A new law in California will help military service members who were discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies because of their sexual or gender identities to reestablish their eligibility for Veterans Affairs benefits, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday.
“For decades, our bravest heroes, men and women who wore the uniforms of the armed services had to hide who they really were, and many were other than honorably discharged if their sexuality was discovered,” Newsom said in a statement after announcing he had signed the bill.
Gays and lesbians were banned in the military until the 1993 approval of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allowed them to serve only if they did not openly acknowledge their sexual orientation. Rather than helping, advocates say, the policy created more problems. In its entire history, the military dismissed more than 100,000 service members based on their sexual or gender identities — 14,000 of them during “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Repeal of the law was approved by Congress and then President Barack Obama in late 2010 and took effect nine months later, allowing lesbian, gay and bisexual people to serve openly.
The Department of Defense subsequently created a path for veterans who had been discharged under the policy to receive the full range of veterans’ benefits.
“But many veterans sadly don’t know or can’t even access this important process,” Newsom said, adding that some veterans trying to reclaim benefits have had to hire expensive legal counsel and other assistance to navigate the process. “We’re taking steps to fix this.”
The law will require the California Department of Veteran Affairs to establish the Veterans Discharge Upgrade Grant Program to help advise LGBTQ veterans who were discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and to help those who qualify to update and correct their records and access veterans’ benefits.
On Friday night, police were called to the scene of a stabbing outside popular Long Beach, California gay bar, the Mineshaft. Two men were attacked, and one has died.
The perpetrator is still at large.
The bar’s co-owner, Jeff Darling, said that around 11:30pm two patrons were standing outside the bar when an unidentified individual rode up on a bicycle. According to witnesses, an argument ensued. The incident escalated with the rider pulling a knife and stabbing both patrons in the chest. The attacker fled the scene.
Police arrived soon after and administered aid. The two victims were taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where one of the men, 28-year-old Christopher Finley of Long Beach, died of his injuries Saturday morning.
Finley was a “semi-frequent” regular at the bar, Darling told the Long Beach Post.
According to Darling, the man on the bicycle never entered the Mineshaft, but the “small argument” out front escalated into a stabbing when the two victims tried to get him to move along.
“After they were stabbed, they ended up in our doorway,” Darling said. “It appears to be a horrible random act.”
Just five minutes before the attack, Darling said, a customer was ejected for brandishing a taser. Police detained the man but did not arrest him.
“The investigation to determine his involvement, if any, is ongoing,” Long Beach Police spokesperson Allison Gallagher said.
According to LBPD, the motive for the stabbings remains under investigation and as such is not currently being investigated as a hate crime.
Darling called the incident a “very traumatic thing” and said he was planning a vigil for Finley and the other stabbing victim. He expressed his condolences and solidarity with the community in a post to Facebook.
“This is such a tragedy and I am deeply saddened by this senseless violence. My heart goes out to the loved ones of the person that lost his life and the family and friends of the person still hospitalized. Love will bring our neighborhood together and not let violence win. We have always wanted the Mineshaft to be a safe place in the community but this serves as a message that tragedy can strike at any time. Make sure to let those around you know that you Love them.”
There are those of us with more conservative fashion tastes, others who are willing to be more fashion-forward. But the question “Would you be caught dead in that outfit?” isn’t just one that you’d whisper to a friend on a shopping expedition—or behind a bridesmaid’s back at a wedding. For members of San Francisco’s Translatina community, the question is less an interrogative than a defiant statement.
Artists Julián Delgado Lopera, who curated the 2016 exhibition Noche de Ambiente with the GLBT Historical Society, and Rebeka Rodriguez are unveiling their new exhibition Would You Be Caught Dead In That Outfit?/¡Que Perra Mi Amiga!on September 22 at the Pacific Felt Factory in San Francisco’s Mission District. In photographs and through journals, the exhibition celebrates the legendary intergenerational histories of the city’s Translatinas, with a focus on the power of dressing up and kiki, or gathering together. Some of the exhibition materials and work generated by the show will be donated to the GLBT Historical Society’s archives.
We interviewed co-curator and photographer Rebeka Rodgriguez to learn more about the exhibition.
Tell us about the cultural importance to Translatinas of extravagant fashion and dressing up.
RR: Clothes become our armor out in the world. All those incredible gowns and sparkly suits. Dressing up as survival is one of the through-lines here: the power of certain outfits gives you the courage to go face the world. The dance floor is our church, where we go and worship each other and our community. One of the pieces on display is a dress that was given to Julián’s drag mother by a queen in the 1990s. So outfits have been handed down from queen to queen over time, and remixed and referenced.
What was the germination of this exhibition?
