LGBTQ San Diego County News June 3, 2022 Volume 3 Issue 17

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june 2022 volume 3 issue 17

JuNE 3, 2022 voLumE 3 iSSuE 17



arTIsT PrOfIle Stefan Talian P14



Catalina Pride 2022 P2

CONvERSAtiONS With NiCOlE Vote Tuesday, June 7! + So Much More P7

Big MikE & FRiENdS Featuring Andrew Dean Hunt P8

Out at the Fair Returns Sunday, June 12th P13

liFE BEyONd thERApy Should I have Sex with My Friends? P9


PUblIC servICe


City AttORNEy NEWS Prosecuting Hate Crimes Is Our Business P6 A NOtE FROM tONi The Potential to Overrule Roe v. Wade: Not On Our Watch. P12

Luxury Cruising in Alaska on Silversea Cruises P16 Getting Going from Couch to Gym P17

COUrT News

Gay Man Found Guilty of Force-Feeding Husband to Death P19

everYONe Deserves a CHaNCe TO flY

San DIEgo’S ThrIvIng LgBTQ+ acTorS TakE cEnTEr STagE Lisa Nava (courtesy image)

By Berto Fernández

PrIDe bY THe beaCH GUIDe:

JunE 11, 2022 12PM To 6PM By allan acevedo

heatre has always been a space for artists and actors of the LGBTQIA+ community to connect with each other. When thinking of professional Theatre, most people immediately reference New York, London, or perhaps Los Angeles, but San Diego is an overlooked shining star of Regional and Pre-Broadway Theatre. In the heart of this circle, there are Queer actors bringing life to important stories of humanity. For our Pride edition, we are featuring four successful San Diego LGBTQIA+ Musical Theatre artists paving the way for a new generation of storytellers to take the stage and continue our journey of inclusivity and representation.

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(L-R) Sebastian, Gerilyn, Berto and Xavier (Photo by Dennis Covey)

MESSAGE FROM PRIDE DIRECTOR LISA NAVA Over the last five years, I have had the honor to serve as Pride Director for the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. In that time, I have seen our festival grow in size, attendance, and impact. Our Pride is turning 15 years old and like most teenagers, she’s growing up faster than expected. This year, we have more vendors, community resources, and entertainment than ever before. It’s as humbling as empowering to see, over and over, what the power of community can produce. My heart and gratitude go out to our committee of dedicated volunteers who made this event possible and to the over 100 volunteers who will support the festival on June 11! I’m so proud of the teamwork we have had this year. Our volunteers all are truly the biggest accomplishment of this year’s Pride by the Beach. Together, we have dedicated ourselves to learning about our Center and expanding its reach. Together, we have bonded friendships, worked through obstacles, tried to understand thought processes and challenges with an eye on creating a revolutionary space. Together, we have given each other grace as we shoulder life’s personal challenges. Together, we will truly create a space for the LGBTQIA and allies to gather and experience a space free of social stigma.

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ove Catalina Island Tourism Authority is pleased to announce an expanded Catalina Pride celebration taking place on June 18. Held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., the festivities will include live entertainment, music and a Pride March in support of the LGBTQ+ community. “It is an honor to bring the first large scale Catalina Pride event to the island,” said Love Catalina Island President & CEO Jim Luttjohann. “LGBTQ+ equality is an important issue that we as a tourism organization and community feel strongly about, and wholeheartedly support. We are thrilled to be partnering with such incredible talent and invite all LGBTQ+ community members and allies to join us for a fun-filled day in celebration of love.” Catalina Pride events and happenings on June 18 include: • Pride March: Beginning in the center of Avalon at Wrigley Stage at noon, visitors and locals are invited don their rainbow attire and to join in a festive march that will continue along the boardwalk to the iconic Casino Point. • Live entertainment: Coordinated by the Jeanseau Group in conjunction with Xceptional Music Company, this year’s lineup features DJ Asha, a sixtime host for LA Pride and DJ Groovesection, a three-time DJ for Long Beach Pride. Wrigley Stage will also feature a

CaTalINa Ca CaT TalINa Tal IN PrIDe 2022 CelebraTION KICKs Off ON JUNe 18 LIvE EnTErTaInMEnT, fESTIvE March, DJS, BEEr garDEn anD MorE To honor LgBTQ+ coMMunITy By venice Henson (image by

sneak preview of the upcoming YouTube show “Mugs” hosted by drag queens Miss Patty and Anita Diemund along with performances from the Long Beach Cheer squad, roller skaters and more! • Beer garden: Visitors can enjoy free admission to a beer garden from noon to 7 pm. The beer garden will offer a variety of beers along with the special edition Bud Light Pride Rainbow beer bottles, which will also be served at participating restaurants throughout the weekend. In addition, the historic Catalina Island Casino will be lit in vibrant rainbow colors to showcase Catalina’s love and support for the LGBTQ+

community. Limited edition merchandise including Love Catalina Pride t-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with the special LGBTQ+ Pride Love Catalina burgee flag logo on the front are available to order online, along with custom Catalina Pride burgee flag pennants, which can be purchased at the Catalina Island Visitor Center at 1 Green Pleasure Pier. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will have a booth near Wrigley Stage set up all day where they will offer support and provide informational materials. Representatives from AFSP chapters in Southern California are skilled allies who work closely with members of the LGBTQ+ community in need.

The expanded Catalina Pride event is made possible through the support and sponsorship of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn along with Long Beach Community College. In addition to LGBTQ+ representation among its board and staff members, the Love Catalina Island Tourism Authority is a proud member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. For more information about Love Catalina Island, please visit About Love Catalina Island: Love Catalina Island Tourism Authority is the Island’s official source of visitor information. Originally

founded in 1949, the nonprofit is comprised of approximately 230 member organizations, working closely with city officials, local businesses and the community at large to attract visitors and support the local economy. Love Catalina Island is governed by an elected board of directors and is funded in part through the collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes.

For more information, please visit Travelers can also join the conversation on Facebook ( Instagram (@LoveCatalinaIsland) and Twitter (@LoveCatalina_).



cELEBraTES rETurn of In-PErSon SErvIcES aT coMMunITy oPEn houSE


he San Diego LGBT Community Center recently took an exciting step in its phased reopening with an “Open House,” inviting the community to celebrate the reopening and recent renovations of their main facility, where they offer a range of programs and services to help the community feel welcomed, valued, and supported. More than 400 attendees, including community members, staff, volunteers, and elected officials, joined in celebrating The Center’s Open House – complete with confetti cannons, music, and food – held at its Hillcrest location on May 14. Elected officials in attendance included San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas; San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott; City of San Diego Councilmember Stephen Whitburn; and City of San Diego Councilmember Marni von Wilpert. In her opening remarks, Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq., CEO of The Center, announced several building upgrades and expanded services to a large crowd of community members. Open House participants who took part in staff-led tours were impressed by facility upgrades of the main floor of the historic building. “We’ve always said we will fully reopen our building to the public when it is safe to do so for everyone, as we value every community member’s health and wellbeing,” says Dessert. “While we were required to shut the doors to the general public of our physical location here in Hillcrest in March 2020, every Center staff member continued to work hard to find new and innovative ways to help and to continue to support San Diego County’s amazing and diverse LGBTQ community, including serving clients in need in person.” The renovations of the

(images courtesy of The Center)

building’s common areas and community gathering spaces on the first floor occurred during the closure of the physical location caused by the pandemic. These renovations are part of the process to continue The Center’s innovative and relevant work as one of the largest and most vibrant LGBTQ community centers in the country as The Center approaches its 50th anniversary later this year. “As part of our strategic plan, we surveyed community members who advocated for renovating our Welcome Lobby, having more meeting spaces at The Center, better restrooms, and an improved sound system in our auditorium, to create a more welcoming environment,” describes Dessert. “This is one of the largest renovation projects in our agency’s history.” Original artwork by members of the San Diego LGBTQ community are showcased in the first floor’s common areas. The team will continue to seek LGBTQ art, especially from artists who identify as BIPOC, for future installations. Expanded services and resources: Since the onset of the pandemic, The Center’s food distribution has more than doubled. The number of people experiencing homelessness also became increasingly prevalent, particularly among LGBTQ youth. Last year, The Center provided more than 80,000 direct service visits to community members, and through its events, activities, and advocacy, touched the lives of thousands more. The Center also began providing free sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening services in March 2022, which provides San Diego residents access to obtain an STI screening in a peoplecentered, sex-affirming, judgment-free environment.

