Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown
D.C. SHOWS ITSSPIRIT GUN SCARE, RAIN CAN’T DAMPEN PRIDE CELEBRATIONS, PAGE 8
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VOLUME 50 ISSUE 22 ADDRESS
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D.C. celebrated Pride last weekend, despite a gun scare that interrupted the parade and a steady rain on Sunday. Full coverage begins on Page 08.
50 years of the Blade
Pop star for a new era
‘Larger than ever’ crowds turn
QUEERY: Byron Macfarlane
out for Capital Pride
Mayor’s event showcases queer talent
Close to 1,000 turn out for D.C. Dyke March
Former Log Cabin leader lobbies
Arts & Culture
against Equality Act
Pence backs ban on Pride ﬂags at embassies
AFI Docs returns
O’Rourke unveils LGBT policy proposal
‘Pose’s’ Indya Moore has altercation
‘Sucker’ for nostalgia
with Trump supporter
Gay ole’ SanFrancisco
Report highlights status of LGBT
When life feels blah
rights in U.S. territories
Inspiring net zero energy in D.C.
Varied ﬁndings in study of
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5/15/19 2:26 PM
3 years ago, Orlando’s LGBT community gets to work after massacre FROM STAFF REPORTS
Workers at the Center form an assembly line to load pallets of donated water into a truck for delivery to blood donation centers. Washington Blade photo by Kevin Naff
Three years ago this week, gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Orlando’s LGBT nightclub Pulse. Two Blade staffers, Michael K. Lavers and editor Kevin Naff, flew to Orlando immediately after the attack to spearhead Blade coverage of the massacre. Below is one of their reports — an inspiring scene unfolding at Orlando’s LGBT Center. The text of the Blade report follows: ORLANDO, Fla. — Walking into the LGBT Center of Central Florida reveals a chaotic scene of activity. Reporters and TV crews are greeted at the door, then hustled into position to interview officials. Farther back, a room labeled simply “FOOD” is the gathering place for volunteers to
exchange hugs and reassuring words over coffee and assorted treats. In the back room, a sweaty assembly line of workers fills a truck with donated water to be delivered to area blood drive centers and crisis centers. One thing you may not see, however, are tears. The volunteers here cried those out yesterday. “Yesterday was non-stop tears and hugs and finding out the status of friends,” said Nicole Elinoff, a six-year veteran staffer of the Center. “Today we’re in crisis mode, business mode, getting things done and taking action. The feelings are there but covered in tasks that need to be done. It’s been a whirlwind.” She and others are busy gathering
donations of water and other items to distribute. They have established a Go Fund Me page to raise money for victims’ families who are suddenly faced with bills for funerals, health care and travel costs. They are coordinating with airlines to get flights for families from out of town. The Center is also facilitating crisis counseling off site. “As someone who’s been in this community for a long time, I’m mind blown that Orlando is the site of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history,” Elinoff said. “The community is so strong. We are heartbroken but we are going to get through this together.” Despite the heartbreak, Elinoff stressed the importance of responding to hate with love. “The message we want to send is to love each other,” she said. “Give friends hugs, support each other, because at the end of the day you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Love conquers hate and that is what we are demonstrating here.” Despite talk in recent years that the gay community is now safely integrated into the American mainstream and no longer in need of LGBT-specific bars/centers/clubs/ bookstores, the attack on Pulse nightclub highlights the importance of physical places where people can be themselves. “Community centers are still important for LGBT people,” Elinoff said. “We need to have a place where they can feel safe. There’s no place like home.” Not everyone in the Center on Monday was a veteran staffer. Kris Talbot, a law student, said Monday was her first-ever visit to the Center. She came to volunteer her time. Why did she show up? “My city just got a black eye,” Talbot said. “This is our home, a real community, it’s not just Disney. It’s like seeing someone
you love getting punched in the face and you want to do something to help.” She’s still tracking down classmates who might have been at the club Sunday night and she has been to Pulse a few times herself. “What happened is not typical of Orlando. I came here for college from Virginia and stayed here because it felt like a safe place for people outside the norm. Please don’t let this deter you from coming down, visiting, working, getting educated here.” Her message to angry loners susceptible to online recruiting by ISIS and other anti-LGBT groups? “Get out of the rage bubble, this was aimed at our community but could have been aimed at anyone. We isolate ourselves and learn to hate people who aren’t like us. I don’t think this was about religion. I think this shooter got stuck in a rage bubble. And this is what happens when you don’t touch people who are different from yourself.” Another face at the Center on Monday advocating love over hate in response to the attack was Rev. Debreita Taylor of Oasis Fellowship Ministries, an LGBT-affirming ministry where “all are welcome.” She leaned against a wall in the Center, surveying the unthinkable scene, then said she’d had something of an epiphany last night. “My message is love. Period. Love. Period. There’s nothing in the word of God that faith leaders can go to that teaches hate,” she said. “It’s the simple scripture we learned as kids, John 3:16, everyone knows it, for God so loved the world. We need to learn to love. Love one another. Everyone who loves is born of God. It has no place for judgment, criticism, hate, no place for rejection or prejudice or biases.”
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‘Larger than ever’ crowds turn out for Capital Pride Celebrations continued despite parade gun scare, Sunday rain By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM
Organizers said last weekend’s Pride celebration brought out record crowds. Washington Blade photo by Adam Hall
Organizers and participants in D.C.’s Capital Pride parade and festival last weekend said the two annual events appear to have drawn more than the expected 400,000 people despite rainy weather during the festival on Sunday. Observers who have participated in the Capital Pride parade and festival in past years said they have never seen crowds as large as those that lined the 1.5-mile Capital Pride Parade route on Saturday, June 8. Many noted that the large crowds watching the parade as well as those marching were mindful of the historic occasion marking the 50th anniversary this month of the Stonewall riots in New York that are credited with starting the modern LGBT rights movement. But Capital Pride organizers and many participants in the weekend events expressed deep disappointment that organizers were forced to abruptly halt the parade about three hours after it began near Dupont Circle following reports that someone brandished a gun inside Dupont Circle. D.C. police quickly determined that the man that witnesses saw carrying what they thought was a handgun turned out to be holding an unloaded BB gun. Police learned later that the man pulled out the BB gun during an altercation with two other men who he said assaulted his wife next to the Dupont Circle fountain in an incident that had nothing to do with the parade or
the hundreds of LGBT people standing in Dupont Circle watching the parade. In what observers described as a surreal scene of pandemonium and panic, hundreds of people assembled in Dupont Circle, hearing shouts that someone had a gun, ran for their lives in every direction, according to eyewitness accounts. The fleeing crowd knocked down multiple sections of a metal security fence that police had installed around Dupont Circle for crowd control purposes earlier in the day for the parade, causing crashing sounds that some may have misinterpreted to be gunshots, intensifying the panic. In the midst of the chaos, D.C. police arrested Aftabjit ‘DJ’ Singh, 38, for the illegal possession of a BB gun among other charges. Police also arrested Melissa Duffy, 43, the woman Singh calls his wife, for allegedly assaulting a police officer after she became irate that police arrested Singh. (Visit washingtonblade.com to read an exclusive Blade interview with Singh and Duffy.) Capital Pride spokesperson Cathy Renna said Capital Pride leaders reluctantly decided to stop the remaining contingents from entering the parade route at Dupont Circle after conferring with police. Among other things, Renna said, police told Capital Pride officials they were still investigating the incident and had designated the west side of Dupont Circle
as a crime scene. Ambulances were also arriving on the scene to treat people who were injured while fleeing Dupont Circle and surrounding streets. Police said at least seven people were taken to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. “There was absolutely no way that street was going to be secured again for the parade,” said Renna. “And we would never want to create an unsafe space for anyone who was going to be part of the parade,” she said. “The board, staff and volunteers of Capital Pride gathered just to see what to do,” she said, noting that board members and staff rushed back to Dupont Circle upon learning of the incident. “And it was very clear that we needed to stop the parade immediately,” she said. Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the D.C. police LGBT Liaison Unit, said police worked closely with Capital Pride officials to assess the situation and weigh “all options,” including whether it would be possible to resume the parade. He said that based on the recommendation of police, officials from the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the city’s Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency, who were also on the scene, Capital Pride officials made the decision to end the parade for the remaining contingents that had not already traveled past Dupont Circle. Shortly after the parade started at 4:30 p.m. Renna said she walked up and down the parade route to observe parade participants, including numerous floats, and the crowds that gathered to watch it. “To me, the parade felt larger than I had ever seen,” she said. “I started at the beginning of the route. I went almost to the end and then I backtracked. I’ve never seen so many spectators on the sidelines,” she said. “It was an extraordinary number of people.” Among those marching in the parade were D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and at least 10 members of the D.C. City Council, including Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large). Also joining the parade were Council members Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), David Grosso (I-At-Large), Robert White (D-AtLarge), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), and Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7). Similar to past years, the parade’s 240 contingents this year included a wide range of LGBT and LGBT supportive advocacy groups and large and small companies and businesses. In addition to the parade, a relatively
new Pride event took place on Saturday in the increasingly popular Southwest waterfront neighborhood at the Wharf. Pride on the Pier, produced by the Washington Blade and the lesbian events promoting firm LuRE, held its second annual event from 2-9 p.m. featuring multiple DJs and a separate kid-friendly family pier filled with activities. The events culminated at 9 p.m. with a first-ever Pride fireworks display sponsored by the Blade, LuRE, and the Compass real estate company that wowed thousands of spectators along the piers and waterfront area. Organizers reported that 40,000 people turned out for the festivities between 2-9 p.m. “It was a fantastic success with thousands turning out to enjoy the beautiful weather and to celebrate Pride on the D.C. waterfront,” said Blade marking director Stephen Rutgers. “We look forward to bringing this event back next year.” Although much of Sunday afternoon, June 9, saw light to occasionally heavy rain, the turnout for the Capital Pride festival and concert on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. near the U.S. Capitol appeared to be as large as last year’s festival and concert, according to Capital Pride observers. About 300 exhibitors set up booths along Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd Street, where the main stage was located, and 7th Street. The exhibitors included a wide range of LGBT and LGBT supportive organizations and businesses, food vendors, and local D.C. and federal government agencies. Among the government agencies present were the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General, the U.S. Department of State, the CIA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees all U.S. intelligence agencies. Among the big-name entertainers that performed on the concert stage at the festival were internationally acclaimed American electronic music producer and DJ Marshmello; and fellow headliners Zara Larsson, Todrick Hall, Shea Diamond, Nina West, and Calm Scott. “We have so much Pride here in the nation’s capital,” said Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos. “All of the events that began in May proved to be successful and important for our community as we continue to commemorate 50 years since the Stonewall riots,” he said. “The incident Saturday during the parade was unfortunate and disappointing, but our community rallied, despite the weather on Sunday, to finish out the celebration on a high note,” Bos told the Blade.
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JU N E 14, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 09
Close to 1,000 turn out for D.C. Dyke March Display of Israeli flags spurs controversy By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM
Tributes on third anniversary of Orlando massacre By MICHAEL K. LAVERS MLAVERS@WASHBLADE.COM
A scene from the 2019 D.C. Dyke March. Washington Blade photo by Molly Byrom
What appeared to be between 800 and 1,000 mostly women marched through the streets of D.C. on June 7, from McPherson Square to Dupont Circle in the first Dyke March in the nation’s capital since 2007. The women marchers, many of whom wore bright yellow T-shirts bearing the words “Dyke March,” and a minority of male supporters, were greeted with cheers by many bystanders along the route of the march who emerged from shops and restaurants to watch the march. A controversial decision by march organizers to request that participants not display “nationalist” flags or symbols, including the Israeli flag or the Jewish Pride flag, which consists of a Star of David superimposed over a rainbow flag, was ignored by a number of marchers who carried those flags. A contingent of Dyke March volunteer marshals who helped D.C. police stop traffic to allow the march to cross streets along its route made no attempt to stop the relatively small number of marchers from carrying the Israeli flag or the Jewish Pride flag. Organizers said during the week prior to the march that the Jewish Pride flag closely resembles the Israeli flag and they were concerned that such flags would make Palestinian women participating in the march uncomfortable. The organizers angered some Jewish lesbian activists and others planning to join the march when they said they would make an exception to the ban on nationalist symbols and flags by allowing the Palestinian flag to be
Pride grand marshal, Pulse survivor honors victims
displayed in the march. Mary Claire Phillips, a Dyke March organizer who served as a spokesperson for the march, told the Washington Blade at McPherson Square prior to the start of the march that critics were unfairly portraying march organizers on social media as being anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic. “The Dyke March is very, very proJewish. We owe a lot of what’s going on to Jewish organizers,” Phillips said. “And it’s awful that things have been said that we don’t want Jewish marchers and Jewish dykes to join us,” she said. “But when we talk to our peers who we have been organizing with over the past few months we understand that we’re all on the same page,” Phillips said. “I don’t think it’s very unusual for a left organization to be pro-Palestinian and pro-Jewish. And I don’t think those things have to be mutually exclusive,” said Phillips, adding, “We stand by our decision to be both proJewish and pro-Palestinian.” During a rally held in Dupont Circle after the march ended there, none of the speakers mentioned the dispute over whether certain flags should be allowed to be displayed in the march. Several of the speakers talked about the issue of displacement of D.C. residents due to gentrification and the skyrocketing cost of living in the city, which Dyke March organizers said was one of the march’s’ main issues. Two speakers associated with D.C. tenant organizations said “rent strikes” were being planned in some parts of the
A Capital Pride grand marshal who lost two of his closest friends in the Pulse nightclub massacre told the Washington Blade on Sunday they continue to inspire his activism. “Drew and Juan drive everything that I do,” Brandon Wolf told the Washington Blade during an interview at the Capital Pride Festival. “I sincerely hope and believe that they would be proud because this is what they would be doing.” Wolf was with Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his partner, Juan Guerrero, when a gunman opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016. The gunman killed Leinonen, Guerrero and 47 others and left 50 people injured. The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history until a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others at a concert in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017. Wolf since the Pulse nightclub massacre has become a vocal gun control advocate. He co-founded the Dru Project, a support organization for LGBT young people named in honor of Leinonen. Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, earlier this year hired Wolf as its Central Florida Development Officer and Statewide Media Manager. “My goal has really been to elevate the work that we’ve already done and make sure Floridians see the work that we’re doing every single day and also to ensure that LGBTQ voices are always represented,” Wolf told the Blade. Wednesday marks three years since the Pulse nightclub massacre. Wolf also spoke with the Blade hours after a gun scare in Dupont Circle that police later described as an altercation between a straight couple sparked panic during the Capital Pride Parade. He said the Metropolitan Police Department and Capital Pride staff “did everything that they could without knowing a lot of what was going on.” Wolf added he saw “the same kind of panic that I’ve seen before … the same faces, the same fear, the same tears, people calling their parents, people hiding.” “What I think is really sad for me is although it’s traumatizing and painful and anxiety-ridden, it’s also not surprising … at this point at my life I kind of expect to die by shooting,” Wolf told the Blade. “It is a horrible commentary, but that’s reality that 100 Americans die every day from gun violence and at some point, I guess I just assume that one of them will be me and I know that a lot of people feel that way.” “So, I think if you ask people that were there yesterday, they probably weren’t surprised,” he added. “That’s why there was panic, that’s why there was fear because that’s people’s first response in this world … to loud noises is that something bad is happening.”
city where tenants were being forced out of their apartments due to rising rent and real estate development. Organizers didn’t disclose the route of the march until the time of the kickoff in McPherson Square, when organizers were seen talking to officers with the D.C. Police LGBT Liaison Unit. As participants marched out of McPherson Square and proceeded west on I Street, N.W., a D.C. police cruiser drove ahead of the marchers and police closed the streets ahead of the march to make way for marchers to proceed unimpeded by traffic. The march traveled along I Street to
17th Street, where it turned right and proceeded to Connecticut Avenue. It traveled north along Connecticut Avenue to Dupont Circle. Among the messages displayed on the multitude of signs carried by marchers were “Black Lives Matter,” “Dykes for Rent Strikes,” “Stop Murdering Black Trans Women,” “We Love Dyke Daughters,” “D.C. Dykes Love Trans Dykes,” and “Queer Liberation, Not Rainbow Capitalism.” One man standing on the side of the street on Connecticut Avenue held a large sign saying, “I love my Dyke Daughter! Marching Dykes stop here for water.”
