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february 2021 volume 2 issue 6

fEBruary 5, 2021 voLumE 2 iSSuE 6





arTisT profiLe: Ell Treese p14

a noTe froM Toni Lots to Do this February p6

PUblIC servICe

CiTy aTTorney news Fighting to Save San Diego’s Utility Undergrounding Program p8

ConversaTions wiTh niCoLe Black History Month - Actions, Not Just Words! p7

poziTiveLy Big Mike MiChaeL & friends Cathrine Oclassen p10 We All Deserve Love p11

COUrT News

Life Beyond Therapy Are You Drinking More During the Pandemic p12

generaTion sTew! Learning and Accepting My Black History p13

Serial Killer Sentenced for 2016 Murders.

bUsINess PrOfIle Baly Bliss p15


Grindr Date Turned Robbery p16 Imperial Court News p3

UNCONdITIONal lOve One COuple’s JOurney tO BeCOme foSTEr parENTS

image by shutterstock.com


YOU CaN’T Have OUr GaY MONeY Byangel mason Broadus

you ever had someone ask you for money to H ave support their cause? I am sure most of us can

By Cesar a reyes

met Jaime in my early 20s; he was roommates with one of my first Gay friends who incorporated me into the group of friends who went out to the San Diego scene back in those days. That was 20 years ago and now keeping up with Jaime through social media, I was delighted to find out that he and his partner Thomas had become foster parents. I reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in talking about their journey and the reasons they became foster parents. Being February, the month of love, we wanted to spotlight the unconditional love that foster parents give to kids in need of a stable home.

think of countless times we’ve been asked to donate to a fundraiser, attend an event, or help promote a cause. The ask itself isn’t unusual. However, have you ever had someone ask you for money after they’ve publicly disparaged an entire group of people who belong to your community? Now that blows my mind and just doesn’t sit right with me.

rEaD oN paGE 2

rEaD oN paGE 9

wHaT a dIffereNCe a PaIr Of sHOes CaN Make A rAre treAt fOr the kids At ThE EuNimE orphaNaGE in tiJuAnA LBGTQ San Diego County News Staff

Jaime Valle and one of his foster children (courtesy image)


or the last three years, Terry Sidie (LGBTQ San Diego County News Publisher and King Father of the International Court System), the lovely Suzanne Hale from Portland and Emperor Leo Treto from Sacramento have made a special trip to the Eunime Orphanage in Tijuana, Baja California.

(courtesy images)

rEaD oN paGE 3


1299 CAMINO DEL RIO SOUTH | 619.906.5546




COver sTOrY

February 2021 volume 2 issue 6


unconditional Love continued from page 1

Thomas & Jaime Valle (courtesy image)

Foster Parents Jaime and Thomas Valle Tell our readers about yourselves: How long have you been together; where are you guys from; and how long have you lived in San Diego? Thomas and I have been together almost 11 years, of which we have been married 5 1/2 years. I am a San Diego native and have lived here all my life. Thomas was born and raised in the Antelope Valley and has lived in San Diego for 11 1/2 years. What made you want to become foster parents? We actually never wanted to be foster parents. We were so scared and honest with ourselves thinking that we weren’t strong enough to have a baby in our home and then have them removed. We always wanted to adopt and even worked with an adoption agency from LA for about a year and a half and invested thousands of dollars, only to have them file bankruptcy and leave us empty-handed and heartbroken. Our desire to have our own family overcame all obstacles so we entertained many other options, such as surrogacy, but none worked out or were simply too expensive to afford after such an impactful hit financially from the agency. We found ourselves revisiting the foster program and decided to give it a chance in hopes to someday be able to foster to adopt, but at the very least share our many blessings and be able to help and support children in need. How long have you been foster parents? And how many kids have you

fostered? We have been foster parents almost three years and have fostered seven children. Our most recent one came home Jan. 21, 2021. Four boys and three girls. How would you describe the experience? The experience has been like no other. It has been the most fulfilling and rewarding feeling ever. Seeing a smile on these children’s faces is amazing. The love and reciprocation we get from these kids is unexplainable. Is it hard to say goodbye to the kids? Do you stay in touch? Saying goodbye is the hardest thing imaginable. It is every bit as difficult and painful as we ever imagined it to be and it was the reason why we avoided it from the very beginning. We try our best to keep in touch with all of our babies but at the end of the day, it is up to the biological parents. We have been able to keep in touch with all but one of our kids. We stay strong and in the game for all of our kids and crumble and cry behind closed doors. Despite the pain we feel when we have to say goodbye, the amount of joy we are filled with outweighed the hurt. How was the process when you first decided to become foster parents? The foster parent process was not difficult at all but it does require some time and dedication. It took us almost a year to complete all of our classes and requirements to be able to obtain our license and permits. There are several questionnaires and interviews

that are very personal and rather invasive. Definitely have to be very secure and confident. Did you face any issues being a Gay couple? We have never encountered any issues for being Gay from the foster community. We have had slight issues with disgruntled parents but nothing we haven’t been able to handle. We encountered more discrimination and issues from adoption agencies when we began our adoption journey, as many adoption agencies will not work with same-sex couples. Even when we first started looking into adoption, it was “you have to be married, own a house,” more of a “standard” checklist to qualify. What would you say to someone who is interested

in becoming a foster parent? I strongly encourage anyone who is not selfish and has the will and desire to help others, to definitely become a foster parent. There are so many children in need of love, a family, comfort and guidance out there. Be ready and very aware of what you want and are able to handle as you may get every and any type of child with an array of trauma. Be organized and ready to dedicate your time to caring for these children, as it is very time consuming and demanding. Visits with parents, social workers, counselors, therapists, doctors, dentists, school, day care, sports, activities, etc. Remember: you will be providing these children as normal of a life as possible. But ultimately remember, these kids are looking to feel as if they

are your own and how you should view them. Any resources for people thinking about becoming foster parents? Definitely educate yourself in the program, laws, processes and our government system. Go through the County (of San Diego), as they provide all the info and assistance needed to aid you in becoming a foster parent. Going through the county is most affordable and, in most cases, at no expense. Dealing with social workers and the broken system are definitely the most difficult part of it all. So, it’s important to educate yourself to be able to conduct yourself as the special parent and guardian you need to be for your babies.

FreSHII HIllcreST Monkey BuSIneSS

Freshii Hillcrest is helping to raise funds for the Imperial Court de San Diego’s Food Voucher Program. All throughout February, “Love Monkeys” are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the program. Show your heart, help our community and grab a Love Monkey of your own.

COver sTOrY


What a Difference a pair of Shoes Can make continued from page 1

Terry Sidie on the left (courtesy images)

The purpose of these trips is to deliver and donate much-needed clothing to the orphanage in addition to taking the kids on a bus trip to go shoe shopping! Terry remembers all 27 kids from last year’s trip, but one boy stands out: “He wanted baseball shoes, but they only had a pair that was one size too big. He didn’t care, those were the shoes he wanted so those were the shoes we bought. I look forward to seeing if he’s grown into them this year. It is one of the most fun things I can do, and I really enjoy all of the kids’ excitement as they show me the shoes they want. I can’t express to you the amount of love I saw from the ladies that escorted the kids on the shopping trip.” After the shoe store, they all went next door to Burger King for lunch and ice cream. The kids enjoy a day that is all about them,

which makes all the volunteers and organizers happy as well. Georgio (Crown Prince to the Knights of the Round Table from the King Father) is working with Eunime Orphanage on confirming a safe date in February to make the annual trip. Georgio is a great guy who organizes the trips and is always there to help the kids in Mexico. If you would like to donate and support the trip and give to the kids in the orphanage, you can contact: terry@faces.net or 916.501.3047. eunime.org * Terry Sidie is the King Father of the International Court System and reigns with the Queen Mother (Nicole Murray Ramirez, anointed by Jose Sarria I). Her majesty is the driving force that represents 65 empires throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