RR: Both Julián and I have a deep personal investment and long history creating work with Translatinas, specifically with El/La Para Translatinas, an organization that represents trans, intersex, and gender-diverse Latinx people; I’ve been photographing the women at El/La for more than a decade. Julián’s book ¡Cuéntamelo! Oral Histories by LGBT Latino Immigrants was republished by Aunt Lute Books in 2018 and that is when Julián and I worked on “Would You Be Caught Dead in that Outfit?”, a multimedia event at the Stud celebrating the aesthetics of 1980s and 1990s underground clubbing. There was a panel discussion which included one of the people featured in the book and we had a runway where everyone who wore their outfits got a chance to strut their stuff. I took photos, it was fun!
And then at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, we facilitated writing workshops with five El/La Translatinas members who shared stories, drew images and wrote about their memories of creating outfits and hitting the club. I was able to photograph some of them in the intimacy of their homes. The journals with their stories as well as prints of the photographs will be part of the exhibition. So it’s been an evolution, it’s a project that’s a living history, and this is the latest incarnation. And it’ll continue when the work becomes part of the GLBT Historical Society’s archives.
How is this exhibition also a very San Francisco show?
RR: Part installation, part archival project, this show centers the lives of transgender Latin American immigrants and their contribution to the glorious fabric of San Francisco’s queer history. The contributions of Translatinas to San Francisco’s queer history is vast, deep, textured and layered, both physically and metaphorically Translatinas have always been here, on stage, in the streets and on the dancefloor. WYBCDITO highlights Translatina creative brilliance and resilience. By centering this history we make space for all of us.
Thursday, September 22 5:00 p.m. In-person program The Pacific Felt Factory2830 20th Street, San FranciscoFree
Join us for the opening reception of Julián Delgado Lopera and Rebeka Rodriguez’s new exhibition Would You Be Caught Dead In That Outfit?/¡Que Perra Mi Amiga! at the Pacific Felt Factory. Through dress-up and kiki, the exhibition celebrates the legendary intergenerational histories of trans Latinas on San Francisco’s 16th Street. Part installation, part archival project (with new material being donated to the GLBT Historical Society’s archives), this stunning visual collection centers the lives of transgender Latin American immigrants and their contribution to the fabulous fabric of San Francisco’s queer history. Would You Be Caught Dead is being mounted in collaboration with El/La Trans Latinas, the Transgender Cultural District, the GLBT Historical Society and AIRSF. More information is available here. No tickets are needed; entry is first-come, first-served.
Rebeka Rodriguez (she/her) is an artist, curator, and cultural producer whose work explores the body as a site for personal and collective histories, desire, community and queer aesthetics. She is currently working with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where she designs and implements creative programming, and is the Director for AIR-SF, a nonprofit project committed to supporting artists and producing relevant public art projects and expanding civic participation.
“Out” at the LakeSaturday September 10, noon to 3 pm Stafford Lake ParkPicnic Area #4 near the restroom sponsored by our friends at the Northbay LGBT+ Senior Social Committee Bring an appetizer & beverage to share, bring a chair, and prepare to meet old and new friends. Please RSVP: [email protected]
West County LGBT Senior Town Hall Coming to San Geronimo Valley CC12:30 to 1 pm Brown Bag Lunch1 to 2:30 Town Hall On the Fourth Tuesday of every month beginning September 27, we will be hosting an event for West County LGBT seniors at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. This first event is framed as a Town Hall where we can hear from West County residents what they want and need. We could, going forward, have a discussion group or a tea & cookies social or something else entirely. I met with the staff of SVGCC and they are enthusiastic partners in this project. We want to hear from you so come out and get acquainted. There are more of us out in West County than we realize.
MONKEYPOXThere is a cluster of Monkeypox, increasingly called Mpox, among San Francisco’s gay men and men who have sex with men and therefore close by us here in Marin. To learn more about it, including symptoms and prevention, click here. Your health provider may be able to provide vaccine for you. If you want to speak with someone at The Spahr Center about Monkeypox –or HIV prevention – contact Romario, our HIV prevention navigator, at [email protected].
UPCOMING EVENTS(more info below) September 1RESILIENCY Presented by Dana PeppTopic of Our Weekly Thursday Zoom Groupmore info below September 5LGBTQIA+ Meetup **2 to 5 pm in The Square in Mill Valley September 6LGBTQ+ & HIV+ Grief and Bereavement Support Group **at the Spahr Center and on zoomsemi- (ramp & elevator/door not automatic) September 10“OUT” at the Lake * **noon to 3 pm at Stafford Lake Park, Novato September 13First Tuesday at Mgt Todd watch for details September 14LGBTQ Monthly Mixer at San Rafael Joe’s **from 4th Street entrance
*Social Committee event, RSVP required;to RSVP or get on their email list, write to them at[email protected];find a link to their calendar and flyers below ** See flyer below
To join the Spahr Senior Groupon ZoomMondays, 7 to 8 pm, &Thursdays, 12:30 to 2 pm,click the purple button below the Butterfly Heart or here:
New participants are warmly welcomed!If you’re zoom-challenged, let me know and I’ll work with you!
