Rayceen Pendarvis Interview

Rayceen Pendarvis is a legendary gay rights advocate from the D.C. area. Pendarvis led a crowd in a prayer in “Black Lives Matter” Plaza, days after the Trump administration forcibly removed protesters from the area near Lafayette Square in June.

From an interview they did with the Washington Blade, “The 70-year-old Washingtonian has seen the 1963 March on Washington, has marched for marriage equality and has been a part of every Pride celebration in the city, including Black Pride, Trans Pride, Youth Pride, Latinx Pride and Capital Pride.”

Pendarvis enjoys bringing people together and giving a voice to those who are voiceless. As the host of the popular “Ask Rayceen” show, Pendarvis moderates various panels and talks on their YouTube Channel. Krylios is the co-host of the show. Please watch and subscribe to their channel.

Also subscribe to my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/WriterVictorYates.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance #tdor

City of West Hollywood Transgender Day of Remembrance

The city of West Hollywood & its Transgender Advisory Board hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance event at 11/20/20. The Zoom-based event was hosted by activist Blossom C. Brown and featured guest speakers & reading names of people murdered due to anti-transgender violence.⁠ I am one of the readers.

Me Reading the Name of Brian Egypt Powers

The HRC has reported that “in 2020 there have been at least 33 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the United States. A disproportionately high number of victims are Black and Latinx transgender women. The 2020 report follows reports of 27 deaths in 2019; 26 deaths in 2018; 29 deaths in 2017; and 23 deaths in 2016.”

According to the city of West Hollywood’s press release for the event, “the city of West Hollywood has been one of the most outspoken cities in the nation in advocating for the legal rights of LGBT people. More than 40 percent of residents in the City of West Hollywood identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Transgender Advisory Board, which addresses matters of advocacy on behalf of transgender people in the areas of education, community awareness, and empowerment, and makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council.”

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Poetry Award

Poem by AlexGrey

I am excited to announce that I am the winner of the Los Angeles Press 2020 George Floyd Honorarium for Poetry. My poem, “5 Words,” is a literary response to police brutality and BLM as well as Black queer identity within the larger gay community. The poem will be published in their next literary journal.

The purpose of the award is to honor “Black / POC / WOC and Indigenous writers.” The judges for this year included Shonda Buchanan (IG: @shondabuchanan) and F.Douglas Brown (@fdouglasbrown).

“The Los Angeles Press publishes the best in established and emerging art, literature, and political discourse, from Southern California, the West, and beyond. [They] are committed to uplifting and focusing on Voices Yet Heard, including Women, POC, LGBTQ+, and traditionally under-represented and marginalized artists and writers. The Los Angeles Press is a Print and Online Publishing House & Imprint, first introduced by The Los Angeles Review of Books and the LARB/USC Publishing Cohort. [They] are devoted to community engagement, and to the pursuit of social, economic, and environmental justice.”

I will post when the literary journal is out.

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New Grant + BLM Spoken Word Performance

Death Sentence

I’m excited to announce I received a grant from the city of West Hollywood to create a digital BLM project titled, Death Sentence. Death Sentence is a spoken word performance commenting on Blackness, queerness, police violence, and survival using the last words of Black people murdered by the police. The goal, through the project, is to help viewers work through and heal from the trauma of police brutality against Black bodies. Death Sentence premieres on the city of West Hollywood’s website on October 23 at 7pm.

After the performance, I’m hosting a live Q&A on my YouTube channel with West Hollywood’s Poet Laureate, Brian Sonia-Wallace.

Please check out the performance and Q&A.

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Voter Resources

woman behind a sign and holding an american flag

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

LA Voter Website

Link: https://lavote.net/home/voting-elections

Current Elections

Link: https://lavote.net/home/voting-elections/current-elections


Voter Registration

Link: https://lavote.net/home/voting-elections/voter-registration/register-to-vote/register


Find Your Voter Center

Link: https://locator.lavote.net/locations/vc

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Free Food Resources During Coronavirus

