Washingtonblade.com, Volume 49, Issue 15, April 13, 2018

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Ryan abandons ship House Speaker is latest Republican to announce retirement By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com With Republicans fretting about losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced he won’t seek re-election, leaving an uneven record on LGBT rights and the door open for another Republican to take his place as leader of his caucus. The 10-term member of Congress, who has served as speaker since 2015, announced during a news conference Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in

order to spend more time with his family, confirming news reports about his intended plan earlier in the day. “There are other things in life that can be fleeting as well, namely your time as a husband and a dad, which is the other great honor of my life.” Ryan said. “That’s why today, I am announcing this year will be my last one as a member of the House.” Ryan clarified he wouldn’t resign immediately as either a member of Congress or House speaker and would continue to serve in his roles until January after a new Congress is elected in the 2018 mid-term elections. Touting tax reform and increased military spending as his major achievements, Ryan often clashed with President Trump on a range of issues,

House Speaker PAUL RYAN announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election.



Grosso: Suspend prostitution arrests Advocates say shutdown of Craigslist, other sites endangers sex workers By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) issued a statement on Monday calling on District Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers involved in commercial sex between consenting adults. Grosso said his request was based on concerns raised by sex worker advocacy

D.C. Council member DAVID GROSSO (I-At-Large) called on police to suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF DAVID GROSSO

groups that the recent forced shutdown of websites that allowed sex workers to operate with a “greater degree of safety than on the streets” has placed them in danger of violence and arrest. “The latest government attacks on online platforms used by sex workers are directly undermining the safety, health, and human rights of these individuals,” said Grosso, who told the Washington Blade that advocacy groups believe LGBT sex workers along with their straight counterparts were being placed in danger. “I am deeply concerned as I read the reactions of D.C. residents who will be pushed into less safe situations on the streets where they will be subjected to CONTINUES ON PAGE 16




Rich Madaleno mocks opponent’s comments at Victory Fund brunch.

Warm weather means D.C. real estate market is also heating up.

We talk to the author of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ as he preps D.C. visit.


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The only 24-hour day of giving benefitting LGBTQ nonprofits organizations across all 50 states + DC Support your community on Give OUT Day



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Comings & Goings Mitchell Gold’s work highlighted by Washington Post By PETER ROSENSTEIN The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at comingsandgoings@washblade.com. Congratulations to the new officers of the Gay, Lesbian and Allies Senate staff Caucus. GLASS caucus is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization open to all. Its purpose is to raise awareness of issues affecting MITCHELL GOLD was the LGBTQ community, increase visibility and promote featured on the cover of the Washington Post the welfare and dignity of LGBTQ employees of the Magazine last weekend. United States Senate by providing a safe environment WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY for social interaction and professional development. MICHAEL KEY The new officers are: Co-chair: Robert Curis (Sen. Debbie Stabenow); Co-chair: Tré Easton (Sen. Patty Murray); Treasurer: Peter Narby (Sen. Jeff Merkley); Secretary: Trelaine Ito (Sen. Brian Schatz); Social Engagement Director: Hans Hansen (Senate Sergeant at Arms); Membership Engagement Director: Russell Page (Sen. Martin Heinrich); Communications Director: Wyatt Larkin (Sen. Mark Warner). The new leadership team was elected by a vote of GLASS Caucus members. GLASS Caucus co-chairs Robert Curis and Tré Easton released the following statement. “We look forward to a productive year of enhancing membership engagement, creating new opportunities for our members, and serving as a resource to make the Senate a more affirming and inclusive workplace.” They added “To that end, the GLASS Caucus will make it a priority to improve the representation of LGBTQ staffers – of queer women and people of color, in particular – on Capitol Hill. Many offices on both sides of the aisle can and should do more to make their staffs more representative of their constituencies, and we stand ready to help in those important efforts.” The GLASS Caucus currently has two vacancies on the Steering Committee. In an effort to provide inclusive and representative leadership, GLASS encourages LGBTQ women, Republicans, staffers of color, and other underrepresented staff to apply. Staff interested in becoming involved with the GLASS Caucus can visit glasscaucus.org or email info@glasscaucus.org. Congratulations also to Michael J. Heenan who not long ago joined Quorum as a Business Development Account Executive. Quorum bills itself “as the most comprehensive database of legislative information.” This is clearly information both for-profit and non-profit organizations in the DC area will find very useful. Their clients range from Walmart to the National Restaurant Association. Michael brings a wealth of experience to his position. Most recently he worked for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) as Assistant Director, Communications. He was their key media lead on legislative and political issues related to higher education, infrastucture, pensions, immigration and healthcare. He has also had experience working at Burson Marsteller, and Microsoft, Inc. He worked on the Hill working as Office Administrator for Congressman Eric J.J. Massa (NY-29) and was Assistant to the Iowa Field Director Hillary Clinton for President Campaign 2008. Michael has his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & International Affairs from The George Washington University, Washington, DC. Michael told me Quorum is hiring so if you are in the job market take a look. Congratulations also to one of our community’s icons Mitchell Gold. What a great surprise to get the Washington Post magazine this past weekend and see him on the cover. It’s great to see Mitchell‘s work receiving the recognition it deserves in a mainstream media publication in such a big way. Many in the D.C. community know Mitchell from his store Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams on 14th Street and many have been at one of the countless events he hosts for numerous non-profit organizations. His generosity is legendary. Others know him from the stores in their communities. But this magazine article illuminated all he does in the community of Alexander County, N.C., where he manufactures his furniture and near the place he makes his home. We know Mitchell has made a lifelong commitment to get religious groups to understand, accept and welcome the LGBTQ+ community. He believes until they do we will never receive cultural equity no matter what the law says. Recently the organization Mitchell founded, Faith in America has joined with the Tyler Clementi Foundation to end religious-based bullying.


Blade, DC Brau partner again on Pride Pils In a year marked by protests and marches, D.C.-based artist Alden Leonard chose to “show the juxtaposition of Pride, which is both a celebration and an act of protest” when designing his entry in the 2018 Pride Pils Can Design Contest presented by DC Brau and the Washington Blade. His colorful design, featuring three figures in “defiant poses with their eyes fixed ALDEN LEONARD’s design won the second annual competition. on symbols of tradition and order,” will appear on more than 28,000 cans of DC Brau’s flagship pilsner this summer in D.C. “The LGBT community includes people of so many shapes and sizes and colors and interests,” says Leonard. “I wanted my design to be a symbol of that diversity, but also knew I could never do it full justice. Being selected tells me I got close, and I’m honored by that.” “2018 has been a year when a lot of marginalized groups have had their voices amplified and celebrated,” said DC Brau’s Co-Founder & CEO Brandon Skall. “We loved that Alden’s design on first glance was summery and poppy, but on closer inspection carried such a subtle, but profound message.” The specially branded PRIDE PILS cans will be available in D.C. starting in June with the official release planned during a Yappy Hour at Town Danceboutique on June 6. All proceeds from the sale of the 1,200 cases that will be released in market will go to benefit SMYAL to empower LGBTQ youth (smyal.org) and The Washington Blade Foundation that funds enterprise journalism projects focused on LGBTQ and other underrepresented communities and to create scholarships for LGBTQ journalists (bladefoundation.org). Leonard is an artist and designer living and working in D.C. In addition to making art, Alden is a creative strategist at CHIEF in Dupont Circle, and in his spare time he volunteers with DCPS Middle Schoolers through the Higher Achievement Program. You can see Alden’s work at aldenleonard.com. STAFF REPORTS

Double L bar in Rehoboth Beach sold John Meng and Mark Fernstrom, longtime owners of the Double L Bar, Rehoboth Beach’s leather bar, sold the business on March 29. The new owners, Darryl and Joe Ciarlante-Zuber, are also longtime Rehoboth business owners, having owned the restaurant Dos Locos for 17 years. In those years the partners (in business and life) expanded their business from a small location where the former Seafood Shack was located on Baltimore Avenue, to increasingly larger spaces until it moved to Rehoboth Avenue. They sold Dos Locos in March 2017. After taking some time off, they said they wanted to stick to their roots in the hospitality business at the beach, and contacted Meng and Fernstrom, who had been interested in selling their bar, and told them of their interest in purchasing the business. The bar has a unique and rare tavern license, which means it need not sell food. This interested the new owners, so when they opened it during the Easter weekend it retained its status as a tavern. According to Joe Ciarlante-Zuber, “we will make some changes including fixing up the outdoor patio to give it a more tropical feel and revamping the bar design by adding a new draft beer system.” The bar will be renamed Diego’s Hideaway and will reopen soon. The new owners plan to continue the popular Saturday night Man Dance, Gear it UP Friday night and will bring in Thursday night performances by Bearlesque, a popular group out of Philadelphia. Owner Darryl Ciarlante-Zuber said, “The Hideaway has the largest gay dance floor in Rehoboth Beach and provides off-street parking.” He is “pleased at the overwhelming support we received when word got out that we had purchased the bar.” The bar is located on Rehoboth Avenue, next to Crystal’s Restaurant. PETER SCHOTT


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D.C. police seek help in case of gay attorney found dead in car TSA employee had no ID, no signs of injury when discovered By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com D.C. police investigators have contacted the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit for assistance in a widely reported case in which a 34-year-old gay attorney for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration was found dead with no visible signs of injury inside a car parked on 8th Street, N.W. Police have said D.C. resident Daniel Potucek was found unconscious sitting in the front passenger seat of a Mazda SUV parked in front of a row house at 2004 8th St., N.W., at about 7:40 a.m. on Saturday, March 31, by a pedestrian. People who knew Potucek have posted messages on social media, including Facebook, saying he was gay and patronized at least one of four gay clubs located within two blocks of where his body was found. A police report says when police officers and an ambulance arrived on the scene they found no signs of life for the then-unidentified male inside the vehicle. Police have said the man was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,

DANIEL POTUCEK was found unconscious sitting in the front passenger seat of a Mazda SUV parked in front of a row house at 2004 8th St., N.W.

where an autopsy was conducted. The police report says the SUV belongs to someone else who told news media outlets he left it in the location where it was found the night before when he and a friend decided to take a cab home after patronizing a restaurant and some of the nearby clubs. The vehicle’s owner, D.C. resident Alexander Maclennan, told police he did not know Potucek and had no idea how Potucek found his way inside the vehicle sometime during the night prior to when he was found dead. When Maclennan arrived at the scene after being contacted by police he observed that the vehicle’s glove compartment had been damaged at some point after he left it parked on the street the night before,

according to the police report. In the days following the discovery of Potucek’s body his mother told NBC 4 News and Fox 5 News that police told her they found no identification documents such as a driver’s license or credit cards or a wallet in her son’s possession when they found him. Although police have not publicly disclosed how they ultimately identified the deceased man as Daniel Potucek, a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office told the Washington Blade that a fingerprint check was conducted at the time of the autopsy. The spokesperson, Beverly Fields, said she didn’t have access to records stating how the fingerprint check led to Potucek, but she said the prints would have had to match fingerprints for Potucek taken at an earlier time. As an employee at the Transportation Security Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Potucek would most likely have been fingerprinted as part of the routine process for obtaining a security clearance, according to people familiar with the security clearance process. As in all cases of an unexplained death with no signs of injury, the police Homicide Branch, which investigates such cases, is awaiting results of the autopsy and toxicology tests to determine the cause of death. Fields said the findings

of the autopsy and results of toxicology tests were pending and she could not say when they would be completed. Potucek’s mother, Lorinda Potucek, told NBC 4 News that she has many questions about the mysterious circumstances surrounding her son’s death, including how he got into a car that belonged to someone else. “I’ve been told that somebody put him in that car” and that the car door had been unlocked, she told NBC 4 reporter Pat Collins. “We all think, with beyond a reasonable doubt, that there’s more to this story,” News 4 quoted her as saying. “Daniel always has made it home.” In addition to Town nightclub, the gay bars located within a two block area from where Potucek was found dead in the early morning of March 31 are Nellie’s Sports Bar, the Dirty Goose and Uproar. Potucek’s LinkedIn page, which was still online as of late this week, shows he was a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he received his law degree; and received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in the field of international comparative studies. He has worked at the Department of Homeland Security as an attorney-adviser since 2013, his LinkedIn page says. It says among the causes he cares about were arts and culture, human and civil rights, the environment and economic empowerment.

Prominent LGBT activists back Bonds in D.C. Council race 9 gay, lesbian candidates on June 19 primary ballot

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

Fourteen prominent LGBT Democrats have announced their support for the re-election of D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) in a race in which a lesbian is running as an independent for one of the two at-large Council seats up for grabs in November. Bonds, a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, is facing three challengers for the Democratic Party nomination for one of the two at-large seats in the city’s June 19 Democratic primary. Lesbian businesswoman Dionne Reeder is expected to be on the ballot in the general election in November when, under the city’s election law, a Democrat is only eligible to run for one of the two at-large seats. The other seat is currently held by Council member Elissa Silverman, an independent who’s also running for re-election. Candidates of all parties as well as independents will be lumped together on the same ballot in November, with voters given the option of voting for two candidates. The highest two vote-getters

will be declared the winner. Although Reeder has said she considers Silverman to be her rival in the race, Reeder and Silverman or Reeder and one of the other independent or third-party candidates running in November could theoretically beat Bonds if they receive more votes than Bonds. The Democrats backing Bonds, who are part of a recently formed committee called LGBTQ for Anita, have made it clear that they want Bonds to hold on to one of the two at-large seats. Among them are veteran gay Democratic activist Paul Kuntzler, who is a co-founder of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club; transgender activist Earline Budd; gay attorney Darrin Glymph; lesbian attorney Lateefah Williams; gay Democratic activist Kurt Vorndran; and gay seniors advocate Ron Swanda. Others on the committee include gay Democratic activists Ron Collins, Everett Hamilton, Clark Ray, Martin Murray and John Lazar. Lesbian Democratic activist Claire Lucas, transgender activist Julius Agers and gay Democratic activist David Meadows, who works on Bonds’ Council staff, are also on the LGBTQ for Bonds committee. Bonds’ challengers in the Democratic primary – community activists Aaron Holmes, Marcus Goodwin and Jeremiah

Lowery – have far less name recognition than Bonds, prompting political observers to consider Bonds as the strong favorite to win the primary. In Ward 1, gay Advisory Neighborhood Commission chair Kent Boese is one of three candidates challenging Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau in the June 19 Democratic primary. Gay American sign language translator Jamie Sycamore last fall announced his candidacy for the Ward 1 Council seat but later dropped out as a candidate in the Democratic primary and announced he is running for the seat as an independent in November. Also appearing on the June 19 primary ballot as Libertarian Party candidates are longtime gay libertarian activists Martin Moulton and Bruce Majors. Moulton is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for mayor. Majors is also running unopposed for the Libertarian nomination for city’s congressional delegate seat currently held by Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton. Moulton will be among several thirdparty or independent candidates on the mayoral ballot in November. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is considered the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic primary on June 19 against three candidates with

little or no name recognition. Unless a prominent political figure enters the mayoral race as an independent, Bowser is also considered the strong favorite to win re-election in the general election in November. Five gay men and one lesbian, meanwhile, will be on the June 19 primary ballot as candidates for the D.C. Democratic State Committee, which serves as the governing body for the city’s Democratic Party. Among them are veteran gay rights and Ward 8 community activist Phil Pannell, who is running for an at-large seat on the State Committee. Gay Democrats John Fanning and John Lazar are running for the two State Committee seats representing Ward 2. Lesbian Democratic activist Audrey Alvarado is running for one of the two Ward 3 seats on the committee. Gay Democratic activists Franco Ciammachilli and David Meadows are running for the two Ward 6 seats on the committee. Pannell, Fanning, Alvarado, and Ciammachilli are running on a slate for their respective seats on the committee called Dump Trump-Democrats 4 Action. Lazar and Meadows are running on a competing slate called Democrats Moving Forward.


