Washingtonblade.com, Volume 50, Issue 23, June 7, 2019

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J UNE 0 7, 2019 • VOLUM E 50 • I S S UE 23 • WA S HI NGTON B LAD E.CO M

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It’s Pride weekend in D.C. and we have full coverage, including a special appreciation of Pride’s pioneers on . Page 42

06 10

Looking back:



50 years of the Blade


Letting it all hang out at Pride - did it

D.C.’s first Pride fireworks display

help us in the long run?

set for Saturday D.C. Pride Week


AIDS Walk Baltimore is June 9

Hundreds of thousands expected


QUEERY: Tony Nelson

for Capital Pride


Petras plans Fillmore date


Comings & Goings




All of Trump’s anti-LGBT


Presenting ‘Patsy’

actions since last Pride


Gay classic, dream role

Biden says Equality Act would be


Directing ‘Rocketman’

No. 1 priority as president


Stonewall trifecta


Global Pride celebrations underway




Blade contributor seeking asylum accuses


A few LGBT advocacy groups



U.S. of human rights violation 30

For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC

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Calif. officials unite against


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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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For 50 years, Stonewall has been the symbolic place where Pride began, lives and thrives. Comcast NBCUniversal honors this and all the monumental achievements made by the LGBTQ community and salutes the brave individuals continuing the fight.

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In June 1976, an early argument for marriage equality FROM STAFF REPORTS

If you thought the quest for marriage equality was a modern fight, you might be surprised by this gem from the Blade archives: a 1976 essay on the need for same-sex marriage rights. In it, Cheryl Kimmons describes marriage as “one of the fundamental societal institutions” and cites the tax benefits of the marriage contract as one of many reasons to make it legal for gay couples.

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Thank you to our founding sponsors and partners of the Washington Blade’s 50th anniversary year.

WA S H I N G TO N D. C . – T H E W H A R F

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For more information on getting involved with the 50th Anniversary please contact Stephen Rutgers at srutgers@washblade.com JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 07

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D.C.’s first Pride fireworks display set for Saturday

Head to the Wharf after Saturday’s parade to take in the inaugural Pride fireworks display, courtesy of the Blade and Compass.

The second annual Pride on the Pier presented by Absolut will take place this weekend during D.C. Pride on Saturday, June 8, from 2-9 p.m. The event, organized by the Blade and LURe, will include the first D.C. Pride on the Pier Fireworks Show presented by Compass at 9 p.m. “Compass is thrilled to sponsor an event for such a great cause, said Compass Managing Director of Sales, Stanton Schnepp. “Inclusion is important to us, and partnering with the Washington Blade will allow us to continue helping everyone find their place in the world.” Pride on the Pier extends the city’s annual celebration of LGBTQ visibility to the bustling Southwest waterfront with an exciting array of activities and entertainment. The District Pier will offer DJs, dancing and other entertainment. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase for those 21 and older. The Transit Pier will house the Family Zone that will include activities for all ages. The Dockmasters Building will be home to a VIP experience with complimentary drinks and food during the duration of the event. Purchase tickets at prideonthepierdc.com/vip. DJ schedule: 2-5 p.m., DJ Rosie; 5-7 p.m., Brothers Brau; 7-9 p.m., DJ Drew G. “After last year’s success we are expanding Pride on the Pier from three to seven hours,” said the Washington Blade’s Director of Marketing Stephen Rutgers. “We are excited to have the inaugural fireworks show sponsored by Compass end the evening at 9 p.m.” Pride on the Pier is planned by the Washington Blade in partnership with LURe DC. Event sponsors include AARP, Absolut, Bud Light, Babe, Compass, DC Brau, DC Fray, Dougie Meyer Presents Avalon Saturday, Graham Capital Wealth, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Milk Bar, NOVA Pride, On Tap Magazine, PEPCO, The Wharf. More information regarding activities can be found at www.PrideOnThePierDC.com STAFF REPORTS

Blade PUBLISHER LYNNE BROWN accepted the Paving the Way Award last week. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Capital Pride honors Blade’s 50th anniversary

Gay ANC chair enters race for Ward 2 seat

The Capital Pride Alliance, the organization that produces D.C.’s annual Capital Pride Parade, Festival, honored the Washington Blade for its 50th anniversary at an awards event on May 31, recognizing the paper as among those who have “advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights.” The Capital Pride Alliance honored the Blade with the Paving the Way Award, which acknowledges an “individual or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support, and/or advocacy that has impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.” The Capital Pride Alliance noted that the Blade this year is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1969 and its many years as America’s LGBTQ news source. “We are thrilled to honor the Washington Blade for all it has done the past 50 years,” said Ashley Smith, board president of Capital Pride. “As we honor and mark 50 years since the Stonewall uprising we must also look to the impact – including the founding of the Blade in October 1969. Their continued vigilance in covering LGBTQ issues and having a place in the White House press corps speaks to the progress we have made and the need to have a vibrant LGBTQ media in the nation’s capital and across the nation,” concluded Smith. Blade publisher Lynne Brown was on hand to accept the award. “We appreciate all that Capital Pride does for the community and thank them for this honor,” Brown said. “We continue to work hard every day fulfilling our mission as the media outlet of record for the LGBTQ community.” The other two organizations selected as honorees were Team D.C., the LGBT sports organization, which received the Larry Stansbury Award; and the D.C.based National Center for Transgender Equality, which received Capital Pride’s newly created Breaking Barriers Award. STAFF REPORTS

Gay activist John Fanning, who has worked on the staff of five D.C. mayors and currently serves as chair of the Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, has filed papers to become a candidate for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat in the June 2020 Democratic primary. Fanning, 56, and at least two others who have filed to become candidates for the Ward 2 seat, are challenging Democrat Jack Evans, who first won election to the seat in a 1991 special election. “I have had conversations with people from around the ward regarding a renewed focus on moving the ward forward,” Fanning told the Washington Blade on Monday. “And I felt that from the responses that I had with a lot of the residents that they were looking for new leadership in the ward. And that’s what motivated me to run,” he said. Fanning was scheduled to formally announce his candidacy at a news conference on Wednesday. Evans is the Council’s longest-serving member and has been one of its strongest supporters of LGBT rights since first taking office after defeating the late gay activist Jim Zais who ran against Evans in the 1991 special election. He has been highly popular among his Ward 2 constituents and was considered unbeatable until news surfaced last year that he was under investigation by a federal grand jury for allegations that he used his Council office and his status as chair of the Metro Board to advance his private business as an attorney for companies that do business with the city. The Council responded to the allegations by voting to reprimand Evans for a breach in the Council’s ethics rules and to remove some of his responsibilities as chair of the Council’s influential Committee on Revenue and Finance. Evans has denied engaging in any illegal actions and has said he expects to run for election next year. However, at least two people have successfully filed papers with the D.C. Board of Elections to recall him from office in a special vote that could come as soon as this fall if recall supporters collect a required 5,200 or slightly more petition signatures to place the recall election on the ballot. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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Hundreds of thousands expected for Capital Pride Parade, festival, concert to commemorate 50th anniversary of Stonewall By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

Capital Pride organizers say this year’s parade will include about 240 contingents and is expected to draw about 150,000 people. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

More than 400,000 people are expected to turn out for D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade, festival and other events this weekend from the D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that are credited with triggering the modern LGBT rights movement. According to the Capital Pride Alliance, the D.C.-based group that organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride, this year’s events will include participation from a record number of foreign embassies, including a contingent from all European Union nations. “This year we are pleased to announce an International Pride Initiative,” a June 4 statement from Capital Pride Alliance says. It says the initiative was “established to foster inter-organizational dialogue and collaboration for diplomatic and international affairs” involving “LGBTQ+ leaders.” In addition to participation in various ways from as many as 36 European nations, the statement says other important international organizations will participate, including the Organization for American States, the U.N. Association, the World Bank GLOBE, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Department of State, and its LGBT U.S. Foreign Service employee group GLIFAA.

Similar to the last several years, this year’s Capital Pride Parade is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at 22nd and P Streets, N.W. It will continue along a 1.5 mile route to its finishing point at 14th and R streets, N.W. Capital Pride says the parade will include about 240 contingents and is expected to draw about 150,000 people including spectators that line the streets to watch the parade along with parade participants. Capital Pride announced last week that the parade will be led by a group of grand marshals that includes two members of the cast of the hit FX show “Pose,” Dominique Jackson and Hailie Sahr. Joining them as grand marshals are D.C. transgender advocate Earline Budd; Equality Florida leader Brandon Wolf; and gay Brigham Young University valedictorian Matt Easton. During the day of the parade the Washington Blade is hosting its second annual Pride on the Pier celebration at the city’s Southwest Waterfront Wharf at District Pier 101. The celebration, which is free and open to people of all ages, will take place from 2-9 p.m., at which time a fireworks show will take place. Also similar to recent past years, the Capital Pride Festival and Concert will take

place Sunday, June 9, beginning at noon on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. between 3rd Street, near the U.S. Capitol, and 7th Street. Capital Pride organizers say 300 exhibitors that include local community organizations and businesses, food vendors, and national businesses “looking to promote their products and services to our community” will participate in the festival through 7 p.m. A list of exhibitors in Capital Pride’s 2019 Pride Guide shows a diverse array of organizations and businesses scheduled to be present in exhibitor booths. Among them are the Washington National Cathedral, the Shakespeare Theater Company, the CIA, the U.S. Census Bureau, the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, and Capital One Bank, Casa Ruby, and the offices of D.C. Council members Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) and Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large). Also scheduled to have an exhibitors booth is the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is expected to draw sympathetic festival goers in the wake of last week’s mass shooting that claimed the lives of 12 Virginia Beach residents. Throughout the day and up until 9 p.m. a wide range of entertainers will perform at the Capital Pride Concert, which takes place at the festival’s main stage at 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave. Among them are the internationally acclaimed American electronic music producer and DJ Marshmello; and fellow headliners Zara Larsson, Todrick Hall, Shea Diamond, Nina West, and Calm Scott. Capital Pride officials say that for those who want to continue to celebrate following the festival and concert, a Sunset Dance Party will continue at the festival’s main stage with music played by a DJ. “I think the energy and excitement is going to be very high and comparable to last year,” said Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance. “I think folks obviously are going to honor and commemorate what these last 50 years have meant for our community and are excited to show up and participate,” he said.

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Comings & Goings Acosta takes new role at HRC By PETER ROSENSTEIN

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com. Congratulations to James Edward Cerasia, who has started work with the Bediz Group Realtors. He said, “I enjoy real estate because every day is different. I’m always meeting great JAMES CERASIA new people and I never stop learning.” Previously, Cerasia worked with Keller Williams as a real estate agent. Many in the community know him from his time working for Mayor Bowser as Ward 2 liaison for the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services. He also worked for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Welcome to D.C. to Ty Litzelman who is here for the summer. He just landed two jobs as a waiter at both Freddie’s Beach Bar and Federico Ristorante Italiano, both on 23rd Street TY LITZELMAN in Arlington and both owned by the inimitable Freddie Lutz. While he is enjoying his time as a waiter he is still looking for a paid internship in the areas of real estate or finance. Litzelman was president of his high school class and captain of both the Cross Country and Track & Field teams as well as activities coordinator of the Spanish Club. He also worked for four years as assistant manager at the Newton, Ill., Aquatics Center. He is now a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, and aiming for a bachelor’s degree in business. He LUCAS ACOSTA is also a member of the United States Army National Guard where he is a Parachute Rigger, Private First Class. Congratulations also to Lucas R. Acosta, who is beginning his position with the Human Rights Campaign as National Press Secretary for Campaigns. Acosta said, “I am excited to join the talented HRC team at this critical juncture when 10 million LGBTQ voters are poised to make the critical difference in 2020. Our community has been under constant attack by the Trump-Pence administration, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to be on the front lines as we leverage the power of our community to defeat the politics of hate.” Before joining HRC, Acosta was at the Democratic National Committee where he served as National Broadcast Media Manager & Director of LGBTQ Media. He also worked at Hillary for America as National Radio Broadcast Manager; at Marathon Strategies LLC as Senior Communications Associate; and for New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez as Legislative and Communications Director. Acosta graduated with a bachelor’s in political science and religious ethics from Middlebury College in Vermont. He was active in the Student Government Association as director of alumni relations and Wonnacott Commons senator.

Trans sex worker advocates arrested at Freedom Plaza Protesters called for approval of bill to decriminalize sex work By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

D.C. Council member David Grosso criticized the arrest of two protesters. Photo courtesy of The Office of David Grosso

U.S. Park Police officers on Monday arrested two members of the local LGBT protest group No Justice No Pride after they attempted to hang from two flagpoles in Freedom Plaza a large banner calling for decriminalization of sex work in D.C. The protesters gathered in Freedom Plaza across the street from the John A. Wilson Building and planned to direct the banner’s message at the city’s elected officials whose offices are in the building. They assembled shortly after D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-AtLarge) held a news conference outside the Wilson Building announcing he would reintroduce the following day a bill calling for decriminalizing prostitution in the District between consenting adults. Park Police officers made the arrests after two of the No Justice No Pride members climbed two flagpoles and began to suspend the banner, which stated in large pink letters, “DECRIM NOW.” The officers pulled down the banner before the protesters could raise it above the plaza, which is a federal park. Sgt. Edward Delgado, a Park Police spokesperson, identified the arrested protesters as Trevon Gentry and Emm Talarico. He said they were charged with separate misdemeanor offenses of Demonstration/Protest in a National Capital Park without a Permit and Interfering with Agency Function – Disobey a Lawful Order. Delgado said the two were booked and released from the Park Police station the day of their arrest and given a citation ordering them to appear in court at a later date. When contacted by the Washington

Blade for comment, Grosso issued a statement criticizing the Park Police for arresting the two protesters. “The demonstrators who attempted to show their support for the fight to bring a human rights focused approach to how the District of Columbia handles commercial sex between consenting adults did not hurt anybody when they tried to hang a banner in Freedom Plaza – an ironic name considering the lack of respect for the freedom of expression demonstrated by their unnecessary arrest,” Grosso said in his statement. In a separate statement released on Monday just before the protest took place, No Justice No Pride said trans activists with the group who are former and current sex workers planned to “drop a banner in front of the Wilson Building calling on City Leaders to take [Grosso’s] bill seriously this session, or expect more direct action from No Justice No Pride and the larger community.” One day later on Tuesday, Grosso officially introduced the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, which he said was a slightly revised version of the measure he introduced in 2017 called the Reducing Criminalization to Promote Public Safety and Health Amendment Act. Similar to the first version, the new bill calls for eliminating criminal prohibitions and penalties for consensual sex work in D.C. and the creation of a task force to evaluate the effects of removing criminal penalties for prostitution involving consenting adults.

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All of Trump’s anti-LGBT actions since last Pride Plus a few welcome moves By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

PRESIDENT TRUMP’s pro-LGBT actions are outweighed by a string of attacks on the community since last year.

President Trump acknowledged Pride month via Twitter last week, but his well wishes for the LGBT community fell on skeptical ears following the extensive antiLGBT actions of his administration. In just the year since last Pride, the tally of anti-LGBT actions from the Trump administration dwarf the number of good things that have come from his presidency for the LGBT community. With Pride celebrations underway, the Blade presents a list in no particular order of Trump’s positive and negative actions with direct impact on the LGBT community since 2018’s Pride celebration. (-) 1. Embracing the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling last year in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, many observers saw the decision as limited. After all, justices declined to find the First Amendment right Phillips asserted to refuse to make custommade wedding cakes for same-sex couples. But the Trump administration fully embraced the decision as a win for “religious freedom.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the court “rightly concluded” the Colorado Civil Rights Commission “failed to show tolerance and respect” for Phillips’ religious beliefs. Soon after, the Labor Department issued guidance to ensure enforcement of LGBT non-discrimination rules complied with the ruling’s deference to religious freedom, even though the Trump administration wasn’t required to take that action. (-) 2. White House meeting with Ginni Thomas President Trump continues to meet with anti-LGBT activists in the White House, including a recent high-profile discussion with Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. The New York Times reported Trump met in January with anti-LGBT activists led by Thomas in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. As Trump was reportedly “listening quietly,” members of the group

denounced transgender people serving in the U.S. military. In addition to decrying transgender military service, the anti-LGBT activists said women shouldn’t serve in the military “because they had less muscle mass and lung capacity than men.” They also said the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality is “harming the fabric of the United States” and sexual assault isn’t pervasive in the military, according to the New York Times. (-) 3. Coming out against the Equality Act In the same week the U.S. House voted to approve the Equality Act, legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban anti-LGBT discrimination, Trump came out against the bill. In an exclusive statement to the Blade, a senior administration official said Trump opposes the Equality Act based on unspecified “poison pill” amendments to the legislation. “The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the official said via email. (+) 4. AIDS advisory council restaffed One year after firing all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS without explanation as first reported by the Blade, Trump restaffed the advisory body with 11 new appointees. Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, and John Wiesman, secretary of health in Washington State, were named as co-chairs for the advisory council. Months later, the Department of Health & Human Services named nine additional members to PACHA from a variety of professions, including the pharmaceutical industry, activism and academia. (-) 5. Trans military ban implemented After the U.S. Supreme Court essentially green lighted Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military, the Defense Department implemented the

policy in April. Denying the transgender ban is, in fact, a ban, the policy prohibits anyone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery from enlisting in the military and requires anyone who identifies as transgender to serve in their biological sex (which would be a small number of transgender people.) Although transgender people who were already serving openly won an exemption, individuals who are diagnosed in the future with gender dysphoria or obtain transitionrelated care would be discharged. (-) 6. Brief against trans protections under Title VII In a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up a case seeking clarification on whether anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under federal law, the Trump administration asserted the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly decided transgender people have protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. “The court of appeals’ conclusion that gender-identity discrimination categorically constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII is incorrect,” the filing says. “As discussed above, the ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ does not refer to gender identity…The court’s position effectively broadens the scope of that term beyond its ordinary meaning. Its conclusion should be rejected for that reason alone.” (-) 7. List of anti-LGBT appointments grows The U.S. Senate continues to confirm Trump’s appointments, many of whom have long anti-LGBT records. The latest will reportedly be former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who once said homosexual acts are “against nature and are harmful to society,” for a position at the Department of Homeland Security Other confirmations include U.S. District Judge Howard Nielson of Utah, who as an attorney argued a gay judge shouldn’t be able to decide the case against California’s Proposition 8, and U.S. District Judge Chad Readler of Ohio, who as acting assistant U.S. attorney general penned his name to briefs in favor of the transgender military ban and against LGBT protections under Title VII. (+) 8. But a few are from the LGBT community A handful of Trump’s appointments are from the LGBT community. Among them is former Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper, whom Trump appointed to a senior position at the State Department for political-military affairs. The Senate confirmed Cooper in April. Other new LGBT appointments are Mary Rowland, a lesbian with ties to the LGBT group Lambda Legal whom

Trump named to a federal judgeship in Illinois; and Patrick Bumatay, a gay federal prosecutor whom Trump named for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Both nominations are pending before the Senate. (-) 9. Draconian anti-trans memo leaked An explosive report in the New York Times last year exposed a planned memo within the Department of Health & Human Services that would effectively erase transgender people from federal law, igniting a massive outcry among transgender rights supporters. The proposal reportedly asserts Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in schools, doesn’t apply to transgender people and calls for government agencies to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of sex “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” A dispute about one’s sex, the New York Times reported, would have to be clarified using genetic testing. (-) 10. Anti-trans ‘conscience rule’ is final The memo as described by the Times never came to light, but months later HHS did implement an anti-trans “conscience rule” allowing health care providers to opt out of procedures over which they have religious objections, including abortions or gender reassignment surgery. Trump announced the rule was final during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on the National Day of Prayer. (-) 11. HHS seeks to undo trans health rule HHS wasn’t done. Weeks after the conscience rule was final, the department announced a proposed rule seeking to undo regulations in health care against anti-trans discrimination. The Obama-era regulations asserted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sex discrimination in health care, also covers discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Under the Trump rule, HHS would disavow those protections. (The Obama-era rule was already enjoined by a federal judge.) (-) 12. Ending visas for unmarried partners of diplomats The State Department last year cancelled visas for the unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats to the United States. By canceling these visas for these partners, the State Department forced these partners to either marry or get out, which complicated matters if these diplomats are from countries where same-sex marriage isn’t legal. At the time of the decision, only 25 countries recognized same-sex marriage. This list is long and continues at washingtonblade.com

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June 29th, 2019 @ Centennial Park Ellicott City, MD

PRIDE FESTIVAL 1st Annual Howard County

Remember | Resist | Rejoice

HoCo Pride is a collection of events and programs that are geared toward the support of, advocacy for and education about the LGBTQ+ community in Howard County. Join us for this family friendly event that is 100% free to attend! For more information, visit our website or give us a call: www.visithowardcounty.com/festivall 1-800-TRIP (8747)

2 0 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • J U N E 0 7 , 2 0 1 9

Biden says Equality Trump recognizes Act would be No. 1 Pride month in tweet priority as president Pledges to fight for decriminalization

Measure faces uphill battle in GOP Senate By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

JOE BIDEN said the Equality Act will be his No. 1 priority as president. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

On the first day of Pride month, Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden declared the E quality Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination would be his No. 1 priority if elected. Speaking before 730 attendees at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Biden said passage of the Equality Act would “send a message around the world” that the United States supports LGBT rights. “I promise you if I’m elected president that’ll be the first thing I’ll ask be noted,” Biden said. As Biden noted, the U.S. House approved the Equality Act last month on a bipartisan basis with a united Democratic caucus and eight Republican votes. But Biden said to finish the job “we need to elect a Democratic Senate” to replace the Republican majority chamber, where passage of the LGBT bill is highly unlikely. Biden’s 30-minute speech hit on a range topics pertaining to LGBT issues. Although Biden criticized the Trump administration, the 2020 hopeful never mentioned any of this rivals for the Democratic nomination. Criticizing President Trump for creating “literally a bully pulpit” at the White House, Biden faulted him for his reaction to the white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, turning away asylum seekers and appointing a vice president who “uses religious freedom as an excuse to license discrimination.” “It’s wrong and it is immoral what they’re doing,” Biden said. In terms of LGBT issues, Biden listed the anti-LGBT attacks from the Trump administration that have come just within the past two weeks leading to Pride month. The former vice president referred to them as the “latest in a long list of moves targeting the sick, the homeless, children.” Recent news items include a proposed rule gutting transgender protections at homeless shelters, a proposal seeking to abolish transgender non-discrimination protections in health care and a report the administration is poised to issue a rule allowing adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples. “This is beyond the scope of anything remotely from what we’ve seen before,” Biden said. Invoking the five known transgender black women who have been killed so far in 2019, Biden said of anti-trans violence, “It must, it must, it must end.” “The fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration,” Biden added. Biden, however, concluded the speech with a note of optimism, asserting the nation will change after Trump leaves the White House. “Notwithstanding it all, I remain optimistic because I believe in who we are as a country,” Biden said.

