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HOMOPHOBES ATTACK CADBURY’S NEW AD FEATURING GAY MEN
• The ad being offensive to those who share Christian beliefs in regards to Easter • It’s “inappropriate” for children to see two men kissing • It breaks current public health guidelines as the men are in close contact Meanwhile a Subway billboard advert that was released Jan. 11 features a heterosexual couple kissing and received no complaints so far. “I can confirm that [the ASA] has not received any complaints about this ad,” said the spokesperson, as reported by MSN. A spokesperson for Cadbury, refusing to give into the criticism, released a statement of their own: “Cadbury has always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns.
• 2 . 4 . 2021
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Image captured via Cadbury, YouTube.
We are proud of our Golden Goobilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg. To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real-life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert.” Callum Sterling, one of the men that was sharing the egg with his boyfriend, Dale K. Moran, responded to the backlash on Instagram. Sterling shared a video of a Maybelline lipstick ad, which showed Lynda Carter in a swimming pool saying sexually suggestive phrases. “So it’s ok when an advert sexualises a woman, a caucasian woman, THIRTY SEVEN years ago even, to benefit the male gaze and make other women feel inadequate if they do not live up to this beauty standard,” he wrote. “But it’s not okay, in 2021, to have an advert of a multi racial (stike one) gay couple (strike two) on your screens for 10 seconds (strike three) eating/
THE AD DIDN’T ONLY RECEIVE COMPLAINTS THOUGH. USERS ON TWITTER HAVE EXPRESSED THEIR PRAISE FOR ITS INCLUSIVITY.
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o celebrate five decades of selling candy, Cadbury released an advertisement of their newest Creme Egg Golden Goobilee. What seemed like a harmless ad received numerous complaints from right wing Christians for featuring two gay men sharing a chocolate egg. The commercial was first shown on Jan. 4, and received 40 official complaints, according to MSN. A spokesperson for Advertising Standards Authority told MSN that some of the complaints included:
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kissing/sexualised (strike four). Does anyone see how ridiculous this is?” Sterling says he’s proud that he and his boyfriend are becoming “the faces of this moment,” and that the love they have received “totally outweighs the fear based negative comments.” He adds, “The only way for people to get used to it is to normalise it, and how else to normalise than by seeing it on your screens.” The ad didn’t only receive complaints though. Users on Twitter have expressed their praise for its inclusivity. Scott Bryan, a TV critic and broadcaster, wrote: “The latest Cadbury’s Creme Egg advert features a same sex couple kissing with a Creme Egg. To anyone ‘offended’ by this: you realise that we’ve seen straight couples make out thousands of times on television already and we don’t complain. Wonder why you are?” Another user wrote, “Great advert @CadburyUK! Always fantastic to see some inclusivity on TV. The ‘outrage’ proves we need more of this. I am not sharing my #CremeEgg though!”
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2 . 4 . 20 21 â&#x20AC;¢
BY AVRAHAM FORREST
THE WORLD AROUND
HOMOPHOBIC LEADERS IN UGANDA VOTED OUT
CHINESE OFFICIALS PUSH FOR MASCULINITY AMONG MALE YOUTHS
In Uganda, the former Minister of Ethics and Integrity as well as the former mayor of Nsangi Town Council, each known for their homophobia, lost in the country’s Jan. 14 election, Erasing 76 Crimes reported. Rev. Simon Lokodo, the former minister, has led campaigns against homosexuals for years, Erasing 76 Crimes reported. Lokodo pushed to reinstate Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2019. Hajji Abdul Kiyimba, the former mayor, has been charged for torturing and degrading LGBT youths, Erasing 76 Crimes reported. Kiyimba was the driving force behind a raid of a homeless shelter resulting in 23 arrests in March. The youths were imprisoned for 50 days without trial, Erasing 76 crimes
Rev. Simon Lokodo was especially notorious. Photo via Twitter.
reported. The director of public prosecutions later withdrew the charges and the youths were released.
Chinese education officials are working to make young men in China more masculine, The South China Morning Post reported. China’s Ministry of Education announced Jan. 28 it will require local governments and schools to add more gym teachers and enhance teaching to “cultivate masculinity,” the SCMP reported. Gender and sexuality experts emphasize the damage the efforts could have on youths’ health and development, such as increased instances of domestic violence, the SCMP reported. Top political adviser Si Zefu said women in Chinese families and female teachers spoil young men and are responsible for their “feminisation,” the SCMP reported.
Photo via PxHere.
Multiple comments on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, said the action is offensive and promotes the use of “female” and “feminine” as derogatory terms.
BRAZILIAN LAWMAKER LOBBIES JOBS FOR TRANSGENDER EMPLOYEES
GAY COUPLE FLOGGED IN INDONESIA
A Brazilian lawmaker drafted a law on Jan. 29 requiring 3% of jobs at private firms in the country to be reserved for transgender employees, Reuters reported. The bill would also require firms to respect transgender peoples’ chosen names, clothing preferences and bathroom choice, Reuters reported. All private firms who receive state aid or contracts and have more than 100 staff members would be included in the law, Reuters reported. Congressman Alexandre Padilha plans to present the bill to Brazil’s Congress this week, though analysts said the initiative likely will not be approved, Reuters reported. Padilha worked on the legislation with the Brazilian Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transvestites,
EXPLORING LGBT NEWS EVENTS ACROSS THE GLOBE
• 2 . 4 . 2021
Alexandre Padilha. Photo via the Câmara dos Deputados.
Transsexuals and Intersex people, Reuters reported. The law is similar to one passed in Argentina that reserved 1% of public sector jobs for the transgender community, Reuters reported.
Two gay men were flogged 77 times each by authorities in the Aceh province of Indonesia on Jan. 28, the Human Rights Watch reported. They were punished for alleged homosexual relations. International law views this punishment as torture, but Sharia (Islamic law) allows such action, the HRW reported. In November, a crowd broke into the couple’s apartment and brought the men to police, the HRW reported. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia enforcing Islamic law, AsiaNews. it reported. The local criminal code considers homosexual practices acts of sodomy. Aceh’s criminal code criminalizes both male and female same-sex relations, the HRW reported. The province’s parliament
Photo via PxHere.
also adopted ordinances criminalizing non-hijab-wearing women, alcohol, gambling and extramarital sex. In a similar punishment in 2017, two young men each received 85 lashes after being convicted for alleged same-sex relations, the HRW reported.
2 . 4 . 20 21 â&#x20AC;¢
BY ELLIOT RODRIGUEZ
GAY VINE THE
KEEP UP WITH THE CELEBRITIES IN OUR COMMUNITY
SOPHIE FANS USHER OUT TRIBUTES FOR THE TRANS ICON
‘THE WALKING DEAD’ SHUTS DOWN HATERS FOR THEIR GAY STORYLINE “The Walking Dead’s” new spinoff, “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” hasn’t sat too well with homophobes. This spinoff follows security guard Felix Carlucci (Nico Tortorella) and his boyfriend Will Campbell, (Jelani Alladin) through the trials and tribulations of surviving a zombie apocalypse. In response to the homophobic backlash, “The Walking Dead” team took to Twitter and posted, “Hi, hello. If LGBTQ+ characters on television [or anywhere] make you uncomfortable or angry, please unfollow us. While we also encourage you to look within and be more accepting, know that there is no place in our fandom for hateful discrimination or willful ignorance. Thank you.” This didn’t stop the internet trolls
Jelani Alladin & Nico Tortorella. Credit: AMC.
however, one Twitter user wrote back, “Series was worth watching while the story was the most important aspect of it ... now is identity politics and belittling fans, no wonder viewership is low, keep using the same formula and go broke.”
Transgender pop icon SOPHIE passed away Jan. 30 in Athens, Greece. A statement was released by SOPHIE’s representatives who confirmed with mixmag.net that the Scottish musician had indeed passed away. “It is with profound sadness that I have to inform you that musician and producer SOPHIE passed away this morning around 4 a.m. in Athens, where the artist had been living, following a sudden accident,” SOPHIE’s team told mixmag.net. SOPHIE’s experimental sound of voice modulation and groundbreaking pop production will forever be in the hearts of her fans. “SOPHIE was a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade. Not only for ingenious
SOPHIE. Photo via Facebook.
production and creativity but also for the message and visibility that was achieved. An icon of liberation,” mixmag.net reported. SOPHIE came out as a trans woman in 2017.
GAGA FOR GAGA
AUSTRALIANS CAN’T STOP BUMPING LADY GAGA’S ‘CHROMATICA’ Ever since Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album release, “Chromatica,” back in May, everyone was forced to listen to the pop star’s new album in the comfort of their own room. Nine months later and everything is pretty much the same in the states, but over in Australia, people are turning in their pajama pants for something a little more snazzy for the club. In a recent Twitter post, Gaga, who identifies as bisexual, said, “GOODBYE COVID HELLO DANCING happy for Australia! Praying for the rest of the world
• 2 . 4 . 2021
that we all can be dancing together soon.” According to a tweet on an article by Pride.com, Australia has managed to stay “COVID free,” meaning many “monsters” living in Australia are making their way from their living room floor to the dance floor. Pride.com noted that, “A video of clubgoers dancing to Gaga’s ‘Replay’ has gone viral after Mother Monster shared it on Twitter.” People outside of Australia commented, “This hurts.” “I can’t wait to dance to it at a party,” said another.