An AnnOunCement frOm

ThE impEriaL CourT DE SaN DiEGo

photo by Big Mike Phillps


was a very trying year for all of our courts across the realm. The challenges of raising funds and staying in contact with our respective memberships during this pandemic has been a difficult and daunting task for us all. Monarchs in every court have faced insurmountable challenges with keeping their courts together, staying visible and thriving. We experienced these difficulties firsthand last year while trying to continue with our normal outreach efforts like the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner, which we had to change from a sit-down dinner to a pick-up-and-go type of operation. Our Christmas toy drive, which we usually do in person, changed to a drop-off situation. Also, to help struggling families with food shortages due to the pandemic, board member Emperor Darnell Williams organized and began a weekly food distribution program called “Take What You Need.” After enduring the hardships and witnessing the struggles last year of other monarchs in our courts, we as a board of directors in San Diego have decided that

in our 49th year, we (the board) will forgo having monarchs and run the year as a cohesive unit through 2021. We will continue doing the business of the court such as community outreach, advocacy and continued fundraising, just WITHOUT monarchs. We will take this time to revamp and update our bylaws, rules, regulations, policies and protocols in order to become a new, improved and refreshed court for our golden 50th anniversary in February 2022. Our hopes and prayers are that we as a country will get a handle on this virus so that we may not only get back to helping our communities in a greater capacity but also be able once again to gather and fellowship with one another at balls, galas and various fundraising events. I am sure we have not only all missed seeing one another in person, but we have also missed sporting all our splendid and fabulous jewelry and regalia that we have spent years and countless dollars accumulating. We will be sure to keep you all updated on our plans for our 50th anniversary gala next year. PLEASE plan to join us in February 2022 as we celebrate 50 years of noble deeds in San Diego.

february 2021 volume 2 issue 6



February 2021 volume 2 issue 6





february 2021 volume 2 issue 6



February 2021 volume 2 issue 6



image by shutterstock.com

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

Toni G. atkins

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Cesar A. Reyes creativedirector@lgbtqsd.news

—Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.


ebruary may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s going to be a busy one. At the top of the list, of course, are the ongoing efforts to address COVID-19. Having passed the sad milestone of losing 400,000 Americans in this pandemic, we must redouble our efforts, even if we are all weary and frustrated from this fight. There is hope, and there is progress. One thing we should all applaud is the collaboration we’re seeing between UCSD, the County of San Diego, the San Diego Padres, and Petco Park. That work helped our region build the Petco Park Vaccination Super Station, one of the first of its kind, in just four days, with the ability to vaccinate 5,000 people a day. This model is being used throughout the region, including the South Bay. Because this is a constantly changing situation, vaccine information is being continually updated and the County COVID-19 vaccine website (sandiegocounty.gov/coronavirus) is a great place to make sure you get the most up-to-date information. If you don’t have computer access, you can make appointments or get information by calling 2-1-1. Volunteers are needed to administer vaccinations in our county and throughout the state, so if you or someone you know have a medical background your help would be greatly appreciated. You can find out more from the County of San Diego Medical Reserve Corps website (sandiegocounty.gov/ coronavirus).

lOts To Do this feBruAry COVID-19 response and relief will continue to be a key part of the budget activities keeping us busy in Sacramento this February. In January, the Governor officially announced his 2021-22 state budget, which provided a responsible framework for the Legislature to incorporate with our own proposals. While the budget deadline is in June, we are working toward taking early budget actions to address the most pressing needs caused by the pandemic, including getting school campuses reopened as safely as possible and boosting economic recovery through direct assistance for small businesses and workers. The Senate’s budget hearings in February will address both early actions and work on the final budget. One of our very first actions this year has been to extend the eviction moratorium we had put in place to help protect tenants and small landlords. That moratorium was slated to expire this month. Along with extending the eviction moratorium to June 30th, we are also moving to distribute new federal stimulus funds quickly and equitably across the state. Our work is nowhere near finished, but these steps are important parts of the Legislature’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

February is when we celebrate Black History Month. And it’s inspiring that the whole country has been able to see history in the making recently, with the elections of Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Raphael Warnock, and our own Dr. Shirley Weber becoming California’s Secretary of State. This is also the month we acknowledge our Presidents and send love to our Valentines. Ten days into the term of our new President Biden and Vice President Harris, I am very excited about the leadership and stability they are bringing to our nation, and grateful for the effective partnership they will offer California on everything from broad policy goals to technical waivers and agreements that will help our state pursue our priorities when federal agencies are involved. It will be a nice change from a four-year relationship that was primarily “see you in court.” Finally, I hope your February 14th is filled with love, happiness, and maybe some great take out from one of our amazing local restaurants. And I also hope that the work we do in this shortest month will mean long lasting benefit for us all.

EDITOR JP Emerson editor@lgbtqsd.news SALES sales@lgbtqsd.news 858.886.9458 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Big Mike Phillips Bmsd1957@gmail.com 619.807.7324 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA info@lgbtq.news CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angel Mason Broadus Big Mike Phillips Jacob Stewart Michael Guadarrama Michael Kimmel Mara W. Elliott Neal Putnam Patric Stillman Toni G. Atkins

DISTRIBUTION LGBTQ San Diego County News is distributed free every first Friday of the month. © 2021. 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 © 2021 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.



february 2021 volume 2 issue 6


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.


his year, Black History Month has received much more attention because of the Black Lives Matter movement, but in many ways, it just seems to be a lot of tokenism, words and white liberal guilt. I find it interesting that everywhere you look, especially businesses, there are “Black Lives Matter” posters in windows, but few-to-zero black employees. Racism is alive and well in America and even in the LGBTQ+ community. San Diego has nearly 100 LGBTQ+ organizations, yet you can count on one hand the number of Black elected officers or representatives of those organizations. Almost every LGBTQ+ organization is lacking in Black membership or involvement with the exception of the Imperial Court de San Diego, which is now in it’s 49th year of community service and first elected an African American Empress in 1973 and both the last elected (48th) Emperors and Empresses were also Black. Some of our local sports organizations have African American members, but not equal to our LGBTQ+ population. Can you name any Black LGBTQ+ leaders or activists in our San Diego community? Thank God the LGBTQ Black Coalition of San Diego was formed and is doing its best to change things. As many of you know, I have lived in San Diego for over 50 years and have been writing a column in LGBTQ+ publications since 1974. I will never forget several publishers telling me that “having African Americans or women on the front covers of LGBTQ+ publications always resulted in higher returns (unopened and unread copies of a publication) and less readers picking up the publication in general.” Stampp Corbin, the only Black publisher of a San Diego LGBTQ+ publication, made history by putting more African Americans and women on his magazine covers than any LGBTQ+ publication in our community’s history. In the many years of gay bars and nightclubs opening and now LGBTQ+ businesses expanding in general, the percentage of Black employees in these businesses has been almost nonexistent and it’s shameful. As of now, Rich’s night club has the highest number of People of Color employed, including transgender People of Color. Chris Shaw’s (MO’s Universe) businesses also get high marks for hiring People of Color. The San Diego Bayard Ruston Honors is currently the highest awards and/or recognition honoring Black LGBTQ+ activists and allies. They were established by Carolina Ramos and me, and now Darnell Williams and the Imperial Court host them. I am also proud to have founded and produced the (then) annual Mr. and Mrs. Black San Diego Pageant in the 1970s. In August of 2019, almost 100 LGBTQ+ African Americans came to a “Town Hall for the Black LGBTQ+ Community” at the San Diego LGBT Center (The Center) and made it very clear that they felt unwelcomed and discriminated against at The Center, noting they hardly even saw

blaCk HIsTOrY MONTH - ACtiOns, nOt Just WOrds!

