Washingtonblade.com, Issue 50, Volume 33, August 16, 2019

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Photo by Jubilee Paige/Aravaipa Running


AUGUST 16, 2019 • VOLUM E 50 • I S S UE 33 • WA S HI N GTONB LAD E.CO M

2122 LEROY PL NW Rarely available 6BR/5.5BA grande dame home on Leroy Place, in first block off Connecticut Ave. So quiet and convenient to everything. Deck steps down to the glorious private garden, enveloped in wisteria. In-law suite and true two-car garage!


NEW LISTING! 4301 MASSACHUSETTS AVE NW #A114 This spacious condo features ample closet space and the light filled living area includes large windows with a garden view. The kitchen features new appliances and granite countertops. Parking conveys! 2BR/2BA $415,000


2029 CONNECTICUT AVE NW #71 Penthouse jewel that spans the entire Connecticut Avenue side of 2029 Connecticut evokes the apex of Parisian elegance: beautifully high ceilings, fine plaster moldings, luxuriously proportioned rooms and hardwood floors. Nothing else like it in town!

“Woodley House” is a residential retreat unlike any other. It’s approximately 15,200 square feet sit atop a hill on five acres. This is a one of a kind property!




This almost-new condo at The Corey features an open living area, with light streaming in through the private balcony. The rooftop is unbeatable, with gorgeous views of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Buildinggreat for entertaining! Parking conveys! 2BR/2BA

1609 22ND ST NW Elegance abounds in this renovated Kalorama manse with four off-street parking spaces. It formerly served as an embassy, with 5,500sf on four levels. Grand, wide staircase is capped by a large skylight, illuminating the house. Wood floors throughout upper levels; kitchenette, baths, and fireplace on each level. Could easily be transformed into a grand residence. $4,435,000


Recognized as one of 99 Best Agents and as Top Producers Platinum by Washingtonian magazine, and by the WSJ/Real Trends - America’s Best Real Estate Agents



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Live music. Hamilton hospitality. Enjoy top-notch talent and table-side service in the heart of DC, downstairs from The Hamilton restaurant.

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PO Box 53352 Washington DC 20009 PHONE

Marathoner Grace Fisher is just one outstanding queer athlete we’re spotlighting in our seventh annual Sports Issue. Coverage starts on page 22.


Looking back:


Sports Issue

50 years of the Blade


17th Street Festival is Aug. 24


Comings & Goings


Arts & Culture


U.S. Park Police targeting gay men


‘Evan Hansen’

for sex arrests in federal park in D.C. 13 16 17 19

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

returns to Washington

LGBT advocates raise alarm over


Sexy summer cinema

‘facial recognition’ technology


CAMP Rehoboth Bachelor Auction

Gay military doctor now fights


Romance by mail

for trans troops, LGBT equity


Clever, affordable crossovers

Lawmakers, experts denounce


Compass: Investing in

anti-trans health proposal Viewpoint

technology and real estate 60

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


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6/26/19 3:43 PM

Tammy Faye remembered as friend to gays

Twelve years ago in the Blade was an obituary/appreciation for Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, who’d just died at age 65. The former televangelist, who built a religious empire with her former husband Jim Bakker (who’s still at it, on the fringes, telling viewers Trump is God’s choice for the White House), reached out unabashedly to gays in a way that for the time was unprecedented for fundamentalist Christians. Messner endeared herself to local gays with a Capital Pride appearance in 2002.

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

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

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For more information on getting involved with the 50th Anniversary please contact Stephen Rutgers at srutgers@washblade.com AUG U ST 1 6 , 2019 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 07

Comings & Goings Schulman joins Dupont Circle Physicians Group By PETER ROSENSTEIN

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com. Join me in welcoming Dr. Marc Schulman to the Dupont Circle Physicians Group otherwise known as Dupontdocs. The Dupont Circle Physicians Group has served the community for MARC SCHULMAN more than 25 years with professional care. Upon joining the group Marc said, “As a young gay man — not yet out to friends and family — I struggled with the idea of coming out to my physician. Though I recognized the importance of being open and honest with my provider, it was easier said than done. After visiting multiple physicians, I finally found a doctor I could trust. He asked questions without passing judgment and offered the appropriate tests and treatment. In caring for patients throughout my post-graduate training, I aspired to provide the same compassionate care. I look forward to building lasting relationships with patients at Dupont Circle TATIANA KOLINA Physicians Group. My interests include primary care, mental health, and HIV treatment and prevention.” Schulman is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and licensed in the District of Columbia. He is from the area and grew up in Columbia, Md. Prior to joining Dupontdocs Schulman was with Northwestern Medical Group as a moonlighting hospitalist and attending physician at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Before that he was with the University of Illinois at Chicago Global Medicine and doing an elective exposure to Tropical Medicine and Clinical Practice in the Dominican Republic. He also served as a research assistant in Enteric Diseases at the Naval Medical Research Institute. Schulman earned his bachelor’s in Human Biology with high distinction from the University of Virginia; his doctorate in medicine from the Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Va. He did his residency in Internal Medicine at University of Illinois Hospital and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Health, Chicago. He is a member of the American College of Physicians Infectious Diseases Society of America. Congratulations also to Tatiana Kolina on the first anniversary of sPACYcLOUd a one-of-a-kind plant-based restaurant, skateshop, kava bar, art gallery, coffee shop and entertainment venue in the heart of Adams Morgan. Tatiana’s slogan for her business is “Cut Loose. Hang Tight. Recycle.” As she says, “In other words, be bold, follow your heart, believe in magic, use your intuition, and take care of planet Earth.” She was born in the Soviet Union and raised by her grandmother. As a teenager, she joined a number of tusovkas (street groups) to survive. The group that affected her life the most was “farsovshiki.” It was a new wave group of kids who ran around big cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Tallinn, etc., using trade as a way to interact and learn about the wild, wild (and very taboo) West. Tatiana was adopted by an American family and moved to California in 1991. After earning her degree in MIS (Masters in Information Systems) from the University of Notre Dame, she moved to D.C. where she started the non-profit Skate Girls Tribe (SGT). The organization invites girls of all ages and abilities to come together and skate with other girls in a group empowering young women through action sports. SGT holds monthly events to celebrate life, art, culture, education, and fun via skateboarding and longboarding. They also organize surfing and snowboarding camps. “Skate Girls Tribe promotes confidence and assertiveness, individuality and creativity, strength and dignity, all gathered together with a love for action sports,” Kolina said. “With a vigorous setting of play and sociality, SGT nurtures and sustains these values and goals.” She added, “With such virtues in place that healthy and responsible choices will be made later in the girls’ lives.”

Blade to celebrate 50th anniversary with gala Oct. 18 event to feature mayor, Rep. Cicilline and more FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBTQ newspaper, today announced that tickets are now available for its 50th anniversary gala celebrating the pioneering publication founded in the aftermath of the Stonewall rebellion in 1969. The event will be held Friday, Oct. 18 at the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. Beginning with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by a dinner and program at 7 p.m. The Ariadne Getty Foundation will be the presenting sponsor. Tickets are on sale now at blade50th.com. Since 1969, the Washington Blade has covered the LGBTQ community of the metro D.C. area, nationally and internationally. Initially a local publication that covered and was a resource to the growing LGBTQ community in Washington, DC, one of several epicenters of the early gay rights movement, it has expanded over the past 5 decades to include coverage of political news and is currently the only LGBTQ source in the White House press pool and is the only LGBTQ outlet in the White House Correspondents’ Association. Confirmed speakers include Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the senior openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives; and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon of “American Idol” will perform, as well Potomac Fever, part of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. More speakers to be announced as they are confirmed. The evening will include an entertaining and informative history of LGBTQ rights in D.C. and America as told through the Blade’s one-of-a-kind 50-year archive with remarks from Blade Publisher

Lynne Brown and Editor Kevin Naff. “We look forward to celebrating the Blade’s pioneering work and raising a glass to 50 years of progress,” said Blade publisher Lynne Brown. “So many Washingtonians played a part in the Blade’s growth, it’s time we paid tribute to all of them.” “At a time when media, especially LGBTQ media, is challenged by the dizzying array of multiple platforms and ways to access information, The Blade is not only surviving, but thriving, as a respected and reliable source of the news the LGBTQ community is looking for,” said Kevin Naff, editor. “The Blade is a go-to publication and site for news, investigative journalism, current and accurate stories for LGBTQ the community, by the LGBTQ community and we are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of service in this historic year,” concluded Naff. “I am thrilled to co-chair the Washington Blade’s 50th Anniversary to ensure our lives, our voices and our stories are reflected in media,” said June Crenshaw, who along with Jocko Fajardo is co-chairing the event. “Our community has been hit hard by the Trump/Pence administration’s words and actions, most notably the marginalization, violence and discrimination directed at some of the most vulnerable members of our community, LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and transgender women of color. The balanced, fair and inclusive news reporting of the Washington Blade over the last 50 years has saved lives and kept our community both connected and informed, and I will do everything I can to support their continued work.”

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U.S. Park Police targeting gay men for sex arrests in federal park in D.C.

Undercover officers ‘entice’ men seeking hookups in Meridian Hill Park By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

Police are targeting gay men in Meridian Hill Park for sex arrests.

whether prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office have moved the cases forward toward a trial or a possible plea bargain offer. He said some of the cases may also be prosecuted by the Office of the D.C. Attorney General, which handles some misdemeanor cases. The Blade asked Albanes to inform the attorneys that it would continue its longstanding policy of not disclosing the names of those arrested in cases like this. However, none of the attorneys had contacted the Blade as of late Tuesday. “While I am sorry to hear that, I am not surprised,” said Albanes. “I suspect the attorneys – in line with their ethical obligations – do not want to disclose client confidences without their informed consent,” he said, noting that many of the clients are most likely closeted gay men. Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, has been known for at least 50 years as a cruising spot for mostly

African-American gay men. In past years, men who go to the park to seek other men for sexual encounters have told the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper that the cruising often takes place late at night in secluded areas of the park covered by shrubs, bushes and trees. Similar to other cruising locations in the city, the men interviewed by the Post and City Paper have said they sometimes invited the person they met at the park to their homes or another private location and did not engage in sex in the park. LGBT activists have said the number of arrests of gay men in public places like parks appears to have declined dramatically in recent years due to the proliferation of online gay meet-up sites and apps like Grindr, in which a sexual tryst can be arranged quickly without the risk of outdoor cruising.

Chrzanowski, Gay win in Rehoboth election

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

In a little-noticed development, U.S. Park Police have made at least 26 arrests during the past year in Meridian Hill Park in D.C. of men seeking other men for a sexual encounter after they allegedly act in a way that violates the law, according to a Park Police spokesperson. Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a Park Police public information officer, told the Washington Blade the 26 arrests made in the park since Aug. 7, 2018 involve charges of one or a combination of Disorderly Conduct, Lewd Acts, Unlawful Entry, and Simple Assault (Sexual). He said he couldn’t immediately determine if the arrests were made by plain clothes or uniformed officers, but said the arrests were prompted by complaints from the public about “lewd acts” in the park. D.C. defense attorney John Albanes told the Blade that several of his fellow attorneys who represent clients arrested at Meridian Hill Park report that the men were arrested by undercover officers who pose as consenting prospective partners interested in a sexual tryst. “I am on a D.C. Superior Court trial lawyers association listserv and recently several criminal defense attorneys on the email list have mentioned that they have had criminal cases involving essentially the same set of facts,” Albanes told the Blade in an email. “[U]ndercover plain-clothes Park Police officers entice men in Meridian Hill Park for purportedly consensual sexual

activity and then proceed to arrest their targets for a crime (often misdemeanor sexual abuse),” according to Albanes. “I find this pattern extremely disturbing and reminiscent of the Stonewall days when gay men were often the target of police discrimination. The tactics used in these cases just fly in the face of proper police work and should be exposed,” he said. “The officers are posing as willing participants in a consensual encounter between adults,” Albanes said. “The target is deceived into thinking that what he is about to do is wanted. This raises serious doubts about whether the government can prove criminal intent.” When asked about Albanes’ assessment of the Meridian Hill Park arrests, Delgado responded with a statement by email that did not address the claim by the defense lawyers that the arresting officers were “enticing” the arrested men into committing an illegal act. “The U.S. Park Police receives complaints about lewd acts that occur within Meridian Hill,” Delgado said in his email. “As with any other complaint of illegal activity, we then take actions to stop it,” he said. “Plain clothes officers are just one method of enforcement sometimes used to deter, stop, and/or arrest violators within the parks.” Albanes said he asked the defense lawyers representing some of the men arrested on sex-related charges at Meridian Hill Park to reach out to the Blade to talk about their cases, including

EDWARD CHRZANOWSKI becomes the third out LGBT member of the Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners.

Gay civic activist and financial services company consultant Edward Chrzanowski won election on Aug. 10 to a seat on the Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners, which serves as the Delaware beach resort town’s legislative body. Chrzanowski was among six candidates, three of whom are gay, competing for two seats up for election on the six-member Board. Under Rehoboth’s election rules the highest two vote getters were declared the winners. All of the candidates expressed strong support for LGBT equality on a questionnaire submitted to the candidates by CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBT community center and advocacy organization. Rehoboth Beach has long been known as a popular LGBT vacation and residential destination in the Mid-Atlantic. Chrzanowski finished in second place in the election, receiving 345 votes, behind first-place winner Susan Gay, a longtime Rehoboth civic activist and member of various city committees, who received 607 votes. The Rehoboth election board said a total of 1,036 votes were cast in the election. Gay and Chrzanowski are scheduled to be sworn into office at the Board of Commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 20. Chrzanowski’s election will bring the total number of LGBT people on the Rehoboth Board of Commissioners to three. The other two are lesbian incumbents Lisa Schlosser and Pat Coluzzi. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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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

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LGBT advocates raise alarm over ‘facial recognition’ technology Experts say unchecked use could lead to discrimination, harassment By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

LGBT people, especially transgender people, could be subjected to discrimination, harassment, and identity theft if careful government controls are not placed on rapidly developing and widely used facial recognition technology, according to the group LGBT Tech. The Staunton, Va.-based group has joined six other LGBT organizations in signing on to a June 3, 2019 letter written by the ACLU calling on Congress to place a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology for law enforcement and immigration enforcement purposes until privacy related restrictions can be developed for the technology. “The well documented potential for abuse and misuse of these tools built by giant and influential companies as well as government and law enforcement agencies should give serious pause to anyone who values their privacy – especially members of communities that have been historically marginalized and discriminated against,” said LGBT Tech deputy director and general counsel Carlos Gutierrez in a July 18 op-ed column. “Without proper privacy protections in place, data breaches that target facial recognition data may become far more likely,” Gutierrez said. “In the wrong hands, a person’s previously undisclosed sexual orientation or gender identity can become a tool for discrimination, harassment, or harm to their life or livelihood,” he said. “The risks to transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming individuals are even more acute,” he continued. Gutierrez and other experts familiar with software already in use that uses facial recognition technology say the software has been programmed to divide the people it recognizes as male and female based on

their biological or physiological gender. “The extent of the misgendering problem was highlighted in a recent report that found that over the last three decades of facial recognition, researchers used a binary construct to gender over 90 percent of the time and understood gender to be solely a physiological construct over 80 percent of the time,” Gutierrez said. He and other experts monitoring the technology say the inability of most of the software now in use, including the software expected to be used for security screening at all airports by 2020, could have a devastating impact on transgender people attempting to board a plane. “We are deeply concerned about the growth and lack of efficacy of facial recognition technology as a means of increasing security in airports or any other public space,” said Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The technologies most frequently sold by vendors have proven biases against women and people of color born of inaccuracies and oversights in their development,” she told the Blade in a statement. “Just as well, they have consistently misidentified transgender people in academic studies, perhaps providing an automated way to out trans people while we’re traveling or just living our lives,” Branstetter said. “In a worst case scenario, such a technology could be used to ensure transgender people are excluded from gendered spaces, including locker rooms and restrooms.”


Emails show DOE rushed to take up complaint from anti-LGBT group By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com The Department of Education rushed to take up an investigation over an antitrans complaint filed by female athletes in Connecticut without having a solid understanding of the legal framework to accept jurisdiction, according to emails leaked exclusively to the Washington Blade. The emails detail a behind-the-scenes exchange among officials in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights just before announcing it would take up the investigation, which was in response to a complaint filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of three female track athletes seeking to challenge Glastonbury School District’s trans-inclusive policy. In one email dated Aug. 5, Lisa Chang, an enforcement director within the Office for Civil Rights, says she “just met” with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement Randolph Wills. With urgency, Chang says, “We must have a draft LON for Ken’s review tomorrow.” That email was sent just two days before the Education Department ultimately announced on Wednesday it would take up the case. Chang also responds to concerns raised by Michelle Kalka, a supervisory advisory attorney, who in a July 26 email says the Education Department still needed a response to a consent request from ADF “to issue even a partial (or ‘stop-gap’) notification letter on any systematic or individual allegation.” But Chang, underscoring a sense of urgency, says she understands from Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus the Boston office “has cleared up the consent issue” and another official is looking into the timeliness issue for the complaint. “Can you please confirm the status and advise?” Chang says. “I will need to see a draft LON by this afternoon, say 4 pm or so.” In another email dated Aug. 7, Chang attaches a draft copy of the letter of notification and says it “must issue today.” Ramzi Ajami, a general attorney in the Boston office, affirms the department “will issue this evening,” but seeks clarification. “We’d appreciate a discussion about the legal theory, and much simpler, the timeframe/scope of the investigation,” Ajami says. “We noticed that the ultimately allegations were not dismissed.” The exact issue with regard to legal theory is unclear. It might be related to whether the Department of Education has jurisdiction over the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which instituted the trans-inclusive policy. The legal theory issue may be related to challenging a school’s trans-inclusive policy under Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in public schools. Transgender advocates have drawn on that law to assert protections for transgender kids, but ADF is turning that argument on its head. With regard to timeliness, it’s also hard to see which aspects of the case Ajami was referencing. Each of three points in the letter that ultimately went out references issues that took place within the last six months, even the accusations of retaliation from school officials over students complaining about the pro-trans policy. Six months is the cutoff point for when the Department of Education will accept complaints from students, unless that time is extended for good cause by the enforcement office director. An informed source said the Education Department apparently sidestepped the untimely allegations. A notification letter, the source said, typically includes allegations, including those dismissed as untimely. The official letter went out that day with no reference whatsoever to any issue the Education Department refused to take up for a lack of timeliness or jurisdiction. In fact, the letter says the Office of Civil Rights has “determined that it has jurisdiction and that the allegations were timely filed.” In a third email dated Aug. 8 — the day after the official letter went out — Chang sends a follow-up message to Ajami about data requests, saying further discussion on legal framework will come at a later time. “At this stage, we are collecting raw data that might be relevant,” Chang says. “We can talk in the future about the precise legal framework to apply.” An informed source said the Department of Education has a theory of jurisdiction for the case, but that theory is questionable and wasn’t — and perhaps still isn’t — settled prior to the decision to open an investigation.” “Headquarters typically doesn’t get involved this early in a case and typically doesn’t send emails demanding that notification letters go out ASAP,” the source said. “This is so abnormal.” An Education Department spokesperson said in response the Office of Civil Rights “does not authenticate records received from third parties.”


