poundage people are putting on overeating due to Trump anxiety.) Breitbart is at its worst when it feigns reasonability. The article from whence this quotation spewed was written for Breitbart by Joel B. Pollak, a South Africa-born straight guy who serves as a senior editor at large for the noxious website. “Republicans in particular have been increasingly tolerant toward the LGBTQ community,” he as-


BREITBART, continued on p.71



Izzadine Out Loud: Trans, Palestinian, And Proud



his year, Ramadan — the ninth month of the Islamic year, in which observant Muslims fast to commemorate the revelation of the Quran — happens to coincide with most of Gay Pride Month. Quiet as it’s kept, there are uncounted numbers of queer Muslims in the gay community. One of them is Izzadine Mustafa. Izzadine was born 25 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father, a Palestinian Muslim, and his mother, a white Christian, raised him and his two brothers Muslim. They also raised Izzadine female, but when he was 21 and in college, he came out as a transgender man and began, he said, to reinvent himself. He’d always wanted to live in New York, so he got a job at the Institute for Middle East Understanding, based in Brooklyn. Izzy’s now here, he’s queer, and — with all due journalistic objectivity — he’s slightly awesome. I started by asking him what it’s like, combining Ramadan with Gay Pride. IZZADINE MUSTAFA: Ramadan is a way for me to reflect and recenter myself, and Pride is a month when I’m surrounded by queers and we make community from that. Muslims break our daily fast at dinners called Iftars. So it’s been really cool, attending Iftars with other queer Muslims, celebrating Ramadan as well as Pride month. SUSIE DAY: How did your parents meet? IM: My dad grew up in the occupied West Bank, in a village near Nablus called Jama’in. He got a scholarship to a school in Washington, DC, but then he lost it. He couldn’t afford much, so he found the University of New Mexico, which is the cheapest school in the country. He studied business management and actually met my mom in Arabic class. He wanted an easy A and my mom, who’s from Texas, wanted to learn Arabic.


SD: Tell me about being a trans organizer. IM: It’s really important for me to say that I’m a transgender man. Part of the reason I’m out loud about my trans-ness is that, even within leftist and liberal spaces, trans folk are not that common. There’s lots of stereotyping and ignorance around who we are. Also, I come to the trans community with a lot of privilege, in that I’m a masculine transgender man. I pass. I walk through the world and people don’t recognize that I’m trans. So I have a lot to learn from the trans community. I want to be there, especially, for young trans people. When I make public that I’m transgender, Muslim, and Palestinian, I get lots of messages from trans kids who are Muslim and struggling with their identity. It’s important for me to show them that it’s going to be okay, you know? SD: What do you think you bring to Islam as a trans person? IM: Perspective. Being a trans man, I understand both gender roles. I’m not blinded by the arrogance and entitlement that societies instill in boys at an early age. I’m hoping to bring to the Muslim community the message not to sweep these issues under the rug. Muslims are so diverse; we’re not a monolith. There are many Muslim communities throughout the world that accept trans folks. I hope all Muslims can see that there are trans and queer Muslims, and that’s okay — because there’s now this global resurgence of white supremacy raining down on everybody. But we’re all in this together. My main mission — why I do this work — is not only for my people but for the collective liberation of everybody. SD: And do you think celebrating Gay Pride is liberating? IM: Pride is when LGBTQ people express themselves; it’s a momentous month. But the reality is that Pride is giving more and more space to groups who oppress peo-


Izzadine Mustafa, whose father is a Palestinian Muslim and mother is a white Christian from Texas, came out as a transgender man in college at age 21.

ple, such as the NYPD, the Israeli military, such as politicians who honestly don’t care about many LGBTQ lives. In 2013, I went to the New York City Pride Parade — my first since I came out as queer, trans. I was carrying a sign that said, “Don’t Pinkwash Israeli Apartheid.” And a man from the Israeli LGBTQ contingent came up and started yelling, “You’re a terrorist supporter, you’re a terrorist!” Then he spit in my face. SD: Why were you carrying that sign at a Pride march? IM: I felt it was important because pinkwashing is one of the things I’m passionate about as a Palestinian trans person and part of the queer community. Pinkwashing is a way the Israeli government covers up the occupation and its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, my people. For instance, there’s this campaign called Brand Israel that tries to make Israel look like a gay haven. They say, “LGBT folks of the world, come to Israel. We have a huge Pride; we offer acceptance.” They go to college campuses and queer communities and say things like, “Palestinians don’t accept queer people; they’ll kill you.” This is basically an Israeli far rightwing government, saying they’re LGBTQ-friendly. But when I go home to Palestine, the Israelis don’t see me as LGBTQ; they see me as a Palestinian — and they’re really racist about it. What Palestinian queers say

is, “Of course there’s anti-LGBTQ sentiment in Palestine. Just like in America and all over the world — even in Israel.” I, as a Palestinian trans person, do not want a government giving us legitimacy when it’s used to justify the oppression of my people. SD: So you’ve actually been to Palestine and Israel? IM: I grew up in a very white, middle-class neighborhood. But as my dad says, “To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’re coming from.” So when I was nine years old, my parents started sending me and my brothers to the West Bank village where my dad’s family lives. After that, we would go almost every summer, partly to help out my grandmother; partly to see there was more to life than growing up in a cozy American neighborhood. The first time I went, it was around 1999, before the second Intifada. I would see barbed wire, checkpoints, soldiers, everyone speaking two different languages. It was shocking for me and confusing because here I am, used to just hanging out on the playground with friends. But it was also good to bond with my cousins, who were around my age, and I got really close to my grandmother. As I got into my teenage years, I started to understand the full scope of the occupation. I’d return to school in August and start debates with my teach-


IZZADINE, continued on p.69

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


IZZADINE, from p.68

ers about Palestine. I’m of the 9/11 generation, so there were constant conversations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on terrorism. Palestine would be thrown in, in history class, even in English classes, so I would challenge my teachers on their bigoted statements. In my junior year in high school, I was the newspaper editor and I ran a few pieces on Palestine. Each time I got in trouble. SD: Why did people object? IM: Point blank, because many people subscribed to the ideology that Israel should be a land for Jews only. They saw me as challenging that, even though the majority of my friends were of the Jewish faith. I remember in middle school going to all the Bar Mitzvahs. Then in high school our friendships started changing. There was this program that would send Jewish kids to Israeli high school for a semester and they would learn how to train in the army. They’d come back and we’d get into these extensive arguments, concluding we couldn’t be friends. I’d say, “You want to join in on the oppression of my family? I’m not going to stand for that.” SD: What’s queer activism like in Palestine? IM: There are a number of Palestinian organizations in Israel and the West Bank that work on sexual and gender diversity. There’s Al Qaws, which provides services to queers and counters Israel’s message that Palestinian queers don’t exist. They also say, “We don’t support this occupation.” And there’s this Facebook page called “Pink Watching Israel,” which is a committee of Palestinian queers and allies. Gaza is a separate situation because they’re under siege, so it’s harder to express any kind of freedom there. SD: There are about 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners, and I recently read news accounts about some going on hunger strike. IM: We called it the Dignity Strike. For 30 days, about 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners refused to eat. And they won. In Palestine, everyone knows somebody who’s been or is now in Israeli | June 22 - July 05, 2017


Izzadine Mustafa with his Palestinian grandmother, Umm Mousa.

ons. One in four Palestinian men have been imprisoned in their lives. You have 500 to 700 children prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Kids as young as eight years old are sent to prison. Israel will kidnap a child from their home during a night raid and take them to prison. Their parents have no idea where they are or what’s happening to them. So this was a hunger strike for the most basic demands, like family visitation rights. And the children won better access to see a lawyer and their parents. I wasn’t involved in the organizing, but I tried to push it into the media. The hunger strike, like the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement, used nonviolent tactics to pressure Israel to respect our basic human rights. What this strike did was to galvanize people, to unify Palestinians across Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank. It’s a long time since that happened. It’s the prisoners, we hope, who will unify us as a people. SD: Has prison affected your family? IM: One of my uncles deals with mental health issues because of the torture he got when he was 18, 19 years old. He was arrested for participating in demonstrations during the first Intifada and was

in prison for years, beginning as a teenager. Every time I go home to my village, there’s always a celebration for somebody who spent years in prison and is just coming home. It’s like a weekly occurrence. SD: Is there anything that inspires you in all this? IM: Movements toward justice and liberation. Like the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, and Black Lives Matter. I’ve also noticed there’s been a resurgence of people working on rights for undocumented immigrants, for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights. We seem to be coming together around issues that connect but also separate us. I’m seeing cross-movement building and so many people willing to learn about the occupation of Palestine. I also think there are more young Palestinians who are no longer silent. Growing up, lots of us would hear from our parents, “Don’t talk about Palestine,” for fear of repercussions. Now, there’s young, fearless Palestinians in Students for Justice in Palestine, the Palestine Youth Movement, and a few organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace and Black Solidarity with Palestine. We’re working hand-inhand, saying, “We’re not afraid.” Also more people are seeing that the Arab and the Muslim worlds

are not the enemy — our enemies are those who try to pit us against each other. So there’s things to be inspired by in this dark, dark time. SD: How was coming out to your family? IM: I was worried at first, because growing up in this country you mostly hear stories of families disowning kids. So I went into it hoping for the best and expecting the worst. But when I came out to my parents, they were actually accepting and welcoming. It took my mom a little longer because she was like, “Oh, I’m losing a daughter.” But I’m their son, now. And when my dad told my grandmother in Palestine about me being trans, she was like, “Amazing! I have a third grandson!” You know, I’m not the most religious person. I don’t pray five times a day, I don’t go to the mosque often. But something that has grounded me in Islam is the idea of embodying God, right? Or trying to. Compassion, being good to people and to living things. What’s kept me going are those values of love, patience, and good deeds. Yeah. Susie Day is the author of “Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power,” published by Abingdon Square Publishing.



DISPARITIES, from p.56

homeless during their lives, 27 percent of blacks, and 23 percent of Asians, while only 10 percent of white respondents said they had. Among transgender and GNC respondents, 38 percent said they had experienced homelessness versus 30 percent among the 2015 respondents to NCTE’s nationwide survey. Among the New Yorkers who experienced homelessness, 30 percent said they had accessed a city shelter, and 79 percent of that group said they found the experience “very unsafe,” with another 11 percent describing it as “unsafe.” From that Stringer concluded that the city needs to “focus on enhancing security inside homeless shelters,” though this finding likely also speaks to the vulnerability that an LGBTQ person in particular might feel in such an environment. At present, the city is providing for specific LGBTQ-welcoming shelters only for homeless youth under 21. More than one third of all respondents said they had relied on government assistance during the previous five years, with 18 percent


CLEAN NEEDLES, from p.31

Massachusetts, like many other states, outlaws the sale, distribution, and private possession of hypodermic needles except for those sold by licensed pharmacists to fill a prescription by a physician. However, in 2006, in response to intense lobbying by HIV prevention groups and public health officials, the Legislature amended the statute to regulate only sales, removing criminal penalties for possession, and authorizing the Department of Public Health to operate non-sale needle exchange programs with local approval. In defending against ASGCC’s lawsuit, the town argued that under the statute needles can only be legally obtained in Massachusetts either from a licensed pharmacist filling a prescription or from the needle exchange program operated by the Department of Public Health with local government approval. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with GLAD’s argument that this is not what the statutes


seeking food support, 12 percent unemployment insurance, eight percent education or job training, and seven percent HIV/ AIDS benefits. Food insecurity was greatest among transgender and GNC respondents (at 33 percent) and Hispanic respondents (at 31 percent). Black respondents and male respondents disproportionately accessed HIV/ AIDS services. Access to private health insurance was unusually high among respondents to Stringer’s survey, with 72 percent having access either through their employer, somebody else’s employer, or by purchasing their own insurance — sharply higher than the 45 percent level among city residents generally. Twenty-one percent of respondents used a government health care program — 11 percent Medicare and 10 percent Medicaid. Just over a quarter of Hispanic respondents relied on Medicaid. Nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent of all survey respondents got their medical care in private doctor’s offices, while 17 percent accessed community health centers, and 10 percent emergency rooms or ur-

gent care centers. Among transgender and GNC respondents, only 30 percent visit private doctor’s offices, while 41 percent go to community health centers. Hispanic and Asians respondents were also more likely than the survey sample overall to access community health centers. While 18 percent of women said they had visited emergency rooms or urgent care centers, only four percent of males had. If the LGBTQ community has better than average access to private health insurance, the health care picture is not all good. Overall, 47 percent of the survey participants said they had been denied public services or been subjected to verbal or physical harassment in public — in a wide array of contexts — with that number rising to a staggering 70 percent for transgender and GNC respondents. Trans and GNC participants cited health care settings — from doctor’s offices to emergency rooms to long-term care facilities — as particularly problematic places for being treated with respect and dignity. Among the survey sample overall, respondents listed public trans-

portation as the service where they most encountered unequal treatment or threats of harassment, followed by retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and theaters. Stringer, in his conclusions, put particular emphasis on the need for the training of public transportation staff and health care workers, though the survey did not probe interactions between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement personnel, where there has long been a history of disparate treatment. Of the 359 respondents, 48 percent resided in Manhattan, 29 percent in Brooklyn, 12 percent in Queens, nine percent in the Bronx, and three percent in Staten Island. Whites made up 65 percent of the sample, Hispanics 19 percent, blacks nine percent, and Asians six percent. The sample skewed younger than the city’ s population overall, and fully 83 percent of the respondents reported having at least a bachelor’s degree, well beyond the average level in the city. On income, too, the sample was atypical, with 45 percent reporting household income exceeding $75,000, versus 37 percent for the population as a whole.

