SFGN 05/26/22 V13iss21

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LOCAL NAME GLOBAL COVERAGE MAY 26, 2022 VOL. 13 // ISSUE 21

PRIDE ON THE WATER FLOATARAMA RETURNS BIGGER AND BETTER! PAGE 9

Monkeypox: A New Health Crisis Page 12

Lesbians Tough Out Wins In Oregon Page 18

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NEWS HIGHLIGHT

SouthFloridaGayNews.com

GOP ATTACKS ON LGBT EXPAND BEYOND FLORIDA

@SFGN

May 26, 2022 • Volume 13 • Issue 21 2520 N. Dixie Highway • Wilton Manors, FL 33305 Phone: 954-530-4970 Fax: 954-530-7943

Publisher • Norm Kent Norm.Kent@sfgn.com

Associate Publisher / Executive Editor • Jason Parsley

John Hayden

Jason.Parsley@sfgn.com

F

lorida’s GOP, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has proposed and passed some of the most hateful legislation in decades. From banning gender-affirming care to teens to prohibiting trans from school sports, to the odious “Don’t Say Gay” law, the legal attacks don’t stop coming. Sadly, what happens in Florida, doesn’t stay in it. Now the targets of their attacks don’t have to stay here either. While other conservativeled legislatures trip over themselves to mimic Florida’s laws, other states are opening themselves up. At least 16 states have introduced (or plan to introduce) “safe haven” laws. LGBTQ Victory Institute said the goal is to provide a legal safe haven for trans kids and their families whose gender-affirming care has been criminalized in other states. Texas, for example, not only bans care for trans teens, but has Family Services investigate the parents and could remove the kids from home and send the parents to prison. Some states, like California, face few if any political obstacles to protecting and welcoming trans youth. In Florida, it will be much harder. Florida state Senator Shevrin Jones and Florida state Representative Michele Rayner plan to introduce trans refuge legislation, but since Republicans dominate both chambers of the legislature, their proposals will likely die in committee. However, that could change if Floridians vote in a Democratic majority in November.

TEXAS, FOR EXAMPLE, NOT ONLY BANS CARE FOR TRANS TEENS, BUT HAS FAMILY SERVICES INVESTIGATE THE PARENTS AND COULD REMOVE THE KIDS FROM HOME AND SEND THE PARENTS TO PRISON.

Editorial

Original Illustration by Greg Bistolfi.

Tatiana Williams, Executive Director of Transinclusive Group, said the attacks against trans people are mentally and physically dangerous. “For those of trans and non-binary experience, gender-affirming care is about our health and wellbeing — both physically and mentally. Our leaders need to understand how we feel and the impact laws can have on our safety and ability to navigate the world as our authentic selves. When lawmakers restrict our youth from being able to be themselves, they marginalize them even further, pushing them into a corner that isolates them, impacts their mental health, and puts them at risk.” It’s important to note that legislatures in Texas and other “red” states are not primarily made up of doctors, making it reasonable to believe their attacks are based on political expediency and not medical realities. “So many of the legislative attacks against our transgender youth are rooted in old beliefs and the knowledge that trans kids are the most vulnerable among us and can’t necessarily advocate for themselves,” Williams said. “Too often the LGBTQ+ community finds itself used as a convenient political pawn to pander to cruelty and misinformation, and providing legal refuge for trans youth

and their families fleeing hostile states is so important,” said Nic Zantop, deputy director of Transinclusive Group. Transinclusive advocates for trans rights and believes medical decisions should be between patients and doctors. “There is nothing to debate,” Zantop said. “Gender-affirming care is patient-led, medically necessary healthcare and the idea that the existence and wellbeing of our trans kids would ever be politicized is reprehensible. It’s more vital than ever for our elected officials to loudly proclaim that gender-affirming care is life-saving care and our trans youth, their families, and their healthcare providers should never have to exist in a state of fear. Trans rights are human rights, and a belief in bodily autonomy is a sacred value that should be near and dear to everyone who believes in freedom and the constitutional right of equal protection from discrimination.” The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health reported that 94% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health, and more than 42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth.

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South Florida Gay News is published weekly. The opinions expressed in columns, stories, and letters to the editor do not represent the opinions of SFGN, or the Publisher. You should not presume the sexual orientation or gender identity of individuals based on their names or pictorial representations in SFGN. SFGN contracts with independent entities for stock images. Furthermore the word “gay” in SFGN should be interpreted to be inclusive of the entire LGBT community. All of the material/columns that appears in print and online, including articles used in conjunction with the AP, is protected under federal copyright and intellectual property laws, and is jealously guarded by the newspaper. Nothing published may be reprinted in whole or part without getting written consent from the Publisher, at his law office, at Norm@NormKent.com. SFGN, as a private corporation, reserves the right to enforce its own standards regarding the suitability of advertising copy, illustrations and photographs.

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5. 26 . 20 22 •

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LGBTQIA BITES

BY KENNEDY MCKINNEY

IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE G LESBIAN

WHITE HOUSE APPOINTS FIRST BLACK LESBIAN PRESS SECRETARY Last Thursday, Karine Jean-Pierre was appointed as the White House’s first Black lesbian press secretary. She formerly served as the Deputy Press Secretary, Kamala Harris’ Chief of Staff, and worked on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. She has also made history by becoming the first immigrant to hold the position. “I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position,” said Jean-Pierre. “I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders. “Representation does matter. You hear us say this often in this administration, and no one understands this better than President Biden.”

L

Karine Jean-Pierre. Photo by Rhododendrites, via Wikimedia Commons.

... HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING IN THE LGBTQIA COMMUNITY

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BISEXUAL

‘JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION’ CONFIRMS BISEXUAL CHARACTER

“Jurassic World Dominion,” the upcoming installment in the “Jurassic World” series, has just announced that a new character, Kayla Watts, is bisexual. DeWanda Wise, who will play Watts, said in an interview that this representation is much needed. “It’s important, and it’s also important to me that we continue to expand the conversation beyond looking for the kiss,” she said. “If you’re queer, you’re queer … I said what I said. All the time. You don’t turn it off. It doesn’t matter if your partner is in the cockpit with you. It just is a statement of being.” “So that was one of the things just in her DNA, in her dino DNA, ensuring that she is who she is,” Wise continued. “Kayla is bi, and that’s just, it is what it is.”

DeWanda Wise. Photo by MTV International, via Wikimedia Commons.

FOURTH ANNUAL PRIDE DAY JOIN US FOR FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN ALL DAY LONG!

JUNE 25, 2022

Our day-long event is filled with colorful fun and educational activities for everyone.

WHAT CAN FAMILIES DO AT THE MUSEUM? • Activities Participate in the rainbow science lab and make-and-take a Pride flag, prisms and tie-dyed t-shirt (purchase a white shirt for $5)! • Exhibits, Shows and Demos

See an explosion of colors with a special Pride KaBOOM! Show and attend a storytime with a drag queen. • Career Connection

See healthcare, legislative affairs and local diversity community partners in action.

SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2022 • 10 A.M. - 5 P.M. FREE for MEMBERS and city of Fort Lauderdale residents with proof of address at the box office. NON-MEMBERS: $5 General Museum admission. For more information and to register, please visit mods.org/2022pride 401 SW 2nd Street • Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 • 954.467.6637

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• 5. 26 .2022

Sponsored by


LGBTQIA BITES

T

TRANSGENDER

NEW TRANS MUTANT JOINS THE X-MEN

In the upcoming series “Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1,” the X-Men will be introducing a transgender character. Shela Sexton, who also goes by Escapade, will be a new trans mutant who has the power to instantaneously switch physical locations with another person, or to trade any specific physical or abstract attribute such as possessions, organizational status, skills, superhuman powers, and even situations. Trans writer Charlie Jane Anders is excited to have the chance to introduce this character. “I have loved the Marvel Universe for as long as I can remember, and may or may not sing the Spider-Man cartoon theme in the shower on a regular basis so I was so thrilled to be able to introduce a brand-new hero to stand alongside all of my favorites,” Anders said.

