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MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8

March 5, 2021 voLuME 2 iSSuE 8


bUsINess PrOfIle


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TavoLa nosTra Take a Seat, You Are Family Here! p14

Life Beyond Therapy Conflict Can Be Good for You p5

disTriCT aTTorney news Don’t Get Duped by Unsolicited Unemployment Payments p4


arTisT profiLe: John Carlos Llamas and Cam Matthews p12

ConversaTions Big Mike wiTh niCoLe & friends LGBTQIA+ Leaders Stand with Kevin Crosland p8 Council President Campbell p7 geTTin’ ziggy poziTiveLy MiChaeL generaTion sTew! wiTh iT Millennials – Coping Learning I was Confronting Gender with The Pandemic p11 HIV Positive p9 Stereotypes p10

a noTe froM Toni March 2020 Came in Like a Stampede p6


Walk In A.R.T. p3 COUrT News

66-Year-Old Suspect held to Answer in 1983 Gay Homicide p15

7TH aNNUal TraCIe JaDa O’brIeN TraNsgeNDer sTUDeNT sCHOlarsHIP Setting up the next generation For SucceSS By cesar a reyes


uring the upcoming San Diego Trans Day of Empowerment (Friday, April 2, 2021), the annual student scholarship recipients will be announced. But we still have plenty of time for students to send in their applications (deadline is March 14). We sat down with Founder and Community Activist Tracie Jada O’Brien and a past recipient Trenton Brooks, to talk about the importance of the scholarship and the work that never ends to ensure the future looks bright for the younger generations. The scholarship has been given to 100 trans students in the community. The scholarship fund is one of the first scholarships of its kind focused on transgender student success in San Diego. They believe that strong community support can give our local transgender students the confidence to beat the odds. The volunteer-led committee has been able to distribute scholarships totaling $48,000 to local transgender students over the past 6 years. The average student GPA was 3.5. Students are studying law, medicine, social work, psychology, and more. They are attending schools as close as City College and SDSU to as far away as the University of Chicago and Harvard University.


(courtesy images) Tracie Jada O’Brien (courtesy image)

DIversIONarY DI THeaTre Securing the Future oF our beloved LGBTQ+ coMMuNiTy arTS coMpLEx Jenny case, Managing Director Diversionary Theatre


Diversionary Theatre Launches a $2.5 million Securing Our Future campaign payfor new building improvements including pay ing off the mortgage, theatre upgrades, an ad additional new cabaret/performance venue, a new Education Center to support their increased free arts education programs, and a litany of Covid safety improvements that will ensure the safest theatrical re-opening possible. Diversionary Theatre has raised 89% of their $2.5 million goal for the Securing Our Future campaign. The campaign, which will provide funds for new building improvements including paying off the mortgage, theatre renovations and upgrades, an additional new cabaret/per cabaret/performance venue, adding an Education Center, and a litany of Covid safety improvements that will ensure the theatre has the safest theatri theatrical re-opening possible as well as expanding the beloved theatre’s education programing for youth and senior citizens. Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed June 2021, making the theatre ready to reopen with all new safety features as soon as the State and County mandates allow.

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1299 CAMINO DEL RIO SOUTH | 619.906.5546




COver sTOrY

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


7th annual Tracie Jada o’Brien Transgender Student Scholarship continued from page 1 scholarship. It has been fantastic to give back and also to be part of something so great. I started my transition in 2006 in New York and so I was not as tapped in here in San Diego or with the younger crowd. Tracie is of the respected elder group, I’m not really considered “youth” anymore, so I’m kind of in the middle and midst of my continued growth. A lot of us just disappear into mainstream society so it’s been important for me to follow in Tracie and the elders footsteps to be here for the youth to face the fears and the difficulties that we faced early on when there was not as much available to us by means of help. Maintaining this community to help youth that now have available resources not go through the struggles that previous Trans generations went through.

Trenton Brooks (courtesy image)

paSt recipient

TrENToN BrookS

Tracie Jada O’Brien (courtesy image)

abouT Tracie o’brien: Tracie O’Brien has been the Family Health Centers of San Diego’s Trans Health Coordinator since 2003. In the late 90’s; during the AIDS epidemic, O’Brien got together with other community leaders and worked to give a voice to the Trans Community. They talked to The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center), Family Health Center and the Imperial Court de San Diego, and with funding by the California Endowment in 2003, a Trans needs assessment and Transgender project came to life in 2004. Family Health Centers of San Diego – Trans Health Services celebrates its 17th year this month. How THe scHolarsHip came To be: Transgender Day of Empowerment is an LGBTQ+ Community and ally driven effort. The event committee wanted to figure out how to further support the Trans Community, because when it comes to Trans specific services like grants, scholarships and access to proper medical care, there continues to be a shortage and need. “It is another extension of our community taking care of our community, we have so many children in school that would benefit from the help.” Said O’Brien. “I began my transition after high school in 1970 and I had no idea I could continue going to school being my authentic self. So now that I am older and work with the young people that now have access to so many services, I could only imagine it in my transition days. It is our due diligence to help our community reach excellence, just like Martin Luther King said, “don’t judge me for my skin, but by the content of my character.” Former Executive Director of The Center, Dr. Delores Jacobs put the idea in Obrien’s ear and they made the scholarship happen. “I am so grateful to all the com-

munity members and allies who support and fund the scholarship. Everything that has happened is community driven.” O’Brien said about the folks who have funded the scholarships over the years. San Diego Prides Fernando Lopez and Sarafina Scapicchio Serafina have been very helpful in sharing their resources. During the pandemic they linked up with Titos Vodka who donated five thousand dollars to provide supplies to special “Covid Bags” that included food and healthcare items for members of the Trans community who were in need. “That is the wonderful connection I have with San Diego Pride; they have been able to implement some of their funding sources to include Transgender services.” O’Brien commented. The community run Trans Services at Family Health Center started back in 2005 with very “intention specific funding”, but since then other funds and grants have been pulled together to keep O’Brien working on providing services to the Trans community. There is a huge need in the Trans community for HIV Services, Health and Human Services, medical care and medicine. scHolarsHip qualificaTions: Scholarship applications for 2021 are due March 14th. “We usually give 30-35 scholarships every year, I am really excited to see what it will be this year. At first, I thought with Covid, kids were not going to school, but it was made abundantly clear to me that our students are still attending classes to further their careers” commented O’Brien. Students applying should be aware that it is not just traditional school that qualifies, it can be a Trade School or a specific certification class. Even tutoring for English as a second language or Cosmetology! “It is about any career endeavor” according to O’Brien.

eDucaTion: I graduated from UCSD in the Spring of 2020. I went to San Diego City Collage and got my Associates in Psychology there in 2018, and transferred to UCSD and completed by BA in Psychology in two years. becoming a scHolarsHip recipienT: I was a two-year recipient of the scholarship, I first heard about it when I attended a Transgender Day of Empowerment event and I saw other students receiving the scholarships and I thought that it was so cool and empowering for myself. I never knew that was something that was available, and seeing these other students and hearing where they were going to school and what they were able to achieve inspired me and that was when I was still going to City College. It gave me and extra push to try and get to UCSD and my first year there was my first year getting the scholarship. I’m considering applying this fall to San Diego State for either and FMT or a Masters in social work. I have not decided which one I want to go for, I might apply for both and decide as I go. But I do want to work with the Trans community and provide some sort of service, maybe in mental health, or anywhere else there is a need I can help with. There is not always this specific direction for us, like Tracie, she found the need and she filled it, and so that is kind of how I want to find my way to see what is needed and go that direction. THe imporTance of HaVing THe scHolarsHip: My experience was not just receiving this money, which help greatly, but I also got to be recognized in a part of the community that I didn’t know existed, yet it had been quietly building over time. You see us at Trans Day of Empowerment, Remembrance, Visibility and Trans Pride, but other times we are not always in the forefront. With my experience not being the best in being visible during my transition back in New York. I sometimes feel the need to just kind of blend in. And so, it is nice to have the opportunity to just absolutely be myself and to be celebrated for that. To be able to receive a scholarship and hear that I have community support was phenomenal for me. Once I graduated and I was able to be a part of the committee that puts together this event and help recruit more students that can receive the

Past San Diego Trans Day of Empowerment (courtesy images)

