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LA Pride arrives but #ResistMarch is all the buzz

Massive Intersectional march reclaims Pride

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#ResistMarch will replace this years Pride Parade. (Image courtesy #ResistMarch)

The Resistance is ready for its close-up and Hollywood Boulevard may never be the same.

“I came to see the awakening of the political culture of LGBT life in LA,” says Dan Davidson, 58, who flew in just for #ResistMarch from a small town near the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

Davidson is not unlike the many thousands of other people — from literally everywhere — who will descend on Hollywood Boulevard, Sunday June 11 for the #ResistMarch.

“I’m not here just to stand up to Donald Trump but also because this really is historic; for me it’s not entirely about him.  It’s about coming to a city I once called home and being surrounded by like minded people, a break from all the conservative madness that has taken over my home state,” he says.  “I came in need of the righteous anger of the many folks who have had their world thrown upside down.  I’m standing up for basic dignity and our civil rights because if we don’t they are ready to take apart every bit of progress we have made.”

Julia Winston is a teacher from Waco, Texas.  She’s flying in on Saturday, she hopes, to “be part of history. Our lives really do depend on standing up to this political nightmare.”  The 32 year old lesbian single mom is flying stand-by and can only get on a flight if there are available seats.  “I’m actually going to start trying to leave Dallas on Thursday night, just in case the flights are full.  I don’t care if it takes days,” she said.

Winton says “When I was 21, my Dad died of AIDS. Before he died he told me to stand up for myself.  If he was alive today, I am sure he’d be there. I’m marching for him. For a time he received his medication through a drug assistance programs and the government literally helped him live.  He never had insurance because no one would give it to him. These people would see my father dead in the streets. They’d be willing to see the kids I teach starve. Sink or swim.”

Allen Roskoff lives in Manhattan. He “thinks it is important that, as a New Yorker, I show solidarity with my LA sisters and brothers.”

Roskoff plugged away for 15 years on passage of a gay rights bill that he authored in 1971, the nation’s first such bill to be introduced; the bill finally passed New York City Council in 1986.

He says that “after suffering discrimination and violence, after losing hundreds of friends to AIDS and fighting for basic dignity and healthcare, we accomplished so much and have seen so much progress.  We fought and achieved marriage equality and a significant expansion of our rights.   To now see it all at great risk — we must all unite to resist!  We have to wake up.”

Remember their names: Stanley Almodovar III, 23, Amanda L. Alvear, 25, Oscar A. Aracena Montero, 26, Rodolfo Ayala Ayala, 33, Antonio Davon Brown, 29, Darryl Roman Burt II, 29, Angel Candelario-Padro, 28, Juan Chavez Martinez, 25, Luis Daniel Conde, 39, Cory James Connell, 21, Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25, Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32, Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández, 31, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25, Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26, Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz, 22, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, Paul Terrell Henry, 41, Frank Hernandez, 27, Miguel Angel Honorato, 30, Javier Jorge Reyes, 40, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21, Brenda Marquez McCool, 49, Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25, Kimberly Jean Morris, 37, Akyra Monet Murray, 18, Luis Omar Ocasio Capo, 20, Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez, 25, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36, Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35, Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25, Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez, 27, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado, 35, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24, Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan, 24, Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33, Martin Benitez Torres, 33, Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24, Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez, 37, Luis Sergio Vielma, 22, Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez, 50, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, Jerald Arthur Wright, 31.

Billy Pace, who lived blocks from Pulse Nightclub in Orlando at the time of the shooting and who has recently relocated to Los Angeles, says “the resist march is an emancipation of sorts from the complacency that lulled us into believing we had come farther than we thought.”

The award winning song-writer (Celine Dione, “Titanic”) says #ResistMarch is a chance to “take back our destiny as opposed to giving our lives over to the hands of those who are casually robbing us.”

“We are taking hold of our future proudly and unapologetically,” he said. “It is our time.”

Angeleno Hazel Jade Prejean, a 19 year old transgender woman, told The Los Angeles Blade she is marching because, “this year so far we’ve already had 11 trans women who have been murdered and one black trans man. It’s important that we stand up and stand in unity but also let our black queer youth and queer youth of color, as well as our white brothers and sisters across the nation know that they are not alone and that this country allows them to be visible.”

