Washingtonblade.com, Volume 50, Issue 32, August, 9, 2019

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AUGUST 09, 2019 • VOLUM E 50 • I S S UE 32 • WA S HI N GTONB LAD E.CO M

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Two years ago, President Trump announced his military trans ban via Tweet. We checked with the military branches to see how many trans applicants have been turned away. PAGE 12


Looking back:



50 years of the Blade


Back to School


Monika Nemeth elected ANC chair


Arts & Culture


Town owners plan new


Gay ‘Elm Street’ actor takes

nightclub in former church 11 12 13 16

charge of his narrative in new doc

Trans woman beaten,


‘Enterprising Women’ unite

robbed at D.C. gas station


Ups and downs

Military reports no discharges under


Kettle, pot, lesbians — hello?

trans ban — but advocates are skeptical


Aladdin’s’ pal

Rowland is first LGBT Trump judicial


‘Four Weddings’ and a thud

nominee to be confirmed


Stonewall Kickball orientation

Blade returns to U.S.-Mexico border,


Saving for a child’s

Central America 19

Cannabis Culture


Calif. considers non-prescription PrEP

education — or your own 46


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6/26/19 3:43 PM

30 years ago, Rehoboth considers ban on bars, cabarets

It’s hard to imagine now, but 30 years ago, Rehoboth Beach, Del., was at a crossroads when it came to the question of welcoming gay visitors. Some in town lamented the beach’s surging popularity with gay vacationers. In this story from Aug. 11, 1989, Lou Chibbaro Jr. reported on a referendum seeking to ban all new bars and cabarets from the town limits. Owners of the two largest gay clubs at the time — The Strand and the Renegade —

were on opposite sides of the referendum. The referendum was approved in a lopsided 723 to 363 vote. Today, both discos are long gone, but the gay-owned Blue Moon, Aqua, The Pines, the Purple Parrot, and Diego’s Hideaway remain popular with queer patrons. Take a walk down memory lane. Browse the Blade’s unique 50-year archive of LGBTQ news and features at washingtonblade.com/archives.

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Monika Nemeth elected ANC chair ‘We are changing our brand to reflect both the progress we’ve made in being a more inclusive organization and where we want to continue to grow,’ said ECCDC President VAN GOODWIN.

MONIKA NEMETH assumed the position as chair of ANC 3F on Aug. 1.

Ward 3 community activist and Gertrude Stein Democratic Club President Monika Nemeth, who became the first known transgender person to win election to a D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission seat in November 2018, assumed the position as chair of ANC 3F on Aug. 1. Her fellow commissioners elected her to the chairperson position on July 23 after then-chair David Dickinson announced he was stepping down in anticipation of his and his family’s plans for moving later this year to the United Kingdom, where his wife will begin a new job at Oxford University. Nemeth was among 23 LGBT candidates who won election to ANC seats in the Nov. 6, 2018 D.C. election. She later joined other LGBT ANC commissioners to form an ANC Rainbow Caucus, which advocates for LGBT issues. She holds the seat for ANC 3F06, ANC 3F represents the neighborhoods of Van Ness, North Cleveland Park, Wakefield, and Forest Hills. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Bipartisan LGBT ‘working group’ holds second meeting

An informal working group consisting of leaders of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Log Cabin Republicans of D.C., and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance held its second meeting on July 30 to discuss plans for promoting an open primary system for D.C. Veteran D.C. gay activist Paul Kuntzler, who co-founded the Stein Club and GLAA in the 1970s, organized the working group’s first meeting in April, saying he hoped to help build a bipartisan coalition of local LGBT rights advocates to push for “common ground” initiatives to strengthen the LGBT community’s political clout in the city. As a follow-up to the main topic of discussion at the April meeting, members of the three LGBT groups on July 30 discussed plans for replacing the city’s current closed primary system, in which only members of a political party can vote in primaries, with a primary open to all registered voters. Although Log Cabin is believed to favor such a change, representatives of the Stein Club and GLAA have said those two groups have yet to discuss such a proposal and it is uncertain whether the groups would support an open primary system. Those attending the July 30 meeting were Kuntzler, Stein Club President Monika Nemeth, Stein Club treasurer Matthew Abbruzzese, Log Cabin of D.C. president Adam Savit, and Log Cabin D.C.’s two past presidents, Chris Allen and Robert Turner. Turner hosted the meeting at his Adams Morgan home. GLAA President Bobbi Strang, who attended the first meeting, was unable to attend the second one but plans to attend future meetings, the others said she told them. Nemeth said she believes the current closed primary system in D.C. favors incumbent elected officials and she personally supports some type of open primary system. But she said she was speaking for herself and not the Stein Club. D.C. Democratic Party leaders in the past have expressed opposition to an open

primary system, saying Democratic primary elections should be limited to those who choose to register as a Democrat. During the July 30 meeting, Allen of Log Cabin gave a presentation on the different types of open primaries adopted by cities and states throughout the country. Those attending the meeting agreed that the one best suited for D.C., which is currently in place in California, Nebraska, and Washington State, is known as a “top two” open primary. Under that system, candidates from all parties or those running as independents compete in one primary operated by the state. The primary is open to all voters regardless of party affiliation. Under this system, the top two vote getters among the candidates go on to a general election. Allen noted that there would be three ways that advocates could secure approval of this type of primary – a vote by the D.C. Council for legislation putting it in place, a voter initiative placed on the ballot in an upcoming D.C. election, or intervention by Congress to change the city’s Home Rule Charter to include the open primary system. Nemeth of the Stein Club said she would not, nor would the Stein Club, support any effort to have Congress intervene in a local D.C. matter such as this. She said she would prefer an effort to persuade the D.C. Council to approve such a change, which she said should be promoted as a progressive means of expanding voter participation in city elections. Savit of Log Cabin told the Blade he understands the strong opposition to congressional intervention and agrees with Nemeth that the best course of action would be to seek approval for such a change by the D.C. Council. He said he thinks Nemeth was correct in pointing out that the Council’s legislative agenda was most likely full through 2020 and any attempt to push for legislation to create an open primary system would have to be a long range effort over a period of several years. “I thought it went very well,” said Kuntzler in discussing the July 30 meeting. He noted that all of those who attended the first meeting rejected a call by some that the Democrats should drop out of the meetings because of a recent Blade commentary by Savit expressing general support for the Trump administration.

Those participating in the meeting agreed to meet again in October. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Gay & Lesbian Chamber announces new name The D.C.-based Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced on Aug. 2 that it’s changing its name and rebranding its image for the second time in its 28-year history. Its new name will be the Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area (ECCDC). “Originally founded as the Potomac Executive Network (PEN), the Chamber began when being associated with an organization that had ‘gay’ in its name would end a career or business,” the organization said in a statement. “Eventually rebranding to the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CAGLCC), its members were proud to ‘come out’ as an organization,” the statement says. “With the continued advancement of the LGBTQ rights movement,” the Chamber announced in its Aug. 2 statement, “‘gay and lesbian’ no longer reflects where it is as an organization, nor where the LGBTQ rights movement should be.” In a separate statement on social media, the organization’s president, Van Goodwin, stated, “We are changing our brand to reflect both the progress we’ve made in being a more inclusive organization and where we want to continue to grow…We believe more LGBTQ professionals and business owners should have a seat at the table, and we want you to have a seat at ours.” The first statement says that in connection with the rebrand, the Chamber plans to host special public and membersonly events over the next few months, including an official rebrand celebration for its members on Aug. 22. Goodwin told the Blade the organization’s new website, eccdc.biz, would be officially live by Monday, Aug. 12. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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Town owners plan new nightclub in former church Application calls for venue with dancing, outdoor café on N. Capitol Street By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

The former St. Phillips Baptist Church at 1001 North Capitol St., N.E., is slated to be the new home of a nightclub. Washington Blade photo by Micheal Key

Owners of the former LGBT D.C. nightclub Town Danceboutique announced in a Twitter post on Tuesday night plans for opening a “spectacular” new club in a former church on North Capitol Street about a mile north of the U.S. Capitol. The announcement came shortly after the online food and dining news site Eat DC reported that the Town owners had applied for a liquor license under a company name Town 2.0 LLC for a space inside the former St. Phillips Baptist Church at 1001 North Capitol St., N.E. A notice issued by the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration for a public hearing on the license application, a copy of which the Washington Blade has obtained, says the new establishment, using the trade name TBD, plans to operate as a nightclub “offering entertainment, DJ, and dancing with snack offerings” along with a sidewalk café. “After two full years of searching for a potential new space for a nightclub for the LGBTQ community, we are excited to confirm that we have found a space that has remarkable potential,” the Town owners said in their Twitter post. “It is a former church located at the corner of North Capitol and K streets which is truly spectacular, and while it is no small

undertaking, we look forward to creating a brand new, dynamic nightlife experience for D.C.,” the posting says. “We intend to take the vast amount of knowledge that we have acquired in the last 30 years of owning and operating nightlife venues in D.C. to create something that we are hoping to be the crowning achievement of our careers,” it says. “We took our time to get to this point, looking for the right opportunity and passing on many other options, and while we understand that the city has been yearning for a substantial nightlife option, we are now going to take all the right steps, forge all the right relationships, and tackle the engineering challenges… and hopefully soon, we will be able to bring something new and exciting back to Washington’s nightlife.” Property records from the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue show that Jemal’s Sanctuary LLC, an arm of the Douglas Development company, one of the city’s largest real estate development firms, purchased the church building in March 2017 for $3.2 million. At the time of the purchase the local business news publication Biznow Washington reported an official with Douglas Development said the company planned to turn the building into a synagogue. But the city property records site shows that Jemal’s Sanctuary LLC was still the owner of the church building as of this week, indicating the company dropped its plans for a synagogue and will lease the building to the Town owners for use as a nightclub. The public notice by ABRA, the city’s alcoholic beverage licensing agency, says a placard announcing the liquor license application will be posted at the site presumably on the church on Aug. 9. It says members of the public who wish to oppose the license must file an official “protest petition” by Sept. 23 and that a public hearing for such a protest would be held Dec. 4. The notice states that the Town 2.0 LLC application says the hours of operation planned for “inside the premises and for

sidewalk café” would be 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. It says the hours of “alcoholic beverage sales, service, and consumption” inside the premises and for the sidewalk café would be 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The ABRA notice says the application calls for live entertainment only inside the premises during the hours of 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The former St. Phillips Baptist Church building is surrounded by commercial establishments and office buildings on all sides except for one attached building immediately to its left, the John and Jill Ker Conway Residences. That building is a modern high-rise structure with 124 “micro” apartments for homeless and disabled veterans. It couldn’t immediately be determined how residents or the management of that building will react to the news that a nightclub would be their next-door neighbor. D.C. nightlife advocates have complained in other parts of the city, including in the Dupont Circle area, that protests filed against liquor license applications have sometimes caused long delays and high legal expenses for those seeking to open bars, restaurants or nightclubs. The three principal owners of the former Town nightclub, John Guggenmos, Ed Bailey, and Jim “Chachi” Boyle, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. But people who know them say they have reached out to nearby residents and others in the neighborhoods where they have opened clubs in the past to address the concerns of their neighbors. The website for St. Phillips Baptist Church says the church, which held its services at the North Capitol Street building since 1948, sold the building “after much prayer and planning” in 2017 and has moved to a new church in Temple Hills, Md., where it currently holds its services.

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Trans woman beaten, robbed at D.C. gas station By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

Trans March on Washington set for Sept. 28

Rally at Freedom Plaza to precede march to U.S. Capitol By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

ALICIA LOVE says a group of men attacked her on Aug. 2, after she left work. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

A transgender woman who just got off work from her job as a manager at the D.C. Eagle at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 2 was beaten and robbed by seven male attackers about three blocks from the Eagle as she was walking to a convenience store at a gas station on Minnesota Avenue, N.E., according to a police report and her account of the incident to the Washington Blade. Alicia Love, who first disclosed the incident in a harrowing account on her Facebook page, said the attack took place at two locations, at the gas station and less than a block away on the street. She told the Blade the incident began when she was walking along Minnesota Avenue after getting off work from her Thursday night shift at the Eagle, as she frequently does, to stop at a late-night convenience store at the Citgo gas station at 3820 Minnesota Avenue, N.E. “As I’m going to the gas station I walked past a group of seven guys and they were calling me names like tranny, he-she, faggot,” she told the Blade during an interview on Sunday. “I ignored it and I stayed focused on where I was walking,” she said. But minutes later as she got close to the gas station she noticed the men were following her so she changed course slightly and walked across the street to what the police report says was the 3800 block of Blaine Street, N.E., which is just off Minnesota Avenue and a short distance from the gas station. “And basically, they started saying give me your purse, give me your stuff, and I was like leave me alone, I don’t want any problems,” Love told the Blade. “So, before I could say anything more they ran up on me, all seven of the guys, and they jumped me,” she said. “And I fell to the ground and they started to kick me and punch me and kick me in my face and called me names — tranny,” she continued. “So, they took my purse, and that’s why I was so scared because I was getting up and getting ready to run across the street and they realized there was no money and anything valuable in my purse,” Love said. Her greatest fear at that moment, she recounted, was the attackers saw she had a fanny pack or belt bag around her waist, which was where her money, bank debit card, and other important items were located. It was at that time, she said, that she ran for her life toward the gas station as the attacker who discovered her purse had no valuables in it and two of the other attackers ran after her. She managed to run into a small convenience store that’s part of the Citgo gas station and immediately asked the cashier, who was sitting inside an enclosed booth behind a counter, to let her inside the booth. “I told him they’re coming after me, can you please let me in,” she told the Blade. “I’m like I need help. So, he looked at me and ignored me and they [the attackers] came in there. It was three guys,” she said. “And they started to punch me and beat me up and they took my fanny pack and they took my phone and everything,” Love said. In the midst of the struggle, before they took her phone, according to Love, she managed to call 911 and tried to explain where she was and what was happening. “I basically was in disbelief,” she said, after the attackers fled the scene. “I just came out of the gas station [store] and fell on the ground and started to cry. I just didn’t know what to do. I was crouched up. I was bruised up.”


