19. PRIDE ISSUE, THE PRIDE LA, JUNE 3, 2016

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the pride

35 YEARS OF AIDS CITY ONE PRIDE: LAONE PRIDE 06.03-17.2016 LOS ANGELES HAS BEEN CELEBRATE PRIDE EVERYDAY ⚫ 33

AT THE FORE ⚫ 14

WWW.THEPRIDELA.COM

MILLENNIAL PIONEERS MEET THE NEXT LGBTQI GENERATION ⚫ 22

1 LOSJUNE ANGELES 4 — 18, 2016

LA PRIDE, VOLUME 2

THE LOS ANGELES LGBT NEWSPAPER

FEDERAL ⚫ 18

Federal judge may have just ended anti-trans pee controversy FUNDRAISING ⚫ 54

AIDS/Life Cycle raises more than 16 million dollars, rolls into WeHo SOBRIETY ⚫ 19

There’s a Sober way to enjoy LA Pride but all are welcome FILM REVIEW ⚫ 56

“Last Man Standing” remembers their names at 2016 OutFest

Celebrate Pride and celebrate our journey

⚫ There are so many remarkable fighters who made it possible for all of us to enjoy LA Pride, knowing with certainty that our civil rights are intact.

⚫ The Pride LA presents a special issue dedicated to the work of a few of Los Angeles’ groundbreaking activists, new and old. And there are many more.


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NEWS

marriage of Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams is valid

PUBLISHER & EDITOR TROY MASTERS

troy@smmirror.com CONTRIBUTORS

MATTHEW S. BAJKO, ZACK FORD, CYNTHIA LAIRD, HENRY SCOTT, CHARLES KAISER, LISA KEEN, ALAN MILLER, TIM MILLER, MAER ROSHAN, KIT WINTER, BRAD LAMM, DAVID EHRENSTEIN, STEVEN ERICKSON, LILLIAN FADERMAN, ORIOL GUTTIEREZ, SETH HEMMELGARN, THOMAS LEONARD, IAN MILLHISSER, KAREN OCAMB, STEVE WEINSTEIN, CHRIS AZZOPARD, DIANE ANDERSON-MINSHALL, ALLEN ROSKOFF, JOHN PAUL KING

PHOTOGRAPHY BOB KRASNER, JON VISCOTT

CREATIVE DIRECTOR (SPECIAL PROJECTS) GARETT YOSHIDA

GRAPHICS

A Los Angeles same-sex couple who were legally married in 1975 by a Boulder, Colorado county clerk has sought recognition for decades, even after the death of one of the husbands.

GAIL HODGE ARTURO JIMENEZ | artkex@yahoo.com

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BY TROY MASTERS The United States federal government has recognized as legally valid the April 1975 same-sex marriage of Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan, approving the “green card” petition that Adams filed in 1975 for his husband, an Australian citizen. After Adams died in December 2012, Sullivan sought to have the Immigration Service recognize their marriage and grant a green card to him as the widower of a U.S. citizen. The green card, granting Anthony permanent resident status in the United States, was issued on the 41st anniversary of his Boulder, Colorado marriage to Richard — a same-sex marriage that was never invalidated by Colorado officials. The green card was recently delivered to the Hollywood apartment Richard and Anthony shared for nearly four decades. Immigration authorities, in 1975, famously refused the couple’s “green card” petition, saying they had “failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.” A ten year legal battle followed, as Richard and Anthony brought a lawsuit against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) in federal court, becoming the first gay couple to sue the U.S. government for recognition of a same-sex marriage. When the final ruling came from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1985 they were forced to leave the country. Together, they endured expulsion from the United States, bounced from country to country and would go on to suffer decades of indignities; upon return to the U.S. in 1986 they were forced to keep a very low profile, living in

fear that Anthony would be deported. It was a fear finally eased a year before Richard’s death in 2012 when the Obama administration issued a memo to protect low-risk family members of U.S. citizens from deportation, including same-sex partners of American citizens. As newlyweds, Richard and Anthony could never have imagined that 41 years later the White House would ask the Director of USCIS to issue a direct, written apology to them. Nor could they have imagined that, in 2016, the very same downtown Los Angeles Immigration office that denied Richard’s green card petition for Anthony with such offensive language would, at long last, recognize their marriage and take the position that Anthony should be treated the same as all other surviving spouses under U.S. immigration law, with the dignity and respect he deserves in accordance with recent Supreme Court rulings. Lavi Soloway, their Los Angeles-based attorney, says the federal government’s recognition of their 1975 marriage is groundbreaking because it affirms that the constitutional protection of fundamental personal liberties, including the right to marry, extends to a marriage entered into by a same sex couple that took place decades ago. “The unique and historic nature of this case cannot be understated. The U.S. government not only apologized directly to Anthony Sullivan, but, for the first time since the Supreme Court established the right of samesex couples to marry as a protected, fundamental liberty---the Immigration Service has shown its willingness to correctly apply recent Court rulings and to recognize as valid this same-sex marriage that took place in 1975. Undaunted by setbacks in the 1970s and 1980s Richard and Anthony never wavered in their belief that their marriage was valid and should be treated with dignity and ANTHONY SULLIVAN continued on p. 12

BUSINESS MANAGER MAX MONTEMER

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NATIONAL DISPLAY ADVERTISING Rivendell Media / 212.242.6863

THE PRIDE L.A., The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender L.A., is published by MIRROR MEDIA GROUP. Send all inquiries to: THE PRIDE L.A., 3435 Ocean Park Blvd. #210. Phone: 310.310.2637 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents (c) 2016 The Pride L.A.. THE PRIDE L.A. is a registered trademark of MIRROR MEDIA GROUP. T.J. MONTEMER, CEO 310.310.2637 x104 E-mail: troy@smmirror.com

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NEWS

something else to say about LA Pride BY TROY MASTERS Just when you thought the LA Pride, Christopher Street West storm had passed, the legendary 82 year old pioneering gay activist Pat Rocco delivers a new blow from Hawaii. Earlier this month, when controversy threatened numerous changes to LA Pride’s three day festival it was a letter from Pat Rocco, the first President of Christopher Street West (CSW) and founder of the Pride Festival that stunned, perhaps puzzled, some critics of CSW’s plans. The letter, read aloud at a meeting of the West Hollywood City Council, seemed to take aim at critics who alleged 2016’s CSW board was changing the nature of the Festival by rechristening it “Music Festival,” a move that seemed to downplay the very history and legacy gay pride events have traditionally been designed to celebrate. CSW President Chris Classen, reinforced those fears when he told West Hollywood City Council that “adding the word ‘music’ to the title of L.A. Pride is a subtle welcome to a

PAT ROCCO, WITH FILM CAMERA IN HAND, STANDS BEHIND HARVEY MILK AS HE ADDRESSES A CROWD ONE NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN ARCHIVES

PAT ROCCO continued on p.41

Study Suggests Anti-Trans Parents May Literally Be Killing Their Kids

BY ZACK FORD, THINK PROGRESS

LEELAH ALCORN, A TRANSGENDER TEEN WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE AFTER BLOGGING ABOUT HOW HER FAMILY REJECTED HER IDENTITY.

Rejection from family members seems to have a significant influence on the health of transgender people, a new study finds. Trans people whose spouses, parents, or children chose not to speak with them after transitioning experienced much higher rates of suicide attempts and substance abuse. The study, conducted by researchers at the City University of New York, used data from the 2011National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which found that 41 percent of respondents had attempted suicide, far above the national average — 1.6 percent of the general population. According to the new analysis, how trans people have been treated by their family was a significant factor for that outcome: After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, having experienced high levels of family rejection was associated with almost three and half times the odds of suicide attempts and two and a half times

the odds of substance misuse, compared to those who experienced little or no family rejection. Having experienced only moderate levels of family rejection was associated with almost twice the odds of suicide attempts and over 1.5 times the odds of substance misuse. These findings suggest the importance of investigating and addressing stigmatization experienced by transgender persons by close others, not only by broader society, structures, and systems. The study qualifies that the rejection may be a direct factor in causing the negative health outcomes or may indirectly deprive transgender people of accessing the social support needed to buffer their stressors. Still, the results jibe with a similar analysis of the NTDS, which found that discrimination was also a significant factor for suicide attempts, particularly for those who had experienced unemployment,

homelessness, bullying and violence, health care discrimination, and extreme poverty. In fact, these factors may be linked, as those who did not have the support of their family were also found to experience unemployment and lower incomes at higher rates. Sarit Golub, one of the researchers on the study, explained to Reuters Health, “For transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, this rejection is based on a failure to accept a fundamental part of that individual’s identity — what they feel to be their core self. We are saddened by these findings, and believe they are a call to action for those who work with and care about the transgender community.” The results also further rebut the myth that transitioning itself contributes to transgender people’s negative health outcomes. Indeed, the research suggests that family acceptance may actually have a protective effect against these outcomes.


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ANTHONY SULLIVAN IS PICTURED HERE IN THE HOLLYWOOD APARTMENT HE SHARED WITH HIS PARTNER OF 37 YEARS. PORTRAITS BY JON VISCOTT

ANTHONY SULLIVAN ANTHONY SULLIVAN continued from p. 6

respect. Eventually the Supreme Court and the Immigration Service caught up with them,” said Soloway. “This outcome is an example of the potentially far reaching ripple effects of the Court’s ruling in Obergefell,” Soloway added. “In 2014 we asked USCIS to take the steps necessar y to reopen Adams’ 1975 petition in light of the Supreme Court ruling striking down the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” and subsequent victories by gay couples in marriage equality cases.” The last ruling on their petition had been issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 1978,” explained Soloway. “A fter the Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality, USCIS acted on our request to apply, constitutionally valid principles to the 1975 green card petition. As a result, in 2015 the Board of Immigration Appeals ordered the petition be reopened and the original denial reconsidered,” he said. In January 2016, Adams’ original petition was approved and, because he was deceased, it was converted by USCIS into a widower’s petition, allowing Anthony to move forward with his green card application. Theirs is a monumental love story that began in “The Closet” only to make history and has come to embody the entire narrative arc of the

modern gay rights struggle and the fight for marriage equality. They met in 1971 at “The Closet,” a Los Angeles gay bar, at a time when LGBT people were referred to as ‘homosexuals,’ or ‘faggots,’ were denied travel visas, classified as mentally ill, barred from many professions — a time when most of us were rejected by our families, could be imprisoned for having sex, were routinely evicted from our homes, easily fired from our jobs, and few authorities cared if we were beaten in the streets or even killed. It was a time when our very right to existence was challenged at a near cellular level, even before AIDS. Falling in love was one thing but finding a way to stay together was an entirely separate matter: Anthony was in the United States on a 90 day tourist visa. But they decided would pursue all legal avenues to stay together. In the early 1970s, since Anthony was unable to obtain a long-term visa, they made risky border crossings to Mexico every 90 days to renew his tourist visa. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 was the law of the land, declaring homosexuals ‘excludable at entr y,’ along with ‘perverts’ and ‘psychopathic personalities.’

“We had a cloud over us,” Richard said in a documentary about their lives called “Limited Partnership,” which was broadcast on PBS in 2015. “Anthony didn’t want to get closer (in case a separation would occur). So, we had to start thinking of a way to stay together. There’s no way two men could stay together,” he said. If Richard and Anthony had been a heterosexual couple they would have been able to fill out some forms, attach a marriage certificate and eventually go through an interview process that would result in the foreign spouse receiving a Green Card. Soloway, says “When Anthony and Richard met in the early 1970s, as citizens of two different countries, there was no country in the world that provided for immigration for samesex couples. There was no country in the world t hat was even discussi ng it. T hey had no country to go to.” “We eventually realized,” Anthony told The Pride LA, “that the only thing that was stopping us from being able to remain together was the fact that we were two men and couldn’t get married.” “And then…out of the blue, out of nowhere, we saw the most incredible news,” he said, referANTHONY SULLIVAN continued on p. 60


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Dr. Michael Gottlieb on Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and the Early Years of AIDS BY KAREN OCAMB

On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control published an article entitled “Pneumocystis Pneumonia” written by Los Angeles-based Dr. Michael Gottlieb and Dr. Joel Weisman about a mysterious new disease in five gay men in the L.A. area. That paper marked the official recognition of what became the AIDS pandemic. By August 1981, the CDC reported 108 cases of the new disease in America; six months later, the CDC reported that 251 people had what became known as HIV/AIDS and 99 had died. By the end of 2014, the World Health Organization reported that 71 million people were infected with HIV globally and 34 million had died. But new medications promise the once unthinkable end of AIDS in our lifetime. “Over these 35 years, American ingenuity and leadership has shaped the world’s response to this crisis,” said President Obama in a message noting the anniversary. “While there is more work to do – the economically disadvantaged; gay and bisexual men, especially those who are young and Black; women of color; and transgender women all continue to face huge disparities – I’m confident that if we build upon the steps we’ve taken, we can finish the job.” How different the response was in the early 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, who wouldn’t even help out his close closeted Hollywood gay friend, Rock Hudson. Ironically, Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984,

three weeks after attending a state dinner at the White House. The actor died Oct. 2, 1985, prompting an explosion of media coverage that gave AIDS “a face.” With a financial stipend from Hudson, his friend Elizabeth Taylor joined forces with Gottlieb and Dr. Mathilde Krim to raise money for AIDS research and support for people with HIV/AIDS. Five years ago, Gottlieb wrote about that time for LGBT POV, reprised here. – Karen Ocamb Dr. Michael Gottlieb on Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and AIDS at 30 It is not easy for young people to imagine what HIV/AIDS was like in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Thirty years ago, my colleagues and I were the doctors who identified AIDS as a new disease. Two years later, French researchers found HIV, the virus that caused the immune deficiency. Fear turned to terror and to sadness, and hundreds of thousands died in the United States alone. In Los Angeles, special immune-suppressed wards in hospitals were filled to capacity, with young men dying miserably with horrible and disfiguring opportunistic diseases. At first, when case numbers were small, America ignored AIDS. Next, it was pigeonholed as a “gay disease,” important only to “those” people. There was no sign of a compassionate response. Institutions struggled with how—or even whether—to respond. In DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB continued on p. 17

Michael Gottlieb with Elizabeth Taylor


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If you’re living with HIV, you may face another clinical challenge to healthy aging

Help Curb Excess Abdominal VAT Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) isn’t regular fat. VAT is a hard fat that surrounds organs, may be associated with serious health issues, and can be difficult to control with diet and exercise alone.

EGRIFTA ® (tesamorelin for injection) is the only FDA-approved treatment for excess HIV-related abdominal VAT EGRIFTA ® was shown to reduce VAT in 2 clinical trials of 816 total adult patients who received 2 mg of EGRIFTA ® or placebo (26-week Main Phase and 26-week Extension Phase).a Trial 1: 18% average reduction. Trial 2: 14% average reduction. For additional trial details, see the full Prescribing Information at EGRIFTA.com.

a

EGRIFTA® is not indicated to treat health issues beyond the reduction of excess abdominal VAT.

SELECTED RISK INFORMATION What is EGRIFTA ®? • EGRIFTA ® is an injectable prescription medicine to reduce the excess in abdominal fat in HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy. The impact and safety of EGRIFTA ® on cardiovascular health has not been studied. • EGRIFTA ® is not indicated for weight loss management. • It is not known whether taking EGRIFTA ® helps improve compliance with anti-retroviral medications. EGRIFTA ® may cause serious side effects including: • Serious allergic reaction. Stop using EGRIFTA ® and get emergency help right away if you have symptoms such as a rash over your body, hives, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, swelling of your face or throat, fast heartbeat, and feeling of faintness or fainting.

• Swelling (fluid retention). EGRIFTA ® can cause swelling in some parts of your body. • Increase in glucose (blood sugar) intolerance and diabetes. • Injection site reactions. Change (rotate) your injection site to help lower your risk for injection site reactions. The following symptoms around the area of the injection site can occur: redness, itching, pain, irritation, bleeding, rash, and swelling. The most common side effects of EGRIFTA ® include: joint pain, pain in legs and arms, swelling in your legs, muscle soreness, tingling, numbness and pricking, nausea, vomiting, rash, and itching. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Please see brief summary of full Important Patient Information on next page.