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Former Log Cabin leader lobbies against Equality Act Angelo says bill ‘includes no reasonable exemptions for religious liberty’ By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM
GREGORY ANGELO said the Equality Act isn’t the right vehicle to achieve LGBT nondiscrimination protections under federal law. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
As much of Washington was preparing to celebrate Pride last week, a gay activist who formerly headed Log Cabin Republicans took it upon himself to lobby Senate Republicans on legislation seeking to ban anti-LGBT discrimination known as the Equality Act. But he was lobbying against passage of the bill, not for it. Gregory Angelo, a gay conservative who has advocated for LGBT rights but has also praised President Trump, said in an interview with the Blade the Equality Act isn’t the right vehicle to achieve long-sought LGBT non-discrimination protections under federal law. “The Equality Act includes no reasonable exemptions for religious liberty and actually moves the goalposts so far to the left that it runs counter to the types of legislation that gay Republicans have sought for decades, particularly the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” Angelo said. As it was introduced in Congress and recently approved by the U.S. House under a new Democratic majority, the Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to clarify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination. As such, the Equality Act would institute the same kind of religious exemption for anti-LGBT discrimination as currently is in place for discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and national origin. A pastor wouldn’t be penalized for declining to perform a same-sex wedding, nor would churches be penalized as a public accommodation for refusing to admit LGBT parishioners. But it does mean religious affiliated schools would face penalties for refusing
to admit LGBT students or terminating the employment of a teacher who entered into a same-sex wedding; Catholic adoption agencies could see their access to federal funds cut for denying child placement into LGBT homes; and Catholic hospitals would be required to perform gender reassignment surgery if they offer similar procedures. Further, the Equality Act would expand the definition of public accommodations under the Civil Rights Act to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, and transportation services. Under the Equality Act, Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop, would face penalties under federal law for his refusal to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. On top of all that, the Equality Act would clarify the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law intended to protect religious minorities, wouldn’t be an excuse to engage in anti-LGBT discrimination. Angelo said a few years ago during his time at Log Cabin Republicans, former Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who was considered a pro-LGBT Republican, met with the organization to discuss concerns about the narrow religious exemption in the Equality Act and “the many reasons why…the legislation was problematic.” Angelo said he and the board agreed with Dent’s conclusion. During Angelo’s tenure at Log Cabin Republicans, the organization opposed the Equality Act, calling it a cudgel to beat up vulnerable Republicans instead of a genuine means of advancing LGBT rights. Republicans, Log Cabin said, were damned if they supported the bill and damned if they didn’t. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the
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group pointed out, criticized former Rep. Bob Dold of Illinois when he became one of the few Republicans to co-sponsor the bill. But there was no real prospect of the Equality Act advancing with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress. Things have changed now with Democrats in control of the House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made passage of the bill a personal goal and the chamber approved the legislation in May just before Pride month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. With the Equality Act having momentum, Angelo said he perceived no structured opposition from gay conservatives any longer and took it upon himself to take a stand. The first order of businesses was writing an op-ed for the Washington Examiner — a piece he echoed when speaking with the Blade. “Throughout my entire career, advocating for LGBT equality, especially during the time that I was advocating among Republicans in the New York State Senate to pass marriage equality in the run up to the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision in 2013, and in the run up to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in 2015, my message and the message of gay conservative advocates around the country was the same: Passage of marriage equality would be no threat to you, your family, not your faith,” Angelo said. “And what the Equality Act does is make liars out of the lot of us.” Writing this Washington Examiner piece at a time when 30 states have either no or incomplete protections against LGBT discrimination, Angelo said he was resoundingly criticized, even hectored. One social media troll, Angelo said, told him he should kill himself. But Angelo also said he received some positive response. Subsequently, Angelo took to social media to gather signatures of other gay conservatives for a letter in opposition to the legislation. The list of more than 100 people includes Chad Felix Greene, a writer for the Federalist, former GOProud board chair Chris Barron, and David Lampo, a gay Republican who supported President Trump in the 2016 election. Angelo then delivered the missive on Friday to a legislative aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (RKy.). The two, Angelo said, had a “very encouraging conversation” in McConnell’s Capitol Hill office. “At this juncture, I’m not going to talk about personal conversations that I’ve had with Senate leadership, but I will share that
I most definitely did not leave that meeting disappointed,” Angelo said. McConnell’s office didn’t respond to a request to confirm the meeting took place, nor if any commitments were made. A McConnell spokesperson previously said the Equality Act isn’t on the legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled Senate. Angelo said he was aware he was arguing against LGBT rights during Pride month, a time when the LGBT community seeks to draw attention to the continued absence of federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, but that did “not at all” give him pause. “It’s something that I’m most definitely aware of, but the Equality Act passed when it passed and went to the Senate when it did, and I wanted to make sure that I respond immediately, and others clearly agreed that that was the right course of action,” Angelo said. Angelo isn’t the only LGBT person who spoke against the Equality Act. Julia Beck, a lesbian and former member of the Baltimore LGBTQ Commission’s Law & Policy Committee, appeared at a forum hosted by the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation to speak out against the transgender protections in the Equality Act and was an opposition witness to the legislation during a congressional hearing on the bill. As such, many observers speculate the Heritage Foundation is financially backing Beck as well as other members of the LGBT community who have expressed opposition to the LGBT rights measures. Angelo, however, said he didn’t receive compensation from the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else, and insisted he was lobbying McConnell on his own as a private citizen. “I’m not getting paid a dime to do any of this,” Angelo said. “This is just an issue that I have very strong personal beliefs about. It’s clearly an issue that other gay conservatives have very strong personal beliefs about and I’m happy to carry the mantle for it.” Meanwhile, LGBT rights advocates are pushing the Equality Act as the measure to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in the United States. Following the successful House vote, they’re trying to hold a test vote in the Senate despite Republican control of the chamber. David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, noted in response to Angelo’s initiative the widespread public support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections. CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM
Pence backs ban on Pride flags at embassies 50 House Democrats urge State Dept. to reverse policy
AMA adopts policy against anti-trans violence Calls for better data collection, law enforcement practices
By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM
By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM
Vice President MIKE PENCE supports the ban on Pride flags at U.S. embassies. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Vice President Mike Pence, who’s widely known for his notoriously anti-LGBT record, has signaled his support for a State Department policy barring the display of Pride flags on official flagpoles at U.S. embassies. In an interview Monday with Kristen Welker and Josh Lederman at NBC News, Pence reportedly said the State Department policy against Pride flags is “the right decision.” The vice president said he was aware the State Department had said the U.S. flag was the only flag that should fly on the flagpoles, and he added, “I support that,” according to NBC News. “We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” Pence is a quoted as saying. Pence reportedly added that the Trump administration had “put no restrictions” on the Pride flag on display at U.S. embassies in places other than the official flagpole. Asked what he would say to LGBT people who feel the policy is contrary to President Trump recognizing Pride month on Twitter, Pence offered a vague commitment. “As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence said. Previously, the flying of Pride flags at U.S. embassies had become common as a sign of U.S. solidarity with the LGBT community overseas. Embassies had been free to display the Pride flag on their official flagpoles during the Obama administration and the first two years of the Trump administration.
The State Department defended on Monday its policy of banning the Pride flag at U.S. embassies, asserting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo still “respects the dignity of every individual.” Meanwhile, a group of 50 House Democrats led by Rep. Grace Weng (D-N.Y.) is calling on the State Department to reverse its policy. In a letter dated June 11 to Pompeo, House Democrats say in the letter the flying of the Pride flag at U.S. embassies is more than just a symbolic gesture because “in too many countries around the world, LGBT individuals are systematically discriminated against, and receive no protection from law enforcement.” “To bar this flag from U.S. embassies is to condone the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world,” the lawmakers write. “In 2018, all requests for permission to display rainbow Pride flags were granted. In 2019, all requests for permission have been denied. This sharp pivot in the implementation of this policy is concerning and contradicts the diplomatic corps’ work to support LGBT rights overseas.” Meng, a vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said in a statement the policy “is deeply discomforting and sends the wrong message to LGBT Americans about our moral compass.” “Simple acts of solidarity, such as flying the Pride flag, demonstrate our resolve to be a beacon of hope for those who reside in hostile environments for LGBT individuals,” Weng said. “We shouldn’t backtrack on LGBT rights; we should march forward and pursue efforts that strengthen LGBT rights at home and abroad.”
Amid an ongoing struggle with anti-transgender violence, the American Medical Association approved a resolution this week to take action on the issue. The AMA House of Delegates, which is comprised of U.S. physicians and medical students, approved the new policy, Resolution 008, at its 2019 annual meeting in Chicago. The goal of the policy is to bring national attention to the issue of anti-trans violence, especially its disproportionate impact on transgender women of color. AMA board member Bobby Mukkamala said in a statement violence against transgender people is “on the rise and most victims were black transgender women.” “The number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting and better data collection by law enforcement is needed to create strategies that will prevent anti-transgender violence,” Mukkamala said. According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States in 2018. So far in 2019, at least eight transgender people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means. The new policy urges AMA members to combat anti-transgender violence in several ways: • Form partnerships with other medical organizations and stakeholders to educate members of the public, legislatures and law enforcement using verified data on hate crimes against transgender individuals and highlight the disproportionate number fatal attacks on black transgender women. • Advocate for consistent collection and reporting of data on hate crimes across all levels of law enforcement that includes demographic information on a victim’s birth sex and gender identity. • Advocate for a central law enforcement database to collect data on reported hate crimes that correctly identifies a victim’s birth sex and gender identity. • Advocate for stronger law enforcement policies regarding interactions with transgender individuals in order to prevent bias and mistreatment and increase community trust. • Advocate for local, state, and federal efforts that will increase access to mental health treatment and address the health disparities that LGBTQ individuals experience. An AMA spokesperson said the policy was proposed by William Reha, a Woodbridge, Va., based urologist and the House of Delegates adopted the policy as amended The amendment removed a policy clause calling on the AMA to issue a news release at the conclusion of the annual meeting and to publish updates in the media about the prevalence of physical and mental health conditions LGBT people face, according to a policy document. “Your reference committee recognizes that the AMA media team routinely develops press releases regarding adopted policy, and cannot control publication in outside media,” the policy document says. An AMA spokesperson said the policy was unanimously supported in committee testimony, then adopted by the full House of Delegates, but the final vote tally wasn’t recorded per practice of the association.
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O’Rourke unveils LGBT policy proposal A call for legislative action, use of executive authority By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM
YouTube CEO apologizes for ‘hurtful’ decisions But attacks on gay journalist remain ‘within community standards’ FROM STAFF REPORTS
BETO O’ROURKE has unveiled his 2020 LGBT agenda. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Controversy erupted when YouTube decided that racist, anti-LGBT attacks against Vox Media’s gay Latino journalist CARLOS MAZA were within its guidelines. Photo by Jared Holt; courtesy of Facebook
Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke made a bid for LGBT support Wednesday with a policy plan that seeks to advance LGBT rights and takes shots at the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine them. After more than two years of reversals on LGBT rights under President Trump, O’Rourke proposes a way forward that emphasizes both use of executive authority and a call for legislative action. “LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of activists and advocates — but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws and the current administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “We must ensure all Americans are treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.” The plan breaks down the O’Rourke proposal to advance LGBT rights into three categories: Executive authority, calls for legislative action and strengthening LGBT rights globally. Through executive action, O’Rourke pledges to reverse Trump’s transgender military ban; assert laws barring sex discrimination cover anti-LGBT discrimination and undo reversals to Obamacare regulations ensuring transgender people have access to transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery. Taking special note of ongoing violence against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, O’Rourke says he’ll direct the Justice Department to investigate crimes against transgender people and ensure law enforcement
agencies have adequate training “related to implicit bias, use of force and accurately reporting the gender of victims.” O’Rourke also proposes through executive action tasking the Federal Trade Commission with tackling false advertising that promotes widely discredited conversion therapy; creating an interagency task force on LGBT non-discrimination; and adding LGBT questions to the U.S. Census. Under the section devoted to his legislative agenda, O’Rourke highlights the Equality Act to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination, ensuring LGBT people have access to health care through a universal health care system and LGBT-inclusive reform of the criminal justice system. Finally, in the section devoted to international LGBT rights, O’Rourke pledges to improve the process for LGBT asylum seekers, secure a global treaty explicitly protecting LGBT people from persecution and reestablish the U.S. special envoy for LGBT rights abroad. The proposal is consistent with O’Rourke’s tenure as a member of Congress, when he supported LGBT rights during each of his three terms representing Texas’ 16th congressional district, as well as his remarks at a recent town hall in Alexandria, Va., where he spoke in favor of the Equality Act. O’Rourke is competing for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election amid a sea of other Democrats who have pledged to advance LGBT rights, including former Vice President Joseph Biden, who pledged to make the Equality Act his No. 1 priority, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who similarly unveiled a comprehensive LGBT plan.
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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the LGBTQ community at a tech conference this week for decisions that she acknowledged were “very hurtful to the LGBTQ community.” But an offensive anti-LGBT conservative channel will remain up. Controversy erupted when YouTube decided that racist anti-LGBTQ attacks against Vox Media’s gay Latino journalist Carlos Maza by rightwing commentator Steven Crowder were “within the guidelines of its community standards.” “I’m really, personally very sorry,” Wojcicki said at Recode’s annual #CodeCon in Scottsdale, Ariz., when pressed by Axios trans journalist Ina Fried, The Verge reported. “YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional. … As a company we really want to support this community. It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent. If we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.” The issue is context, Wojcicki said, citing rap videos with offensive language as an example. But the issue goes deeper than words, Maza, co-producer and co-host of Vox Media’s Strikethrough channel, told the Los Angeles Blade. For nearly two years, Maza says he’s been subjected to persistent harmful, derisive, homophobic and racist videos from Crowder and hateful comments from Crowder’s fans. Maza produced and posted a compilation video of the smears that he sent to @TeamYouTube “support” asserting that Crowder violated the site’s hate-speech policies. After YouTube reviewed the clips, the team told Maza that, “while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.” YouTube announced a review of its harassment and hate speech policies and said it was demonetizing Crowder’s “Louder with Crowder” channel, which has more than 3.8 million subscribers. Crowder claimed in a follow-up video that his channel never produced revenue because of the nature of its contents. However, he advertises T-shirts that read “Socialism is for F*gs.” “Demonetizing doesn’t work,” Maza tweeted in response to YouTube’s decision. “Abusers use it as proof they’re being ‘discriminated’ against. Then they make millions off of selling merch, doing speaking gigs, and getting their followers to support them on Patreon. The ad revenue isn’t the problem. It’s the platform.” Wojcicki told Recode that the YouTube team made the correct decision. “Steven Crowder has a lot of videos, and it took some time for us to look at that and understand it in the context of the video because context really, really matters,” The Verge reported. “We looked at a large number of these videos and we decided they were not violative of our harassment policies.” Maza responded to Wojcicki’s comments in a tweet Tuesday evening. “You’ve created a place where queer people have to pay an extra price — tolerating abuse — just to speak up,” he wrote.
‘Pose’s’ Indya Moore has altercation with Trump supporter
‘Queer Eye’ star comes out as non-binary
Actress INDYA MOORE seen here in a screenshot was shoved by a Trump supporter.
“Pose” star Indya Moore ended up in a physical altercation with a Trump supporter holding a “Re-elect Donald Trump, Keep America Great, 2020” sign across from Trump Tower in New York City on Friday. Dion Cini was holding the sign during a demonstration with other Trump supporters. In a video that captures the conflict, Moore is seen stepping on Cini’s sign. Cini tries to take the sign away from Moore and shoves the transgender actress a couple of times. A couple of other people intervene to stop Cini’s attempts before police end the scuffle. “Well, you guys aren’t fans of our show, and we don’t want you to be fans of our show,” Moore can be heard saying to Cini. The police tell Moore, “You could’ve died for Trump. He could’ve stabbed you.” Moore seemed to address the situation later on Twitter writing, “Thank you for loving my community, fighting for us, supporting us fight for ourselves and others who are experiencing an increase of oppression and violence under this current administration.” MARIAH COOPER
Straight Oklahoma man decorates truck for Pride Cody Barlow, a straight man from the
small town of Hulbert, Okla., decided to show his support for LGBTQ pride by decking out his truck’s tailgate with a rainbow. “Not all country boys are bigots — Happy Pride month,” the message reads. Barlow posted a photo of his truck on Facebook with a message of support for the LGBTQ community. “This is important to me, not only because I have family and friends that are LGBTQ+, but also because countless people have dealt with hatred and judgement simply for who they are, and/or who they love, for far too long. Obviously doing this isn’t going to change the minds of those who are intolerant, but hopefully it can help drown out the hatred with love,” Barlow writes. “I live in a rural area in Oklahoma, surrounded by small towns in every direction, and I’m sure this is not a very welcome message around here, but this is going to be displayed on my truck for the entire month of June in support of pride month.” He continued: “I don’t think it is necessary to say, but for all intents and purposes I am a straight man that grew up here in Oklahoma. I love taking my truck mudding, going fishing, swimming at the lake, floating the river, and several other ‘country’ activities. It doesn’t matter what negativity I receive for supporting this. I hope that this can help even the slightest bit to encourage and support at least one person that needs it.” Barlow’s post has gone viral with more than 125,000 likes and 75,000 shares. MARIAH COOPER
‘The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary,’ said JONATHAN VAN NESS.