Tracie on VisibiliTy: Visibility comes at a cost. Visibility can cost safety, and visibility can cause attacks. We belong to the LGBTQ+ community but we don’t transition to be Trans, we transition to be authentic. The goal often times is to be authentic and blend into society, that is why it is important that we are safe and it is most important that we have a space where we can actually move safely in the world. For those who choose to stay back; we forfeit our anonymity. I live in El Cajon, and one thing I say is I work transgender, but I live Tracie O’Brein who is a female in El Cajon, and that is how our lives are. It is important to be present when we have an event. They are usually almost standing room only, but when it is over everyone is gone, that’s how it should be. It is just a part of EPICUS (Emphasis, Participation, Interest, Confirmation, Understanding, Success) in our community, that we need to have services for those who are beginning their transition so they can get themselves together and have access to medical care, education and everything they need to be successful adults, unlike my generation. So, it is very important that we set up the next generation for success and not failure. Students who want to apply can do so at https://sdpride.org/tdoe/ Donations can be directed to https://sdpride.z2systems.com/np/clients/ sdpride/donation.jsp?campaign=24& San Diego Trans Day of Empowerment takes place Friday April 2, 2021 from 6pm to 7pm and is taking place virtually at sdpride.org/live

News brIefs


WaLk iN a.r.T. (allyShip, reSilience and truth)

a new Monthly hillcreSt art celebration


illcrest Business Association (HBA) is kicking off it’s first ever “1st Thursday of the month Art Walk Celebration of Expression” called Walk in A.R.T (Allyship, Resilience and Truth). Attendees can expect a night filled with lively entertainment in Mural Alley all directed by an interactive digital map that patrons could access from their mobile device. The map will highlight all of the event’s features from selfie-booths, psychic readings, live

art, music, complimentary Reeds Ginger Beer and a paint & sip with specialty cocktails. This art celebration kicks off on April 1st from 5p.m to 11pm and will subsequently take place the 1st Thursday of every month. Walk In A.R.T takes place in Mural Alley adjacent to the Hillcrest Sign and at over 10 participating retail and restaurant locations. The event will be self-guided through an online interactive map, which will serve as the digital hub


he long life of local gay icon George Murphy was celebrated Sunday February 28th in a beautiful memorial service held at the Metropolitan Community Church in San Diego. George was a member for nearly 50 years before he passed away at age 80 on Nov. 14, 2020 of natural causes following a long struggle with COPD. His memorial was online on MCC’s Facebook page, which drew 346 viewers and 84 on the YouTube Channel. The memorial was online due to the coronavirus outbreak. “It was an absolutely beautiful service and a tribute to George,” wrote Rosie Linder. “RIP, my sweet and loving friend. He is definitely missed and loved.” “The world’s certainly a much better place for his life and ministry,” said former MCC pastor Tony Freeman. “He was such a beautiful soul.” George helped start what was originally called the Gay Center in Golden Hill 50 years ago. Cara Dessert, the CEO of what is now the LGBT Center, said in a taped message that Murphy helped “create a place where gay people could come together, support each other, and build a thriving community.” “It was fitting that George made the motion to include lesbian as part of the name (in 1980),” said Dessert. “George had a special touch for making everyone feel welcome.” “George’s vision lives on in our work today,” said Dessert. “George loved church!” said MCC Senior Pastor Dan Koeshall. “He loved the gay community and he was loved by the gay community.” “George loved God and he would often say ‘She loved me too’—that was a George saying,” said Koeshall. “He had a way of making everyone feel welcomed, included and important,” said Koeshall. “George touched so many different lives.”

GEorGE Murphy’S

liFe celebrated By Neal putnam George was involved in the start of so many organizations, such as the San Diego Democratic Club, the AIDS Foundation, Lambda Archives, and others too numerous to mention. George was a Leap Year baby born on Feb. 29, 1940, so technically he only experienced 20 birthdays, said Koeshall, who thought it fitting that his memorial was observed Feb. 28. Erin King, his daughter, said in an audio tribute that he was born in Peru, Indiana and obtained his teaching credential in 1962. He received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1965. He first taught in Detroit, and in 1971, he and his partner, John Eberly, moved to San Diego. He was hired at Grossmont College in 1972 and helped open the Adult Career Guidance Center in El Cajon. In 1978, he was hired at Cuyamaca College. He retired in 2002 and lived in Ocean Beach. “As George’s daughter, I can

for all of the event’s information. Hillcrest staff and member businesses will set up an Art Market in Mural Alley where artisans and designers can showcase and sell their goods. There will also be various activation opportunities taking place at surrounding businesses in an effort to engage the public in a safer setting by abiding by the City’s Covid Social Distancing Guidelines. Walk In A.R.T is a new event produced by the Hillcrest Business Association. HBA was established in 1921, making it the oldest business association in San Diego. The HBA represents over 1,300 businesses and acts as a liaison between the business community and the city while encouraging economic development for the Hillcrest area through events and promotions. Hillcrest’s new monthly art celebration was created to help promote artists, activate Mura Alley as a special hub for expression and to engage the small and locally owned businesses that make Hillcrest great. The Walk In A.R.T Event is designed with the intention of celebrating unity, inclusion and to serve as a space for the diverse voices from throughout the San Diego community. Artist, performers and volunteers can get more information at firstthursdayartnight.com or contact Kania Hayes, Event Coordinator at kania@hillcrestbia.org

honestly say I have never known anyone with as much energy, drive, compassion, and love for people,” said King. “When you give of your time, you just get back more than you gave,” said King. In 2008, George was honored for his military service at the LGBT Center’s Wall of Honor. He was asked in 2008 how things have changed since 1971. “The newspaper wouldn’t let us use the word gay in the newspaper and the phone company wouldn’t let us say Gay Center in the phone book,” said Murphy. “Now I feel like a proud parent. I go to events and I don’t know too many people and I’m so happy thinking ‘where did all these people come from?” said Murphy. “It’s great because the rest of us now can sit back a little bit,” said Murphy. Al Smithson, the vice moderator at MCC’s Board of Directors, said he agreed with Freeman’s description that “George was one of a kind.” “He is my longest-term friend. 50 years,” said Smithson. “I love him so much.” Smithson and numerous others said he would greet you with “how ya doing, kid?” Rev. Caedmon Grace read the 23rd Psalm and the song “Wind Beneath My Wings” was performed by Allison Murphy. His favorite song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” was also performed. Koeshall said he was “transferring George’s membership at MCC to the church in heaven.” Eberly, his partner, predeceased him. Murphy also served for two years on the Citizen’s Review board on Police Practices, was a board member for the AIDS Project and the Friends of Ocean Beach Library. “George was an incredible light,” said Pamela Raptis.

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8



PUblIC servICe

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


image by shutterstock.com

DIsTrICT aTTOrNeY News summer stephan —District Attorney Summer Stephan has dedicated more than 29 years to serving justice and victims of crime as prosecutor. She is a national leader in fighting sex crimes and human trafficking and in creating smart and fair criminal justice solutions and restorative justice practices that treat the underlying causes of addiction and mental illness and that keep young people from being incarcerated.


he figure is astounding – more than $11 billion in unemployment funds bilked from the state’s Employment Development Department. Greedy cheaters and prisoners lied about who they were to receive benefits as claims soared amid the pandemic. At the same time, we saw deserving recipients of EDD struggle to get their much-needed payments. My office is working hard to bring accountability to prisoners who stole money through fraud. In the meantime, we want to provide you with information to keep you safe from becoming a victim of fraud. Unemployment payments are usually deposited directly into bank accounts – the same is true for imposters fraudulently claiming benefits. But sometimes payments get sent to the real person’s account, which makes bad actors double down on their fraud.


by unSolicited uneMployMent payMentS

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

For information on The Center’s food programs and resources, please contact Sarah MerkBenitez at 619.692.2077 x 214 or smerkbenitez@thecentersd.org.

FOOD BaNkS NOuRIShINg ThE COMMuNITy The Center partners with a different restaurant every month to offer a free meal to those affected by COVID-19. Contact Sarah at info above for March’s restaurant and to sign up.

The Center offers two food banks in our parking lot, using social distancing, safety protocols with walk-up and drive-thru options. Senior Food Bank: 4th Tuesday of each month, 12pm-3pm. Next Senior Food Bank is Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Neighborhood Food Distribution: 1st Tuesday of each month, 7:30am-10:30am. Next Neighborhood Food Distribution is Tuesday, april 6, 2021.

The Center COVID-19 Emergency Services

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

If you need Emergency

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

what to lookout for if you receive unsolicited unemployment benefits: • The scammer may call, text, or email to try to get you to send some or all the money to them, possibly through a gift card. • They may even go so far as to pretend to be from the state unemployment agency saying the money was sent by mistake. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation: • If you receive a notice of an unemployment claim you did not file, report the fraud immediately the California Employment Development Department. • There is no fee to file a claim, so if you are asked to pay, this is a scam. • Be aware of fake websites. Scammers are creating websites to trick individuals into releasing personal information. Make sure that the website you are using is a legitimate government website. Third-party websites and outside agencies cannot apply for unemployment benefits for you. • You will never be asked to provide sensitive information, such as your social security number or bank account information through email when applying for unemployment benefits. Any email or robocall call asking you to provide such information, regardless of how official it may appear, is fraudulent. • If you get an unsolicited email, never click on any links.

