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november 2020 volume 2 issue 1

NovEmBEr 2020 voLumE 2 iSSuE 1






palM sprINgs

COvId News

aRTisT pRofiLe: Martin “Mix”Luera p10

a noTe fRoM Toni Being Grateful p6

ConveRsaTions wiTh niCoLe 2020 Election Update p7

Return of the Annual Christmas Wreath Auction p4

Small Business Owners and the COVID-19 Pandemic p15

Life Beyond TheRapy Anticipation p8

Big Mike & fRiends Saul Mendoza p9

The Scott Carlson/Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Community Dinner p5

INNdulge PS Celebrates 25 Years p14 PALM SPRINGS PRIDE 2020 p14 good eaTs Ts Comfort Food and Sweet Treats p13

Jai RodRiguez On Being a Trailblazer and Finding the Heart in Every Project p11

COVID-19 and Flu Season: How Seniors Can Stay Healthy p15

Victory for councilman-ElEct

sTepheN whITbUrN ExcLuSivE iNTErviEW


fter a well fought campaign, and despite nasty smear efforts from his opponent, Stephen Whitburn is victorious in his run for San Diego City Council District 3. We were able to get some questions answered by Whitburn on his win and his plans for helping and improving the third district of the City of San Diego.

rEaD our ExcLuSivE iNTErviEW oN paGE 3

LGBTQSD NEWS: Similar to Harvey Milk, you got elected on your third try. How does it feel? I’m grateful to everyone who voted for me and to all the terrific people who supported my campaign in ways large and small. This was a huge team effort. I’m honored by the trust people have placed in me, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility to serve our community well in the years ahead.

rEaD oN paGE 2


1299 CAMINO DEL RIO SOUTH | 619.906.5546




COver sTOrY

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Stephen Whitburn continued from page 1 LGBTQSD NEWS: The homelessness problem is getting out of control — Downtown, Hillcrest, etc. What are your plans on this issue? My No. 1 priority will be solving our homelessness crisis. We have a moral obligation to help those who are suffering on the streets. It’s also a quality-oflife issue for our neighborhoods. I’ll ensure we conduct more effective outreach to people who are unsheltered, better coordinate services among agencies, provide emergency rent assistance to people facing eviction, add short-term housing by using state grants to purchase inexpensive hotels, partner with San Diego County to provide behavioral health services, and supply job training and ongoing support to help people become self-supporting.

LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support the proposed Ferris wheel in Balboa Park? This is a new proposal, and I’d like to hear the thoughts of the community and other stakeholders before I weigh in on it. It is currently being considered by the Balboa Park Committee, which advises the mayor and City Council on matters relating to Balboa Park. LGBTQSD NEWS: You have already started focusing on the lack of quick response when it comes to 911 emergency lines. Can you tell us about it? Some people have expressed frustration that when they called 911 to request police, they didn’t get a quick response. Recently, a man threatened the manager of a restaurant in Hillcrest. The manager called 911 three times requesting police. I know how busy our officers are. I recently spent an afternoon with an officer, and we went from one call to the next throughout the entire shift. I’m looking at what we can do to ensure that every urgent call to 911 gets a quick response.

LGBTQSD NEWS: There are many nightclubs/bars in the 3rd District. Do you support extending their operating hours and continuing outdoor dining in 2021? The additional outdoor dining has been popular with residents. It has also helped restaurants to stay open, serve more customers, and employ more workers. In general, I support continuing the expanded outdoor dining. As for bar and nightclub operating hours, there are many individual variables, so those would be reviewed on a case-bycase basis.

LGBTQSD NEWS: Residence and business leases are forcing people to leave the 3rd District. What do you hope to do about this issue? People who love our community should be able to keep living here. Sadly, we’ve seen longtime residents move away because they could no longer afford housing. I’ll work to preserve and improve existing affordable housing, add affordable apartments on excess land around trolley stations, offer property tax incentives to builders who include extra affordable units, and assist residents who would like to add an affordable rental unit behind their home.

LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you think redistricting will change the 3rd District? Every 10 years following the census, the council district borders are redrawn so that each council district has a similar population. District 3 has grown in the past 10 years, so people expect the district’s boundaries to shift a bit to reduce its population. An independent panel will determine how best to do that. LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support the Police Department and law enforcement being welcomed in the San Diego LGBTQ Pride Parade? I was San Diego Pride’s executive director when the Pulse Nightclub shooting happened in Orlando in June of 2016, a month before our Pride celebration. Few people know the lengths to which the San Diego Police Department went – in ways seen and unseen – to keep our community safe during our Pride celebration that year. Their effort to protect us was extraordinary. Of course, large numbers of people have had a different experience with police, including many in our Black, Brown, and Trans communities. As a councilmember, I will support measures that aim to build trust between our communities and our Police Department, and I look forward to the day when everyone feels safe and included in our celebrations.

LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support more bike lanes? I support adding bike lanes that integrate well into our neighborhoods. We need bicyclists to be safe, and that requires a network of bike lanes so that bicyclists can safely get to wherever they’re going. We also need to be thoughtful about how we add bike lanes so we don’t leave residents or businesses without parking. Stephen Whitburn (courtesy photos)

LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support the proposed San Diego AIDS Memorial being in Olive Street Park? Thousands of San Diegans died during the AIDS crisis, and many of them and their loved ones were not treated properly due to the politics of the time. The memorial will remember them with dignity. With the city settling on a site, I hope people will soon have a special place to quietly reflect upon the many community members we lost.

LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support stricter building height limits? Appropriate building heights are tailored to individual neighborhoods. A 40-story tower might be great Downtown but not in University Heights. Ultimately, we need good urban planning and community involvement in decision-making.

LGBTQSD NEWS: You were subjected to a smear campaign by your opponent and yet you still ran a clean campaign. Do you think that was a factor in your decisive election? Many people thanked me for running a clean campaign. I always enjoy keeping things positive, and people seem to appreciate that. Now that the election is over, I’m looking forward to all of us moving forward together.

San DiEGo LGBT vETEraNS Wall of Honor Since 2011, The LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor recognizes LGBTQ veterans who served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and transgender and nonbinary veterans, all with ties to San Diego. By serving our country honorably, and with distinction, each veteran honored as part of this Wall of Honor has served as a role model for advancing equality for all. The LGBT Veterans Wall commemorates these veterans’ lives in hopes that their courage, bravery and sacrifices will continue to inspire future generations.

The 2020 San Diego LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor inductees are: • El Bisarra, USN • Lynn Pender, USN • Jose Rivera III, USN • Tristan Sotomayor, USN • Barbara Jean Crusberg, USMC

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Todd Gloria continued from page 1 implementing Measure B as proof of my administration’s commitment to reforming police practices. I will continue to work with the police chief, the community, and our officers to find additional improvements to increase trust between the department and the neighborhoods they serve. LGBTQSD NEWS: The homelessness issue is one facing almost every American city; do you really think it can be solved? Cities across the nation are successfully ending chronic homelessness and my goal is for San Diego to join those communities. We will accomplish that by following best practices like housing first, that pairs shelters with services to get people off the streets and keep them off the streets. I look forward to working with our new county supervisors to collaborate on solutions to make a meaningful reduction on the number of San Diegans living on our streets. LGBTQSD NEWS: Your support for bike lanes was not popular with a lot of people. Are you planning to expand them? Yes, I do. We have yet to build a complete bicycle network and many San Diegans have not seen the kind of infrastructure that will boost safety and attract more users. Doing this will reduce traffic, save lives, and help San Diego meet its Climate Action Plan goals.

Todd Gloria and family head to the polls to cast their votes on Tuesday November 2, 2020 (courtesy photos)

ssemblymember, and now Mayor-elect Todd Gloria makes history again by being the first person of color and first gay Mayor-elect of San Diego. Gloria’s public service career spans two decades of results oriented hard work. The San Diego Mayor-elect answered some questions for us regarding his career, his message and his plans for “Americas Finest City”. LGBTQSD NEWS: In 2013, San Diego called upon you to be our ‘Interim Mayor.’ Now, 7 years later, you will once again be our mayor, how does that feel? It feels great. We have campaigned for 22 months to win this election. Now that we have won this race, I’m honored to once again serve in San Diego’s mayor — the first openly LGBTQ person to have been elected to serve in this role.

LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see yourself being a different mayor than anyone before you? I will be San Diego’s 37th mayor. All of us bring different experiences, priorities, and visions to the job. I’m sure that mine are unique and hope that all of them will be used to benefit all San Diegans.

LGBTQSD NEWS: What message does your election as our first mayor of color and member of the LGBTQ community send? I hope it sends a message to the LGBTQ community and communities of color that our city is becoming more open and inclusive. It says that pathways of opportunities exist for more people. Our responsibility is to ensure more members of our community can access those pathways.

LGBTQSD NEWS: Is it true you have been in a serious committed relationship for a few years and will you have a ‘first gentleman’? I am in a long-term committed relationship. My partner Adam is very supportive of my public service — as is our dog, Diego. I’m sure they’ll be involved as appropriate.

