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Comings & Goings Uritus named CEO of Out & Equal By PETER ROSENSTEIN The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at email@example.com. Congratulations to Erin Uritus who has been named CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a nonproﬁt organization dedicated to achieving LGBT workplace equality. According to its website “We partner with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies to provide executive leadership development, comprehensive training and consultation, and professional networking opportunities that build inclusive and welcoming work environments.” ERIN URITUS Board Chair Michael Cox said, “Erin joins Out & PHOTO COURTESY OF URITUS Equal with unparalleled domestic and international experience as an executive in the corporate, government and nonproﬁt sectors – a critically important combination to us at Out & Equal.” Uritus said, “As we look to the future, I am fervently committed to leveraging the spirit of and driving Out & Equal to be the transformational force needed to create global LGBT workplace equality. I’m eager to get down to the important work of ensuring everyone — no matter who you love or how you identify — ﬁnds ROB KEAST inclusion, belonging and equality at work.” PHOTO COURTESY OF KEAST Prior to joining Out & Equal, Uritus was a senior leader at Booz Allen and the education powerhouse nonproﬁt International School Services (ISS). She has worked internationally, including for nine years in the Middle East where she supported eﬀorts to modernize government in the midst of the Arab Spring. Uritus opened the African Women’s Media Center in Dakar, Senegal – funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In this work and at the early dawn of Internet access in Africa, she collaborated with U.S. embassies and international NGOs to convene the ﬁrst-ever online training in multiple cities for journalists covering HIV/AIDS. She also supported the annual IWMF “Courage in Journalism Awards,” including facilitating the participation of women actively reporting while in hiding from governments and terrorist groups trying to silence their voices. At Booz Allen, Erin spent much of her time as a leader on the Strategic Communications Team helping government agencies navigate the massive challenges brought on by modernization programs. She is a member of the AllSouls Unitarian Church in D.C. – a progressive religious community. While in the Middle East, she met and married her now ex-partner, and they are the proud parents of two girls Amira and Haneen who share American and Egyptian heritage. Congratulations also to Rob Keast who is the new Vice President of External Aﬀairs at the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). The Progressive Policy Institute is a catalyst for policy innovation and political reform based in D.C. Its mission is to create pragmatic ideas for moving America beyond ideological and partisan deadlock. Before joining PPI, Keast spent four years running his own consulting ﬁrm focused on strategic development, third-party outreach, advocacy building, fundraising, relationship management, and policy communications for nonproﬁts and various other organizations. Prior to that he spent more than six years at Third Way as the Vice President for Outreach and worked in government aﬀairs at the Partnership for Public Service, where he helped oversee outreach to Capitol Hill and the administration. He also worked at the Welfare to Work Partnership. Keast earned his bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in El Paso, Texas and spent one year as a National Service Fellow at the Corporation for National and Community Service. He is a board member of “Q” Street.
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Weingart, local massage therapist, dies at 39 Activist was former winner in annual Blade readers’ poll By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO firstname.lastname@example.org Eddie Weingart, who had been a D.C.-based massage therapist and anti-gun violence advocate, died on Jan. 11. Weingart, who had been open about a lifelong battle with depression, committed suicide. He was 39. Weingart was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 20, 1978 and lived in Southern California most of his life. He moved to the Washington area from Virginia Beach in early 2011 after two years living there. Weingart worked as a massage therapist since 1998 and specialized in deep-tissue Eddie Weingart died Jan. 11. work, sports massage, Swedish massage, reﬂexology, reiki, tandem four-hand WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY therapy, hot stones, trigger point work and more. He did house calls and worked in his own home studio. He credited massage with helping him recover from a serious auto accident in 2001. He won the Washington Blade Best of Gay D.C. awards in the “best massage” category in 2013 and 2015; he was runner-up in 2014. At the time, he told the Blade he felt “incredibly honored to win.” “I take my practice very seriously and my client’s wellness is always my top priority,” Weingart said in a 2015 Blade interview. “Winning again tells me that my hard work has paid oﬀ.” Weingart battled depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing at age 2 his mother shot and killed by his stepfather, an event his family said he remembered. He was raised by his father, Rocky, and his father’s partner, Bob. In December 2012 after the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Weingart helped found Project End Gun Violence with David Jeﬀrey Horowitz and others. “I can’t begin to imagine the pain he carried from that tragedy,” Horowitz said referring to Weingart’s mother’s murder. “He was committed to preventing others from experiencing pain due to gun violence despite the tragic impact it had on his own life.” Horowitz called him a “gentle soul who touched many people” and “was a friend and co-warrior in the ﬁght.” Michael Eisinger met Weingart at a vigil for the Pulse nightclub shooting victims in Dupont Circle in 2016 and said they became close friends immediately. “One of the most selﬂess people I’ve ever met,” Eisinger said in a tribute to his friend on Facebook. “Always there to crack a joke, greet you with a giant smile and a hug and always, always, always there when you needed someone to talk to.” Weingart was previously in a relationship with Paul Mills, also a massage therapist. They met in 2008, were engaged in 2012 and broke up in 2015. They lived together in Silver Spring, Md. Weingart’s father was gay. Weingart was a caregiver to his late father and his father’s partner near the end of their lives, friends said. Weingart enjoyed travel, collecting vinyl records, movies, reading, photography and meditation. He told the Blade seeing Madonna’s “Blond Ambition Tour” was a highly memorable experience. He was honored for his advocacy work with the “Be the Change” Award he won in 2013 from the Washington Peace Center. He was also active in Dignity Washington, a local LGBT Roman Catholic group and had been on its board and in other Dignity committees. He traveled with the group attending various national conferences. He was also a colon cancer survivor. He also loved pets, especially the dog and two cats he and Mills had. He is survived by his grandmother, Joanna Weingart; uncles Michael and David Weingart; Aunt Mendi Shelton; cousins Wesley, Kenneth, Orion, Mathis, Amber, Payton, Landon, Austin, Vanessa and Brittney. A memorial service is being planned but details were not available as of Wednesday.
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LO CA L N E W S
Revisiting 10 unsolved LGBT murders in D.C. Cold cases of 6 trans women, 4 gay men frustrate oﬃcials as police say investigations prevent release of more details By LOU CHIBBARO JR. email@example.com Transgender rights advocate Earline Budd for the past year has been urging D.C. police to consider disclosing “just a little more” information about six unsolved murders of transgender women that took place in D.C. since the year 2000. In response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade, police have conﬁrmed that the murders of four gay men since 2000 also remain unsolved, three in D.C. and one in Prince George’s County, Md. D.C. police, meanwhile, point out that they have made arrests and closed six other murders of transgender women in the District since 2000. Budd said she and others in the transgender community remain hopeful that witnesses or others who may have known the female transgender victims in the unsolved cases – all of whom were African American – might come forward with information to help police make an arrest. The release of additional details about the victims or the circumstances surrounding the cases might jog the memory of someone who could provide investigators with an “important tip,” Budd said. But the commander of the D.C. police Homicide Branch, Capt. Anthony Haythe, said that while he and the team of detectives working on the unsolved trans and gay murder cases welcome information from citizens, releasing further details about the cases could compromise their ongoing investigations. “We typically do not release any information that’s intimate to the case or any very speciﬁc information,” he told the Washington Blade in an interview earlier this month. “Those are the things we would not want to put out because there are perpetrators still out there and you’re actually giving them information and diﬀerent things they can use as their defense if they are eventually caught and arrested,” he said. He noted that police oﬀer a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction for a murder case. D.C. police are oﬀering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the double murder of transgender women Ukea Davis, 18, and Stephanie Thomas, 19, on Aug. 12, 2002. In a development that shocked LGBT activists and city oﬃcials, an unidentiﬁed
‘One of the things … beneﬁcial to us in cold cases in particular is to highlight those cases again with the information we do have out to the public,’ said D.C. Police Chief PETER NEWSHAM. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
gunman ﬁred multiple rounds from a semiautomatic weapon, execution style, into the upper body and head of the two women while they sat inside a car on the 4900 block of C Street, S.E. about 3:20 a.m. Although at least one witness saw the shooting police said they have no known motive or suspect in the case. Haythe, meanwhile, reiterated a longstanding D.C. police policy of not disclosing the sexual orientation of homicide victims unless investigators obtain evidence showing that the murder was linked to the victim’s status as a gay or lesbian person. Police spokesperson Rachel Schaerr Reid said the policy also calls for not disclosing the gender identity of a crime victim unless there is evidence to show there is a nexus between the crime and the person’s gender identity, such as in the case of a hate crime. In the four unsolved murders of gay men in the D.C. area since 2000 – three in D.C. and one in Prince George’s County — police in the two jurisdictions did not disclose that the victims were gay. The Blade learned about the gay male victims’ sexual orientation from friends and family members, some of whom spoke to the media. According to police spokesperson Reid, investigators have classiﬁed only one of the unsolved trans or gay murder cases in D.C. since 2000 as a hate crime. That was the Aug. 26, 2009 murder of transgender woman Tyli’a ‘Nana Boo’ Mack, 21, who was stabbed to death on the street in the 200 block of Q Street, N.W. in broad daylight at 2:38 p.m. A trans woman friend who was with Mack during the attack and who suﬀered non-fatal stab wounds from the same male assailant told friends the attacker called the two women anti-gay and possibly anti-
trans names shortly before the attack. Prince George’s County police have said the case occurring in that jurisdiction also has not been classiﬁed as a hate crime. P.G. police have said they have yet to determine a motive. That case involved the May 30, 2017 stabbing death of Matthew Mickens-Murrey, 26, who was found dead inside his apartment in a neighborhood just outside Hyattsville, Md. Friends said Mickens-Murrey was last seen at the D.C. gay bar Nellie’s during the Memorial Day weekend after attending events related to D.C. Black Pride that same weekend. All but one of the gay male victims was African American. One of the gay victims, Gaurav Gopalan, 35, who was found dead Sept. 10, 2011 on a sidewalk in the 2600 block of 11th Street, N.W. about 5:20 a.m., was a native of India. Police said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Devin Barrington-Ward, president of Impulse Group D.C., a local organization that provides entertainment and AIDS education services for black gay men, said Mickens-Murrey was a regular participant of the group’s events and friends with several of its members. Barrington-Ward said he is especially troubled that virtually all of the unsolved murder cases involved victims who were people of color. “Many of us feel very strongly that if these victims were white, that their cases would be solved and their killers brought to justice,” he said. “D.C. area police could do a much better job of publicizing these murder cases and the rewards for information that could lead to arrest and conviction of those responsible,” Barrington-Ward said. Police, among other things, “could be using social media and dating apps like Jack’d and Grindr to get the word out about these unsolved cases,” he continued. “There needs to be respectful and lawful engagement by the police with LGBTQ people of color to secure justice in these cases,” he said. He said he was also troubled that local and national LGBT organizations for the most part haven’t spoken out aggressively enough, if at all, about the unsolved gay and trans murders and whether police were doing enough to solve the cases. David Mariner, president of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, said the Center has posted police ﬂiers in the center’s oﬃce that have announced nearly all of the unsolved gay and trans murders and that include photos of the victims. But the Center’s D.C. Anti-Violence Project, which works to curtail anti-LGBT violence in the city, has not released a public statement to draw attention to the unsolved murders, a development that Barrington-Ward says is indicative of the apparent failure of most LGBT
organizations to respond to the murders. ARRESTS MADE IN 6 TRANS MURDERS D.C. police spokesperson Schaerr Reid told the Blade that the Homicide Branch secured arrests in six transgender murders that occurred in D.C. since the year 2000. Five of the victims in those cases were African-American trans women and one was a Latina transgender woman. The only known gay-related murder in D.C. since 2000 that police have closed involved the widely publicized stabbing death of D.C. attorney David Messerschmitt, 30, in his room at the upscale Donovan Hotel on Feb. 9, 2015. Messerschmitt, who was white, was married to a woman who reported him missing when he didn’t return home after spending the day at his law oﬃce. Court records show that police found through their investigation that he posted an ad on a gay male hookup site seeking a male sex partner and rented the hotel room to engage in what he thought would be a gay tryst after he got oﬀ work and before returning home to his wife. The investigation found that a 21-yearold D.C. woman named Jamyra Gallmon answered the ad by pretending she was a man and made arrangements to meet Messerschmitt for sex at his hotel room. A police arrest aﬃdavit ﬁled in court says Gallmon and her girlfriend, Dominique Johnson, 19, conspired to arrange for Gallmon to rob Messerschmitt. Following her arrest, Gallmon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and confessed to having stabbed Messerschmitt when he “fought back” at the time she attempted to rob him. Police said Gallmon stabbed Messerschmitt seven times – in the abdomen, groin and heart. She was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Johnson, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, was sentenced to six months in jail. Police have not oﬃcially listed the Messerschmitt murder as a gay case, raising concern among some activists that police may be downplaying the longstanding phenomenon of gay “pickup” murders. Law enforcement experts in D.C. and other cities have said such murders are not hate crimes but crimes of opportunity in which a perpetrator targets a gay man for robbery by pretending to be interested in sex as a means of getting invited to the victim’s home or other meeting place. Such schemes sometimes result in a murder like the Messerschmitt case, law enforcement experts familiar with those cases have said. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, when asked about the unsolved trans and gay CONTINUES ON PAGE 08
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LO CA L N E W S
Revisiting the murders of 10 LGBT people in D.C. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 06
cases at a news conference last month, said the department routinely seeks to continue to release information about unsolved cases that had been released at the time the murders occurred. “One of the things that are very beneﬁcial to us in cold cases in particular is to highlight those cases again with the information we do have out to the public,” he said. “Because that can spur a memory or somebody may be in a diﬀerent position in their life when they see that information and come forward now where they may not have otherwise done that,” Newsham said. Homicide Branch commander Haythe said the unsolved gay and trans cases that are four years old or older are classiﬁed as “cold” cases. He said most of them are being investigated by Detective Danny Whalen, who is known as an experienced investigator who is highly knowledgeable on LGBT-related cases. ‘TRAGIC, HEARTBREAKING, CHILLING’ In nearly all of the unsolved and solved murder cases of transgender women in D.C. since 2000, police have identiﬁed them by their male birth names, with their female names placed in quotation marks or parentheses. This practice has troubled transgender activists, who say using a birth name is disrespectful to the victims because it mischaracterizes the gender to which they identiﬁed and lived. Police in the past have said using the birth name and changed name when known could be helpful to their investigation into crimes against transgender people because potential witnesses may only have known the victim by their birth name. Harper Jean, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said her organization is glad that D.C. police are continuing to take steps to solve the transgender murders. But she called the police handling of the trans victims’ named in the police reward ﬂiers “an unfortunate step” that undermines eﬀorts to build trust in the transgender community. “The problem is the way in which they use somebody’s old name and their adopted name using AKAs, parentheses or quotation marks for their adopted name,” Jean said. “Even if somebody was never able to legally change their name, treating their old male name as real in this way and their adopted female name as an alias or nickname, as these ﬂiers suggest, invalidates their very identity.” Jean didn’t rule out the police use of a trans person’s old name for investigative purposes. But she said it would be more respectful to the victims and the trans community if police stated in their ﬂiers or other literature that the victim was formerly
