Tennessee’s Taliban flips their wig over the gays
What makes these fundamentalist MAGA types so afraid of a man in a dress with make up on his face and a goddamn wig on his head?
My home state, Tennessee, has just lost its mind over gay folk.
It’s far right Republican majority legislature and Republican Governor have become nearly singly purposed in their goal of halting LGBTQ rights in the state, today declaring an all out war that is likely to spread to dozens of other states and ultimately — and perilously — the U.S. Supreme Court.
The state’s governor is expected to sign into law Senate Bill 3 and its companion, House Bill 9 banning “adult cabaret performances,” including “male or female impersonators,” from taking place in public or in any location where the performance could be viewed by a minor.
A first violation of the law would be a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent violations would be classified as a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3000.
That’s right: actual Prison time for drag show performers, promoters and owners of venues is one odious aspect of this.
But banning drag shows was not all they did.
Transgender youth in Tennessee are now legally barred from receiving gender-affirming care after the Governor signed another bill that prohibits Doctors from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under the age of 18, including prescribing puberty blockers and hormones — and they could also be penalized.
Violations include $25,000 penalties for everyone involved. Parents could lose guardianship. And, borrowing a page from abortion restriction laws, crossing state lines for treatment has been introduced as an amendment to the bill.
Obviously a lengthy legal battle will be waged over the coming months but in the meantime the law is the law and it’s likely to be enforced.
“These children do not need these medical procedures to be able to flourish as adults,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “They need mental health treatment. They need love and support, and many of them need to be able to grow up to become the individuals that they were intended to be.”
Lamberth and his legislators studiously ignore the vast body of research and study that states those with ” gender dysphoria” have much better outcomes with puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
They are simply gaslighting the public and sacrificing the health and welfare of the few so they can excite the many misguided Christian conservative voters.
It’s also likely that other state’s will follow Tennessee’s lead in coupling anti-drag laws with banning gender affirming care for youth. As of today, 97 bills are pending in conservative state legislatures hoping to achieve the same thing.
The message is clear, at least to any LGBTQ person who is paying attention to the mushrooming round of grooming arguments.
The argument goes something like this: The existence of Drag queens does not, it is thought, represent innocuous or frivolous fun. They are sinister and their popularity and influence is a serious threat to the agency parents have over their kids and to culture at large; Drag is a force that is marketed to youth with the intention of grooming them into the so-called vice of homosexuality. Gender non-conforming ideas are a threat to society, they posit, and will lead young people to question their identities and seek gender reassignment. I guess they also think this means the world will end in a hail of fire and brimstone.
The bill associates any form of dressing outside one’s gender as “adult” entertainment, using the wording “male or female impersonators.” It makes it illegal to perform such entertainment in public or in places where it could potentially be seen by children.
The bill is so poorly written that it may now also be a crime in Tennessee to wear clothing in public that is not intended for one’s perceived gender.
It’s hard to combat that kind of ridiculousness with rational thinking.
But let’s digress! I want to get to what makes these fundamentalist MAGA types so afraid of a man in a dress with make up on his face and a goddamn wig on his head?
Maybe drag queens challenge the masculinity of the Republican legislators? Maybe it’s just the way of the bully: If you don’t pick on the fag then people will think your softness means you are one? Maybe they secretly blush with a beet-red raging hard on everytime they see a drag queen on TV? Maybe women Republicans just know they can’t compete with the beauty of the queens (they can’t of course) who are out to take their man. Ok!
It was Tammy Wynette who sang “you ain’t woman enough to take my man,” but I’m pretty sure she’d say these are not men she can stand by.
Sadly, it’s THEIR kids who need the most help, these people who are so easily threatened and so thin skinned. Liberal parents who truly want their kids to live their best lives know what’s best for their kids. They want parental choice, but not your brand of it.
Conservative parents are determined to keep their children ( and everyone else’s) conservative even if miserable and think their need to shield them from unwanted culture means the rest of the world and all of science needs to be shut down.
Tennessee has always been a place of contrast and that, at least when I was a kid, used to be a strength. But now its contrast is also its breaking point. The governor and its legislature, for instance, are out of step with the needs and the culture of the core populations that drive its economy; what works and the ideologies of places like McMinville, TN don’t work for Nashville or Memphis or Knoxville or Chattanooga or Murfreesboro or Franklin.
Right now Tennessee, particularly Nashville, is in the middle of one of the greatest economic booms in the nation’s history. 3,000 people move to the city every day. They don’t come with hate but they do come because the economy is booming and that boom is now most assuredly at risk.
I’m not talking about the loss of revenues from the state 42 drag shows potentially being shut down because they are threatened by these laws. Or because doctors at Vanderbilt may have to cease offering transition care to youth and their supportive family.
Tennessee’s economy is at risk because these laws will bring a response from the world that Tennessee depends on. The LGBTQIA family will work to ensure Tennessee pays a steep price for its sad display of ignorance and evil.
There’s a roadmap for exacting that price.
Just ask Cracker Barrel what happened when it tried to ban LGBTQ people from employment. The City of New York sold its holdings in the Lebanon, TN headquartered company, a sizable investment held by the City’s Teacher’s Pension Fund. Other municipalities followed suit and Cracker Barrel was forced to change its policy, but only after a multi-million dollar loss that caused it to struggle for a time.
Some of us remember the power of that lesson.
I’m quite sure California and New York hold billions of dollars in investment into Tennessee. Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Tennessee include FedEx, HCA Healthcare, International Paper Company, Dollar General Corporation, Community Health Systems, Inc., Unum Group, Eastman Chemical Company, AutoZone, Inc., Vanguard Health Systems, Inc., Tractor Supply Company. Tennessee’s cultural connection to the world through New York and California based companies is profound. The number one city from which people relocated to booming Nashville is Los Angeles. The distillery world and publishing world are massive beneficiaries of Tennessee’s cultural ties to the world and those too can be easily disrupted.
