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Transmen honored by City of Los Angeles

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The International Transgender Day of Visibility was launched on March 31, 2009 to celebrate the vibrant lives of transgender people, too often framed only in terms of tragedy and death in the news and during the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Ten years later, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and David E. Ryu, in conjunction with the city’s Transgender Advisory Council, decided to specifically honor transmen, who are too often rendered invisible.

Jaden Fields, Rizi Timane and Patricio “Cacahuate” Manuel  enjoyed a breakfast reception with O’Farrell before the City Hall ceremony, followed by official photos after the presentation.

“March 31st is the Transgender Day of Visibility, an international event that serves to celebrate the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people while recognizing the work that is still needed to save trans lives,” O’Farrell said.

Ryu introduced Jaden Fields, a black trans community activist, health educator, and poet who co-founded Toolbox, a trans masculine support group.  

 “If someone had told me as a child here in Los Angeles, that at 28, I would be standing here in City Hall being recognized as a black transman doing work for my community.  I would not have believed them; I would not have believed that little black child could be here.  We’re often not seen in the larger fight for trans rights,” Fields said.

Rizi Timane, a Nigerian singer, actor, licensed therapist author of Unspoken Compromise, founded Happy Transgender Center to provide support for transgender individuals and their families during the transition process:  

 “Growing up in Northern Nigeria, experiencing severe poverty, and also experiencing gender dysphoria,” Timane said. “It has been a journey through all of the bullying and through all of the addictions.  I think by sharing our stories, we warm hearts toward the transgender community.”  Timane’s wife of 13 years, and his newborn baby were also at the ceremony.

Los Angeles has already become familiar with native Angelino Patricio Manuel, who is of Mexican, Irish, and African descent.  He made history as the first U.S. Boxer to fight as a woman, and later as a man:

“I really look forward to a day when we as transpeople don’t have to fight so hard to make our dreams a reality,” Manuel said, “but until that day comes I say, ‘Put ’em up!’”

“Jaden, Rizi, and Pat are an integral part of our courageous community.  By being visible black transmen, they are re-shaping cultural and gender narratives,” James Wen, a member of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board, told the Los Angeles Blade.

“Everyday, and especially today, I am very proud to call these men my friends. As a black transman, member of the TAC (LA Transgender Advisory Council) and the founder of Invisible Men, I know how often our lives, stories and accomplishments are overlooked and under represented. I’m so excited to see this kind of visibility and empowerment for these men. This is well deserved for the work they do in our community!,”  Luckie Alexander, Founder of Invisible Men, told the Los Angeles Blade. “We began this as a online platform for trans men to have the ability to tell their own narratives instead being handed who they were according to the world.”

Alexander, Chair of TAC’s Employment Committee, said March 31 marks the first anniversary of Invisible Men, which created a short documentary telling the stories of 12 Trans masculine and Non Binary individuals called the ‘Legacys’ and is now expanding “to identify or create resources lacking for this demographic.”

Invisible Men will hold a celebration and fundraising event at The Abbey in West Hollywood on April 18.

Here’s the video of the celebration of Transmen at LA City Hall:

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Council bans homeless camps in 54 locations

Sitting, sleeping & storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools banned

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LA Homeless Service Authority workers Giovanna Miranda, (L) & Tania Trigueros (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Setting up or creating encampments by homeless persons in 54 select locations across the city is now banned after the LA City Council voted 12-2 Wednesday to outlaw sitting, sleeping and lying in those places.

Utilizing new laws passed over the summer after contentious and at times acrimonious debate, the council enacted new rules regulating sitting, sleeping and storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools and several other locations.

The council also directed city staff to ensure that the homeless were given proper notifications prior to action and that all departments expand staff and make available resources to help those affected by the new ban.

On Wednesday, U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced that the VA is going to place more than 500 unhoused veterans living in Los Angeles into permanent housing.

According to McDonough, the efforts will be in two steps, the first to assist approximately 40 veterans living on the street in what is colloquially referred to as the ‘Veteran’s Row’ encampment, located adjacent to the VA campus in Brentwood on San Vincente Boulevard.

That encampment has been highlighted by mayoral candidates visiting it frequently including last week by U.S. Representative Karen Bass, (D) who was accompanied by the VA Secretary.

The next step is move another 500 veterans into permanent or transitional housing by December 31, the VA Secretary said.

In the last census count of homeless people conducted by the County of Los Angeles, of the nearly 66,000 people experiencing homelessness, roughly 3,900 are homeless veterans.

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Los Angeles

LA City Council votes to suspend Ridley-Thomas over corruption charges

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from his duties

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Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas speaking at a press conference (Blade file screenshot photo)

LOS ANGELES – The city council voted Wednesday to suspend Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, 66, who was was indicted a week ago by a federal grand jury on 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud.

The 11-to-3 vote to suspend vote came two days after Ridley-Thomas announced that he would “step back” from participation in City Council meetings and committees. Ridley-Thomas, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he will not resign and will fight the federal charges against him, KTLA and the Los Angeles Times reported.

The federal grand jury’s indictment alleged that Ridley-Thomas took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, (USC) when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

In a letter sent to fellow councilmembers Monday, he indicated that he would step back from his duties but he declined to resign from his seat. He said that he planned to fight the “outrageous allegations” and would resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. 

In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported.

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LA City Councilman Ridley-Thomas will ‘step back’ from duties, not resign

He will fight the “outrageous allegations” and plans to resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time”

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City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas (Screenshot via KABC 7 News Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas in a letter sent to fellow councilmembers Monday said that he would step back from his duties but he declined to resign from his seat.

In the letter he said that he will fight the “outrageous allegations” and plans to resume participation on the legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I fully appreciate the importance of the council being able to conduct its business with minimal distractions,” Ridley-Thomas said in the letter, adding that he was stepping back with that in mind.

Ridley-Thomas, 66, was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury with 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud alleging he took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, (USC) when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. 

In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported.

Both Ridley-Thomas and Flynn deny the charges.

Mark Ridley-Thomas will ‘step back’ from LA City Council meetings, won’t resign- KABC 7 News Los Angeles:

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