• Beware of robocalls asking for personal information to complete your unemployment application. Most government agencies will only call you if you contacted them and asked to be called back. now that you know how to spot unemployment scams, here are some tips to avoid them: • Use only official websites and phone numbers of your corresponding unemployment agency. • Monitor your credit reports to see if any unemployment claims are opened without your permission or if any other fraud occurs. • Keep your computer security up to date. If you get an unemployment tax form (Form 1099-G) but never applied or received unemployment benefits, you may be the victim of identity theft. If you think that someone else filed a claim under your name, address, or Social Security number, contact California EDD to report the fraud. Visit ASK EDD and select the Form 1099G category or call 1-866401-2849. You can also report fraudulent activity to IdentityTheft.gov. This website can also help you freeze your credit if necessary. As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful.



MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


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


ver the past twenty-some years, I’ve heard dozens of clients say some version of: “I absolutely hate conflict.” “Does every relationship – even a good one have a certain amount of conflict?” “I’ll do anything to avoid conflict: it makes me so uncomfortable.” Conflict is a necessary part of life, and, if approached with curiosity instead of dread, it can teach us a lot about ourselves. Working with conflict is a skill. And a skill can be learned. Trying to avoid conflict is an interesting approach to life: too bad it doesn’t work. No matter how nice, smart or generous you are, the universe is gonna send some people into your life who want to mess with you. How could it not? How could you agree or get along with everyone? What happens when people disagree? No matter how politely you manage it: there’s conflict there. A conflict Is an opportunity to learn something about yourself. If you want your life to be “fixed” or “static”, you’re gonna hate conflict, because it pushes you to grow and change. However, if you embrace that you’re never going to stop learning about yourself (and others) and that life is supposed to throw stuff at you to see how you handle it, then a little bit of conflict now-and-then can be a good thing. I see this in play when I work with couples. Some people blissfully tell me that they’re in a relationship with their soulmate: “If things aren’t flowing smoothly, then we’re not meant to be together.” Not so. Relationships are designed to bring up conflict: how can you love someone, be vulnerable with someone, live your life with someone and have everything play out like a rom-com with a guaranteed happy ending? Even in rom-coms there’s always conflict: you can’t have a happy ending until the couple has worked through their shit. If your idea of a relationship is one where you expect instant, perfect, and perpetual compatibility, you may not be willing to work with your partner to solve your problems or gain new relationship skills. You may (naively) hope that all your conflicts will be magically resolved through the power of your love. Good luck with that! With that fantasy relationship mindset, when conflict arises, you’ll think you’ve picked the wrong partner. I’ve heard many clients say, “Everything was perfect, until (*name your conflict here*) happened, and now I don’t know if we’re meant to be together. Do soulmates really have so many problems?” In a word: yes. If you believe in the idea of soulmates, consider this: the universe may send you one perfect person who will help you to grow, learn and struggle to become the person you really want to be. And you can return the favor. Instead of trying to avoid conflict, be

coNfLicT caN BE GooD for you

“wow, we worKed through that! good For uS!” curious about it. Don’t see conflict as a sign of incompatibility; instead, see it as an area of growth. Going through difficulties in a relationship is an opportunity to learn, to understand each other better and strengthen the relationship…and it’s good for your self-esteem too. As a kid, my parents rarely argued with each other. As a result, I didn’t know much about good, honest conflict and how to work with it. As an adult, I

SaTurDay, March 27Th froM 1 – 3pM


his workshop is based on my upcoming book: “The Gay Man’s Guide to Aging Well”. It will be very interactive: you’ll be talking with different men individually (through the use of breakout rooms) as well as discussing topics with the entire group of men. The workshop is limited to a maximum of 20 men (and is half full as of March 1st). The fee for the workshop is $25.

used to be mildly terrified of any sort of confrontation. It took me many years to embrace the idea of arguments/conflicts/ disagreements as opportunities to love my partner better and become more skillful at talking about difficult subjects. After working through an intenselyemotional conflict, most couples I work with feel a great relief: “Wow, we worked through that! Good for us!” is how they feel afterwards. In addition, they feel more capable and empowered

images by shutterstock.com

to talk through future conflicts. Conflict can be good for you. It can teach you things and make you more confident and skillful in all your relationships – with family, friends, bosses, coworkers, and those rude people who cut in line in front of you. Conflict can make you emotionally stronger and more assertive. Instead of avoiding it the next time it pops up, try being open and curious about it and see what it can teach you.

ZooM worKShop SerieS

poWEr, LovE & prESENcE: the JoyS oF getting older

in the workshop we’ll talk about: • Acceptance of the Past – Letting Go of Old Regrets: Have you made peace with your past? No matter how happy or traumatic your childhood was, how do you forgive those who’ve harmed you (to the best of your ability), and move on? • Giving back, Being a Role Model & Mentoring: No matter how healthy you are or how much money you have, a big part of aging well is giving back. Emile Dur-

kheim calls this phase of life “generativity”. What do you have to give? To whom do you want to give it? •Finding Peace in a ConsumerDriven World: Each of us needs to find what grounds and centers us… it can be Pagan or Christian, yoga or free weights, Grindr or gardening. In a world that brainwashes us to spend our hard-earned money in

desperate attempts to look younger, how do we resist the demonization of aging and accept ourselves – happily, peacefully – just as we are? To sign up, go to https://lifebeyondtherapy.com/workshops/ If you have any questions – or would like to be notified about future workshops – contact me at beyondtherapy@cox.net


MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8



March 2020 caMe in liKe a StaMpede a NOTe frOM TONI Toni g. atkins —Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.


ou’ve probably heard the old weatherrelated expression “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” I think we can all agree March 2020 came in like a stampede. One year later, while there are positive signs emerging, we are still facing the pandemic that has cost our nation more than half a million lives, including 50,000 of our family members, friends, and neighbors here in California. In addition to the lives we have lost, other lives have been put on hold, small businesses, families, and individuals are struggling, and many dreams and opportunities have been delayed and denied. But as tired and frustrated as we all are, we have to keep going. There is still more work for us to do, and more precautions for us to take, if we are to finally make it past the lion and put COVID-19 behind us. It is still extremely important for us all to continue staying at home as much as possible, wearing masks, and practicing physical distancing. I know it’s tough, but we’ve gotten this far—a little more working together, a little more reliance on science, and we can get to where we need to be: safely opened schools and businesses and a state laserfocused on the economy, jobs, and housing. Of course, right now the best thing any of us can do is get vaccinated when shots are available. Information on eligibility and availability for COVID-19 vaccinations is being updated constantly. Currently, vaccines are being distributed to folks 65+ and health care workers, as well as childcare givers, emergency services personnel, and food or agriculture workers. And 20 percent of vaccine supplies

image by shutterstock.com

will be designated for education workers from now on. School employees will be contacted by their school district or the County Office of Education for their vaccine. On March 15, individuals aged 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk to get very sick from COVID-19 due to severe health conditions, including those with developmental or high-risk disabilities, will become eligible for the shot. Full details are available at Covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/ and MyTurn. CA.Gov. As I shared last month, one of our very first actions in the Legislature this year was to pass SB 91 to extend the eviction moratorium we had put in place to help protect tenants and small landlords. Between our share of SB 91 funds and new federal funding announced last month, San Diego County has received more than $100 million in assistance to make available. Applications should be available in mid-March. • For more information from the State, you can access Housing is Key https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/ • For details within the City of San Diego, the San Diego Housing Commission has more information https://www.sdhc.org/evictionban/ • For cities within the County, you can visit this link https://bit.ly/388dMe0 SB 91 was one part of our early budget efforts to address the pandemic—these are actions the Legislature and Governor can take prior to the passage of the final state budget in June. As part of our early budget actions on COVID-19 relief, we just passed the California State Stimulus, and I was proud to stand beside Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon as Governor Newsom signed the $7.6 billion in relief funding on Feb. 23. The legislation that has already been signed into law provides over $2 billion in grants and tax cuts for small business, including license fee waivers for bars, restaurants, barbers, and cosmetologists, as well as $600 in cash for recipients of the California Earned Income Tax Credit filers, $120 million in accelerated aid for

Community College students, and $857 million in restored funding for the University of California, the California State University, and our courts. And that is not all! At press time, negotiations are continuing on additional tax cuts for businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic. When all is said and done, the total relief package will be over $10 billion. In March we once again recognize Women’s History Month. My choice for the 39th Senate District’s outstanding Woman of the Year is Dr. Margaret Leinen of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Two recent appointments have increased the number of women serving the State of California. I was pleased to join my colleagues on the Senate Rules Committee to appoint San Diego County Supervisor Terra LawsonRemer to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, which administers programs to promote private investment in affordable rental housing for low-income Californians. As Senate President pro Tempore, I also had the opportunity to appoint San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe to the state’s Reparations Task Force, which was created by our new Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, when she was serving in the Assembly. I know these two local leaders will make many important contributions to our state, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating them on their new posts. Finally, while March may not go out like a lamb, it will definitely go out honoring a legend: March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day, and I hope all of us, especially those of us blessed to live here in one of the world’s most beautiful and bountiful agricultural areas, will take the time to acknowledge his leadership and to recommit ourselves to his struggle for justice and equity for all workers—especially those who put food on our table. This March, we should all remember the United Farm Workers’ rallying cry ‘Sí se puede’ — It Can be Done. Meaningful words for building a movement—or overcoming a pandemic.