“Imagining people in my mind [is] getting hard,” Pride.com shared. However, this Twitter user may have jumped the gun. While the Western Pacific part of the world has the lowest COVID-19 cases, according to covid19.who.int, the total number of cases is 1,420,027. With 28,811 total cases in Australia alone according to News.google. com, it seems as if COVID-19 hasn’t officially left the building yet. Although everyone is wanting COVID-19 to leave its overstayed welcome, it’s still best to take precautions.
Lady Gaga. Photo via Facebook.
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BY KENDALL LITTLE
IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE G Lesbian | Transgender
TRANS LESBIAN CLAPS BACK AT HATERS WITH VIRAL TWITTER VIDEO As a trans lesbian, Eva has gotten used to transphobic comments. She stated in a video on Twitter that the one that sticks out most to her is “Wearing a dress doesn’t make you a woman.” In response to this claim, Eva acts confused and changes her outfit multiple times to wear everything but a dress. She sports tank tops, sweaters, jeans, suit jackets, and even a bra under a blazer. She wears a dress once in the video and says, “OK well this one’s kinda cute.” Her video shows people that you don’t have to wear a dress to be a woman. You can be a woman and dress any way that you please. Eva’s point: gender identity is not limited with clothing.
• 2 . 4 . 2021
Eva. Screenshots via @ayyy_vuh, Twitter.
... HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING IN THE LGBTQIA COMMUNITY
BISEXUAL ENTERTAINER TALKS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IN NEW BOOK
Former Buzzfeed employee Kelsey Darragh has released a book titled “Don’t F*cking Panic,” which discusses alcoholism, mental illness, and how to empower yourself. “The purpose of it being a workbook is to empower the reader to know that they are the person that can, quote-unquote, fix themselves. And, spoiler alert, the book teaches you that it’s not about fixing anything,” Darragh said. Darragh recently celebrated being one year sober and touches upon her experiences in her book. She also suffers from a rare nerve condition called trigeminal neuralgia, which she plans on writing about in her next book. Though she never saw herself becoming
Kelsey Darragh. Photo via Facebook.
an author, Darragh says that she loves it and is looking forward to publishing her next book.
QUEER TEACHER WAS THE ARTIST BEHIND BERNIE SANDERS’ ICONIC MITTENS
Bernie Sanders was spotted at President Biden’s inauguration sporting brown and white knit mittens. A photo of Sanders sitting in a folding chair with his arms crossed quickly became a popular meme. What the internet didn’t know was that queer schoolteacher Jen Ellis made the mittens herself. The mittens are completely eco-friendly as they are made out of discarded wool sweaters, fleece made of recycled plastic bottles, and thrifted thread. Ellis reflected on her initial thoughts of seeing her mittens on Sanders in an interview for Slate. “As soon as I walked in the door, my partner was like, ‘You’re not going to believe this.’ We don’t watch TV — we’re intentionally a non-TV family — but we had taken the TV out of the closet so that our daughter could watch the inauguration,” she said. As she peered closer at Sanders, she noticed the familiar mittens.
and Jen Ellis. Photo courtesy of Jen Ellis.
“The camera zoomed right in on him and I was like, ‘There he is, he’s wearing my mittens.’ I was completely surprised, delighted and flattered,” Ellis said.
2 . 4 . 20 21 •
IN FIRST FOR LGBT HISTORY, BUTTIGIEG CONFIRMED AS
CABINET-LEVEL APPOINTEE Chris Johnson
ete Buttigieg was approved by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as transportation secretary with bipartisan support, marking the first time ever an openly gay person was confirmed to a Cabinet-level position and a long-overdue achievement for the LGBT community. The vote to confirm Buttigieg, the former South Bend mayor who was nominated by President Biden after making waves in the 2020 Democratic primary as an openly gay candidate, was 86-13. The Democratic caucus was united in support of Buttigieg. Among the Republicans joining them was Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The 13 Republicans voting “no” were Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Many of them are likely 2024 Republican presidential contenders. With that vote, Buttigieg and his spouse, Chasten Buttigieg, will afterlives in the Midwest officially become Washington insiders in a script that could be a play on American filmography and be titled, “Mr. Buttigieg Comes to Washington.” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on a Senate floor prior to the confirmation vote Buttigieg is an “outstanding nominee” who has “demonstrated an impressive familiarity with our nation’s entire transportation challenges,” including the proposed gateway tunnel from New Jersey to New York City. “I know that Mr. Buttigieg is committed to working with members from both sides to improve rail and transit, highways and more in rural communities, urban centers and everywhere in between,” Schumer said. “I’m Pete Buttigieg, left, stands with his husband Chasten Buttigieg. Photo via Pete Buttigieg, Facebook.
• 2 . 4.2021
excited to call him ‘Secretary Pete’ by the end of the day.” The bipartisan vote reflects the confirmation hearing for Buttigieg, when he enjoyed a relatively breezy reception by lawmakers from both parties on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation (with the exception of hostile questions from Cruz). Buttigieg, during his testimony before the committee, said renewing America’s infrastructure would be key to his approach as transportation secretary in the Biden administration. Buttigieg also said any renewal of the transportation system would be sensitive to racial equity, which is consistent with President Biden’s campaign pledge to tackle systemic racism. Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement Buttigieg “shattered a centuries-old political barrier” by winning Senate confirmation to a Cabinetlevel role as an openly gay person with bipartisan support. “While his confirmation is historic, Pete is focused on the difficult task ahead,” Parker said. “America is in desperate need of a revitalized transportation effort and his two terms as mayor provide the experience and perspective needed to propose bold solutions. America is fortunate to have Pete as their secretary of transportation.” Buttigieg obtains the historic designation amid a dispute over whether or not he should be considered the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet role. During the Trump administration, Richard Grenell served as acting director of national intelligence, a Cabinet-level role. Grenell, however, never sought or obtained Senate confirmation for
NEWS NATIONAL the position, although was confirmed for his “enthusiastically” supports Buttigieg because concurrent position as U.S. ambassador to he’s up to facing the nation’s transportation Germany. challenges. James Hormel, who became the first openly “I look forward to the type of focus that he gay ambassador in U.S. history in 1999 after can give to the Department of Transportation,” former President Clinton designated him in Cantwell added. “This area of our government, a recess appointment as U.S. ambassador to right now, needs to address the COVID crisis, it Luxembourg, said Buttigieg can rightfully claim needs to help us plan for a better transportation the title of first openly gay Cabinet official system of the future and it needs to understand because of the “acting” nature of Grenell’s role, that this transportation infrastructure and although the Trump White House had insisted investment in these changes in these sectors the distinction belongs to Grenell. of cars and planes and passenger systems Undisputedly, however, Buttigieg is the are all changing industries, and so our first openly gay person to obtain Senate competitiveness will be at stake as well.” confirmation specifically for a Cabinet-level Another Biden nominee, Rachel Levine, position. may soon achieve another first for the LGBT To be sure, other openly gay people have community upon confirmation as assistant obtained Senate confirmation, just not for secretary of health and become the first Cabinet-level roles. The first was Roberta openly transgender person to obtain Senate Achtenberg, who was confirmed in 1993 as confirmation. assistant secretary for the Department of Alphonso David, president of the Human Housing & Urban Development. Rights Campaign, congratulated Buttigieg for The long list includes presidential appointees, his “historic confirmation” in a statement. ambassadors and judicial nominations, many “This confirmation breaks through a of them for senior positions just shy of Cabinet- barrier that has existed for too long; where level roles. Among them is LGBTQ identity served as an Fred Hochberg; who served impediment to nomination or in the Obama years as head of confirmation at the highest level the Export-Import Bank; Eric of government,” David said. “Let Fanning, confirmed as Army this important moment for our secretary after a long battle movement serve as a reminder in the Senate in 2016; and to every LGBTQ young person: Patrick Bumatay, appointed you too can serve your country by former President Trump to in any capacity you earn the the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of qualifications to hold.” Appeals and now the highestDavid also credited President ranking federal judge. Biden for achieving the In many ways, Buttigieg’s historic first for the LGBT confirmation as an openly community, saying Buttigieg’s gay person to a Cabinet-level confirmation follows through on - Ruben Gonzales position is a long-overdue a commitment to diversity. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LGBTQ VICTORY INSTITUTE vote buttoning up the progress “President Biden promised and historic confirmations to deliver an administration the LGBT community has representative of the diversity achieved in years past. of this nation, and this confirmation is a Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), was among significant achievement toward that goal,” the senators who took to the Senate floor in David said. support of Buttigieg and gave a shout-out to Ruben Gonzales, executive director of Chasten Buttigieg. LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement “As a Midwesterner, and as a husband Buttigieg’s confirmation is a “testament” to to a Michigan who was born and raised in both Biden’s commitment to inclusively and Traverse City, Secretary-designate Buttigieg the American people’s “willingness to judge a fully recognizes the need to protect the Great leader by their qualifications, not their sexual Lakes,” Peters said. “I agree with Mayor Pete’s orientation.” belief that he says, ‘Good transportation policy “Each new political barrier broken inspires can play no less a role than making possible the more LGBTQ people to consider careers American Dream.’” in public service, a virtuous cycle we will Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) also praised accelerate until the equitable representation is Buttigieg on the Senate floor and said she achieved,” Gonzales added.
“EACH NEW POLITICAL BARRIER BROKEN INSPIRES MORE LGBTQ PEOPLE TO CONSIDER CAREERS IN PUBLIC SERVICE.”
Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
2 . 4 . 20 21 •
From your life... into our pages! SFGN takes a special look at a community that has stood together through countless trials and victories in the past year alone.
