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Los Angeles Blade and U.S. Bank host Pride In The Sky

Honoring visibility of LGBTQ life in DTLA during DTLA Proud

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The Los Angeles Blade, LA’s weekly LGBT newspaper, is pleased to partner with U.S. Bank to present PRIDE IN THE SKY, an event in celebration of the emergence of DTLA as a core neighborhood for the Los Angeles LGBTQ community, honoring some of the people and organizations playing a key role in making that happen.

PRIDE IN THE SKY will feature a red-carpet mixer and a ceremony honoring the work of these tireless advocates with our first-ever Visibility Awards.

The event is to be held from 6-8 p.m. Saturday on the 70th floor of OUE Skyspace in Downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are sold out.

Hany Haddad (Photo courtesy of Haddad)

Hany Haddad, U.S. Bank Vice President, District Manager at U.S. Bank

Hany has worked with U.S. Bank for more than 14 years and you are likely a beneficiary of his generosity. He has directed nearly $1 million in U.S. Bank donations to various LGBTQ non-profits and causes in the greater Los Angeles area, during that time. Haddad’s work with a diverse range of non-profits is prolific and has earned him this recognition. Haddad has supported LGBTQ organizations and causes for years, including Los Angeles LGBT Center, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and DTLA Proud.

Marc Malkin (Photo courtesy of Malkin)

Marc Malkin, Variety magazine/TV personality, Senior Events and Lifestyle Editor

Marc is one of the most visible faces in Hollywood. You will find him on just about every red carpet in town, asking personal questions of entertainment’s most important personalities, formerly for E! Entertainment and now as an editor at Variety magazine where he will serve it up. He has undergone something of a transformation in more than one sense and has an incredible story to tell. Marc is a benefactor to many LGBTQ non-profits, giving both time and money.

James Wen and West Hollywood Mayor John Duran (Blade photo by Karen Ocamb)

James Wen, transgender activist and member of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board

Wen is one of the most widely respected men in West Hollywood and very humble. He serves on the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and has helped bring attention to an escalation of violence against trans people and the high suicide rates with which the community grapples. He recently caused a stir at a West Hollywood City Council meeting where he defended the city’s statement requesting removal of Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star against a Trump supporter.

Jennifer Gregg (Photo courtesy of Gregg)

Jennifer Gregg, ONE Archives Foundation, Executive Director 

It’s often the documentarians who play the most vital role in providing historians with information on any community. Jennifer’s work in shaping our legacy is unmatched as she has helped enhance ONE Archives, already the largest repository of LGBTQ  materials in the world. Founded in 1952 as ONE Inc., the publisher of ONE Magazine, ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States. In 2010, the ONE Archives Foundation deposited its vast collection of LGBTQ historical materials with the USC Libraries. Today, the organization is dedicated to promoting this important resource through diverse activities including educational initiatives, fundraising, and a range of public programs.

Eddie Martinez (Photo courtesy of Martinez)

Eddie Martinez, Mi Centro and Latino Equality Alliance Executive Director

Eddie Martinez is the executive director of Latino Equality Alliance located at Mi Centro LGBTQ Community Center in Boyle Heights. For the past two years under the leadership of Martinez, Latino Equality Alliance has been able to uplift 50 LGBTQ youth leaders and educate over 400 parents in the eastside communities of Los Angeles to promote family acceptance, healthy school climate, and academic success. His 20-year career in public service included the wonderful journey of building community support for the AIDS Monument at Lincoln Park and educating LGBTQ married couples throughout the State of California on social security.

Jeffrey King (Photo courtesy of King)

Jeffrey King, In The Meantime Men’s Group Executive Director

By 1997, the combination drug cocktail was working and the dying and devastation of HIV/AIDS was subsiding. But Jeffrey realized that AIDS wasn’t over, especially for Black gay men, even if the epidemic wasn’t snatching lives every moment, “We came out of the dying and found ourselves living,” King says. “But how do we move forward? And what are we doing with our lives in the meantime?” King brought together an informal collective of Black gay men to wrestle with the dilemma. They realized they could not wait or expect to rely on someone else to save them—they had to act on their own behalf, beyond HIV/AIDS to the health and wellness of Black gay/bi/same-gender-loving men, many of whom bore scars from the homophobia within the Black community while also not being fully embraced by the LGBT community. Jeffrey’s work has contributed measurably since to giving proud expression to a new generation of Black gay men.