provide. For one thing, the criminal penalties for sale by anyone other than a licensed pharmacist do not logically apply to ASGCC’s programs, because they are not selling the needles. They distribute them for free to those who qualify to participate in the program. Furthermore, the only free needle distribution programs that require local government approval under the statute are those operated by the state Department of Public Health. “The statutory language is clear that programs such as ASGCC’s are not prohibited,” wrote Lenk, “the legislative history does not evidence an intent to the contrary, and interpreting the two statutes to allow private entities to operate non-sale needle exchange programs does not give rise to an absurd result,” contrary to the town’s arguments. On the contrary, what the Court would consider to be “absurd” was the town’s argument that the statutes restricting sale of hypodermic needles apply to ASGCC’s free-distribution program, or that by au-

thorizing the Department of Public Health to set up needle exchange programs, the Legislature was somehow, without saying so, making those programs the only venue for free distribution of needles Indeed, one could argue that by decriminalizing private possession of needles and restricting sales to licensed pharmacists, the Legislature was leaving unregulated the free distribution of needles. But the Court did not have to go that far, merely to find that there was no applicable statutory restriction that would support the town’s cease and desist order. The town argued that the Legislature had “anointed” the pharmacists as the “gatekeepers” of “sale and distribution” of hypodermic needles. But the statute does not forbid non-sale distribution by those who are not pharmacists. The town pointed to failed legislative proposals that would have specifically allowed non-profit groups like ASGCC to distribute needles, and argued that the Legislature’s intent to ban such programs could be inferred from the failure to pass

such bills. The court refused to go down the road of reading an affirmative legislative prohibition into the failure of the body to pass a bill. The possibility that an adverse ruling in this case could spell the end of free needle distribution programs in Massachusetts drew wide attention to the case. The court received a joint amicus brief from a wide array of HIV, LGBTQ, and professional public health organizations arguing against the town’s position. Despite evidence that needle exchange programs administered by non-governmental community based groups have been effective at reducing the rate of HIV transmission through shared hypodermic paraphernalia, such programs are still controversial in many parts of the country. Although the Court’s opinion did not explicitly review policy arguments supporting such programs, the opinion may add support to efforts elsewhere to establish such programs where they don’t currently exist. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


BREITBART, from p.67

that Chump selected Mike Pence, probably the most anti-gay politician since Jesse Helms, to be his running mate. Pence has become the only reason to be against impeachment. And according to Pollak, what is the first reason why the LGBTQ community tends overwhelmingly to support Democrats? “One is that the movement has run out of great causes for which to fight. With the Supreme Court’s June 2015 discovery of a right to gay marriage in the US Constitution, the gay rights movement has little left to achieve. It has poured energy and resources into the new cause of transgender rights, but that is a deeply complicated issue that affects a tiny percentage of Americans.” Note the dig in the second sentence — the court’s “discovery of a right to gay marriage” in the Constitution, as if the notion of equal protection was a recent concoction. His contempt for trans folks couldn’t be more pronounced. True, the percentage of the population who are trans may be small, but the “issue” affects us all. Pollak was born in the country that invented and sustained apartheid; maybe he could be a little more sensitive to issues of civil rights for all people. And anyway, if the “issue” affects only “a tiny percentage of Americans,” then why do Republicans make such a big deal about bathroom use? “America’s Top Hypocrites Are Meeting at the Trump White House For Technology Week” is the headline of a hilarious piece on by Matt Novak, who certainly doesn’t pull any punches. “America’s largest tech companies made a big, public fuss after President Trump vowed to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier this month,” he writes. “But top executives from many of those same companies are meeting with members of the Trump regime this week. Who needs principles when there’s money to be made? “Yes, this week is officially Technology Week at the White House. And while the list of cowards meeting with Trump has been | June 22 - July 05, 2017

kept pretty quiet by the technology companies themselves, we now have a better idea of who will be kissing Trump’s ass. And virtually all of the usual suspects will be there. “Axios has a list of the technology industry collaborators that will be in Washington, DC, for meetings held today and on Thursday. Some people like IBM’s Ginni Rometty have been longtime Trump allies, unapologetic in their support for Trump. Others, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, have pretended like they’re outraged with President Trump in public, but continued to work with him behind closed doors.” In addition to Rometty and Cook, other boldface technology leaders due to attend include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, OpenGov’s Zachary Bookman, and Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, who spent his Sunday in Manhattan thumping his Google subsidiary chest over giving $1 million in support of the Stonewall National Monument, for which the LGBT Community Center will develop a digital narrative history of the 1969 Rebellion’s central place in queer history. Novak offers his explanation for some many seemingly rightthinking people collaborating with Trump in this way: “So why do tech CEOs continue to meet with a regime that’s pushing the US further into an authoritarian dystopia with each passing day? Because there’s no downside for them. They need lucrative contracts with the government and will continue to meet with the Trump regime because they’re feeling absolutely no pressure from the American public to change their ways. Meanwhile, people of principle are dropping from the Trump regime like flies. Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned over the weekend in protest, saying that Trump ‘has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.’” One of the now-former members is reported to have said, “Trump simply does not care” about HIV/ AIDS. Is anyone surprised? Anyone?


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When Change Happens Online Two very different men connect, collide, romance in John G. Young’s new film BY GARY M. KRAMER


ut gay filmmaker John G. Young excels at making intense, intimate films about thorny gay relationships. His latest drama, “Bwoy,” is no exception. In upstate Schenectady, Brad (Anthony Rapp) meets Yenny (Jimmy Brooks), a much younger man in Jamaica, online. The guys get to know one another, flirt a bit, and then… well, it would spoil the film to reveal more. Suffice it to say, Young addresses issues of class, ethnicity, whiteness, and privilege among its themes. In a recent phone interview, the filmmaker explained that “Bwoy” is not based on fact. The story, he said, emerged from his thoughts about online dating. “I am always amazed by the fact that until you meet someone, you can — through a virtual way — create a vision of yourself for other people and be the way we’d like to be perceived, until we meet,” Young said. Rapp, who said he has had success with online dating, concurred. “That’s one of the things that augments social media and online dating — once face-to-face, reality can be different,” he said. “It was running with that idea.” The film has Brad and Yenny mostly talking over Skype, and these scenes were filmed as real webcam sessions, with the actors in different rooms, reacting to the dialogue and images seen on camera. The approach puts considerable pressure on the actors, as much of the film focuses on them in close-up. But Rapp and Brooks, both of whom are excellent in their roles, reveal their characters with their precise dialogue and body language. While Brad is closed in, with repressed emotions building up, Yenny is very open, charismatic, and seductive. Rapp acknowledged that the guys’ bond is made palpable precisely because of the Skyping. “It felt very real and incredibly intimate,” he explained. “It was more than language: it’s eyes, feeling, energy, and connection, and at the



Anthony Rapp as Brad in front of his computer on Skype.

BWOY Directed by John G. Young Breaking Glass Pictures Opens Jun. 23 Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria


Jimmy Brooks as Yenny on the beach in Jamaica.

same time there is something both genuine and disingenuous about their connection.” Brooks agreed. “In that first face-to-face online meeting, there are pauses and they are looking at each other, sizing each other up,” he said. “It’s a slow seduction. Yenny doesn’t think their relationship is going to go as far as it does.” For his part, Brooks was “acting against a laptop.” He saw every reaction Brad did. “I had to feel his reactions and play to a tiny hole in the computer,” Brooks said. “I had to work double time!” As the relationship develops between the two men, things get more complicated. Young talked about Brad’s attraction to Yenny.

“It was completely different from what he knows in many ways,” he said. “Yenny is not really available; he is 1,700 miles away. No matter how intimate or close they are online, they can’t have a real connection, physically. But the irony is that there is a connection. They can’t go out on a date, but they can look at each other and jerk off together. There’s a safety for that for Brad. He can experiment with this.” Rapp explained that Brad’s infatuation was “physical; he fetishizes black men. I didn’t go deeply into why. People like what they like, and that was what he liked. Once they start interacting, Yenny is so complimentary and pays so much attention to Brad and makes it easy and safe, and it compounds from there.” Brooks offered his take on the relationship. “Brad comes from a dark place, and Yenny is the light that pulls him out,” he said. “That energy becomes Brad’s escape. That’s the draw for him. However, the whole relationship takes Yenny off guard. Yenny comes on sexually strong, but when he sees Brad’s humanity,

he figures out how to talk with and connect to him.” “Bwoy” is compelling, with the power shifting back and forth between Brad and Yenny. Both characters make some interesting — perhaps foolish — decisions, but they reveal much about each man as the drama heightens. “Characters’ bad decisions are a good decision narratively,” Young explained. “There’s nothing more interesting than when a character makes a bad decision, and Brad makes some pretty suspect ones.” Rapp agreed that Brad’s mistakes lend power to the story. “When I read the script, I felt it rang really true,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in playing roles of people behaving in unconscious ways — exploring the darker corners of the human psyche and soul. I availed myself of what rang true — that whatever you repress, you will act out in unhealthy and unhappy ways. That made sense, and John’s writing is compassionate. He’s illuminating and sharing the character’s behavior.” Brooks also applauded the script for making the dynamic between the two men feel real. “You read the script and look at the characters and ask, ‘What kind of person does this?,’” he said. “And you come to understand why each guy is doing what he’s doing. As the actor, you can’t judge. You embrace the beauty and flaws in Yenny. He was a fun character to play.” The actor, who is not Jamaican but rather Liberian, does a convincing accent, and he threw himself into being Brad’s object of desire. Brooks acknowledged, “I think this was the kind of role where you can’t half-ass it,” Brooks said. “You have to go in all or nothing. If you don’t go there, there’s no point doing the project. It’s so charged. The story is so strong it doesn’t make sense not to do it. To go there was very fulfilling.” Thanks to both strong writing and committed performances, “Bwoy” proves profoundly provocative as it depicts Brad and Yenny’s lives changing in myriad ways after the two men first connect. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

Alone, But Never Out of Sight


Paul Hamy an object of interest in mezmerizing allegory BY GARY M. KRAMER


n João Pedro Rodrigues’ fascinating new film, “The Ornithologist,” the title character Fernando (Paul Hamy) is kayaking through Portugal studying black storks. After he has an accident, two Chinese hikers, Fei (Han Wen) and Ling (Chan Suan), who have strayed from the Camino de Santiago, save him. Fernando has a series of further adventures, meeting Jesus (Xelo Cagiao), a deaf shepherd, and some bare-breasted hunters (Juliane Elting, Flora Bulcao, and Isabelle Puntel). The film makes all of Fernando’s encounters compelling, and he is compelling to watch when he is on his own. “The Ornithologist” can also be read as a contemporary and queer allegory for St. Anthony of Padua’s pastoral care of lost people. Rodrigues peppers the film with illusions throughout, from Fernando talking to fishes to being baptized in an unusual way. The filmmaker spoke via Skype with Gay City News about making “The Ornithologist.” GARY M. KRAMER: Where did you film “The Ornithologist,” and how did you get all the birding footage? JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES: I shot in northeastern part of Portugal, Trás os Montes, along the river Douro, which creates the border between Portugal and Spain. The bird footage I shot a year before the actors. And I adapted the script to that footage. I was a Radcliff Fellow at Harvard, and I was thinking about those images. When you film birds, you don’t know what they are because they are wild. I filmed the black stork because it’s a lonely, solitary bid that hides and nests in river canyons. It’s a double for Fernando. It’s an uncommon bird. GMK: You shoot overhead (a bird’s eye view) but also through binoculars, creating an element of voyeurism throughout “The Ornithologist.” Can you talk about that and how it is a theme in your work? | June 22 - July 05, 2017


Paul Hamy in João Pedro Rodrigues’ “The Ornithologist.”

