Los Angeles Blade: LGBT News, Rights, Politics, Entertainment http://www.losangelesblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Mon, 22 Oct 2018 03:27:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 New migrant caravan hopes to reach U.S. http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/21/new-migrant-caravan-hopes-to-reach-u-s/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/21/new-migrant-caravan-hopes-to-reach-u-s/#respond Sun, 21 Oct 2018 17:51:45 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743139

A caravan of upwards of 4,000 migrants left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Oct. 14, 2018, with hopes of entering the U.S. Sources in Honduras have told the Los Angeles Blade that some of the migrants are LGBTI.

Thousands of migrants who are trying to reach the U.S. left Honduras on Oct. 14.

Reports indicate the migrant caravan, which left from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, reached the Guatemala-Mexico border on Oct. 19.

Activists in San Pedro Sula and in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa with whom the Los Angeles Blade spoke last week said upwards of 4,000 migrants are part of the caravan. The activists also said some of the migrants are LGBTI.

The Blade’s attempts to speak with LGBTI migrants who are part of the caravan have thus far proven unsuccessful.

President Trump has threatened to cut U.S. aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador if their governments did not stop the migrants from leaving their countries.

“We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END),” he proclaimed on Oct. 16 in a tweet.

Trump on Oct. 18 said he would “call up the U.S. military and close our southern border” if the Mexican government did not “stop this onslaught.” He has also described the migrants as a “large flow of people, including many criminals.”

The Mexican government has begun to process migrants who have entered the country from Guatemala. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 18 in a statement said the U.S. welcomes the Mexican government’s announcement that it will work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees “to address immigration issues in the region, including the influx of people arriving in Mexico.”

Pompeo on Oct. 19 spoke further about the migrants during a press conference with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray in Mexico City.

“The challenge related to securing our southern border is also a challenge for American sovereignty,” said Pompeo.  “We’ve got to fix U.S. laws in order to handle this properly as well. That is an American burden, a uniquely American burden, and as President Trump has said, it’s something that we need to address inside of our country to make sure that we do this well. If we get it right, we will improve the relationship between our two countries materially as well.”

Pompeo later told reporters before he left Mexico City that outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto deployed 500 federal police officers to his country’s border with Guatemala. Pompeo also noted four of them were reported injured on Friday during clashes with migrants who were trying to enter Mexico.

“We understand that to be accurate,” said Pompeo. “We don’t know the severity of those injuries, but I want to express my sympathy to those four policemen. That’s evidence of what this really is. This is a group, a large group of people; they are putting women and children in front of the caravan to use as shields as they make their way through. This is an organized effort to come through and violate the sovereignty of Mexico, and so we’re prepared to do all that we can to support the decisions that Mexico makes about how they’re going to address this very serious and important issue to their country.”

Caravan becomes midterm election issue

The caravan left Honduras less than a month before the U.S. midterm elections.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and Salvadoran Vice President Óscar Ortiz on Oct. 11 reiterated their governments’ concerns over separation of migrant children from their parents under Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy when they spoke at a conference at the State Department that focused on prosperity and security in Central America. Vice President Pence, who spoke at the conference alongside Pompeo, again urged countries in the Northern Triangle — Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — to stem the flow of migrants.

“The leaders in the room, the governments that you represent, should tell your people don’t put your families at risk by taking the dangerous journey north to attempt to enter the United States illegally,” said Pence. “The truth is your message can probably be summed up by telling them that if they can’t come to the United States legally, they shouldn’t come at all. Say it with strength and say it with compassion as neighbors and as friends because it’s the truth.”

The Honduran government in an Oct. 16 press release said the caravan “was organized by political sectors with false promises of receiving a humanitarian visa that (would allow migrants) to pass through Mexican territory and seek refuge as an asylum seeker in the United States.”

Activists in Honduras with whom the Blade has spoken over the last year say the Honduran government has not done enough to address violence, discrimination and a lack of economic opportunities they have said prompts LGBTI people to leave the country. The activists also noted more than 30 people died in violent protests that took place across Honduras last November after Hernández’s disputed re-election.

The Honduran government in its press release urges migrants “not to put their lives and those of their children at risk,” noting hunger and human trafficking are among the risks they face. The Honduran government also said it “will continue to provide assistance (to migrants) to return to their communities.”

More than 10,000 Salvadorans currently live in D.C.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in January criticized the Trump administration’s decision to end the Temporary Protected Status program for Salvadorans, which has allowed up to 200,000 of them to receive temporary residency permits that have allowed them to stay in the U.S. Bowser traveled to El Salvador in August and reiterated her administration will continue to help migrants who are living in D.C.

A human rights observer watches over a group of migrants who left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Oct. 14, 2018.

Trans woman who died in U.S. custody was part of earlier caravan

The migrants that left San Pedro Sula on Oct. 14 are part of the latest migrant caravan from the region in recent years.

Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran with HIV who was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on May 9 when she asked for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego, was part of a 300-person caravan that traveled to the U.S. border. Hernández died at a New Mexico hospital a few weeks later while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A group of 16 trans and gay migrants from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico who called themselves the Trans Gay Migrant Caravan asked for asylum in Nogales, Ariz., on Aug. 10, 2017.

Anti-LGBTI violence remains commonplace in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, poverty and a lack of access to education and health care are among the myriad issues the region’s LGBTI community also face.

LGBTI Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans are among the more than 225,000 migrants who have tried to enter the U.S. over the last year, even through advocates in the three countries have told the Blade the Trump administration’s immigration policy continues to spark fear throughout the Northern Triangle.

Current U.S. immigration policy has also prompted LGBTI migrants from Central America to remain in Mexico and seek asylum there.

A picture of Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in ICE custody in May, hangs on a wall inside the offices of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 11, 2018. (Los Angeles Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

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Millions raised at GLSEN Beverly Hills fete http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/20/millions-raised-at-glsen-event-at-beverly-hills-fete/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/20/millions-raised-at-glsen-event-at-beverly-hills-fete/#respond Sun, 21 Oct 2018 00:00:06 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743119

Eliza Byard opens the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for GLSEN)

Norman Lear and Jeffrey Katzenberg in the same room, supporting safer school environments across the country for LGBT youth; it’s kind of all that needs to be said about the GLSEN 2018 Los Angeles Respect Awards, held October 19 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It was a power room, to be sure.

(L-R) Jeffrey Katzenberg with Sheri Kersch-Schultz and Norman Lear at GLSEN Respect Awards, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Oct. 19, 2018. (Photo by Troy Masters)

But the room was bursting with prominent members of the LGBTQ community and allies alike, including Honorary Co-Chairs Robbie Rogers, Simon Halls, and Connor Franta, Co-Chairs Jim Fielding, Dave Karger, Patrick Moran, Chip Sullivan, and additional special guests including Shannon Beveridge, Logan Browning, Gloria Calderon Kellett, Charlie Carver, Diego di Marco, Tommy Dorfman, Kat Graham, Olivia Jordan, Sasha Lane, Arturo Mesquite, Our Lady J, Judy Reyes, Roselyn Sanchez, Cammie Scott, Shangela, Meher Tatna, Eric Winter, and many more. Did we mention Joan Collins? And Billy Porter?  And Ryan Murphy? We could go on.

The event, which raised over $1.5 million, honored actress and activist Yara Shahidi, Will & Grace co-creators and executive producers Max Mutchnick & David Kohan, actress, producer, and activist Ellen Pompeo, Elizabeth Gabler, President, Fox 2000 Pictures, accepting on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film, and Student Advocate of the Year Ruby Noboa.

GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard announced a staggering $1 million donation: “Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers are making a transformative gift to GLSEN at a critical time in our history. I cannot thank them enough for the opportunity to take on today’s urgent challenges while building for GLSEN’s future. I have no doubt that their gift will change and save lives here and everywhere, and inspire others to join the fight. Thank you, Greg and Robbie.”

Byard also announced the group would be opening West Coast headquarters in Los Angeles.

The Berlanti Family Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of all LGBTQIA people and their straight allies through education, the arts, medicine and other social services is poised to make additional contributions to other group’s this year, but felt that the work that GLSEN was doing merited an inaugural donation.

Howard Schultz attend the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLSEN)

The evening was filled with special presentations and performances, as each honoree was recognized for their outstanding work and activism on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Former Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace, before welcoming the stars of Will & Grace to the stage.

Schultz, an ally, shared an amazing example of his own leadership for equality:  “One of my proudest achievements (at Starbucks) involves LGBTQ rights. We at Starbucks were one of the first companies in America to support same-sex marriages,” he said to thunderous applause. “Today we offer full benefits to same-sex partners and offer medical benefits for transgender employees without exclusions for medically necessary care.”

But, he told the audience those positions have been not without shareholder consequence. “At a shareholders meeting a gentleman stood up and questioned my decision to offer health benefits to same-sex partners, arguing we should not impact the economic interest of all shareholders for something that affects a small percentage of our employees. I told him and the 3,000 shareholders in attendance that ‘with respect, this was not an economic decision. Starbucks is a company that defines itself by the relationship our employees have with their communities. We embrace diversity and inclusion, I said.  And if he or anyone else in the room disagreed with that position they could sell their stock in the company.” The room was electrified.

(L-R) Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally, Debra Messing, and Eric McCormack attend the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLSEN)

Schultz, who delivered several hysterical one liners, then introduced Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally, the cast of Will and Grace who presented the Champion Award to the show’s creators, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.

(L) David Kohan and (R) Max Mutchnick, creators of Will and Grace, speak to Variety on the Red Carpet at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Oct0ber 19, 2018. (Photo by Troy Masters)

Mutchnick, in his characteristic humor, poked fun at Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers for their mega-donation. “We admire you not simply because you are younger, richer and have more shows on the air than we do (that fact is actually annoying to us) we admire you both for your talent, generosity and spirit.”