â&#x20AC;˘ 2 . 4.2021
WEEK Photos by J.R. Davis
Storks Owner Peter Dekaj with his son Ethan and Lisa Kunz.
Cabanas business partners Bill Barnish and John Dorry.
Partners Peter Morales and Joel Stedman, owners of Twist Miami Beach, enjoy a getaway on the Drive.
Julie Carson, former Wilton Manors City Commissioner, holding the award granted to her by the current city commission in honor of her many years of dedication to the city.
SOUTHERN SENATORS VOTE NAY ON MAYOR PETE
RUBIO’S OFFICE DID NOT RELEASE A STATEMENT ON THE VOTE, WHILE SCOTT WRAPPED HIS DISSENT AROUND BUTTIGIEG’S OPENNESS TO CONSIDER RAISING THE GAS TAX.
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John McDonald hirteen Republican Senators voted nay on the nomination of Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 86-13 Tuesday, becoming the first ever openly gay person confirmed to a Cabinet-level position. The tiny opposition was primarily composed of southern GOP Senators, including Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida. Rubio’s office did not release a statement on the vote, while Scott wrapped his dissent around Buttigieg’s openness to consider raising the gas tax. The others were Alabama Sens. Tommy Tuberville and Richard Shelby, Tennessee Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley. Blackburn said her no vote was due to Buttigieg’s signals of support for environmental policies. “The needs of our counties and cities should be prioritized over the environmental wishes of the Biden administration,” tweeted Blackburn. Hawley has voted against every Biden Cabinet nomination. Meanwhile, some have contested Buttigieg’s claim to being the first out gay man to serve in a Cabinet-level position.
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U.S. Senator Rick Scott of Florida. Photo via Facebook.
Richard Grenell served as acting director of National Intelligence and ambassador to Germany in the Trump administration. Grenell, however, never sought nor was confirmed for his DNI role. Grenell tweeted congratulations to Buttigeg on “becoming the second openly gay member of a President’s Cabinet.” Grenell is also calling for Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki to “apologize to the gay community” for demeaning language. In August of last year Psaki referred to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as “LadyG” in a tweet about Graham’s questioning of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Graham was one of 36 Republican Senators who voted yea on Buttigieg’s confirmation to lead the DOT.
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2 . 4 . 20 21 •
UP FOR AUCTION No happy ending for consignment customers, who are about to lose their belongings forever Jason Parsley
ultiple customers of a local consignment shop are frustrated, angry and dismayed that their items will be auctioned off Thursday, Feb. 11.
“They don’t care that the merchandise “This is a bad situation for everyone is stolen,” said one of the victims, Noreen involved, not only did he take advantage of the Boeckel. people in your story, but also us, by not paying The owner of the unit Johnny “JT” Lee his rent for the space he has been renting all Thompson abandoned it and according to his this time,” James Wofford, a district manager former employee, has since moved back to overseeing Lighthouse, wrote to SFGN in an West Virginia. email. Six months ago SFGN published an exposé Victoria, who declined to give her last detailing a laundry list of complaints from name, worked for Thompson for a year. She consignors against Thompson. They accused referred to some of the customers as being “off him of not paying them for items he’s sold, the rails” who attempted to use Thompson’s writing bad checks, and of shoddy record- store, the now closed Peculiar Pelican, as a keeping. Since the article was published more storage facility. victims have contacted SFGN “The people were not being to share their stories. honest either. Some of those Boeckel said Thompson people were disingenuous,” owes her thousands for the she said of some of the previous merchandise she consigned accusers SFGN interviewed. with him, which included But Victoria also admitted she several expensive fur coats. Bill had no idea what was said or Gordon said Thompson owes done when she wasn’t around. him at least $1,700. She called Thompson’s Now these folks are business practices “too casual,” dismayed that they’ll never get “sloppy,” and said “he should their items back. Many have have been more professional.” filed police reports but were She also added: “All of this told it’s a civil matter and have could have been avoided if refused to investigate. A few he stayed in contact with the of them believe some of their consignors. He would block - Bill Gordon goods are in the storage unit calls and avoid people. He FORMER CUSTOMER at Lighthouse. According to ignored them. This is what one of the victims Thompson caused so much animosity. I’ve rented two units — one of which was already been blocked by him by some time now.” auctioned off in December. Victoria, who is almost 70 years old, was The auctioneer for the upcoming event only at the store because she loved working. Jerry Mahaffey of SeeYouAtTheAuction. In fact, she’s a victim as well — Thompson com declined to comment and referred owes her thousands of dollars in back pay. all questions to Lighthouse. According Despite that she defended him — to a to the auctioneer’s website the auction is degree. scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 “[Working there] gave me a purpose. I was at Lighthouse Storage in Oakland Park, 1121 E more loyal to the business than to him,” she Commercial Blvd. said. “It’s a sad thing what he’s done to people.
“HE SAID TO ME ‘YOU DON’T NEED A CONTRACT. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY, I’LL TAKE YOUR STUFF.’”
• 2 . 4.2021
The front entrance of the now closed Peculiar Pelican. Photo via Real Living.
Some people had legitimate grievances.” As for her back pay: “I felt he should take care of his consignors first, which I assumed he had been doing. After everything had fallen apart, and the store had closed, I started hearing things about what happened and that people were angry.” She said Thompson and the consignors too often relied on verbal agreements instead of getting the details in writing. As for the bad checks, she said she recalls Thompson telling customers to wait before cashing the checks. But oftentimes they didn’t listen, and the checks would bounce. Donna Nunes is one of those consignors SFGN previously interviewed, who received a check and was told to wait. She did. Eventually, since Thompson never gave her permission to cash the check, she took it to her bank, where she was informed there were insufficient funds to cover the $407. When SFGN interviewed Thompson last year he defended himself blaming much of his woes on the pandemic. But the check to
Nunes was dated September 30, 2019 — six months before Broward County would shut down businesses because of the crisis. As for the contracts Gordon told a different story. “I had contact with him every couple of weeks. I offered to take anything back he couldn’t sell,” he said. “He said to me ‘you don’t need a contract. You don’t have to worry, I’ll take your stuff. As long as you keep stopping in and showing interest.’” When Gordon first started consigning his goods with Thompson he did get paid $400. “He never itemized anything,” he said. “I have no idea what that check represented.” He never received another check — just excuses after that. He said Thompson gave him a “song and dance” about his bank account being hacked and his funds were “frozen.” Gordon, like the other victims, doesn’t feel there is anything that can be done at this point. “We are all just so pissed off,” he said.
To read the original report on the Peculiar Pelican, visit SFGN.com/consignmentscam.
NATIONAL BLACK HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY IS FEB. 7 COVID plus HIV is a deadly combination for Black Americans Denise Royal
ational Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed every year on Feb. 7 to increase awareness, spark conversations, and highlight the work done to reduce HIV in Black communities. It is also an opportunity to show support for Black people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2021, it’s also an excellent day to make a plan to get vaccinated for COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black Americans make up a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. Only 13% of the U.S. population is Black, but Blacks represent 42% of the country’s new HIV diagnoses. For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic is only making things worse. “Unfortunately, Black people die of AIDS every day in the state of Florida,” Dr. Hansel Tookes said in an interview. “In 2021, people forget this fact, but I can tell you that COVID has only worsened the HIV epidemic. Black people are also at higher risk of death from COVID.” Dr. Tookes is a University of Miami physician and professor who founded the IDEA Exchange five years ago. It’s Florida’s first needle exchange program and clinic, designed to help lower the state’s high rates of HIV transmission. “We [the Black community] are the underappreciated front-line workers in so many cases — the grocery store clerks, the environmental health staff in hospitals,” Dr. Tookes said. “We never had the luxury to stay home and
“WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT WE DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND LIKE WE HAVE BEEN IN THE ADVANCEMENTS MADE IN THE HIV EPIDEMIC.” - Dr. Hansel Tookes
FOUNDER OF THE IDEA EXCHANGE
Dr. Hansel Tookes. Photo via Twitter.
quarantine and have everything brought to us while the world figured out how to best fight this pandemic. And many in our community died. What is most important is that we don’t get left behind like we have been in the advancements made in the HIV epidemic. And that will begin with getting vaccinated against COVID.” COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll in severe sickness and death on Black people in the U.S, where the scourge has killed over 430,000 Americans. According to the CDC, Black, Hispanic, and Native American people are dying from COVID-19 at almost three times the rate of white people. “Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the largest cohort study of which I am aware was published in Lancet HIV in December,” Dr. Tookes said. “It showed that not only are people living with HIV at higher risk of death from COVID, but Black people living with HIV are also at even increased risk compared to non-Black people living with HIV. The study was done in the National Health Service of England, which is quite comprehensive. Health disparities are not a uniquely American phenomenon. We must acknowledge them, then take action to right the healthcare injustices. This will begin with targeted vaccination efforts. Please, when you are eligible, take the vaccine — whatever vaccine is offered.” Both viruses also demonstrate the importance of knowing your status. CDC data indicate that one in seven Black people who have HIV don’t know they are infected.
You can visit knowyourhivstatus.com/get-tested/ to find HIV testing locations in South Florida. For information on COVID testing sites near you, visit www.floridadisaster.org/covid19/testing-sites.
2 . 4 . 20 21 •
G R E E N D AY ! f a m o u s t r av e l w r i t e r g o e s on air to support cannabis
Rick Steves, the internationally-known travel writer, author, television personality, and activist, will discuss his beliefs on civil liberties and support of cannabis legalization on the Norm Kent Show next Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern.
