LGBT Weekly Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:35:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bill to protect workers with disabilities from discrimination signed by governor Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:35:57 +0000
Lorena Gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez

SACRAMENTO – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to protect disabled workers from on the job discrimination was signed into law today by the governor.

AB 488 will eliminate an exemption for employees of sheltered workshops and rehabilitation centers with special minimum wage licenses under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), extending the law’s protections against discrimination and harassment to workers in those environments. Currently those employees do not have the same basic protections as everyone else from discrimination based on characteristics like race, religion, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, marital status, or age. Similarly, these workers lack the protection provided by FEHA against sexual harassment.

“Today we close an obvious loophole that left working people with disabilities open to discrimination in many forms,” said Gonzalez. “This is a simple fix that helps California continue to lead the nation in the fight against prejudice in the workplace.”

Sheltered workshops and rehabilitation centers provide specialized employment and job training for individuals with disabilities, often for less than minimum wage.

In the past, sheltered workshops and rehabilitation centers have been considered by some to be temporary training environments rather than true employment, but real-world experience has demonstrated that these are employees who often stay in their positions for many years. In 2014, AB 1443 extended FEHA’s protections to cover unpaid interns and volunteers, establishing that these workplace protections are appropriate even for those making less than minimum wage or in a program for a limited time to gain experience.

AB 488 is coauthored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), and supported by Disability Rights California, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and the California Labor Federation.

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‘Beer by the Bay’ is back, Oct. 8 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:38:40 +0000 Beer by the Bay 2016CORONADO, Calif. – By popular demand, the Islander Ladies Club is bringing back Coronado’s only beer festival for another year of fun and fundraising at the Ferry Landing. Beer by the Bay is set for Saturday, October 8th from 1-6pm, with a special VIP hour from 12-1pm. The event will feature unlimited beer tastings from more than 15 of San Diego’s best craft brewers; live music from favorite island talent including Matt Heinecke and Ron Wheeler; tasty local fare from Lil Piggy’s, Spiro’s, Candelas, and Village Pizzeria; beer pong, a raffle, and plenty of fun in the sun.

This year, wine tastings from local wineries and a VIP tent have been added to the festivities. VIP ticket holders receive select pours from Coronado Brewing Company, light snacks, a lounge area, and early access to the event. Most importantly, Beer by the Bay will honor fallen Navy SEAL Charles H. Keating, IV by donating to One More Wave, and will also benefit Coronado’s Wampler Foundation and Coronado Schools Foundation.

“We were so pleased with the tremendous success of last year’s event that allowed us to donate generously to Coronado Schools Foundation and United Through Reading. This year is shaping up to be even bigger and better!” said Alisa Kerr, co-founder and President of Islander Ladies Club. “We are so happy to host such an incredibly fun event, showcase our beautiful community, and especially, to have the opportunity to honor Charlie Keating and support the Wampler Foundation and our schools. It’s going to be an amazing festival that will have a lasting, positive impact.”

Beer by the Bay sold out last year, so don’t wait … get your tickets now! General admission tickets are $40 in advance, $50 day of the event. A few VIP tickets are still available for $50. Military members receive $5 off general admission. Tickets and more information can be found at All guests must be 21 years of age or older.

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Register to vote today! Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:24:09 +0000 Today is National Voter Registration Day.

Advocacy groups are marking the day by urging people to register to vote. The Human Rights Campaign stated, “So much is at stake for millions of LGBTQ Americans this year. The 2016 election will be critical for protecting the progress we’ve made on equality and continuing to promote pro-LGBTQ legislative priorities.

“Through HRC’s #turnOUT 2016 campaign, HRC is working to mobilize and turn out LGBTQ and pro-equality voters in battleground states across the country. Take the pledge now to support pro-LGBTQ candidates and register to vote today.”

The Latino Victory Fund is celebrating National Voter Registration Day by encouraging potential Latino voters to get registered.

According to a Latino Decisions/America’s Voice battleground and national poll of over 3,000 registered Latino voters, 83 percent say they’re absolutely certain they’re going to vote. Clinton’s favorability is at 68 percent among those same individuals polled.

“This voter registration day, it is more important than ever for Latinos across the country to register to vote,” said César J. Blanco, interim director of Latino Victory Fund. “You can do it online, via text message, and through Facebook, there are no excuses.

“Last night we saw a glimpse of what a Trump presidency would look like: incoherent, unprepared, out of control and outright dangerous. If Donald Trump can’t prepare for a debate or take it seriously enough to have a strong discussion about the most pressing issues in our country, then what can we expect from him as president.

“The Latino community will decide this election; we must register to vote and step up to the challenge to ensure that Donald Trump doesn’t step foot in the White House. There was only one person on the debate stage who is prepared to lead on day 1, and that person is Hillary Clinton.”

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‘Cheetah in August’ returns with new talent and new intrigue (VIDEO) Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:59:50 +0000

LOS ANGELES, — BawnTv is a new online subscription entertainment network that was developed with the idea of promoting LGBT programs that not only featured people of color, but also storylines that were able to confront issues specific to the LGBT minority community, as well as celebrate it.  Cheetah in August is an original dramatic series starring Andre Myers as “August” and a new cast of talent that has been featured in MTV’s “DTLA” and Oxygen’s new reality series “Strut” produced by Whoopi Goldberg.  The new season promises to build on the momentum of Season One in order to develop the various characters and motivations as they each struggle with their personal demons.

“We went into this season with the idea of further exploring some of those issues that haunted August, but also to develop the characters around him in order to really flesh out this world he lives in,” says Anthony Bawn (Series Director).  “We have an opportunity to show what it is like for LGBT people of color within the black community, but also what it’s like to be black in the gay community.  It’s important for us to show those challenges, but also to celebrate our existence in this space.”

The returning cast will continue to feature actress Judeline Charlies, Rashad Davis, and Devion Andrez Coleman along with a new collection of actors and actresses that the show’s producers believe will bring to the show a real shift in dynamics.  As to what viewers can expect to see this season, the program begins with August’s new life and new job where he will begin to understand the truth about his “power” and how it affects his future.  Expect to see more from Donna and Jarvis, as well as Brennen who will reveal a secret that will prompt him to seek help.

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Variety to host first-ever conference on diversity and inclusion in Hollywood Tue, 27 Sep 2016 18:47:43 +0000 InclusionLOS ANGELES — Variety today announced that the media company will host the industry’s first-ever conference focused on diversity – including gender, ethnicity, aging and sexuality – on film, television and digital outlets. Over the past several months, the conversation around these topics has intensified, and Variety will lead the dialog by engaging some of the most senior corporate executives and talent in the creative community. The conference is called “Inclusion.”

Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Studios, and multi award-winning musician Pharrell Williams will have keynote conversations with Variety editors in addition to a host of panels on topics ranging from LBGTQ rights to advancing Latino entertainment to the cultural importance of creating programs designed to support underrepresented groups in Hollywood. PwC’s U.S. Chairman Brian Cullinan will moderate a fireside chat with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

“There is no issue in Hollywood today more important and relevant than diversity and inclusion,” said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, group publisher of Variety. “It is Variety’s privilege and responsibility to lead an industry wide dialogue and bring the decision makers of our community together to promote solutions to counter the lack of minority talent in film and television. This is an issue that transcends the entertainment business, and we are excited to play a role in the broader conversation.”

“Age discrimination is an incredibly important issue, not just to AARP’s 38 million members nationwide, but across all facets of society,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.  “We hope the dialogue at the Variety conference will lead not only to greater awareness of the issue, but to more and better opportunities for talented actors, producers, directors and others in the creative community – whatever their age.”

According to a 2016 report from The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, minorities remain underrepresented in Hollywood on every front (nearly 3 to 1 among film leads and directors). In addition, the study shows that U.S. consumers crave diverse film and television content. In fact, “films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts, and [in television] social media engagement peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that were greater than 30 percent minority.”

Variety’s conference will be held on November 1, 2016 at The Montage in Beverly Hills. AARP, PwC and City National Bank are sponsors. For ticket and/or sponsorship information, please contact Kimberly Cervantes at  For additional information, please see

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Lights, camera, action: New catheter lets doctors see inside arteries for first time Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:35:46 +0000 Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health

Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health

Removing plaque from clogged arteries is a common procedure that can save and improve lives. This treatment approach was recently made even safer and more effective with a new, high-tech catheter that allows cardiologists to see inside the arteries for the first time, cutting out only the diseased tissue. Interventional cardiologists at Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health are the first in the region to use this technology.

The new image-guided device, Avinger’s Pantheris™ Lumivascular atherectomy system, allows doctors to see and remove plaque simultaneously during an atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting plaque away from the artery and clearing it out to restore blood flow.

The new technology treats patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of the legs and feet, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the extremities. Patients with PAD frequently develop life threatening complications, including heart attack, stroke, and in some severe cases, patients may even face amputation.

“Peripheral artery disease greatly impacts quality of life, with patients experiencing cramping, numbness and discoloration of their extremities,” said Mitul Patel, MD, cardiologist at UC San Diego Health. “This new device is a significant step forward for the treatment of PAD with a more efficient approach for plaque removal and less radiation exposure to the doctor and patient.”

X-ray technology was previously used during similar procedures, but those images are not nearly as clear and do not allow visualization inside the blood vessel. The new catheter, with a fiber optic camera the size of a grain of salt on the tip, is fed through a small incision in the groin that does not require full anesthesia. Once inside, the interventional cardiologist is able to see exactly what needs to be removed without damaging the artery wall, which can cause further narrowing.

PAD affects nearly 20 million adults in the United States and more than 200 million globally. September is PAD Awareness Month, which has a personal meaning to one of Patel’s patients, who recently underwent an atherectomy at UC San Diego Health with the new catheter.

Patel said the patient had severe scar tissue and plaque build-up at a previously treated site in his right leg, limiting blood flow to his calf muscle and his ability to exercise or even walk a short distance.

“He was a good candidate for the new image-guided catheter approach. The device allowed for excellent visualization inside his leg artery as we removed only the diseased tissue,” said Patel.

Now able to walk several miles with this wife without any limitations, the patient’s quality of life has improved, and with some lifestyle changes, he hopes to manage his PAD and prevent another blockage.

Pantheris was approved by the FDA in March 2016. So far, cardiologists at UC San Diego Health have used the new catheter on 10 patients undergoing an atherectomy procedure with successful results.

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Governor signs two healthcare bills authored by Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:53:31 +0000 Toni Atkins

Toni Atkins

SACRAMENTO—Gov. Jerry Brown today signed two bills authored by Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins. AB 635 allows California to take the first step toward state-funded medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal patients with limited English proficiency. AB 1795 helps more low-income Californians become eligible for state-covered screening and treatment for breast cancer and cervical cancer.

AB 635 requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to conduct a study and make recommendations for the best way to provide medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal patients who need them. Under the bill, DHCS would then initiate a pilot project to test the recommendations. The current state budget includes $3 million for DHCS to carry out these activities.

“I want to thank Governor Brown not only for signing this important bill but also signing a budget that includes the money necessary to fund this vital exploratory program,” said Atkins (D-San Diego). “Too often, patients rely on family members – sometimes children – to help them communicate with their doctors. Providing patients and doctors with professional translators will improve healthcare for many Californians.”

More than 40 percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home. Almost 7 million Californians are estimated to speak English “less than very well.” Research finds that language barriers can contribute to inadequate patient evaluation and diagnosis, lack of appropriate and/or timely treatment, or other medical errors that can jeopardize patient safety and lead to unnecessary procedures and costs.

AB 1795 fixes two arbitrary barriers to coverage:

  • The state’s Every Woman Counts program provides mammograms to low-income and under-insured women. But, currently, women under 40 who show symptoms for breast cancer can’t receive a screening, even though breast cancer can be far more aggressive in younger patients—and more likely to lead to death if they are not diagnosed early. AB 1795 will make sure all symptomatic women are covered.
  • Right now, patients who experience a recurrence of cancer in the same body tissue as the first cancer receive less coverage under the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program than patients who experience a second cancer in a different part of the body. AB 1795 will make sure these groups of patients are covered equally.

“Under today’s practices, some people are falling through the cracks in these two state programs, and there is no good reason for it,” Atkins said. “AB 1795 will get these Californians the care they need and help them rest a lot easier, knowing they’ll be covered.”

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Equality Florida raises over $9.5m for Pulse victims Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:40:46 +0000

ORLANDO, Fla. – Equality Florida today announced a total of more than $9.5m has been raised for the victims of the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting largely through a record-setting GoFundMe campaign that drew more than 120,000 donors from over 120 countries.

GoFundMe and Equality Florida teamed up to release a powerful video featuring survivors of the massacre thanking donors from around the world for the tremendous outpouring of support in the wake of the attack. The video also marks the launch of a new “Honor Them With Action” GoFundMe campaign to ensure Equality Florida’s important work continues for years to come. Watch the video above.

“Equality Florida made two promises in the aftermath of Pulse. The first was to do everything we could to take care of the survivors and the families left behind by this heinous act of hate. Today we’ve kept that first promise,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. “Now our attention must focus entirely on fulfilling the second promise – to honor our dead with action. Thoughts, prayers and symbols are not enough.  We will ensure the lasting memorial is the real change of uprooting anti-LGBT hatred, discrimination and violence in our culture.”

Inspired by the work of Equality Florida in the aftermath of Pulse, GoFundMe announced they will match up to $100,000 in contributions to the new Equality Florida campaign.

“We are incredibly moved by the global outpouring of support for the Equality Florida campaign, and our thoughts remain with the victims and their families,” said GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon. “Tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world came together to show that love wins. We want to thank the GoFundMe community for making their voices heard and standing together in the wake of this senseless attack.”

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Family sues Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego for discriminatory treatment of transgender teenager Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:20:59 +0000 Katharine Prescott holds a portrait of her son, Kyler Prescott, in the garden she built in his memory outside our San Diego-area home.

Katharine Prescott holds a portrait of her son, Kyler Prescott, in the garden she built in his memory outside our San Diego-area home.

SAN DIEGO — Today, the mother of a transgender teenage boy who was admitted into Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego (RCHSD) for inpatient care filed a lawsuit against the hospital for discrimination against her son.

Katharine Prescott took her 14-year-old son, Kyler Prescott, to RCHSD in early April 2015 for suicidal ideation and for treatment of his serious self-inflicted injuries following an incident of transphobic harassment by his peers.  The hospital was aware that Kyler was a transgender boy and Katharine made clear to hospital staff that her son must be treated as male for all purposes. But during his stay, hospital staff repeatedly addressed Kyler—who came out to his family as transgender at 13 and whose gender markers were legally changed to male—as a girl.

Twenty-four hours into his 72-hour stay, and after several failed attempts by his mother to correct the discrimination by the hospital, the hospital’s psychiatrist determined that despite his serious mental health issues, Kyler should be discharged early from RCHSD rather than remaining for the full 72 hours.  About five weeks later, May 18, 2015, Kyler died by suicide.

Katharine is represented by Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and attorneys at Foley & Lardner LLP.  The complaint, filed in federal court in San Diego, states that RCHSD violated federal and California laws by discriminating against Kyler based on his sex (including his gender identity) and based on his disability, and that the hospital engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices by claiming that it was experienced in treating transgender patients, when in fact it discriminated against Kyler and made his condition worse.

“When my son was in despair, I entrusted Rady Children’s Hospital with his safety and well-being,” said Katharine Prescott.  “Hospitals are supposed to be safe places that help people when they’re in need. Instead of recovering at the hospital, Kyler got worse because staff continued to traumatize him by repeatedly treating him as a girl and ignoring his serious health issues.  It’s painful to speak out, but I want to make sure no other parent or child ever has to go through this again.”