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of homosexuality abroad By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM For the first time in three years in office, President Trump recognized June as LGBT Pride Month in a series of tweets last week, referencing his administration’s international initiative to decriminalize homosexuality. “As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison or even executive individuals on the basis of sexual orientation,” Trump wrote. “My administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!” The initiative Trump references is the international campaign launched by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Trump administration. Grenell launched the initiative with an eye toward Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death. Previously, Trump seemed unaware of the international initiative. Asked by reporters about it in the Oval Office, Trump replied, ““I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.” The White House didn’t respond to the Blade’s request for background information on the tweet. The Blade has also placed a request with Grenell seeking comment. Trump has become the first Republican president in history to recognize LGBT Pride month. In years past, former President Barack Obama would issue a proclamation recognizing June as Pride month, continuing a tradition started by former President Bill Clinton. The White House has yet to issue a proclamation recognizing June as Pride month, although proclamations were issued for National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Great Outdoors Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month and National Ocean Month. Trump’s tweet of support comes in stark contrast to recent actions taken by his administration against the community. Recent news items include a proposed rule gutting transgender protections at homeless shelters, a proposal seeking to abolish transgender non-discrimination protections in health care and a report

the administration is poised to issue a rule allowing adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples. The anti-LGBT attacks have also included a transgender military ban, policy initiatives prioritizing “religious freedom” over LGBT rights and legal briefs from the Justice Department asserting LGBT people aren’t covered under civil rights laws. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s record on LGBT rights when asked to square his Pride Month tweets with his ban on transgender recruits in the military, according to a White House press corps pool report. Many LGBT rights advocates weren’t impressed with Trump’s recognition of Pride month, saying his administration’s actions demonstrate his true feelings. Among them was Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, who called the tweet “gross hypocrisy, with an emphasis on gross.” “You can’t celebrate Pride and constantly undermine our rights — including attacking #TransHealth, discharging #TransTroops, refusing to protect LGBTQ youth, and cozying up to dictators who brutalize & marginalize LGBTQ people,” Griffin said. Trump also recognized Pride month shortly after coming out against the Equality Act, comprehensive legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ban to anti-LGBT discrimination. A senior administration official cited unspecified “poison pills” to the Blade in explaining Trump’s opposition to the measure. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who’s gay and chief sponsor of the Equality Act, said in a succinct statement Trump must follow up his tweet with support for the legislation. “Nice Tweet,” Cicilline said, “Now, how about telling Mitch McConnell to bring up the Equality Act?” During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump during a campaign rally waved an upside-down Pride flag inscribed with “LGBTQ for Trump.” Not mentioned by Trump is the 50th anniversary this year of the Stonewall riots, the historic LGBT rights event upon which Pride is based. Pride celebrations have been held each year to recognize Stonewall, starting with New York City’s Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1970.

Global Pride celebrations underway Praise for efforts to decriminalize homosexuality around the world By MICHAEL K. LAVERS MLAVERS@WASHBLADE.COM

LGBTI activists in Cuba organized an unsanctioned march in Havana on May 11 that ended with several arrests. Photo courtesy of Pedro Luis García

This year’s Pride commemorations are taking place against the backdrop of efforts to decriminalize consensual samesex sexual relations around the world. Upwards of 200 people participated in the second annual Pride parade in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown on June 1. The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), an advocacy group in the South American country, in a statement to the Washington Blade said Guyanese MP Priya Manickchand and diplomats from the U.K. and Canada are among those who participated. SASOD said the parade was “great and incident-free.” “The event was truly a sight to behold,” SASOD told the Blade. Guyana is among the more than 70 countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized. Tonga Leitis Association — a group in Tonga that advocates on behalf of transgender and gender-variant Tongans and other LGBTI people in the small island nation in the South Pacific — has launched a campaign that urges the country and others in the region — Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa and the Cook Islands — to repeal their sodomy laws. The Tongan advocacy group told the Blade on Wednesday it does not “use the Western-centric language of ‘Pride,’” but it has scheduled events that coincide with global Pride commemorations. These include a beauty pageant that is scheduled to take place on July 11-12. “We are deeply connected to and

participate in the global movement for dignity, respect, inclusion, equality and human rights for all,” said Tonga Leitis Association. The second annual Montego Bay Pride is scheduled to take place in Jamaica from Oct. 13-20. Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in Jamaica, even though activists have challenged it in court. Maurice Tomlinson, a gay lawyer who organizes Montego Bay Pride, told the Blade on Monday that a gay man who participated in last year’s event “kept running and screaming in ecstasy, ‘I feel legal!” “That to me is the real reason for Pride, especially in criminalized contexts such as Jamaica where gay men can be sent to prison for up to 10 years of hard labor for any form of intimacy, even holding hands in the privacy of their bedroom,” said Tomlinson. The India Supreme Court last September issued a landmark ruling that decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations. Kenya’s High Court on May 24 upheld the constitutionality of the country’s colonial-era sodomy law in a decision that sparked widespread outrage among activists and their supporters. The White House in March announced gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell will lead an initiative that encourages countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations. President Trump on May 31 noted this effort in a series of tweets that also acknowledged Pride month. The State Department has yet to

publicly acknowledge Pride month. The Trump administration’s LGBTI rights record and overall foreign policy continues to spark outrage among activists in the U.S. and around the world. Discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity and government crackdowns against LGBTIspecific events also remain commonplace in many parts of the world. Cuban police on May 11 arrested several people who participated in an unsanctioned LGBTI march in Havana. Yasemin Oz of Kaos Gay and Lesbian Association, a Turkish advocacy group, told the Blade this week their group expects police will try to interrupt this year’s Pride events in Istanbul. “We are planning to make one week pride events at the third week of June in Istanbul and end the pride week with Pride demonstration as every year,” said Oz. “But Pride demonstrations were banned since 2014.” “Last year we managed to make a press statement with a few thousand people,” added Oz. “We don’t know yet what will happen this year.” Other activists with whom the Blade spoke this year said they remain hopeful in spite of the continued challenges LGBTI people face around the world. Members of the Puerto Rico Police Department, which has previously faced criticism over its treatment of LGBTI Puerto Ricans, participated in San Juan’s annual Pride parade that took place on June 2. Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter on Tuesday told the Blade during a Twitter town hall at the Human Rights Campaign with diplomats from other Nordic countries that her government remains committed to supporting LGBTI advocacy efforts abroad. “We know that it is more challenging in many other countries,” said Olofsdotter. “We really try to do whatever we can.” OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern added Pride “continues to be the most visible element of the global movement for LGBTIQ equality.” “While in some places Pride protests have grown into grand celebrations of the achievements to date, in others they remain an expression of defiance and protest,” she told the Blade in a statement. “In the 70 or so countries which still criminalize samesex relations, or the 55 in which LGBTIQ organizations can not register, across the world where hate crimes and even murder of LGBTIQ people are commonplace, Pride is, in whatever form it takes, crucial to bringing LGBTIQ people together, to saying — we are here, we refuse to be shamed, and we demand our basic human rights to be recognized.”

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Blade contributor seeking asylum accuses U.S. of human rights violation Assails treatment at Louisiana jail: ‘The conditions are bad’ By MICHAEL K. LAVERS MLAVERS@WASHBLADE.COM

YARIEL VALDÉS GONZÁLEZ, right, interviews a Mexican migrant at a lesbian-run shelter in Mexicali, Mexico, on Jan. 27. Valdés, who is from Cuba, has asked for asylum in the U.S. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

A Blade contributor from Cuba who is seeking asylum in the U.S. contends the conditions in the Louisiana jail in which he is being held amount to human rights violations. Yariel Valdés González first described the conditions at Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., during an emotional telephone call he made to the Blade on May 3 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement transferred him from the Tallahatchee County Correctional Facility, a privately run prison in Tutwiler, Miss. “The conditions are bad,” said Valdés on May 31 during another telephone interview from Louisiana. Valdés told the Blade “there is no privacy” and he is sleeping on a “thin mattress.” “It’s like a prison, not an immigration center,” he said. But Valdés on May 31 told the Blade he does have access to hot and cold water. The high temperature in Plain Dealing, which is located north of Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana on Monday was 92 degrees. Valdés told the Blade on Tuesday during another telephone call the air conditioning at the jail is functioning. Valdés, 28, legally entered the U.S. on March 27 through the Calexico West Port of Entry between Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali, Mexico. ICE transferred him to Mississippi a few days later. Valdés is originally from Cuba’s Villa Clara province. He graduated from Universidad Central Marta Abreu de las Villas in 2014 with a degree in journalism. Valdés in a letter that outlines the reasons why he is requesting asylum says he worked for Vanguardia, a newspaper published by the Cuban Communist Party in Villa Clara, while he earned his degree. Valdés says he began to contribute to independent media outlets in 2015. Valdés writes he signed a letter against the “censorship and harassment” of

independent media outlets in 2016. He says the Cuban Communist Party began to harass him and his “life became hell.” Valdés in his letter writes Vanguardia docked him a month’s pay and left him “without work” after current Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who was the country’s vice president at the time, told the newspaper’s management to “control that public demonstration by some journalists who questioned the authority of the Cuban government.” Valdés also claims the Union of Young Communists, a branch of the Cuban Communist Party that publishes the Juventud Rebelde newspaper, also expelled him and he was fired from the state-run radio and television stations for which he had been an announcer. Valdés was a contributor for Tremenda Nota, the Blade’s media partner on the Communist island, when the Cuban government in August 2018 summoned him to a meeting after a university in Colombia and the International Center for Journalists in D.C. invited him to participate in a program for Cuban journalists. Valdés in his letter writes he soon realized Cuban officials had prevented him from leaving the country in order to attend the workshop. Valdés writes Maykel González Vivero, publisher of Tremenda Nota, and several of his colleagues, asked the Cuban government to “evaluate my situation.” Valdés says he was eventually allowed to leave the country because he said he was going to visit his father who lives in Mexico. Valdés says he traveled to Colombia and attended the program for Cuban journalists. He arrived in Mexico last fall and became a Blade contributor. The State Department’s 2018 human rights report notes the Cuban government “does not recognize independent journalism.” A report that Freedom House released in 2017 notesCuba “has the most repressive media environment in the Americas.” Access to Tremenda Nota’s website in

Cuba has been blocked since Feb. 23. Authorities on May 8 arrested Luz Escobar, a reporter who contributes to 14ymedio, an independent website founded by Yoani Sánchez, a prominent critic of the Cuban government, as she tried to interview displaced survivors of a freak tornado that tore through parts of Havana in January. The Cuban government on the same day did not allow this reporter into the countryahead of an unsanctioned LGBTI march that took place in Havana on May 11. “If I return to the island, I fear that they will initiate a process that deprives me of my elementary rights as a human right because in Cuba, in the name of national security, atrocities are committed and the established laws are shamelessly violated,” writes Valdés in his letter. Valdés has told the Blade a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer has determined his asylum claim is valid. Valdés had his first appearance before an immigration judge on May 23. He has told the Blade his second hearing is scheduled to take place on June 13, but Valdés said he does not know when ICE will release him on parole. Valdés says he plans to pursue his case from his aunt’s home near Miami. “I don’t know anything,” he told the Blade on May 31, referring to when ICE may release him from custody. Valdés remains in ICE custody amid continued outrage over the Trump administration’s overall immigration policy. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in August 2018 condemned the separation of migrant children from their parents after they entered the U.S. Johana “Joa” Medina Leon, a 25-yearold transgender woman from El Salvador, died in a Texas hospital on June 1 after ICE released her from the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, N.M. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana last week filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration over the denial of parole to hundreds of asylum seekers who are in ICE custody in Louisiana and Alabama. A press release the two organizations issued on May 30 notes the New Orleans ICE Field Office, which oversees the facility in which Valdés is currently detained, granted parole in only two of the 130 asylum cases it heard in 2018. The press release also notes the lawsuit “calls attention to the impact of the dehumanizing treatment — especially the excessive use of solitary confinement and inadequate health care — received

daily in immigration prisons, many of which are operated for profit.” “Like hundreds of people being held in multiple ICE detention centers in the Deep South, our asylum-seeking plaintiffs are being punished for following the law,” said Luz Virginia López, a senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They followed the legal checklist by first presenting themselves at a point of entry, and this is how America is paying them back — with cruelty and disrespect for the law.” Valdés has told the Blade that some of the Cuban asylum seekers with whom he is detained have been in ICE custody for nearly a year. The Louisiana Detention Watch Coalition with the support of the Southern Poverty Law Center on Wednesday will hold a protest against the prolonged detentions of asylum seekers in Louisiana and the denial of parole that would allow them to pursue their cases out of ICE custody. Valdés on Tuesday told the Blade that relatives of some of the Cuban asylum seekers with whom he is detained are planning to participate in the protest that is scheduled to take place outside the New Orleans ICE Field Office. An ICE spokesperson has not responded to the Blade’s requests for comment on Valdés allegations or the lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU of Louisiana. ICE spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa told the Blade in March that “comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive until they leave ICE custody.” “All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24hour emergency care,” she said. Zamarripa told the Blade in response to questions about more than a dozen gay men and trans women who allege they suffered abuse while at the Otero County Processing Center that ICE spends more than $250 million a year “on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees.” She also noted a 2015 directive requires ICE personnel to provide detainees with access to hormone therapy and other trans-specific health care. “ICE is committed to ensuring that those in our custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement,” Zamarripa told the Blade.

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Calif. officials unite against Trump health policy

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SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera both asked a federal court Tuesday to block a new rule by the administration of President Donald Trump that would allow health care institutions and workers to refuse services on religious grounds, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The rule announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month is due to go into effect on July 22. It would deny federal health, welfare and education funds to states and local governments that don’t comply. Becerra and Herrera filed lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco in May to challenge the rule and on Tuesday followed up with motions for preliminary injunctions blocking its enforcement, the Examiner reports. They claim the rule is illegal because it is broader than religious exemptions previously authorized than Congress, and also is unconstitutional because it violates the ban on establishment of religion. The two lawsuits allege the rule would enable not only doctors but also nurses, receptionists, call operators and ambulance drivers to refuse to help patients in need. They say it could result in denial of treatment to women seeking contraception and abortions and to LGBTQ individuals, the Examiner reports.

Colorado bans ‘conversion’ therapy

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DENVER — The country’s first openly gay governor has signed a bill that bans the controversial “conversion therapy” for LGBT minors in his state, Patch reports. Colorado became the 18th state to ban the practice, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation. New Jersey became the first U.S. state to ban the practice in 2013, followed by California the same year. This year, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts outlawed conversion therapy, and Maine enacted a ban on the practice last week. Polis also signed another historic Colorado bill last week, which makes it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates without surgery, a court order or a doctor’s note. The bill was named Jude’s Law, to honor a 13-year-old

transgender student, Jude, who testified in support of the bill, Patch reports. Under Colorado’s new ban, any medical or mental health professional who practices conversion therapy can lose their license. Religious leaders who hold medical licenses cannot offer the service as a medical professional, Patch reports. More than 600,000 people in the country have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, according to a 2018 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the Patch article notes.

Philly officials upset over Trump trans rollback PHILADELPHIA — By announcing a plan to end protections for transgender people in homeless shelters last month, the Trump administration raised the ire of Philadelphia area officials and advocates, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “We are deeply disturbed at the signal it sends,” said Liz Hersh, director of the city’s Office of Homeless Services, according to the Inquirer. “I was very saddened,” said Michael Hinson, president and chief operating officer of SELF inc., a Center City nonprofit that oversees nine emergency shelters in Philadelphia, the Inquirer quoted him as having said. The proposed rule by the Department of Housing and Urban Development would allow federally funded homeless shelters to deny transgender applicants on religious grounds, and force them to use bathrooms and sleeping areas that don’t correspond with their gender identity, the website curbed.com reported. HUD officials have said the change would “offer local homeless shelter providers greater flexibility when making decisions about individuals who may misrepresent their sex to access sexspecific shelters,” the Inquirer reports. HUD has received pressure from some Christian shelter providers to make the rule change as a way to push back on admitting transgender people who are homeless, curbed.com reported. The announcement was made on May 22, one day after HUD Secretary Ben Carson told Congress that the agency was not going to eliminate the Obamaera 2012 Equal Access Rule, which barred federal housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the Washington Post reported. Carson has yet to publicly address the apparent contradiction, the Inquirer reports.

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Are you ready for the weekend? Pop over Friday Eve (aka Thursday) for light appetizers and drinks around the rooftop pool. Enjoy the beautiful twilight views of the city as you talk to our residents about why they made the move to The Residences at Thomas Circle.

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We’re , a Washington, D.C. - based national public relations firm certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. We’re proud to be part of the DC LGBTQ community. We’re honored to have this opportunity to celebrate Pride AND to remember and honor all of those who came before us who sacrificed so much to make Pride possible. We know we have MUCH more work to do to ensure full and equal inclusion in society for LGBTQ people and we’re committed to working with others to help secure it.

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is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com.


is CEO at Whitman-Walker Health.


