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OAN’s anti-LGBTQ hate supported by cable & streaming services

OAN reportedly relies on subscriber fees, also known as carriage fees, rather than advertising as a prime revenue source

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Graphic via Media Matters for America

By Beatrice Mount & Alex Paterson | WASHINGTON – The right wing conspiracy theory One America News channel regularly uses extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, combating what it has called “militant LGBTQ recruitment” strategies.

OAN’s baseless fearmongering about Drag Queen Story Hour, Demi Lovato’s gender identity, and transgender athletes, however, is being financially supported by cable companies and streaming services that claim to be celebrating LGBTQ people and Pride month.

Rather than relying on “advertising as a prime revenue source,” OAN reportedly relies on subscriber fees, also known as carriage fees, as its primary funding source. Verizon and DirecTV (and its parent company, AT&T) pay OAN subscriber fees in exchange for the network being available to their customers, whose subscription costs pay for OAN. While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much revenue these cable contracts generate, Bloomberg previously reported that OAN “gets paid about 15 cents per subscriber by the companies.” 

OAN also generates revenue through subscriber fees via its streaming app, which charges its subscribers $4.99 per month and is available to download on RokuAmazon FireGoogle Play, and Apple TV. In exchange for hosting OAN in their channel libraries, these companies reportedly take a percentage of that subscription fee. For example, according to Yahoo Finance and The Motley Fool, Roku takes 20% of subscription fees, and Apple TV takes 30% during the first year and 15% in subsequent years. 

These companies have all celebrated Pride month through statements and social media support, including VerizonAmazonGoogleAppleRoku, and DirecTv and its parent company AT&T. However, these companies also enable OAN to maintain a steady income, even though the network is in direct opposition to their corporate commitments to the LGBTQ community.

What’s more, OAN’s hateful rhetoric adds fuel to the rising attacks on LGBTQ people, particularly trans people: Anti-trans violence in the U.S. has reached record high levelshate crimes targeting LGBTQ people are on the rise, and state legislatures have proposed over 100 bills to restrict trans rights so far in 2021 alone. 

OAN hosts and guests regularly spread anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and misinformation, particularly targeting trans people

In the days leading up and following the first day of Pride Month in June, some of OAN’s most prominent hosts — Kara McKinney, Stephanie Hamill, and Dan Ball — and their guests have regularly used the platform to fearmonger about LGBTQ people, including claiming that Pride “is a really sad indicator of just how far the cultural rot has gone.” Here are some of the worst examples:

Tipping Point with Kara McKinney

  • On May 20, McKinney suggested that “militant LGBTQ recruitment” has caused more young people to identify as LGBTQ. She also claimed PBS programming that featured Drag Queen Story Hour was “radical LGBTQ propaganda” and a ”mockery and caricature of true womanhood, basically the gender equivalent of blackface or cultural appropriation.”
  • Later in that same segment, McKinney was joined by RedState’s Brandon Morse, who claimed that PBS is “introducing what is actually a mental illness” to kids through covering Drag Queen Story Hour in order “to make good little soldiers for the hard-left, progressive agenda,” comparing it to “the sexual abuse of our children.” He also said that being trans is “a trend, and when this trend wears off the people who actually submitted these kids, pressured them — all the celebrities who signed up for it and pushed it on them, the corporations who signed on and pushed it on them — none of these people are going to look good in the long run, and I can’t wait for that day to come.”
  • On May 24, McKinney asserted that people who affirm trans youth are “leading young people, especially those suffering from mental illness and who are typically being raised in unstable households, into a life of gender confusion.” 
  • In that same edition of Tipping Point, Morse said that being trans is a “trend” and compared it to “the emo craze, the scene kids, you know, all these people dressing in weird ways to try to stand out.” He also claimed that as “abortions are becoming harder and harder to get for Planned Parenthood to perform, they’re moving toward … gender transition treatments” and pushing trans youth “into this weird LGBT-centric agenda that forces them to do something that they can’t take back years later.”
  • On June 1, McKinney commemorated Pride month by proclaiming, “We of course pray for those suffering with same-sex attraction,” and she equated being LGBTQ to a “sin” and a “vice.” She also lamented that “for being a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles, the fact that we dedicate an entire month to one of the seven deadly sins, which is pride, the cause in many ways of the fall itself, is a really sad indicator of just how far the cultural rot has gone.” 
  • Later in that same episode, far-right pastor Jesse Lee Peterson said people should celebrate “white history month” instead of “perverted” LGBTQ Pride. He also asserted that “Christians must stand up and fight against evil” and questioned, “What’s happy about being perverted?”