Topical Thursdays12:30 to 2 pm September 1Resiliency What is resiliency? Why is it important? How can you become more resilient and prepared for climate changes, aging, and the challenges of daily life? During this discussion, we will talk about ways in which you can become more resilient, more prepared and more connected to the people and resources you need. We’re looking forward to an engaging, open discussion. Please bring your questions and insights! Our facilitator for this discussion will be Dana Pepp. She is a consultant who works with Marin Center for Independent Living. She enjoys facilitating positive, productive and informative conversations to improve wellness, collaboration and communication within groups and communities. Presented by Dana Pepp http://www.dppconsulting.org
Living Room Mondays7 to 8 pm We share with each other about how we’re doing and have unstructured conversations focused on listening from our hearts and deepening community.
California would present itself as a haven for transgender youth facing discrimination in other states under a bill that advanced Monday, much as it is positioning itself as a sanctuary for those seeking abortions.
The Assembly approved the measure without debate, 48-16, sending it to the Senate for a final vote before lawmakers adjourn at month’s end.
The legislation is designed to provide legal refuge to parents from other states who risk having their transgender children taken away or being criminally prosecuted if they support their children’s access to gender-affirming procedures and other health care.
Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener sought the measure in response to actions in several Republican-dominated states including Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas. He said 19 other states have since introduced similar “trans refuge state” bills.
“Trans kids and their parents are being criminalized and used as political punching bags by right-wing zealots,” he said in a statement. “No one should ever have to worry about being separated from their child simply for allowing that child to be who they are.”
Conservative groups argued the bill could shield parents who use it as a pretext.
The bill mimics a new California law that bars the enforcement of civil judgments against doctors who perform abortions on patients from other states. It’s among several measures designed to make California a sanctuary for people seeking or providing abortions.
The transgender bill would similarly reject any out-of-state court judgments removing transgender children from their parents’ custody because they allowed their children to receive gender-affirming healthcare.
It would also bar California health officials from complying with out-of-state subpoenas seeking medical or related information about people who travel to California for gender-affirming care.
The measure would also prohibit arrests or extraditions of people charged with violating another state’s law that criminalizes allowing a person to receive or provide gender-affirming health care.
Brad Dacus, president of the conservative nonprofit Pacific Justice Institute, said it would allow parents to bring their children to California “under the guise of securing genital surgeries,” a move he equated to “kidnapping children from conservative states.”
It would “make California a safe haven for child abductors and predators” and “condone the taking of children from other states in violation of court orders,” he warned in a fundraising letter to supporters.
The bill would allow judges to take temporary jurisdiction over any child who comes into California for gender-affirming care even if they are brought in by someone other than their parents, objected Greg Burt of the California Family Council.
He said the bill “declares war on parents throughout the country who don’t want their children sterilized because of their gender dysphoria.”
A “Straight Pride” event organised by an anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion group ended in violence when the few dozen participants clashed with LGBTQ+ counter-protesters.
Police wearing tactical riot gear arrested three people and detained four before using pepper ball guns to clear out the area.
Modesto Police Department said around 250 people rowed outside a Planned Parenthood as part of a “Straight Pride” event organised by the National Straight Pride Coalition on Saturday (27 August), according to The Guardian. No one arrested lived in Stanislaus County.
The network touted the protest, now in its fourth year, as a celebration of “heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies – born and unborn and Western straight civilization, our wonderful country and Christianity”, according to its website.
Just 30 National Straight Pride Coalition members joined the Proud Boys, a far-right group of “Western chauvinists” behind the Capitol riots, at the clinic on McHenry Avenue.
But hundreds of LGBTQ+ people had already assembled at the meeting point, leading to intense skirmishes between the two, police said. The force noted that the number of pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protesters far outnumbered Straight Pride-goers.
Counter-protesters came carrying signs reading “Fascists not welcome” and “Straight Pride is Hate Pride”.
Within 20 minutes, Modesto police declared an “unlawful assembly” and called on both groups to disperse after a firecracker ignited a bush and objects were thrown.
Officers aggresively pushed the LGBTQ+ activists back to Planned Parenthood’s car park as a large black SWAT-style truck pulled up behind them.
The Straight Pride attendees, meanwhile, had been moved to a Wendy’s parking lot behind the police line.
“We have two armies to go up against when we stand for our rights: we have to deal with the cops attacking us, and we’re about to get a second wave of right-wing extremists. We’re fearful of them attacking us as well,” one LGBTQ+ counter-protester told the Modesto Bee.
By 12:15pm, officers withdrew as the counter-protesters were moved over to Roosevelt Neighrbourd Park.