Michael Weinstein (center). (Photo courtesy of Weinsten)

Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, President
Michael Weinstein can be credited for saving lives around the world and on a scale few non-profit agencies can imagine. He founded an AIDS hospice at a time when no hospitals would care for “gay cancer” patients and has built it into the world’s largest AIDS organization that literally reaches around the globe and exceeds $1 billion in support. His most recent endeavor is helping to transform Los Angeles’ homeless crisis, particularly in Downtown Los Angeles, renovating the city’s many dilapidated Single Residency Hotels and giving apartments to deserving homeless people. He is noted for his willingness to ask tough questions and his reluctance to always embrace every medical breakthrough without consideration of the full cultural and epidemiological impact.

Johnny Sibilly (Photo courtesy of Sibilly)

Johnny Sibilly, Actor and FX “Pose” cast member

We watched and wept as Billy Porter sang an AIDS cabaret to a young actor playing his lover on FX’s “Pose.”  If you haven’t seen that scene, Johnny plays Perez Costas, the lover of Billy’s character. “Pray Tell,” you will pardon the gushing, but it was a profound moment on an extraordinary television program that deserves everyone’s attention. We suggested an Emmy! But Johnny represents every budding actor who moves to Los Angeles with a dream of making it and so much more. When NYTimes.com recently promoted a cartoon of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in love, Johnny, not a Trump fan, took to Facebook in protest. “Being gay is not a punchline. Being gay is not an insult. The more you perpetuate this idea, the more you add fuel to fire of this toxic masculinity & threatened safety of queer people around the globe. Be better.” It was classically layered Johnny. He is known to push back fast and hard on anti-trans and anti-blackness narratives online. He is a protector of the ones he loves.

Oliver Alpuche (Photo courtesy of Alpuche)

Oliver Luke Alpuche, DTLA entrepreneur and DTLA Proud founder

The man of the moment is busy transforming Los Angeles’ Downtown scene. He founded Redline, DTLA’s popular LGBTQ bar and helped launch the visibility of the community downtown into the stratosphere. He recognized the power of the community and the need for expression and so founded DTLA Proud, which has become one of the region’s most dynamic Pride celebrations. This weekend the event will attract tens of thousands and proceeds from the sale of tickets will help establish a new LGBTQ Center for Downtown.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (Photo courtesy of GMCLA)

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is the leading Gay Men’s Chorus in the world and under the leadership of Jonathan Weedman, its visibility has soared. In October, the chorus welcomes Mexico City’s Gay Men’s Chorus to celebrate a new choral offering, Dos Coros Uno Voz. The work of the Chorus goes way beyond Los Angeles, with a robust outreach to area high schools and a new program to nations abroad. Its outreach work has spanned the decades of the AIDS crisis to the age of Resistance.

Jewel Thais-Williams (Photo courtesy of Thais-Williams)

Jewel Thais-Williams, Activist, LGBT community pioneer, founder of Catch One and director of the Netflix documentary, Catch One will receive a special Editor’s Award

Jewel is a legend in Los Angeles. Her work in the community covers the gamut. She helped found the world’s first AIDS Service Organization, focusing on the needs of people of all colors. Jewel has been a leader, a hero, and a visionary and an advocate for decades, linking the LGBT African-American community to organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and her alma mater, UCLA. You could call her the mother of all of us but she is almost certainly regarded as the mother of nightlife in LA, creating a racially diverse nightclub that dominated this town.

Thais-Williams likes to say that she spent the last 40+ years at Catch One “partying.” Approaching 79, Jewel says her greatest joy is her service to her community. “But there is still a lot of work to do. Remember to always reach out to those in need.”

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Events

Pansexual Visibility Day 2022 is May 24

Days like Pansexuality Visibility Day are perfect for educating people about the various ways people experience sexual & romantic attraction

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Graphic via Project MORE

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project is honoring Pansexual and Panromantic Awareness and Visibility Day on May 24, noting that it is a day to celebrate the pansexual and panromantic community and educate others on the community.

As part of creating awareness for the pansexual community, The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, captured important data related to the experiences of pansexual youth, who made up 20% of the survey sample.

2022 National Survey Data on Pansexual Youth

  • 53% of pansexual youth reported that they seriously considered suicide and 21% reported they attempted suicide in the past year.
  • 66% of pansexual youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 79% reported experiencing symptoms of depression.
  • 36% of pansexual youth reported that they have been physically threatened or harmed due to their sexual orientation.
  • 69% of pansexual youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The Project MORE Foundation, a leading nonprofit service and support provider to the Northern California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ+) and Ally community explains what it means to be Pansexual:

One common misconception that even members of the LGBTQ+ community have is that pansexuality and bisexuality are the same. Bisexuality can loosely be defined as attraction to more than one gender, but many define it with the more narrow definition of attraction to both genders, i.e,: men and women.

