Washingtonblade.com, Volume 49, Issue 21, May 25, 2018

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LGBT candidates to watch in 2018 Record number of out hopefuls seeks to rein in Trump’s attacks By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com With high hopes for a change after nearly two years of President Trump in the White House, a record number of LGBT candidates are seeking election in the 2018 mid-terms for federal, state and local offices. With the general election a few months away and many candidates facing primaries before that time, the Washington Blade has reached out to several LGBT candidates who aren’t as high profile as Sen. Tammy

Baldwin (D-Wis.) or New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, but are still running noteworthy campaigns. Below are the candidates’ responses to our questions about why they’re running and what their win would mean for the LGBT community: William Cunningham, former legislative aide to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and gay candidate seeking to represent New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district — Primary: June 5 Why are you running for Congress? I am a native of South Jersey. I was raised by a young single mother living paycheck to paycheck at an hourly wage job. When illness caused her to miss work, we were evicted - and eventually homeless for half of my high school career. Despite these obstacles - and with the help

WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM is running for Congress from New Jersey. CONTINUES ON PAGE 14


U.S. agencies to mark Pride month But Cabinet secretaries won’t attend celebrations By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO, Defense Secretary JAMES MATTIS and HUD Secretary BEN CARSON aren’t attending Pride celebrations hosted by their agencies. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTOS OF POMPEO AND CARSON BY MICHAEL KEY

With Pride month approaching, many U.S. agencies in the second year of the Trump administration are continuing plans to hold celebrations for their LGBT workers, although Cabinet leaders will be absent and some annual events are in question. The absence of Cabinet leaders at these events stands in contrast to

the Obama years when they were featured speakers at the celebrations, wished LGBT federal workers a happy Pride and reflected on the significance of the annual event. Meanwhile, President Trump has an opportunity to reverse his decision last year to ignore the occasion and issue a proclamation recognizing June as Pride month, which was the custom of former Presidents Obama and Clinton. Obama also each year in office hosted a reception at the White House with LGBT leaders to commemorate Pride. CONTINUES ON PAGE 12

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Comings & Goings LGBT Bar Association names best lawyers under 40 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 all the 2018 recipients of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 Awards recently announced by the National LGBT Bar Association. Some from the local area include Sarah B. Pitney, an associate with Benach Collopy, LLP. She said, “I am honored to be recognized as one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s 2018 Class of Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. Representing LGBT immigrants in obtaining lawful status in the United States is one of my greatest joys and I am humbled every day by the stories my clients have to MADELINE GITOMER tell. From trans women fleeing violence in El Salvador to PHOTO COURTESY OF GITOMER gay couples seeking family-based green cards, I feel the connection every day to our global LGBT community.” Another is Madeline H. Gitomer an associate with Hogan Lovells LLP. She said, “I am thrilled to receive this recognition. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work on behalf of the LGBT community through my work at Hogan Lovells and am honored to be included with such a distinguished group of lawyers.” Gitomer previously served as a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Children and Families THOMAS SAUNDERS from the Office of Sen. Christopher Dodd. She is co-chair, PHOTO COURTESY OF SAUNDERS Lambda Legal DC Young Professionals Network and a board member of Custody and Support Assistance Clinic. Also honored was Thomas N. Saunders, assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia. Thomas was an international human rights attorney with Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll PLLC and Law Clerk for the Honorable Laura Swain, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. He said, “I am honored to receive this recognition, and humbled to be named alongside such an impressive group of attorneys from across the country.” Congratulations also to Andrew McCarty of CHEF MIKKO KOSONEN PHOTO COURTESY OF KOSONEN Baltimore, elected the new president of Brother Help Thyself. McCarty has deep roots in Maryland in both the local and national LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities. McCarty neatly ties his professional day job as a hair stylist with more volunteer work at Helping Up Mission by cutting hair for that organization’s clients: men fighting addiction and homelessness. Congratulations also to Chef Mikko Kosonen and his business partner and husband Rob Wing who recently opened a Nordic café in Dupont Circle called “Mikko—Nordic Fine Food.” The café is at 1636 R St., N.W., just east of 17th Street. It features Danish-style open-faced sandwiches, homemade Finnish-style soups, house-smoked salmon, and traditional Nordic pastries like cinnamon rolls and cardamom buns. Chef Mikko expects to start offering daily lunch and dinner specials and we should be on the lookout for special events like tasting menus, Nordic-food cooking demonstrations and guest chefs. The townhouse the Café is in is painted the blues and reds of the Nordic country flags. Chef Mikko has been a fixture of the Washington food scene for more than 21 years. He served 15 years as the chef to the Finnish ambassador. He has been running his own high-end catering firm for the past five years. His current list of clients includes ambassadors and other members of D.C.’s diplomatic corps. He has cooked for presidents and princesses. Now he is excited to introduce Nordic food to all Washington. Chef Mikko started cooking at 13 at his family’s restaurant Cassi in Stockholm, Sweden. He trained at the prestigious Helsinki Culinary School and honed his skills at the Havis Amanda restaurant in Helsinki.


D.C. man charged in gay murders sentenced to 33 years

Suspect told witness he shot victims because they thought he was ‘soft’

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

A D.C. Superior Court judge on May 18 sentenced District resident David Bright, 31, to 33 years in prison for the February 2016 murders in a Northeast Washington rooming house of two of his housemates that law enforcement sources said were gay. Police and prosecutors have said Bright’s motive for fatally shooting Clifton David Francis, 51, and David Aumon Watkins Jr., 45, appeared to be a dispute over money and that there was no evidence to indicate the incident was a hate crime based on the victims’ sexual orientation. But according to a sentencing memorandum filed in court by prosecutors earlier this month, Bright’s motive for the murders may have been related to his state of mind beyond the dispute over money for rent at the rooming house. The eight-page memorandum says a witness who knew Bright and whom police identified as Witness 2 provided investigators with a possible reason for Bright’s agitated state of mind at the time of the slayings. It says Witness 2 told detectives Bright called him on his cell phone the day of the murder saying he just killed two men. “The defendant went on to say words to the effect of, they thought I was soft, the n*ggas on 58th thought I was soft, they thought I was soft, my whole life people thought I was soft, I had to show them I’m not soft,” the memorandum recounts Bright telling Witness 2. Bright’s mention of “58th” is a reference to the address of the rooming house where he and the two men he confessed to killing lived at 509 58th St., N.E. The sentencing came two months after Bright pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder while armed in connection with the double murder as part of a plea bargain deal offered by prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office. The deal to which Bright agreed called for a sentence of 33 years after which Bright would be placed on five years of supervised release. Superior Court Judge Ronna Beck, who had the authority to hand down a different sentence, approved the terms of the plea agreement and sentenced Bright to the 33-year prison term proposed in the agreement along with the five years of supervised release following the prison time. In the sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Nielsen, the lead prosecutor in the case, wrote that homicide detectives learned through witnesses that on the evening before the murder Bright and Francis had a heated argument over whether Bright could remain a tenant in the rooming house. The memorandum says Bright had become an unofficial renter through an arrangement with one of the two men he killed and that Francis told him that arrangement was no longer viable and Bright would have to move out within two weeks. Bright raised strong objections to that request, saying he had already paid his rent for a longer stay, the memorandum states. It says according to an account by another housemate listed as Witness 1, the following afternoon Bright entered the house, ran up to his second floor bedroom and ran back down to the living room where Francis was sitting in a chair watching television and shot Francis multiple times in the head and body with a handgun. Seconds later Watkins ran into the living room after hearing the gunshots and yelled to Bright, “What you doing, stop it, you’re crazy,” Witness 1 quoted Watkins as saying. Bright then turned his gun on Watkins and shot him point blank in the chest after which Watkins crawled to his bedroom followed by Witness 1, who called police, the memorandum says. “Police responded and found Mr. Francis laying on his stomach in the living room, bleeding profusely, including from the head, with brain matter visible on the floor,” the memorandum says. “He sustained fourteen (14) gunshot wounds, including two to the head and one to the neck,” says the memorandum, adding that he was pronounced dead at the scene. It says Watkins was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital. With the help of Witness 2, D.C. police the following day located and arrested Bright on a charge of first-degree murder while armed, the memorandum says. It says police found a gun in the car Bright was driving and later identified it as the murder weapon. He has been held without bond since the time of his arrest.


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D.C. gay man attacked near Georgia Avenue A gay man was attacked and beaten by two or three unidentified male suspects about 1 a.m. Sunday, May 20, who shouted anti-gay names as they knocked him to the ground and repeatedly kicked him, according to a D.C. police incident report. The report lists the incident as an aggravated assault with intent to rob and says it’s being investigated as a suspected anti-gay hate crime. The report says the incident took place at the intersection of Sherman Avenue and Harvard Street, N.W. as the victim was walking home. “One of the suspect(s) violently pushed him to the pavement,” the report says. “Thereafter, the suspects repeatedly kicked him without cause throughout his body while yelling “Fucking Faggot,” the report says. The victim, a 25-year-old gay man who works as a bartender, spoke to the Blade on condition that he not be identified out of concern that the attackers might live near his home. He said he’s fearful that they could target him for another attack. He said he’s considering taking down a message he posted on Facebook announcing the attack in which he included a photo of his face with bruises and a cut that he sustained in the attack. His Facebook posting prompted D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, to reach out to the victim, who did not call police to report the incident at the time of the attack. Parson arranged for officers and a detective to visit the victim at his home to take a full report of the incident. “Yes, I was hesitant to report it initially because I didn’t think there would be any real chance that they would find them,” the victim told the Blade. “And I was tired and I was in pain so I took a Motrin and I went to sleep,” he said. He said his injuries were not serious enough to warrant medical attention. He said that because the attackers struck him from behind he didn’t get a good look at them for purposes of identifying them. The victim said he told police one of the suspects reached into his pants pocket while he was lying on the street and attempted to take his wallet. He said he pushed the suspect away and then ran home, preventing what could have been a robbery. A detective working on the case told him police noticed that there were security cameras in the area where the attack occurred and police planned to obtain the video footage from the cameras to determine whether the suspects were captured on video while committing the assault. The May 20 attack against the gay bartender took place a little over a month after two gay men were hospitalized after they were attacked and beaten by three unidentified male suspects in the city’s U Street, N.W. entertainment district near four gay bars. Police said the attackers shouted anti-gay slurs at the two men as they punched and kicked them. One suffered a broken nose and broken teeth and the other suffered a concussion after being knocked unconscious. No arrests have been made in the incident, which police have listed as a suspected anti-gay hate crime. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

D.C. lifts ‘stop work’ order on St. Thomas Church The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has lifted a stop work order on construction of a new church building for St. Thomas Parish Episcopal Church in Dupont Circle that church officials said could have forced the church into bankruptcy. DCRA said it issued the stop work order on construction of the church and an adjoining 56 apartment residential building following a decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals overturning a zoning variance approving the two new buildings on a St. Thomas’ Parish Episcopal Church in Dupont Circle faces a site that the church has owned for more than 120 financial crisis after a stop work years. The variance was issued by the D.C. Board of order issued by the city on its new Zoning Adjustment. building. The order has now been lifted. The court acted in response to a lawsuit PHOTO BY AGNOSTICPREACHERSKID VIA contesting the zoning variance filed by the Dupont WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Circle Citizens Association, which says the planned seven-story apartment building is too large for the neighborhood. Rev. Alex Dyer, the priest in charge of St. Thomas Parish, said the church entered into a partnership with a developer that included selling two-thirds of its property at 18th and Church Streets, N.W. as part of a joint project in which the apartment building


project would pay the costs for building the new church. The longtime LGBT supportive parish’s original church building was destroyed by a fire in 1970 that authorities listed as arson. Dyer said the DCRA lifted the stop work order for the church during the first week in May in response to requests by church members and supporters who noted the church has appealed the court’s decision overturning the zoning variance. He said the halt to construction was forcing the church to continue to pay a construction company even though work had stopped. According to the church’s attorney, Lyle Blanchard, one week later at the request of the church and the developer of the apartment building, a D.C. Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring the city to lift the stop work order for both the church and the apartment building. Blanchard said the attorneys have also introduced a motion before the Superior Court seeking a permanent injunction that would ban DCRA from reissuing a stop work order for both buildings until after the Court of Appeals issues a final order or mandate directing the Board of Zoning Adjustment to reassess whether to approve the zoning variance. Attorneys for the church and apartment building have argued that the appeals court ruling says the zoning variance could be reissued by the Board of Zoning Appeals, which first approved the variance, if it provides a better legal rationale to justify it. Meanwhile, Dyer, who’s gay and lives with his husband and their toddler child, said the church and the apartment building developer are negotiating with the Dupont Circle Citizens Association to work out a possible settlement over the lawsuit. The legal fees in response to the lawsuit and construction delays have cost the church over $100,000, Dyer told the Washington Blade. “This has been a financial hit for the parish,” he said. “We could have spent that money for projects in support of the community.” LOU CHIBBARO JR.