Screenshot via YouTube
“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness has come out as non-binary and gender non-conforming. In an interview with Out, the grooming and skincare expert opened up about his gender identity. “The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary,” Van Ness, who uses male pronouns, says. “I’m gender non-conforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it.” Van Ness reveals that although he just recently discovered a label for his identity, it’s been a part of who he is since he was a child. “Growing up, I definitely put on every nail polish, every heel, every scarf,” Van Ness says. As a result, he dealt with “really femme-shamey, gender-shamey [comments]” and learned to avoid it by doing it “before the sun came up or after the sun came down, like, in the basement and it needed to be something I couldn’t wear to school — like when I would do it, it had to be behind closed doors.” Now, Van Ness is ready to break down gender stereotypes. “I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to. I always used to think, ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves … no matter how they present is really important and exciting,” Van Ness says. MARIAH COOPER
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Report highlights status of LGBT rights in U.S. territories
San Juan Mayor Carmen YULÍN CRUZ, center, on May 14, spoke at a ceremony that marked the official opening of Puerto Rico’s first center for LGBT elders. A report that Lambda Legal and the Movement Advancement Project released on June 11, shows Puerto Rico has made more strides on LGBT rights than any of the five U.S. territories surveyed. Photo courtesy of Wilfred Labiosa
Lambda Legal and the Movement Advancement Project on Tuesday released a new report that documents the status of LGBT rights in five U.S. territories. The report ranks Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands on a variety of issues that include relationship recognition, nondiscrimination laws and whether transgender people can change the gender on their identity documents. The report also ranks the territories on health care and criminal justice policies. Same-sex couples can legally marry in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Puerto Rico has the highest ranking of the five territories with a 21.75 out of a possible 40.5 points. The U.S. commonwealth bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Puerto Rico’s hate crimes and anti-bullying laws are also LGBT-inclusive and trans people can legally change the gender on their birth certificates and other ID documents. The report places Puerto Rico in the “high” category along with 17 states and D.C., even though activists with whom the Blade has spoken maintain LGBT Puerto Ricans became even more vulnerable to violence and discrimination after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. The report also ranks the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa in the “low” category. Guam has an overall tally of seven out of 40.5 points. The island bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Guam’s anti-bullying laws also cover LGBT students. The Virgin Islands has an overall tally of 5.5 out of 40.5 points. The territory allows second-parent adoption for same-sex couples. The Virgin Islands’ hate crimes and anti-bullying laws
include sexual orientation and gender identity. The territory also bans discrimination against LGBT government employees. American Samoa has an overall tally of 1.5 out of 40.5 points. The Northern Mariana Islands, which has an overall tally of .5 out of 40.5 points, bans discrimination against government employees based on sexual orientation. “There is progress happening in territories and there is fertile ground for more progress to happen,” MAP Policy Research Director Naomi Goldberg told the Blade on June 7 during a telephone interview. “There is an investment that we need to be making to further that progress on the ground by helping folks on the ground.” The report states more than 3.5 million people live in the five territories, with the vast majority of them living in Puerto Rico. It also notes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are part of the federal court system. “The political status and the relationship within the U.S. filters into any constitutional case about rights in the territories,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, told the Blade last week during a telephone interview. “The judges are mindful of that.” This ambiguity came into sharp focus during the fight to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples throughout the U.S. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands both fall under the jurisdiction of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit in October 2014 struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. The first same-sex couple legally married in Guam on June 9, 2015, after a federal judge struck down the island’s law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The government of the Northern Mariana Islands only allowed same-sex couples to marry after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26,
2015, issued its ruling in the Obergefell case. Then-Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp on July 9, 2015, signed an executive order that required officials to allow samesex couples to legally marry. Gays and lesbians have been able to tie the knot in Puerto Rico since July 17, 2015. U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-
Giménez on March 8, 2016, said the ruling in the Obergefell case does not apply to Puerto Rico because it is not a state, even though the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously declared the island’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The 1st Circuit and a federal judge later upheld their previous decisions. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Botswana court decriminalizes homosexuality Botswana’s High Court this week issued a ruling that decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in the African country. The Associated Press reported the court unanimously ruled sections of the Batswana penal code that criminalized homosexuality with up to seven years in prison were unconstitutional. Activists were inside the courtroom when the three judges issued their ruling. “It has taken a long time for our community to be where it is,” said Anna MmolaiChalmers, chief executive officer of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo), a Batswana LGBTI advocacy group, in a press release. “This incredibly life-changing decision, although it does not right all the wrongs done to individual members of the LGBT community, is a step towards restoring our dignity as human beings.” Advocacy groups in the U.S. and around the world also praised the ruling. “Today’s historic decision by Botswana’s High Court puts an end to a law that discriminated against and violated the most fundamental human rights of an entire group of people,” said Human Rights Campaign Director of Global Partnerships Jean Freedberg in a statement. Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany who has been tapped to lead a Trump administration initiative that urges countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations, also praised the ruling. “The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is clear that criminalizing homosexuality is in direct violation of U.N. principles,” tweeted Grenell after the court announced its decision. “This is good news.” The Botswana High Court issued its ruling less than a month after Kenya’s High Court upheld the constitutionality of the country’s colonial-era sodomy law. Angola, Mozambiqueand São Tomé and Principe are among the African countries that have decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in recent years. “For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against by the very same laws that are supposed to protect them,” said Amnesty International Deputy Director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda on Tuesday. “This court decision marks an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Puerto Rico House approves ‘religious freedom’ bill The Puerto Rico House of Representatives this week approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. El Nuevo Día, a Puerto Rican newspaper, reported Rep. María Milagros Charbonier of the New Progressive Party, a pro-statehood party that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló chairs, said the bill “is not a discriminatory law.” “It protects against discrimination,” said Charbonier. Rosselló in April announced the introduction of the religious freedom bill. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is running for governor, in a tweet described the measure’s passage as “shameful.” U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also criticized the bill. “Religious freedom cannot be used as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community,” tweeted Warren. “Everyone deserves to live and love freely — no exceptions.” The religious freedom bill’s passage coincides with the release of a new report from Lambda Legal and the Movement Advancement Project that indicates Puerto Rico has made the most progress on LGBT rights than four other U.S. territories surveyed. Activists in Puerto Rico with whom the Washington Blade has spoken maintain LGBT Puerto Ricans are even more vulnerable to discrimination and violence since Hurricane Maria devastated the island on Sept. 20, 2017. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
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Gov. JARED POLIS has signed multiple bills amending the state’s marijuana laws. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Colo. guv signs marijuana reform measures DENVER — Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has signed multiple bills into law amending the state’s marijuana laws. House Bill 1234 establishes regulations for the delivery of cannabis products from state-licensed retailers. Under the plan, deliveries are limited to one per day per household, and are only permitted in municipalities that explicitly allow for such activities. Deliveries to college campuses are prohibited. The delivery of medical cannabis products will begin on Jan. 2, 2020, while the delivery of retail cannabis products will begin on Jan. 2, 2021. House Bill 1230 establishes regulations for the licensing of “marijuana hospitality spaces.” Under the measure, licensed dispensaries and retailers could apply for on-site consumption permits. Hotels, restaurants and other private business would also be permitted to apply for similar licensing. At indoor facilities, marijuana smoking will be permitted unless prohibited by local rules. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020. Colorado is only the second state to regulate social use marijuana spaces. House Bill 1263 reduces criminal penalties for the possession of large quantities of cannabis. It amends penalties for the possession of over six ounces of marijuana and/or three ounces of marijuana concentrate from a level 4 felony to level 1 misdemeanor. It also mandates that police may not arrest a defendant for violations involving the possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis. The measure further reduces penalties for the lowlevel possession of other controlled substances from felonies to misdemeanors. The new penalties take effect on March 1, 2020.
Illinois poised to become 11th state to legalize adult pot SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — House and Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation to the governor legalizing the adult use of cannabis and regulating its commercial production and retail sale. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzer is anticipated to sign the H E A LT H • JU NE 14, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLADE . COM • 19
measure into law imminently. Under the proposal, Illinois residents who are 21 or older may legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, while those visiting from out-of-state may legally possess half that amount. Those patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis access program will be permitted for the first time to legally home cultivate up to five marijuana plants. Non-patients face civil fines of no more than $200 for growing personal use quantities of cannabis. Under current law, minor marijuana cultivation offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison and a $2,500 fine. The bill also facilitates the expedited expungement of lowlevel minor convictions, while also establishing a process to vacate more serious offenses. Under the plan, licensed medical dispensaries will have the first opportunity to engage in adult-use marijuana sales. New applicants will be able to access low-interest loans in order to defray start-up costs. Once signed, the new law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize adult use marijuana possession. It is only the second state to legalize marijuana use via legislative action (rather than by voter initiative) and it is the first state to legislatively regulate cannabis sales.
N.J. to expand number of licensed dispensaries TRENTON, N.J. — Representatives of the state Department of Health announced this week that regulators intend to license up to 108 additional medical cannabis facilities over the coming months. Up to half of the new facilities will operate as dispensaries while others will operate as cultivators and manufacturers. Prior to this week’s announcement, regulators had capped the total number of available dispensaries in the state to no more than twelve. The agency acknowledged in a statement, “Due to the growing patient population served by the Medicinal Marijuana Program over the course of the 2018 and 2019, and the projected future expansion outlined in the Department’s Biennial Report, the Department has determined that additional ATCs are necessary to meet the needs of the population of qualified patients.” Over 47,500 patients are registered to access medical marijuana under the state’s program. Separate legislation (Assembly Bill 10) to further amend and expand the state’s medical cannabis law is expected to be advanced to the Governor next week. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.
Varied findings in study of gay men, biomarkers
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NEW YORK — A new study of gay men and various biomarkers led researchers to conclude that there are multiple distinct biodevelopmental pathways influencing gay sexual orientation. The results were published in the journal PNAS and reported on by Newsweek. Scientists have found links between sexual orientation in men and various biological mechanisms before. Past studies have suggested signs of how men’s immune systems work, as well as hormones and genes, could be associated with sexual orientation. These include not being right-handed (which evidence suggests is more common in gay than heterosexual men); same-sex attraction running in the family; and fraternal birth order. This is the idea that the more older brothers a man has from the same mother, the more likely he is to be gay, Newsweek reports. For the new study, researchers investigated whether these categories, which they described as biomarkers, are found in the same people or spread across subgroups of gay men. They carried out a statistical analysis using data on both gay and straight men, Newsweek reports. A total of 827 men over 18 were recruited via Facebook for the study. The participants reported the sexual orientation they identified with, and answered questions on their sexual attraction to members of the same and opposite sex. They also detailed their fraternal birth order, their dominant writing hand or hands, how many gay or bisexual relatives they had in their family and whether they were gender-conforming, Newsweek reports.
New advice for resuming gay sex after cancer LONDON — U.K. doctors are getting more specific about how long gay men should wait to resume sex after treatment for prostate cancer, the BBC reports. Previously, the general advice was to resume as soon as possible to “help preserve erectile function,” however new evidence based on the opinions of 15 clinical oncologists and 11 urological surgeons reveals there is additional concern such as partner exposure to radiation and bleeding, pain or increased
risk of infection, the BBC reports. The issue has been “glossed over” in some medical treatment advice, doctors told the BBC. “This guidance will be invaluable to clinicians and people receiving treatment for prostate cancer,” said Dr. John Burton, from Edinburgh Cancer Centre, and vicepresident of oncology, according to the BBC. “It is long overdue and addresses an inequality in the level of information available to patients.” He said it could also have an impact around the world for cancer patients, the BBC reports. How long should men abstain from receiving anal sex? • Before a PSA blood test — one week as it may lead to an inaccurate result • Following a transrectal biopsy (TRUS) — two weeks; may cause bleeding, pain or increase the risk of infection • Following a transperineal biopsy — one week to allow bruising to settle and reduce painful intercourse • Following a radical prostatectomy — six weeks; may cause bleeding, pain and increase the risk of urinary incontinence • After external beam radiotherapy — two months; could make acute side effects worse, be painful or result in long-term complications such as rectal bleeding • After permanent seed brachytherapy, where radioactive seeds are inserted into the prostate to kill cancer — six months to minimize radiation exposure to sexual partner, the BBC reports.
Medical care lacking post cancer for LGBT people BOSTON — LGBT people, especially women, have poor access to medical care after surviving cancer and it can negatively impact their quality of life, a new study out of the Boston University School of Public Health and published in the medical journal Cancer shows. The Boston Herald reported the news. More than 42 percent of lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors are likely to have poor access to health care in comparison to 28 percent of their straight counterparts, according to the report, because sexual minority women are less likely to have health insurance or a personal physician. Those deficits increase the risk of poor mental and physical health, the Herald reports. Ulrike Boehmer, an associate professor at Boston University and the main author of the study, said lack of access to health care for sexual minority cancer survivors could lead to shorter survival time or undetected recurrence. “What would need to be done here is really put policies into place that specifically address sexual minority cancer survivors,” Boehmer told the Boston Herald.
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is a regular contributor to the Blade and winner of the 2014 Stonewall Chapbook competition.
(@briangaither) is a gay activist and writer who lives in Maryland.
is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
VI E WPO I NT • JU NE 14, 2019 • WA SHINGTON B L A DE . COM • 23
RICHARD J. ROSENDALL
is a writer and activist. Reach him at email@example.com.
(@briangaither) is a gay activist and writer who lives in Maryland.
is a regular contributor to the Blade and winner of the 2014 Stonewall Chapbook competition.
(@briangaither) is a gay activist and writer who lives in Maryland.
Proud to keep Judy A corporate breakup Garland’s legacy alive worthy of YouTube Still an icon, 50 years after her death A few years ago on Christmas Eve, my family and I watched “Meet Me in St. Louis,” the vibrant, charming 1944 musical starring Judy Garland, on TV. “Play it again!” my four-year-old cousin said as the movie ended. Pointing to Garland, she said, “I want to hear the Happy Lady again!” I’ve been thinking about Garland recently. I’m wishing her happy birthday as I write! (She was born on June 10, 1922.) Later this month, I’ll raise a glass in her honor on the day of her death. (Garland died on June 22, 1969.) There have been many stars and popular entertainers. But few have been as beloved or legendary as Garland. Fifty years after her death, she remains iconic, especially to the queer community. Even in the age of Lady Gaga, Garland is still on the radar. Rufus Wainwright has recreated Garland’s fabulous 1961 Carnegie Hall concert “Judy.” A biopic starring Renee Zellweger about Garland’s last days, will be released in September. Whether you’re eight or 80, queer or straight, you’ve likely been bewitched by “The Wizard of Oz” or shed tears over “A Star is Born.” When I was a kid, my Dad would wake me up to watch Garland talk to Jack Paar on TV. “She’s the greatest there’s ever been,” my father would say, “you can’t stop watching her even when she’s just talking.” Knowing what we know about Garland’s personal problems – from bad marriages to illnesses to struggles with drug addiction – it can be too easy to see her only as a tragic ﬁgure, to forget how incredibly talented she was and how much she accomplished in her short life. “Judy had a prescription drug problem. She worked for years but had nothing to show for it in her 40s,” John Fricke, author of the “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic,” told me in a phone interview. But as her daughter Lorna Luff has said,
tragic things happened to her mom, but her mother wasn’t a tragedy, Fricke said. In addition to making records and performing on TV, Garland made 34 ﬁlms. Her Emmy-nominated TV series “The Judy Garland Show” ran from 1963-1964. She received two Grammy Awards for her album “Judy at Carnegie Hall” and a special Tony Award for her long-running concert at the Palace Theatre in New York. She was awarded a special Academy Juvenile Award, nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for “A Star is Born” and nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Judgment at Nuremberg.” “Across the four decades of her career, Judy Garland enjoyed astounding levels of accomplishment in every entertainment medium,” Fricke writes in his invaluable book “Judy: A Legendary Film Career.” “These achievements have since proved to be joyously timeless,” he adds. Though Garland is renowned for her performances in concerts and movie musicals, she is also a talented dramatic actress. Recently, I watched “The Clock,” released in 1945 near the end of World War II, starring Garland and Robert Walker. It’s the story of how Joe (Walker), a soldier on leave from the war, and Alice (Garland), an ofﬁce worker, accidentally meet, fall in love and marry in New York. There’s no singing. Yet, I found myself totally believing Garland was Alice, the young woman who must send her husband back to the war. Garland was a great comedian and clown, Fricke said. Lucille Ball told him that Garland was the funniest woman in Hollywood. “‘She made me look like a mortician,’ Lucy said,” Fricke recalled. “I am incredibly grateful to the gay community for keeping my mom’s legacy alive,” Lorna Luff, an adviser to the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, told NPR. In this season of Pride, we are proud, Judy, to help keep your legacy alive and to have you as part of our history.
