AMERICA’S LGBTQ NEWS SOURCE
Who’s to blame for trans military ban: Mattis or Pence? LGBT advocates have varying takes on who drafted the policy By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org When President Trump reaﬃrmed his ban on transgender military service last Friday, the memo was backed up by a report from Defense Secretary James Mattis in which he asserted that a nine-month review of the issue revealed “substantial risks” in allowing transgender people in the U.S. military. But was it really his doing, or that of Vice President Mike Pence, who has a virulent anti-LGBT record?
Upon the release of the memo, many were surprised Mattis — who’s seen as one of the more mature voices in the Trump administration — was found to have signed his name to a document against transgender military service. After all, media reports from the time the memo was delivered in February indicated Mattis would advise Trump to allow transgender people to keep serving. That wasn’t the case in the memo. Apparently by relying on junk science on transgender people, the memo came to the conclusion the Obama administration was in error by lifting the ban on their service and they shouldn’t be in the military. “The Department of Defense concludes that there are substantial risks associated CONTINUES ON PAGE 14
Defense Secretary JIM MATTIS signed his name to a report cited by President Trump advocating for a ban on trans military service. PHOTO COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Sex trafficking bill threatens hookup sites Craigslist kills personal ads; Grindr, other LGBT platforms could be next By LOU CHIBBARO JR. email@example.com
Craigslist last week pulled the plug on its popular personal ads. SCREENSHOT VIA CRAIGSLIST HOMEPAGE
The U.S. Senate last week voted 97-2 to approve an anti-sex traﬃcking bill that would subject websites to criminal prosecution and civil litigation if they accept advertising, knowingly or unknowingly, linked to both coerced sex-traﬃcking as well as sex work engaged in by consenting adults. The Senate’s lopsided passage of the bill, the Fight Online Sex Traﬃcking Act, or FOSTA, came one month after the House passed an identical version of the
measure. The White House has said President Trump will sign the bill. The Senate’s action assuring the bill would become law prompted Craigslist to immediately drop its personals ads, including its widely read “men seeking men” personals site. It cited potentially harmful legal fallout from the FOSTA bill as its reason for doing so. “U.S. Congress just passed HR 1865, ‘FOSTA,’ seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully,” Craigslist states in a message posted on its site. “Any tool or service can be misused,” the message says. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking Craigslist personals CONTINUES ON PAGE 16
Full coverage of last weekend’s March For Our Lives.
A roundup of aﬃrming services as Passover and Easter arrive.
Alan Cumming is TV’s most fascinating out-and-proud star in a leading role.
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Comings & Goings Painter elected chair of Library of Congress GLOBE 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations to Jeﬀ Taylor recently awarded JEFFREY TAYLOR the 2017 Top Individual Agent of the TTR Sotheby’s PHOTO COURTESY OF TAYLOR International Realty Downtown Brokerage. Taylor is a Realtor Associate with 14 years of real estate sales experience. He began his real estate career in Texas, with Zane Anderson Real Estate in Bryan, Texas. After relocating to D.C., he said, “his passion for real estate grew, as did his love for the city, its architecture, and its people.” Taylor is known for his local expertise, strategic marketing eﬀorts, TRAVIS PAINTER and his commitment to achieving an unsurpassed PHOTO COURTESY OF PAINTER level of service to his clients. He has been featured in Washington Life, Capitol File, and the Washington Post for his historic home and condominium sales in Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Columbia Heights, Shaw, LeDroit Park, and Bloomingdale, where he resides with his family. Congratulations also to Travis Painter, elected chair of Library of Congress Globe (LC GLOBE). LC GLOBE is an educational, recreational and cultural BEN DE GUZMAN organization for LGBT employees in the Library PHOTO COURTESY OF GUZMAN of Congress. LCGLOBE promotes cognizance in areas that are of interest to LGBT employees while supporting positive working relationships among employees of all sexual orientations. Painter said, “our goal for 2018 is to form a close relationship with the other LGBT organizations on the Hill and leverage our staﬀ to eﬀect the most positive change for our LGBT staﬀ and members.” He is currently the Interpreting Services Program Manager at the Library of Congress. In that role he also serves as the library’s Director of Accessibility and provides agency-wide accessibility and disability sensitivity training for senior management and all new employees. Painter was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser as a member of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities. He is a Nationally Certiﬁed Sign Language Interpreter, and a member of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). He’s a former president of Eastern Kentucky University’s American Sign Language Association. He received his bachelor’s in American Sign Language Interpreter Training from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ken. Congratulations also to Ben de Guzman, the new Community Outreach Relations Specialist for the Mayor’s Oﬃce of LGBTQ Aﬀairs. In this role, he will work to connect LGBTQ residents of the District of Columbia to city government agencies, services, and programs. De Guzman recently served as one of the co-chairs of the Host Committee for the Task Force’s 2018 Creating Change Conference, the nation’s largest LGBT social justice conference. He coordinated programming and services for LGBT elders, people with disabilities, and people of color for the conference’s 30th anniversary. Prior to working in the Mayor’s Oﬃce he was National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, where he advocated for policies and programs that improved lives for aging people of color; American Indians and Alaska Natives and LGBT people. He coordinated local and national strategies to bring the voices of diverse constituencies to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. He also served for almost 10 years as principal staﬀ at the National Queer Asian Paciﬁc Islander Alliance, where he managed the policy and programmatic work for NQAPIA and its federation of 40 Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Paciﬁc Islander LGBT groups around the country.
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Kathy Griffin to attend White House Correspondents’ Dinner as Blade guest Kathy Griﬃn announced on Twitter last week that she will attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 28 as the guest of the Washington Blade and the Los Angeles Blade. This will be the comedian’s ﬁrst time attending the event. “Honored that I’ll be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner for the ﬁrst time this year. I’ll be the guest of the great team at the @ WashBlade @losangelesblade!” Griﬃn tweeted. President Donald Trump skipped the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner but told reporters at the time, “I would come next year, absolutely.” The White House has not yet commented on KATHY GRIFFIN is making a whether Trump will attend this year. comeback. “Kathy Griﬃn has stood up for LGBTQ visibility,” SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE said Blade editor Kevin Naﬀ. “She has marched with us, spoken up against injustices and, yes, made us laugh. You don’t throw your allies under the bus and the Blade is happy to host her in D.C. and excited to welcome her to our table.” Previous Blade guests at the dinner have included actress Laverne Cox, professor and commentator Melissa Harris-Perry and “Real Housewives” star NeNe Leakes. Griﬃn’s career suﬀered a setback in the wake of her controversial photo shoot posing with a replica of Trump’s severed head. She was ﬁred as co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper and venues pulled out of her previously scheduled tour dates. Now, Griﬃn will return to the stage with a new tour, which includes dates in Canada and the U.S., in May. STAFF REPORTS
Pride Fund endorses Kaine for re-election The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence on Monday announced it has endorsed U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for re-election. Pride Fund Executive Director Jason Lindsay in a press release noted Kaine was Virginia’s governor in 2007 when a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech. “In the years since that tragedy, Kaine has worked tirelessly to close the loopholes that allowed the Virginia Tech shooter to purchase his weapon, and has fought to strengthen background checks to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons,” added Lindsay. “Senator Kaine is a critical leader in the ﬁght to pass gun The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence on March 26 endorsed U.S. Sen. TIM safety measures, and we’re proud to endorse him KAINE (D-Va.) for re-election. for re-election to ensure that his voice and votes are heard in the Capitol.” WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY Kaine in the same press release said he is “so proud” to receive the Pride Fund’s endorsement. “Our country is ﬁnally being shaken from its complacency in the face of gun violence thanks to the advocacy of young people and groups like the Pride Fund, who are stepping up to say ‘never again,’” he said. “In my campaign, I will continue calling for making background checks universal, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and improving our mental health systems.” Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart, state Sen. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) and E.W. Jackson are among the Republicans who are running in the U.S. Senate race. Kaine in November will face oﬀ against the winner of the Republican primary. The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is a political action committee that formed after the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. A gunman on Feb. 14 killed 17 people when he opened ﬁre inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence endorsed Kaine two days after more than a million supporters of gun control took part in “March for Our Lives” events that took place in D.C. and around the world. Kaine participated in a “March for Our Lives” march and rally in Richmond, Va. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
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Danica Roem looks back on ﬁrst months in office Says Route 28 remains top priority; colleagues treating her well By MICHAEL K. LAVERS email@example.com MANASSAS PARK, Va. — Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) last week said reducing congestion on Route 28 remains her top legislative priority. She pointed out to the Washington Blade during an interview at the Manassas Park Community Center that she introduced a resolution before she took oﬃce on Jan. 10 that calls upon the Virginia Department of Transportation to study ways to improve Route 28. A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee tabled the resolution, but Roem said she continues to work with the department on the issue. “I’m just going to keep my foot on the gas on that one,” Roem told the Blade. Fixing Route 28 was a cornerstone of her historic campaign that garnered international attention. Roem, a former journalist, last November defeated Bob Marshall, an antiLGBT Republican who had represented the 13th District since 1992. Roem is the ﬁrst openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. Roem told the Blade that she was “treated as any other freshman Democratic delegate has been treated” in the House. She also noted she has been referred to as “gentlewoman” — even though House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) suggested he would stop the tradition of using genderspeciﬁc formal titles to refer to lawmakers if Republicans were to retain control of the House — and her colleagues use female pronouns to refer to her. “I’m only referred to by female pronouns there, as I should be, like any other woman in the House of Delegates,” said Roem. “This shouldn’t even be a conversation point. In that regard, everyone treated me with the decorum that you should be treating any other woman in the House of Delegates.” Roem told the Blade one of her colleagues towards the end of the legislative session “wanted to talk to me about religious stuﬀ and things like that and it got kind of uncomfortable.” She declined to speciﬁcally name the delegate who approached her. Roem pointed out she was assigned to the Counties Cities and Towns and Science and Technology Committees. Roem told the Blade she developed a “very, very quick reputation” among her colleagues that she “knows what she’s talking about, she knows her stuﬀ.” “I was able to present myself as a serious
Virginia State Del. DANICA ROEM says transportation issues remain her priority. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
legislator who knew the issues,” said Roem. “That carries a lot of weight among other members of the House of Delegates.” Roem said one of the other highlights of her ﬁrst months in oﬃce was voting to expand Medicaid in Virginia. The House and the Virginia Senate remain at odds over the issue as they continue to negotiate a state budget bill. Roem pointed out to the Blade that 3,700 people who live in the 13th District would get health insurance if Medicaid is expanded. “I understand — obviously — they’re still ironing that out between the House and Senate at that point,” she said. “But if all the other strife I had to go through this past year was to help to get health insurance to 3,700 people who live here — and this community where we are right now in Manassas Park 1,300 people who live here — that’s worth it. Just for that one vote, it’s all worth it just to make that happen.” Roem did not introduce any LGBT-speciﬁc bills during the 2018 legislative session, but she co-sponsored state Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)’s House Bill 10 that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s hate crimes law and state Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church)’s House Bill 75 that would have repealed the commonwealth’s statutory same-sex marriage ban. Roem also co-sponsored state Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County)’s House Bill 1267 that would have required the state employee health plan to cover transition-related health care. Roem co-sponsored Kory’s resolution that would have begun the process of repealing the amendment to Virginia’s constitution that deﬁnes marriage as between a man and a woman. Marshall co-wrote the amendment that voters approved in 2006. The Senate on Jan. 26 approved
state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Bill 202 that would have banned discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun County)’s Senate Bill 423 that would have added LGBT-speciﬁc protections to Virginia’s Fair Housing Law. A House of Delegates subcommittee on Feb. 8 killed both bills along with state Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria)’s House Bill 401 that would have banned anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, banking, insurance, public contracting and apprenticeships. Subcommittee members also killed Simon’s House Bill 1527, which was identical to SB 423. Another House subcommittee on Feb. 6 tabled state Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico County)’s House Bill 1466, which would have banned health insurance providers from discriminating against trans policyholders in Virginia. Roem — who noted Levine was her House mentor — watched subcommittee members kill the four LGBT rights bills on Feb. 8. House rules prevented her from testifying in support of the measures, but she told the Blade she decided to “stand with the advocates.” “I’m going to stand with the activists, literally stand up during their testimonies,” she recalled. “And then once all four bills were presented and they were going to start voting on them, that’s when I walked over to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Del. Levine to basically make sure that every member of the panel had to look at us as they were voting on our rights and the rights of the people in the room and knowing fully well the people who we represent that they were voting on their rights as well.”
Roem said Cox sent the LGBT rights bills to “that particular (sub)committee so that they would die there.” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish and other advocates also criticized Cox over the issue. “That was intentionally done,” Roem told the Blade. “I don’t know what other than ﬂipping a majority we can do to change that outcome.” Members of the Manassas Park City School Board on Feb. 26 voted unanimously to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy. Roem is among those who testiﬁed in support of the additional protections. In addition to co-sponsoring LGBT rights measures, Roem also told the Blade she supports Richard “Rip” Sullivan (D-Fairfax County)’s House Bill 198 that would allow commonwealth’s attorneys or a law enforcement oﬃcer to “remove ﬁrearms from a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others.” The House Courts of Justice Committee tabled the measure on Feb. 15, one day after a gunman killed 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Roem also supports Kory’s House Bill 11 that would have provided instate college tuition to undocumented students who have been able to remain in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The House Rules Committee tabled the measure on Feb. 13. “This would help so many people who go to school at Manassas Park High School so they can aﬀord to go to college,” Roem told the Blade. “Those DACA recipients are my constituents just the same as anyone else is my constituent too and I treat them as such.”
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Students demand gun control laws at mass rally in D.C. Hundreds of thousands turn out for March For Our Lives
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hundreds of thousands cheered and many cried as a group of mostly high school students told of their loss of loved ones to gun violence in or near their schools during last Saturday’s March For Our Lives rally in the nation’s capital. Several students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 14 students and three staﬀ members were killed in a Feb. 14 school shooting rampage, made impassioned pleas for Congress and state legislatures to pass stronger gun control laws. “In the weeks since the tragedy on Feb. 14 we as students decided that if adults weren’t going to take action we would,” said Alex Wind, a junior at Stoneman Douglas High School who joined other student speakers on a stage near the U.S. Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue. “If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts,” said Delaney Tarr, another Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who was among the school’s students that initiated the March For Our Lives. In a little over a month since announcing plans for the march and rally, the school’s student survivors of the Feb. 14 incident have been credited with triggering a massive, nationwide student movement to push for stronger gun control laws. Some have estimated the Washington rally on Saturday, March 24, drew as many as 800,000. As many as 800 “sibling” marches and rallies initiated by the students’ actions were also held on March 24 in cities across the U.S. and abroad. One of the speakers at the Washington rally that drew the loudest applause and stirred the emotions of many in the crowd along Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd Street, where the stage was placed, to close to the White House, was Emma Gonzalez, who serves as president of the Stoneman Douglas High Gay-Straight Alliance Club. “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us,” she said in delivering the last of nearly 20 speeches at the rally. “Fifteen were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was altered,” she said. “Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR 15 and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice,” she said. “Aaron Feis would never call Kiera Miss Sunshine. Alex Schachter would never walk into his brother Ryan,” she continued in reciting the names of all the victims.