D.C. Office on Aging to launch LGBT seniors dining program A spokesperson for the D.C. Office on Aging told the Washington Blade that the office’s director, Laura Newland, has committed to funding a monthly LGBT community dining event for LGBT seniors in several locations across the city. DOA spokesperson Karen Dorbin said the dining events will include entertainment, learning opportunities and peer-led support groups that could begin as soon as next month as part of a pilot program. She said the funding would continue through 2019 and beyond LAURA NEWLAND, executive depending on how the program works out. director of the D.C. Office “All our meal programs are operated through on Aging, has committed to funding a monthly LGBT our lead agencies, even if they partner with community dining event. other organizations, like the D.C. [LGBT] Center, to reach specific populations,” Dorbin said. “We anticipate the programs will launch in June, at which time we will send a formal press release,” she said. Dorbin said Newland approved the LGBT meals program at the recommendation of the DOA’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee, which released a report outlining its recommendations in April. As part of its existing programs, the DOE operates six Senior Wellness Centers and 50 congregate meals sites throughout the city. Although LGBT seniors are welcome at all of these sites, Newland told the Blade last September, the DOA had not yet created a congregate meals program specifically for LGBT seniors. DOA official Christian Barrera told members of the advisory committee in an email in April that Newland had also approved the committee’s recommendation that DOA provide LGBT “cultural competency, diversity and inclusion training for all DOA funded services and programs.” David Mariner, executive director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, said DOA had yet to release a formal request for proposals from LGBT organizations such as the DC Center to submit bids to become a host for one of the congregate meals programs. Dorbin said final details of the program were still being worked out and that groups such as the DC Center could play a role in the program. LOU CHIBBARO JR.



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Bonds, Cheh, Allen receive highest GLAA rating of +10 LGBT group says mayor lost points on non-LGBT issues By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance last week awarded a rating of +10, its highest possible rating, to D.C. Council members Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) who are running for re-election in the city’s June 19 Democratic primary. A nonpartisan D.C.-based LGBT advocacy group founded in 1971, GLAA rates D.C. Council and mayoral candidates on a scale of -10, the lowest possible score, to +10 the highest possible rating, on both LGBT and non-LGBT issues that the group deems important for the LGBT community. MAYOR BOWSER lost points on GLAA’s ratings on It says it bases its ratings on non-LGBT issues. the candidates’ record on LGBT and the other issues it weighs WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY in each election cycle as well as the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire, including the degree of understanding and “substance” the candidates display in their responses. The group assigned its next highest rating, +9.5, to Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Council member Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1). It assigned a +9 rating to gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kent Boese (D), who’s running against Nadeau in the June 19 primary for the Ward 1 Council seat. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who’s running for re-election and received the unanimous endorsement last week from the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest local LGBT political group, received a GLAA rating of +7. In a statement accompanying its ratings, GLAA said Bowser agreed with its positions “on most issues and had good substance in her questionnaire but in some areas lacked concrete plans for improving employment for underrepresented populations and combating pay-to-play practices.” GLAA added, “Her administration has a record of demonstrated success as an ally in working with LGBTQ constituents, particularly in enforcing transgender healthcare regulations and supporting bodies such as the Office of Human Rights and the LGBT Liaison Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department.” Although it didn’t say so directly, the GLAA statement suggests Bowser lost a few points on non-LGBT issues such as city contracting practices. Some LGBT activists have said non-LGBT issues should not be used as rating criteria by an LGBT organization because LGBT people often have differing views on those issues. GLAA issued ratings of +6 to Democratic mayoral contender James Butler and a +5 rating to Democrat Earnest Johnson, a political newcomer who is also running against Bowser in the Democratic primary. Bowser is considered the odds on favorite to win the primary. The group gave gay Libertarian Party activist Martin Moulton, who’s running unopposed in his party’s mayoral primary, a 2.5 rating, saying Moulton “provided some positive substance in his questionnaire and has a fair record supporting LGBTQ individuals.” But it says Moulton “did not support GLAA positions” on a number of LGBTrelated issues in which GLAA has called for government intervention and funding. Ann Wilcox, who’s running unopposed for the Statehood Green Party nomination for mayor, received a 0.5 GLAA rating. The group noted that Wilcox did not return the questionnaire, a development that prompts GLAA to issue a “0” rating if it is unaware of a candidate’s positions or record on LGBT issues. “She received a rating based on her limited record on LGBTQ issues known to GLAA from past evaluations,” the group said in its statement. In the race for Council Chair, GLAA gave Democrat Ed Lazere, who is running against Mendelson in the primary, a rating of +7.5, saying Lazere “agreed with GLAA on all issues and showed good substance in his questionnaire.” It said he has a “positive record supporting LGBTQ concerns.”

In the at-large Council race, GLAA issued a rating of +7 to Democrat Jeremiah Lowery, who is one of two Democrats challenging Bonds in the primary. The other Democrat, Marcus Goodwin, didn’t return the questionnaire and received a “0” rating, GLAA’s statement says. The remaining two at-large candidates rated by GLAA, Statehood Green Party contender David Schwartzman, received a +7.5 and Libertarian Party candidate Denis Hicks received a “0” rating for not returning the questionnaire. In the Ward 1 race, among the two other Democrats challenging Nadeau, former D.C. Superior Court Judge Lori Parker received a +1.5 and community activist Sheika Reid received a “0” for not returning the questionnaire. In its statement, GLAA said Parker did not support GLAA’s positions on a number of issues. “While generally supportive on LGBTQ concerns, her questionnaire lacked substance in some areas and she has no record on LGBTQ issues known to GLAA,” the group said in its statement. In the Ward 3 Council race, Cheh, who received a +10 rating, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. In the Ward 5 Council race, GLAA gave incumbent Democrat Kenyan McDuffie a +8 rating, saying he offered “good substance” in his questionnaire responses and “has a demonstrated record of supporting LGBTQ concerns.” GLAA gave a “0” rating to four Democrats challenging McDuffie in the primary, noting that each failed to return the questionnaire and has no known record on LGBT related issues. They are Gayle Hall Carley, Nestor Djonkam, LaMonica Jeffrey, and Bradley Thomas. Statehood Green Party candidate Joyce Robinson-Paul, who’s also running for the Ward 5 seat, received a “0” rating for not returning the questionnaire and who’s record on LGBT issues is unknown to GLAA. In the Ward 6 Council race, Democrat Lisa Hunter, who’s running against Allen in the primary, received a +6.5 rating. GLAA said she agreed with the group on all issues, showed good substance in her questionnaire responses, and has “some record demonstrating support for LGBTQ concerns.” GLAA said that Allen, who it gave a +10 rating, “agreed with GLAA on all issues and offered impressive substance in his questionnaire.” It said Allen “has an extensive record supporting LGBTQ concerns.”

Trans woman sues D.C. apartment building for bias A transgender woman of color and longtime D.C. resident filed a lawsuit on Tuesday charging that the owner of an apartment building on Georgia Avenue, N.W. and the management company that ran the building subjected her to a degree of discrimination and harassment “that shocks the conscience.” Tiegan York charges in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the discrimination and harassment took place at the 3Tree Flats apartment building at 3910 Georgia Ave., N.W., where she lived for about two years beginning in September 2015. The lawsuit names as defendants 3910 Georgia Avenue Associates, LP, the company that owns the building, and Residential One Management, a Columbia, Md., based company that was retained by the owner to manage the building. “Defendants discriminated against Ms. York by, among other things, ignoring her maintenance requests – even for basic necessities such as heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer – for years while fulfilling the requests of other tenants, due to Ms. York’s gender identity and sexual orientation,” the lawsuit states. It adds that the owner and management company were responsible for “subjecting Ms. York to a hostile housing environment by calling her the most vulgar and insulting names due to her gender identity and sexual orientation and…retaliating against her for exercising her basic rights under the District of Columbia law on the basis of her gender identity and sexual orientation.” “For approximately two years,” the lawsuit adds, “Defendants subjected Plaintiff to discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile housing environment based on her gender identity and sexual orientation to a degree that shocks the conscience.” Representatives of 3910 Georgia Avenue Associates and Residential One Management couldn’t immediately be reached on Wednesday for comment on the lawsuit and its allegations. Continues at washingtonblade.com. LOU CHIBBARO JR.



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HIV groups urge states to investigate reduced coverage of AIDS drugs Activists say some forced to pay $1,600 per month for PrEP in D.C. By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com A coalition of 60 HIV organizations from across the country is calling on insurance commissioners and attorneys general in all 50 states and D.C. to investigate a practice they say is being adopted by health insurers that’s resulting in excessively high out-ofpocket costs for AIDS and Hepatitis C drugs. In a May 16 letter to all state insurance commissioners and attorneys general, the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership, of which the 60 HIV groups are members, said health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs, have begun CARL SCHMID, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, said state officials have begun to refusing to allow drug manufacturers’ corespond to the HIV coalition’s concerns. pay assistance contributions from counting toward the patients’ insurance deductible. PHOTO COURTESY OF SCHMID The coalition points out in its letter that co-pay assistance from drug manufacturers through payment coupons or payment cards enables HIV patients and HIV negative people on the HIV prevention drug regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP to save thousands of dollars a year on their share of the costs of the drugs through their insurance plans. It says the sudden decision by many insurers to no longer allow co-pay assistance from the drug manufacturers to go toward the insurance deductible, which can shave off $4,000 or more a year for the consumer on the AIDS and PrEP drug Truvada, could force patients or those enrolled in PrEP to either pay thousands of dollars a year more in out-of-pocket co-payments or to discontinue taking the drugs. An official with Whitman-Walker Health, the D.C.-based community health provider, said that terminating the co-pay assistance from going toward some Whitman-Walker clients’ insurance deductible has resulted in their being hit with a $1,600 per month out-of-pocket cost for PrEP. “Plans are implementing these policies with no consumer notice, leaving consumers to find out that this policy is in place after they incur steep prescription drug cost sharing mid-year,” the FAPP coalition states in its letter. “These policies are unfair to the consumer and will have significant individual and public health consequences,” the letter states. The letter notes that insurers have argued that the drug manufacturers are responsible for setting what the insurers say are excessively high drug prices to begin with and that the co-payment assistance plans offered by the drug companies have been used to “steer” patients toward choosing name brand drugs rather than less expensive generic drugs. But the FAPP coalition members point out in their letter that for nearly all currently prescribed AIDS drugs, including Truvada used for PrEP, there is no generic alternative available. “Without the co-pay assistance, most people living with HIV will be unable to afford their treatment throughout the plan year, and individuals trying to protect themselves from HIV will be left at greater risk of acquiring the virus,” the letter states. “We urge you to immediately undertake an investigation of these damaging practices,” the letter says. “Patients are already facing difficulties in affording their medications. This new practice will compound the situation.” Among the 60 organizations that signed the coalition letter are the D.C.-based AIDS United and National Minority AIDS Council; the AIDS Institute; the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; the Los Angeles LGBT Center; the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, which advocates for AIDS related issues; and the National Latino AIDS Action Network. Philip Barlow, Associate Commissioner for Insurance at the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, told the Washington Blade that the department has received the coalition’s letter. “I have asked our staff to do some research on the issue, including identifying if we have received any complaints,” Barlow said. “We will consider next steps based on the results of our review,” he said. Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, who’s serving as a spokesperson for the coalition, said state officials have begun to respond to the coalition’s May 16 letter. “We have received many responses from different states offering to look into the

situation,” Schmid told the Blade. “I received some phone calls and some emails, thanking us for pointing out the situation and promising to look into it,” he said. Officials representing the health insurance industry and the drug manufacturers, meanwhile, have blamed each other for the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, especially AIDS drugs. Kristine Grow, Senior Vice President for Communication for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the trade association representing the health insurance industry, told the Blade AHIP considers the manufacturers’ co-payment assistance coupons a gimmick to justify what she said is the unreasonably high costs for their drugs. “They have offered co-pay coupons and we see those as more of a scheme to keep their list prices high unnecessarily,” Grow said. “If they can afford to have those drugs available for that coupon price why not lower the price for everyone? Why do we need to play games with the coupon?” A spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America, known as PhRMA, which represents the drug industry, did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment.

Lesbian sheriff wins Dem nomination in Texas guv race Former Dallas County Sheriff and out lesbian Lupe Valdez won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night to take on antiLGBT Republican incumbent in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial election. According to results from The New York Times, Valdez secured 53.1 percent of the vote in the Democratic run-off compared to the 46.9 percent won by her competitor, Former Dallas County Sheriff LUPE VALDEZ won the Democratic nomination to become businessperson Andrew White. governor of Texas. After polls closed in Texas at PHOTO COURTESY VALDEZ CAMPAIGN 7 p.m., the Associated Press called the race a few hours later at 9:37 Central Time. Valdez, who was endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, is the first out lesbian to win the nomination of a major political party and now proceeds to the general election against Gov. Greg Abbott. If successful, Valdez could become the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States, although other openly gay candidates in 2018 are seeking that distinction. Annise Parker, CEO of the Victory Fund and former Houston mayor, said in a statement Texas “made history” by nominating Valdez to take on Abbott. “While bigoted state legislators in Austin continue to divide the state and target our community, Texans are voting for LGBTQ candidates because we are authentic, values-driven leaders who deliver on promises,” Parker said. “That is why Lupe won, and we will work hard to expose Gov. Abbott’s cynical politics of divisiveness and showcase Lupe’s positive agenda for Texans over the next five months.” Valdez is set to take on a governor of Texas who has built a substantial antiLGBT record. Abbott has signed an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” adoption bill into law, urged the Texas Supreme Court to undermine the 2015 ruling for marriage equality nationwide and called a special session of the state legislature to pass anti-transgender bathroom legislation, which lawmakers ultimately rejected. But Valdez faces an uphill battle in challenging a Republican incumbent in a “red” state. The new Democratic nominee must overcome a 10-point gap in the polls and Abbott’s $40 million war chest. In an interview with the Washington Blade earlier this month, Valdez said she’s prepared for the challenge. “Ten points is the closest we’ve been in over 10 years,” Valdez said. “The prior people that have run have not gotten that close, and we haven’t even started running against him. We’re not even calling him out or going to him on anything.” CHRIS JOHNSON


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U.S. agencies to celebrate Pride month, but without Cabinet secretaries CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

Any Trump Pride proclamation would stand out and raise questions after a year of LGBT rollbacks in his administration since last June that include a transgender military ban, the Justice Department’s decision to exclude LGBT people from protections under federal civil rights law and “religious freedom” executive actions that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination. The White House didn’t respond to repeated requests from the Blade in the past two weeks to comment on whether Trump would recognize Pride either with a proclamation or a reception, nor would White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders call on the Blade during her regular news conference in that time period, which has been her custom since taking on the role. A handful of U.S. departments and agencies already have plans in place for events recognizing June as Pride month, despite rollbacks in those departments on LGBT rights. Most prominent is an event DOD Pride is hosting June 11 at the Pentagon Center Courtyard. The event is consistent with Pride celebrations at the Pentagon that started in the Obama years and continued in the first year of the Trump administration, but it’s the first one that takes place after Trump instituted his transgender military ban, which he first announced on Twitter in July 2017. Although federal courts have blocked the Defense Department from enforcing the ban as litigation against it moves forward, since those rulings Defense Secretary James Mattis has issued recommendations affirming transgender people should be excluded from the armed forces with few exceptions. Any appearance by him at a Pride celebration would contradict that sentiment. Asked if Mattis will attend, a member of DOD Pride said the organization instead invited Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, but he’s unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Invitations to the rest of Pentagon leadership were set to go out Monday, the DOD Pride member said. At the State Department, the LGBT affinity group for foreign service officers, GLIFAA, has coordinated with the State Department’s Office of Civil Rights and will host an internal event for employees on June 5, where Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) are scheduled to speak. But in the aftermath of Senate confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, GLIFAA has also opted to invite a different official. As a member of the U.S. House representing Kansas, Pompeo built an anti-LGBT record and once suggested homosexuality is a “perversion” — a topic on which Sen.