anyone who was African American on its working staff. I do believe it was a wake-up call for The Center and they made commitments to change things. Even with that example, many will still question why there is a lack of African American involvement within our San Diego LGBTQ+ community and the answer bears repeating: Black people who identify as LGBTQ+ do not feel welcomed in the LGBTQ+ community! So as a Person of Color, I am tired of hearing and reading about LGBTQ+ “support” for the Black Lives Matter movement only in words and not in actions. If Black lives really matter, then offering Black people employment and welcoming them into our organizations should be a prioritized action. If you are able, why not

make a donation to the LGBTQ Black Coalition of San Diego or the local NAACP chapter? On the national LGBTQ+ front, I am elated to report that for the first time in our civil rights movement, both the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are being led by LGBTQ+ African Americans in Washington, D.C. Our LGBTQ+ community needs to build stronger bridges with (and offer more resultsdriven support to) the African American community. Having served and advised the last eight mayors of San Diego, I am proud to have been a part of getting a historical amount of LGBTQ+ People of Color appointed to various boards and commissions. Look around LGBTQ+ San Diego,

African American representation is greatly lacking at our “LGBTQ+ community table.” All of us, myself included, need to do more than just display

posters and post on social media in celebration of Black History Month. It’s time for action, not just words. Thank you for reading.


PUblIC servICe

February 2021 volume 2 issue 6


CITY aTTOrNeY News Mara w. elliott —Mara W. Elliott was elected City Attorney of San Diego in 2016 after serving as the chief deputy attorney for the Office’s Public Services Section and legal adviser to the city’s Independent Audit Committee and Environment Committee. Elliott and the lawyers in her section held polluters accountable, reformed city contracting, cut administrative red tape, and strengthened the city’s living wage and non-discrimination in contracting ordinances.


or years the City of San Diego has been working to remove tangles of unsightly overhead power lines, with the goal of beautifying neighborhoods, increasing walkability, and protecting the public from exposed infrastructure. These widely-supported efforts were nearly derailed by a recent lawsuit. That’s why I’ve dispatched my Office’s highly skilled litigators to defend San Diego’s undergrounding program and ensure uninterrupted continuation. The party bringing the lawsuit is seeking a multimillion-dollar payout from a fund specifically set aside to pay for undergrounding overhead lines. SDG&E ratepayers are likely unaware of the drama playing out in court. Yet it’s at times like this that I am most proud of the quiet work our Office does to protect San Diego taxpayers. Most neighborhoods in San Diego were built when overhead power lines ran along the streets, often webbing through the trees.

fighting tO sAve sAn diegO’s

uTiLiTy uNDErGrouNDiNG proGram

image by shutterstock.com

The Center is here for you during COVID-19, offering Food Resources: The Center knows that many community members have faced financial hardship and food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of The Center’s Emergency Services, we are offering various food resources to those affected by COVID-19. Please share these resources with friends, family, and community members who may be in need.

AnD noW, More SAn DIeGAnS cAn look ForWArD To A FuTure WITHouT THe BlIGHT oF PoWer PoleS AnD oVerHeAD uTIlITy lIneS In THe PIcTure. For information on The Center’s food programs and resources, please contact Sarah MerkBenitez at 619.692.2077 x 214 or smerkbenitez@thecentersd.org.

FOOD BANKS NOURISHING THE COMMUNITY The Center partners with a different restaurant every month to offer a free meal to those affected by COVID-19. Contact Sarah at info above for February’s restaurant and to sign up.

The Center offers two food banks in our parking lot, using social distancing, safety protocols with walk-up and drive-thru options. Senior Food Bank: 4th Tuesday of each month, 12:00-3:00pm. Next Senior Food Bank is Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Neighborhood Food Distribution: 1st Tuesday of each month, 7:30am-10:30am. Next Neighborhood Food Distribution is Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

The Center COVID-19 Emergency Services

NON-PERISHABLES HOME DELIVERY Free pantry staples (rice, soup, macaroni, and more) with free delivery right to your door. In partnership with 2-1-1, CIE San Diego, DoorDash, and United Way, home deliveries take place on Tuesdays between 3pm-4pm.

If you need Emergency

• Emergency Resource & Referral Phone Line Services, please call • Behavioral Health Services by Zoom Health Care 619.800.4252 (9am-4pm) • Individual Program Meetings & Check-Ins via Zoom 619.800.4216 (4pm-9pm) • Virtual Support Groups • Critical Housing Needs The San Diego LGBT Community Center 3909 Centre Street • 619-692-2077 • HIV Testing (by appointment only) www.thecentersd.org • Food Resources

It wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, and the frequent power poles made many of our sidewalks hard to navigate, especially for those using wheelchairs or pushing strollers. Overhead power lines also create a significant public safety hazard, especially in wildfireprone areas of the city, where a power line detached by high winds can quickly lead to an out-of-control fire, resulting in terrible losses of lives and property. Even without the threat of fire, a downed power line can be extraordinarily dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. For decades, we all have been paying a surcharge on our SDG&E bills to have these power lines moved underground. But in 2015 a lawsuit was filed saying this charge was actually an illegal tax and needed to be approved by voters. That isn’t what the law says, however. Our attorneys proved to a San Diego Superior Court Judge that years of undergrounding in San Diego neighborhoods was done properly and legally and there was no reason to shut down the fund or give any of its money to the lawyers who filed the lawsuit. An appeal was filed and in November the Fourth District

Court of Appeal affirmed the Superior Court’s ruling, and the City once again prevailed. The complainants have now petitioned the California Supreme Court to review their meritless case. Our goal is to ensure the vital work to underground overhead utility lines throughout San Diego can continue, rather than spending years bogged down in costly litigation. The City Attorney’s Office stands ready to protect our City from those who aim to stop progress in its tracks. I consider it our duty to defend taxpayers against baseless lawsuits that waste resources and interfere with important projects that enhance our quality of life. The ability to go outside to take in the lovely views of our ocean, sunsets, mountains, and canyons has never been more important as we find ways to endure the challenges of this lengthy global pandemic. And now, more San Diegans can look forward to a future without the blight of power poles and overhead utility lines in the picture. To learn about the utility undergrounding process in your neighborhood, visit: https://www.sandiego.gov/ undergrounding



february 2021 volume 2 issue 6


you Can’t have our Gay money continued from page 1 image by shutterstock.com

POwerfUl blaCk wOMeN angel Mason broadus —Angel Mason Broadus is an avid civil rights activist, Navy Veteran, and President & Founder of Puzzle Pieces Marketing, an agency focusing on social good and providing services that benefit the San Diego community. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the North County Philanthropy Council, Moonlight Cultural Foundation, and Point Loma Nazarene Marketing Advisory Board.


