Washingtonblade.com, Volume 49, Issue 5, February 2, 2018

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Trump shows some restraint But State of the Union address includes troubling ‘religious liberty’ line By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com President Trump delivered a State of the Union address Tuesday night emphasizing economic development and proposed changes to immigration and infrastructure as LGBT groups continued to hammer him with accusations he has abandoned civil rights. Away from his Twitter account, Trump restrained himself during his speech and was largely free from bluster. At times, Trump sought to capture in his speech before a joint session of Congress a sense of aspiration. “Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: That no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans,” Trump said. “If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our President DONALD TRUMP speaks at the 2018 State of the Union.



‘The saddest day of my life’ LGBT Puerto Ricans ‘forgotten’ as swaths of island remain without power By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com SAN JUAN — Large swaths of Puerto Rico remain without electricity more than four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. Piles of debris and homes with blue tarps on their roofs are commonplace throughout San Juan, the island’s capital and largest city, and surrounding areas. Driving — especially at night — remains dangerous because of a lack of working traffic lights at intersections, damaged street lights and utility polls and powerlines that hang precariously low to streets and sidewalks. Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Latinx and Catholic Initiatives, was with her parents at their Caguas home during Hurricane Irma, which brushed Puerto Rico on Sept. 7. She said 60 percent of the island lost electricity during that hurricane, even though it did not make landfall in the U.S. commonwealth. “[That] shows you how bad our infrastructure was,” said Meléndez. She returned to the U.S. mainland the day before Maria made landfall. CONTINUES ON PAGE 16

A sign in the Saint Just neighborhood of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 30, notes portions of the area have not had electricity for 135 days. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

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Comings & Goings Byard joins Gill Foundation board 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 comingsandgoings@washblade.com. Congratulations to Eliza Byard who has joined the Gill Foundation board. The Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s leading funders of efforts to secure full equality for LGBT people. The foundation makes tax-deductible grants to nonprofit organizations that advance equality by doing research, educating people, developing public policy recommendations, and working within the legal system. “Our board members are essential to driving ELIZA BYARD the foundation’s work to advance and protect PHOTO COURTESY OF BYARD LGBT equality in the United States, and Eliza brings incomparable experience, leadership, and strategic vision to the team,” said founder Tim Gill. Byard has served as executive director of GLSEN, where she designed and executed strategic initiatives that have transformed K-12 education in the United States to respond to the unique challenges and needs of LGBTQ+ youth. GLSEN’s work has contributed to a significant decrease in anti-LGBTQ+ harassment and violence in schools, and the organization’s advocacy and legislative strategies have achieved bipartisan support MATT NOSANCHUK PHOTO COURTESY OF NOSANCHUK around the urgency and importance of bullying prevention and LGBTQ+ issues in education. Under her leadership, GLSEN was honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change.” Byard is an expert on education, youth development, and LGBTQ+ issues. She has appeared in a broad range of digital, print, and broadcast outlets, including The Washington Post, the New York Times, POLITICO, Education Week, Newsweek, and a host of other radio and TV outlets. She has served on numerous boards and commissions for LGBTQ+ youth and educational equity and is currently a Trustee of the America’s Promise Alliance. She has taught U.S. History and American Studies at both Columbia and Barnard. Congratulations also to Matt Nosanchuk who has joined Quadrant Strategies as a vice president. Quadrant Strategies is a research-driven consultancy that works with Fortune 500 and other leading companies. Its specialty is helping clients facing significant challenges to their reputation or brand, or full-blown crises. Quadrant conducts market research to create a strategy and tactics for dealing with the short-term challenges and then determining what a client’s story should be for the long term. Nosanchuk has extensive experience working in senior policy and communications roles in the Obama and Clinton administrations, on Capitol Hill, and at high-profile NGOs. He served in several senior roles in the Obama administration: at the White House as Director of Outreach for the National Security Council, and as President Obama’s liaison to the American Jewish community; and in senior positions at the Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security. Earlier in his career, he served in the Clinton administration as the point person at the Department of Justice on a range of significant policy and legislative priorities. He has worked on Capitol Hill as U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s counsel, and as Special Minority Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee. For his work to further LGBT rights, he received the American Bar Association’s Stonewall Award and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.


Capital Pride announces leadership changes

Bernie Delia steps down as Ashley Smith elected new president

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBT Pride events, announced last week that it has elected a new president, selected five new board members, and named a new crop of longtime volunteers to serve in high-level unpaid leadership positions. Among the changes was the election of Capital Pride board member Ashley Smith, a longtime community activist, as the organization’s new board president. He succeeds Bernie Delia, who has served as board president for the past six years. ASHLEY SMITH is the new board president of In a statement released by Capital Pride on Capital Pride Alliance. Jan. 24, Delia noted that he informed the board PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPITAL PRIDE ALLIANCE one year ago that he planned to step down as president at the end of 2017 but would continue to serve as a member of the board. “I extend my thanks and gratitude to my fellow Board members, our numerous Pride Partners and sponsors, our extremely dedicated volunteers, and the inexhaustible staff, whose combined efforts make possible the safe and successful Celebration of Pride in the Nation’s Capital as well as all of our year-round programming,” Delia said in the statement. “As the incoming Board President, I have a great deal of optimism that we’ll continue expanding the mission of the Capital Pride Alliance to meet the changing needs of the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community,” Smith said in the same statement. The announcement of the leadership changes at Capital Pride Alliance comes a little over seven months after an LGBT group called No Justice No Pride blocked the path of the Capital Pride Parade in June as part of a controversial and widely reported protest. Leaders of the group said it carried out the protest because Capital Pride’s leaders declined to agree to its demands presented to Capital Pride months earlier that Capital Pride drop at least two corporate sponsors it said were “invested in the marginalization of trans and queer people of color.” The group also wanted Capital Pride to ban D.C. police from participating in the Pride Parade and other Pride activities on grounds that the Metropolitan Police Department has engaged in improper use of force against D.C.’s black residents, including transgender women of color. In a statement released last week, No Justice No Pride said Capital Pride’s leadership changes were a positive sign that concerns raised by the dissident group might be addressed this year. “We are encouraged to see Capital Pride taking steps to make its board more representative of the communities it serves,” said Emmelia Talarico, chair of No Justice No Pride’s Steering Committee, in the statement. Smith, Capital Pride’s new president, told the Blade on Wednesday the group’s board and staff would expand their longstanding efforts to embrace diversity by reaching out to all constituencies within the LGBT community. Concerning the issue of corporate sponsors, Smith said the board would be reviewing and possibly revising Capital Pride’s “processes” for selecting corporate sponsors. On the issue of D.C. police involvement in Pride activities, Smith said the first priority has and would continue to be public safety for participants in Capital Pride events. The six new board members named to Capital Pride’s current 24-member board are Jose Gutierrez, Holly Goldmann, Michele Irimia-Bernabe, Ryan Velandria McCarthy, Casey Oakes, Ross Perkins, Natalie Thompson, Cedric Wilson, and Taylor Wallace. Existing board members named to new leadership positions on the board include Vince Micone, Vice President of Operations and Treasurer; Robert York, Vice President of External Relations; and Rachel Gleischman, Vice President of Records Management. Those named to volunteer leadership positions include Chelsea Bland, Chair, Volunteer Program; Bianca Humady Rey, Chair, Capital Trans Pride; Tiffany Lyn Royster, Chair, Capital Pride Parade; and Jami Vallesteros, Chair, Capital Pride Festival.


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5 years for man who hit trans woman with car Judge says cause of crime was drug use; no hate crime charge By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com A D.C. Superior Court judge on Tuesday sentenced a 19-year-old District man to five years in jail after he pleaded guilty in November to a charge of aggravated assault while armed for hitting and seriously injuring a transgender woman with a stolen car he was driving. Police and prosecutors said Startwaune Anderson, who was 18 at the time of the incident, hit Boo Boo Washington, 26, at the intersection of 4th and K streets, N.E. at about 3:18 a.m. on July 5, 2017, with a Ford Focus hatchback vehicle he stole earlier that day. “The defendant acted intentionally and on purpose and not by mistake or accident,” prosecutors said in a proffer of facts submitted as part of a plea bargain offer to which Anderson agreed in November at the advice of his lawyer. Washington was hospitalized in critical condition at the time of the incident for injuries that included bleeding on the brain, multiple rib fractures, a lacerated spleen, and a punctured lung, according to prosecutors. She was sedated and on a respirator for at least two weeks and remained in the hospital for over a month before being released to undergo outpatient rehabilitation. William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, said there was insufficient evidence to classify the incident as a hate crime, even though it occurred in an area known as a place where trans women congregate. “We have no reason to believe that Startwaune Anderson knew that the victim was a transgender woman at the time that he struck her with the car,” Miller said. In addition to the five-year jail term, Judge Anthony Epstein sentenced Anderson to five years of supervised release on probation after completing his jail term and ordered that he receive substance abuse and mental health treatment. Epstein also ordered that the sentence be carried out under the city’s Youth Rehabilitation Act, which allows judges to seal and remove from public disclosure the criminal record for someone sentenced under the Youth Act if they successfully complete their probation without committing another criminal offense. David Richter, the defense attorney representing Anderson, told Epstein during a sentencing hearing Tuesday that Anderson had been struggling with a substance abuse problem. He pointed to court records showing that Anderson admitted to being under the influence of PCP and Xanax shortly before the incident. A police arrest affidavit says witnesses saw Anderson walk out of the car with which he struck Washington after he crashed it into a fence several blocks away along the perimeter of the campus of Gallaudet University while holding a bottle of vodka. “It was a combination of bad choices by Mr. Anderson,” Richter told Epstein. “This is a very bad situation all around. It is fortunate that this was not a murder case,” said Richter. “He realizes that…He is a different person than the one I met” shortly after Anderson’s arrest in July, Richter said. He called on Epstein to sentence Anderson to five years along with five years of supervised probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Trigoso, the lead prosecutor in the case, asked Epstein to sentence Anderson to six years in jail. She said that although Anderson admitted to wrongdoing in pleading guilty and expressed remorse to the person whose car he stole, he remained silent about the victim who was struck by the car he drove. “The defendant did not mention anything in regards to the victim of the assault that he almost killed and who spent weeks in intensive care fighting for her life and is still having medical issues to this day,” Trigoso said in a sentencing memorandum filed in court. She noted in the memorandum that Anderson has a prior criminal conviction for which his probation was revoked twice. She did not disclose the nature of the conviction, possibly because it may have occurred when Anderson was a juvenile. Anderson, who was escorted into the courtroom wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, apologized for his actions when asked by Epstein if he would like to make a statement. “I apologize to my friends,” he said. “I want to start over and be a better person.” Epstein said he carefully considered all of the issues raised by the defense and the government and believed justice would be served best by sentencing Anderson to five years of incarceration. “The reason for this crime is PCP and how it is such a dangerous drug,” Epstein said. “I’m confident now that all of the drugs are out of Mr. Anderson’s system and he understands the seriousness of this.” He added, “I understand how young Mr. Anderson is. I feel the cause of this crime was his drug use.” Epstein also recognized that five of Anderson’s family members and friends were in the courtroom to show their support for him at the time of his release. Richter said that

among those who came to show support was Anderson’s girlfriend. No family members or friends of Washington attended the hearing. A former official with the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby told the Washington Blade at the time of Anderson’s arrest that Washington was a Casa Ruby client and was well known and liked by people she met at Casa Ruby. Although LGBT advocates sometimes submit community impact statements to judges about to hand down a sentence for someone convicted of a crime against an LGBT person, in this case a single impact statement was submitted that did not mention Washington’s gender identity or that she was part of the LGBT community. Billy Pittman, chair of the D.C. Police First District Citizens Advisory Council, called on Epstein to sentence Anderson to some jail time. “[A]t this time we believe he is a clear and present danger to our communities and we seek his removal from society in hopes he will come to understand the damage and pain he has inflicted upon all of us who reside here,” Pittman said in his statement.

Some of the items available from Jim Graham’s estate that are currently on display. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Jim Graham estate auction set for Feb. 3

More than 1,000 historically or artistically significant objects ranging from antique furniture and pottery to male figurative paintings that belong to the estate of the late gay D.C. Council member Jim Graham will be available at auction on Feb. 2 at the Sloans & Kenyon auction house in Chevy Chase, Md. Stephanie A. Kenyon, president of Sloans & Kenyon, said the Graham estate objects have been on display at the auction house gallery at 7034 Wisconsin Ave. in Chevy Chase since Saturday, Jan. 27 and will remain on display until the Feb. 2 auction. She said a second auction for additional items of the voluminous Graham estate will take place in March. Among the items up for auction in March will be Graham’s car, an extensive collection of black and white photos, and the bowties that he wore to work at the D.C. Council that became his trademark. A description of the Graham estate items up for auction on Feb. 3, which are listed in a catalogue released by Sloans & Kenyon, include “Bronzes and Other Sculptures, Paintings and Prints, Extensive Collection of Arts and Crafts Movement Furniture, Lamps and Accessories by Roycroft and others, Ceramics including Vintage Decorative Tiles, and Other Decorative Items, Documents, Collection Vintage Bookends, Advertising, Oddities and Unusualia.” Graham served as executive director of the then Whitman-Walker Clinic before winning election to the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat in 1998. He served on the Council until 2015. A description and photos of some of the Graham estate items can be accessed here: www.sloansandkenyon.com. LOU CHIBBARO JR.