Escapade. Photo via Marvel.

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NEWS HEARTBREAKING LOSS

THE COUNTRY ACROSS

LOUISIANA

SENATE VOTES TO BLOCK TRANS ATHLETES FROM PRE-COLLEGE COMPETITIONS

Sen. Beth Mizell’s (R-Franklinton) bill passed May 17, prohibiting transgender girls from compete based on their gender identity from K-12 to the collegiate level. A vote of 72-21 ruled in favor of Senate Bill 44 with seven Democrats voting in favor of the bill as well as one of the three independents in the Louisiana Senate, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. “This bill is not about Christianity, violence or any other thing that we would sidebar. This bill is particular about one thing: Do we have the will to protect our young girls and young women that want to participate in female sports?” Rep. Rick Edmonds told the Louisiana Illuminator. Supporter of the bill Laurie Schlegal used NCAA title winner Lia Thomas as an example of an unfair victor. While making her case, Schlegel

Sen. Beth Mizell. Photo via Facebook.

continuously used Thomas’ birth name and would not recognize the athlete by her correct name, an offensive practice known as “deadnaming.” Trans athletes are able to compete under certain circumstances according to the NCAA; the Louisiana bill is able to undermine the association’s rule.

VERMONT LGBT CENTER TO OPEN

Lined with welcoming lilac walls, Gregg Forbis is opening a LGBT friendly center in Barre, Vermont. The Rainbow Bridge Community Center will be moving forward with its opening regardless of the recent homicide of a trans woman. Other cities in Vermont already have LGBT centers like Burlington and Montpellier. “I think they’re getting there. I think they’re moving in a positive direction, and I think this is just another way to say, ‘Hey central Vermont, you can come here, too,’” Forbis said according to WCAX. Forbis’ hopes for the center is to create a safe space for everyone who faces discrimination. “Whether you’re gay, straight, or trans — it doesn’t matter. This is a place

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BY KIZZY AZCARATE

BREAKING NEWS ABOUT TEXAS TRAGEDY WILL BE APPREARING ONLINE

The Rainbow Bridge Community Center logo. Photo via Facebook.

where anyone can just come in and be themselves,” Forbis said. The center is on track to open June 4 regardless of the criticism surrounding the center. “I’m almost there. It’s just a matter now of getting the sign up, getting the sign on the door, taking the screen away from the wall, and saying, ‘Here we are, let’s do this,’” said Forbis.

COVERING LGBT NEWS SWEEPING THE NATION

PENNSYLVANIA

TRUMP-ENDORSED DOUG MASTRIANO WINS GOP NOMINATION

Pennsylvania nominated Doug Mastriano as the Republican nominee in the next gubernatorial election. During his speech, Mastriano took the time to highlight his views on the trans community, abortion laws, and critical race theory. The democratic nominee for governor, Josh Shapiro, said Mastriano will “dictate how Pennsylvanians live their lives — that’s not freedom,” according to CNN. During his speech, Mastriano made fun of trans U.S. assistant secretary of health and admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Rachel Levine. He has previously called for Levine’s resignation citing that the doctor’s “lack of training is evident” in regard to how she has been managing COVID-19 safety measures.

Doug Mastriano. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Mastriano’s nomination raises concern because he was pictured in attendance during the Jan. 6 insurrection, but he stated he left before the violence broke out. Concerns had already risen among the Republican party before the nomination. The RGA said it “remains committed to engaging in competitive gubernatorial contests where our support can have an impact,” said Dave Rexrode, the executive director, in a statement.

OREGON TINA KOTEK DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION IS A BIG WIN FOR LGBT COMMUNITY

Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek won 57% of the votes compared to State Treasurer Tobias Read’s 31%. Prior to her nomination for governor, Kotek’s campaign sent out a memo telling her supporters to manage their expectations. During her speech Kotek thanked her wife, Aimee Kotek, while celebrating her win. “This will be a three-way race for the highest office in our state, and this will be an election unlike anything any of us have ever seen,” Kotek told supporters during her speech, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Her win could be attributed to her previous support for progressive bills like increasing the minimum wage, gun control laws, protective abortion laws, and

Tina Kotek. Photo via Facebook.

regulating carbon emissions. Kotek will be facing off with nonaffiliated nominee Sen. Betsey Johnson and the undetermined Republican nominee. During her time as senator, Johnson voted against gun reform and carbon emissions. OPB reported that Johnson may have raised up to $8 million so far and is predicted to have a good chance of winning the gubernatorial race.


NEWS INTERNATIONAL

BY EVERITT ROSEN

THE WORLD AROUND

EXPLORING LGBT NEWS EVENTS ACROSS THE GLOBE

EURASIA

EUROPE

RUSSIA DISSOLVES COUNTRY’S MAIN LGBT RIGHTS ORG

LGBT HATE SPEECH ON THE RISE

After the government’s failed effort to liquidate the Russian LGBT Network and its parent organization, the Charitable Sphere Foundation, a Russian court has essentially shut down the country’s largest LGBT rights group. A court in St. Petersburg ruled in favor of Russia’s Justice Ministry. The Charitable Sphere Foundation illegally “carried out political activities using foreign property” under the cover of a charity, and its actions are targeted at changing legislation, including the Russian Constitution. The Russian government also charged the organization with propagating “LGBT views” and engaging in actions that go against “traditional values” in its complaint. According to NBC News, Igor Kochetkov, the foundation’s founder and former director of the Russian LGBT Network,

Igor Kochetkov being detained in 2018. Photo via Facebook.

condemned the court’s judgment as well as the government’s argument that the charity violated “fundamental conventional family values outlined in the Constitution.”

An advocacy organization claims that homophobic rhetoric and hate speech against trans people is on the rise among European lawmakers, warning of a backlash against LGBT rights throughout the continent. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association’s annual report, lawmakers in 17 European and Central Asian nations have verbally abused LGBT individuals in the last year. During election campaigns, nationalist lawmakers from the ruling right-wing PiS party condemned “LGBT ideology,” according to the research. It also singled out Hungary, where trans people were denied the right to legally change their gender last year. Politicians vocally abusing LGBT

Tirana Gay Pride 2016. Photo by Albinfo, via Wikimedia Commons.

individuals has become more common in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Russia, according to the Radio Free Europe.

AFRICA

NORTH AMERICA

EGYPT BANS ‘DR. STRANGE 2’ OVER LESBIAN CHARACTER

MEXICO TO BRING THOSE EXCLUDED DUE TO LGBT PHOBIA INTO LABOR FORCE

The new Marvel picture “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has been banned from Egyptian theatres because it depicts an LGBT character. The film will not be distributed in Egypt, according to IMAX Egypt, which did not specify why. Because of the appearance of character America Chavez, the film was prohibited. LGBT Egyptians expressed their displeasure with the decision, but claimed they would find a way to see the film anyhow. According to The New Arab, The Egyptian Supreme Council for Media Regulation has yet to issue a statement on the film. The film will not be exhibited in Saudi Arabia, according to IMAX Saudi

America Chavez, photo via Marvel.

Arabia, which announced it on social media earlier this week.

Contrata LGBTIQ has been one of the first Mexican initiatives to integrate the LGBT population, especially migrants, into the labor force, despite the country’s legal gains. According to La Prensa Latina, Leonardo Martinez, 27, came to Casa Frida, the LGBT shelter that runs the program, looking for a community that would support and embrace him after leaving his family due to societal rejection due to his sexual orientation. Leonardo’s story echoes the realities of Mexico’s LGBT population, which will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). According to the LGBT+ Orgullo 2021 poll done by the Ipsos consulting firm, 11% of Mexico’s population, or 14 million

Photo via Pixabay.

of the country’s 126 million residents, identify as LGBT. However, according to the Mexican government’s National Council to Prevent Prejudice’s recent Survey on Discrimination Due to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, at least six out of 10 LGBT people have experienced discrimination.