Huge crowds turned out last Saturday for the March For Our Lives. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
“Scott Beigel would never joke around with Karen and Ken,” she said while holding back tears. “Helena Ramsay would never hang out after school with Max. Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Leon at lunch,” she continued. “Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dillon.” After mentioning the names of all of those shot to death at her school, Gonzalez stood facing the audience in silence without saying why. Some on stage began chanting, “Emma! Emma!” while others shouted, “We love you Emma.” Minutes later Gonzalez’s phone timer beeped, and she said her silence of exactly six minutes and twenty seconds was aimed at commemorating the time it took for the fatal shooting of 17 people and the wounding of 17 others. She did not mention the name of the shooter, former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, who has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder. “No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach or where this would go,” she said. “For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, I’ll tell you were it went – right into the ground, six feet deep.” Zion Kelly, a senior at D.C.’s Thurgood Marshall Academy High School also drew loud prolonged applause and moved many in the crowd when he told of how his twin brother was shot to death on the street near their school and home. Kelly was among the students who spoke of how gun violence impacts kids in many of the nation’s inner cities as
they walk to and from school as much as shootings inside schools. “I’m here to represent the hundreds of thousands of students who live every day in constant paranoia and fear on their way to and from school,” he said. “Today I raise my hand in honor of my twin brother, Zaire Kelly,” he said. “Zaire was shot on Sept. 20, 2017 on his way home from a competitive after school program called College Bound.” Zion Kelly then told of his brother’s accomplishments and aspirations — how he was the captain of the track team and was running for president of the student government. He noted that the young man charged in his brother’s murder committed the crime while committing a robbery with a gun he obtained illegally. “Can you imagine how it feels to lose someone that close to you?” Zion Kelly said. “From the time we were born we shared everything.” Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, whose outspoken calls for stronger gun control legislation have drawn national media attention, told the rally he and others working on the issue plan a major get out the vote eﬀort for young people in the upcoming midterm congressional elections in November. “The winter is over,” he said. “Change is here. The sun shines on a new day and the day is ours. First time voters show up 18 percent of the time in midterm election – not anymore,” he shouted. “If you listen real close you can hear the people in power shaking,” he continued. “They have gotten used to being protective of their positions through the
safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe. And to that we say, no more!” “They will try to separate us by religion, congressional district and class,” he said. “They will fail. We will come together. We will get rid of those public servants that only serve the gun lobby. And we will save lives,” he said, adding, “Let’s put the USA over the NRA. This is the start of the spring and the blossoming of democracy.” Another Stoneman Douglas student, Alex Wind, reiterated many of the student speakers’ criticism of the National Riﬂe Association and its reported inﬂuence over many in Congress who oppose stronger gun control laws based on the belief that such laws violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution aﬃrming the rights of citizens to bear arms. “All it comes down to is life or death,” Wind said. “To all the politicians out there, if you take money from the NRA you have chosen death. If you have not expressed to your constituents a stand on this issue you have chosen death. If you do not stand with what I’m saying – we need to pass common sense gun legislation, you have chosen death.” Mya Middleton, a 16-year-old student from Chicago, and Edna Chavez, 17, from Los Angeles, addressed the high rate of gun-related crimes and deaths that impact the African-American community. Chavez, who said she lost her brother in a shooting, said the threat of gun violence is sadly a common occurrence in Los Angeles and other cities. “This is normal,” she said, “normal to the point where I’ve learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read.”
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Pulse survivors invoke LGBT victims at March For Our Lives Nightclub shooting remembered as protesters descend on D.C. By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com Survivors of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., took part last Saturday in the March For Our Lives with heavy hearts as they remembered the 49 people killed that night, but they also expressed optimism about the potential for change. Those personally aﬀected by the tragedy — including Christine Leinonen, the mother of victim Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, and Brandon Wolf, Drew’s friend — marched as part of the contingent organized by the Human Rights Campaign. Prior to heading out, Wolf told the Washington Blade his thoughts were on his slain friend and “the life that he deserved, that he should be living.” “I’m marching every step for him,” Wolf said. The group, led by the Human Rights Campaign, headed to the rally point in D.C. carrying signs that read, “Honor Them With Action.” Each sign bore the name of a victim of gun violence. Wolf said he took in part in the march with hopes to “wake up the country, to energize them,” shaming Congress for what he said was inaction on gun control. “I manage businesses for a living, and I try to imagine a day where one of my employees can have a 15 percent approval rating from me, do absolutely nothing for decades and still get their sixﬁgure salary,” Wolf said. “So my hope is that I can wake Americans up and remind them that we’re the employers, these folks are not doing their job. They have failed us. They’re not keeping us, and it’s time for us to ﬁre them and move on.” Wolf said he isn’t sure why Congress hasn’t taken action on gun control, but the ﬁrst step to encouraging them should be eliminating the inﬂuence of money on politics and the National Riﬂe Association. “We need to start by eliminating the NRA’s campaign contributions, taking their power out of the conservation,” Wolf said. “I think that’s a start, but ultimately, this group of lawmakers has made their case. They’ve said that money is most important to them and it’s time for us to pick somebody else.” Leinonen said taking part in the March For Our Lives reminded her of the energy surrounding the gun reform movement amid the lingering sadness about her departed son. Recalling the protests against the Vietnam War in the 1970s, Leinonen said, “Now we have teenagers that are doing that very same thing fast-forward 60
HRC President CHAD GRIFFIN joins Pulse survivors at the March For Our Lives.
years, and it’s incredible, so it makes me feel very hopeful for their future.” “Whether you are marginalized because you’re a teenager, or because you’re going to a concert, or a nightclub, you’re gay, you’re Latino, you’re AfricanAmerican, everyone is marching for their lives in solidarity, and it’s going to be a force that this political climate is going to have to reckon with,” Leinonen said. Leinonen paused during the interview at one point on the way to the rally to give high ﬁves to youths on the street and exclaimed, “March For Our Lives, March For Our Lives!” The Pulse survivors are seeking measures they say are common-sense gun reform measures, such as expanded background checks and a ban on assault riﬂes. Wolf said a number of the items on the gun reform agenda, such as background checks and increased access to mental health care, are “in the middle” and should be easy for lawmakers to achieve. “Those are things I’d like to see done, but instead, we get so hung up on outer issues that the gun lobby pushes us to the edges of the issue that we don’t ever talk about the things that we agree on,” Wolf said. “Ninety-eight percent of Americans agree we need universal background checks. Why haven’t we moved on that? Sixty-two percent of Americans believe that a ban on assault-style riﬂes would
make sense. Why haven’t we moved on that? The answer is the money, the answer is the gun lobby and our ineﬀective group of legislators.” Leinonen said she hopes the march will send a signal “not just to the American people, but people all over the world” that the status quo is no longer working. “The status quo is we have out of control gun laws in this country,” Leinonen said. “That’s the status quo is they’re making it easier and easier to buy more and more guns and put them in more and more places, so now we have an environment where weapons of war, semi-automatic weapons, made to be automatic in some cases, are being marketed like candy or toys, just like in the old days when Big Tobacco used to own D.C.” The contingent for the Human Rights Campaign departed for the March For Our Lives after an event at the Renaissance in which Chad Griﬃn, president of the Human Rights Campaign spoke and sought to energize the audience. “Today we’re proud to be led by Pulse survivors and family members and join the hundreds of thousands of students and their supporters from across the nation in the March For Our Lives,” Griﬃn said in a statement. “As the tragedy at Pulse showed us, hate can turn deadly when coupled with unfettered access to military-style weapons. The safety of
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY WYATT REID
LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities that face disproportionate levels of hate and violence requires the adoption of common-sense gun safety measures.” Also speaking at the event were Wolf and Leinonen in addition to fellow Pulse survivors José Arraigada and Ricardo Negron and One Pulse Foundation Board Chair Earl Crittenden. Karamo Brown, one of the hosts of “Queer Eye,” also spoke at the event wearing a black “Never Again” sweatshirt and he revealed he’s an alum of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where the mass shooting that killed 17 took place. “You all cannot imagine how my heart broke,” Brown said. “In one moment, 14 students and three staff members were viciously murdered by senseless gun violence.” Ana Navarro, a Republican commentator and Trump critic, was also present at the event and hurled criticism at Trump for anti-LGBT policies she called “deplorable.” “I have no doubt that the constant curtailing of LGBTQ rights by the Trump ‘misadministration’ has everything to do with keeping his base happy and distracting us from the fact that he cheats, he lies and has no moral compass,” Navarro said.
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AIDS Watch brings 500 activists to halls of Congress Liz Taylor’s grandchildren join eﬀort to push for improved HIV care By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org Nearly 550 people living with HIV and their allies visited the oﬃces of more than 200 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday as part of the 25th anniversary gathering of AIDS Watch, the largest constituent-based annual HIV advocacy event in the nation. Among those participating in the Capitol Hill visits were three grandchildren of actress Elizabeth Taylor on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which serves as the lead sponsor of AIDS Watch. Also participating in the event this year was celebrity fashion designer Zac Posen, who serves on the board of the Taylor Foundation. “The overall objective of AIDS Watch each year is to bring HIV advocates from the grass roots directly to Congress to tell their story and to advocate for the appropriate policies we need to continue to change the trajectory of this disease in America,” said Jesse Milan, president and CEO of AIDS United, the national advocacy group that serves as lead organizer of AIDS Watch. Milan said AIDS United organizes the event in collaboration with The Treatment Access Expansion Project, which helps provide low-income people with HIV access to treatment and support
QUINN TIVEY and NAOMI WILDING, grandchildren of legendary actress Liz Taylor, were on Capitol Hill this week. PHOTO COURTESY ELIZABETH TAYLOR AIDS FOUNDATION
services; and the U.S. People Living With AIDS Caucus. He said the activists participating in the congressional visits and who attended a conference one day earlier on HIV issues held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel came from 36 states and the District of Columbia. AIDS Watch participants gathered on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday morning for a rally before going to congressional oﬃces to advocate for a wide range of AIDS-related issues.
According to Milan, among the issues the activists raised with the congressional oﬃces they visited was the need for increased federal funding for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following by a decision by the Trump administration to cut the CDC’s budget next year. The CDC plays a signiﬁcant role in AIDS research and monitoring the course of the epidemic. Other issues raised, Milan said, were the need for appropriate funding for the Ryan White AIDS program; support for a federal program in support of housing for low income people with HIV; and federal support for PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis medication that the U.S. FDA says has proven eﬀective in preventing HIVnegative people from becoming infected. He said activists participating in the congressional visits from southern states were expected to raise the issue of the need to stem the tide of the South continuing to be hit hardest with AIDS in the U.S. Despite the eﬀectiveness of HIV medication in keeping most people with HIV healthy and disease free, many in the South do not know they are HIV positive until they become ill with a life-threatening infection that could have been prevented with early HIV treatment, experts have said. Although Congress is in recess this week with most lawmakers away on visits to their home states, Milan said AIDS Watch arranged for participants to meet with high-level legislative aides to their respective senators and House members.
“We just completed one visit a few minutes ago with the oﬃce of a senator whose legislative aide told us he was thrilled that we were there because he has friends who have HIV,” Milan told the Blade in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. It was the oﬃce of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). During Monday’s AIDS Watch conference, Elizabeth Taylor grandchildren Quinn Tivey, and Laela and Naomi Wilding presented the fourth annual Elizabeth Taylor Legislative Leadership Awards to two current and one former state legislator. The three are gay former New York State Sen. Thomas K. Duane, for his longstanding commitment to treatment and care of people living with HIV in New York; gay Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims for his eﬀorts to end employment discrimination against the LGBT community and to advance marriage equality; and Florida State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith for his role in recent negotiations that led to the supermarket chain Publix to ensure its employee health plans cover PrEP. AIDS Watch organizers presented that event’s annual Positive Leadership Award for people who are HIV positive to three people they said showed exemplary leadership advancing support for diverse groups with HIV. The three are Cecilia Chung, Senior Director of Strategic Projects at the Transgender Law Center; Ronald Johnson, former Vice President for Policy & Advocacy at AIDS United; and Venita Ray, Public Policy Manager at Legacy Community Health.
Activist group GetEQUAL to shut down Announcement comes after staﬀer’s controversial ﬁring By MICHAEL K. LAVERS email@example.com GetEQUAL Executive Director Gaby Garcia-Vera on Tuesday announced the organization would shut down. Garcia-Vera in a letter acknowledged the decision to ﬁre Aaryn Lang as GetEQUAL’s Movement Building and Campaign Manager earlier this month “struck a nerve in the community.” Garcia-Vera also wrote several board members “had announced their plans to transition out” of GetEQUAL “before Aaryn’s transition out of the organization” and others “resigned in the midst of the social media controversy that followed.” Garcia-Vera in the letter noted Lang demanded three months severance pay and an “overhaul” of GetEQUAL’s board of directors. The letter also said Lang demanded GetEQUAL make donations to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Trans Sistas of Color
Collective, Black Queer and Intersectional Columbus and No Justice No Pride. Garcia-Vera wrote Lang’s request for three months severance pay “is an amount greater than the total amount of all of the organization’s current net assets.” Garcia-Vera said the demand to overhaul GetEQUAL’s board of directors is “fair, reasonable and appropriate.” Garcia-Vera noted GetEQUAL is unable to make donations to other organizations. “However, we wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of this demand, and know that queer communities of color — especially trans women of color — have been historically under-resourced,” wrote GarciaVera. “The leadership of trans people of color has too often been erased from our movements, and their contributions have been undervalued in the pursuit of the advancement of ‘gay rights.’” Garcia-Vera’s letter outlines “the responses to each of Aaryn’s demands, with as much openness and authenticity as possible.” “But before I do that, I must share with you that — given our already fragile position — I do not believe GetEQUAL can
recover from this controversy,” it adds. “Our ﬁnancial assets are barely suﬃcient to cover our operations for more than a few weeks. Our board of directors has collapsed. Raising new revenue and rebuilding the board would be a tremendous challenge even if we weren’t in the middle of a social media storm.” Garcia-Vera also expressed concern that GetEQUAL’s “capacity to advance our mission has been undermined.” “GetEQUAL has always been the left of the left, the voice of the voiceless, and I don’t feel we can eﬀectively play that role when there has been so much division and hurt among the communities that we mobilize and represent,” wrote Garcia-Vera. Robin McGehee, who was co-director of the National Equality March that took place in D.C. in 2009, and Kip Williams cofounded GetEQUAL in 2010. GetEQUAL staged a series of protests against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which included Lt. Dan Choi and other service members handcuﬃng themselves to the White House fence. Ellen Sturtz, a lesbian activist who
was aﬃliated with GetEQUAL, in 2013 heckled then-ﬁrst lady Michelle Obama during a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in D.C. over an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against their LGBT employees. Then-President Obama in 2014 signed the executive order that took eﬀect the following year. Jennicet Gutiérrez, a transgender undocumented immigrant who was aﬃliated with GetEQUAL, in 2015 heckled Obama over his administration’s immigration policy during a White House Pride reception. “The history of GetEQUAL — while short — is one that is rich in movement,” wrote Garcia-Vera in their letter. Garcia-Vera in their letter notes “I will do my best to close GetEQUAL with responsible and loving stewardship.” McGehee on Tuesday lamented GetEQUAL’s closure. “I simply feel heartbreak to see the ending of GetEQUAL at a time when it is needed the most,” she told the Washington Blade.