Free Food Resources During Coronavirus


  • For the closest food pantry or food bank, visit the Los Angeles Food Bank Pantry Locator.
  • Everytable is offering meals to all Angelenos in need, including food distribution for seniors who need food brought to their homes, food for students and food for groups.
  • People4PeopleLA is shopping for and delivering food, medicine and household supplies to elderly Angelenos and others who cannot leave their home during the pandemic. Call 707-390-0269 or email People4PeopleLA@gmail.com to make a request.
  • Eastside Riders is providing free breakfast for students in Watts from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • LA Dream Center in Silver Lake is providing free meals for all LAUSD students from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • TEACH Academy of Technologies is offering free meals for pick-up to all children ages 5 through 17, with a valid student ID from any school. Meals are provided between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
  • Hugo’s kids menu will be free for guests 12 and under throughout the LAUSD closure.
  • Los Angelitos Bakery is offering one free bread to children ages 5 to 13, Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • The City of Lynwood is offering free meals from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for kids of all ages.
  • El Torito restaurants are offering free (take-out only) meals to all kids ages 12 and under.
  • Toast in Whittier, The Benediction in City of Industry and The Dylan in Brea are offering free take-out breakfast burritos to kids ages 6 to 12 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • Acapulco Restaurant y Cantina is offering free (take-out only) meals to kids ages 12 and under at all their locations.


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Free Educational Resources During Coronavirus & School Closures

LA Public Library

While all Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) locations are physically closed, you can still access online resources.

Los Angeles Unified students are automatically assigned a Student Success Card. That means they can use their cards to access all online resources from LAPL. They don’t need the physical card, just the library card number and PIN.

Don’t know your library card number or PIN? Fill out this form and LAPL will look up the information.

With the Student Success Card, you can:

• Borrow up to 3 books
• Instantly get digital books, magazines, music, movies, and newspapers
• Find an online tutor
• No fines and fees ever

Other Online Resources


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Resources for Black Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic #blackschools


Resources for Black Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic

California Families – Free Meals at Grab & Go Centers


Grab & Go Food Centers are open this summer, Monday through Friday from 8-11 a.m. through August 14th.

As of Monday, June 22, 2020, the Grab & Go Food Center that is currently located at Verdugo Hills High School will move to Mount Gleason Middle School, located at 10965 Mount Gleason Ave., Sunland-Tujunga 91040.


There is an interactive map on the page to locate the nearest Grab & Go Center to families.

Hotlines: (LA Unified School District & Coronavirus Updates)

For families: (213) 443-1300

For employees: (213) 241-2700

Mental health hotline for students and families: (213) 241-3840

The hotline is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


Free Educational Resources from PBS SoCal | KCET and KLCS-TV

Los Angeles Unified, PBS SoCal | KCET, and KLCS-TV have partnered to provide free supplemental educational resources to help your family support learning during the school closures. This multi-platform initiative includes Pre-K–12 educational programming and robust online resources through the online platform PBS LearningMedia. The resources are free and designed to be used by public schools throughout California to help students continue learning at home.

Grades Pre-K–3

  • PBS SoCal (Channel 50.1) from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • PBS SoCal KIDS (Channel 50.5) 
  • 24/7 Livestream (on streaming devices and PBS KIDS Video app)
  • KLCS KIDS (Channel 58.2)
  • KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
  • YouTube (Search “PBS KIDS”) 
  • Free PBS KIDS Video App

Grades 4–8

  • KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Grades 9–12

  • KCET (Channel 28.1) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • KLCS (Channel 58.1) from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The above channels are for viewing on television. Please check your local listing for more information or at pbssocal.org/athomelearning

Instructional Continuity

Los Angeles Unified is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of students and staff and providing a safe, secure learning environment for all. Please refer to the following resources to help you supplement your learning while at home.

General Resources

  • Access to Los Angeles Unified Digital Library & Los Angeles Unified Destiny resources

Available in Schoology’s Top App Menu

Also available at achieve.lausd.net/Page/15747

General Practice for K-12: khanacademy.org

SAT and ACT Practice for Grade 10 and 11: bit.ly/38y3xNc

Log In: lms.lausd.net

Getting Started on Schoology for Students: bit.ly/StudentGettingStarted

K2 Students, sign into Schoology in a simplified way with QR Codes: bit.ly/PLSStudentQRCodes



Download this information as a PDF: Free Online Learning Resources

Bajar esta información en formato PDF: Recursos Gratuitos De Aprendizaje En Línea

Los Angeles Unified students, including English Learners, Standard English Learners, Gifted Learners, and Students with Disabilities will be able to access the following free resources during school closures. Below is a list of some free online learning resources for your child’s continuity of learning. To access the following resources, students may sign in using their LAUSD Single Sign On (SSO) via one of several methods:

  • SSO LAUSD Login
  • SSO via Clever Login through this link: clever.com/in/LAUSD
  • SSO via Google Login

(Products with * are District approved. Parents, please check the product’s Privacy Policy prior to signing up for products that are not District approved).