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IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION The following is a brief summary only. See complete Prescribing Information at EGRIFTA.com or request complete Prescribing Information by calling 1-844-347-4382. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your medical condition or your treatment. What is EGRIFTA ® (tesamorelin for injection)? • EGRIFTA ® is an injectable prescription medicine to reduce the excess in abdominal fat in HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy. The impact and safety of EGRIFTA ® on cardiovascular health has not been studied. • EGRIFTA ® is not indicated for weight loss management. • It is not known whether taking EGRIFTA ® helps improve compliance with anti-retroviral medications. Do not use EGRIFTA ® if you: • have pituitary gland tumor, pituitary gland surgery or other problems related to your pituitary gland. • have active cancer or are receiving treatment for cancer • are allergic to tesamorelin or mannitol. • are pregnant or become pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop using EGRIFTA ® and talk with your healthcare provider. Talk to your doctor to find out if EGRIFTA ® is right for you. How should I use EGRIFTA ®?

• Swelling (fluid retention). EGRIFTA ® can cause swelling in some parts of your body. Call your healthcare provider if you have an increase in joint pain, or pain or numbness in your hands or wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome). • Increase in glucose (blood sugar) intolerance and diabetes. Your healthcare provider will measure your blood sugar periodically. • Injection-site reactions. Change (rotate) your injection site to help lower your risk for injection-site reactions. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice if you have the following symptoms around the area of the injection site: • redness • bleeding • itching • rash • pain • swelling • irritation The most common side effects of EGRIFTA ® include: • joint pain • nausea • pain in legs and arms • vomiting • swelling in your legs • rash • muscle soreness • itching • tingling, numbness and pricking

• Read the detailed “Instructions for Use” that comes with EGRIFTA ® before you start using EGRIFTA ®. Your healthcare provider will show you how to inject EGRIFTA ®. • Use EGRIFTA ® exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. • Inject EGRIFTA ® under the skin (subcutaneously) of your stomach area (abdomen). • Change (rotate) the injection site on your stomach area (abdomen) with each dose. Do not inject EGRIFTA ® into scar tissue, bruises or your navel.

These are not all the possible side effects of EGRIFTA ®. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

EGRIFTA ® may cause serious side effects including:

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• Serious allergic reaction. Some people taking EGRIFTA ® may have an allergic reaction. Stop using EGRIFTA ® and get emergency help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: • a rash over your body • shortness of breath or trouble breathing • hives • fast heartbeat • swelling of your face or • feeling of faintness throat or fainting

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects to 1-844-EGRIFTA (1-844-347-4382).

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For more information about EGRIFTA ®, go to www.EGRIFTA.com or contact toll-free at 1-844-EGRIFTA (1-844-347-4382). ®

Distributed by: Theratechnologies Inc., 2015 Peel Street, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3A 1T8.

EGRIFTA® and EGRIFTA ASSIST ® are registered trademarks of Theratechnologies Inc. © 2016 Theratechnologies Inc. All rights reserved. 190-01-12/15


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DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB continued from p. 14

the prologue to his book And the Band Played On, the late author Randy Shilts wrote, “In those early years, the federal government viewed AIDS as a budget problem, health officials saw it as a political problem, gay leaders considered AIDS a public relations problem and the news media regarded it as a homosexual problem that wouldn’t interest anybody else.” AIDS flew below the radar until a movie star, my patient Rock Hudson, came down with it in 1985—by which time 12,000 cases had been diagnosed. Until then, most Americans were only vaguely aware that an epidemic was underway and that it was serious. Before Rock Hudson, the media did not consider AIDS to be a legitimate news story deserving coverage. The disclosure of his AIDS diagnosis changed all that. Randy Shilts wrote, “Rock Hudson riveted America’s attention upon this deadly new threat for the first time, and his diagnosis became a demarcation that would separate the history of America before AIDS from the history that came after.” The disease that had been subject to widespread indifference finally had a face, and it was that of a Hollywood movie idol. Americans saw someone with AIDS on the covers of Newsweek andPeople. In 2006, I chuckled when I heard Elizabeth Taylor respond to Larry King’s question on CNN about how she got involved with AIDS. Her answer: “I called a doctor friend of mine, Michael Gottlieb, and said ‘what can I do?’” As much as I would like to take the credit, the reality was more complicated. Rock and Elizabeth had been friends since the days when they starred in the film Giant, and she had many other gay friends who were already affected by or living in fear of HIV. She had seen firsthand the devastation of the disease when she visited Rock at the UCLA Medical Center. Elizabeth was very aware of the injustice of homophobia, and instinctively knew that prejudice explained why AIDS was being ignored. Rock’s diagnosis was a pivotal moment in the epidemic; an opportunity to start up a national foundation to raise awareness and press the government for action. Elizabeth took up the cause and stayed with it for 25 years with characteristic tenacity. It should be noted that she had the courage to take up the cause at a time when AIDS was very unpopular. Young people may not be aware that as late as 1987 there was a California ballot proposition that, among other things, would have prohibited HIV-positive patients from working in restaurants. It was endorsed by then-Gov. George Deukmejian and nearly passed. Elizabeth was the first celebrity AIDS activist to become a DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB continued on p. 61

From Top: Rock Hudson with President and Mrs. Reagan Hollywood AIDSphobia – ACT UP/LA, lead by Mary Lucey and Mark Kostopoulos, protested the Oscars for lack of films about AIDS. Kostopoulos died June 22, 1992. AIDS Ride – In 1993, the LA Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center created the California AIDS Ride to help fund their new Jeffrey Goodman Clinic. Goodman’s parents lead the homecoming ceremony, followed by the rider-less bike, before thousands of joyful cyclists rolled into West Hollywood. ACT UP Women vs LAPD Nancy MacNeil, founder of Women Alive and editor of the group’s newsletter, is manhandled by the LAPD forcibly removing her from a street protest.


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A Federal Court slips a knife into North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bathroom bill BY IAN MILLHISER THINK PROGRESS

A federal appeals court’s decision backing one of the Obama administration’s most significant efforts to eliminate discrimination against transgender people will remain in effect, thanks to anorder handed down on Tuesday. This is not a total victory for trans rights — in no small part because federal appeals courts do not have jurisdiction over the entire nation in the way that the Supreme Court does — but it is a significant one, especially because of the specific court that handed down Tuesday’s order. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit includes North Carolina, the home of what is probably the highest-profile anti-LGBT law in the nation. To recap the events in this litigation so far, last April, the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of a trans student who was prevented from using school bathrooms that aligned with his gender identity. The decision primarily relied upon the Education Department’s interpretation of its own regulations governing sex-segregated bathrooms, as well as the Supreme Court’s decision in Auer v. Robbins, which requires courts to defer to such interpretations. Under the agency interpretation at issue in this case, “when a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex” it “generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” Although this case, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, involved a local school board in Virginia, the ruling controls all federal courts within the Fourth Circuit, including courts in North Carolina. A few weeks later, in the beginning of May, the school board asked the full Fourth Circuit to rehear the case. Typically, federal appeals are heard by panels of three judges. In rare instances, however, an appeals court will agree to convene an “en banc” panel — a panel consisting of every active judge on the court — to hear a particular case. Tuesday’s order denied en banc review of the G.G.case. That’s not a particularly surprising outcome. En banc review is considered an extraordinary action by an appeals court, and the Fourth Circuit is dom-

inated by Democratic appointees who, for the most part, can be expected to back the Obama administration’s play in G.G. — or, at the very least, to defer to the administration under Auer. The Fourth Circuit’s conservative minority also doesn’t appear to have put up much of a fight. According to the court’s Tuesday order, not one judge called for a poll of the court’s members to determine whether any of

them supported en banc review. Judge Paul Niemeyer, probably the most conservative member of the Fourth Circuit, did pen anangry opinion accompanying the Tuesday order. It is the sort of opinion that uses phrases like “politically correct acceptance” and “virtually every civilization’s norms on this issue stand in protest.” If Justice Antonin Scalia were still alive, he would no doubt read it and smile. But Scalia is dead, and that reality puts a serious kink in Niemeyer’s plans. In the final paragraph of his opinion, Niemeyer discloses his strategy to protect anti-trans discrimination: “While I could call for a poll of the court in an effort to require counsel to reargue their positions before an en banc court, the momentous nature of the issue deserves an open road to the Supreme Court.” Additional review by the appeals court would delay review by the justices, and Niemeyer wants this case to get there soon. Before Scalia’s death, this would have been a smart strategy. Among other things, Scalia and

three other justices previously authored opinions indicating a desire to overrule Auer. And, while Justice Anthony Kennedy — a conservative who occasionally votes with the Court’s liberal bloc — is largely supportive of gay rights, his views on trans rights is far more uncertain. Absent Scalia, however, it is very likely that there are at least four votes on the Supreme Court to uphold the Fourth Circuit’s decision in G.G. That’s not enough to set a national precedent, but it is enough to keep the Fourth Circuit’s ruling in place within the states overseen by that court. So Niemeyer’s ideological allies probably won’t be able to look to the Supreme Court for relief, but that doesn’t mean that they are without cards to play. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) filed a lawsuit seeking to defend parts of his state’s anti-LGBT law. That lawsuit landed in a very conservative judge’s courtroom. In the short term, that may be enough for the governor to get a trial court opinion reading G.G. very narrowly. Meanwhile, a bloc of states led by Texas filed another lawsuit broadly challenging the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent anti-trans discrimination. That case, thanks to what appears to be a deliberate effort to manipulate the process federal courts use to assign cases to judges, is assigned to a federal judge who has taken aggressive antiLGBT actions in the past. In the worst case scenario for transgender people, that judge could issue a nationwide injunction restricting trans rights. And, while such injunctions are disfavored, that judge’s decision will appeal to the Fifth Circuit, which is very conservative. So, while Niemeyer’s plans are unlikely to come to fruition, the Texas case could create an anomaly that our federal court system currently is not equipped to handle. An anti-LGBT judge could issue a nationwide injunction that conflicts directly with the Fourth Circuit’s decision in G.G. Meanwhile, the only court that can resolve this uncertainty currently has only eight members, and may lack the votes it needs to resolve this impasse in either direction.


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LOS ANGELES

06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

Gay and BY ALANA MILLER

A Lifestyle of Attraction rather than Promotion

Sober

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. — On Friday, June 10, thousands of LGBT people and our allies will flood the streets of West Hollywood to celebrate the annual Los Angeles Pride Festival. Since 1970, LA Pride has been a cornerstone of liberation and celebration for the LGBT community. Pride has always embodied the arc of the LGBT journey, some years have allowed us to vent our rage while other years, especially lately, have been sheer celebration. Pride has also become a place of wild celebration -- one in which dr ugs a nd alcohol dominate. For some people, especially those in recovery, the amount of alcohol and drug consumption is overwhelming and disenchanting. For that reason, many people have chosen to stay home. For those in recovery, Pride can be a dangerous place. But Pride should be a welcoming place where everyone can celebrate. In 2011, Robert Gamboa, West Holly wood

Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board Member and Jimmy Palmieri, West Hollywood Human Services Commissioner, approached Christopher Street West, the producers of LA Pride, about creating a sober zone within the Pride festival. “We wanted to create a place where those in recovery could have a safe place to celebrate LGBT Pride and still be part of the community celebration -all of us deserve to be at the table without fear or judgement,” said Gamboa, who is also the Project Manager for the West Hollywood Project of the Institute for Public Strategies (IPS). “Some people don’t wa nt to go to P r ide because it’s a trigger,” Gamboa shared. “We felt there was a need for everyone who wanted to enjoy pride free from alcohol, drugs, including families, those in recovery, and anyone who simply chose not to consume any substances that weekend.” In 2012, the City of West Hollywood helped to cosponsor, along with the LA LGBT Center

and Christopher Street West, “Bill’s Café.” It was meant to be a subtle nod to the recovery community and a warm welcome to everyone. The café was a sober zone in the Pride Festival offering a mini-refuge from the alcohol-fueled revelry nearby. The following year, a plush and refined Bill’s Café returned with the added feature of Recovery Row, a resource fair made up of local nonprofits. The idea was to bring prevention, treatment and harm reduction agencies together that wouldn’t ordinarily be able to participate in Pride due to the expense. All these agencies proudly serve the LGBT community and this opportunity enabled them to outreach to their target audience. Later in 2013, the Institute for Public Strategies, the Tweakers Project and the Crystal Meth Recovery Services of the LA LGBT Center came together through the West Hollywood Project to GAY AND SOBER continued on p. 23


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LOS ANGELES

06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

The Next

n o i t a r e n e G 2016

THOMAS DAVIS

If

Thomas Davis seems like a man on a mission, it’s because he is. Ever since the 24 year old discovered he was HIV-positive three years ago, his life has been transformed into an increasingly prominent spokesperson and health advocate for young men of color who have sex with men. At the L.A. LGBT Center, Davis involves himself with a wide range of projects, from speaking at local public schools to coordinating programs. His work caught the attention of the Human Rights Commission, which has named him to a 2016 “HIV 360° Fellow.” The fellowship includes a rigorous program of online instruction learning the ins and outs of the non-profit world, he explains. “We learn how to write grants, budgeting, leadership, organization. Over the course of nine months, we actually write grants in line with organization.” He’ll also travel to Washington, D.C., over the course of the year. Davis has traveled a long road, with its own twists and turns, from a Colorado community where “I grew up in a very absti-

By Steve Weinstein nent environment. HIV was around but not talked about. ‘Queer As Folk’ was not mainstream TV in our house. So it was hard to be out and open.” In 2010, he moved to Los A ngeles to study performing arts. “I thought I was the type of person who wouldn’t be exposed HIV,” he recalls. It’s a situation he recognized was all-too prevalent in his community. Out of that frustration was born his online video projects where he would turn on the recorder and just … talk. Dav is proved to a be natural in front of the camera, as his growing and appreciative audience proved. It was a short step from there to becoming the Center’s health and education specialist. His work regularly brings him to L.A. schools where, he says, “Many don’t understand how HIV may be in their lives. For a lot of them, I’m the first HIV-positive person that they’ve met. It leaves a positive image so they bring that when they confront HIV in their friend or co-worker because they’ve had this conversation. I tell them to ask any question. Kids are very blunt with

their questions! I try to stress that it’s not exclusively a ‘gay thing.’ It affects everybody. It’s human.” At the Center, he works on a wide range of projects, from formulating a comprehensive HIV outreach plan to young people of color that was effected earlier this year to a just-released informational campaign about PReP, in English and Spanish. Always, however, there’s one eye on trying to reach those who the hardest to reach. Not surprisingly, even in these times, sometimes when he speaks at schools, he’s approached quietly by a student not yet out for whom he’s the first link to an LGBT wider community. For all these kids know about it, the Center could be in another state; West Hollywood, an another planet altogether. Openness defines Davis’ mission. “We have the tools” to fight HIV, he sighs. “That’s what’s most frustrating. Talk openly about your status. That’s something everybody can do. Face the realities rather than being spooked by them. When you find yourself in a situation, if nobody is talking about it, you’re all alone.”


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GAY AND SOBER continued from p. 20

produce “#BOOM! -- An Alcohol and Drug Free New Year’s Eve Extravaganza” in West Hollywood. This was part of a larger movement to create alcohol- and drugfree events in a community that has been traditionally immersed in alcohol and drugs. “We noticed that especially during the holidays and during Pride season, we saw many of our LGBT brothers and sisters commit suicide, relapse, overdose, isolate or fall into depression. We wanted to try to change that,” said Gamboa. #BOOM! turned out to be a smashing success! Because of this, Bill’s Café was rebranded as “#SIZZLE! -- A Carnival of Attraction!” and turned into an all out carnival experience -- complete with prizes, games, popcorn, and more. Recovery Row was integrated right into the space and the participating agencies then did outreach at the same time as helping Pride revelers enjoy games. The concept was new and the idea was threefold: 1) Bring agencies and volunteers together to showcase that people can celebrate Pride without drugs and alcohol; 2) continue to be the safe refuge as hundreds of volunteers come together to be of service and help each other through the weekend; and 3) give agencies the opportunity to immediately engage with their target communities. #SIZZLE! is designed to support alcohol and drug free lifestyle choices. Its tagline, “A Carnival of Attraction” is borrowed from the 12-Step slogan, “a program of attraction, rather than promotion.” #SIZZLE! 2016 will be just inside the LA Pride Festival at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard.