A National Transgender Visibility March on Washington originally planned for March 31 will now take place Saturday, Sept. 28, according to a statement released on Tuesday by organizers of the march and related events. Marissa Miller, a D.C.-based transgender activist and leader organizer, said the march will begin with a 9:30 a.m. rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. in which prominent transgender and LGBT rights advocates will speak. Among those scheduled to speak at the rally will be actress, transgender rights advocate, and businesswoman Angelica Ross, who starred in the FX series “Pose,” the statement released on Tuesday says. Also confirmed as speakers are Alphonso David, the recently named president of the Human Rights Campaign; and Earline Budd, the longtime D.C. transgender rights advocate, according to Miller. HRC’s annual national dinner is scheduled to take place Saturday evening, Sept. 28, after the march. Miller said many people coming to D.C. for the dinner were expected to join the march. Following the Freedom Plaza rally the Trans Visibility March is scheduled to proceed to the U.S. Capitol, Miller said. “Members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities will take a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s capital for the first-ever National Trans Visibility March on Washington,” organizers said in a January statement announcing plans for the march. “Transgender individuals from major metropolitan cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis, New York and San Francisco will come together with their allies calling for equal rights, physical safety and demanding the transgender communities be officially and federally recognized across every state department within this great nation,” the statement says. Mark Kormann, director of fundraising for the march, said a National Trans Visibility March Benefit Concert to help fund the march is scheduled to be held

Aug. 23 at The Community Church of Washington, D.C.-UCC at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23. The Seasons of Love Ensemble of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. and the Gay Men’s Chorus of New York will be among the performers at the concert, Kormann said. Kormann said watch parties in at least 13 cities were expected to view the concert through a live streaming broadcast. Miller said the march itself will be live streamed for people unable to come to D.C. Kormann said an opening reception for people planning to participate in the march will be held Thursday, Sept. 26, to be followed by a Friday, Sept. 27, Torch Award Ceremony in which prominent transgender and gender non-conforming leaders and activists will be honored. Both events will take place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. According to Kormann, 500 transgender and gender non-conforming people will come to the march from across the country on a scholarship made possible by contributions from supporters of the march and its related events. He said some will participate in community organizing workshops on Friday afternoon, the day before the march. “They will then go back into their communities and start to mobilize their community,” he said. “So the idea is to give them tools to go back into their communities.” Miller said another Trans March on Washington is also being planned for 2020 to coincide with the U.S. presidential election. She said details of that march, including the date and related events, would be announced at a later time. She said anyone who believes in equality for all is invited to join the Sept. 28 Transgender Visibility March on Washington. “We urge you to join us Sept. 28, 2019 as we march in solidarity in support of equal rights and inclusion for our community,” a statement on the march website says. “March with us to demand justice for our siblings whose lives were taken through senseless murders,” it says. Additional details on the march can be found at transmarchondc.org.

Military reports no discharges under trans ban — but advocates are skeptical Court fights continue two years after Trump’s announcement By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

More than two years after President Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” the military services say the policy hasn’t resulted in denials of service for otherwise qualified individuals — a claim transgender advocates say is dubious at best. The Washington Blade reached out to each of the military services — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard — to obtain numbers of discharges and denials of enlistment of transgender people since the Defense Department implemented the policy, DTM-19-004, on April 12. Each of the services — with one exception — had the same reply when asked how many otherwise qualified transgender individuals were denied accession, or enlistment, into their ranks: zero. (The exception was the U.S. Coast Guard, which reported denying enlistment to two applicants under the policy.) Moreover, each of the services uniformly had the same answer in response to a question about the number of separations under the anti-trans policy: zero. Stephen Peters, spokesperson for the LGBT group Modern Military Association of America, said the assertion that no transgender applicants were denied enlistment is “incredibly misleading.” “While I’m sure whoever is responding to your inquiry is justifying their response based on semantics, there is no denying that numerous qualified trans patriots want to enlist or commission into the military,” Peters said. As evidence of transgender applicants being denied accession into the military, Peters pointed to his organization’s lawsuit against the ban, Karnoski v. Trump, which is pending before a trial court after remand from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Ryan Karnoski, Staff Sergeant Catherine Schmid and Drew Layne — transgender people blocked under the ban from accession into the military. (Each of these individuals joined the lawsuit before the current policy went into effect on April 12.)

On July 26, 2017, Trump surprised the world, including leadership in the U.S. military, when he announced he’d ban transgender people from the military “in any capacity.” “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” Essentially, the tweet announced a reversal of policy allowing transgender people to serve openly and obtain transitionrelated care without fear of discharge — a policy that was implemented by former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in the last six months of the Obama administration. It took nearly two years for the Pentagon to implement Trump’s pledge to ban transgender troops. The policy became know as DTM-19-004, “Military Service by Transgender Persons and Persons with Gender Dysphoria.” Why the delay in implementation? Trump tweeted the policy at the same time as former Defense Secretary James Mattis was conducting a six-month study reevaluating transgender service. Following Trump’s tweets, the study concluded transgender people should not serve. Moreover, courts had until the time blocked Trump’s policy from going into effect. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the orders from the lower courts, essentially allowing the policy to go forward. Under DTM-19-004, service members are discharged who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria or are prescribed transition-related care. In terms of enlistments, the policy bars applicants with a history of gender dysphoria — unless the individuals are willing to serve in their biological sex (an extremely small number of transgender people). Applicants who obtained

transition-related care are outright banned. The transgender ban contains an exemption that allows transgender people who came out during the Obama-era policy to continue to serve and receive transition-related care. But those troops could face complications under the ban, such as if they seek promotions, want to change services or drop out to pursue educational opportunities and seek to re-enlist. The Defense Department has insisted the new policy is a medical-based policy applied to every service member, even though the policy applies to conditions faced solely by transgender people, and is not a ban, even though it bars many transgender people from service. In response to the Blade inquiry, each of the four services under the Defense Department — the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps — each claimed zero applicants were denied enlistment under DTM-19-004, while the Coast Guard, which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, claimed two denials. (Initially, an Army spokesperson responded, “No applicant meeting the medical accession standards contained in DTM 19-004 has been denied entry into the Army under DTM 19-004.” When the Blade followed up by asking for the numbers on how many were denied as not meeting the standard, the response was “None.”) Similarly, a Navy spokesperson initially replied, “By policy (DTM 19-004) there can be no denial of accessions based on gender identity alone. Therefore the answer is zero related to gender identity.” When the Blade pointed out no mention was made of gender identity, the new response was “zero.”) Aaron Belkin, director of the San Francisco-based Palm Center, said the difference between numbers of the Coast Guard and other services suggests the former views the transgender ban differently. “The fact that the Coast Guard is reporting the data honestly shows that it is not afraid to acknowledge evidence that indicates what we have long known, which is that the transgender ban harms readiness,” Belkin said. It’s possible the number of applicants denied enlistment under the ban don’t reflect individuals not just blocked from enlisting under the transgender ban, but due to reasons unrelated to the policy. Moreover, those numbers don’t capture the impact of the policy as a deterrent. At a time when the military is falling short of its recruitment goals, many transgender people may not attempt to enlist even if they would otherwise be interested in military service. A gay Democratic statistician in New York

City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to talk to the press, said the likelihood the Army denied enlistment to no applicants when the Coast Guard denied enlistment to two is infinitesimally small. “While it’s difficult to say anything with much certainty because we have been given so little data to work with, the odds that a service like the Army that gets nearly 10 times as many applicants as the USCG had zero rejections, while the USCG had two are incredibly low,” he said. “Far less than one percent odds.” Belkin said the services reporting no separations is “not surprising” because the process for those separations may not be yet finalized. “The process for administrative separation set out in DTM-19-004 is efficient but not instantaneous, and it’s only been three months since the ban took effect,” Belkin said. “Candidates for separation, by definition, would be service members who had not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria by April 12 (otherwise they would be grandfathered). The process for administrative separation could not even begin until diagnosis, followed by another determination that gender-transition treatment was medically necessary.” Belkin added transgender service members may be serving in the shadows like under like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on openly gay service repealed during the Obama administration, and avoid seeking transitionrelated care, which would initiate a discharge. “Transgender members will avoid medical and health care encounters that could expose them to separation,” Belkin said. “Separations are the tiny tip of the iceberg.” The Blade also sought to obtain information on waivers under the trans ban. Under Section 3 of DTM-19-004, the military departments and Coast Guard may grant a waiver to allow a transgender person who would otherwise be blocked from service. Each of the services uniformly replied they had granted no waivers under the transgender ban, nor had they denied any requests for waivers. The Air Force and the Navy added they have obtained no requests for a waiver to begin with since the implementation of the policy. Belkin said admission from the services they had not granted any waivers speaks volumes about these waivers being a false promise. “This rebuts claims from military leadership that availability of waivers will soften the effect of the ban,” Belkin said. “In particular, some waivers should have been expected soon after the ban took effect because a number of service members got caught short by the sudden April 12 effective date and the inability to obtain qualifying diagnoses on short notice.”

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Rowland is first LGBT Trump judicial nominee to be confirmed

President Trump nominated out lesbian MARY M. ROWLAND to the federal bench in Illinois. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

With little fanfare, the U.S. Senate confirmed lesbian judicial nominee Mary Rowland to a seat on the federal bench in Illinois, marking the first confirmation to the judiciary of an out LGBT Trump nominee. The U.S. Senate confirmed Rowland — who has ties to the LGBT group Lambda Legal — to a seat in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois by voice vote on Wednesday with no recorded opposition. Rowland’s nomination, which President Trump first announced in June 2018, languished in the Senate for more than a year even though she enjoyed a breezy confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The American Bar Association rated Rowland as “well qualified” for the position. Although Rowland, 57, is a Trump nominee, her record contradicts the trend of his anti-LGBT appointments and includes work in LGBT advocacy. Rowland’s affiliation with LGBT legal groups includes being a member of the Lesbian & Gay Bar Association of Chicago and pro bono work for Lambda Legal. During her confirmation hearing, Rowland wasn’t shy about referencing her spouse, Julie Justicz, and their two adult children. Trump’s nomination of Rowland is the result of an agreement between the White House and Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), the home state senators of Rowland who both granted their “blue slips” to allow her nomination to proceed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. (During Rowland’s confirmation hearing, Durbin said, “That’s the way the process is supposed to work.”) Following Senate approval of Rowland and Martha Pacold to a seat on the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, Durbin and Duckworth issued a joint statement commending the bipartisan nature of their confirmation process. “We are pleased that the Senate has confirmed Martha Pacold and Mary Rowland,” the senators said. “They have the qualifications, integrity and judgment to serve with distinction as district court judges in the Northern District of Illinois. We appreciate the administration’s willingness to work with us and with our nonpartisan screening committee to reach consensus on nominees who will serve the people of Illinois well.” Both Duckworth and Durbin took to Twitter to praise Rowland’s confirmation and called her the first openly LGBT person to serve in the federal judiciary in Illinois. “Proud to help secure the confirmation of Mary Rowland to serve as a District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois,” Durbin tweeted. “The first openly LGBTQ judge to serve in the Northern District, she has the qualifications, integrity & judgment to serve with distinction.” To be sure, many of the nominees Trump has picked for the judiciary have anti-LGBT records. Among them is U.S. Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose anti-LGBT record includes defending a Virginia high school in litigation seeking to block transgender student Gavin Grimm from using the bathroom consistent with his gender identity. CHRIS JOHNSON

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A transgender woman eats inside a unit for trans detainees in ICE custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., on June 6.

Lawmakers urge ICE to improve trans detainee treatment More than 30 members of Congress last week sent a letter to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence about the treatment of transgender detainees in their custody. “We are gravely concerned regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) policies for individuals seeking asylum in the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “Today, we write to express our strong concerns with ICE’s treatment of transgender migrants seeking asylum in the United States, especially those coming to the U.S. from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.” The letter specifically refers to Alejandra, a trans Salvadoran activist who is in ICE custody at the privately run Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M. The lawmakers note Alejandra asked for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in November 2017 and “has been held in detention by ICE ever since.” The letter states Alejandra remains at the Cibola County Correctional Center, even though she has “documented health conditions that require specialized care.” The letter also notes the U.S. deported Camila Díaz Córdova, another trans Salvadoran woman, a few months before she was killed earlier this year. Salvadoran authorities have charged three police officers with Díaz’s murder. “This tragedy occurred after she was deported from the U.S. a few months earlier,” said the lawmakers in their letter. “Miss Díaz Córdova received persistent death threats for years, which she had documented in her asylum application.” Reports of abuse and mistreatment of trans women in ICE custody and a lack of adequate health care persist. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Dreamers Project and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in a March 25 letter to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security said a dozen trans and gay detainees suffered “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse” at the facility. Twenty-nine trans women who were in ICE custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in a letter they

sent to Trans Queer Pueblo, a Phoenixbased group that advocates on behalf of undocumented LGBT immigrants, said personnel at the facility “psychologically and verbally” mistreat them and they do not receive “adequate” medical care. The trans detainees wrote the letter two weeks after the Blade and a handful of other media outlets visited the facility. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

LGBT groups condemn mass shootings LGBT advocacy groups around the country on Saturday condemned a mass shooting at a Texas Walmart that left 22 people dead and more than two dozen others injured. The El Paso Times reported the 21-yearold gunman entered the Walmart near El Paso’s Cielo Vista Mall shortly before 10 a.m. local time (12 p.m. EST) and opened fire. The newspaper quoted El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez who said upwards of 3,000 people were inside the store at the time of the shooting. The gunman, who is from a Dallas suburb,wrote a manifesto that contains anti-immigrant and anti-Latino statements. The Walmart in which the shooting took place is less than two miles from the U.S.Mexico border. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a message he posted to his Twitter page said Mexican citizens were among those killed. “We are heartbroken over the innocent lives taken today,” said Human Rights Campaign Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof in a statement. “The horrific violence in El Paso has become all too common in our country.” Lambda Legal, which had its Landmark Dinner Aug. 3 in Dallas, in a tweet acknowledged the shooting. “We are only nine hours from El Paso, at our annual Landmark Dinner in Dallas,” said Lambda Legal in a tweet. “While we will be spending the next few hours talking about equality for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, we will also recognize the pain our nation is feeling.” Just hours later, another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and wounding two-dozen others. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Important Facts About DOVATO

©2019 ViiV Healthcare or licensor. DLLADVT190008 June 2019 Produced in USA.