In Focus with Stephanie Hamill

  • On May 20, one day after singer Demi Lovato came out as nonbinary and announced they will now use gender-neutral “they/them” pronouns, Hamill suggested they were “desperately trying to stay relevant.” Turning Point USA’s Alex Clark claimed that “the ultimate magic eraser for bad PR is to change your sexual orientation or your gender identity” and accused Lovato of being “severely mentally ill.” (Hamill and her guest also repeatedly misgendered Lovato the following day.)
  • During a May 28 appearance on In Focus, Terry Schilling, the executive director of anti-LGBTQ group the American Principles Projectcalled for a “ban” on best practice health care for trans youth and claimed such care is “absolutely insane” and “all meant to destroy us as human beings.”
  • Later in that segment, during a rant about Kellogg’s Pride-themed cereal, Hamill said that “kids are getting bombarded with liberal propaganda,” and Schilling questioned if LGBTQ advocates “didn’t have the billions of dollars a year that they spend in this movement, what percentage of Americans would identify as LGBT or have some type of confusion about their gender? My guess is that it won’t be that many.”
  • In a June 1 segment with the right-wing Libertas Institute’s Emma Phillips, Hamill complained that Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues is “pushing the drag culture so hard on kids” and claimed that “we see this kind of indoctrination going on in schools, the anti-American agenda, too.” Phillips said that “parents have been posting on social media, ‘My child just learned that Jesus is nonbinary,’ and it’s like this laundry list of insane things that kids are being exposed to.”
  • On June 2, in an apparent violation of a court-issued gag order, Jeff Younger, a father in a high-profile Texas child custody dispute, joined Hamill to spread anti-trans rhetoric about his trans child’s “abnormal gender expression.”

Real America with Dan Ball

  • On June 8, while defending a Loudoun County, Virginia, public school teacher who refused to refer to trans students by their correct name and pronouns, Ball claimed that affirming trans youth is participating in “pronoun garbage.”
  • Ball has also repeatedly denigrated prominent trans people. He has misgendered and deadnamed U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. Ball also ridiculed Caitlyn Jenner, saying she was “dick-tator-less,” while his guests, far-right commentators the Hodgetwins, said being trans is “just a wardrobe” and a “bizarre lifestyle.”

Beatrice Mount is a media analyst and researcher for Media Matters for America. She’s a George Washington University Graduate with a degree in gender studies and political science.

Alex Paterson is a researcher for the LGBTQ program at Media Matters, where he has worked since 2019. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Montana State University and has a background in LGBTQ advocacy, including previous work at the National LGBTQ Task Force and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The preceding commentary and analysis was published by Media Matters and is republished by permission.

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Crowd beats gay men after man flashes cross, rage sends men to hospital

This makes Corsica a very dangerous place for out queer people, which Benoît et Mickaël discovered all too well

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Photos of Benoît and Mickaël they posted on Instagram

By James Finn | CORSICA, France – Would you be shocked if I told you a mob in France ganged up on a gay couple and beat them badly enough that one thought he was going to die and both ended up in the hospital? The story is shocking in a way, but has powerful lessons to teach about religious disdain for LGBTQ people and about how churches must start behaving more morally. As Christian friends of mine say, churches need to become more Christian and less hateful.

This happened last night in a French tourism hot spot

A gay French couple were gathered with family for Bastille Day and fireworks on the French island of Corsica. Before the evening ended, religious insults were flung and both men were badly beaten by a large crowd while a larger crowd looked on.

They heard the crowd chanting ‘pédés!’ pédés! pédés!’ as if happy to have driven them out of the village.

