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Seek out the “Q” across the red, white and blue


Discover hidden gems throughout the Old Dominion

Equality Through Storytelling

INTERNATIONAL BOOGIE Explore exotic foreign lands beyond our borders

Unexpected. Memorable. Celebrated. ESTABLISHED 1927 | REIMAGINED 2017

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Celebration After an extensive $75-million renovation, the historic Cavalier Hotel will reopen in 2017 as a distinguished member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Whether your celebration calls for 25 or 250 guests, we invite you to host your elegant wedding in our uniquely stunning venues. Celebrate your day in The Cavalier’s artfully restored Grand Ballroom complete with billowing drapery, crystal chandeliers, ambient ceiling rosettes and delicate finishing touches. Or say “I do” on the beach and dance the night away under the stars in our historic gardens and lawns that offer stunning ocean views. The Cavalier also boasts 85 luxurious rooms including 23 suites, original marble columns, lush gardens, ornate moldings and architectural details unparalleled throughout the Mid-Atlantic. In addition, The Cavalier will also feature three signature restaurants, an onsite spa and bourbon distillery, as well as an oceanfront Beach Club with an infinity pool and bar. Book your wedding now and reserve your place in history at one of America’s most iconic hotels




Southwest Virginia’s extraordinary oasis of inclusion for LGBTQIA2S+ youth.

SWEET VIRGINIA BREEZE Bring your authentic self to these carefully curated destinations throughout the majestic “Mother of Presidents.”



18 years of love, light and fellowship aboard the Black Gay and Lesbian (BGL) cruise.


s e r u t a fe

Wrap yourself in the star-spangled banner and thumb through our selective index of inclusive havens across our great nation.


Grab your passport and flip through our global itinerary of dazzling destinations that will cultivate your curiosity, ignite your imagination and stimulate your soul.

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Q VIRGINIA STAFF PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Justin Ayars, JD EDITOR & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jesse Perrin LaVancher ART DIRECTOR John Dixon / Runningfire Design WEB DESIGNER Michael Romano LOGO DESIGNER Umbrella Management Group, LLC ADVERTISING MANAGER Nikki Mitchell / NATIONAL ADVERTISING Rivendell Media COLLEGIATE FELLOWS Savannah Cousin Charlotte Ford Amanda Hallesjo Jihyun (Kate) Lee Q VIRGINIA CONTRIBUTORS Farazila Abu, Justin Ayars, JD Kat Bailey, Angela P. Dodson Jenn T. Grace, Tom Hedley Scott Hill, Meredith Jenkins Jesse LaVancher, Rayceen Pendarvis, HRH Daniel Rouleau, JD, Terri Schlichenmeyer Q VIRGINIA PUBLISHING OFFICE The Brookwood 1342 Flynn Road | Richmond, VA 23225 /uniteva @UniteVaMag @unitevamag Q Weddings - The Q Guidebook: Virginia’s Official LGBTQ Guide & Business Directory Q Virginia magazine is published by Q Virginia, LLC. All rights reserved. Q Virginia, LLC is Virginia’s Official LGBTQ Media Company. It’s mission is to promote equality through storytelling. | 5

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Welcome to Q Virginia magazine’s first Travel Book! In this special issue, we’ve put together a collection of fabulous LGBTQ-friendly places to visit across the Commonwealth, the nation and the world. Do you want to enjoy the colorful bounty of Autumn right here in Virginia? Whether you’re looking to trek through mountain vineyards, traverse haunted cobblestone streets or watch wild ponies run across idyllic beaches, we’ve got you covered. Looking to go out of state for your next vacation? In our “America the Fabulous” section, we highlight six cities across America that you won’t want to miss. From historic mansions and desert oases to arctic adventures and avant-garde nude performances, our great nation has more to offer

LGBTQ travelers than just a trip to Broadway or the Castro.

stress this enough—without a passport, you cannot truly live.

Do you want more stamps in your passport? I know I do! We showcase two international cities on opposite sides of the globe that offer incredible history, culture and, of course, fun! We also spotlight one unbelievable country that is so magnificent, words truly don’t do it justice. Our “International Boogie” section will make you want to dust off your passport and start looking for flights!

This issue also includes tips, tricks and fun articles about travel that will get you in the mood to get out of the house and explore uncharted waters. As usual, we also feature top notch stories about the arts, community, economics, family and pride that our readers throughout Virginia and D.C. have come to expect from Q Virginia.

Sidenote: If you don’t have a passport, stop whatever you’re doing and go get one. Seriously. Not only is a passport your ticket to the world, it will provide you the best education you’ll ever receive and force you reevaluate how you view the world and, more importantly, your place in it. I can’t

So, pack your bags and join us on an exciting journey through Q Virginia magazine’s Travel Book! It’s a trip! Cheers

Justin Ayars, JD Publisher & Editor-in-Chief | 7


CONTENTS TRAVEL COMPANION Opinion End the Reefer Madness | 10 Editorial Mom First, Lesbian Second | 11 Book Reviews Remember the Ladies & Somebody to Love | 12 NOVA Pride Prom A Tradition Evolves | 19 The High Priest An Opera of Biblical Proportions | 22 Loudoun 100 Local Superheroes Exposed | 25 Little Om Love is Love | 29 Celebrate Women North America’s Best Lesbian Festivals | 58 Shut Up & Drive Our 6 Favorite Road Trip Flicks | 69 Road Trip Mix Perfect Your Travel Playlist | 71 Make it Fit Learn to Pack Like a Pro | 74 International Happy Hour 6 Signature Cocktails | 88 Zoned Out? How to Beat Jetlag | 90 Take a Staycation Get Lost at Home | 92 Wanderlust Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone | 94 8 | Q Virginia

Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything! -Steve Martin | 9


Virginia Should End Its Reefer Madness

BY, DANIEL ROULEAU In the election of 2016, there was only one clear winner – the marijuana movement. More states voted in medical cannabis programs and several legalized personal use, as well. Since 1970, there has been concentrated efforts at marijuana policy reform. Unfortunately, it took the AIDS crisis to stir California to enact the Compassions Use Act and forever change the history of marijuana in America.

Origin of the Medical Cannabis Movement

In the 1980’s, California was heavily affected by the AIDS crisis because of its vibrant LGBT community. Some early HIV/AIDS patients used cannabis—commonly known as marijuana—to successfully ease pain, stimulate appetite and reduce nausea. Unfortunately, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 substance (meaning there was no accepted medical use) in the early 1970’s and, since then, federal law has not changed. In 1996, Californians were the first Americans to vote in medical cannabis with Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act. Since then, California has researched medical cannabis application to the treatment of HIV/ AIDS. Like much of the medical cannabis movement, it has taken the severe suffering of fellow Americans to drive much-needed reform to allow expanded access to life-saving treatments based on the advice of doctors rather than the opinions of legislators.

Moving Forward in Virginia

With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, decriminalization in Mexico and legal access to marijuana for half the U.S. population, Virginia is now one of the most punitive prohibition states left in North America. Currently, the list of patients allowed access to marijuana in Virginia is very short – intractable epilepsy. No other patients – not cancer, AIDS, Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, or glaucoma – have legal access to marijuana medications. Fortunately, there are people working to change that. NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law) is the country’s oldest marijuana law reform group. Founded in 1970, the group has been influential in expanding patient and consumer access to marijuana around the United States. Although Virginia NORML’s current executive director—an active member in the Richmond LGBT community—has led the group to many recent successes, expanding medical cannabis access across the Commonwealth will require significantly more work. Much like the AIDS patients in California, Virginia’s HIV/AIDS patients can be assisted by medical cannabis treatments. Virginia NORML’s major policy incentive for 2018 is the “Let Doctors Decide” bill. If passed, this bill would allow any medical doctor trained in the applications of marijuana to grant Virginia patients access to medical cannabis oil, which will soon to be available from in-state dispensaries. Please support Virginia NORML and its effort to provide every possible resource to patients in Virginia!

Daniel Rouleau is a recent law school graduate serving as Virginia NORML’s communications director. He, along with Jenn Michelle Pedini, Virginia NORML’s executive director, founded Virginia Cannabis Group, LLC, a cannabusiness consultant and lobbying group based in Richmond, Virginia. You can find him on Facebook or Twitter (@DanMRouleau).

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Mom First, Lesbian Second

BY, JENN T. GRACE As the “Professional Lesbian,” I am often asked questions about how to engage lesbian consumers. Unfortunately, lesbians are not viewed as huge target markets to big advertisers. Often big brands will focus their energy on marketing to the cisgender gay man. This is certainly frustrating from my vantage point, but this by no means does not mean there isn’t a vibrant lesbian community to work with. You just have to know how to authentically connect. I walked away from a discussion one day thinking, how could I, as the Professional Lesbian, reach more lesbians? Unable to come up with a definitive and clear answer I thought, well, if someone was trying to market to me, what would be their best approach? Let me explain with a story. A few years ago, while traveling with my family to Lake George, New York I had an “ah-hah” moment of sorts. Lake George is a quaint area in Upstate New York that attracts visitors from around the globe. My wife and I, along with our two children, were playing tourists for the weekend. In our travels, we passed a motel on the main stretch of road that had visibly hung a rainbow flag outside. I quickly

pulled out my phone to search and see if this motel was outwardly marketing to the LGBTQ community – it was! The average passerby would never have known that the rainbow flag hanging outside the motel was a signal to the LGBTQ community that it is safe to stay here, but I noticed, and my wife noticed, which is all that matters. At that moment, it hit me - my family of four was traveling simply as a family, not as a lesbian family. Being a lesbian couple didn’t have any bearing on anything we were doing that day. We were a family seeking ways to entertain our children, not a lesbian family seeking ways to entertain our children—there is a significant difference. The way to market to our family, in that moment, was by connecting with us as the parents of young children, not lesbian moms of young children. Our identities as lesbians came second to being mothers in this scenario. This really got me thinking about those pesky labels we use to define ourselves. As your takeaway, I want you to quickly write down eight ways in which you define yourself. There is no right or wrong answer. This is about you. Take a look at what you wrote and how you defined yourself, and if your experience is similar to mine.

For more than a decade Jenn T. Grace has helped organizations connect with the lucrative LGBTQ market. In her new book, Beyond The Rainbow, she shares stories that illustrate the do’s and don’ts of doing business with the LGBTQ community. For more info please visit | 11




y book, Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box, covers American women’s role in society, their long 70-year struggle to gain the right to vote, and their progress in the exercise of political power from the pre-colonial era up through the 2016 presidential election. As a woman with Virginia roots on all sides of my family that go back at least 10 generations on some lines, I am greatly interested in the state’s role in the birthing of the nation. Virginia is central to the story of American women, as it was the home of Pocahontas, who welcomed the Jamestown colonists, became a victim of kidnap, later married a colonist, and died when she accompanied him back to Britain. Although most of the first settlers from Britain were men, those funding the adventures soon realized they needed women to populate and stabilize the colonies. Jamestown, Virginia, established in 1607, is where European women first arrived in significant numbers. Among the first European woman to come to North America had been Eleonor White Dare, who arrived at Roanoke Island (North Carolina) around 1587 and soon gave birth to her daughter, Virginia Dare. They did not fare well. When Eleanor’s father, John White, went back to England for provisions and returned a couple of years later, they had disappeared along with the other colonists, and their fate is still the subject of debate. The next couple of brave British women arrived at Jamestown around 1608, Mistress Anne Forest and her maid, Anne Burras. More women came the next year, and in 1619, a ship carrying 90 women arrived and were promptly sold, reportedly with their consent, to settlers as wives for the price of their transportation.

