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LA Pride breaks silence announces ‘Thrive with Pride’

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LOS ANGELES – After weeks of ‘stay tuned’ on its website and no real engagement with the media or the LGBTQ community, Christopher Street West Association Inc. the nonprofit organization that produces the annual LA Pride celebration announced its planned June programming for LA Pride 2021 on Thursday.

Pride 2021 activations are themed around the daily reminder to Thrive with Pride.

LA Pride weekend will kick-off on Thursday night, June 10th with a concert exclusively presented by and live streamed on TikTok featuring hyper-pop diva Charli XCX and a showcase of up and coming LGBTQ+ performers across genres. In-person concert opportunities are not available at this time. Fans and followers can follow @tiktokforgood and @lapride on TikTok for updates and advanced promotions. 

Further, a televised special titled “Thrive with Pride Celebration” is set for Saturday, June 12th airing 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT on ABC 7 Los Angeles, the most-watched station in Southern California, will feature special guests, performances and LA Pride honorees. 

“To thrive means to flourish and progress despite the circumstances. Pride this year is a moment for you to stop and breathe,” said Sharon-Franklin Brown, CSW board president. “It’s a moment to remember you’re not just surviving one of the hardest years in recent memory, but growing into your truth. This is why we were so intentional in our planning. We want to bring a moment of celebration, a moment to highlight the community, and an opportunity to give back. If we as a community can come together, even for a moment, to realize we’ve broken down some barriers put on us, it’ll strengthen our resolve to continue tearing more down for those to come after us.” 

“After an unprecedented year of challenge and struggle, I am so pleased that this year’s pride festivities embrace the spirit of the first pride parade and our activist roots,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “By bringing together LGBTQ+ communities from every corner of our City, we will uplift all voices and elevate the important work of the icons of the LGBTQ movement who sacrificed everything in their young lives at the time so we can all celebrate together in 2021. With a mix of virtual and potential in-person events, this year’s festivities will keep our community safe and connected while providing every Angeleno an opportunity to embrace giving and volunteerism.” 

In recognition of the incredibly difficult work Los Angeles social justice and non-profit organizations have put into achieving equity, actionable change and stability, LA Pride will launch a 30-day give back campaign to support these efforts. Pride Makes a Difference will highlight opportunities for Angelenos to sign up to either volunteer, or donate goods and/or money to local organizations in Los Angeles County. Pride Makes a Difference is a new program in conjunction with Big Sunday. As part of these new efforts, drop off locations will be set up all throughout Los Angeles. A list of selected local organizations and drop off sites will be available soon to choose from, as well as the sign-up details and commitment.

“Our utmost priority in whatever we’re doing to celebrate Pride this year ensures safety and follows CDC-approved pandemic guidelines,” continued Brown. “That’s why we’re announcing this programming first. Any potential in-person celebratory activations will be announced at a later date in the coming weeks. The more we put safety first, the more likely we’re able to plan big physical events in the future, including Pride 2022, where we can celebrate who we are, where we came from, and where we need to go.”

Events

Best of LGBTQ LA 2023

Sixth annual special issue celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. Twenty thousand Blade readers then voted and the winners are presented here

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LOS ANGELES – Welcome to the sixth annual special issue of the Best of LGBTQ LA! The Los Angeles Blade is proud to celebrate the best of our community as this special recognition issue becomes a Los Angeles tradition. 

The year for LGBTQ people and families has been uniquely challenging and the accomplishments made throughout this past year seem more relevant than ever. We got past some of the pandemic restrictions, but anti-LGBTQ forces got more aggressive and violent. It was a year in which we relived the attempted insurrection from the year prior while learning details of all that happened behind the scenes, and who was responsible. It was also a year when LGBTQ families and our gender non-conforming population came under direct political and physical attacks. 

In Los Angeles, we had a change of leadership after enduring our own local scandals tainted with racism and homophobia. Through it all, our community did not allow our fabulousness to dim. We are strong and know how to fight back. This could not be more evident as you enjoy these highlights of Los Angeles living that demonstrate the best of LA’s LGBTQ community.  

Los Angeles Blade readers nominated finalists; the top five vote getters in each category were then added to the final ballot. Twenty thousand Blade readers then voted and the winners are presented here. The Blade staff congratulates each of this year’s winners and finalists.

LGBTQ Icon Sheila Kuehl Honored with Hero Award presented by the Ariadne Getty Foundation

Courtesy of Sheila Kuehl

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – “I haven’t been this happy since I was in my 20s,” says out former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who will celebrate her 82nd birthday on Feb. 9. “The freedom of deciding or not deciding every day what you want to do without any weight on you, without any expectations on you, without any demands on you, is enormously freeing and really, really pleasant.” 

After almost three decades as an elected leader and actively fighting for progressive issues, Kuehl’s final day in office representing the Third District was Nov. 22, 2022 — a day filled with celebration and grateful tears shed by colleagues and friends. 

Now she’ll have time to write. The working title for her planned autobiography is “My Life As I Remember It: Probably a Novel.”

Much of that life has been in service of advancing LGBTQ rights, for which Kuehl is being honored by the Los Angeles Blade and the Ari Getty Foundation on Jan. 18 at 10 DTLA during the Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023. 

In an odd flash of fickle fate, Kuehl culminated her long legislative career in much the way as she began it — protected by bodyguards from threatening bullies. In 1994, the bullies were knuckle-dragging followers of Far Right rhetorical bombastic bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich. Today, the bullies are followers of Gingrich’s heir, Donald Trump, some of whom the Department of Justice considers domestic terrorists

In Kuehl’s case, her primary bully was LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who LA Magazine dubbed “the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement.” Last Sept. 14, after two years of fiercely fighting Villanueva over alleged LASD wrongdoing, a slew of Sheriff’s deputies pounded on Kuehl’s door at 7:00am, served her with a search warrant in a corruption investigation, and escorted her outside barefoot to a face a throng of reporters and TV news cameras. 

The raid was big news but backfired on Villanueva, who subsequently lost his bid for re-election. The LA Times reported succinctly: “A Times review of the case found it is based on the testimony of just one person, a former Metro employee named Jennifer Loew, who brought her bribery complaint to at least four law enforcement agencies, but found a receptive audience only at the Sheriff’s Department. The Times found no evidence to support Loew’s allegation.”

1994 was also a year of living dangerously. Gingrich was elevated to the traditionally respected position of Speaker of the US House of Representatives and pledged to implement his anti-gay, lie-based Contract with America, civility be damned. Meanwhile Kuehl and her best friend Torie Osborn were watching a new LGBTQ movement grow and get stronger as thousands of LGBTQ people, AIDS activists, Queer Nationals and allies took over the streets in 1991 after California GOP Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 101, the gay rights bill he had promised to sign. 

“Thousands and thousands of us were on the street, as opposed to just being in the closet and hiding in a lot of shame,” says Kuehl. “I had not really thought about running. I was engaged in more of the Women’s Movement, especially domestic violence issues, sexual assault issues, trying to get any law in California to deal with domestic violence, which it didn’t have at the time. We founded the California Women’s Law Center. 