known as or formerly went by another name and this is that other name rather than characterizing the new name as an alias. Guillaume Bagal, president of the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, said GLAA has closely monitored and spoken out on LGBT-related murders in the city for many years. He said the unsolved cases since 2000 raise questions about police handling of the cases. “These murders are tragic, heartbreaking, chilling, and frustrating in part due to the diﬃculty getting witnesses,” Bagal said. “But the policy of not disclosing the sexual orientation or gender identity of victims makes the task that much harder,” he said. Bagal praised D.C. Police Chief Newsham and the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit for being “helpful and accessible” to concerns of the LGBT community. But he called on the department to respond to the unsolved gay and trans murder cases as well as the increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes reported in the city by, among other things, acknowledging “the sexual and gender minority status of the victims.” This may not be a comprehensive list since police do not disclose sexual orientation and gender identity in all murder cases. Tyra Henderson, 22 Beaten to death April 23, 2000 Rear of 3600 block of 11th Street, N.W. Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police According to D.C. police, at approximately 6:26 a.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2000, 22-year-old Tyra Henderson, a transgender woman, was found beaten to death in an alley behind the 3600 block of 11th Street, N.W. Police have released little additional information. A Washington Post story on April 29, 2000 reported that Henderson lived at the time on the 1700 block of T Street, S.E. The Post reported that someone ﬁled a complaint against the police and sought help from the ACLU of the National Capital Area over an allegation that police took too long to respond to a 911 call at 2:20 a.m. that someone was moaning in the alley where Henderson was found unconscious. A police spokesperson told the Post police were investigating the complaint. In a December 2006 report on murders of transgender people in the decade from 1996 to 2006, the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, known as Gender PAC, said Henderson had been involved in sex work. Transgender activists have said widespread anti-trans discrimination and
bias often forces trans women to engage in sex work as a means of survival. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact D.C. homicide detective Daniel Whalen at 202-277-9225 or the police Command Information Center at 202-727-9099. Anonymous tips can be sent by text message to 50411. Similar to all of the unsolved murder cases proﬁled in this report, police are oﬀering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators responsible for the murder of each victim. More information at: https://mpdc. dc.gov/sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/ publication/attachments/henderson_ tyrone_2.pdf
Ukea Davis, 18, and Stephanie Thomas, 19 Both shot to death Aug. 12, 2002 4900 block of C Street, S.E. Reward up to $50,000 oﬀered by police In a development that shocked LGBT activists and city oﬃcials, transgender women Ukea Davis, 18, and her good friend Stephanie Thomas, 19, died in a hail of bullets ﬁred by an as-yet-unidentiﬁed attacker while they sat inside Thomas’s car along the 4900 block of C Street, S.E. Police said the incident occurred about 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2002. People familiar with the incident, including Thomas’s mother, Queen Washington, who was supportive of Thomas, said the shooting took place a short distance from Thomas’s apartment and where Davis lived as her roommate. Sources familiar with the incident said the two teens were shot at last 10 times each by someone who pulled up next to them in a car and who appeared to have used a semiautomatic weapon. The sources said Thomas and Davis told friends around 11:30 p.m. on the night of the murders that they were going to a nearby convenience store, possibly to a gas station, to buy cigarettes. Police have not said publicly if they learned whether the two teens had an encounter or altercation with someone at the convenience store or someplace else. But at least one witness reportedly saw a car pull up to Thomas’s car at the corner of 50th and C Streets, S.E. and ﬁre a gun multiple times at Thomas and Davis as they sat in Thomas’s car. According to an account of the incident by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s
Winter of 2003 edition of its publication Intelligence Report, which focused on anti-transgender violence nationwide, an eyewitness told police a second car approached Thomas’s car after the initial shooting. The witness reported that a man got out of the second car and walked to Thomas’s car and saw that Davis appeared dead. “When the man nudged Thomas’s shoulder to see if she was still alive, she moaned in conﬁrmation,” the witness reportedly said. “But her helper ﬂed as the ﬁrst car returned,” the SPLC’s Intelligence Report says. “The gunman got out and ﬁred more shots, making sure Thomas was dead.” Washington, Thomas’s mother, told news media outlets that Thomas’s transition into a young woman several years earlier in a neighborhood a short distance from where the shooting occurred drew the attention of nearby residents who knew her and her family. Washington said while many accepted Thomas’s transition, others, including kids at the school Thomas attended, taunted and sometimes assaulted Thomas, prompting Thomas to quit high school before graduating. LGBT activists organized a vigil at the site of the murders to honor the two slain trans teens and to draw attention to what they called an alarming number of instances of anti-transgender violence in D.C. around that time. Among those who attended and spoke at the vigil were then-D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Many of the LGBT activists participating in the vigil said they considered the double murder a hate crime. But D.C. police, more than 15 years after the incident, say they don’t have suﬃcient evidence to classify the case as a hate crime and have yet to determine a motive for the killings. Homicide Detective Daniel Whalen, a “cold case” and LGBT case expert, continues to work on the case, according to Acting Capt. Anthony Haythe, who serves as commander of the police Homicide Branch. Anyone with information about the case should contact Whalen at 202-277-9225. More information at: https://mpdc. d c. g o v / s i t e s / d e f a ul t / f i l e s / d c/ s i t e s / mpdc/publication/attachments/double_ davis%26thomas.pdf Elexuis Woodland, 23 Shot to death Dec. 2, 2005 2000 block of Savannah Terrace, S.E. Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police CONTINUES ON PAGE 10
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Cold case murders frustrate police, activists CONTINUED FROM PAGE 08
D.C. police say transgender woman Elexuis Woodland, 23, a hairstylist, was fatally shot during a botched robbery that took place about 1:20 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2005 as Woodland and a male friend were walking home after purchasing food from a carryout store. According to a police account, a gunman got out of a light blue American made car, possibly a Buick or Oldsmobile, that pulled up next to them and demanded money. Police said Woodland and the friend didn’t have any cash and the “robbery plan went haywire,” the Washington Post reported. The gunman shot and killed Woodland and shot and wounded the friend, who survived the attack. A police ﬂier seeking information about the incident includes an artist’s drawing of a suspect based on the description of the friend. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s said to be 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall, weighing 160-170 pounds, with a slight mustache and hair in plats or dreads. The police ﬂier also includes a photo of a car said to be the identical make and model from which the unknown suspect emerged. In a proﬁle of Woodland, the Post reports that she began transitioning as a woman at the age of 19 and was accepted by her family, which is related to Calvin Woodland Sr., Elexuis Woodland’s grandfather. Calvin Woodland was a former boxer who for many years dedicated his life to helping young people in D.C.’s sometimes troubled neighborhoods. He died of natural causes in 2000. The Post proﬁle says Elexuis, whose original surname was Tolliver, changed her last name to Woodland in honor of her grandfather. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact homicide Detective Daniel Whalen, the cold case specialist, at 202-277-9225. More information at: https://mpdc. dc.gov/sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/ publication/attachments/woodland_ elexuis_UPD3.pdf Tyli’a ‘Nana Boo’ Mack, 21 Stabbed to death Aug. 26, 2009 200 block of Q Street, N.W. Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police LGBT activists have said they are especially concerned that the Aug. 26, 2009 murder of transgender woman Tyli’a ‘Nana Boo’ Mack, 21, remains unsolved because it occurred in broad daylight in a busy section of the city’s Shaw neighborhood where many people
were on nearby streets and sidewalks. D.C. police have classiﬁed Mack’s murder as a hate crime, according to police spokesperson Rachel Schaerr Reid. It’s the only one of the six unsolved trans murder cases and the four unsolved gay male murders featured in this story to be listed as a hate crime. Police have said an unidentiﬁed male assailant fatally stabbed Mack on the 200 block of Q Street, N.W., about 2:38 p.m. as she was walking with a transgender female friend. People who knew the two women said they were walking to the nearby oﬃces of the transgender advocacy and services group Transgender Health Empowerment (THE). The attacker also stabbed the friend, but her wounds, while serious, were not life threatening and she has fully recovered. Longtime D.C. transgender rights advocate Earline Budd, who at the time worked for THE, said the friend later told her that the incident began when the friend and Mack were laughing about something as they walked past what appeared to be a child daycare center operating out of a townhouse. According to Budd, the friend reported that a man standing in the doorway of the townhouse apparently thought that Mack and her friend were laughing at him, and he took oﬀence. He shouted at the two trans women and called them derogatory names, possibly anti-gay names. Mack may have yelled back at him before the friend persuaded Mack to quickly walk away and continue on to the THE oﬃce. But a short time later, Budd recalls the friend telling her, the man appeared behind Mack and appeared to have begun hitting Mack. When the friend shouted at the man to leave Mack alone he rushed over to the friend and started “hitting her,” Budd recalls the friend as saying. Seconds later the friend realized the man had stabbed her and Mack. Mack then ran along the street calling for help before she collapsed and soon lost consciousness, Budd recounted the friend as telling her. Among those responding to the scene after police were called was then acting Lt. Brett Parson, who at the time served as director of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. Mack was taken to Howard University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later, police said. Budd said the friend told her she never got a good look at the attacker because she wanted to avoid a confrontation when the unidentiﬁed man acted in a hostile way toward her and Mack. Although police have declined to comment on why they haven’t released a drawing of the attacker in the Mack murder case, Budd said the friend’s claim that she couldn’t provide a detailed description of him
the time had no evidence that the murder was prostitution related. Transgender activists, meanwhile, expressed concern that at the time police ﬁrst publicly announced Mclean’s murder they identiﬁed her in an oﬃcial press release by her male birth name and did not mention the victim was a transgender woman. However, the police Special Liaison Division, which at the time had jurisdiction over the then Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, disclosed that Mclean was a trans woman in emails it sent to community activists, including LGBT activists. A police spokesperson told the Blade at the time that the decision not to publicly announce that Mclean was transgender was based on the department’s longstanding policy of not disclosing the sexual orientation or gender identity of a crime victim unless they have evidence that those characteristics are related to the crime. The D.C. Trans Coalition, which was Lashay Mclean, 23 among the groups that organized the Shot to death July vigil for Mclean, said Mclean was a friend 20, 2011 to many people in the LGBT community, 6100 block of Dix including several D.C. Trans Coalition Street, N.E. organizers. Mclean’s mother and several other family members attended the vigil for Mclean and said she was loved and cherished by her family. Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police Police say anyone with information that could help police identify a suspect D.C. police say transgender woman should contact Det. Daniel Whalen at Lashay Mclean, 23, was found suﬀering 202-277-9225 or the police command from a gunshot wound in the 6100 block information center at 202-727-9099. of Dix Street, N.E., at approximately 4:26 More information at: https://mpdc.dc.gov/ a.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. She sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/publication/ was pronounced dead a short time later attachments/mclean_myles_tr.pdf at a nearby hospital. Then Deputy D.C. Police Chief Diane Gaurav ‘GiGi’ Gopalan, Grooms told LGBT activists at a vigil held 35 for Mclean July 23 at the site of the murder Sept. 10, 2011 that homicide detectives were pursuing 2600 block of 11th information provided by a witness that the Street, N.W. fatal shooting took place shortly after two Blunt force trauma unidentiﬁed males “had some words” with to head Mclean in an alley shortly before she was shot. “The motive is still not clear to us,” Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police Grooms told the Blade after the vigil. She said that in the early stage of the Gaurav Gopalan, 35, an aerospace investigation police had not found engineer and highly acclaimed local theater evidence for either a robbery or a hate director, was found dead on the sidewalk in crime. Now, more than six years later, the 2600 block of 11th Street, N.W., about police have not disclosed whether they 5:20 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. have identiﬁed a motive or suspect in the Friends and Bob Shaeﬀer, his partner case, only that the case remains open. of nearly ﬁve years, said he identiﬁed as a The location where Mclean was shot gay man over the many years they knew was well known at the time as a gathering him. But police said when he was found place for transgender sex workers and the unconscious on the sidewalk a short distance men that patronize their services. Mclean’s from his home in the Columbia Heights friends and some family members who neighborhood, he was dressed in women’s attended the vigil acknowledged that she clothes and appeared to have been carrying had been arrested the previous year on a pair of women’s high heel shoes. a misdemeanor charge of solicitation for With no identiﬁcation documents prostitution at the unit block of K Street, found in his possession, it took police N.E., which is also known as a location where trans sex workers congregate. Grooms, however, said investigators at CONTINUES ON PAGE 11 might be one reason why police haven’t released an artist’s drawing of a suspect as they have in other unsolved trans murder cases. Mack’s mother, Beverlyn Mack, was among those who spoke at a news conference and later at a vigil organized by LGBT activists to draw attention to Mack’s unsolved case. “My child was born like everyone else – through a mother’s womb,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s fair for other people to take other people’s lives.” Similar to other unsolved trans murder cases, police are asking anyone with information that may help them identify and apprehend a suspect in the Mack case to contact homicide Det. Daniel Whalen at 202-277-9225. More information at: https://mpdc.dc.gov/ sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/publication/ attachments/mack_joshua_0.pdf
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Police seek help in solving 10 LGBT murders CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10
several days to track down his identity. And with no obvious signs of trauma or injury, it took authorities nearly two weeks to determine from an autopsy that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The city’s Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide. Police said Gopalan’s car, a gold-silver 2007 BMW 2-door sedan with a NASA sticker on the rear bumper, was seen being driven after his death. Police said it was later recovered and investigators were hoping to talk to anyone who may have seen the car during the weekend of Sept. 10-11, 2011. Shaeﬀer told the Washington City Paper that on the Friday night prior to Gopalan’s murder early Saturday morning he told Shaeﬀer he planned to go out to some of the straight clubs on U Street, N.W. Police have said they obtained video of someone appearing to be Gopalan walking along U Street from surveillance cameras in that area. But they said employees of some of the bars in the area could not recall whether he had been to their establishments. The gay bars Town and Nellie’s are in that area. Similar to nearly all of the unsolved murders of LGBT people since the year 2000, police told the Blade last week the case remains open and has been assigned to the Homicide Branch’s Cold Case Squad. Police have not disclosed whether they have determined a motive or identiﬁed a potential suspect in the case. In the last months of his life Shaeﬀer and others who knew Gopalan said he began dressing occasionally in women’s clothes and said he was going by the name of Gigi during times when he took on a female persona. D.C. transgender activist Earline Budd, who said she has spoken to some people who knew Gopalan, believes Gopalan may have been in the early stages of transitioning as a transgender woman. Regardless of what Gopalan’s actual gender identity was, Budd said she’s concerned that the beloved engineer and Shakespeare theater director may have been targeted because of the perception that he was a transgender woman at a time when trans women had been subjected to violent attacks in D.C. His murder took place less than two months after transgender woman Lashay Mclean was shot to death on Dix Street, N.E. and less than a year after trans woman Tyli’a Nana Boo Mack was stabbed to death in the city’s Shaw neighborhood. More than 200 people turned out for a vigil in Dupont Circle two weeks after his death to honor Gopalan and his life’s accomplishments. At the conclusion of the vigil participants carrying photos of Gopalan walked from Dupont Circle
