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Queer Chicano Culture And The Reclamation Of 'Maricón'

Maricon Collective

Rudy Bleu, Carlos Morales, Manuel Paul and Michael Rodriguez: these four men are all from east of the L.A. River, are all in their 30s, all Latino, and all gay. They also all have a fondness for Chicano-inspired art and music, which drove them to create their art and DJ collective, Maricón Collective.

"Maricón", for the unfamiliar, is the Spanish word for "faggot", with all of the same hateful connotations. Rodriguez says, "Growing up, I never wanted to be [called maricón]; I didn't want to relate to it. We grew up in very machismo families and it was always looked down upon." 

The quartet named their group as a way to reclaim the term and turn it around to focus on something positive. Maricón Collective hosts dance parties, picnics and brunches throughout L.A. and provides a focus on queer Chicano art and music. Their first party last April was such a success that they wound up with booked weekends for virtually the entire summer, turning into throwbacks of the "Backyard Boogie" parties they knew while growing up, complete with a friendly and familial vibe.

LA Weekly has a thorough rundown of the group from where they've been to where they're going, and you can follow Maricón Collective on their Facebook page and keep track of all of their latest activities.


Los Angeles Compulsory Condom Measure Is 'Legislating Problems That Don't Exist'

Assembly bill

In November 2012 Los Angeles County passed Measure B, which was directed at porn production in the county and required, among other things, that porn actors wear condoms during intercourse. A subsequent attempt to spread the mandate statewide with AB 1576 last year was voted down, despite the full and vocal support of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

All of this has stirred up a variety of conversations, including the rights of grown adults to take risks, the responsibilities of their employers to protect them, the efficacy of condoms, and the utility and effectiveness of PrEP. Jim Pickett, director of Prevention Advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, is viewing all of this focus on the regulation of the porn industry as unnecessary, saying in an interview with TheBody.com:

I've never been a fan of legislating problems that don't exist. Condoms in or out of porn don't begin to address the approximately 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States every year, mostly among young, gay black men. This ruling does absolutely nothing for them and it ignores that we have a scientifically-proven, CDC-endorsed tool to prevent HIV called PrEP -- among other non-condom options. Condoms are only one method of protection; they are not alone.

There are certainly plausible arguments to be made for people wanting to emulate what they see in porn, as welll as for employers mandating measures to protect their employees, but the time, effort, and money spent into creating these measures and bills seem to come more from emotional reactions to change than genuine attempts to solve a problem. Or, perhaps more generously, are going about solving the problem of HIV transmission rates in the least effective way possible.


LAPD Arrests 1 of 3 Suspects in Execution-Style Slaying of Transgender Woman: VIDEO

Parker

Los Angeles police have characterized transgender woman Aniya Knee Parker's murder as a street robbery gone bad. 

But LGBT advocates believe Parker's execution-style slaying in East Hollywood in October was a hate crime. 

We may soon find out which theory is correct, after the LAPD announced the arrest of one of three suspects in Parker's murder on Monday.

Screen shot 2014-12-30 at 4.30Parker (above), 47, was fatally shot at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 2 near Melrose and Kenmore avenues, as she tried to flee from three men who'd attempted to steal her purse. The shooting was captured on surveillance video (right). 

The suspect arrested Monday is a juvenile, and police aren't releasing his name or additional information. According to a previous report from KTLA-TV, police believed all three suspects were Latino males ages 20 to 35.  

Parker is one of three transgender woman murdered in Southern California this year, according to Fox 11

Transgender immigration activist Zoraida Reyes, 29, was strangled June 11 and her body was dumped the following day near a Dairy Queen in Anaheim. A 38-year-old Anaheim man has been charged in the killing.

Another transgender woman was found dead on the front porch of a residence in the 6100 block of South Wilton Place on Oct. 1. She had been robbed and then shot -- and LAPD detective Chris Barling said his investigators believed the killing may have been a hate crime. 

After Parker's murder, officials offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the suspects, but police aren't saying whether a tip led to the arrest. 

In announcing the reward, police said they believed the incident began as a random robbery, but LGBT advocates aren't so sure. Among other things, they've pointed to the fact that even after Parker had been shot, the suspects didn't take her purse. From CBSLA.com

The manager of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s antiviolence project said it’s “very possible” Parker was targeted because she was a transgender woman.

“None of us want to live in a city or in a world where we targeted just for who we are,” said Christopher Argyros of the LGBT Center.

Parker's family was able to raise enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to fly her body back to her native Arkansas. 