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Hundreds of LGBT activists protest at Trump Hotel

Activists stage a ‘dance protest’ in front of the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 27. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Rally for immigrant and sex worker rights, trans equality By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com Hundreds of LGBT activists attending the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference in D.C. last week rallied and marched from the Trump International Hotel to the John A. Wilson City Hall building Saturday afternoon in a multi-issue protest that included a call to decriminalize sex work. Organized jointly by the Task Force and the local LGBT group WERK for Peace, participants carried signs in English and Spanish saying “Stop Donald Trump’s Attacks on Freedom, Justice and Equality;” “The Future is Queer” and “Dismantle White Supremacy.” Before and after organizers spoke to the crowd, participants danced on the sidewalk in front of the hotel to music blaring from loud speakers perched in the back of a pickup truck. Others tossed large quantities of rainbow colored confetti said to be biodegradable into the air before it rained down on the hotel’s front entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Firas Nasr, founder and coordinator of WERK for Peace, told the gathering one of the protest’s themes was intersectionality in which LGBTQ people stand in solidarity with the concerns and injustices faced by a wide range of minorities, including Muslims, people of color, indigenous people and immigrants. He and other speakers at the protest said their aim also was to focus on two bills currently before the D.C. City Council calling for curtailing sexual harassment on the streets and decriminalization of sex work. “We are here today to send a clear message to our local and national government that we will not tolerate our bodily autonomy being taken away,” he said. “We are here today to send a clear message that we will not tolerate sexual violence in our community.” Jessica Raven, executive director of the local group Collective Action for Safe Spaces, said one of the two bills, the Street Harassment Prevention Act, was aimed at educating the public and the community to respect the right of consent, including the right to decline consent, for overtures by someone interested in sex. The bill, introduced by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), calls, among other things, for the city to “create policies and guidelines to identify and educate District employees about street harassment, to fund programs to support the prevention of street harassment,” and to collect data to determine the “pervasiveness” of street harassment in the city. The second bill for which the protesters advocated is the Reducing Criminalization to Improve Community Safety and Health Act of 2017,” which was introduced in October by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At-Large). The bill would repeal all current D.C. laws that call for criminal penalties for commercial sex work engaged in by consenting adults. It would cover sex workers and their customers. The bill explicitly states nonconsensual sex “trafficking” would remain illegal under the bill. Grosso and a coalition of local activists, including LGBT activists that endorsed the bill, said decriminalization would make it easier to prevent sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from it by eliminating the fear among victims of sex trafficking to come forward and seek help from law enforcement without fear of being arrested for prostitution. “One way in which the state often takes away our ability to exercise our bodily autonomy, [it] takes away the consent that we have as individuals is to criminalize things

that we do with our bodies,” said Shayla Alfonzo, an official with the D.C. sex worker advocacy group HIPS. Alfonzo, who spoke when the protesters assembled in front of the Wilson Building, said among those adversely impacted by the current status of criminalization of sex work are “communities of color” and “queer people,” including transgender women. She and other speakers at the Wilson Building site, including transgender activist Charisse Monette of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, said criminalization of sex work subjects sex workers to violence by making it difficult for them to seek help from police. “If we value folks’ consent then we need to decriminalize sex work,” Alfonzo told the gathering. “If we value what folks do with their own bodies and the way in which folks make their own living then we have to decriminalize sex work.” Several hundred of the participants traveled to the starting site of the protest at the Trump Hotel by Metro rail from the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in the city’s Woodley Park section, where the Creating Change conference was taking place. Just before the protest started, D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson and Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, supervisor of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, conferred with protest organizers to arrange for street closings to accommodate the march from the Trump Hotel to the Wilson Building. Protest organizers, led by the pickup truck with the loud speakers playing dance music, turned right on 14th Street, N.W. after the Wilson Building rally ended. They proceeded along 14th Street to G Street, where the procession turned right and marched to the Metro Center Metro entrance 13th and G Streets, N.W., allowing participants to enter the station and take Metro back to the Creating Change conference at the Wardman Park Marriott. Urvashi Vaid, a longtime LGBT rights advocate and former executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, was among a contingent of Task Force supporters and officials, including current executive director Rea Carey, who attended the protest. “It’s a multi-part protest that’s against the Trump administration,” she said. “It’s against sexual violence and harassment. It’s for sexual freedom.”

Kenneth J. Moller dies at 56 Kenneth J. Moller, a former Washington resident who lived here from 1988-2000, died Oct. 24, 2017 in Rochester, N.Y. He had cancer of the tongue that had spread. He was 56. Moller was born Feb. 14, 1961 in New City, N.Y., where he grew up. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State University majoring in social work. In 1988, he moved to Washington and held positions in several retail stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor KENNETH J. MOLLER and Hechinger in Tenleytown, where he worked as a kitchen and bathroom designer. He enjoyed helping gay teens and adults, volunteering for various LGBT organizations such as the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and Human Rights Campaign. He rode in an AIDS Ride from Montreal, Canada to Portland, Maine. Moller enjoyed gardening and specialized in perennial flowerbeds. He was a member of the Spring Valley Garden Club. He also enjoyed reading, debates, alternative rock and spending summers along the St. Lawrence River. He is survived by his former partner Daniel Duch, whom he dated from 19922009, and mother Janet (Fleming) Moller of Morristown, N.Y., brother Gregory S. Moller of Gainesville, Va.; sister Nancy L. (Moller) Avery of Fairport, N.Y.; nephew Kyle Moller; nieces Erin Moller, Allison Avery and Lauren Moller. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. at Joseph Gawler’s Sons (5130 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.). A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Epilepsy Foundation or to the Morristown, New York Public Library in his name will be accepted. JOEY DiGUGLIELMO


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Log Cabin assails Dems for blocking Grenell nomination Trump’s gay nominee on hold over mean tweets about women

NATIONAL NEWS election campaign of George H.W. Bush, according to a Washington Post article in 1995. A fellow staffer recalled Grenell telling a female aide wearing a red shoes flowery dress, ‘Didn’t your mother ever tell you only whores and very small children wear red shoes?’”) Although Grenell deleted the tweets and apologized for them, they continued to haunt him through his confirmation hearing, where he again apologized. “Anybody who knows me knows that I am a very caring person and very sensitive — and I also appreciate good humor,” Grenell said. “Unfortunately, there are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous, and, again, that was never my intention and I regret that.” That wasn’t enough for Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who led Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to oppose advancing the Grenell nomination to the Senate floor. The party-line committee vote took place in October, but months later the nomination has yet to come to the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could force a vote on the nomination, but it’s unclear if the votes are present to confirm Grenell.

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com Log Cabin Republicans officials are assailing Democrats for blocking the confirmation of Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany. The Grenell nomination, President Trump’s most high-profile openly gay appointment, is being held up purportedly over comments Grenell made years ago on Twitter about the appearance of women, including Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Callista Gingrich and Rachel Maddow. The Log Cabin missive, dated Jan. 29, attributes the hold up over Grenell to “Democratic dithering,” asserting actions from the Senate minority are holding up an important nomination and the historic RICHARD GRENELL is facing opposition in his confirmation of an out gay ambassador. confirmation process from Democrats. “In earlier times confirmations such as Mr. Grenell’s were perfunctory, made swiftly with deference to our nation’s commander-in-chief in a way that transcended partisanship,” the letter says. “Sadly, time and time again over the course of the past year, Democratic senators have abused procedural courtesy to prevent votes by simple acclamation.” The letter has 22 signatures from Log Cabin members as well as prominent Republicans and commentators. Among them is the George W. Bush administration’s former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer; Phil Karpen, president of American Commitment; and Heather Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice. First nominated by Trump in September, Grenell founded the international consulting firm Capitol Media Partners in 2010 and served in various roles as a public communications adviser and a Fox News commentator. Under the George W. Bush administration, Grenell was the longest serving U.S. spokesperson at the United Nations and served four U.S. ambassadors. For a period of less than two weeks, Grenell served during the 2012 presidential campaign as a foreign policy spokesperson for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but resigned amid pressure from social conservatives over his sexual orientation. Grenell never had the opportunity to speak publicly in the role. Grenell, who has described himself as a gay conservative Christian, has a same-sex partner, Matt Lashey. According to The Atlantic, the two have been together for 15 years and Lashey himself is a conservative Christian who graduated from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. But Grenell is perhaps best known on Twitter for his combative relationship with reporters, including those from the Washington Blade. Taking a cue from Trump, who has declared war on the media, Grenell often accuses reporters of harboring biases that undermine their reporting. The dispute over Grenell’s confirmation is purportedly over mean tweets the nominee made and unfolds in the context of the #MeToo movement in which women are coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. One 2011 tweet directed at Maddow, a lesbian news anchor on MSNBC, said she “needs to take a breath and put on a necklace” and another compared her look to that of pop singer Justin Bieber. One tweet directed at Gingrich questioned whether she “snaps on” her hair. At around the same time, Grenell tweeted “Hillary is starting to look like Madeleine Albright.” (Those tweets echo comments he reportedly made in 1992 as a young aide for the re-

Top lesbian DNC official exits after less than one year The highest-ranking openly LGBT official at the Democratic National Committee has departed from her role less than one year after she started serving in the position. Jess O’Connell, who was named as the DNC’s chief executive officer in May, said in a statement Tuesday evening she’s leaving the organization in a development first reported by NBC News. “The DNC has recruited a talented team from all across America that works hard day and night to elect Democrats, and I have no doubt that they will lead JESS O’CONNELL, CEO of the DNC, announced her departure this week. our party to victory in 2018 and beyond,” O’Connell said. “I am PHOTO COURTESY DNC grateful to Chairman Perez for the opportunity to serve my party during such a pivotal time as we fight to protect and promote Democratic values and elect more Democrats nationwide. While I’ve made the decision to pass the baton, our work remains far from over and under Tom Perez’s leadership and direction, our party will continue to build on the progress we’ve made in 2017.” O’Connell was brought on to the DNC and departs at a time when Democrats were reeling over the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the party picked up important off-year wins in elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement O’Connell “brought a laser-like focus on winning elections up and down the ballot.” “Jess laid the groundwork for an infrastructure to win in 2018, 2020 and beyond,” Perez said. “Her dedication to Democratic values and the party is like no other and I’m grateful for everything she has done and will continue to do for our party in the weeks, months, and years to come.” According to NBC News, O’Connell’s departure comes “just months after the DNC ousted its finance director following a period of weak fundraising, as well as a shakeup last year that reignited tensions with Sanders’ allies.” A Democratic aide said O’Connell will officially depart later next month. As CEO, O’Connell’s job was to oversee day-to-day operations and political strategy at party headquarters. Previously, O’Connell was CEO at Emily’s List and served in a prominent role in Clinton’s 2008 campaign. O’Connell was named in a recent explosive report in The New York Times revealing Clinton worked to shield a prominent staffer, Burns Strider, amid allegations of sexual harassment from a young, female staffer. According to the report, O’Connell had advised Clinton to fire Strider, but was overruled by the then-candidate, who kept him on. CHRIS JOHNSON


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National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director REA CAREY speaks at the 2018 Creating Change conference in D.C. on Jan. 26. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Trump ‘has morally and ethically vacated’ office: Carey Task Force leader addresses activists at 30th Creating Change confab By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey last week sharply criticized President Trump during her organization’s annual State of the Movement speech. Carey in the speech she and National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson delivered during the annual Creating Change conference that took place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in D.C. said Trump “has morally and ethically vacated the office of the president.” Carey also described Trump as a “sexual harasser and abuser,” a “racist” and a “white supremacist.” “He is erratic, dishonest and anti-democratic,” said Carey. “He works to ignore or undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold.” Johnson described U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ guidance that said individuals and businesses can act on their religious beliefs without fear of government reprisal as “a sweeping license to discriminate.” She said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new Office of Conscience and Religious Freedom “could allow health care providers to discriminate against patients because they are transgender or they want access to a reproductive healthcare, including a safe, legal abortion.” She also criticized the Trump administration for making schools “less safe for transgender students,” its efforts to ban citizens of predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and for “the cruel all-out attack on immigrants including Dreamers.” Johnson and Carey were wearing red and black respectively to honor transgender and gender non-conforming people who were killed in 2017 and the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and harassment. “As people who care about and work for social justice, this last year has been relentless,” said Johnson. “It’s been brutal.” Carey accused Trump of neglecting “his duties to devote resources to the people” of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria. She further noted the National LGBTQ Task Force will no longer refer to Trump with the title of president. “In our movement, we know a drama queen when we see one,” said Carey. “The Drama Queen-in-Chief is a real problem.” “He is also a manifestation of a much larger problem, and a distraction all at the same time,” she added. “He is the most visible part of a machine at work to undermine democracy, surface and flame racial tensions, solidify white supremacists in power and

establish an extremist Christian nation.” Carey said that while Trump’s “tweets, tantrums, lies, legal issues and Russia have been taking up the headlines, there are threats to our LGBTQ and progressive progress happening at the state and local levels that we must pay attention to.” “That we must direct our energies towards,” she added. “Now, more than ever, to ensure a future for freedom and justice — all politics is local and the personal is political.” Thousands of LGBT rights advocates from the U.S. and around the world attended the conference that ended last Sunday. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) was among those who spoke. Carey, Johnson and other National LGBTQ Task Force staffers on Friday honored Sue Hyde, the conference’s longtime organizer who is stepping down later this year, before the State of the Movement speech. Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a trans activist of color who participated in the 1969 Stonewall riots, received an award from the National LGBTQ Task Force that is named in honor of Hyde. “You have to learn how to resist,” said Griffin-Gracy as she stood on stage with several trans women and gender non-conforming people of color. “You have to learn how to fucking fight back.” Carey and Johnson were equally defiant in their speech. “It has become clear, no matter how many setbacks we face, no matter what challenges are thrown at us, we are standing up for ourselves and for each other,” said Carey. “We will resist, survive and thrive.”

SAGE honors seniors advocate Imani Woody

SAGE USA, the nation’s largest and oldest organization advocating on behalf of LGBT seniors, presented its Advocacy Award for Excellence on Aging on Sunday, Jan. 28, to Imani Woody, Ph.D., D.C.’s longtime LGBT seniors advocate who’s leading efforts to open a D.C.-based home for LGBT elders. SAGE CEO Michael Adams presented the award to Woody during a morning plenary session for the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change IMANI WOODY, left, displays the award Conference, which was held at the she just received from SAGE CEO MICHAEL Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in ADAMS. PHOTO BY CATHY RENNA D.C. last week. “We are honored to present our Advocacy Award to Dr. Woody for always being a steadfast friend of SAGE and for energizing the advocacy work of the LGBT elder community,” Adams said. “Dr. Woody’s passion and leadership for issues that affect LGBT elders is helping crack the wall of invisibility that often surrounds them,” he said. Among her many LGBT-related endeavors, Woody is the founding director and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, which is expected to open in the near future as a residential facility for LGBT seniors in D.C. A statement released by SAGE says Woody has been an “advocate of women, people of color and LGBT/Same Gender Loving issues for more than 20 years.” It says she currently works as a diversity and inclusion consultant in the field of health, aging, and issues “affecting the LGBTQ/SLG and people of color communities.” She also serves as a member of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s LGBTQ Advisory Council. “I am humbled and deeply honored to receive the SAGE Advocacy Award to acknowledge the work I do on behalf of LGBT elders every day and for the last 20 plus years,” said Woody, who has a Ph.D. in Public Service Leadership with an emphasis in non-profit management. “You know when you are doing the work you love, you don’t necessarily see people looking at what you’re doing,” she said. “You’re looking for results to help your tribe.” LOU CHIBBARO JR.



FE B R U A R Y 02, 2018 • 13

Keep your promise to protect each other.

