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GLAAD glitters with the stars at Beverly Hills gala

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Tatiana Maslan and Paris Jackson present an award to the cast of Transparent. Photo courtesy GLAAD via Twitter.

The 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards were handed out Saturday night in Beverly Hills, and if there had been a theme, it would  have been that the days of the invisible LGBTQ community are gone and if one person or group in the community is under attack,  everyone is under attack.

As Hollywood’s elite sauntered down the red carpet, words like “resist,” and “stand down,” and “our stories are worth telling” reverberated.

Actress Patricia Arquette was honored with the Vanguard Award.

In her acceptance speech Arquette thanked CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, and the organization for honoring her and for their work helping LGBTQ illuminate acceptance worldwide and for helping LGBTQ kids “see that they belong and they are loved and that there’s nothing wrong with them; because visibility matters and trans visibility really matters.”

Arquette spoke about the many transgender women who’ve been murdered, and the push to force Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the murders as hate crimes. “The response from Sessions was silence,” she said. “But LGBTQ people and allies don’t do silence.”

When a woman in the audience cheered, Arquette answered with, “We’re not going anywhere. We will not be erased from your census.” 

The 48-year-old Academy Award winner paid tribute to her late sister, Alexis, known as one of the first transgender activists in Hollywood, who died at 47 last September from complications related to HIV/AIDS.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Mary J. Blige, Sarah Kate Ellis and Trevante Rhodes. Photo courtesy GLAAD via Twitter.

Barry Jenkins’ Academy Award-winning coming of age film, “Moonlight,” took home the big prize for Outstanding Film in wide release.

The film’s writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney and actor Trevante Rhodes were on hand to accept the award from R&B singer, Mary J. Blige.

“We win when we give our children, the ones who are going missing in the night, or wondering how much they matter to us, to each other, to the law… give them the courage, the tools and resources to scatter their light across the cinema walls and make the face of heaven so fine,” McCraney said in his impassioned acceptance speech. “We won for ‘Moonlight’ today, but how are we winning tomorrow?”

The ceremony was held at the swanky Beverly Hilton hotel and was presented by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, in honor of the 2016 season.

Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito. Photo courtesy GLAAD via Twitter.

The event was hosted by comedian, Cameron Esposito, known for her role on Buzzfeed’s series “Ask A Lesbian,” and the popular “Put Your Hands Together” stand-up podcast taped live at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in Los Angeles.

A tribute to the lives lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub attack by Jussie Smollett and a powerful performance of ‘Imagine’ by Cynthia Erivo brought a hushed quiet to the room.

Surprise guest Carly Rae Jepsen joined legendary songwriter and GLAAD Board Member Justin Tranter to present singer-songwriter Troye Sivan with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which honors LGBTQ media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.

In his acceptance speech, Sivan called attention to enormous challenges faced by the LGBTQ community, including violence against transgender women of color and rates of youth homelessness. He concluded with a message of hope of empowerment, saying, “Don’t let anyone strip you of your truth and your love, because those are the foundations of who we are as a community.” He added, “In a time where it might be tempting to retreat into the shadows, I ask you to be louder – keep holding hands, keep finding pride in your identity, keep standing up for those in our community who are most vulnerable, keep love in your heart, and share it with the world.”

Music icon Mary J. Blige presented the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release to Moonlight. Tarell Alvin McCraney accepted the award on the film’s behalf, and was joined onstage by Trevante Rhodes and producer Jeremy Kleiner.

The GLAAD awards recognize media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Attendees wore blue “&” pins to mark the organization’s “Together” movement, which aims to address immigration, racial justice and women’s rights issues.

Also in attendance was Paris Jackson. Jackson and Emmy winning actress from “Orphan Black,” Tatiana Maslany, co-presented the award for Outstanding Comedy Series to the cast of “Transparent.” Including the star of the show, Jeffrey Tambor, creator of the show Jill Soloway, and cast members, Judith Light, Alexandra Grey, Jay Duplass, and members of the creative team all joined together on stage to accept the award.

The cast of Transparent. Photo Courtesy GLAAD via Twitter.