For a complete list of free resources, please visit: bit.ly/LAFreeEdSites

Name Grade Span Access
*ABC Mouse PreK – 2/3 Clever
*Amplify Reading K – 5 LAUSD
*Brain Pop & Brain POP ELL K – 12 Clever
*Brain Pop Jr K – 5 Clever
*Edgenuity Elementary K – 5 Clever
*Edgenuity Secondary 6 – 12 LAUSD
*Eureka K – 6 Clever
*EVERFi K – 12 Clever
Khan Academy K – 12 Google
*ST Math TK – 8 Clever
*Zearn K – 12 Clever



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Financial Resources for Black Families Impacted by COVID-19 #blackcovid

The following resources are for people impacted and affected by coronavirus.

EDD and Unemployment

Info: If you are furloughed or lost your job due to covid-19, you can apply for unemployment.

Pro Tip: Also, if you have applied for unemployment and have not received it, call unemployment and request the Spanish customer service line. The Spanish customer line has a shorter wait and the person on the other end is bilingual.

Link: https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm

Disability Insurance

Info: Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.

Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.

Link: https://edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_DI_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm/t_blank?fbclid=IwAR37UBdHJK4O3IRzK9Ff_sY1xdK7LuD1QKeb60xPK_-DC6cvtmF6Ejxbtxw

Paid Family Leave (PFL) Claim

Info: Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.

Paid Family Leave provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

Link: https://edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_PFL_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm/t_blank?fbclid=IwAR1h6aChB9g-qjbT5S2SGOeOfJQtjbj-BqlJsUEYmloPvtHDWeCVhEIsyN8


Additional Financial Resources

Paycheck Protection Program for Business Owners and Freelancers

Info: the CARES Act earmarked $10.25 billion dollars for business owners & freelancers. The PPP loans can be forgiven if you meet certain criteria – “if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 60% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).”

  • PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
  • Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
  • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Link: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program

Economic Injury Disaster Loans – Small Business Administration

Info: Small business owners and freelancers can receive a free $1000 grant.

Important note: to receive the grant, you have to check receive advance at the end of the application. You have to fill out an application for a loan; however, you don’t have to accept the loan. You can just accept the grant. Takes about two weeks to receive payment.

Link: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Info: Gives two weeks of paid sick leave at 100% of your normal salary – up to $511 per day – for a total of $5,110. That is just the first of many qualifiers for this program so check with your company’s Human Resources Department before making plans.

Mortgage Relief Options: Steps to Get Relief

A federal law passed on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place protections for homeowners with mortgages that are federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed or funded (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac).

Link: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/mortgage-relief/

How to Request Forbearance for Mortgage Payments

Link: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/request-forbearance-or-mortgage-relief/

Artist Resources/Free Money

Link: https://www.freelanceartistresource.com

Cash Assistance for Service Workers & Tip Workers

Link: https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help

Restaurant Worker/Tip Worker Relief

Info: Grants for restaurant workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been quarantined

Link: https://restaurantscare.org

California Resource/East Side Riders

Info: The East Side Riders provide free breakfast for students in Watts from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9r5hGghQhS/

#blackcovid #covid19 #coronavirus

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The documentary, Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs engrained in me the importance of storytelling and using personal experience to create art. Marlon interweaves Black gay culture, poetry by Essex Hemphill and Joseph BeamSELRES_19391c97-4436-4c9f-abd1-46b2f929e1fcSELRES_646ec62c-616e-43ae-bba9-ae8b806d2647the poetry of Essex Hemphill and Jospeh BeamSELRES_646ec62c-616e-43ae-bba9-ae8b806d2647SELRES_19391c97-4436-4c9f-abd1-46b2f929e1fc, striking imagery, and a snapping tutorial. I have watched it repeatedly to learn more from Riggs.

Years later, I used some of the techniques that he used to produce my first documentary, Genitalic.