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More women followed as brides or as indentured servants. Even the colonists who ended up on Plymouth Rock in 1620 had been headed for Virginia. As I wrote in Remember the Ladies:

The first European women to arrive faced horrendous conditions in a strange and wild land where they had to help do some of the physical labor of clearing land, planting, and raising livestock. Conditions in the new colonies created new domestic work. Women produced goods that were not available in their new homeland—cloth, garments, soap, shoes, candles, and other necessities they might have purchased at home in England. This role was in addition to cooking, washing, and caring for children. The first Africans to arrive also came to Virginia 1620, working first as indentured servants before the system of slavery gradually evolved and became encoded in the laws. For their troubles, one would assume that the hardy colonial women might be held in high regard and rewarded with all the benefits of citizenhood when the new nation eventually emerged out of the colonies, but they were not. Early American women had no rights to speak of and were generally wards of their fathers or some man and then considered mere extensions of their husbands. My book traces the rise of bold women who spoke out against the system, most of them activists in the abolition movement, their protracted battle for recognition, and their strategic campaigns to win the suffrage victory in 1920.





ast year was a particularly rough one. Every time you open a newspaper or turned on the computer or TV, it seemed as though someone – a Hollywood actor, singer, or stage performer you liked – had died. Even now, whether it was six months, a year or, as in Somebody to Love, by Matt Richards & Mark Langthorne, more than a decade, you still miss them. Farrokh Bulsara was born in India in the fall of 1946 to Parsee followers of the prophet Zoroaster, facts he tried to hide as a young man. For reasons he didn’t belabor, Bulsara claimed that he was “Persian” and seldom discussed his relatively privileged childhood. He even changed his name to Freddie. Known as a shy boy and famously ashamed of his prominent front teeth, Freddie was nevertheless so in love with music that he helped form his first band in 1958, in part to “impress the girls.” As soon as he was old enough, he moved to London, where he became a hanger-on for two popular local bands, one of which eventually hired him as a lead singer. Freddie, say the authors, loved to put on a show. At around this time, he also fell deeply in love with a woman, though he “was struggling to come to terms with whether he was straight, gay or bisexual.” Indeed, despite social mores and legalities of the time, he was also undoubtedly sleeping with men, but he “had no intention of coming out… even if in truth he had felt able to.” By mid-1970, Freddie changed his surname, while his latest band changed its name to Queen;

both began attracting attention in the U.K. Meanwhile, Mercury fell in love with someone whom he considered his “common-law wife.” She, too, seemed to have no idea that he slept with men, which might not have mattered much anyhow: Mercury had led a “hedonistic” life for years and that was just Freddie being Freddie. But then, possibly some time in 1982, he was infected with the HIV virus… At nearly 400 pages, sans notes, Somebody to Love is one of those books that might have been enhanced by being shortened by a third. Authors Richards & Langthorne did an exhaustive job with the biography of Queen front man, Freddie Mercury, but that’s not all: this is also a surprising biography of the AIDS epidemic, beginning more than a century ago. That’s often imagined, since exact circumstances are unknown but, while it makes for a fascinating tale, it stretches too slowly, gets too breathy, and loses its punch. Even Mercury’s career seemed a mess here; readers get names and dates in a bounce-around narrative on a story-loop. There’s merit in this book – early sections on the beginning of AIDS and the beginning and end of Mercury’s life are all stellar – but much of the middle part is pretty ho-hum. In the end, for fans, Somebody to Love may still be worth a try. Others may find this book to be a rough one. | 13






NOVA PRIDE PROM By, Justin Ayars, JD For generations, prom has been the quintessential rite of passage for high school students across America. Over time, prom has evolved from a ubiquitous end-of-term dance into a collective experience that has shaped both popular culture and the American psyche. Try to imagine the blockbuster science fiction franchise, Back to the Future, without the famous “Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.” Prom is meant to be a celebratory occasion. However, “a lot of LGBTQ+ students are sort of deterred by the idea of a traditional prom setting because they cannot wear what they want to wear or bring a same-sex partner,” Blair Smith (18), a graduating senior at Freedom High School in Loudoun County (and former contributor to Q Virginia magazine), explained. “In that sense, it sometimes makes students not want to go to a traditional prom.” But, as the saying goes, every problem is really just an opportunity in disguise. | 19

What is “Pride Prom?” Amy Cannava, a school psychologist in Northern Virginia (aka – “NOVA”), explained that it’s an LGBTQ-inclusive prom that “began in 2015 by then senior Lily Hamilton as part of her Senior Capstone Project. The dance was open to students across Loudoun County, but was not a Loudoun County Public Schools sanctioned event.” Blake Hesson took over in 2016 and then passed the baton to Blair Smith in 2017. This year, “Blair wanted to expand the dance outside of Loudoun County [and his school’s gymnasium] and give students all over NOVA a prom experience that was at least comparable to school proms.” After months of hard work, Blair’s vision became a reality.

Ian Alexander

Blair beamed with joy as he watched 300 students (who came from 31 public high schools and one private high school spanning five school systems) dance the night away at The Bellevue Conference & Event Center in Chantilly. “Northern Virginia is full of so many different puzzle pieces and it’s all about bringing people together. It’s amazing to give people the space to express and enjoy themselves in a traditional prom environment with a nontraditional pretext.” Ian Alexander (16) is a pansexual and transgender junior at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke. Ian also plays the character Buck Vu, a transgender Asian-American teen, on the popular Netflix show, The OA. “This is unlike anything I’ve seen before,” he exclaimed. “At traditional proms, people may feel unsafe or afraid to express who they are. But here I see people of all different shades, colors and shapes. It’s beautiful and amazing. I’m glad that there is an event like this where people can come together and not be afraid of who they are for one night.”

Amy Cannava; Blair Smith; Luke Rahman

Luke Rahman (16) is a sophomore at Freedom High School and will be taking over NOVA Pride Prom in 2018. Looking around the room he noted, “this event shows that you can really do more than you think you can if you just give yourself that little push.” Clearly, Blair is leaving this event in good hands. For Amy, the evening “was truly magical.” She continued, “Pride Prom itself is celebratory; it’s often a youth’s first affirming experience the impact of [which] extends well past the night itself. It may sound cliché, but it changes lives and brings attention to hundreds of kids who might otherwise feel ignored.” Plans for NOVA Pride Prom 2018 are already underway. As for the evening’s master of ceremonies, Blair “can’t wait to come back.”

NOVA Pride Prom would not have been possible without the generosity of The Bellevue Conference & Event Center, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) NOVA and NOVA Pride. For information about NOVA Pride Prom 2018, contact Amy at or make a tax-deductible donation through NOVA Pride.

Kendall; Blair; Ashley





If Virginia is for lovers, then this newlywed opera star feels right at home. This fall, Michael Chioldi returns to Virginia Opera to appear in the company’s 43rd season opening production: Camille Saint-Saens’ masterwork, Samson and Delilah. Chioldi, a baritone, is praised for his “warm, rich tone” (Opera News), his “deeply communicative phrasing” (The Baltimore Sun) and has received unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences around the world. Chioldi has performed at nearly every major American opera house, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Chioldi is consistently called on to host masterclasses for the next generation of talent. “In masterclasses,” he explained, “I always try to stress being a really good colleague because it’s hard to do what we do, and you never know where someone is coming from.” Politics may have put Virginia on the map, but it’s the arts that will keep it there. On a recent trip to Richmond, Chioldi had the honor to sing for Margaret Vanderhye, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. They spoke about the arts in Virginia and why they are so important to the community at large. Chioldi noted, “What we do in opera is central to the fabric of society. We can change people’s perspectives and how they feel. The human voice is so powerful, the resonance is universal and when you touch an audience or person in that way, there is nothing better in the world.” On December 10, 2016, Chioldi married his partner, Scott Hill, at Trinity Church Wall Street. Long-time friends—Virginia Opera’s President and CEO, Russell P. Allen, and Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, Adam Turner—joined the star-studded wedding guests in finishing off the ceremony with the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. With the knot tied, Chioldi is ready to make his role debut as the evil High Priest in Samson and Delilah, a biblical story of love and betrayal. The opera is famous for its seductive bacchanal—the taboo opening dance scene showcasing the rapturous love of the title characters. Although sung in French, Virginia Opera projects English supertitles above the stage so everyone can follow along. In “Hard Headed Woman,” Elvis Presley sang, “Samson told Delilah, loud and clear, keep your cotton pickin’ fingers out of my curly hair.” You’ll have to come see the show to find out how that goes!

22 | Q Virginia

Michael Chioldi

Samson and Delilah will be staged in

Norfolk: September 29, October 1 & 3 Fairfax: October 7 & 8 Richmond: October 13 & 15 For more information, visit | 23

and home


What’s in a number? To Aliyah Dastour, owner of Alimond Studio

in Leesburg, a number can capture the essence of an entire community. As a professional photographer, Aliyah meets many people who come into her studio to have their headshot taken or to shoot a short video. Over the years, Aliyah has heard some incredible stories from everyday people doing great things, like volunteering at a homeless shelter or helping a neighbor who lost their house. “These are not people who are looking for publicity,” Aliyah explained. “They do what they do because it’s who they are.” Aliyah felt it was important for these stories to be told because “as a community, a lot of times we forget about the good. It’s easy to forget about how amazing your neighbors are.” She decided to compile many of these stories into a single space—a massive passion project that she calls “Loudoun 100.” Aliyah asked the community to nominate individuals to be included in this Top 100 List. “I even gave out criteria saying these can be people who serve your children’s lunches, or people who helped you deliver your third baby at the hospital. I wanted normal everyday people who are out there doing great things.” It caught on. Aliyah got over 600 nominations. She readily admitted how challenging it was to narrow the list to 100 unsung heroes. “We were looking for a certain type of person. Someone who was doing things without asking for anything in return. To me, that’s my definition of amazing.” After selecting the 100, Aliyah asked each person to come into her studio to get their headshot taken and make a short video. She’s putting all 100 headshots together with their stories in a beautiful hardbound book. When shooting the video, Aliyah asked questions like: “What would you have said to your 14-year-old self? What is your definition of an amazing person? If you could give one message to the world, what would it be?” As she compiled the interviews of all 100 people into a brief 20-minute video, Aliyah noticed common themes. Everyone believed in forgiveness, second chances and kindness. Also, everyone wanted to raise their kids to be good people. The book and the video will be launched at a nonprofit, family-friendly event on September 12th at ProJet Aviation in Leesburg with the help of Rusty Foster of Bow Tie Strategies and Tina Johnson of JP Events & Consulting. The event will be set up like an art gallery with photos of each of the Loudoun 100 on display. Aliyah is very excited about the event because, “we’re all going to see how beautiful Loudoun County really is, represented within these 100 people.” She stressed, “I want kids to see their parents on display as role models. These are the people that we want to grow up to be like. These are our superheroes who live right here in our own community.”

“They do what they do because it’s who they are.”

Aliyah Dastour

For more information, visit: | 25
















8:40 AM

ef ature

Southwest Virginia’s

diversity camp

an unexpected oasis of inclusion | 31

BY, JUSTIN AYARS, JD On a hot and muggy Wednesday in the middle of June, I gassed up my SUV and made the long trek from Richmond to Craig County, Virginia. If you’ve never heard of Craig County, you’re not alone. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Craig is a small, rural county that straddles the border between Virginia and West Virginia. Located about one-hour northwest of Blacksburg, this part of the Commonwealth is as beautiful as it is remote. As I drove through the twisting mountains, I witnessed breathtaking landscapes, an alpaca ranch and even a donkey rescue family farm. Upon arriving at my destination, I was greeted by cooler air and a sea of friendly faces. My experience at Diversity Camp was about to begin. The Birth of Diversity Camp For the past four years, the Roanoke Diversity Center (RDC) has hosted a Diversity Camp for teens and young adults at the Craig Springs Camp & Retreat Center (Craig Springs Camp), which is owned and operated by the Disciples of Christ Church. According to Diversity Camp’s founder and director, Joshua Olinger, “This is the only LGBTQ summer camp in Virginia.” Prior to founding Diversity Camp, Joshua had worked as a staff member for the church’s campsite for six years. Joshua’s extensive work at Craig Springs Camp gave him the idea to rent out the facility from the church and create a week-long LGBTQ camp operated by the RDC. The church, which is very LGBTQ-friendly, was very supportive of Joshua’s idea and in the summer of 2013, Diversity Camp was born. Now in its fourth year, Diversity Camp boasts 30 campers (ages 8-28), 20 counselors and attracts participants from a 100-mile radius that spans from Roanoke to Richmond and Martinsville to rural communities in Tennessee. The Power of Our Evolving Language As Joshua concluded my introductory tour of the campsite, he noted that “over half of the campers this year identify as transgender, gender non-binary or gender-queer.” In fact, he continued, “we’ve been talking about some of these terms in our workshops and how they can help people embrace their authentic selves and explain who they are to others.” Having grown up in an era when the word “queer” was considered a derogatory epithet, I was curious to learn more about how younger generations are choosing to express themselves through language. My curiosity brought me to an afternoon workshop about sexuality and language. Located in the large common area inside a rustic building, this workshop attracted about 20 high school students and young adults who sat in in a large circle of chairs alongside several counselors and a group discussion leader. The hour-long conversation about the evolving lexicon within the LGBTQ community was fascinating. However, I found the most interesting comment was a color analogy volunteered by one of the counselors. He started by staying that the color “mustard yellow” has always existed in nature.

32 | Q Virginia

However, it wasn’t until the invention of mustard as a popular condiment did the phrase “mustard yellow” enter our vernacular as a color within the “yellow” spectrum. Similarly, he proffered, the same can be said for the evolving language emerging from within the LGBTQ community. While concepts like “gender-queer,” “asexual,” and “pansexual,” may seem new, the feelings these words describe have always existed—only now, we can express those feelings through language. After the workshop, I sat down with Blacksburg native Megan Jameson (16) to talk about the subject of language further. She cautioned, “We should not assume that everyone is supposed to know some of the new language that’s evolving within our community.” On the other hand, she continued, “Just because some people didn’t have the experiences that we, as younger people, are having does not make our experiences invalid. The words that we use to describe ourselves and our feelings are valid, even though others might not think that they are.” Megan then candidly explained some of the challenges she faces when it comes to the language of gender identity. “I was assigned female at birth and primarily identify as female. But sometimes that label doesn’t feel right inside. It fluctuates a lot. At times, I don’t feel I have a gender. It’s hard to describe because I don’t really know all of my feelings.” Megan’s answer exemplifies one of the reasons Diversity Camp exists—to explore and wrestle with those feelings in a safe and supportive environment. A Safe Space for Everyone Every camper I met emphasized how Diversity Camp is a unique place where people can be their authentic selves, form lasting friendships and create a true sense of community. Alexander Denny (17) is a Danville native and identifies as a trans man. As we swayed back and forth in rocking chairs atop an old wooden porch, he shared, “It’s hard for me to be my authentic self in Danville because it’s very gender conforming. I returned to Diversity Camp this summer because I feel comfortable here and can be more open and free in my gender expression.”