FORT LAUDERDALE VICE MAYOR DEFENDS CAPITOL RIOT RESOLUTION John McDonald
Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Steve Glassman. Photo courtesy of Steve Glassman.
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ort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Steve Glassman responded to criticism of his tone from the Republican Party of Broward County. Tom Powers, Chairman of the Republican Party of Broward County, criticized Glassman’s tone in crafting a resolution concerning the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. “Don’t ostracize all Republicans and call it ‘unity,’” wrote Powers in a letter to the Sun Sentinel. Glassman’s choice of words in the resolution’s first draft, Powers wrote, would jeopardize the local economy and alienate millions of voters. Not so, said Glassman. In a letter published Jan. 28 by the Sun Sentinel, Glassman said the resolution was important to condemn the attack which took the lives of five people. “As I stated in my resolution, healing can only occur when there are accountability and truth,” Glassman wrote. “And the truth is, this was an attempt to overthrow our government, rip apart our democracy and kill elected officials.” The resolution was unanimously approved by the Fort Lauderdale Commission at its Jan. 21 meeting. Mayor Dean Trantalis said Glassman’s original version was offensive and asked for more aspirational language in an effort to preserve dignity for the democratic process. “We as a governing body of the City of Fort
Lauderdale need to find ways to bring people together,” Trantalis said. Trantalis acknowledged, “There are a lot of people in our city that support the former president.” Trantalis’ management of the issue drew praise from Powers, the Republican leader. “Thank you Mayor Trantalis and Commissioner Moraitis for being the adults in the room and governing on behalf of all of your constituents,” Powers wrote. Glassman, meanwhile, had some advice for Powers. “I suggest he reevaluate his role, stay out of municipal business and try saying the words, ‘The election was not stolen,’” Glassman wrote. The Jan. 21 meeting was a contentious one for Glassman, who also tangled with Commissioner Robert McKenzie over the appointment of a medical director for the city’s fire-rescue department. The virtual discussion shifted to mentions of the Stonewall riots and Juneteenth holiday with Glassman accusing McKenzie of believing LGBT people choose their identities. “Do not lecture me Commissioner McKenzie,” Glassman shouted before Trantalis intervened. McKenzie denied the accusation, but did admit he told the mayor not to compare the two historical events.
2 . 4 . 20 21 â&#x20AC;¢
BILLIE PA L M B E A C H
The Gender-fluid Mainstream Comic Book Character Elliot Rodriguez BILLIE IS AN EX-SOLDIER IN THE POSTAPOCALYPSE SCI-FI WORLD OF 2052. BILLIE ALSO HAPPENS TO BE GENDER FLUID — THE FIRST SUCH CHARACTER IN THE MAINSTREAM COMIC BOOK WORLD.
“I don’t know whether Billie has any male or female body parts,” Davis said. “I didn’t want the reader to identify Billie as either male or female.” “Billie” is currently in its sixth edition of the comic book series. Davis thinks that there should be “as Local director, producer and musician many comic book characters as there are Gary Davis is the creative force behind people.” Not just gender-fluid characters, “Billie.” Davis, 58, was adamant about but characters that represent the whole making a gender-fluid character, which LGBT spectrum. was normalized and not made to be such Fellow artist, Rolando Chang Barrero a big deal. Through his art, Davis said he is a member and activist in the LGBT expresses his feelings and ideas in ways community. “This is what I have been that are better than expressing them advocating for my whole life … for through words. someone to bring this forth in a casual way.” As a member of the LGBT community, it is important to Barerro that news such as someone coming out, or someone identifying as gender-fluid is viewed as normal and not as some big deal. “We need to support the allies as well and understand their situations,” noted Barerro, owner of The Box Gallery in West Palm Beach. He gives his thanks to the allies, people who support the LGBT community, such as Davis. In an effort to normalize things that would be considered “taboo,” Barerro tries to make them normal in his exhibitions. His upcoming one, “PRIVATE AFFAIRS I PUBLIC DISPLAYS,” opens Feb. 12 at The Box Gallery. Gary Davis. Photo via Gary Davis, Facebook. Davis, who lives in The
• 2 . 4.2021
Billie. Image credit: Gary Davis.
Acreage, premiered the sixth edition as Bex Taylor-Klaus, was a huge of “Billie” at The Box Gallery in early inspiration. Davis said he could never December that included animation, figure out if the character was supposed soundtrack and poster signing. Davis to be a boy or a girl, igniting the embers describes himself as a mix between for Billie. The connection between Quincy Jones and George Davis and Billie goes beyond Lucas. THE CONNECTION character and creator however; “I’m more like Quincy BETWEEN DAVIS Jones and George Lucas it connects on a more personal AND BILLIE combined because I built and spiritual level for Davis. GOES BEYOND “I identify as an African my own empire,” Davis said. CHARACTER American male, so Billie’s Creating and making struggle and the African Billie taught Davis a lot. It AND CREATOR American struggle are the taught him more about the HOWEVER; IT community and it showed same because people do not CONNECTS ON A understand what we are going him who was really behind MORE PERSONAL through,” he said. his idea of the character. AND SPIRITUAL He identifies with the LGBT “A lot of people wanted LEVEL FOR DAVIS. community because he can to stop helping with the relate his struggle as an project because of Billie’s character,” Davis said. African American man, to the struggle of Davis got the idea for Billie’s character the LGBT community. “In order to change the world, I got to from the show “House of Lies.” Rebecca Edison Taylor-Klaus, known otherwise act as an example,” Davis said. To see the animation for “Billie,” visit vimeo.com/ondemand/Billie. For the R rated movie, visit vimeo.com/ondemand/BillieX and for the soundtrack and comic book, visit garydavis.bandcamp.com/album/Billie.
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Doug Turner EA, CPB QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor bestbooksandtaxes.com Mark Turnipseed. Photo via Facebook.
MIAMI MODEL PENS COMING-OUT MEMOIR
HELPING LGBT COMMUNITY WITH SUICIDE AND ADDICTION Mark Turnipseed recently joined SFGN as a columnist Press Release
iami Model and gay news columnist, Mark A. Turnipseed is sharing his personal coming-out story in the new LGBT memoir, “My Suicide Race,” a gritty and tragic story that ends with the promise of a new life. Author Mark A. Turnipseed said, “In writing this memoir I relived demons I thought were buried, I battled truths I long fought to deny, I faced fears that didn’t even come up in my worst dreams but I also unearthed the greatest treasure I believe exists. I brought to life a lost and scared child who helped me to find my heart, my soul, my identity, my truth and now it is my gift, to you in hopes that we can build a stronger future with our combined stories of strength and hope.” “My Suicide Race” is available in paperback, e-book, and audio (soon) editions at bookstores nationwide and at www.markaturnipseed.com.
ABOUT THE BOOK In this unflinchingly honest debut memoir, Mark takes us on a harrowing journey as he bounces off the restrictive walls of his closet and plunges into the darkness of drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, and suicide
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attempts. He bravely lets us inside the raw, tragic mind of an addict and sexual trauma survivor whose self-denial threatens to destroy him and everyone who loves him. After surviving numerous relapses, Mark finally finds a surprising key to saving his own life. While training for a triathlon, he embraces a fresh commitment to sober strategies that lead to good health, self-acceptance, and authenticity — offering hope for all who struggle with the shame and self-hatred that fuel addictions. “My Suicide Race” unveils the often-unseen links between addiction, suicidal ideation, and the trauma of coming out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Father of two sons and psychology graduate with 5+ years of mental health experience, Mark A. Turnipseed is a fitness coach and LGBT columnist, an addiction recovery advocate, model and speaker, and is now the author of “My Suicide Race: Winning Over the Trauma of Addiction, Recovery, and Coming Out.”
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT: Email: Mark@markaturnipseed.com Insta: www.instagram.com/markaturnipseed
Facebook: www.facebook.com/markaturnipseed Twitter: www.twitter.com/markaturnipseed 2 . 4 . 20 21 •
FEATURE LGBT & HOMELESS
ON THE STREETS
HOMELESS LGBT YOUTH FACE UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES DURING COVID-19 LGBT YOUTH MAKE UP A DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF THE HOMELESS POPULATION. THEY FACE HIGHER RATES OF SUICIDE, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT. REGINALD COLLINS IS JUST ONE OF A GROWING NUMBER WHO CAME OUT — AT THE COST OF HAVING A HOME. Andrew Fraieli
Photo via Adobe.
