Video: The reality of what happens at The Abbey
The legendary gay bar shows off for the whole world to see
David Cooley celebrated the premiere of his new show What Happens at The Abbey with a party featuring the show’s cast at The Abbey on Sunday night. The Abbey staff and budding reality stars featured in the series walked the red carpet before watching the first episode in the crowded bar that remained open to the public. Cooley appears in the show with an assortment of his hottest staff, including Nick the Gardener of Ellen DeGeneres fame, whose real name is Billy Reilich.
“I am excited to show what [The Abbey] brand is, that I had a dream 26 years ago to open a small coffee house and now here we are with a show on E!,” Cooley told The Blade on the red carpet.
The show, airing Sunday nights at 10 pm on the E! network, is as much a behind-the-scenes look at the personal lives of The Abbey employees as it is a narrative of what is happening at The Abbey. The show promises naked hard bodies, gay drama, straight drama and characters with evolving sexual identity, many of whom are following dreams while slinging and sometimes throwing drinks.
Previews of upcoming episodes show gaymous West Hollywood couple Murray Swanby and Cory Zwierzynski getting into a particularly heated alcohol induced argument and a drink being lobbed to the others face. We don’t know what fueled the martini baptism yet but it’s safe to say it was probably one of them flirting/kissing/sleeping with another, possibly someone of the opposite sex.
Zwierzynski told The Blade his family is thrilled for him to be on the show but he is nervous for them to see him “doing a lot of shots, yelling and saying a lot of things he shouldn’t say.”
Asked what makes a good reality show star, Swanby said, “You have to be likeable obviously but I think you have to be able to bring a little bit of drama and excitement to the show. A boring character is never very fun.”
Some critics argue shows like What Happens at The Abbey and Logo’s recently debuted Fire Island portraying gays living a party lifestyle undermine the gay community by ignoring rights abuses the LGBT community faces from the Trump Administration and atrocities like the mass murder of gays in Chechnya.
Asked to respond to this criticism, Cooley said, “The news is all about Donald Trump, we need a break; we need some laughs; we need some hope.”
And this reporter agrees.
Elton John’s annual Oscars WeHo viewing party raises $9 million
“We mustn’t forget that HIV is still causing needless suffering around the world and we must protect those most vulnerable to this disease”
By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Elton John and husband David Furnish’s annual Academy Awards Viewing Party, featuring special guests Eric McCormack and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, raised over $9 million for the global fight against AIDS via the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The event, which took place at West Hollywood Park Sunday evening, attributed its success to the Foundation’s donors, sponsors, and supporters. The star-studded fundraiser included a performance by singer-songwriter and actress Rina Sawayama.
The guest list included Donatella Versace, Maren Morris, Fan Bingbing, Emma Watson, Wiz Khalifa, Heidi Klum, Dove Cameron, Hilary Duff, Brooke Shields, Lucien Laviscount, Noah Schnapp, Kesha, Rege Jean-Page, Saweetie, Stella Maxwell, Tyga, Sharon Osbourne, Sophia Bush, Maggie Rogers, Jenna Dewan, Julianne Hough, Smokey Robinson, Karen Pittman, Simona Tabasco, Michael Imperioli, and more. Dinner guests were gifted an exclusive Spotlight sunglass frame from the Elton John Eyewear collection.
“We mustn’t forget that HIV is still causing needless suffering around the world and we must protect those most vulnerable to this disease with testing and compassionate care,” said Elton John via a statement. “We can see an end to AIDS in our lifetimes, but first we must break down stigma and discrimination and provide equal access to healthcare to finally end the epidemic for everyone, everywhere.”
“Elton and I are so touched and elated by the generosity we’ve seen throughout this glittering and massively successful evening,” says David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “This funding will help us continue HIV and AIDS prevention and care programs across the world, save millions of lives and help countless people to have a brighter future.”
Rina Sawayama sang “Minor Feelings,” “Hold The Girl,” and “This Hell.” Elton John joined her on stage to perform a duet to the song “Chosen Family.”
“What a spectacular and memorable evening for our 31st Academy Awards Viewing Party,” says Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “We are blown away by the incredible support we’ve received tonight and want to thank every donor, sponsor and attendee who made the evening possible. We’re energised by the funding we raised together, which will significantly boost our life-saving work to ensure that all vulnerable people around the globe can access HIV testing, treatment and care.”
This year’s event, which took place on the 31st anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been instrumental in advancing global health equity for vulnerable groups. The Foundation has been able to raise millions for their life-saving work since the party’s inception in 1992.
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.
The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.
GLAAD Media Awards 2023
Margaret Cho to host the 34TH Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles featuring special performances from Fletcher and Orville Peck
LOS ANGELES- GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer media advocacy organization, announced today that for the third consecutive year, Hulu will serve as the official streaming destination for the GLAAD Media Awards.
The Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 30, 2023 and will be available to stream on Hulu beginning Wednesday, April 12, 2023.
Emmy and Grammy nominated comedian and actress Margaret Cho will host the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles which will feature performances by GLAAD Media Award Nominees for Outstanding Music Artist, FLETCHER and Orville Peck at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. Since its inception in 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have grown to be the most visible annual LGBTQ awards show in the world, sending powerful messages of acceptance to audiences globally.
Special guests include Angelica Ross (Pose, Framing Agnes), Betty Who, Billy Eichner (Bros), Brian Michael Smith (911: Lone Star), Brooke Eden, Chase Joynt (Framing Agnes), Gabrielle Union (The Inspection), Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) Geena Rocero (Horse Barbie), Harvey Guillen (What We Do in the Shadows), Isis King (With Love), Jake Borelli (Grey’s Anatomy), Jen Richards (Framing Agnes), Joel Kim Booster (Fire Island), JORDY, Rafael Silva (911: Lone Star), Ronen Rubinstein (911: Lone Star), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Wolf Pack), Sherry Cola (Good Trouble), Ts Madison (Bros), Zackary Drucker (Framing Agnes), Zuri Adele (Good Trouble) and more.
As previously announced, Christina Aguilera will receive GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award, recording artist and actor Bad Bunny will receive the Vanguard Award and film, television and Broadway star Jeremy Pope will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.
During the Los Angeles ceremony, GLAAD will also announce award recipients for LGBTQ representation in categories that span film, TV, news, and Spanish-language media.
Earlier this year, GLAAD announced nearly 300 nominees.
This past January GLAAD, announced that it is presenting its prestigious Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media to the Los Angeles Blade along with the Washington Blade.
“Together, representing 50 years, the Los Angeles Blade and Washington Blade’s relentless reporting reflects best-in-class journalism, reminding us all that LGBTQ issues and people have a stake in every news story and headline,” GLAAD said in a statement.
Previous recipients of the award have included The Advocate, Windy City Times, and Curve.
Margaret Cho is a five-time Grammy and Emmy nominated comedian, actress, musician, advocate and entrepreneur. Her recent television appearances – guest star on Season 2 of The Flight Attendant (HBO Max), guest star on Season 2 of Hacks (HBO Max) and two Netflix is a Joke comedy specials: Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration and Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin: Ladies Night Live – have expanded an already wide-ranging career, and her role as the ‘mother hen’ in the well-reviewed movie Fire Island.
As a comedian Margaret has been named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time, one of Vogue magazine’s Top 9 Female Comedians of all time, while CNN chose her as one of the 50 People Who Changed American Comedy. Her Disney+ movie, “Prom Pact” premieres on March 30.
Praised by leading outlets like Rolling Stone, TIME, Interview Magazine, and more, acclaimed singer and songwriter FLETCHER hails from Asbury Park, New Jersey, where she cultivated her passion for music and her unforgettably candid storytelling.
In 2019 she released her debut EP ‘you ruined new york city for me.’ The widely lauded EP features her breakthrough hit “Undrunk,” a track that spent several weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, scored the No.1 spot on Spotify’s Viral Chart, and emerged as the fastest-rising song at pop radio from a new artist in the past five years.
Released in September 2020, FLETCHER’s EP THE S(EX) TAPES hit No. 1 on iTunes across all genres featuring gold-certified lead single “Bitter” – which has amassed over 200 million global streams.
FLETCHER’s debut album Girl Of My Dreams arrived in September 2022 featuring the smash single “Becky’s So Hot” which hit #3 on the iTunes chart across all genres and landed on Billboard’s Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart. The album earned raves from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Alternative Press, Vulture and many others while her music has amassed over a billion combined streams worldwide.
FLETCHER’s latest single, “Better Version (feat. Kelsea Ballerini) is available now on the Girl Of My Dreams (Deluxe) edition. In support of her LP, FLETCHER performed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”, and set out on sold-out headline tours across North America, Australia and Europe throughout 2022.