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Debating who’s to blame for trans military ban
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with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender,” Mattis writes. “Furthermore, the department also ﬁnds that exempting such persons from wellestablished mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards, which apply to all service members, including transgender service members without gender dysphoria, could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion and impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military eﬀectiveness and lethality.” As a result, Trump was able to simply defer to a military expert (this time, for real, as opposed to when he made highly dubious claims on consulting military experts when he announced his ban in July) to maintain the policy. Further, Mattis’ voice gives ammunition to the U.S. government as it defends the policy in court. Now, the Justice Department can clearly argue the ban is a military decision, and the courts traditionally give deference to the military leaders on military matters. Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, said Mattis may have been inﬂuenced by Pence or President Trump, but signing his name to the document makes the defense chief culpable. “At the end of the day, Mattis agreed to allow his name to be attached to the ﬁnal recommendation including outrageous and false claims used to try to justify this administration’s unconscionable transgender military ban,” BroadwayMack said. “That fact is deeply troubling, and dare I say, a breach of trust for the transgender service members and their families he is charged with leading.” The conclusions that Mattis reached in his memo are diﬀerent from views he stated before. During his conﬁrmation hearing last year, Mattis said he intended to reverse Obama-era changes allowing LGBT people in the U.S. military under questioning from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). “I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe,” Mattis said at the time. “It’s simply the way that they demonstrate their commitment. And I believe that right now the policies that are in eﬀect — unless a service chief brings something to me where there’s a problem that’s been proven — then I’m not going in with the idea that I’m going to review these and right away start rolling something back.” Broadway-Mack said Mattis should remember the words he said under oath before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “In the end, however, we are conﬁdent that justice will prevail in our lawsuit and hopeful that Secretary Mattis will return to the promises he made during
his conﬁrmation hearing of ensuring all service members — including transgender service members — are treated with the dignity, respect, and support they need and deserve,” Broadway-Mack said. For his part, Mattis is keeping tightlipped about the ban. According to The Hill newspaper, Mattis said new policies “stand on their own” when speaking to reporters Monday prior to meeting with the Indonesia Minister of Foreign Aﬀairs Retno Marsudi. “I think the statements stand on their own right now, and I don’t need to waste our guests’ time reiterating what’s already down,” Mattis is quoted as saying. Keep in mind the transgender military ban isn’t in eﬀect thanks to court order against Trump’s earlier policy and that’s highly unlikely to change given that courts determined banning transgender people is a form of sex discrimination and a violation of due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A Defense Department spokesperson told the Blade prior to the time the memo was public the military will “still comply with federal court rulings and continue to assess and retain transgender service members.” In oral arguments for litigation against the ban on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Washington State said the Trump administration can’t implement any policy barring transgender individuals from serving in the military as a result of her earlier injunction and those of other courts. Matt Thorn, executive director of the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, said the real villain behind the policy is Trump, although Mattis shares some blame. “I wouldn’t characterize it as escaping culpability from this,” Thorn said. “He is making a recommendation that is counter-point to major, long studies and feedback that was provided to the Defense Department in 2016, but at the end of the day, this is the president and the president directing this decision.” Amid expectations a new policy on transgender military service would emerge last week, rumors circulated Pence secretly harbored a desire to ban transgender people from military service and held an “ah hoc” meeting at the White House with anti-LGBT leaders — including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Elaine Donnelly, who long opposed transgender military service — to keep the ban in place. At the time, the rumors were unveriﬁed and not reported by the Washington Blade, but they’ve since they found their way to other media outlets. In fact, ThinkProgress reported Pence essentially swapped out the ﬁnding of Mattis in February with recommendations from the “ad hoc” group. Given the report is dated Feb. 22, the time Mattis turned over his recommendation
Many suspect Vice President MIKE PENCE was behind the eﬀort to ban trans service members from the military.
to the White House, and purports to represent the ﬁndings of the working group established by the Pentagon, such a substitution would rise to the level of fraud. The document was submitted to courts adjudicating the constitutionality of the ban, which could result in consequences, including criminal liability or being found in contempt of court, if the report was found to be fraudulent. Even if the report wasn’t a substitute, Mattis was undeniably under pressure to produce a report against transgender service given his boss Trump had already tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the military “in any capacity” and the White House memorandum to the Pentagon in August sought to ban transgender military service. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, wasn’t sure if Mattis was culpable for the ban on transgender service given the rumors Pence secretly drafted the policy. “It’s not clear how much Secretary Mattis has actually bought into this reckless ban, or whether he simply got rolled by the president and vice president and elected not to fall on his sword,” Keisling said. “There has been some reporting to suggest the latter scenario. What we do know is that the DOD recommendations and report are a weak attempt to reverseengineer justiﬁcations for the same ban that President Trump recklessly tweeted last July. It doesn’t stand up to the least bit of scrutiny. The history of this issue makes clear this ban is being driven by the Trump-Pence White House and its bigoted agenda and nothing more.” A Defense Department spokesperson referred to the recommendation made public by the White House as the Mattis report when asked by the Blade about its veracity, deferring additional questions to the White House. A Pence oﬃcial said the report the vice
president swapped a recommendation is “patently false” and insisted he hasn’t been involved in a major way. The oﬃcial said he defers to the Defense Department on the best way to handle transgender service in the military. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said via email to the Blade the Pentagon produced its recommendation on its own when asked if the president, vice president or anyone at the White House sought to inﬂuence the outcome. “The Department of Defense’s panel of experts was comprised of senior uniformed and civilian leaders who considered the issue based on data and their professional military judgment, without regard to any external factors,” Shah said. In response to a question from the Blade on whether the ban is a non-starter because of court rulings against banning transgender service, Shah referred to a comment from the Justice Department. “After comprehensive study and analysis, the Secretary of Defense concluded that new policies should be adopted regarding individuals with gender dysphoria that are consistent with military eﬀectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law,” the statement says. “The Department of Justice will continue to defend DOD’s lawful authority to create and implement personnel policies they have determined are necessary to best defend our nation. Consistent with this new policy, we are asking the courts to lift all related preliminary injunctions in order to ensure the safety and security of the American people and the best ﬁghting force in the world.” (Shah responded to the Blade’s questions via email after the White House declined to call on the news outlet during the ﬁrst two daily brieﬁngs after the administration went public with the ban. No reporter from any other outlet called on during the brieﬁngs asked the White House spokesperson at the podium about the transgender policy.) The new transgender policy was met with stern condemnation not only from LGBT groups, but other organizations. The American Psychological Association issued a statement on Monday reiterating its opposition to banning transgender service, which it ﬁrst issued in 2012. “The APA stands ﬁrmly against discrimination against anyone, and this ban is a discriminatory action,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin. “This ban not only harms those who have chosen to serve our country, but it also casts a pall over all transgender Americans. This discrimination has a negative impact on the mental health of those targeted.”
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Sex trafficking bill passes, killing Craigslist personal ads CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01
oﬄine. Hopefully we can bring them back some day,” says its message. “To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!” Craigslist says in its message. The action by Craigslist raised questions about whether other online sites that include sexually oriented content, including sex or dating hook-up sites like the gay site Grindr, would follow Craigslist and shut down their sites. Grindr did not respond to a Washington Blade inquiry seeking Grindr’s thoughts on the FOSTA bill and how it might impact its operations. The popular Reddit site, which includes links and postings by its members on a wide range of subjects, shut down its sex work “subreddits” sections, according to the Free Speech Coalition. Several advocacy organizations representing Internet service providers and civil liberties groups, including the ACLU, expressed strong opposition to the FOSTA bill prior to the votes by the House and Senate to approve it. They argued that the legislation would be a threat to free speech and limit the free ﬂow of content on the Internet. Opponents say existing federal law already allows state and federal prosecutors to go after criminal activity on the Internet such as sex traﬃcking and that the FOSTA bill would hinder rather than help in eﬀorts to crack down on traﬃcking. They also expressed concern that the bill’s provision amending the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which has exempted website operators from liability for third party content in which the website has no involvement, could result in widespread censorship and curtail the growth of online commerce. That 1996 law has been credited with enabling the Internet to grow and ﬂourish without excessive restrictions that could have prevented its exponential growth over the past 20 years. Supporters of the bill, however, have argued that FOSTA is needed to remove what they say has been uncertainty over whether prosecutors have legal authority to go after the growing use of online sites by criminals to promote sex traﬃcking. Supporters point to court rulings that prevented prosecutors from pursuing websites linked to traﬃcking on grounds that the Communications Decency Act would not allow them to penalize the sites. “The bill amends the federal criminal code to specify that the violation for beneﬁting from ‘participation in a venture’ engaged in sex traﬃcking of children, or sex traﬃcking by force, fraud, or coercion, including knowingly
assisting, supporting, or facilitation of the violation,” according to a report on the bill released by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which worked on the bill. The committee report says the bill also gives state attorneys general authority to bring a civil action in federal court against an Internet operator found to have “knowingly” participated in sex traﬃcking or that aided or abetted sex traﬃcking. Many of the bill’s supporters, including senators and House members supportive of LGBT rights, have cited an investigation by the Senate committee into the website Backpage.com and its alleged complicity in accepting sex traﬃcking ads as their reason for supporting FOSTA. Backpage had become known as a site where sex workers advertised their services. Sex worker advocacy groups have said the overwhelming majority of the ads were for sex between consenting adults, which enabled sex workers to operate safely at indoor locations and avoid having to ply their trade on the streets. But Senate investigators reported ﬁnding that some Backpage employees coached people involved in sex traﬃcking of both adults and minors how to write their ads to avoid suspicion that they were engaging in sex traﬃcking. A number of senators monitoring the investigation said the ﬁndings show that websites such as Backpage put proﬁts from the sale of their ads ahead of the dangers and harm brought about by sex traﬃcking. Backpage denied it did such things and insisted it had been working with authorities to identity any sex traﬃcking operators attempting to use its site. In a joint statement released on the day the Senate passed FOSTA, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who chairs the committee and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) the ranking Democrat on the committee, expressed their strong support for the bill. “We simply cannot sit idly by any longer while websites aid and abet child sex traﬃckers,” Nelson said. “The cost of further inaction is far too high.” Thune thanked the many witnesses that testiﬁed in favor of the bill by telling their stories about being victimized by sex traﬃcking. “Today’s vote pushes back against the growth of illegal sex traﬃcking on the Internet,” he said. A coalition of civil liberties groups, including the ACLU, voiced their opposition to FOSTA and the House version of the bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traﬃckers Act, or SESTA, in an Aug. 4, 2017 letter. “We appreciate and support the bill sponsors’ deep commitment to ﬁghting human traﬃcking,” the letter states. “But the approach of SESTA, to create substantial new federal and state criminal and civil liability for the Internet intermediaries that host third-party
speech, will lead to increased censorship across the web and will discourage proactive eﬀorts by intermediaries to identify and remove traﬃcking material from their services,” the letter says. In a separate letter it sent to senators on March 19, shortly before the Senate voted on the FOSTA bill, the Human Rights Campaign expressed concern that the bill would have a negative impact on “the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ community, including members of the transgender community and people of color.” The letter, written by David Stacy, HRC’s government aﬀairs director, says many of the websites likely to be targeted under the FOSTA and SESTA legislation
“serve as a critical tool for distributing comprehensive health and safety information, such as HIV prevention and treatment information as well as access to community support services.” Stacy adds in the letter that, “As written, both bills in their current form are likely to compromise both anti-traﬃcking eﬀorts and harm reduction goals.” “The Human Rights Campaign has long supported eﬀorts to combat sex traﬃcking, including the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which enhanced the federal government’s authority to address this problem,” the letter says.
No reason given for early departure of PFLAG director The national LGBT advocacy group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays known as PFLAG announced in a March 21 press release that its executive director, Jaime M. Grant, “departed the helm of PFLAG National yesterday.” In a development that has puzzled some LGBT activists, the release does not say why Grant left her position just six months after being hired for the executive director’s post. Sources familiar with the organization have said that Grant and the PFLAG National JAIME M. GRANT departed PFLAG director of ﬁnancing, Brian Carney, were let after just six months on the job. go by the PFLAG Board of Directors. Grant PHOTO COURTESY PFLAG and Carney have not responded to a request by the Washington Blade for comment. “Jean Hodges, President of the PFLAG National Board of Directors, announced that Executive Director Jaime M. Grant, Ph.D., departed the helm of PFLAG National yesterday,” the organization’s press release says. “All of us at PFLAG and Jaime Grant share a strong commitment to family acceptance and ally engagement, and to the PFLAG vision of achieving full equality for all LGBTQ people,” the press release quotes Hodges as saying. “We sincerely wish Jaime much future success.” The release adds, “The Board will soon engage and announce an Interim Executive Director, as well as undertake a search for a full-time Executive Director.” At the time it announced it had hired Grant as executive director in September 2017, Hodges called Grant “a bold choice for PFLAG National at the right time.” A statement announcing her hiring noted she had a distinguished background as an LGBT community advocate and strategist that included her past tenure as director of the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Policy Institute and as founding executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. A ﬁnance statement posted on the PFLAG website shows that the organization’s expenses exceeded its income during its 2016 and 2017 ﬁscal years. The report shows its total revenue for 2017 came to $2,562,326 and its total expenses for that year were $3,005,433, leaving a deﬁcit of $443,117. For 2016, the group’s ﬁnance statement shows its income totaled $2,982,657 and its expenses came to $3,192,925, with a deﬁcit of $214,268. PFLAG spokesperson Liz Owen did not respond to a request by the Blade for an explanation for why Grant and Carney left the organization and whether the budget shortfalls had anything to do with it. LOU CHIBBARO JR.
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Grindr offers HIV testing reminders NEW YORK — The world’s largest gay dating/hook-up app is changing its software this week so users can have reminders sent to get HIV tests every three-six months, the New York Times reports. Grindr, which claims 3.3 million daily users across the globe, will send men who opt into the service reminders and point them to the closest testing site. It will also let clinics, gay community centers and other sites advertise for free, the Times reports. The policy was enacted to “reduce HIV transmission and support our whole community, regardless of HIV status, in living long and fulﬁlling lives,” the Times quoted Jack Harrison-Quintana, Grindr’s director for equality, as having said. HIV experts welcomed the news. Dr. Jonathan Mermin, chief of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the New York Times that many men who use location-based phone apps to ﬁnd other men nearby seeking sex are considered at high risk of getting infected. Therefore, “all eﬀective eﬀorts to increase testing are welcome,” he told the Times of Grindr’s decision. “The more organizations and people involved in this eﬀort, the better.” The CDC recommends that sexually active gay men get tested annually and those at higher risk — those who bareback and/or those not on PrEP — get tested every three to six months. Mermin told the times about 107,000 men who have sex with men in the U.S. are HIV-positive and unaware of it. Over that time, a poz man can spread the virus to dozens of partners, but a man who has been tested and takes his antiretroviral pills every day is at virtually zero risk of passing on the virus, Mermin said according to the New York Times article.
Gays more vulnerable to prison rape: study BOCA RATON, Fla. — Gay and bi men and those who have a history of childhood sexual abuse are much more likely to get raped in prison, researchers from Florida Atlantic University announced this week having studied data from the six-year-old National Inmate Survey of 92,449 inmates age 18 or older, the most recent data available. The numbers were higher for gay and bi men both in fear of getting raped in prison and actually getting raped. Nearly 38 percent of gay and bi inmates and 37 percent of inmates with childhood sexual abuse fear prison rape as a threat, researchers said. Among non-heterosexual prison inmates, more than 12 percent reported sexual victimization by another inmate and almost 5.5 percent were victimized by a prison staﬀ member within the previous 12 months. In comparison, 1.2 percent of straight prisoners were sexually victimized by an inmate and 2.1 percent were victimized by a prison staﬀ member. These rates are even higher for those with mental illness. About one in 12 inmates with a mental disorder report at least one incident of sexual victimization by another inmate over a sixmonth period, compared to one in 33 male inmates without a mental disorder. Compared with straight inmates, gay and bisexual inmates are approximately two times more likely to perceive rape as a threat and three times more likely to voluntarily request mental health treatment in prison. Inmates with a history of childhood sexual abuse are more than twice as likely to perceive rape as a threat and almost four times more likely to request mental health treatment than inmates who did not report a history of childhood sexual abuse. Notably, this ﬁnding is inconsistent with previous research that has shown that there is no signiﬁcant relationship between childhood sexual abuse and feelings of safety among male inmates. “The consequences of perceiving rape to be a threat in prison are vast and could contribute to violence among inmates as well as negative mental health ramiﬁcations such as increased fear, psychological distress, chronic anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide,” said Cassandra A. Atkin-Plunk, Ph.D. and co-author. The study was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Researchers studied data from more than 400 male inmates housed in 23 maximum-security prisons across the U.S. Despite passage of the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act, which took a “zero tolerance” policy toward it, few previous studies had examined how inmates perceive rape and threat of rape, researchers said this week.
