LGBT Weekly Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:03:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 LGBT community building long term political power with record number of viable candidates Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:03:53 +0000 PHILADELPHIA, Pa.As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, LGBT elected officials and leaders are viewing this election cycle as a unique opportunity to advance equality by supporting LGBT candidates nationwide. US Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and Mark Takano (D-CA), former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills noted the unprecedented number of LGBT candidates running for office this year, and highlighted new research showing the impact of LGBT lawmakers on policy outcomes and their straight colleagues.

“With a record number of LGBT people running for office and new research showing LGBT lawmakers have significant influence over their straight colleagues, the elections are a real opportunity to make significant strides for LGBT equality,” said Congressman Takano. “When LGBT lawmakers are part of the conversation, the dynamic changes.”

Among the Victory Fund research findings:

  • 70 percent of straight state lawmakers report their LGBT lawmaker colleagues were influential in their votes in favor of marriage equality;
  • In the 30 states that face anti-LGBT legislation, 74 percent have one or no openly LGBT state lawmakers. Of the 20 states that are not facing anti-LGBT legislation, 85 percent have two or more openly LGBT state lawmakers.
  • Nearly 70 percent of states with five or fewer openly LGBT public officials are rated as having low levels of LGBT equality by the Movement Advancement Project.

“While LGBT rights are advancing in some parts of the country, states with few or no openly LGBT elected officials continue to single out LGBT people for discrimination,” said Mayor Parker. “In many ways, the future of the LGBT movement rests on our ability to elect LGBT leaders who will influence and demand the legislative changes necessary for full equality.”

“We have great allies in Congress, but no leaders are more tenacious in demanding LGBT equality than the openly LGBT members,” said Congressman Maloney. “We consistently ensure LGBT issues are a priority for our colleagues, and we are a critical voice in persuading hesitant lawmakers to support the issues that affect our lives.”

“When LGBT elected officials are part of the debate on anti-LGBT or pro-equality legislation, it humanizes the issue, and makes it more difficult for anti-LGBT lawmakers to misrepresent our lives,” said Mrs. Moodie-Mills. “Representation matters for our community, so it is critical we elect our great slate of LGBT candidates this November.”

The Victory Fund “Representation Matters” research series is available online at The conversation with Mrs. Moodie-Mills and elected officials took place during a telephone press conference Monday morning.

]]> 0
New study finds LGBTQ students feel safer at schools with gay-straight alliances (VIDEO) Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:10:20 +0000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Vanderbilt University study found that LGBTQ students attending high schools with gay-straight alliances reported significantly fewer incidences of bullying based on sexual orientation or gender expression and had a greater sense of personal safety compared to students in schools without GSAs.

The new report is a meta-analysis of 15 independent studies surveying nearly 63,000 high school students. It was conducted by Robert Marx and Heather Hensman Kettrey at Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute, and published by Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

The researchers found that students who attended a school with a GSA were:

  • 52 percent less likely to hear homophobic remarks;
  • 36 percent less likely to be fearful for their personal safety; and
  • 30 percent less likely to experience homophobic victimization.

“Compared to their straight and gender-conforming classmates, LGBTQ students are at an increased risk of victimization in high schools, and our work suggests that GSAs might be a promising solution to this problem,” said Kettrey, a research associate at Peabody Research Institute.

GSAs help all students feel more accepted
The benefits aren’t only for LGBTQ students.

“It was interesting to find that the presence of a GSA was associated with lower levels of victimization for all students, without distinguishing between students who did and did not participate in the group,” added Kettrey.
She added, “Having a GSA can send a strong message to all students that their school is a welcoming place where all people are accepted and that homophobic acts will not be tolerated.”

GSAs challenged by parents
Gay-straight alliances are protected under the federal Equal Access Act of 1984. But parents and educators who are uncomfortable with the idea have found ways to thwart students from establishing such student-led groups.
Robert Marx, a doctoral student at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development and lead author of the study, formerly served as a high school English teacher in Boston for five years as well as a GSA faculty adviser.

“When I was teaching I talked to a lot of parents who were afraid the group would be a distraction, or worse, some kind of conversion program or incentive for students to behave in a way they normally wouldn’t,” Marx said. “But the reality was just the opposite. With LGBTQ and straight peers supporting each other, students blossomed, grew and became more confident—and felt safer at school. I’ve seen GSAs have a positive impact on students’ lives, and having the data back that up was exciting to see.”

GSAs reduce additional health, mental health risks
Students who are subjected to homophobic victimization are at risk for substance abuse, depression, poor academic performance and suicidal thoughts or actions. Having a place for students to talk and receive support from straight and LGBTQ peers can go a long way in reducing those risks, the researchers said.

“We live in a political environment in which people are being attacked for how they live and whom they love,” Marx said. “Society makes it very hard to be a queer youth. I think it’s really important to understand the healing and transformative power of being a part of a supportive community. When we join together as allies and take a stand against hate and share our lives, it forms a whole that is greater than sum of its individual parts.”

]]> 0
Documentary on San Francisco trans movement premieres online (VIDEO) Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:03:15 +0000

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history. In a recent NPR story, it was called “the transgender community’s debut on the stage of American political history” by Susan Stryker, one of the directors of the 2005 documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria.

KQED’s Truly CA has announced that Screaming Queens is now available online in its entirety. You can watch the film above or here.

Screaming Queens introduces viewers to a diverse cast of former prostitutes, drag entertainers, police officers, ministers, and neighborhood activists, all of whom played a part in the events leading up to the Compton’s Cafeteria riot. The film sets out to foster a better understanding of the experiences of transgender people and to inform a broad audience of their often-difficult lives and unheralded accomplishments.


]]> 0
The Advocate endorses Hillary Clinton for president Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:45:22 +0000 adv1087_coverx750-d_0Today, The Advocate announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States in a new cover story. This is only the second time in the publication’s near 50-year history that it has made an endorsement in the Presidential election. The first came in 2012 during President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.

In its endorsement, Advocate Editor-in-Chief Matthew Breen writes, “Elections matter, and this election dramatizes that notion like no other. This is only the second presidential endorsement by The Advocate; the first was for President Obama’s second term. Prior to 2012, there had never been an Oval Office candidate — or incumbent — who fully embraced marriage equality, an essential position to earn this publication’s endorsement. Now The Advocate endorses Hillary Clinton with enthusiasm.

“Now Clinton has made LGBT inclusion a pillar of her campaign, from the first video announcing her candidacy. She has produced the most complete and impressive LGBT platform of any presidential candidate ever. In it, she has vowed to champion the Equality Act, the legislation that would enact federal nondiscrimination protections with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. Clinton’s policy platform called for an end to the ban on transgender military service — now officially gone — an end to quack “conversion therapy” for minors, an end to discrimination against LGBT families in adoptions, improved school conditions for LGBT students, expanded shelters for homeless LGBT youth, affordable treatment for people with HIV, expanded access to PrEP, expanded data collection and other measures to stem the disproportionate violence against trans people, and improved access to correct identification for trans people, along with many other positions that directly affect the rights, health, and welfare of our communities. She has also pledged to continue the United States’ work of improving the condition of LGBT people internationally, a natural extension of that pledge made in Geneva.”

Read The Advocate’s full endorsement here.

]]> 0
SDHDF selects local architects to reinvent San Diego’s LGBT Arts Center Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:31:44 +0000  
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) has announced that Safdie Rabines Architects has been selected to transform 4545 Park Blvd. into San Diego’s LGBT Cultural and Performing Arts Center.
Currently home to Diversionary Theatre and Lambda Archives of San Diego, the building at 4545 Park Blvd. has been a center for LGBTQ arts and culture for more than two decades. “As the LGBTQ community continues to enter the mainstream, it is more important than ever to honor and preserve the historical and cultural contributions of the LGBTQ community, while maintaining a vital and singular presence in the larger community,” said John Brown, executive director, SDHDF. “Safdie Rabines gets our vision and has a heartfelt passion for, and commitment to seeing it through. We are thrilled to have them on board.”
The renowned San Diego-based architecture firm will perform a full-suite of programming, planning, design, bid and construction phase services for the renovation of the existing 4545 Park Blvd. building. The proposed project will utilize the existing building as much as possible while searching out solutions to add and reconfigure space within the context of building use, zoning and community identity. Ultimately, Diversionary Theatre and Lambda Archives will operate within a reconfigured building that will enable each tenant to fulfill their respective missions and engage their membership and supporters with a reimagined space, while allowing other LGBTQ-friendly organizations to use the venue to share their art and performance pieces.
“San Diego Human Dignity Foundation is an essential and dynamic organization, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to take part in supporting its continued vitality with the transformation of 4545 Park Boulevard,” said Taal Safdie, founding partner, Safdie Rabines Architects. “The goals for San Diego’s LGBT Cultural and Performing Arts Center resonate profoundly with the design ethos of our practice, and we are eager to communicate the organization’s values of culture, character, and equity through a thoughtful, sustainable and multifaceted design.”
Originally constructed in 1987 and home primarily to medical offices, the building was owned by Dr. Fritz Klein. Lambda Archives became a tenant in 1992 and soon after Diversionary Theatre moved into the building in 1994. Diversionary was the beneficiary of three gifts from Dr. Klein’s estate, including the building. SDHDF purchased the building in early 2015 from Diversionary Theatre. Diversionary Theatre and Lambda Archives will continue as primary resident leasees, while local groups have an opportunity to use the space to rehearse, perform and host other special events and presentations. The purchase ensures the financial viability of these organizations for many years to come.
In 2015, a collaboration was formed among SDHDF, Diversionary Theatre and Lambda Archives to create San Diego’s LGBT Cultural and Performing Arts Center at 4545 Park Blvd. This effort is called ParkArts. The mission of the ParkArts Collaborative is to build community and embrace all forms of diversity by offering a variety of programs delivering quality entertainment, educational opportunities and memorable moments that engage and inspire audiences, honor LGBTQ history and culture, nurture collaboration and drive economic vitality. ParkArts is passionate about telling the story of the LGBTQ history and culture to ensure the story remains alive for generations to come. To learn more about this exciting collaboration, please visit
]]> 0
NCAA unveils LGBT climate survey Mon, 25 Jul 2016 17:59:08 +0000 NCAA LogoNEW YORK– Less than 24 hours after the NBA announced its decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina due to the state’s anti-LGBT legislation, the NCAA announced all current and future NCAA events (from banquets to championship games) would be required to complete an LGBT climate survey. The survey is the result of an April announcement by the NCAA Board of Governors declaring it would amend the bidding process for future NCAA events to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the LGBT community.

Shortly after the NCAA’s April announcement, Athlete Ally authored recommendations submitted to the NCAA to help ensure a thorough and fair evaluation process would take place. More than 40 nonprofit organizations endorsed and signed onto the recommendations. Although many of the recommendations were adopted by the NCAA, there are still many unanswered questions to the entire process.

In short, the survey is meant to hold cities, states, schools and event vendors more accountable for discriminatory laws, policies and treatment in service. These potential discriminatory laws, policies and event vendors will be taken into consideration when evaluating a host site. All hosting sites – including those that have already been approved for future events will have to complete the survey and go through the evaluation process.

Although it released the survey to the public, the NCAA has not expressed how the survey will be evaluated and enforced. The NCAA also hasn’t stated whether or not anti-LGBT legislation, such as North Carolina’s HB2, will automatically disqualify a site from hosting an event.

“This questionnaire is a tangible step to ensure that wherever an NCAA event is held, LGBT athletes, fans and personnel will be provided an environment free from discrimination,” said Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director, Hudson Taylor. “We hope, however, the NCAA will follow up this announcement with more details on how the results of this questionnaire will be reviewed and acted upon.”

“Cities and states who have anti-LGBT legislation should not be eligible to host these types of sporting events,” said Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Ashland Johnson. “I’m hopeful this will be made clear after the NCAA reveals the entire bidding process.”

The NCAA is expected disclose the entire process within the next few weeks.

]]> 0
Leaders of LGBT Caucus to host first openly transgender speaker at a National Convention Mon, 25 Jul 2016 17:35:56 +0000 Congressional_LGBT_Equality_Caucus_Co_Chairs_0_0PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The leaders of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus will host the first ever openly transgender speaker at a major party convention next week in Philadelphia, Pa.  The Caucus leaders have invited transgender activist Sarah McBride to speak during the portion of the Democratic convention program planned by the LGBT Members of Congress.

Ms. McBride is an activist and community leader whose personal story and work for equality make her voice invaluable to the national conversation on LGBT civil rights.

“It has always been important to the LGBT members for all voices to be in the room and at the table,” said Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and Equality PAC Co-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA).  “It is disappointing that it has taken so long for a transgender person to address a major party convention, but we are proud to host Sarah McBride as part of our program.  Sarah’s personal story and unending commitment to LGBT rights makes her an invaluable voice to have in the conversation, and we look forward to working with her to make full legal and social equality a reality.”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) will speak on behalf of the six LGBT Caucus Co-Chairs and will discuss the importance of the continuing fight for LGBT equality, how Hillary Clinton is a true champion for the LGBT community and introduce Ms. McBride.

“It is a testament to the LGBT Caucus’ commitment to transgender people that they have chosen to use their unique platform to focus attention on transgender equality,” said Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  “I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention.  People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence, and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.  I’m so proud to stand up and speak out in support of Hillary Clinton, because I know she stands with us.”

Equality PAC, the political action committee formed by leaders of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, endorsed Secretary Clinton’s candidacy in March, 2016.

“Equality PAC was formed to create the right environment in Washington to bring about full societal and legal equality for LGBT people,” said Equality PAC Managing Director Roddy Flynn. “Secretary Clinton has made LGBT equality a top priority in her campaign, and can be trusted to make equality a top priority when she is president.  She has committed to fighting hard for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protection, and we look forward to the day she signs the bipartisan Equality Act into law.”

The purpose of Equality PAC is to work to bring nearer the full legal and societal equality of LGBT persons and creating a legislative environment that is conducive to that goal.  The Board of Directors includes Co-Chairs Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Mark Takano (D-CA), who are also Co-Chairs of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and Board Members Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), also an LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI), a Vice-Chair of the Caucus, and Caucus members Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Joseph Kennedy, III (D-MA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Grace Meng (D-NY), and Gwen Moore (D-WI).

]]> 0
Full of GSD, ‘Danny The Manny’ is how modern entertainment looks Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:30:46 +0000

Gender and sexual diversity (GSD) is as much a part of real life as it’s portrayed in an endearing and funny new Web series titled Danny The Manny, directed by Mike Roma.

I caught up with Roma via email recently and asked him to let us look under the hood of this pioneering and highly watchable series. My questions and Roma’s answers will do more to tell you why Danny The Manny is mandatory binge fare for any self-respecting citizen of the 21st century than any intro that could be written. So, without further ado, read on…

Congratulations on a really watchable and provocative new Web series. What was the impetus for DTM?

Thank you! The idea behind Danny the Manny stemmed from my own childhood experiences as well as my current side job as a babysitter. Growing up, I was always attracted to typically “girly” things. I loved my sisters Barbies, my mom’s heels, and I was mostly friends with girls in school. Even at a young age, I knew this was different. I was ashamed and confused.

Being a nanny brought me back to my childhood. I’m constantly comparing the way I was raised to the way kids are brought up today. While I think people are more aware about the ways we gender children, I think our society has a long way to go. Let boys cry. Let girls be tough. Let them explore. Why would we want to limit our children?

With babysitting as part of your career pedigree, is it fair to assume Danny is a version of you?

Yes, he’s a heightened version of myself. But I’d say every every character I write has some version of me in them. That’s how they become real, fully formed.

The character of Quinn’s mom leans decidedly leftward on the progressive-o-meter. How conscience of social politics were you in writing the firing scene?

Whoa, spoiler alert! I don’t see Karen as progressive or conservative. I think she’s just a mom trying to do what’s best for her kid.

Because I knew Karen would hire Danny back in the end, I made sure the actual firing stemmed more from Danny’s inappropriate (albeit well-meaning) actions than from anyone’s identity. He does a horrible job explaining the situation, and she reacts accordingly.

I’d guess you kind of had to write her as fairly liberal, otherwise the firing scene wouldn’t have been as believable. That said, how confident are you that the series will be as relatable in the country’s heartland or the Bible Belt—or are you not even aiming at “the middle” audience, if you will?

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, I think it’s more important than ever to aim for the country’s heartland. There are so many kids out there who are afraid to come out of the closet, and I want to help them in any way I can. Positive representation gives people the courage to be themselves.