• 2 . 4.2021
FEATURE LGBT & HOMELESS
“I locked myself in a public bathroom so I had a place to sleep.” This was the start of becoming homeless for Reginald Collins, 23, who has been homeless “on and off” since 18. Collins, who is Black, is also gender fluid and prefers both feminine and masculine pronouns. “It all started when I was 17. My dad kicked me out because I had a few male friends over,” he said. “It went from being a great experience to police getting involved, and child services. I ended up in foster care.” Collins has stayed at five different shelters as he’s been homeless, not all LGBT-friendly, as well as couchsurfed with what he considered friends at the time. “My father was Southern Baptist, so very anti-LGBT+, very old-school. He grew up in the ‘60s, very different from the generation of today,” he elaborated. Collins has faced racism, mental health struggles, and intolerance to his gender fluidity during his stays at various shelters. And he is not alone. Disproportionately harassed and sexually assaulted; depressed and anxious; suicidal and unhoused; LGBT youth face challenges every day that homelessness exaggerates and the pandemic has exacerbated. Twenty-eight percent of queer youth who experienced housing instability reported a suicide attempt in the last year, according to a 2020 report by the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention among the LGBT community. This jumped to 34 percent for transgender and non-binary homeless youth. But this was the reality before COVID struck. Pre-pandemic, 29 percent of all LGBT youth, generally defined as ages 13 to 24, experienced homelessness — disproportionately representing homeless youth in general, being two-and-a-half times more likely to be homeless than their nonLGBT peers. On an average day, 27 percent of homeless LGBT youth reported exchanging sex for “basic needs,” with 38 percent reporting they had been forced to have sex. On a normal, nonpandemic night, LGBT youth faced violence due to their gender identity or sexuality, and harassment — in school, by their family, and on the streets. These disparaged queer youth heavily depend on LGBT community centers and shelters for finding housing, as well as finding jobs, mental health counseling, food, showering, and social support. But the pandemic has challenged the ability of shelters and community centers to supply
these essential services, and youth’s ability to receive them. Already, the pandemic has directly caused more LGBT youth to become homeless. COVID-19 SENDING MORE LGBT YOUTH TO THE STREET “When the parks closed, and the hotels closed, we saw a drastic increase in homelessness. Oftentimes it’s just them not able to afford rent and getting kicked out of their current situations,” says Heather Wilkie — CEO of the Zebra Coalition in Orlando, one of about 15 or so LGBT-focused community centers in Florida. Wilkie says they see many youth working in tourism and hospitality, and Orlando was already in the midst of a housing crisis when the pandemic started. Collins was one of those youth, losing his job at a Holiday Inn resort in mid-March. He thought he’d lose his hours for a few days, but it “went from being a few days to a few weeks to months.” Eventually he said they laid him and others off so the employees could apply for unemployment benefits. In comparison to losing housing, Victor Diaz-Herman — CEO of Pridelines, an LGBT community center in Miami — has seen some young people running away from home. “Because it’s unsafe, or they’d rather be
Percentage of LGBT youth who reported that they were kicked out or ran away due to their LGBT identity:
Transgender/ nonbinary Cisgender
Statistics via The Trevor Project
on the streets than living their lives not acknowledging who they truly are, or their parents not wanting to acknowledge who they truly are…,” Diaz-Herman said. The main challenge he’s seen is finding housing during the pandemic due to limited beds in general — rather than more LGBT youth becoming homeless. Second to that he says is finding shelters “that are safe and affirming for our queer youth.” Yet another challenge has now been added on by the pandemic: these young people’s inability to self-quarantine. Diaz-Herman explained the process can be complicated with COVID testing and quarantining. The Zebra Coalition has 11 beds of their own for youth coming in, and 36 units in a rapid-rehousing program funded by a federal grant. The rapid-rehousing is a rent-subsidy program, so youth do not have to pay. Even so, Wilkie says the Zebra Coalition has faced a similar restriction issue with housing. “With the rapid-rehousing program we’re working with landlords, so we’re at their mercy as to what guidelines they have established because of the pandemic,” she said.
The Zebra Coalition in Orlando is one of about 15 LGBT-focused community centers in Florida. Photo via The Zebra Coalition website.
To Barnes, this forced “less of the handson-ness that we’re known for.” Essential services from LGBT community centers like food, laundry, and mental health MORE RESTRICTIONS MEANS LESS HELP counseling haven’t ceased though, in Florida AND LONGER WAITS or otherwise. In fact, according to one report during the pandemic some of Sobourney Barnes — those needs have increased. director of the Youth Program “Many centers have at SunServe, a non-profit expanded their basic needs LGBT community center programming such as food in Fort Lauderdale — has pantries, and providing found that the “difficulty of direct cash assistance to getting [LGBT youth] housing community members,” states has increased.” She also has the report from CenterLink, a difficulties due to restrictions non-profit coalition of LGBT that have been implemented community centers. at shelters. She believes they Diaz-Herman elaborates are too restrictive even with that these in-person safety concerns taken into restrictions have harmed consideration. homeless youth, they can no “It’s not fair to someone longer “spend time inside, with a job,” Barnes explains. while using the services, or For example, a client she’s even having a rest from the been working with for a couple day-to-day challenges they months hasn’t been able to face, including access to stay in a shelter due to working peers and support services later than the shelter’s curfew. from the shelter,” he said. All three of these LGBT But Pridelines continues to - Sobourney Barnes community centers have offer these essential services. DIRECTOR OF THE YOUTH had to limit in-person “[We] still offer our wrap PROGRAM AT SUNSERVE interactions and heighten around services. Our support safety restrictions due to the groups are virtual,” Diazpandemic. Barnes says the restrictions have Herman said. “We still have our showers curbed their ability to help. available by appointment, laundry service “We used to be able to go out,” Barnes says. available by appointment, snacks and meal “I could put a kid in my car and drive them to a job, but now with the restrictions I can’t at CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE. all.”
“WE USED TO BE ABLE TO GO OUT. I COULD PUT A KID IN MY CAR AND DRIVE THEM TO A JOB, BUT NOW WITH THE RESTRICTIONS I CAN’T AT ALL.”
2 . 4 . 20 21 •
FEATURE LGBT & HOMELESS
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE.
support — all of that still exists.” Meanwhile, the Zebra Coalition has even been able to have some walk-in hours stay available during the week. Though Wilkie says, “There haven’t been a lot of youth dropping by, so even though we follow CDC guidelines, they’re still hesitant to come in person.” PANDEMIC IS BRINGING MENTAL HEALTH EVEN LOWER COVID-19 restrictions have caused queer youth to have even less access to safe spaces like LGBT community centers and schools which, normally, are heavily used for their community, support groups, and in-person mental health services. By July of last year, 94 percent of participating centers offered online programs. That’s up from 21 percent in early 2020 according to Centerlink’s report, but the participation of these online services is varied. But going online isn’t as easy as it sounds for homeless youth, who may not have readily available access to the internet. “People don’t understand, when you’re homeless you go through a lot to get back on your feet. It’s not easy. You don’t have a place, you don’t have WiFi. If you don’t have a working phone than that’s even worse because now, with COVID, everything is online,” says Collins, who’s been staying at the Zebra Coalition since he was 19. During the pandemic he’s been able to access services in person there. “When you’re experiencing homelessness you aren’t prioritizing sitting at a McDonalds or a Starbucks using their free WiFi to
Percentage of LGBT youth who said COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their LGBT identity
41% Overall LGBT Youth
56% Transgender Youth
Statistics via The Trevor Project
• 2 . 4.2021
participate in a [support] group in front of needs provided by schools,” the report according to a 2019 version of the same yearly strangers,” says Diaz-Herman, referencing states. “They may also be required to spend report. more time in unsupportive environments — their online group services. The Trevor project report also said, Pridelines, he says, has seen a drop in including home environments where they “Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of face family rejection.” participants since switching to online. youth reaching out to The Trevor Project’s In August, The Trevor crisis services for support has increased “People are now having to Project published its first significantly — at times double our preaccess these groups, more report that polled both COVID volume.” often than not, from their LGBT and straight cisgender homes where they may not Collins has felt this stress from the youth on their mental health pandemic, saying that his mental health was be out, or where it may not specifically during the affected “when the pandemic first started be safe to be themselves,” he pandemic. It found higher because I lost my job. I got laid off because of said. rates of stress, and symptoms this thing. I wasn’t making money for almost He sees the shift from a of depression. It also noted a five months basically.” safe place as the main issue, “PEOPLE ARE NOW general lack of access to mental “because now it’s no longer He calls himself a social butterfly, so the HAVING TO ACCESS health care had increased in lack of “going out, being with friends, doing in this space that we create, LGBT youth. Homelessness what young people do: clubbing, going to but the space they have THESE GROUPS, may also contribute to those restaurants, theme parks” has affected him a available to them.” MORE OFTEN THAN rates worsening. Wilkie described seeing lot. He also hasn’t been able to see his partner. “Forty-one percent of a similar issue where LGBT The mental health of LGBT youth has NOT, FROM THEIR LGBTQ youth stated that already been the subject of many previous youth “may be in situations HOMES WHERE THEY COVID-19 impacted their reports before. They show higher rates of where their families might MAY NOT BE OUT, ability to express their LGBTQ depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and not be supportive, so that’s identity, including more than attempts compared to non-LGBT youth, as further isolating. And all of OR WHERE IT MAY half of transgender and non- well as higher rates of homelessness. Mental those things, definitely have NOT BE SAFE TO BE binary youth [56 percent],” the health issues are even more prevalent among expanded.” Wilkie also said report states. they’ve hired more workers those who are both LGBT and unhoused. THEMSELVES.” This is also seen in a Trevor for their online mental Project report from earlier in health services to be able HELPING LGBT TEENS WILL - Victor Diaz-Herman the year stating 50 percent of to reach out to even more HELP ALL TEENS CEO OF PRIDELINES transgender and non-binary youth. youth were kicked out of their School closures could Mental health is still a problem for also contribute to LGBT youth’s isolation, homes, and 56 percent ran away due to their cisgender youth though. The Trevor Project according to an April report on COVID-19’s LGBT identity. has shown that 23 percent of cisgender “LGBTQ youth who experienced housing youth who “experienced housing instability” possible mental health effects. The Trevor Project report states LGBT youth “may instability were twice as likely to report attempted suicide as well. The issue for LGBT lose access to positive connections,” like seriously considering suicide and three youth is how disproportionately represented extracurricaular activities, positive social times as likely to report attempting suicide they are. Twenty-nine percent of all homeless interactions, and Gay-Straight Alliances compared to LGBTQ youth who had not,” youth identify as LGBT, and 28 percent of (GSAs). “GSAs provide LGBTQ youth and allies with safe environments where they can feel empowered, socialize, and receive support, and the presence of GSAs has been found to significantly reduce the risk for depression and increase well-being among LGBTQ youth and young adults,” according to the report. These are the same queer youth whom half have been verbally harassed in school and are twice as likely to be physically assaulted there than their peers. For those without a home though, school could be the only source of “positive connections” outside of community centers. The Humans Rights Campaign took note of the higher rates of homelessness among LGBT youth in a recent report. “Many LGBTQ youth may heavily rely on food and resources provided by public schools and child welfare agencies. Due to widespread The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention among the LGBT community, also works school closures as a result of COVID-19, to report on and provide resources for the unique struggles of LGBT youth. Photo via The Trevor Project, Facebook. LGBTQ youth are at risk of accessing basic
FEATURE LGBT & HOMELESS
In a report on homeless shelters that lacked a dedicated LGBT staff, the shelters listed various reasons why: 30.3%
Shelters that lack an LGBT staff member but also said “they did not need one”
Shelters that lack an LGBT staff member but also said it would be helpful
Statistics via True Colors United.