One of the men, while he was being kicked and punched, remembered Samuel Luiz, a gay man in Spain beaten to death by a homophobic crowd earlier this month. He feared he would share Samuel’s fate.

He almost did.

It all started when a group of youths aged about 15 to 20 spotted the couple dancing in a club with straight family members. The young people jeered and mocked the couple, then one of them approached and showed off a photo of somebody urinating on a rainbow flag. He flashed a Christian cross and said being homosexual is “against nature.”

The gay couple, whom the French pro-LGBTQ publication TÊTU identifies only as Benoît and Mickaël, say they remained calm but left the club to take a stroll in the village of Macinaggio. They wanted to get some air and get away from the crowd of hostile youths.

They did not succeed in deescalating.

The original youth who flashed the Christian cross spotted the men in the village and started hurling insults again. Another man grabbed Mickaël’s arm and called him a pédé, short for pédéraste, a highly inflammatory French pejorative for gay men.

That’s when everything blew up.

A crowd of about twenty descended on Benoît and Mickaël, beating them while a crowd of about 60 looked on. Mickaël told TÊTU that the onlookers acted as if they were grabbing popcorn to enjoy the show.

Mickaël says he took five blows before getting cornered between two cars and set on by 10 men. He told TÊTU blows were raining down so fast he feared for his life. “Heureusement que je n’ai pas perdu connaissance, qui sait ce qui aurait pu se passer… est-ce que je serais encore en vie ?”

My translation: “Fortunately, I didn’t lose consciousness, who knows what might have happened, would I still be alive?”

He says he was thinking of murdered Samuel Luiz at that moment, just as police alerted by Benoît’s family arrived at the scene. But the crowd wasn’t done. From inside an ambulance rushing them to the hospital, the couple say they heard the crowd chanting ‘pédés! pédés! pédés!’ as if happy to have driven them out of the village.

From reporting released so far, the extent of the men’s injuries isn’t clear. At least one broken bone is involved, but they don’t appear to be in danger of losing their lives. According to franceinfo, local police are investigating the incident and a local prosecutor has opened a formal inquiry.

What does a Christian cross have to do with all this?

This incident, like the earlier mob killing in Spain, isn’t getting much press in the English speaking world, though LGBTQ Nation has written it up. And while accounts accurately reflect what the men told TÊTU and spelled out in their own Instagram accounts, reporters seem to be ignoring a large trumpeting elephant.

Nobody is reporting that this story revolves around Roman Catholicism, around Catholic Church teachings and practices that fire up hatred and violence against LGBTQ people.

Most English speakers probably think of France as being very accepting in terms of LGBTQ matters. After all, the French take secularism seriously today, and a look back into history reveals a society that didn’t tend to criminalize members of gender and sexual minorities.

That’s why Oscar Wilde fled to France after his prison term at hard labor for sodomy in England.

But the story of French homophobia is more complex than that. The State stayed out of sexual matters after the 18th century, relying on the Church to enforce cultural norms. The Church still takes that role seriously when it has the power to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

As the Christian Science Monitor reports, many parts of France today remain culturally conservative, with agencies run by the Catholic Church openly discriminating against LGBTQ people despite nominally supporting secularism — even in regions where the population has largely stopped attending church.

For example, while same-sex couples may legally marry and adopt in France, many “family councils” that must approve adoption petitions are dominated by Catholic clergy and conservative Catholic lay workers who oppose adoption by gay couples and rarely or never approve such adoptions.

While same-sex marriage barely ruffled big French cities like Paris, whose cosmopolitan population took it in stride when it became law 8 years ago, the same cannot be said universally. “Manif pour Tous” (Protest for All) is a largely Roman Catholic, far-right, racist coalition that led anti-marriage protests and continues to stir up controversy over adoption.

They are not shy about flinging homophobic stereotypes and insults. (When they aren’t busy stereotyping and reviling immigrants in starkly racist terms.)

Here comes that elephant

Much of France’s population has stopped going to church. While many French people still identify culturally as Catholic, most don’t practice the religion and fewer still give credence to Catholic teachings that condemn LGBTQ people with vicious language.