FLETCHER kicked off 2023 with a viral performance alongside Miley Cyrus on her “New Year’s Eve Party” on NBC. FLETCHER will continue her “Meet Her At The Bar Experience” in 2023, a program she launched last year in support of woman-owned queer bars around the country and GLAAD (raising $50,000 for their key initiatives with the support of her fanbase, brand partner JD Sports and co-sponsor Lyft).
Orville Peck is a country recording artist and songwriter known for his deep baritone voice, strong musicianship and songs that are sincere yet bold in their storytelling. Never confirming his identity, Orville, who is openly gay and lived an itinerant life across South Africa and the rural south, is never seen without his signature, fringed mask.
Following the release of his self-produced debut album Pony in 2019, Orville signed with Columbia Records and released his Show Pony EP. Released to immediate critical acclaim early last year, the EP features a duet with global icon Shania Twain and puts Orville’s triumphant songwriting skills and intentional craftmanship on full display. He then followed that up with BRONCO, which he released in chapters, alongside a multitude of cinematic videos. He was also hand selected by Lady Gaga for her Born This Way 10th Anniversary album.
Orville, known for his unique personal style, has collaborated with many fashion brands including but not limited to Dior, Michael KORS, ADIDAS X Ivy Park and Pamela Love amongst others.
Known for his live shows, Orville was one of the first artists to return to touring and has toured across the US, Europe, Australia and Canada. He has had sold out shows at Hollywood Bowl and Ryman Theatre, as well as major festival appearances at Lollapalooza, Stage Coach and Coachella amongst others.
When Orville is not performing or touring, he lends his time to activism and the causes he is committed to.
The Christina Aguilera Advocate for Change Award
Christina Aguilera, who has one of the most celebrated voices in history, has used her platform to be a bold advocate for the LGBTQ community, advancing conversations around LGBTQ acceptance and more, through music. Most recently, her impact on the LGBTQ community was realized after Club Q Colorado Springs shooting survivor, Michael Anderson, invoked her lyrics as he testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on LGBTQ violence.
In 2002, Aguilera dedicated her single, “Beautiful,” to the LGBTQ community, with the line “words can’t bring us down” becoming a personal mantra for many queer people. The song brought a unique awareness and a sense of compassion in the face of hate, earning Aguilera a Special Recognition honor at the 14th GLAAD Media Awards. Last year, the seven-time Grammy-winner celebrated 20 years of “Beautiful” with a brand new music video, reminding people of the importance of accepting themselves for who they are.
A staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights and a visionary for representation, Aguilera raised over $500 million for HIV research with MAC cosmetics in 2004, spoke out loudly against Proposition 8 in 2008 and brought trans dancers and drag artists into the limelight during the 2012 American Music Awards.
Following the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Aguilera dedicated the song, “Change,” to those affected by the tragedy with proceeds from the song going to victims’ families. She later penned a “Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community” for Billboard in 2017. Her very own Pride collection was launched in 2021, to proudly support two nonprofit organizations: TransTech and TransLash. Using the power of music to build bridges and demand change, Aguilera has redefined what it means to be a true advocate for the LGBTQ community, creating spaces for queer voices and talent to be known and thrive: From performing alongside breakthrough LGBTQ artists like Anitta, Syd, Kim Petras, Chika and Michaela Jaé, to condemning anti-LGBTQ legislation like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“Christina Aguilera is a beloved icon who has inspired and shared messages of love for the LGBTQ community since the start of her music career. From using her voice to speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation to creating songs and music videos that showcase LGBTQ love, Christina loudly and proudly raises the bar for what it means to be a LGBTQ ally today,” said GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis.
Bad Bunny’s Vanguard Award
Bad Bunny’s advocacy and outspoken allyship for the LGBTQ community has reached millions around the world . Named Spotify’s most-streamed artist of 2022, with 8.3 billion streams globally, the three-time Grammy-winning artist uses his craft to powerfully speak out as an ally to transgender people and advance equality for the LGBTQ community, bringing his own voice to the forefront to help others see themselves in the world.
As he reimagines the Latin urban music genre, LGBTQ people and issues remain in the vanguards of equality and inclusion for him, especially those in Puerto Rico, where he was born. His live performances and music videos cast an array of voices, experiences and backgrounds, showcasing queer love and affection on full display. For his music video for “Yo Perreo Sola,” he dressed in drag, telling Rolling Stone, “I did it to show support to those who need it. I may not be gay, but I’m a human.”
In a performance for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the rapper paid homage to Alexa Negrón Luciano, a trans woman murdered in the city of Toa Baja, wearing a shirt in Spanish that read: “They killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt.” In 2019, the artist also helped influence a movement to force former Puerto Rican Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to step down from office, after being exposed for corruption and anti-LGBTQ attitudes.
Moving from sound booth to the big screen, Bad Bunny plans to executive produce the forthcoming Netflix adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel, “They Both Die in the End,” which features a queer Latinx storyline.
Previous GLAAD Vito Russo Award recipient Ricky Martin told Rolling Stone that Bad Bunny is an “icon for the Latin queer community.”
“Bad Bunny uses his role as one of the world’s most popular music artists to boldly shine a light on LGBTQ people and issues, including transgender equality and ending violence against trans women of color,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By consistently advocating for our community, elevating our stories, and demanding action from anti-LGBTQ leaders, Bad Bunny redefines the positive influence Latin music artists can have within the LGBTQ community, and has set an example for all artists.”
Jeremy Pope’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award
Jeremy Pope is a multi-faceted out performer who has broken barriers across Broadway, television and film, earning two Tony Award nominations, a Grammy Award nomination, an Emmy Award nomination, and a Golden Globe Award nomination.
His breakthrough film role as Ellis French in Elegance Bratton’s autobiographical first feature, “The Inspection,” follows a closeted Black gay man through Marine Corps Recruit Training in a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” era. That performance earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for “Best Lead Performance.”
Pope’s rise from stage to screen began in 2018, when he earned two Tony Award nominations in the same season – one for Best Lead Actor in A Play for his Broadway debut performance in “Choir Boy” and a second nomination for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his performance in “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” Pope was soon cast in Ryan Murphy’s series “Hollywood,” where he earned an Emmy nomination for his lead performance as aspiring Black screenwriter Archie Coleman. Pope also had a meaningful arc in “Pose” and in the final season of the FX series, his character, Christopher, gave audiences a sense of visibility and belonging for trans experiences and for those living with HIV.
Pope is about to wrap his Broadway run as Jean-Michael Basquiat in Manhattan Theater Club’s “The Collaboration.” Later this year, he will be seen revisiting the role on the big screen.
“Jeremy Pope is one of today’s most talented and dynamic actors who has given life and excitement to important stories that impact and honor the LGBTQ community. Offscreen, Pope has used his voice to have important conversations about being an out actor in Hollywood, which are key to continuing to erase stigma and bias that affect out actors today,” said GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis.
The 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards
This year, GLAAD announced 295 nominees across 33 categories including two new categories: Outstanding Podcast and Outstanding Live TV Journalism – Segment or Special. For the first time ever, the Outstanding Reality Program category was also split to nominate both reality competition series and non-competition series independently.
The Outstanding Kids & Family Programming category was also split to nominate animated and live action programs independently. This year also includes ten nominees in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category for the first time.
Last year, the 33rd GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles were hosted by Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela and were streamed on Hulu.
Cody Rigsby and Peppermint hosted the 33rd GLAAD Media Awards in New York City.
Both ceremonies featured appearances and performances by Dove Cameron, Kacey Musgraves, Ben Platt, Cody Rigsby, Ariana DeBose, Laverne Cox, Karine Jean-Pierre, Wilson Cruz, Cynthia Nixon, Gigi Gorgeous, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Judith Light, Anthony Rapp, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Christina Ricci, Cynthia Erivo, Shangela, JoJo Siwa and many more.
The Executive Producers of the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis and GLAAD’s Rich Ferraro and Anthony Allen Ramos. STAMP Event Co. will produce.
The 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Gilead Sciences, Inc., Hyundai, and Ketel One Family Made Vodka. GLAAD is also grateful to Major Sponsor Delta Air Lines and Official Sponsor Sony Music Group.
To purchase tickets for the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, please visit: www.glaad.org/mediaawards/tickets.
On socials please follow @GLAAD and #glaadawards
Save the date: WeHo Pride 2023
WeHo Pride 2023 in the City of West Hollywood > Updates and Details will be Announced at www.wehopride.com
WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood announces dates for its WeHo Pride 2023 celebration in May and June:
- WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 2, 2023; Saturday, June 3, 2023; and Sunday, June 4, 2023 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The weekend will include a free Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival.
- The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 3, 2023 and Sunday, June 4, 2023 and will celebrate Pride with diverse participation of LGBTQ+ community groups and allied organizations as part of visibility and expression. The Street Fair is free and will feature a vibrant variety of exhibitors along Santa Monica Boulevard. There will be live entertainment and performances on a community stage, highlighting the LGBTQ+ community. The Street Fair is a family-friendly event and is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ+ community experience.