those youth have attempted suicide. “Really we’re talking LGBT youth because they are so much of the homeless youth,” says Dylan Waguespack, the Public Policy and External Affairs director at True Colors United, a non-profit founded by singer Cyndi Lauper that pushes for policy changes to support homeless LGBT youth. Waguespack points out that anything that works for LGBT youth will work for others; it’s a matter of inclusion in consideration. “They have to think ‘will I be safe here sleeping, I can’t come out, I can’t say this is who I am, someone is going to hurt me,’” says Barnes — non-LGBT youth do not. In one shelter, she says “there was a lot of LGBT incompetency.” For instance, one common situation is when a trans youth is put on the side of the shelter that doesn’t match their gender. “I went to a Christian shelter and that was one of the worst experiences I ever had,” Collins says. “It’s definitely one of those fulltime Christian places. Me being Black, the power of them being a bunch of Caucasian people, there was some little racism going on. At the time, I was just going to school, trying to live my day-to-day life.” Collins is also familiar with the shelter Barnes was referring to. “[T]hat was another Christian faith shelter, but they did understand they had a LGBT population. So they were more tolerant — I should say, ‘tolerant,’” he said. “Shelters like that need to educate themselves on modern day society, you know, asking pronouns, knowing how to identify gender, becoming more open to LGBTQ youth. Have to be more patient…” “To be fair, congregate shelters haven’t always been the greatest option,” Waguespack
notes. He says that LGBT youth end up these skeletal support systems and scarce there “knowing they are less safe: mentally, resources away from them. physically, or otherwise.” Diaz-Herman hopes, though, that more Most of True Colors United’s “focus funding will come from this dire situation to is on trying to help spur congressional help queer youth in the long-term. action,” Waguespack says. These days it’s “Not to provide more beds in existing just important to make sure young people shelters,” he said. “But to develop specific are included in emergency situations and housing opportunities and programs that spending decisions, but “there isn’t much to are targeted, that is focused on a [Continuum be done except crisis management.” of Care]. Not just to house you, or find Diaz-Herman points to the need for more you a temporary apartment that you can training for staff at shelters and to have the eventually transition to, but to give you an conversations about how to make LGBT youth opportunity to pick up a skill.” feel safe, even with other non-LGBT clients. Shelter is one step in a more long-term “So when you come into that space, if solution the way Diaz-Herman describes it. you’re a straight ally, you are coming in These LGBT youth need housing, but they knowing that this space is safe, it’s affirming, also need life skills to truly succeed. but knowing it’s first and foremost going to “Financial literacy, professional ensure that our LGBTQ community members development, support with mental health — are the ones that feel that,” he said. well, health and mental health quite frankly A report from True Colors United — that would be focused on providing these highlights the possible lack of training young people with the resources to become showing that 22.7 percent of shelters said self-sufficient,” he explains. “So, when “they did not have dedicated LGBTQ staff they either age-out, or term-out of these and did not need one.” programs, they have the While 30.3 percent reported ability to thrive.” they didn’t have a dedicated Collins is a perfect example staff member but it would of what more long-term be helpful. The main reason services can do. He’s stayed they didn’t have someone with the Zebra Coalition, was funding. a place he calls “very proFunding is always a LGBT,” three times since he problem, but going further, was 19, but sees this as the how the dollars are spent is last time. an issue as well. Waguespack “I don’t plan on coming hopes more money is used for back, because I’ll have my life better conceptual solutions, together,” he said. like housing support, rather He’ll be starting a job soon than furthering shelter as an assistant administrator capacity. at Aspire Health Partners, a “It’s always been true that Florida behavioral healthcare housing is the solution,” he non-profit, helping HIV said. “There’s no reason to be affected men and women spending tax dollars to keep find housing. warehousing young people.” “I’ll be doing pretty much And, he continues, along what my life has been about,” with that idea, “none of these he said. “And I’ll put it back - Heather Wilkie things will be less important into the community.” CEO OF THE ZEBRA months from now.” Without the Zebra COALITION IN ORLANDO Wilkie agrees. Coalition — where he’s “Young people aren’t going stayed since the pandemic to suddenly have housing in three months. started in January 2020 — Collins paints a It’s a long-term issue, they’re spot on,” she grim picture of what his life may have been said. “I was very fortunate we got that long- like. term money [the federal grant] because a “I’d probably be dead somewhere,” he young person could stay in that housing said. “I would have either died from starving, program for up to two years — that’s the type or dehydration, or I would have gotten so of assistance that we need.” depressed at the situation because I had no LGBT youth already disproportionately help, nowhere to go…” suffer from mental health issues, higher But when it’s all over, “I expect life to be rates of homelessness, and lack of access better. I expect to travel. I think people will to help, with the pandemic taking more of feel a lot better after this mess.”
“YOUNG PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO SUDDENLY HAVE HOUSING IN THREE MONTHS. IT’S A LONG-TERM ISSUE.”
Are You Homeless Or Need Help Now? Even with restrictions and more difficulty finding housing due to the pandemic, there are still community centers and resources that can help you. THE TREVOR PROJECT has a 24hour, seven-days-a-week hotline at 1-866-488-7386 if you are thinking about suicide or need immediate support. They also have an online chat service, or you can text START to 678678 to text with a Trevor counselor. If you are in Miami and need shelter, you can call PRIDELINES, an LGBT community center with mental health services, showers, food and more, at 305-571-9601 and they can help you find somewhere. COVENANT HOUSE is a shelter located in Fort Lauderdale that Pridelines and other LGBT community centers have used to help with housing in the past. They accept youth aged 11 to 21 and can be call 24 hours a day at 954-561-5559 or 800-683-8338 In Orlando, you can call the ZEBRA COALITION — an LGBT community center and shelter with open drop-in services Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — at 407-228-1446. They provide assistance to those who are 18-24 years old. The COVENANT HOUSE also has an ORLANDO LOCATION that accepts those who are 18 to 24 as well. You can call them at 407-4820657 or 800-441-4478 any time of day or week for shelter.
2 . 4 . 20 21 •
A PRIMER ON THE PRESIDENT’S TRIAL NEXT WEEK CONVICTED OR ACQUITTED, THE PALM BEACH PRETTY BOY IS STAINED FOREVER
Photo credit: Ted Eytan, via Flickr.x
s you turn your television sets on next week, you will hear trial managers from the House of Representatives presenting evidence against the former President of the United States in the U.S. Senate. Let me make a few things clear to help you follow the proceedings. First and foremost, the ex-president is not being “impeached.” He already has been, twice in fact. That won’t change. It is etched into history. Once an office holder is impeached, the only duty of the United States Senate is to have a trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. For the former president to be convicted, it requires a verdict of guilty by two thirds of the Senate. The duty of the House of Representatives, who voted to impeach, is to have a group of trial managers present evidence proving up the acts the former president is accused of. By now, you know what they are. He is accused in an article of impeachment of inciting a riot, engineering an insurrection, publicly and repeatedly falsifying the results of the presidential election, and intimidating a secretary of state to disobey the law. By his words and deeds, acts and machinations, the former president is accused of inducing and inciting treasonous and traitorous acts. It is alleged they were purposeful and intentional, designed to obstruct congressional leaders from fulfilling their duties to certify the results of the presidential election held on November 3, 2020. Unfortunately, 45 Republican Senators have already said the president should not even be
tried, since he is no longer holds the office of president. They suggest, without even reaching the merits, the president cannot even lawfully be convicted. They argue that since the penalty for impeachment is the removal of the president from office, and he is no longer in office, the trial can’t go forth. The Democrats rejected that argument, and the trial will therefore proceed. The reason the Democrats rejected that argument is removal from office is only one of the penalties of conviction. If convicted at trial by a two thirds majority of the Senate, the second option the Senate has is to sanction the former president by barring him from ever holding elective office again. Since this requires only a simple majority, the Democrats have the numbers to do that — if they all stand their ground and cast their votes accordingly. Even if the Senate does not convict the former president, the Senate Democrats will use their slim tie breaking majority to at least censure and condemn the president for engaging in insurrectionist acts. This is significant in many ways. You see, under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the United States Senate has a right to bar from future office someone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereto.” Accordingly, when the Democrats lose the trial because they won’t get 67 votes to convict, they will say they still have a majority sufficient to implement this clause, which they will claim only requires a majority of the Senate. They have those votes, especially if a few Republicans join with them. You can reasonably expect that Mr. Trump’s lawyers will argue otherwise. Now
IT IS NOT JUST THAT HE CAN’T YELL FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER. HE CANNOT START THE FIRE. THIS, TO THE SHAME OF OUR NATION, HE DID DO.