Cory Booker (D-N.J.) grilled the secretary of state during his confirmation hearing. David Glietz, president of GLIFAA, said the organization opted to invite Sullivan as opposed to Pompeo because Pompeo’s confirmation was uncertain at the time the event was planned. “The event was planned prior to Secretary Pompeo’s confirmation and at the time we were unsure when he would be confirmed and arrive in the department,” Glietz said. “Therefore, we opted to request the Deputy attend as the most senior department official at the time of planning.” At the Department of Housing & Urban Development, HUD Pride is holding two events. One event on June 6 is on the legal landscape of LGBT access to housing and shelter, and a panel discussion is planned for June 20 on the same topic. Much like the other affinity groups, HUD Pride is coordinating to have the deputy secretary speak as opposed to the Cabinet member. A HUD Pride official said the main event would be the June 20 panel, but HUD Secretary Ben Carson won’t attend because he’s already scheduled for travel that week. Instead, HUD Pride has invited Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude and is hoping for confirmation soon. At the Education Department, an email from LGBTQ & Allied Employees at ED was sent out highlighting two events recognizing Pride. One discussion set for June 19 is titled “Highlighting Difference with Children.” Another event in July is set to discuss Supreme Court cases related to LGBT issues and will feature speakers from the Education Department’s Office of the General Counsel. An Education Department employee said Secretary Betsy DeVos was invited to attend, but there’s “not a chance” she’d make an appearance. Pride celebrations at other U.S. agencies are in question altogether. The Commerce Department in the first year of the Trump administration held an event recognizing Pride, although Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross didn’t attend. Months after Ross issued an equal employment statement that excluded LGBT workers — then corrected it — a Commerce Department official told the Blade the department has no plans to host a similar event this year. At the Justice Department, the situation is similar. A DOJ Pride member said he’s “not at liberty to comment” on whether the Justice Department would hold a Pride celebration. The DOJ Pride member referred the Blade to the Justice Department’s public affairs office, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. No Pride events at the Justice Department would be a change. DOJ

Pride has coordinated Pride celebrations in the Great Hall of the Justice Department even during the George W. Bush administration. Last year, a Pride celebration took place in the Great Hall under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, although the event wasn’t confirmed until June, Sessions didn’t attend and the Blade was kicked out when attempting to cover the event. Sessions has spearheaded the legal framework for LGBT rollbacks, including “religious freedom” guidance that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination. At the Department of Health & Human Services, a member of One HHS, the affinity group for the HHS LGBT employees, said independent of the organization the department’s equal employment opportunity office is planning a Pride event. It’s unclear whether HHS Secretary Alex

Azar, whose department established a Religious Freedom & Conscience Division enabling medical practitioners to refuse service to transgender people, would take part. The HHS public affairs office didn’t respond to the Blade’s request for comment. One agency scheduled to host a Pride event is the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is coming off a controversy after deleting material for LGBT businesses from its website at the start of the Trump administration. The material wasn’t restored until last week after complaints from House Democrats and LGBT small business leaders. Blade Editor Kevin Naff was the keynote speaker at the SBA Pride event last year. This year, a notice was sent out the event will take place either June 14 or June 19 and would be titled, “Remember the Past, Create the Future.”

Judge declines to dismiss Gavin Grimm lawsuit A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit that a transgender man filed against his Virginia school district’s bathroom policy. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk — who in 2014 ruled the state’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional — in her decision declined a motion from the Gloucester County School Board to dismiss Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit. The Associated Press reported Allen also GAVIN GRIMM speaks at SMYAL’s ordered lawyers who represent Grimm annual Fall Brunch in D.C. last year. and the school board to schedule a WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY TOM HAUSMAN settlement conference. Grimm in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the Gloucester County School District’s policy prohibiting students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond with their “biological gender.” Grimm and his lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union alleged the policy violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case in March 2017. The justices remanded it to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity. Allen in her ruling upheld Grimm’s claims under Title IX and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Grimm — who graduated from Gloucester County High School last June — welcomed the decision in a statement the ACLU released. “I feel an incredible sense of relief,” he said. “After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law. I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS


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A New Kind of Musical

Your truth if you dare




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Out candidates on why they’re running in 2018 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

of teachers and mentors - I was accepted into Brown University. I made a promise to myself to always fight for vulnerable populations so everyone could access the same opportunities as me. Public service has been the conduit for me to pay my good fortune forward. I paid it forward by joining Teach for America and teaching in a low-income school. I paid it forward by crafting legislation to help everyday families as a policy advocate for Sen. Cory Booker. I paid it forward by calling out pharmaceutical companies’ price gouging as an Investigator in the House of Representatives. My desire to pay it forward is the reason I am running for Congress. What’s more, I’m running against an anti-equality candidate in my Democratic primary, NJ-2. A win in my district would signify: The gay community does matter, we can win anywhere - and this blue wave is actually a rainbow wave!

loudly and clearly and make it known that we are going to fight for the values that make this country great. We are going to fight to stem the tide of corruption in our political system, fight for folks who work hard in life to make their American Dream a reality, and start putting the people of this country first. What would your win signify for the LGBT community? I’m proud to be the highest elected LGBTQ+ official in the state of New Hampshire and would be honored to serve as the first openly gay member of Congress from the Granite State. I believe we need leaders that will stand up for our community to show that when we come together to promote equality and respect one another for who we are, we will make our country a better place now and for our future generations.



Chris Pappas, member of the New Hampshire Executive Council and gay candidate seeking to represent the state’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House — Primary: Sept. 11 Why are you running for Congress? New Hampshire where I grew up, where I attended public schools, where I run a family business that just celebrated its 101st anniversary, and where I serve as an executive councilor. Through my time serving the people of my community, I always have and always will fight for what matters most. I am running for Congress because I believe this election is about who we are as Americans. The America we know is more kind, tolerant, and more decent than the America that Donald Trump is seeking to create. We have to stand up

Lauren Baer, an Obama administration State Department official and lesbian candidate seeking to represent Florida’s 18th congressional district in the U.S. House — Primary: Aug. 28 Why are you running for Congress? My mother has been chronically ill since I was 12. She is one of the more than 74,000 constituents current Representative Brian Mast would have denied health care when he voted in May 2017 to repeal the Affordable Care Act. My daughter is not yet two years old, but I think every day about her future, her safety, and the world she will inherit. In this way, I am not terribly different from most people in my District, who simply want for their families what we all deserve: quality, affordable healthcare; equality

under the law; a first-rate public education; a clean environment; a strong economy; common sense gun safety measures that protect our children; and a national security policy that does not beg for war by tweet. I believe that the people of my district deserve a representative in Congress who will vote in their interest, not for special interests, and who will work hard in Washington to make government work for them. What would your win signify for the LGBT community? I was proud to serve as an official in the Obama administration, and during that time, I watched our country, and Florida, change in ways that I previously had thought unimaginable, from the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to marriage equality. But the election of Donald Trump has brought a reversal of so much of our progress—a new ban on transgender troops, a decision to stop counting LGBT people in the census, and a fight at the Supreme Court to allow individuals to use religious liberty as a pretext to discriminate against the LGBT community. In this context, being elected as the first LGBT person to represent Florida in the U.S. Congress would signal that we will not be acquiescent in the rollback of our rights—or the rights of other Americans. As a member of the LGBT community, I have felt the sting of discrimination, but I also know that the fight for liberty and equality is a shared cause and that my election would be a victory not just for our own community, but for every person in this country who has ever been mistreated, or left out, or left behind.

candidate seeking election as governor of Vermont — Primary: Aug. 14 Why are you running for governor? I am a person who pulls people together to do important things. My goal was to solve climate change. I was in charge of a major Vermont electric utility and we successfully moved away from fossil fuels. Watching the events that have transpired since November 2016, both at the state level and the national level has called me to greater action. I saw a need for rural economic development, universal health care, solving climate change, and ensuring every Vermont child receives a quality public education. Most importantly I saw a need to move away from divisive politics. What would your win signify for the LGBT community? I will be the first transgender governor in one of America’s most rural states. This will be a positive signal for all LGBTQ people. Typically, rural communities have been viewed as less affirming. Marginalized communities have historically had problems with winning executive positions. For too long leadership has been associated with masculinity and the dominant culture. Vermonters choosing me, a transwoman, as their governor, would expand the realm of possibility for generations to come. My success would mark a new milestone in acceptance.



Christine Hallquist, CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative and a transgender

Ricardo Lara, California state senator and gay candidate seeking election as California Insurance Commissioner — Primary: June 5 CONTINUES ON PAGE 16


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“HIV, life’s a game, and with treatment, I’m winning it day by day.” Christopher - Washington, DC Living with HIV since 1987.




I was only 16 years old when I discovered that I was born with HIV. My mother passed away from the disease, but until getting tested at a community health fair, I had no idea, that I too, was living with HIV. Within a few months of my diagnosis, I got on treatment to control my viral load. Since then, I’ve stayed on treatment and in good health. Getting tested saved my life and I’ve used my experience to help youth learn about HIV prevention, testing and fighting stigma. Today, I enjoy friends, family and living life to the fullest. Christopher 1, HIV 0.

Get in care. Stay in care. Live well. cdc.gov/HIVTreatmentWorks


16 • M A Y 25, 2018


Opposition to Trump motivates many 2018 candidates CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14

Why are you running for Commissioner? I am running for Insurance Commissioner because it is the largest and most important state consumer protection agency in America. With Trump letting the banks and insurance companies write the rules in Washington, it will be my job to stop predatory insurance practices that raise your premiums every time you make a legitimate claim. With climate change driving up insurance risk, it’s more urgent than ever that California has an Insurance Commissioner who will stand up for consumers and protect our state from the economic and environmental threats on the horizon. What would your win signify for the LGBT community? California voters have never sent an openly gay person to statewide office, and winning election would say that Californians reject the politics of division and fear against people like me directed from Washington. My father was a factory worker, and my mother was a seamstress, and they raised me to believe that everyone has a fair shot - even when the facts say otherwise. I am honored to have the support of the LGBT community, immigrant rights groups, and Planned Parenthood, because it means that we are not alone in the campaign for equality.


Kate Brown, first openly LGBT person

elected governor in the United States and bisexual incumbent seeking re-election What motivates you to seek reelection as governor? In Oregon, we know what leadership looks like. It’s called getting stuff done. We led the nation by passing the most comprehensive reproductive health bill, we led on automatic voter registration and we were first to commit to end the use of coal fired electricity – forever. And Oregon was the first state to act on gun safety following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. None of these things happened on their own. They all took strong leadership. We still have work to do, but in Oregon we know when we bring people together we can tackle the challenges ahead. Over the next four years, we need to fight to protect health care access for Oregonians from politicians that want to take that care away. And we need to keep fighting to make sure that our economic growth is reaching every corner of our state and every one of us. To do that, we need to invest in career and technical education that will prepare Oregonians for good jobs that don’t require a college education, enabling small businesses to hire skilled workers. I’m running for re-election because I want Oregon to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. What would your win signify for the LGBT community? I’m honored to serve as governor and hope that my story can serve as inspiration for a new generation of LGBT leadership. I got into public service to be a voice for the voiceless and I have spent my entire career fighting for LGBT equality. I spent 16 years pushing to pass domestic partnerships, I was proud to sign legislation to end the practice of conversion therapy, and just last year I was able to sign legislation that allowed people a safe path to change their name on vital records to affirm their gender identity. And while we have made a lot of progress, when I talk to members of the LGBT community I hear deep concerns about where we are headed as a country. The tone and rhetoric that has imposed so much fear is now turning into federal policy. It’s more important than ever to have leaders in office who reflect the values of those they serve. I hope my election and the work I’ve done while in office will inspire members of the LGBT community to get involved, run for office and put their voice to work changing our country.



