Washingtonblade.com, Volume 49, Issue 47, November 23, 2018

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Pelosi’s moment Bid for House Speaker gets boost as Marcia Fudge makes surprise endorsement By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com A potential showdown in the new House Democratic majority in which LGBT rights would have been a major factor fizzled on Tuesday night when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won an endorsement from Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), her most likely competitor. In a surprise move, Fudge — who said she was considering a run for speaker, but never declared her candidacy — announced her endorsement of Pelosi as speaker for the 116th Congress in a statement Tuesday night. A former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Fudge said Pelosi “granted me the opportunity to create the record necessary” to satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision against the Voting Rights Act, which CONTINUES ON PAGE 14

Rep. NANCY PELOSI made a surprise appearance last week at the annual dinner in D.C. for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

New House Intelligence Committee chair poised to expose lies, corruption By KAREN OCAMB It’s come down to this: name-calling. Literally. California Rep. Adam Schiff appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Nov. 18 explaining that Democrats intend to challenge President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting attorney

general. A former federal prosecutor who becomes chair of the House Intelligence Committee in January, Schiff said the appointment is unconstitutional. Trump responded like a spoiled five year old, calling Schiff “little Adam Schitt” in a tweet. “That’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?” Schiff tweeted back, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Even Trump ally Laura Ingraham called the name-calling “an unforced CONTINUES ON PAGE 16

Rep. ADAM SCHIFF is poised to become chair of the House Intelligence Committee in January. PHOTO BY LOUISE PALANKER; COURTESY OF FLICKR




After seven years, HRC’s Chad Griffin announces he’s leaving in 2019.

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D.C., P.G. cops investigated for ‘coercing’ trans sex worker

LO CA L N E W S fearful of retaliation if her identity were to become known. “While I am saddened at this reporting [of the alleged police officers targeting the trans woman] and that this still happens, I am clear that this does not taint the entire MPD force and there are many who are doing good work to help keep transgender people safe,” Budd said in her email.

Trans woman says two officers demanded sex to avoid arrest By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com At least one D.C. and one Prince George’s County police officer is under investigation by their respective departments for allegedly threatening to arrest transgender sex workers unless they agree to engage in a sexual act with the officers, according to D.C.’s Fox 5 News. “A transgender prostitute who spoke with Fox 5 said that the officers are using their authority to coerce the prostitutes into sexual acts in exchange for not arresting them,” the TV news station reported on Nov. 15. “Fox 5 has obtained video that shows an officer – dressed in plain clothes – arriving at a location on Eastern Avenue in Northeast [D.C.] – where one of the incidents is alleged to have occurred – in a marked Prince George’s County police cruiser,” Fox 5 reported. “Other images show a man wearing only a D.C. police polo shirt and naked below the waist,” Fox 5 News reported. “Multiple sources have told Fox 5 that the man is a D.C. police lieutenant.” An area along Eastern Avenue, N.E., which serves as the D.C.-P.G. County line, is widely known as a location where transgender sex workers congregate and seek out customers. D.C. and P.G. County police released separate statements last week saying they were investigating an officer from their respective departments in response to the Fox 5 News report but they provided few specific details. “We are aware of the allegations of misconduct against one of our sworn members,” D.C. police said in their statement. “MPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the allegation. The member has been placed on a non-contact status pending the outcome of the investigation,” the statement says. D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, told the Washington Blade the unit was “made aware” of the investigation during its “initial stages.” Parson added, “And our members are always available to provide support should we be requested by those handling the investigation. We have no further comment.” In its own statement P.G. Police said, “There is an allegation that an off-duty Prince George’s County police officer exchanged money for a sexual act while he was in his marked cruiser in the District of Columbia.” The statement adds, “The case is being investigated by Metropolitan Police. Our internal affairs division is handling the administrative investigation. Within hours of learning about the allegation, the officer was suspended with pay while the case moves forward.” News of the two officers’ alleged efforts to coerce one or more transgender sex works for sexual favors in exchange for not arresting them surfaced less than a week before D.C.’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance was scheduled to take place on Nov. 20 at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington. Although the event commemorates transgender people who have lost their lives to violence, some participants in the annual event have raised the issue of alleged police abuse of trans sex workers, who activists say are often forced into that line of work as a means of survival. Transgender activist Earline Budd, one of the lead organizers of D.C.’s Trans Day of Remembrance, said she knows one of the transgender women who complained about the two police officers and the woman’s attorney. Budd is an official with the local sex workers advocacy group HIPS. Budd said the attorney has asked her not to disclose his name or the name of the sex worker who made the allegations against the police officers at this time. “He said he will make a statement on behalf of his client(s) when he is ready,” Budd told the Blade in an email. Fox 5 News reported that the sex worker who made the allegations said she was


LGBT Liaison Unit delivers turkeys to community groups

Members of the D.C. Police Department’s Special Liaison Branch, which includes the LGBT Liaison Unit, posed for a photo this week at the LGBT community services center Casa Ruby while on their rounds delivering turkeys to local community groups for the Thanksgiving holiday. Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s liaison units, said the turkeys were donated by the group Islamic Relief USA and the effort was coordinated by the Sixth Police District and the office of D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7). LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Baltimore police investigating gay man’s murder A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department on Monday said there have been no arrests in the case of a gay man who was found dead in his apartment. Police officers and firefighters found Brendon Michaels inside his home on St. Paul Street on Nov. 8. Detective Jeremy Silbert of the Baltimore Police Department told the Washington Blade last week that Michaels’ death has been ruled a “homicide from trauma.” “There are no new updates to provide,” Silbert told the Blade on Monday. Michaels, 43, grew up in Westminster in Carroll County. He graduated from Carroll Community College in 1998 with an associate degree in arts and sciences. The school hired Michaels as a full-time fitness instructor in 1999. He was named coordinator of the Carroll Community College Fitness Center in 2008 and became a certified personal trainer in 2014. Carroll Community College has created a fund in Michaels’ memory. “Brendon was a vibrant and well-respected member of our college community for over 20 years,” reads the fund’s website. “He was high energy, passionate about fitness and always willing to help anyone in need. Our dear friend and colleague brightened the lives of so many and we know he would love to brighten the lives of Carroll students. We will miss him dearly.” Michaels was also a waiter at the Olive Garden. The Baltimore Sun previously reported Michaels in 2011 won $50,000 in the Maryland lottery. Anyone with information on Michaels’ murder is asked to call the Baltimore Police Department at 410-396-2100 or send a message to its text-for-tip line at 443-902-4824. MICHAEL K. LAVERS



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D.C. gets failing grade on domestic violence report card Mayor’s office says citywide policy for survivors to begin in January By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com Nineteen out of 21 D.C. government agencies received a failing grade for not having a specific policy in place to adequately respond to domestic violence experienced by members of the public or their employees in a report card released last month by the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In addition to the failing grades for the 19 agencies under the jurisdiction of the D.C. mayor, the report card gave failing grades to the D.C. City Council for not having a policy in place to address domestic violence and to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as Metro, for having what it considers an inadequate policy in place. The two D.C. agencies surveyed in the report card that received a passing grade were the Metropolitan Police Department and the Child & Family Service Agency. Both of those agencies had a policy for addressing domestic violence that, while not as far reaching as the Coalition would like, are enabling police officers and CSFA staff to provide important assistance to victims of domestic violence throughout the city, according to a 23-page report released by the Coalition. The report, entitled Surviving D.C.: A Domestic Violence Report, says domestic violence “impacts hundreds of thousands of District residents each year” and the large number of such cases “outpaces the availability of services for survivors”

Any survivor of domestic violence deserves to have the same experiences however their sexual orientation guides them,’ said DAWN DALTON of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

offered by non-government organizations like the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its 16 component groups. “With this in mind, local government agencies must be prepared to respond to the needs of survivors,” the report says. “Residents who are desperately trying to navigate the perils of abusive relationships often turn to District government agencies for life-saving assistance such as housing, protection, medical care, and more.” Dawn Dalton, the Coalition’s policy director, told the Washington Blade that experts on domestic violence know that such violence is known to take place in the LGBT community. Officials with the D.C. police department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, for example, have said calls for assistance for LGBT-related domestic

violence make up the largest number of calls they receive each year. “Any survivor of domestic violence deserves to have the same experiences however their sexual orientation guides them,” Dalton said. “So in our recommendation to government agencies they would need to be thoughtful and inclusive to all different survivors and their needs,” she said. In a statement released in response to the Coalition’s report card, Kevin Donahue, Deputy D.C. Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, said the mayor’s office was in the process of updating what he called a far-reaching ongoing domestic violence program. “Over the past four years Mayor Bowser has invested more than $43 million in domestic violence programs across the District – a historic investment,” Donahue said. “These programs have provided domestic violence survivors with critical services, such as emergency and transitional housing, legal advocacy and assistance, and counseling and mental health care.” Donahue added that Bowser has directed his office to create a citywide domestic violence policy based on “established best practices” that focus on the needs of survivors. “This policy will go into effect January 1, 2019, and be applicable to all 35,000 District government employees,” he said. “It is vital that we ensure the District government provides domestic violence survivors with all the support they need and we are committed to doing so.” The report released by the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence says Donahue and other city officials informed the Coalition of these D.C. government

actions and plans at the time the report and report card were being prepared. “We commend this effort and offer our full support and expertise,” the report says. “However, as the organization that represents our 16 member programs that work directly with survivors of domestic violence, DCCADV advocates for a more comprehensive response from the city that includes policies for staff that formalize how the agencies support District residents who reach out for help,” the report says. It notes that in its survey and report card, only two participating D.C. agencies – the police and the Child and Family Services Agency – had such a policy in place to guide their staff and officers on how best to respond to domestic violence incidents involving members of the public. In response to a question from the Blade, Coalition official Dalton said that there are no LGBT organizations involved with domestic violence issues that are among the coalition’s 16-member groups. She said the coalition has an application process for adding groups and LGBT organizations would be welcome to apply. One D.C.-based LGBT group that has addressed the issue of domestic violence – the Rainbow Response Coalition – did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment on the report card released by the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Rainbow Response Coalition director June Crenshaw could not immediately be reached. The D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s report and D.C. government agency report card can be accessed at dccadv.org.

D.C. schools to allow students to register as ‘non-binary’ Parental registration form set to begin in 2019 school year By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com In a little-noticed development, the D.C. public school system earlier this year adopted a policy that will allow parents to select a category of “non-binary” rather than male or female when asked on school enrollment forms to indicate their child’s gender. D.C. Public Schools spokesperson Shayne Wells said the school system’s interim chancellor, Amanda Alexander, finalized the policy over the summer as part of an annual effort initiated by D.C.

Mayor Muriel Bowser to streamline and update D.C. government forms. “We’re thankful for Mayor Bowser’s leadership in this area and proud that this enrollment form is one more step toward ensuring our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff and families,” Wells told the Washington Blade The term “non-binary” is used to describe those who do not identify as male or female; the term is also sometimes used by transgender people. According to the Washington Post, the Oregon Department of Education and the Minneapolis public schools appear to be the only other known school systems in the nation that have adopted a non-binary category on school enrollment forms. “DCPS’ vision is that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared

to positively influence society and thrive in life,” interim D.C. schools chancellor Alexander said in a statement discussing the new school enrollment forms. “We value the whole child at DCPS, and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families,” she said. “Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrollment forms, DCPS is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting, and welcoming LGBTQ students.” Wells said parents will be able to begin using the revised school enrollment forms that provide the non-binary option beginning in April 2019, when the school enrollment process begins for the 2019 school year. Wells said that school year officially begins in August 2019. The revised school enrollment form was

approved about one year after the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles in 2017 changed its gender identification policy on driver’s licenses to allow residents to designate on their licenses the category of “male,” “female,” or “X” as their gender. The change in the D.C. school enrollment forms also comes at a time when President Donald Trump has said his administration has ended a policy established by President Obama in which the U.S. Department of Education directed the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom, locker room and other school facilities consistent with their gender identity. Over the strong objections of LGBT rights advocates, the Trump administration says the Education Department is calling on schools to recognize only the gender of students assigned at birth.


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House GOP urges Trump to drop LGBT protections in NAFTA update A group of nearly 40 House Republicans is calling on President Trump to drop from the updated U.S. trade proposal with Mexico and Canada a provision encouraging countries to adopt policies barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce, throwing ratification of the deal into question. In a letter dated Nov. 16, lawmakers led by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) say they’re “deeply concerned” by the proposed LGBT requirements in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement initiated by President Trump. Rep. DOUG LAMBORN (R-Colo.) is leading An article in Politico highlighted the letter. House Republicans in opposition LGBT “A trade agreement is no place for the adoption language in the NAFTA update. of social policy,” the letter says. “It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States has so far explicitly refused to accept.” The letter urges Trump to remove the language from the agreement before signing it at a planned Buenos Aires event with the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico on Nov. 30. After the leaders sign the agreement, the countries would have to ratify the deal for it to take effect. For the United States, that means approval in Congress after an election in which House Democrats swept into power amid dissatisfaction with Trump. Section 23 of the USMCA contains a provision against sex discrimination in the workplace, calling on members in the deal to adopt rules against sex-based discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The sections also calls for cooperation among the member states “in promotion of equality and elimination of employment discrimination” with regard to numerous characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity. According to Politico, the language was included in the draft agreement at the behest of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government reportedly called the provision a “big win.” The language is unprecedented in a U.S. trade agreement, Politico reports, but it’s unclear whether the provision has real teeth and Canada and United States agree it wouldn’t require a new law. In opposition to the provision, House Republicans enumerate other policies of the Trump administration excluding LGBT people from the definition of “sex” under federal law. The Justice Department has reversed Obama-era policy interpreting laws against sex discrimination, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to apply to transgender people and has asserted discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people isn’t covered under the law. Also cited is an explosive recent report in the New York Times asserting the Department of Health & Human Services is drafting a proposal essentially to erase transgender identity. Although that proposal generated a firestorm of opposition among transgender advocates, House Republicans call the effort “encouraging” and say it would “restore the historic definition of ‘sex’ to a person’s anatomical sex at birth.” Adopting the agreement along with the LGBT protections, House Republicans assert, would undermine efforts currently underway in the U.S. government. “One wonders at the contradictory policy coming through [the U.S. Trade Representative] when other departments under your administration are working to come into alignment on SOGI policy,” the letter says. Signers of the letter includes House members with a history of anti-LGBT views, including Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who proposed an amendment seeking to bar the U.S. military from paying transition-related care for transgender service members, as well as Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the House Freedom Caucus. A statement from Lamborn asserts he signed the letter along with 45 other co-signers. However, the Blade counts 38 total signatures on the missive. Slots for two signatures — Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Roger Williams (R-Texas) are left blank. In the statement, Lamborn said the adoption of the proposal in the USMCA would be “an unnecessary black eye.” “My concern is the precedent this could set for activist courts to cite as congressional support for SOGI language once the USMCA is adopted,” Lamborn said. “I strongly urge him to remove the troubling language in the deal that was adopted behind the scenes.” Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), slammed the letter as “despicable.” “This despicable letter is more of the same from a Republican Congress with open contempt for the humanity of the LGBTQ community,” Hammill said. “It enrages these