• 2 . 4.2021
that issue will go to the Supreme Court for review. But you can bet your last dollar that the Democrats will most assuredly censure the ex-president in a second vote. In the meantime, the words and deeds of the former president leading up to the events of Jan. 6 are admissible against him, dating back to his fraudulent statements of the election being rigged, his intimidation of Georgia’s secretary of state, along with the fighting words he published on the Ellipse the day of Jan. 6. One thing you should know is that you have more rights to “free speech” than the president. You are a citizen protected by the First Amendment. The president’s duty is to uphold the oath and protect your rights to the same. When he swears to that oath, he swears that he will protect the common good ahead of his own interests. This he did not do. The president’s duty is to protect the government and the peaceful transfer of power, not subvert it. His own interests must yield to the right of the nation’s. It is not just that he can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. He cannot start the fire. This, to the shame of our nation, he did do. Even if he is found not guilty, it is why he should have been.
As time passes, we will see more evidence will come out that the president not only foresaw the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he wished them to be so. His pardoned friends, Stephen Bannon and Roger Stone included, had been warning and threatening the public for years that if the president was ever removed from office there would be riots in the streets. They did not do this in isolation. By their rhetoric, they inspired others to do the same. They got their wish, and nearly destroyed our democracy in doing so. The former president’s delusional followers now will pay the price for his crimes, facing state and federal prison sentences for “following his orders.” Too bad. It didn’t work for Nazi soldiers. It won’t work for white supremacists and proud boys either. The tragedy of the Trump presidency will stain us forever. This is the legacy of electing a con artist to the highest office of the land. We are lucky we have a country still standing. Now let us turn to fighting a pandemic, creating jobs, and a safer civilization, knowing always that a free press is not now and has never been an “enemy of the people.” It is the core of what holds our government accountable to truth and trust.
EDITORIAL CARTOON By Mike Luckovich
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2 . 4 . 20 21 •
(QUICK) TRICKS OF THE TRADE Did you know there’s a Local LGBT Bridge Club?
Photo via PxHere.
s everyone knows, the present pandemic forced many groups (queer or otherwise) to stop meeting in person. Instead, group members gather in front of their computers or other devices to attend virtual meetings or events.
One of those groups is Quick Tricks Duplicate Bridge Club, a “friendly gay” group of bridge enthusiasts. According to Dan Rosenblatt, publicity chair for the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club, “prior to the pandemic we played Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. Once the pandemic hit, everything changed. We shut down and the leaders of the clubs in Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Pompano Beach, and Quick Tricks temporarily combined the clubs. While Quick Tricks does not currently exist as a separate club, members of each of the four clubs can play in these virtual games. We play online and there are multiple games each day.” According to Jim Miller, the club president, Quick Tricks Duplicate Bridge Club was
BEGINNER CLASSES BEGIN IN MARCH WHICH MIGHT MAKE IT A GOOD TIME FOR THOSE OF US WHO DO NOT KNOW A THING ABOUT BRIDGE TO GET OUR FEET WET. 26
• 2 . 4.2021
founded by Jack DeCrescente and the late Bruce Upson as a social gathering for gay and lesbian friends. It started at the Pride Center and then moved around before it settled down (pre-pandemic) with FLBC at their clubhouse in Holiday Park. During this time, it grew from a club with a handful of tables to one which hosted more than 50 tables at one seating. QTDBC is the largest LGBT club sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League and the only one in Florida. But it is not the first club of its kind. In San Francisco, the late Tadd Waggoner founded Quick Tricks in 1978 to provide games for the city’s LGBT community. There are also clubs in Las Vegas (Sin City Gay Bridge), West London, and other places. Like Quick Tricks, these groups offer games and classes open to all. Rosenblatt describes Quick Tricks as a “friendly gay club because we don’t exclude players who are not gay [many working people play in the club because we play at night and on Saturday], but a fairly good majority of the members are gay.” Prior to the Pandemic, Quick Tricks members played Tuesdays and Thursdays games that were limited to players with 1,750 masterpoints or fewer. On Saturday afternoon they played games that were limited to players with 2,000 masterpoints or fewer. The cost per game is $6 per player though some special games may cost more. There is a mentor game on Wednesday when newer players (non-life masters) play with a life master (mentor). The club also offers opportunities to learn or to improve one’s bridge skills. Like other specialized interests, duplicate bridge attracts a small but devoted following. Many of them get together for tournaments, regional events, or sea cruises. LGBT bridge
players are as devoted to their game as anyone else. Those who currently limit their games to a small group of friends might consider Quick Tricks. Beginner classes begin in March which might make it a good time for those of us who do not know a thing about bridge to get our feet wet. Each year Quick Tricks donates several thousand dollars to local charities,
including a thousand bucks to help feed hungry children. For more information visit Quick Tricks Bridge Club at www.bridgewebs.com/ quicktricks or Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club at www.ftlbc.com. This article owes much to my friend Dan Rosenblatt, a lifelong bridge enthusiast.
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and journalist. He has been an active member of South Florida's LGBT community for more than four decades and has served in various community organizations.
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2 . 4 . 20 21 •
HEY, SISTER, SISTER Mason Jar Pub is even better than the original
Grilled salad salmon at the Mason Jar Pub. Photo courtesy Rick Karlin.
PUB CRAWL MASON JAR PUB 1388 E Oakland Park, Oakland Park 954-999-5324 themasonjarpub.business.site
ne of the first places I dined at after busy Oakland Park Blvd. might help), service when I came down to Wilton Manors is friendly and eager to please. nine years ago looking to relocate Since my doctor has been after me to eat was the original Mason Jar Café (on the land healthier (I keep using my job as a restaurant where the now-shuttered TooJay’s on Federal reviewer to excuse my rotund figure, telling now stands). I’ve since been to the new Mason him it’s an occupational hazard), I opted Jar Café a few times and enjoyed it, even if I for the grilled salmon salad. A bed of fresh found it slightly over-priced. baby spinach dressed in a So I was interested to see the light vinaigrette supported a WE HAD LUNCH sizable filet of perfectly grilled new Mason Jar Pub, located just east of the Peter Pan diner in a fish. Grape tomatoes, red ON THE LARGE space that has housed more than onions cucumbers, and beets PATIO (CURRENTLY completed the hearty lunch. a few other restaurants in the past few years. Our friends Ed and Ward also HOSTING ONLY One of the pleasant surprises their salads; chicken FOUR TABLES) AND enjoyed was that, while many dishes are Cobb and tuna-jalapeno, on the menus of both places, FELT PERFECTLY although Ward said his dish was the prices at the Pub are much a little bland (he did pick off the COMFORTABLE more reasonable. It’s often just jalapenos). Other salad options a difference of a couple of bucks ABOUT THE SPACE include a chicken Waldorf, (the grilled salmon salad is $12 shrimp salad with blue BETWEEN TABLES. Buffalo at the Pub, $14 at the Café), but cheese dressing, and a Caesar enough to make a difference. with a choice of grilled chicken Service is much more casual at the Pub. or steak. We had lunch on the large patio (currently My husband raved about the Pub’s quinoahosting only four tables) and felt perfectly black bean burger (not shown on the online comfortable about the space between tables. menu but featured on the day of our visit). While the ambiance is minimal, inside and Sandwiches come with a choice of sides, all out (taller bushes separating the patio from of which sound yummy (corn spoon bread,
We reported on the sale of Mai-Kai after learning of it in an article in the Sun Sentinel. Recently Mai-Kai’s owner released the following statement, “The family is and always will be dedicated to the Mai-Kai and its legacy. The news stories you have likely read have been unkind, unfair and misleading. It is accurate that we engaged the services of a business broker to assist in finding a partner, or worst-case scenario a buyer, to work with our family to ensure the long-term success of the Mai-Kai and its legacy. It is not accurate to say that 'everything is on the table.'”
• 2 . 4.2021
onion rings, brussels sprouts roasted with pistachios, and sweet potato or regular fries). Entrée options come with a choice of two sides and include many favorites from the Café menu, including country fried chicken, pork chops, and grilled salmon or mahi. Entrees run $13-$15, just a couple bucks more than most sandwiches and salads. If my doc wouldn’t have freaked out, I would have been having the country fried chicken doused in gravy. Let’s hope that Mason Jar Pub can break the curse that seems to doom places that occupy this building. One thing that might help is a drive-up window, left by previous tenants. I can easily see grabbing one of the Mason Jar Pub’s hearty meals and taking it home for dinner. Note: Not long after this review was written, a car crashed into the Mason Jar Pub’s patio after hours. If you plan on dining outside, call the restaurant first.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
NORTHERN EXPOSURE If you find yourself in downtown West Palm Beach looking for a place to have an enjoyable meal, check out the newly opened Elisabetta’s (there’s a location in Delray as well). We stopped in and had a most enjoyable meal. It’s a sister restaurant to Louis Bossi’s and much of the menu is the same, from the delicious cheese and meat boards to the hand-cut chops and steaks. The insalata stagione (grilled vegetable salad) featured green beans the night of our visit. Perfectly grilled lamb chops and spicy gemelli puttanesca offered such hearty servings that we each took more than half our entrees home. Which left us plenty of room for gelato and cookies for dessert. Oh, and that wine list! Hundreds of options are available by the bottle with an equally impressive array of those by the glass! Outdoor seating is plentiful and offers beautiful views. Service is attentive and willing to please (ask for Cory!).