To the cast of Will and Grace, Mutchnick took another dig, drawing great laughter from the crowd of Hollywood insiders.  “What can we say.  You are nothing without us.” He went on to disprove himself, saying “they know it’s the other way around and most importantly Business Affairs knows it’s the other way around.”

To the many students at the event, Mutchnick said, “Thank you in advance for saving the world. We’re sorry,” one of many references through the night that implied the LGBTQ community was facing a tremendous socio-political setback.

David Kohan, an ally and best friend of Mutchnick since childhood, jokingly struggled to explain how Max might have been a better person if GLSEN had existed while they were growing up. “Imagine there had been GLESN when we were in High School,” Kohan said, “I think you would be, I don’t know, more, ahm….nice.”

Their sparring revealed the depth of a loving, life long relationship.  “Are you upset because I am sitting next to Norman Lear,” Mutchnick implored, adding “is that what this is about? I just wanted to see how a legend eats chicken”

The pair heaped praise on Norman Lear, who received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. “Norman, we owe you so much for showing us that a sitcom can be so important in just 30 minutes,” Mutchnick said. “You taught how to make what we do an instrument of social change. The rest we learned from our collaborator, Jimmy Burrows.”

They praised the work of GLSEN and, as Kohn put it, helping ensure that “everyone’s story can be respected and heard.”

Later Mutchnick gave Kohan a glowing tribute. “When we were in High School, David was my GLSEN. I went to him and I came out; he listened, he didn’t judge and he gave me the support and confidence to go out into the world and feel good about who and what I am. Not every school has a Dave, but we need to make sure every school has a GLSEN.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg said that “having become grandparents,” his wife Marilyn and he “have come to appreciate the work of GLSEN in a whole new way.” Having grandchildren, he said, makes you “think about the world you will leave behind and the future you wish and hope that your grandchildren will experience.”

He introduced Student Advocate of the Year Ruby Noboa, a resident of the Bronx, NY who established an LGBTQ center there. Noboa, who’s girlfriend is a transwoman, retold the story of attending a women’s march holding a sign that read “Trans Women Are Real Women.” “I tried to include all the names of trans women who had been murdered that year but couldn’t fit all of them,” she said. “I was scared to walk around with my sign and I thought ‘do I really want to open myself up to the anger of some feminist?’ and my heart answered yes.” She said “I don’t mind risking my life to make the voice of thousands visible. Don’t be afraid to open the door and hand over the mic.”

Kathryn Prescott, a GLSEN Boardmember whose trans son Tyler committed suicide at 15 years old said that “being misgendered and victimized by peers and teachers at school each day was too much. It’s up to those of us who are still here to make things better for our own children and all of us.”

GLSEN, she said, “is making a real difference everyday. They connect with state and local governments, school boards, PTA’s, teachers unions, individual teachers, GSA’s, students and parents across the country to touch the lives of student’s everywhere. GLSEN is changing the very fabric of our country by extending its reach to every school in our country to ensure that every child can thrive.”

“I still think about Tyler everyday,” she said, “I know that he would be proud of me. And if every here would make a commitment to the changes we need in our laws, and in our schools we could protect everyone of our children.”

Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes praised Inspiration Award recipient Ellen Pompeo for her “fearless advocacy work on behalf of so many marginalized communities of people.” Pompeo accepted her award by calling out the names of those whose lives have been “senselessly taken due to an absence of love,” and reiterating the need to teach and love our children. “I am a Love activist,” she repeated.

Storm Reid welcomed her friend, Gamechanger Award honoree Yara Shahidi, to the stage, commending her for using her platform to enact social change. Shahidi delivered an inspiring acceptance speech, thanking GLSEN for encouraging a world of equality for everyone.

Elizabeth Gabler accepted the Visionary Award on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Films, taking the opportunity to thank Greg Berlanti for creating the beautiful film that was “Love, Simon.”

Ryan Murphy attends the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLSEN)

There was no shortage of these heartfelt moments, as additional presenters including Matt Bomer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Katherine Langford, Ryan Murphy, Billy Porter, Nick Robinson, and MJ Rodriguez, all took to the stage to praise their friends, colleagues, mentors, and allies, who have continued to spread a message of love and acceptance through both their personal and professional lives. As always, the students were the center of the evening, speaking about the remarkable work that they’ve done to create a safe environment at their schools, launch Gender and Sexuality Alliances, and much more.

(L-R) Max Mutchnick, Brianna Davis, Ruby Noboa, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sameer Jha, Darid Prom, David Kohan, Imani Sims, JP Grant, Sayer Kirk, and Kian Tortorello-Allen attend the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 19, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLSEN)

National Student Council members attending included Anais Canepa, Brianna Davis, JP Grant, Sameer Jha, Sayer Kirk, Darid Prom, Imani Sims, and Kian Tortorello-Allen.