I am NOT calling for a boycott.
I am calling for something far worse, much harsher and way easier to accomplish; divestment of Tennessee based assets by Comptrollers and Secretaries of State in pro-LGBTQ Cities and States around the country.
Tennessee’s slogan is “The Volunteer State” and that is intended to imply its a place that follows the golden rule and lends a helping hand and never oppresses.
Also true to Tennessee’s character, which always loves a good joke, a little schadenfreude when someone steps in it is always a lot of fun.
A photo of Governor Bill Lee’s 1977 High School drag performance has made the rounds with the caption “Hard Luck Woman.”
“The bill specifically protects children from obscene, sexualized entertainment, and any attempt to conflate this serious issue with lighthearted school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee families,” a spokesperson rattled.
When asked during a press conference Monday if he “remembered dressing in drag in 1977,” Lee didn’t deny the photo was of him—but he said it doesn’t change anything.
“What a ridiculous, ridiculous question that is,” Lady Lee protested. “Conflating something like that to sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject.”
Tennessee loves a good Jr. and High School cheerleading squad and anyway, I’m pretty sure there were children present for your performance, dear.
And that’s for starters.
But if you would like to reprise your drag role and abolish this silliness, I know a bar or two in DT Nashville that would love to welcome you to stage for a starring role as Lady Miss Governor.
But by the time you unravel this treachery to your own drag community, the LGBTQIA community will have made sure you and your trans-kid hating cronies lose billions of dollars for Tennessee.
Troy Masters is the publisher of the Los Angeles Blade
LGBTQ+ community rallies around NCLR’s Shannon Minter
Friends and colleagues of National Center for Lesbian Rights’ longtime legal director are rallying around him and his family after a tornado
EAST TEXAS HILL COUNTRY – A powerful fast moving stormfront moved across Texas and other Southern states yesterday, Thursday, leaving behind in its wake a wide swath of destruction with lives lost and disrupted by tornado damage and high winds.
Sadly it also destroyed the home of Shannon and Robin Minter and the collective of their furry children they love and take care of. Fortunately says Minter, nobody was lost or hurt although the home is beyond repair, or in the parlance of insurance adjusters, it’s totaled.
In full disclosure this reporter has been friends with Minter for 15 years and I have to say, this was a serious gut blow. Shannon is one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to know and he’s also one of the fiercest legal eagles/advocates for the LGBTQ+ community in his role as the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Beyond his legal expertise and dedicated work to preserving and fighting for equity and equal rights for LGBTQ+ humans, as chronicled on his hugely popular Twitter account, is his love and advocacy for all creatures great and small, but especially stray ‘doggos and kittys’ that find their way to the Minter home. Oh and trust me when I say- nay, place emphasis on ‘home.’
My colleague and fellow editor Cynthia Laird at the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco where NCLR is home based wrote earlier:
“Within hours of the news, one of Minter’s friends started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds. Minter’s friend, known by the Twitter handle Cee Eyes (“Dr. Strange PhD Cat Lackey”), noted the campaign quickly surpassed its initial $10,000 goal. Cee Eyes wrote that the goal likely would be adjusted upward as the “situation evolves and needs are assessed.”
“Shannon Minter and his wife Robin have given a loving home to so many stray kitties and pups. Many of us know Shannon for his big heart, kind words, and boundless devotion,” Cee Eyes wrote for the fundraiser. “Sadly, a tornado ripped apart the Minter home on March 2, 2023. Shannon and Robin have done so much for others — bringing light and joy to those who follow their Twitter adventures. Now it’s time for us to do whatever we can as they begin to rebuild a safe home for the Minter Babies!
“When we first heard about the disaster, we posted the link to an ongoing, separate fundraiser before starting this one,” Cee Eyes, an ally, added. “Both fundraisers are for Shannon, and no matter which you donate to, all the money raised will go directly to Shannon and his family. Bless all of you for your loving, generous hearts!”
Last October, another friend, Laura McNamara, started a GoFundMe to raise money to help the Minters care for their many animals. It is also active and has raised over $21,000.”
This reporter saw the initial tweet and communicated with Shannon immediately to be assured that a beloved friend and his extended people/furry companions family were safe. I cannot express the relief when that text came that yep, we are.
Friends, I am sorry to share that our house just got hit by a tornado. All people & animals are okay, but we have a lot to figure out very quickly. pic.twitter.com/savhYvRnkp— Shannon Minter (@shannonminter5) March 2, 2023
Let me add a statement from Shannon’s NCLR family here. Christopher Vasquez, NCLR’s comms director wrote:
“Our hearts at NCLR go out to our legal director Shannon Minter, one of the most inspiring and passionate legal minds in the LGBTQ movement. Right now our thoughts are with him, his wife Robin, and their expansive family of beloved cats and dogs that have provided much-needed light and levity to Twitter through some particularly tough years.
We are heartened to see the vast and generous outpouring of support for the Minter family in the last 24 hours through a barrage of messages and two separate GoFundMe campaigns. Shannon is one of the bravest and most resilient individuals we know and we are positive he will come out of this temporary setback stronger than ever, ready to continue fighting for our community.”
A friend of Shannon’s has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds to assist him and Robin take care of their family of much-loved pets during this challenging time.
If EVER there were a pair of folks who could really use a helping hand from our community, it’s the Minters. So let me add my voice to request that even if its only the price of say a large pizza, one topping, and a coke? Yeah hit the link and drop them some love please.
Oh, one last thing. Shannon VERY much has a stake in every battle our collective of LGBTQ+ humanity is engaged in right now as the right attempts to erase our trans siblings, take away women’s reproductive and health rights, and stop our LGBTQ+ youth from being themselves or even learning our history. For you see, my dear friend is trans himself.
Brody Levesque is the editor of the Los Angeles Blade
Zapping hate-filled comments
Over the past several months there has been a marked increased frequency of unacceptable comments & hate on Facebook posts
LOS ANGELES – Over the past several months there has been a marked increased frequency of unacceptable comments and hate filled diatribes appearing on various Los Angeles Blade Facebook Page’s posts.
