Do LGBTQ+ people REALLY need allies like the Dodgers?
You are displaying what can rightly be considered outright homophobia. You literally are allowing the LGBTQ+ community to be bullied
LOS ANGELES – On Wednesday of this week I reported Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement on Monday that condemned the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise for a scheduled “Community Hero Award” to be given to the LA Chapter of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence drag group during Pride month in June.
By Wednesday, the Dodgers caved in, folded, and walked away from a total commitment to the LGBTQ community by “uninviting” The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence ludicrously claiming that the team felt it would be better to hold Dodger Pride Night without the “controversial” elements that honoring the drag group raised.
Let’s consider this for a moment, just the optics for example, a senior vice-president of the team is openly gay AND married. In addition to that, one of the team’s minority owners is- wait for it, a LESBIAN! The team would rather cater to the manufactured butt-hurt rage of the conservatives, not wishing to offend the faithful of a religious group whose priests have been convicted of molesting thousands of children over multiple centuries, mostly male victims I’ll add, rather than honor a drag group with a long established record of charity and philanthropic efforts? (Oh and NO record of molesting kids either.)
I have published the understandable and justifiable anger and critique by community leaders here in Los Angeles and beyond. The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s CEO noted in his statement:
“Buckling to pressure from out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists, the Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people. They have been fed lies about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and have therefore contributed to the ongoing, anti-LGBTQ smear campaign happening in this country. In a year where over 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation are on the books—many of them targeting freedom of speech, expression, and the bodily autonomy of our community—the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is as critical as ever, and unfortunately the Dodgers chose to bow to the religious right rather than stand with our LGBTQ community.”
As I write these words, Texas Lawmakers are considering yet another bill banning drag or severely limiting the ability of drag performers to practise their artform, that state joining the dozen plus other states who have banned or are considering bans on drag performances.
This year has seen attacks on drag, attacks on trans healthcare, attacks on LGBTQ+ kids, book bans, a plethora of hate yet here in California, in Los Angeles no less, even with the aforementioned senior staff and owners being LGBTQ+ themselves, the Dodgers are tossing the LGBTQ+ community, its people, and THEIR fans out on the rubbish heap because of butt hurt rage by people who don’t even live in LA. Seriously?
Today is Friday and there is silence from the Dodgers… crickets.
Why even bother holding a Pride night? You either back us entirely or you don’t. And if you don’t? Well then I recommend that LGBTQ+ baseball fans and our community allies consider cheering for and backing the Angels, the Padres, the Oakland Athletics, or the Giants.
My message to the Dodgers is simple, screw you if you cannot support people who are in a battle for their very existence every.single.day! You are displaying what can rightly be considered outright homophobia. You literally are allowing the LGBTQ+ community to be bullied. Really? Honestly? You all suck.
I’ll let the Sisters have the final word:
Brody Levesque is a veteran journalist and the editor of the Los Angeles Blade.
For a Lost Soldier…
They’d grown up in Ohio & discovered after a few failed attempts at pursuing the fairer sex, their real romantic interests laid in each other
Editor’s note: A good portion of my career had been spent working in Washington D.C. On Monday, May 27, 2013 after returning from the annual Memorial Day ceremonies across the Potomac River in Arlington National Cemetery, I filed the following story based on notes I had jotted down in my reporter’s notebook after an emotional impromptu interview.
ARLINGTON, VA — Every year that I have lived and worked in this city I have always gone to Arlington National Cemetery to observe the Memorial Day ceremonies. Afterwards, I wander down through the grounds, just to watch, maybe to listen, but mostly to contemplate on the sacrifices made by those brave souls whose final resting place has become hallowed ground, a literal garden of stones.
Arlington’s rolling hills are a place of extraordinary beauty, a fitting repository for the memory of the living history of the United States. Names from the history books leap off the pages as one strolls through the grounds. ‘Byrd, Taft, Lincoln, Kennedy, Rickover, Marshall, Pershing,’ followed by the names of the thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast-guardsman who gave their lives to secure the freedoms promised by the American Constitution.
Today, President Obama in his speech, reminded Americans that they must honor the sacrifices of their military servicemembers particularly as U.S. combat roles change and the nation’s involvement in Afghanistan is winding down. Adding that Arlington “has always been home to men and women who are willing to give their all … to preserve and protect the land that we love.” The president went on to praise the selflessness that “beats in the hearts” of America’s military personnel.
Mr. Obama’s words stuck with me as I walked along through the ocean of gravestones, pausing every now and then to read the names, the inscriptions, and wonder what that person or this person was like. Scattered throughout the graves proudly marked with miniature American flags fluttering in the bright noontime sunlight, I observed families, loved ones, and friends who had come to honour their fallen. Then I happened upon one grey haired older gentleman standing quietly in front of headstone obviously lost in his thoughts. As I tried to unobtrusively move around him he look up at me and smiled.
I greeted him and he greeted me back then he saw my press credentials hanging from my neck and asked whom I worked for.
I told him for a national LGBT publication, momentarily wondering what type of reception I’d receive as let’s face it, the LGBTQ community still has its detractors, and to my shock, he looked back at me, with tears forming in his eyes.
“I am,” I answered.
“Lot of changes since I was a, a kid,” he trailed off. I pointed at headstone and quietly asked if the person was a friend or a family member.
“He’s my, well was my best bud, yeah, I dunno…” The poor gentleman looked stricken and it was certainly not my intention to interview him, impromptu or not. But yet I sensed that something was left hanging so I took the plunge and asked him for a few details if he didn’t mind sharing them. Turns out, that’s exactly what he wanted, to share, to have a conversation about the person whose grave we were standing over.
They had grown up in eastern Ohio, in a small rural farming community. Played football, went fishing, did farm work, and discovered that after a few failed attempts at pursuing the fairer sex, that their real romantic interests laid in each other. By the time they had graduated from high school, the Vietnam conflict had escalated and rather than wait to get drafted, they decided to join the U. S. Marines together. They went to boot camp and not long after graduation found themselves on troop planes headed for Vietnam.
“We were lucky,” he said, “We both got assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 26th regiment.”
But good luck turned sour as their battalion found itself in the middle of one of the nastiest battles of the 1968 Tet Offensive in the battle for Khe Sanh. “I lost him that morning,” he told me pointing at the inscribed date of death on the simple white marker- February 7, 1968- “He was just 19.”
The tears came freely and I waited, then we talked some more. He told me that after he lost his love, “I went straight and got married,” going on to lose his wife to cancer a few years back. He has grand kids that he says will never know the truth, he just can’t be open with them, but at the same time, never does a day go by that he doesn’t think about and mourn the loss of his friend, his partner, and the promise of what might have been.
“I was glad to see DADT end,” he told me referring to the policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t tell’ that barred military service by gay and lesbians. “At least some other couples won’t have to hide like we did.”
I thanked him for his service and his time talking with me and walked away reflecting on all of the unknown Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender military folk buried all around me who, like that lost soldier, suffered in silence and hid, yet still believed in a greater good that ultimately meant that they gave their lives for their country.
As the American nation celebrates this solemn holiday, let us all not forget them.
In the Spring of 2020 I received an email from a grandson of the above gentleman to let me know that his grandfather had passed away. In the email he disclosed that his grandfather finally told his family about himself and that virtually the entire family had embraced their beloved patriarch. He then thanked me for telling his grandfather’s story.
I wrote back to thank him and asked that on the next Memorial Day, when they visited him, please tell his grandpa “Semper Fi” for me.
Brody Levesque is a veteran career journalist and the editor 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
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
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
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