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In Md., end of session means primary season heats up Madaleno positions himself as ‘leader on progressive issues’ By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com The end of the 2018 legislative session in Maryland this week signals the campaign ahead of the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary has kicked into high gear. State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County)’s campaign in a statement it released on Tuesday — hours after the session ended — described the Montgomery County Democrat as “a leader on many progressive issues.” These include the passage

Maryland Gov. LARRY HOGAN has raised more than $5 million for his re-election bid. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director DANA BEYER is running for the state Senate in Maryland. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

of a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors that he introduced in the Maryland Senate. State Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County) introduced the measure — which Republican Gov. Larry Hogan supports — in the Maryland House of Delegates. It passed by a 95-27 vote margin on April 4. “I am thrilled to report on the many things we have been able to accomplish this year at the General Assembly,” said Madaleno in the press release. “This has been a very productive year, and it sends a strong message to Governor Hogan and all Marylanders: First, that the Democratic General Assembly can rise above the governor’s political gamesmanship; and second, that as governor, I will deliver results just like I did as a state senator all these years.” Madaleno is among the Democrats who are hoping to succeed Hogan in November. He will face Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker; former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; former State Department official Alec Ross; lawyer Jim Shea and Krishanti Vignarajah, who was former first lady Michelle Obama’s policy director. A poll that Goucher University released on Feb. 22 indicates Baker and Kamenetz are the current frontrunners. The latest campaign finance reports indicate Jealous, Baker, Kamenetz, Shea and Ross have all raised more than $1 million for their respective campaigns. Madaleno has thus far raised just under $440,000, but he is accepting public financing. Hogan has raised more than $5 million for his re-election bid since January 2017. State Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) and Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer are both running for the state Senate. Gabriel Acevero would become the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the General Assembly if he wins his race for the Maryland House of Delegates. “The 2018 session made it more clear than ever how important it is that we continue to stand strong on important issues like preserving homeownership for Marylanders who fall behind on property taxes or water bills,” wrote Washington in an email she sent to her supporters on Tuesday. “I’m confident we can keep making change, because of the outpouring of support I’ve seen for this campaign over the last year. And I love this job as much as ever, because I love the people I serve.”

D.C. LGBT Latinx group names scholarship winners A local LGBT Latinx group called League of United Latin American Citizens Lambda, or LULAC Lambda, announced on Monday that it has selected two D.C. students to receive its first-ever scholarships to help advance their academic studies. In a statement the group said the two students selected following an application process that began in October are Mirna Elizabeth Maldonado, 17, a senior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in D.C.; and Maria Gramajo, 19, an American University student. “I’m very thankful that our very first scholarships will go to two young women who want to better society after they graduate,” said LULAC Lambda President Jesse Garcia. “Both are proud daughters of immigrants who recognize the importance of family, social justice, and equality,” Garcia said. In a statement, LULAC Lambda said Maldonado is a soccer player and cheerleader at her high school, where she will graduate in May. She has also volunteered with the National LULAC Office. LULAC national is considered the oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the U.S. Maldonado also studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, according to the statement. Gramajo has served as a student government leader at American University and has been an advocate for environmental issues and immigration reform, including passage by Congress of the DREAM Act. LOU CHIBBARO JR.


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Senate to take up Pompeo confirmation hearing

Maryland Gov. LARRY HOGAN has raised more than $5 million for his re-election bid. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY WYATT REID WESTLUND

Madaleno mocks Democratic opponent at Victory Fund brunch Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) on Sunday at the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s National Champagne Brunch in D.C. mocked a Democratic opponent who said he “prances around Annapolis.” “I’m proud to say I’m looking forward to prancing right to victory in June and in November,” said Madaleno as his running mate, Luwanda Jenkins, stood by his side on stage at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Alec Ross — who is among the other Democrats who are seeking to succeed Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — on March 25 said after a candidate forum that Madaleno “prances around Annapolis.” The Victory Fund and Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) are among those who criticized Ross over the comment. Ross and his running mate, Julie Verratti, who is a lesbian, strongly denied allegations the comment was homophobic when they spoke with the Washington Blade on March 29. Madaleno would be the first openly gay man elected governor in the country if he and Jenkins were to win in November. “Here’s to reaching a major turning point in our nation where the LGBT community, the African-American community, the Asian community, the Hispanic community, the Native American community, the Muslim community, people of all ethnicities, religions, gender and socioeconomic groups can come together to take our seat at the table,” said Jenkins as she led brunch attendees in a toast. “Now is our time.” Madaleno and Jenkins are among the elected officials and candidates who spoke at the brunch, which is the Victory Fund’s largest annual fundraiser. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) criticized President Trump on issues that include his efforts to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military and his failure to support comprehensive gun control in the wake of February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Warner, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said the investigations into whether the Trump campaign had any involvement in Russian interference with the 2016 election must be allowed to continue. “History has shown that when (in) a nation of laws when people start attacking without regard for truth or validity the folks who enforce our laws, you get to a pretty scary place pretty quickly,” said Warner. Warner also cited the election of Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) last November as “good news.” Roem is the first openly trans person seated in a state legislature in the U.S. She is also among the 15 Democrats who were elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 2017. Republicans have a one seat majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem on Sunday stressed elections “have consequences,” noting no anti-LGBT bills were introduced during the 2018 legislative session. “Last year we defeated several incumbents who either introduced, co-patroned or voted for anti-LGBTQ legislation and replaced them all with 100 percent pro-equality delegates, so even the opponents of equality who are still left know their anti-LGBTQ agenda will be dead on arrival,” she said. This year’s brunch took place roughly four months after former Houston Mayor Annise Parker succeeded Aisha Moodie-Mills as the Victory Fund’s president and CEO. Parker on Sunday noted U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Roem and Long Beach (Calif.) Mayor Robert Garcia are among the more than 520 openly LGBT people who are currently in elected office in the U.S. She also pointed out Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis is being challenged by David Ermold, a gay man to whom she denied a marriage license in 2015. “2018 is an unprecedented election cycle in unprecedented times,” said Parker. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week announced Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state would take place on April 12. (For updates, visit washingtonblade.com.) President Trump last month nominated Pompeo — a former Kansas congressman who is the current CIA director — after MIKE POMPEO was scheduled to face the Senate this week. he fired then-Secretary PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE; COURTESY OF FLICKR of State Rex Tillerson. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and other advocates in the U.S. and around the world have expressed concern over Pompeo’s nomination because of his opposition to LGBT rights. Pompeo opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples and co-sponsored a bill in the U.S. House that would have allowed states to refuse to recognize the marriages of gays and lesbians. Pompeo also opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Pompeo also has longstanding ties to the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group. The Southern Poverty Law Center also notes Pompeo has made statements against Muslims in the U.S. GLAAD announced in a press release it has launched a campaign that seeks to “expose Mike Pompeo’s personal ties to anti-LGBTQ hate and extremism and pressure members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to hold Pompeo accountable to his anti-LGBTQ record in his upcoming confirmation hearing for the position of secretary of state.” The press release also notes GLAAD Campus Advisor Tony Hernandez will deliver “research exposing Mike Pompeo’s disturbingly close ties with” the Family Research Council to the offices of the 21 committee members. “Unless Mike Pompeo can unequivocally state that LGBTQ rights are human rights, he is wholly unqualified to be the nation’s top diplomat,” said GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis in the press release. The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and more than 50 other civil rights organizations have signed a Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights letter that urges senators to oppose Pompeo’s nomination. The letter, which the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released on Monday, notes his opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and marriage rights for same-sex couples. The letter also highlights Pompeo’s previous comments on torture and Muslims. “The secretary of state is one of our most important positions for promoting and protecting human rights,” it reads. “This Cabinet level position has a unique and important role requiring the ability to build international coalitions and serve as our representative in international negotiations. Mr. Pompeo’s documented anti-Muslim bias is dangerous to American foreign policy, will cripple his ability to develop essential relationships with Muslim-majority countries, and will irreparably undermine his ability to lead the State Department workforce.” The promotion of LGBT and intersex rights abroad was a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. The State Department during Tillerson’s tenure continued to promote LGBTI rights abroad, even though the Trump administration’s record on LGBT-specific issues in the U.S. has sparked outrage among advocates and their supporters. Tillerson publicly acknowledged Pride month and the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Tillerson last summer raised the ongoing crackdown against LGBT Chechens in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The State Department under Tillerson’s tenure also expressed concern over anti-LGBT crackdowns in Azerbaijan, Egypt and other countries. CHRIS JOHNSON


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Gay ‘Dreamer’ stuck in Mexico after green card application denied Marco Villada married Israel Serrato in California in 2014 By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com Lawyers representing a gay married “Dreamer” who was denied a green card have filed a federal lawsuit that seeks his return to the U.S. The lawsuit — which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Tuesday — notes Marco Villada Garibay came to the ISRAEL SERRATO holds a picture of him and his husband, U.S. from Mexico when he Marco Villada Garibay. was 6 years old. The lawsuit PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER states Villada graduated from Morningside High School in Inglewood, Calif., and later enrolled at El Camino Community College and Harbor College in Los Angeles. “Mr. Villada Garibay has spent virtually his entire life in the United States,” reads the lawsuit. Villada in 2013 became a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits. Villada in 2014 married Israel Serrato after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed an appeal of a ruling against California’s Proposition 8. The lawsuit states the couple subsequently filed “the necessary petition and obtained a provisional waiver” from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that would allow Villada to obtain his green card “by virtue of his marriage to a U.S. citizen.” The couple on Jan. 14 traveled to Mexico in order “to take the next step in (Villada)’s process to obtain U.S. residency,” which was his appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez. Villada had been able to legally work in the U.S. and was protected from deportation under DACA until 2019, but the lawsuit notes his “status was automatically terminated” once he left the country. The lawsuit notes Villada traveled to Mexico “only because” the USCIS approved the provisional waiver that allowed him to apply for a green card through the State Department in his country of origin and promptly return to the U.S. with Serrato. The consulate on Jan. 17 denied Villada’s application and banned him from returning to the U.S. “because it found that he was permanently inadmissible” on the grounds that he left the U.S. more than a year after he entered the country without documents and returned to the U.S. “without admission after more than one year of unlawful presence.” The lawsuit notes Villada in 2000 returned to Mexico for “a few weeks” after his grandfather died. Villada, who was 17-years-old at the time, was allowed back into the U.S. after he showed his high school ID card to an immigration officer at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego. The lawsuit states Villada disclosed during his green card interview that he had traveled to Mexico in 2000. The consulate earlier this month affirmed its decision to deny Villada’s application. “Mr. Villada Garibay and Mr. Serrato continue to be separated because Mr. Villada Garibay is unable to return to the United States,” reads the lawsuit. “As a result, they are suffering emotionally and financially, and are experiencing great anxiety because Mr. Villada Garibay is unable to return to the United States for at least 10 years. The threat of prolonged separation impairs Mr. Villada Garibay’s and Mr. Serrato’s ability to live together as a married couple, form a family and plan for the future.” The National Immigration Law Center, an immigration advocacy group that is

I N T E RN A T I O N A L N E W S representing Villada and Serrato in their lawsuit, on Tuesday held a conference call with reporters. Villada said he and Serrato “did everything by the books.” “Right now all I can think about is going back home,” said Villada. “I miss my husband, my home, family.” Villada told the Washington Blade he traveled to Mexico’s Jalisco state from Ciudad Juárez after his husband returned to California. Villada said in response to a question about whether he feels safe as an openly gay man that he is “in constant fear of even going down the street for a soda.” “I’m still living in fear, even right now,” he told the Blade. “It is not a place that is safe, even in my eyes.” Serrato told reporters he met Villada before he became a DACA recipient. “I loved my husband before he had DACA,” said Serrato. “I love my husband as a documented person. I’m going to fight for my husband and I to be together.” The lawsuit names Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, the USCIS, USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna, USCIS National Benefits Center Director Robert Cowan and U.S. Consul General for Ciudad Juárez Daria L. Darnell as defendants in their official capacities. The State Department on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Daniela Vega seeks meeting with Chilean cardinal SANTIAGO, Chile — The transgender actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” has asked the archbishop of Santiago to meet with her after he spoke against a trans rights bill that is currently before Chilean lawmakers. Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who sought to defend his position on minors’ ability to legally change their sex, argued the bill raises “something deeper” DANIELA VEGA has requested a meeting with given that “a cat will not Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, after he made a transphobic comment. become a dog just because I PHOTO COURTESY SONY PICTURES CLASSICS give it a dog’s name.” Daniela Vega, the trans actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” that recently won an Oscar and reignited the public debate around gender identity in the country, asked Ezzati to meet with her. “Ezzati, come and talk with me. You dare?” she wrote on her Twitter page. Ezzati made his comments after it became known that President Sebastián Piñera’s government would propose an amendment to the trans rights bill that would allow people as young as 14 to legally change their sex with their parents’ approval. The leader of the Chilean Roman Catholic Church’s comment was strongly rejected. Piñera on his Twitter page signaled that “comparing the situation that affects people with animals is not the same thing” and added “respect and highmindedness are essential when talking about gender identity.” Piñera also said Ezzati should apologize for his comments. Cecilia Pérez, a spokesperson for Piñera’s government, described the archbishop’s comments as “unfortunate.” “Today, Chile moves forward with greater inclusion and requires all of us to discuss the issues facing our society with respect, without prejudices or disqualification,” said Pérez. Opposition leaders also criticized Ezzati. Senator Alejandro Guillier, who ran against Piñera in 2016, invited Ezzati to “walk the path of non-discrimination” after considering that his words directed at trans children had been offensive. In the same manner, Juan Ignacio Latorre, a senator with the leftist Democratic Revolution Party who is a member of the commission in the Chilean Congress that is debating the bill, maintained that “sometimes it is better to keep quiet before saying stupid things.” Continues at washingtonblade.com. NICOLAS LEVY


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Speaker Ryan announces exit, leaving uneven record on LGBT rights CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

including bombastic and offensive statements Trump has made, as well as policy issues such as tariffs. Under questioning from reporters, Ryan denied his announcement was related to expectations that Democrats would win control of the House in the mid-terms, nor does he think his move would contribute to that outcome. “I really do not believe whether I stay or go in 2019 is going to affect a person’s individual race for Congress,” Ryan said. “I really don’t think a person’s race for Congress is going to hinge on whether Paul Ryan is speaker or not, so I really don’t think it affects it. Look, if we do our jobs, which we are, we’re going to be fine as a majority.” As speaker of the House at a time of Republican majorities in Congress, Ryan was no champion of LGBT rights. Still, Ryan’s record is different from that of his Republican predecessors, who held multiple votes in opposition to same-sex marriage or constitutional amendments that would have banned it nationwide, or even that of former House Speaker John Boehner, who took it upon the House to defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in court and held votes on amendments reiterating support for the law. No such votes on marriage took place under Ryan. In fact, the most comparable measure in recent years — the First Amendment Defense Act, an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” measure that seeks to prevent the federal government from penalizing opponents of samesex marriage — saw no vote either in committee or the House floor when Ryan was speaker. But Ryan’s tenure isn’t free from antiLGBT votes. Last year, he allowed Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) to hold a floor vote on an amendment that sought to bar the U.S. military from making payments for transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, for transgender people on the U.S. military’s health care system. The amendment narrowly failed in a surprise defeat on the House floor thanks to opposition from a united Democratic caucus and 24 Republicans. In the aftermath of the vote, Ryan said he shares the views of House members about the U.S. military paying for gender reassignment surgery, but would defer to the Defense Department on the issue more generally of transgender military service. “The concern here in the House was whether or not the military will be forced to pay for these surgical procedures,” Ryan said. “I share those concerns.” President Trump followed up with an all-out ban on transgender military service that included a prohibition on military payments for gender reassignment surgery. Trump recently reaffirmed

that ban after recommendations from Defense Secretary James Mattis against transgender service, but the policy remains blocked as a result of litigation filed by LGBT legal groups. Ryan’s tenure also had an indirect anti-LGBT impact in another way. After Republicans in 2016 passed as part of major defense policy legislation an amendment from Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) that would have undermined former President Obama’s 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, Democrats led by gay Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) sought to hold votes on amendments that would have upheld the directive. The first vote on his amendment was poised to succeed until seven Republicans changed their votes at the last minute, leading to the amendment’s defeat. In a subsequent vote the next week, the amendment was approved, although the overriding legislation was rejected on the House floor. Ryan changed House policy after these attempts at ensuring LGBT nondiscrimination in the workplace to preclude non-germane amendments on the floor. Although the policy change wasn’t explicitly directed at Maloney’s amendments, it was seen as an attempt to bar any more from coming to the House floor. Lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a fellow Wisconsite who’s seeking reelection to the U.S. Senate this year, had a measured approach in a statement evaluating Ryan’s tenure as speaker. “Before I was elected to the Senate I served with Paul Ryan in the House and have spent many years working with him on behalf of the people of Wisconsin,” Baldwin said. “We know each other well and while we have different views on policy, I consider him a friend and have a lot of respect for him as a person and a public servant. This was a difficult decision to make, and I wish Paul and his family all the best in the future.” Looking at Ryan’s tenure in the U.S. House as a whole, one act that might be considered pro-gay stands out: Being one of 35 Republicans to vote in 2007 in favor of a version of the Employment NonDiscrimination Act. (However, Ryan also voted in favor of a motion to recommit that would have killed the legislation.) Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, pointed to Ryan’s vote in favor of ENDA as evidence the Wisconsin Republican supported the LGBT rights goals of the organization. “The door was always open to Log Cabin Republicans at Paul Ryan’s office — one of my first meetings five years ago shortly after becoming the head of LCR National was a meeting with the man himself to discuss LGBT non-discrimination strategy in Congress,” Angelo said. “As someone