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Keep your promise to protect each other.

Study: STI rates up in proportion to PrEP usage NEW YORK — PrEP has a nasty downside that health advisers feared when it was approved for the U.S. in 2012 — as its use has increased among gay men, so have other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, which have all seen spikes in recent years according to an extensive review of multiple PrEP studies published in a recent issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and reported on by Vox. The review considered 17 PrEP studies on its use and how sexual behavior has changed. As people began to trust PrEP more over the years, they started having more condomless sex and were worrying less about STIs. The more recent studies showed the strongest escalation, Vox reports. The authors found that in some studies, PrEP use was associated with a 9 percent increase in the amount of receptive anal sex without a condom with 10 or more partners, an 11 percent increase in the amount of sex without a condom with an HIV-positive person or with someone whose HIV status was unknown, and a 14 percent increase in people never using condoms during anal sex. These are all high-risk behaviors that increase the chances of getting HIV and other STIs, Vox reports. But they didn’t find any changes in the number of people who had any sex without condoms, partly because so few participants started off using condoms all the time. PrEP didn’t appear to change the number of people who have sex without condoms, Vox reports.

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Drug use increases HIV infection rates: researchers LONDON — Gay and bisexual men who reported engaging in chemsex (the use of specific drugs to enhance or facilitate sex) were five times more likely to be newly diagnosed with HIV, nine times more likely to be diagnosed with hepatitis C and four times more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection during a 13-month follow-up period, according to London data published this week in HIV Medicine, AIDSmap reports. During routine appointments for sexual health care in London between June 2014 and July 2015, 1,840 gay and bisexual men were asked questions about mental health, substance use and chemsex. Their ages ranged from 14-82, but the median was 34. Just under a third were born outside the U.K. and the cohort was ethnically diverse, AIDSmap reports. Currently engaging in chemsex was reported by 286 men (16.5 percent of all men). Men often used more than one drug at the same time. Injecting drug use was reported by 74 men. Whereas 1.8 percent of men who did not report chemsex had a new HIV diagnosis during 2014 or 2015, this was the case for 8.6 percent of men who were involved in chemsex. In multivariate analysis (which took into account a range of other factors which influence HIV infection), chemsex was associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of HIV infection, AIDSmap reports.

LGBT-inclusive lessons enrage Texas parents

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The oppression of ‘tolerance’ in Guyana Anti-LGBT violence, attitudes pervasive in South American country By ASHLEY BINETTI “He was burned to death in a house . . . They burned him to death. They tied him up and then burned the house . . . [The police failed to properly investigate] . . . How bad is it going to get before good comes?” This story has haunted me since I returned from Guyana. Grace, a pseudonym, is a 44-year-old transgender woman who lost one of her best friends; he was murdered for being transgender and the police refused to investigate. While in-country, I witnessed this discrimination firsthand and bore witness to the scars and stories LGBT interviewees revealed. Another interviewee lost a friend the week we conducted interviews. Trishell, a 28-year-old transgender woman, was killed on Feb. 17, 2018, after a festival celebration in Georgetown. Her death was reported as an accident caused by a car crash — despite interviewees who reported the wounds were wholly inconsistent with this explanation. Our research team interviewed nearly 70 stakeholders — including LGBT persons, religious leaders, human rights defenders, civil society representatives, law enforcement officials and other government officials — and uncovered a cycle of violence, discrimination and abuse that permeates all aspects of life for LGBT individuals in Guyana. The discrimination and violence start at home, continue

through the education system, into the employment sector and affect their ability to access quality healthcare, safety in public spaces and justice. The government boasted statistics demonstrating that Guyana is a tolerant country. I take issue with this: Tolerance is not acceptance. Human rights guarantee more than being “tolerated” by one’s government — human rights mean being empowered to lead a dignified life. However, at this juncture in Guyana the distinction is rather moot — stories like those above clearly indicate that Guyanese society is not even tolerant of LGBT persons. The truth is more nuanced, hidden in the same closet in Guyana where LGBT individuals seek refuge. Guyana, a small Caribbean country located in South America, is the only country on the South American continent that still criminalizes same-sex intimacy. The country also criminalizes “cross-dressing” for an “improper purpose” — whatever that means. (Guyana’s Appeals Court upheld the law recently but refused to define the term, making it impossible to know what constitutes a violation.) These laws, which form part of the fabric of Guyanese society, perpetuate and legitimize violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals. One need not look further than the title of the article where Trishell’s murder was reported to see this connection: “Cross-dresser Killed in Vreed-enHoop Accident.” While government officials preached tolerance, deep-seated discrimination was evident in their remarks. Minister of Social Protection Keith Scott — a very friendly and jovial man — proudly shared societal atti-


tudes toward LGBT persons: “If there were two men who were kissing, there would be inward disgust at what they are seeing, but at the same time nobody [is] going to attack them.” He didn’t recognize that this was less-than-ideal. It also did not mesh with the accounts LGBT individuals provided — including being prevented from entering police stations to report crime, waiting for hours to be seen in emergency rooms while their non-LGBT counterparts were ushered ahead of them, and being verbally and physically attacked for being who they are in public. Similarly, Crime Chief Police Officer Paul Williams affirmed that anyone “can come to my office to seek justice,” some of his other comments were less than welcoming. While Williams acknowledged that some officers are disrespectful and let their own biases interfere in their work, he underscored, nonchalantly, that LGBT persons should recognize their place: “Don’t fool yourself, you’re a minority in a large group, you have to cooperate […] conduct yourself in an appropriate manner.” Accounts from LGBT interviewees largely comported with Williams’ assertion — they noted that they are relatively safe as long as they actively hide their true identities from most of their family, friends and government. Yet finding safety in the proverbial closet is not experiencing the full panoply of human rights — it’s oppression. Preventing persons from living a life of dignity is a violation of human rights. Rethinking their duty to uphold human rights, some Caribbean countries have recently repealed or overturned laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy — including Belize in 2016 and, very recently, Trinidad and Tobago on April 12. It is not too late for Guyana to join them and embark on the road to changing archaic laws and dangerous attitudes. Instead of preaching tolerance, it’s time to offer acceptance. To learn more about LGBT rights in Guyana related to education, employment, health, violence and safety in public spaces, and impunity for perpetrators and access to justice, keep an eye out for the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute Fact-Finding Project report: Trapped: Cycles of Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT Persons in Guyana. It will be available online by mid-June.

ASHLEY BINETTI is the Dash-Muse Teaching Fellow at Georgetown Law’s Human Rights Institute. She co-teaches HRI’s Fact-Finding Practicum, directs the Human Rights Associates Program, and leads all human rights programming at the Institute. These are the author’s reflections from HRI’s 2018 FactFinding Project research trip on LGBT rights in Guyana.

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Vote yes on 77 and support one fair wage A direct connection between working for tips and #MeToo movement By CHRIS CORMIER MAGGIANO As a D.C. resident, gay man, and small business owner, I will be voting yes on Initiative 77 to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers. If D.C. voters join me in voting yes, employers will have to pay tipped workers – such as waiters and baristas – the same minimum wage as other employees by 2026. I’m voting yes on Initiative 77 because I believe tipped workers should not have to rely on the kindness of their customers and bosses to make a livable wage – and I know firsthand the unwanted sexual harassment that pervades the tipped worker industry. I waited tables in high school and college, and as a recent graduate during a time I struggled to pay back my student loans. I still remember the pressure I felt to do what was needed to earn

the tips from my customers. That included putting up with unwelcome advances and comments to avoid losing a tip from a table with a large bill. I recently joined the board of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) Action, an advocacy organization initially found-

nection between working for tips, putting up with unwanted sexual harassment, and the #MeToo movement. The District’s tipped workers are disproportionately people of color — and female tipped workers are twice as likely to live in poverty as male tipped workers

I know firsthand the unwanted sexual harassment that pervades the tipped worker industry. ed to provide support to restaurant workers who were displaced after 9/11, and encourage voters to check out why ROC and local tipped workers are advocating for Initiative 77. A recent study by ROC found that 90 percent of restaurant workers in D.C. report experiencing unwanted sexual harassment at work. One-third of people start their careers in restaurants – as I did – and then take what is considered “acceptable” with them throughout their professional life. I see a direct con-

in D.C. That’s why, for me, this issue is as much about racial and gender equity as it is about economic justice – and why I’m voting yes on Initiative 77. As a small business owner, I know how many barriers exist to starting your own company. I also know that business thrives when there is a level, fair playing field. While some exceptional restaurants like my former neighbor the Florida Avenue Grill have already enacted one fair wage, we should enact this policy across

the District. To the opponents of Initiative 77 who claim that this change would scare away customers or decrease quality of service, I say have more faith in the District’s restaurants’ customers and staff. Increasing the tipped wage to the full minimum wage does not eliminate tipping, but it does ensure that at the end of the day all waiters and baristas will get a bigger paycheck. Also, we’re the District of Columbia – our nation’s capital, where elected officials, tourists, and community leaders from across the country dine out every day of the year. Passing Initiative 77 will send a clear message that we stand with tipped workers – and join other states like California, Minnesota, and Nevada, and cities like Flagstaff, San Francisco, and Seattle – in supporting one fair wage. I’m voting yes on Initiative 77 and hope you will join me in passing one fair wage on June 19!

CHRIS CORMIER MAGGIANO is a D.C. resident and serves as president of Cormier & Co.


Realizing a dream of traversing the Panama Canal Another bucket list item is checked off

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

Most of us have some things on a bucket list we want to do during our lifetime. One of mine was to travel through the Panama Canal. Fascination with, and dreaming about going through the canal began for me in elementary school when I saw a film on the building of the canal. Last week, the dream became a reality in a spectacular way on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Bliss. This spectacular ship only came out of dry-dock for sea tests a few months ago. It is the largest passenger ship to ever traverse the canal. I am on the Bliss for a cruise from Miami

to Los Angeles. The Bliss is an amazing 19deck ship with everything from a go-cart race track to an upgraded spa with ice room. It has eight specialty restaurants and the Observation Lounge, the most beautiful room I have ever seen on a ship. It was designed for Alaska cruising to allow passengers a 180-degree view while relaxing in total luxury. On our cruise it is the nightly meeting place for the LGBTQ+ happy hour or as NCL still lists it on its daily newsletter “Friends of Dorothy.” Our fifth day at sea was Panama Canal Day. I was up at dawn and out on my balcony. There was a real feeling of excitement. The ship began to come to life at 5 a.m. and by 6 the sun was trying to break through the clouds as we passed Gatum Dam and headed into the lake where there were a least a dozen other ships, most looked like oil tankers, waiting to traverse the canal. The Amsterdam, a ship that had been by our side in Cartagena the day before was just ahead of us. She is a much smaller ship and was going through the old canal while we were headed to the new one. More and more people were out on

their balconies as the Canal Authority boat brought their pilot on board our ship ready to help the captain guide it through the locks. At 7 a.m. I headed to The Haven, where my travel agent Scott Moster and his husband Dustin graciously opened their suite for the day, serving mimosas, coffee and pastries for breakfast and snacks and an open bar all day. The balcony of their suite 17 decks up and directly over the bow was the perfect viewing spot. This was an exciting day not only for the passengers and crew of the Bliss but for the canal authority as well. It also meant a lot of money to them. It cost NCL $134 per person for everyone on the ship — that includes the 4,200 passengers and 1,700 members of the crew. They had to transfer nearly $800,000 before we would be escorted through the canal. It was mesmerizing to watch as we approached the Agua Clara Locks to begin the 40-mile trip that would take us from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. From the time we entered Gatum Lake it took us about four and a half hours to go through the first set of locks into another

lake where we would sit and sail slowly toward the second set of locks, the Cocoli Locks. We entered those at about 3 p.m. and were through by 7 heading to Balboa and sailing under the Bridge of the Americas into the Pacific Ocean. The Bliss is such a tall ship it only just cleared the bridge with about five feet to spare and that was at low tide. Adding to the experience was a private tour of the ship’s bridge the next day with Captain Bengtsson. The tour had been arranged for me by Pam Mallari, the amazing assistant to Hotel Director Jovo Sekulovic. In addition to showing us in detail how the ship is steered, the captain shared his feelings on guiding his ship through the canal. It was the first time he had gone through the new canal and being at the helm of the biggest passenger ship ever to do so made for a very long but exciting 16-hour day. He kidded that as he cleared the last lock he texted his boss, “Made it, no scratches on the paint.” This item now checked off on my life’s bucket list met every expectation. It’s an experience I would recommend to anyone fortunate enough to have the opportunity.