- The Women’s Freedom Festival presented by the L-Project Los Angeles is planned to take place on Saturday, June 3, 2023. The 2023 event will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists. More information will be available in the coming weeks at www.wehopride.com.
- The Dyke March is planned to take place on Saturday, June 3, 2023. For people who are interested in marching, stay informed at www.wehopride.com for route and timing information!
- Get festive as we roll down Santa Monica Boulevard for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 4, 2023! The WeHo Pride Parade is an imaginative and colorful annual tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ+ people and our contributions to community and culture. The Parade is a lively, energetic experience with good cheer and great vibes, and a whole lot of rainbows! Whether you participate in the Parade or join in the fun as a spectator, there’s something for everyone at the WeHo Pride Parade! Organizations and individuals interested in submitting an application to participate as an entrant in the annual WeHo Pride Parade must apply by 5 p.m. on April 15, 2023 by using the form posted at https://www.wehopride.com/news/weho-pride-parade-applications-now-available-2023. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more.
- OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride produced by JJLA is the flagship music festival and concert experience of WeHo Pride featuring Grace Jones, Orville Peck, Santigold, Carly Rae Jepsen, and dozens more! It will take place on Friday, June 2, 2023; Saturday, June 3, 2023; and Sunday, June 4, 2023 at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard with a star-studded, high-energy line-up celebrating and advocating for queer voices in music. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.weareoutloud.com.
- WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place during 40 days from Harvey Milk Day on Monday, May 22, 2023 to Friday, June 30, 2023 at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood. First launched in 2008, and formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, this year’s Arts Festival will feature a stellar range of LGBTQ+ dance, visual art, performance, literary arts, craft, and more. Learn more about Arts Festival events by visiting www.wehopride.com/artsfestival (programming details will be posted as they become available). This year’s Arts Festival launches with a celebration of Harvey Milk Day taking place on Monday, May 22, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., which features the 1st Annual José Sarria Amateur Drag Pageant, a voter registration table, and an interactive photo opportunity.
WeHo Pride celebrations during WeHo Pride Weekend and during May and June 2023 will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. The City of West Hollywood invites community groups to take part in WeHo Pride 2023. Through an application and review process, community groups may apply to request City funding for an independent Pride event, produced entirely by the group or organization. Details are posted at www.wehopride.com/getinvolved by clicking on the Community Group Grants tab for an application. If selected, your event will enter into a co-sponsorship agreement with the City and be a part of the City’s Official WeHo Pride program, occurring between May 22, 2023 and June 30, 2023. The deadline to apply is March 24, 2023.
WeHo Pride Street Fair applications are also currently open for vendors, artists, performers, and more. The Street Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With a wide range of activities and options, there is sure to be something for everyone. LGBTQ+ affiliated community groups who would like to apply for a free booth space in the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here. All other organizations interested in exhibiting at the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here.
Additional details about WeHo Pride 2023 will be posted as they become available at www.wehopride.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.
Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, West Hollywood consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay or lesbian.
Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood since 1979, five years before the City of West Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality. The City’s embrace of Pride is part of its advocacy for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals, and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Advisory Board) and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website.
In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride with programming that represents a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. West Hollywood is a community of choice for LGBTQ people from throughout the world and WeHo Pride embraces a source of deep connection for its LGBTQ history and culture.
WeHo Pride Weekend: June 2 to June 4
OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride: June 2 to June 4
WeHo Pride Parade: June 4
WeHo Pride Street Fair: June 3 to June 4
Women’s Freedom Festival & Dyke March: June 3
WeHo Pride Arts Festival: May 22 to June 30
WeHo Pride Community Group Events: May 22 to June 30
Updates and Details will be Announced at www.wehopride.com
Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook
For more information about WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please visit www.wehopride.com/contact.
For more information about Outloud @ WeHo Pride, please visit www.weareoutloud.com/get-involved.
For inquires to the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division, please email [email protected].
For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.
HIV is Not a Crime holds event at Paramount
The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Gilead Sciences & HIV is Not a Crime presented an event about ending HIV stigma & criminalization
LOS ANGELES – On Thursday on the lot at Paramount, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Gilead Sciences and HIV is Not a Crime presented a powerful event about ending HIV stigma and criminalization. Hundreds of people have been jailed in the 30 states where these laws make it easy to jail/imprison people with HIV; most who have been jailed are Black.
The event included a film about the Louisiana incarceration of Robert Suttle, whose life was altered by a grossly unjust HIV prosecution and conviction.
The film was followed by a play, UNJUST, written by ACT UP NY alumni Lee Raines (Playwright) and expertly directed by Jenny Sullivan, performed by Saidah Arrika Ekulona, John Clarence Stewart, and Jason Stuart. It memorizes the actions of a New Jersey politician who created that state’s criminalization laws.
The play was followed by a panel led by Greg Mathis, Jr., featuring Cecilia C Chung (Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation, Transgender Law Center), Harold Phillips (Director, White House Office of National AIDS Policy), Janet Butler-McPhee (Co-Executive Director, HIV Legal Network), and Robert Suttle (Chair, ETAF Council of Justice Leaders). And a highlight was Nashville based Timothy “T.K. (Thunder Kellie)” Hampton & his YSL2Z Crew’s beautiful performance of “You Shall LHiV 2:ZERO.”
Best of LGBTQ LA 2023
Sixth annual special issue celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. Twenty thousand Blade readers then voted and the winners are presented here
LOS ANGELES – Welcome to the sixth annual special issue of the Best of LGBTQ LA! The Los Angeles Blade is proud to celebrate the best of our community as this special recognition issue becomes a Los Angeles tradition.
The year for LGBTQ people and families has been uniquely challenging and the accomplishments made throughout this past year seem more relevant than ever. We got past some of the pandemic restrictions, but anti-LGBTQ forces got more aggressive and violent. It was a year in which we relived the attempted insurrection from the year prior while learning details of all that happened behind the scenes, and who was responsible. It was also a year when LGBTQ families and our gender non-conforming population came under direct political and physical attacks.
In Los Angeles, we had a change of leadership after enduring our own local scandals tainted with racism and homophobia. Through it all, our community did not allow our fabulousness to dim. We are strong and know how to fight back. This could not be more evident as you enjoy these highlights of Los Angeles living that demonstrate the best of LA’s LGBTQ community.
Los Angeles Blade readers nominated finalists; the top five vote getters in each category were then added to the final ballot. Twenty thousand Blade readers then voted and the winners are presented here. The Blade staff congratulates each of this year’s winners and finalists.
LGBTQ Icon Sheila Kuehl Honored with Hero Award presented by the Ariadne Getty Foundation
By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – “I haven’t been this happy since I was in my 20s,” says out former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who will celebrate her 82nd birthday on Feb. 9. “The freedom of deciding or not deciding every day what you want to do without any weight on you, without any expectations on you, without any demands on you, is enormously freeing and really, really pleasant.”
After almost three decades as an elected leader and actively fighting for progressive issues, Kuehl’s final day in office representing the Third District was Nov. 22, 2022 — a day filled with celebration and grateful tears shed by colleagues and friends.
Now she’ll have time to write. The working title for her planned autobiography is “My Life As I Remember It: Probably a Novel.”
Much of that life has been in service of advancing LGBTQ rights, for which Kuehl is being honored by the Los Angeles Blade and the Ari Getty Foundation on Jan. 18 at 10 DTLA during the Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023.
In an odd flash of fickle fate, Kuehl culminated her long legislative career in much the way as she began it — protected by bodyguards from threatening bullies. In 1994, the bullies were knuckle-dragging followers of Far Right rhetorical bombastic bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich. Today, the bullies are followers of Gingrich’s heir, Donald Trump, some of whom the Department of Justice considers domestic terrorists.
In Kuehl’s case, her primary bully was LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who LA Magazine dubbed “the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement.” Last Sept. 14, after two years of fiercely fighting Villanueva over alleged LASD wrongdoing, a slew of Sheriff’s deputies pounded on Kuehl’s door at 7:00am, served her with a search warrant in a corruption investigation, and escorted her outside barefoot to a face a throng of reporters and TV news cameras.
The raid was big news but backfired on Villanueva, who subsequently lost his bid for re-election. The LA Times reported succinctly: “A Times review of the case found it is based on the testimony of just one person, a former Metro employee named Jennifer Loew, who brought her bribery complaint to at least four law enforcement agencies, but found a receptive audience only at the Sheriff’s Department. The Times found no evidence to support Loew’s allegation.”
1994 was also a year of living dangerously. Gingrich was elevated to the traditionally respected position of Speaker of the US House of Representatives and pledged to implement his anti-gay, lie-based Contract with America, civility be damned. Meanwhile Kuehl and her best friend Torie Osborn were watching a new LGBTQ movement grow and get stronger as thousands of LGBTQ people, AIDS activists, Queer Nationals and allies took over the streets in 1991 after California GOP Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 101, the gay rights bill he had promised to sign.
