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Queery: Brian Pendleton

The #ResistMarch organizer answers 20 gay questions



University of Tennessee, gay news, Washington Blade

Brian Pendleton, standing before the RETNA mural at West Hollywood Library, helped Los Angeles express itself in 2017. (Photo courtesy Pendleton)

Brian Pendleton, perhaps more than any other person in LGBTQ Los Angeles during 2017, defined the year. He tapped into an extraordinary zeitgeist of fear and frustration and did what he is famous for; he transformed that energy into a positive force for good and helped launch what became an empowerment movement with #ResistMarch.

It was an extraordinary display of action on his part.

#ResistMarch evolved from an angry Facebook post about Trump’s escalating attacks on civil rights, a post that went viral. Within weeks it seemed the whole city was resisting.

Pendleton began organizing. Meetings were held, intersectional committees were formed, money was raised, politicians and agencies agreed (a miracle in itself) and eventually LA Pride saw the writing on the wall and turned the iconic gay pride parade over to Brian. It grew and grew and by late spring it was clear that what was about to take place on Hollywood Boulevard would be extraordinary.

The day, June 11, itself was an alchemy that transformed not just a parade but a people. Hundreds of thousands showed up, clogging Hollywood Boulevard with a defiant but jubilant crowd the likes of which the famed street has not seen in years. From La Cienega to well past Vine, people stood up for themselves and marched the miles-long route to West Hollywood. It was as if our community had returned to its roots for inspiration and a jolt of energy as a fractured community set its differences aside and joined a movement.

“Everyone is important here. Our civil rights are under attack and we must respond as powerfully as we can….together,” he told the Los Angeles Blade on the day of the march. “Immigrants of all status, Dreamers, women who care about reproductive rights, men, people of every gender expression, every color, creed, every race and nationality. We all have a stake in this.”

Over the past decades, Brian, who is 22 years sober, honed that skill by crafting grand scale, interactive fundraising events for large charitable organizations and causes that poured more than $1 billion into medical research and patient support for people living with AIDS, cancer and other diseases.

Brian’s defiance, his love of the community and his ability to commandeer such a successful and pivotal event helped a lot of people get through a year that at times seemed perilous.

Someone find an office for this man to run for!!

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since 1990 and my Rush Limbaugh listening Republican father was the toughest person to tell. He was also the most welcoming and loving about the news. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

Who’s your LGBT hero?
There are so many incredibly important heroes in our community. It’s impossible to say who’s been the most impactful to our movement. Of course, several at the top of the list for our larger movement for equality would be Harvey Milk, Marsha P Johnson, and Rev. Troy Perry. For me personally, Dr. Scott Hitt. When I was newly sober he took me under his wing and taught me how to be involved and philanthropic. He set a great example for how to be a good man and to pay it forward.

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
Well, I’ve been around long enough to have fun at a LOT of places. For sentimental reasons, “Probe” stands out in my mind.

Describe your dream wedding.
I’ve already experienced it. I married my husband Chad Goldman in an intimate gathering on the rooftop of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills with only close friends and family there. We were lucky to have enthusiastic support from both of our families. We married in 2008 before Prop 8 put our union in limbo.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Education. Chad and I have helped build schools in the Philippines for children growing up in poverty, helped fund the West Hollywood Library and established college scholarships for U.S. students. Educated societies generally make better choices.

What historical outcome would you change?
I would rescue Matthew Shepard from that roadside fencepost.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Too numerous to list here but most recently Hamilton! I see it as often as I can!

On what do you insist?

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Doug Jones!

If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Count Your Blessings

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would change Trump’s sexual orientation! Mine would remain the same.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I’m very spiritual. I believe in a higher power and the Golden Rule.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Remember the B, the T, the Q, the I, the A, the G and every intersectional member who make up our rich community.

What would you walk across hot coals for?
A no-sugar-added, nonfat vanilla latte from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and a friend in need.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we’re all supposed to like movies with a cult gay following, like “The Sound of Music.” I’ve never seen it.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Milk” and “The Bird Cage.” It’s a Tie

What’s the most overrated social custom?
Long dinners. I’m an eat-n-go kind of guy.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I covet seeing our community at peace and moving forward in solidarity.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Be fearless.

Why Los Angeles?
I’m originally from Los Angeles. I’m one of those insulated people that never left his hometown!

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Social Justice PolitiCorps spotlight on Trans activist Ebony Ava Harper




Ebony Ava Harper (Photo courtesy of California TRANScends)

By Andi Bianchi | SACRAMENTO, CA. – The Social Justice PolitiCorps, (SJPV) is an organization in the state’s capital city devoted to crowdsourcing political information as it relates to social justice and disseminate it what the organization terms an accessible manner so “we can be proactive instead of reactive.”

As part of that mission, SPJC’s blog this week is spotlighting and acknowledging a brilliant visionary here in the Sacramento community, who is working tirelessly to better the lives of trans folxs. Her name is Ebony Harper.