Some new (and familiar) faces: To manage the increased demands for services and support during an unprecedented time, The Center’s staff team grew from 70 people before the pandemic to about 90 today – and they’re still hiring. “Many in our community experienced the loss of family, friends, and loved ones – some lost jobs and businesses,” said Dessert. “We’ve been here for our community through the best and worst of times, as we have been for 50 years. If anyone is in need of The Center’s services again, or for the first time, please reach out and know you are not alone,” says Dessert. As of June 1, The Center entered Phase 3 of their phased reopening plan. Their main facility, located in Hillcrest, is now open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will continue to provide virtual services for support and discussion groups and in-person housing services, as they have done since the start of the pandemic. Given the increase in COVID-19 cases in San Diego, masks will still be required indoors, and clients are required to be vaccinated. Flexibility for the mask requirement will be allowed for special health circumstances.

The Center’s Hillcrest Youth Center continues to be open Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a special Tour Day for families on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and The Center’s South Bay Youth Center adds Fridays to their schedule, now open Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Center’s headquarters is located at 3909 Centre St., in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. Learn more at or call (619) 692-2077.

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June 2022 volume 3 issue 17

Pride by the Beach Guide continued from Page 1


7:00 pm Light up with PRIDE: Interfaith Affirming Gathering The Table, 170 Calle Magdalena, Encinitas 92024 9:00 am Zumba Pride Fundraiser at Oceanside Dance Academy 4095 Oceanside Blvd., Suite G, Oceanside 92056 7:00 pm Woman to Woman / Lesbian Pride Night Smitty’s Downtown Vista, 119 E. Broadway, Vista 92084 2:00 pm Pride Drag Show at Hi/Low 210 N Myers St., Oceanside 92054 12:00 pm Pride by the Beach 300 N. Coast Hwy, Oceanside, California 92054


01 June

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12:00 pm Flag Raising at Palomar College 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos CA 92069 3:00 pm Flag Raising at Oceanside Unified 2111 Mission Ave., Oceanside 92058 3:00 pm Flag Raising at City of Encinitas 505 S. Vulcan, Encinitas CA 92024 5:00 pm Escondido City Council - Pride Proclamation 201 N. Broadway, Escondido CA 92025 5:00 pm Oceanside City Council - Pride Proclamation 300 N. Coast Hwy, Oceanside CA 92054 6:00 pm Encinitas City Council - Pride Proclamation 505 S. Vulcan, Encinitas CA 92024 4:00 pm Carlsbad City Council - Pride Proclamation 1635 Faraday Ave, Carlsbad CA 92008 5:30 pm Vista City Council - Pride Proclamation 200 Civic Center Dr., Vista CA 92084

PRIDE MAIN STAGE 12:00 12:10 12:25 12:40 12:45 1:00 2:00

3:00 3:10 3:15 Palomar College became the first community college in San Diego County to raise the rainbow flag at a June 1 ceremony. Palomar Pride Center Director Abbie Cory kicked off the event with additional remarks from Trustee Kartik Raju and student and faculty representatives. (photo by Allan Acevedo)

4:00 5:00 5:30

Opening Shawl Ceremony and Land Recognition Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition Dedication Kay Compton (LINC) Keynote: Dr. Julie Vitale Superintendent of OUSD DJ Topeka Clementine Issadora Ava Pop artist Go Scarlet Go Go cover band Joey Pearson Queer singer song-writer Katrena Roberts San Diego-based singer song-writer Paris Sukomi Max Drag Headliner, Activist Miss Keri Oki Escondido Drag Queen Las Sabrosas Latin Orchestra 12 piece all-female queer and allied latin salsa band Tony Ocean Allied Oceanside R & B artist Boi Ban Headliners: Los Angeles-based pop group theholyrainbowclub Local Oceanside queer Samoan hip hop artist



Dr. Julie A. Vitale, Superintendent for Oceanside Unified School District, as their keynote speaker. Vitale has a long track record of centering and advocating for students and being especially vocal for the LGBTQ community within the Oceanside school system. Under her leadership, the school board implemented a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Department; raised the pride flag at district offices; partnered with the North County LGBTQ Resource Center for staff training on inclusion; and was instrumental in the creation of the inaugural “Lead with Pride Summit,” sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and served as conference chair. This conference was a first of its kind to

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Public parking is limited. We recommend you utilize Public Transportation.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Dr. Julie A. Vitale (courtesy image)

focus on creating safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ students and staff. Vitale wants to ensure a welcoming atmosphere to LGBTQIA+ students across the district. She wants a student’s authentic self-celebrated rather than think their queerness is something to hide. “I want them to know that at 15, and 12 and 10 and not wait until they’re 30, 40, 50 or never,” Vitale said.

Oceanside has one of the busiest public transportation hubs that reaches out to the North, South and East. Please visit the North County Transit District Website to see how you can easily get to the Downtown and NOT worry about parking:

Metrolink is proud to serve as the LINK between six Southern California counties and Pride by the Beach with safe, seamless and reliable train transportation. The Metrolink $10 Weekend Day Pass is good for unlimited system wide travel each day, and kids 17 and under ride for free when accompanied by a farepaying adult. Take the Metrolink Orange County (OC) or Inland Empire-Orange County (IEOC) Lines to the Oceanside station and walk along S. Cleveland Street to the event.

Plan your trip, door-to-door, using the Moovit App or Transit App.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: GPS SETTING: Set your GPS for “300 N. Coast Hwy, Oceanside, California 92054”. Event is adjacent to Oceanside City Hall.




2008 Max Disposti brings Pride at the Beach to the Junior Seau Gymnasium in Oceanside on National Coming Out Day, under the direction of the North County LGBTQ Coalition. An estimated 1,000 people attend. Coalition is granted 501(c)(3) status. 2009 Pride at the Beach moves to Betty’s Lot under the direction of Tina Leight-Roades and Disposti. 2011 Pride at the Beach attracts 3,000 people and on December 8, The Center officially opens its doors. 2013 John Johns becomes Pride Director as six states approve marriage equality, and the Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act. 2014 Shannon Rose takes charge and brings the festival to the downtown Oceanside Civic Center Plaza. Shannon’s dynamic leadership rebrands Pride by the Beach as a mainstage music festival. An estimated 5,000 people attend. The Center moves to our current location, at 3220 Mission Ave #2, Oceanside CA 92058. 2018 Lisa Nava is hired to grow the Pride program as a destination Pride which develops leadership through volunteerism, youth training, and fundraising (sponsorships and vendor fees). With an estimated 8,000+ attendees in 2019, we have managed two virtual celebrations and are ready to come back in-person this year.







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


PUBLISHER Terry Sidie ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Nicole Murray Ramirez 619.241.5672

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.


ver the past three years, my Office has prosecuted more than 20 hate crime cases, which is both too many and too few. It’s too many because each hate crime is an attack on someone for no reason other than who they are. No one in San Diego should feel targeted or harassed because of their disability, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or for belonging to any other protected class. It’s too few because we know that most hate crimes are never reported and so can never be prosecuted. Hate crime victims are reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, including embarrassment, fear of retaliation, and distrust of authorities. As City Attorney, I implore anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to report it to


law enforcement. Hate crimes are rarely isolated. Offenders who get away with it once are likely to reoffend. As misdemeanor prosecutors, we know that stopping haters early may prevent later, more serious crimes, including felonies. When a case is brought to my Office, we take it seriously. We work with victims to ensure the best outcomes for them. We listen and we seek justice. We can help you. A hate crime is defined as a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group. Examples include threats, both verbal or written; physical assault or attempted assault; and hate-related graffiti, including swastikas and other offensive symbols. We’ve prosecuted a wide variety of cases: • One recent case that received a lot of publicity involved an Ocean Beach man who struck and verbally abused a Latino SDG&E worker who was monitoring a roadblock, yelling at him to go back to his country and to “speak English.”

