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Leyna Bloom is first ever Trans cover for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

“We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”



Leyna Bloom Sports Illustrated cover shoot from Instagram

NEW YORK – Leyna Bloom, a 27-year-old Chicago native, who identifies as Black and Filipina, reflected on her Instagram account Monday of being the first Trans woman of color on the cover of the venerable Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue saying. “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world.”

The news first broke in June during Pride month, speaking to NBC News OUT who noted that model and actor had previously broken through barriers as a transwoman when in 2017, she became the first trans woman of color to be featured in Vogue India, and in 2019, she became the first to star in a film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival for her appearance in “Port Authority.”

“These are huge moments,” Bloom told NBC News at the time. “But it’s just like, why has it taken so long?”

In her Instagram post Bloom wrote, “We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.

I’m am so happy, honored, and humbled to share that I’m the 1st trans woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated! Thanks so much @mj_day & @si_swimsuit team for recognizing the importance of representation; this is all of our responsibility. Thank you @joshrotten@caafashion and most importantly @damianbao for taking a CHANCE on me. My friend & teacher @modelthaddeus thank you for helping me make this possible. To my bloodline and father, thank you for the courage & sacrifices you made to ensure that I stand tall in every step I take. Now I’m flying.”

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Popular gay podcaster killed in hit & run in Beverly Grove

LAPD said that the focus of their investigation is a late model white BMW sedan and that the driver failed to stop



Out podcaster Mat George at the Abbey in West Hollywood from Instagram

LOS ANGELES – The popular gay co-host of the “She Rates Dogs” podcast, Mat George, 26, was killed in a hit and run accident in the Beverly Grove neighborhood of the city the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Sunday.

LAPD said that the focus of their investigation is a late model white BMW sedan that was moving eastbound on Beverly Boulevard and the driver failed to stop police said. LAPD said that George was hit while walking southbound on Croft Avenue at approximately 2AM Saturday, adding that he was pronounced dead on scene which was later confirmed by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office.

His co-host, Michaela Oakland, tweeted, “I would rather you guys here this from me than a news article. Mat was killed in a hit and run last night. I don’t really have any other words right now. I wish I could contact everybody who knows him personally but the news is already out and I just can’t do it right now.”

Oakland also  thanked their fans for their messages of support. “Thank you so much to everybody telling stories and sharing how he impacted you. Whenever you think of him in the future, please do talk about him,” she wrote.

“He’d send me screenshots of your sweet messages,” she added on the Twitter account for the podcast. “He shed tears when people told him he had helped them through issues (especially LGBT+ related). He referenced DMs from you all the time and how much it made his week & fueled his joy. You really did know him,” Oakland wrote. “He shared so much because he felt the people who listened to him were his friends.”

George, an Arizona State University alumni, had a loyal following and fan base of nearly 80,000 followers between both Twitter and Instagram.

LAPD West Traffic Division detectives have asked anyone with information regarding the accident to call them at 213-473-0234 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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LA fashion house of August Getty Atelier brings diversity

“My clothing is for everyone, every shape, every size, every walk of life. People always ask me, “Where would I wear that to?!”



August Getty Photo by Yudo Kurita

CULVER CITY – When August Getty took the microphone at the Los Angeles Blade’s Next Generation of Pride last month, his voice was gravely but his pride was beaming out.  Not only was he there to represent the Ariadne Getty Foundation, a sponsor of the event and a key supporter of the Los Angeles Blade, but he was there, entourage in tow, living it out loud and proud.

The night before, at a luxe private event in Los Angeles, Getty not only celebrated his birthday but the presentation of a years in the making fashion line, a vision he calls TINITUS. It’s a vision that he has expressed as his own gender non-conforming journey has taken him on a spiritual path, and that journey is part of what TINITUS deals with.

August Getty Atelier launched in 2014 during New York Fashion week, and has been on the rise ever since. Since his standout debut, Getty’s fashion has been seen on the world’s most exclusive red carpets – The Oscars, The Met Gala and more – and he has dressed some of the hottest celebrities including Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry – to name a few. 

“My clothing is for everyone, every shape, every size, every walk of life. People always ask me, “Where would I wear that to?!” I simply reply, “Starbucks,” Getty told the Los Angeles Blade a week after the successful launch of TINITUS his most recent collection.

Getty’s most recent collection, TINITUS was showcased virtually during Paris Fashion Week in March 2021. Digital renderings of his haute couture gowns floated above surreal alien worlds, created in a partnership with the Institute of Digital Fashion, a London-based digital content group. TINITUS was officially launched on July 7th with a stunning collection of photos taken by prolific fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth.

One of the models, August Getty’s sister-in-law Gigi Gorgeous Getty, is especially resplendent in a stunning floor-length skirt and beaded top. Gigi Gorgeous Getty coincidentally met her future husband, August’s brother Nats Getty, at a Paris Fashion Week event for August Getty Atelier. 

Taking time off from his idyllic vacation in Italy, August Getty chatted with the Blade about TINITUS, Miami drag and wearing couture to Starbucks.

What inspired the name for the collection, TINITUS?