Studies show that when transgender children are unable to live consistently with their gender identity, they experience high rates of depression and self-harming behaviors, including suicide.  The consequences of disaffirmation of one’s gender identity and discrimination are dire for transgender youth:  they experience depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation at two to three times the rate of their non-transgender peers.

“Transgender children in crisis must be able to seek help without having to fear discrimination from the very medical providers who are supposed to care for them,” said Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi. “What happened to Kyler is heartbreaking and must not be allowed to happen again.”

“Deciding to admit your child for inpatient hospital care is one of the most difficult things a parent can face,” said Amy Whelan, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  “Hospitals have a great responsibility to provide care to all children who need it and Rady utterly failed to do that in this case.”

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Equality Florida endorses gun violence prevention policies Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:30:16 +0000 ORLANDO, Fla. – Friday, Equality Florida made a significant policy announcement to formally endorse common sense gun violence prevention policies in response to the hate-fueled attack in Orlando this past June, targeting the LGBTQ community at Pulse nightclub’s Latin night.

The announcement includes a position paper detailing the deep history of hate violence against the LGBTQ people and Equality Florida’s desire to partner with other marginalized communities to make all of our families safer.

In addition to Equality Florida’s top priority of passing a statewide anti-discrimination law for LGBTQ Floridians, the organization will seek to expand background checks to cover all gun purchases and to limit access to military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Full statement follows:

On June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Bullets from the shooter’s military-style assault weapon struck 102 people, leaving 49 dead, 53 injured, and hundreds traumatized. The LGBTQ and Latinx communities were targeted in a hate-fueled rampage that is now the deadliest modern-day mass shooting and the largest attack on LGBTQ people in America in history.

The Pulse massacre compels us to confront two realities: the systematic dehumanization of LGBTQ people and the far too easy access to weapons of mass slaughter. We must uproot hate and prevent those who seek to do us harm from accessing weapons of mass slaughter. Equality Florida is committed to common sense gun violence prevention measures in combination with our work to move equality forward for LGBTQ people.

We know all too well that discrimination against our community can be lethal – gay rights icon Harvey Milk was assassinated, Matthew Shepard was beaten to death with a pistol, and not a month goes by when we don’t hear of the murder of yet another transgender woman of color. Beyond the ways in which LGBTQ people have been specifically targeted by hate violence, gun violence is a civil rights issue that disproportionately impacts all marginalized communities, including people of color and immigrant communities. It is incumbent upon us to join forces with our progressive allies to advocate for policies that will keep our families safe.

Equality Florida is committed to addressing the epidemic of violence fueled by the normalization of hatred of LGBTQ people. We demand the following common sense gun policy reforms:

  • Expanding universal background checks to include private gun sales
    • Access to guns is far too easy – and the Pulse shooting  is only the latest in a long list of tragedies. 9 in 10 gun owners support universal background checks on all gun purchases, demonstrating that responsible gun ownership can coincide with preventing dangerous individuals from accessing the tools to kill.
  • Restricting access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines
    • There is simply no legitimate reason for private citizens to have access to military-style assault weapons like the Sig Sauer MCX firearm used to murder 49 people at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando on June 12, 2016. These weapons of war do not belong in civilian hands.

More than 20 percent of hate crimes reported nationally in 2014 targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the most recent FBI statistics. Hate crimes in general are on the decline, and yet hate crimes against LGBTQ people are rising. Here in Florida, the LGBTQ community was horrified when India Clarke, a black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Tampa last year by a man described as a “career criminal.” As of this writing, 19 transgender people have been killed in 2016 alone, the majority of whom are transgender women of color.

In the same way that Equality Florida has adopted policy positions that promote racial equity and reproductive justice, we now pledge publicly to advocate for common sense gun violence prevention measures to stem the rising tide of violence against our community. LGBTQ people are people of color, we are immigrants, we are women, we are people with disabilities, and the intersections of our identities have always informed our work. Moving forward, Equality Florida — which will remain focused on uprooting hatred of LGBTQ people and on passing statewide nondiscrimination protections — will partner with gun safety advocates and other allies in the LGBTQ movement and beyond to combat the epidemic of gun violence.

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Commentary: My role in the Clinton impeachment Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:30:21 +0000 Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.

Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.

I had an exciting front row seat to the sexual scandal that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. The 2016 presidential campaign reminds me of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair and my long days and late nights at my Capitol Hill office.

Just before the sordid sexual scandal broke, a female colleague at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. shared news she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. In an emotional conversation, I agreed to manage her office while she recovered from chemo.

My new position as Acting Director of Constituent Services at the Republican National Committee was to have been a short assignment in 1997. It extended until 2000 when my friend’s cancer worsened and she could not return to work.

In January 1998 President Clinton was facing sexual harassment charges stemming from an Arkansas incident with Paula Jones. Then news leaked at the RNC about a sex scandal involving President Clinton and a White House Intern.

Matt Drudge scooped traditional media by reporting the scandal on his Internet gossip site “The Drudge Report.” Clinton tried to hurry Lewinsky out of Washington but details of the sexual affair could not be contained in scandal hungry Washington.

I managed an office of young staffers who answered questions and took comments on the scandal from GOP members around the country. As news of the scandal spread, our phones and email messages became overwhelmed with questions on sex, some funny, some raunchy and some sick.  Thankfully no one hacked our emails from the period. My notes are all that remain of the thousands of messages.

As one might imagine, we had an abundance of prank calls. We also had serious callers who were concerned about the scandal, sexual harassment in the workplace, and how the scandal might affect Congressional and administration work on national and international policies.

My young staffers and I never had a dull day as we listened to American voices from coast to coast tell us of their disappointment at President Bill Clinton and their political suggestions as to what Republicans should do about the scandal and to Clinton. I dutifully shared the information with RNC and GOP political leaders.

At the end of every week it was my duty to prepare a report for the RNC chairman, at the time Jim Nicholson, a devout Catholic who later became Ambassador to the Vatican for President George W, Bush. At times it was challenging for me to collect meaningful political intelligence from the thousands of sexual messages received from GOP members and callers claiming to be GOP members.

The most unmistakable and consistent message we received was that our members wanted Clinton impeached. I sent the message to the Chairman’s office, week after week, and he relayed it to the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill including House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The Republican leadership agreed and the impeachment proceedings began.

Though Bill Clinton denied a sexual relationship with Lewinsky under oath to Special Counsel, the president eventually admitted he had done so. It was his DNA material and on Monica’s blue dress that was Clinton’s downfall.

Clinton’s political defenders rallied around the president claiming it was consensual sex and not an impeachable offense. That was not a popular point of view in the overwhelming number of messages I reviewed at the RNC. Clinton had lied under oath about his sexual affairs. Politics became a blood sport in Washington, according to some journalists. National newspaper headlines and TV broadcasts grew more salacious each day.

An Alabama columnist wrote Clinton should resign and opined “but that is as about likely as him telling the truth.” Another time, the same reporter noted Clinton’s attorneys tried to make the president’s female accusers look like “lying trash” and suggested “lying trash” was a better term for Bill Clinton.

On many occasions in 1998 pastors and business people arrived at my Capitol Hill office with large paper bags filled with cash. I explained to them we could not take money they wanted us to use to “impeach Clinton.”   I told them so send us a check through proper channels. Despite my refusals to take money, they left the bags with me. I took the bags to other RNC offices. In another case, I donated a bag of cash to a local Catholic church.

One day a woman was ushered in my office. She had driven non-stop from Nebraska and she had important political information to share. I listened as she related how Bill Clinton was using code words and gestures over TV to sexually harass her. I advised her to go to the Democratic National Committee offices and make a complaint of sexual harassment against the president. To my relief, she left my office to do that. So she said.

My long non-sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton came to an end when Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction. The Senate failed to convict and Clinton became something of a national hero for his political “ordeal” at the hands of evil Republicans. The scandal made Clinton more of an international celebrity and rock star politician. That’s Washington!

I resigned the RNC in November 2000 and left to holiday with friends in Hawaii as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Bush v. Gore. It was a sexually stressful and dramatic end to the 1990s and the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The numerous scandal allegations against 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pale in comparison to those of husband Bill nearly 20 years ago.  If Mrs. Clinton is elected and Republicans maintain control of Congress, as appears likely, Washington may be embroiled in another Clinton impeachment, which seems likely.

I handle stress much better these days and I am ready for more long days and late nights at the RNC. Like in the 1990s with Bill Clinton, Hillary’s political problems are of her making, or unmaking.

Former U.S. diplomat Jim Patterson is a Washington–based writer and speaker. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Foreign Service Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The and others.

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UC San Diego is world’s seventh best public university, according to Times Higher Education Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:00:15 +0000 Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

The University of California San Diego has been ranked the seventh best public university across the globe by Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In its 2016–17 report, the London-based publication named UC San Diego 22nd in the United States and 41st internationally.

“We are pleased UC San Diego is recognized worldwide as a leading research university that benefits our world through our mission of education, research and service,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our exceptional scholars challenge convention, break barriers and advance the frontiers of knowledge in order to transform lives and protect our planet.”

Times ranked 980 of the world’s leading research universities, drawing on 150 separate data points. The ranking methodology takes into account a variety of indicators, including quality of teaching, knowledge transfer, international outlook and research influence.

Recent research led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography inspired new legislation that was signed into law by California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown to restrict emissions of short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in refrigeration, soot and other forms of black carbon. In addition, the largest long-term study of adolescent brain development was launched by the National Institutes of Health with leadership from UC San Diego. The goal is to gain insight into what helps adolescents traverse that potentially tumultuous pathway to become healthy and productive adults. Other advances include a discovery from researchers at the campus’s Jacobs School of Engineering that a single molecule can command stem cells to easily and effectively regenerate bone tissue.

UC San Diego consistently performs well across a variety of national and international rankings. Whether measuring the university’s research and its influence, or the economic diversity of its students and graduation rates, the campus demonstrates excellence across the board. Recent accolades include:

  • No. 1 public university in the nation, ranked by Washington Monthly based on social mobility, research and civic engagement.
  • 1st in the nation for women graduates in STEM. According to a study by, UC San Diego’s proportion of STEM female graduates is three times the national average.
  • 2nd in the nation for high numbers of low-income students and graduation rate success by the Washington, D.C.-based Third Way.
  • 10th best public university, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • 14th best university in the world by the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
  • 29 of UC San Diego’s undergraduate and graduate programs and disciplines hold top ten rankings nationally and globally.

For more information on UC San Diego’s rankings, click here.

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Jill Soloway and Freeform to receive Outfest Legacy Awards Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:30:50 +0000 Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway

LOS ANGELES  – Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen, announced Friday that it will honor Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award–winning writer-director Jill Soloway (“Transparent,” Afternoon Delight) and Freeform, the Disney|ABC Television Group network, at the 2016 Legacy Awards on Sunday, October 23rd.

Merrill Lynch will return as the Presenting Sponsor. This year’s awards dinner will once again take place at performing arts venue Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with head chef Neal Fraser (Redbird).

Soloway is receiving the Visionary Award, which recognizes artistic and creative contributions to LGBT media visibility, for her Emmy-winning series “Transparent” from Amazon Studios, the first scripted TV show to feature a lead transgender character, and for her contributions to “Six Feet Under” and “I Love Dick.”

Freeform will be honored with the Corporate Trailblazer Award in recognition of its groundbreaking programming for young adults, people in high school, college and the decade that follows which includes such LGBT-friendly programs including “Pretty Little Liars”, “The Fosters” and “Shadowhunters.”

“Jill Soloway has elevated the current transgender conversation like no one else and presents another facet of the LGBT family with dignity, honesty, and humor,” says Christopher Racster, Executive Director of Outfest. “There is no other network in the current landscape that is doing more to represent the current attitudes and philosophies of younger viewing audiences than Freeform. Their programming reflects that the path forward for so many young people today is not straight but one full of choices and options and recognizing that gives us all more equality and understanding.”

The Legacy Awards serves as a fundraiser to support the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. The Legacy Project is aimed at the crisis in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving image archiving. Many of the landmark LGBT films produced over the last 40-plus years are already in danger of fading away; their original exhibition prints are in tatters and their negatives are in woeful storage conditions, or even lost. For the last 11 years, the Legacy Project is proud to have collected more than 36,000 moving image items and to have restored 24 historically important film and video projects.

Previous Legacy Award winners include Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Lee Daniels (Empire), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago) Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Roland Emmerich (Stonewall), Alan Poul (“The Newsroom”), Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook), and Paris Barclay (“Glee”).

Other sponsors for the night include: Brown-Forman, Delta Air Lines, Total Wine & More, and Variety.

Tickets are on sale now at Tables and tribute ads are on sale now. For information about tables, contact 213-480-7011 or For sponsorship and tribute journal ads, please contact Amy Flower at or 213-480-7095.

To buy tickets, please visit:

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Governor signs bill giving San Diego County more flexibility in Health and Human Services Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:30:59 +0000 Toni Atkins

Toni Atkins

SACRAMENTO—Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday signed AB 2568, a bill authored by Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins that authorizes the County of San Diego to be designated as an integrated Health and Human Services Agency.

San Diego County has been running an integrated agency overseeing all health and human-services departments since 1998. It has worked well for county residents who require services such as those dealing with aging and independence, behavioral-health, child-welfare, public-health and self-sufficiency programs.

However, the county hasn’t enjoyed official designation, which gives counties added flexibility in budgeting between department accounts.

“With this new flexibility, our county will be more nimble when it comes to providing behavioral-health care and protective services,” said Atkins (D-San Diego). “San Diego County will now be able to direct funding where it’s needed most, depending on the needs of local residents.”

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Trump expands his team of ‘anti-LGBT’ advisers as he receives endorsement from Ted Cruz Sat, 24 Sep 2016 15:38:56 +0000 Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz finally announced his endorsement of Donald Trump late Friday in a Facebook post writing, “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.”

“I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz,” Trump told CNN. “We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent. I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again.”

Thursday, Trump expanded his team of advisers by hiring notorious homophobe Rick Santorum to his Catholic Advisory Council. Santorum has continuously fought against civil rights for LGBT Americans, such as same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protections and supports the religious liberty movement.

Other members of Trump’s “anti-LGBT team” include Tony Perkins, Michele Bachmann, James Dobson, Marco Rubio and Sam Brownback.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off Monday in the first presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

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San Diego Opera announces community partnerships for ‘Soldier Songs’ Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:30:30 +0000 Soldier SongsSAN DIEGO – San Diego Opera will be presenting David T. Little’s opera Soldier Songs in November (opens Nov. 11 on Veterans Day for three performances as part of the Shiley dētour Series). This important contemporary opera explores the cost of war on the psyche of the individual soldier and is the inaugural performance of the Company’s Shiley dētour Series. With lyrics taken directly with interviews from veterans of five different conflicts, the opera begins with the sentiment “I never talk about this” and ends with to a plea to “talk.” To encourage our community to talk about important issues such as soldier morale and welfare, post-traumatic stress, and personal sacrifice, San Diego Opera is partnering with multiple organizations whose messages the Company will help promote during Soldier Songs. The organizations are The Wounded Marine Fund, The Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation, USO San Diego, and others including The Rosie Network, SEAL Future Fund, SEAL Naval Special Warfare Family Foundation, and One More Wave.

“When coming up with programming for our new Shiley dētour Series, we wanted to explore works that are outside of the traditional definition of opera, yet speak directly to the unique experiences of our community,” shares San Diego Opera General Director, David Bennett. “With San Diego’s long military history, Soldier Songs seemed like a perfect place to begin. This is an opera that does not take sides, but instead explores the cost of war to those who fight and those who are left at home. We also wanted to use our production of Soldier Songs bring awareness to some of the wonderful organizations in San Diego that provide invaluable services to our veterans and active duty soldiers.”

The Wounded Marine Fund is a local organization that helps combat-wounded Marines who have lost limbs returning from the “War on Terror.” The organization provides financial aid in the form of trusts. The funds from these trusts are available to the beneficiaries for any purpose that will help our heroes regain their independence. These funded trusts earn interest and are available to the beneficiaries throughout their lifetime or until the funds are depleted.