Last summer, I curated a reading at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs with the writer, Dave Lara. Lara, in his 70’s, talked how he received a dishonorable discharge for being gay during the Vietnam War. I realized that I needed to preserve Lara’s story for younger LGBT generations because thousands of men like Lara were never able to share their story. I applied for a grant through the city of West Hollywood in order to film the documentary.
Genitalic centers on life for gay men in West Hollywood in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Eight older men were interviewed (seven in Los Angeles and one in London). Their narratives interweave as they discuss HIV/AIDS, race, racism, ageism, passing, daddy culture, and desire in the older male body.
The interviewees include Dave Lara, Lee Jackson, Philip Littell, Juan Castillo-Alvardo, David Friar, Clarence R. Williams, Brian Sean Gaston, and Martin Patrick. Each interviewee has a unique perspective. Dave Lara appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race on Season 5 on the military makeover episode. He was paired with the winner, Jinx Monsoon. In the documentary, he discusses the impact of AIDS on West Hollywood and how men started disappearing. He also discusses how he helped create a gay-run organization for HIV testing and prevention.
Lee Jackson, a fair-skinned Black man, discusses the three picture identification rule for Black and Mexican men enforced by doormen at nightclubs in West Hollywood. These groups of men had to present three I.D.s and without them, they were denied entry. On some days, Jackson passed for white and was allowed entry into the clubs without a problem.
There is a preview screening at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers on June 2nd at 1:15pm. It is part of One City One Pride’s A Day of History event. Watch the trailer below:

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How to Create a Fantasy World


Jarrod King

I read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, after completing my first draft of Pangaea: Unsettled Land. When likening the writing process to archaeology, he wrote, “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.” I completely understood this to be true. When beginning to write a story, you already have an idea. Now, you just need to uncover all of the elements that make it work.

Know Your Idea

Forcing things like magic and ancient lore into your story isn’t going to work if they weren’t at the core of your idea to begin with. If they are, then you can go places. When I began writing Pangaea in 2009, I started with this core storyline: ‘three friends go on a quest to find a rare magical artifact that would make a huge impact on their world’. I also had the idea of a maniacal antagonist who had gone mad after being in a dungeon for so long. If you read the book, then you know right away what has changed and what hasn’t. None of this is groundbreaking stuff, and in fact could very easily be cliché. What makes fantasy unique are the things only you can bring to it.

Focus On The Story

First, I would strongly suggest an outline – not necessarily for plot in the beginning, but for your characters. This website showcasing the snowflake method is a great source. It helped kick-start me towards completion after multiple start-and-stops over the years. It’s a great way to uncover more about your characters and the world around them. Once you know their motives and barriers, things like the ancient mythology of the land, the world/character’s histories, and a timeline will begin to fall into place. That’s because you’ll have the mindset that “A needs to happen in order for B to happen”. Again, this is not about forcing things into place. It’s about naturally discovering what it is about the world that makes your characters behave the way they do. If you can’t prevent the love interest’s death without changing your story a great deal, it’s probably supposed to happen.

Be cautious! Just because you know the timeline and all of the mythology and history, does not mean your reader needs it. They only need what’s absolutely necessary to the development of the character and the furthering of that story. Otherwise, you could make the mistake of info-dumping and bogging down your story with needless details.

Once you have a firm grasp on all of the details, you can decide on whether plot outlining is best or if you want to get straight into writing. In both cases, don’t be rigid. Allow for some unforeseen changes.

Go With The Flow

When you begin writing, you’re going to learn even more about the world you’ve created and the characters. Things are going to change. Initial ideas are going to seem way overblown, and some of the minor ones will need to be brought to the limelight. This sense of discovery is the fun part! I remember wanting to end my novel with a bang by having Pangaea separate from one super-continent into the world as we know it now. This does not happen. My ending is much simpler and has more impact now because I paid attention to the path of the characters. By not remaining inflexible, I brought the far-fetched (and horrid) idea back down to Earth.

Time For Some RER: Revising, Editing, and Rewriting

It’s so important to edit your work. This is a must for writers in general. However, when creating a fantasy world, it’s highly important to look not just at the grammar and story, but at all of the world-building elements. Look at the government, society, technology, and magic. What works? What doesn’t? Here’s an example of my editing:

My book involves a mixture of old and new technologies, so I had a scene where my characters are flying somewhere on a plane. My editor let me know to make my world a bit more distinct by paying attention to the structures and names of certain technology. I changed the structure of planes into a stingray-like airship called a supertrop. Phones are all called comms, cars are called wheelers, etc. These changes helped distinguish my world from the one we live in today and added even more of that fantasy allure.