JPR: I think it comes from my wanting to be an ornithologist. I was always a voyeur in a way. With binoculars, you are being a voyeur, but a bit detached and far way from the object you are seeing, a bird or something. My films are always a bit like that — observing my actors. There is always a little bit of a distance because it’s never very emotional. It comes from my past studying biology and wanting to study science before being a filmmaker. It’s observational, and that is me looking at people or the world from my own point of view. GMK: On that note, Paul Hamy gives a remarkable, full-bodied performance. Can you talk about how he is fetishized in the film? He is tied up in his underwear like St. Sebastian, seen sunbathing naked, and even getting a golden shower as a kind of baptism. JPR: In a way, when I choose an actor it’s a form of sublimating a desire. I have to desire an actor in a way to film them. It’s part of that and why I’m so interested in more physical performance. It was hard for Paul to be strung up, but we rehearsed that scene, and I rehearsed it on myself. The girl who helped us was a bondage expert who helped tie him and shoot him. We shot that scene over three days. It was very hard. There was always

a way that if he felt bad, we could untie him quickly. It’s important he had this suffering and can communicate that to be real to anyone who sees the film. He had to suffer. These demands are, I think, the only way to get these performances from the actors. There’s a connection with suffering. GMK: There is a journey of identity, lost and found, in “The Ornithologist” which also is a theme that you have used in all of your features — how people (re)present or create themselves. Can you discuss these themes in your work? JPR: [Laughs.] The film is built into surprises, each scene comes in a way that doesn’t contradict the previous one, but adds something else. I had the idea of making a Western, with a character who has to overcome several difficulties. There was a degree of suspense that built up in the arc of the narrative. What can happen to a character alone in nature? It’s not just the interaction with character but also his interaction with nature. It’s a journey of transformation. It’s my most personal film. But in a way the film is a journey that could have been mine if I had been an ornithologist myself. It’s about a “me” that is not me, but is finally me. GMK: The film is very much

THE ORNITHOLOGIST Directed by João Pedro Rodrigues Strand Releasing Portuguese and Mandarin, with English subtitles Opens Jun. 23 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. Film Society of Lincoln Center 144-165 W. 65th St.

about freedom. What Fernando says to the fish, “You have the strength to go freely wherever you want.” What can you say about this theme of freedom in your work? JPR: I think it’s about freedom and how you overcome society that you live in. It’s people who go back to living apart from society even if they live in society. They build their own world in a way. It’s being free in a society with a lot of restraints. GMK: Are you into camping and hiking? Or are you now more of a city guy? JPR: I was very much into camping and hiking and I like to hike, but when I was a young child I spent my weekends in the countryside where I watched birds. This film was going back to something I did when I was young. I still watch birds.



Show Your Pride

Our guide to Broadway as June’s festivities build to their climax



f you’re planning on making a trip to the theater part of your Pride celebration, read this (skimming is okay — if it’s absolutely necessary): Gay City News’ annual round-up of what you should see, what you can see, and how. The good news is that, for the most part, if you want to see a show you can. You can invest time or money or just get lucky, but you don’t have to be shut out — even from the biggest hits. Sites like,,, and even may have tickets at the last minute, though you could be looking at $1,400 for orchestra seats for “Hello, Dolly!” or nearly $600 for rear balcony for “Hamilton.” The point is, they’re available, and in talking with many, many theatergoers I’ve realized that everyone has their own price threshold. I’ve also watched prices on resale sites drop as performances get closer, as resellers don’t want to be stuck with inventory that becomes worthless once a curtain goes up. Prices on Broadway can range from as low as $39 to about $189 for standard seats. When it comes to premium prices, it’s hard to know how high is up. Dynamic pricing means that theaters can charge what the market will bear, which can be stratospheric. Seen in context, when people spend $2,500 and up for Super Bowl tickets, $750 for a hot show — and perhaps a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience — takes on a somewhat different hue. But there are still many ways to see shows economically. Many sold-out shows also have cancellation lines and standing room. Cancellation lines for “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Hello, Dolly!” can start very early in the day, so you may end up investing a lot of time for something that’s not sure. Standing room was once sold as a regular option. Now, most shows won’t sell standing room unless they are otherwise completely sold out. Be in line early, and be ready to wait.



Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!”


Tony-winners Ben Platt and Rachel Bay Jones in “Dear Evan Hansen.”


Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole in “War Paint.”

For those willing to take a chance, lotteries have exploded in the past year, with many productions offering them. There are also day-of rush tickets for many shows. The best source I’ve found for these is the TodayTix app where you can sign up and purchase if you win. You can also purchase full price and discounted tickets through the

app, and they have very nice people outside the theaters who will deliver your tickets. Some shows run their own lotteries, so it can pay to check out their websites. Many also give you bonus chances to win if you share on social media. I know plenty of people who have won these seats, which can be anywhere in the

theater. Your chances for “Hamilton” (lottery seats are in the first two rows and not ideal, but they’re $10), though, are still about one in 10,000. The odds are better for other shows. There are also the traditional discounts. The most consistent site I’ve found for these is You can choose discounts, if offered, or full-price tickets, and you’ll usually click through to buy on another site. It’s also the most comprehensive site for shopping around. Then there’s my old friend, the TKTS booth, which has been around since 1973 and got plenty of my odd job money when I was a kid — and still does on occasion. The three locations sell day-of tickets for a 30-50 percent discount. Line up early for the best selection, and take advantage of the “Play Only” lines to cut your wait time significantly… if you’re not trying to see a musical. Find all the details at Finally, you can go to the box office. I know in this age of digital everything this might seem quaint, but I have always had good luck even on short notice. You’ll pay full price, but you won’t suffer the additional convenience fees of online sales. I’m also a fan of this method since even when you pay a premium, all the money goes to the production, rather than the reseller. I’ve also found that asking for single tickets may yield better seats. If you are alone or you don’t have to sit with your theater companion, you may score some prize locations. I know I have over the years. It’s highly recommended that you go through a legitimate vendor, whether direct or a reseller. Be wary of people selling tickets on the street, particularly to hot shows; there have been counterfeits. So, that’s the how, now here’s the what: my recommendations and tips on what’s available as of June 15. Things can — and will change — but this should give you an idea of what you may be able to get. This list only includes shows from


PRIDE SHOWS, continued on p.94

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Celebrating Queer Lit and Mentorship Lammys honor achievement in 22 categories, plus lifelong work BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK


he Tony Awards were only the second-gayest ceremony in town last week, as luminaries from the LGBTQ community gathered Monday, June 12 to celebrate the 29th annual Lambda Literary Awards. Hosted by multi-genre artist Mx Justin Vivian Bond, the ceremony at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts handed out prizes to 2016’s top authors and books in 22 categories, as well as several honorary awards. “I’m such a big fan of Jeanette Winterson that any ambivalence I may have had about accepting the daunting challenge of hosting the Lammys was swept away when I was told they would be honoring her and my friend Jacqueline Woodson,” Bond said afterward. A parade of nominees, presenters, editors, publishers, and friends walked a red carpet for photos, then mingled at a pre-show reception in the lobby. “I saw a number of my former students among the nominees and in the room,” nominee and presenter Sarah Schulman said. “Queer Mentorship is real, and it is productive, and it bonds us.” The ceremony’s director, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, said his goal for the evening was to “create an embracing space that celebrates the perseverance and courage of queer writers.” Michele Karlsberg, recipient of the Publishing Professional Award, said she was grateful for the honor. Karlsberg drives a substantial amount of the PR and marketing in the LGBTQ literary community from her Staten Island office. “When I help one writer, I help a community,” she said. Lambda Lit executive director Tony Valenzuela worked his way through the pre-show crowd, stopping to greet people and to impart the news that the City of New York has given a $100,000 grant to the LGBTQ Writers in Schools program. The evening moved at a brisk pace. The presenters drew frequent



Michele Karlsberg, winner of the Publishing Professional Award with presenter and nominee Sarah Schulman.

Visionary Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and presenter Cynthia Nixon.


Kokumo, winner of the Lammy for Transgender Poetry, with presenter Carl Phillips.



Mx Justin Vivian Bond ushering the evening along.

Lambda Literary executive director Tony Valenzuela and nominee Lucy Jane Bledsoe.

applause and laughter for both their scripted and some off-thecuff remarks. Presenters included Eileen Myles, City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, poet and editor Saeed Jones, comics Jes Tom and Tig Notaro, and many more. Bond performed a mini-set of three songs, accompanied by Nath Ann Carrera on guitar. Highlights of the night included the presentation of the Visionary Award to Jacqueline Woodson by her friend and neighbor Cynthia Nixon (who’d taken home her own trophy the night before at the Tonys). Woodson, the author of award-winning fiction, poetry, and memoir, was honored for her outstanding body of work.

“She is the writer, friend, and citizen that these times demand,” Nixon said. Woodson accepted the award with a quote from James Baldwin, saying, “Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can face.” She then talked about how necessary art is in these times. The times (and the Times) weighed heavy on the evening. Presenter Frank Bruni said that he has been called “an enemy of the American people” as a writer for the “fake” New York Times. He gave the award for LGBTQ nonfiction to David France for “How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of how Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.”

Jeanette Winterson, accepting the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Literature, said “Life is propositional.”

In an unusual reversal, France’s award-winning film begat the book (which also won the Publishing Triangle’s nonfiction award this year). Jeanette Winterson, the recipient of the Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature Award, received a double-barreled introduction. Sarah Schulman began by talking about how Winterson’s work showed her what queer literature could do, then A.M. Homes (late due to a family emergency) arrived on the scene to continue, praising Winterson as a writer and friend. “Things need not be the way they are,” Winterson told the crowd. “Life is propositional. Life is a spectrum,


LAMMYS, continued on p.81

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



Diversity, Indie Retailers Lauded in Publishing Book Expo celebrates industry’s success in defending free speech, building community BY MICHAEL LUONGO


ook Expo America, an annual publishing industry event held in tandem with the public conference BookCon, took place May 31 to June 4 in New York. North America’s largest book event, Book Expo, held at the Javits Center, offered plenty of interest for the queer reader, from out gay celebrities headlining splashy talks and quiet signings by authors to conversations with political leaders who have over the years aligned themselves with the LGBTQ community. Lesbian author and poet Eileen Myles, on June 1 and 2, signed copies of her new book, “Afterglow (a dog memoir),” from Grove Press. When Myles described her book as “a dog queer animal trans story, trans animal thing,” it seemed clear it is best read to be fully understood. Other books of LGBTQ interest promoted at Book Expo included “David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music,” by Darryl W Bullock, from Overlook Press, and “Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, 1908-1934” by Laura Horak, from Rutgers University Press. Designer Zac Posen also appeared at Book Expo, signing his new cookbook, “75 Recipes From Rustic to Refined,” published by Rodale Books. In a panel discussion titled “Creative Minds Discuss the Creative Process,” Posen credited having grown up in a home with strong feminist women with his comfort at a very early age about his sexuality. His coming out process, he said, proved far less difficult than that of many LGBTQ people he has known. Book Expo scored an especially big gay celebrity in Neil Patrick Harris, of “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” fame. Harris was in conversation with children’s book author Lemony Snicket and Chris Harris, one of the forces behind “How I Met Your Mother.” Harris talked about his book “The Magic Misfits,” coming out soon from Little, Brown Books



Lesbian author Eileen Myles signs copies of her new book, “Afterglow (a dog memoir).”


Designer Zac Posen discussed his new cookbook, “75 Recipes From Rustic to Refined.”


Neil Patrick Harris, with a dubious choice in head wear, signs copies of his forthcoming “The Magic Misfits.”

For Young Readers, and he also recounted the delight he and his husband David Burtka share in

reading to their twin sons. If that panel discussion panel was casual about the participation

of an out gay actor, the American Booksellers Association luncheon during the Book Expo, which honored an octogenarian children’s book author who wrote about gay marriage, emphasized how very different the world was not so long ago. Richard Peck, a New Yorker who wrote “The Best Man,” from Dial Books, told the luncheon crowd, “I waited 80 years to write this book. How many people can say that?” He added, “I hope ‘The Best Man’ makes its way into classrooms, but for those it doesn’t I hope it makes its way on to the shelves of bookstores.” Peck later told Gay City News that though many people might not think to give a gay-themed book to a child, “those who would keep this message from the young are overlooking members of their own families.” Children’s books, including some that are LGBTQ-themed, were among those discussed by panelists during the session “Book Reviews: The Diversity Of Race, Ethnicity, And Sexual Orientation.” Panelists discussed the concept of “mirror’ books” where children of diverse backgrounds can see themselves, and “window” books, which allow them to see a world of diversity unlike their own. Hannah Oliver Depp, operations manager with Word Books of Jersey City and Brooklyn, mentioned that a broad range of diverse books is helpful for children and their wider communities at large. “You need diverse titles the way you need great titles,” she said. “They are one and the same.” But according to Vicky Smith, a writer with Kirkus Reviews, among the challenges in getting diverse books reviewed is “trying to recruit reviewers who are not white middle-aged women like me.” Another topic raised on this panel was the growing role of smaller bookstores in the US as the economy recovers and print books gain back ground previously lost to digital books. While LGBTQ-specific bookstores have largely closed throughout the nation, some good news coming out of Book Expo was


BOOK EXPO, continued on p.79

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |



Children’s writer Richard Peck holds up his book about gay marriage, “The Best Man,” at a luncheon where he was honored by the American Booksellers Association.