Later that afternoon, I sat by the pool with counselor Gregory Rosenthal—an assistant professor of history at Roanoke College and a co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project (an undertaking that Q Virginia magazine reported on in a past issue). Like many campers, Gregory emphasized how Diversity Camp creates a vital sense of community “that is beyond measure.” He explained, “Many campers come from homes where their biological parents are not supportive of their identities. Many are also from rural school districts and counties where they may not feel they can safely be out. Here, young people interact with fellow LGBTQ youth and have a normal teenage camp experience. We’re really trying to create a safe space, and we have.” As we dangled our feet in the cool water and looked out across the pool full of campers laughing and splashing each other, Gregory noted, “Swimming is a great example. Think about the gender non-conforming and trans kids. To strip down to a bathing suit, swim together and be comfortable with their bodies is so important. There’s no other camp, probably within 1,000 miles, where you can go and do that.” For Gregory, the sense of community and comradery amongst the counselors is just as important as it is for the campers. “I came back to be a counselor for a second year because of the great friendships I made with fellow counselors. Diversity Camp is really camp for us, too.” An Oasis of Inclusion As the workshops ended, campers dried off their pruning skin from hours in the pool and the sun began to set, everyone gathered around the nightly campfire to eat candy, sing songs and make s’mores. Looking around the campfire (with gooey, chocolate-covered marshmallows running down my face), the feeling of community and comradery was palpable in the sticky summer evening air. As I said my goodbyes and climbed back into my SUV to begin my long journey home, I realized something… I had arrived at Craig Springs a total outsider and was leaving feeling like part of a family—a family that was created within an unexpected oasis of inclusion in southwestern Virginia: Diversity Camp.

Virginia Voices:

Quotes from Diversity Camp Megan Jameson (16), Camper – Blacksburg “Diversity Camp is a good way to explore myself in a safe environment. It’s not a cis-normative, hetero-normative place. It’s just such a queer environment and it’s really good to put aside a week of my life to just be as queer as I am and not have others judge me.” Ethan Parker (15), Camper – Roanoke “Although I identify as gender non-conforming, I usually use he/him pronouns because it’s easier for people to understand. But here, I don’t have to worry about that.” Kaye Pacifico (28), Camper – Martinsville “I identify as gender-fluid, two-spirited and gay. I find Diversity Camp liberating because I can finally express myself and not be afraid to be who I am.” Joseph Cunningham (23), Camper – Clifton Forge “At camp, you can just let loose and be yourself without fear of judgment. By the time it ends, most everyone is crying because this is home for us. This is a family. When it’s over, we have to go back to reality and for some people that’s a challenge.” Alexander Denny (17), Camper – Danville “Diversity Camp helped me realize that being true to who you are doesn’t mean that you have to conform to who you think you are. It’s important to be comfortable in who you are and try to find piece within all of the noise.” Nick Dinkel (21), Counselor – Roanoke “I wish I had camp when I was younger because I didn’t know who to talk to or what resources were available. Camp provides a sense of community and helps me come closer to figuring out who I am as a person.” October Obenour (20), Counselor – Basset “I identify as gender-queer, pansexual and a-romantic. My favorite part about Diversity Camp is watching each other grow and change over the years. I see people changing their names and pronouns and learning a lot about themselves. It’s so wonderful to help each other learn about ourselves.” | 33

Purchase your tickets Now! INTRODUCING THE

2017- 2018

“Love that is not Madness is not love”



ummer Night’s Dream CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS





Samson and Delilah the girl of the golden west







the girl of the golden west BENJAMIN BRITTEN

ia di Lammermoor A Midsummer Night’s Dream ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SUPERTITLES




A Midsummer Night’s Dream GAETANO DONIZETTI

Lucia di Lammermoor







e r u t a fe


From the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the serene beaches of the Eastern Shore, Virginia (a.k.a. – The Mother of Presidents) has something for everyone. Experience the great outdoors, drink in over 400 years of history and experience thrills and chills you won’t find anywhere else. Meet Virginia, we can’t wait to… meet Virginia. | 35

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FROM SEASIDE TO BAYSIDE The Eastern Shore in 3 Days Explore the secrets of this rural peninsula tucked between the broad waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the great Atlantic Ocean. On the Eastern Shore, you can revel in scenic beauty, discover hidden hamlets, tour vineyards by kayak, eat fresh from the tides seafood and even watch majestic island ponies run free. Three days on Virginia’s enchanting Eastern Shore is the perfect antidote to other crowded costal destinations.

its remote location, lifelong residents still speak English as it was spoken during the 17th century! You have to hear it to believe it!

Day One: Cape Charles

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are two barrier islands that provide tourists with access to natural wonders, delicious seafood and the best beaches on the East Coast. Chincoteague Island (seven miles long) offers miles of protected waterways to explore and the best access to the undeveloped beaches of Assateague Island. Chincoteague is the perfect place to enjoy bird watching, a nature cruise, biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming and devouring the island’s famous oysters!

Cape Charles is a small bayside community that is recapturing its 1880s glory days when the railroad gave birth to this charming town. Check into the Cape Charles House Bed & Breakfast (a stunning 1912 Colonial Revival building featuring a full gourmet breakfast, stellar service and located mere minutes from the bay) and begin exploring the town’s antique shops, museums and restaurants (stop in Shanty to enjoy sustainable seafood, local ingredients and an amazing view). Check out the Art Deco Historic Palace Theatre, which spotlights local, regional and national talent. Take in the award-winning golf courses, picturesque winery and breathtaking beauty at Bay Creek Resort & Club. Grab a kayak and explore the serene waters of the bay either on your own or with an experienced eco-tour operator. Enjoy a relaxing evening strolling the quiet beaches, fishing piers and hiking trails. Fun Fact: Bay Creek Resort & Club offers the county’s only kayak winery tour.

Day Two: Tangier Island

Take a ferry to one of the last remaining working watermen’s hamlets: Tangier Island. Known as the “soft-shell crab capital of the world,” this hidden gem offers educational water tours, kayaking, fishing, bird-watching, crab shanty tours and more. Have lunch at Fisherman’s Corner (try the crab cakes) and enjoy the charming Tangier History Museum! Due to rising sea levels, the 1.3 square mile island is losing 15 feet of coastline every year (book your trip soon). Many of the island’s 450 residents are descendants of the first English settlers. Given

Fun Fact: Tangier Island doesn’t have any cars. Bikes, mopeds, golf carts and boats are the only modes of transportation.

Day Three: Chincoteague & Assateague Islands

Tip: Take a boat tour from Chincoteague and explore the back bays and marshlands of Assateague Island. Assateague Island (38 miles long) is home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts 14,000 acres of beach, maritime forest, marshes and wildlife. Enjoy numerous hiking and biking nature trails or go on a tour of the historic Assateague Lighthouse. Assateague offers arguably the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Coastline. Spend a day at the beach collecting shells, riding horses, racing around in Over Sand Vehicles and roasting marshmallows around an open campfire. Wild ponies have inhabited Assateague for hundreds of years, the descendants of survivors of a Spanish galleon that wrecked off the coast. Watch these majestic creatures roam free across the island. Tip: You simply can’t miss the Saltwater Cowboys swim the pony herd from Assateague to Chincoteague (July 25, 2018). | 37


RICHMOND LOVES BEER Feeling hoppy? Stop by Richmond to quench your thirst! Richmond, known to locals as “RVA,” is quickly becoming a major craft beer destination. Home to over 20 craft breweries, it's clear why The Wall Street Journal said Richmond, “is home to one of the region's fastest growing beer scenes.” In 2014, Frommer’s travel resource named RVA a worldwide must-see destination in part because of the city’s exploding craft beer scene. Richmond has had a long love affair with beer. Lee Graves, author of Richmond Beer: A History of Brewing in the River City, astutely noted, “[T]he story of beer reflects the story of Richmond itself. From beer accompanying English colonists to the falls of the James River in 1607 to a brewery adjoining a Civil War hospital in Chimborazo, from German lager earning kudos upon its arrival in the mid-1800s” to the city’s current craft beer revolution, “Richmond has always loved, embraced and celebrated beer.” Fun Fact: Richmond was the first place where beer was sold in a can back in 1935. Richmond’s senior brewery, Legend Brewing Co., has been in operation since 1994. Its famous Legend Brown, a drinkable brown ale, got many folks interested in craft beer before craft beer was “a thing.” In 2012, two out-of-town entrepreneurs established Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Hardywood). They started with a single flagship—the easy-drinking Singel, a Belgian blonde ale—and became nationally recognized for their Gingerbread Stout. Strangeways Brewing, which 38 | Q Virginia

opened in 2013, was named by Bon Appétit magazine as one of “10 New U.S. Breweries to Watch.” Fun Fact: RVA’s LGBTQ bars (Babe’s of Carytown, Barcode and Godfrey’s) routinely stock local craft beers. Not only is Richmond’s craft beer scene hopping, it’s intimately connected to the city’s LGBTQ community. In September of 2016, local brewery Ardent Craft Ales (Ardent), partnered with Center of the Universe Brewing Company (COTU), Virginia Pride (Richmond’s annual Pride festival) and OutRVA (Richmond Region Tourism’s award-winning LGBTQ marketing campaign) to create two, limited edition Pride Beers: “Georgie” and “Porgie.” Ardent’s Georgie was a mixed berry “pie” ale and COTU’s Porgie was a chocolate “pudding” porter. Both beers could be enjoyed individually or the two libations could be combined for a unique craft beer experience! On July 9, 2017, Hardywood, Ardent and COTU teamed up to host the second annual “Love on Tap,” an event celebrating marriage equality. This year marked the first time three RVA breweries collaborated on a single beer together: “Tropic Like It’s Hot,” a special hefeweizen brewed with passion fruit, pineapple and lime. Come to RVA, grab a growler and sip the city’s craft beers with pride!


ELEGANTLY ENGLISH IN STAUNTON Want to have an authentically “English” experience in Virginia? Leave your passport at home and travel to the enchanting town of Staunton, located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Start your day at the Blackfriars Playhouse—the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s first indoor theatre! Take a tour of the playhouse and get a behind-the-scenes look as you go on-stage, behind stage and even under the stage! Blending lecture and performance in an educational and entertaining way, tour guides tell the story of England’s first indoor theatre and describe how the staging conditions of 16th and 17th century London shaped the works of Shakespeare and his fellow playwrights. Tip: Tours of the Blackfriars Playhouse run MondayFriday at 11 am and 2 pm, and Saturdays at 2 pm. After rehearsing your favorite scenes on stage—performing and photography is highly encouraged—head over to the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room. This delightful tea room is housed in a traditional Tudor complete with thatched roof. Enjoy a beautiful spread of homemade tea sandwiches, shortbread and scones all served with delectable clotted cream and freshly prepared tea—imported from England and served in fine china, naturally. Be extra fancy and drink your tea with your pinkie up!

Tip: Reservations at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room are highly recommended. This popular destination fills up quickly. After tea, take to the streets and peruse the many antique stores, art galleries and unique shops scattered throughout town. Be sure to snag some unique works made by local artists at Morgan-Miles Picture Frames & Art Gallery and pick up some custom furniture, home décor or natural bath products at Redwood & Co. Both gay-owned businesses add remarkable charm to the quaint town. Check into the famous Stonewall Jackson Hotel in the heart of downtown before heading out for dinner at one of Staunton’s many farm-to-table restaurants. Finish your evening at the Blackfriars Playhouse where you can take in an award-wining performance by the American Shakespeare Center. Choose from their variety of titles including contemporary and classic works or enjoy a Shakespearean staple. Step back in time and enjoy an elegantly English escape in the Shenandoah Valley. | 39


The beautiful port city of Norfolk doesn’t just have a strong military presence; it also boasts gorgeous gardens, an incredible art scene, fabulous food, a thriving LGBTQ community and even the birthplace of the waffle cone!

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Start your morning by discovering one of the largest collections of azalea, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. There, you’ll experience 155 glorious acres of gardens with guided tours on foot and tram. Take a guided tour of the garden by boat for a truly magical experience!



Visit Norfolk next April for the annual Norfolk Home & Garden Tour, an exceptional event where a different Norfolk historic neighborhood opens up a handful of glorious mansions for tours and special activities. Visit the Chrysler Museum (located across the street from the d’Art Center) to enjoy art collections ranging from ancient Egypt to contemporary times. Is contemporary elegance more your style? Stop by Decorum Furniture and purchase some beautiful contemporary pieces for your home or office. Don’t leave without picking up a few amusing gifts at their fabulous gift shop! Visit Norfolk next June to enjoy Hampton Roads 30th Annual PrideFest, which features the nation’s only Pride Boat Parade at Town Point Park!

Fun Facts

Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk. Built in 1917, it covers 3,400 acres! Doumar’s still bakes its waffle cones on the original cone machines that are over 100 years old!

Continue your visual adventure at the d’Art Center, a non-profit facility that has served the greater Hampton Roads area for over 30 years by connecting the community with visual arts. At this remarkable, interactive center—which was modeled after the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA—you can: meet and watch over 40 artists create art in their personal studios; create your own art through educational programs; learn about the artistic process from professional artists; collect high-quality, innovative artwork by resident artists and exhibition participants; and, enjoy amazing art and the enhanced community culture created by support for the arts. Hungry for more art? Check out the Hermitage Museum and Gardens—Norfolk’s Waterfront Estate. This remarkable place features a nationally recognized art collection spanning 5,000 years, changing indoor and outdoor exhibitions, a Visual Arts Studio and 12 acres of gardens and grounds that offer art and culture to the community. The highlight of the Hermitage is the estate’s magnificent early 20th century home, which appears frozen in time offering visitors an extraordinary trip through antiquity. Care to enjoy the performing arts? Norfolk’s got you covered. Relish in an opera staged the legendary Virginia Opera Association. Watch a play at the Little Theater of Norfolk. Catch an up-and-coming band at The NorVa. See gifted artists (ranging from ballet dancers and classical musicians to Reggae bands and sketch comedy groups) sponsored by the Virginia Arts Festival. Or check out the incredible concerts, festivals and celebrations that Norfolk Festevents produces at Town Point Park and elsewhere.