LGBTQ San Diego County News PO Box 34664 San Diego, CA 92163 858.886.9458 PUBLISHER Terry Sidie ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Nicole Murray Ramirez nicolemrsd1@gmail.com 619.241.5672 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Cesar A. Reyes creativedirector@lgbtqsd.news EDITOR JP Emerson editor@lgbtqsd.news SALES sales@lgbtqsd.news 858.886.9458 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Big Mike Phillips Bmsd1957@gmail.com 619.807.7324 WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA info@lgbtq.news CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Big Mike Phillips Jacob Stewart Michael Guadarrama Michael Kimmel Neal Putnam Patric Stillman Summer Stephan Toni G. Atkins Ziggy Zig

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

OPINION/LETTERS LGBTQ San Diego County News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email them directly to editor@lgbtqsd.news and include your name, phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers or staff. SUBMISSION/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to editor@lgbtqsd.news. For breaking news and Investigative story ideas, contact the editor by phone or email. Copyright © 2021 LGBTQ San Diego County News Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this publication’s editorial and opinion pages are the author’s own and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of LGBTQ San Diego County News. The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.



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Conversations with Nicole Nicole Murray ramirez

lgbTQIa+ leaDers

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

Stand with council preSident caMpbell

IT’s a DrIve THrU CHIlDreN’s easTer basKeT PICK UP! This year because of Covid-19, the Imperial Court de San Diego and Co-Host City Council President Stephen Whitburn will be hosting a different “Children’s Easter Egg Hunt” that has become a San Diego tradition for the last 20 years. This year children and their families will drive through Balboa Park and pick up their baskets from the Easter bunny himself. Everyone will be safe and must remain in their cars. This year’s event is on Easter Sunday at 1pm in Balboa Park for kids ages 1-12 (one basket per child). We are still in need of donated baskets so please put the word out! This years event Co-Chairs are Big Mike (619807-7324) Dre (619)417-6163 and Benny Cartwright (619)316-9197.

Dr. Jen Campbell (courtesy Image)


here is an ongoing political battle to get our newly elected San Diego City Council President Dr. Jen Campbell to face a re-call and her opponents are collecting signatures. The campaign has gotten especially nasty and hateful since Dr. Jen beat fellow Councilwoman Monica Montgomery in an election by her fellow council members to win the Council Presidency. During the rather negative presidential campaign Dr. Jen was subject to being called

a racist supporter of white supremacy and other vicious names we cannot print. Even Councilman Stephen Whitburn who supports Dr. Jen’s presidential bid has also been subjected to these attacks. I looked up these hateful words in the dictionary: racisT- “A person who believes in racism. The doctrine that one’s own racial group is superior or that particular racial group is inferior to the other.”

wHiTe supremacy“The belief the theory or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial and ethnic groups especially Black people.” Dr. Jen is the 1st Jewish President of the Council, is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ Community and has an African American niece. She has a solid record of strong involvement in the civil rights movement since the 1960’s. Not only has

Councilmember Whitburn also been subjected to this hate but so has Mayor Todd Gloria who stayed out of the election and did not endorse anyone. Dr. Jen is constantly being attacked by members of Black Lives Matter and the Racial Justice Coalition. We cannot stand by and let Dr. Jen’s life’s work for social justice and our city be destroyed by such hate. I call upon all LGBTQ+ leaders to stand up for our council President Dr. Jen Campbell.

aN UPDaTe ON THe “lgbTQ ICONs Us POsTage sTaMP CaMPaIgN” National LGBTQ Organizations Propose Stamps Honoring LGBTQ Trailblazers Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Jose Julia Sarria. The United States oldest LGBTQ organization; the International Imperial Court System (IICS) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico (founded in 1965), and the oldest LGBTQ civil rights organization; the National LGBTQ Task Force (founded in 1973),

have launched a national campaign asking the US Post Office Department to issue stamps honoring LGBTQ icons and trailblazers; Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and José Julio Sarria. The IICS and The Task Force were also the sponsors of the successful campaign that resulted in the issuance of the Harvey Bernard Milk U.S. postage stamp- unveiled in May of 2014, at the White

House by President Barack Obama, on what would’ve been Harvey Milk’s 84th birthday. The two organizations were also responsible for the successful campaign to the Secretary of the Navy, which resulted in the naming of the U.S.N.S. Harvey Milkthe second of the John Lewis class of underway replenishment oilers, commissioned by the United States military- currently under construction in San

Diego, California where Milk was stationed for duty in the 1950s as a commander in the US Navy. We also recognize and thank our honorary chairs, the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors and the City of San Diego Human Rights Commission, the first government bodies to endorse the stamp campaign. For additional information please go to LGBTqueenstamps.org


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Photo by Rikke Photography



KevIN CrOslaND

bIg MIKe aND frIeNDs big Mike Phillips —Big Mike Phillips is an activist, fundraiser, bartender and photographer who has lived in San Diego for 30 years. He has helped create two nonprofits and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. He has been a photographer for more than 25 years and has recorded our LGBTQ history not only in San Diego but around the country, including three LGBTQ marches on Washington D.C. Contact Big Mike at 619-807-7324, or bmsd1957@gmail.com.


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

Above: Kevin Crosland Below: Ozziel Lopez and Kevin Crosland and their two dogs. (courtesy images)

This week’s Q&A is with Kevin Crosland How did you end up in san Diego and what do you love about it? After growing up in Utah my whole life, I always dreamed about moving to California where being gay is more socially accepted. After a little research I knew San Diego was the perfect spot for me! Always perfect weather all year round and now so many amazing people in my life, I’m so lucky to be able to call San Diego home what gets you excited about life? There is nothing that makes me happier than my most amazing boyfriend and two puppies. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I love going to the gym and working on myself. I love going to the beach after being in active addiction for 15 years. There is so many simple joys that mean the world to me now. I get to finally live life now after being sober for 3 1/2 years, there is so much that excites me about life! The life I have now is a dream come true I would have never imagined I would have what I do today. I don’t have a lot, but what I do have I have worked so hard to get it and so grateful to have what makes you “stand out” in business? I am working at La Jolla recovery. It’s so amazing I love working and helping people get through their addiction. I was very blessed to have so many people who helped me get to where I am today. So now to be able to past it forward and know that I can be that person for so many other people, makes me so happy. what small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget? I think one of the main things that really stands out for me is when I first got sober. The people in my treatment center showered me with love, showed me I am worthy of love, until I was able to love myself. After finally realizing how happy I was by loving myself again, for me it was something my heart lead me into the career field that I am in today. Knowing I could help others find their love and help them by being a guiding light for so many other people. .if the universe could grant you one wish, what would you wish for? The one thing I have wanted my whole

life is nothing but pure happiness. I chased happiness for years, but could never find it. The one thing sobriety has taught me is to be able to feel and embrace true happiness. So, I feel like the one thing that I always wished I had, the universe has already granted me! if you wrote a book about your life, what would you title it and why? I would call the book” Lost and Found”. For so many years I was lost, I had no direction, I was depressed. But I finally found myself and able to live a full and happy life. if you had a chance to spend one million dol-

lars on yourself, how would you spend it? I would love to take my boyfriend, Ozzie Lopez, along with our dogs, Kash and Koda to travel the world and create many memories together. if you could give someone advise about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them? For someone that works in the recovery field the most important thing I can say is if anybody needs help don’t feel like you’re alone or that you won’t be able to get through it. The wonderful thing is that there are so many people who really want to see you succeed. Believe me: if I can go from spending years

in jails and prisons drug addict to where I am today. Anybody can do it! I am one just one who is willing to help you. All you have to do is allow yourself and those of us who want to help be there for you. It’s a lot of work and it’s not easy but it’s so worth it!! if you were granted one superpower for life, what would you choose and why? I would like to have the superpower of omnilingualism, where I could instantly learn, speak, and understand any language fluently. If I had this power, I could communicate with the locals effortlessly no matter where I travelled.