And I hope people who are unsure about this whole queer “thing” discover the series too. Regardless of your politics, I hope you can watch the show and laugh. I think the best way to affect change is through someone’s funny bone.

Bradley Bundlie as Quinn is cute as a button and a really good actor. Judging by photos I’ve seen, he clearly resembles you at a slightly younger age—intentional?

I’m sure on some subconscious level, yes. But really, Bradley brought so much energy and spirit to the character. He was amazing to work with. A true professional.

Why did you cast Tonatiuh as Mimi—a male actor in a female role?

I wrote the character that way, I don’t know why exactly. When I write, I try not to think too much about the implications. I like it to be a kinetic experience. That said, I think the idea fits with the themes of the series. I mean, what is gender really?

What went into the decision-making process regarding showing Danny’s flaws? He’s rash. He smokes pot right before going to a job where he’s responsible for a child. He’s clearly still “finding his way” in life.

Just like everyone else in the world, gay people have flaws. It would be a disservice to my characters and my community if I painted with a broad brush. I wanted to show that Danny is still struggling with his own life and identity. Finding yourself is an ongoing process. And being 23 can be a real pain.

Can you tell us about how Patrick Reilly was chosen for the role of Danny and how he plays the part under your direction?

We first worked together in college at USC. Even when writing the series I had him in mind for Danny. I asked him to come in to audition for the part, and he just got the character. Plain and simple. Patrick has a big heart and a sharp tongue. My favorite combination in a performer.

Our process is pretty open. We try things in rehearsal, play around with the character and with intentions. He brings a lot of questions to rehearsal. Many that I haven’t considered before. That’s a good actor for you.

What do kids understand about “gender creativity” as you put it that adults miss?

It’s funny, because kids don’t see gender until we adults explain it to them. There is nothing inherently feminine about the color pink, and there’s nothing inherently masculine about a football. Those are associations we bring.

I think the term gender creative is a great way to give children the freedom to explore without labeling them as LGBT. Let them decide for themselves when they feel ready. Not every boy who likes pink ends up being gay or trans. Sometimes it really is just a phase, and that’s ok too.

What’s the future for Danny The Manny?

I’m currently developing it into a half hour comedy series. It will focus more on the character of Danny and his group of queer friends as they flail around Los Angeles.

What’s next for you?

Patrick and I are filming a feature later this summer in New Jersey. It’s called Dating My Mother. It’s very similar in tone to Danny the Manny too.

Anything to add?

I want people to consider the consequences of pinks and blues. Accepting differences goes beyond childhood. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin, they’re more likely to harm themselves or others. Our community is still reeling from the horrors of Orlando, and I think the solution can start at home. Obviously we need to enact real change like gun control legislation, but we also need to realize our own biases and accept others so they can accept themselves. Americans claim to value individualism, so let’s celebrate what makes us unique and different rather than tear each other down. We’ve seen what happens when people hate.

Check out Danny The Manny for yourself at

]]> 0
#Expresslove campaign rolled out in San Diego Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:30:10 +0000 #expressloveDante Mastri, director of Brand Integration for American Express, addressed the crowd gathered at TRUST Restaurant Thursday (July 14) evening. “In these days of heated political rhetoric and national tragedy,” he said, “we think it’s more important than ever that people express love.”

#ExpressLove is a nationwide campaign created and led by American Express’ employees PRIDE network. Key components of the campaign include supporting local nonprofit LGBT organizations; participating in local Pride parades and festivals, and encouraging people to shop at local small businesses. The campaign is being rolled out in 10 cities from San Diego to Provincetown, from Chicago to Palm Springs.

Mastri told me that rather than “writing individual checks”, American Express is teaming up with the Stonewall Community Foundation who, in turn, identify and fund various nonprofits through grants. Mastri, who is also the president of the Stonewall Community Foundation, said the foundation since 1990, has awarded “almost $17 million to more than 600 organizations.”

The San Diego LGBT Community Center was selected as the local nonprofit beneficiary of the campaign’s largesse.

Rebecca Hook-Held, The Center’s Director of Public Affairs, told attendees the funds would support The Center’s #bethegeneration campaign which aims to “eliminate new cases of HIV in San Diego by 2024.”

To achieve the goal, #bethegeneration utilizes several strategies which include offering free HIV testing and counseling, educating people about medical intervention options such as PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis), and advocating for public policies regarding full access to life-sustaining treatments.

Hook-Held also said the funds would be leveraged in a partnership with Community HousingWorks (CHW), another local nonprofit building 76 new affordable apartments in North Park. Although available to anybody who meets the age and income requirements, CHW is working with The Center to design an affirming and supportive environment for LGBT seniors. Ground breaking for the Transit Oriented universal access project occurred  July 13. The rentals are anticipated to open in December, 2017.

The event at TRUST was arranged through ExtraExtra, a marketing, event planning and production company owned by PAPER Communications. PAPER Magazine is a New York City-based independent magazine focusing on fashion, pop culture, nightlife, music, art and film.

Attendees enjoyed complimentary food and beverages prepared by the well-skilled TRUST crew. Service included charcuterie and cheese stations as well as passed platters of hamachi crudo atop taro root chips, beef tartare on lavash and pork sugo with polenta. Craft cocktails reflected the colors of the rainbow with selections such as “Orange”, a mix of Old Tom gin, apricot, lemon and cinnamon, and “Blue”, made with Hangar One Citrus vodka, Blue Curacao, lemon and egg white.

]]> 0
Simple yes and no health Sun, 24 Jul 2016 14:00:23 +0000 drawing with yes or no choiceThe house stopped spinning and there was a thud. Everything was quiet and then she opened the door with her little dog too. There it all was beautifully laid out in front of her…and in color. Say goodbye to that insipid black and white Dorothy! Life is full of amazing colors and why not have fun with ‘em all. But that black and white can still pack an amazing punch and especially when it comes to simple “yes” and “no” answers. Your fitness answers can and should also be just that simplistic.

Did you exercise today? Maybe is not an adequate answer and will have Professor Snape deducting 10 points from Gryffindor for the reply. Look yourself in the mirror and answer the question. You either did find time today to exercise or you didn’t. Bring accountability to your life with basic yeas or nays.

Were you able to drink at least eight cups of water today?  There’s a bet in Vegas called the over-under where you guess the combined scores of the two teams playing. You bet the cumulative score from both teams will be higher or lower than the predetermined score of the designated game.

It’s black and white with the gaming officials in Sin City and it’s the same with this water intake question. If you didn’t get your eight cups today then you lose. Place your bets you’ll be over that established number tomorrow. Yes is the desired response and will help increase your odds of a winning hand.

Did you get your three meals in today? Before you answer in haste, let me establish what a meal is not. A meal is not a bag of Funyuns from the vending machine. A meal is not two cigarettes and a Mountain Dew. A meal is also not a Snickers bar with a steaming cup of Joe from the corner greasy spoon. Anything less than yes is not healthy and indicates area needs attention. Thankfully tomorrow is another day and the hope is that you’ll be noshing on breakfast, lunch, and dinner then.

Did you take any prescription pain medications today when you didn’t have any pain? Candor is your buddy in this situation. A simple yes or no can at least identify if there is indeed a problem. An answer in the negative is the preferred reply. An affirmative answer is going to lead to more pain in the future and you will be regaled with the ignominy of the Price is Right horn music! Popping these meds to feel better about yourself will only harm your overall wellness. Be honest with your yes or no.

Did you use effective sunscreen over the weekend at the neighborhood street fair? Effective sunscreen according to most dermatologists has an SPF of 30 or higher. Anything less than this is unsafe and is allowing your skin to be damaged when in the sun. You aren’t as likely to encounter as much sun damage if you live along the balmy shores of Lake Superior than if you live along the white sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast. Start making it a habit anyway and punch your ballot with a yes. Hanging chads will not be accepted!

It was such a simpler time back in the day! A handshake was a binding document, families gathered round the table for supper, and it was five cents to see a black and white film at the movie house. Take your health back to those golden days and start giving some simple answers to some simple questions.

This wellness article is brought to you by that nickel and dime guy. That numismatic guy is Ron Blake and you can drop a coin in his slot at

]]> 0
San Diego Pride 2016 photo gallery Sun, 24 Jul 2016 00:45:14 +0000 _PRD0577 _PRD0559 _PRD0537 _PRD0531 _PRD0527 _PRD0487 _PRD0478 _PRD0456 _PRD0435 _PRD0431 _PRD0414 crop chris ward _PRD0404 _PRD0401 _PRD0396 _PRD0393 _PRD0382 _PRD0369 _PRD0360 _PRD0349 crop _PRD0342 _PRD0331 _PRD0330 _PRD0326 _PRD0323 _PRD0313 _PRD0309 _PRD0301 _PRD0296 _PRD0290 _PRD0280 _PRD0270 _PRD0262 _PRD0250 _PRD0247 crop _PRD0244 crop _PRD0235 _PRD0231 _PRD0221 _PRD0206 _PRD0204 _PRD0197 _PRD0194 _PRD0172 _PRD0166 _PRD0160 _PRD0155 _PRD0151 _PRD0147 _PRD0138 _PRD0128 _PRD0123 _PRD0120 _PRD0118 _PRD0116 _PRD0111 _PRD0104 _PRD0094 _PRD0090 _PRD0080 _PRD0077 _PRD0074 _PRD0065 _PRD0058 _PRD0052 _PRD0045 _PRD0040 _PRD0036 _PRD0026 _PRD0021 _PRD0003 ]]> 0 Jack Turner to hold reading of ‘Lube: A Modern Love Story’ at San Diego’s LGBT Center Sun, 24 Jul 2016 00:30:49 +0000 Lube 2SAN DIEGO– Jack Turner, local playwright and lyricist, is holding the first public Reading of Lube: A Modern Love Story a gay-themed, Broadway-style musical, at San Diego’s LGBT Center Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. All 24 of the songs written by composer Brandon Bowerman for the show will be played during the event, with many of the tunes making their world-premiere debut.

Lube: A Modern Love Story is the first of a new genre of musical theater. It’s a gay-themed play, written by a gay man with music composed by a gay composer, but intended for gay and gay-supportive audiences. Lube is a musical comedy that takes a serious look at growing up gay, including the decision whether to stay in or come out of the closet, bullying, prejudice, the lack of role models, religious persecution and teenage suicide. But it also deals with friendship, changing attitudes, and acceptance – especially what can sometimes be the hardest of all: self-acceptance.

Lube is one more voice in a chorus – or perhaps a cacophony – of voices trying to convey the message that “It Gets Better” to at-risk young adults. Hundreds of celebrities have joined the effort, adding their voices as well, but the statistics are shocking. According to the Trevor Project (, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. LGB youth are four times more likely, and questioning youth are three times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers. There are more teens in the U.S. who attempt suicide each year than the total body count from the many mass shootings seen in the news by a factor of two to three. It’s a silent epidemic. To address this issue, Lube attempts to provide positive role models and an uplifting message: “Just love yourself; the rest will fall in place.”

Lube is not be the be-all, end-all solution to the problem, but it’s an approach that hasn’t been tried before. It treats being gay as normal and gay sex as a topic that isn’t taboo. The playwright wants to provide an experience for young gay adults that has been available to their straight counterparts for a very long time: to walk out of the theater identifying with the lead characters, saying to themselves, “I’m gay. They were gay. They found happiness and fell in love. That could happen to me.” But even more, Lube attempts to send a message to every person who sees it, whether they be gay or straight, that it isn’t OK to bully or torment others who may be different, that it’s not acceptable to add to the problems of an isolated teen. This message may not make it to every bully or tormenter, but with Lube, the playwright hopes to convince their peers that these kinds of acts are not acceptable. Perhaps peer pressure can achieve what a simple, direct message cannot.

Tickets for the Reading are available online at Best seating is reserved for those who support the Reading through the Lube Kickstarter campaign at For more information about Lube: A Modern Love Story please visit

]]> 0
On anniversary of Equality Act introduction, HRC announces support of more than 80 major companies Sat, 23 Jul 2016 19:30:06 +0000 WASHINGTON — Friday, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Equality Act, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that Adobe Systems Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Alcoa Inc., Automatic Data Processing Inc., Bank of America Corp., Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Cargill Inc., Chevron Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc., Delhaize America Inc., InterContinental Hotels Group Americas, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., Pure Storage Inc., TIAA, Uber Technologies Inc., WhiteWave Foods Co., Williams-Sonoma Inc., Xerox Corp., and Office Depot Inc. have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Now including more than 80 major employers, the complete list of coalition members that have officially endorsed the bipartisan Equality Act can be found below.

Introduced one year ago today– one month after the historic Supreme Court marriage equality ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges —  the Equality Act would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our existing civil rights laws. It would provide clear, permanent, and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs.

“These leading companies are joining a bipartisan chorus in Congress and the vast majority of Americans who support ending unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “They are stepping forward to say that all Americans should be able to live free from fear of discrimination and have a fair chance to earn a living. Momentum is on our side, and we will not rest until the Equality Act is the law of the land.”

Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination — including people like Carter Brown, a transgender man who lost his job after he was outed by his colleagues. Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and thirty-one states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

Polling released this year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. PRRI’s groundbreaking survey included 42,000 interviews in 50 states and found majority support for the Equality Act in all 50 states.

Hillary Clinton has called the Equality Act her “highest priority,” while in contrast, Donald Trump has pledged to sign a bill that would put LGBTQ people at even greater risk of discrimination nationwide.

Now co-sponsored by 218 members of Congress, the Equality Act was introduced last year by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ); and Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and John Lewis (D-GA). The measure also has bipartisan support, including from Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Representative Bob Dold (R-IL).

HRC first launched the Business Coalition for the Equality Act in March of this year. With combined operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 23 states, and $2.6 trillion in revenue, the companies that now make up the coalition employ over 5.6 million people in the United States.

Members of HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act:

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
Adobe Systems Inc.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
Airbnb Inc.
Alcoa Inc. Inc.
American Airlines
American Eagle Outfitters Inc.
Apple Inc.
Automatic Data Processing Inc.
Bank of America Corp.
Best Buy Co. Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corp.
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.
Brown-Forman Corp.
CA Technologies Inc.
Caesars Entertainment Corp.
Capital One Financial Corp.
Cardinal Health Inc.
Cargill Inc.
Chevron Corp.
Choice Hotels International Inc.
Cisco Systems Inc.
Coca-Cola Co.
Corning Inc.
CVS Health Corp.
Darden Restaurants Inc.
Delhaize America Inc.
Diageo North America
Dow Chemical Co.
Dropbox Inc.
EMC Corp.
Facebook Inc.
Gap Inc.
General Electric Co.
General Mills Inc.
Google Inc.
Hershey Co.
Hilton Worldwide Inc.
HP Inc.
Hyatt Hotels Corp.
IBM Corp.
Intel Corp.
InterContinental Hotels Group Americas
Johnson & Johnson
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Kellogg Co.
Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Marriott International Inc.
MasterCard Inc.
McGraw Hill Financial
Microsoft Corp.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Monsanto Co.
Moody’s Corp.
Nike Inc.
Office Depot Inc.
Oracle Corp.
Orbitz Worldwide Inc.
PepsiCo Inc.
Pure Storage Inc.
Replacements Ltd.
Sodexo Inc.
Symantec Corp.
Target Corp.
Tech Data Corp.
T-Mobile USA Inc.
Twitter Inc.
Uber Technologies Inc.
WeddingWire Inc.
WhiteWave Foods Co.
Williams-Sonoma Inc.
Xerox Corp.

]]> 0
Poll released measuring Latinos’ attitudes during the last night of the Republican National Convention Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:00:52 +0000 WASHINGTON, D.C.— Latino Victory Fund, Latino Decisions and Fusion released the results of a poll conducted on the last night of the Republican National Convention, Thursday July 21, 2016, after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

The poll assessed Latinos’ attitudes towards the Republican nominee and the Republican Party during the week of convention, and it is the last of nightly polls that were conducted to highlight Latinos’ sentiments and attitudes towards Trump. The polls also assessed the effect these sentiments have on their view of the Republican Party and on down-ballot candidates who are either supporting Trump or who have denounced him.

View complete poll results here.