LGBTQSD NEWS: In the last few months, this mayoral campaign turned very negative and for the first time, even your parents were brought into it. How did your family deal with it? I’ve chosen a life of public service and my family has been supportive of my choice. While I’m fair game for political attacks, my family should’ve been off limits. Those who chose to attack my parents should be ashamed of themselves. LGBTQSD NEWS: You are also our first mayor who actually is a renter, so what are your plans for our affordable housing problems? Our housing affordability crisis is the top challenge we must face and my personal experience with San Diego’s high housing costs motivates me to tackle this problem on behalf of the many local residents who need relief

LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see the working relationship between the city and county improving when it comes to COVID-19? The election of a new mayor, five new council members, and three new county supervisors provides an opportunity for the city and the county to reset its relationship and partner on a variety of issues to better serve our residents. We should prioritize COVID-19 and homelessness as the issues we use this reinvigorated relationship to tackle first.

LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see your inauguration ceremony in view of COVID-19? The inauguration is scheduled for Dec. 10, 2020. It will be done in compliance with state and county health protocols, meaning most will have to experience it virtually.

from skyrocketing rents and unattainable sale prices. I believe we must build more housing with a focus on homes priced for the working and middle class. I look forward to unveiling initiatives to accomplish this very soon. LGBTQSD NEWS: You have a good relationship with our police chief

and department. How do you see yourself improving relationships with those who want to defund them? The passage of Measure B that will strengthen our city’s police review board will do a lot to increase oversight and accountability for our officers. I’ve committed to fully and faithfully

LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support the continuation of outdoor dining for 2021? Absolutely. In addition to being a meaningful way for local restaurants to survive COVID-19’s necessary restrictions, outdoor dining has proven popular with San Diegans and helpful in increasing the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. I will work with stakeholders to make this a permanent part of our communities.


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One of this years wreaths up for grabs courtesy of Freshii Hillcrest by Jason (Sparkles) Allamon

rEturn of

The aNNUal ChrIsTMas wreaTh aUCTION Big mike phillips

n 2004, Dale Weathers, Chaz Dubach, and Johnny Osgood — owners of Martinis Above Fourth — were looking for a way to honor their close friend Queen Eddie Conlon, who had died. They remembered an event they had attended, a wreath auction produced by Chaz, Dale, and Johnny’s friends who owned Woody’s at the Beach in Laguna Beach. After that great night of fun, they felt the love and compassion from the community of Long Beach in reaction to this event. It gave them the idea that they could recreate the same event in San Diego. So, the boys approached their staff and friends, along with Nicole Murray Ramirez and Nathan Garcia of the Imperial Court (which had co-founded the Queen Eddie Conlon Youth Fund). The agreement would be that Martinis would host and raise the money for the Queen Eddie Conlon Fund and donate the money raised from that event. It became the annual Queen Eddie Christmas Wreath Auction. The event’s namesake, best known to the LGBTQ+ community as Queen Eddie, was an activist, awardwinning columnist and among Hillcrest’s most colorful

and unique characters. Conlon arrived in San Diego in 1975 and touched countless lives until 2002, when he lost his battle with cancer. The wreath auction is a really fun event that benefits a great cause and honors the memory of someone who always believed that the youth are our future. The event has raised more than $250,000 between 2004-2017. The wreath auction never stopped. Ian Johnson, also a founding member of the Queen Eddie Christmas Wreath Auction, was an employee of Mar-

tinis since they opened in 2004 and has been a part of the wreath auction every year since. When Dale, Chaz, and Johnny sold the restaurant, Ian took the lead in producing the event under the new ownership. When Ian left Martinis in 2012, he continued to produce the event every year with the help of some long-standing volunteers and Martinis staff members, The Center staff members and Imperial Court members during the last few years. This year, along with the support of the Imperial Court de San Diego, Ryan Bedrosian, Eddie Reynosa, Courtney Ray, Michael Lochner, Nicole MurrayRamirez and I will co-chair the return of the Annual Queen Eddie Christmas Wreath Auction. This year, the proceeds will benefit Being Alive, The Food Voucher Program/Take What You Need Food Distribution and the Harvey Milk Foundation. Rich’s Day Lounge will host the event on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. Seating is limited because of COVID-19 safety guidelines. For Rich’s Day Lounge reservations, go to OpenTable.com. If you would like to create and donate a wreath, please contact Big Mike at 619-807-7324.



Photo by Big Mike Phillips

tHE Scott carlSon/Dan fErbal


community DinnEr By Steven Blocker

“BE ThaNkfUL foR whaT yoU havE. yoUR LIfE, No MaTTER how Bad yoU ThINk IT IS, IS SoMEoNE ELSE’S faIRy TaLE.” — Wale ayeni


or many, Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, good food and great company. It’s a time to gather, give thanks, celebrate our accomplishments over the past year and toss all ideas of that perfect summer body out the window as we grab that second piece of pie. Unfortunately for many, this is not always the case and Thanksgiving can be a day of sadness and filled with loneliness. In the late ’80s, during the height of the AIDS pandemic, San Diego activist and Being Alive co-founder, Scott Carlson, saw too many people shunned by their families spending the holidays alone, so he stepped into action. On Thanksgiving Day 1989, Scott opened the doors of his home and invited members of the community that were living with HIV/AIDS to spend the day with him and their new chosen family. Little did he know that he was beginning a tradition that has grown exponentially and is one of the most notable aspects of his legacy. When Scott passed away in 1990, many feared that this annual tradition would die with him, but members of the San Diego LGBTQ+ community wouldn’t hear of it, coming together and continuing the dinner as both a way of honoring him and to continue to serve the community in need. Over the years, the dinner has grown and is no longer just an event for those living with HIV/AIDS, but anyone that is wanting or needing a safe space to eat and celebrate. Then in 2004, the Imperial Court de San Diego (ICSD) took over the dinner, renaming it The Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Community Dinner in his honor and memory. Since then, the event has grown so large that multiple venue changes have occurred. This small family dinner

that started in the kitchen of Scott’s home moved to the hall of the First Unitarian Universalist Church and then to its new home in the auditorium of the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Today, The Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner has become an event for the entire community, not just the LGBTQ+ community or those living with HIV/AIDS. Our doors are open and there are seats at the table for everyone. This event began at a time when elected officials wouldn’t recognize, let alone associate with the LGBTQ+ community. Now we have state senators, assembly members, church leaders and even the mayor of San Diego donating, attending, and rolling up their sleeves to help serve food. People like Toni Atkins, Todd Gloria, Shane Harris, and Kevin and Katherine Faulconer have all been avid supporters of the event. While many in our community are staunch supporters of this event, two of our biggest supporters were Steven Hawley and his partner, Dan Ferbal, of the Rob Benzon Foundation. Dan made sure that the event was supported by the foundation every year. Unfortunately, we lost Dan last year so to pay our respects to him, we again renamed the dinner to The Scott Carlson/Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Community Dinner. I had the honor to have helped serve food with his sister at the 2019 dinner. While the ICSD produces this dinner, this is a massively communitydriven event. Donations pour in from local businesses, such as MO’s Universe, Uptown Tavern, Ace Hardware, San Diego Pride and countless individual donors. Volunteers line up to be a part each year. Volunteers from Cheli, Stepping Stone San Diego, and the Leather Community (just to name a few) fill many essential volunteer roles.

As we enter the 2020 holiday season amidst COVID-19, the question has been asked if the dinner will take place this year. The answer to that is ABSOLUTELY! This pandemic has affected many people in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine and we feel the need will be much greater this year. Necessary changes are being made to ensure the safety of everyone. Uptown Tavern has graciously volunteered to prepare all of the food this year. Instead of our typical sit down dinner and program, we will be distributing Thanksgiving to-go boxes to anyone that comes to The Center. We will not let anyone feel alone or go hungry this Thanksgiving. If you are interested in donating to The Scott Carlson/ Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Dinner, please contact ICSD Board Secretary Steven Blocker at PrinceRoyaleSD@gmail. com or Board President Mikey Lochner at 619-972-6369. If you are in need of a delicious, made with love, hot Thanksgiving meal, join us at The San Diego LGBT Community Center at 3909 Centre St. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26. To-go box distribution will begin at noon. QUoTES fRoM voLUNTEERS: “The dinner brings together not just our community, but our sense of family. We are reminded that family is those who support who you are.” — Sunceree Richardson “It costs nothing to be kind and we all need more kindness. For many, our community is the family they have chosen because the family they had is gone or never excepted who they are.” — Kerrie Stone

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a NOTe frOM TONI Toni g. atkins —Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.