Each carnival activity is staffed by LGBT-friendly resource organizations dedicated to health, wellness and/or sobriety. “I’ve had people tell me they would never have come back to LA Pride if it weren’t for #SIZZLE!,” said Gamboa. The fellowship of the experience is as warm and welcoming toward the gay community as one would find in recovery. The West Hollywood Recovery Center is next door and people are able to attend meetings there through the Pride weekend. “We are happy to escort them right to a meeting if needed.” The goal of #SIZZLE ! and the West Holly wood Project is to reframe what it means to be LGBT. Being gay does not have to encompass a lifestyle riddled by alcohol and drugs. Rather, #SIZZLE! seeks to send a message to the LGBT community that it is ok to be

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gay and not participate in drugs and alcohol. In fact, it’s fun to celebrate who we are just as we are! “It’s a slight change in the social norms we have become so accustomed to, but I want people to experience that they don’t need substances for social lubrication. We are providing a vital alternative and blazing new trails of hope,” said Gamboa. The annual LA Pride Festival encompasses connection and belonging. In this way, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our community, our past and define our future. Celebrating sobriety as part of a gay identity not only paves the way for unity, but also provides a pathway to healing, hope and greater self-identity. Before Bill’s Café and ‘#SIZZLE!’, Jimmy Palmieri, the founder of the Tweakers Project, hunkered down in a little corner of the City of West Hollywood’s large Pride booth. The City of West Hollywood has always been extremely supportive of the recovery community. Councilmember John Duran has helped push through city support in many ways for Tweakers Project, Bill’s Café and now for ‘#SIZZLE!’ and ‘#BOOM!’. Today, those struggling with substance abuse no longer have to suffer isolation. There is a vibrant and large community of people who are LGBT and sober or choose not to engage with alcohol or drugs. ‘#SIZZLE! is just one of many drug and alcohol free events produced by the West Hollywood Project. For more information on ‘#SIZZLE!’, ‘#BOOM!’ and other exciting new adventures for West Hollywood, check out www.wehoproject.org or follow the project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WEHOPROJECT and Twitter at https://twitter.com/WeHoBOOM.


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The Next

n o i t a r e n e G 2016

If

Ivan Rueda Pineda seems to have extraordinary insights into the plight of homeless youth, it’s because he himself is homeless. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t without a home. Here’s how this extraordinar y young man of many talents describes himself: “My name is Ivan R. Pineda. I am an undocumented artist, human rights advocate, and devoted volunteer for different groups and organizations helping young people and families survive in the State of California. I was born in 1990 in Michoacán, Mexico, yet the San Fernando Valley became my ‘CAli,’ which translates to ‘home’ in Nahuatl, thanks to the courage, sacrifices, and self determination of my mother, a woman who was determined to make it in this country. “From sewing beautiful patterns of flowers and birds on to clothes or fixing others clothes, to selling wellness and beauty products, to working as a janitor, home-made cuisine vendor, and selling money roses, my mother is an artist who taught me that anything is achievable if I put my heart to it and to ‘echarle ganas’ [‘throw forward’].” Pineda, who defines himself as “gender-queer (gender f luid and queer),” has

IVAN RUEDA PINEDA By Steve Weinstein

been a leader in the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Color In Common, a social group for young gay men of color, for the past year. He’s also a member of the Center’s Youth Advisory Board. He’s also an artist of no mean talent and a unique vision. His neorealist paintings depict a fantastic creature he describes as portraits of a hybrid of octopi and hummingbirds that “I consider a two-spirit animal. As an artist, I’m resistant, resilient, a camouflage in my environment that co-exists with the environment. Artists,” he says, “are nothing but magicians, whether the metaphor is a painting, a poem, or swimming or another sport.” He’s worked in several media, including photography, murals, tattoos and piercing, graphic design, and, like his mother, money “flores — I ‘pollinate money. I make flowers out of money. I’m the homeless person who asks for money. Sometimes I save it. Sometimes I ‘waste’ it on food. So it pollinates itself. I’m ver y resourceful; I always get materials. I’ve been stabbed, robbed, sexually assaulted.” This year, Pineda intends to have more of a concrete sense of “home” by becoming undocumented. “I’m legalizing myself as a human

being” is how he describes the process. But, he hastens to add, “I’m used to being an alien. I like to use that as a form of satire.” PrideLA caught up with Pineda between homes. Stay ing w it h a fr iend for a few months had ended, a cousin had just been depor ted, a nd home would once aga i n would be the streets, at least temporarily. That experience has become the mainstay of work at the Center. He is currently planning a longterm series of workshops for other homeless LGBT youth that will i ncor porate a r t ent repreneu rsh ip a nd empowerment. Experienced artists w ill present portfolios; there will be workshops on the essential “how-tos” of moving from art-as-personal-expression to making a liv ing. Included w ill be essential skills such as trademarking, how to fill out forms properly; licenses; plus life skills like healing, self-care, coping mechanisms and networking to find “some who has been certified as a window between worlds.” “Between worlds” may be the best way to describe the Ivan Rueda Pineda’s Los Angeles. It may be far different from the city that you or I know. But it’s just as real — in the gifted eyes of an artist, perhaps more real than we can even imagine.


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LOS ANGELES

06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

The Next

n o i t a r e n Ge 2016

ALEXANDER SCHMIDER By Steve Weinstein

The

past year has been a whirlw i nd for A le x S c h m ide r. From cavorting with Miley Cyrus for a photo shoot for her Happy Hippie Foundation, which led to his co-introducing her at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, to helping introduce Caitlyn Jenner in a Glamour Woman of the Year Award video, he even starred in an TV ad featuring himself talking about his mother, as she tearfully watches and ends with an emotional reunion for Hallmark. T he P r ideL A caug ht up w it h Schmider as he was returning from a wel l- e a r ned vac at ion i n Ca n ada

during a brief respite between jobs. Most recently in the Communications Department at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, he has taken on a new position as Senior Strategist, Transgender Media at GLA AD, a major LGBT organization whose focus in on accelerating accepta nce t hrough media a nd education. The position seems a logical next step for this extraordinary 26 year old, whose personal journey of self-acceptance as a transman has long inspired work with transyouth, including a longtime stint as a camp counselor at Camp Aranu’tiq, an overnight camp for gender

non-conforming kids. “One of the reasons I’m so excited to start my work there is that there has been so much emphasis on tradespeople,” he says. “Even within the past few years there has been such progress, people are willing and want to learn. As language evolves, the movement evolves. This is really important for the trans community and our allies in the media.” He’s confident media organizations appear receptive, even eager, to work with him. At Teen Vogue, for example, part of the powerful Condé Nast magazine group, “they really want to get it ALEXANDER SCHMIDER continued on p. 27


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right. And it’s so important how tradespeople are reflected and portrayed in the media.” He sees his increasing visibility as part of the journey of the trans community as a whole: “It is so important for those who can be visible to be visible. It’s how the gay movement has made such strides. People knew gay people. We’re a very, very small population. How do we get people to know us?” That’s why he sees the current brouhaha over bathrooms as presenting an opportunity for education — and the positive response by so many people as showing what strides have been taken over the past few years. For Schmider, the most important thing is keeping eyes on the prize — and “more than ever, transpeople be treated with respect.” What continues to inform Schmider is his work at the camp which “is just about letting kids be kids. As we move beyond labels of gender and sexuality, it’s so important that everyone be treated as who they are.”

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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

In my feature article, “Feds say 1975 gay marriage of Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams is valid” (see page 6) I wrote about a time, not so long ago, “when LGBT people were referred to as ‘homosexuals,’ or ‘faggots,’ were denied travel visas, classified as mentally ill, barred from many professions — a time when most of us were rejected by our families, could be imprisoned for having sex, were routinely evicted from our homes, easily fired from our jobs, and few authorities cared if we were beaten in the streets or even killed.” We faced so much more than that. As LGBTQ people we have, over decades, brilliantly exercised the only options we had available to us: we rioted, became resolute, strategic and smart. We were forced to outwit, out-organize and stare down the enemy — even when it was within — in order to do battle where necessary. We have remained vigilant to one principle over the years, namely that failure was not an option. Our cause was fueled in part by our experiences in battling a plague. The epidemiological nightmare that is AIDS revealed just how shallow our civil rights were and how easily hatred could defeat us if we showed the slightest complacency. We were forced into action. And, while our fight is not over, we have

achieved extraordinary social and political success. We have, in Los Angeles, a pioneering community of LGBT people who blazed a trail that has resulted in many of the rights we enjoy today. They are our legacy and their good works have resulted in our heritage. We have only scratched the surface in honoring them here but it is a start. Los Angeles is filled with some amazing LGBT pioneers. At a time when LA Pride has decided to forgo honoring community members who have made a difference, The Pride LA, your new LGBTQI community newspaper, is happy to do just that.

— Troy Masters, Editor and Publisher, The Pride LA


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JEWEL THAIS-WILLIAMS Jewel ThaisWilliams, who nearly 45 years ago founded one of Los Angeles’s first clubs for black LGBT people, will be the Grand Marshal of this year’s LA Pride parade.

J BY KAREN OCAMB

ewel Thais-Williams opened the famed Jewel’s Catch One Disco as a business vent u re du r i n g t he econom ic recession of 1972/73. She couldn’t resist: t he nei g hb or ba r on C r en sh aw a nd Pico Blvds had refused to serve African Americans. However, her History degree from UCLA did not include bar business skills and California law did not allow women to tend bar. Then fate gave her an assist. “ W hen I w a l ke d i n, t he ba r tender walked out. But then an old redneck f rom Tex as of fered to help a nd took me u nder h is w i ng,” T ha is-Wi l l ia ms recalled. The bar became a hang out for old white guys during the day, blue collar black workers at night and eventually, black gay customers. “It didn’t matter what I intended the bar to be,” she said, “gay is what it became.” By 1975, Catch One Disco was a n underground hot spot featuring live performances by singers such as “Queen of Disco” Sylvester and Etta James w ith st a rs l i ke Sa m my Dav is Jr., Wa r ren Beatty and Madonna popping by. After she bought the building and opened the three dance f loors, The Catch became a

disco-refuge for blacks who faced racial a nd gender d iscr i m i n at ion i n L . A .’s white gay discos. T ha is-Wi l l ia ms bec a me a mot her figure to many, helping her “kids” get clean and sober and providing comfort to black gay men rejected by their families and church during the AIDS crisis. But Thais-Williams took the extra step, co-foundi ng t he Mi nor it y A IDS P roject and the Imani Unidos Food Pantr y in South L.A. and joining the Board of AIDS Project Los Angeles to bring their HIV/AIDS services “down to the hood.” A dd it ion a l l y, w it h her w i fe R ue, Thais-Williams founded Rue’s House, t he nat ion’s f irst housi ng facilit y for women w ith A IDS and their children, most of whom were poor a nd black. After the life-saving AIDS medications became ava ilable in 1996, they tra nsitioned the house into a sober-living facility. In t he late 1990s, T ha is-Willia ms became enraged after an appointment w ith a culturally incompetent doctor. “So many of the illnesses African Americans get—like hyper-tension and diabetes—are preventable. But instead of

helping us with prevention education, the medical profession treats us w ith pills and cuts us open,” Thais Williams said. She went back to school and flew to China to study Traditional Chinese Medicine and in 2002, opened The Village Health Foundation as a low-cost clinic that provides alternative health and well-being care for her mostly minority clients. At a Cit y Ha ll ceremony for L GB T Her it a ge Mont h i n Ju ne 2 012 , L . A . Mayor A ntonio Villaraigosa presented Thais-Williams with the Dream of Los Angeles Award “for her commitment to equality, her tireless advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable.” Thais-Williams noted that she had seen “a few changes” in her 73 years. But “the fight is not over,” she said. “I want to be here to see it end—so let’s keep it rolling.” Thais-Williams will indeed be rolling along Santa Monica Blvd as the Grand Ma rsha ll of t he CSW Pr ide Pa rade. A documentar y about The Catch, which she sold last year, is expected to be featured during this year’s Outfest Film Festival.


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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

TROY PERRY

T

BY REVEREND DR. NEIL G. CAZARESTHOMAS

roy Perry is a legend. A bold statement, some might say. However, in my opinion he is a prophet, a pioneer, a saint and a religious leader. He is also a brother, a husband, a father and a spiritual ambassador who showed LGBTQ people of faith they can reclaim faith and reconcile sexuality while celebrating a religious heritage. On October 6, 1968, a fter a suicide attempt, Perry felt called to return to his faith and to create a place for gay people to worship God openly and freely. He is the only living founder of Christopher Street West, the organizers of LA Pride, a group that he began with Morris Kight and Bob Humphries, another minister, in 1970. Twelve people turned up for the first service, and, according to Reverend Perry, “Nine were my friends who came to console me and to laugh, and three came as a result of the

Rev. Elder Troy D Perry, Founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, in a selfie with the author and his family.

ad.” The church grew rapidly and within six months it had moved to a theater that could accommodate 600. In 1971, the group bought a building and over a thousand members attended the dedication. News of Perry and his new denomination spread throughout the USA and congregations emerged around the country. MCC buildings, including the original “Mother Church” in Los Angeles, were targeted by arsonists. But Perry persevered and his brand of theology, which has been described as activist theology, was on display from the churches beginning. Perry performed same sex unions as early as 1970 and ordained women as pastors as early as 1972. He has also been on numerous hunger strikes in support of LGBTQ causes and rights. At its peak MCC claimed over 300 congregations in 18 countries. Some of the fast-

est growing regions of growth today are in parts of the world that are just beginning to grapple with the questions of acceptance of sexuality and reconciliation of spirituality, places like Latin America and Asia. A 2007 documentary film, titled “Call Me Troy” tells the story of his life and legacy, including his journey in founding MCC and his struggles as a civil rights leader in the gay community. Reverend Perr y’s activism is well documented and has included positions on a number of boards of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations. Perry has been a powerful force in the political arena as well. He worked to oppose Anita Bryant in the Save the Children campaign in 1977 that sought to overturn an anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the city of Miami. He fought vigorously to oppose the Briggs Initiative in California, a law that prohibited gay and lesbian teachers from


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LOS ANGELES

Troy keeps a keen eye on the community and remains one of the leading thinkers about the meaning of our journey.

Troy keeps a keen eye on the community and remains one of the leading thinkers about the meaning of our journey. Of the current LA Pride controversy, Troy says “Our legacy is important. Other minority groups are very fortunate in that they have children they could tell their stories of what it was l i ke g row i ng up w it h i n t he African-American community or the Latin community in this country. In t he L GB T communit y hav ing children is a new phenomena except for those who were heterosexual married such as myself or through adoption,” he said. After a lifetime we all need to heed his words when he says we need to remember. “Like it or not, that’s the probably the basis of the struggle that is going on now around pride weekend,” Troy says. In my opinion Reverend Perry holds a vaunted place in LGBT as one who gave rebirth to the spiritual revival of the LGBTQ community. In his pioneering role and birth of Metropolitan Community Churches, which served a political and psychological role during the darkest day of the AIDS crisis, his contributions are immeasurable. His work has resulted in most major Protestant denominations reconsidering their views homosexuality, helping to advance a movement of “Open and Affirming” churches and denominations today. He is, in my eyes, a saint – Saint Troy Perry. — Dr. Thomas now serves as Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, Dallas, TX – the largest predominately LGBT congregation in the USA.

