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January 2014



r a w e e Y N FROM


A Great Big World



IAN AXEL and CHAD VACCARINO to perform "EVERYONE IS GAY" and other hits in BALTIMORE and D.C.


Michelle Visage + Patti Issues + Wyatt Evans







7 True Colors Shining Through By Louise Parker Kelley 8 Up in the Attic By Kelly Neel HIGH LIFE

9 Wyatt Evans: The Man Behind RAGE! By Steve Charing 10 Dining Out: Cunningham's

11 A Great Big World Artists "Say Something" About Equality

Band stops by Baltimore, D.C. this month to perform cuts from their upcoming album, including top five hit, “Say Something.” Kyle Suib

By Kelly Neel


RuPaul's Drag Race Judge Michelle Visage


RuPaul’s second-in-command opens up about upcoming drag tour and doles out advice for B-More queens. By Arnie VandeBrake

13 The LuPone Lifetime: Patti Issues Comes to Baltimore

Writer and performer Ben Rimaflower shares his love for all things LuPone at upcoming Creative Alliance show.

By John Cullen with Marty Shayt


14 Mandela's LGBTQ Advocacy Fallen on Deaf Ears By Rev. Irene Monroe 15 When to Say Yes to the Dress By Courtney Bedell 15 HIV/AIDS: A Quick History Lesson By Justin B. Terry-Smith REAL LIFE

18 National & International News

By Rachel Roth


20 Datebook

By Rachel Roth

By Frankie Kujawa








Welcome to 2014, Gay Life Readers! I hope our latest issue finds you recovering nicely from last month’s holiday merriment and successfully managing your freshly formed New Year’s resolutions. We’ve lined up some stellar stories for our January issue, including a chat with one of my favorite drag mothers, RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage. On the music front, Gay Life’s arts writer Kelly Neel got a chance to speak with one of the hottest bands of the moment, A Great Big World. Additionally, we are thrilled to begin a six part Baltimore LGBT history series penned by former Baltimore resident and longtime LGBT activist Louise Parker Kelley. Louise was incredibly active in the movement here in Baltimore from the ‘70s–‘90s (and still lends an

invaluable hand with the GLCCB’s Archive Project) and we’re honored that she will sharing her stories (and dish!) on how much the movement has changed (and yet, remained the same) over the years. Welcome Louise! How have we been doing? Are we missing great stories that you’d like to see in Gay Life? Drop me a line at and let me know your thoughts! Happy January! Until next month…



A Great Big World's Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino.

FACEBOOK.COM/GLCCB • TWITTER.COM/GLCCB • YOUTUBE.COM/THEGLCCB Dan McEvily, Editor M. Cory Burgess, Art Director Sabre Chase, Advertising

GAYLIFE Read it. Live it.

Love it.

241 W. Chase Street Baltimore, MD 21201 410.777.8145 Phone 410.777.8135 Fax

National Advertising Rep. Rivendell Media, 212.242.6863 Marty Shayt, Senior Volunteer Contributors Courtney Bedell, Steve Charing, John Cullen, Louise

Parker Kelley, Frankie Kujawa, Rev. Irene Monroe, Kelly Neel, Rachel Roth, Marty Shayt, Justin B. Terry-Smith, Arnie VandeBrake

Photographers John Kardys, Samatra Johnson, Kelly Neel, Richelle Taylor, Jay W.

Magazine Committee Maggie Beetz, John Cullen, Doug Rose, Marty Shayt, Richelle Taylor, Matt Thorn

Gay Life is a publication of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB). Gay Life is published monthly in Baltimore, Md., with distribution throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Gay Life is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Gay Life or its publisher.




GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland Serving the LGBT Community of Maryland for 35 years

241 W. Chase St. • Baltimore, MD 21201 • 410.777.8145 •

Trans Programs

Women’s Programs





A safe, respectful, confidential environment where all transmen can share their story and their journey. 2nd Tuesdays 6pm • Rm 202

A support group for trans* men (FTM). 3rd Thursdays 6:30pm • 1st Floor


A support group for trans* women (MTF), but anyone who varies from traditional gender expression is welcome. 2nd & 4th Saturdays 8pm • Rm 201


Care-coordinators will offer recovery support services for LGBT individuals. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS LGBTQ centered AA recovery groups, welcoming to all. Mondays 7:15pm Thursdays 8:30pm Saturdays 6:30pm Rm 201


An open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, which provides a safe place for those with HIV or other health related issues. All are welcome. Sundays 6:15pm • Rm 201

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS Men’s Rap group for men in recovery. Sundays, 11:30am • Rm 201

Health & Wellness BEGINNERS’ YOGA

Gentle beginners’ yoga with instructor Tim Hurley, RYT. $9 Sundays 3:30pm• Rm 201

SILhouette (Spiritually In-tuned Lesbians) is a spiritual community of women who love women desiring to discover, embrace and live as their spiritual-authentic self. 1st and 3rd Tuesdays 7pm • Rm 201 A safe, confidential, and supportive space for LBTQ women of all colors. 2nd, 4th, & 5th Thursdays 7:30pm 1st Floor


A support, social, and discussion group for LGBTQ teens and allies ages 13-19, in partnership with PFLAG Baltimore. Every Tuesday 7-9pm • 1st Floor RYABaltimore

Beginner Yoga


With Yoga Therapist Tim Hurley

A discussion, support, and social group for young adult LGBT identified or questioning individuals and their allies. Tuesdays at 5:30pm

Sundays at 3:30pm (please arrive a few minutes early) Room 201 at The GLCCB 241 W. Chase St. Cost is $9

Community Programs 410.837.5445 A portion of the cost is donated back to The GLCCB


A free, weekly, peer-led support group for HIV-positive individuals in the LGBT community. Wednesdays 7-8pm • Rm 202


A welcoming book club for LGBTQ individuals to discuss a selected reading. 3rd Mondays 7pm • Rm 202 groups/139583666184199


FREE and confidential testing from the Baltimore City Health Dept. Wednesdays 5-8pm • 3rd Floor



GAYLIFE Read it. Live it.


continued in next column u

The GLCCB is the publisher of Gay Life and the producer of Baltimore Pride

Love it.



True Colors Shining Through BY LOUISE PARKER KELLEY

Gay Life is celebrating 35 years of publication in 2014. In commemoration, we have enlisted the storytelling talents of Louise Parker Kelley to give readers a behind-thescenes history lesson on Baltimore’s LGBT movement. Louise has served as both a GLCCB board member and the editor of the Gay Paper, and was at the forefront of LGBT movement here in Baltimore from the beginning. Over the next six issues, Louise will be serializing her experiences in Baltimore from the late-‘70s to the mid-‘90s. We’re excited and honored to have her once again in Gay Life’s pages! Long, long ago, in 1978, my lover Patti and I moved to a funky apartment on St. Paul Street—high gorgeous ceilings, lots of light, but with an unfortunate intermittent mouse problem. We were college students, and we were two women in love. Back then Baltimore was in the quivering beginning of what would later be a thriving gay and lesbian culture. We got books at the 31st Street Bookstore. We went to John Waters’ movies at the Charles or the Maryland Institute. We danced at the Hippo or Mitchell’s. Mostly, we had a very good time, except for that problem known as homophobia. How did the community begin organizing? First there was the 31st Street women’s bookstore, which began around 1974, and journals/publications with various titles. Then there was the Baltimore Gay Alliance (BGA), a political group that first met in Dana Rethmeyer’s apartment in 1975. Then the Gay Community Center of Baltimore (GCCB) grew out of BGA, incorporating as a 501(c)(3) charity in 1977. Services included a switchboard staffed in the evenings, sexually transmitted disease clinic, some social events and a newsletter. Then, in late 1978, Vice President Gail Vivino asked the two of us to join GCCB. In those days GCCB membership meetings were intense, and lengthy. Sometimes we were there until midnight, arguing about—well, 35 years later, who


cares? It was surely a variety pack of folks, way beyond the overt differences of race and gender. Membership meetings should have labeled: may contain nuts. We had to learned how to play nice, like the song by Sly and the Family Stone: “There is a yellow one that won’t accept the black one / That won’t accept the red one, that won’t accept the white one / Different strokes for different folks / And so on and so on and Scooby dooby doo-bee
do / ‘Cause I am everyday people” . . . except we really weren’t everyday, at least not conformist. I sure wasn’t. In 1980 GCCB was an oddly sprawled organization, an umbrella group with different locations. The Gay Switchboard had a room in the basement of Gail’s house in Charles Village. The Gay STD Clinic, which had started in an office across the street from the 31st Street Bookstore, had just moved in to a larger basement office at 2st and Maryland Avenue in Charles Village. The Center itself had recently created an office next to the Clinic, but the layout was peculiar, two long rooms, the Clinic on one side of the wall, the Center on the other. There was door, but it was normally locked. Clinic records were highly confidential, especially then, when Baltimore was still seriously closeted. I am not kidding. People were extremely paranoid about being out in Baltimore, for good reasons. The first try for a civil rights bill featured a rally with two people wearing paper bags on their heads, carrying signs explaining that they would lose their jobs if they were seen at a gay protest. One joke had it that there were only four lesbians in Baltimore, since so few of us could be filmed or interviewed by the media. I was one of them, but then I did not have family living in Baltimore, my employer knew and didn’t care about my sexual preference and I was going to Towson State University, where there was a limited amount of tolerance. Most people could not let their true CONTINUED ON PAGE 17 u