Company prizes homophobic speech over its LGBTQ users God bless the marketer who discovered that Pride season, lying halfway between one Christmas and the next, on the calendar between Easter and Halloween, had the potential to be a retail bonanza. Want rainbowsoled Adidas to match your rainbow-banded Apple watch? You’re in luck! Looking for Listerine in a rainbow bottle? Aisle Six. Need a rainbow tee for the parade? Find it at Target. Wherever a brand can put a rainbow in June, even on its logo, it’ll do it; and isn’t it wonderful? Duh! Heart-eyes emoji. Rainbow ﬂag emoji. To ﬁnd ourselves at the center of the country’s consumer culture, if only for a month, is an unrivaled sign of afﬁrmation. It’s almost as satisfying as seeing a queer couple in a print ad for IKEA or a TV commercial with gay dads feeding their son Campbell’s soup. After decades of struggling to be visible and to gain social acceptance, we’ve now been rewarded with an explosion of rainbows in banks, shops, restaurants, and online proﬁles. It feels like progress, and it is. In America you know you’ve arrived when you’ve caught the attention of the marketers. But it’s important to remember that behind the rainbow packaging and the market-tested ads are corporations built to serve the bottom line. Their marketing teams, whose job it is to convince us to spend money, have compiled reams of data about the websites we’ve visited, the products we’ve purchased, the restaurants we’ve frequented, and the vacations we’ve taken. They’ve convened focus groups in order to align their sales pitches to our motivations, hopes, and ambitions. They’ve selected actors for their ads who look the way we want and scripted them to sound like us. By the time Pride arrives they know us as well as we know ourselves, and they’re there for us with all manner of goods and services purpose-built for our demographic. Of course we know what they’re doing, and it’s all good. We love the attention. They love the revenue. For those few weeks between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, even as our rainbow-mongering summer ﬂings are already ﬂirting with Thanksgiving, it’s OK for us to pretend it’s a real relationship. However, we must remain mindful during
Pride month that the beneﬁts of widespread visibility coming from corporate investments in LGBTQ marketing are often matched by the consequences of decisions some companies continue to make as political, or even merely economic, actors. We understood this when we dumped Chickﬁl-A, with its tasty wafﬂe fries, after learning its proﬁts went to support causes antagonistic to LGBTQ equality. And when the CEO of Barilla Pasta simply expressed he wasn’t ready for same-sex marriage, we ditched that carb until the company came around. But this year, what are we to do about YouTube who’s been cheating on us with a homophobe? Last week, in response to an ongoing controversy between Carlos Maza, the openly gay producer of Vox’s video series Strikethrough, and conservative YouTube personality, Steven Crowder, the company’s management effectively ratiﬁed the use of YouTube’s platform as a vehicle for propagating homophobic speech and anti-gay slurs. In a public statement, the company wrote of its policies on harassment and hate speech, “To be clear, using racial, homophobic, or sexist epithets on their own would not necessarily violate either of these policies.” Oh, really? Well, then we need to be clear about something too. Content is at the heart of YouTube’s business model; and by its own admission keeping homophobic content on the site is important to the company’s business. Although YouTube’s LGBTQ creators have criticized the decision, LGBTQ employees of its parent company, Google, have opposed it, and activists in San Francisco want to ban Google from this year’s Pride Parade, the company still feels some homophobic content is only just “potentially offensive” and might be “valuable speech” depending on the context. Right now, the company is setting the terms of our relationship, and it’s not interested in what we think. If it continues to care about its homophobic content more than it cares about us, we should get ready for what might be a really messy end-of-summer break-up. Don’t worry, though. It’s not about us. It’s about YouTube.
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RICHARD J. ROSENDALL
is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
is a writer and activist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ghosts of rebellion haunt Pride Revelry prevails despite disruptions It was a balmy Saturday morning for Capital Pride. Friends and I sipped our coffee on the Trio patio and watched preparations for the parade, including volunteers spraypainting the 17th Street crosswalks in rainbow colors. Pride on the Pier began in the afternoon at the Southwest waterfront, with ﬁreworks in the evening uninterrupted by a presidential address. A controversy arose concerning the June 7 DC Dyke March, in which the Israeli ﬂag and the rainbow ﬂag with a Star of David superimposed were banned as symbols of violent nationalism, while the Palestinian ﬂag was deemed OK. This decision by the organizers was condemned by many otherwise friendly groups. (I regard the West Bank occupation as illegitimate, but Hamas has its own crimes. Selective demonization is no better coming from the left than from the right.) At the event, some women displayed the banned ﬂags and no one stopped them. Speaking of “dykes” (a term I don’t generally use), one named Donna friended me on Facebook, remembering me from the early ‘80s when I hung out on Saturday nights at the old Rogue at 9th and Pennsylvania, N.W. I loved the eclectic crowd that attended the drag shows there. Donna and I happily traded memories of long-vanished friends. The youngsters streaming up and down the street hardly want to hear about 10 years ago, much less 39. The invisibility that comes with age in a youth-oriented culture has its advantages. You can dispense with efforts to recapture youth and revel in the simple joy of a summer day, as I do. Another Pride controversy concerns efforts to ban police and corporate sponsors. Another year, another band of bossy radicals with trendy prohibitions scampering like lemmings off a cliff, all revolutionary talk and no productive action. Pride month began for me on June 1 with DC Latinx Pride, which was held at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. All went well until emcee and Latinx Pride founder José Gutierrez invited Lt. Brett Parson of the Metropolitan Police to speak. Brett is openly gay, speaks Spanish, and leads the department’s Special Liaison Branch that supports often-underserved communities. A woman in the back started
shouting, demanding that he leave. Despite his being a longtime ally, she treated him like one of the thuggish cops at Stonewall. He carried on despite her rudeness. The fetish for banning is tied to a cult of fragility that regards police as monolithically evil, time as frozen in 1969, and facts as subject to whim. Decades of reform efforts are dismissed. Abusiveness and indignation are poor substitutes for reason and argument. Diversity includes diverse opinions. Shouting someone down may feel good, but accomplishes approximately as much as a losing chess player overturning the board. It is fashionable among some to use “white” and “cis” as epithets. This illustrates the politics of subtraction. Those on the receiving end just walk away, their minds unchanged. The people wielding such epithets deserve to be locked in a room with the “Straight Pride” organizers in Boston who chose provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos as grand marshal. Cheers rise from the street below my window. Our celebrations are a victory in themselves. On Friday evening, a day before the main parade, the Dyke March went smoothly, complete with radical slogans and the old Lesbian Avengers logo of a bomb with a lit fuse. The organizers hadn’t applied for a permit and didn’t announce the march route until shortly before they set off. Who responded calmly and professionally and cleared the streets ahead of them for their safety? Metropolitan Police Department ofﬁcers, of course. On Saturday evening, when minor injuries resulted from panic following false reports of a shooting at Dupont Circle, it was again police who responded quickly and calmed the situation. Still, I think of those who ﬂed in terror, running into buildings and banging on doors to escape the perceived threat, which was all too reasonable given America’s recent history. Unﬁnished business calls us. It requires that we resist self-absorption and reach respectfully and creatively across our differences. The large, benign crowds at Pride, like so many we have formed before, give cause for hope. Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.
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Think twice before attacking Pelosi Trust the speaker’s judgment on impeachment The idea that President Trump should be impeached is appealing to many. After all, he is a scumbag with zero ethics who doesn’t know the meaning of the word integrity. He has lied to the American people and is hurting our country and making the world a more dangerous place. So, yes, let’s move to impeach seems to be a rational thing to say. But impeachment is more than ﬁnding the votes in the House of Representatives to pass articles of impeachment. That has been done twice before in our history. The House has voted articles of impeachment for two previous presidents: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. I believe the House could do it again for Trump. But let us not forget in those previous cases the Senate refused to convict and acquitted them both and they continued to serve as president. In the wake of the House voting to approve two articles of impeachment for Clinton his approval rating in polls went up by 10 percent. So there is a political reason to consider if voting to impeach Trump would do the same for him. Would the public at large, not just Democrats, feel Trump’s crimes are much more serious or would impeachment generate feelings among a large bloc of voters that Congress is only acting for political reasons. Then one must consider if Democrats could approve articles of impeachment with the current make-up of the Senate it is almost a guarantee the president would be acquitted. We know for certain if that happened he would stand in the Rose Garden with every Republican member of Congress arrayed behind him and declare, “Once again I have been found innocent.” The question that must plague Nancy Pelosi, who I believe personally would like to see him impeached, is whether that acquittal and the campaign after it would see the Democrats once again lose the House of Representatives in 2020 when Trump is on the ballot. Will those Democrats who won their seats in 2018 in districts Trump won in 2016 be vulnerable? Many won their seats by small margins. That is the conundrum Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing. While her heart may be in one place she has a greater responsibility
to both the Democratic Party and the nation than simply going with what her heart wants. I am glad she is there to do that trusting her gut when it comes to politics. It’s time for all Democrats to recognize what Pelosi knows and what her responsibility as Speaker is to her members, all her members. Those who helped Democrats take back the House like Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th District, a conservative District where Trump is not yet a bad word; and Conor Lamb who won in Pennsylvania’s 17th or Susie Lee in Nevada’s 3rd. On June 7, the New York Times updated its list on where the House stands on impeachment. It found at that time 60 supported it, 106 were against or saying not now or undecided and 267 hadn’t responded. It seems clear after the Muller report came out and then when Mueller made his eightminute goodbye speech as he left the Justice Department, calls for impeachment have continued to grow. But those calls are far from overwhelming at this point and the political problems are immense. Those Democrats in moderate or conservative Districts won not by bashing Trump but campaigning on issues like healthcare, education and jobs. They were able to convince many working class voters Trump’s claimed economic gains were not trickling down to them.. Pelosi understands while impeachment sounds good just as important if not more so for these Democrats in the moderate and conservative Districts is passing legislation on ﬁxing the Affordable Care Act, including guaranteeing cheaper drug prices, and ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance at affordable prices. They need to show their constituents they are ﬁghting to lower the cost of college and ﬁnding a more responsible way to deal with college loans and rebuilding our infrastructure. Pelosi is working with her caucus to build a platform of legislation this House has passed so our presidential candidate, whoever he/she is, can say this is what will get done if Democrats take back the White House and the Senate. But it won’t happen if at the same time we end up losing the House again.
“A N E X C E P T I O N A L PRODUCTION OF A P E R F EC T M U S I CA L” —The New York Times
is a disability advocate, an awardwinning journalist, the prize-winning author of ‘Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams,’ and the spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Learn more at belocipriani.com.
People with disabilities battle forced intimacy, ableism ‘We have a long way to go before Pride events are accessible’
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It’s a sad truth that when it comes to disability etiquette and norms, many people and organizations fall short on the awareness scale. And perhaps it’s this very lack of understanding that pushes ablebodied individuals to constantly ask people with disabilities intimate questions about their conditions, no matter the place, time or circumstance. For Mia Mingus, who had polio as an infant, and has had her share of inquiries about her physical disability from the public, humor has been a way to deal with all the questioning. She tells people: “I fell out of an airplane” or “I was attacked by a tiger.” But all laughs aside, the 38-year-old queer writer and community educator from Oakland shares that her sense of safety is probably the biggest factor in dictating how she deals with the questioning. “I am constantly assessing my environment, the people around me, and the relationships I have to them, when navigating any kind of oppression or threat of violence. For example,” she continues, “for the ever-persistent, ‘what’s wrong with you?,’ I often reply, ‘nothing, what is wrong with you?’ Or, sometimes I just say, ‘I have a disability,’ and end it there. These are all when I am in situations where it is safe enough for me to do so, because often times it is not safe.” Mingus explains that able-bodied people can feel entitled to the time and attention of people with disabilities, and if they don’t receive it, they can get angry or even violent. She says, “Similarly to the ways in which men and masculine people feel entitled to women, femmes and feminine people’s time, attention, and labor, when we say ‘no’ or do not comply, there are serious consequences we may face.”
Whether intentional or not, Mingus points out forced intimacy dehumanizes people with disabilities. It helps to normalize ableism — the system of oppression that gives people superiority based on physical and mental ability. “Ableism created and depends on the binary of ‘able-bodied’ and ‘disabled.’ Ableism is connected to, and mutually dependent with, other forms of oppression and violence,” says Mingus. In the LGBTQ community, Mingus believes that ableism is palpable and contributes to the exclusion of people with disabilities, especially at Pride events. “I think we have a long way to go before Pride events are accessible, because it is not only the logistical access, which definitely has a long way to go, but it is also the culture of ableism as well,” she says. To combat forced intimacy and ableism, Mingus suggests people explore their ablebodied privilege. She says, “For starters, abled queer people can do their own work to learn about and understand disability, ableism, access and, most importantly, their abled privilege and how it connects to heterosexism, the gender binary, homophobia, transphobia, and trans misogyny.” “At this point,” Mingus adds, “there are countless resources for those who are interested in learning. There are activists you can follow on social media, who routinely share educational resources, articles and posts. There are also queer and/or other social justice groups that they can find that have not only created material on this, but also have incorporated changes into their work.” You can learn more about Mia Mingus’ work on her website at leavingevidence. wordpress.com.
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German-born, L.A.-based pop princess Kim Petras, 26, is famous for a string of viral hits and videos such as “Heartbeat,” “I Don’t Want It At All,” “Faded” and “Heart to Break” that have been streamed on Spotify more than 16 million times. Her manager, Larry Rudolph, has bona fide pop cred having managed the careers of Britney Spears, Miley Crus and 5th Harmony. She was one of four young artists chosen for Spotify’s Rise program in 2017 for emerging pop “superstars,” which sent her song to No. 1 on the company’s Global Viral Chart. She claims about 140 million streams on all platforms worldwide. “Much of her frothy approach harks back to the era of ‘Dynasty’ shoulder pads and Cyndi Lauper quirks, bolstered by Ms. Petras’ full-throated vocals and ultrabright melodies,” a 2018 New York Times profile noted. In 2004, at age 12, she was among the youngest trans youth in her native Germany to get hormone therapy paid for by national health care. She had fully transitioned by age 16. In a heated spate of new music — she’s released 10 cuts so far this year — she brings her “Broken Tour” to the Fillmore Silver Spring Saturday night. She spoke to the Blade by phone two weeks ago from her Los Angeles apartment. WASHINGTON BLADE: Tell us about your tour. How long will your set be, how is it shaping up, what we can we expect, all that. KIM PETRAS: I just started rehearsals. I just got back from a writing trip to Hawaii, which was cool, that was a really cool project. So I’m going into rehearsals. I finally get to make the stage the way I want it to be, so that’s really exciting. And I can make my set as long or as short as I want to make it. So I’m picking all the faves and a few songs people don’t even know. I’m definitely going to do some new songs. But yeah, it’s a mix of everything. I love really kind of making each section of my show its own little chapter and a moment of its own so it’s going to have costume changes, different scenarios, different lighting, but I don’t want to spoil it too much. But yeah, it’s definitely going to be good. All the favorites and a little more.