Rick Karlin is SFGN’s food editor. Visit SFGN.com/Food to read his previous reviews. Have a culinary tip to share? Email Rick at RickKarlinFL@gmail.com.
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“Queer Japan.” Credit: Graham Kolbeins.
raham Kolbeins’ new documentary “Queer Japan” is a colorful, if sometimes dizzying portrait of LGBT life in several major Japanese cities, starting with Tokyo. The film lives up to its promise of offering a diverse look at the country’s queer landscape, introducing viewers to a cross section of every imaginable type of LGBT person from across the sexual and gender spectrum. During the film’s 98-minute running time we are introduced to everyone from a gay erotic artist interviewed in an S&M dungeon, (he has also created a gay manga book for children), to a lesbian bar owner, to a trans activist who writes video strategy books (she is seen holding up a bilingual English/ Japanese Trans Lives Matter sign), to a drag queen who relishes the attention she receives. Kolbeins also visits a Japanese Pride celebration, where Ambassador Caroline Kennedy greets the crowd. All in all, some 50 people are interviewed throughout the film. “Right now in Japan we’re in the middle of an LGBT boom,” says an unidentified voice as the film opens. “I think it’s incredibly important to gain visibility, to make it so that we can be seen.” “On the other hand, however, there’s also the thinking of not generating any friction with the majority as much as possible,” says a second voice. “It’s not necessarily that being gay or lesbian is the problem,” says a third voice. “But it’s the family values and format that traditional Japanese are afraid of breaking.”
• 2 . 4.2021
Yet in spite of the conservative nature of Japanese society, the subjects seen and heard in Queer Japan are all out, loud and proud, unashamed of who they are or how they express their sexual or gender identity. The film is a celebration of the freedom to be who each of us is, without judgment, even though that judgment can sometimes come from within the community itself. One man, who’s become a spokesperson of sorts for the BDSM community, is sometimes asked “why are you gay?” But at other times he is also asked by members of the LGBT community, “why are you into BDSM?” There’s no answer to these questions. Each individual must be free to pursue their own path, and that is the film’s underlying message. The film was shot over a period of three years. Interviewees touch upon a myriad of topics, such as racism, the exploitation of transgender sex workers, LGBT civil rights and HIV. There’s also a brief look at a band which performs songs about sexually transmitted diseases. The people profiled in “Queer Japan” are all fascinating figures, so it is a shame that each interview is so brief. The film jumps from person to person before the viewer can get to know them better. But the film is, nonetheless, a fascinating look inside a country with a vibrant LGBT community, a community that is coming into its own. “Queer Japan” can be viewed on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play. The film is in Japanese with clear, easy to read English subtitles.
WORLD PREMIERE PLAY EXPLORES COMPLICATED ETHICS OF SURROGACY AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS J.W. Arnold
or gay couples who desire to start a family and raise children, surrogacy might offer a seemingly simple solution: just hire a woman to be artificially inseminated and carry the baby to term. “Compensation,” a world premiere play by Hannah Manikowski opening this weekend at Island City Stage, explores the more complicated ethical and emotional issues that surround what often begins as a straightforward business transaction. The play, originally a one-act work penned for a Carnegie Mellon University student showcase, is “a dialogue about the complex systems that coerce women into outsourcing their bodies for income, the ethical implications of men purchasing access to those bodies, and the profound yearning for family that drives these people to entangle themselves in these systems in the first place.” Manikowski was just a sophomore theater major when she conceived the story of Tara, a young woman who drops out of college and becomes a surrogate for an older, established gay couple, Gabriel and Elliott. “I had a lot of questions about the purchasing of access of women’s bodies … a conversation that is usually held around sex work, but there are other ways we commodify women’s bodies, and that lead to questions about surrogacy and particularly commercial surrogacy,” the now 24-year-old Georgia native recalled in a recent telephone interview. She then adapted the work for her senior thesis project. “Through the process, the question about purchasing women’s bodies remained, but I found even more fertile ground — pardon the pun — in the questions of what makes a family, how the concept of family has evolved and how deeply tied we all are to maintaining a sense of family, even in unconventional ways,” Manikowski explained. “I’m not just talking about Gabriel and Elliott, but Tara, as well. I saw myself from all of their perspectives because I am a woman who deals with my body being objectified, but I’m also a lesbian who would like to have a family of my own someday.”
Lesbian playwright Hannah Manikowski’s “Compensation” receives its world premiere Feb. 5 - 14 at Island City Stage in Wilton Manors. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Manikowski.
She emphasized that her play never lambasts Gabriel and Elliott for wanting a child or seeking a surrogate. “There is a part of me in all three [characters],” Manikowski said. “I don’t like issue plays. If you want to write a manifesto, you should write a manifesto. But if you want to write a play about those issues you’re still grappling about, it was important to represent the gay community.” After graduating, Manikowski posted a synopsis of “Compensation” last year on New Play Exchange, an online theater forum, and Island City Stage Artistic Director Andy Rogow contacted her almost immediately inquiring about the rights to produce the world premiere. “It’s both scary and exciting,” she said of handing her creation over to another director. “While I was a directing major, I discovered a more profound passion for writing for the stage … I think of my stage direction [in the play] as the conversation I have with the director in the room.” Manikowski has since moved to Los Angeles to continue pursuing her craft and won’t be able to attend the world premiere in South Florida. She’s still managed to collaborate with Rogow via Zoom and looks forward to the video of the production that Island City is also producing and will stream online Feb. 19 – 28. “To be 24 in the middle of a global pandemic and still get to experience the world premiere … I try not to get too caught up in the disappointment,” she concluded.
Island City Stage presents the world premiere of Hannah Manikowski’s “Compensation,” Feb. 5 – 14 at Wilton Theater Factory, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors. CDC and county guidelines are in place for live performances and masks are required. The production will also be available for online viewing, Feb. 19 – 28. For tickets and more information, go to IslandCityStage.org.
Limited Socially Distanced Seating so get your tickets early.
Tara, a young, lonely woman, drops out of college unbeknownst to her mother and becomes a surrogate for Gabriel and Elliott, a well-established gay couple. Suddenly, Tara finds herself carrying not only their future child, but a terrible secret as well.
BY HANNAH MANIKOWSKI
Compensation is a dialogue about the complex systems that coerce women into outsourcing their bodies for income, the ethical implications of men purchasing access pu to those bodies, and the profound yearning for family that drives these people to entangle themselves in these systems in the first place.
FEB 5-14, 2021 FEB 19-28 In-Theatre Tickets $35 islandcitystage.org • 954.928.9800 2304 N Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors, FL 33305 2 . 4 . 20 21 •
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outh Florida’s own “Auntie Mame,” the larger-than-life performer and producer Jan McArt passed away early Sunday morning, Jan. 31. McArt, who famously demurred about her exact age to both family, friends and government agencies, was reportedly 83. The Midwest native undertook opera training and later performed with the San Francisco Opera and NBC Opera. In addition to stints Off Broadway and on Broadway, she appeared on television as a guest performer on “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Mike Douglas Show” and “The Tonight Show,” before relocating to South Florida in the mid-1970s to found the Royal Palm Dinner Theatre in Boca Raton. The 250-seat venue produced traditional Broadway fare through 2001 with McArt taking on leading roles, too. During the dinner theater’s heyday, she managed a $3 million annual budget with a weekly payroll of 150 employees. According to Florida Theater on Stage, a popular regional blog, McArt’s productions racked up by one estimate 278 Carbonell nominations, winning at least 42 awards. McArt also received the Carbonell’s George Abbott Award in 1984 and the Ruth Foreman Award in 2001 for service to the theater community. More recently, McArt served as Lynn University’s director of theater arts development since 2004 and launched the Jan McArt New Play Reading Series in 2013. That series nurtured works by several gay South Florida playwrights including Michael McKeever, Stuart Meltzer and Dan Clancy. Several of the new plays workshopped and semi-staged at Lynn’s Wold Performing Arts Center in Boca would later receive professional productions across the country. Local theater professionals were quick to take to social media to express their grief and praise McArt’s legacy. Actor and director Jeffrey Bruce wrote, “… having worked [with] her for years, I always marveled at how, no matter how long ago she had met someone, she always, ALWAYS knew their name! Every one of those people, like myself, I am sure, fell quickly in love with her. Remarkable. A true shining star in the
Longtime performer and theater producer Jan McArt passed away at her Boca Raton home on Jan. 31. Credit: Lynn University.
theatrical stratosphere.” Actor Michael Walters, who also performs as Florida’s Own Dame Edna, posted on Facebook, “She came into my life at a time when I needed help. She gave me a great start in South Florida theatre … and she even gave me an office job when I needed work, for which I was ill-equipped. There’s no way to describe it when someone this special believes in you.” In an extended obituary published late Sunday, Florida Theater on Stage quoted playwright McKeever: “Getting to know and work with Jan McArt was nothing less than a joy … [Her program] gave many South Florida playwrights the opportunity to have their plays presented in front of an audience for the first time. Because of her name and reputation, the series always enjoyed amazingly large audiences and top-level performers. She was warm and giving on stage and off, and always the consummate professional. I will treasure my friendship with this South Florida theater icon for as long as I live.” McArt is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren. A private family service will be held.
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