hanks! That is a word that is increasingly in our minds and hearts when November rolls around. While the upcoming holiday season will be different than usual—as everything in 2020 has been—there are many things that will stay the same, including the gratitude we feel for the blessings in our lives, blessings that shine through even in tough times. I know I am grateful for the privilege of serving some of the finest communities

pUblIC servICe / OpINION in the world in the 39th Senate District— and I’m grateful to serve a region whose agricultural bounty helps grace the nation’s Thanksgiving tables with crops valued at almost half a billion dollars—and that’s just considering our avocados, citrus, vegetables and vine crops, and fruit trees. I am grateful for the first responders, medical professionals, teachers, grocery and pharmacy workers, and small businesses who have been working so hard to keep us safe and providing as much “normalcy” as possible during this pandemic. I am grateful for the opportunity I recently had with my colleagues, Assemblymember Todd Gloria and Congressmember Scott Peters, to hand out 2,500 boxes of fresh food provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for families in need. And I’m grateful for California’s Office of Emergency Services for introducing me to COPE Preparedness, so that we could facilitate the distribution of donated masks and hand sanitizer along with the food, as well as with accurate public health information in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19. I am also grateful for the hard-working members of my staff here in San Diego who, in addition to their regular workload, helped with that event and have successfully aided more than a thousand constituents navigate issues involving the Employ-

ment Development Department and other agencies during this pandemic. Our goal is to keep advocating for solutions that will make it unnecessary for folks to go outside of these agencies for assistance, but we remain here to help as well. I am eternally grateful for the love and support of my spouse Jennifer and our friends and family, including the two furry members of our household, who are generally adorable, and only occasionally divas when yet another Zoom meeting comes along to delay their walk or snack needs. Of course, while having “thanks” in our minds and hearts is terrific this time of year, it’s even better when we have “thanks” on our lips and in our wallets as well. So I hope we can all go out of our way to say thank you to all those who provide the blessings in our lives, and that we can express our gratitude by shopping small businesses and supporting local restaurants for take-out meals to make the holidays special. Filling the shelves at our local food banks and shelters. Maybe even changing the life of a senior pet and bringing them to their new forever home for the holidays. There are so many ways we are blessed. And so many ways we can help bless others. Wishing you and your loved ones all the best as the holiday season ramps up! Toni


LGBTQ San Diego County News PO Box 34664 San Diego, CA 92163 858.886.9458 PUBLISHER Terry Sidie ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Nicole Murray Ramirez nicolemrsd1@gmail.com 619.241.5672 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Cesar A. Reyes creativedirector@lgbtqsd.news EDITOR JP Emerson editor@lgbtqsd.news SALES sales@lgbtqsd.news Mike Rosensteel 619.865.2220 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Big Mike Phillips Bmsd1957@gmail.com 619.807.7324 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA info@lgbtq.news

beINg graTefUl

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Big Mike Phillips Jyotu Sandhu Michael Kimmel Patric Stillman Simona Valanciute Steven Blocker Toni G. Atkins

DISTRIBUTION LGBTQ San Diego County News is distributed free every first Friday of the month. © 2020. All rights reserved.

OPINION/LETTERS LGBTQ San Diego County News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email them directly to editor@lgbtqsd.news and include your name, phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers or staff. SUBMISSION/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to editor@lgbtqsd.news. For breaking news and Investigative story ideas, contact the editor by phone or email. Copyright © 2020 LGBTQ San Diego County News Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this publication’s editorial and opinion pages are the author’s own and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of LGBTQ San Diego County News. The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.



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Conversations with Nicole Nicole Murray ramirez —Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the ‘Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest’ by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at Nicolemrsd1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Nmrsd2.

2020 eleCTION UpdaTe


Todd Gloria and Stephen Whitburn (courtesy image)

The city and county of San Diego is now finally a strong Democratic Party region and the two most influential and powerful leaders will be Mayor-elect Todd Gloria and soon-to-be Chairman Nathan Fletcher of the County Board of Supervisors. History was made Tuesday with the election of our city’s first Mayor of Color and LGBTQ+ citizen, Todd Gloria, and the election of Supervisor Nora Vargas as the first Woman of Color to the County Board. Indeed, the Golden State is turning Brown and so is America’s Finest City. But all people, especially the LGBTQ+ leadership and communities, must form stronger ties as Todd Gloria was subjected to homophobic attacks and many were from P.O.C. leaders and publications who endorsed the La Jolla millionaire backed by Trump Republicans. A message to the Lincoln Club: “Unless you truly become more non-partisan, you will continue to lose influence.”

ike many of you, I was awake until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning waiting for election results and though now it looks like Biden/Harris will end up with a narrow win, our nation has changed greatly and “Trumpism” is not going away. The Democratic Party needs to take a good look at itself and turning to “the left” is not the answer. And we People of Color, LGBTQ+ and progressives have to start voting to our potential because we still aren’t. Hopefully this week’s election results will wake up a sleeping giant (P.O.C.) for we indeed have the power to change America but first we must fully engage in the political process.

Tyler Renner (courtesy image)

Mayor Kevin Faulconer (courtesy image)

Terra Lawson-Remer (courtesy image)

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy (courtesy image)

Mara Elliott (courtesy image)

Chris Ward (courtesy image)

The re-election of City Attorney Mara Elliott saved that office from a real nut case. Toni Duran and controversial San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Lopez’s last-minute smear campaign against Stephen Whitburn totally backfired with Duran losing big time. Rumors are that complaints are being filed and San Diego Pride’s nonprofit status may be in jeopardy over Lopez and other staff members dragging Pride into a political campaign. State Assemblymember-elect Chris Ward will return to the state Capitol, where he spent eight years as a former chief of staff to Senator Marty Block. Word is that popular Toni Atkins is on Governor Newsom’s short list to replace Senator Kamala Harris, but so is California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The twist is that Lorena Gonzalez has already announced she is a candidate for that office. There is also already strong support for Georgette Gomez to run for Gonzalez’s seat if she vacates it as she plans.

Nathan Fletcher (courtesy image)

Toni Atkins (courtesy image)

Nora Vargas (courtesy image)

Keep your eyes on Tyler Renner, Zach Bunshaft, Sara Davis, Will Rodriguez- Kennedy and Nick Serrano as future LGBTQ+ candidates for office. Mayor Kevin Faulconer is being urged to run for governor by civic leaders across the state. San Diegans voted to establish an independent Police Review Commission and there will be LGBTQ+ representation on it! Congratulations to City Commissioner Tom Hebrank, who is now the chairman of the powerful City Council Redistricting Board. Congratulations and thank you to Supervisor-Elect Terra Lawson-Remer, who defeated Trump cheerleader Ms. Gaspar in a landslide. The Republican Party of San Diego held its victory party Tuesday night at a homophobic-run, right wing “Christian Center” in Mission Valley — no wonder they continue to have no victories to celebrate!

Lorena Gonzalez (courtesy image)

Congratulations to Chairman Will RodriguezKennedy of the San Diego County Democratic Party, whose strong leadership finally turned San Diego BLUE! Benny Cartwright becomes more influential and popular as the new owner of SDLGBTN! Congratulations to Benny, we at LGBTQ San Diego County News look forward to working on news projects with you. Hey, whatever happened to Rage Magazine? I, for one, miss it. I will be traveling to Hollywood and Las Vegas soon to give some speeches, then run out of the hotel ballrooms immediately after. Candidates endorsed by GLBT VOTE and Democrats for Equality won almost all their political races! Congratulations to popular state Assemblymembers Brian Maeinschein and Shirley Weber on their re-elections. Sara Jacobs will be our new Congresswoman and we wish her the best. San Diego School Board member Richard Barrera again was easily re-elected and I wish he would run for higher office. Former Mayor of Chula Vista Steve Padilla was re-elected to the City Council and many of us want him to replace state Senator Hueso. School Board member Kevin Beiser is now more out in the public after keeping a low profile, he was spotted having lunch with Big Mike. Please make sure to read our exclusive interviews with Mayor-elect Todd Gloria and Councilman-elect Stephen Whitburn in this issue!



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lIfe beYONd TherapY Michael kimmel —Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.


s I write this, the election is about a week away and I’m swimming in a sea of emotions: hope, worry, insecurity (due to all the uncertainty about the future) and calm (I know I’ll be fine whatever happens, even though I worry so much). I have been reading two fascinating books: “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson and “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich. I love to read. I enjoy learning about other ways of thinking, seeing and living. Reading helps me get outside my gay, white, cis, male “bubble”. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” beckoned to me from the bookshelves of a great little bookstore in Moscow, Idaho (a lovely little town). I’d read a review of it and was intrigued. In some ways, the book was a typical coming out story. However, by combining his autobiography with a queer, black political manifesto, Mr. Johnson created something unique. His story mirrored my own – young feminine boy grows up in heteronormative household – except for two important differences: he’s black and he had a very supportive family.


The Center is here for you during COVID-19, offering Emergency Services: • Emergency Resource & Referral Phone Line • Behavioral Health Services by Zoom Health Care • Individual Program Meetings & Check-Ins via Zoom • Virtual Support Groups • Critical Housing Needs • HIV Testing • Food Resources The Center knows that food security is critical to our LGBTQ community, especially during COVID-19. The Center hosts two Food Banks per month to distribute nutritious and healthy food.