Hillary Clinton in a wide-ranging conversation with Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”


BOOK EXPO, from p.78

about the resurgence of independent bookstores — and their role in community organizing. Hillary Clinton, in a wide-ranging, at times nostalgic conversation with Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” mentioned this phenomenon and how she feels it will help the US going forward. Among Clinton’s favorite bookstores, she said, is Politics and Prose in Washington, which provides a sense of community for like-minded thinkers to share ideas. In mentioning the role of such bookstores in organizing communities, Clinton said, “I am going to do everything I can to support the resistance.” Attorney Mecca Santana, who gave a talk on “Hiring for Diversity” at Book Expo, argued that independent bookstores and similar small businesses can offer LGBTQ customers and others a sense of | June 22 - July 05, 2017

safety and comfort. “In an age of tumult,” as Santana described the new age of Trump, bookstores that mark themselves with rainbow flags or other signifiers show they are open to “diversity-inclusive dialogue” of many different kinds. Discussion, diversity, and freedom of speech were the main themes of a panel titled “First Amendment Resistance,” presented by Pen America. The panelists spent considerable time discussing the controversial gay author, former Breitbart editor, and fiery provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos — especially his recently failed book deal. Artist and activist Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, stressed the difference between free speech and hate speech and, in comments to Gay City News, said, “When we uplift hate speech we uplift hate promotion.” For more information on Book Expo America and BookCon, visit

Happy pride from 212-239-6200 NEW WORLD STAGES 340 W 50th St (between 8th & 9th Aves.) 79


The San Francisco I Missed in Person Daniel Nicoletta’s indispensible look at a queer awakening BY DONNA ACETO


s a New Yorker of a certain age, I have longed for a visual portal into San Francisco in the 1970s. Armistead Maupin’s series of “Tales of the City” novels and my own imagination aside, Daniel Nicoletta’s “LGBT San Francisco” is the most fun historical romp I have found. On either paper or film. My first visit to San Francisco was shortly after my 1976 college graduation. Sadly, my self- realization and coming out was still seven years off. I wasn’t remotely ready to experience the Castro. Not at all disappointing is the fact my favorite photo of the collection comes in a black and white spread taken at Pride in June 1990 — an image that brings back for me a time when I was finally fully immersed in the community with a vengeance. Those were trying times, to be recalled by all of us with pride in each other. Dan Nicoletta is a New York boy who did find his way to the Castro in the ‘70s. Not just the Castro but to work for Harvey Milk at Castro Camera. The self-proclaimed Miss Kodak 1969 (he did win the company’s Teenage Movie Award at 17), Nicoletta is a part of the community responsible for preserving the memory of Milk. In fact, he is the photographer we have to thank for the joyous image of Milk that smiles on us from our martyred hero’s postage stamp — a forever stamp, no less. Long live Harvey Milk! Nicoletta’s photos show us what it was like to birth and live a movement, rather than simply observe one. From the steam baths to street fairs, entertainment to riots, we are drawn into what will live on as institutional memory, regardless of which coast it was where we participated in that history. More importantly, Nicoletta’s photos have the power to draw in our youth and allow them to feel, not just study, our history. It is a remarkable collection not just for its youthful exuberance but also its scope. His photos of an early view of the AIDS Quilt and another




Daniel Nicoletta captures the 1990 Pride Parade in San Francisco.

A 1977 photo of Harvey Milk, for whose camera shop Daniel Nicoletta went to work when he arrived in San Francisco.


LGBT SAN FRANCISCO By Daniel Nicoletta Reel Art Press $50; 304 pages REEL ART PRESS

Daniel Nicoletta in a 1982 self-portrait as Miss Kodak.

of a lone figure walking down a massive hospital hallway provide needed educational lessons just by themselves. “LGBT San Francisco” not only draws us into actions but shows off Nicoletta’s connection to the community. Whether portraiture from the streets or backstage — Divine, Allen Ginsberg, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and, yes, the

handsome nude men — his work is personal and intimate. And it represents our community in all its diverse glory. “LGBT San Francisco” is an enormous collection including far more wok than can be discussed here. The volume is chock full of activism and activists, performance and politics, headshots of folks you know and many you don’t. You will

have to see for yourself. And rest assured, it does prove its own cover boys’ proclamation: “Faggots are Fantastic.” Dan Nicoletta will discuss “LGBT San Francisco” at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division ( on June 23 at 7 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, room 210. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


Dr. Gloria I. Joseph, accepting the Lammy in Lesbian Memoir/ Biography for â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Wind is Spirit: the Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde.â&#x20AC;?



Cleve Jones accepts the Lammy for Gay Memoir/ Biography for â&#x20AC;&#x153;When We Riseâ&#x20AC;? from JP Howard and Mitchell Waters.

LAMMYS, from p.76

not a binary.â&#x20AC;? She spoke of the experiences that made her a writer, and of her wife, who refers to herself as â&#x20AC;&#x153;post-heterosexual,â&#x20AC;? which drew a roar of laughter. Betty Dodson, the author of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sex for One,â&#x20AC;? stole the show when she presented the awards for LGBTQ erotica. Dodson, 87, looked at the category and announced, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You gotta add an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for masturbators.â&#x20AC;? She also talked about her own struggles to publish her work, concluding, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have become rich and famous for masturbating publicly.â&#x20AC;? The â&#x20AC;&#x153;In Memoriamâ&#x20AC;? segment drew sighs and applause as the faces of queer artists and allies from Gloria Naylor to Edward Albee flashed onto the screen. The last image, of the victims of the Pulse massacre (exactly one year before) left many in tears. A few moments later, the audience rose to its feet at another emotional crescendo: when the Lammy was awarded to â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde,â&#x20AC;? written by Dr. Gloria Joseph, the late poetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner. Joseph spoke movingly of the promise to Lorde sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d finally fulfilled. With funds raised from a Kickstarter campaign, the volume was brought to print by tiny Villarosa Media, a publishing house run by three generations of African-American women. Cleve Jones, whose â&#x20AC;&#x153;When We Riseâ&#x20AC;? won the Lammy for Gay Memoir/ Biography, also worked some tear ducts when he talked about how his planned date for the evening, the late artist Gilbert Baker, could not be there. He concluded his speech by saying: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m 62, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m alive and healthy and ready to keep fighting.â&#x20AC;? The final awards of the evening



Nicole Dennis-Benn accepts the Lammy for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here Comes the Sunâ&#x20AC;? from Masha Gessen and Ana Castillo.

were for lesbian and gay fiction, and were presented by Masha Gessen and Ana Castillo (who had won a Lammy earlier in the evening in Bisexual Nonfiction for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Black Dove: MamĂĄ, Miâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;jo and Meâ&#x20AC;?). Out of the strong lineups of finalists, the winners surprised some and gratified others. Nicole Dennis-Benn took the Lammy for Lesbian fiction for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here Comes the Sun,â&#x20AC;? and thanked her teacher, another of the finalists, Lucy Jane Bledsoe. In the final award of the evening, Rabih Alameddineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Angel of Historyâ&#x20AC;? took the prize for Gay Fiction. Winners and nominees continued the party at Le Poisson Rouge, where the recently-freed Chelsea Manning made a surprise appearance. It was a satisfying conclusion for Mx Bond. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was really sweet and kind to everyone who approached her. Talk about grace!â&#x20AC;? The complete list of Lambda Literary Award winners can be found at news/06/13/29th-annual-lambdaliterary-award-winners-announced.













Hail, Caesar! The Public’s provocative production asked political questions we avoid at our peril BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


espite the dazzling, thoughtful, and often moving production of “Julius Caesar” just concluded in Central Park, it is virtually impossible to discuss the Public Theater’s staging of the Shakespeare classic without acknowledging the predictably cartoonish controversy it has spawned. In setting the play in the present time and strongly suggesting that Caesar is Donald Trump, director Oskar Eustis and the Public were accused of taking an irresponsibly anti-Trump stance that, in effect, celebrates regicide in our republic. Ironically, the right-wing complaining and the consequent withdrawal of funding partners speak not to any failing in this production but rather to more stubborn and worrisome failures in our current politics. Like so many scandals in our culture today, this one reflects reactionary emotionalism, lack of sophistication, and a paucity of intellectual honesty harnessed to trigger outrage… and publicity. But from the first story on Breitbart News to Fox News to the corporate offices of Delta Airlines and Bank of America, I doubt anyone has read or analyzed this play — let alone the Public’s production — burdened by any understanding of context. The knee-jerk reactions and corporate-speak responses certainly support that conclusion. We live in a time where shallow thinking and the cacophony of ill-informed, often factually baseless social media screaming hold a baleful grip on public opinion. It bears remembering, as a first principle here, that artists and audiences keep coming back to Shakespeare because his work is timeless. Its themes resonate so deeply not because they reflect specific moments in history but rather because they speak so cogently to the underlying human condition. One of Shakespeare’s key themes in “Julius Caesar” — and it could hardly be timelier — explores how a populace can be moved more



Corey Stoll as Brutus and John Douglas Thompson as Cassius in the Public Theater production of “Julius Caesar.”


Elizabeth Marvel as a pant-suited Marc Antony with the cast of the Public’s “Julius Caesar.”

easily by rhetoric than by reality. Whether in Caesar’s desire to have absolute power — as in Antony’s statement, “When Caesar says do this, it is performed” — or in Antony’s own stirring of the masses in his famous funeral speech, “Friends, Romans, countrymen…,” words are consistently used and manipulated here to create authority. Antony’s words turn the mob against Brutus, even as Brutus has very nearly swayed them to his side. Whether in oration or in tweets, the seeds of power are planted in language, and people easily fall into line, motivated more often by emotion and belief than by reason and facts. This is what both

Brutus and Antony count on. The other salient aspect of the play is its strength as political theater. Both Caesar and Brutus are inflexible partisans, the former pumped up by his extravagant sense of himself and the latter easily manipulated. It doesn’t end well for either or them, and that’s the point of the play — something this production makes abundantly clear. Caesar’s Rome and Elizabeth I’s England in 1599 were both riven by political infighting — conflict between the patrician and the plebian in which those at the top were enriched at the expense of the commons — as well as by fear for the state of the nation.

Sound familiar? It’s hardly a stretch for Eustis to have set the play in 2017. The director went so far as to make Marc Antony a woman (the sublime Elizabeth Marvel) in — wait for it! — a pantsuit. And since Antony is the only one who ultimately survives because she is the consummate political operator and, really, formulates the very best words, this may have cut too close for reactionary talking heads only too happy to score ratings points with rants that foment the outrage that is a sort of drug their audiences crave to justify their sense of aggrievement. But if one stops and thinks about “Julius Caesar,” its lesson is that all the characters are, to be blunt, losers. Marc Antony is left to pick up the pieces, but that is hardly winning. In addition to Marvel’s masterful performance, which at times was so affecting and passionate that it elicited a visceral reaction — which is what Marc Antony is all about — Corey Stoll, as a conflicted Brutus, gave a focused and exciting performance of a man as corrupt and self-serving as Caesar. Gregg Henry was strong as Caesar, with a mop of hair and overlong tie, and a force to be reckoned with. John Douglas Thompson was excellent as Cassius, who is the real mover behind the scenes and the one who manipulates Brutus for his own ends. Eustis’ insightful direction captured the scope of the play in an artfully cut version that came in at just two hours without intermission. The textual economy created a relentless dynamic suited to today’s audiences. The tightening artfully focused the story on ambition, the threat of mobs, and, of course, the dichotomy between what we control and what we do not — the iconic tension between the fault in our stars and in ourselves. Given this riveting production, what is most disturbing about the controversy that has mush-


JULIUS CAESAR, continued on p.85

June 22 - July 05, 2017 | | June 22 - July 05, 2017



From Gotham to Palmetto Philharmonic’s Wagner, Met’s Mahler, and Spoletto’s Vivaldi and Beckett BY DAVID SHENGOLD


lan Gilbert took his leave of the New York Philharmonic’s music directorship on June 6 with the third of three concert readings of “Das Rheingold.” It’s somewhat melancholy to contemplate the triumphant “Le Grand Macabre” with Doug Fitch that began his regime, foretelling a modernizing transformation in the Phil’s nature that never took place. But this performance — unpretentiously and sensibly semistaged by Louisa Muller — proved very exciting. Wagner’s 1869 “Ring” prologue is tough to stage well — consider the Met’s expensive, dangerous Robert Lepage fiasco for evidence. Gilbert’s forces gleamed, with only a few stray brass flubs; watching the strings in Wagner’s transitional passages was electrifying. We heard three towering performances. Jamie Barton was a magnificent Fricka, her sumptuous voice as silky as her dress, fully attentive to details of language and movement. The superb singing actor Christopher Purves all but stole the show dramatically as Alberich, making every syllable, note, and glance count. Increasingly strong tenor Russell Thomas sounded wonderful as Loge and played the fire god with sly understatement. Eric Owens does not command a natural Wotan scope, but with his characteristic musical and verbal intelligence and very carefully applied dynamics he managed this installment quite well. Hard to imagine him getting through “Siegfried,” however. Everybody in the cast was at least good, though Kelley O’Connor (Erda) and Christian Van Horn (Donner), both fine artists, seemed fundamentally vocally miscast here, and the usually stunning Tamara Mumford (Flosshilde) seemed somewhat off form. The refulgent bass Morris Robinson (Fasolt) contrasted with the rustier but more nuanced Stephen Milling (Fafner): an impressive giant pair. The other standouts were Brian Jagde, a