KIM PETRAS says she’s put the hard work in to build a fan base that means her first solo headlining tour is sold out in most markets. Photo courtesy Petras
Pop star for a new era
Out singer Kim Petras teases album release; preps headlining tour By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM
BLADE: Will you have a band with you? PETRAS: Yeah, my whole crew. … We get along really well. BLADE: I noticed it wraps in Germany in September. Did you purposefully save Germany for the end? PETRAS: I want to stay in Cologne for a little bit. I haven’t been there in over a year, which is the city I was born and raised in. I’ve lived in L.A. for about seven years now,
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so I go back like once a year but not much more, so I’ll take some time to see my family at the end of the run. Everyone else can go home and I’ll hang out with my family for a little bit, then head back to the U.S. BLADE: Most of the dates are sold out. Will you be adding more dates or bumping up to larger venues or is all that set? PETRAS: Unfortunately it’s set. After that I go back to writing a bunch more stuff. I’m really prioritizing being in the studio drafting as much new stuff as possible. But I’ll be back touring really soon. I don’t think it’s enough the U.S. tour I’m doing this year, but I’m so excited it’s sold out. Most of it sold out in pre-sales like in five minutes, so it’s pretty nuts. I’m really excited. BLADE: I saw you on the Troye Sivan tour last year. Your pitch was so dead on all through your set. Do you just have really good ears and lungs or did you have to work on that? PETRAS: Thank you so much for saying that. I feel like I worked on it every day, just vocal strength. I have those days where I don’t speak at all, where I’m on vocal rest ‘cause yeah, most of my first songs, I wrote them so high because I was a songwriter for a long time and I didn’t realize when you write a song, then you have to sing it every night and that’s really difficult. So I had to quit smoking (laughs) and had to start learning vocal technique really well to be able to do it. BLADE: I know you idolize Madonna. Do you think she deserved the drubbing she got recently for her pitchy Eurovision performance? PETRAS: I absolutely have not seen that performance so I can’t really talk for it, but I think Madonna is like my absolute favorite and I just think she’s like a performer before anything else. I think with her, it’s like about a statement or provoking a thought. BLADE: Did you get to hang out much or get to know Troye Sivan on tour? PETRAS: We hung out after shows. His boyfriend is really cool, I really love his boyfriend. His whole team, like his mom was on the tour, it was so sweet, just really cool energy. It was like being friends on this little tour, but it was so much fun. I had a blast. His crowd is so cute and massive so it’s really fun and I feel like I gained a lot of fans. I’m really thankful for Troye having me on that tour and I really loved it. I was sad when it was over. BLADE: You played Capital Pride last summer. Do you remember that performance? How was it for you? PETRAS: Yeah, I do. I was wearing a
yellow tracksuit, it was really cute. I do remember. It was so much fun. I loved Washington. It was one of my first times walking around. I posted some really cool pictures from all the sites so I’m looking forward to being back. BLADE: You play a lot of Pride dates but it seems like you’re trying to make your music as mainstream and accessible as possible. Do you sort of downplay being trans to perhaps reach a wider audience or not really? PETRAS: Um, not really. I don’t have to do anything. I’m my own label, I come up with everything, I’m in charge of everything. I did feel like I wanted to downplay it at the beginning because I didn’t want anybody to say or imply that I was using being transgender to be successful as an artist. That’s like not my interest at all and I wanted to prove to everyone that I can have popular music without anybody knowing my story at all, because I think that gender is pretty irrelevant and I know that it’s become the leading story if I talk about it. I’ve had a lot of experience in my past, my first documentary was like when I was 12 years old, and I went on to do a bunch of documentaries about being transgender. My goal was normalizing it and making people feel that you can be a normal transgender person and have a really happy life. But yeah, I just didn’t want anybody to feel that I used my story to become successful because I know people say shit like that and it’s really rude. It sucks that people are like that but in general I don’t talk about it as much because I’ve already done that. I put out a song on Spotify, nobody knew who I was, it wasn’t my face on the cover and it went to the top of the viral chart on Spotify like right away, so that gave me a kick start and it had nothing to do with my story. BLADE: Your videos have lots of cool special effects. Are they hard to finance? PETRAS: Yeah, for sure. I always have these crazy ideas. But I put my own money that I make from shows and doing big events, I put it right back into my music, right into my tour, right into my videos. Anything I earn, I put it right back into my creativity and my artistry. It is a struggle sometimes but I’m very happy with the way things came out so far, thank God. It keeps growing and getting better. BLADE: There’s no real business model to follow to do what you’re doing. How do you know how much to spend when and on what? PETRAS: Yeah, for sure. I get great advice. My manager Larry Rudolph … he has a lot of experience so I can always call him and ask him about things like that but
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how I got started and how I got on Spotify was just trial and error and trying to figure it out, spending too much on one thing and not being able to do another and I feel like I’m just figuring out what’s important at the end of the day is to get the most music, the most content out there. That’s my priority, being one step better each time I do something. BLADE: What was your toughest or longest video to shoot? PETRAS: Definitely “Heart to Break.” It was really amazing because we got two days, which doesn’t ever happen that anybody can afford two days. It all gets crammed into one, so definitely that was such a blast. I don’t think any of the videos were hard. They’re definitely exhausting because you’re like waking up at 5 a.m. and finishing up at 3 a.m. and it’s like a whole thing, but I always love it. I always feel super alive when I do days like that. I just pull through and have no sleep. I don’t know why but I really get off on that type of thing. BLADE: Do you feel albums are obsolete? PETRAS: I don’t. The way a new artist is breaking is just completely different than it was. I look up to a lot of people who drop a lot of music constantly and I want to be one of those people. But I love a good album and I listen to a lot of albums and I can’t wait to have my own. I can’t spill the tea on that just yet, but I do think people still want albums and want to buy the work and I think it’s great that people still want that. BLADE: How do you decide which songs to release and at what pace? PETRAS: My strategy for my first record was like drop a song a moth, so I was like, ‘How do I step that up?’ So this round is once a week until something exciting happens, which I can’t talk about for now, but I’m dropping my sixth song tonight so it’s been six songs, six weeks on Spotify. BLADE: Have you encountered any transphobia from any music industry gatekeepers? PETRAS: Yeah, for sure. There was literally this one very high up woman who was like, “You’re going to hell if you work on Kim’s project because being transgender, you’re going to hell.” So that didn’t work out. People were really freaked out by it, a lot of industry people, um yeah. I was shopping for deals and people were really excited about the music but were definitely freaked out by the trans thing, so it was definitely my best choice to go AWAL (artist without a label), to go independent. I still feel like there are a bunch of people being like, “Who is this transgender girl,”
people are definitely weirded out by it, but just having a fan base and just being able to sell out shows — I’ve been putting in the work, changing things and I think people are starting to think that maybe a trans artist can do the damn thing and be a real pop star, but yeah, let’s see. BLADE: Your tour is basically sold out without really having cracked U.S. radio. Is that even relevant anymore? PETRAS: I think it’s still definitely relevant. I’m competitive so I want to have hits, of course. But, you know, at the end of the day, what I really want to be able to do is to tour forever. I really want to be one of those artists who has a real fan base and I’ve been putting in the work for like four years now, I’ve been playing every gay club there is, all over the U.S., making real connections. I’ve been building a real career and a real fan base. I mean sure, I want to have that one song that puts me on the map, I want to have a No. 1, but at the end of the day, this is already like so amazing to me because I never thought I’d be able to do this. It’s my job now to do music and to perform and I’m really excited about that. There are lots of people out there with this who can’t fill a tiny venue that I can fill three nights, so I don’t know. … I do believe that if you keep going and keep working on it, it will happen eventually. I’m very proud to be doing my own headlining tour and I’m very proud of my band. They’re amazing, they complete me. I’m happy. BLADE: You seem pretty prolific. Do you have to be disciplined to keep writing or does it just happen? PETRAS: I’m jittery as hell if I haven’t written a song in like three days. I get cranky. I’m always looking for sentences, always watching movies and listening to the dialogue, picking certain things up. In my head, I’m always thinking about the next song. I’m always in the studio when I’m not on the road. It’s studio, tour, studio, tour, all the time and I love it. After awhile I miss being on the road and when I’ve been on tour awhile, I miss the studio.
‘Broken Tour’ Saturday, June 15 The Fillmore Silver Spring 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, Md. 9 p.m. $23 fillmoresilverspring.com kimpetras.com/#tour
QUEERY Byron Macfarlene
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out in 2006. The hardest person to tell was my mother. She was raised in a conservative Catholic family and had been a lifelong Republican (she switched parties and got active in local Democratic politics after I came out). I had no idea what to expect, really, but after I told her she simply said, “You’re my son and I love you no matter what.” I couldn’t ask for a more loving and supportive mother and am so grateful for her. Who’s your LGBTQ hero? Harvey Milk. He helped blaze the trail to make it possible for people like me to run for office. Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown
QUEERY: Byron Macfarlane
The Howard County, Md., register of wills answers 20 queer questions By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM
For Byron Macfarlane, becoming register of wills in Howard County, Md., followed a logical succession of events. He sensed an opening and went for it. Macfarlane took an estates and trusts course in law school and enjoyed it. He was later working at a law firm with a growing probate practice and was given a bunch of cases and told to “figure it out.” He familiarized himself with the registers of wills — a position only Maryland and a few other states have — and found it “really fascinating,” the 36-year-old Ellicott City, Md., native says. Macfarlane knew the person in the seat — each Maryland county has its own — was one of the last Republicans left in elected office in the county. According to the state constitution, the register “is responsible for appointing personal representatives to administer decedents’ estates and for overseeing the proper and timely administration of these proceedings.” “I started asking around about what people thought of her, if they had seen her out and about lately, and the impression I got was that
she had really lost touch with the community,” he says. “So, I ran. Public office is how I can give back to the community that has given me so much. It’s a chance to help people and make their lives a little easier and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve.” But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. His opponents started playing the “gay card” as soon as he decided to run in 2010. “I was running against a six-term incumbent Republican,” Macfarlane says. “‘You know he’s gay, right?’ is the line she would repeat to voters. She and her supporters told people I was part of a gay mafia. This whisper campaign was both hateful and frankly, bizarre.” Those same folks united behind a GOP challenger in 2018 who argued residents deserved a “better” public servant, Macfarlane says. “There’s a way that Republicans talk about others, meaning women, people of color, non-Christians and those of us who identify as LGBT,” he says. “They talk about
us like we’re inherently inferior because of who we are. And what becomes dangerous is when one human being views another human being as inherently inferior, they adjust their behavior accordingly. How far you might go to tear someone down changes. How personal and hateful and borderline violent you are toward them changes. I’m fairly certain if I were straight, married, with kids, my opponent wouldn’t have been so eager to get personal and dirty. I’m glad the voters rejected the hate.” Macfarlane is up for reelection in 2022. Howard County has its first Pride event on Saturday, June 29 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Details at howardcountypride.org. Macfarlane says there’s a large LGBT population in the county and an active PFLAG chapter, though not the same degree of community one generally finds in cities. Macfarlane is a life-long Howard County resident. He’s single and lives in Columbia, Md. He enjoys biking, hiking, cooking, reading and board games in his free time.
What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? I try to find humor in just about everything so I’m not sure there is one. What’s your proudest professional achievement? My grandfather, also named Byron, was a CPA and had regretted never getting his law degree. He was thrilled that I chose to go to law school, giving him the chance to sort of fulfill this life goal of his vicariously. He was a constant source of support and encouragement. I graduated and became the first lawyer in our family just a few months before he passed away. What terrifies you? Trump people. What’s something trashy or vapid you love? Comedy Central Roasts (William Shatner’s was the best). What’s your greatest domestic skill? Cooking! I’m a very adventurous cook. What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” What’s your social media pet peeve? Vaguebooking. Just spit it out, people. What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? It’s hard to imagine when the work will end. I’d say a few signs we’re on our way would be the absence of state-sponsored discrimination and hate, like bathroom bills and “religious freedom” initiatives, nationwide legal protections for all LGBTQ Americans and the general cultural rejection of heteronormativity.
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What’s the most overrated social custom? Saying farewell to a host before leaving a party. I support the Irish goodbye. What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? I was raised Episcopalian and have a lot of fond memories of church services and Sunday school. Today, I’d say I’m spiritual but not religious. What’s Howard County’s best hidden gem? In Patapsco Valley State Park, you can hike to the ruins of St. Mary’s College and walk around the Thomas Viaduct, the world’s oldest multiple arched stone railroad bridge (still in use). What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? “Lord of the Rings” being made into movies. My friends and I do a marathon of the extended editions every year. What celebrity death hit you hardest? Politician: Paul Wellstone. Non-Politician: Carrie Fisher. If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be? I’ve seen enough time travel movies to know if you change something in the past, it can dramatically unravel the present. My past mistakes, however regrettable, have all pushed me to learn and grow and have led me to where I am today. What are your obsessions? Politics, history, exploring new and unique things in the world, trying new food, nature, “Star Trek” and dance mixes of songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Finish this sentence — It’s about damn time: We had more LGBTQ Americans in state and local elected office, in judgeships, in Congress and in the White House. We have a lot of “firsts” left to go. What do you wish you’d known at 18? How quickly time flies in adulthood. It’s so important to carefully safeguard our spare time and make sure it’s being spent on our own well-being and on people who love us.
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Counterclockwise from left: MELISSA ETHERIDGE plays Wolf Trap June 25. Photo courtesy Wolf Trap, BE STEADWELL will be at the District of Pride event June 22. Photo courtesy Steadwell, and STEVE HONLEY gives a recital of LGBT composers at his church on June 23. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Mayor’s event showcases queer talent Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and Capital Pride will host the second annual District of Pride Saturday, June 22 from 7-10 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.). This event will feature queer artists from the District and showcase queer performance art. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8. Regie Cabico, a gay Filipino American poet and spoken word artist who has been featured on two seasons of Def Poetry Jam and has been called the “Lady Gaga of spoken word,” will host. Performers include Be Steadwell, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Batala, Venus Thrash, Magic Dyke+Vagenesis,
Tezrah and many more. There will also be a special appearance by Rayceen Pendarvis of “The Ask Rayceen show.” Tickets are free but registration is required at eventbrite.com. District of Pride is open to all ages, but will include some adult content.
Etheridge to play Wolf Trap Groundbreaking lesbian singer/ songwriter Melissa Etheridge joins rock legend Pat Benatar and ‘90s alternative artist Liz Phair at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) on Tuesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. Audiences can expect to experience a night of rock staples like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar and writer-producer Neil
Geraldo. This show is part of the duo’s 40th anniversary tour, showcasing a career spanning from 1979 to 2019. Performances also include fan favorites “I’m the Only One” and “Like the Way I Do” by Melissa Etheridge. Making her Wolf Trap debut and kicking off the night will be Liz Phair preforming alternative hits such as “Why Can’t I?” and “Never Said.” Tickets start at $35 and gates open at 5:30 p.m. Visit wolftrap.org for more information.
HIV ’Thriving’ event is June 22 The Milken Institute of Public Health at the George Washington University (950 New Hampshire Ave. NW) will host the D.C. Reunion Project: Thriving with HIV
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on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. and registration is free and conﬁdential at dcreunionproject2019. eventbrite.com. Organizers plan to provide a local experience to celebrate long-term survivors with HIV living anywhere in the D.C.Maryland-Virginia area. Conﬁdentiality is respected and photography is restricted for this event. A continental breakfast and lunch are provided. Attendance is limited to 150 participants, so those interested in attending are encouraged to register early. For information and to register, visit eventbright.com.
Gay composers, gay organist The public is invited to a free keyboard recital Sunday, June 23 at the Beverley Hills United Methodist Church (3512 Old Dominion Blvd., Alexandria, Va.) beginning at 4 p.m. Honley will mark 25 years as music director at the Beverley Hills UMC, and the venue itself will celebrate seven years as a reconciling congregation which welcomes and embraces the LGBTQ people. Beverley Hills is the second UMC church in Virginia to take that step. To mark both milestones, Honley will present a recital of piano and organ works by American LGBTQ composers. Both the concert and the reception afterwards are free; all are welcome to attend. Contact the church for more information.
JU N E 14, 2019
Three-time Grammy award-winning lesbian singer-songwriter and producer, Brandi Carlile performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.) tonight starting at 5:30 p.m. with the eclectic pop band, Lucius. Carlile will perform songs from her Grammy-nominated album “By the Way, I Forgive You.” This out musician donates $1 from every concert ticket to her Looking Out Foundation, which gives ﬁnancial support to various causes. Tickets range from $46-76 and are available via Ticketmaster. The Three Centuries of Queer History Walking Tour hosted by Annapolis Pride begins today from 5:30 p.m. Dr. Christopher Miele will lead a walking tour of Maryland’s State Capital focusing on LGBT people who lived there since the 1700s. Participants will meet on the corner of State Circle and Maryland Avenue (Outside of Harry Browne’s at 66 State Circle) for a gentle walk through historic Annapolis. Cost is $10 and proceeds will be donated to Annapolis Pride. For tickets and information, visit Facebook events. Tonight is the 13th annual Twilight on the Terrace fundraising event for the Pride Center of Maryland. The event is from 7-11 p.m. at Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore) and tickets are $115-125. Each year this fundraiser provides attendees with a night of food, fun and socialization to kick off the Baltimore Pride weekend. Proceeds help support more than 40 community programs reaching more than 800 sexual and gender minorities who use the center each month. Attendees also have the opportunity to bid on several Am Fund sponsored vacation packages in a silent auction. Visit eventbrite.com for tickets and details.