“The Wounded Marine Fund was born out of the request from my youngest son, Michael, who lost his legs to an IED in Afghanistan,” shares Tweed Fox, founder of The Wounded Marine Fund. “From his wheelchair at the Balboa Naval Hospital he asked me if we could do something to help his brothers – other Combat Wounded Marine Amputees. In that moment the Wounded Marine Fund was born. We are currently an all-volunteer organization that provides grants to combat wounded marine amputees to help them regain their independence.”

The Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation is named in honor of Jeremy Wise, Ben Wise and Beau Wise. The organization stands with veterans who survived combat to ensure they not only survive but thrive in the peace that follows. The Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation advocates for public policy to ensure the commitment made to our veterans is honored. They raise awareness of the problems our veterans face and directly tackle the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress by helping soldiers connect with needed services. Additionally, they build alliances and partnerships with other veteran non-profits to help address the problems of employment, housing, and education.

Nathan Fletcher, Marine Corps combat veteran and Founder/Chairman of the Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation said, “This opera tells a powerful and impactful story that veterans and all Americans need to hear.  The only difference between mental health injuries and physical injuries is the stigma that exists in our society.  We break down that stigma by confronting it, talking about it and embracing those who have been affected.  We are honored to be joining forces with the San Diego Opera in this important effort.”

USO San Diego is the premier USO Chartered Center in the United States providing morale, recreation, entertainment services and a home away from home to Active Duty, Reserve, Guard and military families stationed locally or transiting through San Diego. Through their mission, USO San Diego strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

”On behalf of USO San Diego, we offer our deepest appreciation to the San Diego Opera. The Opera’s Soldier Songs has true significance for our military service members and families here in San Diego. We’re honored to be one of the distinguished recipients who benefit from this wonderful opera,” shares Arne Nelson, CEO of USO San Diego and Captain, United States Navy (Retired). “USO San Diego is proud and honored to be part of an organization that strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.  USO San Diego has been a part of the organization since its inception in 1941.  Today, USO San Diego is a premier USO Chartered Center providing morale and support services, as well as a home away from home for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.”

To provide the community access and accessibility to this important opera, and to foster dialogue within our community about the issues surrounding it, the Saturday, Nov. 12 performance of Soldier Songs will be aired live on television. Airing on KPBS TV at 7 PM, this 55-minute piece can be seen in San Diego County on Cable 11, Cox 1011, Time Warner 15-1, and channel 15 (UHF digital channel 30). This broadcast will mark the first live televised broadcast of an opera production in the Company’s history and continues the partnership between San Diego Opera and KPBS, which for many years has broadcasted delayed opera performances on radio. This season, only Soldier Songs will be televised live. All other operas in the Company’s mainstage season and in the Shiley dētour Series will have a radio broadcast.

“San Diego Opera has a long history broadcasting our operas on radio with KPBS, so airing Soldier Songs live on television seems a natural progression. Opera is more than just a music and words, it also includes fine acting, beautiful sets, and visual effects; it’s a feast for the all of the senses, especially this bold production. While nothing can ever replace the experience of attending theater live, watching it live on television is the next best thing,” shares David Bennett. “Considering the importance of this opera and the service to the community KPBS provides, we’re incredibly excited about this evolution of our relationship. It’s also a wonderful way for us to showcase the generous support of Darlene Shiley, who is underwriting our new dētour series.”

In conjunction with these partnerships and to further the dialogue around these important issues, San Diego Opera has also created At this website, active duty, veterans, and family members of those who have served or are currently serving can post tributes to family members, loved ones, and other who have mentored and inspired them in life and in service. By creating this website, San Diego Opera hopes to bring attention to the soldier songs in our own community and honor our neighbors who have served. The site will also provide links and information to access much needed resources to soldiers, veterans and their families. Additionally, the community can thank the military community by purchasing a ticket for an active duty military member or a veteran.

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HRC Equidad MX: Global workplace equality program launches in Mexico Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:20:02 +0000 WASHINGTON – Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation  joined with Francisco Robledo of Alianza por la Diversidad e Inclusión Laboral (ADIL) and Fernando Velazquez of FVConsulting – Consultores en Diversidad e Inclusion, S.C to officially launch HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program, a groundbreaking new program that will work to promote LGBTQ workplace inclusion throughout Mexico. The effort comes amidst historic progress for LGBTQ equality in Mexico by bringing together HRC and advocates on the ground to educate and mobilize the country’s business community in support of LGBTQ workers and consumers.

HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program will increase awareness about the importance of LGBTQ diversity and inclusion Mexico’s workplaces by developing consulting and education models for Mexican companies and organizations. It will also utilize HRC’s tools and relationships to engage interested companies in aligning their corporate policies on LGBTQ inclusion to international standards.

“HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program is the next phase in our work and fruitful partnerships in Mexico to promote LGBTQ inclusion,” said Deena Fidas, Director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program. “As we have seen in the United States, engagement and education with the business community can deliver concrete results for LGBTQ workers. More and more Mexican and Latin American businesses are interested in working on LGBTQ diversity and inclusion and we look forward to working with advocates on the ground in our mutual work to build safe, respectful, and inclusive workplaces.”

Fidas will be kicking off the partnership with an address today about the return on investment for LGBTQ equality at the 3rd Forum of Best Practices at the Workplace at Consejo para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación de la Ciudad de México (COPRED), Mexico City’s Council to Prevent and Eradicate Discrimination.

After numerous successes with U.S.-based multinational corporations operating in Mexico, HRC is partnering with two renowned experts to grow the number of LGBT-inclusive businesses and more broadly support a national dialogue on the business case for inclusion. FVConsulting – Consultores en Diversidad e Inclusion, S.C. – and firm founder Fernando Velazquez, who launched the first LGBT employee network group at American Express Mexico, provide sought-after expertise with corporate experience. ADIL – Alianza por la Diversidad e Inclusión Laboral – is an alliance of LGBT professional consultants and experienced social analysts who promote and offer business solutions toward inclusion and respect of LGBT people in the workplace.

“ADIL has sought for the visibility of LGBT inclusion and best practices of companies in Mexico for the last three years and this alliance with HRC will help us strengthen the relationship with decision makers and shorten the time to see tangible results,” said Francisco Robledo, founder of the Alliance for Diversity and Workplace Inclusion.

“HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program is the tool Mexican companies were needing to accelerate their LGBTQ inclusion efforts, I am honored and happy to have joined efforts with HRC to launch this program in México,” said Fernando Velazquez, founder of FVConsulting.

“The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has worked with HRC for over five years in support of equal labor practices in Mexico. We partnered with HRC to launch and support the Pride Connection network here and have since broadened our collaboration to work together on social inclusion efforts,” said U.S. Embassy Acting Spokesperson, Adam Lenert. “We congratulate HRC on their efforts to formalize their presence in Mexico and look forward to working with Mr. Velázquez and Mr. Robledo.”

Through its Corporate Equality Index, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has laid the roadmap for the adoption of LGBTQ inclusive policies, benefits and practices across major corporations. HRC has collaborated for over five years with the U.S. Embassy, the American Chamber of Commerce, top-rated CEI partners such as Citigroup/Banamex, Dow, JPMorgan Chase & Co. among others, and civil society leaders to promote LGBTQ workplace inclusion and the broader business case for equality in Mexico. Last November, HRC launched its first international CEI in Mexico City along with partners, Dow, Pride Connection Mexico and the U.S. Embassy. This past spring, HRC was honored to again partner with these companies to deliver a keynote and panel moderation at the inaugural Pride Connection Mexico Summit of over 200 corporate and civil society leaders in Mexico .

To learn more about HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program, visit

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Barbara Boxer endorses Mara Elliott for San Diego City Attorney Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:09:50 +0000 Barbara Boxer and Mara Elliott

Barbara Boxer and Mara Elliott

SAN DIEGO – Mara Elliott’s campaign for City Attorney announced Thursday the endorsement of United States Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Sen. Boxer said: “Mara Elliott has dedicated her career to standing up for working people, protecting our environment, and strengthening neighborhood services. I’m proud to endorse Mara Elliott for San Diego City Attorney.”

Boxer’s support further consolidates Democrats behind Elliott who has already been endorsed by the San Diego Democratic Party and nearly every Democratic leader and group in the region. In her 2010 reelection, Barbara Boxer soundly defeated Republican Carly Fiorina within the City of San Diego by over ten points, 52-42. Mara Elliott is the only Democrat running for City Attorney.

Mara Elliott responded: “It’s an honor to earn the endorsement of Senator Barbara Boxer, a true champion for California families and working people.  As Chief Deputy City Attorney,  I held polluters accountable to clean up San Diego Bay and rooted out millions in wasteful spending at City Hall by reforming city contracting.  As City Attorney, I’ll protect neighborhoods and taxpayers by prosecuting polluters, cracking down on crooked city contractors, and defending children and the elderly from abuse.”

In addition to the broad Democratic coalition backing her campaign, Mara Elliott is endorsed by former City Attorneys John Witt and Casey Gwinn, San Diego City Firefighters, San Diego Deputy City Attorneys Association, Planned Parenthood, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Sierra Club.

Mara Elliott is Chief Deputy City Attorney and the Democratic nominee to be San Diego’s next City Attorney. To learn more about Mara Elliott’s campaign for City Attorney, visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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New CDC research further illuminate the risk of syphilis among gay and bisexual men Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:59:28 +0000 CA Syphilis Rate Graphic 9.20.16Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show a 15 percent increase in the number of syphilis infections from 2013 to 2014 alone. Two new studies presented at the 2016 STD Prevention Conference suggest that syphilis is taking a particularly severe toll on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), especially in the South.

These studies underscore the critical importance of syphilis screening and care for gay and bisexual men. Prompt diagnosis and complete antibiotic treatment is essential to cure syphilis infections, prevent long-term health complications and stop the spread of infection.

For the first time, CDC researchers have calculated the state-level primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis rates among MSM. The rates were developed using preliminary 2015 national syphilis case report data and 2014 population estimates of the number of adult MSM by state.

National Syphilis Rate Map FINALResearchers developed rates for the 44 states that reported the sex of partners for at least 70 percent of the men diagnosed with P&S syphilis in 2015. Estimates of syphilis rates among MSM vary from 73.1 per 100,000 in Alaska to 748.3 in North Carolina. The state data show syphilis disproportionately affects MSM in the South and the West, with four of the five states with the highest rates of P&S among MSM located in the South: North Carolina (748.3 per 100K), Mississippi (658.9 per 100K), Louisiana (601.8 per 100K) and South Carolina (536.9 per 100K).

Nationally, the data show the estimated P&S syphilis rate among MSM is 309 cases per 100,000.

CDC data show significant increase in syphilis screening among MSM

Using National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data from 2008, 2011, and 2014, researchers assessed syphilis testing and diagnoses trends among MSM in 20 U.S. cities. In 2014, nearly half (49 percent) of MSM reported that they had been screened for syphilis within the previous 12 months, up from 37 percent in 2008. Among those screened, the percentage who reported testing positive increased from 9 percent to 11 percent. The findings suggest that providers are increasingly aware of the risk and need for annual screening for syphilis among MSM, but rates are still low among MSM at high risk for the disease.

Screening was most common among MSM at highest risk, including those who were HIV-positive (68 percent), and those with more than 10 sexual partners in the past 12 months (65 percent). Diagnoses increases were greatest among MSM who were black (9 percent to 14 percent), HIV-positive (15 percent to 21 percent), and those with 10 or more sexual partners (11 percent to 17 percent).

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Stephen Whitburn sends message to San Diego LGBT community Thu, 22 Sep 2016 23:26:05 +0000 Thursday afternoon, Stephen Whitburn, San Diego LGBT Pride’s former executive director reached out to the community through San Diego LGBT Weekly with a special message. Titled a note to the community from Stephen Whitburn the message read:

Stephen Whitburn

Stephen Whitburn

I want to say how deeply grateful I am for your expressions of how meaningful you’ve found the work we’ve all done together.

I am touched by your comments, overwhelmed by your support, and humbled to be a part of this tremendous community.

Thank you to the wonderful Pride volunteers and staff and community members for your kindness, and I have very much appreciated the calls from community leaders and elected officials.

It is a privilege to have your friendship. Thank you again.


Whitburn’s sudden dismissal prompted angry scenes at last night’s Pride Board meeting with protestors demanding his re-instatement and presenting the Board with a 12-point list of concerns.


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A flourishing life Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:30:12 +0000

Stained glass window showing Jesus, Martha and Mary | istock

As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!

Have you ever noticed how some words just flow off of your tongue as you say them? And even feel good while doing it? Take the word “flourish” for example. FLOURISH!

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary gives a definition of the word flourish: “As to make bold and sweeping gestures!”

The writer of Luke’s gospel invites us, along with Jesus, into the home of sisters Martha and Mary (Jesus was good friends with them and their brother Lazarus; in fact, I believe they were considered his “family of choice.”) In the story, Martha is concerned (OK, almost obsessed!) about making sure the table is set just right, the food is prepared perfectly, and that there’s more than enough, the home is clean, the floors are swept, there are fresh cut flowers for the centerpiece and enough oil in the lamps; while her sister Mary is content to sit with Jesus and just listen to all he has to say. After having had enough of doing all the work by herself, Martha finally asks Jesus to tell her sister Mary to help with getting dinner on the table.

I love Jesus’ answer: “Martha, Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” In other words, “Martha, your sister Mary is cool, and what she’s doing (as Martha Stewart would say) is a good thing!”

This story shows two things:

The importance of listening to Jesus, and at the same time, it shows Jesus’ openness to and acceptance of women among his followers.

Some questions come up from this reading:

What does it mean to invite God and to invite those made in the image of God into our homes and provide hospitality?

And on the other hand, do we know how to rest in the presence of the Divine?

For many of us, being busy doing what Martha is doing, we hear the call to cultivate our personal relationship with God. How we need to find the balance between work, and resting, in the presence of God. Now, notice I didn’t say resting and staying away from God and God’s people, but resting in the presence of God, in community.

How can we live in the light of God’s goodness and generosity, finding that balance between necessary work and resting in God’s presence?

Merriam-Webster gives us further definitions of what it means to flourish: “To grow luxuriantly, to thrive, to achieve success, to prosper, and to reach a height of development of influence.

Now, given these definitions, who wouldn’t want to flourish? I’m here to tell you, God wants you to flourish!

In a newsletter from my seminary alma mater, I read an article by Richard Beaton and Linda Wagener that talks about a flourishing life. The article talks about a flourishing life as “one in which we take full advantage of the physical life on earth that God has given us. It’s about being able to enjoy our capacity to live and move and breathe, using every one of our senses, taking in the abundance of all that God has given us, and wants us to receive and enjoy.”

It goes on to say, “We lose ourselves in the beauty of the snow on the mountains, luxuriate in the warmth of the sun on our skin, are transported to our adolescence by an old, familiar melody. We love, tease, enlighten, support, and confront one another. Even more, we glory in our minds and the abilities to solve complex problems and engage in meaningful work. We create, discover, invent, engineer, build and worship. All of these things are made possible by our humanness.”

So, what do we need to be fully alive, fully human in the context of God’s abundant creation? That’s where the practice of human flourishing comes in.

Now, a practice can be an art, or just that, practice. At times we need to practice, over and over again until we get it right. I’m remembering when I was taking piano lessons, practicing scales was just no fun for me … but it helped me to be able to play the “fun” songs better. So, practicing looking around and seeing all of the blessings for us to enjoy in the midst of our everyday life will help us to flourish!

We read in the book of Genesis that after God created the sun, the stars, the plants, the animals and humanity, God said, “It is good.” We are all God’s creation: Fabulous, Unique, Strong, Amazing and Wonderful, and God says, “My, my, you are good!”