Up in the Attic

PRESERVING 35 YEARS OF LGBT HISTORY BY KELLY NEEL Picture the first day of work at a new job—new co-workers, new projects, and a new office space to navigate; it’s like the first day of grade school all over again. Now imagine getting a tour of the stomping grounds and stumbling upon 35 years worth of old newspapers strewn across a dusty old attic. What do you do next? Call up Hoarders and run for the door? Or make a pledge to organize and protect the history that has flopped open on the pages in front of you? The latter is what Denise Duarte, archive committee founder and former GLCCB artist in residence, did after making this real life discovery. Upon seeing the stacks of papers in the attic that first day, she made a promise to herself that she would do anything to see that these pages of history be respectfully preserved and archived. Thirty-five years worth of Baltimore’s LGBT milestones and hardships examined and written by the hands of those who lived through it—a fascinating collection of events— was about to be revitalized. While in her residency, Denise spent any extra time she had researching the best practices for salvaging and properly maintaining and storing the collection. Once her residency ended she dedicated

ARCHIVES ONLINE In time with the 35th Anniversary of Gay Life, we have begun uploading the first issues of Gay Life from 1979 and 1980 (then known as The Gay Community Center of Baltimore Newsletter). Be sure to check them out on starting January 1, 2014.



herself to the project as a volunteer. “Fortunately, [at] about that same time, two volunteers were discovered who shared this dream with me [Patrick Alexander and Arnie VandeBrake]. A team was formed,” Denise said. Tirelessly, they began sorting and filing not only the back issues of Gay Life, but also the many other historical documents, artifacts and photographs they found on the fourth floor. Denise has since moved out of state but says, “I think for me, the one moment that will stay in my mind forever, was after we had organized all the back issues of Gay Life and I was preparing to leave the collection in Patrick and Arnie’s care. We were in the back room and looking at all the file boxes and file cabinets that littered the space. I was saying that each paper needed to be looked at, as we did not know what stories of interest might be buried in the boxes. I opened a box and pulled out a paper at random. I began to read it aloud…it was the hand-written testimony of Frank Kameny* when he appeared before the Maryland Legislature! I think my heart actually skipped a beat. I know I stopped breathing and was shaken to the core. That piece of paper was what all our effort was all about.” Patrick mentions that, “Seeing the evolution of Baltimore’s LGBT community documented in the newspapers has been both fascinating and enlightening. They have helped me understand more about the lives and struggles of past generations of LGBT individuals. The community has made tremendous strides and overcome many obstacles and it is important to remember the work done by those who came before us.” Patrick has also expressed a need for digitizing the back issues—making them accessible not only to Baltimore’s LGBT community, but to people around the country and the world. “Many of the older CONTINUED ON PAGE 17 u

Photos by Kelly Neel

*Frank Kameny was of great significance to the LGBT community and a booming voice for LGBT civil rights. Fired for his homosexuality in 1961, Kameny protested and was the first to argue a civil rights claim based on sexual orientation, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kameny played a key role in the removal of homosexuality as classified mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and went on to fight many battles for the rights of LGBT citizens nationwide.



Wyatt Evans: The Man Behind RAGE! BY STEVE CHARING One would think Wyatt O’Brian Evans would not have the time to write a novel, much less two. Besides being an author, the D.C.-area resident is also a journalist, entrepreneur, instructor, public/motivational speaker, voice-over instructor/talent, actor, and comedian. Communication is a huge part of Evans’ DNA as evidenced by his ability to speak in complete sentences when he was just months old. As an adolescent, he wrote poems and created a series of comic books. In college Evans received Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and Political Science from the George Washington University and went on to become a solid journalist over the next 25 years that included stints with the Huffington Post, Bilerico, Maryland Journal, Washington Post, American Politics, and a host of other print and online outlets. Evans has written in-depth and influential syndicated series on both LGBTQ intimate partner violence/abuse (IPV/A) and racism—issues that are significant to him as well as the community at large. He put to use the skill set he has developed over the years and wanted to create a novel that examines these key issues. Evans did just that when he wrote the popular and well-received series of novels, Nothing Can Tear Us Apart (gay/ethnic), released by Nair’Bo Universal—the publishing and production house he created.


The next installment in the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series, RAGE!, will be available in mid-January. RAGE! centers on Wes, a 45 year-old, successful African-American celebrity, and his new-found love, ‘Tonio, his 31 year-old muscular Puerto Rican chief of security. One thing they have in common is that they both have had rather unsuccessful relationships in the past. They eventually fall in love only to have someone attempt to ruin the relationship by making ‘Tonio believe Wes had been unfaithful. Taking the bait, the frenzied bodyguard physically brutalizes his soul mate. The final blow comes when the couple learns just who is behind the deception. But that’s not the end of the story because far more occurs that profoundly impacts both men. “The characters can’t help but fall deeply, passionately and madly in love,” says Evans. “I created a ‘slow burn,’ if you will—no sex occurs until they pledge their love for one another. I wanted to show these two guys falling into love, not lust. Afterwards, they form a monogamous relationship.” Evans fervently believes this novel is thought-provoking and that it would have universal appeal. “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—RAGE! addresses and explores topical, relevant and timely themes and issues,” he explains. They include partner violence/ abuse, the DL, and ethnic tensions between African-Americans and Latinos. Evans adds, “It is full of rich drama, action, masculine romance, intrigue, provocative sexual situations, and twists and turns. Men and women—be they gay, straight, bisexual, transgender—can embrace and relate to Wes and ‘Tonio because their story is one of true, deep romantic love between two individuals.” RAGE! will be available January 15 and exclusively available for three months at You can visit him at:, and follow him on Facebook at and the Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club. JANUARY 2014




Cunningham's BY JOHN CULLEN WITH MARTY SHAYT Seduced by gushy write-ups that we’ve read in the Baltimore Sun and Yelp!, we made reservations for dinner at Cunningham’s in Towson which opened in November. We arrived on time for our 7 pm reservation, but the hostess told us our table wasn’t ready and to wait in their (very crowded) bar. Two bartenders paid more attention to filling the servers drink orders than to us. Forty minutes later, the hostess came to escort us to a table which only had one chair for our party of four! After digging up the missing chairs, she left us with a wine list on a tablet encased in a leather cover. It was an interesting touch, but John wondered how customers unfamiliar with tablets would find this. The attempts at an elegant atmosphere were undercut by faux butcher block tables tops. Small two seat tables are laid out in long rows claustrophobically a foot apart. The menu offers a dozen starters ($8 - 15), a handful of pastas (most $18), and fifteen entrees ($20-65). For lighter fare, there’s a burger ($13) and a four flat breads ($10-13). Some sliced bread brought to the table (baked on site) was



tasty though actually cold to the touch (probably from the same overactive air conditioning that the management couldn’t seem to turn off. Our server tried telling us about specials, but we had trouble hearing her in the noisy dining room. John started with the pumpkin soup ($8) and Marty ordered the lobster ginger soup ($9); both were tasty but arrived at the table lukewarm as if they’re had been sitting around too long. Frank’s roasted beets ($9) featured a single diced beet with a few pieces of artichoke which looked lost on the large plate and decidedly overpriced; he wouldn’t order it again. Tom ordered the Sweet Potato flat bread ($11) as his starter. Looking like a makeshift pizza; the crust was soggy from the topping and the blue cheese mentioned in the menu description was missing. Our entrees were a mixed bag. One of our friends ordered the grilled maitake mushroom “steak” ($20). When it arrived, the small mound of mushroom placed on the side of a large white plate looked as if the kitchen had forgotten to put the main course on the plate. Our server explained that was, indeed, the entree. Short rib beef ($24) arrived on top of pureed cauliflower, with leaves of sautéed Swiss chard and was ok. Another entree, the duck breast, included four small slices of duck with a spoonful of gold rice and topped by a squash and turnip warm salad ($29) was ok. Marty’s two crab cakes ($28) served with a copper tankard of French fries and a little dish of celery root slaw. Marty liked the fries and crab cakes (but not the overly acidic slaw) and the consensus was that he had made the best entrée decision. Regardless, entrée portions were pretty small particularly in context of the prices. A nearby diner’s $13 hamburger looked more satisfying that at least a couple of our entrees! We sampled three desserts. A trio of three different flavored “made here” ice creams for $6 was best of the three (though the flavors were hard to distinguish from one another) The trifle ($8) was trifling with more whipped cream