Corsica, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. 92% of the population identify as Catholic, and most of them describe themselves as practicing Catholics. Churches are packed on Sundays and public religious processions are common throughout the year.

This makes Corsica a very dangerous place for out queer people, which Benoît et Mickaël discovered all too well last night.

When that young man flashed a Christian cross and told them homosexuality is “against nature,” he was repeating a common Church teaching. Official Catholic teaching describe sex between same-sex couples as “acts of grave depravity.” Children learn in Catholic schools that gay people are disordered, a stance they will not back down from despite overwhelming evidence from practically every medical organization in the world that the Church is dead wrong.

Both the depravity and disordered teachings spring from a falsehood the Church spreads that homosexuality and transgender identity go against nature or “annihilate nature.”

Crowds often chant that nature nonsense where populations are majority Catholic. From Poland with its anti-gay street mobs and “LGBT Free” zones, to Italy where anti-gay street violence is a serious social problem, to Ghana and other West African nations where Catholic leaders call down hate on gay people and lobby politicians to put us in prison, Catholicism strikes fear into the hearts of queer people.

Even in the United States where we worry more about evangelical Christians and their alliance with Republicans, Catholic Church officials work hard to hurt queer people. Just last fall, the American Conference of Catholic Bishops lobbied Congress to kill a national suicide hotline just because it reaches out specifically to LGBTQ people in crisis.

Last month, the Vatican tried to use treaty powers to stop an Italian hate-crime law that adds queer people to protected categories, even though anti-queer hate crimes are endemic in Italy. Among other things, the Vatican was angry the law does not exempt Catholic schools from participating in a annual event to teach about and work against homophobia and transphobia.

Nobody should be mocked and beaten over Christian teachings

I’m sure nobody would disagree with me that religion should never be an excuse for violence. But you know what? Even as Catholic bishops in Poland tell people violence is unacceptable, they compare LGBTQ advocates to Nazis and Soviet communists, referring to our Pride flag as a “rainbow scourge.”

Those Corsican boys last night weren’t the first to show off photos of people pissing on rainbow flags. That goes on in Poland all the time, often in crowds headed by Catholic priests and bishops.

A Catholic priest in Chicago burned a rainbow flag a couple years ago to the delight of his congregation. And while his bishop disciplined him over it, that doesn’t undo the damage.

That boy last night didn’t flash a cross and repeat Catholic teaching by accident. Twenty young men didn’t beat the shit out of two gay men by accident. Sixty people didn’t look on approvingly by accident.

They were hating on queer people like they learn in church. That has to stop. It has to stop now.

I don’t care what your religious affiliation is; if you teach that gay people commit “acts of grave depravity,” you are teaching hate that will lead to violence. If you teach we are “disordered,” you are teaching hate that will lead to violence. If you teach we “go against nature,” you aren’t just wrong — you’re teaching hate that will lead to violence.

This isn’t complicated, it’s obvious.

Isn’t it time to stop the hate? Isn’t it time to stop the violence? I’m not a Christian, but I grew up with stories about Jesus and his followers. I don’t recognize Jesus in common Christian hate speech.

I don’t know if Benoît and Mickaël are people of faith, but I know they were terrified when they saw that cross flashed at them. If you’re a Christian, that should you tear you up inside.

James Finn is a former Air Force intelligence analyst, long-time LGBTQ activist, an alumnus of Queer Nation and Act Up NY, an essayist occasionally published in queer news outlets, and an “agented” novelist. Send questions, comments, and story ideas to [email protected]

The preceding piece originally appeared at Prism & Pen, ‘Amplifying LGBTQ voices through the art of storytelling,’ and is republished by permission.

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Japan- Prime Minister should back LGBT Equality Act

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By Human Rights Watch Japan | TOKYO – The Japanese government’s failure to pass a national nondiscrimination law to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics was a lost opportunity to advance the rights of everyone in Japan, J-ALL, Athlete Ally, All Out, and Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video of five Japanese longtime LGBT activists. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga should immediately and publicly commit to enacting an LGBT Equality Act.