“Thousands and thousands of us were on the street, as opposed to just being in the closet and hiding in a lot of shame,” says Kuehl. “I had not really thought about running. I was engaged in more of the Women’s Movement, especially domestic violence issues, sexual assault issues, trying to get any law in California to deal with domestic violence, which it didn’t have at the time. We founded the California Women’s Law Center.
“There was a lot going on in the ’70s and ’80s and there was a lot to push back against,” Kuehl continues. “There’s a difference between working towards something when there’s nothing there and working to gain something back — like the loss of Roe v Wade (the federal law permitting abortion). Our expectations grew, but there was nothing in place to protect us. I actually had not thought about running. But I had been up and back to Sacramento many times testifying on new domestic violence bills that I helped to draft before I was elected and I understood from sitting for so many hours at committee hearings that there was no silver bullet genius talent in these members, that they were just like me — and in some cases, less capable because they hadn’t been to law school. They didn’t really understand the issues.”
Then, on Jan. 17, 1994, two earthquakes happened at once – the Northridge earthquake and Kuehl’s decision to enter politics.
“There was broken glass and fallen pictures and glasses and everything all over my house. I picked up the LA Times and it says, ‘Terry’s not running,’” she recalls, referring to Assemblymember Terry Friedman. “I think, ‘Okay, this is my chance if I’m going to be one of those people sitting in those chairs and try to make a difference.’ I started exploring running, and frankly, I didn’t think at that moment about how historic it would be. I didn’t think about being the first gay person if I got through whatever. I felt more like a feminist progressive that needed to be there to add that voice to the table.”
Kuehl quickly discovered that she was making history. But her victory as the first gay person elected to the California State Legislature was fraught with danger, with so many death threats, then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown ordered a bodyguard for her protection. “I had to wear a bulletproof vest the whole first year that I was in the legislature,” Kuehl told Spectrum News1.
But braving those threats and doing the work, then and now, is not the only reason Sheila Kuehl is an LGBTQ hero. She recognizes her place in the largely invisible long span of LGBTQ history.
“Just as people have said they’re standing on my shoulders,” Kuehl says, “I stood on a lot of shoulders, too.”
West Hollywood’s Mayor Sepi Shyne honored with a Stop the Hate award
Mayor Sepi Shyne made history in November 2020 when she was elected becoming the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally and the first woman of color elected to West Hollywood’s City Council. Actively progressive in her politics, Shyne is constantly seeking to improve the lives of her constituents, friends, family, and the greater community of the City affectionately referred to as WeHo.
“West Hollywood is a vibrant tourist destination and one of the most walkable as well as LGBTQ+ safe cities in America. Our visitors and residents love to frequent our businesses, so helping to keep them in business is a priority. One of my joys of living in West Hollywood is walking down the street to neighborhood restaurants or cafes and enjoying a meal or an oat milk latte,” Shyne told the Blade in an interview after her first anniversary of being sworn into office on December 7, 2021.
As a woman of color and as a minority as well, Shyne is keen to maintain awareness of the ongoing needs of the diverse communities that comprise her city. “Aside from COVID, the social justice movement impacted the City of West Hollywood by awakening our community to the truth that systemic racism, even in our progressive city, needs to be dismantled,” she noted.
After her sister was sworn into office as Mayor earlier this month at City Hall, in which the Mayor and her mother opened the ceremony with comments in their native Fārsī language, Soodi Eshraghi, made a few poignant remarks:
“Good evening mayor, mayor pro-tem and council members, my name is Soodi Eshraghi, I am incoming mayor Shyne’s sister, representing the Baha’i Faith.
A little girl with big brown eyes frightened in a new country and not speaking the language. In her short years this little girl had experienced the trauma of war as well as the compulsory hijab which forced her to cut her hair short, choose a boy’s name to be able to play on the streets with her cousins. Yet, her resilience and tenacity allowed her to overcome challenges faced by many immigrants and build a life for herself and become a lawyer. Her choice of academia was a reflection of her passion for justice and equality. Her decision to run for office was for the same exact reason, and more. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the lives of those around her, bringing about opportunities conducive for betterment of life, especially her constituents. Mayor Sepi Ghafouri Shyne, your family is extremely proud of you and we are always ready to support you every step of the way.
The prayer I’ll be reciting from the Baha’i writings is on the destiny of America with the hope that this nation can become promulgator of peace and the oneness of humanity.
O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee.
These hearts are radiant with Thy love.
These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings.
O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious.
Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.
O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy.
Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.
Best Drag Performer: Lolita Colby
Lolita Colby is now a 10-year drag veteran, having launched her career in a Miami bar. She now creates legendary moments at Rocco’s in West Hollywood. “I don’t know if this is a cliché or not, but it takes a really strong man to put on a dress,” says this year’s Best Drag Performer winner. Given the current right-wing attack climate in the United States, that statement is truer than ever. “Many drag artists do not realize the importance we bring to the community. Drag artists break boundaries. We stand up against the norm. We do a lot of things that other people are afraid of.” Lolita’s 30,000 TikTok followers, 18,000 Instagram followers, and a host of LA Blade readers agree with her fan that called her “Absolutely Gorgeous.”
Runner Up: GottMik
Best Drag Show: Makeout Mondays at Rocco’s
Last year’s Editor’s Choice is this year’s winner. The 5,000-square-foot Rocco’s, located at 8900 Santa Monica Blvd., wowed boystown with the best drag on the LA scene. Crowds flocked to the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente in the heart of WeHo. “This is the funnest place EVER and their drag shows are so much fun! The food is great and the atmosphere is awesome!” wrote a happy visitor. A second chimed in, “They have some epic drag shows that are different and entertaining!” LA Blade readers obviously agreed.
Editor’s choice: Thirsty Thursdays at Beaches, West Hollywood
Best Influencer: Gigi Gorgeous
The LA Blade’s Best of 2020 winner, Gigi Gorgeous, again takes the top spot. Gigi is a YouTube star, transgender activist, author, television personality, actress, and model. With nearly 8 million followers across her social platforms, she has almost half a billion views on her popular YouTube channel. She is a self described “lover of beauty, fashion, and a good party.”
Runner Up: Ambers Closet
Best Queer Artist: Nats Getty
Check out Nats Getty’s “Undecided 10” signed art prints. Writer Karen Ocamb said of him, “Nats Getty was an artist long before he knew it. His soul was forged in the fight between the fire of freedom and the cold dictates of a society he tried mightily to understand and follow, only to fail and fall into rebellion, a fury of authenticity that still feeds his art and serves his independent, progressive, philanthropic spirit today.” Getty himself stated, “Philanthropy — and advocacy — is something that is very important to me. I made 600 masks that were donated to hospitals and nursing homes on the frontlines, and 400 masks for the Strike Oil website, where 100 percent of proceeds have gone to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank…Everything I create from a jacket to an art piece has a story and serves a purpose in my personal journey.” LA Blade readers cheered his generous spirit and named him this year’s best artist.
Runner up: Guadalupe Rosales
Best LGBTQ Bar: Heart
Heart WeHo threw what it called “the biggest most lavish NYE celebration in West Hollywood” with three DJs, two levels, and two packed rooms of dancing and featured DJ Liza Rodriguez from Brazil. The premier watch party for the premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was a sold out “amazing night of love.” Patrons call Heart “the happening spot” and “super fun.” LA Blade readers voted in kind.
Editor’s choice: Bar 10
Best Brunch: The Abbey
Patrons cite a “fabulous outdoor terrace” and “fun ambiance” for making the “world famous” Abbey this year’s go-to spot for brunch. The Abbey launched 31 years ago as a small coffee house by David Cooley as a safe space for the gay community. “Come as you are,” was its mantra. The stained glass window décor inspired the religious-themed name and atmosphere. LA Blade readers got religion this year and brunch toasted The Abbey as the best.
Editor’s choice: Stache West Hollywood
Best Restaurant: The Nice Guy
With a delicious menu that ranges from roasted veggies to exotic pizzas (lobster pizza with sunny vodka sauce anyone?), to incredible pasta, steak, and seafood, The Nice Guy has been named this year’s best. The aesthetic is described as “decadent Mafia” that brings a unique social experience encouraging conversation and camaraderie. As they say, thanks to the mafioso deliciousness and good vibes, if LA Blade readers tried to escape, The Nice Guy just keeps pulling them back in again.