NATIONAL NEWS GOP members that LGBTQ Americans should be treated with respect and dignity under the law. They are on the wrong side of history, and come January, they will be on the wrong side of the newly elected House majority.” According to CTV News, Trudeau isn’t saying what he’s willing to do to keep the LGBT provision intact, reportedly telling reporters Sunday he’s not going to negotiate the deal in public. “We got to a good agreement that I think represents Canadian values, Canadian approach, but also values that are broadly shared amongst citizens of our three countries,” Trudeau is quoted as saying at the end of a summit with Asia-Pacific leaders. “In any trade deal, there are going to be people who would like this or like that or not want this or not want that,” Trudeau reportedly added. The Washington Blade is unable to find any reporting on the Mexican government’s position on the LGBT language. A representative of the Mexican government couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. According to Politico, opposition from House Republicans is just “one more landmine in the path” of enacting Trump’s biggest trade achievement. Labor groups have also expressed concern mechanisms to enforce new worker protections aren’t sufficiently strong and hinted the incoming Democratic House might seek changes. Given the deal requires congressional approval for implementation, a lack of support among members of Congress — Republican and Democratic — could spell doom for the proposal when it comes before lawmakers for ratification. According to a report in Business Insider, the concern over the agreement already means the deal is “suddenly in trouble” and it’s future is “in question.” CHRIS JOHNSON

Supreme Court asked to undo Pa. school’s pro-trans policy Following rejection from lower courts, an anti-LGBT legal group is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to block a Pennsylvania school district’s policy allowing transgender kids to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity. Alliance Defending Freedom submitted the 32-page petition for certiorari before the court on Monday, asserting Boyertown Area School District’s pro-trans bathroom policy violates the right to privacy of its students — a notion rebuffed by a trial court in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. “Forcing a teenager to share a locker room or restroom with a member of the opposite sex can cause embarrassment and distress, particularly for students who have been victims of sexual assault,” the petition states. The petition asserts the Third Circuit erroneously decided the school policy is allowed despite Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in education. Although the consensus among the courts is that the law prohibits discrimination against transgender students, Alliance Defending Freedom draws on that statute to argue students shouldn’t be forced to share facilities with transgender students. “The claim is based on petitioners’ own sex, which dictates whom they consent to be with when undressing in a school privacy facility,” the petition says. “And the claim is based on sex in a more general way because the school’s permission to use a locker room or restroom depends on the sex designation of that facility. Either way, the claim falls within Title IX’s plain language, contrary to the Third Circuit’s conclusion.” The questions Alliance Defending Freedom presents before the court are 1) Whether a public school has a compelling interest in allowing transgender kids to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity and 2) Whether the school policy “constructively denies” access to locker rooms and bathrooms under Title IX. Alliance Defending Freedom has had little success in this lawsuit as it has moved through lower courts. After filing the complaint and a request for a preliminary injunction in March 2017 before trial court, U.S. District Judge Edward Smith, an Obama appointee, denied the request in August of that year. When the case came before a three-judge panel on the Third Circuit in May 2018, the judges issued a ruling within one hour of oral arguments rejecting Alliance Defending Freedom’s arguments and upholding Boyertown’s policy. Upon a request for a rehearing “en banc,” or before the full court, the judges agreed to vacate their decision and issue a new one, but the newer decision was only slightly scaled back. It eliminated the conclusion the injunction Alliance Defending Freedom requested was unlawful under Title IX, but still reached the same general ruling against the anti-LGBT legal group. CHRIS JOHNSON


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Chad Griffin to step down as HRC president Successful 7-year tenure saw arrival of marriage equality By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com After a seven-year period leading the nation’s largest LGBT group that culminated in massive gains for LGBT rights supporters on Election Day 2018, Chad Griffin announced late last week he will step down as president of the Human Rights Campaign. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible organization at such an important moment in the history of our movement — and our nation,” Griffin said in a statement Thursday. “The true strength of the Human Rights Campaign is in its fearless army of staff and volunteers, who are committed to ensuring full equality reaches every LGBTQ person across America, and around the world. For decades, this organization has shown the world that love conquers hate. But this year, in this election, with the future of our democracy on the ballot and the equality of future generations on the line, we proved that votes conquer hate, too.” According to HRC, its board will work to establish an executive search process for Griffin’s successor in the coming weeks. Griffin plans to stay on until 2019 to ensure a smooth transition. Griffin’s tenure at the Human Rights Campaign ended with massive gains in a “blue” wave that resulted in Democratic control of the U.S. House, Jared Polis becoming the first openly gay person elected governor and four new lesbian, gay and bisexual candidates elected to the House. The wins were bolstered last week when Kyrsten Sinema was confirmed as the winner in the U.S. Senate race in Arizona, making her the first openly bisexual person elected to the chamber. The Human Rights Campaign contributed to this effort with a $26 million #TurnOut campaign to vote that sought to motivate the estimated 10 million Americans who identify as LGBT and 52 million Americans who support pro-LGBT policies to vote in the election. The #TurnOUT campaign identified six states — Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — on which to focus its efforts. In a conference call with reporters last week, Griffin touted those contributions and said they helped drive the “blue” wave on Election Day that ousted antiLGBT members of Congress, calling it the “largest grassroots expansion in the history of the Human Rights Campaign.” “It is not only ousting these anti-LGBT equality members of Congress,” Griffin

said. “If you look at the pro-equality champions they were replaced by, all across the country, in red, blue and purple states alike, they were defeated by not just pro-equality champions, but candidates who actually fought for our votes and made passing the Equality Act one of the top campaign issues in their districts.” Griffin’s work to advance LGBT rights pre-dates his tenure at the Human Rights Campaign. In 2009, shortly after the passage of Proposition 8 in California, Griffin established the American Foundation for Equal Rights, hiring the dream team of Ted Olson and David Boies to challenge the ban on same-sex marriage in court. The lawsuit was filed contrary to wishes of major LGBT rights groups, including HRC, over fears the lawsuit was too risky and would be unsuccessful. Although the litigation worked its way through the courts for several years before making it to the Supreme Court, where justices ultimately issued a ruling based on standing and not the merits of the case, the lawsuit resulted in the restoration of marriage equality to California. Kris Perry, who along with her spouse Sandy Stier was among the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, told the Washington Blade in the aftermath of Griffin’s announcement he’s an “incredible leader.” “I first met him in 1999 after he helped Rob Reiner pass Proposition 10 in California, a tobacco tax that still generates hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding for children zero to five,” Perry said. “As you know in 2008, Chad turned his attention to fighting Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban in California which he masterfully won. Sandy and I have been HRC supporters since his arrival there in 2011 and we are in awe of the energy, expertise and courage he demonstrates year after year in his fight for human rights, fairness and equality. Chad has improved our lives and the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.” Early on in 2012 during his tenure as HRC president, Griffin pushed to increase support for marriage equality by encouraging lawmakers to echo President Obama’s declaration of support for samesex marriage. That year, for the first time, three states — Maine, Washington and Maryland — legalized same-sex marriage at the ballot, and one state, Minnesota, rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In 2013, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was a priority for the organization. Griffin coordinated an effort that led to passage of the legislation in the Senate, although the bill never came up in the Republican-controlled House. After the legislative effort petered out, Griffin led efforts to develop and introduce the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to bar not only antiLGBT discrimination in employment, but also

HRC President CHAD GRIFFIN announced he will step down in 2019. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

public accommodations, housing, education, jury service, federal programs and credit. Griffin also led the Human Rights Campaign during victories at the Supreme Court for same-sex marriage aside from the decision against Prop 8, including the 2013 decision in the Windsor case against the Defense of Marriage Act and the 2015 decision in the Obergefell case for samesex marriage nationwide. After the Windsor decision in 2013, many skeptics scoffed when Griffin said full marriage equality would come throughout the country within the five years, but that prediction became reality even sooner when the Obergefell decision was handed down years later. But Griffin’s tenure wasn’t successful in every effort. HRC was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential bid and contributed to her election campaign. (Griffin at age 18 was a White House press office manager during the Bill Clinton administration.) Those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and President Trump and Republican majorities were elected to Congress. However, in that same year, HRC contributed to efforts to unseat North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory after he signed the anti-trans House Bill 2 barring transgender from accessing restrooms in state government buildings. Despite Trump’s success, McCrory in that year was ejected from the governor’s mansion. Griffin also didn’t win consistent adulation from the LGBT community. When the book “Forcing the Spring” came out in 2014 on the Prop 8 case and compared Griffin to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks on the first page, Griffin became the subject of criticism from LGBT rights supporters who thought he was

taking too much credit. Griffin, however, distanced himself from the comparison and the controversy abated. Hilary Rosen, a lesbian D.C.-based Democratic activist, said Griffin’s advancement of LGBT rights is consistent with the overall efforts of the Human Rights Campaign over the decades. “The most gratifying thing about HRC is how it has tracked and led the progress of the movement,” Rosen said. “We have had the right leader for each growth spurt and each political season that has been just right. Chad took this organization to the grassroots at the right time in the right way.” Rosen also pointed to Griffin’s creation of Project One America, a multi-year project that sought to advance support for LGBT rights in the South. “He did so much for the movement, but one aspect really sticks out for me,” Rosen said. “His Arkansas roots gave him the incentive to work harder and smarter to make change for young LGBTQ kids and their families in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and throughout the South. I think that will go down in history as one of his most singular contributions.” Speculation emerged immediately that Griffin would seek to join the campaign of one of the potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). According to the Associated Press, Harris demurred when asked if she’d hire Griffin to help with her presidential campaign, saying only that she hadn’t made a decision on entering the race. Harris, however, was public on Twitter on Thursday in her praise for Griffin, predicting history would remember him as a “leader in the moment he was needed to lead.”


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3 trans state lawmakers reflect on historic wins New Hampshire, Colo. officials cite Danica Roem as influence By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com The three openly transgender women who were elected to their respective state legislatures earlier this month each spoke about their historic elections with the Blade on Monday. New Hampshire state Rep.-elect Gerri Cannon finished second in Stafford County District 18, which includes most of the city of Somersworth and the neighboring town of Rollinsford. She was elected to the Somersworth School Board in 2017. Cannon, who is a vocal trans rights advocate, told the Blade she had been approached to run for the New Hampshire Legislature a decade ago when lawmakers were debating samesex marriage and trans rights. Cannon said she “couldn’t afford it,” noting House members’ annual salary is $100. “In New Hampshire running for office means you’re basically donating your time to the state,” she said. Cannon on Nov. 8 is believed to have become the first openly trans woman in the U.S. elected to two offices. “I’m thrilled to have won because now it gives me an opportunity to help other people,” she told the Blade. “In another way, it proves that a trans person can run for office.” New Hampshire state Rep.-elect Lisa Bunker made a similar point. She will represent Rockingham County District, which includes the city of Exeter, in the New Hampshire House. Bunker’s district is less than 25 miles south of Cannon’s district. Bunker and Cannon will take the oath of office next month. Bunker told the Blade during a telephone interview from the Spanish city of Seville where she is currently on vacation that she “was deeply upset, as many people were” about the 2016 election results. She also noted she attended last year’s debate in the New Hampshire House over a bill that would have added gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law. Lawmakers tabled the measure that gay state Rep. Ed Butler introduced. Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu in June signed an identical bill into law after it passed in both houses of the state Legislature. “There are many, many people in the country who have never met a trans person or never knowingly met a trans person,” Bunker told the Blade, referring to the debate over the 2017 trans rights

Colorado state Rep.-elect BRIANNA TITONE


bill. “I got to have that experience as well.” Bunker stressed she doesn’t think her gender identity factors into her “being an effective state legislator.” Bunker nevertheless added her soon-to-becolleagues will “serve alongside a couple of trans people and see how incredibly normal we are and see us as human.” Colorado state Rep.-elect Brianna Titone made a similar point, noting to the Blade she and her campaign “stood away from” her gender identity “as much as we could.” “It’s not something we hid,” said Titone. “At the doors, we really focused on the issues important to people.” Titone, a geologist who defeated Republican Vicki Pyne, will represent the state’s House District 27, which includes the Denver suburb of Arvada, in the Colorado House of Representatives when she takes office in January. Titone will be Colorado’s first openly trans lawmaker. Titone told the Blade her district is traditionally conservative, but a number of factors contributed to her victory. These include 2010 redistricting in Colorado and more registered Democrats in her district. “We just had a lot of momentum,” said Titone. “We knew if this was going to be the year to flip the district, this was going to be it.” Cannon, Bunker and Titone were elected a year after Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) defeated anti-LGBT Republican Bob Marshall. Roem, a former journalist, in January became the first openly trans person to be seated in any state legislature in the country. Cannon, Bunker and Titone all told the Blade that Roem inspired them to run for office. “She ran a principled campaign on her qualifications on the issues and she won,” said Bunker. “She electrified me.” Titone told the Blade she emailed Roem early in 2018 and asked her for advice. The two later spoke on the phone before

New Hampshire state Rep.-elect GERRI CANNON will be one of two openly trans women in the state House of Representatives when she is officially sworn in next month. PHOTO COURTESY OF CANNON

New Hampshire state Rep.-elect LISA BUNKER

Roem traveled to Colorado to campaign in support of her. “I was inspired to run from her win,” said Titone. Roem also campaigned for Christine Hallquist, a trans woman who lost to incumbent Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. Hallquist, the former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, in August became the first openly trans person in the U.S. to obtain a major party’s nomination in a gubernatorial race. “It’s humbling to hear from wellqualified, hard-working, victorious trans women in Colorado and New Hampshire that what we accomplished by winning here in the 13th District last year inspired some of them to run — and win,” Roem told the Blade on Monday. “Yet make no mistake: state representatives-elect Brianna Titone, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker won because of their ideas, because of their work ethic and because of their character. Their voters and soonto-be constituents chose them because of who they are and what they stand for.” Roem noted Monika Nemeth on Nov. 6 became the first known trans


person elected to the D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Roem also pointed out Massachusetts voters on Election Day upheld their state’s trans rights law in a referendum. “The example that we set in 2017 and that we’ve reinforced in 2018 is transgender people who are committed to serving the people they run to represent should bring their ideas to the table too because the people of our communities, states and country need our character and ideas,” she said. “The example we’ve set here in the 13th District of tireless advocacy for my constituents through an inclusive work ethic and relentless constituent service is a model that I hope can be shared nationally as more and more transgender people win elections and begin to serve their constituents,” added Roem. Roem also encouraged more trans people to run for office. “Indeed the service of transgender elected officials across the country has made a mark on the national character, one in which we’ve recognized this truly is our America too,” she said.