This also highlights the importance of an editor. Don’t expect to publish anything that’s been self-edited. Leave that version for beta readers. After accepting or refusing suggestions from them, have a professional with a focus on your genre look over your work and let you know what needs to change. This especially helped me understand what fantasy readers expect and to meet those expectations without compromising my own ideas.

Follow these steps and you can soon have readers escape to a world of your own!

Subscribe to my mailing list for a free preview of Pangaea: Unsettled Land now!

Jarrod King fantasy and sci-fi author. His debut novel, “Pangaea: Unsettled Land”is available on Amazon. You can find him at jarrodking.com or Twitter.

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Writer Cover Letters That Bombed #1

Screen shot 2016-09-03 at 1.07.26 AM

Since I discovered that I wanted to write professionally, I have sought out countless writing jobs. Thousands actually. I searched through my Gmail to count how many cover letters I have emailed to potential employers. Ninety-nine percent of the cover letters are pure trash. So I decided to share them. People, learn from my mistakes.

Cover to DListed.com

Greetings Michael K,

Amanda Bynes is the only person more qualified than me for this job, but she is preoccupied at the moment standing outside Drake’s hotel room since I forwarded her his exact location.

Imagine if Bieber had the charisma of Mario Lopez, and he was a journalist, that visual summarizes who I am. A focused writer with a magnetic personality who is a pop culture devotee. I can’t leave my house without logging onto Dlisted (or TMZ. Bad habit, I know. Don’t judge me). Some of the names that I have recently interviewed include Icona Pop, Skylar Grey, Ester Dean, and Pedro Almodovar.

I have experience working with tight deadlines from home and the office. Also, I have experience interviewing and reporting on musicians as well as blogging about lifestyle and cultural events like (mentally) anal probing Hot Sluts of the Day. Key skills that I bring to the table include tight editing, quick deadline writing, content generation/pitching, self-discipline, known knowledge of pop culture, an eye for target-audience writing, and most importantly, how to give face.

To see my work, I have attached two interviews and a blog post for you to peruse.

If you need more information, please feel free to email me at horriblewriter@gmail.com.


Victor Yates

P.S. Since I live in L.A., I die every time I see Angelyne and her pink car (that’s not a vagina euphemism). I cry a little every time I see Bobby Trendy being utterly untrendy. However my life won’t be complete until I see Chicken Cutlets eating at the KFC on Hollywood Blvd.


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Writing Prompt: cut up poem



– Take a magazine or newspaper.
– Choose an article from the magazine or newspaper
– Use a pair of scissors, to cut out the article
– Next carefully cut out each of the words from the article and put them in a brown paper bag
– Shake the bag
– Next take out each cutting one after the other
– Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag (you can glue or tape down the words in your notebook or write them out)
– The poem will resemble you

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The Beauty Queen


Twitter exploded the second Olivia Jordan was crowned Miss USA. Her gown for the evening wear segment sparked controversy (aside from Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants during that same time). The dress polarized the Internet. Some loved it, while others hated it and thought she should not have won based on the dress. The dress was pink and strapless with a flowing skirt that had slanted lines of ruffles. In an interview with The Huffington Post Live, Jordan stated it was the dream dress of her five-year-old self.

A beauty queen’s dress is purely aesthetic and superficial. Her wardrobe choices are less important than who she is as an individual and what she represents. That ideology applies to Hailie Sahar, a pageant winner, whose story of triumph over adversity can be overlooked if the viewer only looks at the surface.

At In The Meantime’s pre-pride party, she dazzled the audience with her charm and hand placement-ography (choreography for a beauty queen’s hand). See her as the crowd saw her. First her dress, gray, and chic, paired smartly with an ornate gold necklace. Her sash for Miss L.A. Pride 2015 accentuated her figure. Then, her arms, bare and thin, then her flash of red hair. The spotlight caught her face at an angle that gave her the glow of a pregnant woman. She smiled, waiting for Karamo Brown to finish. They both were handpicked to be Brand Ambassadors for BrothaFest. Many of the people in the audience did not know (from only looking at her) that she was born in the wrong body and transitioned into her female body.

In a sit down interview, Sahar discussed the difficulty of being transgender, biracial, and young in L.A., being abused at a young age, and how she has overcome numerous obstacles to be a role model for girls like her.