31

SHERATON WAIKIKI O`AHU HAWAI`I

5 NIGHTS

—Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas

working in California public schools. T he Br ig gs Init iat ive was soundly defeated in 1978. In 1978 he was honored by the ACLU (American Civil Rights Union) Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter with its Humanitarian Award. He holds honorary doctorates from Episcopal Divinity School in Boston, Samaritan College (Los Angeles), and La Sierra University in Santa Monica, California for his work in civil rights, and was lauded by the Gay Press Association with its Humanitarian Award. Rev. Perry was invited to the White House in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to discuss gay and lesbian civil rights, and by President Bill Clinton in 1995 for the first White House Conference on HIV/AIDS. In 1997 he was invited to the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes. Perry was also a guest of the President that same year for breakfast in the state dining room in the White House, to be honored with 90 other clergy for their work in American society. Note d for h is pione er i n g work on Ma r r iage Equa lit y (long before it became a part of the mainstream L GB TQ movement), Per r y ma r r ied his long ter m pa r tner, Phillip R ay DeBlieck at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. He later sued the United States for recognition of their marriage. He won that case, validating thousands of marriages for lesbian and gay couples who had married outside the country. This case was an integral part of the legal arguments that would ultimately overturned Prop 8 in California and helped bring about marriage equality in the United States. He retired as Moderator of MCC in 2005, and is now a noted public speaker and author.

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PHILL WILSON Phil Wilson is greeted here by President Barack Obama at the White House. PHOTO: The White House

“O BY KAREN OCAMB

ur house is on fire,” Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson proclaims at every opportunity. He’s right—but sometimes it seems Wilson is shouting against the w ind. W hile t he Obama administration and many AIDS activists are excited about the prospect of “ending AIDS in our lifetime,” HIV/AIDS is still very much a crisis in Black and Latino communities, despite new medical advancements. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2014, 44% of estimated new HIV diagnoses were among Blacks, who comprise 12% of the US population, with an estimated 73% men and 26% women infected—with 57% gay or bisexual men, and of those, 39% young men aged 13 to 24. These are not just statistics—this is personal. This is his house. Wilson surmises that he has probably been HIV positive since 1981 when, as a 25-year-old newly out college graduate, he and his boyfriend Chris Brownlie were diagnosed with swollen lymph nodes. Their doctor suggested it could be the mysterious disease called “GRID” (Gay-Related Immune

Deficiency). But the gay men rejected that premise since the media reported that the white gay disease was prevalent on the East and West coasts and was contracted through poppers or by contact with “sexual athletes”—which didn’t apply to the mixed-race Chicago couple. “GR ID” beca me rea l a nd “sca r y” when Wilson and Brownlie moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and got involved in the national Black and White Men Together organization. “We had four or five friends sick at a time and we realized that nobody gave a damn,” says Wilson. “Either we were going to die or we were going to have to fight, and still we might die. Die or fight or both. I had just met Chris. I had just found myself. I wasn’t ready to let either go. So, we fought to make sure we did whatever we could to not die—and to make sure our friends did not die.” Wilson has been fighting HIV/AIDS ever since. Wilson and Brownlie took every HIV drug as it became available (AZT, 3TC, D4T, etc) but Brownlie succumbed to the disease in 1989, two years

after he was diagnosed with AIDS. But unlike so many at the time, Brownlie had a place to be cared for as he died. The Chris Brownlie Hospice was created by the AIDS Hospice Foundation (later renamed the AIDS Healthcare Foundation), an organization founded by Wilson, Brownlie, Brownlie’s best friend Michael Weinstein and Mary Adair. The four has worked on the Stop AIDS Quarantine Committee in 1986 to fight Proposition 64, the AIDS quarantine initiative sponsored by anti-gay right winger Lyndon LaRouche. A fter the initiative battle, Wilson became director of Stop AIDS Los Angeles, then director of public policy and planning for AIDS Project Los Angeles, co-founder of the Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum, AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles, member of the President’s AIDS Advisory Council, renow n guest on T V talk shows, including Oprah Winfrey, and today, the nation’s conscience as the founder of the Black AIDS Institute, intending to fight until the last embers die out.


LA PRIDE 06.03-17.2016

LOS ANGELES CenterforEarlyEducation.org

WeHo’s

Caring | Responsibility | Inclusion | Honesty

Y T I C E N O E D I R P ONE

Begins

BY TROY MASTERS Overlooked in the contentious debates about the inclusion of legacy and history in 2016’s LA Pride festivities is the extensive slate of offerings that are being featured by the City of West Hollywood and throughout Los Angeles. The City of West Hollywood celebrates Pride month through the artistic contributions of the local community during the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. From May 22 to June 30 a variety of mostly FREE arts events and exhibits will be featured as One City One Pride explores the festival theme “Into The Streets.” The slogan is a rallying cry of the early gay rights movement: protestors would go from bar to bar, street to street throughout gay neighborhoods and elsewhere shouting “Out of the Closet and Into the Streets” or “Out of the Bars and into the Streets,” imploring friends and allies to activate against intolerance, oppression and violence. June 7, 7pm: HUMAN RIGHTS SPEAKERS SERIES - LGBT RIGHTS ABROAD: AN INTERNATIONAL LOOK AT EQUALITY - Lecture The panel will examine international LGBT rights with Jessica Stern, Executive Director, OutRight Action International; Stephan; Roth, Director, Alturi; Czeslaw Walek, Chairman, Prague Pride and Boardmember for Alturi; Wesley Reisser, Ph.D., Senior Foreign Affairs Officer, IO/HRH – U.S. Department of State. West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free admission. RSVP required at wehohrspeakerseries@ gmail.com or call (323) 8486823.

WEHO ARTS) – Visual Art/ Lecture How did Mapplethorpe change photography— and the perception of photography as an art? Coinciding with a major retrospective of his work, join J. Paul Getty Museum curator Paul Martineau, fine arts photographer Catherine Opie, LACMA curator Britt Salvesen, and painter and Yale art historian Jonathan Weinberg in a discussion on how Mapplethorpe continues to teach us, even now, a quarter century after his untimely death at age 42. West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free admission. RSVP (required).

derived event. The Fringe’s western border is usually Gardner Street, but through a special collaboration with the City, LGBTQ shows can take place throughout West Hollywood as part of One City One Pride. Shows sponsored through this partnership are below: Times, dates, and ticket prices vary. Visitwww. hollywoodfringe.org/weho for more info.

June 10, 6pm-9pm (opening reception): LA ART ASSOCIATION “OUT THERE” EXHIBIT which runs through June 17 – Visual Art ** The 9th annual LAAA Out There group exhibition asks artists to examine West June 9 – 26: HOLLYWOOD Hollywood’s commitment FRINGE / ONE CITY to the LGBT community. June 8, 7:30pm: ONE PRIDE – Theatre ** Reception June 10 from WHAT DID ROBERT The Hollywood Fringe 6-9pm. Gallery hours 10amMAPPLETHORPE Festival is an open and 5pm every day except TEACH US? (A ZÓCALO/ uncensored communityMonday through June 17. GETTY “OPEN ART” EVENT HOSTED BY ONE CITY ONE PRIDE continued on p. 58

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CONNIE NORMAN

T BY KAREN OCAMB

hat’s Big Red over there. The tall one w it h t he red ha ir,” one of a gag gle of Chr ist ia n women sa id a lmost fondly, spotting Connie Norman among the ACT UP protesters outside Rev. Lou Sheldon’s March 1991 “Heterosexual Symposium” in Anaheim. They had no idea Norman was a transgender Texas run-away and self-described “A IDS Diva” or that her rage often poured out IN A LL CA PS in her column for the gay San Diego newspaper Update. Diagnosed with HIV in 1987, Norman railed against the Reagan-Bush administrations, the FDA, the California government and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for their persistent failure in helping people with HIV/AIDS as many in the marginalized community fought against the inevitability of an ugly AIDS death. “She had a mouth on her. Thankfully it was connected to a mind. And she was a she; on many occasions I heard her say, ‘I paid $50,000 to be who I am and I get to pick my pronouns.’ She picked her bat-

ACTUP/LA, AIDS Diva Connie Norman marches along Wilshire Boulevard protesting the1991 AB 101 civil rights bill veto by Goveror Pete Wilson. Photo by Karen Ocamb

tles, too,” said David Reid, her producer for the commercial talk radio show “The Connie Norman Show,” that briefly aired daily on XEK-AM on a signal out of Mexico. One of her guests was Orange County homophobe KDOC talk show ranter Wally George – and the two actually got along in their own strange way. “I often tell people that I am an ex-drag queen, ex-hooker, ex-IV drug user, ex-high risk youth, and current postoperative transsexual woman who is HIV-positive,” Norman once said. “I have everything I ever wanted, including a [gay] husband of 10 years, a home and five adorable longhaired cats. . . . I do, however, regret the presence of this virus.” The Director of Public Policy at AIDS Ser v ice Center in Pasadena, Nor ma n believed PWAs had to “very aggressive, assertive” advocates for their own healthcare, with a sense of ironic humor. “I’m taking 13 pills a day. And I smoke marijuana. But the core of my medical treatment plan, more important than any of

the drugs, is what I call ‘Get A Life,’” she wrote in a 1995 essay for POZ Magazine. Connie Norman died in July 1996 at age 47 after being cared for at the Chris Brownlie Hospice, a facility she helped fight for with the A IDS Hospice Foundat ion. Her ashes were scattered on the White House lawn during ACT UP’s “Ashes Action” on October 13, 1996. In 2007, Norman was remembered as part of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance by the blogger LIBHOM, who argued that society’s failure to prevent AIDS deaths was just as actively violent as a deadly trans-bashing. “I remember her as ‘Momma Connie.’ She was constantly taking care of young activists at demos, and she always had so much to teach to anyone who wanted to learn,” the blogger wrote. “Most of all, I learned that no matter how righteous an activist’s anger is, that anger is based on love. We can never forget that we are motivated most of all by love for people who aren’t treated fairly or humanely in this world.”


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ARTHUR DONG

n the early 1990s, KCET, then the PBS TV station in Los Angeles, featured a public affairs show called Life & Times with openly gay producers, one of whom was Arthur Dong. While there, the budding filmmaker produced 13 documentaries. He gained national attention in 1994 with his Peabody Award-winning film, Coming Out Under Fire, which was based on gay historian A llan Berube’s classic 1990 book about the discrimination faced by gay and lesbian servicemembers during World War II. Dong’s documentary seemed like a rebuke to President Bill Clinton who had campaigned on a promise to lift the ban against open service, only to compromise with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The following year, in 1995, Dong produced and directed Out Rage ’69 about the riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that marked a significant turning point in the long road for LGBT equality. Dong’s segment was the first installment of the historic PBS series about the struggle for LGBT civil rights entitled, The Question of Equality.” Dong has since produced and directed scores of documentaries, including the 2002 Family Fundamentals, an often heartbreaking look at how conservative Christians and Catholics treat their gay children, and more recently, Forbidden City, U.S.A. about the stars of the Golden Age of Chinese-American nightclubs in San Francisco between 1936-1970. But one of Dong’s most i mpor tant documentaries has become buried by time. In 1997, Dong, a victim of gay bashing in San Francisco in the 1970s, summoned the courage to investigate the minds of eleven inmates convicted of murdering gay men, seven featured in the film. Licensed to Kill is shocking in its stark depiction of how unquestioned anti-gay religious upbringing permeates homophobic America. A sm i l i n g Jef f re y S w i n ford, for instance, tells Dong that gay men are a nuisance “that oughta be taken care of.” He assumed law enforcement agreed and was surprised when he was arrested for helping kill a man who he claims

BY KAREN OCAMB came on to him. Swinford is so comfortable with his version of the “gay panic” defense, that he says “I’d really almost forgot about” the murder. Swinford suggests the roots of this societal understanding went back to high school when his science teacher asked him to discuss a subject he didn’t approve of and the future gay killer picked homosexuality with Bible verses to back him up, without correction or comment. Jay Johnson was also raised under strict religious anti-gay guidance, which lead to intense self-loathing as the child experienced homosexual desires. “I was disgusted with what I was doing,” he tells Dong about cruising for sex in parks. “I thought to myself: `If I shut these places down, my temptation to do that would be less.” He killed two men and wounded another before being caught. Licensed to Kill won Best Documentary Director

Award-winning Filmmaker and Activist Arthur Dong

Photo: Zand Gee

Award and Filmmakers Trophy Award at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and secured for Dong an Emmy nomination for Best Director, New & Documentary. “I did this film because I refuse to be a victim,” Dong told the Los Angeles Times.


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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

DIANE ABBITT

G

rowing up, Diane Abbitt never expected “lesbian activist” to be on her resume. But in college she met Roberta Bennett, the two married fraternity brothers, had kids and fell in love. Abbitt’s life forever changed when she sought a divorce and her husband demanded their two small sons. The lesbian couple went to law school at night to learn how to fight for custody of their children. Person i f y i ng t he fem i n ist saying “the personal is political,” the two founded NOW’s Lesbian Rights Task Force. Abbitt, who officially coming out in 1973, soon became enmeshed in politics in 1976 after her friend Peter Scott asked her to join the board of the all-male political action committee, MECLA, the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles. David Mixner, who had just successfully managed Mayor Tom Bradley’s reelection campaign, also signed up — and came out. MECLA’s political power scored in the 1977 city elections and exploded in 1978 when MECLA helped organize the grassroots No on 64 campaign to defeat the Anita Bryant-inspired anti-gay Briggs Initiative. Abbitt recalled those days when introducing Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton on May 11, 1992 at an ANGLE community fundraiser at the Palace Theatre in Hollywood, calling it “the biggest presidential rally ever held by the gay and lesbian community.” When MECLA started, Abbitt said, “we couldn’t raise money out of our own community. We were too scared. And when we did raise money, the politicians wouldn’t accept

BY KAREN OCAMB

Diane Abbitt (l) is a founder of Equality California and most famously and her wife Bernadette Abbruzze (r) was the first lesbian couple ever to dance together in the White House.

it.” But, she said, with Dr. Scott Hitt on one side, and Clinton on the other, “times have changed.” Indeed, they had. AIDS hit the gay community like an unstoppable blinding hurricane, leaving devastation and death in its long wake. Abbitt had joined Dr. Joel Weisman, co-author with Dr. Michael Gottlieb of the first CDC article about HIV/AIDS, in becoming the first board co-chairs of AIDS Project Los Angeles. Abbitt would lose scores of close friends, including Peter Scott, whose very name still brings tears to her eyes. Abbitt’s fight has included ser ving on the boards of the Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, Freedom to Marry and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los A ngeles, advocating for change. And at holiday gatherings hosted with her beloved life and business partner Bernadette Abbruzze, Abbitt is still a leader, making

sure her extended family and close friends— including her former law clerk John Duran and his longtime partner, Mark Morris—have everything they need. Abbitt is widely respected as a “checkbook activist,” an “A-gay”—but she has never forgotten her roots. At a 2012 rally in West Hollywood celebrating the 9th Circuit ruling on Prop 8, Abbitt told the gathering that after domestic partnerships passed in 2003, “we thought we had the world. And then came marriage. And people in our own community said, ‘Don’t rock the boat.’ But look what happens when you rock the boat! And the only reason that worked was because of you....So yes, thank you to all of our leaders….But most of all – thank you to every single person who decided it was time to come out, to be seen and to be heard. And together, we will win, forever.”


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FRED KARGER Fred S. Karger is an American political consultant, gay rights activist and watchdog, former actor, and former candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US Presidential election.