Amazon’s “Transparent” won Outstanding Comedy Series – having won previously in their category in 2015 and 2016.

Shadowhunters’ Harry Shum Jr. and Matthew Daddario. Photo courtesy GLAAD via Twitter.

Freeform’s “Shadowhunters” won for Outstanding Drama Series. Actors Harry Shum Jr. and Matthew Daddario accepted the award for the series.

Vertical Entertainment’s “Other People” won for Outstanding Film in Limited Release.

In Outstanding Individual Episode, “San Junipero” won from the Netflix show, “Black Mirror,” and in Outstanding Daily Drama, CBS’ “The Bold and The Beautiful” won.

In Outstanding Comic Book, James Tynion IV won for “The Woods” for Boom! Studios.

The GLAAD Media Awards will air exclusively on Logo, April 6 at 10 PM ET.  

— By Rebekah Sager

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UCLA Fielding School LGBTQ+ research & health center marks first year

“This is the time for academic institutions to bolster progress made by the LGBTQ+ movement, reduce inequities & close health disparity gap”

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Photo Credit: UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

LOS ANGELES – Opening the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s newest research center, dedicated to the mission of improving the health and social well-being of sexual and gender minorities, would be a challenging task at any time.

For Dr. Matthew Mimiaga, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, founding, organizing, and leading the new UCLA Center for LGBTQ+ Advocacy, Research & Health (C-LARAH), which officially opened its doors in December of 2020, opening the center in the middle of a global pandemic was just part of the job.

“COVID-19 has definitely made every task we’ve accomplished, in terms of organizing, research, and student and community service, more demanding, but what better time than now?” said Mimiaga, who serves as director of C-LARAH. “This is the time for academic institutions to bolster the progress made by the LGBTQ+ movement; we must bridge health, research, and training measures to reduce inequities and close the health disparity gap … and ‘challenging times’ certainly help focus on what is important.”

By any standard, the team of faculty, staff, and students led by Mimiaga, who also serves as a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has met and exceeded those challenges. In 12 months, even as they worked through the day-to-day needs of organizing the center, the team has:

·         Published 38 new scientific journal publications and five book chapters, which can be reviewed here. The findings were published in journals that include The Lancet, The Lancet Global Health, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, AIDS and Behavior, Journal of the International AIDS Society, Journal of AIDS, and AIDS;

·         Collaborated with 37 UCLA graduate students, affiliated post-doctoral researchers, and staff, along with 20 faculty affiliates;

·         Received nearly $8.6 million in federal research funding from five different U.S. National Institutes of Health entities in FY 2021 (>$50 million for all project years for current grants combined); and

·         Built a website for the new center that spotlights C-LARAH’s research program.

In 2020-21, C-LARAH’s research has focused on improving health disparities and health equity among LGBTQ+ communities, including epidemiological cohort studies; developing and testing interventions to decrease sexual risk in HIV primary and secondary prevention; and biobehavioral interventions to enhance uptake and adherence for both HIV treatment (ART) and prevention (PrEP/PEP).

The team has also researched psychosocial treatments for stimulant use disorder and concurrent HIV risk, and opioid use disorder and adherence to medication-assisted treatment; infectious disease and psychiatric epidemiology; and global health research within several resource constrained countries.

In addition to research in the United States, C-LARAH has ongoing global public health research globally focused on HIV primary and secondary prevention. Currently, these include projects in Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Vietnam; and recently completd projects in Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Zambia.

“I’m very proud of the team we’ve assembled, including our UCLA staff, students, and faculty-affilliates and our research partners in the U.S. and globally,” Mimiaga said. “And I am very excited about the impact C-LARAH has had and will continue to have in training future generations of scientists interested in conducting LGBTQ+ public health and clinical research, and ensuring that all sexual and gender minorities can live openly and authentically, and be healthy.”

For more information, see “Promoting Public Health for the LGBTQ Population” from the most recent edition of UCLA Public Health magazine.

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Los Angeles

Out LA City Councilman Bonin says he won’t seek re-election

Wednesday’s announcement came one week after an effort to recall him failed to gather the requisite number of signatures

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Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin (Screenshot via YouTube)

MAR VISTA – In an announcement via YouTube and in a series of tweets Wednesday, Out Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin told supporters that he would not be seeking reelection to his seat representing the 11th city council district.