than anything else and not recommended. The third dessert, Pumpkin Creme Cake ($8), included three not particularly satisfying tiny ¾-inch squares with layers of cake and crème, served with a tiny scoop of green apple sorbet. With a over 40-minute wait for our reserved for a table; bartenders who ignored us; as many “misses” as “hits” with our meal; a bill that averaged over $40 a person (and that’s without drinks); a very loud dining area, and blasts of air conditioning (this on a 27 degree evening outside), our meal at Cunningham’s was memorable - but for mostly all the wrong reasons. The average customer who isn’t a reviewer for the Sun or a friend of the owners may find that Cunningham’s needs time to resolve more than its share of new restaurant rough edges. Finally, Cunningham’s makes a big deal

about their free valet parking. Finding the valet parking isn’t obvious at all and a friend who gave up and ended up parking on the other side of York Road from Cunningham’s had to pay $240 to rescue his towed car. He also found if you don’t use the valet parking, finding Cunningham’s unmarked front door isn’t obvious either.


1 Olympic Place • Towson, MD W410.339.7730 T Full Bar • Llimited vegetarian options Free valet parking (under the restaurant off of Olympic Place) Email and find all prior reviews at






A Great Big World Artists "Say Something" About Equality BY KELLY NEEL

With their first full-length album as a duo scheduled to release this month, Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino of A Great Big World have already hit number one on iTunes and their single “Say Something,” featuring Christina Aguilera, has just been certified Platinum. Slated to head out on their first headlining tour in mid-January, the pair has been swept up into a musical whirlwind kicked off by their live performance with Xtina herself on The Voice. Since then, life has been non-stop. Previously performing at house shows and small venues, A Great Big World is now performing for the masses on such stages as the American Music Awards and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. “It doesn’t feel like any of this is real… It really feels like I’m walking into our dreams and every single day were just creating life as we go. It feels surreal,” says Axel. Carrying the number one spot on iTunes is a proud moment for the pair, who are gaining steam. “How is that us? It’s weird. We’ve never been number one, we’ve never been number two, three; we’ve never been up there!” Vaccarino giddily exclaims. Surrounded on the charts by artists like Pitbull and Eminem adds “another kind of shock value to us,” says Axel, “It’s crazy because it’s such a simple, bare-bones song, [there’s] not a lot of production to it and all the songs around it are these artists that seem larger than life to us.” When asked about the inspiration for the song the mutual consensus was broken hearts. “I think it [was] about four years ago [when] we wrote this song. The song was our therapy. It’s about letting go and writing [it] helped us realize what we were going through. It gave us this bigger perspective of the whole thing. It helped heal us,” Axel said. Now the song is helping heal others.


With such heart-wrenching and simple lyrics “Say Something” manages run the gamut of emotions. It breaks the heart while simultaneously giving listeners the comfort that they are not alone in their pain; that it’s okay to be broken. “We felt the most alone ever when we wrote it; the weight of the entire universe was on us, and [it’s crazy] to think that this many people are connecting to the song. The song belongs to everyone,” Ian says. Fairly recently, the band experienced their first encounter with an entire room of fans singing out loud the lyrics of “Say Something” as they performed the song. It was a moment they would never forget. “I could feel their pain and each one of them had their own experience with the song and it was so emotional for me to see that. It was heavy,” said Chad. Aside from their success with “Say Something,” A Great Big World has also connected with fans in the LGBT community. In February of 2013 their song “This is the New Year” was performed on the hit TV series Glee. In addition the duo penned a song in 2012 for the Everyone is Gay website in an effort to help crowd-source funding to expand their LGBT outreach. The song “Everyone is Gay” (originally called “Somewhere in the Middle”) boasts acceptance regardless of labels. “As a kid growing up I was bullied constantly.” Vaccarino says. “I had people calling me all of these terrible gay slurs. I didn’t identify myself as gay at the time and it was super confusing. I didn’t understand why kids were making fun of me and calling me gay when I didn’t think I was gay. Then finally when I got to college, I met Ian and was kind of like ‘you know what, I can be anything I want to be and I don’t need to label myself.’ That’s kind of where the song comes from. It’s like the spectrum of sexuality; you don’t need to

label yourself as gay or straight. You can be straight one day and gay the next, and that’s okay.” “I totally agree with Chad on that,” chimes in Axel, “I feel like we’re all somewhere on the spectrum. I might be a little bit more to a side than Chad, but I don’t think it’s black and white at all.” While the song was originally written to support a good cause and help the Everyone is Gay team, it wasn’t until they started playing the song at shows that they realized the true impact it was having. “I’ll always remember this: we played a house show in Salt Lake City for all Mormons. Before the show we were kind of warned not to play it because it might make people feel uncomfortable [but] we had a ‘rock star’ moment and we were like ‘no we’re going to play this song!’ Afterwards kids were coming up to us thanking us and it was so profound. It made us feel like we were doing something right and it made us realize the responsibilities we had with the songs we were writing,” Axel remarked. “I feel like people can just feel that it’s a song about love and if people can walk away smiling and feeling that love, and that we’re all in this thing together, then that’s what I want.” At another show in Alabama, Vaccarino had several fans come up to him after the show and fall into his arms crying simply

because they had sung “Everyone is Gay.” “We’ve had our most powerful performance experiences with this song,” he says, “One girl even said her parents tried to give her an exorcism for being gay and that was one of the most powerful moments in my entire life. To hear that that still happens is mind blowing to me and to know that we could possibly be a message of good or light in this darkness is incredible.” With such kind hearts and open minds, A Great Big World’s mission to spread love and positive messages seems to come naturally. Their profound and endearing lyrics are sure to win the hearts of anyone who listens. Be sure to catch them out on tour this month, making stops in both D.C. and Baltimore. This is their new year and it’s going to be a big one!

A GREAT BIG WORLD Friday, January 17 • 7pm • $15 U Street Music Hall 1115 U St., NW • Washington, D.C. T Saturday, February 1 • 8pm • $18 Baltimore Soundstage 124 Market Place • Baltimore, MD T Baltimore Soundstage






RuPaul's Drag Race Judge Michelle Visage BY ARNIE VANDEBRAKE

Anyone who has seen RuPaul’s Drag Race will tell you that Michelle Visage is not one to mince words. Known for her frank observations and candid tongue, Visage has earned a reputation as the tough judge on LOGO’s hit reality show. What some fans may not realize is that Visage’s critiques come from more than 25 years of experience in show biz. A true Renaissance woman, Visage was a member of ‘80s dance-pop girl group Seduction, is featured on the #1 selling album of all time (1992’s Bodyguard soundtrack), and held numerous radio and TV hosting gigs (including cohosting The RuPaul Show in the late ‘90s). Even in the off-season of filming Drag Race—the show shoots for six weeks each summer—Visage doesn’t have a minute to spare. Take the last two months as an example, which saw Visage host numerous Drag Race gigs around the country, play Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show in Texas in October, and entertain on the Drag Race at Sea Caribbean cruise in December. 2014 is shaping up to be another busy year for Visage. In January, she will play host to a slew of Drag Race queens in the RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons tour, which stops at D.C.’s 9:30 Club on Jan. 14. Gay Life recently spoke to Visage about the upcoming D.C. show, the sixth season of Drag Race, and her surprising connection to Baltimore. You’ve had a lot on your plate over the last few months—the Battle of the Seasons tour, sailing the high seas, filming season six of Drag Race, not to mention being an active wife and mother. I’ve only got 24 hours in my day, how many hours do you have in your day? There’s not a minute that isn’t accounted for. Being a mother and a wife comes first, and I couldn’t do everything else without



my husband. He holds the fort down when I’m not there. I’ve got two teenage girls, so there’s a lot of FaceTime, Skype, and phone calls. It’s a well-oiled machine. I’m so grateful that there isn’t a moment to breathe because that means I’m working and getting closer to achieving the goals that I want to achieve. I’m also getting to spread the word and see the joy that everyone has for our show and that makes me so, so happy. That’s why I do what I do. Can you talk to me about what Battle of the Seasons looks like and how it’s structured? People have seen us at Cobalt and Town and they know what we do in a club setting, but this is an actual theater show where we perform live. There are duets. There are videos being played. It’s a production, which is fantastic because it lets people know that drag is a viable form of art. It’s nothing to be laughed off at, or to look at when you’re drunk in a bar. It’s art that these kids have procured and perfected that drives them in life. It’s what they love to do. It’s truly an artistic expression and we get to show you that by bringing it to the theater! What’s your role in the show? I host the whole shebang, but I do perform as well. I’m going back to my musical theater roots. I change up the words and do some funny theater songs. It’s not Seduction performing, but it’s singing live and it’s what I really love to do. I’m happy to be doing it again. I heard a rumor that you may be doing more of that—going back to your roots and doing a cabaret-style show. Yes! That’s actually just starting out. We did it on the cruise ship. It was such a huge success and a sell-out, they had to