Drinks, Dinner, Dessert & Dancing

Before dinner, savor wine tasting at the Mermaid Winery, Virginia’s first urban winery. The Mermaid Wines are made from grapes coming from all over Virginia. Then, venture over to Todd Jurich’s Bistro to enjoy artisan cocktails and traditional Southern fare with a modern twist. This casually elegant restaurant is a favorite of Norfolk’s LGBTQ community. For a more informal evening meal, stop by MJ’s Tavern—a popular down-to-earth saloon with draft beers, comfort food and smoking patio. After dinner, indulge a famous waffle cone from Doumar’s. In 1904, Abe Doumar invented the waffle cone by taking a waffle, rolling it into a cone and adding ice cream. You have to get at least two scoops! To work off the calories from Doumar’s, spend the night dancing at the Wave, a vibrant nightclub that has become a gay institution in Norfolk. If you’re looking for hot sailors, skip Fleet Week and head to the Wave! Norfolk is not your typical military town. Come and see why. | 41


ALEXANDRIA’S HAUNTS Are you looking for a hauntingly good time this Halloween? Be sure to check out Alexandria’s Ghost & Graveyard tour—a one-hour, six-block walking tour through the charming streets of Old Town Alexandria. This mesmerizing adventure will provide you with fun historical insights about Alexandria (not all of which are for the faint of heart) and give you a new perspective on the historic city that abuts the Potomac River. Your tour guide—decked out in 18th century garb—guides you through narrow streets by lantern light while sharing ghost stories, legends and folklore about unsolved mysteries, tales of romance and angry ghosts looking for revenge. Along the tour, you’ll pass City Hall (where people used to be brutally punished for stealing cattle), Gadbsy Tavern (where Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson used to dine) and even the famous church that both President George Washington and General Robert E. Lee attended (both men’s pews still

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exist). Beware, though—every tour ends in a spooky graveyard! Tip: Ask your tour guide why some of the headstones in the graveyard are charred. After the tour, be sure to stop by Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant, northern Virginia’s only gay bar. This fun, neighborhood hangout is popular with locals, tourists and the military (given its proximity to the Pentagon). As soon as you walk in, you’ll fall in love with the purple walls adorned with fabulous kitsch decorations, the restaurant’s great food and, most importantly, the extremely friendly, welcoming atmosphere. After a spooky ghost tour, a trip to Freddie’s is just what you’ll need!


VIRGINIA BEACH BOARDWALK’N Virginia Beach, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, provides travelers with abundant aquatic adventures! With pristine natural wonders, freshly caught seafood, just-picked local ingredients, a vibrant downtown district, a thriving LGBTQ community and three distinct beach experiences, Virginia Beach provides appeal for all visitors. Fun Fact: Virginia Beach consistently ranks among the country’s best beach destinations. The Resort Beach is where Virginia Beach reveals its outgoing nature. This park-like atmosphere is lined with hotels, restaurants, beach playgrounds, retail shops, attractions as well as the iconic three-mile boardwalk. For a truly amazing experience, go to the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel (located next to the iconic statue of Neptune on the boardwalk) and get a Sky Bar membership. Sky Bar is a private club on the roof of the hotel that combines the quaint décor of Miami and the VIP feel of Las Vegas. Sky Bar hosts killer DJs, themed events, special parties and boasts the most spectacular views in Virginia Beach. If you get a membership, be sure to adhere to the club’s dress code.

Tip: For an inexpensive boardwalk thrill, buy a box (or two) of saltwater taffy at Forbes Candies on Atlantic Avenue. Forbes is a local, family-owned candy company that dates back to the 1930s. Their saltwater taffy is the best on Earth! Chesapeake Bay Beach offers beach-goers kinder, gentler waves and provides ideal waters for swimming in the surf. Visitors can enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, sand-castle building, volleyball and more. Sandbridge Beach provides a more secluded environment. Here, visitors can enjoy sheer serenity in breathtaking ocean-view rental homes or condominiums. With five miles of beautiful, golden sands along the Atlantic Ocean, Sandbridge creates an island-like experience and is the ideal family retreat. Fun Fact: Sandbridge Beach is called the “Outer Banks of Virginia.” If you’re looking for a night out in Virginia Beach, look no further than the Rainbow Cactus Company. This nightclub features DJs, dancing, drag shows, dancers, karaoke, pool and live bands. The diverse crowd, friendly staff and stiff drinks make this a fun place to go after a day at the beach! Come to Virginia Beach and live the life. | 43

Sipping Your Way Through Shenandoah County Nestled amongst beautiful mountain scenery, rural Shenandoah County is home to eight vineyards, two craft breweries and one cidery. Shenandoah County is only 518 square miles, so it’s pretty easy to get around. Follow our guide, trek through the county and sip your way to saporous satisfaction!

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Woodstock – Central Shenandoah County Woodbine Farm Market has fresh-baked breads, local fruit and artisanal cheeses that are the perfect accompaniment as you sip wine at your first vineyard: North Mountain Vineyards. This vineyard offers an array of elegant wines in a charming setting. Proceed south along Route 11 to Woodstock for lunch at the Woodstock Cafe & Shoppes. Take a stroll along Main Street to All Things Virginia at the Farmhouse for a great selection of Virginia wines, snacks and locally made crafts before continuing to Shenandoah Vineyards—the oldest vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley and second oldest in the state. Return to Woodstock for dinner and a pint at the Woodstock Brewhouse, located in a historic denim factory.

New Market – Southern Shenandoah County Enjoy breakfast and locally roasted coffee at Jackson’s Corner Cafe in New Market then start your day relaxing on the patio at Third Hill Winery at DeMello Vineyards. Enjoy a stop at Shenandoah Caverns Family of Attractions (which includes Shenandoah Caverns, American Celebration on Parade and Main Street of Yesteryear) or Route 11 Chips before continuing onto Swover Creek Farms and Brewery for lunch. After lunch, find your way to Wolf Gap Vineyard, located on a ridgeline which affords spectacular mountain views. Next, check out Cave Ridge Vineyard, nestled in the foothills overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. End your day at The Winery at Kindred Pointe where you can also enjoy their fabulous walking trails.

Strasburg – Northern Shenandoah County Start your day at Sunrise Café—you have to try their homemade sourdough bread. Afterwards, explore the O Shenandoah County Artisan Trail with a stop at the Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum to learn about local history and see local artwork and crafts. While there, pop in Heritage Mill Wines 1848 for a variety of fine wines, craft beers and cheeses. Next, head over to Cristina’s Cafe in Strasburg for lunch followed by a stroll along King Street where you can explore a plethora of local shops and downtown murals. For a delicious, rural retreat, Shenandoah County can’t be beat!

Fun Fact

North Mountain Vineyard is pet-friendly.


At Swover Creek Farms and Brewery, order the farmcrafted sausages served in freshly-made pretzel roles. If you’re travelling in the valley in late July, try to catch Shenandoah Valley Pride—an annual Pride festival held at the historic Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg (just 30 minutes north of Strasburg). | 45


FALL ADVENTURES IN FAIRFAX Take time to explore Fairfax County this season and we’re sure you’ll “fall” in love with it!

Mount Vernon

Start your autumn adventure on the southern end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway at the home of our nation’s first president. In the fall, George Washington’s Mount Vernon is a colorful kaleidoscope of mature oaks, red maples and poplars. While visiting the majestic estate in autumn, chances are you’ll be able to attend one of the many all-day festivals and special events that have become some of Northern Virginia’s favorite traditions. Events to watch out for this year include the Colonial Market & Fair (Sept. 16-17), the Slave Memorial Commemoration (Sept. 30), the Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour (Oct. 6-8), Fall Harvest Family Days (Oct. 21-22) and Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon (Oct. 27-28). Tip: Be sure to nourish your body and soul at the Mount Vernon Inn.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Visit one of Northern Virginia’s best kept secrets: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Meadowlark has three distinct native plant collections that showcase Virginia plant life. In October see the Salvia and other native Virginia trees peak in their fall colors while you hike along mulched nature trails. Be sure to bring a camera (not just 46 | Q Virginia

your smartphone) because Meadowlark is an excellent place to photograph breathtaking foliage. Tip: Take the short drive from Meadowlark to Tysons Corner Center where you can find a variety of delicious cuisines and fabulous stores. Take a break from shopping and treat yourself to the timeless ritual of Afternoon Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, served in the Entyse Lounge Fri-Sun, 12pm-4pm (reservations strongly encouraged).

Great Falls National Park

When in Fairfax County, you can’t miss a trip to Great Falls National Park. This meticulously maintained national treasure draws visitors the world over. From the three main overlooks at the park, the roaring water of the falls in the foreground recedes into a picturesque background filled with the burning reds and burnt oranges of stately trees. The images you see at the park in fall will paint permanent pictures in your memory’s museum. Tip: Enjoy outstanding culinary fare and simple elegance at Dante Ristorante, one of many great dining options that the town of Great Falls has to offer. Paint beautiful memories in Fairfax County this fall!



The European setting of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg has been voted The Word’s Favorite Theme Park” and, every year since 1990, it’s been honored with the distinction “The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park.” Visit England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy without the hassle of passports, customs and language barriers. Every country at Busch Gardens showcases popular foods, landmarks, gardens, shops and entertainment that put you in the middle of quaint European villages. Don’t forget to hit the roller coasters of each country! Fun Fact: Two of Busch Gardens’ coasters are rated in the Top 25 in the World! Fill fall nights with fright at Busch Gardens’ annual HowlO-Scream® on select nights from Sept. 23 – Oct. 29, 2017. During the day, you can enjoy rides, attractions and fall décor. Then, at 6:00 P.M., the park brings the spirit of Halloween to life with elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed Terror-tories™ and darkly entertaining live shows. Beware of creepy creatures lurking about the park hungry for unsuspecting victims!

million Christmas lights, making it the largest light display in North America!

Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion is a 400-acre theme park located in Doswell, just 20 miles north of Richmond and 75 miles south of D.C. It’s home to more than 60 rides and attractions, including 12 world-class roller coasters. If you have young kids, don’t miss Planet Snoopy, the world’s largest PEANUTS™-themed children’s area. Is the heat getting you down? Cool off at Soak City, a 20-acre water park that’s included with your admission to Kings Dominion. Looking for scary fun this fall? Terror lurks around every corner at Kings Dominion’s annual Halloween Haunt on select nights from Sept. 23 – Oct. 29. From thrilling rides to frightful attractions, you’ll be in for some extreme screams! Fun Fact: Over 400 monsters descend upon the park each night at 7:00 P.M. during Halloween Haunt.

To celebrate a less scary occasion, visit Busch Gardens during the holidays for Christmas Town™. Every year, the world’s most beautiful theme park is aglow with over eight | 47

e r u t a fe

Cruising with the



Rayceen Pendarvis | 49



ALOHA IS A HAWAIIAN WORD MEANING AFFECTION, COMPASSION, MERCY AND PEACE. IT IS NOW COMMONLY USED TO MEAN “HELLO” AND “GOODBYE.” I anticipate hearing it—and saying it—when the Black Gay & Lesbian (BGL) Cruise arrives in the Aloha State this autumn. Our seven-day excursion to Hawaii is the latest voyage in my many years of nautical adventures. For almost two decades, long before there was Team Rayceen or The Ask Rayceen Show, hundreds of LGBTQ guests assembled from almost every state and several nations for the annual BGL Cruise. On the high seas, passengers have enjoyed The Rayceen Experience— my special mix of comedy, audience participation games, motivational talks, inspirational messages and what sometimes becomes a group therapy session. The Love Boat had Julie as their Cruise Director, but since 1999, the BGL Cruise has had Rayceen! This year is the 20th BGL Cruise hosted by SongMaster Entertainment & Travel (SongMaster), which takes place annually from the last weekend in October through the first weekend of November. I am very grateful for Mark Harris, Tim Daniels, Jim Lewis and everyone at SongMaster who have worked so hard to make this autumn’s trip to Hawaii safe, exciting and memorable. In past years, we have cruised throughout the tropical islands of the Caribbean. Each year, we host a series of fun events including talent shows, a Halloween costume party, game nights, scavenger hunts and dance parties. I particularly enjoy putting together our choir—which I have lovingly named, The SongMaster Holy Blessed All Saints All Souls All Star Shouting Cathedral Choir—for the talent show at the end of the cruise. On BGL Cruises, I’ve met many wonderful people from all walks of life, including jazz singers, strippers, porn stars and even lesbian saxophonist, Pamela Williams. Although I’ve enjoyed dozens Caribbean ports of call, there’s one adventure in the Bahamas I’ll never forget. I had disembarked early and was sitting on a wall near more than a dozen minivans that were lined up to take us to a private venue on the island. As I sat silently in prayer, adorned in my turban and flowing regalia (naturally), members of our group began to walk towards the vehicles. I noticed the drivers’ faces change as more flamboyant and outrageously dressed individuals came into view. I descended from the wall, approached the man in charge of transportation and asked to speak to the drivers. Once assembled, I told them that we were their brothers and sisters. I talked about solidarity and about the various forms of discrimination that we all face. I also told them that because gays tend to tip well that they would all make double what they usually earn in a day (provided they treated everyone with respect). We all prayed together and the energy shifted. Not only did the drivers take us to our destination, but they came inside and we made sure they were fed. When they took us back to the ship, they received the generous tips I predicted.