Highlights from Thursday night’s poll:

  • 75% of respondents say they are watching or following the Republican National Convention on TV or online.
  • Over the last year Donald Trump has said, “The Hispanics love me. Latinos love Trump, and I love them.” When asked if respondents love Donald Trump, 89% said no.
  •  81% of respondents say the crowd chanting “build the wall” last night during the republican convention, is disturbing and encourages discrimination against immigrants and Latinos.
  • 76% of respondents would feel uncomfortable being in attendance at the Republican National Convention in the middle of the crowd shouting “build that wall”

Latinos’ opinion of Trump:

  • 82% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Donald trump
  • 85% of respondents describe Donald Trump as dividing America
  • 87% of respondents describe Donald Trump as a bully
  • 84% of respondents said Donald Trump is not trustworthy
  • 84% of respondents said Donald Trump does not respect women

Latinos’ opinion of Pence:

  • Pence’s anti-immigrant record – voting to block a bill to give undocumented immigrants hospital care and ambulance transportation, and co-sponsoring a bill to deny birthright citizenship to children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents -makes 85% of respondents less likely to vote for Trump

Latinos’ opinion of the Republican Party:

  • 77% of respondents describe the Republican Party as dangerous
  • 81% of respondents said the Republican Party does not unite America
  • 80% of respondents describe the Republican Party does not care about people like them

Latinos’ opinion of Trump’s rallies and events:

  • 78% of respondents describe Trump rallies and events as hostile
  • 88% of respondents describe Trump rallies and events as angry
]]> 0
Hillary Clinton names Tim Kaine as her running mate Sat, 23 Jul 2016 00:37:34 +0000 Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton has selected Sen.Tim Kaine (D-VA) — who has a solid commitment to LGBTQ equality — as her running mate. Secretary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine contrasts starkly with Donald Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, who has one of the most anti-LGBTQ records of any vice presidential candidate.

Clinton and Kaine are set to appear together at a rally in Florida on Saturday.

In addition to supporting marriage equality, Kaine is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our existing civil rights laws. One of Kaine’s first actions as Virginia Governor in 2006 was to sign an executive order adding sexual orientation protections to the non-discrimination policy for state workers. Kaine also recently signed onto an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit case, Christiansen v Omnicom Group Inc., arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).

In addition to her long record as a champion for LGBTQ rights both in the U.S. and around the globe, Hillary Clinton has proposed the most robust pro-LGBTQ equality agenda of any presidential candidate in history. She has called the Equality Act her “highest priority,” and her detailed LGBTQ policy platform specifically calls for outlawing dangerous “conversion therapy” for minors, ending the epidemic of transgender violence, and supporting HIV prevention and affordable treatment, among other proposals that would advance equality and support the LGBTQ community.

“While Donald Trump doubled down on discrimination by picking Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton has bolstered her campaign’s historic commitment to LGBTQ equality by choosing Tim Kaine,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Having proven time and time again that they have the experience, determination, and leadership needed to move equality forward for all Americans, we are confident Clinton and Kaine will tear down the walls of discrimination that hold all of us back. The stakes for LGBTQ people in this election couldn’t be higher, and the choice for pro-equality voters couldn’t be clearer.”

People who know both Kaine and Clinton saw him as a choice that would help Clinton across the board.
“He’s a tremendous asset on the ticket,” said Mo Elleithee, who runs the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, and who previously advised Kaine’s Senate campaign and Clinton’s 2008 White House run.
“If first and foremost, the vice president’s role is to be able to step in, you’re not going to find anyone better,” Elleithee said.

“Sen. Tim Kaine has a long history of fighting for justice, opportunity and equality,” said Pili Tobar, advocacy and communications director for Latino Victory Fund. “During his time in the Senate, he has worked to advance economic policies that would put more money in the pockets of hardworking Latino and American families. He has been a staunch advocate for a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, for legislation to combat climate change, and for immigration reform that will keep our families together and allow people to come out of the shadows and continue contributing to the country they love. Sen. Kaine is no stranger to the Latino community – he spent time in Honduras running a technical Jesuit school, and throughout his career, as one of the few Spanish speakers in the Senate, he has consistently put emphasis on communicating with our community, hearing and addressing their concerns.
“We are proud to stand with the Clinton-Kaine ticket because they represent the values and policies that Latinos care about. Only Clinton-Kaine can move this country forward and ensure a prosperous future for our families, in which Latinos are treated with dignity and respect.”
]]> 0
Equality Forum to present Nancy Pelosi with 21st annual International Role Model Award Fri, 22 Jul 2016 15:29:02 +0000 Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Today, the Equality Forum, the nation’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit, announced that it will present the 21st Annual International Role Model Award to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for her strong support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The 21st Annual International Role Model Award will be presented to Democratic Leader Pelosi by Supreme Court Marriage Equality Plaintiff, Jim Obergefell, at Equality Forum’s LGBT Champion Awards on Thursday, July 28th during the Democratic National Convention.

The 21st Annual International Role Model Award is the nation’s longest standing award to activists and straight allies who have advanced LGBT civil rights. Previous recipients of the award include Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Supreme Court Plaintiff Edie Windsor, Judy Shepard, David Boies and Ted Olson, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), and tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

Also during the LGBT Champion Awards Ceremony, Ed Rendell, Chair of the Philadelphia Host Committee of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, will be awarded the Frank Kameny Award by Equality Forum’s Executive Director, Malcolm Lazin.  Named for the father of the LGBT civil rights movement, Kameny fought to overturn Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450, which prohibited the employment of gays and lesbians by the federal government.

“We are thrilled to present Leader Pelosi with this prestigious award for her long-standing support and her leadership in advancing LGBT civil rights,” said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum’s Founder and Executive Director.  “Governor Rendell is an early pioneer in the fight for LGBT equality.”

]]> 0
The power of life Fri, 22 Jul 2016 15:00:21 +0000 Jesus, Thomas and the apostlesAs 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!

Imagine, it’s Easter morning; the disciples are sitting in a room, huddled behind locked doors, waiting for the authorities to come for them next. They were shaking in their boots! In the midst of all their fear and grief, John tells us that Jesus suddenly appeared among them and said, “Peace, be with you.”

Jesus then showed them the marks on his hands and side so they would know it was really him. Now, unfortunately for Thomas, he wasn’t there. We don’t know why. John doesn’t tell us. Maybe he just couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe he was isolating himself and keeping everything and everyone at a distance. Maybe he was in so much pain, and it was his way of dealing with his grief.

Whatever the reason, Thomas could not share their joy of experiencing Jesus in their midst, and no matter what they said to him about how they had seen Jesus (and how exciting that was), nothing would make him open his heart to the hope that Jesus was alive. Nothing – unless he had the chance to see with his own eyes, and touch with his own hands, the marks on Jesus’ body. And, Thomas had the opportunity to do just that, a week later.

Jesus said to him, just as he had said to the others, “Peace be with you, Thomas. Do not doubt, but believe. Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Now remember, that even though it seems as if these words were written right after the resurrection, they really weren’t. These words were written to the Early Christian Church, to a generation that lived in a time when there was no one left who could personally testify to having seen Jesus after he rose from the dead. Thomas is being portrayed in John’s Gospel as “Doubting Thomas” as another example of a first-hand witness to the resurrection.

In the play, “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner, there’s a phrase called “the virus of Time.” Kushner calls the virus of time “sleeping creation’s potential for change.” These words are spoken by an angel to Prior, a gay man living with AIDS in the mid ‘80s. Prior doesn’t want to be a part of creation that moves forward anymore, because the progress of time has only brought him too much loss, too much pain, too much grief.

Like Prior, and like Thomas, you and I, too, are caught in “creation’s endless potential for change.” We have to wrestle with it every day and every night of our lives. If we are experiencing time, that means we are alive, and in our living we are each given the opportunity to experience all the wonder, and all the gifts that life has to offer.

And yet, as time marches on (all I have to do is look in the mirror), we can’t hold back time and we can’t hold back change and all kinds of experiences. Where there is life, there is the possibility of joy and passion and connection, and there is also the reality of suffering and pain and sadness. And where there is love, there is also the potential for loss.

Time, the very gift that gives us life and pleasure, also robs us of those we love, because nothing we can do can stop the cycle of life. A powerful line from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes says, “A heart that’s been broken keeps on beating just the same.”

Our hearts do keep on beating, and life continues its journey, sometimes taking away the bad things and bringing positive changes, giving us the chance to grow and heal and make our lives what we want them to be, and sometimes taking all that is precious to us and turning it into nothing but memories that can both comfort and torment us, sometimes at the very same moment.

This thing we call life, with all of its ups and downs was the very challenge facing Thomas, and now some 2,000 years later, it’s the same challenge you and I face every day. Asking questions like: Is it possible to embrace life and cope with loss? How do we go on when our relationships end, when those we love die? How do we keep our hearts open to love when wounds from our past throb with unresolved pain, and when we may have felt forced to shut down long ago just to survive? How do we choose to keep our hearts open to hope? How do we choose to keep our hearts open to each other when it feels as though we just can’t stand to be betrayed by our own vulnerability one more time?

Well, this is where Thomas comes in. Time had come along and robbed Thomas of the one who was, perhaps, his best friend, who showed him what it meant to live life to the fullest. But time had passed, and for Thomas, Jesus was gone, leaving him only with his memories of this man he loved so much.

That is, until the day when Thomas had the chance to touch Jesus’ wounds and in that moment, the resurrection became real for Thomas. Thomas needed to see and to touch Jesus’ wounds to believe in the miracle of new life.

You and I need to see and to touch one another’s wounds to believe in the miracle of new life – new life that has the potential to be born within us again and again.

All of us carry wounds; places in our lives where we have been hurt, betrayed, oppressed, grief-stricken, and paralyzed by fear.

Even Jesus carried scars from all that he experienced. We know that we cannot live life, and take risks and love others, and be ourselves without being wounded as well. And if we keep our wounds to ourselves, if we lock our hearts away in our safe place, the stone will always remain in front of the tomb, and the power of the resurrection will always be something someone else tells us, but that we never really know for ourselves.

Thomas asked for what he needed, and Jesus freely shared the evidence of his pain with him and because of this, Thomas was given hope, and new life, and the ability to love again and live again.

Think about it. Could it be that there is the potential for healing by us sharing our pain and needs with one another? By daring to be vulnerable?

Isn’t that what spiritual community is all about? Jesus came to teach us that the way we live fully in the midst of time is to believe in the power of love and life, giving us the opportunity to share our wounds, and to heal one another’s wounds, and to give hope, and to say to one another in our times of pain and fear, just as Jesus said to Thomas and all the disciples: “Peace, be with you.” Amen.

]]> 0
The Republican Party Balls Have Dropped Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:25:46 +0000 What an apt metaphor. The Republican Party has finally reached its pubescence with respect to LGBT rights. Donald Trump actually uttered LGBTQ, quite awkwardly, during his acceptance speech for the nomination of his party. Coupled with billionaire Peter Thiel declaring he was a gay, proud Republican and an American; the Republicans have come into the 1990’s with respect to LGBT acknowledgement. The problem is their party platform is a hate-filled manifesto with respect to the LGBT community.

Yow will now hear LGBT Republicans expel how far Trump’s speech moved LGBT rights in the Republican Party; that is completely false on its face. What Trump said was “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me.”  Here’s the news, LGBT people are not afraid of the violence and oppression from hateful foreign ideology, they are afraid of hateful domestic ideology which is personified by his running mate Mike Pence and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. I’ll take the hateful foreign ideology any day over the domestic discrimination and cruelty many in the LGBT community experience every day in America.

Trump chose his words well. He could have said protect LGBT citizens from hateful domestic and foreign ideology, but he didn’t. Why? The simple truth is Trump could not utter that phrase for fear of alienating his base, working class evangelical white men and women who still would like the faggots to go away.  Trump’s LGBTQ statement got cheers in the convention hall, after all there are floor whips who guarantee that certain lines get applause. Don’t be fooled. The Republican Party platform is supportive of conversion therapy, the overturning of marriage equality, as well as questionable about LGBT adoption rights. That is where LGBT voters should focus, not on some platitude that Trump uttered about our community. Yet, I worry there are those among us who will use that one line to justify supporting Trump. That would be a tragic mistake.

The Republican Party balls have dropped and they have entered LGBT puberty. The problem is they need an adult in the room.

]]> 0
HRC: ‘Trump and Pence are now leading the most antiquated, anti-LGBTQ ticket in recent memory’ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 09:45:13 +0000 WASHINGTON, DC — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released the following statement at the conclusion of the  Republican National Convention, during which the party adopted the most anti-LGBTQ platform in its history and featured a parade of anti-LGBTQ speakers.

“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are now leading the most antiquated, anti-LGBTQ ticket in recent memory,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “Together, Donald Trump and Mike Pence threaten everything we’ve gained — from marriage equality to worker protections — and Trump has vowed to sign hateful federal legislation that would open LGBTQ people to Kim Davis-style discrimination across the country. This week has also shown, sadly, just how far the GOP has left to go, as they doubled down on the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history. This is clearly a ticket that will ‘Take America Backward Again.’”

This week, the platform committee passed a slew of anti-equality provisions, including attacks on transgender people and a commitment to overturn nationwide marriage equality. Meanwhile, speakers at the Republican National Convention launched a slew of attacks on LGBTQ people. Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn attacked transgender people serving in our military during his speech Monday. Meanwhile, former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast, compared transgender people to someone who “woke up… after seeing a movie about Afghanistan and saying ‘you know what? I’m Afghanistani [sic].”

In his speech tonight, Donald Trump appallingly feigned support for LGBTQ people after opposing equality at every turn. In addition to his anti-LGBTQ agenda, in recent weeks, he has spoken out against transgender equality, appeared alongside Tony Perkins — leader of SPLC-designated hate group the Family Research Council,  and delusionally bragged about fictional support from the LGBTQ community in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Trump has also doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters.In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for the business and economic health of Indiana after a flood of companies spoke out against the measure. Indianapolis’s nonprofit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. Polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that75 percent of Hoosiers said the debate was bad for the state’s economy and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed the law.

Here’s a snapshot of how Donald Trump has been threatening to roll back LGBTQ equality:

  • Vowed to rescind marriage equality and, with a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court,  pledged to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn last year’s historicObergefell ruling;

  • Vowed to sign the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” which could allow individuals, many businesses and nonprofit organizations to circumvent critical federal protections and blatantly discriminate against LGBTQ families;

  • Would support anti-LGBTQ governors like North Carolina’s Pat McCrory and Indiana’s Mike Pence when they write discrimination into state law;

  • Pledged to repeal President Obama’s executive orders, which include protections for LGBTQ employees of federal contractors;

  • Has verbally attacked women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities, asylum seekers and others for political gain.

]]> 0 Dump Trump-Pence: New Web site shows how the Trump-Pence would ‘Take America Backwards Again’ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 09:25:36 +0000

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a new microsite blasting Donald Trump and Mike Pence for their anti-equality records. As Trump accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, HRC promoted the site via social media to its 3.35 million followers.

“It’s time for anyone and everyone who has an LGBTQ person in their lives to ‘Dump Trump,’” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “At every opportunity, Donald Trump has maligned, attacked and belittled anybody he considers different. He’s also vowed to reverse nationwide marriage equality, supported Kim Davis-style discrimination and endorsed laws attacking transgender people. There’s no doubt, Donald Trump is a serious threat to all the progress we have made in the last eight years.  ”

In recent weeks, Donald Trump has reaffirmed his opposition to transgender equality, appeared alongside Tony Perkins — leader of SPLC-designated hate group the Family Research Council,  and delusionally bragged about fictional support from the LGBTQ community in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Trump’s record on LGBTQ equality stands in stark contrast with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who stands with the LGBTQ community, pledging to protect our hard-fought gains and proposing the most robust pro-LGBTQ equality agenda of anyone running for president.

Trump has doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ agenda by putting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket. Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and for subsequently defending the bill after an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for the business and economic health of Indiana after a flood of companies spoke out against the measure. Indianapolis’s nonprofit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. Polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that75 percent of Hoosiers said the debate was bad for the state’s economy and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed the law.

Trump’s false claims about his own support are belied by his own long record of opposing LGBTQ equality. This week, his speakers at the Republican National Convention have launched a slew of attacks on LGBTQ people. Watch retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s vile  attack on transgender people during his speech Monday. Meanwhile, former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast, compared transgender people to someone who “woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan and saying ‘you know what? I’m Afghanistani [sic].”

Here’s a sampling of how Donald Trump has been threatening to roll back LGBTQ equality:

·         Vowed to rescind marriage equality and, with a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court,  pledged to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn last year’s historic Obergefell ruling;

·         Vowed to sign the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” which could allow individuals, many businesses and nonprofit organizations to circumvent critical federal protections and blatantly discriminate against LGBTQ families;

·         Would support anti-LGBTQ governors like North Carolina’s Pat McCrory and Indiana’s Mike Pence when they write discrimination into state law;

·         Pledged to repeal President Obama’s executive orders, which include protections for LGBTQ employees of federal contractors;

·         Has verbally attacked women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities, asylum seekers and others for political gain.