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MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Worsening of Hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.

ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. Do NOT take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains: } dofetilide } rifampin } any other medicines to treat HIV-1

BEFORE TAKING BIKTARVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: } Have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. } Have any other health problems. } Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY. } Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: } Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. } BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.

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POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. } Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. } Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. } Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. } Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. } The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%). These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY. 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. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY. HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food. GET MORE INFORMATION } This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. } Go to BIKTARVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5. } If you need help paying for your medicine, visit BIKTARVY.com for program information.

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5/7/19 3:50 PM

Gay military doctor now fights for trans troops, LGBT equity Ehrenfeld’s advocacy spans Obama, Trump administrations By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

JESSE EHRENFELD testifies for trans military service. Washington Blade photo by Micheal Key

Six months ago, five service members made history on Capitol Hill by becoming the first openly transgender witnesses to testify before Congress. Alongside them was another witness who wasn’t transgender, but a member of the LGBT community who presented expert testimony affirming their capacity to serve as President Trump threatened to expel them from the military under his proposed ban. Jesse Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist and expert in LGBT medical issues, said otherwise qualified individuals shouldn’t be barred from military service simply because they’re transgender. “I would like to say unequivocally for the record that there is no medically valid reason, including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, to exclude transgender individuals from military service,” Ehrenfeld told the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. In an interview Tuesday with the Washington Blade, Ehrenfeld acknowledged his personal experience helped influence his advocacy for transgender people in the military. After all, he’s a gay man who’s able to serve as a commander in the Navy and be open about his sexual orientation thanks to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” “Being an LGBTQ person, you know, I have faced discrimination at various points in my life,” he said. “Certainly the ability to stand up for what is right, I think, in part comes from those experiences growing up as a gay person, and certainly, as a physician, I have certain opportunities to try to stand up for the community.” Ehrenfeld, 41, has a long record prior to his congressional testimony of being on the forefront of advocating for transgender people in the military — both in the Obama

and Trump administrations. A crucial moment came in 2015, when Ehrenfeld as a commander in the Navy, was deployed to Afghanistan where he provided care at the NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit. Then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, newly confirmed in his role as defense chief, took questions from service members at a military town hall in Kandahar about their concerns in the field. Ehrenfeld’s question: Do you support allowing otherwise qualified transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces? At the time, transgender people were barred from service as a result of a medical regulation instituted in the 1980s that was based on an outdated understanding of individuals with gender dysphoria. “I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them,” Carter replied, adding he hasn’t studied the issue a lot since he became secretary of defense, but was “openminded” about “what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us.” Days later during the White House news conference, the Washington Blade took the opportunity to ask whether President Obama shared Carter’s views on transgender service. Then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest affirmed that was the case. “I can tell you the president agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve, and for that reason, we here at the White House welcome the comments of the secretary of defense,” Earnest said. Thinking back on that moment, Ehrenfeld said he was “frankly very nervous” to speak out but was “delighted”

with Carter’s response. “His message that fitness for duty should be the primary driver of the ability to serve is one that I think serves our military well,” Ehrenfeld said. What motivated Ehrenfeld to ask the question? Ehrenfeld said it was based on his experience serving with Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, a transgender service member who was deployed with him in Afghanistan. Since that time, Ireland has been at the forefront of advocacy for transgender people in the military. The two met, Ehrenfeld said, shortly after he arrived in Afghanistan and Ireland sought medical care at the facility where Ehrenfeld was working. “Frankly, I was a bit shocked to meet this person because I knew of the restrictions on transgender service and the last place I expected to find a transgender person was deployed with me in Afghanistan,” he said. An estimated 14,700 transgender people are now serving in the military. Although the Obama administration would shortly after change the policy to allow transgender service, Trump would change that months after taking office and institute a ban. “There are mountains of transgender troops and even more transgender veterans who are able to and have done that job quite well,” Ehrenfeld said. “It’s unfortunate that we have discriminatory policies that are preventing them from doing their job.” After the exchanges at the military town hall and the White House, the wheels were in motion for a year-long study at the Defense Department on transgender military service. For the Obama administration study, Ehrenfeld said he provided input based on his medical expertise and had conservations with defense officials as the process was happening. On June 30, 2016, Carter announced at the Pentagon the ban would be lifted. Ehrenfeld said he was present at the Defense Department and it was among the “proudest moments” of his career. “I understand how we’ve taken a few steps backwards since but at the time it represented such progress with incredible ramifications for transgender people and LGBTQ people all across our nation, not just those serving,” Ehrenfeld said. Ehrenfeld, who earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s in public health at Harvard University, bolsters his advocacy with his impressive credentials in medicine. Motivated to enter the field of medicine at an early age, Ehrenfeld said in

his college days at Haverford College he sought to shadow physicians in their work. “I love taking care of patients in the operating room, getting them through complex surgeries, watching them walk out of the hospital is one of the most fulfilling things that I get to do on a weekly basis,” he said. A researcher in the field of biomedical informatics, Ehrenfeld is a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he serves as director for the Center for Evidence-Based Anesthesia. His LGBT work in the medical field goes beyond transgender military service. Nine years ago, he co-founded the Program for LGBTI Health at Vanderbilt for work on health disparities facing LGBT people. The research, Ehrenfeld said, seeks to modify and improve electronic health records to serve the needs of LGBT patients and care protocols for transgender people. “A lot of that work is ongoing,” Ehrenfeld said. “We continue to partner with colleagues, not just at Vanderbilt but across the country to help advance the evidence base that can lead to the best practice for LGBTQ patients.” Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Boston-based Fenway Institute, said he worked with Ehrenfeld on LGBT data collection in health care. “Jesse Ehrenfeld has been an effective advocate for LGBT health equity within the American Medical Association and the broader health professional sector,” Cahill said. “Jesse has helped enlist broad, mainstream support for sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in Electronic Health Records, for SOGI nondiscrimination in health care and for coverage of transgender health care needs.” In 2018, Ehrenfeld was given the inaugural NIH Sexual & Gender Minority Research Award for that work. Now chair of the Board of Trustees for the American Medical Association, Ehrenfeld also works on behalf of U.S. physicians to conduct medical advocacy, which he said includes reducing HIV/ AIDS stigma and working to ensure all Americans, including LGBT people, have access to affordable health care. “We’re committed to helping to achieve equity through health care, and that has to be done by raising awareness about the importance of health equity to patients and communities but also working at the system level to identify and eliminate those disparities,” he said. CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

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Lawmakers, experts denounce anti-trans health proposal GAVIN GRIMM has won his lawsuit that challenged his former Virginia school district’s bathroom policy.

Gavin Grimm wins case against Va. school district

MARA KEISLING, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, speaks at a rally in front of the White House on May 29, against anti-trans health measures. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

A coalition of 125 House Democrats and the American Medical Association submitted two of the hundreds of thousands of comments to the Trump administration in opposition to a proposed rule that would exclude transgender people from non-discrimination protections in health care. The comments were submitted Tuesday to the Department of Health & Human Services as part of the comment process for the proposed rule change for enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which was announced in May. The Trump administration proposal would roll back an Obama-era rule interpreting Obamacare, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in health care, to apply to cases of antitrans discrimination, including the denial of transition-related care and gender reassignment surgery. The rule change also seeks to roll back the interpretation of the law as it pertains non-discrimination protections for women who have had abortions and individuals with limited English-speaking ability. The group of 125 House Democrats who submitted a formal letter in opposition to the rule were led by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.)

and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). “Let me be clear: Patient care should be determined by what’s best for the patient, not a provider’s personal beliefs,” Lee said in a statement. “This proposed rule would place even more barriers to care for groups who need it the most, especially LGBTQ+ people, people needing reproductive health care, those whose first language is not English, people of color and people with disabilities.” The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest association of physicians and medical students, also submitted a formal letter in opposition to the proposed change. “This proposal marks the rare occasion in which a federal agency seeks to remove civil rights protections,” the letter says. “It legitimizes unequal treatment of patients by not only providers, health care organizations and insurers, but also by the government itself — and it will harm patients. Such policy should not be permitted by the U.S. government, let alone proposed by it.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also led a coalition of 22 state attorneys general in submitting a comment in opposition to the rule. CHRIS JOHNSON


A transgender man who challenged his Virginia school district’s bathroom policy has won his case. U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Aug. 9 ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, who in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against a Gloucester County School District policy that prohibited students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not correspond with their “biological gender.” The Richmond TimesDispatch reported Allen ruled the district discriminated against Grimm when it enacted the policy. Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School when he filed his lawsuit. He said in a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, who represented him, that it is “such a relief to achieve this closure and vindication from the court after four years of fighting not just for myself, but for trans youth across America.” “I promise to continue to advocate for as long as it takes for everyone to be able to live their authentic lives freely, in public, and without harassment and discrimination,” said Grimm. The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case in March 2017. The justices remanded it to the 4th Circuit after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires them to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity. Media reports indicate the Gloucester County School Board is expected to appeal Allen’s ruling. “Every student should feel safe at school, regardless of gender identity,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Council Cathryn Oakley in a statement. “Transgender students are covered by Title IX and the United States Constitution and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student.” “With the Trump-Pence administration’s

barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including against students, we are pleased that yet another federal court decision has reaffirmed legal rights and dignity of transgender people,” added Oakley. “Congratulations to Gavin Grimm and the American Civil Liberties Union on this milestone victory.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Gay Republican DeMaio running for Hunter’s seat Gay Republican radio talk show host Carl DeMaio announced on Aug. 5 that he’s running to take the 50th congressional District seat now held by disgraced and wounded Trump-Pence administration handmaiden, notorious anti-LGBT Rep. Duncan Hunter, co-author of the original congressional effort to ban transgender service members from open service. With DeMaio now in, Hunter has five GOP challengers for his seat, though his ugly focus has solely been on his only Democratic challenger, Ammar CampaNajjar, not his primary rivals. Campa-Najjar lost to Hunter in 2018 by fewer than 4 points. “The polling shows Democrats could flip this seat if I didn’t run, and we simply CANNOT lose another seat in California to the Democrats,” DeMaio says in a fundraising announcement. “Here’s the added benefit: we are going to use this campaign as the model for how Republicans can fight back in California and WIN. I’m going all-in on our 5-point Reform California agenda (stop the tax hikes, secure the border, stop Newsom’s socialist agenda, etc.) and we will be aggressive with ballot harvesting and grassroots canvassing. Plus, I’ll still be leading all of our initiatives through Reform California! This will add the power of a Congressional seat to our arsenal.” DeMaio asks for help to raise a “huge amount” in the first 72 hours “to show the Democrats we are STRONG enough to hold this seat!” DeMaio says in his fundraising email. “Can I count on your help to make this campaign the model for how we TAKE BACK California?” KAREN OCAMB

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

VI E WPO I NT • AU GUST 16, 2019 • WA SHINGTO N BL A DE . COM • 19


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



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

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

Voter exclusion, Trump is the nightmare from which now tax-funded D.C. worsens minority-vote-winner problem we can’t wake up with campaign financing program

Our only hope is to vote him out in 2020 Every morning we wake up and the nightmare that is Donald Trump seems to go on. Most nightmares, even recurring ones, eventually come to an end. We must hope this one will eventually end as well. As a columnist,. it’s difficult to keep writing about what seems to be the same thing over and over — Trump being a racist, homophobic, sexist pig. Then he, his family or someone in the administration does something else that boggles the mind. This week, he retweeted a conspiracy theory that the Clintons were responsible for Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Every time you think he can’t sink lower he does. In my view the only way we can rid ourselves of the nightmare is to vote ‘it’ out of office. I use the word ‘it’ to refer to Trump because there doesn’t appear to be one shred of humanity in his body. But then he himself referred to his wife as ‘it’ when trying to compare her to a former first lady. Who does that? It ostensibly goes to the site of the latest mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso to give comfort to the wounded and share the grief of the families of those killed. Yet it manages to make it all about itself. It releases a picture of itself and Melania holding a baby who had been orphaned by the white nationalist shooter in El Paso and stands there with a huge grin on its face and gives a thumbs up. What on earth is there to grin about in this tragedy? Any person with a shred of humanity would be crying. Those who are trying to end the nightmare of Trump really only have one option, which is to vote him out of office in 2020. That opportunity is 15 months away and it will require a total commitment if it is to succeed. Some are calling for boycotts of the businesses of Trump supporters. While that may be satisfying it will not bring out the voters needed to defeat him at the polls. Doing that will require a laser like focus if it is to succeed. I would rather

get out the voters and then tax the hell out of all those businessmen and women who are now supporting Trump. Democrats are in the midst of what could become a brutal primary fight to determine who will be the eventual nominee to take him on. I want each of the candidates to do what Elizabeth Warren did in the last debate when she repeated what she has previously said in Iowa, “This really is our moment and the need for us to get this right couldn’t be more urgent. I’m going to support our Democratic nominee all the way.” We need to demand every candidate running in the primary say that, yes even you Bernie. I am not as fearful as some others the Democratic candidates will attack each other to the point of no return. It does seem clear to most the goal must be to defeat Trump. The debate is how best to do that and who is the right person to stand up to him in the general election campaign. While the primary campaign continues, we are drawn back to the Trumpian nightmare each morning as we hear about a new tweet and try to fathom what it will do. It says he and Mitch McConnell have agreed to a plan on gun control and then “a McConnell spokesperson told the Washington Post the leader isn’t backing any specific legislation.” After the Parkland shootings Trump said he would go up against the National Rifle Association and then he didn’t. He has often flip-flopped on doing anything and basically it’s all come to naught. McConnell has refused to call the Senate back into special session and he and we know a month is a long time and the calls for action will subside and that is what he and Republicans are counting on. Can the public keep up the drive for action on guns for a month? That remains an unanswered question. So as we go to sleep this evening the nightmare of Trump continues and there is no immediate end in sight.

D.C. has begun doling out huge bundles of cash to local political candidates who engage in a new optional campaign public financing scheme. Tallies of tax monies already being distributed to mostly marginal long-shot candidacies are producing jaw-dropping reactions. Worse is that tax dollars are being spent to perpetuate a system of voter exclusion and proliferate the problem of minority-vote-winners. The taxpayer bill is projected at more than $20 million every four-year election cycle. District elections are conducted utilizing an outdated “closed primary” system that disenfranchises independents. Only party-registered members are permitted to vote in contests to nominate general election standard-bearers. Nonaffiliated voters are simply told to stay away. This increasingly rarefied set-up is a big part of why D.C. elections have national-embarrassment low turnouts and disengaged voters. Take a peek from three perspectives. First, let’s examine voter affiliations in a high-profile ward-level D.C. Council race. In center-city Ward 2, home to a large portion of LGBT voters, only 64 percent are registered Democratic. Fully 23 percent, just shy of one-in-four, are independents excluded from the primary in which the general election winner will be decided. Thirteen percent are Republican or a tiny sliver aligned with micro-parties. The direct cost of these restricted primaries exceeds half-a-million dollars. The fee for this exclusionary private political activity is not paid for by parties but by taxpayers instead, including those prohibited from voting. Yet city officials refuse to reform the process and allow all voters to participate, as elsewhere, in either “open” primaries or a single “toptwo” primary announced last week as preferred by a bipartisan group of local LGBT political leaders. Second, let’s look at the funding bonanza in that D.C. Council contest. In what may be the sole competition not anticipated for incumbent re-election almost without exception the typical outcome, the first five challengers are each going on-thedole and will receive massive campaign subsidies. Hoping to unseat or replace

fellow Democrat Jack Evans, who has not yet announced whether he will seek a new term while awaiting resolution of ethics investigations only partially resolved this month in a settlement with the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, the current quintet is expected to collectively reap over a million dollars in tax funds. Depending on whether others enter the race, tax expenditures could shoot far higher. Here’s why: To qualify for public money in a ward-level contest, candidates need only raise $5,000 from 150 residents contributing up to a $50 maximum while harvesting additional non-resident donors. Upon reaching this modest threshold, the government pays out 13-times the amount, or a whopping $65,000. This converts a mere $5,000 in community support into an initial $70,000 bounty. The city gifts a 5-to-1 match for local contributions, which continues with subsequent donations, plus a lump-sum “start-up” outlay of $40,000 – half immediately disbursed with the balance conveyed as soon as ballot signatures are collected. Tax monies keep flowing until amassing 110 percent of the candidate category averaged winner spending in two prior elections. The financial sky is high and goes higher. Third, let’s ponder the problem perpetuated, and worsened. If candidate cash entitlements successfully generate the intended result of encouraging more office-seekers endowed with competitive funding, it will breed a proliferation of candidates and plethora of contenders. With winners determined in the dominant Democratic primary, crowded intramural contests will increasingly produce victors backed by only a minorityplurality of party-limited voters. D.C.’s current elected officials, who approved this extravagant campaign finance plan without first reforming an archaic election protocol, should be publicly shamed when uttering a single word about “voter suppression” anywhere else or ever again. When city politicians rail against “taxation without representation” in Congress, failing to modernize elections and open participation to all voters is indefensible. It also represents an astounding tolerance for making a bad system worse.