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LGBT issues emerged as factor in fizzled challenge to Pelosi CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

she said will lead to protections under that law to be “reinstated and improved.” Fudge also said Pelosi assured her the “most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party, Black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table.” “I am now confident that we will move forward together and that the 116th Congress will be a Congress of which we can all be proud,” Fudge added. “I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn.” LGBT issues were a factor in the competition between Pelosi and Fudge. A champion of the Equality Act, Pelosi as minority leader said the legislation would be a top priority in the next Congress with Democrats in control of the House. On the other hand, Fudge has declined to support the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing concerns the measure would water down the historic law when legislative action is opened. Pelosi isn’t out of the woods yet in obtaining the 218 votes necessary for her to become speaker. On Monday, a group of 16 House Democrats unveiled a letter declaring they were committed to winning a change in leadership in the Democratic caucus when it takes the majority next year. Other House Democrats, including Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) made campaign promises they wouldn’t vote for Pelosi, but they didn’t sign the letter. To keep that in perspective, Pelosi can afford to lose only 15 votes in her new Democratic majority and still have enough support to win the gavel. But Fudge’s decision to stand down from the speaker’s race is a major blow to antiPelosi Democrats, who have struggled to field a candidate. It remains to be seen if another challenge will emerge. After having once wielded the gavel under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama and helping to usher into law the Affordable Care Act, the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, Pelosi’s claim to the gavel in the 116th Congress appears stronger now. Despite her failure to endorse the Equality Act, Fudge has a consistent voting record in favor of LGBT rights. She has cited concerns about opening up the historic law to amendments on the House floor. “What I opposed was including the Equality Act in the current Civil Rights Act,” Fudge said last week in a statement. “The Civil Rights Act is over 50 years old and isn’t even adequate to protect the people currently in it. I want us to do a new and modern civil rights bill that protects the LGBTQ community and updates protections for this era. I do not believe it is appropriate to open and relitigate the current Civil Rights Act.”

Rep. MARCIA FUDGE this week endorsed Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.


Along with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who has a reputation for being an anti-LGBT Democrat, Fudge in the last Congress was one of two Democrats who wouldn’t co-sponsor the Equality Act. Fudge’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests from the Washington Blade to comment on whether she as speaker would have allowed the Equality Act to come up for a vote on the House floor even if she personally doesn’t support the measure. Meanwhile, Pelosi championed the Equality Act since it was introduced. Prior to Democratic wins on Election Day, Pelosi signaled advancing the Equality Act would be a personal goal and the legislation would be assigned a low bill number in the next Congress signifying its importance. “It isn’t in our ‘For The People’ agenda because it doesn’t get that specific, but there’s one more because it’s personal for me that I really want to do, and it’s called the Equality Act,” Pelosi said last month. “The Equality Act expands ending discrimination against LGBTQ people and women and adding that to the Civil Rights Act.” Hilary Rosen, a lesbian D.C.-based Democratic activist, supports Pelosi in her bid to become speaker and drew a distinction between her and Fudge on LGBT issues. “We don’t have a better champion than Nancy Pelosi,” Rosen said. “Rep. Fudge hasn’t even co-sponsored the bill. Her Democratic colleagues might be surprised to know that and it would concern me about electing her leader.” Pelosi raised millions for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and helped secure huge wins for House Democrats on Election Day that exceeded expectations for the “blue” wave. In contrast, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), whose caucus lost in the mid-term election, faced no similar challenge. On Monday, a group of 16 House Democrats (who, with two exceptions, were men) went public with a letter asserting they’re committed to voting

against Pelosi. Other Democrats who won on Election Day have made campaign promises about voting against her, but aren’t signatories to the letter. Despite the challenges and criticism, Pelosi has repeatedly expressed confidence she’ll have the votes to become speaker in the 116th Congress. “I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes, if that was your question,” Pelosi said. “I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House, and certainly we have many, many people in our caucus who could serve in this capacity. I happen to think that, at this point, I’m the best person for that.” The moment of truth will come soon. The party nominating vote within the Democratic caucus will take place on Nov. 28 and the floor vote within the entire House will take place Jan. 3. Faced with prospects of investigations under the new House Democratic majority, President Trump has offered to help on Twitter and said he “can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be speaker of the House.” If Republicans during the vote for speaker on Jan. 3 vote “present,” that would lower the threshold needed for her to win election. But asked if she’d accept Republican support to win the gavel, Pelosi replied, “Oh, please, no, never, never, never.” Drawing on her major achievements for the LGBT community in her role as Speaker of the House during part of the Bush and Obama administrations, a group of 102 LGBT leaders have signed a statement “enthusiastically endorsing” Pelosi as speaker. Cited in the statement are the landmark laws in favor of LGBT rights Pelosi ushered through Congress as speaker, such as the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. For the time when Democrats were in the minority, the statement enumerates

Pelosi’s call for support for marriage equality in the 2016 Democratic Party platform and support for Rep. Ted Lieu’s (D-Calif.) proposal to ban widely discredited conversion therapy. Lane Hudson, a gay D.C.-based Democratic activist, signed the statement and said Pelosi has “been our most vocal and reliable ally from her first days in Congress to now.” “That’s why so many LGBT folks are fighting very hard to ensure she wins election as speaker,” Pelosi said. “So far, potential contenders are more conservative than she is and far less reliable on our issues. Only Pelosi has signaled that the Equality Act will be introduced very early and voted on, which will be historic.” What are LGBT groups doing to help Pelosi? Human Rights President Chad Griffin has publicly declared his support for Pelosi as speaker and staffers for the nation’s largest LGBT group — Sarah McBride, David Stacy and JoDee Winterhof — have along with him signed the LGBT letter in support of her becoming speaker, but the organization didn’t respond to multiple requests from the Blade to comment on whether it’s lobbying the Democratic caucus on Pelosi’s behalf. Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, said he doesn’t having anything to say in response to a Blade inquiry on whether HRC or any other LGBT groups are lobbying members in the speaker’s race for Pelosi or anyone else. For her part, Pelosi is making efforts to renew her connections with the LGBT community. On Friday during the annual dinner in D.C. for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Pelosi made a surprise appearance and celebrated the election of LGBT candidates to the U.S. House. “We are proud that so many new LGBTQ members...represent every corner of our country,” Pelosi said. “LGBTQ members look like America: They’re mothers, business owners, people of color and members of the native nations.” Jonathan Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, also signed the statement and said Pelosi “absolutely deserves” to become the next speaker to continue advancing LGBT rights. “A Democratic majority can resist the ongoing attempts to harm the LGBT community by passing the Equality Act, promoting LGBT-inclusive economic opportunities, and ensuring we are never erased,” Lovitz said. “Now is not the time for an untested Speaker. We need someone like Pelosi who affirms that protecting the livelihood of LGBT Americans is not some bargaining chip to pass legislation, but a nonnegotiable mandate that affirms who we are as an inclusive nation.”


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Schiff calls Trump’s anti-trans attacks ‘pernicious’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

error” on her Fox News show, saying it detracted from his accomplishments. But it also caused real life pain. “Just want to point out all the kids in school with the last name #Schiff getting bullied and name called #Schitt today because of the president of the US. I know because my nieces are Schiffs. #BeBest,” film producer Laurie David tweeted. Schiff recalls the spontaneous rally at the LA LGBT Center the night after the election where people were “despondent and fearful of what this meant for the future.” And in so many ways, Schiff tells the Los Angeles Blade in a phone interview, “the reality of the next two years proved every bit as bad, in some ways worse, than what we feared. It really takes your breath away.” Schiff is keenly aware of Trump’s attacks on the LGBT community, including the “Twitter change in policy regarding transgender patriots serving in the military” and the proposal to redefine “transgender.” “The administration’s efforts to define the transgender community out of existence is among its most pernicious acts,” Schiff says. “It’s just appalling. We are going to obviously fight this tooth and nail.” Trump’s attacks helped create the coalition that won Democrats the House in the midterm elections. “People throughout the country recognized that an attack on the most vulnerable among us is an attack on all of us,” Schiff says. “And any one of us could be among the most vulnerable at some point in their life. And so we’ll fight this legislatively, we’ll fight this in the courts, and we’ll fight this until we succeed and we will succeed.” Schiff adds forcefully: “The transgender community is not going away. It won’t be defined away. It won’t be intimidated away. It won’t be legislated away. And we’re going to be doing everything we can in the majority to protect the community.” Schiff is “thrilled and grateful” that the House flipped convincingly to a Democratic majority “to provide a check on this president,” he says. “I think that this presidency and the threat that it presents to our democracy motivated people like I’ve never seen to be involved.” From small group meetings in his district to fundraisers for candidates around the country, Schiff worked hard for that win. And he was impressed with the LGBT turnout. “One of the last events I did during the campaign was an event in North Carolina with [out California Rep.] Mark Takano in the LGBT community. I think it was perhaps the first LGBT DCCC fundraising event in that city in memory,” he says. “What we saw throughout the country was the extraordinary level of activism among all Americans—but particularly within the LGBT community. And I think both Chad

Rep. ADAM SCHIFF is a regular target of Donald Trump’s tweets, including an especially vulgar one last week. WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY KAREN OCAMB

[Griffin] and HRC [the Human Rights Campaign] and the broader community deserve a lot of credit for the results.” Schiff says passage of the Equality Act “is going to be a top priority for us,” which he expects to be taken up early in the House of Representatives but will probably meet with “rough sledding” in the Senate. “It’s very important that we establish our positive agenda, that we show the country what we want to accomplish when they give us the responsibility of fully governing and when they give us control of the White House and the Senate,” Schiff says. “And strong legislation to ensure equality is of paramount importance. So I would expect us to underscore what an important part of the Democratic agenda this is.” The Equality Act is a top priority for Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is facing a rebellion from some Democrats who do not want her to return as House Speaker, despite having passed the Affordable Care Act, which she urged Democrats to run on in the midterms. The caucus vote happens after Thanksgiving with the floor vote in January. “I believe Nancy is going to be successful and I’m helping to whip votes,” Schiff says. “I think that her policy priorities are in the right place. She’s a superb organizer—she gets the disparate members of our caucus all working together on the same page. And under her leadership, I’m confident that we will pass the Equality Act.” Schiff finds the rebellion incomprehensible. “Are they prepared to have [California Republican Rep.] Kevin McCarthy be our Speaker? Because that would be the effect of [withholding support from Pelosi]. That seems to me a very perilous path they’re going down.” Meanwhile, there’s the lame duck period before January, during which Whitaker could shut down the Mueller

probe and throw the country into chaos. “We will fight Mr. Whitaker in every way we can to protect the integrity of the Muller investigation. I think were he to initiate his own Saturday Night Massacre, and certainly the president began that process by firing [former Attorney General Jeff] Sessions, it would prompt a constitutional crisis and where that would take us is very hard to tell.” Schiff says the most powerful remedy House Democrats have to Trump “is the power to expose what the administration is doing. Exposure has a powerful impact. Exposure of Scott Pruitt’s malfeasance got him fired and has gotten others fired within the administration. It has also affected policy by preventing the administration from doing things that it wanted to do.” In addition to investigating “the Russia bailiwick,” Schiff— cofounder of the House Caucus on Freedom of the Press—says he’s extremely concerned about Trump’s war on truth. He points to Trump’s secret meeting with the Postmaster General “to browbeat the Postmaster into raising postal rates on Amazon. Now I don’t believe the president cares about postal rates. This looks to me like an effort to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post,” as well as his ongoing attacks on CNN. “Exposing wrongdoing, if indeed wrongdoing is going on, can be powerfully corrective.” Schiff is also “deeply concerned” about “whether the Russians were laundering money through the Trump organization and that is leverage the Russians are holding over the president of the United States. And looking into those allegations and if they’re true, exposing it, and if they’re not, telling the country that they’re not, is vitally important and potentially will have great consequences on U.S. policy. It will certainly cause the Congress of the United States to push back against the president’s pro-Russian policies if it

is revealed that they are being driven by the president’s financial interest and not the national interest.” And then there’s Trump’s corrosive license to lie. “This is probably one of the most cross-cutting and difficult problems of all,” says Schiff. Fox News, for instance, provides an “alternative universe” where “they traffic in conspiracy theories about the deep state that used to be relegated to only kooks and cranks.” It’s perplexing. “We’re not going to legislate what they can say on Fox News. We’re not going to somehow publicly arbitrate what’s true and what’s not true,” Schiff continues. “This is a deeply distressing problem. And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.” Already worse is the new “deep fake” technology that allows the production of fake audio or video that looks real, as recently demonstrated by director Jordan Peele who put fake words in the mouth of Barack Obama. “You can imagine how much mischief the Russians could do with this technology,” says Schiff. “They could put out an audio or videotape of a candidate saying something unethical or illegal or otherwise damaging. And before it was disproven, you would have half the country believing it, and even if it could be disproven technologically, would people believe the proof?” Conversely, says Schiff, “will we be able to tell what is real if the salacious videotape that has long been alleged involving the president in a hotel room in Moscow? If those allegations turned out to be true and the tape were produced tomorrow and it was 100 percent authentic, the president would simply call it a fake.” Deep fakes are “one of the gravest threats to our democracy,” says Schiff. “And what makes it so much worse is you have an administration that is pushing out the idea that there is no truth. [Rudy] Giuliani said truth isn’t truth and Kellyanne Conway says we’re entitled to our own alternate facts. And as Sarah Huckabee Sanders does almost everyday she goes to the microphone, she takes fiction and weaves it into her own alternate version of fact. “That’s the kind of administration the president has been running,” Schiff continues. “The president spouts falsehoods at an unprecedented rate, thousands and thousands since he took office. So there is literally a full-scale assault on the truth. It’s no wonder the president considers the press the enemy of the people since it’s so often the press that are pointing out what is true and what is not true.” Meanwhile, childish name-calling exposes the malicious pettiness of this president.



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Florida fails on trans services: report MIAMI — Florida fails to deliver basic HIV services to many transgender women, endangering their health and contributing to an uncontrolled HIV epidemic in the state, Human Rights Watch said in a report released this week. Florida and federal HIV officials talk a lot about the importance of reaching “high risk” groups like transgender women. Human Rights Watch investigated whether the reality on the ground is matching the rhetoric — it isn’t. The 88-page report, “Living at Risk: Transgender Women, HIV and Human Rights in South Florida,” documents the harmful impact of state and federal policies on transgender women in two Florida counties (Miami-Dade and Broward) that have the highest rates of new HIV infection in the United States. Many women interviewed said they experience disrespect, mistreatment and in some cases, denial of services from government-funded clinics. Florida’s inaccurate and incomplete data collection on HIV among transgender people leaves them undercounted and excluded from government programs to address the epidemic, the Watch said in a press release. “After decades of neglect, Florida and the federal government are still failing to address the HIV crisis in the transgender community,” said Megan McLemore, senior health researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report’s author. “Transgender women are struggling to find affordable health care, including HIV prevention and treatment, that respects their gender identity and where they feel safe.” The Trump administration is attempting to roll back anti-discrimination provisions based on gender identity under the Affordable Care Act, part of a broader rollback of federal LGBT rights protections. Reversing existing legal protections could have devastating consequences for access to health care for transgender women. Nationally, one in four transgender women, and half of African-American transgender women, are living with HIV, compared with less than one percent of the U.S. population as a whole, the Watch said in a press release. Human Rights Watch interviewed 125 transgender women in south Florida, as well as state and federal officials, medical providers, law enforcement officials, public defenders, public health experts, and community advocates. Many of the transgender women interviewed, particularly African-American and Latina women, live in extreme poverty, lack stable housing, fear violence daily, and have no health insurance, placing them at high risk of HIV infection. Florida, with the third-highest rate of HIV infection in the country, receives millions of dollars annually in federal funding for HIV prevention and treatment. There is no shortage of HIV clinics in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties, but state and federal HIV policy fails to protect transgender people from discrimination in these settings, limiting options for treatment, the Watch said in its press release.

