Connect with us

Los Angeles

Equality California celebrates 20 years of legislative activism



Bisexual Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege, gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom, trans Palm Springs City Councilmember Lisa Middleton, Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California (Photo courtesy EQCA)

History doesn’t just make itself. History happens at an inflection point when fed up individuals come together and organize to make change. Different groups take different approaches to an issue but for change to stick, it needs to become law.  This is particularly true for LGBTQ people who are still not equal to their fellow citizens under federal and many state and local laws. That’s why Equality California’s 20 years of successful legislative activism has become a model for other statewide LGBTQ civil rights organizations.

But Equality California stands on the shoulders of brave souls who paved the way through the dark, tangled thicket of entrenched and institutionalized homophobia.

California has a long track record of creating change, starting with the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, ONE Magazine, the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) in the 1950s. In the 1960s, gay and lesbian activism intertwined with the anti-Vietnam War, Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements.  But ironically, the Black Cat and Stonewall rebellions in the late 1960s also sent people “scurrying into closet” fearing exposure through police arrests at bar raids, according to attorney and businesswoman Diane Abbitt.

“There was a lot of shame. People were terrified of losing their jobs. A lot of them were teachers and professional people,” Abbitt tells the Los Angeles Blade. “And it impacted businesses. There was a lesbian bar in Redondo Beach where the police kept coming in on the pretext that they were looking for a runaway.”

Checkbook activist and Equality California Board member Diane Abbitt, with EQCA honoree San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and consultant Bob Burke in 2008. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

By the 1970s, the fight for equal protection under the law hit the political scene and the California Legislature. In 1971, the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club of San Francisco formed to train activists to become political professionals and engage with the Democratic Party. In 1975, Stonewall Democratic Club was founded in Los Angeles and Assemblymember Willie Brown arduously secured passage of a consenting adults law that didn’t exactly decriminalize homosexuality—sodomy or oral copulation laws remained on the books—but private consensual activity between adults over 18 was no longer illegal. In 1977, Assemblymember Art Agnos started pushing for a gay rights job bill and Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The following year, a statewide coalition of activists defeated the anti-gay Briggs initiative and Milk was assassinated.

Meanwhile in LA, the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles (MECLA) became the first gay political action committee (PAC) contributing money to local pro-gay politicians. “We wanted to change the quality of life for gay people so they could be who they are – and they wanted to do that through political action,” says Abbitt, MECLA’s first female board co-chair who later served on the EQCA board and became PAC chair. MECLA became so prominent, Gov. Jerry Brown gave the keynote speech at a 1979 roast for philanthropist businessman Sheldon Andelson.

There were a record 71 openly lesbian and gay delegates to the 1980 Democratic Convention, 17 of whom came from California. The Democratic Party Platform included a gay rights plank. But Democratic President Jimmy Carter lost to former California Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1980 and everything changed.

Though the first AIDS cases reported to the CDC in 1981 of five gay men from Los Angeles exploded into “1,112 and Counting,” as Larry Kramer put it in 1983, the religious conservative Reagan administration did little to nothing. But AIDS brought together the leaders of numerous LGBT groups to form LIFE AIDS Lobby to push AIDS legislation in Sacramento.

LIFE Lobby Board Co-Chair attorney John Duran and Executive Director Laurie McBride at AIDS Action event during Bill Clinton’s Inauguration in Jan. 1992 (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

LIFE worked with allies like Willie Brown and David Roberti, whose openly gay aide Stan Hadden wrote bills and coordinated the legislative response. LIFE also pushed back on anti-gay/AIDS bills and other measures such as the AIDS quarantine initiatives.  John Duran, a volunteer attorney for ACT UP/Orange County, joined the LIFE AIDS Lobby board and wound up serving as co-chair from 1988-1992, working with executive director, Laurie McBride. By the time Republican Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 101 in 1991, LIFE Lobby included members as diverse as transgender ACT UP/LA AIDS activist Connie Norman and Log Cabin Republican Club co-founder Frank Ricchiazzi.

The late AIDS Diva Connie Norman marching in AB 101 protests in Beverly Hills in 1991 (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

In the 1990s, state politics was dominated by conservative anti-gay Republicans. Out attorney Sheila James Kuehl took on the challenge, becoming the first openly gay person in the California Legislature and the first member of the LGBT Legislative Caucus. But in 1998, despite the turning point of Democrat Gray Davis’s election as governor and the promise of new life-saving AIDS medications, LIFE Lobby ran out of money and folded.

But longtime politicos recognized the need for political and legislative activism and California Alliance for Pride and Equality (CAPE) quickly emerged from the ashes in 1999 with longtime San Francisco politico Jean Harris as executive director. Geoff Kors, a graduate of Stanford Law School and a lawyer in private practice, was one of nine members who sat on CAPE’s Board of Directors—which now constituted individual board members, not representatives from different statewide organizations.

When Harris left in 2003 – having helped pass Assemblymember Carole Migden’s AB 25 domestic partner registry bill and Kuehl’s AB 537, the first statewide LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying law – Kors stepped in as executive director and changed the organization’s name to Equality California.

Kors grew the organization into a national model. First, in 2003, working with gay friend Assemblymember Mark Leno, they secured passage of Leno’s AB 196 adding gender identity to employment and housing protections. That year, he also helped secure passage of AB 205, Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg’s expanded domestic partnership bill that was essentially civil unions by another name.

In 2004, as the Religious Right pressured President G. W. Bush to pass a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Equality California merged with Marriage Equality California and focused on both affirmative and counter measures. In 2005, Leno’s first marriage bill, AB 849, passed the Legislature, only to be vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Marriage equality became a key gay and lesbian civil rights issue but marriage equality was upended by the passage of Prop 8 in 2008. It was eventually overturned.

Assemblymember Mark Leno and Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors excited over passage of Leno’s marriage equality bill. (Photo courtesy Kors) 

Kors left Equality California in March 2011 after a hugely successful tenure, concluding with passage of State Sen. Mark Leno’s SB 4, the FAIR Education Act that established an inclusive curriculum.