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GRACE FISHER at the Western States ultramarathon finish line. Fisher says event organizers went out of their way to make sure she, as a trans athlete, felt safe and welcome in the event. Photo by Jubilee Paige/Aravaipa Running; used with permission

A league of their own? Trans women athletes face stigma, bias, evolving eligibility policies and more in their quest to compete By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM LGBT issues have never been easy — marriage, military service, AIDS, you name it, no gain came without a fight. But if, as is commonly posited, trans rights lag a good 10 or more years behind gay and lesbian advances, perhaps the thorniest issue of all is fair competition for trans women and their cis women opponents, in both recreational and elite sport. Imagine that women’s sports had never become “a thing” and all adults competed against each other. In figure skating, for example, only three women have landed

quad jumps in competition, yet no male singles skater today can be remotely competitive without multiple quads in his arsenal (Nathan Chen landed six at the 2018 Olympics yet failed to medal). Yes, Billie Jean King (a lesbian) famously beat Bobby Riggs in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” in tennis, but she was 29 and he was 55. What would happen if Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky (swimming) or Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams (tennis) were to face off in the pool or on the court? Perhaps more realistically, what would happen if Chen, Phelps or Djokovic came out as trans, opted out of hormone replacement therapy and competed as women? Some LGBT advocates say even suggesting such a scenario is transphobic or, at best, displays a gross misunderstanding of the issue. But it’s a question being asked by many. The International Olympic Committee changed its policy in early 2016 to allow trans women to compete provided they demonstrate their testosterone level has been below a certain level for at least one year prior to their first competition. It supplants the previous 2003 policy that required both gender reassignment surgery and two years of hormone therapy (trans men are allowed to compete without restriction). Chris Mosier, a trans male athlete and creator of transathlete.com, a resource site for trans sports advocacy at all levels, says the debate has been unfair and overheated. “We’ve had several Olympic games since the policy has been in place for trans athletes,” says the 38-year-old Mosier, who in 2015 became the first openly trans man to make a Men’s U.S. National Team when he qualified for the Spring Duathlon team. “We’re talking something like 50,000 Olympians have passed through and not a single trans athlete or single trans woman has participated. The fears people have and the stereotypes and misconceptions they’re putting out there about trans women dominating sports just simply haven’t happened.” That’s also the argument of trans activist/author Brynn Tannehill whose book “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trans” came out in 2018. She points out that there has not been a single trans athlete dominator since the Olympic policy change or since the NCAA changed its policy to allow trans people to compete sans surgery in 2011. She claims a year of testosterone removal is “sufficient to remove competitive advantage.” But some cis athletes have balked at getting beaten by trans women competitors. And they’re not just complaining — some are taking legal action. Elsewhere, governing bodies in various sports at all levels are either facing or have faced challenges in how to keep their eligibility policies current and trans-inclusive. That collides with the widely held trans argument that what a trans person has done or not done by way of hormone replacement therapy or gender

reassignment surgery is a personal matter that doesn’t make them more or less a woman or man than those at other stages of transition. Others say trans bias is something impossible to ignore or downplay because it’s so rampant. “There will always be people who will say a trans female athlete is cheating when she wins or when she doesn’t win, say, ‘She just didn’t try hard enough,’” says gay sports filmmaker David McFarland (“Alone in the Game”). “People are looking for a reason to discriminate against trans people in sport, that’s a given.” CONNECTICUT CONTROVERSY Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner at Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, Conn., is frustrated. She says she’s suffered because trans competitors in her conference — Terry Miller of Bloomfield High and Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High — have been allowed to compete no questions asked against she and her fellow cis women runners. Miller won the State Open 200-meter title for the second straight year in 2019 and won the Class S titles in the 100 and 200, as well as the New England 200-meter championship. Yearwood, who is also transgender, finished third in the 100 meters in Class S and fourth in the 100 in the State Open. (See page 36 for more on this.) Subsequently Soule wasn’t able to compete in the New England regional Championships where she would have been seen by college scouts. Miller and Yearwood have won 15 women’s state championships since the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CFAC) changed its policy to allow them to compete as women. Conference leaders say they’re simply following state law. “The CIAC is committed to providing transgender student athletes with equal opportunities to participate in CIAC athletic programs consistent with their gender identity,” its guidebook reads. Connecticut is one of 19 states that has similar laws. “I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” Soule said in a Fox News interview. “But in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females. It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy against cisgender girls.” Miller and Yearwood have declined to state publicly what, if any, hormone therapy or testosterone suppression — more on that later — they have undergone. Soule told the Wall Street Journal the experience has been demoralizing. “It’s just really frustrating and heartbreaking because we all train extremely hard to shave off just fractions of a second off of our time and these athletes

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can do half the amount of work that we do and it doesn’t matter,” she said. “We have no chance of winning.” “It’s definitely a complicated issue,” Soule’s mother Bianca, told the Blade in a brief phone interview. “You have to compete based on the physical abilities you were born with, if you want to call it that. That’s why we separate the two genders. If there were no differences, there would never have been a women’s sports. Unfortunately our trans girls are caught in the middle. The rule is the problem. I tried to contact our Connecticut association to try to look into it, even meet with one of the trans girls’ fathers to try to understand and come up with a solution but we were met with only shut doors. The frustrating part has been the refusal of the athletic bodies to even consider and listen to our side of it.” Yearwood’s mother directed an interview request for Yearwood and Miller to the ACLU, which did not immediately respond. A legal group called Alliance Defending Freedom (it calls itself a “conservative Christian nonprofit”) filed a complaint in June with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights on behalf of Soule and two of her teammates claiming they have “been negatively impacted by the policy.” “One of these male athletes now holds 10 records inside the state of Connecticut that were once held by 10 individual girls established over the course of about a 20year period so it’s fundamentally unfair to allow biological males to step into women’s sports and frankly dominate them and take away opportunities not just to medal, but to be on the podium and advance to the next level of competition and even compete for scholarships for young women like Selena,” Christiana Holcomb, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, told Tucker Carlson on Fox News. “It’s grotesque and insane and it hurts women and girls,” Carlson said on the broadcast. The issue is especially acute among high school athletes because students are often just figuring out whom they are, how they identify and are less likely to have time logged living fully transitioned lives. “I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent,” Miller told the Hartford Courant in a June 20 article. “I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored.” Dawn Stacey Ennis, managing editor of OutSports and a trans woman, says the trans-girls-bumping-cis-girls-off-themedal-stand argument is misleading because college coaches recruiting look at time, not placement. “They don’t care who placed first, second or third — all colleges look at and what every coach has told me is that the time is what matters because time is immutable, you can’t change that. It doesn’t matter if you ran against a trans person or not,” Ennis says. She also says Soule and her representatives aren’t being totally forthcoming.

“I talked to her mother and watched the video and when she said (Selina) didn’t get to qualify for the event in Boston, she sort of fibbed a little bit. She didn’t qualify in that event, but she did qualify in another event. But, of course, that’s not a good headline. It’s much better to say, ‘I didn’t get to go because of these girls.’ … They have to make the trans girls out to be the boogyemen because somebody else has to be responsible for her losing. It has to be someone else’s fault, but that’s not what sports is about.” Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, a lesbian, was heavily criticized for a Sunday Times op-ed she wrote in February arguing trans women should not be allowed to compete against cis women. “It’s insane and it’s cheating,” she wrote. “I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair. … To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires,” she wrote. She was heavily criticized for her comments, removed from the advisory board of Athlete Ally (an LGBT athlete advocacy group) and called out by trans activists such as cyclist Rachel McKinnon (the first trans woman to win a world track cycling title in Oct., 2018), who called Navratilova’s concern a “wild fantasy worry that is an irrational fear of something that doesn’t happen.” Navratilova wrote of being frustrated with “what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as transphobes.” She backpedaled somewhat, apologizing for using the word “cheating,” but called for a debate on the issue based “not on feeling or emotion but science,” BBC News reported. How are other sports organizing bodies handling the issue? WESTERN STATES SOLUTION One group that’s done about as well as anyone it appears is the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run whose board members this year adopted a trans-inclusive policy that accepts “a runner’s self-declared gender at registration … at face value,” the New York Times reports. “If, however, a finisher in the top 10 or among the top three in their age group is challenged, race management may ask the runner for documentation that they have undergone medically supervised hormone treatment for gender transition for at least a year before the race,” the Times reports. The issue arose last December when Grace Fisher, a trans runner who favors ultradistance competition, was selected through the race’s traditional lottery system for the 100-mile ultramarathon that takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California every June. If a trans runner is challenged and it’s upheld by race management, their placement may be bumped but they would

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CHRIS MOSIER at the Duatholon West Championship in Switzerland in 2017. Photo by Zhen Heinemann; courtesy Mosier

be allowed to keep their finisher’s buckle. It ended up not being an issue for Fisher (she came in 20th) but she says she appreciates the care organizers put into their policy. “They were so concerned about me and wanted to ensure my safety,” says the 38-year-old Hancock, Md., resident, a federal employee with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “They went out of their way to welcome me and wish me good luck. … It was quite amazing, but I don’t think the other runners really picked up on it. They just saw me as another female.” Fisher acknowledges the issue is dicier on the high school level. “I think we do need more research, but there are so few of us, it’s hard to get more,” she says. “I think personally, and this may not be popular in the trans community, but yeah, the high school situation needs to be looked at more. That’s such a tricky situation because one, they’re teenagers so their hormones are raging whether they’re cis or if they’ve started to transition, they may still have an advantage. I just haven’t seen any science on it so I’m hesitant to state any opinion at this point.” There’s a bounty of information on the topic available from all kinds of sources, from thorough, balanced studies in popular magazines such as Men’s Health’s March piece “The Truth About

Trans Athletes;” to folksy, readable blogs such as “On Transgender Athletes and Performance Advantages” earlier this year at sportsscientists.com; to scholarly research in medical journals such as “Sport and Transgender People: a Systematic Review of the Literature Relating to Sport Participation and Competitive Sport Policies,” published online two years ago on the National Institute of Health website, which studied eight other articles and reviewed 31 sport policies. The findings were — perhaps surprisingly for some — more trans validating than one might expect. “In relation to sport-related physical activity, this review found the lack of inclusive and comfortable environments to be the primary barrier to participation for transgender people.” Also, the “lack of inclusive and comfortable environments (is) the primary barrier to participation for transgender people. … transgender people had a mostly negative experience in competitive sports because of the restrictions of the sport’s policy placed on them.” Researchers also found “no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male CONTINUES ON PAGE 24

ANDRAYA YEARWOOD (left) and TERRY MILLER are trans high school runners at the center of a current CIAC/U.S. Board of Education controversy. Screen capture via Today/NBC

Transitioning for performance edge is unfair argument: activists CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition (e.g. cross-sex hormones, gender-confirming surgery) and therefore competitive sport policies that place restrictions on transgender people need to be considered and potentially revised.” THE ‘T’ WORD A central — but not total — factor in this discussion is testosterone levels. The hormone, an androgen is produced in both men and women, but not nearly as much in cis women. It affects the body in many ways. In men, high levels of testosterone are made in the testes. The adrenal glands make much lower levels above the kidneys. Women produce testosterone in both their adrenal glands and ovaries, but testes in men produced much higher rates: in men, it’s 295 to 1,150 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood while the levels in women are usually in the range of 12-61 nanograms per deciliter of blood, according to the New York Times and other medical sites consulted. Testosterone also builds both skeletal and cardiac muscle and increases the number of red blood cells. The effects are present whether they’re there naturally or introduced. The effects are amplified further among elite athletes and make a huge difference in performance. Male champions in sports across the board are always faster and stronger than records set by women, although it’s not as simple as it may appear at first: researchers have found it has more

of an effect in middle-distance races; it could have been less of a factor for Fischer in the Western States 100. But the connection between testosterone and athletic performance isn’t always an exact science. When researchers measured the T levels of elite athletes from 15 Olympic sports, more than 25 percent of the men were below the level (10 nanomoles per liter) required of trans Olympic women, according to a study from “Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology” cited in the aforementioned Men’s Health article. Nearly 7 percent had less than 5 nmol/L and there was significant overlap between male and female athletes. Cis male powerlifters had surprisingly low T levels while cis male track and field athletes were higher. Further complicating matters is the fact that some cis women rarely but occasionally possess unusually high T levels. Caster Semenya, 28, an elite runner and Olympic champion from South Africa, for instance, has been banned from some races. In May, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland ruled that women with unusually high T levels (far above the ranges normally seen) cannot compete against other women in some races unless they take drugs to suppress their levels, the New York Times reported. Men also tend to be on average about 6 inches taller than women. The average U.S. adult male weighs 195 pounds vs. 168 pounds for women. A study from the Applied Physiology journal found that men had an average of 26 pounds more skeletal muscle mass than women and about 40 percent more upper-body and 33 percent more lower-body strength on average.

FAIRNESS FACTOR So what does fair look like? Mosier chuckles when asked to ponder the issue with sexism, patriarchy and antitrans bias taken out of the equation. “I don’t know what that would look like and I wish I could predict the future,” he says. “But sport is inherently about advantage and that makes people uncomfortable. There are certain advantages a very tall basketball player has. We don’t ask him to chop off a few inches of their height to make a more level playing field. Some people burn lactic acid faster than their competitors. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Katie Ledecky, beat her competition by a full pool length but she’s thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime, exceptional athlete but her advantage may be that she is never questioned, but there really needs to be more studies done on what the impact is over time before anyone could start to talk about unfair advantage.” Not disqualifying certain individuals with extraordinary physical gifts is also commonly used as a rationale for why trans women shouldn’t be punished for physical attributes beyond their control. “What are they supposed to do, tell these people they can’t compete because their arms are too big or their torsos are too long,” Ennis says. “That’s not fair either. Trans girls may have physical gifts but I would hope those would be advantages that would make cis girls try harder. I don’t think it’s unfair because there are always going to be people who are better than you.” McFarland agrees. “It’s an affront to every athlete to be penalized for one’s intrinsic biology,” he says. “Do we tell a really strong female shot putter or discus thrower she’s too strong to compete? Do we have a height cut-off in the NBA? Where would it end?” But by that argument, why are women’s divisions needed in any sport? Ennis says no women — cis or trans — want to compete against men. Asking the question, she says, implies skeptics don’t see trans women as true women. “This idea that some guy’s gonna go put on a wig and a skirt, go dominate the sports world, then go back and start fathering babies, that’s just not what the trans experience is about,” Ennis says. Mosier says any advantage trans women in theory may have, is negated by the social stigma they endure. “It has a huge impact on their training and performance,” Mosier says. “People aren’t transitioning to gain a competitive advantage. What they encounter would never offset a gold medal or world championship. They just want to compete. … The footage of some of these track meets and what’s said to the competitors and their parents, its’ really toxic and vile and horrific in so many ways that a young person would have to deal with that lack of understanding.” And while some argue that anyone who’s been through a male puberty will on average retain a physical advantage — testosterone doesn’t vastly impact one’s height or reach — Fisher says even that argument is suspect. “It’s like having a Mustang with a small engine,” Fisher says. “You still have this big car but it just doesn’t have the engine. We

lost a lot of muscle mass, probably more than a fit female, but also a lot more bone mass. The muscle-to-mass ratio is lower,” she says. “I don’t really know if trans women have any advantage. I think it’s questionable.” As one would expect, there’s huge support for trans athletes — both men and women — among LGBT advocacy groups. But the story changes significantly when you loop other stakeholders into the discussion. Fallon Fox was the first openly trans athlete in MMA history in a 2012-2014 career that included just a single loss. She encountered substantial transphobia in her groundbreaking career but also questions about the fairness of her bouts. During a 2014 fight against Tamikka Brents, Brents suffered a concussion, orbital bone fracture and required seven staples to her head after the first round, which ended the fight. Brents, a lesbian, said after the fight it wasn’t a fair match. Brents declined a Blade interview request saying she’d put the issue behind her but said at the time that Fox was far stronger than any other women she’d ever fought in a long MMA career. Fox dismissed the advantage claim in a guest editorial on an MMA news website saying, “I’m a transgender woman. I deserve equal treatment and respect to other types of women. I feel this is so ridiculously unnecessary and horribly mean spirited.” ELUSIVE CONSENSUS While it’s understandable that consensus eludes the sports world among the Alliance Defending Freedom, Fox News and the like, it’s still thorny because there’s no consensus either among trans people. Some believe trans athletes should be able to compete without any medical intervention at all, others believe in a physical barometer to gauge trans eligibility while others say there should be a separate league for trans athletes, not a widely held view because of their small numbers. They mostly agree, however, that participation is essential. Ennis of OutSports says the fact that trans women haven’t emerged as a dominant force in elite sports and even in high school sports don’t win constantly helps support the general push toward trans inclusion. “If a study were to come out and say conclusively that trans women are physically unbeatable by cisgender women and every cis woman lost every time, I would throw in my hat and say, ‘That’s it, we can’t do it.’ But the facts aren’t in. Cis women do beat trans women. Not every single time, but there’s not one sport in which trans women totally dominate. These two (Connecticut) high school girls are winning competitions, but they don’t win every single one they’re in.” “No trans person is trying to participate for personal gain,” McFarland says. “They just want to do it in a healthy manner. This idea that people are transitioning just to dominate is something that critics continually get wrong and this ungrounded fear of trans people, that they’ll come in and take over, that’s really the dictionary definition of transphobia. … The current science and data reveals it’s a nonsense argument.”