Learn more about Kalvin and DOVATO at DOVATO.com

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This is only a brief summary of important information about DOVATO and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and treatment. What is the Most Important Information I Should Know about DOVATO? If you have both human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, DOVATO can cause serious side effects, including: • Resistant HBV infection. Your healthcare provider will test you for HBV infection before you start treatment with DOVATO. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with DOVATO and become harder to treat (resistant). It is not known if DOVATO is safe and effective in people who have HIV-1 and HBV infection. • Worsening of HBV infection. If you have HIV-1 and HBV infection, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking DOVATO. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. Worsening liver disease can be serious and may lead to death. ° Do not run out of DOVATO. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your DOVATO is all gone. ° Do not stop DOVATO without first talking to your healthcare provider. If you stop taking DOVATO, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your liver. What is DOVATO? DOVATO is a prescription medicine that is used without other antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV-1 infection in adults: who have not received antiretroviral medicines in the past, and without known resistance to the medicines dolutegravir or lamivudine. HIV-1 is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is not known if DOVATO is safe and effective in children. Who should not take DOVATO? Do Not Take DOVATO if You: • have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine that contains dolutegravir or lamivudine. • take dofetilide. What should I tell my healthcare provider before using DOVATO? Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: • have or have had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection. • have kidney problems. • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. One of the medicines in DOVATO (dolutegravir) may harm your unborn baby. ° You should not take DOVATO if you are planning to become pregnant or during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a different medicine if you are planning to become pregnant or become pregnant during treatment with DOVATO. ° If you can become pregnant, your healthcare provider will perform a pregnancy test before you start treatment with DOVATO. ° If you can become pregnant, you should consistently use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with DOVATO. ° Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are planning to become pregnant, you become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant during treatment with DOVATO.

Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: (cont’d) • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take DOVATO. ° You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. ° One of the medicines in DOVATO (lamivudine) passes into your breastmilk. ° Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines interact with DOVATO. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. • You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of medicines that interact with DOVATO. • Do not start taking a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take DOVATO with other medicines. What are Possible Side Effects of DOVATO? DOVATO can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “What is the Most Important Information I Should Know about DOVATO?” section. • Allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop a rash with DOVATO. Stop taking DOVATO and get medical help right away if you develop a rash with any of the following signs or symptoms: fever; generally ill feeling; tiredness; muscle or joint aches; blisters or sores in mouth; blisters or peeling of the skin; redness or swelling of the eyes; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; problems breathing. • Liver problems. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests during treatment with DOVATO. Liver problems, including liver failure, have also happened in people without a history of liver disease or other risk factors. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your liver. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark or “tea-colored” urine; light-colored stools (bowel movements); nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis: feel very weak or tired; unusual (not normal) muscle pain; trouble breathing; stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; feel cold, especially in your arms and legs; feel dizzy or lightheaded; and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Lactic acidosis can also lead to severe liver problems, which can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the signs or symptoms of liver problems which are listed above under “Liver problems.” You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female or very overweight (obese).

SO MUCH GOES INTO WHO I AM HIV MEDICINE IS ONE PART OF IT. Reasons to ask your doctor about DOVATO: DOVATO can help you reach and then stay undetectable* with just 2 medicines in 1 pill. That means fewer medicines† in your body while taking DOVATO

You can take it any time of day with or without food (around the same time each day)—giving you flexibility

DOVATO is a once-a-day complete treatment for adults who are new to HIV-1 medicine. Results may vary. *Undetectable means reducing the HIV in your blood to very low levels (less than 50 copies per mL). † As compared with 3-drug regimens.

KALVIN‡ Living with HIV

What are Possible Side Effects of DOVATO (cont’d)? • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having new symptoms after you start taking DOVATO. • The most common side effects of DOVATO include: headache; diarrhea; nausea; trouble sleeping; and tiredness. These are not all the possible side effects of DOVATO. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Where Can I Find More Information? • Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. • Go to DOVATO.com or call 1-877-844-8872, where you can also get FDA-approved labeling. Trademark is owned by or licensed to the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. Compensated by ViiV Healthcare

Could DOVATO be right for you? Ask your doctor today. AUG U ST 0 9 , 2 0 1 9 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 15

Blade returns to U.S.-Mexico border, Central America EL PASO, Texas — The Blade on July 13 returned to the U.S.-Mexico border and Central America to continue its coverage of LGBTI migrants. Below are some images from the trip. For more, visit our website.

A Pride flag hangs from a silo near downtown Marfa, Texas, on July 14. Marfa, which has a population of roughly 2,000 people, is about 60 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

A mural in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on July 16, reads, “nobody is illegal.” Thousands of migrants who hope to enter the U.S. are currently in the Mexican border city. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

A sign at a Walmart in northeast El Paso, Texas, on July 17, notes the company is “investing in American jobs.” A gunman on Aug. 3, killed 22 people and wounded more than two dozen others when he opened fire at another Walmart near El Paso’s Cielo Vista Mall. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

PATRICIA MEDINA DE BARRIENTES is the mother of Johana Medina León, a transgender woman who died in an El Paso, Texas, hospital on June 1, three days after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released her from their custody. Medina de Barrientes spoke exclusively with the Blade on July 24, in San Salvador, El Salvador. Washingon Blade photo by Ernesto Valle

ZULEIKA, a transgender woman from El Salvador’s San Vicente Department, is among the LGBTI migrants who live at a shelter in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, that Respetttrans Chihuahua, a local advocacy group, runs. The shelter is less than two miles from the Mexico-U.S. border. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

Gay Guatemalan Congressman-elect ALDO DÁVILA on July 27, protests against the “safe third country” agreement that President Jimmy Morales’ government signed with the White House. The protest took place in front of the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

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Cannabis Culture U.S. approves increased use of cannabis in research

‘Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long,’ said Gov. ANDREW CUOMO. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

N.Y. guv signs bill reducing possession penalties ALBANY, N.Y. — Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation into law amending marijuana possession penalties and establishing procedures for the automatic expungement of prior, low-level cannabis convictions. The new law takes effect August 28. Specifically, Assembly Bill 8420-A reduces the penalty for minor marijuana possession violations (up to one ounce) to a $50 fine. It also amends penalties for offenses involving the possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to three months in jail) to a non-criminal violation punishable by a $200 fine – regardless of an offender’s prior criminal history. The new law also amends the classification of offenses involving the use or possession of marijuana in public from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, to a fine-only offense. In New York City alone, police typically make tens of thousands of marijuana arrests annually under the ‘public view’ exception. Over 87 percent of those charged with the crime are either black or Latino. Finally, A. 8420-A establishes procedures to allow for the automatic expungement of criminal records specific to crimes involving the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana. Several hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be eligible for expungement under the plan. “Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said. “By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.” Assembly Bill 8420-A was negotiated in the closing days of the 2019 legislative session after lawmakers failed to agree on provisions of a marijuana legalization measure.

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Federal officials have approved plans for the University of Mississippi to grow 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) of cannabis to provide to investigators for clinical trial research, according to the Associated Press. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to legally cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research in the United States. According to the AP, marijuana crops will include plants of varying THC and CBD potencies, including strains high in cannabidiol. According to the program’s current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD. Investigators wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally provided samples are of inferior quality. A research analysis published earlier this year reported that the strains currently available from NIDA shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis. The crop will be the largest grown by the University of Mississippi in several years.

Adolescent pot use not linked to adult brain changes TEMPE, Ariz. — The use of cannabis during adolescence is not associated with structural brain differences in adulthood, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Investigators from Arizona State University and the University of Pittsburgh assessed the impact of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain morphology in adulthood. Researchers tracked differing adolescent use patterns – from no cannabis use (defined as four days of use or less) to heavy use (defined as, on average, 782 days of use) – in a cohort of 1,000 teenage boys. A subset of participants subsequently underwent structural brain imaging in adulthood (between the ages of 30 to 36). Scientists examined 14 brain regions of interest, including the amygdala and the hippocampus. Authors reported, “We found that adolescent cannabis use was not associated with adult brain structure in a sample of boys followed prospectively to adulthood.” They added: “Boys were classified into one of four prototypical adolescent cannabis trajectory subgroups based on prospective assessments of cannabis use frequency from age 13–19: infrequent use/no use, desisting use, escalating use, or chronic-relatively frequent use. ... We found no differences in adult brain structure for boys in the different adolescent cannabis trajectory subgroups. Even boys with the highest level of cannabis exposure in adolescence showed subcortical brain volumes and cortical brain volumes and thickness in adulthood that were similar to boys with almost no exposure to cannabis throughout adolescence.” They concluded, “[T]he patterns of cannabis use typically seen in community-dwelling adolescents does not appear to have lasting effects on brain structure.” Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.

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LOS ANGELES — A bill moving through the California Legislature could make PrEP available over the counter, Capital Public Radio reports. Advocates and patients say some people who need PrEP don’t know it exists or are unsure about how to talk to their doctors about it. Many physicians aren’t educated on what PrEP is or when to prescribe it, said Courtney MulhernPearson, senior director of policy and strategy for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which is sponsoring the bill. “(The pharmacy) is a more accessible access point for a lot of people,” she told Capital Public Radio. “It wouldn’t require an appointment, and they’re in every community. So for all pharmacies that are willing to participate in this, we potentially have a broader reach of access points than we have currently.” Zichermann said he had to be his own advocate when it came to PrEP, and that it took months to get a prescription for the treatment. When he switched doctors, he said he had to start the process all over again. And his insurance plan put up additional barriers. “It was like pulling teeth,” he told Capital Public Radio. “They rejected it multiple times … I’m glad that legislators in California are looking to make it easier, because it’s just going to save a lot of lives.” The bill would also ban prior authorization for PrEP and PEP, a process by which doctors have to get special approval from health plans before writing the script. Mulhern-Pearson said this poses a challenge, especially for patients who need urgent access to PEP, which is only effective in the first 72 hours after a potential exposure, Capital Public Radio reports.

N.C. exec. order stops pipeline to ‘conversion’ therapy




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

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NEW YORK — No more state funds in

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conversion therapy” since the governor Aug. 2 signed an executive order against it, Tribune News Service reports. Democrat Roy Cooper signed executive order no. 97 that states “being LGBTQ is an innate quality and is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming.” The order forbids funds controlled by the state to pay for such therapies, which as defined by the order, attempt to “change and individual’s sexual orientation

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or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions of feelings towards individuals of the same sex,” the Tribune reports. Allison Scott, director of policy and programs at the Campaign for Southern Equality, praised the effort, saying that the governor’s order will create a safer environment for the state’s LGBTQ youth. “Young LGBTQ people who endure ‘conversion therapy’ are at an immensely higher risk for depression and suicide than those whose identities are affirmed, a primary reason that we must do all we can to end this dangerous pseudoscience,” Scott said in a statement, according to the Tribune News Service report.

France considers lesbian-friendly IVF law change NEW YORK — Single women and lesbians in France no longer would have to go abroad to get pregnant with a doctor’s help under a proposed law that would give them access to medically assisted reproduction at home for the first time, ABC News reports. A bioethics law drafted by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government includes language to expand who is eligible for procedures such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF. French law currently limits assisted reproduction to infertile straight couples only, ABC reports. While the French government says it is responding to changes in society, its bill is likely to generate debate when it comes up next month in parliament. The draft calls for France’s national health care system to cover the cost of four rounds of assisted reproduction per pregnancy for all women up to an age limit yet to be set, ABC reports. The bill also allows children conceived with donated sperm to find out the donor’s identity upon demand when they reach age 18, a change from the strict donor anonymity protections France has now. However, it would not remove France’s ban on surrogacy arrangements in which a woman carries and delivers a baby for someone else, ABC reports. French LGBT rights groups lobbied for the proposed provisions after France legalized same-sex marriage2013. They said allowing lesbians and single women to have IVF and other procedures would keep mothers and their babies from running afoul of the French legal system and give them access to the country’s generous health care system, ABC reports.

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LGBTQ Enterprising Women: Learning from the Past & Embracing the Future

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Networking Reception 7:30 - 9:30PM Hank’s Oyster Bar - 1624 Q St NW

Elizabeth Birch,

Jamie Leeds,

Moderator Vice President, CBRE

Owner, JL Restaurant Group

Rebecca Linder,

Ebone Bell,

Owner, Linder Global

Owner, Tagg Magazine

Lynne Brown, Publisher/Owner, Washington Blade

2 2 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • AU G U ST 0 9 , 2 0 1 9


is a regular contributor to the Blade and winner of the 2014 Stonewall Chapbook competition.


is a writer and activist. Reach him at rrosendall@starpower.net.