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Media must address growing crisis of anti-LGBTQ violence Mainstream outlets ignoring plight of trans people of color By BRENNAN SUEN Alphonza “Peaches” Watson’s mom called her “the sunshine of our family.” In her mom’s words, she was “a very caring, passionate, fun person to be around, always in a talkative and playful mood.” Alphonza was a black, transgender woman, and in March 2017, she was shot in the stomach and killed. Kenne McFadden liked to post videos of herself singing on Facebook and was called the “friendliest person ever” who could “be assertive when the time came” by one of her friends. In April 2017, her body was found ﬂoating in the San Antonio River. Kenne’s killer admitted to pushing her into the river and repeatedly misgendered her in his confession — but on March 8, a judge ruled that he will not be tried for her death. LGBTQ advocates are now calling for justice, because like Alphonza, Kenne was also a trans woman of color. Alphonza’s and Kenne’s deaths were two in a staggering 22 reported hate
violence-related killings in 2017 of transgender women of color, who are disproportionately the victims of anti-LGBTQ violence. According to a January report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, there were at least 52 reported hate violence-related homicides of LGBTQ people last year. That’s an 86 percent increase from 2016, nearly double the number. But if you get your news from national TV news, you probably haven’t heard the victims’ names or heard reports about the growing trend of violence that has scourged the LGBTQ community. Media Matters analyzed broadcast and cable TV coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence in 2017, and what we found was simply unacceptable. Even though 2017 saw the ﬁfth consecutive annual increase in anti-LGBTQ hate violence, cable and broadcast TV news spent a total of less than 40 minutes covering this disturbing growing trend. Sometimes coverage didn’t even mention the LGBTQ identities of the victims, and it rarely featured voices from the queer community. What’s worse, more than half of the coverage was about just two individual cases, and those reports largely failed to connect these individual cases to the larger trend of anti-LGBTQ violence.
E DIT OR IA L C A R T OON
These deaths are not occurring in a vacuum, and they’re not isolated incidents. This is an epidemic, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down. This year already, at least six trans women have been killed in the United States alone. In January, a 19-year-old gay University of Pennsylvania student named Blaze Bernstein was allegedly murdered by a neo-Nazi associated with an extremist group that has been increasingly responsible for violence and whose racist ideology is growing in the U.S. There were four times as many gay men killed in 2017 as in 2016. It’s no coincidence that violence is increasing at the same time that the Trump administration has prioritized eroding the humanity of LGBTQ people. Anti-LGBTQ hate groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have unprecedented inﬂuence over policy at every level. With the help of ADF, the Trump administration has issued a guidance policy that makes it easier for people and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and ADF has worked tirelessly against transgender student equality in schools. The media have a distinct role to play in talking about the depths of this problem. Trans women of color have been attacked just for walking down the street. Gay men have been lured to their deaths on dating apps. One man, Juan Javier Cruz, was shot and killed after he defended his friends from homophobic slurs and threats. The media have a responsibility to inform this community and our allies that our rights — and, in fact, lives — are at stake. And when TV news does cover antiLGBTQ, and particularly anti-trans, violence, it’s crucial that it provide context about this epidemic. We found that less than a third of the segments discussing anti-LGBTQ violence drew a line from individual cases to the growing trend, with the rest of the coverage completely failing to contextualize the cases as anything other than isolated incidents. We owe it to Alphonza Watson, to Kenne McFadden, to Juan Javier Cruz — and to the 49 other members of the LGBTQ community killed in 2017 simply for being who they were — to say their names and tell their stories. Covering their stories, and the environment that led to their deaths, isn’t just a matter of honoring their lives; it is what we must do to save others. BRENNAN SUEN is LGBTQ program director for Media Matters For America.
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After mourning loved ones lost, it’s time to vote Student protesters will need our help as midterms near
PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
It was moving listening to the youngsters from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school who have become activists in response to the unspeakable horror they witnessed ﬁrst-hand when 17 of their friends were gunned down in front of them. They show us what it means to ﬁrst cry for their friends and the loved ones, then to support each other and organize so no one else will have to go through what they did. Their ﬁrst goal has been reached with the March For Our Lives and its amazing success. Now as they continue to organize they really need our help. They will only
claim victory and be satisﬁed when everyone registers and VOTES and when we all stand with them as they tell our politicians, “your thoughts and prayers mean nothing if you don’t follow them up with action.” The March For Our Lives rallies across the nation brought together millions of Americans led by youngsters from schools in every city and town. In the more than 840 individual marches and rallies young people led us, awed us and energized us. Now we must stand with them and support them as they continue to organize and motivate people to VOTE only for politicians who are willing to say NO to money from the National Riﬂe Association. I attended the March in D.C. where close to 800,000 responded to their call and heard from those young activists from Parkland, Fla. We listened to 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds from Parkland. We heard from an 11-year-old awesome young woman from Alexandria, Va., and from Martin Luther King Jr.’s nine-yearold granddaughter. It was clear right away when hearing those children and the passion with which they spoke that the future is in good hands. I am committed to supporting the work
they are doing and to challenging all my friends to do the same. These youngsters will do what my generation and all the generations between them and me haven’t been able to do and ﬁnally make Americans understand the Second Amendment wasn’t written to allow weapons of war on the streets of America during peacetime. In their grief these amazing children have given all of us a second chance to get this right. We owe it to all our children and teachers and the thousands of others who have died across this great nation from gun violence. The statistics are staggering. Each day, 96 people die from guns and twice as many are injured; 13,000 homicides a year. We have a population in this country of about 317 million people who collectively own more than 350 million guns. There is only one word for that: insanity. As our children move forward we must focus all our eﬀorts in support of them. We know too often in our communities of color children are killed and we don’t hear about it. That must change. Every one of our precious children deserves to grow up to live a full and productive life. As David Hogg, one of the Parkland stu-
dent activists said, “We don’t do this as Republicans or Democrats, we do it as Americans.” I say we do it as decent, caring human beings. We live in a time of chaos around the world and have a president and administration creating chaos here at home. A president enabling the alt-right, Nazis, sexists, racists and homophobes to feel more secure in voicing their hatred in the public square. We have a president who is clearly schizophrenic and sits with members of Congress, parents and students one day telling them not to fear the NRA and then changes his tone and shows his own complicity with the NRA the next. A president who leaves town to escape being seen with those who oppose the NRA and sends a tweet highlighting his one and only accomplishment, banning bump-stocks, a move the students rightfully called giving them breadcrumbs when they are demanding real action to save lives. So as we get closer to Nov. 6, 2018, when we can change the Congress, we must stand tall and support these student activists with every breath. They deserve no less from us as they ﬁght for a better future for all.
O UR B US I NES S MATTERS
D.C.’s Metro funding plan tarnished by tax trickery Council Chair Mendelson criticizes ﬁrst-year nontransit use of tax hikes
MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.
The historic news that all three D.C.area jurisdictions have agreed to provide the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority an additional, permanent and dedicated half-billion dollars in annual funding for Metro was tarnished last week by budget trickery in the District. Those living in the D.C. metro area agree on one simple fact: The national capital area’s rail transit system is failing as a transportation mode. It is dysfunctional and in need of a sizable ongoing infusion of monies to recover from years of infrastructure repair and maintenance neglect. Metro is the only system in the country
without a dedicated revenue source, relying on insuﬃcient annual federal and area government contributions to subsidize fares. The ailing system has seen recent sustained ridership declines, along with dramatic reductions in operating hours that have further lowered use. Track ﬁres, train derailments and service delays have lessened in frequency, but much improvement to restore adequate service remains. WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld made his plea clear nearly two years ago: Metro faces a whopping $25 billion in unfunded capital requirements to achieve system repair, increased capacity and improved reliability. Regional jurisdictions would be required to provide new funding to ﬁnance these needs, allowing WMATA to borrow $1.5 billion a year to pay for necessary work. D.C., Maryland and Virginia would need to collectively pony up $500 million a year. D.C.’s annual portion under the existing allocation formula is $178 million. Only in recent days did Maryland and Virginia agree to join the District in committing to contribute the requested funds. Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced, along with Democratic legislative leaders, that the state would contribute its portion, from general funds
and beginning in 2019, contingent on both D.C. and Virginia kicking-in their shares. Virginia also pledged its contribution, including a restriction on annual system operating cost increases capped at three percent and demanding improved ﬁnancial management likely to force long-needed labor union concessions and transit board governance reforms. When D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released her proposed annual city budget plan last week for D.C. Council review, included were consumer and business tax hikes to pay for the District’s increased annual allotment. Not readily apparent was that D.C. would levy these dedicated-use taxes a full year in advance of spending them for the described intended purpose. In the ﬁrst ﬁscal year, beginning Oct. 1, the tax hikes would instead go to the general budget. D.C. tax increases totaling nearly $80 million per year announced as intended for increased Metro funding would actually be conveyed as intended only for revenue collections beginning in October 2019, a full year later. These higher tax rates will aﬀect the following: • General sales tax, from 5.75% to 6%; • Alcohol and meal sales tax, including
for restaurants and bars already among the highest in the nation, from 10% to 10.25%; • Hotel room tax, from 10.05% to 10.3%, plus existing 4.75% tax to ﬁnance the Convention Center and fund the city’s oﬃcial marketing entity Destination DC; • Commercial property tax, from $1.85 to $1.87 per $100 assessed value; • Car rental tax, from 10% to 10.25%; and, • Gross receipts tax for “ride-sharing” companies such as Uber and Lyft, resulting in an estimated consumer cost increase of 37-cents per $10 charge. D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson issued a public statement last Friday, correctly stating, “[T]axpayers will begin paying the new taxes this fall. But the money won’t go to Metro for another year. Instead … the ﬁrst year’s monies … [will] be used for other, unrelated, and unspeciﬁed purposes in the $14.4 billion District budget. I think it is wrong to take the tax increase of $77 million intended to help Metro and instead use all of it for projects unrelated to Metro.” If these dedicated tax increases are not going to be conveyed to Metro until collections generated the following ﬁscal year, imposition of the taxes should also be delayed.
20 • MARCH 30, 2018
Inner city, small town MCC church experience vastly different
Clergy members say afﬁrming denomination still needed in 2018 and beyond By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO email@example.com
It’s a much different thing to go to a Metropolitan Community Church in a major city vs. a small town and the denomination itself, founded in the late ‘60s as a Protestant fellowship for LGBT Christians, is in a time of transition as more churches, especially in Christianity’s more liberal branches, have become afﬁrming. Roman Catholics and evangelicals — the two largest groups of U.S. believers — are the biggest holdouts. As Christianity’s Paschal Triduum culminates with Easter this weekend, we checked in with two regional LGBT MCC clergy to ﬁnd out how their parishes are doing in 2018. Rev. Deb Coggin is pastor of New Light MCC in Hagerstown, Md. (newlightmcc.com). Rev. Cathy Alexander is associate pastor of MCC Washington (mccdc.com). They responded via e-mail. Rev. Deb Coggin New Light MCC — Hagerstown, Md. What year was your church started? 1996 Was it always an MCC church? yes How many weekend services do you have on a normal week? one About how many folks walk through your doors on an average Sunday? 20-25 Are you full-time, part-time or volunteer? Part-time – 20 hours a week What is your annual operating budget? $53,000 How do you feel the needs may be different of MCC believers/members in major cities vs. small towns or suburbs? In a small city, support and safe places for LGBT are fewer. The needs remain the same. All of us need support, a safe place to be and the afﬁrmation that God is with us. This message is part of the DNA of MCC. Are you doing a Good Friday or Holy Saturday service? Good Friday service is tonight at 7 p.m. What times are your Easter services? 10:30 a.m. How is your Easter Sunday morning worship different? We add a few extra readings and special pieces however; the base of the service remains the same. What was your attendance for Easter 2017? 32
PHOTO BY ELVERT BARNES VIA WIKIMEDIA
Exterior of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington.