Anti-gay laws in 7 states affect millions of youth NEW YORK — A research brief released this week from GLSEN finds that millions of LGBT students in seven U.S. states are subjected to laws that specifically target them, the Huffington Post reports. In Alabama, a statewide anti-bullying law calls on schools to develop policies that foster environments free of harassment, intimidation and violence, although another law says health educators must emphasize “that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” Alabama is one of seven states that currently has a law barring teachers from positively portraying homosexuality in schools. These laws, sometimes called “no promo homo” laws, affect nearly 10 million public school students around the country. They work to decrease teachers’ support of these students and limit students’ access to necessary resources, according to a research brief released Tuesday from GLSEN, a nonprofit that works to support LGBT students. Utah had one of these laws up until July, when it was repealed, but information from the state is still included in the study. Texas, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi still have these laws. The anti-gay laws in these states operate alongside anti-bullying statutes, which all 50 states have, according to the HuffPost article.

Thousands of youth still get ‘conversion’ therapy NEW YORK — An estimated 20,000 LGBT youth ages 13-17 will undergo conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before the age of 18, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, reported on by MedicalXPress. Also, approximately 57,000 youth will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor. These are the first estimates of U.S. youth at risk of undergoing conversion therapy before they reach adulthood. The researchers also found that an approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents, MedicalXPress reports. “Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the study. “Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.” To date, nine states, the District of Columbia and 32 localities have laws protecting youth under age 18 from receiving conversion therapy from licensed health care providers. According to the study, 6,000 youth ages 13-17 would have received conversion therapy before they reached adulthood if their state had not banned the practice.

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Advocates question grocery chain’s PrEP denial

NEW YORK — Publix, a large supermarket chain in the southeastern U.S., has reportedly refused to cover HIV prevention medication through its employee 5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW • DC • (202) 966-6400 • www.JosephGawlers.com insurance plans, the Advocate reports citing research from the Body, an online AIDS news site. ADVERTISING Publix has excluded coverage for medication used in the prevention strategy #1 so far ISSUE DATE: 10.26.12 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: BRIAN PITTS (bpitts@washblade.com) known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis. Truvada is the PROOF only drug approved for use as PrEP, which involves taking the medication daily to prevent REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. wille bed considered adviC e Proof • m i a t ifinal o and N will • beL submitted i t i Gfor apublication t i o Nif revision • a isPnot P submitted e a L Swithin • 24 C hours o LofL a B o r a t i o N the user from acquiring HIV if exposed. Studies have indicated it is REVISIONS nearly 100 the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is percent effective in preventing HIV transmission if taken as directed. REDESIGN responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or REVISIONS any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any David Holland, director of the Fulton County PrEP Clinic in Atlanta and anTEXT assistant copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, professor of medicine at Emory University, told the Body he had tried to NO obtain PrEP or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE REVISIONS washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contr liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred coverage for a patient who works for Publix, and the company rejected it, even after washington blade newspaper. This includes but is n by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. and warranties. an appeal. “We’ve started over 400 people on PrEP at our clinic alone, and this is the only person that we weren’t able to get PrEP for,” he said. Publix gave boilerplate answers to the site’s inquiries about the denial of coverage. FamiLY | eState PLaNNiNG | emPLoYmeNt | immiGratioN “Annually, we evaluate benefits covered under our health plans,” Publix ComPLeX LitiGatioN | CiviL riGHtS | LGBt | adoPtioN | BuSiNeSS spokeswoman Brenda Reid said in a written statement, reported on by the Body. “There are numerous medications covered by the plan used in the treatment of HIV.” HIV activists said the denial is probably not related to cost, as few employees would seek PrEP, and they pointed out that HIV prevention is much less costly in at tor N e YS at L aw • d C | m d | va the long run than HIV treatment. That led some to wonder if the denial came on 3 0 1 . 8 9 1 . 2 2 0 0 • S P - L aw. C o m supposedly “moral” grounds, the Advocate reports.

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Trump touts economy, restrains bluster in State of the Union CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

people are strong.” Unlike President Obama in his many State of the Union addresses before Congress, Trump never explicitly mentioned LGBT people in his speech, although he referenced all Americans saluting the same flag. “I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be,” Trump said. “All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family. We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.” Touting his accomplishments, Trump mentioned at one point having “taken historic actions to protect religious liberty,” a term often understood to mean anti-LGBT discrimination. Last year, his U.S. Justice Department issued guidance on religious freedom that critics say would enable the denial of services for LGBT people. But in the aftermath of passing tax reform legislation, Trump made economic development under his administration a major focus of his speech, asserting the change “enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.” “We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world,” Trump said. “These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.” The one-year marker of the Trump administration has seen favorable economic numbers. The stock market has reached new highs, reaching $8 trillion in value, and the trend of job creation has remained consistent throughout the entire year. Stories of businesses granting bonuses to workers and companies reinvesting in American workers continue to make news. Unemployment for women has reached an 18-year low and unemployment for blacks and Hispanics has reached record lows. At one point, Trump ad-libbed a line about the low black unemployment levels being “something I’m very proud of.” Critics have said black unemployment was reaching new lows before Trump took office and questioned whether his policies have encouraged that drop. Trump also took the opportunity to promote policy ideas for the year ahead. Some of those initiatives, such as reducing the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, he said his administration would accomplish itself, while for others, such as immigration and a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, he sought help from Congress. On immigration, Trump presented his

Some Democrats boycotted Tuesday’s State of the Union before a joint session of Congress. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

“four-pillar” framework of a bipartisan compromise in which “nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.” The four pillars consist of finding a solution to allow 1.8 million young, undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States; border security; ending the visa lottery; and restricting familybased “chain immigration.” The young, undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, were eligible for relief under Obama-era immigration policy, but Trump terminated it. “In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration,” Trump said. “In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford. It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.” Trump also made the case for his administration’s efforts to contain the trans-national gang MS-13, which has members based principally in El Salvador. Trump mentioned the word “gangs” several times in his remarks about immigrants coming into the United States — a notion critics say unfairly conflates all immigrants coming into the United States with those engaged in illegal activity. In terms of foreign policy, the one major focus for Trump was North Korea, which has continued to pursue nuclear weapons despite economic sanctions. Trump said contrary to previous administrations he “will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations” and offer concessions to the country. In a possible attempt to justify escalation against North Korea, Trump told the story of individuals who endured suffering as a

result of the Kim Jung-un regime. One was the story of an American, Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced to hard labor in North Korea and died shortly after returning to the United States. The other was the story of Ji Seong-ho, who escaped North Korea for Seoul after being tortured by his country and losing his legs. Seong-ho and Warmbier’s parents were among the guests seated with first lady Melania Trump. “We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies,” Trump said. LGBT groups were unimpressed with Trump’s speech and said his vision for America leaves out the LGBT community and marginalized groups. Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, criticized Trump in a statement for continued anti-LGBT policies. “Managing to read a pre-written speech off a teleprompter does not make one presidential or lend a single ounce of legitimacy to Trump’s anti-LGBTQ agenda,” Ellis said. “Trump has spent the past year targeting vulnerable communities and surrounding himself with anti-black, antiMuslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women and antiLGBTQ activists with the goal of exacerbating discrimination and erasing LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation.” Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at Lambda Legal, said in a statement Trump and his administration “have gone after LGBT people and other vulnerable communities with every weapon in his arsenal,” raising concerns about judicial appointments she says are anti-LGBT. “To this end, the president has spent the last year packing the court with

judges who look like him, think like him, and whose impact will stretch across generations,” McGowan said. “If long after President Trump has vacated the White House we have federal courts packed with judges who share his values, our children and grandchildren will continue to suffer.” Trump, who secured a record number of judicial confirmations in his first year in office, has his own take on judicial appointments during his administration. The line inspired boos and hisses from Democrats in the House gallery. “Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country,” Trump said. Among the rollback to civil rights under the Trump administration LGBT advocates have cited is Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from the military. After tweeting in June he’d ban them from the armed forces “in any capacity,” Trump followed up with a directive implementing the change. As a result of litigation filed by LGBT legal groups, courts have enjoined the U.S. military from enforcing Trump’s ban as the lawsuits move forward. In an attempt to draw attention to Trump’s policy, two Democratic lawmakers — Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) — invited transgender people who served in the military to the House gallery for Trump’s speech.


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Efforts to help LGBT Puerto Ricans after Maria ‘being forgotten’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

“It was the scariest takeoff I have ever had,” said Meléndez. Wilfred Labiosa, co-founder of Waves Ahead, a group that provides assistance to LGBT Puerto Ricans and other marginalized groups, and his partner were in their 15th floor condo in San Juan during Maria. He said every condo in his building flooded because the hurricane’s winds blew water through the storm shutters. Labiosa, a psychologist and social worker who lived in Boston before moving to Puerto Rico four years ago, was among those who provided assistance to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. He said driving around San Juan after Maria and seeing the damage “was the saddest day of my life.” “Here you’re dealing with silence,” he said. “You’re dealing with something that can’t be described.” Labiosa said he made sure his mother, who passed away a few weeks after Maria, and his aunt were safe before returning to his home. He said he began to hear reports that people took their own lives “the same day of the hurricane because they were looking at so much in front of them.” “They didn’t know how they could survive,” said Labiosa. Maria made landfall on Sept. 20 near the city of Humacao on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast with 155-mph winds. The Puerto Rican government says Maria killed 64 people, but the death toll is estimated to be more than 1,000. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló last month ordered a review of the official figure. Labiosa co-founded Waves Ahead a few weeks before the hurricanes as a way to help his clients open their own businesses in San Juan and the surrounding area. He said some of the same people with whom he was working began to ask for water and food for their neighbors after Maria. Labiosa said he could not reach a transgender client in Humacao for more than a week because of blocked roads. He noted there was a lack of food, gasoline and medical services for weeks after Maria because the hurricane destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure. The distribution of relief supplies from San Juan’s port was also delayed. Bill’s Kitchen, a San Juan-based organization that prepares meals for people with HIV/AIDS, has not had electricity since Irma. Two diesel-powered generators are currently providing electricity to operate one of Bill’s Kitchen’s two walk-in freezers and limited power to other parts of its building in San Juan’s Hato Rey neighborhood. Food and Friends in D.C. has donated $35,000 to Bill’s Kitchen in order to buy a new generator that was scheduled to arrive this week. Torres on Tuesday told the Blade during an emotional interview in her office

An employee of Bill’s Kitchen, a San Juan-based organization that prepares meals for people with HIV/AIDS, puts diesel into a generator on Jan. 30. Bill’s Kitchen has not had electricity since Hurricane Irma brushed Puerto Rico nearly five months ago. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Damaged traffic lights at an intersection in the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 30. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

that some of her staff still do not have electricity or running water in their homes. “I need to stay strong because my staff needs me,” she said. Rainwater mixed with sewage flooded the lower floor of the Puerto Rico Community Network for Clinical Research on AIDS, an organization near the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras that serves people with HIV/

AIDS and other vulnerable populations. Maria also damaged the front door of the new AIDS Healthcare Foundation clinic in the town of Trujillo Alto’s Saint Just neighborhood that is under construction. Labiosa said Waves Ahead in spite of these challenges “decided to nourish people, nourish the body” by providing the LGBT Puerto Ricans and others with food, water, access to counseling and

mental health services. He also noted Waves Ahead is working to provide assistance to LGBT elders, including a 95-year-old woman who lives on the island of Vieques. “They are being forgotten,” said Labiosa. Labiosa spoke on a panel at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference in D.C. on Jan. 27 that focused on Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Meléndez co-organized the panel on which she also spoke. More than 300,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island since Maria. Labiosa said Waves Ahead is working with three families who are currently living in a motel room in Orlando, Fla., “who are dying to come back” to Puerto Rico. Meléndez became emotional when she said her parents, who are in their 70s, are about to lose their home. She nevertheless said they do not want to leave Puerto Rico. “My parents are 75 years old and they are what are known as coquís,” she said, using Puerto Rican Spanish word for small frogs on the island that she used to refer to someone who is originally from Puerto Rico. “They are never going to leave. My responsibility in the diaspora is to make sure they get what they need.” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz remains one of the most vocal critics of President Trump and the federal government’s response to Maria. Cruz was U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)’s guest at the State of the Union speech this week. Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was born in San Juan, and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who is of Puerto Rican descent, have also been sharply critical of Trump and his response to Maria. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but are unable to vote in presidential elections. Puerto Rico, like D.C., has one delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives who is unable to vote on the chamber’s floor. Meléndez noted Puerto Ricans who are currently living in the U.S. mainland can vote in this year’s mid-term elections. She and others have pointed out they can potentially influence the outcome of congressional races in Florida and other states. “People will go back, but they won’t go back soon enough for them,” she said. “Thank God for us lucky enough to register to vote to take those motherfuckers out.” Editor’s note: Washington Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers will be on assignment in Puerto Rico through Feb. 3. He will be reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and its continued impact on LGBT Puerto Ricans and people with HIV/AIDS. Follow daily coverage and live updates at washingtonblade.com.