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is a Baltimore-based writer and activist.


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


is a regular contributor to the Blade and winner of the 2014 Stonewall Chapbook competition.

My man crush has been dead for 500 years

Leonardo da Vinci offers hope and beauty for our troubled era I rarely have male crushes, but this guy’s really something! He’s gorgeous, dresses beautifully, plays the flute, paints amazing portraits, designs festivals, and knows something about everything from flying to medicine. My man crush has been dead for 500 years. Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, died on May 2, 1519 at age 67. The word genius is egregiously overused. Yet, how else can you describe Leonardo? Openly queer, he was a polymath’s polymath. Leonardo dissected cadavers to understand human anatomy, thought of the idea of a flying machine and designed theatrical productions and war machines. In more than 7,200 pages of notebooks, he recorded his musings on everything from architecture to civil engineering. On his to-do lists, Leonardo admonished himself to “describe the tongue of a woodpecker” and to “Go every Saturday to the hot bath where you will see naked men.” Did I mention that Leonardo also painted two of the most famous paintings in history: the “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper?” The 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death’s isn’t going unnoticed. This fall, the Louvre in Paris will mount an exhibit of Leonardo’s work. Last month, the Metropolitan Museum in New York mounted an exhibit of one of Leonardo’s unfinished paintings “Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness.” (The exhibit runs through Oct. 6.) You might think that someone as talented and brilliant as Leonardo would have been well educated or from an upperclass background. But you’d be wrong. He was an illegitimate son of a notary and a 15-year-old orphan from Vinci, a town in rural Tuscany. Leonardo received little schooling, yet became a superb auto-didact. Leonardo, like other artists of his time, depended on patrons. His charm and talent enabled him to thrive under patrons in Milan, Florence, Rome and France. One of his patrons, Francis I, became friends with Leonardo. Francis cradled Leonardo’s

head in his arms as he died in France, the 16th century art historian Giorgio Vasari said in his biography of Leonardo. Some geniuses are so smart – seemingly so perfectly – that we lesser mortals feel as if we could never measure up as if we had nothing in common with them. But it would be different if we met Leonardo. Sure, dressed in his fab pink tunic, he’d be the smartest and handsomest person in the room. Even in his lifetime, people were dazzled by his brilliance and beauty. Vasari said Leonardo was “divine.” Yet, those of us who are outsiders – different in any way – would feel an affinity with Leonardo. He was openly queer centuries before marriage equality; left-handed when that was considered abnormal; a vegetarian when most people ate meat, and, like so many of us on social media, easily distractible. As Walter Isaacson makes clear in his superb biography “Leonardo Da Vinci,” Leonardo often veered from one thing to another without competing the project. He spent so many hours trying to figure out everything from why the sky is blue to how a pig’s lungs work that much of his work was unfinished. Leonardo finished fewer than 20 paintings. Those of us who procrastinate have an ally in Leonardo. “Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least,” he informed one of his patrons, “for their minds are occupied with their ideas and the perfection of their conceptions, to which they afterwards give form.” He had his dark moods. “Had he been a student at the outset of the twenty-first century,” Isaacson writes of Leonardo, “he may have been put on a pharmaceutical regimen to alleviate his mood swings and attention-deficit disorder.” Leonardo offers hope and beauty for this era when artists and creative thinkers, queer and hetero, are often under attack. Few of us will be geniuses like Leonardo. But, we can work to carry on his legacy by making art, supporting artists and being curious about our world. Thank you, Leonardo!


is a writer and activist. Reach him at rrosendall@starpower.net.

It’s the politics that got small

Democrats need more than merch and slogans Detroit’s Fox Theatre, where CNN held a pair of Democratic presidential debates at the end of July, opened in 1928 as a movie palace. Having served for 90 years as a magic portal to other worlds, it was a fitting debate venue for an age when a president alters reality to suit himself through repeated lying. To paraphrase Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” America is still big. It’s the politics that got small. The smallness is exemplified by the occupant of the White House. The greater problem is that his appeals to our meanest impulses find fertile soil. Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory wrote last week, “I fear that recent public comments by our president and others and the responses they have generated, have deepened divisions and diminished our national life.” Faith leaders at Washington National Cathedral denounced Trump’s “violent dehumanizing words,” asking, “When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough? The question is less about the president’s sense of decency, but of ours.” Indeed, a bully is nothing without his enablers. Take Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (please), who is up for re-election in 2020. He resents being called #MoscowMitch despite helping a firm controlled by Oleg Deripaska gain sanctions relief and invest in Kentucky, as well as blocking bills designed to thwart Russian interference in our elections. Some of the candidates on the overcrowded debate stage talked as if the most urgent priority for Democrats is to abandon President Obama’s centrist politics. They need a reminder of something he achieved that they have not: winning election as president twice with outright popular majorities. The Sanders “revolution” is a soliloquy in a booby hatch. His models for socialism are Scandinavian—capitalist countries with generous social welfare policies and high taxes. That is not socialism, which traditionally involves collective ownership or control of the means of production, as in Cuba and Venezuela. Some true believers insist those despotisms are not “real” socialism, though a leftist pastor I know eagerly defends Venezuela’s Maduro and

his “Bolivarian revolution.” Carelessness about definitions, like bias that excuses favored pols, only fosters slipperiness that impedes accountability. Speaking of what is real, most revolutions bring blood and misery, not Utopia. Regarding Bernie’s assurance (with typical Washington hubris) that “Medicare for All is comprehensive—it covers all health care needs”—as Rep. Tim Ryan said, “You don’t know that.” Sanders can sell all the “I wrote the damn bill” merch he wants, but drafting a bill confers no omniscience as to its final form or implementation. And with Bernie’s scant record, you have a better chance of booking a flight to Wakanda. Our attention spans have shrunk so much that our election mascot should be Dory the Forgetful Voter. We are a nation of children with ADHD. Which reminds me, Tulsi Gabbard is wrong about an 11-year-old hacking a replica of Florida’s voting system. Our vulnerability to smooth talk was illustrated at the July 31 debate when spiritualist author Marianne Williamson referred to Trumpism as a “dark psychic force.” She was right about that, but her history as an anti-vaxxer and dismissiveness toward clinical depression make her dangerous. To her devotees about to attack me: visualize yourself jumping in a lake. Recent acts of domestic terrorism, one of whose perps posted a manifesto on 8chan saying he was rescuing Texas from a “Hispanic invasion” (excuse me, but we stole it from Mexico), should make clear what is at stake if it wasn’t already: our president’s relentless hatemongering is getting people killed. The level of denial is staggering. On “Meet the Press,” instead of admitting that the El Paso massacre was an act of domestic terror, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney talked about the shooter being crazy and sick. In Trumpland, only The Other—an immigrant or person of color—can be a terrorist. Through the white nationalist filter, 45’s endless incitements, because taken for granted, cannot even be noticed. The lies, diversions, and distractions will proliferate. Democrats need to keep our feet on the ground, adhere to America’s founding principles, and work together to rescue our country. Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.

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

is a Baltimore-based writer and activist.

Mayor Pete should say ‘husband’ more often

Honor Obergefell and embrace equal dignity in language Six years ago, as he was dying of ALS, John Arthur and his partner of 20 years, Jim Obergefell, chartered a plane from Cincinnati to Baltimore so they could wed in one of the few places it was legal. Because of John’s failing health, his time with Jim was limited; but for whatever time remained in their life together they wanted to be legally recognized as one another’s husband. Their tarmac wedding at BWI was possible because Maryland’s General Assembly passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act and the state’s residents confirmed it at the polls. It was possible because Edie Windsor, with her lawyers, turned back the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court. It was possible because they had the support of friends and family who raised the money for their flight. Mainly, though, it was possible because of their love and commitment to one another. They returned to Cincinnati hoping the State of Ohio might honor the legal distinction Maryland bestowed upon their relationship, but John died before he could see it happen. Jim, however, kept fighting for it. And when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, every gay man in America had the right to a husband of his own. When we say “husband,” we’re asserting that our marriages have equal dignity with all others, and we’re memorializing the collective effort it took to win the right to simply use the word. In a world that assumes we’re straight, the man who speaks of his “husband” is being bold. To say “spouse” is to be married, but to say “husband” is to be openly gay. During the past few weeks it’s become apparent that Pete Buttigieg is avoiding the word “husband” with certain audiences. He’s spoken of a spouse or his marriage, but not even during an interview with Blair Garner, the openly gay and married country music radio host, did Pete say “husband.” Days later, at the national convention of the NAACP, Pete described his relationship with Chasten in a manner so oblique that an attendee from the Brooklyn chapter heard him say “married a teacher” and tweeted that he’d mentioned his “wife.” The same week, while

addressing members of the National Urban League, he referred to the student loan debt of his “family.” Anyone introduced to Pete in these instances would’ve heard nothing to indicate he’s a gay man. That’s disappointing because it can’t be accidental. Language is the stock-in-trade of politicians. Every stump speech, every prepared remark, and every possible response to a question is rehearsed and refined to either eliminate nuance or to insert ambiguity. Pete has often demonstrated his eagerness to articulate that he’s a war veteran who carried a big gun in Afghanistan. Likewise, he uses a variety of references to Chasten in order to selectively downplay his gay identity. Perhaps that’s the reason Carson Jones, the gay son of Alabama’s Sen. Doug Jones, published an open letter in the Advocate on the first day of the recent Democratic debates. In it, he urged Pete, “already known as the gay candidate,” to use the event as the start of a national conversation about LGBTQ rights. “Speak boldly. Speak passionately. Make it personal and speak from experience.” Sadly for Carson, if he watched Pete in the debates the only conversation he saw that came close to addressing the LGBTQ community in any way was when Dana Bash asked a question of Pete in which she used the word “husband” and then in the closing remarks of Sen. Bernie Sanders who called Trump a homophobe. Even if Pete doesn’t convert his campaign into a national conversation about LGBTQ rights (definitely not happening), what does he risk in choosing the word “husband” whenever that choice is available? Why minimize the struggles of people like Jim Obergefell, whose legal victory at the Supreme Court allowed Pete to come out, to fall in love, and to marry a teacher? It would be exciting to see Pete more comfortably speaking about himself as a gay man in all the places he’s campaigning. Until that happens, though, it would be nice to just hear him say “husband” as fluently as he says “veteran.”

Trump has blood of the innocent on his hands

2020 offers best chance to turn back tide of indecency There were white terrorists before Trump came to office. They have been around for hundreds of years. There is the KKK; Oswald killing Kennedy, and Timothy James McVeigh, who perpetrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 others. What’s different today is never before have we had a president who encourages the people who would do this kind of violence by his words and actions. The disgusting excuse for a man sitting in the Oval Office thinks there are “good people on both sides” at a Charlottesville white nationalist rally. He claims violence in this country is about foreign terrorists and with his words gives succor to domestic terrorists who are doing the killing here at home. Bearing as much responsibility are Republicans sitting in Congress, Republican governors, and those around the nation who refuse to speak out against the racism constantly spewed by this president. One who calls an American city a rat hole that no decent person would live in; attacks the African-American congressman who represents those people; then tweets he is happy his home was burglarized. Who does that but the racist deranged man now calling himself our president? For decades, we have fought to end racism, homophobia and sexism. We know we have not yet been successful. Just ask any black mother or father who must teach their child about being stopped while driving for being black. Ask any woman who makes less money for the same job as a man or is still told her healthcare will cost more and she can’t make decisions about her own body. Or any member of the LGBTQ+ community who can now get married but can be fired or lose their home the next day. After two mass shootings within 24 hours we find ourselves listening to Mick Mulvaney, the president’s chief of staff, appearing on “Meet the Press” to say President Trump has no responsibility for what is happening. The president has stoked racial unrest since the day he announced his candidacy. He has given cover to white nationalists and has taken no action to stop the proliferation of guns. Mulvaney argued the president has

no responsibility for the rhetoric he sows. Mulvaney doesn’t think we should discuss gun control after these two shootings. On March 24, 2018 nearly one million people came to D.C. to “March for Our Lives.” Millions more marched across the nation after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Today it seems we have already forgotten that day. WE MUST NOT FORGET AND WE MUST DO SOMETHING REAL TO STOP THIS VIOLENCE. We are in the 2020 presidential race. We will be electing a new House of Representatives and a third of our Senate. We as Americans can do something real now. We can kick out those who do nothing and elect people who say NO to the National Rifle Association. People who will vote to close the gun-show loopholes. People who will vote to ban assault weapons, weapons of war, from our streets. America must recognize that a nation of 350 million people collectively owning 354 million guns is insanity. We must rid ourselves of the scourge of Trump and all those politicians who either agree with his racism, sexism and homophobia or are just too afraid to call him out for his words and actions. We must rid the Senate of Mitch McConnell, “Moscow Mitch,” who will not bring the hundreds of bills Democrats in the House passed to the floor of the Senate and who gives cover to the pig in the White House. President Trump and his acolytes in Congress are in the process of destroying our country. This is not about policy differences. This is about a cultural war on decency. If a Democrat wins we will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, try to salvage the Iran deal to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, and we can tax wealthier Americans. Those are the legitimate policy debates we can have. But it will take decades to put the genie of racism, sexism and homophobia and the vitriol unleashed against immigrants back in the bottle. Trump and his acolytes have waged a war on American decency and we will have to fight for years to regain it. Meanwhile those of us here now, our children and even our grandchildren, will suffer because of what he has wrought.