• Another current case that will be going to trial soon involves a man who was verbally and physically abusive to an autistic transgender person living in the same apartment building. The perpetrator disparaged the victim by mockingly calling him a “freak” and a “weirdo” and referring to the victim as “she” even though his preferred pronouns are he and him. • In one particularly violent attack, a man brandished knives at four victims, threatening to stab them while stating, “I hate Mexicans.” • Some perpetrators attack multiple groups at once. A recent case involved a man who battered an employee at a Hillcrest café, employing an anti-gay slur and then drawing a swastika on the restaurant window. • At least half a dozen prosecutions involved people yelling the “N-word” at Black victims, which constitutes a hate crime. As cruel and disturbing as these cases are, victims should rest assured that our Office will always stand up against

bullies and haters. If you have been subjected to a hate crime, please know that we are here to protect and to help you. Our Office works with state and federal agencies to ensure that anyone committing a hate crime is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What to do if you are the victim of a hate crime: If you have been assaulted, contact 911 or go to a local hospital if you need immediate medical attention. You can also report hate crimes to the San Diego Police Department by contacting the San Diego Police Department’s 24-hour number for nonemergency calls and general information at (619) 531-2000. Call (858) 484-3154 if you live in the 858 area code. Or you can file a crime report online at /crimereports/startaccess. You can also call the City Attorney’s Office at 619-236-6220. For more information, please visit the City Attorney’s website /resources/say-no-to-hate

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Cesar A. Reyes EDITOR JP Emerson COPY EDITOR Brittany Berger SALES 858.886.9458 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Big Mike Phillips 619.807.7324 WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Adam Martindale Allan Acevedo Berto Fernández Big Mike Phillips Mara W. Elliott Michael Kimmel Neal Putnam Patric Stillman Randall Blaum Toni G. Atkins Venice Henson William Zakrajshek 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 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 For breaking news and Investigative story ideas, contact the editor by phone or email. Copyright © 2022 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.



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 and follow him on Twitter @Nmrsd2.


This upcoming primary election is very important and I urge you to vote for former City Council President Georgette Gomez whose opponent is a former political lobbyist who is being supported by big business and his millionaire buddies! Another important race is that of reelecting Dr. Jen Campbell whose leadership and hard work is needed back in our City Council. Let’s make history by electing Kelly Martinez as our counties first female sheriff in over 100 years! Kent Lee is one of the most intelligent and respected candidates running for city council and we all need to make him win big on June 7th. Dr. Shirley Weber is most certainly the pride of San Diego along with State Senate President Toni Atkins and they have earned our votes. Steve Padilla will make an outstanding State Senator along with proud military veteran Joseph Rocha. Former City Councilman Mike Schaefer has done a great job for us at our state capitol and deserves to be reelected. There is only one real “peoples candidate” to be the next Mayor of Chula Vista and that is Zaneta Encarnacion. Don’t forget to vote for Chris Ward and Brian Maienschein for State Assembly. They are two hard-working public servants who deserve to be reelected.


The members of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force will be meeting with Mayor Todd Gloria to get an update on the ground breaking ceremony for this long overdue tribute to the over 8000 San Diegans who have died of HIV/AIDS. I am honored to be Co-Chair with Katherine Stuart Faulconer, our former First Lady of San Diego and Vice Chair Susan Jester, the founder of AIDS Walk San Diego.


Our nation has just finished a month of celebrating the amazing heritage of our Asian American Pacific Islander brothers, sisters and siblings. As I have been saying these last two decades “the Golden State is turning brown” as the fastest growing population in California of Latino and Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The rise in hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander community has awoken a sleeping giant with its growing activism and visibility.

SAN DIEGO GLBTQ HISTORIC TASK FORCE 10 years ago, the San Diego GLBTQ Historic Task Force joined with then City Councilman Todd Gloria to establish the first Harvey Milk Street in the world (followed by Salt Lake City, Portland, Miami and even Paris, France). 10 years later the task force, joined by now Mayor Gloria and LGBTQ+ leaders celebrated this historic anniversary by placing a wreath at every Harvey Milk Street sign.

(courtesy images)


It is my honor to have started and produced the annual San Diego Pride Contest since 1975. Our city and community were the very first to hold these contests in the United States with now almost every city having one each year. This year, once again our Mayor Todd Gloria will sash the winners. Please call 619-241-5672 for more information.

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June 2022 volume 3 issue 17

Photo by Rikke Photography

Andrew Dean Hunt (courtesy images)

which houses the largest collection of any ancient civilization in the world including all of Tutankhamen’s treasures and is an architectural marvel in and of itself. Oh, and if I had to choose ONE person to come, I would take my Mom, for taking me on such magical trips early on in my life.

bIG MIKe & frIeNDs big Mike Phillips —Big Mike Phillips is an activist, fundraiser, bartender and photographer who has lived in San Diego for 30 years. He has helped create two nonprofits and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. He has been a photographer for more than 25 years and has recorded our LGBTQ history not only in San Diego but around the country, including three LGBTQ marches on Washington D.C. Contact Big Mike at 619-807-7324, or


am excited to introduce our readers to amazing and caring people who live, work, play, and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of all lifestyles, talents, and personalities who I think would be interesting for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has a wonderful diversity of individuals who make our slice of paradise the greatest place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness.



that I was shown was the act of sobriety. A small act you ask? YES! Sobriety is a simple, however tough at times, formula of passed along suggestions on living life as a balanced, healthy and kind person. Not to mention one’s own eventual discovery, from said act of kindness, that the infusion of one’s own concept of spirituality, personal action, accountability and passing along the small act of kindness to others as it was once passed along to me all make up something that I truly will and can never forget.

How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it? I ended up in San Diego in 2014 from a year in Orange County on the tail end of my personal styling retail career working at Nieman Marcus in Fashion Island. I realized through a long chain of events that I needed to turn my once manageable life around drastically or else I was going to really mess things up. Found the LGBTQ geared inpatient rehab here in San Diego, Stepping Stone of San Diego. I’ve been on the straight and narrow now for just over a total of seven years, if your math is good, you’ll notice that there was a little hiccup after rehab and in fact they were gracious enough to allow me a “double dose” of rehab and by the grace of God the rest is history.

If the universe could grant you one wish, what would you wish for, and why? I’m going to go out on a limb here and be a little selfish on this one. My dream in life is to find that mate in life that I feel I deserve and who feels deserves me. A Man who makes me feel like I want to be an even better person and who I make feel the same way in return. A monogamous relationship with a man which will someday, somehow bear the fruit of a child, a son specifically… little girls scream too much lol.

