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City of West Hollywood celebrates Transgender Awareness Month

More than 40 percent of residents in the City of West Hollywood identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender

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U.S. Navy Vet, Trans artist & activist Monica Helms, creator of the Trans flag at Atlanta Pride, 2004 (Photo courtesy of Monica Helms)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood and the City’s Transgender Advisory Board recognize November as Transgender Awareness Month. Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has led the region in the pursuit and implementation of progressive policies that foster an environment of acceptance in which diversity is celebrated.

During Transgender Awareness Month, the West Hollywood community looks toward the future and recommits to ending discrimination and transphobia by amplifying the visibility and voices of people in the transgender community.

The City of West Hollywood will fly the transgender flag over West Hollywood City Hall through Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The flag will be flown at half-mast on November 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance, in honor of transgender individuals who have been murdered.

City Hall will be awash in blue, pink, and white lighting throughout the month. From Wednesday, November 10, 2021 through Sunday, November 21, 2021, the globe lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard between N. Robertson Boulevard and Hancock Avenue will glow in blue, pink, and white. Transgender flags will be flown on the City’s medians where flags are currently displayed.

The City of West Hollywood is a co-sponsor of the Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC) TransGiving Dinner on Friday, November 19, 2021. This annual event provides a traditional full-course holiday dinner and creates a safe social environment among Trans-identified community members, allies, and their loved ones. In 2019, more than 200 people attended, and in 2020, UWC organized TransGiving Dinner to-go due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TransGiving Dinner is a cherished tradition for Trans people, nonbinary people, and gender non-conforming people who may feel disenfranchised from their families. The evening features live entertainment, access to resources, and of course, community and allies. UWC is dedicated to being a collective voice centering on the narratives and needs of Black Trans culture and is committed to fostering the next generation of black trans leadership from within the community through mentorship, scholarship, and community care engagement work.

For information about TransGiving Dinner, visit the Eventbrite page: www.eventbrite.com/e/transgiving-dinner-los-angeles-tickets-202122302247.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is part of the City of West Hollywood’s annual recognition of Transgender Awareness Month. Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorates transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death and has become an important annual tradition.

This year, the Transgender Advisory Board of the City of West Hollywood will present a virtual Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 6 p.m. featuring a reading of names to memorialize people who have been murdered as a result of anti-transgender violence.

The program will be hosted by transgender leader and advocate Sabel Samone-Loreca and will include guest speakers and tributes by musical artist LZ Love and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, TCLA. For information about the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony, visit www.weho.org/lgbtq. The City encourages every community member to honor these lives and memories and to take the opportunity to reflect on the work that remains to be done.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tracks annual statistics of violence against the people in the transgender community. In the latest statistics currently available, HRC has reported that in 2021 there have been at least 43 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the United States. A disproportionately high number of victims are Black and Latinx transgender women.

The 2021 report follows reports of 44 deaths in 2020; 27 deaths in 2019; 26 deaths in 2018; 29 deaths in 2017; and 23 deaths in 2016. According to HRC: “it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and unchecked access to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare, and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”

This wave of violence has been declared an epidemic by the American Medical Association. Rates of actual violence or deaths may, in fact, be higher but anti-transgender violence can be difficult to accurately measure, as victims are sometimes misgendered in reports, which can delay awareness of deadly incidents.

The City of West Hollywood has been one of the most outspoken cities in the nation in advocating for the legal rights of LGBTQ people. More than 40 percent of residents in the City of West Hollywood identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Transgender Advisory Board, which addresses matters of advocacy on behalf of transgender people in the areas of education, community awareness, and empowerment, and makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council.

Through the Transgender Advisory Board, the City of West Hollywood regularly co-sponsors programming and recognizes Transgender Awareness Month and Transgender Day of Remembrance each November and the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Awareness Month activities and resources, visit www.weho.org/lgbtq

As part of its support of the transgender community, the City of West Hollywood has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website, which provides information about a variety of resources including legal, health, and social services, available in the Greater Los Angeles area to enhance and improve the well-being of transgender people.

For more information about Transgender Awareness Month, please contact City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator Larissa Fooks at (323) 848-6413 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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West Hollywood

Unprovoked attack in WeHo may be latest in a string of violent crimes

McGrath spent two weeks in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries due to injuries that doctors told him were caused by a blunt object

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File photo of LASD deputies making an arrest -unrelated- (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – After an evening out with friends in West Hollywood at the Abbey on November15, Matthew McGrath found himself in hospital the next day with a fractured jaw and his wallet and mobile phone missing.

According to McGrath, who has lived in WeHo for five years, he was walking home along San Vicente Boulevard when he heard “some slurs, some profanity.” “I’m not exactly clear on what, [happened next] but sort of a few minutes later, I just felt a really blunt force to my head, blacked out and was knocked unconscious,” he told KTLA.