‘Speaker Ryan was always sympathetic to the struggles of LGBT Americans,’ said Log Cabin’s GREGORY ANGELO, despite Ryan’s vote against repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

who voted for the Employment NonDiscrimination Act the last time it was before the House of Representatives, Speaker Ryan was always sympathetic to the struggles of LGBT Americans.” But Ryan’s vote on ENDA was an exception. Early in his tenure, Ryan voted in 2006 in favor of a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned samesex marriage nationwide and precluded the U.S. Supreme Court from ruling in favor of marriage equality. In the early years of the Obama administration when Democrats controlled Congress and were advancing pro-LGBT bills, Ryan also voted against hate crimes protection legislation and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, gave Ryan a thumbs-down when asked to evaluate the totality of the Wisconsin Republican’s record on LGBT rights. “At almost every turn, Paul Ryan has opposed fairness and equality for LGBTQ people and their families,” Stacy said. “From voting to ban marriage equality in every state to voting against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Ryan has stood on the wrong side of history far too many times. Ryan could have used his speakership to move his caucus to

reflect the views of the vast majority of Americans who are committed to advancing equality for every American — including LGBTQ people. He didn’t.” With Ryan heading for the exit, the search will be underway soon for another Republican to take his place as head of the caucus regardless of whether or not his party retains control of Congress after the mid-term elections. The most obvious choice would be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), although Rep. Steve Scalise (RLa.) has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Neither has been favorable to LGBT rights, although the latter has a particularly anti-LGBT record and has had backing from anti-LGBT Family Research Council— in addition to having addressed a group with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. At a time when LGBT rights face continued threats in the name of “religious freedom” Angelo said the next speaker should be able to navigate between the two ideas. “We are at a moment in history where it would behoove people of all political persuasions to be open to a speaker seeking to strike a balance between religious freedom and LGBT equality,” Angelo said.


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Spring Home Buyers Seminar The Evan + Mark Team invite you to a FREE Home Buyer Seminar If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a house or condo, but would like some advice and guidance, we’ll be covering the following: *How to get started *How to compete in this market *Negotiating Tips *Types of loan programs *Settlement Fees


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Grosso seeks to suspend sex worker arrests in D.C. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

more violence, have decreased ability to negotiate condom use, and encounter greater risk of arrest, making them less likely to contact authorities if they are attacked,” Grosso said. His call for a temporary suspension of arrests and prosecution of sex workers comes six months after he introduced legislation calling for the city to decriminalize prostitution for consenting adults. Following release of his statement on Monday, Grosso told the Blade that the latest developments resulting in the forced shutdown of sites such as Backpage reinforce the need for his decriminalization bill. The FBI, which seized the Backpage website operations last week, said it did so as part of an ongoing investigation into sex trafficking of minors that authorities have said placed ads on the Backpage site to facilitate sex trafficking. Backpage officials have said they cooperated with authorities to prevent traffickers from using the site. Sex worker advocacy groups have said the overwhelming majority of sex workers advertising on the site involved interactions between consenting adults. Congress last month passed an antisex 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 White House this week said President Trump would sign the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, on Wednesday. In response to lopsided Senate passage of the measure, Craigslist immediately dropped its personal ads, including its widely read “men seeking men” personals. It cited potentially harmful legal fallout from the FOSTA bill as its reason for doing so. Fears by sex worker advocates that more websites used by sex workers would be shut down were heightened on Monday when news surfaced that seven top Backpage officials were indicted by a grand jury in Phoenix, Ariz., on charges that they conspired to facilitate prostitution and money laundering. Police data show few sex trafficking cases in D.C. In response to a request from the Washington Blade, D.C. police released data of prostitution related arrests made in the District of Columbia between 2013 and August 2017, the latest time period for which arrest numbers were available. The data show that out of a total of 2,582 prostitution related arrests during that four-and-a-half-year period, just seven involved sex trafficking involving minors. One involved a charge of “introducing female into prostitution,”

A spokesperson for Police Chief PETER NEWSHAM said that while some prostitution may be voluntary, ‘it may also be a result of exploitation, victimization, and the lack of other options.’ PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

but a chart on which the data was made available didn’t say whether the female was an adult or minor. The data released show this breakdown by year for prostitution related arrests in D.C.: 2013: 890; 1 case of “introducing female into prostitution;” 2014: 596; one case of “sex trafficking of children;” 2015: 714; two cases of “transportation of minors for sexual activity (assisting or promoting prostitution);” 2016: 216; one case of “pandering of a minor;” 2017 (Jan.Aug.): 166; three cases of “sex trafficking of children.” Grosso, who had not seen these figures when he released his statement calling for a suspension in prostitution arrests involving consenting adults, told the Blade he was not aware of a significant number of sex trafficking cases in D.C. He said his concern was the shutdown of websites that had in the past enabled adult sex workers to ply their trade safely and who had nothing to do with sex trafficking would now be subjected to danger. “Due to the great risk of violence faced by street-based sex workers, our government needs to take bold and urgent action,” Grosso said in his statement. “I call on Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of those involved in commercial sex unless the individual has caused violence or coercion,” he said. “Instead, the Chief and U.S. Attorney, along with front-line officers and commanders, should meet with individuals trading sex with

the goal of understanding the risks they face

and what steps are necessary to build trust in order to prevent and respond to violence and coercion. I am happy to work with both MPD and the USAO to facilitate such a meeting,” Grosso said. William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the office has no comment on Grosso’s request at this time. “This is a challenging issue that merits a robust discussion between the Council and the community,” said D.C. police spokesperson Dustin Sternbeck in response to a Blade request for the department’s reaction to Grosso’s request. “MPD recognizes that complex individual and economic factors are related to sex work,” Sternbeck said in an email. “While some prostitution may be voluntary, it may also be a result of exploitation, victimization, and the lack of other options. “MPD is engaged with community organizations that serve and advocate on behalf of sex workers and human trafficking victims,” he said. Sternbeck’s written comment did not address Grosso’s request that arrests of sex workers involved in consensual activity with adults be temporarily suspended. “Ultimately, the Council enacts the laws of the District, and should look at this important issue,” he said.

TJ Gaghan dies at 56 Self-taught computer programmer worked at Department of Defense Terrence “TJ” Gaghan, a retired Department of Defense computer analyst and musician, died Jan. 31 from pancreatic cancer, his family said. Gaghan is survived by his brothers Michael Patrick of Leland, N.C.; James Francis (Judy) of Mooresville, N.C.; Timothy Shawn (Mary), Falls Church, Va.; and Kevin Paul (Linda) of McLean, Va.; sisters Michele “Susie” Elizabeth (Monti) Schmitt and Valerie Ann Gaghan of Scotland, Md.; TJ GAGAN died Jan. 31 from cancer. and 17 nieces and nephews and 12 grandnieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Alma Llorente Gaghan and father James Francis Gaghan, Jr. Gaghan was born on Aug. 30, 1962 and was gay. He was a self-taught computer programmer for the Department of Defense at the Pentagon and transferred to Fort Belvoir shortly after 9-11. He retired from the department in 2003 and continued working as a consultant until 2015. Gaghan’s real passion was music, his family said. He was a talented musician and songwriter and never gave up his dream of being published. His music was a way for him to communicate his feelings and is a reflection of his life. He loved to travel, parasail, biking, hiking, swimming and had an adventurous spirit. A funeral service is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 19 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8710 Mt. Vernon Highway in Alexandria, Va. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be sent to St. Jude Hospital. Interment will be private. JOEY DiGUGLIELMO


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Parents of LGBT youth struggle with sex talk

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CHICAGO — New research from Northwestern University explores how parents of LGBT teens often struggle when discussing sex with their children, sometimes because of discomfort or lack of information. However, a separate university study of gay and bisexual male teens found that many longed to be closer to their parents and better able to converse with them about sexuality and dating, the Chicago Tribune reports citing information published by MedicalXPress. Historically, there’s been very little academic study of how parenting can affect the sexual behavior of LGBT youths, said researcher Michael Newcomb, associate director for scientific development for the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We know a lot about how parents can influence the heterosexual teen’s sexual health, but we know very little about how parents can affect the sexual health of (LGBT) teens,” he told the Tribune. “And in some ways, the same parenting practices would be relevant to (LGBT) teens, like talking to your kids about sex, monitoring who they’re hanging out with, who they’re dating, all those types of things.” Yet even among parents who were open to talking to their children, many acknowledged a level of ignorance when it comes to gay sex. “Those parents are unintentionally leaving out information that’s very specific to (LGBT) sexuality that might leave those young people unprepared for the situations they would have to encounter and can put them at risk,” Newcomb said, according to the Tribune. The study, published last month in the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy, surveyed 44 parents of LGBT teens from across the country in online focus groups. More than three-quarters of parents reported talking with their teen about using protection and about half described educating their kids about potential health risks. Roughly a quarter were concerned about predators or violence, particularly the parents of gay boys and transgender teens.

AMA comes out for trans service members

WASHINGTON — The largest association of doctors in the United States is arguing that there is “no medically valid reason” to bar transgender individuals from serving in the military, countering President Donald Trump’s policy issued in March, CNN reports. “We believe there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service,” the American Medical Association wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis last week. “Transgender individuals have served, and continue to serve, our country with honor, and we believe they should be allowed to continue doing so.” The letter, signed by AMA CEO James Madara, argues that Mattis’ SPEAK WITH OUR PREPLANNING ADVISOR, recommendations to the President “mischaracterized and rejected the wide JAMIE ARTHURS AT (202) 966-6400 OR EMAIL body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transgender medical JAMIE.ARTHURS@DIGNITYMEMORIAL.COM care,” CNN reports. The letter was first reported by Politico. Trump initially tweeted back in July his intentions to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the US armed forces. He signed a presidential memorandum a month later reversing the Obama-era rule that allowed transgender people to serve and left Mattis to draw up a plan for implementation. Transgender troops took the policy to court, which halted its 5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW • DC • (202) 966-6400 • www.JosephGawlers.com implementation, CNN reports. ADVERTISING R O O Fadministration’s new policy, announced in March, disqualifies TheP Trump ISSUE DATE: 10.26.12 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: BRIAN PITTS (bpitts@washblade.com) transgender persons with “a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” except in limited circumstances from serving in the US military. It also bars transgender REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of individuals “who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, a d v i C e • m e d i a t i o N • L i t i G a t i o N • a P P e a L S • C o L L a B o r a t i o N the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts NS omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is including medications and surgery.” responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users GN can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or EVISIONS any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any “The Department of Defense will continue to comply with the court orders and access copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair /LOGO REVISIONS competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE transgender applicants for military service as well as retain transgender service members. SIONS washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the matter is being handled in multiple circuit courts, and to avoid interfering liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred washington blade newspaper. This includes Because but is not limited this to placement, by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. and warranties. with that process, I’m not going to be able to provide further details at this time,” Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement according to CNN. A 2016 RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Defense Department FamiLY | eState PLaNNiNG | emPLoYmeNt | immiGratioN concluded the number of transgender service members “seeking transition ComPLeX LitiGatioN | CiviL riGHtS | LGBt | adoPtioN | BuSiNeSS related care is so small” that it would likely have a “marginal impact” on health care costs and military readiness, CNN reports. There are an estimated 1,320-6,630 transgender individuals out of the 1.3 million service members on active duty, according to the RAND study. Between at tor N e YS at L aw • d C | m d | va 29-129 of those service members will seek transition-related care that could “disrupt their ability to deploy.” 3 0 1 . 8 9 1 . 2 2 0 0 • S P - L aw. C o m

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Get moving D.C.! Capitol Hill Classic, Spartan Race Sprint among 2018 fitness events DAVID MAGIDA is founder of Elevate Interval Fitness, a member of the Reebok Spartan Race Pro Team and author of “The Essentials of Obstacle Racing: A Beginner’s Guide.” You can catch a class with him at Elevate on 14th Street or at its new location in the Mosaic District in Fairfax, Va.

We all need an extra push. Something to help us reach the next level of our training, to turn a corner or rise over a plateau. You’ll be more focused, committed and excited about your workouts. And you’ll see a positive shift in your lifestyle as well. A greater purpose to your training and the way you live daily. Take a look at some of the events listed below and see if any of them intrigue you. There’s something for everyone. Capitol Hill Classic (May 20) Featuring a 10K race, as well as a 3K and a Kids Fun Run, the Capitol Hill Classic offers events for all skill levels. The course takes runners past the U.S. Capitol Building, as well as RFK Stadium and down the Anacostia Riverwalk, for some of the best running in the entire District. The Fun Run, which is a third of a mile around Stanton Park, is a great event to bring kids to and help them get some energy out as well. A solid road race could be just the thing to get your spring running routine back in order. Details at capitolhillclassic.com. Spartan Race Sprint (June 16) Spartan Race is the ultimate test in well-rounded fitness. And if anything is going to light a fire under you to get your training going, the prospects of obstacle failures and burpee penalties should do the trick. Navigate approximately 30 obstacles over this 5-mile trail running course, including climbing ropes and cargo nets, scaling walls of various sizes, hoisting and dragging heavy weights, and of course, running and crawling through the mud. Don’t forget to enjoy your post-race beer after. Details at spartan.com. EX2 VentureQuest Adventure Race (Sept. 30) Only 30 minutes West of Washington lies Fountainhead Regional Park. There, racers (either individual or teams of two-three) will compete in up to either a four-hour or eight-hour event that requires fitness, savvy and planning. The race entails a combination of trekking, biking and canoe paddling. The sport course totals 16-20 miles (four-hour time cutoff), while the Elite course will be in the range of 28-35 total miles (eight-hour time cutoff). Navigation will be an essential element of these races, and a good opportunity to learn and utilize orienteering. There is an Adventure Racing clinic the day prior to the race to help you brush up on your basic map and compass skills. Details at ex2adventures.com. Nation’s Escape Triathlon (Sept. 9) The 13th annual running of this event features a 1.5KM swim in the Potomac River, a 40KM bike ride around D.C. and a 10KM Run through some of D.C.’s most historic sights. You’ll see the National Mall, Tidal Basin and even the Pentagon over the course of this journey. There is also a shorter sprint course option if you’d prefer to start with something a little shorter. Basically just cut the distances in half. But you’ll get to experience the triathlon in all its glory. Details at pem.events. GORUCK D.C. (May 5) Looking for some camaraderie? Try a GORUCK. The Light Challenge is a good place to start. It’s about four hours in length but will require focus, teamwork and discipline to get through it. A very doable first event that combines rucking (hiking with some weight in your pack), physical conditioning and some mental tests and grit. You’ll find out a lot about yourself and make some great friends too. A Cadre will lead you through the day’s events. Finish this one and graduate up to a Tough or Heavy Challenge to really push your limits. Details at goruck.com. Training with purpose is the key. You need something to get yourself out of that training rut. Everybody does. Your odds of improvement, of motivation and of added dedication go up dramatically when you pick an event and train for it. So get out there and give one of these events a shot. You’ll probably have some


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Honoring Rehoboth’s Steve Elkins Town wouldn’t be a gay resort without the Mayor of Baltimore Avenue

KEVIN NAFF is editor of the Washington Blade and can be reached at knaff@washblade.com.

