The LGBTQ San Diego County News January 2023, Issue 4 Volume 7

Page 1

1 LGBTQSD.NEWS JANUARY 2023 VOLUME 4 ISSUE 7 LGBTQSD.NEWS JANUARY 6, 2023 VOLUME 4 ISSUE 7 La Jolla Institute Institutional Review Board Protocol # VD-259-0822 A3 Approved for use until: 08/23/2023 Eligibility you are healthy, 18+ years old you have been infected with monkeypox and/or received the monkeypox vaccine Participation brief health questionnaire up to 5 study visits with blood draws compensation up to $500 for time and effort VOLUNTEERS NEEDED MONKEYPOX STUDY Have you been vaccinated and/or recovered from monkeypox? (858)-255-0680 to contribute to scientific research COMMUNITY VOICES BIG MIKE & FRIENDS Be Safe, Kind, and Always Be Thankful P8 COURT NEWS Darcell Moore Found Guilty, Faces 50 Years to Life P18 LIFE BEYOND THERAPY Forgiving Our Fathers P9 PUBLIC SERVICE A Note from Toni: A New Year’s Message P6 City Attorney News: San Diego Fights Opioid Abuse P13 NEWS Jose Sarria Archives and Walk of Stars P4 ENTERTAINMENT Teatro San Diego Breaking Barriers P14 On Stage P15 QUEER PARENTING What It Takes To Be an Ally P12 HEALTH Being Obese Just No Fun… P17 HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM New Year, Same You P10 TRAVEL Why You Should Use A Travel Agent Instead of Booking Online P16 WE CELEBRATE OUR EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNITY NAYA MARIE VELAZCO CHELI MOHAMED PHIL THE ARMADA SD ALL INCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB READ ON PAGE 2 OPINION Creep of the Week: All the Bad Stuff That Happened in 2022 P11



Araceli “Cheli” Mohamed is the Account Manager for National University’s Public Safety Outreach. Former Director of Volunteer Services and Community Leadership Development at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and Chief Operations Officer for the United States Police & Fire Championships and most recently appointed as a Commissioner by California Governor Gavin Newson to California Volunteers.

As the former Leadership & Community Resources Director for San Diego’s LGBT Pride, a human rights and social justice organization that fosters respect for and pride in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally, Cheli was responsible for overseeing all activities related to the organization’s volunteer programs, including recruitment, orientation, placement, supervision, development, retention, recognition, and appreciation for approximately 1000 volunteers year-round. She was the liaison to city, county, state, and federal elected officials. As a member of the development team, she was responsible for identifying and creating sponsorship opportunities and corporate volunteer partnerships, as well as increasing community in-kind donations. Additionally, she had to manage and increase festival and community partners, develop field placement opportunities for interns from local colleges and universities, head efforts to develop and train emerging volunteer leaders within the organization and community, and work with program coordinators to develop, manage, and train department volunteers.

Cheli is originally from Brawley, California, and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She has spent 20 years in non-profit social services and 7 years working in local government. Her professional background

includes program and corporate development, volunteer management, crisis intervention, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, fundraising, and special events.

A national speaker on Volunteer Development and Management, Cheli is a graduate of both LEAD San Diego’s EMBARK & IMPACT Classes and a finalist for the highly coveted Herbert G. Klein Award for Exemplary Leadership. In recent years Cheli has been named Woman of the Year, by the San Diego LGBT Community Center for her tireless advocacy and activism and recognized by the City of San Diego for community leadership.

Cheli is passionate about volunteering and devotes countless hours to community organizations. She is a firm believer in donating time, talent and treasure to cultural and educational organizations, and has sat on the board of directors for Diversionary Theatre, Bayshore Preparatory School and The Latino/a and Indigenous Peoples’ Unity Coalition, in addition to, Home Start, Inc., Lambda Archives of San Diego and being Board of Directors for San Diego LGBT Pride.

Cheli lives in San Diego with her children Brianna and RJ.

Volunteer with Cheli’s Story:

In February 2013, a community activist, Benny Cartwright, called Cheli and said, “I know that you have a lot of volunteers that follow you and I need your help tonight”. He was coordinating a Candlelight Vigil and needed volunteers for his event. Cheli put the word out on her social media network and told interested volunteers to reach out directly to him. The next day he called to thank Cheli, a dozen people had shown up – simply because Cheli asked if they could help. Cheli was overwhelmed and touched by the outpour of support.

Soon, other community groups and organizations reached out asking for volunteer help. Cheli kept putting the word out, volunteers kept showing up. One day when she was working on a specific project for back then Assemblymember Toni Akins, Cheli made a personal request for help. The response from the volunteer “Will I get to volunteer with Cheli if I show up?” and hence how Volunteer with Cheli was born! We launched our Facebook Group in January 2014 and quickly gain momentum in the community working on beach cleanups, helping organizations working directly with the homeless, youth, and the sober community.

We officially incorporated in 2017 as a non-profit organization and continue to grow with more than 300 registered volunteers and partnering with more than 35 community organizations.

The Mission:

To INSPIRE, ENGAGE and EMPOWER the LGBT community and our allies to be catalysts for change across our diverse and collective communities through volunteer service.

Volunteer with Cheli, is a movement created by volunteers, for volunteers, to increase awareness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community by INSPIRING volunteers to make a difference in the communities we are all a part of. Our goal is to create a bridge between the LGBT community and allies to the World at Large. Our focus is to ENGAGE the LGBT community and our allies with access to organizations, projects, learning opportunities, and civic engagement work that improves our collective communities while we EMPOWER people each year to use their time, energy, talent, money, creativity, and voice to truly become catalysts for creating change.

Phil Collum

Chula Vista Assistant Police Chief

The city of Chula Vista recently appointed new Assistant Police Chief Phil Collum who is now the highest ranking openly LGBTQ+ law enforcement officer in San Diego County and rightfully is one of our Persons of the Year. Though born in Washington DC, Phil was raised in San Diego and has lived here since he was six years old. He has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years. Phil Collum was a late bloomer and came out when he was 26 years old; his parents have always given him their unconditional love and support. Phil is married to well-known San Diego businessman William Lopez, President of Alternative Strategies. They have been together for almost 15 years, and both had their parents at their wedding. Phil’s parents have always instilled in him to be a person of integrity and that has always been the core of his well-known and respected reputation.

When Phil came out to his then patrol partner he was met with a big hug and acceptance. In fact, Phil’s being openly gay was overwhelmingly accepted within the Chula Vista Police Department and there are more LGBTQ+ police officers in the department. Assistant Police Chief Collum has been the Executive Captain of the Executive Operations & Community Engagement Division which was established as a permanent division in Chula Vista over a year ago and he will remain as its Executive Captain. Phil’s role model of law enforcement is the current Police Chief Roxanna Kennedy who also made history as the first female police chief in her city and received wide praise when she made her Police Department the first in the county to require all police personnel to have “de-escalation tactics training”. Chief Kennedy has coined the phrase “the heart behind the badge” in her efforts to engage the Police

Department with communities and neighborhoods and establish more contact, support, and dialogue.

If you know assistant police chief Phil Collum, it will come to no surprise that when the LGBTQ San Diego County News contacted him to inform him he had been selected as a person of the year, he was in Tijuana Mexico at an orphanage giving out Christmas presents to children. He has been a member of the highly respected Corazon de Vida, an U.S.-based foundation that supports orphanages throughout Baja California, Mexico for the last five years. Indeed, Phil is a very spiritual individual and is a member of the board of directors of Mission Gathering, a Christian Church in North Park.