“There was a lot going on in the ’70s and ’80s and there was a lot to push back against,” Kuehl continues. “There’s a difference between working towards something when there’s nothing there and working to gain something back — like the loss of Roe v Wade (the federal law permitting abortion). Our expectations grew, but there was nothing in place to protect us. I actually had not thought about running. But I had been up and back to Sacramento many times testifying on new domestic violence bills that I helped to draft before I was elected and I understood from sitting for so many hours at committee hearings that there was no silver bullet genius talent in these members, that they were just like me — and in some cases, less capable because they hadn’t been to law school. They didn’t really understand the issues.”

Then, on Jan. 17, 1994, two earthquakes happened at once – the Northridge earthquake and Kuehl’s decision to enter politics. 

“There was broken glass and fallen pictures and glasses and everything all over my house. I picked up the LA Times and it says, ‘Terry’s not running,’” she recalls, referring to Assemblymember Terry Friedman. “I think, ‘Okay, this is my chance if I’m going to be one of those people sitting in those chairs and try to make a difference.’ I started exploring running, and frankly, I didn’t think at that moment about how historic it would be. I didn’t think about being the first gay person if I got through whatever. I felt more like a feminist progressive that needed to be there to add that voice to the table.”

Kuehl quickly discovered that she was making history. But her victory as the first gay person elected to the California State Legislature was fraught with danger, with so many death threats, then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown ordered a bodyguard for her protection. “I had to wear a bulletproof vest the whole first year that I was in the legislature,” Kuehl told Spectrum News1

But braving those threats and doing the work, then and now, is not the only reason Sheila Kuehl is an LGBTQ hero. She recognizes her place in the largely invisible long span of LGBTQ history. 

“Just as people have said they’re standing on my shoulders,” Kuehl says, “I stood on a lot of shoulders, too.”

West Hollywood’s Mayor Sepi Shyne honored with a Stop the Hate award

Courtesy of Sepi Shyne

Mayor Sepi Shyne made history in November 2020 when she was elected becoming the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally and the first woman of color elected to West Hollywood’s City Council. Actively progressive in her politics, Shyne is constantly seeking to improve the lives of her constituents, friends, family, and the greater community of the City affectionately referred to as WeHo.

“West Hollywood is a vibrant tourist destination and one of the most walkable as well as LGBTQ+ safe cities in America. Our visitors and residents love to frequent our businesses, so helping to keep them in business is a priority. One of my joys of living in West Hollywood is walking down the street to neighborhood restaurants or cafes and enjoying a meal or an oat milk latte,” Shyne told the Blade in an interview after her first anniversary of being sworn into office on December 7, 2021.

As a woman of color and as a minority as well, Shyne is keen to maintain awareness of the ongoing needs of the diverse communities that comprise her city. “Aside from COVID, the social justice movement impacted the City of West Hollywood by awakening our community to the truth that systemic racism, even in our progressive city, needs to be dismantled,” she noted.

After her sister was sworn into office as Mayor earlier this month at City Hall, in which the Mayor and her mother opened the ceremony with comments in their native Fārsī language, Soodi Eshraghi, made a few poignant remarks:

Good evening mayor, mayor pro-tem and council members, my name is  Soodi Eshraghi, I am incoming mayor Shyne’s sister, representing the Baha’i Faith.

A little girl with big brown eyes frightened in a new country and not speaking the language. In her short years this little girl had experienced the trauma of war as well as the compulsory hijab which forced her to cut her hair short, choose a boy’s name to be able to play on the streets with her cousins. Yet, her resilience and tenacity allowed her to overcome challenges faced by many immigrants and build a life for herself and become a lawyer. Her choice of academia was a reflection of her passion for justice and equality. Her decision to run for office was for the same exact reason, and more. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the lives of those around her, bringing about opportunities conducive for betterment of life, especially her constituents. Mayor Sepi Ghafouri Shyne, your family is extremely proud of you and we are always ready to support you every step of the way. 

The prayer I’ll be reciting from the Baha’i writings is on the destiny of America with the hope that this nation can become promulgator of peace and the oneness of humanity.

O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. 

These hearts are radiant with Thy love.

These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings.

O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious.

Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.

O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy.

Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.

 

Best Drag Performer: Lolita Colby

Lolita Colby/Facebook

Lolita Colby is now a 10-year drag veteran, having launched her career in a Miami bar. She now creates legendary moments at Rocco’s in West Hollywood.  “I don’t know if this is a cliché or not, but it takes a really strong man to put on a dress,” says this year’s Best Drag Performer winner. Given the current right-wing attack climate in the United States, that statement is truer than ever. “Many drag artists do not realize the importance we bring to the community. Drag artists break boundaries. We stand up against the norm. We do a lot of things that other people are afraid of.” Lolita’s 30,000 TikTok followers, 18,000 Instagram followers, and a host of LA Blade readers agree with her fan that called her “Absolutely Gorgeous.”

Runner Up: GottMik

Best Drag Show: Makeout Mondays at Rocco’s

Rocco’s WEHO/Facebook

Last year’s Editor’s Choice is this year’s winner. The 5,000-square-foot Rocco’s, located at 8900 Santa Monica Blvd., wowed boystown with the best drag on the LA scene. Crowds flocked to the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente in the heart of WeHo. “This is the funnest place EVER and their drag shows are so much fun! The food is great and the atmosphere is awesome!” wrote a happy visitor. A second chimed in, “They have some epic drag shows that are different and entertaining!”  LA Blade readers obviously agreed.

Editor’s choice: Thirsty Thursdays at Beaches, West Hollywood

Best Influencer: Gigi Gorgeous

Screenshot/YouTube

The LA Blade’s Best of 2020 winner, Gigi Gorgeous, again takes the top spot. Gigi is a YouTube star, transgender activist, author, television personality, actress, and model. With nearly 8 million followers across her social platforms, she has almost half a billion views on her popular YouTube channel. She is a self described “lover of beauty, fashion, and a good party.”  

 Runner Up: Ambers Closet

Best Queer Artist: Nats Getty

Nats Getty, (Right) at The Talmadge on March 17, 2022 in Los Angeles.
(Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for The Art of Elysium)

Check out Nats Getty’s “Undecided 10” signed art prints. Writer Karen Ocamb said of him, “Nats Getty was an artist long before he knew it. His soul was forged in the fight between the fire of freedom and the cold dictates of a society he tried mightily to understand and follow, only to fail and fall into rebellion, a fury of authenticity that still feeds his art and serves his independent, progressive, philanthropic spirit today.” Getty himself stated, “Philanthropy — and advocacy — is something that is very important to me. I made 600 masks that were donated to hospitals and nursing homes on the frontlines, and 400 masks for the Strike Oil website, where 100 percent of proceeds have gone to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank…Everything I create from a jacket to an art piece has a story and serves a purpose in my personal journey.”  LA Blade readers cheered his generous spirit and named him this year’s best artist.

Runner up: Guadalupe Rosales

Best LGBTQ Bar: Heart

Heart WeHo/Facebook

Heart WeHo threw what it called “the biggest most lavish NYE celebration in West Hollywood” with three DJs, two levels, and two packed rooms of dancing and featured DJ Liza Rodriguez from Brazil. The premier watch party for the premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was a sold out “amazing night of love.” Patrons call Heart “the happening spot” and “super fun.” LA Blade readers voted in kind.  