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NEWS LOCAL

J.R.’s SNAPSHOTS

OF THE

From your life... into our pages! SFGN takes a weekly look at a community that has stood together through countless trials and victories in the past year alone.

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WEEK Photos by J.R. Davis

Dawson Houghtaling, local artist and tailor, with partner Marc Duarte, bartender at Mad Hatter Lounge Lake Worth, at the Palm Bch Pride Parade.

Husbands Aydin Koymen and Jason Parsley, associate publisher/executive editor of SFGN, at Sunfest.

Anthony Wynn of Anthony Wynn Entertainment with friend Tiffany Arieagus, director of case management at SunServe, at the Sunserve Gala held at The Venue.

Chairman of the board at Our Fund and board member at SAGE Scott Bennett with friend Josh Davis at The SAGE & Freinds gala held at The Grateful Palate.

• 5. 26 .2022


NEWS LOCAL

FLOATARAMA READY TO SET SAIL John Hayden

P

ride flags waving in the wind, music blaring from boats, and socially distanced solidarity. That’s how FLoatarama got its start two years ago. Now back for its third year, the event is bigger and beneficial for even more of the community.

Up to 40 boats will set sail on June 11 up Due to logistical limitations of sailing a large the New River and along the Intracoastal number of boats through a major metropolis, Waterway. The event is one of the biggest FLoatarama is limited to 40 vessels. Among Pride month events in South Florida and boats will be a lot of Broward County’s top kicks off Pride Week. FLoatarama’s president, organizations. Scott Schramm, said the third year will be the “We had 34 registered boats last year. Fort biggest yet. Lauderdale Marine Patrol, Broward Sheriff’s “The Flotilla will be similar to last year, Office, Wilton Manors Police, with the mayor but we’re working on additional commercial and vice mayor onboard, and the Coast Guard vessels so more ticketed passengers can will all be participating in the Flotilla. We participate even if they don’t have their own welcome everyone under the sun and boaters boat. Each boat will have a really fun group that are in support of us as well as our LGBTQ+ aboard, open bar, music and a ton of fun as boating community.” we cruise the waterways and celebrate pride on water.” A NEW PARTNER Leading the parade will be a pair of VIP boats, donated by Water Taxi. Schramm said After the fundraising success of 2021, the vibe will be very South Florida. FLoatarama took steps to solidify their “The vessels will have an open bar. This year support of the community. They became a we have expanded capacity of 175 and look 501(c)3 organization, and partnered with Our forward to a much larger and Fund Foundation. bigger event. You will board “We spent a lot of time the boat in downtown Fort figuring the best use for the FLOATARAMA GOT funds weoutraise. Lauderdale and for the next We’re focused ITS START WHEN on supporting vulnerable and 90 minutes celebrate pride as we enjoy the sun filled day COVID-19 FORCED disadvantaged LGBTQ youth, with cocktails, music and primarily in the areas of THE STONEWALL education, homelessness, and many friends.” And when the flotilla ends, personal development. Our FESTIVAL TO the party begins. partnership ensures the funds BE CANCELED “When the boats dock, we raise achieve the greatest you will step off into a Sailors impact in the community.” IN 2020. BUT Dance and Pool Party.” Our Fund Foundation PROUD BOATING CEO San Francisco DJ legend and President David Matt Consola will once again Jobin told SFGN that the two ENTHUSIASTS be spinning for the party. are hand in WERE NOT GOING organizations He also is creating a set that glove. will be streamed during the TO BE DENIED. “We are a natural partner flotilla, letting every boat for Floatarama as they expand groove to the same music their event to include both despite being far apart. fun and philanthropy. We have built a Schramm said all the elements combine to reputation for knowing the needs of South make for a memorable day. Florida’s LGBTQ community and where “A Pride Flotilla on the waters of the Venice resources are most critical. We are thrilled of America, a waterfront location for the that the leaders of Floatarama have placed Sailor’s Dance & Pool Party at Residence Inn their trust in us to help them direct their Intracoastal, and amazing DJ in Matt Consola. gifting to non-profits.” We’re expecting 400-500 at the party, To help focus how money is distributed, sunshine, hot guys, cocktails, and a great Our Fund started the FLoatarama LGBTQ cause. What’s not to like?” Youth Fund.

FLoatarama 2021. Photo by J.R. Davis.

“FLoatarama comes in with instant credibility given the reputation of the leaders of their organization and their presence in the community. They were sincere about their desire for transparency so that attendees and supporters will actually see the impact in the community that their generosity and participation fosters. I worry that similar party fundraisers aren’t following through with their promise of philanthropy and giving back. That’s certainly not the case with the FLoatarama team.”

PRIDE IN A PANDEMIC FLoatarama got its start when COVID-19 forced the Stonewall festival to be canceled in 2020. But proud boating enthusiasts were not going to be denied. “Pride was canceled, but we were allowed to take private boats out with up to eight people on board,” Schramm said. “We did it for fun, and were blown away by the number of boats that participated, the

enthusiasm, and the great press coverage. We realized we’d stumbled onto something, and the encouragement we received from the community was heartwarming.” With the pandemic appearing to ebb in summer of 2021, organizers decided to go big. The event became a two-day celebration with activities on land and at sea. The water parade was on Saturday and featured the VIP boat on a Water Taxi, and the Sailor’s T-Dance on Sunday. The event raised more than $17,000. “The weekend was a huge success, and we donated $17,134 to the Pride GED Educational Program, fully funding it for 2021 and beyond.”

RECOGNITION FROM WILTON MANORS Renewed civic support came from the city commission of Wilton Manors. At their meeting on May 24, they issued a proclamation declaring June 11, 2022, as FLoatarama Day. The city will have a boat in the flotilla.

For more information on how to participate in FLoatarama, visit their website, Floatarama.org.

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NEWS LOCAL

LOCAL NON-PROFIT TAKES TRASH AND TURNS IT INTO ART ServicesServices Offered: • HIV Care, • PrEP HIV

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NEWS LOCAL

FUNDING ARTS BROWARD AWARDS GRANTS TO LOCAL ORGS John Hayden

Attendees of the May 10, 2022, FAB’S 2023 Grant Awards. Photo via fundingartsbroward.org.

A

fter two years of COVID cancellations and restrictions, South Florida’s arts scene is still finding its footing. One thing that was never canceled or restricted was Funding Arts Broward’s (FAB) commitment to helping local artists keep their work alive. FAB just awarded $282,000 in grants to South Florida organizations. Nearly a quarter-million dollars was split between 27 organizations for performances and programs. The remaining money was given to seven groups as education grants for K-12 students. “As an avid supporter of the arts, we’re committed to cultivating the growing creative momentum in Broward County,” said Ed Hashek, president of FAB. “As our diverse cultural grantees are getting back to the business of programming in-person events, we’re looking forward to uniting the community to help make 2023 performances and educational initiatives even more meaningful. We’re thankful for our members and corporate patrons who fully support our mission.” FAB’s work has been especially critical over the past two years. Usually their grants fund specific works and performances. But those requirements were relaxed during COVID, allowing groups to use the money to stay afloat as theaters and galleries sat empty. Now, after a season that saw venues produce works under the constant threat

of cancellation and attendance restrictions, people are preparing for a full 2022-23 season. The FAB grants are an integral part of making that happen. The largest grants were $14,000 and went to Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fantasy Theater Factory, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, Seraphic Fire, Slow Burn Theater Company, and South Florida Symphony Orchestra. In announcing the grants, FAB said, “Each grant allocation was awarded for a unique upcoming program. Upcoming funded programs include Gold Coast Jazz Society’s 2023 Jazz Project which will feature four concerts of internationally recognized jazz artists and one free community jazz performance, Island City Stage’s theatrical production of ‘Tracy Jones’ by Stephen Kaplan, Old Dillard Foundation’s ‘Influencers’ exhibit that capture the rich history and contributions of African Americans who have made an indelible impact on our county, South Florida Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks V concert featuring Svetlana Smolina and Miami City Ballet’s Masters of Modern Ballet program.” FAB is supported by lovers of the local arts, whose membership dues help fund grants that “preserve and cultivate” the arts in Broward County. Their work is also supplemented by corporate sponsors.