Aaron Monaghan, Garrett Lombard, and Marty Rea in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by Garry Hynes at Spoleto Festival USA.

strong, shining tenor as Froh (usually the “Rheingold” weak link, in my experience) and Jennifer Johnson Cano in clarion, terrific voice as Wellgunde. Esa-Pekka Salonen — nearly sainted hereabouts for his excellent work at the Met in Janacek and Strauss and some great visiting gigs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic — may have lost critical ground here with his series of Mahler-themes Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie. The June 3 matinée proved a disappointment, with a clean-toned but unexceptional reading of Schumann’s “Third” or “Rhenish Symphony” and a relatively opaque take on Mahler’s potentially sublime “Das Lied von der Erde.” The brass section — thrilling in the “First Symphony” three days before — went stray more than once. Magic largely absented itself. The fine dramatic tenor Stuart Skelton struggled in the near-impossible writing, producing adequate volume but lifting into some high notes and nearly cracking others. Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill salvaged the afternoon, with her beautifully plush instrument and sensibility attuned to Mahler’s music. Salonen unpardonably frog-marched her through the

middle section of “Von der Schoenheit,” but in the rapturous final “Der Abschied” allowed her the space and time to create a wistful mood and some gorgeously shaped phrases. The highlights of Spoleto Festival USA’s busy opening weekend were two productions by Garry Hynes. Vivaldi’s often static operas get only rare American stagings. 1727’s “Farnace” (May 27), to Antonio Lucchini’s libretto, revisits some characters known from Mozart’s “Mitridate,” with Farnace inheriting Pontus’ throne and marrying Tamiri. Menaced by Pompey’s Roman armies and the implacable hatred of his motherin-law Berenice, Farnace and his wife and son survive attacks and intrigue (Tamiri’s sister Selinda alternately seducing the Roman Aquilio and Gilade, her mother’s captain) before the inevitable “lieto fine” (sudden happy ending). The Spoleto audience — audibly not entirely comfortable with da capo arias, countertenors, or modern dress stagings — laughed some at the pythoness Berenice’s instant change of heart, but gave the production and performers a merited standing ovation. Hynes’ admirably flowing staging centered on familial drama

while implicitly reflecting on enduring Middle Eastern instability and insurgency against Western incursion. Francis O’Connor contributed an apt false perspective set with an entrancing, varied seascape background. Terese Wadden’s wonderful costumes contrasted shapely silhouetted but martial Pontian clothes with Roman business suits. James F. Ingalls lit superbly. In Act Two — judiciously edited — contemporary resonances grew stronger, with a photo of Aleppo’s ruins partially blocking the seascape. David Peter Bates led swiftly; his harpsichord and the obbligato instruments were terrific, though the modern string players sometimes muddied Vivaldi’s textures. The enthusiastic, sonorous chorus sported over-American vowels. Anthony Roth Costanzo’s sophisticated musical and stage artistry and elegant dynamic control brought deserved success in the most heroic baroque challenge he has yet undertaken. Versatile Kiera Duffy tackled Berenice’s taxing music with spectacular ease and beauty, radiating banked venom. Rich contralto Cassandra Zoe Velasco proved impressive vocally and dramatically, as did high-flying coun-


SPOLETO, continued on p.85

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


JULIUS CAESAR, from p.82

roomed is that it represents a convenient orgy of emotionalism and victimhood rather than a deeper examination of what Eustis and the Public are trying to say. To be sure, this production came out of the mold of political theater and is unabashedly agitprop. The Public is no stranger to political theater; in fact, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifeblood. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen many politically charged Shakespeare productions over the years, all of which, like this one, find fresh nuance and relevance in the 400-year-old texts. (Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also that little show called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hamiltonâ&#x20AC;? that is not without political theatricality.) But the Publicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s provocations donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fit neatly into how discourse works in our ravenous media age. Nothing is about discussion and debate. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about damning, discrediting, and moving on to the next uproar. Intellectual life, in the meanwhile, suffers, and the inherently illuminating and didactic elements that have been essential to theater


SPOLETO, from p.84

tertenor Nicholas Tamagna. The two countertenors outshone their colleagues in providing meaningful recitative delivery. Naomi Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell (Selinda), beautiful and a fine actress, unfortunately showed a harsh, unlovely timbre. As her suitors, mezzo Augusta Caso (here playing a female warrior, so a lesbian wedding was part of the happy resolution) and Met baritone Kyle Pfortmiller sang very compellingly. Both Hynes and Costanzo had fan bases from previous festival appearances. This summer, Hynes also showed a finely wrought â&#x20AC;&#x153;Waiting for Godotâ&#x20AC;? with her troupe Druid Theater, and Costanzo took active part in the Dock Street chamber series â&#x20AC;&#x201D; hosted by violinist Geoff Nuttall, genially channeling a Lyle Lovett vibe â&#x20AC;&#x201D; offering arias from â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tito Manlioâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Giustinoâ&#x20AC;? plus Ray Orbisonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Crying.â&#x20AC;? The lamenting plea â&#x20AC;&#x153;Non ti lusinghe la crudeltadeâ&#x20AC;? from â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tito Manlio,â&#x20AC;? heard May 28, was an all-star affair, with sensational oboist James Austin Smith entwining his sound around Costanzoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, plus informed | June 22 - July 05, 2017

since Aeschylus are reduced to hyperbolic screeds played over and over until the next 140-character wonder comes along. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Julius Caesarâ&#x20AC;? has a lot to say to us in 2017 about our lives and our culture. Thankfully, the Public remains unafraid to take on that challenge. In Rome at the time of the events, the concern was about the decay of the republic. In 1599 England when it was first seen, fears focused on the sustainability of parliamentary government headed by a monarch. Today, craven power brokers (just like Brutus and Caesar) threaten our democratic institutions and our free press. This is what makes â&#x20AC;&#x153;Julius Caesarâ&#x20AC;? more than merely relevant; it demands that we think about issues abstractly, artistically, and also in real terms. The Publicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s compelling production of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Julius Caesarâ&#x20AC;? shined a light on the conversation we must have as a nation. Trying to shout it down rather than engaging it is reprehensible, shortsighted, and, unrecognized by those fanning the flames, just plain foolish.

support from cellist Christopher Costanza and harpsichordist Pedja Muzijevic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Waiting for Godot,â&#x20AC;? in the same intimate theater the same afternoon, found four character actors working off the same stylistic and linguistic page, a far cry from New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s periodic Mike Nicholsy â&#x20AC;&#x153;all starâ&#x20AC;? traversals of the play. Visually and in terms of action, this play stays remarkably unchanged, due to the exigent patrolling by Beckettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s estate, which will endure until 2059, the 70th anniversary of his death. What remains are questions of timing and shading. Marty Rea (Vladimir) and Aaron Monaghan (Estragon) mined the linesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; humor; a sense of drama entered with Rory Nolan (an almost Wildean Pozzo) and Garrett Lombard (Lucky â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in accordance with the text, a large figure instead of the sylph-like servant sometimes seen). The audience â&#x20AC;&#x201D; initially restless â&#x20AC;&#x201D; soon succumbed to the lilt-enhanced chamber music of Beckettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existential riffing. David Shengold ( writes about opera for many venues.

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Tragedy on “Spring Street” New web series aims to tackle love, addiction, and music

ue to bombard each other with insults over the course of the series. Pair the arrival of Anna with a mysterious new student Ricardo (Giordan Diaz), a young man who offers blowjobs in exchange for piano lessons, and suddenly Christopher seems to have his hands full. This too seemed like a missed opportunity for comedy, instead played as the most awkward piano lesson imaginable. All of this makes for an interesting enough premise, but unfortunately on “Spring Street” that’s as good as it gets. Over the next couple episodes we meet the cast of characters, all of whom are somehow related to the mysterious passing of Chris’ grandmother. Which pres-

ents the series’ first big problem: Grammy’s death. Everyone knows she has passed away, but only the viewer is clued in that there were signs of foul play involved. Her two grandchildren seem blissfully unaware — and, if anything, are more upset about their lack of inheritance than her actual passing. At one point Christopher goes so far as calling her a drunk who killed herself. Another problem with the series is its racial tone. For a show that boasts a “unique blend of LGBTQI and ethnic groups, reflecting New York’s diversity,” I couldn’t help noticing that its characters were dated and clichéd — and not in any constructive kind of way. Christopher and Anna, the show’s (white) lead characters, come off as the unlikeable victims of problems that seem to stem from a group of Latinx thugs — Ricardo, Manny (Michael Earl Fajardo), and Sergio (Luis Villalobos) — who make up the bulk of the secondary characters. Finally, “Spring Street” is premised on a music storyline, but it sure makes music seem like a chore.

In the opening episode, Christopher instructs a student on the proper way to play Chopin, saying, “It’s Chopin, you have to sing it.” The student immediately shuts Christopher down, saying that Chopin is in fact a “kill-joy.” The exchange is the first in a series of unfortunately pretentious classical musical references that the creators beat over the head of the viewer. Six episodes in, Christopher and Anna still have no idea that something is amiss regarding their grandmother’s death, while the viewer has a pretty clear picture of what is going on. This plays out not so much as a mystery than as dramatic irony. Christopher becomes infatuated with his new student, and Anna takes to writing about her journey through pregnancy and sobriety. Characters continue to make questionable –– though predictable — choices, with the exception of Ricardo, who, even though driven by dubious means, seems to develop the furthest. “Spring Street” seems to have trouble knowing what it wants to be. The series suffers from a sterile detachment, both in its characters and in the production itself. The result is that it feels less like a labor of love than an exercise of endurance. As for the fate of Grammy, well, I will let you watch that and decide for yourself if “Spring Street” is a stop you want to get off at.

2016. Keeping data secure has grown more complex as larger numbers of people are accessing the Internet with different devices and that access has gone from being intermittent to an “always on Internet” status, as Klein said. Organizations that have secured their records may discover that employees are viewing those records with phones, laptops, or tablets that are not secure or they may be transferring those records to a device that is not secure. These practices demand a policy and training that implements that policy. “Suddenly, we have access to data with devices that are not owned by

the organization,” Horst said. “It’s not fair or responsible to leave that up to individual employees.” Even organizations, such as health clinics, law firms, and financial and educational institutions, which are required by federal laws or industry regulations and ethics to guard the confidentiality of certain records in their possession, may find that their protections are incomplete. “There’s often a misconception that if I’m using a system that is secure, I’ve protected everything,” Horst said. In discussions with clients, Horst said that vulnerabilities became apparent only after conversations about how the clients use

their systems and data. “In almost every case, there was an aspect of security that was not considered until we started talking about it,” he said. The roughly two-hour Digital Safe Space seminar, which this reporter has taken, is designed to supply the basic tools for protection on the Internet and to make participants aware that they have to actively guard their privacy and their data on every device that they own. The risks that some participants were taking only became apparent during questions. “By spreading the gospel of digital security, we eliminate as many of those risks as possible,” Klein said.



pring Street,” a new web series about love, addiction, and music — produced by the Great Griffon, a LGBTQ nonprofit that seeks to shatter queer stereotypes through theater and film — just wrapped up its first season earlier this month. Named after the subway station on the MTA’s number 6 line, “Spring Street” is the story of Christopher (director David Beck), a gay pianist and instructor who is mourning the loss of his mentor and grandmother Maggie, or Grammy (Rosina Fernhoff). He mourns in bed, he mourns in the shower, and then he mourns some more during one of his lessons (shout out to the piano student, played by Phoenix Williams, a funny scene-stealer who gave me false hope of this show’s dark comic potential). If this description seems tiring, be warned. Fortunately for the viewer, this sobfest is cut short with the arrival of Christopher’s sister Anna (Alanna Blair), a former junkie, who shows up to his apartment six months pregnant. The two don’t seem to like each other: he thinks she is a drugaddicted screw-up, she thinks he’s a failed artist. I think both of them are right. Their differences aside, Christopher allows Anna to stay with him — seemingly so the two can contin-


PRIVACY, from p.38

corruption activists and journalists in that country. It is not clear that activists in this country are subject to this kind of surveillance, though many assume they are. “Even if that’s not the norm, people need to understand how to protect themselves,” Horst said. Separately, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported in December that just one type of scam that relies on email accounts that are compromised by hacking or phishing to arrange fraudulent wire transfers cost businesses around the world $5.3 billion between October 2013 and December


SPRING STREET Directed by David Beck Streaming at


David Beck and Giordan Diaz in the new web series “Spring Street.”