The Central California LGBTQ Coalition denounced the “Straight Pride” event in a Facebook statement, writing: “This is a flagrant disregard and bastardisation of the LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations everywhere.”
“This Straight Pride has been purposefully orchestrated to harm the LGBTQ+ community in Modesto and throughout the broader Central Californian area that we serve,” it added.
After a few years of virtual offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland Pride is back for in-person events in 2022, marking the 12th anniversary of the organization in the East Bay city that has one of California’s and the nation’s largest LGBTQ populations. Oakland Pride 2022, on Sunday, September 4, will begin with the Parade starting at 10:30 am at Broadway & 14th Street. The Festival will also start at 10:30 am. It will last until 6 pm.
There has been some confusion about Oakland Pride this year, not only because of the return to in-person events but also because Pride in Oakland has expanded. In addition to the Parade + Festival there will also be Pridefest Oakland on Sunday, September 11. (See page 3 of this issue for more about Pridefest.)
Explaining the two major efforts, Oakland Pride recently posted via social media: “Oakland Pride has been a community-led organization that has been doing Oakland’s Pride since 2010. For years our organization has changed in many ways from our board to our vendors and volunteers! There are still a few board members still with us who have been there since day one. The last few years, the board decided to do a virtual pride due to COVID-19. Last year, we had a Pride event ready to go but due to the number of COVID cases rising, we had to go virtual once again. This year we are going live while still remaining cautious of COVID. Other members of the community have decided to start a different organization and a different event, both for the love of the community. Throughout the month September starting with Oakland Pride, and other events, we hope to bring joy and pride to Oakland and to the whole LGBTQ+ community. Hope to see you at Oakland Pride, Labor Day weekend!”
Oakland: World’s Away?
Of Oakland, pioneering lesbian author Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) once wrote, “There is no there there.” She was referring in her 1937 autobiography to the loss of her childhood home along Foothill and MacArthur Boulevards in the city (it was torn down), but others have used the quote to suggest that there is not much to see in Oakland.
Some diehard residents of San Francisco, Marin County, and Silicon Valley seem to think that is the case. The distance from San Francisco to Oakland is only just over 12 miles, but there often appears to be an aversion to all things East Bay. We get it, at least to some extent. Whoever designed the entrance to Oakland from the Bay Bridge was all about function over fashionable appearance. Instead of the welcoming Coit Tower enshrouded in romantic fog perched atop Telegraph Hill overlooking the bay—the sight that many see on the right coming into San Francisco from the East Bay—travelers venturing from the other direction see the massive Oakland Port cranes, the Wastewater Treatment Plant in West Oakland with its associated unpleasant odors (the operators seem to be doing a better job these days in reducing those), a few hospital towers near the 580 freeway, and other sights that don’t immediately spark joy for many.
Oakland’s numerous treasures require going deeper into the city, making it a magical place of discovery for those willing to give it a chance. Just to name a few: Redwood Regional Park that has the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwoods found in the East Bay; Joaquin Miller Park with its rustic woodland trails and meadows; the restaurants, coffee shops, and other public gathering spots at Park Boulevard, Montclair Village, Rockridge, and other Oakland neighborhoods (you will probably see more lesbians in an Oakland restaurant or coffee shop in one hour than you will in an entire day in many parts of San Francisco); Lake Merritt and surrounding offerings; and much more.
The White Horse, the oldest continuously operating LGBTQ bar in the U.S., is a destination all on its own at 6551 Telegraph Avenue. With a pool table, fireplace, and multiple screens for sports games, movies, or music videos, it feels like a home away from home—except a lot more fun.
Some members of our San Francisco Bay Times team live in Oakland. Just visiting Piedmont Avenue in Oakland on a recent Saturday evening, one stumbled on a phenomenal live outdoor Brazilian band performance, many blissful diners in the alleyway next to farm-to-table restaurant Pomet (an owner is from K&J Orchards), kids holding giant ice cream cones in front of the Disney Up movie spot at Fenton’s, filmgoers exiting Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre (the friendly manager and staff at the door yelled hello, and asked how a family member was doing), and even saw another Bay Times team member exiting from the Suds Machine car wash. With its retro car sprayers and colorful giant buffers, Suds Machine is reminiscent of the classic Lily Tomlin scene where, in character as a pitchperson for the hairspray “Stay Put,” she drives on a flatbed trailer trough a mechanical car wash, getting drenched in the process without any of her lacquered locks going out of place.
Oakland Pride Brings Visitors Downtown, and Uptown
Oakland is like many towns in one, given its size. The city is 78.03 square miles whereas San Francisco is just 46.87. The site of Oakland Pride—in the heart of Downtown and Uptown—therefore even can seem world’s away from Piedmont Avenue and Telegraph Avenue that both branch off of Broadway at their southernmost tips.