W BY KAREN OCAMB

hen he retired from his long career as a Republican political operative in 2004, Fred Karger worried that he had not yet made his mark. Ironically, it was his effort to save the gay Boom Boom Room bar that changed Karger’s life—starting with coming out at age 54, guided by Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Gentry, the nation’s first openly gay mayor. When the anti-gay Prop. 8 pounded on his psyche in 2008, Karger realized he could contribute his expertise in the dark art of opposition research. He wanted to “make it socially unacceptable to give massive amounts of money to take away the rights of a minority,” he told gay reporters. He launched a boycott of the San Diego-based Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel after discovering that owner Doug Manchester contributed $125,000 to get Prop 8 on the ballot. In

I’ve always been a frustrated candidate, but I knew I could never run for office because I was gay and I was not out,” — Presidential Candidate, Fred Karger

coalition with UNITE HERE Local 30, the boycott cost Manchester $7 million in the first eight months. K a rger created Ca l i for n ia ns Against Hate to scrutinize contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign. After he revealed his discovery of a pattern

of Mormon donors, Wall Street Journal Mark Schoofs reported on a Mormon conference call where the out journalist heard orders for Mormons to give $25,000 to theProtectMarriage.com campaign. Karger’s endeavor led to tips from disaffected Mormons, such


LA PRIDE 06.03-17.2016

LOS ANGELES Our insurance helped pa y for trea tment.

as documentation revealing that the Church of Latter Day Saints had been deeply involved since 1995 w ith anti-gay marriage efforts— including drafting and passing Prop 22 in 2000. Karger filed a formal complaint with the California FAIR Political Practices Commission, which found the church guilty of violating 13 financial disclosure laws; LDS paid a fine. Karger filed a similar complaint against LDS coalition partner, the National Organization of Marriage, for hiding their contributors to the anti-marriage equality campaign in Maine. He turned over all his research to the Human Rights Campaign for what became the “NOM Exposed” website. It was during the Prop 8 fight that Karger first thought about running for the Republican nomination for president. “I’ve always been a frustrated candidate, but I knew I could never run for office because I was gay and I was not out,” Karger said. Karger was certainly out after Prop 8. A nd he was motivated by the prospect of Mormon Mitt Romney becoming president in 2012. He feared Romney’s obedience to the LDS Church would supersede his allegiance to the country. Launchi n g h is “F red W ho? ” c a mpa ig n in 2011 w it h loca l a nd nat iona l press, Karger positioned himself as the “anti-Romney” choice for the Republican nomination. He campaigned vigorously in Iowa and New Hampshire, targeting college students in particular, and delighted in capturing 137 more votes than anti-gay Rep. Michele Bachmann in the New Hampshire primary. But while he met state party criteria, he could not get on the debate stage to get his moderate, inclusive positions heard, effectively squelching his campaign. Karger made his mark, bringing LGBT issues to a Republican presidential contest. “I want to make a difference—that was my reason for becoming an activist—because I had a terrible struggle growing up,” Karger says. “I want to make it easier for younger people.”

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DAVID MIXNER

T BY KAREN OCAMB

here was a moment in time in the early 1990s when David Mixner was brief ly considered the gay community’s version of Martin Luther King Jr.: he was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi; he was a leader in the anti-Vietnam War movement; and he spoke eloquently about fighting the spectrum of inequality impacting American gays and lesbians from those dying from AIDS to those risking their lives while serving in silence in the U.S. military. Mixner first appeared on the national scene as one of four organizers for the important Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam on Oct. 15, 1969. Millions marched in Washington DC—and listened to speeches from such leaders as Coretta Scott King, whose husband had been murdered 18 months earlier—while millions more marched in cities around the country. Mixner’s friend, Bill Clinton, then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, organized a demonstration across from the U.S. Embassy in London that would later become an issue during Clinton’s presidential campaign. But Mi x ner was a lso k now n as a Democrat ic Pa r t y st rategist, hav i ng started his political career out of college by organizing the victor y for progressive presidential candidate Eugene McCa r t hy over incumbent P resident Lyndon Johnson in the Minnesota caucus in 1967. He came to the attention of the gay community in 1976 when, a fter hav ing r un L os A ngeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s successful reelect ion campaign in 1976, Mixner joined the Municipal Elections Committee of Los A ngeles (MECL A), the first gay politica l action committee. A fter prov ing their prowess in the city council elections, Mixner came out and, with other MECLA members, helped organize the statewide No on 6 campaign against the anti-gay Briggs Initiative. Mixner and

David Mixner is a civil rights activist and best-selling author. He is best known for his work in anti-war and gay rights advocacy.

his partner Peter Scott convinced Gov. Ronald Reagan to oppose the measure, leading to its crushing defeat in 1978. Seven years later, in 1985, Mixner helped defeat Prop 64, an initiative that would quarantine people w ith A IDS. Peter Scott died in 1989, one of hundreds of friends he lost to the cruel disease. “I did close to 90 eulogies in two years in the 1980s,” Mixner said last year. “And you don’t really think about it as you go through it. As I used to say, it was Saturday morning memorial and Saturday night disco.” In 1991, after presidential candidate Bill Clinton promised Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality to fight AIDS and lift the ban on gays in the military, Mixner and ANGLE raised $3.1 million

dollars and helped organize the first gay vot ing bloc to elect Clinton over incumbent President George H.W. Bush. Two years later, Mi x ner felt betrayed after Clinton sprung “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the once adoring gay community and protested at the White House gate as his former friends waved from inside. In his one-man play “Oh Hell No,” Mixner plants a gay stake in time. “This generation of youth must know…of the sacrifices and the courage,” Mixner said, “so they know that they come out of something magnificent, something historic, something noble, something exciting….They have an incredible histor y that should fill them with pride—one of courage and power and dignity.”


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PAT ROCCO continued from p. 8

younger generation who does not inherently under stand the historical context of the event.” Classen said the change represented an “evolution” of LA Pride. His statements were widely understood to mean that CSW was dumbing the event down in an appeal to “millennials” who may not care about gay rights, a perception that sent shivers through the community. The transformation of the once grassroots Pride Festival into a rave-like, multi-staged, highly produced mega Music Festival seemed like a radical departure. Critics accused CSW of turning LA Pride into “Gay Coachella,” saying they were wilfully and hell-bent on erasing the event’s legacy and edging out or ignoring more senior members of the community. Outrage also grew over plans to jettison free admission on Friday, the reduction of time and space available for transgender and dyke events, the increase in ticket prices, elimination of small business booths and some non-profit outreach booths. All of those items were a source of tremendous community-wide concern at the time Rocco’s letter was written and read aloud. “After reading that article online it is with much dis-

may that I see elements of our community have taken it upon themselves to question all the good works and decision that CSW has made. This has rubbed me the wrong way. Such an important annual event for our community takes many hours, weeks and months to sort out and analyze by well meaning board members who want nothing more than to present the best event every year. There has to be logical reasons for these changes this year, and those logical reasons must have been well thought out. Just guessing about it is not enough. Changes happen when an entire board finds it necessary. They did not make these decisions lightly but rather with reasoning and forethought. I fully support all the decisions and efforts made by Chris Classen and the CSW board, knowing that those important decisions were thoughtfully and carefully considered as the best way to go this year. I invite all those who disagree to actually join or attend CSW board meetings for next year. Get involved.” Rocco’s letter read. Given Rocco’s place in LGBTQ LA history, both as a documentarian and as as pioneering member of the community, the letter — unsolicited, says Rocco — certainly had the power to change the narrative and quiet critics.

Ivy Bottini, 90, said “I was shocked when that letter was read. I was really shocked that Pat wrote that letter. I know Pat. If he had the facts he would never have written that letter.” CSW certainly used the letter to their advantage. After reading Rocco’s letter aloud, Terry Zeller, a CSW supporter, declared it a “call to action” and suggested the concerns of those who disagreed should be ignored. Another CSW supporter exhorted the community to embrace “evolution.” Pat Rocco, however, now says ‘not so fast.’ “I believe I’ve been hoodwinked,” says Rocco. “I think Chris Classen (Christopher Street West’s current President) omitted some very important things,” he said. “They used my name, they used my letter and now I have to apologize to the community,” he said in a phone call from Hilo, Hawaii that he initiated with The Pride LA. “I spoke to Chris Classen two or three times and I sent a letter in support. But now that I know more about what was happening on the ground at the time I realize I was not told about some key things…I was told different things on the phone — and a whole lot of PAT ROCCO continued on p. 45


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ROBIN TYLER

obin Tyler, currently Executive Director of the Equality Campaign, is a pioneer i n t he g rassroots struggle for LGBTI civil rights. Tyler a nd Dia ne Olson became heroes to many when, in February 2001, after they’d been together for nine yea rs, t hey tur ned their personal fight to marry into a public case for the world to see. They repeatedly demanded of the County of Los Angeles the right to marry, and they were the first lesbian plaintiffs in a California Supreme Court lawsuit that challenged the ban on same-sex marriage (Tyler et al v County of LA). The suit became a crucial part of the new civil rights movement of this century, one of the starting points of what some have called “the Second Stonewall.” The May 2008 decision of the California Supreme Court in Tyler et al v. County of LA is of historical importance. It granted equal marriage rights to same-sex couples; and also, through the judges’ decree, gay men and lesbians were granted status as a “suspect class”: that is, they were finally recognized as a legitimate minority that has historically suffered unconstitutional discrimination and is entitled to equal protection under the law. The County of Los Angeles recognized Robin and Diane as leaders in the marriage fight by permitting them to receive a marriage license on June 16, 2008—the evening before licenses were available to same-sex couples at large. Surrounded by loved ones and the international media, they were married in front of the Beverly Hills Courthouse— where they had been denied their license every Valentine’s Day for the preceding seven years. The City Council unanimously voted that June 16, their wedding day, be forever known as “Marriage Equality Day” in Los Angeles. On June 27, 2008, the City of Los Angeles bestowed on Robin and Diane a special community service award for being the original plaintiffs in the monumental same-sex marriage case. They were dubbed “the Rosa Parks of the lesbian and gay movement.” Robin Tyler’s battle for marriage equality was not the first time she’d stood up for important social causes. Through the decades, she’s been an activist, speaker, and special event producer for the anti-war, LGBT, AIDS and women’s movements. Most notably, she was the main stage producer of the 1979, 1987, and 1993 Marches on Washington for LGBT rights. In 2000, she was the co-founder

BY LILLIAN FADERMAN

06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

Robin Tyler (l) and Diane Olson (r) during their June 2008 wedding ceremony

and national rally coordinator for StopDrLaura. com, a campaign against the quackery of Dr. Laura Schlesinger, a radio personality who routinely spread homophobia over the airwaves. In 2003, when the US Supreme Court was considering the sodomy case of Lawrence v. Texas, Robin co-organized national demonstrations around the country; and when the Court declared that sodomy laws were unconstitutional, thousands of the engaged activists poured out onto the streets of a hundred cities to celebrate. When California’s anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8 qualified for the ballot in 2008, Tyler wrote and co-produced the “Stop the Hate, No on 8” Public Service Announcements (http://www.youtube.com/ user/TheEqualityCampaign). She was featured in a documentary called Annul Victory which showed tens of thousands of marriage equality supporters protesting in the streets for months after the Prop 8 “victory.” In 2011, in response to the horrific negative mail received by the producers of Dancing with the Stars because they’d booked transman Chaz Bono for their show, Robin cofounded National Pro-Bono Viewing & Dance parties to support Chaz and all transgender and gender non-conforming lesbians and gays. (http://www.sdgln.com/causes/2011/09/06/actionalert-two-leading-civil-rights-activists-want-yousupport-chaz-bono-viewing-parties). In 2013, she helped organize Day of Decision (www.Dayofdecision. org), in which over one hundred cities in twenty-five states, plus three cities in Canada, participated in a national response to the US Supreme Court decision on Prop 8. Robin’s pioneering work is the subject of a major chapter in Leading the Parade, Paul Cain’s aptly-named book about America’s most influential lesbian and gay citizens.

Canadian-born, Robin Tyler was also the first North American speaker to address major LGBT rallies in England, Canada, France, Mexico, and South Africa. She performed her comedy show in Moscow in 1990, at the first LGBT international conference in Russia, where she encouraged her audience to demand equal civil rights and an end to violence and discrimination against the LGBT community. The show drew 800 people, who had never before seen an openly gay performer on stage. Her history as a feminist and pro-gay performer goes back to the 1970’s, when Robin was half of the female comedy team of Harrison & Tyler, and she and Pat Harrison were signed by ABC television to star in a pilot for their own show. In 2015 she was awarded the first “Outlaugh” Festival Award at the Comedy Store, for being the first lesbian or gay comic to “come out” on stage, recordings, and television. She has been called the “mother of gay comedy.” Robin Tyler has also produced 25 outdoor Women’s Music & Comedy Festivals, the Women’s Philharmonic at the Kennedy Center, and the first International Queer Comedy Festival in Australia for the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. In 2011, Robin returned to the stage in Hollywood to create her one woman comedy show, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom: the Love Story behind Prop. 8 (www. robintyler.com ). It is a Jewish comedic look at the history of the LGBT Movement, beginning with Robin’s story of growing up in an all-Jewish environment in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and progressing to her lawsuit that helped bring marriage equality to California, her marriage to Diane Olson, and their battle against Prop. 8. In 2016 she will be filming her one woman show, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom (www.robintyler.com).


LA PRIDE 06.03-17.2016

LOS ANGELES

Acceptance.

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RABBI DENISE EGER Denise Leese Eger is an American Reform rabbi. In March 2015 she became president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

T

BY STEVE WEINSTEIN

here are many traditions during Pride Weekend in West Hollywood, but one of the most enduring — and endearing is the annual Pride Shabbat, the Friday night Sabbath ser vices at Congregation Kol Ami. Presiding over them is the woman who has risen to become one of the most important clerics in Los Angeles, and one of the most prominent rabbis in the country, Rabbi Denise Eger. As the president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinical arm of the Reform Jewish movement, Rabbi Eger oversees 2,000 of her peers — the largest such organization in North America. Despite the continuing national exposure that came with her becoming the first out-rabbi to serve as the head of any such organization three years ago, Rabbi Eger keeps her focus squarely on the thriving congregation she herself founded 25 years ago with a handful of LGBT and LGBT-friendly congregants. For many years, she participated in an annual inter-faith service on the Pride main stage that included 20 stalwarts like Troy Perry, the founder of MCC, the first LGBT-oriented denomination in the world. “Some people involved were anti-religious,” she relates, “so more than

a decade the whole inter-faith community would gather at the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega, opposite where they contain the antigay protesters. We would hold our service with amplifiers and lots of music to try to drown out the other with love.” In past years, the congregation was an active participant in the Pride march, graduating from a contingent of marchers with herself leading in an open car to an elaborate float. She views this year’s push to appeal specifically to millennials with skepticism. “ The reason we got here, to create the conditions where millennials enjoy so ma ny freedoms from oppression,” she notes, “is the generations that went before. With so much left to do, especially the trans community so terrifically under attack, a great opportunity is being missed for solidarity for education by simply turning it into ‘the gay Coachella.’” S he s hou ld k no w. R a bbi E ge r ’s entire life has been one of “firsts” — from her time in the Reform seminary, when she orga n i zed a n L GB T group t hat had to meet fa r away for m t he campus; to orga nizing the Souther n

California Gay and Lesbian Jewish Professionals Group; to her officiating at the first legal wedding for a lesbian couple in the state in 2008. In 1988, she became a rabbi at L.A.’s Bet h Chay im Chadashim sy nagogue at the height of the AIDS crisis. “People were dying and West Hollywood was Ground Zero,” she says. She felt the need for a congregation to serve the community and has enjoyed seeing the congregation grow even as the area itself has blossomed. I’ve HIV community institutions grow from start-ups to really strong organizations with a huge reach. I’ve seen a group of young people grow up without the same challenges to stay closeted.” Kol-Ami has “never been a ‘gay’ congregation,” she emphasizes. “There have always been non-gay families as well as seniors.” The community has served as a haven for the city’s large but dwindling community of Russian immigrants. It’s a celebrat ion of t h is diversity — always with one eye on her LGBT congregants — that informs the Shabbat service. Typical of her open-armed acceptance, she encourages anyone — Jewish or not — to join the congregation on June 10.