She is an award-winning, nationally-recognized, activist and humanitarian. She identifies as a Black trans woman (pronouns she/her/hers), and she has spent a good majority of her career fighting for justice and equality, not only for the transgender community, but for ALL the members of our community.

Ebony currently serves as a Program Director at Public Health Advocates (PHA), and as the Program Manager for California TRANScends (which exists in partnership with PHA and the California Endowment). California TRANScends is a statewide initiative that works to promote the health and wellness of transgender people throughout the state of California.

SJPC sat down with Ebony to ask her more about what drives her fierce and unrelenting drive to take part in social justice activism.

What does social justice mean to you?

That we fight for those who don’t have a voice, that we provide a voice for those who can’t speak. Social justice to me means fighting for the most marginalized, it means changing the culture so that we create a more loving community.”

“It means giving the most marginalized an equal shot at life.”

“Social justice means dismantling all the systems that oppress people, including climate issues, which are strongly tied to racial injustice.”

Why are you involved in social justice?

“I’m a big ol’ Black trans woman, so I have no choice BUT to be involved in social justice, because facing society means engaging in the fight for social justice.

My existence pushes back against the narrative, and against the cookie-cutter mold we put the world in, society is hostile towards my existence. Then also, experiencing ostracization and marginalization myself has resulted in me not wanting others to feel that way, and in wanting to make life better for all marginalized communities.”

How do you self care to keep fighting for social justice?

“I disconnect when I need to, and I connect with my chosen family and friends. I travel when I need to get away from work and everything. I sometimes go home to Jamaica and visit and connect with family there. I struggle with self-care at times, but I do affirm that self-care is critical to the movement, and our mental health needs to be taken care of. Self-care, for me, is also being vulnerable and connecting with others, and sharing my story. My self-care often looks different depending on the day.”

We want to thank Ebony for her time and energy. Please support her and her work in any way that you can so that she can keep fighting the good fight. #BlackTransLivesMatter

Andi Bianchi, a transmale, is the editor of the Social Justice PolitiCorps blog.

The preceding article was originally published by the Social Justice PolitiCorps blog and is republished by permission.

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a&e features

Queery: Amir Moini



In his book by the same name, there are “22 life lessons” that Netflix employee, Amir Moini, wants to share with you during LGBTQ History Month.

Amir Moini.

While you might wonder what might this handsome young man might be able to help you with that you already haven’t experienced, you may be surprised at the fresh outlook and optimism that fills every page. 

This self-help book, coming from “someone more f*cked up then you”, boldly takes us thru his journey of early adulthood and self- discovery of the importance of mental health while navigating thru financial difficulty, a tumultuous relationship, his mother’s alcoholism and coming out on the other side finding peace and happiness with everything around him.

Moini’s optimism is clearly present through out the book and within the first pages if you don’t already know him, you quickly want to invite him for a virtual coffee just to help you navigate through this interesting year. It’s his optimism and uninhibited passages that have you rooting for him throughout his journey.

When perusing his Instagram page you are once again treated to that optimism and growth which takes you from LA to Amsterdam and various places in between while you continue to admire this young man with the infectious smile who spends his work days creating Employee Branding opportunities for Netflix.

Moini’s goal is simple – inspire, lead by example, and embrace your complete journey – as messy or imperfect as it may be. 

“We are alive once, and then it is gone – it is worth living fully open and vulnerable,” he writes in Chapter 21 entitled, Let Go of the Shame.Start letting of your own shame and order your own copy of “22 Life Lessons” at:

To learn more about Amir Moini – Follow him on Instagram @amirmichael89 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out in 2006 when I was 17 years old, so I’ve been out for almost 15 years now. It’s wild to think that I’ve almost been out more years than in. The hardest person to tell was the first person because it made it real, which happened to be my best friend from home. 

Who’s your LGBTQ hero? Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was one of the prominent people involved in the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and deserves more recognition. 

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? Putting me on the spot! Some of my favorite LGBTQ bars are Cobra (which recently shut down unfortunately) and the top floor of Mickey’s because of the music. Oil Can Harry’s is a gem. And I’ll never say no to Karaoke in K-town. My favorite places for a drink are Lock & Key, Chateau Marmont, and Birds & Bees. 

Describe your dream wedding. Simple, sleek, and small. I want to actually enjoy it versus worrying about too many details. 

What non-LGBTQ issue are you most passionate about? Environmental reform. 

What historical outcome would you change? I mean, don’t we all know that one… 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Britney changed my life. Everything she does is pop culture.  

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? Promoting a campaign for work. 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? I actually do have a book! It’s called 22 Life Lessons By Someone More F*cked Up Than You, which I published earlier this year on Amazon.  

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Being gay is a gift, so I would do nothing with that information. 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? Karma. 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Take breaks because we’re in it for the long haul. Self care is important to be our best selves. 