Editor’s choice: Bar 10

Best Brunch: The Abbey

The Abbey/LA Blade file photo

Patrons cite a “fabulous outdoor terrace” and “fun ambiance” for making the “world famous” Abbey this year’s go-to spot for brunch. The Abbey launched 31 years ago as a small coffee house by David Cooley as a safe space for the gay community. “Come as you are,” was its mantra. The stained glass window décor inspired the religious-themed name and atmosphere. LA Blade readers got religion this year and brunch toasted The Abbey as the best.

Editor’s choice: Stache West Hollywood

Best Restaurant: The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy/Facebook

With a delicious menu that ranges from roasted veggies to exotic pizzas (lobster pizza with sunny vodka sauce anyone?), to incredible pasta, steak, and seafood, The Nice Guy has been named this year’s best. The aesthetic is described as “decadent Mafia” that brings a unique social experience encouraging conversation and camaraderie. As they say, thanks to the mafioso deliciousness and good vibes, if LA Blade readers tried to escape, The Nice Guy just keeps pulling them back in again.

Editor’s choice: Bottega Louie

Best Radio or TV Station: KTLA

KTLA Studios off Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood (KTLA/Facebook)

This year KTLA aired the annual telethon in support of Project Angel Food’s vital work of feeding critically ill men, women, and children in Los Angeles County. Janene Drafs, vice president and general manager of KTLA 5, told the LA Blade, “This show gets better and better every year, and we are thrilled to extend our relationship with Project Angel Food. KTLA has a 75-year tradition of being there for LA, so providing this very special program to connect our community of viewers with Project Angel Food’s work serving the most vulnerable in our community at large is what being ‘L.A.’s Very Own’ is all about.” With more than 400 LGBTQ relevant stories on its website, KTLA has demonstrated that it has its finger on the pulse of LGBTQ interests. From tracking U.S. progress on LGBT rights to reporting that California reached the milestone of 10% of its legislature being LGBTQ, KTLA is there for the community. LA Blade readers show their gratitude by calling them the best.

Editor’s choice: 104.3 Pride

Best Cannabis Retailer/Lounge: Green Qween

Green Qween/Facebook

 Business partners Andres Rigal and Taylor Bazley launched Green Qween as “a queer-driven cannabis dispensary in an industry where LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation have been lacking.” Donating a portion of proceeds to the DTLA Proud Community Center, Green Qween sees itself as an incubator for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC cannabis brands and growers. LA Blade readers just see them as the best.

Editor’s choice: The Artist Tree

Best LGBTQ-Owned Business: Cake and Art

Cake & Art/Website

Cake and Art has proudly served the community since 1976. It is the renowned producer of custom cakes, cupcakes, and more. They brag, “For 46 years, Cake and Art has specialized in imaginative birthday cakes for Hollywood’s biggest entertainment industries and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and many more.” Cake and Art was founded by Glenn von Kickle when he was 45 years old. Glenn, who’s gay, started the shop where he could be himself, and in a community that would appreciate what he was doing. Current owner Tom Rosa came on board as a business partner, and became the spirit that made sure von Kickle’s legacy endured. Cake and Art’s history arcs between being the place to get the cake no one else will think of, or attempt, to heroes of the anti-same sex wedding cake wars. When gay marriage started, they filled the gap for many consumers rejected by their usual bakeries. As for being “LGBTQ owned,” Tom has said “I’ve never been considered ‘the gay bakery’…I was sitting there thinking, what does that mean?  What are the parameters of a gay bakery?  Is it creative?  Is it sensational?  Is it fabulous?  Do we all dress in rainbow?” Well Tom, whatever it means, it means that you have been voted the best of them.

Editor’s choice: Urban Pet

Best LGBT Social Group: Impulse Group LA

Impulse Group 2019 international summit (Photo courtesy AHF)

Impulse is doing something right. They have won this category for three years in a row. Impulse Group LA was founded in 2009 by Jose Ramos. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a stronger and healthier community for gay men. Hosting more than 400 events annually in 25 cities, 12 countries across 5 continents across the globe, Impulse seeks to create a brave space to engage, support and connect our community. This year their outreach included HIV testing, a strong showing for World AIDS day, and embarking on a fight against Monkey Pox.  

Editor’s choice: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

Best House of Worship: Congregation Kol Ami

Los Angeles Blade file photo

In 2019, 2021 and 2022, Congregation Kol Ami won the award for Best House of Worship. In 2020 it won Editor’s Choice, and now wins the award yet again for the Best House of Worship this year. Kol Ami is an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ, and West Hollywood communities since its founding in 1992. Rabbi Denise L. Eger, who plans to retire in 2024, broke barriers that resulted in more LGBTQ inclusion at synagogues worldwide. Kol Ami describes itself as “a progressive, Reform congregation rooted in a rich Jewish tradition, with commitment to social justice, diversity, and a world in which all individuals are honored and connected. Our congregation celebrates an LGBTQ+ core at the center of a profoundly diverse community.” (1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood) 

Editor’s choice: InVision Church Los Angeles

Most Committed Activist: Gabby Leon and Terri Jay

Indigenous Pride LA/Facebook

Gabby Leon and Terri Jay jointly came to the realization that there was a need for an event to create visibility and celebration of the Two Spirit identities. The concept of a festival that celebrated and honored Native American LBGTQ roles and traditions was born. The idea blossomed into a reality and Los Angeles now has the cultural Indigenous Pride LA, which “honors, and acknowledges all indigenous peoples’ plight, especially those who are Two Spirit and/or identified with the contemporary labels and terms of cisgender and transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, and intersex.”

Editor’s choice: Princess Murray

Favorite Public Official: Karen Bass

Karen Bass takes the oath of office from Vice-President Kamala Harris
(Photo Credit: Bass for Mayor Campaign)

On Nov. 17, Karen Bass spoke to Los Angeles for the first time as its first woman and second Black mayor. She addressed economic hardship and declared a state of emergency over the homeless crisis. Vice President Kamala Harris has stated of Bass, “I saw how she would tirelessly fight for the people … the people of our state and the people of our nation. Karen Bass has a long history of always being on the side of people, fighting for the people.” The people who read the Blade have embraced that reputation and declared her their favorite public official.

Runner-Up: Lindsey Horvath

Most LGBTQ-Friendly City: West Hollywood

Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

There are some who will claim that the city of West Hollywood is perfect. In terms of being the most LGBTQ-Friendly City, they may be right. The city was born out of a determined campaign by LGBTQ activists, seniors, and renters on Nov. 29, 1984. The city has a rich history and can be credited for launching iconic rock and punk musical acts. With approximately 39,000 residents, it has been called “Los Angeles’ hottest destination for the entertainment industry.” It boasts celebrity-owned bars and restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping. It hosts world impacting events like the HBO Emmy Party, Sir Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party, WEST HOLLYWOOD PRIDE and the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, the largest Halloween street party in the world. Many feel that West Hollywood sets a standard for super creative individuals representing the state-of-the-art on trends and new ideas.

As far as West Hollywood being “perfect”, the Human Rights Campaign has the receipts. It scored West Hollywood as earning 100 out of 100 possible in terms of LGBTQ friendliness.  LA Blade readers already knew that as they name West Hollywood the friendliest city for the fourth year in a row.