What gets you most excited about life? What gets me the most excited is that I’ve never known that I could be as happy, well balanced and healthy as I am right now in my life at a proud 41 years of age. If I feel like this now and considering I truly feel that I’ve found my personal “happy life formula” I’m so excited for what the future has in store for me. This upswing in life is something I’ve never felt and the sky’s the limit. In your professional life what makes your business stand out and how has it changed your life? After working retail from mild to wild, Food service and hospitality I was given the true honor and handed on a silver platter the distinct pleasure of landing my lifelong dream job of being the business assis-

tant to the owner of one, if not the, most popular and historic “landmark” Gay owned and operated bar/restaurant/nightclubs in Southern California by the name of Urban MO’s Bar and Grill. A position that speaks to every single asset I have in my personality and I love everything about my place of employment. I literally feel that working for this gracious

hardworking Gentleman in this magical land is as if I won the lotto. Talk about “love what you do and do what you love”… spades! What small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget? I truly feel that, after many a trial and error, that the small act of kindness

If you were given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, and were able to take one person with you, where would you go, who would you take, and why? Thanks to two loving hardworking parents and being an only child, I’m pretty well traveled by being taken on many vacations as a child and younger man growing up. This trend of travel somewhat continues in my current life but to pick a place I’ve always wanted to go is Egypt to see those incredible fantastic ancient sites now with Cairo’s newest museum. The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)

If you had a chance to spend one million dollars on someone, or any group of people, who would it be and how would you spend that money to better them? Sadly, one million dollars doesn’t get you too far these days, however I would spend it on an organization that assisted in the recovery of injured U.S. Veterans. Regardless of one’s political views or beliefs there is something, many things, so admirable to me about someone fighting for freedom or in some cases simply following orders because of unadulterated duty and becoming injured in such life-altering ways. The courage and honor is awe inspiring and the fact that they know they might be injured terribly or even killed in our name as a country means to me that we should take care of them to the fullest extent. If you could give someone advise about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them? As I previously mentioned, if one is lucky enough to do what they love and love what they do, that truly is a gift one should, if possible, give themselves. This holds true in all aspects of life, work, art, hobby etc… Loving yourself is so important to becoming the best of who you are. Please write a couple sentences to describe your loving self and how you want to live your best life? Loving one’s self is all about perspective. I used to be horribly self-obsessed, internally homophobic and at one point for many years truly did not like myself. After being taught to change my perspective and attempting to achieve personal balance daily I’ve found that I really do love myself finally. Gratitude is so important in each of our lives, what are you most grateful for, and how do you pay it forward? I’m the most grateful for receiving a second lease on life, this new lease started in San Diego and boy did I latch on and run with it. I’m 3rd generation Palm Springs born and raised so my heart understandably will ALWAYS be with Palm Springs but having such immeasurable gratitude for San Diego and what the local community has so freely given me, my head will always remain in San Diego and I’ll do everything in my power to freely give to others what was given to me.


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

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“If a frIeNDsHIP reallY MaTTers TO YOU, DON’T leT sex Mess IT UP”


s a psychotherapist, I get a lot of questions about this topic from my clients, a few of whom have asked me to write a column about it. It’s a tricky subject, but I’m up for the challenge. There is so much to say about it that I’ve made it a two-part column. Bring up this topic at a party, and you’ll probably find that people have strong opinions about it. I’ve discovered that it’s a very polarizing subject: for some people, having sex with their friends is no big deal, something that’s normal in their social circle. For other folks, it’s hard to imagine such a thing: friends are friends, not people to have sex with. And some people would like to have sex with their friends, but are afraid that it’s a death wish for any platonic relationship. In this two-part column, I’ll try and be objective, looking at the pros and cons of having sex with your friends. So, whatever your point-of-view, I invite you to keep an open mind…and read on.

To start, here are some questions you might consider: · What do you want from sex? · What if you and a friend have sex, you want to do it again, but they don’t? How will you handle that rejection? · What if you have a great friendship but the sex is mediocre? Will that have a negative effect on your friendship? · What if – after having sex you start to fall in love with your friend? · How solid is your friendship? Is it strong enough to withstand the waves of emotion that a sexual encounter may bring?

From talking with people who have sex with their friends, two factors became clear to me: (1) your intentions – and those of your friend - need to be clear and (2) kindness and honesty are crucial at every step of the way. Otherwise, you may end up in a situation where sex ends your friendship: “I thought we had something good going on between us but, after we had sex, he ghosted me the next morning.

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sHOUlD I Have sex wITH MY frIeNDs? (ParT onE of Two)

We never talked after that. He wouldn’t answer my texts. Whenever we saw each other, it was really awkward. The friendship was over.” Sometimes, two friends have a lot of love and affection for each other, and it seems like there could be more. But ultimately, the sexual chemistry doesn’t click. Then what? Can the friendship overcome that kind of (temporary) discomfort? “It was uncomfortable after we hooked up, but soon our friendship was back to normal. The sexual attraction faded with no hurt feelings. We’re both okay with it now and can even laugh about it.” It’s hard to predict if your friendship will survive a negative sexual encounter, but you can minimize the drama by making sure that you and your friend talk about it ahead of time. You may not feel like talking about it before anything happens, but, in my experience, it usually works out a whole lot better than two friends who, one night, get super drunk and then fall into bed together. On the other hand: “My friend and I went out drinking and hit the bars hard. In the Uber home, we started making out. It felt weird at first but, once we realized that we were both on the same page, we just went with it. Back at my house, being naked together for the first time was cool because we know each other so well. We’ve talked so much about sex with other people that we even know what each other likes! Once it was over, we fell asleep in each other’s arms. Yeah, the next morning was a little weird, but our friendship kicked back in and we went to brunch and had a good laugh about it. Sometimes, we still hook up, but it’s no big deal:

our friendship is solid and that’s what really counts.” If a friendship really matters to you, don’t let sex mess it up. A lot of the problems that come from hooking up

with a friend result from a lack of communication. Ideally, this is something you two can talk about beforehand, but a lot of times it doesn’t work out that way.

Want to know more about “Should I Have Sex with my Friends?” Check out Part Two of this column, available in the next issue of LGBTQ San Diego.


June 2022 volume 3 issue 17

COver sTOrY

San Diego’s Thriving LGBTQ+ actors Take Center Stage continued from Page 1



Energetic. Committed. Transformative. Sebastian is a Colombian Queer actor, singer, and dancer performing all over Southern California, while working as a product development and design creative. Name some of your LGBTQIA+ inspirations/heroes in Theatre. Lin Manuel Miranda is a huge inspiration/hero for me. He’s challenged the idea of casting, and even music genre in Musical Theatre. By doing so he’s made our world so much more inclusive. “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love….” -Lin Manuel Miranda What message or piece of advice do you have for the new generation of LGBTQIA+ Theatre artists? Be yourself fully and unapologetically. Don’t ever limit yourself by the idea of what others have told you or by what you’ve seen on stage. Support your fellow Queer artists and lift each other up.

What’s your favorite part of working in the San Diego Theatre community? It’s a tight knit community of really great and talented people. There’s so many wonderful Theatre opportunities and spaces to explore and to thrive in while being minutes away from the beach! What are some of the challenges you face as an LGBTQIA+ identifying actor? I’m naturally Queer and femme and it can be challenging to make people see me in certain roles outside of who I am as a regular person. As the idea of gender gets challenged in society and in Theatre, my idea of what I can and can’t play has been challenged in my mind. I want to see more gender Queer roles written.

Dream roles: Usnavi in In The Heights (√), Paul in A Chorus Line, Hamilton in Hamilton, and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Final thoughts: I’d like to see Queer performers and theatre companies lift each other up more. I find that Queer people do tear each other

down in theatre due to competition and it can be discouraging.


Sassy. Goofy. Belter. Gerilyn is a performer, director, and Theatre professor who identifies as bisexual, and proudly stands to end fat phobia in casting. Name some of your LGBTQIA+ inspirations/heroes in Theatre. I don’t know if they’ve done theatre, but Evan Rachel Wood and Stephanie Beatriz being so open and vocal on social media about being bisexual – regardless of who they are dating – helped me understand my own sexuality so much so I will always be grateful to them. What message or piece of advice do you have for the new generation of LGBTQIA+ Theatre artists? We need you. We need your voices. Representation is so important. Any spectrum of gender and sexuality you represent, you matter. And you are welcome. If I had more bisexual representation in my world, I would have come out sooner.


I only came out about 4 years ago because it took me too long to realize that I belonged, and that I was “bi enough” to own the identity. Now that I am out, I’m so proud to represent a perspective of the pan/bisexual community loudly and proudly.

representation, and even rarer to see bisexuals, especially female-identifying bisexuals. I really hope that I can help increase local representation as an out and proud bisexual, but I hope that one day I can play bi characters on stage.

What’s your favorite part of working in the San Diego Theatre community? I grew up here in San Diego, and I was on a plane back to San Diego the day after I graduated school. I love that this community feels like a family. Yes, we are sometimes competing for work. But at the end of the day, we support each other and root for each other to succeed. That support and connection is so wonderful.