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


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

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Celebrating our Pride pioneers

Dykes on Bikes, drag queens and more paved the way for marriage and Buttigieg

Divas Outdoors presents Bye Bye Birdie Friday, June 14

See this classic film under the stars like nowhere else in DC! Put on a happy face as we send teen idol Conrad Birdie off in infectiously cheerful style. Come early and set out your elaborate spread for the picnic contest. (Hint: our judges love connections to the film.) Then choose a special champagne cocktail, frozen beverage (alcoholic and non), beer, wine, or champagne to go with your feast, or pick up a sandwich from Merriweather To Go! 7–8:30pm: Mansion and special exhibition Mid-Century Master: The Photography of Alfred Eisenstaedt open. 7–9:45pm: Merriweather To Go open, picnicking on the Lunar Lawn. 8–8:30pm: Best picnic spread judging and winners announced. Film begins around 8:45pm. Presented rain or shine. In the event of rain, the screening will be moved to fabulous indoor locations. Divas Outdoors is part of the Dina Merrill Film Program.

In this special Pride edition of the Blade, we pay tribute to the outré figures of Prides past who paved the way for all of our hetero-normative success today: marriage equality, corporate parade floats and even a buttoned-up gay presidential candidate. Many gay people cringed in the early days of Pride celebrations as local TV news covered our parades and focused on the more flamboyant or “outrageous” characters marching: the drag queens, scantily clad dancing twinks, leather daddies and Dykes on Bikes. The complaints about mainstream media coverage of the community went something like this: “Why can’t they show ‘normal’ gay people at the parade?” But the reality is that without those media-worthy moments of lesbians riding motorcycles and drag queens working the crowd, the TV cameras wouldn’t have shown us at all. No one wants to watch a parade of Pete Buttigieg clones marching in their penny loafers down 14th Street. We needed those brave pioneers of early Prides to endure the taunts and insults of passersby to pave the way for the rest of us. Those in-your-face parade tactics gave rise to the bold AIDS protests of ACT UP in ‘80s and ‘90s — storming St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989 and crumbling a communion wafer, scattering ashes of gay men on the White House lawn. The aggressive tactics employed by our most courageous community members forced the government — and the world — to address HIV/AIDS after years of ignoring the epidemic. As time passed and HIV became less of a public health emergency, priorities and attitudes changed. Some say not all that change has been for the better. Protest groups in New York and D.C. are planning marches and other events to highlight their

criticism of mainstream Pride celebrations that have become dominated by corporate floats and parade contingents of LGBT and allied employees. Too often, these companies show up for one day a year to check the “Pride” box, then retreat into other priorities until the following June. There are some hopeful signs that the trend is changing as those companies — I’m looking at you Target and Starbucks — come under increased pressure to showcase their support in more concrete, visible ways 365 days a year. The reality, of course, is that we need everyone to live openly and honestly, thereby forcing the world to reckon with us, no matter how we present. We need our corporate partners to adopt inclusive non-discrimination policies and to lobby the government when the attacks come, as they are regularly under the Trump administration. Don’t let his Pride tweet fool you: Trump views supporting limited gay rights as a way to attack Iran and nothing more. And as the Democrats learned during the ENDA debate a decade ago, you cannot support one segment of our community while throwing another under the bus. Trump’s repeated attacks on the trans community while tweeting warm-and-fuzzies about Pride month illustrate that sort of fake support we no longer tolerate. Enjoy this Pride season and remember to thank an LGBTQ elder who marched before it was safe and accepted. And Pride month continues after D.C. is finished celebrating as we count down to WorldPride in New York and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. The June 28 Blade will feature a special tribute to Stonewall and the celebration of the Blade’s own 50th anniversary culminates with a gala on Oct. 18, so save the date.

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

Live your Pride every day

We should welcome all, including corporations, police, military Pride celebrations have changed over the years and in many ways that is a good thing even if some have trouble with it. June is Pride month and this year even our disgusting president is getting in on it. It is reported he is the first Republican president to promote Pride month. This after he taken action to install policies that hurt the LGBTQ community, including banning trans people from the military. I hope the + community doesn’t get taken in by his rhetoric in a tweet. Each of us should have the opportunity to come out in their own time. But once you are out you need to live your pride each day to make it easier for the next person and the next generations. The LGBTQ community doesn’t always agree on how to do that. Once again there is a divide in the community revolving around whether corporate entities and the police should be able to participate in and help fund our festivals and parades. A very public example of this debate is occurring in New York between the leaders of the official New York City Pride March organized by Heritage of Pride and another group that has gotten a permit to have a counter march they are calling the “Reclaim Pride” march. Both marches will take place on June 30, the same day at the same time, along different routes. The basic debate as I understand it is the counter march organizers believe that all the corporate involvement in the regular Pride parade dilutes its meaning. In this year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall they believe in what some have called a ‘back to basics’ Pride parade. While I can respect the feelings of those who believe corporate floats and police in uniform shouldn’t be part of a Pride parade it seems to me their view goes counter to all we have fought for over the past 50 years since Stonewall. Haven’t we wanted broad-based acceptance and recognition for members of our community? Why is it a bad thing if a corporation is proud to have its LGBTQ employees march openly under their banner in a parade? We want our community to be accepted everywhere. Imagine we now have police departments proud to have their LGBTQ members and other officers who support them march openly and proudly in a Pride parade. Others object to the military participating in the parades. We fought long and hard to

have members of the LGBTQ+ community be able to serve openly in the military. Why would we now not want them to march proudly in their uniforms we worked so long and hard to allow them to wear? I am not blind to the discrimination in our society, and even in our own community, especially toward people of color and women. I understand we must work day in and day out to end it. We must demand our police be appropriately trained and that we diversify our police departments. Too often individual members of the departments allow their racial biases to influence their actions and people of color and transgender individuals among others are threatened and even killed by those who are supposed to be there to protect them. We each must commit to see that end. But I am not sure banning members of police departments who are supportive of LGBTQ rights or are themselves members of the community from our parades helps in that fight. Yes Pride celebrations have morphed from a small group of out members of the community gathering together, some surreptitiously, to citywide events in places like New York and Washington, D.C. New York Pride and World Pride that is being hosted there are expected to draw up to four million people to their various events from around the world. Yes it’s an economic boon for New York and I think the positive advertisement corporations get by having their employees march under their banners and sponsoring various events is great. When we needed help fighting antigay laws in North Carolina and Indiana among other places we wanted and got the help of the corporate community. They stood with us. Isn’t that what we have fought to have happen for all these years? Those of us who are out need to live our pride every day of the year. We need to urge more and more people to come out and it’s so much easier if they know their neighbors and their employers say “you are welcome here and we support you.” Whether that employer is corporate, the military or the police department we should want the welcome mat to be out for them at our Pride celebrations.

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This Friday, 1,600 runners and walkers, 150 volunteers, and hundreds of spectators will gather in a cemetery in Southeast Washington to celebrate Pride, reaffirm LGBTQ+ rights, and support local charities. The Pride Run is a 5K race organized by the DC Front Runners, a gay running and walking club founded in 1981 serving the greater Washington area. I joined in the mid-1990s when my then-partner and now-husband Charlie Divan introduced me to an amazing bunch of people that I count today as my D.C. family. Our club forms part of an international ‘frontrunners family,’ a network of clubs around the world that takes its name from “The Front Runner,” the groundbreaking novel published by Patricia Nell Warren in 1974. The book tells the story of a love affair between a running coach and one of his star athletes, boldly yet tenderly tackling the taboo subject of homosexual love in competitive sports. A critical and commercial success, the book also had a powerful and positive impact on me personally when I first read it as a young gay man in rural Ohio. In 2004, to honor the 30th anniversary of the book’s publication, the DC Front Runners invited Warren to our annual anniversary party. She graciously accepted. I had the privilege of meeting with this courageous, lovely lady and will forever treasure the memories I have of that evening. Warren passed away on Feb. 9 at age 82. The Washington chapter of the Front Runners was spawned by a Pride Run held at Hains Point in summer 1981. Like much of gay Washington and beyond, the club was devastated by the AIDS crisis, with more than a dozen members succumbing to the disease in the 1980s and 1990s. But the crisis also brought us closer together in many ways. We organized our first Pride Runs in those years, donating funds raised to organizations providing life-supporting services such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Since 2013, the Pride Run has been hosted at Historic Congressional Cemetery on a course that winds along the adjacent Anacostia

Riverwalk Trail. When we first approached the Cemetery’s President Paul Williams about potentially holding the race there, we were thrilled to discover that the cemetery had already earned its place in gay history. Leonard Matlovich, a gay rights pioneer who appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1975 as a proud homosexual serving in the U.S. military, is buried in the cemetery. Matlovich’s bravery in coming forward triggered a national debate that ultimately led to a lifting of the ban on gays in the military. Many other LGBTQ advocates chose to be buried near him, creating the cemetery’s Gay Corner that continues to expand. The Pride Run starts and finishes right by Matlovich’s tombstone. This year marks the 7th Pride Run at Congressional Cemetery. It has been heartwarming to watch the event go from strength to strength over the years. We have more than doubled the number of participants from 750 to 1,600. Our tried and trusted race logistics partner throughout has been Pacers Events, helping us with the myriad tasks that come with putting on a road race, everything from online registration, course measuring and marking, supplying bibs, to chip timing. And thanks to the stellar support we receive from community sponsors and individual donors, we have been able, in addition to organizing an awesome race and after-party, to support a host of local LGBTQ+ and youthsupporting charities. To help develop the fundraising part of the Pride Run, the club created the Pride Run Foundation, which is now a designated charity that I’ve been privileged to lead since 2017. Pride Run 2019 beneficiaries are Casa Ruby, the Wanda Alston Foundation, Teens Run DC, the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship, and—our newest addition—a Blade Foundation Fellowship supporting an aspiring investigative journalist. As we pay tribute to the Stonewall Uprising 50 years on, let’s remember that we can all make history—often in ways bigger than we realize in the moment—by everyday decisions we make and actions we take.

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Keep your promise to protect each other. NASEEMA SHAFI

is CEO at Whitman-Walker Health.

Whitman-Walker takes stand against HHS’ denial of care rule The community’s health and wellbeing are under constant assault by the Trump administration. Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or to undercut it with regulatory actions, are still underway. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – which provides important protections to the community from discrimination in health care and health insurance – is in the process of being reinterpreted in a way that tries to eliminate protections for LGBT people, women, and persons not proficient in English. And on May 21, the administration issued its so-called “conscience protection rule,” which will undoubtedly increase discriminatory practices in medicine, mental health, and substance use treatment. As your partner in health, Whitman-Walker stands firmly with you in the face of this hostility. That stance is why we were compelled to act against this rule with litigation. The so-called “conscience protection rule,” which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued on May 21, declares anyone employed at any health care provider that receives federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, or any number of federal grants, or even anyone volunteering at such a health care facility, may deny care to anyone, based only on their personal religious or moral views. The rule is written so broadly that it seems that every employee – from the customer service representative handling appointment check-ins to the doctor delivering direct care – will be able to deny any type of assistance to an individual if the employee objects to the person seeking care or to the type of care they are seeking, based on the employee’s personal beliefs. Noncompliant health care facilities, those who insist that all patients get the care that they need, will be at risk of losing federal funding. This is true of schools, health departments, hospitals, community health clinics – and health centers like Whitman-Walker. We believe that this is unlawful and discriminatory, and it threatens serious harm to the health and well being of the communities we serve. We challenged this unlawfulness, together with Sarah Henn, our Chief Health Officer, and Randy Pumphrey, our Senior Director of Behavioral Health, through a lawsuit filed May 28, 2019 against HHS. Like much of the fight against this

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administration, we are in good company. Our co-plaintiffs are fellow LGBTQ health care providers, reproductive rights organizations, medical professional organizations and Santa Clara County. Our lawyers in the case are among the best in the nation: Lambda Legal, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the law firm Mayer Brown. We and our fellow plaintiffs maintain that the rule is unlawful and threatens enormous harm, and we are asking the court to overturn it. The lawsuit argues that the rule is unconstitutional because it advances specific religious beliefs in violation of the First Amendment; violates patients’ rights to privacy, liberty and equal dignity as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment; and mutes patients’ speech and expression in violation of the First Amendment, all to the detriment of patients’ health and well-being. The lawsuit also asserts that HHS violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act in creating the rule by failing to consider the rule’s impact on patients, health care providers and institutions; by misinterpreting the federal statutes that HHS claims to be enforcing; and by violating a number of other federal laws. This is not a matter of one person’s religious views being more important, or invalid, compared with another person’s views. This is a matter of supporting a pluralistic society in which dignity and mutual respect are central tenets, requiring us to treat all people equally. Moreover, in health care the patient’s needs ADVERTISING must always come first – not the personal PROOF #1 ISSUE DATE: 10.26.12 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: BRIAN PITTS (bpitts@washblade.com) beliefs of the health care worker. Opposing this misguided, unlawful REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of and harmful rule is not a new position for the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts REVISIONS omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users Whitman-Walker. This rule is, inREDESIGN fact, the kind can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or TEXT REVISIONS any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any of discrimination in health care that led to our copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, founding. Since our beginning the 1970s, or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE NOin REVISIONS blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contr We washington believe thatclaims, every person hasreasonable a basic right to that may be incurred liability, loss, damages, or causes of action, including legal fees and expenses washington blade newspaper. This includes but is no Whitman-Walker has always stood for dignity, by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. and warranties. affirmation and respect in health care. We public benefits, shelter and safety. Every day we work stand for providing the right level of care for with that goal in mind, providing free legal assistance our patients, as directed by the needs that to D.C. elders most in need.* they report to us. We stand for the evidence based and ethically driven guidelines that are We welcome the D.C. LGBTQ community the foundation of our work. The vague and farmembers to call our Hotline at 202-434-2120. reaching language of this rule left us with only one clear option, and that was to advocate for *Must be income-eligible, D.C. Resident and 60-plus LCE is an affiliate of AARP. access to health care. Through this action and in many other ways, we will continue to fight for you, and for a healthy, inclusive and just society.

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New D.C. voters trend Celebrating Pride more independent and remembering Recent Democratic registrations decline, Stonewall at 50 despite city’s ‘closed primary’ penalty An examination of new voter registrations in D.C. during the past 12 months reveals a noticeable trend consistent with nationwide voter preferences. It’s no secret that political party affiliation has fallen out of favor across the country in recent years. A plurality of all registered voters nationwide identify as independents, as do a majority of those under 35. This shift now appears to be gaining momentum in the District. While new and total citywide registrations remain overwhelmingly Democratic, the dominant party’s share of sign-ups over the past year has declined by nearly 10 percent compared to the prior overall tally. More startling is that for the most recent quarter-year spanning the last three-month period, independent voters among new D.C. registrations represent a whopping 34 percent share, while those joining the voting pool as Democrats have dropped a massive 20 points to only 56 percent. The new-voter swing away from alignment with the majority party in the District has resulted in a directly corresponding increase in ‘independent’ registrations over the past year. The D.C. Board of Elections monthly new registration summaries from May 1, 2018, through the most recent currently available report ending April 30, 2019, indicate that the Democratic Party share shrunk to 70 percent of the latest voter enrollments during this annual period. This represents a six-point percentage drop compared to the prior yearago overall share of total registered voters. Among slightly more than 45,000 new registrations in the last 12 months, a handful less than 10,000 have enrolled as unaffiliated voters. This shift in party affiliation preference has exclusively increased the share of “No Party” registrations, with independents rising to slightly more than 22 percent among new voter filings over the past year. The number of non-party sign-ups equals the decline in new Democrats. The 12-month percentage share of new enrollments for the Republican, Statehood Green, Libertarian, and other minor parties remained static with overall shares at a combined total of nearly eight percent. The GOP represents the second-largest political party at a modest six percent of

voters, unchanged from a year ago. The recent growth in independent registrations is especially significant given that the city’s archaic ‘closed primary’ system prohibits unaffiliated voters from fully participating in the electoral process. Registering as a non-aligned voter comes with the penalty of disenfranchisement, and precludes having a voice in determining the eventual winner in what is essentially a one-party town. The current trend reducing the number of new Democratic voters, if it continues, will nonetheless take a relatively lengthy period to dramatically affect total affiliations. This is due to the vast majority of voters not reconsidering their registration until such time as required due to a change in address, deactivation caused by non-participation, or updating a married surname change. In addition, given the participation-limiting outcast status of registering as an independent, there is little upside or incentive to doing so in D.C. Therein lies the rub. Incumbent elected officials, all Democrats or Democrats-in-disguise masquerading as pseudo-independents to qualify for the two at-large D.C. Council seats reserved for non-majority-party candidates, stubbornly resist reforming the city’s outdated voting restrictions penalizing non-aligned voters. The reason is simple: Current officeholders know that, if given a fair and equitable choice, a significant number of voters would gradually switch to independent status. In addition, Democratic incumbents and challengers alike prefer essentially winning election by only having to appeal for votes among party members. Local politicians have approved an extravagant campaign public financing system currently being implemented, debated lowering the voting age to 16, and will soon consider looming proposals to offer mail-in ballots and to “re-enfranchise” incarcerated felons. Yet when it comes to ending the disenfranchisement of independent voters by implementing open primaries or a unified primary with “top-two” run-offs there’s only silence. Oh, yeah, plus an embarrassing decline in voter turnout.

Remembering those that fought for us, and those still fighting now “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past” — William Faulkner People have a strange relationship with history sometimes. Black and white photos, as poignant as they are, give the impression that something that happened just 50 years ago is actually further away, further in the past than it actually is. This weekend is Pride in Washington D.C., celebrated each June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, the event that more or less started it all, as we’ve come to learn. This Pride is something special, marking 50 years since the first brick was thrown in protest of police harassment of LGBT individuals in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Fifty years since the LGBT movement changed tactics, mirroring less the Civil Rights Movement, quiet marches and respectability, and went more the way of the anti-war movement and public displays of social unrest. All of that was just 50 years ago. Or two sets of 25 years. Or five sets of 10. No matter how you want to package it, it wasn’t so very long ago. Stonewall has come to mean so much, far more than it probably did it at the time outside of the few square blocks where it took place in the Village, and far more than the original protesters probably would have imagined. The name Stonewall has lent itself to a powerful message. So much that we should all be thankful that the place wasn’t named something else, like Fannie’s Bar and Lounge or something a little less, well, strong. But memory, and indeed history, can sometimes play tricks on people. Remember those timelines in the back of school history books, those black linear lines at the end of each chapter, showing

a clear progression from Jamestown to the New Deal? Those gave the idea that history moves forward in a clear, progressive way. We have to remember though that may be true for some, it is certainly not true for all of us. People get left behind, forgotten, or simply get pushed out of what is defined as progress. Stonewall appears 50 years ago on the timeline. President Trump’s ban on transgender service members went into effect this year. So let’s remember Stonewall, but not confine it to memory. The idea of Stonewall is far more important than the physical space. It’s both rallying cry and a poignant reminder of what has happened, how far we’ve come, and what is left to be done. This year is Capital Pride’s 44th year. That is, 44 years since the city finally agreed to shut down the streets for our events. In those 44 years, Pride has been a place to mourn, those lost to AIDS or the Pulse massacre, a place to celebrate milestones like marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Or, indeed, a space and time to do all of these things at once. None of it, the celebrating or even the mourning, will ever be over. Essentially, the past is not past. It’s not even passed. And the best way to move forward is to celebrate, dance, but remember the riots that started it all by also remembering that there are many of us who are still fighting for a place at the table. And ironically, those that threw the first bricks that night in June 50 years ago, those queer people of color, are still fighting to be heard today. So keep fighting, and keep dancing. The party, and the struggle, goes on. And we won’t forget — those that fought for us then, and those still fighting now.