]]> 0
NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte Thu, 21 Jul 2016 21:51:43 +0000 Adam Silver

Adam Silver

In response to North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 legislation, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced today that the 2017 All-Star Game would be moved from Charlotte, N.C. This marks the first time in US history that a professional sporting event was moved in response to anti-LGBT legislation.

The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, better known as House Bill 2 or HB2 is an anti-LGBT piece of legislation that was quickly passed into law during a specially-convened one-day session on March 23. The law immediately erased municipal ordinances that provided the LGBT community with expanded protections.

The NBA’s announcement to move its premier event out of North Carolina is, arguably, the most crushing news since the controversial law was passed. The three-day event was expected to generate an estimated $100 million in revenue. Many businesses and organizations have decided to severely limit their interaction with the state. And several lawsuits have been filed against the law, including one by the U.S. Justice Department.

“The NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game is groundbreaking and sets an example for every other sporting body to follow,” said Athlete Ally’s Founder and Executive Director, Hudson Taylor. “If athletic communities believe in the principles of respect and equal treatment for their LGBT fans, then All-Star games and championship events should only be awarded to those states and cities that reflect those values.”

Expecting others to follow the NBA’s lead, Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Ashland Johnson said, “Hosting an All-Star game is an honor and a privilege. Until North Carolina does the right thing and repeals HB2, it will continue to see a steady stream of organizations, companies, entertainment and sporting events leave the state for more inclusive and progressive ones.”

“Today’s news is further evidence that HB2 is an economic disaster for North Carolina,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Over $100 million in economic activity is leaving our state because of Gov. McCrory’s discriminatory law, on top of the hundreds of jobs and millions in tourism dollars that our state has already lost over HB2. But instead of admitting his mistake, the governor is busy raiding our disaster relief fund to defend this man-made disaster of a law in court. It’s time for Gov. McCrory to accept reality and call for a full repeal of HB2 before any more damage is done to our economy.”

“Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events. Nevertheless, Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment. Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law.”

“North Carolina General Assembly leadership and Governor McCrory repeatedly ignored the warning bells as businesses, conferences and entertainers left the state. From the beginning, NBA leadership has been clear that HB2 creates an untenable situation and jeopardizes the safety and comfort of their fans. The withdraw of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte came as the NBA took a principled stand against the discriminatory HB2 and the failure to repeal HB2 by Senate Leader Berger, Speaker Moore and Governor McCrory,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “When the City of Charlotte passed vital LGBT protections from discrimination last year, they made themselves a more competitive city for events like the All-Star Game. McCrory, Berger, and Moore have continued to put North Carolina in economic harm’s way with the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation, despite the best efforts of Charlotte city leaders to keep the game. We applaud the NBA for its commitment to all fans, and hope that North Carolina’s leadership will heed this wakeup call and repeal HB2 before we suffer even more as a state.”

GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, made the following statement in response to the decision: “On behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth across the country, GLSEN thanks the NBA for sending a strong and clear message that discrimination is unacceptable. We know it was not an easy decision. The game would have been held in Charlotte, where the city council banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity last year, and where the school system has clearly demonstrated its support for its LGBTQ students, including those transgender students who are particularly targeted by HB 2.

“When the chips are down, true allies make the tough call. Right now, the defense of civil rights for all communities must be front and center for all of us. GLSEN is proud to have partnered with the NBA for many years to ensure its teams, players and staff members are vocal and visible supporters of LGBTQ youth and that all fans feel welcome. It is gratifying to see this long-standing partnership result in a unified front against legislation that is hateful, harmful and unnecessary.

“Sports leagues and other businesses have a vital role to play in upholding core values of diversity, individual dignity and civil rights, especially when elected officials do not do so. We have already seen many companies and individuals act on these ideals by removing their business from North Carolina in response to HB 2 or donating the proceeds of events to LGBTQ organizations. We call on all those corporations and sports leagues who have yet to do so to follow the NBA’s lead and tell legislators that they will not do business in places that discriminate, and where LGBTQ students do not have the opportunity to learn in safe and affirming environments and succeed in school and life.”


]]> 0
The alleged trans voyeur Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:32:09 +0000 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

King was talking about racism, but I believe one can extrapolate further to just plain bigotry; judging an individual solely by a characteristic that identifies them as a member of an identity community is a fail.

I know for me it’s important to visibly identify myself as transgender, queer, mentally disabled and a veteran. Yet, none of those community identities – individually or intersectionally – tell you if I’m an inherently good person. It’s instead the content of my character that defines how I should be judged.

In the transgender community, we have rapists, murderers and sex offenders. By apparent content of character, it’s difficult to call these transgender people inherently good people. It’s little comfort to me to know that every identity community has its share of people that are difficult to call inherently good.

But most of us, in any identity community, aren’t sexual predators.

There is such a thing as the bathroom predator myth. It’s a myth that assumes trans women will either be, or provide cover for, sexual predators in public bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas. Where public accommodation protections have passed into law on the basis of gender identity, there has been no statistical uptick in bathroom predation by transgender people.

But some in LGBT civil rights organizations created a talking point that’s gone beyond the statistics. The DC Trans Coalition has posted on their Web site “We’re already using public bathrooms, and have been since we have existed. There have never been any documented problems caused by us [transgender people].” Vincent Villano, the director of communications for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), told Mic April 02, 2015 that NCTE has “not heard of a single instance of a transgender person harassing a non-transgender person in a public restroom. Those who claim otherwise have no evidence that this is true and use this notion to prey on the public’s stereotypes and fears about transgender people.”

Even the LGBT press has chimed in with the idea that there are no trans bathroom predators. Sunnivie Brydum wrote for The Advocate March 10, 2015 that “Although hundreds of trans-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances have been in force in cities around the country for several decades, there has never been a verifiable, reported instance of a trans person harassing a cisgender person.”

Well, never been a verifiable, reported instance of a trans person harassing a cisgender person until possibly now. Shauna Patricia Smith, a trans woman living in Ammon, Idaho, was arrested for felony video voyeurism July 11. She went into the local Target’s unisex changing area, and allegedly with her iPhone reached over the wall of her dressing room and began videoing an 18-year-old woman trying on clothing in the room next to hers.

As LGBTQ Nation reports, “Given the facts as we know them, Target’s trans-inclusive policy – which was met with scorn and petitions from anti-LGBTQ forces – has no bearing on this case. But it’s become a talking point, to the level of boasting, among right wing anti-transgender pundits.”

Yet, it was naive for anyone in the LGBT community to claim “There has never been any report of a transgender person utilizing their bathroom privileges to harass or attack cisgender people in the bathroom.” as was claimed on Gender Therapist’s Dara Hoffman-Fox’s Web site last April. That’s because it doesn’t take a gender therapist to know that being transgender doesn’t make one an inherently good person, and that there’d eventually be a transgender bathroom predator.

Shauna Patricia Smith, as well as every member of the transgender community, should be judged by the content of their characters, and not the characteristic of being transgender. In a perfect world, trans community members wouldn’t be painted with a broad brush because of what Smith allegedly did.

]]> 1
San Diego getting too pricey? Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:18:00 +0000

Grand Avenue, Escondido

The economy is looking up for many and according to the Case-Shiller index tracking resales of single family homes, this trend is being reflected in home prices. Nationally, prices are up 5 percent in the last 12 months, but in popular San Diego, that number is even higher. At a rise of 6.3 percent our fair city is still way under the leaders – Portland (up a staggering 12.3 percent) and her sister Seattle up over 10 percent. The reason for the rise? A generally upbeat and positive economic climate plus low mortgage interest rates and lower unemployment, at least in these leading markets.

So where does a budget conscious prospective homeowner turn for value?

The answer may be found in the northern suburb of Escondido with an average sales price of $415,000. With the San Diego median inching up to half a million (currently $490,000) there’s a saving to be found in this community for both families and retirees. Located 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, the city is located in a shallow valley surrounded by rocky hills. It is home to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and the California Center for the Arts, and is a draw to tourists for its many local eateries and attractions. Festivals such as the “Cruisin’ Grand” featuring snazzy and retro automobiles and the “Grand Avenue Festival, held both fall and spring, lure visitors.

Though inventory is low, demand for Escondido is spurring development and new communities are underway. These include Pradera with 70 new homes, Harmony Grove Villages named Seabreeze, Andalucia and Canteridge. As demand for the area increases, prices are likely to rise. Though Escondido East still boasts that median of $415,000, prices in other sectors are on the rise. In the 92029 area the median has now topped $700,000.

Hope still reigns for first time buyers in Escondido as the city is promulgating a first time buyer’s assistance program. Home buyers may qualify if they meet the three criteria: not having owned a home in the three prior tax years, possessing credit worthiness sufficient to satisfy a mortgagee and meeting the income limits: $68,000 for a family of four. Applicants may find difficulty in finding a home less than the maximum allowable purchase price of $404,000 but if they do, and meet the qualification requirements, they will be eligible for an up to 5 percent loan to apply toward their down payment or closing costs. The loan repayment will be deferred until such time as they sell, refinance, incur additional liens or move.

With low interest rates still available and home prices on the rise in desirable cities nationwide, it may be time for homeowners to jump on the bandwagon and search for homes in nearby suburbs like Escondido. Smart communities like these looking to attract millennials who have the income and credit to afford loans but lack necessary cash, are wisely coming up with programs such as these to make home ownership possible. Every little bit surely helps.

]]> 0
San Diego election changes will give a voice to more voters Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:15:03 +0000 Last week, the City Council promised voters a chance to change the way elections are run and won in San Diego. By a 5-4 party line vote, Democrats advanced a ballot measure that would require a November run-off between the top candidates.

Conservatives have argued that the measure is simply a Democratic attempt to consolidate their power. I disagree. Democratic candidates may benefit, but the measure doesn’t consolidate power. It distributes power to more San Diego voters.

As it stands, candidates can win San Diego elections in June by winning a simple majority of the vote. In many cases, that has kept electoral power in the hands of fewer San Diegans.

The 2012 City Council elections are instructive. In District 1, current Council President Sherri Lightner (41.59 percent; 12,889 votes) lost the June primary to Ray Ellis (45.61 percent; 14,133 votes). In November, Lightner (54.96 percent; 31,585 votes) soundly defeated Ellis (45.04 percent 25,811 votes).

Looking inside the numbers, Lightner won more votes in November than the total cast in June, and she beat Ellis by more than seven times his primary vote margin. Yet if Ellis had netted just 1,361 more votes in June, nearly 30,000 additional November voters would have been silenced.

Over in District 7, Councilmember Scott Sherman got 50.17 percent of the June vote, securing his election with only 54 votes to spare. Had runner up Mat Kostrinsky made it to November and experienced the same proportional surge as Lightner, he would have won by over 2,000 votes. We can’t be sure what those 30,000 extra voters might have said, but the new rules would have given them a voice.

Yes, many of those November voters chose not to vote in June. We should be engaging them, not punishing them. America tried poll taxes and tests, and we know they are unfair and wrong. Penalizing people for not voting in June isn’t much better, especially when there will always be a November election for president or governor. The cost of additional local elections is a small price to pay for a more participatory democracy.

If anyone is out to consolidate power, it’s national Republicans. After taking control of numerous state governments in 2010, they have gone out of their way to block voter participation by shrinking voting hours, decreasing the number of polling sites, and passing voter ID laws to fix a non-existent fraud problem. The party that has so aggressively tried to export democracy should be more interested in expanding it at home.

Both parties try to protect their power, but how they do it differs. That matters. Democrats are trying to bring more people into the process. The fact that they may benefit doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.

]]> 0
‘Beautiful’ music Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:05:01 +0000

Photo: Joan Marcus

Meet Becky Gulsvig who plays prominent American songwriter Cynthia Weil in the Tony Award-winning Carole King musical ‘Beautiful’

Carole King has been a national treasure for years now dominating the music world for decades with Billboard hits like “I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet”, “Jazzman”, “You’ve Got A Friend” and “It’s Too Late”.

She has one Diamond, six Gold and two Platinum records and has had many No. 1 songs and albums. In 1996 the film Grace of My Heart, starring Illeana Douglas and Eric Stoltz, was a story loosely based on her life.

Her life has now been immortalized on Broadway in the show Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. It premiered in San Francisco, October 2013 and opened on Broadway, January 2014.

The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won two including a Best Actress Award for Jessie Mueller in the title role.

It was also nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards, (London’s version of the Tony Award), and won two as well.

The National Tour premiered in 2015 and is now coming to San Diego’s Civic Theatre for one week only from Aug. 2-7.

The story chronicles King’s life, loves and collaborators in her earlier years and her struggle to move past some of the heartaches in her life.

The National Tour boasts a cast led by Abby Mueller as King, Liam Tobin as Gerry Goffin, Ben Fankhauser as Barry Mann and Becky Gulsvig as Cynthia Weil.

Gulsvig, a Broadway veteran, has starred in Hairspray, where she played Amber Von Tussle, and Legally Blonde, where she created the role of Leilani. She later went on to play Elle Woods on the first National Tour of that show and was nominated for the 2009 Helen Hayes award.

Gulsvig grew up in Moorhead, Minn. and is a self-professed theater geek.

“I was absolutely a theater geek!” Gulsvig confessed. “I was also a speech geek! But I played basketball (until it conflicted with the school play), danced with a local dance company, sang in the choirs and all that good stuff too. I tried to be a part of everything that I could.”

Ben Fankhauser and Becky Gulsvig in Beautiful | Photo: Joan Marcus

As with most performers, having a favorite role they’ve performed or wish to perform, is almost a pre-requisite when involved in the world of theater. Gulsvig has a couple, with one that might just surprise you.

“Well I loved playing Annie because it was my first musical in fourth grade,” Gulsvig said. “I also loved playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. It was a summer program that brought in a New York City creative team and performed on a big outdoor stage in a park. We did a very futuristic take on the show … my hair was dyed black, I wore huge black boots, a mini skirt, cut off gloves … it was super fun and definitely one of the real of roles that you see on my resume these days!”

Clearly the acting bug hit her at an early age but she doesn’t come from a theatrical family. Her brother did perform when he was a child, but he is now an animator on the television show Archer.

As for theatrical inspiration, Gulsvig got that from none other than Julie Andrews.

“I loved her and I love her still,” Gulsvig admitted. “My introduction to musicals came from watching the film adaptations at my grandma’s house. I loved The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins so much. These days I am inspired by people who can stay sane and positive in this business. Also, as a mom, I am encouraged by my fellow theater moms who are able to keep it all in balance. I live in a town in New Jersey where a lot of theater folks have settled to be a commute away from New York City and it is so nice to see everyone help each other out and be there when you need them. I feel we also motivate each other to keep doing what we love and that is such an important thing for our kids to see.”

That love of musical theater has brought Gulsvig to Broadway and now to the first National Tour of Beautiful playing real life composer Cynthia Weil. The music of Weil and Mann is something the actor was more than familiar with.

“I absolutely knew their music!” Gulsvig said. “When I was waiting tables at a piano bar in Times Square, I used to sing ‘Somewhere Out There’ all the time! Of course when you start going through their song catalogue you realize just how many hits they have … it’s really astounding and so exciting. I’d say the biggest surprise came when I realized they wrote the song that was used for my daughter’s dance recital finale, ‘Make your Own Kind of Music’. It’s so neat to see how their work is still reaching the next generation!”

Weil and Mann wrote so many incredible songs that Gulsvig had a tough time picking one as her favorite, but in the end she was able to whittle it down to two.

“It’s a tie between ‘Somewhere Out There’ and ‘Make Your Own Kind Of Music,’” she confessed, “because of the personal attachments.”

Tour life for most performers usually means leaving behind the comforts of home, family and favorite restaurants, but Gulsvig, married (She met her husband in 2006 while working on a cruise ship) and mother to a five-year-old daughter, has found a way to keep the family unit intact while on tour, they come with her!

She has enjoyed touring the country with them and getting the chance to explore every new city they hit. In fact she already has a San Diego itinerary ready to go when they hit town in a few weeks.

“We are definitely hitting up the dog beach and the zoo,” Gulsvig shared. “It has been an absolute treat to be on this ‘Big Adventure’ with my family. We have seen every zoo, children’s museum, park, pool … it’s such a good excuse to get up and get out and explore! We have extra family in town visiting us in San Diego so we’ll be out and about for sure!”