These have included transphobic bigotry, homophobic remarks, and ad hominem attacks on other commentators and the staff of this newspaper.
Bear in mind that this is an LGBTQ+ owned and staffed publication whose primary purpose is to serve the greater LGBTQ+ community with news reporting from highly qualified journalists and media partners along with human and community interest stories to enrich the lives of our readers.
The Blade’s commenting policy is simple: Keep it civil and focused with the understanding that attacking others WILL NOT be not tolerated, particularly with ANY form of hate-filled rhetoric or messaging.
The staff of the Los Angeles Blade has been deleting and WILL continue to delete comments that violate this policy. Abuse of the policy on a recurring basis will necessitate blocking and reporting a person making those type of comments.
Supporting the community, Transgender Awareness Week 2022
This week, let us rededicate ourselves to committing to supporting our trans siblings making sure their voices are heard & shared
LOS ANGELES – Transgender Awareness Week, observed November 13 to November 19, is a one-week celebration leading up to the annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), November 20, which memorializes victims of transphobic violence.
It must, however, represent more than just a journalistic or even an activist/advocacy organization’s effort to support and sustain the trans, queer, gender non-binary or gender non-conforming global community. This week needs to be so much more than perfunctory acknowledgement of this misaligned and persecuted segment of humanity.
This week, this publication and others in queer and mainstream media must tell the stories outlining the very humanity of trans people and urge others to celebrate the diversity and the impact of the significant contributions that trans people make for the betterment of all globally.
Trans people are human- period, or “full stop.” Look at the incredible contributions that trans people make to enhance the lives of humanity on this planet that we all share. Just a short list of a few examples:
Dr. Rachel Levine, Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service and the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Levin has spent her entire career as a physician focused on the opioid crisis, adolescent medicine, eating disorders, and LGBTQ medicine.
Laverne Cox, actress, model, and LGBTQ+ equality rights activist. One of the most well-known trans actors and Black transgender celebrities, Cox has ‘kept it real’ as demonstrated by her words and public advocacy serving as a role model for youth.
Patricio Manuel, boxer and champion athlete. Manuel long struggled with his gender identity, rejecting the many ways society and his family forced him to live as a girl and in the end he overcame his gender dysphoria.
Elle Hearns, a transgender rights activist and the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. Elle serves as a visible reminder of the power of advocacy at a grass-roots level.
Abel Liu, an accomplished student at the University of Virginia who is an Echols Scholar as well as a Truman Scholar. Abel is the first openly transgender and first Chinese-American student to be elected as Student Council president at a major institution of higher education.
Sarah McBride, Sarah was just reelected as Delaware’s Senator from the First State Senate District. She’s spent her life fighting for dignity, equality, and a level playing field for everyone as human beings.
These are just but a few limited choices of the literal tens of thousands of noteworthy Trans people whose lives and talents enrich this nation and globally making a difference every single day. Trans people are sheriffs, EMTs, firefighters, pilots, teachers, comedians; they are parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters. Every single one a vital part of the whole.
Here on the staff of the Los Angeles Blade, journalist Dawn Ennis and LA Blade columnist and political analyst Brynn Tannehill lend their voices reporting and commenting on issues that impact all of us.
The bottom line is that without the contributions of transgender people, there would be a gap, a virtual emptiness in the rich diversity of humanity if you will. This week we need to celebrate, uplift, and yes, also mourn the lives of trans people lost to murder or suicide because of the promise that might have been.
We must fight against those who work to strip trans people of their dignity and their very right to exist. These last few years has seen a litany, a plethora of legislative efforts to erase trans rights from healthcare, sports, and even banning books that dare to mention trans people.
This week, let us rededicate ourselves to committing to supporting our trans siblings, making sure their voices are heard and shared. Trans rights ARE human rights.
Troy Masters is publisher and Brody Levesque is editor of the Los Angeles Blade
The Los Angeles Blade welcomes diversity reporter Simha Haddad
Haddad joins the Blade as a Diversity Reporter under the State of California Ethnic Media Outreach Grant for queer AAPI writers
LOS ANGELES – The publisher, editor and staff of the Los Angeles Blade welcomes author and journalist, Simha Haddad, to the Blade as its new Diversity Reporter.
Haddad, an Out pansexual writer of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) heritage has deep roots in the LGBTQIA+ community. She currently writes for several blogs and publications and contributes to various podcasts, all centered around queer and feminist topics. She is also the author of a YA queer fiction novel called, Somewhere on This Rainbow.
Haddad joins the Blade staff as a Diversity Reporter under the State of California Ethnic Media Outreach Grant for queer AAPI writers. The grant supports public awareness of the efforts of the California state Stop the Hate Program administered by the Calif. Dept. of Social Services (CDSS), which provides support and services to victims and survivors of hate incidents and hate crimes and facilitates hate incidents or hate crime prevention measures.
Haddad’s reporting will include coverage of the following issues and areas:
- LGBTQIA Arts and cultural work
- LGBTQIA Youth development
- LGBTQIA Senior safety programs,
- Safety planning training; and cross-racial alliance work
- Stories on outreach, activism, education and training
- Coverage of restorative justice
- Spotlights on local government and community non-profit Stop the Hate programming
- History of the Asian community in Los Angeles and California
- HIV/STD Prevention efforts, programs and activities
Haddad, under the guidance of the Blade’s editorial team, will research and write long-form articles on compelling stories centered around queer AAPI subjects. The goal of these articles is to culturally educate, increase exposure, and create empathy around queer AAPI struggles, including prejudice, disease, and hate crimes.
Haddad will also be working closely with the Blade’s publisher to create diverse and inclusive events to continue to spread the message and accomplish the goal of the Stop the Hate Initiative.