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Be faithful but speak truth MCC must be honest on matters of race and privilege By DR. IMANI WOODY MACKO & DONNA PAYNE-HARDY One year after the inauguration of the 45th president, the resistance has transformed into a 24-hour cycle that requires all of us to stay glued to social media. Two weeks ago, many of us renewed our commitment to marching hand in hand with our sisters in the Women’s March. And as people of faith, it has obligated us to take more seriously the Gospels, where we are forewarned to stay woke, but to remain prayerful for strength – Luke 21:36. The women’s march came just one weekend after the birthday of civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King’s legacy cannot be summed up by his famous, “I Have A Dream,” speech but King’s example was one where he was willing to call his fellow faith leaders to the carpet for cowering to the status quo. King was right — as activists, faith leaders, lay folks, alike, we cannot fall prey to solely focusing on the outward

bigotry that oppresses our brothers and sisters. We must be willing to call out injustice anywhere it rears its ugly head. For the past few months, as active members of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), what has become somewhat distressing is that as a leading progressive institution, MCC executive leadership has failed to address the racism and injustice within its own walls, but yet feels bold enough to call the larger world to account for injustice and racism. An organization like MCC that proclaims to be a place for “all God’s people,” but fails to recognize the very blatant conscious and unconscious bias that manifested in the Church’s public explanation regarding the unjustified firing of Rev. Elder Darlene Garner is not living the example that is preached. In early December, when we read MCC’s defense for firing Rev. Garner, it became very clear that MCC’s posture, and rigidity to see the truth around Rev. Garner’s firing was not a result of difficult decisionmaking, managing the business of budget shortfalls, or implementing a new strategic plan – this was the revelation of white supremacist thinking within MCC executive leadership. In our view, MCC leadership


made a strategic attempt to undermine Rev. Garner’s character and used sophomoric PR tactics to disguise its white supremacist thinking. To put it another way, the racist culture within MCC believed that they could get away with firing a 69-yearold black woman without any questions. And that alone is a distressing picture of the deep-seated white supremacist thinking within the organization. What’s clear is that the “restructuring” claim was window dressing and not a strategic, well thought out plan. The question moving forward for the MCC executive leadership team is simple – are MCC and the members of the governing board willing to address, head-on, the very real systemic racism that has proven problematic for future growth? Will they value the established working groups, such as People of African Descent (PAD) working group, meant to live out the organization’s core values of diversity and inclusion? To date, we’ve seen a tone-deaf response to the PAD. What’s more, the “restructure” removed the most senior African-American woman and forced the resignation of the only African-American man on the governing board. Without strong diverse voices at the table, institutional racism and bias exposes the organization to repeat the same mistakes and missteps. As seasoned black lesbian activists who care deeply about the issues of race, sex, and age, an attack on one, is an attack on all. For us to move beyond these issues of race and white privilege within faith institutions, it is important for both clergy and lay people to stand up, speak out and push for these issues to be addressed. It is paramount that we step up, for each other, and today, that is our call to our progressive faith leaders, the laity, and the broader LGBTQ movement - stand up and speak truth – no matter where we face injustice. For MCC, in particular, the path seems to be a long road unless there is a real willingness to be honest on matters about race and privilege within its walls. DR. IMANI WOODY MACKO AND DONNA PAYNE-HARDY are national LGBTQ leaders and members of Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C.

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Gay cruises, party drugs and taking care of each other Friendship in minority communities takes on a greater responsibility

BROCK THOMPSON is a D.C.-based freelance writer. He writes regularly for the Blade.

I went on a gay cruise once. About five or so years ago. My first and only. I was drawn in by the image of 2,000 or more gay men freely floating in the middle of a large, seemingly lawless ocean. That amount of freedom is appealing to anyone. It turns out it really wasn’t for me. I’m not knocking the cruise itself, I have plenty of friends that swear by it, returning year after year, like some gay pilgrims returning

to some sort of glittery gay holy land. But for me, my unique mix of social anxiety makes it more likely that I’ll intentionally spill a glass of wine on myself just to get out of an awkward conversation. “Oops. . . again. . .excuse me while I go change and soak this shirt.” I basically skipped the big, over-the-top, circuit-type parties and hung out mostly in the piano bar with a group known as the Silver Sailors. Also, like the most recent gay cruise produced by Atlantis Events, in partnership with Royal Caribbean, ours saw the death of a passenger. I didn’t know him or his friends. But apparently after a night of dancing and such, where I’m sure a great deal of party drugs were consumed, he had a fight with his boyfriend. Returning to his cabin in the very early hours of the morning, he flung himself off his balcony into the ocean. He was never found. That was only a day or two into our cruise. Parties went on, sure, for nothing really would have stopped us from the task at hand. But, as you can imagine, a pall

hung over the ship for the rest of the voyage. And the captain stopped making his cheery morning announcements. The cruise that just pulled into port last week saw the death of passenger Joel Taylor, the out and open host of the Discovery reality show “Storm Chasers.” TMZ reported that, “Taylor had been doing GHB late Monday night going into Tuesday morning, dancing during a wild party, when he lapsed into unconsciousness.” Adding that he was “carried into his cabin and left there.” Taylor was pronounced dead the following morning. Let me just say that Taylor’s death is indeed a tragedy. Somewhere there’s a family suffering terrible grief, coworkers cleaning out a cubicle, friends second-guessing every move and misstep. But here, the responsibility ultimately lies with the latter, and perhaps everyone aboard the ship who may have seen Taylor in an unsafe state. As a community, we need to do some growing up here. And I’m not saying, “don’t do drugs.” A blanket statement like

that is simplistic and naive. After all, how many people wait until 21 to drink, or for marriage to have sex? But if we want to be taken seriously as a community we also have to take our community seriously. Partying ourselves to death is certainly a terrible look for us. But this also means taking our relationships with a great dose of seriousness, and taking care of our friends when they’ve clearly had too much. I don’t want to point fingers directly at Taylor’s friends. Again, they will certainly live with unimaginable guilt for the rest of their lives. They don’t need anything else from me. But friendship, especially in minority communities, takes on a greater responsibility. Especially given that so many of us are removed from families and typical communities. We quickly fashion our own. But the responsibility to each other runs deeper than just simply putting someone to bed. Don’t run back to the party so quickly. Stay with them next time.


GLAAD recklessly sounds an alarm for a false fire LGBT organization issues click-bait survey analysis, exaggerates poll findings

MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

If you read the breathless click-bait headlines at some publications last week you might have thought LGBT Americans should race to underground bunkers for safety. Panic was not actually necessary. The alarm sounded by a national LGBT advocacy organization was mostly hooey and mainly hype. If you review GLAAD’s summary publication detailing the group’s fourth annual commissioned survey conducted by the Harris Poll, you would discover 79 percent of non-LGBT U.S. adults “support equal rights for the LGBT community.” The poll results – released by the group at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last Thursday – indicates no decline in support from the previous year.

The 4-in-5 number tracks with other national surveys and is even slightly higher than polling conducted by the Pew Research Center last October. The Pew poll indicated that super-majorities across demographics, including majorities for all age groups and political affiliations for the first time, believe “homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged by society.” GLAAD’s annual survey showed only minuscule fluctuations of two or three percent on “comfort questions” presumably within the margin of error, although that information is not revealed in the poll publication. These tiny shifts are instead called “significant declines” for the “personal interaction scenarios” measured. They include whether the respondent felt either “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable upon “learning my doctor is LGBT,” “learning my child’s teacher is LGBT” or “learning a family member is LGBT.” On all three questions, those saying they would be “uncomfortable” did not exceed 31 percent, and the average percentage for all seven “scenarios” polled was 30 percent, or less than one-third. On all questions there was a negligible fluctuation from previous years. GLAAD also “segments” non-LGBT Americans in three categories: “Allies” (those comfortable in all scenarios), “Detached Supporters” (those whose comfort

level varied across situations) and “Resisters” (those always uncomfortable). The number classified in each group was essentially unchanged over three years, with “Resisters” static at a mere 14 percent. There was only a 2 percent shift in both supporting categories, presumably within a standard margin of error, with fully half (49 percent) called “Allies” and “Detached Supporters” comprising 37 percent. These ballyhooed-with-alarm findings produced blaring headlines in some publications, such as, “It’s Official: America Suddenly Isn’t Comfortable with LGBT People,” “In Three Years, LGBT Americans Have Gone from Triumph to Backsliding,” “America Is Growing Less Tolerant on LGBT Rights” and “Acceptance of LGBT People Sees ‘Significant Declines’ in Troubling Shift.” Some advocates have even lumped “Detached Supporters” in with the hyperminority called “Resisters” of civil equality and social acceptance to claim that 51 percent are anti-LGBT. A fair appraisal would alternately tout a combined generally-or-fully supportive 86 percent. Adding to perceptions GLAAD spins a tale not evidenced by an actual or meaningful data shift is the fine-print declaration that fully 12 percent of American adults are LGBTQ. This numeric claim is an outlier of huge proportions when contrasted with all reputable polling, demo-

graphic reporting, historical data, or similar surveys. It’s tempting to utilize the popular vernacular and taint the false and exaggerated polling analysis by GLAAD as “fake news.” What is clear is that the only actual decline in acceptance is restricted to GLAAD’s reliability, respectability and reputation. The organization has crafted and generated a narrative neither credible nor persuasive, and certainly not reflective of the facts. What’s worse is the underlying notion that some LGBT political activists are apparently, despite rapid acceleration in acceptance, beholden to a supposed necessity of maintaining both a shit-your-pants type of trepidation within the LGBT community and fueling a never-ending posture of our victimization for everyone else. Without the slightest hint of irony, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis offers an observation in a notation accompanying the survey report: “Our stories have always been and will continue to be the front lines to accelerate acceptance.” We expect more accuracy and truthfulness, and less hyperbole, when telling that story.

ANNISE PARKER, former mayor of Houston, is president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, which trains LGBTQ leaders to run for office.


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Focus on 2018 not a few old men Kerry, Sanders and Biden? We can do better

PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

We need to stop this constant ego stroking of a bunch of old men who think they need to keep their names in the news by stoking possible presidential runs. Among them are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and now John Kerry who apparently refuse to admit their time to run for the presidency has passed. According to The Hill report, “Kerry told Palestinian officials that he was strongly considering a run in 2020.” Politico reports, “Bernie makes moves pointing to 2020 run” and Politico also reports “Joe Biden thinks it’s critical that Donald Trump not get a second term — and though it’s early, he

doesn’t yet see anyone else who could stop that from happening. So he’s been telling people privately, that might mean he’ll just have to run himself.” It is absurd we should be talking about electing a nearly 80-year-old president and all these men have run at least in a primary before and lost. Instead in 2018 we need a laser-like focus on taking back Congress, state legislatures and statehouses. These men should be looking to the future and spending their time helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders and getting them elected in 2018. They could actually help in this endeavor if they would stop looking in the mirror and asking as the evil queen did “who is the fairest of them all” and coming up with themselves as the answer. They may then accept there will be a new Snow White. Each of them has the experience and wisdom to share with a new generation if they came away from that mirror and mentored the next leaders of our great democracy. One of the things that usually goes along with running for office is an immense ego. It’s needed to think you can be a leader and do it better than anyone else. That ego can get in the way of knowing

when it’s your time to retire and help train others to take your place. We have seen this over and over again. Men clinging to office and power until they get carried out in a coffin. We are now seeing this happen with a few women. Running for a new sixyear term at the age of 84 might need to be rethought. But women do live longer than men and before we call on them to retire we do need to elect a lot more of them to equal the playing field. I write as a Baby Boomer myself and one who thinks he still has all his mental faculties. But getting hair plugs, face-lifts, joint replacements and having your teeth whitened doesn’t make you younger it only makes you look younger. I give a lot of credit to whoever chose Joseph Patrick Kennedy III to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union speech. He is a 38-year-old charismatic up-and-coming Democrat. He is part of the future of the Democratic Party and the nation. There are men and women across the nation having just won or who are running for election in 2018. They are our leaders of the future and these old men should be helping them instead of clinging to elected office themselves. Winners like Danica Roem and Justin Fairfax

in Virginia. Or Zach Wahls in Iowa, Maura Healey in Massachusetts, Christina Garcia in California, and a host of others who are running for reelection or running for office for the first time in 2018. In 2016, nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population fell in the 15 to 64 year age bracket. These are the people who should be leading our nation and among them are also the leaders of the future. We have mandatory retirement ages for workers in many industries and today many corporate boards have mandatory retirement ages with some also having term limits. I am not suggesting term limits in Congress as that is something I have always fought against. Instead it would be wonderful if some of our politicians set an age limit on themselves though that seems to be a pipedream. Our media certainly aren’t helping as many political writers, TV hosts and prognosticators are becoming lazier about reporting on anyone whose name they don’t intimately know. They only write about or give air time to the same old faces. We can only hope some of those tired old faces will recognize they are not the future and find someone they can support who is.


‘Mrs. Maisel’ a vibrant reminder of a #MeToo past Amazon show reminds us that women rebelling isn’t a new thing

KATHI WOLFE, a regular contributor to the Blade, was the winner of the 2014 Stonewall Chapbook Competition.

What’s getting me through this winter of endless Trump tweets and freezing cold? The Golden Globe-winning Amazon show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” (“Maisel” won for Best Musical or Comedy TV Series and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy TV series.) Why am I in love with “Mrs. Maisel?” Because “Maisel,” created by Amy ShermanPalladino who gave us “Gilmore Girls,” is “Mad Men” if it were a vibrantly colored, campy Broadway musical with crackling, rapid-fire dialogue, fab hats and

beautiful-only-in-movies snow scenes. Binge-watching the show is like observing the folkways and customs of natives of another planet. Yet, in our #MeToo era where women and gender non-conforming people often still struggle to be themselves, “Mrs. Maisel” feels timely and eerily familiar. “Maisel,” set in 1958 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel. Midge is a Jewish housewife with a sharp, sometimes ruthless wit, loser husband Joel (Michael Zegen) and two cute children, who makes fabulous brisket. They live in an incredible apartment (no one, no matter how rich lives in such amazing digs in real life, but who cares?). Trouble comes to this paradise when Joel, who has a “man in the gray flannel suit” job tries to break into stand-up comedy at the “Gaslight,” a comedy club in Greenwich Village. His act is beyond bad – it’s not even his own material. It’s a bit he stole from Bob Newhart. Joel leaves Midge to have an affair with his secretary. Midge, disgusted with Joel, gets drunk, rushes to the “Gaslight” and delivers a brilliant, obscenity-laced comic mono-

logue. The audience doesn’t know what to make of it. But, no matter. Midge kills. Then “Mrs. Maisel” takes off. Soon Midge is arrested for going topless and using obscenities. She meets Lenny Bruce (this is TV!) who helps her find a lawyer. Susie, the butch comedy manager of the Gaslight (Alex Borstein) becomes her champion. “She is brilliant!” Susie, who’s become Midge’s personal manager gushes about Midge. Midge isn’t a second, let alone third wave, feminist. She’s a creature of her time. Though a Bryn Mawr graduate, she’s never worked or thought of working. Midge measures her legs and thighs to make sure that her figure is still svelte. She gets up in the middle of the night to put on her make-up and set her hair so Joel will think she’s always perfectly coiffed and made up. Yet, Midge isn’t a shrinking violet. Midge is a funny, confident, Joan Rivers type woman who delivers her own wedding toast. “Maisel” has a queer resonance. Along with the soundtrack (Barbra Streisand singing “Happy Days Are Here Again”), there’s the bond between Midge and Susie. Though different in class and sexuality, they become a close team as they

work to launch Midge’s comedic career. Susie is a working-class woman who lives with gender stereotyping because she doesn’t look like most hetero women. “At least he said young,” Susie says when a judge at a hearing on Midge’s obscenity charge calls her a “young man.” Midge’s privileged life is tranquil until her marriage splits up. Then, she’s forced to get a job for the first time. (You understand why she loves her work! Midge works as a saleswoman at a sumptuously decorated department store.) Though Midge is hetero, her comedy breaks taboos in the manner of Rivers and Lenny Bruce. In a time when few knocked motherhood, she talks of her ambivalence about being a mother. “It’s supposed to be natural,” Midge says, “the equipment is preinstalled.” We often think of the 1950s as being the time of “the silent generation” – a period of little rebellion against social norms. It’s easy to believe that gender non-conformity is a present-day issue or that queer life was completely invisible mid-century. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a lively, vibrant, non-didactic reminder that this isn’t the case. Check it out.