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From top: Dancers at the Capital Pride parade in 2016 and LGBT plaintiffs in the 2013 United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry cases at the Supreme Court. The way LGBT people present themselves at Pride vs. other settings has at times been a source of contention. Washington Blade photos by Michael Key

Letting it all hang out at Pride — did it help us in the long run? We asked a veteran bike dyke, drag queen, leather daddy and go-go dancer to share their first-hand experiences By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Capital Pride and all Pride events have always been — historically and to this day — a place to let one’s hair down and for LGBT folks to be unabashedly themselves. Washington, widely seen as a more “buttoned-up” town than, say, New York or Los Angeles, was perhaps not as freewheeling as other cities, especially in the early years of Pride here when it was a one-day block party just off Dupont Circle beginning in 1975, but it’s grown hugely over the decades and for many years we’ve had all the revelers one would expect — scantily clad dancers gyrating around on parade floats, drag queens, leather daddies (sometimes in ass-less chaps), dykes on bikes (some topless) and more. Conversely, the image the movement presented in the marriage wars and with LGBT people seeking elected office, was much different. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin dressed as conservatively as their counterparts on Capitol Hill, there was never anything outré about plaintiffs like Edith Windsor and Jim Obergefell and not-so-surprisingly, current “it” boy wonder, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, is a young, heteronormative-type white gay guy who’s from the Midwest and goes to church. The dichotomy has always existed as far back as the late Frank Kameny and the late Barbara Gittings demonstrating (preStonewall) at the White House in skirts (for women) and suits (for men) while the gay masses — practically none out pre-’69 — tended to glom on more to the hippies than the Ozzie and Harriets. One of the organizers of the 1993 Gay March on Washington drew criticism from within LGBT circles for wearing leather to the White House to meet Bill Clinton. But given the mainstream media’s penchant for televising more flamboyant factions in its Pride coverage and political enemies on the right painting Pride gatherings as dens of debauchery, what kind of tension existed between the two extremes? And now 50-some years down the road, did any of it matter? Might we have gotten further faster if we’d somehow reined in our Pride season excesses? Many folks say either no, it’s a selfhating query or it’s irrelevant. Or perhaps we needed both? That’s what Cathy Renna, a long-time PR and media LGBT expert formerly of GLAAD, says. “We need all of it. Why? Because we are all of it,” Renna says. “Our community is all of it and I think it’s disingenuous to even try to divide people over this. Why are we always trying to divide each other

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Leather enthusiasts at Capital Pride in 1993. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

all the time? There are always gonna be folks out there going to Pride because they just want for that one day or one week out of the year, to let their hair down and celebrate, and when I say celebrate, I don’t mean just have a party and get drunk. I mean celebrate our community, celebrate out diversity, celebrate our resilience for goodness sake, celebrate the progress that, in some ways, we’re still hanging on to by a thread in the time we live in. Then get back to work the next day.” Renna, GLAAD’s national news media director from ’95-’02 and a volunteer for several years prior, says the issue has ramifications in how it plays out among LGBT people and outside that sphere. As for the latter, Renna says historically it wasn’t so much about the media playing up “debauchery,” so much as it was looking for the most visual, arresting images. “It was as much about their need to take a photo or shoot video of something different and interesting and highly visual than it was about homophobia or transphobia or wanting to find the more quote-unquote — and please include that because I don’t consider this to be true

— but extreme parts of our community. Yes, drag queens and leather people are far more interesting than me and … what we fought for and I think eventually successfully achieved was a diversity of representation without diminishing, demeaning, minimizing or criticizing the parts of our community that are, to use the word of the day, flamboyant.” Renna says drag queens and leather daddies at Pride deserve respect. “They were the ones who were brave enough to be themselves and who were raising money for VD clinics before AIDS was even an issue,” she says. “People used to say, ‘But that doesn’t represent me.’ Well guess what — you don’t represent them. We’re a diverse community and this is really about two things — the media’s role and how the media works, which a lot of people don’t understand, and how we within our own community have our own isms — our own internalized homophobia, racism, sexism and transphobia and how it plays out.” But look at the plaintiffs in the marriage cases and various successful LGBT elected officials, the images they project and it’s

JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 43

not a huge leap to imagine there was some vetting and grooming going on behind the scenes. Sure, those arenas are much different than a Pride event, but even so, one imagines movement gatekeepers would have only been doing their due diligence in monitoring plaintiff or candidate deportment at critical times. Chuck Wolfe, former president/CEO of the Victory Fund from 2003-2015, says not really. “I never participated in any conversation like that,” he says. “We had kind of an operating opinion at Victory when I was there that all is fair and it takes every part of our community moving the ball forward and one of the reasons we were successful as fast as we were is because there was no one controlling entity saying, ‘You have to do this,’ or, ‘You can’t do this,’ or, ‘You can’t do that.’ Everybody was doing their part whether it was at a Pride event, testifying on Capitol Hill — all of it mattered, every bit of it.” Patrick Wojahn, out mayor of College Park, Md., who with his partner Dave Kolesar was one of the couples in the 2006 ACLU/Equality Maryland state marriage case, says it was made clear to him and other plaintiffs to be mindful of their status

as representatives. “One thing we were cognizant of and they made sure we understood was that we were representing the entire LGBT community and we were kind of the face of that,” Wojahn says. “We weren’t supposed to stand in for every single LGBT person out there, but when people saw us, it was understood that how LGBT act, for better or worse, and the political success or failure of what we were doing had a lot to do with how people perceived the LGBT community. It’s true in politics as well. It’s great to have places like Pride where people can act like freaks and do whatever comes upon them to do, but that’s a very different world than say politics where you have to come across as relatable to the people you’re trying to advocate for. It’s best in political situations if you don’t have to overcome that barrier of relatability. If you’re trying to sell people on the idea that we’re entitled to respect, it’s first helpful if they can relate to you on a personal level.” Wojahn says he doubts there was ever much hand-wringing behind the scenes about Pride behavior, but says it’s become less and less of an issue over the years if it ever was one. “Maybe this is just my skewed perspective of living in the D.C. metro area, but I think there’s been a growing recognition that not all gay people who live next to you are necessarily like the ones out dancing on the floats,” he says. “We’re just as diverse as straight and cisgender people. We have a lot of different things we’re interested in and do a lot of different things. Not all straight people do crazy things. … It’s important to have all different types of people out there being visible.” Not everyone sees it that way, however. Lloyd Shipley, a longtime 17th Street, N.W. resident, is 70, speaks with a deliciously gravelly voice and prides himself on being a sort of D.C. gay resident curmudgeon type. He’s been attending Capital Pride for 21 years since coming out of straight life (he was married twice to women) and says both Pride and LGBT people in general have gone increasingly downhill over the years. “This is just my opinion — I believe in opinions and we can have different ones — but I’m so tired of everything being so sexualized in the gay community,” Shipley says. “I feel like Pride has forgotten what Pride is about. You ask nine out of 10 people on Sunday what the theme is this year, they won’t know. But ask them what the best party was, they’ll all know that. I remember my first Pride, I was in Dupont Circle by myself because I didn’t know anybody and I saw float after float and I just cried because they were so meaningful. We should be proud of our

Continues on page 44

Early participants say Pride experience evolved Continued from page 43 accomplishments. Can we knock off the sex shit? Make the floats something to remember. Honor Frank Kameny. Honor Stonewall — not a bunch of guys walking around with their asses hanging out with squirt guns.” Shipley says it’s not just a Pride problem, but overarching issues he considers rampant among D.C. gays just end up getting writ large there because of the size of the gathering. He says friends in his age bracket are equally fed up. “I know a lot of older people who say, ‘You know what? I’m done with it. We haven’t been in 15 years.’” He used to open his home to friends to watch the parade but got tired of ending up with a houseful of 50 people half of whom he says he didn’t know. It took the cake the year he says he found two guys he didn’t know having sex in his bed. This year he’s just inviting a few friends over. They may or may not watch the parade. “It’s so disorganized,” he says. “It goes on and on, there are huge gaps in the flow, you’ll see float after float after float and none of them reflect the theme whatsoever. It’s gotta mean something. It can’t just be a bunch of half-naked guys throwing beads and squirting people. … I’m gonna write a book someday called ‘Thine Own Worst Enemy.’ We moan and groan about how things are but how much of it is our own damn fault?” Renna says sensationalizing or using Pride footage as a scare tactic for Middle America may have worked in the short term here and there, but ultimately wasn’t successful. “I think it did us a favor in that it pushed our visibility,” Renna says. “We pushed through it and it taught us that we need to be better at showing the full diversity of our community. It’s not about don’t show drag queens and leather people, it’s about don’t just show drag queens and leather people.” Renna says the issue came up constantly in her years of media training. LGBT activists, especially, she says, in smaller markets, lamented the attention the drag queens and go-go boys would get. “It’s because they’re interesting,” she says. “Be creative, do something interesting. I used to tell GLSEN chapters, rent a school bus, fill it with people, get creative, dress as crossing guards, be fun, be visible. People walking down the street in khakis and T-shirts? Not interesting!” Wojahn says the whole thing can be touchy. “If you’re trying to sell people on the idea that we’re entitled to respect, it’s first helpful to relate to them on a personal level,” he says. “You may be taking on a bit more than you can chew when you say, ‘I want you to accept that I’m LGBT, am in a committed relationship and want legal representation with this person, but I also want you to deal with the fact that I’m standing here topless with piercings.” We asked some early Capital Pride

ELLA FITZGERALD says the Pride experience has changed radically over three decades. Washington Blade photo Clint Steib

participants for their thoughts.

Ella Fitzgerald, drag queen Being a drag queen decade after decade ain’t easy. Just ask Ella Fitzgerald (aka Donnell Robinson), arguably Washington’s most veteran and highly regarded queen. She remembers her first Capital Pride in 1986 and says it was a much different experience than it is today. Riding with a contingent of Academy of Washington queens in a convertible through Adams Morgan, she remembers being harassed. “There were straight Latinos giving us the sign language of death signs,” she says. “They harassed the girls on the bikes with their tits out and all that. We’ve definitely come a long way since ’86. It’s much more accepted now. People understand the whole drag thing, the leather community. It’s very diverse now and I remember back in the ‘80s, even in our own community, there was so much discrimination between the drag, the leather

and the lesbians. Yes, we still have a long way to go, but we have become much more accommodating of each other’s differences.” Fitzgerald, 64 and a hairdresser by day, says she was never concerned about being filmed in an early Pride parade or festival. She says she was the first drag queen featured in Washingtonian magazine in 1984 and was happy for the coverage. She says things have, in her opinion, gotten a bit unnecessarily wild at times over the years. “The gays who are more flamboyant and make it very obvious, I feel at times that has put a damper on everything we’re trying to achieve,” Fitzgerald says. “How do I say this? There are gays out there on a different level. More class, more sophistication and the younger kids, they’re like wild kids that have been let of a cage and they just act like, ‘I’m gonna do and say whatever I feel at the moment,’ going around in shorts and a T-shirt, ‘cause I want to be seen and I don’t care, this is me and if I want to marry a woman or a man — it’s a lot.” On the other hand, she doesn’t believe in reining anything in just to be more

palatable to straight people. “Of course not,” she says. “We absolutely need all aspects of the rainbow. I grew up in the ‘70s and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in 40-some years. It makes me wonder what the future’s gonna be.” JOEY DIGUGLIELMO

Margaret McCarthy, Outriders Margaret McCarthy’s Capital Pride experience has evolved over the years. She came out in the mid-‘80s and has been going to Capital Pride since about ’86 or ’87. She was a member of Open Door Metropolitan Community Church, a sister parish of sorts to MCCD.C., and participated for years with other parishioners in the Pride parade. She got into motorcycles around 2009 through a former girlfriend and

Continues on page 106

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QUEERY Tony Nelson Photo by Denis Largeron; used with permission from Capital Pride

QUEERY: Tony Nelson

The Capital Pride honoree/emcee answers 20 queer questions By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Tony Nelson has a different philosophy of drag than most. “My motto is, ‘A drag queen is a man in the illusion of a woman; I’m a man in the illusion of a drag queen,’” he says. Nelson got arm-twisted into emceeing. Friends — one of whom was Shi-QueetaLee (the prominent D.C. drag queen) — convinced him to do it. He liked it and wanted to do more hosting gigs but in male attire but says nobody would book him. So he and a group of friends came up with what he calls “bearded glamour drag illusion.” He ended hosting weekly gigs at Bachelor’s Mill for nearly 20 years. Capital Pride organizers say Nelson is “one of D.C.’s leading and most respected emcees and comedians.” “Tony’s style is unique,” his Pride bio says. “He’s not the typical drag performer. He often jokes he isn’t a drag queen, just “a man in a dress.” Donning a full beard, jewels, and elaborate wigs, he is in a league of his own. He started the bearded-

drag gig in the DMV, and was featured in ‘Drag Dolls, Dames and Divas,’ the book by acclaimed photographer James Hicks.” Nelson is one of this year’s Capital Pride Honorees (formerly dubbed Pride Heroes). “I was moved to tears,” he says about the award. “It is a huge and unexpected honor. When I received the call, I thought someone was playing a joke on me. I am very grateful.” Nelson hosts Stronjai’s Lipstick Review at Mr. Henry’s every fourth Sunday of the month, Daryl Wilson events the first and third Fridays of each month at Ziegfeld’s and the SWERVE show on WLVS Listen Vision every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. He posts his gigs on his Facebook page for anyone interested. Nelson, a 54-year-old native Washingtonian, works by day as an executive assistant at D.C. Water. He’s “mentored, housed, fed and parented” 21 young people who consider him a parent. He lives in Deanwood and enjoys prayer, baking and meditation in his free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I have been out my entire life. I never felt the need to “tell” anyone. My dad told me that I was good no matter what. After that I figured, if you know me then you KNOW me.

What’s your greatest domestic skill? I am a really good cook.

Who’s your LGBTQ hero? James Baldwin

What’s your social media pet peeve? Social media beefs

What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? That whole femme/butch thing.

What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? People would be free from harm and able to live as they choose. HIV-AIDS would be eradicated.

What’s your proudest professional achievement? I have two: hosting Savanna Wanzer’s first Trans Pride event and after 20 years finally being booked to host/ work at Ziegfeld’s. (Daryl Wilson’s first and third Fridays).

What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “To Wong Foo.” “Female Trouble” is a close second.

What’s the most overrated social custom? Asking someone you just met: What do you do?

What terrifies you? Walking on stage (oh, and mice LOL)

What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? Southern Baptist. Same.

What’s something trashy or vapid you love? The Real Housewives (all of them!)

What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem? The natives (cool native Washingtonians).

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Counterclockwise from left: KIM PETRAS plays The Fillmore, also on the 15th. Photo by Thom Kerr, SMYAL has its event June 19. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key and BRANDI CARLILE plays Merriweather June 14. Photo courtesy Merriweather

Petras plans Fillmore date Kim Petras brings her “Broken Tour” to The Fillmore Silver Spring (8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.) on Saturday, June 15 at 9 p.m. Petras will perform her latest singles like “Broken” and “Heart to Break.” New York DJ Mazurbate opens. Petras entered the public eye in 2010 when she was profiled for coming out as trans as a teen. In an interview with HuffPost, she says she doesn’t want to be known for her sexual identity but instead for her music. Look for an interview with Petras in next week’s edition. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $20. To purchase tickets, visit livenation.com.

SMYAL for Summer Youth organization SMYAL will hosts its seventh annual SMYAL for Summer 2019 event on Wednesday, June 19 at IA&A Hillyer (9 Hillyer Ct., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. The event celebrates the community and highlights the outstanding achievements of LGBTQ youth leaders. Recipients of this year’s SMYAL Youth Leadership award and winner of the TAGG magazine scholarship will be recognized. SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) is the premier Washington-area service organization solely dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youth. Tickets are $40 and include entry and open bar. Details at smyal.org.

Carlile at Merriweather June 14 Brandi Carlile will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, Md.) alongside pop band Lucius on Friday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. Three-time Grammy award-winning artist Brandi Carlile will perform songs from her three-time Grammy nominated album “By the Way, I Forgive You.” The lesbian musician uses a $1 from every concert ticket to donate to her Looking Out Foundation, which gives financial support to various causes. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit brandicarlile.com.

5 4 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • J U N E 0 7 , 2 0 1 9

TODAY Go Gay D.C. is hosting is hosting a Pride Happy Hour Social today at Pinzimini Lounge (801 N Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Go Gay D.C., Metro DC’s LGBTQ Community Hub, is the newest sensation focused on friendship, leadership and service. It’s designed as a civic booster to foster gay community spirit. All are welcome to the social to enjoy the cash bar and meet new people. There is no cover charge and casual attire is appropriate. For more information and to register, visit gogaydc.org. The Washington Blade is teaming up with Barry’s Bootcamp D.C. (1345 19th St., N.W.) to host Dupont After Dark Pride Class tonight at 8 p.m. The class will feature a live DJ Pride theme and the 2019 D.C. Brau Pride Pils cans that benefit the Blade Foundation and SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders). The Blade Foundation’s mission is to fund enterprise journalism projects focused on LGBTQ and other underrepresented communities and to create scholarships for LGBTQ journalists. To purchase tickets, visit barrysbootcamp.com.

Saturday, June 8

Mathis to croon at Wolf Trap Columbia Record’s longest-signed artist Johnny Mathis will perform at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) on Saturday, June 15 at 8 p.m. In his 63rd year in the music industry, Mathis returns with his “Voice of Romance Tour” to perform an evening of enduring classics, contemporary hits and some of his favorites. Mathis came out in 2017 after years of speculation. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets start at $30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit wolftrap.org.

The Jung Society of Washington will host its In Defense of Anger workshop today at 10 a.m. at the American University (4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) in the Butler Boardroom. It will feature guest speaker John Hill, a Jungian scholar, who will teach attendees how to “embrace the dark aspects of survival.” Tickets are $75. To register, visit jung.org/programs. Celebrate Ireland at D.C. Pride 2019 is today from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Embassy & Consulates of Ireland USA (2234 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.). Ireland became the first country to have a public vote in favor of marriage equality back in 2016. This year the Embassy will join in celebrating Pride and Irish Pride as well. Irish musicians and dancers are being requested to showcase their talents the day of. To register, visit surveymonkey. com/r/gk2sjgy.

Sunday, June 9 Annapolis Pride is hosting a Drag Brunch: Show Us Your Pride event today at 12:30 p.m. at Rams Head On Stage (31 West St., Annapolis, Md.). The show will

JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 55

feature Victoria D. Bohmore and Miss Gay United States 2010 winner, Adrianna P T Fuentes. Annapolis Pride will have a table at Capital Pride and have its parade on Saturday, June 29. To purchase tickets, visit ramsheadonstage.com. Republic Restorative (1369 New York Ave., N.E.) is having a Not the White House PRIDE Party today at its distillery from noon-4 p.m. They’ll be drinking and celebrating TransLAW(Trans Legal Advocates of Washington) and LGBT44, the unofficial network of Obama administration LGBTQ alumni. The event will include DJ Tezrah and food from the gay-owned BBQ Bus. Reproductive Restorative is D.C.’s only women and LGBTQ-owned distillery. Tickets are $20 and all profits go to TransLAW. To purchase, visit eventbrite.com.

Monday, June 10 Yoga for Every Body is headed to the Adams Morgan Community Center at the LINE Hotel D.C. (1770 Euclid St. N.W.) in support of Pride month tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. This class is designed for people of color, LGBTQ+ people and anyone who has ever felt out of place. Ben Takai will instruct the class with the understanding that this space is intentionally created to serve the community. Yoga for Every Body is a safe space for marginalized people to find stillness in the mind and strength in the body. For more information, search Yoga for Every Body D.C. on Facebook. Diversity Declaration will hold a diversity matters planning meeting tonight at the Women’s National Democratic Club (1526 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.) from 6:15-7:30 p.m. The meeting will cover planning upcoming actions supporting candidates championing diversity and inclusion in 2019 and 2020. Diversity Declaration is a group of concerned citizens who believe America’s strength lies in its diversity. For more information, visit diversitydeclaration.com.

Tuesday, June 11 Desiree Dik is hosting drag BINGO tonight at Red Bear Brewing Co. (209 M St., N.E.) starting at 7 p.m. The night will include six games with plenty of drinks and prizes. Red Bear Brewing Co. hosts drag bingo every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. For more information, visit redbear.beer. Equality March for Unity and Pride is hosting Queer Resistance Bootcamp

Day of Action at Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th St., N.W.) today from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The bootcamp will provide practical education the LGBTQ movement, tools to resist backward policies and opportunities to connect local and national allies. The Equality March for Unity and Pride is about mobilizing LGBTQ communities, loved ones and allies with particular focus on those who have been actively silenced and neglected. For more information, visit thetaskforce.org.

Wednesday, June 12 The Lambda Bridge Club meets at Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club will be playing duplicate bridge games and newcomers are welcomed. The group hosts games every first and third Wednesday of the month and serves gay bridge players. No reservation is required. To find a partner, call 202-841-0279. Big Gay Book Group meets tonight at 7 p.m. at the Trio Bistro (1537 17th St., N.W.). Members will discuss the book “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer which follows a gay man through his romantic relationships. It was the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction. Newcomers are always welcomed to join the group. For more information and to register, email biggaybookgroup@hotmail.com.