Being an LGBTQ+ and African American police officer is not always well received and he has been called both “Uncle Tom” and the “N-word” by angry citizens. As for the Black Lives Matter movement, though he does not support all their stances he strongly believes in continuing dialogue and discussions with members of the organization. Assistant Chief Collum has also been very involved in the ongoing dialogue between law enforcement agencies in the county and LGBTQ+ activists. Chula Vista’s new Assistant Police Chief Phil Collum is not only a down to earth man of integrity but a true role model of what outstanding civic and community leadership is all about.

FRONT PAGE Persons of the Year continued from Page 1
“When Phil came out to his then patrol partner he was met with a big hug and acceptance.”

Naya Marie Velazco Director of Programs, Transgender Health & Wellness Center

Tell our readers about you:

I’m unable to speak about myself without honoring and paying homage to my late grandmother, Enriqueta Olvera Hay. Her love of people, deep conviction in Christ, and humility to serve others is deeply rooted in me and is the foundation in which I am planted: God, Family, Community.

I’m a God fearing and praising woman, everything I can visualize and put into action in order to help others, is because of God. I have lost count of the moments where I didn’t have a resource and direct point of contact to help someone while working as a case manager to vulnerable populations, but I would immediately receive an email, or phone call from someone who specialized in that area of expertise enabling me to move forward with my clients’ goals and objectives. There were instances in my career where I was seemingly the most “underqualified” person on paper, but the most qualified to speak up on particular issues that gravely impact Trans people and these public events would draw hundreds of people together, including elected officials and the press allowing the message to ring clear across San Diego.

Anytime I doubted myself, every time someone attempted to make me feel inferior, God was always waiting on the other side to hold my hand. Anyone who feels like giving up, or who is suffering from anxiety and self-doubt, trust and believe there’s a blessing on the other side of that fear.

As a Transgender Xicana who has overcome every systemic and social assignment set to dimmish my existence, it is evident more now than ever that I am very powerful and am here on Earth for a reason. As a Trans woman who has a deep understanding of this, there is a vast obligation to change the atmosphere in every room I walk into, there is also a moral duty to make

sure conversations regarding systemic and social change for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, also very much elevate the “T” because for far too long we have been subjected to being marginalized by cisgender people and am tired of us being an afterthought. My beliefs have been criticized as “divisive”, but Black and Brown Transgender women literally have a life expectancy of 22-35 years of age, sadly from the result of anti-Trans violence and discrimination. Am I wrong for demanding special federal and state protections for the gender diverse community? Every Transgender person, especially Black and Brown women deserve to live a full life with an overflowing abundance of love, respect, and hope.

How did you end up at Transgender Health & Wellness Center?

Transgender Health & Wellness Center has been a phenomenal platform to help exercise my leadership in community building, public health, fundraising, and civic engagement. Trans women, especially those of color, have the capacity to pioneer and our history proves it. Being a part of a synergetic agency with Trans women with varying intersecting identities in leadership, is a dream come true! Transgender Health & Wellness Center

founder and Chief Executive Officer, Thomi Clinton (she/ her), quickly became a mentor of mine in the summer of 2022, she expressed that I was outgrowing my previous role at a local community center. We have all hit glass ceilings in our careers, some placed there by other women, however, I am grateful for every professional steppingstone.

The TH&WC platform allows for a visionary and outspoken leader to pioneer the gender diverse community forward, because we are still very much fighting hard for equal and equitable rights.

Transgender Health & Well-

ness Center’s mission rings true, we are the preeminent provider of services and support for the Transgender community by offering support and vital resources to those in need. Our CEO founded TH&WC in 2018 with $10,000, one employee, and 500 square feet in the Inland Empire. 2023 TH&WC now has a million-dollar operating budget, 25 employees, 130 volunteers, and 4 office locations in the southern region of California. We have robust programing and are always continuing to explore funding sources for our Palm Springs, Riverside, and San Diego offices. We do not want to be limited in our resources when it comes to helping vulnerable individuals and marginalized groups of people and are always seeking opportunities to expand our services across California. Am proud being a part of such a powerful legacy, especially one created by a Trans woman.

What has been one of your major accomplishments so far?

My proudest professional accomplishment is curating Trans and Non-binary Tuesday – San Diego, a cultivated weekly safe space for the gender diverse community to congregate. Local Queer artists, designers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and dancers can share an extension of themselves with their peers. We have prolific leaders and speakers come into the space to help elevate others through mediums of storytelling and poetry. Community partners and public health agencies from all over the greater region of San Diego participate to help provide direct access to services and resources; thank you: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Ysidro Health, Live Well San Diego, Champions for Health, Christie’s Place, GILEAD, UC San Diego, SDSU, NAMI.

The Armada SD All Inclusive Rugby Club

The San Diego Rugby Football Club is more than just a team, they are a family! A family that is there for each other as well as the San Diego community. You can find “Ruggers” volunteering at many fundraisers throughout the city. They have been known to answer the call whether it be back up support with staffing events, attendance at fundraisers, and even donating their physical strength by helping community members move residences and the like. Whether you’re on the current roster, an alumnus, or a fan you are always treated with acceptance, encouragement, and love.

Developmental Social Inclusive:

The San Diego Armada is an inclusive rugby union club. We welcome all players and supporters regardless of skill level, orientation, gender identity, religion, or national origin.

As a developmental team Armada routinely field players with a few weeks of rugby experience next to players with a decade on the pitch; it’s okay to be new because they love to help people learn the game. Being a social club means that their primary goal is to have a great time and make friends by playing. Inclusivity means that everyone is welcome in the Armada, they are too busy playing rugby and having fun to be judgmental.

The Bingham Cup:

On September 11th, 2001, Mark Bingham gave his life on flight 93 to protect others. The San Francisco Fog, the second inclusive team which he helped found, created the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament the following year. It has since become the largest rugby tournament in the world and the largest amateur sports gathering in the world.

Winning the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Rugby Tournament is the pinnacle of the team’s existence. If they have to choose between taking a strong

side to the national playoffs or the Bingham Cup, they will always choose Bingham. The Armada will always register and send players to the Bingham Cup, even if it isn’t a full side.

In 2016 they attended the tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, hosted by the Nashville Grizzlies. It was the first time that they sent a full team to a Bingham Cup. Throughout the tournament they dominated the competition by scoring 116 points and giving up only 29. Their record was 5-1 with a single loss coming to the Chicago Dragons. The Armada took third place in their division and brought home the Hoagland Plate.

In 2018 they travelled to Amsterdam, Netherlands to compete for the Bingham Cup. Because of their heavy score differential in 2016 and growing team presence they were placed in the top tier of competition. Again, they finished 5-1 with their sole loss from the Kings Cross Steelers, the first gay team in the world and an incredible organization. Every game they played was extremely competitive and all had very narrow margins of victory. They brought home the Bingham Plate, taking third place in the world.

We asked Armada Board President Danielle Schlesinger, what are the teams hopes and goals for the coming year?

We are both a competitive and developmental team, so I look forward to our season of competition with other Southern California rugby teams while continuing to introduce new players to the sport and fostering the growth of the game with our veterans. As an inclusive team, we also consistently strive to actively increase our involvement within the LGBTQ+ community through recruitment, events and service.


ell us a little about how you became involved with the Archives?

The Jose Sarria Archives initially began as my own personal quest to preserve our history. Just as I have collected items from the history of my own court, the Alamo Empire in San Antonio, TX, I had been collecting items relevant to the International Court System in general and Jose in particular. After Jose passed there was an auction of his estate with funds raised earmarked to complete the documentary on his life, Nelly Queen: The Life & Times of Jose Sarria. At the time of the auction, I had some extra money set aside and decided to purchase as many items as I could to prevent them from being lost. So now with those items added to my existing collection, I was struck with a “now what” moment, I feared if something happened to me, where would these items go. After a conversation with my friend Bob Toane in Edmonton, who was a very close friend of Jose’s, I decided to create a foundation to honor Jose and it could become the long-term caretakers of my archival items.

