Page 1

FEBRUARY 16,

2018

VOLUME 49

ISSUE 07

AMERICA’S LGBTQ NEWS SOURCE

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

Trump wants drastic cuts to global AIDS fight Budget proposal slammed as shifting HIV response into reverse By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com New year, new cuts to HIV/AIDS programs. President Trump’s proposed $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2019 is most prominently characterized by soaring deficits, but also calls for varying degrees of cuts to HIV/AIDS programs reminiscent of his earlier request. The proposed cuts for HIV/AIDS overall are significantly less than the cuts that were called “pretty shocking” in last

year’s request. But compared to current funding that was actually appropriated by Congress, fewer dollars are requested for domestic programs as the epidemic continues in the United States while global programs see dramatic cuts. The reductions come at a time when HIV/AIDS continues to affect the LGBT community as well as populations within the United States and abroad. An estimated 1.2 million people have HIV/ AIDS in the United States and 37 million have the disease worldwide. Substantial reductions are proposed for Medicaid, which would be cut by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. That program is important to low-income people with HIV/AIDS because an estimated 40 percent CONTINUES ON PAGE 12

PRESIDENT TRUMP’s proposed budget calls for varying degrees of cuts to HIV/ AIDS programs. WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTOS BY LEE WHITMAN

Disturbing details in murder of D.C. lesbian Arrest in killing of Kerrice Lewis, who was shot 15 times, found in burning car By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

ASHTON BRISCOE is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of lesbian Kerrice Lewis. PHOTO COURTESY P.G. COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

A D.C. man charged last week with first-degree murder while armed for the Dec. 28 shooting death of lesbian Kerrice Lewis, 23, whose bullet riddled body was found inside the trunk of her burning car, may not have been the person who shot her, according prosecutors and a police charging document. D.C. police have said there is no evidence so far to indicate Lewis was targeted because of her sexual

orientation. But although police have speculated over the reason for her murder based on unconfirmed reports by numerous tipsters, they have yet to determine a definitive motive. However, in an arrest affidavit filed on Monday in D.C. Superior Court, police homicide detectives present clear evidence that Lewis’s murder is linked to two other murders of young men who she knew that took place on the same day as her murder. The affidavit says ballistics tests show that Lewis and her friend Armani Nico Coles, 27, whose body was believed to have been dumped out of a car along Interstate 295 just across the D.C. line in Capital Heights, CONTINUES ON PAGE 13

FORGOTTEN

PRIDE HOUSE

KEHINDE’S MOMENT

LGBT Puerto Ricans, HIV groups struggling to recover after Maria.

A peek inside the home-away-from-home for LGBT Olympians.

The importance of choosing a black, gay artist for Obama portrait.

PAGES 10-11

PAGE 13

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Comings & Goings Enríquez takes role at Victory Institute 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 Brad Davis chosen to head the new division of Acorn Paper. Acorn Paper Products Company is one of the largest independent, familyowned paper and packaging companies in the Western United States. This new division, Acorn Paper Cannabis Packaging (APCP), will focus on meeting the paper, packaging, janitorial/sanitation and custom promotional needs of the cannabis BRAD DAVIS industry. David Weissberg, CEO of Acorn, said, “We PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVIS recognize the tremendous opportunity that the cannabis industry presents to our company. This will be a $70B industry in just a few years, and Brad Davis is the perfectly positioned executive to lead our initiatives in the space.” Upon accepting the position Brad said, “I am proud to represent one of the largest privately held packaging companies on the West Coast. With their long history of success and vertical focus in areas from agriculture to wine, MARIO ENRÍQUEZ addressing the needs of the entire cannabis supply PHOTO COURTESY OF ENRÍQUEZ chain is a natural addition to the Acorn family.” Davis is a senior sales, marketing and business development executive. He has a record leveraging innovation to drive revenue and market share growth. His background includes several C-suite corporate sales executive posts at major digital media organizations including Disney, AOL and Comcast. He is a recognized “lifestyle brand expert” in fashion, parties & events, and was recently recognized by Angeleno Magazine as one of Los Angeles’ “Modern Men.” KIMBERLEY BUSH Congratulations also to Mario Enríquez who PHOTO COURTESY OF BUSH began his new position as domestic programs manager with the LGBTQ Victory Institute. In this position he will help deliver top-notch training and executive development programming to openly LGBTQ public leaders and future leaders. Victory’s suite of programs is aimed at growing the skills and leadership capacity of participants from college-aged to mid-career public servants. He will lead the Victory Congressional Internship (VCI) and Victory Congressional Fellowship (VCF) programs and manage recruitment and selection process for VCI and VCF and work with the director of domestic programs. In addition he will serve as deputy director in the planning and execution of the International LGBTQ Leadership Conference, which brings together 500+ LGBTQ officials and other policy makers Prior to joining Victory Institute, Enríquez worked as a summer program coordinator with the George Washington University–Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. Before that he was with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) as a Higher Education Graduate Fellow. He worked as a Youth Leadership Associate with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Congratulations also to Kimberley Bush, named interim executive director of the DC Center. The DC Center’s mission is to educate, empower, celebrate, and connect the LGBT communities. Bush came back to The Center a year ago after serving as executive director of the DC Shorts Film Festival, to serve as director of arts and cultural programs. Prior to that she had been at The Center as program director of Reel Affirmations. Bush said, “I am excited to have this new opportunity to serve the LGBTQ community in D.C. and to use my knowledge and experience to promote all the programs of The Center.” Prior to coming to The Center, she worked for the Del Ray Artisans Art Gallery and had been a board member and then executive director of One in Ten when it ran the Reel Affirmations Film Festival.

LO CA L N E W S

‘Gays for Trump’ planning Lincoln Memorial rally For the second year in a row the head of the group Gays for Trump is playing a lead role in organizing a march and rally in the nation’s capital on March 4 in support of President Donald Trump.  A rally associated with the upcoming event billed as “March4Trump” is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. At 4 p.m. participants attending the event will march from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House, according to an PETER BOYKIN is helping to organize a proannouncement by an organization called Trump rally next month. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY LOU CHIBBARO TheMagaNetwork.   The organization, which stands for Make America Great Again Network, was founded by Gays for Trump founder and president Peter Boykin. Boykin told the Washington Blade a broad coalition of Trump supporters, both gay and straight, are helping to organize the event and are expected to attend.  In an application for a permit to reserve the Lincoln Memorial grounds for the March 4 rally Boykin said organizers expect as many as 1,000 people to turn out.  “I think Trump is doing very well,” said Boykin. “I give Donald Trump big praise,” he said referring to the Trump administration’s first year in office.   Although he had reservations over Trump’s decision to reinstate a ban against transgender people serving in the U.S. military, Boykin said he sees no reversal of the rights of gays, lesbians, and bisexual people under the Trump administration despite “fake news” to the contrary being spread by what Boykin called the liberal media and liberal-left LGBT organizations.   During last year’s March4Trump event, which was held on the grounds of the Washington Monument, at least four gay speakers, including Boykin, who declared their strong support for Trump, were cheered loudly by several hundred people attending the event.  Similar to plans for this year’s event, participants in last year’s March4Trump marched from the Washington Monument grounds to Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, where they held a smaller rally before dispersing. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Md. lawmakers seek to ban conversion therapy Two Maryland lawmakers have introduced bills that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state. State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced Senate Bill 1028 in the Maryland Senate. State Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County) introduced House Bill 902 in the Maryland House of Delegates. Madaleno, who is running for governor, on Friday wrote on his Twitter page that “denying young people their humanity with conversion therapy is inhumane.” “We need to ensure a better future for children free of this mental abuse,” he said. “[Maryland’s governor] needs to be at the forefront of this fight!” FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio in a press release said the bills send “a clear message to LGBTQ youth across our state that they are welcomed and respected in Maryland.” The Pride Foundation of Maryland stated it “unequivocally supports passage of this legislation.” “Conversion therapy attempts to erase LGBT people from the world, and it is unconscionable to allow it anywhere in this country,” it wrote on its Facebook page. “Maryland can be at the forefront of American society in codifying for LGBT people the right of self-expression.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS


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0 6 • F EB RUA RY 1 6 , 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Lawmakers demand meeting on anti-trans rollbacks Burberry recreates classic print with rainbow colors Burberry has recreated its iconic plaid print into rainbow check pieces as part of its fall/winter 2018 collection in support of the LGBT community. The rainbow check pieces will be displayed in Burberry’s London show on Feb. 17. The items will immediately be available for purchase after the show. Burberry also announced it will donate an undisclosed sum to three LGBT charities: the Albert Kennedy PHOTO COURTESY INSTAGRAM Trust, which assists homeless LGBT people in the U.K., the LGBT suicide prevention organization the Trevor Project and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), which brings together more than 750 LGBT groups across the globe. “Today we reveal #TheRainbowCheck and announce that @Burberry is supporting LGBTQ+ charities @AlbertKennedyTr, @ILGAWorld and @TrevorProject. The rainbow, a symbol of inclusiveness and joy, is celebrated throughout the February 2018 collection #BurberryShow #LFW,” Burberry posted on Instagram. MARIAH COOPER

Omarosa warns of President Pence Rep. JOE KENNEDY III (D-Mass.) is calling for a meeting with Trump officials on anti-trans rollbacks. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Decrying the rollback of transgender rights in the Trump administration, lawmakers led by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass) are seeking a meeting with civil rights officials in federal agencies “to end the current pattern of publicly-funded and governmentsanctioned discrimination.” The letter, dated Feb. 13 and obtained Monday exclusively by the Washington Blade, is addressed to the heads of eight federal departments and calls for a roundtable meeting on transgender issues with each of those agencies’ directors of the Office of Civil Rights. Included in the letter as evidence of transgender rollbacks is the withdrawal of guidance assuring transgender kids access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity, Trump’s transgender military ban and the Justice Department’s disavowal of Title VII protections for transgender people. “During the first year of this administration, transgender Americans have endured a systematic attack on their dignity, rights and freedom,” the letter says. Specific attention is given to the creation of a Conscience & Religious Freedom Division within the Department of Health & Human Services and reports the Education Department isn’t investigating transgender civil rights claims in school. “The Trump administration should no longer encourage doctors to deny health care services to patients in need, promote an education system that makes children feel unwelcome in their own schools, allow employers to deny jobs to workers simply because of their gender identity and turn away patriots from serving in the military simply because of who they are,” the letter says. The letter became public on the same day as a Buzzfeed report quoting a spokesperson affirming the Education Department won’t take up civil rights complaints of transgender kids who say their school is barring them from the restroom consistent with their gender identity. Joining Kennedy, who’s chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, in signing the letter are fellow task force members Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.). The letter requests a response from the federal agencies on setting up an appointment for the roundtable meeting no longer than Feb. 23. CHRIS JOHNSON

Omarosa Manigault-Newman has been dropping comments about the state of the White House during her stint on “Celebrity Big Brother.” On Monday’s episode, Manigault-Newman told her fellow houseguests that people should be more afraid of Vice President Mike Pence than President Donald Trump. “As bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence,” Manigault-Newman says. “Everybody that’s wishing OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF TWITTER for impeachment might want to reconsider their life. We would be begging for days of Trump if Pence became president, that’s all I’m saying. He’s extreme.” She added, “I’m Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus didn’t say that.’” Manigault-Newman also commented on the White House’s plans for DACA. “The DACA piece came as a result of (Trump) wanting his wall,” ManigaultNewman says. “Barack Obama’s administration said, ‘If you sign up, and basically out yourself — that you’re here illegally — we’ll protect you.’ All these people signed up — outed themselves, their families, people that were in hiding. Then Donald Trump got in and that was his little executive order. The crackdowns are happening, they’re aggressive and they’re intentional and they’re gonna get worse. But don’t get me wrong — the Obama administration was aggressive about deportation, too. But nobody talks about it.” She also claims that the “roundup plan is getting more and more aggressive.” Whether her comments are truthful are up for debate. Contestant Mark McGrath noted that he’s not sure if Manigault-Newman is telling the truth. “You always have to remember, this is Omarosa, a world-class reality TV villain,” McGrath says in his one-on-one interview. “Is it true? Is it game? Is it her story? Is it the real story? It’s Omarosa’s world, and I’m just livin’ in it.” MARIAH COOPER


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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