Lauren Meister, 57, is a former Mayor of West Hollywood who continues to serve as a City Council member says she will attend #ResistMarch because “we cannot allow the politics du jour to eradicate the many years of countless people’s efforts to achieve equality. We cannot stand idly by as our own government attacks our rights or those of our family members, neighbors, friends, or co-workers.”

Lauren, who is an ally, was deeply inspired by the events of June 11, 2016.

“When the Pulse nightclub shootings happened last June in Orlando, we (West Hollywood) chose to still move forward with the Pride parade — even though we were shocked and scared and mourning. This year, because waving flags on floats is not enough, we will march together, a united LGBTQ community and its allies, and we will once again show the world what pride looks like,” she said.

Bao Nguyen, 37, is the former Mayor of Garden Grove and says he will attend the #ResistMarch because “for me, it’s an expression of my deep gratitude to those who’ve paved the way by continuing the fight for justice for all.”

Nguyen makes the point that “our resistance is itself a celebration that recognizes how far we’ve come while seeing the long road ahead.”

Kit Winter, 52, a Los Angeles lawyer who lives in Silver Lake, says “I came out in 1983. In 1986, as gay men were dying in staggering numbers, the Supreme Court decided in Bowers v Hardwick that the Constitution permitted imposing criminal penalties for consensual gay sex. I remember traveling from New Haven to New York to protest the decision; by the time the march petered out down by Battery Park, people were throwing beer bottles at us and calling us faggots,” he recalls.

“We’ve come a long way since then,” says Winter, “but progress is easily lost —and civilization is a thin veneer over the darkness that lies inside many people. We’re seeing that darkness emerge more and more under Trump. If we are to have any hope of keeping the progress we’ve made, we have to #resist.”

Alexandra Grey, 26, an actress and musician who lives in Los Angeles, says she will be at #ResistMarch “because nothing changes unless we all stand together. I’m going because my life is at risk.”

Gray, who is transgender, says “these causes mean so much because, like any major plight in history, the people have to stand together and fight to be seen and to be heard.”

Jeremy Kinser says attending the march is his duty. “I’m joining many friends who haven’t attended a Pride celebration in several years but this year we’ll all walk together in unity because it’s the most important, urgent event since the “No on Prop 8” demonstrations in 2008.”

Kinser finds it disheartening that we are at this juncture and says, “I honestly can’t believe we’re still having to fight for our basic civil rights. We advanced so far during the eight years of Obama’s administration and now, almost inconceivably, we stand to lose so much under the current president, who didn’t even have the decency to issue a Pride proclamation and who made us invisible in the latest Census Bureau survey.”

He adds, “This weekend we will prove to them that we are a powerful and vital part of this country and we won’t be vanquished back into the closet.”

On Sunday, June 11, the #ResistMarch will bring these people and tens of thousand more, from all walks of life, together for a peaceful protest march that will begin at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave. in Los Angeles. The march will conclude at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and La Peer Dr. in West Hollywood.

“This year the LGBTQ+ community is lending its iconic rainbow flag to anyone who feels their rights are at risk and to everyone who believes that America’s strength is its diversity.” said Brian Pendleton, Founder of #ResistMarch.

“When they come for one of us,” he said, “they come for all of us.  Which is why we our diverse intersectional community must unite as one.”

Intersectionality may just be the most important — perhaps even historic — aspect of this march.

More than 100 partner organizations have committed their support to the #ResistMarch, representing a full rainbow spectrum of civil rights in America, including GLAAD, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matters, the ACLU, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Human Rights Campaign, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Bienestar, the City of West Hollywood, among others.

“GLAAD is proud to support the #ResistMarch on June 11th. In a time when LGBTQ people are being erased, it is now more important than ever that we stand in solidarity,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD.

Sue Dunlop, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, noted, “On June 11th, we will join the #ResistMarch in support of fundamental civil and human rights for all people, everywhere.”

John D’Amico, Councilmember proclaimed “The shoulders we stand on are broad and strong. And have carried us here. The #ResistMarch is showing up for yourself and your rights. The #ResistMarch is peace and protest and pleasure and passion and people. The #ResistMarch is authentic. The #ResistMarch is who we are.”

#ResistMarch will begin after a brief opening ceremony with speakers in Hollywood and at the end of the march route.  A rally will be held that will include a wide array of speakers, politicians and entertainers.