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LGBT history lessons far from universal in U.S. public schools A Gay Liberation Front demonstration in Great Britain in the early ‘70s. LGBT history lessons in public schools in the U.S. has been a wrought issue. Photo courtesy ImageLibrary via Wikimedia

This fall more public school students could see LGBT content as states move toward mandating a more inclusive K-12 curriculum. However, publicly funded private schools continue to seek religious exemptions to anti-discriminatory measures. In 2011 California passed its Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, and lawmakers in New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado and New York City have moved to follow suit. California’s FAIR Education Act mandates the inclusion of the political, economic and social contributions of LGBT people and persons with disabilities into educational textbooks across the state. It amends an existing educational code previously mandating inclusions based on race, ethnicity, nationality and gender. Sen. Mark Leno, the state’s first openly gay state senator, sponsored the bill, stating the goal was to ensure the contributions of LGBT historical figures were “accurately and fairly portrayed in instructional materials.” Similarly, Colorado State Representative Brianna Buentello, who cosponsored their bill, said, “Our intent was to start teaching the history of everybody.” In New York, the city council approved a 2019 budget that included $600,000 for LGBT-inclusive educational programming. Included are lessons about pioneers such as Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P.

Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and others. Also included are opportunities to meet current history makers and view an interactive map of LGBT historic sites through the city. Proponents state the inclusive measures were necessary to protect both LGBT students and faculty from bullying and other forms of discrimination. Illinois State Rep. Jennifer GongGershowitz (D-Glenview) said if their bill had been law 15 years ago, her brother would not have been harassed and denied tenure in a suburban Chicago school. “My brother was teaching history,” Gong-Gershowitz said at the time. “And a student asked whether the historical figure, that was the subject of the lesson, was gay. He answered the truth.” As a result, her brother was subject to hate mail and called into the principal’s office. New Jersey also passed a law mandating LGBT-inclusive curriculum for middle and high school students. However, the mandate does not apply to private schools. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Council, said these measures infringed on parents’ choices regarding teaching sexuality to their children, echoing concerns of conservative groups across the country. Lauri Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute similarly said at a hearing on the matter, “The left’s motive is what it always is … to normalize homosexuality,” The Hill reports.

Religious exemption waivers, anti-LGBT curriculum publishers stymie progress By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN

This concern about parental choice in education is at the heart of the school voucher movement championed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. However, the program has its roots in a resistance to school integration efforts in the 1950s and 1960s. According to the Center for American Progress, a progressive-leaning policy institute, in response to federal desegregation orders following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Prince Edward County, Virginia issued tuition grant vouchers for white students to attend segregated private schools. Then as now, these schools rely on significant levels of public funding to continue to operate. While Title IX of the federal Education Amendment prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs receiving federal funds, the Obama administration’s inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in this definition remains controversial. Still, some schools continue to submit religious exemption waivers to perceived Title IX mandates, permitting them to discriminate against out LGBT students or faculty with impunity. Additionally, an investigation by Huffington Post found thousands of these schools use discriminatory evangelical Christian curriculum often purchased using public funds. As of 2017, 30 percent or more of

the Christian (non-Catholic) schools participating in private school choice programs in Virginia and Maryland, and up to 10 percent in D.C., used textbooks from ultra-conservative publishers such as Bob Jones University Press. Bob Jones University, submitted a Title IX religious exemption request in 2017 for permission to discriminate against LGBT students and faculty despite receiving public funds. Students who attended programs using these discriminatory texts reported feeling ill-equipped to succeed in a diverse society and felt instilled with racist, sexist and intolerant views of the world. Capri Coleman, an educator in the D.C. area, says it’s important to take students’ feelings into account just as much as parental “choice” when considering curriculum. “Parents are always going to have a choice in what they want their children to be exposed to,” she says. “But at the same time, children will always run into people who are not like them.” This is why she felt it was important for parents and society to first “teach tolerance and understanding.” Unfortunately, due to voucher programs and religious exemptions, the tolerance and understanding promised by LGBT-curriculum legislation is not reaching all students receiving publicly funded education.

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New kids’ books spotlight LGBTQ life

‘In My Footprints,’ ‘What Riley Wore’ among standouts By DANA RUDOLPH

For back-to-school time, here are some new and soon-to-be-published picture books with LGBTQ and gender-creative characters, all involving schools and classmates. “What Riley Wore,” by Elana K. Arnold and illustrated by Linda Davick (Simon & Schuster), is the winsome tale of a child who delights in playing dress up. On the first day of school, Riley (whose gender is never stated) wears a bunny outfit. Rather than making Riley an object of ridicule, Riley’s soft bunny ears comfort a classmate who was crying. We then see Riley around the neighborhood and at school, switching between a ball gown, a hard hat and overalls, a tutu and more — outfits that elicit praise from other children and Riley’s teacher. At one point, another child asks, “Are you a girl or a boy?” and Riley simply answers “Today I’m a firefighter. And a dancer,” and several other fanciful things. The other child responds, “Want to play?” Arnold refreshingly conveys a message of acceptance without raising issues of teasing or bullying — important issues, but too often the only narrative told about children expressing gender creativity. The completely positive outlook makes this book stand out. In “Ogilvy,” by Deborah Underwood (Henry Holt), the titular and gender ambiguous bunny is excited about meeting other children in a new town. Ogilvy’s medium-length garment confuses them, however, and they tell Ogilvy, “Bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks,” but “Bunnies in sweaters make art and climb

rocks.” Underwood smartly doesn’t divide the activities here along traditional gender lines, helping readers see the absurdity of such divisions. Ogilvy relabels the outfit at will and plays accordingly, until one day the other bunnies demand a fixed choice. Ogilvy finds self-confidence, speaks out and convinces the other bunnies that everyone benefits from wearing and doing what they choose. The rhymes have a clear echo of Dr. Seuss and T. L. McBeth’s simple illustrations evoke Mo Willems, but the story blends its influences into an original tale whose combination of message and merriment should find many fans. More heavy handed is “Dazzling Travis: A Story About Being Confident and Original,” by Hannah Carmona Dias and illustrated by Brenda Figueroa (Cardinal Rule Press). “Dresses and armor: Pink, black or green. I pretend I’m a knight, a king or a queen,” proclaims Travis, a young black boy. Some of his classmates, however, nastily tell him that boys and girls must each play with different things. A few others, who express gender creativity themselves, remain silent. Travis summons his courage and explains to the bullies, over several pages, why they are wrong. “It’s not weird or strange to express the true you,” he concludes. The message is good, but it’s a bit pedantic, and many of the rhymes feel forced. At the end there are short bios of several real people who “struggled against the

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opinions of others,” including 19th-century baseball player Elizabeth Stride, dancer Fernando Bujones, designer Coco Chanel and writer Langston Hughes. More contemporary choices might resonate better with likely readers (and Chanel’s connections with Nazis make her a dubious choice). Still, many may appreciate Travis’ self-confidence in the face of bullying (not to mention his dazzling style). “Sam!,” by Dani Gabriel (Penny Candy Books), with illustrations by Robert Liu-Trujillo, is the tale of a 9-year-old transgender boy “filled with dreams and spirit and laughter.” After he hears another boy in his class say, “Boys are born a certain way and girls are born a certain way,” however, he is sad and scared. He confides in his older sister Maggie that he’s not a girl like people think, but a boy. “Was I born wrong?” he asks. Maggie assures him otherwise. She supports him at school and encourages him to tell their parents. They immediately accept him, but also acknowledge they all have a lot to learn together. More than anything, though, their pride in him shines through. Some kids tease him, but with Maggie’s support, he continues to play, succeed in school and dream. Sam and his family could be read as Latino and they live in a racially diverse neighborhood. Robert Liu-Trujillo’s soft watercolor illustrations bring out the characters’ emotions in this warm story of sibling support and family love. “In My Footprints,” by Bao Phi and

illustrated by Basia Tran (Capstone), Thuy, a Vietnamese-American girl, finds solace in nature and in her imagination after being teased by classmates about her two moms and her ethnic origins. She imitates a cardinal and envisions flying away like a bird; she growls like a bear. Momma Arti and Momma Ngoc join her in pretending, “because we’re stronger together.” Momma Ngoc suggests a phoenix, which we learn in an afterward has both Eastern and Western origins, just like Momma Ngoc. Momma Arti suggests the “part lion, part bird” Sarabha from her Hindu heritage. Thuy then makes up her own creature — one that is “both a boy and a girl” and whose skin changes “from black to light brown to lighter and back to black — not to hide, but because it always wants to be different shades of pretty.” One could buy the book for that empowering line alone. Phi, a poet and author whose awards include a Caldecott Honor and an Ezra Jack Keats Honor, has crafted a lyrical tale about the power of imagination and finding strength in family and cultural heritage. It’s also notable as one of few LGBTQ-inclusive picture books to focus on Asian characters. Consider this a musthave for any LGBTQ kids’ collection. For more LGBTQ back-to-school resources, see my annual list at mombian.com. Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.

QUEERY Carlos Richardson Photo courtesy Richardson

QUEERY: Carlos Richardson

The Friendship Collegiate Academy teacher answers 20 queer questions By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Carlos Richardson stumbled into teaching “by mistake” and ended up becoming teacher of the year. He’d earned a bachelor’s in international studies/political science but a career on Capitol Hill did not materialize the way he’d hoped. Feeling frustrated and stuck in his college job at B. Dalton Bookseller when a friend told him about a teaching job he thought might be a good fit for Richardson. “The rest is history,” the 41-year-old Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, Mich., native says. “When I reflect back, I was always a teacher. I always played the teacher when playing school as a kid and I had a little library in my bedroom where I pretended to be the librarian checking books out to my siblings.” Richardson teachers social studies at Friendship Collegiate Academy, a local

charter school. In 2014, he was named “teacher of the year” out of the nine schools in FCA’s network, an event he calls the “biggest accomplishment of my life and career” and “a surreal moment.” Richardson says charter schools give parents and students a choice in the direction they want their education to take. “Charter schools have the freedom to have an objective and focus that caters to the needs of our students,” he says. Richardson came to Washington 18 years ago just after college. His father was from here and he’d always liked his visits here growing up. He’s engaged to his partner of seven years, Marco Brooks. They live together in Lincoln Heights. Richardson enjoys travel, fashion, concerts, reading and time with friends in his spare time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I have been out since I was 19. I was dragged out of the closet by my mother. The hardest part was having a one-on-one conversation with my father about it. It went extremely well though.

What’s something trashy or vapid you love? High school chick flicks. I love the comedy and because I work in a school, I totally get the clique dynamics and high school personality types. I love the cheap humor in these flicks.

Who’s your LGBTQ hero? James Baldwin. “Giovanni’s Room” changed my life.

What’s your greatest domestic skill? I can wash a pretty mean dish. I cannot cook at all though and I have no desire to! When finding my mate, I made sure to find one who can cook.

What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? That we are all about SEX! And that all gay people want straight people. If straight people don’t want ya, we don’t either! What’s your proudest professional achievement? Winning Friendship Public Charter Schools 2014 Teacher of the Year award. I could not stop laughing after they announced my name because I could not believe that I actually won. What terrifies you? Mass shootings in America, especially in schools. I have been in quite a few places where tragedy has happened shortly after I left. I always think will I one day be there when it happens.

What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “Moonlight.” I felt like I could relate to the characters and the passion and confusion of being gay was so real to me in this movie. What’s your social media pet peeve? People who write posts with proper nouns that start with lower-case letters. I hate when people purposely take the unpopular opinion on a trending or hot topic just so that they can troll and start controversy — desperate attention seekers. What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? There would no longer be any need for any form of having to “come out,” no longer any more coming out parties, there would be an absence of people being exposed and having to justify to anyone the reasons for your LGBTQ status.

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What’s theGrahamCapitalWealth.com most 20006 overrated social custom? Being on time. I think for a lot of situations this is important but for a vast majority of situations, events, invites and more it is not necessary. I’m usually not on time for most events and in the end I’m happy that I wasn’t. What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? Christian, still a Christian. What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem? Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. It’s really beautiful and peaceful here. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Janet Jackson’s breast being exposed at the Super Bowl. I am a HUGE Janet Jackson fanatic. I remember watching the halftime show and thinking, “Did I just see that?!” I literally was jumping up and down screaming. My phone started ringing off the hook right after that happened. I will never forget it. What celebrity death hit you hardest? Aaliyah. She was young and I was around her age at the time. I could not believe that something like that could happen to such a sweet person. I could not get out of my head how tragic the accident was and for it to happen after ending a great music video shoot. It seemed unreal. If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be? For a period during my sophomore year in college deciding that I didn’t care anymore about a lot of the things that I actually really did care about. I shut down, stopped working hard and missed opportunities. I wish I could have seen that I was being self-destructive and was not hurting anyone but myself. What are your obsessions? Travel, history, music, fashion, love, good food, friends and family. Finish this sentence — it’s about damn time: that gay Pride is acknowledged and celebrated all over the world. What do you wish you’d known at 18? I wish I knew that there are certain things that I should pursue and take advantage of now because it will be harder or more challenging to accomplish some of those things the older you get.