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PAT ROCCO continued from p. 41

things — but the demands and specific complaints that were being made were just left out…they didn’t tell me everything,” said an irate Rocco. “They didn’t tell me about the elimination of the community awards, the exclusion of non-profits and small business booths or that entry prices were going to be increased. I didn’t know they were going so off the beam with what they were doing,” Rocco said. “I didn’t know, for example, that their board serves under a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. I had no idea about that,” he said with astonishment. “I don’t believe in that at all,” he said, adding “I believe in being totally open.” “I retract that letter,” he now says. He says his letter was intended to be “like a pat on the back, a collegial statement” from a predecessor. Classen and CSW ultimately responded to a threatened boycott from a group called #notourpride, issuing an open letter to the community and giving in to several of their demands. “We heard you and we are sorry,” the letter read. “As an LGBTQ community based nonprofit organization, Christopher Street West has strived to create an annual Pride celebration that brings our entire community, friends and allies together in celebration of the unique diversity that makes each of us a valued member of society. As a mostly new governing board our goal was to create the best LA PRIDE experience to date. As we endeavored to create such an event we have made a few missteps along the way that have left valued members of our community feeling left out or under appre—Pat Rocco ciated. This was never our intention. We’ve heard your concerns and objections and we sincerely apologize,” the letter continued. The boycott by #notourpride was called off. But the LA Pride Music Festival and Parade is on. Yes, that’s right, “Gay Coachella,” as critics call it, is on. So, what of Rocco’s claim? Was he used? Was he hoodwinked? Were you? Was Pat Rocco really standing against critics of CSW? Did CSW attempt to deflect harsh criticism by soliciting a letter of support from a legendary activist without fully disclosing to him the extent of criticisms being waged against them, a statement they could then use to quell or perhaps split a storm? “I believe Pat Rocco’s intentions were honorable, but that he was mislead and not fully informed. That was Chris Classen’s responsibility,” says Robin Tyler, the 74 year old activist who was a producer of the stages at the three marches on Washington, D.C.. Classen, in a statement he emailed to The Pride LA, did not address Rocco’s letter other than to say “We have exchanged emails and phone calls on a regular basis throughout the planning process.” Classen says the concerns about history and legacy being supplanted by the festival’s ‘evolution’ are unwarranted. “We have not had awards for a few years. They used to be given at our annual Awards Brunch which had to be cancelled due to budget issues,” he wrote. He noted that “this year, recognizing the work that many leaders have done on behalf of the community, I asked our board to work on a new Awards Program for next year. We are excited to return to an event that properly recognizes community leaders and their contributions.” “This year’s festival,” he claims “will be identical to last years in terms of layout and programming. We have some incredibly engaging art to see and experience, great local food to share.” “And as always,” he adds “new music to discover.”

They didn’t tell me about the elimination of the community awards, the exclusion of non-profits and small business booths or that entry prices were going to be increased.”

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LARRY KRAMER Larry Kramer is an American playwright, author, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. Portrait by: Bob Krasner for The Pride LA

F BY MAER ROSHAN

ew people in the past five decades have played as pivotal and public a role in the gay rights movement as Larry Kramer, the combustible author, playwright and AIDS activist whose leadership radically transformed gay culture and politics almost overnight. Soft spoken and unfailingly polite in person, Kramer has always been something of a public lightning-rod. Born to a Jewish family in Connecticut and educated at Yale, he began his career rewriting scripts for Columbia Pictures and penning screenplays of his own on the side. In 1969, while working in London, he wrote the screenplay for Women in Love, a screen adaptation of DH Lawrence’s classic novel. The film secured Kramer an Academy Award nomination and established him as one of the most prominent openly gay industry people in Hollywood. A prolific playwright and essayist, he has frequently used his writing as a vehicle to air his oft-controversial views about a community that both delights and disappoints him. In the ‘70s, well before the advent of AIDS, he raised hackles with his novel, Faggots, a searing indictment of what he viewed as the shallow, promiscuous sexual culture that pervaded gay male culture. (Angr y critics of the book denounced its author as puritanical and prim.) When the first cases of “Gay Cancer” began surfacing in the early ‘80s, Kramer was among the first to raise the alarm. He used his column in New York’s gay newspaper, The Native to attack the deadly indifference of the medical and political establishment, and warned gay men that the only way they’d survive the plague was if they stopped having indiscriminate sex and stood up for themselves. Kramer’s efforts resulted in the forma-

tion of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which went on to became the largest private AIDS service organization in the world. But as the epidemic continued to claim an army of his friends, Kramer became increasingly angry and more radical. Combative and sometimes self-righteous, he grew frustrated with the bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, and denounced gay men who chose to stay closeted rather than publicly fight the epidemic. Among Kramer’s most frequent targets was the city’s then-mayor, Ed Koch, who happened to live in Kramer’s Fifth Avenue building. Whenever the two men occasionally crossed paths at the elevator, Kramer would determinedly avoid the mayor’s gaze and address his dog. “Look Molly, “ he’d growl, “there’s the man who’s killing all daddy’s friends.” In 1985, Kramer channeled his mounting frustrations into an autobiographical new play, The Normal Heart, produced by New York’s Public Theater. Released to rapturous reviews, the play served as an early history of the AIDS crisis and an angry indictment of organizations like GMHC, whom Kramer saw as passive and politically impotent. Two years later, while receiving treat-

ment for a ser ious l iver a i l ment, Kramer learned that he himself was HI V-positive. Soon a fter, speaking before a packed house at New York’s Gay and Lesbian Center, Kramer challenged his audience with a question. “Do you want to start a new organization devoted to political action? ” The answer was an emphatic yes. Two days later, 300 people met to form the first chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). The group’s media-savvy, in-your-face protests against the White House, pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street and the Catholic Church forced the media to pay attention to the epidemic,and took on entrenched bureaucracies. On October 11, 1988, in a bid to hasten the approval of promising drugs to desperately ill patients, thousands of activists shut down the Food and Drug Administration for the day. It was the largest demonstration in Washington D.C. since the Vietnam War, and helped pushed the agency to fast track a string of effective experimental drugs. B y t he e a rl y n i net ie s K r a mer h ad become a controversial, but nationally recognized figure—the gay movement’s eminence grise. In 1992 his play The Destiny of Me was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and he is a two-time recipient of the Obie Award. In 1999, Time Magazine included him on its list of the 100 most influential people of the decade. Since then, though he remains a committed activist, Kramer has focused on more creative pursuits. In 2001, after discovering extensive liver damage due to Hepatitis B, Kramer received a liver transplant. The procedure did not reduce his bile. In 2004, days after the reelection George W. Bush, Kramer delivered a speech that LARRY KRAMER continued on p. 61


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IVY BOTTINI Ivy Bottini is an artist, mother, and legendary activist who has devoted over 40 years to the feminist and LGBT struggle for civil and human rights.

Guests in Town? Celebration Coming Up? Staff Needs A Day Off?

TIME FOR

I

v y Bottini was born on August 15, 1926 and at a very early age she was so captivated by Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic f light that she named her dog “Lindy Up in the Airplane.” She has been capt ivated since by imagery and meaning and has spent a lifetime working on the intersections of activism and art. She’s a pioneering and proud lesbian who continues to use her visual thinking to influence narratives and her insight to nurture her community. She has a mother’s touch (she has two daughters) and a love of nuance that makes her a keen observer — and she isn’t the slightest bit shy about making a public diagnosis. At 90 years old Ivy remains as relevant as ever. In recent weeks, as Christopher Street West was roiled by questions about its management of LA Pride, Ivy’s laser like questions drove the discussion. She blasted West Hollywood City

WINE! BY TROY MASTERS Council for its lack of oversight, asking “How could the festival become a music festival without knowledge of this body? I’d like to know: who is running CSW? Is it a one-man show? A twoman show? The board should be making decisions. Are they doing that? Or has the head of the organization suddenly decided it’s his organization?” As a recipient of the organization’s 2007 Morris Kight award, the top recognition once given by Christopher Street West board, her concerns carried considerable weight. Ivy has a powerful track record as a progressive activist that began in 1968. She embraced her lesbian identity and quickly became a leading feminist voice, establishing and serving as president of the New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women. Her actions heralded a new brand of “in-yourface activism” that preceded the Lesbian Avengers, IVY BOTTINI continued on p. 52

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MICHAEL WEINSTEIN MICHAEL WEINSTEIN is the president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation

M BY KAREN OCAMB

ichael Weinstein is an AIDS activist. Full stop. He exercises his activist muscle as the co-founder and president of Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest AIDS organization with a budget of $1.3 billion to operate more than 320 treatment clinics in 36 countries, 46 outpatient healthcare clinics in 14 states and numerous other programs. Yet AHF’s work is often overshadowed by critics loudly challenging what they see as Weinstein’s controversial remarks, the most recent of which is his caution about the use of PrEP without condoms. But Weinstein was a social justice troublemaker years before AIDS became the focus of his life. In the mid-1970s, Weinstein worked as a graphic designer by day but used his free time to zap rich A-gays like law yer Sheldon A ndelson, who seemed to support the gay community center as an act of haughty charity. T hen c a me A I D S. I n 19 8 6, when right wing extremist Lyndon LaRouche launched his Prop 64 initiative calling for ma ndator y HI V testing a nd qua rantining HIV-positive people in camps, Wei nstei n a nd h is best f r iend Ch r is

Brownlie started the Stop AIDS Quarantine Committee. They distributed more than 60,000 f liers and organized over 4,000 demonst rators to ma rch on L a Rouche’s headquarters in Atwater Village, according to gay journalist Bruce Mirken. That march and the No on 64 campaign helped defeat the measure by a whopping 71% to 29%. W hen Brow n l ie fel l i l l a nd spent t hree days on a gur ney in a hospita l hallway because no room was available, Wei nstei n pleaded w it h L . A . Cou nt y Supervisor Ed Edelman for help. “Weinstein had grown from a youthful radical to an admirer of Sheldon Andelson’s ex per t pol it ick i ng. Now, however, he realized that gay political circumstances had changed yet again. He saw clearly that ‘AIDS was so horrifying, and the treatment of AIDS patients was so horrifying, that rubbing elbows wasn’t going to cut it,’” Weinstein told Stuart T immons for the book Gay L.A. T hat prompted Weinstein, Brow nlie, Brownlie’s partner Phill Wilson and Mar y Adair to found the AIDS Hospice Foundation in 1988 to help people with A IDS who were dy i ng i n t he st reets.

Brownlie died in the hospice a year later at age 39. In 1990, Weinstein changed the name to AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which served as a spring board for ACT UP/LA and other AIDS activists to protest drug companies’ high prices and against the County for better treatment at County USC and the outpatient clinic, 5P21. Over t he yea rs, Weinstein became more professiona l while ag gressively courting and threatening elected officials, becoming highly litigious (winning most lawsuits), and continuing to push the politically-acceptable envelop. On May 31, Weinstein called on the FDA and Congress to investigate Gilead Sciences for what A HF alleges in a lawsuit was drug patent manipulation of their HIV medication, tenofov ir. Some longtime AIDS activists have set aside their searing disdain for Weinstein and applauded this action. “If I had one wish it would be that we, as a community – if in fact we are one – would put more energy into fighting our enemies than trashing each other,” Weinstein said in an interview. “However, I am not sure I will live that long.”


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Venice Pride Lights Up

I

knew something special was happening the minute I saw the large goat being led by a wild Radical Faerie thru the jammed streets of Venice Beach with the throbbing music of DJ Victor Rodriguez filling the gathering space and a huge conga line including a dancing dog snaking thru the large crowd. You won’t find that in WeHo! I was right at home in Venice Beach In spite of the cool misty evening, something remarkable happened June 3 as the first-ever Venice Pride Celebration and street party rocked the Venice Circle and the iconic Venice illuminated sign was unveiled in its full rainbow glory for the very first time. For more than a hundred years, Venice Beach has held a special place in the psyche of Los Angeles County. Part gritty urban sex-guru and part New Age shaman, Venice has been where L.A. takes its clothes off and gets a breath of fresh air for decades. Growing up in L.A. County, Venice Beach was the first place I ever saw a naked person in public (when I was a kid during the much too short period when Venice was a nude beach in the 70s). It was the first place I ever saw a naked gay man. It was the first place i ever saw two naked men kissing which almost blew my gaskets at fifteen. I have lived in Venice for almost thirty years and when I first landed here in the late 80s the world-famous gay beach- the Brooks Beach or Speedo Lido as it was popularly known- would be chock-a-block with queer folk. Times and fashion change; the bathing suits came back on and the boys moved north a bit to Will Rogers Beach. But with the recent closing of the last gay bar on the Westside the Roosterfish in Venice, it was looking like Venice Beach queer salad days were over. But then some local queer Venetians had another idea on how to keep making LGBTQ space in Venice. Grant Turck - who organized the event along with filmmaker George Francisco and Daniel Samakow of restaurants James’ Beach and Danny’s- welcomed the packed crowd jammed along Windward at the Venice Circle and spoke of why Venice really matters, “For 100 years Venice has welcomed LGBTQ Bohemians, beatnicks, poets, artists, hippies, surfers, body builders, musicians, actors, designers, film makers, and all of us who simply expressed our own sexual and gender Identities. So as we still struggle for equality it is appropriate that we celebrate our uniqueness, here in Venice Beach, a place that celebrates differences!” Openly gay L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin was in fine form as he playfully asked “Anybody here used to hang out at the Roosterfish? Anybody here used to have too much to drink at the Roosterfish? Anybody here hook up at the Roosterfish? Anybody here meet a significant other at the Roosterfish?”

by Tim Miller

There was loud acclimation to ever y question except the last one. T hen, Cou nci l ma n Bon i n rem i nded the crowd of the great loss L.A. had recent ly gone t h roug h w it h t he deat h of much loved for mer Councilma n Bill Rosendahl, the first openly gay man elected to the Los A ngeles City Council representing the Venice area and who had a strong love for Venice Beach. Bonin promised that the beach from Brooks Ave. to Windward Ave. – historically the gay beach in Venice- will be named The Bill Rosendahl Beach. It isn’t enoug h for us to ma rk t he histor y and put up a plaque; the visionary organizers of Venice Pride along with Councilman Bonin are doing their best to make new history. T he naming of t he queer beach for

Bill Rosendahl can rev ive this lost gay space, the gathering places like Danny’s and James Beach can be the post-beach watering holes that the Friendship bar in Santa Monica was back in the day when Christopher Isher wood and gang would gather after Will Rogers. The event really made me imagine the L A Pride that the Spirit of Venice could make happen! Ve n i c e P r i de m ay b e t he b e aut iful spark for a renaissance of queer L.A. Pride that is more community-based, creative, non-corporate, and world changing. Hopefully, of course, there will be goats and dancing dogs in the mix too! T im Miller is a solo per for mer a nd author of the books Body Blows and 1001 Beds. www.TimMillerPerformer.com


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IVY BOTTINI continued from p. 49

ACT UP and Queer Nation, blending her love of strong visuals with powerful messaging. She organized an action at the Statue of Liberty, draping a 40’ banner over the world famous icon that read “Women of the World Unite,” garnering global media attention. Using her graphic design skills she published The NOW York Times, a parody of the powerful New York Times in an effort to combat the paper’s sexism. She collaborated with many other groups to draw tens of thousands of protestors, overtaking Fifth Avenue in 1970 for the Women’s Equality march, months after Troy Perry, Morris Kight and Bob Humphries had taken Hollywood Boulevard for the first gay pride parade in Los Angeles. Ivy left New York behind in 1971, moving to Los Angeles where she studied acting and later toured t he U.S. per for ming her one-woma n show “ T he Ma ny Faces of Woma n.” But activ ism was in her blood and the then nascent Los A ngeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center recruited her back to action. LGBT visibility was drawing a backlash and Ivy, with Morris Kight, successfully organized California’s LGBT activists and rights groups in an effort to defeat The Briggs Amendment, legislation that would have prohibited gay men and lesbians from teaching in public schools. The “No on 6” campaign employed strategies activists would later copy to defeat Prop 8. Her successful organizing was recognized by Governor Jerry Brown and she became the first out gay person empaneled onto a state board as Commissioner for the California Commission on Aging.

In the early 1980s, after caring for a friend with AIDS who died of Karposi’s Sarcoma, Ivy turned her attention to the A IDS crisis. She co-founded L os Angeles’ first AIDS service organization, AIDS Network LA, a news and information service that provided an invaluable model that was copied nationwide. She became a prevention advocate and helped establish A PL A. She also helped defeat a move to quarantine people with AIDS.