Once a week Haddad will be also produce a video roundup of each week’s top headlines to be shared on various social media pages and platforms. This roundup will include all news from the Blade and will help spread its outreach even further.
Author and journalist, Simha Haddad, links:
Troy Masters is the publisher of the Los Angeles Blade and Brody Levesque is editor.
Hate on full display in Los Angeles. This is NOT acceptable period!
The ‘Goyim Defense League’ headed by Minadeo dropped vile banners over the busy 405 freeway in Los Angeles Saturday
LOS ANGELES – Yesterday a group of white neo-Nazi white supremacists led by the hate speech purveyor Jon Minadeo II, a person who was arrested for vile displays of antisemitism at the Auschwitz concentration camp museum memorial in Oświęcim, Poland just this past summer, has now brought his hate and racism to LA.
The ‘Goyim Defense League’ headed by Minadeo dropped vile banners over the busy 405 freeway in Los Angeles Saturday.
Minadeo and his band of hate mongers were acting in “support” of Rapper Kanye West, also known as Ye.
West has engaged in several hateful intolerant rants on podcasts and social media posts in which he has made comments about supposed Jewish people’s collective power and control.
In West’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs Podcast, he blamed “Jewish Zionists” for the reports that his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson had sexual intercourse next to a fireplace, claimed that “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” and described Disney as a Jewish platform.
In the same Drink Champs podcast, which was removed from Youtube, West also claimed that Jewish people “came into money through the lawyers” divorcing Christians because Catholics refused to do so.
This newspaper strongly condemns Minadeo’s actions along with members of his white supremacist group ‘Goyim Defense League.’ As is with transphobia, homophobia and xenophobia, racist hate has no place in a civil society and most assuredly cannot be tolerated. Angelenos and their elected officials must work harder to stop this incessant flow of absolute garbage that infects out Southern California home.
Like the most recent examples of West’s remarks coupled with the horrible racism and scandal on the City Council of Los Angeles, which this newspaper has also strongly condemned, this yet another reason this type of hate must be condemned, countered, and answered with messages of tolerance and acceptance celebrating the diversity among the human species- not attacking the differences.
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday published: More antisemitic hate seen in L.A. after Kanye West’s remarks– Fears that antisemitic remarks by Kanye West would spur additional bigotry came to fruition in Los Angeles on Saturday when a well-known hate group held a demonstration in support of the rapper on a 405 Freeway overpass.
Demonstrators gave Nazi salutes as they stood behind a large banner that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews,” according to images collected by antidiscrimination organizations and Jewish residents appalled by the group’s message.
The following thread documents this display of ignorance and depravity:
“Kanye is right about the Jews” – white supremacist group ‘Goyim Defense League’ headed up by Jon Minadeo II dropped vile banner on the busy 110 highway in Los Angeles today.— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Minadeo is a well known neo-Nazi that was recently arrested while visiting Auschwitz. pic.twitter.com/BCQqRHTpr7
Police were dispatched; Minadeo began yelling at one of the officers who spoke only English about “diversity hires” and immigrants taking over America thanks to Jewish laws. pic.twitter.com/NrjJXXscz4— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Jon Minadeo II was arrested – along w/Robert Frank Wilson – for displays of hate while visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland earlier this summer.— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Wilson is currently charged with aggravated assault on a gay man. https://t.co/xJUAzYDw2D
.@Cloudflare refuses to remove their website, despite videos posted by Minadeo in which he threatens the Jewish people.— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Cloudflare also hosted 8chan, the neo-Nazi website used by the 2018 Treen of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers.
BUT Cloudflare didn’t terminate 8chan then
Cloudflare waiting until MORE fatal mass shootings happened and gave 8chan a year later!— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Their outragous statement here: https://t.co/LUyAdquobO
Correction – location was the 405 not 110— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2022
Troy Masters is publisher and Brody Levesque is editor of the Los Angeles Blade
The Washington Blade names its new White House correspondent
Kane, an experienced Capitol Hill reporter has freelanced for the Los Angeles Blade and the Washington Blade since 2018
WASHINGTON – The Washington Blade this week announced it has hired a new White House reporter, following the resignation of longtime staffer Chris Johnson.
Christopher Kane, an experienced Capitol Hill reporter who has freelanced for the Los Angeles Blade and the Washington Blade since 2018, has been named the new White House correspondent for the D.C. Blade.
“We thank Chris Johnson for his nearly 15 years of service in the White House briefing room,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff. “And we’re thrilled to announce our new staff member, Chris Kane, who will ably fill those shoes and take our important coverage to the next level.”
In addition to covering the White House and attending the press briefings, the Blade reporter has served in the president’s pool rotation and as the Blade’s representative to the White House Correspondents’ Association. The Blade is the only LGBTQ media outlet in those roles.
“Our coverage of presidential administrations — friendly and otherwise — is a critical and unique tool in holding our elected officials accountable to their LGBTQ constituents,” Naff added.
Kane expressed enthusiasm for his new role.
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the Washington Blade in this role covering the White House and Congress,” Kane said. “I look forward to serving our readers with hard-hitting, responsible, and impactful stories about what’s happening here in Washington and beyond.”
Kane graduated from the University of North Carolina, Asheville, with a degree in communications. He has worked as a reporter for Modern Healthcare covering the Hill and issues of health equity and at Acuris covering the Justice Department and FTC. As a Blade freelancer for four years, Kane covered national elections and policy issues related to immigration, education, housing, and criminal justice.
He starts his new position on Nov. 7.
Follow Chris Kane on Twitter: @chris_kane_
Editorial: Nury Martinez, Kevin de León, & Gil Cedillo need to resign
This has damaged the very dignity of serving the public by cheapening it to a hypocritical and frankly jaded political ploy
LOS ANGELES – Although Nury Martinez has resigned as the president of the Los Angeles City Council and councilmembers de León and Cedillo have expressed regret and apologized for the vulgar, crass, and frankly racist-tinged homophobic comments made last year, in the audio reported on Sunday by the Los Angeles Times, the reality is that all three of them need to resign and leave city government completely.
