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Trans Pride event at LA LGBT Center is a force for empowerment

June 14 and 15 at LA LGBT Center

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While thousands of people head to West Hollywood each year for LA Pride, a more intimate crowd the weekend afterward gathers each year at the Los Angeles LGBT Center since 2008 to celebrate Trans Pride. It’s one of the oldest and largest trans and non binary celebrations in the U.S., this year taking place on  June 14 and 15 at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza and the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus.

Trans Pride History

Gina Bingham. (Facebook)

In an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Blade, Gina Bigham, manager of the Trans Lounge & Education Empowerment Programs, Cultural Arts, talked about the history of the festival, which she has been organizing since 2011.

“My vision for this event has always been to take just just one day out of the year where we can put aside the trials and tribulations that our community faces on a daily basis and celebrate the fact that we exist, we are united and that we are alive!” Bigham enthused.

Unlike many Pride events, Trans Pride is proud to keep a very grassroots community feel to our event, noted Bigham. “To that end, EVERYTHING at Trans Pride LA is free to the public. That includes a hot dinner for almost 600 people.”

While 1,800 people are expected to attend Friday evening and all-day Saturday, initially, Trans Pride was a small event that averaged about 300 people. “We rebranded the event from Trans Unity Pride to Trans Pride LA, and expanded the event from one to two days,” said Bigham.

One of the new components they added was a Friday evening kick-off, where notable trans celebrities were brought in for a community forum/Q&A discussion.

“In past years, we have welcomed Laverne Cox, Kate Bornstein, Aydian Dowling, CeCe McDonald among others to our stage. We also added an annual art exhibit, which celebrates trans icons, and a variety show that highlights professional trans entertainers.

Bigham foresees a day when the name, Trans Pride, will be obsolete.

“With the emergence of gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals, I can envision a time in the near future, where the event becomes more about celebrating gender identity in all its wonderful permutations; not just the trans identity but gender (or the lack there of) in general.”

Bigham has arranged many activities to participate in. “The Transgender Law Center will present a name and gender change clinic. We will also have a self-defense workshop led by Juniper McCoy; a clothing swap sponsored by TransTribe Los Angeles; a story time hour for our younger attendees, and a workshop for the parents of trans/GNC children, developed and facilitated by The Center’s LifeWorks youth development and mentoring program.

Additionally, nearly four dozen organizations will participate in a resource fair, to offer information on a wide array of services and programs vital to the trans community.

Saturday evening activities include a Happy Hour event presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka; food trucks, and a VarieTy show starring an amazing array of performers, including host Ezra Michel; singers Our Lady J, (writer on Pose), Alexandra Grey (Transparent), Charlie Peck, Dean Passarella, Ryan Cassata, LZ Love; comedian Pink Foxx, and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.

The Attendees

Dr. E. Jaye Johnson has been attending Trans Pride with his fraternity, Alpha Omega Nu. “I love how alive the community is when we come together. We should celebrate our lives as well as memorialize those of us gone too soon.”

Nik Kacy. (Facebook)

Trans shoe designer Nik Kacy will be speaking on the panel, “Non-Binary & Genderqueer: A New Awareness of Gender Identitie,” with fellow genderqueer activists, Addison Rose Vincent, Grey Crouch and Eden Anaï Luna.

Kacy, who is non-binary and queer, believes it is vital for people of any identity to show up to Trans Pride.

“Visibility is key to show that we not only exist but we can thrive as a community. More than ever, we need to be united as human beings to fight the hate and discrimination, as well as transphobia that exists.”

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even need a Trans Pride or any Pride because there would be no homo/transphobia or hate of any kind, acknowledged Kacy.
All human beings would be treated the same in all aspects and be celebrated together.”

Kacy continued: “But we don’t live in a perfect world yet, and for now I love that we can bring our community together to celebrate those who are here to represent, encourage and inspire those who might not be able to or comfortable to represent. And honor those who had represented, but lost their lives fighting for their right to exist.”

Grey Couch. (Facebook)

Fellow panelist Crouch stressed the importance of showing up for the community.

“We live in a binary-centered time. From the day-to-day men and women clothing sections, restrooms, checkboxes on a form: we are forced to compromise who we are to navigate the structures around us. As such, non-binary, intersex and two-spirit individuals rarely encounter a space where we can truly share in our experiences with those around us.”

Crouch sees Trans Pride as an opportunity to step outside of binary constructs. “To open ourselves to the truth of possibility, look at ourselves and the people around us and feel seen, heard and most of all: safe. I show up to Trans Pride because even within the trans contingent of LGBTQIAP2-S+, my siblings often feel invisible. The more we show up unapologetically, the more we create space and understanding for who we are and how we matter in our communities.”

Jaxon Cat Williams. (Facebook)

Jaxon Cat Williams has been going to Trans Pride since 2017, the year he began transitioning.

“It was the first time I was even aware we had a trans pride, despite being in the LGBTQ community in Weho for 20 years. I was impressed by the quality of speakers and sessions and how friendly and outspoken people were. I went there with one friend but by the time it was over, I had met over 20 new people. I hope that the festival evolves to be larger, with more participation from our own community as well as cisgendered allies.

Williams describes Trans Pride as a “very safe” space.

