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Gay News Briefs, Nov. 10 – 23, 2017

Posted: November 10th, 2017 | Gay News Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments

TRANSGENDER CANDIDATES WIN SEATS ACROSS COUNTRY

The election on Nov. 7 has many saying it not only proved that the electorate has had enough of Trump and the bigotry that has seeped into the country’s culture since his inauguration last January, it also proved that if Democrats get out and vote, Democrats will win.

Transgender candidate Danica Roem — a Democrat, journalist and heavy metal singer — easily took her state representative seat away from the 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, who called himself “Bigot Bob” and Virginia’s “chief homophobe” on the campaign trail and was even the author of the transgender bathroom bill.

Asked after her win if she’d like to comment on her competitor, she said, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob’s my constituent now.” Class act.

In Minnesota, Andrea Jenkins, who won her Minneapolis City Council seat, is only the second openly transgender black woman to be elected to a public office, the first being Althea Garrison in 1992 in Massachusetts. Jenkins is not alone, however, as openly transgender Phillipe Cunningham won a narrow defeat against longtime incumbent and Minneapolis Council President, Barb Johnson, after an instant run-off.

In Georgia, Stephe Koontz, an openly transgender woman, was elected to the Doraville City Council as the representative for district 3. She won by just six votes.

And back here in California, Lisa Middleton became the first openly transgender woman to take a seat on the Palm Springs City Council. Middleton was joined by openly lesbian candidate Christy Holstege, adding yet another LGBT voice to the city’s governing body.

“In light of the repeated attacks on transgender people from the federal government, tonight’s wins by Lisa Middleton in Palm Springs and other transgender candidates in Minneapolis and Virginia are a beacon of hope that voters have embraced values of equality and inclusion, said Rick Zbur, Equality California’s executive director, on election night. “By becoming the first out transgender person to be elected to a non-judicial office in California, Lisa is paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps in California and across the nation. Her first place finish out of a field of six candidates demonstrates that a glass ceiling for transgender people who want to serve in elected office was not only broken, but was shattered in Palm Springs.

“With the election of Lisa and Christy Holstege, the city of Palm Springs will now be represented by a City Council that is 100 percent LGBTQ,” Zbur continued.

Palm Springs is a mecca for the LGBT community, with destination events — such as White Party, Dinah Shore Weekend, Palm Springs Pride and more — happening throughout the year, which draw LGBT travelers from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas. It is also known as a retirement destination for the community.

FLU SHOT WON’T MAKE YOU SICK

It’s a myth that a flu shot makes you sick, so don’t use that as an excuse to not get vaccinated against influenza.

“The viruses in the flu vaccine are dead or ‘inactivated’ and cannot be infectious or cause illness,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, said in a news release. “The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given.”

Some people may experience a low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches within a day or two of getting vaccinated, Wooten said, leading them to falsely believe that they got sick from the shot.

“When this happens, the reactions are considerably milder and less severe than the symptoms caused by the flu, which can last up to two weeks,” Wooten said. “Get vaccinated now before the flu starts to spread.”

The flu season has already begun in San Diego, and there were 285 known cases of influenza as of Oct. 21. One person has died from influenza to date this year.

In addition to getting vaccinated, people who want to avoid getting sick should also do the following: wash hands thoroughly and often; use hand sanitizers; stay away from sick people; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; clean commonly touched surfaces; if you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

Call 211 or visit sdiz.org to learn where to get a flu shot, if your medical insurance doesn’t cover it.

NICKYS TO HOST ‘VOTING PARTY’ NOV. 19

If you haven’t yet voted for your favorite LGBT businesses and personalities for this year’s Nicky Awards, you’ll get the opportunity to do so with others at a new public event hosted by the Imperial Court de San Diego.

The voting party will be held Sunday, Nov. 19, from 2–6 p.m. at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, located at 3903 Centre St. in Hillcrest. The event is free and open to the public. If you cannot make the voting event and still wish to vote on the community members nominated, visit bit.ly/2m5Ntj3.

The 42nd annual Nicky Awards will be held Dec. 3 at the Courtyard Marriott Liberty Station, located at 2592 Lansing Road.

Mia Pearl, who was a finalist on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” will return as this year’s emcee.

The 2017 George Moscone Humanitarian Award, which is presented each year to a worth public official, will go to Ambassador Marcela Celorio, the Consul General of Mexico. All other awards will be announced at the annual ceremony.

The producer of this year’s event, Ebony Mullins — a former co-chair of San Diego Pride — is bringing some new energy to the annual awards show and a few surprises, including a new menu option for the event.

In the past, attendees were able to purchase beverages, but this year food trays may be pre-ordered for each table of 10 people, at a cost of $60. The two different options will be available: tray No. 1 will include imported and domestic cheeses, seasonal berries, crostini and artisan crackers, vegetable crudité, and toasted pita served with hummus, ranch and Green Goddess dressings. Tray No. 2 will include ginger soy chicken with a sweet chili sauce, beef skewers served with horseradish cream, and pot stickers with ponzu.