Watch Fox 11's report report on the arrest, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "LAPD Arrests 1 of 3 Suspects in Execution-Style Slaying of Transgender Woman: VIDEO" »


Massive Fire Lights Up Los Angeles Morning Sky: VIDEO

Fire

A huge fire in downtown Los Angeles engulfed an apartment building early this morning, forcing the California Highway Patrol to temporarily shut down the 101 freeway. 

USA Today reports:

"This is a historic fire, what we as firefighters would call a career fire. It's huge," Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz told NBC News. "I really can't remember a building fire this big and I have been with the department for 13 years."

The fire, which shut sections of the 110 and 101 freeways, was being fed by wood framing at a planned seven-story, 1.3 million-square-foot luxury apartment complex. Ortiz said he didn't think anyone was living or working there when the fire started.

Fire officials said two other buildings were also damaged, including several floors of a 16-story office tower.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Watch a CNN report on the fire, AFTER THE JUMP...

[photo via Twitter]

Continue reading "Massive Fire Lights Up Los Angeles Morning Sky: VIDEO" »


Catholic League's Bill Donohue: Anti-Gay Christians Are Kinda-Sorta Being Persecuted Like ISIS Victims - VIDEO

Billboard2

Possibly sensing they are a dying breed gasping their last breath of hate, anti-gay religious right wingnuts are increasingly comparing their embattled selves to victims of ISIS.

Latest to the game is Bill Donohue of the Catholic League who earlier this week unveiled a Christmas billboard in Los Angeles that draws a comparison between the experiences of American “Christians” - the ones who spend their lives spreading anti-Christian messages - and Christians facing persecution in ISIS-controlled territories.

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Full of Christmas spirit, Donohue also makes it clear that gay people who refuse to take abuse from the religious right in silence are in fact the intolerant ones.

According to Right Wing Watch, in a statement, Donohue said that the billboard is aimed at Hollywood:

“No, the Hollywood moguls who disrespect Christians are not the same as radical Muslims who behead us, but both are full of hate. Moreover, both need to be challenged. Christians are fed up with the barbarians abroad and the bigots at home. It’s time all these bullies learned to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.”

Happy Christmas to you too, Bill.

Donahue has also excused himself from next year's New York St. Patrick's Day Parade following the decision to allow one corporate LGBT group to participate.

Watch the perennial moaner whine about St. Patrick's Day, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Catholic League's Bill Donohue: Anti-Gay Christians Are Kinda-Sorta Being Persecuted Like ISIS Victims - VIDEO" »


An Inside Look At The Gay Wing Of L.A. Men's Central Jail: VIDEO

Prison

In an in-depth piece published today, LA Weekly goes inside “K6G,” the gay wing of Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles and looks at what life is like for its 400 inmates. Those who have been and are currently inmates here talk openly about how different the culture is in K6G and how the fear of violence and abuse are all but eliminated in what is an anomaly in the world of incarceration:

Duncan Roy, a gay British film producer who was held in K6G for 89 days without bail in 2012, under ex–Sheriff Lee Baca’s controversial interpretation of “immigration holds,” recalls, “In other parts of the jail, you try and smuggle in drugs and cigarettes. That didn’t happen in our wing.

“If you were going to smuggle something in, it would be dresses and bras.”

The gay wing at Men’s Central Jail is an exceptionally rare, if not unique, subculture, the only environment of its kind in a major U.S. city. Nothing like it exists in America’s 21 largest urban jails, all contacted by the Weekly, where officials described in far more modest terms their own steps to deal with and house gay inmates. San Francisco has a transgender holding tank, but gay inmates live among the general population. In New York’s Rikers Island, whose similar gay wing was shuttered in 2005, a jail spokesman laughed out loud, saying that whoever decides which men get placed in L.A. County’s gay jail wing “must have really good gay-dar.”

Indeed, the jail does have a screening process it uses to try and screen individuals. Those looking to be placed in K6G are asked to name a local gay bar they often visit. If they do this correctly, Deputy Sheriff Javier Machado, moves on to "tougher follow-up questions, such as, 'What’s the cover charge?'"

The most prevalent reason why straight inmates may want to seek placement in K6G? Safety:

The gay wing is a far less dangerous, more humane place to be. Unlike the angry, racially polarized culture of Men’s Central Jail, in K6G many of the inmates help one another face their days, and sometimes their years, together.

Watch a video from LA Weekly providing a look at life in K6G, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "An Inside Look At The Gay Wing Of L.A. Men's Central Jail: VIDEO" »


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