at 202-607-8268 or Det. Gabriel Truby to the site of his murder in Columbia at 202-270-1202. The department’s Heights, placing ﬂiers and photos of him command center number, which serves next to the sidewalk. as a tip line, can also be reached at 202Anyone who may have any information 727-9099. that could be helpful to the investigation More information at: https://mpdc. into Gopalan’s death is asked to contact dc .gov/sit es/defa u lt /fil e s / d c/ s i t e s / the D.C. police Homicide Branch at mpdc/publication/attachments/lewis_ 202-645-3421 or the police command demencio.pdf information center at 202-727-9099. More information at: https://mpdc.dc.gov/ Stephon Marquis sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/publication/ Perkins, 21 attachments/gopalan_guarav.pdf Shot to death June 25, 2015 Demencio Lewis, 23 16th and Galen Shot to death March Streets, S.E. 13, 2014 2500 block of Sayles Place, S.E. Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police D.C. police have released few details about this case other than that Stephon Marquis Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police Perkins, 21, was found suﬀering from a fatal gunshot wound near the intersection of Demencio Lewis, 23, an aspiring model, 16th Street and Galen Street, S.E. about 3:44 actor and rapper, was shot to death a.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015. in a hail of gunﬁre about 11:57 p.m. on An employee of the D.C. LGBT community Thursday, March 13, 2014, in the 2500 services center Casa Ruby, who identiﬁed block of Sayles Place, S.E., according to a herself only as Molly H., told the Blade that D.C. police announcement of his murder. she and Perkins were close friends and that Police said later that a witness saw Perkins identiﬁed as gay. four men wearing hooded sweatshirts “He was almost like family,” she said. leaving the scene of the shooting in a “He was a kind, open-hearted person. He black Hyundai Sonata. Lewis’s mother, could be the life of the party.” Sharita Lewis, told Fox 5 News that she Police said that Perkins, a Maryland and her son were dining together when resident, was taken to a nearby hospital, Demencio Lewis received a call on his cell where he was pronounced dead. A police phone from someone named Chris, who source said the cause of death appeared was waiting to see him outside his home. to be a gunshot wound to the head. He told his mother he needed to talk to The source, who spoke on condition of not Chris and he would be right back, Fox 5 being identiﬁed, said there was no evidence News reported. Within minutes, D.C. police in the early stage of the investigation that the oﬃcers responded to the 2600 block of murder was a hate crime. The source said Sayles Place, S.E. and found Lewis lying homicide detectives investigating the case unconscious on the street. His mother told spoke to Perkins’ boyfriend and consulted Fox 5 he had been shot 27 times. with the department’s Gay and Lesbian She also told the TV news station that she Liaison Unit as part of their investigation into and other members of her family believe the murder. Lewis’s status as an openly gay man may Similar to the Lewis case, the Perkins have had something to do with his death. case is considered active and current Among other things, the family members and is being investigated by detectives think he was lured into a trap and killed. familiar with the case from the time the Sharita Lewis told Fox 5 her son was incident occurred. They can be reached killed at a time when he and his loved ones at 202-645-9600. Tips can be left with the expected him to excel in his chosen ﬁelds command center at 202-727-9099. of modeling and acting as well as writing. More information at: https://mpdc.dc.gov/ “He was talented,” the news station sites/default/ﬁles/dc/sites/mpdc/publication/ quoted her as saying. “He was all over attachments/perkins_stephon.pdf the place and then he started acting,” she said. “He was on ‘The Good Wife, ‘Ugly Matthew MickensBetty,’ ‘106 & Park,’ so he did a lot of stuﬀ.” Murrey, 26 D.C. police Homicide Branch Stabbed to death commander Anthony Haythe said May 30, 2017 the Lewis case remains under active 5400 block of investigation by the homicide detectives Newton Street, that worked on the case from the time Hyattsville, Md. the murder occurred. Anyone with information about case Reward up to $25,000 oﬀered by police is asked to contact Det. Anthony Green
Prince George’s County, Md., police have said Matthew Mickens-Murrey, 26, was found stabbed to death inside his apartment in the 5400 block of Newton Street in an unincorporated section of the county just outside Hyattsville. Friends and family members said Mickens-Murrey’s boss at a ﬁrm where he worked as a security guard in D.C. called P.G. County police after Mickens-Murrey didn’t show up for work. A P.G. County police statement says oﬃcers arrived at his residence about 2:40 p.m. on May 30 and found him unconscious and “suﬀering from trauma.” It says he was pronounced dead at the scene. Mickens-Murrey’s mother and sister, who live in Pennsylvania, told the Washington Blade at a birthday celebration in Mickens-Murrey’s honor in D.C. on Nov. 9 that investigators told them he had been stabbed multiple times. They said police told them there were no signs of a forced entry into the apartment, leading police to believe he knew his attacker and most likely invited that person to his home. Friends said that on the weekend preceding the murder, MickensMurrey had attended events associated with D.C. Black Pride, which takes place each year over the Memorial Day weekend. One of his friends, Devin Barrington-Ward, president of Impulse Group D.C., which organizes events catering to black gay men, said Mickens-Murrey was an active participant in the group’s activities. At least one friend said Mickens-Murrey was last seen around 9 or 10 p.m. Sunday night, May 28, at the D.C. gay bar Nellie’s. The friend, Terrance Ford, said he and Mickens-Murrey also would sometimes visit the Dupont Circle area gay bars Fireplace and Cobalt and the Capitol Hill gay bar Bachelor’s Mill. Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski, who attended a memorial service for Mickens-Murrey, told the gathering that his investigators were pursuing excellent leads in the case. “We do not believe this is random and we do not believe he was targeted because of his lifestyle,” Stawinski told ABC7 News. A P.G. County police spokesperson said it would be inappropriate for police to release speciﬁc details of the investigation, including whether they were looking into the possibility that Mickens-Murrey met his killer at a gay meeting place such as a gay bar or through an online hookup site. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police at 301772-4925.
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Court orders return of gay immigrant to U.S. after Christmas deportation Mexican national comes home to husband as HIV meds run out By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org A gay Mexican immigrant who sought asylum in the United States, but was deported over the recent Christmas holiday despite a court order in his favor, was retrieved Tuesday after a nearly one-month ordeal in which the Trump administration ignored rulings on his behalf. Carlos Bringas-Rodriguez, who’s gay and HIV positive, is an asylum seeker from Mexico, who was deported Dec. 22 at 3 a.m. and literally dumped at the border with a limited supply of his HIV medications. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement deported Bringas-Rodriguez even though the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March determined the persecution he faced in Mexico because of his sexual orientation made him eligible for asylum in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security removed Bringas-Rodriguez on the basis that he missed a court appearance for asylum — an appearance for which he never received notiﬁcation — taking him away from his spouse in Kansas City, Michael Young, a U.S. citizen. The couple cares for Bringas-Rodriguez’s 12-year-old cousin as a daughter. The U.S. government only agreed to allow Bringas-Rodriguez, who also goes by Patricio Iron-Rodriguez, to return to the United States after a subsequent order from the Ninth Circuit on Thursday instructing DHS “to return petitioner to the United States through the Port of Entry at San Ysidro, California, no later than January 16, 2018.” Bringas-Rodriguez said in a statement to the Blade prior to his retrieval he was relieved the nightmare of being separated from his family over the holidays would end soon. “I have mixed emotions right now,” Bringas-Rodriguez said. “I am still very traumatized and shaken up from being deported and separated from my family. But I am of course relieved that this nightmare will soon be over and cannot wait to be reunited with my husband and our niece who is like my daughter.” Young, a physician, expressed his frustration in a statement that his spouse “was taken away from me three days before Christmas, in the dead of night without my knowledge.” “My husband has been ﬁghting his case for over six years and has cooperated with immigration authorities throughout,” Young said. “As his husband,
MICHAEL YOUNG with his spouse and gay asylum seeker CARLOS BRINGASRODRIGUEZ.
PHOTO COURTESY OF IMMIGRANT DEFENDERS LAW CENTER
I am suﬀering because I do not know when we will be reunited; as a physician, I am terriﬁed that his unlawful deportation will have irreparable consequences to his health. I am just relieved that the Ninth Circuit recognized the wrong done here and has ordered the government to return my husband to me.” Representing Bringas-Rodriguez is Munmeeth Soni, co-legal director for the Los Angeles-based Immigrant Defenders Law Center, who conﬁrmed he was paroled Tuesday and said his treatment was “not just cruel, but inhumane and outrageous.” Bringas-Rodriguez ﬁrst came to the United States in 2010 after suﬀering persecution in Mexico over his sexual orientation and has been ﬁghting his asylum case ever since. In his hometown of Veracruz, Bringas-Rodriguez was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by his relatives and neighbor. If Bringas-Rodriguez were forced to remain in Mexico, Soni said he’d face the same anti-gay persecution he endured years ago, only worse. “There’s even more of a likelihood that it would be at the hand of strangers,” Soni said. “It could be at the hands of the police, or the military, and I think... because of his HIV condition, he deﬁnitely faces signiﬁcant risk of being killed.” Even without his recent deportation to Mexico, Bringas-Rodriguez’s case for asylum has been a trial. BringasRodriguez ﬁrst applied for asylum when he initially came to the United States when immigration oﬃcials detained him. The San Diego immigration court where he ﬁrst made his case denied him asylum because he couldn’t show the Mexican government would have been unwilling or unable to protect him. Part of the reason the case was denied was because of a Ninth Circuit precedent in the 2011 ruling of Castro-Martinez v.
Holder against a gay, HIV-positive asylum seeker from Mexico. On appeals to the Board of Immigrations Appeals, Bringas-Rodriguez again lost his case. When he tested positive for HIV, Bringas-Rodriguez sought a second chance before the board on the basis he was now in a higher category of persecution, but the outcome was no diﬀerent. (The HIV infection happened not in Mexico, but the United States. He tested positive for the ﬁrst time at age 23.) In 2013, Bringas-Rodriguez took another chance before the Ninth Circuit. Up until that time, Bringas-Rodriguez was representing himself, but now was appointed pro bono counsel at the University of California, Irvine. That was when Soni, an adjunct professor at the school, became involved in the case. The initial decision from the threejudge panel at the Ninth Circuit was against Bringas-Rodriguez on the basis of the 2011 decision. But when the full court agreed to rehear the case, the outcome overturned precedent and was in his favor, remanding the case to immigration court for reconsideration. “We granted rehearing en banc and now hold that the evidence Bringas adduced before the agency — credible written and oral testimony that reporting was futile and potentially dangerous, that other young gay men had reported their abuse to the Mexican police to no avail, and country reports and news articles documenting oﬃcial and private persecution of individuals on account of their sexual orientation — satisﬁes our longstanding evidentiary standards for establishing past persecution and compels the conclusion that Bringas suﬀered past persecution that the Mexican government was unable or unwilling to control,” the court determined. Soni said the decision was “beyond positive” because it didn’t just favor BringasRodriguez, but has far-reaching implications. “It really has been an extraordinary decision for anybody, any person who’s experienced anything that Bringas has experienced,” Soni said. In summer 2014, Bringas-Rodriguez had moved from San Diego to Kansas City to be with his now husband Young. Prior to that, he had been put on a rigorous supervised system similar to prison probation where DHS monitors his movement and must be informed if he ever leaves the. Soni said Bringas-Rodriguez fastidiously kept up with the requirements. But his asylum process technically wasn’t over because the immigration court had ruled as a result of the Ninth Circuit order. The U.S. government was given another chance to present evidence against his case, but in the event that
didn’t happen, Bringas-Rodriguez would be allowed to stay. Bringas-Rodriguez checked in with ICE in June and was told the next time he’d need to do so was Dec. 20. But in the meantime, unbeknownst to him, his case was scheduled for a new hearing on Aug. 20 in immigration court in San Diego. DHS showed up for the hearing, but BringasRodriguez didn’t. As a result, the immigration court issued a deportation order against Bringas-Rodriguez on the basis that his failure to appear demonstrates he’s abandoned his asylum application. The immigration court is required to send a notice to the person’s address to notify them to appear. Although Soni said they supposedly did that, it may have been sent to a diﬀerent address in San Diego because Bringas-Rodriguez never received it, nor did he obtain a copy of the deportation order. There’s no certiﬁcation of service for either document, Soni said. There’s some dispute as to whether any notice went out. In subsequent communications, Soni said ICE conﬁrmed with the law ﬁrm there’s no evidence Bringas-Rodriguez was properly served even at the wrong address in San Diego. The U.S. government, Soni said, never bothered to inform the immigration court at the hearing DHS is aware of BringasRodriguez’s location and that he wasn’t trying to abscond after putting seven years into his asylum case. DHS also knew the immigration court didn’t send the notice to the right address, but didn’t bring that up, Soni said. Bringas-Rodriguez’s absence from the hearing about which he was unaware had major consequences when he showed up for his next check-in on Dec. 20. “He’s immediately detained, and they tell him he’s getting deported,” Soni said. “He has no idea what they’re talking about, and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, you missed your court hearing, and so obviously you’re getting deported because you didn’t show up.’” Bringas-Rodriguez called his husband, who in turn called Soni, who’s able to piece together what happened and was able to obtain new local counsel, Rekha Sharma-Crawford of the SharmaCrawford law ﬁrm in Kansas City. Finalizing the motion to reopen his case, Sharma-Crawford law ﬁrm sent the document on Dec. 22. But it’s too late for the holiday season. The San Diego immigration court, without notiﬁcation to the public, decides to close at 1 p.m. and so the courier couldn’t ﬁle the motion at the time. The motion isn’t ﬁled until after Christmas on Dec. 26. � CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM
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CHELSEA MANNING has taken steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland. PHOTO COURTESY INSTAGRAM
Chelsea Manning takes steps to run for U.S. Senate A transgender former Army intelligence oﬃcer who rose to national prominence after leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks has taken steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland. The Federal Election Commission website indicates Chelsea Manning on Thursday ﬁled for candidacy to run as a Democrat in the mid-term election. It would be diﬃcult for Manning to wrest the Democratic nomination from incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who’s seen as the overwhelming favorite as he runs for a third term. The primary is set for June 28. However, if Manning were to succeed, she’d the be the ﬁrst openly transgender person elected to Congress. Manning would also be yet another LGBT candidate in a prominent statewide election among many others seeking to ride the expected Democratic wave in 2018. Manning, who was granted clemency by President Barack Obama last year after she served seven years for leaking government secrets, has been a controversial ﬁgure. Supporters say a video of a Baghdad airstrike she made public exposed war crimes the United States committed during the Iraq war, but opponents point to a subsequent dump of 251,287 State Department cables as evidence she was indiscriminately leaking information and jeopardizing the lives and work of U.S. intelligence analysts. Manning was sentenced to 35 years at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Although Manning served a shorter sentence thanks to Obama’s commutation, her time in prison was longer than the time served by anyone else in the United States convicted of leaking classiﬁed information. Over the course of her time in Fort Leavenworth, a men’s prison, Manning faced challenges as a result of her gender identity after coming out as transgender on the ﬁrst day of her sentence. The Army initially refused to provide her with hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, but agreed to provide the treatment last year as a result of a lawsuit ﬁled by the American Civil Liberties Union. Manning didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on whether she’d, in fact, pursue a run for the seat, nor has she declared candidacy on her Twitter account even though she’s a proliﬁc social media user. CHRIS JOHNSON
LGBT Haitians condemn ‘shithole countries’ comment LGBT rights advocates in Haiti on Friday condemned President Trump after he reportedly described their country as a “shithole.” Reginald Dupont, executive director of Foundation SEROvie, an HIV/AIDS service organization that is based in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, described the comment as “a major aﬀront to the dignity of peoples.” Josué Azor, a photographer who documents Port-au-Prince’s LGBT nightlife, on Friday said there are “a lot of people reacting after the Trump comment.” “Most of them are expressing how shocked and pissed oﬀ they are,” Azor told the Blade. The Washington Post on Thursday reported Trump described Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as “shithole countries” during an Oval Oﬃce meeting on immigration.