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Students need to see themselves in what they read Inclusive curricula and policies benefit all learners By SHANNON CUTTLE

+ Largest LGBT owned title company + Billions of dollars in transactions closed annually + 6 in house attorneys + Residential and commercial transactions + In home and in office refinance settlements + Licensed in DC, DE, MD, NJ, VA & WV

Schools and communities should be places where students and families feel welcomed safe and supported by all adults responsible for their success and well-being. Many communities and schools across the country are reporting an increase in hate speech and bias, xenophobia, racism, sexism, anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant, and anti-semitism. In the last few weeks alone there have been several reported incidents of hate speech and bias in the media. This is why the new bill that requires New Jersey middle and high school students to be taught the political, economic and social contributions of notable disabled persons and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout history that Gov. Murphy signed is so important. That is why diversifying curriculum and visibility are so important. This new bill joins earlier bills that created the Amistad Commission, which requires New Jersey schools to incorporate AfricanAmerican history into social studies curriculum and the Holocaust Commission, which requires New Jersey schools to teach responsibly about the Holocaust. The State of New Jersey is showing students of multiple, diverse and complex identities that they matter and that adults care about their well-being. Students need to see themselves in what they read, across the curricula, in hallways, classrooms, the cafeteria and playground, and in caring adults, teachers, leaders and policymakers who mirror and reflect our diverse student populations and communities. Studies have shown that creating welcoming inclusive environments, curriculum and policies benefits all student learners and helps them understand the world around them, strengthen critical thinking and respectful behavior. A new report from the Trevor Project showed that one caring adult can save a LGBTQ young persons life and decrease the chance of a suicide attempt by 40%. Visibility matters. Words matter. Actions matter. That is why it is important that schools, communities and elected officials can and should work together to create welcoming inclusive safer schools for all students and families. Every student benefits when fellow students feel safe and valued and when students learn about themselves and each other. No one should have to work or go to school where they are subject to prejudice, bullying, bias or harassment. No one should feel unwelcome or

unsafe because of who they are, who they love or what they believe. It is up to us – all of us– to ensure that we are creating inclusive welcoming safer schools and communities for all students to thrive inside and outside of the classroom. We need teachers, leaders and policy makers that recognize all students diverse needs and challenges and who embrace their role as a leading voice that lifts up and empowers student voices of all backgrounds, faith, origins, abilities, income or identity – especially our most vulnerable and marginalized student voices. That is why it will take a whole-community approach across a continuum to assist school leaders, educators, stakeholders, parents and students and having courageous conversations around cultural responsiveness, bias and equity. We all have a shared responsibility and an important role to play in maintaining and building a safe, welcoming and affirming learning environment for all our students. Hate speech, bias and discrimination impact all students; that’s why we must call out hate speech and bias whenever we see it or hear it. We must condemn all forms of hate speech and violence and denounce expressions of hate and bias in our classrooms and communities. Perhaps even more importantly, as adults we must look at how are we modeling behavior, actions and expectations – how are we are modeling and building a positive respectful welcoming environment in which students of all identities are lifted up, and every aspect of a whole-child is valued. Together we can create inclusive safe schools for all students and families. To the youth of every religion or faith, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability or disability, economic status, race or ethnicity, culture, place of origin, home language, immigration status: You matter. You are loved. You are not alone. You are welcome here.

Shannon Cuttle

is a nationally recognized safe schools leader, policymaker, and educator. They also are the first openly non-binary person elected in New Jersey and serve on the South Orange – Maplewood Board of Education. The views here expressed are solely their own and do not represent the SOMSD Board of Education or any institution.

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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com

Legally Blonde Thru Sep 1. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com.

Elle Woods appears to have it all, but her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle geniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with the Wolf Trap Opera Aug 9. Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org.

Figaro, Figaro, Figaro! One of the world’s most recognizable tunes from opera’s most beloved comedy. A wily barber aids the captivating Count Almaviva in wooing the vivacious Rosina right from under her cantankerous guardian’s nose. Uproariously funny, The Barber of Seville brims with sensational music, high-flying vocal fireworks, and some of opera’s most famous arias as its story twists and turns in the quest for love.

Black Site: The CIA in the post-9/11 World Aug 13. National Archives. archivesfoundation.org.

When the towers fell on September 11, 2001, nowhere were the reverberations more powerfully felt than at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Almost overnight, the intelligence organization evolved into a warfighting intelligence service, constructing what was known internally as “the Program”: a web of top-secret detention facilities intended to help prevent future attacks on American soil and around the world.

Wallmountables Thru Aug 16. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org.

Every year we celebrate the diversity of artists working in the D.C. area in this unjuried, non-curated, hang-it-yourself show. Artists of any experience, background, age, or discipline are welcome- 1460 Wallmountables is not to be missed! We divide the gallery walls into two foot by two foot squares, in which everyone and anyone can hang their artwork on a first-come basis. We present over three hundred artworks by at least one hundred artists on practically every inch of our gallery. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KEEGAN THEATRE



Assassins. Aug 11-Sep 29. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. Dear Evan Hansen. Thru Sep 8. The Second City’s America; It’s Complicated! Thru Aug 11. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Naked Girls Reading Presents: 7th Annual Nerdettes. Aug 10. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org. Newsies. Aug 15-Aug 17. Theatre Lab. theatrelab.org. Tiger Style. Thru Aug 18. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. Treasure Island. Thru Aug 18. Synetic Theater. synetictheater.org.

Area Woman: Ephemeral Fatale. Aug 10. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org. LOC Concerts on the Lawn: Verny Varela Combo & Salsa Dancing. Aug 15. Library of Congress North Lawn. loc.gov.

MUSIC Carly Harvey at Lubber Run Amphitheater. Aug 9. Veronneau at Lubber Run Amphitheater. Aug 10. Arlington Cultural Affairs at Lubber Run. arts.arlingtonva.us.

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Concert with Miguel Ángel Pellao. Aug 9. Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. americanindian.si.edu. Jazz in the Garden: The Bailsmen. Aug 9. National Gallery of Art at NGA Sculpture Garden. nga.gov. Live from the Lawn: Rare Essence. Aug 14. Strathmore. strathmore.org. Ringo Starr & His All-Starr BandAug 10Aug 11. Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Aug 14. Stray Cats with James Hunter. Aug 13. Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org. The Murphy Beds. Aug 15. Library of Congress. loc.gov.

MUSEUMS AU Museum at the Katzen. Squire Broel. Forward Press: 21st Century Printmaking. Be Art Exhibition of Women Artists from Taiwan. Crossing Boundaries & Breaking Borders. Maia Cruz Palileo. Passages: Keith Morrison. Thru Aug 11. Plans to Prosper You. Thru Aug 11. american.edu. Anderson House. French Memories of the War for America. Thru Oct 27. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Written in Knots. Beyond Knotting. Thru Aug 18. Asian Art. Thru Jun 1. doaks.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. Miniature Shakespeare Books. Thru Dec 31. folger.edu. Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. La Cascada by Luzinterruptus & Water: The Mirror of Life. Thru Sep 27. spainculture.us. Library of Congress. Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times. Thru Aug 17. 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. Oliver Lee Jackson: Recent Paintings. Thru Sep 15. A Century of Lunar Photographs from the 1850s to Apollo 11. Thru Jan 5. nga.gov.

National Geographic. Queens of Egypt. Thru Sep 15. nationalgeographic.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. More is More: Multiples. Thru Sep 15. Power in My Hand: Women Poets, Women Artists, and Social Change. Thru Oct 31. New York Ave Sculpture Project. Thru Sep 20. nmwa.org. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today. Thru Aug 18. Recent Acquisitions. Thru Nov 3. Portraits of the World: Korea Exhibition. Thru Nov 17. Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. Thru Jan 5. In Mid-Sentence. Thru Mar 29. One Life: Marian Anderson. Thru May 17. Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits. Thru May 31. Storied Women of the Civil War Era. Thru May 8. npg.si.edu.

GALLERIES CHAW. Winners’ Circle Exhibit. Thru Aug 17. chaw.org. DC Arts Center (DCAC). Richard Siegman New Work. Thru Aug 18. dcartscenter.org. Del Ray Artisans. Fresh Meat Art Exhibit. Thru Sep 1. Uncommon Alexandria Art Exhibit. Thru Sep 29. delrayartisans.org. Hill Center. Solo Exhibitions. Thru Sep 8. hillcenterdc.org. The Art League. August Solo Show B.D. Richardson Gone Fishin’. Thru Sep 8. theartleague.org. Zenith Gallery. Organic. Thru Aug 17. Play - Protection - Peril. Thru Aug 25. Over the Line. Thru Oct 12. zenithgallery.com.

AND MORE... DC Arts Center (DCAC). Wallmountables Happy Hour. Aug 14. dcartscenter.org. Old Greenbelt Theatre. STAGE & SCREEN: Van Gogh & Japan. Aug 11-Aug 12. greenbelttheatre.org.

MARK PATTON in ‘Scream, Queen.’ Photo courtesy The End Productions

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Gay ‘Elm Street’ actor takes charge of his narrative in new doc

Patton revisits controversy over homoerotic camp of ‘Freddy’s Revenge’ By JOHN PAUL KING When Mark Patton landed his first leading role in a major motion picture, he believed his dream of becoming a movie star was coming true. That motion picture was 1985’s “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” and instead of being launched, his career was destroyed. Now, Patton is returning to the big screen — as himself, this time — with the documentary “Scream, Queen: My Nightmare On Elm Street,” which tells the story of how his “big break” became a controversial flash point for Hollywood homophobia and drove him away from the industry for 30 years. Directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, it explores Patton’s experiences while also examining how “Revenge” was branded as “the gayest horror movie ever made.” It then goes on to follow Patton, now 62, as he embarks on a quest to confront David Chaskin, the “Freddie’s Revenge” screenwriter, who originally claimed not to have intended a queer subtext and implied that it was Patton’s performance that introduced that element into the film. No word yet on a D.C.area screening, but it made the rounds this summer screening at Outfest in Los Angeles in late July and also at Inside Out (Toronto), QDoc (Portland), Frameline (San Francisco) and more. Patton says he initiated the project because he felt it offered a valuable window on hidden gay history. “This was not old Hollywood,” he says. “The tropes that existed in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s were not the same. This was after the ’70s, there had been a liberation. We were beginning to break through. Then HIV/AIDS arrived, and that ended that,

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very quickly.” As the sequel to one of the most successful horror films of its era, “Freddy’s Revenge” was a hit, financially speaking; but in 1985, with the AIDS crisis in full bloom, many audiences were uncomfortable with what they perceived as an overtly “gay” subtext. Patton’s character, a teenager possessed by the spirit of murderer Freddy Krueger, essentially assumes the role of the “last girl.” His screams are noticeably feminine and the script is peppered with unabashed double entendres (“He’s inside me and he wants to take me again!”). To make matters worse, he is subjected to a series of homoerotic scenarios, including sequences in a locker room shower and a leather bar, that make the movie’s queer undercurrent impossible to ignore. In an early display of toxic fan culture, the movie was denounced by many viewers. Patton — who was himself gay and suddenly at the center of a controversy that put his private life under scrutiny — soon found the homophobic environment of the movie industry had become too much for him. He turned his back on Hollywood and disappeared for nearly three decades. Then, in the new millennium, “Freddy’s Revenge” enjoyed a reassessment from fans and critics, claiming its “gayness” as a campy badge of honor. In 2010, Patton, who had by then been living in Mexico for years, working as an interior designer and artist, was invited to participate in a documentary about the “Elm Street” franchise (2010’s “Never Sleep Again”). At that point, says Patton, he “had no idea” the movie was now being embraced. He began traveling to horror conventions, meeting with fans and signing autographs. It was at these events,


where he encountered both enthusiastic welcome and still-festering homophobia, that he realized it was important for him to take control of his own narrative and set the record straight about what happened. In the early ’80s, he explains, things had gotten easier for gay people in Hollywood. “I was in a position as a film star where I could have a private life and a public life,” he says. “You could have both, you just had to learn to put those things together.” That relative freedom was over when AIDS came along. “It was no longer acceptable. You just had to disappear. You just didn’t talk about it. And then, after 1985, you just never shut up again,” he says. “It was too important. The death of a whole generation of people was more important than making a movie. At least it was to me.” Patton believes the setbacks of that time may have felt like a crushing blow, but that they were ultimately a catalyst for change because people were fighting for their lives. “It was painful,” he says. “It was hideous, but I don’t think gay marriage would have happened so quickly without HIV.” “Scream, Queen” brings much of this to the surface as it tells Patton’s story, underscoring his intent to make a film that educates queer audiences about their history. “I have a good sense of humor, but I’m deadly serious about this stuff,” he says, “because I don’t think that young people really quite understand what they’re dealing with here. I’m cynical enough at this point in my life to think, ‘What if the protease inhibitors stop working? What if they’re only good for 20 years and then the virus mutates? What if this all happens again?”

“The same thing applies to the things that are happening politically in this country,” he says. “There’s a wave going on right now and unless you’re really tuned in and you’re paying attention, you say, ‘Oh you’re exaggerating, you’re making too much of this.’ And that’s the thing that people said to Larry Kramer and those guys, in the 1970s and ’80s — ‘You’re making too big a deal out of this, we’re fine.’ I think it’s better to be cautious.” Still, he adds that it’s important to “keep your eye on history and also celebrate the victories you are having right now.” He cites the story of Connor Jessup, a young actor (“American Crime”) who recently came out as gay for his 25th birthday. “He just decided it was time,” Patton says. “I’m so inspired by that. I love that it’s happening. It’s a wave and it will really break when the first person becomes a movie star being out from the very beginning, and not only after achieving success.” As for his own achievements, Patton’s rise and fall in Hollywood was only the beginning of a long personal journey in which he faced not only shame and hurt over his movie experience, but dire challenges to his physical health; ultimately, he emerged from those struggles transformed, more deeply spiritual and able to revisit the events which cast such a shadow over his life in order to seek closure. In the process of making “Scream, Queen,” did he find it? “I found it within myself,” he says, withholding further detail in order to avoid spoilers. “I’m looking forward to putting all of this aside, to be honest. It’s been a long journey for me.”