GLSEN recently released a National School Climate Survey, the latest and the largest body of research on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, including the extent of the challenges that they face at school and the school-based resources that support LGBTQ students’ well-being.

The survey has consistently indicated that specific school-based supports are related to a safer and more inclusive school climate, including: supportive educators, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, inclusive and supportive policies, and supportive student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

For the first time in years, new data shows progress on safe schools for LGBTQ youth has slowed down, making the work that GLSEN is doing even more imperative.

For nearly three decades, GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, educator training, student organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy. With the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and GLSEN national programs like Day of Silence, No Name-Calling Week, and Ally Week, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work.

An attendee, Donna Wilkens, who flew in from Nashville for the event, put it best. “Tonight was a revolution for me and I’m gonna pass it on.” Wilkens says she started a GSA at the rural Tennessee High School where she teaches and that it has become the number one social group at school. “GLSEN makes a profound difference and these kids take that home. And so on.”

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amfAR honors Katy Perry and Blake Mycoskie at Wallis Annenberg http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/amfar-honors-katy-perry-at-wallis-annenberg/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/amfar-honors-katy-perry-at-wallis-annenberg/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 22:57:23 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743112

Katy Perry on the Red Carpet at 2018 amfAR Gala Los Angeles, Oct. 18. (Photo by Christian Balderas)

The Red Carpet was glittering on Thursday night at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, as Hollywood celebrities, social media influencers, models, philanthropists and politicians posed for the cameras as they arrived for the ninth annual amfAR Gala Los Angeles.

This year’s Gala honored Pop-superstar Katy Perry and TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, who were presented with amfAR’s Award of Courage in recognition of their commitment to the fight against AIDS and other humanitarian causes.

Among the many celebrities spotted on the Red Carpet: Zack Bia, Ian Bohen, Matt Bomer, JR Bourne, Charlie Carver, Jon Corzine, Tara Dollinger, Tommy Dorfman, Carmen Electra, Max Emerson and Andres Camilo, Eve, Mayor Eric Garcetti, amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, Gigi Gorgeous and Nats Getty, Kat Graham, Anwar Hadid, Delilah Belle Hamlin, Tricia Helfer, Barron Hilton, Tyler Hoechlin, Sarah Hyland, Kandee Johnson, Victoria Justice, Jaime King, Viktor Luna, Gilles Marini, Ongina, Robert Pattinson, Tyler Posey, Grant Reynolds, Luka Sabbat, Katee Sackhoff, Jeremy Scott, Milissa Sears, Stephanie Shepard, Travis Shinn, Robin Thicke, Luke Wessman, Rumer Willis, Brittany Xavier and others were also in attendance. And of course, Perry.

Many people on the Red Carpet were asked how they might envision the moment when, as amfAR dreams of announcing in 2020, a cure for AIDS is found.

Perry told Variety’s Marc Malkin, “I would go out to the streets dancing,” she said. “Just dancing and holding people and throw just like one big dance party.”

Heidi Klum told Los Angeles Blade, “that would be an amazing day, the day millions of people around the world are given hope that they could live a full life.”

Rumer Willis, actress daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore said she hopes the event will “remove the stigma around HIV and AIDS. Millions of people should not live in fear.”

August Getty come out because “it’s important for the next generation to get involved. We are all impacted by AIDS and we need to recognize it.”

Inside the event, Darren Criss, on guitar, sang a medley of Perry’s biggest hits following a welcome from Creative Artist Agency powerhouse Kevin Huvane.

Chris Tucker greeted the audience and performed before introducing amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. Frost thanked sponsors and donors for making the evening possible. He also recognized guests who have been pioneers in the fight against AIDS, remarking that “our continued success, and ultimately, our quest to find a cure for this disease will be determined by committed individuals, just like all of you.”

Producer and entrepreneur Liz Heller presented the amfAR Award of Courage to TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, sharing stories of his work with South African youth affected by HIV/AIDS. Accepting his award, Blake Mycoskie shared his experience of losing a loved one to AIDS, and noted that “5,000 people still contract HIV every day.” He reminded guests that their support makes them “the hero in the story” of ending AIDS.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented Katy Perry with the Courage Awards and she jokingly told the audience she hoped he would do something about “those fucking Bird scooters” but quickly returned praise to the Mayor for his loving words. “I’ve never had anyone speak about me like that.”

At one point during her speech, a wistful Perry waxed political: “Today I understand a courageous life is the only one worth living and courage can’t always be easily defined but we all know it when we see it, especially when we feel it. It goes without saying that we are living in a bit of a tumultuous time but it’s times like these that courage tends to catch the light and sparkle for all to see.”

Hundred of thousands of dollars were raised during the silent auction; Perry offered herself up for a tour of Disneyland, “If you have kids who love me, I’ll sing ‘Roar,’” an offer that spiraled into the stratosphere and garnering a winning bid of $170,000 from Heather Lang and Blake Mycoskie.