Kors was followed by Roland Palencia, who served a year, followed by incredible ally Laurie Hasencamp, who stabilized the troubled organization, then John O’Connor who joined the organization in December 2012. During their tenures, Equality California worked to pass Ted Lieu’s SB 1172 “reparative therapy” bill to protect LGBT youth from psychological abuse; Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act, protecting and prohibiting the exclusion of trans students from classes and activities; and Assemblymember Susan Bonilla’s AB 2501, prohibiting use of the “panic defense” based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

When O’Connor left, Rick Zbur, a longtime political and environment activist, retired in 2014 from his senior law partnership with Latham & Watkins to take the executive director job, which also includes working with the Equality California Institute and the community Equality Council.

Equality California has expanded, re-branded and flourished under Zbur’s leadership, broadening the scope of the organization’s mission to focus on intersectionality and look at health disparities, especially in people of color communities, and the rights of trans people and LGBT undocumented immigrants. The expansion included hiring Valerie Ploumpis as National Policy Director based in Washington DC and launching Silver State Equality in Nevada. 

National Policy Director Valerie Ploumpis and Executive Director Rick Zbur (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

This year, Equality California had 13 bills and resolutions; seven passed the legislature; one has been signed into law; and six bills were turned into two-year bills.

“It was a challenging year for us. I’ve got to admit that. Part of that is because our bills are more challenging and in many ways, we’re tackling tougher issues that impact our community in significant ways,” Zbur tells the Los Angeles Blade. “Many of the strategies that we are pursuing cost money. So that is something that we’ve got a lot of work to do to educate the legislature about the need to prioritize our community as they’re allocating budgetary resources. We’ve got a lot of work to do next year to get those six bills passed.”

Gov. Newsom signed AB 711 by Assemblymember David Chiu. “That basically ensures that local educational agencies in California are required to update the records of their former students who identify as transgender, so that their legal name and their gender are accurately reflected in documents like high school diplomas and school transcripts.” Says Zbur.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s AB 493, Safe and Supportive Schools, is on Newsom’s desk but minus a key component – Mandatory Teacher and Staff Training Element, which was pulled because the budgetary funding was insufficient.  “We have an agreement and understanding with the governor’s office that we will bring back the mandatory training elements of the bill next year. They made a commitment to us to work on a funding package as part of next year’s budget,” says Zbur. “We’re optimistic that the governor and his staff have actually prioritized LGBTQ school safety as an issue to tackle in sort of a comprehensive way next year.”

State Sen. Scott Wiener, then-Insurance Commissioner candidate Sen. Ricardo Lara, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, LGBT Legislative Caucus Chair Assemblymember Evan Low, and Assemblymember Todd Gloria at an EQCA event. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Another major bill awaiting a signature is SB 159, PrEP and PEP Access Expansion bill by Sen. Scott Wiener. The bill “basically authorizes pharmacists to furnish PrEP and PEP to patients without a prescription, which eliminates one of the key barriers to getting coverage,” says Zbur. Now, if someone can’t get a doctor’s prescription over the weekend, PrEP and PEP is over available at an emergency room.

“That costs a lot of money and for people that have inadequate insurance, it is a huge barrier. So this bill would fix those circumstances,” says Zbur. “It also prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorization from insurance companies for at least that initial prescription for PrEP.”

Another bill, SB 495 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo, tackles child custody determinations, modifying the family code “to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity of a parent or legal guardian or relative when granting and making decisions on custody of a child, which is an important new non-discrimination protection that is now embedded in our law.”

Additionally, AB 785, by Senate Assemblymember Richard Bloom “streamlines the transfer of donor medical information for families in donor conceived individuals” is also on Newsom’s desk.

The tough two-year bills include the complicated Intersex Bodily Autonomy bill, which was pulled early to allow for more education. “Basically it protects the rights of intersex Californians to ensure that they can provide informed consent before medically unnecessary and sometimes irreversible and harmful procedures are performed on them as babies,” says Zbur. “At its core, this is about protecting and respecting an individual’s own determination of their gender identity.”

Another now-two-year bill by Senator Wiener, SB 132, the Transgender Respect Agency and Dignity Act, primarily dealing with how trans inmates are housed in prison. “We, as a coalition, elected to take a pause and work on some details on the bill that we think will allow us to get it passed next year,” Zbur says. “As you might expect, there’s a high amount of engagement with the California Department of Corrections.”

And then there was the dustup with Assembly Appropriations Chair Lorena Gonzalez, who placed Wiener’s SB 145 Sex Offender Registry bill on suspense without explanation, turning it into a two-year bill. The bill would fix the state’s discriminatory practice of treating LGBT young people differently than their non- LGBTQ peers when engaging in voluntary sexual activity

“We obviously expressed our concern about how this bill was treated. But we are planning on working with the Assembly Appropriations Chair next year and are dedicated to continuing to fight to get this through,” says Zbur.

“I think [Gonzalez] considers herself an ally. But I think she really doesn’t fully understand our issues. It’s inappropriate for her to really try to pit a bill that is trying to fix discrimination against LGBTQ people against folks in the criminal justice advocacy area, who would oppose any sort of increased criminalization of something.”

Apparently, Gonzalez hated the bill. “She wanted this gone. She had concerns about the underlying law. That’s something that she should do as a separate bill. We obviously took issue with the fact that she wanted to tie concerns that she had with the underlying law to an LGBTQ bill to fix discrimination for our community,” Zbur says.

Two other bills, SB 741 and AB 650, “got bollixed up because of some of the details,” says Zbur. One allows trans Californians to update their marriage certificates and birth certificates while still protecting their privacy and the other is about LGBTQ data collection. A third bill, AB 307, by Eloise Gomez Reyes and Senator Wiener regards a homeless youth grant program for which there was no money in the budget.

“One of the challenges that we’re facing is that many of the things that we need to do in California do cost money now,” says Zbur. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do to really hold our legislators and legislature accountable to prioritize the needs of our community. These bills are essentially a drop in the bucket compared to the broader state budget. But really, just the commitment isn’t there yet among many of the folks that are making these decisions. So we’ve got a lot of work to do and that’s what we’re going to be focusing on next year.”