Neighborhood Food Distribution

Tuesday, Nov. 10* / 7:30am – 10:30am

Senior Food Bank Tuesday, Nov. 24/ 12noon – 3pm

* Date change in November – typically held the first Tuesday of each month

If you need Emergency Services, please call 619.800.4252 (9am-4pm) 619.800.4216 (4pm-9pm)

The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 www.thecentersd.org

I don’t know much about being gay in the black community. I had an AfricanAmerican boyfriend – Dwayne - for a spell when I lived in San Francisco. When he and I went to his (black) church, I could hear the elder women in the church whisper about us. “What a waste”, they said as we squeezed past them into a pew. I wasn’t sure that we were “a waste” because he was gay or because I was white. Or both. This experience gave me a little insight into Mr. Johnson’s tale of being a double minority, and how each minority mistrusted the other: the AfricanAmerican community wasn’t thrilled with him being gay, and the (mostly white) gay community wasn’t very welcoming because he was black. As a gay white guy, watching all the BLM protests has left me feeling largely ignorant and helpless. Today, I had lunch with a new acquaintance (older, white, wealthy, gay) who told me, “I’m so sick of all those BLM protests. I’m voting for Trump and anyone who opposes the Democrats.” I sat there, my food growing cold. In shock, I didn’t trust myself to respond. I kept thinking, “How could you say that? How could you believe that?” But, for a change, I sat quietly, listening. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I WILL speak up about it. But, that wasn’t the moment. I had no idea he felt this way. My gut reaction was to stand up, grab his shoulders and “shake some sense” into him. Luckily for us both, I didn’t. “The Night Watchman” talks

about how Native American people made their way through a largely racist, white world, from North Dakota in 1953 to present-day Minneapolis. Ms. Erdrich – long one of my favorite writers – weaves a tapestry of two cultures, often diametrically opposed. She presents both cultures as rather hapless, doing the best they can with what they know. Racism, of course, is always in the background. Just like today. Both of these books are about anticipation: the anticipation of something good, right and just after living through oppression, chaos and unfairness. I too, am living with anticipation. I hope to see a Biden-Harris victory and the Senate returning to Democratic leadership. I anticipate the undoing of much of the damage done by four years of the Trump administration. I look forward to a president who is rational, sane and mentally stable. Whatever the outcome of the election, I anticipate that things will – eventually - get better. I don’t know why, but I have always been deeply optimistic. I’m sure glad I was: it kept me from killing myself as a closeted queer man in my teens and twenties. I didn’t come out until my thirties; I just couldn’t accept being who I was. Regardless of who wins the election, we all have to face the reality of its aftermath. Even if our candidate(s) win, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride. But, I’m optimistic. I am living with anticipation. I hope you are too.



november 2020 volume 2 issue 1


bIg MIke aNd frIeNds big Mike phillips —Big Mike Phillips is an activist, fundraiser, bartender and photographer who has lived in San Diego for 30 years. He has helped create two nonprofits and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. He has been a photographer for more than 25 years and has recorded our LGBTQ history not only in San Diego but around the country, including three LGBTQ marches on Washington D.C. Contact Big Mike at 619-8077324, or bmsd1957@gmail.com.


his column, which I have the great fortune to write twice a month thanks to the LGBTQ San Diego County News, has opened my mind and heart sharing with you, the readers, about the people I call my friends — learning who they are and the positive and powerful ways each one of them impact our community and the lives of those they encounter. As I have always said, “We live in the most wonderful city in the world,” mostly because of the people who make our city come to life. I believe it is because of the so many diversified people that we share our communities with. We come from every walk of life, every color, every religion, and every challenge that unites us as a people. We learn from each other as we also teach each other about our cultures, diversity, sexuality, and the common thread that actually does brings us together as human beings. Kindness and compassion are a huge and important factor that I can say has always been a leading example of so many people in our community, but I know no one who holds this truth better than my wonderful friend Saul Mendoza. At 16 years old, Saul immigrated from a small rural town outside of Acapulco, Mexico to the United States, scared but happy to be here for a better opportunity in life. Saul did have a brother living here but he moved back to Mexico only after being here two months. Not knowing what to expect, Saul found himself alone, not able to speak or understand the English language was a huge challenge, but one he was willing to learn how to overcome. He knew he would need to work hard to do what was expected to make America his new home. In the early years of moving here to San Diego, he worked hard to learn how to speak English and made a few friends that helped him with shelter and food. In 1992, Saul found his break and prayers answered when he landed a job at Hamburger Mary’s. He said to me, “to this day I will always cherish the love and gratitude that Chris Shaw and Doug Snider gave me. If it had not been for them, I do not know where I would be today.” Saul also said: “I then realized I would need to put in the effort, dedication, and love into my work, then that is when you get the results of having the three most important things one will need to survive in life, shelter, food, and clothes. I knew then my dreams had become reality.” I had the great fortune of first meeting (and working side by side with) Saul when I was given the opportunity to bartend (at the then) Hamburger Mary’s back in the early 1990s. In fact, he opened the door and let me in that morning I reported for my very first shift. He was the first person I met on my first day of work. His position may have been bar-back and busboy, but he knew everything that was going on there. If it had not been for Saul that morning, I would had been completely lost. I kept asking him questions, and every time with his big smile he would say, “No worries amigo, I’m here to help you,” and help me he did. As long as we worked together and to this very day, Saul has never changed his amazing, helpful and kind attitude toward his work and the people he encounters daily. Over the years, I have personally watched Saul grow from being that shy, young, hard-working man into an impor-

saUl MeNdOZa Big Mike and Saul Mendoza

Saul Mendoza photos by Big Mike Phillips

tant part of the structure of the MO’s Universe team. Admired and respected by the team members he works with, he’s taken on leadership roles that prove he has more confidence and knowledge of himself. His customers are loyal, and always feel that they are the only special ones when Saul takes care of them. Saul loves his job and his co-workers so much that he could not stop talking about his relationship with them: “I am very blessed to have the opportunity to work for a company where they let you have the freedom to be who you are, and express yourself along with our agreements and disagreements, but at the end of the day you can still call it home, that is what Chris Shaw teaches us. So, what else can I say from this experience? Well for one, I got the three most important things: food, clothes, and shelter. To top it all off, I made a lot of new friends, I learned more English, I learned so much from being around other people. I just enjoy my life at Baja Betty’s so much. Because

that’s how I see and feel when I spend time feeling good with my co-workers, all my friends that come over to visit me and share part of their lives, and their stories. I am blessed that my friends and customers spend their time just to hear all my crazy stories of what I am going through every day in my life. Everything that my work offers me makes me feel good to share everything with those I call my family. That is why I can say I am truly a Mexican because you will hear that famous phrase that we say, “MI CASA ES TU CASA.” Saul says he is just a regular worker in a restaurant; he cleans tables, helps the bartenders, bartends himself and waits on tables. But in my book, there is nothing regular about his work ethic, his kindness and his willingness to make sure your experience is the best he possibly can offer you. I know Chris and Doug feel like they made the right choice when they invited Saul to be a part of the MO’s family so many years ago. Saul is now 45 years old, since his journey to the United States began

at 16 years old, he was unable to get a high school diploma, but he has proudly accomplished learning English and has become a United States citizen. He realizes the importance to give back to those who are also in need of help. Saul has never forgotten his own struggles and gladly volunteers his time and money to local organizations in need. It is not uncommon to see him volunteering for organizations like Christie’s Place, Mama’s Kitchen (delivering food to clients impacted with HIV/AIDS), PACTO Latino and anyone else who asks, he will do his best to support them. As he says: “I will do what I can, I will find away, because that is what makes me a much better person. Passing it forward to help others makes me feel I belong, because I have been there myself.” Now Saul did mention to me that he would like to get more involved with Hillcrest organizations that help keep our neighborhood clean. “I love my neighborhood of Hillcrest; it is my home, and it should always look and stay clean.” Over the many years and working extremely hard, Saul has made it his passion to travel as much as he possibly can. He has traveled to more than 19 countries all over the world, learning their cultures, art and meeting the people. Saul says it is the greatest gift he gives himself to experience the globe and realized how fortunate he is to live in the greatest country in the world. He travels with different people over the years and even says that he is the easiest person to travel with if anyone ever needs a travel companion. Saul calls himself the “troublemaker,” but it is all good trouble, that is for sure. If you have never met Saul, you should take the time to go visit him at Baja Bettys. He works the day shift Monday through Friday. You will be glad you did. San Diego is filled with so many wonderful and hard-working individuals we love to support and enjoy seeing when we go to our favorite hang outs. I, myself, have appreciated the loyalty and support over the last 30 years in the food and beverage industry. I have learned so much about myself just by knowing Saul — watching another human being like him take on life with such gratitude every single day has made me stop and appreciate my life even more. Never stop being who you are Saul, and I pray that all your dreams come true. You deserve that, and I love you, dear friend.


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artiSt ProfilE:

MarTIN “MIx” lUera By patric Stillman

for 20 years, border artist Martin Luera has explored issues of gender and cultural identity through figurative works including bullfighters and priests. his work has undergone a significant shift since he transitioned five years ago. “I like the work to be seen as a triumph of what can happen when you finally assert yourself and let the world know who you are.”


artin Luera, also known by the nickname Mix, is a local artist who has lived in the region all his life. Raised in a traditional Mexican family, Luera found a calling for the arts at an early age. He holds a bachelor’s in Fine Art and French from the University of San Diego and an MFA from San Diego State University. Luera currently teaches life drawing and art foundation courses for both universities. Luera was aware of feeling different as early as 5 years old. Though he was born in a female body, he recalls being called a boy so many times that his mother gave up trying to explain that her daughter was not a boy. He found that it was challenging to make sense of one’s identity while growing up during a time when there was no public discussion of Transgender identity. He initially came out as a Lesbian. By his mid-30s, he became aware of who he truly was and knew that he wanted to transition by the time he was 40. In 1996, he met Ana Ibarra, who would become his wife in 2008. Though his desire to transition initially came as a surprise to Ana, she has been Martin’s greatest supporter. Ana jokes that the only disappointment is that she is no longer seen as a Gay woman but just another typical wife standing by her husband. During the transition, Luera decided to us the name Mix to help people move from calling him by his birth name. He felt that Mix was gender neutral and held a connection to his Mexican lineage. Mix is short for Mixcoatl, the Aztec god of the hunt and inventor of fire. After transitioning, he finally settled on the name Martin, which continues a family tradition.