Dream role: Arwen or Galadriel - Lord of the Rings musical (yes it exists, and the music is GORGEOUS). When I was younger, I had limited my “dream roles” to fat characters. That usually meant being ok with my body being the butt of a joke. Now, I’ve realized that 90% of the characters in plays and musicals don’t have any reason to be thin. Traditional casting methods are so limiting, and often benefit those who are white (I will always own that I have white privilege) and those who are thin. Fat people deserve to play the leads and romantic characters, and to play dynamic roles that aren’t just there for a fat joke. So I refuse to limit my dream roles anymore.

What are some of the challenges you face as an LGBTQIA+ identifying actor? Bi erasure is real. We see it all the time in our community, and in LGBTQIA+ representation on stage and on screen. Most of the mainstream plays and musicals with LGBTQIA+ characters are Gay men. Even bisexuality and pansexuality is usually represented by cis males. It is rare to see lesbian

Final thoughts: As a Theatre professor, I am so inspired and encouraged to see how much more comfortable this younger generation is with

COver sTOrY

june 2022 volume 3 issue 17


(Photos by Dennis Covey)

exploring gender and sexuality. I am also aware of all those who came before us and helped create a more welcoming world through their bravery. Our community has come so far, and we still have a long way to go.


Charismatic. Honest. Present. Berto is a Gay Puerto Rican actor, singer, writer, teacher, and mixed media artist currently performing all over San Diego. Name some of your LGBTQIA+ inspirations/heroes in Theatre. In Theatre, probably Harvey Fierstein. I think he has opened doors for LGBTQIA+ actors to take center stage, but also bringing forward important issues like racism and homophobia to audiences that need to hear this message. Billy Porter also inspires me to be unapologetically me.


What message or piece of advice do you have for the new generation of LGBTQIA+ Theatre artists? You are enough. You are loved. You are important. Any feelings of doubt, fear, frustration are valid, however they do not define YOU. Welcome all kinds of emotions, they will be your arsenal when you get to play on stage. Be proud of yourself, you’re doing amazing. What’s your favorite part of working in the San Diego Theatre community? The San Diego Theatre community welcomed me with open arms, and I will forever be grateful to this entire family of artists. There’s jaw dropping talent here, and it makes sharing the stage with them a true gift. What are some of the challenges you face as an LGBTQIA+ identifying actor? I think my size (I proudly stand at 6’5”) plays into certain stereotypes of being a “big strong masculine man”. Type casting was very common when I was auditioning in New York, you would line up and get judged solely on your looks, before you even sing a

note! Too tall, too gay, too big. Luckily, we are starting to see more diverse and inclusive casting, which is so important. Representation matters, and we love to see it in our field. Dream role: Shrek in Shrek: The Musical, and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. Final thoughts: The World is going through some tumultuous times right now. It’s so important to put our mental health at the forefront. We are emotional beings, with incredible minds that create worlds. Let’s use that power to bring kindness, peace, and joy to our existence. That’s why we do Theatre. To make our audiences feel connected to human stories. It’s such a healing process for both players and spectators.


Electric. Grounded. Receptive. Xavier is a prolific Queer choreographer, director, dancer, singer, and actor wowing audiences throughout Southern California.


Name some of your LGBTQIA+ inspirations/heroes in Theatre. My favorite musical of all time is called The View Upstairs written by Max Vernon. The show’s original cast had so many queer icons including Billy Porter, Jeremy Pope, and Taylor Frey! What message or piece of advice do you have for the new generation of LGBTQIA+ Theatre artists? The advice I have for LGBTQIA+ Theatre artists is to show up as your true self. Don’t try to fit into any molds. You are special for a reason and your light deserves to be seen! What’s your favorite part of working in the San Diego Theatre community? My favorite thing about the San Diego Theatre community is how welcoming it’s been since I’ve started working here. They took me in right away and saw me for my full potential rather than feeling like I’m constantly having to prove that I’m good enough. Dream role: My dream role is a tie between Wes in The View Upstairs and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

“we are sTarTING TO see MOre DIverse aND INClUsIve CasTING, wHICH Is sO IMPOrTaNT”

During this Pride month, take the time to support live Theatre and performance art. LGBTQIA+ members of your community are pouring their hearts into beautiful and impactful work that needs to be heard. The audience is the last character, and perhaps the most important, to complete the cast. So come join the fun, escape your reality for a few hours, and bask in the magic of Theatre.


PUblIC servICe

June 2022 volume 3 issue 17

“THaT COlleCTIve MIssION, GIves Me HOPe. as DOes THe GaINs we are MaKING ON THIs frONT.”

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


s June begins, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an issue that is intensifying throughout our state and our nation, and to highlight the hope that lies in the work California is doing to address it. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that is anticipated in the weeks ahead carries with it the potential to overrule the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade—a right that many have never lived without. And one that other states are poised to strip away soon after the fall of Roe. As I told a crowd of hundreds of women, LGBTQ folks, reproductive rights allies, and advocates at a “Bans off our Bodies” rally at the Capitol last month – Not on our watch. Not in California. While extremists are attacking our rights by tearing down reproductive rights, responding with oppressive opinions, instead of empathy, to survivors of rape and incest or those facing difficult health

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rOe v. waDe

noT on our waTch. noT In caLIfornIa. considerations because of their pregnancy, my colleagues and I – with the support and solidarity of reproductive rights organizations – are expanding and protecting abortion access in California. The Legislative Women’s Caucus began preparing for this possibility long before the majority draft Supreme Court opinion leaked to the press, and there are 13 bills that have been

introduced to increase access to safe, equitable, and affordable abortion and reproductive health care for all Californians, and for those who may need to seek care here. That responsiveness, that collective mission, gives me hope. As does the gains we are making on this front. Last week was the deadline for bills to pass out of their House of Origin, and I am

proud that SB 1375, my bill to expand abortion and reproductive health care services in California, was among many that advanced to the Assembly. I also announced last month that I will be introducing a Constitutional Amendment to appear on the November 2022 ballot to ensure that our reproductive rights are explicitly stated in California’s constitution.

We are also in the final weeks of working on our 202223 state budget, and while the details are being worked out as you read this, California’s commitment to protecting and expanding reproductive rights is inherently clear, and an area where there is already much alignment. After marching with Californians from all walks of life in both Sacramento and San Diego, it is clear that there are many of us who will use our voices and our votes to challenge these attacks on our individual rights. And with Pride celebrations gearing up all over the country, we will join the fight with our flags flying and our Pride carrying us forward, sending a clear message that we will also not bend to those attacking our LGBTQ loved ones, children, and communities, nor will we back down if the fight for marriage equality is next to be dismantled by the Supreme Court. I am confident in California’s response to the recent attacks on our freedoms, and I remain hopeful for the future of our state and all who live here.