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JORGE MEMBREÑO and AMANDA LIVINGSTONE met through the DCGFFL. Photo courtesy the couple

Straight players find love in LGBT sports community A relationship blossoms during Gay Flag Football League play By KEVIN MAJOROS Inclusion is a longstanding tradition in the LGBT sports community. In a progressive city like Washington, D.C., one of the results of that tradition is that straight players are participating in LGBT sports teams and leagues. The reason that the tradition works is because LGBT sports teams and leagues value each player for who they are and what they bring to the community. Sharing sports experiences and being a part of the same community has led to multiple same-sex sports couples and multiple same-sex sports marriages across the LGBT sports teams and leagues in D.C. It was only a matter of time before the same thing happened to the straight players. Amanda Livingstone grew up all over the United States and graduated high school in Texas. She refers to herself as a lanky kid who outgrew the sport of gymnastics. She loved the team dynamic of cheerleading and stuck with that through high school. While attending Loyola University Chicago, she picked up intramural volleyball and soccer on her way to a bachelor’s in anthropology and another in international studies. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Denver in international human rights. Livingstone moved to D.C. in 2013 for a

summer fellowship with Save the Children. It didn’t turn into the full-time position she was hoping for and she ended up working at Primal Fitness. “I was on my own in a new city, wiping down gym equipment with my shiny master’s degree,” says Livingstone. “Clients kept coming in and sharing their experiences about the DC Gay Flag Football League.” With no football experience, she went to a team brunch and a new player workshop. She was drafted into the DC Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) in the fall of 2013 and has played every season since joining. “I was nervous at first, but everyone seemed so comfortable with each other and they were so supportive of this straight woman that just wandered in,” Livingstone says. “I am my best self when I am running around outside and the ensemble personality that is the DCGFFL is a great fit for me. I was aware that I was a guest in someone else’s home.” Livingstone would go on to become the first straight person and the first woman to serve on the DCGFFL board. She also received the Legends Award, which recognizes a player’s athletic skills and dedication to the league. “I like to think that I have become quite

a good rusher these days,” says Livingstone. “I value the DCGFFL because there are no gender rules. This league is about equality. There are no mandated playing times for either gender and that helps to showcase women’s talents in an equal way.” She admits that flag football isn’t for everyone and points to her broken nose, stitches and broken fingers as reference points. Undeterred, she joined the DCGFFL’s women’s travel team, the DC Senators, in 2015. This October will be her fifth Gay Bowl appearance on the team. In the summer of 2016, one of Livingstone’s fellow DCGFFL board members invited his friend who was visiting from Boston to a social at Nellie’s. His name was Jorge and he had a girlfriend. An introduction was made. Jorge Membreño was born in D.C. and raised in Manassas. His family came to the United States from El Salvador when his mother was three months pregnant with him. Spanish was their first language at home. Growing up he played soccer through high school and competed in soccer travel leagues. He continued with intramural soccer while attending Christopher Newport University. While earning his undergraduate degree in psychology, he picked up music as a minor. He was singing in their chamber choir and auditioned for the select ensemble, which led to performances in Austria and Italy. He furthered his skills by becoming classically trained in opera and joining the opera chorus. Membreño moved back to the area after college in 2008 and was working with a lobbying group in communications along with singing with the National Philharmonic. He was feeling a pull toward working in direct services and left to pursue a master’s in clinical social work at Boston University. While there, he began teaching Spanish for clinicians. “A lot of the work in Boston was pointing to LGBT kids who were having issues with depression, substance abuse and gender identity,” says Membreño. “Watching them thrive in a beautifully affirming space where they felt loved and embraced sparked something in me and would lead to my work in the LGBT community.” Membreño moved back to D.C. in 2016 because his dad wasn’t doing well. His girlfriend came with him and he joined District Sports to play soccer. His best friend was playing in the DCGFFL and encouraged him to join. He was drafted in the fall of 2016 and played as a rusher. “I loved it and some of my teammates became my best friends,” Membreño says. “You get what you bring into the sport – I loved the people, the spirit of it and becoming part of it.” During that first season, Membreño’s relationship with his girlfriend had crumbled. He and Livingstone had gotten to know each other through the league’s social settings. The team announcement party for the spring 2017 season provided

an unexpected surprise for both of them. They were selected for the same team and gave each other a high five. “Uh-oh,” thought Livingstone. “Oh shit,” thought Membreño. “I can roll into most situations without being nervous and I felt nervous because I had to compete to a level to match her,” says Membreño. “She is a fierce athlete and I felt like I shouldn’t be rushing next to her.” Membreño is now the Director of Youth Housing and Clinical Services at SMYAL. He was recently sworn in as the commissioner of the Mayor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness. Livingstone is an advocacy officer at The White Ribbon Alliance where she leads a five-country team that advocates for women’s sexual health and rights in Africa. Love blossomed during that DCGFFL season and the pair are now living together. “I have a preference for strong brilliant women,” Membreño says. “She is strong, independent and amazing. I was completely enamored.” “I thought he was smoking hot,” says Livingstone laughing. Membreño and Livingstone haven’t been on the same team since that first season together. They point to their 200 brothers and sisters in the DCGFFL as being protective of both of them. “Other people probably thought about us together before we did. We’ll kiss on the sidelines and hear a chorus of ‘awwws’,” Livingstone says. “We also hear ‘don’t you break his heart’ or ‘don’t you break her heart.’ It’s been wonderful to see everyone’s reaction to this.” “I came into this environment where she was already established and I would go to her tournaments to watch her play as the trophy husband,” says Membreño. “This dynamic is the unity of the two of us. We show up to events separately or together.” Membreño has also joined one of the DCGFFL’s travel teams and plays mostly defense with Delta Force competing in LGBT tournaments. It has added to the dynamic that already existed between them through the league. “It is such a fun thing that we get to do this together and it is great to be able to support each other,” says Livingstone. “We have our own goals and separate experiences, but we still get to be with our friends and travel together. Let’s call it the love trajectory.” Having a straight ally like Membreño is something that the LGBT sports community has embraced, and he sums up what it is like to be a straight man in an LGBT-based setting. “Being comfortable in any setting is being comfortable with yourself. I have abandoned binary and gender rules and have no qualms at all about meshing with the LGBT community – it is part of my culture and my work at SMYAL,” Membreño says. “Amanda and I have joked that I have kissed more men on the mouth than she has. It is easy to feel comfortable in a place that is warm and loving.”

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Last spring at the Team DC Night of Champions, six openly LGBT local high school student-athletes stepped forward to receive their Team DC college scholarships. Several of the awardees took to the podium and shared their stories to a rapt audience of adult LGBT athletes. Their stories were filled with acceptance, support and a love of sports. Supporting them from the sidelines that night were the parents of the young athletes. Freedom Morant grew up in Oxon Hill, Md., and began her athletic career at the age of three in basketball and eventually soccer. A near-drowning experience in Florida at age five led to her mother putting her in swim lessons. This fall, Morant will leave for Frostburg State University where she has earned a swimming scholarship. The road to getting there included some obstacles, including overcoming a learning disability, but sports were a big part of the journey. “Sports have helped me to get to where I want to be, and that’s in college,” says Morant. “Playing sports has also been a stress reliever. I like that competing gives me the opportunity to express myself.” A recent graduate of Friendly High School, Morant was a multi-sport athlete. One year in tennis and basketball, three years in softball and four years in swimming. She was also a manager for the volleyball team. In addition to high school sports, she was competing in club swimming, first at Elite Rays Swim Club and then at Manta Dive N Aquatics. “I feel free when I am swimming, like nothing else in life matters,” Morant says. “It’s a comfortable home and I was meant to be in the water.” Morant was out to her teammates in high school and says she wasn’t really challenged by anyone because there are a lot of out high schoolers in Prince Georges County. Her mom has been there all along, volunteering and cheering at competitions. “When I came out to her, she said she already knew and was just waiting for me to tell her,” says Morant. “I couldn’t ask for a stronger support system.” Her mom accompanied her to receive her Team DC scholarship and Morant was excited to meet other out athletes. “While I had classmates who were out, there weren’t a lot of out athletes,” Morant says. “It was a really comfortable experience at the awards ceremony, and I was grateful to be there.” This summer, Morant is lifeguarding,

teaching swim lessons and training in the pool every day. She plans to study early childhood education at Frostburg, specifically K-3. “I like working with kids and the idea of educating them in their formative years,” says Morant. “They need a good support system and I want them to be able to achieve their potential.” At the end of August, Morant will leave for Frostburg where she will live in a dorm with other athletes. Team dynamics will play a factor, but she hopes to specialize in the 100 butterfly, 50 and 100 freestyles and the 200 individual medley. “I am excited to be able to compete on the collegiate level,” Morant says. “I have looked at the school records and I want to see how far I can take my swimming.” Jack Newman played on the girls’ soccer team at George C. Marshall High School through his junior year before deciding he wanted to focus on club soccer. A goalkeeper, he tried out for a boy’s travel soccer team and made the cut. Growing up in Vienna, Va., Newman participated in soccer, basketball and wrestling. He found sports to be a great physical outlet for his energy levels. Wanting a higher level of competition, Newman began attending summer sports camps at age 10 and was competing in basketball and soccer on girls’ club teams. He was also on the high school wrestling team, which was separated by weight class rather than gender. He chose not to begin using hormones and instead relied on building muscle through weight training. “I am cis passing and I didn’t want the acne side effects that can occur with hormones. I don’t feel like I was at a disadvantage in wrestling,” says Newman. “I have intentions of eventually going on testosterone, but I want to do it on my own time.” He says that living in a progressive area has fostered a respectful transition. His only bad experiences came at the hands of opposing sports teams. For the past two months, Newman has been playing in the Summer of Freedom League, which is hosted by the LGBTbased Federal Triangles Soccer Club. “It is a much more comfortable experience to play sports with other likeminded people,” Newman says. “The sense of community is much stronger in LGBT sports.” Newman was also accompanied by his parents at the Team DC scholarship reception and says they have given him


FREEDOM MORANT (left) and JACK NEWMAN won Team DC college scholarships. Photos courtesy the subjects

Young athletes on competing after coming out

Morant, Newman prep for college after wining Team DC scholarships By KEVIN MAJOROS unconditional love and support. “I liked hearing the stories of the other athletes that spoke at the awards reception and it was great having family there,” says Newman. “My dad is gay. In his own conversation where he came out to his brothers and my grandma, my grandma also came out. Home is a very welcoming environment.” The same welcoming environment will be waiting for him when he begins attending Virginia Commonwealth University. At freshman orientation, in addition to being asked his name, he was also asked his pronoun and gender identity. “The school is progressive, and it feels very inclusive there,” Newman says. “There was even an LGBTQ+ mixer during orientation.” His experience at VCU will begin with a week-long Ram Camp leadership

training where he will acclimate to the campus climate. Newman, who also won a SMYAL Youth Leadership scholarship, will be bringing his own experiences in from working as a SMYAL Peer Health Fellow this summer and serving as a youth ambassador to NOVA Pride. His assigned housing for the fall semester is an apartment suite with other trans men and he expects to major in women and gender sexuality studies. He is also interested in producing circuit parties and will return to D.C. in October to stage crew people at the Miss Adams Morgan Pageant. “I will be continuing my sports career at VCU by joining an intramural soccer team and checking out Stonewall Kickball Richmond,” says Newman. “I am looking forward to what the future holds.”

CHARLES ROTH, marching band director of D.C.’s Different Drummers, says music has ‘always been in my bloodline.’ Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown

Marrying love of music and sport

D.C.’s Different Drummers director makes connection via football By MARIAH COOPER

Charles Roth, the marching band director of D.C.’s Different Drummers, says music has “always been in my bloodline.” His father began playing the guitar at age six and passed along his passion for music to Roth. Music gave Roth “a sense of zen” while he was growing up but he was still plagued by a fear he wasn’t brave enough to confront. Roth was scared to play sports in school. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Roth dreamed of playing on his high school track or football team. Instead of trying out for the teams, Roth pushed his love for sports to the side. “When I was in high school I was not out. I was very reserved. I was scared to take part because honestly the people that were bullying me were taking part of those sports,” Roth says. Roth’s story isn’t unusual. In a study by GLSEN on the experiences of LGBTQ students in student athletics, LGBTQ students were found to not be receiving the same benefits of physical education and sports as non-LGBTQ students. According to the study, 32.5 percent of LGBTQ students avoided attending P.E. classes, 39 percent avoided locker rooms and 22.8 percent avoided school athletics fields and facilities. LGBTQ students were found to also be underrepresented on sports teams. Only 23.2 percent of LGBTQ students participated in interscholastic school sports, 13.4 percent played on intramural sports teams, 8.2 percent played on both interscholastic and intramural teams and only 6.1 percent of LGBTQ student athletes served in leadership positions. Roth eventually came out at age 19. As he got older, he joined LGBTQ sports leagues, specifically a volleyball league, in Dayton. The league opened him up to not only the world of sports but to his sexual identity. “You don’t only have the LGBTQ community in the [leagues] but you have straight allies in there too. It’s not just gay or lesbian specific. When you have that, it is more open and free to be yourself. It’s very collaborative. You’re working amongst each other as a team, as a family, as a unit,” Roth says. “When you have that in the LGBTQ sports league of X, Y, or Z you’d probably find that open-mindedness to be more empowering that what you’d find in an hetero league.” Roth moved to the D.C. area three years ago and joined local LGBTQ softball and volleyball leagues. He developed an

interest in flag football and joined the D.C. Gay Flag Football League. While on the flag football team, he was reconnected with his first love of music. “It was actually through the D.C. Gay Flag Football League I met friends that are musicians who also knew D.C.’s Different Drummers and that they had a vacancy for their director position. So I inquired to learn more about them and next thing you know, boom, all of a sudden just from a connection playing sports in the area I became part of D.C.’s Different Drummers,” Roth says. Now 33 years old, Roth lives in Alexandria, Va. and teaches music. He’s also able to marry his passion for sports and music by playing on LGBTQ sports leagues and serving as marching band director for D.C.’s Different Drummers. However, Roth says it’s important to note that marching band should also be considered a sport. “People don’t think marching band is a sport, which I think is a bunch of hooey. If you put yourself onto a parade such as D.C.’s Different Drummers and march for three to four miles while dancing and singing and playing the actual horn that’s going to take a lot out of you,” Roth says. In the coming months, Roth plans to play for D.C. Pride Volleyball League, the Chesapeake & Potomac Softball League, Stonewall Dodgeball and the DC Gay Flag Football League. He encourages anyone considering trying a new sport or instrument to ‘be brave” and just do it. “Whenever you’re trying something new you have that voice in the back of your mind challenging you or putting hesitation into your system. But when trying something new, regardless of whatever it is, it’s trying the unknown and seeing what it can become. My advice would be jump in and have no regrets,” Roth says. It’s advice Roth sometimes wishes he had taken back in school. “I feel like to a point I’m trying to catch up on a childhood that I felt like I couldn’t take part of. For me, that’s a very emotional thing because, looking back at it, if I could have been so much more brave and outspoken and not worry about what others may do or think of myself, coming out as a gay man, that would have changed the whole thing,” Roth says. As an adult, Roth is finally able to live his dream.

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Whether it’s a bar with Ping-Pong tables or a Ping-Pong club with a bar — either way, SPIN has a lot of balls. Jonathan Bricklin and Franck Raharinosy founded SPIN (“the original Ping-Pong social club,” according to them) in 2007 in New York City by throwing an enormous party. Earlier this year, the chain opened its eighth location in downtown Washington (1332 F St., N.W.). The equal-parts gameroom-slash-bar atmosphere is alive and well. SPIN’s goal, the founders say, is to “encourage human connections no matter what age, ethnicity or gender, around the simple game of ping pong.” The opening serve at SPIN, however, isn’t the huge bar or lively Ping-Pong tables, but an Instagram-purposed bathtub filled with the chain’s signature bright-orange Ping-Pong balls. Because who doesn’t need a photo in a porcelain tub surrounded by balls? SPIN sprawls across more than 12,000 square feet, netting players a chic location to challenge new friends (and dates) to matches along with drinks and snacks before, during or after play. A dozen Olympic-regulation tables ring the space, the constant thwack of paddle and ball creating distinctive atmosphere. In the back, a cocktail bar with leather-backed booths offer respite to players. Its U-shape proves perfect for checking out the competition. First, the sport. SPIN does actually want people to learn how to handle those balls once the posing is done. SPIN hosts lesson-giving Ping-Pong pros, including free lesson sessions each Saturday in August. The pros help students learn the correct grip, perfect their stance and hit basic shots. They also claim to offer “tips to ensure you won’t lose in Ping-Pong ever again.” Malin Pettersson (13-time Swedish national champion, who also acted as opening manager) leads the expert ballers. SPIN D.C.’s location offers other programming for everyone newbies to those who really know how to hold their paddles. Players’ Night is a fun interactive event held Friday evenings; the Monday night Social League is also a crowd pleaser.

A new season of the Social League starts in September and then again in January, and each season is a nine-week competitive league. SPIN will also host events to celebrate Halloween and New Year’s. When guests finally hit up the tables, rates run $9 per person per hour. On Sundays, it’s $9 for all-day unlimited Ping-Pong. “Over the years, SPIN has always championed the idea of uniting people with the simple game of Ping-Pong,” says Pieter Vanermen, SPIN’s CEO. “We are excited to be at the forefront of the Ping-Pong movement and offer an activity that transcends boundaries in the nation’s capital.” The space is not your parents’ basement (though this location is underground). SPIN D.C. turns down the lights just enough for you to see the ball; otherwise it’s all cool colors and neon accents. The space also invites players to up their filter game. Beyond the “notorious” PingPong bathtub, pre-gamers can explore hidden passageways behind surreptitious bookcases and play with a Ping-Pong windup toy installation housed at the entrance. To fuel up between sets, the kitchen plates snackable and shareable dishes, some of which work better by the bar than at the table. The signature snackable item is a bao bun, a fluffy bun enveloping crispy shrimp served with cucumber and spicy sauce. Flatbreads and sliders also easily translate to tableside noshing, though napkins are encouraged before picking up the paddle again. Like any good bar in the District, there’s also brunch and happy hour. Boozy options run deep at the full bar. Bottles and cans, include two mixeddrink canned options, are simplest to take back to the table. Among the cocktails is a boozy twist on a White Russian, mixing Maker’s Mark, cream, maple syrup, and cold brew liquor. The caffeinated boost is acceptable under house rules. Right from the start, Gregory Godfrey, director of retail and partnerships at SPIN Global, says that “SPIN has had such a great reception since launching in DC at the beginning of the year. Our motto, ‘United By Ping-Pong,’ is evident in the diverse and eclectic crowd that visits our club daily.”