God, our creator, reminds us to be proud of who we are – created to be, to cultivate and manifest the many gifts that we are each given, and then, to flourish!

As we are reminded in our scripture reading this morning, maybe we need to call each other “Martha” from time to time, to call each other back to that essential relationship with Jesus. Mary’s choice, relationship and intimacy, will not be taken away from her.

In this time of rapidly shifting social, political and economic climates, our times of intimate community can never be taken away.

We need each other, more than ever before; I’m so glad our middle name is “community” – Metropolitan Community Church. I invite you to embrace your unique spirituality, to grow in your relationship with God and to flourish together, in community – growing stronger, ever closer to God and one another.

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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:21:31 +0000

Nick Thune

thursday, sept. 22

Nick Thune

Nick Thune, comedian / actor, hails from the Great Northwest (Seattle), where he spent his early years growing up. Thune’s absurdist view and deadpan wit have distinguished his unique style of storytelling mixed with one-liners. Thune has appeared on The Tonight Show 10 times, Conan 2 times, and Late Night 1 time. On each occasion, he won.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets $12, 619-795-3858,

Air Supply

friday, sept. 23

Air Supply

Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock met May 12, 1975, at rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar in Sydney, Australia; they became instant friends with their common love for The Beatles and, of course, singing. In 1980 “Lost in Love” became the fastest selling single in the world, leaping to the top of all of the charts and was named Song of the Year. Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply at that time had equaled The Beatles’ run of consecutive top five singles.

Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Dr. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets $61, 800-745-3000,

Bates Nut Farm

saturday, sept. 24

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch Opening Weekend

Over 50 years of fall traditions and memories have been created at the Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch. Family and friends enjoy the tractor hayrides, straw maze, petting corral and Snows Pony Rides. Grab a wheelbarrow and pick from variety of pumpkins: Big Macs, Ghost, Cinderella, Jack O’ Lantern, minis, squash, gourds and other fall décor.

Bates Nut Farm, 15954 Woods Valley Road in Valley Center, all day, free admission, 1-800-642-03481,

The Art & Craft Show Old Town

sunday, sept. 25

The Art & Craft Show Old Town

This stunning art and craft show has something for everyone, whether you are looking for inspiration, purchasing a piece to enjoy for years to come, looking for yummy bites, sumptuous wines, tasty tequilas, or craft spirits. The festival runs along San Diego Avenue from Conde Street into the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

The Art & Craft Show Old Town, 4005 Taylor Street in Old Town San Diego, free, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., 619-233-5008,

The Specials

monday, sept. 26

The Specials

The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry. Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”, and had a “more focused and informed political and social stance” than other ska groups. In 1980, the song “Too Much Too Young”, the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached No. 1 in the U.K. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single “Ghost Town” also hit No. 1 in the U.K. Singles Chart.

House of Blues San Diego, 1055 Fifth Ave in San Diego, 7 p.m., tickets from $40, 619-299-2583,

San Diego Sunset Dinner Cruises

tuesday, sept. 27

San Diego Sunset Dinner Cruises

Celebrate your day with a deliciously different dining experience, complete with spectacular views, aboard an inviting yacht. The three-hour San Diego Dinner Cruise combines culinary excellence with unforgettable sights, music and dancing under the stars. Offered daily, this is the perfect option for relaxing on San Diego Bay or celebrating something special.

Hornblower Landing at Grape Street Pier in San Diego, 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m., prices start at $79.95 per guest, 619-619-8715,

The San Diego International Film Festival

wednesday, sept. 28

The San Diego International Film Festival

The San Diego International Film Festival is the regions premier film event and one of the leading stops on the independent festival circuit. SDiFF offers a totally unique experience to catch first time and veteran filmmakers as they debut their latest work to command the attention of new audiences and industry luminaries. Be among the first to see major studio premieres on the road to the Hollywood awards. This five-day event features 100+ independent films, studio premieres, panels with celebrities and industry insiders, red carpet events, parties, all-star tributes and filmmaker awards.

The San Diego International Film Festival, Gaslamp Quarter and La Jolla, Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, tickets from $15, 619-818-2221,

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2016 Nicky Awards rescheduled for Nov. 13 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:40:18 +0000 Allan Spyere

Allan Spyere

SAN DIEGO — The Nicky Awards board of governors announced today that the 2016 Nicky Awards will be held Sunday, Nov. 13 at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley.  This year’s award show had to be rescheduled after problems arose with the previous hotel.

“We are planning a fun and exciting 2016 Nicky Awards with outstanding entertainment, and of course red carpet interviews,” stated Allan Spyere, president of the board of governors.

The 2016 Nicky Award nominees will be announced next week.  Tickets for the Nicky Awards are $60.00 for general admission and $85.00 for VIP admission.  Tickets and tables are on sale now.

Special emcees for the 2016 awards will be Benny Cartwright and comedienne Miss Pearl of America’s Got Talent fame.

Nicky Awards Nomination Night will be Monday, Oct. 3 at Martinis Above Fourth nightclub.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the presentation begins at 7:00 p.m.

For over four decades, the Nicky Awards has honored outstanding achievements in the LGBT community.

ABC News has called the Nicky Awards “the Gay Academy Awards of San Diego.”  Former Gov. Gray Davis stated that “The Nicky Awards celebration is a tribute to the men and women of San Diego’s LGBT community.”

For further information on the 2016 Nicky Awards call: 619-692-1967 or 619-862-8654.

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UC San Diego’s most diverse incoming class begins fall quarter Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:28:33 +0000 Of the 5,750 incoming freshmen, 24 percent come from historically underrepresented groups; majority of new students are from California.

UC San Diego fall quarter classThe University of California San Diego welcomed its most diverse incoming class of freshmen and transfer students today, on Sept. 22 with additional resources that support diversity, inclusivity and student success. The new initiatives include identity-themed housing for LGBTQ, black and Latino students and a mentoring program for students who come from under-resourced high schools and/or are the first in their family to attend college, among other programs.

“We are pleased to welcome these dynamic, diverse and talented students to our Triton family,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We are committed to providing all of our students with the best possible college experience and opportunities, and preparing them to become our next-generation leaders.”

Of the 5,750 incoming freshmen, 24 percent come from historically underrepresented groups including black, Native American and Mexican American/Latino students. Underrepresented students make up about 20 percent of the campus’s 2,950 incoming transfer students. In addition, approximately 29 percent of new freshmen and 38 percent of incoming transfers are the first in their family to attend college.

The freshmen for fall 2016 have an overall grade-point average of 4.05 and average SAT Reasoning scores of 610, 661 and 621 for SAT reading, math and writing respectively. The campus’s new transfer students bring with them a 3.51 grade-point average. These students were joined by more than 25,000 continuing students.

Among UC San Diego’s first-generation freshmen is Charles Adams of Porterville, Calif., who is on track to become both a nano engineering and chemical engineering major. “Being a first-generation student can be scary because you need to be able to talk to people about the process of going to college; however, my parents have been my biggest inspiration,” Adams said. “They have always said that I can do whatever I want, and they will be proud, which drove me to pursue what I love, which is science and engineering.”

Adams attended UC San Diego’s Summer Bridge, a five-week program for first-generation students where they live on campus, earn college credit, and develop a higher level of academic skills and abilities, all at no monetary cost. “After Summer Bridge, I fell in love with the campus and truly felt at home,” the Warren College student said. “I am so excited to attend UC San Diego because the science and engineering programs are the best.”

Like Adams, the vast majority of UC San Diego new students are from California with most hailing from Southern California (49 percent of freshmen and 55 percent of transfers).

New freshmen and transfer students to UC San Diego have access to San Diego’s unique college system, which merges the campus’s world-class education with a sense of community amongst students.

An estimated 5,357 freshmen will be living throughout campus in various residence halls; approximately 1,996 transfer students will be living in the Village at Torrey Pines, a community at the northwest part of campus specifically for transfer students. Overall, about 13,113 new and continuing students will be on-campus residents, making up nearly 40 percent of the total campus enrollment.

New projects, facilities and initiatives underway on campus for the 2016-17 academic year include:

  • Identity-Themed Housing 
    UC San Diego has launched identity-themed housing on campus to foster a diverse and inclusive campus community. The housing communities are open to students from all six colleges.

    New LGBTQIA apartments at Muir College are designed to create a housing community for sexual and gender diversity that supports personal wellbeing and development through educational initiatives, social events and personal support. In addition, Sixth College is home to the African Black Diaspora Living Learning Community. The mission of the housing community is to establish an environment of personal and academic excellence through the affirmation and celebration of blackness in its various expressions. And at Eleanor Roosevelt College, there is the Raza Interest Housing which was unveiled last year. Residents in this community are committed to appreciate and understanding the Chicana/o and Latina/o experience in the United States and the histories and cultures of Latin America.

  • Student Success Coaching Initiative 
    UC San Diego’s Student Retention and Success unit within the Office of the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs is launching a new Student Success Coaching program to support the incoming freshmen who are first generation, come from under-resourced high schools, or are recipients of selected institutional or community-based scholarships. A team of student success coaches will work in collaboration with students to provide guidance, referrals, and learning strategies that further develop the personal, academic and professional skills needed to make progress toward their degree and transition into life after graduation. These knowledgeable coaches will act as supportive guides who can assist participants in their transition as a student at UC San Diego, while facilitating students’ knowledge of and participation in educational opportunities that exist across the campus. Click here for more information.
  • Ocean View Dining to feature Joint Kosher and Halal Kitchen
    Ocean View Dining is re-opening its doors this fall after going through comprehensive renovations. In addition to a diverse menu, the revamped dining operation will feature prepared kosher and halal dishes and will be the first dining operation on the campus to operate 24 hours a day. The kitchen is the product of a collaborative effort between, the Muslim Student Association, the Union of Jewish Students and Housing, Dining, Hospitality as well as Thurgood Marshall College.
  • New Location and Programs for CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center
    CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center is moving to an expanded and renovated location, still on the fifth floor of the Student Services Center. The additional space demonstrates the university’s commitment to enhancing trauma-informed services at UC San Diego. This year, students can also look forward to more peer-to-peer education. As part of orientation, all new students were introduced to the resources CARE offers via the campus’s mandatory online training program. Now, all new incoming students receive in-person presentations on sexual consent and its definition, healthy relationships, cyber safety and more. Later this year, the “Colors of CARE,” a campuswide campaign for preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors, will be rolled out. In addition, a new in-person staff education course has been developed for university staff that may need to support students who are victims or survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking. For information on UC San Diego’s CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center, click here.
  • New Phone App for Students
    The now@ucsandiego smart phone app is designed to be a best-of-the-breed mobile informational application that gives students access to location-based shuttle information, timely news and events, surf as well as weather information and more. By using the time and location capabilities of mobile devices, the app pushes contextually relevant information to the user based on where they are located. It is available now on iOS devices and will soon be available on Android. The app is open sourced to anyone who has thoughts or ideas about developing new features for it. Visit the iTunes store to download the app for iPhones.
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HIV: The Long View Initiative launches Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:20:09 +0000 The Long ViewNEW YORK, N.Y. and RED BANK, N.J. — A Coalition of leading HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and stakeholder organizations today announced the launch of HIV: The Long View with the release of an evidence-based report that examines the potential implications of future healthcare trends on HIV care and management in the United States. Members of the Coalition include the American Academy of HIV Medicine, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, HealthyWomen, National Council on Aging and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. In the report, the Coalition recommends several key actions necessary to help improve the outlook for the long-term health of people living with HIV. Gilead Sciences is a partner and sponsor of the initiative.

“HIV is perhaps the most ruthless public health crisis the world has ever faced, and while the most immediate, life-threatening challenges have evolved in developed nations, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the epidemic continues to grow, even in well-resourced areas,” said Kelsey Louie, Chief Executive Officer, Gay Men’s Health Crisis. “If we are going to meaningfully advance HIV education, prevention, treatment and care, it will be due to multidisciplinary collaborations like HIV: The Long View that identify and strive to help work through the complex socioeconomic and healthcare factors that currently deny a long-term healthy future to many people living with and at risk for HIV.”

The report is a result of an in-depth research process collaboratively reviewed, scrutinized and translated by the HIV: The Long View Coalition to determine a potential future state of HIV healthcare in the United States over the next two decades. The method allowed the Coalition to develop corresponding calls to action to help HIV stakeholders support the long-term health and well-being of people living with and at risk for HIV, including:

  • Eradicating stigma related to sexual behavior, sexual health and HIV status so that everyone who needs HIV care and counsel about prevention will be comfortable seeking it.
  • Ending the “one size fits all” approach to HIV prevention, treatment and education by tailoring HIV-related efforts to specific at-risk populations whenever possible.
  • Developing pathways to collect more HIV patient data to enhance the body of knowledge about HIV, inform treatment algorithms and ensure people with HIV have every opportunity to benefit from advances in personalized medicine.
  • Educating and empowering every person at risk of and living with HIV to take charge of their prevention and care now to prevent or delay the onset of chronic conditions in the future.
  • Pushing for 100 percent adoption of evidence-based guidelines in every U.S. healthcare practice to ensure access to preventive counseling and care, regular HIV testing and immediate connection and retention in care for those who test positive.

With early detection and access to ongoing care and treatment, HIV can be a long-term manageable chronic disease for many. HIV: The Long View stresses the importance of advancing the HIV dialogue beyond viral suppression to focus on long-term goals that can help positively impact the health of people living with HIV over time, improve quality of life and reduce morbidity.

“Today we face huge opportunities that could change healthcare for the better, but we’re also encountering issues that will be challenging. Women currently account for 20 percent of all new HIV infections and transgender women have some of the highest rates of new HIV infections,” said Elizabeth Battaglino, RN, President and Chief Executive Officer of HealthyWomen. “HIV: The Long View has provided an evidence base to help us set up a long-term vision of care and support for people living with HIV. It’s no longer just about prolonging life with HIV; today we must work toward ensuring quality of life for those living with this virus over the long term.”

The Future Foundation (FF), an independent global consumer trends and insight firm, provided the data and research that allowed the HIV: The Long View Coalition to review the overall healthcare trends and evaluate their potential impact on the future of HIV care. The FF’s qualitative and quantitative research included a review of published medical literature, a consumer survey deployed in the United States and one-on-one interviews with multidisciplinary health care experts.

“HIV advocacy groups and thought-leaders have a unique and powerful connection to the current realities of living with and preventing HIV. That experience was instrumental to the thoughtful and insightful discussions captured in the HIV: The Long View report,” said Douglas M. Brooks, MSW, Senior Director, Community Engagement, Gilead Sciences. “The publication of this report is an important milestone toward our shared purpose of helping and encouraging anyone who is living with or at risk for HIV to aim for a healthier future.”

To learn more about HIV: The Long View, visit

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Annenberg Space For Photography announces lectures and events to accompany new exhibition Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:14:24 +0000 IDENTITY Sep 24, 2016 - Feb 26, 2017

Sep 24, 2016 – Feb 26, 2017

LOS ANGELES — The Annenberg Space for Photography announced its complementary programming for IDENTITY: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders The List Portraits, the new exhibit on view at the Photography Space through February 26, 2017. The upcoming Iris Nights lecture series and other special events also explore matters of identity and/or the art of photography. IDENTITY is comprised of 151 photos from the celebrated photographer’s List Series (The Black List, The Latino List, The Women’s List and The Out List) as well as new addition The Trans List. Many of the Iris Nights lecturers were featured in one of Greenfield-Sanders’ lists.

Recent events in our nation have amplified conversations about inequality, oppression and prejudice. These issues often relate to the first-hand experiences of the cultural pioneers photographed for Greenfield-Sanders’ List Series, including those who will speak at Iris Nights events. The series highlights breakthroughs for groups of people that have historically been marginalized and underrepresented. It also celebrates its subjects’ remarkable accomplishments; each is a shining example in their community who serves as an ally and leader for minorities, often in the face of adversity. For more information, click here.