Photo by Jose Guzman Colon

turn people away at the door. It was just slightly over an hour, but we could have filled another hour. People were just clamoring. They loved it. It just goes to show me that people out there still love the theater, but it’s not presented in the way it used to be in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s where it was more intimate. It’s kind of a one woman show, but with other people. It’s right there in your face, the reaction. You’re singing, you’re talking, you’re sharing stories and I love that intimacy. And the people who really love to hear live show tunes are the people that we want to come see it. Who’s your favorite composer to sing? I have quite a few. I love Jerry Herman, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein. I like some Sondheim. I don’t sing Sondheim well, so that’s why I don’t love it. I’m a belter. I can’t do, like, Rodgers & Hart. I think they’re beautiful to listen to, but I

don’t sing it very well. When you’re signing, you want to sing what you do best, you know? Absolutely. You want to do something that really fits that you can connect to. Right. So I sing songs that I love, or that I’ve loved in the past that I change. I love to sing songs that I sang when I was 14 and they’re so obnoxious when I sing them at 45 that it makes them hilarious. I do “How Lovely to Be a Woman” from Bye Bye Birdie, but I change the lyrics completely and call it “How Lovely to Be a Drag Queen.” You said it’s a sort of one-woman show. Will that involve other queens from the tour? The cabaret idea is like an expanded one-woman show, so it will be more like CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 u



The LuPone Lifetime: Patti Issues Comes to Baltimore BY FRANKIE KUJAWA

Writer and performer Ben Rimalower will delight audiences at the Creative Alliance Jan. 25 with his acclaimed performance of Patti Issues. The show delves into the issues that Rimalower began facing at the tender age of eight, when his father came out of the closet and, along with his ensuing drug abuse, left the performer’s family in tatters. Amid his drama-filled childhood, Rimalower was able to find refuge in both musical theater and the voice of Broadway star Patti LuPone. Rimalower recently spoke with Gay Life to discuss the inspiration behind his show, his passion for all things LuPone, and the Baltimore reunion he is hoping have while in town. What is it about Patti LuPone that has captivated you for all these years? Well, from that perspective it would be the sort of fiery drama in Patti’s energy and in her voice and her style of performing. There’s a reason she has excelled in those roles as Eva Peron in Evita and Rose in Gypsy. In my show, I talk about how Patti’s teacher at Julliard once described her as having the ‘smell of the gallows.’ You know the place where they

hang people. I don’t think he means she has gallows humor, but that she is out for blood. That’s what makes people love her. It perfectly describes her ability to hold other’s attention with so much rapture. Do you remember when you first heard Patti’s performance in Evita? I was four years old and we lived in New York City. The Evita commercial came on television and was absolutely mesmerizing. Patti sang, in this beautiful voice and blonde wig, ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’, as well as ‘Buenos Aires’ in her brunette wig. The final moment of the commercial was so brilliant because Patti ends with singing ‘Buenos Aires’ and winks into the camera. What was that moment like for you? In my show I compare it to that final moment in Michael Jackson’s Thriller. That final moment when Michael is back to the nice sweet Michael from the beginning and the ghouls are gone and you think everything else is safe. All of a sudden he looks at the camera and viewer and you see his red eyes. For me, Patti did the


Photo by Christian Coulson


same thing. She looked at the camera and winked with this subtle, bitchy look and I totally got it. I may have been too young, but I still totally got it. Then when I was in junior high and I was becoming obsessed with musicals, I discovered the double album of Evita. I loved every word of each song she sang. Where did the inspiration for this performance come from? I’ve been a director my whole career. I was frustrated with the material that I had access to as a director. I always thought about writing. I felt like I had to do it for the sake of both my career and my creativity. I had been writing a blog for a friend’s website. Even though writing had been difficult for me in early life, I found writing in the first person comfortable for me. I had this idea to write the show about Patti because I’m so obsessed with her. My passion about Patti would get me over the fear and laziness that I had for writing. Do you find it difficult to put your life out there on display in such a raw form each night for audiences? Um, well, no [laughs]. I have never been a very private person. I’ve always been an open book. Like many people in our culture today I’m very involved with social media and it felt very natural about putting myself out there. You akin Patti LuPone’s performance of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” in Evita to that of Dynasty’s over-the-top Alexis and the scene in which she finally takes over her ex-husband Blake’s company and mansion while victoriously sipping champagne. Do you see Patti playing a stage-version Alexis Carrington on Broadway anytime soon? Yes, absolutely! I mean, who else could touch that role like Patti could? Have

Photo by Larry Hamilton

you seen Patti in American Horror Story:Coven? I mean, she gave her son a bleach enema! You recently were the guest bartender on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, with Patti herself as a guest. Patti explained that you and she had some back history working together in theater. What was your interaction with her like prior to writing Patti Issues? I started my career in New York City in 1999 with Lonnie Price in many different productions. One of these productions included Sweeny Todd. So there was a lot of interaction with Patti in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Patti then hired me to edit her professional demo reel. After that she hired me to do her complete personal video archives. That was not a very big deal professionally, but for me it was a fucking mind-blowing experience. Here were all these brown paper bags filled with every video clip of Patti. She and I have been friends now for 15 years. Do you find it cathartic that Patti is now someone that you can call your friend? Yes, it blows my mind! It’s still not so cathartic because I’m still so obsessed with her. Sometimes, it’s like she’s just Patti, this woman that I know. Then other times she’s ‘Patti’ this goddess that’s in my life. When Patti first came to your show, I’m sure you must have been nervous. Oh my God, you have no idea! She had come to see the second performance of the show. Being a director, I had never really written anything other than blogs, and I had never performed. Since I was writing and now performing for the first time, I was already nervous. I don’t think I could CONTINUED ON PAGE 23 u





Mandela's LGBTQ Advocacy Fallen on Deaf Ears in Africa and African Diasporic Communities


As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela—who was oftentimes affectionately referred to by his Xhosa clan name “Madiba,” or as “Tata” (Father)—I, too, like so many LGBTQ activists across the globe, give thanks for his unwavering support on behalf of our civil rights. During his tenure as president Mandela modeled for the world what an LGBTQinclusive democracy entailed. For example, under Mandela, South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The country was the fifth in the world, and the first on the Motherland to legalize marriage equality. While in office Mandela appointed an HIV-positive gay



man, Edwin Cameron, to the nation’s highest court. And long before his son, Makgatho Mandela, 54, died of AIDS, Mandela was the country’s most vocal and visible HIV/AIDS prevention advocate campaigning against both its stigma and silence. But, sadly, Nelson Mandela’s LGBTQ advocacy and his impact on the Motherland as well as African diasporic countries and communities across the globe have shown little or no light. Much of the opposition to LGBTQ civil rights deriving from these countries and communities around the globe—Africa, Caribbean, European and the Americas—when not fueled and funded by Western right-wing homophobic Christian groups—was that no credible heterosexual Alpha male role model