Editor’s choice: Beverly Hills

Best Local Pro Sports Team: LA Dodgers

Courtesy of the LA Dodgers

Things have changed since 1970. That year, Dodgers player Glenn Burke was traded away when the owners found out he was gay. What a difference half a century makes. This year, the Dodgers kicked off Pride month in LA with their game against the New York Mets. Burke’s family threw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch and 18,000 special Pride packages to the game were sold. Fans showed up in droves wearing rainbow paraphernalia and Pride caps and jerseys were available for purchase. So, yes, things have changed and LA readers have declared the Dodgers the best local team for the third year in a row.

 Editor’s choice: LA Sparks

Best Realtor: Josh Flagg 

Josh Flagg, an original cast member on the show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” on Bravo, represents more than a decade’s worth of high-end deals in the real estate industry. He has wowed the Los Angeles real estate market. Flagg, who’s gay, has sold well over $2 billion worth of property and is among the city’s top five real estate agents. He has represented many American billionaire families such as the Gettys and DeBartolos. Adam Levine, Shonda Rhimes and Steve Aoki are also clients.

Editor’s choice: Compass

Best LGBTQ Ally: California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Governor Gavin Newsom and his children welcome President Joe Biden to California
(Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

As Florida and Texas all but declared war on transgender kids and their families, one governor did more than shake his head in shock and disbelief. He did something about it. On Sept. 22, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill, one of many LGBTQ affirming of the year, that aims to legally protect trans youth and their parents who need to flee conservative states due to personal persecution and the oppression of gender-affirming care availability. His statement read, “States across the country are passing laws to demonize the transgender community especially transgender youth and their parents… the hate demonstrated by these laws is unfathomable and contributed to soaring suicide rates… This is unacceptable and we must fight for our youth and their parents.”

Editor’s choice: Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union

Best Salon/Spa: Spa Montage

Spa Montage Beverly Hills/Facebook

Spa Montage’s clients are raving. “The best spa in LA,” states one. “Very old school glam, full of antique style and old world charm,” declares another. Yet another goes right to the heart of a good spa: “The team here is just fantastic.” Goop also professes its love, “From prenatal massages to really good facials, the Montage is one of those luxe hotel spots that pulls no punches when it comes to pampering.”  LA Blade readers agree.

 Editor’s choice: Burke Williams

Best Car Dealership: Honda of Hollywood

Honda of Hollywood/Facebook

Honda of Hollywood is deservedly proud. “At Honda of Hollywood, we strive for excellence during every visit. Our team of experts is here to help you with all of your automotive needs…Whether you’re from Hollywood, Los Angeles, or another city, get in touch with our team to experience superior customer service,” they state. “Great staff, friendly service, feels like a small family-like environment” promises one customer. “Amazing dealership. Recommend 100%,” states a second. LA Blade readers have test driven them into being the Best Car Dealership for the second year in a row.

Editor’s choice: BMW of Beverly Hills

Best Doctor/Medical Provider: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AHF’s 2023 Rose Parade® Float/Facebook AHF

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS healthcare in the world. It currently has 1,725,070 patients in care across 45 countries. As a global non-profit, it provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy. Their float in this year’s Rose Parade was “No Place Like Home.” Their local fans, and LA Blade readers, agreed naming them the year’s best for the third year in a row.

Editor’s choice: Cedars-Sinai

Best Fitness: LA Fitness, Hollywood

LA Fitness, Hollywood/Facebook

LA Fitness can tell you why you should get fit with them. “LA Fitness offers many amenities at an outstanding value. Gym amenities may feature Functional Training, state-of-the-art equipment, basketball, group fitness classes, pool, saunas, personal training, and more!” Its clients call out its wide range of equipment, friendly staff, great classes and convenient parking. For the second year in a row, LA Blade readers have named LA Fitness the best.

Editor’s choice: Crunch, West Hollywood

Most LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been an Editor’s Choice for most LGBTQ-Friendly workplace, and this year the LA Blade readers agree, voting it into the top spot. AHF represents the consistently excellent work of doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, med techs, benefits counselors, and support staff at 14 AHF Healthcare Centers and satellite clinics throughout Southern California. A recent employee reports, “The people here are so welcoming and full of joy. Corporate also does a great job of making you feel included and often have outreach events.”

Editor’s choice: Getty Museum

Best Non-Profit: LA LGBT Center

Los Angeles Blade file photo

Founded in 1969, The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides programs and services for LGBTQ people. The organization’s mission centers on four key areas: health, social services, housing, and leadership and advocacy. 

This year, as a response to the 2021 Hate Crime Report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, the Center made an even deeper commitment to the LGBTQ community to fight: “I have served our Los Angeles community for nearly 17  years, and it pains me to say that I have never been more concerned for our collective safety than I am right now,” said Terra Russell-Slavin, Chief Impact Officer at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “Across the country, armed white supremacists are showing up en masse to intimidate drag performers. Hospitals and healthcare facilities that provide care to transgender patients are closing their doors to bomb threats. Our nightclubs and safe spaces are being threatened and attacked. And our trans community is being deliberately targeted by far-right groups and our lawmakers on a daily basis. It’s not surprising that we see the ripple effects of that violence here in Los Angeles. I hope our community knows that their Center will fight like hell for them, and will always be here as a place of refuge.” LA Blade readers seem to understand the importance and need for the LA LGBT Center in these growingly contentious times, naming them the Best Non-Profit of the year.

 Editor’s choice: Project Angel Food

Best Museum/Art Gallery: The Getty

The Getty/Facebook

The Getty is a Los Angeles treasure. In its two locations, it represents more than 6,000 years of art. Besides a library collection of books, archives, and services, the museum holds more than 100,000 artwork images as well as special collections. The Getty Center, with its bird’s eye view of Los Angeles, is located in Brentwood and showcases European art amid modern architecture. Its second location is the Getty Villa Museum, which lies along the coast and displays ancient Greek and Roman art in a recreated Roman house. The Getty embarks on numerous philanthropic projects including several supporting the LGBTQ community.  LA Blade readers have shown their appreciation for the second year in a row by naming the Getty as the Best Museum of the year.

Editor’s choice: LACMA

Best Theater: Geffen Playhouse

Geffen Playhouse/Facebook

The Geffen Playhouse, located in Westwood, is a not-for-profit theater company founded by Gilbert Cates in 1995. It has been a key hub for theater in Los Angeles since its opening and produces plays in two theaters in the Geffen Playhouse, which is owned by University of California Los Angeles. Patrons compliment it on its breadth of productions, excellent staff, and comfortable seating. LGBTQ audiences have appreciated works like “The Inheritance,” which cited key LGBTQ history allusions. In support of the play’s theme and to give audiences a sense of context, The Geffen published a “dramaturgical deep dive” into LGBTQ history on its website. 

The Geffen has made diversity a mission. Its commitment includes this statement: “In recognition of the essential examination of systemic racism and injustices, we at Geffen Playhouse commit to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices in order to be part of the solution. Our vision for the Geffen is that people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, abilities, genders and backgrounds find it an easily accessible and highly relevant source of art that reflects the dynamic human experience and galvanizes a more equitable and vibrant community.”  For this, and great theater, LA Blade readers have deemed them the Best Theater in LA. 