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NATIONAL NEWS

Anti-LGBT Prop 8 lawyer wins Senate Judiciary confirmation Neilson faces full Senate in spring vote By KAREN OCAMB The fierce 2008 battle over anti-gay marriage Prop 8 seems like it was eons ago. But the fight in California was so profound it left scars and visceral memories of what was at stake in losing, then winning back, equality. Prop 8 forced politicians and voters to take a public stand for or against LGBT rights. It’s doing that again, this time in the form of a pro-Prop 8 federal judicial President Trump nominee. But in 2018, with so much chaos happening every day, few are paying attention to the far right wing stacking of the judiciary, the third branch of government in the democratic system of checks and balances. Last week, a potential day of reckoning drew closer. The New York Times reported that the highly regarded Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 ranking official behind Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, is leaving the DOJ after nine months on the job with unrelenting attacks. This is critical since Trump has often decried as a “witch hunt” Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and has made clear his “disappointment” with Sessions for recusing himself and Rosenstein’s hiring of Mueller. If Trump fired the two, at least Brand would be the safety net for the investigation and perhaps the country. With her gone, Trump could make a recess appointment to avoid Senate confirmation and make Watergate’s “Saturday Night Massacre” seem like a kiddy party. But who might Trump pick to replace Brand and who might lead an outraged protest if Trump fires Sessions and Rosenstein and orders Brand’s successor to fire Mueller? Last Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearing for Trump’s nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Howard Nielson Jr., might offer some insight. Nielson was an attorney for the pro-Prop 8 ProtectMarriage. com and California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris were adamantly against Prop 8. In 2008, Feinstein, a Blue Dog Democrat, came out in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples and appeared in TV ads for the No on 8 campaign. ThenAttorney General Kamala Harris followed her predecessor Jerry Brown’s lead in not defending Prop 8 in court. When the Supreme Court dismissed a 9th Circuit appeal and let stand the District Court ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional, Harris officiated the

marriage of federal Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier in San Francisco City Hall. She also grabbed a cell phone and spoke with out Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan when LA-based Prop 8 plaintiffs Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami encountered a glitch in getting their marriage license. So imagine their ire when these senators faced Nielson Jr. during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Not only had Nielson been part of Chuck Cooper’s law firm defending ProtectMarriage.com (Cooper is now representing Attorney General Jeff Sessions), but he filed a motion to overturn District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s Prop 8 ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional because Walker is gay. That motion stunned and infuriated many in the legal community, as Slate’s esteemed legal reporter Dahlia Lithwick wrote in “Too Gay To Judge?” in 2011. “Today, a court in San Francisco heard arguments about one of the most contemptible legal claims advanced in decades: that Vaughn Walker, the federal judge who voted last spring to strike down California’s ban on gay marriage, was too gay to decide the case fairly,” she wrote. “They don’t say that Walker, who retired from the federal bench last February following his Prop 8 ruling, is biased in favor of gay marriage because he is gay. Instead ProtectMarriage argues—see this April 25 motion to vacate Walker’s ruling—that Walker, who has lived with his partner for 10 years, may have ruled for gay marriage so that he himself could get married and someday enjoy the benefits of marriage,” Lithwick wrote. “The motion to vacate is thus rooted in their argument that ‘no judge is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome.’ And since ‘no one would suggest that Chief Judge Walker could issue an injunction directing a state official to issue a marriage license to him, yet on this record, it must be presumed that that is precisely what has occurred,’ his ruling, they insist, must be scuttled,” Lithwick continued. But Prop 8 proponents provided no evidence that Walker ever sought to marry his longtime partner. “So they rely instead on the argument that he is gay, and that’s enough,” she wrote, adding that Walker, a George H.W. Bush appointee, had ample opportunity to get married before hearing the case. Lithwick cites Sherrilyn Ifill, who wrote in The Root that ‘the effort to besmirch Judge Walker’s integrity is eerily similar to earlier campaigns against black and female judges.” “In the late 1970s and early 1980s— as a bumper crop of minority federal district judges appointed by President Jimmy Carter presided over employment-

HOWARD NEILSON JR. has a long record opposing same-sex marriage. PHOTO VIA C-SPAN SCREEN CAPTURE

discrimination cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—recusal motions were filed by defendants seeking to remove black judges from hearing these cases,” Ifill wrote. “Black judges pushed back firmly against attempts to question their impartiality and framed what has become the universally accepted understanding among the bench and bar: that judicial bias cannot be assumed based on the racial, gender or other status of the judge.” Lithwick then hones in on the “what if?” argument that propped up the whole Prop 8 campaign. “Given that [Walker] hasn’t chosen to get married when and where he could, it hardly makes sense for ProtectMarriage to claim that his antiProp 8 ruling is the functional equivalent of ‘issuing an injunction directing a state official to issue a marriage license to him.’ Is merely imagining a potential conflict of interest sufficient to create one? Where, precisely, do imaginary claims about imaginary judicial life plans stop?” she asks. In then-AG Harris’ brief against Nielson’s motion to vacate Walker’s ruling, she wrote: “Just as every single one of the attempts to disqualify judges on the basis of their race, gender, or religious affiliation has been rejected by other courts, this Court should similarly reject Defendant-Intervenors’ effort to disqualify Judge Walker based on his sexual orientation.” Perhaps, Lithwick concluded, “this is a good a time as any to recall that the proponents of Prop 8 failed so miserably at trial precisely because vague, unsubstantiated charges of conspiracy, secret agendas and inchoate social harms aren’t really legal arguments in the first place.” Nielson’s motion failed, but as Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, pointed out in a letter opposing his nomination to the federal judiciary, Nielson apparently still holds the same conspiratorial views as he did during his Prop 8 days. “In 2015, Mr. Nielson wrote an amicus brief in the landmark Supreme Court

case Obergefell v. Hodges in which he argued against marriage equality,” Gupta wrote. “In his brief, Mr. Nielson made the insulting insinuation that samesex couples were not capable of being capable parents, writing that ‘through the institution of marriage, societies seek to increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by both the mothers and the fathers who brought them into this world.’ He also wrote that “it is plainly reasonable for a State to maintain a unique institution to address the unique societal risks and benefits that arise from the unique procreative potential of sexual relationships between men and women.’ Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected his arguments.” Equality California also vehemently opposed Nielson. “Howard Nielson’s judicial record and writings demonstrate a hard-wired hostility toward LGBTQ people, which means that he fails the very first test of being a judge — impartiality and fairness. History will judge the Senate Judiciary Committee’s rubber stamp of unfit judges who will serve lifetime appointments. EQCA will continue to fight Nielson all the way to the Senate floor,” Valerie Ploumpis, Equality California’s National Policy Director told the Los Angeles Blade. (Ploumpis has been writing blog posts about the nominees at EQCA.org.) But, to borrow from the musical Hamilton, Feinstein and Harris are in the room where it happens. And both California senators made sure to get their opposition on the federal record. “Mr. Nielson’s record reveals a background beyond that of an attorney just representing his clients,” Harris said. “Instead his actions raise serious concerns about whether he would be able to set aside his personal views to adjudicate cases in a fair and impartial manner.” Despite all the criticism, Nielson was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote of 11-10. The full Senate must now vote to confirm or reject Nielson, perhaps as soon as April.


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I N T E RN A T I O N A L N E W S

Puerto Rico HIV/AIDS groups struggling to recover from Maria Infection rate remains among the highest in U.S. By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — It was shortly after 4 p.m. on Jan. 30 when an employee of Bill’s Kitchen, an organization that prepares meals for Puerto Ricans with HIV/AIDS, added diesel to a large generator that is on its roof. The generator, which broke down the week before, has powered one of Bill’s Kitchen’s two walk-in freezers and the top two floors of its building in San Juan’s Hato Rey neighborhood since the day before Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. Bill’s Kitchen Executive Director Sandy Torres insisted the Washington Blade take a picture of her employee refilling the generator. She also described him as “our star employee, handyman, mechanic, inventor.” “If anything happens, he is there,” said Torres. A lack of electricity is one of the multitude of problems that Bill’s Kitchen and other HIV/AIDS service providers in Puerto Rico continue to face nearly five months after Maria. People with HIV/AIDS in the days immediately after Maria were unable to receive their medications because their clinics were closed or they could not get to them because of flooding, damaged roads or a lack of transportation. Fallen trees and other debris prevented some of them from leaving their homes. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told the Blade during an interview in D.C. last November that a clinic the San Juan Department of Health operates reopened two weeks after Maria and was able to distribute medication, food and water to patients. The Puerto Rico Community Network for Clinical Research (PR CoNCRA), an HIV/ AIDS service organization that is based near the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, reopened a week after Maria. PR CoNCRA Executive Director Rosaura López-Fontánez told the Blade on Jan. 30 that her clients were able to receive their medications because Caridad, a Puerto Rican pharmacy chain, had a space inside the organization. Ivette González of Asamblea Permanente de Personas Infectadas y Afectadas con VIH/SIDA de Puerto Rico (APPIA), told the Blade on Feb. 3 during an interview in Old San Juan that people with HIV/AIDS who live outside of the Puerto Rican capital had a more difficult time receiving their medications after Maria. “In San Juan we had access to medications,” said González. González, who lives with HIV and advises Cruz on her administration’s

response to the epidemic, told the Blade that one of the immediate challenges after Maria was getting people with HIV/ AIDS back into treatment. She said APPIA worked with Merck, the Puerto Rico Department of Health’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the local planning council that allocates Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act funds to San Juan and other municipalities in Puerto Rico determine which clinics were able to operate. González told the Blade radios were the only “functioning means of communication” after Maria. “If their clinic was not available, the patient was directed and referred to where they should be,” she said. “The important thing was to re-link the patient to their health care.” González said some APPIA clients still did not have access to their medications two months after Maria. She told the Blade a lack of electricity, telephone and Internet further complicated APPIA’s ability to communicate with them. “All of this affected us,” she told the Blade. “As a result it made our work much more difficult.” Maria also damaged many of the facilities and equipment the HIV/AIDS service organizations used. López-Fontánez told the Blade during a previous interview that PR CoNCRA “lost” more than $250,000 in equipment and medication. Several feet of water flooded the first floor of the building in which PR CoNCRA’s offices are located. Maria also damaged its sewage and electrical systems. “We are still finding things,” LópezFontánez told the Blade on Jan. 30 as Anselmo Fonseca of Pacientes de Sida Pro Política Sana, a San Juan-based HIV/ AIDS service organization, sat next to her in PR CoNCRA’s conference room. Maria destroyed Bill’s Kitchen’s switchboard. The organization did not have working landlines in its San Juan offices until late last month. Fumes from Bill’s Kitchen’s large generator forced its administrative staff to convert a second floor conference room into a makeshift office. Humidity and a lack of air conditioning made the building’s first floor offices damp. A small generator provided electricity to the first floor until it was turned off at 4:30 p.m. It powered lights, fans that staff were using in their offices and a room with Internet access that had a small air conditioner conversion unit on the wall. “You see the way that we are working here,” Torres told the Blade. “You can smell the humidity.” Maria damaged the door to AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s new clinic in the municipality of Trujillo Alto that is under construction. The inside of the facility, which will

A utility pole rests precariously on a power line in Vieques, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 31. Damaged power lines and piles of debris are common sights on the island and throughout Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

include a pharmacy and exam rooms, was undamaged. HIV/AIDS service organizations in the San Juan metropolitan area also became staging areas for relief supplies after Maria. AIDS Healthcare Foundation distributed generators and packages from its existing Trujillo Alto clinic that is located on the campus of a drug rehabilitation center. It also provided drinking water and other supplies to clients and local residents. Cruz’s administration worked with AIDS Healthcare Foundation to deliver roughly 150 generators to people with HIV/AIDS after Maria. González told the Blade that APPIA, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Cruz’s administration also provided assistance to HIV/AIDS service organizations, domestic and gender-based violence groups and children’s homes outside of San Juan. Ariel Negron, an employee at AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Trujillo Alto clinic, noted to the Blade on Jan. 30 a woman from Caguas, a city that is roughly 20 miles south of San Juan, is among those who received supplies from the organization after Maria. Negron said the woman had not had electricity or water since Hurricane Irma brushed Puerto Rico on Sept. 7. “She was so amazed that there was water here,” said Negron. Bill’s Kitchen did not have electricity from Sept. 7 until it was restored on Jan. 31. The organization in the weeks and months after Maria prepared meals for PR CoNCRA clients and staff, doctors who were volunteering in the municipality of Toa Alta, which is roughly 15 miles southwest of San Juan, and elderly people who could not leave their apartments in high-rise buildings near their San Juan offices because of the lack of power.

Bill’s Kitchen also delivered portable gas stoves to their clients and replaced mattresses and beds that Maria damaged. López-Fontánez said a woman who lives next to PR CoNCRA’s offices “lost everything” during Maria. She told the Blade she gave her an old couch that she had in her home, while another CoNCRA staffer brought her a mattress. “We all gathered,” said López-Fontánez. Puerto Rico has one of the highest HIV/ AIDS infection rates in the U.S. People with HIV/AIDS were vulnerable before Maria because of a combination of factors that include a lack of resources to fight the epidemic and Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. The U.S. commonwealth’s economy had been in recession for more than a decade before Maria. Puerto Rico’s power grid had also fallen into disrepair. “People blame Maria for all the disaster,” López-Fontánez told the Blade. “Yes, it caused a lot of disaster, but this country as in a disaster for a long, long time. What Maria did it just said . . . now you can see it better.” Fonseca added Maria “pulled back the veil.” González told the Blade that Puerto Ricans with HIV/AIDS “did not have access to medications” in 2006, 2017 and 2012. She also noted advocates and service providers “practically had to protest in the street asking for our medications.” González said the situation for people with HIV/AIDS in San Juan has improved since Cruz took office in 2013. González nevertheless told the Blade the Puerto Rican government “thinks the problem has been resolved because there are medications.” “We continue to stereotype and stigmatize HIV with the gay community,” she added. “It is one of the challenges that we have in Puerto Rico.”