Pulling into the parking lot at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach on Monday, I was directed toward an overgrown field, a makeshift overflow parking area, because the main lot was already full 40 minutes before the start of a memorial service for Steve Elkins. If you don’t know Steve, then you’ve probably never been to Rehoboth. Along with his devoted husband Murray Archibald, Steve founded the CAMP Rehoboth community center and served as its executive director for 25 years until his death in March. The service on Monday served as a moving reminder of Steve’s incredible impact on this community; he played an integral role in Rehoboth’s transformation from sleepy beach town hostile to new gay visitors to the vibrant and inclusive resort town it is today. Elkins and Archibald saw the need for an LGBT support and advocacy group in Rehoboth around 1989 and early 1990, the two told the Blade at the time of the group’s 25th anniversary in 2015. It was the late 1980s when the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners Association produced a bumper sticker that read, “Keep Rehoboth A Family Town.” The slogan was an obvious homophobic response to the influx of new gay and lesbian tourists. “I always said we wanted it to be a family town as well but families come in all sizes, shapes and orientations,” Elkins told the Blade in discussing his and Archibald’s decision to found CAMP Rehoboth. And therein lies Steve’s genius. As friends and family members recounted during four emotional eulogies on Monday, Steve understood that in order to change minds, you had to meet people where they were. Preaching and yelling wouldn’t do. And so he began the slow and deliberate work of engaging local residents. And training police of-

STEVE ELKINS (left) and his husband MURRAY ARCHIBALD founded CAMP Rehoboth. Elkins died last month at 67 after a battle with lymphoma.


ficers in LGBT sensitivity. And opening a visible, LGBT-identified community center on Baltimore Avenue. The change Steve sought didn’t come overnight. He endured countless setbacks, from the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, to the financial challenges inherent in creating a non-profit, to entrenched anti-gay animus that stymied legislative progress. Steve understood that you have to put in the time to bring about lasting change. This would not be instant gratification. He was strategic, smart, patient and kind. And ultimately his vision won out as Rehoboth grew into a popular LGBT resort town; mayors and police chiefs went from hostile to supportive; and the Delaware Legislature finally passed marriage equality. The writer Fay Jacobs delivered a pitchperfect eulogy that rightly put Steve’s legacy into perspective for the packed church. She declared that most of us wouldn’t be in Rehoboth at all if not for Steve. Her spot-on observation triggered an outpouring of electric applause that filled Epworth.

As Steve and Murray fought for the right of Rehoboth residents and visitors to merely be treated equally under the law, more and more LGBT people flocked to the beach town — first as weekend tourists, and many now as retirees. Steve’s achievements are well known and documented. But his most lasting impression on me will always be his kindness. In the face of bigotry and discrimination, many of us — myself included — have often responded in anger. That wasn’t Steve’s way. He was always quick with a hug and a smile and eager to invite you inside CAMP’s walls for a chat. In 2015, Steve talked to the Blade about those early days in Rehoboth. This quote from that interview sums up Steve’s vision and legacy nicely: “The thing I’ve always said is once we actually started talking to one another we all realized that we had the same desire – and that’s to have a safe and inclusive community. And once we started talking about what we had in common we find we have a lot more in common than we have differences.”






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Resist, rebuild and give out on April 19 Donate to LGBTQ causes and power our movement By ROGER DOUGHTY As LGBTQ people, we find ourselves at a moment in history when we all need to stand up and be counted. That means resisting. That means saying “no” to injustice in every form. Standing up – especially in times like these – also means giving. Giving is one of the most radical ways to resist because it means fueling the grassroots organizations that fight for our rights day in and day out. Every LGBTQ person and ally can take this simple but radical step – together – on Give OUT Day, which takes place on April 19, 2018. That’s when tens of thousands of LGBTQ people, from every part

of our community, will give to power our movement and our communities. Give OUT Day happens only once a year: it’s the only 24-hour day of giving benefitting LGBTQ nonprofits and programs. More than 600 organizations from every state in the union and D.C. are taking part. Collectively, these nonprofits represent the vast diversity of work being done to safeguard our rights, meet our community’s needs, and celebrate the lives of LGBTQ people and culture. Across the country, Give OUT Day organizations drive impact and empower members of our community to create positive change. The Dru Project - formed in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting - works to counter anti-LGBTQ bias. In Arkansas, Lucie’s Place finds solutions for homeless LGBTQ youth. In Visalia, the SOURCE LGBT+ Center creates communi-

ty in California’s deeply red Central Valley. Lesbians Who Tech use Give OUT Day to raise money for coding scholarships that empower women, while the LGBTQ Victory Fund helps elect LGBTQ candidates. Here’s what’s great about Give OUT Day: It’s not just that a breathtaking range of LGBTQ groups participate, but also that EVERY LGBTQ person (or ally) can be part of it. Every gift matters. That means $10 gifts as well as $1,000 gifts. Put together, they add up to a one-day total of nearly $1 million of support for LGBTQ causes. And our community needs every one of those gifts, bigger ones, smaller ones, and all in-between. Because the task we face now isn’t just about resistance, it’s about re-building as well. In these troubled times, more than ever, we’re called to resource the hope and passion that’s so alive in our com-

munity. The tide of resistance is having impact. It’s building stronger solidarity across LGBTQ groups active in the fight for social justice, as well as those taking care of our community in towns, cities, and states across the country. We know that there is power in numbers and that by working together, we are stronger. We know that no one group can achieve the equity they seek if other people fall behind. We know that what matters for one of us must matter for all of us. You can be part of the tide by supporting an LGBTQ nonprofit on Give OUT Day on April 19. Give early. Give today. Give often. Give big. Give small. Just Give OUT. ROGER DOUGHTY is president of the Horizons Foundation, the nation’s oldest community foundation dedicated to LGBTQ causes.


Speaking truth to power at Split This Rock D.C.’s 10th annual poetry festival promises diversity, resistance

KATHI WOLFE, a writer and poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

“You poets, get busy!” David, my late brother, a non-poet, told me on New Year’s in 2017 when I, like so many, was saddened and outraged that Donald J. Trump would soon become president, “your poems’ll cut through the bullshit.” Say the word poet, and you might think of scribes on Mount Olympus gazing at the clouds. But, you’d be wrong. David, in his earthy way, nailed it. Poetry isn’t other-worldly, it’s mired in the muck and mire — the struggle for justice — in this world. Split This Rock, a D.C.-based, national poetry organization that works for social change, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Its poetry festival, Poems of

Provocation & Witness 2018, will be held in venues throughout D.C. from April 1921; visit splitthisrock.org for details. Poetry isn’t an elite, ethereal art form. It’s as essential as food, water or having enough air to breathe. Poets have always challenged the powerful and told the suppressed stories of those with little power, Split This Rock executive director Sarah Browning emailed the Blade. “Which is why our words are on the lips of revolutionaries and why tyrants don’t much like us,” she said. Plato blamed poets for the problems in his Republic. Historically, to be a poet has been a political act. This is even more true, today, in the Trump era where the lives and civil rights of so many from LGBTQ people to people of color are threatened. “The most marginalized – LGBTQ poets, people with disabilities, poets of color, undocumented poets, poets whose lives intersect these identities,” Browning said, “are the most vital at times of crisis such as these.” During the week when Trump was inaugurated, Split This Rock posted six poems on its website. One of the poems posted, “Declaration of Inter-Dependence,” a poem by gay, Latino poet Richard Blanco, is a powerful call to action against injustice. “We’re the living who light vigil candles and the cop who didn’t

shoot./We’re the inmate with his volunteer teacher diagraming sentences, the/ Buddhist alongside the stockbroker serving soup at a shelter. We’re the/grandfather taking a selfie with his grandson and his husband,” Blanco wrote. As a lesbian poet, I sometimes feel somewhat isolated at poetry readings. At some events, it seems as if the sensibility is too hetero. At other times, like other queer poets, I’ve encountered outright or subtle homophobia. Once, when I was in an online poetry workshop, the teacher said I should “warn readers that there is same-sex attraction in this poem.” Split This Rock has been a haven for LGBTQ poets. From its beginning, queer poets have been an integral presence at Split This Rock. Lesbian poet Adrienne Rich sent STR $1,000 and a note when the group was organizing its first festival. “May this gathering inspire and affirm the spirit of many, especially younger poets and teachers, who have felt betrayed by corporate government and media, by broken promises and opportunism,” Rich wrote, “thank you for your belief in the freeing power of language and action.” In 2012, STR dedicated its festival to the memory of the late black, queer poet June Jordan. The group’s T-shirt that year quoted the line “We are the ones we have

been waiting for” from Jordan’s poem “Poem for South African Women.” Local LGBTQ poets from STR board co-chair Dan Vera to Kit Bronson to Charles Doolittle are an integral part of Split This Rock. I’ll never forget what it was like to read with queer D.C.-area poet Venus Thrash at Busboys & Poets. Hearing Venus read (“There will be no parchment certificate/stamped with any state’s approval/confirming we’re married or in love”) from her poem “Uncivil,” knocked the socks off of me and everyone in the room. Queer poets Kazim Ali, Ellen Bass, who co-edited the iconic early anthology of women’s poetry “No More Masks!,” Terisa Siagatonu and Paul Tran will be featured at this year’s STR festival. Whether or not we’re poets, we aren’t LGBTQ in a vacuum. We live in the midst of the wider culture where many identities and many forms of oppression intersect. This year’s STR festival will offer wide-ranging readings, workshops and events from an “Arabic/English Poetry Game Workshop” to “Sister Love: Celebrating the Letters Between Pat Parker and Audre Lorde” to a Deaf Poets Society reading. Do you want to speak truth to power? To keep on keeping on? Check out Split This Rock’s 2018 festival.


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Making D.C. the healthiest city in the nation D.C. Department of Health on a mission — and a new logo, too By DR. LAQUANDRA NESBITT The D.C. Department of Health has a new logo. Please ignore it. Don’t get me wrong; I like the sleek, modern style of the new logo. But the important part of the logo change is, ironically, not the logo itself. It’s what the change signals: a shift in how we approach public health in the District. DC Health’s vision is to make the District the healthiest city in America. Not long ago, that statement would have raised eyebrows, but I firmly believe that vision is a real possibility. The District routinely achieves accolades for having the most fit residents. Indeed, on any given day, scores of runners and cyclists crowd the trails along Rock Creek and the Anacostia. I applaud our athletic and healthy-eating residents, and I also know that many District residents suffer disproportionately from poor health. We won’t become the healthiest city in America until all of our residents have an equal chance to achieve health and wellness.

Part of my optimism about health in the District is based on a broader understanding in public health of what drives health and wellness, and how we’re applying that knowledge here in DC. Many people are surprised to learn that clinical healthcare – what you get from doctors and healthcare providers in hospitals – determines a mere 20 to 30 percent of a person’s overall health. Diet and behavior play an important role in health, but fully half of a person’s health and wellness is determined by social factors like income, education, suitable housing, and a social support system. As a physician, acknowledging that clinical medicine only plays a relatively minor role in the health of my patients is humbling. For the District’s health department, this knowledge led us to reevaluate our identity and how we do our job. Today we see ourselves in a new role, as the city’s “chief health strategist.” In this role, our mission to promote health remains the same, as do many of our current functions, like inspecting restaurants for compliance with the health code. What’s different is that we are increasingly engaging others to carry forth our mission. Because of this, we now focus more than ever on our relationships with

people and organizations throughout the city, and work closely with them to focus on common public health goals. But we can’t be everywhere at all times, so we also work to ensure that policies include health. The goal is to have the city’s health priorities reflected in decisions and actions well into the future. It’s why we have a seat at the table for the city’s comprehensive plan and why we participated in planning for the new soccer stadium. Another example of being the city’s chief health strategist is our Health Systems Plan. The Plan is a tool for guiding and evaluating decisions about investments in health facilities in the District. If followed, the Plan will leave a lasting mark on the city by ensuring that residents are appropriately engaged in care and have access to comprehensive, high quality and well-coordinated health services. Finally, consider Healthy Start, a program that provides services to pregnant women and new parents to improve birth outcomes and the health and development of infants and young children. Just a few years ago, the program was run entirely by the Department of Health. While the program achieved a degree of success under this structure, we felt others could do the work better than we could.

Today, Healthy Start is seamlessly integrated into the services provided at three private health centers located in neighborhoods where those services are needed the most. Moving the program outside the Department increased the impact of the program and expanded its reach beyond what we could have achieved on our own. I realize that calling ourselves the city’s “chief health strategist” may sound a bit arrogant, but it’s actually an admission that we will never make the District the healthiest city in America on our own. Our vision depends on all actors in the public and private realms joining us because only together do we have the reach and scope to achieve our goal. While some of these changes have been challenging, they’ve also given us new energy and a renewed sense of mission. We know who we are. We are the city’s chief health strategist with a clear vision to make the city the healthiest in the nation, and we have a clear mission to improve the health and wellness of our residents by making health a fundamental part of everything we do. Oh and we have a new logo too. Dr. LAQUANDRA NESBITT is director of the DC Department of Health.


Victory Fund crucial to electing LGBTQ candidates Stakes are high in this year’s midterm elections

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

The LGBTQ Victory Fund is “the only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government.” That makes it one of the most important LGBTQ organizations in the world. The reason it is so important to elect more members of the LGBTQ community is capsulized in what former Rep. Barney Frank often said: “If we are not at the table we will be on the menu.” It has been shown again and again for every minority and interest group, people don’t pay attention to you if you are not in the room. The Victory Fund helps us to be in the room. The Victory Fund was founded in 1991

by LGBTQ activists and donors who recognized the success of EMILY’s List at attracting attention and support for women candidates for public office. At that time there were fewer than 50 openly LGBTQ elected officials across America at any level of government. Today there are over 500. That number is still minuscule when pitted against the hundreds of thousands of elected officials at every level of government from school boards, to county councils, to state legislatures, to Congress. So we have a long way to go before we see any level of equality and a seat at the table in every elected body. Last Sunday, the Victory Fund held its annual national brunch and it was a success. They start off this crucial election year with a new president and CEO, Annise Parker. This is the first time in its history that VF has been led by a person elected to office in their own right. Parker served her community of Houston for 18 years culminating with six years as mayor. In 2010, Time magazine named Mayor Parker one of the 100 most influential people in the world and in 2014 she was named top U.S. mayor and seventh ranked world mayor by City Mayors Foun-

dation. The Victory Fund is lucky to have her as its leader and her keynote speech on Sunday showed why. She understands the rigors of running and knows what candidates will go through when they throw their hat in the ring. The 2018 elections may be the most crucial in decades. We will be voting to take back our democracy from the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party now running and destroying it. The Victory Fund is non-partisan. Their criteria for winning an endorsement include being openly LGBT; demonstrating support of federal, state or local efforts to advance LGBTQ civil rights via the legislative or regulatory process; and demonstrated support of federal, state and local efforts to safeguard privacy and reproductive freedom. At the sold-out brunch, attendees heard some rousing speeches. They heard first from Maryland State Sen. Rich Madaleno, who is running for governor and could become the nation’s first openly gay elected governor and his running mate Luwanda Jenkins. Then from Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) who was there to speak and introduce Virginia Del. Danica Roem, the first transgender person elected and seated in a

state legislature. Roem brought the crowd to their feet and credits Victory Fund with playing a crucial role in her election. As we head into the midterm elections on Nov. 6, we have strong LGBTQ candidates everywhere in the nation. The Victory Fund endorsed and will continue endorsing candidates as they apply over the next few months. You can find the list of currently endorsed candidates on their website and make a donation to their campaign. But know when you click on a candidate’s picture the first donate button you will see at the top right is a contribution to the Victory Fund. That is great if it is what you intend. But if you want to make a donation directly to the specific candidate look for the second ‘donate to candidate’ button. We have a chance this year to elect many more LGBTQ candidates across the nation at every level of government and the Victory Fund is crucial to helping us to do that. They help candidates learn how to run a campaign and then help them raise the money to do it successfully. As we fight for full equality we must continue to support the Victory Fund and keep it strong.