s a business owner, I am convinced that people have the capacity to see past who we are as people, especially when they are keenly focused on what we (or our business) can do that benefits them. I am a Black female small business owner. My wife and I own a marketing and PR agency that works with mission-driven businesses and nonprofit organizations. Not only do we work with nonprofits, we also donate, volunteer, and sit on the board of directors for several San Diego nonprofits. I mention this because it gives context to why people often reach out to us and think we might have an interest in supporting their organization’s mission. Recently, I had a “55%er” (I refer to her as 55%er because 55% of white women voted for Trump in the 2020 election and this individual falls within that demographic) reach out to me. 55%er first tried to connect with me via LinkedIn. Initially, I thought she intended to keep the communications within LinkedIn and I didn’t respond. I was wrong. The following week I received an email, then a text message the next day. I’ll give you a little bit of history about my “relationship” with 55%er before I go any further. I’ve known 55%er for years. We had a longstanding professional relationship that goes back almost to when I founded the business in 2009. We’ve networked together and 55%er hired our company for a couple of projects at nonprofits that she worked at previously. I’ve volunteered my time to support her professionally, have recommended her, and been a reference for several positions when she was making career changes. I wouldn’t consider her a “friend,” but we definitely had what I would describe as a friendly and mutually beneficial professional relationship. For those reasons, I would go so far as to speculate that because of our history, she may think that I owe her. I believe that 55%er expects my continued and unconditional support. For my mental health and because of my personal ethics, I made the decision to end the relationships I had with Trump supporters both personally and professionally. I had distanced myself from 55%er some time ago. I have a zero-tolerance policy with Trump supporters and she was fully aware of that. It should not have come as a surprise when her messages went unanswered. I thought I could leave it at a nonanswer and move along. Well, of course, I couldn’t do that. Clearly there was an urgent need if 55%er was determined to connect with me on multiple platforms. The nosey, do-gooder in me decided that I needed to learn more about this nonprofit organization that was the subject of her messages. Was it a cause that aligned with our values? Maybe the organization and its mission was worth me at least taking a peek. So, I did some research…. 55%er is a member of their leadership team. Actually, by the looks of their website, she appears to be second in command. The organization itself actually seems like

nonProFITS AnD BuSIneSSeS neeD To unDerSTAnD THAT We WIll HolD THeM AccounTABle For THe BeHAVIor oF MeMBerS oF THeIr orGAnIzATIon.

a cause we could get behind. However, while snooping, I stumbled upon some public comments that 55%er recently made about Gay men that were so offensive, degrading, and just downright ignorant. The idea I had to just “leave it at a non-answer” and trying to figure out if the nonprofit was one that aligned with our values was gone with the wind. The audacity that it takes for someone to reach out to me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and ask for my support after making such disparaging comments about members of my community, blew my mind. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut, or should I say, my keyboard finger still. Not only did I have to say something, I had to let it be known that they would never, not ever, receive a penny of funding or support from us. Nonprofits and businesses need to understand that we will hold them accountable for the behavior of members of their organization. They must understand that having someone on their leadership team publicly degrade members of the LGBTQ+, or any other underrepresented community, is a direct reflection on them. So, I took it upon myself to reach out to their executive director. I sent her an email asking her to remove us from their distribution lists and informing her that we would not be supporting the organization. When they claim as part of their values to be committed to “diversity and inclusion,” they need to vet who’s representing their organization. People like 55%er need to know that if you don’t support all members of my community, if you can’t embrace all colors of our rainbow — do not expect me to support you, your cause, your organization, or your business. Again, I am convinced people see past who we are when it benefits them. Even though 55%er thinks so negatively about Gay men, she’s able to disassociate me being a member of the LGBTQ+ community because it benefitted her. Well, her bigoted self won’t

receive a penny of our Gay money. For far too long, so many of us have had to hide who we are out of fear of the consequences and backlash. Fear for not only our lives and safety, but also that people knowing who we are would limit our opportunities and negatively impact our professional growth, careers or business success. Like I said, I considered ignoring the multiple messages. Ultimately, I decided to say something. It felt good. It felt good to be able to use my voice to let this person know that their bigotry and ignorance is what prevented them from getting our support. I used my voice, my dollar, and my power to prove that there are consequences. The consequence was

not something I had to suffer because of who I am, but because of who I am, a consequence that 55%er’s bigotry brought on herself. Angel Mason Broadus President - Puzzle Pieces Marketing P: 858-848-6584 x101 / M: 760-707-4538 PuzzlePiecesMarketing.com Board Member - North County Philanthropy Council Board Member - Moonlight Cultural Foundation Steering Committee Member, Women United - United Way of San Diego County Marketing Committee Chair - Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego Marketing Advisory Board Member - Point Loma Nazarene University


February 2021 volume 2 issue 6




On the BlOCk COVID-19 is not stopping new businesses from opening up in our neighborhood!

Photo by Rikke Photography

bIG MIke aNd frIeNds cocina calavera 3923 Fourth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 619-241-2422 Re-inventing familiar Latin foods with a health-driven twist, free from gluten/dairy/sugar. Now open in Fabulous Hillcrest! cocinacalavera.com

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 619-807-7324, or bmsd1957@gmail.com.

CaTHrINe OClasseN my detOx lOunge


s of this edition, I will be changing the format of my column ‘Big Mike and Friends’ to a Q&A format while still introducing you to people who live, work, play and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of every lifestyle, talents, and personalities who I think are interesting and easy for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has a wonderful diversity of individuals who make our slice of paradise a great place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness. This week’s Q&A is with Cathrine Oclassen

coco’s Poke 3739 Sixth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 619-326-8676 New poke shop located in Hillcrest. They incorporate the traditional Hawaiian poke dish with a Latin twist to create the best of both worlds. cocospoke.com

How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it? “I moved to San Diego for the beautiful weather, the opportunity to expand my business and for the more relaxed atmosphere. There’s just something special about San Diego that I just cannot put my finger on, yet I love it here!”

Parlor on Fifth 3144 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 619-230-5988 This shop has operated for the last 20 years under different names and in many different conditions. However, today they exist to pay homage to a decades-old neighborhood shop while having the opportunity to revamp and exist in the modern market of barbering. parloronfifthbarbershop.com

What gets you excited about life? “My true passion is educating people and the community on how to live a more abundant life through holistic and alternative ways of living. Teaching people to take charge of their well-being and empowering them to take action.”

(courtesy images)

As a businessowner, what makes your business stand out? “In my business, we have successfully married the beverage industry with the service industry creating the world’s most unique urban tea lounge and detox [‘My Detox Lounge’]. We truly are a millennial’s dream lounge.” What small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget? “Growing up poor, a family once brought me and my siblings into their house to share their dinner with us, but the kindness really came from the fact that they themselves were poor, only having beans and tortillas to feed us all.” If the universe could grant you one wish, what would you wish for? “I wish that one day everyone would wake up knowing how truly special they are and that they are exactly enough and worthy of love and respect. My golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” If you wrote a book about your life, what would you title it and why? “The title of my book would be: ‘What Not To Do.’ I would like to consider myself an expert in the field of business and wellness, however I got there from learning what the HECK not to do...trial and error makes for the best teachers.” If you had a chance to spend $1 million on yourself, how would you spend it? “I would buy a small cottage home close

to the beach and reinvest the rest of the money.” If you could give someone advice about your art, hobby or business, what would you tell them? “I would tell them to find their true passion in life, whether it’s a hobby, job or sport and then turn that into your career. Only work your passion!” If you were granted one superpower for life, what would you choose and why? “Well, hell, we are all already super! [laughs] My superpower would be to access 100% of my brain’s capabilities, making me limitless.”

If you had the opportunity to join someone you love, admire, or wanted to meet over a cup of coffee, what coffee or tea house would you go to and what question would you ask them? “Honestly, I don’t know this one. Hmm? The boring answer is I would meet them at the world’s most unique tea lounge, My Detox Lounge, and I would ask them what their favorite cup of tea is and what it reminds them of.”