As the mainline churches have become more welcoming, what does MCC offer that they do not in your opinion? MCC is more than welcoming. We celebrate all of who we are as children of God. We are more than afﬁrming. We are inclusive. Everyone is invited to full participation in the life of an MCC community of faith. Are there many cradle Catholics and/or cradle evangelicals in your pews? As those bodies have dug in their heels against LGBT folks, how does MCC have relevance to those believers? Our congregation has many of both. It is the same for all who have been preached at as if they are evil. We help them heal and discover for themselves what God has to say. We plan services and activities so all feel accepted and comfortable. We honor some traditions of all Christian faiths while creating some thing new for all. Are mainline churches in Hagerstown very afﬁrming? In Hagerstown, we have several very afﬁrming churches, however, most churches either tolerate or are outwardly hostile to LGBT people. We offer a safe place for healing from church abuse in all forms. We encourage the full participation in the life of our community. We seek to teach people to live in the questions of faith as opposed to declaring we have all the answers. We offer a positive biblical message about LGBT people as well as refute and explain passages which have been used to abuse LGBT people.. What kind of faith community were you raised in if any? I was 28 before I came into a faith belief with God. I quickly moved from Southern Baptist to Assemblies of God to Pentecostal to MCC. Overall how is the MCC needle shifting? Where do you see the fellowship going in the next 10-20 years? We are being called into accountability for being as fully inclusive
as we promote. I believe we will continue to be in the forefront of the ﬁght for justice — LGBT rights, homelessness, poverty, drug addiction, human trafﬁcking, gun control, women’s rights, etc. Wherever there is injustice in the world, MCC along with others will be in the ﬁght for justice. Rev. Cathy Alexander Metropolitan Community Church of Washington What year was your church started? 1971 Was it always an MCC church? Yes, it has always been under the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) umbrella. How many weekend services do you have on a normal week? We have two services per Sunday in the sanctuary. We also have a monthly interactive service on the last Sunday of each month led by our Young Adult Ministry. These services are held at various locations throughout the city. The last Sunday reﬂective service was held at the National Portrait Gallery. We are also re-starting our monthly Spanish speaking prayer service. About how many folks walk through your doors on an average Sunday? We worship about 130-150 each Sunday on site and an additional 50-60 via live streaming of our services. Also an additional 40-60 views of the videos of the service. The message of love and acceptance is getting out there. MCCD.C. is blessed to be one of the most diverse congregations in MCC on a variety of levels. Do you have your own building? Yes Are you full-time, part-time or volunteer? I am full time and the Senior Pastor Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson is full time. What is your annual operating budget? (declines to answer) How do you feel the needs may be different of MCC believers/members in
major cities vs. small towns or suburbs? The need for shelter, food, spiritual guidance, safe streets and community are consistent and driving forces for our neighbors no matter the geography. Where people congregate in a given location may differ, the ability to get around from place to place quickly may be different, and proximity to church may be a challenge. Many times in a suburban environment, the closest MCC may be hours away. This proves to be a challenge to establishing community. In an urban environment, the unpredictability of trafﬁc is an issue in on-site attendance. It encourages us to seek different ways to reach out to and spiritually touch people (like livestream, remote campuses and other ways to make it easier for people to connect). Are you doing a Good Friday or Holy Saturday service? One is planned for Good Friday, yes. We also held a Maundy Thursday service. What times are your Easter services? 9 and 11 a.m. How is your Easter Sunday morning worship different? We usually welcome more people to our services on Easter (Christmas Eve too). We have several ministries in our worship arts ministry (9 a.m. choir, 11 a.m. choir, First Sunday Choir, Moving Spirit Dance Ministry, Eclectic Praise Band, Drama Ministry, sound board, audio/visual) who minister on different Sundays throughout any given month. Most of our ministries will offer their gifts together during our Easter Sunday Services. What was your attendance for Easter 2017? About 300 throughout Holy Week last year. As the mainline churches have become more welcoming, what does MCC offer that they do not in your opinion? I don’t think it is so much a matter of what one offers against the other. I believe there is enough hurt and spiritual violence in the world that requires that all of our spiritual organizations reach into the communities in which they serve to help as much as possible to counteract messages of hate, violence and harm. Is there a place and a need for MCC into the future? I would say absolutely yes, without a question or doubt in my mind. Many of our congregants have let us know that they appreciate going to church where many in the church have similar perspectives and challenges as they do. They can come as their entire selves and the afﬁnity communities in which they are a part — leather, drag and a variety of others. ■ CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM
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22 • MARCH 30, 2018
Regional afﬁrming houses of worship plan seders, services
Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday form Paschal Triduum for Christians By MARIAH COOPER
FRIDAY, MARCH 30 (GOOD FRIDAY AND FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER) Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) hosts Good Friday worship celebrations today with one from noon-1 p.m. and another from 7-8 p.m. The service will remember Jesus’ last day through song, scripture and communion. For more details, visit foundryumc.org. Sixth and I Synagogue (600 I St., N.W.) hosts a Community Seder at 7 p.m. and a Justice Seder at 7:30 p.m. The Community Seder, a traditional seder, will be led by Chazzan Larry Paul and musician Robyn Helzner with reﬂection and singing.The Justice Seder combines the traditional Passover rituals and meal with non-traditional conversations about social justice issues. For more information, visit sixthandi.org. St. George’s Episcopal Church (160 U St., N.W.) has a Good Friday service today at noon. For more information, visit stgeorgesdc.org. Dignity/Nova hosts an adoration of the cross and Eucharistic service at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. For details, visit dignitynova.org. The United Church (1920 G St., N.W.) hosts a Good Friday service today at noon. For more information, visit theunitedchurch.org. SATURDAY, MARCH 31 (HOLY SATURDAY AND SECOND DAY OF PASSOVER) Edlavitch D.C.-JCC (1529 16th St., N.W.) hosts Second Night Community Seder this evening from 6-9 p.m. Micah Hendler, founder and co-director of the Israeli-Palestinian YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus, and singer/ songwriter Ari Jacobson will lead the Seder. There will also be a kosher traditional Passover meal. For more information, visit edcjcc.org. Washington National Cathedral holds the Great Vigil of Easter tonight at 8 p.m. There will also be a livestream. Passes are not required. For more details, visit catherdral.org. St. George’s Episcopal Church hosts an Easter Vigil at 6:30 p.m. For details, visit stgeorgesdc.org. Dignity/Nova has an Easter Vigil at Immanuel Church on the Hill (3606 Seminary
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY ??
The pews are empty in this photo but they won’t be for long. LGBT-affirming Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington has big plans for the Paschal Triduum, for Christians, the culmination of the year.
Rd., Alexandria, Va.) with a blessing of the new ﬁre and Baptismal water. There will be a dessert potluck after Mass. For more information, visit dignitynova.org. Temple Emmanuel holds its Community Festival Service at Temple Shalom (8401 Grubb Rd., Chevy Chase, Md.) today at 9:15 a.m. The Congregational Second Night Passover Seder is at 6:30 p.m. It will be led by Rabbi Warren Stone and Cantor Lindsay Kanter. There will be a catered, traditional, four-course dinner. Nonmembers are welcome.. Admission is $42 for adults and $22 for children under 13. Children under ﬁve are free. For more information, visit templeemanuelmd.org. SUNDAY, APRIL 1 (EASTER) Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th St., N.W.) has Easter worship today at 11 a.m. Breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m. A brass quartet will give a mini-recital at 10:50 a.m. and worship starts at 11. The church is LGBT-afﬁrming and has lesbian senior co-pastors. Details at
calvarydc.org. Washington D.C. History & Culture hosts an Easter Sunday morning visit to the Museum of the Bible (400 4th St., S.W.) today from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The group will meet at 9:45 a.m. outside the museum for a group icebreaker before visiting the exhibits at 10 a.m. Admission is free but registration is required. For more information, visit facebook.com/ dchistorandculture. Waterfront Church D.C. holds Easter worship services at Nationals Park (1500 S Capitol St., S.E.) today at 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The ﬁrst 600 guests will receive a commemorative Easter 2018 baseball. Waterfront Kids Ministry will be open during all services for gives from birth-ﬁfth grade. For more details, visit waterfrontchurchdc.com. Washington National Cathedral has the Festive Holy Eucharist Easter Sunday services today at 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Passes are required. The Easter Day Organ Recital is at 2 p.m. featuring the Great Choir. The Festive Choral Evensong is at 4 p.m. Passes are not
required. Livestreams will be available for the 11:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. events. For more details, visit cathedral.org. St. George’s Episcopal Church has services today at 9. and 11:15 a.m. For more information, visit stgeorgesdc.org. Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) holds Easter worship services today 9. and 11 a.m. For details, visit mccdc.com. National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) hosts multiple Easter events and services. At 8:30 a.m. there will be a gospel worship service. At 11 a.m. there will be a traditional worship service followed by an Easter brunch at 12:30 p.m. in the Howland Center.Details, visit nationalcitycc.org. Western Presbyterian Church (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) holds an Easter Sunday service at 11 a.m. At noon there will be an Easter egg hunt followed by a Young Adult Easter brunch at Pastor Laura’s home at 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit westernpresbyterian.net.
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Easter Sunday Worship JOIN US...ALL ARE WELCOME!
April 1, 2018 10:45am
Easter Sunday – April 1 – 10:45am
Christ is Risen! We gather as a community to celebrate the new life we have found in Christ. Brass Prelude begins at 10:45. Worship at 11:00 includes the music of choir, organ and brass; readings; prayers; communion and a message of hope from our pastor. A festive reception with cascarones follows the service.
Good Friday – March 30 – 7pm
This “Service of Shadows” is led by the Chancel Choir, soloists and instrumentalists. Through the reading of the passion story and the extinguishing of candles we participate symbolically in Christ’s descent into death on a cross. Free valet parking and childcare are provided every Sunday.
inclusion incl ion
The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC, welcomes people of every race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, age, physical and mental ability, national origin, economic station, and political ideology to full participation in the life of our community.
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The right ‘Instinct’ Veteran actor Alan Cumming enjoying unexpected role By SUSAN HORNIK
Alan Cumming continues to fascinate audiences. He’s enjoying a bit of a second career wind with his new role on the CBS procedural drama “Instinct,” which debuted March 18. Once dubbed a “bawdy countercultural sprite” by the New York Times and one of the most fun people in show business by Time magazine, the well-rounded actor is known for Broadway (“Cabaret,” “The Threepenny Opera”), TV (“The Good Wife”) and ﬁlm appearances in everything from “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” to the Stanley Kubrick swan song “Eyes Wide Shut” and a whole lot more. He’s also active in LGBT and HIV/AIDS causes. Cumming, 52, serves on the board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and works with many charities, including amfAR, the Trevor Project and the Ali Forney Center. Adapted from the book “Murder Games” by James Patterson, “Instinct” gives Cumming the chance to play an author and university professor who wrote a book that is inspiring a serial killer. It’s oﬀ to a strong start. Its pilot episode drew more than 9 million viewers and gay TV critic John Griﬃths called the show a “not-too-twee crime solver in the cozy tradition of entertaining whodunnits like ‘Barnaby Jones’ and ‘Cannon.’” There was a caveat though: “Just hope the scripts don’t get bogged down in serial killer stuﬀ,” Griﬃths writes. “Cumming is too classy to be saddled with gruesome and silly plots.”
ALAN CUMMING says he appreciates that his character being gay is not the main thing on his new show ‘Instinct.’ PHOTO COURTESY CBS
During January’s Television Critics Press Tour in Los Angeles, Cumming talked about why he was drawn to play this role. On his character: “Well, really just that it’s such a sort of confounding character. There’s so many diﬀerent layers to it. He’s sort of a fuddyduddy professor, a bit of a dandy. He is a kind of former spy. He drives a motorbike. He’s gay. … I guess the challenge was to make them all into one sort of whole person.” On playing a gay character: “I think this is an incredible thing and also a terrible thing at the same time. It deﬁnitely was another layer to the character that makes it interesting to play. But socially and politically, especially in the time that we ﬁnd ourselves in America, where gay people are being persecuted again and their rights are being removed. And the president is actively condoning, by his silence, violence and persecution against the LGBT community ... I think it’s all the
more important that we should have a character with a healthy, successful same-sex marriage on network screens.” On the cultural climate: “I really do applaud everyone at CBS and (production company) Secret Hideout for having the courage to put this on right now in an environment or a climate that you might think possibly might not be the best time to do that. But I think it’s actually the perfect time. It needs to be done, and I’m really proud to be a part of that.” On the tangential nature of his character’s sexuality: “In terms of my marriage on the show, I was very conscious. You know, I am married to a man, (in real life) so I brought that to the table. But also, I was very conscious of the fact that I think most times when we see gay characters on American television especially, their gayness is, like, the prime thing. And there’s also the gayness is somehow a problem. And what I think
is really refreshing about this and what I was deﬁnitely advocating was that there’s a successful relationship and very supportive of each other, and it’s also the fourth or ﬁfth most interesting thing about the character.” On doing some of his own stunt work: “What’s funny when you do these things is when you have a stuntman. I always say stunt people look like inﬂated versions of you, because they’re big, muscley guys. It’s like someone’s inﬂated them, like the Michelin Man. So what’s so great in this is I have two stuntmen — a motorbike stunt double and a punching stunt double. And my punching one looks really like my body type. He’s not all built. He looks kind of like me, except he’s 30 years younger than I am. It’s a very, very aﬃrming thing to go in and see that a person 30 years younger than you is trying to be you.” On pulling it oﬀ: “And also, the other good thing is there’s a scene where I have to sort of bring down a serial killer. And they were all going, ‘Oh, Alan, so the stuntman is going to do this.’ And they said, ‘Well, would you like to try once just to see if you can do it? We can use as much as we can of your face.’ I said, ‘All right.’ So I did it, and you know, I’m quite ﬁt. And I did it and brought the man down. And all the crew clapped. And I was, like,‘Are you clapping because I’m old, or am I’m butcher than you thought? What’s going on here?’ I really like doing those things because it’s a bit out of my normal thing. But also, the fact is, the older I get, the more I enjoy doing whoopass kinds of things.”
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WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re tired of the same old scene in the D.C. gay nightlife world, Swazz may be your thing. Billed as an “LGBTQ+ party event and dance club to be,” its organizers are focused on “changing the landscape … by creating a queer-centered but allinclusive, body-positive, trans-positive and accessible space for queer people to come and have a good time.” Conceived last year by Swarna Chowdhuri, who identiﬁes as queer, Swazz for now is a pop-up bar. Its Oﬃcial Swazz Bar Masquerade Party will be held on Saturday, April 7 at Asmara (2218 18th St., N.W.) from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Ethiopian food will be served until 1 a.m., drink specials will be in eﬀect throughout the event and a costume contest sponsored by D.C. Brau, with prizes will be held. Costumes and masks are encouraged but not required. Chowdhuri sees the venture as a chance to promote and highlight queerfriendly businesses, non-proﬁts, happy hours, performance groups, parties and more. A range of local queer nightlife performers such as Mr. Ma’am, Thandiwe Zulo, Citrine Queen, Vagenesis, Logan Stone, Dame Yankee, Ophelia Zayna Hart, Carlista and more are on the roster. Search for Swazz on Facebook for full details. “The vision really is to see queer folks in an inclusive safe space dressing up, winning some prizes, getting good drinks, enjoying cool projects and overall having a good time with fellow queers,” the 25-year-old Kolkata native says. Chowdhuri works by day as an electrical engineer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Oﬃce and has been in D.C. (and the U.S.) about 10 years. She enjoys training for Spartan races, cooking and Netﬂix/Hulu in her 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
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How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? Always been out and about. I think the hardest person to really tell was myself. Who’s your LGBT hero? It’s a humbling feeling to really think about all LGBTQ+ people who were here ﬁghting and queer people in all corners of the world now living, loving and ﬁghting. Quite heroic. What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? Really like the rotating queer happy hours and monthly/weekly parties. I think there’s something inherently badass about showing up to a presumably “straight” bar and having a good time. Describe your dream wedding. Don’t quite believe in weddings. However, I like going to weddings. My dream wedding to go to would be an outdoor wedding, preferably around fall time, the cake having some fall spices, apple cider, nice breeze, open bar, good music, decent dancing, people looking dapper. I like dressing up. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Representation in media and microaggressions faced by people. What historical outcome would you change? I would think the only appropriate answer to this question would be the 2016 election. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? I thought the point of pop culture was to live in the moment. Recently though, Janelle Monae “Make Me Feel” and Django Jane. Just going to leave it at that. On what do you insist? I strongly insist on representation and equality. What was your last
Facebook post or Tweet? I am more of an observer on FB but I’ve been posting a lot about Swazz. Don’t have a Twitter though. I hear it’s presidential to tweet nowadays. If your life were a book, what would the title be? “Chasing Dreams” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Support anyone who willfully wants to participate, if there is any such person. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I am super down with all realms of being outside of the physical world. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Taking some time to self-care. What would you walk across hot coals for? Wow. It really depends. I’ll keep everyone posted when it comes down to that. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That lesbian bars don’t succeed. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “Saving Face” (I highly recommend) What’s the most overrated social custom? I feel like anything that becomes an obligation is overrated somehow. What trophy or prize do you most covet? Not particularly a trophy person really. Would love to see an inclusive queer bar though. What do you wish you’d known at 18? I like the mysteries of life to be honest. Why Washington? I like to keep a close eye on the president, whomever that is.
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The Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC 474 Ridge Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 202-638-7373 www.mccdc.com Facebook: MCC.Washington Instagram: mccdcgram Twitter: MCC_DC livestream.com/mccdc And -- Find us on YouTube and Google Plus
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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com Apr 5-Apr 29. Woolly Mammoth. woollymammoth.net. Avenue Q The Musical. Mar 30Apr 1. Workhouse Arts Center. workhousearts.org.
DANCE VIVA CUBA. Mar 30. DanzAbierta. Mar 30-Mar 31. Dance Place. danceplace.org. Nederlands Dans Theater. Apr 4-Apr 6. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.
New York City Ballet Mar 27-Apr 1. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.
New York City Ballet returns with two sensational repertory programs for its annual appearance, including a program to celebrate the centennials of Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. Also on the program are works by George Balanchine, Peter Martins and Justin Peck.