Pansexuality differs in that it includes sexual attraction inclusive of ALL gender identities, which means that people can also be drawn to those who are gender fluid or genderqueer. It is similar for people who are panromantic. When a person identifies as panromantic, it means that they can feel romantically towards anyone of any gender identity. 

When people come out as pansexual, headlines often emphasize that it’s different than being bi, and while that’s true, somebody who is bi may also identify as pan and vice versa. The bisexuality umbrella term includes those who feel attracted to two or more gender identities. Pansexuality refers to people who feel sexual attraction to any gender identity, but because their preference includes two or more genders, they could also consider themself bi. Being pan doesn’t mean that a person is going to be attracted towards everyone, but simply that gender identity doesn’t play a role in that attraction. 

There are many people who identify as pansexual or panromantic, such as Jazz Jennings, the famous 20-something LGBTQ+ rights advocate who came out as trans as a child. Authors Dana Mele and Caitlin Ricci identify as panromantic. Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monáe, and Brendon Urie are also among famous celebrities who identify as pansexual. 

It is quite common that people who are pansexual go on a journey of self-discovery to figure out their true sexuality. Some, like Bella Thorne, initially identified as bisexual, but then grew to realize that gender plays little to no role in their attraction, so her definition of her sexuality changed to reflect that. 

Miley Cyrus, who came out in 2015 as pansexual, is among one of those who went down the path to self-discovery when it came to her sexuality. In an interview with Variety, she said that an interaction with a non-binary individual helped her understand that she felt attraction towards them regardless of how they expressed their gender. In that moment, she didn’t feel gay, straight, or bi, because she wasn’t.

Because definitions can be held loosely, one of the most important takeaways is that how a person identifies their sexual or romantic attraction can differ from one day to the next, but celebrating and respecting a person for who they are is what matters most. Days like Pansexuality and Panromantic Visibility Day are perfect for educating people about the various ways people experience sexual and romantic attraction.

About the 2022 National Survey

This survey is one of the largest and only surveys of its kind, representing the experiences of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ young people ages 13-24 across the U.S. It’s also one of the most diverse surveys of LGBTQ youth ever conducted – with 45% of respondents being youth of color and 48% being trans or nonbinary.

Lastly, The Trevor Project has a guide, “How to Support Bisexual Youth: Ways to Care for Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Queer Youth Who are Attracted to More than One Gender” that offers best practices for those looking to support the youth who are attracted to more than one gender in their lives.

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Sports

Mavericks’ Reggie Bullock, finalist for NBA award for LGBTQ+ advocacy

The NBA announced this week the guard-forward is one of the finalists for its 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

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Reggie Bullock (Dallas Mavericks/YouTube)

DALLAS – While San Francisco is celebrating the Golden State Warriors’ huge Wednesday night Game 1 victory over the Mavericks in the NBA Western Conference Finals, LGBTQ groups in Dallas are cheering on Dallas’s Reggie Bullock for his work off the court. 

The NBA announced this week the guard-forward is one of the finalists for its 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, which honors players who have made strides in fighting for social justice and advocating for equality.

Other finalists include the Milwaukee Bucks’s Jrue Holiday, the Memphis Grizzlies’s Jaren Jackson Jr., the Minnesota Timberwolves’s Karl-Anthony Towns and the Toronto Raptors’s Fred VanVleet.

The NBA said Bullock’s push for LGBTQ equity stems from the 2014 murder of his sister, Mia Henderson, a transgender woman.

“Bullock has focused on acceptance of all people by working to create truly inclusive communities through neighborhood engagement and national efforts around the LGBTQ movement, including participating in the NYC Pride March, the GLAAD Media Awards, and NBA events for LGBTQ youth and allies,” according to an NBA news release. “Most recently, as part of the Mavs Take ACTION! initiative, Bullock participated in a courageous conversation as part of the HUDDLE series to uplift the trans community, amplify community organizations who are working to support and protect LGBTQ individuals, and create opportunities for allyship.”

Since joining the Mavs a year ago, Bullock, 31, has teamed-up with groups that include Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride, House of Rebirth, The Black-Tie Dinner, the Resource Center, as well as the Muhlaysia Booker Foundation. That organization was founded in memory of a trans woman murdered in Dallas.

On this year’s International Day of Trans Visibility, March 31, Bullock joined the founder of the Muhlashia Booker Foundation, Stephanie Houston, and Leslie McMurray, Transgender Education & Advocacy Associate for a session titled, Voices Unheard, Uplifting Trans Perspectives. 

He shared memories of his sister Mia and how her murder motivated him to use his platform as an NBA player to fight for equal rights and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.