CNN commentator and outspoke Trump critic Ana Navarro (Photo by Karen Ocamb) 

Zbur says their Equality California 20th Anniversary Awards on Sept. 28 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel “should be the biggest gala that we’ve ever had,” with an expected attendance of more than 1200 people. The honorees are Jill Soloway, creator and executive producer of the Amazon original series Transparent, with the Equality Visibility Award;  CNN political commentator Ana Navarro with the Ally Leadership; Latham & Watkins, LLP and attorney Amy Quartarolo, who will be honored together with the Community Leadership Award –  Latham & Watkins, contributed almost $3 million in free legal services to Equality California over the last three years; and past Equality California Board President Andreas Meyer, who led the organization’s board of directors from 2012-2016.

Meyer was Board president when Zbur was hired and “developed the strategy that the organization is following now—one that is very intersectional and really focused on addressing the disparities in health and wellbeing that our community faces.”

Equality California staff: From left: Program Director Robbie Rodriguez, Program Associate Marisa London, Communications Director Samuel Garrett-Pate, Director of Finance & Administration Valecia Phillips, Executive Director Rick Zbur, Managing Director Tony Hoang, Program Manager Jeremy Payne, Grants Associate Allie Hughes (Photo by Claudia Unger & Francesca Di Amico, courtesy of Equality California)

Zbur also says he is “actually very lucky to have an incredibly committed board and an incredibly committed staff. I mean it’s really a team effort. But when I came in, it was a time in which a lot of folks were asking the question: why do we need Equality California? We were so associated with the fight for marriage equality and that was behind us. Andres was an incredibly important leader of our organization during that transition,” as were Jackie Thomas and Joyce Rowland at the Equality California Institute.

“For two decades, Equality California has led the Golden State’s fight for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice,” says Zbur. “And after 20 years in this fight — even in these challenging times — I couldn’t be more hopeful. I have hope for our future because like our fledgling board back in 1999, I know the next generation of leaders are unafraid, unjaded and don’t give a damn what the cynics have to say.”



Los Angeles

Pride flag burned at elementary school where protests continue

“We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ”



Progress Pride Flag hangs outside a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School, replacing a smaller version destroyed in an arson hate crime. (Photo credit: Renato Lira San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center)

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that a small LGBTQ+ Pride flag located outside of a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School was destroyed in an act of arson. The crime is now is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to an LAPD spokesperson.

First reported by The Daily News, Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the LAPD’s Valley Bureau told journalist Steve Scauzillo: “The investigation is ongoing. It is a vandalism hate crime. The hate crime is still significant but it is a misdemeanor,” he said on May 27.

A group of parents have taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest a scheduled June 2, LGBTQ+ Pride event at the school located at 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.

The group called for other parents to protest outside of the school on June 2 at the start of the school day. “We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, who is among the Saticoy parents unhappy with the school, told KTLA 5 on May 24. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”

The blackened planter and burned flag were discovered by school personnel on Monday, May 22, at 6:30 a.m., Hamilton said. He did not know when the planter and flag were burned and there are no suspects, he said.

According to The Daily News, a member of the group, Saticoy Elementary Parents, claims that no one from the group was responsible for the act of arson.

Ana, a parent in the group who asked that her last name not be published in the interest of her family’s safety, said she does not believe any member of the group is responsible for the possible hate crime, the Daily News reported.

“None of us parents are aware of who the person might have been who set the flag on fire,” she said. “None of us would jump the fence or set the flag on fire because we don’t want to bring that negativity to the school where our children are.”

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) confirmed that the event being protested by the group will include a book reading by faculty of British author Mary Hoffman titled ‘The Great Big Book of Families. The book covers families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families.  It also addresses family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food people eat, clothes, pets, and hobbies.

The school also has an assembly planned for that day.

The executive director of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, Renato Lira, expressed concern over this latest incident: “We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ who bring their kids to that school.”

Lira and the Center donated a full size Progress Pride flag for display and told the paper that volunteers from the Center will be present on the event this Friday. He added: “We raised that flag to let them know we are going to be stronger and united,” he said.

Lira pointed out that whoever burned the flag showed disrespect for LGBTQ parents, teachers and the community. “They should not be doing that, whoever they are,” he said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

North Hollywood parents protest Pride event at elementary school

According to a statement released by the LAUSD, LGBTQ+ issues are an ongoing conversation within the district



Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

LOS ANGELES – A group of parents have taken to social media and distribute flyers to protest a scheduled June 2 LGBTQ+ Pride event at Saticoy Elementary School on 7850 Ethel Avenue in North Hollywood.


The group called for other parents to protest outside of the school on June 2 at the start of the school day. “We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, who is among the Saticoy parents unhappy with the school, told KTLA 5. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”


A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) confirmed that the event will include a book reading by faculty of British author Mary Hoffman titled ‘The Great Big Book of Families. The book covers families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families.  It also addresses family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food people eat, clothes, pets, and hobbies.

The school also has an assembly planned for that day.

According to a statement released by the LAUSD, LGBTQ+ issues are an ongoing conversation within the district:

“As part of our engagement with school communities, our schools regularly discuss the diversity of the families that we serve and the importance of inclusion,” the LAUSD said in a statement. “This remains an active discussion with our school communities and we remain committed to continuing to engage with families about this important topic.”

Erik Adamian, the President of the Board of Directors of GALAS LGBTQ+ Armenian Society in an email to the Blade said:

“Identities are formed at a very young age. It is critical to have expansive and inclusive language within schools that depict how different our identities, family structures and lives can be and how that is okay.  LGBTQ+ children face a disproportionate amount of challenges, with amplified feelings of isolation and loneliness during teenage years. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ voices is a matter of saving lives; it is a matter of presenting children with critical support, rather than barriers, toward flourishing into healthy adults.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Out social media celebrity JoJo Siwa’s Valley home burglarized

Responding officers found a door open and after review of security footage are now looking for at least two burglary suspects



Photo Credit: City of Los Angeles LAPD

LOS ANGELES – Patrol officers from the LAPD’s West Valley Community Police Station responded to a call for service from an alarm company at around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday to a residence in Tarzana, which is home to 19-year-old dancer, singer, actress and YouTuber JoJo Siwa.