Contact: CATHRINE OCLASSEN 619-539-7707 instagram.com/mydetoxlounge/

664 TJ Birrieria 564 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 619-292-2498 National City’s eatery continues expanding in San Diego and has now opened a location in Hillcrest in the space that housed Capricho restaurant. The shop specializes in birria and shredded beef stew offered in tacos, quesadillas or meat piled atop of tostadas and served with a side of consome birria broth for dipping. The menu also includes an array of Mexican mariscos seafood.

record Family Wines Tasting room 1035 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 619-759-0153 Family-owned, premium wine brand from Paso Robles has opened a tasting room in Hillcrest for all the wine lovers. Currently the tasting room is open by appointment and limited retail hours. recordfamilywines.com


POzITIvelY MICHael Michael Guadarrama — I am a 30-year-old Latino male, living with HIV (undetectable) and living my best life. I wanted to write and help others living with HIV realize that they can also achieve living a healthy life, being in love, and being successful.


ello my fellow San Diegans. My name is Michael and I am super excited to be able to share part of my life with you. I am a 30-year-old Latino male, living with HIV (undetectable) and living my best life. I wanted to write and help others living with HIV realize that they can also achieve living a healthy life, being in love, and being successful. The journey I have gone through to be where I am today was not an easy road and I had many times where I wanted to give up but something inside of me pushed me to live my best life. If I am able to help at least one person through my experiences than that would be the best gift from all of this. Let’s discuss subjects ranging from acceptance of having HIV, rejection for having HIV, dating, different medications, and the wonderful programs available. In 2011, when I was 21 years old, my “numbers” were bad enough to where I was diagnosed (by my doctors at the time) with AIDS; I later learned that most patients have severe numbers like I did if they’ve recently been infected and/or have not had the proper care, thus receiving the diagnosis of AIDS as opposed to HIV-positive due to my T-cells being very low. After just two months of being on antiviral medications, I was able to become HIV-positive undetectable and have remained so since. Science, medicine and AIDS/HIV services have come a long way even since my diagnosis, and I feel great knowing that there are so many tools that we have to help those recently diagnosed and those living with the virus for a long period. Being Latino and Gay is still very taboo in our culture today and not very well accepted. Over the years, it seems that it has gotten better but it’s still something that is kept very hush-hush. As much as it makes me happy that acceptance for being Gay is being normalized within our community, I can’t help but notice the STIGMA that still exists with HIV. We have to do our part to educate our fellow Latinos and share the wonderful advances we have been able to accomplish with prevention and also longterm care and living a healthy life being

COMMUNITY vOICes HIV-positive. Know that you are not alone in this situation and no matter how hard it might be to have an open dialogue about the subject, it will always be OK and this is YOUR truth. Love is real and we cannot help who we fall in love with, sometimes we fall in love with someone who is HIV-positive and other times, we fall in love with someone who is not. We should not go through life feeling like we do not deserve to be loved or that we will never find someone who accepts us as a whole. For many years, I felt that I was not worthy of being loved and I was scared to get someone else sick and afraid of being rejected. I cannot begin to explain how many times I was blocked, laughed at, judged, talked down to, told I was not dateable, and even outed to others about my status. I looked for love and acceptance in all the wrong places starting with dating apps, dating websites and even dating events. As the years went by, I felt more alone and I was already ready to be rejected just like the other 100 times when on a date. Feeling depressed and alone can be the “norm” but I learned that it all started with me and my self-esteem and also truly accepting that I was HIV-positive and worthy of being in love and loved. It takes time but when you get to the right place, it’s funny how the universe always knows how to provide exactly what we need and can handle at that point in our lives. YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED. Many people wonder if they will be able to work a normal job and be OK. Some people doubt that they will be able to find a good job that will not judge them for their status. Working in the HR field, I have had many potential employees disclose their status. I am here to tell you that it is not REQUIRED for you to disclose to your employer, potential employer, bosses or co-workers about it. This should not be important or a deciding factor for you to be an employee of any company. It is very important that we know the laws that protect us and also, that we do not provide any information that can later be used against us. The workplace should be a neutral place, and where you can be comfortable to see your duties through. You should not be living in fear of retaliation over a medical condition. It’s also very important to find a support group, circle of friends or family that will listen, encourage, support and push you to be the best version of you possible. When they say, “It takes a village,” it truly does take a village to back you up and support you as you go through the motions of getting your test results, to your appointments and also regularly ask you, “How are you doing?” “How are you doing with your meds?” It is very important to have those you can talk to and can trust to guide you in the right direction. Know that there are other people out there that care, love you, and are willing to support you in every way possible. You are not alone in the world. Remember you are strong, beautiful, smart and you can get through anything. I look forward to starting this new journey and going into subjects thoroughly. There is so much we can learn from each other and I am excited and optimistic that we will be able to let someone know that they are not alone and that we all share similar struggles and stories. Always remember that you are loved and you are worthy of being loved. Until we meet again, Michael

We All deserve lOve

image by shutterstock.com

february 2021 volume 2 issue 6




February 2021 volume 2 issue 6


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.


elebrity/model/witty person Chrissy Teigen recently went public with her decision to quit drinking. As a psychotherapist for San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community, I’ve observed that the ongoing psychological and economic distress of the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely encouraged more people to drink more alcohol more often. Using alcohol to cope with depression and stress is nothing new, but alcohol can also make depression, dysthymia (a mild, ongoing depression) and bipolar disorder worse. It may make you feel more “chill” today, but, tomorrow, it could leave you feeling worse. Alcohol can also mess up your REM sleep…not to mention make you gain weight. Some people are afraid to look at how much they drink. A client recently asked me, “Do only ‘weak’ people drink in bad times?” It’s more accurate (and helpful) to realize that we’re living in a pandemic that has killed more than 406,000 Americans, decimated the job market and jacked up loneliness to unbelievable levels. And alcohol is so easy to get. Couple that with all those drinking-centered virtual events (Zoom happy hours, online dating) and having to deal with things we’ve never had to cope with before — like working from home, not seeing friends, no more indoor gyms or yoga classes — and it’s no surprise that drinking rates are up. There have been historic increases in alcohol use following other traumatic events like Sept. 11, but what’s unique about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s much longer lasting and universal. The whole planet is suffering and — unless you’re an accomplished Buddhist — most of us are not very good at suffering. Advertising tells us that we can buy something to deaden our pain: clothes, sex, drugs, cars and, of course, alcohol. Plus, so many people on social media encourage each other to drink more. To address problematic drinking, many people turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If it works for you, that’s great. For some of my clients, however, the program isn’t a good fit. Does AA really work? Most independent research finds the success rate of AA at somewhere between 5-10%. However, according to AA, 33% of their members said they had been sober for more than a decade, 12% claimed sobriety for five to 10 years, 24% were sober for one to five years, and 31% were sober for under a year. For some people, AA works beautifully. Not so for everyone. If it’s working for you, do more of it. Whatever treatment program/ self-help group/spiritual community you’ve found that is meeting your needs and keeping you healthy is the right one for you. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to good mental health care. And in the past year, there’s been an overwhelming demand and not enough supply. People are going to engage where they feel comfortable and connect with like-minded folks, especially in LGBTQ-friendly groups that destigmatize addiction and make the concept of sobriety more do-able. The first step for many folks will be

are YOU drINkING MOre during the pAndemiC?

image by shutterstock.com

recognizing — like Teigen, Ben Affleck and countless others — that they need support, regardless of whether they choose to label themselves as alcoholics or not. Most of us know in our gut if we’re drinking more than is good for us, or drinking for the wrong reasons (not to celebrate, but to escape/avoid/ numb something). If you are concerned about your drinking, a good first step is aware-

SaTurDay, fEBruary 20Th from 1 – 3pm SaTurDay, marCh 27Th from 1 – 3pm

ness and questioning. Be neutral — not judgmental — about your drinking. As your self-inquiry moves forward, start to see what resources are available to you. One resource for personal growth is joining me (and 20 other Gay men) in my Feb. 20 workshop: “Power, Love & Presence: The Joys of Getting Older.” This Zoom workshop will be based on my soon-to-be-published book: “The

Gay Man’s Guide to Aging Well.” The Saturday, Feb. 20 workshop will be an interactive experience: you’ll be talking with different men individually (through the use of breakout rooms) as well as discussing topics with the entire group of men. The workshop is limited to a maximum of 20 men, costs $25 and will run between 1-3 p.m. Interested? Email me at beyondtherapy@cox.net

ZOOm WOrkshOp series

poWEr, LovE & prESENCE: the JOys Of getting Older


n January 16th, I held the first of three Zoom workshops on “Power, Love & Presence: The Joys of Getting Older”. The workshop was quite a success: participants found it very therapeutic talking with a group of gay men about the joys (and challenges) of aging as a gay man. Registration is now open for the February 20th and March 27th workshops. Each workshop - while focusing on the same subject - has its own unique content and focus. Although the workshops are on Zoom, they’re interactive experiences: participants will be talking with different men individually (through the use of breakout rooms) as well as enjoying discussions with the entire group of men. To keep it easy and fun to participate, each workshop is limited to a maximum of 20 men and will run for 2 hours with a short break midway. Both workshops will be based on my soon-to-be-published book: “The Gay Man’s Guide to Aging

Well” and informed by my twentyplus years of clinical work in both institutional (Kaiser Permanente, Psychiatric Centers of San Diego, San Diego Hospice and the County of San Diego) and private practice settings with the LGBTQ communities in New York, San Francisco and San Diego. During the workshops, we’ll discuss questions like: • What do you like best about becoming a gay elder? • Where is the power in aging? • Are you able to release the past and old regrets? • What brings you peace? • As you age, are you becoming more cynical and bitter, or carefree and happy?