Iris Nights offers audiences the opportunity to learn firsthand about the experiences and life journeys of the portrait subjects as well as top photographers, all in the intimate environment of Skylight Studios. Other Skylight programming surrounding the IDENTITY exhibition features similarly themed lectures and hands-on workshops over the next three months, including a photographers’ field trip to capture images of professional dancers. For more information and to make reservations, click here.


September 23 

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The acclaimed portrait photographer discusses the overarching themes of his work and other aspects of his life and career.

September 29 

Alok Vaid-Menon

The dynamic writer/activist explores the implications of visual representation for trans and gender-non-conforming people who use their work as mixed-media performance artists to contemplate what it means to live outside gender.

October 6 

Nick Adams

The longtime-GLAAD representative discusses his experiences as a transgender man working with Hollywood to create more authentic portrayals of transgender people, and explain why improving media images is so critical for the transgender community.

October 8

#BlaxicansOfLA: Telling Our Story

Photographer and documentary filmmaker Walter Thompson-Hernandez talks about his work on the #BlaxicansOfLA project, which showcases “Blaxicans” – representative of the two largest ethnic minority groups in Los Angeles – and challenges viewers to explore racial identities in more inclusive ways.

October 13 

Art Streiber

This presentation is a look behind the scenes at some of the more complex editorial shoots that the portrait photographer has undertaken for magazines such as ESPN, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times Magazine

October 20 

Ruddy Roye

Hailed as one of the greatest street photographers working today, Ruddy Roye discusses his career in photojournalism and his editorial and environmental portraits, which often focus on the raw and gritty lives of people in his native Jamaica.

October 27 

Faye Wattleton

The esteemed activist and executive delves into her personal journey and the steps necessary to advance women’s rights and status in society in the 21st Century.

October 29 

iO Tillet Wright Lecture and Book Signing

The artist, activist and TV personality hosts a lecture on his gender-and-identity-oriented photography and book signing to promote Darling Days, his inspiring new memoir about growing up at the intersection of punk, poverty, heroin and art.

October 30

15 Things You Can Do to Get Represented by a Gallery

Daniel Miller, director of the Duncan Miller Gallery and founder of, leads a no-nonsense seminar for upcoming artists on developing their careers, understanding the business of selling their artwork and gaining gallery representation.

November 3 

Beverly Johnson

The “Jackie Robinson of modeling” discusses her pioneering career in fashion and expand on powerful stories told in her book, The Face That Changed It All.

November 5-6 

Two-Day Documentary Photography Workshop with Jon Lowenstein

The Postcards from Ferguson and NOOR Images photographer teaches a hands-on workshop on alternative approaches to photography, audience-building and effective social media usage, culminating in a one-on-one evaluation of students’ work.

November 10 

Wazina Zondon

The noted writer, podcaster and sexuality educator discusses her work and her experiences as a queer Muslim woman raised in New York City.

November 17 

Nely Galán

The highly successful entrepreneur and women’s empowerment advocate details her efforts to ignite the “Self Made” movement, uniting all women on a quest for an economic future they control.

December 1 

Buck Angel

The adult film star and motivational speaker shares his moving life story and the process of his gender transition from female to male, while challenging notions of what makes someone a man or a woman.

December 4 

Cameras and Dancers Photography Field Trip

Inspired by his popular photography “InstaMeets,” the choreographer, director and social influencer Jacob Jonas hosts an intensive hands-on workshop for photographers to create visual content using stunning dance performances. Photographers will get a chance to collaborate with professional dancers and each other in this highly participatory workshop.

December 8 

Slideshow Night

A presentation of images created by artists from around the world who bring a fresh perspective and creative techniques to professional photography.

December 15 

Bamby Saceldo

The Los Angeles-based transgender rights advocate discusses the strides made by the trans community in changing societal attitudes as well as the important work yet to be done.


January 5 

Nicole and Wayne Maines

The celebrated young activist and her father Wayne chronicles her legal battles for transgender rights and the ongoing effort to help LGBT students and adults gain total equality across the nation.

January 12 

Thelma Golden

The esteemed museum curator sheds light on her life and career in the art world as well as her work with the White House.

January 19 

Dr. Michael Lomax

The United Negro College Fund CEO discusses his formative years and how relocating from Los Angeles to the Deep South thrust him into the center of the civil rights movement, setting him on the path to finding his life’s work.

January 26 

Candace Feit

Feit, a documentary photographer and artist, explains how her photographic process helped tell the story of the transgender community in southern India by using subtle, in-between moments to illuminate deeper truths.

February 2 

Giselle Fernandez

The Emmy Award-winning journalist discusses how an eclectic, artistic and multicultural upbringing fueled her career in journalism and are the founding principles of her business, shaping her politics, passions, profession and philanthropy.

February 9 

Zackary Drucker & Rhys Ernst

The Emmy-winning producers of Amazon’s Transparent tell the story behind the series of photographs they took, over a period of six years, to document their romantic and creative collaboration.

February 16 

Chris Buck

The much-sought-after photographer discusses the full scope of his career, including how he got his start and the stories behind photo sessions with subjects such as President Barack Obama, Joaquin Phoenix, Lena Dunham, Snoop Dogg, Louis C.K., Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jay Z, Steve Martin, Cindy Sherman and Donald Trump.

February 23 

Catherine Opie

The acclaimed photographer talks about her life experiences and varied artistic endeavors.

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National Aids Memorial commemorates 25 years of remembrance Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:04:17 +0000 Senator Mark Leno (L) presents a proclamation from the  State of California to National AIDS Memorial executive director John Cunningham.  Also  pictured (R) with San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.

Sen. Mark Leno (L) presents a proclamation from the State of California to National AIDS Memorial executive director John Cunningham. Also
pictured (R) with San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.

SAN FRANCISCO — Twenty-five years ago a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic gathered in a dilapidated grove in Golden Gate Park to restore it and create a serene place where people seeking healing could gather to express their collective grief through a living memorial, an AIDS memorial.

Sept. 17, hundreds of supporters, volunteers and community leaders came together in “The Grove” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of what is now the National AIDS Memorial.   A special ceremony paid tribute the original founders and honored supporters, including the City of San Francisco, who have helped in its mission to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and their stories are known by future generations.

“Twenty-five years ago our community was ravaged by AIDS and we came together here in this Grove to heal and remember our lost friends and loved ones,” said Jack Porter, a 25-year volunteer who lost his partner Stephen Marcus to AIDS and was honored with the “Heart of the Grove” award for his years of dedication and service. “Today, this memorial has evolved into a national treasure for our entire country to remember, seek comfort and ensure that we always keep their memory alive in our hearts.”

Since 1991, nearly 25,000 volunteers have donated more than 150,000 hours participating in monthly Community Volunteer Workdays and other events to support the National AIDS Memorial.  Every third Saturday from March to October, volunteers ranging from the very young to the elderly come together to help maintain the Grove, clearing overgrowth, reintroducing native species and planting new trees, plants and shrubs.

The commemorative boulder at the National AIDS Memorial honoring the City of San Francisco

The commemorative boulder at the National AIDS Memorial honoring the City of San Francisco

That dedication, commitment and support set in motion passage of legislation spearheaded by U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 making the Grove this nation’s sole federally-designated National AIDS Memorial.

“No one knew in 1991, at the height of the epidemic, what the future held for AIDS, and how many more would die from this devastating disease,” said Alice Russell-Shapiro, who along with co-founder Isabel Wade helped spearhead the effort to create the AIDS Grove, first as a place where all lives touched by AIDS could gather in solidarity, in the midst of widespread prejudice and stigma.

Russell-Shapiro added, “What began as a comforting garden setting for compassion and remembrance has evolved into an important national memorial dedicated to all those lost, as well as to keeping the history of the epidemic alive. It is built upon loss — and the sweat and tears of thousands of volunteers and supporters from San Francisco, across our nation and around the world over these past 25 years.”

The City of San Francisco was an early supporter and advocate for the memorial, approving a plan in 1991 to restore a dilapidated and unusable part of Golden Gate Park – the de Laveaga Dell – to create and maintain the 10-acre memorial in the Grove.  Guided by the Recreation and Park Department, a team of prominent architects, landscape architects, and designers, along with a committee of volunteers, dedicated countless hours to create a landscape plan that would be fitting as a timeless living memorial. That work led to the groundbreaking and first Community Volunteer Workday for the AIDS Memorial on September 21, 1991.

“Of the one thousand acres in Golden Gate Park, the ten that make up the National AIDS Memorial are perhaps its most significant and certainly some of its most beautiful,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, who helped unveil a boulder in the Grove honoring the City of San Francisco. “We are honored to be a partner in helping honor the lives of loved ones lost to AIDS by creating a place people can build hope from despair.”

In 1991, one in 25 San Franciscans was living with an HIV infection and one in 50 were living with an AIDS diagnosis.  According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS with an estimated 35 million people having died from AIDS-related causes.

“As we commemorate this 25th anniversary of our nation’s AIDS memorial, we are filled with hope for the future,” said National AIDS Memorial executive director John Cunningham.  “We recognize the tremendous responsibility and importance of remaining true to the vision of our founders as well as the importance of continuing to tell the story of the AIDS epidemic and the lessons learned from it for future generations.”

The 25th anniversary tribute began with hundreds of volunteers helping landscape and plant trees and shrubbery on the grounds of the memorial, followed by a ceremony in the Circle of Friends in honor of those lost to HIV/AIDS and an emotional performance by members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.  Community leaders in attendance included State Senator Mark Leno, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Christine Pelosi, former National AIDS Memorial Board member & long-time supporter.

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Chief Deputy City Attorney of San Diego calls on city to test every rape kit Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:43:30 +0000 Mara Elliott

Mara Elliott

SAN DIEGO – Mara Elliott, Chief Deputy City Attorney of San Diego and the Democratic candidate for San Diego City Attorney Wednesday called on the City of San Diego to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits collected by law enforcement in the City of San Diego.  In the last ten years, nearly 2,000 rape kits have gone untested by the city’s crime lab.  A 2014 state audit found that unlike many other cities, the City of San Diego has no policy requiring rape kits to be tested.  Last year, only half of all rape kits were tested.

“Today, I’m committing to end the backlog of untested rape kits in San Diego and to push for a comprehensive citywide policy to test all DNA evidence in sexual assault cases,” said Elliott.  “Victims of rape deserve justice and the full support of law enforcement.  Perpetrators of rape deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Leaving evidence untested from thousands of reported sexual assaults sends the wrong message to victims of rape.  Collecting a rape kit is an ordeal for victims that can take up to four hours.  As a city, we need to stand up for victims of sexual assault, not ignore the evidence of crimes against them.  That means eliminating the backlog of over 2,000 untested rape kits and testing all DNA evidence from rape kits going forward.

“This is common sense: we should test every rape kit. Testing all the evidence will help solve crimes, bring serial rapists to justice, and protect victims of sexual assault.”

The US Department of Justice has called rape kits an, “essential tool in modern crime fighting” and has dedicated millions in federal grants to local law enforcement agencies to eliminate the backlog in untested rape kits.  Victim advocates, like the California Coalition on Sexual Assault, are pushing to eliminate the backlog in untested rape kits nationwide.  After a state audit recommended testing all evidence in sexual assault cases, many California law enforcement agencies have instituted policies to test all rape kits.

San Diego’s backlog of untested rape kits has been documented here:

Why Rape Kits Go Untested In San Diego – KPBS, 9/13/16
SDPD Doubles Down on Decision to Leave Some Rape Kits Untested – VOSD, 9/8/16
Disturbing new evidence of backlog of untested rape kits – CBS News, 5/19/15
State audit raises concerns over use of rape kits – 10News, 10/10/14


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National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and Latino Victory Foundation announce Latino Talent Initiative Wed, 21 Sep 2016 19:23:39 +0000 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tuesday, Latino Victory Foundation and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) announced an effort to identify and nominate Hispanic candidates for incoming political appointments and positions in other sectors through the Latino Talent Initiative. Building upon the groundwork of NHLA’s Latino Appointments Program, the new partnership will proactively work to streamline the process for Latinos interested in politically appointed positions in the next administration.

Along with advocates, corporate partners, and strong networks of senior leaders, the Latino Talent Initiative will be working to identify, recruit, and encourage Latinos at all levels to submit their applications in order to ensure Latino voices are represented at all levels of government, including the highest positions within the administration.

Interested candidates will be able to submit their information for consideration as part of new platform to be launched in the coming weeks. The searchable database will be constructed with a series of approximately 40 questions that gives a robust sense of a candidate’s previous employment, skill sets and strengths.

“Three years ago, NHLA launched the Latino Appointments Program, to address the extreme underrepresentation of Latinos among appointed positions in the executive branch at the state and federal levels, because we fundamentally believe that our government must reflect the diversity of the people it serves. When people of all backgrounds contribute their diverse experiences and perspectives in service of our nation, the result is better government for everyone,” said Hector Sanchez, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council For Latin American Advancement. “The Latino Talent Initiative will play a significant role in identifying qualified Latino candidates to serve in the next president’s administration and thus ensure that our 58 million voices are heard in government. Combining our efforts with the Latino Victory Foundation at this critical juncture, months before new leadership enters the White House, we are bringing NHLA’s Latino Appointments Program to a new level. Working together, we will help identify more candidates for appointed positions so that our government can become more representative.”

“There is no doubt  that this year’s election is one of the most consequential in modern history, and the Latino community has the power to elect our next president,” said Cesar J. Blanco, Interim Director for Latino Victory Foundation.  “This is why we are encouraging Latino professionals to consider heeding the call for public service.  By building the necessary infrastructure, we will have a pipeline of Latino professionals that are both qualified and willing to serve.  We want to make sure that the excuse of not being able to find talented Latino candidates for staffing becomes a question of the past. NHLA laid the groundwork for this initiative, and we are grateful to have such dedicated partners to pursue our mission of increasing Latino representation in all levels of government and political power.”

While appointments range from entry level to Cabinet Secretaries and Ambassadors, the Latino Talent Initiative is strongly committed to expanding the executive leadership pipeline. There are opportunities for people with a wide range of experience, from recent graduates to seasoned professionals who manage personnel, set and implement policy, drive agendas and oversee millions of dollars through programs and initiatives. Each administration normally appoints approximately 6000 political positions of which roughly 3000 are full time, without counting White House staff. The remaining are part‐time boards or commissions meant to help fulfill the mission and policy priorities of the seated President.

With the exception of NHLA’s Latino Appointments Program, there has been no other effort fully funded as a stand-alone program whose primary mission is to recruit and recommend Hispanic talent on such a large scale. The Initiative will build on NHLA’s process, modeled after other successful programs such as the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, whose program has been hugely successful in increasing the number of LGBTQ appointees.

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Former employee files suit against Trader Joe’s for alleged sexual orientation discrimination Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:47:45 +0000 LOS ANGELES— A former Store Manager (or, Store “Captain” in Trader Joe’s parlance) has filed a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit against the Company.  In her lawsuit, Sandy Holm, a long term 15-year employee, alleges that her former supervisor, Regional Vice-President Caroline Judd, fired her because she is gay.  The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and assigned case number BC634605.

“I’m absolutely heart-broken,” responded Ms. Holm when asked to describe how she felt. “Trader Joe’s was my life. I loved that company and I did anything and everything that was ever asked of me.”