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For The Rayceen Experience on the high seas, we have an “Ask Rayceen” segment when attendees can ask me anything. One year, someone asked a question that gave me great pause: “What do you do when you bury your lover the week before the cruise?” I looked him in the eyes and told him, “You live.” I went on to explain that while his lover may have passed on, he has the honor and duty to keep his lover’s memory alive. I shared the story of losing David, the love of my life, and how I celebrate his memory with everything I do and all the love I give. Soon everyone in the room gathered around us, embraced each other and shed tears together over this man’s grief. I whispered in his ear that the men we loved were looking down on us and smiling. We stayed in touch and, to this day, we still call and check in on each other. When you hear about me, the High Priestess of Love, going cruising, they must be talking about the BGL Cruise! Although the tropical paradises we visit are beautiful, it is the affirming space for queer people of color we create on those cruise ships that are my Shangri-La. New friendships, love connections, late night conversations, Uno tournaments—it all happens over that week in autumn. I have so many wonderful memories, and I look forward to making many more.


Rayceen Pendarvis is an emcee, entertainer, activist, speaker, social media personality and host of The Ask Rayceen Show, a free monthly event in Washington, D.C. For more information about Rayceen Pendarvis, Team Rayceen and The Ask Rayceen Show, please visit For more information about the BGL Cruise, visit | 51



for Arlington, Virginia

As the tree canopy changes to colorful fall leaves and cozy vibes, Arlington, Virginia’s got you covered for magical experiences both inside and out. Time to Play. Fall starts out in Arlington with a tribute to Barbra Streisand at the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre. Streisand Songbook (Sept. 5 – 9) will cover the musical hits of the iconic songstress and actress with that certain X factor: the magical star quality, as well as heaps of talent. The theatre’s season continues with an all-American lineup: A Little Night Music, An Act of God, Crazy for You. Find your Brews. Capitol City Brewing Co.’s 18th Annual Mid-Atlantic OktoberFest comes to the Village of Shirlington starting at noon Sept. 30. Dozens of breweries give out 4 oz. samples, and local food vendors and live music make it an authentic Oktoberfest. Later, take a brewery tour! Capitol City and New District, both in Shirlington, offer tours occasionally besides flights of lagers, stouts and pale ales. The newest Arlington brewery, Heritage Brewing in the Clarendon neighborhood, is cozy inside with a dining area that visitors compliment by saying it makes “you feel like you were inside a beer barrel.” Shop for the Perfect Sweater. Located just minutes from the nation’s capital in Arlington, and a stop on the Yellow and Blue Lines of the Metro, the newly remodeled Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is a spectacular shopping and tourist destination. The lineup of stores includes some of the most sought after names in retail. Avenues of fashion and boulevards of style await, including at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Apple, Coach, Michael Kors and Tourneau. Salute. The annual Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 traditionally is open to all, no tickets required, and often includes an address by the president or vice president in addition to patriotic musical performances, flags and pageantry in the Memorial Amphitheater. Appear the knowledgeable historian when you tell everyone there’s an autographed photo of President Woodrow Wilson in the amphitheater’s cornerstone. Chill. As the Washington Capitals season starts up in October, see ice hockey practice at Kettler Iceplex. The Kettler Capitals Iceplex opens its doors not just to the NHL team, but to dedicated hockey fans interested in watching the team before they take the ice for a big game. You can even skate on the same ice afterward. Book your Table. Stay cozy by the fireplace at Fyve Restaurant The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with its dazzling hues of red and orange. Sitting on the high-end red leather couch is an experience in itself. Or check for a complete list of places serving the best of fall cuisine, from butternut squash soup to all things pumpkin.

V I RG I N I A P R I D ES lgbtq pride schedule 2017

May 14 May 20-21 May 26-29 June 8-11 June 16-17 June 24 July 22 September 16 September 17 September 23 October 1

March 22-25, 2018 April 14-15, 2018

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D.C. Youth Pride Day Capital Trans Pride D.C. Black Pride Capital Pride Hampton Roads Pride (Norfolk) Floyd Pride Shenandoah Valley Pride (Harrisonburg) Cville Pride (Charlottesville) Petersburg Out & Proud Virginia Pride (Richmond) NOVA Pride (Centreville) Prides of the Southeast Conference (Hosted by Roanoke Pride) Roanoke Pride in the Park 28 (moved from September 2017)


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Wrap yourself in the star-spangled banner and join us as we tour some familiar and far-flung fixtures of our great nation! You’ll need a bathing suit, cowboy boots and a parka (seriously). Oh, beautiful for spacious skies! | 57

n e m o W e t a r b e l e C North


n Fes ia b s e L t s e B ’s America

The Dinah – Palm Springs, CA

London Lesbian Film Festival – London, Ontario

Dinah Shore Vegas – Las Vegas, NV

Aqua Girl – Miami, FL

Women’s Outdoors National Gathering – Various Locations

Girls in Wonderland – Orlando, FL

Girl Splash – Provincetown, MA

Festival of the Babes – Seattle, WA

(late March – early April) Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, popularly known as “The Dinah,” is a five-day weekend getaway and music festival that takes place annually in Palm Springs. The Dinah is world-famous for its celebrity guests, which are announced each January.

(mid-May) This is the largest charity event for women who love women. Since 1999, women from all over the globe have come to this four-day event to celebrate women and raise money for local charities. 100% of the event’s proceeds benefit the Aqua Foundation for Women, a not-for-profit organization that serves as the funding catalyst for lesbian, bisexual and transgender wellness and equality in South Florida.

National Women’s Music Festival – Middleton, WI

(late June – early July) Produced by Women in the Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the National Women’s Music Festival is a four-day musical and cultural extravaganza that incorporates all facets of women’s lives. It’s a jampacked long weekend where choices for things to do include workshops, concerts, comedy, theater presentations, a marketplace, newly released films and videos, a live auction, spirituality series, writer’s series and much, much more!

(mid-April) This annual celebratory gathering aims to portray the richness and diversity of lesbian experiences and to strengthen lesbian communities. The three-day film festival is organized each year by the Reeling Spinsters, a volunteer group made up of diverse lesbians, bisexual and queer women.

(Memorial Day Weekend) Every Memorial Day Weekend, women from across the country gather for three wonderful days of fun and adventure. Most of the activities center around volunteer-led workshops, exciting outdoor activities and communing with one another.

(late July) Spend a summer week in Provincetown taking in the special event that is all things women. Each year Provincetown for Women offers a full lineup of parties, performers, and lots of activities for women who love women. Events include a women only chartered tour of Provincetown, a women’s whale watch, a Cape Cod clambake and Bride Pride.

Womenfest – Key West, FL

(late April) This popular weekend was developed by legendary women’s party promoter, Girl Bar, one of the two key promoters throwing parties in Palm Springs during that city’s famed Dinah Shore Week. This new circuit-style event takes place at two hotels and features pool parties, club nights, cocktail mixers and more.

(early June) For 17 years, the girls of Pandora Events have hosted Girls in Wonderland. This five-day extravaganza features amazing parties, special performances and celebrity appearances, all benefiting local charities.

(Labor “Gay” Weekend) Festival of the Babes is a women’s soccor tournament for lesbians, and those willing to be mistaken for one. Founded by a women’s soccer team, this event is truly unique. Soccer by day. Party by night.

(mid-September) For over 25 years, Key West has welcomed women from across the globe to Key West Womenfest, the southernmost party for lesbians and their friends. Womenfest offers a wide range of activities guaranteed to appeal to a broad range of interests on a tropical island that is close to perfect but far from normal! 58 | Q Virginia | 59

pittsburgh Once the epicenter of America’s industrial might in the 19th century, Pittsburgh has transformed into a modern, cosmopolitan city that pulses with 21st century energy. Much of the city’s renaissance has centered around converting the city’s well-preserved residential and commercial building stock, which dates from the late 1800s, into world-renowned artistic, cultural, historic and scientific attractions.

Andy Warhol sitting on a mattress holding a bottle of ketchup?

The Cultural District houses the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts (home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra), the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet and many theater venues. Other notable cultural institutions throughout the city include Pittsburgh Filmmakers (one of the oldest and largest media arts centers in the country), the provocative Mattress Factory contemporary art museum and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which include the Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Contemporary classics. In recent

decades, Pittsburgh has erected innovative structures that helped usher in a new era of modernity. Pittsburgh’s thriving business district (known as “The Golden Triangle”) boasts a handsome, contemporary skyline that wields a regal command over the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

Food, Clubs and RuPaul? Pittsburgh’s

Tips Fun Fact Sharon Needles, winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” got her start in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood at the Blue Moon Bar (an unpretentious tavern with a diverse crowd).

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Stay at Arbors B&B, a gay-owned, fully-renovated 19th century country farmhouse in Pittsburgh’s historic North Side. Check out Pittsburgh’s 32nd annual LGBT film festival, “Reel Q,” at the Harris Theater in the Cultural District from October 13-21, 2017. When in “The Golden Triangle,” go to Market Square and snap a selfie in front of Pittsburgh’s most remarked-upon building: PPG Place—a neo-Gothic, shimmering glass monolith (circa 1981) designed by openly gay architectural icon, Philip Johnson.

gay community is thriving and also well integrated with the mainstream population. It’s common to see gays and straights mix at bars, restaurants and coffeehouses. Try the ItalianAmerican fare at the very gay-friendly Capri Pizzeria & Bar in East Liberty. Many LGBTQ clubs are located in the Golden Triangle, on or near Liberty Avenue, as well as in the Strip District and the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Check out Cruze Bar in the Strip District, a fun club that features dancing, karaoke, game nights and drag contests. You won’t want to miss Pittsburgh’s annual Gay Pride celebration each June—it’s one of the most activity-packed and well-attended of any mid-size U.S. city. Pittsburgh might not be filled with the trendy clubs of Queer as Folk, or the post-modern strip bars of Flashdance, but there’s still plenty to do in this steel town on a Saturday night.

ASHEVILLE Asheville is in one of the country’s most scenic natural areas between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Thankfully, the city’s impressive Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical architectural diversity survived a period of “urban renewal”— moments in history when magnificent structures that defined countless American cities were erased from time in the name of progress.

Freaky. This retro-urban environment creates a unique

backdrop that embodies the city’s edgy, bohemian energy of art galleries, boutique shops, farm-to-table restaurants and a lively music scene. Asheville also has a progressive spirit that comes, in part, from being home to nine college campuses, including the University of North Carolina. The city’s unique blend of rural beauty, historic architecture, progressive values and funky energy caused Rolling Stone to call it the “New Freak Capital of the U.S.”


Asheville boasts one of the most tight-knit, dynamic and visible LGBTQ communities in the South. While you won’t find a gay district here, you’ll discover a town with a vibrant gay community that’s integrated into every aspect of the city’s culture. Be sure to visit during the Blue Ridge Pride Festival (Sept. 30, 2017) when Asheville’s LGBTQ community takes to the streets to celebrate its rich diversity. The weekend is filled with pageants, parties and a street festival dubbed by CNN as “one of the world’s best places to celebrate pride.” Book your stay at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, a gay-friendly hotel located in the heart of downtown, which is mere steps away from the Thomas Wolfe House— the Asheville Community Theatre—and some of the city’s most buzz-worthy restaurants.

Vintage treasures. If you like to get out and enjoy

nature, Asheville and its surrounding areas boast magnificent outdoor activities ranging from hiking and mountain biking to whitewater rafting and zipline canopy rides. Asheville is famous for its plethora of specialty vintage stores. Check out Désirant for one-of-a-kind home décor, Rock Doll Vintage for stylish dresses from yesteryear and the Antique Tobacco Barn, a huge warehouse dedicated to treasure hunting!

Tip Visit Woolworth Walk— a private gallery that exclusively features local artists. This gem is located in a gorgeous 1938 Art Deco building in the heart of downtown.

Biltmore. A trip to Asheville isn’t complete without vis-

iting America’s largest home, the Biltmore. This sprawling, 8,000-acre estate offers everything: outdoor adventure, arts, culture and history, plus an incredible garden designed by Frederick Olmsted.


After a day of antiques, art, culture, food, history, outdoor fun and (if you plan your trip right) Pride, round out your evening with a trip to Scandals, a legendary late-night gay club that’s billed as “the hippest, most fabulous, exciting, almighty dance club in the history of the world.” Asheville is a beacon of diversity in North Carolina’s conservative western frontier. Go see for yourself, y’all! | 61

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ANCHORAGE More than twice the size of Texas, there’s nothing quite as big as America’s 49th state: Alaska. From breathtaking glaciers to a fascinating array of wildlife, it’s difficult to describe Alaska’s terrain and scenery without resorting to trite superlatives. You must visit this land to comprehend it. Anchor your trip in the state’s largest city: Anchorage.

Culture and cod. Although Anchorage is a relatively small city, it is surprisingly modern and has a diverse community. You’ll find excellent museums (like the Anchorage Museum at Rasmusin Center), restaurants (check out the Bear Tooth Theatrepub Café & Grill) and artistic venues (including the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and Cyrano’s Off-Center Playhouse).

Arctic Pride. Anchorage is also home to many gay-owned and gay-friendly

accommodations (Hotel Captain Cook is our favorite), as well as a couple of gay bars. Like most smaller cities, Anchorage’s gay bars tend to attract people of all ages, genders and affinities. One bar you can’t miss is the extremely fun and friendly dance club, Mad Myrna’s—considered one of the best gay bars in America. Each June, the Alaska Pridefest events bring the whole rainbow community together against the backdrop of the city’s majestic landscapes.