Editor’s choice: Bottega Louie
Best Radio or TV Station: KTLA
This year KTLA aired the annual telethon in support of Project Angel Food’s vital work of feeding critically ill men, women, and children in Los Angeles County. Janene Drafs, vice president and general manager of KTLA 5, told the LA Blade, “This show gets better and better every year, and we are thrilled to extend our relationship with Project Angel Food. KTLA has a 75-year tradition of being there for LA, so providing this very special program to connect our community of viewers with Project Angel Food’s work serving the most vulnerable in our community at large is what being ‘L.A.’s Very Own’ is all about.” With more than 400 LGBTQ relevant stories on its website, KTLA has demonstrated that it has its finger on the pulse of LGBTQ interests. From tracking U.S. progress on LGBT rights to reporting that California reached the milestone of 10% of its legislature being LGBTQ, KTLA is there for the community. LA Blade readers show their gratitude by calling them the best.
Editor’s choice: 104.3 Pride
Best Cannabis Retailer/Lounge: Green Qween
Business partners Andres Rigal and Taylor Bazley launched Green Qween as “a queer-driven cannabis dispensary in an industry where LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation have been lacking.” Donating a portion of proceeds to the DTLA Proud Community Center, Green Qween sees itself as an incubator for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC cannabis brands and growers. LA Blade readers just see them as the best.
Editor’s choice: The Artist Tree
Best LGBTQ-Owned Business: Cake and Art
Cake and Art has proudly served the community since 1976. It is the renowned producer of custom cakes, cupcakes, and more. They brag, “For 46 years, Cake and Art has specialized in imaginative birthday cakes for Hollywood’s biggest entertainment industries and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and many more.” Cake and Art was founded by Glenn von Kickle when he was 45 years old. Glenn, who’s gay, started the shop where he could be himself, and in a community that would appreciate what he was doing. Current owner Tom Rosa came on board as a business partner, and became the spirit that made sure von Kickle’s legacy endured. Cake and Art’s history arcs between being the place to get the cake no one else will think of, or attempt, to heroes of the anti-same sex wedding cake wars. When gay marriage started, they filled the gap for many consumers rejected by their usual bakeries. As for being “LGBTQ owned,” Tom has said “I’ve never been considered ‘the gay bakery’…I was sitting there thinking, what does that mean? What are the parameters of a gay bakery? Is it creative? Is it sensational? Is it fabulous? Do we all dress in rainbow?” Well Tom, whatever it means, it means that you have been voted the best of them.
Editor’s choice: Urban Pet
Best LGBT Social Group: Impulse Group LA
Impulse is doing something right. They have won this category for three years in a row. Impulse Group LA was founded in 2009 by Jose Ramos. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a stronger and healthier community for gay men. Hosting more than 400 events annually in 25 cities, 12 countries across 5 continents across the globe, Impulse seeks to create a brave space to engage, support and connect our community. This year their outreach included HIV testing, a strong showing for World AIDS day, and embarking on a fight against Monkey Pox.
Editor’s choice: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles
Best House of Worship: Congregation Kol Ami
In 2019, 2021 and 2022, Congregation Kol Ami won the award for Best House of Worship. In 2020 it won Editor’s Choice, and now wins the award yet again for the Best House of Worship this year. Kol Ami is an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ, and West Hollywood communities since its founding in 1992. Rabbi Denise L. Eger, who plans to retire in 2024, broke barriers that resulted in more LGBTQ inclusion at synagogues worldwide. Kol Ami describes itself as “a progressive, Reform congregation rooted in a rich Jewish tradition, with commitment to social justice, diversity, and a world in which all individuals are honored and connected. Our congregation celebrates an LGBTQ+ core at the center of a profoundly diverse community.” (1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood)
Editor’s choice: InVision Church Los Angeles
Most Committed Activist: Gabby Leon and Terri Jay
Gabby Leon and Terri Jay jointly came to the realization that there was a need for an event to create visibility and celebration of the Two Spirit identities. The concept of a festival that celebrated and honored Native American LBGTQ roles and traditions was born. The idea blossomed into a reality and Los Angeles now has the cultural Indigenous Pride LA, which “honors, and acknowledges all indigenous peoples’ plight, especially those who are Two Spirit and/or identified with the contemporary labels and terms of cisgender and transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, and intersex.”
Editor’s choice: Princess Murray
Favorite Public Official: Karen Bass
On Nov. 17, Karen Bass spoke to Los Angeles for the first time as its first woman and second Black mayor. She addressed economic hardship and declared a state of emergency over the homeless crisis. Vice President Kamala Harris has stated of Bass, “I saw how she would tirelessly fight for the people … the people of our state and the people of our nation. Karen Bass has a long history of always being on the side of people, fighting for the people.” The people who read the Blade have embraced that reputation and declared her their favorite public official.
Runner-Up: Lindsey Horvath
Most LGBTQ-Friendly City: West Hollywood
There are some who will claim that the city of West Hollywood is perfect. In terms of being the most LGBTQ-Friendly City, they may be right. The city was born out of a determined campaign by LGBTQ activists, seniors, and renters on Nov. 29, 1984. The city has a rich history and can be credited for launching iconic rock and punk musical acts. With approximately 39,000 residents, it has been called “Los Angeles’ hottest destination for the entertainment industry.” It boasts celebrity-owned bars and restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping. It hosts world impacting events like the HBO Emmy Party, Sir Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party, WEST HOLLYWOOD PRIDE and the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, the largest Halloween street party in the world. Many feel that West Hollywood sets a standard for super creative individuals representing the state-of-the-art on trends and new ideas.
As far as West Hollywood being “perfect”, the Human Rights Campaign has the receipts. It scored West Hollywood as earning 100 out of 100 possible in terms of LGBTQ friendliness. LA Blade readers already knew that as they name West Hollywood the friendliest city for the fourth year in a row.
Editor’s choice: Beverly Hills
Best Local Pro Sports Team: LA Dodgers
Things have changed since 1970. That year, Dodgers player Glenn Burke was traded away when the owners found out he was gay. What a difference half a century makes. This year, the Dodgers kicked off Pride month in LA with their game against the New York Mets. Burke’s family threw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch and 18,000 special Pride packages to the game were sold. Fans showed up in droves wearing rainbow paraphernalia and Pride caps and jerseys were available for purchase. So, yes, things have changed and LA readers have declared the Dodgers the best local team for the third year in a row.
Editor’s choice: LA Sparks
Best Realtor: Josh Flagg
Josh Flagg, an original cast member on the show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” on Bravo, represents more than a decade’s worth of high-end deals in the real estate industry. He has wowed the Los Angeles real estate market. Flagg, who’s gay, has sold well over $2 billion worth of property and is among the city’s top five real estate agents. He has represented many American billionaire families such as the Gettys and DeBartolos. Adam Levine, Shonda Rhimes and Steve Aoki are also clients.
Editor’s choice: Compass
Best LGBTQ Ally: California Gov. Gavin Newsom
As Florida and Texas all but declared war on transgender kids and their families, one governor did more than shake his head in shock and disbelief. He did something about it. On Sept. 22, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill, one of many LGBTQ affirming of the year, that aims to legally protect trans youth and their parents who need to flee conservative states due to personal persecution and the oppression of gender-affirming care availability. His statement read, “States across the country are passing laws to demonize the transgender community especially transgender youth and their parents… the hate demonstrated by these laws is unfathomable and contributed to soaring suicide rates… This is unacceptable and we must fight for our youth and their parents.”
Editor’s choice: Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union
Best Salon/Spa: Spa Montage
Spa Montage’s clients are raving. “The best spa in LA,” states one. “Very old school glam, full of antique style and old world charm,” declares another. Yet another goes right to the heart of a good spa: “The team here is just fantastic.” Goop also professes its love, “From prenatal massages to really good facials, the Montage is one of those luxe hotel spots that pulls no punches when it comes to pampering.” LA Blade readers agree.
Editor’s choice: Burke Williams
Best Car Dealership: Honda of Hollywood
Honda of Hollywood is deservedly proud. “At Honda of Hollywood, we strive for excellence during every visit. Our team of experts is here to help you with all of your automotive needs…Whether you’re from Hollywood, Los Angeles, or another city, get in touch with our team to experience superior customer service,” they state. “Great staff, friendly service, feels like a small family-like environment” promises one customer. “Amazing dealership. Recommend 100%,” states a second. LA Blade readers have test driven them into being the Best Car Dealership for the second year in a row.
Editor’s choice: BMW of Beverly Hills
Best Doctor/Medical Provider: AIDS Healthcare Foundation
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS healthcare in the world. It currently has 1,725,070 patients in care across 45 countries. As a global non-profit, it provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy. Their float in this year’s Rose Parade was “No Place Like Home.” Their local fans, and LA Blade readers, agreed naming them the year’s best for the third year in a row.
Editor’s choice: Cedars-Sinai
Best Fitness: LA Fitness, Hollywood
LA Fitness can tell you why you should get fit with them. “LA Fitness offers many amenities at an outstanding value. Gym amenities may feature Functional Training, state-of-the-art equipment, basketball, group fitness classes, pool, saunas, personal training, and more!” Its clients call out its wide range of equipment, friendly staff, great classes and convenient parking. For the second year in a row, LA Blade readers have named LA Fitness the best.