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Regional Vice-President Judd asked Ms. Holm inappropriate personal questions about Ms. Holm’s sexual orientation including whether Ms. Holm had a “partner,” asking the age of Ms. Holm’s partner, how long Ms. Holm and her partner had been together, and whether they were planning on having children.  According to the lawsuit, these questions and the tone and manner in which they were asked caused Ms. Holm to believe that Ms. Judd had a problem with gay people, in general, and with Ms. Holm for being gay, in particular.  Ms. Holm claims that shortly after asking these questions, Ms. Judd fired her because she is gay and because she made charitable donations to several LGBT organizations including Jewish Queers, Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Pacific Area Boosters Association.

According to Ms. Holm’s lawsuit, Trader Joe’s gives Store Captains wide discretion to make charitable contributions to community groups. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Judd accused Ms. Holm of favoring LGBT charitable organizations because she is gay and that Ms. Judd then derisively commented to Ms. Holm, “I like kitty cats but that doesn’t mean that I can make donations to kitty cat organizations.”  Then, according to the lawsuit, without any prior warnings, Ms. Judd fired Ms. Holm.  Ms. Judd, the lawsuit alleges, attempted to justify Ms. Holm’s firing by falsely claiming that Trader Joe’s had a written policy forbidding Store Captains from making charitable donations in excess of $250.00 without permission from their supervisors.

Commenting about the lawsuit, Andrew H. Friedman, a founding member of Helmer Friedman LLP, the attorneys representing Ms. Holm stated, “Sexual orientation discrimination is real. It happens every day. We are very fortunate that California outlaws sexual orientation discrimination in employment and housing. “

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Applications for San Diego Pride Youth Leadership Academy now open Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:22:28 +0000 SAN DIEGO – San Diego LGBT Pride has announced that applications for the Youth Leadership Academy are now open. The Youth Leadership Academy is a one-day workshop packed with outdoor activities, bonding exercises, and empowering educational discussions. Workshops will include an introduction to LGBT history, youth advocacy, higher education, and more.

“Over the years, Pride has expanded our youth programs, and we are thrilled to be able to provide opportunities for LGBTQ youth to connect, learn, and engage,” said Fernando Lopez, San Diego Pride’s Director of Operations. “It is our hope that these young people will develop the skills needed to help them be better advocates and activists for themselves and their communities.”

The academy, which is open to junior-high- and high-school-aged youth, will take place on Saturday, November 12, 2016, from 8:30am to 5:15pm at the San Diego Pride office located at 3620 30th St., San Diego, CA 92104.

San Diego LGBT Pride is accepting applications until Sunday, Oct. 23. Interested youth can apply at

]]> 0 Campaign announced in response to crisis of deported veterans Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:16:55 +0000 SAN DIEGO – The injustice faced by hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. military veterans who are being and have been deported was the focus of a campaign announced yesterday by a broad coalition of leaders including representatives of the veterans community, elected officials, business, labor and immigrant reform communities.

The coalition pledged to drive change for currently deported veterans and those who are facing deportation.  Marine Corps veteran and former California Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher has agreed to serve as Chair of the group and stated the following, “If you were willing to give your life for your country, your country should be willing to give you citizenship.”

In July, The American Civil Liberties Union released a report bringing attention to many veterans who find themselves unable to return home due to deportation. The report outlines a series of policy changes needed to help address this problem.  These proposed changes include suggested legislation for Congress and state legislatures along with federal executive orders and agency policy reforms.

Norma Chávez Peterson, the Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial County states, “Without question, immigrants who are or have been members of the U.S. armed forces – who have sworn allegiance to the Constitution and who bravely put their lives on the line in services to this country –are of concern to us all.”

The press conference launches a campaign that focus on a series of local, state, and national action to address the problem. During the press conference, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) announced legislation that will soon be introduced to Congress this week.

Coalition supporters include:  Nathan Fletcher, Former Assembly member and Marine Corps veteran United States Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51); California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez; Norma Chávez Peterson, Executive Director of ACLU of San Diego; David Garcias, SEIU 221 President and Mel Katz Former Chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

More information available at website:

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Protest planned at San Diego Pride Board Meeting on firing of executive director Tue, 20 Sep 2016 23:51:14 +0000 Following San Diego LGBT Pride’s sudden dismissal of their executive director Stephen Whitburn, community members are planning a demonstration at tomorrow’s Pride board meeting.

San Diego LGBT Pride is a 501(c)(3) organization that receives much of its revenue from sales from members of the community and a significant sum from taxpayer funded sources and many in the community feel a sense of ownership of the organization and have major concerns about its governance and transparency.

Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Pride Board office at 3620 30th Street in San Diego volunteers including Pride’s Festival Manager Bob Leyh, Parade Manager Chad Ryan and Medical Director Joe Smith along with several former board members, three of whom were elected co-chairs and several community leaders including Nicole Murray Ramirez are planning on presenting the six-member board with a list of concerns and a list of corrective actions that they believe are necessary to right what are being perceived as unjust actions.

Former San Diego Pride board member and officer, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy told San Diego LGBT Weekly, “San Diego LGBT Pride unceremoniously dismissed their executive director Stephen Whitburn and many in the community are outraged. To make matters worse, the board has failed to operate in a transparent manner. It has not released its minutes in over a year (May 2015) and the records from before May 2015 are missing (March and April 2015). The Board has also disbanded the Pride Community Advisory Council which was a commitment to the community after a scandal shook up the board in 2009.”

Reasons for Whitburn’s dismissal remain unclear as there has been no statement from the Pride board. Unconfirmed community speculation ranges from a lack of communication to Whitburn was simply not liked.  LGBT Weekly reached out to Pride for comment but none of our phone calls were returned. Previously Pride Board member Nenette Agulto  stated on the Pride Web site that the goal of Pride was to represent the diverse community, “As the Board and Diversity Development  Committee Chair, my goal is to ensure we represent the diverse community of San Diego. I also look for training opportunities to keep our board aware of current events and issues. We are always looking for committed individuals willing to volunteer to help make a difference. There’s more than our parade and music festival that SD Pride Staff and Board members spend time on.”

Nicole Murray Ramirez, co-founder of Gay Pride (which later became LGBT Pride) with Tom Homann and Jess Jessop in 1974 expressed disappointment at the board’s actions. “I have been involved with San Diego Pride since the beginning in 1974,” Murray Ramirez told LGBT Weekly. “Throughout the decades I’ve seen Pride go through many changes. I’m very disappointed in the board of Pride because they made commitments to the community including setting up a Community Advisory Board which they have now disbanded. It is not their right to disband it. It was a commitment and obligation that they made to the community.

“If they would have had the Advisory Board and talked to them about Stephen (Whitburn) they would have gotten a widespread reaction of how Steve Whitburn has done an outstanding job and has great standing and a lot of support in the community.”

Murray Ramirez continued, “It is also my understanding that last year Pride made $200,000 and they were only able to give out around $20,000. I hope they will be able to give out a lot more to our community. Yes, I’m very disappointed in Pride and the current board.”

LGBT Weekly has learned that the list of concerns being presented to the Pride board tomorrow include:

1.The unceremonious termination of Stephen Whitburn, an executive director and community leader, who presided over the most financially successful Pride events in the organization’s history

2. The Board’s failure to post minutes in over a year and the inaccessibility of minutes from previous years

3. The Board’s failure to post financials for 2015

4. The Board’s perceived lack of connection with San Diego’s LGBT community

5. The Board’s decision to disband the Pride Community Advisory Council

6. The Board’s refusal to listen to a united staff’s plea that they not terminate their executive director

7. The Board’s refusal to let volunteer leaders including the festival manager, parade manager and medical director address their concerns with the executive committee

8. Individual Board members being intoxicated at their Rally and VIP areas during the Pride events

9. Individual Board Members who were disrespectful and dismissive of volunteer leadership and staff.

10. The Board’s creation of a culture of fear and divisiveness among their staff, volunteers and the community at large

11. The Board’s dwindling number and growing inexperience in governance and management

12. The Board’s failure to communicate its vision and intent to the community it is dedicated to serve

Among corrective actions that the group will demand are:

 1. The re-instatement of Stephen Whitburn as executive director

2. The resignation of Board Co-Chair Bianca Burt

3. The resignation of Board Secretary Jaime Carillo

4. The immediate appointment of former board members who are connected to their community and experienced in governance

5. That the board embraces transparency and posts its past minutes and financials and recommits to post future minutes and financials in a timely manner

6. The reinstatement of a Community Advisory Council

7. That the board amend its agenda to take on these matters at this meeting

Pride’s Web site states that the San Diego LGBT Pride Board is comprised of an all volunteer group of community members who give of their time and talent to ensure Pride has diverse representation and good governance.

San Diego LGBT Pride Board Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at San Diego Pride Office, 3620 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104. More information on San Diego LGBT Pride can be found here.

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House LGBT Caucus commends HUD for groundbreaking trans protections Tue, 20 Sep 2016 19:24:31 +0000 WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today applauded Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro for the new rule protecting transgender people seeking access to emergency shelters.

“On behalf of the LGBT Equality Caucus, I thank Secretary Castro and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for this groundbreaking rule,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41).  “Transgender Americans, particularly transgender women of color, can face multifaceted discrimination in many areas of life.  Access to emergency housing is a vital part of our shared safety net:  a place that any person can go when they are facing a dangerous situation at home or on hard economic times.  The HUD rule will literally save lives.”

Transgender Americans, particularly transgender women, disproportionately face homelessness and other challenges when accessing critical services for homeless populations. According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, one in five transgender people have been homeless at some point, and nearly one in three transgender people who attempted to access homeless shelters were turned away due to their gender identity. Under this new rule, shelters that segregate housing or programs by gender cannot force people into accommodations that are inconsistent with their gender identity. These steps follow similar measures by the Department of Justice under the Violence Against Women Act, and are vital to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society have access to life-saving services.


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Obama Administration announces Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:29:06 +0000 “During Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, we pause to remember all those we have lost to opioid use disorder, we stand with the courageous individuals in recovery, and we recognize the importance of raising awareness of this epidemic.”
–Proclamation by President Obama, September 16, 2016

OpioidAs part of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, Members of the President’s Cabinet and Federal agencies are focusing on the work being done across the government and announcing new efforts to address the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

Leading up to and during Awareness Week, Federal agencies are taking a number of actions, including:
*         Expanding substance use disorder treatment in the TRICARE system to include coverage of intensive outpatient programs and treatment of opioid use disorders with medication-assisted treatment.
*         Establishing enhanced measures in conjunction with the Chinese government to combat the supply of fentanyl and its analogues coming to the United States.
*         Increasing the patient limit from 100 to 275 for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorders. Since July, 1,275 practitioners have applied for and been granted waivers to prescribe at the increased limit-improving access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
*         Supporting distance learning and telemedicine programs that expand access to healthcare, substance use disorder treatment, and educational opportunities in rural communities.

During Awareness Week, the White House will host a roundtable with parents affected by the epidemic. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department officials-as well as U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Bureau of Prison facilities across the country-will participate in over 250 different events highlighting the importance of prevention, enforcement, and treatment. The Department of Agriculture will launch a series of State forums on the epidemic, starting in Connecticut and Colorado. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will lead a forum in Washington, DC, on treatment and support for veterans with opioid use disorder.

Departments across the Federal Government, including Justice, Agriculture, Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services, are using all available tools to combat this epidemic by expanding evidence-based prevention and treatment programs, increasing access to the overdose-reversal medicine naloxone, improving opioid prescribing practices, and supporting targeted enforcement activities. At the same time, with Federal support, State and community leaders are working together to combat the epidemic through innovative partnerships between public safety and public health.

Yet far too many Americans still do not get the treatment and care they need. That is why the President continues to call on Congress to provide $1.1 billion in new funding to make sure everyone who wants treatment for an opioid use disorder can get the treatment they need. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.

Supporting Evidence-Based Prevention and Targeted Enforcement:
Today, Attorney General Lynch will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to hold a student town hall at a high school, meet with Heroin Education Action Team (H.E.A.T.) parents that have lost children to heroin overdose, and speak at the University of Kentucky on how the Administration is addressing the issue through prevention, enforcement, and treatment.

Also this week, the Department of Justice will issue a memorandum to Federal prosecutors to reinforce the Administration’s prevention, enforcement, and treatment strategy and institutionalize best practices in combatting the epidemic. The memorandum will build on the work the Department of Justice has been undertaking around the country to address the issue.

At public events this week, the Department of Justice will be announcing funding to strengthen Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs across the country and grants to support State-level law enforcement investigations of drug manufacturing and drug distribution networks.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are releasing prevention PSAs for TV and radio. One set of PSAs was filmed in Scott County, Indiana-which experienced an HIV outbreak last year linked to injection opioid use-and will be launched there this week.

Also, as part of Awareness Week, Education Secretary John King will send letters to educators across the country on the important role that schools can play in preventing youth substance use and in supporting students who need treatment or are in recovery.

Reducing the Supply of Fentanyl:
Many of the recent overdoses and deaths in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have been attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl or its analogues, which include carfentanil, being mixed into heroin. Earlier this month, the Administration announced enhanced measures in conjunction with the Chinese government to combat the supply of fentanyl and its analogues to the United States.  The majority of fentanyl and its analogues brought to the United States by drug traffickers originates in China. China committed to targeting U.S.-bound exports of substances controlled in the United States, but not in China. Additionally, the U.S. and China agreed to increase the exchange of law enforcement and scientific information with a view towards coordinated actions to control substances and chemicals of concern.  The Administration will continue to work with China bilaterally and multilaterally to tighten international scheduling and improve capacity to monitor and analyze illicit synthetic drugs.

Preventing Overdose Deaths with Naloxone:
Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, a public contest focused on developing innovative technologies to help combat the rising epidemic of opioid overdose. The goal of this competition is to develop a low-cost, scalable, crowd-sourced mobile phone application that helps increase the likelihood that opioid users, their immediate networks, and first responders are able to identify and quickly react to an overdose. A panel of judges from the Department of Health and Human Services will evaluate submissions and the highest-scoring entrant will receive an award of $40,000. Following the competition, all eligible entrants also may apply for National Institute of Drug Abuse Small Business Innovation Research grants to further develop their concepts and to develop data to evaluate their real world impact.

DEA has now trained 1,033 employees in DEA Field Divisions on how to administer the overdose-reversal medicine naloxone. In early 2016, DEA’s Training Division coordinated two Train-the-Trainer programs for 65 DEA Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). These 65 EMTs were then certified to conduct a four-hour class on naloxone, CPR, and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use for employees.

Expanding Access to Treatment:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the final rule to increase the patient limit from 100 to 275 for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine in July. Since that time, 1,275 practitioners have applied for and been granted waivers to prescribe at the increased limit-improving access to buprenorphine, which is prescribed along with behavioral health services as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). In addition, SAMHSA plans to publish this week the final rule outlining annual reporting requirements for practitioners who increase their patient limits from 100 to 275 for prescribing buprenorphine.

This week, VA Secretary Robert McDonald, Associate Attorney General Bill Baer, and National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli will host a forum in Washington, DC, on the Administration’s efforts to assist veterans suffering from opioid use disorder. Funding to support Veterans Drug Courts will be announced as part of the forum.

Medicare and Medicaid are implementing person-centered and population-based strategies to reduce the risk of opioid use disorders, overdoses, inappropriate prescribing, and drug diversion. This includes the use and distribution of naloxone and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment. The programs are also encouraging the use of evidence-based practices for acute and chronic pain management.

Improving Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment for TRICARE Beneficiaries:In icoordination with the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force established by the President, the Department of Defense issued a final rule this month to reduce barriers to mental health benefit coverage and to improve access to substance use disorder treatment for TRICARE beneficiaries, including coverage of intensive outpatient programs and treatment of opioid use disorders with medication-assisted treatment. TRICARE currently has an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 beneficiaries with opioid use disorder who previously could not access medication-assisted treatment. The changes include:

o   Eliminating prohibitions on substance use disorder (SUD) care and applying the same benefit coverage rules as other medical and surgical benefits.
o   Expanding covered SUD treatment under TRICARE, to include coverage of intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and additional venues for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder, including Office-Based Opioid Treatment and Opioid Treatment Programs.
o   Streamlining the process for SUD treatment facilities to become TRICARE authorized providers.
o   Developing TRICARE payment policies for newly recognized SUD treatments, Opioid Treatment Programs, and Office-Based Opioid Treatment.