5. 26 . 20 22 •

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NEWS LOCAL

NEWS LOCAL

LOCAL BI MAN TO TAKE OVER BAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE John McDonald

D

aniel Sohn is on the move again. Sohn, the former Haverhill councilman, is set to take the reins of another California chamber of commerce next month. The Antioch Chamber of Commerce hired Sohn away from the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, naming him the entity’s new chief executive officer. “I am thrilled that I have been given the opportunity to guide the Antioch Chamber through this administrative transition period post COVID-19,” Sohn said. “I am also humbled that I get to be a part of building the chamber’s new team of professionals who will assist in the curation of an organization-wide strategy focused on becoming the region’s leader in economic development. I am even more excited that members of the Floridian Group, LLC. / Pacific Partners Management Team will help fill the gap during this process. The future is certainly bright!” Sohn started the Floridian Group, a Tallahassee lobbying firm, shortly after losing

The clinical presentation of monkeypox. Photo via CDC.

Daniel Sohn (right) meets with California Senator Ben Hueso at the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce in El Centro, California. Photo by John McDonald.

re-election to the Haverhill Town Council by one vote. He moved to California last year to bring together three chambers in Imperial County. His work quickly got the attention of business leaders in Antioch. Chamber board member Ana Cosovic said Sohn “brings expertise that will help bring chamber members fresh programs and services.” Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Antioch is the third largest city in Contra Costa County. It’s new ground for Sohn, who grew up in Broward County and married his partner, Kaitik Chan, in the first same-sex wedding performed inside the Florida Capitol.

MONKEYPOX

Another Health Crisis for LGBT Community John Hayden

T

here’s a new health crisis putting LGBT people at risk: monkeypox. As of this writing, there are only eight confirmed or presumed cases in the U.S., with two of them in South Florida. On May 22 the Florida Department of Health in Broward County (DOH-Broward) announced the presumptive diagnosis is related to a patient who was involved in international travel. DOHBroward said that person is in isolation. Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, and the smallpox vaccine is likely to provide crossprotection. Smallpox was nearly eradicated by the early 1970s, and people younger than 50 may not have the vaccine. The U.S. is preparing to release supplies of a two-dose vaccine designed to prevent smallpox and monkeypox. They will be made available to patients considered high risk.

LGBT RISK Though monkeypox isn’t transmitted exclusively through sexual contact,, it is spread through close, intimate contact. The

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• 5. 26.2022

MONKEYPOX IS SIMILAR TO SMALLPOX, AND THE SMALLPOX VACCINE IS LIKELY TO PROVIDE CROSS-PROTECTION.

CDC said it can also spread through contact with infected bedding or clothes. The CDC’s Dr. John Brooks said clusters of patients are popping up around the world, and the disease seems to be disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men. Lesions are appearing in the genital areas, and can easily be mistaken for other STIs, including herpes, syphilis and chickenpox. “Anyone with a rash or lesion around or involving their genitals, anus or any other place that they have not seen it before, should be fully evaluated, both for that rash but particularly for sexually transmitted infection and other illnesses that can cause rash,” Brooks said. The incubation period can be up to two weeks. Symptoms usually mimic the flu and usually precede a rash. However, this latest outbreak is seeing the rash sometimes appear first. Belgium has instituted a 21-day quarantine for patients. That country, as could Spain, could be where the outbreak began. Health officials say sex at raves in those countries could be the source of original infections. This is just the latest health crisis for South Florida’s LGBT community. Earlier this year a virulent strain of meningitis was spotted here, and resulted in an urgent push for people to get vaccinated. That will not be the case for this health scare. Only 1,000 doses are currently available in America, and those are being given sparingly. A second vaccine exists, but comes with harsh side effects. The CDC said it will review the urgency of the crisis when considering its use.


NEWS LOCAL

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR STONEWALL PARADE & PARTY John Hayden

I

t’s been three years since Wilton Manors has hosted a “normal” Stonewall Pride event. COVID forced the 2020 event to be canceled entirely. Twenty-twenty one was marred by tragedy when a car in the parade staging area accidentally went out of control and killed another parade participant. Now, with one month to go, organizers of the 2022 Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival are finishing up plans for what they hope will be a flawless day on The Drive. “Everyone feels as if this is going to be a great year and a great event,” Jamie Forsythe, one of the planners, said. “For our team, the excitement level is maxed out. The business owners on The Drive are anticipating and preparing for record breaking crowds.” The event is Saturday, June 18. The street fair is from 3-11 p.m. with the parade set for 7 p.m. Logistically, plans are very similar to last year. The party will begin by Tropics at 20th St. and Wilton Drive. There will be three vendor booths between 20th St. and 21st Ct. and a stage. The entrances on the south end will be at 20th St. by Burgers and Beer, at the entrance from Hagen parking lot by city hall, and the west side of 21st Ct. Admission will be $5 until 4 p.m. and $7 thereafter.

DETAILS NOT FINALIZED Forsythe said they expect up to seven stages stretching along The Drive. Most of them will be run by businesses along the route, with one by the south entrance and at least The Manor anchoring entertainment at the other end near Five Points. The main stage at 6th Ave. will be the Black Excellence stage, as well as serving as the main reviewing platform during the parade, which will be broadcast live by Happening Out Television. Grand Marshals for the parade haven’t been announced yet, either. But who will be performing on those stages? That’s generally still up in the air. Forsythe said acts on the main stage (which is programmed by the event’s organizer) haven’t been finalized. The websites of The Manor and Hamburger Mary’s don’t list their Pride lineups yet either. As in past years, there will be plenty of local vendors ranging from local artists to voter registration to organizations raising social awareness. About 70% of booth space is sold, so there is still availability for groups

Image via Facebook.

that want to participate. There are also plans for a flash mob to celebrate Juneteenth.

EAT & DRINK Food trucks will be providing food along with restaurants along Wilton Drive. There will be food courts in the parking lot of 21st Ct. and by Wilton Collective. Aside from the VIP area, all alcohol will be sold by bars along The Drive.

EXPANSION ON HOLD Planning for the party began months ago, and there was a push to make it a two-day event, with a major, A-List headliner on one night and the parade the next. Forsythe said it just wasn’t possible. “Society is still recovering from the effects of COVID and the lockdown. Many of our suppliers are short staffed and not able to provide the support staff for a two-day event.” That shortage includes security. “We were concerned that we would not be able to fully staff a two-day event as many of our security partners are all already stretched thin. It was a joint decision that in order to provide the quality and safety of the event, we would remain at a one-day event this year.” Wilton Manors Police Department is up to full staff, on paper. However, many officers are still in training, and a larger event would stretch the force beyond what is safe. For the latest updates on Stonewall events visit StonewallPride.LGBT.

and

and

5. 26 . 20 22 •

13


NEWS STATE

NEWS NATIONAL

LESBIANS TOUGH OUT WINS IN OREGON

ZANDER MORICZ

Youngest Plaintiff in the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Lawsuit

John McDonald

Kim Swan

L

esbians can look to Oregon for inspiration as the midterm elections heat up. Tina Kotek, the state’s former Speaker of the House, captured the Democratic party nomination for governor and Jamie McLeodSkinner, former president of the National Organization for Women, looks poised to knock off a seven-term congressman. Kotek won the primary with 55% of the vote. As her victory over state treasurer Tobias Read became apparent, Kotek promised supporters “an election unlike anything any of us has ever seen.” Kotek moves on to face two other accomplished female public servants in a three-way race to lead the Beaver State. If she wins, Kotek would become the first lesbian ever elected governor in the United States. Meanwhile, McLeod-Skinner, a civil engineer and emergency response coordinator, appears to have sent Congressman Kurt Schrader packing in

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Former Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek speaks in Portland, Oregon, in July of 2019. Photo by John McDonald.