Gay man sentenced for deliberately spreading HIV EDINBURGH, Scotland — A Scottish hairdresser whom police said deliberately tried to infect 10 men with HIV has been jailed for at least 12 years, The Scotsman reports. Daryll Rowe became the first man in the country to be found guilty of intentionally setting out to spread the virus after meeting men on Grindr. Branded “grotesque” and a “sociopath” by his victims, the 27-year-old was convicted this month of 10 charges: five of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and five of attempting to do so, The Scotsman reports. Rowe, wearing a gray suit and open-collared white shirt, showed no emotion as he was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 12 years at Brighton Crown Court this week The Scotsman article notes. Judge Christine Henson sentencing, referred to his crimes as a “determined hateful campaign of sly violence.” “You are the first individual to be sentenced for Section 18 offenses in the context of infecting others with HIV,” she said, according to The Scotsman. “With the full knowledge of the risk you posed to others and the legal implications of engaging in risky sexual practices, you embarked on a deliberate campaign to infect other men with the HIV virus. Unfortunately for five of the men you met, your campaign was successful.” One victim he thought he was going to die when he found out he had the virus, while another told of the “shattering effect” it had on him and his family, believing, “it was a life-long sentence, which would eventually kill me off” because of the stigma surrounding the disease. The court heard a psychiatric report found Rowe’s crimes were carried out with a “significant degree of rage, control, sadism and violence,” The Scotsman reports.


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Trump’s first trans refugee seeking asylum in Sweden Danni Askini: ‘I can be myself without fear of violence’ By PAULINE PARK The word ‘refugee’ conjures up images of people of color fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and other poor and war-torn regions of the world; someone like Danni Askini would be the last person whose image would come to mind, especially in Sweden. She’s an attractive young blonde and would blend right in on any street in Stockholm, which is where she is now. She’s also an American citizen, born and bred; but Danni may well be the first refugee to flee persecution from Donald Trump’s homophobic and transphobic administration to a country far wealthier per capita than the United States. Trump may be escalating his war on the LGBT community, as indicated by a memo circulating in the Department of Health & Human Services leaked to the New York Times last month that indicates an intention to try to fix a definition of

gender in Title IX on sex assigned at birth. I do not believe that that attempt will ultimately succeed, but it is a clear indication of the intense animus being directed by the Trump administration — no doubt at the instigation of Christian fundamentalists in the White House — above all, Vice President Mike Pence. “Filing for asylum in Sweden was absolutely the right thing to do… I can be myself in Sweden without fear of violence or discrimination. Migrationsverket [the Swedish Migration Agency] has reassured me that they have not found my application manifestly unfounded as a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling says that Sweden does not have a parliamentapproved a list of ‘safe third countries’ (i.e. the USA) and thus they will fully examine my application. I will be going through the normal asylum process. My hearing in November is a more detailed intake hearing — however, they still view the USA as a ‘functioning democracy’ and thus, I will have an uphill battle,” Danni posted on her Facebook page on Oct. 16, adding, “I have lost everything in the USA, the price of safety was immense, and I have spent 3 months homeless and in daily terror. This was not some extravagant holiday or E DIT OR IA L C A R T OON

vacation despite posting pretty pictures.” Lest you think Danni’s case is irrelevant to your life, consider Trump’s broadsides against the LGBT community here. Few of us are likely to have to flee for our lives as Danni has, but it is incumbent on the LGBT community and allies here in the U.S. to support Danni’s asylum case by demanding that U.S.-based and international LGBT advocacy and human rights organizations — such as the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — actively support her application for asylum in Sweden by demanding that Migrationsverket (the SWA) approve Danni’s application. Sweden has taken in more refugees and migrants per capita in the last decade than any other European country, which has provoked a right-wing backlash from white nationalists and has made the government ever more cautious about taking in more migrants. Danni Askini has fled to Sweden from a country that the SWA has not heretofore considered a source of refugees. Danni’s hearing with Migrationsverket is this month, so it is urgent and imperative that those who are in a position to contact LGBT advocacy organizations, human rights organizations, members of Congress, the media (here and in Sweden) and the SWA itself do so as soon as possible. Danni’s fate is important to me because she is a dear friend and an effective activist who has done incredibly important work on behalf of the transgender community in Washington State and nationally. But her case should be important to everyone in the U.S. LGBT community because a successful application for political asylum in Sweden would set an important legal precedent for those fleeing persecution in the U.S. for more progressive European and non-European countries, should the need ever arise for those of us now challenging the Trump administration’s attack on our community from the comfort of our homes in the United States. PAULINE PARK is an LGBT and human rights activist who led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002.

202-747-2077 E-MAIL news@washblade.com INTERNET washingtonblade.com PUBLISHED BY Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. PUBLISHER LYNNE J. BROWN lbrown@washblade.com ext. 8075 EDITORIAL EDITOR KEVIN NAFF knaff@washblade.com ext. 8088 FEATURES EDITOR JOEY DIGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com ext. 8081 SR. NEWS REPORTER LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com ext. 8079 NEWS REPORTER CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com ext. 8083 REPORTER & INTERNATIONAL NEWS EDITOR MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com POP CULTURE REPORTER MARIAH COOPER PHOTO EDITOR MICHAEL KEY mkey@washblade.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS PETER ROSENSTEIN, MARK LEE, LATEEFAH WILLIAMS, KATE CLINTON, KATHI WOLFE, RICHARD J. ROSENDALL, HELEN PARSHALL, ERNESTO VALLE, NICOLÁS LEVY, BUNMI JOHNSON CREATIVE DESIGN/PRODUCTION AZERCREATIVE.COM SALES & ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING STEPHEN RUTGERS srutgers@washblade.com ext. 8077 SR. ACCT. EXECUTIVE BRIAN PITTS bpitts@washblade.com ext. 8089 ACCT. EXECUTIVE JOE HICKLING jhickling@washblade.com ext. 8094 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING/ADMINISTRATION PHILLIP G. ROCKSTROH prockstroh@washblade.com ext. 8092 NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA 212-242-6863; sales@rivendellmedia.com For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC All material in the Washington Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Washington Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Washington Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Washington Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Washington Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C. Multiple copies are available from the Washington Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Washington Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Washington Blade is published weekly, on Friday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $195 per year for 52 issues (only $3.75 per issue mailed to you USPS). Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Washington Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Washington Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to knaff@washblade.com.




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Wishing all a happy Thanksgiving Take time to bridge our differences, give thanks for midterm results

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

Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with friends and family to celebrate all the good things that have happened in the past year. It is also a time to try to bridge our differences and lift each other up. As those of us with plenty sit down together for dinner let us not forget many in the world aren’t so fortunate and think what we can do to make their lives better. Since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, many families have found bridging their differences more difficult. It is amazing to see how the election of the congenital liar and certifiable despot

currently residing in the White House has poisoned so many relationships between family and among friends. Trump — through his actions and statements — has given implicit permission for some Americans to once again give public voice to their sexism, homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. We cannot pretend those feelings weren’t always there but we had reached a point in American society where people understood you couldn’t voice them in public without rebuke. It will take many years to put that genie back in the bottle but we need to try if we are ever to begin moving forward again. Some will feel a little better this Thanksgiving because in their view the midterm elections proved there are many decent people in our country who voted and said in no uncertain terms to our president, “Your vision for our nation is not one we share.” That is something we can give thanks for around the Thanksgiving table. Thanksgiving should also be a time to look within ourselves and determine who we are as individuals and what we can do to make life better not only for ourselves and our families but for others here in the United States and around the world. A time for those of us with privilege to help

lift up others around us who may not be as fortunate. To stop the castigation of those participating in the caravan approaching the United States. Stop calling them an invading force and instead understand they are simply looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Take a moment to think about what you could do to help feed the hungry, house the homeless, and give equal opportunity to everyone who wants to work hard and raise themselves and their family up. A moment of thought to how we change the policies causing institutional racism to give everyone a chance to succeed. A moment to think about how we open up the eyes of the world to understand homophobia and sexism hurt everyone and not just the LGBTQ+ community and women? We need to heal the rifts among family and friends and make the effort to try and see each other in a more positive light. To see what is good in each other and what brings us together rather than only focusing on what separates us. If we begin to do that around the Thanksgiving table with those closest to us we might just have a fighting chance to do it with others. Personally I recognize my life of privilege having just returned from a 13-day transatlantic cruise on the Norwegian EPIC

that embarked from Barcelona, Spain and arrived Saturday in Port Canaveral, Fla. My Thanksgiving weekend will be spent with friends in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and we will definitely exchange stories from our trips this past year. Talk will turn to the Christmas season fast approaching as Friday of Thanksgiving weekend is when Rehoboth Beach lights their community Christmas tree. So surely discussion will also turn to what that season means to each of us. For me, among other things, it means planning on charitable donations to causes I believe in. If that isn’t possible for you, then think about finding somewhere you can donate time. I know the discussion at the table where I am having dinner will also turn to politics and who each of us is thinking of supporting for president in 2020. I have not made that choice yet but will wait and look around to see who finally throws their hat into the ring. Looks like Democrats will have many choices, some real and some whose ego just gets the better of them. So wishing all my friends and those of you who aren’t friends yet, a very happy Thanksgiving. May this holiday find you happy, healthy and sharing time with friends and loved ones.


Harry Potter resonates now more than ever Check out ‘Fantastic Beasts’ for respite from our bullying culture

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

Even if politics makes you despair and you have the holiday blues, there’s hope. Unless you’re one of the two people on Earth who dislike wizards, Muggles or Dumbledore. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second of the Harry Potter prequel movies, is out. No. 1 at the box office, it raked in $62.2 million in its opening weekend. Some LGBTQ folks believe that Dumbledore, the wise, old, powerful professor, who appears in the movie as a young wizard, isn’t queer enough. Yet the film has

been a tonic for many of the millions of us, queer and hetero, who are aficionados of the Potterverse. This year is the 20th anniversary of the publication in the United States of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – the first volume of Rowling’s seven book Harry Potter series. (The book was published in 1997 in the United Kingdom as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.) For those of us aged eight to 80 who are fans, Harry Potter is everywhere as the Potterverse enters its second decade. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a two-part play about Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, the three young wizards in the Rowling books as adults (married with children with professional responsibilities) is playing on Broadway. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” featuring magical artifacts from Harry’s invisibility cloak to electronic tarot cards is on exhibit at the New York Historical Society through Jan. 27. If you’ve been living in a galaxy far, far away: Harry Potter’s parents were wizards, who were killed by the evil wizard Lord Voldemort (aka He-Who-MustNot-Be-Named). Harry, a wizard and an

orphaned infant, is left with his uncle, aunt and their bratty son. His relatives, non-magical people known as Muggles, are so horrid that they make Cinderella’s family seem like Mother Teresa. When Harry is 11, he becomes a student at Hogwarts, an elite boarding school for wizards. There, Harry makes friends with Ron and Hermione and becomes a loyal student of Hogwarts’ headmaster, professor Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore, a wizard, is as benevolent and wise as Voldemort is menacing and nefarious. In 2007, after the last of the Harry Potter books had been published, Rowling at an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York said that Dumbledore was gay. She hinted that Dumbledore, when he was young, had been infatuated with Grinderwald, another young wizard. After the audience gave her a standing ovation, she said, “If I had known this would have made you this happy, I would have announced it years ago.” I wasn’t surprised by this revelation. When I read the Harry Potter books, Dumbledore gave off gay vibes. As Andrew Sullivan noted in a blog post the signs of gaydar were there from “no known female companion” to Dumbledore’s “childhood

crush on another boy.” To me, Rowling’s reveal about Dumbledore’s queerness gave queer kids a role model. In “Fantastic Beasts,” set in Paris in the late 1920s, it’s clearly intimated (even if there’s no explicit sex) that Dumbledore in his youth was in love with Grinderwald. Sadly, Grinderwald goes on to become a Trump-like demagogue who Dumbledore and the good wizards must oppose. Why do I love the Potterverse – especially, the Potter books? Because Rowling’s a great storyteller! As a queer poet, I identify with Harry and his friends, outsiders who face great obstacles to fight prejudice and bullying. The Potter books present a thoughtful take on race and class. My friend Lauren emailed me: “Even in this fantasy world,” she said, ‘the ‘mud-blood’ (an epithet for Muggles) references...tap into something much deeper that makes for a good conversation starter with kids.” In the Trump era when bullying and prejudice are so often on display, Harry Potter resonates more than ever. Check out “Fantastic Beasts.” Read a Potter book. It’ll give you the courage to take on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.


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Hate came to my bookstore Drag Queen Story Hour disrupted by misguided protesters

LINDA SHERMAN-NURICK owns and runs Cellar Door Books in Riverside, Calif.

Last month, the ignorance and hatred boiling over in our country walked in and attempted to disrupt Drag Queen Story Hour at Cellar Door Bookstore in Riverside. Their ugliness interrupted a community event that promotes understanding among us all. Amid ever-growing violence and fear in our country, these kinds of events are critical opportunities to celebrate our common humanity, erasing fear and hatred – and we must continue them no matter who tries to shout us down. I opened Cellar Door Bookstore six years ago because I felt the absence of an independent bookstore specializing in new books that could accurately reflect the diversity, intellectual curiosity and brilliance of Riverside’s com-

munity. We have more than 20 book clubs and welcome all thoughtful discussion. Cellar Door is a place to gather and wrestle with the most difficult issues of our times while enjoying the deep pleasure of discussing ideas, characters and the books we love or hate. We had our first Drag Queen Story Hour in June, to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride month, and it was by far the most attended story time we’ve ever had. Parents and kids loved the lively performance and kept asking when we would coordinate another. So again last month, parents from our community made the choice to bring their kids to hear drag queens read Halloween stories. But two people came in to stop me and the parents from making that choice. When I noticed that the woman was filming, I told her that she couldn’t without the consent of the parents. She just started spewing hateful, uninformed rhetoric about everything from the LGBTQ community to politics and refused to leave. Security was called, but only when Riverside Police Department came did she leave the premises, shouting her ugliness as she left. The drag queens were amazing: They kept reading books, engaging the kids in story time despite it all. But unfortunately they couldn’t completely drown out the hate, and parents had to have conversations about the woman’s despicable behavior with their shaken children after.