The Jose Sarria Foundation was incorporated in 2016 and we held our first display of the archives in Feb 2017 in San Diego. It was received very well and we kept expanding the archives with additional purchases from individuals and as they came up for sale in fundraising auctions. Many individual friends of Jose’s also stepped forward to donate items to the archives to help protect them and allow Jose’s inspiring story to be told. This two-month Jose Sarria Museum popup in Palm Springs brought even more donations as folks would walk into the museum with a story about Jose and items, they wanted us to have. It was amazing the number of folks who came in that knew Jose and shared very important stories about him.

In addition to the archives, we focused our initial efforts on raising funds to complete the film, Nelly Queen. That film was completed, and the premiere was to have been in Summer 2020 in Los Angeles, but COVID derailed that plan. Since then, we have taken the film and small archival displays to universities to share Jose with a new generation of activists.

The importance in remembering the legacy of Jose Sarria?

In many ways Jose and his numerous contributions have been forgotten. Ask most people and they assume the first out candidate for public office was Harvey Milk, or that the fight for LGBTQ+ equality began with Stonewall. Why even in Palm Springs, a pamphlet at the Stonewall Democrats booth detailing the timeline of LGBTQ+ community in politics had no mention of Jose. They know now after I shared his story with them. Why even our own community has often trivialized the contributions of Drag Queens and gender nonconforming members. It wasn’t


that many years ago when in some cities Pride organizers sought to “mainstream” the parades and stage participants to limit Drag and the leather community.

It’s vitally important for folks to know the first out candidate for public office was a proud Latino Drag Queen. That’s an audacious act even today, much less in 1961. We must share the story of the out proud Latino, WW2 veteran, professional cabaret performer, a Drag Queen, civil rights activist, community organizer, Empress and the first out candidate for public office when he ran in 1961. Researchers have determined he was the first to coin the phrase “Gay Community”, so to us, Jose was the “Mother” of the LGBTQ+ Community. His cries of “United we stand, divided they catch us one by one” and his fight against police harassment are as important today as they were back then. Especially when you consider how many are attacking our community through their attacks on Drag Queens. We must unite now, just as we did back then.

How long did it take for the Walk of Stars to decide on honoring Jose with one?

We initially approached the Walk of Stars committee two years ago with the concept, but at that time they were revamping the process of adding new stars. Then in late 2021 I submitted the nomination forms and followed up through 2022. We received confirmation in early September that Jose had been selected. We had already decided to host the month-long museum so now we had to expand our fundraising and scope of 100th birthday celebrations.

How can people help the maintenance and survival of the Archive and the Star?

We need volunteers to share Jose’s story, we need to share the film Nelly Queen with more universities and communities and we need financial support to keep sharing Jose’s message. The two-month Jose Sarria Museum pop up was a huge expense but being open every day in the middle of Palm Springs with huge signs on the outside of the building allowed folks to trip over Jose and learn about him. The number of young LGBTQ+ folks who had no idea who Jose was or what he did was shocking, but them being energized by learning about him was inspiring. We would love to host more Museum pop ups and hope to one day have a permanent museum. Visit Jose’s Palm Springs Walk of Stars at the corner of Belardo and Museum Way, right next to the Forever Marilyn statue.

If your readers would like to get involved or donate, please go to or donate via Venmo at @ josesarriafoundation

We plan to include some of the Jose Sarria Archives at the Imperial Court de San Diego Coronation 51 on February 4th, in San Diego. We hope to see you there.

(courtesy images) T


am deeply humbled that my colleagues have again entrusted me with the responsibility and honor to lead as the President pro Tempore of the Senate.

As I reflect on my combined 12 years in the Assembly and Senate, I’m struck by how much the California Legislature has changed and grown to truly reflect the 40 million people who call our state home. After the swearing in of members of both houses last month, the Legislature is the most diverse the state has ever seen – including historic numbers of women, Latinx and LGBTQ people. That diversity will be our strength as we go about the People’s business.

Over the last few years, we have worked hard to find solutions to some of our state’s biggest problems: from wildfires to housing and health care.

We have made great strides on getting real relief to families struggling to make rent, and keep up with rising costs at the gas pump and in the grocery store.

As we begin a new two-year session, we still have our work cut out for us. Climate change is a daily threat, homelessness

persists, and we face a challenging financial future.

In years past, the recent report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office forecasting budget deficits would have kick-started talks of painful cuts and middle class tax increases – not anymore. We have prepared for this moment.

Over the past decade, California’s leaders have turned our state’s fiscal condition around and made responsible budgeting our top priority. We built our reserves to record highs, paid down debts, and avoided committing one-time resources

to ongoing purposes, while also making historic progress with new commitments that strengthen the middle class, assist struggling Californians, and fight climate change.

Thanks to our responsible approach, we are confident that we can protect our progress and craft a state budget without ongoing cuts to schools and other core programs or taxing middle class families. We will be continuing our historic work on climate and wildfires, homelessness and affordable housing, and access to important services, such as

health care and metal health –all issues of equity laid bare by the pandemic.

As the new year begins, I feel a sense of increasing hope, optimism, and resolve. There are still great challenges ahead, from growing extremism, to climate, to housing, but I’m noticing more of a willingness among reasonable people and elected officials to come together when it matters.

I remain grateful for the privilege of representing you, and I wish each of you a happy and prosperous 2023.

LGBTQ San Diego County News PO Box 34664 San Diego, CA 92163 858.886.9458



Nicole Murray Ramirez 619.241.5672


Cesar A. Reyes


JP Emerson


Brittany Berger

SALES 858.886.9458


Big Mike Phillips 619.807.7324



Adam Martindale

Berto Fernández

Big Mike Phillips

Brittany Berger D’Anne Witkowski

Korie Houston Mara W. Elliott Michael Kimmel Neal Putnam Randall Blaum Toni G. Atkins


LGBTQ San Diego County News is distributed free every first Friday of the month. © 2023. All rights reserved.


LGBTQ San Diego County News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email them directly to 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.


Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas, contact the editor by phone or email.

Copyright © 2023 LGBTQ San Diego County News

Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this publication’s advertorial, 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.

“This publication was supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.”
—Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.
As we begin a new two-year session, we still have our work cut out for us. Climate change is a daily threat, homelessness persists, and we face a challenging financial future.
(image by
Photography by Big Mike Phillips


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


For over three grateful years now, I have been given the wonderful opportunity by LGBTQ San Diego County News to introduce and write about so many unique individuals for my column “Big Mike and Friends”. They come from every background, focusing on the good they bring to their lives, community, friends, and family. Even I have learned so many things from reading their answers that they choose to share to all our readers.

I am so deeply appreciative and would like to say a huge thank you to our Publisher Terry Sidie and our Associate Publisher Nicole Murray Ramirez for allowing me to be a part of their mission and creativity through this paper. If I am not mistaken our paper is the last actual printed LGBTQ+ news outlet in San Diego County. Thank you both for including me.

A huge thank you to both our Editor JP Emerson and Creative Director Cesar A. Reyes who have given me such an amazing platform to show my art and write my thoughts to share with our readers. They both have been there to help guide me, even to encourage me to write major articles for the paper, and by using my photography, giving me the chance to grow and better my skills as both a writer and photographer. I will always be so grateful.

None of this would be even possible without our advertisers, and our readers that support us with every issue. We appreciate your belief in us and love that we can bring the News, Entertainment, Art, different viewpoints with the handful of columns by so many diverse members of our community and so much more.