Trump also reportedly said the U.S. should allow more immigration from Norway and Asian countries. The Haitian government has summoned a U.S. oﬃcial to explain the comment, which Trump on Friday said he did not make. CNN reported U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is among the lawmakers who attended Thursday’s meeting, told reporters on Capitol Hill that Trump “said these hateful things.” President DONALD TRUMP referred to countries in Africa and elsewhere as ‘shithole’ countries last The U.N., the African Union and week. the government of El Salvador have all condemned Trump’s reported WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY comments that have sparked outrage around the world. The Botswanan and Senegalese governments on Friday summoned the U.S. ambassadors in their respective countries. Trump made the comment on the eve of the eighth anniversary of an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti in 2010. The Trump administration last November said Haitians will no longer receive protected immigration status in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status program, which allows people from countries that have suﬀered war or natural disasters over the last two decades to receive temporary residency permits. The New York Times last month reported Trump in June said during a meeting in the Oval Oﬃce that the 15,000 Haitians who received visas to enter the U.S. in 2017 “all have AIDS” and the 40,000 visa recipients from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders strongly denied the report. Former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster on Friday noted to the Blade that he traveled to Haiti several times when he was ambassador from 2013-2017. Brewster, who is among the six openly gay men who were U.S. ambassadors during the Obama administration, said he saw “a challenging economic situation, but a proud and vibrant people.” Brewster described Trump’s reported comments as “an oﬀense, but (not) just to those in Haiti and African countries but to everyone in the U.S., our embassies and anyone who has a sense of humanity.” “The oﬃce is the president and if any country reﬂects to the world who we are as a people,” Brewster told the Blade. “This is not who we are! This is racist, hate speech.” MICHAEL K . LAVERS
Miss Trans America founder’s husband charged with her murder Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of the Miss Trans America pageant and a transgender activist, was found stabbed and beaten to death in her North Adams, Mass., home last Friday. She was 42. According to the autopsy report, Christa Leigh suﬀered from blunt force trauma to her head and a stab wound on her torso. The Oﬃce of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide. MassLive.com reports that her husband Mark Steele-Knudslien went to the Adams Police Department headquarters on Friday and told police he had done “something very bad.” According to reports, he says he and his wife got into an argument and he “snapped,” stabbing her with a knife and hitting her with a hammer. He was charged with murder on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charge on Monday. He is currently being held in the Berkshire County Jail without bail. GLAAD reports that Christa Leigh is the ﬁrst known transgender person to be murdered this year. Christa Leigh was a well-established transgender activist. In addition to founding the Miss Trans America pageant, she also helped to launch the Miss Trans New England pageant. The New York Post reports she also was one of the organizers of the ﬁrst New England Trans Pride event. MARIAH COOPER
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The Archdiocese of Santiago de Chile hung this banner on the front of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in anticipation of POPE FRANCIS‘ visit to Chile.
accused Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, and the Archbishop of Santiago of covering up Karadima’s abuse. A Chilean newspaper in 2015 published private emails between Ezzati and Errázuriz in which they discussed their eﬀorts to block Cruz’s nomination to a sex abuse commission that Francis created. Francis in the same year appointed Rev. Juan Barros, a Karadima protégé, as the new bishop of Osorno, a city in southern Chile. The Associated Press last week reported Francis in a 2015 letter acknowledged Barros’ appointment would have sparked outrage in Chile because of his close ties to Karadima. A video that a tourist from Argentina shot in St. Peter’s Square in 2015 shows Francis describing the Osorno residents who were protesting against Barros as “dumb.” Chilean television later broadcast it. “No more excuses on sexual abuse,” Cruz told the Blade on Monday from Santiago. “It’s time for action.” “In Chile there are many bishops who have covered up abuse and he does nothing,” he added, referring speciﬁcally to Francis. “He is pure talk and no action. We are tired of something. We need action.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS
LGBT activists protest Pope Francis in Chile
Latin American countries urged to abide by LGBT rights ruling
Pope Francis on Monday arrived in Chile amid protests from LGBT rights activists. Óscar Rementería, spokesperson for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, an LGBT advocacy group, is among those who spoke at a protest in the Chilean capital of Santiago that corresponded with Francis’ arrival at the city’s international airport. The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation also set up a large screen onto which it projected images of what it described as the Roman Catholic Church’s “crimes and atrocities.” One of the images contained Francis’ picture and a 2015 quote the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation attributed to him. “The homosexual union is ‘an anomalous, strange and irresponsible lifestyle,’” reads the quote. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet — who introduced a bill last August that would extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples — greeted Francis at the airport. Rolando Jiménez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, told the Washington Blade on Monday that his group “rejected” the government’s invitation to attend a welcome ceremony for Francis at the Presidential Palace. Fundación Iguales, another LGBT advocacy group, on Monday noted in a tweet directed at Francis that 66 percent of Chilean Catholics support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Fundación Iguales pointed out this ﬁgure is the same among Chileans who are not Catholic. “They back marriage equality because they believe in a society with equal justice for all,” it said. Fundación Iguales and the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation earlier this month criticized Fidel Espinoza, president of Chilean House of Deputies, for postponing a vote on a transgender rights bill that had been scheduled to take place on Tuesday during Francis’ visit. The chamber’s Human Rights Commission on Monday approved the measure, which would allow trans Chileans who are at least 18 years old to legally change their name and gender without surgery or a court order. Fundación Iguales on Wednesday is scheduled to launch a pro-LGBT business index it has developed with the Human Rights Campaign. Francis is scheduled to visit the Chilean cities of Temuco and Iquique before ﬂying to Lima, Peru, on Thursday. Francis will travel to the Peruvian cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo before returning to Rome on Jan. 21. Francis’ trip coincides with continued outrage over the Vatican’s response to child sex abuse within the church in Chile. Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay man who now lives in the U.S., is among the hundreds of people who Rev. Fernando Karadima sexually abused over more than three decades in his parish — Parroquia Sagrado Corazón de Jesús — in an upper middle class Santiago neighborhood. Two Chilean courts ruled they could not prosecute Karadima because the statute of limitations had expired. The Vatican in 2011 found him guilty and sanctioned him to a “lifetime of penance and prayer” at a convent. Cruz and two other men — José Murillo and James Hamilton — in a 2013 civil lawsuit
LGBT advocacy groups across Latin America have urged their governments to abide by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ landmark ruling that recognize same-sex marriage and transgender rights. México Igualitario, Visibles in Guatemala, Comunicado y Capacitando a Mujeres Trans in El Salvador, Fundación Igualitos in Costa Rica, Fundación Iguales in Panama, the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile and more than two dozen other groups on Monday signed a statement that notes the court “urges all the countries” that signed the American Convention on Human Rights “to embrace equality.” Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, also endorsed the statement. “We reaﬃrm the principles of freedom, equality under the law and nondiscrimination are fundamental elements to bolster development and social harmony,” it reads. “We respectfully call all people of good will to support this historic advance in the construction of a more humane society.” The court issued its ruling on Jan. 9 after the Costa Rican government asked for an advisory opinion on whether it has an obligation to extend property rights to same-sex couples and allow trans people to change their name and gender marker on identity documents. The Organization of American States created the Costa Rica-based court in 1979 in order to enforce provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. It’s ruling is legally binding in Costa Rica and 19 other countries — Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Suriname — that currently recognize the convention. Same-sex couples can legally marry in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico City and several states in Mexico. Mexico City, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay also allow trans people to legally change their name and gender without undergoing surgery. Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón has said her government will abide by the ruling, even though it does not say how to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Fundación Iguales President Iván Chanis Barahona on Monday told the Washington Blade the Panamanian government had yet to publicly announce whether it will comply with the court’s ruling, even though the country’s Supreme Court in 2017 heard oral arguments in a case that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Trans rights advocates in the Dominican Republic also noted their country’s government has not announced its position. “We hope the Dominican state takes the court’s recommendations into consideration and guarantees rights to everyone,” said Cristian King of Trans Siempre Amigos, a trans advocacy group that is based in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
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LGB adults more likely to have tried e-smoking NEW YORK — LGB adults are more likely than straight people to have tried e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products according to a study led by tobacco researchers at the Georgia State University School of Public Health, MedicalXPress reports. They’re also less likely than straights to perceive second hand e-cigarette vapor as harmful, the study found. Previous research has shown that smoking rates have fallen in the United States during the last decade, but they remain high among LGB adults, the researchers wrote. “Sexual minority populations experience disparities in cigarette use, but sparse evidence exists about novel and other alternative tobacco product use,” the researchers said. To assess the views of sexual minorities, researchers administered a national online survey in 2014 and 2015 to more than 11,500 adults in the U.S. The survey asked them about their perceptions and use of e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and hookahs, MedicalXPress reports. The results of the study are published in the article “Prevalence of use and perceptions of risk of novel and other alternative tobacco products among sexual minority adults” in the journal Preventive Medicine. The study’s lead author is Dr. Pratibha Nayak, a former postdoctoral research associate with Georgia State’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. LGB adults in the study were 1.5 times more likely to have ever used e-cigarettes and 1.9 times more likely to have ever used hookahs than the straight adult participants.
Opinions differ on undetectable viral loads
I like staying in shape, listening to Adele, and shopping in Friendship Heights with my mom and sisters.
I’m a transgender woman and I’m part of DC.
NEW YORK — Gay men, especially those are don’t have regular HIV tests or aren’t sure of their HIV status, are less likely to believe that HIV-positive men with undetectable viral loads can transmit the virus to others, Eurekalert reports. Numerous well-controlled trials have recently demonstrated that there is eﬀectively no risk of HIV transmission during sex with a partner who has a sustained, undetectable viral load but doubts linger about the accuracy of the “Undetectable=Untransmittable” message popularized by Bruce Richman of the Prevention Access Campaign. The ﬁndings are the results of Hunter College researchers published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society. They surveyed about 12,000 men across the U.S. last summer. It’s the ﬁrst time the topic has been studied in the U.S. pertaining to a speciﬁc treatment-as-prevention strategy, the paper said. Among the ﬁndings about the undetectable messaging: • It was perceived to be accurate by 70 percent of HIV-positive men and 36 percent of men who were either HIV-negative or unsure of their status. • Men who got tested regularly or were on PrEP were more likely to believe the message. • Men with detectable viral loads were less likely to believe the message. • Men who’d had condomless anal sex with a serodiscordant partner were more likely to believe the message.
Trans scientist known for brain research dies
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WASHINGTON — Ken Barres, a neurobiologist who made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the structure and function of the brain that may have implications for understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders and who, as a transgender man, became an outspoken opponent of gender bias in science, died Dec. 27 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., according to ADVERTISER SIGNATURE the Washington Post. He was 63. By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the washington blade newspaper. This includes but isHis not limited to placement, death was announced by Stanford University where he was a professor of payment and insertion schedule. neurobiology in the medical school. He died of pancreatic cancer, the Post reports. Barres was one of the world’s leading researchers on glial cells, which are the most numerous structures in the brain but whose purpose was largely a mystery, the Post reports. Barres began his scientiﬁc career when he was known as Barbara Barres. He came out as trans in 1997 and spoke of the vast diﬀerences he experienced working as a woman in science vs. as a man. “People who don’t know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he wrote according to the Post. “I can even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man.”
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Training buds Working out with others yields exponential benefits Fitness, just like life, is not something that should be approached alone. Sure, you can go about a routine independently and potentially see results. But you would be missing a few critical elements: the push of a training partner during each workout as well DAVID MAGIDA is founder of Elevate Interval Fitas each day; the motivation and ness, a member of the Reebok Spartan Race Pro Team and author of “The Essentials of Obstacle programming of a coach who can Racing: A Beginner’s Guide.” You can catch a class keep you accountable, focused and with him at Elevate on 14th Street or at its new aimed in the right direction; and location in the Mosaic District in Fairfax, Va. of course, a social circle of fellow athletes who share similar goals and a similar mindset as you. You can succeed alone, no question. If you set your mind to it, make a plan and commit, you can achieve results. But, if you don’t have to do it alone, why would you? If you’ve never trained with a partner or team, you’re missing out on a key element of the process. In partners and teammates we have people who keep us accountable to show up each and every day. You won’t skip workouts if you have plans to meet people to do it. You won’t want to let them down. You’ll also ﬁnd you push each other throughout each workout. No more getting comfortable or lackadaisical. When you are training side by side with someone, you’ll run faster, lift heavier and increase your tempo throughout. You’ll be motivated to add another set, to do the things that aren’t as fun and to stick with it for longer each day. And you’ll ﬁnd yourself competing a bit. After all, competition can bring the best out in us. So step one should be to ﬁnd yourself a training partner. The perks of training partners go vastly beyond just the physical and mental boost to your workout routine. Your workouts can become part of your social routine. You’ll ﬁnd yourself eager to train because it becomes the most entertaining part of your day. A group of likeminded individuals who are training with similar purpose and mindset can lead to powerful and lasting friendships. Your social circle of ﬁtness fanatics will challenge you to be better. You’ll ﬁnd yourself eating better, drinking less and thinking about being better prepared for your upcoming workouts. You won’t be able to help but be excited for your workouts and about the ones you’ve completed. The feeling of accomplishment you gain from your workouts will be multiplied as you and your friends relive them after. That’s a special thing to have. Finally, if you’re truly taking your training seriously, you need a coach. Look at all the professional athletes out there. They all have coaches. In fact, most of them have numerous coaches. You had coaches in childhood, through high school, maybe even as a collegiate athlete. So why, when you’re older and your time is limited and more valuable, are you adamant about training on your own? Let a coach help you. They can write programming for you, which saves you time and gets to the point, keeping you training toward your goals. A coach will keep you accountable to put in the tough workouts. They can motivate you during your workout. A coach will make you do the little things you might not be able to push yourself to do on your own. And they want you to succeed as badly as you do. You may be able to do it on your own. To train and see results, to be motivated each day and to work hard. But if you can truly go all in without anybody’s help or push, you are a unique individual. For most, it’s impossible to give as much eﬀort when nobody else is watching to keep you on task. Find a coach, a training facility, or even just a group of friends who share similar goals to you. See how your entire perception of ﬁtness changes as you draw motivation from the people around you. And take your success to another level.
