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Don’t give up! Remain fierce on Transgender Day of Remembrance



Wednesday, November 20, 2019, marks the 20th observance for International Transgender Day of Remembrance.  This somber ceremony was first organized and founded by transgender community member, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, in 1999 in memory of the November 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a black transwoman living in Alston, MA.  Sadly, in 2019, people are still killing black transwomen and trans/non-binary people of color.  The United States has already added 22 known murders of transgender & non-binary community members, of which 21 are our black trans/non-binary siblings.

Worldwide, there has been 331 reported killings of transgender and gender diverse people over the previous 12 months.  The majority of these murders are occurring in Brazil and Mexico with a combined total approaching 200 deaths, while the United States trails in as a third place country with 22 known murders.  What???  Make no mistake, unlike the celebratory pageants in our community, this third place is a literal dead end for all of our fallen siblings.

(TDOR banner courtesy LA City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s office)

Instead of their vibrant hearts and souls shining light in the world, it is our remaining courageous community  members who thrust brightly lit candles toward the sky at an annual vigil creating one torch.  This human stand for liberty is a metaphor clearly spotlighting  that there is an epidemic in America: black transwomen are killed at a disproportionate rate.

For the past 20 years, specifically transgender women of color, are murdered. The epidemic goes deeper than the gender we identify, and speaks directly to our nation still learning what it means to be a diverse and inclusive country of people.  The days of waiting for change to come to the door are moving behind us, and the act of physically visiting with our neighbor is re-emerging.  While the speed and ease of electronic communication has left an indelible mark on society, the human race is still a social being.

As a community, we are stepping forth into the light shined by the collective human torch when we become visible trans and non-binary people interacting with people who do not know our community.

Our vulnerability and creativity on issues help expand how unmet needs can be met.  On this journey, one repeatedly hears “Don’t give up.”

That message isn’t just for the trans and non-binary individual.  The message for humanity is also:  “Don’t give up on each other.”  We may not have walked a 1,000 miles in each other’s shoes, however, we are all able to work on respectfully listening more deeply to one another’s stories of plight, rise in courage, and intersect at our common human needs.  What tops your list?

For me it is love and safety.

I am thankful the caring people in my sphere who listen, help advocate with me, and are curious.

Who is in your sphere?  Do they listen, help advocate, and are respectfully curious about you?

Who has your back and stands with you even when it rains?  Is it a person, is it a group, is it an organization?  Then there are rules, red-tape, disagreements, wieldy legislative processes, and let us not forget the ones who intend harm.  How do we work to have our needs met when that’s in the way?

One of my teachers shared with me that the only job that will be left when the world reaches peace will be listening followed by teaching and serving.  Think about it.  How have I learned to overcome obstacles?  I reached out to safe people invested in listening, teaching, and serving or they miraculously came to me.  Some taught me how to be better self-advocate, some helped me pick out my first suit, some taught me how to see objections in a new way, while others simply offered me a ride home, some nosh, and a place to lay my head.  I listen better because I keep company with good listeners and then we create action together or sometimes we intersect as we act on what is meaningful action to achieve an outcome.

Our freedom from violence, and into a harbor of safety must not be compromised nationally and globally.  On this November 20th, let us join together in a commitment to press forward through being actively engaged in good works that create meaningful and lasting transformation.  From engaging civically (i.e. voting, advocating, speaking)  to helping another trans/non-binary community member to be safe, healthy, housed, fed, employed, and cared for – you may never know, that in doing so, you may have saved life!

The City of West Hollywood is observing Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 6 PM at the Center for Early Education | 563 N. Alfred Street, West Hollywood *Off-site validated parking at West Hollywood Library | 625 N. San Vicente, West Hollywood

**Public transportation and ride share services are recommended.

Photo of James Wen, Member of West Hollywood and Los Angeles Transgender Advisor Board, courtesy Wen.






























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Celebrity News

Jazz Jennings publicly opens up about her binge-eating disorder

“I have gained a substantial amount of weight. I suffer from binge-eating disorder, a disease in which I’m addicted to food”



Sander and Jazz Jennings (Photo via Facebook)

CORAL SPRINGS, Fl. – In an Instagram post Friday, prominent Trans youth activist, YouTuber and social media influencer Jazz Jennings revealed that she is battling an eating disorder. In a side by side photographic comparison Jennings showed her followers that she has in fact suffered a massive weight gain.

“I’m posting this photo because it’s time for me to address my weight gain and hold myself accountable,” she said, while sharing a picture of herself by the pool, wearing a sports bra and shorts.