could possibly exist and also be African of a royal patriarchal warrior/chief lineage. But as a former boxer and son of the chief of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu tribe in South Africa, Mandela was the quintessential paragon of African royalty, black power and black masculinity. However, Mandela’s forward thinking and actions neither tamped down nor stemmed anti-gay rhetoric, murderous acts or homophobic witch-hunting. For example, to hear of human rights abuses in Uganda’s is sadly, not new. The country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill dubbed “Kill the Gays bill” criminalizes same-sex relations. And depending on which category your homosexual behavior is classified as— “aggravated homosexual” or “the offense of homosexuality”—you’ll either received the death penalty or if you’re lucky life imprisonment. David Kato, father of the Uganda’s LGBTQ rights movement, however, didn’t live to receive either punishment. On a list of 100 LGBTQ Ugandans whose names and photos were published in an October 2010 tabloid newspaper calling for their execution, Kato was murdered in January of 2011. Throughout the African continent there are numerous stories of homophobic bullying, bashing and abuses of its LGBTQ population. None of us will forget Zimbabwe’s despot Robert Mugabe, who treated his LGBTQ citizens with torturous action, has yet to be brought to justice. Mugabe’s condemnation of his LGBTQ population is that they are the cause of Zimbabwe’s problems and he views homosexuality as “un-African” and an immoral culture brought by colonists and practiced by only ‘a few whites’ in his country.” But if truth be told, Mandela’s advocacy has shown very little light even in his country, the one country you don’t expect to hear antiLGBTQ rhetoric and human rights abuses. But South Africa has a serious problem with its LGBTQ population, and especially with lesbians. And its method to remedy its problem with lesbians is “corrective rape.” Corrective rape is a hate crime that for the most part goes unreported and unprosecuted in South Africa. And, these rapes are the major contributor to HIV/AIDS epidemic among South African lesbians. In the Caribbean, Jamaica is not the most

homophobic island country; it’s just simply the most infamous for its anti-LGBTQ crimes. Homophobia in Jamaica goes unchallenged in that a person can simply speculate about a persons’ sexual orientation or gender identity and then plot to kill him. The intent to murder LGBTQs is unabashedly announced without fear because the police won’t protect them from mob-led murders and violence. As a matter-of-fact, the police incite the country’s homophobic frenzy - by either being present and inactive during these assaults or by following and watching the members of the LGBTQ community. And in Jamaica, like other anti-LGBTQ friendly countries, homophobic violence drives the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here in the U.S. Mandela’s LGBTQ advocacy was for the most part ignored by most black churches and their cadre of homophobic African American ministers who professed to have marched with MLK during the black civil rights era. In 2013 our first black president, Barak Obama, who like Mandela, modeled and legislated on behalf of LGBTQ civil rightslike DADT, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the repeal of DOMA, to name a few. But, there is still a huge vocal and visible anti-LGBTQ contingent of black Christian ministers and churches. For these ministers, some of whom support LGBTQ civil rights but draw the line on same-sex marriage. They say their opposition to same-sex marriage is a prophylactic measure to combat the epidemic of fatherlessness in black families. In scapegoating the LGBTQ community, these clerics intentionally are ignoring the social ills behind black fatherlessness, such as the systematic disenfranchisement of both African-American men and women, high unemployment, high incarceration, and poor education. Mandela’s LGBTQ advocacy and his impact on the Motherland as well as African diasporic countries and communities across the globe has for the most part fallen on deaf ears. We all need another Mandela to help us evolve. But as Obama stated in his eulogy to Madiba “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.” GAY LIFE MAGAZINE



When to Say Yes to the Dress BY COURTNEY BEDELL

Unless you are one of the fortunate children who have enough selfawareness to declare at a very young age that they are not of the gender in which they are being raised, you will likely not transition until later in life. Despite the gender roles assigned to them at birth some children are deciding at a young age that they are the wrong gender. In last month’s news Coy Mathis, now age 6, was one such child. From age 2 she knew she was a girl and fought for the right to live as one. Her parents have decided to give her puberty-delaying hormones that will prevent masculinization of her body until she is 17, the age required by the standards of care before transsexuals can undergo sex-reassignment surgery (SRS). The hormones prevent the development of male secondary sex characteristics; deep voice and facial hair. MTFs fare much better physically by preventing these unwanted characteristics. Unfortunately, most of us TGs were not as resolute as Coy was at her tender age. By 12 I felt strongly that I was a girl but unlike Coy, I couldn’t talk about it to my parents, or anyone else. I did what most TGs did 20 or 30 years ago: deny, deny, deny! At 12 I was wearing my older sister’s dresses and using her make-up, but not in public. Despite my having plenty of friends adolescence was a lonely and devastating time for me. I could only be myself when I was alone so I often hooked school to spend the day in a dress curling my hair and putting on make-up. Nobody ever saw me looking pretty—ask any teenage girl if that isn’t a version of hell! I wanted to tell my mom but I just couldn’t find the words. Even when she might have picked up on the clues she didn’t open the subject. When I saw a psychiatrist at my parent’s behest it took me two years to BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

tell him I was convinced that I was a girl and had XX female chromosomes. Naturally, he thought I was simply gay or a cross-dresser. I continued to live two separate lives for another 20 unhappy years. My life was forever changed when my brother took me to see his jazz pianist friend Jessica Williams perform. He played music with her before she became Jessica. To meet an actual transsexual from nearby Dundalk was absolutely revelatory to me. I saw that an ordinary person could change his sex. I had always thought a TS was an exotic, “fully formed” female who just happened to have a male appendage. Meeting Jessica showed me that a TS was someone just like me who simply needed to transition to the correct gender. After meeting her that night I knew that I too would someday make the change and become whole. Transgender folks today are fortunate in that they don’t need a transformative experience like I had meeting Jessica. The word “transgender” is in mainstream media now. TG issues are discussed on television shows. Everyone has likely met, has a family member, or works with, a TG. Every city has gender therapists and probably an SRS surgeon. Congress is currently voting on a bill to protect TG rights! We are out! So, the answer to “when do you say yes to the dress?” is simply, as soon as possible! From my own experience, I say do yourself a huge favor and don’t waste half your life denying your true essence! Don’t endure decades of pain and loneliness waiting for the ideal time to change. We often wait until the situation becomes severe enough to outweigh our fear of the potential upheaval our transition will cause. It doesn’t have to be that way if we approach it preemptively before our lives

become unbearable or unmanageable. See a gender therapist, go to a support group (Tranquility at GLCCB), search your feelings, explore your options, sort it all out and learn what action is best for you. You may decide it is time to transition or you may discover transition is not right for you­—the key word

here is “discovery.” In the New Year I hope to hear from some of you so we may keep a dialog going on TG life. Write to me at and I will answer your letter in this column. I wish you GENDER PEACE and WHOLENESS! JANUARY 2014





In 2014, you cannot have a conversation about 35 years of Gay Life and not talk about HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS have been around for a long time, even before the 1980s. Scientists have now assessed that most recent migration of HIV jumped into the human population from a monkey that was infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) in Central Africa, but the first known cases of HIV were discovered perhaps as early as the 1950s and 1960s. In 1969, the death of a 15 year-old Robert Rayford in St. Louis, Mo. perplexed doctors. After tireless examination, the doctors could not find the cause of his death. Later tests (18 years later) by a molecular biologist discovered that the young boy had AIDS. It is also theorized that Rayford was a gay prostitute. So the theory that Gaëtan Dugas, a gay French Canadian flight attendant, was “patient zero” is false. In the United States HIV/AIDS first appeared in public scope in 1981, which quickly was associated with gay men and drug users. Whether you believe it was Rayford or Dugas who were first to have been infected with HIV, gay men have been associated with the virus from the very beginning. When I spoke with George Mason University students, a young woman asked, “Why is every HIV speaker I see gay?” I answered by saying, “the reason is because gay men have been associated with HIV from the beginning.” For more than 35 years, we have seen this disease ravage our community. Hopefully within the next 35 years there will be a cure so the gay community can stand up and say that this disease no longer stigmatizes us. It will be gone but not forgotten. We can use our collective power, just as we did in the early days of the crisis to create change. I am 34 years old and I can remember when AIDS was not something that my household talked about. Though we did not talk about it, I was scared to death of it. I was taught in school that HIV was primarily a gay disease, until the late ‘80s. When I was around 7 years old, my mother called PAGE 16


a family meeting. In my household family meetings were very important. My mother sat down in the kitchen with my brother and me; she said, “Justin there is something wrong with your blood.” I immediately asked without hesitation, “do I have AIDS?” My brother said, “No of course not.” My mother said, “No you have high cholesterol.” When I further analyzed this in my 30s I realized I, too, stigmatized HIV as being a gay disease. But at the tender age of 7, I was not exposed to many issues, and I may have been shielded to issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS. But now I’ve been exposed, affected, and infected so there is no ignoring HIV/AIDS. All this time my fate was already laid out for me. I’m now at the tender age of 34, HIV+ and my cholesterol is still considered high… damn it. The difference between now and then is that I write for Baltimore Gay Life. I am able to give myself and others a voice. I have the ability to educate others. That voice, the individual and collective voice that we each hold, is power. It is a power that we have that all of us can use to help our community and the world. Make sure your voice is heard. Justin B. Terry-Smith is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of ‘Justin’s HIV Journal,” a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Md. with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith and their son Londyn. Photo credit: Photographer: Don Harris, Don Harris Photographics, LLC, © 2011 All Rights Reserved.