Responding officers found a door open and after review of security footage are now looking for at least two burglary suspects who are seen on the video wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks covering their faces.

Siwa, who is currently on a cruise with family members, shared a screenshot on her Instagram account:


In her Insta post she wrote:

“We were robbed last night at 2:40(ish)AM. It was an armed robbery which is very scary. It was a REALLLLY long night on the phone with my security, family, and LAPD.”

Siwa also noted there was “lots of materialistic damage” as a result of the break-in, but added that “that can all be fixed.”

“I’m just happy that my family and pups are safe. Most important thing to me,” Siwa said continuing: “Do me a favor and hug your people extra tight tonight. Life is SCARY. And you never know when anything could happen.”

An LAPD spokesperson said that the investigation is ongoing.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Rubio bashes LA Dodgers over honoring drag group, Dodgers fold

LA LGBT Center Removes Itself from the Dodgers’ ‘Pride Night,’ To our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we say: Thank you



Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. (Photo Credit: Office of Senator Rubio/Facebook)

WASHINGTON – Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement Monday that condemned the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise for a scheduled “Community Hero Award”  to be given to the LA Chapter of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence drag group during Pride month in June.

The Florida Republican alleges that honoring the group “mock(s) the faith with the motto with “Go forth and sin some more!” Rubio sent a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred stating that he is questioning whether the League is “inclusive and welcoming” to Christians. 

Rubio cited the following:

  • “The ‘sisters’ are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns. The group’s motto, ‘go and sin some more,’ is a perversion of Jesus’s command to ‘go, and sin no more.’ The group’s ‘Easter’ ceremony features children’s programming followed by a drag show where adult performers dress in blasphemous imitation of Jesus and Mary. The group hosts pub crawls mocking the Stations of the Cross and even the Eucharist, the sacrament that unites more than one billion Catholics around the world.”
  • “Do you believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers are being ‘inclusive and welcoming to everyone’ by giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians—and not only Christians, but nuns, who devote their lives to serving others?”

The New York City-based anti-LGBTQ+ Catholic League, headed by Bill Donohue who has a years-long lengthy record of anti-LGBTQ+ animus tweeted:

In his letter to the MLB Commissioner, the Senator writes:

“On June 16, 2023, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” at Dodgers Park. As part of the pre-game ceremony, the Dodgers will give its “Community Hero Award” to the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a self-described “order of queer and trans nuns” that has mocked and degraded Christians, and especially Catholics, since its founding on Easter Sunday in 1979.

The “sisters” are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns. The group’s motto, “go and sin some more,” is a perversion of Jesus’s command to “go, and sin no more.” The group’s “Easter” ceremony features children’s programming followed by a drag show where adult performers dress in blasphemous imitation of Jesus and Mary. The group hosts pub crawls mocking the Stations of the Cross and even the Eucharist, the sacrament that unites more than one billion Catholics around the world.”

The Blade has reached out to the Dodgers for comment but as of time of publication the team hasn’t responded. However in a tweet issued by the Dodgers Wednesday, on the globally recognized International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, (IDAHOBIT), the baseball franchise backed away from honoring the drag group.

Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California, issued a statement on the Dodgers backtracking and caving-in to anti-LGBTQ+ groups and Rubio:

“At a moment in time when drag performers are under attack across the country — including in stage legislatures and in some cases needing armed escorts to protect them from far-right extremists — the Dodgers’ actions are disappointing and let down thousands of LGBTQ+ fans that have supported them throughout the years. 

“As longtime community leaders, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have raised millions of dollars for causes including HIV/AIDS healthcare, affordable housing, violence prevention, and drug abuse prevention in addition to offering grants to direct-service organizations and small businesses that support underrepresented communities.

“The anti-LGBTQ+ extremists who advocated for the removal of the Sisters from Pride Night are the very same people who are trying to erase the rights of trans kids and their families, criminalize drag performance and roll back equality for LGBTQ+ people across the country — we cannot and will not let them win. 

“We call on the Dodgers to reinstate The Sisters as an honoree for Pride Night and works towards strengthening their commitment to unity.”

Out California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote on Twitter:

Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath tweeted:

Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-51) added his disappointment over the Dodgers decision on Twitter:

“I feel angry and disappointed that the @dodgers have caved into the rising hate and anti-lgbtq rhetoric happening across our Country but driven by an extremist minority in power. Having Pride night while at the same time removing @sfsisters @ladragnuns from the evening is a blatant slap in the face to our community at a time when we need true allies and not performative ones. Los Angeles County has the largest LGBTQ+ community in California and likely the nation and we deserve better. I call on Dodgers to do the right thing. Step up, apologize and reverse course,” City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne told the Blade.

The City of West Hollywood issued a statement:

“As the City of West Hollywood gets ready to kick-off WeHo Pride on Harvey Milk Day, we’re excitedly looking forward to the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence participating in the WeHo Pride Parade during WeHo Pride Weekend on the first weekend of June.

Pride is deeply rooted in West Hollywood’s history and culture. The City of West Hollywood has advocated for nearly four decades to support LGBTQ people. In our community’s ongoing fight for equality, the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have marched in unity at every step.

To those who draw lines that divide groups within our LGBTQ community, the City of West Hollywood emphatically says: this is not acceptable. We call on the Los Angeles Dodgers to reconsider its decision not to honor the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as part of its Pride Night. Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of Pride. Pride is for everyone.

We applaud the Sisters for their passionate dedication to the LGBTQ community, for tireless AIDS and HIV activism, for unequivocally crusading for the rights of all people, and for the love, laughter, and flair they inspire.

The City of West Hollywood looks forward to celebrating WeHo Pride with the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and with everyone who celebrates under the diverse and beautiful rainbow of Pride.”

In response to the Dodgers Foundation rescinding their invitation to recognize the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at next month’s Pride Night, Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Dodgers, an organizational partner that has made significant strides towards dismantling anti-LGBTQ+ bias in sports and long-standing supporter of our mission, has decided to revoke their invitation to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at their upcoming Pride Night.