Jennings wrote; “As many of you have noticed, over the past few years, I have gained a substantial amount of weight. I suffer from binge-eating disorder, a disease in which I’m not only addicted to food, but I eat it in large quantities.

My binging, along with an increased appetite I experience from some of the meds I’m on, has caused me to gain almost 100 pounds in a little less than 2 years.

I’m ready to change my ways; I’ve been saying I’m ready to turn over a new leaf, but I’m running out of trees now. I’m ready to take the initiative and create positive changes when it comes to my health.”

One of her twin older siblings, brother Sander, showed his unwavering support of his sister by commenting, “You are so resilient and can do anything you put your mind too. [sic] I believe in you and will be by your side every step of the way.” She wrote back, “You’re my teammate.”

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Community Services - PSA

Heat Alert; High Temperatures forecast for parts of LA County & SoCal

It is important that we check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures



Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service

OXNARD – The National Weather Service has issued a heat watch and warning for interior segments of Sothern California including the Mojave Desert areas, Kern County, parts of Ventura and Los Angeles County, Palm Springs and the Inland Empire to the border, as well San Gabriel, San Bernardino, Riverside and the Coachella Valley.

The average daytime temperatures are expected to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the following areas:

  • East San Gabriel Valley – through Friday, June 18
  • Santa Clarita Valley – through Saturday, June 19
  • Antelope Valley – through Sunday, June 20

Public Health reminds everyone to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness, especially older adults, young children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people with a chronic medical condition who are especially sensitive to negative health impacts from extreme heat. Public Health offers the following recommendations during high temperature days:

  • Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated throughout the day.
  • If you must go out, plan your day to avoid going out during the hottest hours, and wear sunscreen. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes, and wear a hat or use an umbrella.
  • Cars get very hot. Never leave children or pets in cars and call 911 if you see a child or pet in a car alone.
  • Beware of heat-related illness, like heat stroke and call 911 if you see these symptoms: high body temperature, vomiting, and pale and clammy skin.
  • Check on those at risk, like those who are sick, older adults, pregnant women, and children, and those who live alone.
  • If you are wearing a mask, avoid strenuous workouts wearing face coverings or masks not intended for athletic purposes.
  • Visit your power company’s website or contact them by phone to determine if you are scheduled for a rolling power outage.

“While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out and check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures, including children, the elderly, and their pets,” said Muntu Davis, MD, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “High temperatures are not just an inconvenience, they can be dangerous and even deadly. But we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated. It is critically important to never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning and particularly in vehicles, even if the windows are ‘cracked’ or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels. If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor who is without air conditioning, check on them throughout the day.”

County and City partners have planned ways to safely operate cooling centers during times of high heat. Residents who do not have access to air conditioning are encouraged to take advantage of these free cooling centers.

To find a location near you, visit or call 211.

The health and safety of staff and visitors at cooling centers is priority. Public Health notes the following for cooling centers:

  • Staff and visitors are instructed to stay home if they do not feel well. Any person reporting or exhibiting signs of illness is advised to seek appropriate medical care.
  • Staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering at all times, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
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Celebrity News

Stage and screen actress Lisa Banes has died after hit and run

The 65 year-old actress was admitted to the ICU at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital in New York with a traumatic brain injury.



Screen and stage actress Lisa Banes (Screenshot via YouTube E! News)

NEW YORK – Los Angeles resident and critically acclaimed actress Lis Banes died Monday at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital as a result of injuries she suffered stemming from a hit and run accident on June 4, after being struck by an electric scooter, a spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed.

The 65 year-old actress was admitted to the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York with a traumatic brain injury. According to the NYPD, the actress was crossing Amsterdam Avenue at 64th Street, in a crosswalk near the Juilliard School, at Lincoln Center. The driver left the scene and no arrests have been made.

Banes’s wife, Kathryn Kranhold, a contributing reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, had made a plea “to pray for Lisa” after the accident — and called for anyone with information about the accident to contact police.

“We are heartsick over Lisa’s tragic and senseless passing. She was a woman of great spirit, kindness and generosity and dedicated to her work, whether on stage or in front of a camera and even more so to her wife, family and friends. We were blessed to have had her in our lives,” her manager David Williams said in a statement released Tuesday.

Banes has appeared in numerous television shows and movies, including supporting roles in “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck in 2014 and “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise in 1988. On television, she’s had roles on “Nashville,” “Madam Secretary,” “Masters of Sex” and “NCIS.” NBC News Entertainment reported.

Anyone with information about Banes’s death is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via the website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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