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |



Patti LaBelle Deborah Cox DJ Lina


Tegan and Sara

Years & Years · Róisín Murphy · Gallant Dimitri From Paris · Occupy The Disco SUNDAY, JUNE 25

Nelly Furtado

Chus & Ceballos Cindel · Scott Martin




June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


Female Vulnerabilityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Psychological Horrors


Dystopian view of exiled criminal unfortunates from Ana Lily Amirpour



Suki Waterhouse in Ana Lily Amirpourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Bad Batchâ&#x20AC;? opening June 23 at the IFC Center.



ince we live in a world where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easier to imagine total environmental collapse than equal social and economic rights, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not surprising that sci-fi dystopias are everywhere. At first, Ana Lily Amirpourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Bad Batchâ&#x20AC;? seems to be a particularly tone-deaf one, opening with a direct reference to the Nazi concentration campsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; practice of tattooing prisoners. The TV show â&#x20AC;&#x153;Colonyâ&#x20AC;? has alluded to that period in history with far more grace and subtlety. In this case, criminal Americans are exiled from the country, sent into a desert wasteland called the Bad Batch, and apparently stripped of their citizenship. Here, our heroine Arlen (Suki Waterhouse ) pays the price for traveling through a â&#x20AC;&#x153;no womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s landâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not sexually assaulted, but one arm and one leg are amputated. Never mind that this Texan seems so innocent that she couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have committed any crime except getting a cherry tattoo while underage. In the Bad Batch, being female makes one vulnerable, just as it does in the real world. Arlenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relative innocence also contributes to her peril. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not exactly streetsmart. Lost in the desert while tripping on LSD after attending a rave, she loses track of the little girl sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been watching over. Cuban immigrant Miami Man (Jason Momoa) rescues her and becomes | June 22 - July 05, 2017

THE BAD BATCH Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour Neon Opens Jun. 23 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St.

her protector for the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s middle third. Other characters treat Arlen like a fetish object. Weirdly, Amirpour seems to do so too. While I know nothing about the directorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sexuality or kinks, she seems to revel in the image of a scantily clad Waterhouse in chains. Even after Arlen becomes an amputee, the film continues to present her as attractive, although the character relies on cutting out magazine issues and placing them strategically in mirrored images to get a sense of herself as whole again. Depicting a disabled woman as beautiful in 2017 may not be the absolute peak of enlightenment â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and, to its credit, the film never pats itself on the back for doing so â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but many lesser films and filmmakers would treat her as a gross freak. Amirpour has an eye for long shots of the desert, as she showed in her debut film, â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,â&#x20AC;? but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a touristâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s view. She emphasizes the desolation of the dunes and the


BAD BATCH, continued on p.98



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Fearless and Funny Eddie Sarfaty mines all of life’s experiences in crafting big laughs BY GARY M. KRAMER


ut gay comedian Eddie Sarfaty thinks everything is funny: family, relationships, politics, annoying people, really annoying people, pets, his own neuroses, other people’s neuroses, selfdoubt. The list goes on and on. “If there is anything so horrible that you can’t make fun of it, I don’t ever want to know what that is,” he cracked over FaceTime recently. “Even the people in Auschwitz used laughter to help them get through it.” Sarfaty then deadpanned, “My show is not big on Holocaust jokes. I try to do political stuff, but Trump gets me so ranty, I just sound angry. I will be funnier when he’s no longer in office — and if the world is still here and we have the freedom to tell jokes.” Sarfaty doesn’t sit and write political humor, pointing out that such jokes have a short shelf life. But he can write forever about fighting with his mother. What attracted Sarfaty to comedy was the opportunity to be himself. “When I do stand up, it’s me that people will pay to see complain for an hour,” he explained. “Sometimes my humor is biting and silly, and self-deprecating, and absurd.” That said, it took the comedian 10 years to find his voice. “I was very paralyzed by fear,” he admitted. “I grew up with a lot of fear. But I’m fearless now on stage. As a comic, you want people to laugh. When I first started, I wanted people to like me, and I remember some reporter or reviewer said I did ‘nice guy’ comedy. When I tried to do something edgy, people wouldn’t accept that from me. Now I’m not such a ‘nice’ Jewish boy. My material is smart and interesting and cutting.” It was a big breakthrough for Sarfaty to get over his anxiety about being liked, which, he acknowledged, is particularly hard for a comedian. “I thought the audience had power,” he said. “But the audi-


EDDIE SARFATY IN CHUCKLEF**CKER Metropolitan Room 34 W. 22nd St. Jun. 27 at 7 p.m. $20, plus $25 food, drink minimum Or 212-206-0440


Eddie Sarfaty brings the laughs to the Metropolitan Room on June 27.

ence is happy and relieved for you to take charge. They want to sit back and go for the ride. Laughter is intimacy with strangers you can’t get any other way. It’s a non-threatening bond. Just having people escape for an hour — it took me a long time to appreciate how important that can be. For people to come and laugh and release is really important.” Audiences have shown they do appreciate Sarfaty, who has been making people laugh with his appearances on TV, in comedy clubs, and in his hilarious memoir, “Mental,” which came out in 2009. He can find a joke in any situation, from a conversation with a friend to something on the news to a random idea that pops into his head. His skill at being an observer, he explained, is critical. “The most productive thing is to do and see and listen to lots of things,” he said. “When you try to think of something funny… it’s excruciating to sit and try to make yourself laugh.”

When Sarfaty’s humor strikes a funny bone it is generally because it is grounded in reality. “Most of the stuff I talk about isn’t gay,” he said. “I’ll talk about coming out to my family, and that’s a gay situation, but if I’m talking about how my husband doesn’t do the laundry, that’s not a gay joke, it’s a laundry joke. It’s so different now because the American audience is used to gay people and even coming out. To an audience that’s not gay, there are a lot are parents, so a coming out joke speaks to them in that way.” But Sarfaty is by no means shy about doing gay material. “I do this joke about coming out that my father and my boyfriend have the same name: ‘Daddy,’” he said. “I did that joke on TV and thought a million people are going to see it, so I cut it out of my act for a while and people would see my show and say, ‘You didn’t do the “Daddy” joke!’ So there are always people who haven’t heard it.” Writing jokes is really what Sarfaty enjoys, and he likens that

process to writing poetry. “Whether you’re Shakespeare or doing limericks, there’s a form. You select each syllable for the emotional content, and it has to be crafted. It doesn’t mean you won’t say things off the cuff, but writing is what you can control most. There’s no excuse to not writing a joke the best way it can be written.” The craft in shaping a joke is something Sarfaty clearly enjoys exploring. “The length of the set-up is inversely proportionate to the power with the punch line,” he explained. “It’s fun when your jokes can ricochet, but silence can make me panic. I can deliver this more slowly. I’m not adding words, but there are ways to enhance the set-up without making it much longer. A pause can nourish the joke, but not add dead space to it. There are a million ways to deliver a joke. If I do that ‘Daddy’ joke another million times, my cadence or my rhythm or the pitch of my voice can be different.” But for all the craft, Sarfaty acknowledged, the key ingredient is heart. “The reason for telling a joke is that it’s got to be because you’re excited, angry, or titillated, otherwise you’re not connecting with the audience, which is what comedy is about,” he said. Happily, audiences who see Sarfaty on stage have very little trouble feeling that connection. Follow Eddie Sarfaty online at and on Twitter @eddiesarfaty. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |



Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.


Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per- | June 22 - July 05, 2017

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.


Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.


Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.



The Women He Loves Will Seth Sikes sing them all and stay all night? BY GARY M. KRAMER



eth Sikes has a powerful, elegant voice, which he uses to sing standards made famous by Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Barbra Streisand, among a bevy of beloved divas. Sikes doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t try to perform like the divas who are his heroes; his show, instead, is his own personal tribute to them. For his upcoming Pride Weekend show at Feinsteinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s/ 54 Below, he will be backed by a seven-piece band, which he promises â&#x20AC;&#x153;will knock you backâ&#x20AC;? with its energy.â&#x20AC;? Via Skype from Fire Island, Sikes chatted with Gay City News about his connection with Broadway divas, what he likes to sing, and how he expresses his pride. GARY M. KRAMER: What is it about Broadway divas that you identify so strongly with them? SETH SIKES: It all had to do with seeing â&#x20AC;&#x153;Summer Stockâ&#x20AC;? when I was a little boy, and seeing Judy Garland singing show tunes, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Howdy Neighbor, Happy Harvest.â&#x20AC;? Her voice was the best, and I had never seen anyone do that. I watched it over and over again on VHS. Then I heard her Carnegie Hall live recording. Judy was at an older age, and she was more raw then. I say it in my act â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it scared me when I first listened to her Carnegie Hall recording. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sound like Dorothy. Or it did, but Dorothy had heartbreak and I understood â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Man that Got Away,â&#x20AC;? and it meant everything.

Feinsteinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s/ 54 Below 254 W. 54th St. Jun. 24, 9:30 p.m. $30-$70, plus $25 food, drink minimum

sing itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seth Sikes singing. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a certain energy I put into a song no matter who sang it. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go into â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lizaâ&#x20AC;? or â&#x20AC;&#x153;Barbraâ&#x20AC;? mode. I just sing it earnestly.


Seth Sikes presents a Pride Weekend show at Feinsteinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s/ 54 Below on June 24.

Judy and these songs have been part of my whole life. My obsession with Judy got me to New York, her songs got me through heartbreak, and her music got me back into singing. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been there for me my whole life. GMK: What observations do you have about gay men finding so much inspiration in Broadway divas? SS: The age old question, isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it? Why are we all so fascinated with these women? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the whole â&#x20AC;&#x153;their lives are tragic.â&#x20AC;? I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know they had tragic lives â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        


                ! "




and half of them didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have tragic lives. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we want to â&#x20AC;&#x153;beâ&#x20AC;? them. But when you are a young gay man and you listen to these women sing a song and you hear the lyrics, you connect with them. I loved the songs because they are about men, and I love to sing about men. GMK: What can people expect to hear at your show? SS: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m calling this â&#x20AC;&#x153;All My Hits.â&#x20AC;? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done three tribute shows â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Bernadette Peters â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pride Weekend. I thought Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d celebrate all the divas Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve sung before at once. I have a stack of music to choose from and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll decide whether Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll sing this song or that song, but people can expect to hear the most exciting songs from my previous shows, which include â&#x20AC;&#x153;Come Rain or Come Shineâ&#x20AC;? by Judy, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maybe This Timeâ&#x20AC;? by Liza, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;My Manâ&#x20AC;? by Barbra Streisand. GMK: The show is a tribute, an interpreting, not an impersonation of these women. Can you explain why you perform in this manner? SS: I am convinced every time I

GMK: You started out working in theater as an actor and assistant director. Then you started singing. Can you describe your path to performance? SS: After acting school and working in a few productions, I decided I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to live the life as an actor, with auditions and rejections. Through connections, I started working as an assistant director in theater, and now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m working on â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Visit,â&#x20AC;? which is opening on Broadway in November. But during all those years, singing was missing in my life so I was singing in piano bars, and after 10 years not performing I got up the nerve to do this one-night-only Judy show, back in 2015, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still doing it now. GMK: Have you thought of pursuing just a music career? SS: People introduce me as a singer. I was never meaning to go in this direction, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not going to stop singing standards. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know that I will write my own music, but you never know. GMK: Your show is a Pride event. What can you say about expressing your pride? SS: Ha! Gosh, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t imagine a more appropriate way to express my pride than by singing these divasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; songs â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or for people to come out to hear these songs. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

Two Very Unique Actresses FIAF screens Emmanuelle Devos; MoMA remembers Jennifer Jones

the climax is just the beginning


Emmanuelle Devos in Frédéric Mermoud’s “Moka,” at the Film Forum through June 27.



ith her heavy-lidded, slumberous eyes, and wide gash of a mouth, Emmanuelle Devos not only defines that elusive French term jolie laide, but is also one of the most striking presences in contemporary cinema. She has built up an impressive résumé in the last 20 years, working on compelling projects with fine directors, the latest of which, “Moka,” an intense whodunit directed by Frédéric Mermoud, has just opened. In it, she plays Diane, the grieving and haunted mother of a son killed in a car crash, bent on discovering the identity of the driver, who fled from the scene. She takes her obsessive amateur detective work to the limit, meeting up with a sweet, innocent-seeming beautician (Nathalie Baye), who just may have been that heedless driver. The tension mounts, greatly abetted by the absolute commitment and deep humanity of Devos who, even at her most willfully wrongheaded, cannot help but force you to empathize with her sorrow and frustrated rage. I interviewed Devos, who was in New York because of an eight-film retrospective at the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF), running through July, entitled “Enigmatic Emmanuelle Devos.” In person, she appears much softer | June 22 - July 05, 2017

THE LOFT at the DAVENPORT THEATRE 354 W 45th St (btw 8th & 9th Ave)

MOKA Directed by Frédéric Mermoud Film Movement Through Jun. 27 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St.

than she photographs and is quite reticent and verbally guarded, in marked contrast to the more effusively expressive presence she projects on screen. DAVID NOH: How did you get involved with this project? EMMANUELLE DEVOS: I’d actually worked before with Frédéric Mermoud on his first feature film, “Accomplices,” and also a short film, “Le créneau.” He wanted to work with me again and was looking for a good vehicle when he came across this book by Tatiana de Rosnay. DN: Every parent’s worst nightmare is losing a child. Are you a mother yourself? ED: Yes, I have two sons, 22 ad 20. DN: Wow! you started early! ED: No, I am old. Oh, yes I am!


DEVOS, continued on p.96

Visit us to win FREE Tickets


BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Tuesday at 2:00 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.








ers have plenty of seats, ranging from $350 in the rear mezzanine and orchestra seats starting at just over $500. Best bet: resellers. Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.