True Colors Shining Through t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

colors shine through in Charm City. Fear of the stereotype abounded: beware those predatory, criminal, crazy queers. “Beautiful, like a rainbow,” was not a part of the song of the city, though Cyndi Lauper was right that girls did just wanna have fun: I could see that from where I was dancing. So Patti and I were among the founders of what began as the Center’s monthly newsletter and became a monthly newspaper then dubbed the Baltimore Gaypaper, and after some name changes is now called Gaylife. The inaurgural issue was assembled in Harvey Schwartz’s apartment—a two block walk from ours— on a bathroom door with a fluorescent light shoved under it for a light table. Gail typeset the copy, Arthur Stutsman was the editor, Ken wrote copy, I proofread and wrote some articles, Harvey got the ads and Patti did illustrations and drew a cartoon about a lesbian bar. I remember getting a case of the giggles before I fell asleep, at 2 in the morning. I put myself to bed while the others put the paper to bed, our first issue, September 1979. Later we mailed out thousands of copies in, yes, plain brown envelopes. It took hours! It was all hands-on, back then, from proofing—no spell check—and paste-up to envelope stuffing. The printer

did the half-tones of the photos, we had to do the rest. Thank God for drag queens, or we might not have had enough pictures to fill up that first issue. The next month featured the first March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, and we were spoiled for choice for photos. Yes, Mary, the first march was 35 years ago, in 1979, imagine that. ‘Twas glorious, a huge turnout, though subsequent marches would be bigger. Just being there made me feel taller. Stronger. And thirsty, especially after climbing to the top of the Washington Monument so Patti could take pictures of the crowd. So worth it, our first great big LGBT family reunion on the mall. Still makes me smile to remember it. The March was our first big national story; our biggest local story was our first attempt to get our civil rights protected. The March was a success; the civil rights bill failed to pass. The Gaypaper became the best way to publicize what was happening locally and nationally, with support from lesbian and gay businesses, entertainers and professionals. We had no idea where we were headed, but we were doing something right, because we had to keep increasing the print run every month!

Up in the Attic


issues are deteriorating and it is crucial that digitization be done as soon as possible in order to preserve this history,” he says. Louise Kelley, who joined the team this summer, also hopes that one day the findings of the archive committee can be exhibited and put on display locally, for the community. “The archive committee has done a tremendous job collecting and preserving the 35-year history in print, BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM

photographs, and artifacts. An exhibition of the old publications and photographs would provide a fascinating look into the roots of the LGBT movement and provide a way to celebrate the accomplishments of everyone who has gotten us to where we are today. The only thing left after digitization and exhibition of the archives, is to continue making history on the daily!” JANUARY 2014










Feds to consider Medicare coverage for gender reassignment surgery WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Obama administration is going to re-examine the ban that prohibits Medicare from covering gender reassignment surgery, according to a memorandum obtained by the Washington Blade. The document from the Department of Health & Human Services, dated Dec. 2, states that the reasoning for the ban is “not complete and adequate” to support denying Medicare coverage for those seeking the procedure. Additionally, the HHS Department Appeals Board says the ban “fails to account for development in the care and treatment” over the course of the last 30 years. The board recommends a “discovery” phase for the taking of evidence to determine whether the ban can be justified.

Waitress fired over tip story NEW JERSEY

Last month, Living Out reported that a New Jersey waitress was allegedly denied a tip because of her sexual orientation. Shortly after Dayna Morales’ story went viral, it was revealed that the woman PAGE 18


might have lied about the experience. NBC4, a local New Jersey affiliate, uncovered a receipt from the accused family showing an $18 tip on a bill of $93.55, and a credit card statement with the same total value to back it up. Bobby Vanderhoof, manager of the Gallop Asian Bistro told CNN that after conducting an internal investigation of the incident, it remains “inconclusive” as to exactly what happened that night. He also announced, via the restaurant’s Facebook page that Morales no longer works there. Thousands of dollars poured in for across the globe and, in at least three instances, the money has been refunded.

Cake-maker must bake for gay couples COLORADO

A Colorado baker has been ordered to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner, Jack Phillips refused to bake a cake for said making a wedding cake for gay couples would violate his Christian religious beliefs. Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer said that Phillips discriminated against a couple because of their sexual orientation. Spencer ruled that the cake-maker

must “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. He did not impose any fines, but said that the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cake.

What you don’t tell your partner is a crime NATIONWIDE

In 19 states, failure to disclose HIVpositive status is considered a crime. Additionally, 35 states have laws that specifically criminalize exposing another person to HIV. ProPublica discovered that in the past ten years there have been at least 541 cases in which people were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, criminal charges for not disclosing that they were HIVpositive. The defendants in these cases have been sentenced to years, sometimes decades, in prison. Nick Rhoads of Waverly, Iowa was recently sentenced to 25 years for having sex without disclosing his HIV status. According to ProPublica, Rhoads used a condom, was taking medication to suppress the virus, and didn’t actually transmit HIV. People with HIV have even done time for spitting, scratching or biting. ProPublica’s report found that, while some states criminalize exposure to

tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and syphilis, HIV exposure is almost always punished more severely. Some health and legal experts argue that relying on a partner to know, let alone disclose, their HIV status is a “risky” proposition. According to the CDC, 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV, but one-fifth of them don’t know it. And studies show that about half of newly infected people got the virus from those who didn’t know they had HIV. U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has introduced legislation aimed at helping end stigma, discrimination, and stereotypes that negatively impact Americans living with HIV/AIDS. The Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal (“REPEAL”) HIV Discrimination Act, would require an interagency review of federal and state laws that criminalize certain actions by people living with HIV. It will be introduced when the Senate reconvenes in December.

Relapse of ‘cured’ men shows HIV is far from beaten MASSACHUSETTS

HIV has re-emerged in two men who appeared to have been freed of the virus GAY LIFE MAGAZINE

and able to come off their antiretroviral medication. In July, it was reported that the men, known as the Boston Patients, had nearly undetectable levels of the virus in their blood for an extended period of time. This revelation came after each patient received bone marrow transplants to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008 and 2010. According to the New Scientist both men opted to halt their antiretroviral therapy earlier this year when they had been apparently virus-free for several years.

States agree to process benefits for gay couples NATIONWIDE

Five of the states that defied the Pentagon’s orders to extend benefits to same-sex partners of National Guard personnel are changing their tunes. National Guard officials in Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia announced that they are backing off their off opposition to the Department of Defense directive that federal National Guard facilities offer benefits to partners of soldiers on the federal payroll. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a “compromise” was struck that “allows Georgia not to violate state law while also treating all members of their National Guard and their same-sex spouses equally.” Major Jon Craig, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Georgia, declined to expound on the details of the compromise. The Mississippi National Guard is still refusing to comply, and gay couples must travel to federal bases to register for a military spouse ID.

India top court outlaws gay sex INDIA

India’s high court has upheld a law that criminalizes gay sex, saying that it was up to Parliament to legislate on the issue. The Supreme Court upheld a 153-yearold colonial law calling a same-sex relationship an “unnatural offence” and punishable with up to 10 years in prison. They wrote in their decision that changes in legislation are to be made by lawmakers, not the courts. According to The Guardian a crowd gathered in the Indian capital, Delhi, to protest the court’s decision. In 2009, a Delhi High Court order decriminalized homosexual acts, a surprising decision in


the notoriously conservative country. India’s Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters the government would respect the ruling but did not say whether there were plans to amend the law.

Taiwan to allow legal gender changes without transitioning TAIWAN

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to allow people to change their legal gender without transitioning. According to Gay Star News, individuals intending to change their legal gender no longer need go through any medical procedures, including psychiatric evaluation. The new rule also applies to minors, who have been subject to parental “veto” powers. After further review and discussion, the Ministry of Interior will come up with relevant policies and details to help put the new decision into practice.

No marriage equality in Croatia CROATIA

they want to use this opportunity to raise awareness for LGBT people during what is being called the “anti-gay games.” “We need Pride House,” said Konstantin Iablotckii, co-president of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation. “It’s already part of the Olympic movement. It’s not a political demonstration. It’s not a gay parade. It’s just a safe, peaceful place for celebrating equality in sport.”