Saturday, June 15 Johnny Mathis brings his “Voice of Romance Tour” to Wolf Trap (1645 Trap RD, Vienna, Va.) tonight from 8-10 p.m. Celebrating his 63rd year in music, Mathis is one of Columbia Records’ longest-signed artists. Saturday he performs an evening of his classic and contemporary hits along with a few of his personal favorites. The 83-year-old entertainer continues to be candid about his sexuality and recently told Billboard magazine “Patience is a wonderful virtue.” Tickets start at $30 and are available at wolftrap.org.
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Baltimore Pride begins with its ofﬁcial tailgating party in the Rainbow Lot today from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. behind Grafﬁti Alley (Howard & W. 19th 1/2 St., Baltimore). LGBT people and allies are welcome. Each dollar raised supports Pride Center programs including youth empowerment, HIV/AIDS reduction and feeding and clothing the homeless. The cost is $25 for one space for one car with two people or one tailgating tent space which must ﬁt within a single parking spot. For tickets and information, visit baltimorepride.org. The Baltimore Pride Parade is today from 1-3 p.m. with an 11-block procession starting at N. Charles and 33rd St. The viewing stage is on N. Charles and 24th in the Brown Rice parking lot. The parade passes through Wyman Park and ends at N. Charles and 23rd. For the ﬁrst time, Pride will host a mini Pet Parade between 24th25th and N. Charles streets beginning at 1 p.m. The high heel race begins 12:30 p.m. at 25th and N. Charles and the Pride Block Party at Station North (Charles North, Greenmount West and Barclays neighborhoods) opens with a pre-Pride show featuring local artists at 1:30 p.m. before ofﬁcially beginning at 4 p.m. For details, visit baltimorepride.org.
Sunday, June 16 The Baltimore Pride Festival is today from noon-6 p.m. at Druid Hill Park (between Swann Dr. and Sundial Pavilion). The festival celebrates families and children with a kid-friendly environment which includes music and entertainment stages, a drag stage, exhibitors and local food trucks. Admission is free and open to the public. Visit baltimorepride.org for more information. Tonight is the Helping Casa Ruby Dinner from 7-8 p.m. at the Casa Ruby Shelter (7530 Georgia Ave., N.W.). The D.C. Center is partnering with Casa Ruby once a month to provide a hot meal to current Casa Ruby residents. The goal is to bring warmth and nourishment to them every third Sunday of each month. The D.C. Center encourages individuals or organizations to volunteer to provide a meal to feed as many people at Casa Ruby as possible. Any amount of food is appreciated. Store bought meals are welcomed. For more information visit thedccenter.org.
Monday, June 17 Tonight is Drag Bingo at the Board Room Game Bear and Brewery (925 B Garﬁeld St., Arlington, Va.) from 9-11 p.m. Join Crystal Edge and Katrina Colby every ﬁrst and third Monday of the month for games, performances and prizes. Balls start rolling at 9 p.m. It’s $5 to play and $5 local beers with several rotating taps and all-night drink specials. The public is invited to play to win free drinks, free shots, free food, gift cards and other prizes. Tickets are free with registration on eventbrite.com.
Tuesday, June 18 The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts a “Pose” viewing party tonight from 10-11 p.m. “Pose” is a Golden Globenominated drama chronicling the 1980’s New York ball culture world and features one of the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors according to FX Networks. The Eagle is a spacious venue with two big screens to enjoy the show. For free tickets to this weekly event, register at eventbrite.com. East City Bookshop (645 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) presents author John Glynn for a conversation about his ﬁrst book, “Out East,” a memoir of ﬁrst love, identity and coming to terms with being gay during a summer spent with friends in a house in Montauk. The book talk will be followed by a Q&A and signing. The event is tonight from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Visit facebook events for more information.
Wednesday, June 19 Odenton Regional Library (1325 Annapolis Rd., Odenton, Md.) will continue its month-long celebration of well-received, award-winning LGBT-related ﬁlms and documentaries tonight beginning at 6 p.m. All ﬁlms are rated PG-13 and are geared to teen audiences. For ﬁlm titles, contact the Odenton Regional Library.
Thursday, June 20 The Thirst Trap Thursdays Drag Show Hosted by Venus Valhalla continues tonight from 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at Pitchers D.C. (2317 18th St., N.W.). Entertainment and cocktails are every Thursday starting at 11 p.m. and will include local queer performers. Visit its event page on Facebook for more information.
Towns within a few hours’ drive of D.C. have major Pride events planned
Baltimore is this weekend; Annapolis, HOCO, MOCO, Panhandle et. al. later in the month FROM STAFF REPORTS
Last year’s Hampton Roads Pride. Photo by Tony Alter via Flickr
HAMPTON ROADS PRIDE Hampton Roads Pride presents various celebration events throughout June 16-23. Drag Yourself to Brunch: Pride Edition is at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro (620 19th St., Virginia Beach, Va.) on Sunday, June 16 from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sandra Onassis Lopez and other local drag perfumers will have shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will be raffles sold all day and the drawing will be at 3:50 p.m. after the 2 p.m. show. Guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes before each show. Visit, dragyourselftobrunch.com for reservations. PraiseFest 2019 is at the Great Awakening
United Church of Chris (1520 High St., Portsmouth, Va.) on Sunday, June 16 from 2-4 p.m. Attendees can enjoy an afternoon of gospel music, dance, mime and spoken word. Ghent Business Association and Hampton Roads Pride host Ghent Pride at the Palace Shops & Station (301 W 21st St., Norfolk, Va.) on Monday, June 17 from 6-10 p.m. The party will take place in the parking lot between 21st and 22nd Street. There will be music, beer, wine, signature cocktails and food from local restaurants. Attendees can purchase a “Love Lock” to put on the “Love is Love” display. Cover is $10. All proceeds will benefit the Ghent Business Association, Hampton Roads Pride and the LGBT Life Center. Pride Party on the Peninsula, a river
boat cruise with drag performers, kicks off at Carousel Park (601 Settlers Landing Rd., Hampton, Va.) on Wednesday, June 19 from 3:30-10 p.m. Guests will take a cruise on the Miss Hampton II with Jennifer Warner and other performers. Emcee Queen Mary and Dianna Rhoss will host the party. There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres from local Hampton restaurants, a DJ, raffle contest, cash bar and a complimentary drink ticket for the first 300 guests. Tickets are $10. All proceeds benefit the LGBT Life Center. Pride at the Chrysler is at the Chrysler Museum of Art (1 Memorial Pl., Norfolk, Va.) on Thursday, June 20 from 6-9 p.m. Activities include make-and-take art, a build-your-own-tour of LGBT artists’ work at the museum and face painting. Drag
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queen Sandra Onassis Lopez will perform. Event is free. Open to all ages. Guests must be 21 to drink. Hampton Roads Pride’s Eighth Annual Block Party is on Friday, June 21 from 7-11:55 p.m. This year’s theme is “Strike a Pose.” There will be dancing, drag performances, live art and magical performers. DJ Rays will spin tracks. Tickets are $13 before June 17 and $16 afterwards. All proceeds will benefit Hampton Roads Pride. PrideFest 2019, the largest LGBT festival is Virginia, is at Town Point Park (113 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, Va.) on Saturday, June 23 from noon-8 p.m. Pop star JoJo and house singer Crystal Waters headline the event. The only Pride Boat Parade in the United States will also take place. Angela Hucles, two-time Olympic gold medalist with USA Women’s Soccer, will serve as grand marshal. There will be entertainment, vendors and activities for all ages. Admission is free. PrideFest After Party is at Waterside District (333 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, Va.) on Saturday, June 22 from 6 p.m.-1:30 a.m. There will be drink specials from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free. Tickets are not required but Waterside District will donate $5 to Hampton Roads Pride on behalf of the first 500 guests who scan their ticket. Pride on the Beach is at Neptune’s Park (3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, Va.) on Sunday, June 23 from 2-7 p.m. The white-themed party will feature white linen, fabrics, couches and lounge beds. Dress code of white beachwear is strongly encouraged. DJ Tezrah will play music. Admission is free and open to all ages. For details on all Hampton Roads Pride events, visit hamptonroadspride.org. — MARIAH COOPER
ANNAPOLIS PRIDE Annapolis will celebrate its inaugural Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 29. The event is free and open to the public. The organizer, also called Annapolis Pride, is looking forward to a familyfriendly event that celebrates LGBT people while engaging local residents, businesses and groups to unite in welcoming and embracing diversity in Maryland’s capital. The parade will run from noon-12:45 p.m. down West Street from Amos Garrett Blvd. to Calvert, while the festival is from noon-5 p.m. between Calvert street and Church Circle. The festival will include vendors, children’s activities and entertainment from local artists and DJs. Details at annapolispride.org. — PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
HOWARD COUNTY PRIDE Howard County, Md., will host its first Pride celebration Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Centennial Park in Elliott City, Md. The event is free and open to the public. Howard County’s PFLAG chapter is
From top: Panhandle Pride in West Virginia two years ago. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key and Frederick Pride in 2018. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.
leading plans for the festival, which is set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York and has a theme of “Remember, Resist and Rejoice.” Their kick-off event is June 28 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Carroll Baldwin Community Hall (9035 Baltimore Street, Savage, Md.) and will be filled with food, fun and a friendly atmosphere. For more information visit howardcountypride.org. — PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY PRIDE Montgomery County, Md., will host its first Pride Party 2019 on Saturday, June 29 at Rockville Town Square (200 E. Middle Ln.) from 6:30-10:30 p.m.
The night will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and will include performances from Miss Peppermint, who was featured on season nine of “Rupual’s Drag Race,” BOOMscat, DJ tezrah, Shaunda Leer and Pretty Boi Drag. All proceeds will benefit the MoCo Pride Center and early bird tickets start at $7.50. For more information, search “MoCo Pride Party” on Facebook. — YULANI RODGERS
FREDERICK PRIDE Frederick Pride is Saturday, June 22 from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. at Carroll Creek Linear Park in downtown Frederick, Md. This will be Frederick Pride’s eighth year and organizers are expecting up to 8,000 attendees. Every attendee will receive a Frederick Pride rainbow bracelet at welcome stations at each major entrance to the park. Admittance is free and families and allies are welcome. There will be two entertainment areas featuring bands, drag shows, DJs and dancing at the Carroll Street Amphitheater and the Market Street venue. Younger kids can enjoy organized youth group activities at the East Street stage. A food court will be above the amphitheater with beer and wine available next to it. Official Pride paraphernalia will be available for purchase at the Frederick Center booth and all proceeds will go toward supporting programs at local LGBTQ centers. For more information, visit frederickpride.com. — YULANI RODGERS
WINCHESTER PRIDE Winchester Pride will be Saturday, June 29 at the Old Court House at the Downtown Walking Mall (S Loudoun St., Winchester, Va.) and kicks off at noon. The second annual Winchester Pride will have guest speakers, a family-friendly drag show, vendors and non-profit organizations to celebrate. Speakers include John “David” Smith, mayor of Winchester; Jennifer Wexton, representative from the 10th district of Virginia; a conversion therapy survivor and more. DJ Skyhigh will host and provide all the music for the event. The new 2019 Miss Winchester Pride will also be introduced after being crowned at the Bright Box prior. For more information, visit winchesterpridecelebration.com. — YULANI RODGERS
From top: The main stage at Frederick Pride, 2018. Washington Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo; Last year’s first-ever Winchester Pride in Virginia. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key; and Baltimore Pride has moved back to its usual June slot this year. Washington Blade photo by Chris Jennings
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
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and gender minority individuals every month in Baltimore. The center’s annual benefit evening Twilight on the Terrace is tonight 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. — PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
PANHANDLE PRIDE Like tiny Shepherdstown, W.Va., that hosts it, Panhandle Pride makes up for in character what it lacks in size. And it’s growing each year. This year’s theme is Be. Scene. Here. It’s the region’s seventh annual event, second under new leadership. This year’s events kick off with a Pride pub crawl on Friday, June 28 starting at 5 p.m. An interfaith service dubbed “Celebrating Our Stories” will be held at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (100 W. Washington St.) on Saturday, June 29 at 10 a.m. A vendor street fair with artisans, non-
From top: Last year’s Panhandle Pride in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Washington Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo; and Drag legend Stephanie Michaels, a former Miss Gay Maryland titleholder, performs at Hagerstown Pride, 2018. Washington Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo.
profits and poetry walk is also Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Shepherdstown. A dance party and drag show will be held that night from 8 p.m.-midnight at the War Memorial Building (102 E. German St., Shepherdstown). Details at eppridewv.com. Quite close to here but in Maryland, Hagerstown Hopes Pride event is planned for the weekend of July 13. The Blade will have more next month. — JOEY DIGUGLIELMO
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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com DANCE Step Afrika! Celebrates 25 Years. Thru Jun 16. Step Afrika! at Hartke Theater. stepafrika.org.
Ripcord Jun 15-Jul 6. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com.
A sunny room on an upper floor is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, so when the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with new-arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden.
DC JazzFest Jun 7-16. DC JazzFest. dcjazzfest.org.
The DC JazzFest takes over 20 District neighborhoods celebrating their 15th Anniversary. The festival offers an exceptional mix of universally-renowned masters and emerging artists from across the jazz spectrum.
Falsettos Jun 11-Jun 23. The Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.
William Finn and James Lapine’s groundbreaking, Tony Award®–winning musical comes to the Kennedy Center in an all new production from Lincoln Center. It’s a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family.
Ghost Light Jun 17. Folger Theatre. folger.edu.
In this delightfully spooky film, the legendary curse of Macbeth comes furiously to life when a disgruntled understudy shouts “Mac…” er, the name of “The Scottish King” on an empty stage. The comically inept troupe of traveling Shakespearean’s who suffer the consequences include Roger Bart, Cary Elwes, Carol Kane, Tom Riley, Shannyn Sossaman, and Danielle Campbell. All’s well that ends well… but not for everyone! PHOTO COURTESY OF KEEGAN THEATRE
THEATRE A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath. Thru Jun 30. Round House. roundhousetheatre.org. A Misanthrope. Thru Jun 30. Avant Bard at Gunston. wscavantbard.org. Betty Buckley in Hello Dolly! Thru Jul 7. Byhalia, Mississippi. Thru Jun 30. The Second City’s America; It’s Complicated! Jun 15-Aug 11. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Blackbeard. Thru Jul 7. Spunk. Thru Jun 23. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. Forest Treás. Thru Jun 29. Pointless Theatre at Dance Loft. pointlesstheatre.com.
Adwela & the Uprising. Jun 14. National Gallery of Art at NGA Sculpture Garden. nga.gov. Columbia Pike Blues Festival. Jun 15. Arlington Cultural Affairs at Columbia Pike & S. Walter Reed Drive. arlingtonarts.org. Inscape Chamber Orchestra. Jun 16. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. Mark G. Meadows & the Movement. Jun 15. Atlas. atlasarts.org. Marja Mortensson. Jun 14. Hill Center. hillcenterdc.org. Mozart Forever II. Jun 18-Jun 19. Mozart Forever I. Jun 14-Jun 15. NSO at Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Raul Midón Jun 14. Justin Jones. Jun 15. Arlington Cultural Affairs at Lubber Run. arlingtonarts.org. Trampled By Turtles & Deer Tick. Jun 20. Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org. Trey Sorrells. Jun 26. The Mansion at Strathmore. strathmore.org.
How the Other Half Loves. Thru Jun 23. Arts on the Green at Arts Barn. gaithersburgmd.gov. Love’s Labor’s Lost. Thru Jun 16. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. Rock Of Ages - Tenth Anniversary Tour. Jun 18-Jun 19. Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org. Shear Madness. Thru Jun 19. Kennedy Center. shearmadness.com. Sooner, Later. Thru Jun 16. Twisted Melodies. Jun 19-Jul 21. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org.