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D.C. shouldn’t lower local and federal voting age to 16 City would be only place allowing minors to vote in presidential, federal elections

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

Okay, start rolling your eyes now: Older columnist doesn’t think letting highschool kids vote is a good idea. This week, D.C. Council member Charles Allen introduced a bill during Tuesday’s legislative meeting that would lower the voting age to 16 in the District for all elections – including presidential, congressional, federal and local contests. Allen’s measure was co-sponsored by a total of six others when former Mayor and now Council member Vincent Gray signed on immediately prior to the bill’s introduction.

These seven preliminary supporters comprise a bare majority of the Council if all of them eventually do vote for passage. If the measure is ultimately approved by the Council and additionally signed by the mayor, D.C. would become the only jurisdiction in the country to allow minors to vote in presidential contests and federal-level elections, and the only major city to allow minors to vote in local races. The 1971 ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18, does not prohibit states or localities from establishing lower voting-age eligibility. Despite the available opportunity, no state has ever done so in the ensuing five decades and no jurisdiction has ever done so for presidential or federal elections. Only a tiny handful of small-sized municipalities have lowered the voting age for even local positions. Allen cited the recent youth-centric anti-gun rally in Washington as a rationale for his bill. He additionally referenced 16-and-17-year-old minors in a media release issued the day he introduced his proposal by stating, “They can drive a car. They can work. They pay taxes.” Allen also added that, “Just a few weeks

ago, young District residents organized a citywide school walkout and spoke passionately at the Rally for DC Lives calling for an end to gun violence.” Viewers watching the session may have been tempted to chuckle at all this nonsense, but Allen managed to maintain a serious demeanor throughout. It’s an attempt at equivalency with “they can be drafted to fight in a war” and “they are old enough to purchase and consume alcohol” that were rallying cries among the now-Boomer-generation during the era of anti-Vietnam-War protests and when 18 was the national legal drinking age – which it’s worthy noting has since been raised to 21. But Allen’s suggestive comparative measurement to then-and-now sort of begs a pondering: Why not also sanction highschool-age 14 and 15 year-olds to vote? Underage minors showing up at political rallies around the country, or paying taxes at youthful first-jobs, are hardly sufficient reasons to lower the voting age to include pubescent kids. Does the Council intend to establish a driver’s license as the new voter card? There’s a general and accepted proposition that the advent of adulthood, with the attendant responsibilities and obligations

prompting a corresponding level of personal independence and relative maturity, is an appropriate milestone at which to convey the right and privilege of voting. Despite the tendency of District politicians to transparently covet the chance to make national headlines with whatever exotic, edgy and trendy proposal they can concoct in advance of any other jurisdiction adopting the same and ahead of them, this is nothing more than one that crosses an invisible-buteveryone-can-see-it line of common sense. A similar bill introduced by Allen in 2015 went nowhere, failing to engender either a committee hearing or vote by the Council. Now, however, Allen chairs the Judiciary Committee and controls consideration of the measure, giving him the power to potentially advance the proposal through the legislative process and before the full Council for a vote. Current city law allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote and permits 17-yearolds to vote in their registration-affiliated party’s primary election, under the city’s increasingly antiquated “closed-primary” system, if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election. Sorry, kids, but that’s where the voting age should remain.

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28 • APRIL 13, 2018


Market instability inspires caution

High prices, lack of inventory lead to a somewhat stagnate D.C. real estate scene By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com So what’s new with the D.C. housing market and what effect, if any, has President Trump had on folks wanting to live here or not? We checked in with J. James Braeu, branch vice president Dupont-Logan for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage where he oversees an office of 85 agents. The openly gay real estate professional shared several thoughts during a phone interview this week. WASHINGTON BLADE: How are things currently? J. JAMES BRAEU: It’s a different market across the country and that’s not necessarily attributable to this administration or unique to Washington. We’re in a situation where sellers are nervous given the instability and that’s the main influence of this administration. Across the country, there’s a lot of people taking the wait-and-see approach in terms of how the new tax law is gonna affect their pocketbooks going forward. All markets hate instability. That’s the thing that makes investors nervous and it’s not that different when buying or selling a home. It’s your largest investment so if there are questions swirling around your income or whether your job is stable, those things tend to make people nervous and less likely to move up from a smaller home or make any kind of major decision about housing or moving. BLADE: But hasn’t Washington historically been rather impervious to undulations that have rocked markets in other parts of the country? Is that still the case now or not? BRAEU: D.C. was somewhat insulated from the last financial crisis because of the makeup of the work force here. We have a fairly well educated middle management and upwardly mobile work force not to mention that the federal government has always spent at least a third of its procurement dollar here in metro D.C. with the Pentagon and various government contractors here in the area so


Interior of unit one at 4521 Georgia Ave., N.W. It’s on the market now with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for $699,900. Contact Denny Horner of the Denny & Leyla Team (703-629-8455) for details.

that was a stabilizing factor during the last crisis. But what we’re finding now is the general nervousness that’s affecting everyone has also set in here. We have very low inventories and people are not moving so there’s a pent-up buyer base that has been saving their money and waiting and hoping they can finally make that move. Or financially they may be able to, but they’re not finding the homes they want so that’s compounding competition with the houses that are on the market. With low inventory, high prices and no catalyst to start the engine moving again, this has been going on for a few years now. BLADE: What would it take to generate some real action? BRAEU: We haven’t seen any major employer or corporation show interest in coming into the area that would result in an influx of workers and a stronger desire to buy. That’s why everyone was talking so much about the Amazon HQ2. Something like that would results in some major movement in our market. Other than that, there hasn’t been anything on the horizon for awhile.


exterior of 1414 Belmont St., N.W., listed at $669,000. Contact Randolph Adams at 202-656-8019 for details.


Interior of 1414 Belmont St., N.W., listed at $669,000. Contact Randolph Adams at 202-656-8019 for details.

BLADE: Some observers say nationally we’re seeing signs of another bubble forming. Do you see that? BRAEU: Prices have gone up and are continuing to inch up slowly but unlike the previous bubble where they just went up with apparently no limit in what buyers were willing to pay, I don’t know, it’s almost like they’re heeding the lessons they learned the last time and if they’re just not seeing the value, the buyers now are willing to just shurg and say, “This is too hot, I can’t touch it.” Prices are not wildly escalating like they did the last time. At some point, buyers just say, “No, I’ll wait.” BLADE: We don’t see all the cranes around town we saw a couple years ago. Are those projects done and what effect have they had on the market? BRAEU: Not much because they were almost all apartment inventory. That’s slowed but not stopped. In the last year we’ve started to see inventory of condos again but it’s very little. The builders who got burned have not gone back to condos. It’s been more and more luxury apartments so that doesn’t really have an effect on the housing inventory.

APRIL 13, 2018 • 29


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

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




NAGLREP members gather in Washington at their first summit held in 2017.

Upcoming housing events in Washington NAGLEREP, MANNA plan D.C. summits this month By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) has its 2018 LGBT Housing Policy Summit in Washington April 17-18 at the Human Rights Campaign Headquarters (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). The summit brings together LGBT housing industry professionals to address policy as it relates to the LGBT community. Members and guests will find out how to contact their elected representatives to support NAGLREP initiatives. Participants will include the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, HUD, HRC, the NAGLREP Policy Committee, SAGE and others. A welcoming reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17. The bulk of the summit occurs Wednesday, April 18 with speakers and a trip to Capitol Hill to meet with the Equality Caucus. At 5 p.m., attendees will network atop the W Hotel. NAGLREP, founded 15 years ago by Jeff Berger, is primarily concerned with three things according to David Siroty, a straight ally and long-time industry professional who handles the group’s marketing: • The lack of federal laws protecting LGBT citizens from housing discrimination • how aging issues affect LGBT homeowners • youth homelessness • lingering issues associated with joint home

ownership not covered by the Obergefell ruling for example, a longtime unmarried same-sex couple faced with a death and what happens to their house “That’s just one example of why it’s so important to utilize an agent who understands these challenges because they’re much more likely to have ancillary services that can understand the legalities and particulars of that kind of situation,” Siroty says. NAGLREP has about 2,000 members and 22 chapters nationwide and bills itself as one of the largest LGBT trade organizations in the country. This is its second housing policy summit. About 125 are expected this year, Siroty says. Tickets are $99. Full details at naglrep.com. MANNA Inc. is an affordable housing non-profit based in Washington. Its Housing Advocacy Team, self-billed as a “diverse group of individuals committed to ensuring the availability of affordable housing in Washington,” will hold a Homeownership Fair and Town Hall on Saturday, April 21 from 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall Academy (2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.). It’s free. Resource tables and workshops will address issues such as: • credit building • legal estate planning • downpayment assistance • D.C. property tax programs • advocacy • home maintenance • affordable homes Find out more at hatdc.org or look for the event on Facebook.

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We also host private events LINCOLN Restaurant 1110 Vermont Ave., NW Washington, DC 20005 www.lincolnrestaurant-dc.com


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Animal House: The horrifying tale of cat urine in a suburban basement. 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

To be used at the bottom of collateral:

Photo of Charles Tangires & DaVon Moody by Christopher Mueller

30 • APRIL 13, 2018


Spring into action to get top dollar

D.C.’s market still lacks inventory By VALERIE M. BLAKE

The vibrant coming-of-age musical based on Matthew Sweet’s seminal album April 17 – June 10 Pride Nights: May 11 & May 18

All around the country, real estate agents are getting ready for the spring housing market, while here in the bubble we call D.C., our “spring” began in February. We’re not alone. Many other areas of the country suffer from the same lack of inventory that we do and, with homes to purchase in short supply, the distinction between a normally slow winter market and a robust spring one begins to blur. Nonetheless, since sellers generally believe that their best chance for a swift sale and a great price will be from April through June and buyers hope that there will be more homes to choose from during that same time, both are apt to hibernate for the winter and resurface now. Truth be told, however, when sellers wait, they tend to have more competition from other homes in the neighborhood and the buyers, who may also be waiting for warmer weather, have more inventory to choose from and are not as pressed to buy. In March, for example, the average sales price of a D.C. detached home or rowhouse was nearly $780,000. Those listed between $600,000 and $750,000, which is increasingly becoming an entry level price range, sold for a high of 113.81% and an average of 98.4% of the list price. Condominium and cooperative prices averaged $531,000 during the same period and a first-time buyer version priced between $350,000 and $500,000 sold on average for 99.76% and, in one case, a ridiculous high of 155.44% of the list price. Just the basic economics of supply and demand, folks. If you’re considering selling, then now is the time to ride the crest of the wave before the water calms, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can just stick a sign in the yard and buyers will beat a path to your door. Give yourself time to get ready to sell. First, select your real estate agent by seeking referrals from friends or family and by interviewing a few to get a sense of what they have to offer. Once you’re convinced that an agent has the right stuff – industry knowledge, good communicating and negotiating skills, and a marketing plan to get your home in front of as many people as possible quickly – sign a listing agreement. Next, declutter your house by donating anything you don’t use or that doesn’t fit and discarding anything that is in disrepair. If you’re like me, you can get rid of that pair of jeans that will never fit again. And as for that elf who fell off the shelf five years ago, do you really believe


D.C.’s housing market remains highly competitive.

you’ll remember to buy that tube of Super Glue the next time you’re at Home Depot? Check inside and outside the home for items that need repair. Don’t wait for problems to be raised during a home inspection; even if buyers elect to do a cursory inspection prior to making an offer, their top dollar may not be as high if a large item or several small ones appear to require repair. Whatever fixtures buyers see in photographs of your home, they assume will come as part of the package, so replace any items that you want to take with you, such as heirloom chandeliers and bathroom mirrors, then consult your agent to determine how to decorate and stage. The cheapest way to make a great first impression is with a fresh coat of paint. Remember, however, that new paint on walls may make ceilings and trim look dingy, so plan enough time for painting whatever may be necessary, especially if you have wallpaper or popcorn ceilings to remove first. Hire a cleaning service to do a whole house once-over; shampoo carpets, remove grime from ovens, dust ceiling fans and the tops of appliances, and wipe off baseboards. Make sure everything smells fresh and clean, but don’t overdo the air freshener or you may find people sneezing in your living room or sniffing for an underlying unpleasant smell. Now that your house is in showroom condition, leave enough time – seven to 10 days – for your agent to prepare for marketing. This may include staging, taking photographs, shooting a video, creating a website, preparing flyers, and even taking to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to announce that your beautiful home is Coming Soon. Finally, determine a showing schedule and a quick exit strategy so that when you get a request for a showing appointment, all you have to do is raise the blinds, turn on the lights, put the toilet seats down, and leave. 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 202-2468602, email her at Valerie@DCHomeQuest. com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.


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LUCA GUADAGNINO (left) and ANDRE ACIMAN at a screening of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Aciman made a cameo in the film as one of Elio’s parents’ gay friends. PHOTO BY FRANZ RICHTER VIA WIKIMEDA

‘Call Me’ Andre Aciman Hit novel-turned-film was watershed moment for acclaimed author By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Not only are actors Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet — leads in the seminal gay coming-of-age movie “Call Me By Your Name,” — straight, Andre Aciman, author of the 2007 novel upon which its based, is straight as well. He’ll be in Washington on Friday, April 20 for a moderated discussion at the Lisner Auditorium hosted by the PEN/ Faulkner Society, which the Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber will moderate. He spoke to the Blade this week by phone

from his New York home base where he writes and teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His comments have been slightly edited for length. WASHINGTON BLADE: Are you tired of talking about “Call Me By Your Name?” ANDRE ACIMAN: It’s been part of my life for the past 10 years and any opportunity I have to talk, I seize it because I love it. It hasn’t become either

habitual or tedious yet and I don’t see it happening. It’s been fantastic for the past year since the movie came out but also for the past 10 years when the book was initially released to quite a bit of acclaim although it was never a bestseller. BLADE: Did gays embrace it right away or later with the movie tie-in? ACIMAN: It was immediately read. I’m actually writing a piece on that. Initially I received a lot of mail from people into

their 80s who were extremely moved by the story and at the bottom of their e-mail there was always something like I wish my father had been there to give me that kind of a talk. So yes, what they were all lamenting was the fact that the coming-out ritual, which is now so palpable everywhere, it didn’t really exist in those years so they couldn’t even really come out. There was nothing to come CONTINUES ON PAGE 48


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Q U E E RY : 2 0 Q U E ST I O N S F O R A N D Y J O H N SO N


By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Ever feel like gay culture was co-opted more for the delight of outsiders as opposed to being any real statement on pop culture progress even if it’s masquerading as such? That’s the rationale behind “Queer(ed) Performativity,” a new exhibit running April 13-May 20 that aims to draw attention to the way queer bodies are “lauded, celebrated and put on display when in the service of white heterosexual consumption.” The exhibition “underscores the incisive ways in which artists respond to, subvert and refuse a politics of respectability and heteronormativity vis-a-vis both art objects and the body.” It’s housed at the D.C. Arts Center (2438 18th St., N.W.) and features the work of artists such as Eames Armstrong, Antonius Bui, Hosey Corona (last week’s Queery), Alexandra “Rex” Delafkaran and more. Local curator Andy Johnson conceived the idea and is overseeing the installation, which will feature both new and previously exhibited works in a variety of mediums. The opening is April 13 from 7-9 p.m. Full details at dcartscenter.org. Johnson says the exhibit explores art, the body, sexual politics, queer politics and more. “If you think of Jennie Livingston and ‘Paris is Burning,’ Madonna and ‘Vogue,’ ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and its appropriation of drag and house ball culture and Jack from ‘Will & Grace,’ when queer bodies and queerness become visible in the public sphere, there’s a set of terms and conditions that must be met,” the 25-year-old Erie, Pa., native says. “The artists in the show visualize the ways in which queerness is forced to conform and perform while also performing queerness on their own terms.” Johnson is also director of Gallery 102 at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design and a contributing editor for DIRT (dirtdmv.com), an online arts publication about art in the D.C. area. He came to Washington eight years ago for college. He’s single and lives in Mt. Pleasant. Johnson enjoys Netflix, Hulu and all forms of TV in his free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out to friends when I was 18 and my family when I was 20. The hardest person to tell was probably my father. Who’s your LGBT hero? Audre Lorde. She is someone I go to for advice, guidance and fulfillment in my own work. What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? Number Nine. Describe your dream wedding. The institution of marriage doesn’t appeal to me, but if I were to have some sort of commitment ceremony, it would be in a remote place with no one else but me, the other person and the photographer. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? I think in one way or another one can argue that all issues are LGBT issues, but for me right now, it’s the dismantling of white supremacy. That includes myself, the way I operate and experience the world, and the systems in place that uphold white supremacy. What historical outcome would you change? This is cliché but probably the 2016 election. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? I was raised on VH1 reality television, so probably the entirety of “I Love New York.” On what do you insist? My Palmer’s Cocoa Butter chapstick.