A lunch with Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, the popular online charitable retailer, was auctioned off for more than $150,000.

Other popular items like a golf outing and lunch with Andy Garcia for four guests; a private evening for 40 guests with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff at The Nice Guy featuring libations from Absolut Elyx Vodka and Perrier-Jouët Champagne; a luxury truffle hunting excursion for six guests, which included three nights at the Locanda del Pilone in Piedmont, Italy, Michelin-starred white truffle dinner, and private tour and wine tasting at Boroli estate with Achille Boroli; a Rolex “DeepSea” Edition watch signed by H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco and tickets to the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean; and an exclusive invitation to attend the 2019 Monaco ePrix and gala dinner as the guest of H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco.

After the auction, hosted by Heidi Klum, a donation match of up to $50,000 was issued by global investment firm Bain Capital. Donations were made in honor of amfAR Award of Courage recipient Blake Mycoskie, who partnered with Bain Capital in 2014 to help TOMS further its mission. Longtime amfAR supporter Fredrik Eklund kicked off the cash call with a $30,000 donation.

The evening raised more than $1.7 million for amfAR’s lifesaving research programs.

Dame Shirley Bassey ended the night with a spectacular orchestral performance of “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Almost Like Being in Love,” “I Am What I Am,” and “Goldfinger.” After the moving and powerful performance, guests attended the after party at Delilah, the exclusive Los Angeles club.

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New GOP repeal effort will have severe impact Californians http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/new-gop-repeal-effort-will-have-severe-impact-californians/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/new-gop-repeal-effort-will-have-severe-impact-californians/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 21:26:38 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743109

A new report cautions that the Trump Administration and Congressional Republican leadership’s efforts to repeal or significantly alter the remainder of the Affordable Care Act will result in millions of Californians losing federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases.

The report’s findings — generated by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform minority Democratic staff – was released Thursday, Oct. 18 by Rep. Ted Lieu, (D- CA 33) and shows the negative consequences to Californians with pre-existing health conditions. As many as 1,321,000 people in the state who purchase insurance through the individual market have pre-existing health conditions and of those, 576,000 individuals have pre-existing health conditions severe enough that insurers may deny them coverage altogether.

“My district has the most people at risk of losing health coverage or facing premium increases because of the Trump Administration’s perplexing decision not to defend the individual mandate,” Lieu said in a statement. “Why won’t this Administration stand up for families and the millions of Americans who benefit from affordable, comprehensive healthcare? Protecting the very popular clause in the Affordable Care Act that protects Americans from insurance discrimination seems like a no-brainer. But, for Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration, their unending efforts to roll back health protections are as heartless as they are senseless.”

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in the midterm elections next month. McConnell called a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a “disappointment.”

“If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks,” McConnell told Reuters  “We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”

The Senate Majority leader also blamed social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for the fast-rising national debt. “Entitlements are the long-term drivers of the debt,” McConnell told Reuters.
His remarks brought a sharp reaction from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats, who have sought to portray the Republican healthcare effort as an attack on the middle class.

“If Republicans retain the Senate, they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs,” Schumer said in a statement. “Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
A group of Republican attorneys general, led by Texas’ Ken Paxton, and opposed by a group of Democratic attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, filed a lawsuit aimed at striking down the federal health law. The Trump Administration has announced it will not defend in federal court the ACA’s requirement that individuals maintain insurance coverage, including the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions.

This report estimates that as many as 2,050,000 people in the individual market in California may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of their pre-existing health conditions, gender, or age.

Some of the other findings in the report:

Women: As many as 1,212,000 women in the state who purchase coverage through the individual market may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases because of their gender as a result of the Administration’s actions.

Older Adults: If current statutory protections are eliminated, older Americans could be charged more than ten times the amount younger adults pay for their insurance premiums. As many as 856,000 individuals between 50 and 64 years old in the state who purchase health insurance through the individual market may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of the Administration’s actions.

Lieu warns that If the administration’s efforts to eliminate the individual mandate are successful, thousands of Californians will be at risk for losing comprehensive coverage. Without state intervention, California’s healthcare industry could revert back to the era of legalized insurance company discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

Reporting by Reuters and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade

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Delta flight attendant suspended for having sex with porn star mid-flight http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/delta-flight-attendant-suspended-for-having-sex-with-porn-star-mid-flight/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/delta-flight-attendant-suspended-for-having-sex-with-porn-star-mid-flight/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:37:00 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743106
Delta, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo public domain)

Delta has suspended a flight attendant for having sex with a porn star mid-flight after clips of the bathroom hookup were uploaded online.

According to the Daily Mail, adult film star Austin Wolf posted two, four-minute clips of he and the uniformed flight attendant having sex in the bathroom. The tweets have since been deleted.


View this post on Instagram


Shoulders day. Italy, Bologna here I come!!!