Rub-a-dub-dub. Good-natured tomfoolery at SPIN D.C.’s opening party in January. Photo by Rey Lopez

Food, fun, booze and Ping-Pong

SPIN D.C. offers lessons, league play, happy hour, bathtub photo ops and more By EVAN CAPLAN

QUEERY Sharifa LaVonne Love-Schnur Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I never really had a coming-out process. I had dated men before I started dating one of my teammates and the rest is history. I unintentionally came out to my mother on National Coming Out Day.

QUEERY: Sharifa LaVonne Love-Schnur The local rugby player answers 20 queer questions By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM Sharifa LaVonne Love-Schnur plays in two local rec leagues — one queer (Rogue Darts), the other queer-friendly (D.C. Furies Rugby). With darts, Love-Schnur says she enjoys the social aspect. She’s been playing since 2016. She’s been at rugby much longer — 11 years, 10 with the Furies. “I love the strategy of the sport and the physicality of play,” the 32-year-old Rockville, Md., native says. “I love how there is space for people of all different body types and sporting strengths to play.” Practice is two-three times per week with weekend games and various seasons and variations throughout the year.

“I love the vibrant D.C. gay sports scene,” Love-Schnur says. “It’s a great way to meet up with friends and stay connected. I do wish there were more women.” Love-Schnur played soccer and ran track growing up. She works as a development manager for SMYAL and has been back in the D.C. area since 2009 after stints in Washington state, Colorado, Indiana and Connecticut. She and partner Brigid Beech live together with their English Bulldog Bertie in Barney Circle in Southeast Washington. Love-Schnur enjoys rugby, reading, cooking and cycling in her free time.

Who’s your LGBTQ hero? I love James Baldwin. I read a lot of his work when I was in high school and I found they resonated with me in terms of growing into my identity as a black woman. I also found his perspective as a gay ex-pat to be interesting. What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? I hate the stereotype that in every samegender-loving couple there is always a “man” and a “woman” in the relationship. It’s not a “one-man, one-woman” situation and that’s kind of the point. What’s your proudest professional achievement? My proudest professional moment was at the SMYAL brunch a few years ago where I worked with one of our youth on his speech. He was uncertain of how to tell his story. We worked together for several days and he really came into his voice in writing his speech. What terrifies you? I’m terrified of getting hit by a car while biking in the city. I commute by bicycle and cycle around the city quite a bit and the disregard some motorists have for bikes is really scary, not to mention the hatred.

What’s something trashy or vapid you love? I love “Say Yes to the Dress.” I hate the commercialized wedding industry, I hate the way people will overextend themselves financially for a dress they get to wear one time, but for some reason I LOVE this show. I’ve seen every episode and still can get trapped in a TLC marathon. What’s your greatest domestic skill? I am an excellent cook. When I was younger my brother and I each had dish nights and also a dinner night so I started cooking young. Since then I have learned a lot about cooking, especially on a budget. What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “Sense 8” — I love how the LGBTQ storylines are just naturally interwoven in the story and I love the fantasy/science fiction aspect of the show. What’s your social media pet peeve? I hate how some people will present themselves as a completely different person online than they are in real life. If someone is outspoken or snarky online or always offering “hot takes” but is super quiet in real life, I think it’s super annoying. What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? I’m not sure I can imagine the end of the movement. If we were to reach a point where LGBTQ folks were seen to be equal under the law, I would hope the movement would pivot to make sure LGBTQ folks in the most vulnerable populations would be protected in the same way and be able to thrive.

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What’s the most overrated social custom? Group birthday dinners out at restaurants. The restaurant is usually crowded and loud so you can’t really talk to people, the service for a large group is usually poor, the food is never that good and you almost always get roped into “just splitting it evenly, but let’s cover the birthday person.” Oh goodie. What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? My mother was raised COGIC and my father was raised Jewish but they raised me in a secular agnostic home. My current religious belief is atheism, which isn’t far off. When people ask how one can live a moral life without religion as a guide, I tell them I’m a humanist, which provides me with all the guidance I need. What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem? Congressional Cemetery – it’s 36 acres of green space, a beautifully haunting cemetery, has some interesting historical headstones and it’s a dog park! What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Jennifer Lopez wearing that green dress to the Grammys in 2000. Now it doesn’t seem that scandalous but at the time I remember folks were shook that she showed so much skin.


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What celebrity death hit you hardest? Amy Winehouse. I thought it was so sad that her song “Rehab” was such a big hit and she ended up dying from drug and alcohol abuse. If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be? I would start playing rugby my freshman year of college when my roommates asked me to, instead of in my senior year. What are your obsessions? Potato chips (all kinds but especially salt and vinegar), dogs (all kinds but especially PROOFbulldogs), #1 crusty bread. ISSUE DATE: 01.13.2017

Capital Tennis Association hosts leagues, tournaments, socials, and lessons for all LGBTQ adults, offering a fun way to meet new people and get great exercise.




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What do you wish you’d known at 18? I wish I had known it was OK to not have everything figured out.

Why Washington? I love how beautiful the city is from the beautiful buildings on the Hill and the Mall to the parks all around town. Whenever it’s been a long day, I can always look around and see incredible beauty and remember how lucky I am to live in this city.

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SCOTT COOPER received national attention as an openly gay college football player in the spring of 2014 when he was asked by his coach to speak on National Coming Out Day. Photo courtesy Cooper

Gay college football player Scott Cooper comes full circle Applies life lessons to new role in alumni relations at Augsburg By KEVIN MAJOROS

As a linebacker on the Augsburg University football team, Scott Cooper found a place where he could be himself – a gay man who loves sports. It was a journey that had previously included being condemned to hell by his pastor and church elders because of his sexual identity. Cooper was born and raised in St. Charles, Mich., and was the youngest of six children. He was a farm kid who gravitated toward sports including baseball, ice hockey and soccer. His family was, and remains, members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod – a theologically conservative sect of the Lutheran church. WELS doesn’t believe that you are allowed to pray with people from different churches, women are not allowed to have leadership over men, and marriage is only allowed between a man and a woman. They believe that gay people who don’t repent will burn in the fires of hell. After attending a Lutheran grade school, he was sent to a Lutheran private prep school where he earned All State honors while playing football, basketball and baseball. The high school he was attending was a prep school for the ministry college he would be attending next – Martin Luther College - where he played NCAA Division III football. Cooper knew he was gay and began questioning faith, God and the Bible. He was also driving 90 minutes to Minneapolis to explore his sexuality. He experienced a tipping point one afternoon in his adolescent psychology class at Martin Luther. “The professor had a Ph.D. in gender and sexuality studies, and he told us to cross out in our book where it said that it is not a choice to be gay, and replace it with that it is a choice,” says Cooper. “I argued with him and there was a scene. My time at that school was the same culture that I grew up in – a bubble.” Cooper left the college behind and moved to Minneapolis. He worked as a nanny, trained horses and worked at a fitness center. “I was trying to find myself and I also started dating a guy,” Cooper says. “My friends weren’t having it and my family wasn’t having it. Everything in my life up to that point had been church related and it was time for me to start over.” In the summer of 2011, Cooper discovered Augsburg University and it seemed like a good fit. “It turned out to be an amazing fit because I could talk about being gay there,” says Cooper. “For the first time, I felt like I could be myself.” In his second semester as an Auggie,

he joined its NCAA Division III football team and played as a linebacker. He dragged out his NCAA eligibility by taking half the semester course loads. “I never hid that I was gay and the team kind of knew. I finally broke down crying in the spring of 2013 and announced it to all of them,” Cooper says. “The following fall was ‘big out Scott’ and my teammates had my back.” Cooper received national attention as an openly gay college football player in the spring of 2014 when he was asked by his coach to speak on National Coming Out Day and by introducing his partner at the time at Augsburg University Senior Day. “I had no intention or notion to make a social statement, though I did speak at a couple campuses and professional organizations,” says Cooper. After graduating with a bachelor’s in communications, Cooper remained in Minneapolis and began working as a high school special education teacher. Self-described as super competitive, Cooper has run marathons and played in softball tournaments with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA). He also began coaching and competing in CrossFit. His relationship with religion and his family remains fragile. “We went through a rough couple of years and there have been a lot of baby steps. Religion is a huge part of their lives and it is uncomfortable for me,” Cooper says. “I don’t go home for the holidays because of the religion aspect – it’s a super fine line.” These days, Cooper has come full circle back to the place where he first found acceptance. He is working in alumni relations at Augsburg University. He says a recent training at the university opened his eyes on diversity and inclusion. “I thought I was a woke gay man, but I learned so much in that training,” says Cooper. “I can be a better advocate and ally and I am prouder than ever to be back at Augsburg.” As for his love of sports, it is still in full swing. He is playing ice hockey, basketball, golf, softball, cycling, snow skiing, water skiing and showing horses. Nothing is off the table. Over the years, he has reflected on the national attention to his journey as a gay athlete and the thought changes that come from being an adult. “I love sports and I am still sassy and bitchy as ever. I knew it was important to share my story as a gay athlete, but I don’t think my story was amazing at all,” Cooper says. “I am more interested now in the other marginalized parts of our community. There are still big fish to fry.”

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Two weeks before the start of the 2018 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships, Natalie Fahey began taking hormones. It was her junior year at Southern Illinois University, and she was cutting it close to the championships so it wouldn’t affect her performance on the men’s swim team. “Overall I was pretty happy with the way I swam, but I had a moment at the end of the conference meet. I knew I would never swim that fast again. It was bittersweet,” says Fahey. “I began to feel trepidation because I didn’t know what was coming next.” What ended up coming next was Fahey’s transition and her becoming the first male to female swimmer to compete on an NCAA Division 1 team. It was a process that was supported by her teammates and her coach, Rick Walker. Growing up in Waukesha, Wisc., Fahey was active in football, soccer, baseball and swimming. In her freshman year of high school, she was a starting right guard on the football team and ended up joining the crosscountry team to compliment her swimming. She made the varsity swim team her sophomore year and podiumed every year at the state swimming championships. She also went to the state championships in cross country. “I really thought I was hot shit in high school,” Fahey says. In the middle of her sports accomplishments, little things were popping up – indicators that would evolve over the next few years. “I identified as a cis guy and my outlook was that I was going to question it, but not explore. I didn’t know what was happening,” says Fahey. “There was ongoing depression, but swimming kept me busy. It was my coping mechanism.” Fahey flourished in the men’s swimming program under Coach Walker in her freshman year and dropped eight seconds in her 500 freestyle. “It is a fantastic program and I started to see the fruits of my labor,” Fahey says. “I was working on every aspect of swimming and I was totally in love with all of it.” One constant that accompanied her achievements in the pool were thoughts of transitioning. By her sophomore year, she began researching the NCAA rules on transgender athletes. “There were so many variables to think about. I wanted to keep swimming, but I struggled to accept that I would get slower if I started taking hormones. It was also going to be very public,” says Fahey. “My swimming career was incongruent with transitioning. I kept wondering where I could squeeze in a year.” The summer before her junior year, she painted her toenails for the first time and began asking friends to use she/her/hers pronouns. That fall, she spent a weekend with her parents in St. Louis before college move-in day and had a big announcement

for them after a few beers at a local brewery. “The words just came out - I’m trans, I’m a girl,” Fahey says. “They didn’t disown me, but it was uncomfortable. I did not go about it in a healthy way.” Back in the pool for her junior year, Fahey tweaked her shoulder at a home meet before Thanksgiving. The injury only allowed for kicking during her swim training. For the first time, she had serious thoughts of quitting so she could begin transitioning. “I pushed those thoughts back to the dark recesses of my mind,” says Fahey. “By Christmas break I decided to tell my coach; I want to transition, and I want to keep swimming.” Coach Rick Walker assured Fahey that she wasn’t recruited for her times but for who she is as a person. Her spot on the men’s team was confirmed for her senior year. That summer before her final year of NCAA eligibility, she started an internship in Indianapolis as an RV technician at a dealership and began experimenting with presenting as female. “An RV dealership in Indiana isn’t the most comfortable place to present as a trans woman. There were shouts from cars – ‘You’re still a dude’,” Fahey says. “I am pretty thick-skinned and didn’t let it hit me hard.” Fahey showed up for her senior year on the men’s team after six months of estrogen. She was out of shape, overweight and had lost a lot of strength from the hormones. She was competing on the men’s team in a women’s suit because of breast development. “I swam slow at our first swim meet and went home and cried. I battled all season with not comparing myself to my previous self,” says Fahey. “It was a tough pill to swallow knowing I was never going to improve again.” Fahey began focusing on other small victories – that feeling after a great workout, the team atmosphere, community events with her teammates and mentoring the incoming class of swimmers. She was able to rediscover her love for the sport of swimming. Throughout the regular season, Fahey was competing with the men. At 6’2” tall, in a women’s suit, she was still showing male traits. She says she didn’t hear anything but positive remarks from teammates or opposing teams. There was still one thing on her mind that she wanted to achieve before she completed her collegiate career. “I had a lot of self-pride in the fact that I stuck through all the adversity and didn’t quit the sport that I love,” Fahey says. “Competing in just one meet on the women’s team would be a personal victory.” After many discussions with her coach, it was decided that Fahey would compete at the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on the women’s team. Even though it would have been legal for her to score points (she had completed 12 months of estrogen), Fahey was entered as an exhibition swimmer. “We decided that doing it that way would be the best course. It would have been a fight

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‘I had a lot of self-pride in the fact that I stuck through all the adversity and didn’t quit the sport that I love,’ said NATALIE FAHEY. Photo courtesy Fahey

Trans swimmer: ‘Why fight them when you can lead them’ Natalie Fahey on thriving in the NCAA By KEVIN MAJOROS and I would have been called a cheater. Why fight them when you can lead them,” says Fahey. “I feel like I did a good job of introducing the NCAA to trans female swimming.” Fahey is still living in Carbondale and has one semester left at Southern Illinois University. She has switched her major from mechanical engineering to automotive technology. Her dream is to work at a major automaker in serviceability. After 15 months of hormones, she is engrossed in the female lifestyle and out to everyone in her life. She wants to have as little surgery as possible and is having consultations while she is still a student. Her student insurance at Southern Illinois is comprehensive and will cover medical procedures. “I can’t tell you how many times I have thought back to where I was five years ago. Where I am at right now is amazing. My friends, girlfriend and family are all fantastic. I have very few complaints,” Fahey says. “I have tried to be outspoken because I feel like I owe it to the community to be a proponent for trans rights.” Recently Fahey became scuba certified. During her dives down to submerged shipwrecks, she has begun scrawling ‘Trans Rights’ on every structure. “I’m just doing my small part,” she says laughing.

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Education Dept. to take up anti-trans complaint By CHRIS JOHNSON

The Education Department under BETSY DEVOS has taken up an anti-trans complaint filed by girl athletes. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key



SHOULDN’T THE FINAL MEMORIES OF A LOVED ONE BE AMONG THE FINEST? There are times when nothing short of the best will do. A There are times when nothing short of the best will do. A memorial memorial service is one of them. It is a final expression, service is one of them. It is a final expression, the culmination of a lifetime the culmination a lifetime orchestrated a singular orchestrated intoof a singular event. What leaves a lastinginto impression? event. What leaves lasting A ceremony that is asaunique as theimpression? individual. We’llA helpceremony you plan that ahead and every detail of yourWe’ll own remarkable send-off. is as unique as design the individual. help you plan ahead and design every detail of your own remarkable send-off.

There are times when nothing short of the best will do. A memorial service is one of them. It is a final expression, the culmination of a lifetime orchestrated into a singular event. What leaves a lasting impression? A ceremony that is as unique as the individual. We’ll help you plan

The Trump administration has agreed to investigate a complaint from an anti-LGBT legal group contending a Connecticut school’s trans-inclusive policy has “denied equal athletic benefits and opportunities to girls.” The complaint was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of three teen athletes and accepted by the Department of Education last week at a time when opponents of LGBT non-discrimination measures are stoking fears over men playing in women’s sports to derail those efforts. In the complaint, ADF contends the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s trans-inclusive policy of nondiscrimination unfairly requires girl athletes in the Glastonbury School District to compete against “boys who are male in every biological and physiological respect,” who are presumably transgender girls. Unlike major sports leagues the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the policy as laid out in the CIAC handbook doesn’t require transgender athletes to take testosterone-suppressing hormones and relies solely on the student and her school for gender identification. As such, the complaint argues the trans-inclusive policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in public schools. (Transgender advocates have relied on that law to assert protections for transgender kids in schools — an argument ADF now turns on its head.) Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for ADF, said in a statement upon the Department of Education accepting the complaint “female athletes deserve to compete on a level playing field.” “Forcing them to compete against boys makes them spectators in their own sports,

which is grossly unfair and destroys their athletic opportunities,” Holcomb added. One of the girl athletes, Selina Soule, is named in the complaint, but the other two are identified anonymously as second and third complainant. According to the complaint, two students — Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood — presumably transgender, but identified as “biological males” in the complaint, placed in top places in the women’s outdoor track events. If not for their placement, the complaint contends, Soule and the other girl athletes would have been able to qualify for the finals. “Nor are these isolated examples,” the complaint says. “The presence of boys competing in CIAC girls’ track and field events in Connecticut has now deprived many girls of opportunities to achieve public recognition, a sense of reward for hard work, opportunities to participate in higher level competition and the visibility necessary to attract the attention of college recruiters and resulting scholarships.” In addition to contesting the policy itself, the complaint asserts the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and Glastonbury High School retaliated against the students and their parents for complaining about the transinclusive policy. The Department of Education says its Office of Civil Rights has “determined that it has jurisdiction and that the allegations were timely filed” in the case, therefore will open up three issues for investigation: • Whether the CIAC and the district have “denied equal athletic benefits and opportunities to girls,” including the students in the complaint through its transinclusive policy.