I have listened to lots of people talk about the hate speech of “both sides,” but it is one side that sent bombs across the country, killed 11 people in a place of worship and yelled at children in a privately owned bookstore in just one week last month. Donald Trump, with his complete disregard for the laws and policies of this nation, is at the center of this. Bookstores are places where ideas and the hard work of figuring out the complexities of the world in which we live flourish. Trump not only proudly refuses to take part in any such conversations, he denigrates the people who do so and calls upon his followers to repudiate the hard work of scientists, philosophers, writers and any other “intellectuals.” The danger in which this president has placed our country surpasses any war, natural disaster or enemy that has come before. Bookstores, books and libraries promote learning, discussion, disagreement, engagement; we are therefore at odds with the very essence of this administration. Since that Saturday, my store has received phone calls, emails and Facebook posts filled with name-calling and threats. None of these people were actually willing to have a conversation. The alt-right champions the “free speech” of websites like Infowars (a sticker that was illegally plastered

on my store window later that week), but when the time comes to talk to others, they follow their leader and shout insults. Drag Queen Story Hour is a way to bring people together so that hatred of the “other” disappears. All of us prosper from such inclusion, and giving our kids an opportunity to interact with these fun, warm people is a way bookstores and libraries across the country are helping to prevent the fear and ugliness. Our kids will grow up knowing that no matter how they identify, they will be loved and welcomed into our community – and will treat others the same. I don’t need to tell you all about the great strides we made in the midterms for all Americans – and especially the LGBTQ community – but there is still more work to do. Bookstores like mine are committed to being part of the cultural shift away from the terrifying, antithought movement in our country, and we welcome your support and input because I’ve seen the impact events like Drag Queen Story Hour can have on the next generation. At our first such event, one of the kids said, “My little brother likes to dress in my mom’s clothes.” One of the drag queens lovingly responded, “And that’s OK.” And perhaps, that was all that needed to be said. O U R BU SI N E SS MA T T E RS

HQ2 illustrates prime paradox of anti-enterprise crowd A good government knows how to best assist and how to get out of the way

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

This season Northern Virginia is thankful for the announcement last week that Amazon had selected the aggregate area recently dubbed National Landing by local economic development leaders for a partial award of the company’s HQ2 placement. Although not selected, D.C. officials also heralded the choice, knowing the District would gain auxiliary benefit. Ending a national search spanning more than a year, nearly 300 communities competed for designation as the location of the company’s second headquarters to supple-

ment the existing organizational center in Seattle. In the end, the company chose to split the designation between the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York, and a swath of Arlington and a slice of Alexandria in Virginia. The latter locale encompasses Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard. Despite the overwhelming regional embrace of the local selection by elected officials, business leaders, and regional residents alike, there was a minority of voices exhibiting upset. They should be ignored, discounted for their tiresome continuing and reflexive opposition to economic growth and development. That is the prime paradox of the intrinsically big-government-as-goddess gaggle now exhibiting an all-too-predictable tongue clacking over government enticement of an engine of economic growth. You can’t on the one hand argue for increased political control of market commerce and simultaneously vent outrage when government engages in and incentivizes job growth and economic development by the private sector. A little soul-searching is also requisite for that crowd. It is a characteristic stance, after all, to oppose both housing and economic enlargement that are the central components for expanding growth and opportunities for all. Both NIMBY and anti-business activism,

whether in stymieing housing development or curtailing economic expansion, or both, only ensures that neither will occur. Most of all, it lays bare the comical notion that politicians or governments create jobs. It’s a farcical claim that makes sensible folks cringe each and every time an elected official declares they created some stated number of new enterprise employment. Governments do not create private sector jobs, no matter how many times the claim may be made, but can create the conditions in which those jobs can be created. In fact, and not without inherent irony, a large part of the motivation and benefit of winning the Amazon award is to replace the now-disappeared federal government jobs that have rendered Crystal City, in particular, a domain of low-occupancy or vacant office buildings and underutilized land tracts. Amazon is scheduled to hire only 400 employees in the first year, with full staffing of 25,000 total company jobs to be integrated over a lengthy dozen years. Regional economic analysts have determined that number of positions and pace of integration as wholly absorbable without deleterious effect. The region needs to encourage additional housing development necessary with or without Amazon contributing to local population growth. Area governments must ease

existing regulatory obstacles and diminish oppositional opportunities currently precluding the adequate production and rapid deployment of sufficient housing units. More important than the tax abatements, financial incentives, and transportation infrastructure support governments can provide is an assessment whether local leaders have fostered a regulatory and tax environment wherein commerce can thrive and survive. On that score, it’s no mystery among enterprise leaders that the chronically business-unfriendly District and notoriously like-postured neighboring Maryland suburban areas were passed over. Rather than railing about deployment of government resources to encourage private sector enterprise growth, the discussion should instead focus on expanding the public sector purse to the greater source of job creation and economic vitality. Local independent small businesses are equally in need of both relief from burdensome government regulations and benefit of collective societal support. Government is not the primary or essential grantor of economic opportunities, provider of housing, or producer of jobs. The sooner the lesson is learned that government has a limited and, for some, counterintuitive role in creating economic well-being, the more opportunities can be created for the most.


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Pop culture Christmas Old albums new on vinyl, lavish box sets and more make great gay gifts — for others or yourself! By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com

Whether you want a souvenir of the hit show, actual lifestyle tips or tons of eye candy of the stars, “Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life” is a 300-page, full color, hardcover book released Nov. 13. $29.99

Old albums new to vinyl include “This Christmas Aretha,” the Queen’s 2008 release and sole holiday record (out Nov. 16, $19.99), and a remastered vinyl release of Cher’s 1998 comeback album “Believe” (drops Dc. 7; $19.99). Want more ‘Ree? “Atlantic Records 1960s Collection” is out Dec. 7 on six LPs. Eleven demos and outtakes are making their vinyl debut. $99

“Guru” by RuPaul features photos and bitesize wisdom nuggets. $25.99

Some acts like Kate Bush and Bananrama are re-releasing their entire discographies on 180-gram vinyl. Bush’s are remastered and feature a bounty of tracks making their vinyl debuts. Bananarama’s are on colored vinyl and cassette. Prices vary.




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Deluxe reissues, novelty items make great gifts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22

“Life” is the new album from Boy George and Culture Club, their first since 1999. The late October release is available in regular and deluxe editions, black or colored vinyl with art prints, cassette, signed test pressings and various bundles (prices vary) at boygeorgeandcultureclub.com.

Trixie Mattel, winner of this year’s “All Stars 3” on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” makes her vinyl debut with her albums “Two Birds” and “One Stone” on one LP with clear and pink colored vinyl, deluxe gatefold jacket, sticker sheet, fold-out poster and more. Out Nov. 30 for $29.99 from atorecords.com.

“MLVC60” collects more than 1,000 of Madonna’s most colorful, graphically exciting and socially important magazine covers from 19822018 in a “visually narrative fashion that becomes the story of Madonna’s career, of magazine design, of the rapidly changing social mores of the last three decades and more. By Matthew Rettenmund and designed by Anthony Coombs, the team behind “Encyclopedia Madonnica 20: Madonna from A to Z.” 342 color pages, hardcover. $75 at barnesandnoble.com or boyculturedotcom@gmail.com.

There was never much “Golden Girls” merch when the show was on NBC in the ‘80s but boy are they making up for it now. A flood of “Girls” merch is available with everything from a coloring book ($15), pin set ($5.99), various magnets, games, calendars and more. Widely available at retailers such as Books a Million, Five Below, Barnes and Noble, Michael’s and more. Prices vary.

Diana Ross’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” collects tracks from her 1994 EMI collection “A Very Special Season” (never officially available stateside) and “Making Spirits Bright,” her long-out of print 1994 Hallmark collection with 20 Christmas (“The Christmas Song,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain”) and non-seasonal sacred tracks (“Amazing Grace,” “His Eye is On the Sparrow”). It’s on CD and digital platforms.



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Butch Heroes’ honors slain gender benders of yore CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

Kweer Cards is a gay greeting card company that offers cards for birthday, wedding, adoption, e n g a g e m e n t , transitioning, holidays and more. All cards are 5x7 inches and $5-6 each. Kweer Cards’ Tom of Finland 2019 features colorized versions of the classic gay drawings. $20. There’s also a Tom of Finland five postcard set for $15. Details at kweercards.com.

Modeled on Catholic holy cards, queer artist Ria Brodell offers 28 of her paintings of butchy icons of yore in “Butch Heroes.” Katherina Hetzeldorfer, seen here, was tried “for a crime that didn’t have a name” (lesbian sex) and drowned to death in 1477. $24.95 from mitpress.mit.edu.

It’s an exciting time for Sheryl Crow fans. The LGBT ally is out with a new live album and accompanying DVD/blu-ray “Live at the Capitol Theatre: 2017 Be Myself Tour.” Her debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club” makes its U.S. vinyl debut (double 180-gram LP) today with a limited 3,500 copies available today at record stores participating in Record Store Day: Black Friday. Prices vary. recordstoreday.com.

Kiss n’ Make-Up (846 36th St., Baltimore) offers John Waters- and Divine-inspired gifts like these socks, pillows, smart-ass oven mitts and more. Prices vary. kissnmakeuphampden on Instagram or call 410-4675477.

The “Dumplin’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” features Dolly Parton collaborating with an eclectic group of female singers such as Miranda Lambert, Mavis Staples, Macy Gray and more on Dolly classics such as “Dumb Blonde,” “Here You Come Again” and a new stringsonly version of “Jolene.” The movie “Dumplin’” debuts on Netflix Dec. 7. The soundtrack is out Nov. 30.


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EMILY BLUNT in ‘Mary Poppins Returns.’










Tale of two Marys and a lot more ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ among holiday film highlights By BRIAN T. CARNEY

With 2019 just around the corner, it’s time for the final cinematic rush toward Oscar glory and box office gold. D.C.’s holiday film season gets off to a classy start with AFI’s European Film Festival. Running Nov. 30- Dec. 19, the festival features 49 films from 25 EU member states, including 12 films that have been submitted for consideration as Best Foreign Language Film. The Festival opens with “Cold War,” a 1950s romance set in Poland and filmed

in black and white, and closes with “Stan & Ollie,” the British biopic about comedians Laurel and Hardy starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan. Among the queer films in the festival line-up are “Girl,” a Belgian drama about a young ballet dancer who is transitioning both from her assigned gender and into adulthood; “Knife+Heart,” a campy French thriller set in the seedy milieu of the gay porn demimonde of Paris in the 1970s; “Sorry Angel,”a Parisian

romance between an HIV-positive writer and a university student set in the early 1990s; “Euphoria,” an Italian film about two brothers (one gay, one straight) reunited by an unexpected illness; and “Consequences,” a Slovenian drama about teenage angst, sexuality and toxic masculinity set in a youth detention center. For something completely different, the Festival also includes “Diamantino,” a nominee for the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. After an

Italian soccer star makes an unforgivable mistake at the 2018 World Cup, he embarks on a surreal odyssey and a delightfully unconventional romance. For more information on tickets, passes and glittering receptions, go to silver.afi.com. AFI Silver will also host its Holiday Series Nov. 30-Dec.24. Its annual celebration mixes traditional holiday fare with more unconventional films of the CONTINUES ON PAGE 40

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By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Giving philanthropically can be overwhelming — there are worthy causes all around us. Where to start? “There are many nonprofits doing good work and it can be difficult to determine which one to donate to,” says Bob Wittig, executive director of the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a local agency that helps non-profits increase their visibility, raise funds and provides professional development at no cost to the partners. For donors, the Catalogue (founded in 2003) helps vet and select the region’s best nonprofits each year. “When a donor sees the Catalogue seal, they know this is an organization with high impacts and financial sustainability,” Wittig says. “Donors can contribute to a nonprofit that may be new to them with peace of mind.” The giving season kicks off with Giving Tuesday (Nov. 27). The Catalogue is D.C.’s Giving Tuesday community leader and will feature about 200 local nonprofits during the 24-hour giving period. To donate, visit cfp-dc.org. Also consider making a donation to the Catalogue. Every dollar given raises $4 for its partner organizations, Wittig says. “Philanthropy and giving back have always been important to me,” the 57-year-old Green Bay, Wis., native says. “For me, philanthropy is a tangible way that I can help others by supporting a nonprofit’s mission work.” Wittig came to Washington in 1989 wanting to work in the nonprofit sector after grad school. He has a boyfriend, lives in Bloomingdale and enjoys travel (he’s been to six continents) and watching “I Love Lucy” reruns with his daughter Kayla in his free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I’ve been out since 1989. The hardest person to tell was my mother. I’m glad to say that she’s been my biggest champion and supporter. Who’s your LGBT hero?

Harvey Milk. What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? The Fireplace. Describe your dream wedding. Marrying someone I love will be a dream wedding for me. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Racial equity What historical outcome would you change? There’s a lot I’d like to change but currently it’s the creation of the electoral college. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Going to Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl” concert in Milwaukee, Wis., in the late ‘80s. I had to beg someone to go with me. It was me and my co-worker and thousands of teen-aged girls dressed as Madonna. I loved it! On what do you insist? Actions and words matter. What was your last F acebook post or Tweet? A picture of my teenage daughter’s hair dyed green. If your life were a book, what would the title be? “Wherever I Go, There I Am” If science discovered a way to change

sexual orientation, what would you do? Insist that it be locked away in a closet. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I identify as Buddhist, so I guess I will keep coming back again and again until I get it all together! What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Keep working to advance the rights of transgender people. What would you walk across hot coals for? I couldn’t bring myself to walk across hot coals, sorry! What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? Being LGBTQ+ is a choice. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “Philadelphia” What’s the most overrated social custom? Christmas — it’s way too commercialized for me. I would be happy with no presents and just spending time with people I love. (My teenaged daughter saw this response and totally disagrees!) What trophy or prize do you most covet? Winning four blue ribbons at the Green Bay City Swim Meet when I was 12. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That before I knew it, I’d be 57. Why Washington? So much culture and diversity. It’s been a great place to be a gay man and to raise a child. My daughter has had way more cultural experiences at her age than I’ve had during my lifetime because she’s growing up in D.C.


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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com

DANCE The Nutcracker. Nov 29-Dec 28. The Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre. washingtonballet.org.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical Nov 27-Dec 30. National Theatre. thenationaldc.org.

The Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.

Operetta Wonderland Nov 28-Dec 2. In Series at D.C. Scottish Rite Temple. inseries.org.

A century ago, audiences delighted in operetta’s topsy-turvy plots, rousing street songs, and soaring melodies. Escape your troubles and step into the waltz-inspired revolutions of the music of one of America’s greatest popular composers, Victor Herbert. Fall in love again with fanciful visions of prima donnas, toy soldiers, and star crossed lovers in the amazing environment of DC’s historic Scottish Rite Temple.

As November marks 100 years since the final armistice of World War I, the NSO will combine forces with some of today’s most gifted voices and choral groups for Britten’s epic War Requiem, conducted by NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda.

Pete McCutchen: Pattern + Texture Thru Dec 2. The Art League. theartleague.org.

Photographer Pete McCutchen captures naturally-occurring abstracts, texture, and pattern found in the natural world. He finds pattern and texture in snow, ice, and sand, even in mud. Printed on metallic paper on a large scale, these striking images straddle the line between abstraction and realism. PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL THEATRE

A Christmas Carol. Thru Dec 30. Ford’s Theatre. fords.org. A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas. Nov 23-Dec 30. Elf: The Musical. Thru Jan 6. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. A Christmas Story. Nov 24-Dec 9. Arts on the Green at Arts Barn. A Deafening Sound. Nov 23-Nov 24. Sketch Night. Nov 28. Improv Wars. Thru Dec 10. In Your Ear. Thru Dec 16. DC Arts Center. dcartscenter.org. Anastasia. Thru Nov 25. The Choir of Man. Nov 23-Nov 25. Barber Shop Chronicles. Nov 28-Dec 1.

Chanticleer. Nov 24. Mason’s Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu. Irish Christmas in America. Nov 24. BlackRock. blackrockcenter.org. Newmyer Flyer. Nov 24. John Eaton with George Gershwin & Friends. Nov 25. The Barns. wolftrap.org. The Anderson Brothers. Nov 25. Home Free: A Country Christmas. Nov 25. Strathmore. strathmore.org. WNO: Silent Night. Thru Nov 25. NSO Pops: Walt Disney Animation Studios. Nov 23-Nov 25. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.


NSO: Britten’s War Requiem Nov 29-Dec 1. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.



kennedy-center.org. As You Like It. Thru Dec 2. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com. August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. Nov 28-Dec 23. Round House. roundhousetheatre.org. Billy Elliot the Musical. Thru Jan 5. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. King John. Thru Dec 2. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. Shear Madness. Thru Nov 25. Kennedy Center. shearmadness.com. The Agitators. Thru Nov 25. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org. The Fall. Thru Nov 25. Cry It Out. Thru Dec 16. Studio Theatre. studiotheatre.org.