Over the course of his career, the secret of his identity as seen through his art was subtly hidden in academic speech. Luera had to discover the language and history in which he could place his artwork and have it accepted as ‘real art’ as defined by formal art issues as opposed to personal issues. It created an interesting challenge for the artist presenting a dual life where the work was seen in one way and interpreted in another way as an act of personal survival. Offering a unique perspective on established themes, Luera has created a body of work of figurative paintings exploring gender perception and expectations depicting idealized male figures in situations and roles traditionally reserved for the female figure. Bullfighters, priests and other men appear as representations of people crossing the boundaries between masculine and feminine. Two years ago, Luera was featured in the Escondido Center for the Arts “Campus Creatives” exhibition. He was excited to have his work hanging alongside other local artists he holds in esteem. The biennial exhibition underscores the talents of visual arts educators and highlights San Diego’s presence in the art world. Acceptance of being Transgender and transitioning has given Luera newfound freedom to live fully as himself. Naturally, this has also shifted how he engages in his own creativity. Having spent years learning the rules, Luera is ready to break a few of them. Less concerned with formal art issues, he is having a bit more fun with the work playing with composition and provocative figures.

“After teaching for so many years and seeing people struggle with so many different issues in their lives,” said Luera, “I can see how art can function as a way to communicate and survive. Especially now, art is a factor in successfully moving through some really challenging times.” Nearing 60, Luera is hoping to expose his art as much as possible. He is working on a retrospective, giving a history of how the works have changed as his own thinking has evolved over the decades since his 20s. In conjunction with exploring gender, the exhibition will also be connected to how the work connects to his Mexican heritage. “Mexican culture tends not to be outspoken at times and an art exhibition encourages dialogue,” said Luera. “I hope that I can encourage others to let the world know who they are and how they feel about things.”

Martin Luera can be found online on at Facebook and Instagram under @MLueraCollections. Additionally, you can find sugar skulls and other creations inspired by Mexican tradition by Luera online with Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mlueracollections Patric Stillman is a fine artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door. If you are an artist in San Diego’s LGBTQ community and would like to be featured in an artist profile, please contact Patric for consideration at patric@thestudiodoor.com.



november 2020 volume 2 issue 1



ctor, singer and culture guide Jai Rodriguez has been giving it his all. We had the pleasure of talking with him about: his career; his life experiences and how being “out and proud” has shaped his outlook on life; not being afraid to get in drag to perform some very historical roles; and always finding the heart in every project.

Jai on the COVID-19 pandemic:

I was really panicking at first, because I hadn’t really thought much before about how much of my career is with folks in person and having live audiences. When I’m not working on a television show, I usually tour my cabaret show, promote parties and nightlife or do speaking engagements and all those require crowds. All went away and I panicked for minute. And then in July, I hosted the Daytime Emmys, safely in an isolated studio and it was a sign that things are slowly turning back and we are figuring out ways to keep everyone safe and still make television. That’s been really great and I’m feeling really optimistic. We shot a “Queer Eye”-style reunion with my OG cast and that kind of gave me less of anxiety about work. And I love that “Equal” is out, but it’s HBO Max, and some of these streaming platforms have very, very small budgets and so you’re doing these projects out of labors of love. It’s not like a traditional network or anything else so, it’s really exciting. I’m feeling like during the pandemic, I’ve used the time wisely and productively, I launched a website, I go live every day at 5 on my Facebook, connecting with this new audience. It’s been nice and cathartic to be able to share my journey every day and then document more fun stuff for the website and kind of find some purpose in this time of “whatever.” It’s been very anxious times for all of us, but, you know, finding a purpose, I think has been really helpful for me. I had two aquariums prior to the pandemic beginning, now I have six. I have kind of created my own little ecosystem here at home and it keeps me busy. It’s been tricky to kind of stay connected with folks because those Zoom parties and all that, that was cute in the spring and a little bit in the summer, but then I was just like “OK.” I’m one of those people that I’m just very much about following the rules because usually for us show business folks, if you’ve been exposed to COVID, you can’t get on the set, or if you test positive they’re not going to hold production for you. No, they will just get someone else. It’s a livelihood thing too for many of us. So, I’ve been obeying the rules and making the best with the fur babies and just trying to have some semblance of a new normal, but I definitely think we’re in this for a minute!

Growing up Puerto Rican/Italian in Long Island:

It was pretty common in Long Island. There’s always some speculating of a couple of different groupings. Usually it’s Puerto Rican, Italian, Jewish people on Long Island; you could get a mix of all three. That certainly was my experience growing up. So, it was really common. And then when I moved here, I remember people asking, “So where in Mexico is your family from?” And I was like, “Oh, no, we’re not, oh wait, I’m on this side of the country now,” usually if you are any kind of beige there, they just assumed you’re from somewhere in the Caribbean, you could be Puerto Rican or Cuban. It was a spicy childhood. And then in California, it was interesting how that was not the first thing that people guessed.

Realizing that he was Gay:

Not to be funny, but in hindsight, I think it is funny. I didn’t think it was a thing. Meaning I didn’t believe it was


rOdrIgUeZ on bEinG a TraiLBLazEr anD finDinG tHE HEarT in EVEry ProjEct

By cesar a reyes Photo by Storm Santos, @stormshoots

true, I thought it was just a cruel joke and it was a slur that people used. But no, homosexuality actually wasn’t real because I didn’t have any exposure to it. Certainly not in media or in the limited amount of access I had to the outside world. I grew up very evangelical. So, if it wasn’t for the glory of God, it wasn’t in the house. You remember, the internet in my teens was new and reserved only for people with money and computers in their homes and even then, it was dial up. The only access I had to the cyber world was in the computer lab at school. It was the beginning stages of the internet, you try to Google a picture of a naked man and it took 47 minutes for a search result but by then, I’d have to get to my next class. I could not wrap my brain around how two men could be intimate with one another because I had never seen it and I thought I was the only one experiencing it. So honestly it wasn’t until my first musical (“Rent”) at the age of about 17 that I saw a gay couple but even then, it was kind of interesting because of all the love songs and the “lovey dovey” moments. In that musical, being that Angel was in drag, from the audience perspective; many people didn’t notice that it was the same character that they had met as a

boy in the beginning. But that was the first time I was able to talk about those things with friends. Certainly not at that point identifying myself but I knew that I had an attraction and a curiosity about the logistics of how it worked. So therefore, I didn’t say anything. And then when I booked “Rent” a year later at 18, right after graduating high school, I knew I had to share it with family because I couldn’t just leave home to do this Broadway show so I think in many ways, talking about the character was kind of my backdoor way (pun intended) of coming out because they were so against everything that Angel stood for; an HIV-positive drag queen who was very comfortable in her skin. This wasn’t necessarily something that my family could wrap their brains around. I remember when I told my mom, her exact words were, “I don’t want that sickness in my house. You’ve got to go.” So I was disconnected from my family for a long time. My dad left when I was young. I don’t even know his whereabouts. So really, in many ways, I remember well, my mom had me so young that basically we moved back in with her mother; my grandmother and my grandmother raised my mom and I like siblings and we grew up in my mother’s childhood bedroom, two

twin beds and a small room. That was normal to me until I was 12 or 13 when we got our first place. But at that point, we functioned as roommates so I was basically on my own at 18 but thankfully with a big job. I really explored my adolescence in my late teens and early 20s because I had exposure to the outside world and to mentors and a bunch of LGBTQ+ folks who really stepped in and became my family of choice.