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

I N T E RNA TI O N A L NEWS

F E BRU A RY 1 6 , 2 0 1 8 • 1 1

Puerto Rico gay bar becomes ‘oasis’ after Maria Bear Tavern PR in San Juan reopened eight days after hurricane By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — It was around midnight on Feb. 2 at the Bear Tavern PR, a gay bar in the Ocean Park neighborhood of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, when a woman began to pass around pieces of her birthday cake. Roughly 20 people were inside the bar, which is located near the intersections of Calles Degetau and Loiza, as Foo Fighters “Learn to Fly” and other songs that include Gerardo’s “Rico Suave” and Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” played. Other patrons were smoking cigarettes and drinking beers outside on the narrow sidewalk. Ismael Acosta, who co-owns Bear Tavern PR with his partner of nine years, Gabriel Acosta, noted it is the only bear and leather bar in Puerto Rico. Gabriel Acosta added it became an “oasis” for Ocean Park residents after Hurricane Maria. “They would come here and say finally I can talk to people about what happened to me at home,” he said as he and Ismael Acosta spoke with the Washington Blade from behind the bar. Maria on Sept. 20 devastated Puerto Rico when it made landfall on the island’s southeastern coast with 155 mph winds. A combination of storm surge and floodwaters mixed with raw sewage left large swaths of low-lying Ocean Park flooded for three weeks after Maria. Bear Tavern PR — which opened last May — was able to reopen eight days after the hurricane after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew and the Acostas were able to obtain a generator. “The first night that we opened it was a Friday and it was magical,” Gabriel Acosta told the Blade. “It’s like we had never seen each other for the past year.” Gabriel Acosta said the bar was without power for eight days after Hurricane Irma brushed Puerto Rico on Sept. 7. He told the Blade it took a week to get ice for Bear Tavern PR after Maria. Gabriel Acosta also said he and his partner spent several hours each day going to stores to buy beer, liquor and other supplies. “We’d be running around to stores; getting ice, getting plastic, getting everything,” he told the Blade. “It was difficult, but we were the only bar open.” The Acostas’ home in Caguas, a city that is roughly 20 miles south of San Juan, was undamaged during Maria. Ocean Park residents were able to get ice at Bear Tavern PR and use the

Bear Tavern PR is a gay bar in the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It reopened eight days after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS

electricity the generator was providing after the hurricane. Ismael Acosta told the Blade that some of the bar’s patrons “lost everything.” “They lost everything,” added Gabriel Acosta. “They come here and they’re smiling and they got more joy and more happiness than we do.” Power was restored in Ocean Park in December. Sunset Sunrise, an LGBTfriendly bar in Boquerón, a village that is located on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast, reopened just before Christmas after its electricity was restored. Tita, a bartender at Sunset Sunrise, and Oswaldo, a Boquerón resident, on Feb. 2 showed the Blade pictures on their iPhones of homes and businesses that Maria damaged. The storm surge also washed sailboats into mangrove swamps and destroyed at least one house that had been built over the water. “The hurricane was very strong here,” Tita told the Blade. Boquerón, which is located roughly two-and-a-half hours southwest of San Juan in the municipality of Cabo Rojo, is a popular destination for Puerto Ricans

and tourists alike. Boquerón also hosts a Pride celebration that takes place in June. A handful of people were sitting outside Sunset Sunrise on Feb. 2 when the Blade was speaking with Tita and Oswaldo. Most of the bars and restaurants in downtown Boquerón were open, but Tita confirmed the number of visitors has dropped 50 percent from a year ago. “Things are now picking up,” she said. Bar owners: Trump has ‘forgotten’ about Puerto Rico Back in Ocean Park, the majority of the traffic lights are damaged and do not work. Mangled power lines, damaged utility poles and buildings, piles of debris and sand remain common sights throughout the neighborhood. Maria also damaged Ocean Park’s sewer infrastructure. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz continues to criticize President Trump over his response to Maria. Ismael Acosta’s face grimaced with anger when the Blade asked him about the White House’s handling of the hurricane’s aftermath. “We’ve been forgotten by the

president,” he said. “He forgot about us. My face can tell you everything.” Gabriel Acosta agreed, pointing out to the Blade that LGBT Puerto Ricans “have never had the full support” of the island’s government. Ismael Acosta also suggested Cruz has not done enough to help her city begin to recover from Maria. “She’s getting a lot of attention for the island,” Ismael Acosta told the Blade. “But for us here in San Juan . . . she forgot about San Juan.” “That’s what people are complaining about,” added Gabriel Acosta. “Yes, you’re famous in Washington, you’re famous in New York, but what happened to San Juan. You still walk around, drive around, you still have trees on the side (of the road) and everything. And people are saying what about San Juan? We are here, but you went to the states.” Ismael Acosta nevertheless praised Cruz for doing “an amazing job talking, trying to let people know about us” in Puerto Rico. Ismael Acosta also described Cruz as “one of the only ones who stood up to” Trump after Maria. “We need to respect that too,” said Ismael Acosta.


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

1 2 • F E B RUA RY 1 6, 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Another Trump budget, another attempt to cut HIV/AIDS programs CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

of Americans with the disease receive care under Medicaid. In the aftermath of the tax reform package’s undoing of the individual mandate in Obamacare, the Trump budget proposes to complete the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act by passage of the Graham-Cassidy proposal in Congress. That would repeal the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare and reinvent the program as a block-grant program to the states, which is more limited and would raise questions about access to care if it were implemented. But the Graham-Cassidy proposal was already rejected by Congress last year where there wasn’t sufficient support to bring up the measure, prompting HIV/AIDS advocates to guffaw at the proposed change. Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute, said the prospects for Congress passing the proposal were so low he hadn’t considered it a serious concern. “I think a lot of it is rehashing things that they proposed before, but there’s no appetite in Congress to do it, particularly because of the Senate,” Schmid said. “They’re not going to do reconciliation this year, and so, they’re going to have to get 60 votes to do these things, and I just don’t see the appetite.” Schmid, however, did express concern about the proposal in the budget that would build on Medicaid work requirements the Trump administration allowed states to implement. The work requirement, Schmid said, exempts people with HIV/AIDS, but wouldn’t include people seeking to take PrEP to prevent HIV infection. Daniel Bruner, senior director of health at the Whitman-Walker Health, said Congress is unlikely to pass the proposed cuts, but they nonetheless raise concern. “The president is proposing very substantial cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and public assistance programs that support health, such as food stamps,” Bruner said.  “These cuts, if Congress agrees — and they likely won’t agree with all of the cuts — would make it much harder to combat the HIV epidemic.” Other cuts are proposed for programs specifically designed to combat HIV/AIDS, although the reductions aren’t as significant. The budget calls for a $2.26 billion reduction in funds for the Ryan White Care Act, which is a 2 percent reduction compared to existing funding levels. Those reductions are the result of zeroing out  Special Projects of National Significance and AIDS Education & Training Centers, not services such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The Centers for Disease Control would see a $50 million cut for HIV prevention efforts. The cut breaks down largely as a

$34.6 million reduction for HIV prevention and a $23 million cut for global health programs. That’s a 5 percent cut from current funding, but not as big as last year’s proposed cut, which was three times as much for HIV services. HOPWA, or Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, had previously been flat-funded at $330 million. The appropriations increased to $356 million in current spending levels, but the budget calls for returning the level of funds to the $330 million level. Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said although the cuts to domestic programs are relatively small, they could have an impact. “Looking at the epidemic in the United States and where we are, there’s more to be done and there’s still lots of challenges, particularly, in some parts of the country for some populations,” Kates said. “There’s already a sense that there needed to be additional funding, particularly in prevention, so last year and this year’s proposed decreased funding kind of go in the opposite direction.” Despite the reductions, the budget also calls for the creation at CDC of a new demonstration initiative that would “jointly eliminate multiple infectious diseases using intensive prevention, screening, and treatment/referral as treatment efforts.” “This initiative would focus on at least five states/jurisdictions, particularly those that are seeing a rise in infectious diseases related to opioid abuse,” the request says. Schmid said the proposal for the initiative is consistent with goals of HIV/ AIDS advocates to allocate funds to HIV/ AIDS prevention connected to the opioid epidemic, but the initiative has drawbacks. “They did that at the expense of the HIV funding, so that’s not positive,” Schmid said. “We need to keep the HIV money there plus we need additional money to deal with opioids and infectious diseases.” Schmid said HIV advocates are working with the Congress for HIV/AIDS connections to opioid abuse “because the administration hasn’t included that in their budget” and for the current fiscal year as opposed to FY-19. For HIV/AIDS research, the budget roughly flatlines the National Institutes for Health at $34.7 billion, which is about $2 billion less than current levels of funds. That stands in contrast to the $7.2 billion in cuts proposed in Trump’s previous request. Mick Mulvaney, White House Director of the Office of Management & Budget, told reporters during a briefing Monday that flatlining was the result of Congress rejecting the cuts in the previous request. “Congress, when they passed the appropriations bill in April, said not only are we going to plus it back up to the

OMB Director MICK MULVANEY is promoting a Trump budget that makes HIV cuts. PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE; COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

$35-odd billion dollars or whatever it is, but they put a rider in that said it was against the law to spend any money to do analyses on the administrative costs,” Mulvaney said. “So they prevented us, by law, from trying to save money.” But that flatlining might not be what it seems. According to the HIV Medicine Association, the budget appears to cut funds for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases by $111 million, which could hamper biomedical answers to HIV treatment and prevention. The modest cuts to domestic HIV/AIDS programs, however, pale in comparison to proposed reductions for global initiatives. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, would see a reduction of 17 percent compared to existing funding levels, down from $4.65 billion in FY-17 to $3.85 billion. Contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are down are whopping 31 percent. While the current level is at $1.35 billion, Trump’s request calls for $925 million in funds. Kates said the dramatic cuts to global HIV/AIDS programs — similar to the reductions found in last year’s budget request — would have a serious effect overseas given the dependence of these programs on U.S. funds. “The cuts are similar in magnitude as last year,” Kates said. “We did an analysis and we found that that could have a dramatic impact of health incomes around the world, so the U.S. is such a large funder of global health efforts that cutting back on HIV efforts around the world could have a real impact.” Asia Russell, executive director of the Health Global Access Project, took particular issue with the proposed cuts to global AIDS programs in a statement. “This is not a time to back down,” Russell said. “U.S. funding for global AIDS

programs has been critical in reducing deaths and new infections to the point where defeating AIDS is within reach. But after several years of flat funding from Congress, the response is running out of gas. At the very moment we should be on the brink of ending AIDS, Trump’s deadly budget would shift the global AIDS response into reverse.” The White House Office of Management & Budget didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the justification for cuts to domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs. Melanie Thompson, chair of the HIV Medicine Association, said in a statement the budget proposal for both domestic and global programs is marked by a “regressive approach to public health” and HIV/AIDS. “The plan released by the White House on Monday  is short-sighted, damaging, and would erode the fabric of programs that people with HIV and millions of other Americans count on for access to the care and services that prevent and treat infectious diseases. Even though the administration has proposed these cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, lawmakers need not agree to them and likely won’t. In fact, after the administration proposed even more serious cuts last year, Congress kept the funding as it had been in years past. Schmid predicted Congress would the do same in response to the FY-19 budget request, citing the recent two-year budget deal raising spending caps for nondiscretionary spending to $300 billion as evidence of plenty of room for spending. “Congress rejected cuts to the Ryan White programs, cuts to the CDC last year, so we anticipate that’s how they’ll react this year, particularly because they have this budget agreement that has all this additional funding for the budget,” Schmid said.


WAS HINGTONBLADE.COM

LO C A L N E W S

F E BRU A RY 1 6 , 2 0 1 8 • 1 3

D.C. court records show others linked to murder of lesbian CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

Md., about one hour before Lewis’ body was found, were each shot to death by the same .45 caliber handgun. Prince George’s County police on Jan. 9 charged Malique Nathan Lewis, 20, a resident of Southeast D.C., with firstdegree murder for Coles’ death. The affidavit in support of Briscoe’s arrest doesn’t say whether Malique Lewis and Kerrice Lewis are related. The affidavit says an autopsy report shows that Kerrice Lewis was shot 15 times and it was the gunshot wounds rather than the flames that engulfed her car that killed her. The affidavit was filed in support of the Feb. 10 arrest by D.C. police of Ashton Briscoe, 23, for Lewis’ murder. It says witnesses saw two men standing over the trunk of Lewis’ 1998 Lexus minutes after they heard the sound of gunfire in an alley where the Lexus was parked off of the 800 block of Adrian Street, S.E. about 7:20 p.m. At least one of the witnesses reported seeing the two unidentified men run away from the Lexus seconds after it was consumed in flames and enter another car through the rear passenger seat and front passenger seat, with a third person in the driver’s seat, the affidavit says. It says the witness reported the car then sped away from the alley. According to the arrest affidavit, when detectives first questioned Briscoe about Lewis’ murder he denied he had anything to do with it. But when confronted with evidence that police tracked his cell phone calls and signals, which placed him at the site of the murder, he confessed that he was at the scene only as the driver of the getaway car and he had no prior knowledge that one of two other people he was with at the scene planned to kill Lewis, the affidavit says. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Saunders, a prosecutor who appeared in court during Briscoe’s presentment hearing on Monday, Feb. 12, seemed to partially back up Briscoe’s alibi, according to an account by the Washington Post. The Post quoted Saunders as saying Briscoe’s role in the murder was “to serve as a lookout for witnesses and law enforcement.” Under D.C.’s criminal code, anyone who aids and abets the commission of a murder or is part of a conspiracy or plan to murder someone can be legally charged with the murder, even if they were not the person who fired a gun or used another means to kill the victim. Among other things, the affidavit cites cell phone records obtained by investigators for Briscoe’s phone and the phone of the other two suspects Briscoe identified as being at the scene of the murder that show the three had communicated with each other on their