AU Museum at Katzen. Jim Sanborn. Thru Dec 16. american.edu. Anderson House. A Revolution in Arms. Thru Mar 24. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Juggling the Middle Ages. Thru Feb 28. doaks.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. Churchill’s Shakespeare. Thru Jan 6. folger.edu. Library of Congress. Mapping a Growing Nation: From Independence to Statehood. Thru Jan 1. loc.gov. National Archives. Remembering Vietnam. Thru Jan 6. archivesfoundation.org. National Gallery of Art. Water, Wind, and Waves. Thru Nov 25. Exhibition: The Chiaroscuro Woodcut. Thru Jan 20. Exhibition: Gordon Parks: The New Tide, 1940-1950. Thru Feb 18. nga.gov. National Geographic. Tomb of Christ. Thru Jan 2. Titanic: The Untold Story. Thru Jan 6. nglive.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Full Bleed: A Decade of Photobooks and Photo Zines by Women. Thru Nov 30. nmwa.org. Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. Block Watch. Thru Feb 28. anacostia.si.edu. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Exhibition: Champions. Thru May 19. npg.si.edu.

Postal Museum. My Fellow Soldiers Letters from World War I. Thru Nov 29. postalmuseum.si.edu.

GALLERIES DAC at National Building Museum. CANstruction. Thru Nov 25. aiadac.com. DC Arts Center. Heritage: Now. Thru Nov 25. A light white, a disgrace. Thru Dec 9. dcartscenter.org. gallery neptune & brown. Joseph Keiffer: Traveling Light. Thru Dec 29. galleryneptunebrown.com. Gallery Underground. Colors of Fall Exhibit. Thru Nov 30. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Glen Echo Park. Journeys: Marketa Jirouskova. Thru Dec 29. glenechopark.org. Hill Center. Alec Dubro: Hearts in Atlantis. Thru Jan 6. hillcenterdc.org. Korean Cultural Center DC. Damageable Perfection. Thru Nov 30. koreaculturedc.org. Strathmore. Jennifer Kahn Barlow. Thru Dec 1. strathmore.org. Waverly Street Gallery. The Washington Guild of. Thru Nov 30. waverlystreetgallery.com. Zenith Gallery. Great Moments in Art III. Thru Dec 1. zenithgallery.com. Zenith Sculpture Space. Traveling Full Circle. Thru Jan 5. zenithgallery.com.

AND MORE... National Archives. A Fierce Glory: Antietam—The Desperate Battle that Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery. Nov 28. Presidents of War. Nov 28. archivesfoundation.org. National Gallery of Art. Film: Chartres: Light Reborn. Nov 25. nga.gov. SPAIN arts & culture. Mujeres de Cine/Films Across Borders: Dancing Beethoven. Nov 29. At Former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence. spainculture.us. Library of Congress. The Lost Weekend (Paramount, 1945). Nov 28. Film Screening: Artur Schnabel: No Place of Exile. Nov 29. loc.gov. National Geographic. Through the Lens. Nov 27. Uncovering the Galilee: New Discoveries in the Holy Land. Nov 29. nglive.org.



N OV E M B E R 23, 2018 • 31

At home in D.C. New York transplant finds local theater work satisfying By PATRICK FOLLIARD When out actor Ben Gunderson was cast to play the ship’s purser in Arena Stage’s irresistible production of composer Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” he didn’t know the musical comedy very well. But after just a couple rehearsals, the 1934 classic’s charms become clear. “It’s a full meal, a real confection,” he says. “Earnest love story mixed with vaudeville/ burlesque-esque scenes. It really pulls from a lot of genres and smashes them together in a surprising way that’s densely comedic and earnestly joyful and romantic.” And so, it is. “Anything Goes’” ridiculously brilliant score is crammed Porter hits like “You’re the Top,” “It’s DeLovely,” “Anything Goes,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and more. The madcap plot is secondary to the sublime songs, but here it is: The ocean liner S.S. American sets sail from New York to England carrying a mélange of café society including nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney, her young stockbroker pal Billy Crocker who’s in pursuit of debutante Hope Harcourt who’s engaged to be married to wealthy Lord Oakleigh. For extra silliness throw in a gangster and his moll, a couple stowaways, a few leggy chorines and a tap-dancing crew. Farce and romance ensue. Gunderson’s decision to leave New York for D.C. a year and a half ago, wasn’t particularly tortured. He and his partner of three years, native Venezuelan Mauricio Pita (director of education at GALA Theatre) literally shaved their heads and took the plunge. In addition to playing the purser, Gunderson understudies Billy Crocker (here played by Corbin Bleu of “High School Musical” fame). Since coming to town, Gunderson has had luck with directors named Molly (though spelled differently). His first D.C. gig was “Still Life with Rocket” at Theater Alliance. An innovative portrait of a damaged family conceived and directed by Mollye Maxner, it received seven Helen Hayes nominations (including Outstanding Lead Actor for Gunderson) and won Outstanding Production of a Play. And he’s currently enjoying a terrific run in Molly Smith’s “Anything Goes.” Working with Smith on “Anything Goes” has been a dream, he says. “We spent a full week on table (learning the script), and that’s unusual for a musical comedy. That’s a real gift. The entire cast — even if you’re not in that scene — was included. It’s about family building and that certainly certain influenced the feeling in the room and on stage. Molly made always made things



positive, respectful and fun.” Gunderson also appeared in director Alan Paul’s “Pajama Game” at Arena last season and more recently Paul’s wellreceived and heavily attended “Camelot” at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Modestly describing himself as “an actor who moves,” Gunderson says, “There are some extraordinary dancers in ‘Anything Goes.’ I think three of them have been Rockettes. They have a polish that’s alien to me.” But in fact, he’s a slim, elegant dancer who stands out in an ensemble. Prior to D.C., Gunderson, 32, was based in New York. He was in the Broadway and 25th anniversary touring companies of “Les Misérables,” which led to appearances on The Academy Awards, The Tony Awards and “America’s Got Talent.” Being on the road agrees with him up to a point. “I saw the entire country and paid off my sizeable student loan. But after a while, the Marriott looks like the Double Tree looks like the Days Inn. You’re craving a personalized space.” Any romance on the road? “When we’d sit down in a city from four to seven weeks, I’d go on a couple dates when I was single. My personal life was on hold and I was craving connection outside of the people I was working and living with. I had a few flings but nothing serious. But others met people in show and married.” Growing up in Fargo, N.D., Gunderson found ample opportunities to sing and act. “I was brought up Lutheran and back when I was religious — I’m not anymore — I sang in the church choir. Then I got into choral singing in the fifth grade. It was great place for my little closeted heart to express itself.” ■ CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM ‘ANYTHING GOES’ Through Dec. 23 Arena Stage 1101 Sixth St., S.W. $40-125 202-488-3300 Arenastage.org

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VanHook Productions presents “Waiting to Exhale Twisted,” a lip-synced stage play, at Chateau Remix (3439 Benning Rd., N.E.) on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. The story follows two drag queens and two transgender female friends as they navigate relationships with trans/gay men and each other in the D.C. area. Shi-Queeta-Lee, Riley Knoxx, Tanya Clarke and Capri Bloomingdale star. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for dinner and the show are $50 and include a plated meal, glass of champagne and dessert. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the show. Tickets for just the show are $25. For more details, visit facebook.com/queetaspalace.


Rainbow Youth Alliance plans drag bingo

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World AIDS Day events slated for next weekend Celebrate and reflect on the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day with two key events this year. Impulse D.C. and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation present “DecAIDS: Then, There & Now — A World AIDS Day Celebration” at North Hall at Eastern Market (225 7th St., S.E.) on Friday, Nov. 30 from 6-10 p.m. The interactive art experience will revisit how AIDS has affected the LGBT community throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and today. There will be a surprise celebrity guest speaker, a two-hour sponsored bar, sip and paint, dance, spoken word and dramatic presentations. Admission is free. For details, visit impulsegrp.org/washington. The 32nd annual Walk & 5K to End HIV begins and ends at Freedom Plaza (1455 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) on Saturday, Dec. 1. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K starts at 9:15 a.m. The walk kicks off at 9:20 a.m. Post-event activities begin at 10 a.m. Runner registration is $21. Walker registration is $5. Student and senior walkers are $9. Sleepwalker registration, for those who cannot attend the event, is $24. Proceeds benefit Whitman-Walker Health. For more information, visit walktoendhiv.org.

Rainbow Youth Alliance hosts a drag bingo happy hour at Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Drag bingo starts at 7 p.m. All adults are welcome to attend the event whether they identify as LGBT or not. Nellie’s will donate a portion of the proceeds to Rainbow Youth Alliance. For more details, visit facebook. com/ryamoco.

Get ready to tango The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts Queer Tango Class on Friday, Nov. 30 from 7-9 p.m. The course is designed for beginner students to learn basic tango vocabulary and technique. There will also be discussion on the assumptions of gender and how those assumptions affect dance and interaction with others. Attendees will be able to experiment dancing in both gender roles and share their experiences. The class will be led by Liz Sabatiuk of Tango Mercurio. There is a requested $10 donation to support the D.C. Center. Sliding scale tickets are available by request. For more information, visit thedccenter. org or email supportdesk@thedccenter.org.



N OV E M B E R 23, 2018 • 33

Mariah’s return


New album ‘Caution’ sustains slinky, sexy mood throughout

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

By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Mariah Carey is pretty consistent. She’s never really made an all-out dud. Even the most nominal of fans can always find something enjoyable on her many studio albums. It’s just that sometimes they’re so clunkily and pretentiously titled, many don’t bother to check them out. In stark contrast to snappily titled early releases like “Daydream” (1995), “Butterfly” (1997) and “Rainbow” (1999) came more recent efforts such as “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” (2009) and the ludicrously titled “Me. I Am Mariah … the Elusive Chanteuse” (2014), the lowest-selling album of her long career. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or an album by its title (“Angel” and “Chanteuse” both had worthy moments) but thankfully we can get past all that titular tomfoolery with “Caution,” (1/2 out of four) her Epic label debut out last week. Is it a great start-to-finish record? No. And if you’ve been out of the Mariah loop for awhile and pick it up thinking there’s gonna be a barnburner like “Honey,” “Make it Happen” or “Dreamlover,” well — dream on. Any longtime music fan knows sometimes our favorite acts don’t always make the record we wanted them to. The “Caution”-era Mariah, now in her late 40s, is musically more subtle. These tracks don’t come roaring out of the gate. This is a richly atmospheric record you can play anywhere; its slinky, sexy, lite hip-hop grooves (courtesy a wide array of top-shelf producers) are easy on the ear. The handful of rap cameos from Ty Dolla Sign, Slick Rick, Blood Orange and Gunna are woven in deftly. There’s a sonic cohesiveness (although some might call it a mid-tempo rut) to the whole thing that’s refreshing. It’s also a tight record with just 10 songs clocking in at 39 minutes total. Carey deserves kudos for reining in both musical excess and overall bloat here. The best cuts all come early. “GTFO” (“get the fuck out”) is mellow and chill and would sound great on a turntable. Despite it being a sly and cleverly worded kiss-off, it’s an ear worm and a great opening cut. First (non-promo) single “With You” drips with atmosphere and Carey and a lover enjoy “shots of Remy/playin’ confessions and our bodies blending/ ooooh I’m in love it’s true/yeah damn I fux witchu.” Of course she’s no Bob Dylan (Carey co-penned all 10 cuts), but we never expected her to be. It’s again mellow, the chord progressions flow like melted butter and the lyrics are loose enough so as to give her plenty of room to improvise as the song reaches a boil.

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She does it all with her usual tricks — doubled vocals an octave higher, ad-libby sounding outro lyrics, cascading vocal melismas and even a subtle cameo from her famed “whistle register,” (the upper reaches of her vocal range which early on were her trademark). Carey has struggled in live performance in recent years. Her range has at times appeared shot, her pitch shockingly iffy and even her mid-range lacking the luster it had in the ‘90s. But with all the studio bells and whistles at her disposal, Carey sounds great on “Caution.” The range is there but you never feel like she’s beating you over the head with vocal gymnastics. The title cut is mellow, slinky and catchy. Several tracks follow in similar lush, always mid-tempo fashion — cute “A No No,” radio-friendly and current-sounding “The Distance,” vapory Streisand-referencing “Giving Me Life” and plinky, sputtering “Stay Long Love You.” She’s variously horny, nostalgic, ready to put a douchey lover in his place and so on. There’s no grand statement here about anything, but that’s OK. There are only two out-and-out duds — inane “One Mo’ Gen” (just her hoody way of saying she wants to have sex again over neo-Vaudevillian chords) and nicely textured but lyrically weak “8th Grade,” which makes absolutely no sense. Sadly Carey is now — by sheer age and sexism alone — several years into the inevitable radio shut-out that plagues all divas after about age 35. She had a decent hit (no. 15) with Miguel with “#Beautiful” in 2013, but her last no. 1 (“Touch My Body”) is a full decade behind her. “With You” has done OK on some of the minor charts but hasn’t cracked the Hot 100, which would have been unthinkable for Carey in the ‘90s or early ‘00s. How our various veteran lady artists tackle this sad reality creatively is always interesting to witness. “Caution” is no “E=MC2” (Carey’s last great record) but it’s uber current sounding, subtle and captures the singer vamping around like she’s still in her fun-loving and sexual prime without coming off as Norma Desmond-ish. She’s hovering near — if not totally hitting — a late career sweet spot that sounds warm and inviting whether radio decides to do anything with it or not.