Assisting Rural and Tribal Communities:
Today the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $4.7 million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to support 18 projects in 16 States for rural communities to use communications technology to expand access to healthcare, substance use treatment, and advanced educational opportunities. These projects join 80 DLT projects announced in July. DLT grants can be used to connect rural hospitals to larger healthcare facilities through telemedicine in order to better diagnose and treat substance use disorders.
To continue the important conversations happening in rural communities devastated by the opioid crisis, leaders from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Rural Development offices in key affected States will host opioid epidemic awareness forums to bring together government officials, medical professionals, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the issue, forge partnerships, identify possible solutions, and highlight the need for more treatment resources in rural communities. The series will kick off with four forums in September, with more to follow in the coming months:
*         September 19: Tolland, Connecticut
*         September 20: Brighton, Colorado
*         September 26: Grants Pass, Oregon
*         September 29: Fayetteville, North Carolina

Also today, USDA provided Red Lake Band of Chippewa a direct loan through USDA’s Community Facilities program for the construction of a new, 16-bed Chemical Dependency Treatment Center. The new center will provide a safe, sanitary facility to treat men and women suffering from drug and alcohol use disorders.

Engaging Health Care Professionals:
In response to the President’s call to action last year, more than 40 health care provider groups announced a commitment to ensure that more than 540,000 health care providers would complete training on appropriate opioid prescribing in two years. To date, the provider coalition reports that 280,433 providers have completed prescriber training. In addition, 11,461 physicians have completed training to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder as part of the coalition’s effort to double the number of buprenorphine prescribers in three years. This puts the coalition on track to meet or exceed their goals.

In August, the Surgeon General sent a letter to 2.3 million American health care professionals asking them to pledge to educate themselves to treat pain safely and effectively and to screen patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment ( The Surgeon General’s office today is announcing that more than 17,000 people have signed the pledge to date and many more are joining their colleagues each day.

Safely Disposing of Unneeded Prescription Opioids:The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will hold its 12th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day<%3ehttp:/> on Saturday, October 22, providing a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing of unneeded prescription drugs. More than 6.4 million pounds of medication have been collected over the last eleven Take Back Days. Local communities and some pharmacies are also establishing ongoing drug take-back programs.

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#AIDSWalkSD is this Saturday, Sept. 24! Tue, 20 Sep 2016 16:00:53 +0000 AIDSWalk 4This Saturday thousands of San Diegans will come together for AIDS Walk & Run San Diego.

There are so many stories about why people participate. A niece honoring the memory of an uncle she never met. An individual having a hard time being newly diagnosed. The participant who has been battling HIV/AIDS for over 20 years or the many San Diegans who lost far too many friends years ago. These are the stories that make AIDS Walk & Run. Many are living in silence and AIDS Walk may be the first time they see unconditional support for the HIV community – which can make all the difference in the world. It’s not too late to make a difference in these lives.

Help The Center raise much-needed funds and awareness about HIV/AIDS by registering or making a donation today at

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Senior housing informational session – Oct. 5 at The Center Tue, 20 Sep 2016 15:30:23 +0000 Senior Housing Session

Looking for more information about the new senior housing development?

Be sure to attend the next information session at The Center Oct. 5. For more information contact LaRue Fields at or 619.692.2077 x205. Visit the FAQ page at

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Millions to ‘go purple’ in unified stand against bullying on Spirit Day Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:30:04 +0000

Spirit Day 2016 2NEW YORK– Today, GLAAD  launched the countdown to Spirit Day, the largest and most visible campaign in the world working to advance acceptance of LGBTQ youth.

Spirit Day inspires millions around the world to wear purple or ‘go purple’ online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBTQ youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its presenting partners Target and Wells Fargo, official partners, Dow, Google, NBA and WNBA, NFL, and WWE, and supporting partners, American Eagle Outfitters, Barilla, Chobani, Comcast NBCUniversal, Kellogg’s, Kirkland & Ellis, Toyota Financial Services, and ZipCar.

“Since its inception, Spirit Day has brought unparalleled attention to one of the most painful issues that disproportionately affects LGBTQ youth – bullying,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Young people are our future, and it’s imperative that we empower them to be the leaders of tomorrow. With updated anti-bullying resources in multiple languages, Spirit Day 2016 is sure to reach more youth than ever with messages of acceptance and support.”

“LGBTQ youth deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. To be comfortable with and proud of who they are. To be free to be exactly who they were born to be, “said Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President & Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Target. “Target is excited to be a Spirit Day presenting partner, working with GLAAD to raise awareness around the issue of bullying in the LGBTQ youth community.”

“A child’s true potential should never be diminished by fear,” said John Lake, Wells Fargo’s LGBT segment leader. “We see Spirit Day as a powerful tool to raise awareness of the challenges faced by kids who identify as LGBTQ and to show our solidarity as an ally. We are committed to working alongside GLAAD to help combat bullying and protect LGBTQ youth – an effort that remains at the core of our decades-long commitment to the LGBTQ community.”

To celebrate Spirit Day, GLAAD also released crucial anti-bullying resources for educators, parents, and students. GLAAD’s Anti-Bullying Resource Kit provides tools and information teachers the aide in keeping bullying out of the classroom and help both teachers and parents support LGBTQ youth.

Coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month, Spirit Day began in 2010 after a high school student posted the idea to her Tumblr page following the suicide deaths of several LGBTQ and LGBTQ-perceived young people.

According to GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, 85% of LGBT students report they have been verbally harassed with 65% percent reporting that they have heard homophobic remarks frequently or often in school. GLSEN also reported that 30% of students missed at least one day of school in a given month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable in their school environment.

Previous Spirit Day participants include The White House, The Empire State Building, Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Shaquille O’Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more. For more information on Spirit Day and how GLAAD accelerates acceptance, visit

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Health care startup delivers STD testing door-to-door Mon, 19 Sep 2016 18:18:40 +0000 LAS VEGAS — Less than half of adults aged 18 to 44 have been tested for an STD other than HIV. With millions infected every year, the need for an alternative that will make testing easier and more convenient for those at risk is critical.

Healthcare startup Medcinity announces the launch of GetTested, a new at-home STD screening service. Catering to a new generation of consumers, GetTested, is a straight-to-consumer testing option that allows individuals to screen themselves on their own schedules and in the privacy of their own homes. No more inconvenient, uncomfortable trips to the health clinic.

GetTested kits screen for seven STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, genital herpes (HSV 2), HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) and trichomoniasis. Many STDs are asymptomatic, which leaves many unaware they are infected. GetTested’s full panel test eliminates uncertainty and allows individuals to ensure they are free and clear of the most common STDs.

GetTested’s user-friendly test kits allow for easy collection of samples. Each kit is gender specific and includes either a vaginal swab collection kit or a urine collection kit, and a blood card. Samples can be collected within 10 minutes and mailed directly to a CLIA certified and CAP accredited laboratory for testing. Individuals are notified of the availability of their results via email within three to five days. Individuals can login and access these results online through a HIPAA compliant portal.

“STDs are an epidemic in our country and everyone who is sexually active is at risk. Current STD testing options simply aren’t helping solve the problem and often serve as a deterrent for those most at risk,” says Hannah Dela Cruz, spokesperson for GetTested. “By bringing an easy, at-home screening option to the market, GetTested seeks to bridge the gap between safeguarding sexual health and the convenience and privacy consumers desire.”

GetTested is a member of the PWNHealth network, a leading provider of lab connectivity, compliance, and patient outreach solutions. In the event of an HIV positive result, individuals will receive a phone consultation with a physician at no additional cost.

GetTested is currently available nationwide, except Alaska and Hawaii. Test kits are priced at $199 and include a full panel test, shipping, and a medical consultation, if needed. Individuals can purchase test kits through

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This week: County residents eat for $4.27 a day to debunk Food Stamp myths Mon, 19 Sep 2016 18:07:19 +0000 CalFresh ChallengeImagine buying all of your meals, drinks and snacks for $4.27 each day. Could you do it? Starting today, San Diego Hunger Coalition challenges locals to take the CalFresh Challenge to experience what it’s like to eat for only $4.27 per day, a reality for many of the 423,000 county residents struggling with hunger.
During the week of the CalFresh Challenge, San Diego Hunger Coalition encourages participants to sign up and take photos and videos of their meals on social media using #CalFreshChallenge. Participants are also invited to support the Hunger Coalition’s work to end hunger in San Diego County with their own crowd-funding page.
This year, the Hunger Coalition added a one-day challenge option to complement the weeklong challenge. To take the CalFresh Challenge for one day or for up to a full week, visit
Right now, one in eight people across San Diego County doesn’t have access to enough food. CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps, is one of the most effective anti-hunger programs available to help them. The average daily allotment for someone in San Diego County enrolled in CalFresh is only $4.27. By eating on a CalFresh budget for a day or a week, participants learn how difficult it is to eat healthy on a “food stamp” budget and raise awareness about hunger in San Diego.
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ACLU and Lambda Legal call on N.C. governor to repeal HB2 Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:45:40 +0000 Pat McCrory

Pat McCrory

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –The ACLU and Lambda Legal Sunday called on Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina legislative leaders to repeal H.B. 2, the state law that bans many transgender people from appropriate restrooms and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. The two organizations issued the following statement in response to Gov. McCrory’s and legislative leaders’ demand that the City of Charlotte repeal its LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance as a precondition for the legislature considering the repeal of H.B. 2.

“North Carolina’s people and economy are suffering because the General Assembly and Governor McCrory passed a law that encourages discrimination against LGBT people and particularly targets and harms transgender people,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is absurd, dishonest and wrong to blame the damage caused by H.B. 2 on a Charlotte ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination and is similar to laws in 18 states and more than 200 municipalities. North Carolina’s leaders need to stop blaming others, take responsibility for the disaster that is H.B. 2 and repeal the entire discriminatory law without delay. We urge the Charlotte City Council to stand firm on its commitment to protecting the LGBT community from discrimination by leaving its ordinance intact.”

“The reason the NBA, NCAA and countless other groups and companies have refused to do business in North Carolina is because H.B. 2 is an unprecedented and targeted attack on the LGBT community that is inconsistent with American values – not because Charlotte commendably decided to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Simone Bell, the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal. “Nondiscrimination policies like Charlotte’s are good and necessary measures that protect the LGBT community. Repealing Charlotte’s ordinance would be a step backward for equality, inclusion and fairness. Governor McCrory and the General Assembly need to stop pointing fingers, do the right thing and repeal all of H.B. 2’s harmful provisions.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging H.B. 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.

In August, a federal district court blocked the University of North Carolina from enforcing the law against three transgender plaintiffs in the case and found that the challengers are likely to succeed in their argument that the law violates Title IX. The groups are appealing that ruling in part to seek broader relief for all transgender people in North Carolina before the case heads to a full trial in May.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. In the lawsuit, the groups argue that through the law, North Carolina sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded others in the state and that transgender individuals, in particular, are expelled from public life through H.B. 2’s mandate that they be forced out of restrooms and changing facilities that accord with who they are.

The complaint argues that H.B. 2 violates Title IX by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex.  It also argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and violates the privacy and medical decision making rights of transgender people.

To read more about the case:

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Concerts by Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Indigo Girls and more raise $30K to prevent bullying Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:39:16 +0000 NEW YORK, NY — Major musical talent came together this summer on Cape Cod to raise $30K for bullying prevention work done by the Tyler Clementi Foundation.   Producer Mark Cortale organized a summer-long concert series to help raise funds for the Tyler Clementi Foundation with star-studded performances in both Provincetown and Martha’s Vineyard. These performances raised an incredible $30,000 for the Foundation, which will be put towards the organization’s research-based, dynamic anti-bullying programming, such as the #Day1 Campaign and the Tyler Clementi Institute for CyberSafety at the New York Law School.

“We are so grateful to Mark Cortale and these talented stars for helping fund our anti-bullying work. Every dollar helps develop programs for bullied youth around the country,” said Sean Kosofsky, executive director of The Tyler Clementi Foundation.

Six of the concerts were hosted and music directed by Sirius XM Radio Star Seth Rudetsky and the performances included:

Town Hall (Provincetown, MA)
May 29, 2016: INDIGO GIRLS

July 11, 2016 – VANESSA WILLIAMS

August 7, 2016: MATTHEW MORRISON
August 16, 2016: KRISTIN CHENOWETH
September 4, 2016: PATTI LUPONE

Martha’s Vineyard PAC (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)

September 2 – PATTI LUPONE

The Tyler Clementi Foundation works to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities. For more information visit

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GLAAD celebrates third annual Bisexual Awareness Week Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:24:08 +0000 BiWeek 4NEW YORK – GLAAD today announced its participation in the third annual Bisexual Awareness Week (#BiWeek) in partnership with BiNet USA; America’s oldest advocacy organization for bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer-identified, and unlabeled people. #BiWeek takes place from September 19th to 26nd with the 23rd as the official “Celebrate Bisexuality Day.”

In 2014, GLAAD co-founded and co-led the first #BiWeek with BiNet USA to draw attention to the issues faced by the bi+ community (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer-identified, and unlabeled people), including erasure and visibility. #BiWeek will include bisexual community events on Capitol Hill and around Washington D.C. for bi+ community leaders from around the country.

GLAAD will also be hosting a panel discussion at its NYC office, Tuesday, September 20th at 6:30 p.m. on the importance of fair and accurate bi+ representation in the media, moderated by Mathew Rodriguez (Mic). Participating in the panel will be Alex Berg, (Producer HuffPost Video), Eliel Cruz (Executive Director, Faith in America; YouTuber; journalist), Bryan Ellicot (trans* & bi advocate; brought lawsuit against NYC for anti-trans discrimination; BiNet USA board member), Ashley C. Ford (Development Executive, Matter Studios), and Denarii Monroe (Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, Ravishly). Those interested in attending get more information at .

“Bisexual Awareness Week is a powerful initiative that highlights a frequently overlooked part of the LGBTQ community,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By focusing on issues that disproportionately affect bi+ people, we can combat the harmful tropes and erasure that they experience.”

Additionally, GLAAD will be releasing a video highlighting bi+ stories from the U.S. South as well as a Spanish-language resources for the first time. The Spanish-language resources are available at GLAAD will also be sharing In Focus: Reporting on the Bisexual Community, a resource guide to equip journalists and media experts to accurately and effectively report on the bisexual community, its experiences, and the important issues bi+ people face.

“Even though bisexual people make up the largest portion of the greater LGBT community, they are far less likely than their gay and lesbian peers to be out to their loved ones,” said Alexandra Bolles, GLAAD’s Senior Programs Strategist. “#BiWeek is an opportunity for bisexuals and allies to unite in celebration of an often overlooked, yet resilient, community.”

“I’m delighted at the progress we’ve made over the last three years of partnering with GLAAD on Bisexual Awareness Week,” said Faith Cheltenham, President of BiNet USA. “From a rise in awareness surrounding the importance of saying the word ‘bisexual;’ to the increased recognition of bi+ health disparities and the dire need for bi-specific support for communities facing disproportionately high rates of sexual violence, poor mental health, and domestic violence; we’ve seen real advancement. It’s important that we take time to celebrate not only our continued existence, but our opportunity to positively impact every community we call home.”

Those looking to get involved can participate in #BiWeek by showing support on social media using #BiWeek and learn more about the celebration at GLAAD also offers a bevy of resources on bisexuality at as part of the organization’s year-round commitment to bisexual issues.