respective phones earlier in the day. Phone signals also show, according to the affidavit, that Briscoe was at or near the site of where Coles’ body was dumped out of a car along I-295 one hour prior to Lewis’ murder. Citing more than a half dozen tips from people who knew Lewis, Briscoe and the other two suspects, the affidavit speculates that one possible motive for Kerrice Lewis’ murder could have been revenge for her association and possible friendship with the man charged with killing Ronzay Green. Green was shot to death in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at 950 Eastern Ave., N.E. about 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 28. On Dec. 31, D.C. police arrested Dennis Whitaker, 23, of Northeast Washington, for Green’s murder. The affidavit says Kerrice Lewis was a “known associate” of both Whitaker and Coles, whom police believe was shot and dumped from the car several hours after Green was killed outside the 7-Eleven. The affidavit says detectives learned through cell phone chatter and phone signal locations that Whitaker and a person identified only as Suspect 1, who, along with Briscoe, were “associates” of Green, visited Prince George’s County Hospital, where Green was taken after he was shot. Although it doesn’t say so directly, the affidavit implies that their visit to the hospital to see their dying friend lends support for the theory that Green’s death prompted at least Malique Lewis and Suspect 1 to decide to kill Coles and Kerrice Lewis in retaliation for Green’s murder. Malique Lewis has not been charged in Kerrice Lewis’ murder. Neither the affidavit nor prosecutors at Briscoe’s court hearing on Monday disclosed whether or not Malique Lewis and Kerrice Lewis were related. In discussing Briscoe’s alibi, the affidavit says Briscoe told detectives that on the night of Kerrice Lewis’ murder Malique Lewis gave him the key to a car that turned out to belong to Coles, a black 2017 Toyota Camry, and asked him to drive the car and follow Malique Lewis, who would be driving another car that turned out to be Kerrice Lewis’ Lexus. It says Briscoe insisted he did not know the two cars belonged to the deceased Coles and soon-to-be deceased Kerrice Lewis. The affidavit says Briscoe claimed he complied with Malique Lewis’ request and followed Malique Lewis to the alley off of Adrian Terrace. “Once in the alley, Defendant Briscoe advised that Malique Lewis suddenly stopped the blue Lexus,” the affidavit says, adding that Malique Lewis told Briscoe to drive the Camry back to the entrance of the ally and wait there because Malique Lewis “needed to get something.”

“Approximately ten minutes after parking near the mouth of the alley, Defendant Briscoe heard the sounds of gunshots,” the affidavit says. “Defendant Briscoe then observed Malique Lewis and an individual identified by Defendant Briscoe by first and last name, hereinafter referred to as Subject #1, running away from the blue Lexus and towards the car he was in,” the affidavit continues. It says Briscoe recounted that Subject #1 entered the Camry through a rear door and Malique Lewis entered the vehicle through the front passenger door and sat in the passenger seat while “holding a Glock 21 pistol.” Police said later the gun actually was a .45 caliber pistol believed to have been used to

shoot Kerrice Lewis and Coles. The affidavit concludes by saying shortly after Coles’ body was found dumped on the side of the freeway “the phones used by Defendant Briscoe, Malique Lewis, and Subject #1 were in the vicinity of the Armani Coles’ homicide.” The affidavit adds, “Following this, investigators were able to determine that the cellular phones used by Defendant Briscoe, Malique Lewis and Subject #1 moved 2-3 miles south from the Armani Coles homicide to the area of the Kerrice Lewis homicide. All three phones were in the area of the Kerrice Lewis homicide at or near the time of her murder.”

Pride House opens at Winter Olympics A South Korean LGBTI advocacy group is behind the Pride House at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The Seoul-based Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center and Pride House International organized the Pride House, which is located inside the Canada Olympic House in the Olympic Village. The logo for Pride House 2018 Winter The Pride House earlier this Olympics. week held an opening reception. Candy Yun, a bisexual activist who is the Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center’s International Solidarity Manager, and her colleague, Inwoo Chung, on Tuesday told the Washington Blade during a Skype interview from Seoul their organization also plans to hold a viewing party at an LGBTfriendly coffee shop in the South Korean capital on Feb. 17 for the men’s figure skating free skate competition. Chung told the Blade the viewing party will allow LGBT sports fans “to watch the show in an LGBT-friendly environment.” Chung and Yun also noted their organization published a media guide that defines LGBT-specific terms and includes guidelines for reporters who are covering LGBT athletes and issues at the games. “In the last few Olympics, the Korean media has been writing a lot from the gender binary perspective, which means they consciously or unconsciously strengthen the ideology of gender, the two gender binary, that there’s only female versus male and then a man should be manly and a woman should be womanly,” Chung told the Blade. “It was very much strengthened throughout the Olympic games here in the past two cycles, especially in the local Korean media. We wanted to correct that.” Chung added a Korean media outlet recently published an article about members of the Canadian women’s hockey team that asked whether they are women “because they look so muscular.” “We wanted to bring this up as an important issue and disseminate this idea that sports is not about gender,” Chung told the Blade. “It can be neutral.” Several Brazilian LGBT advocacy groups operated a Pride House during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Pride Houses were also open during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Overhold in a Feb. 6 statement said the Canadian Olympic Committee “stands behind its commitment of inclusion and diversity in the global sport landscape.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS 


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

14 • FE B R U A R Y 16, 2018

H E A LT H N E W S

LGBs seek mental health services

The city is our stage

THOROFARE, N.J. — LGB people are more likely to have made use of behavioral health services than their straight counterparts according to findings published in Psychiatric Services and reported on by the news outlet Healio Psychiatry. No figures were given but LGB people more often took advantage of health services, outpatient individual psychotherapy, medication management and diagnostic evaluation compared to those in opposite-sex relationships. The findings came from data collected between 2008-2013. About 8 percent of women and 5 percent of men received a specialty behavioral health service during the study period, Healio reports. “Studies suggest that services available to (LGB) individuals with mental illnesses are inadequate and treatment for this population should be tailored to reflect and incorporate the culture and language of (LGB) clients,” researchers said according to Healio. 

Fate of trans Ohio teen in judge’s hands Yo-Yo Ma (2/23)

Wynton Marsalis (5/20)

Wu Man (3/16 & 4/19)

Evgeny Kissin (5/16)

Mitsuko Uchida (2/21)

Chris Botti (4/22)

35+ events in venues across D.C. THIS MONTH!

Alexandre Tharaud (Feb 13) • Emmanuel Pahud (Feb 16) • Mitsuko Uchida (Feb 21) • Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos & Yo-Yo Ma (Feb 23 —Ltd. Tickets!) • PUBLIQuartet (Feb 24)

MORE WINTER/SPRING HIGHLIGHTS The Philadelphia Orchestra (Mar 6) • Wu Man with The Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (Mar 16) • Diego el Cigala (Mar 29) • Aaron Diehl Trio (Apr 7) • SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras (Apr 9-14) • Kronos Quartet & Wu Man (Apr 19) • Chris Botti (Apr 22) • Los Angeles Philharmonic (Apr 26—Ltd. Tickets!) • Crosscurrents: Zakir Hussain & Dave Holland (May 6) • Chelsey Green & The Green Project (May 12) • Evgeny Kissin (May 16) • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (May 20) • Children of the Gospel Choir (Jun 2) • and many more! Pricing, program details, and venue information at WashingtonPerformingArts.org.

TICKETS: WashingtonPerformingArts.org • (202) 785-9727

LOS ANGELES — An Ohio judge will soon decide whether a 17-year-old Cincinnati high school senior can live authentically as a transgender male or must undergo Christian-based psychological treatments aimed at preventing his transition, the Los Angeles Blade reports. Court documents show that the unidentified parents asked Judge Sylvia Herndon to prevent their unidentified teenager from undergoing hormone replacement therapy and force him to submit to the controversial practice of “conversion therapy,” also known as “reparative therapy,” first outlawed in California in 2012. That bill’s author, Rep. Ted Lieu, calls the “fake, dangerous” practice “psychological child abuse.” The discredited, unscientific practice poses a real danger to tens of thousands of adolescents, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law. “Conversion therapy” has been used against almost 700,000 Americans between the ages of 18-59, according to researchers. An estimated 350,000 of them underwent the so-called “therapy” as children or teenagers, the Williams Institute report says. The Ohio trans teen now lives with his grandparents, whose identity is also being withheld. They fully support his desire for hormone replacement therapy to transition and are seeking full custody. The grandparents have a cadre of medical experts, social workers and lawyers from the local Department of Jobs and Family Services (DJFS) supporting them.

Trans woman succeeds at breastfeeding NEW YORK — A 30-year-old transgender woman has become the first officially known to have breastfed her baby, New Scientist reports. An experimental three-and-a-half-month treatment regimen, which included hormones, a nausea drug and breast stimulation, enabled the woman to produce 227 grams of milk a day. “This is a very big deal,” says Joshua Safer of Boston Medical Center, who was not involved with the treatment. “Many transgender women are looking to have as many of the experiences of non-transgender women as they can, so I can see this will be extremely popular.” The transgender woman had been receiving hormonal treatments for several years before she started the lactation treatment. These included spironolactone, which is thought to block the effects of testosterone, and progesterone and a type of estrogen. This regimen enabled her to develop breasts that looked fully grown based on appearance. She had not had any breast augmentation surgery, New Scientist reports. When her partner was five-and-a-half-months pregnant, the woman sought medical treatment at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. Her partner had no interest in breastfeeding, so she opted to take on that role instead, New Scientist reports.  A hormone called prolactin usually stimulates the production of breastmilk in women who have just given birth, but this chemical isn’t available as a lab-made drug. Instead, the woman decided to try using a nausea drug called domperidone to trigger breastmilk. There’s anecdotal evidence that this drug may boost milk production, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously warned that it shouldn’t be used for this purpose. She took it with increasing doses of the hormones estrogen, progesterone and spironolactone. At the same time, she began to use a breast pump to stimulate her breasts, New Scientist reports.  Within a month, the woman was able to express milk droplets. After three months of treatment, this increased to 227 grams of breast milk per day. Once the baby was born, she was able to exclusively breastfeed the infant for six weeks, during which time a paediatrician confirmed the baby was growing and developing normally and healthily, the article notes. 


W A SH I N GTO NB LAD E.C OM

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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

1 6 • F E B RUA RY 1 6, 2018

VIEWPOINT

We can because they did Preserving, celebrating legacy of transformative black history in America By DAVID JOHNS Martin. Malcolm. Rosa. All of whom we know on a first-name basis and in almost all cases, know their contributions to the fight for civil rights and equality in America, or at least a significant portion of them. Marlon. Richmond. Pauli. Unfortunately, in the same breath, these names are not so familiar. But why not? Sure, there were—and are—many (s) heroes throughout history who have gone relatively unnoticed. But in the cases of Marlon T. Riggs, the groundbreaking filmmaker and LGBT rights activist or Richmond Barthè, the Harlem renaissance sculptor, their contributions have been just as impactful and far-reaching as many of those whom we celebrate each year; however, their names and contributions too often go unacknowledged. While nothing can ever, nor should ever, take away from the legacy of the incomparable Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there was another notable cleric in our history. Reverend Dr. Anna Pauline Murray, best known as Pauli, was the cofounder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality, the first woman to be awarded a Juris Doctor degree from Yale University and the first Black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest. Her life and legacy is worthy

of celebration. A binding tie among the aforementioned luminaries is that—in addition to having enriched our nation and our lives—they also happen to be Black and LGBTQ/Same-Gender-Loving (SGL). Unfortunately, the historical contributions of Black LGBTQ/SGL people are far too often diminished or ignored in conversations, especially during Black History Month. It is important to understand that as long as there have been black people, there have been Black LGBTQ/SGL people. The vestiges of trans-Atlantic enslavement and racism combined with the forces of stigma, phobia, discrimination and bias associated with gender and sexuality have too often erased the contributions of too many members of our community. Black LGBTQ/SGL people have enriched the nation and touched so many lives and our contributions are worthy of documentation and celebration. As a community of Black people, we must ensure that the prolific and resilient legacy of Black LGBTQ/SGL people won’t be brushed aside, especially during Black History Month. As Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ/SGL people, including people living with HIV/ AIDS, I believe it is our duty to acknowledge those who have contributed to the progression of civil rights and LQBTQ equality in a country that is just more than 100 years removed from slavery. From civil rights leader Bayard Rustin to world-renowned writer Langston Hughes, Black LGBTQ/SGL people have E DIT OR IA L C A R T OON

PHOTO COURTESY NBJC

truly blazed trails for all blacks in America, and we continue to break barriers and thrive despite the many adversities we face. There are so many more whose names you may not know today—but you will—like Dr. Ayanna Elliott and Quincy J. Roberts, who are both activists and public health advocates committed to advancing the overall quality of life of members of the LGBTQ/SGL community. Just as we cannot rely on history textbooks to acknowledge the full breadth of contributions Black people have made in this country, the same is to be said about the Black LGBTQ/SGL people who have pushed the needle and fought diligently to ensure that Black people have the same rights and privileges as everyone else in this country. To change the narrative and ensure the full diversity of transformative Black history is preserved, NBJC has partnered with the Ubuntu Biography Project during this month to share the largely untold stories of black LGBTQ/SGL men and women and celebrate their remarkable contributions to the world. Through this initiative—aptly titled, “We Can Because They Did!”—we are featuring pioneers, trailblazers, justice warriors and emerging leaders in the Black LGBTQ/SGL community on the Ubuntu Biography Project website and social media channels throughout the month. We will celebrate the heroes in our community— some you may already be familiar with, while many may be new to you. It is essential that we now, more than ever, expose people to the impact and involvement of the Black LGBTQ/SGL community. We must make sure their stories are told along with those of our other great Black leaders. Because they are just as captivating, inspiring and empowering – and their contributions will significantly impact the lives and freedoms of our future generations. To follow us on this journey, visit www. ubuntubiographyproject.com and to learn more about the National Black Justice Coalition, visit www.nbjc.org. DAVID JOHNS is executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.