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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 The D.C Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Woof: Happy Hour and Porn Star Bingo today from 5-11 p.m. Eddie Danger hosts Porn Star Bingo which will have prizes. There will be free pizza for the crowd at 7:30 p.m. Drink specials run until 11 p.m. No cover before 9:30 p.m. For more details, visit dceagle.com. Gamma D.C., a support group for men in mixed-orientation relationships, meets at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The group is for men who are attracted to men but are currently, or were at one point, in relationshipa with women. For more information, visit gammaindc.org. Women in Their 20s and 30s, a social discussion group for LBT and all women interested in women, meets tonight at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 8-9:30 p.m. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

SATURDAY, NOV. 24 The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts Small Business Saturday, a gathering of local LGBT businesses, today from noon-5 p.m. Local LGBT and LGBT-friendly small businesses will have their products and services for purchase. There will also be door prizes, music, snacks and more. There will also be a collection of winter coasts for D.C. Center clients in need. For more information, visit thedccenter.org. 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) hosts All the Divas: a Dance Party with DJ lil’e tonight from 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. DJ lil’e will spin tracks by artists such as Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Prince and more. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to rainn.org. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit 930.com. Trade hosts an extended happy hour today from 2-10 p.m. Any drink usually served in a cocktail glass will be served in a large glass for the same price. Beer and wine drinks are $4. For more details, visit facebook.com/tradebardc. The Glossary D.C. Support Group is at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) today from noon-2 p.m. The group is specifically for people of color who identify as masculine of center, non-binary or transmasculine. Discussion will include family dynamics, cultural understanding and more. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

SUNDAY, NOV. 25 Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) has a drag brunch today with shows at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Drag entertainers will perform as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Pink


JOHN LEGEND plays MGM National Harbor next week.

and more. Tickets are $41.91 and include an all-you-can-eat buffet and one mimosa or bloody Mary. For more details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

MONDAY, NOV. 26 The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours for the senior LGBT community this morning from 10 a.m.-noon. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

TUESDAY, NOV. 27 The Gay Men’s Health Collaborative has free HIV testing and STI screening at the Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St., Alexandria, Va.) today from 5-6:30 p.m. For more details, text 571-214-9617 or email james.leslie@inova.org. Overeaters Anonymous hosts a meeting specifically for LGBT individuals at St. George’s Episcopal Church (915 Oakland Ave., Arlington, Va.) tonight at 7 p.m. Newcomers welcome. For more information, call 703-521-1999 or email liveandletliveoa@gmail.com.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28 John Legend brings his “A Legendary

Christmas Tour” to MGM National Harbor (101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, Md.) tonight at 8 p.m. Legend will perform a mix of holiday favorites from his Christmas album of the same name.Tickets range from $111-208. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com. SMYAL hosts Overcoming LGBTQ Youth Homelessness: Resiliency and Hope at Verizon Technology and Policy Center (1300 I St., N.W.) today from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The panel discussion will feature youth who have experienced homelessness and are currently participating or have participated in SMYAL’s housing program. The program is held in honor of National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month to spotlight how almost half of homeless youth in D.C. identify as LGBT. Admission is free. For more information, visit smyal.org. EntryPointDC hosts Hipster Hanukkah Holiday Market at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There will be musical performances, DIY activities, a hot chocolate bar and donuts. The program is aimed at people in their 20s and 30s. Entry is $6. For details, visit facebook.com/entrypointdc. The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) holds Foster Parent and Adoption Information Night tonight at 6:30 p.m. There will be presentations by LGBT foster parents and representatives of the Latin American Youth Center Child Placement

Programs. All are welcome. RSVPs are encouraged. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

THURSDAY, NOV. 29 Preservation Maryland hosts a free lecture on LGBTQ history in Maryland at Chase Brexton Health Services (1111 North Charles St., Baltimore, Md.) tonight from 6-8 p.m. Susan Ferentinos, Ph.D., author of the book”Interpreting LGBT History,” will lead the discussion on LGBT history and historic preservation efforts in Maryland and around the country. Guests can suggest relevant LGBT locations in Maryland to research. After the lecture, there will be a reception with light fare. Admission is free. For more details, search “Free Lecture: Uncovering LGBTQ History in Maryland” on Eventbrite. The Rome School of Music, Drama and Art presents the opening night of its production of “The Laramie Project” at the Hartke Theatre (3801 Harewood Rd., N.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The play is based on more than 200 interviews conducted by Moisés Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theatre Project that explore the people’s reactions to the murder of Matthew Shepard. Matt Ripa directs. The show runs through Dec. 2. General adult tickets are $20. Senior tickets are $15. Student tickets are $10. For more information, visit drama.catholic.edu.



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Escape hatch New memoir recalls horrors of growing up in Scientology

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

For most of her young life, Michelle LeClair was a worrier. She had to be: her mother was somewhat of a free spirit who married often and “was gone a lot.” For that, LeClair grew up as the Independent Responsible Child; the one who, as a teen, wanted a job so she could pay for her own car, as she recalls in the new memoir “Perfectly Clear.” And so LeClair’s mother helped her get a job selling L. Ron Hubbard training materials for Sterling Management, an organization run by Scientologists. It didn’t take long before LeClair surprised everyone, herself included, by excelling beyond expectations. Her success and her mother’s influence led the Church to invite LeClair to one-on-one member counseling, ostensibly to determine her “purpose on earth,” but also to lead her deeper inside Scientology. Church members offered her their friendship, but LeClair noticed that she was asked nearly constantly for more money. As her career rose, so did the Church’s requests for donations and soon, she was writing astoundingly frequent fivefigure checks to the organization.

And it might’ve continued so, if not for one thing. As a teenager, LeClair fooled around once with a female friend, which she had to confess to a fellow Scientologist, information that went into a file. Even after LeClair married and had children, her longago fling was flung in her face repeatedly, particularly after she tried to divorce her abusive husband. Scientology has long considered homosexuality repugnant, she was reminded, and that nagged at her enough to make her question this faith in which she’d been raised. She questioned even deeper when she fell in love with a woman named Charly. Halloween is long over. The decorations have been put away. But if you didn’t get scared enough then, “Perfectly Clear” will finish the job perfectly. It starts with the opening pages, in which author Michelle LeClair is arrested for a crime that never happened, fabricated, she says, by Scientology members. It’s a small story compared to what else follows, but its heart-pounding presence in the front of the book takes readers by the scruff and shakes us. That leaves a lingering feeling of alarm that continues to run in and out of the rest of this memoir as LeClair (with Robin Gaby Fisher) lets readers see what she did not. We’re privy to the manipulation she recalls but didn’t notice then, the pressure she felt but dismissed and the dawning fear that she could never get away. That makes for an excellent real-life love story wrapped up in a psychological thriller that’ll also make you pick your jaw off the floor about every third page. ‘PERFECTLY CLEAR’ By Michelle LeClair and Robin Gaby Fisher Berkley $27 289 pages


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Melissa Etheridge’s ‘New Thought’ for the holidays Oscar- and Grammy-winning rocker preps three-night Birchmere engagement

the Matthew Shepard anniversary? ETHERIDGE: Somebody asked me that on social media but I hadn’t really thought about that. But yeah, it was 20 years ago. I realized because my son is turning 20 and he was born right after that happened. But no, it hadn’t crossed my mind recently.

By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com Melissa Etheridge brings her “Holiday Show” to The Birchmere for three nights next week. She spoke to the Blade by phone from her Los Angeles home. It was prior to the Woolsey fire but her publicist tells us later her house was spared, though she had to evacuate. Her comments have been slightly edited for length. WASHINGTON BLADE: So you’ll be here three nights, wow. Tell us about your show. MELISSA ETHERIDGE: I know, isn’t that sweet? I’m really looking forward to being in one place for three to four days, especially around there. Looking forward to seeing a little more of that area than I’ve seen but also the holiday shows, they’re, you know, still Melissa Etheridge shows. We’re gonna do “Come To My Window” and “I’m the Only One” and get all the hits and have all the fun but sprinkled in there will be some holiday songs from my “New Thought for Christmas” album that was released about 10 years ago and just sort of a message of inspiration. I think we can use a little spirit of love at the end of this year. I’m just trying to do my job as an entertainer and uplift people. BLADE: Do you do any seasonal songs that weren’t on your “New Thought” record? ETHERIDGE: Oh sometimes we throw in a little “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” It depends on the crowd. Depends on how much fun we’re having. BLADE: How long have you been doing this? ETHERIDGE: This is about the third year now. BLADE: Did you ever feel it would dilute your rocker cred to do a Christmas album and tour? Elton John said once over his dead body would he ever do a Christmas album. ETHERIDGE: (laughs) You kow, I used to think that myself and then about 10 years ago I realized that this was not gonna be a holiday album that’s like fa la la la la. I think the most holiday thing I did on it was “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” But the other songs I wrote and they’re probably a couple of my more rocking tunes. There’s a song called “It’s Christmas Time,” which is a blistering look at commercialism and, you know, sort of how maybe we should look at what Christmas is. That’s really kind of where

BLADE: Did you hear about him being interred at the National Cathedral? ETHERIDGE: Yes I did. … I think, gosh, he would have been 40. The whole thing blew my mind but I love that he’s there in Washington at the Cathedral. It just really, in my own personal experience there’s a little rest there for me.


MELISSA ETHERIDGE says she used to think Christmas projects were cheesy but eventually figured out a way to do it with artistic credibillity.

I was going. Hey, let’s get more of the spirit and a little less of the religiosity and just think about what it really means to have peace on earth and good will toward everybody. What would that look like? BLADE: The “Yes I Am” anniversary tour didn’t play our market. Did you sing the entire album or was that just for the cruise? ETHERIDGE: I played the whole album. On the cruise, I did it in order but on the tour, I mixed up the order a little. Some shows I did about nine of the 10 songs but by the last few shows, I was doing all 10 s ongs. BLADE: Is an expanded edition or rerelease planned for that album? ETHERIDGE: Yes. It was supposed to come out this month. I don’t deal with Universal anymore. I don’t have a deal with them so they’re doing this and I gave them the content. I have to ask my management, ‘cause I haven’t heard back on when that’s supposed to come out but it’s soon. BLADE: What’s the extra content? ETHERIDGE: It’s about six or seven songs. BLADE: Alternate versions or stuff that

didn’t make the cut? ETHERIDGE: They didn’t make the final cut. They’re brand new songs. One of them is a different version of a song that was on “Your Little Secret” that was going to be on “Yes I Am,” a different version of “Change.” BLADE: When you were on Island/ Universal, did you and your team have much say in what your singles would be? Did you ever push for one and the label insisted on something else? ETHERIDGE: Yeah, that happens a lot and the ultimate thinking is the label is the one who is gonna work it. They’re the ones who are gonna go out and sell your song to radio stations so you want them to believe in it. So if they’re telling you, “Hey, we believe in this song,” chances are you’re gonna get a better working, they’re gonna work it more if they have the idea instead of me forcing them to do something. So I’ve always kinda gone with that even though I’ve disagreed. But what do I know? I almost didn’t put “Come to My Window” on the album, so I’m not so sure I’m the best judge of what my singles should be. BLADE: Have you considered putting “Scarecrow” back in your set because of

BLADE: I know you’ve been recording this year. Did you end up getting together with (producer) John Shanks and any ETA on a 2019 album? ETHERIDGE: Yes, I’ve been writing all year long. I wrote a bunch of songs at the beginning of the year. I had gone into the studio and demo’ed ‘em up. I got ‘em to a certain place and played them for John and said, “Can you give me the John Shanks supercharge,” you know, and he and I went into the studio and we recut them all and I wrote a couple more and it’s all done and mixed and it would have been released at the end of this year except for the “Yes I Am 25,” which now I’m trying to find out when that’s coming out. So we’re gonna release the first single in January and then it’ll be all the way out end of March/April. BLADE: What direction did this take? I’m sure it’s totally different from the Stax album (Etheridge’s last record “MEmphis Rock and Soul,” a collection of Stax label covers)? ETHERIDGE: Yeah, totally it is and it’s also different from “This is M.E.” in that, if you know the work I do with John Shanks, it’s very much that sort of production. It’s very, very rock, very big yet we had an agreement that we would not put the kitchen sink in, we would pull back the layers and let it feel very live. It was very important to us that it have sort of a live feeling. I’m really super happy with it. The songs are a mixture, of course, of what we’ve been going through the last couple years but also some very personal songs. I think it’s some of the best writing. Concord Records is putting it out and (label president) John Burk looked at me, hugged me and said, “I think this is some of the best writing you’ve ever done.” And my voice is in really good shape. It’s a pretty powerful record if I don’t say so myself. BLADE: You’ve talked before about how important it is to you to be able to CONTINUES ON PAGE 37



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Etheridge has new album in the can for 2019 CON TINUED FROM PAGE 36

vary things up with your band in concert yet you’ve been doing some symphonic shows lately and you traveled with a horn section for the last album. How do you keep that vibe going when you play with other musicians beyond your core band? ETHERIDGE: It’s one of the most difficult things I do because I do shape my shows to be very spontaneous and in the moment and I love to take off and play a little when I want to, I love keeping that going, but you can’t do that when there are 70 people behind you coming in on beat four. So it’s my job as a trained musician to be able to color within the lines and keep some consistency, which I enjoy. It’s actually a good workout for me. I really enjoy it very much. I love playing with symphonies. I really loved playing with the National Symphony Orchestra, that was amazing. BLADE: Yeah, you were here back in June. Who did your charts? Did you get them all at once? ETHERIDGE: That was started about three-four years ago. I started with the Boston Pops and they said, “OK, we will arrange about five of your songs.” I think there were five tunes. Then we did a show there, then we did a show in Chicago and another in San Francisco and along the way, each of them paid for two or three arrangements. So I got Keith (Lockhart) to do it in Boston. He’s an amazing conductor and oh, the name just went right outta my head, but another beautiful conductor, he arranged the others and then I picked up a few along the way. I had a couple from Oslo the Nobel Peace Prize concert I did. So we collected them and now I’ve got about, my goodness, about 22 tracks now I can choose from. BLADE: Did you hear anything from Mavis (Staples) or any of the other Stax folks when your album came out? ETHERIDGE: Yes, I heard from Mavis. I changed a couple of the words in “Respect Yourself” so I reached out to her and said, “Hey, is this OK?” and she loved it. She said yes and was honored. She really enjoyed it. I heard from the woman who wrote “Who’s Making Love” and I changed some lyrics for that and she said she totally supported that. And then I met Otis Redding’s daughter and she just gave me a big hug and said, “Thanks for bringing the spotlight to my dad,” and just a whole lot of gratitude. It meant a lot to me. BLADE: There was some backlash this year when “Come to My Window” was used in the Applebee’s commercial. Some people online said it straightwashed what has been such an iconic lesbian song. Did you have any reservations about it and what did you think of the reaction? ETHERIDGE: (laughs) I thought, well, if

they had two ex wives and a daughter in college and three other children in school that maybe they’d understand that sometimes a womn’s gotta, you know, say yes when a big paycheck comes along, you know? I looked up Applebee’s and they were, you know, a straightforward company and come on, it’s been 25 years and no one would touch me. I have never had any music supporting any brand or anything and Applebee’s was like, “Yeah, we’ll take an iconic gay song and yeah, we’ll use it.” So I’m like, you know, if that puts me in the living room of people that would never have allowed anyone to listen to it before, that’s a good thing. I understand people want their songs to themselves but you know, Momma’s gotta pay some bills. BLADE: How are your kids and wife? ETHERIDGE: Oh, they’re great. My daughter’s graduating from Columbia, I’m so proud of her. Everybody’s great. The small kids are in middle school so, you know, we’re going through that, but they’re rocking, they’re awesome. BLADE: What are your memories of taping the duets special for VH1 back in the ‘90s? I saw you’re having Paula Cole and Joan Osborne on your cruise next year. ETHERIDGE: I loved it. They wanted me to play with one other person and I had just had great success with “Yes I Am” and I felt women were breaking down doors in radio and I thought there’s a couple of upand-coming artists I really was enjoying Joan Osborne’s album at the time and we went and searched and Paula Cole’s album was just coming out so nobody had heard of her. And Jewel was was just brand new and she was just this sweet girl playing so I said, yeah. I loved seeing what happened to all of them. They really got the exposure they deserved, their songs became part of the ‘90s and I love that we’re getting back together on the cruise. We’re just gonna have a good time. BLADE: Did you know from rehearsals Sophie B. Hawkins was gonna get so into it and start running all over the stage? ETHERIDGE: Oh my God, you’re really asking the questions. It was so funny because I had totally been like, “OK, I’m a big ‘ole lesbian now, so here’s my music” and I was walking this line of I’m not gonna, you know, push any boundaries too far, I’m just gonna be, “OK, here we are,” then she gets up and no, she didn’t do that in rehearsal. She starts you know, grinding and I was like, “Oh my God, what are you doing?” and I said, “You know, it’s rock and roll, let’s just sing, and I just did my best but whew, that’s a memory I have, yeah. BLADE: Do you see things now in your early songwriting you didn’t see at the time?