As we start another year in all our lives, 2023, I personally hope we all show more kindness, be more generous, and share more love with each other. As I grow older myself, I have witnessed the loss of so many people and one day it will be my turn too. My gold in my life is to be the best person I can be. I want every day of my life to be filled with happiness and I pray your life is filled with happiness as well.

Who knows, maybe I will have the pleasure to feature you and your story this coming year in my column or in a news story. We all have a story to share. Thank you all again for your support. Be safe, kind, and always be thankful as we start this new year of 2023.

Don’t forget to pick up your next issue of the LGBTQ San Diego County News!

Photo by Rikke Photography


—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

n Christmas, I was talking with a friend who had retired from 14 years of working as a Jail Chaplain. He told me that during his first year at the jail, as Christmas approached, the inmates asked him for cards they could send to their mothers. He couldn’t get enough cards for moms. But none of the men and women wanted cards for their fathers. Not a single person wanted to write to their father. He told me: “Everyone wanted to let their mother know that they loved and missed them. No one felt that way about their dads. Eventually, I discovered that none of them had good relationships with their fathers. Not one of them had forgiven their fathers for stuff that went down in the past.”

You don’t have to be in prison to find it hard to forgive your father. Many of us didn’t have fathers who supported us as the LGBTQ people we were. We had dads who wanted us to be different. My Dad tried to get me into playing sports (not a success) and then bought me a set of weights to beef up my skinny little body (also not a success). He wanted me to be different than who I was: a nerdy, skinny kid who loved to read and draw and dreamed about other boys.

When I was around 13, my Dad caught me messing around with my best friend during a sleepover. I was mortified. So was Dad. Luckily (?), we were both too freaked out to talk about it.

Fast forward about 20 years: when I (finally) came out, my dad was more supportive than my mom. He was curious – not judgmental - asking me, “You don’t feel anything when you are with a pretty girl?” And I felt safe enough to tell him, “Not really”.

Since I was a little kid, my dad and I have shared some rough times. Most of us have been disappointed or hurt by our dads. While many people have “good enough” dads, some

of us have fathers who caused us a lot of pain and suffering. One client told me, “I feel bad when my friends tell me about their great dads and how they took them to Christmas brunch at Hotel Del”.

Some people have absent dads or abusive dads or alcoholic dads. Regardless of who they were/are, how can we forgive them?

Start by telling yourself the truth about your dad, who he is (or was) and how you feel about him. Lying to yourself will only make you feel worse. If friends ask you what your relationship is with your dad, consider telling them: “My Dad and I aren’t close” and leave it at that. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of your dad or how you feel about him.

If you’re angry at your dad, admit it. The way to be free of anger is to work through it. You can’t run away from it: it will follow you. If you look “under” your anger you’re likely to find sadness. Sadness comes from disappointment, being hurt or let down. Perhaps your dad gave you plenty of reasons to feel sad. Allowing yourself to feel that sadness helps it pass more quickly. Denying it or pushing it down,


e.g., telling your friends, “I’m fine, really, don’t worry about me” is likely to make you feel worse. Tell the truth: “My father isn’t someone I have a good relationship with” is usually enough for most people. However, obtuse types may tell you, “Oh, just get over it, forgive him and move on”.

If this were something we could easily do, then all of us would be mentally healthy all the time. It doesn’t work like that. We can’t really forgive until we work through our old wounds and emotions.

If you can work through your relationship with your dad, that’s great. If he’s abusive or unavailable, then work through it on your own, with a trusted friend or therapist.

Forgiving our fathers is for us. No matter who they are or what they did in the past, don’t let 2023 be just another year where you continue to hold onto old hurts and pain with your father. Find a way to forgive him and be free in 2023.

Michael Kimmel
O “Start by telling yourself the
truth about your dad”
(image by


— Korie has almost a decade of experience working within the LGBTQIA+ community. Holding various positions within Social Justice advocacy in higher education and journalism in queer publications. He currently works at the University of California, San Diego providing support and championing causes for marginalized communities on campus.

Hello lovelies and welcome to Houston, We Have a Problem. I hope you’re ringing in the new year in your own special way. Whether it was a new year’s kiss with a loved one, nursing your inevitable hangovers, or writing out your next great life chapter, we all are accepting our choices we made for the end of 2022. One choice I’m reveling in is the decision to take out the proverbial trash. If you think that sentence is about you then I hope you start to rethink your life choices. This is about self-acceptance and embracing both the good and the bad as you leave the rest behind.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Korie, last name Houston, no relation to Whitney. I’m recently out of an almost 6-year relationship that left me feeling emotions that I didn’t put on my 2022 Bingo card. This also included the severing of two long standing friendships with people who I thought held my best interests in their hearts. Life goes on, love is lost and is found in every avenue, and I think I’ve come to accept that people are not always what they seem and that’s okay. But how much do we allow ourselves to tolerate? Daily affirmations and harmful relationships don’t go hand in hand. Loving people who are not good for your health or your heart goes against the very foundation of self-care. So, what does “new year, new me” represent when you’re still you at the end of the day?

My favorite part about the buildup to a new year is everyone sharing their affirmations and goals for the new year. The reality is, you’re still the same person you were before that clock struck midnight and the calendar turned a page. It’s endearing to watch everyone scrambling to fulfill these resolutions and make life changes both small and huge. Shooting your shot with a potential crush, buying a gym membership, giving up alcohol and for some people ending lifelong relationships. Yes, I’m another bitter Betty, (no pun intended) who is reeling from a breakup but also the ending of connections with loved ones. I’m setting new


themes for myself this year & many are along the lines of being who I am and connecting with people who accept that. I believe in the power of intention setting but still honoring the person I am at my core, because all we’re left with are our thoughts, feelings, and the choices we make.

For example, if you spent every waking minute of 2022 not meeting your goals and needs while looking for love that’s okay. Even if you were a serial dater and one day found yourself in a loving relationship, you’re still you just planning for growth. You don’t need to be fully healed as a person to fall in love and be happy. The same goes for those of you who think today is the day you become a baker, an artist or a gym bound muscle queen. I do always say it’s time for me to go from a twink to a twunk, but it’s equally about your headspace as much as your willingness to persevere. We as humans need to surround ourselves with the same energy, we truly desire.

Bad friends, bad relationships, bad choices, and bad connections can be detrimental to our growth as human beings.

It’s not to say that everything must be a truly awful experience for you to learn to make new and better decisions.

It’s just to say mutual love, respect and admiration can head south as quickly as birds

for the winter. So how do we protect our hearts and minds when we come up short?

We’re social creatures who are not entitled to love and perfection, but we crave intimacy and validation in every form. Sometimes we stumble and even worse we might fail but that’s part of the intention of creating a theme for how you navigate your new beginnings. It’s a new normal that you continue to strive for. It’s okay for us to embrace the notion that a pathway in life whether it be with singular or multiple people cannot meet our needs and it’s all right to say “Thank you, next” in every aspect of your life. Yes, I did just quote Ariana Grande but there’s several people I could’ve quoted that serve the exact same purpose in this life. Those are the people that remind you, it’s okay to shut that door and hold onto the feelings even if it’s a person, place or situation that no longer serves you now.

Ask yourself if your relationships and connections are fulfilling you. Sometimes the truth is going to hurt and hit you harder than a truck even if the Gays can’t drive particularly well, the sentiment is the same. We aren’t entitled to healthy relationships, but we do deserve to write our own narratives.

What will yours be for 2023?

Korie Houston (image by

Happy New Year everybody! Except for people who made it their life’s goal to attack LGBTQ+ people. I hope your New Year sucks.

2022 was much better than the two years before it (I know, it’s a low bar).