About the show ‘Equal’ and Jose Sarria

Things have shifted where an LGBTQ+ character or actor can openly carry the series as a one, two, three on the call sheet, meaning they have one of the top largest roles and who they choose to love or their gender expression or their gender identity — those things are now just a piece of them. But they can also now be a lawyer, they could be funny, they could be an assh*le. It doesn’t matter. I mean, we still have a lot of bias in Hollywood and we still have a lot of work and pressure we need to put on production companies and studios to tell stories accurately and allow our community to tell our own stories. Jai rodriguez continues on page 12



november 2020 volume 2 issue 1


Jai rodriguez continued from page 11 I love our allies, but sometimes they get it wrong from the executive level down in the best efforts of trying to tell our story. That’s what was so great about being part of “Equal.” Scout Productions (the producers of “Equal”) also created “Queer Eye” and while they weren’t necessarily hands-on when I was on set or anything, they had a great director, Stephen Kijak, who directed a couple episodes of “Queer Eye,” coincidentally enough. I didn’t initially audition for Jose Sarria, I auditioned for another character. They basically had everyone auditioning for, I think, five characters. I think mine were specifically the New York storylines. And I was like, I don’t look anything like this white man with blue eyes who is Jewish. There’s no way I’m going to be able to play this. But they just wanted to see people’s acting ability. I remember I had worn my Apple Watch (like an idiot) to the audition for a series that takes place in 1916 (way to go, Jai) and it was blowing up during the audition. I was getting all these texts and I knew that my “Queer Eye” boys were flying in from the East Coast because we were shooting “Family Feud” the next day and they were trying to make plans to meet up. My phone was blowing up, and so I get out of the audition for “Equal” and as I’m returning texts, I noticed the creator of “Queer Eye” is on the group chat and I thought “that’s funny,” I have not talked to him in years, I was wondering what he needed and he was wondering what all the guys were doing in town? Because anytime we do anything now, it’s nothing to do with the original producers, the minute “Queer Eye” was done, anything we’ve done outside of that has never been sanctioned or organized by the OG producers. So, they were clueless, but they were like, “oh my God, how cool, you’re reuniting.” And we said yes at “Family Feud.” I apologized for my delay in returning texts, “I was just auditioning for an HBO show.” He asked, “Which one?” I was said “Equal,” and he replied with, “that’s our show.” And although I’ve never done this, I said, “I’ve earned this next comment. So can we just cut through the red tape, why don’t you just offer me something in this?” First off, because I felt like if you’re going to use trailblazers and such, I definitely fit that part. But also, I felt confident with the audition I had just done, and I knew that the role I was auditioning for probably wasn’t right, but that maybe they could find something else. He replied, “Oh my God, if you really want to do it, let me talk to my production partner.” So, he had his production partner call me. He’s like, “hey, I’m in South America right now traveling, but I will reach out to you and see if there’s something.” And they came back two weeks later with the role of Jose. I could not have been more thrilled because there are so many similarities in terms of who I organically am, set aside from the fact that I can sing and that I tour in “Cabaret” and all the other stuff. But we just have so many crossovers. I was thrilled because it is a better part than the one I went in for. I had been working in San Francisco a lot for the charity the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. They do a couple of gala concerts and I do about four a year for them. I’m always there and there are so many people from the Imperial Court System who attend the events and I remember going for the first time and thinking “who in the British Parliament Hell is this gentleman with the sparkly crown?” I had no idea. So, over the years, I got to really unpack the history of the Imperial Court. Now, while “Equal” doesn’t cover that because it’s just what they call a primer. With each character, you’re basically just learning the base coat of their lives, which I kind of hope and I said it on set and I keep repeating it in every interview, I hope they do

be straight passing or someone that people would say, “I can’t believe he’s Gay.” Or you could be, what was called at that time, flamboyant; where you are the soundbite quippy Gay. But if you felt anywhere else on the spectrum of being a Queer man, it was like, “I don’t know, he’s not fabulous enough.” It was just very interesting. Now, I think there’s a stronger push to be authentic. But at the time, it was very much “we need to put you in a box and if we don’t know what that box is, we’re just not going to put you in anything.” And so, I understand the weight of that. So when people say, “you’re kind of an iconic part of LGBTQ+ history because for millions of people is the first time they saw themselves reflected in that way,” I can embrace it and accept the part, but I always think it wasn’t as easy as people think, behind the scenes are really tricky and definitely cause moments of questioning your own selfworth and trying to (at times) fit into certain spaces and just being on a show that the themes were style, taste and class and I just thought that sounded so elitist. That piece was really hard for me. So, what I brought was the heart and a more grounded sensibility that was probably more in line with what the straight guy needed in that moment. So, once he had this fancy situation occur to him, getting to the real root of the heart of the issue and helping him in that space was always my passion. I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways of the work I do now is I want that heart in all the work.

Photo by Storm Santos, @stormshoots

What’s next for Jai and where can we catch him?

Jai Rodriguez as Angel in “Rent”

Jai Rodriguez as Jose Sarria in HBO Max’s “Equal”

a season two and that we get to unpack more because Jose’s contributions of serving in the war and also politically energizing an entire generation of people as well as founding the Imperial Court, his contributions in politics and speaking out about those who were not politically engaged, getting them involved, having people’s voices matter and bringing them to the polls — we’re talking about the same things today. So, knowing that call to action has been in place for decades, it gives you a stronger sense of pride to understand that we come from a long history of heroes who have fought for our community in times where it was literally illegal. I think if you try to explain that to a kid who grew up in this generation when they have marriage equality, when they might have grown up and seen the White House lit up with rainbow colors, you get complacent and you might think that everything’s OK. And then this administration comes in and suddenly we’re now back, in a space where we have to talk about some of the trickier issues among ourselves. I think one of the shocking things is people are very surprised that there are supporters of this administration who happen to be part of our community. And that’s tricky. I think when you see shows like “Equal” and you hear the kind of things that these characters, these real people were fighting for, it really gives you pause because it shows how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.

I’m old.” But now I think that it’s great. Billy Porter has this interview were he says, “As a trailblazer, usually it’s pretty rare that you get to reap the benefits of the trail you blaze. Usually you get it the hardest and the people behind you have it a little bit easier.” And he was saying for the first time in his life, the trail that he helped blaze, he is actually getting a bit of, call it recognition or whatever but he’s now reaping the benefits of the work, because he’s been out for so long and had a really hard time getting work at a certain portion of his career, he talks really openly about that. And just to highlight why that’s important is people will tell you not to say things like that. “Don’t say that because they won’t hire you for stuff.” But it’s the truth. And unless you start having these conversations about, “Oh, he’s too Latin.” I remember doing “Queer Eye.” All my brothers on the show got these six-figure or multimillion-dollar endorsement deals. I couldn’t get anything to happen. I couldn’t get a book deal, nothing. The common response back then in coded language was just bottom line, “He’s just not marketable, he’s too ethnic, he’s slightly fem and it’s just not what America will latch onto.” Never mind that I had one of the highest Q ratings (which is how the audience sees you) and that didn’t matter. There was still stigma around not being straight presenting. There were the Gays who always got the cover of the magazines. What’s their next project? And they got two lines in the show. And I just did six episodes on this and I’m not getting coverage. It was like a tier system, there was a kind of Gay that was acceptable to be and I can only speak to my experience. But the Gay was, you had two choices. You could

On being a trailblazer for the Latino LGBTQ+ community

First of all, it’s funny because the first time that I was kind of spoken about in that way, I thought was, “Oh God,

I’m on all social media. It’s just @ JaiRodriguez, every one with the blue checkmark. That’s the best way to stay connected with me. I have a new website, which is really exciting because the joke was, “When are you going to get an OnlyFans page” and I was like, “probably never.” So, my answer to that was something I’m calling Jai’s World and it’s basically exclusive footage and behind the scenes; there is a podcast and pictures and videos and how-to guides, recipes and cooking things and that’s JaisWorld.pubninja.com. So that’s been really fun because there’s different tier systems and every day, I go live on my Facebook page at 5 p.m. and I’ve developed this global community because it was so scary when everything started and I wanted a way to connect, and on Mondays, I do like a human jukebox — you type what you want me to sing and I perform it. But the community that was formed from these people, from all over the world, now they’re friends and we just welcome everybody at 5 p.m. It’s been a beautiful thing to kind of find this virtual community, because you never know who is following you on social media, and I really got to know these people. Then the “Queer Eye” reunion will air next summer and outside of “Equal,” if you want to go back this year. If they miss me on “The Rookie,” season two, the episode was “The Overnight.” And it is a different kind of character. I think the fun thing would be to watch that and then watch “Equal” because I definitely don’t play the same character at all. I play kind of the bad guy in “The Rookie,” but it is quite a departure, where people were like calling me and commenting, “Oh my God, you were so scary.” So I guess a job well done. That was the best part of it, to be able to play someone who was disturbed or like I like to say, “He is going through a hard time. He had a very bad night and you didn’t catch him at the best time. Later in the month, Jai will be receiving two of the Imperial Court’s highest honors, The International Jose Julio Sarria Equality Honor and the International Empress 1 Jose Medal of Distinction.