20 • MAY 25, 2018


Tide shifts on Initiative 77 as voters hear from workers Mayor Bowser and Council majority side with tipped employees, urge ‘no’ vote

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

Widespread lack of awareness and voter confusion about a ballot measure that would outlaw the tip-wage system in the District began to come into sharper focus last week. Dominating public discussion and media coverage about Initiative 77, which will appear on the city’s June 19 primary election ballot, in recent days has been the increasingly clear indication that the measure is strongly opposed by an overwhelming majority of tipped employees working at the more than 1,700 bars, res-

taurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues in D.C. Tipped employees welcomed this newfound momentum and what they view as broad reconsideration among voters. They have begun intensifying their efforts to explain to neighbors, friends and local residents the complex nuances and complicated effects of this largely misunderstood proposal. Servers and bartenders began wearing “Vote No on 77” buttons at local establishments and talking to patrons about the measure, signs starting appearing in bar and restaurant windows and inside venues, and diners were presented with anti-initiative information cards by servers when receiving their bills. Hundreds of nightlife and hospitality workers earning tips held a forum last Wednesday morning that turned into more of a rally when they were joined by six D.C. Council members expressing opposition to Initiative 77 in passionate campaign-style speeches. I attended the event alongside a number of LGBT tipped employees in my role assisting NO2DC77, launched in recent days by gay, lesbian, and transgender bar employees and local venues that quickly expanded

to include the participation of all types of nightlife establishments across the city. It is one of four grassroots worker groups that have sprung up as part of a broad-based tipped worker effort to defeat Initiative 77. A majority of all Council members are urging D.C. voters to reject the ballot measure, while only one has come out in support of it. Council members speaking to the notably large assembly of local tipped workers last week included Chairman Phil Mendelson and colleagues Kenyan McDuffie, Jack Evans, David Grosso, Anita Bonds and Brandon Todd. Council member Brianne Nadeau has also announced she opposes the initiative. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser offered a full-throated commentary opposing Initiative 77 when asked her position on the weekly NPR-affiliate program “The Politics Hour” on WAMU Radio the previous week. “I’m against Initiative 77. If people vote for it they will be voting for decreasing the pay of the thousands of servers who are making a good living in D.C. right now,” Bowser said in reference to the approximately 35,000 tipped workers in the city employed by the second largest hometown business sector. “But you don’t have to listen to me, listen to them...they’ll tell you. They are not

interested in Initiative 77.” Protecting their good incomes and preserving their ability to remain D.C. or area residents due the high cost of living was a reoccurring message local voters began to hear from affected workers in recent days. A significantly higher percentage of hospitality employees working at D.C. establishments are District residents than those employed at all jobs located within the city. This theme, in fact, opened a presentation to customers by three women bartenders at DC9 last weekend, the restaurant-bar and music venue popular in the LGBT community and host of gay music and dance party events. These tipped employees released a video of their presentation, titled “Vote NO on Initiative 77: DC Bartenders Explain Why,” and posted it on YouTube. It is a straightforward summary of how Initiative 77 would affect their jobs, livelihoods and incomes, and local establishments – and is well worth watching. “This is really near and dear to our hearts,” emphasize the trio. “This is how we make money and how we can afford to live in a really expensive city, and love it. We do it by bartending, or serving. … This could put us in a situation where we couldn’t afford to live here.” That’s what’s at stake.


Do you know about the D.C. Schedule H tax program? You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,000 for property taxes or rent paid. If you are a DC resident, 60 or older, call Legal Counsel for the Elderly 202-434-2120.* LCE is an affiliate of AARP.

*Income Eligibility Applies


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In adults with HIV on ART who have diarrhea not caused by an infection IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION This is only a summary. See complete Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com or by calling 1-844-722-8256. This does not take the place of talking with your doctor about your medical condition or treatment.

What Is Mytesi? Mytesi is a prescription medicine used to improve symptoms of noninfectious diarrhea (diarrhea not caused by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on ART. Do Not Take Mytesi if you have diarrhea caused by an infection. Before you start Mytesi, your doctor and you should make sure your diarrhea is not caused by an infection (such as bacteria, virus, or parasite).

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Enough is Enough Get relief. Pure and simple. Ask your doctor about Mytesi. Mytesi (crofelemer): • Is the only medicine FDA-approved to relieve diarrhea in people with HIV • Treats diarrhea differently by normalizing the flow of water in the GI tract • Has the same or fewer side effects as placebo in clinical studies • Comes from a tree sustainably harvested in the Amazon Rainforest What is Mytesi? Mytesi is a prescription medicine that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea not caused by an infection (noninfectious) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Important Safety Information Mytesi is not approved to treat infectious diarrhea (diarrhea caused by bacteria, a virus, or a parasite). Before starting you on Mytesi, your healthcare provider will first be sure that you do not have infectious diarrhea. Otherwise, there is a risk you would not receive the right medicine and your infection could get worse. In clinical studies, the most common side effects that occurred more often than with placebo were upper respiratory tract (sinus, nose, and throat) infection (5.7%), bronchitis (3.9%), cough (3.5%), flatulence (3.1%), and increased bilirubin (3.1%).

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Should I Take Mytesi If I Am: Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant? • Studies in animals show that Mytesi could harm an unborn baby or affect the ability to become pregnant • There are no studies in pregnant women taking Mytesi • This drug should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed A Nursing Mother? • It is not known whether Mytesi is passed through human breast milk • If you are nursing, you should tell your doctor before starting Mytesi • Your doctor will help you to decide whether to stop nursing or to stop taking Mytesi Under 18 or Over 65 Years of Age? • Mytesi has not been studied in children under 18 years of age • Mytesi studies did not include many people over the age of 65. So it is not clear if this age group will respond differently. Talk to your doctor to find out if Mytesi is right for you

What Should I Know About Taking Mytesi With Other Medicines? If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicine, herbal supplements, or vitamins, tell your doctor before starting Mytesi.

What If I Have More Questions About Mytesi? For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com or speak to your doctor or pharmacist. To report side effects or make a product complaint or for additional information, call 1-844-722-8256.

Rx Only Manufactured by Patheon, Inc. for Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. San Francisco, CA 94105 Copyright © Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Please see complete Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com. NP-390-17

• Upper respiratory tract infection (sinus, nose, and throat infection) • Bronchitis (swelling in the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs) • Cough • Flatulence (gas) • Increased bilirubin (a waste product when red blood cells break down) For a full list of side effects, please talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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Last Year’s D.C. Black Pride event drew thousands from all over the Eastern seaboard. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

D.C. Black Pride returns to ‘build community’ Annual Memorial Day event jam packed with seminars, parties, entertainers and more By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com More people attend the seemingly endless parties at D.C. Black Pride than the educational programming and seminars but the yin and yang of the event — always held Memorial Day weekend and now in its 28th year — are in a solid groove organizers say, which is mutually beneficial to both the for-profit and non-profit branches of the agency. “We just have a sliver of their amount of people,” says Kenya Hutton, D.C. Black Pride program director. “It’s nowhere near what the party promoters see, but we don’t have the capacity for all that either. It’s definitely not a huge number

in comparison but it’s hard to say exactly. We always have a good flow of people up and down the hallways on a Saturday in the daytime, but if we took all the people in the workshops and put them in the club, it would be a huge difference. A lot come to just enjoy the parties and some are hung over Saturday morning, so we totally understand.” EmJay and her business partner Tino (they use only first names professionally) have run TMS Entertainment for the last nine years. They bill themselves as “definitely the number one lesbian promoters in Washington.” They’re up

front about what they offer. “It’s really just straight-up partying all weekend,” says the 36-year-old, AfricanAmerican lesbian (born in Washington, though she grew up in Los Angeles). “We party from start to finish and there’s never a dull moment. It’s ironic in a way because people tend to think women don’t spend as much but there’s a plethora of bottles flowing. It’s the same thing you see in a straight bar — the hookahs, the beautiful women. You can expect us to have fun always.” She guesses their crowd is mostly in their 20s and 30s (about 70 percent) and almost totally female and African

American. There’s no way to know how many come from out of town (“I wish we could geo-tag them”) though she knows a fair amount based on unfamiliar faces and “the way people dress” in different parts of the country. Any one of their events can draw as many as 400 lesbians and bi women. “It gives us a place to have a commonality and somewhere where you can really be yourself and party,” EmJay says. Omega Party D.C. and Daryl Wilson Promotion plan the men’s party events. CONTINUES ON PAGE 46


24 • MAY 25, 2018

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By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Last year at Black Pride, Shannon Garcon was given the Unsung Hero award for his work creating OurPride, an app for community and social events for local LGBT communities of color. Black Pride organizers had the idea and approached Garcon. He pulled it off with “a lot of patience, some basic knowledge of code and trial and error,” the “40-something” Queens, New York native says. Garcon says he was “overwhelmed and honored” by the award. “After all the trials in my life — homelessness, having family members turn their back on me because of my sexual orientation and all the negative energy I received over the years — to be able to direct that into positive advocacy and to be acknowledged for it meant a lot.” Garcon, who works by day in information technology, is an activist and founder of the House of Garcon, a ballroom house with 200 members all over the world, and the CDG Community, a new nonprofit devoted to disenfranchised LGBT people. He’s been on the Black Pride advisory board for three years and was approached because of his involvement with the house ballroom community and his work on the board of the Wanda Alston House. Garcon, who first attended Black Pride in the late ‘80s, says it’s important for local black LGBT folks to “show pride in our community.” “But also (we need) to understand that the gay community isn’t monolithic,” he says. “The African-American LGBT community has specific and unique needs that are different from the greater LGBT community. Black Pride has a social as well as political consciousness that specifically speaks to (us).” Garcon is most looking forward to seeing old friends this weekend and the Slay the Vote Ball. He’s single and lives in Prince George’s County. He came to Washington 17 years ago because of its “many opportunities for African-Americans.” He enjoys tennis, cooking, traveling and politics in his free time.

Serving Our Community for 35 years

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

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out in 1986 so that is some years and different place than now. The hardest person to tell was my best friend from junior high school. Who’s your LGBT hero? As an African-American gay male, there weren’t a lot of black gay heroes for me. Especially growing up in a homo-bashing Pentecostal family. I can say my faith in God that he loves me for who I am, the person he created, has given me strength What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? Well the best ever for me was the old Tracks. Right now, my two favorites are Cobalt and the Park on Sunday. Describe your dream wedding. It would be at Cap Rocat in Mallorca, Spain with the song “Spend my Life with You” by Tamia and Eric Benet playing in the background. With a few close friends and family. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Prison reform and the transition and reentry of offenders from prison to community. What historical outcome would you change? When the first European slave traders arrived in Africa, I would have warned the Africans. Just the chance to tell them to run and that, “This isn’t going to end the way you think!” What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? When the 2008 presidential election was called for Obama. I was like, “Is this real?” Did this really happen? It was emotional to see an African-American president in my lifetime. On what do you insist? That when I’m dealing with people that they are themselves authentic and true.

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What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? “I love a man with a good appetite.” If your life were a book, what would the title be? “Mommy, There’s a Boy in the Closet”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Not a damn thing! I am perfectly me. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I believe in God. I believe he has a divine plan for all of us and that every person is a reflection of God. He created us all. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Listen to the ones who are out there doing the work on the ground. Stay tuned to the people and don’t get so caught up in what you “think” people want. Find out what people want. What would you walk across hot coals for? A soul mate What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That all gay men are feminine. That just kills me. There’s nothing wrong with being feminine, but we come in all flavors, shapes, positions and mannerisms. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “Moonlight” and “Paris is Burning” What’s the most overrated social custom? The idea that girls shouldn’t ask a guy out on a date. This is so bogus. If you’re interested in someone, ask them out! It doesn’t matter who’s who. Bottoms should also ask tops out. What trophy or prize do you most covet? Other than the Unsung Hero Award, receiving a plaque honoring me as a House Ballroom Icon and Leadership Award. To be recognized by your peers, to have them acknowledge the work that you have done and continue to do is so humbling. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That you can’t help everyone. No matter how hard you try, there are some people who just refuse to be helped. Why Washington? Coming from New York City in the ’80s, Washington was the first place I have ever been where there was a large, educated and strong black middle class. I wanted to be a part of that.


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Individuality. Collective Strength. FRIDAY, MAY 25

12 – 9 p.m. Pride Exhibit Hall Open 4 – 6 p.m. Sexual Health Symposium 6 – 9 p.m. HIV/AIDS and STI Testing 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Opening Reception 9 – 11 p.m. The Intergenerationally Queer Project Workshop/Panel Discussion SATURDAY, MAY 26 9:30 a.m. – 2 :30 p.m. Grown Folks Speak Out II: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Pride Exhibit Hall Open 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Hip Hop In Heels Exercise Session 12 – 2 p.m. Resume Writing & Interview Prep Workshop 1 – 4 p.m. Literary Café

2 – 4 p.m. Youth Summit

2 – 4 p.m. Transgender Town Hall 2 – 4 p.m. ManDate Workshop 2 – 4 p.m. Women’s Sexual Health Workshop 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. Party with a Purpose Old School Dance Party 7 – 9 p.m. Poetry Slam 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. Underground Soul Saturday SUNDAY, MAY 27 9 – 11 a.m. Pride Praise 12 – 4 p.m. Pride Brunch MONDAY, MAY 28 12 – 7 p.m. Cultural Arts & Wellness Festival

For the full schedule including social events and parties, and to download the OurPride app visit dcblackpride.org.


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28 • MAY 25, 2018

O U T & A BO U T



Night Out at Nats is June 5

Blade unveils new Pride beer cans M-TH 11:30AM-10PM • F-SAT 11:30AM-11PM SUN. BRUNCH 11AM-3PM / DINNER 3-10PM

322 MASS. AVE. NE • 202.543.7656


D.C. Brau and Washington Blade host the #PridePils Launch Yappy Hour at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Wednesday, June 6 from 6-9 p.m. Alden Leonard designed the 2018 Pride Pils cans which will be officially released at the event. The 1,200 cases will be available for purchase in D.C. in June. Proceeds from the cans will benefit LGBT youth organization SMYAL and the Washington Blade Foundation to fund journalism projects for the LGBT and other underrepresented communities. No cover. For more details, visit http://pridepils.com/.

Team D.C. hosts Night Out at Nationals Park (1500 S Capitol St., S.E.) on Tuesday, June 5 starting at 4 p.m. Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. followed by pre-game ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. The game begins at 7:10 p.m. Ticket sale proceeds will benefit Team D.C.’s student athlete scholarships which benefit local, college-bound LGBT student-athletes. Tickets range from $15-50. For more details, visit teamdc.org.