Iv y has never slowed down. She served on West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board until recently. She helped shed light on the Crystal Meth cr isis, domest ic abuse a nd sen ior issues. She worked to obtain a visionary grant that established the nation’s first LGBT senior housing complex. Bottini was recently hospitalized after a fall at Pacific Design Center where she had attended a CSW board meeting, calling the board a “lame duck.”


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n g i l a d e P If you’re going by semi-official histories, the AIDS epidemic began on July 9, 1981 when an article by Lawrence K. Altman, entitled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals” appeared in the New York Times But, those with long memories and life spans know that HIV/AIDS appeared years earlier -- stretching the 35 years acknowledged to something closer to 50 years. The tsunami of HIV infection and AIDS deaths that dominated the 1980s saw by the early 1990s the rise of a number of fundraising events to deal with the problem. And AIDS/LifeCycle is one of the more notable of them. Each cyclist raises a minimum of $3,000, with many of them surpassing that amount by the tens of thousands. The money raised supports San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. L ast yea r, A IDS/Li fecycle ra ised a record-breaking $16.5 million.

to end AIDS

“What first started in the 1990s as the California AIDS Ride has evolved to becoming AIDS/LifeCycle, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary,” notes Gil Diaz, Communications Manager of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and a member of AIDS/LifeCycle’s media team. “What’s new and exciting this year is that we’re close to pedaling through West Hollywood—something we haven’t done in over a decade! For the past few years, we finished at the Veterans Administration Center in West Los Angeles. This year we finish at Fairfax High School near West Hollywood on Saturday, June 11.” The sight of dedicated AIDS/LifeCycle cyclists riding right through West Hollywood, a city that’s been acknowledged as the beating heart of LGBT life—and a city disproportionately impacted by the AIDS epidemic—is certain to be stirring, especially at at a time when newer drugs are prolonging

by David Ehrenstein

the lives of those living with HIV and talk of a cure for AIDS is moving from a dream to the labs. “Just in time for L.A. Pride, when thousands of visitors will converge in West Hollywood—a city which embraced the ride when it began as California AIDS Ride—we are making the bold statement that we will continue to ride until HIV/AIDS is over,” said AIDS/LifeCycle Senior Director Greg Sroda. “Our cyclists and roadies have journeyed 545 miles through California to get this far. Join me in giving them a much-deserved hero’s welcome!” Volunteers a re needed for t he Finish Line Festival at Fairfax High School. To volunteer, register at aidslifecycle.org/ volunteer. The AIDS Bike Ride is a powerful and fun way to help save lives.

Photos: AIDS/LifeCycle


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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

FILM REVIEW

LAST MAN STANDING MULTI-MEDIA PROJECT, UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY REMIND US OF THE ONGOING STRUGGLE OF LONG-TERM AIDS SURVIVORS

BY JOHN PAUL KING

P

r ide 2016 is, f i r st a nd foremost, a celebration, w ith colorful parades, concerts, dancing, drinking, and so much more. The LGBTQ community gathers to participate together in these activities, creating joyous memories with friends, embracing and expressing their identity, and celebrating their lifestyle and culture with an openness that would have been unthinkable not so many years ago. It wasn’t always this way. The first Pride festivals were celebrations, toobut they were defiant ones, aimed at gaining acceptance for an oppressed community that was tired of living in the shadows. It is because of the brave efforts of those early LGBTQ activists, two generations ago, that Pride today can be the party that it is. Unfortunately, an over whelming number of these same pioneers would soon fall victim to the greatest scourge their community has ever known. The AIDS epidemic of the eighties and nineties claimed tens of thousands of lives before t hat same spir it of activ ism forced the government and the medical establishment to take action and develop treatments which could turn this disease into a manageable condition instead of a death sentence. Though many had fallen, some survived, and are still among us today. As we plan for our Pride celebrations this summer, we owe it to them to acknowledge the struggles they weatheredand those they must still endure. Our friends at the San Francisco Chroni-

cle have provided us with an excellent means to do so: a remarkable multi-med i a proje ct u nder t a ken by he a lt h reporter Erin Allred. A llred had covered HIV/A IDS for the Chronicle for about 10 years and had the opportunity to talk to a number of long-term survivors. Struck by t he com mon t hemes of cont i nui ng struggle she heard in their narratives, she w a s pa r t ic u l a rl y move d a f ter hearing about the suicide of one such man, Jonathan Klein. Says Allred, “It seemed so awful that this man had survived the worst years of the epidemic and his life had still ended in suicide. I learned, shortly after his death, that suicide was, if not quite common, cer ta inly not ra re among long-term survivors. Clearly many people were struggling, and that was something we needed to talk about.” She interviewed over 50 long-term survivors for the project. “What struck me was that ever y one of them had incredible, heartbreaking stories from the worst years of the epidemic, and a lot of them still carried heavy burdens from that time. And no one seemed to give them a thought. A lot of people didn’t even know these survivors were still here. Because the nature of the epidemic has shifted so dramatically -- from fear and grief to hope and success -- it was easy to overlook the fact that the survivors were not only here, but that they were dealing with a lot of fallout from just having survived. It seemed to me that we had a responsibility to share their stories.”

Allred, along with photographers Erin Brethauer and Tim Hussin, spent 10 months focusing on eight such survivors, men whose experiences ref lect the struggles of countless others who continue to fight for their lives. You can find a partial result of their effortsan extensive special report by Allred, profiles of the eight men, information on the history and current state of the AIDS epidemic, and a wide selection of photographs and other supporting material- at the following website: http://projects.sfchronicle.com/ 2016/living-with-aids/ T he ot her component of A llred’s proje ct is “L a st Men St a nd i n g,” a 66-minute documentar y (one of the few ever produced by a newspaper) directed and produced by Brethauer and Hussin. Slated for screenings at multiple LGBT film festivals across the country, the movie will be shown here in Los A ngeles- as part of Outfest- in mid-July. The festival has yet to announce its screening schedule at the time of writing this, but once the date is made public for this particular work, you’ll want to make sure you keep it open. The Pride will include more information about the film along w it h ou r covera ge of Out fest ne x t month. Until then, you can see a trailer for “Last Men Standing” when you visit the website listed above. It’s a recommended experience, which provides a reminder that, even if the darkest days are over, there is still much work to be done.


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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE ONE CITY ONE PRIDE continued from p. 33 Gallery 825, 825 N. La Cienega Blvd. Free Admission. For more info: www.gallery825.com

The LA Pride parade comes back to West Hollywood and runs from Crescent Heights Blvd. to Robertson Blvd. along June 10, 6pm: DYKE MARCH Santa Monica Blvd. Queer Signs – Community Event of the Times 1965-2016 will The Dyke March kicks off from include 75 re-created protest the West Hollywood Park with a signs that will be taken to the program featuring Jewel Thaisstreets in a mock protest rally, Williams (Grand Marshal of depicting historical signs dating LA Pride 2016),Funny Women as far back as 1965 as part of presented by UnCabaret the City of West Hollywood’s (featuring Julie Goldman, Selen parade contingent and the Luna, and Marsha Warfield) and Queer Biennial II (created the presentation of the Etheridge and organized by artist Ruben Award to the June Mazer Esparza.) Parade is free to Lesbian Archives, followed by attend and kicks off from a march at 7pm down Santa Crescent Heights at 10:45am, Monica Blvd. More info here. www.lapride.org for details.

LIBERATION” READING – Literary/History Join historian Jim Downs for a book reading and Q & A around his new book “Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation” co-sponsored by the LA County Public Library. West Hollywood Library Community Room, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free admission. Space is limited, please reserve seats atwww.thelavendereffect.org/ events.

June 17-18: TRANS PRIDE - MULTIDISCIPLINARY/ COMMUNITY EVENT Trans Pride kicks off on June 17 at 7pm, with a Big Queer Convo with trans activist CeCe June 10 – 12: LA June 14, 7pm: HUMAN McDonald followed by the PRIDE FESTIVAL – RIGHTS SPEAKERS reception for the art exhibit ‘We MULTIDISCIPLINARY/ SERIES: EXPLORING LGBT Can Be Heroes’ from 9-10pm COMMUNITY EVENT RIGHTS IN CHINA AND (exhibit remains on view until The LA Pride Festival is ABROAD - Lecture July 23). Come back for a day of produced by Christopher Street This panel features Mulan performances, workshops, and West (CSW) and features Wu, Director, Shenyang music on June 18 from 12pmperformances by Carly Rae Lesbian Fraternity; Rain 9:30pm. The Village at Ed Gould Jepsen, Charli XCX, DJs Gao, Director, Anhui Hefei Plaza, LA LGBT Center, 1125 Krewella, Faith Evans, Big Youth Health Service Center N. McCadden Pl. Free.www. Freedia and more. Visit www. (HYHSC); Guo Ziyang (Joe), facebook.com/TransPrideLA lapride.org for a full line-up of Gay Activist; Damien Lu, entertainment and to purchase Ph.D., Interpreter; and J. Bob June 18, 10am-6pm: 6th tickets. West Hollywood Park, Alotta, Executive Director, ANNUAL “CELEBRATING 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. Astraea Lesbian Foundation ALL LIFE AND for Justice. West Hollywood CREATION” POW WOW FESTIVAL HOURS: City Council Chambers, 625 MULTIDISCIPLINARY/ N. San Vicente Blvd. Free COMMUNITY EVENT FRIDAY, JUNE 10: admission. RSVP required Join Red Circle Project of 6 P.M. – 1 A.M atwehohrspeakerseries@gmail. AIDS Project LA for a full day com or (323) 848-6823. of traditional Native American SATURDAY, JUNE 11: music, dance, crafts and food, 2 P.M. – 1 A.M. June 15, 2pm-3:30pm: along with HIV testing and “STONEWALL UPRISING” prevention resources. Plummer SUNDAY, JUNE 12: FILM SCREENING – Film/ Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. 12 P.M. - 11 P.M. History Free to attend.http://bit.ly/ Join the West Hollywood Library APLAPowWow Parade: The parade will begin at for a free screening of the PBS 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, film, “American Experience: June 21, 7pm-8pm: along Santa Monica Blvd. (Free Stonewall Uprising” which QUEERWISE “SELFIES: to attend). explores the events of June 28, EXPLORING OUR 1969 which are commemorated MULTITUDINOUS June 11 -12: “GOT FRAMED” annually with June Pride SELVES”- Literary ART INSTALLATION AT LA month. West Hollywood Library LGBTQ writers aged 50+ reveal PRIDE – Art Installation Community Meeting Room, their funny, thoughtful, brave, “Got Framed” is a playful, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free sexy, proud and unique selves interactive art piece that admission. (310) 652-5340 in a spoken word performance. encourages people to step The Village at Ed Gould up, take a picture, and ‘be the June 15, 7pm: FELICE Plaza, Los Angeles LGBT art’. Even the City background PICANO TALK: GAY Center, 1125 N. McCadden Pl. becomes a character in the HOLLYWOOD IN THE Free admission. No RSVP is picture. This large-scale artwork 1930’S – Literary/Lecture * necessary. www.queerwise.net debuted at Burning Man 2015, Join author Felice Picano for and through a grant from One a talk on how extremely gay June 21, 7:30pm: City One Pride will be on display the Hollywood film industry CELEBRATION THEATRE at the LA Pride festival in West was during this era, despite CHUCK ROWLAND AWARD Hollywood. Ticket purchase is the strictures of the Hays - Theatre required to enter the LA Pride Commission. Followed by a Celebration Theatre will present festival grounds. Tickets at www. short reading from the novella their annual Chuck Rowland lapride.org. “Wonder City of the West.” Award to Tom Jacobson for West Hollywood City Council contributions to LGBTQ theatre June 12, 11am: LA PRIDE Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente along with readings of his work. PARADE AND FATA (FROM Blvd. Free admission.http://bit. Attention: “Pathetic Fallacy,” which THE ARCHIVES TO THE ly/GayHollywood30s was previously scheduled, is ARCHIVES -- QUEER going to be postponed to another SIGNS OF THE TIMES June 16, 7:30pm: THE date TBD. West Hollywood City 1965-2016) ARTIST LAVENDER EFFECT Council Chambers, 625 N. San RUBEN ESPARZA FOR PRESENTS “STAND BY Vicente Blvd. Free admission, with ONE CITY ONE PRIDE – Art ME: THE FORGOTTEN donations accepted. No RSVP is Intervention * HISTORY OF GAY necessary.


LA PRIDE 06.03-17.2016

LOS ANGELES anniversary of Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones - Freeing the Writer Within. West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free admission. www.weho.org/wehoreads

WEHO ARTS EXHIBITS A BRIEF HISTORY OF DRAG EXHIBIT – History/ Visual Art On view through June 27, this June 22, 6:30pm: RAINBOW Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. exhibit at the WeHo Arts library KEY AWARDS - Community Free admission. exhibition spaces is an overview Event of the history of drag in Los This year the Lesbian and June 26, 2pm: “I STAND Angeles County, and describes Gay Advisory Board honors CORRECTED” FILM the importance of ‘drag queens’ Jay M. Kohorn, Mark Lehman, SCREENING AND SUMMER and others in the early LGBTQ Carol Taylor-DiPietro, the West SOUNDS CONCERT WITH rights movement. The exhibit Hollywood Community Housing JENNIFER LEITHAM – Film/ consists of photographs drawn Corporation, and Ruth Williams Music from both the ONE Archives with awards for their dedication In 2001 Leitham transitioned and taken by photographer to the Lesbian and Gay from being known as John Austin Young. Curated by community. 6:30pm reception, Leitham to Jennifer Leitham Katie Poltz and Jessica Fowler 7pm program. West Hollywood while on tour with Doc of the LA LGBT Center and City Council Chambers, 625 Severinson, a story that David Attyah of Glendale N. San Vicente Blvd. Free was the subject of an award Community College as a result admission. www.weho.org winning documentary, “I Stand of a collaboration between the Corrected.” Join us for a free City of West Hollywood, LA June 23, 7:30pm: CHARLES screening at 2pm, followed by LGBT Center, and Center for PIERCE BIOGRAPHY a Q&A with filmmaker Andrea Performing Arts at UCLA. West Literary Meyerson. At 4pm, Jennifer Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Professor and author Chris will perform as part of the Vicente Blvd. Free admission Freeman interviews the author City’s free Summer Sounds during library hours. No RSVP of the new book on drag artist concerts series in the City Hall is necessary. http://weho.org/ Charles Pierce along with a Community Plaza, 8300 Santa residents/drag-angeles-one-citybook signing, video clips, and a Monica Blvd. Free to attend. No one-pride. Q&A. West Hollywood Library RSVP is necessary. http://bit.ly/ Community Meeting Room, SSJL2016 A Brief History of Drag exhibit 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free ‘Portrait of Anyone Who Shows admission. June 28, 7:30pm: LAMBDA Up In Drag, Los Angeles Edition, LITERARY BOOK CLUB 2016’ and artwork by Austin June 25 & 26, 1pm: ALAP Literary Young. PRIDE PLAY READING City Poet Steven Reigns FESTIVAL – Theatre * leads a book discussion on ONE ARCHIVES: “C**K, Two programs of rehearsed What Belongs to You by Garth PAPER, SCISSORS” – Visual readings of LGBTQ-themed Greenwell. West Hollywood Art ** plays written by members of Library Community Meeting Funded in part by a grant The Alliance of Los Angeles Room, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. through WeHo Arts, “C**k, Playwrights (ALAP). Saturday’s Free admission. http://www. Paper, Scissors” brings together program will feature 6 short lambdaliterary.org/book-clubs/ collage works by fifteen artists plays, while Sunday will lambda-lit-book-club who reuse print culture for world feature a single full-length play. making projects ranging from Plummer Park Community June 29, 7:30pm: OUTSET the era of gay liberation to the Center, Rooms 5/6, 7377 Santa FIFTH ANNIVERSARY present. Artists include Steven Monica Blvd. Free admission. SCREENING - Film Blevins, Enrique Castrejon, OutSet is a filmmaking Marlene McCarty, Jonathan June 25, 4pm-7pm: REACH workshop for LGBTQ young Molina-Garcia, Glenn Ligon, LA ‘DANCING IN THE people between the ages of 16- Olaf Odegaard, Anita Steckel, STREETS’ – Art Intervention * 24 through a collaboration of the Ingo Swann, Jade Yumang, REACH LA is a service LA LGBT Center and Outfest. and a site-specific installation organization that outreaches to Join Outfest for a screening. $10 by feminist pioneer Mary Beth disadvantaged youth of color general/$6 Outfest members. Edelson. The exhibit will be through the ball community, West Hollywood City Council open to the public Thursdayand have performed at MOCA Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Sunday, 1-5pm (Closed Monday and for various One City One Blvd. www.outfest.org through Wednesday) through Pride events over the years. July 10. Admission is free. This Tapping into their talented pool June 30, 7pm: LESBIAN exhibit contains nudity. Viewer of performers, West Hollywood SPEAKERS SERIES/ discretion is advised. As part of will come alive with unexpected WEHO READS/ONE CITY the exhibit a book launch and dance performances and ONE PRIDE PRESENT discussion will take place during interventions. For instance, two NATALIE GOLDBERG IN One City One Pride. Please visit men at a picnic table playing CONVERSATION WITH www.weho.org/pride for details. chess, will suddenly break into a WEST HOLLYWOOD CITY Long Hall, Plummer Park, 7377 choreographed vogue dance-off. POET STEVEN REIGNS Santa Monica Blvd. Other performances will take Literary place in various parts of the park Join us for this special *One City One Pride Grant and sidewalk. West Hollywood conversation on the 30th Funded Program