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These days gay former football player Ryan O’Callaghan prepares halibut in white wine sauce instead of preparing to end his life. “I enjoy cooking,” he says. “I have some very real injuries that keep me from long hikes and things, but I’ve been able to work with what I have and make the most out of life.” O’Callaghan is one of only a few openly gay former NFL players. His football career began in 2005 when he won the Morris Trophy while a defensive lineman at the University of California. He later was drafted as a right tackle for the New England Patriots in 2006 where he started seven games. After missing the entire 2008 season due to a shoulder injury, he was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs where he played 11 games with one start. His career ended in 2011 when his addictions, injuries and the stress of being closeted overwhelmed him. In his upcoming memoir, “My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me, and Ended Up Saving My Life,” (slated for release Sept. 3 by Edge of Sports) O’Callahan candidly discusses his addictions, mental health and struggles with his sexuality. Growing up in conservative Redding, Calif., O’Callaghan believed early on, “I could never exist as a gay man” and be accepted fully by his family and friends. He states in his book, “I needed a beard to live,” and in high school football became that beard. Finding early success on the field as well as a measure of confidence, he realized, “I could be a star.” However, winning awards, college scholarships and a starting position on an undefeated NFL team did nothing to ease his crippling fear of being outed and losing everything. “As I’ve heard over and over from gay athletes,” says Cyd Zeigler, Outsports. com editor, former gay athlete and O’Callaghan’s co-author, “the biggest hurdle they have to face is their own fear. Ryan never heard a lot of homophobia in the locker room in college and in the NFL, yet he had been instilled at such a young age to be afraid of being gay.” While the NFL did invite gay former player Esera Tuaolo to speak during O’Callaghan’s rookie year, he felt the message “missed the mark a bit.” “Hearing ‘fag’ in the locker room wasn’t what made me feel like an outcast in my own sport,” he writes in the book. “Instead, what was a daily reminder that I was different from the rest of the guys was the constant conversation in the locker room about women.” O’Callaghan says this oppression by assumption kept him closeted and still has not been addressed by the NFL. “They haven’t had anyone else come out (and talk to rookies) since (Tuaolo),” he

says. “I met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and he’s asked me what he can do to help. And it’s tough because he has to answer to 32 owners and the NFL has a huge influence on American society as a whole. He has to be careful not to be seen as an activist and alienate fans.” O’Callaghan did point out the NFL’s partnerships with various charities to help LGBT homeless youth, but he felt more could be done. He hopes his foundation can help as well. “I started my foundation to give solace and support to LGBT college athletes, support meaning mentorship, events and creating a sense of community with other out athletes,” he says. He feels support and community are important and what is missing in the NFL. “So, I’ve reached out to other LGBT athletes to be a mentor for the next generation.” For O’Callaghan, the burden of constantly trying to pass and fit in was a feeling of, “Man, this is exhausting,” and a feeling that addiction or suicide was his only way out. “The important conversation for us to be having now isn’t just about how to change language in the locker room, but how we help people like Ryan see through all of that and realize they will be accepted,” Zeigler says. “I think this book tells that story in a powerful way with some of the most powerful people in sports like Roger Goodell, Robert Kraft and Aaron Rodgers.” Zeigler also points out the “other part of this conversation” is “drug use is higher among gay men than in the general population” as a reaction to homophobia, discrimination or violence. He says O’Callaghan’s addictions nearly killed him and unfortunately his is not an isolated case. Fortunately, O’Callaghan found help and the support of family and friends, and working with his foundation helps him remain hopeful for the future. “What I’ve learned from speaking with college-age players is there’s a big change on how this younger generation views LGBT rights,” O’Callaghan says. “There wasn’t one guy who said, ‘I wouldn’t want a gay teammate,’ or ‘I wouldn’t want him in the shower with me.’ I’m constantly surprised by the openness of these younger guys and they’re making their way into the NFL.” Today O’Callaghan is looking forward to a future with his family that he didn’t think was possible when he was closeted and ready to take his life if discovered. “They’re very supportive,” he says of his parents. “They are always asking what I’m doing, am I dating anyone. They are just as proud of me now as when I was playing football.” O’Callaghan comes from a “very old-school, Catholic-Irish family,” so he considers getting married and raising a

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RYAN O’CALLAGHAN during his Patriots years.

Photo by Keith Nordstrom; courtesy New England Patriots via Akashic Books

Former NFL player preps memoir

Ryan O’Callaghan says pressure to conform drove him to drugs, suicidal thoughts By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN family of his own one day. “I would absolutely love to meet someone and settle down,” he says with a shy laugh. Though he’s single now, he’s open to a relationship if it happens. “I’d say Ryan is an awesome guy with a big heart,” Zeigler says. “He first came to me about writing this book a couple of years ago because he thinks his story can help other people. The reaction so far has told me it may do just that.” For now, O’Callaghan’s enjoying the opportunity to relax by the pool and listen to Hall and Oates on Pandora while accepting himself as he is.




Gay Jamaican swimmer says coming out has not affected career By MICHAEL K. LAVERS

MICHAEL GUNNING came out on ‘The Bi Life,’ a British dating show. Photo courtesy of Michael Gunning

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A gay swimmer of Jamaican descent says concerns that his decision to come out would adversely impact his career have not come to pass. “Everyone has a different story, but for me personally I was worried that ‘coming out’ would take away from my sporting achievements/performances that I’ve worked and decided my whole life to,” Michael Gunning told the Blade on Aug. 8 in an email. “Most sports are quite masculine dominated and I think it’s a worry for many athletes that it will take away the fear element from their performance — their opponents might see it as a weakness,” he added. “But for me, when I stand up to race I have to be happy — I normally wave to the crowd and listen to upbeat music, so it hasn’t really affected my ‘role’ as an athlete.” Gunning, 25, lives in London. He began to swim when he was 4 after his parents made him and his brother take swimming lessons. Gunning said he “hated it at first, but once I started getting confident in the water I was always getting in trouble for diving under the water and not listening to my teachers.” He joined a swimming club when he was 7. “I’ve stayed in a competitive swimming club swimming ever since,” said Gunning. Gunning, whose father was born in Jamaica, spoke with the Blade after he competed in the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru. Gunning said he hopes to represent Jamaica in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is the

ultimate goal for just now,” said Gunning. “It’s always an honor to represent my county at any competition but the Olympics is so special and it’s something I’ve been working towards all my life so it would be the icing on the cake of my professional career.” Gunning in 2018 decided to participate in “The Bi Life,” a British dating show that takes place in Barcelona. “For the past 20 years swimming has taken up the majority of my life as I never dated or been in a relationship before as I never really found the time,” he said. “Despite walking around poolside with fit half naked people, I just learnt to switch off the attraction to anyone and it wasn’t until last year that I felt it was time to put myself out there and find myself a little more and I decided to do the show. I liked the concept of living with like-minded people in a villa for a few weeks — without the competition element — and find out what I was missing out on. “I’ve met so many people who struggle to come to terms with their sexuality so a part of me wanted to take part in the show to inspire as many people as I possibly could to show them that it’s ok to be new and inexperienced to dating and allow them share the journey with me,” added Gunning. Gunning told the Blade he was a “real person going into the villa and just acted on real feeling.” He described his first date as “so nice.”


At age 25, Dave Marshall made some life changes and took steps to fulfill a lifelong dream. Four years later, he is living out that dream as an openly gay professional wrestler. One thing that has become important to him is giving back and he has found multiple outlets, including an OnlyFans page, to raise awareness for causes that are special to him. Marshal was born and raised in Perth, Australia and had a history of starting things without finishing them. He dabbled in Australian rules football and rugby, but the dream began for professional wrestling when he first started watching it on television as a child. As a young adult he tackled weightlifting, which evolved into bodybuilding with his female ex-fiancé. After three years together, the couple split, and he came out of the closet. “The manager at the gym where I was training was a pro wrestler and he asked me to come down for wrestler training,” says Marshall. “I had already built some big thighs from bodybuilding, so I felt like I had the body for it.” His training was all about grappling and the technical aspects of the sport – learning to move with the other wrestler, studying the holds and throws, and knowing how to take the bumps from an opponent. He launched his career with All Action Wrestling in Perth and stayed with them for a year-and-a-half. Marshall found he was more interested in characterbased wrestling and telling stories, so he moved over to the Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance where he became part of a tag team called Harms Way. “I started off as just a face – the good guy. People didn’t like it because I was a big dude. They thought I was a wanker,” Marshall says. “As a tag team, we turned into bad guys and the audience loved it. That transitioned into good guys who work as bad guys.” With his wrestling career moving along, Marshall also began working with Western Pro Wrestling and appears in monthly WPW Uncensored matches. “They are uncensored meaning that the audience is over 18 and there is swearing,” says Marshall. “I get to tell the crowd to go fuck themselves. It’s entertaining and being creative with something is fun.” Wrestling for Marshall is a side gig and he says he would never want to take it to the next level. His profession in Perth is working as a personal trainer and he likes his routine – walking his dog Ronnie, cardio most mornings, resistance training every day and then training clients. His sexuality has been a non-issue with fitness clients and if the topic comes up, he prefers that people hear it from him directly. As for his wrestling fans, being gay isn’t part of his persona in the ring but he wouldn’t be opposed if it was introduced in a tasteful way.

“My wrestling character is just me and he isn’t flamboyant,” says Marshall with a smile. “Dave the wrestler is gay, but it’s not like he can’t beat the fuck out of you.” During his youth in Perth, there were no negative conflicts for him regarding his sexuality and he feels grateful to have escaped any bullying. “When I was young I was seeing both boys and girls and I was lucky there were no rumors or bad experiences. I was able to grow up without incident,” Marshall says. “As an adult I needed to find out why I felt a disconnect. I didn’t feel whole until I came out.” As his social media base started to grow in the wrestling community and the LGBT community, Marshall discovered a few of his friends had OnlyFans pages. OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform that allows users to access X-rated content from someone for a monthly fee. His boyfriend at the time suggested that Marshall start his own page. “I managed to be out for three years without my nudes being leaked. I had a partner, so I really didn’t need to send them out,” says Marshall. “People were asking me to start an OnlyFans page, but I wanted it to be different. My dad committed suicide the year before, so I decided to create the page and donate part of the proceeds to raising awareness for mental health. The day before he died was a normal day. It’s important to talk about mental health.” The 6’3”, 240-pound wrestler has raised over $15,000 for mental health awareness since starting his OnlyFans page in March of 2018. His charity of choice is the Black Dog Institute, which is dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. There was controversy over his initial choice, Beyond Blue. The organization picked up on the fact that Marshall’s contributions were raised through work in pornography. They rejected the money and issued a refund. His OnlyFans page has also raised $5,000, which sits in a slush fund for fans of the wrestling community. The money is earmarked to help fans with medical issues or other problems. When he first started the OnlyFans page, he wasn’t sure what to expect or how far he would go with it. “I started with underwear shots and gradually added more exposure until I went full on to what people wanted from me. You don’t need to pay for porn these days, so I appreciate that people are willing to pay to support these causes,” Marshall says. “I do have another person who is in some of the videos and it is more like OnlyFriends. It’s weird to think I have fans and having a friend there with me makes me more comfortable.” Marshall has evolved on his physical appearance over the years and was initially presenting a wholesome boyish look.

DAVE MARSHALL raises money for charity on OnlyFans, a subscription-based platform that hosts X-rated imagery.

Childhood dreams come true for pro wrestler Dave Marshall ‘Dave is gay, but it’s not like he can’t beat the fuck out of you’ By KEVIN MAJOROS Except for occasionally shaving his legs for wrestling, he has let his body hair and beard grow out. “I have accepted that I will never be a smaller fitness model and I am happy with how I am looking,” says Marshall. “I am definitely not my own type and I would say I am halfway between a bear and a jock. It’s important to promote people on embracing their body image and being themselves. Normal is boring.” His transition to ‘hairy guy’ has led fans to referring to him as a gorilla. He has embraced it and recently added a rainbow gorilla tattoo to his body. He is also using gorilla emojis and the hashtag #thottygorilla. “People are even sending me gorilla things,” he says laughing. Marshall had a very successful weekend last month in the wrestling ring winning three matches over two days. On the first night, he won his WPW Uncensored match. On the second night with his tag team partner, Harms Way defended their SHWA championship belt which they have held for a year. Marshall capped off the weekend by winning the SHWA Mid Year 40 Man Rumble.


“The company is pushing me as their main guy and it is mind blowing,” Marshall says. “The dopamine released to me over these weekends leads to a pretty big crash on Mondays.” On the personal side, Marshall has been in a relationship for almost a year and is keeping it private. “People were abusing my ex-partner for being with me and many were saying that he wasn’t good enough for me,” says Marshall. “Being nice to other people is the most important thing to me and I am very happy in my current relationship.” Coming up for Marshall is a new website with new products. There will be fitness regimes, beard oil products to benefit environmental causes and a clothing line with proceeds going to animal shelters. “Giving back means a lot to me and raising awareness for multiple causes gives back to different walks of life,” Marshall says. “I don’t want the OnlyFans page to define me. The LGBT community has been supporting the page, but I want to support everyone. It’s important, and it feels good doing it.”

The competitive side of gaming known as esports is expected to have a total audience of 454 million viewers and revenues that will top $1 billion. Photo courtesy Sin City Classic

The rise of esports

SonicFox is a black, gay furry — and one of best fighting game players in the world By KEVIN MAJOROS

In 1962, a space combat video game called Spacewar! was developed by Steve Russell to be installed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its installation spread to other institutions making it the first known video game to be played at multiple computer locations. Ten years later at Stanford University, a selected list of the best Spacewar! players were invited to watch and participate in a video game competition. The combination of the competitive elements of gaming with a fan base laid the groundwork for what has become one of the most popular activities watched and played around the world. The 2019 Global Games Market report forecasts that 2.5 billion gamers across the world will spend $152.1 billion on games in 2019. The competitive side of gaming known as esports is expected to have a total audience of 454 million viewers and revenues that will top $1 billion. Online streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube have served to launch esports into the stratosphere. But is it really a sport? Three things have to happen for a game to become a sport. There has to be competition, tournaments and spectators. The rise of esports has all that and more. Major spectator events in the form of streamed competitions with organized leagues, professional players that can be viewed anywhere, and live events in major offline sports venues. Adding to the credibility of esports last month was the awarding of an ESPY for best esports moment. At the conclusion of the voting, which included 231,465 votes on Twitter alone, oLarry picked up the win over Ninja/Marshmello. One esport player who was nominated in the best esports moment category was SonicFox aka Dominique McLean for winning EVO after switching sides. SonicFox is a black, openly gay furry who also happens to be one of the best fighting game players in the world. He is a combination of some of the least represented demographics of players in the sport today. At 21 years of age, he has already won 52 tournaments. Also taking note of the growing popularity of esports is the LGBT sports community. The Federation of Gay Games announced in June, the list of 36 sports that will be contested at Gay Games 11 Hong Kong in 2022. For the first time in the history of the Gay Games, esports and dodgeball were among the sports to be included in the final sports list. The host cities of the Gay Games follow a mandated list of core sports and can then add sports that are popular in their regions. Both esports and dodgeball are wildly popular in Hong Kong. “The appetite for specific sports changes over time and we have to open up our minds as to what that means for the

future,” says Les Johnson, vice president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games. “Both sports will go through a ‘Red Book’ process where we establish the rules for play, age groups and medal counts.” Of note is that esports were a part of the sports list when D.C. made it to the final three cities of the 2022 Gay Games bid process. Earlier this year in January, esports debuted at the Sin City Classic Sports Festival in Las Vegas. Sin City is the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world and draws more than 7,000 athletes participating in 24 sports. Stepping in on short notice to coordinate the addition of esports were Garrett Pattiani and Russ White. They are the co-founders/co-publishers of QLife Magazine, Federated Gaymers League, the International Drag Queen Database and UV Beach Club. The competition was hosted at The Wall Gaming Lounge inside the Rio AllSuite Hotel & Casino. Attendees from the other Sin City sports were invited to attend as spectators and experience virtual reality (VR) demonstrations. One of Pattiani and White’s many side gigs is producing virtual reality festivals which includes egaming through VR. “We brought along VR Oculus headsets for the gamers and spectators to experience in demo stations,” says Pattiani. “Most gamers haven’t experienced VR gaming and we believe that it will be the esport game of choice in the future.” The tournament featured two traditional esport games – Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the third game of the tournament, Pattiani and White added a VR element by introducing the competitors to Ping! (Pong). “There has been a cost barrier for VR because game development is expensive,” Pattiani says. “As the cost comes down and more people gain access to the technology, gamers will diversify, and new spaces will be created.” The attraction to esports for the LGBT community is that it creates a safe space where they can be themselves. “You can be anybody you want to be – you can create avatars to mimic how you identify, you can change your name and change your hair color,” says Pattiani. “These esports communities create a space where you can be your true self and offers the gamer the ability to explore identities.” Pattiani and White have a vision for the future that includes expanding esports at the Sin City Classic. “We have the technology to create an LGBT community database of gamers worldwide. Leagues where they would be playing esports against each other, city against city,” says White. “With sponsorships and prize money, we could draw the best players to Vegas to compete in future Sin City Classics.”

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Eireann Dolan is a SMYAL board member. Her husband, Sean Doolittle, is a pitcher for the Washington Nationals

is founder and executive director of Athlete Ally.