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Charlotte mayor calls for NC General Assembly to repeal HB2 without preconditions Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:11:34 +0000 Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Council member John Autry, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC have joined together to denounce Gov. McCrory’s latest ploy to deflect blame for his disastrous and hateful HB2 law. As Gov. McCrory and Republican legislative leaders continue to face intense public backlash over the damaging consequences of HB2, they have mounted another effort to pressure  Charlotte into repealing its citywide LGBTQ protections as part of a so-called “reset.”

Leading North Carolina editorial boards are also speaking out against the thinly-veiled effort, led by the Charlotte Chamber and a hospitality lobbying group on behalf of McCrory and state Republicans. The Charlotte Observer called it “a step backward, both symbolically and practically” and urged the City Council not to “sell out” Charlotte’s LGBTQ community. WRAL put it just as bluntly: “The problems that have befallen North Carolina after the hasty and poorly conceived passage of HB2 fall squarely on the shoulders of Gov. McCrory and the legislature’s leadership. They should have the conscience and integrity to repeal the bill, acknowledge and apologize for the terrible consequences at their hands and move on. Charlotte should change nothing.”

Notably, the so-called “reset” wouldn’t even fix the problem. Earlier this year, the NCAA renewed its commitment to ensuring that all fans and players, including LGBTQ people, are able to enjoy NCAA events without fear of discrimination.. Without Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance in place, North Carolina will not win back games.

“Mayor Roberts has made it clear that the rights of LGBTQ people are not up for grabs, and that Charlotte won’t sell out our community,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs.  “Not only is this scheme to repeal Charlotte’s protections wrong, it won’t fix the problem. The fact is, Governor McCrory and his allies in the state legislature have had six months to fix the mess they’ve created, and they could repeal HB2 tomorrow without any action from Charlotte. And, like the majority of North Carolinians and businesses across the state, we believe that’s exactly what they must do.”

“One hundred other cities across the nation, including Orlando and Atlanta, have similar non-discrimination protections as Charlotte. These ordinances are common sense local protections that actually create a competitive advantage for Charlotte,” said Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro. “Instead of repealing HB2, Governor McCrory is reprising his role as Blamer in Chief. Not a single entity has left North Carolina because of the Charlotte ordinance – they’ve all left because of HB2. We all know what must be done – and that is to immediately repeal HB2.”

More than 100 communities across the country, including major cities like New Orleans and Atlanta have non-discrimination protections like Charlotte — as do 19 states and hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. In fact, more than 135 million Americans — or 42 percent of the U.S. population — live in cities with non-discrimination ordinances like Charlotte.

This morning, Roy Cooper joined the chorus of business and civic leaders who have called for the General Assembly to fully repeal HB2 without precondition.

Last week, the NCAA and ACC joined more than 200 major business leaders in calling for full repeal of HB2. Repealing Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance would leave North Carolina without an “inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans,” which the NCAA called for when it announced it was pulling it’s championship games from North Carolina.



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Governor signs surrogacy parentage protection act into law Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:30:53 +0000 David Chiu

David Chiu

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –Assembly Bill 2349 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) Friday was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. This measure would protect parents of children conceived through surrogacy in California – including many same-sex couples who rely on reproductive assistance to form their families – from having their rights violated outside the state.

AB 2349 would clarify that California’s Superior Courts have jurisdiction over parentage cases arising from gestational surrogacy arrangements. This bill would also make clear that when intended parents are using donated gametes (eggs and/or sperm), the names of these donors need not be revealed in their surrogacy contracts.

“As LGBT civil rights are threatened in other states at an alarming rate, California is once again continuing to lead the nation in protecting all families, including same-sex couples forming their families through assisted reproduction,” said Assemblymember Chiu “We are helping to ensure that the progressive protections offered in California regarding parentage rights are respected and enforced across state lines.”

Across the nation, and specifically in Alabama and Texas, there have been recent cases where same-sex couples have had to go to court to defend prior judgments regarding their parental rights. In both cases, one issue was whether the court issuing the parentage judgment had appropriate jurisdiction to do so. While California has made great efforts to protect LGBT couples and parents, families interact with many states that remain hostile to lesbian and gay families.

In the midst of the backlash against the Supreme Court’s historic same-sex marriage decision and the push for so-called “religious freedom” laws that seek to legitimize discrimination, some states are looking for new ways to undermine the legal recognitions afforded to same-sex couples and their children. One of the only recognized bases for refusing to grant full faith and credit to a court judgment is to assert that the court rendering the judgment lacked jurisdiction. This bill provides two simple clarifications that would help many parents, especially same-sex couples, avoid costly litigation and emotionally distressing situations that could potentially lead to losing their wanted child, as well as protecting California surrogates from another state entering an order inconsistent with California’s legislative scheme.

“LGBT parents are especially vulnerable when our community is targeted with discriminatory laws,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “This law will strengthen the rights of California LGBT parents whether their children are born in or out of state from the moment of conception, through birth and beyond.”

“It is important for parents of children conceived through artificial reproduction in California from having their rights violated outside our state.  AB 2349 will secure the future of these families created through surrogacy, egg or sperm donation, by allowing their California agreements upheld regardless of where they live now or sometime in the future,” said Kristine Colburn, president of the Academy of CA Adoption Lawyers.

AB 2349 is supported by a coalition of assisted reproduction and LGBT civil rights advocates, including the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers (ACAL), Equality California (EQCA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Our Family Coalition.

AB 2349 will take effect on January 1, 2017.

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Music: Lady Gaga announces release of new album ‘Joanne’ for Oct. 21 Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:30:24 +0000

Six time Grammy award winner Lady Gaga will release her much anticipated fifth studio album, Joanne  Friday, Oct. 21. The first single, “Perfect Illusion” recently debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in 60 countries. (Listen to the audio above.) Just a week after its release, “Perfect Illusion” has soared on radio, becoming the No. 1 most added song on Pop with 170 adds and the No. 1 most added song on Hot AC with 75 adds. Throughout her career, Lady Gaga has amassed an outstanding 30 million global album sales and 150 million single sales.‎

Lady Gaga announced the release date on air with Zane Lowe on Beats 1.

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ACLU seeks intervention in lawsuit targeting anti-discrimination protections for transgender people and women Sun, 18 Sep 2016 14:00:46 +0000 ACLUFORT WORTH, Texas — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Friday filed a motion to intervene in a case challenging a section of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits health care entities from discriminating based on race, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The lawsuit, Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell, was filed by a group of states and religiously affiliated health care organizations who are suing the federal government.

The ACLU has moved to intervene on behalf of the ACLU of Texas and the River City Gender Alliance because the lawsuit seeks to undermine critical anti-discrimination measures and to allow religion to be used to harm others, including by denying medical care.

The lawsuit requests a court order permitting discrimination against women and transgender people seeking medical care. The plaintiff states and organizations spend millions in taxpayer dollars, employ hundreds of thousands of health care workers, and operate a wide network of hospitals and health care facilities. Sanctioning their request to screen patients based on religious doctrine would allow hospitals and health care centers to turn away transgender patients seeking necessary gender-confirming care or women seeking reproductive health care.

“This lawsuit aims to undermine critical protections against discrimination in health care.  No one — whether they’re male or female, transgender or not — should fear being turned away at the hospital door because of who they are,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the ACLU.  “Religious liberty does not mean the right to discriminate or harm others.”

Kate Parrish, president of the Omaha, Nebraska-based River City Gender Alliance, said, “This lawsuit’s attempt to allow hospitals the ability to deny essential gender-confirming care is a direct attack on the transgender community’s right to function normally and safely in everyday life,” said “It is harrowing for our members to see our rights to health care coverage and medically necessary treatment endangered simply because of who we are.”

In addition to the Franciscan Alliance, the other plaintiffs in the case are the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky (through their governor), and Kansas.

The ACLU’s motion to intervene can be found at:

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Indonesia moves to block gay apps Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:30:55 +0000 Exhibiting a growing intolerance toward the LGBT community, Indonesia is moving toward banning gay networking apps.

Time reports that a government official has confirmed that authorities are already moving to block at least three apps — Grindr, Blued and BoyAhoy — after a request from police.

“We are starting to block LGBT applications,” the report cited communications ministry spokesperson Noor Iza as saying, adding that the move was intended to target services that promote “sexual deviancy.”

According to BuzzFeed the move comes several months after the Ministry of Communication announced it would craft a ban on LGBT “propaganda” in March, part of an unprecedented crackdown on LGBT rights in the country. The Constitutional Court is separately considering a petition that could make homosexuality a crime in Indonesia for the first time.

The meeting was initially convened to review a police request to block Grindr and 17 other gay apps they allege were used by a child prostitution ring. But the meeting reviewed a broader list, said Ericson Siregar, an officer with the National Police Criminal Investigations Department who participated in the meeting, because the Ministry of Communication had “previously investigated gay applications” and identified dozens for “promoting LGBT.”

“We would be pleased if the communication ministry blocked [gay apps] without hesitation because the smell of pornography is so strong on them, such as exhibiting nudity,” Siregar said.

Same-sex sexual activity is legal throughout most of Indonesia yet Indonesian law does not protect the LGBT community against discrimination and possible hate crimes. Currently, Indonesia does not recognize same-sex marriage.

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Upcoming conference aims to make it easier for families through surrogacy Sat, 17 Sep 2016 19:30:46 +0000 Surrogacy 2With the Families Through Surrogacy Conference coming up Oct. 1 in Los Angeles for those contemplating surrogacy, gay dad Sam Everingham explains what motivates him to run events for intending parents promoting good surrogacy practices not just in the U.S. but globally.

When my partner Phil and I engaged in surrogacy in New Delhi seven years ago, we were pretty naïve about the risks and consequences. Multiple embryo transfers? Bring it on. Anonymous egg donor? Yep sure. Caesarian delivery for all surrogates. Whatever you say. Proven donors? Hmm, don’t understand. Ignore that one.

Faced with miscarriages, premature delivery, neo-natal intensive care, dashed hopes and huge levels of stress, both emotional and financial, we soon realised how little prepared we had been.  Fortunately, losing a child brought us closer rather than tearing us apart and we are now the happiest dads in the universe. But surely, I thought, the journey doesn’t need to be that hard?

So, with other parents, I started running conferences to help those considering surrogacy. I was awed by the hundreds who turned up to our first event in 2012. They had come to hear not just from industry professionals, but more importantly from other parents and surrogates. In an age where marketing and spin are king, they were there for honest feedback on what to expect from agency relationships, surrogate matching and treatment choices.

Some had trialled co-parenting with female couples as a practical, cheaper route to parenthood before turning to surrogacy. Others were considering the newly emerging surrogacy destinations of India, Thailand, Nepal and Mexico.

In the years to follow, many had success in these cross-border arrangements, while others were shunted from one country to the next as each introduced prohibitive laws and policies shutting out foreigners. Many were left empty-handed and out-of-pocket, sometimes with precious embryos trapped in foreign countries.

Nowadays, the focus is squarely back on surrogacy-friendly United States as the most reliable and trustworthy choices. And there’s no doubt that U.S. surrogacy options have continued to grow. Costs vary considerably in different parts of the U.S. In California for instance, demand from the wealthy Chinese market has pushed up surrogate compensation significantly. But dozens of agencies now tout for business not just in surrogacy’s heartland of California, but in states such as Oregon, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin.

When our group quietly launched a transparent Trip-Advisor style rating system for surrogacy providers, we received over a hundred reviews in the first week, not just from parents but surrogates who wanted to praise or damn the professionals they had worked with. It’s evidence of the growing role of consumer feedback in influencing the choices we make.

Oct. 1, Los Angeles will – for the first time – play host to Families Through Surrogacy’s 4th US conference for intended parents and surrogates. The conference attracts many dozens of prospective parents and surrogates, all eager to learn how they can prepare themselves financially, emotionally and medically for one of the most intense journeys of their lives.

The purpose of the event is to help those considering surrogacy. So intending parents and surrogates can hear not just from industry professionals, but also from other parents and surrogates. Members of the surrogacy community can share honest feedback on what to expect from agency relationships, surrogate matching and treatment choices. The conference has a US Surrogacy focus with some overseas options shared as well.  The conference attracts many prospective parents and surrogates, all eager to learn how they can prepare themselves financially, emotionally and medically for one of the most intense journeys of their lives.

Sam Everingham has two daughters via surrogacy. He is the Global Director of


Families Through Surrogacy Conference

Saturday Oct. 1

Courtyard Los Angeles Westside, 6333 Bristol Parkway, Culver City

Event Schedule:


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EQCA to honor LGBT heroes at Los Angeles Equality Awards Sat, 17 Sep 2016 14:00:34 +0000 EQCA Awards 2LOS ANGELES– Equality California (EQCA) will honor four stellar LGBT leaders at its annual Los Angeles Equality Awards dinner Saturday, Sept. 17. Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Amanda Nunes, prominent local LGBT advocates Laura Brill and Ellen Evans, and labor leader Laphonza Butler will each receive Equality Awards for their work on behalf of the LGBT community, and the examples they have set for LGBT people in California and across the country.  Former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star Jai Rodriguez and openly transgender actress, writer and filmmaker Rain Valdez will emcee the event. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Equality California’s endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate and recipient of an Equality Award herself in 2011, will deliver the keynote address.

“This year’s honorees have shattered stereotypes and fought to make our state and our country a better and more just place for LGBT people and the communities that we are part of,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “In sports, in the places we work and in the city we call home, they have served as role models, advocates and champions for LGBT people and we are better off because of them.”

Earlier this year, Amanda Nunes became the first openly LGBT person to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship Bantamweight title. The 28-year-old native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil never hid the fact she was a lesbian throughout her meteoric rise to the top. That openness and honesty continues today – her prolific social media posts highlight her relationship with her partner, fellow fighter Nina Ansaroff, and the two have been featured together in the media both in the United States and Brazil. Nunes has defied stereotypes and served as a role model for LGBT youth simply by being herself.

Over the course of their 29 years together, Laura Brill and Ellen Evans have been a constant force in the battle for LGBT civil rights, moving from campus activism to serving on boards of directors and fundraising for organizations and political campaigns. Brill is a top litigator and appellate attorney in Los Angeles and has provided pro bono work in some of the most important LGBT legal victories of the past 20 years, including Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning remaining U.S. sodomy laws; a landmark case clearing the way for LGBT student groups to be welcomed into thousands of high schools across the nation; and numerous other state and federal marriage equality cases across the country. Evans served on the board of Equality California Institute during a pivotal period, helping lead the development of a strategy that would ensure the organization’s future success. Evans is an out volunteer organizer in their children’s schools, and serves the LGBT community as an ambassador in many other communities.

Laphonza Butler is president of SEIU Local 2015 and of the SEIU California State Council, representing some 180,000 in-home caregivers and nursing home workers across California, and is one of the most prominent out lesbians in American labor. Butler believes that the purpose of the labor movement is to win social and economic justice for all, and that the wellbeing of LGBT people is a key measure of the movement’s success.  When one in five LGBT adults lives in poverty and transgender people are four times more likely than the general public to have incomes under $10,000 per year, her leadership of the movement for a $15 an hour living wage in California has lifted thousands of LGBT and other people out of poverty. In addition, Butler serves as an example of an out and proud lesbian of color to thousands of LGBT young people.

Each year, Equality California recognizes individuals and organizations who have made an impact on the movement to secure full and lasting equality for LGBT people at its annual Equality Awards — a series of formal events held in San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.

This year’s Los Angeles Equality Awards will take place on Saturday, September 17 at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live, located at 900 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles. Individual tickets are $350 and up, with event sponsorship opportunities beginning at $5,000.

The 2016 Equality Awards are sponsored by AT&T, Coca-Cola Foundation, Gilead, La Crema, PG&E, Prophet, Sempra Energy, Southwest Airlines, and State Farm Insurance. For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Scott Gizicki at or by calling 323-848-9801.


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