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Sugar & Spice

A sassy Valentine’s Day gift guide for queer friends and lovers From $10 trinkets with zip to big-ticket items that inspire LGBT togetherness (and nakedness), these are the gifts to give for love’s big hurrah.

BEYONCÉ PENCIL SET Tell him “Boy, Hi!” with this Beyoncéinspired five-pack pencil set (made exclusively by women — because who runs the world? Girls!), each embossed in gold with a famous Bey-ism, like “I Ain’t Sorry,” “What Would Beyoncé Do?” and “I Twirl On Them Haters.” $10, shop.whohaha.com

KODAK PRINTOMATIC Yesteryear’s pointand-shoot camera meets today’s in-an-instant technology in Kodak’s Printomatic, which produces 2-inch by 3-inch full color and black-and-white photos with adhesive backing directly from the camera’s body. Start a scrapbook of your adventures using the line’s decorating tools, like vibrant gel pen sets, mini photo punchers, border stickers and more. $70, kodak.com

CAFFLANO KLASSIC COFFEE MAKER This all-in-one portable coffee maker — it grinds, filters and drips into a travel mug for a hot-andready pick-me-up — will save enough time in the morning that you two can sneak in a riseand-shine lay-me-down. $95, primarygroup.net

CLUVENTURE SURPRISE VACAY Take your better half on a getaway to remember (complete with “treasure” hunt) that begins when you receive clues in the mail that lead you to a surprise destination. Cluventure develops vacation programs based on your travel and activity preferences, but where you’ll end up is a secret until departure day. LGBT-friendliness considered when booking. Price based on itinerary, cluventuretravel.com


TRNTBL + VINYLGRAM Dust off your sex-spiked vinyls (or spring for a new one, like Justin Timberlake’s just-released “Man of the Woods” LP) for a spin on the Bluetoothenabled, social-connected TRNTBL for a filthy date night in, or, if you prefer a little more romance, play your personally recorded Vinylgram message to make him melt like hot chocolate in your pocket. $499, trntbl.co; $20, vinylgram.com

Juices will flow when you open Tom of Finland’s Outstanding Red wine, a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Syrah featuring labels of the brand’s iconic artwork. Afterward, start a collection of keepsake corks with a custommade shadow box that promises everlasting companionship for couples that like to get hammered together. $24, t o m o ff i n d l a n d w i n e s . com; $60, homewetbar. com












KODAK PRINTOMATIC Yesteryear’s pointand-shoot camera meets today’s in-aninstant technology in Kodak’s Printomatic, which produces 2-inch by 3-inch full color and black-and-white photos with adhesive backing directly from the camera’s body. Start a scrapbook of your adventures using the line’s decorating tools, like vibrant gel pen sets, mini photo punchers, border stickers and more. $70, kodak.com

SOOTHE MASSAGE SERVICE Strip down and let somebody else take you to heaven with their hands with an on-demand massage via Soothe, offering spa-quality massages wherever you are. Make it an in-home couple’s retreat with deep tissue, Swedish or sports massages plus all the accoutrements, including massage tables, fresh linens, lotions, oils and relaxing music delivered right to your door. $119225, soothe.com

SKY-HIGH PROPOSAL IN LOS ANGELES If you’re planning to pop the question this Valentine’s Day (or anytime thereafter), consider the newly launched “sky-high proposal” experience at OUE Skyspace L.A., the tallest open-air observation deck west of the Mississippi. The Terrace for Two package – which takes place 1,000 feet above the City of Angels – includes a private chef-prepared dinner, three-string quartet playing ‘your’ song, lighting display on the crown of the U.S. Bank tower to announce your engagement, a slide down Skyspace’s famous 45-foot Skyslide, and a private helicopter tour for your flyaway finale. Who could say no to that? Email for pricing details, oue-skyspace.com

CALIFORNIA DATES + CHAMPAGNE-INFUSED ICE POPS Ditch the heart-shaped boxes of Russell Stover and budget-busting perennials in favor of an offbeat approach to sweets and treats: Rancho Meladuco’s plump, juicy California dates paired with a bouquet of FrutaPOP’s boozy passion fruit champagne ice pops. A new nontraditional tradition is born (for less than the cost of those dead-in-a-day roses). $16-18, ranchomeladuco.com; $60, frutapop.com

HAIR-ON COWHIDE SHOES Natural hair-on cowhide with unique mottled patterns will make a statement when y’all step out for dinner and a movie, but it’s also something you can feel good about. Each pair of Uwezos purchased provides a percentage of profits to Empower African Children to help students across the continent achieve higher education. $125-165, uwezobrands.com

MIKEY ROX is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.












Cozy table for two? Del Mar, Fiola Mare among hot spots offering prix fixe menus

By EVAN CAPLAN Those looking for love using a fork and knife in D.C. this year have plenty to celebrate. At restaurants across Washington on Valentine’s Day, everything’s coming up roses. And since many restaurants are stretching celebrations all week, you may have more than just Feb. 14 to get your V-Day deal in. Refinement comes alive at the St. Regis (923 16th St., N.W.), a downtown hotel. It’s offering an air of the Mediterranean this year with a threecourse prix-fixe deal, along with an optional bubbly pairing. Beyond dinner Feb. 14, the exec chef is hosting a soufflé cooking class and champagne tasting on Saturday, Feb. 10, which also includes passed hors d’oeuvres and a parting gift. Plus, every Saturday in February, following the daily 6 p.m. champagne sabering, guests can take part in the St. Regis Chocolate Indulgence experience, which features themed Valentine’s Day cocktails and a chocolate buffet. Yes, a buffet entirely of chocolate. Details at stregiswashingtondc.com. Down by the water, sustainableforward Fiola Mare (3050 K St., N.W.) brings home the seafood-as-aphrodisiac philosophy, along with an Italian twist. The three-course prix fixe ($95) includes antipasti, main and dessert. The creamy Buffalo mozzarella burrata is a good start, followed by options including red king prawns, creamy lobster ravioli and risotto al tartufo (black truffle shavings optional). Dessert brings panna cotta, among other treats. Details at fiolamaredc.com. Fabio Trabocchi’s celebrated new entrant Del Mar (791 Wharf St., S.W.), also by the river on the Southwest Waterfront, is going all out for its Valentine’s Day options. There are two menu options: the five-course Menu de Los Enamorados ($135) and the four-course, more prosaically named Valentine’s Day Menu ($95). In the former, you’ll enjoy tuna ceviche, a braised veal cheek dish called “Beso en el Cachete” (literally, kiss on the cheek) and more. The latter provides more choices, including one tapa starter, an appetizer, main and dessert. There are

also specialty cocktails, like the tequilabased Lunas Rotas (broken moons) as well as optional wine pairings. Details at delmardc.com. Valentine’s Day is meant to be hot. City Tap Dupont (1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W., suite 105)) warms it up with smoky cocktails and dinner specials. Guests can dig into hop-smoked mussels with bacon jam and burnt lemon, smoked-beef tenderloin with grilled orange cauliflower and a “Bourbon Biggie” s’mores dessert with burnt marshmallow fluff. Details at dupont.citytap.com. From smoky to sour, sister restaurant City Tap Penn Quarter (901 9th St., N.W.) puckers up with a “mini tap takeover” by sour beers. Dishes tend toward the rich side to stand up to the beers, with options like lobster pappardelle, a charcuterie board and four-layer chocolate cake with red-velvet sauce. Details at pennquarter.citytap.com. A Washington institution, Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) is elegance suffused with saffron. The restaurant has come back into the news with the opening of its flashy new little brother, Bindaas in Cleveland Park. For Valentine’s Day, there will be a fourcourse menu for ($85). Start with the popular crispy kale chat, enjoy delicately spiced curries and stay for sweet finishes. Live jazz will be performed throughout the night. Details at bombayclubdc.com. Decadence is also on the menu at the Source (575 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.), available all week long (Feb. 9-17). To provide a taste of what the five-course tasting menu entails, the extravaganza begins with oysters and royal Osetra caviar, paired with Lanson “Black Label” Champagne. Other courses include lobster and black truffle soup, a 28day dry-aged steak and a Marjolaine pastry. You might want to break out the cocktail dresses for this one. Details at wolfgangpuck.com. Befitting an establishment dedicated to vino, Cork (1805 14th St., N.W.) is hosting its eighth annual champagne dinner ($100), featuring six champagnes from diverse wine traditions. The dinner will take place in the restaurant’s brandspanking-new private dining room, which


D.C. has no shortage of intimate spots for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

seats 24. Wine experts Ed and Barbara from Wine Traditions will be featured to speak about the hand-selected producers. The day before Valentine’s Day, Town Hall’s (2340 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) hosting a Galentine’s Day celebration, with half-price bottles of wine and a delightful Nutella brownie. No word if Leslie Knope will make an appearance. Details at corkdc.com. Galentine’s Day is also on the menu at Pennsylvania 6 (1350 I St., N.W.), but instead, for brunch. Gather those gal pals on Feb. 10 or 11 from 11a.m.-3 p.m., and you’ll be treated to a complimentary glass of sparkling and shareable dessert for the table with mention of “Galentine’s Brunch” when making reservations. On the big day itself, the resto goes retro with its Valentine’s Day dance-themed dinner. There’ll be a three-course prixfixe “sweetheart menu” complete with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine ($50). Straight from the middle-school gym, get ready for photo ops in front of the balloon arch and sing aloud to blast-from-the-past-tunes. Optional but encouraged? Corsages, of course. Details at pennsylvania6dc.com. A fresh entrant to the dining scene, Supra (1205 11th St., N.W.) is bringing high-end Georgian cuisine to Shaw. For Valentine’s Day, it’s writing a love letter

to Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani. The legend has it that the artist sold all his belongings to buy the object of his adoration, a French actress, a million red roses to fill the square in front of her hotel. While going that far might not be recommended, a meal here may get you close. Start off with rose-themed cocktails, like Ring Around the Rose-y, with gin, rosewater and a rose-powder rim. V-Day-only specials include seared duck with black walnuts and baked trout over herbed asparagus salad. Details at supradc.com. RareSweets (963 Palmer Alley, N.W.) will have several treats available in store and for pre-order Feb. 9-14. Look for the Love Song Lyric cookies featuring iconic romantic hits, along with heartshaped cookies. Kick it up with the spicy chocolate cake covered in chocolate icing with cayenne pepper and topped with toasted marshmallow. Details at raresweets.com. While juicy chicken might not be an aphrodisiac, balls of fried dough just might do the trick. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G St., N.W.) is offering a Valentine’s Day Mini Box ($22), with orange blossom, raspberry rose, Crème Brulee, and other flavors. A sweet finish to the holiday. Details at astrodoughnuts.com.


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Michael Urie’s Hamlet is explosive.”

–DC Theatre Scene

“ SENSATIONAL… Director Michael Kahn has given us a Hamlet for our times.”






ORDER TODAY! Hamlet is underwritten by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Production support for Hamlet is provided in part by Steve and Diane Rudis. Restaurant Partner:

Photo by Tony Powell

ShakespeareTheatre.org | 202.547.1122

2 6 • F E B RUA RY 0 2, 2018



All-male comic dance phenomenon



Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and more

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


Thrilling taiko drumming


Britten’s enchanting opera






Champagne, chocolates, photo booth, and more! Visit cfa.gmu.edu.

Located on the Fairfax campus, six miles west of Beltway exit 54 at the intersection of Braddock Road and Rt. 123.












MICHAEL McBRIDE, left, and his fiance, SAMUEL ROBERTS. Both are dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN; COURTESY THE COUPLE

Love in motion Alvin Ailey Dance Theater members find unexpected attraction By MARIAH COOPER mcooper@washblade.com Michael McBride and his boyfriend Samuel Roberts were getting drinks at Locksmith, a local haunt near their New York City home, on an unassuming January day in 2016. While McBride was expecting a casual drink, he was shocked when Roberts suddenly jumped to his feet and began singing the Warblers rendition of “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry from “Glee” joined by a group of their friends wearing matching Warbler uniforms. For “Glee” fans the song marked the start of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship. As their friends and family flooded the tiny bar, McBride and Roberts would also kickstart

a chapter of their own relationship. Roberts got down on one knee and asked McBride, who had started crying, to marry him. He said yes. “I am the nosiest person that you will ever meet. The fact that I had not even a clue. I’m wearing mom jeans and a sweatshirt and I smelled like bleach. I had been cleaning my apartment all day,” McBride says. The theatrical proposal shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. McBride, 29, and Roberts, 40, are both dancers in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. They

spend six months of the year performing in New York City and the other half touring all over the world. The company stops by the Kennedy Center for a six-day residency Feb. 6-11 with McBride and Roberts performing separately and together. The couple will unite on stage for works including “The Golden Section,” “Stack Up” and “The Hunt.” “It’s really fun when we get to connect and play off each other,” Roberts says. From roommates, to friends, to lovers, the couple first met in 2009 when they both auditioned for the Alvin Ailey company, which they approximate as

being 80 percent gay men, on the same day. They were also each hired by the company that day. McBride, a newbie to the professional dancing world, admits he doesn’t remember meeting Roberts that day. He was too overwhelmed with securing his contract. However, his emotional response was exactly what caught Roberts’ eye, given he was a more seasoned professional dancer. As a company rule, dancers were required to have roommates on tour. McBride and Roberts found themselves CONTINUES ON PAGE 40


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Q U E E RY : 2 0 Q U E ST I O N S F O R RA N D Y SN I G H T

RANDY SNIGHT How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?


By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com All kinds of worlds collide when a bunch of gay guys get together to play flag football. For Randy Snight, in his sixth year (12th season) and newly appointed director of community with the D.C. Gay Flag Football League, it’s a place to enjoy beauty and competition with folks from all walks of life. Although the vast majority of its about 280 players are gay men, there are women, straight men and a few trans folks in the league, founded in 1994. “I like the physicality of the game, seeing the beautiful catches or dives,” says the 30-year-old, fifth-generation native Washingtonian. “Comes from the dancing and liking to see the human body pushed to the limits. … I’m no great athlete but I’m … snarky … and the (league) was the perfect place for me.” The league has its Super Bowl party on Sunday, Feb. 4 from 6-10 p.m. at the 18th & U Duplex Diner (2004 18th St., N.W.) where members will watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots. Search for the league on Facebook for details or visit dcgffl.org for details. Snight says generally league members who watch football on TV prefer college over NFL. He’s not particularly invested in any NFL franchise and says the only team he’s rooting for Sunday night is the league. “I’m so into the league here because I have connections with the players,” Snight says. “The NFL is too far removed.” Snight works as a dancer/aerialist and is active in the Maryland Renaissance Festival. He moved back to Washington six years ago after going to school in South Carolina. He’s single and lives in a row house in Logan Circle. He enjoys board games, fantasy/sci-fi literature, his gay book club and planning “gaytherings” with friends in his free time.