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Democratic wins in 2018 not a sure thing Don’t get lulled into false sense of confidence

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

Democrats shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of confidence about the 2018 mid-term elections. While things look good at the moment, there are nearly nine months until Nov. 6. Between now and then millions of Americans will be getting higher paychecks because of what in the long run is a disastrous Republican tax bill. They won’t start seeing the repercussions, increases in their health insurance and penalties when they file their 2018 taxes, until after the election. Republicans have nine more months to lie to the American people and we saw in 2016 the public is very willing to buy into the lies.

We also can’t be assured Donald Trump and his corrupt, inept minions will continue to provide a daily dose of crazy; attacking every voter group including women, the LGBTQ+ community, African Americans and immigrants. We don’t know what the stock market will do or where interest rates will be. Or how many other holierthan-thou administration officials and Republican officeholders will be found to have beaten their wives, harassed women, hidden they are gay, dealt in human trafficking or looked at kiddie porn. To win, the Democratic Party must accept the challenge, and embrace it, that in 2018 winners and losers will not always be decided by the positions they take on national issues. Nor by adopting 100 percent every platform plank espoused by the national party. If there is one thing we learned from the elections in Virginia, Alabama and New Jersey it is there isn’t only one set of policies or ideas that will lead to victory. The next few weeks will determine if the Republican leadership in Congress will allow an open debate on DACA or if they lied about that too. Democrats of all persuasions and every group that supports the Dreamers must understand and accept if nothing is done the blame lies with Republicans. They

can’t spend their time and energy attacking Democrats in Congress who don’t control either the committees or the agenda in either the House or the Senate. Everyone who wants a fair and decent immigration policy must place the blame for nothing being done on the liar-in-chief in the White House. While split in some ways it has been amazing how the various factions of the Republican Party, even those that at one time could be called ‘moderate’ have all backed away from attacking Trump. They are clearly afraid by doing so they would be committing hari-kari knowing they need the 35 percent of the Republican Party that strongly backs Trump to win their own elections. Up to now the Democratic members of Congress, for the most part, have stuck together. But the fear is the party will splinter and do what we have done before, form a circular firing squad leading to our own defeat. If we divide ourselves as Democrats we will simply be aiding the Republican Party and making our road to success that much more difficult, if not impossible. One thing adding to the problem is the numerous Democrats already vying for the 2020 party nomination. All their PACs and committees are taking money out of the pool that should be available for can-

didates running in 2018. In addition they are trying to grab headlines for themselves that should be going to candidates in tight races who are running this year. One of the things that has turned people off to politics in the United States is our neverending presidential races. They have become four-year campaigns with the 2020 fight for the nomination having begun on Nov. 9, 2016. Mid-term elections are always a crapshoot and often not given the attention they deserve. This year must be different. Our democracy actually hangs in the balance. We have a man in the White House who thinks nothing of giving comfort to our enemies and thinks nothing of disregarding the constitution. He surrounds himself with incompetents and those who are only too happy to bolster his ego and repeat his lies. We even have a segment of the media that willingly abets his attempts to circumvent the law and helps him cater to the worst elements in the country from the alt-right to neo-Nazis. So every faction of the Democratic Party must for 2018 put aside attacks on each other and focus on the overriding issue: saving the nation, and the world, from what is being done to it by the man in the White House and his lackeys on Capitol Hill.

O UR B US I NES S MATTERS

Maxed-out D.C. faces special-interest spending push Left-leaning groups appear blissfully unaware city’s fiscal cupboard is bare

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

A battle is brewing over increasing D.C. government spending – but those on the spend-more side don’t appear to know the city’s cash register is empty. It’s now foolishly common for apparently uninformed devotees of public-policy special-interest groups arguing for evermore spending to use phrases like “we’re swimming in cash” without regard for such assertions not actually being true. D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson is the type of politician who doesn’t much embellish what he says. It’s a straightforward approach that has served both his political career and the District well. Men-

delson’s low-key, no-nonsense manner has become a signature component of his public persona and electoral success. If nothing else, residents can usually rely on the guy not to blow hot air up our skirts. Voters have shown widespread support for, and high confidence in, Mendelson’s even-handed analysis, long-range perspective, and circumspect style – especially in a city infamous for a history of financial impropriety and fiscal imprudence. The vast majority of voters readily recall the ignoble period when D.C. acquiesced independence to a federally imposed financial control board to govern operations and approve budgets following the crisis meltdown two decades ago. For nearly a decade, the city was overseercontrolled until a broke-down and bustedflat government clawed its way back from a deep hole of red ink and bad management. No one knows anyone who wants that again. That’s why Mendelson’s admonition this month is important – and should serve as both instruction and warning to those recklessly clamoring for profligate new city government expenditures. Those pushing for more spending need to be reminded the city can’t again start writing checks that can’t be cashed. It’s as simple as that. Mendelson advised that the Annual

Financial Report issued by District CFO Jeffrey DeWitt contained both good and bad news. Due to statutory requirements the city balance its budget and function within fiscal constraints, D.C. remains on solid financial footing and within the parameters of retaining advantageous credit worthiness critical to controlling interest payments on the city’s alreadyaccrued debt. The District’s annual revenue surplus and reserve fund balance have made left-leaning special-interest groups giddy with a perceived chance for forcing the city to increase spending on favored programs and new projects. The math is simple – there isn’t any extra money to spend. The $287 million in surplus revenue is insufficient to fund future budget obligations already committed, totaling $256 million, and the $71 million required deposit to the city’s cash reserves. The District’s “rainy-day fund” will also drop below the recommended duration the city government would be able to cover expenses, potentially threatening favorable debt service costs. One of the biggest warning signs that D.C. government spending has surpassed advisable and sustainable levels is the massive cost of borrowing against the future. Due to having borrowed heav-

ily against future revenue, the city’s debt cost continues to grow and is projected to exceed $1 billion annually in only two fiscal years. That’s 15 percent of the District’s total yearly local revenue. In addition, D.C. has begun playing budgeting tricks similar to those producing the previous financial mess, spending more than will be collected both now and in the future. Big-spender types are either poorly informed about the city’s near-term fiscal realities or don’t much care about longterm financial stability. They are also blissfully unaware or blatantly unconcerned that a myriad of new financial pressures will soon confront the city. Among them is a whopping $5 billion in unfunded immediate government infrastructure requirements. Federal assistance for existing program areas will also decline, resulting in huge new price tags. It’s easy for special-interest propagandists to constantly wail that the city should spend more – or rescind recent local tax reforms. D.C.’s political environment is well known prey for such simplistic exhortations and hash-tag sloganeering. Bottom line: D.C.’s cadre of spendmore evangelists should first listen to Mendelson before reflexively and irresponsibly demanding the city spend money it doesn’t have.


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

1 8 • F EB RUA RY 1 6, 2018

VIEWPOINT

My trip to Creating Change: inspiring and educational Annual conference provides safe spaces to connect with peers By YUNA My experience at Creating Change was fun and educational. There were people from all across the country there, so a lot of different experiences were shared. The first day I went there, I went to a workshop called Brave Space where we learned a bunch of things to take back to our organizations. We learned about how to deal with racial inequality in our spaces, lack of resources and more. A lot of people shared their tactics and strategies that they use in their organization. It was a very helpful and informative workshop in a welcoming space with other youth and youth leaders. After the lunch break, I took some time to explore the convention more in-depth.

They had rooms called youth suites, where youth could hang out and socialize while enjoying food and entertainment. The first suite I went to was the general youth suite. It was full of youth from all over the country. They would start conversations with you and invite you to join the games they played. I also got a chance to hear some awesome live piano played by youth in the suite. The adults there were cool too. Next, I went to the trans youth suite. I was greeted by trans staff and youth, I played a game of chess while having a nice talk with a youth I met there. It was spacious and had a calming environment. The next room (my favorite) was the disability suite. There weren’t a lot of people in there, but the people who were there was super nice and cool. We talked about anything and everything. I even played a game of cards with my best friend. It’s nice to have people that can relate to you on levels you thought weren’t possible. I went home shortly after that.

The second day I went was even better. First thing I did was go back to the youth suite to chill a bit and to find out what I wanted to do that day. Then I made my way to the Promoting Trans Mental Health and Wellness workshop. We learned different ways to help people in our spaces cope with what’s going on around them. Some mechanisms we learned while we were there included practicing breathing with bubbles and aromatherapy. Later I went to a disability caucus, which was my favorite thing there that I did. We basically talked about our lives being LGBTQ and disabled, how we get treated differently from other people and stereotypes about us. I heard a lot of peoples’ stories from all different walks of life. I enjoyed the varying age groups. People with mental and physical disabilities were there. Again, there weren’t a lot of us, but it was enough to have a good, fulfilling conversation. Throughout the convention, I saw a lot of artwork made by queer artists and as a

queer artist myself I was happy to be surrounded by like-minded people. There was a party that night but I didn’t stay long because I’m not much of a party or social event person. But it was nice seeing people enjoying themselves in a safe environment. I think it’s amazing how this one event can bring so many people together. So many people made new lifelong friends there. Also everyone went home with new information that they will put to use in not only their organizations but their everyday lives. Overall my experience was great at Creating Change for my first time there and I’d love to get another chance to go again. Editor’s note: The Blade sponsored a student from SMYAL, covering registration fees for admission to the recent Task Force Creating Change conference in D.C. The following is the student’s first-person account of the weekend. YUNA is a D.C.-area student.


W A SH I N GTO NB LAD E.C OM

F E BRU A RY 1 6 , 2 0 1 8 • 1 9

ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 16TH REEL AFFIRMATIONS XTRA: Our Monthly LGBTQ Film Series presents the DC Premier of Part Musical, Part Drama but 100% heart of a film,

Something Like Summer! Come early at 6pm and enjoy our Open Bar Cocktails And Cinema Happy Hour,

watch SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER and stay for our Cast Talk Back with Catered Cocktail Reception with Co-Star BEN BAUR and Co-Producer TOM LY!

TICKETS ARE $12 AND $25 For more info and to purchase tixs go to www.thedccenter.org/events/somethinglikesummer


2 0 • F E B RUA RY 1 6, 2018

W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M

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ARTS

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From left are artist KEHINDE WILEY, President BARACK OBAMA, First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA and artist AMY SHERALD at the National Portrait Gallery Monday for the unveiling of their portraits. PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA; COURTESY NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Painting the president Some argue portraitist Kehinde Wiley’s sexuality as important as race By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com When artist Amy Sherald and Michelle Obama unveiled Sherald’s portrait of the former first lady at the National Portrait Gallery Monday morning, there was polite applause as the public got its first look at a regal-looking subject wearing a Michelle Smith-designed, mostly black-and-white

dress in front of a sky-blue background. But the reaction minutes later as artist Kehinde Wiley and President Barack Obama unveiled his portrait was noticeably different. The massive, 7-foottall portrait elicited a more visceral, electric reaction. It shows the former

president seated on a wooden chair atop and in front of a wild tangle of leaves featuring symbolic flowers arranged around its subject. There was no special light on it, yet it seemed almost lit from behind or within. The colors popped and though

the president wears a stern expression, there’s joy in the almost enchanted forest-esque background. The occasion was historic on several fronts. Not only are the Obamas, of CONTINUES ON PAGE 33


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2 2 • F EB RUA RY 1 6, 2018

Q U E E RY : 2 0 Q U E ST I O N S F O R J O SH U A ST RE E T

JOSHUA STREET How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? Mostly out since the beginning of college, in 2011, but newly out to family members. My brothers, I think, mostly because I hyped it up in my head that’d be difficult and painful but then they both were like, “This changes nothing but explains a lot.”

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Wearing a black dress with a bunch of purple scarves he got at Value Village and a white wig, last year at the first-ever Washington Scandals Sequins & Scrums event, Joshua Street was named Scrum Queen for performing “Poor Unfortunate Hos” as Ur-slut-a, a takeoff of the “Little Mermaid” villainess. Street won after defeating two other Scandals members in a three-way lip sync. If you missed it, he’ll be reprising the number at this year’s event on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., N.W.) where 10 Scandals will don drag and compete to earn the judges’ approval and collect tips and cheers from the crowd. Money given during his performance will go to Whitman-Walker Addiction Services.  Founded in 2013, the Scandals foster community and athleticism for gay men through rugby. Funds raised will go to help the team’s registration and travel expenses for the Bingham Cup in Amsterdam, a biennial, international, nonpro gay rugby tournament. On Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m., the Scandals will hold a Rugby 101 clinic at Shaw Athletic Field for potential new members to learn the basics. All details are at scandalsrfc.org or sequinsandscrums.com. Street only did drag for this one-off event (“I don’t have the patience for the makeup”) but says it was fun and he enjoyed leading the Scandals in the Pride parade.  Street took up rugby a year and a half ago because he was “stuck in a routine of going to work, going home. Rugby was a way for me to get out and meet people and make new friends.” He likes the sport because of the brotherhood aspect among the players. “That and getting to hit people,” the 24-year-old Forth Worth, Texas native says. Street came to Washington seven years ago for school at Georgetown and stayed. He works by day as a media project coordinator for United Educators. He lives in Brookland and enjoys rugby; reading; bar hopping; spending time with his boyfriend, Joe; museums and video games in his free time. 