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onservatives may have won the battle of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, but the war is just beginning. More students are speaking up and fighting back. Zander Moricz, an 18-year-old at Pine View School, is one of these students. Moricz, from Sarasota County, developed a name for himself when he drew national attention for his activism, according to the Sun Sentinel. “I am the youngest public plaintiff in the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ lawsuit. I am my Florida high school’s first openly gay Class President. I Zander Moricz. Photo via Instagram. am being silenced, and I need your help,” he wrote on Twitter. However, schools would be allowed to do He is not the only teen fighting against that, according to a professor at the University the Parental Rights in Education, dubbed of Florida. the “Don’t Say Gay,” law. Lyman High School “I think schools have to weigh this and students held a walkout in March holding be sensitive to the sense of political speech rainbow flags and a “love is love” sign, MSN involved,” Clay Calvert said, according to reported. A recent graduate, Madi Koesler, the Sentinel. “They’ll need to try to strike captured the images during the protest. a balance regardless of what the law is here. “These are my photos and I think the A graduation speech would be considered students should be able to see them because school-supervised speech, though it’s not taking away these photos is silencing their technically part of the curriculum.” voices,” Koesler told wesh.com. “This was a Students will still be allowed to wear protest that wasn’t met with much resistance Pride flags, pins, stickers and more at the by the administration and we were easily able graduation ceremonies though. to take pictures of the kids in the courtyard. The Sarasota County School District said They were celebrated; they were chanting.” the principal at Pine View School met with The Seminole County School Board wanted Moricz to remind him of the expectations to censor the photos, but after a public for the ceremony, the Sentinel reported. backlash, they reversed the decision. In a statement a spokesperson wrote, While graduation approaches, Broward “Out of respect for all those attending high schools formed small the graduation, students are committees to review speeches reminded that a graduation MORICZ, FROM before the ceremonies to warn should not be a platform for SARASOTA students to steer clear of speech personal political statements, COUNTY, they’ve deemed too “political or especially those likely to disrupt controversial” such as that about the ceremony. Should a student DEVELOPED “Don’t Say Gay” law, the Sentinel vary from this expectation A NAME FOR reported. during the graduation, it may be HIMSELF WHEN HE “I can’t imagine we wouldn’t let necessary to take appropriate DREW NATIONAL these kids say that at graduation,” action.” Broward School Board Member Although the law takes effect ATTENTION FOR Sarah Leonardi said. “But I guess July 1, it’s already affecting HIS ACTIVISM, never say never.” public schools. Palm Beach ACCORDING TO THE County School Superintendent Cheng, who uses she/her SUN SENTINEL. and they/them pronouns, said Mike Burke said he would pull limiting students’ speeches goes two children’s LGBT books against Freedom of Speech when they’re off the shelves in order to review them: standing up for human rights and equality. “Call Me Max” and “I Am Jazz.” The books Cheng also said that “conforming to the feature trans characters who describe their stereotypical congratulation speech” cannot differences and discuss things such as be the answer since it doesn’t address the names, pronouns and bathroom choices.” minority groups in school.


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17


D U O PR

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he war on books rages on as Polk County District calls for 16 books to be banned from public schools for containing “objectionable materials.” “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan is one of these books: a novel that is both a “celebration of equality” and a “memorial to a lost generation.” Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Frederick Heid said the district’s plan is to review 16 books that County Citizens Defending Freedom, a conservative political group, said are “age inappropriate and hypersexualize children, violating numerous Florida Statutes,” according to The Ledger. The plan will take at least 14 weeks to finish once two review committees have been established.

“Two Boys Kissing” book cover. Photo via Amazon.

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• 5. 26.2022

GBT people are not scary in the showers, but according to statements made by some professional soccer players in England, gays are terrifying after the uniforms are off. Patrice Evra, a former professional soccer player from France, revealed that while he was playing for West Ham, some of his colleagues publicly stated that they would refuse to shower with any gay teammates. Robbie Rogers was already out and showering with his Major League Soccer colleagues by that time. “I give the example, when I was playing for West Ham, someone from the English federation came and said, ‘We need to accept everyone’ and the number of players that were like ‘no, if some of my teammates are gay they have to leave now, I won’t do any shower [with them],’” Evra told Daily Mail.

Patrice Evra. Image via whufc.com.


Publisher's Editorial

CONVICTIONS

THE LAST OF THE CHEMO COMEDY CHRONICLES A VW BUS WOULD HAVE MADE FOR A BETTER RIDE

Norm Kent

norm.kent@sfgn.com

F

irst, the past nine months I have tried to keep my spirits up. But the truth is that it has not been easy. A cerebral stroke in June, a brain tumor in July, and COVID in August was not the way I planned my summer. For good measure, I have spent the last months snorting chemotherapy to fight pancreatic cancer. Then came the surgery, with plans for some more prophylactic chemo down the road. Looking forward to it, I heard they are introducing a new lime mango brand.

So you take what life deals you. It is not always roses, but somewhere there can always be a Mykonos coming your way. Have faith. Look to the sun. It takes you to a brighter path. Who you are is who you are, and no one can or should ever take that away from you. If someone you know has a problem with you being gay, for example, it’s their problem, not yours. First then, rule number one is that even rose bushes have thorns, you don’t always get dealt a full house or a flush. Sometimes there are aces and eights. Bounce back. Second, always grow up with a pet. It will show you how a wagging tail is all it takes to love something in life no matter how they look. Just try to become the person your dog thinks you are foolish though he may be. Brothers and sisters are okay, but don’t trust them with your baseball cards or Barbie dolls. Third, if you can learn to laugh at yourself early in life, you will never ever cease to be amused. And you will always find something to laugh at. Fourth, okay you don’t have to learn how

to play the piano, or even the accordion, but, my God, love to listen to music. Music not only soothes the savage beast, but it also calms the turbulent waters of your soul. Songs like Ben Kweller teach you how to fight back. Pete Seeger can teach you how to weave the sunshine out of the falling rain. Fifth, life without sunshine is, well, dark. What you dream or build may be washed away in a moment but build anyway because there is simply no storm that eventually does not run out of rain. Just don’t expect the water to recede if you don’t learn how to swim. Sixth, respect diversity, vegans, vegetarians, and all things for all people. But don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t have a Nathan’s Hot Dog with mustard and sauerkraut at a ballpark, or fried dough at the annual country picnic. A famous actor once said a hotdog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz. But I think a few shots of a Mimosa in Boost might give it more flavor. Seventh, Andre Gide once wrote that only those who have been touched by the wings of death will fully understand the flight of life, but please don’t make that your

WHO YOU ARE IS WHO YOU ARE, AND NO ONE CAN OR SHOULD EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM YOU.

Photo via Pixabay.

employment manual. Respect both how delicate and precious life is, and integrate caution, moderation, and good temper into your daily existence. Eighth, rich is better than poor, but worry more about the emptiness in your heart then in your pocketbook. Surviving abdominal cancer surgery requires you to first pass gas and move your bowels like a baby all over again. It’s more important than the French Onion soup on the menu. You see, little things matter most. Ninth. The good you do comes back to you, but remember so does the bad. Keep a smile in your hearts and a song on your lips. Be comforted that in the changing fortunes

of time there is always a future in computer maintenance. Or pouring drinks that make people smile. Tenth. Eat your Cheerios. Be aware that a walk through the valley of most souls will be shallow, but walk anyway. Chemotherapy should never be taken without a Tootsie Roll lollipop or like I said, with a dog by your side. Finally, life is not a dress rehearsal, but do not walk nude through the Beware of “Love tunnel at AOL,” and never let some guy tell you the only way he will become your friend is if you take down your pants for him. See you at our anniversary party next week. Learn to have a lover’s quarrel with the world and not your lover.