Junior year of high school. My comingout process was a dream. Great support from loving parents and strong social group in school and theater. It’s super lame but the hardest person to tell was myself, the whole I’m-different-anddon’t-have-the-words-for-it-yet thing. Who’s your LGBT hero? I’m torn between David Sedaris and Ellen. What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? I’ve never been disappointed at Town and Country. Always a fun atmosphere, people actually interacting in gay nightlife. Describe your dream wedding. Beach lover so probably doing the destination thing. Have known what I’m going to wear since undergrad and I need a light breeze or some industrial fans to get the photos right. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Children having access to highquality performing arts programs. Every time you are involved in putting on a production, no matter your role, you become a better human. It opens up so many avenues for kids. What historical outcome would you change? The decline of reason, intellect, science and material wealth that brought us into the Dark Ages. I’m so curious where humanity would be if we’d used those 400 years differently. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Taking a bow onstage at the Kennedy Center. Once in a 40-pound bear suit and again after sharing the stage with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Oh, and I got to be a crossdressing flying valkyrie. Art opens doors kids. On what do you insist? If you make plans, keep them. I’m not deep cleaning my house so you can decide to do something else at the last minute. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? I announced that registration is now open for season 16 of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League.

If your life were a book, what would the title be? “Your First Mistake Was Inviting Me” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Ask everyone to give it a 30-day trial period. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I think magic exists but it’s small things like the yellow light lasting just a bit longer or your battery staying at one percent for 10 minutes, bartenders giving you a drink because they’re in a great mood that night. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Identify and promote all aspects of the LGBT spectrum. Working with kids, I know it’s the most wonderful thing to see parts of yourself celebrated and acknowledged. I need my out and proud NASCAR driver. What would you walk across hot coals for? Let’s be honest — I’d do it for attention. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That we label everything. Everyone’s an animal this and a hashtag that. And then the specific groups don’t get along. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar” What’s the most overrated social custom? Can we stop linking our private Instagram galleries on Grindr? That’d be great thanks. What trophy or prize do you most covet? The Sportsmanship Award I won the first season I captained in the league. What do you wish you’d known at 18? Don’t use other people’s accomplishments as a measure of your own success. Why Washington? There’s no place like home.


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I love wandering through Smithsonian museums, eating on H Street with friends, and going to shows at Howard Theatre.

I’m a transgender woman and I’m part of DC. Please treat me the way any woman would want to be treated: with courtesy and respect. Discrimination based on gender identity and expression is illegal in the District of Columbia. If you think you’ve been the target of discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov or call (202) 727-4559.



Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter.


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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com Shear Madness. Thru Jun 10. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Stand- Up Studios Comedy Showcase Night. Feb 3. Stand-Up Studios. standupstudios.com. The Wolves. Thru Mar 4. Studio Theatre. studiotheatre.org. Everything Is Illuminated. Thru Feb 4. Theater J. theaterj.org. Familiar. Feb 7-Mar 4. Woolly Mammoth. woollymammoth.net.

DANCE Light Years Feb 6-Mar 4. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org.

Enriched with beautiful folk-rock music, inventive lyrics and Robbie Schaefer’s disarming humor, Light Years is a deeply personal tale of immigration, musical gifts and the steadfast bond between father and son.

10 Hairy Legs Feb 3-Feb 4. Dance Place. danceplace.org.


New York City’s 10 Hairy Legs is an all-male repertory dance company performing existing and newly commissioned works by acclaimed dancemakers around the world. In Celebrating the Artistry of the Male Dancer, the company features works by Stephen Petronio, Doug Elkins and more.

No Word In Guyanese For Me Feb 8-Mar 4. Rainbow Theatre Company at DC Arts Center. womensvoicestheaterfestival.org.

A poetic and lyrical play that is a beautiful exploration of religious and sexual identity. This is the journey of Hanna, who struggles to come to terms with her sexual identity, her devotion to her faith, and the right to be accepted for who she is, a gay Muslim.

Cabaret Rising One Nation. Underground. Feb 9-Mar 4. Dupont Underground. dupontunderground.org.

A one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical evening where your decisions impact every aspect of your experience. Choose an alliance, uncover puzzles and meet a contortionist or two. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIGNATURE THEATRE

THEATRE 4,380 Nights. Thru Feb 18. Pride Night. Feb 2. Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly. Feb 5. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. The Way of the World. Thru Feb 11. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. Something Rotten! Feb 6-Feb 18. National Theatre. thenationaldc.org. Queens Girl in Africa. Thru Feb 4. Mosaic Theater Company. Atlas. mosaictheater.org. Ivy League of Comedy: Battle of the Sexes. Feb 2. BlackRock. blackrockcenter.org. Imogen. Thru Feb 11. Pointless

American Ballet Theatre. Thru Feb 4. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Feb 6-Feb 11. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Feb 2. GMU Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu. What’s Going On: The Marvin Gaye Project. Feb 7. RCC. CenterStage at RCC. restoncommunitycenter.com.

Theatre. Dance Loft on 14. pointlesstheatre.com. Wintry Mix. Thru Feb 4. Improv Wars. Thru May 21. DC Arts Center. dcartscenter.org. Jefferson’s Garden. Thru Feb 11. Ford’s Theatre. fords.org. La Foto (A Selfie Affair). Thru Feb 25. GALA Hispanic Theatre. galatheatre.org. Unnecessary Farce. Thru Feb 10. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com. Aubergine. Feb 7-Mar 4. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. Peter and the Starcatcher. Thru Feb 3. Reston Community Players. RCC. restonplayers.org.

Steven Page & The Art of Time Ensemble. Feb 3. Let It Flow. Feb 2. Laura Osnes. Feb 7. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. DC Highlife Stars. Feb 2. Arlington Cultural Affairs. Columbia Pike Branch Library. arlingtonarts.org. NSO: Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. Thru Feb 3. NSO: Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony. Feb 8-Feb 10. Ruthie Foster. Feb 2. ArcoIris Sandoval’s Sonic Asylum Quintet. Feb 3. Leonard Bernstein, His World Through Music. Feb 6. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with Dr. Cornel West. Feb 2. Jon Stickley Trio. Feb 8. Strathmore. strathmore.org. A Branch of Freshest Green. Feb 2-Feb 3. Folger Consort at Washington National Cathedral. folger.edu. All The Things You Are: Jerome Kern. Thru Feb 4. In Series. Atlas. inseries.org. Steel Wheels. Feb 3. BlackRock. blackrockcenter.org. Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. Feb 3. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Feb 7. Washington Performing Arts at Kennedy Center. washingtonperformingarts.org. Etienne Charles: Creole Soul. Feb 2. The Clarice at MilkBoy ArtHouse. theclarice.umd.edu. Daniel Bernard Roumain and Yayoi Ikawa. Feb 4. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. New York Festival of Song: Bernstein at 100. Feb 2. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Feb 5-Feb 6. Wolf Trap. The

Barns. wolftrap.org.

MUSEUMS Folger Shakespeare Library. Painting Shakespeare. Thru Feb 11. folger.edu. National Archives. Remembering Vietnam. Thru Jan 6. archivesfoundation.org. Anderson House. Studying the Art of War in Revolutionary America. Thru Mar 4. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Collecting in Paris and London, 1912–1919. Thru Mar 31. doaks.org. Kreeger Museum. Against the Day by Richard Deutsch. Thru Jan 1. kreegermuseum.org. Library of Congress. Drawn to Purpose. Thru Oct 20. loc.gov. National Gallery of Art. Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Thru May 13. Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’. Thru Oct 28. nga.gov. National Geographic. Tomb of Christ. Thru Aug 15. nglive.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Hung Liu In Print. Thru Jul 8. nmwa.org. National Portrait Gallery. The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers. Thru Sep 3. Portraits of the World: Switzerland. Thru Nov 12. npg.si.edu. Woodrow Wilson House. The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. Thru Feb 28. woodrowwilsonhouse.org.

GALLERIES Strathmore. Jordann Wine. Thru Mar 4. The 27th Annual Strathmore Juried Exhibition. Thru Mar 4. Jennifer Kahn Barlow. Thru Dec 1. strathmore.org. The Art League. Sally Canzoneri. Thru Feb 4. theartleague.org. Waverly Street Gallery. Leni Berliner. Thru Feb 3. Invitational Exhibit, 40+ Local Artists. Feb 4-Mar 3. waverlystreetgallery.com. Bender JCC. Na’aseh V’nishma. Thru Feb 14. benderjccgw.org. BlackRock. Handcrafted: Fiber Art & Turned Wood. Thru Feb 24. Rhonda J. Smith. Thru Feb 24. blackrockcenter.org. DC Arts Center. Prints from Lily Press. Feb 2-Mar 4. dcartscenter.org. Dupont Circle. First Friday Dupont Circle Art Walk. Feb 2. dupontcirclemainstreets.org. Zenith Gallery. In the Beginning: The Rhode Island Years, 1978-1986. Feb 7-Apr 28. zenithgallery.com. gallery neptune & brown. Michael Craig-Martin. Thru Mar 3. galleryneptunebrown.com.



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Educated at Brown, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins Washingtonian Magazine Top Doc PHOTO COURTESY FORD’S

The cast of ‘Jefferson’s Garden,’ an intriguing work plagued by tone problems.

Back to the ‘Garden’ Lively epic follows characters during country’s founding By PATRICK FOLLIARD Seeing historical fiction performed in an historic venue like Ford’s Theatre adds a certain charm and gravitas to the work. And while the Ford’s museumlike experience is precise in presenting events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, its current offering, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Jefferson’s Garden,” brings together facts, near facts and plausible imaginings to tell a personal as well as political story of America’s past that resonates today. Broadly based on the founding of the United States, Wertenbaker’s 2015 lively epic is an exploration of both the aspirations and failures of that achievement. The play opens with its nine-person chorus requesting dramatic license: “We have to ask you to be genderblind, color-blind, age-blind, shape-blind, but in all other ways perceptive.” On opening night, Ford’s amenable audience enthusiastically went along for the ride. There’s swift and engaging exposition. A Quaker family crosses the Atlantic in search of a peaceful life in the colonies. Along the way, despite the termagant matriarch’s protests, an educated German revolutionary joins their ranks. Under the patient patriarch’s guidance, the German adopts the family’s religion and trade (shoemaking), and then marries their daughter. They settle in Maryland. Fast-forward about 20 years. The German’s wife has died. Their son Christian (out actor Christopher Dinolfo), a young idealist eager to join the revolution, decamps for Williamsburg in search of his hero Thomas Jefferson, free thinker and author of the Declaration of Independence. At the legendary Raleigh Tavern, he finds both revolutionary

luminaries and romance with Susannah (Felicia Curry), a slave working as a server. British-based playwright Wertenbaker presents the founding fathers’ idealistic and pragmatic approach to change, including the Three-Fifths Compromise which counted an African American as fraction of a person. American patriots aren’t romanticized: They kill a maimed and defenseless loyalist in cold blood. And the British-based playwright pokes fun at the southern slaveholding class, portraying its chattering women as particularly silly and mean-spirited. And her knowing and often repeated line about Virginia being one big family is quite funny — the first time. Costumed in muted-colored breeches and dresses suggesting colonial times, most or some of the cast is always onstage, participating in the action or watching from the sidelines. Fanciful takes on more sumptuous and military attire and wigs hang visibly on racks. Throughout there’s a bold theatricality energetically executed by actors, designers and director Nataki Garrett. Still, the tone is uneven. It’s best when neither too didactic nor going for laughs. The cast is uniformly strong including an aristocratic Michael Hallings and Michael Kevin Darnall who displays wry humor. Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival (whose mission is to highlight both the scope of plays being written by women and the range of professional theater being produced in the D.C. region), “Jefferson’s Garden” serves up food for thought on what it means to be an American and whose lives matter. ‘JEFFERSON’S GARDEN’ Through Feb. 8 Ford’s Theatre 511 Tenth Street NW $17-64 888-616-0270 Fords.org

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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 Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male comedy ballet troupe, performs at the Center for the Arts building at George Mason University (4373 Mason Pond Dr., Fairfax, Va.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $3050. For more details, visit trockadero.org. Shakespeare Theatre Company (450 7th St., N.W.) presets “Hamlet” tonight at 8 p.m. Out actor Michael Urie stars as Hamlet. The show runs through March 4. Tickets range from $59-125. For more information, visit shaespearetheare.org. Mid-Atlantic Rubber Collective and D.C. Leather Pride host Gummi: A Rubber Gear Social at Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. For details, visit facebook.com/ midatlanticrubbercollective. The QREW hosts a February party at Songbyrd Music House & Record Café (2475 18th St., N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. There will photo booths, giveaways and free swag. DJ KB will play music for her first QREW event. For more information, visit facebook.com/qrewdc. David Hamilton Events presents a ‘90s pajamas and underwear party at Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. DJ Tryfe will play music all night. There will be giveaways and drink specials. Entry is $10 all night or free with advance Eventbrite ticket. For more details, visit greenlanterndc.com. AGLA and Go Gay D.C. hosts a happy hour at Pinzimini (801 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. No cover. Everyone welcome. For more information, visit gogaydc.org.

SATURDAY, FEB. 3 Rumba Latina presents “Love is Love,” a gay dance party, at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. DJ EZ and DJ Madscience will spin tracks. Sylvanna Dali, Mayline Guerrero, Chomy, Ivanna Vivaldi, Gia Martinez and Emon Couture will make appearances. Drink specials run all night. Admission is $10. For more information, visit cobatldc.com. Hummer D.C., a new gay dance party, is at Glorious Health Club (2120 Virginia Ave., N.E.) tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Fetish dress code is requested. There will be a free clothes check. For more details, visit facebook.com/hummerdc. Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) presents DJ Hector Fonseca tonight at 10 p.m. Drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Cover is $15 from 10 p.m.-midnight and $12 after midnight. For more information, visit towndc.com.


Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a drag ballet outfit, performs tonight at George Mason University.