Serving Our Community for 35 years

a d v i C e • m e d iat i o N • L i t i G at i o N • a P P e a L S • C o L L a B o r at i o N

FamiLY | eState PLaNNiNG | emPLoYmeNt | immiGratioN ComPLeX LitiGatioN | CiviL riGHtS | LGBt | adoPtioN | BuSiNeSS

Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A.

at tor N e YS at L aw • d C | m d | va

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6 9 3 0 C a r r o L L av e , S u i t e 6 1 0 • ta k o m a Pa r k m d

Who’s your LGBT hero? Mark Bingham, as his legacy spawned the Bingham Cup, which now has more than 60 gay rugby teams globally. Last year we visited the Flight 93 Memorial and cleaned the property as part of the team’s community service.  What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?  Uproar, hands down. The atmosphere, bartenders and drinks are amazing. Tammy has embraced our team, even attending our annual banquet this past December.    Describe your dream wedding. Honestly, I’ve never considered it very much but as long as I’m marrying the man I love, all the details are superfluous. But I will be a Bridezilla, if only for the drama.   What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? The racism that still pervades society at an institutionalized level, which is still kind of a gay issue because of the intersectionality.    What historical outcome would you change? Probably that slave owners were paid when slaves were “freed.” But you know, going even further back, just insisting that our founding fathers had an inherent respect and love for people who didn’t fit neatly into their squares of WASP straight, cis male. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Anything Beyonce has done, whether it’s dropping an album in the middle of the night with no hype or putting out a visual masterpiece on the complexities of what it means to be a fully actualized black woman.  On what do you insist? The inherent respect that comes from being a human being no matter how you may disagree with my “lifestyle choices.”    What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? It was support for a friend of mine from college who’s running for Congress in Pennsylvania. She’s a black woman who’s showing the world what it means to be an active part of the resistance and how to get out and work to change something  If your life were a book,

what would the title be? “What Am I Doing? My Best” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Roll my eyes, since something like that doesn’t deal with the underlying sexist, racist, xenophobic institutions that directly punish the marginalized people of the LGBT community. It’s literally putting a Band Aid on a bullet wound and saying it’s healed. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? That there’s someone up there shaking their head at the mess we’ve made of this world and wondering if it wouldn’t be easier to start over (global warming’s real y’all).   What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?  Listen to the most marginalized among you. Again, intersectionality is extremely important and racism is alive and well in the LGBT community.  What would you walk across hot coals for?  A Finn/Poe kiss in the next Star Wars. Or just Oscar Isaac in my bed. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? Fetishizing of cultures, like whole obsession with BBC or saying, “I’ve never been with a black guy before.” Spoiler alert, it’s just like being with anyone else, cause black people are just people.   What’s your favorite LGBT movie? Not really a movie, but that one San Junipero episode of “Black Mirror,” where the gays actually get a happy ending. Anything where gays get a happy ending. What’s the most overrated social custom? Sticking to the status quo just because it’s easier. Nothing was ever changed by doing nothing. What trophy or prize do you most covet? I’d love an Olympic gold medal but I get winded making my bed so that’s probably not gonna happen. Maybe a Tony. I’m a slut for musical theater.  What do you wish you’d known at 18? That no one’s opinions about your clothes, your body, your achievements, your choices matter just so long as you love yourself and don’t actively go out of your way to be a dick. Why Washington? It’s a city where you can actively see change happening, for the better or for the worse, and where you can force your voice to be heard across the world.


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ROBERT YORK, third from left, at the launch of the Blade’s sports edition in August, 2017.

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The big 5-0 Robert York plans b-day charity bash on Feb. 17 By MARIAH COOPER mcooper@washblade.com Robert York celebrates his 50th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 20 but instead of a standard cake and birthday card, he decided to bring together the LGBT community and music for a night of charity. Champions for Charity, York’s 50th birthday party, takes place at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 5-10 p.m. “America’s Got Talent” contestant Brian Justin Crum, “American Idol” contestant and Broadway star Frenchie Davis, house singer Beth Anne Sacks and Simone Denny, former lead singer of Canadian Eurodance group Love Inc., will give live performances. DJ Grind, DJ Chord and DJ Twin will keep the party going with music all night. York decided to turn his milestone birthday into a charity event while brainstorming ideas a year and a half ago. “I really wanted to use my 50th birthday as a catalyst to bring family and friends together but to really highlight a number of charities that I have known, worked with and admired their work. This is my way of saying thank you not only to the community but being able to give back to those charities that need our support,” York says. York counts all the performers as friends and says everyone was immediately on board. “I reached out to everybody and said, ‘This is my thought what do you think? and they were like, ‘I’m in.’ There’s not

one person that said no,” York says. In addition to numerous performances, York’s party will give 100 percent of the ticket proceeds to charity. The funds will be split evenly among seven organizations. General admission tickets are $25. VIP tickets are $100 and give guests access to the VIP room and a meet and greet with the artists. Host tickets are $250 and include two VIP tickets, access to the VIP room, a meet and greet with artists and name recognition as host. As for the charities, they were selected by York because they are either close to his heart or he has worked with them in some capacity in previous years. They include Athlete Ally, Capital Pride, Capital Trans Pride, City Dogs Rescue and City Kitties, NMAC, Trevor Project D.C. and ziMS Foundation. While York was excited for the event he says he was surprised by how much support he has received. “I’m kind at a loss for words. I see people posting about it and its awesome to see the support,” York says. He hopes people will use Champions for Charity to reunite with old friends, help charities and have fun. York, who is originally from Oklahoma City, Okla., has been in the D.C. area for 24 years now. He is now director of development at NMAC and says it was important for him to give back to the D.C. community. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the community and without a lot of support and leadership from mentors within the community. This is kind of a celebration for all of us,” York says. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit championsforcharity. eventbrite.com.

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2 4 • F EB RUA RY 1 6, 2018

A RT S & CU LT U RE

This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com Familiar. Thru Mar 4. Woolly Mammoth. woollymammoth.net. Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival: Story District: Uncommon Sense. Feb 2224. Atlas. atlasarts.org.

DANCE Project ChArma. Feb 17-Feb 18. Dance Place. danceplace.org.

MUSIC

Virginia Opera: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Feb 17-18. GMU Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu.

William Shakespeare’s iconic 15th century language meets Benjamin Britten’s 20th century inventive and enchanting music in this delightful opera about love, forgiveness, and the power of dreams.

Fusion of the Americas- Jazz Meets Tango with Chaise Lounge Feb 18. Pan American Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center. panamsymphony.org.

From a Mexican work for cello and orchestra, Lluvia en la Arena, to Duke Ellington’s symphonic jazz suite Martin, a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Strayhorn’s Isfahan, PASO brings you an evening of diverse music from the Americas.

The Gospel at Colonus Feb 23-Mar 25. WSC Avant Bard. Gunston Theatre Two. wscavantbard.org.

A soaring musical celebration of transcendence and the fragility of life, The Gospel at Colonus reminds us that out of the deepest sorrows, the highest and most uplifting art can emerge.

Evenings at Dumbarton Oaks Feb 22. Dumbarton Oaks. doaks.org.

Savor a glass or two of wine as you experience our newest museum exhibition with works by Martha Jackson Jarvis, before enjoying the strains of Celil Refik Kaya’s guitar in our historic Music Room. PHOTO CREDIT GMU CENTER FOR THE ARTS

THEATRE 4,380 Nights Signature Theatre. Thru Feb 18. Light Years. Thru Mar 4. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. Doug Smith & Raj Belani. Feb 22. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. Shear Madness. Thru Jun 10. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Aubergine. Thru Mar 4. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. The Wolves. Thru Feb 4. Studio Theatre. studiotheatre.org. Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice. Feb 16-Mar 11. Quotidian Theatre Company at The Writer’s Center.

quotidiantheatre.org. Becoming Dr. Ruth. Feb 21-Mar 18. Theater J. theaterj.org. Eurydice. Thru Feb 17. The Clarice. theclarice.umd.edu. Something Rotten! Thru Feb 18. National Theatre. thenationaldc.org. Cabaret Rising One Nation. Underground. Thru Mar 4. Dupont Underground. dupontunderground.org. In Your Ear. Feb 18. Three’s Comedy. Feb 21-May 9. Improv Wars. Thru May 21. DC Arts Center. dcartscenter.org. La Foto (A Selfie Affair). Thru Feb 25. GALA Hispanic Theatre. galatheatre.org.

Ashley Bathgate, cello. Feb 22. Idan Raichel. Feb 22. Uasuf Gueye. Thru Feb 28. Strathmore. strathmore.org. NSO Pops: West Side Story in Concert. Thru Feb 17. NSO: Jankowski conducts Brahms’s First Symphony. Feb 22-24. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Pat Martino Trio. Feb 16. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. Emmanuel Pahud, flute. Feb 16. WPA at Kennedy Center. The Bernstein Story. Feb 18. Mitsuko Uchida, piano. Feb 21. WPA at Strathmore. washingtonperformingarts.org. Klezmer Brunch. Feb 18-Jun 10. Washington Jewish Music Festival. EDCJCC. wjmf.org. Jubilee Voices at Frederick Douglass Bicentennial. Feb 17. Washington Revels. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. revelsdc.org. Wilson and Pandolfi, Still, and More! Feb 18. Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association. George Washington Masonic National Memorial. wmpamusic.org. Doric Quartet. Feb 16. Library of Congress. loc.gov. wild Up. Feb 16. The Clarice at MilkBoy ArtHouse. theclarice.umd.edu. Trio con Brio Copenhagen. Feb 18. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. National Philharmonic Chamber Players - Story Time. Feb 18. National Philharmonic at Potter Violins. nationalphilharmonic.org. Swing Dance with Swing Shift Big Band. Feb 17. Glen Echo Park. glenechopark.org. The Seamus Egan Project. Feb 16. American Rhapsody: The Gershwin Songbook. Feb 17. Martin Sexton. Feb 21. 1964: The Tribute. Feb 22-23. Wolf Trap. The Barns. wolftrap.org.

MUSEUMS National Archives. Remembering Vietnam. Thru Jan 6. archivesfoundation.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Hard to Define: Artists’ Books from the Collection. Thru Mar 23. Hung Liu In Print. Thru Jul 8. nmwa.org.

National Portrait Gallery. Portraits of the World: Switzerland. Thru Nov 12. npg.si.edu. 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. Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe. Thru May 13. Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Thru May 13. Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’. Thru Oct 28. nga.gov. National Geographic. In the Field With Stephen Wilkes. Thru Apr 22. Tomb of Christ. Thru Aug 15. nglive.org. Woodrow Wilson House. The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. Thru Feb 28. woodrowwilsonhouse.org.

GALLERIES Strathmore. Poe & Puck: The 27th Annual Strathmore Juried Exhibition. Thru Mar 4. Jordann Wine. Thru Mar 4. Jennifer Kahn Barlow. Thru Dec 1. strathmore.org. The Art League. 50th Anniversary Patrons’ Show. Feb 18. Student/Faculty Show. Feb 21-Mar 4. theartleague.org. Waverly Street Gallery. Invitational Exhibit, 40+ Local Artists. Thru Mar 3. waverlystreetgallery.com. Zenith Gallery. Light Up Your HeART. Thru Mar 24. zenithgallery.com. Arlington Arts Center. You, if no one else. Thru Mar 31. arlingtonartscenter.org. BlackRock. Fiber Art & Turned Wood. Thru Feb 24. Rhonda J. Smith. Thru Feb 24. blackrockcenter.org. DC Arts Center. Prints from Lily Press. Thru Mar 4. Another Dimension. Thru Apr 22. dcartscenter.org. District Architecture Center. Hoachlander Davis. Thru Mar 23. aiadac.com. gallery neptune & brown. Michael Craig-Martin. Thru Mar 3. galleryneptunebrown.com. Gallery Underground. Anya Getter. Thru Feb 23. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Glen Echo Park. Mary Belcher. Thru Feb 17. Cathy Abramson. Thru Feb 18. glenechopark.org. Goethe. German Jazz. Thru Feb 23. goethe.de.


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T H E A TER

FE B R U A R Y 16, 2018 • 25

Dubov directs

Kennedy Center debut

DIAVOLO

Veteran actor resurrects obscure four-act play By PATRICK FOLLIARD

Jacques Heim, Creative Director

“Passengers” from L.O.S.T. PHOTO COURTESY QUOTIDIAN

DAVID DUBOV’s life in the theater has been circuitous but rewarding, he says.