Speakers will include U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff, U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu, California, Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu, West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman,  Trans Activist Bamby Salcedo, AIDS Activist Phil Wilson, #ResistMarch Founder Brian Pendleton, HRC President Chad Griffin, Haim, Margaret Cho, RuPaul, Adam Lambert, Jussie Smollett, Cheyenne Jackson, The Gay Men’s Chorus Of Los Angeles, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, America Ferrera, Black Lives Matter’s Dr. Melina Abdullah, NALEO National Chairman John Duran,  Planned Parenthood’s Sue Dunlap, Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lorri Jean, Women’s March L.A. Founder Emi Guereca and others.

Reverend Troy Perry and his husband Phillip Ray De Blieck were recently honored by Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, for their lifelong commitment to LGBT rights. (Photo courtesy March against Homophobia and Transphobia)

In a recent article in The Los Angeles Blade, Troy Perry‘s pathbreaking work on behalf of the LGBT community, including the historic journey he led across Hollywood Boulevard in 1969, was explored.  The #ResistMarch returns the LGBT community to that place and in the same spirit of the founding gathering.

In 1969, with signs declaring ‘we’re not afraid anymore,’ Perry led a nighttime march down Hollywood Boulevard calling for the end to sodomy laws and a small picket protesting anti-gay job discrimination, where he met Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay and his lover John Burnside and had no idea who they were. In January 1970, he sat in at the counter of Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, demanding that the owner take down his ‘Fagots Stay Out’ sign above the bar. He also led hundreds of marchers demanding police reform.

On March 9, 1970, Perry led 120 marchers to rally behind the pre-bathhouse Dover Hotel in downtown LA to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Howard Efland, who had been beaten to death by two LAPD officers. He attended the inquest and heard the police explain that one of the officers had “fallen” on Efland, rupturing his spleen and that the broken bones and cuts were a result of him having fallen out of the police car, not being dragged feet first down three flights of stairs after having been beaten up and then kicked. “There were two eyewitnesses,” Perry says. ‘The City Attorney asked the first one, a drag queen wearing female clothes, “are you a homosexual?” She answered, “Yes,” and the eyes of the jurors closed. They didn’t want to hear any more.”

And so we return to our roots.

Just as in the first LGBT march and parade in the 1970’s, organizers say “we are going to march in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity. Not just LGBTQ+ people but all Americans and dreamers will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized proclamation. We #Resist the efforts to divide us!”

More information about the #ResistMarch can be found at www.resistmarch.org.

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California Politics

Caitlyn Jenner: A one percenter gets one percent (actually 1.1%)

“If he doesn’t get recalled, I pity the people of California- It’s a shame, honestly you kind of get the government you deserve.”

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Screenshot via CBS Bay Area

LOS ANGELES – It was not the measured tones of a seasoned politician who had experienced the successes and failures inherent with any campaign for public office. Instead, in a speech given to a small gathering of supporters once it became clear that the recall effort against Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom had failed, reality television celebrity Caitlyn Jenner took to the microphone and groused.

Sounding bitter Jenner said; “He didn’t campaign on not one of his successes, because he doesn’t have any,” she said. “I can’t believe that this many people actually voted to keep him in office. It’s a shame, honestly, it’s a shame. You kind of get the government you deserve.”

Jenner’s ‘it’s a shame’ echoed remarks she had made earlier during the day Tuesday when she told right-wing media outlet Newsmax; “For me, it’s just so up in the air [with] what is going to happen,” she said. “Number one, we gotta get Gavin Newsom outta there. I think it’s going to be difficult doing that, but I’m hoping for the best […] If he doesn’t get recalled, I pity the people of California.”

In the accumulated vote count tabulations listed Wednesday evening, Jenner had placed 12th in the field of candidates after fellow Republican frontrunner, conservative right-wing radio-talk show host Larry Elder, who had garnered 2,386,710 votes and 46.92% to Jenner’s 56,016 votes and 1.1%. (72.65 % Precincts Reporting | 74% expected vote as of Sep. 15, 2021 8:48 pm)

The Newsmax host also asked if she would consider running in 2022 in the regular gubernatorial race or a potential congressional race, Jenner indicated she “would keep her options open.”