Editor’s choice: Crunch, West Hollywood
Most LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace: AIDS Healthcare Foundation
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been an Editor’s Choice for most LGBTQ-Friendly workplace, and this year the LA Blade readers agree, voting it into the top spot. AHF represents the consistently excellent work of doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, med techs, benefits counselors, and support staff at 14 AHF Healthcare Centers and satellite clinics throughout Southern California. A recent employee reports, “The people here are so welcoming and full of joy. Corporate also does a great job of making you feel included and often have outreach events.”
Editor’s choice: Getty Museum
Best Non-Profit: LA LGBT Center
Founded in 1969, The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides programs and services for LGBTQ people. The organization’s mission centers on four key areas: health, social services, housing, and leadership and advocacy.
This year, as a response to the 2021 Hate Crime Report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, the Center made an even deeper commitment to the LGBTQ community to fight: “I have served our Los Angeles community for nearly 17 years, and it pains me to say that I have never been more concerned for our collective safety than I am right now,” said Terra Russell-Slavin, Chief Impact Officer at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “Across the country, armed white supremacists are showing up en masse to intimidate drag performers. Hospitals and healthcare facilities that provide care to transgender patients are closing their doors to bomb threats. Our nightclubs and safe spaces are being threatened and attacked. And our trans community is being deliberately targeted by far-right groups and our lawmakers on a daily basis. It’s not surprising that we see the ripple effects of that violence here in Los Angeles. I hope our community knows that their Center will fight like hell for them, and will always be here as a place of refuge.” LA Blade readers seem to understand the importance and need for the LA LGBT Center in these growingly contentious times, naming them the Best Non-Profit of the year.
Editor’s choice: Project Angel Food
Best Museum/Art Gallery: The Getty
The Getty is a Los Angeles treasure. In its two locations, it represents more than 6,000 years of art. Besides a library collection of books, archives, and services, the museum holds more than 100,000 artwork images as well as special collections. The Getty Center, with its bird’s eye view of Los Angeles, is located in Brentwood and showcases European art amid modern architecture. Its second location is the Getty Villa Museum, which lies along the coast and displays ancient Greek and Roman art in a recreated Roman house. The Getty embarks on numerous philanthropic projects including several supporting the LGBTQ community. LA Blade readers have shown their appreciation for the second year in a row by naming the Getty as the Best Museum of the year.
Editor’s choice: LACMA
Best Theater: Geffen Playhouse
The Geffen Playhouse, located in Westwood, is a not-for-profit theater company founded by Gilbert Cates in 1995. It has been a key hub for theater in Los Angeles since its opening and produces plays in two theaters in the Geffen Playhouse, which is owned by University of California Los Angeles. Patrons compliment it on its breadth of productions, excellent staff, and comfortable seating. LGBTQ audiences have appreciated works like “The Inheritance,” which cited key LGBTQ history allusions. In support of the play’s theme and to give audiences a sense of context, The Geffen published a “dramaturgical deep dive” into LGBTQ history on its website.
The Geffen has made diversity a mission. Its commitment includes this statement: “In recognition of the essential examination of systemic racism and injustices, we at Geffen Playhouse commit to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices in order to be part of the solution. Our vision for the Geffen is that people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, abilities, genders and backgrounds find it an easily accessible and highly relevant source of art that reflects the dynamic human experience and galvanizes a more equitable and vibrant community.” For this, and great theater, LA Blade readers have deemed them the Best Theater in LA.
Editor’s choice: Pantages/Broadway in Hollywood
Best Music Venue: The Hollywood Bowl
Two years ago, the Hollywood Bowl won for Best Virtual A&E Events. Last year it was named the Best A&E Venue. This year, it won again – for Best Music Venue. This can only lead you to conclude that live or virtual, artistically or musically, in the eyes of LA Blade readers, it is perennially the best. Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the premier destination for live music, hosting everyone from Billie Holiday to The Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma under the iconic silhouette of its concentric-arched band shell. This past year saw such LGBTQ-friendly acts as Ricky Martin and Grace Jones. Can this year top that? Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Game of Thrones and Janet Jackson will surely try.
Editor’s choice: The Walt Disney Concert Hall
Most LGBTQ-Friendly Entertainment Company: Warner Bros. Discovery
Warner Bros. Discovery tells us that they are “the stuff that dreams are made of.” They are a relatively new combined company. The new company combined WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports, and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses. The combination is a premier global media and entertainment company that promises to offer us the “most differentiated and complete portfolio of content, brands and franchises across television, film, streaming and gaming.” Hyperbole aside, they brought us “White Lotus” and gay boys Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen to welcome in the new year. LA Blade readers were impressed.
Editor’s choice: The Walt Disney Company
Best Screenwriter: Ryan Murphy
It is no surprise that LA Blade readers called out Ryan Murphy as the best screenwriter of the year. The bigger question is — for which script? Murphy is prolific, having written literally hundreds of scripts in 2022. He wrote scripts for his “American Horror Stories,” “Dahmer-Monster, the Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “9-1-1,” “9-1-1 Lone Star,” “American Horror Story,” “The Watcher,” and “Ratched” shows. The new year does not promise a slowdown. Upcoming, he scripts the mini-series “A Chorus Line,” the series “Consent,” and the TV movie “One Hit Wonders.”
Editor’s choice: Our Lady J
Best Actor: Laverne Cox
The iconic Laverne Cox impressed LA Blade readers this year. She, of course, is the American actress and highly visible LGBTQ advocate. She burst on the scene with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” This gave her the notoriety of becoming the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category. In 2015, she was the first trans woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.” In 2017, she became the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on U.S. broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS’s “Doubt.” This year, LA Blade readers were impressed by her performance as Kacy Duke in the mini-series “Inventing Anna.”
Editor’s choice: Jennifer Coolidge
Favorite Musical Artist: Cardi B
This year, the famed Grammy-winning “WAP” rapper seemed to impress LA Blade readers as much with her pro-LGBTQ candor as she did with her talent. She ended the previous year as an officiant at a same-sex wedding, “I’m going to get these two beautiful ladies married. It’s not only a special day for you guys, but it’s a special day for me, and I want to thank you for making me a part of your beautiful journey,” she said at the time. This year, she slapped down those who wanted to doubt or play down her bisexuality. “I ate bitches out before you was born …..Sorry I don’t have razr phone pics to prove it to you,” she snarked on Twitter. Just in case you are not yet clear on where she stands in regard to LGBTQ people, she made the point clear: “If you homophobic you just ugly.” Her favoritism by our readers appears to be well-earned.
Editor’s choice: Dolly Parton
Best LGBTQ Event: GLAAD Awards
Last year, the annual GLAAD awards was a star-studded ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills hosted by Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and DJ “Shangela” Pierce. The ceremony included appearances by Andrew Garfield, Troye Sivan, JoJo Siwa, Jasmin Savoy-Brown, Mira Sorvino, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, and more. Anti-trans legislation and the “Don’t Say Gay” bills were addressed during the show. President and CEO Kate Ellis denounced the hateful political activities in her speech, “These bills are designed to erase us as a community, but GLAAD will not let that happen. We have never been more committed to our vision of a world where everyone can live the life that they love.” With that, LA Blade readers expressed their love for GLAAD.
Editor’s choice: DragCon LA
Best Regional Pride: LA PRIDE
Our readers were torn over this category. It was the closest vote in all of the categories, but LA Pride just barely edged out WeHo Pride for Best Regional Pride.
Readers were blown away by the events Parade, which drew a massive crowd of more than 130,000 people to the streets of Hollywood.
When the first L.A. Pride Parade, which was organized by Rev. Bob Humphries, Morris Kight and Rev. Troy Perry (founder, Metropolitan Community Church) organized the world’s first permitted LGBTQ+ Pride parade, held on June 28, 1970 in Los Angeles, such numbers were unimaginable.
The 2022 parade, like the original parade returned to its roots after decades of being hosted by the City of West Hollywood, starting at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga in Hollywood and running along Hollywood Blvd., Highland Avenue and Sunset Blvd. 2022 parade goers might be surprised to learn that the first parade also attracted a massive crowd of more than 50,000.
The return of LA Pride was not only a return to its roots, it was also a return to Pride in Los Angeles in general after a 2 year Covid-hiatus.
Readers were also excited by the massive LA Pride Festival, branded “LA Pride in the Park” for 2022 in Los Angeles State Historic Park, featuring electric performances by Christina Aguilera, Anitta Bob the Drag Queen, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and over 20 other sizzling acts. Over 20,000 ticketed fans were in attendance for this first festival outside of West Hollywood since 1984.
WeHo Pride Weekend also saw exuberant celebrations for it’s first solo Pride execution, an event managed by events company JJLA. It was held in and around West Hollywood Park that included a free street fair that represented a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups; a three-day ticketed OUTLOUD Raising Voices Music Festival, the Dyke March and Women’s Freedom Festival, and an inaugural WeHo Pride Parade.