SUNDAY, FEB. 4 D.C. Gay Flag Football League hosts a Super Bowl party at 18th & U Duplex Diner (2004 18th St., N.W.) this evening at 6 p.m. There will be drink and food specials. For more details, visit facebook. com/dcgayflagfootball. Bluf: D.C., a leather party, is at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) today from 4-9 p.m. Leather men and women are welcome. For more information, visit facebook.com/eagledc. Drag performer Donna Slash guest bartends at Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Happy hour specials run until 10 p.m. For more details, visit facebook.com/tradebardc.

MONDAY, FEB. 5 Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) presents Seeing Deeper: Space, Light and Sound tonight from 6:30-8:45 p.m. The cathedral will be filled with moving lights and sounds for one night only. There will be a session at 6:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. RSVP is required. For more information, visit facebook.com/wncatherdral. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit

thedccenter.org. Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

TUESDAY, FEB. 6 IVY hosts Culture Night at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) for a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tonight at 7 p.m. Arrival is at 6:30 p.m. RSVP is required. For more details, visit facebook.com/ivyconnect. Joe Biden brings his “American Promise Tour” to the Anthem (901 Wharf St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Biden will reveal his biggest political moments and how the loss of his son Beau gave him a renewed purpose. Tickets are $95-145 and include a copy of his memoir “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose.” For more information, visit theanthemdc. com. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts its ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 7 Outwrite, Theatre Prometheus and D.C. Queer Theatre Fest present “An Evening of One Page Plays” at Ten Tigers Parlour (3813 Georgia Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. Winners of the 2017 Queer One Page Play Competition will present their plays.

The winning plays will include “Slur” by Kate Bishop, “Message from the ‘The Legba’” by Rashid Darden, “Reaction” by Sophie Herreid, “Hispanos, Latinxs, Indigenas, y Culeros” by Xemiyulu Manibusan, “I Am Proud” by Zachary Rosen and “Goodnight Kiss” by Kiera Whalen. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit facebook.com/outwritedc. The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for social bridge. No partner needed. For more information, call 301-345-1571. Prime Timers of D.C., a social group for mature gay and bisexual men, meet at Windows above Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) today at 6:30 p.m. For more details call George at 301-3950544 or visit primetimersdc.org. Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) to discuss Hanya Yanagihara’s novel “A Little Life.” Details at bookmendc.blogspot.com.

THURSDAY, FEB. 8 JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W.) hosts a viewing party for “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” tonight from 8-9 p.m. For more details, visit facebook.com/jrsbardc. LezLink hosts a lesbian happy hour at the Prospect (1214 U St., N.W.) this evening from 6-9 p.m. There will be food and drink specials until 8 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/ lezlinkevents.



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‘Both Sides’ now? New book shows race, gender overlapped throughout history

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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 bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

Racial issues continue to plague the U.S. and though finally on the national radar, transgender rights lag far behind gay and lesbian rights here. Funnel that complicated history through the clouded scrim of history and it gets way messier — but also fascinating. The new book “Black on Both Sides” by C. Riley Snorton takes something you might think is a lark and shows it wasn’t nearly as historically uncommon as you might think. When the Cornell University Library recently assembled a display of historical queer and trans performance items, there was a singular piece of paper that caught Snorton’s eye: it was a French postcard depicting two black “transvestite” performers, possibly in a minstrel show or at a cakewalk, which was likewise a popular form of entertainment, circa 1900. The Library called it a “rare” piece, but Snorton shows that AfricanAmerican history is rife with examples of transgenderism. During the Civil War, for example, archives indicate that many slaves, particularly women, dressed in men’s clothing in order to be seen as male and to avoid bondage. Even Harriet Tubman disguised herself as a man to deter arrest. Ellen and William Craft took it a bit further when Ellen dressed as a man, and her husband as her manservant, in order for both to escape slavery. Black sex trade workers sometimes dressed as women, often to great mocking and even greater scandal. One was nicknamed “The Man-Monster,” a frightening 1836 moniker for Peter Sewally, also known as Mary Jones. Nearly a century later, Lucy Hicks Anderson, a madam, became “’the first transgendered black to be legally tried and convicted … for impersonating a woman,’” and was sent to prison for it. And while some wish to keep their cross-dressing in private, others don’t mind becoming famous: Snorton cites national media sources for bringing forward the stories of Ava Betty Brown

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and Annie Lee Grant, both featured in Ebony and Jet magazines, the latter photographed in clothing for men and for women. “Black on Both Sides” falters right from its very subchapter: large parts of the book are about people who temporarily dressed in clothing associated with those of another gender in order to escape situations, not because they were transgender. Here, it’s also about a white man who performed gynecological operations on enslaved women without benefit of anesthesia; they, and a black cisgender friend of trans murder victim Brandon Teena’s, are included with the thinnest of connections. Even comprehending this book is a challenge: single sentences, which are written in language that may test the most scholarly of readers, can often be measured in inches on a page; readers might also quibble with issues of definition, particularly “transgender” versus “cross-dressing.” Author C. Riley Snorton refers to both in this book, but doesn’t make strong distinctions between the two. To the good, the research done here is stellar. There’s a wide variety of case studies and interesting stories in this book — much more than the average person might think there’d be — but whether they’re accessible is quite another matter. Overall, unless you like your head to spin, put “Black on Both Sides” down and go in a different direction. ‘BLACK ON BOTH SIDES: A RACIAL HISTORY OF TRANS IDENTITY’ By C. Riley Snorton University of Minnesota Press $24.95 259 pages

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MAURICE DURUFLÉ REQUIEM The world premiere adapted for tenor & bass chorus M A RC H 3R D 8 P M Call 202-293-1548 or visit gmcw.org for tickets The Church of the Epiphany | 1317 G St NW, Washington, DC Brought to you by

, Presenting Sponsor


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O U T & A BO U T



More ‘Awkward Sex’ “Awkward Sex…and the City,” a 90-minute comedy show about sex, relationships and more that includes LGBT themes, returns to Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) on Friday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. Featured storytellers include Natalie Wall, Bobby Hankinson, Anita Flores, Karolena Theresa and Jen Keefe (seen here). There will be a raffle with prizes of gift card to Secret Pleasures and tickets to the next Awkward Sex show. Tickets are $15. For more details, visit blackcatdc.com.


‘Burlseque-a-Pades’ go to ‘Loveland’ The Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) presents “Burlesquea-Pades in Loveland” on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Angie Pontani (seen here), the Maine Attraction, Pinch & Squeal, the Evil Hate Monkey and Cherie Nuit will perform. There will be an ensemble performance featuring Gold Foxx, Ginger Leigh and Cherry Bomb. There will also be special guests. Mr. Murray Hill hosts the performance. Cocktails and full dinner service will be offered throughout the show. For more information, visit birchmere.com.


Meet this year’s Washington Blade singles Washington Blade hosts its 2018 Most Eligible Singles party at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. Guests can meet the Blade’s 20 most eligible LGBT singles during the drag show at 10:30 p.m. They can also send messages to the singles on Town’s Valentine’s message board. Get a sneak peek at the singles online on Feb. 5. Cover is $12. For more information, visit washingtonblade.com/singles.

The 47th annual Scarlet’s Bake Sale is at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 3-6 p.m. There will be a live auction of donated cakes. This year’s theme is “Honoring our First Responders.” The event will benefit the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund and Scarlet’s Foundation Scholarship Fund. Cake dropoff is from 1:30-3 p.m. Cocktails start at 3 p.m. and the auction kicks off at 4 p.m. For more details, visit facebook.com/ scarlets.foundation.



FE B R U A R Y 02, 2018 • 35


AHMAD KAMAL as Malik Essaid in ‘4,380 Nights.’

Left in limbo ‘Nights’ depicts prisoner languishing in Guantanamo Bay By PATRICK FOLLIARD In “4,380 Nights,” a gutsy and wellcrafted work by D.C. playwright Annalisa Dias, one man’s nightmarish story as a longtime Guantanamo detainee is relayed in unflinching detail. As the audience files into the ARK, Signature Theatre’s more intimate black box space, Ahmad Kamal, the extraordinary actor playing prisoner Malik Essaid, is seated onstage, shackled and wearing the requisite prison-issue orange jumpsuit. A white skullcap instantly identifies him as Muslim. Over the next two hours of Dias’ raw yet poetic play, sure-handedly directed by Kathleen Akerley, its author gives a frank and timely look at power. For 12 years (or 4,380 nights), Essaid sits rotting in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the offshore U.S. prison in Cuba used to house Muslim militants and suspected terrorists captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq after 9-11. During his imprisonment, Essaid, who has been assumed guilty but never tried or convicted, sees no way out. Eventually, hope comes in the person of American lawyer Bud Abramson (the excellent Michael John Casey) offering pro bono legal services to an initially (understandably) distrustful Essaid. Over years, the pair meet periodically always with Guantanamo military guards within earshot. It’s here that trust and a friendship develop between lawyer and client, and Essaid’s story unfolds. His peripatetic youth was spent avoiding conscription into Algeria’s civil war, ferreting out work in Europe, and a spiritual quest in South Asia. His life has been one of hardship and uncertainty, but he was never a terrorist. In truth he was hit over the head by Afghanis and sold to U.S. forces who whisked him off to the notorious Bagram prison before dumping him in Guantanamo. Essaid’s seemingly endless incarceration (which his lawyer describes

as illegal, unconstitutional and not what America is really about) is long, meandering and frustrating. (It’s no wonder the charming Essaid’s favorite word is “bullshit”). He is subjected to the most barbaric of interrogation techniques. Director Akerley realistically stages the physical beatings and sexual assault at the hands of his assigned captor Luke Harrison (a wonderfully odious Rex Daugherty). The spare, fluorescent-lit room where counsel and client meet across a stainlesssteel table, designed by Elizabeth Jenkins, is backed by a curtain of hanging linked chains. Beyond lies a fiery landscape. Sounds — plaintive, distant and jarring — are provided by Neil McFadden. Spanning time and space, Dias’ work intertwines other story lines. A 19th century Algeria-set tale involves a loathsome historical figure, French military commander Colonel Aimable Pelissier (Daugherty again), who ruthlessly incinerates an entire native tribe and an Algerian Berber leader named El Hadj El Kaim (again Kamal) who ambivalently plays a part in assisting Pelissier with the massacre of his own people. There’s another intriguing thread. The Woman (an impassioned Lynette Rathnam), or the voice of Algeria, costumed in a revealing satin evening gown, performs gloriously penned accounts of colonization, war and suffering visited upon her country over the ages. She is sometimes silenced or threatened by her audience, the Man (again Casey), a smoking jacket-clad metaphor for the West. The Woman comments on the greatness of cities like Baghdad and Carthage and gives a nod to indigenous people who once lived along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. While the first half of Dias’ two-act play is less than crystal clear, it comes together powerfully and memorably after intermission. “4,380 Nights” is presented as part of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival. ‘4,380 NIGHTS’ Through Feb. 18 Signature Theatre 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Virginia $40-89 703-820-9771 Sigtheatre.org

Corey Cott as Tony

Solea Pfeiffer as Maria

Ephraim Sykes as Riff

Krysta Rodriguez as Anita

Joel Perez as Bernardo

West Side Story in Concert February 14, 16 & 17 | Concert Hall Steven Reineke, conductor Francesca Zambello, director Eric Sean Fogel, assistant director

S. Katy Tucker, visual designer Mark McCullough, visual designer Lynly Saunders, costume design

Celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s cherished musical take on Romeo & Juliet in a lightly staged National Symphony Orchestra concert performance featuring a cast of Broadway favorites.

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.

David M. Rubenstein is the Presenting Underwriter of the NSO.

AARP is the Presenting Sponsor of the NSO Pops Season.

NSO Pops: West Side Story in Concert is sponsored in part by U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.



3 6 • F EB RUA RY 0 2, 2018


TV ready to unleash array of LGBT themes, characters Prominent critics on their most-anticipated new shows By SUSAN HORNIK At the recent television critics press tour, there were many new gay-friendly television shows intriguing critics. The Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik talked with LGBT journalists about their take on the new shows.



Trish Bendix, managing editor at INTO Most excited about “VIDA,” from queer Latinx playwright-turned-TV writer Tanya Saracho. Not only does the show have an all Latinx writers room and Latinx actors, but the plotline and several major characters are LGBTQ. Rarely do we see Latinx leads on TV, and this is a Starz show which means it will be gritty, sexy and boundary-pushing. Also, Alan Cumming-starrer “Instinct” will also be of interest, though I’m concerned with CBS’s not-so-great track record on LGBTQ inclusion. Still, having an out bisexual man playing a gay lead on a primetime network show is pretty exciting.

which was a LGBT favorite at that time. Back then, the occasional guest character would be gay or lesbian or there would be a gay-themed joke — and certainly there was a gay sensibility about any show that starred a Broadway legend like Bea Arthur. FX’s’ “Pose” is a recreation of the late ‘80s Harlem drag ball era from the prolific gay TV mogul, Ryan Murphy. Trans portrayals are still in short supply on TV, but “Pose” brings us a wide variety of queer characters and it’s both fun and fearless. Even on network TV, the most mainstream you can get in America’s entertainment universe, gay characters are now not just being accepted, but are featured as lead characters. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing more of NBC’s “Champions,” about the philandering owner of a Brooklyn gym who is suddenly presented with the son — half Indian-American and all fabulously gay — he never knew he had. Other shows have featured gay teens before — memorably, “Glee,” again from Ryan Murphy — but I love how “Champions” capitalizes on the fabulousness of its funny and appealing teen actor, J.J. Totah. NBC’s drama “Rise,” set in the drama department of a workingclass Pennsylvania high school, is worth checking out. Although in adapting their source material, the book, “Drama High” by Michael Sokolove, “Rise’s producers changed Josh Radnor’s lead character of drama teacher Lou to be straight rather than gay, the series does feature several students facing issues with being trans and coming out. Even though I’m still wary of the change, I realize this series, set in the gayest-friendly of places a high school can offer, its drama department — has the chance to say something really interesting, meaningful and ultimately, entertaining.

network TV’s first gay character to top an hour drama, should be a kick, given the star’s unique charms (and he was more than good on “The Good Wife”). Should be a cheeky kick — he tracks serial killers, teaches at a university and writes books (Whoopi Goldberg plays his editor). He also rides a motorcycle. How butch. Curious to see how the new Paramount Network’s reboot of the Winona Ryder/ Christian Slater cult classic “Heathers” turns out. In this series version of the teen-horror comedy, one of the three titular cliquish high school meanies happens to be gay. The snark is played by out newcomer Brendan Scannell, who, judging by the witty banter he tossed at the show’s TCA panel, has a serious future in comedy. Another potential standout here: Lilli Birdsell, hilarious in clips as the super-pert white mom to a black Heather (Jasmine Mathews). It’s not rife with LGBTQ characters, but “American Woman” (also on Paramount, formerly Spike TV) with Alicia Silverstone has lots of allure. Silverstone was adorable in “Clueless,” sure, but also terrifically weird in the recent Colin Farrell/Nicole Kidman thriller, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” And her role here — a dutiful wife and mom who ditches her cad of a husband to belatedly join the feminist movement in the early ‘70s — is irresistible. Gay heartthrob Cheyenne Jackson (“30 Rock”) co-stars as the love interest of Silverstone’s BFF, played by Mena Suvari. The show comes with an authentic vibe and cinematic look, surprising considering it’s created by “Real Housewives” fixture, Kyle Richards (it’s based, in fact, on her mom’s own life trajectory).