Take it from an MLB Building inclusion player: Diversity creates from day one magic in sports

We must be intentional in how we welcome fans, players Sports can be magic. For as long as organized sports and games have been in existence, athletes and teams have come together to represent something bigger than themselves and their component parts. Nations cheer for Olympic athletes whose uniforms bear the flag of their shared home country. Fans of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, orientations, and identities sit side by side to watch sporting events together in a way they might not otherwise. Cities come together to exalt in the success of their local sports teams, and they collectively gripe when their hometown team experiences a heartbreaking loss. To be a fan of a team is to proudly share in a collective identity. To be an athlete competing in front of those cheering fans is a great privilege and an even greater responsibility. I’ve played professional baseball for nearly 12 years, the last two of which have been as a pitcher for the Washington Nationals. President John F. Kennedy famously said, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” While I enjoy the privilege of wearing the uniform of the “hometown team,” it is one I take seriously, and it is one that comes with an obligation that I extend a sense of welcome to all fans; the same welcome that they extended to my wife Eireann and me from the very first moment I was traded to the Nationals. People who identify as LGBTQ+ face unique and often intersectional challenges and discriminations. While the U.S. has made great strides toward LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality, there is still a long way to go. One of the places I still see discrimination is through the perpetuation of old, male-dominated sports industry archetypes. For so long, sports media and commentary has been dominated by the voices of straight white cis-men, many former players or coaches. Baseball fans have consumed and internalized the same perspective that the model player

of America’s Pastime is the one who plays the game “the right way.” That is, one who conforms to the narrow and restrictive constructs of how we are supposed to look, act, talk, and exist in order to have success. In baseball, this has sadly come to mean that the straight white cis-men who first played the game professionally were the only model for success. Those players or fans who didn’t fit that mold faced discrimination, ostracization, and even formal bans from playing the sport or attending a game. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia were too long the preferred method athletes and fans of male-dominated professional sports communicated their adherence to these archaic, generationally reinforced constructs. To grow the game — to make it a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans — we as athletes and fans must challenge these exclusionary and outdated “norms.” Sports should be one of the last remaining true meritocracies: if you’re good enough to play, you should be able to play. The only cost of entry to being a fan of a sports team should be the desire to share in the pride and heartbreak that plays out on the field of the local team. We must be intentional in the ways we welcome fans and players who diverge from these discriminatory archetypes. My team is composed of players from different nationalities and backgrounds. I’ve played in hundreds of games across the country in front of equally diverse fanbases. I began this essay by saying that sports can be magic, but this can only be true — for fans and players alike — when our diversity is valued and celebrated. It is that diversity on the field and in the stadium stands, of all the “component parts,” that creates the kind of alchemical reaction that allows the game to represent something bigger than itself; the local traditions, values, and pride. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.


As college freshmen across the country begin a new chapter of their lives and returning students are reunited with their classmates this fall, we have an opportunity to cultivate campuses where all students are safe, welcome and included from day one. From dorm rooms to boardrooms, every person in every sector of society has the opportunity to set the stage for newcomers and ensure that their initial experience is positive and affirming. I’ve seen firsthand the power of creating inclusive spaces. My story begins at the University of Maryland, where I was a threetime All American wrestler and a theatre major. I’ll never forget the day my friend stood up in theatre class and told us all that he was gay. Within seconds, everyone in the room burst into applause in a powerful show of unconditional support. I asked myself, “If someone on the wrestling team stood up in the locker room and made the same announcement, would he be met with the same acceptance?” I knew the answer was no. And I also knew that as a cisgender, heterosexual man, I had a responsibility to use my platform to challenge my peers to think differently about what it means to be a teammate, a classmate and a friend. I decided to be as public as possible about my support for the LGBTQ community by adding a marriage equality sticker to my wrestling headgear. After a reporter interviewed me about this decision, I received thousands of emails from closeted athletes from across the country and was absolutely blown away. If I had this impact as a college wrestler, what would happen if an NFL, WNBA or another professional athlete with a global platform were to speak out in support of the LGBTQ community? That’s what inspired me to start Athlete Ally, and why I’ve spent the last eight years working to make sports a space in which everyone is accepted and respected, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. While there has been tremendous progress toward LGBTQ equality in the last eight years, there are still many sport spaces, business and family environments that are not welcoming. This begs the question: What can we be doing differently upon our first interactions with new people in new places to engender greater acceptance and respect for people who hold different backgrounds, identities and experiences than our own? As an athlete, I can remember so many

moments when all I wanted was to belong. Whether it was my first practice as a 6 year old or how I felt meeting my college teammates for the first time, each initial interaction was filled with verbal and non-verbal cues as to how I was supposed to behave to be liked and accepted. Unfortunately, these cues lead to various forms of othering, of which homophobic, transphobic, sexist and heterosexist behavior is a part. If I could do it over, I would have told myself and my teammates that there are better, more inclusive ways for us to build belonging and create community. Create permission to be different. We should all be able to be ourselves without insult or injury. Whether or not I feel comfortable being myself is shaped by the questions I am asked, how my responses are received and how I see others around me embracing or excluding one another. On your first interaction with a new peer, give permission for them to be themselves by asking inclusive questions, listen to and affirm their responses and set clear standards as to what is not acceptable behavior. Become a first follower. It is a lot easier to conform to what you think your group norms of behavior are, even if those norms are harmful toward others. To build belonging and create an inclusive community, commit to being the first person to stand up for that teammate who is being excluded or othered. Share big dreams. Although many team cultures can be potentially hostile environments, I have found that the ones that allowed for the most divergence from the “norm” were those teams that clearly and unapologetically shared big dreams with one another. Those teams bought into their big dreams, intentionally or unintentionally expanded the scope of the “norm” and gave greater permission for people to be themselves. Make aligning on big dreams an important part of your initial team building, and you will set the stage for an inclusive culture from day one. If you are a coach, captain or anyone who is a part of a team, my ask for you is this: From day one, find ways to create permission for people to be themselves regardless of how they identify or who they love, make outsider insiders by being the first person to reinforce welcoming and affirming behavior, and make your team share a bold but common purpose. As we head back to school and into fall, make your first impressions and day one actions reflective of the kind of team you would be proud to call your own.



works as an immigration lawyer and is the founder and coach of DC Girls Baseball.

Why girls’ baseball is important

Systematic banishment of women from the sport is beginning to ease The USA Women’s National Soccer Team’s fourth World Cup victory reflects both the dominance of these American athletes and the fruits of legal and social policy, rooted in Title IX, to get girls into soccer. When Title IX was passed in 1972, only 700 girls played high school soccer; today, there are over 400,000. Basketball shows a similar jump and the success of the USA Women’s Hockey team is creating more opportunities for girls in hockey. But what about America’s pastime? Girls’ baseball programs flourish abroad, but women’s baseball struggles in its American birthplace. Why is baseball the exception? Little League Baseball had to be sued by a teenager, Maria Pepe, to allow girls to play baseball. When Little League was forced to open its baseball program to girls, they simultaneously created co-ed Little League Softball. The point could not be clearer: softball was for girls and baseball was for boys. It’s odd, isn’t it? American girls and women play basketball, soccer, and hockey. They don’t play a similar sport; they play the same sport as boys and men. Now, there is nothing wrong with softball. It has produced outstanding athletes and thrilling games. But, softball is not baseball. They are two different sports. Softball’s smaller diamond, pitching motion, larger ball, running game, and culture are all profoundly different from baseball. We started DC Girls Baseball in 2015 as a way to support girls who loved and wanted to play baseball. Since then, our girls have won two national girls’ championships, appeared on radio and TV for their efforts, met with the Washington Nationals, testified before the DC City Council, and been invited to nationwide events sponsored by USA Baseball and Major League Baseball. They have earned this recognition due to their determination to play baseball when numerous social forces tell them they don’t belong. Pressure to switch to softball is intense and many of the best female baseball players switch to get access to scholarships. When our girls are asked why not just

play softball, their answer is invariably because they love baseball. And who can blame them? Baseball is the best sport in the world; women and girls have been playing it for as long as it has existed. Today, the systematic and intentional banishment of women from baseball is slowly beginning to ease as MLB and USA Baseball invest in girls who play baseball and the USA Women’s National Baseball Team grows in stature. But we have such a long way to go to catch up with other women’s sports. Girls who play baseball know that it is extremely unlikely that they will ever go pro or play in college. They endure sexist taunts from coaches, opposing players, teammates, officials, and parents. They encounter school and league officials who deny their legal right to play. But they endure it to play the sport they love. This is what makes girls who play baseball so special. They are trailblazers and warriors. They know about taking a stand against a societal convention that only exists because “that is the way it is.” At the same time, our girls have created an inclusive community for themselves. LGBTQ identifying players and coaches are an important part of our program and we challenge ourselves to improve our diversity in every way. Our fight for inclusion on the diamond prepares our girls to fight for civil and human rights in all other spheres. Our girls may never become major leaguers, but they will become all stars in their field. They already have experience fighting for what they want and for equality. They have experience speaking up for themselves and other girls. They will never settle for the status quo. They understand that equality and dignity cannot be compromised and the sexist taunts that they have endured have steeled them for a lifetime of breaking barriers. With everything that is going on in the world today, girls’ baseball matters not because we are creating major leaguers (yet) but because we are creating revolutionaries.

is the founder and executive director of Team DC.

What’s next for Team DC?

There is more acceptance than ever, but we have a long way to go For almost 20 years, Team DC has organized Pride Night OUT events with our local pro teams, provided dozens of college scholarships to LGBTQ high school student-athletes, honored numerous local sports leaders, rallied the community in two bids to host the Gay Games and hosted countless fundraisers and recruitment events. With 40 member clubs, Team DC is, arguably, the strongest and most diverse LGBTQ sports association in the world. So, what do we do next and why is it important to our community? The presence of healthy and wellorganized sports clubs in DC helps make our LGBTQ community stronger and more stable. For many participants, their team adds a dimension to their life that a job or home just cannot fill. Providing Support to our member clubs through fundraising and recruitment events remains critical. Well-run teams offer better, safer and usually more competitive experiences for players. For some teams, especially those associated with Stonewall Sports and Rogue League Sports, their contributions back to community organizations are incredible. Literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised annually for local non-profits. Sport clubs also give people a chance to take on leadership roles often at a young age. While being captain of a team doesn’t sound terribly impressive, it requires strong interpersonal and organizational skills as well as a great deal of patience. Ask anyone who has done it. Team DC will continue to Recruit new players for existing teams, but also help identify players for new initiatives. During our bid for the Gay Games, we targeted sports such as table tennis, badminton, martial arts, wrestling, petanque and even quidditch as potential new activities. (Who knew that the University of Maryland boasts one of the strongest quidditch

teams in the country?) In some cases, we will help promote clubs as they organize. In other instances, we may work with existing recreational leagues to ensure that they are LGBTQ friendly and welcoming to all players. We will also take on a stronger role in Advocacy to help secure better access to fields and venues for member clubs. We will address larger community issues such making sports safe and welcoming for all participants, especially transgender athletes. We want to build a sports community that thrives on acceptance and diversity in every sense of the word. Finally, we will seek to Engage our current and future partners to do more. While it is great to host 12 Pride Night OUT events annually, we want to work with our pro teams to make sure that they are fully supportive of LGBTQ issues and not just when they want to sell tickets. I am sometimes asked “Why do we need LGBTQ sports clubs anymore? Can’t people just play in a regular league?” Well, they can, and some do. And while there is more acceptance than ever before, we still have a long way to go. As an example, at the Night of Champions Awards Dinner this year, I learned that one of the college scholarship recipients could not tell her parents about the recognition she was to receive that night because while out to her peers, she was still not out to her family. She had to change clothes in a public bathroom on the way to the event to keep her parents from suspecting anything. How many of us can relate to her situation? That night she met other students and heard about the incredible breadth and depth of our local sports community. As she was leaving, I asked if she needed a place to change. She said, “No…I’m OK now.” To learn more about joining a local sports club, go to teamdc.org.

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Counterclockwise from left: DIONNE WARWICK plays DAR next weekend. Photo courtesy DAR; a shot from last year’s 17th Street Festival. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key; and grizzly bear at the Maryland Zoo. Photo courtesy the zoo.

17th Street Festival is Aug. 24

Drag Bingo event is Center fundraiser

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets presents the 10th annual 17th Street Festival Saturday, Aug. 24 from noon-6 p.m. in the 1500-1600 blocks of 17th Street, N.W. The public is welcome to attend this free event which includes artists, music and a special Kids Zone with an inflatable slide, snow cones and activities. “The Festival does not have a stage,” says Bill McLeod, executive director. “But we have a variety of acoustic entertainers all day roving up and down the street, including an African band, flamenco dancer, mariachi band, a Chinese lion dancer and a New Orleans jazz band. Our guests love the more intimate interaction with our musicians.” To learn more, visit 17thstreetfestival. org or dupontcirclemainstreets.org.

Never-ending Summer Drag Bingo will be held at the Orioles Nest 331 (1037 W Patrick St., Westridge Plaza, Frederick, Md.) hosted by Jayden Elyse and Lolli Cox with music from DJ Sidekick on Saturday, Aug. 24 starting at 6 p.m. Advance tickets are $35, $45 at the door for this 21-and-up event. Ticket price includes picnic food (vegan and gluten-free options available). Cash bar available. Proceeds benefit the Frederick Center’s (an LGBT community center) programs. Email info@thefrederickcenter. org for more information.

The first-ever LGBT family day at the Maryland Zoo (1 Safari Place, Baltimore) is Sunday, Aug. 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. hosted by FreeState Justice. Tickets are $20 and available via eventbrite.com. FreeState Justice works statewide to improve the lives of LGBTQ Marylanders and their families through legal services, policy advocacy, outreach, education, and coalition building. Proceeds particularly benefit services for low-income residents. For more information, visit freestatejustice.org.

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TODAY The Madonna Birthday Dance Party is tonight from 9 p.m.-midnight at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Attendees are invited to come early for the “Hung Up” happy hour from 9-10:30 p.m. featuring chill tracks and deep cuts from Madonna’s extensive catalogue. The night will be filled with hits, misses, remixes and collaborations all to celebrate the material girl’s 61st birthday. Tickets are available on ticketfly.com. Broke Royals and Mystery Friends perform tonight at DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $10. Called “one of the best live bands in D.C.” by CBS news, Broke Royals has headlines festivals and performed with AWOLNATION, Dashboard Confessional and more. Mystery Friends is a band rooted in the D.C. music tradition and has been compared to Talking Heads. For tickets and information visit eventbrite.com.

Saturday, Aug. 17 ‘That’s What Friends are For’ Dionne Warwick with special guests Peabo Bryson and Deniece Williams will perform at DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D St., N.W.) Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $70. A 20th century music icon, Warwick’s hits span the decades from “Walk on By” and “I Say a Little Prayer for You” in the 1960s to “That’s What Friends are For,” a 1985 Rod Stewart cover performed with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder as a charity single for AIDS research. Warwick continues to collaborate with Ne-Yo and other modern soul artists. Her new album “She’s Back” dropped in May. For tickets and information, visit dar.org.

“Dear Evan Hansen” continues its run at the Kennedy Center today with shows starting at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $79 and are available at kennedy-center.org. The website advises seats often become available at the last minute, so call or visit to check availability. Winner of six Tony awards, this musical resonates with anyone who has ever felt like an outcast looking for a chance to fit in. Show runs through Sept. 8.

Sunday, Aug. 18 The Shoff Promotions comic book and sports card show is today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Double Tree hotel (1960 Chain Bridge Rd., Tysons Corner, Va.). The main ballroom will be filled with top area dealers in gold, silver, bronze and modern age comics as well as nonsports trading

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card games such as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering. Other featured collectibles include vintage rock albums, anime, superhero figures and sports memorabilia. Admission is $3; 12 and under are free. Visit shoffpromotions.com for more information. “The Life of Animals in Japanese Art” exhibition closes today at the National Gallery of Art (4th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.). Admission is free and gallery hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. The first exhibition devoted to Japanese representations of animals, real and imaginary, covers 315 works over 16 centuries and is showcased across 18,000 feet of display space. Featured artists include Murakami Takeshita, Nara Yashimoto, Kusama Yayoi and more. For more information visit washington.org.

Monday, Aug. 19 The Kennedy Center continues its Millennium Stage free concert series with The Glissandos tonight at 6 p.m. This duet of two French-American brothers features soaring cello and fiddle harmonies from their new album, “Just Sliding.” Their music is a blend of folk, bluegrass and jazz and is sure to intrigue audiences looking for something new and entertaining to enjoy on a Monday night. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org.

Tuesday, Aug. 20 “The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement” art exhibition continues through Sept. 22 at the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., N.W.). Curated in partnership with the New Museum in New York, this display features more than 75 artists wrestling with global refugee crises both throughout history and in this current moment. “The Warmth of Other Suns” uses video, installations, paintings, documentary images, sculptures and other cultural materials to immerse visitors in stories of strength and resilience.

Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for students and seniors; free for 18 and under. Visit philipscollection.org for more information.

Wednesday, Aug. 21

“LGBTQ Enterprising Women: Learning from the Past and Embracing the Future” is a networking event featuring a panel discussion taking place tonight from 6-9 p.m. at the Keegan Theater (1742 Church St., N.W.) and presented by the Washington Blade. Panelists include Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Rebecca Linder of Linder Global Events, Ebone Bell of Tagg Magazine and Lynne Brown of the Washington Blade. Elizabeth Birch, vice president of CBRE, moderates. For tickets and information, visit eventbrite.com. Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, will discuss Ronald Firbank’s 1926 novella “Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli” tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. in the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W., Suite 105). Firbank, an early 20th century British author, was inspired by Oscar Wilde and often critiqued religion, social-climbing and sexuality. Additionally, his satirical works, “Sorrow in Sunlight,” “Valmouth,” and “Santal” reflect the difficult racial and colonial tropes of the time. Visit bookmendc.blogspot.com for more information.

Thursday, Aug. 22 The D.C. Improv comedy club and restaurant (1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) presents “Couples Therapy: A Comedy Show” with Rahmein Mostafavi tonight at 7:30 p.m. This show is a round-table discussion featuring comics and willing audience members led by socio-political comedian Mostafavi. Audiences will be entertained by a humorous discussion about love, dating, sex, single-hood and married life. Tickets are $12 for this 18-andup event and there is a two-menu item minimum per ticket. For more information, visit dcimprov-com.

This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com

Open House Aug 18. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org.

Kick off the 30th Anniversary season with Signature’s annual Free Open House. Starting at noon, come enjoy performances every 15 minutes, master classes, family cabarets, season preview concerts, games and crafts all followed by the grand Broadway on the Plaza finale concert.

Veronica Swift Aug 17. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com.

Already a seasoned performer at the age of 24, Swift frequently performs as a special guest vocalist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and has been praised as “an adept lyrical interpreter” with “tremendous tonal command” (JazzTimes). This intimate evening features Swift in her element performing the best of the Great American Songbook along with bebop and vocalese classics.

REMIX: Soundtrack to Summer Aug 22. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Npg.si.edu.