D.C. premiere

The Veterans Project: A Long Journey Home D.C. premiere

taking a part in an operetta at his all-boys school. He was smitten and thereafter performed every chance he could. He later spent four halcyon years earning a drama degree at Bennington College in Vermont. After graduating, he returned to Austin where he met his husband while they were both acting in a production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara.” The couple (together 33 years, married almost five) then moved to Hollywood: “I got an agent but wasn’t getting cast,” Dubov says, “so I decided to focus on doing other things and enjoying the city and took a 15year hiatus from acting altogether.” Next, they headed to D.C. for Dubov’s current I.T. job with a transportation association. At a coworker’s request, Dubov dusted off his cello and joined the Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s orchestra in Rockville. He remembers sitting in the pit one night watching the people up on stage and thinking he could do that again. Soon after Dubov began acting at various spots around town before focusing almost exclusively on Quotidian, where he’s a company member. His past shows at Quotidian include “The Lady with the Little Dog,” “A Lesson from Aloes,” “James Joyce’s The Dead,” “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “The Cherry Orchard,” among others. This summer he’s tackling Bottom in the company’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Despite wide familiarity with the popular phrase “Hobson’s choice,” which really means no choice at all, most theatergoers haven’t seen the play since it’s rarely performed. If they know the story, it’s mainly due to David Lean’s 1954 film version featuring bi actor Charles Laughton as Hobson, and a baby-faced Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) as his youngest daughter. “‘Hobson’s Choice’ has a lot to say,” Dubov says. “And I’m sure because it’s a play that’s rarely performed, audiences will find something absolutely new in it.” ‘HOBSON’S CHOICE’ Through March 11 Quotidian Theatre Company The Writer’s Center 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda $15$30 Quotidiantheatre.org

Trajectoire D.C. premiere

February 23 & 24 Eisenhower Theater 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.

“Passengers” from L.O.S.T., photo by George Simian

David Dubov has been acting for 40 years. It’s what he studied in school and it’s his passion. But now he’s shaking up things a bit by making his directorial debut with an old, seemingly quaint, seldom performed, four-act play with a cast of 11 — not an obvious choice for a novice. “It’s been in the back of my mind that I might try directing for a while,” says Dubov, 57. “It happens with some actors as we find ourselves aging out of parts. There are fewer roles for older actors so we look toward other things.” Not long after rereading “Hobson’s Choice,” Harold Brighouse’s 1916 comedy about a bad-tempered bootmaker who must choose whether to keep his three daughters at the shop and unmarried or lost them to their sweethearts, Dubov knew he’d found the play he wanted to direct. So, he pitched his idea to Quotidian Theatre Company, his artistic home located at the Writer’s Center on a quiet side street in Bethesda. While the company’s artistic director Jack Sbarbori responded positively, he was curious if the first-time director was prepared for the unwieldy challenge. Dubov assured him he was. “Well, I know from the actor’s side what a director is supposed to do. Still, I was nervous going into it,” Dubov says. “But once in the rehearsal room those fears melted away. I can speak to actors in their language. I know character development, blocking, business on stage and props. The hard part was doing things I’d never done before like working with sound, lights, costumes and the logistics involved in managing a large cast — scheduling rehearsals for instance. But to my great delight, it’s all come together.” In mellifluous tones, Dubov gives the gist of the play’s history: Written in 1916 during World War I just prior to the enactment of suffrage rights for women in the United Kingdom, the work reflects seismic social change. Henry Hobson represents the old order, standing for queen and country, whereas his daughters are modern and ready to take their lives into their own hands. When ‘Hobson’s Choice’ opened, it was appreciated as a realistic portrayal of real people and not Victorian melodrama set in a London drawing room. And more importantly, it was a smash hit. Affairs with theater are often long and winding things. Dubov’s has been no exception. A native of Austin, Texas, he learned to play cello at 8. Following their desire to live abroad, Dubov’s parents moved the family to England where 16-year-old Dubov was dragooned into


WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

2 6 • F EB RUA RY 1 6, 2018

O U T & A BO U T

By MARIAH COOPER

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY DANIEL TRUITT

Pamala Stanley to give D.C. performance Rehoboth fixture Pamala Stanley will perform in Washington one night only with her show “Evening of Cabaret & Broadway” at the Hotel Tabard Inn (1739 N St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $120 and include a “fabulous spread of some of the best food Tabard has to offer.” Dinner, drinks, the show, tax and gratuity are included in the price. Look for the event on eventbrite.com for details. PHOTO COURTESY OF GLIFAA

GLIFAA has Pink Party Feb. 24 GLIFAA, the LGBT State Department agency, hosts its annual Pink Party at the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 7-11 p.m. It’s for both GLIFAA members and non-members. Dress code is smart casual. Guests are encouraged to incorporate pink into their outfits.There will be a DJ, light hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets are $25. Open donations will be accepted to benefit the organization’s mission of LGBT pride in foreign affairs agencies. For more information, facebook.com/glifaa.

Rainbow Families to hold dance PHOTO BY ZERO SERENITY; COURTESY D.C. GURLY SHOW

Gurly Show celebrates anti-Valentine’s D.C. Gurly Show presents “Heartbreak Hotel,” a burlesque show, at the Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9-11 p.m. The anti-Valentine’s Day performance will focus on unrequited love, goodbyes and revenge. Characters will include scorned, sad, vengeful and single women. Doors open at 9 p.m. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more details, visit facebook.com/dcgurlyshow.

Rainbow Families hosts its annual LGBT Family Dance at Edlavitch D.C.-JCC (1529 16th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a family-friendly DJ, games and activities. Children of all ages are welcome. The dance will be held in partnership with GLOE. Rainbow Families Member adults tickets are $8 and children tickets are $3. Non-member adult tickets are $15 and children tickets are $5. Children under 2 years old are free. For more information, visit rainbowfamilies.wildapricot.org.


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2 8 • F E B RUA RY 1 6, 2018

CA LE N D A R

E-mail calendar items to calendars@washblade. com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-specific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.

TODAY Disney on Ice presents “Frozen” at Capital One Arena (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The story of Elsa, Anna and Olaf switches from screen to ice. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse host the show. There will be special appearances from the stars of “Toy Story,” “Finding Dory” and “The Lion King.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more details, visit ticketmaster.com. DIK Bar (1637 17th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour today from 6-9 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/ dikbardc. The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Pup Night tonight from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be pups, handlers, kibble and a mosh pit. Guests must be 18 to enter and 21 to drink. For more details, visit facebook.com/eagledc. Reel Affirmations presents a screening of “Something Like Summer” at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. The film follows Ben who has just come out of the closet at his Texas high school. In an effort to escape his bullies he puts off his aspirations to be a singer so he can stalk a handsome athlete who just moved to town. Rayceen Pendarvis hosts the event. General admission tickets are $12. VIP Tickets are $25 and include one complimentary cocktail, beer or wine and a catered reception with cast member Ben Baur. For more information, visit thedccenter.org/events/ somethinglikesummer. Omega Entertainment hosts Kings Night at Eden Lounge (1716 I St., N.W.) tonight from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be an open bar from 11 p.m.-midnight. $10 drink specials will run all night. There will be two DJs spinning tracks. The party is party of Omega Entertainment’s Presidents Holiday weekend. Tickets range from $25-70. For more details, visit facebook.com/omegapatydc.

SATURDAY, FEB. 17 Washington D.C. History and Culture hosts a Smithsonian African American and Black History Art Tour at the National Portrait Gallery (8th St. and F St., N.W.) today from 3-5 p.m. Shantay Robinson, a freelance art writer, will host the private, two-hour tour of notable African American figures such as Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Admission is $4 which will benefit Washington D.C. History and Culture’s non-profit programs. For more information, visit facebook.com/ dchistoryandculture.

PHOTO COURTESY FELD ENTERTAINMENT

Disney on Ice presents ‘Frozen’ this week in Washington.

Omega Entertainment hosts a day party at Stadium Club (2127 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.) today from 5-10 p.m. Meatloaf will perform. There will be an open bar until 6 p.m. and drink specials all night. Two DJS will play music and there will be nude dancers. Omega Entertainment hosts Queens Court at Karma Super Club (2221 Adams Pl., N.E.) tonight from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be live performances from Ms. Khia and TS Madison. Drink specials run all night. Tickets range from $25-70. For more details, visit facebook.com/ omegapartydc. Shi-Queeta-Lee’s Drag Brunch is at Chateau Remix (3439 Benning Rd., N.E.) today from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The drag performers will impersonate Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Adele, Dolly Parton and more. There will be an all-you-can-eat buffet and the first mimosa or bloody Mary is free. Tickets are $40. For more information, visit facebook.com/salutetodivas. Uproar Lounge and Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) hosts Madonna Love, a Madonna-themed party, tonight from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Madonna music videos will play all night. For more details, search “Madonna Love at Uproar” on Facebook. Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts Gay/ Bash, a gay dance party, tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Bombalicious Eklaver, Donna Slash, Jane Saw, Salvadora Dali and Jaxknife Complex will perform. There will be one show at 11:30 p.m. and another show at 1 a.m. The Barber Streisand will spin tracks. No cover. For more information, visit facebook.com/ tradebardc.

SUNDAY, FEB. 18 Syn, a new after-hours party, is at Tropicalia (2001 14th St., N.W.) this morning from 3:30-9 a.m. DJ Billy Lace will play music in the early morning hours. Tickets are $25 online and $30 cash at the door. Guests who attended Champions for Charity and present their wrist band will receive discount tickets at the door for $25. For more details, visit facebook. com/tropicaliadc. The D.C. Chamber Musicians presents a free concert at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (301 A St., S.E.) today at 3 p.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted to benefit the D.C. Concert Orchestra Society. For more details, visit dcconcertorchestra.org.

MONDAY, FEB. 19 DJ Alex DB hosts Clock Out, a queer happy hour, at the Dew Drop Inn (2801 8th St., N.E.) today at 5 p.m. For details, visit facebook.com/therealalexdb. Paint Night D.C. hosts a painting party at Nellie’s (90 U St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. The featured painting will be “Giraffe Sunset Safari.” No experience necessary. The lesson ill be guided by a social painting instructor. Painting supplies will be provided. Tickets are $45 and does not include food and drink. For more information, visit

TUESDAY, FEB. 20 BaNaka hosts trivia night at the Dirty Goose (913 U St., N.W.) tonight from

6:30-9 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/thedirtygoosedc. Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts Sissy That Tuesday: Afrobatic tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight. The night will celebrate Black History Month with music, performance and art. DJ Wess will play music. Show starts at 10 p.m. No cover. Happy hour drink specials run all night. For more details, visit facebook.com/ tradebardc.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21 Prime Timers of D.C., a social group for mature gay and bisexual men, meets at Windows above Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) today at 6:30 p.m. For details, call George at 301-395-0544 or visit primetimersdc.org. Bookmen D.C., an informal gay men’s literature group, discusses “Mundo Cruel” by Luis Negron at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St.., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com. 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.

THURSDAY, FEB. 22 JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W. hosts a viewing party for “RuPaul’s All Stars” season three tonight from 8-9 p.m. Guests who correctly pick the drag queen that will be going home receive a 30 minute open bar. For more details, visit facebook.com/jrsbardc.


February

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FE B R U A R Y 16, 2018 • 29

Nightly “S teak Dinner” $18.95 ***

Under $10 Daily Lunch Specials ***

Happy Hour $3-$4-$5-$6-$7 Appetizers, Martinis & Drinks 4PM-7PM *** PHOTO COURTESY REEL AFFIRMATIONS

A scene from ‘Something Like Summer,’ which screens tonight in Washington.

Film fests blooming ‘Something Like Summer’ is gay coming-of-age love story By BRIAN T. CARNEY Spring is coming, which means the D.C. film festivals are starting to bloom. One of the oldest is the D.C. International Film Festival (dciff-indie.org) which runs through Monday at a variety of venues around the city. The festival’s Executive Director Deirdre Evans-Pritchard says its mission is straight-forward: “We are a competitive festival with the mission of forwarding the careers of emerging and established filmmakers of exceptional talent who work locally, nationally and internationally.” She this approach to festival programming can be nerve-wracking. “We honestly do not know the lineup of the festival until a couple of months beforehand. It is a surprise for us ourselves, how the programming lines up each year.” Some of the highlights of the weekend’s screenings include the High School Film Competition; the high school thriller “The Rainbow Experiment” (with director and cast numbers in attendance); “Killing Diaz” about a hook-up gone horribly wrong; and, and a late night panel of Chills and Thrills Late Night Shorts. The programming on President’s Day starts with an amazing panel of animated shorts. Mind-Blowing Animation includes the Oscar-nominated film “Negative Space.” Created by the Baltimore-based team of Max Porter and Ru Kuwuhata, the stop-action film offers a nostalgic look at the complicated relationship between a father and son as the father, a traveling businessman, teaches his son about the art of efficiently packing a suitcase.