• Are you experiencing more love as you get older (or less)? • What from your past is still haunting you? • How is your erotic/sexual life? What’s missing? What would you like more of? • As a gay elder, what gifts do you have to share with others? • How can you love your aging body? • Who have you found it hardest to forgive? • Are you happy with your life? If not, what’s missing? • What have you longed to try but haven’t (yet)? If you - or anyone you know - have any questions, please reach out to me at 619-955-3311 or beyondtherapy@cox.net



GeNeraTION sTew! Jacob stewart — Jacob Stewart is a proud “Army Brat”, graduated from Coronado High School and currently attends San Diego City College. His passions include music, film and writing. He is a future Screen Writer and a strong LGBTQ+ Ally. JacobRCS@yahoo.com


he thundering echoes of boots on the wooden floor of our home in Coronado jolted me awake one morning last summer. It was June 12th, eighteen days after George Floyd’s murder, a horrendous crime that ignited a passionate rage amongst African Americans across our nation. The hulking and somewhat intimidating man standing in the hallway was a proud U.S. Army veteran, an ex-drill sergeant, and national guardsmen who had seen combat in Panama. One of the most stoic, educated, and eloquently spoken men I have met in my life, my father, Sgt. R. Stewart, who also has to face the truth of what being a black man in today’s society is really like. My mother, an intense albeit anxious woman, is white, making me their proud biracial son. However, over the previous few weeks, I was beginning to struggle with the fact that for years I had entirely suppressed my true thoughts, feelings, and emotions regarding my race and ancestry. My paternal grandfather is biracial himself, and we had never entirely discussed why he looked “more like me,” while all of his siblings were black. I then proceeded to ask my father a question that would fragment my view on racism and even my existence. “How come I’ve never heard of a great grandfather on our side of the family?” He paused and pondered for a moment. I could understand he wanted to deliver his answer carefully yet unabashedly. He responded, “Your great grandfather was a white traveling salesman who raped your great grandmother while conducting business in New York City.” This meant I was a fourth-generation byproduct of a rape by a white man who utilized his privilege to take advantage of a black woman. Becoming aware of my actual family history compounded by the recent events in our worsening political climate thrust me into internal conflict. As a biracial man, do I begin to distance myself from the “white” part of me, ostracizing a pertinent half to what makes me whole as a unique human being? Or do I continue to educate myself on these controversies encompassing us,

february 2021 volume 2 issue 6


and as a black man feel guilty for taking a lack of action? While despite having experienced a level of fluidity in my racial identity over time, our society’s crushing reality is there is no fluidity when considering the social, economic, and political meanings of race. However, I also believe that there is no such thing as a race because race only becomes significant in “socially constructed” realities such as ours, where privilege and oppression have long reigned supreme. A “socially constructed” reality is a structure determined by how human beings have interacted with each other over thousands of years. Sociologists, anthropologists, scientists, and philosophers agree that race is a physical characteristic that has since become more relevant in society but is not fact. While this is not to say that skin pigmentation variation does not exist, in a country such as ours where privilege is organized according to race, I, along with other biracial people, have felt compelled to assign or label ourselves into specific groups that withhold the most inherent advantages. For example, while attending elementary school, because I never looked like the stereotypical “light skin,” I would often find myself in awkward or subtly racist situations. Classmates would study my face puzzled while guessing what race or ethnicity I am, hearing everything from Arabic to Mexican to Iranian. Then their mouth would sit agape with gasps squeaking out when I would relay to them that I’m genuinely “just black and white.” “But you don’t actually look black,” they would reply. I remember the naivety so painfully obvious to see at such a young age. When it came time to take standardized tests in the classroom, I would cringe filling out the “Race” section of the personal information form. I was a decent test taker and always an inquisitive student, but you could only choose one race you best “identified” as. I often relented and alienated my “black,” side choosing to fill in the “white” bubble so the proctors grading my test would not be surprised by my successes. Historically blacks have consistently performed worse than whites in standardized tests due to certain specific socioeconomic disadvantages, and I was embarrassed and fearful of what others would think. Would the exam proctors believe I had to overcome being black first before succeeding in a public-school environment? I was in eighth grade when George Zimmerman executed Trayvon Martin and slowly became cognizant of how privileged “white” people are. Attending a predominantly white school in an affluent community, I had grown closer to the few multiracial and black fellow students. Since I was a “light skin,” who shared more of my fair-skinned mother’s complexion, I was almost expected to “act” how I “looked.” This included chastising my wear of hoodies, beanies, basketball shoes, and other fashion significant to our culture. Whenever I found myself rebelling and becoming more comfortable in my biracial skin, I would be reminded that “I’m not entirely black,” and that “I still look white.” I began to become ashamed and insecure, cursing my mother and father for “making me mixed.” I felt

leArning And ACCepting

MY blaCk HIsTOrY

self-conscious about my racial identity and what that meant, even more, important to who I am as a human being. When it became advantageous for me to be black, I was now completely “black” to my fellow peers and high school administrators. Excelling on the track while sprinting the 100-meter dash, I was “lucky I was fast because I was black.” When the tensions were high in the locker room after losing a football game, and I angered a teammate, now I was suddenly “a n*gger.” Reporting to the school office (to be punished) the following Monday after the fight, I was labeled by a former principal, “big, black, and intimidating.” Unfortunately, I am not the first victim of this ignorance. Another way to observe our reality’s constructed nature would be to study how throughout history, the definition of race is riddled with inconsistencies. In the 19th century, U.S. law identified African ancestry as black, by a standard known as the ‘one drop rule,’ wherein in contrast to achieve Native American status, you had to have at least one-eighth Native American ancestry to qualify. Sociologist Adrian Piper argues that “it was mostly a matter of economics. Native Americans could claim financial benefits from the federal government, making it

to white’s advantage to make it hard for anyone to be considered Native American.” In both cases, racial classification had little to do with objective characteristics, such as skin pigmentation and everything to do with preserving white power and wealth. Now it’s February 2021, Black History month, and also the shortest month of the year. I feel optimistic because I know that each day, week, month, and year that goes by as individuals in this society, we have an opportunity to evolve past our flawed perceptions and beliefs we have retained due to our “socially constructed” reality and grow. I still believe it will take years of unlearning but at the root of our problem with race lies a severe lack of understanding. A quality that was never objective cannot be significant or therefore “exist,” if we do not shape the fabric of our nation around it. Due to this exact reasoning, I have finally begun shedding the selfloathing that resulted from years of subjective beliefs and expectations fueled by society. I have hope that we will all be able to come together as one singular loving race, the human race of the future. After all, whether it be your biracial grandfather you love, your spiteful neighbor, or an influential role model, we all sleep under the same stars at night.