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HIV orgs must do more than testing in age of Trump This presidency is a public health crisis By DEVIN BARRINGTON-WARD Many of us had our suspicions that the election of Donald Trump could derail years of progress made in the ﬁght against HIV, but those suspicions were not conﬁrmed until recently. Several actions taken by this president have made one thing clear: Donald Trump’s presidency is a public health crisis. While many will point to his recent decision to dismiss the entire membership of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the advisory body that has guided the federal government’s response to HIV since 1995, Trump’s war on HIV goes far beyond disbanding this important and diverse body. In the face of disturbing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projections that 1 in 2 Black gay men are projected to become HIV positive in their lifetimes, this president submitted a budget to Congress that would eliminate, among several things, the Minority AIDS Initiative and cuts funding for housing programs for people living with HIV — a key need in the ﬁght to achieve increased viral suppression. His budget slashes $150 million from CDC’s HIV prevention programs and eliminates funding for training centers that educate healthcare professionals about the latest in HIV science and best practices for treatment, prevention, and care. Abroad, Trump’s budget proposals paint an even bleaker picture where $800 million in proposed cuts would mean the deaths of four million sub-Saharan Africans over 15 years according to CBS News. Locally, if adopted, this budget would exacerbate CDC projections of 1 in 13 D.C. residents becoming HIV positive in their lifetimes, harm homeless LGBTQ youth living with HIV, and could hamper our eﬀorts to achieve the goals of Mayor Bowser’s 9090-90-50 plan to end HIV in our city. Combine these potential cuts with his ﬁxation on destroying Obamacare, Trump’s desire for the CDC to lose words like “science based” and “transgender” from its vocabulary, his claim that all Haitians have AIDS, and the $1.6 billion cut he made to the 340b drug discount program, which allows HIV clinics like Whitman-Walker and AIDS Healthcare Foun-
Donald Trump last month ﬁred all members of his HIV/AIDS advisory council. PHOTO BY BIGSTOCK; COURTESY OF CHRISTOPHER HALLORAN
dation to buy drugs for their pharmacies at a discounted rate and reinvest the proﬁts into providing health care for lowincome people, we come to the sobering conclusion that this presidency could not only rob of us of our ability to end HIV in this generation, but could potentially rob us of more lives than the 1.2 million lives we have already lost to HIV since the ﬁrst case of the virus was reported. In the era of Trump, HIV organizations can no longer sit on the sidelines fearful of jeopardizing their 501(c)3 non-proﬁt status by becoming politically involved. The lives of our patients, clients, and friends rely on our ability to speak boldly about how this president does not serve our best interest. Testing, linkage to care, treatment as prevention, PrEP, and all of the other services these organizations offer to our communities won’t mean much if this president is successful in dismantling every program, agency, and pot of money we rely on to keep people healthy. While most organizations cannot endorse someone for president (personally, my money would be on Oprah), there is nothing stopping us from educating our clients about what this president means for their health. To that point, as we convey the importance of voting to our stakeholders, we
should impress upon them that just like PrEP isn’t a silver bullet, neither is voting. Both are forms of harm reduction and both will still require for us to use other tools in our prevention and care toolbox to achieve the most optimal personal and collective health outcomes. In the coming months, look for an increased focus by Impulse DC on educating people about Trump’s terrible HIV policies and registering our program and event participants to vote. Throughout the history of the movement to stop the spread of HIV and end the epidemic, our community has always been confronted with bad actors. From Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, our community of HIV advocates know very well that the stigma that many of us face in our personal lives can be ampliﬁed by those given a platform through elected oﬃce. But just as the activists with ACT UP took to the streets to ﬁght Reagan and his war against them, we too will take to the streets and ﬁght Trump and his war against us. We will ﬁght and we will win! DEVIN BARRINGTON-WARD is a social justice advocate and political strategist. He serves as president of Impulse Group DC, an entertainment and social based HIV awareness group.
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Resist Trump’s attacks on the media New book highlights president’s disdain for First Amendment
KATHI WOLFE, a writer and poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.
Forget Star Wars. “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolﬀ is the new stand-in-line-at-midnight sensation. It’s full of gossip about President Donald J. Trump – from how Trump’s hair is coiﬀed to the First Couple’s sleeping arrangements (separate rooms, Wolﬀ says) to his scarﬁng down cheeseburgers in bed. Not to mention more serious reporting on Trump’s apparent inability to focus on policy or the warring, chaotic factions in his administration. If only Trump were
in a “galaxy far, far away.” His reporting for “Fire and Fury” was based, Wolﬀ writes in an author’s note, on conversations over 18 months that he had “with the president, with most members of his senior staﬀ – some of whom talked to me dozens of times–and with many people who they in turn spoke to.” “I have conducted more than two hundred interviews,” Wolﬀ adds. Yet, his reporting methods have been questioned. “Wolﬀ has been accused of not just re-creating scenes in his books and columns, but of creating them wholesale,” Paul Farhi wrote in the Washington Post. Still, Wolﬀ’s reporting on Trump and his administration doesn’t seem out of line with that of news outlets from the New York Times to NPR to NBC to the Blade. “Fire and Fury” oﬀers no reassurance to those of us (the majority of Americans – as Trump’s approval ratings hover in the 30-some percentage range) who fear that Trump is spectacularly unqualiﬁed to be president. Given the reporting that’s already been done on the Trump administration from its anti-gay agenda to its eﬀorts to reduce healthcare for poor and vulnerable people,
why should we care about “Fire and Fury?” Because Wolﬀ gives us a “ﬂy on the wall” picture of the dysfunction of the Trump presidency. He writes of “having accepted no rules nor having made any promises about what I might or might not write.” From the start of his presidency, Trump has lied to the press and the public beginning with his exaggeration of his inauguration crowds. “Fire and Fury,” though somewhat ﬂawed, illuminates an administration that frequently misrepresents reality. The most disturbing thing though about “Fire and Fury” has been Trump’s reaction to it. It’s not surprising that Trump doesn’t like the book. Presidents generally don’t like books that are critical of them, and Trump is notoriously thin skinned. But the president went well beyond this. Trump tried to stop Henry Holt and Company, the publisher of “Fire and Fury” from releasing the book. Fortunately, Trump’s “cease and desist” letter not only didn’t stop the book’s publication, it sent the book to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Yet, all of us from journalists to news consumers should be alarmed about Trump’s eﬀort to thwart the First Amend-
ment. The president’s attacks on the press as “fake news” and his distortions of reality to the media should frighten everyone. On Jan. 17, Trump says he’ll bestow “Fake News” awards to news outlets he doesn’t like. Earlier this month, in response to Trump’s announcement, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced its awards to world leaders who’ve done the most to undermine press freedom. Trump won the award for Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom. It’s easy to be complacent. To think that freedom of expression is well protected and not likely to be endangered in the United States. Yet, historically, LGBTQ publications have been suppressed. Queer poet Allen Ginsberg was arrested when he read his groundbreaking poem “Howl.” Today, Trump tries to stop “Fire and Fury.” What’s to prevent Trump or a future president from trying to stop the next “Howl,” new politico tell-all book or the Blade if he or she doesn’t like its content? The First Amendment. Thankfully, we have the First Amendment. Let’s do all we can to protect it.
O U R B USI NES S MATTERS
Why ‘Oprah 2020’ is a worry for both political parties Democrats and Republicans fear a Winfrey candidacy for different reasons
MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.
Odds are long that Oprah Winfrey will run for president. If she decides to do so, the wealthy business icon might ﬁnd success by rejecting the nation’s political duopoly. Gallup released annual survey results this month indicating 42 percent now identify as independents not aligned with either major political party. Up three points since the 2016 campaign, it’s the biggest jump in the year following a national election and mirrors the record 43 percent in 2014. Only 29 percent identify as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans. Factoring in those independents “leaning” toward a party, the split is identical to political af-
ﬁnity at the 2016 election: 47 percent align with Democrats and 42 percent align with Republicans. Winfrey’s Golden Globes lifetime achievement award acceptance speech two Sundays ago sparked widespread swooning and fueled broad encouragement for a presidential run. Winfrey didn’t declare an intention, intimate an interest or otherwise hint at a campaign. Her remarks focused on the ﬁlm industry event’s elephant in the room – sexual discrimination, harassment and assault within the entertainment hierarchy. A country increasingly accustomed to politicians incapable of either inspirational or even aspirational narratives sucked up Winfrey’s characteristically uplifting and rousing presentation as if to quench a desert-induced thirst. Public reaction to Winfrey’s speech should worry both political parties. For Democrats, the sudden internal outpouring of support for a Winfrey candidacy reveals a concern common among party loyalists. Anticipating that two-dozen-plus candidates may compete for the party’s nomination, there is a growing fear that none are capable of winning. Still stinging from choosing a candidate they should have known could and would fail, Democrats don’t want to again make
that mistake. Facing a roster of standardissue politicians, Winfrey potentially offers a personality and path for victory. Coalescing around Winfrey comes with downsides for Democrats. The notion rankles establishment types who believe the necessary antidote to President Trump is an oﬀ-the-rack Washington-wonk the total opposite of a wildly unpredictable and completely undisciplined incumbent. A non-traditional nominee would also legitimize the idea that what the country needs, and continues to want, is an outside-the-box chief executive not found among blur-inducing talking heads without a salable message. Going that route, some quiver, would only credit a Disruptor-in-Chief for understanding that and beneﬁting from it. With Democrats ﬁghting internecine battles over placating the party’s far-left base, Winfrey could come up short. Democratic side-eye will be harsh and liberal grumbling loud, for example, when the party’s tax-and-spend proclivities confront Winfrey’s anti-tax comments prior to the recent GOP tax reforms: “The most pain I feel – my accountants will tell you this – every time I write a check to the IRS. It’s a ceremony. They come in – for years they came in with wine – now they come in with tequila.”
For Republicans, Winfrey is a huge threat. She is much more liked by many more people than Trump. Winfrey would almost assuredly defeat him, something no other candidate can conﬁdently claim. Notably, she would entice blue-collar, rural and suburban voters away from Trump. Presidential candidates have long been subtly judged by how much and for how long voters would suﬀer the sound of their voice. While Winfrey might cloy at times or after a while, she’s much more likely to wear better and longer than Trump, having already spent a lot of time in our homes. Although Winfrey would likely adopt relatively conventional modes of operation and communication not of Trump’s style or habit, there is no better messenger able to compete with him on both reaching and persuading the public. She wins hands-down on that. We like our presidents to be likable, and empathetic, and, perhaps most of all, not make us cringe too often. Winfrey might be elected merely to restore national civility and collective optimism. Oprah Winfrey is a reminder that a near-majority are now alienated from both parties. That’s what should worry the political establishment, whether Winfrey runs or not.
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I N SI D E LG BT W A SH I N G T O N
Madaleno for governor of Maryland No other candidate has such a strong record of leadership and achievement
PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
According to Wikipedia Richard S. Madaleno Jr. is an “American politician from Maryland. A Democrat, he is a member of the Maryland State Senate, representing the state’s 18th district in Montgomery County, which includes Wheaton and Kensington, as well as parts of Silver Spring, Bethesda and Chevy Chase. Madaleno served as chair of the Montgomery County Senate Delegation from 20082011. He previously served four years in the House of Delegates. Growing up in Silver Spring, Madaleno was educated in Montgomery County public schools and Georgetown Preparatory School. He then went to Syracuse University where he earned a BA in 1987 and an MPA in 1989. He and his husband Mark and their two children live in Kensington.” So now you know the basics. Impressive but maybe not enough to get your vote. But this only scratches the surface of Madaleno’s achievements. He is much more than a local boy who made good. He is one of the hardest working legislators, a decent and honest man, who has made a career of ﬁghting for all Marylanders. Rich worked hard to become one of the most knowledgeable people on how Maryland government works. He began working for the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Fiscal Services as a Senior Analyst for the House Appropriations Committee. There is no better way to learn about government than understanding the budget. The Washington Post said about Rich, “He is an expert in tax and budget matters.” Before running for the legislature he worked in Montgomery County’s Oﬃce of Intergovernmental Relations. So in addition to his budget expertise, Rich learned early how what happens in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. impacts every county and every individual in Maryland. Rich’s record of success makes all Marylanders proud. He led in the ﬁght for freedom to marry and to combat discrimination in housing and employment. He has a progressive record of achievement in human rights, voting rights and social justice. Rich is proud of having sponsored the
law prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations, housing and employment based on gender identity, and co-sponsoring the law requiring equal pay for equal work. When Republicans in Congress threatened to terminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2017, Rich led the ﬁght and sponsored the law ensuring that the broad range of health care services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics to women in communities across Maryland would continue to be funded. He co-sponsored the bill allowing counties to enact public ﬁnancing for county elections and co-sponsored the law to increase the number of early voting centers. He fought back against Hogan appointees to ensure those centers were not eliminated by the Hogan administration in populous parts of Montgomery County. On education, Rich has taken critical action to build high-quality, aﬀordable public education. He spearheaded initiatives that improved education in Maryland at every level, from Pre-K through 12 and beyond to college, graduate studies, and career and technical education. Rich was a leader in crafting Maryland’s current landmark school funding plan that equitably delivers essential funding to elementary and secondary schools throughout the state. He successfully fought to keep that funding in place when Gov. Larry Hogan attempted to drastically cut it. He fought to keep state funding for the new Biomedical Building at the University of Shady Grove. Rich co-sponsored laws that expand eligibility for tax credits for college savings plans, provide a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for those who have undergraduate student loans of at least $20,000, and require that Maryland contribute to eligible Maryland College Investment Plan accounts. As chair of the Senate Education and Business Subcommittee, Rich sponsored laws that resulted in a tuition freeze for Maryland college students from 2007-2010. He created and championed the Hunger Free Schools Act, which resulted in free breakfast and lunch for qualiﬁed students across Maryland. He co-sponsored the 2014 law that expands pre-Kindergarten programs to serve more of the students who need them most. When it comes to Marylanders’ health care, Rich successfully championed initiatives to promote better public health for all Maryland residents. He co-sponsored the law implementing the Aﬀordable Care Act in Maryland to ensure the broadest possible coverage and the best possible care for Maryland patients. Rich co-sponsored the 2017 law that prevents price gouging by generic drug manufacturers in Maryland. On preventing gun violence, he cosponsored Maryland’s Firearms Safety
State Sen. RICH MADALENO is running to unseat Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEK KEY
Act of 2013, which banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for ﬁrearms. On the environment, Rich has taken stands to protect Marylanders and make Maryland a leader in environmental progress. When the Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for programs to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay, Rich worked with the state’s congressional delegation to lead eﬀorts to restore federal funding for these programs. To combat the increasing health, environmental and economic repercussions of climate change, he co-sponsored the new state law which requires a 40% reduction by 2030 in greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland from 2006 levels, building on his previous co-sponsorship of the 2009 law requiring the 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2020. Rich co-sponsored the law establishing the Commission on Climate Change. Rich co-sponsored the law, approved over Hogan’s veto, which increases the renewable energy portfolio standard to 25% by 2020, increases solar sources in that portfolio and requires that the Maryland Department of Labor study workforce training needed to support jobs in the clean energy industry. He also co-sponsored the law requiring oﬀshore wind be included in the renewable energy portfolio. Rich sponsored and successfully advocated for the law that prohibits hydraulic fracturing exploration and production, including fracking, in Maryland. He co-sponsored the law requiring the establishment of a Community Solar Energy Generating System program. He cosponsored laws enacted to increase tax credits for electric vehicles and to provide for tax credits for electric vehicle charging equipment. He co-sponsored the law creating a tax credit for the donation of fresh farm food, especially organic food, by farms to eligible local organizations for low-income Maryland residents.