Editor’s choice: Pantages/Broadway in Hollywood

Best Music Venue: The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl/County of Los Angeles

Two years ago, the Hollywood Bowl won for Best Virtual A&E Events. Last year it was named the Best A&E Venue. This year, it won again – for Best Music Venue. This can only lead you to conclude that live or virtual, artistically or musically, in the eyes of LA Blade readers, it is perennially the best. Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the premier destination for live music, hosting everyone from Billie Holiday to The Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma under the iconic silhouette of its concentric-arched band shell. This past year saw such LGBTQ-friendly acts as Ricky Martin and Grace Jones. Can this year top that? Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Game of Thrones and Janet Jackson will surely try.

Editor’s choice:  The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Most LGBTQ-Friendly Entertainment Company: Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Brothers Discovery/Website

Warner Bros. Discovery tells us that they are “the stuff that dreams are made of.” They are a relatively new combined company. The new company combined WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports, and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses. The combination is a premier global media and entertainment company that promises to offer us the “most differentiated and complete portfolio of content, brands and franchises across television, film, streaming and gaming.” Hyperbole aside, they brought us “White Lotus” and gay boys Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen to welcome in the new year. LA Blade readers were impressed.

Editor’s choice:  The Walt Disney Company

Best Screenwriter: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy at the Golden Globes 2023/Screenshot YouTube NBC Universal 

It is no surprise that LA Blade readers called out Ryan Murphy as the best screenwriter of the year. The bigger question is — for which script? Murphy is prolific, having written literally hundreds of scripts in 2022. He wrote scripts for his “American Horror Stories,” “Dahmer-Monster, the Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “9-1-1,” “9-1-1 Lone Star,” “American Horror Story,” “The Watcher,” and “Ratched” shows. The new year does not promise a slowdown. Upcoming, he scripts the mini-series “A Chorus Line,” the series “Consent,” and the TV movie “One Hit Wonders.” 

 Editor’s choice: Our Lady J

Best Actor: Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox courtesy of Netflix

The iconic Laverne Cox impressed LA Blade readers this year. She, of course, is the American actress and highly visible LGBTQ advocate. She burst on the scene with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” This gave her the notoriety of becoming the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category. In 2015, she was the first trans woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.” In 2017, she became the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on U.S. broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS’s “Doubt.” This year, LA Blade readers were impressed by her performance as Kacy Duke in the mini-series “Inventing Anna.” 

Editor’s choice:  Jennifer Coolidge

Favorite Musical Artist: Cardi B

Cardi B (Screenshot via YouTube)

This year, the famed Grammy-winning “WAP” rapper seemed to impress LA Blade readers as much with her pro-LGBTQ candor as she did with her talent. She ended the previous year as an officiant at a same-sex wedding, “I’m going to get these two beautiful ladies married. It’s not only a special day for you guys, but it’s a special day for me, and I want to thank you for making me a part of your beautiful journey,” she said at the time. This year, she slapped down those who wanted to doubt or play down her bisexuality. “I ate bitches out before you was born …..Sorry I don’t have razr phone pics to prove it to you,” she snarked on Twitter. Just in case you are not yet clear on where she stands in regard to LGBTQ people, she made the point clear: “If you homophobic you just ugly.” Her favoritism by our readers appears to be well-earned.

 Editor’s choice: Dolly Parton

Best LGBTQ Event: GLAAD Awards

GLAAD Awards 2022 Los Angeles/Masters

Last year, the annual GLAAD awards was a star-studded ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills hosted by Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and DJ “Shangela” Pierce. The ceremony included appearances by Andrew Garfield, Troye Sivan, JoJo Siwa, Jasmin Savoy-Brown, Mira Sorvino, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, and more. Anti-trans legislation and the “Don’t Say Gay” bills were addressed during the show. President and CEO Kate Ellis denounced the hateful political activities in her speech, “These bills are designed to erase us as a community, but GLAAD will not let that happen. We have never been more committed to our vision of a world where everyone can live the life that they love.” With that, LA Blade readers expressed their love for GLAAD.

Editor’s choice: DragCon LA

Best Regional Pride: LA PRIDE

LA Pride/Facebook

Our readers were torn over this category. It was the closest vote in all of the categories, but LA Pride just barely edged out WeHo Pride for Best Regional Pride.

Readers were blown away by the events Parade, which drew a massive crowd of more than 130,000 people to the streets of Hollywood.

When the first L.A. Pride Parade, which was organized by Rev. Bob Humphries, Morris Kight and Rev. Troy Perry (founder, Metropolitan Community Church) organized the world’s first permitted LGBTQ+ Pride parade, held on June 28, 1970 in Los Angeles, such numbers were unimaginable.

The 2022 parade, like the original parade returned to its roots after decades of being hosted by the City of West Hollywood, starting at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga in Hollywood and running along Hollywood Blvd., Highland Avenue and Sunset Blvd. 2022 parade goers might be surprised to learn that the first parade also attracted a massive crowd of more than 50,000.

The return of LA Pride was not only a return to its roots, it was also a return to Pride in Los Angeles in general after a 2 year Covid-hiatus.

Readers were also excited by the massive LA Pride Festival, branded “LA Pride in the Park” for 2022 in Los Angeles State Historic Park, featuring electric performances by Christina Aguilera, Anitta Bob the Drag Queen, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and over 20 other sizzling acts. Over 20,000 ticketed fans were in attendance for this first festival outside of West Hollywood since 1984.

WeHo Pride Weekend also saw exuberant celebrations for it’s first solo Pride execution, an event managed by events company JJLA. It was held in and around West Hollywood Park that included a free street fair that represented a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups; a three-day ticketed OUTLOUD Raising Voices Music Festival, the Dyke March and Women’s Freedom Festival, and an inaugural WeHo Pride Parade.

Editor’s choice: WeHo Pride and DTLA PROUD

Best Hotel: Sunset Tower

Sunset Tower Hotel/Facebook

The New York Times called it “Hollywood’s Grand Dame Hotel.” LA Blade readers just called it the year’s best. With a dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, the Sunset Tower was designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant. It boasts former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. Hotelier Jeff Klein purchased the building in 2004, enlisting designer Paul Fortune to revive the property’s classic art deco style and then in 2018, Klein put his personal touch on another refresh, restoring the Sunset Tower’s heart and soul while not compromising its character. The hotel’s rooms were elegantly refurbished and its famous Tower Bar was expanded to include a dark and sexy bar, reimagined restaurant, and updated pool area. Further additions have included a bright and airy 7,000-square-foot gym in John Wayne’s former apartment, and the Joanna Vargas Spa one level above offering expert facials and massages. 

Editor’s choice: San Vincente Bungalows

Best Coverage of LGBTQ Issues by a Mainstream News Outlet: John Fenoglio of KTLA

John Fenoglio/KTLA 5 Facebook

LA Blade readers appreciate hearing the news from one of our own. Out reporter John Fenoglio appears to have our backs. He is quoted as saying, “LGBT people are the targets of more hate crimes than any other minority. A San Pedro resident and veteran I met today knows firsthand what that feels like. Don’t hate… But do fight back and fight smart.”

Editor’s choice:  Elzie Lee “LZ” Granderson of the LA Times

Best LA Region Airport: Hollywood/Burbank Airport

Hollywood-Burbank Airport/Hollywood-Burbank Airport Facebook

Hollywood Burbank Airport is legally and formerly marketed as Bob Hope Airport after entertainer Bob Hope. It is a public airport three miles northwest of downtown Burbank. LA Blade readers seem to agree with airport patrons who have declared “this place just treats you like family and customer service is simply awesome.” 