February 2021 volume 2 issue 6

Artist prOfile:

ell Treese By patric Stillman

Canvases of kaleidoscopic energy vibrate with spiritual understanding. The complexities of identity and gender collide with personal awareness. A multidimensional space is created where one is seen and heard. Questions of how we make our reality are represented through color fields of mystic sensitivity.


Ell Treese (courtesy image)

wenty-three-year-old trans nonbinary queer artist Ell Treese exists in a world of possibilities. Living with the pronouns they/them, Ell accepts their gender as fluid. “We all have masculine and feminine energy. Coming out as trans and being comfortable not identifying as a man or a woman has given me a clarity of self that allows my spirituality and creativity to intertwine,” said Ell. With intention, Ell has developed a style of Energy Painting. This intuitive process is part of an intimate collaboration between the artist and the patron. Similar to a Tarot reading or Reiki technique, Ell asks permission to tune into the energy of the person and begins visualizing the painting as they continue their dialog. “My work has always been a language for me to communicate things that are hard to explain, can’t be explained with words, or just a feeling that comes from me or someone else to spark inspiration.” The paintings themselves are often a mix of abstract and figurative work. Ell uses the spiritual colors of a person’s aura or chakras to help bring an understanding of where a person is at any given moment. They see this as curating a painting that is personally catered to the patron. This is a new direction for Ell’s creative path. Working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts from VCUarts in Richmond, Virginia, Ell had an entirely different view of the direction life was going.

“I was supposed to graduate with my friends. I had lined up artist residencies in Portugal and Spain. I was ready to push myself into the art world. Then COVID-19 hit,” said the artist. Forced to leave campus, Ell joined their parents in San Diego for three months. They graduated from a family friend’s garage and began to reassess the future. Working with a creative coach, Ell soon realized that they were on a spiritual path and with a whole new lens on reality, accepted the opportunities that brought about an understanding of their abilities. “Once I was able to do the work for myself, I realized that my creativity was a gift that I could do for myself and share with others. Spirituality is at the heart of it. It’s not really planned out. It comes from my soul. Because the art is a combination of my hand and the patron’s energy, the result is an artwork that offers healing and guidance.” Ell looks fondly at their time in Richmond. It was a place of significant personal growth. Ell was born in Dayton, Ohio. Without any role models other than the binary norms, Ell originally assumed the role as a woman and a straight person. It was in Richmond that they went through the difficult transition to accept the truth about themself. “The diversity of a big city allowed me to look at myself in a different way for the first time. I began to peel back layers of things that I had been telling myself I was and began to discover my true self,” said Ell. “In my sophomore year, I began to understand that I was gay and that sparked a huge transition in embracing the understanding that I wasn’t a girl. I was a difficult time but I was fortunate to be surrounded by a very supportive community who allowed me space to figure out myself. It was there I began to use art to express to myself and to others what I could not put into words.” Now living as a proud non-binary person who is comfortable in their own skin, Ell has moved into an apartment; taken up a studio practice at The Studio Door; and is dedicating time to expand their creativity with a certificate in psychic training. “I want to keep at these energy paintings to establish a rhythm with them. Keep healing. Keep growing. Keep on the path that I am on. Maintain momentum to make myself known in this new place.



Artist Ell Treese can be found online on their website at EllTreese.com and on social media: @ell_tree on Instagram. 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.



bUsINess PrOfIle


february 2021 volume 2 issue 6


Q Puzzle

left: Jaime Freeman above Bali Bliss interior (courtesy images)

balI blIss

get tO knOW the treAtments And Benefits With OWner JAime freemAn By Cesar a reyes


ali Bliss offers colon hydrotherapy and electro-lymphatic therapy. We got to talk with owner Jamie about the procedures and details so readers can find out the benefits of getting a treatment that will help with their overall well-being. Give us some background on Bali Bliss, how long has it been in operation and what is your background? Bali Bliss was founded in 2020 [by Jamie] in San Diego after returning to the U.S. from Bali, Indonesia in order to provide comprehensive services that support and foster the health and wellness of our customers. We offer a variety of treatments to improve and help you maintain your optimal health. What is colon hydrotherapy? Colon hydrotherapy is a completely natural way to cleanse the colon and leave you feeling lighter and healthier. It is a gentle way to cleanse your large intestine. Warm water is flushed through your colon to remove waste, while rehydrating your colon. What are the benefits? Top colon hydrotherapy benefits include: better digestion; improved immune system; balance in your body; brighter, clearer skin; avoid premature aging; shedding pounds; hydration; and removal of harmful waste. Why do you recommend people have the treatment? Everyone will benefit from colon hydrotherapy even if you do not suffer from digestive issues. • Our colon is as long as we are tall. • The diameter of our colon is equal to that of our wrist. • For every foot of colon, we can store approximately 5-10 pounds of waste. • The degree your colon is clean is the degree your bloodstream is clean. • One colonic equals three days of fasting. How long is the treatment? A typical colon hydrotherapy session lasts approximately 45 minutes, but you should allow one hour for your total appointment. During the session, you will be lying on your back on a comfortable treatment table. You will disrobe from the waist down and wear a gown. Once a small, disposable speculum is inserted into the rectum, you are completely covered. During the session, an I-ACT certified colon hydrotherapist will administer filtered water followed by the release of waste. Various

techniques to help release toxic waste matter from the colon is used. The inflow of water and release of waste is repeated several times during the session. The water temperature and pressure are controlled by the therapist to stimulate peristalsis. Warm filtered water flows into the colon through a small inflow tube and the waste is eliminated from the colon through a separate waste tube. This is a closed system so you can rest assured that there is no odor to be concerned about. Your dignity and modesty are always maintained. How does one prepare for it? No preparation is required, however avoiding foods that may upset your stomach prior to the treatment is highly recommended. What other treatments do you offer? electro-lymphatic therapy Your lymph system is your secondary circulatory system. It is as extensive as your blood circulatory system although it doesn’t circulate the blood and it doesn’t have a pump like the heart. Because it doesn’t have a pump, the fluid in the lymph stream can become congested if you aren’t taking care to keep the system clean and clear. It’s vital to take extra care of the lymph system because it is not only an extensive full body fluid system, but it is also your immune system. Weight loss and cellulite reduction may also be an additional benefit. When your lymphatic system stays strong, your immune system will also remain strong and it will work to keep you free from disease, illness, inflammation, and premature aging. A treatment like this will play a huge role in supporting your immune system and cleansing and purifying your lymphatic system. This equipment uses an electro frequency to penetrate the body up to 2-3 inches. It can get through bone, tissue, ligaments and because of that, it is highly effective. essential oil therapy Essential oils are used through the treatments to heighten our senses, promote a sense of calmness and well-being and create a peaceful Zen spa experience. The treatments will leave you feeling euphoric and re-energized.