5. 26 . 20 22 •

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EDITORIAL CARTOON HAVE A LAUGH WITH SFGN’S FAKE COVER OF THE WEEK.

LOCAL NAME GLOBAL COVERAG E MAY 26, 2022 VOL. 13 // ISSUE 21

MAYOR RENOUNCES GUBERNATIORIAL CA NDIDA PROMOTES ‘FLOATAR TR AIN TUNNEL’ INST AMA EAD

Dean Trantalis: Still

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COLUMN OFF THE WALL

THE BUSINESS & FINANCIAL CORNER Pier Angelo

T

he early May Employment Report came in at 428,000 added jobs in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. This was another good report exemplifying the tightness in the labor market. Perhaps a little more surprising is that the labor participation rate declined from 62.4% to Image via PixaBay. 62.2% as 363,000 people left the labor force. None of the aforementioned numbers would indicate that the economy is slowing down The US$ has further strengthened, especially nor that the pressure on wage growth will against the EUR and is now sitting at EUR/ US$ alleviate. This, in turn, will further flame 1.05. If you are wondering, yes that is bordering inflation that also continues to be fueled a new record low, if you want to call it that way, by challenges in the supply chain, higher and it would be a good time to visit the old overall logistics cost due to elevated oil/gas continent (England/GB and Switzerland are prices at the pump, and the ongoing war in not part of the EUR). the Ukraine. The advance estimate of first The Russian invasion of Ukraine is “creating quarter GDP showed that the additional upward pressure economy contracted by 1.4%. on inflation” and is likely to However, the details show weigh on economic activity. THE RUSSIAN that demand remained much COVID-related lockdowns in INVASION stronger than the headline China are likely to exacerbate OF UKRAINE suggests. Growth was pulled supply chain disruptions. lower by a sharp widening in With inflation running at 8.5% IS “CREATING the trade deficit and a pullback and the policy rate still at just ADDITIONAL in inventory investment, 1%, consensus is that the Fed UPWARD shaving a combined 4% from will keep hiking by 50 basis PRESSURE headline growth. Abstracting points at each of its next two from this, domestic demand meetings as it attempts to ON INFLATION” expanded by a healthy 2.6%, a quickly get its policy rate AND IS LIKELY big improvement from its 1.5% toward a neutral level. The TO WEIGH ON pace in the second half of 2021. aggressive path expected for The Dow Jones has taken it the policy rate combined with ECONOMIC on the chin over the past month the forthcoming rundown of ACTIVITY. and dropped to the low 30,000s the Fed’s balance sheet has from around 35,000 last month. pushed U.S. Treasury yields There are a multitude of reasons for the drop higher. The U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields are that range from inflation fears, higher rates, currently up to 2.61% and 2.91%, extending lower corporate earnings due to supply chain the massive move seen over 2022. Equity issues, uncertainty, and general profit taking. markets have suffered on the back of rising Higher rates also finally given the option for commodity prices and growing risks that fixed income; e.g., if you believe that inflation higher policy rates could choke off economic will return to 2% annually, then a 3% yield growth. Though the Fed needs to raise rates, on a 10-year treasury looks good/safe in bear it has to be careful as it tries to engineer a market. This is why we have seen frequent soft landing; it is still very much in doubt pull backs once the 10-year crosses over the that it can achieve it. 3% then drops below 3% again. Oil has stayed All in all we still have a long way to go to somewhat stable month over month and is get back to normal. now sitting again at $100/ barrel down from But historically the U.S. economy has been $110/ barrel just a few days ago. Gold dropped resilient and has always come back. about $150/ ounce to currently $1,837/ ounce. We just have to wait and see.

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3/8/2022 7:48:59 AM


CONVICTIONS

Mombian

A QUEER MOM’S PERSPECTIVE ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS Dana Rudolph

I

n 1989, I was part of the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC, as abortion rights were at risk of being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. I was still recently out as a lesbian, with no thoughts of parenthood yet on my mind, but the idea of the government forcing people to carry unwanted or life-risking pregnancies was as anathema to me as their telling me who to love. Fast forward more than a decade, and my partner (now spouse) and I started our family through assisted reproduction. This deliberate choice to become a parent, and parenthood itself, with its challenges as well as joys, only reinforced my belief that pregnancy should always be a choice — and terminating one a choice to be made between pregnant person and doctor, not the government. Now, with reproductive rights again under threat at the U.S. Supreme Court, I still feel that protecting those rights is as important as any other LGBT advocacy work. Queer people can and do have sex that can lead to pregnancy. For bisexual people, trans and non-binary people with partners whom they can be fertile with, questioning people, and others who choose for whatever reason to have intercourse that could result in a pregnancy — access to abortion is a necessary part of controlling our bodies and our lives. Even with birth control, accidents happen; there may be medical reasons for terminating a pregnancy; and anyone with a uterus is still at risk of pregnancy from rape. If the right to abortion is overturned, people will still seek them. Those with more financial means will be more likely to have them safely; the risk of injury and death from illegal abortions will fall most heavily on

marginalized communities. (This is why we must speak not only of abortion rights but of abortion access.) Others will carry unwanted pregnancies to term, leading to people who are too young to parent or not in positions to do so well, placing more families below the poverty line as they struggle to support more kids, burdening our already overburdened adoption system, and upending individual lives and plans that did not include a child (or another one). Every child should be a wanted child. If abortion rights are overturned, there could also be implications for assisted reproduction. RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association explains on its website that in states that define life as beginning at conception, “Anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a violation of law.” This would lead to worrying legal questions like: Do all embryos have to be transferred after fertilization? If they are frozen for later, who is liable for ones lost in the freezing/thawing process? and more. Some medical practices may then decide not to take the legal risk of offering such services. As of this writing, these are open questions, but certainly worrying ones. Access to abortion is not just about pregnancy, either, but about the broader issues of personal and body autonomy, which lie at the very heart of queer rights. Many people have speculated that overturning abortion rights could lead to the overturning of the rights enshrined in the key U.S. Supreme Court decisions Lawrence v. Texas (the right of consenting adults to engage in private sexual acts) and Obergefell v. Hodges (marriage equality). Here’s how. In the draft

ACCESS TO ABORTION IS NOT JUST ABOUT PREGNANCY, EITHER, BUT ABOUT THE BROADER ISSUES OF PERSONAL AND BODY AUTONOMY.

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Photo via Center for Reproductive Rights Facebook.

U.S. Supreme Court memo that leaked in early May, Justice Samuel Alito says that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment “has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’” Abortion, he says, does not fall into this category. Later, Alito said that those in favor of abortion access should not lean on Lawrence and Obergefell as precedent for a “broader right to autonomy” and thus to abortion. He explains that none of the rights that Lawrence or Obergefell enshrine “has any claim to being deeply rooted in history.” That seems to imply that the rights affirmed by Lawrence and Obergefell, too, could be at risk. Alito later seems to walk this back a bit, noting that Roe said, “abortion is ‘inherently different from marital intimacy,’ ‘marriage,’ or ‘procreation’,” and adding, “We emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing

in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” I somehow don’t think that the right-wing groups pushing to overturn Roe are going to follow his advice on that last sentence. Many of these groups are the same ones that have long opposed LGBT equality and are now ramping up anti-trans legislation — legislation that threatens trans youths’ body autonomy, as Texas, Alabama, and other states try to prevent them from accessing medically proven, gender-affirming health care, even with parental permission. If these groups can make a crack in the idea of autonomy in one area, you can bet they’ll try to extend it further. For all these reasons and more, reproductive rights are queer rights. Queer people are not “allied” with the reproductive rights movement; we are part of it. And we must work as hard as we ever have on any part of LGBT equality to ensure that these rights remain with us.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory, with a searchable database of 850+ LGBTQ family books, media, and more.