Terrific tundra. Anchorage is known around the world for its legendary

outdoor pursuits like exploring glaciers, whale watching and, most notably, the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race each March. While Alaska is ideally suited for outdoorsy travelers, the numerous cruise ships and trains that routinely depart from Anchorage and venture into the vast interior make it easy to enjoy the state’s natural beauty from a comfy and controlled environment.

Sail away.

Several LGBT-oriented cruise ship operators—notably RSVP Vacations, Olivia and Atlantis—book all-gay charter trips on some of the major lines that ply Alaska waters, including Holland America, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. Another way to explore the state’s rugged and largely unspoiled interior is via the scenic Alaska Railroad. From Anchorage, you can take an amazing day trip to Denali National Park (home to North America’s highest peak, the 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley) or hop aboard the Glacier Discovery train to Grandview where you can, as the train’s name implies, discover magnificent glaciers.

Gentlemen, start your engines. For a less structured adventure, rent a car in Anchorage and explore nearby wonders at your own pace. Don’t miss the quaint town of Talkeetna, the charming village of Girdwood, the popular fishing town of Homer and Whittier, where you can kayak on Prince William Sound and enjoy several stunning glaciers. When seasoned travelers talk about “trips of a lifetime,” they’re often referring to adventures had in Alaska. Book your trip to Anchorage next summer!

Tips To stay informed about the city’s goings on, check out The Anchorage Press, a local alternative weekly publication with listings, events, news and reviews. When you come to Anchorage, give yourself at least seven days to enjoy the city and explore the surrounding majestic land. | 63


If you’re looking to visit an artistic, funky and progressive city, pack your bags for “the City of Roses!” Portland’s incredible arts community, vibrant nightlife and progressive politics make it an accepting and welcoming destination for any traveler. It’s a laidback, big city that still has a small-town feel to it—and reasonable prices to match. Portland is known as a great place for lesbians… but don’t worry boys, there’s plenty for you here, as well!


Portland was the first top-30 U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor (Sam Adams, 2009-2012) and city commissioners recently decided to make twothirds of city restrooms gender-neutral. In 2016, Oregon became the first state to elect an openly bisexual governor, Kate Brown.

Culture. Portland is serious about art. The Center for the

The great outdoors.

The Willamette River, which runs through the town’s mix of modern towers and renovated warehouses, provides ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits. Gay beaches with nude stretches can be found on the Columbia River at Sauvie Island to the west of town and at Rooster Rock State Park to the east. Pacific Ocean beaches, temperate rain forests and Mt. Hood (Oregon’s highest peak and one of the most prominent of the Cascades’ volcanoes) are all just a short drive from downtown.

Outlook hazy.

Now that recreational-use marijuana is legal in Oregon, consider consuming cannabis-themed events in Portland like the Oregon Dope Cup (Oct. 29, 2017) and the Cannabis Classic (a statewide competition and award ceremony on Dec. 17, 2017).

Performing Arts—a cluster of downtown theaters—stages a wide variety of shows year-round. The Native American art collection at the Portland Art Museum is second to none. The Northwest Film Center presents a year-round exhibition program of foreign, classic, experimental and independent cinema.



Out and about. For a night on the town, check out

Portland’s alternative performing arts venues stage some of the most incredible and unorthodox productions in the nation. Check out the Vagabond Opera for dark and ironic vaudeville; Star Theater for burlesque shows and eclectic musical performances; Darcelle XV for glitzy-glamorous drag shows; and, both Silverado and Stag for naked male dancers.

Hungry? For classic American fare with an innovative

Pacific Northwest twist, grab a bite at Gracie’s Restaurant, located in the fabulous Hotel DeLuxe—a boutique, Art Deco hotel that is a fabulous tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Era. Portland also has a ridiculous number of microbreweries, microdistilleries, international food carts, coffeehouses and bookstores. 64 | Q Virginia

The Hawthorne District in southeast has a long reputation as the center of the city’s lesbian scene, but it’s popular with anyone who has an alternative, progressive bent. Burnside Triangle (aka – “Pink Triangle”) contains a plethora of LGBTQ-friendly independent shops and restaurants. Hotflash/Inferno, a popular women’s dance night at Trio Club every second Saturday and at Bossanova Ballroom every fourth Saturday. Also pop into Star Theater every first Thursday to see BOYeurism, a mostly male PDX variety/cabaret and burlesque show featuring “a testosterone tornado of the region’s sexiest dancers, aerialists, vocalists, acrobats and performers!” Portland also hosts Pride Northwest (June 16-17, 2018) and the massive Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Sept 29 – Oct 5, 2017).

The City of Roses is calling. Please answer.

Fun Fact: Portland is one of the few American cities to allow fully nude male entertainment.

Tips Get lost in Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore.

Drive two hours northwest to Astoria and do the truffle shuffle in front of the famous Goonies house.

Stay at the Hotel Rose, a funky boutique hotel that has 142 guest rooms with scenic cityscape and waterfront views.

Don’t miss a fabulous evening at the Tony Starlight Showroom, a Hollywood-inspired dinner theater that’s called “The Las Vegas of Portland.” Be sure to attend on a night when legendary piano player Bo Ayars is tickling the ivories. Ayars was Liberace’s long-time conductor and musical director and is the last living member of Liberace’s “inner circle.” He also toured with Elvis Presley, wrote music with Barbra Streisand and brought the D.C.-based musical political satire troupe, the “Capitol Steps,” to national fame. He’s very approachable, so say hello during a break… and tell him that Q Virginia sent you. | 65

Palm Springs Palm Springs is best known as the “playground of the stars,” a reputation earned during Hollywood’s Golden Age when the friendly desert oasis was close enough to attract the silver screen’s A-list. With an average of 332 days of annual sunshine and 360-degree mountain views, it’s easy to understand the appeal.

So gay!

In recent years, Palm Springs has become, per capita, one of the gayest cities on earth, constituting an estimated 40-60% of the local population. The current Mayor, Robert Moon, is gay, as were the two previous mayors, along with most members of city council.

quiet, relaxing ambiance of Palm Resort casual. The Springs is best described as “resort casual.” This laid-back character compliments its many charming shops and unique specialty stores, especially in the Uptown Arts and Antique District. If you’re looking for a big-city atmosphere with a booming club scene, look elsewhere. While there is a thriving nightlife, the city’s main appeal is sunshine, swimming pools, world-class golf courses and tennis courts, great restaurants and awe-inspiring mountain vistas. “playground of the Food in the nude? The stars” offers numerous gayowned or gay-friendly businesses including pampering spas (e.g. – Ace Hotel & Swim Club) and first-class hotels (e.g. – East Canyon Hotel & Spa), as well as clothing-optional resorts and guest houses that cater to male clientele (e.g. – Hacienda Warm Sands). When it comes to food, our favorite restaurant is The King’s Highway. Located at Ace Hotel, this retro-chic renovated-to-distress restaurant was formerly a Denny’s and serves redefined roadside dinner fare, Tex-Mex breakfasts, tequila-cured lox and has a life-saving “reviving” coffeehouse. From there, stroll to the Amigo Room (also in the Ace Hotel) where you can order artisanal cocktails and craft beers in a cool, cavernous space.

Hip happenings.

This desert oasis has an exciting lineup of LGBTQ events throughout the year including the International Film Festival (Jan. 2-15, 2018), Cinema Diverse (the gay and lesbian film festival, Sept. 21-24, 2017), the Dinah Shore Weekend (the most popular gathering of lesbians in the world, 2018 spring dates TBD) and, of course, the infamous White Party (a gay men’s circuit party, 2018 spring dates TBD). The city’s annual Gay Pride Festival (Nov. 4-5, 2017) includes a fabulous parade followed by live entertainment, food and dancing, which continues long into the evening and especially at Arenas Street’s many gay bars. At Halloween, Arenas Street is converted into a huge gay block party, complete with a costume contest! Every Thursday night Palm Springs’ main street, Palm Canyon Drive, is closed to traffic and opened for an extensive street festival featuring food vendors, local artists and live entertainment.

Pack your sunscreen and head to the desert. Palm Springs— the gay oasis—is waiting.

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Fun Facts Liberace had an 8,000 square-foot mansion in Palm Springs called Casa de la Cloisters. This was the favorite of his seven luxurious homes and where he spent his final days in 1987. Iconic Hollywood movie stars like Rock Hudson, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford flocked to Palm Springs from Los Angeles to escape prying eyes and “carry on” without fear of being outed. | 67

Tucson Tucson, Arizona’s second largest city, is the perfect blend of small town charm and big city convenience. Located amidst the lush Sonoran Desert scenery, rugged mountains and rolling hills of the border region, Tucson enjoys over 350 days of sunshine per year. Nicknamed “the Old Pueblo,” which refers to the volcanic mountains nearby, Tucson’s progressive culture and relaxed, liveand-let-live attitude have made the city one of the country’s most gay-friendly places to live or visit.

History, culture and hot guys. Tucson’s

natural beauty is truly breathtaking. You won’t need an Instagram filter when snapping photos of this desert city’s cactus covered landscape, ring of green mountains and Mexican-inspired architecture. Enjoy some of the city’s restored historic buildings, like the St. Augustine Cathedral (1896), the Rialto Theatre (1920) and the Art Deco Fox Theater (1929). Downtown Tucson is the historic and cultural heart of the Old Pueblo with ten nearby historic districts, the Arts District, several museums, professional theater companies, as well as the opera, ballet and symphony. Downtown is also home to the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the University of Arizona (which, according to Cosmopolitan magazine, ranks #6 for having the hottest college guys in America).

Go native. For the true Tucson lodging expe-

rience, stay at the historic Hotel Congress downtown. This 1919 landmark has been renovated to include 40 guestrooms, the Cup Café restaurant and a the Opti Club, a popular nightclub with live music events. Try some authentic Mexicaninspired food at Boca Mexican Restaurant, located next to the University of Arizona. Be sure to order the fish tacos and a jumbo margarita!


Fun Fact

Tucson houses the U.S. Veterans Administration’s primary wing for trans soldiers.

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Take a day trip 55 miles south of Tucson to the hidden gem of the desert: the Sonoita/Elgin region. This area, part of Arizona’s rapidly growing “wine country,” is home to 14 small wineries that produce world-class, award-winning wines. Visit Reid Park, Tucson’s largest park that includes the Reid Park Zoo and the Hi Corbett Field baseball stadium.

Pride in the desert. Tucson hosts its annual Pride Parade on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 and a special 40th Anniversary Pride in the Park celebration at Reid Park the next day. When going out, don’t miss Brodie’s Sports Tavern & Back Pocket Patio—a three-bar complex featuring live shows, karaoke, drag shows, pool tables and special events.

Gay police chief. The Old Pueblo’s openly gay police chief, Chris Magnus, has enacted a program called Safe Place in which businesses place rainbow stickers in their windows, indicating that they are a shelter from harassment and bullying. Chief Magnus has even had his officers train business owners to be able to handle all kinds of issues, especially situations that may threaten trans people.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Australia, 1994)

Surely, you’ve heard of this iconic film. If you haven’t… SHAME! Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving play two drag queens who join forces with Terence Stamp, who plays a trans woman, and travel across the Australian desert in a tricked-out tour bus. This film is packed with both show-stopping numbers and campy scenes, as well as characterdriven drama and conflict. This one is not to be missed. Also check out the hysterical, hotmess Hollywood knockoff of this classic film, To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), which features superstars Patrick Swayze,Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo as drag queens who journey across the American Heartland.

Shut Up and Drive

Are you on the road, planning a road trip or just love movies about road trips? Q Virginia has put together a list of some of our favorite road trip movies that have LGBTQ characters or themes. These films illuminate many ways that travelling can help us see the world— and ourselves—in a different light. | 69


Thelma & Louise (USA, 1991)

No road trip list would be complete without this classic female buddy movie (even if this is not an explicitly gay film).Thelma and Louise, played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, are two women from Arkansas who venture out in Louise’s 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible for a weekend trip in the mountains.Things get ugly when a man Thelma dances with at a roadhouse tries to rape her. In an effort to protect her friend, Louise shoots and kills the man.Thinking that no one will believe their story, the duo run from the law and drive across the open roads of the great Southwest.They end up at the Grand Canyon where viewers hearts leap from their chest in one of the most unforgettable finales in Hollywood history. Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Brad Pitt’s star-making appearance as the shirtless cowboy!



(UK/USA, 2015)

This stunning 1950s period film from acclaimed director Todd Haynes is about the coming-of-age romance between a young shop girl/aspiring photographer, Therese (Rooney Mara), and a glamorous yet tormented older woman, Carol (Cate Blanchett). Therese joins Carol on an impulsive road trip from New York City to wherever the road takes them. Blanchett and Mara deliver stellar performances in this cinematic masterpiece.



(USA, 2005)

Bree (Felicity Huffman) is a trans woman who—one week before her vaginoplasty—discovers that she fathered a now 17-year-old son, Toby (Kevin Zegers). Bree’s therapist says she needs to come to terms with this news before she can undergo surgery. Bree bails Toby out of jail in New York and agrees to drive him to Los Angeles… without revealing that she is his father. On their trip, they stop at a gender Pride gathering in Dallas and have a complicated family reunion in Phoenix. This is one powerful film.