ETHERIDGE: Oh my God, yes, but you have to allow that. I didn’t know then what I know now so I was just going through what I was going through and you just gotta let it all go and be able to live with it. That’s why whenever I made an album, I have to go, “OK, am I gonna be able to live with all of this? I’m going to be singing this song forever and ever and ever, I have to be able to be OK with this.” I really try to stay within those lines. BLADE: Is vinyl your preferred medium at home? For some reason I picture you having like 10,000 records or something crazy. ETHERIDGE: I wish I did. I have a vinyl collection but it’s not very large. My son has the big vinyl collection. Not 10,000, but he has a good vinyl collection. I don’t really have a good player. I wish I had a better one. I’m gonna have to invest in that because I really do enjoy vinyl. But I’m digital. I’ve got a Sonos that I crank up in the house. I like the comfort and convenience of digital. BLADE: Roughly how many guitars would you guess you own? ETHERIDGE: Oh, wow. Roughly I would say somewhere around 80. Ninety maybe. I have a lot. BLADE: You have a whole wall of them? Why so many? ETHERIDGE: Now that’s a difficult question. Yes, I have a wall of guitars in my house and yes I love it and I have them all over the house just in stands and stuff. Why so many? Well I’ve been doing this for over 30 years so I have some older ones and then the acoustics I play, I have about 40 acoustics from over 40 years. I have to get a couple new ones every few years because I’m very hard on them. Then in the last 10 years, I’ve started to invest more in vintage guitars and electric guitars. You can really put some money into those so I had to slow down a little, but you know, they’re all good. BLADE: There’s this ferocious 10-minute live version of “Like the Way I Do” that’s one of the bonus cuts on the “If I Wanted To” maxi single but there’s no info about it on the packaging. It feels like such a definitive version — do you remember where it was recorded and was that pretty much how you always sang it live in those years? ETHERIDGE: I think that was recorded at the Roxy in 1988. I don’t know, it might have been later but I imagine we used that one. And yeah, I still end my shows with that and it can be anywhere from 1020 minutes long. BLADE: Which of your albums took the longest to make? ETHERIDGE: “Breakdown.” The record


MELISSA ETHERIDGE says colleagues have told her her upcoming album is among the best work she’s ever done.

company had completely changed after “Your Little Secret.” I released that in ’95, then I didn’t release “Breakdown” til ’99 although I’d started working on it in like ’97. It was just a very hard time emotionally for me and the record company kept changing ownership and it was just getting harder and harder so yeah, that took a long time to make. BLADE: Was that continuously or in spurts? ETHERIDGE: No, in spurts. I started with somebody else, then I stopped, then I started it with John, and then it took a few different times, a few different studios, yeah. BLADE: Do you prefer to work more quickly? I know the Stax album was made really fast. ETHERIDGE: I enjoy the quicker because I think it gets a snapshot of where I am and the songs are fresh. “Breakdown” has its own meaning and place and you can hear the sadness in that album but it was what it was. MELISSA ETHERIDGE The Holiday Show Nov. 27-28 7:30 p.m. each night The Birchmere 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave. Alexandria, Va. $115 birchmere.com melissaetheridge.com

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Notorious RBG makes cameo in ‘Sex’ biopic CON TINUED FROM PAGE 27

season. This year’s offerings include “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and “A Christmas Story”; several versions of “A Christmas Carol” and such non-traditional fare as “Krampus” (which will be shown on Krampusnacht on Dec. 5); “Christmas Evil,” which John Waters has declared the best seasonal film of all time; and of course the annual AFI screening of the ultimate Christmas movie, “Die Hard.” Already generating significant Oscar buzz, “The Favourite” is a sumptuous but irreverent period drama that gleefully mocks traditional depictions of gender, sexuality and politics. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), this lesbian love triangle is set in the court of England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), where Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and down-onher-luck aristocrat Abigail (Emma Stone) battle for the frail Queen’s affections and the right to wield her power. “The Favourite” opens in D.C. Nov. 30. Reel Affirmations will commemorate World AIDS Day by screening the historic AIDS drama “Buddies.” Directed by Arthur Bressan Jr., one of the pioneers of independent gay cinema, the 1985 film tracks the growing friendship between an AIDS patient and the “buddy” who volunteers to help take care of him. The movie will be presented Dec. 6 at the HRC Screening Room (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). Tickets are available at thedccenter.org. Dec. 7 marks the premiere of a new kind of holiday movie: the zombie Christmas musical. In the zom-com musical “Anna and the Apocalypse,” the small Scottish town of Little Haven is attacked by zombies right before Christmas. Anna and her friends must slash and sing their way through the zombie hordes to save their loved ones. Ella Hunt plays the intrepid Anna and Sarah Swire plays her lesbian friend. A different kind of threat is the subject of “Divide and Conquer: The Roger Ailes Story,” which also opens Dec. 7. The documentary tracks the rise and fall of the bombastic media mogul from his work with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to his controversial tenure at Fox News. Another leading Oscar contender is slated to open in D.C. on Dec. 14. “Roma” is a semi-autobiographical tale that chronicles the life of a middleclass family in Mexico City during the turbulent early 1970s. The movie is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón who is known for his work on “Gravity,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the dystopian thriller “The Children of Men,” and the homoerotic road movie “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” Yalitza Aparicio has already

ELLA HUNT in ‘Anna and the Apocalypse.’

SAOIRSE RONAN in ‘Mary Queen of Scots.’

been widely acclaimed for her breakout performance as the family’s maid. Another tale of royal intrigue unfolds in “Mary Queen of Scots,” which opens Dec. 14. The movie was written by Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) and is directed by Josie Rourke, head of London’s renowned Donmar Warehouse



theater company. The movie stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I; both women were nominated for Best Actress Oscars earlier this year. Also opening on Dec. 14 is “Ben Is Back” starring Lucas Hedges as Ben Burns, a recovering addict who

unexpectedly leaves his rehab program to spend Christmas with his family. Julia Roberts plays Ben’s anxious mother and the movie is written and directed by Lucas’ real-life father Peter Hedges who wrote “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” and “About A Boy.” On Dec. 19, everyone’s favorite nanny flies back into cinemas everywhere. Emily Blunt takes over the magical parrot head umbrella from Julie Andrews and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her chimney sweeper sidekick Jack. “Mary Poppins Returns” is set 35 years after the original in Depression-era London. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is a widower raising his three young children with the help of his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) when the mischievous nanny returns to bring singing and dancing back to 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Dick Van Dyke is the only actor from the original movie to appear in the sequel; he plays the son of one of his original characters. There are appearances by Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Waters and Colin Firth. Rob Marshall (“Chicago” and “Into the Woods”) directs and choreographs (with John DeLuca and Joey Pizzi). The new songs are by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the openly gay songwriting team who won a Tony Award for “Hairspray.” Following in Mary Poppins’ wake, Jason Momoa moves from supporting actor (“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League”), to leading man in “Aquaman” (Dec. 21). Amber Heard plays his love interest Mera and Patrick Wilson plays his half-brother and rival Orm. Movie theaters will be very busy on Dec. 25 when the last of the big releases finally open. Felicity Jones plays Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “On The Basis of Sex” which follows the early career of the famous Supreme Court Justice. Armie Hammer plays her husband Morty. The notorious RBG herself appears in the movie. Barry Jenkins, director of the Academy Award-winning “Moonlight,” returns to the big screen with “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a straight romance based on the novel by openly gay author and activist James Baldwin. Finally, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) directs Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in “Vice,” the story of the ultimate Washington insider. D.C. audiences will be enjoy watching Hollywood celebrities play Washington notables. The supporting cast includes Alison Pill (“American Horror Story”) as Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary; Amy Adams (Lynne Cheney), Lily Rabe (Liz Cheney), Steve Carell (Donald Rumsfeld), Sam Rockwell (George W. Bush), Justin Kirk (Scooter Libby), Lisa Gay Hamilton (Condoleezza Rice) and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell.


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What to do now that Thanksgiving is over Alternate uses for the underused dining room By VALERIE M. BLAKE Every time I watch HGTV, I giggle at the “must haves” of the young couple searching for a new home. Everybody, it seems, needs a large formal dining room for entertaining. Now that Thanksgiving is over and many of us are staring at leftovers and wondering how long a pumpkin pie will last if properly refrigerated, I’m wondering instead about all the TV people and whether their dining rooms went to good use. So many House Hunters also seem to live close to their extended families and if that’s your situation too, I understand the need to set aside space for dinner for 12 a few times a year. In fact, I have a friend in Alexandria who graciously hosts up to 30 people who would otherwise be alone. Her dining room is only 10x10, but by inserting two table leaves and adding five card tables, she can stretch her seating area in an Lshape from the dining room into the living room of her 1,100-square-foot condo. But most of the time I find that because of our urban environment, we tend to travel to visit our families in other states during the holidays instead of hosting such events here. Thanksgiving dinners are very popular

Formal dining rooms have lost favor in recent years. PHOTO BY RODENBERG; PHOTO COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK

at our local restaurants too. Perhaps you had a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings as I did. Maybe you opted for the more exotic pumpkin hummus and chestnut gnocchi. Ordering brunch at home via UberEATS or Grubhub was also a good plan. I have lots of clients who ask for the “chef’s kitchen,” even though they freely admit they don’t cook anything but quinoa and avocado toast. For many the clean, white cabinets, marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances define success. For several years there has been a trend among our local builders and renovators, particularly in condominium development, to eliminate the traditional dining room in favor of open living spaces and breakfast bars.

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Rather than designing floor plans that include a room likely to remain empty for 95 percent of the year, we have found alternative uses for the space. Here are some suggestions. The Bring Your Work Home Room. Who among us hasn’t yearned to leave the office with a briefcase or backpack full of work to do at home? Dump those papers on the former dining room table, change into something more comfortable (like underwear), and pour yourself an adult beverage. Then you can open your laptop and alternate screens between spreadsheets and porn without the boss looking over your shoulder. The Lousy Day Room. Lousy days. We’ve all had them. We struggle with horrible bosses, promotions that go to someone less experienced, learning that a coveted vacation has been canceled, and of course my personal favorite, traffic. Pick your poison and wash the day away by installing a wet bar with wine refrigerator or turn the unnecessary dining room into a grow room. You can buy a personal use tent with ventilation kit and lighting for under $1,000. The Beefcake Room. Whether it’s bathing suit season in Bali, a marathon run in Manhattan, or just dining at Le Diplomate, we all want to look and feel our best, so grab your favorite narcissist and plan this room together. You’ll probably want to include a stationary bike, a

treadmill, and a set of free weights. Add a tanning bed, then decorate the room with mirrors on every wall and, of course, your before and after pictures. The Binging Room. For that “big screen” experience at home, you can purchase and install an upgradeable 98” 4K Ultra HD TV for a mere $9,000. If your budget has no room for bona fide theater chairs (with cup holders, of course), you can always use your leftover dining room chairs. And don’t forget to get a home theater popcorn machine – they’re available online for less than $300. The Petting Room. Do you have a small, furry friend (or a large one)? Well, now they can have their own room where you can both enjoy a game of Cat and Mouse followed by the Downward Dog and other yoga poses. You’ll need a cat tree, a dog collar, and a harness. Be sure that your pets have a supply of water and treats – you may have to lock them in their room if they’ve been bad. I’m sure you can come up with many more uses for the antiquated dining room, but for now I must run. HGTV is featuring the shower vs. bathtub debate. Stay tuned. VALERIE M. BLAKE is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at Real Living| At Home. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: An HGTV reality star finally uses her formal dining room for entertaining.

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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When I came out in high school in the mid-90s there were few positive representations of LGBT life to be found in the media, but I found a copy of the Washington Blade at my local library in Fairfax, Va. I was very excited as soon as I started reading the paper as a closeted teenager in high school. Here was a paper that represented a community that I knew had to exist, but I hadn’t yet found. The Washington Blade helped me to come out in my senior year.

Michael Key reporting on LGBT life in Havana.


I couldn’t imagine back then that I would be working now as an adult at the nation’s oldest and most respected LGBT newspaper capturing the movement in photos. I have had the privilege to cover the Obama years: the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the dismantling of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the sweeping Supreme Court ruling granting marriage equality. Today, I cover the news in photographs from the Trump White House and the many protests countering the policies of the current administration as well as other events of interest to the LGBT community. The Blade changed my life and I am privileged to bring the news to a new generation of movers and shakers.



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Order Custody, Visitation, and Child Support, and Notice of Hearing filed against Respondent Tung Quang Nguyen. The Summons, Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Child, Family Law Case Cover Sheet, UCCJEA, Request for Order Custody, Visitation, and Child Support for the parties’ minor child Justin Nguyen (DOB: July 27, 2010) were initially filed on June 7, 2018. Petitioner Mai Thi Thu Tran has attempted to serve Respondent Tung Quang Nguyen at his last known address at 1320 Fairmont St. NW Apt. 201, Washington D.C. 20009 by personal service and mail. The parties were ordered to attend mediation for the child custody and visitation issues of Petitioner’s Request for Order at above address for the Pasadena Courthouse on July 17, 2018 at 1:30pm in Room 100. The initial hearing date for the Request for Order re: Custody, Visitation, and Child Support of the parties’ minor child Justin Nguyen was on August 7, 2018 at 8:30 am in Department K the above address for the Pasadena Courthouse. In her Request for Order, Petitioner seeks sole legal custody and sole primary physical custody of Justin as well as guideline child support be ordered. The hearing was continued to October 15, 2018 at 8:30 am in Department K to allow additional time for service. Petitioner hired an investigator to attempt to locate Respondent for service of the case and motion. As mentioned above, Petitioner was unable to serve Respondent. The October 15, 2018 hearing was subsequently continued to allow for Petitioner to file an Application for Order for Publication of the above filed documents and to serve via publication. The hearing was continued to January 14, 2019 at 8:30 am in Department K at the above address for the Pasadena Courthouse. On October 17, 2018, Petitioner filed an Application for Order for Publication of the Family Law Case Cover Sheet, Petition for Custody and Support (FL-260), UCCJEA, Request for Order Custody, Visitation, and Child Support, and Notice of Continuance. On October 25, 2018, the Order for Publication of the notice in the Washington Blade was granted. The publication is to run in the Washington Blade at least once per week for four successive weeks. On November 8, 2018, the Court issued a minute order continuing the hearing on Petitioner’s Request for Order from January 14, 2019 to February 4, 2019 at 8:30 am in Department K at the Pasadena Courthouse. The next hearing date for Petitioner’s Request for Order for Custody, Visitation and Child Support of the parties’ minor child is on February 4, 2019 at 8:30 am in Department K at the Pasadena Courthouse located at 300 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. If Respondent Tung Quang Nguyen wishes to file a response to Petitioner’s motion, he must do so 9 court days prior to the hearing date on February 4, 2019 and serve a copy of the response to Petitioner’s attorneys 9 court days at the same time. Petitioner is represented by the H Bui Law Firm, 3452 E. Foothill Blvd., Suite #1160, Pasadena, CA 91107, telephone number (626) 683-7574. Respondent may contact Petitioner’s attorney for a copy of the filed documents or may seek copies of the filed documents directly from the Pasadena Courthouse.

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