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First transgender person elected to non-judicial office in California

Lisa Middleton’s election heralds a night of coast to coast electoral progress for transgender people

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Lisa Middleton and Christy Holstege

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History was made across the nation last night as transgender political office seekers broke new ground coast to coast, beginning with the election of Virginia’s Danica Roem, the nation’s first transgender legislator and making it all the way across the country to Palm Springs with the election of Lisa Middleton to that city’s City Council..

Lisa Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California with her first place seating on Palm Springs City Council. Christy Holstege, a lesbian, was also elected the City’s council. Equality California endorsed both candidates.

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement in response to tonight’s victory:

“In light of the repeated attacks on transgender people from the federal government, tonight’s wins by Lisa Middleton in Palm Springs and other transgender candidates in Minneapolis and Virginia are a beacon of hope that voters have embraced values of equality and inclusion. By becoming the first out transgender person to be elected to a non-judicial office in California, Lisa is paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps in California and across the nation. Her first place finish out of a field of 6 candidates demonstrates that a glass ceiling for transgender people who want to serve in elected office was not only broken, but was shattered in Palm Springs.

With the election of Lisa and Christy Holstege, the city of Palm Springs will now be represented by a city council that is 100% LGBTQ. At Equality California, we know that representation matters. That’s why we endorse and work to elect highly qualified LGBTQ candidates at the local level. One of our top organizational goals is to build the bench of LGBTQ elected officials to prepare them to run for higher office. To achieve that in Palm Springs, we spent thousands of dollars in direct contributions, independent expenditures and member-to-member communications in support of both candidates. In 2018, we hope to build on tonight’s success by electing more LGBTQ candidates and pro-equality allies up and down the ballot across California.”

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Palm Springs

Everything you need to know about Palm Springs Pride this weekend

Be sure to stop by the Los Angeles Blade booth for a photo opportunity (Hint: We’re nearly under Marilyn’s skirt!)

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Palm Springs Pride 2021

PALM SPRINGS — Palm Springs Pride is finally here! While you enjoy festivities, be sure to stop by the Los Angeles Blade booth for a photo opportunity, ticket giveaways and a copy of our latest issue!

We will also be giving away prizes like tickets to Immersive Van Gogh and shows at Broadways on Hollywood, Pasadena Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse and more. We will be at booth #19 on Museum Way between Museum Drive and Palm Canyon on Sunday, November 7th, from 11–4:30 p.m.

As for the rest of the weekend, there will be something for everyone, including live entertainment, art, history and much more! 

Don’t forget to tune into KGAY 106.5 Palm Springs to hear Ross Mathews — as seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Drew Barrymore Show — host a special Pride month morning show starting Saturday at 10:00 a.m. It will air every Saturday for the rest of November. 

Remember that though facial coverings are not required to be worn outdoors at Palm Springs Pride, the city still requires either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within the last 72 hours to dine in restaurants or bars. Face coverings will also be required within businesses. More information can be found here.

Here is a guide for the rest of the weekend: 

Friday 

Palm Springs Pride Coming Out Celebration

  • When? 5:00–10:00 p.m.
  • Where? Effen Vodka Main stage 
  • What? It will include performances from Jody Watley, Shannon, Jeanie Tracy, and more!
  • More information here.

Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History: An Inaugural Exhibition  

  • When? 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. 
  • Where? Welwood Murray Memorial Library
  • What? Learn about Palm Springs’ LGBTQ+ history.
  • Additional dates: Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 12:00–5:30 p.m.
  • More information here.

Interfaith Pride Kabbalat Shabbat

  • When? 6:30 p.m.
  • Where? United Methodist Church or Facebook Live
  • What? A pluralistic prayer service with a core of Jewish liturgy open to people of all faith communities and beliefs.
  • More information here.

Saturday 

FrontRunners Pride 5K Run & Walk

  • When? 8:00 a.m.
  • Where? Old Las Palmas 
  • What? Run or walk through amidst homes of celebrities like Liberace, Mary Martin, Alan Ladd, William Powell, George Randolph Hearst, Kirk Douglas, Lily Tomlin and more.
  • Registration? $40 with same-day registration will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
  • More information here.