PRIDE SHOWS, from p.74

the current Broadway season from June 22-27, though you can find tickets for long runs such as “The Lion King,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “School of Rock,” and “Kinky Boots” and often at TKTS. Most shows play Tuesday through Saturday evenings with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. MUSICALS Hello, Dolly! If I never see another show, I can die happy. This amazing, bighearted revival is the reason we fell in love with musicals in the first place. I think my whole outlook on life improved after the performance I saw. Bette Midler in the title role gives a Tony-winning performance for the ages — hilarious, precise, and so richly human you’ll fall in love with her all over. With wonderful supporting performances from Gavin Creel — also a Tony winner in the show — and Kate Baldwin, this production is about as perfect as it gets. I missed the press nights, so I paid $350 at the box office for a front row mezzanine seat, and I’d have paid double for the joy this show delivers. Maybe it’s the spirit of the show, but it has the most helpful box office staff I’ve ever encountered. Availability: Mostly sold out. The least expensive seats I found at the box office were $169 in the balcony. The most expensive I found were $1,900 for the seventh row of the orchestra from reseller sites. (Donna Murphy has started playing Dolly at Tuesday evening performances.) Best bets: resellers or box office for singles, which are usually premium seats at $300 or more. Shubert Theatre, 224 W. 44th St. Come From Away This is a profoundly moving show that will leave you believing again in the power of human goodness. The ensemble cast is magnificent, but standouts are Jenn Collela, who took the Drama Desk Award for supporting actress, and Chad Kimball. The show also took the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, and it got my vote. (“Dear Evan Hansen” was eligible last season for the Off-Broadway run.) Availability: Seats are extremely limited at the box office, but there’s a good selection at resellers, rang-



Cynthia Nixon, seen here playing the Regina role, and Laura Linney, as Birdie, in “The Little Foxes.”


Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi (foreground), and Jefferson Mays in “Oslo.”


Andy Karl and Barrett Doss in “Groundhog Day.”

ing from $171 at the back of the mezzanine to more than $1,700 for prime orchestra seats. The show also offers $38 rush seats available when the box office opens, but the show doesn’t say if they’ll be available or how many will be sold for a given performance. Best bet: resellers. Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Dear Evan Hansen The show just walked away with Tonys for Best Musical, lead actor Ben Platt, and featured actress Ra-

chel Bay Jones. I had some quibbles with the morality of the story that posits that feeling good is more important than truth, but the contemporary take on the power of social media and belief is timely and often affecting. Platt’s performance is consistently spectacular, and the score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul is fresh and often exciting. Availability: The show has a digital lottery and standing room for sold-out shows. The rumor is you can’t get near the show, and it is completely sold out at the box office and on Telecharge, but resell-

Sweeney Todd This is the only Off-Broadway show on the list, and it’s one you should see. The pared down production emphasizes the Grand Guignol nature of the story of the demon barber and his accomplice in murderous pastry-making. Set in a 130-seat pie shop downtown, the scary intimacy of the production made it one of my favorites of the year. The company now features Broadway veterans Norm Lewis as Sweeney and Carolee Carmello as Mrs. Lovett. You have the option to order pre-show pie. Availability: Daily lottery for $39. Some single seats available through the box office, and only a few resale tickets. Those available are about $300. Best bet: lottery. Barrow Street Theatre, 23 Barrow St., btwn. Bleecker & W. Fourth Sts. Groundhog Day This buoyant, engaging show is so charming and entertaining, you’ll easily look past the formulaic plot. Andy Karl’s performance as the curmudgeonly weatherman is a knockout, and the score by Tim Minchin has all the sly humor and sophistication he brought to “Matilda.” It’s certainly one of the most fun shows on Broadway right now. Availability: Daily lottery for $39 through the show’s site. Good availability at all prices at the box office and online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS. August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St. War Paint Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole take on Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively, in a stylish look at their stories and their rise as titans of the cosmetics world. From the team that gave us the wonderful “Grey Gardens,” this is a sophisticated show with two unforgettable, bravura performances. Their stories may be slightly fictionalized for dramatic effect, but these two Broadway


PRIDE SHOWS, continued on p.95

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


PRIDE SHOWS, from p.94

stars are the real deal and not to be missed. Availability: Good availability at all prices at the box office and online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS. Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St.

PLAYS A Doll’s House, Part 2 Lucas Hnath’s sequel to the Ibsen classic also manages to be a fresh and contemporary look at marriage and relationships. The cast, led by Tony winner Laurie Metcalf, includes the divine Jayne Houdyshell, a wonderful Condola Rashad, and a masterful Chris Cooper. Under Sam Gold’s direction, the play crackles with wit, innovation, and theatricality. Availability: Fair in all sections at the box office and online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS John Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St. | June 22 - July 05, 2017

The Little Foxes It’s so nice to be reminded how enthralling a well-made play can be. Daniel Sullivan’s sumptuous production features Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating in the roles of the domineering Regina and the dipsomaniac Birdie. I saw Linney as Regina, and it was a performance of depth and power like few I’ve seen. Nixon was Birdie with a sensitivity and fragility that was deeply moving, and it won her the Tony for Featured Actress. Gay City News’ review by David Kennerley, who saw the cast the other way around, can be found at Availability: Good in all sections at the box office and online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Oslo The Tony-winner for Best Play is a fast-paced, engaging, and engrossing play about the Oslo Accords that aimed at Middle East Peace. What might seem like heady material has an immediacy and

tension in the production directed by Bartlett Sher. With galvanizing and unforgettable performances by Jennifer Ehle, Jefferson Mays, and Tony-winner Michael Aronov, you will be on the edge of your seat throughout. Availability: Good for side orchestra and loge at the box office and online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS. Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St. Present Laughter Kevin Kline and company give Noël Coward’s play a rollicking production that perfectly marries sophisticated drawing room comedy with flat-out slapstick. Kline is at the top of his game, as his Best Actor Tony demonstrates, and outstanding performances by Kate Burton and Kristine Nielsen are pure magic. Director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel keeps the antics at a deliriously hilarious pitch throughout. Availability: Excellent in all sections and at all prices at the box office online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS.

St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. The Play that Goes Wrong Imagine everything that could possibly go awry in a show ever... and they all happen in one performance. That’s the premise of this rollicking comedy. I have often written that plays fall apart in the second act, but never before this one have I intended that as high praise. From raucous silliness to some of the best physical comedy you’ll ever see, this is pure escapism that will leave your jaw dropped from the antics... and your sides aching from laughter. Availability: Good in side and rear orchestra, very good in the mezzanine, some in the balcony at the box office online. Often at TKTS. Best bets: box office or TKTS. Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St. A list like this can never be comprehensive, so I went with my favorites (don’t be a hater). Each of these has, for different reasons, offered an evening to long remember. I hope you find something to love, too.




DEVOS, from p.93

DN: I think I’m older than you are and you look incredible. How did you see your character? ED: I think, for me, this movie is a little about revenge and also a little about finding out who the killer is. But I think the most important aspect is how it describes a person who is living in a kind of hell and the process in which she is reborn and brought back to life as a result of this investigation she is conducting to discover what really happened and who is responsible. In a sense, the film is like a road map of this character’s return to life after this tragedy. Frédéric Mermoud and I are very close friends in life and because of this we were able to talk before making the film about what it was he wanted to do and how my character was to be portrayed. Our friendship is reflected in the final dialogue and the way film actually appears. DN: For me, the most exciting aspect of the film is your incredible rapport with Nathalie Baye — both of you great actresses, both so different in such different roles. ED: I think that sometimes it’s easiest when you work with the best. I had never worked with her before but we knew each other in real life. We actually supported the film for the whole process because it took some time to get financing for the film. It was difficult, but we were willing to wait. Working with her was very agreeable. She has a high very level of professionalism, which makes her easy to work with. She always knows what the right solution is if there’s a technical problem which arises on the set, and it’s an impressive thing to act against someone like that. So it was a great experience. DN: What do you think happens to your character Diane after the film ends? ED: It’s actually something I’ve thought about a lot. I think that she reaches a kind of moment that is more calming for her and begins to recover from what happened. Although she may never forget that pain, she’s able to go beyond it and begin to live again. Some people who have had an experience like


French Institute Alliance Francaise 22 E. 60th St. Through Jul. Tue. at 4 & 7:30 p.m.


Jennifer Jones and David Farrar in Michael Powell’s “Gone to Earth.”

this are never able to recover or go beyond what they experience at that moment of the tragedy. I think it depends a great deal on a person’s character and level of energy but with Diane I think she’s someone who will be able to live again. I think she’s now armed properly to be able to do that now and deal with what life brings. DN: How did the film, with its challenging subject, do in your country? I’ve always loved French cinema, and a big reason is the strong presence of women, always, like you two. It’s so different from American movies, now largely aimed at 12-year-old boys — disgusting, really. ED: [Chuckles.] Yes, yes. And I think the film wasn’t an enormous success, but it was pretty successful. DN: You’ve done so many wonderful movies. Are any particularly special to you? ED: Ouf! [Looking through the FIAF program brochure.] It’s a really hard question to answer because certain films are notable, which marked a change in my career like “Read My Lips.” When I look back, the films I made with Arnaud Desplechin represent something very different and important in my career. “Just a Sigh,” with Jérôme Bonnell, “Violette.” These are films that marked me more than some of the others, but it’s really a difficult thing to do, choosing which ones. DN: I know so little about your personal life. I understand your mother, Marie Henriau, was also an actress. Would I have seen her in anything? Was it difficult going into the same profession? Did you

go to school for it? ED: She was really more of a stage actress. But she was in the last Antoine Doinel movie for Francois Truffaut, “Love on the Run,” and had one very nice scene. She’s retired now, and liked the fact that I wanted to act, too. But I never went to school for it. I really love acting on the stage and do quite a bit of it. Last year, I did Chekhov’s “Platonov,” and I just did the most recent play by Yasmina Reza, “Bella Figura.” It was on tour, but is coming back to Paris in November and December. DN: How do you feel about this tribute here? ED: [Laughs a little.] Actually, I feel very touched. I don’t know quite what to say, but yes, it is an honor. I also had one at the Festival in Angers. Coming up for Devos is another film, “No. 1,” which she just finished shooting with director Tonie Marshall, to be released in France this fall. In it, she co-stars with Carole Bouquet, Sami Frey, and Suzanne Clément. Ethereal Jennifer Jones, a gleamingly glamorous Hollywood presence, could not be more different from Devos. But the very mention of her euphonious studio-concocted name — she was born Phyllis Isley — is enough to make serious film fans smile at the memory of her lithe apple-cheeked loveliness and often unnerving complexity. Although at first glance, she seemed the epitome of the fresh young American girl from a more innocent era, she rarely played them on the screen. After

Museum of Modern Art 11 W. 53rd St. Through Jun. 30

languishing in B movie Westerns, she was discovered by — and later married to — producer David O. Selznick, who obsessively guided her career, alternating the roles of saint and sinner for her. She’s also getting a festival this month with MOMA’s “Becoming Jennifer Jones,” about her evolution as an actress and star, which really started with her Oscar-winning breakthrough, “The Song of Bernadette” (1943). There, she’s radiant, but some lesser-known efforts deserve to be mentioned. In the painfully botched adaptation of “Tender is the Night,” she is easily the best thing in it, doubtlessly imbuing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s onthe-brink-of-madness Nicole Diver with much of her own legendary personal insecurity and mania. But the real “get” of the series and one of her very finest films (and performances) is Michael Powell’s “Gone to Earth,” a wildly beautiful Technicolor fable about a Shropshire gypsy lass who gets along better with forest animals, like the fox which is her special pal, than humans. Her elemental nature is put to a severe test when a local squire (sexy David Farrar) and a minister (Cyril Cusack) both come courting her, tearing her idyllically blissful world apart. It’s all so eerily gorgeous and mysterious at the same time — with Jones recklessly scampering through field and stream like a stag, all the while bearing that live fox in her arms — that you may well find yourself just scratching your head, muttering “How the hell did they do that?” June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

“A magical Broadway musical with

BRAINS, HEART and COURAGE.” Time Magazine

GERSHWIN THEATRE ! | June 22 - July 05, 2017




evidence” that the “dominant, ongoing focus” of the bookstores and clubs was on “sexually explicit materials and activities.” York rejected the plaintiffs’ argument and upheld the constitutionality of the regulations. This time, the Appellate Division sided with the businesses, overruling York in 2011 by finding that he failed to specify “the criteria by which [he] determined that the plaintiffs’ essential nature was similar or dissimilar to the sexually explicit adult uses” underlying the 1995 zoning ordinance. So, the case went back to York, who composed a new opinion, making detailed findings of fact and, this time, concluded that the alterations had, indeed, changed the overall character of the businesses. The plaintiff businesses, he found, “no longer operate in an atmosphere placing more dominance of sexual matters over nonsexual ones. “On their face,” he found, the 2001 amendments “are a violation of the free speech provisions of the US and State Constitutions.” This time, the Appellate Division, in 2015, affirmed York, who by then had passed away. In its 3-2 decision, the Appellate Division majority focused on four criteria to determine whether the “60/ 40 businesses” could be considered “adult establishments”: “(1) the presence of large signs advertising adult content, (2) significant emphasis on the promotion of material exhibiting ‘specified sexual activities’ or ‘specified anatomical areas,’ as evidenced by a large