An on an issue crucial to all Marylanders, transportation, Rich has been an aggressive supporter of aﬀordable public transit in Maryland. He introduced and passed the law eliminating the antiquated “farebox recovery rule,” replacing it with real performance metrics so that the Maryland Transit Administration will fund additional transit projects that should result in transit improvements. He cosponsored the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act that now requires transparent decision-making, including project-based scoring, for major transportation projects. He co-sponsored the law that makes sure at least one member of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission appointed by the governor resides in Prince George’s or Montgomery County, the Maryland counties where Metro stations are located. He co-sponsored the law that established the lockbox for the Transportation Trust Fund, which requires use of its revenues solely for transportation projects. So now you know the rest of Rich’s story. It is why Marylanders who know him are already lining up to support Rich Madaleno for governor. There is no other candidate in the race — including the incumbent — who has such a strong track record of leadership and of producing real results for the people of Maryland. Madaleno has served as an eﬀective and unrelenting champion for the entire state. From education to transportation, from economic development to economic justice, from sustainable health care to environmental sustainability no other candidate has taken on so many of the toughest ﬁghts from the inside – and won them. On the critical issues facing the state, the people of Maryland need a proven strong and tireless leader as their governor who will set an agenda of progress for all Marylanders. Larry Hogan has proven he is not that governor – Rich Madaleno will be that governor.
WA SH I N GTO NB LADE.C OM
J A N U A RY 1 9 , 2 0 1 8 â&#x20AC;¢ 2 1
2 2 • J A NUA RY 1 9 , 2018
W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M
GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON CFA.GMU.EDU
Jazz straight from NYC
Spirited evening of music and dance!
THE BIRDLAND ALL-STARS
DUBLIN IRISH DANCE Stepping Out SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 AT 8 P.M.
Featuring Tommy Igoe
This performance is also at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Sun., Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. Information at HyltonCenter.org ff
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28 AT 7 P.M.
All-male comic dance phenomenon
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2 AT 8 P.M.
NE VIS W IT W OU EB R SI TE !
Cherished orchestral works
HELSINGBORG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Stefan Solyom, conductor Nareh Arghamanyan, piano FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT 8 P.M.
Family Friendly performances that are most suitable for families with younger children
TICKETS 888-945-2468 OR CFA.GMU.EDU
Located on the Fairfax campus, six miles west of Beltway exit 54 at the intersection of Braddock Road and Rt. 123.
EX FI TE NA NS L IO N
NS GI 17 BE AN J
E BY U D AH
OF PE TH — R TH FO E EW R YE M AS AR HI AN NG ’S TO CE N S PO ” L S
DE A RA NE PA CH W P MO EL LA R ST BO Y B TU BE ND Y R AU S E TI FU
E RV F CU O E CT ON SE RE D CLO 0 DI KE MI ST N 2 MU JA
Family, a funeral, and an uncertain future—a gently comic play about the ties we use to bind ourselves to others.
A group of 16-year-old girls turn into warriors on the field in this Pulitzer finalist play. JOIN THE PACK.
202.332.3300 | STUDIOTHEATRE.ORG
SUE HYDE speaks at the Creating Change Conference. The long-time Boston resident is stepping down after decades overseeing the annual event. PHOTO COURTESY THE TASK FORCE
30 years of ‘Change’ Longtime conference planner moving on after decades with the Task Force By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO firstname.lastname@example.org Even in big U.S. cities with diverse residents, activist groups sometimes default into overabundances of white, gay, cis men. Organizers of Creating Change, the annual conference of the National LGBTQ Task Force, knew from the start they wanted diversity, but it didn’t just happen. Not by a long shot. One of the founding principles behind the conference was to “build a stronger, more conﬁdent, more skilled, more connected and more representative LGBTQ political movement,” says longtime organizer Sue Hyde. “People say Creating Change is one of the most diverse LGBTQ political events they attend and we worked hard to make
that happen,” Hyde says. “We wanted a conference that would bring people together across age, across race, across income and across geography in the sense that we were very interested in attracting people from not just urban or suburban but also small towns and rural areas.” She doesn’t know the median age of attendees but at the 2017 conference in Philadelphia, 47 percent of attendees were 30 or younger. About 49 percent identiﬁed as something other than European/Caucasian and 30 percent reported incomes of $35,000 or less. Another 22 percent identiﬁed as either gender non-conforming or transgender. Seventeen percent were from small
towns and rural areas. “From the get go, we were very conscious of wanting the attendee base of Creating Change to be reﬂective of who we believed the LGBT communities were comprised,” Hyde says. The 30th annual Creating Change Conference is Jan. 24-28 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington. About 3,500 are expected; 1,500 have signed up for a Capitol Hill lobby day that’s part of the event. The theme is “Learn. Connect. Resist.” The Task Force bills its event as the “foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement.” The primary goal each year is for the conference to
“build the LGBTQ movement’s political power from the ground up to secure our overarching goal of full freedom, justice and equality for (LGBTQ) people in the United States.” Registration is still open and several tiers are available including daily rates ($180), conference passes for students/limited income ($210), regular ($475), senior and youth rates, sponsoring rates and more. Full details at creatingchange.org. MOVING ON It will also be Hyde’s last. One of the CONTINUES ON PAGE 33
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Q U E E RY : 2 0 Q U E ST I O N S F O R CA SE Y RA T H
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO email@example.com When she found out both Town and Secrets would be closing, it hit Casey Rath hard. “I was newly out, struggling to ﬁnd and meet queer friends and dismayed at the lack of space available to queer womxn (Rath’s preferred spelling) and genderqueer people,” Rath says. “The idea of losing two additional spaces to gentriﬁcation was profoundly upsetting. I wanted to do something.” So she did. Rath founded a D.C. version of Dyke Bar Takeover, an event started by a group of artists and activists in New York City in 2015 as a way to “preserve and support spaces for queer womxn and non-binary people as a way of combating the death of queer space.” Each Dyke Night event is basically a happy hour that hires and supports queer artists and entertainers while raising money for LGBT causes. The D.C. chapter had a soft launch with a queer girl movie night in late October at Comet Ping Pong and its ﬁrst takeover event on Nov. 18 at the Dirty Goose. About 165 attended and $900 was raised for the Queer Visibility Collective. This weekend, the group will meet for Dyke March Takeover at 10 a.m. at the Starbucks by the Lincoln Memorial Reﬂective Pool, then participate in the Women’s March on Washington. Several more events are planned throughout spring. Search Dyke Bar Takeover D.C. on Facebook or Instagram for details. Rath, a 25-year-old Reno, Nev., native, came to Washington three years ago for work. She’s single and lives in Logan Circle. She enjoys stand-up shows, movie nights with friends and supporting queer events in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I think it will be a year in March. I’m still so new! Looking back in time it seems so obvious, but I wasn’t consciously aware of it until recently. I think learning to trust and recognize your own truth in the face of so many social pressures can be diﬃcult and it never really ends. I’ve been very fortunate, however, that the friends and family in my life have been so accepting. Who’s your LGBT hero? Cameron Esposito. She’s hilarious. Along with her wife, she’s deliberately used her platform as a comic to bring discussions about queerness into the public sphere. BIG fan. What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? Depends on what you’re looking for! I love playing tour guide, so I’m always looking for new, niche spots. I would have loved to have seen Phase 1 in its prime. Describe your dream wedding. Small, intimate — deﬁnitely with an open bar. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Womxn’s rights and gender equality. What historical outcome would you change? Is it fair to say the election? What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Beyonce performing “Formation” in New Orleans, La., at the 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show. On what do you insist? Inclusivity and integrity. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? I shared an article on femme invisibility in the queer community. If your life were a book, what would the title be? “Am I Doing This Right?” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Congratulate all my straight friends on their ability to convert.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I’m not particularly religious. I think what matters is how we impact the people around us in this life. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? No one person can carry a movement on their own. Collaborate and support other leaders around you. Stay open. What would you walk across hot coals for? Four more years of Obama. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? I think there’s an assumption that lesbian bars have disappeared because queer womxn don’t go out or participate in space the way other members of the LGBTQ-plus community do, but that’s really not the case. People come out in droves to attend queer events. The demand is deﬁnitely there. Across the country, gentriﬁcation has claimed queer venues on both sides of the aisle. It’s an epidemic that goes deeper than consumer behavior. The stereotype that womxn don’t support or utilize their own physical spaces just minimizes the importance these establishments have played in our culture and our history. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? My go-to has always been “Freeheld,” but I just saw “Call Me By Your Name” and it’s basically the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Tie? What’s the most overrated social custom? Leaving one space between you and the next person at a bar or coﬀee shop. Just say hi! What trophy or prize do you most covet? I’ve wracked my brain over this, but I don’t think there is one. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That I was gay. Would’ve saved me a lot of time. Why Washington? D.C. is a great city ﬁlled with passionate, motivated people. Having so many driven, caring people in one place — that’s a rare thing.
T H E A TER
J A N U A R Y 19, 2018 • 25
Turkey day trauma American Ballet Theatre Tony winner treats its gay characters matter of factly By PATRICK FOLLIARD
Ratmansky, Millepied & Wheeldon (Jan. 30 & 31)
Serenade after Plato’s Symposium (Bernstein/Ratmansky) D.C. premiere, part of Leonard Bernstein at 100
PHOTO BY JULIETA CERVANTES; COURTESY KENNEDY CENTER
From left are RICHARD THOMAS, THERESE PLAEHN, PAMELA REED, LAUREN KLEIN, and DAISY EAGEN.
are curious when their parents will break ground on a long-planned lake house, and concerned just how long their mother can take care of Momo at home. Erik and Deirdre evade speciﬁcs but insist all is well. Soon it comes out (for reasons I won’t reveal) that Erik, who’s worked for nearly 30 years at a Catholic high school, mostly in maintenance, and Deirdre who’s been an oﬃce manager at the same ﬁrm for decades, are facing terrifyingly imminent ﬁnancial insecurity. It’s also revealed that both Erik and Richard are having unsettling dreams. The father’s dream features a woman whose eyes, mouth and ears are covered with skin. What’s equally creepy are the disruptive bumps from the upstairs neighbor, and how as afternoon moves into evening, the already dark apartment loses even more light as bulbs burn out. The tour features a uniformly top-notch cast. Thomas’ Erik is ostensibly strong yet riddled with vulnerability and Reed’s Deirdre is seemingly unsophisticated yet full of wit and candor. Eagan and Plaehn share sisterly chemistry as they mock their mothers’ incessant texts and emails with links to wide-ranging, sometimes kooky articles. Brigid says to her mother: “You don’t have to text her every time a lesbian kills herself.” Vegas ably assays conciliatory Richard. His character inadvertently introduces topics of mental health and class (he’s the son of professionals and will come into a trust fund when he soon hits 40). Klein (who played Momo on Broadway) is remarkable. Her long periods of sleep are interrupted by the repeating of senseless phrases and moments of delightful lucidity and a harrowing, violent outburst. “The Humans” deftly exposes the anxiety that an enormous swathe of the non-rich in America currently feel. But not without hilarity and hope. ‘THE HUMANS’ Through Jan. 28 The Kennedy Center $49-139 202-467-4600 Kennedy-center.org
Other Dances (Chopin/Robbins), part of ABT’s Robbins Centennial celebration I Feel the Earth Move (Glass/Millepied) D.C. premiere Thirteen Diversions (Britten/Wheeldon)
Whipped Cream (Feb. 1–4) D.C. premiere of Ratmansky’s delightful full-length story ballet with a score by Richard Strauss and sets and costumes by pop surrealist Mark Ryden
Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside in Whipped Cream, photo by Rosalie O’Connor
All of Stephen Karam’s plays to date feature gay characters. The 30-something out playwright has explained more than once that his characters can exist onstage without the formerly requisite coming-out scenes because of the work of gay playwrights like Larry Kramer and Tony Kushner who came before him. In Karam’s “The Humans,” (winner of the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play), an American family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner at its younger daughter’s home in New York City. Currently at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre, the beautifully rendered Broadway production helmed by director Joe Mantello is on the second stop of its ﬁrst national tour. Prominently featured is scenic designer David Zinn’s Tony Award-winning set, a rundown duplex apartment consisting of ground ﬂoor rooms and a spiral staircase leading to a basement ﬂoor where there’s a kitchen and eating space. There’s action taking place on both levels most of the time. Karam weds absolute realism with theatrical wiles in this wonderful 90-minute play that unfolds in real time. Long-married Irish Catholic couple Erik and Dierdre Blake (played by Richard Thomas and Pamela Reed) have travelled from their home in Scranton, Pa., with Erik’s aged mother Momo (Lauren Klein), who uses a wheelchair and has dementia, to spend the holiday with Brigid (Daisy Eagan), an aspiring composer who works as a bartender, and her older boyfriend Richard (Luis Vega) at their new, yetto-be-furnished place in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Older daughter Aimee (Therese Plaehn), who works as a lawyer in Philadelphia, is there too. Aimee is not in a great place personally or professionally but her problems aren’t exclusively those of a lesbian character. In addition to recently having been informed that she’s no longer on track to make partner, she’s heartbroken after having been dumped by her girlfriend and suﬀers from ulcerative colitis that may result in a colonoscopy. Yet between bouts of tears and trips to the toilet, Aimee shows good humor and good sense. It’s a character that certainly isn’t idealized and Karam introduces her sexuality very naturally without fanfare. During the visit, opinions are freely expressed. Deirdre is concerned with the apartment’s lack of light and Brigid’s marital status. Erik is concerned with ﬂooding and not surprisingly security. After all it’s the big city, but more importantly, he experienced a near miss with death while spending the day in New York on 9-11. The sisters
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
January 30–February 4 | Opera House with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra Program subject to change. Casting available at kennedy-center.org.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW! KENNEDY-CENTER.ORG | (202) 467-4600 Tickets also available at the Box Office. Groups call (202) 416-8400. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.
American Ballet Theatre’s engagement is made possible through generous endowment support of The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.
Support for Ballet at the Kennedy Center is generously provided by Elizabeth and C. Michael Kojaian.
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PHOTO COURTESY MAGNOLIA PICTURES
President BARACK OBAMA greeting members of the International Security Assistance Force in ‘The Final Year.’