A post shared by Austin Wolf (@austinwolfff) on

A source at Delta told the Daily Mail: “If the two guys had gone into the stall, done their thing and discreetly left it at that, maybe he would have gotten away with it. But when the clips were posted online it spread around the airline like wildfire. Someone even put together a meme along the lines of this man’s career going down the toilet. It was such a stupid thing to do — and then to have it posted online, the poor guy must be mortified.”

The attendant reportedly did not know he was being filmed.

Delta released a statement that the employee has been suspended.

“This video does not reflect the standards of professionalism expected of our employees while representing the Delta brand or traveling as passengers on Delta aircraft,” Delta said. “We have suspended the employee and are conducting a full investigation.”

The unidentified employee told DailyMail: “I just want to be left alone please. I’m just trying to get my life back on track.”

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Ellen DeGeneres says she received a bomb threat after coming out http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/ellen-degeneres-says-she-received-a-bomb-threat-after-coming-out/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/ellen-degeneres-says-she-received-a-bomb-threat-after-coming-out/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:33:43 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743103

Ellen DeGeneres (Screenshot via YouTube)

Ellen DeGeneres was celebrated by many during her historic coming out in 1997 but now the talk show host is opening up about the hardships she faced.

In a new interview with Ad Week, DeGeneres reveals she received death threats including a bomb threat.

“When I came out, I had death threats and there was a bomb threat, but they misjudged the time of the taping,” DeGeneres says. “We had already finished, and thank God.”

DeGeneres came out on the cover of Time in 1997 followed by her character coming out on her sitcom “Ellen.” The sitcom was canceled one year later.

She says she never thought the moment would lead to the show’s cancellation.

“I knew there would be people that didn’t like it, but I didn’t realize my show would be canceled,” she says. “I just thought, ‘It’s going to be interesting.’ “

“The last season we did was a great season, and unfortunately nobody saw it because it was not advertised. It was purposely not advertised by ABC and Disney because they just wanted to hold their hands up to advertisers and say we’re not promoting it, we’re not doing this. And I get it. It’s a business, and I understand that. And so everybody had their reasons, and unfortunately, I was just blindsided,” she went on.



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HRC: LGBT voters could be the deciders in 2018 http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/hrc-lgbt-voters-could-be-the-deciders-in-2018/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/hrc-lgbt-voters-could-be-the-deciders-in-2018/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 14:26:18 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743097

HRC’s Chad Griffin (right) with out Rep. Mark Takano at Gil Cisneros campaign event (Photo courtesy HRC)

Chad Griffin is a traveling man, touching down in key states to rally campaigns the Human Rights Campaign has prioritized for the Nov. 6 midterms, including several in Southern California.

After the 2016 election, HRC set up a “war room” to fight defensively for equality “non-stop.” But HRC also changed tactics. “We said we’re going to invest and have the largest grassroots expansion in our history—on the offense,” HRC President Chad Griffin tells the Los Angeles Blade as he drives to a Gil Cisneros campaign event in Brea. That meant prioritizing races, putting organizers on the ground in key districts and states, including a full time staff in California. “You can safely say we’re making six-figure expenditures” in the prioritized California districts.

The strategy is to energize the estimated million-plus LGBTQ eligible voters in California.

“In 2016, 5% of the electorate identified as LGBTQ. That means 7 million voters in the last election identified as LGBTQ. We were one of the only voting blocs that increased our turnout election over election. While it was a depressing election night—much like 2008 here in California—there was a bright spot. We had invested aggressively to oust North Carolina’s Republican incumbent governor after he’d attacked LGBTQ people—trans people, especially with HB2 –in a state that voted for Trump by 4 points,” Griffin says. “That took a massive grassroots turnout of LGBTQ people and our allies across the state.”

But that was no one-and-done success. HRC conducted research and now, says Griffin, “we have the breakdown for LGBTQ voter data for every single state.”

Using exit polling/turnout data and 2016 Gallup data, HRC concluded that “the California LGBTQ voter number is an estimated 1.4 million eligible voters,” Griffin says. And that number is low, considering how many voters do not come out to strangers asking exit polling questions. Plus, research on millennials indicates that between 15-20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ.

“That is our low bar. But let’s just say that’s the number. With 1.4 million LGBTQ eligible voters in the state of California – that means we can be the deciding factor in all of these key races,” says Griffin. “We can be the deciding factor in who wins an election today. And then you add our allies to that—it is a force.”

But that force flops if LGBTQ eligible voters don’t register and turnout to vote. “No one wants to have regrets” the day after the election that more could have been done, says Griffin, recalling the devastation after Prop 8 passed. “We have to turn out to vote.”

See HRC’s Voting Center here.