Buckling to pressure from out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists, the Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people. They have been fed lies about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and have therefore contributed to the ongoing, anti-LGBTQ smear campaign happening in this country. In a year where over 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation are on the books—many of them targeting freedom of speech, expression, and the bodily autonomy of our community—the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is as critical as ever, and unfortunately the Dodgers chose to bow to the religious right rather than stand with our LGBTQ community.

We at the Center know that the religious right—a minority aligned with white supremacy and attacks on reproductive justice—does not speak for all people of faith, including the many people of faith within the LGBTQ+ community. We know that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have reclaimed religious imagery, garb, and symbolism to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality; through their protests, they have exposed the hypocrisy of the churches that demonized gay people during the AIDS Crisis; challenged faith institutions to stand with queer and trans people; and raised valuable resources for our community as we were turned away from services elsewhere.

We call on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision, honor the Sisters, and bring the true spirit of Pride back to Dodgers Stadium. If the decision is not reversed, we strongly encourage the Dodgers to cancel Pride Night. Any organization that turns its back on LGBTQ+ people at this damning and dangerous inflection point in our nation’s history should not be hoisting a rainbow flag or hosting a ‘Pride Night.’ We want the Dodgers ally ship to be consistent with our experience partnering with them over the past many years. The people of Los Angeles County have consistently and overwhelmingly shown up for LGBTQ+ equality. If one of our most beloved institutions—the Dodgers—refuses to stand by us at this moment, we are terrified of what will come next. Los Angeles is a leader—not a follower. We call on the Dodgers to set an example. 

To our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we say: Thank you. You will always have a place to be honored at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

RuPaul’s DragCon 2023 slays at L.A. Convention Center

There were the booths selling shoes, wigs, clap fans, makeup, jewelry, candles apparel and pretty much anything gay or draggy



DragCon 2023 (Photo Montage Credit: WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community are facing threats across the country, but that didn’t hold back RuPaul’s DragCon 2023 from making a point that drag is here to slay.

The two-day event drew thousands of drag babies, drag legends and drag fans from all walks of life to the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday and Saturday (with some special events on Thursday evening).

Presented by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, RuPaul’s DragCon returned in-person with a fan-clapping convention that brought charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to celebrate drag culture from all over the world. The drag queen convention dates back to 2015 to give the art of drag, queer culture, and self-expression a platform and bring people together.

The Los Angeles Times reported that there were over 70 confirmed international queens coming from as far as the Philippines, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and France. Ts Madison hosted “Bring Back My Girls,” one of WoW‘s hit shows, live from the convention floor.

This year’s main convention hall featured live events with Bianca Del Rio, two DJ sets by RuPaul himself perched high above the main stage, and of course, countless performances by drag icons like Jaida Essence Hall, the Teletubbies, Baga Chipz, Shea Couleé, Pangina Heals, Alaska, Kylie Sonique Love, Sasha Colby and so more.

DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES

One of the biggest gags of the entire weekend was the opening of the pink carpet on Saturday morning. It’s a chance for the queens to make an entrance and work a runway for waiting fans who had to get up pretty early to secure a good space to see it all. The pink carpet runway is also a chance to see all the queens before the bigger names hide inside a booth and are only allowed to be seen for a charge upwards of $30 in merchandise in exchange for a meet and greet and a photo op.

Jimbo at DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES
DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES
DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES
DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES

Then there were the booths selling shoes, wigs, clap fans, makeup, jewelry, candles apparel and pretty much anything gay or draggy.

Micky’s WeHo was a main sponsor. They had a double booth near the main entrance offering makeup makeovers, photo ops, music by DJ Paulo, and of course, Go-Go Dancers. Micky’s also hosted drag queens on their booth for meet and greets throughout the event.

Let’s also not forget to mention the local West Hollywood queens that graced Dragcon 2023. We’re talking about Selinas Estities, Morgan McMichaels, Willam, Sasha Colby, Mayhem Miller, Ongina, Kalista Stage, Vivienne Vida, Jordan Jayro, Manila Luzon and Sabbyiana to name a few… in no particular order.

DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES
DragCon 2023 – WEHO TIMES

WeHo Times ran into Love Connie who was a guest on the most recent RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15. She was working the pink carpet in her usual Love Connie fashion to promote Cash App, which is one of the sponsors. “I love this event,” she told WEHO TIMES. “I believe I’m allergic to the pink carpet fibers. I have to keep using my prison warden hankie to wipe my sweat off. But I’ll survive.”

Love Connie – WEHO TIMES

Connie said she was not a fan of the children at the convention and she hoped they were acting up and throwing a tantrum wrecking havoc. She also said she was impressed by the Andrew Christian boys where were throwing a beach ball around and twerking the entire day.

“There was one little girl that I really loved,” she added “This little girl looked at me and said, ‘you’re a boy. I can tell you’re a boy, but you’re dressing like a girl. And I know why. I’ve seen Rupaul’s Drag Race. She’s a producer’s daughter and she was so cute the way she was figuring it all out. I just smiled.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder partnered with the ACLU this year and were proud to donate to “The Drag Defense Fund” in support of the ACLU’s LGBTQ+ rights work. The Dragcon website had a page allowing fans to make a tax-deductible gift to this crucial fund.

To donate, visit:
Support The Drag Defense Fund | American Civil Liberties Union (


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

“Terminating Hate” Schwarzenegger leads panel on extremism

During the discussion, Schwarzenegger preached collectiveness in the fight against hate, echoing his message of hope



Former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, led a discussion on ending the cycle of extremism at USC. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – Former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, led a discussion on ending the cycle of extremism Wednesday. The event was hosted by the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Students, journalists, and reporters filled the auditorium for the panel discussion meeting titled “Terminating Hate” – a nod to the actor’s former role as a cyborg assassin in Director James Cameron’s successful ‘Terminator’ film franchise.  

The meeting came on the heels of a viral video posted by the former governor on YouTube, outlining his recent trip to Auschwitz. In the video, Schwarzenegger urged extremists to change hateful ways and offered a message of hope that there can, indeed, be a bright future for those who choose a better path. 