BloominGays to host Pride in the Park

SALES REPRESENTATIVE: JOE HICKLING (jhickling@washblade.com)

EVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of roof. 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 an link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or ny rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any opyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair ompetition, 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 ability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred y brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations nd warranties.



By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the washington blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to placement, payment and insertion schedule.

Dykes rev up bikes for tour

Dyke Dives of D.C. host a historical bike tour kicking off at McPherson Square metro station (1400 I St., N.W.) on Saturday, June 2 at 3 p.m. The two-hour bike tour will stop by lesser-known hang out spots for queer women. D.C. Dykaries’ Ty Kuta will lead the tour. Afterward, the group will attend happy hour at a secret location. Attendees can bring their own bike or rent with Citi Bike. Admission is free. For more information, visit facebook.com/dybebartakeoverdc.

BloominGays presents its third annual Pride in the Park at Crispus Attucks Park (23 U St., N.W.) on Sunday, June 3 from 1-5 p.m. The event will attempt to raise $5,000 to support local LGBT organizations and Crispus Attucks Park. Host tickets for two are $40, advance tickets are $25 and day of tickets are $30. Tickets include a commemorative drinking cup, signature cocktails at homes around the park and other activities. For more information, visit facebook. com/bloomingdalegays.


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

TODAY Daryl Wilson Promotion presents Rock the Block: All Male Super Party at Zeigfelds/Secrets (1824 Half St., N.W.) tonight from 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” alum Shangela will make a special appearance. Dreamdoll will also perform. For ticket information, visit darylwilsondc.com. 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.) tonight from 7:30-9:30 p.m. For more information, visit gammaindc.org. Liberation D.C. hosts three nights of parties celebrating D.C. Black Pride. The first party is tonight at Soundcheck (1420 K St., N.W.) from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. “Love and Hip Hop New York” cast members Anais Martinez and Jonathan Ferdandez will make appearances. There will also be a special guest celebrity. Open bar is from 10-11 p.m. Tickets are $12.61. The after party follows at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.)from 2-7 a.m. Tickets are $12.61. There is also a VIP club hop pass for $88.61 which offers no line admission to every Liberation D.C. party this weekend. For a complete list of parties and ticket prices, visit facebook. com/liberationdc. Artechouse (1238 Maryland Ave., S.W.) presents the exhibit “Celebration of Light: Naked Eyes” by Nonotalk today through June 30. The interactive exhibit includes four installations created around audiovisual light. Daytime admission is from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and is for attendees 12 and older. Evening admission is from 5:30-11 p.m. and is for guests 21 and older. Adult tickets are $15, children under 12 tickets are $8 and students, seniors and military tickets are $12. For more details, visit artechouse.com.

SATURDAY, MAY 26 Mary’s House for Older Adults, an organization aimed at providing LGBTfriendly residences to older adults, hosts its sixth annual Party with a Purpose Old School Dance Party at the Grand Hyatt (1000 H St., N.W.) today from 3:30-7:30 p.m. There will be a light buffet at 4 p.m. DJ Lady D will spin west coast swing music. The party will also feature a silent auction and a cash bar. Advanced tickets are $40. Tickets at the door are $50. Ticket proceeds will benefit Mary’s House for Older Adults. For more information, visit facebook.com/maryshousedc. Freed Bodyworks (1337 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) hosts Yoga and Queer Identity with Melanie Williams today from


‘Celebration of Light: Naked Eyes’ by Nonotalk is on display now at Artechouse.

1-3:30 p.m. The workshop will begin with a brief, grounding meditation followed by a discussion of the eight limbs of yoga through a queer lens. Afterward, there will be another brief meditation and and an hour-long asana practice. The workshop will close out with savasana and a final guided meditation. Williams is a queer, non-binary and larger-bodied yoga instructor. Tickets are $35 with a sliding scale. For more details, visit facebook.com/freedbodyworks. CTRL hosts the sixth annual Tanktacular, CTRL’s final party at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.), tonight from 11 p.m.3 a.m. Guests are encouraged to dress in tank tops, shorts and other summer gear. DJ Adam Koussari-Amin and DJ Devon Trotter will spin tracks. Kalorama Photography/ David Claypool will provide the CTRL photo booth. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Cover is $15 from 10 p.m.-midnight and $12 after midnight. For more information, visit towndc.com. D.C. Black Pride presents a poetry slam at the Grand Hyatt (1000 H St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Mary Bowman hosts the event. Poet Thomas “Tom Cat” Hill will make an appearance. There will be special guest judges, cash prizes and more. Poet sign up is from 6:15-6:45 p.m. Admission is free. For more details, visit facebook.com/marybowmanintl. Omega Entertainment hosts its D.C. Black Pride Royal Men in White Super Party: A King and Rock Stars Affair at Sax (734 11th St., N.W.) today from 3:30-9:30 p.m. Keke Wyatt will perform. Advance general admission tickets are $33.72. Advanced VIP tickets are $65.39. For more information, visit facebook.com/ omegaentertainment.

SUNDAY, MAY 27 Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its annual Green Lantern Competition tonight from 9 p.m.- 2 a.m. For the first year, the competition will be open for men and women to compete for the title of Captain Green Lantern. Doors open at 9 p.m. Contest starts at 10 p.m. The winner of Captain Green Lantern 2018 will receive a custom super suit, contest ring and custom light up gauntlet. The winner will also represent the LGBT community at events such as Awesome Con, BlerdCon and D.C. Pride parties. Cover is $5. For more information, visit facebook.com/’greenlanterncompetition. QT Fusion Dance D.C. hosts Queer Bachata Lessons Series with Practica at a private residence in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of northwest D.C. tonight from 6-8:30 p.m. There will be a beginner bachata lesson from 6-7 p.m. taught by Robyn Lindsey. A bachata practica will follow from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Light snacks will be provided. Attendees are invited to bring their own alcoholic drinks and food. For more details, visit facebook.com/qtfusiondancedc. LURe D.C. hosts QueerTopia, a farewell party to Town (2009 8th St., N.W.), tonight from 7-11 p.m. DJ Jai Syncere and DJ Electrox will play music. Cover is $5. For more information, visit facebook.com/lurewdc. Flash (645 Florida Ave., N.W.) hosts Flashy Sundays Memorial Day Weekend, a dance party, tonight from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ Twin and DJ Sean Morris will play music all night. Cover is $25. For more details, visit facebook.com/flashydc. Makers Lab hosts Before I Let Go: A Black Pride Celebration at Tropicalia (2001 14th St., N.W.) today from 4-8 p.m. LadyRyan will play music. Asha

“Boomclak” Santee will give a live drumming performance. Patrick Sings and Charity Blackwell host the party. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For tickets, visit sleepylee.com.

MONDAY, MAY 28 The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

TUESDAY, MAY 29 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.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 The Lambda Bridge Club meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540. LaTiDo hosts “On Our Own: We’re Fierce Too!,” an Asian-American Heritage Month Cabaret tonight at 8 p.m. at Keegan Theatre (1742 Church St., N.W.). Tickets are $15. Details at latidoproductions.com.

THURSDAY, MAY 31 Go Gay D.C. hosts a pre-Pride happy hour social at the Embassy Row Hotel’s Station Kitchen and Cocktails Lounge (2015 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. No cover. All are welcome. For more details, visit gogaydc.org.


MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8 • 3 1


32 • MAY 25, 2018


‘Whitney’ doc, ‘Mamma Mia’ among summer ’18 film gems Studios, fests pack LGBT content amidst big-budget spectacles By BRIAN T. CARNEY This weekend, the 2018 summer movie season blasts off with the release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an excellent addition to the franchise. Hollywood veteran Ron Howard directs with great visual and narrative clarity and the fast-paced script by “Star Wars” veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon effortlessly combines action, humor, drama and suspense. The LGBT summer movie season kicks off on June 1 with queer auteur John Cameron Mitchell’s delightful new movie “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” Destined to be a cult classic, the movie stars Nicole Kidman as Queen Boadicea, a punk priestess who finds herself caught in a battle between humans and aliens. the fun film also stars Elle Fanning and newcomer Alex Sharp as the literally starcrossed lovers. The June LGBT movie calendar is crammed with other exciting new queer films. Premiering on Netflix on June 8, “Alex Strangelove” is about a high school teen’s journey of sexual exploration. Slated for a June 15 opening in D.C., “A Kid Like Jake” stars Jim Parsons and Claire Danes as the parents of a 4-year old gender-nonconforming child. Opening on June 22, “Hearts Beat Loud” stars Nick Offerman as a divorced father who forms a songwriting team with his lesbian daughter. “Nancy” (June 29) is the story of an unbalanced young women who assumes different personalities as she surfs the Internet. The movie is written and directed by Christina Choe (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) and stars Andrea Riseborough (“The Battle of the Sexes” and “The Death of Stalin”). The rest of the stellar cast includes Ann Dowd, Steve Buscemi, J. Smith-Cameron and John Leguizamo. Pride month releases also include “The Misandrists” (June 15). Directed by legendary gay provocateur Bruce La Bruce, the film begins when a young man fleeing the police unintentionally seeks refuge at a lesbian separatist stronghold. Among LGBT fan favorites, the long-awaited sequel to Pixar’s “The Incredibles” (2004) arrives on June 15. “Incredibles 2” brings back the original cast of superheroes trying to blend in. Director Brad Bird once again threatens to steal the movie with his cameo as Edna Mode (“No capes!”), a sly tribute to iconic Hollywood costume designer and barely closeted lesbian Edith Head. Another old gang is reunited on July 20 in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,”


A scene from the documentary ‘Whitney.’



the effervescent sequel to the original ABBA fest. Flashbacks reveal how Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep in the present; Lily James in the past) met her three suitors. Cher joins the cast as Donna’s mother. There’s no word yet on whether or not Pierce Brosnan will try to sing again or if Colin Firth’s Greek boyfriend will return. On the mainstream front, some of the other big releases include the all-female “Ocean’s 8” (June 8); “Hereditary,” a horror story starring Toni Collette (June 8); “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (June 22), starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and her impressive heels; “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (July 6); “Sorry to Bother You,” a satirical critique of capitalism and racism starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson (July 6); Timothée Chalamet’s “Hot Summer Nights” (July 27); and “Crazy Rich Asians” (Aug. 17). On the lighter side, there’s Mila Kunis and out actor Kate McKinnon in “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (Aug. 3) and “The Happytime Murders” starring Melissa McCarthy and a bunch of puppets (Aug. 17).

Award season gets an early start on Aug. 10 with Spike Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman,” a favorite at Cannes. Based on a true story, Lee’s latest opus is about an African-American police officer who infiltrates the KKK in the 1970s. On the local front, summer screenings by Reel Affirmations will include “Ideal Home” starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as a bickering gay couple who suddenly acquire a 10-year old grandson (June 22). Two outstanding D.C. film festivals also have some fun programs scheduled. D.C. Shorts will be presenting “DC Shorts Laughs” June 22-23. This innovative event pairs local comedians with outstanding short comedy films. This year’s film slate includes “Ruby Full of Shit” about the holiday showdown between the new boyfriend and a bratty 6-year old. The international “48 Hour Film Fest” challenges teams of local filmmakers to create a short film in just two days. The winner of the D.C. competition will be revealed at the “Best Of” screening on June 22.

Under the direction of Michael Lumpkin, the out Director of AFI Festivals, “AFI DOCS” will return from June 13-17. The international celebration of documentary films again includes strong LGBT content, including the world premiere “Alone in the Game,” about the challenges faced by out LGBT athletes; “Dark Money” directed by transgender filmmaker Kimberly Reed; “Don’t Be Nice” about a diverse group of slam poets; “Transmilitary” about four servicemembers who come out to top officials at the Pentagon; and “United We Fan,” about dedicated fans who lobby for the return of cancelled series and one lesbian fan who protests “Lesbian Death Trope.” AFI DOCS also includes documentaries about comedian Gilda Radner, designer Steve McQueen and the fabulous Studio 54. Some of the other great documentaries premiering this summer include “Whitney” (July 6); “Love, Cecil,” a look back at the dazzling career of Hollywood costume designer Cecil Beaton; “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” about the infamous pimp Scotty Bowers (July 27) and “The Gospel According to André,” (June 1) an insightful look at André Leon Talley, the trailblazing black gay fashion editor who grew up in the Jim Crow South. As usual, AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring brings some serious sizzle to the summer schedule. Some of the highlights includes Spanish Cinema Now (May 31-June 3) which includes “Anchor and Hope” about a lesbian couple who enlist the help of a good friend to help them conceive; the D.C. Caribbean FilmFest (June 8-13) which includes the Grace Jones biopic “Bloodlight and Bami;” and, “Sorry to Bother You” which is part of the Color of Collaboration, a new partnership between AFI and the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. From July 7-12, AFI will present the new 70mm print of “2001: A Space Odyssey” to kick off its Stanley Kubrick retrospective. The Maryland Film Festival has an active summer schedule at the Parkway Theatre in Baltimore. On June 2, MdFF will screen “Wild Nights with Emily,” an unconventional biopic of poet Emily Dickinson starring Molly Shannon, as a fundraiser for Baltimore Pride. Other LGBT highlights include “Howard”, a documentary about openly gay legendary lyricist Howard Ashman (“Little Shop of Horrors” and “Beauty and the Beast”) on June 23 and Sundance favorite “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” on Aug. 17. Following on the heels of the successful annual festival which included the “Rated LGBTQ” series, the Washington Jewish Film Festival will screen three audience favorites this summer, including “The Invisibles.”