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06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE

SULLIVAN

Photo by Jon Viscott

ANTHONY SULLIVAN continued from p. 12

r ing to a Boulder, Colorado County Clerk, who created a huge controversy four decades ago when she issued the nation’s first marriage licenses to gay couples. That was 1975. It is a seminal event in LGBT history that has been largely forgotten, only six years after the Stonewall riots in New York’s Greenwich Village. “At the time I didn’t even know any gay couples,” said the clerk, Celia Rorex. “I was being faced with a very profound mora l issue : ‘ would I discr im i nate against two people of the same sex when I had been so involved in fighting discrimination against women,” she said. She sought legal counsel from Boulder’s district attorney who determined there was “nothing in the Colorado marriage code that would prohibit” her from issuing marriage licenses to two people of the same sex. Rorex bega n issuing licenses to same-sex couples. In a 1975 article in The New York Times Rorex suggested that marriage inequality could be “resolved by eliminating the gender words. Her reasoning, she said, was “Who’s it going to hurt?” By week’s end, her defiance was top

of the fold news. R icha rd a nd A nt hony were elated: “They’ve allowed these marriage to go on for a month. Johnny Carson has talked about them, so the government can’t claim ignorance. Therefore, these must be valid!” They flew with friends and their Metropolitan Community Church minister to Boulder to get married. “We got the license in the morning and immediately got married.” Anthony says proudly. “The press picked up on it and it was really quite chaotic,” Richard said. “We were conscious that if we weren’t careful it would become a three ring circus, which we didn’t want.” But it did and the impact of that publicity was was devastating. “All of a sudden everyone looked at me differently,” Richard said. He was harassed and ultimately terminated from his job of ten years and his relationship with some members his large Filipino family soured. Anthony’s mother wrote “a missive” from Australia, telling him she “could endure no more. Per version is bad enough...but public display never,” she wrote, signing the letter “It is finished.” She never contacted him again and disinherited him. One of the first things the couple did

after they married was to return home to Los Angeles was to apply for spousal green card. Weeks later a n officia l response came from the United States Depart of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Services office in downtown Los Angeles: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.” But in case that wasn’t clear enough the Justice Department sent a second letter: “neither party can perform the female functions in the marriage.” Anthony was certain he would be forced to leave the country. Word of the “faggot” letter quickly spread throughout what was already a well-organized gay community in Los A ngeles. MCC’s Reverend Troy Perr y and 500 people protested at the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles. “Justice! Justice! Justice!,” chanted the placard wielding protesters. Anthony told The New York Times that his marriage to Richard was a test of the immigration laws that permit a foreign spouse to remain in this country: “we wanted to have the full benefits of other married couples — income tax returns, inheritance, wills and so on.” But “rogue” activism was frowned upon by many of the emerging legal

and advocacy organizations who felt the case was of little strategic value. “Some of our so called movers and shakers told us they weren’t interested in the case because we were a losing battle; the “faggot letter” had gotten too much attention,” Anthony says. “ Talk about a bunch of hens in a snit!” Anthony says of being confronted by one “leader” at a fundraising dinner. “He grabbed a white linen napkin off the table and, crunching it in his hands, and said ‘We will make you understand who is in control of this movement!’” The couple was determined to pursue a legal course of action and hired a private attorney, David Brown, a Los Angeles constitutional lawyer. Brown told the media that gay couples had existed since the dawn of time and that equal rights should be afforded them. LGBT equality was barely on the radar in the mid and late 1970s: The Supreme Court ruled that homosexual acts were illegal, Anita Bryant was leading a national crusade against gay rights laws in Florida and elsewhere, California was embroiled in a contentious debate about whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to teach i n public schools a nd Ha r vey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco. Demanding the right to marry seemed, well, ridiculous. The couple persevered, filing suit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “ T he case, Ada ms v. Hower ton, sought to force the immigration service to recognize their Colorado marriage so that Anthony would be allowed to remain in the United States permanently as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Their argument — that to discriminate against them because they were two men was a violation of their constitutional rights — is familiar and obvious today, but at the time it was unheard of,” said their attorney, Lavi Soloway. Their argument was quickly shot down by the U.S. District Court Judge who ruled in the case relying on a now debunked justification for anti-gay discrimination: “marriage was intended to unite a man and a woman for the purpose of propagating the species.” The case was appealed and in 1982 the Supreme Court had the last word on the case, refusing to hear it. ANTHONY SULLIVAN continued on p. 62


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DR. MICHAEL GOTTLIEB continued from p. 17

Clockwise top left: LA Shanti co-founder Daniel P. Warner proudly wears his KS liaisons meeting singer/AIDS activist Michael Callen. Jewel Thais-Williams (far right) and wife Rue (left) founded Rue’s House. Pictured with Seattle councilmember Sherry Harris, PWA resident Paul Monette with partner Winston Wilde Panels from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt carried through the CSW Pride Parade drew streams of tears.

public spokesperson when we founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). Her involvement was a revolutionary event, a game-changer on par with Rock’s disclosure. And she was perfect in the role. She was beautiful, eloquent and compassionate in making the case for more federal and private funding for research and care. The adoring public that had followed her career and the ups and downs of her personal life saw how deeply committed she was to justice and compassion for people with HIV/AIDS and started listening. Prejudice toward people with AIDS slowly began to soften and was replaced with at least some degree of empathy. It was Elizabeth who finally coaxed President Ronald Reagan into finally saying the word “AIDS,” seven years into his presidency. I traveled with her to Washington to lobby Sens. Orrin Hatch and Fritz Hollings for federal funding. Although I was the AIDS discoverer and expert, I received absolutely no attention or respect whatsoever from the senators. Elizabeth wowed them with her glamour, good humor and charm. Her star power focused their attention on what needed to be done. The advances in treatment that we have today are due in no small part to her efforts in promoting research. Other celebrities have generously lent their names to the AIDS cause, but no one will ever come close to her prominence. When the final chapter in the history of the epidemic is written, Elizabeth Taylor will stand as a heroine above all others. The HIV epidemic is not over. Despite the improved prognosis, younger generations of gay men should not take contracting HIV lightly. Among other obvious disadvantages, a lifelong requirement for medication has a downside in terms of side effects. In 2009 alone there were 2.4 million new infections in the world, 1 million of them in the 15-24-age range. We are actually losing ground; in 2009, two people were newly infected for every one person who started antiviral therapy. Preventive medication, a vaccine and even a cure are the new frontiers of research. Elizabeth Taylor made HIV/AIDS her cause, and there is a void in our world left by her passing. Inspired by her example and that of many AIDS activists still among us, a younger generation should get involved, focus on prevention and support ongoing efforts to find a vaccine and cure.

LARRY KRAMER continued from p. 48

he turned into a much-discussed book. He pointed out that despite an ongoing war and severe economic tribulations facing the country, the Bush campaign had effectively used homophobia as a primary tool to win the election. More controversially he decried the upsurge in unsafe sex among gay men as the apparent threat of AIDS had receded. “Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of AIDS upon ourselves?” he wrote, in one of the book’s most provocative chapters. “I know I am getting into dangerous waters here but it is time. With the cabal breathing even more murderously down our backs it is time. And you are still doing it. You are still murdering each other.” Though his attack on the gay community resulted in an immediate furor, Kramer remains wary of Prep, fearful that that the unleashed promiscuity the drug promotes will result in another epidemic. Now 82, Kramer is enjoying a renaissance of sorts.

A few years ago, The Normal Heart returned to Broadway for a smash run that netted the play an armful of Tonys. Soon afterwards it was remade as an HBO movie starring Julia Roberts. In April 2015, Kramer released a mammoth new novel called The American People, Volume 1: Search for My Heart. An epic romp through American history from an unapologetically gay perspective, the book joyfully outs everyone from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Richard Nixon and Mark Twain. (Though Kramer insisted all his historical claims were true, many reviewers remained unconvinced.) Earlier this year year HBO aired a much-praised documentary called Larry Kramer in Love and Anger, an intimate portrait of the icon by Jean Carlomusto that debuted at Sundance in 2015. Kramer is now at work on a sequel to The Normal Heart, which will reportedly also air on HBO.

But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Kramer. A few years ago, after suffering an unknown illness, Kramer lay near death at a New York Hospital in the company of his partner, architectural designer David Webster, who has lived with Kramer since 1991. (Kramer and Webster had also dated in the 1970s. In fact it was Webster’s ending of his relationship that inspired Kramer to write Faggots in 1978.) At some point, fearing the worst, Webster decided to make their partnership legal. An old friend of the couple’s married them in Larry’s hospital room, where Kramer was lying incoherent and mute. A few months later, Larry had made a miraculous recovery, and returned to his Fifth Avenue home. “People have tried to write my obituary several times in my life,” he remarked later. “It always gives me great pleasure to prove them wrong.”


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ANTHONY ANTHONY SULLIVAN continued from p. 60

The only option left to the couple was to pursue another immigration hearing to make an appeal. In 1984 they requested that Anthony be permitted to stay in the United States because deportation would cause Richard “hardship” as his spouse. The request was denied when the Judge in the case disagreed that Anthony’s deportation would cause “hardship greater than that which would be faced by anyone being deported.” They appealed that decision to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A nthony, recalling that hearing, says the “The quality of argument by our opposition was not good. The INS lawyer got the countries mixed up, our names mixed up and finally, in desperation, she said ‘well, he can go back to Australia and have another one of those... relationships.” In what is surely the most striking alignment of the stars in their story, it was future United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, then an Associate Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who ruled against Richard and Anthony, setting Anthony’s deportation in motion. Kennedy wrote that he found “no extreme hardship to Sullivan because he is not ‘a qualifying relative’ to Adams. It is poetic that the man who ordered such a callous action against a samesex couple would, thirty years later, write perhaps one of the most beautiful — and certainly most consequential — gay rights decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2015, writing for the majority in [the case known as] Obergefell vs. Hodges, A nthony Kennedy said same-sex marriages were protected by the United State Constitution. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” he wrote. In 1985, facing deportation, Richard and Anthony had exhausted their appeals. There was no court left except the court of public opinion. So they turned to popular talk shows of the

SULLIVAN

time. On The Today Show, an Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman called Anthony out: “Do you intend to leave our countr y on the 23rd of November?” Richard replied for Anthony, “We are both leaving; we are not going to be separated.” They became men without a country, forced to leave their friends and all their worldly possessions behind and headed to the airport. As they arrived at LA X, they faced what Anthony called “a media circus” as they boarded a flight to London. Dozens of friends and family gathered to say goodbye. “It felt like death,” said Richard. “We floated around the continent for many months,” said Anthony, until one day they both realized, “We need to be back home in Los Angeles.” They decided to risk ever ything. Already experienced with crossing the Mexican border, they decided to f ly to Mexico and re-enter the United States by car. “I was shit scared,” said Anthony. The American border guard simply waived them through. Once home, Richard and Anthony had no options except to hide out and attempt to make a life on the margins of society. The AIDS crisis began to hit close, devastating their family of friends and intensifying their sense of isolation. “The late 80s and early 90s was a horrible period for all of us,” said Anthony. But then a small window of hope began to open, and, in for ward and backward steps, gay rights began to advance. ACT UP broke the scientific and government wall of silence around AIDS. The Bush administration presided over reform passed by Congress in 1990 that removed the restriction on LGBT people entering the U.S., though HIV+ people were barred from entr y. Then in 1992, the Democratic candidate for President made a major play for the gay vote and defeated the incumbent A protracted national debate ensued about gays in the militar y resulting in the uneasy compromise known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which arguably, for the first time, officially allowed lesbian and gay servicemembers to remain in the armed forces. Protease Inhibitors slowly began to transform AIDS from a

death sentence into a chronic, manageable illness. A case brought in Hawaii began a national conversation about gay marriage rights, catapulting the obscure subject into the spotlight as a political wedge issue and the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act by Congress. The isolation and hiding required to stay together took a toll on both of them. Richard, in the documentary Limited Partnership said, “It’s 2002 and we are more in the closet on one level now than when we first met.”

I requested, basically for Richard, an apology for the faggot letter, because I felt that as an American citizen, he didn’t deserve to have that on his record,” Sullivan said.

By the mid-2000s the debate over gay m a r r i a ge en g u l fe d t he n at ion and the marriage equality movement emerged. Ver mont offered lega li zed civil unions, following the example of cities like San Francisco and New York which created domestic partnership registration in 1989 and 1993, respectively. But losses followed in court — New York, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, Indiana. By 2004, a coordinated campaign to boost evangelical turnout for George W. Bush’s reelection saw 11 states pass constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. More states followed in 2006 and by 2012, gay-marriage bans had been put before voters in 30 states and won every everywhere. For every step forward for gay marriage, there seemed to be many more steps back. T hose ha lting steps emboldened

Richard and Anthony as they became more righteous about their story, even though Anthony still faced immigration action. “Richard and I have never budged on the concept that the Boulder marriage was legitimate — it’s still on the books,” Anthony told the Washington Post. In early December 2012, as Richard was dying of cancer, Soloway met with his clients and urged them to consider remarrying in nearby Washington state. They reluctantly agreed, thinking of it as a renewal of their vows rather than a new wedding. But Richard passed away the next day. Sullivan’s despair was absolute but he was resolute that his relationship with Richard be honored with the dignity and grace civilized societies offer widowers. “I wrote to President Obama,” he said. “I requested, basica lly for R ichard, an apology for the faggot letter, because I felt that as an American citizen, he didn’t deserve to have that on his record,” Sullivan said. “Because he loved his country.” León Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wrote on behalf of the President: “This agency should never treat any individual with the disrespect shown toward you and Mr. A ­ dams,” Rodriguez wrote. “You have my sincerest apology for the years of hurt caused by the deeply offensive and hateful language used in the November 24, 1975, decision and my deepest condolences on your loss.” With federal recognition of their marriage and green card in hand, Sullivan is filled with wonder about the full circle of his life. “The same office that said we had failed to establish that a relationship can exist between two faggots now says yes. And on the day of our anniversary!” Thumbing through a now historic folder of documents, Anthony looked at his hands and then gazed directly ahead, with a tear rolling down his cheek, and said “I desperately w ish Richard was here with me for this.” Of all same-sex married couples, Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan now take their place in history as having the first legally recognized marriage in the world.


LA PRIDE 06.03-17.2016

LOS ANGELES

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LOS ANGELES

06.03-17.2016 LA PRIDE