In this era of hyper-charged often hate filled political rhetoric, notably by many associated with former President Donald Trump and his followers, the last thing that a progressive city like Los Angeles needs is that type of backbiting-stabbing snark from alleged progressive leadership.
This is about more than just shared values- no, it is also about trust and commitment to constituents that crosses party and ideological lines. Attacking a child is simply unacceptable and inexcusable period but, when you couple that with implied homophobic slurring of that Black child’s parents, questioning their ability to be parents because their child is simply being a child?
Beyond the racist defining of that child, which in and of itself is inexcusable, how can these so called elected officials expect to engender the trust of their constituents going forward? There will always remain the looming “elephant-in-the-room” as to whether there are elements of insincerity that will always be present in everyone’s mind when dealing with these officials or taking any of their statements on face value in the future.
This has damaged the very dignity of serving the public by cheapening it to a hypocritical and frankly jaded political ploy in their naked self-interests and maintaining their political power and base.
On this day, Indigenous Peoples Day in California, it is especially shocking to be forced to call for this action. However, it is the opinion of this newspaper that to best serve the interests of the diversity of the communities of Angelenos who call this city home, especially the Black community and the LGBTQ+ community who are also parents, that these three politicos depart immediately.
Emergency without Urgency, the Monkeypox outbreak fiasco
We need Monkeypox vaccine TODAY, not next week. We need our community clinics to be covered fully and IMMEDIATELY be reimbursed by Medi-Cal
LOS ANGELES – One of the most significant legacies of the HIV and AIDS crisis is the establishment of robust LGBTQ+ community based health organizations that not only advocate for our community but which also provide care.
These clinics are indeed the legacy of generations of community members lost to AIDS and have become the healthcare backbone of our LGBTQ+ community. They play a substantial role in promoting successful HIV and STD prevention and during the vaccination efforts against Covid played a crucial role in ensuring our community was safer.
Los Angeles is particularly blessed with a large number of them. Between the LA LGBT Center, APLA, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, St. John’s Wellness and other AIDS healthcare service providers, there are literally dozens of clinics throughout the County. As the AIDS pandemic evolved, these clinics repurposed, maintaining their role in providing both basic and specialty healthcare for the LGBTQ community. They are comparable in quality to more mainstream community healthcare providers.
For a new scourge faced by our community, Monkeypox, one would think the expertise of these clinics would be immediately called upon and activated as an inoculation center for the vaccine. However, the fact they weren’t being engaged was evident early on.
The LA County Department of Public Health, (LACDPH) rightly or wrongly, responded as soon as vaccine was made available to them by opening its own clinics to the community and putting shots into arms. Demand was strong.
It seemed reasonable at first that their locations, though remote from the traditional centers of our community, should begin immediately but, it was hoped, with a plan to engage more partners. That did not happen quickly enough for a variety of reasons and concerns immediately emerged.
On July 27, as publisher of this newspaper, alarmed by a then seemingly nascent health crisis on the precipice of exploding virally in the MSM community, I hosted a Town Hall bringing together the LA County Department of Public Health, representatives of the three largest networks of LGBTQ+ healthcare providers, a former Monkeypox patient, researchers and advocates.
One of the objectives of that town hall was to highlight to our government’s healthcare leadership the importance of involving the world’s most robust networks of LGBTQ+ clinics in the dispensing of monkeypox vaccines.
Cases since that Town Hall have more than doubled in Los Angeles and also nationally.
And frustration has grown exponentially, largely due to the supply’s rapid depletion..
While many excellent strategies were deployed by LACDPH to engage other partners, precious little vaccines were ever provided to the community clinics represented at the Town Hall. The LA LGBT Center’s clinic received less than 2000 doses; AIDS Health Foundation received approximately 1000 doses and others like APLA also received similar scant inventory.
While the outrage can be answered in part by a lack of available vaccines, it’s an issue that can be squarely blamed on President Biden’s CDC and FDA- it’s simply outrageous that the vaccine rollout has been so badly handled by the Federal government. But on a local level there are indications that even if federal distribution and supply chain issues got fixed, our community clinics would still be underutilized or perhaps unable to be utilized at all.
Michelle Baass, Director of the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to oversee the health of about 14 million Californians on Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, has decided that the LGBTQ+ Clinics do not qualify for reimbursement if they administer Monkeypox vaccine without pass-through funding from the federal government which potentially could take many months to even occur.
You heard that right.
The institutions we built, the conveniently located clinics we are familiar with are being defunded.
You might ask, “how is that defunding?”
Without Medi Cal reimbursement, the financial strain on our clinics is enormous- the Los Angeles LGBT Center has already warned they are experiencing significant financial stress as a and have turned to the community for donations so they can continue inoculations when vaccines become available again.
It’s not clear when that will be.
Aaron Fox at the LA LGBT Center put it best when he told the Blade’s Brody Levesque “Our community cannot wait for DHCS and CMS to continue talking. We must take action on this yesterday and we are in a Public Health crisis and government bureaucracy and inaction is unacceptable and will only result in increased suffering in our community.”
Fox added that his perception of the government response is that while the Biden-Administration and California have declared a Public Health Emergency, in terms of immediate action taken thus far it is little more than saying, “oh look there’s a house on fire,” but neglecting to dial 911 and get the fire dept rolling.
It’s a sleight we do not deserve, particularly not from administrations like Gavin Newsom and Joe Biden whom we view as reliable allies.
On behalf of the Blade and our LGBTQ+ community, I call on all involved parties to correct this situation immediately.
Major East Coast cities such as New York have had robust and successful vaccination efforts that have reached many times more arms than in Los Angeles. Why should a city the size of Boston or Washington DC have been prioritized over Los Angeles or California?
We need a supply of Monkeypox vaccine TODAY, not next week. We need our community clinics to be covered fully and IMMEDIATELY be reimbursed by Medi-Cal.