Thursday, June 13 The D.C. Eagle’s (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) Blackout Thursdays are back tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Happy Hour ends at 9 p.m. with $2 off every drink, $10 bottomless Bud and $12 bottomless draft beers. For more information, visit dceagle.com. The National Law Enforcement Museum (444 E St., N.W.) presents the Stonewall Riots: 50 years of Change for Law Enforcement and LGBT Community event tonight at 7 p.m. The event will include panelist to give more information on the riots and discuss how the relationship has changed since then. Lt. Brett Parson who manages the Metropolitan (DC) Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit will also attend. The National Law Enforcement Museum dynamically engages the audience in this story in an effort to build mutual respect and foster cooperation between the public and the law enforcement profession. The event is free with admission to the museum. For more information, visit lawenforcementmuseum.org.


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Pride stages Capitol Concert Stage (3rd & Pennsylvania Ave.) The Capitol Stage sits at the east end of the festival on Pennsylvania Ave. at 3rd St. with the United States Capitol as the backdrop. It will include headlining international entertainers and showcase some of the best LGBTQ talent. This stage includes a VIP Zone, Pit Zone, Accessibility Zone and is located near the Capitol Beverage Garden and Capitol Food Court. Open to all ages. Presented by Hot 99.5.

2-3 p.m. DJ Sidekick 3-4 p.m. DJ Farrah Flosscett 4-5 p.m. DJ Electrox 5-6 p.m. DJ Keith Hoffman

MCs: Jerry Houston and Destiny B. Childs

6-7 p.m. DJ H2nry Thr!ll

1-2 p.m. National Anthem — Charlie Wright Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington Stasha Sanchez Headliner — Calum Scott

Monument Festival Stage (6th and Constitution Ave., N.W.)

2-3 p.m. Blair Michaels Headliner — Shea Diamond 4-5 p.m. Michi The CooLots Demarcko Price presents EnKore 5-6 p.m. Freddie’s Follies “Falsettos” cast Kristina Kelly Headliner — Big Dipper

7-9 p.m. Nina West from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Headliner — Marshmello 9-10 p.m. DJ Tracy Young Dupont Dance Tent (6th and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) The Dupont Dance Stage will highlight some of the best local DJs and offer the best escape from the hot sun. This stage is located within the Dupont Beverage Garden. Must be 21 to enter. Presented by Darcars Automotive and Monster Energy.

1-2 p.m. DJ Andre Gutiarra

Noon-1 p.m. National anthem — Charlie Wright Oh He Dead Manuex 1-2 p.m. Susan Rowe Lady Toni Joourdan Frost D.C. Gurly Show

6-7 p.m. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon Headliner — Zara Larsson

Noon – 8 p.m. Noon-1 p.m. DJ Tim Jackson

The Monument Festival Stage sits on Constitution Avenue and 6th St. with the Washington Monument as the backdrop. It will include a diverse array of musical talent offerings. This stage is located within the Monument Beverage Garden and Food Court. Open to all ages. Presented by Capital One. MC — Ophelia Bottoms DJ H3nry Thr!ll — noon-3 p.m. Jerry Jones 3-7 p.m.

2-3 p.m. Sean Barna Sherri Ricky Rose 3-4 p.m. Stephanie Gayle D.C. Front Runners The 5:55 4-5 p.m. Alise King JLiNE DOLLHOUZE Christina Holmes Miss Kelli 5-6 p.m. Shadina NateTion Cheer D.C. L’Marco J. Tyler Skye Strickler

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NINA WEST has won fans through sharing her story, raising money for charity and avoiding drama on season 11 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ Photo courtesy Capital Pride

Wild, wild West

‘Drag Race’ season 11 Miss Congeniality readies Capital Pride set By MARIAH COOPER MCOOPER@WASHBLADE.COM Nina West, real name Andrew Levitt, knows the meaning of “Everything happens in the right time.” The Ohio native has been performing for 20 years and auditioned nine times for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” before earning a spot on season 11. He finished the season in sixth place after the “Drag Family Values Challenge,” where West coordinated a look that incorporated the colors of the rainbow pride flag and transgender pride flag, Although she was eliminated, West found herself with some famous fans including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who posted about West on her Instagram stories, and Rihanna, who sent West a DM. West chatted with the Washington Blade over the phone about her season 11 reflections, her charity work and dished about her fellow contestants. She headlines at the Capital Pride concert around 7 p.m. Sunday. WASHINGTON BLADE: Congratulations on making the top six on “Drag Race.” It took you nine auditions to make it on the show. How did you stay positive throughout years of auditioning? NINA WEST: I think I really stayed focused on the end goal which was walking in the Werk Room and wanting to prove to myself and the producers that I

could do it. I just couldn’t give up. The road less traveled is always a little more difficult but I had something to prove to myself. I really couldn’t let it go. It was a dream of mine and I just couldn’t let it go. BLADE: You were one of the most experienced queens on the season. How was that an advantage? WEST: My experience extended far from the stage. I’ve got experience dealing with audience members and the professional side of the business. I think it’s also why I veered away from the drama. I was much more in the competition and not involved in the nonsense and the noise because I’ve been around for so long. BLADE: One of your memorable moments on the show was during “Snatch Game” when you portrayed Harvey Fierstein and Jo Anne Worley. What was the thought process behind that? WEST: The reason I wanted to do two characters is because I really wanted to show off my ability and Harvey and Jo Anne are two very different characters. Harvey is a very low register and Joanne is really high. So it showed off my acting chops. I really also couldn’t decide. I was like, “Oh God, what’s going to be stronger?” So I took them both. I think that played in my

favor. I think I did really well in my “Snatch Game.” I thought I was really close to the win but unfortunately I didn’t grab it. BLADE: The “Snatch Game’ episode was also memorable for Brook Lynne Heights’ and Yvie Oddly’s lip-sync. What was it like watching that in person? WEST: Watching the lip-syncs from behind is so very different from watching it on TV. You’re only seeing really the back of them. But watching that lip-sync was truly amazing. It’s probably the best lip-sync that’s ever happened on the show’s history. That was really incredible. I’ve known Brook Lynne for years so I knew she was capable of it. I met Yvie in the process of the show so I didn’t know exactly what she was capable of so it was pretty remarkable to watch it. BLADE: During the “L.A.D.P.” episode, Brook Lynne was your partner. You wanted to be the sunbather in that skit but you gave it to Brook Lynne. Do you regret not putting yourself first? WEST: Yeah. I think one of the lessons I learned is separating what is real life versus what is a reality competition. I was so committed to help him that I forgot to put myself first. If I had put myself first, I would have been able to be much more confident and secure in my ability. Then again, I don’t know if I regret that. Because it’s also a demonstration of who I am. I wanted him to succeed just as much as I wanted to succeed. I was fully aware of my ability. I got insecure and in my head because as it turns out we weren’t judged as teams but as individuals. BLADE: Brook Lynne had a flirtmance going with Miss Vanjie. Was that a distraction for you? Or did you think it would be distracting for them in the competition? WEST: I don’t know. It had nothing to do with me. I wasn’t in the relationship. BLADE: Some people thought Silky Ganache was playing it up for the cameras. Did you think that was true? WEST: No, I think that’s who she is. She is an incredible entertainer and she’s a big personality. Because she’s an entertainer, when she walks into a room she commands attention. I think for a lot of girls they were insecure about that and didn’t know how to handle that. I think that’s part of learning how to deal with people in the world. People who are different than you, quiet, loud. I don’t think Silky was putting it on for TV at all. BLADE: Yvie was always getting into fights with the other girls for critiquing them. Were they critiques or digs? WEST: I think she was definitely trying to help people. She was helping people by being direct with people. That is a very admirable quality. Telling people to their face instead of talking behind their back. In this kind of situation, the stakes are raised. Everything is down to the minute. Everything is important. But seemingly, the big picture, the last thing you want to hear is from another queen telling you that you did something wrong. How you’re not changing your silhouette or how you’re not evolving. I think

that she was just being honest. But there’s a time and place. She probably also didn’t have the skills fully developed. She would probably say it has to do with people who are confrontational and not confrontational but I think it just shows a little bit of youth and age. I think this is a great place for her to learn that her opinion is valid, it’s just sometimes not everybody wants to hear. BLADE: Another person who had some drama was Plastique Tiara. There was confusion about her background. Did you find her story to be genuine? WEST: I thought it was genuine. We were together for a very short period of time in the contest. I wasn’t there to question somebody’s credibility about their personal life. That would just be really insecure and stupid. BLADE: You went home on the “Drag Family Values Challenge” with Suga Cain as your partner. You made a statement wearing the rainbow pride and transgender pride outfits, but it wasn’t enough. What would you have done differently about the challenge? WEST: Nothing at all, honestly. That statement was who I am and what my drag family values are. The challenge is drag family values, not a twin challenge. Everyone interpreted it as a twin challenge. I interpreted it in a completely different way. As a result, the fans fell in love with me even harder. My story is changing and being written as we speak. The world has opened up to me because I stayed true to myself and was authentic. It’s not always about winning a competition on a show. I learned that too. BLADE: You got the attention of some famous people like Alexandria OcasioCortez and Rihanna. How does it feel to get such high praise on your drag after doing it for so long? WEST: Praise from AOC specifically and having her give a viral reaction felt like I won the lottery. I mean I wasn’t great on that challenge but it was still so me and if I hadn’t had that opportunity I don’t know if AOC would have reacted the way she did. Or Leslie Jones or Bobby Moynihan or Rihanna. Rihanna is very notoriously private and the fact that she reached out to me is amazing. What she said is amazing. Again, it has to do with my authenticity and who I am as a person and what I represent. I feel really lucky to have this kind of attention. It’s another person who is incredibly good at their craft telling me I’m incredibly good at my craft. Whether it’s music, politics, art or comedy, it’s amazing.

Nina West

Capital Pride Concert Sunday, June 9 Capitol Concert Stage 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Free admission Meet-and-greet tickets: $75 Nina’s slot is between 7-9 p.m.

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ROBYN S. ZEIGER, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Thank you LGBTQ Community of DC, MD and VA for your support over the past 40 years!

301-445-7333 www.drrobynzeiger.com drrobynzeiger@aol.com



WASHINGTON D.C. June 12, 2019 | 6:30 - 10:00

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Keynote Speaker: Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Co-Chair, Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus

Honoring: Paul M. Smith, LGBT and Civil Rights Advocate and Pioneer

Co-Chairs: Sarah Gordon and Patrick Menasco

BE HERE: www.lambdalegal.org/dc

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BIG DIPPER says his songs and videos are a place to get away from the tedium of what society tells us a perfect body is supposed to look like. Photo courtesy Capital Pride

It’s Big Dipper time!

Raunchy, body-positive queer rapper readies Pride headlining set By KEITH LORIA One of the headliners at this year’s Capital Pride Concert will be rapper Big Dipper, best known for his frank sexuality and tongue-in-cheek humor, such as in the video for the song “Lookin,” which features a group of nearly naked men getting wet at a soapy car wash — only the men in question are not the typical body types you would expect. “They are all big, fat dudes dancing in skimpy shorts,” says the rapper, who identifies as a bear. It wasn’t until he was 26 that Dan Stermer adopted the moniker Big Dipper and released his first song “Drip Drop,” a raunchy parody of Disney-esque tunes about cruising for sex. He quickly developed a cult following and started performing at clubs. Big Dipper is slated to perform around 5 p.m. on the Capital Concert Stage. (Meet-and-greet tickets for Big Dipper are $25 and were available as of Blade press time.) WASHINGTON BLADE: What can those coming out to the concert expect from you?

BIG DIPPER: I just found out that someone who is performing after me has a very large tween fan base, so I need to be a little more buttoned-up and make it more age-appropriate than I normally do. BLADE: How is that going to change what you planned? Your fans might be expecting raunchiness. DIPPER: I love Pride events and I love the fact that we get to support people of all ages, even from a young age, but more often than not I am a nightclub act, so when I go out in the day, I’m sort of like a vampire and I need to think about what I can do that’s appropriate for everyone. I may just have to hold the mic away from my face on certain words. Sometimes I yell out to the crowd that it’s time for the little ones to put their earmuffs on because we’re going to talk about “this thing” but I’ll have to see what happens. BLADE: So, preview what’s in store. DIPPER: My show will be provocative, high-energy, sex-positive, body-positive and a celebration of queer identity, all set to the backdrop of beat-club music and a bunch of me yelling into a microphone. BLADE: What made you decide to get into the music industry? DIPPER: I started on a whim. I made up one song with a friend of mine as a joke and the response was so positive that it just snowballed. That was seven years ago and I’ve been at it ever since trying to stake my claim in one little corner of the music industry. BLADE: Your videos are hilarious. Was it a conscious decision to draw people

into your music by way of these outlandish videos? DIPPER: I definitely had ideas I thought would go viral, but the videos were never intended just for that purpose. If it didn’t serve the song, I left the idea alone. They are not just about getting people to pay attention but are always about making the best video for the song. I think a lot of independent artists who don’t have representation with a label and on top of that are queer — and essentially a different kind of queer that the mainstream media doesn’t think they can make money off of — and I believe I fall in all of those categories, but often those kind of artists don’t have the money or resources to make videos. I’m lucky in that I have so many creative friends around to rally to make these videos with me. They are all a labor of love. It’s just about making art I want to put out in the world. BLADE: How have these videos helped your career? DIPPER: Well, because I’m able to make videos that catch people’s eye, it’s allowed me to create a fan base and play big shows, like Capital Pride. BLADE: You opt not to just have the “pretty” people in your videos, but you mix it up with different body types. Why was that important to you? DIPPER: Yes, because of statements like you just said — the so-called goodlooking people. I never saw sort of big bodies represented in any sort of media or sexualized in any sort of media, and for me, it’s really important. The most I can do is be a representative for people who look like me. The more of us who represent our identity, the more people who will feel seen and heard. I don’t think there are a lot of chubby, hairy dudes dancing around and making music videos, so the fact I get to do that and have people feel seen, feels important. BLADE: Did you ever think when you were starting out that you would play a big event like Capital Pride and perfrom in front of so many people? DIPPER: I never set out to be a performer, so no. This has all been haphazard and I’ve been letting it grow over time. I feel really lucky. When I play these big events, it’s kind of shocking. These ideas from my brain that I wrote down on paper and yelled into a microphone, now I’m getting the chance to share them in front of all these people and they are cheering me on. That’s a wild thing. BLADE: Do you set goals for yourself? Where would you like to be in five years? DIPPER: I would love to make money doing this. This is my full-time job but I am an impoverished artist. It would be nice to feel like I could survive. I would also like to elevate what I do to a larger audience and play on straight bills and not have it be a token thing or have to censor myself.

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HEIGHTENED Elevated DC Living

Baltimore Pride is next weekend

Twilight on the Terrace, parade, festival and high heel race planned

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1400 IRVING ST NW | HIGHLANDPARKDC.COM | 877.268.2670 Last year’s Baltimore Pride attracted about 30,000 according to organizer estimates. Washington Blade photo by Chris Jennings

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The Pride Center of Baltimore is celebrating its annual parade and festival, now in its 44th year, June 15-26. Last year about 30,000 attended the events. The year’s theme is “Unity through Diversity: The Remix” and organizers say it signifies the “transformation of fears into empowerment while embracing community in a fight for justice and the right to live authentically.” The Pride Center’s board of directors recognize the difficulties faced by the transgender community this year, stating on their website, “We will not stand with those who attempt to divide, demean or threaten (our) values.” Official Pride events directly benefit the center and will help fund more than 40 programs that serve around 800 sexual and gender minority individuals every month in Baltimore. The center’s annual benefit evening Twilight on the Terrace is on Friday, June 14 at Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art Sculpture Garden from 7-11 p.m. Each year the event provides attendees with a night of food, fun and socialization to mark the commencement of Baltimore Pride weekend. Guests can dance, eat and drink craft cocktails from Gertrude’s and Hendrick’s Gin. This year’s entertainment features a special performance by opera singer Carmelita B. featuring Septimius the Great. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction to bid on several Am Fund-sponsored vacation

packages. Tickets are $125 on Eventbrite. The Rainbow Lot, the official Pride tailgating party, will be open from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. behind Graffiti Alley (1915 N. Howard St.). Food trucks such as Jurassic Pork and Kona Ice will be stationed. The cost is $25 for one space for one car with two people, or for one tailgating tent space. There is a $5 fee for each additional person. Tickets are on Eventbrite. The Pride Parade is Saturday, June 15 from 1-3 p.m. The parade begins at N. Charles and 33rd streets next to Wyman Park, proceeds 11 blocks and ends at N. Charles and 23rd St. There is a viewing stage on the corner of N. Charles St. and 24th St. in the Brown Rice Parking Lot. Following the parade, the Pride Block Party begins at 4 p.m. at Station North, with a pre-show at 1:30 p.m. featuring local artists and a DJ dance stage at 22nd and N. Charles. Also, for the first time, Pride will host a mini Pet Parade beginning at 1 p.m. between 24th-25th and N. Charles. The parade will also feature a highheel race where contestants can compete in heels at least two inches high. The fun begins at 12:30 p.m. at 25th and N. Charles. The Pride Festival is Sunday, June 16 from noon-6 p.m. in Druid Hill Park (between Swann Drive and Sundial Pavilion). The festival will celebrate families and children with a kid-friendly atmosphere including music and entertainment stages, a Drag Stage, exhibitors and local food trucks. For more information visit baltimorepride.org.

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Visit www.MDLO.org for ticket information or call 301-405-2787 JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 77

Pride, pride and more pride

From huge (New York) to tiny (West Va.), Pride events continue through June and beyond By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN

May 31 – August 27 Tuesdays at 8 p.m. U.S. Capitol West Steps

Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Air Force Memorial

Saturdays at 7 p.m. National Harbor

FREE! No tickets needed. No concerts on June 8 ,25, July 2, 5. Outdoor concerts subject to weather cancellation. For more info, please visit our website.


TODRICK HALL, who’ll be at Capital Pride this weekend, is also slated to appear at New York Pride later in the month. File photo courtesy Howard Theatre

Excitement is in the air as communities through the greater D.C. area celebrate Stonewall’s 50th anniversary with Pride events, many for the first time. New York City will host the largest celebration with World Pride events spanning the entire month. The opening ceremony is June 26 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Ave.) from 7-10 p.m. and is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg with performances by Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Chaka Khan, Ciara, Daya and Todrick Hall. Tickets range from $45-226. Rally: Stonewall 50 Commemoration is June 28, 6-9 p.m. at Christopher St. and Waverly Place and is a free event. Youth Pride is June 29, 12-6 p.m. at SummerStage, Central Park (5th Avenue at 69th St.) and admission is free for under 21, but registration is required. The VIP Rooftop Party is June 29, 2-10 p.m. at The Park (118 10th Ave.). Tickets start at $100. PrideFest is June 30, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at 4th Ave. between Union Square and Astor. Admission is free. The closing ceremony is June 20 in Times Square from 7-10 p.m. The event is free but registration is required. Margaret Cho is the host with performances by Melissa Etheridge, Jake Shears, MNEK, Deborah Cox and others to be announced. For more tickets and information, visit 2019-worldpridestonewall50.nycpride.org. Pittsburgh Pride runs June 6-9 and this year’s theme is “We are One.” Events begin June 6 at 8 p.m. with the Wheels & Heels drag show at Video Lounge & Cafe (5801 Ellsworth Ave.) hosted by Lola LeCroix and staring Sharon Needles, Dixie Surewood, Daniel Vasquez and Anna Steezia. The event is free, but every dollar tipped to a queen

will be matched by a Lyft donation to Proud Haven Pittsburgh. June 7-8 is Pride Rocks PGH with headliners Walk the Moon and Toni Braxton. Tickets start at $39. PrideFest is June 8, at noon to June 9, at 7 p.m. The festival includes vendors, three stages and free STI and HIV testing. Admission is free. June 9 is the Equality March from 12:30-2:30 p.m. from Blvd of the Allies to Liberty Ave. June 28 at 6 p.m. is NYC to PGH: 50 Years After Stonewall, a commemorative celebration unveiling a permanent art installation at the intersection of Ellsworth and Maryland streets, and July 7 is Pride Day at the Pirates and Tailgate. Game time is 1:35 p.m. and tickets are $30. Visit pitsburghpride.org for more information. Philly Pride is June 9 starting at 11 a.m. with a kick-off party June 7 from 6-10 p.m. at 12th and Locust streets. The parade begins June 9 at 13th and Locust and ends at the festival location at the Grand Plaza of Penn’s Landing. Refreshments, food, amusements and wristbands for the festival are $10 June 7 and $15 June 9. More information and local Stonewallrelated history is at phillygaypride.org. The inaugural Annapolis Pride Parade and Festival is June 29. The parade runs from noon-12:45 p.m. from Amos Garrett to Calvert street, and the festival is from noon-5 p.m. between Calvert street and Church Circle. Planned is a family-friendly event with vendors, children’s activities and entertainment from local artists and DJs. More information is available at annapolispride.org.