Palm Springs Pride Street Festival

  • When? 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Where? Downtown Palm Springs 
  • What? Enjoy food, beverages and a diverse array of entertainers.
  • Saturday performers: Third Eye Blind, Jody Watley, A Flock of Seagulls, The Robyn Party and Shannon. Full line-up here
  • Additional dates: Sunday 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • More information here.

Art of Pride Exhibition

  • When? 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Where? Belardo Road and Museum Way 
  • What? An exhibit showcasing works by local LGBTQ artists.
  • More information here.

Girlz Skate Jam

  • When? 5:00–7:00 p.m.
  • Where? Palm Springs Skate Park
  • What? Watch fabulous skaters including Brianna King, Brooklinn Khoury, Eunice Lee, Erin Wolfkiel, Juli Penelope and Allysha Bergado. 
  • Tickets: $15
  • More information here.

Drag-O-Rama at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

  • When? 5:00 p.m.
  • Where? Palm Springs Cultural Center 
  • What? Enjoy a drag extravaganza starring Rosemary Galore.
  • Tickets: $15 – $25
  • More information here.

Sunday

Palm Springs Pride Parade

  • When? 10:00 a.m.
  • Where? Uptown Design District at Tachevah and Palm Canyon Dr.
  • What? Cheer on local organizations, activists, marching groups, and themed floats.

More information here.

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Palm Springs

The LGBTQ Center of the Desert reopens in Palm Springs

The community came out with an overwhelming show of force Sunday to celebrate a moment 20 years in the making

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The newly remodeled McDonald/Wright building (Courtesy of The Center)

PALM SPRINGS – The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, widely referred to as ‘The Center,’ has reopened after an extensive remodel and rehabilitation of the 10,000 square foot McDonald/Wright building along North Palm Canyon Drive.

After opening remarks and a ceremonial ribbon cutting by staff and leadership of The Center, who were joined by city officials, audience members were invited on tours of the newly remodeled facilities, which now consist of the entire building. Construction was started in April 2020. The first clients will be welcomed next month, the Palm Springs Post reported.

Graphic courtesy of The Center.

The Palm Springs Post has pictures of the event here.

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Palm Springs

Palm Springs police release suspect’s photos in gay executive’s attack

At this time, there is no reported information or evidence to suggest a hate crime occurred Palm Springs Police said

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Palm Springs Police Department Patrol Unit (Photo Credit: City of Palm Springs, California)

PALM SPRINGS – Investigators have released photos of two suspects wanted for questioning in the altercation that left a Glendale marketing and advertising executive in critical condition at the Desert Regional Hospital Centre.

The Palm Springs Police Department also acknowledged that because the victim identified on social media as Justin Wicker is gay, this caused rumors to spread that this was a hate crime attack, however, PSPD detectives do not believe at this time that it is a hate crime.

“We have seen social media rumors indicating this incident was a targeted hate crime. At this time, there is no reported information or evidence to suggest a hate crime occurred,” PSPD officials said in a media statement.

Patrol units were dispatched to the 400 block of E. Arenas Rd. on Friday, July 9 at approximately 1:42 a.m regarding a victim of a battery. Officers learned that the victim and a friend were walking from a local bar on E. Arenas Rd. and engaged in conversation with another male.

The victim told the male, who was black, that he resembled the actor “Eddie Murphy.” It was reported that the male became angry at this comment and a physical confrontation occurred. The male began chasing the victim. While running away, the victim slipped and struck his head on the ground. The subject chasing the victim left the area with another man. The two suspects were seen fleeing the scene in a black convertible type vehicle.

Photo: Palm Springs Police Department

One of the suspects is described as a black male adult, approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall. He was wearing a light blue button up shirt, and white shorts.

Photo: Palm Springs Police Department

Investigators are working to identify the two men involved in the attack.

Police are asking for anyone who may have more information, knows either of the two men involved, or may have taken pictures of the men as they fled the area to immediately call Detective Escallada at 760-323-8129 or report any information you have anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867.

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