The festival closes with “Andover.” Directed by Scott Perlman and starring Jonathan Silverman (“Weekend at Bernie’s” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs”), it’s a fascinating parable about the limits of science and the power of love. Silverman plays a brilliant genetics professor who is devastated by the sudden death of his wife (played by Silverman’s real-life wife Jennifer Finnegan). The cast also includes Jonathan Lipnicki (the kid from “Jerry Maguire”). Beth Grant (“Sordid Lives”) and Richard Kind (“Gotham” and “Mad About You”). Another of D.C.’s popular film festivals is also offering great programming this weekend. Reel Affirmations (thedccenter. org/reelaffirmations), D.C.’s local LGBT fest, is screening “Something Like Summer.” Based on the popular book by Jay Bell (adapted by Carlos Pedraza), “Something Like Summer” features original music by John Patrick and original artwork by Kyle Joseph Johnson. The movie traces the complicated relationship between Benjamin Bentley (Grant Davis) and Tim Wyman (Davi Santos). Painter and aspiring singer Ben thinks he’s the only gay kid in town until he (literally) runs into the handsome athlete. The two begin a passionate secret affair until the fear of exposure drives them apart. Years later, Ben and Tim are reunited. Tim wants to resume their relationship, but Ben is dating Jace Holden (Ben Baur). Both Tim and Jace pursue Ben, who has to learn how to follow his own heart. “Something Like Summer” will screen at the HRC Screening Room (1620 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight (Friday, Feb. 16) at 7 p.m. After the movie, Rayceen Pendarvis (one of the Washington Blade’s Most Eligible Singles) will lead a discussion with producer Tom Ly and actor Ben Baur.

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BO O KS

Out at the games? Historical book looks at 1936 games through gay lens

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With the Winter Olympics in full swing, everybody’s got Olympic fever and much has been made of out athletes Adam Rippon (figure skating) and Gus Kenworthy (freestyle skiing) making history and Russia’s highly anti-gay policies four years ago at the Sochi games. So the new nonfiction book “Berlin 1936” from noted historian Oliver Hilmes is timely in its vivid depiction of how the Olympics and gay issues ran afoul 80some years ago. On the first day of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, composer Richard Strauss is impatient. He hates sports and he hates the tax that’s been enacted for this sporting event. For the hymn he writes on behalf of it, he demands 10,000 reichsmarks and it rankles him that he ends up taking less. Tom Wolfe has been to Berlin many times, and he couldn’t pass up a chance to see the Olympics there. Berlin is vibrant, friendly and Berliners love the American novelist. He loves them too, until a society matron whispers secrets in his ear. On the second day of the Olympics, Toni Kellner is found dead in her apartment. She was not a social woman — in fact, she was not a woman at all, and Nazi-enforced edicts made her afraid to seek help for her bad heart. Berlin used to have a thriving gay community but the A D V E R T I Third SING P RisOüber-aware OF Reich of gay men and people like Toni now. Joseph Goebbels can’t stop thinking about the trouble his wife put him in. Not only did she have an affair with a swindler some years ago, but something else recently came to light: the Nazi Minister ADVERTISER SIGNATURE By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the of Propaganda’s wife was the child of a washington blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to placement, payment and insertion schedule. Jewish man. Jesse Owens won gold. And again. And again. And again. By the eighth day of the Olympics in Berlin, the city’s Roma and Sinti populations are taken from their apartments and moved to a sliver of land near a sanitation field. Most of them will die in concentration camps similar to the one being built just 40 minutes away by local train.

Photos courtesy Other Press

And by the end of the Olympics, Hitler “is already determined to go to war.” It may seem trite to say that “Berlin 1936” reads like a novel, but it does. It’s nonfiction that reads like a horror novel, with a swirl of unaware and innocent victims, ruthless killers and a stunning, invisible stream of ice just beneath its surface. The compelling thing about that is that it’s not one large tale of the Nazis and the Games; instead, it’s as if author Oliver Hilmes starts with major historical figures and adds little Advent-calendar windows with real people inside: here’s the Roma child, snatched from her bed; there’s the terrified, ailing transvestite; here’s the American woman who kissed Hitler; there’s the Romanian Jew who owns a thriving nightclub; all in the middle of an international story that readers know is only the beginning. “Berlin 1936” is a compelling, engrossing book through the cumulative power of so many different snapshot character studies — not just Nazis and athletes, but also regular people who had nothing to do with the games. There’s a gripping undercurrent of evil laced throughout the book because historically speaking, we know it doesn’t end well. Hilmes also corrects several myths as well, such as the fact that Hitler didn’t congratulate Jesse Owens for his wins. Hitler wasn’t congratulating anyone at the time. Together, that approach makes for a very powerful book. ‘BERLIN 1936’ By Oliver Hilmes, translated from German by Jefferson Chase Other Press $25.95 320 pages


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AUTOS

Price points Wallet-friendly cars don’t have to be bland econo boxes By JOE PHILLIPS With recent market jitters, vehicles with affordable price tags are back in the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for bland econo boxes. These three walletfriendly vehicles are priced below today’s $36,270 average sticker for a new vehicle, yet they still shine in design. HYUNDAI SANTA FE SPORT $28,000 Mpg: 21 city/27 highway 0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds Ever since Hyundai debuted the Santa Fe in 2001, it’s been a go-to crossover for frugal buyers. This year, the automaker dropped the price and is offering a $1,900 Value Package with plenty of niceties. These include power driver’s seat with lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, seven-inch monitor, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, roof rails, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators and LED daytime running lights. Another plus: Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality,

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HYUNDAI SANTA FE SPORT

with three years of complimentary Blue Link services that can include automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and stolen vehicle recovery. Inside, the seats are mounted high for good visibility and there’s plenty of storage space. It’s a handsome, quiet interior that would look right at home in a higher-priced Infiniti or Lexus. But acceleration is tepid, fuel economy is so-so and the ride can be a bit bouncier than expected over deep potholes. Still, it’s hard to quibble with the overall value here. LEXUS NX $36,000 Mpg: 22 city/28 highway 0-60 mph: 7.1 OK, so the Lexus NX barely squeaks below the average cost of a new vehicle. It’s still a good buy, thanks to high reliability and safety ratings, ample legroom and a swanky interior. Plus, the edgy styling is just as chiseled as Olympic athletes Gus Kenworthy or Brittany Bowe, take your pick. This is a mini version of the hugely popular midsize RX crossover, yet the ride, handling and braking are pleasingly tighter. It’s also faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe and has a long list of standard features, including rearview camera, LED interior lighting, automatic LED headlights, smartphone app connectivity, eight-speaker stereo and more. Fuel economy is mediocre and there’s a rather

VW E-GOLF

annoying touch-pad interface on the infotainment system. But luckily you can simply use the hand-free, voice-recognition software. VW E-GOLF $31,000 Mpg: 126 city/111 highway 0-60 mph: 9.2 seconds Why buy an e-Golf when an electric Smart car or Chevy Spark EV are about $2,000 less? Because the e-Golf is bigger, sexier and much more fun to drive than a dorky Smart or Spark. Performance and handling are just what you expect from VW: nimble and smooth. With EVs, the quick burst of power from a standing start is always a welcome surprise. So is the e-Golf’s well-insulated cabin, which is eerily quiet even though VW installed a lowspeed sound system to alert pedestrians to the vehicle. Those flush-mounted, 16-inch aluminum wheels look like something out of Transformers and the faux-exhaust pipes are a wink-wink to those in the know that you won’t be stopping at a gas station. You also can choose between three driving modes to boost the range before recharging by shutting down certain features, such as climate control. While it’s easy to spot a Tesla on the road, that’s not really the case with an e-Golf. Yet they must be popular — VW is now doubling e-Golf production to satisfy demand.


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P H O T O S BY W Y A T T RE I D W E ST LU N D

The Washington Blade held its 2018 Most Eligible LGBT Singles Party at Town Danceboutique on Saturday, Feb. 10.


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A R T S & EN TE RTA I NMENT

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Symbolic flowers adorn official Obama portrait CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

course, the country’s first AfricanAmerican president and first lady, but Sherald and Wiley are the first black artists chosen to paint any presidential portrait in the gallery’s historic collection, which holds more than 1,600 likenesses of U.S. presidents. And although no mention was made of it publicly Monday, Wiley is also the first out gay artist to be selected for a presidential portrait.  The comments, as one would expect, were jovial and occasionally humorous. Obama said he tried to convince Wiley to give him less gray hair and smaller ears but said, “Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow that.” He said he was more successful convincing the artist to eschew the “partridges, scepters” and “robes” that adorn some subjects in previous Wiley works.  “I told him I’ve got enough political problems without making me look like Napoleon,” Obama said. He also joked about Wiley working at a disadvantage compared to Sherald because his subject was “less becoming, not as fly.”  Wiley deflected in his own comments. “How do I explain that a lot of that is just simply not true,” he said. Obama also said he and Wiley bonded over their similar backgrounds — both were raised primarily by their mothers; their African fathers were largely absent from their lives.  Obama said he appreciated the way Wiley allows his subjects, often everyday people he meets on streets, to be elevated. “What I was struck by when I saw his portraits was a degree to which they challenge the abuse of power and privilege,” Obama said. “The way he would take extraordinary care and precision .. and recognize the beauty and grace and the dignity of people who were for so long invisible in our lives and put them on a grand scale. To force us to stop and see them in ways that so often they are not.” He said that resonated with his philosophy of politics that they not be from “the top down” and “not simply about celebrating the high and the mighty.” Wiley said his urge to paint, often driven by chance encounters, was driven largely by “corrective” endeavors. “Growing up as a kid in South Central Los Angeles and going to the museums in L.A., there weren’t too many people who looked like me in those museums,” Wiley said. “My purpose as a painter has been to project out into the world this urge, this itch, this desire to see something corrected. It seems silly. You’re taking this hairy stick and nudging things into being, but it’s not. This is consequently who we as a society decide to celebrate. This is our humanity. This is our ability to say, ‘I

Artist KEHINDE WILEY greets attendees at the National Portrait Gallery Monday.

matter, I was here.’” Wiley pointed out the symbolism of the flowers seen in the portrait — African blue lilies to represent Obama’s Kenyanborn father; jasmine for Hawaii where Obama was born; and chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, where Obama’s political career began. “Mr. President, I thank you for giving me a chance and for giving this nation a chance to experience your splendor on a global scale,” Wiley said. Wiley, born in Los Angeles in 1977, gained a following with what the New York Times called his “crisp, glossy, life-size paintings

of young African-American men dressed in hip-hop styles but depicted in the old master manner of European royal portraits.” More recently he has started painting women as well as models from Brazil, India, Nigeria and Senegal creating what the Times called a “collective image of a global black aristocracy.” George M. Johnson, writing for the Grio, says Wiley’s sexuality is an important part of the portrait. “News coverage of (Monday’s) unveiling noted Wiley as ‘the first black artist’ to paint a presidential portrait, completely erasing his queer identity,” Johnson wrote.

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY JOEY DIGUGLIELMO

“Although many will see this as small or a part of some ‘gay agenda,’ it is neither. Black queer people have historically faced the erasure of their identity in order to be accepted in black spaces and spaces at large. It’s a byproduct of white supremacy which continues to place us in harm’s way.” Johnson also said Wiley’s sexuality is as important to the narrative as his being black. “The omission of that tells only part of the story,” he wrote. “A revisionist history black queer people are only now unpacking with many of our legends getting their due honor inclusive of identity long after death.”


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Here’s why you need a real estate agent Technology will never replace human know-how and experience By LAURA VAN EPEREN In an era in which Google has empowered all of us to get answers within seconds of a search, including many of the key details of a home for sale, many people are asking, ‘Why do I need a real estate agent?’ If you’re one of those people, allow me to try to convince you why should not go it alone. While there are hundreds of reasons why you should engage a local real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, the primary reason is that the excellent technology we have at our fingertips will never replace humans. We foolishly believe it can but having good judgment and decision-making skills is exactly why you want a live person who knows and cares about your goals, by your side. Here are some more concrete, or tangible reasons, why you should find an agent that you can trust with one of your largest financial transactions: This is their area of expertise (not yours!). Trust the licensed professional to help you achieve your goals. If they are conscientious, they will truly listen to your goals and best guide you to achieve them

(to sell, to buy, at what price, etc.). Now, don’t forget that you also have a job in listening and taking their counsel as well. It is a two-way street when you decide to engage a real estate agent to assist you. For example, if you’re selling, and they suggest you invest in nominal upgrades to modernize the paint colors on the walls, or they suggest putting a good portion of your furnishings into storage to help de-clutter the rooms, it would be wise to listen to them. Their job is to help you. They should not be imposing their own personal style or preferences if you are looking to list your home. They’re number one job is to help your home appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Also, pricing is paramount. If you’re selling, an agent will guide you to decide on a price that meets your goals with what the market is willing to bear. While pricing is very personal, you only have one time to initially list your home with the asking price. This is your best opportunity to stick the landing, and not scare folks off due to overpricing. Do you best to walk this two-way street with your agent and listen closely to your agent’s advice. It’s super competitive in the hot neighborhoods of D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and bidding wars can be common. Good agents know when and how to reach potential buyers, and they’re often affiliated

Q

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t go it alone and should instead trust a real estate agent. PHOTO BY BIGSTOCK; COURTESY OF ANDY DEAN PHOTOGRAPHY

with larger groups of agent colleagues, who know when buyers are looking for homes in certain neighborhoods. Evers and Company is an excellent example of a regional firm with seasoned agents who live in and are actively engaged in their neighborhoods. They’re the in-the-know residents you’ll be sharing the community with, and you can trust them to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Finding an agent you can trust to help you with this important process is essential. For what is expected to be among your

largest financial transactions in life, count on a professional who has the important experience and judgment about the market that makes you the most comfortable. Their expertise will complement the online data available to you, and will be your true, strategic adviser during the sale or purchase of your next home. LAURA VAN EPEREN is CEO of Van Eperen Communications, a PR and marketing communications firm that supports regional real estate brands. Reach her at Laura@VanEperen. com, @LauraVanEperen or 301-836-1516

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