gOOd eaTs


november 2020 volume 2 issue 1


Q puzzle

tHE HoliDay SEaSon callSS for

COMfOrT fOOd d aN aNd sweeT TreaTs TreaTs TreaT Ts LGBTQ San Diego county News Staff


he COVID-19 pandemic and political climate can be overwhelming. With the holiday season approaching, we’re hoping to find some solace with comfort food and sweet treats. Here are a few local eateries that we think should be your go-to spots for a sweet taste of comfort. Babycakes: 3795 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-990-2282, BabyCakesSanDiego.com With flavors ranging from the signature Babycake, Black Bottom, Blood Orange, Carrot, Chocoholic, Tres Leche, and Pistachio, there are also vegan and gluten-free options (it’s best to order those 48 hours in advance). For the holiday season, they have Carmel Apple and Pumpkin (minus the “spice,” don’t be basic). Babycakes never disappoints curing your sweet tooth with their delicious desserts. You can pick up at the store or use one of the many food delivery services (UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash). Pop Pie Co.: 4404 Park Blvd. in University Heights, 619501-4440, PopPieCo.Com Pop Pie Co. is Southern California’s go-to fast casual restaurant/artisanal bakery for all things encased in crust. Locally owned, the shop showcases the signature all-butter crust by Executive Chef Gan Suebsarakham, with a rotating menu of sweet and savory pies made in-house daily. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features a variety of pies from pie slices to hand pies to classic meat and vegetarian pies. We recommend the Steak and Ale pie for your main course and the Honey Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert. They both provide much flavor and comfort! The Candy Depot: 3955 Fifth Ave. #110 in Hillcrest, 619-683-2334, CandyDepotUSA.com Talk about a kid in a candy store! WOW! The “Candy Pushers” (Melissa and Shannon) will cure your sugar cravings with their large assortment of homemade fudge including this season’s Bacon Maple Fudge (made with Snooze Splurge, the bacon from Snooze restaurant across the street) and Caramel Walnut Turtles. They, of course, have huge variety of tasty nostalgic candies that are fun

and a great gift idea. These gals are as sweet as the candy they push! Be sure to stop by and check them out. Nishiki Ramen: 1040 University Ave. #111 in Hillcrest, 619-831-0101, NishikiRamen.com Japanese authentic ramen “Tokyo style” is the way they describe themselves. They make their own ramen noodles and in-house soups daily and have plenty of options including vegetarian and gluten-free options. They never disappoint! Extraordinary Banana Pudding: 8257 El Paso St. in La Mesa, 619-642-6274, ExtraordinaryBananaPudding.com Banana, cheesecake, chocolate, coconut, French vanilla, lemon, pistachio, red velvet and even a banana pudding taco! They suggest calling ahead for large or special orders. Happy hour daily from 4-6 p.m. with $2 off any size. Freshii Hillcrest: 1255B University Ave. in Hillcrest, 858-564-3447, Freshii.com Freshii’s new tortilla soup is a healthy take on the classic Mexican dish. The dish starts with a base of spicy chicken tortilla broth, which is then loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients such as brown rice, black beans, kale, corn, cilantro, and avocado, topped with glutenfree tortilla chips for that extra crunch. Freshii’s menu is full of fun and healthy choices that are tasty and guilt free! La Vecindad: 3827 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-501-2885 Not your average taco shop. La Vecindad is a casual hangout for a variety of delicious Mexican food and cocktails amidst colorful decor and picnic table seating. Serving much needed pozole on Sundays and they make the best Micheladas in town! Mo’s Universe All five locations within “MO’s Universe” give you different specialties and plenty of choices. We should also mention that MO’s Universe was the leader in reopening after the initial “pandemic shutdown” earlier this year. They worked very hard to reopen their locations safely and adhere to all the latest guidelines. Kudos to everyone at Urban MO’s for setting an

excellent example for other establishments to follow. You have the option of safely dining in, or ordering take out. Here we go; Baja Betty’s: 1421 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-2898510, BajaBettysSD.com There are plenty of choices on their menu. They serve kickass margaritas and their Taco Tuesday menu is a great deal priced from $2.50 to $6.50. Gossip Grill: 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-2608023, GossipGrill.com They’ve got a fun and friendly atmosphere and a menu with a large selection. You will be tempted by their Three Cheese Truffle Mac and their Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos. Hillcrest Brewing Company: 1458 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-269-4323, HillcrestBrewingCompany.com Aside from their own HBC Beers, they carry plenty of locally brewed “guest beers” as well. They’ve also got a fine selection of appetizers, salads and delicious pizzas. insideoUT: 1642 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-8888623, InsideOutSD.com If you’re planning on dining in, you might want to iron your shirt, as their website says “insideOUT is a sexy, chic and refined destination for those who want to enjoy fine dining, craft cocktails and relax safely in an urban oasis.” We couldn’t agree more! Whether you go for the House Made Fettuccini Pasta or the Australian Hotstone (filet mignon), pairing it with the perfect wine or cocktail won’t be a problem as they only serve the best of both. Reservations can be made on their website or through OpenTable. Urban Mo’s: 308 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-491-0400, UrbanMos.com The same friendly and fun atmosphere as always with a huge menu and weekday specials including the infamous Tuesday night allyou-can-eat spaghetti for $6.50. They are also a great place for breakfast and weekend brunches. Even with the “social distant playground rules,” Urban MO’s always provides a good and safe time!

You’rE NoT GETTiNG aNY YouNGEr acroSS 1 “i loves you, Porgy” singer 5 Rake with fire 11 Knight job for alec Guinness 15 ___ lube 16 Setting for tV’s _ Portlandia_ 17 Stream of the bard 18 Scores for burke 19 art that’s usually hung well? 20 Minute parts, briefly 21 Writer, director, and producer of the movie in this puzzle 23 With _the_, start of a movie title 24 in the way of 25 Eur. kingdom 26 makes moist or erect 28 Part of a pink lady 29 Stalling sounds 30 Place for pansies 31 tolkien cannibal 32 inscribe with acid 34 myles of poetry 36 End of the title 42 Getting down on your knees, e.g. 43 at once, to byron 45 flower for colette 48 letter encl. 49 constellation over rio 52 threesome for Da Vinci 53 corrupt 55 lose it 56 _love ___ many -Splendored thing_ 57 With 58-across, one who may hold back black creatives 58 See 57-across 61 When leaves turn 62 meat dangling in a deli 63 “look ___, i’m Sandra Dee” 64 Home of the ncaa bruins 65 Egyptian king of the dead 66 in order (to) 67 Galloway gal 68 Hamlet’s soliloquy, e.g. 69 caterpillar nest

DoWN 1 Rapid weapon fire 2 Gay rights goal 3 Where _mucho mucho amor_ premiered 4 boy Scout’s accessory 5 Grave 6 acts bi-curious 7 Pack the groceries again 8 feudin’ with, to Gomer 9 fairy story 10 WSW opposite 11 alexander of _love! Valour! compassion!_ 12 Words before lightly 13 arizona, on _Grey’s anatomy_, e.g. 14 Harmonious, like lance bass? 22 _Guys and Dolls_ co-creator burrows 23 releases from bondage 27 Web surfer 30 Start of a monarchist cry 33 “that’s rich!” 34 _ ___ of Seventeen_ 35 Peeples of tV’s _fame_ 37 lGbt rights activist o’Donnell 38 middle East sultanate 39 coming at the very end 40 How ballerinas dance 41 Viking 44 most intimate 45 like same-sex marriage, now 46 cornell university site 47 mapplethorpe pics, e.g. 49 lacking vitality 50 like Errol flynn 51 Very hairy swinger 54 bodybuilder charles 55 ogle a go-go dancer 59 you could get caught in it 60 james Dean’s _ ___ of Eden_ 62 “___ yer old man!”

Solutions on page 15 QSyndicate.com


november 2020 volume 2 issue 1

palM sprINgs




Nov 6-8, 2020

innDulGE Palm SPrinGS

CelebraTes 25 Years


NNdulge, the leading gay men’s clothing optional resort in Palm Springs, celebrated 25 years last month! The luxury inn with its epic mountain views first opened on October 20, 1995 by founders John Williams and Jean-Guy Lachance. Previously, half the property had been a motor lodge, built in 1958, and the other half was a pair of triplexes built in 1972. Jon Jackson and his partner purchased INNdulge ten years ago. Since then, they have made significant improvements to the property, including refurnishing the entire property with all new furniture, linens, fixtures and bathrooms. They also added the large modern figure sculptures by artist Mavis McClure that line the walkways of the immaculately landscaped courtyard. The one fixture that still remains from when the property was a motor lodge is the inn’s magnificent kidney-shaped pool, now the centerpiece of the courtyard. Jackson and his partner resurfaced the pool last year and this spring, during the COVID lockdown, they re-poured its concrete decking. Next to the pool is a 24-hour, 10man keyhole whirlpool spa that was founded in 1995. “The courtyard at INNdulge is meant to foster friendships among guests,” Jackson explains. It has played host to significant events

including weddings, birthdays, reunions and more. “There is nothing more fun than a spontaneous midnight pool party,” he says, noting how it is a frequent occurrence, especially during the summer months. In their ten years as stewards of the hotel, Jackson and his partner have learned that hospitality is about offering people memories and a connection. “It is simply incredible to us the number of our guests who remain life-long friends with other guests from around the world. Also, the many guests that have ended up moving to Palm Springs!” Since the 1920s, Palm Springs has been the desert playground for gay men. 50s-era stars like Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter made the town their second home because it allowed them to escape the hustle and bustle of Hollywood and enjoy sexual freedom without fear of being outed. It is that same sexual freedom that continues to be a popular draw for gay travelers today. With its nearly 50% gay population, gay mayor and entirely gay city council, Palm Springs is the perfect destination for a gay traveler. The vintage resort town is renowned for its midcentury-modern architecture that is more refined than Vegas, yet more reposeful than Los Angeles. Because of its

low-density population and outdoor lifestyle, it has also been called one of the safest places to be during the pandemic. There’s plenty to do, from the springs to the golf courses and spas. Palm Springs is a hiker’s paradise with numerous hidden trails along the Coachella Valley and the shopping cannot be beat, with major retailers in Downtown Palm Springs and on El Paseo Drive in Palm Desert. “We have a lot to be thankful for as we celebrate our 25th year in operation,” says Jackson. “The pandemic has taught us that it takes a village to get through tough times and we take our hats off to our employees, neighbors, fellow business community including the local restaurants, hairstylists, bar owners and more… and of course, our guests. “Our regular guests have been incredibly supportive, not just of us as owners, but of Inndulge, as a place full of memories and magic.” Jackson acknowledges that he counts himself among the fortunate. Resorts that feature outdoor entrances to guest rooms, as Inndulge does, have been deemed among the safest ways to travel, which has helped business. “We look forward to 25 more years.” Visit inndulge.com