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Feinstein, de Leon converse in San Francisco http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/feinstein-de-leon-converse-in-san-francisco/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/feinstein-de-leon-converse-in-san-francisco/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 14:14:27 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743091

(Screen grab of PPCI conversation)

February was such a long time ago. Grassroots fever seized the California Democratic Convention, unexpectedly thwarting the perfunctory endorsement of senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein and puffing a headwind into the sails of her primary challenger, State Sen. Kevin de Leon. “Time’s up!” young de Leon supporters rudely yelled as one of the Democratic Party’s most revered elder stateswomen closed her speech. Both failed to win the CDP endorsement, which made national headlines, but de Leon later won the CDP’s executive board endorsement, another humiliation for Feinstein but with far fewer headlines.

Other than an unexplained emailed death threat from a Lancaster man who is now facing two felonies, Feinstein and her camp seem confident, though her steady 20 point lead has dwindled to 14 points—40 to de Leon’s 26 in an Oct. 16 poll by KABC/SurveyUSA. But, having contributed a multimillion-dollar loan to her campaign, Feinstein far outstrips de Leon in money. On Sept. 30, the end of the last fundraising quarter, Feinstein registered nearly $4.1 million, compared to de León’s $309,000 in the bank.

So it was a bit surprising that Feinstein— who was elected in 1992 and last debated an opponent in 2000—would deign to meet with de Leon, no matter how much he screamed about her ducking a debate. After all, given her lead and all the other news to report, who would notice?

Finally, a compromise of sorts was worked out. The two sat down for an hour of civilized “conversation” in San Francisco with Public Policy Institute of California’s chief executive and president, Mark Baldassare, who asked each candidate questions and prohibited cross-talk before an in-person audience of 100 and a web stream audience at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

It was a watch-the-paint-dry exercise with Feinstein, 85, playing school marm to de Leon’s sound-bite-kid. “It’s time for a change,” he said, promising to be a “fresh” voice for California.

“We are engaged in a battle for America’s soul against a president without one,’’ said de Leon, 51. “It’s time that we stop biding our time and biting our tongue’’ while Trump “unravels…the California Dream.”

Though both agreed that immigration reform should be a top priority, de Leon touted his legislation making California a “sanctuary state” and spoke empathetically about young people brought to the country illegally as children by their parents. “I wish Democrats in Washington would fight like hell for Dreamers the way Donald J. Trump and Republicans fight like hell for his stupid wall,” de Leon said.

That left it to Feinstein to state the painfully obvious: de Leon presided over a Democratically controlled State Senate but the U.S. Senate is in the hands of conservative Republicans.

“You can march, you can filibuster, you can talk all night. It doesn’t change anything. What changes things are elections,” Feinstein said.

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Nunes reelection may be floundering http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/nunes-reelection-may-be-floundering/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/nunes-reelection-may-be-floundering/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:39:08 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743084

California Rep. Devin Nunes (Photo by Gage Skidmore / Courtesy Flickr)

In a race thought to be an easy victory for the conservative Chair of the House Intelligence Committee in the solid Republican red 22nd congressional district, Rep. Devin Nunes is struggling, despite an 8-point lead in the Oct. 4 University of California-Berkley/IGS poll. The incumbent, a staunch ally of Donald Trump, sits at 53% over his Democratic challenger, 34-year-old deputy district attorney Andrew Janz, with 45%.

One shocker: the Fresno Bee endorsed Nunes’ Democratic challenger after having endorsed every congressional reelection since 2002.

And where once he was a Republican fundraising headliner, Nunes recently sent a fundraiser letter to “conservative patriots” in the San Francisco Bay Area to solicit money, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Oct. 15.

“I have become a constant target of attack for the political establishment, the mainstream media, far-left special interest groups and the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party,” Nunes wrote in the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Blade, “I have a close up view of the left’s freakish coalition— the powerful public employee unions, radical environmental organizations, myriad far- left groups and other bizarre elements that comprise the left-wing power structure.”

Noting that Janz has raised millions of dollars and promising to raise “millions more,” Nunes added: “Replacing me in Congress with a leftist would be a major victory for the Democrats. I am depending on conservative patriots like you in California to stand with me.”

The Janz campaign has amassed a multi- million dollar war chest that is being spent on heavy media buys in the Fresno area as the race enters its final two weeks. The Fresno Bee editorial notes that the young Democrat is succeeding without Democratic Establishment support.

“Janz, 34, is a moderate Democrat who is campaigning without party support in his first election. The Democratic national committee has not seen his candidacy as a winner, given the 9-percentage-point advantage Nunes has in voter registration over Janz,” The Bee writes. “While that may seem a negative, it actually is a positive. Janz can act with a degree of independence from party politics and do what he thinks is best for the 22nd District.”

The editorial also called Nunes out for his lock-step support of Trump. “Voters can also choose Nunes and remain stuck with the damaging partisanship he practices, the party-above-country mode that motivates him to protect President Trump from the investigation into Russian meddling more than meet his constitutional obligations as an independent arm of government. Then there is his lack of regard for the needs of his part of California,” The Bee opined.