Speakers and panelists included CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, the Dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Willow Bay, Erroll Southers, USC Associate Senior Vice President of Safety and Risk Assurance, USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director, Dr. Robert Williams, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Founder and Senior Rabbi, IKAR, Chuck Leek, Exit Specialist, Life After Hate, John Turtletaub, renowned film director, and Myrieme Nadri-Churchill, Executive Director, Parents for Peace.

“Hate crimes have increased to record levels,” said Dean Bay, opening the discussion with some startling statistics.  

Los Angeles reported a total of 643 hate crimes just last year, marking a 13% increase since the year before. Nationally, hate crimes rose 31%, while antisemitic hate crimes rose to their highest levels since the Anti-Defamation League started keeping track in 1979. 

The league was founded in 1910 with the mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

“America is facing a level of extremism arguably unseen since World War II,” said Bay. “The difference between now and World War II is that this is a threat we are facing from within.” 

During the discussion, Schwarzenegger preached collectiveness in the fight against hate, echoing his message of hope for those who wish to change the narrative of the hate they have been exposed to. 

“I was born to a father who was a Nazi,” said Schwarzenegger, recounting the emotion he felt during his first visit to Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, “and look where we are one generation later. This is how we can change. I don’t have to copy my father. We can change.”

Leek is a proponent of this change. A former white supremacist for twenty years, he now assists ex-members of radical groups re-acclimate as positive members of society. 

Leek’s work is mainly through Life After Hate, an organization committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives. Armed with a team of experts and led by a licensed clinical psychologist, Life After Hate’s vision is a world that allows people to change and contribute to a society without violence Leek noted.  

In a separate but related manner, Nadri-Churchill works to empower families, friends, and communities to prevent radicalization, violence, and extremism through the non-governmental public health nonprofit Parents for Peace. The nonprofit provided guidance and early intervention; to raise public awareness among parents who suspect their child is being radicalized. 

“No one is going to call the cops on their kids,” said Nadri-Churchill. A psychotherapist with 30 years of experience, she works with families to coach them on the best steps to tackle this issue while maintaining safety as a priority for all involved. 

USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy “Terminating Hate” panel discussion, Wednesday April 26, 2023.
(Photo by Simha Haddad)

Rabbi Brous later praised Schwarzenegger for his opening, saying, “Standing up here and saying, ‘I am the son of a Nazi,’ was incredibly powerful.” She stressed how shame and isolation were key factors that can lead to extremist mindsets and asked, “How can we own the truth and not be ashamed of it?”  

Schwarzenegger has historically been very open about his past and origins. In addition to advocating against hate, the former Republican California Governor continues to be an advocate and activist for children’s education, arts, and societal betterment in general. 

During the “Terminating Hate” discussion, he shared that as a celebrity, he feels it is his responsibility to use his platform for good: “I am very much into giving back and not just taking. I thought it was important to talk about this issue.” 

Schwarzenegger also stressed the importance of movies for their reach and influence, calling on directors like Turtletaub to use his influence to spread messages against hate. 

“Communication is the number one issue here,” said Schwarzenegger. “This is why it was so important for me not to attack the other side. Hate, in the end, never pays off. Often, those who were fueled by hate become the losers.” 

Schwarzenegger recounted a story from the eighties when he asked his father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, how he was able to go into enemy Soviet Union territory and negotiate for oil, when the Russians considered him an enemy. Shriver replied telling him, “Well, you have to find some common ground.” 

Shriver would spend a day eating and talking but never discussing negotiations or the real reason he was there. He would find common ground in everything from family to fishing so that by the second day of his trip, he was able to secure what he needed from people who hated him when he arrived.  

This is the philosophy Schwarzenegger hopes more people adopt when trying to solve the problem of hate, striving to “solve this problem without just accusing the other side.”

Schwarzenegger also said he hoped that more scientists and researchers would get involved in studying the human brain and hate throughout history to get to the bottom of what causes hate in the first place. 

“We know the human race has always had prejudice,” said Schwarzenegger. “How does the brain really work? Why is the brain functioning this way?”

Finally, Schwarzenegger reiterated his desire for all people to come together to end hate. 

“Even though people say this can never be solved, I say, yes we can!”

The Blade attempted to ask the former governor about his stance on anti-LGBTQ+ hate and transgender rights but was, however, turned away by Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff. 

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calls out hate speech:

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Mayor Karen Bass delivers her first ‘State of the City’ address

The mayor highlighted key accomplishments made in her first 127 days & efforts to tackle homelessness, crime, & LAPD staffing crisis



Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass delivers her first State of the City address on April 17, 2023. (Screenshot/YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – In her first State of the City speech, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass addressed her administration’s efforts to tackle homelessness, crime, and the staffing crisis within the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department.  

The mayor also highlighted key accomplishments made in her first 127 days in office.

Bass announced a proposed expansion of the city’s Inside Safe initiative, which moves residents off sidewalks and into hotel and motel rooms with a $250 million expenditure as part of a $1.3-billion investment in housing and homelessness programs. Her full spending plan, which still requires City Council approval, will be unveiled Tuesday morning.

Opening her remarks, she thanked Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn, who had introduced her to the audience gathered in the L.A. City Council Chambers, which included other members of the Board of Supervisors, and also former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013.

Bass recognized Villaraigosa from the podium.

The mayor addressed her efforts to help SEIU Local 99 — the union representing service workers and support staff including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and teaching assistants negotiate with the Los Angeles Unified School District to come to an agreement to reopen schools, the city’s approach repairing potholes and how the city plans to ensure record rainwater capture after this Spring’s record rainfall.

The staffing crisis at the Los Angeles Police Department prompted the mayor to allocate additional funding for the hiring of new police officers to bring the LAPD up to a force strength of 9,500 officers. The department has lost nearly 1,000 personnel in retirements and resignations, in part exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking with KTLA, Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz, Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League said: “It’s a crisis. We definitely need to change. Something needs to change.” 

Sandoz and LAPPL say they will support the mayor’s plans to hire more LAPD officers but say more needs to be done to retain officers who are already on the force.  