Roz and Ray Apr 3-Apr 29. Theater J. theaterj.org.
A gripping medical drama about a doctor at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Powerful, urgent, and beautiful, Roz and Ray charts the untold story of a devastating chapter of medical and queer history. Directed by Adam Immerwahr.
Lee Mingwei – Sonic Blossom Apr 5-Apr 29. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. npg.si.edu.
In Sonic Blossom a singer wearing a custom-designed gown will approach museumgoers with the question “May I give you the gift of song?” Upon accepting the gift, visitors will move to the Great Hall to hear a performance of one of ﬁve lieder by Franz Schubert.
(Inside) Out: New Work by Erick Johnson Thru Apr 14. gallery neptune & brown. galleryneptunebrown.com.
This exhibition captures the conversation between Johnson’s isolated work inside the studio and his experience beyond, inﬂuenced by chance abstract compositions found walking the streets of New York City. PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNEDY CENTER
THEATRE John. Apr 3-Apr 29. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. Million Dollar Quartet. Mar 31. Strathmore. strathmore.org. The Winter’s Tale. Thru Apr 22. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. The Improvised Shakespeare Company. Apr 5-Apr 8. Shear Madness. Thru May 27. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Paper Dolls. Thru Apr 22. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org. Chinese Menu March. Mar 30. Michael Jons’ Psychic Cabaret. Mar
30-Mar 31. Hot Spot. Mar 31. Sketch Night. Thru May 23. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org. The Wiz. Thru May 12. Ford's Theatre. fords.org. The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. Thru Apr 8. GMU Center for the Arts. Harris Theatre. cfa.gmu.edu. Chicago. Thru Apr 14. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com. 600 Highwaymen: The Fever. Apr 5-Apr 6. The Clarice. theclarice.umd.edu. Translations. Thru Apr 22. Studio Theatre. studiotheatre.org. The Ars Nova Production of Underground Railroad Game.
Anthony Walker & Friends. Mar 30. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. NSO Pops: Black Violin. Apr 4-Apr 5. Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Dawn Upshaw and So Percussion. Apr 5. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra with Bria Skonberg, trumpet/singer. Mar 31. GMU Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu. Global Sounds on the Hill: Eva Salina + Peter Stan. Apr 3. Hill Center. hillcenterdc.org. LIBRARY LATE: Spektral Quartet with Winston Choi. Mar 30. Spektral Quartet with Winston Choi. Mar 31. Library of Congress. loc.gov. Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, and Mika Stoltzman, marimba: Duo Cantando. Apr 1. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. San Fermin. Mar 30. The English Beat. Mar 31. Ana Moura. Apr 4. Wolf Trap. The Barns. wolftrap.org.
MUSEUMS Folger Shakespeare Library. Beyond Words: Book Illustration in the Age of Shakespeare. Thru Jun 3. folger.edu. National Archives. Remembering Vietnam. Thru Jan 6. archivesfoundation.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Encountering Ancient America: Machu Picchu in Popular Culture, 1911–1965. Thru Apr 25. doaks.org. Kreeger Museum. Against the Day by Richard Deutsh. Thru Jan 1. kreegermuseum.org. Library of Congress. Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I. Thru Jan 1. loc.gov. National Geographic. Day to Night: In the Field With Stephen Wilkes. Thru Apr 22. Tomb of Christ. Thru Aug 15. nglive.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Women House. Thru May 28. Hung Liu In Print. Thru Jul 8. nmwa.org.
National Gallery of Art. In the Tower: Anne Truitt. Thru Apr 1. nga.gov. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers. Thru Sep 3. Portraits of the World: Switzerland. Thru Nov 12. npg.si.edu.
GALLERIES Strathmore. Still Lives: Jennifer Allevato. Thru Apr 29. Up in the Air. Thru Apr 29. Jennifer Kahn Barlow. Thru Dec 1. strathmore.org. DC Arts Center (DCAC). Letters to MOM: Prints by EJ Montgomery. Thru Apr 8. dcartscenter.org. District Architecture Center. reBirth::Washington DC 50 Years after 1968. Apr 2-Jun 1. aiadac.com. Gallery Underground. Wind and Sky. Thru Mar 31. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Glen Echo Park. Wild Things: National Capital Art Glass Guild. Mar 31-Apr 29. glenechopark.org. Goethe-Institut. Early UFA Film Posters: Projecting Women. Thru Apr 30. goethe.de. Hill Center. Viewﬁnders: 8 Photographers. Thru Apr 29. hillcenterdc.org. The Art League. Robert Gilbert's A Study of Manhattan: Power, Dominance, & Excitement. Apr 4-May 6. theartleague.org. Waverly Street Gallery. Highlighting the Life I Live: Photography by Stephane Themeze. Thru Apr 7. waverlystreetgallery.com. Woodlawn and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House. 2018 Woodlawn Needlework Show & Sale. Thru Mar 31. woodlawnpopeleighey.org. Zenith Gallery. Light Up Your HeART. Thru Apr 14. zenithgallery.com.
AND MORE... National Archives. Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan. Apr 5. archivesfoundation.org. National Cherry Blossom Festival. Thru Apr 15. Various locations. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. Hill Center. Kitchen 101: Sausage Making. Apr 4. hillcenterdc.org. Library of Congress. Lecture: Textured Abstractions: Howardena Pindell’s Cut and Sewn Paintings. Mar 30. loc.gov. National Gallery of Art. Film: Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith. Mar 31. nga.gov. National Geographic. Race: What Deﬁnes Us?. Apr 4. Film: Jerusalem 3-D. Thru Aug 12. nglive.org.
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back by magical demand ALL SEVEN HARRY POTTER BOOKS IN SEVENTY HILARIOUS MINUTES! “CASTS THE PERFECT SPELL OVER THE AUDIENCE!”
“HAD US ROARING WITH LAUGHTER!” Washington Post
The New York Times
april 3–15 WWW.SHAKESPEARETHEATRE.ORG
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Orchestras in Motion! April 9–15, 2018 Four adventurous orchestras. $25 concerts at the Kennedy Center. Plus exciting FREE performances and other events around the city! Learn more at SHIFTfestival.org. This year’s orchestras:
Albany Symphony (New York)
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (Texas)
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Indiana)
National Symphony Orchestra (D.C.)
Plus local participating orchestras, ensembles, and artists!
Tickets and info at (202) 467-4600 or SHIFTfestival.org
For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540. Presented in cooperation with the League of American Orchestras Generous support of the SHIFT Festival is provided through a matching grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts; by Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; and by Michael F. and Noémi K. Neidorff and The Centene Charitable Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Abramson Family Foundation, Betsy and Robert Feinberg, and Morton and Norma Lee Funger.
Ford’s production is well cast, visually stunning By PATRICK FOLLIARD
“The Wiz” almost didn’t happen. When the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” opened on Broadway in 1975, tickets weren’t selling. It wasn’t until producers ran a TV commercial blitz featuring the show’s catchiest tune “Ease on Down the Road,” that theatergoers got interested. The breakthrough show went on to win seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and make history as the ﬁrst big-budget Broadway musical made and performed by African-American producers and artists. Today, it’s still Charlie Smalls’ R&Binﬂuenced score that’s the draw. Currently playing at Ford’s Theatre, the Kent Gashdirected production serves mostly as a vehicle for stellar renditions of the often reprised “Ease on Down the Road,” “Everybody Rejoice,” Glinda’s glorious number, and Dorothy’s show closer “Home,” all sung by talented performers accompanied by a superb pit orchestra led by music director Darius Smith. It’s a familiar story but with dashes of modern African-American culture. Young Dorothy (Ines Nassara) is blown away from a weather-beaten Kansas farm and lands in Oz (here Harlem) where after inadvertently killing a witch, she meets assorted Munchkins, more witches (both good and bad played by the versatile Monique Midgette), ﬂying monkeys (led by handsome Daryl A. Spiers), and new best pals Scarecrow (super agile Hasani Allen), Tinman (Kevin McAllister) and Lion (Christopher Michael Richardson). Eager to return home, Dorothy seeks help from the Wiz (Jobari Parker-Namdar) but eventually learns a valuable lesson in trusting herself. William F. Brown’s disappointingly thin book is lucid enough but requires a familiarity with the ﬁlm to truly appreciate the lead characters’ deeply forged relationships and Dorothy’s desire to get back to Kansas. As Dorothy, Nassara gives a lovely, unaﬀected performance. But like Diana Ross in the 1978 ﬁlm version, she looks a little old for the part which detracts from the teenage spunk and vulnerability we’ve come to expect from Dorothy. As the brain-seeking Scarecrow, Allen adroitly executes choreographer Dell Howlett’s athletic moves, and he’s especially funny when he transforms from hayseed to debonair Englishman. Richardson’s Lion is appropriately vainglorious and cowardly. And Ford’s regular McAllister is a standout at as the awkward, wannabelover Tinman.
PHOTO BY CAROL ROSEGG
The cast of ‘The Wiz’ in Ford’s visually inventive current production.
The ensemble cast never ﬂags. Whether rolling around as wide, squat Munchkins or splendidly assaying the residents of Emerald City as a crowd of louche nightclub patrons corralled behind a green velvet rope. Among other parts, Jaysen Wright plays the Gatekeeper imagined here as doorman circa Studio 54, armed with a clipboard holding the eternally sacred guest list. There are throwaway moments too. Iconic elements like the cyclone, the yellow brick road and the poppies are anthropomorphized with varying degrees of success. But a fast-moving second act makes up for some of those early less engaging moments. As the title character, Parker-Namdar is a fabulous blend of Prince and some Little Richard. He can’t understand why Dorothy would want to return to “Kansaas” as he disdainfully refers to her home state, and he brings down the house with an energetic “Y’all Got it.” Following the Wiz’s hasty exit via hot air balloon, Glinda (Awa Sal Secka) glides on stage looking like an African queen accompanied by a court of bare-chested beefcake. Secka makes the most of her brief but memorable scene by powerfully delivering “Believe in Yourself.” Enjoyable design elements include Jason Sherwood’s colorful, splashy set and Kara Harmon’s dazzling, witty costumes. Dorothy wears her Sunday best: a shimmering white pouf dress and Keds sneakers which she smartly swaps out for a pretty pair of silver — not ruby red — sequined slippers. Ford’s “The Wiz” oﬀers an opportunity to experience a take on pioneering theater in a historical setting.
‘THE WIZ’ Through May 12 Ford’s Theatre 511 10 St., N.W. $28-81 888-616-0270 Fords.org
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Where futures begin A wedding starts a new chapter of life and yours should begin in a space that inspires you and your guests. In DC, no place inspires like the Ronald Reagan Building. Celebrations are what we do, day in and day out. Our experienced team will ensure your day is all that you’ve ever imagined. We’ll focus on the details so you can focus on your future. Let your future begin with us.
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O U T & A BO U T
By MARIAH COOPER
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
Warner, Roem slated for brunch appearances
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY TOM HAUSMAN
Victory Fund hosts its National Champagne Brunch at the Omni Shoreham Hotel (2500 Calver St., N.W.) on Sunday, April 8 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Del. Danica Roem (D-Va.) will make appearances along with more than 600 LGBT elected oﬃcials, community leaders and Victory Fund supporters. There will be food and bottomless champagne. Individual tickets are $250. For more information, visit victoryfund.org.
Pretty Boi Drag launches new party Pretty Boi Drag hosts First Thursdays: Kings and Queens, a new queer monthly party, at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Thursday, April 5 from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. There will be pop-up performances from local drag queens and drag kings. Drag queens Riley Knoxx, Ariel Von Quinn and Ivanna Vivaldi will perform. Performing drag kings will be Mich, Phoenix King and Buhnana Gunz. Beaux Banks and Derek William Kominars will host. DJ Honey plays music all night. Entry is free with RSVP. For more details, visit facebook.com/ prettyboidrag.
PHOTO BY NICOLAS RAYMOND VIA WIKIMEDIA
Cherry Blossom fever hits D.C. The District celebrates Cherry Blossom season with numerous events throughout the city. Capital SUP D.C. hosts a Cherry Blossom Paddle Tour on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Paddlers can view the Cherry Blossoms from along the East Potomac Park. Attendees can rent a paddleboard, single kayak or pedalboard for $45 or a double kayak for $60. Bring your own board for $30. After the tour, the group will visit local brewery Bluejacket (300 Tingey St., S.E.) For more details, visit capitalsup.com. Carpe D.C. hosts Taste of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl, a self-guided food sample tour, on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Guests will receive a passport that includes tastings for up to eight restaurants throughout downtown D.C. Tickets are $84. Vegetarian options are available. For more details, visit facebook.com/carpedcfood. Cherry Blossom Wine and Beer is on Saturday, April 7 from 1-9 p.m. and Sunday, April 8 from 1-4 p.m. at the Akridge Lot at Buzzard Point (230 V St., S.W.). General admission tickets are $53.99 and include unlimited full pours of beer, cider and sangria, unlimited tastings of more than 100 wines, craft beers and ciders, access to food trucks and the local artisan market and live music. The Wine Lovers ticket is $96.41 and includes everything in general admission and four bottles of wine to take home. For more information, visit facebook.com/cherryblossomwineandbeer. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk is on Sunday, April 8 on the Washington Monument grounds (2 15th St., N.W.). The Elite Women’s Start kicks oﬀ at 7:18 a.m., the Ten Mile Start is at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K Run-Walk Start begins at 9 a.m. The Ten Mile entry fee is $45 and the 5K entry fee is $35. For more information, visit cherryblossom.org
PHOTO BY SHANNON MARVEL; COURTESY CAMP REHOBOTH CHORUS
CAMP Rehoboth plans April 8 performance CAMP Rehoboth Chorus performs at Sussex Academy (21150 Airport Rd., Georgetown, Del.,) on Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m. Doug Yetter leads the chorus which will perform a mix of Broadway hits, rock, big band, swing, ragtime and blues. David Zipse will be on piano, Glen Luedtke on trumpet, Cody Leaves on woodwings, Roseann Mattei on guitar, George Freeman on bass and Ken Schleiﬀer on drums. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit camprehoboth.com.
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EXPERIENCE A BLOSSOM TAKEOVER AT THE WHARF • Free fun
• Play games and get artsy with crafts and installations • Enjoy live music on three stages
• Soak up spring in the beer and wine garden
• Watch a dazzling fireworks display illuminate the waterfront at 8:30 PM
Take Metrobus & Metrorail
Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/petalpalooza to learn more. Presented by
97.1 WASH-FM 98.7 WMZQ BIG 100.3 HOT 99.5 DC101
#CherryBlossomDC 877.44.BLOOM (442.5666)
GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON CFA.GMU.EDU
Fresh beats and brassy standards
METROPOLITAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA Bria Skonberg, trumpet/singer SATURDAY, MARCH 31 AT 8 P.M.
Beautiful Imaginative Startling
L.A. THEATRE WORKS
THE MOUNTAINTOP SATURDAY, APRIL 14 AT 8 P.M.
“…superlative” (The Times)
THE KING’S SINGERS 50th Anniversary Tour
NE VIS W IT W OU EB R SI TE !
“One of the best…” (Forbes)
THE HOT SARDINES SUNDAY, APRIL 22 AT 7 P.M.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20 AT 8 P.M.
Family Friendly performances that are most suitable for families with younger children
TICKETS 888-945-2468 OR CFA.GMU.EDU
Located on the Fairfax campus, six miles west of Beltway exit 54 at the intersection of Braddock Road and Rt. 123.