Muddled doc Fly-on-the-wall ﬁlm fascinating but lacks context By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Robert Battle, Artistic Director
PROGRAM A Tue., Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. Fri., Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Section (Twyla Tharp) Members Don’t Get Weary (Jamar Roberts)* In/Side (Robert Battle; Feb. 9 & 10 only) Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
Masazumi Chaya, Associate Artistic Director
PROGRAM C Thu., Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m. Mass (Robert Battle) Ella Shelter (Jawole Willa Jo Zollar) The Hunt (Robert Battle) Revelations
PROGRAM B Wed., Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Sun., Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
*D.C. premiere Programming subject to change.
Stack-Up (Talley Beatty) Victoria (Gustavo Ramírez Sansano)* Ella (Robert Battle) Revelations
EXPLORE THE ARTS Feb. 10 matinee Free post-performance discussion Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. Free Revelations workshop on the Millennium Stage
FEBRUARY 6–11, 2018 OPERA HOUSE TICKETS ON SALE NOW! KENNEDY-CENTER.ORG | (202) 467-4600 Tickets also available at the Box Office. Groups call (202) 416-8400. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.
The Millennium Stage is brought to you by
Michael Jackson Jr., photo by Andrew Eccles
In late 2015, documentary ﬁlmmaker Greg Barker started an ambitious project. During President Obama’s ﬁnal year in oﬃce, he and a small crew followed the President and his diplomatic team around the world as they attempted to “lock down” the policies and relationships that would secure Obama’s foreign policy legacy, speciﬁcally his belief in pursuing diplomatic solutions over large-scale military actions. Barker and his team stopped shooting on Jan. 20, 2017, hours before President Trump’s inauguration. A year later, Barker’s ﬁlm “The Final Year” will open in Washington today at Landmark E Street Cinema. During this period, Barker and his team shot more than 1,000 hours of intimate footage in the U.S. and 21 foreign countries. They had amazing access to President Obama and the leaders of his diplomatic team, including Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy National Security Advisor and presidential conﬁdant Ben Rhodes. This intimate behind-the-scenes access gives the movie its most powerful moments, capturing the human side of people who are usually experienced only in sound bites. It’s great fun to see John Kerry hold up an already frustrated security team when he runs back into the house to retrieve his forgotten cell phone. It’s delightful to see the playful side of the brash Ben Rhodes as he carries his daughter on his shoulders and teaches her to count (she has some trouble getting beyond 10). It’s heart-warming and a little heart-rending to watch President Obama warmly engage with leaders and ordinary people as he travels across the country and around the world. Perhaps most enjoyably, it’s fascinating to see the dazzling Samantha Powers in action, wielding both her amazing intellect and deep compassion. It’s charming to watch her don virtual reality goggles to experience life in a refugee camp and then encourage
fellow U.N. diplomats to do the same, heartrending to watch her meet with women whose daughters have been kidnapped by Boko Haram and delightful to watch her negotiate with her son over a donut and a half-ﬁnished homework assignment. While these vignettes are fascinating, “The Final Year” lacks framework and context. The ﬂy-on-the-wall perspective oﬀers incredible details, but not the big picture. For example, everyone brags about Obama’s considerable foreign policy accomplishments (Cuba, the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran nuclear agreement), but Barker never explains what they were and they get no screen time. Instead, there’s lot of footage about the frustrating lack of success in Syria, but it’s also hard to follow that thread without some explanation. It also doesn’t examine Obama’s second-term foreign policy in the light of international strategies pursued by previous administrations or even in the light of Hilary Clinton’s work as Secretary of State during his ﬁrst term. The ﬁlm’s focus on the Obama team’s attempt to “lock down” his diplomatic strategy is also somewhat unclear. What is the Obama Doctrine they are trying to lock down? Were Obama (and Barker) expecting Hilary Clinton to change Obama’s policies if she were elected? And how did things change in the wake of Trump’s electoral victory? Finally, the dizzying travel schedules gets confusing. It is sometimes hard to keep track of where everyone is and there’s no sense of how these globetrotters coordinate their philosophies and activities. For example, Rhodes and Power have very diﬀerent approaches to diplomacy (and life in general), but we never see them discuss these directly and we never see how Kerry and Obama meditate their approaches, Despite these signiﬁcant weaknesses and lost opportunities, “The Final Year” does oﬀer supporters of the former President the opportunity to see excerpts from some of his ﬁnest orations including his magniﬁcent speech at Hiroshima, his farewell address to the U.N. and his stirring speech in Greece during his ﬁnal state visit. Without directly addressing the topic, the movie also conﬁrms the diﬃculty in “locking down” President Obama’s foreign policy legacy.
W A SH I N GTO NB LAD E.C OM
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28 • JANU A R Y 19, 2018
O U T & A BO U T
By MARIAH COOPER
CALL FOR RESERVATIONS
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY DAMIEN SALAS
Wig Night Out is Jan. 27 M-TH 11:30AM-10PM • F-SAT 11:30AM-11PM SUN. BRUNCH 11AM-3PM / DINNER 3-10PM
322 MASS. AVE. NE • 202.543.7656
JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W.) hosts its eighth annual Wig Night Out on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 9-11 p.m. Attendees are invited to don their best wigs for charity. There will be a raﬄe with winners announced throughout the evening. A suggested $10 donation will be accepted at the door to beneﬁt Whitman-Walker Health and the Point Foundation. For more details, visit facebook.com/wignightout.
PHOTO COURTESY WOLF TRAP
Singer Tveit plays Wolf Trap next weekend
Actor/singer Aaron Tveit performs a two-night engagement at the Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) Jan. 26-27 at 8 p.m. Tveit, who’s straight, is best known for his roles on “Grease Live,” “Les Miserables,” “Gossip Girl” and “Graceland.” He will perform a mix of Broadway classics and pop songs. Tickets range from $40-55. For more information, visit wolftrap.org.
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Trade hosts ‘Drag Race’ watch party Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts a “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3” premiere party on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Donna Slash will host the premiere event. Trade will have viewing parties every Thursday for the season. Jane Saw, Jaxknife Complex and Salvadora Dali will host future viewing parties. For more information, visit facebook.com/tradebardc.
Scandals party on Jan. 27 Washington Scandals Rugby takes over the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be beer specials, Jell-O shots and raﬄe prizes. All proceeds will beneﬁt the Washington Scandals Rugby team to compete in the Bingham Cup. The biyearly rugby tournament brings teams from all over the world to compete. For more details, visit facebook.com/ washingtonscandals.
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Auto highlights of 2018 New models by Toyota, Kia impressive, trendy By JOE PHILLIPS Be more active. Meet new people. Watch less TV. How to fulﬁll such New Year’s resolutions but skip all those crowds at the gym? Take a ride on the wild side in one of our top picks for 2018. TOYOTA C-HR $23,000 Mpg: 27 city/31 highway 0-to-60 mph: 11 seconds Fun rides lure you behind the wheel. That’s true with Toyota’s all-new C-HR, which was developed on the Nurburgring, the renowned motorsports complex in Germany. Handling and braking are sportier and more responsive than expected. There is a manumatic shifter, which helps bolster the languid acceleration in lower gears. And the Transformer-like styling
is eye-catching, with jutting angles and rear-door handles hidden at the rooﬂine. The slew of standard safety gear includes automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, backup camera and emergency braking that can detect cars and pedestrians. For just $2,000 more, the Premium model adds keyless entry and ignition, power-folding mirrors, heated seats and blind-spot monitoring. Sure, the cabin can be a tad noisy, and (gasp!) there’s no smartphone integration. But the seats are snug, the space-age dash looks smart and those audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel are a nice touch. KIA STINGER $33,000 Mpg: 22 city/29 highway 0-to-60 mph: 5.9 seconds For autobahn purists, it doesn’t get much better than an Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 330i Gran Turismo. But those hot hatchbacks begin at $45,000 and skyrocket from there. Now Kia, a newbie
in the high-performance game, is nipping at their heels. The all-new Stinger is $10,000-15,000 less than those Teutonic titans yet boasts more horsepower. And the premium model, the Stinger GT, rockets from 60 mph in a blistering 4.6 seconds. But pricing and power aren’t the only reasons to take a chance here. The elegant interior is one of Kia’s best, with low-slung seats, spoked air vents and plenty of room for passengers and cargo. There’s also a head-up display on the windshield, a ﬂoating touchscreen and a wireless phone-charging pad in the center console. Options include 15-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo with subwoofers under the front seats. But it’s the sound of the Stinger’s fast and furious engine that really brings music to your ears. RANGE ROVER VELAR $50,000 Mpg: 26 city/30 highway 0-to-60 mph: 6.4 seconds With crossovers and SUVs multiplying
like rabbits, Range Rover found a way to cut through the clutter: build the Velar, the automaker’s best vehicle ever. Less severe than the Evoque and not as hulking as the Range Rover Sport or HSE, the Velar’s design is just right. Ditto the $50,000 base price, which, for a Range Rover, is aﬀordable, considering the high level of luxury, engineering and tech features. You know you’re in for a treat when the electronic door handles (which are ﬂush against the exterior) magically emerge when pressing the key fob. Slip into the 20-way driver’s seat — outﬁtted with heating, cooling and massage functions — and savor the dash, a lesson in minimalist chic. The trim and materials are ﬁrst-rate, of course, and most controls are on two large, futuristic-looking touchscreens. But press the ignition button to really get the party started. The Velar roars to life, and scoots around corners like a two-door sportster. That’s because this crossover is much lighter than expected, a nod to the new, highstrength aluminum chassis. Range Rover really did its homework here and it shows.
3 0 • J A NUA RY 1 9 , 2018
CA LE N D A R
E-mail calendar items to calendars@washblade. com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-speciﬁc events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.
TODAY The Imperial Court of Washington hosts Beer Bash/Pup Appreciation Night at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be beer, Jell-O shots and raﬄe prizes. For more details, visit facebook.com/ imperialcourtdc. Reel Aﬃrmations presents a screening of “Catskin,” a coming-ofage drama about a young lesbian photography student, at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Rayceen Pendarvis hosts the screening. General admission tickets are $12. VIP tickets are $25 and include VIP seating, one complimentary cocktail, beer or wine and movie candy or popcorn. For more information, visit thedccenter.org/events/catskin. DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) hosts Wig and Disco tonight at 10:30 p.m. DJ Sean Morris and DJ Bill Spieler will play a blend of ‘70s music and today’s house beats. Attendees are encouraged to wear their most outrageous wigs. There will be $2 drink specials from 10:30-11:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more details, visit dcnine.com.
SATURDAY, JAN. 20 Whitman-Walker Health hosts its 40th anniversary kick-oﬀ dance party at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight from 8-11 p.m. DJ Paddy Boom, formerly of the Scissor Sisters, will play music for the night. There will be a cash bar. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. There is a suggested $10 entry but all are welcome regardless of ability to pay. For more details, visit facebook.com/ whitmanwalker. NO H8 Campaign holds an open photo shoot with photographer Adam Bousk at the W Hotel (515 15th St., N.W.) today from 2-4 p.m. Participants are asked to come wearing a white T-shirt. Photo shoots are ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-served. Solo photos are $40. Couple/group photos are $25 per person. For more information, visit facebook.com/noh8campaign. Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts Gay/ Bash: Gothnight tonight from 10 p.m.3 a.m. Salvadora Dali, Jaxknife Complex, Jane Saw, Donna Slash and Porcelain will perform. The Barber Streisand will spin tracks. There will be one show at 11:30 p.m. and another show at 1 a.m. No cover. Guests are asked to wear black. For more details, visit facebook.com/tradebardc. March Forward Virginia hosts March on the Polls, the anniversary to the 2017 Women’s March, at the Reﬂecting Pool (2 Lincoln Memorial Circle, N.W.) today
PHOTO COURTESY SLATE PR
LANA DEL REY brings her tour to D.C. on Thursday, Jan. 25.
from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The rally, featuring several speakers, begins at 11 a.m. on the steps leading up to the memorial. The march will follow around 1 p.m. For more information, visit marchdc.com. 18th & U Duplex Diner (2004 18th St., N.W.) hosts Haute Dish: Holiday Leftovers, a drag brunch fundraiser, today from 1-4 p.m. KC B. Yonce, Goldie Grigio, S’Vage Evergreen, Kiana, Anne G. O’Plasty, Judy from HR, Mindy Nao, Holly Cost, and Regyna will perform. DJ Wesley Della Volla will play music. Kate Symes will guest host. Tickets are $45 and includes one select brunch entrée, one champagne cocktail or glass of Pinot Grigio and a donation to Food and Friends. For more details, visit facebook.com/duplexdiner. Rufus Wainwright performs at the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. His sister Lucy Wainwright Roche will also perform. Tickets are $89.50. For more information, visit birchmere.com. Lure D.C. hosts the ninth anniversary of Bare, a ladies dance party, at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight. DJ X Names, DJ Eletr0x and DJ Citizen Jane will play music. The DystRucXion Dancers will also perform. There will be drink specials and raffles. General admission tickets are $20. VIP tickets are $75 and include a meet and greet with Kate Moennig and Camila Grey from X Names. For more information, visit facebook.com/lurewdc.
SUNDAY, JAN. 21 Pretty Boi Drag presents #PrettyBoiAnniversary at the Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St., N.W.) today from 2-5 p.m. The drag king troupe will be
celebrating its two-year anniversary. Guests who attend wearing Pretty Boi Drag swag can win tickets to upcoming shows and new swag including Pretty Boi Drag caps. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the party starts at 3 p.m. General admission online tickets are $20. Tickets at the door are $25. For more details, visit facebook. com/prettyboidrag. The D.C. Concert Orchestra presents a free concert at the Church of the Epiphany (1317 G St., N.W.) today at 3 p.m. The performance will include selections from Jean Sibelius, Carl Reinecke, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and Johannes Brahms. Donations for the D.C. Concert Orchestra will be accepted. For more information, visit dcconcertorchestra.com.
MONDAY, JAN. 22 TheatreWashington hosts its monthly Showtunes and Cocktails, a gathering of theater lovers and artists, at Beacon Bar & Grill (1615 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. Maestro Glenn Pearson and guest artist Awa Sal Secka will lead a sing-along performance of Broadway tunes. A happy hour menu will be available. There will also be theater ticket giveaways. Admission is pay-whatyou-can. For more information, visit theatrewashington.org.
TUESDAY, JAN. 23 Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion group at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for anyone who identiﬁes outside of the gender binary as bi-gender, a-gender, gender-ﬂuid or any label outside of cis-gender. For more information, visit
thedccenter.org. SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a rap group, a support group for LGBT youth, today from 5-6:30 p.m. For more information, visit smyal.org.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 24 The Lambda Bridge Club hosts duplicate bridge at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) at 7:30 p.m. tonight. No reservations needed and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703407-6540. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts HIV Working Group, a HIV/AIDS outreach, education and advocacy initiative, today from 6:30-8 p.m. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.