What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? I actually deleted my Facebook almost three years ago. Probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I also deleted my Twitter about a year ago. So I got nothing for you. If your life were a book, what would

the title be? “Let Me Sleep for Five More Minutes.” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? I wouldn’t want to be anything but who I am right now. Heterosexuality bores me. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I am a spiritual person. I don’t make it known to most people. I stay away from anything that is explicitly organized. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Never become complacent or comfortable. What would you walk across hot coals for? To be honest, my bed. I’m in a very committed relationship with my bed and sleep. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? LGBT stereotypes, to me, are fabricated and perpetuated by straight people. I don’t really care what straight people think of me. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” What’s the most overrated social custom? Eight-hour work days probably. And also starting work at 9 a.m. What trophy or prize do you most covet? My library. I have an obsession with books. What do you wish you’d known at 18? Everything happens for a reason, good or bad. I’ve learned that I can’t control everything and it’s destructive to try to. Why Washington? I’ve found my niche here. I’m a Cancer, a creature of habit. I like a good routine.


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Washington Post

DC Theatre Scene




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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com DANCE ClancyWorks Dance Company. Apr 14-Apr 15. Dance Place. danceplace.org. Spring New Dances. Thru Apr 14. GMU Center for the Arts at Harris Theatre. cfa.gmu.edu. Tango Impressions. Apr 14. Pan American Symphony Orchestra at Terrace Theatre. panamsymphony.org.

MUSIC Paper Dolls Thru Apr 22. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org.

This vibrant and thought-provoking musical illuminates the world of five Filipino guest workers in Tel Aviv who care for elderly Orthodox men by day— and headline a drag show by night! Based on the true story behind a 2006 Israeli documentary, the Paper Dolls is a rich, unforgettable karaoke musical about the challenges that migrant workers face while yearning for citizenship.

Time for Three Apr 14. Washington Performing Arts at LINE Hotel. washingtonperformingarts.org.

Time for Three—the high-energy string trio and resident ensemble of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra—defies any traditional genre classification, performing music from Bach to Brahms and beyond and creating ingenious arrangements that draw on bluegrass, folk, and rock.

The Gay Men’s Chorus Apr 14. Wolf Trap at The Barns. wolftrap.org.

Join the traveling choral and dance ensembles of the DMV’s premier gay men’s chorus for performances filled with lively harmonies and selections ranging from traditional choral music to Broadway.

A Study of Manhattan Thru May 6. The Art League. theartleague.org.

Through the eyes of his brush, artist Robert Gilbert gives Manhattan a reinterpretation. Gilbert uses color, lines, and light to create a fantasy that reflects the reality of something that is idealized, and yet still rings true. PHOTO COURTESY OF MOSAIC THEATER

THEATRE The Winter’s Tale. Thru Apr 22. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. Shear Madness. Thru Aug 31. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. The Mountaintop. Apr 14. GMU Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu. Three’s Comedy. Thru May 9. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org. Investigation: Detective McDevitt. Thru May 26. Ford's Theatre. fords.org. Chicago. Thru Apr 14. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com. The Crucible. Apr 18-May 20. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. John. Thru Apr 29. Signature Theatre.

sigtheatre.org. Ragtime In Concert. Apr 15. Strathmore. strathmore.org. Translations. Thru Apr 22. Studio Theatre. studiotheatre.org. Roz and Ray. Thru Apr 29. Theater J. theaterj.org. If/Then. Apr 19-Apr 28. Theatre Lab. theatrelab.org. Underground Railroad Game. Thru Apr 29. Woolly Mammoth. woollymammoth.net.

Fred Hersch Trio. Apr 19. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. Kronos Quartet with Wu Man, pipa: A Chinese Home. Apr 19. Washington Performing Arts at GW Lisner Auditorium. washingtonperformingarts.org. Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Isabel Leonard in Recital. Apr 15. 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert. Apr 16. A Portrait & a Frame. Apr 19-Apr 21. NSO at Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras: NSO. Apr 14. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Apr 13. Washington Performing Arts at Kennedy Center. washingtonperformingarts.org. Escher Quartet, String Quartet. Apr 15. Bender JCC. benderjccgw.org. Fatoumata Diawara & Elikeh. Apr 14. BlackRock. blackrockcenter.org. Shostakovich & Iannaccone (DC). Apr 15. WMPA at Church of the Epiphany. wmpamusic.org. The Knights. Apr 15-Apr 16. Dumbarton Oaks. doaks.org. Live at the Heartbreak Hotel Saturday Night, GUMP. Apr 17. Dupont Underground. dupontunderground.org. Klezmer Brunch. Apr 15-Jun 10. Washington Jewish Music Festival. EDCJCC. wjmf.org. Carolyn Malachi. Apr 15. Hill Center. hillcenterdc.org. Sirius Quartet. Apr 19. The Clarice at MilkBoy ArtHouse. theclarice.umd.edu. School for Lovers. Apr 14. National Philharmonic at Strathmore. nationalphilharmonic.org. Let it Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles. Apr 14. National Theatre. thenationaldc.org.

MUSEUMS 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.

Folger Shakespeare Library. Beyond Words: Book Illustration in the Age of Shakespeare. Thru Jun 3. folger.edu. Library of Congress. Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I. Thru Jan 1. loc.gov. National Gallery of Art. Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe. Thru May 13. nga.gov. National Geographic. 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 Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Antebellum Portraits by Mathew Brady. Thru Jun 3. The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers. Thru Sep 3. npg.si.edu.

GALLERIES Strathmore. Up in the Air. Thru Apr 29. Still Lives: Jennifer Allevato. Thru Apr 29. Jennifer Kahn Barlow. Thru Dec 1. strathmore.org. The Art League. Looking Up. Thru May 1. theartleague.org. Arlington Arts Center. Spring Solos 2018. Apr 14-Jun 2. arlingtonartscenter.org. DC Arts Center. Another Dimension. Thru Apr 22. dcartscenter.org. District Architecture Center. reBirth::Washington DC 50 Years after 1968. Thru Jun 1. aiadac.com. gallery neptune & brown. (Inside) Out: New Work by Erick Johnson. Thru Apr 14. galleryneptunebrown.com. Gallery Underground. “Spring Break” Exhibition. Thru Apr 27. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Glen Echo Park. Wild Things: National Capital Art Glass Guild. Thru 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. Zenith Gallery. Light Up Your HeART. Thru Apr 14. zenithgallery.com.

AND MORE... National Cherry Blossom Festival. Thru Apr 15. Various locations. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.


A PR IL 13, 2018 • 37

Guys and ‘Dolls’ Mosaic’s ‘play with songs’ is subversive drag spectacle

Andersson Dance Artistic Director, Örjan Andersson

in collaboration with

By PATRICK FOLLIARD Philip Himberg’s “Paper Dolls” is a play with songs based on a short documentary about five Filipino caregivers in Tel Aviv who perform as a drag troupe on their off hours. Mosaic Theater Company’s U.S. premiere production at Atlas Performing Arts Center gets off to a slow start, peaks midway and doesn’t know when to end. But winning performances by the five dolls and a touching family-centered subplot lifts a clunky script from sinking director Mark Brokaw’s effervescent effort. Set in 2004 Israel against the 2nd Intifada (Palestinian uprising) when guest workers were sought to replace barred Palestinians, the action focuses on the eponymous quintet of gay and transgender Filipinos charged with caring for elderly, religious Jewish men. Their dreary days are spent earning money to send home, but by night they slip away into a world of fun and low-rent glamour. The five include wise Salvatore, better known as Sally (the terrific Ariel Felix); responsible Chiqui (Kevin Shen) and sassy younger sibling Jiorgio (Jon Norman Schneider); subdued Cheska (Rafael Sebastian) and best friend, the alternately giggly and weepy Zhan (Evan D’Angeles). In bustling Tel Aviv, the Dolls find freedom far from home. Their true selves emerge singing karaoke style and performing rehearsed routines while wearing bright boas and dresses made from newspapers like the liberal national paper Haaretz and the more colorful local gay rag, all cleverly rendered by costume designer Frank Labovitz. Behind the show’s splashy, upbeat numbers lies a less bouncy backstage story. The banter is overly G-rated — you’ll overhear racier chitchat from the queens on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — but while changing costumes and eating home cooking, they discuss gender identity, aspects of Israeli culture, family and obliquely refer to sex lives. Another pressing topic is their fragile legal status which depends entirely on employment. If they’re fired or their charge dies, they either exit the country stat or land in a detention center. Into the mix enters Etai (John Bambery), a budding young gay Israeli filmmaker who proposes the dolls be the subject of his new documentary. The friends are suspicious but flattered by his attention and the prospect of some notoriety and cash. Etai, who’s never clearly defined as friend, foe or sexual interest, connects them with the obnoxious owner of Tel

Kennedy Center debut

Kennedy Center debut

Scottish Ensemble Artistic Director, Jonathan Morton

Goldberg Variations— ternary patterns for insomnia (Andersson /Bach, Sitkovetsky) PHOTO BY STAN BAROUH; COURTESY MOSAIC

From left are EVAN D’ANGELES, KEVIN SHEN and RAFAEL SEBASTIAN in ‘Paper Dolls.’

Aviv’s biggest club, Nazari (a convincing Elan Zafir). After a rousing audition that includes the dolls take on both “Hava Nagila” and “Lady Marmalade,” the group gets the gig provided they pare down to three and reimagine themselves as robotic geishas. In another culture colliding number earlier in the show, two dolls dressed as modestly dressed female settlers pair off to perform “No More Tears (Enough IS Enough).” Halfway through the disco hit, they doff their demure duds to finish the song in sparkly skivvies. A beautifully acted subplot offers a glimpse into Sally’s work/home life caring for Chaim (Christopher Bloch) who is dying from throat cancer. The two have come to a warm understanding. Sally calls her boss Papa, and Chaim uses the pronoun she for Sally. Chaim’s daughter Adina (Lise Bruneau), who has come from New York to take her father home with her, is bit confused by the setup. It’s a subtle story of understanding and acceptance. James Kronzer’s dark set captures the look of Tel Aviv’s southern, less affluent neighborhoods while persuasively serving as nightclubs, various homes, and the Western Wall. Projections and sound design by Sarah Tundermann and David Lamont Wilson, respectively, create additional atmosphere. “Paper Dolls” is part of Mosaic’s ongoing Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.

‘PAPER DOLLS’ Through April 29 Mosaic Theater Company Atlas Performing Arts Center 1333 H St., N.E. $20-65 202-399-7993 Mosaictheater.org

Johann Sebastian Bach’s sparkling masterpiece comes to stunning life through a whirlwind of movement and sound in this entrancing collaboration. Photo by Hugh Carswell


April 26–28 | Eisenhower Theater TICKETS ON SALE NOW! KENNEDY-CENTER.ORG | (202) 467-4600

Tickets also available at the Box Office. Groups call (202) 416-8400. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

International Programming at the Kennedy Center is made possible through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.


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FilmFest D.C. returns Annual cinema celebration features stunning diversity By BRIAN T. CARNEY The statistics behind FilmFest D.C. are amazing. Returning for its 32nd year of international cinema and cultural discovery, the festival runs for 11 days (April 19-29) and includes 80 films from 45 countries. Most of the films are Washington premieres. Additional events include Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, panels, workshops and special programs for families. As usual, most of the films are divided into several thematic categories, including World View (international), Trust No One (thrillers), Justice Matters (social justice) and a new section called Cine Latino with films from Latin America. Full details on tickets, locations and show times are online at filmfestdc.org. The fascinating films offered in Global Rhythms (music and dance) focus on a diverse group of performing artists

including “Bolshoi,” about the legendary Russian Ballet company; “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami,” a portrait of the fabulous model/singer/actress and cultural icon; “How They Got Over: Gospel Quartets and the Road to Rock and Roll,” about how these groups influenced the history of American music and battled segregation; and “Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba,” a powerful tribute to the famous singer who also played a crucial role in dismantling apartheid and fighting for social justice around the world. In addition to the full-length movies, FilmFest 2018 also features several creative collections of short films. Shorts offers two slates of films by international directors. Metro Shorts highlights several short films by local filmmakers with films about two African-American girls preparing for a city-wide chess championship, the U Street punk scene and, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. FilmFest DC is also working in partnership with Lunafest to present an international


‘Close-Knit’ is a familial drama with trans themes screening at the 32nd annual FilmFest D.C..

showcase of “short films for, by and about women.” Founded in 2000, Lunafest is a global all-women traveling film festival that hits the screens and amplifies the voices of strong women everywhere. Two festival highlights for LGBT audiences will be “Disobedience” and “Close-Knit.” Based on the award-winning debut novel by Naomi Alderman, “Disobedience” is a richly layered story of sexuality, secrets, gender, faith and family set in an Orthodox community in London. The film was helmed by Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Leilo, who directed the ground-breaking Academy Award winning “A Fantastic Woman.” Leilo also co-wrote the screenplay with Rebecca

Lenkiewicz. Rachel Weisz stars as Ronit Krushka, who fled the restrictive community and who now works as a photographer in New York. She returns to London following the death of her father, a rabbi, and is reunited with her childhood friends Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) and Esti (Rachel McAdams) who got married after Ronit left. Dovid has become like a son to Ronit’s father and is expected to succeed him as rabbi. Esti and Ronit had an affair when they were younger. Their passionate reunion throws the community into disarray and forces the three friends to reexamine their lives. “Close-Knit” is a Japanese film (with English subtitles) that also explores gender norms and familial ties with great delicacy and charm. Eleven-year old Tomo has once again been abandoned by her mother and goes to stay with her uncle Makio, who lives with with Rinko, a trans woman. The cast is rounded out by Makio’s mother who is living in the senior care facility where Rinko works; Rinko’s overly enthusiastic mother; Tomo’s schoolmate Kai, who is struggling with his sexuality; and, Kai’s judgmental mother. Both films feature nuanced acting and exquisite cinematography and provide fresh insights into prejudice and resistance.

REGISTER TODAY! Get your Pride weekend off to a running start with 1,500 runners and walkers at the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K. Held for the 6th time at Historic Congressional Cemetery in southeast Washington DC, the Pride Run will sell out so register now. Race proceeds benefit the following local LGBT charities: Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship, SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), Casa Ruby, and The Wanda Alston Foundation. Register today while you still can!