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34 • M A Y 25, 2018




Photo of Jimmy Mavrikes and Lukas James Miller by Christopher Mueller




Stage heroines ‘Waitress,’ ‘Saint Joan’ wildly different takes on female empowerment By PATRICK FOLLIARD

girlfriend Now through June 10

Free parking 16 area restaurants

June 2-3, 2 22018 Noon to 7pm Each Day

Rain or Shine FREE!

Glen Echo Park, MD

Check website for performer and parking info www.washingtonfolkfestival.org

450 Musicians, Storytellers, and Artisans

Dancing & Jamming Bring a Picnic!

Heroines transcend time and circumstances. What they share are qualities of strength and goodness with which audiences typically sympathize. Currently, two very different productions have come to town featuring plucky women whose stories, though wholly dissimilar, both inspire. Jenna, the title character in the musical “Waitress” now at National Theatre, is a hardworking heroine. Pulling long shifts at a roadside diner somewhere in the south and stuck in an abusive marriage, she finds solace in baking pies. When Jenna (Desi Oakley) learns she’s pregnant by rotten husband Earle (Nick Bailey), she plots to escape with the prize money she hopes to win in a statewide baking contest. In the meantime, she falls into an awkward but passionate affair with her shy ob-gyn, Dr. Pomatter (Bryan Fenkart). But when future happiness looks most unlikely, Jenna must dig deep to find a way out. A stage adaptation of Adrienne Shelly’s quirky 2007 flick with an enjoyable country western/Broadway score by Grammy winner Sara Bareilles, an unsubtle book by Jessie Nelson and direction by Diane Paulus — the show’s first act, especially, is plagued with broad comedy and hammy performances. But like the New York production that was graced by Jessie Mueller as Jenna in 2015, the touring production has Oakley as Jenna. Her everywoman take is fully drawn and she puts across songs with power and feeling. As heroines go, Joan of Arc ranks pretty high. Instructed by the voices of saints, teenage Joan left the family farm in 1429, donned armor, led the French army in driving the English out of Orleans and paved the way for the crowning of the Dauphin at Reims. Two years later she was captured by the enemy and after a long and arduous trial, was put to death for heresy. Bedlam, a small New York company, debuted in 2012 with an enthusiastically well-received streamlined, immersive, four-actor interpretation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1923 classic “Saint Joan.” Now Bedlam brings that same production to Folger Theatre. Directed by Bedlam’s artistic director


DRIA BROWN as Joan of Arc in ’Saint Joan.’

Eric Tucker, who is also a cast member along with Sam Massaro, Edmund Lewis and Dria Brown as Joan, the production gets out of the way of the material and lets Shaw’s brilliant writing tell Joan’s story. With almost no sets or props, a cast costumed in 20th century street clothes and willing audience members seated in plain folding chairs onstage, history unfolds in all its humor, poignance and exciting detail. Performances are stellar all around. The level of concentration displayed as the male cast members assume numerous different roles is an impressive feat, yet they make it look easy. Standout turns in the enthralling three-hour (two intermission) play are Tucker as Warwick, the aristocrat who rather unfeelingly assists in casting Joan’s fate. And Lewis as Father John, a nationalistic Englishman gunning for conviction, who is forever changed after witnessing the heroine’s burning at the stake.

‘WAITRESS’ Through June 3 National Theatre 1321 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. $48-108 800-514-3849 thenationaldc.com ‘SAINT JOAN’ Through June 10 Folger Theatre 201 East Capitol St., S.E. $30-79 202-544-7077 folger.edu/theatre


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36 • MAY 25, 2018


Puth evolves

Young heartthrob shows musical growth on sophomore album By THOM MURPHY

Taking the stage at the March For Our Lives student protest in Los Angeles, Charlie Puth performed his song “Change.” With a bluesy keyboard accompaniment, he sang lyrics that seemed to speak directly to the students: “What a waste it would be if we hurt for nothing?” Charlie Puth’s career has been nothing short of meteoric. In less than two years, the 26-year-old singer (he’s straight), who has become something of a heartthrob à la Shawn Mendes, has dominated with hits such as “See You Again,” “One Call Away,” “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Attention.” On his second album “Voicenotes,” Puth is beginning to show real depth. Jazz, folk and R&B are key influences of the new music, which features collaborations with Boyz II Men and James Taylor. As with his previous work, Puth demonstrates his astounding vocal range and delivers a

fresh showcase of ready-made hits. Sexier and funkier than his 2016 “Nine Track Mind,” the new album shows more musical maturity. With producer and writer credits on every track, in addition to many instrumental credits, he takes ownership over his music in a way that is surprising for a singer of his age. The album’s lead single “Attention,” released more than a year ago, has been a mainstay (perhaps an overplayed one) of pop radio for the past year, and the music video has attained 750 million views on Youtube. This success has allowed Puth to move from opening for Shawn Mendes to headlining his own tour. The album opens with “The Way I Am,” featuring a fast funk groove oddly reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Puth centers the song, as well as much of the album, on the bass line. It sets a danceable, somewhat funky tone for the rest of the album. Following the massive success of lead single “Attention,” singles “How Long” and “Done For Me” have been released. “How Long” opens much like other songs that have aspired to be summer hits — “Cake



Hitmaker CHARLIE PUTH’s new album ‘Voicenotes’ features lots of slinky bass and creamy falsetto crooning.

by the Ocean” comes to mind. “Done for Me” treats similar material but is framed as sensual duet with singer Kehlani. Jealousy, relationships, breakups, and “LA Girls” are the recurring themes. If one were to reproach “Voicenotes” for any one thing, it would be for the repetitive lovesick content and the tendency toward juvenile lyrics. This is not to say the strategy is without some merit — Puth has been hugely successful with a younger demographic. But while he has made considerable progress developing the music, he still has some lyrical maturing to do. “BOY” is perhaps the best


representative of the often strange mix of musical maturity and lyrical adolescence. Beginning with syncopated synth chords, the song quickly transitions into an uptempo groove, broken up in the middle by a jazz keyboard solo. It would be a stretch for most pop albums but Puth incorporates it effortlessly. At the same time, the lyrics self-consciously nod to Puth’s young age: “You won’t wake up beside me/’Cause I was born in the ‘90s.” (Puth probably doesn’t help his own cause by singing a large part of the song in a cherub-like falsetto.) ■ CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM


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MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8 • 3 7

Join the Taylor Gourmet family and queens Bombalicious Eklaver and Ba’Naka for a DRAG BINGO BASH to kick off Capital Pride week! F E AT UR ING : 3 DRAG B ING O G AM ES • CO C KTA I L S LI GH T BITES • P R I D E SWAG • DJ • G O O D V I B E S •

J une 7




19 0 8 14 th St , N W

Brought to you by Taylor Gourmet and the Washington Blade, this event is FREE and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to Casa Ruby, a Bilingual, Multicultural LGBTQ organization in the District.

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123 Commerce Street Centreville MD 21617 The Wright House Magnificent Victorian built in 1883 & lovingly restored. Gorgeous Architecture. Updated kitchen. Heated Pool, Plus much more

1 Bateau Landing Grasonville MD 21638

33 Greenwood Shoals Grasonville MD 21638

Protected Waterfront. Prospect Bay Golf Course & Country Club. Gourmet kitchen. Pier with lift and 4’ MLW. 5 bedroom. 4.5 baths.

Newly remodeled 4 bedroom home with fabulous gunite pool & golf course views. No detail left undone. Prospect Bay Golf and Country Club.

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4 Eagle Ct Grasonville MD 21638

Protected Waterfront. Prospect Bay Golf Course & Country Club. 4-5’MLW with Pier. Open floor plan. 6 bedrooms. 3 baths.

Fantastic Golf Course View of 2nd Fairway. Prospect Bay Golf Course & Country Club. Passive Solar design from foundation up.


Come discover Queen Annes County MD “The sky’s a little bit bluer on this side of the Bay”




Long and Foster 202 Thompson Creek Mall Stevensville MD 21666 410-643-2244 Ext: 1265 410-320-3647 JimmyWhite@longandfoster.com KentIslandToday.com

Age Well. Live Well.

3 PM-7:30 PM

It’s our time to celebrate! Enjoy socializing, dancing, fun and friends at this free LGBTQ seniors’ event. Take part in free workshops on financial awareness, fraud more! PROOF #1 ISSUEprevention, DATE: 180518estate planning and SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Check out our interactive slide show of past LGBTQ events in DC. REVISIONS LOCATION REDESIGN

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 the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair 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 washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations and warranties.

Human Campaign | The Equality Center TEXT Rights REVISIONS IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW NO REVISIONS Washington, DC 20036


Register online at iona.org/event/silver-pride-2018 or contact Susan Messina at smessina@iona.org | 202-895-9401




By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the washington blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to placement, payment and insertion schedule.


MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8 • 3 9


PRIDE Be proud of your sexuality.

Visit SexIsDC.org LEARN. SHARE. BE.


4 0 • MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8




M A Y 25, 2018 • 41


一䄀䬀䔀䐀 夀伀䜀䄀 䴀漀渀搀愀礀猀 ☀ 眀攀搀渀攀猀搀愀礀猀

㘀㨀㌀ 倀䴀


Spot any familiar faces? Gay Petworth-area residents gather last year for a Pride luncheon at Taqueria del Barrio.

Petworth Pride is June 3 Neighborhood restaurants offer games, specials By EVAN CAPLAN Pride is no longer relegated to one weekend in June — it’s taken over the entire month. This is no more apparent than up in Petworth. A tidy neighborhood of row homes, over the past decade, it’s blossomed into a social and cultural destination, especially the chic stretch of Upshur Street N.W. just east of the Metro. For the second year running, the bars and restaurants populating the street will be hosting Petworth Pride, set to take place this year on Saturday, June 3. Anna Bran-Leis, owner of Taqueria del Barrio, organized the event. “The LGBTQ community is really important to me, and to the restaurant,” she says. “When I opened last year, I saw that that there was big LGBTQ community in Petworth, among my customers and among nearby businesses. I wanted to celebrate this diversity and bring people together in neighborhood.” Last year, three restaurants participated, donating a portion of proceeds to area organizations serving the LGBT community. This year, the festival is bigger, better and more fabulous. The restaurants and bars on the block of Upshur Street N.W. between 8th and 9th will take part in Price festivities: Himitsu, Ruta del Vino, Petworth Citizen, Timber, Hank’s Cocktail Bar, Taqueria del Barrio and Pitch Tavern. There will also be sales at Willow & Fia’s Fabulous Finds. Each establishment will have branded window decor, offer Pride-themed cocktails and have outdoor activities. Drag queens will be roving the street, along with other entertainers, all led by local queen Kristina Kelly. To participate, festival goers will be able to purchase drinking glasses for $5. All proceeds from the purchase will go to

charity (Whitman-Walker Health, SMYAL and the Friends of Petworth Park). The glasses can be filled with various drink specials at each spot. At Taqueria del Barrio, Ban-Leis will be slinging happy hour cocktails for the duration of the event, including the famous house margaritas on tap. There will also be food specials, like “gringo” tacos and house-made mole nachos. For its part, Hank’s Oyster Bar will be hosting “Gay Games.” The bar will set up life-size Jenga, Connect 4, beer pong and Twister; it’ll also offer themed cocktails just for the event. When Bran-Leis approached of the bars and restaurants about participating, she received nothing but support. “It’s great to get together with the neighborhood. Even though we’re all very busy and have different businesses, this is bringing us together as a wonderful way to collaborate.” For example, she’s worked closely with Shane Mason of Hank’s on organizing the festivities and Carlie Steiner of Himitsu designed the logo for the T-shirt. They’re even getting support from outside the community — Effen vodka is a sponsor. For her, hosting this Pride event “is really important to me because I’ve witnessed discrimination against the community, treated as less than equals. To me, pride is such a big deal. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been going with family and friends to festivals to celebrate and it’s important today for young people to know the struggle of older generations. I love seeing equality and inclusiveness and everybody embracing who they are.” And outside of Pride, Taqueria del Barrio, a neighborhood-style Mexican restaurant run by the owners of D.C. Empanadas, also hosts drag brunches every other Saturday, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties and other events geared toward the community. Next year, she hopes to close the area to cars for a street festival.

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 㠀 愀洀 ⴀ 洀椀搀渀椀最栀琀

猀愀 琀甀爀搀愀 礀猀 最爀愀戀 愀 ␀㔀 漀昀昀 挀愀爀搀 愀琀 吀刀䄀䐀䔀 昀愀挀攀戀漀漀欀⸀挀漀洀⼀琀栀攀挀爀攀眀挀氀甀戀

㄀㌀㈀㄀ ㄀㐀琀栀 猀琀 一圀

4 2 • MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8


DC Housing Expo & Home Show w

Saturday, June 9, 2018 | 10 am - 3 pm |

Washington Convention Center Halls D & E 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW

What’s New For 2018 At This FREE Event     

Home Design Center Smart Home Technology Tiny Home Living Small Business Marketplace Access to Housing and Job Search Resources

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EGYPT SHERROD Host of “Flipping Virgins” and “Property Virgins” In partnership with

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Explore 150+ Exhibitors and 30+ Workshops. Get Free Credit Reports and Counseling. Learn about Home Purchase Assistance. Explore Tools for Tenants and Landlords. Learn How to Stay Safe and Mobile at Home. Get Kids and Teens Financially Fit. Win Prizes and Giveaways. Download

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Meet the Authors Corner Featuring

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The Event Code is 2018expo.