In Downtown there again are many treasures, such as The Port Bar: a festive LGBTQ-centric watering hole known for its potent cocktails and creative drag shows. The Port Bar at 2023 Broadway is right next door to the historic art deco Paramount Theatre and is less than a block away from the 19th Street BART station. On a recent visit, the place was spilling over with an incredibly diverse crowd and probably as many bears on that particular Sunday as you could find at Lazy Bear Week in Guerneville. Cocktails like the Sassy Sailor and ImpeachMint are very refreshing and Instagrammable and have been profiled in other publications.
The Port Bar is always packed, but is sure to be even more so this September Pride Month in Oakland. Here are some Q&A’s about this year’s Oakland Pride:
Where is Oakland Pride 2022?
The Oakland Pride Parade will start at Broadway & 14th Street (Oakland City Hall) and will end at Broadway & 20th Street (Oakland Pride Festival Main Entrance). The Oakland Pride Festival main entrance will be located at Broadway & 20th Streets. A secondary entrance will be located at Webster and 21st Street.
Do you need a ticket to get into Oakland Pride?
There is no fee to watch the Oakland Pride Parade, except in the VIP/Grandstand seating along the Parade route. This seating will be available as part of Oakland Pride’s VIP Pride Pass program, or on a first-come, first-served basis for a fee of $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. There will be free ADA access! For more information about the VIP Pride Pass or Grandstand Tickets, please e-mail [email protected]
General admission to the Oakland Pride Festival will be $10, and just $5 for children under 12. There will be a Family & Children’s Garden, so it is a great outing for kids of all ages.
Part of the proceeds will go to fund the Oakland Pride Community Partners Program. Since 2010, Oakland Pride has given back nearly $50,000 to LGBTQ-friendly organizations and charities in the community.
Is there an age limit for entry into Oakland Pride?
No! One of our team members even brought a baby to the event back in the day. For her, it was a mix of napping and happy socializing. In fact, Oakland Pride has been reported as being the most diverse and family-friendly Pride celebration in the nation. Do, however, keep in mind that all children must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Are pets allowed at Oakland Pride?
Yes, pets are allowed at the event, including service animals. However, it is strongly recommended that you leave your pet(s) at home since the event, as you can expect, will be crowded, noisy, and more—meaning not conducive to smaller animals walking on the ground.
If you do decide to bring pets to the event, please make sure your pets are well trained, socialized, and comfortable with loud noises and large crowds. Please also make sure your pets are on leash and under your control at all times. Provide water and shade for them, and clean up after them, too.
How do you get to Oakland Pride?
You can drive and try to find street parking (good luck!) or park in any number of paid lots in the area. You can also take a bus or use a rideshare. But the best and easiest way to get to Oakland Pride is via BART. To watch the Parade, just exit at the 12th Street/Oakland City Centeror 19th Street BART stations. The main entrance for the Festival will be located at Broadway & 20th Street, right outside of the BART station exit.
Who will be performing at Oakland Pride 2022?
As of this writing, the performers have not yet been announced. We can say, though, that over the years Oakland Pride headlining performers have been top notch and have included Chaka Khan, Martha Wash, Jennifer Holliday, Yo-Yo, Rah Digga, LaToya London, CeCe Peniston, JC Jones, and En Vogue.
How can you volunteer for Oakland Pride?
Oakland Pride would not be possible without the help of volunteers who lend their time before and during the event. There are volunteer opportunities for people of almost all skills, backgrounds, and abilities.
Will the San Francisco Bay Times have a booth at Oakland Pride?
Yes! The San Francisco Bay Times has been a media sponsor of Oakland Pride since its inception. Please be sure to stop by the Bay Times booth.
Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, endorsed California Proposition 1, the Reproductive Freedom Act, that seeks to amend the California Constitution to protect a person’s right to basic healthcare and reproductive freedoms on Wednesday. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon introduced the Reproductive Freedom Act shortly after the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson was leaked in May, indicating that the Court would likely issue a ruling that would reverse Roe v. Wade and undercut nearly five decades of precedence that protects access to abortion. The California Legislature voted to place Proposition 1 on the ballot this November. If approved by the voters, it would bar the state from denying or interfering with a person’s right to choose an abortion and contraceptives.
“We are extremely grateful for the leadership of Pro Tem Atkins, Speaker Rendon, Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to protect access to reproductive care in California. Abortion and family planning clinics have become trusted providers of care to the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ people, especially those who are transgender, avoid medical care based on legitimate fears of being turned away or facing discrimination and ignorance, and find judgement free care from a clinic that offers abortions, said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ equality are linked by the fight for bodily autonomy. We all seek control over our own bodies. We decide whether and with whom to have intimate relationships, when to start a family, whether to seek gender affirming care to align with our gender identity – We want to live as our true selves as determined by us, not by others.”