Friday June 8, 2018 at 7:00pm


Historical Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street SE, Washington, DC 20003


Chip-timed 5K race with winners and age-graded prizes, Finish Line Party with free snacks & drinks plus DJ, Drag Queens, Dance Troupes, raffle prizes and more!




Please consider donating to one or more of our LGBTQ charities at: https://runsignup.com/dcfrpride/donate







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3522 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 COMING SOON. Picture perfect Georgetown detached home located in the quintessential West Village neighborhood on the quiet end of P Street. Expertly renovated to include all the modern amenities home buyers desire, this Federal Style clapboard house also boasts invaluable historic details throughout.

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Luxurious and practical, the renovated kitchen includes a large granite peninsula and direct access to the front rearlevel of the home.two On large the same level you will Theand main features living spaces that are flooded with natural light on three sides. The living room find a large dining room with exposednew beam ceilings, aflthird burning fireplace, features hardwood oors,gas a gas burning fireplace, plantation shutters, granite top wet bar, crown molding, French doors to theand courtyard, anlights. elegantAlso powder room, and more. recessed enjoy a separate den that can be easily converted into a second bedroom that has its own

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E: 01.13.2017


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O U T & A BO U T


D.C. gay groups ready for spring!


322 MASS. AVE. NE • 202.543.7656


The Imperial Court of Washington hosts its Spring Fling at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) on Saturday, April 21 from 6-9:30 p.m. Drag show starts at 7:30 p.m. There will be a best bonnet contest with the winner receiving $50 in cash and other prizes. Bonnets will be featured in a runway show later in the night. All proceeds will benefit the documentary “Queen of the Capital” by Josh Davidsburg. For more information, visit facebook.com/imperialcourtdc. The Ladies of LURe D.C. hosts their BARE Spring Fling at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) on Saturday, April 21 from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Cheer D.C. will give a special performance to collect money to benefit the Cheer for Life Fund and SMYAL. DJ Rosie will spin tracks and the DystRucXion Dancers will perform. Cover is $7 before midnight and $10 after. For more details, visit facebook.com/lurewdc.



Pride Fund to hold 5k benefit



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EVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of oof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of e date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts mnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is sponsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users n link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or y rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any pyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair mpetition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ashington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all bility, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations d warranties.

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Gender-affirming open house slated for April 21 Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.) hosts its Open House for GenderAffirming Services on Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be information on services such as medical, behavioral health and peer support, community health, legal services, public benefits and insurance navigation and more. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Pride Fund hosts its Pride Fund to End Gun Violence 5K kicking off at the Pride Fund office (21 Dupont Circle, N.W.) on Wednesday, April 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The group will meet in front of the office between 6:30-6:45 p.m. Running starts at 6:50 p.m. Tickets are $35. Pride Fund to End Gun Violence was created in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting. For more details, visit facebook.com/ pridefund.

Dykes are ‘Out for Victory’ Dyke Bar Takeover D.C. hosts “Dyke Nite: Out for Victory” at Republic Restoratives Distillery and Craft Cocktail Bar (1369 New York Ave., N.W.) on Saturday, April 21 from 6-10 p.m. Rail drinks and queer cocktails are $8. Alex DB will play music all night. There will be visuals provided by projectionist Mary Wright. For more information, visit facebook. com/dyebartakeoverdc.



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JUNE 6-10, 2018


A Cherry event last year. Thousands attend the annual HIV circuit party each year in Washington.

Party time! Yelk rings in 50th; Cherry events run all weekend By MARIAH COOPER Distrkt C founder Bruce Yelk hosts a 50th birthday celebration with parties on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15. On Saturday, the party gets started at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) from 10 p.m.-6:30 a.m. There will be a performance from Brasil’s Amannda. Boomer Banks, Ray Diesel, Eddie Danger, Michael Roman and Billy Santoro will also perform. There will be an open bar from 10-11 p.m. Admission is $60 at the door. The afterparty continues at Decades (1219 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) on Sunday, April 15 from 6 a.m.-noon. DJ Manny Lehman and DJ Carl Michaels will play music all morning. Tickets at the door are $50. Advanced tickets are $50 for both parties. For more details, visit distrktc.com. Cherry, an annual charity dance music event which raises funds for D.C. area HIV/AIDS services and prevention, hosts multiple parties throughout the weekend. Synergy is at Echostage (2135 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.) on Friday, April 13 from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ Tom Stephan from London and DJ Victor Calderone from New York City will play music. Whitman-Walker Health will provide HIV/AIDS testing until

midnight in front of Echostage. Tickets are $35. Moodin Rouge is at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Saturday, April 14 from 2-7 p.m. DJ Joe Gauthreaux will play remixes of Rita Ora, Diana Ross and more. Tickets are $25. Chroma continues at Town on Saturday, April 14 from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ X Gonzalez and DJ Micky Friedmann from Berlin will spin tracks. HIV/AIDS testing provided by Whitman-Walker Health will be provided outside of Town until midnight. Tickets are $20. Mirage/Sundance, Cherry’s official after-hours event, is at Flash (645 Florida Ave., N.W.) on Sunday, April 15 from 3:309:30 a.m. DJ Eddie Martinez and DJ Alex Acosta will play music for the morning. Aurora/Action continues on the rooftop at Flash from 6 a.m.-noon. DJ Isaac Escalanate and DJ Steve Sidewalk will finish off the party. Tickets for both Mirage and Aurora are $60. Lafantasy Productions present Iris on Sunday, April 15 from 2-7 p.m. at L8 (727 15th St., N.W.) featuring DJ Joe Pacheco’s mix of tribal beats. Tickets are $25. Infinity closes out the weekend at Soundcheck (1420 K St., N.,W.) on Sunday, April 15 from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ Nina Flowers and DJ Alain Jackinsky play music for the night. Tickets are $30. For more information on Cherry events, visit cherrydc.com.

SEP 5-9, 2018


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CA LE N D A R F St., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $47.45-79.95. For more details, visit ticketmaster.com. Gallery 102 (801 22nd St., N.W.) presents “A Transnational Struggle: Truths and Transitions,” a photo exhibit by Laylaa Randera, today through April 27. Randera’s exhibit focuses on how protest movements form, spread and deteriorate. Admission is free. For more details, visit Corcoran.gwu.edu/ gallery-102.

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

TODAY Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) hosts the fifth anniversary of Church Night, a comedy act that parodies religious services, tonight from 8:30-10:30 p.m. There will be performances by Steven Chen, Delilah Denton and Christine Ferrera. Advanced tickets are $15. Tickets at the door are $18. For more information, visit blackcatdc.com. The Imperial Court of Washington hosts a Beer Bash at the D.C. Eagle (2701 Benning Rd., N.E.) tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Beer and Jell-O shots will be served. For more details, visit facebook.com/ imperialcourtdc. Women in Their 20s and 30s, a social discussion group for LBT and all women interested in women, meets today at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 8-9:30 p.m. All welcome to join. For details, visit thedccenter.org. Gamma D.C., a support group for gay or bisexual men who are now or have been in relationships with women, meets at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Ave., N.W.) today from 7:309:30 p.m. For more information, visit gammaindc.org. Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) hosts In Bloom, a cherry blossom party, tonight from 8-10:30 p.m. There will be an open beer and wine bar al night, Japanese food, music and more. General admission tickets range from $50-60. For more details, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

TUESDAY, APRIL 17 Republic (6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.) hosts Alegre Happy Hour, an LGBT happy hour, this evening from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit republictakoma.com. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts its ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for social bridge. No partner needed. For more information, call 301-345-1571. Prime Timers of D.C., a social group for mature gay and bisexual men, meet at Windows above Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) this evening at 6:30 p.m. For more details call George at 301395-0544 or visit primetimersdc.org. Bookmen D.C., an informal gay men’s literature group, discusses “My Night with Reg” by Kevin Elyot at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.


SATURDAY, APRIL 14 LezLink Events hosts a scavenger hunt at the National Portrait Gallery (8th and F St., N.W.) from 2-4:30 p.m. Everyone will meet at the museum entrance at 1:45 p.m. People will be put into teams of four. Teams will work together to find clues in exhibits from 2-4 p.m. At 4 p.m., the teams will be scored and the winning team will be announced. After the hunt, the group will have dinner and drinks. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit facebook.com/lezlinkevents. Pride Outside hosts a Rock Creek Park hike today from 1-4 p.m. The group will meet at the Van Ness-UDC Station (4200 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) at 1 p.m. and will walk to the Soapstone Trail in Rock Creek Park. Hike will last until 4 p.m. The event is in collaboration with the Women’s Information Network’s Pride group. For more details, visit facebook.com/ prideoutside1. The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Highwaymen TNT club bar tonight from 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. There will be draft


A photo from ‘A Transnational Struggle: Truths and Transitions.’

beer, Jell-O shots and food. For more information, visit dceagle.com. Team D.C. hosts its 2018 Night of Champions at the Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) tonight starting at 6 p.m. There will be a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. followed by the awards dinner at 7:30 p.m. Dress code is business casual. The event is in support of the Team D.C. College Scholarship Program for LGBT student-athletes. Tickets are $100. For more details, visit teamdc.org. Emancipation Day Concert and Fireworks is at Freedom Plaza (1455 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) today from 3-8:45 p.m. Performers will include “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, Brandy, Angie Stone, Big

Daddy Kane, Allure, Drew Tillman and many more. Admission is free. For more information, visit emancipation.dc.gov.

SUNDAY, APRIL 15 Queer Girl Move Night hosts a screening of “The L Word” season one episodes nine-12 at Slash Run (201 Upshur St., N.W.) today from 6-11 p.m. The screening will be shown with captions. For more details, visit facebook. com/queergrrlmovienight.

MONDAY, APRIL 16 Pink brings her “Beautiful Trauma World Tour” to Capital One Arena (601

JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W.) hosts a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 10 viewing party tonight at 8 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/jrsbardc. Lesbians Who Tech and Allies D.C. hosts a meet up at Gaslight Tavern D.C. (2012 9th St., N.W.) tonight from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free but registration is required. For more information, visit facebook.com/lesbianswhotech. Lambda Legal hosts Impact D.C., an evening of celebration with the D.C. Young Leadership Council, at Room & Board (1840 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. Sponsorships start at $250. For more details, visit lamdalegal.org/impactdc. National City Christian Church’s LGBT parishioners will meet for happy hour at Uproar Lounge and Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6-7:30 p.m. There is a minimum donation of $10 to benefit the Disciples of LGBTQ+ Alliance. For more information, search “National City Christian Church” on Facebook.



A PR IL 13, 2018 • 43

‘Summer’ of secrets? Coming-of-age teen dramedy is joyous despite flaws




JUN 14



TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER has been reading since she was 3 years old. She lives in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Reach her at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

Parents can be so weird. Take your dad, for instance: he’s got hobbies that defy logic and he’s obsessed with them. Your mom, well, let’s not go there, except to say that if you became her mini-me, she’d be fine with that. Irritating, yes, but what are you gonna do? As in the new book, “Titanic Summer” by Russell J. Sanders, whatever floats their boats. “Your mom and I have some news.” Those are words that no 12-year-old boy wants to hear, but Jake Hardy heard them and everything in between: his parents were getting a divorce. That was four years ago, and Jake survived, more or less. He wasn’t happy when his dad moved from Houston to Philly. He wasn’t happy that his mom got all churchy, either, but he knew that his parents both loved him. He wasn’t sure, though, how they’d feel if they knew that he was gay. Jake had, in fact, just come to that realization himself in the past year or so but he wasn’t sure where to go with it. His school was conservative Christian and homosexuality was forbidden in the school code. Jake couldn’t risk being thrown off the basketball team, so he hid his physical desires. He now had the whole summer to think about everything and make some decisions. Fortunately, he’d do that while hanging out with his dad in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, his dad had other plans: he was a history buff and was seriously obsessed with the Titanic. He’d watched the movie hundreds of times and, to Jake’s dismay, had scheduled a 10-day father-son trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. That’s where some of the Titanic’s dead were buried. That’s also where gay-boy Jake learned that his dad was gay, too. Which was just great, because Dad could’ve been less secretive and that would’ve helped Jake deal, but no. Instead, Jake got secrets and omissions from both his parents, which made him

JUL 10










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angry and his bestie offered no sympathy. He found a new friend, but even that was awful. Was pretending not to be gay the easiest way to live? Though it tends to be somewhat overly long and overwrought, “Titanic Summer” is better than average. Part of that may be because author Russell J. Sanders puts authentic teen language into the mouth of his main character. Sanders’ Jake speaks in the style and manner you’d expect from an attitudinal 16-year-old boy who’s trying to please everyone; that he fails, and sometimes becomes unlikeable, only enhances his realism. That authenticity affects the story itself, but in one distracting way: the plot is enough to keep a reader’s attention, but it’s also too long and contains inconsequential details, as if every second of the titular summer needs recording. A few editorial snips would have been a lifesaver. Even so, that’s minor compared to the waves of enjoyment you’ll get from this story, whether you’re 13-to-17-yearsold, or an adult who’s well past those years. Readers craving a coming-of-age novel will find “Titanic Summer” to be a boatload of goodness. ‘TITANIC SUMMER’ By Russell J. Sanders Harmony Ink Press $16.99 250 pages




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Thinking About Renovating Your DC Home? If your home was built before 1978, it is likely to contain lead-based paint! Renovation work is subject to federal and District lead safety rules, including: • EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) • DC’s Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act and regulations

Applicable provisions include requirements for: • Training and certification • Renovation permit (under certain circumstances) • Use of lead-safe work practices • Pre-renovation notification/education • Cleaning verification or clearance testing

Know your rights as an informed consumer: • Insist on RRP-certified firms and RRP-certified renovators • Request and review firm and staff’s RRP training and certification credentials • Require use of lead-safe work practices For more information, contact the Lead-Safe and Healthy Housing Division of the Department of Energy and Environment at (202) 535-2600, or visit doee.dc.gov/lead.

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A PR IL 13, 2018 • 47

Exotic cocktails Cleveland Park restaurants Bindaas and Sababa match menu flavors with equally bold drink menu

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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

One of the exotic, but not too outre, cocktails at Sababa.

The drinks have cheeky names that echo culture and geography. At Sababa, quaffers find options like Halva World Away, referring to halva, a sesame candy. The flavors mirror those in halva, but turned way up. In the glass, there are elements of pistachio, cardamom and rosewater; the garnish an apricot rehydrated with brandy and then blasted by a blowtorch. It’s a mingling of sweet and bitter, perfect to prepare the palate for a range of flavors. During the meal, a drink like Cradle of Civilization brings together everything on the plate: various ancient grains sneak into a drink built like an old fashioned. The liquor base is Scotch (with barley) and a Virginia bourbon (corn, wheat, rye), macerated with toasted rye to kick up the spice factor. Sorghum molasses is added for sweetness, along with house-infused caraway-sesame bitters. To round it out, it’s served with a caraway-sesame butter cookie. They both would pair well with fierce harissa-spiced meats. Over at Bindaas, naan finds company in drinks like Instant Dharma. This one’s a bright palate-cleanser to stand up to heavier meats and wraps. It begins with sour tamarind and an herbaceous blanco tequila, topped with refreshing sparkling wine. To better wed the flavors, there are also touches of fennel, dried ginger and cloves. The drink called Fool’s Gold is also nothing to laugh at. It’s a colorful drink crafted from a soda that Hill has been tinkering with for years, including citrus, cardamom, coriander, fennel, mace, and the showstopper, saffron. He works with D.C.’s own Cotton & Reed rum for its distillation from fresh sugarcane. The drink ends up tart and fresh, earthy and sweet. Hill looks to local purveyors when possible, so the menu includes One Eight Vodka, Green Hat Gin, Filibuster Whiskey and others. But, true to the food menu, it also features native spirits. At Bindaas, there’s Amrut whisky and dark rum form India; at Sababa, the bar carries Israeli Arak (similar to ouzo). Whether Israeli or Indian, Sababa or Bindaas, all the cocktails are different, cool and exciting.