Abby Mueller, Becky Gulsvig, Ben Fankhauser and Liam Tobin in Beautiful | Photo: Joan Marcus

Right now the Beautiful tour will be on the road until late December 2017 and Gulsvig is enjoying the opportunity to play such a great role with great music and a great cast. She makes it clear that she doesn’t know what the future holds for her. As with most performers, work comes and goes and it can change as quickly as the wind. That being said, Gulsvig is taking things one day at a time and enjoying every minute of it with set plans only for the approaching fall season.

“Well the most important thing in the fall is kindergarten for my daughter,” Gulsvig said. “We are heading back to New Jersey and she is so excited! I don’t know what will be next for me but this year has been amazing and so I will bring that spirit with me to whatever comes next!”

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is still playing on Broadway to packed houses. Catching the tour is a great opportunity for San Diegans to experience Broadway and King’s wonderful music before it heads on to its next city.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical plays at The San Diego Civic Theatre, Aug. 2-7. For tickets visit or call 619-570-1100.

]]> 0
‘Love Goddess’ Judy Tenuta joins Reunion Party in support of LGBT seniors Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:01:25 +0000

Judy Tenuta

Imagine a country like Mexico or Japan whose population has been replaced entirely by a demographic consisting of nothing but people 45 or older. That is what the United States looks like today. Nearly 135 million people – roughly 43 percent – of America consists of people getting older. And their ranks are swelling. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “Between 2000 and 2010, the population under the age of 18 grew at a rate of 2.6 percent. The growth rate was even slower for those aged 18 to 44 (0.6 percent). This contrasts with the substantially faster growth rates seen at older ages. The population aged 45 to 64 grew at a rate of 31.5 percent. The large growth in this age group is primarily due to the aging of the baby boom population.”

This swell in an older demographic will shape LGBTQ public policy for years to come as the needs of the community demand to be met. Health services, physical and mental health specifically, will be in great demand and given the LGBTQ’s unique stresses, vitally important to the health and well-being of our community.

And as the LGBTQ community matures, the issues of housing discrimination in long-term care settings, aging alone, our sex lives and other issues that might seem like a normal part of aging for our straight allies is mired, at least for now, in land mines. The best part? The total and resolute conviction that we will successfully address the challenges ahead as successfully as we have met those challenges in the past as bends the arc of history.

And to honor the strides being made in this area, The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF), a foundation created by its owners, and in perpetuity, to help support causes that benefit the LGBTQ community and the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) are hosting the fifth annual Reunion on the BaySaturday, Aug. 6, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the Bay View Lawn at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina at 1380 Harbor Island Drive in San Diego. The event features a silent auction, an opportunity drawing, full hosted premium bar, gourmet food and live entertainment, including an onstage performance by special guest star actress and comedian, Judy Tenuta, who will perform hilarious selections from her standup comedy and musical acts.

San Diego LGBT Weekly caught up with Tenuta and John Brown, SDHDF’s executive director, to find out more about what to expect.

San Diego LGBT Weekly: Why did you agree to perform for the fifth annual San Diego Human Dignity Foundation Reunion Party? Was it the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation’s commitment to the 50+ LGBTQ community?

Judy Tenuta: I agreed to perform for the Reunion Party because I love San Diego, human dignity and reunion parties! And I love the LGBT community and they love me! Also, they offered the Goddess throngs of worshippers and buckets of “Bucks,” and by “Bucks” I mean hot, horny studcicles! So how could I turn that down? Let’s face it, the 50+ LGBT community needs the support of an ageless Goddess because their unemployed millennial college grad kids are moving back home for mom and dad to feed, clothe and shelter them!

Talk about the material you expect to perform.

My material? No! No! It’s not material! I am the Love Goddess. Judy and I have my own religion “Judyism!” And the Goddess preaches marriage equality, love advice and guarantees a party in your pants!

What is it about aging that speaks to you? What makes it funny?

Aging? In the world of Judyism, we attack aging with laughter and botox! And then there’s short term memory loss … wait, what was I talking about?

What are your connections to San Diego? My first time here, I watched this PSA produced by the city that warned of the evils of cooking meth at home in a residential neighborhood because – and it did – a house might blow up. Is that your San Diego?

No, that is not my San Diego. I never cook anything! Especially meth. Cuz all of my followers cook it for me! I love La Jolla and Dr. Seuss, the beautiful San Diego coastline with all of the iconic ships full of my armed forces – studcicles and subvirgins who serve and protect us in hot uniforms!

Who’s funny to you? Who should we be watching now?

What’s funny to me? The Pope doing a rockin’ out in his Pope mobile, Janet Jackson at age 60 puffed up to pop out a pup and mail order brides!

What’s the worst part of not being 40?

Judy Tenuta

There is no bad part of not being or being 40! Every age is a gift to be embraced and danced to! So suck it up in Spanx and let’s eat cake, bitches!

You’ve been cast to model for the cover of a new line of Harlequin romances under the “Mountbatten Grey” label. Who would you demand be your co-model?

How did you know? Yes, the Goddess will be on the cover of a new line of Harlequin Romances with the hot hunky new Tarzan, Alexander Skarsgard! That Beefy Burrito can swing me through the jungle anytime!

John Brown, what makes the fifth Reunion Party unique?

John Brown: Reaching 20 years of service is such a significant event for us. The Reunion Party is the perfect opportunity to start the celebration with our friends and supporters on the bayside lawn at the Sheraton Harbor Island. This event benefits our LGBT seniors and many of our original supporters from 20 years ago are facing some of the same challenges because let’s face it none of us are getting any younger.

What was the vision when the Foundation was created?

The vision for the creation of the Foundation as I understand it was to create an opportunity for LGBT donors to support the San Diego LGBT community in perpetuity to meet the changing and unforeseeable needs of the future. While we can’t be sure what the future holds we can be sure it will be up to the LGBT community to support the LGBT community.

Had Judy declined, who else was on your short list? What qualities did you put a premium on – besides star attraction – that made your selection the right fit for the occasion?

Judy is the perfect celebrity performer for the Reunion Party. She is funny and entertaining but also accessible just like our artists from past years like Hal Sparks and Leslie Jordan. We had been in talks with Wilson Cruz who was honored at The Aston Brooks Gala last year but we just weren’t able to work out the details. Then lucky for us Judy was available and we moved quickly to secure her.

What are some of the biggest obstacles facing an aging LGBTQ population? What are some strategies that benefit us?

Our LGBT seniors have survived a generation where it was often necessary to live either fully or partially in the closet because of real issues of discrimination and hostility. They are less likely to access government services because of an institutionalized sense of distrust. They have often cut ties with their biological family for decades and rely on self-defined families for support. Our Aging with Dignity Initiative has two strategies first to support the wonderful services for LGBT seniors offered by The Center and secondly to work with our Trailblazer support group to finish our comprehensive health need survey for LGBT seniors in San Diego County and to use the results to make a case for more funding for LGBT seniors.

What is the political landscape looking like under a Clinton administration for this demographic, should she win?

I believe that the landscape would improve under a Clinton administration because she has demonstrated a strong concern for the LGBT community and she has the expertise to make something happen.

What can you point to as a symbol of success in the SDHDF’s outreach to an aging LGBTQ population?

First and foremost, the continued good work of The Center’s LGBT Senior Resource Programs and the general raised awareness of the special needs of LGBT seniors throughout the community. We certainly are all very excited about the groundbreaking on San Diego’s first LGBT friendly senior housing development.

Fifth annual Reunion on the Bay

SDHDF Executive Director John Brown

Saturday, Aug. 6, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Bay View Lawn at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina at 1380 Harbor Island Drive in San Diego

Tickets are available at or by calling 619-291-3383.

The funds raised will benefit SDHDF’s Aging with Dignity Initiative and The Center’s Senior Services program.

]]> 0
Duran Duran returns to San Diego Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:59:14 +0000

Tuesday, Aug. 2, one of the most internationally successful bands ever, Duran Duran, returns to San Diego on the latest leg of their North American Paper Gods Tour with ’70s disco sensation Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and upcoming electronic artist Tokimonsta.

Formed 38 years ago in Birmingham, England by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, the band rose to pandemonium levels of fame with ear grabbing hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Girls on Film” and “The Reflex.” Over the course of almost four decades now, they have sold more than 70 million albums with several No. 1 singles around the world.

Known for their extravagant music videos shot in exotic locations like Sri Lanka and Antigua, Duran Duran hit U.S. shores as part of the second British Invasion with 1982’s “Rio” at the same time as the debut of the revolutionary MTV. The pairing led to millions of screaming fans, world tours and it of course eventually came to a head which splintered the band in 1986. Yet the band persevered as a trio and continued having hits for a couple more years, though not nearing the levels previously seen. But in the midst of the early ’90s grunge, an unexpected comeback occurred that fans and even critics loved. By the early 2000s the band was almost at the end when the original five members reunited. First touring and then recording a new album, the band had yet another comeback with Astronaut in 2004.

In September 2015, Duran Duran released their 13th studio album, Paper Gods, debuting at No. 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chartafter signing a deal earlier that year with Warner Bros. It took several years to record after the return to roots Mark Ronson-produced “All You Need Is Now” in 2011. The new album was also produced by Ronson along with Ben “Mr” Hudson and features the most collaborators the band has ever worked with on a single album including Nile Rodgers (Daft Punk, Madonna, David Bowie), Mark Ronson (“Uptown Funk,” Adele, Amy Winehouse), Mr Hudson (Jay Z, Kanye West), Janelle Monáe, John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Kiesza (“Hideaway”). “We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album,” says the band’s keyboardist and aesthetic overlord, Nick Rhodes.

Lead singer Simon Le Bon has a theory as to why the band are still friends, and still making vital, compelling music. “I think with some artists, as they get into extended careers, it’s like climbing up a rock-face – they start to look down. If you do that, musically, you’re pretty much dead in the water. We’ve always written music that turns us on; we’ve never tried to tailor it to any kind of taste.”

For bass guitarist John Taylor, the most satisfying thing about the new album is that it captures the duality, the sense of conflict, at the heart of the band’s music. “In the original blueprint for the band, there was this dark, slightly progressive side to us, and it tended to get a little bit trampled on by the poptastic aspect. In that desire for pop satisfaction, you can forget what you set out to do. The new record really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side.”

With the lead single, “Pressure Off,” a song the band recorded in just a few days with Rodgers and Ronson, their sound is as infectious as ever. “It was the quickest to record. Nile showed up with his guitar that has recorded $1 billion of songs. Its known as ‘the hitmaker,’” says drummer Roger Taylor. Adding, “The good stuff comes really quickly. We recorded ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ in just a couple days as well.”

John says that “Last Night in the City” was recorded as a remix in a manner of speaking, adding “We EDMed it out.” He also said, “I am not terribly excited about the art of the remix right now. I am not hearing any super remixes where I’m like ‘wow, I want a piece of that.”

“I know that artists always like to say this,” Nick continues, “but truly, without a doubt, I think this is our best record since The Wedding Album. Being in this band is like being married to three other people. We take care of each other, but we also argue all the time, too, particularly about music. But that’s essential. If you don’t argue, don’t have strong opinions, that’s when you end up producing junk. We fight for every note – literally. But it doesn’t feel like a battle. It feels like a victory.”

The Paper Gods Tour first came to San Diego last fall at a sold out show and was a spectacular performance that preceded the band’s first appearance at the renowned Hollywood Bowl a couple days later. John says of the show now, “It’s just getting better. It’s tighter with more punch. And it’s dynamic.”

John also says, “It’s a visual, multimedia show. The screen content we have put a lot into which has a way of bringing all the material together so that you don’t quite feel the pull of time between where a song is 20 years old and the next is only a year old.”

Roger added, “The stage set is largely designed by Nick and the band’s lighting designer Vince which gives a whole new dimension to the show.”

Also appearing with Duran Duran is Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, who also toured with them last fall. With hits like “Good Times,” “Le Freak” and “Dance, Dance, Dance,” Chic amplifies the audience to dance frenzy before Duran Duran take the stage. Later in the show, Nile Rodgers returns to the stage to perform with Duran Duran on the classic hit he produced and played guitar on, “Notorious,” along with “Pressure Off.”

Roger says, “We did a great U.K. tour just before Christmas and the new stuff is coming together amazingly.” With John adding, “The key is to keep the excitement throughout so that the audience is on that journey with us through the show.”

The show opens with the title track from Paper Gods, a daring song, its polemical lyrics set to a soundtrack of fierce originality and menace. “It’s a song about our obsession, with money, with material things,” says Simon, “and how we trivialize our lives, and humanity. It’s definitely the angriest song on the album.”

But both the casual and fanatic can come expecting to hear the songs they know and love while catching something new. John says that it’s a retrospective show that features the new album prominently. Recent shows have included the beautiful 1993 top 10 hit “Ordinary World” along with “Come Undone” from The Wedding Album, Girls on Film,” “The Wild Boys” and “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise.”

The show also features a tribute to the late David Bowie, a major influence for the band, performing Bowie’s “Space Oddity” interlaced with the band’s debut single “Planet Earth.” Roger says, “I don’t know if there would be a Duran Duran without David Bowie. I know I wouldn’t be playing drums.”

John commented on how the glam rock which Bowie was part of revolutionizing ties into the bands unique connection with the LGBT community, saying “Glam rock was something I got into at 13. Most of my ideas about people come from music. Music is one of those things where people respond to it universally.”

“Sometimes I feel like I am being manipulated by the media, the church, or even a country to think ‘I am different’ be from one country to another or Northern California versus Southern California. But really we are all the same. Our passions are all the same. Our loves are the same. We want the same things.”

John added, “There are so many gay people in my life – clothing designers, hair dressers, set designers. They are such a huge part of what makes our culture what it is.”

Duran Duran with special guest Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and Tokimonsta perform live at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be bought through Live Nation.

Special performance note: Keyboardist Nick Rhodes had to leave the tour earlier this month for a short period due to an urgent family matter. Standing in for Nick will be long-time friend and collaborator, artist MNDR.

]]> 0
Vive les changements! Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:57:15 +0000

Cheese and meat board

I have a close friend and partner in crime who is “Ethel” to my “Lucy”, “Waldorf” to my “Statler”, “Butch Cassidy” to my “Sundance Kid” – you get the picture. We met for dinner at Pardon My French one recent evening to share news and gossip. “Butch” and I huddled in the large private booth at the back of the room.

Pardon My French is the latest incarnation in the space formerly occupied by Heat Bar & Kitchen. Cosmetically, the restaurant is largely unchanged. With a hat tip to well-credentialed head chef Dariusz Szelag, the most notable changes have occurred in the kitchen and on the menu. Vive les changements!

Butch told me about hirings and firings and his recent promotion while we sipped craft cocktails; the French Blonde ($8) for me, and the Park Blvd. Maid ($8) for him. The blonde is a wonderfully refreshing blend of dry gin, St. Germain (an elderflower flavored liqueur), grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of bitters. The maid combines hibiscus infused American Harvest organic vodka with muddled mint, cucumber and lime juice. A little sweet, a little tart and just right.

I told Butch about my latest and largest commission from a local artist while sharing appetizers; cream of asparagus soup ($7) and chicken liver pâté ($12). The large bowl of fresh creamy goodness is a delicate blend of chicken stock and asparagus purée. Smokey grilled asparagus spears, sweet pea tendrils and a dollop of crème fraîche completes the presentation. The swoon-inducing pâté, served with crunchy grilled baguette, is a rich slice of smooth chicken liver and black truffles perfectly complimented by crisp lightly dressed mixed greens and sweet apricot compote.

Goose, our hunky affable server, presented our entrées then discreetly retired. Butch bragged about the Mussels Meunière ($16). A mountain of clean de-bearded mollusks are served in a perfectly executed broth of wine, butter, minced shallots and garlic with chopped parsley and lemon juice. We ordered extra bread so we could sop up all that deliciousness.

The Steak Frites ($28) is a tender 8-oz Aspen Ridge flat iron steak with a good sear and smokiness from the flame, served with steamy hot French fries and grilled tricolor carrots. The tangy Roquefort cheese sauce paired perfectly with the savory medium-rare steak.

Speaking of pairing, Butch paired a Death in the Afternoon ($8) with his mussels, and I chose the Maison Roche de Bellene-Red. Death is an amazing blend of champagne, simple syrup and absinthe, and the licorice-y concoction married well with the mussels. The wine (80 percent Gamay and 20 percent Pinot Noir) is light and fruity on the palate, with notes of blackberry and cherry. Firm tannins give the wine a good structure.