Counterclockwise from left: GLORIA GAYNOR has two shows at City Winery Aug. 18. Photo courtesy City Winery; the JONAS BROTHERS play Capital One Arena Aug. 15. Photo by Peggy Sirota; courtesy Republic Records Media and MADONNA (seen here in her ‘Erotica’ era) gets a dance party birthday toast at the Black Cat next weekend. File photo by Slung Fat Tjia, courtesy Maverick/Sire

‘Enterprising Women’ unite The Washington Blade will host “LGBTQ Enterprising Women,” a panel discussion and networking event Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 6-9 p.m. at the Keegan Theatre (1742 Church St., N.W.). The panel is moderated by CBRE real estate investment Vice President Elizabeth Birch and includes Jamie Leeds, owner of Hank’s Oyster Bar; Rebecca Linder, owner of Linder Global Events; Ebone Bell, owner of Tagg Magazine; and Lynne Brown, publisher/owner of the Washington Blade. After the panel, attendees are invited to a networking reception from 7:30-9 p.m. at Hank’s Cocktail bar (1624 Q St., N.W., Suite 200). The reception will feature an assortment of light fare and happy hour-priced beverage specials, including

Enterprise punch. Proceeds benefit the Blade Foundation. For free tickets and information, visit eventbrite.com.

Confessions on a dance floor It’s all Madonna, all night for the Madonna Birthday Dance Party at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) Friday, Aug. 16 from 9 p.m.-midnight. The original pop diva turns 61 and the Black Cat is celebrating with an all night dance party. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Doors open at 9 p.m. Everyone is invited to dance and reminisce to hits, misses, remixes and hot collaborations. Happy hour is from 9-10:30 p.m. when attendees can “Get into the Groove” with chill tracks and deep cuts. Tickets start at $10 and are available at ticketfly.com.

Poor unfortunate souls Silver Screens free outdoor movie series presents Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Friday, Aug. 16 from 8-10:30 p.m. in downtown Silver Spring (1290 EastWest Hwy., Silver Spring, Md.). This family-friendly, free event is hosted by AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, The Blairs and Council member Tom Hucker. Films will be shown with subtitles on (where available) and parking is available for free at the Garage 58 public lot adjacent to the NOAA building on EastWest Highway. Screenings begin after sundown, between 8-8:30 p.m. For more information visit silver.afi.com.

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TODAY “A Tribute to the Music of Aretha Franklin” featuring R&B recording artist Amaya Taylor is tonight at 8 p.m. at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Md.). Taylor and the Brencore Allstars band will honor Franklin’s musical legacy throughout the evening by performing many of her greatest songs such as “A Natural Woman,” “Until You Come Back to Me,” “Rock Steady” and more. Tickets are $40 and are available on instantseats.com.

Saturday, Aug. 10 Still surviving Disco legend Gloria Gaynor delivers two performances Sunday, Aug. 18 at 5:30 and 9 p.m. at City Winery (1350 Okie St., N.E.).Tickets start at $55. Doors open at 5 p.m. Gaynor’s career spans 40 years and includes the chart-topping hit “I Will Survive,” which was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording registry in 2016. Gaynor has also made guest appearances on “Ally McBeal,” “the Wayans Bros.” and “That 70s Show.” Recently, she was a guest on “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” and on the “Dr. Oz” show. Gaynor is currently finishing “Testimony,” a new album of inspirational songs and spent time in Nashville co-writing and collaborating with Grammy-nominated songwriters and producers such as Yolanda Adams and Melinda Doolittle. For tickets and information, visit city winery.com.

Arty Queers presents D.C.’s LGBT art market today 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.). Arty Queers is the D.C. Center’s monthly indoor art market featuring original artwork for sale including paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, glass work, textiles and clothing. The market is held the second Saturday each month and features art created by local artists. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Sunday, Aug. 11 Partners of Transmasculine Folx, a support group for partners of trans men, assigned-female-at-birth nonbinary, twospirit and gender-expansive individuals, meets tonight and every second Sunday from 5-7 p.m. at Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.). The event is free and open to partners of all genders. ASL interpretation provided. For more information visit dcats.org.

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Monday, Aug. 12 Today starts Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week which runs August 12-18. At about 100 participating restaurants, lunch and brunch are $22 while dinner is $35. Claudia’s and the Hamilton in downtown D.C., Ambar in Arlington, the Riggsby in Dupont Circle and Sushiko in Chevy Chase all a few of the many restaurants and bistros showcasing a variety of cuisine at a shared price. Book reservations at opentable.com.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 The iconic band Heart continues their “Love Alive Tour” tonight at 7 p.m. at Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, Md.). Tickets start at $29.50 on ticketmaster.com. Formed by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group pioneered the female-fronted rock band sound and has endured for four decades, earning them four Grammy nominations, over 35 million records sold, ten top 10 albums and a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Fans will be sure to enjoy hits such as “What About Love,” “Never” and “These Dreams.” Visit merriweathermusic. com for more information. Canadian singer, songwriter and model Shawn Mendes comes to Capital One Arena (610 F St., N.W.) tonight for “Shawn Mendes: The Tour.” Tickets start at $59; show begins at 7:30 p.m. Mendes first gained a following on the videosharing app Vine and has since released three albums, headlined three world tours and received numerous awards, including

two Grammy nominations. For tickets and information, visit ticketmaster.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 The Big Gay Book Group will discuss “A Ladder to the Sky” by John Boone at 1800 K street, suite 1000 tonight at 7 p.m. This new novel by the New York Timesbestselling author of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is a seductive psychodrama following a gay German novelist who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame. RSVP to biggaybookgroup@hotmail.com. Newcomers are always welcome. The Lambda Bridge Club meets 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations are needed and newcomers are welcome. Phone 202-841-0279 if you need a partner. The D.C. Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS) hosts its monthly transmasculine and nonbinary social hour tonight starting at 6 p.m. at Red Bear Brewing (209 M St., N.E.). The event is 17-and-older and open to the public. For more information, visit dcats.org.

Thursday, Aug. 15 The Jonas Brothers perform tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Capital One Arena (601 F St., N.W.). Tickets for their “Happiness Begins Tour” start at $84.95 and audiences can be sure to enjoy favorites such as “Burnin’ Up,” “When You Look Me in the Eyes” and “That’s Just the Way We Roll.” Tickets and information available on ticketmaster.com.

I love the Wharf, listening to jazz at Westminster Church, and playing basketball with other guys.

Ups and downs

D.C. Gay Flag Football League regrouping as participation dips By KEVIN MAJOROS

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



Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter.

Members of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League may be playing at a new field soon. Washington Blade photo by Kevin Majoros

With upwards of 40 LGBT sports teams and leagues in existence, Washington has a thriving sports community that continues to grow each year. While there are many players who compete in multiple sports at the same time, it’s also common for players to migrate from sport to sport. A swimmer might feel burned out in the pool and decide to try rugby. A softball player might be too injured to play ball and moves over to the dart league. A sport that meets multiple times per week might be too time consuming for the player who switches to a sport that’s only held once a week. There are a lot of factors at play, but the end result is ebbs and flows in the athlete numbers that each team or league can maintain. A league with a waiting list can become a league with low numbers and vice versa. The good news is that the LGBT sports community continues to flourish, just not in a way that every team or league can count on. In the mid-1990s, there was a group of flag football players meeting weekly at Francis Field and a group playing near the Washington Monument. In 1998, the groups came together and the beginnings of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League were set in motion. After building for a few seasons, the league consistently had 20 teams playing, sometimes 22. Last spring, for the first time since 2011, it dropped to 14 teams. They had evolved over the years to keep the league fresh, so the drop was unexpected. With so many factors at play, league leadership was unsure of what caused the decline. They have ideas on pulling their numbers back up. “We were consistently pulling in 60 new players each season and we didn’t hit that number this past spring,” says league Commissioner Brandon Waggoner. “Quarterbacks are a leadership role for each team, and we have a hard time maintaining

the head count for that position.” League leadership is hoping to engage some tactics for its upcoming 19th season and beyond. That will include recruiting events, attracting new sponsors, changes in their social event locations and changes to their player draft. One big change they’re gunning for is a change of venue for league play. The league has been playing at the Carter Barron fields since its inception. Last week, the fields at Carter Barron were used as a parking lot for the Citi Open tennis tournament. As in previous years, the league will do maintenance on the fields to have them in shape by the time its season starts this fall. The new location members are targeting is the much-coveted fields that have just opened at RFK. The Fields at RFK Campus include three multi-purpose turf fields to accommodate kickball, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball and more. There are a whole lot of teams and leagues (straight, LGBT, youth) vying for those permits. The daily operations of The Fields are being managed by Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park. Several entities such as D.C. Fray, Capitol Hill Little League and District Sports have already secured spots. In the meantime, the league is looking to its future in an attempt to even out numbers. “We are going to be paying attention to all the details and bring a fresh perspective,” says JJ Johnson, the league’s director of operations. “We want to reach a higher level of competition and better game-day experience. This is a big job and we will continue to do it well.” “I love our league and the journey that we have been on,” Waggoner says. “I was around for the beginning and I am happy to back in a leadership position that will take us to our 20th season in 2020.”

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Kettle, pot, lesbians — hello? Wife got sober; now nags spouse about marijuana use

MICHAEL, My wife is on an ongoing rant about my pot smoking. I tell her to back off, but she won’t. If she continues to harangue me I don’t know how I can bear it. How do I get her to be reasonable and lay off her nagging? When we met 11 years ago, Grace was already a serious drinker. Her drinking never bothered me. It wasn’t like she drank much on her own or couldn’t hold a job. And most of her friends, whom we spent a lot of time with, drank as well. Then, a few years ago, Grace’s best friend had a DWI. She consequently lost her security clearance and her job. Grace got scared that something like that might happen to her. Because Grace is a government contractor, she needs her security clearance to work. She kept trying to quit and couldn’t, so she joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been sober ever since. I have never personally liked alcohol but I have been a recreational pot user since I was in my teens. This was fine with Grace until she joined AA and got sober. Before that, she used to smoke occasionally as well. Now she is really bothered by my smoking. I don’t smoke every day, just a few times a week to relax after work or clear my mind on the weekend. Grace says that when I’m smoking, I am checked out and not available to her. She is definitely exaggerating. I had to put up with an awful lot more from her all the years she was drinking. Plus I spent way too much time over those years with a bunch of drunk lesbians as the only non-drunk gal in the room. I can tell you this was seldom fun. But I didn’t complain or ask her to change or refuse to get together with her friends. She’s dropped those friends since she got sober. She has her new AA friends, whom I like. And I’ve always had my own friends, whom she did like. But now, as most of them smoke pot too, she doesn’t like me spending time with them and won’t join me when I do. It’s not like I am snorting cocaine every night or using meth. Pot is practically legal and I am a lot less checked out than she ever was. So I don’t see why she should mind if I get a little buzz a few nights a week. If she would get off her high horse,

we’d be fine. We’ve had a great marriage up till she started in on me. Am I right she should not be insisting I change? MICHAEL REPLIES: Your wife can ask you to change, but she can’t insist on it. If it’s important to you that you keep smoking pot, then you can choose to continue. If that’s your choice, Grace can either keep pushing you, make her peace with you as you are or decide to leave. If she keeps pushing you and you want to do your part toward having a happy marriage, then your job is to find a way not to be angry, resentful or totally thrown off by her behavior. Do you think it’s possible for you to stay relatively calm and continue to be a loving wife in the face of her ongoing criticism about your pot use? Doing so would require you to focus on what you love about Grace, while accepting that she has some characteristics and behaviors that you really don’t like. Of course, I could say pretty much the same to Grace about you and your pot smoking. To be happily married, all of us must accept that our partners are different from us in some major ways — some of which we don’t like. This can include substance use or sobriety, nagging, intransigence and of course squeezing the toothpaste tube incorrectly. Even if you are less checked out than she was when she was drinking, I suggest you take her complaint seriously. It’s always a good idea to operate in the spirit of generosity in a relationship, to listen to our partners’ requests and complaints with an open mind and to be present. Your taking a tit-for-tat stance is your contribution to the continued hostility between you two. So rather than dismissing her comment, you could ask yourself if you are really in the best position to determine that you aren’t checking out to an unreasonable degree. Though I’m not suggesting that you should or shouldn’t keep getting high, I am curious why you are so adamant about continuing to do so, given Grace’s concern. What would you lose if you stopped? And, what might you stand to gain?