“Devastatingly, the Supreme Court has taken away the constitutional right to abortion — a civil right that has been the law of the land for generations and allowed people to make the best health care decisions for them. Thankfully in California, we stand ready to protect these rights, which is exactly what Proposition 1 will do,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “We’re proud to stand with Equality California to add the right to an abortion and contraception directly into our state Constitution – and send the message that in California, extreme politicians can’t strip away our fundamental freedoms.”
Mariah Hanson has always loved throwing parties to create a feel-good environment that was easy for people to meet new friends, celebrate their lives and go home with a few extra awesome memories. Under the Club Skirts Marquis, Mariah created the world famous Dinah Shore Weekend in 1991 with just that intention in mind – to create an exciting, community building, life affirming, unimaginably stellar experience for her customers.
She choose the world-renowned Palm Springs Modern Art Museum to host her first Dinah. Mariah knew an event inside this spectacular museum, surrounded by priceless artwork, was just the kind of statement she was trying to make – that our community is worth the very best and she was going to offer it. Mariah’s first Dinah was sold out, packing every room of the museum, where partygoers drank martini’s while surrounded by tens of millions of dollars worth of art.
Mariah wanted Dinah goers to feel safe, and inclusive, so she booked entire hotels so that they were 100% The Dinah occupied, brought in national sponsors, popular national recording artists, and kept all events in walking distance to create our very own world within a world. These simple but daring concepts, creating an empowering lesbian world within the city, catapulted the Dinah to international fame. Today, The Dinah is considered the largest lesbian/queer women event in the world.
The Dinah 2022 happens September 21 – 25 with the new Margaritaville Palm Springs serving as host hotel and the location of most of the parties. The overflow Hotel, The Doubletree, is booking now. Go to: www.thedinah.com to see the full schedule and purchase ticket.
Gary Carnivele: What is the history of The Dinah (formerly The Dinah Shore Weekend), which you started in 1991 and how it’s evolved over the years?
Mariah Hanson: I think it’s evolved a lot. I started it when I was thirty-ish and I really had no idea what I was getting into and I thought I’m going to try this. I booked the Palm Springs Museum, which was the state-o- the-art modern art museum. I figured out if you were a corporate member of the museum, you could, for $2500, host a cocktail reception in the art museum. Afterwards the board changed the guidelines to make sure that I could never host another event there. I’m 31 years older and I had the coolest job in the world. I got to drink for free. Now, that I’m older I realized that I need to do something substantial with it. At this stage, The Dinah really reflects my own personal journey which and reflects mine. My desire and commitment to create not only an open platform for LGBTQI+ but an inspiring place that tells stories. One that really speaks to women empowerment in every aspect. Attendees are noticing that the artist I booked prove there are no glass ceiling other than the ones we imagine. At the end of the weekend, people really get the up-lifting vibe that we all have. I feel like people leave the event feeling incredible and I just got an experience all to myself. And that was by design.
GC: What do you have in store for your attendees this year?
MH: it’s a really, special year. The 31st anniversary and so proud of the fact that we have produced a music festival event. People are so ready to get out and enjoy themselves and they belong to this community. We have been denied for 2 years and so I feel like people are really bringing it. There’s also issues that have come to the forefront that we know we won’t necessarily be too we will bet you it’s not but is there and so turn on slot right now that is so in our faces. I think it’s always been there with a certain function of our society and the state but this anti-misogynist, anti-women platform that the far right puts forward where women should be seen and not heard is so mind-boggling to me. It really came to the surface during the Trump administration. He is – in my opinion – very hateful individual and he really helped a lot of the hate come to the surface. He and the GOP stacked the Supreme Court who overturned a woman’s right to reproductive rights. Justice Thomas intimated that he’s going after marriage equality next. What are we do about that? I think when people come together with a kind of commonality we can fight oppression. It’s also a wonderful option to see how powerful we are when we collectively say no more answer
GC: Do you think there will be a political element at The Dinah?
MH: How can you not be political right now as a woman or a member of the queer community. it’s a scary time for all of us but I think it’s especially scary for women, women of color, women od lower social economic status. It’s a really frightening and we must stand up, be strong and say ‘no.’ We’ve done it before and we’re going to do it again. I think that that this time around we have so many more male supporters because we need you! It’s one thing for us to be doing this but we need our male allies more than ever. It’s an awesome opportunity for men to really show up and stand up and I know that they will because those hateful voices that we’re hearing are in the minority and that’s what we should remember.
We all need to stand up, speak up and vote in. The voting blocks that really can swing votes in a national election are all across the Midwestern states. We’re hoping to galvanize younger people, we didn’t the year before. We have been experiencing a certain kind of circumvention of our democracy one where it’s state governments versus the federal government. This is a test about how you can run a country our founding fathers never imagined. Because of technology it’s easier than ever to destroy what is a democratic institution. Trump was very close to becoming a dictator just like all the horrible people he admires so much.
GC: Let’s get back to The Dinah. Tell us about the schedule.