Editor’s choice: LAX

Best Podcast: MARSHA MOLINARI’s “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”

Marsha Molinari/Instagram

In the run up to election day, no LGBTQ related podcast or media (admittedly including Los Angeles Blade) did more to give a platform to LA Mayoral Candidate Rick Caruso than Marsha Molinari’s Podcast “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” She gave Caruso a challenging but fair airing on a variety of LGBTQ topics. And it didn’t go unnoticed.

The local culture, fashion and nightlife icon is also mastermind behind the H.Wood Group, owner of some of LA’s hottest clubs and best restaurants (The Nice Guy earned the award for Best Restaurant). Molinari is also nationally prominent LGBTQIA+ Transgender & Human Rights Activist and Creative Director of J.Molinari Jewelry… Marsha does it all.

Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” explores raw human experiences with conversations that lead to a true sharing with the goal of improving how we view one another. The show, with its focus on overcoming adversity and bringing people together, is not shy about engaging in uncomfortable conversations, but comfortably so. Subjects include all things LGBTQIA+, life purpose, self-worth, confidence, mental health, race, ethnicity, sexism, ageism and so much more.

 Editor’s choice: Rob Watson, Rated LGBT Radio Hollywood

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2023 Best of LGBTQ LA Finalist Voting

Winners will be announced in our January 20th issue and at the Best of LGBT LA Party on January 18th at 10 DTLA

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The 2023 Los Angeles Blade Best of LGBTQ LA Awards are here! Final voting is now open until December 31st, 2022.

Winners will be announced in our January 20th issue and at the Best of LGBT LA Party on January 18th at 10 DTLA. More details about the party will be coming soon.

Vote below or by clicking HERE.

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Don’t miss these December events!

Be sure to check out these events as LA marks the holiday season. From the inaugural of Karen Bass to XMAS events- something for everyone

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Photo courtesy of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles LGBT Center South

Now Serving The Leimert Park & Surrounding South LA Communities

Center South will be shifting its Pride Pantry days for the holidays. The Pride Pantry days will take place on Friday, December 9th, and Friday, December 30th starting at 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM at 2313 West Martin Luther King Jr., Los Angeles 90008. As usual, distribution will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, please contact (323) 860-3799.

WinterFest at Hollywood Park 

WinterFest will feature fun and festive activities for the family, including Black Santa and a Celebrity Basketball game presented by Baron Davis, a vendor village of new Hollywood Park tenants and local businesses, food trucks, music, and more!
WinterFest Schedule:
10:00 AM Parking Structure (PS-2) opens11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Vendor Village and Food Trucks open11:00 AM

PeacePlayers Youth Basketball Clinic12:30 PM

Adidas x Drew League Exhibition Game3:30 PM Celebrity Basketball Game*
*Access to the Celebrity basketball game is on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to capacity.

Parking: Free parking is available in our parking structure. To gain access, please enter at Prairie Avenue and 97th Street, north of Century Blvd. 

7th Annual Winter Wonderland

South LA’s very own Winter Wonderland is bigger and better this year. Join the fun on the upper parking lot deck at the Baldwin Hills Shopping Center at Stocker and Crenshaw. Bring your neighbors and friends to sing in the holidays with Mariachi Las Catrinas, gospel from the KJLH Radio Free Choir, and holiday music by LA Youth Orchestra. 

Sled rides, entertainment, and free activities for the entire family! Plan to arrive early to participate in a 15K toy giveaway while supplies last.

Kids and those who are kids at heart can sled, throw snowballs, participate in arts and crafts, and enjoy free churros and hot chocolate. Inside the mall, families can pose for a picture with Santa, visit a resource and job fair, and enjoy the specials at the food court. 

Malik Books Presents A Brunch & Book Signing With Kevin Powell  

Malik Books presents a brunch and book signing with author, journalist, and political pundit Kevin Powell from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Post & Beam. Powell is the author of “Grocery Shopping With My Mother,” a book of 32 poems, which originated as social media posts, about his weekly shopping trips with his elderly mother in New Jersey. Crafted like an album with four bonus tracks, the book of poetry dives into the complexities of relationships and contemporary themes with honesty and vulnerability. Join us for an afternoon of music, food, and reading!

To reserve your spot, visit Eventbrite.

Malik Brooks Book Giveaway

Malik Books, in partnership with the Beyond Adornment Club, will host the largest Winter Wonderland holiday book giveaway for children and teens of all ages during the Winter Wonderland at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Visit the Malik Bookmobile, parked outside near the Winter Wonderland snow, from 12 to 4 p.m. 

For more details, call (323) 435-9939 

KBLA Welcome Home Karen Bass

Sat. Dec. 10 | 10 AM

Come out for a free community celebration in honor of Mayor-elect Karen Bass! The event will feature our new local hero and musical entertainment.

The event will be hosted by Danny Morrison and Robin Ayers, with live entertainment from R&B musical acts, including Brian McKnight, GoapeleClub Noveau, and more.

Visit KBLA1580.com for more info.

Inauguration of Mayor Karen Bass

Sun. Dec.11 | 11:30 AM

Microsoft Theater

Vice President Kamala Harris will swear in Karen Bass as the first female and second black mayor of the country’s second-largest city.

This event will be filled with inaugural festivities as she takes her oath of office.

To RSVP, please click here!

Christmas Turkey Giveaway

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Mothers in Action is partnering with Councilmember Heather Hutt of Council District 10, and the LA Sparks for their Turkey Giveaway!

Reserve your turkey box today, please call (213) 263-6774.

Better Brothers LA Holiday Party

You are cordially invited to celebrate the Holiday Season with BETTER BROTHERS LA. Complimentary appetizers and cocktails will be provided.

Suggested donation of new toiletries (Deodorant, Soap, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouthwash, Lotion), Twin Sheet Set, Twin Comforters, Pillows, and Wash Cloth & Towel Sets in support of AMAAD & Momma’s House requested.

If you would like to RSVP, contact [email protected]

Christmas Toy & Coat Give-A-Way

Mablean Ephriam Foundation, in conjunction with Los Angeles Parks Department, Los Angeles Morehouse Alumni Association, & Los Angeles Spelman Alumnae Association

Thurs. Dec. 15. | 5 PM

Registration required. Families must pick up on the day of the event. Children must be present.  

For more information, call 323-445-6669.

Pet Wellness Day 

Sat. Dec. 17 | 9 AM – 1 PM

Morningside High School

10500 Yukon Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90303

In partnership with Los Angeles Chargers, this event provides FREE resources to the community, such as pet food, hygiene, and wellness services for pets. The Pet Food Pantry is open to the public with no appointment needed; however, appointments are required for all wellness and hygiene services. 

To make an appointment, visit www.tinyurl.com/petevent17.

Stevie Wonder‘s House Full of Toys

Stevie Wonder‘s House Full of Toys benefit concert is making a return this year, marking 24 years since its inception. As in previous years, the event will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, this time on December 17.
Enter here for your chance to win special VIP tickets to Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys at Microsoft Theater!

Christmas Care Exchange in the Park

Sat. Dec 18 | 11 AM

The Special Needs Network is inviting families across Los Angeles to enjoy a holiday celebration with Santa. Children will have the opportunity to see Santa and receive a care package that includes food and toys. 