if you had the opportunity to join someone you love, admire, or wanted to meet over a cup of coffee, who would it be, and what one question would you ask them? I would have to say my grandma she passed away a few years back and we were always so close, and I miss her so much. I was absent the last few years of her life because I was in my addiction but would like to really have the chance to catch up with her and be able to talk about everything. Kevin Crosland Insrgram @kevin_crosland Facebook: Kevin Crosland



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image by shutterstock.com

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


veryone learns about their HIV status in different ways, I’d like to share a little of my experience and how I dealt with it. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the news and there isn’t a guide on how to react. I simply never even imagined that this was a possibility. It was February of 2011, I was just 21 years old, it was a cold and rainy day and I was going to the doctor because I had a physical scheduled. I sat in the waiting room with my mom eagerly waiting to get the appointment over with. After I had finished the “squat and cough” the doctor asked me about my sex life; when was the last time I was tested and how many sexual partners did I have. I had just gotten out of a relationship; I had only been with one person for the last 18 months and I was sure that it would be the same result as my previous test 5 months prior. The doctor insisted that I get another test done and I complied. I remember the nurse coming in and doing the oral swab and telling me that he would come back shortly to draw my blood for the rest of the lab work. As I sat in the cold room waiting for my results, I heard a gentle knock and the door opened and in walked the doctor, followed by 4 women and 2 males, one of them my nurse. I sat there nervously and my hands began to sweat since all of them had a blank expression on their faces. The doctor introduced them as a Case Manager, Outreach Specialist, Intern, Psychologist, Program Coordinator and my nurse. As I sat there impatiently wondering why all of these people were in the room with me. The doctor came forward and said, “Michael, I do not want for you to worry. However, I do have some bad news. Your test results came back and you are HIV positive.” I remember feeling hot and then suddenly cold. I remember gripping the side of the medical bed I was sitting on and not saying anything. I felt the blood rush out of my face and I felt numb. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity, not speaking, not crying, almost seemed that I was not breathing and then the doctor leaned forward and said “we will get through this together.” I loudly said, “that is not true! You have to retest! I was just tested 5 months ago and I have only been with one person! This cannot be true!” the doctor said, “we can do another test but what if it comes back the same?” I wasn’t hearing her and was not going to stop until I had another test done. They did another test and of course the results came back the same. I was in full denial and I insisted that there was something wrong. I blamed the tests and wanted to be 100% sure so I requested that they do a blood test. The doctor sat down and told me that there was a very high possibility that it would come back the same. I looked at her and was silent. How could I be positive? I had only been with one person and was tested 3 times during our relationship and I was always negative. I was perplexed. The doctor asked me if I had ever cheated on my ex or he had ever cheated on me? I quickly responded with, “He loves me. He

learning i waS


would have never cheated on me. We were always together so how could he?” she told me to have a conversation with him and to simply ask him if he had ever cheated on me and that I should tell him that I tested positive. It was very difficult to walk out of the room and act like everything was ok. With my Mom seated in the waiting room, I couldn’t have her sense that there was something wrong let alone tell her what I just found out behind that door. So, I put on my best game face and went on with my day as I felt sick and nervous underneath the smile and laughs. A few days later I reached out to my ex and he agreed to meet at a local park. I remember being super nervous as I didn’t even know how to even say, “I am positive!” We sat on the park bench and we said hello and asked the usual pleasantries of, how are you? What’s new? I remember looking at him and saying, “I went to the Doctor last week and I got some very weird news. They did an oral swab and both tests came back that I was HIV positive. I never cheated on you and I was tested 3 times while we were together and I was always negative. I am so confused.” He looked at me and said, “you gave it to me! I was hoping you had called me to confess that you had cheated on me. I get tested on a regular basis as I am military.” I was furious. I never cheated on him and how could he accuse me of such awful things? I remember that we both left there saying some not so kind things to one another and he tried to put all the responsibility on me. I knew that I had been faithful during our relationship therefore I felt no guilt. I was angry and hurt. After it was confirmed multiple times (by every test possible), it finally sank in that this was my reality now and that I was, in fact, HIV positive.

I was put on Genvoya as that was the “newest and greatest” HIV medication at that time. My numbers were so bad that initially I was considered to have AIDS. I was understandably very scared by that, but it was explained to me by my doctor that with my new meds she was hopeful that in 6 months to a year my numbers would stabilize enough that I could become HIV positive-undetectable. I was overwhelmed with all the new lingo and the things I would have to learn to live a healthy lifestyle. I began to eat different, I started exercising more regularly, drinking less alcohol and always taking my new pill that would help me live a healthy life being HIV positive. There was a lot of adjusting and adapting that was going to be needed on my part. I still had not really embraced the whole fact that this was my new status. I remember telling my best friends and crying thinking I was going to go through this alone. I couldn’t have asked for better best friends, they went with me to my first appointments and showed me love, support and when I was feeling down or scared, they soothed me and gave me the strength to continue fighting. I had still not told my family or any other friends and now months had gone by. I remember I would hide my medicine when my Mom was visiting. I acted like there was nothing bothering me, and from the outside you could never really tell there was something going on. Fast-forward 4 months later, my Mom was visiting and she comes to me and says, “we need to talk”. We sat on the couch and I listened and I recall she started to cry and said, “I was in your bathroom and I noticed that you had a big jar of medicine and you have never been one to be on medication”, my heart sank and I remember saying to myself,

“fuck! I forgot to hide my medicine!” I looked at my mom and she was looking at me and she tells me, “why didn’t you tell me Michael? You know this doesn’t change anything. I will always love you no matter what and I am sorry that you have been dealing with his alone. I had no idea!” she got down to her knees and held my hands and said, “look at me. I love you and I would give my life for you. You can always count on me and I will always be there and we will get through this together. You are a fighter and I know you will be ok. Promise me you will seek some therapy for this as I can’t even imagine what you are going through”. As I sat there looking at my mom and feeling her love surround me, I remember feeling tears running down my face and not being able to stop crying. That was the first time I had cried since I had found out that I was HIV positive. This whole time I was trying to be strong and not really allowing myself to be vulnerable and just cry. I sobbed for a good half an hour and for the first time I felt like I would be ok. My mom and my best friends were my biggest supporters through that hard time and for that I am very thankful. I will never be able to repay their kindness, love and support. I want you to know that you are not alone and that you should not feel like you have to go down this path alone. You may think that people will not be there for you or understand. They may not understand but there will be those that will learn with you, support and love you during this process. I will talk about some wonderful resources that we have here locally in San Diego if you need a safe place to talk and ask questions to other community members living with HIV. until next time!


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image by shutterstock.com

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


nother Women’s History Month is upon us, and while women nationwide are still reeling from the 140,000 jobs lost during the pandemic in December alone, we now have a chance to cherish all that women do for our collective society. Since early on in our short history as cognizant beings on this planet, women have been devalued and stripped of acknowledgement of even the most subjectively “small” accomplishments. As I have grown in my generation, I have witnessed a plethora of budding opportunists take advantage of or even begin to rewrite stereotypes to defy typical gender normalities. These brave, groundbreaking women are the ones most deserving of the spotlight at the moment and hold the key to a truly beautiful, and bountiful future. Growing up in Sacramento I was raised primarily by my mother. Despite having a complete family my father would often spend weeks at a time at his office near San Francisco. My mother was a true matriarch; strong and confident, but unafraid to show her emotions. She instilled an excess of values and beliefs in me from early on leading me to become (what I believe and hope myself to be) the open minded, loving human being I am today. The endless sacrifices, sleepless nights, and unabashed honesty made me wonder … “How is this woman so damn strong?” As with most acclaimed stories, an awakening occurred in my mother a long time ago, a conflict that many women this day and age have been afflicted by. My mother was born in Norwich, Connecticut by my grandmother who was completely too young to be having kids, already a teenage mother, a traditional catholic school girl as well. My grandfather Victor, a notorious philanderer in the area had an affair with my grandmother. Both were wed at 17, and the struggles that arise within teenage marriages can and will be exponentially magnified when extra marital affairs are involved. Both went their separate ways and my mother, a product of this affair, grew up in a very confused realm. She was raised by her grandparents for several years while her mother was getting settled with her new husband in Louisiana. Moving from Connecticut to Sikes, Louisiana my mother experienced complete culture shock, beginning to unravel any semblance of normalcy left in her life. Sikes was a town lost in time, a place where it was completely accepted to have a kid on your hip at 15 years old. Graduating high school was considered a major accomplishment and the young women were complacent with being stay at home mothers. My mother knew that she had to make education her priority to escape this chasm lacking opportunity. She received Pell grants and student loans to attend college at Northwestern State where she began to witness how much diversity was truly lacking from the small town of 200 in Sikes. She references a Mark Twain quote that summarizes her isolation, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” She continues saying the more people you continue to meet through-