Butch and I shared the Lavender Crème Brûlée ($8) for dessert. The pane of caramelized sugar provides a satisfying crunch in every velvety spoonful, and the herby hint of lavender strikes just the right counterbalancing note.

Eric and Lindsey Fillion have created a space melding art and music with French-fusion cuisine. Don’t be surprised if there is a DJ spinning tunes, or a vocalist crooning songs. Pardon My French is a very popular destination for weekend brunch, and offers an all-night Happy Hour every Tuesday. Find out why Pardon My French is a Diner’s Choice winner.

Pardon My French

3797 Park Blvd.

Open Tuesday through Sunday

Hours vary


]]> 0
San Diego Pride 1974 — 2016 Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:49:09 +0000

Nicole with Sheriff Bill Gore and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman  PHOTO: BIG MIKE

In 1974, homosexuals could be, and were, sent to state mental hospitals, and were subjected to electroshock therapy and lobotomies. The police were frequently raiding gay bars (that only heterosexuals owned because gays could not be issued liquor licenses) and beating us up and arresting us for “lewd conduct” (that being dancing with someone of the same sex) then taken to jail only in time to have the charges dropped, but still you had an arrest record.

The mayor refused to even meet with gay activists because he said there weren’t really that many gays living in San Diego, and the police “were just doing their jobs.” All three of our gay bars were “strictly off limits” to all military personnel, and there were constant “witch hunts” to drive out homosexuals in the Navy, Marines and Army, etc.

Almost everyone in the 1970s were deep in their closet as “homosexual acts” were illegal until 1976. Our gay center was a phone “answering machine” in Vietnam veteran Jess Jessop’s apartment. Eddie and Toby were reigning as Emperor II and Empress II, and I was a “Baroness” in the Imperial Court and writing a column in the San Diego Son a bi-weekly gay paper. Landlords could refuse to rent an apartment to you because of your homosexual lifestyle and many of them did. Many of us drag queens and transsexuals could be and were arrested for “cross dressing,” wearing the attire of the opposite sex.

Being Latino and gay I was in the 1970s, just as in my school kid days, many times called a “wetback, spick, beaner, queer, faggot, etc.” Yes, racism, homophobia and hate were very much alive and well. It was in this atmosphere that Jess Jessop, Tom Homann and I went to the police department to get a permit for a Pride march. It was refused and we were told and I quote: “There will never be a homosexual march in San Diego. (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles already had their Pride marches/ parades.) We marched anyway, about 150 of us, many college/university students. (Both Jess and Tom died of AIDS and I miss them dearly.)

Nicole and Susan Jester PHOTO: BIG MIKE

Nicole and Susan Jester with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and first lady Katherine Faulconer PHOTO: BIG MIKE

In 2016, over 125,000 LGBT people, their friends, families and allies marched. That number included our Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman along with a transgender policewoman and a gay policeman, Sheriff Bill Gore, our Mayor Kevin Faulconer and our first lady Katherine (co-chair of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force). They walked as they have done every year and received thunderous applause from the huge crowd. Both Republican and Democratic elected officials marched and I had a great talk with Steve Quinn (president, Lincoln Club) who enjoyed marching in this his third Pride parade. City Council candidate Ricardo Flores brought his parents and City Attorney candidate Mara Elliott brought her children (both have been endorsed by GLBT Vote 2016.) The Padres chief executive, Mike Dee organized and led the first Padres contingent in the parade, and gave one of the best speeches at the Stonewall Rally. The crowds really went wild as usual for their favorites: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, and of course Todd Gloria. Rich’s once again had one of the best entries. When will awards be given out for best contingents again? A big “thank you” to Fernando Lopez of San Diego Pride whose idea it was, and who organized the tribute to Orlando to lead our parade. Also job well done to Stephen Whitburn and Sarafina Scapicchio.

I had a nice talk with the new Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning (honorary grand marshal) about the national campaign to get a naval vessel named after Harvey Milk.

As for me, I am getting too old and thank goodness Susan Jester (Founder of AIDS Walk) and I were provided with scooters and rode all the parade with the mayor’s contingent.

One San Diego, and on this day we all were!

]]> 1
Vaguely vegan Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:44:43 +0000


Recently at a vegan restaurant, with surprisingly (to me) delicious dishes, a friend, Don, invited me to a dinner prepared by his girlfriend of three months for whom he had become a strict vegan and yoga devotee. He, and his sunken cheeks, proclaimed a loss of 30 pounds.

On arrival I found four guests discussing celibacy politics (note, no comma) and the efficacy of vegan life on menstrual cycles. Incapable of commenting on either topic, I offered a toothy smile and girded my loins for what omened to be a long evening.

The buffet table’s colorful array looked dry and reeking of health-filled nutriments. The loved one asked us to forebear as she was still learning to cook for “my Donky” (No, I will not comment). Her recipes were from her guru’s wife and featured highly spiced rice, quinoa (?) and tofu featuring veggies from the guru’s farm; all reportedly coddled with “nature’s fertilizer.” I dared not inquire further.

The dressing drizzled on my lettuce wedge was of honey, flax oil and cayenne pepper; a tear-inducing mix of matchless horror. When called to comment, my choked “There are no words” seemed to satisfy. Second helpings went unrequested, thus confirming my suspicion the guru’s wife would not soon be opening a restaurant.

The “fruit fantasy” cake somehow held its form, possibly with chalk. A cacophony of coughing ensued, but went stoically unacknowledged. I left with a clearer understanding of Don’s weight loss.

The next day there were no ill effects save for a colossal eruption of foul and fetid farts which may have been due to the three-day old pizza and tube of raw cookie dough I scarfed down once I got home.

All-Star Game

The recent All-Star Game refreshed memories of schooldays when my athletic ineptitude regularly got me assigned to the outfield. There I prayed with all the fervor of Theresa of Avila that nothing would come my way. When it did, I made a show of valiantly attempting to catch it, but was careful not to. Hey, they never wasted a glove on me and that speeding bullet hurt. After picking the damn thing up, my pitiful throw to someone, anyone, invariably produced groans and laughter. Fun years.

As there was no way to escape the recent flood of All-Star promotions, I had no choice but to pay attention to some of the photos of the stars. After careful examination of the players and pondering the size of their bats, I decided to give the game a look-see.

As a Mainiac, there was the added thrill of seeing several guys from the Red Sox, the only team worthy of mention. Truth to tell, however, it was the Kansas City Royals who dominated, especially when teammates Hosmer and Perez hit home runs in the same inning. For the non-sports minded, that’s very good.

Petco Park looked beautiful and the whole event was sensational. I am glad I decided to butch it up and watch (most of it – Jeopardy was on). For the 40,000 fans, the main fun came later when they hit the Gaslamp. The American supporters drank and partied to celebrate and the National fans drank and partied to forget.

It was wonderfully non-violent and acknowledged as a success by all concerned. The bars, restaurants and hotels are hoping the game will be played here again. I do too; hunky sports men and women are always welcomed in my Hillcrest neighborhood.

]]> 0
Former Compton school board member gets six years prison for unconscious oral sex Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:28:35 +0000

Skyy DeAnthony Fisher

A former Compton school board member who was convicted of oral copulation upon a sleeping straight man was sentenced July 14 to six years in state prison.

Probation was denied to Skyy DeAnthony Fisher, 33, by San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino, who said the emotional injuries to the 25-year-old victim were “profound.”

Fisher will have to register as a sex offender for life after he is paroled. Maino gave him credit for already serving 341 days in jail.

Fisher, who previously claimed to be straight now, says he is gay, according to his new attorney, Luis Guerrero. The explanation came as too little, too late, for the judge.

Maino noted the testimony of Steven who asked Fisher if he was gay before a night of drinking and Fisher denied it, saying he was straight. Maino said Fisher violated a position of trust to engage in oral sex while Steven was asleep and vulnerable in a San Diego hotel room.

Fisher was an elected member of the Compton school board and thus a public official who committed a sex crime. Fisher lost re-election in November 2015 while awaiting trial.

The probation department recommended six years in prison while Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox asked for eight years.

Maino noted the victim called 911 after leaving the motel room and was heard sobbing to a police dispatcher. The victim underwent a full rape examination that included oral and anal swabs that were taken. DNA evidence from saliva was linked to Fisher.

Steven didn’t appear in court for the sentencing, but sent a letter to the judge which called Fisher “a predator” who caused him to “put my manhood on the line.”

“You were supposed to be a friend. You took advantage of our friendship,” wrote Steven.

A jury convicted Fisher Jan. 28 after only 45 minutes of deliberations. He fired his trial attorney Maryetta Marks and hired Guerrero who argued unsuccessfully for a new trial by saying Marks didn’t provide an adequate defense.

Through Guerrero, Fisher abandoned his previous defense that he was straight and Guerrero said Fisher is in fact gay and only came to that realization while in jail.

“Mr. Fisher has since come out and it lifted a heavy burden from his shoulders,” said Guerrero, who added that acknowledging homosexuality “is a big thing in the black community.”

While Fisher was in office, he became controversial through a series of offensive comments including using the word “faggot” for a slain black teenager, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Maino ordered Fisher to pay $1,300 in counseling for the victim who is a college student.

]]> 0
First San Diego homeless murder victim attended MCC Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:18:29 +0000

Angelo De Nardo

A memorial service will be held for Angelo De Nardo, who attended Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and was the first homeless victim killed in a series of five attacks on homeless men. Two others were killed and two seriously injured.

No date has been set yet for the service, but Senior Pastor Dan Koeshall made the announcement after members learned that De Nardo, 53, was killed under the Interstate 5 Bridge near Mission Bay July 3.

“He was a very gentle guy. He wanted to be around people and learn,” said Jude Litzenberger, who teaches the adult progressive Sunday School class that De Nardo attended.

“I got to really like the guy. He was a loving, funny, friendly person who will be hugely missed,” said Kathy Wilson.

Court records say De Nardo was killed early July 3 with some type of weapon and was then set on fire where he normally slept. Authorities said De Nardo was deceased when his body was set on fire. Someone called 911 at 8:05 a.m. when they saw the fire.

“To find out he was killed so violently …” said Wilson, her voice trailing off. “When Pastor Dan made the announcement, I wanted to scream, cry out and grieve.”

Jon David Guerrero, 39, was arrested July 15 and was charged Tuesday with killing De Nardo, Shawn Longley, 41, and Dionicio Vahidy, 23, as well as the attempted murder of two other men.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed special circumstance charges alleging Guerrero committed multiple murders which could result in the death penalty if Guerrero is convicted.

Guerrero’s attorney, Dan Tandon, won a delay in the arraignment Tuesday and San Diego Superior Court Judge Fred Maguire re-set it for Aug. 3. Guerrero remains in jail without bail.

Because he wasn’t arraigned, Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey or Tandon would not comment on any details of the case other than to verify what charges were filed.

The second victim, 61, was attacked July 4 in the Midway District and survived. Longley was found dead near tennis courts in Ocean Beach July 4.

Vahidy was found critically injured July 6 downtown and died July 10. The fifth victim was attacked in Golden Hill July 15 by a man on a bicycle and Guerrero was arrested an hour later.

Images of the attacker wearing a green hat were captured on surveillance cameras at a service station where a man was seen buying a gas can. A police sketch was widely distributed.

Third District Councilmember Todd Gloria said the incidents were “senseless and cowardly attacks on some of our city’s most vulnerable neighbors.” He said, “No community should ever be serially terrorized or forced to live in fear.”

Police arrested Anthony Padgett, 36, July 7 because he had a prior record for burning a homeless man in 2010, but he was released July 11.

As Teresa Biery was leaving MCC July 3, she noticed police cars and officers standing on Clairemont Drive not far from where De Nardo often slept.

“My first thought was someone may have jumped. Later I saw the photo of Angelo from the news and recognized him even without his glasses,” said Biery.

“He made this church his home,” said another member.

In mentioning De Nardo’s death, Koeshall talked about the prevalence of hate that seems to have risen sharply this summer, such as the attack upon a gay club in Orlando that killed 49 people, the five police officers shot in Dallas, and terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere.

Hate must be countered by love, said Koeshall.

Koeshall said the church often gives out food to those in need, and De Nardo always produced $1 in exchange for food even though he didn’t need to do that.

“He was kind of a unique guy, very functional,” said Litzenberger about De Nardo.

She said De Nardo told her he took medication for schizophrenia and met with a therapist. He had some type of disability income and even had a cell phone.

“If (the attacker) knew Angelo, he wouldn’t have done it,” said Litzenberger.

De Nardo went out to lunch with people from the Sunday School class and always paid his own way. He attended MCC off and on since 2014.

This writer knew De Nardo from MCC and had lunch with him. He was a gentle soul, intelligent, and is already missed.

Koeshall said he wanted the memorial service to also be held in the memory of the other two victims.

]]> 2
The TP ticket Thu, 21 Jul 2016 18:58:20 +0000

Yes, I mean the toilet paper ticket. From now going forward I will refer to the Trump/Pence ticket simply as the TP ticket. Something that Americans should flush down the toilet. LGBT Americans in particular. Of course, Trump’s thoughts on Mexicans as rapists, a ban on Muslim immigration, or the infamous wall, also alienate the majority of voters in America.

With the pick of Pence, Trump doubled down on the anti-LGBT policies adopted in the Republican platform this year. The platform says children “deserve a married mom and dad,” and refers to “natural marriage” as between a man and a woman. The platform further calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn same-sex marriage, appointing Supreme Court justices that support traditional family values, restricting access to bathrooms by transgender Americans and conversion therapy for LGBT children.

Surprisingly Republican LGBT leaders have reacted negatively to the platform. “There’s no way to sugarcoat this: I’m mad as h—- — and I know you are too,” Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, wrote in a fundraising email sent last week. “Moments ago, the Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.” All LGBT people should flush TP.

Pence embodies the anti-LGBT platform and Trump knows it. The VP candidate personifies everything that is wrong with the Republican Party with respect to the gay community; he signed the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) in 2015. RFRA was basically a law that would have allowed people to discriminate against LGBT people. You know like refusing to make wedding cakes or saying we don’t serve LGBT people at this dry cleaner.

Pence defended RFRA until the unprecedented national backlash against the discriminatory law. Pence relented and made changes to RFRA after organizations like the NCAA, Apple, Salesforce, Eli Lilly and Anthem, to name a few, cried foul. Some governmental organizations even suspended taxpayer funded travel to Indiana. But Trump thinks Pence is the perfect VP candidate. What does that say about what Trump thinks about the LGBT vote?

This presidential election season, I implore all LGBT people to call out their brothers and sisters who support the TP ticket. No more accepting the excuse that an LGBT person is voting for the Republican Party because they are a fiscal conservative. You need to ask your LGBT Republican friends to justify the party platform and TP’s implicit acceptance of it. As if any LGBT Republican would have the cajones or tubes to actually say they are Republican at this point.

I can’t wait to see the TP ticket circle the bowl in November. An energized LGBT vote will make all the difference.

Stampp Corbin


San Diego LGBT Weekly

]]> 0
New poll shows Latinos’ overall unfavorable view of Trump and the Republican party Thu, 21 Jul 2016 18:34:51 +0000 WASHINGTON, D.C.— Latino Victory Fund, Latino Decisions, and Fusion released the results of a poll conducted on Tuesday night to assesses Latinos’ attitudes toward the Republican nominee and the Republican Party during the Republican National Convention. The polls, which will be conducted on a nightly basis during the convention week, highlight Latinos’ sentiments and attitudes towards Trump, and the effect these sentiments have on their view of the Republican Party and down-ballot candidates who are either supporting Trump or who have denounced him.

View poll results here.

Highlights from Tuesday night’s poll:

  • 72% of respondents say they are watching or following the Republican National Conventionon TV or online.
  • Over the last year Donald Trump has said, “The Hispanics love me. Latinos love Trump, and I love them.” When asked if respondents love Donald Trump, 88% said no.

Latinos’ opinion of Trump:

  • 81%of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Donald trump
  • 83%of respondents describe Donald Trump as racist
  • 82%of respondents describe Donald Trump as foolish
  • 80%of respondents describe Donald Trump as dangerous
  • 81%of respondents describe Donald Trump as unstable

Latinos’ opinion of the Republican Party:

  • 76%of respondents describe the Republican Party as old
  • 78%of respondents describe the Republican Party as anti-immigrant
  • 75%of respondents describe the Republican Party as angry

Latinos’ opinion of Trump’s rallies and events:

  • 77%of respondents describe Trump rallies and events as dangerous
  • 80% of respondents describe Trump rallies and events as hateful
  • 74%of respondents describe Trump rallies and events as scary
]]> 0
Democratic Party endorses Mara Elliott for city attorney Thu, 21 Jul 2016 18:27:51 +0000 Mara Elliot

Mara Elliott

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Democratic Party has endorsed Mara Elliott for City Attorney.