ThaT’S WhaT ShE SaiD aCroSS 1 ___ erectus 5 Advice from richard simmons 9 tickles pink 14 _dWts_ cohost Andrews 15 Word after “penis” 16 Alaskan language 17 surrealist magritte 18 _my ___ lady_ 19 Word for skin 20 start of a quote from a female superhero 23 give in the middle 24 Jolie’s _ ___ interrupted_ 25 Bread for later 27 more of the quote 31 sappho’s long e 32 irs info 33 sport of _Bend it like Beckham_ 37 “englishman in new york” writer 40 Bear embrace 42 _show Boat_ director James 43 Oater brawl site 45 Abe lincoln’s boy 47 fed. retirement agency 48 end of the quote 52 flockhart of _the Birdcage_ 55 the d. of k.d. lang 56 thurman of _kill Bill_ 57 source of the quote 62 steven greenberg, for one 64 Western, to the lA sparks 65 shakespearean villain 66 tapir feature 67 photographer Catherine 68 nikita’s no 69 my place, or yours 70 enjoy e. lynn harris 71 Cry of pride

DoWN 1 photographer ritts 2 give it a licking 3 st. paul’s state 4 like a nervous nelly 5 gets bent out of shape 6 Where an exhibitionist may be seen? 7 type of twin 8 Power of old films 9 russell/kreiger musical 10 Hydrocarbon suffix 11 Job option for Jack mcfarland 12 Joltin’ Joe 13 grid coach Amos Alonzo ___ 21 title for laurence Olivier 22 doctors, doggy-style 26 stage crew worker, briefly 27 untouchable leader 28 _Butch Cassidy_ role 29 Western ski mecca 30 notre dame coach rockne 34 Winery vessel 35 Besides that 36 Admiral’s position? 38 start of a bedside prayer 39 dates 41 Billie holiday wore one 44 Cold war defense assn. 46 loomed large over snow White’s friends? 49 hard feelings 50 “gag me!” 51 rub some oil on 52 utter an oath 53 refrigerator word 54 party in Auden’s land 58 the 411 59 poet Angelou 60 like sharp cheese 61 difranco’s “___ pretty girl” 63 except

Solutions on page 16 QSyndicate.com

Bali Bliss 2302 Sixth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 text 858.227.6990 | balibliss101@gmail.com baliblisscolonhydrotherapy.com


February 2021 volume 2 issue 6

COUrT News


SEriaL KiLLEr SENTENCED fOr 2016 murders By Neal putnam

Jon David Guerrero (courtesy image)


serial killer who preyed upon mostly homeless men in 2016 in 13 attacks with four fatalities has been sentenced to four life terms in prison without the possibility of parole plus 143 years. The victims of Jon David Guerrero, 43, included Angelo DeNardo, 53, who attended Metropolitan Community Church in San Diego, and who is remembered fondly by people there. “After many years, justice is being served on behalf of Angelo and the other innocent people who were brutally murdered,” said Rev. Dan Koeshall, senior pastor at MCC. “This is a painful reminder of how dangerous life can be on the streets,” said Koeshall. “May we continue to support social services and continue aid to this vulnerable population.” “Everyone is of precious value in God’s eyes,” concluded Koeshall. The motive behind the attacks was hatred of homeless people. One man who survived asked Guerrero why did he hit him. “Because you’re a bum,” said Guerrero, according to Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey. Jude Litzenberger, an attorney who spoke at DeNardo’s funeral at MCC, said “if (Guerrero) had known Angelo, he wouldn’t have done it.” “Knowing Angelo has changed me. I listen more without judgement,” said Litzenberger, who led a Sunday School class that DeNardo attended for two years. “He challenged my assumptions about homeless people — they can function indepen-

dently if resources are targeted strategically to what they need,” said Litzenberger. Guerrero’s sentencing on Jan. 12 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Ken So ended the nearly 5-year case. Guerrero pleaded guilty in 2020 to four counts of firstdegree murder as well as two arson counts in which DeNardo and Dionicio Derek Vahidy, 23, were also set on fire. He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted murder and assault. Kathleen DeNardo, Angelo’s sister-in-law, told sentencing officials the family was satisfied with the sentence because Guerrero cannot ever be released. DeNardo was the first person killed on July 3, 2016, under a bridge near Mission Bay where he slept. Guerrero stole a faded birth certificate from DeNardo along with his bus pass and credit card, which were found along with other victims’ identification in his apartment by police officers after his arrest on July 15, 2016. Guerrero literally was walking around with the bloodstains of many victims whose DNA was found on his shoes and clothing, according to his sentencing report released on Jan. 27. Many victims’ DNA was found on the sledgehammer and railroad spikes used as weapons. Guerrero has a history of schizophrenia, but was found mentally competent to stand trial after treatment at a state mental hospital. “I should have been on my medication,” said Guerrero to

authorities. “I should have been more responsible knowing the gravity of my illness.” Guerrero told officials he believed all those he killed and attacked were spirits and not human. He said he saw “vampire spirits with sharp teeth” who were following him daily. Guerrero’s guilty pleas brought “some measure of closure” and a sense of justice to some, said Harvey. “Mr. Guerrero is severely mentally ill,” said his attorney, Dan Tandon, who added that his client “has been held accountable.” Tandon said Guerrero benefited from his time at the mental hospital, saying “He’s remarkably stable today as a result of that treatment.” Linda Gramlick, the mother of Shawn Longley, 41, who was killed in Ocean Beach, referred to Guerrero as “a monster.” “You took a piece of my heart that I’ll never get back,” said Gramlick, who spoke via computer feed, to Guerrero. The slaying of Molly Simons, 83, in North Park broke the pattern on July 13, 2016 when she was struck with an object around 5 a.m. while walking to a bus stop. She was on her way to a local YMCA where she volunteered and she died of a skull fracture. Simons’ son told officials the family was satisfied with a life without parole sentence. The judge gave Guerrero credits of serving 1,642 days in jail, although that is moot since he can’t be paroled. He was fined $11,204, and ordered to pay $3,761 in restitution.


ThaT’S WhaT ShE SaiD from paGE 15

GriNDr DaTE turned rOBBery By Neal putnam


Gay man reported to police he lost his car, credit cards, and military ID to a date he met on Grindr the night before, according to court testimony. Ironically, the victim showed police the photo of Christopher Frank DiSalvo, Jr., 31, of Santee, from his phone with the Grindr app, which was used by police to identify him before his arrest. San Diego Police Officer Tyler Staab testified a man reported the thefts on April 14, 2020, after he invited DiSalvo to spend the night with him. DiSalvo went by the name of Austin, the victim said. The next morning, DiSalvo

was gone, and he discovered his front door open, said Staab. Also gone were the victim’s Jeep, along with his credit cards and military ID. One of his cards was used at Walmart that day. Carlsbad Police Officer Dylan Mayer told El Cajon Superior Court Judge Rod Shelton the photos from the dating app matched DiSalvo’s description and tattoos when he was arrested in the stolen car. A license plate reader discovered the stolen car at a pharmacy, he said, and Mayer said he detained him. At the end of the Jan. 5 preliminary hearing, Shelton ordered DiSalvo to stand trial

for three car thefts, evading police with reckless driving, elder abuse, and carjacking a 77-year-old woman that occurred on June 19, 2020. Additionally, in a second preliminary hearing, Shelton ordered DiSalvo to stand trial for felony assault of a 55-year-old inmate at the central jail. The other prisoner was punched allegedly by another inmate, Zachary Wayne Harris, 33, and DiSalvo is charged as an aider and abettor of the crime. Sheriff’s Detective Scott Paris told Shelton the injured inmate appeared confused, and was asked who was president. George Bush, said the man before he was taken to the hos-

pital for treatment of fractured facial bones. A March 8 trial date was set on Jan. 19 after DiSalvo pleaded not guilty to all charges. Sheriff’s Deputy Freddy Herrero testified he met the carjacking victim, 77, whom he described as “frantic” after “she had been pulled out of her vehicle” in Santee outside a restaurant at 1 p.m. Shelton asked DiSalvo, who appeared on a computer screen from a room in jail, to lower his mask briefly so officers could identify him in the hearing. DiSalvo was arrested in La Mesa after crashing the car into a tree. Herrero said DiSalvo had to be taken to a

hospital by ambulance after he became very ill. The sheriff’s department said DiSalvo was administered a dose of Naloxone, a lifesaving nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. DiSalvo told deputies had taken drugs before the carjacking. Another officer said he took an auto theft report from a motel guest who left his Jeep running while he briefly talked with a motel clerk. The guest saw someone drive his Jeep away and DiSalvo is charged with that auto theft. DiSalvo remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $450,000 bail.

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LGBTQ San Diego County News Volume 2 Issue 6 February 2021