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Discovering self New lesbian memoir traces long coming-out journey
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琀甀攀猀搀愀 礀猀 ⼀㈀ 瀀爀椀挀攀 氀漀挀欀攀爀猀 ☀ 爀漀漀洀猀
TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER has been reading since she was 3 years old. She lives in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Reach her at email@example.com.
Many LGBT adults say they always knew they were diﬀerent in childhood even if they lacked the language to articulate it or the developmental capacity to understand it. So it’s a bit refreshing, actually, and eye-opening to read Katie Heaney’s new memoir “Would You Rather?,” which traces her much more circuitous route to self discovery. Heaney always wanted a boyfriend and she’d had lots of crushes in her life but she was never meaningfully kissed. At age 21, she went to Madrid for a semester with the hopes of meeting someone, but there were only seven men in the group of a hundred students. In Spain, though, after binge-streaming “The L Word” and falling for Shane, she begins to think that maybe she’s a lesbian. Musing, she messages her best friend, who lets her talk it out and decide that there was a big maybe involved. Even so, she never saw herself with a girlfriend. She grew up in the cold of Minnesota, planned on spending the rest of her life close to home and moves into an apartment near Minneapolis with her straight best friend, but that was too cozy-comfy. Heaney on-and-oﬀ ﬂirts with the possibility of being gay and meets a woman who is, no question, lesbian, which makes her decide to shake herself out of her complacency. She visits New York then moves there. Being in the Big Apple is a big deal, but Heaney remains frustratingly dateless. By age 24, everyone she knew had dated and she begins blogging about it, she writes a book and she notices that it aﬀects the way men act toward her. Four years later, her “attraction to men was just … gone” and picturing herself with a woman comes “pretty easily,” which was all it seemed to take. Shortly thereafter, Heaney meets Lydia online and her almost-30-year dating desert becomes an oasis. She not only imagines herself with a woman, she is with a woman and
㠀 愀洀 ⴀ 洀椀搀渀椀最栀琀
猀愀 琀甀爀搀愀 礀猀 最爀愀戀 愀 ␀㔀 漀昀昀 挀愀爀搀 愀琀 吀刀䄀䐀䔀 昀愀挀攀戀漀漀欀⸀挀漀洀⼀琀栀攀挀爀攀眀挀氀甀戀
Image courtesy Ballantine Books
nothing feels more right. And now, Heaney says, “I am living with the best roommate I have ever had.” Sometimes funny, sometimes selfdepreciatingly cringe-worthy, “Would You Rather?” is a refreshing change over the I’ve-known-since-I-was-a-child LGBT memoirs. But it also goes overboard. Heaney writes of her journey with a charming awkwardness that endears her to any reader who’s ever felt as though the diﬀerent drummer they’re marching to is actually playing the bongos: same beat, diﬀerent crowd. This book will resonate with all who feel left behind in a world where peers are hooked up solid and frustration mixes with indecisiveness mixes with self-questioning. Once readers have gotten to the happy-but-not-quiteending, though, Heaney continues to examine her situation which, while it doesn’t completely ruin the books’ earlier allure, bruises the story somewhat. Still, this book is worthy, if nothing but for its distinct coming-out point of view. For that, “Would You Rather?” ﬁts perfectly for memoir lovers, Heaney fans and late bloomers. ‘WOULD YOU RATHER? A MEMOIR OF GROWING UP AND COMING OUT’ By Katie Heaney Ballantine Books $16 256 pages
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CA LE N D A R Reservations do not guarantee seating. Online tickets are $30. Tickets are the door are $35.
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.
MONDAY, APRIL 2 The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts coﬀee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coﬀee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
TODAY Pansaari (1603 17th St., N.W.) hosts Down the Raj, a ladies dance party, tonight from 8-11 p.m. There will be drink specials. Admission is free for women and $55 for men. For more details, visit facebook.com/pansarridc. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery (1661 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) opens its new exhibit “Artists of No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man” today with an open house today from noon-2 p.m. The artists of the exhibit will discuss their work and the festival of Burning Man. Admission is free. The exhibit runs until Jan. 21. For more information, visit american.si.edu. Geeks Out and D.C. Gaymers host Snikt, the oﬃcial queer party for Awesome Con, at the Dew Drop Inn D.C. (2801 8th St., N.E.) tonight from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. DJ StrikeStone will spin. Admission is free but there is a suggested $5 donation to support Geeks Out. There will also be raﬄe giveaways throughout the night. For more details, visit facebook.com/ dcgaymers. Reel Aﬃrmations presents Q-Mason, a screening of George Mason University ﬁlms from the Film and Video Studies program telling LGBT stories, at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Screenings will include “Visual Scar” by Sami Ahmed, “Cope” by Alisa Posey, “Both” by Michael Rose and more. Rayceen Pendarvis will host the event. General admission tickets are $12. VIP tickets are $25 and include VIP seating, one complimentary cocktail, beer or wine and movie candy or popcorn. For a complete list of student ﬁlms and more information, visit thedccenter.org/ reelaﬃrmations. Awesome Con holds LGBT programming at the Washington Convention Center (801 Mt Vernon Pl., N.W.) today from 2:30-8:45 p.m. Panels include Heroes of Diversity: Spotlight on Latinx, Fandom in Superpower: Geeks Can Save the Day, Exploring Gay and Lesbian Comic Creators and Sexuality in Cosplay. Awesome Con tickets for Friday are $40. For more details, visit awesomecon.com. The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Boys Night, a gay dance party, tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. For more information, visit dceagle.com.
SATURDAY, MARCH 31 D.C Progressive Dinner hosts SMYAL for Spring, a fundraiser to raise funds for LGBT youth in the D.C. metro area, at Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) today from
TUESDAY, APRIL 3 Bookmen D.C., an informal gay men’s literature group, discusses “Black Deutschland” by Daryl Pinckney at the Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave., 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. Republic (6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.) hosts Alegre Happy Hour, a LGBT happy hour, from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit republictakoma.com.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4
PHOTO COURTESY RENWICK GALLERY
’Truth is Beauty,’ by MARCO COCHRANE is part of ‘The Art of Burning Man’ exhibit.
noon-3 p.m. Breakfast Club’s DJ Khelan Bhatia will play music. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 online. Tickets include drink specials and raﬄe prizes. For more details, visit facebook.com/smyal. #Blackgirlmasculine hosts a Queer Artist Brunch at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St., N.W.) today from 11 a.m.2 p.m. The event was created for queer women of color but allies are welcome to attend. For more information, visit facebook.com/blackgirlmasculine. Awesome Con holds LGBT programming at the Washington Convention Center today from 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Panels include Your Move: Creating Inclusive Gaming Space, Gaaays in Spaaace, Representation Matters So Make It Good, All Your Faves Are Gay: AwesomeCon LGBT Comic Club and more. Saturday tickets are $55. For more details, visit awesome-con.com.
SUNDAY, APRIL 1 Flash (645 Florida Ave., N.W.) hosts its ﬁrst Sundaze, a Sunday dance party, on its rooftop today from 4-10 p.m. DJ Twin and DJ Sean Morris will spin tracks. For more information, visit facebook.com/ ﬂashysundays. Awesome Con hosts one last day of LGBT programming at the Washington Convention Center today. Geeks & Nonproﬁts United for a Better World is at 11:30 a.m., Star Trek Discovery: A Positive Future or Not is at 12:30 p.m. and Slash of Our Ancestors: History of Fanﬁc is at 2:15 p.m. Sunday admission is $40. For more details, visit awesome-con.com. Supreme Sundays presents an LGBT edition of Brinner, a brunch and dinner party, at Saint Yves (1220 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) today from 3-7 p.m. Food will be served buﬀet-style. DJ Honey will spin tracks all day. Riley Know will perform.
The Chamber hosts its 10th annual Mega Networking event at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. LGBT professionals and allies can network and socialize. Admission is free but advanced registration is recommended for expedited entry, a pre-printed name badge and eligibility for additional beneﬁts. For more information, visit facebook.com/caglcc. The Ask Rayceen Show’s Annual #AskRayceen Mini Ball is at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6-9:30 p.m. Ball categories include Face over 40, Woman’s Face, Butch Realness and more. There will be interviews with special guests, vendors and exhibits. A cash bar with cocktails, champagne, beer and wine will be open. There will also be a raﬄe and free food. Rayceen Pendarvis will host the event. Anthony Oakes will serve as the announcer. Admission and participation is free. For more details, visit facebook. com/teamrayceen.
THURSDAY, APRIL 5 The Asian Paciﬁc Islander Queer Support Group meets at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. For more information, visit thedccneter.org. SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts Fight 4 Yr Rights Activist Night today from 5-7 p.m. LGBT youth can come to learn about historical activist movements. For details, visit smyal.org.
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Out from the start
Successful local restaurant owners say the closet was never a professional option By EVAN CAPLAN
When dinner is more than just food, when acceptance and inclusion are on the menu and when dishes come with a side of equality, it’s possible Ruth Gresser and Jamie Leeds had a hand in your meal. These women are experienced veterans in Washington’s restaurant scene. They are also out, loud and deﬁning what it means to be queer women dominating their work. Thirty years ago, there wasn’t much to write about when talking dining in D.C. Yet 30 years ago, Gresser and Leeds were both getting their start as out lesbians in the challenging, yet rewarding, culinary space. “It seemed that I was not the only lesbian with an interest in food,” Gresser says. “I immediately found a community of friends who supported each other in the mutual struggles of being gay in a hostile society and being a woman in a male-dominated ﬁeld.” Gresser never hid who she was. “I’m sure I have faced discrimination because of it,” she says. “From not getting a loan years ago to not being recognized as the owner and operator of my own business.” Leeds concurs. “I never felt like had to hide it,” she says, even when working in upscale restaurants in New York. “I was never in an environment where had to not be who I was; I was always accepted.” She attributes this to her work ethic and passion. One diﬃculty she did have was looking for mentors, especially in ﬁnancial aspect of the business. “Back in the ‘80s when I was starting, there were really not many famous women chefs,” Leeds says. “Raising money a challenge.” Today, there are many more options for support. When both women were starting, there was only one place to go in the city: Dupont Circle, the gayborhood of the time, just close enough to chic Georgetown and just close enough to edgy, scruﬀy 14th Street as a snug space where the LGBT community could thrive in a neighborhood atmosphere. Gresser made it a point to settle in the area. “This was the gay neighborhood and also the location of my ﬁrst jobs in D.C., so I have always been connected to the local gay community,” Gresser says. “While Dupont Circle was known a the gay neighborhood, the neighborhood was often easier to locate than gay people. In the late ‘80s many gay people
LEEDS PHOTO BY ANA ISABEL PHOTOGRAPHY VIA JL RESTAURANT GROUP; GRESSER PHOTO COURTESY SAVOR PR
JAMIE LEEDS, left, and RUTH GRESSER are longtime D.C. restaurant owners who say they’ve seen many changes over the decades.
lived in the closet, only emerging at the bars and on Pride.” When she decided to open her awardwinning restaurant Pizzeria Paradiso in 1991, she refused to keep her identity hidden and set the restaurant on P Street. “I was not going to be closeted. Paradiso was always out as a lesbianowned restaurant,” she says. “During a gay Pride parade, we hung a gay ﬂag in front of the restaurant.” Leeds’ life took a similar trajectory. When she arrived in Washington, she also sought out Dupont. And when she opened Hank’s Oyster Bar, the flagship restaurant in her mini-empire of “urban beach food,” and all things shellfish, it was only logical to be in Dupont. She eventually settled on Q Street, right off 17th. The area was ripe for a casual, intimate, neighborhoodstyle restaurant. “The fact that I am a lesbian, the gay community came to support me,” Leeds says. “It was very crucial in us becoming successful.” That support allowed them to dominate and expand in time. There were still echoes of discrimination, however. One year, while watching the parade, Gresser
heard a woman comment that she’d never frequent Paradiso after seeing it ﬂy the gay ﬂag. Gresser made sure to let this woman know that her business wasn’t needed — her restaurant was already a runaway success. Today, both have gone on to open several other ventures, yet their identities as lesbians are central to whom they are. A strong work ethic, they agree, has been crucial to their success. In their early years, they had to prove themselves often. “I have done what women have always done,” Gresser says. “Put my head down and do my job.” Leeds agrees. “This industry is very big mix of personalities and backgrounds, about creativity and what you produce. I’ve always worked very hard, being in trenches with everyone else. From that, I gained the respect of everyone around me.” Contemporary D.C., though, is a far cry from 2005, let alone 1995. “The changes in acceptance by the larger society have changed this dynamic, and it is much easier to be gay and out in restaurants and in the world,”
Gresser says. Leeds says fewer women in the ﬁeld are choosing lives in the closet. It helps, she says, that more women in general are in the ﬁeld. To help create more safe spaces, Leeds founded a ladies’ tea, held in spring and summer at Hank’s in Dupont each month. It has become a destination during the warmer seasons, a homey gathering place where women can be themselves. Nevertheless, there’s work to be done. The recent #MeToo discussion has hit the service and hospitality industry hard. Sexual harassment is rife in bars and restaurants, and recognition of female chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders and other leaders is only just now taking shape. Gresser says she’s felt conﬁdent to be out and loud, only perhaps because she’s a veteran and a successful, selfemployed woman. But others are not always so lucky. “I hope that the world will change and right now there is lip service towards that end,” Gresser says. “But the issue of women’s discrimination is so systemic in our society that I wonder if the lip service will result in real change.”
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Some think I should dress more like a woman. Some think I should dress more like a man.
I may not fit some ideas about gender, and I am a proud part of DC.
Nederlands Dans Theater Paul Lightfoot, Artistic Director
Shoot the Moon Please treat me the same way any person would want to be treated: with courtesy and respect. Discrimination based on gender identity and expression is illegal in the District of Columbia.
(Glass/León & Lightfoot)
(Richter/León & Lightfoot)
If you think you’ve been the target of discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov or call (202) 727-4559.
Singulière Odyssée, photo by Rahi Rezvani
Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter.
April 4–6 | Opera House with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
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.
International Programming at the Kennedy Center is made possible through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts. Additional support is provided by Performing Arts Fund NL.
IONA’S TAKE CHARGE/AGE WELL ACADEMY PRESENTS:
A Roadmap to Aging Well: A no-cost all-day workshop for LGBTQ people over 60
40 • M A R C H 30, 2018
Silent no more
BO O KS
Air Force captain relishes release from ‘Don’t Ask’ strictures Ready to plan for your later years, but unsure where to start? Looking to build community with your lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer peers? Iona’s Take Charge/ Age Well Academy is offering an all-day workshop on the critical decisions you need to age well. WHAT TO EXPECT: Aging well is a goal for all of us, but how to do it is another matter. In this participatory and interactive workshop, you will: • • • • • • • • •
Tap into the expertise of Iona social workers. Gain knowledge about the various factors that contribute to one’s aging well (and not so well). Learn about helpful aging-related resources in DC. Experience a day of community-building with members of the LGBTQ community across DC. Enjoy a free catered lunch. Leave with a personalized roadmap and next steps for aging well.
QUESTIONS? Contact Susan Messina at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 895-9401. This workshop is co-sponsored by Capitol Hill Village; Cleveland & Woodley Park Village; Dupont Circle Village; Georgetown Village; Northwest Neighbors Village; Palisades Village, and Waterfront Village.
HOW TO REGISTER:
The same workshop will be offered twice. You have a choice of dates and location.
Register for just one!
SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2018
9AM-5PM LOCATION: Iona Senior Services 4125 Albemarle St. NW, Washington, DC 20016
SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018
9:30AM-4:30PM LOCATION: Westminster Presbyterian Church 400 I (Eye) St. SW, Washington, DC 20024
Register: bit.ly/2ozct0I This workshop is free thanks to funding from the DC Office on Aging.
IONA 4125 ALBEMARLE ST NW, WASHINGTON DC 20016 202.895.9448 WWW.IONA.ORG
By KEITH LORIA Retired U.S. Air Force Captain Mark David Gibson releases his memoir “Served in Silence” this weekend looking at his personal journey before, during, and after the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. Gibson says he knew it was the right time to tell his story when he ﬁnally overcame the obstacles and hazards of living a life that was not authentic. A launch party is planned for Saturday, March 31 in Atlanta. “I had won the battle over PTSD, alcoholism and found my way out of the darkness of shame and secrecy,” he says. “I intended on my memoir being able to help others identify the hazards of not living authentically and using my book as a roadmap to avoid these hazards. I wanted the book to build a bridge to other projects focusing on developing authentic lifestyles.” A small-town boy from upstate New York, Gibson entered the military because he didn’t see a lot of options after high school. He was bullied in school and accelerated his education to graduate at 16 and join the Air Force at 17. He remembers clearly the recruiting sergeant placing a special emphasis on the last item of the enlistment documents that speciﬁcally stated homosexuals were not permitted. “Looking back now that might as well have been the grim reaper stealing my soul,” Gibson says. “It did strike me as odd that while agreeing to sacriﬁce civilian freedoms that the end of the document was about sex or sexuality. When President Clinton signed the DADT policy into law, I felt a sense of hope that quickly diminished to false hope. I had no idea how dehumanizing the policy actually was and how it would push me further into the shadows of shame and secrecy.” As within life, Gibson believes there were some who suspected, but that was the problem. “I don’t believe anyone wakes up and enters the day to have others be suspicious of them as if they were less than, wrong or dirty,” he says. “From a professional point of view, I simply could not imagine ever a time it would be acceptable to discuss sex or sexuality in uniform. They were not asking and I was not telling. I seldom lived in the same community where I was stationed and, at a great peril, would drive long distances to escape to a somewhat normal life. Ironically, at home it was the reverse, where I rarely shared details about my military work life with my gay friends or partners.” Writing the book, he found, was not easy. He had a collection of sticky notes, bar napkins and rough drafts that he had
PHOTO COURTESY GIBSON
MARK DAVID GIBSON is releasing his memoir this weekend. The retired U.S. Air Force captain says a career spent in the closet took unexpected tolls.
collected through the years, but it was not until Gibson was accepted into the Publish Your Purpose Author’s Academy in May, 2017 that started to turn things around for him and this project. “The goal of the 14-week academy is not to teach you how to write, but it teaches you all of the steps and process in publishing your works when you’re done,” he says. “After about the ﬁrst couple of weeks, I woke up at 3 a.m. and had a clear vision that I would commit to ﬁnishing my manuscript. I have found in my life that when I am committed to something, nothing will get in the way, and I did in fact ﬁnish both, and in fall of 2017 we went right into the publishing process.” The book, he says, was a good exercise to reconstruct the past and identify and pin point when the hazards occurred with his struggle to live authentically. “The ﬁlters I laid over my life and personality over a lifetime pushed me into the shadows to believe I was lessthan and never good enough to bring my true self to the day,” Gibson says. “The most challenging part of the DADT policy was the fact that my team never got to experience me as a whole person. As a highly decorated oﬃcer, I can only imagine the other greatness I could have achieved if I were allowed to bring my full 100 percent authentic self to the day.” Gibson dedicated his book to his fellow military members who “served in silence,” and those who struggle the way he once did. “My hope is that people can learn from the hazards of living in the shadows of darkness as ‘less-than’ and see how productive and unimaginable joy comes from a life lived authentically,” he says. “Regardless of your situation, if you are blocked from living authentically, you block your potential in both your personal and professional life. I hope our country can learn from DADT and continue a path of inclusion for all citizens who want to serve their country proudly and openly.”
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The monthly party CTRL celebrated its sixth anniversary at Town Danceboutique on Saturday. DJs Jeﬀ Prior, Adam Koussari-Amin and Devon Trotter entertained.
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Your home is your sanctuary D.C. has surprising number of churches converted into condos By VALERIE M. BLAKE In the late 1980s, a dear friend of mine was trying to sell her home in southern California so she could move to New Mexico, where she would become my secondin-command at a federal government training center. Sadly, there were significant challenges to getting her mobile home sold. Although she was only in her early 40s when she purchased it, her homeowners’ association had thereafter voted to become an active adult community. Now, although her ownership and residence were grandfathered in the new bylaws, she could only sell to someone aged 55 or older. As you can imagine, the low price of a mobile home attracted many first-time buyers and families with small children. While her agent received dozens of inquiries over several months, not one person qualified to buy the home. Enter my friend’s Catholic background and a small statue of St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ. According to tradition, if you buried his statue upside down in front of your house and prayed for his good will, the house would sell faster. She did, and within a week she had an acceptable offer from a qualified buyer.
The Sanctuary, a former church, is comprised of 30 units sitting just off Stanton Park at 819 D St., NE. PHOTO COURTESY RUBIN GROUP
Buyers will often want to surround themselves with good vibes. Living in a renovated church, with its spires, stained glass windows and lofty ceilings, is one way to keep in touch with your spiritual self. You only need look as far as Capitol Hill to find quite a few churches that have been converted to condominiums. For example, Grace Church, an 18-unit condominium located at 350 9th Street, SE and renovated in 1988, led the trend.
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Mount Joy Baptist Church at 514 4th Street, SE became The Churchill Condominiums in 2017, offering 12 beautiful units for sale. On the northeast side of the Hill, The Residences at St. Monica’s at 1340 Massachusetts Avenue, NE features nine luxury units. This combination of St. Monica and St James churches sold out quickly when first offered in 2011. The Sanctuary, known for inspiration, not immigration, is comprised of 30 units sitting just off Stanton Park at 819 D St., N.E. The largest unit, with 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2315 square feet and incredible views, sold in 2017 for $1,525,000. If you find the northwest quadrant of the District more appealing, head to Bishop’s Gate on 16th Street in Logan Circle. This group of 82 townhouse-style condominiums includes the former chapel of a rectory, convent and Catholic school. Heading further north, you will find The Vintage at 3146 16th St., N.W., once known as Meridian Hill Baptist Church. Now, it offers 85 condominiums near the Columbia Heights Metro station. And let’s not forget Georgetown’s offering, the Alexander Memorial Baptist Church, built in 1909 and converted into three exquisite units in the Alexander Hall Condominium on the 2700 block of N Street, N.W. If living in a converted church is not for you, then there are other ways to honor religious traditions and bring a sense of spirituality into your home. A home with two kitchens, for example,
might appeal to an Orthodox Jewish family, whose Kosher customs require that meat and dairy products not be eaten together and that dishes and utensils for preparing and consuming each be kept separately. A practicing Muslim will likely designate an area that must be kept clean and clutterfree and used solely for prayer. Two copies of the Qu’ran (one in Arabic and one in English), a prayer rug, and decorative boxes or baskets for storing prayer beads, incense sticks, lavender or vanilla scent and more will ready the area for worship. A Christian prayer closet can be as simple as outfitting a room that is large enough for kneeling with a few pillows, a Bible, a lamp, and a collage or album of photos of people and things you want to honor in prayer and be thankful for. If you lean toward spirituality rather than organized religion, time spent in a meditation room may help you to destress and enjoy private contemplation. Choose a space that faces nature and is well ventilated and decorate it in calming pastels. Add mats or pillows, essence oils and soft, soothing music, but otherwise, make it an electronics-free space. Your sanity may depend on it.
VALERIE M. BLAKE is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at Real Living| At Home. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her at Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.
Fifty Shades of Gray: A real estate agent struggles to ﬁnd the right neutral paint for a new listing. To be used at the top of collateral:
VALERIE M. BLAKE, Associate Broker, GRI, Director of Education & Mentorship Dupont Circle Ofﬁce • 202-518-8781 (o) • 202.246.8602 (c) Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com • www.DCHomeQuest.com
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W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M
Extraordinary Environment for Learning
Serving students age 18 months through Grade 12
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13500 Layhill Road, Silver Spring, MD Minutes from ICC & Glenmont Metro Transportation Available
All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com
SHARE ADS ARE FREE. Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.
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EMPLOYMENT WHOLISTIC SERVICES, INC. seeking Full Time Direct Support Professionals to assist intellectually disabled adults with behavioral health complexities in group homes & day services throughout DC. Requirements 1 year exp., valid drivers license, able to lift 50-75 lbs, complete training program, become DDS Med Certified within 4 months of hire, ability to pass security background check. Associates degree preferred. For more information, please contact the Human Resources (HR) Department at 202-832-8787.
Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.
MASSAGE Rosslyn - CMT available for massage in Arlington, Sun-Tues or DC, Wed, Fri & Sat. Call or text Gary 301-704-1158. mymassagebygary.com.
LOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS NEEDED! The Crew Club, a gay men’s naturist gym & sauna, is now hiring Locker Room Attendants. We all scrub toilets & do heavy cleaning. You must be physically able to handle the work & have a great attitude doing it. No drunks/druggies need apply. Please call David at (202) 319-1333. from 9-5pm, to schedule an interview.
COUNSELING COUNSELING FOR GAY MEN. Individual/ couple counseling w/ volunteer peer counselor. Gay Men’s Counseling Community since 1973. 202-580-8861. gaymenscounseling. org. No fees, donation requested.
LEGAL SERVICES ADOPTION & ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE Law Attorney Jennifer Fairfax represents clients in DC, MD & VA. interested in adoption or ART matters. 301221-9651, JFairfax@ jenniferfairfax.com.
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Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.*
FULL SERVICE LAW FIRM Representing the GLBT community for over 35 years. Family adoptions, estate planning, immigration, employment. (301) 891-2200. Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A. www. SP-Law. com.
LIMOUSINES KASPER’S LIVERY SERVICE Since 1987. Gay & Veteran Owner/ Operator. 2016 Luxury BMW 750Li Sedan. Properly Licensed & Livery Insured in DC. www.KasperLivery.com. Phone 202-554-2471.
See website for NPR story on my work
DAVE LLOYD & ASSOCIATES WWW.DAVELLOYD.NET ENTHUSIASTICALLY SERVING DC & VIRGINIA
GREAT SCOTT MOVING INC. Local & Long Distance, Pianos! A Great Move at a Great Price call (301) 699-2066. Highly` rated by Consumer Check Book, Better Business Bureau, Yelp & Angie’s List. We’ve moved the Blade, let us move you!
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AROUND TOWN MOVERS. Professional Moving & Storage. Let Our Movers Do The Heavy Lifting. Mention the ‘Blade’ for 5% off of our regular rates. Call today 202.734.3080. www. aroundtownmovers.com
STEVE O’TOOLE PHOTOGRAPHY Fine Art Photographer for Portraits & Weddings and more! Check out my website - www. steveotoolephotography. com. Specializing in Bears & Big men. Steve 703-861-4422.
Larry Cohen, LICSW
Top 1% Nationwide NVAR Life Member Top Producder
All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM washingtonblade.com
PLACE YOUR CLASSIFIEDS ONLINE
30 years serving the LGBT community
Offering psychological solutions for depression, anxiety, chronic pain and illness
TELL ‘EM YOU SAW THEIR AD IN THE Blade classifieds!
Results-Oriented • Affordable
Ed.D., LICSW, LCSW, CSAC
FERNANDO’S CLEANING: Residential & Commercial Cleaning, Reasonable Rates, Free Estimates, Routine, 1-Time, Move-In/ Move-Out. (202) 234-7050, 202-486-6183.
*25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.
Dr. Melvin L. Phillips, Jr.,
Insect, Rodent, & Critter Control. Effective Experience Detecting & Eliminating All Types of Household Pests including Ants, Bed Bugs, Termites & Rodents. Schedule your Pest Inspection Today (202) 455-9924. DC, MD, VA, DE.
FOR RENT / DC PERFECT FOR ROOMMATES 2BR/1BA, Woodley Park: 1 Unit is: https:// washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/ apa/d/2-bedroom-available-nowin/6544502070.html. 2nd Unit w/ Balcony: https://washingtondc. craigslist.org/doc/apa/d/balcony-aptlive-in-the-heart/6540574105.html. Call Dennis 202 313 8509.
FOR RENT / MD UPPER MARLBORO SFH. Welcome home…. Beautiful well maintained single family home, gleaming hardwood floors, new carpet, all freshly painted. 2 car garage, large backyard great for entertaining. Detached garage. Solar panels, FIREPLACE IS DECORATION ONLY. professionally managed. Heather Edmond 410-674-6647 heather@firstchoicepm. com First Choice Property Management 1216 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD
SHARE ADS ARE FREE. Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.
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All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com
W A SH I N G T O N BLA D E . CO M
SALE / ELSEWHERE
A one-of-a-kind ** VERMONT CUSTOM LAKE SHORE HOME**
situated on the East Shore of Lake Champlain in the town of Grand Isle. FIRST LEVEL FEATURES: A spacious gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances and walk in pantry; a stunning turret dining area with panoramic lake views; a spacious great room with vaulted ceilings and loft compliments this open concept theme. Enjoy spectacular sunrises from the warm, cozy sunroom... a special place to relax and embrace Mother Nature’s everchanging panoramic view s of Lake Champlain against the majestic Green Mountains. The m aster bedroom suite features an over-sized tile /glass block walk-in shower, water closet and walk-in closet. A two-car garage with attic access completes the first level features. LOWER LEVEL FEATURES: A large second great room with lake views and lake access; two fully private , lakefront bedroom suites ; a spacious Den/ ( 4th bedroom option ) ; a large Laundry Room; a Utility Room ; a Workshop and storage room completes the lower level features. 3,400 sqft of finished space; 3 BR /3 -1/2 BA; town water, electric, cable, phone on site. 30 minutes to airport, Hospital, Shopping, Arts... Call John or Carol at (802) 372-3034. Offered at $889,900.
Playmates and soul mates...
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TOP RATED MASSEUR Custom bodywork! Exceptional deep tissue & sensual bodywork for total stress relief in private studio both on the Hill & at Farragut Square. Call Erik 202544-5688. In calls only! No texts! Intro Special $99.00. THE MAGIC TOUCH: SWEDISH, Massage or Deep Tissue. Appts 202486-6183, Low Rates, 24/7, In-Calls.
Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.
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Find Your Oasis Come Home to a Gorgeous New Apartment, Steps from the New Carrollton Metro
THE REMY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A N A PA R T M E N T C O M M U N I T Y. It’s an escape. When you live here, you’ll have a stunning home featuring the latest styles, access to the most enviable amenities around and a location in the heart of the Harkins District, a new neighborhood springing up around the New Carrollton Metro. It’s an amazing way to live.
Studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes, featuring open floor plans
Resort-style saltwater pool with poolside cabanas
Gourmet kitchens, including quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances
Rooftop deck, featuring grilling areas and scenic views
Hardwood-inspired flooring and spa-inspired baths
State-of-the-art fitness facility, including Pilates, spin and yoga studio
Washer and dryer in every home
Pet-friendly living with pet spa and dog run
Luxe clubroom with bar area, billiards table, foosball and more
Immediate access to New Carrollton Metro and train stations
Move in by 4/30/18 to receive $1,000 off!* *Restrictions apply. See LIVEbe Ambassador for details.
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AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
Dr. Roxanne Cox-lyamu
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