It’s jubilant pool parties and exciting evening events. The Dinah schedule is always very consistent. We start on Wednesday with The Official Dinah Pre- Party to which we’re inviting w the locals who we really appreciate. This year, that happens at Chill Bar, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. World-class DJ’s, dancing poolside, and cocktails.
It’s the first time we’ve done it in the morning so we’re starting out wild and crazy right from the get-go.
Thursday is our opening party that’s happening at AsiaSF Palm Springs, which is a beautiful location. At midnight there will be a performance by the winner of our ‘Emerging Artist Contest.’
Friday kicks off at Noon with ‘The G(irl) Spot” a pool party, hosted by “The Real L Word’s’ Rose Garcia. DJ’s will provide great music.
Friday night we are at the ballroom at Margaritaville, our host hotel, for ‘The Black and White Ball,’ where Taylor Dayne will perform. Taylor gave me this great deal so that she can bring her band and not just sing to a track. I really appreciate it and Taylor is very supportive of our community. Also, Canada hip-hop artist Haviah Mighty, who is a really a powerful force.
Saturday is our big ‘The L Word Pool Party,’ which includes a ‘Celebrity Meet and Greet.’ ‘Battle of the DJs,’ and a vendor fair. IV4 and Cassidy King will perform. This all happens at Margaritaville Resort 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday night we have ‘The Hollywood Party,’ in the Grand Ballroom at the resort. There will be fabulous 11 p.m. performance by Fletcher, an up-and-coming artist who about to bust out into stardom as a recording artist. She’s amazing and I’m so excited we were able to book her.
‘The Sunday Funday Pool Party’ happens at the resort 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The will be fun games, exciting contests, and daring antics where you can win The Dinah 2023 tickets. Rubber Duck Dive, Best Dyke-ini, Guzzling a Beer Contest are all fun crowd-pleasers.
The Dinah 2022 ends with ‘The Dinah Official Closing Party’ 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. where the nation’s hottest DJs will spin and the winner or our ‘Emerging Artist’ will entertain us with an encore, midnight performance.
GC: Tell us more about the performing artists and how you go about booking them?
Cassidy King is our sleeper hit. I think she’s someone that we’ll all come to know sooner rather than later. She’s so amazing. She’s doing videos that she directs herself that portray our narrative, our stories. She’s all about queer romance, queer friendship, break ups. The videos are interesting because we are normalized in them. Just as we are now in the music industry. Sunday night I love our lineup mostly because for the first time ever it is all queer. And that really speaks to how queer people are willing to be out and front runners now in the music industry. We are breaking so many barriers and changing minds. It’s wonderful because I will tell you it was very hard to book queer acts throughout my career. I would approach big names, that we knew were queer, but they would decline because they didn’t want to be identified with a big, queer event like The Dinah. Her people or her record label would be squeamish. Thankfully, that has changed over these 31 years.
GC: Talk about the host hotel the Margaritaville
MH: Margaritaville, formally the Riviera, has been one of my favorite hotels in Palm Springs, just iconoclastic. Margaritaville changed the decor but has maintained all those beautiful bones. It’s an incredible 5-star hotel with two big, beautiful pools, this fantastic Grand Ballroom, and an inside garden – it’s just very upscale. Now it’s got a more of a Margaritaville theme but it’s still a great hotel with 400 remodeled rooms.
GC: Who attends The Dinah?
MH: Women of all ages really, but it does trend younger. The Dinah is a music festival and so we book performers and our DJs spin music for all ages. It’s also a right of passage and a bucket list item for the queer community. Go to The Dinah at least once in your life. What I love about older women attending is that they get to see how free society has become and how many inroads we’ve made. We can finally get to the point where we could be at 5-star hotel, which is completely booked. The Dinah is considered a legacy event in Palm Springs it’s the cities top 10 events. The whole city welcoming The Dinah’s attendees illustrates who important it is to their community. It’s important that we showcase how much work we’ve done to gain our civil rights because this wasn’t the case 31 years ago. I think queer women love to see how much freedom there is today. Now I can send mailing advertisements in The Dinah envelopes because so many people are out even in small towns across the states. IN the early days some women would chastise me: I can’t believe you didn’t put this in a plain envelope. My mailman now knows that I’m gay. It was heartbreaking. We’ve come a long way baby so h
GC: How many how many women do you expect to attend The Dinah 2022?
MH: I’d say this year we will have 7,000 – 10,000. I think it’s going to be a big year. A lot of local women come but the majority like 95% of the people coming out of all over, many from California but 50% from out of the state. We get a small percentage from out of the country.
GC: I would imagine COVID-19 has really impacted The Dinah.