The collection being named TINITUS came very easily to me. I wanted a name that described a personal moment of self-acceptance and transformation—where darkness turns to light. The name comes from the word “tinnitus,” which is a hearing condition I share with a very close loved one in my life. It’s a constant ringing in the ear—but instead of viewing in a dark way, I choose to view it beautifully. 

What inspirations did you pull from to create the collection?

I pulled inspirations from many places for TINITUS, from English mythology to Salvador Dali paintings. I needed this world to be a treasure chest of artistic references. An important part of this process was looking at something that’s abstract and make sense of it in my own life, art, and vision. In some of the garments, you may even see imagery reminding you of some of my past collections. This was to evoke the feeling of familiarity and yet positive change.

What was the largest challenge in creating TINITUS?

The hardest part was entering a digital space where I had to give complete trust to our collaborators, I was entering their world while creating my own. The experience turned out to be quite remarkable. I learned a lot about both patience and trust, and I am forever grateful. I’ve applied the things that I’ve learned further into our company and into our own website.

How does TINITUS relate to your previous collections? 

A common thread between each of my collections is my craft of storytelling. Every collection is very different from the last but with detailed elements which keep the DNA of our atelier evolving. Throughout my previous work, there has also been the reference of the infamous “Getty Girl,”  a polarizing mystical being that surpasses time. This collection was different. This story is less surreal and is something more relatable and personal to everyone, not just myself.

Who do you design clothes for? Is there an abstract customer or client you create for?

My clothing is for everyone, every shape, every size, every walk of life. People always ask me, “Where would I wear that to?!” I simply reply, “Starbucks.” My personal journey through gender and coming out as non-binary has taught me so much, and it has made my work and my demand for inclusively that much louder. 

Where do you hope to take August Getty Atelier next?

Oh my gosh, I just finished my collection! Let me sit down for a moment!  I’m just kidding, I am already working our next collection for Paris Haute Couture Week next fall. You’ll have to wait and see though—I’m sworn to secrecy.

Tell us about the casting process for modeling – who do you choose to rep your work and why?

The model casting is such a fond memory of mine. Something that photographer Ellen von Unwerth and I wanted to evoke was personality and passion, so it was important to select a diverse cast who embodied this. I invited Ellen to The Palace, a very well-known drag bar in Miami. I introduced her to my friends, and she watched them perform. I think she was quite amazed, and we couldn’t stop smiling. All our models are so incredible, and we remain close. 

The collection has a beautiful story of self-acceptance, what compelled you to spotlight that?

Self-acceptance—and acceptance overall—is something the world needs, and especially with the tough year in 2020, I needed to do my part. To use my craft and hopefully show just one person that they are not alone, to let people know they’re going to be okay. I’ve been there, I’m still there, but now we have each other. 

Biggest design influence? Who inspires you?

You do, our beautiful LGBTQIAA+ community. 

Photo by Ellen von Unwerth for August Getty Atelier

To learn more, visit Instagram @augustgettyatelier.

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TikTok’s algorithm promoted anti-LGBTQ content during Pride Month

This has created a situation in which TikTok can quickly generate an overtly hateful feed of anti-LGBTQ content



Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

By Olivia Little | WASHINGTON – TikTok’s “For You” page recommendation algorithm circulated videos promoting hate and violence targeting the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, while the company celebrated the month with its #ForYourPride campaign. 

Media Matters reviewed videos that TikTok recommended to our “For You” page after we showed interest in anti-LGBTQ content. After we clicked “like” on one anti-LGBTQ video, TikTok almost instantly began recommending more. As similar videos were liked, our “For You” page quickly became dominated by almost exclusively anti-LGBTQ content. Some of these videos even went viral, with one showing a celebration of LGBTQ people being arrested racking up roughly 9.4 million views. This video was from an explicitly anti-LGBTQ account with fewer than 55,000 followers — meaning TikTok’s algorithm had picked up and widely circulated the video. In each case, this content was placed on our “For You” page and required no additional searching.

It is difficult to explain in words just how many videos targeting the LGBTQ community were — and continue to be — promoted by TikTok’s recommendation algorithm. However, seeing the content as a user scrolls the “For You” page provides a stark visual.

The active spread of explicitly anti-LGBTQ videos isn’t a new problem for TikTok, but it appears that the platform has yet to stop it — even though the company claims to prohibit discriminatory and hateful content targeting sexual orientation and gender identity. TikTok also posted an update in early June celebrating Pride Month and promising to “foster a welcoming environment” and “remove hateful, anti-LGBTQ+ content or accounts that attempt to bully or harass people on our platform.” Given the content being circulated by the algorithm once a user begins interacting with anti-LGBTQ videos, it is clear that TikTok has yet to fulfill these promises. 

Instead, TikTok is curating far-right echo chambers for its users. The platform’s popularity arose from its ability to hyper-personalize recommendations to the interests of individual users, but this has created a situation in which TikTok can quickly generate an overtly hateful feed of anti-LGBTQ content. It’s long past time for TikTok to enforce its own policies against the bigotry and discrimination being promoted on its platform


Olivia Little is a researcher at Media Matters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in law and public policy from Indiana University. Olivia previously worked as a research associate for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

The preceding article was originally published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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