Most of our community clinics are also still hyper-stressed financially because the State of California has failed to reimburse them for their work inoculating people against Covid.
Our community needs our allies to prove again why we can trust them: it’s very disconcerting to be treated so shodily after 40 years of AIDS and 3 years of Covid.
It’s also extremely disconcerting that after our leaders and this newspaper fought so hard to get California’s Department of Health to include LGBTQ+ data in healthcare collection around Covid-19 that it came to nothing when a new epidemic emerged.
Get it together, Michelle Baass, or leave.
Monkeypox must be treated as an emergency that DOES requires a great deal of urgency
Tell Newsom: Helping addicts is good for public safety and will save lives
Detractors claim safe consumption sites encourage drug abuse — which is emphatically false- a position even liberal-minded politicians take
LOS ANGELES – The addiction crisis in California is getting worse. The American Medical Association recently called the nation’s increasing drug-related overdose and death rate an “epidemic.” And with heightened public safety concerns from visible drug consumption on our own sidewalks, we’re faced with this undeniable fact: something needs to be done. We need to think creatively about how to help people struggling with addiction.
That’s exactly what Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 57 aims to do. This legislation, which sits on Governor Newsom’s desk awaiting a signature or veto, allows the City and County of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland to open pilot Overdose Prevention Programs (OPP), also known as safe consumption sites.
Healthcare and harm reduction professionals are clamoring for these facilities, which would be safe places where, under trained professional supervision, people can use drugs, access clean supplies and fentanyl testing strips, receive information about and referrals to treatment, and get fast medical help in the event of an overdose.
“This is incredibly long overdue. In 2021 alone, California lost over 10,000 residents to the overdose crisis, and we are continuing to see it disproportionately claim the lives of people of color throughout the state. By passing SB 57 and embracing this cost-effective evidence-based public health intervention, the Legislature is making it abundantly clear that saving lives is its top priority,” Jeannette Zanipatin, California State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said after the bill passed the Legislature. “With countless lives hanging in the balance, we urge Governor Newsom to sign the bill without delay, so that we can adequately confront this crisis through the implementation of Overdose Prevention Programs and begin providing people the support they need.”
“Overdose Prevention Centers have a long-proven history of working to save people’s lives. In 35 years, there has not been one reported overdose death in these spaces. Yet, our people are dying, and OPCs are the solution to negate this public health emergency. Today we are one step closer to helping our participants stay alive,” said Elham Jalayer, Harm Reduction Program Manager for the East Los Angeles-based Bienestar.
Detractors claim that safe consumption sites encourage drug abuse — which is emphatically not true. Nonetheless, it’s a position publicly embraced by even liberal-minded politicians, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who vetoed a similar Wiener bill in 2018. In his veto letter, Brown said that “enabling illegal and destructive drug use will never work.” He also cited threats from the Trump administration saying anyone associated with an OPP could be vulnerable to federal prosecution for facilitating drug use.
Then-former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, campaigning for governor, had a different stance, telling Chronicle columnist Phil Matier in August, “I’m open to it. I think it’s a novel strategy.”
Ironically, during the height of the AIDS crisis, novel thinking about helping injection drug users came from Republicans.
In May 1992, after Democratic presidential nominee and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton addressed a rally of gay and AIDS activists at a fundraiser at the Palace in Hollywood, Clinton’s gay campaign aide Bob Hattoy enabled LGBTQ reporter Karen Ocamb and ACT UP/LA’s Danny Levy to talk with Clinton.
Clinton and Levy agreed on everything except lifting the ban on federal funding for needle exchange – a critical issue as Clean Needle NOW exchanges were beginning to illegally pop up around Los Angeles. The issue exploded when President Clinton refused to heed recommendations to lift the ban from Health and Human Service Sec. Donna Shalala. Years later, in 1998 when Clinton still refused, most of his AIDS Commission resigned in protest.
And yet, in Sept. 1994, Republican LA Mayor Richard Riordan declared a state of emergency, authorizing the city AIDS coordinator and other city officials to “immediately take steps permitted by law” to allow privately run needle exchange programs to stem the spread of HIV, according to the New York Times. LAPD Chief Bernie Parks and (Republican) LA County Sheriff Sherman Block issued orders not to interfere with these operations — though Human Rights Watch subsequently reported that not all law enforcement followed those orders.
Meanwhile, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia are still illegal in California, a point SB 57 addresses directly. Wiener also notes that, as of 2021, 165 safe consumption sites exist in 10 countries. In New York City, the nation’s first two consumption sites have served 1,540 people over the last eight months, reversing 399 overdoses that likely would have led to death.
In the two years after Brown’s veto in 2018, Los Angeles County reported over 4,000 overdose deaths. 2021 marked the seventh consecutive year that L.A. saw preventable, accidental overdose deaths rise, with a staggering 2,442 deaths last year – more than double the number of lives lost to drug overdoses in 2015.
How many are our LGBTQ people, who struggle with addiction and overdoses at higher rates than the general population? We cannot continue to fail our people — all people — who struggle with addiction. That’s why I’m urging Governor Newsom to sign SB 57 into law.
It quite literally is a matter of life or death.
Brody Levesque is a veteran journalist and the editor of the Los Angeles Blade.
Former LA Blade news editor Karen Ocamb, who now works at Public Justice, contributed to this editorial.
Primary elections June 7: The Los Angeles Blade’s endorsements
The Los Angeles Blade is listing its first round of endorsements in local, state-wide races & key races here in Southern California
LOS ANGELES – These are uncertain times that demand greater voter engagement and participation in the process to elect officials at all levels even more this election cycle as Angelenos and their fellow Southern Californians head to the polls.
Recent polling has shown that the primary issues of homelessness, rising costs in mortgages, rent, food, gasoline and inflationary effects post-pandemic are driving voter’s focus.