Editor’s choice: WeHo Pride and DTLA PROUD
Best Hotel: Sunset Tower
The New York Times called it “Hollywood’s Grand Dame Hotel.” LA Blade readers just called it the year’s best. With a dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, the Sunset Tower was designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant. It boasts former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. Hotelier Jeff Klein purchased the building in 2004, enlisting designer Paul Fortune to revive the property’s classic art deco style and then in 2018, Klein put his personal touch on another refresh, restoring the Sunset Tower’s heart and soul while not compromising its character. The hotel’s rooms were elegantly refurbished and its famous Tower Bar was expanded to include a dark and sexy bar, reimagined restaurant, and updated pool area. Further additions have included a bright and airy 7,000-square-foot gym in John Wayne’s former apartment, and the Joanna Vargas Spa one level above offering expert facials and massages.
Editor’s choice: San Vincente Bungalows
Best Coverage of LGBTQ Issues by a Mainstream News Outlet: John Fenoglio of KTLA
LA Blade readers appreciate hearing the news from one of our own. Out reporter John Fenoglio appears to have our backs. He is quoted as saying, “LGBT people are the targets of more hate crimes than any other minority. A San Pedro resident and veteran I met today knows firsthand what that feels like. Don’t hate… But do fight back and fight smart.”
Editor’s choice: Elzie Lee “LZ” Granderson of the LA Times
Best LA Region Airport: Hollywood/Burbank Airport
Hollywood Burbank Airport is legally and formerly marketed as Bob Hope Airport after entertainer Bob Hope. It is a public airport three miles northwest of downtown Burbank. LA Blade readers seem to agree with airport patrons who have declared “this place just treats you like family and customer service is simply awesome.”
Editor’s choice: LAX
Best Podcast: MARSHA MOLINARI’s “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”
In the run up to election day, no LGBTQ related podcast or media (admittedly including Los Angeles Blade) did more to give a platform to LA Mayoral Candidate Rick Caruso than Marsha Molinari’s Podcast “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” She gave Caruso a challenging but fair airing on a variety of LGBTQ topics. And it didn’t go unnoticed.
The local culture, fashion and nightlife icon is also mastermind behind the H.Wood Group, owner of some of LA’s hottest clubs and best restaurants (The Nice Guy earned the award for Best Restaurant). Molinari is also nationally prominent LGBTQIA+ Transgender & Human Rights Activist and Creative Director of J.Molinari Jewelry… Marsha does it all.
“Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” explores raw human experiences with conversations that lead to a true sharing with the goal of improving how we view one another. The show, with its focus on overcoming adversity and bringing people together, is not shy about engaging in uncomfortable conversations, but comfortably so. Subjects include all things LGBTQIA+, life purpose, self-worth, confidence, mental health, race, ethnicity, sexism, ageism and so much more.
Editor’s choice: Rob Watson, Rated LGBT Radio Hollywood
GLAAD honors LA Blade, Washington Blade with prestigious award
Since 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have honored media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues
LOS ANGELES – GLAAD, the leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization, announced on Wednesday that it is presenting its prestigious Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media to the Los Angeles Blade along with the Washington Blade.
“Together, representing 50 years, the Los Angeles Blade and Washington Blade’s relentless reporting reflects best-in-class journalism, reminding us all that LGBTQ issues and people have a stake in every news story and headline,” GLAAD said in a statement.
Previous recipients of the award have included The Advocate, Windy City Times, and Curve.
“I’m exceptionally proud of our team at Los Angeles Blade and also partnership with the staff of Washington Blade. I’m also proud of GLAAD for shining a light on LGBTQ press with the Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media,” said Troy Masters publisher and co-owner of the Los Angeles Blade. “This GLAAD Award is a particularly important recognition of our efforts and a powerful testament to the quality of our work we do 24/7. Personally, after having spent a lifetime in local LGBTQ media, this moment is certainly a milestone for this paper and something about which all of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ Community can be proud. A credible and well supported local media is vital to every community and I am thrilled that GLAAD has elevated us with this Award.”
“Everyone at the Washington Blade and Los Angeles Blade is immensely proud of this prestigious award from GLAAD,” said Washington Blade co-owner and editor Kevin Naff. “It is a testament to our hard-working team’s dedication to professionalism and community service and we’re especially proud of our team’s resilience during the pandemic.”
Since 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have honored media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies, which fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance, will be held in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, March 30, 2023 and in New York City at the Hilton Midtown on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
Among this year’s nominees is “Bros” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” for outstanding film wide release; “A League of Their Own” and “Queer as Folk” for outstanding new TV series; and “Bargain Block” and “Generation Drag” for outstanding reality program.
For a full list of nominees, visit GLAAD, here.
2023 Best of LGBTQ LA Finalist Voting
Winners will be announced in our January 20th issue and at the Best of LGBT LA Party on January 18th at 10 DTLA
The 2023 Los Angeles Blade Best of LGBTQ LA Awards are here! Final voting is now open until December 31st, 2022.
Winners will be announced in our January 20th issue and at the Best of LGBT LA Party on January 18th at 10 DTLA. More details about the party will be coming soon.
Vote below or by clicking HERE.
Don’t miss these December events!
Be sure to check out these events as LA marks the holiday season. From the inaugural of Karen Bass to XMAS events- something for everyone
Los Angeles LGBT Center South
Now Serving The Leimert Park & Surrounding South LA Communities
Center South will be shifting its Pride Pantry days for the holidays. The Pride Pantry days will take place on Friday, December 9th, and Friday, December 30th starting at 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at 2313 West Martin Luther King Jr., Los Angeles 90008. As usual, distribution will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, please contact (323) 860-3799.
WinterFest at Hollywood Park
WinterFest will feature fun and festive activities for the family, including Black Santa and a Celebrity Basketball game presented by Baron Davis, a vendor village of new Hollywood Park tenants and local businesses, food trucks, music, and more!
10:00 AM Parking Structure (PS-2) opens11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Vendor Village and Food Trucks open11:00 AM
PeacePlayers Youth Basketball Clinic12:30 PM
Adidas x Drew League Exhibition Game3:30 PM Celebrity Basketball Game*
*Access to the Celebrity basketball game is on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to capacity.
Parking: Free parking is available in our parking structure. To gain access, please enter at Prairie Avenue and 97th Street, north of Century Blvd.
7th Annual Winter Wonderland
South LA’s very own Winter Wonderland is bigger and better this year. Join the fun on the upper parking lot deck at the Baldwin Hills Shopping Center at Stocker and Crenshaw. Bring your neighbors and friends to sing in the holidays with Mariachi Las Catrinas, gospel from the KJLH Radio Free Choir, and holiday music by LA Youth Orchestra.
Sled rides, entertainment, and free activities for the entire family! Plan to arrive early to participate in a 15K toy giveaway while supplies last.
Kids and those who are kids at heart can sled, throw snowballs, participate in arts and crafts, and enjoy free churros and hot chocolate. Inside the mall, families can pose for a picture with Santa, visit a resource and job fair, and enjoy the specials at the food court.
Malik Books Presents A Brunch & Book Signing With Kevin Powell
Malik Books presents a brunch and book signing with author, journalist, and political pundit Kevin Powell from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Post & Beam. Powell is the author of “Grocery Shopping With My Mother,” a book of 32 poems, which originated as social media posts, about his weekly shopping trips with his elderly mother in New Jersey. Crafted like an album with four bonus tracks, the book of poetry dives into the complexities of relationships and contemporary themes with honesty and vulnerability. Join us for an afternoon of music, food, and reading!
To reserve your spot, visit Eventbrite.
Malik Brooks Book Giveaway
Malik Books, in partnership with the Beyond Adornment Club, will host the largest Winter Wonderland holiday book giveaway for children and teens of all ages during the Winter Wonderland at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
Visit the Malik Bookmobile, parked outside near the Winter Wonderland snow, from 12 to 4 p.m.
For more details, call (323) 435-9939
KBLA Welcome Home Karen Bass
Sat. Dec. 10 | 10 AM
Come out for a free community celebration in honor of Mayor-elect Karen Bass! The event will feature our new local hero and musical entertainment.
The event will be hosted by Danny Morrison and Robin Ayers, with live entertainment from R&B musical acts, including Brian McKnight, Goapele, Club Noveau, and more.
Visit KBLA1580.com for more info.
Inauguration of Mayor Karen Bass
Sun. Dec.11 | 11:30 AM
Vice President Kamala Harris will swear in Karen Bass as the first female and second black mayor of the country’s second-largest city.
This event will be filled with inaugural festivities as she takes her oath of office.
To RSVP, please click here!
Christmas Turkey Giveaway
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Mothers in Action is partnering with Councilmember Heather Hutt of Council District 10, and the LA Sparks for their Turkey Giveaway!