Please note that with current state and county COVID-19 guidelines, large events are not allowed to occur in California. We are watching for updates to state, county, and city guidelines and have posted our current list of Pride Week Programs below. Of course, we know you will understand parties and large gatherings just cannot occur during this health crisis. Thank you for your support of our virtual and socially distanced opportunities Virtual Pride Experience - Exist. Persist. Resist. FREE Pride celebration in Southern California

Friday, November 6

• Flag Raising presented by Gilead 10:00 am watch us on Facebook @ PalmSprings.Pride • Interfaith Pride Kabbalat Shabbat (online) – 6:30 pm • Drive-in Movie Night presented by Nissan. Nov 6 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center • Light Up The Night presented by Gay Desert Guide - Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community

Saturday, November 7

• Pride Car Caravan (free to participate) • Front Runners Pride 5K run and walk • Drive-in Movie Night presented by Nissan. Nov 7 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center • Light Up The Night presented by Gay Desert Guide - Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community • A land art installation in front of city hall Community members are invited to participate in this project and make placards, signs of hope, message posters, or statements of protest that will be used in a socially distanced arts + culture experience Nov 7 and 8

Sunday, November 8

• Pride T-Dance presented by KGAY 106.5. Enjoy your own private T-Dance at home with DJ Galaxy (free online event) • Sorry - due to coronavirus, large gatherings are not possible so there will not be an in-person Pride Parade this year. Palm Springs is the setting for a reimagined Pride Week program, unique to Southern California.



Small buSinESS oWnErS anD tHE coViD-19 PanDEmic coviD-19 caSE couNTS cHaNGE THE ruLES aND rEGuLaTioNS By Jp Emerson


n March of this year, Governor Gavin Newsom had to make the difficult decision to put into action a “stay-athome order.” The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was out of control and hospitals were overwhelmed with life-threatening cases of very ill people. Understandably, something had to be done to slow the spread. But what did this mean for small business owners? Imagine being a small business owner, you’ve worked hard to open and maintain

your business, whatever it might be. Literally on a moment’s notice, you are told to close your business doors and stay home. That means something much more involved and complicated for your business, your employees and your revenue (or lack thereof). In a recent interview on KPBS, John Carroll spoke with Rosa Buettner, the owner of Pecs. In accordance with the March “stay-at-home” order, Pecs closed their doors for three solid months.

In June, they spent more than $8,000 in necessary upgrades so they could open their doors again. That only lasted two weeks until more changes in regulations forced Pecs to close again. At that time, the latest rule was such that a bar could only stay open if they served food and had outdoor seating available. In order to open again, Pecs spent over $50,000 creating an outdoor kitchen and restaurant on a section of their property that was previously (pre-COVID-19) denied a permit for outdoor dining. It appears the city made an exception this time in granting Pecs the required permit. Rosa and Pecs’ story is one of many local business owners. In San Diego County, an outdoor dining permit can range from $2,000-$6,000, forcing already struggling businesses to invest more money in an effort to stay open without any guarantees as the rules and regulations change almost daily in accordance with the COVID-19 case count. The good news is San Diegans must be doing something right! We seem to have a lower percentage of COVID-19 cases in our population compared to some of California’s other counties. We’ve even had business owners from other counties visit San Diego to see how were making these things possible.


he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that both the novel coronavirus and flu viruses will spread significantly this fall and winter, which could overwhelm health care facilities. Seniors are already at higher risk of serious health problems from COVID-19, and this year’s flu season will likely compound those worries for older adults and those who care for them. However, if you keep these four simple tips in mind, you and your loved ones have a better chance of staying healthy - and keeping your friends and neighbors safe as well. 1. Get a flu shot. According to the CDC, getting a flu shot lowers your risk of serious illness, even if you do pick up one of the many strains of flu that will likely spread this fall and winter. During 2018-2019, the CDC reports flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenzaassociated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths. Although it’s difficult to appreciate on an individual level, this significantly alleviated the strain from the medical community as a whole and benefited public health overall. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu infection, hospitalization, and death for both you and those around you—and this year they will save hospital resources for patients with COVID-19. If you are caring for an aging loved one, it’s particularly important that both of you get one. As we know, heart disease is prevalent and the #1 cause of

COvId-19 aNd flU seasON: HoW SEniorS can Stay HEaltHy

By Jyotu Sandhu, mD, Sharp rees-Stealy medical Group and Simona valanciute, president & cEo, San Diego oasis

death in America. A meta-analysis study from 2013 found that flu vaccination improved cardiac outcomes in high-risk patients. 2. Keep taking COVID-19 precautions. The flu shot does NOT protect anyone from COVID-19. However, many of the same COVID-19 precautions we have all grown accustomed to over the past nine months (washing your hands, keeping at least six feet apart from people outside your household, wearing masks in public places, and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth), are also pretty good at preventing the spread of flu viruses. Make sure both you and anyone you are caring for follow all these precautions. Although we are hoping for a milder flu season due to the precautions we are taking with COVID-19, we still strongly encourage people to get their flu vaccines since the outcome of dealing with both infections at once can be devastating.

november 2020 volume 2 issue 1

3. Time your flu shot properly. In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and head of the U.S.’s efforts to stop the coronavirus, recommended getting your flu shot this year “toward the middle and end of October”- in other words, right now. This way, it won’t wear off in February or early March while we’re still in flu season. 4. Encourage everyone in your life to get a flu shot, no matter how old they are. It’s not just seniors who are at risk during flu season - babies and young children are particularly vulnerable as well. In fact, patients of all ages can suffer serious complications from the flu, and even die. Flu shots protect pregnant women, are an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and can be lifesaving for children. Children are also at

Here’s a look at San Diego County’s numbers (as of Nov. 3) compared to some other counties in California. San Diego County Population (as of 2019): 3.3 million C19 Cases: 57,000 Deaths: almost 900 Percentage of cases and deaths per population: 1.75% RiveRSiDe County Population (as of 2019): 2.5 million C19 Cases: almost 70,000 Deaths: over 1300 Percentage of cases and deaths per population: 2.8% LoS angeLeS County Population (as of 2019): 10.4 million C19 Cases: over 300,000 Deaths: over 7000 Percentage of cases and deaths per population: 3.07% SaCRamento County Population (as of 2019): 1.5 million C19 Cases: over 27,000 Deaths: over 500 Percentage of cases and deaths per population: 1.8% State of CaLifoRnia Population (as of 2019): 39.5 million C19 Cases: over 950,000 Deaths: almost 18,000 Percentage of cases and deaths per population: 2.5%

risk of severe illness as well and can spread disease to others. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated. Despite all these benefits, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine. Meanwhile, flu viruses continue to cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. Unless we are careful, hospitals may become overwhelmed by both COVID-19 and flu patients this fall and winter. But, per the CDC, the solution is simple: “many more people could be protected from the flu if more people got vaccinated.” The more people get vaccinated against the flu, the fewer people will get seriously ill - and that’s something we can all work toward together as we

It’s obvious that the COVID-19 case numbers affect the rules and regulations, which affect a business’s ability to stay open. Please keep in mind, when we say phrases like “support small business” and “community supporting community,” it should be emphasized now more than ever. With a clear lack of support and guidance from the federal level, each state, county and city has (for the most part) had to figure it out for themselves. Every small business owner has had to make hard decisions, sacrifices, further financial investments into their businesses, and completely change their way of operating in order to survive this year. Many have not made it and closed their doors. So, it bears repeating: Please support small businesses in our community, we all need each other to make it through these difficult times. Keep up the good work, San Diego — wash your hands regularly, social distance and, of course, always wear a face covering. The pandemic won’t last forever but we still have a responsibility to each other to do our part and keep our case numbers down.

continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic into the new year.

Jyotu Sandhu, MD, is a family medicine and sports medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, a multispecialty medical group with 19 locations offering services such as primary and specialty care, laboratory, physical therapy, radiology, pharmacy and urgent care. Learn more at https://www.sharp.com/srs. Simona Valanciute is the president and CEO of San Diego Oasis, an award-winning nonprofit organization serving people age 50 and better, who pursue healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles, and community service. Learn more at http://www.sandiegooasis.org.


You’rE NoT GETTiNG aNY YouNGEr from paGE 13



november 2020 volume 2 issue 1


halloween in hillcrest (By Big Mike Phillips) more photos online


Profile for Lgbtqsdnews

LGBTQ San Diego County News Volume 2 Issue 1 November 2020