The Olympic Charter expressly bans “discrimination of any kind” as a Fundamental Principle of Olympism. However, despite promises from Japan’s ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that they would pass the country’s first national LGBT law during the 2021 Diet session, the legislature failed to pass a law during the session, which ended in June.

“LGBT people in Japan, including athletes, are entitled to equal protection under the law, but currently there are a very limited number of openly out professional athletes in the country, and many remain in the closet from fear and stigma,” said Yuri Igarashi, director of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL), an umbrella organization of more than 80 LGBT organizations in Japan. “We expected the Olympic Games to be a wonderful opportunity to introduce and pass legal protections so that everyone in society can live openly and safely. It is extremely disappointing that this law did not pass this time.”

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will start the week of July 23, 2021. Not a single openly LGBT athlete will compete for the host country, reflecting Japan’s need to create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBT people.

J-ALL and other Japanese LGBT groups have, for the past six years, urged political parties and elected representatives to pass legislation to protect LGBT rights. In 2020, J-ALL, Athlete Ally, All Out, and Human Rights Watch created the #EqualityActJapan campaign in Japanese and English to support a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In January, 116 Japanese and international groups sent a joint letter urging passage of such legislation to Prime Minister Suga. In March, the groups submitted a petition with 106,250 signatures from Japan and abroad to all Japanese political parties, including the LDP, calling for the introduction of the Equality Act in the Diet. Major corporations, including Coca-Cola, Deloitte, EY, Intel, Microsoft, PwC, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and Sega Sammy, also endorsed the Equality Act.

In response, the LDP announced that it would enact an LGBT law during the 2021 regular Diet session, but did not do so. The media reported that many conservative LDP members of parliament opposed the bill. Although other party leaders publicly supported the LGBT legislation, the prime minister has never publicly expressed support for the LGBT equality law.

“LGBTQ+ athletes have always competed at the highest levels of sport, and the Olympic Charter underscores that every athlete’s access to sport is a human right,” said Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally. “As the esteemed host of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan has the power be a global leader in human rights by ensuring that LGBT people nationwide are protected from discrimination under the law. Without these protections, the true spirit of Olympism – one of inclusivity and equality – can never be fully realized.”

Japanese public support for LGBT equality has been surging in recent years. In November 2020, a nationwide public opinion survey found that 88 percent of those polled “agree or somewhat agree” with the “introduction of laws or ordinances that ban bullying and discrimination (in relation to sexual minorities).”

In October 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government adopted an ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination in line with the Olympic Charter. This municipal “Olympics” law was a direct result of human rights consultation tied to the Olympics, and has proven to be popular. However, it has also demonstrated gaps in protection across the country and thus the need for a national approach, the groups said.

“Protecting LGBT+ people from discrimination is a crucial and long-overdue step for Japan,” said Matt Beard, executive director of All Out. “By failing to pass anti-discrimination legislation ahead of the Olympic Games, the Japanese government is not only failing to comply with the Olympic Charter, but is also disregarding the will of the 88 percent of the population that favors such legislation.”

Japan has also ratified core international human rights treaties that obligate the government to protect against discrimination, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“LGBT people in Japan face intense social pressure and fewer legal protections than other Japanese,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director at Human Rights Watch. “Prime Minister Suga should immediately commit to passing an LGBT equality act to make LGBT equality a part of Japan’s permanent Olympic legacy.”

Kanae Doi, Japan Director, works to encourage the Japanese Government to prioritize human rights in its foreign and domestic policies and practices. She also works on media outreach and the development of Human Rights Watch’s profile in Japan.

Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 2006, she worked as a practicing attorney, based in Tokyo. Her practice included refugee law, immigration law, constitutional law and criminal defense, and she frequently gave media interviews and published on these issues in the Japanese press from the perspective of international human rights law. Doi received her law degree from the University of Tokyo and her Master’s degree in the International Studies from the New York University School of Law. She speaks English and Japanese.