San Diego County Democratic Party Chair, Francine Busby said: “Mara Elliott is the only candidate with the experience to get the job done as San Diego’s next City Attorney. As Chief Deputy City Attorney, Mara Elliott has held polluters accountable, ensured tax dollars are spent wisely in our neighborhoods, and strengthened fair pay laws for all San Diego workers.  Mara Elliott is the only candidate for City Attorney who will fight for working people in all of San Diego’s neighborhoods, not just the wealthiest among us.”

The Democratic Party’s endorsement comes on the heels of Mara Elliott’s come from behind win in June’s primary where she was outspent by three of four opponents and considered a major underdog by the political establishment.  The Democratic Party’s endorsement is considered a major boost for Mara Elliott since Democrats outnumber Republicans in San Diego 41% to 25%.  The candidates in the general election are Democrat Mara Elliott and Republican Robert Hickey.

Mara Elliott said: “San Diego deserves a City Attorney who is ready to hit the ground running on day one to get things done for all of our neighborhoods.  As City Attorney, I’ll work to build safer communities by strengthening the neighborhood prosecutor program and cracking down on domestic violence.  I’ll continue to deliver results on the issues that matter to all San Diegans like reducing crime, protecting our beautiful environment, and protecting seniors and kids against fraud and abuse.”

Mara Elliott is endorsed for City Attorney by the Deputy City Attorneys Association, former City Attorney John Witt, former State Senator Christine Kehoe, and Councilmember Marti Emerald.


]]> 0
Watch: New HRC video features proud dads of transgender children talking about equality Thu, 21 Jul 2016 17:11:56 +0000

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released a first-of-its-kind web video exclusively featuring fathers of transgender children describing their experiences. The video also highlights the fear and hurt their families face due to anti-transgender prejudice and policies.

The fathers highlighted in video include JR Ford of Washington, D.C.; Joe Ghartey of New York; Wayne Maines of Maine, whose family’s story was also featured in a recent best-selling book, “Becoming Nicole,” and Keith Thomas, of North Carolina, a state that lies at the center of the debate over transgender equality following passage of the discriminatory HB2. The dads discuss their families’ journeys and the hopes and fears they have for their transgender children.

“Supportive parents can make all the difference in the lives and wellbeing of transgender children,” said Jay Brown, HRC’s Communications Director. “As a transgender man blessed with loving parents, including an amazing father, I know first-hand the comfort and courage these fathers bring to their children. In a world that so often hurls insults and condones bullying, these dads exemplify love of family and a steadfast commitment to the health and safety of the children they cherish.”

“As more and more people realize the humanity and dignity of transgender people of all ages, the mean-spirited and dangerous attacks we have seen from anti-LGBTQ activists and some politicians will grow increasingly unpopular and unsustainable,” Brown continued.

In an upcoming published in conjunction with the Dads for Transgender Equality video, one of the fathers, Wayne Maines, says, “transgender children and adults are the strongest and most courageous people I have ever met, but I worry about my daughter’s future every day. I worry because, to this day, transgender people are denied the same rights as their peers. I worry because transgender people face significant fear and discrimination. […] I worry because some Republican politicians have decided that it’s good politics to target a vulnerable group of people that includes my daughter.”

The emotional video of four dads comes during the Republican National Convention, where, earlier this week, delegates adopted the most anti-LGBTQ platform in their party’s history, including a plank opposing the transgender equality. HRC has joined with several LGBTQ advocacy organizations to support a national ad campaign detailing the personal harm imposed by anti-transgender legislation. The ad will appear during both the Republican and Democratic conventions.

In 2015, the HRC Foundation released another moving video, Moms for Transgender Equality, featuring four mothers of transgender children sharing their stories and explaining how their transgender children have enriched their lives. The Moms for Transgender Equality video and companion videos were viewed more than 7.5 million times over various social media platforms.

Watch the Dads for Transgender Equality video above.

]]> 0
Miss Gay San Diego Contest 2016 is coming. Are you ready? Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:59:13 +0000 Miss Gay SD 2SAN DIEGO, Calif. –The 2016 Miss Gay San Diego Contest is coming! Organized by The Imperial Court de San Diego the contest will take place Sunday, Aug. 7 from 5-9 p.m at Rich’s Nightclub, 1051 University Ave. in Hillcrest.

Are you ready to compete? If so, contestants are currently being sought for this popular drag pageant. Contestants will compete in the following categories: swimsuit, talent, evening gown, and a question and answer.  A panel of community judges will select the winner.

Community members are encouraged to attend the contest, as the evening will be filled with entertainment and will benefit the programs of The Imperial Court de San Diego. A $10 donation will be charged at the door.

Those who wish to compete should contact Regina at 619-288-1183 or Fina at


]]> 0
The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:18:43 +0000

Straight No Chaser

thursday, july 21

Straight No Chaser

If the phrase “male a cappella group” conjures up an image of students in blue blazers, ties and khakis singing traditional college songs on ivied campuses … think again. Straight No Chaser are neither strait-laced nor straight-faced, but neither are they vaudeville-style kitsch. They have emerged as a phenomenon with a massive fanbase, numerous national TV appearances and proven success with CD releases.

Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Dr. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets $57, 800-745-3000,

Funny Business

friday, july 22

Funny Business

In this riotous sequel to Bedside Manners, Ferris agrees to look after his sister’s seedy hotel with its assortment of guests, all of whom have guilty secrets they do not wish divulged. The unexpected arrival of a notorious hotel critic/journalist complicates matters, and a dizzy round of lies and subterfuge ensues as Ferris attempts to protect the hotel’s reputation – a task made more difficult by the fact that he does not know which of his guests is the journalist!

PowPAC, Poway’s Community Theatre, 13250 Poway Road in Poway, 8 p.m., tickets $22, 858-679-8085,

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

saturday, july 23

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Hamlet, prince of Denmark, is haunted by the death of his father and the hasty remarriage of his mother to his murderous uncle. He wreaks madness, murder, love and hate in this powerful and influential tragedy. Shakespeare’s timeless classic sears to life in a contemporary setting.

Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way in Coronado, 8 p.m., tickets $20-$27, 619-435-4856,

Freddy Lockhart

sunday, july 24

Freddy Lockhart

After graduating from Tempe Corona Del Sol high school, Lockhart moved to Hollywood, to begin performing at The World Famous Comedy Store. In 2004 he made his national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. After that he worked regularly in film and TV. He currently tours all over the world and can be seen in both Los Angeles and New York when he is not touring.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 7 p.m., tickets $10, 619-795-3858,

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

monday, july 25

Summer International Organ Festival

This Monday’s program features San Diego area organist Alison Luedecke who performs with her orchestral group, The Millennia Consort.

Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Pan American Road E in Balboa Park, 7:30 p.m., free, 619-702-8128,

JUNK: The Golden Age of Debt

tuesday, july 26

JUNK: The Golden Age of Debt

The Deal. The Board Room. The Takeover. This is the battleground where titanic egos collide, where modern day kings are made and unmade. It’s a world where debt is an asset and assets are excuses for more debt, a world where finance runs the show. How did we get here? How did the world we once knew change? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ayad Akhtar takes us back to the hotbed of the ’80s and offers us an origin story for the world that finance has given us, a sexy and epic thriller about an upstart genius hell-bent on changing all the rules.

La Jolla Playhouse, Forum Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr. in La Jolla, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $43, 858-550-1010,

Bonnie Raitt

wednesday, july 27

Bonnie Raitt

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt comes out swinging on the Concert Hall stage with music from her latest (20th!) album, Dig in Deep, which was released Feb. 26. The follow-up to 2012’s triumphant Slipstream, the new record illustrates the delicate balance of consistency and risk-taking that has defined the 10-time Grammy-winning Raitt’s remarkable career for more than 45 years.

Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets from $49.50, 619-570-1100,

]]> 0
This show is as absolutely bonkers as it is fabulous Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:09:10 +0000

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

In the pantheon of TV series not about gay men that gay men tend to be obsessed with, Absolutely Fabulous is bigger than Designing Women and on a par with The Golden Girls. Almost obscenely popular in the U.K. (with ratings comparable to Cheers at its high point), Ab Fab has more of a cult status in the United States, mostly because of gay men. Ribald, high-camp, and very British, the show is focused on the drunken, drugged and generally debauched antics of PR agent Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and fashion editor Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). Despite her success, Edina has no self-confidence and relies heavily on her false bravado, theoretical knowledge of fashionable trends, Patsy’s friendship, her deceptively ding-a-ling assistant (Jane Horrocks) and her deeply disapproving daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha). Patsy relies on drugs, liquor, her slowly fading beauty, and a list of sexual conquests so long it would make the promiscuous gay man blush – or cheer. The show is as absolutely bonkers as it is fabulous; several of its 41 episodes that aired from 1992 to 2012 are among the greatest half-hours of farce TV has seen.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, the feature film that picks up some time after the 2012 episodes, is not as good as any of those classic episodes like “Fashion,” “France,” and “Poor.” No one should expect that it would be. It is, however, an utterly entertaining, often very funny 90 minutes that will help you forget for a time the hideous, violent world of mass murder, global warming and Donald Trump. Well, murder may be a bit hard to forget about, since that’s key to the plot. Still, it’s not a gruesome murder and maybe not a murder at all.

The film opens with Edina discovering that she’s broke and her memoir, her hope for riches, is utterly uninteresting to book publishers. Her only PR clients are (as they have been for years) the ’60s pop singer Lulu, Emma Bunting (better known as Baby Spice), and a boutique vodka. She’s a has-been and dejected and her credit cards are “broken.” Meanwhile, Patsy, who works as an editor for a fashion magazine but relies on Edina to pay for everything, is planning a celebrity-studded party and discovers that the supermodel Kate Moss has fired her flack. Edina hatches a plan, involving her precocious 13-year-old granddaughter Lola, to sign Kate at the party. As things do in the world of Ab Fab, disaster strikes: Kate Moss falls off a balcony into the River Thames, disappears in the dark water, and Edina is blamed for pushing her.

As the world mourns in a perfect parody of celebrity death culture, Edina and Patsy hatch another disastrous plan and then abscond to the South of France in search of a rich husband for Patsy. Throughout the various antics, there are the trademark Ab Fab motifs of gauzy fantasy sequences, inebriated pseudo-philosophical dialogues, mincing queens, parades of hilariously hideous dresses, pratfalls, double-takes and jokes about Edina’s weight, Patsy’s insatiability and Saffron’s dumpiness.

Given 90 minutes, Jennifer Saunders wasn’t forced to be as taut with her screenplay as she had with the series episodes. While the scenes themselves are snappy, the plot meanders. Still, I laughed and loved seeing Saunders and Lumley, comedy geniuses of the highest order, return to these iconic roles. I had fun.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Directed by Mandie Fletcher

Written by Jennifer Saunders

Starring Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha

Rated R

]]> 0
Ghostbusters Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:06:37 +0000

Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig in Ghostbusters

also playing

In one of the worst examples of modern panicky emasculation, small-minded men who spend their lives complaining on the Internet had a collective meltdown when it was announced that Ghostbusters would be remade with women playing the roles originated in 1984 by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. For some reason, they claimed that this new film – to star Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones and directed by Paul Feig – would somehow destroy their childhood memories and usher in some sort of feminist autocracy that would bring about mass castration and, eventually, the End Times. I had planned on buying tickets simply to irritate the cellar-dwelling Twitter trolls. And while the movie is not as great an experience as the original, it’s delightful, silly summer entertainment.

Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, who is about to earn tenure in the Department of Physics at Columbia University. When it’s discovered that she co-wrote a book on the paranormal with her old friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) but also actually believes in ghosts, she’s fired. She reluctantly joins Abby, her brilliant engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), and eventually a streetwise New York subway worker named Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) to form the Ghostbusters and investigate the rising spectral activity in New York.

The plotting isn’t as interesting as the original, which involved spectacular supporting performances by Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, and neither Wiig nor McCarthy shine in family friendly fare as much they do in their R-rated hits like Bridesmaids, Skeleton Twins and Spy. But McKinnon’s edgy, queer, utterly bizarre Holtzmann steals almost every one of her scenes, and Jones’s Patty, who is grounded, smart and infectiously cheerful, is the most fully realized character she’s ever played. Both the action and effects are well handled, even if many of the ghosts and scares are homages to the original film. What is different is that the new Ghostbusters is an action comedy about capable, tough women who are focused on their friendships and saving the day – not on men saving, loving or bettering them. A feminist summer blockbuster? More please.

]]> 0
CMS data highlight: Health disparities experienced among older sexual minorities Wed, 20 Jul 2016 19:51:26 +0000 CMSThe Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS OMH) posted online national data – for the first time ever – exploring differences in 15 health characteristics between adults 65 years of age or older (older adults) who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (sexual minority), and older adults who identify as heterosexual or straight (sexual majority).

This data present estimates using data from two years of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS 2013-2014) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showing statistically significant differences for several health characteristics between sexual minority and sexual majority respondents.

Key Findings:

  • Among persons aged 65 and older, 62.7% of sexual minority respondents reported that they are in excellent or very good health compared to 45.9% of sexual majority respondents.
  • Nearly 80% of older sexual minority respondents reported that they received an influenza vaccine during the past year compared to nearly 70% of older sexual majority respondents.
  • More than half (51.3%) of the older sexual minority respondents reported that they had been tested for HIV compared to only 15.8% of the older sexual majority respondents.
  • Nearly twice as many older sexual minority respondents (14.5%) had five or more alcoholic drinks in one day – at least once in the past year – compared to older sexual majority respondents (6.7%).

Data Source: 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

The Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is committed to supporting the departments’ goals and to advancing sexual orientation and gender minority data collection and research.

]]> 0
Gay racing star Freddy Niblack graces cover of Compete magazine Wed, 20 Jul 2016 19:24:50 +0000 CompeteINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Freddy Niblack is quickly making a name for himself in the world of professional sports. As the only out and proud driver in racing, Niblack has taken the LGBT community by storm. Niblack’s success continues to grow, and he has drawn the attention of LGBT sports fan from around the country. His achievements can be seen in this month’s issue of Compete Magazine, in his first ever cover story.

As a young child growing up in Speedway, Indiana, Niblack dreamed of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Being a gay man in any sport has its challenges but being a gay man in professional racing is even more difficult. As racings only out driver, he has been competing his entire life, both on and off the track.

Motorsports are growing in popularity amongst LGBT sports enthusiasts and Niblack admits that the he has seen an increase in LGBT fans at the race track.  “The past few months I believe have been a turning point in my career,” Niblack states. “For the first time, I began to feel support from my community.”

Niblack admits it gets lonely being on the road but seeing getting support from the LGBT community is a breath of fresh air. “I race better when I’m happy. Seeing LGBT people in the stands makes me happy and very proud. I want their love and support but most of all, to make everyone proud.”

]]> 0
Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR announce inaugural LGBT fund recipients Wed, 20 Jul 2016 19:05:56 +0000 Singer Elton John speaks during a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New YorkDURBAN, South Africa – The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are today announcing the first two recipients of The LGBT Fund. The inaugural recipients are the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (The Alliance) and the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF).  These partners will administer small grants and provide key technical expertise addressing stigma and discrimination through innovative and community-led approaches in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.

First launched in London by Sir Elton John and Ambassador Deborah L. Birx in November 2015, the $10 million Fund was created to address stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. The grants will strengthen the capacity of local community organizations and expand HIV prevention and treatment for LGBT people.

Further, three PEPFAR supported countries will be funded to increase access to quality HIV services for LGBT people in high HIV burden geographic areas.

“On behalf of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR, I’m delighted to present the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (The Alliance) and the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) as inaugural recipients of The LGBT Fund,” said Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “Establishing The LGBT Fund between EJAF and PEPFAR is something we’ve worked towards for a long time in our attempts to make a real and lasting difference in HIV awareness, education and prevention. Just earlier today we visited Anova clinic, a project both EJAF and PEPFAR have funded in the past. The work they are doing through their ‘We the Brave’ programme, the first large scale campaign ever in South Africa to address both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgmental and sex positive way, is something for us all to be incredibly proud of. We look forward to building long standing relationships with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (The Alliance) and the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) in a similar way.”