Bullock has also started his own charitable organization, RemarkaBULL, which provides housing and support to members of the LGBTQ+ community in need. Through RemarkaBULL, Bullock wrote an open letter to the NCAA protesting Idaho’s anti-trans student-athlete House Bill 500, which was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little in March of 2020. The law is on hold pending a review by a federal court.

The winner of the Social Justice Award will be announced during the Western Conference Finals, now underway. The winner receives $100,000 donated to the charity of their choice, and the other finalists receive $25,000 donations for their organizations. Bullock’s charity of choice is Kinston Teens, which empowers young people to engage in activism and community development.

In Wednesday night’s Western Conference Final game 1, Bullock scored 12 points, shooting 3/10 3-pt and 3 rebounds in the Mavericks’ 87-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Game 2 is set to tip off Friday at 9 p.m. ET, Golden State leads 1-0.

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Television

New trailer gives first glimpse into new ‘Queer as Folk’

The highly-anticipated return looks poised to make some welcome improvements as it reinvents the beloved series for a new era

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Courtesy of PEACOCK

HOLLYWOOD – Depending on who you ask, the soon-to-be-dropped reimagining of “Queer as Folk” could well be the biggest LGBTQ television event – or the biggest mistake – of the year.

The groundbreaking original British version of the series, created and written by Russell T. Davies in 1999 (decades before his recent triumph with “It’s A Sin” introduced him to a new generation of queer viewers), has already had an American adaptation in 2000, and each of these installments has its own legion of fans – many of whom have expressed their qualms (to put it mildly) over the entire idea of a new reboot.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Davies from joining forces with writer/director/creator Stephen Dunn (“Closet Monster”) to executive produce one for Peacock. 

Shade from old-school fans aside, the highly-anticipated return of the franchise looks poised to make some welcome improvements as it reinvents the beloved series for a new era. This time, the story promises to deliver a much more diverse assortment of characters than the group of predominantly white gay men featured by its predecessors, with a story centered on a group of LGBTQ friends in New Orleans as their lives are transformed in the aftermath of a recent tragedy.

The new iteration also scores points by employing queer actors to portray all its queer roles – resulting in an impressive lineup of names on its cast list including Ryan O’Connell (“Special”), Johnny Sibilly (“Pose”), Devin Way (“Grey’s Anatomy’), Jesse James Keitel (“Alex Strangelove”), Fin Argus, Candace Grave, Benito Skinner, and Juliette Lewis, and even Kim Cattrall as a “martini-soaked, high society Southern debutante with trailer park roots.” 

Of his reason for getting on board a new adaptation of his show, Davies says, “I’m very proud of what we achieved in 1999, but in queer years, that was a millennium ago! As a community, we’ve radicalized, explored, opened up, and found new worlds – with new enemies and new allies – and there was so much to be said.

Stephen pitched a brand new version of ‘Queer as Folk’ with so much imagination, insight, and crucially, joy, that I simply couldn’t resist. I thought it was about time the title belonged to a whole new generation. The 2022 show is more diverse, more wild, more free, more angry – everything a queer show should be.”

As for Dunn, he explains, “I wanted to create a new groundbreaking version of this show for this moment. Our new ‘Queer as Folk’ is set in New Orleans — one of the most unique queer communities in North America – and I am immensely proud that the new series is comprised of an electric ensemble of fresh characters that mirror the modern global audience.

If there’s one person who is able to see ‘Queer as Folk’ and feel less alone, or who now feels more supported and seen, our job is done. In the true spirit of the original, our show doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of our community, but above all else, the series is about people who live vibrant, vital, unapologetically queer lives.” 

Jacklyn Moore, who co-wrote the new series with Dunn and Executive Produced alongside him and Davies, adds, “I believe deeply in the power of storytelling to make people feel seen, but all too often I feel as though queer and trans representation in art is limited to extremes. We are either shown as saintly heroes bravely surviving a bigoted society or two-dimensional queer-coded villains that feel airdropped in from some previous era. With ‘Queer as Folk,’ we aimed to depict queer characters who live in the messy middle. People who are complicated. Who are funny and caring and flawed and sometimes selfish, but still worthy of love. Still worthy of narrative. As a trans woman, I’m excited to take steps to move past telling stories that seem to just be arguing for our basic humanity. My hope is that Queer as Folk is one such step.”

We’re sure we speak for the rest of the eagerly-waiting fans when we say that we all hope that, too. We can all find out together when Peacock begins streaming the new “Queer as Folk” on June 9.

Queer as Folk | Official Trailer | Peacock Original

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