The Nicky Awards were founded in 1975 by City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez and the Imperial Court de San Diego. Proceeds from the event benefit the Court and their student scholarship programs.

“The entire LGBT community, families, friends and allies are always invited and welcomed at the Nicky Awards,” said Big Mike Phillips, president of the Nicky Awards board of governors.

All ticket sales and pre-ordered food trays must be ordered prior to Dec. 1. To order tickets or learn more, visit nickyawards.org.

MAMA’S KITCHEN PIE SALES CONTINUE

Mama’s Kitchen’s infamous “Pie in the Sky” annual Thanksgiving bake sale is underway and sales will continue through Nov. 19.

Organizers say it is the largest bake sale on the West Coast, and pies are available in pumpkin, pecan, traditional apple and Dutch apple, and can be purchased for $25 each.

Volunteers will deliver the pre-ordered pies to 21 different pick-up locations around the county on Nov. 22, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Now in its 13th year, the annual event is a critical fundraiser for Mam’s Kitchen, a local organization that provides nutritious meals to men, women and children with HIV, cancer or other critical illnesses. Last year the pie event raised $116,500. One pie can serve eight meals to those in need.

“Mama’s Pie in the Sky has become a local tradition many San Diegans look forward to as they give thanks over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Alberto Cortés, Mama’s Kitchen’s executive director.

They currently have 30 bakers confirmed, including Andaz San Diego; Barona Resort & Casino; Bear Buns Bakery and Café; Behind the Scenes Catering & Events; Betty’s Pie Whole (Encinitas); Brothers Signature Catering & Events; The French Gourmet; Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley; Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine; Jenny Wenny Cakes in Carmel Mountain Ranch; Jewish Family Services; Just Call Us Volunteers (Clairemont); Kaiser Permanente Medical Center; Kitchens for Good (Lincoln Park); Loews Coronado Bay Resort; Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego; Mook & Pop’s Culinary Delights in Scripps Ranch; Nine-Ten Restaurant (La Jolla); San Diego Cake Club; San Diego Convention Center; Soleil@K (Downtown); Stone Brewing (Escondido); Sycuan Casino (returning for their 13th year); Twiggs Bakery; and The Wild Thyme Company.

New contributors this year are Art Institutes (San Diego); Sugar and Scribe Bakery (La Jolla); Starry Lane Bakery (Hillcrest); Town and Country San Diego Resort in Mission Valley; and Wyndham Vacation Ownership (Mission Valley). Additional bakers are still needed.

Individuals and teams are encouraged to sell pies and use their social media to promote their participation and compete for generous prizes.

To learn more about how you can bake, sell, volunteer, or buy, visit mamaspies.org or call 619-233-6262.

HEPATITIS A UPDATE REGARDING MSM

On Nov. 6, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors again extended the hepatitis A outbreak public health emergency for another two weeks.

The county’s public health officer declared the outbreak emergency on Sept. 1 and the board is required to review the need for continuing the declaration every 14 days.

As of Nov. 1, there have been 544 cases associated with the outbreak, including 20 deaths and 372 hospitalized.

The county and community partners have given nearly 84,000 hepatitis A vaccinations, including 70,748 to the at-risk population, which includes homeless individuals, illicit drug users, people with chronic liver disease, law enforcement and emergency personnel, people who work with homeless or treatment programs, food handlers, and men who have sex with men.

Health officials are encouraging all local men who have sex with men to get the hepatitis A vaccine, in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading.

“We’re broadening our ongoing efforts to reach the MSM community because this is an area where the outbreak could potentially spread,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer on the county’s website. “We are encouraging people to get vaccinated to protect both themselves and their close contacts.”

The board was presented with a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommended against testing the San Diego River or any body of water for waterborne hepatitis A virus. The CDC letter stated there has not been a documented waterborne hepatitis A outbreak in over 30 years and referred to the “futility of environmental sampling” during a person-to-person outbreak such as San Diego’s.

“There is no evidence that either water or environmental sampling provides additional information for addressing person-to-person HAV transmission,” said John Ward, CDC director of viral hepatitis wrote in the letter. “Thus, investing in these activities would unnecessarily divert resources that are needed to contain the outbreak in proven and effective ways (vaccination, education, restrooms, and hand hygiene practices).”

To read more, visit the countynewscenter.com at bit.ly/2y4MncM.

Call 211 if you suspect you have hepatitis A, or need to find out where to get vaccinated, or visit 211sandiego.org.

OPIOID-RELATED DEATHS REMAIN STEADY

The number of prescription drug and other opioid-related deaths in San Diego County has remained steady over the past few years, according to the latest report.

The county’s 2017 Prescription Drug Abuse Report Card shows 253 fatalities last year. That is five more than in 2015, but 15 fewer than in 2012 when the highest number was recorded.

“It’s good news that prescription drug–related deaths have dropped slightly since 2012,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of Behavioral Health Services for the County Health & Human Services Agency and a member of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force executive committee. “However, misuse and abuse of prescribed medicines continues to be a serious issue in the region.”

To read more, visit the countynewscenter.com at bit.ly/2y5gXDe.

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