We saw some historic wins by LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2022 midterm elections, including the election of the nation’s first openly lesbian governors, Tina Kotek in Oregon and Maura Healey in Massachusetts. WNBA player Brittney Griner was sprung from prison in Russia, high profile anti-LGBTQ+ candidates like Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, Herschel Walker in Georgia and Kari Lake in Arizona lost their elections, and a bill to protect marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people and interracial couples passed the U.S. House and Senate and was signed by President Joe Biden.

Still, many things were not great!

Queer icon and perpetual bright spot in this dark world Leslie Jordan died. 2022 saw the repeal of Roe v. Wade and a very clear signal from the ultra-right Supreme Court that they can’t wait to get rid of marriage equality, too (hence the need for the abovementioned Respect for Marriage Act). There was also the horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado, and widespread protests against drag queens.

And then there was Florida, where old people go to live out their golden years by clawing



back all the progressive wins they’ve seen in their lifetimes.

In 2022 Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed faster than a hurricane and was championed by Governor Ron DeSantis, an out and proud homoand transphobe who wants to become our next U.S. President. While the bill’s stated objective is to keep schools from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade, the bill has had wider reaching effects. It’s clear that the intent of the law was to enshrine the idea that LGBTQ+ people are a threat to children under the guise of an education law.

Well, attorneys general across the state aren’t hav-

ing it. Among other problems, “the law does not define many of its key terms, like ‘classroom instruction,’ so Florida teachers are already censoring themselves out of fear of the law. Indeed, the law allows a parent to bring a civil claim against a school district to enforce its vague prohibitions,” reads a press release from D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine.

You read that right. Parents in Florida can sue if they think the teachers in their school are’t anti-LGBTQ+ enough. Racine and 17 other AGs have submitted an amicus supporting a lawsuit brought by several Florida families opposing the Parental Rights in Education Act. He’s joined by the

AGs in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

“Florida’s law is unconstitutional,” the brief argues according to Racine’s office.

“The law is causing significant harms to students, parents, teachers, and other states. Non-inclusive educational environments have severe negative health impacts on LGBTQ+ students, resulting in increased rates of mental health disorders and suicide attempts. These harms extend to youth not just in Florida, but throughout the country.”

It’s true. Over a dozen other

states have proposed bills “inspired” by Florida’s.

The Venn diagram of people who are anti-LGBTQ+ and people who are racist has two overlapping circles.

As Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Legal Director David Brown tells NPR, “What is truly concerning is that these anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been coupled with legislative proposals that forbid teaching about structural racism and slavery, and patriarchy and sexism, on the grounds that these concepts make others uncomfortable.”

But making LGBTQ+ people uncomfortable? That’s OK. That’s the point. Legally dehumanizing people is a green light for violence against them. We saw that play out at Club Q and at drag queen events that drew armed protesters.

“The institutionalization of these bills is an overt form of structural transphobia and homophobia, and it goes against all public health evidence in creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender, nonbinary, queer, gay and lesbian youths and teachers to thrive,” Arjee Restar, a University of Washington professor of epidemiology told NPR.

Of course, that’s exactly the point. Supporters of this kind of legislation don’t want a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people. They want us back in the shadows, timid and weak. But the closet door has been smashed open. We refuse to go back.

(image by


— Brittany Berger (she/her) is a mother of four and an ally to her three Queer adolescent children. Five years of midwifery education has given her the gift of exploring her biases and learning about social justice, activism, and being an ally.

Contact Brittany @

Parenting in a queer family comes in many different forms. Some families have children who have come out, while in other families the parents are queer, or even both. This parenting column is for parents on either side of that coin and is meant to be both informational and entertaining. As a straight, cis-gendered parent of a Trans son and twin daughters who have come out as lesbian and bi-sexual, I have a unique position of personal growth and understanding of what it takes to be an ally to love and support my children. Like all parents my parenting goal is to raise healthy, happy, confident adults.

My mission for this Queer Parenting column is that LGBTQ+ families have a place for information and insight within LGBTQ San Diego County News. Whether you are a Gay or Trans person who desires to one day be a parent or already are one, or you’re a straight parent who learned of their child’s coming out and want to be an ally, this column is for you. This column will introduce resources you may have not thought of, or it might introduce an issue that has come up for me as a parent of queer kiddos. Hopefully this column will offer some entertainment and lighthearted information about the fun and joy that comes with parenting in a queer family.


My 14-year-old son wanted to go to his first Pride Parade and so I put on my flashiest, most colorful dress and asked him to do my make-up for me since I do not typically wear makeup and he does. He didn’t know what he wanted to wear and was frustrated at his choices, so my makeup had to wait. Many of today’s Trans teens dress in the way “goth” teens dressed back in my teen years in San Diego two decades ago: Black hair, black nails, black fishnet stockings, black hoodies, black eyeliner, just black. So we went to the store, well three stores, for last minute wardrobe necessities early that morning so that he could feel confident and ready for his first real Pride event. I


together. We took off with our cart into the wave of rainbow flooding the streets. Beautiful queer families came out from every direction to buy merch from our cart. We were getting swarmed, but we were having a total blast seeing dads of queer kids wearing shirts offering “Dad hugs” and other teens dressed just like mine. My son got so into it and became a salesman connecting to his audience and his sense of belonging was palpable.

Thousands of queer families and allies in the streets celebrating proved to me that I had been doing the right thing for my son. As a parent ally, I also felt like this was such a beautiful experience seeing other like-minded parents supporting their kids. We also saw swarms of queer couples with kids rejoicing, dancing, and simply normalizing the queer family.

My step counter on my phone continued to multiply and we followed the entire parade route without realizing how far we walked pushing around a heavy cart of merchandise. Sales slowed down but continued as we worked our way back to our starting point. Our merchandise was

dwindling. We sold out of many items. Upon our return we realized we were the last to join our team. We obviously outsold the others, and we successfully broke records with our sales. Not only did we have fun, but my kid earned over $500!

Money and financial support, however, is not what contributes to being an ally to our children. What counted was quality time together doing something that my child wanted to do and in a place that made him feel welcome and wanted. Being an ally means much more than physically being with your child to support them. We also build up their confidence and help them find opportunities for growth as well as holding the unique responsibility of doing our part to make the world a better place for our queer loved ones and children to grow up in. While we do this, we seek out issues that are important to the LGBTQ+ community, we speak out against discrimination, we encourage friends and family members to learn the facts and become allies, and we visibly support the community.

didn’t intentionally wait this long to expose my kid to a Pride Parade, but he came out only a little more than a year before this.

As we waited for the parade to begin, we sat in a coffee shop to sip on some lattes and use the restroom before entering the crowd and waiting on porta potties. As I sipped from a rainbow lined ceramic mug my son whipped out a palette of rainbow eyeshadow and started telling me how to hold still so he could blend the colors just right. I look at my beautiful Trans son. He was assigned female at birth and had not worn a dress or a skirt in over a year now. Today he wore a black mini skirt and black fishnet stockings with a skull design mesh. His shoes were Doc Martin’s, nails painted black, black short hair he cut himself and bright red lipstick. The only rainbow he wore was a chain necklace.

The day before we met a

carney of sorts who offered us a gig selling Pride merch during the parade. He said we’d make 25% commission and that last year everyone who worked made $500! What a treat for a teenager who was not old enough yet to work. We took him up on his offer and met around the corner from the coffee shop where sure enough several Trans and Gay people were setting up their carts with Pride merch to push through the already colorful crowd to sell. Since I was the adult, my son became my assistant, however I wanted him to be able to earn the money (since he has such an expensive style). We were extremely lucky to have two of us working and we had high hopes for our sales, but mostly we were just there to have fun and celebrate.