Last year, I had to cancel it and then I dealt with the nightmare of having to refund as much as I could. My customers were very understanding – kind and patient. I was able to transfer 600 of ticket buyers to this year. The year before, we had zero transmission. I wanted everyone to understand that we need to show the world that we are conscientious and we care about each other. We’re asking people to test themselves before the event breakthrough cases vaccine is no guarantee that you’re Covid-free. We don’t want to be spreading it and we don’t want anyone else to get sick. The tests are 70% accurate and The Dinah needs to follow city, state, and CDC guidelines. We are asking people to please get tested.
GC: Talk about the people that work with you to produce a really amazing event.
There are many amazing women working with me the last couple months. I have about 40 people in Palm Springs that are familiar with the city, its vendors and services. Light and sound is another group of 30 hard-working people. Very mom-and-pop. We love it because we get to do it our way without the bureaucracy of a corporation. There’s a real leaning into what is needed at the time, where is our community is at the time, so we speak every year to what we think needs to be said. I think it’s really important for messaging to lead the way and so we like to do that every year and help inspire people to live bigger and brighter and better lives. And that includes everyone, that includes trans, non-binary, queer, lesbian. I’ve worked with transfolk who really helped me understand that some people are born in the wrong bodies and want to be authentically who they are. I have been very pro-trans in my career. I don’t believe in separatism. I don’t believe in keeping our world so small that people don’t fit in. I think that everybody needs to be invited to the table so when we are producing The Dinah we keep that in mind. You can’t just say: I’m inviting everyone. I want everyone to feel safe at The Dinah. We keep those things in mind because they are important, critical. I’m proud of the fact that we have in that messaging. There are too many people in our community who don’t live in really inclusive parts of our country. We want The Dinah to be the place where we invite you to just come on in let all your isms, all your differences, and all your fears melt away. This is a world where I can live for five days out loud, together being the beautiful people that we are and experience really cool, powerful people. We were together for five days and got to meet people from different backgrounds, from different ways of identifying. We all got along, we enjoyed each other. We found all these commonalities to take that home with us.
GC: Have you ever thought about doing a similar event here in Sonoma County?
MH: Yes, I have. I love what Gary Saperstein is doing with Gay Wine Weekend and I think there’s room for a women’s event. There’s not a lot of convention space here but I think the Renaissance is probably your best bet. We’ve been talking about it recently because this is the first time that I have been here permanently. I bought my grandfather’s house here in Sonoma in 1999 where my mother lived for her final years. I finally came back and feel settled. It’s an opportunity for me to really start thinking seriously about producing a Dinah event here where everyone is invited. Personally think we should always feel comfortable bringing our best guy friends.
GC: How can folks find out more about The Dinah 2022 and purchase tickets
MH: The website in thedinah.com and it is the best way to see the complete schedule and purchase tickets. Although I will say that our social media platforms are also a lot of fun.
GC: Thank you for taking the time to tell us all about The Dinah 2022. Best wishes for a successful event. We’ll wait to hear from you about the exciting event you’ll produce here.
MH: Thank you Gary and we hope to see all your readers at The Dinah.
While CDC works to contain the current monkeypox outbreak and learn more about the virus, this information can help you make informed choices when you are in situations or places where monkeypox could be spread.
How can a person lower their risk during sex?
Talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including the genitals and anus. If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider.
If you or a partner has monkeypox, the best way to protect yourself and others is to avoid sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and do not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you are sick, especially any rash. Do not share things like towels, fetish gear, sex toys, and toothbrushes.
If you or your partner have (or think you might have) monkeypox and you decide to have sex, consider the following to reduce the chance of spreading the virus:
Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
Masturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching each other and without touching any rash.
Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash is present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. If the rash is confined to the genitals or anus, condoms may help; however, condoms alone are likely not enough to prevent monkeypox.
Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) after having sex. Learn more about infection control.
Having multiple or anonymous sex partners may increase your chances of exposure to monkeypox. Limiting your number of sex partners may reduce the possibility of exposure.
Avoid touching the rash. Touching the rash can spread it to other parts of the body and may delay healing.
What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?
Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider.
If you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you.
When you see a healthcare provider, wear a mask, and remind them that this virus is circulating in the area.
Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
Think about the people you have had close, personal, or sexual contact during the last 21 days, including people you met through dating apps. To help stop the spread, you might be asked to share this information if you have received a monkeypox diagnosis.
How can a person lower the chance of getting monkeypox at places like raves, parties, clubs, and festivals?
When thinking about what to do, seek out information from trusted sources like the local health department. Second, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur at the event you plan to attend. If you feel sick or have a rash, do not attend any gathering, and see a healthcare provider.
Festivals, events, and concerts where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread monkeypox.
A rave, party, or club where there is minimal clothing and where there is direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact has some risk. Avoid any rash you see on others and consider minimizing skin-to-skin contact.
Enclosed spaces, such as back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties where intimate, often anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners occurs, may have a higher likelihood of spreading monkeypox.