AU Museum at the Katzen. Summer Opening Reception. Jun 15. Squire Broel. Thru Aug 11. american.edu. Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Right to the City @Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Thru Apr 20. anacostia.si.edu. Anderson House. Revolutionary Reflections. Thru Oct 27. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Written in Knots. Thru Aug 18. doaks.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. Miniature Shakespeare Books from the Harner Collection. Thru Dec 31. folger.edu. Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. La Cascada by Luzinterruptus. Thru Sep 27. spainculture.us. Library of Congress. 50 Years of Stonewall: LGBTQ+ Activism in the U.S. Thru Jul 11. Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote. Thru Sep 1. loc.gov. National Archives. Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote. Thru Jan 3. archivesfoundation.org. National Gallery of Art. The Life of Animals in Japanese Art. Thru Jul 28. nga.gov. National Geographic. Queens of Egypt. Thru Sep 2. nationalgeographic.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Ursula von Rydingsvard. Thru Jul 28. Thru Sep 20. nmwa.org. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today. Thru Aug 18. Korea Exhibition. Thru Nov 17. Votes for Women. Thru Jan 5. npg.si.edu.
Postal Museum. John Lennon: The Green Album. Thru Jul 7. postalmuseum.si.edu. The Kreeger Museum. Charles Hinman: Structures, 1965–2014. Thru Jul 31. kreegermuseum.org.
GALLERIES Atlas. Art Connection in the Capital Region Presents: Moving Walls. Thru Jul 31. atlasarts.org. BlackRock. Mid-Atlantic Regional Watercolor Exhibition. Thru Jul 13. blackrockcenter.org. Brentwood Arts Exchange. Mechanical Reproduction. Thru Aug 10. arts.pgparks.com. DC Arts Center. The Black Overlay. Thru Jun 22. dcartscenter.org. Del Ray Artisans. Art in Meditation – the Chakras Art Exhibit. Thru Jun 30. delrayartisans.org. gallery neptune & brown. Ben Tolman & David Nash: Drawings. Thru Jun 14. galleryneptunebrown.com. Gallery Underground. The Light of Venice Art Exhibition. Thru Jun 28. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Glen Echo Park. The Sound of Colors: Carl Eugi Hall. Thru Jun 29. Visions & Voices 2019. Thru Jun 30. Water Media Abstracts. Thru Jun 30. glenechopark.org. Hill Center. Six new solo exhibitions. Thru Jun 23. hillcenterdc.org. Korean Cultural Center DC. Korean Craft. Thru Jun 21. koreaculturedc.org. The Art League. Tabletop: Ceramics, Textiles, Metalwork and Glasswares. Thru Jun 30. theartleague.org. Waverly Street Gallery. Change/ Transformation - Women’s Caucus for Art of Greater Washington. Thru Jul 6. waverlystreetgallery.com. Zenith Gallery. Navigating Eternity. Thru Jul 6. zenithgallery.com.
AND MORE... College Park Aviation Museum. Windsock Arms. Jun 19. collegeparkaviationmuseum.com. Hill Center. Order In: Chinese. Jun 18. Beyond Basics: Pasta Making. Jun 20-Jul 18. Kitchen 101: Knife Skills. Thru Jul 24. Chef’s Table with Chef Gérard Pangaud. Jun 14-Aug 23. hillcenterdc.org. National Archives. History Happy Hour with Derek Brown. Jun 15. Our Lost Declaration. Jun 20. archivesfoundation.org. National Geographic. Nat Geo Nights: America’s Last Wild Places. Jun 20. nationalgeographic.org. Old Greenbelt Theatre. Art and Mind. Jun 16-Jun 17. At Greenbelt Community Center. greenbelttheatre.org.
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JU N E 14, 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 39
HOLLY TWYFORD as Nora in ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2.’ Photo by Lily King; courtesy Round House
Channeling Ibsen Actor Holly Twyford relishes sequel Laurie Metcalf played in New York By PATRICK FOLLIARD
As its intentionally cheeky title suggests, playwright Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (now at Round House Theatre) takes up where Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 protofeminist masterpiece leaves off. Ibsen ends “A Doll’s House” with cossetted wife and mother Nora Helmer literally slamming the door on stifling domesticity and seeking liberation in uncharted territory. Hnath’s 2017 sequel fast-forwards 15 years. Nora, now a successful writer and feminist firebrand, unexpectedly returns to the scene of her famed exit. There she finds surprises, strong opinions and recriminations. When Round House asked out actor Holly Twyford to play the heroine in Hnath’s entertaining play (a part played by Laurie Metcalf on Broadway), she was uncertain. But just five pages in, Twyford was seduced by the script’s “layers and colors,” humor and fierce drama. “The sheer story of what’s she’s been through is a lot,” says Twyford during a recent phone interview, part of a long day she spent cheerfully slogging through press questions despite just getting over a cold. “Leaving your children is not a small thing. We’ve had a lot of discussions about that in rehearsal.” As a parent of tween daughter Helena, Twyford personally relates: “I’d have to think long and hard about what circumstances would make that OK. And that’s what Nora did. She had to make incredibly hard choices. She knew it was better for everyone, her children included, if she left. And the way Hnath picks up on the story, is fantastic. You understand each character’s point of view. You’re not quite sure who to root for because you care about everyone. That’s incredibly rare. I love it.”
Ibsen’s Nora is one of the great roles. Still, it’s one Twyford “never really hooked into.” But in preparing to play Hnath’s older Nora, she went back to the source, reading various translations and watching the BBC’s 1992 television production starring Juliet Stevenson as Nora. “Stevenson’s performance and that particular translation made me realize its power. I see now that I might have missed an opportunity. But that ship has sailed,” she adds with a throaty chuckle. And Hnath, a Pulitzer finalist for “The Christians,” has done this really interesting thing, she says. The language is modern, funny and amusingly profane - there’s even an eff you from the housekeeper who raised Nora’s children in her absence. And there’s a place where the playwright without using the word “mansplaining” describes mansplaining. Like so many classic works, Nora and her story are incredibly timely today, Twyford says. “It’s a fascinating discussion about a woman’s place in the world.” Directed by Nicole A. Watson, the production is a the Lansburgh Theatre, the borrowed space being used while Round House’s Bethesda home undergoes renovation. The cast also features Nancy Robinette as said unhappy housekeeper; Craig Wallace is Torvald, Nora’s controlling husband; and Kathryn Tkel plays daughter Emmy. Twyford has been on the D.C. scene since the early ‘90s, and boasts a bio bursting with innumerable parts played in comedies, dramas, classics, new plays and musicals. She ranks among Washington’s most respected actors and has been singled out for four Helen Hayes Awards for divergent performances including Juliet at the Folger, and a Hollywood agent in Signature’s “The Little Dog Laughed.” Like many other actors with established careers — including Twyford’s out contemporaries Tom Story and Rick Hammerly — she has achieved success in directing too. She made her directorial with No Rules Theatre Company’s 2011 production of “Stop/Kiss,” Diana Son’s powerful play about the after effects of a lesbian-bashing incident. In September, she’s helming British dramatist Caryl Churchill’s “Escaped Alone” at Signature Theatre. Churchill, whom Twyford counts among her favorite playwrights, is brilliant, she says. “She presents things that are seemingly mundane but there’s a lot of ‘under rumbling,’ as director Aaron Posner [Twyford’s friend and frequent collaborator] would say, and you hear about that rumbling at some point. At first ‘Escaped’ is about a couple of ladies talking in the back yard and then it becomes much more than that.”
‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ Through June 30 Round House Theatre at The Lansburgh Theatre 450 7th St., N.W. roundhousetheatre.org
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We look forward to seeing you next year!
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From top: Stills from ‘Gay Chorus Deep South’ Photo courtesy the 2050 Group and ‘Tongues United’ Photo courtesy Frameline.
AFI Docs returns
Annual festival explores wide range of topics with heavy LGBT content By BRIAN T. CARNEY
From June 19-23, AFI DOCS returns to Washington to celebrate the power of documentary films. The 17th edition of the festival will showcase 72 films from 17 countries; as always, the festival includes plenty of provocative LGBT content. AFI DOCS is under the direction of Michael Lumpkin, the out film curator who previously helmed the acclaimed Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco. He says this year’s slate “demonstrates the power of documentary film to connect and inspire across a diverse range of subjects.” He is also delighted to note a major milestone for the festival. “We are pleased to announce that 48 percent of this year’s slate is directed by women, with 68 percent produced by women.” While Lumpkin emphasizes “there are a lot of great films at AFI DOCS this year,” he does offer a few specific recommendations for Blade readers. To see the festival’s diversity in action, Lumpkin suggests the Charles Guggenheim Symposium. This year, the honoree is filmmaker Freida Lee Mock who won the Academy Award for her 1994 documentary, “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision.” Lumpkin says he got to know Mock when he screened her 2006 documentary about gay playwright Tony Kushner at Frameline; this year he’s looking forward to giving audiences a sneak preview of Mock’s latest work “Ruth — Justice Ginsburg in her Own Words.” Lumpkin also mentions “We Believe In Dinosaurs,” a thoughtful documentary about the construction of a life-size replica on Noah’s Ark in Kentucky, and “Maiden,” which tells the inspirational story of the first all-female crew to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. In addition, the long-time film curator also says he was surprised by his reaction to “Gay Chorus Deep South.” “It made me cry,” he says. “After all these years of watching movies, that’s not an easy task. I don’t do that often.” The film is about the Lavender Pen Tour; in the divisive wake of the 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir decided to bring their music to five states in the Deep South in the hopes of fostering dialogue and finding unity. When he heard about the tour, writer/ director Charles David Rodrigues says he knew their story had to be told. “I immediately saw a rare chance of telling an emotional story in irrational times,” Rodrigues says. “I saw a group of people with beautiful music and a history of activism ready to sing against all odds.” “Gay Chorus Deep South” is one of five films selected for the prestigious AFI DOCS Impact Lab. For two days before the festival, the chosen filmmakers will train with “impact strategists” and meet with policy makers. Lumpkin explains that “the Lab gives filmmakers the tools, the knowledge,
the connections and the insights to have a successful impact campaign.” Rodrigues, a straight ally, says that he and his producer Bud Johnston were thrilled to be chosen to participate in both AFI DOCS and the Impact Lab. “AFI DOCS is not just a festival,” he says. “It’s a community. It connects the films, the filmmakers and the audiences in a shared space with shared values and it creates movement where real change can happen.” Finally, Lumpkin also recommends a new section in this year’s lineup called “Cinema’s Legacy” which “looks back on documentary films from the past.” He says, “this year’s focus is on the incredible impact of public media like PBS and CPB.” The inaugural legacy offerings include “An American Family: Anniversary Edition,” a look back at the groundbreaking 1973 cinema verité television documentary that ultimately led to today’s reality TV. The show captured the turbulent life of the Loud family; the breakout star was son Lance who came out on national TV and became one of the first openly gay celebrities. He is also proud that the legacy section includes Marlon Riggs’ “Tongues Untied” (1989), the revolutionary film about the lives of black gay men. Lumpkin calls it “a landmark film, a very innovative, personal documentary that everyone in the LGBT community should see at the festival, even if they’ve seen it already.” Some of the other fascinating LGBTthemed films at AFI DOCS include the fulllength feature “Searching Eva” and several films in the “Short Films Selections.” “Searching Eva” is a searing portrait of Eva Collé, a German artist, model and Internet sensation. The queer shorts include “Mack Wrestles” about a transgender championship high school wrestler in Texas; “Sweetheart Dancers” about a twospirit couple fighting discrimination in Native American culture; and, “Take Me To Prom,” a multi-generational look at queer people and their experiences at prom. AFI DOCS opens with “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality” which profiles the intrepid founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala.,, and closes with “Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins.” Ivins, who died of cancer in 2007, was a maverick political commentator and Pulitzer Prizenominated author. She was also an early and outspoken ally in the fight for gay and lesbian rights. Some of the other amazing people whose lives are celebrated this year at AFI DOCS include Toni Morrison, the Amazing Jonathan, Mike Wallace, David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, Miles Davis and the brave cheerleaders who fought back against the sexist and predatory practices of the National Football League. The AFI DOCS website afi.com/afidocs) has a full schedule and ticket information for the festival.
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Spinnaker adventures Gay boating club offers relaxed atmosphere By KEVIN MAJOROS
BOB ANGELL (left) and ERIC BOLDA. Photos courtesy the subjects
The sailing season is in full swing and this week in the Washington Blade All Star series, we meet two LGBT sailors from the Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club. Weather permitting, the Spinnakers meet every weekend for two-hour sails on the Potomac River out of Belle Haven Marina. Utilizing rental boats or member boats, sailors can actively participate in operating the boat or just sit back and enjoy the sail. It was summers at his grandmother’s farm on the Eastern Shore that introduced Bob Angell to the sport of sailing. His days were filled with boats, crabbing, fishing, paddling and sailing. Born in Virginia, his family moved to Michigan and Massachusetts before settling outside of Annapolis. During high school, he played soccer and lacrosse before heading to Duke where he participated in karate and was a member of Duke University’s Club Sailing Team. After college, Angell moved back to the area to work in the tech industry. He continued sailing and competed in the Wednesday Night Racing Series on the Magothy River. Along the way, he picked up the sport of triathlon notching 28 races over the years. Five years ago he and his husband Ben, whom he has been with 31 years, came across the Spinnakers at the Capital Pride Festival and immediately joined. “I love being out on the water and connecting with other people,” Angell says. “There is always something to mess with on a boat and if you want to relax, you should go somewhere slowly.” During his career in the tech industry, Angell was also publishing short stories in magazines and anthologies. Now retired, he released his first novel last month, “Best Game Ever,” a queer science fiction/
virtual reality thriller. He’s been appearing on panels at events such as Balticon and Readercon to promote it. As for his time spent with the Spinnakers, he enjoys that there is a core group and also that newcomers show up to sail. “It’s all easygoing and a really nice way to destress,” Angell says. “Everyone always has a smile on their face when they are on a boat.” Eric Bolda grew up in Fond du Lac, Wis., and had his first sailing experiences on Lake Winnebago. His family moved to Illinois in his teens and they continued sailing on the Great Lakes. While attending University of California, Berkeley, he was a member of its sailing club and a fellowship in New Zealand gave him more opportunities to sail. “I have stuck with sailing because the physical and mental aspects of the sport are a good combination for me,” Bolda says. “There is nothing like being in harmony with the wind and the water.” A job with NIST brought Bolda to D.C. and he now works as a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. When he was coming out in 2004, he discovered the Rainbow Spinnakers and showed up for a sail. “It’s been a great way to make friends,” Bolda says. “We meet up after the sails to socialize and talk about the experience.” Bolda is now the commodore of the club and was a member of the Rainbow Spinnakers team that banded together to train for the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland. The race was on Lake Erie and the four sailors from the Spinnakers sailing team captured a silver medal. “Sailing can be enjoyed in many ways and each sail is a learning experience,” Bolda says. “We have a great mix of people who join us. People who have sailed the Atlantic, and others who just sit and watch the scenery.”