“We stand with and for LGBT people everywhere who are too often forced into the shadows and lack access to HIV services,” added Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “Together we are putting our words into action to reach LGBT people with HIV services and stop stigma in its tracks.”

This Fund, which will work closely with UNAIDS and other partners, is part of our joint and steadfast efforts to collaborate with community leaders, civil society and service providers – leaving no one behind in the HIV/AIDS response. By providing small grants and targeting projects that support LGBT people in countries with a high HIV burden, the Fund marks an important step toward ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

]]> 0
Logo greenlights ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ for a ninth season Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:51:55 +0000 RuPauls--NEW YORK, N.Y. – Hot off the heels of two Emmy nominations and one of the most watched seasons in the show’s history, Logo today announced the season nine renewal of its hit reality series, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Additionally, the network has greenlit docuseries “Fire Island” to premiere in 2017.  Both series join the recently announced new reality dating competition series, “Finding Prince Charming,” hosted by Lance Bass which will debut on the network this fall.

After scoring the franchise’s third Emmy nomination and an unforgettable season that saw year-over-year ratings growth, digital records shattered with the most watched premiere in series history, and highest digital downloads in network history, Mama Ru will return for a ninth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”*

In its eighth season, the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” phenomenon reached new heights.  The show’s ability to connect with an ever growing popular audience while at the same time receiving rave reviews from major media outlets is a testament to Drag Race’s ability to push boundaries creatively and intellectually.

RuPaul will be back to turn up the heat this summer with “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race” season 2 premiering Thursday, Aug. 25 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Logo with a queen-sized 90-minute episode.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers. Pamela Post and Tim Palazzola serve as Executive Producers for Logo.


]]> 0
San Diego City Council votes for plastic bag ban Tue, 19 Jul 2016 23:29:40 +0000 SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Council City voted 6-3 today to become the 150th community in the state to ban single-use plastic bags from grocery stores and convenience stores, joining the state’s other major cities in enacting a ban.
“San Diego’s vote provides added momentum for Prop. 67, which would protect the statewide ban signed by Gov. Brown that the out-of- state plastics industry is challenging in November,” said Mark Murray of California vs. Big Plastic, the group leading the effort to uphold the state law. “This puts more wind in our sails in our effort heading into November.”
San Diego becomes the 17th community to enact a plastic bag ban despite the challenge from the plastic bag industry. Sacramento County, Santa Barbara County, and Del Mar are among the communities that have added bans in the past year.
The citywide ban, which will take effect in early 2017, was first introduced in 2015 and garnered wide support from business, ocean advocates and other coastal supporters, including from a group of school children who testified in front of the city council about the negative effects of plastic in the environment.
More than 45 percent of the state’s population is now covered by a local plastic bag ban. However, it is estimated that the rest of the state’s population not living under a plastic bag ban will go through eight billion plastic bags every year, many of which end up polluting the environment and killing marine life.
The citywide ban bolsters Southern California support for Proposition 67. If a majority of voters in November vote yes on Proposition 67, upholding the state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, a statewide ban will go into effect immediately. Proposition 67 is being challenged by plastic bag manufacturers, and it will be the last item on the ballot. A YES vote will uphold the law. Independent polling shows the plastic bag ban is supported by a nearly 2-1 among the state’s registered
]]> 0
HRC and Walgreens join forces to ensure respectful treatment of LGBTQ patients Tue, 19 Jul 2016 18:54:20 +0000 HRC RX 2WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation in partnership with Walgreens, released a resource guide that helps pharmacists better understand the needs of LGBTQ customers and patients. The guide, which is being distributed by the pharmacy giant to more than 70,000 health care professionals across the country, provides pharmacists and pharmacy staff with information on LGBTQ identities and terminology, as well as the health disparities and unique concerns of LGBTQ patients.

“LGBTQ people often experience barriers to care, and, for many, their most frequent interaction with a health care professional occurs right in their own neighborhood pharmacy,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health Equality Project. “This guide will help ensure that they are treated with dignity, respected in their identities, and able to gain the necessary and inclusive health care we all need to live and thrive.”

Similar to resources and trainings provided by HRC’s Health Equality Project to other healthcare providers, the guide recommends steps that pharmacies can take in establishing LGBTQ-inclusive care, including staff training, inclusive restroom policies and community outreach. In addition, it provides pharmacy specific information on transition-related services for transgender people seeking hormone replacement therapy and on HIV prevention and care — including the prescription medication PrEP, the daily pill regimen that can help people remain HIV-negative.

“With almost 8,200 drugstores nationwide, touching the lives of eight million customers daily in stores and online, we have a tremendous opportunity to serve as a model of quality and individualized care for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” said Richard Ashworth, President of Pharmacy and Retail Operations for Walgreens. “By making training materials available to all our pharmacists and health care service providers, we can do even more to create a welcoming environment and build LGBTQ patients’ confidence and trust that the health care advice we provide is sensitive to their unique needs and concerns.”

Walgreens received perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, which measures LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies and practices.

In addition to Walgreens, the guide has also been promoted and publicized by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and The ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) to their thousands of members.

The release of the guide comes almost two months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a nationwide rule banning discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity in all health care programs that receive any federal funding, including pharmacies.  The new rule provides a life-saving layer of protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people and their families.

Read the full resource guide here.

]]> 0
RNC Committee passes most overtly anti-LGBTQ platform in history Tue, 19 Jul 2016 18:42:31 +0000 WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Monday blasted the Republican National Committee for the platform committee’s decision to pass a platform with a slew of anti-equality provisions, including attacks on transgender people and a commitment to overturn nationwide marriage equality.

“The RNC’s convention theme might as well have been ‘Take America Backward Again,'” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Republican Party has just formally adopted the most overtly discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ platform in history. Unfortunately, we can only expect more of the same from Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who seem committed to driving the GOP back into the dark ages.”

Leading LGBTQ Republicans agree – they have called the platform the most anti-LGBTQ in the party’s 162-year history. Below is a snapshot of some of the anti-LGBTQ provisions embedded in the Republican Party platform, which is expected to be approved by convention delegates, and where the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, stand:

On Marriage Equality:

Republican officials continue to reject the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that gave same-sex individuals the nationwide right to marry. The platform asserts that laws and government regulations should only “recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” and explicitly calls for “judicial reconsideration or a Constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to states.”

The Trump/Pence ticket: Donald Trump opposes marriage equality — pledging to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a justice who would overturn equality. Pence is also a longtime-foe and urged amending Indiana’s Constitution to outlaw marriage equality after DOMA was ruled unconstitutional.

On Family and Society:

The platform “supports adoption organizations that refuse to serve gay couples,” and suggests that “children raised in households without a mother and father are more prone to use drugs, commit crime and get pregnant outside of marriage.” The platform also cites discredited research asserting that “children raised in a ‘traditional two-parent household’ are likelier to have healthier outcomes.”

The Trump/Pence ticket: As governor, Mike Pence’s “right to discriminate” bill could have allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love.

On the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA):

The platform vigorously endorses the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), a deeply discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bill that would sanction unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people. Under FADA, individuals or organizations could deny spousal and parental rights, allow housing discrimination against LGBTQ people, or exclude same-sex couples from adoption or foster care, all while bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers.

The Trump/Pence ticket: Trump has committed to signing the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” a bill to enable taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people in the federal government. Trump said at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, his priority as President would be to “preserve and protect our religious liberty.”

On Conversion Therapy:

The platform includes affirming language about so-called “conversion therapy,” a dangerous and discredited practice that falsely claims to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Republicans cited “parental rights” to justify supporting the practice, which is tantamount to child abuse. Former leaders of the conversion-therapy movement have denounced the practice and its presence on the RNC platform.

The Trump/Pence ticket: In 2000, Pence wanted to cut funding for HIV prevention and redirect the funds toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

On Transgender Rights:

Republicans are using the platform to affirm their support for discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ bills in North Carolina and Mississippi targeting the transgender community. The platform in two separate sections calls for legislation to prevent transgender people from “using public restrooms that align with their gender identity,” arguing speciously that it is “illegal and dangerous” and “alien to America’s history and traditions.”

The Obama Administration’s historic end of the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving openly in the military was also attacked by the platform committee, which crafted absurd language warning against the “modification or lessening of standards” throughout the military.

The Trump/Pence ticket: When asked about laws like North Carolina’s deeply discriminatory HB2, Trump said he supported the law, saying, “I’m going with the state. The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.” Trump previously told Sean Hannity that when it comes to laws like North Carolina’s HB2, Trump said he would “leave it up to the states.” Pence and Trump oppose guidance from the Department of Education that clarifies that transgender students have a right under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity, saying, “The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”

On Non-Discrimination Protection for LGBTQ Americans:

While the official 2012 Republican Platform states that the party will “strongly enforce antidiscrimination statutes and ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance,” there are glaring exception: it excludes a number of state and federally protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

]]> 0
Help create safe schools at GLSEN San Diego County’s third annual comedy ‘Fun’draiser Tue, 19 Jul 2016 18:18:51 +0000 GLSEN FundraiserSAN DIEGO — Raising money for a great cause has never been more enjoyable! Join the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) San Diego County Chapter for a night of fun and laughter. GLSEN San Diego County is hosting its third annual Comedy “Fun”draiser to raise money to support inclusive classrooms and safe schools for all. This 21 and up event will take place Thursday, August 4 at 4545 Park Blvd., home of the historic Diversionary Theatre. The evening begins with a complimentary wine and cheese reception at 7 pm, followed by a night of hilarious stand-up comedy at 8 pm.

Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased in advance at or at the door (depending on availability).

The host for the evening is GLSEN San Diego County Co-Chair and local comedian Chet Sewell. Sewell will be joined by some of San Diego’s top stand-up comedians including Emily H. Allyn, Sarah Burford, Michael Castleberry, Jaleesa Johnson and Brandon Potter.

All proceeds from the event will go toward supporting GLSEN San Diego County’s work to aid area high school Gay Straight Alliances, empower its Jump-Start Student Leadership Team, conduct trainings with local teachers, staff, and administrators on creating safe schools for all students and provide schools with inclusive curriculum.

GLSEN strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

]]> 0
Time to getaway Tue, 19 Jul 2016 17:43:02 +0000 IndulgeWork hard play hard.  Labor Day 2016 will soon be here, and you don’t want to miss a chance to stay with INNdulge Palm Springs.  Book now and enjoy the time off you deserve.

Whether you want to socialize with friends or spend time with someone special, INNdulge Palm Springs is your perfect getaway.

INNdulge’s  aim is to provide you with a vacation to remember, the opportunity to relax, meet new friends or catch up on some rest. INNdulge couldn’t be better placed; just a few minutes from the center of Palm Springs with its international style restaurants, the shopping experiences in town or at Cabazon, and hiking at the top of the aerial tramway.

INNdulge offers a 24 hour 12 man jacuzzi and heated pool (which is also chilled in the hottest weather).

Amenities include free WiFi, front desk service and assistance with bookings, guest laundry, gym, air conditioning, misters outdoors to keep you cool, and breakfast is included.

INNdulge is celebrating 20 years, so book now and remember at INNdulge clothing is forever optional!



]]> 0 Construction begins on San Diego’s first LGBT-affirming senior community Tue, 19 Jul 2016 17:26:59 +0000 Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks,  speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Sue Reynolds, president and CEO of Community HousingWorks, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Community HousingWorks (CHW) and the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the highly anticipated North Park Senior Apartments, San Diego’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing community.

Speakers included Assemblymember Toni Atkins; City Councilmember Todd Gloria; Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks; Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center; and several #LGBTseniors.

CHW is developing 76 senior apartment homes at the corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue, just south of El Cajon Boulevard, in North Park. Construction on the $27.5 million community will take approximately 18 months, and residents should be able to move in by December 2017.

“Many of us do not have family to support us… we need this kind of housing,” said Robert Bettinger, an 87-year-old gay man who has been an outspoken advocate for #LGBTseniors in San Diego.

While one in five California seniors faces poverty, #LGBTseniors are especially vulnerable because they are more likely to be single, more likely to have lower incomes, less likely to have enough money saved for retirement, and less likely to have adequate family and social support networks. Many are forced back into the closet during their golden years due to a lack of acceptance among their peers and managers of senior housing apartments.

Bettinger, one of the speaker’s at today’s groundbreaking, was part of a grassroots working group at The Center that planted the seed to create a community that supports and affirms #LGBTSeniors almost a decade ago. The group more recently organized a study of the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors. Titled “LGBT San Diego’s Trailblazing Generation,” the study found that 23 percent of #LGBTseniors earn less than $20,000 a year and 68 percent have neither family nor younger friends they can count on for support or assistance.

Open to all seniors, the North Park Senior Apartments will provide an affirming and supportive community for #LGBTseniors, with supportive services provided on site. The community is a collaboration between nonprofit San Diego-based affordable housing developer Community HousingWorks and The Center.

“Many people are going to benefit from relief from isolation, depression, and anxiety and find that moments in their last days can be full of compassion and warmth,” Bettinger said. “I’m happy for the many people who will go forward in hope, safety and comfort.”

Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks, said the new community is one step toward meeting a tremendous need in the community.

“The Baby Boom generation has only just begun to retire, and seniors are especially vulnerable to poverty and isolation,” Reynolds said. “We expect this community to serve as a model for others in San Diego and to inspire similar LGBT-affirming developments in other cities.”

Outside of San Diego, there are four LGBT-affirming affordable communities for seniors: in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. A fifth is under construction in San Francisco.

“Our seniors form the very foundation this community has been built upon,” said Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center. “They led us from the Stonewall riots through the most devastating years of the AIDS crisis to where we are today, yet their needs are often overlooked. These pioneers of the LGBT community deserve our respect, our support and, when necessary, our help. Providing a welcoming, supportive affordable place for our seniors to live is a fundamental way to show our gratitude.”

City Councilmember Todd Gloria said: “We have an obligation to take care of the trailblazing generation that bravely fought for the freedoms we all enjoy today. Ultimately, all senior housing community should be open and affirming to LGBT seniors, and all seniors who need an affordable home should be able to find one.”

North Park Senior Apartments is conveniently located in a walkable urban neighborhood with access to transit, employment, shopping centers, a park, a recreation center, and full-service grocery stores.

Consistent with CHW’s commitment to sustainability, the development will include a solar thermal system, water-saving fixtures, and energy-efficient building design. The community will also include indoor and outdoor social and recreational areas; a large community space for meetings, events, and services provided by The Center; and features like a second-story courtyard overlooking the neighborhood, a rose garden and a small park.

CHW received strong support from the North Park Planning Committee when it sought to entitle a mixed-income development with 194 apartments, including a 117-unit market-rate apartment complex across the street from the 76 at North Park Senior Apartments. The market-rate development will be constructed concurrently by Alliance Residential.

As with the rest of San Diego, rents have increased sharply in North Park and apartments are hard to find. Combined, North Park Seniors and the Alliance community will be the largest new construction in North Park in decades and will help address our region’s housing needs by providing both affordable housing and more market-rate supply.

Multiple public and private community partners came together in funding the $27.5 million North Park community. Here is a breakdown:

  •       Union Bank construction loan: $15 million, which reduces to a loan of $4.5 million
  •       US Bank: investor in low income housing tax credits for $11.2 million
  •       San Diego Housing Commission: $7 million loan
  •       CHW: $4.2 (equity and loan combined)
  •       FHLB-SF Affordable Housing Program sponsored by Torrey Pines Bank: $750,000
  •       Miscellaneous and refunds: $760,000

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will live at North Park Senior Apartments?

All applicants who meet the age requirements for 55+ senior housing and who qualify as earning equal to or less than 60% of the Area Median Income (1 person: $35,700 and $40,700 for 2 persons for 2016), as defined by guidelines issued annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State of California, will be eligible to apply and will be treated equally without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected class status or characteristic.

How much will rent be?

If the apartments were available today, the rents would range from $710 to $1,100. Rents and income restrictions are subject to change. HUD monitors the rental markets and sets the income limits for each county in the country and affordable rents are adjusted annually based on that data. An anticipated schedule of rents is listed below:

  •    Studio: $710 – $860
  •    1-bedroom: $760 – $915
  •    2-bedroom: $905 – $1,100

When and how can individuals apply?

The formal selection process will begin when the Interest List opens in May, 2017. You will need to be registered on the Interest List in order to secure an opportunity to submit an application in 2017. There will be public information sessions in September/October 2016 and the February/March 2017. More information on the income qualifications, application and selection process will be forthcoming in September, concurrent with the community information session, which will be announced in advance.

]]> 0