News/ PUzzle

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june 2022 volume 3 issue 17


Q Puzzle

OUT aT THe faIr

reTUrNs sUNDaY, JUNe 12TH

“ThE onLy offIcIaL LgBTQ+ EvEnT In ThE faIr InDuSTry” By William zakrajshek


ut at the Fair® (OATF®) returns to the San Diego County Fair on Sunday, June 12th for a full day of family-friendly activities & entertainment on the Paddock Stage with emcees Pauly & Monks and Landa Plenty. San Diego County Fair is the first stop on their 2022 tour & OATF® kicks it off with an epic lineup of entertainment plus the largest OATF® Glam Show lineup yet. You don’t want to miss Cheer San Diego Extreme, Torrey Mercer, Storytime w/ Landa Plenty, Snubby J, KINGQUEEN, TeawhYB, and the OATF Glam Show including Amber St. James, Landa Plenty, San Diego Kings Club, LUXE the Drag Queen, Lady Blanca, Akasha Plenty, the Family Jewels. Make sure to stop by our non-profit area in the Paddock area which includes community organizations like VIDA, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, TurnOut, PFlag San Diego, F.O.G., Bears San Diego, Mom Hugs SoCal, and TransFamily Support Services. All of OATF® - San Diego County Fair activities and entertainment are included with your general admission ticket. This year’s fair does require a pre-sale ticket, no tickets will be sold at the gate day of and they will sell out so buy today. Visit www. for more information including ticket sales. About Out at the Fair® In 2013, the “Unofficial Gay Day at the Fair” was held at the San Diego County Fair as

a family-friendly celebration of the LGBTQ+ community; the festival was a success and was quickly embraced by fairgoers and the community. One year later, it became an official Fair festival and was renamed “Out at the Fair®” (“OATF”). During the following four years, the festival grew considerably in scope and breadth, garnering praise from community leaders and awards from trade associations, as well as expanding to two other fairs. What started as an outing by a group of friends in 2011 – as a simple Facebook check-in – is now the only official LGBTQ+ event in the Fair industry. Through the years, OATF has gained the support of local LGBTQ+ community organizations, as well as local elected officials and businesses, at the various Fairs where the festival is held. OATF includes a full day of entertainment featuring local LGBTQ+ performers, nonprofit organizations exhibiting, the OATF® Story Time, OATF® Glam Show, Family Fun Hour, Drag Bingo, flags representing the various LGBTQ+ sub-groups, and all-gender restrooms, and national talents, such as American Idol finalists David Hernandez and KINGQUEEN, Jasmine Crowe, pop singers Pepper MaShay, Debby Holiday, and DEV. In July 2017, OATF made the jump to the California State Fair in partnership with the Sacramento LGBT Center – as part of an expansion plan that intends to spread a message of diversity

and inclusiveness to Fairs nationwide and abroad. In September 2017, OATF crossed state borders and welcomed fairgoers from Albuquerque and surrounding areas to the New Mexico State Fair, in partnership with Albuquerque Pride. During their 2018 convention in Reno, Nevada, the Western Fairs Association, a leading trade organization serving the Fair industry in the western United States and Canada, presented Out at the Fair® – with its prestigious Barham Award, which recognizes innovation, quality, and leadership in the field of service. In July 2018, the Marin County Fair in San Rafael was added to the roster. In August, the Santa Clara County Fair located in San Jose was added; in both cases, partnering with local Pride and LGBTQ+ organizations. In 2019, the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, CA, Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA & the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA were added to the OATF® family, partnering with local Pride and LGBTQ+ organizations. In 2022, the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK & the Washington County Fair, Hillsboro, OR joined the OATF® Family with their first-ever group photos.

For more information about Out at the Fair®, visit Follow OATF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo.

amaziNG GraCE aND FraNkiE aCroSS 1 It’s a good thing 6 Like a Marc Jacobs ensemble 10 ___ to swallow 14 Boyfriend 15 Poet adrienne 16 Peace nobelist wiesel 17 where a queen may rule 18 Think tank output 19 “a” in radio lingo 20 Start of why frankie said she would never get a hearing aid 23 Milk dispenser spouts 26 nursery noisemaker 27 Place for orientation secrecy 28 contemporary christian 30 Title for feinstein (abbr.) 31 It’s sold in bars 32 capital in the andes. 34 More of the quote 38 Spread out, as troops. 39 kit ___ candy bars 42 child-care writer LeShan 45 Be a voyeur, e.g. 46 Paths through leaves of grass 48 Like some weights 50 Dick that isn’t a name? 51 End of the quote 54 “Star Trek” counselor Deanna 55 what to have in the hay 56 Lily Tomlin, for one 60 Make money 61 Sexual desire, e.g. 62 Penetrating weapon 63 alison Bechdel cartoon character 64 angry in., for example 65 nuts don’t have this

Solutions on page 19

DoWN 1 cont. of chad 2 get a load of 3 ‘70s abductors 4 Like the orbit of uranus 5 hot dish for Susan feniger 6 Manger, to Mary, and more 7 Be hard to find 8 he plays with B.D. wong on “Svu” 9 Place to call for stats 10 Jane rule’s “Desert of the ___” 11 Puts out 12 Shuffle method 13 Stun with noise 21 came upon 22 keep an ___ the ground 23 gomer’s Sgt. carter, for one 24 wll descriptor 25 hart crane work 28 “Dad” of some lesbian families 29 Pop of pop 32 Tendency to get pissed 33 “It’s not only me who thinks this” 35 Tone of many Stein photos 36 rainbow coalition? 37 Skin designs, for short 40 however, in verse 41 Digits used to “render unto caesar” 42 chewed the scenery 43 Bear the expense of 44 Busy in the office 46 Sinking ship’s call 47 Performs self service, with “off” 49 german white wine 50 The other nemo creator verne 52 Long-ago time, to Shakespeare 53 “Beginning with o” author Broumas 57 Maj. opposite, for rorem 58 hypotheticals 59 fair grade



June 2022 volume 3 issue 17


sTefaN TalIaN By Patric Stillman


Stefan Talian (courtesy image)

tefan Talian was born in 1979 in the ancient Slovakian city Michalovce, named after the Archangel Saint Michael. Though he exhibited artistic talent as a young boy, it would be years before it became a central part of his life. His early interest in art was mainly influenced by two family members who were dedicated to art professionally and as a hobby. His own art projects were highlighted by his teachers at school but he never entertained the thought of becoming an artist. There didn’t seem to be a future of it in his homeland. Instead, he studied hotel management and culinary arts receiving a BA in Marketing before he left for the United States with a head full of dreams in 2003. For seven years he worked as a chef in Vermont. When he wasn’t in the kitchen, he was at the gym. His passion for body building introduced him to the world of Yoga, which offered Talian a whole new perspective on health and body care. By 2009, he left the kitchen to become a full-time Yoga instructor and began to travel North America. “I was told that I was going to love San Diego and I certainly did. From the first day, I knew that this was home. Instead of returning to the East Coast, I stayed. Unlike Vermont there were so many Yoga instructors here, but I started out teaching one day a week and began to build a new life,” said Talian. Part of that life was an intersection of his sexuality and his creativity. As he came out of the closet, Talian found himself emotionally struggling and found support in group therapy. Someone there suggested that he write about his feelings but he realized that if he wrote in his native tongue, no one would be able to understand him. Knowing that Talian had a streak of creativity, his therapist suggested he paint his feelings. “It was one of those pivotal moments in life that you don’t realize how important it is until much later. I immediately went out and purchased my first canvas, a brush and two tubes of paint. As I began to paint, my entire life came into focus. Coming out helped me to find a place for art in my life. That was ten years ago.”

In that decade, Talian blossomed as a person and an artist. In 2015, he met Rob, the man who would eventually become his husband. A year later, he became a U.S. citizen. “When I started to paint, I never thought about selling. I worked as a Yoga instructor by day and painted at night. It felt like a good balance. When I had 15 works, everyone I knew wanted to see what I was working on. My first exhibit was at a friend’s rooftop in La Jolla. That day was amazing. To my surprise, someone approached me to buy one of my paintings. It was like a lightning bolt. I realized that I could sell my art.” Shortly thereafter, Talian connected with The Museum of The Living Artist (which is now known as Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego). He was accepted into a group exhibition, and he sold his second work of art. After another year passed, he moved out of his garage and took the step of getting a working studio at The Studio Door, art gallery and artist’s studios. “I was nervous about getting a studio because it was a big commitment. I had to pay rent and make money from my art to support it, which made me feel like a professional. It turned out to be the best step in my art career.” Having a regular studio practice in a public space opened the doors to opportunities and connections that helped to establish Talian as a serious artist. He mentored under American Master Hyacinthe Baron, appeared on KPBS, painted two ceiling murals for the House of Slovakia in Balboa Park, interviewed with a popular radio program in Slovakia, painted live for a local music video, and exhibited in other local galleries. Another big break came for Talian when he met artist and gallerist Sir Daniel Winn. For three years, they connected discussing art while Talian honed his first major collection, Captured Emotions. Last year, the collection was exhibited by Winn Slavin Fine Art on the Rodeo Drive Gallery in Beverly Hills. “This collection reveals motionless figures with emotional energy moving across the canvas in stokes and swishes. That which is hidden is revealed. It’s very emotional.” With 18 works completed, Talian is already contemplating the next two collections. Incorporating the style that has become synonymous with his name, Talian looks forward to developing two new collections featuring stallions and male torsos. This year shows no signs of slowing Talian’s trajectory. In March, Modern Luxury San Diego magazine named him as one of San Diego’s top innovators and The Studio Door selected him as the featured artist for the upcoming PROUD+ exhibition. “I’m honored to be a part of this year’s exhibit. I’m following in the footsteps of some excellent artists from across the country who were featured in previous years. Best of all, I will be able to share my studio one on one with the public.”