I opened a rainbow handkerchief and tied it around my neck to bring my dress and spectrum of eye shadows

Brittany Berger
(courtesy images)

—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.

For years, pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketed opioids to doctors and the public, claiming opioids were needed to manage chronic pain, weren’t addictive, and were superior to other pain-relievers. None of that was true. Instead, America got sick, while the opioid industry got rich.

As patients became addicts, they fueled an underground market for illegally produced fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, or turned to heroin. Overdoses strained emergency rooms and public-safety services and more than 500,000 Americans lost their lives. San Diego suffered along with the rest of the nation, struggling to combat a health crisis rooted in deception, manipulation, and greed.

While it’s impossible to reverse the damage done by the opioid epidemic, it is possible to hold opioid manufacturers and marketers responsible. In 2019, my Office sued a number of companies that were making outrageous profits at the expense of human lives.

Our lawsuit accused the drug companies of circulating false and misleading information about opioids’ safety and efficacy and downplaying or omitting the risk of addiction and overdose.

Opioids can be crucial to help people recover from surgery and to ease terminal illness, but the industry wanted a larger customer base.

We argued that their immoral and unethical behavior caused substantial injury to San Diego taxpayers who absorbed the costs of this public health crisis. Our strategy was to recover those costs and compel the companies to fund drug treatment and education programs to help our addicted population and prevent it from growing.

The legal strategy worked. That lawsuit is part of a multiparty settlement between three opioid distributors and one manufacturer and a number of cities, counties, and states. We expect additional settlements in the future. Our targets include some of the biggest names in the drug industry, who profited in the decades-long fraud.

Throughout this hard-fought three-year battle, your interests were doggedly pursued by my Office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit. Under the terms of the settlement, these funds cannot be used for any purpose other than to address opioid addiction, through health care, drug treatment, and related programs. The city will receive an estimated $30 million over eight years. The first year’s payment is $1,372,352.69.

Although the City Council and Mayor ultimately determine how the proceeds will be spent, it is my hope that the City will use these funds to expand PLEADS (Prosecution and Law Enforce-


Diversion Services),

is a

Our first responders are overburdened with emergency calls related to all forms of drug abuse and overdose. This program, founded by my Office and the San Diego Police Department in 2019, reduces costly emergency calls and offers a new start to people caught in the cycle of arrest, jail, release, and homelessness.

Even $30 million is a drop in the bucket compared with the economic and human harm caused by these companies, which have not admitted wrongdoing or the role they played in fueling a black market for illicit fentanyl. But at least one company, Johnson & Johnson, has stopped selling prescription opioids and has agreed not to resume.

In the three years we prosecuted our case, America’s opioid problem only worsened. In 2019, more than 3,200 people in California died from opioid overdoses; in 2021, there were 6,843 opioid deaths. In San Diego County alone, 1,637 people went to hospital emergency rooms for opioid overdoses in 2021, and 686 deaths were reported.

We can’t bring back those whose lives were tragically cut short, but we can use this money to provide future treatment, help, and hope for San Diegans impacted by this crisis.

ACROSS 1 Perkins’ “Psycho” role 6 Arty gay-friendly district 10 Begin to wake up 14 Start of a Sappho title, perhaps 15 Not now 16 Name repeated in a Stein quote 17 Mapplethorpe’s “Dark ___ Rose” 18 “The African Queen” author 19 Apple that isn’t a fruit 20 Start of a quote from Wanda Sykes 23 Blood classification syst. 24 Org. in many spy movies 25 Crossed through 26 Like the space around Uranus 28 Ancient provincial governor 31 Loeb’s partner 33 Marsupial with a forked penis

Prefix with tubbies

More of the quote

Former senior

Top, to a bottom

“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” author John

Nero’s tutor

Give the slip to 50 Gielgud’s john

Chess queen, ironically

Caesar’s lang.

End of the quote

What you can take from me

Staying power, in “Variety” 62 Kahlo’s cohort 63 Blazing star 64 Colorado, to Cocteau 65 “The Brady Bunch” episode 66 Emulated da Vinci 67 Comes together 68 “Love Affair” costar Dunne

DOWN 1 ABC’s 2 Lack of zip 3 Musical featuring “Cheek to Cheek” 4 Carmela of “The Sopranos”

Mark with a branding iron 6 Tennessee, but not Williams

“Not another religious homophobe!”

Pay attention to 9 Ready to go in 10 Bombay title 11 Fannie Flagg had some fried green ones 12 Allie on “Weeds” 13 Emulated Elton John 21 Like a flasher, for a moment 22 “__-hoo! Fellas!” 27 Rise, after a fall 29 Emulated Kerouac’s “On the Road” 30 “The Simpsons” storekeeper

Try to seduce

Pose for pix

It can help you get it up

Series with Jamal Lyon

A single person

No longer jail bait

Gives the boot

He did Jackie’s clothes

Belle’s companion

Part of a name in espionage

Nat. counterpart in MLB

Fondle clumsily


Q Puzzle Solutions on page 18 WANDA
US UP FDI-1916M-A © 2022 EDWARD D. JONES & CO., L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. AECSPAD > | Member SIPC Bank-issued, FDIC-insured APY* % * Annual Percentage Yield (APY) effective 01/01/2023. CDs offered by Edward Jones are bank-issued and FDIC-insured up to $250,000 (principal and interest accrued but not yet paid) per depositor, per insured depository institution, for each account ownership category. Please visit or contact your financial advisor for additional information. Subject to availability and price change. CD values are subject to interest rate risk such that when interest rates rise, the prices of CDs can decrease. If CDs are sold prior to maturity, the investor can lose principal value. FDIC insurance does not cover losses in market value. Early withdrawal may not be permitted. Yields quoted are net of all commissions. CDs require the distribution of interest and do not allow interest to compound. CDs offered through Edward Jones are issued by banks and thrifts nationwide. All CDs sold by Edward Jones are registered with the Depository Trust Corp.
“Self-Reliance” writer Ralph Waldo
Really moved
Sex toy boutique
Some escorts want it up front
Take home after taxes
Boy toy
4.65 2-year New year, new savings plan.
, AAMS™,
CRPC™ Financial Advisor 6336 Greenwich Drive Suite E San Diego, CA 92122 858-458-9406
Assisted which city program that encourages individuals found under the influence of drugs in public to agree to addiction treatment in lieu of prosecution and jail. (image by


— Berto Fernandez is a Puerto Rican actor, singer, and artist currently performing in Theatre productions all over Southern California. He holds a BA in Communications, and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Our city offers some of the finest Theatre in the country, with several local houses harvesting pre-Broadway spectacles and groundbreaking social works. It is arguably this rich and thriving community that propels fresh and new artists to join the scene in hopes of presenting impactful stories to audiences.

One of these important companies is Teatro San Diego, created after the 2020 pandemic with the goal of bringing approachable Art and Theatre to the two largest minority communities of the County, Mexican and Filipino.

“Teatro”, meaning Theatre in both Spanish and Tagalog, is the perfect way to represent these prominent cultures.

Teatro’s Mission statement:

“Teatro San Diego exists to further the founding social activists and artists’ vision of bringing to life the multicultural spirit of San Diego through world-class visual and performing arts. To create an extended community by bringing together its many isolated and under-served communities in order to raise their visibility. By building facilities in southern San Diego and putting on grand professional productions across the globe, Teatro San Diego aims to provide arts education for all people while celebrating and maintaining San Diego’s rich cultural heritage.”

As we come out of a global pandemic, our society is hungry for Entertainment, Theatre, and Arts Education. It vouches for the immeasurable social and emotional impact the Arts have in all of us. We need it!