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Test Drive the All-New


BEN CHAVEZ, second from left, with cast mates ZACH BENCAL, CLINTON GREENSPAN and COLT PRATTES in ‘Aladdin.’ Photo by Deen van Meer

‘Aladdin’s’ pal

Out actor/singer Ben Chavez relishes sidekick role By PATRICK FOLLIARD

There’s a ground rule in improvisational comedy. It’s called “yes, and” — the idea is that you never reject what your improv partner throws at you. Rather than shut it down, you go with it and add something to the scene. Out actor Ben Chavez, part of the national tour of Disney’s “Aladdin” (now at the Kennedy Center Opera House), describes “yes, and” as his personal mantra. “I’m open to whatever’s being put into my path. In this moment it’s travel, ‘Aladdin,’ and exploring a social life as a single gay man. I’m saying yes and seeing where it all takes me.” Chavez plays Omar, one of three sidekicks who follow likeable Aladdin (Clinton Greenspan) through an exciting adventure that spans from street hustling to princely pursuits. The pals are different, Chavez explains. While Babkak (Zach Bencal) is obsessed with food and Kassim (Colt Prattes) is a hot head who wants to take the lead, Omar is rather noble, trusting and sentimental. And though Omar comes off as more than a tad fey, Chavez doesn’t perceive him as gay. In his storytelling, Omar is straight, a little Latin lover who carries a cute torch for Princess Jasmine (Kaenaonalani Kekoa). “I sprinkle some of my background (Italian and Salvadorian) into the part,” Chavez says. “I’m a type: a short Latin guy with an atypical look. I’m cast in character roles. Sidekicks. Funny bits. That’s my niche. Omar is exactly that.” Initially, the trio was intended to be part of the animated film in the ’90s. But animal sidekicks were in vogue, so the guys were replaced with a monkey named Abu, Chavez says. But for the Broadway musical, a human trio works better than recreating a beloved monkey on stage. Choreographed and directed by hitmaker Casey Nicholaw, “Aladdin”

recently marked its fifth year on Broadway. The North American has been underway for about two years. Chavez joined the company as Omar four months ago. It’s a big glitzy show filled with Disney magic and familiar tunes (“A Whole New World,” and Genie and Aladdin’s “Friend Like Me”). There’s some grownup humor and romance. It makes a perfect date, Chavez says. As Omar, Chavez is living his dream. “I’m not only traveling and working with a national tour, but I’m bringing Broadway to people. And I’m giving kids a glimpse into theater maybe for the first time.” For Chavez, geography has figured prominently in his destiny. From his childhood home in Rutherford, N.J., he could see the Manhattan skyline. It was like Broadway beckoned. Over the years, he frequently made the short trip into the city for lessons in dance, voice (he’s a tenor) and acting — everything from pirouettes to Shakespeare, he says. And to see shows (“Les Misérables” was his first). For Chavez, New York City was the ideal place to come out, and not for the reasons one might initially suspect. “In New York, there are some beautiful Christian communities of faith that are extremely welcoming and LGBTQ affirming. That’s something I didn’t know existed, and it was an exciting discovery. We all need a spiritual home whether it’s church, a group, yoga class or some kind of mediation.mSince coming out in my freshman year at N.Y.U., I’ve been on an exciting journey to marry Christianity with sexuality. For a long time, I thought they were mutually exclusive, but they aren’t.” Also, an accomplished composer who has played piano since age 3, Chavez takes time to write songs on the road (every theater offers access to a piano). “Writing music is like a diary, a place where I can explore my deepest feelings and thoughts,” he says. “And unlike performing, I have total control when I compose.” His goal on tour is to write a new song in every city. Thus far, he’s been successful. Chavez hasn’t begun his D.C. song yet, but says “There’s definitely lots to work with here.”

Disney’s ‘Aladdin’

Through Sept. 7 Kennedy Center Opera House $39-179 202-467-4600 kennedy-center.org

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In April 1994, a British rom-com unexpectedly took Hollywood by storm. Directed by Mike Newell (who would go on to direct the blockbuster “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and the underappreciated gem “Enchanted April”) from a script by Richard Curtis (who would later write the holiday favorite “Love Actually”), “Four Weddings and a Funeral” became an international sensation with a large LGBT fan base. The movie centered on Charlie (Hugh Grant), a charming but socially awkward Brit who attends the aforementioned social occasions with a tight-knit group of family and friends. In terms of representation and inclusion, the film was remarkable for the time. The lead cast included two out and well-adjusted gay men (played by Simon Callow and John Hannah) and Charlie’s deaf brother David (played by David Bower). Hugh Grant even learned BSL for their scenes together. Buoyed by gorgeous cinematography from Michael Coulter, a lovely score by Richard Rodney Bennett and a superb cast, Curtis’ pitch-perfect script and Newell’s sure-footed direction resulted in a movie that was a winning combination of wit and sentiment. The film got rave reviews, broke box office records in Britain and earned multiple nominations and statues at the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award ceremonies. In addition, the movie made Hugh Grant a star, gave model-turned-actress Andie MacDowell a breakthrough prestige role as Charlie’s American love interest and boosted the fledgling film careers of Simon Callow and Kristin Scott Thomas. Now, 25 years later, Mindy Kaling and Matt Warburton have co-created and co-produced a 10-episode television adaptation of the movie which is now dropping on Hulu. Unfortunately, lightning has not struck twice. Despite some wonderful supporting performances, the new series is as flat as stale champagne. Kaling and Warburton focus on a quartet of straight American friends from college who all end up in London. Ainsley Howard (Rebecca Rittenhouse) is a designer whose wealthy parents pay the mortgage on her deluxe townhouse and underwrite the expenses for her foundering business. Caleb Duffy (John Reynolds) is an aspiring novelist who teaches English at a boys’ school. Craig (Brandon Mychal Smith) is an investment banker and ladies’ man. Maya (Nathalie Emmanuel) is a political speechwriter. Their fifth wheel is Kash Khan (Nikesh Patel). He shares an office with Craig (although he really wants to be an actor) and he’s romantically involved with both Maya and Ainsley. That’s just one of many secrets these “friends” keep from each other. Maya is the first character we meet and her introduction sets the sour tone for the series. She wakes up alone in a glamorous Manhattan apartment. There’s a note on the pillow next to her reading “Good morning beautiful.” Then there’s a text (there are a lot of texts in this show): “Get out of the apartment. My wife is coming home!”

The cast of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral.’ Photo by Ollie Upton, courtesy Hulu

Maya quickly cleans up the rose petals and champagne bottles, retrieves her bra from the fish tank and heads into work. She’s the communications director (and mistress) for a married senatorial candidate, but it’s OK because he’s really going to leave his wife this time and she got out of the apartment before his wife got home. And that’s the biggest problem with the series: the central characters are generally disagreeable. They’re selfish and self-absorbed. They treat each other rudely and weave complicated webs of alliances and deceptions. They have no self-awareness and take themselves way too seriously. Beyond that, the writing is oddly uneven. Plot details are inconsistent between episodes. There are some great one-liners, but the lead characters are trapped by every rom-com cliché in the book. Unrequited love since college — check. Rain-drenched declaration of love — check. Being left at the altar — check. Moody walks through night-time London as turgid pop music plays — check. Affairs with bosses and clients — check. And that’s just in the seven episodes that were available for review. Kaling and Warburton do diversify the overall cast in some interesting ways, but the leads are all notably young and buff and thin and beautiful. The show is a step back for LGBT representation. In addition to lots of swishy extras, there are two gay supporting characters. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is Tony #2 (Ainsley of course has two gay assistants). Alex Jennings is Andrew Aldridge, Maya’s boss and the first openly gay member of Parliament). These fine actors are absolutely terrific in their roles, but they’re kept firmly in the background. Maybe their storyline needed more rom-

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‘Four Weddings’ and a thud

New Hulu series leaden with rom-com cliches, unlikeable characters By BRIAN T. CARNEY com clichés. The rest of the supporting cast is also great. Zoe Boyle is splendid as Ainsley’s friend Gemma. Her comic timing is impeccable, but she also brings an appealing emotional depth to the character as well. Tom Mison is superb as Gemma’s husband Quentin and Guz Khan is delightful as Kash’s mate Basheer. Sophia La Porta is absolute dynamite as Craig’s seemingly dim-witted girlfriend Zara. Her comic flair is delicious, but she also manages to imbue her character with more brains and heart than any of the leads. Harish Patel and Krrish Patel are charming and heart-warming as Kash’s loving father and little brother. While the television adaptation ultimately has little in common with the movie except the title, the series does pay homage to the original by casting Andie MacDowell as Ainsley’s mother. She’s delightful. Is the series worth watching? Despite the great supporting cast, not really. The writing is riddled with clichés and the lead characters are not very interesting. Revisit the movie instead.

The Washington Blade’s

50th Birthday Gala Celebrating five decades of LGBTQ journalism

Friday, Oct. 18 Cocktails at 6 p.m. Dinner & Program at 7 p.m. Festive cocktail attire

Intercontinental Hotel 801 Wharf St., SW

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

Special guests and speakers to be announced

Tickets available at Blade50th.com

Benefitting the Blade Foundation. A portion of ticket price is tax deductible.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

VIDA Fitness

Whitman-Walker Health

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Saving for a child’s education — or your own A 529 savings plan is a smart, flexible choice for most families By ALEX GRAHAM A decade ago, options for LGBT community members to start a family were limited. The idea of needing to plan for a child’s education was often uncommon in our community. With marriage equality and greater acceptance across the country, along with the growing numbers of families, the need to plan for a child’s education has increased. Whether it is for your own child or for a niece or nephew, below are some helpful tools to ensure today’s youth can afford educational opportunities. The primary vehicle people use to save for a child’s education is a 529 plan. There are two types of plans - prepaid tuition and a savings plan. Prepaid tuition is exactly what it sounds like - you are buying public university credit hours at the current cost no matter what it may be in the future. This could be advantageous if you already know that the child plans to attend a specific university (whether it’s for a specific degree program or to add to your family’s lineage at a certain university). A more flexible option is a savings plan, which historically has been used to pay for higher education whether it’s a traditional four-year college or an accredited trade school. Basically, if you can receive federal loan assistance at the institution, you may use your 529 to cover associated costs. These plans are funded using post-tax dollars meaning you don’t receive a federal tax credit or extra deduction as you would if you contributed to an IRA. However, you may receive some tax benefits depending on your home state and where you open the account. No matter what, any

Saving money for a relative’s education? A 529 plan is a smart option. Photo courtesy of Bigstock

investment gains or ‘growth’ is tax free as long as your use the funds for qualified educational expenses. This could be tuition, books, equipment (e.g. laptop) or any other approved expenses that furthers an education pursuit. The 529 savings plans are administered at the state level and are fairly flexible. Investment wise they operate like a 401k with a variety of fund options, but as always, make sure you watch out for any associated fees. You don’t want your potential gains being eaten up by an investment manager. As alluded to before, you may receive tax benefits on the state level. For instance in the District, you can receive an $8,000 tax deduction (if filing married and jointly). Each state is different though and you should consult

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a tax advisor or do your own research to make sure you can maximize its benefits. However, most jurisdictions will only offer tax benefits if you live in that state and open their 529 account. The most recent tax reform bill expanded the allowable use of 529 funds to include K-12 educational expenses. This is on a state-by-state basis and many have not conformed with the updated federal law. So for now, I would focus on its use for higher education, although Maryland and Virginia have expanded to offer some K-12 benefits. One interesting quirk about 529 plans is how easy it is to change beneficiaries. For instance, you could open a 529 with you as a beneficiary in case you wanted to pursue a new educational venture and then a

few years later change the beneficiary to a qualified individual. The qualification is pretty flexible and includes anyone that is part of the current beneficiary’s family, including even their first cousins. Overall, starting a 529 savings plan is a smart, flexible choice for most families and even yourself if you want to pursue a new career, finish your degree, or take a few interesting classes at your local college.

Alex Graham is a Principal at Graham Capital Wealth Management, a registered Investment Advisor located on K Street. Reach him at 202-780-7726 or Alex.Graham@ grahamcapitalwealth.com.

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NATIONAL HARBOR SPACIOUS 2br/2bath condo, room for rent.1400 sf with 15’ ceilings, office space and walk-in closets. Great amenities including rooftop access, pool, clubroom, gym and garage parking. Easy access to market, pharmacy and local restaurants. $1160 per month. harborhawk424@gmail.com.

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SHARE / VA METRO UTIL INCL 1 BR - $750 - Near Dunn Loring Metro, 495 & 66, and Mosiac District shopping center. 1 BR - in a 4 BR townhouse, BR located on the 3rd floor, the MBR is occupied by owner (F), & 1 Bath will be shared. Looking to rent the bedroom to a M Professional, very clean, quiet, nonsmoker, ideal for someone who is in the military/government, travels a lot, or leads a busy lifestyle. The recently renovated BR, new paint, new carpet, and the bathroom has been refurnished, new paint, new vanity, and furnishings. Not looking for: couples, children, pets, and smokers/drinkers. Contact Patty at pattywashington45@yahoo. com, or 703-303-3809 if you are interested, thanks.

RENT / MD Mid-century modern house with remodeled kitchen in LGBTQ neighborhood. 4 BR, 2 BA; new washer, dryer. $2000/mo. Does not include utilities. Contact Ed Brady: 301-648-6000.

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



CHARMING HOME IN Artsy Mount Rainer Charming 4 BR/3 BA home, easy off and on street parking. 1 mile form Green line, fenced yard for pups, 3 full baths including 2 with jacuzzi tubs, finished basement for additional living space, room for vegetable gardening, hidden gem of a neighborhood close to bike paths, local food coop, shops, new restaurants coming in, 10 mins. from Hyattsville Bus Boy & Poets, Yes Market, vintage shops. If you don’t know Mount Rainer, you should! LGBTQ friendly neighborhood, easy drive to Capitol Hill, downtown, all things DC. Email: milosarah@gmail.com.



SALE / KEY WEST KEY WEST CONDO VA approved!! Spacious 1BR/1 BA condo in desirable Meadows neighborhood. Featuring updated kitchen w/granite. Beautifully maintained hdwds, high ceilings & custom closets. 2nd floor unit offers privacy; outdoor living with 2 porches & tropical gardens. 4 unit property & low condo fee $158. Walk or ride to nearby Marina, Bayview Park & Duval Street. https://www.zillow. com/homedetails/1402Olivia-St-APT-3-Key-WestFL-33040/54143260_zpid/

SALE / WV UNIQUE WEEKEND GETAWAY. 1200 sq ft house on 5.1 acres. GREAT mountain views, adjacent to WV’s largest nudist resort. Huge wrap-around deck, open floor plan with large windows. Relax in complete privacy. No hunting allowed. 169K. Contact Geise Bennett, broker at 304.947.5630.

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