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The bespoke cocktail bar is no longer an entirely new idea in D.C. To step up the cocktail game, two new restaurants are pouring exciting, wildly original drinks made to match the vibrant, exotic flavors of the dishes. On a busy stretch of Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park, adjoining restaurants Bindaas (3309 Connecticut Ave., N.W.; bindaasdc.com) and Sababa (3311 Connecticut Ave., N.W.; opentable. com), serving casual Indian and Israeli food, respectively, are shaking up a small revolution in cocktails. They are run by Ashok Bajaj, the veteran D.C. restaurateur of the white-tablecloth variety, including the Oval Room and Rasika. Bindaas is the older of the two restaurants, opened in August 2016. In place of the tablecloths are lots of napkins — the street-food concept can get messy. The menu is a set of snacks (chaats), plus heartier dishes like kathi rolls, kebabs, and yes, plenty of naan. Next door is Sababa, where Bajaj has taken another exciting leap. Just opened in March, Sababa offers a menu of fresh hummus and salads, kebabs, shakshuka and more, using recipes from the diverse ethnic mix that is Israel — flavors and ingredients that span the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. Besides sharing space and the same brash, modern style, the twin eateries also share names. Both Bindaas and Sababa mean “cool” in Hindi and Hebrew slang (and Arabic as well). And what’s cooler than cocktails that represent two flavorful cuisines? This being Bajaj, the dishes are street food, but elevated, and therefore require equally thoughtful drinks. To create the menus, Bajaj enlisted Max Hill, a veteran behind the bar in D.C. The drinks are designed to reflect the cuisines of their respective countries. Hill has done his homework, researching history, herbs and spices to come up with the concept. There are ingredients both uncommon and familiar, “like borage flowers, which tastes like cucumber,” Hill says, that he then pairs with gin and lemon. Some ingredients are more obscure, like rosehip, sumac and fenugreek. Still, he notes, “None of them are so obtuse or so arcane as to be unenjoyable.” Hill calls his approach to drinks “culinary.” When he devises the drinks, he works to “do what great chefs do: highlight certain flavors, using spices to accent rather than dominate.”

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‘Call Me By Your Name’ manuscript sold in 24 hours CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

out with as it were so you had to keep it under wraps. BLADE: I know a lot of people found the father’s speech very moving but I felt it worked better in the book. The movie felt so minimalist and languid then the speech to me felt suddenly quite literal and even a bit patronizing. Like suddenly it turned into an after-school special. I’m guessing you would disagree with that but it was the one moment in the movie that felt a bit false to me. I didn’t feel that in the book. ACIMAN: Well I don’t know if it’s a fair criticism but I know when people read that speech they cry to begin with and when they hear it said in the movie they cry again. In other words, the crying begins with the father’s speech and not necessarily with the separation of the two guys. It was quite easy to write and it basically came out rather spontaneously. The way it was, I caught myself writing a sentence like “to feel nothing in order to feel nothing.” Where do you get double negatives like that in a write who sort of watches his language, but I left it that way because I figured this captured what I was trying to say. The difficult part was not that, but writing the scene where Elio sort of blubbers or sort of without thinking ends up telling Oliver what he feels. That was very difficult to write because I didn’t want him to come out and say it. I wanted it to be as ambiguous as possible so he’d have some chance of retraction if it was going to be embarrassing. BLADE: You’ve said in other interviews you’re perplexed when people tell you they cry at the book or the movie. Are you being self-effacing perhaps? It’s a poignant story. That it would induce tears does not seem surprising to me. ACIMAN: I was perplexed by it. Yes, everything about me is modesty so I have to assume, without knowing of course, I have to even assume some of it will be affected. I’m willing to grant that much. On the other hand, the one moment that was moving to me — not to tears, but it was just, I could feel a sort of shudder running through me when I decided to write the scene — was the moment when Elio says toward the end of the book that whenever he passes by that wall where they kissed rather passionately, he still feels the presence of that kiss. For me that was very moving and very true but I doubt anybody cried in that moment because it wasn’t anything that sort of brings tears to your eyes. … Also when Oliver tells him, “I remember everything,” I could see where that could be moving, but it’s not a sad crying. That’s what perplexes me. People tell me they cried for days. I always ask them to tell me why

ARMIE HAMMER (left) as Oliver and TIMOTHEE CHALAMET as Elio in ‘Call Me By Your Name.’

and nobody can explain it. BLADE: Don’t you think it’s as simple as them being startled that you captured feelings so well they’d previously felt themselves? ACIMAN: Well maybe that’s the part I don’t understand totally. I do understand it partly. … What I don’t understand is you haven’t read this all over the place? Am I the only one who does this and many people say yes. I can’t believe this because, well, among other things there’s Marcel Proust, the great Michelangelo of the psychological book. (Editor’s note: Aciman is editor of “The Proust Project.”) BLADE: Oliver and Elio are both intellectuals or at least budding intellectuals perhaps for Elio. Would the story have worked if they’d had average IQs or were more blue collar? ACIMAN: If they had lower IQs or were less educated, I would not have been interested in them at all. The fact that Elio is already precocious is part of what I was at his age. I had read everything almost by the time I was 17. I knew classical music, I loved the high arts and yes, I was a bit elitist and still am. In many respects if they were the working class sort or if it had been some kind of gas station love affair where they did it in the bathroom or whatever, I have no interest in that and it doesn’t even eroticize me. … I’m not interested in class differentiation, the sort of pedestrian lifestyle or what you’d call the average man. I’ve never been interested in average people. BLADE: Could it have worked if they’d been a straight couple?

ACIMAN: I think it would have worked the same exact way. The fact that Oliver tells him this is all wrong, that’s exactly what an older tutor type would say if the guy had a crush on his tutor, she would say, “No, this is wrong, I’m your dad’s employee, I don’t want to do this.” The other aspect is that it starts with a very physical and brutal infatuation. It could be a girl and a girl as far as I’m concerned. The fact that Elio is so embarrassed is not because it’s a gay love. It’s because he’s so attracted to him. Attraction is not something, of course it’s very natural physically speaking, but in society, it’s not exactly the kind of thing one wants to let on that one feels … but not because it’s gay. BLADE: Was it a hard sell? ACIMAN: Oh, you mean you don’t know? I was writing another novel and I had stopped writing it because it was giving me such a hard time. And then I just wrote “Call Me By Your Name” in three-and-a-half months. So I went to my agent’s office and I said I had finished a novel and she said, “Oh, you finally finished it,” it was going on three years. I said, “No, I wrote a new novel.” … She wrote to me early the next morning saying she had read it overnight and she loved it and wanted to sell it and it was sold within 24 hours. Jonathan Galassi (president of publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux) read it very, very quickly and he knew, I think, that he felt it was the right thing for them and he bought it right away. (Note: the other book he was working on was eventually published — “Eight White Nights” in 2010.)


BLADE: You held firm to your ending although you were very open to other editing. Did you have final cut in your contract and if so, how common or uncommon is that in the publishing world? ACIMAN: It’s more of a courtesy relationship. They make recommendations. If you absolutely refuse, they’ll go along with it. Jonathan Galassi is known to say to people, “It’s your book.” In other words, you can do what you want. But he did make suggestions and I did cut some things. The chapter in Rome was originally about twice its size. It was very long because I was enjoying myself at that point. They had had sex, everything was on the table so I could just go with this honeymoon trip to Rome and have a great deal of fun with it. I wanted them to go to the cemetery where John Keats is buried but I figured we’ll cut this and it was fine. It made perfect sense to cut except when I feel, maybe five-10 percent of the time what I had in place was correct. BLADE: Tell us about the PEN/Faulkner event. Will you be interviewed? ACIMAN: Yes but that’s all I know. I don’t know what the questions are and I always want to be surprised and think on my feet. But it’s flattering that they invited me and I’m very pleased. BLADE: When the movie came out, did you attend many of the film festivals and press junkets? ACIMAN: No. I just went to the one in Berlin and the New York one. When CONTINUES ON PAGE 49



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‘Call Me’ author didn’t want sex, nudity in adaptation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 48

you’re a writer, you’re an extra in the mix. People want to see the movie stars. They’re sexy figures at this point and that’s what people want to see. They don’t need the intellectual to sort of narrate his own work. It’s not that interesting. BLADE: Was there any talk of possibly you adapting the screenplay before James Ivory got involved? ACIMAN: I don’t think there was. I’m not really trained in that although I could do it. I didn’t want to put my energies into something like that while I was writing another book. I think James Ivory did a fantastic job altogether and (director) Luca (Guadagnino) also because when you’re filming something there are changes you make to the script all the time. BLADE: Did you know Luca’s work before this got optioned? ACIMAN: Yes and I was extremely happy because I had seen a few years earlier the film “I Am Love,” which I particularly liked. BLADE: Have you known many gay people throughout your life? ACIMAN: Oh god yes, many. In fact I would say most of my friends, my best friends are gay. Not all, but most. I tend not to write alpha male types. They’re not something I can speak with about the life of the mind, the life of the soul. Gay people tend to be much more open to those sorts of touchy subjects and I found myself more interested in discussing those things. BLADE: Did you listen to Armie Hammer’s audiobook of “Call Me”? ACIMAN: Yes, of course and I loved it. It took me a bit to get used to the fact that Oliver is actually reading Elio’s story. It was off putting for the first few minutes but then you get used to it and it’s fine. BLADE: Luca has been talking about a sequel. How involved are you in that and what is your general feeling? Outside of “The Godfather,” sequels usually end up being mistakes. ACIMAN: Well you said something very true. It could easily become like “Rocky 5, 6, 7, 8,” which are terrible movies, although I do love “Rocky IV” I have to admit, I don’t know why. But anyway no, we have had conversations about the sequel but I think we’re still a few years away from it because the actors would have to be a bit older so we can see how time might affect them. The story is going to have to take a new spin and adapt some of the stuff at the end of the book which was left off in the film but it’s up in the air. It’s a nice idea but we have no idea

where we’re going with it yet. BLADE: So it’s very preliminary? ACIMAN: Totally. BLADE: Did this idea come up during production or after the movie was a hit? ACIMAN: No, during production. When I met Luca in Italy, he was already talking about a sequel. BLADE: Do you think that influenced his decision on how to end the movie? ACIMAN: I don’t know. It’s not the cliffhanger you have at the end of a season on television for example. It’s more a quiet closure that could easily be reopened again if we decide to. BLADE: Where did you watch the Oscars and how did you feel when James Ivory won? ACIMAN: I was there, seated a bit back. They didn’t say “Call Me By Your Name” when he won so for a split second I was thinking, “Oh, we lost,” and I turned to my wife and she said, “We won, you idiot.” I was very happy and particularly touched by the graciousness that he gave me a call out. … It made me feel that I too, got an Oscar through him. BLADE: Ivory said he would have liked more nudity in the film. It did feel a bit incongruous to me that here we have this gay love story but there was more straight sex and nudity in it than gay. Not that you go for the sex but as a point of reference. ACIMAN: I didn’t agree with him because he had male nudity, I think, in “A Room With a View” where you had three men running around the pond totally naked. When you see a woman nude, you see breasts and there’s nothing else really to see. You don’t see an open vulva to be sort of vulgar for a second. You don’t see that, genital nudity but you do with a man. … Frankly I don’t think it was necessary and I didn’t want to see them actually fucking. That would have been in bad interest to begin with. I don’t like to see the sexual act, gay or hetero, on screen. It really bores me. I no longer enjoy watching it. I mean if I want to see porn, I’ll go to a site and look at porn. BLADE: Do you feel the film got shortchanged at the Oscars? ACIMAN: I was frustrated. I thought to be honest, I haven’t seen the Churchill film (“Darkest Hour”) but I’ve seen cuts of it. I think there’s a bit of hysterical acting in it and I was very disappointed Timmy didn’t get it because I think he should have, age nonetheless. And I really felt the film itself should have gotten it because it’s a terrific film. Everybody is talking about it. … Even just two days ago, it was referenced in relation to the opera “Tristan and Isolde.” I thought it was a bad decision but one

should never question the decision of judges, you know. So I left it at that but I was frustrated, of course I was. BLADE: Do you remember writing the scene where the title notion comes from and how that came to you? ACIMAN: Yes. First of all, it was not the original title of the book. We went through a whole list of titles and at the very end I said, “What about ‘Call Me By Your Name?’” Now people ask me to sign the book to them using my name and they tell me they do that when they’re having sex. It becomes something very intimate when you give them your name. They become you whether it becomes for one second and then you forget about it and you’re embarrassed or you do it repeatedly. In the film, it was a gesture where you absolutely want to be one with someone and you basically no longer know where their body starts and yours is. That confusion is one of the most beautiful things in life I think. BLADE: I took it as sort of a gay reclaiming of the biblical notion of “the two shall become one.” ACIMAN: Could be. BLADE: In the book, they kiss after Elio vomits. They look in the toilet after each other. Were you saying that attraction sometimes is so intense it can transcend bodily functions we ordinarily would be repulsed by? ACIMAN: Yeah, because I wanted basically aside from the fact that I wanted every orifice to be part of the game here, but it’s more than that. I think that body functions — many people, even married people will shut the door when they go to the bathroom. They don’t want the other person to see. Why? Because it’s disgusting? Or because it’s private? And the whole notion of the book is that there is no private. … If you ejaculate in a peach, I will eat the peach with your cum in it and I want to see you going to the bathroom. I want to know everything about you. … It’s an idyll to love so it has to include everything, even vomit. BLADE: Some of the #MeToo stuff was same-sex like with James Levine and Kevin Spacey. I know that’s a whole other thing but the fact that that was playing out when the movie was so popular, did any of that land on your shores? ACIMAN: No, not at all really. A, because I’m not really interested in it but what did land on my shore is the fact that Elio is 17 and Oliver is a grown up. … Many things happened to me at that age and I was just lucky to have found nicer people. … But I wanted Elio to be 17. … If he’d been 18, that would have seemed, to me at least, that I was trying to get the OK from the thought police.

BLADE: What are you writing now? ACIMAN: I have a collection of essays tentatively called “Homo Irrealis,” that’s finished and I’m working on another book, sort of a bilateral novel about three lives … that explores how people have attractions to people of the opposite sex and the same sex. BLADE: When did you discover Proust? ACIMAN: When I was 14 the first time, then I stopped reading him because it was just too close. It was very, very close but I felt I wanted to be influenced by this guy but I still needed to read Dostoevsky so I put him off. But my father was a big Proustian lover and he had read Proust twice in his life. I discovered him again in my late teens and it changed my life, it changed me as a writer. It told me ironically that everything I had thought was OK and every way I wanted to write was OK since he was doing it. BLADE: How much gets lost in translation with Proust? ACIMAN: Well some of it is definitely lost but if you’re dealing with a very good translator, the loss is not severe. BLADE: When you’re writing, do your productive daydreams very often seep over into procrastination? ACIMAN: Are you kidding, I’m the most undisciplined writer in the world. I rewrite many, many, many times so that’s why I don’t produce a giant blockbuster every two years as many writers do. BLADE: Was the three-and-a-half months for “Call Me” revisions and everything? ACIMAN: Yes. I began it in April and handed in the manuscript on Labor Day in 2005. BLADE: Do you enjoy teaching or just do it to pay the bills? ACIMAN: No, I need teaching because it turns out, I’ll say this quite openly, I think I’m a very good teacher because I take people to places that they ordinarily would never have thought existed. And I like to hear people think and hear them draw on their feelings to what they’re thinking about as opposed to just giving me the gibberish jargon they think they need to. … If I just did it to pay the bills, I would have stopped.

THE PEN/FAULKNER FOUNDATION PRESENTS:‘CALL ME BY YOUR NAME: AN EVENING WITH ANDRE ACIMAN’ Friday, April 20 GW Lisner Auditorium 730 21st St., N.W. 7 p.m. general admission: $20 admission, book & signing: $35 gwutickets.com

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