conFronting geNDer sTereOTYPes For woMen’S hiStory Month out your life the more your views on how oppressive our reality is will continue to evolve. Like many women today my mother was once faced with this choice: remain complacent with your standing in life or utilize all of your resources to break through glass ceilings, raising your daughters, (and all of your kids) with the notion that they can succeed despite any and all circumstances. Her key to this: supporting what occurs innately, empowering, and never stifling a child’s concerns or wishes. In my short time on Earth, I have considered myself lucky to have been surrounded by women who share these similar values, those unselfishly seeking grander moments for our future generations. However, it is heartbreaking to personally witness all of the strife and abuse women have to endure to have equal opportunity despite all of the advancements we have made as a collective society. For example, just last week Crystal Jackson, a California mother, made waves in the news when it was reported that her three sons had been expelled from Sacred Heart Parish School in Sacramento due to her incredibly profitable OnlyFans account. She was reported by a fellow mother at the school, a paying subscriber who ruthlessly screenshotted and passed around her content to mock, and shame her. I thought it disgusting that this mother who began the OnlyFans account after experiencing marital troubles was now in hot water, yet her children were facing the brunt of all of the consequences. Some commenters voiced support stating “Leave them

alone. The kids probably never would have known if it hadn’t become such a big deal.” However much like Sikes, Louisiana the “small town,” mindset still lives and breathes with one detractor stating “A Catholic school isn’t just a school. That’s why they want to send their kids there because it is a community of people that come together for the shared values. If you don’t share those values, and you were actively trying to undermine them, I feel like it’s only fair you were asked to leave.” This spoke highly to me about how far we have to go as a collective society to dissolve these prejudices and “norms” surrounding women and all respective genders. As taught in basic biology, there are niches within

populations that directly lead to a comfortable and satisfying life. Like my mother once taught herself, I adamantly believe that education and the ability to maintain an open mind will behoove all of our future generations in their pursuits of gratification and happiness. Every gender on this planet’s face helps comprise our very diverse, unique society, and through uplifting and inspiring, we can continue to evolve into an ideal world. Suppose we come together as a human race. In that case, we can disband these prejudices that hold individuals of all genders back and set ourselves up for a future where your gender does not determine your status and ability to create a truly fulfilling life.



geTTIN’ zIggY wITH IT ziggy zig — Prince Ziggy Zig is an activist, choreographer, dancer, performer, cocktail mixologist, and novice photographer. He is known as an asset to our community and we look forward to reading more of his work.


hen it comes to the pandemic and Covid-19, millennials have been finding ways to cope with the last year as a result of having to be indoors most days, out of work, not being able to see friends and family as much, and managing to stay sane. To my surprise, when I posted my question via Facebook, I received a lot of positive feedback about different coping activities and it seems as though many people tried their hardest to take advantage of the downtime they had, which is inspiring to read. I know that for myself (and I am sure most), the past year has been a physical, mental, and emotional rollercoaster. Before the pandemic, I was in the works of starting a dance company, just got promoted to assistant manager at work, just moved from Escondido back to the “gayborhood”, was about to start a brand-new live show at local bar, I mean, the list goes on. My depression and anxiety became intensified not being able to work and do what I loved, which was dance. Not only that but drinking alcohol started happening earlier and earlier until it got to the point where I was taking a shot every other hour to calm down the nerves. Thank goodness for my best friend, going to the gym, and being able to teach dance via Zoom! If it wasn’t for these three things, coping with the pandemic and stay at home order would have been much more of a feat. OH! I cannot forget to thank my local dispensaries and the legalization of marijuana in California because according to the feedback I received, it seems like I am not the only person who has been smoking like Snoop Dogg to deal with the day-to-day struggle that we call the “Pandemic Life”. so, what have we been up to during this pandemic? Social Media – Of course because we are not able to be around all our friends at the same time so social media has really kept us connected and able to share information. On the opposite side of the spectrum though, some of us have had a tough time scrolling through all the drama and have given those social apps a break for mental health sake. Either way, remember that there is always a healthy balance and there is nothing wrong with taking a step back for yourself.

Home Cooking – A lot of us have picked up cooking at home! Something that I can even attest to. I was not the type of person who cooked but once the interest started, I began to love it! Cooking breakfast foods like French Toast, Steak and Eggs, to dinner foods like Spaghetti, Hamburgers, and Tacos. The only problem I have is cooking too much food and I’m still learning to cook for one, but I guess that is a good problem to have. Tik Tok – That’s right, Tik Tok. As much as we cringe when we hear those words, we all know what it is, and we all have seen the videos. Even though most of the app is full of people trying to dance their way to “clout”, I have actually learned quite a few things from Tik Tok videos like card games, how to actual put in a garbage bag, and, okay, I admit it, dances. Live Streaming – Because the pandemic has been a struggle for most of us financially, we have been using different and any avenues to make some extra money for the month. Many Drag Queens were doing virtual shows, some have been selling baked goods, and others are making Onlyfans! Creating private (usually sexual) content so that people can purchase a subscription to view it. Others have taken to twitter to share their content. My opinion, if you are making money and not hurting yourself or others, you do what you need to do, boo! Sex work, in my opinion is not something to look down upon because it is labor and it is work. Some people believe that it is all pleasure and games but there is a real preparation, market, promotion strategy, and work that goes behind being a sex worker. some other positive feedback i received: • Going back to school and/or finishing degrees • Playing video games • Spending more time with family • Working out more • Quitting drinking and/or smoking cigarettes • Adopting pets • Starting a small business • Learning a new language • Sought Financial Advisory • Working on Mental Health Now, there are only so many hours of the day that you can keep yourself occupied and distracted from the world that is. Many of us have been watching our lives away with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube food eating ASMR, and any other platform we could get our hands on or in this case, eyes on. Sleeping excessively some days because somedays, trying is just way too much. Lastly, and maybe not so much on a positive note, we have all be working on our mental health and working on ourselves in general. Something like this, especially during a pandemic, can definitely take a toll and it is an everyday practice that has no ending point. I commend every person who has taken that hard look in the mirror and has been able to fight through his, her, or their personal obstacles because it is rough. I must say, that I do love to see that we are able to speak on our mental states a little bit more (at least in my group of Facebook friends) because it is important to have an outlet. Some of my friends have even expressed receiving professional help and being prescribed antidepressants. It takes courage, strength, and determination of wanting better for yourself to ask for help. Do you feel like you have made any strides when it comes to the past year? Maybe you have just been working on staying at homeostasis and that is fine, too. As friend told me recently, there is no time like the present and if you feel in your heart that there is something you would like to do, I say, do it! When are you going to really get the chance to explore what you like and get to know yourself like this?


coping with the pandeMic

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8




MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


artiSt proFile:

JOHN CarlOs llaMas aND CaM MaTTHews By patric Stillman

JoHn carlos llamas “I translate the smile and energy of my patrons, who lovingly refer to me as the ’The Lisa Frank of Jelly Roll Pens.’” Born in Hollywood thirty years ago, John Carlos Llamas was nominated as most talented in High School by his fellow students. That talent came to the forefront when he shared an apartment with two creatives, DJ Paris Blohm and Tattoo Artist Jordy Conesa. “I found inspiration from my friends. Paris would steal away into his room for hours on end, focused on his music. He was confident in his passion to make his dream come true,” said Llamas. “Jordy moved in with us for a few weeks and spent the entire time drawing complex mandalas. I found inspiration from their dedication to their crafts and belief in themselves.” Soon an artistic practice awakened Llamas own creativity. While in culinary school, he spent time with Jordy drawing mandalas. This propelled him in the direction to explore the preciseness of sacred geometry, which has become central to his body of work.

Infused with the electrified energy Llamas saw in the crowds at music festivals, his body of work began to transform into visions of portals, time loops and quantum physics. These ideas are explored through his use of metallic sparkles and fluorescent colors from Gel Pens and Mylar. As a full-time artist, commissions from his friends from Southern California and Instagram fans are driving his creative output. “I try to represent the person I am creating for. I explore their energy and get to the core of what motivates them. Then I translate that into geometric portraits.” Llamas identifies as a Gay Cis Gender Hispanic Man with the pronouns He/His. Growing up in a traditional household made coming out to his family initially difficult. But over time, they have become his strongest support system. He looks to the future with optimism. He is exploring murals as the next evolution of his work as well as potential collaborations with Boochcraft and Juneshine kombucha brewers. John Carlos Llamas can be found online at his website johnllamas.com and on Instagram @johnllamas.