Gay adoption ban repealed in Northern Ireland



The Supreme Court of Northern Ireland ruled that gay and unmarried couples are free to apply to adopt children. This decision affirms a June lower court ruling and overrides an attempt by Health Minister Edwin Poots to keep the ban in place. Previously, a single gay or lesbian person could adopt children in Northern Ireland, but a couple in a civil partnership could not.

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Croatian citizens overwhelmingly supported a countrywide same-sex marriage ban in what is being called a major victory for the Catholic Church-backed conservatives in the European Union’s newest nation. The state electoral commission said 65 percent of those who voted answered “yes” to the referendum question: “Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?” President Ivo Josipovic, a proponent of marriage equality, vowed to respect the voters’ wishes but also promised that the government will continue working for LGBT rights.

Sochi will have a Pride House RUSSIA

The city of Toronto has promised to host a LGBT Pride House in Olympic Village during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The tradition of having a safe space for LGBT athletes began at the 2010 games in Vancouver and continued in London, for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Russian officials declined to put in an application for a Pride House. Barbara Besharat, of PrideHouse Toronto told The Canadian Press that



SPOTLIGHT A Great Big World

The story of A Great Big World began in the crowded practice rooms at NYU. Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino were both studying music business while fostering dreams of writing and performing on Broadway and beyond. Ian quickly saw potential in partnering with Chad and started lobbying him to work together on new songs. At first, Ian was the artist, and Chad shared writing duties and became his manager. Chad even paid for Ian’s first vocal lesson. Performing together around New York, Ian eventually stepped into the spotlight and released an independent solo album, with all songs co-written by Chad. An overwhelming viral buzz ensued, causing Ian and Chad to hit the road in support of the album, and the project continued to gain steam. Despite Ian being the front man, Chad was always there in a writing and performing capacity. Then in 2012, the duo had an opportunity to officially re-brand themselves, and that’s when A Great Big World was born. Making positive, piano-driven pop bursting with harmonies and woven together with a fun whimsical twist, the duo crafted a six-song EP funded entirely on Kickstarter by fans. 

To win a pair of tickets to either the D.C. or Baltimore show, please e-mail Include your preferred show (D.C. or Baltimore) in the subject line. Winners will be drawn on Monday, Jan. 13.

A GREAT BIG WORLD Friday, Jan. 17 • 7pm • $15 U Street Music Hall 1115 U St., NW • Wash., D.C. T Saturday, Feb. 1 • 8pm • $18 Baltimore Soundstage 124 Market Place • Baltimore T Baltimore Soundstage





Recurring & Ongoing Events

SUNDAYS Dog Hikes with the Doctor First Sunday of the month • 11am-Noon • $2 Baltimore Humane Society 1601 Nicodemus Rd. • Reisterstown Metropolitan Community Church Services Every Sunday 9am and 11am MCC Baltimore • 401 W. Monument St League of Women Bowlers Every Sunday 4:30pm AMF Marlow Heights Lanes 4717 St. Barnabas Rd. • Temple Hill Rise Up, Honoring Women’s Spirituality Fourth Sundays 12:45-2:15pm First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W. Hamilton St. Westminster PFLAG Monthly Mtg. Third Sundays 7pm St. Paul’s United Church of Christ 17 Bond St. • Westminster Heterosexual Friendly Gay Brunch First Sunday Frederick’s on Fleet • 2112 Fleet St. ASGRA Monthly Trail Ride First Sundays 10:30am • $25-30 Piscataway Stables 10775 Piscataway Road • Clinton Charm City Volleyball: Competitive Play Every Sunday 10am-1pm • $7 Volleyball House 5635 Furnace Ave. • Elkridge Service of Worship First Sundays 10:30am First & Franklin • 210 West Madison St.

MONDAYS Interfaith Fairness Coalition Mtg. Second Mondays 3-4:30pm First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W. Hamilton St. PFLAG Howard County Parent Forum Third Mondays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia Senior Pride: Discussion Group for Women 55+ Monday evenings Chase Brexton Health Services

TUESDAYS Howard County PFLAG Monthly Mtg. Second Tuesdays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia Karate-Dō (LGBT-friendly classes) Every Tuesday 5:30-7:30pm Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus Bob Remington — Meditation Group Every Tuesday 6:15-7:45pm First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W. Hamilton St. PFLAG Baltimore Co. General Mtg. Fourth Tuesdays 7pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd. Parents of Transgender Kids Fourth Tuesdays 7:30-9pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia Rainbow Youth Alliance of Baltimore County 2nd & 4th Tuesdays 7-9pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd. Rainbow Youth Alliance of Howard County 2nd & 4th Tuesdays 7:30pm Owen Brown Interfaith Center 7246 Cradlerock Way • Columbia 410.280.9047 Rainbow Youth Alliance of Baltimore City 1st, 3rd & 5th Tuesdays 7-9pm The GLCCB • 241 W. Chase St. Teen Program at JCC Second Tuesdays 6pm Owings Mills JCC 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. Trans Parents Forum, Baltimore Co. Third Tuesdays 7-9:30pm Towson Unitarian Universalist Church 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd.

WEDNESDAYS Charm City Volleyball: Social Play Every Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm • $3-30 Mt Royal Recreational Center 137 McMechen St.

Living Well with HIV Support Group Every Wednesday 10:30am Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St. Spiritual Development with Rev. Sam Offer Every Wednesday 7pm Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore 4007 Old York Rd. GEM: Gender Empowerment MD Every other Wednesday 7pm Equality Maryland • 1201 S. Sharp St. Senior Pride: Discussion Group for Men 55+ Wednesday evenings. Chase Brexton Health Services 410-837-2050 ext. 2428

THURSDAYS HIV Support: Substance Abuse & HIV Every Thursdays 2-3pm Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St. Karate-Dō (LGBT-friendly classes) Every Thursday 5:30-7:30pm Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus Bob Remington —

FRIDAYS HIV Support: Just Between US Every Friday 11am-Noon Institute of Human Virology 725 W. Lombard St.

SATURDAYS Baltimore Frontrunners Every Saturday 8:45am • Brunch 10am Panera Bread, 3600 Boston St. HOPE DC Monthly Brunch First Saturdays 11am Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro DC 1801 18th St. NW • Washington, D.C. In the Company of Women First Saturdays 10am-Noon First Unitarian Church of Baltimore 1 W Hamilton St.




WEDNESDAY, JAN. 1 New Year’s Day “Hangover” Brunch Greasy food & bottomless drinks • 8am-2pm B&O American Brasserie • North Charles St.

MONDAY, JAN 6. Karaoke at Grand Central Sing your heart out every Monday and Tuesday night. Grand Central Nightclub 1001/1003 N. Charles St.


Spot Light Mondays Drink specials & drag shows! 9pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St.

Hip Hop Night at Club Hippo Get your dance on every Thursday. Reduced cover before 11pm. Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St.

Men’s Naked Yoga Every Monday • $18 • 6:30-7:30pm Vitruvian Gallery, LLC 734 7th St., SE, 2nd fl. • Wash. D.C.

Omega Thursdays Every Thursday 9pm-2am Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St.

Hippo Karaoke Star Monthly karaoke competition. $2 • 10pm-2am Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St.

FRIDAY, JAN 3. Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime w/ Bumpin’ Uglies, The Substance, Freelance • $18-22 • 7pm Rams Head Live! • 10 Market Place Fridays After Five Every Friday • $12 •5pm National Aquarium, Baltimore 501 E. Pratt St.

HRS BINGO! First ever bingo night! Pulaski Bingo 12420 Pulaski Highway • Joppa Showtune Video Madness Sing out Louise! • Tuesdays 7:45 pm • Free Club Hipp • 1 W. Eager St. Showdown Trivia Competition Hosted by John Woods • 9:30pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St.

Wine Tasting FREE • 5-8pm • Fridays Spirits of Mt Vernon Wine Shop 900 N. Charles St.


SATURDAY, JAN 4. Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club Low-brow, Elvis-themed comedy and burlesque • $15-20 • 8pm The Patterson • 3134 Eastern Ave. elektroschock First Saturday of every month 9pm $6 cover • 21+ Grand Central • 1001 N. Charles St.

SUNDAY, JAN 5. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim $20-110 • 7:30pm Sidney Harman Hall • 610 F St. NW Washington, DC


Blue Man Group Escape the ordinary $35-85 + fees • Thru January 12 Hippodrome Theatre • 12 N. Eutaw St.

SATURDAY, JAN. 11 Tales from the Holy Land Reading & signing by Baltimore’s own Rafael Alvarez • $7 • 5-6:30pm The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave.