The Studio Door’s national visual arts exhibition PROUD+ is celebrating its 5th year by expanding the exhibition to cover two months: June (National Pride Month) and July (San Diego Pride). The exhibition will run from June 4 July 30th with a public reception on Saturday, July 2nd. Over 70 artworks will be presented from artists working in 13 states who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Ally. The exhibit is curated with the support of Alyssa Nitchun, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art Executive Director. For more information, visit Stefan Talian can be found online at and on social media IG @stefantalian and FB @stefan.talian. Artist Profile author Patric Stillman is a fine artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door.


june 2022 volume 3 issue 17




June 2022 volume 3 issue 17


adam Martindale —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@

lUxUrY CrUIsING IN alasKa on SILvErSEa cruISES

(courtesy images)


e were about to be welcomed back to the Silver Muse in Seward, marking the return of another Silversea Cruises’ luxury vessel to service. Kicking off a summer program in Alaska and Canada, the 2017-built Silversea ship embarked on a seven-night cruise to Vancouver, calling in Skagway, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, in addition to scenic cruising at the Hubbard Glacier. We started our journey flying from San Diego to Anchorage via Seattle with Alaska Airlines. A very pleasant flying experience indeed. Once we arrived in Anchorage, we took an Uber from the airport to the historic Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage where we also enjoyed a fantastic gourmet dinner in their signature restaurant on the top floor, “The Crow’s Nest”. This restaurant’s dining experience is paired with one of Alaska’s largest wine cellars (10,000 bottles), a “Wine Spectator” Best of Award of Excellence winner since 2016. I have been to Anchorage a couple of times before but never looked for the LGBTQ Bars in the area. There are two gay bars, The Raven and Mad Myrna’s. We visited The Raven for a pre-dinner cocktails. The Raven has been Anchorage’s neighborhood gay bar since 1982, offering a large outdoor patio, pool, jukebox, darts, pinball, and lots of friendly locals. We also visited Mad Myrna’s after dinner and were quite surprised at the beauty of the bar. The bar hosts Diva Variety shows in its beautiful show lounge with cabaret lights and disco balls. Fun times were had by all! Onto the ship…… The ship is docked in Seward, which is about a 2.5-hour bus ride away. The journey from Anchorage to Seward is one of the most scenic in Alaska. Our luxury motorcoach traveled the 130-mile Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm and through the Kenai Mountains.

We were treated to views of mountains, bridges, creeks and canyons, and Kenai Lake with its beautiful turquoise water. We passed through the small community of Moose Pass before arriving in Seward. Embarkation was extremely smooth with only one bus load of guests embarking at a time. The ship was only carrying 300 guests on their inaugural sailing of the season. The capacity of the ship is 596 guests. We were greeted by waiters welcoming us on-board with champagne, then we were escorted to our beautiful suite where more champagne awaited us! The Silver Muse offers various suites, all with butler service included. Suites vary in size from the Classic Veranda Suite measuring 387sq.ft to the Owner’s suite which is an impressive 1,389 sq. ft. Our suite had elegant décor, a beautiful marble bathroom and ample seating area. Floorto-ceiling glass doors open onto a private veranda. We had a writing desk, flat-screen TV’s (2) hidden in the mirrored walls featuring interactive TV and ships services. We had a walk-in closet with a safe inside and plenty of drawer space for storage. Our Butler offered to press our shirts and pants on the first evening, so of course we agreed.

Complimentary WI-FI is offered on board. We were asked for our pillow preference prior to boarding from the pillow menu. We also had a refrigerator and bar setup stocked with our preferences for the cruise. Champagne, more champagne and various red & white wines throughout the voyage. The Silver Muse offers 8 dining options ranging from Spaccanapoli, their Pizzeria on board (with some of the best pizza I have tasted at sea) to La Dame, which showcases excellence in French dining. Indochine is their Asian restaurant as well as Kaiseki, which features Teppanyaki, Sushi and Sashimi. La Terrazza is their Italian menu featuring freshly made pasta and other Italian specialties. Silver Note is their supper club featuring small bites while listening to live jazz and blues. Atlantide is an elevated version of the main restaurant on board and The Grill (located on the pool deck) features lava stone cooking on your table. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day! We did not go hungry on board for sure. La Dame is an additional $60 charge per person and Kaiseki is an additional charge of $40 per person. There are several lounges and bars on board. We enjoyed “La Dolce Vita” with live music in the evenings and great

martinis. We also enjoyed the Panorama Bar for late night drinks listening to live music or dancing with music from the resident DJ. There is a Connoisseur’s Club on board with a nice selection of cigars and cognacs to enjoy. Of course, you can lounge on the luxurious pool deck all day and enjoy your favorite libations. Did I mention that all alcohol is included in the cruise fare! Entertainment is varied but not your large cruise ship Broadway shows. The cast was very talented but this was their first cruise of the season and their first performances of their shows to actual guests. They were very good overall and I’m sure they will improve after each cruise. There is Bingo, trivia and a small casino on board (I won the Blackjack tournament on the last day, which I was very happy about!) There is a nice spa on board with a sauna & steam rooms (separate for male and female) and an adequately sized gym. You can be pampered with a massage or a facial, get your hair cut, and a manicure while on board. The gift shops feature designer labels and logo merchandise. Many excursions are included in the “All-Inclusive” rate that you pay for the

cruise, which was very nice. This is especially a great value in Alaska, where the shore excursions can add several thousand dollars to your bill at the end of the cruise. We enjoyed hiking in Juneau and a Alaskan Culinary Cruise where we saw whales and sea otters. In Skagway we rode the famous White Pass Yukon Railroad. The views were incredible. After the train ride we enjoyed lunch in town at the Skagway Brewery. In Ketchikan we experience a wildlife boat tour and a bonfire on the beach, which featured reindeer hot dogs and s’mores. This was fun. A highlight of the trip is visiting the Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in North America. The staff served hot chocolate (spiced with rum) as we enjoyed this spectacular wonder of nature. We had a fabulous trip and I would highly recommend Silversea if you want a smaller luxury, all-inclusive cruise experience in Alaska. This year is a fabulous year to go to Alaska as ships are not sailing full, yet they are fully staffed. This will not be the case next year for sure. Contact us for more information, availability and rates. 206.399.2138 or 619.879.3601


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t has been one year since I made the choice to get healthy and it’s been a long, sometimes hard, but still fun road to travel. On day one I was so out of shape that all I could do were a few “wall pushups” (using a Smith Machine and kind of angling myself against the bar). Then, over time, the bar got lower and lower, I did more and more, and I built some strength. The thing John, my trainer, and I were really building was my heart muscle and working on my breathing. I sounded like a freight train for a while, and it took me several minutes to recover from even the simplest of exercises. Now, my recovery time is for my muscles and not my heart or my breathing and that’s amazing. Really! But such was not always the case. Let’s look back a bit and see how it all came together. The first few months were tough. I saw no gains, no real weight loss, and many times was frustrated at the glacial pace things seemed to be going. What I did not know, and it’s important, is that it is near-impossible to lose weight and gain muscle fast. They do work together, but to do one of these things quickly, the other one suffers. Part of the difficulty was moving past the embarrassment of “not being good”, at anything, frankly. No matter what I did, I was not as good as anyone I saw at a gym. I was comparing myself to others and, on the road to better health, that’s a bad way to go because someone will always be better than you. Now, I look at my gym mates and can see the hours of work and dedication they put in and they can see it in me too! – and that’s pretty slick. Something that these “gods of the gym” told me is that they wish they had my legs, my calves, and my build. It never occurred to me that I might have some parts of my body that other, really well-

wOrKING OUT: gETTIng goIng froM couch To gyM By randall Blaum

work. It will pay off. While I could talk for hours about how the body works and how to make the most of everything, there are a few key things to remember, the greatest of which is that the full body will always fall in 3 categories regardless of the level of the training: push, pull, and legs. I started at Level -0- so that’s where we’ll start today. I did the following exercises for a few weeks to build up stamina (my heart) and to get my breathing in check: Wall pushups – literally standing with my arms on a wall – as many as I could until I got to ten without heavy breathing Light “lat” pull downs – usually on a “Smith Machine” with little or no weight Body weight squats – no weight, just you squatting Once you get going and feel like you won’t die, you can move to level one or two, which can include: PUSH UPS