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Guest Viewpoint; It’s Time for a New Generation of Democratic Leaders

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Alex Mohajer at Pride Walk in West Hollywood, June 2021. (Photo courtesy of Alex Mohajer)

By Alex Mohajer | LOS ANGELES – Last month, I announced that I am running for President of the Stonewall Democratic Club, one of the nation’s oldest feminist LGBTQ+ political advocacy organizations, based right here in Los Angeles County. If elected, I will be the first millennial and the first Iranian American to lead this organization in its storied history.  Ours is a diverse and powerful community, one that has had to fight for every inch of recognition and rights that we have today.

And that fight is not over.

The world is a different place in 2021 than when I first joined the Stonewall Steering Committee in 2019, and the nation is at an inflection point. George Floyd’s murder last May, the Capitol insurrection, an increasingly authoritarian GOP, the assault on voting and transgender rights, and an upcoming Supreme Court challenge that may curtail reproductive rights for women have revealed a country in crisis. We are being asked as an organization, as a party, and as a country to confront ways in which we have participated in systems and institutions that have failed to enfranchise marginalized members of our community.

For LGBTQ+ organizations, that means people of color and trans folks, to whom our namesake, “Stonewall,” imputes upon us a unique responsibility. The rallying cries that have echoed throughout the history of our movement, “Stonewall means fight back” and “silence equals death,” are more poignant now than ever. 

We hear a lot of verbiage around diversity, equity, and inclusion lately, but in order to lead the party into the future, we have to be willing to have a healthy dialogue about our values and our priorities, to disrupt power structures that have not done enough for the most vulnerable among us. We have to be willing to pursue actual connections to the communities we seek to represent, rather than to wield power and connections as if they are qualifications.

The first step to any real growth is acknowledging where we have fallen short. We do not have time to sit on the sidelines or play by old rule books. The time for change is right now.

The paradigm is shifting. The country is changing. And the Democratic Party is evolving. If we want to remain viable as a movement, we have to meet the moment and be willing to pass the baton to new voices that are ready and able to lead. We need fresh ideas, a more inclusive perspective, and leaders that reject politics as usual. We can seek to cultivate our relationships with elected officials while holding them to account when needed. We can grow our community with an eye towards community-based coalition building outside of just West Hollywood. We can finally become a true rainbow coalition. But to do so will require moral clarity and courage, and above all, it requires change.

If the upset Democratic victories in Georgia and Arizona offer a political lesson, it’s that enfranchising voices new to the process, voices that have been otherwise left behind, is the key to the success of our party and the country. And ultimately, it’s the moral and just way forward. 

Groups like the New Georgia Project and Fair Fight are doing it. They have been doing it. And at Stonewall, we can do it, too. 

As president, I will seek to revive our focus on LGBTQ+ candidates and causes. In my first 60 days, I will form an Ad Hoc committee to review our existing bylaws line-by-line and propose a series of amendments that will ensure that we are transparent, inclusive, accessible, and provide for accountability. This will include the implementation of term limits, new Steering Committee positions, and a diversity task force.

We will honor the legacy of the Stonewall riots by standing unwaveringly with Black, Asian, and trans lives in the face of unprecedented assaults on those communities. We will expand our outreach efforts to trans, BIPOC, and young people all over Los Angeles County, and we will revitalize and recruit for our Leadership Training Program, which will not only foster and cultivate new leaders, but give them a seat at the table with an eye towards who will succeed us in the future.

We can truly make the LGBTQ+ community the most powerful voting bloc in the nation if we do the work to unite around our common goals. This race will be a test of our values, and I will be calling for a secret ballot on July 26th. I encourage Stonewall members to join us on Zoom and vote your conscience. Together, we can deliver the Democratic Party into the future. 

Alex Mohajer is a political organizer, activist and journalist with bylines at HuffPost, USA Today, and Medium.

He holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from Chapman University School of Law. 

Photo courtesy of Alex Mohajer

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of the publisher and staff of the Los Angeles Blade, or Los Angeles Blade Media LLC.

Publishing this article does not constitute endorsement by the publisher and staff of the Los Angeles Blade, or Los Angeles Blade Media LLC.

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