Reserve your turkey box today, please call (213) 263-6774.
Better Brothers LA Holiday Party
You are cordially invited to celebrate the Holiday Season with BETTER BROTHERS LA. Complimentary appetizers and cocktails will be provided.
Suggested donation of new toiletries (Deodorant, Soap, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouthwash, Lotion), Twin Sheet Set, Twin Comforters, Pillows, and Wash Cloth & Towel Sets in support of AMAAD & Momma’s House requested.
If you would like to RSVP, contact [email protected]
Christmas Toy & Coat Give-A-Way
Mablean Ephriam Foundation, in conjunction with Los Angeles Parks Department, Los Angeles Morehouse Alumni Association, & Los Angeles Spelman Alumnae Association
Thurs. Dec. 15. | 5 PM
Registration required. Families must pick up on the day of the event. Children must be present.
For more information, call 323-445-6669.
Pet Wellness Day
Sat. Dec. 17 | 9 AM – 1 PM
Morningside High School
10500 Yukon Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90303
In partnership with Los Angeles Chargers, this event provides FREE resources to the community, such as pet food, hygiene, and wellness services for pets. The Pet Food Pantry is open to the public with no appointment needed; however, appointments are required for all wellness and hygiene services.
To make an appointment, visit www.tinyurl.com/petevent17.
Stevie Wonder‘s House Full of Toys
Stevie Wonder‘s House Full of Toys benefit concert is making a return this year, marking 24 years since its inception. As in previous years, the event will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, this time on December 17.
Enter here for your chance to win special VIP tickets to Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys at Microsoft Theater!
Christmas Care Exchange in the Park
Sat. Dec 18 | 11 AM
The Special Needs Network is inviting families across Los Angeles to enjoy a holiday celebration with Santa. Children will have the opportunity to see Santa and receive a care package that includes food and toys.
This event also provides an opportunity to learn about the Special Needs Network’s long-standing effort to help children with autism and related developmental disabilities in underserved communities.
Meet The Author
Malik Books, an independent, black-owned bookstore, is set to host Devyn Bakewell, the granddaughter of civil rights activist and entrepreneur Danny Bakewell Sr., book signing inside the Westfield Culver City on Sunday, December 18, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
Devyn Bakewell, Howard University Alum and Romance Author, is the author of two romance books, “Greater Love” and “Greater Life.” She is currently the Interim Editor for the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times.
Greater Life will be available to purchase inside the Malik Books Westfield Culver City for $29.99, or you can reserve a copy by calling (323) 389-8040.
Better Brothers LA Accepting Scholarship Applications
Do you know a Black LGBTQ+ student who could use assistance paying for school? Scholarship applications are currently being accepted for the 2023 – 2024 academic year.
Better Brothers LA scholarship provides financial assistance with college and vocational educational expenses. Scholarships range from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 and are presented at the annual Truth Awards ceremony.
The application deadline is Friday, January 27, 2023, at 8:00pm PT / 11:00pm ET. Scholarships will be awarded during the 9th Annual Truth Awards on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
Black LGBTQ+ students across the country are eligible to apply.
Annual Garras fashion show & fundraiser held
The transgender organized and run event was hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trans Latina Coalition, Bamby Salcedo
WEST HOLLYWOOD – The annual Garras fashion show fundraiser took place Saturday, November 19th, at the Pacific Design Center to benefit The Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness, a program of The [email protected] Coalition.
Throngs of glamorously-dressed members and allies of the queer community gathered on the plaza of the modern blue building, a Los Angeles staple known for boasting over one hundred showrooms for events like this one. People from all walks of the entertainment, design, and media industries gave filmed statements of support for the event and the transgender community at large.
The VIP reception featured two red carpets, passed hors doeuvres, two cocktail bars. Some VIP guests seated in the fashion show’s front rows along the glistening white runway included a myriad of TLC sponsors, including Bank of America, Keck Madicine of USCm, Gilead, SoCal Gas, Glamazon, Amazon, Kaiser Permanente, Glux, Loud, Walmart, and City of West Hollywood.
The show featured designers Yaisel, Mars Wright, Elder Patricio Arita Perex, Gaby Garcia and TLC Board Members, Cecilia Martinez, Jessie Alvarado, Claudia Abundis, Jose Huizar, Robert Oriz, Eruvey Tapia, Lluvia Guzman, Fernando Vasquez, and Lidia Talavera and their transgender models and muses. Collections included everything from haute couture to streetwear to shoes.
The transgender organized and run event was hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trans Latina Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, and Vice President & Chief Operation Officer Maria Roman. Both ladies wore a variety of couture gowns throughout the evening and called for continued support for the [email protected]’s mission to support and amplify the voices of transgender and gender nonconforming people.
The Garras Vocational Scholarship of ten thousand dollars was also awarded to a student in the medical field to support their continued academic ventures.
“To those of you who purchased tickets,” said Salcedo, addressing the audience, “to those of you who believe in our work and sponsor us, thank you.”
Millions wear purple today to stand up to bullies
Spirit Day started in 2010 by Canadian Brittany McMillan who created the event in memory of LGBTQ+ youth who lost their lives to suicide
NEW YORK – From celebrities, politicians and big-name brands to TV news people, pro athletes and their teams, people are putting their purple on today, to mark Spirit Day. The annual event, organized by GLAAD for more than a decade, provides visible support for LGBTQ+ youth in what the group calls the world’s largest anti-bullying campaign.
The reason Spirit Day is so named and marked by wearing the color purple, or changing a brand logo to purple, is because of the purple stripe among the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ+ Pride flag, symbolizing “spirit.” Like the color purple, its message is bold and clear: We support LGBTQ+ youth and oppose bullying.
Happy #SpiritDay! Thank you @glaad for everything you do for our community! pic.twitter.com/W5jgMD98v8— Jack Petocz (@Jack_Petocz) October 20, 2022
According to GLAAD, the annual tradition was started in 2010 by a Canadian high school student, Brittany McMillan. She created the event with a post on Tumblr, in memory of the LGBTQ+ youth who lost their lives to suicide. McMillian encouraged her friends to wear purple on the 20th of October to send a message of support.
The celebration kicked off Wednesday night with GLAAD’s Spirit Day Benefit Concert in Los Angeles, sponsored by Ketel One, M&M’s and the WWE.
Jujubee of RuPaul’s Drag Race leads a Who’s Who of famous names taking part, from the cast of The L Word: Generation Q to Margaret Cho, Wilson Cruz, Adam Rippon, Wanda Sykes, Jeopardy! champion Any Schneider and more.
Even New York City’s most iconic landmark skyscraper, the Empire State Building, is getting in on the act; Jujubee will flip the switch Thursday night to bathe the tower in bright purple light.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Country Music star Maren Morris is doing her part for Spirit Day by selling a shirt bearing the slogan “You Have a Seat at This Table.” All the proceeds support GLAAD’s work with LGBTQ+ youth.
Some other notables taking part this year include Chris Mosier, Jason Collins, Aly & AJ, Ben Aldridge, Louis Van Amstel, Jonathan Bennett, Mayim Bialik, Sterling K. Brown, Kristin Cavallari, Shannon Dang, Ken Jeong, Carson Kressly, Idina Menzel, Netta, Jim Parsons, DJ “Shangela” Pierce, Jai Rodriguez, Jake Wesley Rogers, Lily Rose and the list goes on.
Advocacy groups GLSEN, The Trevori Project, +Life and GSA clubs in schools across the country will take part as well.
On Broadway, the casts of Moulin Rogue! The Musical, Into the Woods and 1776 are participating. iHeart Media will support Spirit Day with PSAs on its stations for the sixth consecutive year.
Other corporate sponsors include Kellogg’s, Sally Hansen, Target, Visible, Amazon Corporate Security, Kirkland & Ellis, L’Oreal/ Viktor & Rolf, the MLB, the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL, Skittles and Taimi.
Landmarks besides the Empire State Building include Chicago’s Mars Wrigley Building, Mars buildings in Newark, N.J., the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus and HQ2 in Arlington, Va., the Stonewall National Monument Visitor’s Center, the ViacomCBS headquarters in Times Square as well as the NASDAQ, M&M’s, Skittles and American Eagle billboards there.
Other participants include Athlete Ally, Spanish-language channels and programs including The Q Agenda, Despierta América, Hoy Día, Telemundo, TelevisaUnivision and Pantaya. ABC and ABC Owned Television Stations, CBS, PBS and the NBCUniversal networks, including hosts of the TODAY show will join with Hulu, National Geographic and the Freeform network are partners with GLAAD for this event.
Faith organizations and individuals including the United Church of Christ, the Naming Project and Affirming Youth Ministries, Rev. Mark Fowler, Fr. James Martin, Deacon Ross Murray, Bishop Kevin Strickland, among others, will also participate.
Find out more about Spirit Day by clicking here.
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