“This needs to happen ASAP,” Sandoz said. “We cannot recruit our way out of this problem. We are losing officers too fast.”

In an interview prior to the mayor’s address, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times, the department, which is currently at 9,130 officers, is expected to lose more throughout this next year as retirement and resignation demands are up 20% more than usual, the Chief said.


Mayor Karen Bass gives first State of the City address:

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Vice President Kamala Harris joins abortion pill rights rally in DTLA

“We want scientific judgment to prevail, not to have any justice substitute their religious ideology or beliefs that are not scientific”



Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at rally protesting potential abortion drug ban. (Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – As hundreds of Angelenos gathered in a rally Saturday at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to protest a recent ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would ban the abortion medication mifepristone, those in attendance were joined by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Vice-President, who was in town for the event, spoke for six minutes telling the crowd:

“Around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders, who would dare to silence the voice of the people, a United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, that took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America — we have seen attacks on voting rights, attacks on fundamental rights to love and to marry the people that you love, attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of the people who they are. And so this is a moment that history will show required each of us, based on our collective love of our country to stand up for, and fight for, to protect our ideals. That’s what this moment is.”

Gloria Allred, a civil rights lawyer known for fighting to protect women’s rights, spoke with KABC 7’s Amy Powell on the importance of maintaining mifepristone, the abortion drug in trouble of being removed from the American market, as an option for women.

“We want scientific judgment to prevail and not to have any justice substitute their religious ideology, or their beliefs that are not scientific,” said Allred. “We don’t want these courts to limit access to women.”

KABC 7 also reported the reproductive rights march featured women – and some men – marching through the streets, chanting and holding signs, before ending at the rally in front of City Hall.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday temporarily suspended orders from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that would have restricted the nationwide sale and distribution of the abortion medication mifepristone.

The move by conservative Justice Samuel Alito will give the High Court until Wednesday April 19 to decide whether those restrictions will be kept in place pending the outcome of litigation over the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is now on appeal before the 5th Circuit.

Last week, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a stay of the FDA’s approval of mifepristone 23 years ago, effectively barring its sale and distribution nationwide.

Full transcript of the Vice-President’s remarks:

Mayor Bass!  (Applause.)  L.A.!  (Applause.)  So, I’m here to thank all the leaders who came out today and — for what you have done for years and years and years, understanding that we can never take anything for granted and that we must show up each and every day if we are to defend our fundamental rights. 

Let us center on where we are.  Let us center on where we are right now.  This is a critical point in our nation’s history.  We are seeing, around the country, in a myriad of ways, those who would dare to attack fundamental rights and, by extension, attack our democracy.

Around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders who would dare to silence the voices of the people. 

A United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, that took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America.

We have seen attacks on voting rights; attacks on fundamental rights to love and marry the people that you love — (applause); attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are.  (Applause.)

And so, this is a moment that history will show required each of us, based on our collective love of our country, to stand up and fight for and protect our ideals.  That’s what this moment is.  (Applause.)

This moment, I believe, is the next phase of a movement.  And we have all been called to help lead this movement to fight on behalf of all of the people who have so much at stake. 

You know, I’ve been traveling around the world as your Vice President.  (Applause.)  And — thank you.  And here’s the thing, though.  Here’s the thing.  When we, as Americans, walk in those rooms around the world, we have traditionally walked in those rooms, shoulders back, chin up, having some authority to talk about the importance of rule of law, human rights. 

But here’s the thing we all know about what it means to be a role model: People watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.  (Applause.)

So let us understand that what is happening in our nation right now, by extension, can impact people around the world who dare to say, “I want my country to be like the United States and protect rights.”  And those autocrats and those dictators might look at those folks and say, “What are you pointing to as the example?”

There’s so much at stake right now.  There is so much at stake right now. 

And so, we have been called upon to be the next generation of the people who will help lead and fight in this movement for freedom and liberty based on our love of our country.  (Applause.)

And I want to make another point.  You know, in traveling around the world, I often — in fact, almost every time when I go to a new country — I’ll meet with women to talk with them about how they’re doing.  Because I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy.  (Applause.)

So, when they dare attack the rights of women, understand, for all of you who are watching who walk around wearing those lapel pins, requiring that people look at you with some level of respect: When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America.  (Applause.)

All of this is at stake.  So, to the young leaders here and around the world, and our men and everyone who is here: Let us know that we are strong when we are together.  (Applause.)  We are strong when we know the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.  We are strong when we stand in unity.  We are strong when we build our coalition. 

We are strong when we understand that you got to know what you stand for to know what to fight for.  And we stand for our democracy.  And we stand for foundational and fundamental principles that have everything to do with freedom, liberty, and equality for all people.  (Applause.)

Thank you, L.A.  (Applause.)

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Budweiser brewery​ in Van Nuys receives bomb threat over trans ad

Anheuser-Busch has faced massive backlash for the advertising partnership with Dylan Mulvaney from conservatives and far right extremists



Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser Van Nuys plant. (Photo Credit: Media affairs & marketing Anheuser-Busch Inc.)

LOS ANGELES – The fallout over a controversial sponsorship deal between Anheuser-Busch and transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney led to a bomb threat at Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser Van Nuys plant on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that units from the LAPD’s Van Nuys Station, the LAPD bomb squad and other units from the department’s Valley Division responded to the sprawling Anheuser-Busch facility located at 8250 Woodley Ave in Van Nuys.

According to the LAPD, an emailed bomb threat was received at approximately 9 a.m. and after clearing the perimeter then searching the facility, the location was cleared.

According to CBS News there were multiple nationwide bomb threats allegedly made to other Budweiser factories this week tied to the beer giant’s refusal to cut ties with Mulvaney. It was reported Thursday, that a Missouri based Budweiser distributor canceled all planned appearances of the iconic Clydesdale horses, citing threats to its employees. The Clydesdales have long been featured in Budweiser commercials

Anheuser-Busch has faced massive backlash for the advertising partnership with Mulvaney from conservatives and far right extremists. Fox News Channel and Fox has denounced the beer company for its decision to have Mulvaney make a promotional video for Bud Light.