McGrath spent two weeks in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries due to injuries that doctors told him were caused by a blunt object KTLA also noted.

Matthew McGrath via GoFundMe page

He said that he has filed a report with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s substation about the assault and theft but as of Friday had not received a response.

KTLA also reported that the night after McGrath was assaulted, a person was beaten and stabbed on Santa Monica Boulevard. David Cook, 44, was arrested for that stabbing last month. There were also two similar attacks involving a different man using a baseball bat and a boxcutter on Nov. 18 resulted in another arrest last month the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said in a statement posted to the webpage for the LASD.

“I’ve always felt safe in this neighborhood,” McGrath told KTLA. He observed that although his attack was unprovoked given the other cases and arrests the timing seems suspicious. “We get a crime here or there in West Hollywood, but I have never heard of it happening multiple days in a row,” he said. “Similar assaults, similar attacks, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

GoFundMe page has been created to help McGrath.

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WeHo attack leaves victim shaken, could be part of larger crime trend

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West Hollywood

The Los Angeles Blade celebrates West Hollywood as it turns 37

The City of West Hollywood was incorporated on November 29, 1984 by a coalition of LGBTQ activists, seniors, and renters

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Courtesy of the City of West Hollywood

LOS ANGELES – Incorporated on this date 37 years ago, the City of West Hollywood became the 84th city in Los Angeles County. The “Creative City” was formed during an extremely difficult time for the LGBTQ+ people who lived in the region as the HIV/AIDS pandemic took countless lives.

The city’s founding was also unique as it brought together an eclectic mix of renters, seniors, LGBTQ+ and others to form the basis of what is arguably one of the world’s most prominent LGBTQ+ communities.

The spirit of that inclusivity and free-spirited thinking continues today even as the city and the surrounding greater LA region has survived yet another pandemic.

Celebrate West Hollywood’s 37th Birthday!

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West Hollywood

City of West Hollywood marks World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show support for people living with HIV, & commemorate people died from HIV/AIDS

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Street view artist’s rendering of future WeHo AIDS Monument via https://aidsmonument.org/

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Each year, the City of West Hollywood recognizes World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention and is held each year on December 1.

Every year, United Nations agencies, governments, nonprofit organizations, and civil society join together to campaign around specific themes related to AIDS. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have passed away due to HIV/AIDS.

The international theme of this year’s #WorldAIDSDay is “End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.”

“So many have left us much too soon due to HIV and AIDS. The City’s annual recognition of World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to commemorate those lost to AIDS and support those living with HIV,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “We remember the extraordinary loss of loved ones over the last four decades, as well as our community’s remarkable resilience in the face of that loss. The City will continue to fight to end stigma, to support access to medical and emotional care, and to provide resources and support for those in need as we continue to work toward the day we can celebrate the end of suffering and loss caused by AIDS.”

 This year, the City of West Hollywood will recognize World AIDS Day with special events and programming, including:

  • AIDSWatch, the electronic memorial to those lost to HIV, which will be viewable on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHoTV broadcast channel — Spectrum channel 10 within the City of West Hollywood — on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 beginning at midnight through 11:59 p.m.; and
  • The Paul Andrew Starke Warrior Awards presentation, which will take place virtually on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 6 p.m., and can be viewed on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv. The event will feature the Warrior Awards, which are given to outstanding employees or volunteers of local agencies that offer HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse prevention and care services. This year’s honorees are: Darrin Aiken – APLA Health; Jamie Baker – Being Alive; Derald Hunter – Los Angeles LGBT Center’s WeHo Life program; Triana Maldonado – Friends Community Center; Anil Patel – Alliance for Housing and Healing; William Alexis Rogel – The C.I.T.Y. x1 Youth Group; and Desiree Jade Sol – AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The event will also feature an update about the City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero Initiative from Aaron Celious, Ph.D. of the Maroon Society. 

The City of West Hollywood is currently seeking feedback about stigma experienced as a result of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. The City’s Social Services Division has launched a short survey, as part of efforts to implement the City’s HIV Zero Initiative. Community members, regardless of HIV status, are encouraged to provide feedback. A goal of the survey is to understand how stigma impacts access to care and overall health and wellness. The survey is available at: https://www.weho.org/services/social-services/hiv-aids-resources.

The onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had a significant impact in West Hollywood. The disease’s elevated infection rate among gay men caused a devastatingly high number of deaths in the City. The City of West Hollywood was one of the first government entities to provide social services grants to local HIV/AIDS organizations. The City of West Hollywood sponsored one of the first AIDS awareness campaigns in the country in October 1985 and the City’s response to the AIDS crisis has been recognized as a model for other cities, nationally and globally.

The City of West Hollywood actively participates in the development of programs that can bring awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In January 2015, the City announced its vision to become an ‘HIV Zero’ city. The City is currently implementing its HIV Zero Initiative.

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