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Get on the Bus (USA, 1996)

In this underseen Spike Lee film, a group of African-American men from all different walks of life embark on a cross-country journey from Los Angeles to Washington, DC to participate in the Million Man March. Two men on the bus are Kyle (Isaiah Washington) and Randall (Harry Lennix), a gay couple in the process of breaking up. Can you say drama? This flick takes many compelling and complicated turns as all of the men on the bus confront their similarities, differences and, ultimately, learn to respect and value their mutual sense of unity. The soundtrack to this movie is excellent, like most of Lee’s work, and features Curtis Mayfield, D’Angelo and A Tribe Called Quest.

Y tu mama tambien (Mexico, 2001)

In this groundbreaking film from visionary writer-director Alfonso Cuaron, two teenage boys from Mexico City, Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna), meet a beautiful Spanish woman, Luisa (Maribel Verdu). They convince her to go with them on a road trip through the mountains, desert and jungles of central Mexico to a Pacific beach that supposedly no one else knows about. This international sensation not only honestly depicts adolescent sexual relationships, but it explores deep themes of loss, death, intimacy and the cultural and political realities of a burgeoning new era in Mexico’s complicated history.


“Holiday” (Madonna, 1983). The perfect, fun and campy song to get you excited for a holiday and take a break. It also really throws you back to the feel-good vibes of the 80s.

“Proud Mary”

(Tina Turner, 1988). Travelling by water is one of the world’s oldest modes of transport and still popular, whether it be “rolling on the river,” sailing the seas or cruising across oceans. Either way, this track really gets you pumped and excited.

“Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Knight &

The Pips, 1973). A relaxing and beautiful song about following your heart and your lover sung by soulful crooner Gladys Knight and her backing singers, The Pips.

“Route 66” (The Rolling Stones, 1964). Written about the

famous Route 66 and the freedom of travelling by car and by road, this bluesy rock and roll classic (originally by Nat King Cole) has been covered by many artists and bands. The Rolling Stones’ version is probably the most popular, however Chuck Berry and Depeche Mode also do this great road trip song justice.

“Freeway of Love” (Aretha Franklin, 1985). A lesser

known but still great Aretha Franklin track, you can listen to this song and imagine you and your partner are zooming down motorways at top speed, enjoying a fun road trip together.

“Travelling Without Moving”

(Jamiroquai, 1996). The irony of this funky song is that you can’t listen to it without moving. It’s catchy, danceable and certainly makes for a great upbeat driving song!.

“Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1974).

There’s no place like home for some and this classic countryfolk song really emphasizes that laid-back, carefree lifestyle one can live.

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Grab your passport and hop aboard Q Virginia’s “Pride Plane!” Our global itinerary includes three dazzling destinations that will cultivate your curiosity, ignite your imagination and stimulate your senses. Please be sure your seatbelt is fastened and that your tray table is in the upright and locked position. We’re leaving on a jet plane... don’t know when we’ll be back again!



If you’ve ever packed for a trip, you know it’s a daunting task that you probably wait till the last minute to do. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to pack faster and more efficiently. Better yet, you’ll be able to worry less about your luggage when you travel and spend more time enjoying your trip!

ROLL, DON’T FOLD. Finding it hard to fit everything in your suitcase before your trip? Or do you find it impossible to pack for your return trip once you’ve purchased goodies from your travels? Let me help you out. Don’t fold your clothes—roll them up. While this may cause some wrinkles, it will save you a ton of space. Also pack toiletries, socks and other smaller items inside your shoes. This is a great spacesaving technique.

THE 2-TO-1 RULE. No one wants to lug an over-packed suitcase around with them while traveling. Follow the 2-to-1 rule: pack two tops for every bottom (get your mind out of the gutter). This will force you to limit what you pack and lets you mix and match tops and bottoms so you have more outfits to assemble while you travel.  Tip: Pack neutral, solid colors because they’re easier to mix and match.

KEEP YOUR JEWELRY SAFE. If you wear jewelry, it can be hard to pack and also manage when you’re travelling. To help you out, pack your jewelry into a weekly pill organizer. This will prevent chains from getting tangled and keeps everything in one place. You might feel like an old fart doing this, but you’ll thank me later.

STAY FRESH. If your journey lasts more than a few days, pretty soon your suitcase will begin to smell like a locker room. Prevent this by placing dryer sheets throughout your suitcase’s dirty laundry. This will not only make your clothes and suitcase smell fresher, but you can reuse the dryer sheets when you get home and do your laundry!

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Located near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey, Dublin was founded as a Viking settlement. But for much of the country’s history and since medieval times, Dublin has been Ireland’s primary city. Today, it is Ireland’s economic, administrative and cultural center and has one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city. If you are looking for a vacation with a rich blend of tradition, architectural beauty and culture, then Dublin is the ideal destination for you. As well as being steeped in history, it has a world-famous literary history, having produced many prominent writers, including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. There is certainly something for everyone here and you won’t need a car or a bus to get around as Dublin is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that can easily be explored on foot. If this sounds a little tiring, don’t worry, as refreshments are always close by when walking through the city. Pop into Bewley’s, Dublin’s famous coffee shop, or visit a traditional Irish pub for a drop of the black stuff (Guinness, of course). A trip to Dublin would not be complete without a visit to the Dublin Writers Museum, which houses a reserve of books including rare, first editions and critical works. Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, is well worth a visit. The university houses the Book of Kells, a world-famous illuminated manuscript transcribed by Celtic monks, and also owns some of the most important buildings in the city. You have to check out Dublin Castle and the fa-

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mous Guinness Storehouse at St. James’ Gate. Much of Dublin’s charm comes from the easily accessible nature of the city, so enjoy a stroll through the fashionable shopping area around Grafton Street before heading through the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green park at the top of the street. The city’s cultural heart, Temple Bar, is filled with street performers, quirky shops and a range of bars and eateries that are not to be missed on weekends. Dublin has a vibrant nightlife and the city is reputedly one of the most youthful cities in Europe. You’ll find a plethora of pubs throughout the city centre. The area around St. Stephen’s Green—especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street—is a centre for some of Dublin’s most popular nightclubs and pubs. Theatres and traditional bars provide regular live music, such as Buskers and the Ha’penny Bridge Inn. Be sure to catch Her Royal Highness, Queen Panti Bliss, at her popular gay utopia, Pantibar! Or if relaxation is what you’re after, why not take an open-top bus tour to see more of this wonderful city and rest your weary legs? In Dublin, there is no shortage of things to do and see. Pop on over and find some good “craic!”


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Photo by Conor Horgan, courtesy of Miss Panti Bliss / Concordia University

2015 was a historic year for Ireland’s LGBT community. On May 22nd Ireland became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, enshrining equal marriage rights into the Constitution of Éire. In July the Irish government passed the Gender Recognition Act, which grants transgender people legal recognition of their preferred gender without having to see a doctor or undergo medical procedures. These legal victories helped Dublin’s most popular drag queen, Panti Bliss (a.k.a – Rory O’Neill), ascend to true royal status on the Emerald Isle. Although Panti Bliss (and her buzzing gay utopia, Pantibar) has been a staple figure of the Dublin gay scene for several years, an unexpected altercation in April 2014 between Rory and Ireland’s national broadcast network, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ – Radio and Television of Ireland), thrust Panti into the national limelight. During an interview on the Saturday Night Show, Rory identified two high-profile journalists, both vocal opponents of marriage equality, as homophobic. Following the interview, Rory and RTÉ were confronted with accusations of “hate speech” and threatening letters from lawyers. RTÉ quelled the fire by paying out a ridiculous sum of money and apologising unequivocally for Rory’s remarks. Refusing to back down from his remarks, Rory sought guidance from his “drunk aunt meets Jessica Rabbit” alter-ego: Panti Bliss. Three weeks later, Panti Bliss delivered a speech—her “Noble Call”—in which she exposed the subtle homophobia that was deeply entrenched within Irish society. Her speech was reposted by celebrities from around the world, including RuPaul and Madonna. Overnight, Panti became Irish royalty and a global gay rights activist. As the new reigning “Queen of Ireland,” Panti Bliss became the figurehead of the nation’s grassroots marriage equality movement and campaigned to change the hearts and minds of her subjects. Her work paid off. When it came time for the nation to vote on marriage equality, the ballot measure passed by a majority of 2:1. Ireland is a proud republic with a duly elected president. However, we Irish have always harboured a little jealousy when it comes to our next-door neighbour’s royal family. There’s just something awesome about having a Queen! Conor Horgan, a young

film director, used his artistic flair to coronate Panti Bliss through a now famous documentary, The Queen of Ireland. Our Queen wears not a crown, but a wig. She resides not in some stately home, but in a neon-signed gay bar in Dublin’s city centre. When Lizzie (that’s what we Irish lovingly call Queen Elizabeth II) gave her annual Christmas Day speech, it only made sense for the Queen of Ireland to address her fabulous minions as well! Broadcast throughout the nation, Her Royal Highness gave her subjects a simple message of acceptance, respect and love. She also reminded us that with enough courage and determination, we can all make a difference— just like we did on May 22, 2015. You might ask why Panti is so important and why I want to share my precious royal commodity with y’all (sorry, I just had to…) in Virginia. As a 21 year-old gay Irish student, I think that everyone should be reminded that there is a place for them in their own society. Panti’s message cannot, and should not, be confined within Ireland’s borders—it is universal. Although I love Ireland fiercely, I was never certain that LGBT Irish people were entirely at home on this beautiful island. Now, those worries have subsided. As Panti said, “I wasn’t always sure that ‘Irishness’ was elastic enough to include someone like me, but I am now. We didn’t change the definition of marriage on May 22nd, but we did expand the definition of ‘Irishness’ to include people like me.” Thank you for giving me the chance to share Ireland’s national treasure with you. After all, our Queen has gotta have some international fans! Plus, I’m kind of hoping for a knighthood.

By, Tom Hedley Tom Hedley is an aspiring teacher and a self-described camp nerd/sassy waitress. | 79

Enjoy an ambiance that will radiate joy and happiness.

Say "I do" to your dream wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner with an intimate ceremony followed by an elaborate reception to celebrate your special day. Learn more by visiting TYSONS CORNER

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a passage to india BY, Q VIRGINIA STAFF

If lying on a beach is not your thing and you yearn for a bit of adventure set against an exotic backdrop, have you thought about the possibilities the vast sub-content of India has to offer? The country offers a wealth of ancient temples and monuments for lovers of culture and heritage and many travel companies now offer fantastic sight-seeing trips. For example, a Golden Triangle Tour traces the rugged landscape of northern India. You’ll begin in Delhi where you will find the best food and markets, along with stunning monuments. Then you’ll taste the spirit of adventure at the Sariska Tiger Reserve! As the landscape unfolds the magical city of red sandstone, the excitement flows to Jaipur, the pink city. Then you may just spot a tiger at Ranthambore National Park and later experience the romance and magic of the Taj Mahal. In southern India, you’ll witness magically carved temples, walk through markets dazzling with silks and sandalwood items and open your eyes to a landscape embroidered with banana leaf, paddy fields and coconut groves. This may not be a land of forts and palaces, but it is dominated by temples and natural beauty. Whether you travel to Chennai, Bangalore or Mysore, or choose to explore the beautiful port city of Cochin or the wild Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, you can fill your visit with memorable events such as an elephant ride, a traditional kathakali dance performance or an enchanting boat cruise along the rustic canals and lagoons in the city of Alleppey. The Great Indian Desert may not have great expanses of sand dunes and incredible spaces of wilderness as large as those of the Sahara and Namibia, but it offers some glorious citadels and extremely colorful and unspoiled villages. The Camel Safari Circuit in India covers Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner, all located in the northeastern state of Rajasthan. They were the princely kingdoms in the desert belt of India, each comparable in size to many modern nations of Europe. All the former capitals prospered from trade with the camel caravans that travelled from west Asia and Europe to Mongolia and were impressively fortified to protect these riches. The result was a wealth of palaces and havelis (traditional mansions) built for royalty, courtyard mansions built for merchants and nobility and intricately carved temples erected for the region’s subjects.

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Desert camel safaris in India are now one of Asia’s fastest selling adventure vacations. A camel safari is a great way to visit vibrant villages and see exotic wildlife while riding across open desert sands. Camel treks range from short rides around Jaisalmer to extensive trips that remind you of scenes from Lawrence of Arabia. Typical camel safaris organized around Jaisalmer take in the architectural ruins of Lodurva, which was the former capital of the Bhatti Rajput desert kingdom before the founding of Jaisalmer, the Anasagar oasis, the sand dunes of Samm and the water source of Moolsagar, where village women gather with pitchers at dusk. Night stops on basic safaris are at villages or temporary bivouac camps in the desert scrub, where camels are hobbled and let out to graze. Packing the right clothing is important on one of these vacations as the climate is extreme. In the desert afternoons may seem much hotter than the actual 80-degree temperature may suggest and

night temperatures may drop below freezing on the dunes. It is essential to take both woolen and cotton clothing. Shorts and skirts are comfortable for camel safaris, but remember some of the offbeat routes visit villages that have not have seen many tourists and locals may look askance at men in shorts and ladies who do not wear ankle length clothing. Sun hats with large rims or cotton caps that can be dipped in water when it gets too hot around midday are essential, preferably with a balaclava or scarf for covering the neck and forehead. If you’re prone to motion sickness, you should carry suitable medication against the swaying gait of the camel. Finally, patience is an important piece of baggage on a camel safari as it takes time to get used to travelling by camel. There’s a huge variety of other special interests that can be catered for in India, including angling and fishing, gliding, mountaineering and rock climbing, skiing and winter sports plus white water rafting and, of course, elephant safaris. | 83

Trout fishing in the rivers and ice-fed mountain streams is a great sport. You may pit your wits against the wily trout (both brown and rainbow) while those who enjoy solitude can spend hours in quiet contemplation of the natural beauty. The fast-flowing, clear water streams and high-altitude lakes of the upper Himalayas are excellent for trout fishing. The challenge and thrill of an encounter with the powerful mahseer—the hardest fighting fish on the planet that rules the Indian waters like the tiger does the jungle—attracts anglers from all over the world. These are exciting times for India’s LGBTQ community! In 2006, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil came out making him the country’s first openly gay prince. Since then, he has fought for LGBTQ rights in India by forming a grassroots campaign called “Free Gay India” and taking his fight to America by making guest appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In the summer of 2017, India’s Supreme Court declared that an individual’s sexual orientation is a fundamental right protected under the country’s Right to Privacy law. Now is a great time to visit the subcontinent as an LGBTQ traveler! Once a bastion of homophobia, the entire nation is slowly beginning to embrace the LGBTQ community. Tour guides, hospitality industry professionals and locals value the lucrative international tourism industry and do not discriminate against anyone. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Jaipur are extremely gay-friendly cities, as are the states of Kerala and Goa. If you’re looking for gay Indian nightlife at its best, check out one of these exciting places! Once considered the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, India is now a robust democracy that offers cultural treasures, exotic escapes and natural beauty unlike anywhere else on earth. For your next international escapade, skip the European continent and take the time to explore the vast riches of the Indian subcontinent!