What did it mean for you to be asked to be the Ambassador for BrothaFest?

It was touching to be asked to be an Ambassador for BrothaFest. I felt humbled. It meant that I was doing something good in life. It told me that I have a duty to be a role model as a transgender woman. Also, I saw it as a blessing.

Also, you were this year’s Miss L.A. Pride. Tell us about that experience.

It happened out of nowhere. One of the previous contestants called me the day before the pageant. I didn’t know too much about it. That experience was another blessing. Once I got there, I knew what it was working toward. And, being in the Parade was overwhelming. There were people crying and waving at me in the convertible that I was in. It furthered my belief that I had a duty to be a role model for others.

What were the components of the pageant?

There was a cocktail dress round, evening dress round, and Q&A round. The question that I was given was what was the most pivotal moment in your life as a trans person. I grew up being abused. Not too many people know that. I was also a preacher’s kid. Not too many people know that either. In that environment I was confused. I would go to church and a family member was abusing me. For me, to come out of that and be the person that I wanted to be in a religious and strict household that was my most pivotal moment. That’s why I want to tell my story. People might see me and say she’s beat or beautiful. But, no matter what I’ve been through or you’ve been through, you can still persevere and don’t let the situation mold you into a negative person.

What is it like to be transgender, young, and Black?

It is a lot of hard work. It takes discipline. As a minority and being biracial and transgender, you have to go through obstacles and then find your way in the world. As a trans person, it is often difficult trying to get people to understand who you are.

People don’t know what it means to be trans. They do not fully understand that your biological makeup can be different from your physical body. I have a doctor that I go to and l learned that there are studies looking at chromosomes when babies are born. Sometimes a child can be born in the male form, but the baby thinks in the female state. There are so many diversities of how people are born. People are visual. They trust that because you are born with a male body, you are male. But there is more to a person than their sexual parts. They are shallow-minded and see physical parts and identify that person as what they see.

Why did you come out as trans when you could pass as a biological woman?

I feel that it is a blessing to be passable. A lot of people don’t have that blessing to pass and be beautiful. I’m not saying that to be overly confident. When God gives you these gifts, you use them. I want to use my beauty and intelligence to uplift others and give back to people that do not blend into regular society. They will see someone like me and know that there are people like them that can be successful and achieve what they want in life. I’m Black and trans and am doing what I want to do. I like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock because they are going about it in a classy and elegant way. They are intellectuals and carry themselves well.

Who is the private Hailie?

I am a shy person and a workaholic. I have a hard time showing people my true self as I am. They might take me not opening up as being a diva, but that’s not the case. It takes a while for me to open up. Then you’ll see I’m a big kid. I love amusement parks and don’t take things too seriously.

Is the transgender community in L.A. connected or disconnected and how so?

In general, the transgender community is a bit disconnected. A lot of trans people are afraid because they do not know how they will be treated after they come out. They might be ridiculed. But I will say, this year there have been a lot of people in the public eye like Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, Isis King, and Janet Mock. People like me; we see more of it. I see it in the city and when I meet girls like myself, I see a spark in their eyes as we talk about the movement.

Do you have any trans mentors that have helped you during your transition?

I did not have a trans mentor to help me during my transition and do not now. In that sense, the trans community is detached. There is not a lot of help. I thank God that I have the mother that I have and my brother. My mother has helped me in my journey.

Last year, there was a huge scandal concerning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and with the words “tranny” and “she-mail” being used. What are your thoughts on those words?

She-male is a pornographic term like cock or the p-word [or the female anatomy]. These words are used in a sexual environment. The word tranny is equivalent to the n-word. When someone says tranny, I hear the n-word. A lot of people are not educated. A lot of Black people aren’t educated [on the history of the n-word]. Also, a lot of trans people aren’t educated [on the history of the word tranny]. They go along with it and use it, not knowing that it means something sexual.

What would you like to leave our readers with?

I am following all my dreams. I am working on some acting projects, getting more into music, and doing more pageants. Follow my journey on Instagram at Hailiescommet and on Twitter at 213sahar.

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Updates/Lambda Literary Award

What a year it has been. And, none of it would have happened, if I continued to listened to the voice of doubt. Self-doubt and pessimism plague me on a consistent basis. However, after I published my novel, a number of miracles happened. I was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. I had the opportunity to read at the Carl Bean House, the West Hollywood Library (with other Lambda finalists), and the Playa Vista Library. My crowning achievement was winning the Lambda at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York on June 6th.