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JUN 12

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Photo: Gene Schiavone



Photo: Piper Ferguson




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™ & © Universal Studios.



We open doors for everyone. At Northrop Realty, we believe more than ever that diversity connects us all. Behind every door is a home waiting for you. Let us help welcome you to your next community and please be sure to snap a photo of your front door with the #ShareYourFrontDoor to connect with our fans and followers on Instagram.

DC Pride | June 8 Direct: 410.424.5702 | NorthropRealty.com | Office: 410.531.0321




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Pride @ SAAM

Sunday, June 9 | 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. | FREE

Celebrate Pride with a day full of LGBTQ+ inspired art, from performance and music to painting and video. • Brendan Fernandes’s Free Fall 49, a dance-based performance responding to Orlando’s 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, 3-6 p.m. • Back-to-back screenings of feminist Pride video art and playable video games, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. • Series of close-look gallery talks on an LBGTQ+ related artwork • Oral histories from DC’s LBGTQ+ communities with American University’s Humanities Truck, F street entrance • Festive food and beverages available for purchase in the Courtyard Café and one-day pop-up bar on the Portico More information at AmericanArt.si.edu/events Presented by SAAM, Smithsonian Pride Alliance, and the Capital Pride Alliance, and supported by Smithsonian Year of Music and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative

8th and G Streets, NW | Free | AmericanArt.si.edu | #atSAAM Free Fall 49, 2017, live performance, dance platforms, event lighting, DJ and original score. Collection of Brendan Fernandes, Image courtesy of the J Paul Getty Trust. Photographers Sarah Waldorf and Tristan Bravinder

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‘Pose’ returns for season two on June 11. Photo courtesy FX

‘Pose’ cast teases season 2

LuPone joins hit show, which grapples with Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ success By SUSAN HORNIK The cast of FX’s hit show “Pose” will serve as grand marshals of the Capital Pride parade on Saturday. The second season kicks off June 11. Recently, the cast of the show and its executive producer Ryan Murphy, sat down for a panel discussion at PaleyFest in Los Angeles. Much of the power of FX’s landmark series “Pose” comes from its factual basis. Although fictional, much of what is seen happened in 1980s New York in black and Latinx gay culture. “One of the beautiful things about this show is that we can say it really did happen and we really do remember,” said Murphy. “We don’t have a large written history and archive. There have been so many deaths and so much that has been lost about this period. Writing about AIDS and HIV is such a powerful thing to do.” In addition to Murphy, Dominique Jackson was at the PaleyFest panel, along with Indya Moore, Billy Porter, MJ Rodriguez, co-executive producer Janet

Mock, writer/producer Our Lady J and cocreator/producer, Steven Canals. The groundbreaking “Pose” has the largest cast of trans actors and characters ever on a scripted network. For season two, the provocative series will jump ahead to 1990, on the very day that Madonna’s blockbuster hit, “Vogue” is released, Murphy said. During the discussion, fans at the Dolby Theatre were thrilled to hear Murphy announce that Rodriguez (who plays Blanca in the series) and Porter will share a number of pivotal scenes with the Grammy- and Tony-winning Broadway icon Patti LuPone. “We’ve come up with this great role for Patti LuPone. She loves the show and we wrote this part and she said, ‘Yes, I want to do it.’ So she’s coming to play with us in a couple weeks,” Murphy said. Murphy talked warmly about each cast member getting their role. “The second Indya Moore walked in the door… game over,” Murphy said. “We knew she was the one. What I didn’t have in me, that she does, is bravery. She instantly used her fame and success as a platform for activism.” While the characters deal with the epic tragedy of HIV and AIDS, trans writer/producer Our Lady J stressed the importance of focusing on light vs. dark. “To stay out of the tragedy and into the experience of living rather than the experience of dying is something the world needs to see.” Off-screen, Lady J is living with HIV. “In 2004, I was living in an abandoned building in Brooklyn, and I found out I had HIV. I was at rock bottom. One night, I was

going to throw all of my things out of the window. Instead, I went and ran across the Williamsburg Bridge. I had a mantra as I was running. I said, ‘I’m going to survive, I’m going to thrive,’ and that became, ‘I am surviving, I am thriving.’” Talking about the character, she said, “Blanca pretty much says that, that’s her energy. I knew there was an authenticity in this piece that never existed outside of what I had felt.” Look for season two to have more of the exquisite chemistry Pray Tell and Blanca have onscreen, which flows even more smoothly due to their relationship off-screen. “It’s kind of crazy because me and Billy have known each other since I was 19 years old, when I was doing ‘Rent’ in 2011 in New York City,” she said at the Television Critics Press Tour. “And I feel like we just built upon that relationship and it was just easy for us to navigate the whole thing together.” Added Porter: “We watched this luminous creature walk into the room for ‘Rent,’ and it was like we had never seen the role before. It was as if Angel became a whole new thing. And I didn’t understand, really, what that was. I just knew that it needed to be nurtured, and I knew that I could sort of be of use. I taught her how to work with her train. But, you know, it was wonderful to work in that environment and then, since then, see the evolution of this beautiful lady flower into what she has become.” Fun fact: In the original pilot script, Porter’s character, Pray Tell, didn’t exist. But once they brought the dynamic actor/ singer in to talk to producers, they were so impressed they wrote in his role on the show.

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Rainbow dining madness At OSTERIA MORINI, pastry chef Tova Hillman and team are celebrating Capital Pride Festival with a five-layer rainbow Italian almond cake. The cake will be offered through June 9 with proceeds going to Casa Ruby. Photo courtesy Osteria Morini

The Pride celebrations across D.C. on this 50th anniversary of Stonewall are overflowing. Selected options for drinks, food and events are listed below.

Drinks Gay-owned EatWell D.C. continues its long tradition of supporting and celebrating LGBT residents for Capital Pride. Throughout the weekend (June 7-9), all EatWell DC restaurants (The Pig, Commissary, Grillfish, Frenchy’s Naturel and Logan Tavern) are offering a special L’amour C’est L’amour cocktail and donating $1 from each purchase to the D.C. Area Transmasculine Society. EatWell’s newest spot, Frenchy’s Naturel, is also hosting “Unicorn Pride” theme all weekend, in which diners are encouraged to wear tutus and other unicorn regalia. Details at eatwelldc.com. City Winery (1350 Okie St., N.E.) will donate a portion of its charity wine flights to Capital Pride. Each flight features a range of City Winery’s Washington housemade wines, including a combination of white and red wines as well as the winery’s popular rose. Details at citywinery.com. Fare Well (406 H St., N.E.), has teamed up with lesbian-owned Republic Restoratives to feature the Fare Well Mule, made with that distillery’s Civic Vodka. A portion of proceeds from drink sales from

June 1-30 will be donated to TransLAW. Details at eatfarewell.com.

Hotel In coordination with Exactly, the creative agency from Brightest Young Things, seven local Hilton properties will sprout rainbow activities, cocktails and “benches” featuring floral artwork by local artist Holley Simmons of She Loves Me. The hotels will serve D.C. Brau Pride Pilsner and Absolut Vodka Pride Edition in ROYGBIV cocktails. Details at hilton.com.

Food All D.C. proper locations of Matchbox (Capitol Hill, Chinatown and 14th Street) will donate a portion of sales from each Honey Pie Punch sold between June 3-9 to the D.C. LGBT Center. Details at matchboxrestaurants.com. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G St., N.W.) on June 8 and 9 will add a special Pride Doughnut to the menu: a rainbow-glazed square doughnut. It’s also available for preorder. Details at astrodoughnuts.com. Throughout June, Brabo Brasserie (1600 King Street, Alexandria, Va.) is swirling a rainbow into their signature dessert in a rainbow baked Alaska, which

Many local bistros aren’t just out to make a gay buck — they’re giving back to worthy LGBT charities By EVAN CAPLAN

is then flambeed tableside with 100 proof brandy. Brabo Brasserie will donate a portion of proceeds to The Trevor Project. Details at braborestaurant.com. During the D.C. Pride Festival, Le Diplomate’s (1604 14th St., N.W.) curbside Glaces de Diplomate ice cream cart will feature a rainbow cone of glace made in house, covered in rainbow sprinkles. All proceeds from the cone are being donated to the Capital Pride Alliance. In addition, given its location on the parade route, Le Diplomate will extend its patio from 4:30-7:30 p.m. and offer cocktail specials. Details at lediplomatedc.com. At Osteria Morini (301 Water St., S.E.), pastry chef Tova Hillman and team are celebrating Capital Pride Festival with a five-layer rainbow Italian almond cake. The cake will be offered through June 9 with proceeds going to Casa Ruby. Details at osteriamorini.com/washington-dc. Nicoletta Italian Kitchen (901 4th St., N.W.) is celebrating Capital Pride Festival with the rainbow cake-bite Pride Sundae May 31st - June 9th. This new restaurant in Mt. Vernon Triangle will donate proceeds to the Trevor Project. Details at nicolettakitchen.com. Commissary (1443 P St., N.W.) also highlights its annual Pride food specials: two bagel sandwiches featuring the Bethesda Bagels’ Rainbow Bagel. The Pridewich, will have chicken sausage and spicy aioli; the Unicorn Bagel features blueberry cream

cheese and rainbow sprinkles. Both are available all Capital Pride weekend. Details at commissarydc.com.

Events City Tap Dupont (1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) is ready to party with local queen Ba’Naka starring drag brunch from 11 a.m.3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. From 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, Ba’Naka will host drag trivia, followed by a guest DJ for a ladies late-night party with happy hour specials. Details at citytap.com. For a second year, Republic Restoratives (1369 New York Ave., N.E.) is teaming up with 20 restaurants and bars District-wide to feature a specialty cocktail made with Republic Restoratives’ signature CIVIC Vodka and served throughout June. Proceeds from each cocktail will be donated directly to TransLAW. On Sunday, June 9, from noon-4 p.m., it will host the Not The White House PRIDE Party in support of TransLAW and LGBT44, the unofficial network of Obama administration LGBTQ alumni. Food is provided by gay-owned BBQ Bus. Tickets on Eventbrite. Details at republicrestoratives.com. On Saturday, the Tasting Room (1600 King Street, Alexandria, Va.) offers Pride Movie Night showing “The Birdcage,” projected onto a wall in the courtyard for an alfresco cinema with a special drink menu.

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Also Saturday, Miss United States Andromeda Peters and her fellow contestants will sign autographs and headshots during Commissary’s first Beauty Kween Brunch Party. Commissary will turn into a beauty pageant with complimentary tiaras from Day Owl Rosé, glitter cocktails and Kirsten Dunst’s cult classic film “Drop Dead Gorgeous” playing on a loop. At Marvin (2007 14th St., N.W.), Pride with DJ Keenan Orr starts at 3 p.m. on Marvin’s roof deck on Saturday. Signature Smirnoff cocktail, Ruby Slippers, and rainbow fans will be provided; proceeds will go to Casa Ruby. Details at marvindc.com. Destination Wedding’s (1800 14th St., N.W.) patio pop-up along 14th Street is getting spritzy. On Saturday, it’s hosting a Spritz Patio Party from noon-6 p.m., with specials like the frozen fraperol spritz along with Doi Moi drinking snacks. Urbana ( 2121 P St., N.W.), on the parade route, is hosting its annual “Pride+Shine” party on Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. DJ Trayze will play and special guest Mike Hot-Pence will take photos and collect donations to benefit The Trevor Project. There is no entry fee; a $50 bar package includes select beer, wine, mixed drinks and unlimited pizza. Urbana’s bar team M-TH 11:30AM-10PM • F-SAT 11:30AM-11PM will offer rainbow Jell-O shots while SUN. BRUNCH 11AM-3PM / DINNER 3-10PM the culinary team will be handing out complimentary rainbow ice cream cones. 322 MASS. AVE. NE • 202.543.7656 昀愀挀攀戀漀漀欀⸀挀漀洀⼀琀栀攀挀爀攀眀挀氀甀戀 Details at urbanadc.com. Radiator (1430 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) offers “POP” (Pride On the Patio), a colorful, bottomless brunch for “popping in” and “popping out” before and after brunch. Radiator’s bar team will offer a special menu of ROYGBIV drinks celebrating Pride with all the colors of the rainbow. It runs Saturday and Sunday starting each day at noon. Details at radiatordc.com. On Sunday, June 9, DNV Rooftop (1155 14th St., N.W.) will host “Gaywatch,” a beach-themed pool party and hangover brunch, from noon5 p.m. Special $15 large-format cocktails like the “Man-gria” and the “Bellalini” will be served in a beach bucket. DJ Alkimist will play while guests take a quick dip in the “ocean” (i.e. the rooftop pool), and float on rainbow lifesavers. Details at donavanhoteldc.com. Milk Bar Flagship (1525 15th St., N.W.) at Logan Circle is hosting a slew of ADVERTISING PROOF fun for Pride. June 7-9, the sweets shop PROOF #1 ISSUE DATE: 01.13.2017 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: JOE HICKLING (jhickling@washblade.com) will donate a portion of proceeds from all B’Day MilkShakes (a blend of B’day REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of Truffles, rainbow sprinkles and soft serve) the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts REVISIONS omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is to The Trevor Project. Today it will hostforaany legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users responsible REDESIGN can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or REVISIONS any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any Pride TEXT Baking Class led by local drag queen copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, Banaka; proceeds go to SMYAL. Finally, or any otheron right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE NO REVISIONS washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the loss, damages, washington blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to placement, Wednesday, June 12, the bakery liability, is set to claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. and warranties. host a Pride Yappy Hour with Washington Blade, where sweets for both people and pups will be available. Details at milkbarstore.com. Tico is hosting one of the longest parties of the weekend: from 2 p.m.midnight on Saturday, June 8, catch the parade and the passing action with a margarita and taco in hand. Tickets include food and drink; proceeds benefit My Sister’s Place. Details at ticodc.com.

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JU N E 07, 2019


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SHEA DIAMOND says somebody would have to seriously get her attention before she’d consider dating. Photo by Ira Chernova; courtesy

Getting ‘diva’ed up’ for Capital Pride

Headliner Shea Diamond tackles personal travails en route to the stage By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN

The 2019 Capital Pride Concert has a diverse slate of performers this year to include R&B singer and transgender activist Shea Diamond. Diamond’s music is a blend of blues, rock, hip-hop and folk music, and her signature song “I Am Her,” penned during a period of incarceration, has become an anthem used in protest marches. Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has also endorsed her song “American Pie.” Diamond spoke to the Blade by phone Tuesday. She’s slated to perform on the Capital Pride Concert Stage Sunday, June 9 at 1 p.m. Look for her video “Don’t Shoot,” slated to drop today, online. BLADE: Where are you? DIAMOND: I’m at home and I’m getting ready for a photoshoot, I’m getting my nails done — for Pride as well. This is one of those times to get diva’ed up. BLADE: Who are your biggest musical influences? DIAMOND: To date or just now? Because we lost some of the greats I’ve been citing since I’ve been out. Like Whitney, who I’ve been talking about since I’ve been out now. Whitney inspired so much. She’s a long time influence. Tina Turner. BLADE: Are you familiar with Jackie Shane?

DIAMOND: I’ve been talking about Jackie in an interview. That I wanted to perform with her. I found about her late ... this was like a couple of years ago. I had to listen to her music. We’ve lost so much of our history ... we should have honored her more. And so this is like the sad reality. I would like to see a biopic about her, but why did we have to wait (until she died)? Is this what we do to our black trans women? And it looks disgusting now. BLADE: Do you feel a sense of connection with LGBT predecessors in this field? DIAMOND: I do feel a connection. Because when you look around in your struggle or whatever you’re going through, you are looking for people who are maybe going through the same thing you’re going through, who can understand. I look up to them because I know they understand the things that I’m going through, if not worse. BLADE: I understand Mayor Pete is a fan. How did you feel about his endorsement of the song “American Pie”? DIAMOND: Oh my god! I was so freakin’ elated! You have to understand, I love me some Mayor Pete, and I’m not really impartial. I am intrigued that we might have a president who could speak almost any language. … He can actually connect with people. His approach, he

reminds me of Obama. Meeting him ... the attention was real, it was genuine, it didn’t feel forced. I’m a big person on energy and his was open, honest and genuine. These are things I can’t feel from everyone. I’m very picky about endorsing anything. So if I endorse anything, music or anything, it has to be something that is true. With Mayor Pete I needed to know the man …(but) do you see anyone else spreading the miracle of black trans women? And so I am willing to give Pete a chance but we need to start working now. We don’t have time to play around like we did when Trump got into office. So, I would love to see a black trans woman in the oval office, but right now we have Mayor Pete. BLADE: Can you tell us a few songs that we will definitely hear at Capital Pride? What can we look forward to at your performance? DIAMOND: Definitely “American Pie,” also a song called “Don’t Shoot,” we’ll be performing that song for you, and for the first time before an audience. BLADE: What does it feel like to sing on stage for a live audience? DIAMOND: Oh my God! Anxiety! For a black trans woman, it takes a lot to get up on stage and with confidence still. And anything can happen to me in that space. So I feel both the anxiety and the excitement because I love the stage. I love being on the stage, but still there’s still that anxiety. We don’t work under the same conditions that others work under. When I get up on stage, I can’t just be a regular artist. I gotta worry about who’s trying to kill me. So, a bit of anxiety comes with it. And being a woman of color there is a difference in treatment, there’s notably a difference. And so my main thing is mainly getting my message out. I look at all of these people and they don’t know what it takes for a black trans woman to leave out her house and to make it onto the stage, and then to leave the stage and there’s nobody there. So, I think they should stand up on their feet, but they’re not standing up on their feet like they would stand up for anybody white, and that’s noticeable. BLADE: What experiences went into the song “I Am Her”? DIAMOND: “I Am Her” is you. “I Am Her” is everyone who understands the plight I experienced. Because if you allow one woman to suffer, that suffering is your suffering … because I believe we’re all connected. How can you allow someone to suffer and you not feel anything? So, she’s been damaged, she’s been broken, but she’s still here. She’s been demonized, but she’s still vulnerable. Someone who’s been an outcast, someone who is different in everybody’s life. Just because you see someone who is “out” and who is trans, who is demonized — what about the people who are closeted? Who are stealth? What are about people who are afraid to take it to the next level because they see the other people who are being demonized? So these

are important elements of “Her” and it is about how we demonize all of these intersections. I put them in the same thing because what is so unique, why are women being attacked? Why are trans women being attacked? Why are black people being attacked? What is the problem that we have with race? What is the problem that we have with feminine energy? Some people have said that feminine energy is a weakness, but women every day, trans and others, prove that to be wrong. And so when I was writing “I Am Her,” I was writing it under the worst conditions. I had already gotten incarcerated, but before then I had already been rejected by my family for my experience. And so I was demonized by the church for my femininity. And I just wanted to express all of my feelings because I was quiet spoken, I wasn’t as outspoken as now. I have a voice … It took me being locked up to become this vocal. So I met a lot of people who hurt me, but I loved hard. But the love that I received wasn’t unconditional, not even from family and friends. I’ve learned that love is conditional. And so I just wanted to say my piece. But being quiet spoken, I never told anyone exactly how I felt. I never told the church that they were wrong in doing that. They were judging my body and it was all about my spirit. BLADE: Is there something hopeful you can share with the young people attending Pride this year? DIAMOND: That’s what “Don’t Shoot” tells; that what the album “Seen It All” tells. I never thought I’d see myself here, I thought I had seen it all. I’m not what entertainment considers popular. So for me, I thought I thought I had seen it all. The world is still changing. We’ve had our first black president; we’ve had things that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. So “Seen it All” is really saying that I haven’t seen it all. All the songs in the collection tell the story of my journey and overcoming. Because it’s a true underdog story. If I can do it, anybody can do it. Never give up. There have been plenty of times that I wanted to give up, that I wanted to give up on life … the conditions, they were too hard. But looking back now, things that are worth it, you have to fight for, and I’ve been fighting my ass off. It feels amazing now and I want people to understand that and be hopeful. I’ve been fighting my whole life and we have keep fighting for our way of life, for our love, we have to continue to fight for this. It’s exhausting but it’s worth it. We’ve seen some of the fruits of our labor. Continue living our dreams. We need to continue to challenge these narratives and these young minds need to continue to change old ways and old minds. They have new and fresh ideas. Nobody is disposable. That is the message. Believe in yourself. Believe there is something special about you that you can believe in yourself. Hiding yourself will never get the truth about you. You’ll never be comfortable playing the piano, you’ll never be comfortable singing your true song.