It is unclear if the Sept. 30 Esquire expose has done any damage, though many politicos were surprised to learn that Nunes’ family dairy farm is actually in Iowa, not in Tulare. Pollster Larry Sabato moved Nunes from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican” in his Crystal Ball forecast. – Karen Ocamb contributed to this story.

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OC Republican candidate Young Kim’s anti-LGBT record http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/oc-republican-candidate-young-kims-anti-lgbt-record/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/10/19/oc-republican-candidate-young-kims-anti-lgbt-record/#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:29:25 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25743076

Republican Rep. Ed Royce and candidate Young Kim
(Photo Courtesy Facebook)

Republican Rep. Ed Royce wholeheartedly endorsed former Assemblymember Young Kim to take his 39th Congressional District seat when he retires at the end of this year. Royce has represented sections of northern Orange, eastern Los Angeles and southwestern San Bernardino counties since 1992, receiving a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBT equality. For 20 years, Kim worked for Royce and according to her subsequent record in the Assembly, espoused many of the same anti- LGBT positions. But Kim, who is in a tight “toss-up” race with pro-equality Democrat Gil Cisneros, is apparently now trying to hide her anti-LGBT voting record.

Asked about her commitment to protecting healthcare access for LGBT folks and people of color during a meeting at Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton on Oct. 3, Kim cited her Assembly vote to “recognize individuals that are making contributions to our community [including] the LGBTQ community.”

She was apparently referring to a 2015 resolution that established June as Pride Month—a resolution that sailed through the Assembly with a vote of 65-0. Kim failed, however, to recognize Pride Month on social media, through a statement, or by participating in any district celebrations. In 2016, Kim also supported Democrat Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill, AB 1732, that passed 55-19, requiring single-user restrooms to be gender-neutral.

That 2016 vote was ironic since a cornerstone of Kim’s 2013 campaign for the 65th Assembly seat was her promise to overturn out Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 1266—a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Aug. 12, 2013 that allows public school students to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities. “That doesn’t represent the values of this community,” she told the Orange County Register in 2014.

Kim’s campaign ads were condemned by The LGBT Center of Orange County. “Young Kim should be ashamed of the campaign ads. They are bigoted and will encourage discrimination and increased violence against an already vulnerable group of children,” Center Executive Director Kevin O’Grady said in a statement. Local school districts, meanwhile, contested the candidate’s claims that the measure would lead to harassment of women and girls, asserting its passage was positive for students.

Once elected, Kim voted against a series of ultimately-successful bills in the state legislature that: required the California Energy Commission to implement outreach programs that included LGBT businesses; banned government travel to states that passed laws discriminating against LGBT residents; required the State Department of Education to assess information on resources provided to LGBT students; urged U.S. Congress to enact the Equality Act of 2015, which would extend protections of the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity; and prohibited state agencies from entering into contracts valued over $100,000 with businesses that discriminate against employees or dependents based on their actual or perceived gender identities.

Kim, who also opposes same-sex marriage, told the Orange County Register that she believes sexual orientation and gender identity are not immutable characteristics, but rather products of “the environment one grows up in.”

“Young Kim has disrespected and actively voted against the LGBTQ community and for her to suggest otherwise is crass and shameless,” Gil Cisneros’s Campaign Manager Nic Jordan told the Los Angeles Blade. “At a time when LGBTQ rights are under constant attack by President Trump and his administration, Young Kim refuses to call out hate, stand up to bullying, and do what’s right. Gil Cisneros has served alongside LGBTQ servicemembers, has met with LGBTQ leaders of the 39th, and is ready to stand with the LGBTQ community and fight for equality, respect, and inclusion for all.”

An Oct. 9 Politico poll has the 39th CD race as a “toss-up,” with Kim hoping to become the first Korean American woman elected to Congress in a district that is 25.8 percent Asian voters and 32.6 percent Hispanic.

Until recently, Kim was leading Cisneros, thanks in large part to an ugly ad attack and campaign mailers from Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund in which a Democratic woman claimed Cisneros sexually harassed her. Cisneros fought back and eventually met with the accuser, Melissa Fazli, who recanted her accusation. “I misunderstood the conversations that I had with Gil Cisneros at the Democratic convention and after. I don’t believe that Gil sexually harassed me,” Fazli said in a statement, the OC Weekly reported Oct. 3.

She also complained that the Republican PAC had used her image and name “without her permission” and accused them of “weaponizing my story for their own political gain. I denounce their ads,” she said. “I believe Mr. Cisneros has a good heart and is truly sorry for the handling of my accusations.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund was forced to pull the ads. Cisneros put out an ad to correct the record and scold Kim for cowardice in failing to “denounce the blatantly false ads while they were airing.”

“Kim can try to wipe her hands of these attacks, but her refusal to call out her dark money allies speaks to her real character,” Jordan said in a press release. “Ultimately, it’s not surprising that Kim continues to demonstrate a complete lack of political courage considering she gladly and willingly has thrown her support behind President Trump.” The Kim campaign did not comment to OC Weekly.

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