The awards celebrated excellence in LGBT literature and 28 years of groundbreaking literary achievement. Back in March, when the finalists were announced the Lambda Literary Foundation revealed that over 933 submissions were received from major publishing houses, independent presses, and on-demand services from around the world.

The recognition has given the book greater visibility and presence. I will be forever grateful to the Lambda Literary Foundation for that.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or CreateSpace or Kindle or Barnes and Noble.

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Video: Proud Stories

Grand Park’s social media coordinator edited together this amazing video of Proud Stories. I am so honored that I was part of this inclusive and affirming event. My hairy mug makes an appearance at 1:26.

Victor Yates SOGIE Library Proud Stories

Q Youth Foundation’s SOGIE Human Library

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Proud Stories @ SOGIE Human Library


The Q Youth Foundation curated the SOGIE Human Library at Grand Park’s Proud Stories on October 3, 2015. At Proud Stories, the community was invited to hear stories of love, acceptance, and joy through the powerful voices of L.A.’s LGBTQ and ally community. The PROUD Series celebrates the LGBTQ experience with readings, kids’ activities, and theater performances.

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During the SOGIE Human Library experience, guests were invited to flip through the catalog, read book summaries, check out a human book, and learn more about them. The human books’ role was to engage the reader to start a dialog in hopes to gain better understanding about alternative perspectives in the SOGIE/LGBTQIA+ community.

Aaron Saenz, a founding board member and current President of the Pasadena Pride Center, was one of the human books. Along with Amaury ‘Ketzal’ Reducino (behind East LA Art Walk), Claudia Rodríguez (writer/performer), Omowale Oniyide, Juan Castillo Alvarado (Latino Equality Alliance), Jesse Gutierrez (film director), Kyle Sawyer, Karene Daniel, Arturo Hernandez, and myself.

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Page from the Catalog

There was also a SOGIE Stories Recording Booth, were guests and human books recorded thoughts about, “Who they are proud to love?”

The event just happened to take place on the same day as Amber Rose’s “Slut Walk” and a sign language event. Therefore, the attendance was larger than normal.

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Page from the Catalog

Q Youth Foundation is a start up non-profit organization dedicated creating environments of Safe/Brave Spaces for LGBTQIA+/SOGIE community in Los Angeles.

Writers and performers from In The Meantime, Eastside Queer Storytelling, Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ, Writ Large Press, Gender Justice LA Theatre, and Better Brothers LA shared their stories on the main stage.

Victor Yates A Love Like Blood writer

Page from the Catalog

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Book Tour News


I am excited to announce the first stops in my book tour. The tour information is subject to change.

April 30: Oakland – The Knocturnal Project Presents Victor Yates at Qulture Collective
Address: 1714 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94607
Time: 6pm-9pm
Cost: $5

May 6: Palm Springs – Welcome Reception for Blatino Oasis with Johnnell Lyric Terrell at The Hyatt Regency
Address: 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Time: 4pm-7pm
Cost: Free

May 24: West Hollywood – Lambda Literary Finalists Reading at West Hollywood Library
Address: Council Chambers – Lower Level 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Time: 7pm
Cost: Free

June TBA: Playa Vista – Playa Vista Library/Friends of the Public Library Present Victor Yates at Playa Vista Public Library
Address: Community Room – 6400 Playa Vista Drive, Playa Vista, CA 90094
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

June 5: Brooklyn – Victor Yates Reading
Address: Private Residence – Invite Only
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

June 24: Chicago – Ubuntu Center of Chicago Presents Victor Yates
Address: 1525 East 55th Street Suite 205 Chicago, IL 60615
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

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Video: Reading at In The Meantime

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Reading at In The Meantime

The Black Artist Collective hosted Chris Cotton and I at In The Meantime in the Carl Bean House in the historic neighborhood of West Adams. The reading was significant to me because of the location. In the 80’s, when the AIDS epidemic first swept through the country, the Carl Bean House was a hospice were people went to die. Now, the property is owned by AIDS Health Foundation and the old management office space is leased by In The Meantime.

The reading was everything I hoped it would be – magical, emotional, and intimate.

It definitely prepared me for the next tour stops.

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