Both artists featured in this issue were directly recommended by the readers of LGBTQ San Diego County News. Patric Stillman is a visual artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door. If you are an artist in San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community and would like to be featured in an artist profile, please contact Patric for consideration at patric@thestudiodoor.com.

cam maTTHews “This is my soul. There are no limits. It’s an expression of my subconscious.” Originally from the mountains of Virginia, Cam Matthews approach to art is very personal. At twenty-eight, Matthews identifies as Queer with the pronouns They/ Them. Transgenerational trauma, depression and anxiety provide a foundation for the art, which offers both a personal catharsis and an opportunity for other people to relate. “I paint to process my feelings and emotions. None of my characters fit inside any sort of ‘box.’ None of them are exclusively male or female. Society’s gender constrictions don’t make sense. I want people to respond to my art with a positive message about who they are and can be,” said Matthews. Coming out at fifteen, Matthews found a supportive family that offered an easier journey than many of their friends. While acceptance was not immediate, the close relationship with their mother allowed Matthews to find their own creative voice early. By seventeen, Matthews became self-aware of the complex world and started creating a version of the expressive faces that appear in their work today. Their artist practice was steady throughout their teen years and early twenties. Their creativity and passion were put on a standstill while studying Graphic Design at James Madison University in Harri-

sonburg, Virginia, where they received a Bachelor of Arts degree. The education was counterproductive to Matthew’s creativity. Fortunately, the fire didn’t die out but resurfaced after leaving the campus. “What makes me happy as a person, as an energy entity, is doing art. If feel like I am a better version of me, the best version of me, as I keep the creativity flowing.” Matthews work is populated with colorful characters. All are genderless in their appearance, for example one may appear with both a mustache and breasts. The hope is that viewers can see themselves through the work. Another passion for Matthews is working with children with autism, which allows for their creativity to shine. They have just started the graduate program at National University to get a Master of Science and Applied Behavioral Analysis. With a daily artist practice, Matthews is looking to continue selling art through Instagram. Following exhibitions in Virginia and Colorado, their artwork is currently on display locally at 1835 Studios in Sherman Heights. “I’m grateful for the people that have supported me by purchasing my art. It helps me reach for higher goals and inspires me to keep pushing forward.” Cam Matthews can be found online on Instagram at @camdowncam.



Diversionary Theatre continued from page 1

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


Q Puzzle

(courtesy images)


Regarding the Campaign, Board of Trustees President, Scott Williford, says, “Diversionary’s Securing Our Future project will sustain our mission to entertain and inspire our community for years to come. While we never expected in our milestone 35th year to face the headwinds of a pandemic, our community has rallied behind us like never before to ensure our important arts education programming continues to uplift, and our theatre will continue to tell our important stories that shine a light on diversity, inclusion and equity.” Regarding how the planned renovations will better support art making and artists, Executive Artistic Director, Matt M. Morrow says, “This is a dream come true for our Diversionary family. Our new venue will provide state of the art technical support to our artists, technical crew, and arts educators. I’m also thrilled about the addition of our third performance venue: A Cabaret piano bar to feature one night only and short run entertainment in a joyful environment! This new space honors and celebrates the LGBTQ community’s history of communing and organizing our movement in the iconic “gay bar” space that has become increasingly rare.” About how the campaign will improve a safe return,

Managing Director, Jenny Case, says “At a time when Performing Arts venues have been presented with the challenges of a global health crisis, this campaign has allowed Diversionary to improve our beloved theatre from top to bottom withstate-of-the-art safety features including filtered and ionized HVAC systems in all public spaces, new touch-free restrooms, and anti-microbial surfaces or treatments throughout the building. When we are able to return to live performances again safely, Diversionary Theatre will be a safe harbor for artists and audiences alike. We are building back BETTER.”

programming improVemenTs

• Redefining the theatre entrance & updating the lobby with the Stuart Schwartz & Karl Peterson Box Office and a new bar area in honor of the LGBTW history, Ye Olde Gay Bar • Adding a new performance space with The Austin and Joann Clark Cabaret • A brand-new Randy Clark & Tom Maddox, M.D. Education Center- A resource for Arts Education and the Lambda Archives of San Diego • Replacing our aging wood staircase with the new steel Dr. Mark Niblack & Las Pa-

tronas Foundation Staircase • Remodeling our exterior façade & marquee • Upgrading the scenic shop, sound, lighting, & production equipment • Remodeling the Black Box Theatre into the Reuel K. Olin New Play Development Center • Expanding The Robert L. Granat & Alfred J. Mazur Mainstage and increasing seating size • Adding a restroom for performers

new safeTy feaTures

• Optimized air circulation, including Merv 13 Filtration and Bi-Polar Ionization • Renovating our restrooms with touch-less facilities • Improving ADA compliance & accessibility • Retractable security gate • Video security surveillance • Touch-less facilities in entrances and the restrooms • Increased seating size • Hygienic, easy to clean surfaces • Sanitizing stations • Antimicrobial materials For more information and a virtual fly through of the newly renovated facility please visit www.diversionary.org/future Jenny Case, Managing Director 619-220-6830 x 201 Press@Diversionary.org

acroSS 1 take off one’s clothes for ones 6 cathedral of hope area 10 “look ___, i’m Sandra dee” 14 tape over a video 15 you may feel it at a gay bar 16 “cat on ___ tin roof” 17 Start of a quote by 29-down 20 Mrs., to rosa bonheur 21 puts tongue between cheeks 22 Be firm 23 limp wrist injury, maybe 25 village people hit 27 cure for all 29 like a bleak fairy tale brother? 33 ancient irish language 36 More of the quote 38 Swerve, at sea 39 baseball great Mel 40 ailey of dance 41 More of the quote 45 burning with desire 46 “My lucky Star” author Joe 47 Morse’s long one 49 greek ship 50 carpenter’s connector 51 ___ instant (like premature ejaculation) 53 ukr. or lith., once 54 end of the quote 58 ridge on Melissa’s neck 59 Sex drive, e.g. 60 Frasier’s brother 64 Fuel in Jamie o’neill’s country 65 canadian comedian Mort 66 Madonna title role 67 what chicken hawks might do on their prey 68 “lord of the rings” singer 69 dr. for the children’s hour?

Solutions on page 15 QSyndicate.com

DoWN 1 comes across as 2 disney canine 3 Soapbox derby entrant 4 Suffix with bear 5 everytown, uSa 6 Kramer, to yale 7 Milquetoast, e.g. 8 180 from nne 9 not prejudiced about orientation 10 relieved sighs 11 bangkok tongue 12 “nyt Magazine” editor adam 13 colorado, to cocteau 18 erotic artist tom, et al. 19 “cat ___ hot tin roof” 24 ancestor of homo erectus 26 get soft 28 israeli author oz 29 rosheuvel, who portrays Queen Charlotte on Netflix’s “bridgerton” 30 “can we talk?” author Joan 31 they top cakes 32 wise counselor 33 painter Jan van ___ 34 one way to have one’s meat 35 tasty partner, inelegantly? 37 alt. spelling 42 bening of “american beauty” 43 having no play 44 excite 45 Moby dick chaser 47 vessel on a vessel 48 “who’s the boss?” woman 52 teams in “a league of their own” 54 bay area patrollers (abbr.) 55 bite it 56 Mideast land 57 “hand it over!” 61 lucy of “charlie’s angels” 62 cause of venus envy? 63 airline to oslo


bUsINess PrOfIle

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


Executive Chef Curtis McKenney

TavOla NOsTra

taKe a Seat, you are FaMily here! By cesar a reyes


eing a business owner over the past year has been rough. Many businesses did not survive the effects of the pandemic. As more businesses (that were lucky enough to make it through 2020) reopen, we wanted to know the experience of a local new restaurant owner who worked through the pandemic and opened the delicious Tavola Nostra Pizzeria E Cucina in Hillcrest. We sat down with owner and pizzaiolo Jeff Oliveri and asked him some questions about the restaurant opening, the food and the history behind it all. Tell us about your background? Well, the more interesting story is my Dad. Born in Palermo, Sicily in 1914 - as a young man, he was a soldier in the Italian Navy, and served in WWII. He ended up POW, and after humane treatment by Americans and the Allies, he decided to come to the United States a few years after the war to make a better life for himself. My parents met in a restaurant and married in Los Angeles where my brothers and I were born. My parents owned a restaurant In LA, and later opened an Italian food distribution business. They got out of that business once they fell in love with San Diego. They moved us 4 boys down in the early 70’s and opened a restaurant called Ross’ Pizza and Deli. The family restaurants where a hit and customers loved my parents. My Dad ended up retiring. My brothers and Mom continued to work hard and run the businesses until she decided to retire. Unfortunately, I was too young to take over the family business. I was devastated. I so wanted my own opportunity in carrying the family business. So, I grew up in this business. My first 18 years were spent at the restaurant I stocked, grated cheese, and helped make pizza. The smells, and food of the business is in my blood, and I found it to be wonderfully intoxicating. I ended up working in the “Corporate world” for over 25 years. I successfully held positions working in various leadership roles in operations, executive management, most recently Process

When my Dad passed in the mid 90’s. I made it a weekly ritual to go to visit my Mom. Of course, you can’t go over without her making great Italian food. She always made sure she we ate. Pretty soon my brothers would join me, then friends. We’d gather and squeeze in around this little table in my mom’s kitchen. Three years ago. when I finally decided, I was going to finally create my dream of opening a restaurant. I had been agonizing and struggling to come up with the right name for the restaurant. So, one night – as we sat around my mom’s little kitchen table and some friends came over to eat. It hit me – they our coming to “our table” – so, “Tavola Nostra” in Italian was born. It fit perfect! I hope everyone can feel it when they come in.