Steve Gidlow, TV, MediaVillage



Jim Colucci, author of the 2016 New York Times best-seller ‘Golden Girls Forever’ The depictions of LGBT characters are more plentiful and more well-rounded than the days of “The Golden Girls,”



John Griffiths, executive director, GALECA: the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics “Instinct,”





In an age where all that is old is new again, it’s refreshing to see the upcoming new installments of ABCs “Roseanne” tackling a sensitive issue like gender fluidity. With Darlene back at home caring for Dan and Roseanne, her parents are faced with Darlene’s young son Mark (Ames McNamara) who

his experimenting with his fashion style and outward appearance — all much to grandpa Dan’s chagrin. Even in its heyday, “Roseanne” was never a show that shied away from big social issues so it’s refreshing this reboot is tackling the issue of letting a young person explore what makes them happy head on, even though it might make those closest to them less than comfortable.



Malcolm Venable, TVGuide.com, senior editor, West Coast “Pose” — Only Ryan Murphy could sell a network on a story that juxtaposes the New York City ‘80s ballroom scene with the uptown upper crust elite of the Reagan era, while hiring a record number of trans talent in front of and behind the camera. It looks gorgeous and the first footage we saw at TCA included scenes that looked like note-for-note recreations of moments from “Paris Is Burning,” which — no joke — made my heart flutter. “9-1-1”— Angela Bassett’s husband coming out to her as gay (in the first episode) but the high camp that Murphy’s team, Brad Falcuck, Tim Minear and the uber fierce Alexis Martin Woodhall (seriously Google her) put together. That translates to seeing the emergency response team, which includes Peter Krause, Aisha Hinds and Kenneth Choi. “Versace” is essential television. Lush, vivid, intensely terrifying and relevant for its messages. Great performances from Judith Light, Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez but Darren Criss is life-changing. And, surprise: don’t expect much Versace. It’s about Andrew Cunanan. “2 Dope Queens” — Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson take their podcast to the stage for a limited-episode run on HBO. They’re authentic and revelatory to their experience as black women, but as the packed multi-cultural New York City audiences show, their stories are universal covering nerd life, boy troubles and of course Beyonce. It’s hilarious and they represent hard for their LGBTQ fam.


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3 8 • F EB RUA RY 0 2, 2018


The eighth annual ‘Wig Night Out’ fundraiser was held at JR.’s on Saturday, Jan. 27. The benefit was held for Whitman-Walker Health and the Point Foundation.


F E BRU A RY 0 2 , 2 0 1 8 • 3 9

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New York couple takes steps to keep flame burning CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27

forced to be roommates as everyone else in the company was already paired up. But they didn’t start out in sync. McBride says they were “operating on different schedules.” Roberts admits he “loved being with the locals” and was a fan of the nightlife. However, McBride was more into exploring cities in the daytime. “Because I was new I would wake up very early and go see all the cities with my camera because I was just so excited to travel,” McBride says. McBride says their relationship became more intimate in September 2010 while they were touring in the United Kingdom. A personal tragedy had rocked McBride leaving Roberts as an unexpected support system. “It was shortly after my sister had passed. I was emotional and dealing with a lot of stuff with my family. There was one night when I really needed to just sit down and have dinner with somebody and not necessarily need to talk and just to be easy. He was in the room and so I said we’re going to dinner. I think that was the first time that either of us ever realized we had a lot more in common than either of us expected,” McBride says. Both had become interested in dance at a young age on the outskirts of big cities. Roberts, who is from Quakertown, Pa., a town in the suburbs of Philadelphia, went to a dance class with his cousin at 10 years old when a teacher spotted his enthusiasm. “The teacher saw that I was fidgeting around in the back and she asked me, ‘Hey, why don’t you get up and join us?’ And I never sat down,” Roberts says. Roberts continued to dance into high school and eventually made a good friend who he describes as his “surrogate mother” who would take him to auditions in New York City. “She took me to the audition at Juilliard, which at the time I had no idea what it was, thankfully. I was able to just go in and do my thing. I made it in and I was so pleased,” Roberts says. While at Juilliard, Roberts met Robert Battle, who would go on to become the artistic director of Alvin Ailey. Before joining Alvin Ailey, Roberts’ achievements included becoming a founding member of Battle’s dance company Battle Works in 2000. McBride, who hails from Johnson City, N.Y., started dancing in a small dance

A performance of Talley Beattys’ ‘Stack-Up,’ one of three works in which partners Michael McBride and Samuel Roberts both perform. PHOTO BY PAUL KOLNIK; COURTESY ALVIN AILEY

studio at 8 years old. In high school he became more serious about dance and attended the Ailey dance program at Fordham University. He joined the company while a senior in college. In addition to that dinner, McBride and Roberts would continue to share many memorable moments. During their first year they encountered the D.C. blizzard in 2010. They recall getting stranded in their hotel for a week and the Kennedy Center canceling performances. Despite the close quarters, their relationship didn’t become romantic until a couple years later. After dating for a few years, the couple found themselves back in the United Kingdom on tour. They walked past a diamond shop and decided to look at rings together. “We were just looking in the window and this woman came out and asked us if we’d like to look at some diamonds. We were like, ‘Eh.’ She was like, ‘We have Champagne’ and we were like ‘Absolutely.’ We went in and had some Champagne and we were looking at rings and to our surprise we found two rings we really adored,” Roberts says. Soon after, Roberts found himself seriously considering proposing. “I sort of woke up one morning and was like, ‘Wow, I really, really, really love Michael and I want to spend my life with him. There’s no reason for me to not do this. I can’t see one.’ I was so sure of it this one morning. So I said something to his father and realized I wanted to do a flash

mob,” Roberts says. McBride and Roberts admit they both had always gotten emotional watching flash mob proposals online. It took Roberts a year of planning with friends and family to pull off the special moment in the bar. On the big day, Roberts asked McBride’s friend to take him out of the neighborhood for dinner while he finished the final preparations including a videographer who set up five cameras in the bar. McBride, who says the couple were also planning a road trip to Key West, Fla., that night with their dog, never expected that day he would get engaged. Now, the couple has purchased an apartment together in the Bronx. Living and working together can be a challenge but the couple says they’ve been able to figure it out. First, they recognize the importance of having their own space. Roberts says he first moved into McBride’s studio apartment and when they were looking for their own place together they had one request. “We would live in hotels six months of the year and then be in his studio and the only room with a door was either a closet or a bathroom. When we were purchasing the apartment we had to have one room that is not a bathroom, not a closet,” Roberts says. Second, they try to make their time off together as much of a vacation as possible. “One thing that Sam has taught me, even if we have 12 hours off, to make that 12 hours a mini-vacation of sorts and really delve into being relaxed whenever

we can in whatever city we’re in. That’s one of the things I fell in love with so much and so fast,” McBride says. The couple says they take time to visit their families apart. The company now also has rotating single rooms while on tour. Sometimes they will get single rooms so that they can invite each other over for a romantic dinner. As Valentine’s Day approaches, McBride and Roberts say they are big on the holiday. They will be spending it on tour in Atlanta and this time the planning is in McBride’s hands. “It’s sort of been tradition that Michael will plan a day for me. It generally starts with a really wonderful breakfast and then some activities throughout the city,” Roberts says. However, the wedding planning is taking more time. They expect to marry in fall 2019, possibly in the Catskill Mountains, but are working on saving money for the ceremony of their dreams. As always, the couple plans to put their own special twist on the day. “It’s also really fun because so many of the wedding traditions that we all know from throughout time are heterosexual entities. So a wedding can be whatever we want it to be. There’s no one to say, ‘Well, it should have been this or that.’ It’s a new frontier,” McBride says. ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER Feb. 6-11 Kennedy Center 2700 F St., N.W. $49-175


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2016 Hillyer Place, NW Washington, DC 20009 | $2,250,000 Hillyer Place, the most coveted street in Dupont Circle. One block long and just one block to Connecticut Avenue, shops, restaurants, the Phillips Collection, the Metro and so much more. Originally a private road connecting the Hillyer estate (now the Cosmos Club) to Connecticut Ave, it was developed by Mr. Hillyer himself as luxury rental properties, available during the ball and social season in DC. One of itʼs most frequent guests was Robert E Leeʼs ʻspinster daughterʼ. Built in 1897, 2016 Hillyer underwent a complete transformation in 2005. Designed by renowned architect Gregg Mobius, the house was reconstructed into a contemporary masterpiece. Features include:

MAIN LEVEL • 12 foot ceilings. • Entry foyer with stone floors. • Living room with built ins, hook up for gas fireplace, bay window with custom blinds and wood floors. • Open steel and glass staircase with skylight. • Den with gas fireplace - wood and glass floor overlooking two-story kitchen/family room below, and wall of glass to private patio.



• Office/den with built-in desk, refrigerator, wet bar, additional cabinet storage, gas fireplace, glass wall and door to balcony.

• Master suite.

• Hall bath.

• Master bath with double vanities, dressing/make up table, gas fireplace, shower with glass door, and skylight.

• Guest suite with wall of closets, two large windows and door to Juliet balcony and bathroom with shower.

• Master bedroom with extensive closet space & hidden TV compartment.

• Skylight in central staircase emits lights through out all floors.

LOWER LEVEL • Den/gym/guest room with kitchenette, wall of mirrored closets, laundry room, and exit to outside. • Kitchen and dining area with fireplace, granite and stainless steel counters, Gaggenau gas cooktop and oven, Miele coffee/espresso maker and Subzero refrigerator. • Powder room. • Family room, 2 story wall of glass to patio. • Private yard features waterfall, stone patio and parking for one car.

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An explosion of flooring options From hardwood to concrete to Terrazzo, something for every taste By VALERIE M. BLAKE If you’re thinking about what to get your special guy or gal for Valentine’s Day, you’re probably mulling over flowers, candy, fruit arrangements, a romantic dinner, or even an out-of-town getaway. What you’re probably not thinking about is flooring. Flooring isn’t sexy. It’s not a traditional gift that tells your partner, ‘I love you’. And if your budget is limited, a gift of flooring may not be your best bet. Still, imagine your special someone rolling out of bed and remembering you every day when he puts his feet down. Hardwood is still the most popular flooring in our market area. Red oak, white oak and maple are among the favorites for home use, since they can withstand several sandings and can be easily stained a variety of shades from natural to dark. They come in widths from 2” to 7” or more, allowing you to create a formal look, a contemporary casual vibe, or even a geometric parquet. Other hardwoods include hickory, birch, ash and beech. Exotics such as the Brazilian cherry that had a short life here in the early 2000s, Santos Mahogany, Tigerwood and Teak are among the most

expensive options, perfect for a trendsetting flooring aficionado who wants to make a bold statement. I once owned a house in South Carolina where the floors were made of yellow pine, a softwood that aged beautifully in the sunlight to a reddish-gold hue. We frequently see its cousin, heart pine, in our antique rowhouses. Spruce, fir and cedar are other choices for lightly trafficked areas. They are, as the name implies, soft, so be careful with furniture legs and high heels, which will cause dings and dents. Engineered wood is a less-expensive but still popular option and comes in a variety of styles and colors. Since these floors feature a man-made composite core with actual wood on top and bottom, they absorb much less moisture than hard or softwoods, so are an excellent choice for basements and beach houses. Bamboo is an ecologically friendly flooring and comes in several styles and colors but use caution. Flooring from this renewable plant may emit low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). My colleagues who sell real estate in the South and West still tout laminate flooring as an upgrade. It has come a long way in durability and design from the original Perstop product, Pergo, and is still easy to install and maintain. Terrazzo floors are found in the old cottages in Miami Beach and Key West, Fla. A surface made of concrete with bits of


Hardwood floors come in a variety of woods, including hickory, ash and birch. PHOTO BY BIGSTOCK; COURTESY OF BCFC

granite or marble aggregate, Terrazzo is installed as a poured floor or in precast sections, often with custom inlays, then polished. Do get a professional to install it, though – this is a job for a specialist. Concrete itself made its debut with loft and industrial-style renovations. Like Terrazzo, concrete can be infused with color, glass and aggregate, then polished or finished with a textured surface. Pay attention to the sealing instructions to avoid stains when your red wine-drinking friends get a little tipsy. You can also create decorative effects with ceramic or porcelain tile. Try a check-

erboard pattern or lay them on a diagonal. Choose an 18” or 20” version or go for wood-look tiles in 8” x 24” strips. Use premade mosaic sheets to mimic the bathroom floors found in older homes. Don’t forget vinyl when you have a lot of floor to cover and a small budget. DIY installation of peel and stick tiles has been known to make grown men cry, but I recently had sheet vinyl installed in a bayside utility room. It’s soft and warm underfoot, as well as easy to clean. Woodlook vinyl planks are also gaining popularity in humid climates. Inside the beltway, carpet, while warm and comfy, has been banished to the bedroom. In other parts of the country, however, carpet still holds its own throughout the house. Choose a level loop Berber or a multi-level loop pile for a bit of texture, or a cut loop plush for a more traditional look. Frieze carpet is a fresh take on ’70s shag. While choices of floor coverings may seem overwhelming, hustle down to the home improvement store and place an order for your favorite. Then, on Valentine’s Day morning, you can whisper the words your beloved has been waiting to hear – “Get up and help me unload the truck.” VALERIE M. BLAKE is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at Real Living| At Home. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her at Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

Must Love Dogs: Romance blooms between the owner of a yappy Schnauzer and her condo association president. To be used at the top of collateral:

~ 202.319.8541 • www.lgbtc.com • Se habla espanol

VALERIE M. BLAKE, Associate Broker, GRI, Director of Education & Mentorship Dupont Circle Office • 202-518-8781 (o) • 202.246.8602 (c) Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com • www.DCHomeQuest.com

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