We chatted with Teatro San Diego’s artistic directors Sheldon Gomabon and Julio Cataño about what is in store for 2023 and what San Diego’s LGBTQ community can expect to see from them in the new year.

“We have many exciting things planned for 2023 including a full musical production of West Side Story at the City Heights Performance Annex this summer, free of charge, as well as the second edition of our dance lab where we bring in local choreographers and showcase newly developed movement pieces. Our mission continues into the new year as we strive to offer even more opportuni-

ties through performance and arts education and continue to bring together a community celebrating San Diego’s rich cultural heritage.”, they explained.

Arts education is an important puzzle piece of the company, as it offers affordable programs in dance, Musical Theatre audition prep, and Improv to the inner-city communities that historically had to travel further to receive these types of classes. “Our aim is to reduce that geographic barrier by serving these communities and offering more easily accessed opportunities, like seeing a show or being a part of one”, they added.

Teatro’s commitment to representation, inclusion, and accessibility, ring true within our LGBTQ Community, as most of us are entangled in Theatre as audience members and artists equally. All the performers and creatives of their productions are paid for


their art, while still being able to offer full professional productions free of charge to the public or at a very low cost.

When asked what the LGBTQ community would connect with during one of their productions, they quickly answered, “Our energy, colors, and dancing are the first things that come to mind. We usually produce large dance shows and are planning to have events in Hillcrest this coming season that celebrate the authenticity and individuality of our cast and creative teams, many who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The stories we tell aim to investigate all points of view. We hope to continue telling new stories this season with that spirit as we develop and partner with local writers and bring their fresh and unique stories to the forefront.”

Representation is a crucial element of Teatro San Diego. The team wants to make sure

that audiences see themselves in the diverse roster of artists and become inspired to fall in love with Theatre and even train to be part of it. Young audiences particularly need to experience the magic of Theatre as part of their cultural development as emotional beings. “We hope they leave with the motivation that they absolutely have the skills to do the thing they’ve always wanted to do and say, “Hey if they can do it, I can too,” and begin to create opportunities for themselves and their own communities”, added Gomabon and Cataño.

Teatro San Diego is still a non-profit organization, and it needs the help of the community to keep operating, so if you have the means, consider donating to their company, financially, with direct involvement as a volunteer production crew, or even sharing their content on social media to help them grow.

Inviting, ambitious, and eclectic, are the three words the artistic directors used to describe their organization, all tying in with their commitment to the community. Their productions of Songs for a New World and The Wiz have already brought them recognition from peers, press, and audiences alike.

“We cannot do what we do without your continued generosity and sincerely thank you for all your support this past year. We look forward to meeting you and expanding our Teatro San Diego family as we continue to grow in 2023. Thank you again for your support and Happy New Year!”, they concluded as a message to the San Diego Community. Instagram: teatrosandiego Facebook: Teatro San Diego

“Teatro San Diego exists to further the founding social activists and artists’ vision of bringing to life the multi-cultural spirit of San Diego through world-class visual and performing arts.”
(courtesy images)


Book by Roger Bean

Music by Various

Directed by Larry Raben Welk Theatre, Escondido

Jan 28 through March 26, 2023

Saturdays 1PM & 7PM | Sundays 1PM This jukebox comedy musical features well known pop songs from the 50’s and 60’s including “Lollipop”, “Stupid Cupid”, and “Dream Lover” amongst many other hits. The show is set in Springfield High School 1958, when four friends prepare to perform at their prom while reflecting on their teenage life and love journey. You will not want to miss this campy hit musical.



Jan 25 - Feb 19, 2023 2022-2023-season/el-huracan/


A musical by Ahrens and Flaherty

Directed by Kathy Brombacher Scripps Ranch Theatre

Jan 27 - Feb 19, 2023

Based on the 1983 novel The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth, Lucky Stiff is an old-fashioned musical farce featuring quirky and hilarious characters, led by Harry, a shoemaker who ends up on an eventful trip to Monte Carlo. The show features phenomenal local talent that will continue a second run of the show at the Oceanside Theatre Company post the Scripps Ranch production.


Book by Jennifer Lee

Music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Directed by Michael Grandage Choreography by Rob Ashford Broadway SD at Civic Center

Jan 18 - 29, 2023 disneys-frozen/

Based on the beloved Disney animated feature,

comes to the Civic Center to enchant audiences of all ages with jaw-dropping sets and costumes, spectacular special effects, and powerful

Believe me, you will not want to let this one go.

By Charise Castro Smith by Daniel Jáquez Cygnet Theatre El Huracán, a lyrical drama of family, memory, and forgiveness centered around four generations of Latina women during a devastating hurricane in Miami, Florida. This powerful play gets its third production ever at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. the National Tour of Frozen: The Musical performances.

—Adam Martindale is a luxury cruise travel agent and specializes in Wine, Food & LGBTQ group cruises & tours. Adam has over 30 years of experience, working for 4 major cruise lines, luxury hotels and resorts as Food and Beverage Director. Adam is a board member with San Diego ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors). Adam specializes in Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises and has been recognized as a “Cruise Connoisseur” Agent for his volume of business with Oceania Cruises. Contact him at 206-399-2138 and amartindale@

Sure, you’re tech savvy and know all the best websites to book hotels and cruises, but here are some words of advice your parents forgot to tell you: the internet is for looking, a travel agent is for booking. Using a travel advisor doesn’t mean you’ll be sightseeing with a bunch of tourists following a guide who is waving a tiny flag. It means knowing that you’ll have a personal advocate supporting you with expert advice and experiences as they make sure you get the best deal and help sort out all the details of a missed connection. Here are some reasons why a travel advisor is your secret weapon to scoring big with an awesome vacation:

1. They’re experts. Travel advisors have industry knowledge and experience to help match you with your perfect vacation.

2. They come free at no extra cost to you. We know it sounds too good to be true, but one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that travel advisors don’t charge you for their services. Their fee is paid by the supplier so the price of the trips they book don’t carry an added cost to you. The question is, why WOULDN’T you use an advisor?

3. Save time. Don’t spend four weeks planning your one-week vacation. Using a travel advisor lets you skip the hassle of searching hundreds of websites for the best prices or piecing together all the different legs of your itinerary.

4. Your trip, your way. Whether you’re someone who wants everything planned down to the minute or you’re happy with just a hotel reservation and flight to get there, your travel advisor will customize your trip to your preferences, interests, and budget.

5. They know the scoop. Travel advisors are a part of the in-crowd when it comes to getting the best deals and spe-

cial offers. Their connections throughout the travel industry mean you’ll have access to deals that others won’t.

6. Groups made easy. Whether it’s a bachelorette party, reunion, “buddymoon”, or simply a friends and family getaway, travel agents take the stress out of planning group vacations. They can handle multiple reservations, arrange transportation from various home bases and ports, book accommodations and offer exclusive group add-ons. Planning a destination wedding? You’ll definitely want to say “I do” to using a travel advisor!

7. Trust a Professional. Make the most of your vacation investment by working with a travel advisor. You’ll receive a personal touch that cannot be matched by online retailers as well as have an advocate to help you out if any issues may arise.

8. More than Just Cruises. Cruise Planners Travel Advisors can plan all types of travel, from a romantic trip for two off the beaten path to a cruise that will immerse you in a destination’s culture or an all-inclusive resort where every meal is a culinary masterpiece.

9. Take your agent with you. With the Cruise Planners mobile app, you’ll never be without your travel advisor. Access your personalized trip information and itinerary from the palm of your hand and even check the weather in your destination based on your customized itinerary.

Ready to go?