This event also provides an opportunity to learn about the Special Needs Network’s long-standing effort to help children with autism and related developmental disabilities in underserved communities. 

Meet The Author

Malik Books, an independent, black-owned bookstore, is set to host Devyn Bakewell, the granddaughter of civil rights activist and entrepreneur Danny Bakewell Sr., book signing inside the Westfield Culver City on Sunday, December 18, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Devyn Bakewell, Howard University Alum and Romance Author, is the author of two romance books, “Greater Love” and “Greater Life.” She is currently the Interim Editor for the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times.

Greater Life will be available to purchase inside the Malik Books Westfield Culver City for $29.99, or you can reserve a copy by calling (323) 389-8040.

Better Brothers LA Accepting Scholarship Applications 

Do you know a Black LGBTQ+ student who could use assistance paying for school? Scholarship applications are currently being accepted for the 2023 – 2024 academic year.

Better Brothers LA scholarship provides financial assistance with college and vocational educational expenses. Scholarships range from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 and are presented at the annual Truth Awards ceremony.

The application deadline is Friday, January 27, 2023, at 8:00pm PT / 11:00pm ET. Scholarships will be awarded during the 9th Annual Truth Awards on Saturday, March 4, 2023.

Black LGBTQ+ students across the country are eligible to apply.

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Annual Garras fashion show & fundraiser held

The transgender organized and run event was hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trans Latina Coalition, Bamby Salcedo

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Photo by Simha Haddad

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The annual Garras fashion show fundraiser took place Saturday, November 19th, at the Pacific Design Center to benefit The Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness, a program of The [email protected] Coalition.

Throngs of glamorously-dressed members and allies of the queer community gathered on the plaza of the modern blue building, a Los Angeles staple known for boasting over one hundred showrooms for events like this one. People from all walks of the entertainment, design, and media industries gave filmed statements of support for the event and the transgender community at large. 

The VIP reception featured two red carpets, passed hors doeuvres, two cocktail bars. Some VIP guests seated in the fashion show’s front rows along the glistening white runway included a myriad of TLC sponsors, including Bank of America, Keck Madicine of USCm, Gilead, SoCal Gas, Glamazon, Amazon, Kaiser Permanente, Glux, Loud, Walmart, and City of West Hollywood. 

The show featured designers Yaisel, Mars Wright, Elder Patricio Arita Perex, Gaby Garcia and TLC Board Members, Cecilia Martinez, Jessie Alvarado, Claudia Abundis, Jose Huizar, Robert Oriz, Eruvey Tapia, Lluvia Guzman, Fernando Vasquez, and Lidia Talavera and their transgender models and muses. Collections included everything from haute couture to streetwear to shoes.

The transgender organized and run event was hosted by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trans Latina Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, and Vice President & Chief Operation Officer Maria Roman. Both ladies wore a variety of couture gowns throughout the evening and called for continued support for the [email protected]’s mission to support and amplify the voices of transgender and gender nonconforming people. 

The Garras Vocational Scholarship of ten thousand dollars was also awarded to a student in the medical field to support their continued academic ventures. 

“To those of you who purchased tickets,” said Salcedo, addressing the audience, “to those of you who believe in our work and sponsor us, thank you.” 

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Millions wear purple today to stand up to bullies

Spirit Day started in 2010 by Canadian Brittany McMillan who created the event in memory of LGBTQ+ youth who lost their lives to suicide

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Los Angeles Blade graphic/GLAAD

NEW YORK – From celebrities, politicians and big-name brands to TV news people, pro athletes and their teams, people are putting their purple on today, to mark Spirit Day. The annual event, organized by GLAAD for more than a decade, provides visible support for LGBTQ+ youth in what the group calls the world’s largest anti-bullying campaign. 

The reason Spirit Day is so named and marked by wearing the color purple, or changing a brand logo to purple, is because of the purple stripe among the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ+ Pride flag, symbolizing “spirit.” Like the color purple, its message is bold and clear: We support LGBTQ+ youth and oppose bullying.

According to GLAAD, the annual tradition was started in 2010 by a Canadian high school student, Brittany McMillan. She created the event with a post on Tumblr, in memory of the LGBTQ+ youth who lost their lives to suicide. McMillian encouraged her friends to wear purple on the 20th of October to send a message of support. 

The celebration kicked off Wednesday night with GLAAD’s Spirit Day Benefit Concert in Los Angeles, sponsored by Ketel One, M&M’s and the WWE. 

Jujubee of RuPaul’s Drag Race leads a Who’s Who of famous names taking part, from the cast of The L Word: Generation Q to Margaret Cho, Wilson Cruz, Adam Rippon, Wanda Sykes, Jeopardy! champion Any Schneider and more. 

Even New York City’s most iconic landmark skyscraper, the Empire State Building, is getting in on the act; Jujubee will flip the switch Thursday night to bathe the tower in bright purple light. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Country Music star Maren Morris is doing her part for Spirit Day by selling a shirt bearing the slogan “You Have a Seat at This Table.” All the proceeds support GLAAD’s work with LGBTQ+ youth.

Some other notables taking part this year include Chris Mosier, Jason Collins, Aly & AJ, Ben Aldridge, Louis Van Amstel, Jonathan Bennett, Mayim Bialik, Sterling K. Brown, Kristin Cavallari, Shannon Dang, Ken Jeong, Carson Kressly, Idina Menzel, Netta, Jim Parsons, DJ “Shangela” Pierce, Jai Rodriguez, Jake Wesley Rogers, Lily Rose and the list goes on. 

Advocacy groups GLSEN, The Trevori Project, +Life and GSA clubs in schools across the country will take part as well. 

Courtesy of GLAAD

On Broadway, the casts of Moulin Rogue! The Musical, Into the Woods and 1776 are participating. iHeart Media will support Spirit Day with PSAs on its stations for the sixth consecutive year. 

Other corporate sponsors include Kellogg’s, Sally Hansen, Target, Visible, Amazon Corporate Security, Kirkland & Ellis, L’Oreal/ Viktor & Rolf, the MLB, the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL, Skittles and Taimi. 

Landmarks besides the Empire State Building include Chicago’s Mars Wrigley Building, Mars buildings in Newark, N.J., the Spheres at Amazon’s Seattle campus and HQ2 in Arlington, Va., the Stonewall National Monument Visitor’s Center, the ViacomCBS headquarters in Times Square as well as the NASDAQ, M&M’s, Skittles and American Eagle billboards there. 

Other participants include Athlete Ally, Spanish-language channels and programs including The Q Agenda, Despierta América, Hoy Día, Telemundo, TelevisaUnivision and Pantaya. ABC and ABC Owned Television Stations, CBS, PBS and the NBCUniversal networks, including hosts of the TODAY show will join with Hulu, National Geographic and the Freeform network are partners with GLAAD for this event. 

Faith organizations and individuals including the United Church of Christ, the Naming Project and Affirming Youth Ministries, Rev. Mark Fowler, Fr. James Martin, Deacon Ross Murray, Bishop Kevin Strickland, among others, will also participate. 


Find out more about Spirit Day by clicking here.