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Celebrate Pride in the Arts on Saturday June 8th from 11-5pm

with DC’s Indoor Monthly LGBTQ Art Market

The DC Center 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 105 For more info or to apply go to www.thedccenter.org/artyqueers JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 89

Author NICOLE DENNIS-BENN says she’s inspired to write the kinds of books she could never find as a young reader. Photo by Jason Berger

Presenting ‘Patsy’

Immigration, mothering and queer identity themes in out novelist’s sophomore tome By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Author Nicole Dennis-Benn got the kind of media attention and interest with her 2016 novel “Here Comes the Sun,” most first-time authors can only dream of — she won a Lambda Literary Award, was a finalist for several other literary prizes, got reviewed in the New York Times (which named it one of its “notable books of the year”) and other high-profile outlets. Her sophomore effort “Patsy” was released Tuesday and is already generating buzz with more media love from the Times, Oprah’s magazine, NPR and more. “Patsy” is the story of the title character, an undocumented Jamaican queer immigrant in New York and the daughter she left behind, Tru. Going back and forth between Brooklyn and Jamaica, Dennis-Benn, herself Jamaican and a lesbian, covers her characters’ lives over a decade. The 37-year-old writer will be at Politics & Prose (Union Market) in Washington on Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m. Details at politics-prose.com. She spoke to the Blade by phone last week. Her comments have been slightly edited for length. WASHINGTON BLADE: Your first book got the kind of industry attention most authors only dream of. How did you manage that? NICOLE DENNIS-BENN: When I started my debut novel, I had no idea all the work that went into getting a book out there to readers. I used to think it just appears on the bookshelf. I wasn’t one of those readers in college and grad school looking at the New York Times or the Washington Post for the next book I wanted to read. So I was really shocked as a first-time writer. My agent, she

worked really hard at putting my book in the eyes of publishers and also really doubled down when it came out. She said, “This is a debut novel, we have to have a big splash,” so she and her team worked extra hard and I was really happy that they loved it enough to want to really invest in it. But there’s really a machine behind all that publicity. BLADE: Did you have to fight to get “Patsy” published or was it much easier after the first book was successful? DENNIS-BENN: It was easy after that, for sure. I had some anxiety writing as a woman of color and my story is about a Jamaican woman wth a queer identity as well as an immigrant … but it’s a relief to know there’s a place for my books. I can’t say the same for many other writers who are women of color or LGBT writers, but at the same time I’m happy that they’re being published somewhere. BLADE: How has your publisher Liveright been to work with? Any wrangling over final edit? DENNIS-BENN: It was a good relationship and that’s definitely something I was relieved about. I didn’t have to fight them on anything. I used patois, a Jamaican dialect, in the dialogue and I was really happy that the editor and also the copy editors were able to work with me on maintaining that. I think it was really a good match. BLADE: Is there some autobiography woven into the fiction? DENNIS-BENN: I would say it’s like 80 percent fiction and 20 percent autobiographical. Patsy comes to America and wants more for herself but then realizes

there are issues here just like anywhere else. Unlike myself, Patsy is not educated or documented, so she immediately meets that wall, no pun intended. She actually gets trapped and she’s not able to move upward financially. She has no social security at all, so of course, taking Patsy on that journey, took a lot more imagination and also talking to folks, like my father for example, who came here undocumented and has worked his way through the system before marrying an American citizen and getting his papers. BLADE: What is your working process like? How does one begin to tackle a work of this scope? DENNIS-BENN: I started really with writing scenes. Patsy’s voice came to me first and I wrote more following that voice. I would think about it on my morning ride to Staten Island where I was teaching at the College of Staten Island and it was like I was somehow dictating in the sense that I was imagining this woman riding the subway and she’s on her early morning trip to her first nanny job and really thinking about who that woman is, why did she come to this country, what did she leave behind. … That’s when I started outlining and this is actually the first novel where somehow everything I wrote was against that outline. BLADE: How did you know instinctively that was right? DENNIS-BENN: I didn’t know it was right at all. I slept on it awhile. A lot of it came from being raised as a woman in Jamaica, it’s a society that tells you we ought to all want motherhood, that that’s the ultimate satisfaction. Well, so what about this woman who doesn’t really want that but has no choice? It took a lot of self reflection. BLADE: How long did it take? I assume you balanced it with your teaching duties? DENNIS-BENN: Right, exactly. Those rides on the ferry were in 2012 so really like seven years. BLADE: How long did “Here Comes the Sun” take to write? DENNIS-BENN: It was faster. I started it in 2010 and got my agent in 2014, so more like four years. It was quicker than “Patsy.” BLADE: How disciplined did you have to be? Were there days your wife wanted to go to the mall or everybody else was on holiday but you forced yourself to write? DENNIS-BENN: I did it when the mood struck. I was teaching as an adjunct so it was only like two days a week. So on the other days, I stayed home and worked on my books. My wife would be getting rady for work and she leaves around 9 a.m. so that’s when my writing day started and I’d write til about 4. But I didn’t adhere to that every single day, every week. Sometimes ideas would come or not come. Some days the characters would just not speak, so I’d take a little time to do normal things. I feel like living life a little bit, I absorb a lot. So I take myself to the museum, I meet up with friends and somehow gather a lot of energy by stepping away from the work. BLADE: How long have you been teaching at Princeton? DENNIS-BENN: A year. I started fall,

2018. BLADE: What do you teach? DENNIS-BENN: Creative writing, fiction. BLADE: Is Joyce Carol Oates still there? DENNIS-BENN: YEs, but I’ve not met her. I only teach there one day a week. I want to, but I haven’t had the chance. BLADE: Are you familiar with her work? DENNIS-BENN: Oh yes, definitely. There are so many people at Princeton working whose work I admire like Jhumpa Lahiri, she’s also there, Tracy K. Smith and Yiyun Li. I had to work on myself not to be star struck in the department. BLADE: How many copies did you sell of “Here Comes the Sun”? DENNIS-BENN: Um, I’m not sure. I know it did well. I’m actually only going by what my publishers have been telling me or my agent. BLADE: But what’s considered successful for a debut hardcover novel? DENNIS-BENN: I have no idea. BLADE: Aren’t you curious? DENNIS-BENN: I’m curious, yeah, but I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think for me … as a creative person, success is actually touching readers, so when I get a note through social media or somebody tells me they saw themselves on the page, that really is success for me. BLADE: To what degree does being a lesbian inform your work any more or less, say, than being from Jamaica, being an immigrant or other aspects that inform your work? DENNIS-BENN: I would say the same. I feel like an outsider in many ways — my sexuality, as a black woman, as a woman, as an immigrant, a working-class Jamaican, I felt like an outsider growing up all those things. But it gives you a vision where you can look down into that world and sketch it. Having been an outsider in Jamaica and America gives me the ability to write from those perspectives. BLADE: How long have you been in the U.S.? DENNIS-BENN: Twenty years now, since ’99. I came here for college when I was 17. BLADE: What was your path to citizenship like? DENNIS-BENN: My father came here undocumented, he married an American citizen and by doing that, he was able to get his naturalization. Then he was able to file for me and my siblings and we were able to come here on a green card. … I see myself as a lucky one, going to Cornell then on to graduate school. That’s a luxury for many people. Many people like my father came here driving taxis to support themselves and send money back home.

Nicole Dennis-Benn Young African Professionals D.C. Politics and Prose Union Market 1270 5th St., N.E. ‘Patsy’ book release event $26.95 politics-prose.com nicoledennisbenn.com

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MAX VON ESSEN (left) and NICK ADAMS in ‘Falsettos.’ Photo by Joan Marcus

Gay classic, dream role

Out actor Max von Essen relishes role as Marvin in ‘Falsettos’ By PATRICK FOLLIARD

A Broadway veteran who is frequently offered roles, Max von Essen pushed to play Marvin in the national tour of the Lincoln Center revival of “Falsettos,” opening Tuesday at the Kennedy Center. A sung-through musical by William Finn and Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, it’s the bittersweet story (circa New York City 1980) of a gay man, Marvin, who leaves his wife and young son to be with lover, Whizzer (here played by Nick Adams). When Whizzer is diagnosed with AIDS, Marvin’s nontraditional family puts aside issues and comes together. “I really wanted it and convinced the creative team that I was right for the part,” von Essen says. “There’s a lot: the score has some of musical theater’s most beautiful songs, truly, and the role is demanding and brings with it a certain sense of responsibility.” When “Falsettos” first opened in 1992, the subject matter was too raw for some gay men.

“I meet a lot of older men who thank me for bringing this back and for honoring a time they lived through,” von Essen says. “I sometimes hear quiet sobs and gasps from the audience. The show still packs a punch. I thought it might be a period piece, but that’s not the case. It remains fresh, relevant and emotionally powerful. And I’m shocked at how many LGBTQ kids are coming. They say they can’t imagine how bad it must have been for people, and are thankful for the representation.” Von Essen, 45, is perhaps best known for playing Henri Baurel in “An American in Paris,” an adaptation of the classic MGM musical. After years of both pounding the payment and gainful gratifying employment including some Broadway shows, von Essen scored big with Henri. Following a brief run at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the show successfully premiered on Broadway in the spring of 2015. “Basically, were I born into a wealthy French family in the early 20th century, I’d be him,” he says. “He’s gay and wants to be an entertainer in New York but feels pressured to conform to his family’s expectations. I knew this character from the start.” Initially, director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon wanted a firstclass tapper for Henri, explains von Essen. Though he’d never touched a pair of tap shoes, he could deliver the big number “Stairway to Paradise.” “After a long auditioning process, they cast me. I was given simple steps and people danced around me.” It seems Henri was a part Von Essen was preparing for his entire life. Growing up the youngest of four on Long Island, N.Y., he was obsessed with Gershwin.

“I played piano, plowed my way through books and taught myself his songs. I watched old MGM musicals and dreamed of being in them. Our ‘An American in Paris’ was an MGM musical come to life on stage.” By high school, von Essen was fully hooked on musical theater. Still, Broadway somehow seemed a distant and unattainable thing. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he majored in voice and economics and despite doing a lot of theater on campus, he still fought the call of show biz. After graduating, he gave himself two years to pursue a career in theater. If nothing happened, he’d try another field. Within a few months he was cast as a chorus boy in Liza Minnelli’s act. “When you work for Liza you’re met by a driver, you fly off for weekend gigs in Vegas and Monte Carlo. But she’s incredibly down to earth — friendly, funny and little dirty. In our down time we’d see movies and go to dinner. Then I’d go back to my hotel room and scream into my pillow. I was just 22 and couldn’t believe this was my life.” He’s worked ever since. Sometimes not exactly where he wanted or the right part, but always working. Still, even today, von Essen is worried that he might have reached his peak or his current job might be his last. “It’s an occupational hazard. Even if you’re booked a year or two out, you enjoy it, but you’re never entirely relaxed.” Following the Kennedy Center, “Falsettos” plays a week in Charlotte, and then the tour ends. Though he’ll miss the part, he’s eager to return to his partner and their Sphinx cat Pocket in Hell’s Kitchen. Looking forward, he’d like to do some Sondheim, He’s thinking “Sunday in the Park with George,” or maybe “Company.” In the meantime, he’ll be on the lookout for his next big gig.


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Director DEXTER FLETCHER (right) on the set of ‘Rocketman’ with Matthew Illesley and Taron Egerton, who both play Elton John in the movie. Photo courtesy Paramount

Directing ‘Rocketman’ Elton John musical biopic helmed by ‘Rhapsody’ vet Dexter Fletcher

By BRIAN T. CARNEY “Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher says his new movie is “a magical musical retelling of Elton John’s formative years.” This vision of the film guided Fletcher through many script revisions and long days on the set and resulted in an unusual cinematic experience that reimagines the Hollywood musical and the traditional biopic and that is both visually stunning and deeply moving. Fletcher, whose work as actor and director stretches back to an appearance in Alan Parker’s kiddie gangster movie “Bugsy Malone” (1976), says that his involvement in “Rocketman” was a matter of “being in the right place at the right time.” If it does well — it opened in third place in the U.S. last weekend and got largely strong reviews — it could be an interesting comeuppance for Fletcher, whose name was taboo at award season earlier this year. He took over for a fired Bryan Singer on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but Singer’s name stayed in the credits as per Directors Guild guidelines. It won four Oscars. In 2015, Fletcher (who’s straight) directed “Eddie the Eagle,” which starred Taron Egerton and was produced by his old friend Matthew Vaughn. Fletcher

also knew that Vaughn was working with Egerton and Elton John on “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017). “Then,” Fletcher says, “I heard on the grapevine that Matthew was thinking about Taron playing Elton and I just thought it was a genius idea. I knew Taron, I knew the kind of person he was and I knew that he could sing. And having been around for 50 years, I knew something about Elton’s life. When Matthew said come talk about it, I was ready.” When the director met with David Furnish, Elton John’s husband and a “Rocketman” producer, and screenwriter Lee Hall (“Billy Elliott”) to discuss the script, he had a revelation. “The movie should be a full-out musical.” Fletcher realized he could “use the songs to keep the film and storytelling moving seamlessly and to create something that would genuinely explode off the screen.” Instead of restricting the songs to onstage performances, Elton John’s music would be used to tell his life story from his lonely childhood as Reginald Dwight, a musical prodigy from a broken home in 1950’s London, through his rise to international stardom as superstar Elton John to his life-saving stint in rehab in 1990. “I took the musical element and upped it by 50, 60, 70 percent,” Fletcher says. “It was a very holistic journey. It was all inspired by the script that Lee wrote and the stories that Elton told him.” Fletcher’s work on the script started by adding “The Bitch Is Back” as an opening number. Set in the London suburb where Reggie Dwight (Matthew Illesley plays Young Reggie) grew up, the brilliant

choreography by Adam Murray and the stunning cinematography by George Richmond establish the blurring of reality and fantasy that will take place throughout the movie. The scene is a traditional English suburb in the 1950s, but Fletcher notes, “everything is a bit too perfect. The neighbors are all very cheery and everybody’s waving to Reggie but he sings about being a bitch. Then you have the older Elton in his devil costume in the middle of it all trying to stop it, close it down.” “I knew that dramatically, Elton considered himself to be a bitch and a bad person and he thought he’s always been that person,” Fletcher says. “It takes his journey through rehab to realize he was just a boy who wanted a hug.” Then Fletcher added the song “I Want Love” as a quartet for Reggie and his troubled family. “I got to that moment in the story and I knew I needed to hear the inner voices of these characters,” Dexter says. “That’s what the music gives us. All of the artifice and all of the masks that we wear in day-to-day life fall away. The characters can sing what’s in their hearts. They all just sing about what they need, what they want. They’re family, but families don’t always work. They all want love, but they’re just all in the wrong place. There are no villains.” Fletcher’s most audacious alteration to the script was perhaps the astounding “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” The sequence starts with Older Reggie (Kit Connor) playing piano in a London pub. He sneaks out of the pub and into a fabulous “funfair”; in a time-honored theatrical trick, Older Reggie is transformed into Elton John (Egerton) in the middle of the number. Fletcher says the number is really the centerpiece of the movie, “because it is really about Elton stepping out into a wider world.” “There’s so much storytelling crammed into it,” the director says. “Elton is seeing the things that are the genesis of his musical influences. I wanted to make sure it became a journey into his youth and his emergence as a young man. I wanted to be very aware that there were other cultural influences coming into Britain at that time that he would have been aware of, as well as his own discoveries about himself. It seemed like a great adventure.” Filming the sequence was definitely an adventure for Fletcher and his colleagues. It required 300 extras, 50 dancers, four cameras, three cranes, 10 dodgems and a Ferris wheel. The action also jumps from the 1950s to the 1960s, requiring a wide variety of costumes and dance moves. Finally, to capture the intensity of Elton’s experience, the sequence was shot in one single tracking shot. “We rehearsed it for six weeks,” Fletcher says. “We shot it over three days — three nights, in fact. I just loved the diverse flavor I could pull into that one place. It was a place that was full of light and color and magic and all the things I wanted the film to have and all the things that inspired Elton as a young man. It’s about his discovery.”

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Fifty years ago, it was a busy summer. Nationally, everyone was glued to their TVs to watch men walk on the moon. Woodstock called to every hippie here, there and abroad. Charles Manson terrified Californians. And gay and lesbian folks watched closely as a little bar in Greenwich Village became a flash point for rights. If you’re over age 55, you might have memories of the Stonewall Riots; vivid ones that may’ve become gauzy; or sketchy ones, perhaps, from the viewpoint of a child. If you’re under age 55, the Stonewall Riots are undoubtedly just a story to you and there’s a lot for you to learn. To mark the anniversary of this event that altered so many lives, look for these new books. Beginning in the years before the Stonewall Riots, “Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall” by James Polchin takes a look at the crimes committed against gay men, long before equality and rights were a notion, let alone even being on the table. Murder, of course, lines the pages of this book but you’ll also read stories of harassment, assault and minor crimes that were embellished so that they could be charged as more serious. Polchin also looks at how criminal acts committed by and aimed at LGBT people came under controversy when attention was paid to one minority group’s safety and not to that of another group. This, the embedded presence of many (in)famous criminals, and other stories lightly linked to Stonewall make it an interesting book. Because memories fade, opinions differ and people die, “The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History,” edited by Marc Stein is a valuable resource. Here, Stein collected photographs, court transcripts, notes, newspaper excerpts and transcripts of documents that prove an intimate timeline for the years 1965-1973. His focus was on four major cities but he also includes documents that originated elsewhere; works of fiction also show up in this book. While it’s primarily about gay men, lesbians and “transvestites” are inside its pages, as well.

Says Stein, “there is always more to the story,” and this books displays it. And it’s normal to want to compare the way things were in 1969 to the way things are now. In “Out in Time,” Perry N. Halkitis does exactly that with three generations of gay men to show that, while there are differences in social attitudes, health, legalities and politics, there are also striking similarities in challenges and in gains. Done with miniinterviews woven through narrative to hold together the words of everyday people, this is an easy book to step into, with short chapters and browse-able segments. Readers should note that these books are historically based and may be on the scholarly side, eye-opening and quite entertaining. If you have keen memories of the summer of ’69, what’s here may pull you back 50 years. If you’re too young to remember what happened then, these books on the Stonewall Riots will keep you busy all summer.

‘Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall’ By James Polchin Counterpoint Press $26 256 pages

‘The Stonewall Riots’ Edited by Marc Stein New York University Press $35 341 pages

‘Out in Time’

By Perry N. Halkitis Oxford University Press $34.95 288 pages

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.