202-442-7200 2018dchousingexpo.eventbrite.com


MA Y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8 • 4 3

Vote in the Tuesday, June 19, 2018 Primary Election

Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

During the Primary, only Democratic, Republican, DC Statehood Green, and Libertarian voters may vote on the candidates. However, every registered voter, including unaffiliated and minor party affiliated voters, may vote on the Initiative Measure that will appear on the ballot.

CONTESTS ON THE BALLOT: Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives Mayor of the District of Columbia Chairman of the Council At-large Member of the Council Ward Member of the Council for Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 Attorney General of the District of Columbia United States Senator United States Representative National and Local Party Committee Members Initiative Measure No. 77, the “District of Columbia Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2017”*

* All voters, regardless of party affiliation status, will be asked to vote “YES” to approve or “NO” to reject the Initiative Measure in the Primary. For the complete text of the Initiative Measure, please visit our website at www.dcboe.org

WANT TO VOTE EARLY? Early Voting will start at One Judiciary Square on June 4, and at ward-based Early Voting Centers on June 8. Early Voting Centers are open daily (including weekends) through June 15, 2018 from 8:30 am until 7 pm.

EARLY VOTING CENTERS: MONDAY, JUNE 4 — FRIDAY, JUNE 15 Ward 2: One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW

(PAPER & TOUCHSCREEN BALLOTS) FRIDAY, JUNE 8 — FRIDAY, JUNE 15 (TOUCHSCREEN BALLOTS ONLY) Ward 1: Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street NW Ward 3: Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW Ward 4: Takoma Community Center, 300 Van Buren Street NW Ward 5: Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue NE Ward 6: Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street NE Ward 6: King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street SW Ward 7: Deanwood Recreation Center, 1350 49th Street NE Ward 8: Malcolm X Opportunity Center, 1351 Alabama Avenue SE

NEED MORE INFORMATION? For more information on the upcoming election, on voter registration, to confirm your registration information, or to find your polling place, please visit www.dcboe.org or call (202) 727-2525.


44 • MAY 25, 2018


Capital Trans Pride was held over the weekend at Foundry United Methodist Church and Stead Park.



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The Washington Blade held its 11th annual Summer Kickoff Party at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach, Del. on May 18. The event featured remarks by Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns, Lewes Mayor Ted Becker and Rehoboth Beach Commissioners Lisa Schlosser and Kathy McGuiness.


46 • MAY 25, 2018


Corporate sponsors lacking for Black Pride: organizers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

Hutton says the estimate for 2017 attendance was about 30,000 for all the Black Pride events, including parties. The host hotel Grand Hyatt Washington (1000 H St., N.W.) sold out earlier than ever this year. Two overflow hotels (Pod D.C. and Cambria Hotel Washington) were “almost full” when Hutton spoke to the Blade May 18. He says the event continues to grow each year. It’s the longest-running Black Pride in the country. Hutton guesses about 10 percent of attendees are non-black. Seven volunteers serve on the Black Pride Advisory Board, which plans the programming each year and selects honorees. The Center for Black Equity, an umbrella agency for Black Prides in other areas, grew out of D.C. Black Pride under the leadership of Earl D. Fowlkes Jr. The annual operating budget for the non-profit sector is “whatever we can get,” Hutton says. Sponsors are accepted but he says the event sees nowhere close to the corporate sponsorship Capital Pride gets. “There isn’t really a quote-unquote budget,” he says. “It’s on a year-by-year basis.” Perhaps because of their lack of heavy corporate sponsorship, Hutton says the activists in No Justice, No Pride — a group that protested at the Capital Pride parade last year and is still active — have left Black Pride alone. Trans Pride officials (Trans Pride was last weekend), even though it’s part of Capital Pride officially, said the same. “We just don’t have a lot of those big sponsors, but it’s not for a lack of trying,” he says. “I know when I first got involved, I sat down and called every single one of those places and their response is always they have a certain amount for their pride budget and it goes to Capital Pride. We survive off of, like, $200 here and there or selling space in our Pride guide.” Black Pride always breaks even, Hutton says, although that has not always been the case. The party promoters (“They make a killing that weekend,” Hutton says) are good about funneling money back to the volunteer side of the organization. “It’s very reciprocal,” he says. “They give us money so we can have some extra bells and whistles here and there. We usually have some extra change left over so we can host a volunteer appreciation event or do something after Pride but every dollar we spend, goes back into Black Pride.” Hutton says the most difficult aspect to Black Pride is squeezing in something for everyone in such a short time frame. “We try to make sure we have something for men, women, youth, trans, something so everyone feels welcome at D.C. Black Pride,” he says. “There’s never enough hours in the day to get all this stuff done.”

D.C. Black Pride programming Memorial Day weekend jam-packed with official events Friday, May 25, the Pride Hospitality and Vendors area is open from noon-9 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt (1000 H St., N.W.). The Sexual Health Symposium: Sex, Lies and Videotapes runs from 4-6 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt. Free HIV/AIDS and STI testing also runs from 6-9 p.m. The D.C. Black Pride opening reception kicks off from 6:30-8:30 p.m at the Grand Hyatt. The Intergenerationally Queer Project Workshop/Panel Discussion is from 9-11 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt featuring black lesbian and queer women advocates. Admission is free but registration is requested. Saturday, May 27 is packed with events. From 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., “Grown Folks Speak Out II: Elders World Cafe” is in the Hyatt Ballroom B and includes light breakfast and lunch as seniors from the region meet to discuss aging, spirituality, housing, caregiving, isolation, discrimination and more. A Hip Hop & Heels exercise session is at 11 a.m. in Lafayette Park/Farragut Square at the Hyatt. A resume writing and interview prep workshop is in Ballroom G at the Hyatt from noon-2 p.m. Literary Cafe “Remembering James Baldwin” is in Lafayette Park from 1-4 p.m. May Is? All About Trans has a Transgender Town Hall in Ballroom G at the Hyatt from 2-4 p.m. Ask the Doc: Women’s Sexual Health Workshop is from 2-4 p.m. in Ballroom F. D.C. Black Pride Poetry Slam at the Grand Hyatt from 7-9 p.m. Mary Bowman hosts the show. Sign-up is first come, first served. Admission is free. On Sunday, May 26, there will be an interfaith worship service at the Grand Hyatt from 9-11 a.m. Honey Coated Nightlyfe hosts Communities Building Communities Pride Brunch at Cheers at the Big Chair (2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.) from noon-4 p.m. There will be a buffet-style brunch, mimosas and drink specials. Tickets range from $40-50. The Outdoor Festival in the Park is at Fort Dupont Park (3600 Minnesota Ave., S.E.) on Monday, May 27 from noon-7 p.m. There will be a stage show, food and vendors. The Cultural Arts and Wellness Festival will also be showcased at the festival. Free admission. Editor’s note: This is a partial list of many events scheduled throughout the weekend. A full version of programming and parties is under “schedule” at dcblackpride.org.

D.C. Black Pride party time Jussie Smollett, Keyshia Cole among guest entertainers Friday, May 25, there will be a pre-game happy hour at the Grand Hyatt (1000 H St., N.W.) at 5 p.m. The Big Bang Mega Party follows at Karma (2221 Adams Pl., N.E.) from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. featuring R&B singer Keyshia Cole. Daryl Wilson Promotion presents Rock the Block All Male Super Party featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Shangela at Ziegfield’s/Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) on Friday, May 25 from 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Rapper Dreamdoll will perform. DJ Sedrick, DJ Maestro and MC Brandon Anthony will spin tracks. Admission is $20 before midnight. Also today (the 25th) is the WETnSEXY LADIES PARTY at Abigail Lounge (previously Huxley) at 1730 M St., N.W. from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. with the ladies of Capitol Doll House and emcee Dnyce and DJs L Stackz and Kidd Fresh. Details at dcpride2018. eventbee.com. Saturday, May 26 is the D.C. Black Pride Men in White Super Party at Sax Restaurant and Lounge (734 11th St., N.W.) from 3:30-9:30 p.m. R&B diva Keke Wyatt will perform. “Empire” star Jussie Smollett will host the 5,000 Men Supreme Fantasy Mega Party at Bliss (2221 24th Pl., N.E.) from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Special guests June’s Diary and Jazmine Sullivan will make appearances. The Red Eye Everything Mega AfterHours party kicks off at 3 a.m. at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Being Rd., N.E.). The Mega Ladies Party is at Power Nightclub (formerly XS Nightclub at 2335 Bladensburg Road, N.E.) from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. hosted by Love & HipHop NYC Mariah Lynn and Illy Cartier with Emcee Dnyce on the mic. Details at dcpride2018.eventbee.com. Sunday, May 27 is the annual Manhunt Day Party at Ultrabar (911 F St., N.W.) from 4-9:30 p.m. followed by the National Traffic Light Hookup Party at Decades (1219 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. The women’s Finale Brunch and Day Party is at 12Twelve (1212 H St., N.E.) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (brunch) and 4 p.m.midnight (party) with Chef SherardB. Tickets must be purchased in advance to secure a spot. Brunch entry includes day party entry. Details at dcpride2018.eventbee.com. On Monday, May 28 Eden (1716 I St., N.W.) hosts a rooftop party from 4-9 p.m. The weekend closes out with the Apocalypse Chapter X at Stadium (2127 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.) from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Passes range from $60-200. For a complete list of events and to purchase tickets, visit omegapartydc.com.


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How to lower stress during a real estate transaction Get an early start, de-clutter and be prepared By SHERRI ANNE GREEN Whether you are a first-timer, or you have been through the process before, selling a home, or purchasing one, can be a stressful experience—emotions can run high on both sides. But the process, no matter which side you are on, doesn’t have to be so nerveracking. Keeping a level head, taking a few deep breaths, and following some simple advice can help the process go smoother. Sellers: When you are ready to sell your current home, there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind as you get your house ready for market. First, pricing it accurately will cut down on the number of days your home is on the market, and more importantly, it will help attract the right buyers to your home. Setting the price too high, and above its true market value, can keep potential buyers from seeing your home until you make the decision to lower the price to the right value. Next, you should discuss with your agent the showing instructions—when and how buyers, and their agents, can tour your home. Making your home as accessible as possible will help sell your property faster. Having evening hours and weekend showings, even an open house or two, can give more people a chance to see your prop-

erty. Some buyers are moving in from out of town. The only chance they may have to see your house is on the weekend. Of course, keeping your house accessible means keeping it “show ready.” My advice? Pack up as much as possible before putting your home on the market. It’s the best way to de-clutter before potential buyers arrive. Pack up out-of-season clothes, holiday decorations, last season’s sports equipment, and other items you can live without for a few months, and move them out of the house. Removing personal items from bookcases and replacing them with books and a few focal points can help open up your space. Moving valuables out of the home can eliminate the worry of your most prized possessions. Remember, buyers need to see themselves in their new home, not as a visitor to yours. Buyers: There are a lot of steps to follow when buying a home—even if you have been through the process previously. As a buyer, you need to know how to get pre-approved, what a home inspection can tell you, what an appraisal is and why it is needed, how to put forth a strong offer, and more. And then, there is the process of finding the home. If you get too caught up in the “Instagram Effect,” as I call it, finding the right home can take much longer than needed. Social media has brought access to beautiful imagery from interior designers, architects, museums, castles and the like. Through those images, we are con-

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stantly presented with “perfect” homes. But know that no home is perfect. Even at a high price point, you are likely going to find something you would like to change—a paint color, cabinetry knobs, a water heater, tile in a bathroom, or something else. The best advice is to work to see the vision in each property you tour. Is the home in your desired neighborhood/area? Is it convenient to your office or the activities you enjoy? Does it provide you with a layout that suits the way you live? Are the features what you desire—number of bedrooms, baths, pets policy, outdoor space, etc. You can’t change the location of a home, but you can change the paint color of walls—easily. Don’t start your home buying experience expecting to find the perfect house. Out-of-Towners: Buying or selling from afar provides a new set of emotions. You may be in a time crunch to find a home, or sell your current one. You may know exactly where you want live in your new area, or you may need to do some research into neighborhoods to find the right spot. If you are moving in from out of state, there is a good chance that viewing homes in person will be sporadic. As a buyer, you can certainly “find” a home online, but having the guidance of a good buyer’s agent—as I discussed in my April 6, Washington Blade article, “Why you should hire a good buyer’s agent”— becomes even more important. The best advice is to start

early. Have your agent set up a custom search that pulls directly from the MLS so the information you are seeing is accurate and timely. Early on in the process, identify days you can be in your new city to tour in person. Another helpful way to view homes is to ask your agent if they will Skype or FaceTime a home tour with you. Starting early can also ensure you, and your agent, can sync schedules on the days you can be in town to tour. Relying on open houses as your only point of access when your agent is on vacation could cause you to miss out on a great home. If you are selling a house from afar, make sure you ask your real estate professional how they will keep you informed of showings and feedback, how they will keep your house show ready, and how any needed repairs will be handled. Knowing your home is well cared for in your absence can lower your anxiety. So get started! Take a deep breath, call your agent, and make a plan. With some early prep and realistic expectations the home selling and buying process can actually be fun, and of course rewarding. SHERRI ANNE GREEN is an award-winning Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Focusing on custom, data-driven marketing and client service, she provides impeccable service tailored to her clients’ unique situation. Reach her at 202-798-1288, sherri.green@ cbmove.com or on Facebook, facebook.com/ SherriAnneGreen/, or on Instagram: SherriAnneGreen.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: There’s a cloud on the title – will the buyer still be able to close?

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

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