BAND BATCH, from p.89

constant presence of predators like crows, searching for the dead bodies that can often be found there. Her images rarely bring out their beauty, with the exception of the scenes where Arlen is stoned. As before, Amirpour has a feel for what it’s like to live among landscapes that some people might find picturesque and others as oppressive. She filmed “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ in a city dominated by the presence of oil wells. The limit of Amirpour’s vision of the future is how old-fashioned it


quantity of peep booths featuring adult films, (3) the exclusion of minors form the premises on the basis of age, and (4) difficulties in accessing nonadult materials.” The adult bookstores and the adult clubs had satisfied at least three out of the four criteria, the Appellate Division found, and so should not be considered adult establishments. They had reduced their signage, de-emphasized the sexually-oriented aspects, and fell short only on one aspect of the checklist: they excluded minors from admission. The dissenters, to the contrary, concluded the city had “sustained its burden as to sham compliance by demonstrating that by and large the essential character of the 60/ 40 businesses has not changed, even if their physical structure has.” The dissenters, for example, did not buy that bookstores operating numerous peep booths for viewing pornography failed the test of having a predominant sexual focus, even if they had reduced their signage and rearranged their layout to make non-adult materials more accessible. Similarly, they did not believe that an establishment providing “topless dancing by multiple dancers on a daily basis for approximately 16 to 18 hours a day with lap dancing provided in both the adult and the nonadult areas” was not an adult business. The city appealed, and the Court of Appeals now agreed with the Appellate Division dissenters, criticizing the majority for placing too high an evidentiary burden on the city. “Properly understood,” wrote

Judge Fahey, “the trial court’s task was to decide whether the city had relevant evidence reasonably adequate to support its conclusion that the adult establishments retained a predominant, ongoing focus on sexually explicit activities or materials.” The Appellate Division majority erred, Fahey wrote, by “applying a rigidly mechanical approach to the determination of whether a predominant focus on sexually explicit entertainment remained… As the dissent observed, the majority’s four-prong checklist, with each factor weighing equally, placed subsidiary considerations such as signage on equal footing with the touchstone issue of emphasis on the promotion of sexually explicit activities or materials.” Fahey also criticized the Appellate Division for losing “sight of the fact that the issue was whether there was sham compliance. A bookstore could very well engage in such a sham by removing large signs, allowing minors to enter, and ensuring that non-adult materials are accessible, and yet retain a focus on sexual materials. A store that stocks non-adult magazines in the front of the store but contains and prominently advertises peep booths is no less sexual in its fundamental focus just because the peep booths are in the back and the copies of Time magazine in the front. The same is true of the adult eating and drinking establishments. A topless club is no less an adult establishment if it has small signs and the adjoining comedy club, seating area, or bikini bar is easy to access.”

The practical effect of this ruling seems to be that as long as a bookstore is selling porn and operating peep booths, it is going to be subject to the zoning ordinance, and the same is likely to be true of any club providing strip shows, regardless of how it reorganizes its space, modifies its signage, or sets its policies on access by minors. It is ironic that a nearly-quartercentury litigation battle set off by the moralistic Giuliani administration would be resolved during the de Blasio administration. The plaintiffs could, of course, yet seek US Supreme Court review regarding the First Amendment implications of the Court of Appeals ruling. But the New York court has traditionally construed the State Constitution to provide more protection for expression than the US Constitution. And the likelihood that the current US Supreme Court would be interested in this case seems rather slim. Despite the legal wrangling, Giuliani’s efforts clearly had substantial impact in sharply reducing the number of businesses that could be deemed “adult establishments” by any definition. Perhaps the small number of remaining businesses attempting to avoid the zoning rules by rearranging their space, inventory, and activities might consider going back to the political process and the consumers who want to access their goods and services to seek changes at the City Council. The state’s high court has said the city can do what it has done, but there is no legal barrier to the Council adopting a less restrictive approach.

is. This film owes a huge debt to George Miller’s “Mad Max” films, particularly “The Road Warrior.” From them, Amirpour learned how to build a barely functional society from the ground up, with people scrounging for junk and a stand where “Noodle Lady” sells pasta for a dollar. (Few characters in this film have proper names — Arlen is a major exception.) EDM even takes the place of the punk references in “The Road Warrior,” while the appearance of an army of pregnant women near the end evokes the brides of “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Although “The Bad Batch” is far less overtly political, it also brings to mind Peter Watkins’ 1971 agitprop classic “Punishment Park,” in which Black Panthers and hippie pacifists are given the option of racing through the desert for their freedom. Released almost simultaneously with Australian director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature “The Babadook,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” gave horror fans hope that the genre could develop new female voices. It also spoke from the Iranian diaspora; while made in California, it was set entirely in

Iran, where Amirpour’s parents came from, and featured dialogue in Farsi. (Alas, Amirpour’s weaknesses with dialogue are more apparent when she writes in English.) “The Bad Batch” remains true to genre, but it leaves horror behind, at least in the literal sense. But when you wind up depicting a world where the population is deliberately kept doped-up, women are forced into pregnancy, comforts are based on social corruption, and the nuclear family is the only solace, horror is never really that far away. June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


RUSSIA, from p.62

fund to the applicants the fines they had paid, and also awarded them monetary damages to compensate for expenses incurred in connection with this litigation. Since the laws being challenged remain in force and so “the effects of the harm already sustained by the applicants have not been mitigated,” the court also awarded additional damages as compen-

sation, though the amounts were relatively trivial. The Russian judge on the panel, Dmitry Dedov, submitted a dissenting opinion contending that the laws under challenge are nondiscriminatory, do not impose criminal sanctions for homosexual conduct, and do not single out gay people in suppressing free expression, but rather focus on socially harmful messages that everybody, whether gay or straight, is prohib-

ited from sending to minors. The actions by the federal government and localities, he argued, were based in their “legitimate aim” in promoting the morals and health of minors. “Needless to say,” Dedov wrote, “sexual identification, as well as sexual orientation, is a very intimate process, albeit influenced by social life and social relations. The international instruments, including the [International Convention

of the Rights of the Child], recognize that children should primarily consult their parents or close members of the family, rather than obtaining information about sex from the applicants’ posters in the street.” The Russian news agency, Tass, quickly reported that the Russian Justice Ministry would appeal the decision and contest the remedy, which totaled about 49,000 euros or $55,000.



fter a sold-out performance in May, Ilene Sameth reprises her onewoman show “Bandwidth: The Ups & Downs of a Lesbian Diva” at Dixon Place, 161-A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets) on Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m.. It’s part of Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival: The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture. In “Bandwidth,” “an up and coming mezzo soprano makes her debut at Carnegie Hall, comes out of the closet, and finds love. Running up and down the scales was meant to

be for her music, not her size. When her weight hits a high note, the sudden jolt of a car crash provides the realization that the finale might be near. But the opera ain’t over ‘til…” Co-written by Barbara Raab, “Bandwidth” is an in-depth, moving, and entertaining exploration of the physical and emotional challenges of weight gain and loss, coming out, and thriving against the odds. Tickets are $15; students, seniors, and IDNYC cardholders, $12. More information at


Ilene Sameth in her one-woman show, “Bandwidth: The Ups & Downs of a Lesbian Diva,” cowritten by Barbara Raab, at Dixon Place, July 11.


Simple Procedure Improves Dry Eyes & Sagging Eyelids Exclusive interview with Dr. Golio,


Director of Craniofacial Surgery

f you have recurring infections on your eyelashes, dry eyes, feeling of dirt, debris, sand, odd bodies or watery eyes, you are not alone. A simple procedure performed under local anesthesia can help. Dr. Dominck I. Golio says, “A growing number of people flock annually to be examined due to these symptoms. There are many diffent causes for these problems. Age, Arthiritis, the use of certain drugs to lower blood pressure, meds to treat allergies, parkinsons & nerves may increase the chances of dry eyes exposing them to recurring infections & other serious conditions.” Not everyone can reduce or stop using meds or drops of artificial tears and antibiotics are not enough for many. Dr. Golio explains, “A test that all patients with these symptoms should take in front a mirror, lower the lower eyelid with the index finger and hold it in this position for five seconds. It is important not to blink for this test. Typically, the lid returns to its normal position in a second. We often see patients with such sagging eyelids that after taking this test their eyelids do not return to their position within 7 to 10 seconds.” A simple procedure that does not require hospitalization, removes a small amount of skin from the edge of the eyelid restoring the position thereof. “It’s like PAID ADVERTISEMENT | June 22 - July 05, 2017

pulling the rope of a hammock that has withered with time,” says Dr. Golio. If this situation is not corrected, eyes that are exposed outdoors for longer periods of time may have increased symptoms and incidences of infections. Flabby eyelids occasionally veer inward and the lashes touching the eye causing even more irritation. This procedure that corrects a sagging lower lid is done under local anesthesia by removing excess skin, aligning the eyelid to the outer eye while removing excess fat by pulling the eyelid down. There is no pain or patches needed, you return home the same day and the stitches fall out on their own within one or two weeks. The same day of the surgery you can watch television, read a book, warm up your own food as well as wash your face permitting the stitches to get wet. In short, you will be able to fend for self the same day of procedure. Private insurances and Medicare will cover the procedure when it’s done to correct the excess flab, symptoms of tearing, recurrent infections or inversion of the eyelashes. This procedure should not be confused with under-eye bags that are considered a cosmetic concern and therefore is not covered by any insurance.

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Bob the Drag Queen, the MC of “Cherry Pop” and winner of season eight of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Tempest DuJour, one of the film’s veteran divas.


M Alexis Michelle, a contestant on this year’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Detox is another of the veteran divas.


anhattan’s Pride Week kicked off on June 19 with OutCinema — a collaboration of NewFest New York City’s LGBTQ film festival and Heritage of Pride. This year’s screening, at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre, was “Cherry Pop,” a hilarious new comedy about a newbie drag queen and all the drama she faces the night of her first gig. Directed by Assaad Yacoub, the cast was filled with drag queen royalty, including Bob the Drag Queen, Detox, Tempest DuJour, and Latrice Royale. Gay City News caught up with a few of the queens and other guests before the screening, and asked them some questions about the movie, as well as what they were looking forward to at this year’s Pride. Alexis Michelle, one of the contestants on this year’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” said she was excited that Pride was “a march again, and not just a parade.” Lars Berge, who plays “the cherry” drag queen expressed how much he loved working with and getting to know “all of these beautiful queens, obviously.” Tempest DuJour, a veteran queen in the movie, seconded that sentiment saying “So many amazing, talented, beautiful people all in one space.” She also expressed

“Cherry Pop” director Assaad Yacoub.

hope that this Pride the community would be less concerned about labels and focus more on our humanity. Director Yacoub was glowing with pride and had nothing but good things to say about this cast, stating how much he loved working with the girls — that it was like an all-day comedy fest. Detox, who plays another of the veteran queens in “Cherry Pop,” stressed that, given the current political climate, it is more important now than ever that we be loud, proud, and in the forefront of media. “I’m excited to continue to be a thorn in the ass of American society,” Detox boasted. Bob the Drag Queen, the MC of “Cherry Pop” and winner of season eight of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” could not have been more excited about his first full-length feature film, being on set, and working with other artists whose work he respects. “Pride is such an exciting time of the year every year,” Bob told Gay City News. “I just love Pride — I love the happiness. I love the joy. There are some people in the world who only get to be out once a year.” As for the season nine queen, he was torn between Peppermint and Sasha Valor, saying “I want New York City to have another win!” “Cherry Pop” will be available on video-on-demand this fall.

Lars Berge plays “the cherry” drag queen.

Bob the Drag Queen hoists director Assaad Yacoub.

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |


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n Sunday, June 11, one day after Washington, DC, observed its own local Pride celebration, tens of thousands of grassroots activists took to the streets of the capital in an Equality March for Unity & Pride. Organizers acknowledged the progress of recent years but also pointed with alarm to “increased hostile rhetoric, discriminatory policies, and violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable in our communities.” The event organizers, in a mani-


festo of sorts for the Trump era, rallied support for the march in order “to give voice to our concerns, and to support, uplift, and bring attention to those in our communities who are targeted due to immigration status, ethnicity, religion, skin color, gender, and disability. We affirm and celebrate that we are a mix of diverse communities. Lack of unity has caused many of our needs to be neglected or ignored. But now, for 2017 and beyond, we are working to learn from our prior mistakes and come together through common belief in inalienable human rights and dignity for all.”

June 22 - July 05, 2017 |




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June 22 - July 05, 2017 |

Pride 2017 print edition  

Jun 22-Jul 5, 2017 Pride edition of Gay City News. The theme is "RESIST."

Pride 2017 print edition  

Jun 22-Jul 5, 2017 Pride edition of Gay City News. The theme is "RESIST."