THURSDAY, JAN. 25 Lana Del Rey brings her “LA to the Moon” tour to Capital One Arena (601 F St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $39-125. For more details, visit ticketmaster.com. OutRight Action International hosts its LGBT Global Activism reception at 18th & U Duplex Diner (2004 18th St., N.W.) today from 6-8 p.m. Guests are invited to network and discuss actions for global equality. At 8 p.m., there will be a viewing party for “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3.” For more information, visit facebook. com/outrightintl. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts the D.C. Anti-Violence Project tonight from 7-9 p.m. This is an open meeting for anyone interested in decreasing violence both within and directed towards LGBT communities. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.
D I N I NG
J A N U A R Y 19, 2018 • 31
PHOTOS COURTESY OF AGORA
A dish from Agora, one of the participants in this year’s Restaurant Week.
Dining delicacies Planning ahead best way to enjoy annual restaurant week event By EVAN CAPLAN From humble beginnings, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s biannual Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week has mushroomed into a delish, Washington-area dining experience. And while this month is generally a calm time in the region’s dining scene, Restaurant Week, Jan. 2228, manages to heat it up. This year, diners have options at 250 participating restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Prix-ﬁxe prices keep the check-splitting stress to a minimum: threecourse lunches run $22 and three-course dinners are $35 (many places also oﬀer an additional wine pairing). Reservations at the hotter eateries go pretty quickly, so get those in now before you’re stuck with a 5:45 p.m. dinner. More than 25 restaurants are joining the festivities for the ﬁrst time this year. The include new hot spots like District Winery, Unconventional Diner and Fish by Jose Andres, as well as three Matchbox locations (14th Street, Capitol Hill and Chinatown). In a coup for the millennial set, many restaurants are oﬀering a brunch option (introduced last year) for $22. More than 80 spots will oﬀer these prix-ﬁxe menus on Jan. 27-28, allowing diners to make sure they still get their ﬁll of their favorite meal of the weekend or entire week. Favorites serving on Saturday and Sunday include Ankara, Commissary, Espita Mezcaleria and the Riggsby. The Association also has an awards program for eager diners, as long as you make reservations via the Restaurant Week website. Prizes include tickets to local food events, gift cards and cookbooks authored by local chefs and from local restaurants. Beyond thriving new neighborhoods like the Wharf and Ivy City, there are plenty of options around the entire region, from 14th Street and Adams Morgan to Shaw,
Navy Yard and even Tyson’s. Of course there’s no way to hit all 250, but try to mix up the neighborhood, cuisine and mealtime, and you’ll be set. Though diﬃcult decisions must be made, it’s important to make reservations early. We’ve culled through the list in our top areas and narrowed it down to help you in your search. In the heart of 17th Street, Agora (1527 17th St., N.W.) is famous for its shareable small plates based on the cuisines of Turkey, Lebanon and Greece. There’s an extensive international wine list, as well as the region’s famous liquor, raki. Right across the street, snug inside a classic D.C. rowhouse is Floriana (1602 17th St., N.W.) and its upscale, whitetablecloth Italian. Classy, cozy, romantic, it’s pretty much what a special Restaurant Week dining experience is all about. Rounding out our 17th Street recommendations is Sushi Taro (1503 17th St., N.W.), a Japanese treasure. Though somewhat incongruous located adjacent to the CVS, it’s entirely made up for on the strength of Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s dishes — certainly meriting a Restaurant Week reservation, especially since reservations are already hard to come by. The ﬁrst outﬁt to make its own wine in Washington, District Winery (385 Water St., S.E.) also has a seasonal American restaurant, Ana, named for the river that ﬂows just outside the establishment’s enormous, two-story windows. Dining here is like a two-for-one: get a tour of the massive winemaking operation along with a new dining experience. Open a mere month ago, Unconventional Diner (1207 9th St., N.W.), is a funky outpost located inside the Convention Center. With bespoke furnishings and a brightly lit space, it oﬀers a modern take on classic diner dishes like chicken noodle soup, meatloaf, and yes, kale lasagna. Go with a big group and snag one of the booths seemingly stolen right from an 1950s corner soda shop. � CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM
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32 • J A N U A R Y 19, 2018
BO O KS
Trans history 101 Revised book gives solid overview of movement’s path
Photos: Matthew Murphy
TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER has been reading since she was 3 years old. She lives in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Reach her at email@example.com.
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It had to start somewhere. Someone had to make the ﬁrst step, to pave the way, to stick a fork into the ground and say, “Here, now.” Someone had to be the ﬁrst so that others could follow, and in the newly updated book “Transgender History” by Susan Stryker, you’ll see where we go next. Opening a history book with a chapter on terms and words might seem odd but, says Susan Stryker, “remarkable changes” over the last decade demand it. Thus begins this book, with new language for what is an old issue. Indeed, America’s ﬁrst recorded “intersex” individual was Thomas(ine) Hall, who lived in the 1620s, “sometimes as a man and sometimes as a woman.” Seventy years later, however, the colony of Massachusetts made “cross dressing” illegal and it spread: by the 1850s, many U.S. cities had ordinances against dressing in clothing normally worn by the opposite sex. And yet, it was hard to stop people who wanted to dress as or fully transition to another gender. Throughout the 1800s, records show that women dressed as men for battle, cross dressers braved the frontier, men ran away from their families to be true to their feminine selves and Native American cultures embraced transgender people. Says Stryker, after anesthesia was invented and surgeries were safer, “individuals began approaching doctors to request surgical alteration of … parts of their bodies.” For a time, then, the movement was relatively quiet by necessity, as the Nazis proved when they torched Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin — until American Christine Jorgensen “burst onto the scene” in late 1952 when she traveled to Copenhagen for trans surgery. Her ensuing fame didn’t signal full acceptance for trans people, but it was a start. Riots in 1959 led to activism in the 1960s, and post-Stonewall groups consolidated to lend support
PHOTO COURTESY SEAL PRESS
and work through “diﬃcult decades” of the ‘70s, ‘80s and the AIDS crisis. Today, says Stryker, though we live in interesting times of Trump and turmoil, the news is heartening. Millennials and “postBaby Boomers” have expressed more acceptance of “transgender as part of the anti-heteronormative mix.” Though “Transgender History” is a revised edition of a book ﬁrst published a decade ago, it has a fresh feel thanks to that which author Susan Stryker has added. The ﬁrst chapter, somewhat of a dictionary, schools readers on new ways of talking about LGBT issues and individuals, while the last chapter of trans history brings readers up to the present, including topics of politics, potties and celebrity. What makes it unusual is that, though it’s not always chronological, it’s breezy and casually readable. There’s no stuﬃness here and no air of the scholarly. Stryker makes this history accessible for people who want a story and not a textbook. And so, this book is a pleasant surprise. It’s easy to read, not overly wordy, and there are a just-right number of illustrations here for a reader’s enjoyment. For anyone who wants a basic, yet lively, overview of trans life in America, “Transgender History” is a great start. ‘TRANSGENDER HISTORY: THE ROOTS OF TODAY’S REVOLUTION, REVISED EDITION’ By Susan Stryker Seal Press $17.99 303 pages
A R T S & EN TE RTA I NMENT
J A N U A RY 1 9 , 2 0 1 8 • 3 3
D.C. hosted ﬁrst Creating Change in 1988 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23
conference founders, Hyde has been its director every year except 1990-1993 when she left the Task Force for a few years to work on some other community organizing projects in the Boston area where she lives to this day despite the Task Force’s Washington headquarters. Hyde, 65, will continue to work on queer and social justice issues in a new role with the Wild Geese Foundation, an organization that works to make grants more accessible. She will continue to live in Massachusetts with her partner/wife of 35 years, with whom she has two adult children. Her resignation inspired a spate of glowing comments. Task Force director Rea Carey said in a statement that Hyde’s impact on the movement of three decades is “immeasurable and unmatched.” Former director Urvashi Vaid called her “one of the most eﬀective organizers with whom I have ever worked.” Beth Zremsky, a longtime activist and with “28 or 29” Creating Change conferences notched (she doesn’t recall for sure but knows she missed a couple years), probably the record holder, says she feels Hyde’s supreme strength has been her ability to give the conference what it needed along the way to grow and evolve. “She’s been able to adapt Creating Change both to respond to the issues of the day but also to really be inclusive of the people who are there,” Zremsky says by phone from her home in Minneapolis. “It’s never perfect, but she’s ﬁgured out a way to embody the values we say we care about. We say it’s about everybody bringing their full self but to be able to oﬀer a space for 4,000 people to be their full selves, that takes a ton of intentionality. Everything from gender-neutral bathrooms, interpreters, food for all the low-income people so they can come and not worry about getting fed, I could go on and on. I often use Creating Change as an example of what it would really look like to create an intentional community just for ﬁve days that’s completely seen and completely held so they can do the work we need to do as a movement.” GROWING PAINS And, as one would imagine, 30 years of conferences don’t happen without some snags along the way. Some are logistical. Hyde remembers one year the conference was at a fully unionized hotel but organizers failed to realize members of the audio-visual team also needed a union salary, signiﬁcantly higher than what had been budgeted. Planning the conference is a year-round eﬀort for Hyde and her team of four who work only on the conference (other Task Force staﬀ members work on the conference and other duties).
A group of attendees at the 2017 Creating Change Conference. PHOTO COURTESY THE TASK FORCE
Hyde mostly shrugs oﬀ any suggestions of rancor along the way and says, having worked under 10 Task Force directors over the years, each of whom “had their own idea about what they thought the programming should look like,” a few hiccups were to be expected. “Yeah, I’ve taken a lump or two but it comes with the territory,” she says. “But along with the lumps have been a great deal of very satisfying and really gratifying experiences of bringing together now thousands of people who are committed equally to securing freedom and justice and equality and liberation so the lump is not really what I want to remember or think about. I tend to think much more about the incredibly beautiful metabolism of Creating Change and our movement coming together every year. It’s a political organization but also a family reunion.” Zremsky sees it slightly diﬀerently. “One of the things Sue is a master at, as is Urvashi, is the idea that for something to be a movement, it needs to move,” Zremsky says. “They’ve kept Creating Change moving with the movement and Sue is one of the most graceful people I know when it comes to dealing with conﬂict and allowing conﬂict to be a growth opportunity. She leans into it as a way to sort of say, ‘Hey, this is our growth point.’” The conference started as an outgrowth of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987. Then Task Force director
Jeﬀ Levi “looked at us like we’d lost our minds,” Hyde recalls when she and others pitched the idea. “He thought we were crazy but he agreed to go forward, which was a good thing, and pretty much left it in the hands of me and Urvashi to deal with the logistics,” Hyde says. MAKING IT WORK The conference is held in a diﬀerent city each year. This is the second time it’s been in Washington. The ﬁrst was in 1988 for its inaugural event though it was held in Bethesda, Md., in 1989; Arlington, Va., in 1991 and Alexandria, Va., in 1996. Several cities have hosted twice including Detroit (’95 and ’08), Minnesota (’91 and ’11), Denver (’09 and ’15) and Dallas (’94 and ’10) among others. Hyde says she can’t name a favorite host city but has enjoyed seeing integration among activist circles increase upon returning to areas years later. It was especially pronounced in Detroit, she says. About 300 folks attended the ﬁrst conference in 1988. Peak attendance was in 2016 in Chicago with about 4,600. It’s been between 3,000-4,000 for the past few years. Hyde guesses the ﬁrst conference budget was around $65,000. She can’t say what it is for 2018. And although the Task Force does not view the conference as a moneymaker,
its goal, Hyde says, is “to do better than break even. Exact ﬁgures, she says, are impossible to fully extricate from the overall Task Force operations because of the carryover of staﬀ, supplies and overhead that aren’t designated fully to either the conference or other Task Force areas. There have been times the conference has not broken even, but it’s been rare. Calamities have been few. A 1996 tornado made it impossible for the keynote speaker to ﬂy into Alexandria from California. A substitute who could arrive by train from New Jersey was quickly found. Hyde says that was the biggest logistical snafu she recalls. One of the most tedious aspects to pulling it oﬀ each year is going through the more than 600 proposals submitted for session topics each year only about half of which can be approved. Hyde says it’s important that each is given careful consideration. On the conference ﬂoor itself, Hyde says she has her game face on. “I’m the trouble-shooter in chief, so when things are going a little bit awry, I am often involved in pulling people together so it’s not like going to your own dinner party. You have 3,000 people in a building. I believe in customer service and I try to treat every conversation as though it’s the ﬁrst conversation of the day even if it’s the 100th. I try to give people my full attention, my best problem-solving skills and my best conﬂict mediation skills.”
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P H O T O S BY MI CH A E L KE Y
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What can $400,000 buy you in D.C.? The answer: more than you probably think By JOSEPH M. HUDSON What can $400,000 buy you in Washington DC? Well I’m glad you asked. Depending on the neighborhood you are looking in, you can buy an entire row home, a two-bedroom condo in an “up and coming neighborhood” or a nice one-bedroom in one of D.C.’s classic neighborhoods within walking distance to two Metro stations, restaurants and the zoo. Let’s take a look: 1. Last March my client bought an entire RENOVATED row home with a back deck, a ﬁnished basement, a dining room, and two bedrooms near the Benning Road Metro. He can walk to the metro in ﬁve minutes, has plenty of parking options (including the space in his back yard) and eventually will be able to take the trolley that glides down H Street NE when they ex-
tend the service out to the Benning Road Metro. If he decides to, he can rent the basement out to a friend and probably collect between $750-$1000 a month to help him with his mortgage payment. The sales price for the house was $359,000 and he used a program called DC Opens Doors, which helps buyers gather the down payment for their home, and is forgivable 20% for each year he occupies the home as his primary residence. 2. I am seeing brand new or recently renovated two-bedroom condos in NE under $400,000. Neighborhoods like Trinidad, Woodridge, Kingman Park, Brentwood or Eckington are, in my opinion, the next, if not current, hot spots for buying property. With projects like the REI, Union Market, and the imminent redevelopment of the Rhode Island Ave. commercial corridor, there are big plans for the NE quadrant in the next few years, and many buyers are clamoring to get a piece of the action.
3. I just put an oﬀer in last night for my client on a one-bedroom, updated, cute and very livable condominium in the Cleveland Park/Zoo neighborhood. It’s a post-war construction building on a quiet block. Lots of trees and jogging/ walking paths, but also steps from entertainment and dining along Connecticut Ave. NW. So for someone that wants to live in a more “traditional” DC neighborhood, you can ﬁnd spacious condos with hardwood ﬂoors, unique built-in options, and quiet courtyards where you can grill with friends or just sit outside with a glass of wine and watch the birds in the spring and summertime. I think people are sometimes pleasantly surprised at the various options they have for stretching their real estate dollar in the District. Pictured here is an example of a newly constructed condo in Northeast D.C. that one of my teammates sold this past year. It’s located near South Dakota Ave. NE – conveniently located for
easy access to Maryland, but also close enough in that one can be in the aforementioned hot spots in Northeast in a few minutes, or can be in Northwest D.C. or down near the ballpark with a hop, skip, and a jump. JOSEPH HUDSON is a licensed Realtor in D.C. with the Bediz Group, which is part of Keller Williams Capital Properties. He can be contacted with real estate related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 703-587-0597.
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