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Superfine Art Fair returns: women artists & LGBTQ+ artists featured

“We built Superfine to be a welcoming space where people who love art could collect it without the ‘red velvet rope’ vibes they’re used to”

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Los Angeles Blade graphic/Superfine Art Fair

LOS ANGELES – Superfine Art Fair is coming to The Magic Box Downtown at The Reef located at 1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. The four-day art event is highlighting the works of women artists, LGBTQ Artists, and artist people of color from October 13th-16, 2022. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Superfine! LA 2020 2.9-2

Coined the “worlds most inclusive art fair”, Superfine will feature more than 80 handpicked artists in a maze of beautifully finished ten foot high walls adorned with the top contemporary art from around the world and programming that’s educational, enlightening, and entertaining with a whole new take on what a contemporary art fair should be. The art fair is hand-curated by a team of experts and showcases the top up-and-coming talent from around the world for a true redefinition of an emerging art.

Superfine! SF 2020 2.27-1
Courtesy of Superfine Art Fair – DC 2019 10.30-9

In addition to being super inclusive, Superfine also prides itself on accessible pricing. With most of the art falling into the $75-$2500 price range, and no commission taken from the artists, Superfine has generated over $10 million in sales on behalf of independent artists at annual fairs in cities across the U.S. since launching at Art Basel in 2015.

Superfine founders Alex Mitow and James Miille set out to change people’s perception of the world by forgoing the stuffiness found at most fairs. “When we looked at the art world as gay men in our 20s and 30s, we felt excluded. We built Superfine to be a welcoming space where people who love art could collect it without the ‘red velvet rope’ vibes they’re used to,” adds Mitow.

The Superfine art fair began in NYC and Miami, and quickly expanded to their DC art fair in 2018. Shortly afterward, they brought their unique approach to art fairs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, connecting top local and global artists to an art-hungry populous eager to discover new artists and their work. Upcoming art fairs include Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago throughout 2022/23.

For additional information please visit: https://www.superfine.world/la-art-fairs.

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GuadaLAjara film festival in Los Angeles

The GuadaLAjara Film Festival announces this year’s Arbol De La Vida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Bamby Salcedo

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Bamby Salcedo co-founded the national [email protected] Coalition in 2009 (Photo Credit: [email protected] Coalition)

LOS ANGELES- The GuadaLAjara Film Festival in Los Angeles (GLAFF), which every year aims to showcase the best of Latinx/e, Latin America and BIPOC cinema as well as serve as a bridge that unifies and connects diverse stories and experiences with the intention of fostering a borderless film industry, announces the upcoming 12th Edition which will be taking place in Downtown Los Angeles from September 29th through October 1st, 2022. 

In line with GLAFF’s mission of building bridges between the two industries, the programming will include films by Latin American filmmakers that were showcased at their sister festival, the 37th Guadalajara International Film Festival held this past June in Guadalajara, Mexico and a special curated selection of films from Latinx/e and BIPOC filmmakers in the United States. 

This year the GuadaLAjara Film Festival continues with our mission of building bridges and strengthening the alliances already established between filmmakers and the entertainment industries in Mexico and the U.S through our work over the last 12 years. But GLAFF’s commitment to support Latino/x/e organizations that are making a difference in our community through activism and organizing is one of our most important achievements. We could not be more honored to have the opportunity to recognize trans civil rights activist Bamby Salcedo with the Arbol de la Vida Lifetime Humanitarian Award,” – said Ximena Urrutia, Executive Director of GLAFF. 

Some of this year’s highlights include the Mexican-American animation documentary Home is Somewhere Else, as the festival’s Centerpiece Film. Co-directed by Carlos Hagerman and Jorge Villalobos, the feature documentary provides a window into the hearts and minds of young Dreamers and undocumented immigrants in the United States. The story, told in the voice of their own protagonists comes to life with stunning imagery, each animated in its unique style. TRAILER HERE. GLAFF’s Closing Night film will be Omara, a documentary directed by Hugo Pérez, produced by Dana Kuznetzkoff and Frida Torresblanco. The film is a beautiful and intimate portrait of one of Cuba’s most adored national treasures and global musical icon Omara Portuondo. TRAILER HERE. 

GLAFF will continue with its Work In Progress (WIP) LATINO program through which the festival has been supporting Latin American Filmmakers for over 7 years. Within the framework of GLAFF’s 12th edition, WIP LATINO 7 will focus on supporting projects that focus on the topics of border, migration, human rights, social and political themes centered around the Latino and Latinx community. The WIP LATINO program provides in-kind and cash support to Latin American and BIPOC filmmakers, in the post-production stage.

This important initiative, which has supported projects that have gone on to have successful festival runs, is made possible by the University of Guadalajara Foundation USA and the festival’s sponsors. Their awards and support contribute to the achievement of the projects selected for WIP LATINO. For a list of this year’s selections CLICK HERE

The festival will also be hosting several curated industry masterclasses and a networking industry brunch. Further details on these events will be announced soon along with the announcement of the festival’s exciting Opening Night film.

This year the film festival will take place throughout several venues in Downtown Los Angeles, including The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Grand Park, Alamo Drafthouse and The Secret Movie Club. Tickets are available. For a full list of GLAFF’s programming, schedule and to purchase tickets please visit: www.glaff.org 

GLAFF’s popularity has continued to flourish because for the past three years it has also been recognized as the Festival with a Cause. Each year the festival chooses a social theme of importance to highlight as a topic of necessary conversation within the filmmaking and television industry. The social theme of this year’s festival is to highlight the needed changes and progress made for trans and non-binary representation both in front and behind the camera in the entertainment industry. Plus they have made a commitment to support local and national non-profit organizations that have dedicated their work for the betterment and change within the community as a whole. GLAFF donates all of their net box office proceeds to the selected non-profit organization each year. In keeping with their theme GLAFF has chosen [email protected] Coalition (TLC) as the organization to support during its 12th Edition. GLAFF has also officially announced that they will honor the organization’s co-founder, President and CEO, long time trans civil rights activist Bamby Salcedo with this year’s Arbol De LA Vida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Bamby, who was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, is one of the most visible Latina Transgender Civil Rights Activists in both the United States and Mexico, giving a voice and fighting for the rights and justice of trans Latina and non-binary communities in both countries. Bamby co-founded the national [email protected] Coalition in 2009 alongside a group of Transgender, Gender nonconforming and Intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles, CA as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI [email protected] immigrants who live in the United States.

Dolores Huerta 

GLAFF is also thrilled to share that our most recognized and respected Latina activist, legendary civil rights leader Dolores Huerta will be honoring GLAFF with her presence to present Bamby with her award on Closing Night, Saturday, October 1st. 

GLAFF is also proud to announce that this year they have teamed up with Mexican artist and photographer Dorian Ulises Lopez Macias, who has designed the official poster of this year’s film festival’s 12th Edition.

GLAFF pays homage to the two cities that saw its inception and growth: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and Los Angeles, California, USA. GLAFF’s goal is to showcase the best of Latin American, Iberoamerican, Latinx and BIPOC cinema as well as open doors to emerging latino/x/e creators in order to promote a borderless cinematic industry. GLAFF is organized by the Universidad de Guadalajara and Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) through the University of Guadalajara Foundation USA, with the support of Legado Grodman. 

Tickets are now on sale for the International Film Festival which will take place in downtown Los Angeles Sept. 29th – Oct. 1st

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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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