(courtesy images)

defined folks would admire. Call it what it is – being human – but it felt great to be recognized for my efforts and dedication, as well. Let’s talk about some exercises that almost anyone can do at the beginning, that helped me on the journey.

First, don’t get discouraged. Easier said than done, but that is just your mind; it’s not who you are. Like I wrote, I could hardly do a few wall pushups to begin and now I’m lifting weights I never thought possible. Just show up every day, set a schedule, and do the

Lat pull downs with light wight (pull ups as well) Body wight squats or dumbbell/kettle bell squats When I moved to level one, I almost died... again. It was hard and there were days I wanted to give in. My trainer, John said, “Just show up, and

we will get it done.” I have shown up every week for a year now, and we are getting it done. From all I can see, the problem with a lot of training programs is they don’t consider the amount of physical load that people are able to receive. Then some people stack too many things on top of a foundation that cannot support it. John was great. He checked in every day and wanted to really know how I was doing. Had he “bootcamped” me I would have prematurely become discouraged, and I would have left. If you go to the gym, have a friend or trainer – it’s not about how much pain you can stand. It’s about how you build a program you can live with, even if it takes a bit longer. In my case I learned that if we are patient and enjoy the small gains without overworking the body that is not able to handle that then you are set up properly for a lifetime of gains. That was a lesson to learn, but now I also know it is a truism. Too much too soon is always a recipe to cause someone to be discouraged and give up.



June 2022 volume 3 issue 17


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gay man who killed his ill husband through force-feeding was sentenced on May 6 to three years in prison, but he will be released Dec. 24, 2022 due to time served. Thomas Wayne Zupner, now 67, had been free on $250,000 bond, but was handcuffed and taken into custody immediately after El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador sentenced him in the death of Blake Synowski, 62. Synowski, an El Cajon dentist, died Sept. 17, 2019, in the couple’s home in the 10900 block of Explorer Road in La Mesa around 10:54 p.m. after paramedics and sheriff’s deputies were unable to revive him. In a non-jury trial, Amador acquitted Zupner of seconddegree murder and he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March. Amador denied probation and gave him credit for 633 days previously spent in jail. Zupner’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, told the judge “This is the most unusual involuntary manslaughter (case) this court will ever see.” “The act causing death was done out of love;” said Pfingst, “the act was intended to help his husband who had health problems.” Pfingst, who is the former District Attorney, asked for probation and no more time in custody. He said that matzo crackers and water were forcefed to Synowski that night. “I’ve had 3 years to think about this. I loved him so much,” said Zupner. “I regret so much what happened. I’m so sorry.


of forcE-fEEDIng huSBanD To DEaTh To SErvE onLy 7 MorE MonThS BEhInD BarS; cLaIMS hIS acTIonS wErE ouT of LovE Thomas Wayne Zupner (courtesy image)

By Neal Putnam “I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was helping him. I’m so sorry,” concluded Zupner. Amador said he could only find one other fatal forcefeeding case in which a hospital employee was convicted of involuntary manslaughter of a patient. “My brother would be alive today had it not been for (Zupner). He’s not mentally stable and that scares me,” said Sheryl Kelsh, who told the judge she doesn’t understand the “unimaginable verdict” he rendered. “He did not ask to be forcefed,” said another sister, Rosemary Mattson. “What kind of caregiver force-feeds?” The victim’s 97-year-old mother, Jennie Lee Synowski, spoke through a computer into the courtroom as she was listening to the hearing from Washington. She told the judge, “The death of my son was anything but natural (...) how he was tortured with crackers

forced down his throat.” All the relatives urged the maximum 4-year term in prison, as did Deputy District Attorney Meredith Pro. The judge said Synowski was a very good dental practitioner but was also a “functional alcoholic”. Amador was critical of the way Zupner tried to help him. “It’s not love to deal with a person like this with these types of problems,” said Amador. “If this is love, it’s a brutal form.” “You killed him for no reason; he was your husband,” said Amador. “This was a position of trust.” “You tried to tie him up. It makes no sense,” said Amador. “It was horrible. He was vomiting everywhere.” The judge ordered Zupner to pay $6,009 in restitution. Zupner remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility until his Dec. 24, 2022 release, according to the sheriff’s department.


riends of Ron Thrun remembered him fondly at a memorial service May 15 at the Metropolitan Community Church where he was a member for the last 28 years. Ron, known affectionately as Ronnieboy, passed away at age 90 on Feb. 3 after a short illness. “He is sorely missed,” said Senior Pastor Dan Koeshall. “Ronnieboy touched more lives than we will ever know.” “One of the things I remember about him was that smile,” said Rev. Alisan Rowland. “He was radiant. That smile was like a beam of light.” “He was such a positive source in the world,” said Denni Coslett. Ron enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1949 when he turned 18 after growing up in Buffalo, New York. He told Mo McElroy, in an interview with MCC’s Met Link, that he was required to sign a document stating he was not a communist and not a homosexual when he enlisted. “I had to act straight and not associate with anyone who was gay,” Ron told McElroy in 2021. “If you acted flamboyant, you would lose your job.” He was sent to England just before the Korean War broke out and was trained as an airborne radio operator. He learned Morse Code and used it to provide location information to his fellow soldiers. From there, he was stationed in Madrid before an Air Force Base even existed. He was part of a crew that flew VIPs all over Europe. Thrun was honored by the LGBT Center in 2021 for his military career in the Wall of Honor. Several people said

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(courtesy image)

In fonD MEMory of

rON “rONNIebOY” THrUN By Neal Putnam at the memorial he had to be talked into the idea to submit his name to be honored. After five years in the Air Force, Ron attended the State University of New York, graduating in 1958 with a teaching credential. He told Mo McElroy he was once again required to sign a document stating he was not a homosexual. He was a teacher for 10 years, but left to open a chic clothing store in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ron met his partner of 41 years in Puerto Rico and they moved to San Diego in 1973. In 1976, he opened a dinner house and bar in Point Loma that catered to gay clientele. Ron also owned a silk screening business, studied to get his real estate license, and worked for various realtors and financial brokers in San Diego. Koeshall said Ron was “always willing to usher” at church. He told McElroy he helped clean up and volunteer

for doing a lot of routine tasks for 25 years at church. He told McElroy he was still a bit closeted even in his 80s because “after all these years, it’s embedded” in you. But he wanted people to know this: “You are who you are and God didn’t make a mistake. Be yourself. You’ll be surprised by how open people are to gays today.” “To think about people having to grow up the way I grew up in a closet all these years, thank goodness that no longer applies. The more we become ourselves and do and feel and dress as we wish, that’s when we start feeling free,” he said to McElroy. Ron is survived by his brother, sister, nephew, and his dog Sandy. He was a member of Friends of Older Gays and played croquet in Balboa Park. “He will be greatly missed by one and all,” said Koeshall. “Ronnieboy loved God and knew God loved him.”


amaziNG GraCE aND FraNkiE From PaGE 13



June 2022 volume 3 issue 17