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T

his is my last editorial as the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim. It has been my honor, pleasure, and privilege to serve as its spiritual leader for the past 13 years, and through some of the most dramatic and consequential political and social paroxysms in recent history. Viruses, both medical and political, multiplied with wild abandon, killing millions and costing billions with a concomitant rise in violent and persistent anti-social behaviors, including pointed attacks against the legacy targeted communities of LGBT people, people of color, immigrants, Moslems, and Jews. As a society we have come to the point where we all feel attacked and so attack others as a kind of self-defense. We claim personal, economic, and social harm even to the point of an existential destruction, then we stand on this claim as our justification while we execute the same strategy on others. In doing so we have created a society where everyone is entitled and no one is safe. We call it a variety of names: sexism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, antisemitism; at its core is the sincerely held belief that might makes right, a kind of individually held assertion that I am entitled to force you to do my will, obey my command, and accept being my subordinate. Many people will insist that permission for this attitude was born in the Hebrew scriptures and solidified in the Christian and Moslem holy books. My take is a little different. I believe that the attitude of might makes right was solidified and accepted long before the Torah (Hebrew scriptures) was written, even if you believe they were first offered at Sinai. I don’t believe Torah endorsed this attitude, but reported it conspicuously alongside the many injunctions to choose life, to welcome the stranger, to protect and provide for the vulnerable, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to have the humility to accept that God is the True Judge, not us. We were also given the choice to bless or to curse, and to our shame we have chosen to fill the earth with curses. We curse those who are unlike ourselves, who thwart our desires, who do us harm, who don’t believe as we do, whose behavior is forbidden by our beliefs; we curse others casually, dramatically, insistently. We insist

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Rabbi Noah Kitty. SFGN file photo. on the righteousness with which we have endowed ourselves as justification to curse others at will. I can only say that as a Jewish lesbian I have been targeted by a wealth of such curses, and they have only served to strengthen my adherence to my identities. I believe most others have a similar reaction. Still we persist with the curses, the snide remark, the demeaning put-down, the snarky meanspirited op-ed. We can choose another way. We can choose to bless others. We can choose to love our neighbor as ourselves and create a world that reflects that. Imagine this scenario: you’re driving down 95 in the lefthand lane and suddenly a car roars past you in the breakdown lane. You are shocked and surprised, and as the car disappears you trail it with a slew of curses, your anger increasing with each moment banging the steering wheel in frustration. Now imagine the same scenario, only this time as the car roars past you say a short prayer that the person behind that wheel finds their peace before someone gets hurt. May all people who find themselves behind a wheel of anger and pain be able to find their peace before someone gets hurt.

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LIFESTYLE FOOD

PLAYING WITH THE BIG DOGS Rick Karlin

THE BLUE DOG COOKHOUSE AND BAR 6000 GLADES RD., BOCA RATON 561-961-3300 • BLUEDOGBOCA.COM

T

he Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar claims on its website, “[It] brings an elevated New York dining experience to Boca. Our chefs make use of topquality ingredients to give both classic and innovative dishes their best life. Our world renowned mixologists are committed to bringing an experience to Palm Beach County like it has never been experienced before. With quality you can depend upon, ingredients you can trust and service you’ll love.” That’s a lot of hyperbole! And if Blue Dog reached that, it would be a superb dining experience. But how elevated a dining experience is it if the tables are not covered in tablecloths? For a place with entrées in the $30-$40 range (and a steak that goes for $150!) and burgers and pastas in the mid $20s, a higher level of presentation is to be expected. The servers are friendly and efficient (and attractive) but not polished enough for fine dining. Let’s start with some positives. The West Palm martini ($14), a specialty of the house, was perfectly prepared and served properly, in a vintage-look chilled glass. Our appetizer choices included a dish of sheer perfection, Buffalo cauliflower ($15), with a healthy portion, easily enough for two to share. There are three versions of steamed dumplings: chicken, pork, and vegetable. An order of five is $18. While the veggie dumplings were delish, why five to an order and not six? If you’re going to share an appetizer, six makes more sense. Also, why do they all have to be one kind, why not a sampler? Every item is priced about 20% higher than it should be for the dining level being offered.

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• 5. 26.2022

We split an entrée salad, the Farmer’s Market, a delightful mélange of greens, cherry tomatoes, glazed pistachios, and feta. After we placed the salad order, our server started to walk away. We had to tell her we still wanted to order entrées. Maybe she was trying to signal us because both entrées were a disappointment. Lobster mac and cheese featured plenty of lobster (and a fair share of cartilage and shell), but the cheese sauce was broken and oily. The filet trio arrived, cooked to a perfect medium rare, but without much of an outer char, as if they had been cooked sous vide. The trio of steaks were topped with three different sauces (Oscar, bearnaise and bone marrow) and sat atop a dollop of sweet and mashed potatoes and cauliflower au gratin. They were all lacking in seasoning. A side order of polenta was grainy and dry. We’d hoped that our desserts would be a saving grace and they were. The Key lime pie comes, as expected, on a graham cracker crust, but then it is topped with a housemade graham cookie and star-tips of torched meringue — beyond exquisite! The gooey butter cake could have spent a few more minutes in the oven, it went beyond gooey to runny. But I didn’t care; it tasted so good, I ate the runny batter. Both desserts, priced at $14 each, were huge, enough for at least two to share. We brought more than half of each home. Blue Dog shows promise, but it’s either got to step up its game or drop its prices if it expects to succeed in Boca’s competitive market. The good thing is, since it is located near the entrance to Boca Town Center Mall, there is adequate free parking.

The Filet Trio. Image courtesy of Rick Karlin.

THE SIDE DISH UNION KITCHEN & BAR has a new seasonal menu and is rolling out new summer promotions including a “$7 till 7 p.m.” happy hour, featuring a selection of cocktails, wines by the glass, premium liquors, and bar snacks for $7 each from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. It will also offer “Wine Down Tuesdays” with 50% off all bottles of wine through Sept. 30. For those always looking for a new cuisine, how about something from Georgia (the country)? ASKANELI, from

HUNGRY FOR MORE? 

owner Oleksandr Uvarov, opened a few weeks ago. Try khachapuri (cheese bread with a runny egg), khinkali (large beef and pork filled dumplings) or a lamb and tarragon stew called chakapuli. It’s hidden away on the ground floor of the NuRiver Landing condos, behind the Broward County Courthouse. Another one bites the dust. TUCKER DUKE’S has closed its Boca Raton location. The Deerfield Beach flagship will remain open.

VISIT SFGN.COM/FOOD!

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. The views Rick expresses are his own and do not represent the opinion of SFGN.

TWO GUYS AND A DOG: WELL PREPARED FOR WHAT MIGHT COME NEXT Visit SFGN.com to find out more.


A&E BURLESQUE

“Aquamen,” the underwater boylesque review at the B Ocean Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach features a cast of beefy performers who tease audiences in the Wreck Bar below the hotel pool. Credit: MeduSirena.

