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5 LGBT Movers and Shakers in L.A.

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Wed, May 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

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From the national battle for marriage equality to the ever-increasing pool of public figures blasting down their closet doors, it's a good time to be LGBT.

Check out all of our People 2013 profiles

This year's People issue celebrates the 56 Angelenos we find most intriguing, including some LGBT individuals making their mark on the city and beyond. From a playwright to a poet, or a therapist to a Trekkie, here are five people who are making things happen in the L.A.'s gay community.

1. Prince Gomolvilas

click to enlarge Prince Gomolvilas - KEVIN SCANLON
  • Kevin Scanlon
  • Prince Gomolvilas

While researching The Brothers Paranormal, his latest comedy-horror play, about Thai-American brothers who launch a ghost-hunting business, Prince Gomolvilas was invited to go on a ghost hunt with the Los Angeles Paranormal Association.

The owner of a private residence in Santa Clarita had reported overwhelming paranormal activity: objects flying off shelves, a pinball machine that turned on even when unplugged, children talking to their invisible friends.

Gomolvilas, 40, who says he's "always on the lookout for proof of the paranormal," accompanied three investigators (including Layla Halfhill, a half-Thai American who was on Gomolvilas' favorite ghost-hunting show, Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures) to check it out.

Not only was the woman's house near the epicenter of 1928's St. Francis Dam disaster but the previous owners' daughter had died after falling down a well, and there was a cemetery in the backyard.

"When [the owner] mentioned that we were [also] near an Indian burial ground, I started laughing hysterically," Gomolvilas says. "It's like those stupid movies that overdo it. I could buy the dam, the girl and the cemetery. But the Indian burial ground? Come on, really?"

Five hours later -- and one door opening by itself during the night -- the results were inconclusive, and Gomolvilas still can't quite believe in the ghosts he writes about.

For more, see Ada Tseng's profile of Prince Gomolvilas.

2. Sean Z. Maker

click to enlarge Sean Z. Maker - KEVIN SCANLON
  • Kevin Scanlon
  • Sean Z. Maker

It's a given that Sean Z. Maker would grow up to create comics -- he's been drawing them most of his life. That he would also produce one of the most intriguing comic book events in the country is a little unexpected, especially for him.

Maker, né Holman -- his new name is a combination of his pen name, Sean-Z, and a Facebook handle -- founded Bent-Con, an annual November event that's one of the few fan conventions dedicated to LGBT pop culture. In just three years, Bent-Con has gone from a one-day show in a small, vacant Silver Lake storefront to a weekend-long hotel bash at the Burbank Marriott.

Maker, 37, refers to Bent-Con as a "celebration" rather than a convention. "Everything that I do that is involved in Bent-Con is a reflection of my past," he says.

For more, see Liz Ohanesian's profile of Sean Z. Maker.

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