Fox News and the rest of right-wing media have stoked many anti-LGBTQ panics over the years, and the fanatical obsession with Mulvaney is part of a broader campaign to eliminate transgender people from public life altogether that conservative Republicans and the far right are engaged in.

In a statement released Friday by Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch addressing the continuing controversy, Whitworth didn’t mention Mulvaney nor did it include a specific example of the company causing division.

“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote. “I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners.”

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” he said. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

Whitworth said he was “focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.”

“Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation,” he said.

Anheuser-Busch did not respond to requests for comments regarding the series of violent threats.

Mulvaney, a University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumna, partnered with Bud Light for a promotional contest it ran last month. The transgender actor recently celebrated the 365th day of her “Days of Girlhood” series and said Bud Light sent her a personalized beer can to mark the milestone, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The musical theater grad, who addressed general criticism while appearing on Tuesday’s episode of Rosie O’Donnell’s “Onward” podcast, also partnered with Nike last week for sponsored social media posts. Her partnerships have received positive and negative responses from various celebrities, including Kid Rock, Travis Tritt, Caitlyn Jenner, Paris Hilton and more.

Mulvaney did not specifically address the Bud Light backlash while on O’Donnell’s podcast the Enquirer added.

Musician Kid Rock had published a video showing him shooting two cases of Bud Light with an assault rifle and then turning to face the camera saying “Fuck Bud Light.”

From conservative far-right media outlet Daily Caller YouTube:

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Latino Equality Alliance awards LGBTQ+ college scholarships

La Alianza Latina por la Igualdad (LEA) otorgó más de $20,000 en becas para apoyar a ocho estudiantes universitarios LGBTQ+



The Latino Equality Alliance awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to bolster eight LGBTQ+ college-bound students (Photo Credit: Latino Equality Alliance)

LOS ANGELES – At a time when LGBTQ+ and trans rights are being challenged in school districts across the country, the Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to bolster eight LGBTQ+ college-bound students on Saturday, April 8 at the Mayne Event Center in Bellflower, California.  

“The mission at the Latino Equality Alliance is to build a community of support for youth leaders,” said Eddie Martinez, executive director of LEA. “With the help of our corporate partners, the LGBTQ+ Scholarship Fund has successfully awarded 40 scholarships over the years totaling more than $60,000 to date.”  

The scholarship awards ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 per scholar. The scholarship recipients are multi-talented youth who are typically low-income, first-generation, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.  

The annual LGBTQ+ Youth Scholarship Awards Ceremony celebrates the academic achievements of Latinx students and reminds them that there is a bright future ahead filled with endless opportunities.  

“Thanks to the opportunities organizations such as LEA provide, I was able to stay on track and now I’m finally about to graduate,” said Kevin Palomo, one of this year’s scholarship recipients. “LEA’s support alleviated a lot of my financial burden and it even made me feel encouraged to apply to grad school.” 

Congressman Robert Garcia, representatives from the offices of LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn 4th District and LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis 1st District, were all in attendance to the event. Sponsors included Keck Medicine of USC, Grindr for Equality, In Memory of Abel Benitez, Walmart, Uber SoCalGas, Bank of America, City Labs Boyle Heights, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation: Somos LOUD

En Español:


LOS ÁNGELES – En un momento en que los derechos LGBTQ+ y trans están siendo cuestionados en los distritos escolares de todo el país, la Alianza Latina por la Igualdad (LEA) otorgó más de $20,000 en becas para apoyar a ocho estudiantes universitarios LGBTQ+ el sábado 8 de abril en el Mayne Event Center en Bellflower, California. 

“La misión de la Alianza Latina por la Igualdad es construir una comunidad de apoyo para líderes jóvenes”, dijo Eddie Martínez, director ejecutivo de LEA. “Con la ayuda de nuestros socios corporativos, el Fondo de Becas LGBTQ+ ha otorgado con éxito 40 becas a lo largo de los años por un total de más de $60,000 hasta la fecha.” 

Los premios de becas oscilaron entre $ 1,000 y $ 5,000 por becario. Los beneficiarios de las becas son jóvenes con múltiples talentos que suelen ser de bajos ingresos, de primera generación y miembros de la comunidad LGBTQ+. 

La ceremonia anual de premios de becas para jóvenes LGBTQ+ celebra los logros académicos de los estudiantes latinos y les recuerda que hay un futuro brillante por delante lleno de oportunidades infinitas. 

“Gracias a las oportunidades que brindan organizaciones como LEA, pude mantener el rumbo de mi carrera universitaria y ahora finalmente estoy a punto de graduarme”, dijo Kevin Palomo, uno de los beneficiarios de la beca de este año. “El apoyo de LEA alivió gran parte de mi carga financiera e incluso me animó a postularme para la escuela de posgrado”. 

El Congresista Robert García, representantes de las oficinas de la Supervisora del Condado de Los Ángeles, Janice Hahn, Distrito 4 y la Supervisora del Condado de Los Ángeles, Hilda L. Solís, Distrito 1, asistieron al evento. Los patrocinadores incluyeron Keck Medicine of USC, Grindr for Equality, In Memory of Abel Benitez, Walmart, Uber SoCalGas, Bank of America, City Labs Boyle Heights y AIDS Healthcare Foundation: Somos LOUD. 

Para obtener más información sobre las formas de participar, visite

Acerca de LEA: 

La Alianza Latina por la Igualdad (LEA) se fundó como una respuesta directa a la Proposición 8, una propuesta electoral de California y una enmienda constitucional estatal destinada a prohibir el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo. Los líderes LGBT latinos decidieron emprender el desafío de aumentar la conciencia y el apoyo a la comunidad LGBTQ y abordar temas destacados que eran relevantes para nuestra interseccionalidad. 

La misión de LEA es abogar por la seguridad, la equidad y el bienestar de la comunidad Latinx lesbiana, gay, bisexual, transgénero y queer+. Como organización sin fines de lucro, LEA promueve el empoderamiento de los jóvenes, la aceptación familiar, el éxito académico, el bienestar y el compromiso cívico. 

Continue Reading