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SY D N E Y G’DAY, M ATE! | 85

go down under in sydney, australia BY, FARAZILA ABU & JUSTIN AYARS, JD

Sydney, Australia is famous for its magnificent beaches, topnotch tourist attractions, thriving gay community and two world-class landmark structures, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney is built around its huge harbor, where most of the main attractions and the city center are located at the southern shore. It’s a beautiful city where you’ll find no shortage of exciting activities, friendly locals and plenty of eye candy!

The Harbour Bridge The Harbour Bridge, which was built during the Great Depression, is the widest single span bridge in the world. Today, the Harbour Bridge is the major link between Sydney’s southern and northern suburbs. At the Pylon Lookout Museum, located at the bridge’s southeastern pylon, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the harbour and city from its viewing platform. Alternatively, you can book a 3.5-hour climb to the bridge summit and enjoy priceless views from the top of the bridge.

Sydney Aquarium Located at Darling Harbour, Sydney Aquarium presents a fascinating view of the underwater world which includes over 12,000 aquatic animals from 650 species, saltwater crocodiles and giant sea turtles. Sydney Aquarium showcases the world’s largest Great Barrier Reef exhibit and amazing underwater viewing tunnels with sharks and stingrays swimming above your head! If you have kids, they’ll love the touch pool and the marine mammal sanctuary. If you’re trying to find Nemo, this is the place to be!

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Sydney Opera House The Sydney Opera House, which opened in 1973, is the city’s most famous (and most photographed) landmark. In 2007, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, placing it alongside the Taj Mahal, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China as one of the most outstanding places on Earth. Designed by Danish architect, JØrn Utzon, the construction of the opera house was so arduous and troubling that the building’s completion was considered nothing short of miraculous. Visitors can enjoy guided one-hour tours every day between 9am and 5pm. For a special treat, book a twohour backstage tour, which begins daily at 7am and includes breakfast.

The Rocks The Rocks is Sydney’s most historic district, the birthplace of modern Australia and is one of the city’s most popular destinations. Years ago, The Rocks served as Sydney’s main port with warehouses lining the waterfront, backed by hotels, banks, offices, merchant shops and brothels. Today, The Rocks has transformed into a hot spot of quaint boutiques, restaurants and cafés. This district gets really crowded on Saturday nights.

Sydney Tower The best way to enjoy breathtaking views of Sydney is to visit the top of Sydney Tower. This 1,000-foot golden turret-topped spike is Sydney’s tallest building and the view from its indoor observation deck covers the entire city. On clear days, you can see the Blue Mountains, which are more than 30 miles northwest of the city. There are two restaurants in the Sydney Tower’s turret, which boast delicious food and artisan cocktails.

Sydney’s Beaches There are more than 30 ocean beaches within Sydney, all with rolling surf and golden sand. If you prefer calmer waters, there are several more around the harbor. Of all the Sydney beaches, Bondi Beach is the most famous (and

the most crowded) with surfers, sunbathers and bronzed muscle gods playing volleyball—actually, it’s more of a speedo modeling competition (not that I’m complaining). Coogee Beach is more relaxed with calmer waters, a grassy headland overlooking the beach and an excellent children’s playground. However, for a truly special beach experience that’s more popular with the locals, take a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly Beach on the northern side of the harbour. Once there, stroll along The Corso (a pedestrian-only street lined with bars, cafés and shops filled with indigenous art), enjoy killer surfing and take in unique sights along The Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk all the way to Shelly Beach (which offers incredible snorkeling).

Gay Sydney Sydney is a thriving gay metropolis. Its huge Asian and Latino immigrant populations make it one of the most multicultural cities in the world. In this city of 4 million people, gay life is centered around Oxford Street in the Darlinghurst neighborhood on the eastern side of town. This area is lined with pulsating clubs (like Arq), restaurants and pubs. Oxford Street is also the main drag for the annual, world-famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in late February-early March. You won’t want to miss this the pageantry of this Pride celebration! Aussies are naturally friendly and know how to party, so be prepared for a good time (and bring plenty of aspirin). Don’t forget that because Sydney is below the equator, their seasons are reversed. That means February is the middle of summer, so pack appropriately! Also, given Sydney’s great distance from Virginia (14 time zones!), be ready to experience some serious jetlag. Fancy a fabulous, far-flung frolic? Take a walkabout to the land down under! | 87

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H a p p y

H o u r

By, Meredith Jenkins Do you enjoy exotic cocktails from around the world? We at Q Virginia sure do! Grab your passport and pull up a barstool—we’re about to travel the globe and enjoy some of the world’s best cocktails.


Pimm’s Cup (United Kingdom) This is the summer cocktail for Brits, probably because it’s basically a spiked fruit salad. While there are more recipes for this drink than you can shake a stick at (does anyone say that anymore??), the traditional mix includes cucumber, fresh berries, citrus and mint. This fruit mix is covered with Pimm’s No.1, gin, dry curacao and ginger beer (or Sprite). Sip this and taste the best of summer!

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Caipirinha (Brazil) This is Brazil’s national cocktail, which means “little peasant girl” in Portuguese. The origins of this cocktail are a subject of heated debate. While some believe the drink was created to cure cholera in the mid1800s, others argue it comes from the coastal region of Santos where the first cachaça distilleries sprouted. This cocktail, which combines cachaça, lime and sugar, is a delightful drink on a hot Brazilian day.

Negroni (Italy) This is considered Italy’s most recognizable cocktail. It spawned from a cocktail that was popular with tourists called the Americano, which was made with Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda. However, Italians didn’t think this drink was strong enough and began asking bartenders to replace the club soda with gin. With that, the Negroni was born!


Singapore Sling (Singapore) The Singapore Sling is the national drink of the tiny Asian nation-state. Back in 1915 when the drink was created, women were not allowed to drink in public. A bartender at the famous Raffles Hotel realized he could serve women a drink that looked like fruit juice (which they were allowed to drink) but that actually packed an alcoholic punch. It caught on and now everyone in Singapore—and around the world— enjoys this fruity cocktail that’s made with gin, pineapple juice, grenadine, lime juice, Cointreau, Benedictine and a dash of cherry brandy.

Mojito (Cuba) Earnest Hemingway made Cuba’s national drink famous when he moved to Havana from Florida in 1939. Hemmingway supposedly wrote an ode to the cocktail on the walls of a now-famous bar in Old Havana called La Bodeguita del Medio. To make this classic drink, muddle piles of mint, sugar and fresh lime juice until it’s nearly pulp. Then, top the minty mix with ice, white rum and a spritz of club soda. Perfecto!



Kir Royale (France) The name of this cocktail comes from its creator, Canon Felix Kir, the former mayor of Dijon (like the mustard). Kir was famous for throwing great parties. To surprise and delight his guests, Kir began adding crème de cassis (a black currant liqueur) to the white wine he normally served. This party drink was dubbed the Kir. This drink later evolved into the Kir Royale, which is made with champagne instead of white wine. Fancy!

This story could not have been possible without help from AFAR Media. | 89

HOW TO BEAT JETLAG BY, MEREDITH JENKINS Jetlag can wreak havoc on your body and make enjoying your



more challenging. Here are some tips to help you beat jetlag so you spend less time feeling groggy and more time enjoying your vacation!

Before You Fly

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1. Take care of yourself. Seriously, folks. You’ve got to eat right, exercise and sleep well. Doing these things is the single best way to make jet lag less of an issue on your trip

2. Pack a pillow.

Foam cushions on airplanes just don’t compare to your comfy pillow. So, bring it along and you might be able to catch some more restful zzzz’s.

3. Pack your headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones (or

ear plugs) are a godsend! No one likes to have their rest interrupted by screaming children or the crackling voice of the captain over the PA system. I also recommend bringing a sleeping mask that blocks out all light and has an adjustable Velcro strap (rather than those cheap ones the airline gives you).

During Your Flight 1. Set

your watch. Make sure your watch reflects the time of your destination.

2. W  atch what you eat. It’s easy to get into “vacation mode” on the plane. Don’t overeat and keep your alcohol and coffee consumption to a minimum. 3. D  rink plenty of water. Plane rides can dehydrate your body, which makes jetlag worse. So drink up (water, that is). 4. T  ry to sleep. Break out your headphones or earplugs (and fancy sleeping mask) and try to get some rest. Even a few hours of sleep will make a world of difference if you arrive at your destination in the morning. 5. T  ry to exercise. No, don’t bench-press the toddler in front of you or do a downward dog in the aisle. But you should get up and walk around every once in a while. Just don’t wander the aisle when the seatbelt sign is on and, for the love of God, don’t disturb meal service.

At Your Destination 1. D  on’t make important decisions on the first day. If you’re travelling for work, be sure to arrive a day before your big business meeting so you can be super-sharp. 2. S  ync up with local time. If you arrive at your destination in the morning, don’t go to bed. Force yourself to get into the rhythm of your destination. Drink coffee. Walk around. Maybe take a power nap. Do whatever it takes to stay up until 9pm local time. Then you can hit the sack. 3. S  oak in some rays. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating your biological clock. Staying indoors will make your jetlag worse. So get out there and enjoy the sun! | 91


BY, JESSE LA VANCHER Have some time off but don’t feel like leaving home?

No worries! There are plenty of ways you can you make your “staycation” as enjoyable as an exotic getaway! Sure, you could spend a week on the couch binging Netflix shows with your cat and a bag of chips, but that’s not good for you (or the cat). Follow these essential tips that will help you break the monotony and routine of your everyday life and make your week at home feel like a relaxing getaway.

Go off the grid. Don’t let people at work know

that you’ll actually be in town during your vacation, otherwise they’ll be tempted to contact you. Don’t answer work emails. In fact, limit your Internet use entirely. Better yet… PUT. THE. DAMN. PHONE. DOWN. Seriously, turn it off. You’ll be ok, I promise. This tip is so important, I’m actually going to make it a commandment: Thou shall limit the use of technology on your staycation as much as humanly possible.

Do something where you live that you wouldn’t normally do. Act like a tourist in your

own city. I’m sure there are plenty of attractions in your town (museums, parks, restaurants, etc.) that you’ve never been to because, well, you happen to live there. Pretend you’re a tourist and make the most of what your city has to offer!

Forget Netflix and go to the movies.

Don’t fall down the Netflix K-hole! Force yourself to get off your butt and go to the movie theatre. Just the act of going will feel like an experience rather than something you casually do every day.

Read a book… a whole book. Do you

remember what books are? Good, now grab one and get to it. Reading is actually a great way to relax and a fabulous way to keep you far, FAR away from technology (see Tip #1). Plus, you’ll forever associate whatever book you read with your awesome staycation!

Treat yourself. Get a massage.

Spend a day at the spa. Go shopping (but NOT on Amazon… see Tip #1). Do something that makes you happy and relaxed.

Turn your backyard or roof into a relaxing oasis. If you have the space and the weather is cooperative, create an outdoor area that you’ll never want to leave. It’s important to get out of the house (and away from technology, see Tip #1) to enjoy nature. Say hello to the sun and get some healthy vitamin D while you’re at it.

Interrupt your routine. Routines govern our

lives. So, when you’re on a staycation, break the routine! Sleep later. Visit places you wouldn’t normally go (see Tip #2). Do things that are fun and different (see Tips #3-6). 92 | Q Virginia

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We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams;— World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world forever, it seems. - Arthur O’Shaughnessy/ Willy Wonka

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Three floors & 30,000 square feet of sophisticated, fun, modern, furniture plus our eclectic Gift Shop!

301 W. 21st Street, Norfolk phone 757.623.3100


Monumental Views. Modern Vibe. Who knew? With its iconic landmarks and five bridges connecting to the District of Columbia, Arlington also happens to be a top Virginia community on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Municipal Equality Index. Step outside your Arlington hotel and discover a unique mix of history, culture and fun! Our vibrant urban villages are just minutes by foot, bike, car or Metro to downtown D.C., at hotel rates averaging 20 percent less. To plan your trip to Arlington and the nation’s capital, visit or call (877) 504-8054.

Q Virginia | Autumn 2017  

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