Voters also are very focused on rising crime rates across the Southland, especially violent crime. The Public Policy Institute of California, from a study executed last year by the non-profit, showed that data from four of California’s major cities—Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco—show increases in property and violent crime numbers in 2021.
More disturbing was a trend of a troubling increases in homicides in these cities were up by about 17% in 2021.
In the greater Los Angeles County area, retail smash and grab gangs struck the business community repeatedly with what one source at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce described as “seemingly brazen impunity unhindered by response from either the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or the Los Angeles Police Department.”
Voters are demanding action and are dissatisfied with what they view as a lack of responsiveness and are holding both parties accountable.
This election cycle, for the first time with the exception of this paper’s endorsement of Governor Gavin Newsom during the recall drive effort last September, the Los Angeles Blade is listing its first round of endorsements in races for offices and in particular key races here in Southern California.
The election cycle this year nationwide takes on graver meaning for the LGBTQ+ community as trans rights are under attack, numerous jurisdictions are attempting to ban LGBTQ+ themed books and in classrooms several states have passed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws with other states considering following that path. LGBTQ+ Californians need to be on guard against political encroachment that would potentially remove protections against loss of those hard fought rights.
(In recent weeks the Los Angeles Blade has been publishing a series of ‘Viewpoints’ from candidates who have been endorsed by the paper.)
- All California active registered voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the June 7, 2022, Primary Election.
- Return your vote-by-mail ballot by mail with prepaid postage as long as it’s postmarked on or before Election day and received by June 14, 2022, or in-person to a secure ballot drop box, to a voting location or your county elections office by 8:00 p.m. on June 7, 2022.
- In-person voting locations will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance to those who need it.
- Vote centers open in all Voter’s Choice Act counties on May 28, 2022.
- Your primary Election ballot will include candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Member of State Board of Equalization, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, U.S. Representative in Congress, State Senator, State Assembly Member, as well as other local candidates.
- There are two contests for U.S. Senate on this ballot. You can vote for both contests.
- One for a 6-year term ending January 3, 2029; and
- One for the remainder of the current term ending January 3, 2023
The Los Angeles Blade’s picks
In the race for Los Angeles County Sheriff the Los Angele Blade endorses Eric Strong.
In the race for Mayor of the City of Los Angeles the Los Angele Blade endorses Rep. Karen Bass
In the following local races the Los Angele Blade endorses:
- Los Angeles County Assessor: Jeffrey Prang
- Los Angeles City Attorney: Kevin James
- Los Angeles City Controller: Rob Wilcox
- Los Angeles City Council, District 3: Bob Blumenfield
- Los Angeles City Council, District 5: Jimmy Biblarz
- Los Angeles City Council, District 7: Monica Rodriguez
- Los Angeles City Council, District 9: Curren Price
- Los Angeles City Council, District 11: No Consensus
- Los Angeles City Council, District 13: Mitch O’Farrell
- Los Angeles City Council, District 15: Tim McOsker
- Los Angeles County Supervisor 1 – Hilda Solis
- Los Angeles County Supervisor 3 – Lindsey Horvath
|LA County Superior Court Judge|
|Seat 3: Tim Reuben|
|Seat 60 – Sharon Ransom|
|Seat 67 – Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes|
|Seat 70 – Holly Hancock|
|Seat 90 – Melissa Lyons|
|Seat 118 – Klint McKay|
|Seat 151 – Patrick Hare|
|Seat 156 – Carol Elswick|
|State Senate District 20 – Caroline Menjivar|
|State Senate District 22 – Susan Rubio|
|State Senate District 24 – Ben Allen|
|State Senate District 26 – Maria Elena Durazo|
|State Senate District 28 – Lola Smallwood-Cuevas|
|State Senate District 30 – Henry Bouchot|
|Assembly District 20 – Jennifer Esteen, RN|
|Assembly District 21 – James H Coleman|
|Assembly District 28 – Joe Thompson|
|Assembly District 30 – John Drake|
|Assembly District 39 – Andrea Rosenthal|
|Assembly District 40 – Pilar Schiavo|
|Assembly District 43 – Luz Rivas|
|Assembly District 44 – Laura Friedman|
|Assembly District 46 – Jesse Gabriel|
|Assembly District 48 – Blanca Rubio|
|Assembly District 49 – Mike Fong|
|Assembly District 51 – Rick Chavez Zbur|
|Assembly District 52 –|
|Assembly District 53 – Freddie Rodriguez|
|Assembly District 54 – Miguel Santiago|
|Assembly District 55 – Isaac Bryan|
|Assembly District 56 – Lisa Calderon|
|Assembly District 57 – Reggie Jones Sawyer|
|Assembly District 62 – Anthony Rendon|
|Assembly District 64 – Elizabeth Alcantar|
|Assembly District 65 –|
|Assembly District 66 – Al Muratsuchi|
Statewide Constitutional Offices:
- Governor: Gavin Newsom
- Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis
- Attorney General: Rob Bonta
- Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
- Secretary of State: Shirley Weber
- Controller: Ron Galperin
- Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
- Treasurer: Fiona Ma
- Board of Equalization, District 1: Braden Murphy
- Board of Equalization, District 2: Sally Lieber
- Full Term: Alex Padilla
- Short Term (ending January 3, 2023): Alex Padilla
U.S. House of Representatives:
- Congressional District 2: Jared Huffman
- Congressional District 3: Dr. Kermit Jones
- Congressional District 4: Mike Thompson
- Congressional District 6: Ami Bera
- Congressional District 7: Doris Matsui
- Congressional District 8: John Garamendi
- Congressional District 9: Josh Harder