Wednesday’s announcement came one week after an effort to recall him failed to gather the requisite number of signatures.

“Today I announced I’ve decided not to seek reelection to the LA City Council. This is a difficult, deeply personal decision, and I’ve wrestled with it for several days, but I’m confident it is the right choice for the right reasons,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I’ve struggled for years with depression. It’s a constant companion, and often a heavy one. There are times when this job has made that easier, and times when it has made it more challenging. Instead of seeking another term, it’s time for me to focus on health and wellness.” he continued.

“It is hard for me to speak publicly about mental health, but I’ve always been forthcoming about my addiction and recovery, and about my struggles with housing insecurity. I want to be honest here, too. I believe that sharing about our fragility is how we build common strength,” he said.

“To those who are disappointed by my decision, I am sorry. It is very difficult to walk away from a third term, and the work we have been doing together, but I need to listen to my heart. This is the best decision for me and my family.”

Anger and public dissatisfaction over L.A.’s homelessness crisis had fueled the petitioner’s efforts to oust Bonin who represents Council District 11, the Westside neighborhoods of Brentwood, Mar Vista, Venice, Westchester and Playa del Rey and the area around LAX.

“This recall campaign is an extravagant waste of taxpayer money, a thinly disguised attempt to derail my efforts to provide real solutions to our homelessness crisis, and the latest in a series of recall attempts to silence strong progressive voices,” Bonin said in a press release after he was served the recall notice last June.

“Under Mike Bonin’s watch, the humanitarian crisis of the homeless population is growing exponentially. Taxpayer money is squandered. Fires. Struggling local businesses. Crime is rampant and rising. Neighborhoods and schools are unsafe. We feel afraid to visit public beaches and community parks,” the Recall Bonin campaign’s website read.

Bonin said in his statement that the campaign is backed by right-wing forces and constituents who have fought to stop housing, shelter and services in the coastal neighborhoods, “leaving people to die on the streets.”

Bonin was first elected in 2013, after serving as a top aide to former Councilman Bill Rosendahl. He had been facing a major re-election fight — one that would have been dominated by the issues of homelessness and public safety.

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Los Angeles

[email protected] Coalition receives bomb threat, LAPD investigating

Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department responded and swept the building

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Los Angeles Blade graphic/photo

LOS ANGELES – A bomb threat was phoned in Wednesday afternoon to the Wilshire Blvd. Koreatown offices of the [email protected] Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, the president and CEO of the non-profit organization told the Blade.

According to Salcedo, an unidentified male caller told the staff person who answered at approximately 3 pm, while delivering the threat said; “you’re all going to die.” The staff immediately evacuated everyone from their offices and then contacted the LAPD for assistance.

Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department responded and swept the building. A spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed that the incident is under active investigation but would make no further comment.

On a Facebook post immediately after the incident the non-profit wrote; “To ensure the safety of our clients and staff members, we ask that you please NOT come to our office.”

In a follow-up post, Salcedo notified the organization and its clientele that the LAPD had given the all-clear and that their offices would resume normal operations Thursday at 9:00 AM. “Thank you for your messages and concern for our staff and community,” Salcedo said.

“No amount of threats can stop us from our commitment to the TGI community,” she added.

The [email protected] Coalition (TLC) was founded in 2009 by a group of Transgender and Gender nonconforming and Intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles, California, as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI [email protected] immigrants who live in the United States.

Since then, the agency has become a nationally recognized organization with representation in 10 different states across the U.S. and provides direct services to TGI individuals in Los Angeles.

In 2015, The [email protected] Coalition identified the urgent need to provide direct services to empower TGI people in response to structural, institutional, and interpersonal violence, and the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness was born.

Since then, the organization has secured funding from the state and local government sources as well as several private foundations and organizations to provide direct services to all TGI individuals in Los Angeles County (LAC).

TLC’s primary focus is to change the landscape of access to services for TGI people and provide access to comprehensive resource and services that will improve the quality of life of TGI people.

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