Jeff Oliveri

Improvement, and Quality Management. However, some things were always a constant; my Mom, brothers, and I continually making delicious Italian foods, and my passion/dream to open a restaurant. I still wanted to bring back the family recipes that customers were so delighted to eat. Every week, we gather at Mom and Dad’s house to have dinner. Even after my Dad passed - we still carried on the tradition and continue to do so to this day (until I opened the restaurant) – now we meet here. We even have friends meet at mom’s because everyone knows where we are at every week. where did the inspiration for the restaurant come from? Some things were always constant in my life - great Italian food. When I was kid – my parents, aunts and uncles always cooked up different Italian dishes. In my travels for work, I ate at different restaurants… took notes basically- I was doing over 30 years of due diligence. However, simple but delicious Italian is really hard to find. One thing always stayed with me… The dream of opening my own restaurant. I also wanted to bring my family recipes back to life

The name translates to “our table”, what does it mean to open in the heart of Hillcrest. Well, I was about to sign a lease in another part of the county. However, when I had the opportunity to be in Hillcrest. I jumped at it, and especially here at “The Hub.” Just as I thought, I have absolutely fallen in love with Hillcrest, and the community. I cannot think of Tavola Nostra being anywhere else. It’s what “our table” is about. Everyone has been welcoming to family and I. So, being in Hillcrest means so much to me/us. we hear the recipes were handed down from your family, specifically from your mom, tell us what it means to offer dishes with such family history? First, it is an honor to make and share those dishes with everyone. It’s what I knew grew up knowing. If you come try us.. you will realize we use fresh, quality ingredients. We can’t have it any other way. It’s also crazy to think some date back over 100 years. I had to literally dustoff recipes from a little book my mom kept. How has it been opening up during covid-19? what challenges have you faced? Well, reminds of that comedic Airplane movie scene. “I picked the wrong time” to open a restaurant. In all

(courtesy images)

seriousness, I think about how everyone is being affected by Covid19. So, I am humble and want to be at least a place where everyone feels little comfort. But to answer your questions. The challenge is trying to forecast business, our staff etc. The ripple of effect of opening, and shutting down is brutal each time it happens. This last time we had to furlough most of our team in order to have something for them to come back to. The good news is we are slowly bringing everyone back. you have an excellent spot in “The Hub” on university ave with outdoor seating. what do you strive for when giving guests the best dining experience? We made some drastic changes to the inside, and for the outside because I want everyone to experience that they are stepping into our home. We surround the patio with heaters to make it feel warm and cozy. Once the inside opens back up – our customers can sit around the Pizza Bar and watch the action! which dishes are a “must try?” choose three! That’s so difficult. I believe all of it is a must try. But to answer your question. Anything Pizza or Pinsa Romana. The Pizza dough and Pizza sauce are family recipes. The Pinsa might be familiar for some. I spent time in Rome, Italy learning from masters on how to make this highly hydrated (80%). and digestible crust. It has 85% less fat and 48% less sugar than the normal chain pizza. Pasta al Pesto – We make the Pesto in house and its family recipe. Our Arancina - It’s a Sicilian delicacy, and childhood favorite of mine.

Tavola Nostra

1040 University Ave B101, SD, CA 92103 tavolanostrapizzeria.com

COUrT News


66-yEar-oLD SuSpEcT hELD To aNSWEr iN 1983 Gay hoMiciDE “can dna Survive For 38 yearS?”

MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8

James Boget (courtesy images)

By Neal putnam


judge ordered a 66-year-old man Feb. 24 to stand trial for murder of a gay man in 1983 in yet another cold case homicide that prosecutors say was solved by DNA evidence. After hearing testimony for three days concerning the death of William Mambro, El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson said there was “sufficient evidence” in the preliminary hearing to hold James Mitchell Boget for murder. Witnesses testified they saw Mambro, 43, leave an El Cajon bar with Boget on Dec. 24, 1983, and they never saw him alive again. Boget was 28 years old at the time. One witness told Thompson she was surprised to see Boget return to the same bar many hours later wearing a blue shirt as he wore a white shirt earlier. She said she noticed the shirt change because Boget had stored his clothing and belongings at her residence as he was homeless but didn’t have a key to her apartment. Mambro died from “probable strangulation” along with two knife wounds to his chest and abdomen which injured his liver, said Dr. Steven Campman, who read from the 1983 autopsy report prepared by a pathologist who is now deceased. Mambro’s nude body was found on his bedroom floor and covered up with all his bedding on top. He also had a penis abrasion and defensive wounds to his hands that suggested he tried to fight back, said Campman. The testimony of Mambro’s sister, Marie Tipple, who is now 87 years old, was videotaped because of her age.

She said she went through a window at her brother’s apartment in the 9300 block of Loren Drive in La Mesa because he didn’t answer the phone and his door was locked. She found her brother’s body underneath the bedding on Dec. 28, 1983. She said she was aware her brother was gay and was glad his accused killer was caught, said Deputy District Attorney Brian Erickson. La Mesa detective Ryan Gremillion testified Mambro’s sister noticed her brother’s clothing was pulled from his closet and piled onto the bed before she found his body on the floor in his ransacked apartment. Mambro collected buffalo head nickels and two such coins from 1936 and 1937 were found in Boget’s possession when he was arrested on weapons charges several days after the murder, said Gremillion. Also, in Boget’s possession was an Asian coin which Mambro also collected and they were photographed at the jail. It was Gremillion who reviewed the cold case and asked for re-testing of cigarette butts and other items for DNA that was found at Mambro’s residence. A criminalist who is a DNA expert, Byron Sonnenberg, testified two Marlboro cigarette butts found at the scene matched the DNA profile of Boget, who also smoked Marlboro at the time. “Can DNA survive for 38 years?” asked Erickson. “Yes, if stored correctly. That DNA can last for a long time,” said Sonnenberg. Sonnenberg said cigarette butts are a good object

to hold DNA because the cigarette is “in contact with the mouth which is good for saliva.” He said cigarette butts “manage to dry out quickly.” They were frozen and preserved along with other evidence. Sonnenberg said he tested a broken ashtray that split into six pieces, but there was no recoverable DNA on it. Mambro had head lacerations from being struck with an apparent object. Boget’s DNA was taken again in San Antonio, Texas when he was detained Nov. 17, 2019, and it matched the DNA on the cigarette butts, said Sonnenberg. His profile was in the system due to another crime. Gremillion testified witnesses at the bar said Mambro touched Boget, which agitated him. He described Boget “as the last person known to be alive with Mr. Mambro.” Gremillion said he showed a picture of Mambro to Boget in Texas, but Boget said he “did not know him, never met him.” The detective showed a picture of the crime scene to Boget, but Boget said he “had never been there.” A retired La Mesa police officer, Arthur Haber, testified he was concerned the case would go unsolved. “We were not collecting DNA in 1983,” said Haber. Boget’s attorney, Madeleine Garber, asked Thompson unsuccessfully to dismiss the case at the end of the hearing. Boget has pleaded not guilty. A trial date will be selected on March 17. Boget remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $2 million bail.


QuEEN charLoTTE froM paGE 13



MARCH 2021 voluMe 2 issue 8


Profile for Lgbtqsdnews

LGBTQ San Diego County News Volume 2 Issue 8 March 2021  

We kick off March with a spotlight on the Tracie Jada O'Brien Transgender Student Scholarship and we get more information about the future o...

LGBTQ San Diego County News Volume 2 Issue 8 March 2021  

We kick off March with a spotlight on the Tracie Jada O'Brien Transgender Student Scholarship and we get more information about the future o...

Profile for sdcnn0