Gay BINGO! Cash prizes and progressive jackpot Drink specials, appetizers, and raffles. Benefits House of Ruth. Every Wednesday 8:30pm Club Hippo • 1 W. Eager St.

THURSDAY, JAN. 9 Where the Whangdoodle Sings The story of a foul-mouthed bird $12-22 • Thru January 19 Theater Project • 45 W Preston St. Jonathan Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto World Premiere • $34-70 • 8pm Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Cathedral St.

FRIDAY, JAN. 10 Boeing Boeing Opens A sexy ‘60s romp with a dash of farce. $15-20 • 8pm Fells Point Corner Theater • 251 S. Ann St.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 21 Night OUT at the Theater Feat. a sneak peak of Stones in His Pockets • $10-39 • 8pm Centerstage • 700 N. Calvert St. The Greatest Songs You’ve Never Heard Holiday show from Three for a Song $15 • 6pm Germano’s Trattoria • South High St.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22 Stones in His Pockets Opens Hilarious two-man show. $10-59 • 8pm • Thru February 23 CENTERSTAGE • 700 N. Calvert St.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24 Charm City Kitty Club “Home Sweet Homo” $10-15 • 8pm • Thru January 25 Theater Project • 45 W Preston St.


First Fridays First Friday of every month FREE • 6:30pm Eastern & East Ave.

Chocolate Happy Hour Weekly chocolate-fest • 6:30pm Ma Petite Shoe • 832 W. 36th St.

Harvey Opens A heartwarming story $10-18 • 8pm • Thru February 9 Vagabond • 806 S. Broadway

Mixtape Stuff to dance to • $12 • 11pm 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW • Washington, DC

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 15 POZ DC Happy Hour Mixer For HIV+ men • 7pm Green Lantern 1335 Green Court NW • Washington, DC

FRIDAY, JAN. 17 Romeo & Juliet Opens The classic tale of star-crossed lovers. $15-20 • 8pm • Thru February 16 Spotlighters Theatre • 817 Saint Paul St.

SATURDAY, JAN. 18 Saved by the 90s: A Party with the Bayside Tigers Party on! • $15 • 7pm Rams Head Live! • 20 Market Place The Sleeping Beauty Presented by The Nureyev State Ballet Theatre. $35-55 + fees • 7:30pm • Thru January 19 Hippodrome Theatre • 12 N. Eutaw St.

MONDAY, JANUARY 20 Giant Monster Monday Movies & drink specials • 8pm-Midnight The Wind Up Space • 12 W North Ave.

Marvin Hamlisch: One Singular Sensation Tribute to BSO’s former Pops conductor. $29-65 • 8pm • Thru January 26 Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall 1212 Cathedral St.

SATURDAY, JAN. 25 moe. Back after a 5-year hiatus • $25-29 • 7pm Rams Head Live! • 20 Market Place Ben Rimalower in Patti Issues Find solace in Patti LuPone • $12-20 • 8pm The Patterson • 3134 Eastern Ave.

THURSDAY, JAN. 30 Chaplin’s Back! Celebrate the icon • $29-65 • 8pm Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Cathedral St.

FRIDAY, JAN. 31 Dark Visions A rare performance of Infinito Nero $12-17 • 8pm Baltimore Theater Project 45 W. Preston St. Baltimore Bike Party The biggest party on two wheels! FREE • 7pm St. Mary’s • Seton Hill

Have an event perfect for our readers? Send all the details to CALENDAR@BALTIMOREGAYLIFE.COM



Michelle Visage

crazy sleuthing about who’s going to be on and who’s going to win. It seems to be getting more and more pervasive. Well, every single show has it. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong, My point is: why do you want to ruin it for everybody? Even if you do know, the joy is watching it unfold. But they don’t know because that’s not the way they do things at RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nobody knows who wins.


Michelle Visage & Friends. It will be me sharing stories, but having two or three other queens that will sing as well. We will all remain on stage and sing each other’s backgrounds and read each other. People that are true fans of the show or theater music will love it. This is just the inception of the idea, but it came off so flawlessly on the ship and I thought, “Well, people obviously want this stuff.” There was so much excitement and everybody was participating. When I did “Science Fiction” from Rocky, everybody knew callback. Everybody. You could see the passion was there. I wanted to talk about season six of Drag Race briefly. I know you can’t say much, but what are you really excited for people to experience this time around? Every season is a different season and you never know what to expect. Right away people look at the girls and they automatically make judgments. It’s funny. Most of the time they’re wrong. I laugh so hard at the rumors floating around online. They are so funny with how wrong they are, but



I do enjoy reading all the rumors. I say just watch the show with an open mind and go for the journey—that’s what it’s about. The whole Drag Race process from the beginning is a journey in the way the whole thing unfolds. This one, right out the box, is probably the strongest set of contenders. You don’t look at them right away and go, “Oh there’s your sacrificial lamb.” Everybody is a contender from day one. I’ve never said that before. This is the strongest season right out the box that we’ve had. I literally looked at Ru and was like “Wow!” Blown away. Its wild, with social media, you’ve got people doing all this

So you’ll do the live reveal again? Yes, I think that’s how they’re going to do it from now on for that very reason —people ruin it. I don’t understand why you’d want to ruin it for people, but it is what it is. People can’t help themselves. It’s interesting that no queens from Baltimore have been on the show, particularly with the robust pageant culture we have here. What advice can you give our queens to help them get on the show? I know and that makes me sad! My daddy’s a Baltimore boy and I’d love to have a hometown girl represent him. He’s proud to be from Baltimore. We’ve had a D.C. girl, Tatianna, but I would love to see

a Baltimore girl up in there. It’s a matter of trying. A lot of them probably say, “But I’ve auditioned every year.” It doesn’t matter. It took Chad Michaels four seasons. It took Alaska five seasons. You’ve got to keep going. They’ll be the first ones to tell you to not stop. Make sure you make changes in your video every year. Show that you’ve grown. Show Ru what you can do, on top of what he’s already seen. I can guarantee you he sees every one of those videos. He’s seen them all. What you have to do is make sure you show your growth and how you’ve improved yourself. It’ll happen—just don’t give up. Just listen to what I’m sayin’, Baltimore queens.

RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Featuring: Sharon Needles, Ivy Winters, Manila Luzon, Pandora Boxx, Alaska Thunderfuck, Carmen Carrera, Mimi Imfurst, Michelle Visage & Phi Phi O’Hara. Tuesday, Jan. 14 • $30 • Doors 9pm 9:30 Club • 815 V St. NW Washington, DC, 20001 T


Patti Issues

more! I actually saw Patti LuPone with the BSO in 1998. I went with my best friend to the performance. After the show, we were heading back to the train station to return to NYC and we passed the back of the theater. We passed the stage door and we saw there was a little line by the stage door. Of course we just kept walking because we thought we were too cool to stop. There was this homeless guy on the street, and asked who was everyone was waiting for. We said, ‘Patti LuPone.’ And he replied, ‘Patti LaBelle??’ We said ‘No… LuPone.’ He asked us again ‘LaBelle??’ It’s like one of the funniest memories I still have with my friend.


have any more nervous than I already was, but yeah, I was pretty fucking nervous. Have you come to terms with a lot of the material that involves your family? To be honest, I feel like I was able to write the show because I could make peace of it. I’m actually working on something right now which is a lot more difficult to write, because I haven’t gotten over those issues yet. What does the future hold in store for Ben Rimalower? Well, I’ll keep doing Patti Issues, and I’ll be performing in Baltimore. I’m also going to be on RSVP Cruises in February, which is a gay cruise line. Later in 2014, I’m going to London, Australia, Israel and Florida. I’m also working on my new show which is sort of a way off. I’m excited, and I hope it’ll be successful as Patti Issues. Are you excited to perform in Baltimore next month? I’m extremely excited to return to Balti-


I’m sure that not much has changed since you left Baltimore. I’m sure that homeless guy is still there. Nothing would make me happier than to see that guy and have a mini-reunion!



Photo by Jenny Anderson for

Saturday, Jan. 25 • 8pm • $12-17 Creative Alliance at The Patterson 3134 Eastern Ave. T



Profile for Baltimore Gay Life

Baltimore Gay Life January 2014  

We're starting the new year right with interviews with musical duo A Great Big World, "RuPaul's Drag Race" judge Michelle Visage, and writer...

Baltimore Gay Life January 2014  

We're starting the new year right with interviews with musical duo A Great Big World, "RuPaul's Drag Race" judge Michelle Visage, and writer...