“You can be free to be yourself, to be open and vulnerable with others; it’s a place where everywhere you look, no one is judging you. That is very rare to come by as a transgender individual. The speakers and sessions are also tailored to the trans communities needs, which is hit or miss in general at LGBTQ events. Everyone is super friendly and looking to bond with like- minded individuals. It’s as if a weight has been lifted off everyone’s shoulders, and the lightness that results is contagious.”

The one thing that bothered Williams about the event is how small it was. “Most of my friends that aren’t transgender aren’t even aware the event exists. I think more needs to be done in the way of advertising and letting allies know they are welcome to come and support,” he said emphatically.

WHERE:
Los Angeles LGBT Center
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N. McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Los Angeles LGBT Center
Anita May Rosenstein Campus
1118 N. McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90038

WHEN:
Friday, June 14
7–10 p.m.

Saturday, June 15
Noon–9:30 p.m.

TICKETS:
Admission to all events is FREE.

To RSVP for Big Queer Convo, visit lalgbtcenter.org/tp19bqc.

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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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The universe comes out to jazz and violins and you’re invited

LA prides itself as home of the stars. Don’t limit yourself to the mere mortal stars of Hollywood, when the universe is opening its doors

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Past Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome (2018) Photo credit: Irina Logra

LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Starlight, starbright: Bathing yourself in the magnificent skies has returned to Los Angeles as the historic Mount Wilson Observatory announces… shall we say it… a heavenly lineup for its 2022 program.

The program offers something for everybody: From the universe-fascinated who want to observe and soak up astronomical knowledge to the bright light and musically discerning who are there just for the mind-blowing beauty alone. 

Since its founding in 1904 by astronomer and visionary George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory has played host to some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy. Located on Mount Wilson, a 5710-foot (1740-meter) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest, Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) features the Snow Solar Telescope (largest in the world from 1905-1908 and the mountain’s first installation), a 60-inch telescope (the world’s largest operational telescope from 1908-1917), and the 100-inch Hooker telescope (which featured the world’s largest aperture from 1917-1949). Mount Wilson Institute has independently operated and maintained the Mount Wilson Observatory since 1989 under a long-term agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The observatory offers a series of tours throughout the season for the scientific tourist in you. For the mechanically inclined, you can take an engineering tour of the huge telescopes and understand how they have enabled historic discoveries. For the stargazers, there are public and private tours to actually use the telescopes and peep in on our nearest planetary and constellation neighbors. For the gazers who want to keep things even closer to home, take a look right into our own Sun with the Lunt Telescope.

There is no better way to observe the universe than to do it wrapped in gorgeous music. The observatory steps up and takes advantage of the dome’s sensational acoustics by presenting Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome. Top jazz, violinist, brass talents and more will perform in events at 3:00pm and 5:00pm May 22- October 21. The season aesthetics are capped off with [email protected] Observatory in the later summer months which explores sound art in the dome, plein-air painting and sculpting.

It would be a shame to visit the observatory for its visual and auditory sensual offerings alone, however. For those who want to deepen their mind, the season also offers an incredible roster for the astronomy intellect. Lectures from the top experts include discoveries of the deep space mission, women scientists at the observatory, the work of George Ellery Hale, and more.

The gates to Mount Wilson’s acreage opens at 10:00am every day and close at 5:30. Visitors can hike the grounds, gaze at the telescope domes that dot the landscape, and browse through the Historic Museum in the Lecture Hall.  Members from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society will gather around the grounds during each of the events during the season and set up specialty telescopes for a view of various night sky objects while attendees await their turn to look through the grand telescopes in the domes.

Los Angeles prides itself as home of the stars. Don’t limit yourself to the mere mortal stars of Hollywood, when the universe is opening its doors to experience stellar wonders that will really blow your heart and your mind. We hope to see you at the observatory to experience magnificence together.

For more information:  

Concerts: https://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts 

Engineering Tours: www.mtwilson.edu/engineering-tour

Public Ticket Nights:  mtwilson.edu/public-ticket-nights

Private Telescope Reservations: mtwilson.edu/observe

Solar Viewing: mtwilson.edu/solar-observing

Tours: mtwilson.edu/weekend-docent-tours

Mt. Wilson Observatory: https://www.mtwilson.edu 

MWO Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WilsonObs 

MWO Twitter:  https://twitter.com/mtwilsonobs MWO Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mtwilsonobservatory

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Padilla joins women’s march rally in LA to advocate for abortion rights

“We’re coming together this weekend with a powerful message to those who wish to control our bodies & our futures”

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Graphic via Planned Parenthood

LOS ANGELESU.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will join the Women’s March Foundation along with local and national leaders for a National Day of Action, the ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Reproductive Rights Rally. Padilla will deliver remarks on the importance of defending access to safe, legal abortion at the federal level.

Senator Padilla joins leaders in Los Angeles for this day of action following a leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and roll back abortion access protections for millions of women across the country.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif. (Screenshot C-SPAN2)

Earlier this week, Padilla voted in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would codify the right to an abortion into federal law, and spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to pass the bill. 

The “Bans Off Our Bodies” daylong event is organized by groups including Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

“We’re coming together this weekend with a powerful message to those who wish to control our bodies and our futures: Keep your bans off our bodies,” said Planned Parenthood national organizing director Brianna Twofoot.

WHEN:TOMORROW, Saturday, May 14 at 10:00am PT
WHO:Women’s March Foundation
WHERE:Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
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