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Now thru July 7 | Opera House Kennedy-Center.org (202) 467-4600 Theater at the Kennedy Center is made possible by
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The new JONAS BROTHERS’ album ‘Happiness Begins’ is a delightful return to form. Photo courtesy Republic
‘Sucker’ for nostalgia
Now grown, Jonas Brothers reunite for frothy pop romp By THOM MURPHY
“Happiness Begins” is the first Jonas Brothers album in a decade. Even so, the now-grown Disney Channel heartthrobs’ presence has remained ubiquitous — Joe Jonas’ pop-funk group DNCE dominated the charts following the release of the single “Cake By The Ocean” and Nick Jonas’ 2016 solo pop record had numerous successes, including “Champagne Problems” and “Close.” But the new album is largely a return the group’s classic sound. The brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick, ages 31, 29 and 26 respectively, first rose to prominence after being picked up by Disney Channel. But unlike many of their fellow Disney Channel stars, the Jonas Brothers were always musicians first, actors second, setting them apart from the majority of Disney stars whose musical talents, if they may be called that, are discovered only after acting in major roles. The Jonas Brothers have always had solid chops, even if the music was geared toward adolescents. Considering other boy bands like One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, who owe much to the brothers, the Jonas Brothers more seamlessly transitioned away from enforced innocence to appeal to a broader audience. Joe’s innuendofilled and delightfully fun DNCE project and Nick’s provocative Calvin Klein campaign, as well as his solo work, have opened the two up to a larger fan base, particularly among gay men in Nick’s case. He certainly gave Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes’ recent underwear campaigns some healthy competition. The new album is very much caught it in the middle of these various worlds and feels like something of a compromise between them: boyishness, sexual innuendo, pop, funk, pop punk and a lighthearted attitude. The lead single “Sucker,” which opens the album, is a catchy pop-rock track that makes much use of Nick’s signature whiny falsetto. And it is more a remodel than new construction. It would be equally at home on the group’s 2009 album “Lines, Vines and Trying Times.” The song debuted
at no. 1 on Billboard, fueled more by nostalgia than innovation. The single “Cool,” which follows “Sucker,” largely falls much into the same camp, a good tune that adds little new. Both singles seem to reflect a strategy to appeal to the group’s traditional fanbase. The album is somewhat frontloaded with songs that remind us who the Jonas Brothers were. But one can’t help but wonder what else the group is capable of. Fortunately, the album is quick to answer. “I Believe” marks a turn in a more interesting direction on the album. The synth-heavy, harmonically dynamic track is a fantastic example of the group’s new direction. It is an impeccably good pop song and one you won’t regret leaving on repeat. To be sure, the apex of the album. “Every Single Time” is another synthheavy, up-tempo track that is on the slightly more innovative side. “Used To Be,” a more generically pop song, and “Don’t Throw it Away” seem to be the bridge between the more traditional sound of “Cool” and “Sucker” and the more up-to-date tracks like “I Believe.” And most of the album works to find a balance between the old and new of the Jonas Brothers. It’s a first foray into new territory that leads longtime fans by the hand. In that respect, the album is a big success, and bodes well for the brothers’ musical future. Toward the tail end of the album comes “Rollercoaster,” another fast-paced anthem designed, no doubt, with DJs and dance clubs in mind. And while the song is decidedly contemporary in its feel, it’s hard not to read the lyrics as a metaphor for their music career: “It was fun when we were young and now we’re older/Those days when we were broke in California/We were up and down and barely made it over/But I’d go back and ride that roller coaster.” On the album cover, the three brothers are sprawled out, backs to the camera in front of pool as they stare out over the California desert: Happiness Begins. It is not just that the Jonas Brothers are back — they’re already looking forward to what comes next.
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CHARLIE BARNETT (left) and MURRAY BARTLETT in ‘Tales of the City.’ Photo by Alison Cohn Rosa, courtesy Netflix
Gay ole’ San Francisco
Out actor Murray Bartlett relishes another role in the Bay Area By BRIAN T. CARNEY Out Australian actor Murray Bartlett really did leave his heart in San Francisco. Starting in 2014, he starred in the shortlived HBO series “Looking,” which was set in the Golden Gate City. Bartlett played Dom Basaluzzo, a restaurateur who hung out with his friends Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez). Now he’s starring as Michel “Mouse” Tolliver in the Netflix limited series “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City,” premiering today. The series is also set in San Francisco, which Bartlett says is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. “Tales of the City” started life as a newspaper serial by Maupin in 1974. The serial was later picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle and then published as a novel in 1978. In the intervening years, Maupin added eight books to the series;
the ninth and final novel, “The Days of Anna Madrigal,” was published in 2014. The wildly popular novels have been adapted into a variety of forms. The first three books were turned into three separate television series by PBS and Showtime. Jake Shears and John Garden of the rock band Scissor Sisters turned “Tales of the City” into a stage musical with a book by Jeff Whitty (“Avenue Q” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”). Working with a new libretto by Maupin, out composer Jake Heggie wrote “Anna Madrigal Remembers” for mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and the choir Chanticleer. In addition, Maupin, a talented raconteur, has performed excerpts from the books with symphony orchestras and LGBT choruses. Finally, as part of the “Letter Live” series, Ian McKellen performed “Dear Mama,” the coming-out letter that “Mouse” writes to his fundamentalist mother from his hospital bed. As Bartlett explains, the new Netflix series picks up two decades after the previous “Tales of the City” miniseries and Mouse’s life has changed. “Michael is HIV-positive and he went through the AIDS crisis at its height,” Bartlett says. “He thought he was going to die and he lost a lot of friends. He was deeply affected by that; it was a transformative time.” Despite his status as a long-term survivor, Bartlett says Michael has retained his natural charm and buoyancy. “He’s got a very boyish spirit and that’s one of the things I love about him as a character,” the actor says. “He’s older and wiser and he’s definitely walked through
fire, but he’s still managed to retain this beautiful kind of optimism.” Michael has also acquired a much younger boyfriend named Ben (Charlie Barnett). For fans of the books, Bartlett warns that the character of Ben in the series is somewhat different than the character in the books. “The show is not strictly based on the books, but it is definitely inspired by them,” Bartlett says. When the series opens, Michael and Ben are six months into their relationship. “The honeymoon isn’t over,” Bartlett says, “but they’re at a point in their relationship where they’re starting to look at some issues and notice their different ages. They have this deep love, but Michael is quite a bit older than Ben. We see a lot of intergenerational issues come up between them.” The new series kicks off — and these issues get highlighted — when Michael’s friend Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) suddenly returns to San Francisco. She’s reunited with her ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross) and her adopted daughter Shawna (Ellen Page), as well as Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis), who gently presides over the lives of the residents of the legendary apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane. Despite the pressure of playing such an iconic role, Bartlett did not do a lot of preparation before rehearsals started. “I didn’t go back and watch the previous shows. I did read the books and try to get the essence of Mouse off the page and let Armistead hand him to me. I thought I could come to him fresh and keep the essential boyishness of the character.” Since the character of Mouse is somewhat autobiographical, Bartlett admits he feels a special duty to be faithful to Armistead Maupin and his vision. “There’s a sense of responsibility,” he says, “but a wonderful sense of responsibility. I had first met Armistead on the set of ‘Looking. It’s always a joy being around him. I adore him and his books and he’s a kind of personification of his books. He’s an incredibly compassionate, loving, wonderful man with a deep understanding of human beings and what it is to be human.” Now that work has wrapped on the Netflix adaptation of “Tales of the City,” Bartlett is quietly developing some new projects for himself. “I’m trying to drive my own ship a little bit.” In the meantime, Bartlett feels the time is right for a new generation of fans to be introduced to the magic of “Tales of the City.” “I feel very excited about this show coming out when there’s a lot of divisive stuff going on. This show really speaks about family and understanding each other and having compassion. I hope people respond to that and run with it. I feel like we could use more of that.”
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When life feels blah Young gay man missing meaning in work, friends, family and love
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
50 Years Over the Rainbow: A Judy Garland Celebration Laura Osnes
Steven Reineke, conductor
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Growing up gay and feeling like I had to hide who I was, I always thought that my life would come together when I grew up and could get to a place where I could be myself. But now I’m 28 and still feel like I’m just going through the motions, not really living or inhabiting my life. Nothing I do is really fulfilling. My job is just a job and I feel like an anonymous cog in a wheel doing work that is pretty meaningless. And my social life is, in my view, pitiful. My friends and I get together on weekend nights and go out dressed to look hot and find someone sexy to go home with. Either that or we’re sitting around gossiping. It all feels meaningless. Ditto for all the time I waste on apps. Sometimes I wish I had a boyfriend. But my friends’ relationships suck. Everyone is cheating on each other. And when I’ve dated guys it always gets kind of boring after a while (plus the cheating thing). With regard to my family, when I visit my parents in Ohio a few times a year it always seems like the same old, same old. I feel like they don’t really want to hear the details of my gay life. The whole family thing feels superficial. A lot of the time I feel like I am just wasting time and there isn’t anything exciting to look forward to. Even when I travel, my friends and I are just going to a circuit party or something where it’s the same thing all over again. I’d like to be a “glass half full” person, but I’ve always been a “glass half empty” person because that is how my life has played out. Everything has seemed pretty pointless and unfulfilling. Is it possible to change the way you look at life in any significant way? Could I find a way to actually like my life when it’s been meh for as long as I can remember? MICHAEL REPLIES: Of course we are capable of changing the way we experience and live life. Your bottom-line problem isn’t that you are pessimistic. The real problem is that you haven’t yet challenged yourself to take hold of the steering wheel. No wonder you’re living an unfulfilled life. You are not in some uniquely bad or hopeless position. What you’re is stuck at
an important point in your development: You have not figured out how to be an autonomous adult, in charge of your own life. It makes sense that you are stuck here, given your life story so far as a gay man. When we grow up having to hide whom we are and pretend to be someone we’re not, there’s little room or encouragement to develop an authentic self. You don’t have to be a gay adolescent to be stuck in this way. Pretty much everyone grows up being told by parents, teachers and society who to be and how to act. And when we’re young, fear of rejection makes us vulnerable to peer pressure. We usually want to fit in, rather than stand out. Standing out can be dangerous. So now you’ve wound up in a job you dislike, spending time with friends you don’t seem to respect and pursuing things that give you little or no satisfaction, evidently not putting in the effort to keep your romantic relationships strong or interesting and not challenging yourself to let your parents know you. While your having come out demonstrates that you are able to challenge expectations of who you “should” be, you’re pretty wobbly in this area, going along with what your friends do even when these behaviors don’t suit you. You are far from alone in this: many gay men do the same, maybe because we don’t want to keep feeling excluded like we did before coming out. Given that you are miserable in your current existence, it’s time to figure out how you really want to live your life. Doing so will mean taking chances in all sorts of ways: looking for meaningful work, exploring new friendships, putting effort into personal connections. None of us can know in advance how things will go in our lives. Nothing is certain except that life is unpredictable. Nonetheless we can either take life as it comes, or aim to create as much meaning and satisfaction as we can. Forget about anyone else telling you how to proceed. That is how you got where you are today. Your task now is to activate the part of your self that decides how you want to live, and then work to make your choices into reality. A heads-up: If you start writing your own script, you may face disapproval for at least some of the choices you make. So in learning to construct a life that gives you meaning and fulfillment, you will also learn to manage your anxiety about disappointing others.
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Capital Pride Parade
The Capital Pride Parade was held on Saturday. Grand Marshals included Earline Budd, Brandon Wolf, Matt Easton and members of the cast of FX’s Pose. Washington Blade photos by Michael Key
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Capital Pride Festival
The 2019 Capital Pride Festival was held along Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday. Washington Blade photos by Drew Brown
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Pride on the Pier
The second annual Pride on the Pier was held at The Wharf on Saturday. The event was produced by the Ladies of LURe and the Washington Blade and the Pier was presented by Absolut. The fireworks show was presented by Compass. Washington Blade photos by Vanessa Pham and Michael Key
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Pride week Clockwise from top, left: The Washington Blade launched this year’s ‘Pride Pils’ with DC Brau at Dacha Beer Garden on Thursday, June 6. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer were donated to SMYAL and the Blade Foundation. The D.C. Front Runners held the annual Pride Run 5K at Congressional Cemetery on Friday, June 7. The Washington Blade held a viewing party for the 2019 Capital Pride Parade at Studio Theatre on Saturday, June 8. Washington Blade photos by Drew Brown, Molly Byrom and Michael Key
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From Golf Course Luxury to the Quiet Bay .. 27270 18th Boulevard #13105 The Peninsula MLS: DESU133638 | Oﬀered at $320,000
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And Historic Charm to Rehoboth Fun! 120 Dewey Avenue In-Town Lewes MLS: DESU142120 | Oﬀered at $779,900
DELIGHTFULLY LEWES Amazing Craftsman character and authenticity welcome you to this ideally located in-town Lewes charmer! Impeccably curated design highlights this inviting home with so many architectural details: rich wood door frames and mouldings; stunning kitchen with granite counters, tile backsplash, baseboard drawers, spice cabinets and Runtel wall heater; ﬁrst-ﬂoor bedroom; separate living and dining rooms; upstairs master suite with fantastic spa bath with dual-head shower, and more. Enjoy the versatility of a basement with its own kitchen and top-of-the-line Weil McClain gas furnace and water heater. Lush, private fenced yard invites you outdoors; functional shed with sitting area and 1-car garage add more useful spaces. With too many details to list, this home is a true must-see-for-yourself!
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REHOBOTH BEACH IS CALLING Welcome to the Crest, an ocean block condo just steps to the beach and boardwalk. Desirable 15-unit condo features a sparkling pool, secure entrance, elevator, storage space, oﬀ-street parking, and on-site laundry. The spacious living area has sliders out to a private balcony where you’ll hear the crash of waves while you sip your morning coﬀee or relax with an evening glass of wine. This 2-bedroom condo has a proven rental history which will only get better. Recently painted and ready for new owners and tenants. Park your car and walk to all the best shopping, dining, and entertainment oﬀerings in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
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Inspiring net zero energy in D.C. D.C. working to curb greenhouse gas emissions By CHRIS MCENTEE In Washington, D.C., buildings are responsible for 74 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. As threats from climate change become more severe, particularly impacts from more intense heat and rain events, it has become a city priority to rein in those emissions and plan for a more sustainable future. Just a few months before Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act into law, the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment finalized its Clean Energy DC plan. This plan highlights more efficient buildings, particularly those that are net zero energy, to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A building has achieved net zero energy when its annual energy usage is equal to or less than the amount of energy created onsite by using innovative technologies and renewable power generation. Some building owners may not know the best strategies to use to reduce energy usage in their buildings, let alone target net zero energy. While the following tactics may not be applicable to every building, the broader engineering principles of reduction, reclamation, absorption, and generation— especially when implemented together—can help target net zero energy goals. There are many ways to reduce energy consumption, such as installing LED lights and energy efficient appliances. In addition, reusing as much material as possible during a renovation project can reduce a building’s carbon footprint by keeping waste out of the landfill. The District now requires new construction to capture the first 1.2 inches of rain on-site
D.C. buildings are responsible for 74 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by holbox; Courtesy of Bigstock
to stem the flow of water and protect local rivers. A cistern can reclaim rainwater by filtering and treating it for non-potable uses like flushing toilets and irrigating plants. Installing and irrigating a hydroponic phytoremediation, or green, wall can improve indoor air quality. The green wall allows air to be circulated through the roots of live plants where it is cleaned and filtered before passing back into the building. When working with a building’s HVAC system, this process provides a large energy cost savings. A municipal sewer heat exchange system is an innovative way to absorb thermal energy from wastewater. This system taps into the sewer line and diverts wastewater to a settling tank that is then circulated inside the building. An exchange system extracts energy from the water for heating and cooling before the water is returned to the sewer. Even when located on a tight urban footprint, a building can still generate enough power with a photovoltaic (PV) array to operate on a yearly basis. By utilizing
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the direct current power from the PV array, a building can power its lights, computer monitors, workstations, and more. As a global community of Earth and space scientists, sustainability is also a priority for AGU. AGU’s headquarters building is currently undergoing renovation and, upon completion, will be the first net zero energy commercial renovation in D.C. To help address climate change and lead within D.C.’s sustainability goals, AGU focused on each of the strategies outlined above. For example, AGU cleaned and reused more than 5,000 bricks during demolition and repurposed materials. AGU’s terrazzo flooring, as well as the Board room table, is comprised of reclaimed porcelain and glass from the original building. In addition, AGU was the first in the U.S. to install a Huber system, a type of municipal sewer heat exchanger that uses wastewater energy from a D.C. sewer line dating back to the late nineteenth century. Finally, AGU will generate power through more than 700 on-site solar panels.
A proud member of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, AGU now welcomes the public for net zero energy tours and to rent meeting space. AGU hopes to share best practices and inspire more progress toward sustainability through the organization’s awardwinning efforts. By implementing just one tactic described here, building owners, communities, local leaders, and members of the broader building industry can make a significant difference for the city and society’s future. Where Science and Sustainability Meet: This green wall is located in AGU’s newly renovated net zero energy building at 2000 Florida Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. AGU’s headquarters aims to become the first commercial building in Washington, D.C., specifically renovated to achieve the goal of net zero energy. The green walls, also known as hydroponic phytoremediation (hyphy) walls, help meet this goal by serving as natural air biofilters. Tours of the AGU net zero energy building are available to the public. Learn more at http://building.agu.org. In January 2019, at AGU headquarters at 2000 Florida Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by AGU CEO and executive director Chris McEntee and AGU Executive VP, Strategic & Organizational Excellence Janice Lachance, as the Mayor signed clean energy legislation into law. The landmark clean energy bill established Washington, D.C. as a global leader in clean energy to combat climate change. The ceremony was hosted at AGU’s headquarters, the first net-zero building renovation in the District, as an example of meeting energy goals in combating climate change.
firstname.lastname@example.org, is executive director/CEO of AGU, a worldwide community that advances Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. For more information, visit sites.agu.org or 2000 Florida Ave., N.W.
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