“One thing I can say is I have thoroughly enjoyed this process,” she said. “It has been uplifting, rewarding. I’m a compassionate person. I love the people. The process has been great. Once this is over with, we’re gonna evaluate, see where we’re at.”

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Caribbean

Draft of new Cuba family code has marriage equality provision

National Assembly expected to vote on proposal in December

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

HAVANA — Cuba’s Justice Ministry on Wednesday released a draft of a proposed new family code that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the country.

Tremenda Nota, the Los Angeles Blade’s media partner in Cuba, reported the proposed Article 61 of the new family code defines “marriage as a union of two people with legal aptitude who voluntarily agreed to enter into it in order to build a life together based on affection and love.”

The Justice Ministry, according to Tremenda Nota, released the draft a week after a commission that has been charged with writing the new family code met with President Miguel Díaz-Canel and other officials.

Tremenda Nota reported the National Assembly is expected to vote on the new family code in December. The Associated Press noted a referendum on it would then take place.

“It protects all expressions of family diversity and the right of each person to establish a family in coherence with the constitutional principles of plurality, inclusion and human dignity,” National Union of Jurists of Cuba Vice President Yamila González Ferrer told the Associated Press.

The draft’s release comes nearly three years after the government removed an amendment from a draft of Cuba’s new constitution that would have extended marriage rights for same-sex couples after evangelical groups on the Communist island publicly criticized it. Cuban voters in February 2019 overwhelmingly approved the new constitution without marriage equality.

Cuba would join Costa Rica, Colombia and a handful of other Latin American countries with marriage equality if the new family code draft becomes law.

Former President Fidel Castro in the years after the 1959 revolution that brought him to power sent gay men and others to work camps known by the Spanish acronym UMAP. His niece, Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro who spearheads LGBTQ-specific issues as director of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), and Díaz-Canel both publicly support marriage equality.

Tremenda Nota Director Maykel González Vivero is among the hundreds of people who Cuban police arrested on July 11 during anti-government protests that took place in Havana and across the country. Luis Ángel Adán Roble, a gay man who was once a member of the National Assembly, is among those who have been banned from leaving the country.

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Caribbean

AHF Donates SARS COV-2 viral sequencing machine to the Caribbean

“The current need and demand for genomic surveillance in the region has increased significantly, so we are extremely grateful”

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The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus (Photo Credit: UWI)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, signed an agreement with the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago to provide a gene sequencing analyzer and reagents to expand the capacity of the university to test for new and emerging variants of the coronavirus.

This will improve the region’s sequencing capacity and contribute to reducing testing turnaround times. Jamaica and many of the countries in the Region are now experiencing severe upsurges of Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant, with many hospitals exceeding capacity and others running out of oxygen. More recently five cases of the Mu variant were also identified in St. Vincent.

Dr. Kevin Harvey, the Caribbean Regional Director at AHF, in welcoming the agreement, noted that the machine is already on order and should be in place within the next two to three weeks. “The Mu variant has since been isolated in samples from Jamaica as well, making the timeliness of AHF’s donation of the gene sequencing analyzer and reagents all the more critical,” noted Dr. Harvey.  

“Our COVID-19 IMPACT project, a UWI-led collaboration with CARPHA (the Caribbean Public Health Agency) and the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, established local capacity for virus whole genome sequencing in December 2020, and our laboratory at UWI has been carrying out genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 variants for Trinidad and Tobago and 16 other CARPHA member states,” said Dr. Christine Carrington, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at the UWI.

“The current need and demand for genomic surveillance in the region has increased significantly, so we are extremely grateful for the AHF’s support. The device they are providing is faster and can also do five times as many samples as the device we started off with, so it will help to increase our throughput.”

Dr. Jorge Saavedra the executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University of Miami, highlighted the project as part of a larger initiative by AHF to improve the early detection of new variants to enable proper planning, and in some cases, expansion of existing genomic sequencing initiatives and implementation of mitigation measures in several of the countries served by AHF that can inform public policy. “AHF is also now in final negotiations to provide support to establishing genomic sequencing capacity in Jamaica to reduce the need for all samples to be sent to Trinidad and Tobago.”

AHF has also previously provided similar support to Brazil, Uganda, Mexico, India, Argentina, and before the end of the year, will undertake other similar initiatives in Nigeria, Peru, Ukraine and Pakistan.

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