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Leather taboo at early Pride events Continued from page 44 started riding in Pride with Dykes on Bikes around 2013. A break-off group called Outriders kind of took over a year or so later and eventually McCarthy joined their contingent. They usually have between 4060 riders each year. Most are members but some join them just for the day. She agrees with Cathy Renna that a diversity of representation is needed at Pride and in the world in general. “There are all kinds of people that are part of the gay community — the fairies, the drag queens and all that and that’s part of my community,” says the 54-year-old Montgomery County Police service aide for the 6th District Station in Gaithersburg. “I don’t have to necessarily get it or understand it. I love them and they are part of my community.” McCarthy says sometimes PDAs get a bit much but it’s not really an LGBT thing. “I’ve done it. I’ve been walking at Pride and grabbed my girlfriend for a kiss or whatever,” she says. “If you see a couple making out on the Metro or Pride or wherever, I don’t care if they’re gay or straight, I don’t think that’s appropriate. But at a Pride festival, absolutely, it’s about letting go. It’s the one day you can really let your hair down and be totally who you are.” As for Pride images getting manipulated by political enemies, McCarthy agrees it happens but says LGBT revelers shouldn’t let it dampen their spirits. “They make it look like it’s all about depravity and sex and stuff and yeah, it makes me mad because that’s not who we are and unfortunately, there are people who may not know gay people and think that’s the whole spectrum. They see that and say, ‘Well look at those faggots and dykes, they’re scum,’ so yeah, it makes me mad. But it’s just one part of our community, it’s not the whole community.” How has it changed? McCarthy says she remembers getting harassed at early D.C. Pride events. “They would see we were with a church and they’d say, ‘How can you be Christian and gay, you’re totally violating the Bible.’ I don’t know if it was Westboro Baptist or who it was, but yeah, there was some of that in the early years.” McCarthy had protections in writing at her job so she was never worried about being recognized at Pride. She was fully out by her mid-20s. She says a few Outriders go topless or cover just their nipples. “I just kind of shake my head and go, ‘Whatever.’ It doesn’t offend me. I don’t really get it — they must get horrible sunburn, but yeah, not many of us do it.” JOEY DIGUGLIELMO

Kenneth, go-go dancer

Our scantily clad dancer of yore, Kenneth, declined to give his last name. He danced nude at Secrets starting at age

MARGARET McCARTHY says she was never shy about being seen at Pride parades even 30 years ago. Photo courtesy McCarthy

18 from 1996-1999 but is in business now and says he prefers his clients today not know of his past work. He participated in several Pride parades on the Ziegfeld’s/Secrets float with Ella. The dancers would typically wear matching short shorts and Secrets tank tops. “I don’t know what the rules are now, I think it’s relaxed a little, but we weren’t ever in thongs or bikinis or things like that,” he says. “We kept it a little more covered back then.” He was fully out at the time and not fearful of being seen. He says most of the dancers then who were gay were out and not fearful of being seen. A few dancers were straight, he says, but “didn’t seem concerned about” being in a Pride parade. Now 40, he remembers those years fondly. “It was a very interesting thing to do when I was 19 or 20. I got to sew my wild oats and it was good experience overall. I learned a lot.” Kenneth says it’s probably a non-issue today but he suspects more scandalous Pride behavior probably did work against LGBT rights in years past. “There was a lack of exposure then so if

all you saw through the ‘70s to the ‘90s was how they televised it, then you only knew part of the story. I think once there was more exposure, people understood that was only one aspect of the community.” He says Pride was a much different experience for everyone 20-30 years ago. “For a lot of people, that was the only time they could be gay,” he says. “They weren’t able to dress and behave the way they wanted to the other 364 days of the year, it was back to their normal attire and behavior, so I would say it’s died down some because we can be ourselves more year round now. If you could only do that during Pride, people tended to go more over the top.” JOEY DIGUGLIELMO

John Watson, leather enthusiast Gay leather enthusiast John Watson says he first got into the D.C. leather scene at age 16 when he and two male friends his age, who lived in Arlington, began going to the D.C. Eagle, the city’s only leather bar,

around 1974. It was a time when the city’s bars and nightclubs, both gay and straight, didn’t consistently require ID checks for younglooking customers, Watson says. About one year later, in June 1975, shortly after he turned 17, Watson and his two gay friends attended D.C.’s first Gay Pride event, which consisted of a block party on 20th Street, N.W., near Dupont Circle. Although the three were getting more and more into the leather scene and drove into D.C. nearly every weekend to go to the Eagle, neither of them wore leather at that first Pride block party, Watson says. “We had on shorts and tank tops, which of course we took off and were shirtless,” he says. “But with the leather scene back then, people didn’t want to appear out in public in it. And thinking back, I don’t remember seeing anybody that first time in leather. There may have been, but I don’t remember seeing anybody in leather.” It wasn’t until around 1980, Watson thinks, when the D.C. Pride festival had moved from 20th Street to the grounds of Francis School next to P Street Beach Park, that leather enthusiasts began attending Pride wearing leather clothes and gear. “As it progressed more and more you saw more leather,” he says. “It was when people got to the point where they really weren’t scared, more or less around 1980. People got tired of being in the closet.” Watson recalls that in the earlier years he and his friends, along with many others in the leather scene, were fearful of the possible repercussions of being publicly identified as leather guys. Being so identified would automatically out you as being gay, he says, as well as out you — even among gays — as being weird or odd. “It was what you would call an underground community,” he says. “A lot of people felt it was not only strange but perverted, to be honest. If you were into that, you kept your mouth shut most of the time because you didn’t want anyone to know. Even the regular gay people were, ‘Oh, wow, that’s perverted.’ It wasn’t until the 1990s that I began to wear leather in public. Before that I would take it with me and put it on inside the clubs.” Thankfully, Watson said, attitudes began to change as the LGBT rights movement became more visible and assertive in the 1980s and 1990s. He recalls seeing far more leather folks at D.C. Pride events in those years, possibly even more than what is seen in more recent years as the Pride events have become more “corporatized.” Watson, who works in insurance, says he managed to keep his interest in leather separate from his work other than times he has worked at the Eagle. Among his most interesting “day work” jobs, he said was a stint from 1983-1988 as an assistant clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court. Among other things, he gave private tours at the court to gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny and then-Washington Blade News Editor Lisa Keen. LOU CHIBBARO, JR.

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Reston Pride

The second annual Reston Pride was held at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston, Va. on Saturday, June 1. Washington Blade photos by Vanessa Pham

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


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

DATE: 190607 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: PITTS BPITTS@WASHBLADE.COM JUISSUE N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COMBRIAN • 123 REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication. Brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not


Night OUT at the Nationals The 15th annual Night Out at the Nationals, sponsored by Team DC, was held June 4, and sold an astounding 6,000 tickets. Former gay Rep. Barney Frank and his husband threw out the ceremonial first pitch and the Gay Men’s Chorus sang the National Anthem. The Washington Blade was honored for its 50th anniversary during pre-game festivities that brought editor Kevin Naff and marketing director Stephen Rutgers on the field. The Nats defeated the White Sox, 9-5. Washington Blade photos by Kevin Majoros

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JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 125

A few LGBT advocacy groups worthy of your support By ALEX GRAHAM

SULTAN SHAKIR runs SMYAL, which provides after school programming for youth to develop leadership skills and personal connections Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Some think I should dress more like a woman. Some think I should dress more like a man.

I may not fit some ideas about gender, and I am a proud part of DC.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. While the LGBT community has experienced immense positive change, much work remains to be done. As an LGBTowned company, Graham Capital is proud to support our community both locally and nationally. I want to take a step back from my normal financial column to highlight some notable organizations that deserve our community’s financial support. Although it may not fit into your current budget plan, when possible and with proper budgeting, every dollar donated can make a lasting impact on the future of our community. When determining which organizations to support, I personally like to split organizations into three major categories: national, local (DC Metro Area) and my hometown (Tampa):

NATIONAL • The Trevor Project, thetrevorproject.org. ADVERTISING PROOF Named after its related short film, ISSUE DATE SALES REPRESENTATIVE TREVOR, this organization provides Please treat me the same way any immediate crisis support to LGBTQ youth. Its REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions mustperson be submittedwould within 24 hours of the to datebe of treated: want proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of 24-hour hotline provides constant support to the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts NS and omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/orwith design ofcourtesy your ad. Advertiser is respect. responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users GN our most vulnerable community members. can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or EVISIONS based on gender any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violationsDiscrimination as infringement or misapporpriation of any identity and • National Center for Transgender copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair /LOGO REVISIONS expression is illegal inlaw the competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination or District regulation,of Columbia. Equality, transequality.org. or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE SIONS washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing contract obligations with the If you think you’ve been the target of this proof you are agreeing to your liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred washington blade newspaper. This includes Founded but is not limited to in placement, 2003, this organization is by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov and warranties. the first advocacy group founded by and or call (202) 727-4559. for the transgender community. • National Gay Pilots Association, ngpa.org. GLBT As the largest organization of LGBTQ AFFAIRS aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world, NGPA’s mission since 1990 has been to build, support, and unite the LGBTQ aviation community Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter. worldwide. As an aviation enthusiast, I am drawn particularly to their major programs OFFICE OF

that offer training scholarships to LGBTQ individuals that want to have a career in the aviation industry. Unfortunately, training costs continue to prohibit many people from entering this career path. LOCAL SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), smyal.org. Aimed at the D.C. metro area’s LGBTQ youth population, SMYAL provides after school programming for youth to develop leadership skills and personal connections. It also sponsors transitional housing for young community members who may no longer be welcome at home. The DC Center, thedccenter.org. Provides a safe home base for everyone in the LGBTQ community. Its programming is wide ranging and aims to positively boost our local community. Finally, I always like to support those organizations that may exist in smaller communities than our own. For me, that is Metro Inclusive Health (metrotampabay.org) in Tampa, Fla. It’s important to me because many of these organizations do not have as strong of a donor base and, more often than not, cannot rely on local or state funding. While I am lucky to see the city where I grew up evolve to embrace our community, that is not always the case. These organizations are on the frontlines of protecting and nurturing our community and I highly recommend searching for a local organization of your own. Next month, we will return to regularly scheduled financial programming, but as we celebrate our community today, our storied past, and bright future, I want to thank all organizations (including the Blade!) that help us grow and stick together.

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JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 127

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MODERN URBAN LIVING IN THE HEART OF OLD TOWN! Exquisitely built & unique LEED Gold townhouse Inspired by 1850's Cast Iron architecture, this home boasts open floor plan with custom finishes throughout. 3,300 sqft of light drenchedSOLD living space with floor to ceiling windows. Gourmet kitchen with Thermador appliances. SOLD Hardwood floors & recessedVA lighting. in sound3BR/3.5BA system/intercom325 system. Highly efficient Geo-thermal 403 PRINCESS ST, ALEXANDRIA, 22314-Built $1,035,000 N COLUMBUS ST, ALEXANDRIA, VA heating 22314- $1,735,000 4BR/3FB/2HB & cooling. Private terrace over 2 car garage. Too many features to list! (Average utility bill is 150 or less).

325 N COLUMBUS ST, Alexandria, VA 22314 4br & 3/2ba • $1,925,000 Offered by Martine and Alexander Irmer 703.346.7283 Martine@Lnf.com

703.403.2465 Ai@Lnf.com


Contract- 514 E Glendale Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301- $649,900 3br/2ba | Contract- 5304 Pommeroy Dr, Fairfax VA 22032- $625,000 4br/2fb/2hb Sold- 1115 Key Dr, Alexandria, VA 22304- $866,500 4br/3.5ba | Sold- 1115 Cameron St (Penthouse) Alexandria VA 22314- $1,360,000 3br/2.5ba Sold- 106 Monroe Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301- $775,000 2br/2ba | Sold- 709 Massey Ln #120, Alexandria, VA 22314- $626,000 3br/2.5ba Sold- 317 E Mason Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314- $652,000 3br/1ba | Sold- 21 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria VA 22314- $450,000

Offered by Martine and Alexander Irmer 703.346.7283 Martine@Lnf.com

703.403.2465 Ai@Lnf.com

The Irmer Group



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In D.C., find a home you can ShhhOUT about! Our fair housing standards are the most comprehensive in U.S. By VALERIE M. BLAKE The year was 2001. I had been in the business of selling real estate for only four years and had been advertising my services to the LGBTQ community in the Washington Blade for two of them. While wending through the real estate world in D.C., Montgomery County, Md., and Northern Virginia, I learned the neighborhoods, the customs, the agents, and the intricacies of local fair housing regulations. D.C., of course, had the greatest number of protected classes in the region, leading the pack with sexual orientation (and later, gender identity), followed by Maryland. I was introduced to Virginia’s archaic laws when I received a call from a gentleman in Prince William County who asked if I could help him purchase a new home. During our first meeting, he and his partner told me that they had been visiting new construction model homes and had the unpleasant experience of being told, “Your kind isn’t welcome here.” I was stunned to learn this was perfectly legal. Aside from Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, it still is. Having given up on the major new home developers, my clients had driven by a resale home they liked and wanted an advocate to accompany them on a visit and ultimately, to represent them with the purchase. After 38 days on the market, the seller was very glad to accept their offer, even with a contingency for the sale of their existing home. We put that home on the market immediately and my clients accepted a full-price offer two weeks later. It’s now 2019. “Will & Grace” has been rebooted. Queer Eyes are on us again. Sam

The year-to-date median sales price for a detached home in D.C. is $742,250 Bigstock photo

Waterston and Martin Sheen have left “Law and Order” and “The West Wing” behind and are married and living in Frankie and Graceland. Olivia Benson will soon be 21 and Meredith Gray is going to jail. Good grief! What’s next? A 2018 study by the Williams Institute of the UCLA College of Law indicates that Washington, D. .is the most gay-friendly area of the country, with 9.8 percent of the population of adults in D.C. identifying as LGBTQ. Well, duh! I once had a client ask me where the gayborhood was, so I took out a D.C. map and said, “Close your eyes and point.” But the study also shows that only 19 percent of D.C.’s LGBTQ community are parents. In my experience,

JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 129

that figure is low. I’ve watched my clients grow up, couple up and expand their families. As a result, many of them are reevaluating their housing needs. Should they buy a house with a yard? Do they need additional bedrooms or a finished basement? Should they look for a garage for their new minivan? In many cases, a detached home is in their future, so I looked at recent statistics to see where that might be and how much it might cost. The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors reports that the year-to-date median sales price for a detached home in D.C. is $742,250 and that the average price hovered around $950,000 in April.

According to our local multiple listing service, 607 detached homes were sold in the past six months. Roughly 550 of them were located in neighborhoods where more than one house had sold. As I suspected, the upper Northwest areas of Chevy Chase and American University Park, with some of D.C.’s highest prices, made up 18 percent of sales. Interestingly, the Brookland, Woodridge, and Michigan Park areas surpassed that and came in at 19 percent, with robust sales more in line with the statistical median price. What surprised me, though, was the quantity and cost of detached homes east of the river, where I have lived for more than three years. Thirteen percent of detached home sales in the past six months were located in Hillcrest, Anacostia, Fort Dupont Park, and surrounding areas of Southeast D.C. Why is that? Maybe the new Busboys and Poets and Planet Fitness are helping our infrastructure expand. Perhaps the proximity to Capitol Hill makes these communities attractive to those with government jobs. Certainly, the area remains one of the most affordable in the District – for now – with 85 percent of detached homes priced under $600,000. But, as with all of D.C.’s neighborhoods, I think it’s the welcoming nature of the residents, and I’m pretty proud of that. So, take the opportunity during this year’s Pride festivities to celebrate the diversity of D.C. Our fair housing standards are the most comprehensive in the country and D.C.’s real estate agents stand at the ready to help you find a home you can ShhhOUT about.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at RLAH Real Estate. Reach her at 202-246-8602, DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.



elf urs o y ! e Giv a gift or one f n e i lass! ly e c On Com fre Students w Ne

Expires 06/28/19

A Green Yoga Center

300 Montgomery St., Suite 201 • Alexandria, VA 22314

2121 P Street N.W. Washington DC 20037 @Urbana_DC | UrbanaDC.COM | 202.956.6650

(entrance between Wheel Nutz and New York Nail Salon)

571.218.2161 • info@riversedgeyoga.com • www.riversedgeyoga.com

ShhhOUT, Past, Present and Proud Imagine how our lives would be without the LGB and T. No comedy of Stephen Fry nor witty quips from George Takai. No showmanship of Elton John nor channel to watch Rachel on.


There’d be no games from Ellen D. And no Swan Lake from Tchaikovsky. So, raise your glass and shout it out. No need to be discreet.

ISSUE DATE: 190607



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


By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contr washington blade newspaper. This includes but is no payment and insertion schedule.

And maybe your excitement will be heard by Mayor Pete.

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

1 3 0 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • J U N E 0 7 , 2 0 1 9

Weekend bus to Rehoboth & Dewey Beaches is now running every weekend through Labor Day Enjoy a weekend off or just a nice day trip to the beach Book now at www.bestbus.com

JU N E 07, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 131



All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com

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Chick Chat, a lesbian singles group for women age 55+, meets Sunday, June 23, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Baltimore, Md. Details, please RSVP by 6/20/19 by e-mail, RickPepper@protonmail.com.

COUNSELING COUNSELING FOR LGBTQ People. Individual/ couple counseling with a volunteer peer counselor. GMCC, servicing since 1973. 202-580-8661. gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested.


“The Boys” paintings by Ron Richard Baviello during the month of June at Eastside Gallery, 313 North Patrick Street, Frederick, Md. Opening event Saturday June 1, 5 pm to 9 pm.

WHOLISTIC SERVICES, INC. Seeking Full Time Direct Support Professionals to assist intellectually disabled adults with behavioral health complexities in group homes & day services throughout D.C. Requirements: Valid Driver’s License, able to lift 50-75 lbs., complete training program, become Med Certified within 6 months of hire, pass security background check. (Associates degree preferred) For more information please contact Human Resources @ 301-392-2500.


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LOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS NEEDED! The Crew Club, a gay men’s naturist gym & sauna, is now hiring Locker Room Attendants. We all scrub toilets & do heavy cleaning. You must be physically able to handle the work & have a great attitude doing it. No drunks/ druggies need apply. Please call David at (202) 319-1333. from 9-5pm, to schedule an interview. TELL ‘EM YOU saw their ad in the Blade classifieds!

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LIMOUSINES KASPER’S LIVERY SERVICE Since 1987. Gay & Veteran Owner/ Operator. 2016 Luxury BMW 750Li Sedan. Properly Licensed & Livery Insured in DC. www.KasperLivery.com. Phone 202-554-2471.


LEGAL SERVICES ADOPTION, DONOR, SURROGACY legal services. Jennifer represents LGBTQ clients in DC, MD & VA interested in adoption or ART matters. 240-863- 2441, JFairfax@jenniferfairfax.com.

FERNANDO’S CLEANING: Residential & Commercial Cleaning, Reasonable Rates, Free Estimates, Routine, 1-Time, Move-In/Move-Out. (202) 234-7050, 202-486-6183.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Results-Oriented • Affordable

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See website for NPR story on my work




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Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.




1 3 2 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • J U N E 0 7 , 2 0 1 9



All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com

Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.

Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.

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Playmates and soul mates...

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BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC BLOOMINGDALE – Large 1000 sqft, 2BR/1BA Eng. Bsmt. Kitchen, w/ granite upscale appl. Full-size W/D. Bath w/ radiant-heat flr., storage. NO dogs, NO smoking. Walk to restaurants, shopping, Green & Red line. 1m to Capitol Hill. Gated front & back, Security, Rent $2,150.00 + 1mth sec. dep. Email, elizabethj8560@ yahoo.com.

WELCOME TO HIGH ORCHARD 6 bed, 6.5 bath 4,000+ SF luxury estate nestled on private 5.6 acre with 30+ mile magnificent mountain view! A retreat from the modern world! Perfect investment for VBRO or AirBnB! $650,000 14893 Charmian Rd, Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 17214. Call Darren Ahearn Remax Results 240-344-1713

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1 3 4 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • J U N E 0 7 , 2 0 1 9

t, e Feas at h t r e t t Af he Nigh ! Stay t ingbird Inn Humm

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Includes 3-course gourmet breakfast with your choice of entrĂŠe. Gay-owned & operated, welcoming the LGBTQ Community, Friends, and Family. Dog-friendly with on-site dog sitting available Special Event Space Available

Cheers to Art Lovers!

Celebrating 10 Years in DC HIVcare.org

Dr. Roxanne Cox-Iyamu, MD

William, AHF Client

New Location! 2141 K Street NW Suite 707 | (202) 329-7189

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