AQUAMEN TAKE IT OFF IN HOTEL POOL J.W. Arnold

A

visit to the Wreck Bar in the B Ocean hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach is like a step back in time to the kitschy days of the 1950s. Formerly known as the Yankee Clipper and shaped vaguely like an ocean liner, the hotel’s bar is defined by wooden planks, thick ropes and portholes above the bar that frame a view of the pool. While families frolic in the waters during the day, arrive later in the evening and bar patrons may be treated to a fleeting sight of a mermaid, another nod to an era long past. Since 2006, Marina Anderson and her production company MeduSirena have been training and choreographing the spectacle at the hotel. Anderson started with fantasy mermaid shows, but has more recently branched out into adult burlesque-flavored shows and even boylesque performances, featuring ripped men tantalizing gawkers in the bar below. Her “Aquamen” show is currently playing twice monthly with three to four performers. “Sure enough, I found a great group of lunatics who were willing to take the dive,” Anderson said. “And, because of proximity to Wilton Manors, why wouldn’t you want to see male strip tease?” The Aquamen come from surprising backgrounds, Anderson pointed out: “I’ve got a guy who [scuba] dives with sharks, but there’s also a Marine helicopter pilot,

an accountant…” and she sees herself as the “den mother.” “Somebody’s got to do it. I train them, I dress them, I oil them, I oil them, sometimes I oil them again,” Anderson said with a chuckle. “It’s the most diverse group of maniacs you could ever ask for.” In all her shows, the longtime choreographer — she came to Fort Lauderdale as a dancer at the Mai Kai Polynesian restaurant — must be careful not to cross the lines of decency. The bar is in a hotel lobby, she emphasized. But that doesn’t mean the shows can’t still be sexy and, more importantly, funny. In the past, she has put together a “Magnum, P.I.” show with the swimmers dressed in Hawaiian shirts, baseball caps and mustaches, and comic performances featuring banana suits (“I have this thing about bananas,” she offered.). “Once they start getting their own identities, that’s when they start to shine,” Anderson explained. “You want to stick out. Generally, they behave, but they’ll push it knowing that I’ll laugh my ass off.” She also noted that audiences have very different perceptions of “sexy.” Some look for the hard bodies, but others may be more attracted by performers who flirt or have a sassy persona under the surface. “It’s always a surprise,” she promised.

MeduSirena presents “Aquamen” boylesque show twice monthly on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. at the B Ocean Resort, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd. on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Tickets are $65 and include dinner and drinks. More information at BOceanResort.com.

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A&E FILM REVIEW

‘DOWNTON ABBEY’ DAZZLES, DISHES UP LAUGHS JW Arnold

The Crawley family returns to the big screen in “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” Credit: Carnival Productions.

I

t’s been a dozen years since the world was introduced to the Crawley family, the fictional British nobles who call Downton Abbey home, and their colorful cast of servants. The series quickly became an international sensation, inspiring six seasons — a rarity in British television — and a 2019 feature film. Fans couldn’t get enough of the upstairs/ downstairs drama that not only chronicled the post-World War I collapse of the aristocracy, but also touched on issues of women’s rights, homosexuality, racism and other taboo topics of polite conversation over tea and scones. The Crawley family is back and while the film is billed “A New Era” — as evidenced by the tweenaged grandchildren — creator Julian Fellowes instead focuses on wrapping up the storylines of the current generation. At the beginning of the film, the family celebrates the wedding of former chauffeur Tom Branson (Allen Leach) and illegitimate heiress Lucy (Tuppence Middleton). The cake has barely been cut as Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), who is running the massive estate, begins to fret about the decaying state of finances and the castle’s roof. Luckily, a movie production company presents an offer to film a silent feature and pay enough to lift the sagging books. No one is more skeptical than retired butler Carson, but he will not be around to scowl at this attack on the dignity of the house. That’s because he will be accompanying Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern), Tom and Lucy and Lady Edith and Lord Pelham (Laura Carmichael and Harry Hadden-Paton) to the French Riviera, where the dowager countess Violette (Maggie Smith) has been willed a palatial villa by a mysterious and presumed former lover. Plenty of antics ensue as the movie actors interact with the family and the starstruck servants deliver unintended cameo appearances at the most inopportune moments

in the filming. In France, questions soon arise about what “exactly” happened during Violette’s week-long romance with the dashing French suitor. While most of the sarcastic one-liners in the past have been reserved for the old lady, Fellowes serves up one of his most humorous scripts yet, allowing nearly all the cast more than a few opportunities to serve up some comedy. This is a lighter version of the somewhat stodgy family and the cast excels when given the opportunity to unbutton their tight-fitting characters a bit. Again, while the audience is offered hints of the “new era,” most of the energy is spent on saying goodbye to the dowager, who must be 150 years old by now. It’s not a spoiler to share that this will be Smith’s last performance, and it’s also a farewell that should not be missed. (She gets the last word.) Similarly, butler Thomas Barrow, the long-tortured gay man, may have finally found love and a place in the world, as sparks fly with the dashing leading man Guy Dexter (Dominic West). And Edith, the overlooked middle daughter, is finally happy, married to a doting husband, mother to two children and ready to return to her career as a magazine publisher. She is the rare woman in that era to seemingly “have it all.” Only Lady Mary struggles with her station. She saved the house and found love, but her husband, Henry Talbott, seems more enamored with his cars and carefree adventures than domestic bliss in the countryside. Temptations arise and she is confronted with a moral dilemma. Don’t worry, the film leaves the door open for another visit and, based on the guaranteed financial success of this installment, more are sure to follow. “Downton Abbey: A New Era” delivers in every way — inspired performances, a reminder of a nearly forgotten era that shaped generations to come and a return to the steadfast home that has welcomed all and is destined to endure.

Check local listings for theaters and showtimes.

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5. 26 . 20 22 •

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A&E APPOINTMENTS

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” fan favorite Latrice Royale is one of several local drag performers celebrated in “I Am What I Am,” a new Pride Month exhibit opening May 31 at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale. Credit: Facebook.

ARTSBEAT MORE PRIDE MONTH CELEBRATIONS J.W. Arnold

DRAG EXHIBIT OPENS AT GALLERIA History Fort Lauderdale celebrates Pride Month with a new exhibit, “I Am What I Am: A Tribute to South Florida’s Drag Pioneers.” The exhibit, opening May 31 at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale, will showcase iconic local drag performers and contributions to the region’s LGBT community. Six drag pioneers — Nikki Adams, Tiffany Arieagus, Cathy Craig, Daisy Deadpetals, Electra and Latrice Royale — are being celebrated, according to organizers, based on their longevity, entrepreneurship, roles on local television and international fame. Photographs, videos, costumes and personal mementos will be on display. A wall of fame, designed by Robert Tabor and sponsored by Lips Fort Lauderdale and Hunters Nightclub, will showcase 40 other accomplished drag performers, including Athena Dion, TP Lords, Nicole T. Phillips, Tiffany Fantasia and Nicole Halliwell. “History Fort Lauderdale is thrilled with the response to celebrate these larger-than-life personalities who make our community a more colorful and inclusive place to live and visit,” said Patricia Zeiler, executive director of History Fort Lauderdale. “The LGBT community has been resolute supporters of and contributors to the vibrant fabric of Fort Lauderdale’s world-class arts scene and we’re excited to celebrate their contributions during Pride Month and beyond.” The opening reception on May 31 at 6 p.m. will include special performances by Joanna James, Erika Norell, Velvet Lenore and DJ Aulden Brown. Shawn Palacious and Joe Posa as Joan Rivers will host the program, which also serves as the official Stonewall Pride kick-off event. Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Steve Glassman will issue a special city proclamation as part of the festivities.

Tickets are $25 at Bit.ly/HFLIAmWhatIAm2022. The exhibit will be on display through June 30 at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale, 2414 E. Sunrise Blvd.

PRIDE LIGHTS IN WEST PALM BEACH Centennial Fountain in Nancy M. Graham Centennial Park, 150 N. Clematis St. in West Palm Beach, will once again be illuminated with rainbow colors for Pride Month. The fountain lights — along with similar displays on the nearby Citizens Building, marquee at Palm Beach Dramaworks and Brightline Station — will be turned on Wednesday, June 1 at 8 p.m. following a happy hour event at Pistache French Bistro, 101 N. Clematis St. The festivities, organized by Creative Arts Enterprises, will include performances by cabaret singers Rob Russell and Avery Sommers and musicians from the Palm Beach Symphony and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.

For more information, contact Ellen Wedner at WednerFriends@hotmail.com.

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• 5. 26.2022


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Broward

Biscayne

Homestead

750 SE 3rd Ave. 1st FL

2400 Biscayne Blvd

2826 NE 8th St Ste B-13

Jackson North

South Beach

Wilton Manors

100 NW 170th St, Ste 208

1613 Alton Rd

2097 Wilton Dr