Contact your Cruise Planners Travel Advisor, Adam Martindale,, 619-879-3601 and

Adam Martindale
“The internet is for looking, a travel agent is for booking”
(image by



It’s been a year since I began writing about my health journey and many of you have connected with me for information about what I do and to offer support. Thank you all for that – it has meant a lot to me – more than I can put into words.

Here we are at the beginning of 2023 and, wow, what a year 2022 was. Part school yard bully, part devil, and part WTF all rolled into one. We all dealt with COVID, lots of people pulled through, some didn’t get it, and some passed away. Every one of us was affected by it and many still are.

According to the CDC “having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection. Obesity is linked to impaired immune function. Obesity decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult.” – Not fun and COVID, no matter how it got here, is here to stay and we all must deal with that now.

If you need another reason to be healthier this year, a new study led by researchers at Northwestern University found that people who were obese in middle age died nearly five years earlier than those who weren’t. What’s more, individuals who are overweight in middle age had more health issues than their thinner counterparts (AARP). Not fun.

According to a study done by The New England Journal of Medicine, Americans gain around 1.3 pounds on average between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This number is much lower than the amount of weight Americans believe they gain during the holiday season, but it is still significant as overeating for weeks at a time over the extended holidays (Halloween through New Year’s) can set you up for a one pound per month weight gain for the entire year. Not fun.

Okay – enough of the “not fun” stuff. What can you do? First, I am not a believer in the New Year’s Resolutions thing. You can be resolved any time of the year and you can commit to better health when you want and not have it be based on a calendar or season. This past holiday season I went to London for a week,

went to a few parties, and had several meals out with friends. None of this was on my body building meal prep plan and yet, I did not gain a pound. In fact, I came back from London just before Christmas weighing 3 pounds less and yet, I ate pretty much what I wanted –how did this happen?

In a word – moderation. Now, as a body builder I eat about 2300 calories a day and of that I have 200 grams a protein a day, about 80 grams of carbs, and about 55 grams of fat. That may be more than most people need, but it works for me. I eat 6-7 times a day, so my blood sugar stays level, and I am rarely hungry. Even knowing that, I have eaten ice cream (don’t tell my trainer), and other sweets in London and ate calorie heavy items like real, rich, and creamy homemade Italian Polenta, as well as many other things. To offset that, I also ate a lot of protein bars and veggies so even on my “worst” day I was only a few hundred calories above my target and not much over in fat or carbs.

Really, it’s two words: Moderation and tracking. Any food or beverage I consume I track on an app. It helps me make sure I know what’s going on in my body and no matter what I can go back and see why I gained weight. Many people say that they can remember what they ate. Maybe so… but from 3 months ago, and everything? If they can, my hat’s off to them. I can’t fully remember yesterday. It also makes me totally responsible to myself for my actions. It takes about 20 seconds per meal, so

it’s not a big deal at all. If you want to lose weight, keep track of what you eat for just seven days and all your patterns will show up and you can make a course correction if needed.

TIP: When at the grocery store get your food from the “outer departments” and not the center of the store. In every grocery store you can think of the outer departments are all the fresh foods, meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, etc. The inner aisles have all the canned and boxed processed foods – most of which aren’t very good for you. Processed foods rarely are.

Okay, three words: Moderation, tracking, and cardio. Let me tell you, I hate cardio. It’s dull, boring, and mind-numbing to me. I do love to hike so that’s a saving grace and now I have fell in love with Pickle Ball so I am getting the cardio I need. Here’s the thing, even if your level of exercise allows you walk around the block, do it. Then every couple of days, add a few more feet. It can take a while to build up your stamina. It is a marathon, not a sprint. I had to learn how to take it step by step while building my muscles. I wanted it faster and that just wasn’t going to happen, patience is key.

As we go into 2023, don’t make a New Year’s resolution, make a commitment to better your health and your life. Everything points to the fact that extra weight is a true negative in your life and you deserve to live a rich and long one, but you have to take the first step to the best you possible. Make it good choice and a fantastic year.

(courtesy images)

jury has convicted a man of first-degree murder in the slaying of a homeless man in Hillcrest and he faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

Darcell Marquise Moore, 42, will be sentenced Feb. 23 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeff Fraser for the 2020 fatal stabbing of Shawn Timothy Puzzo, 60.

The jury also convicted Moore of robbing Puzzo on April 15, 2020, in the area of Front Street and West Washington Street. Puzzo had injuries to his head and torso and was taken to a hospital where he died.

Deputy District Attorney Philippa Cunningham said the victim’s DNA was found underneath Moore’s fingernails.

Deputy District Attorney Philippa Cunningham said Moore faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison plus a possible six-year term on top of that.

The victim was robbed of gift cards, some of which were from restaurants. Cunningham said he was stabbed 10 times in the face, neck, torso, and leg.

A second man, Willie Gray,


67, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and faces up to five years in prison. Gray will be sentenced on April 24.

Gray’s attorney, Jordan Furrow, argued that Gray didn’t participate in the stab-

bing and “happened to be present” when Moore assaulted him. Furrow said Gray had “no bone to pick with” the victim and did not rob him.

Both Moore and Gray remain in jail without bail.

Barbie is with the angels.

Barbara Plourd, who preferred her nickname Barbie, died Dec. 27, 2022, of pneumonia seven days after she was hospitalized. She was 88 and lived a very full life.

She was a teacher for over 35 years, a surfer, a composer in which she recorded a CD of songs and was one of the first female building contractors in California.

“But most of all she was well loved and a kind person,” said her daughter, Donna Plourd. “She really did have years of experience in life and endless numbers of friends.”

Barbie first visited Metropolitan Community Church in 2002 and she came out after the death of her husband, Marvin. She became a member of MCC, and memorial services are pending later this winter.

“She was the happiest person I met for a long time,” said Lyn Malone, who formerly led the church membership class at MCC. “She laughed. She giggled. A really sweet lady.”

“She enjoyed life. I have a CD of hers she composed when she was younger. She loved her husband very much,” said Malone. “She will be greatly missed.”

“I just know she would have loved seeing all the heartfelt posts about her on Facebook,” wrote another daughter, Colette Lovejoy.

There are 248 comments (and growing) on Legendary Surfers that salute Barbie and more than 251 on Donna Plourd’s page, as well as her own page.

“There is no doubt that this


dear Lady of the Sea will be switch footing through the heavens on glorious waves,” wrote one surfer online.

“Ride in Paradise Barbie” wrote another, with icons of surfboards and a rainbow scattered around.

“Mom wanted me to share ‘she went onto her next Big Adventure,’ wrote Donna Plourd in the Facebook announcement, adding that her mother suspected she would pass “at the light of day,” which she did at 7 a.m., while Donna was there with her wife.

“She was at peace with this sudden turn in health and enjoyed sending text, chatting and sharing music/surf stories with the nurses/doctors the past day,” wrote Donna.

Armond Washington, the choir director at MCC, noted Barbie enjoyed singing in the church choir. “A wonderful person--always greeted you with a smile and a hug,” he said.

“Barbie was an incredible generous person. She used to take people out to have brunch with her,” said Rev. Alisan Rowland, of MCC. “She was one of a kind.”

“She had great musical talent,” said Gregory Ragsdale. “The first time I saw her in church I knew she was a person I could get a hug from.”

Barbie taught students from grade school to high school in the Conejo Valley School District for 35 years and also taught music to students separately, said Donna Plourd. She had a degree in education and a minor in psychology.

Several long-ago pupils posted on her Facebook page. One wrote her passing showed there was “another bright light in the sky tonight.”

She is survived by two other children, Mark and Matt Plourd and seven grandchildren.

“The victim was robbed of gift cards, some of which were from restaurants. Cunningham said he was stabbed 10 times in the face, neck, torso, and leg.”
(image by