- Congressional District 10: Mark DeSaulnier
- Congressional District 11: Nancy Pelosi
- Congressional District 12: Barbara Lee
- Congressional District 14: Eric Swalwell
- Congressional District 15: Kevin Mullin
- Congressional District 16: Anna Eshoo
- Congressional District 17: Ro Khanna
- Congressional District 18: Zoe Lofgren
- Congressional District 19: Jimmy Panetta
- Congressional District 21: Jim Costa
- Congressional District 23: Derek Marshall
- Congressional District 24: Salud Carbajal
- Congressional District 25: Raul Ruiz
- Congressional District 26: Julia Brownley
- Congressional District 27: Christy Smith
- Congressional District 28: Judy Chu
- Congressional District 29: Tony Cárdenas
- Congressional District 30: Adam Schiff
- Congressional District 31: Grace Napolitano
- Congressional District 32: Brad Sherman
- Congressional District 33: Pete Aguilar
- Congressional District 34: Jimmy Gomez
- Congressional District 35: Norma Torres
- Congressional District 36: Ted Lieu
- Congressional District 37: Sydney Kamlager
- Congressional District 38: Linda Sánchez
- Congressional District 39: Mark Takano
- Congressional District 40: Dr. Asif Mahmood
- Congressional District 41: Will Rollins
- Congressional District 42: Robert Garcia
- Congressional District 43: Maxine Waters
- Congressional District 44: Nanette Barragán
- Congressional District 45: Jay Chen
- Congressional District 46: Lou Correa
- Congressional District 47: Katie Porter
- Congressional District 49: Mike Levin
- Congressional District 50: Scott Peters
- Congressional District 51: Sara Jacobs
- Congressional District 52: Juan Vargas
- Senate District 2: Mike McGuire
- Senate District 6: Paula Villescaz
- Senate District 8: Dave Jones
- Senate District 10: Aisha Wahab
- Senate District 14: Anna Caballero
- Senate District 18: Steve Padilla
- Senate District 20: Daniel Hertzberg
- Senate District 24: Ben Allen
- Senate District 26: María Elena Durazo
- Senate District 28: Lola Smallwood-Cuevas
- Senate District 34: Tom Umberg
- Senate District 36: Kim Carr
- Senate District 38: Catherine Blakespear
- Senate District 40: Joseph C. Rocha
- Assembly District 2: Jim Wood
- Assembly District 4: Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
- Assembly District 6: Kevin McCarty
- Assembly District 10: Eric Guerra
- Assembly District 11: Lori Wilson
- Assembly District 12: Sara Aminzadeh
- Assembly District 14: Buffy Wicks
- Assembly District 16: Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
- Assembly District 17: Matt Haney
- Assembly District 18: Mia Bonta
- Assembly District 19: Phil Ting
- Assembly District 20: Shawn Kumagai
- Assembly District 21: James Coleman
- Assembly District 22: Jessica Self
- Assembly District 23: Marc Berman
- Assembly District 24: Alex Lee
- Assembly District 25: Ash Kalra
- Assembly District 26: Evan Low
- Assembly District 27: Esmeralda Soria
- Assembly District 28: Gail Pellerin
- Assembly District 29: Robert Rivas
- Assembly District 30: Dawn Addis
- Assembly District 35: Leticia Perez
- Assembly District 37: Gregg Hart
- Assembly District 38: Steve Bennett
- Assembly District 39: Andrea Rosenthal
- Assembly District 41: Chris Holden
- Assembly District 42: Jacqui Irwin
- Assembly District 43: Luz Rivas
- Assembly District 44: Laura Friedman
- Assembly District 46: Jesse Gabriel
- Assembly District 47: Christy Holstege
- Assembly District 49: Mike Fong
- Assembly District 50: Eloise Gómez Reyes
- Assembly District 51: Rick Chavez Zbur
- Assembly District 52: Wendy Carrillo
- Assembly District 54: Miguel Santiago
- Assembly District 55: Isaac Bryan
- Assembly District 56: Lisa Calderon
- Assembly District 57: Reggie Jones-Sawyer
- Assembly District 58: Sabrina Cervantes
- Assembly District 60: Corey Jackson
- Assembly District 61: Tina McKinnor
- *SPECIAL ELECTION* Assembly District 62: Tina McKinnor
- Assembly District 62: Anthony Rendon
- Assembly District 63: Fauzia Rizvi
- Assembly District 64: Elizabeth Alcantar
- Assembly District 65: Mike Gipson
- Assembly District 66: Al Muratsuchi
- Assembly District 69: Josh Lowenthal
- Assembly District 70: Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen
- Assembly District 74: Chris Duncan
- Assembly District 76: Brian Maienschein
- Assembly District 78: Chris Ward
- Assembly District 79: Akilah Weber
- Assembly District 80: Georgette Gómez
- *SPECIAL ELECTION* Assembly District 80: Georgette Gómez
LGBTQ+ candidates in other local election races:
- Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 3 : Rebecca Kaplan
- Anaheim Union High School District, TA 1: Billie Joe Wright
- Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Ken Carlson
- Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder: Devin Murphy
- Covina City Clerk: Drew Aleman
- El Cerrito City Council: Carolyn Wysinger
- Fresno City Council, District 1: Annalisa Perea
- Hart Union High School District, TA 2: Andrew Taban
- Monrovia City Council: Sashary Zaroyan
- Monterey City Council, District 1: Thomas Wong
- Palm Springs City Council, District 3: Ron deHarte
- Pasadena City Council, District 7: Jason Lyon
- Pasadena Community College Board of Trustees, District 7: Alton Wang
- Riverside County Board of Education, TA 2: Dr. Eric J. Mooney
- Sacramento City Council, District 1: Nate Pelczar
- San Diego City Council, District 2: Dr. Jen Campbell
- San Dimas City Council, District 2: Eric Nakano
- San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mandelman
- San Jose City Council, District 3: Omar Torres
- San Leandro City Council, District 1: Celina Reynes
- San Leandro Unified School District Board of Trustees, Area 2: James Aguilar
- San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Laura Parmer-Lohan
- Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Jimmy Dutra
- Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools: Dr. Amie Carter
- Sunnyvale City Council, District 5: Richard Mehlinger
- Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education: John Fox
- West Basin Municipal Water District Director, Division IV: Scott Houston
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