What would you walk across hot coals for? The people in my life that I love. 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? To Wong Foo is such a classic and was ahead of its time. 

What’s the most overrated social custom? I don’t understand people who wear shoes on in the house. I like my place super clean. 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? It’s a stretch, but getting picked to be a lead in a Playground dance class and being in one of their videos. It’s something I always wanted to do and I worked really hard to get there. So that video is a prize to me that I can look back on. 

What do you wish you’d known at 18? Take in all the moments with your friends and family. I wish I spent more time with my grandmother and asked her more questions before she passed.  

Why Los Angeles? I’ve lived here 7 years and I still discover new things. Every day here is an adventure and you never know what’s going to happen. For example, one time I was on the couch bored on a Friday night (pre-Covid) and three hours later I was at a club on stage with Iggy Azaela. Only in LA. 

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2020 Election

David Vela wants your vote

The LA Community College District leader answers 20 queer questions



Angeleno David Vela is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District, Seat 3, and a familiar face around town. You may have heard from him recently and if you haven’t yet, you will. He’s passionate about college affordability and access and has always been a strong champion in the community to see others succeed, and, well, he wants your vote.

For the past two years, Vela has pushed the system to make sure students come first, demanding cutting edge curriculum and fighting for budgets that are fair and balanced. And he has made looking out for LGBTQ students of color a particular priority.

Vela is passionate about making it possible for students to  reach their educational goals as quickly as possible and without putting them in debt in the process.

As a current trustee, former community college instructor, County Supervisor’s Deputy and school board member, Vela has the experience to govern in times of crisis.

His experience and knowledge of government proved to be an asset during the COVID-19 pandemic that plagues the district. Vela ensured that the district converted to online courses immediately to avoid the interruption of studies, again, proving his dedication to his students in the LA community colleges.

Vela grew up in Los Angeles and early on, knew that education was the key to get him to where he wanted to go, having been encouraged by his mom who raised him by herself and instilled in him the importance of going to college and graduate school.

Vela holds his undergrad degree from UCLA and his master’s degree from Pepperdine University. His interest in education continued and he served an eight-year tenure on the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education, from 2007-2015.

Vela currently resides in Montebello as well.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

I have been out for the last 15 years. The hardest person to tell was my mother because I feared that she would reject me but I was wrong. Ultimately she became my biggest supporter and friend.

Who’s your LGBTQ hero?

My biggest LGBTQ heroes are Victory Fund, EQCA, Honor PAC Stonewall Democrats and the Stonewall Young Democrats. I really feel that they are passionate about LGBT causes but also the fact that they don’t shy away from holding us LGBT leaders accountable.

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?

I will always feel at home at Redline in Downtown LA. I feel Oliver Alpuche the owner has really opened up his spot for people of all colors and ages. He has the right attitude to survive in LA.

Describe your dream wedding.

Awww very simple on a remote island with close family and friends.

What non-LGBTQ issue are you most passionate about?

Access to higher education. It’s extremely important to advocate for members of our society to receive some type of education whether it’s formal or vocational – it really does even the playing field and improves quality of life.

What historical outcome would you change?

Obviously it’s the fact that the electoral college is outdated and needs to be revised.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Definitely my Madonna concerts and when I went to see Depeche Mode in Northern California.

On what do you insist?

I insist on people having genuine and meaningful discourse before judging anyone or anything. So many evil entities have used a divide and conquer devise or weapon in order to gain power and we have to understand that or else we will never ever overcome that evil

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

It was to encourage enrollment in the second year of community college for free!

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“It can wait till tomorrow.” A big positive characteristic about myself is that I am passionate and I respond quickly and I am a hard worker but sometimes if you weigh a better and more calm solution, it will arise.

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

I would not take part in it but I would not judge anyone who would.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

I believe that we release energy that is currently held in our bodies and serve another stage in our universal lives.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Unification! I find it perfectly understandable that we feel a lot of frustration but at the end of the day you cannot get anything done without unifying.

What would you walk across hot coals for?


What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

Probably that we are always single or free. I have always had to really be a big part of my family’s life and whether financial or emotionally I have always supported them.

What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie?

I don’t know if it’s LGBTQ but definitely think “Mean Girls” is the most hilarious movie ever.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

I get annoyed when we have to define people by their sexual identity or sexual orientation or even race. I kind of wish we just call each other “fabulous.”

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I really treasure my university and graduate school diploma

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

I wish I’d known that I could take my time and make decisions about my career and not necessarily try to keep up with others. I wish I had known that I could have just studied abroad or perhaps done research on Mayan ruins.

Why Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is everything! I mean it figuratively but I also mean it literally because this is a town where you have a microcosm of the world. It’s a town literally where you can feel anonymous and with family at the same time. To me LA represents opportunity.

It’s a place where no matter where you come from you are a part of Los Angeles whether you have been here for an hour or would you have been here for generations.

I love the weather and the warmth because at the end of the day you always want to curl up to a warm and friendly sky.

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