Go on a joyride while listening to the best of summer groves with DJ Rich Medina. Tour the galleries to see portraits of musicians who have redefined American music. Our greatest hits include Beyoncé, Celia Cruz, Fab 5 Freddy, LL Cool J and Louie Pérez.

August Solo Show B.D. Richardson Gone Fishin’ Thru Sep 8. The Art League. theartleague.org.

Photographer B.D. Richardson uses historic and alternative photographic techniques to explore local maritime history. Her exhibit focuses on the Chesapeake Bay and its rich heritage, from the bounty it produces to the lifestyles it has fostered. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIGNATURE THEATRE

THEATRE Assassins. Thru Sep 29. The British Invasion. Aug 20-Aug 31. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org. Dear Evan Hansen. Thru Sep 8. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Legally Blonde. Thru Sep 1. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com. Newsies. Thru Aug 17. Theatre Lab. theatrelab.org. Tiger Style. Thru Aug 18. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. Treasure Island. Thru Aug 18. Synetic Theater. synetictheater.org. Want and Need presented by Zach

Mason and Kristin O’Brien. Aug 16-Aug 17. DC Arts Center (DCAC). dcartscenter.org. Wolves in the Lion City. Aug 16. Theatre Lab. GALA Hispanic Theatre. theatrelab.org.

DANCE Step Afrika! Step Xplosion 2019. Aug 21. Step Afrika! THEARC. stepafrika.org.

MUSIC Archive Challenge Sampler Concert. Aug 21. Library of Congress. loc.gov.

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Jessy Wilson. Aug 22. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Aug 16. Lenny Kravitz. Aug 21. Mark Knopfler: Down The Road Wherever Tour. Aug 18. Tony Bennett. Aug 17. Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org. Jazz in the Garden: Dixie Power Trio. Aug 19. National Gallery of Art at NGA Sculpture Garden. nga.gov. Jubilee Voices at Library of Congress. Aug 21. Washington Revels at Library of Congress. revelsdc.org. Mark G. Meadows & the Movement. Aug 16. AMP. ampbystrathmore.com. Ukulele Teacher Training. Aug 16. 11th Annual UkeFest (five days). Aug 17. Strathmore. strathmore.org.

MUSEUMS Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Right to the City @Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Thru Apr 20. anacostia.si.edu. Anderson House. Revolutionary Reflections: French Memories of the War for America. Thru Oct 27. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Written in Knots: Undeciphered Accounts of Andean Life. Thru Aug 18. Beyond Knotting: Wari and Inka Tunics from the Collection. Thru Aug 18. Asian Art from the Bliss Collection. Thru Jun 1. doaks.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. Miniature Shakespeare Books from the Harner Collection. Thru Dec 31. The Architecture of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Thru Jan 5. folger.edu. Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. La Cascada by Luzinterruptus. Thru Sep 27. 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 Geographic. Queens of Egypt. Thru Sep 15. nationalgeographic.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. More is More: Multiples. Thru Sep 22. 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 Arlington Arts Center. Jen Noone: Sort of, Kind of, Almost. Thru Sep 7. Transitional Objects. Thru Sep 7. Jason Horowitz: Ashton Heights Re/seen. Thru Sep 7. arlingtonartscenter.org. CHAW. Winners’ Circle Exhibit. Thru Aug 17. Veronica Melendez Photography Exhibit. Aug 19-Sep 9. chaw.org. DC Arts Center (DCAC). Wallmountables. Thru Aug 16. 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. Zenith Gallery. Organic. Thru Aug 17. Play - Protection - Peril. Thru Aug 25. Over the Line. Thru Oct 12. 6@35 - Fabricating Culture. Aug 19-Jan 4. zenithgallery.com.

AND MORE... Heritage Signature Chorale. Summer Sings Beethoven. Aug 17. North Chevy Chase Christian Church. heritagesignaturechorale.org. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Art AfterWords: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang. Aug 20. npg.si.edu. National Archives. George Mason: The Founding Father Who Gave Us the Bill of Rights. Aug 16. archivesfoundation.org. Old Greenbelt Theatre. Pokeman: Detective Pikachu. Aug 20. At Greenbelt Community Center. greenbelttheatre.org. Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. Amazing Grace. Aug 16. At Allen Chapel AME Church. anacostia.si.edu.

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A lot has happened since “Dear Evan Hansen” premiered at Arena Stage four summers ago. After a buzzy, successful run in town, the story of a sad but likable adolescent connecting with the world moved to Broadway (where it’s still running) and won six Tony Awards including best actor for Ben Platt in his star-making turn in the title role (though incidentally, Platt did not receive a nomination from the Helen Hayes Awards). What’s more, since its debut, the popular coming-of-age musical has garnered a cultish following among young theatergoers, guaranteeing boffo box office certainty. And now, “Dear Evan Hansen’s” first North American tour has come to where it all began. But rather than revisiting Arena, it’s at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater where it will remain moored through early next month. American high school, a ruthless arena where merciless peers blithely relegate misfits to four years of perdition, seems the perfect place for artists to work out feelings of angst and alienation. It depicts 17-yearold Evan, friendless and percolating with anxiety, who’s about to embark on his final year of suffering. But this time it will be different. Death and lies will improve his lot in ways he never imagined possible. And judging from ticket sales, Evan’s experience resonates. As Evan Hansen, actor Ben Levi Ross is wearing the now-familiar, blue-andwhite-striped shirt and a cast on his broken forearm is both silently despondent and an angsty raw nerve. He’s the embodiment of the lonely youth who’s happiest holed up in his bedroom tapping away on a laptop. Rarely home, but genuinely concerned is his mother Heidi played by Jessica Phillips, who despite unfashionable jeans looks more Bergdorf blonde than harried, overworked single mom. Steven Levenson’s libretto cleverly turns on a letter (hence the show’s salutation-inspired title). At the suggestion of his therapist, Evan composes a letter to himself reflecting his thoughts on the dreaded first day of school. What’s meant to be an exercise in self-esteem building asks, “Would anyone even notice if I disappeared tomorrow?” The letter also mentions Zoe Murphy (Maggie McKenna), the seemingly self-assured girl Evan admires from afar but would never dare approach. As fate would have it, that fraught letter is found at the printer in the computer lab by another outcast student, Connor Murphy (Marrick Smith), an intimidating loner who also happens to be Zoe’s older brother. When Connor unexpectedly kills himself, the letter, now misconstrued as a suicide note from Connor to his secret friend Evan Hansen, is found in his pocket. Connor’s heartbroken parents — Larry (Aaron Lazar) a corporate lawyer, and Cynthia (the reliably excellent Christiane Noll), a stay-at-home who dabbles in Eastern religions — are curious to learn more about Evan, a stranger who speaks well of their difficult son. Zoe isn’t entirely convinced of the friendship or that her brother was anything other than awful.

BEN LEVI ROSS as Evan Hansen, Aaron Lazar as Larry Murphy, Christiane Noll as Cynthia Murphy and Maggie McKenna as Zoe Murphy in ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’ Photo by Matthew Murphy

‘Evan Hansen’ returns to Washington Hit musical of outcast teen tells of fabricated friendship By PATRICK FOLLIARD While Evan initially intends to set the record straight, he’s reveling in the attention from Connor’s parents and enjoying his newfound proximity to Zoe far too much to come clean. So, to keep the charade going, Evan enlists assistance from Jared (the very funny Jared Goldsmith), a mocking, moneyfocused family friend who composes a fake yet uplifting email correspondence between Evan and the dead boy, and grating classmate Alana (Phoebe Koyable), who claims Connor as her friend too, and encourages Evan to join her in creating a memorial blog. Evan’s story is an amalgam of smarmy and heartwarming. By lying, he eases the pain of a grieving family. He conjures a son who is sensitive and appreciative, and a brother who beneath the sibling warfare, truly cares for his sister. And for himself, Evan creates closeness and memories surrounding the best friend he never had. He also stands to advance his standing in the world. With a soft rock score passionately sung by a mostly talented cast, out composer Benj Pasek and his songwriting partner Justin Paul, give the characters an outlet

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for unspoken feelings, especially Evan’s poignant “Waving Through a Window” and “For Forever,” both sung beautifully by Ross. The second act takes a disappointing turn. The spotlight moves from the very personal to something much broader and less interesting. In seeking to serve as a balm for all the lonely and unhappy people out there, things become a little tiresome. True to out director Michael Grief’s original staging, the touring production seamlessly brings together the real and virtual worlds that so many of us straddle. Designer David Korins’ set is made up of moving scrims on which are projected Facebook pics along with myriad posts and comments from Instagram and Twitter feeds. But without Platt as Evan and Rachel Bay Jones playing his mother, the show loses some of its original zip and impact. And while a set redolent with social media remains relevant, its fresh effect has faded. Millions of cheering fans will undoubtedly disagree, but I suspect I’d prefer “Dear Evan Hansen” as a 90-minute, intermission-less chamber piece. A pareddown take on Evan’s story featuring a small cast backed by just a few looming images of social media’s pretty, happy, sunny people.

JUAN BARBERINI and RAMON PUJOL in ‘End of the Century.’ Photo courtesy Cinema Guild

Sexy summer cinema

‘Ferry’ fizzles, ‘Century’ sizzles in Reel Affirmations double header By BRIAN T. CARNEY

Reel Affirmations says farewell to summer with a double bill of sexy beach mysteries on Thursday, Aug. 22. Written by and starring Ramon Torres, “Last Ferry” is about a naïve young lawyer from Manhattan named Joseph who suddenly decides to go to Fire Island for the weekend, even though it’s the off season, even though he misses some important deadlines at work (his colleagues are not amused) and even though he has not bothered to pack a swimsuit or make a reservation. The trouble starts when Joseph hits the beach and meets a handsome stranger (Henry Ayres-Brown) who offers him a drink from his water bottle. The gullible young visitor takes a drink and (surprise!) the water is drugged. The thief takes off with Joseph’s wallet; while he’s still woozy. Joseph sees — or thinks he sees — a murder take place. Joseph is saved by the good-hearted Cameron (Sheldon Best), but he begins to suspect that there’s a link between Cameron and the possible murder. His instincts (for once) are right. Despite some pretty beach scenery, “Last Ferry” never really comes together. Director Jaki Bradley is not able to do much with a terrible script. The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense and the lead characters are inconsistent and not terribly interesting. The pacing is slack and there’s not a lot of chemistry between the cast members. On the other hand, “End of the Century” (“Fin de Siglo” — it’s in Spanish with English subtitles) sizzles with erotic intrigue from beginning to end. Ocho (Juan Barberini) is a 30-something Argentinian poet who’s living in New York. He’s vacationing in Barcelona and keeps seeing Javi (Ramón Pujol), a Spaniard who lives in Berlin but is visiting his family in Barcelona. After a series of missed connections, the two finally meet and the sparks fly. The connection is so intense that Ocho begins

to wonder if they have met before. To say any more would spoil the wonderful twists and turns that out Argentinian director Lucio Castro magically weaves into his debut feature film. Castro writes and directs with the confident flair of a master filmmaker. He makes bold and innovative choices that gently support the cinematic magic realism of the epic love story he tells. One of the most interesting choices Castro makes is to keep the film quiet. Working with Roberto Lombardo (who is credited with the sound design and music, a credit that highlights how important the overall soundscape is), Castro focuses on the ambient sounds of Barcelona: waves on the beach, cars on the street, birds in the trees. Nobody speaks for the first 12 minutes. Instead, Castro focuses on the small details of Ocho’s day, an extraordinary revelation of character. When there is music, it has a big payoff after the powerful silence. When Javi and Ocho listen to a “Space Age Love Song,” the infectious music (and tequila) takes their passion to an even higher level. When their friend Sonia (the aptly named Mia Maestro) sings, her penetrating voice and beautiful classical arias also have a direct impact on their souls. The cast is simply amazing. Both Barberini and Pujol are powerful in their own multifaceted roles and the dynamic chemistry between them is intense. Their sex scenes are searing: sensuously choreographed and deeply intimate and vulnerable, a subtle dance of dominance and desire. They are ably supported by the lovely Maestro whose beautiful voice and melancholy presence adds greatly to the delicate texture of the movie. Finally, Director of Photography Bernat Mestres beautifully captures the magic of Barcelona in summer. His sumptuous cinematography captures the many moods and places of the city which becomes an enchanted backdrop for the timeless love story which is unfolding. From the odd contours of the Airbnb Ocho is renting to the lovely architecture of the city to the natural beauty of the beach and the parks, the movie is also a valentine to Barcelona. Lucio Castro is definitely a filmmaker to keep track of. “End of the Century” is a sensual and thoughtful exploration of love and loneliness, a brave examination of marriage and monogamy, an enigmatic glance at missed connections and a rich celebration of yearning and creativity. It’s time for a trip to Barcelona. When it comes to this month’s double feature at Reel Affirmations, you may want to miss the “Last Ferry” and head straight to the “End of the Century.”

Reel Affirmations

Monthly Xtra Series Thursday, Aug. 22 ‘Last Ferry’ — 7 p.m. ‘End of the Century’ — 9 p.m. Landmark E Street Cinema $14 thedccenter.org/reelaffirmations

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Romance by mail September 7–22, 2019 Join us for 16 full days and nights of creativity in action—ALL FREE! The Kennedy Center is celebrating the opening of the REACH, its first-ever expansion. This brand-new campus of innovative indoor and outdoor spaces puts YOU at the center of the art—where you can chart your own course and connect what moves you to creative experiences beyond imagination.


With nearly 500 events planned, there’s something for everyone!

Bootsy Collins

Yalitza Aparacio

Renée Fleming

Angélique Kidjo

Thievery Corporation

Judah Friedlander



The Chuck Brown Band featuring Bootsy Collins

J.PERIOD presents The Live Mixtape [The Healing Edition] feat. Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh

Saturday, September 7 SPOTLIGHT ON JAZZ

Sunday, September 8

John Coltrane-Inspired Jazz and Meditation Service SPOTLIGHT ON THEATER

Monday, September 9 The Just and the Blind


Tuesday, September 10

In Conversation with Yalitza Aparacio

Saturday, September 14


Family Day is supported by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

Sunday, September 15

Mo Willems hosts MO-a-PALOOZA LIVE!

Thursday, September 19

WNO’s encore broadcast of Show Boat on the Film Wall SPOTLIGHT ON COMEDY

Friday, September 20


District of Comedy Stand-Up Showcases with Judah Friedlander, Rachel Feinstein, and More

Wednesday, September 11


National Symphony Orchestra at the REACH is sponsored by Jennifer and David Fischer.

Master classes with Alan Menken, Steven Reineke, and Joseph Kalichstein SPOTLIGHT ON VOICES AND SOUND HEALTH

Thursday, September 12

Renée Fleming with Angélique Kidjo and Jason Moran in Concert SPOTLIGHT ON ELECTRONICA/DJ CULTURE

Friday, September 13 Thievery Corporation with opener The Archives

All events are free; timed-entry passes required for entry. Free passes and a complete day-by-day schedule of events at Kennedy-Center.org/REACH Programs and artists subject to change

National Dance Day is presented as part of the Irene Pollin Audience Development and Community Engagement Initiatives.

Saturday, September 21 Fela! The Concert CLOSING DAY

Sunday, September 22 Salute to the Peace Corps

Plus check out film screenings indoors and out and drop-in spaces for hands-on discovery like the Moonshot Studio, the Virtual Reality Lounge, and Skylight Soundscapes!

Download the REACH Fest app and create your own custom schedule!

The letters ROSE CLEVELAND wrote to Eva Simpson at the turn of the century have been collected in a book. Photo by Schemboche; courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

“You’ve got mail!” If you’re waiting for a delivery, those words (or something like them) could absolutely make your week better. Just think, there was once a time when you waited days for messages to travel cross-country, and now it happens in an instant — although you’ll have to admit, after reading “Precious and Adored,” edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey, foreword by Lillian Faderman, that it’s sometimes just not the same. Evangeline Simpson was a wealthy woman. She was fiercely independent, too: after her husband, Michael, who was 48 years older than she, died and left her with $2.5 million in assets, Evangeline continued to travel, often solo, and tend to the estates she owned. It was on one of her trips that she met Rose Cleveland. Growing up, Rose also had access to the finer things in life. She was educated, refined and self-reliant, and was a natural stand-in for White House hostess when her bachelor brother became the nation’s 22nd president. By the time he married Frances Folsom in 1886, Rose was a much-admired public figure. “It is possible,” say Ehrenhalt and Laskey, that Rose and “Eva” met in Florida in 1890, or they may’ve been slightly acquainted before a Valentine’s Day party they attended in Tampa that year. Whenever it happened, by April of 1890, letters began flying back and forth between them “in an explosion of anticipation, confusion and passion.” Their love affair endured for “almost three decades,” except when Simpson — whom the authors believe was “sexually fluid” — was married to Henry Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota. She appeared to have genuinely loved the older man and had fallen “in love with God”; Cleveland pleaded through anguished letters for Eva to reconsider but the marriage proceeded, lasting until the Bishop’s death in 1901. Shortly afterward, Cleveland

and Whipple took up where they left off. Given today’s more open climate, there are two remarkable things about this story, as the editors point out: it all happened at a time when same-sex relationships between women were encouraged and somewhat celebrated, although homosexuality itself was condemned and often illegal. Women’s same-sex relationships were called “Boston marriages” with whimsy and a wink but Cleveland and Whipple, says Faderman in her foreword, “could have found no comfortable terms to describe” themselves. It’s also quite noteworthy that most of the correspondence quoted in this book was taken from letters Whipple received from Cleveland, and saved. No one knows what happened to the letters Cleveland received from Whipple, and readers are largely left to consider the possibilities. You’ll have a chance to do that by reading those letters, presented here following a very lengthy “introduction,” but doing so is an exercise that may be alternately difficult for their quaint Victorian floridity, and absorbing for their naked emotion. Just know that the true heart of this important entry in the history of lesbian and queer foremothers lies in its first half, making “Precious and Adored” a book that delivers.

‘Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple 1890-1918’ Edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey, foreword by Lillian Faderman Minnesota Historical Society Press $19.95 264 pages


David M. Rubenstein Cornerstone of the REACH

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From to Cher to Ariana, divas command your attention with flashy wardrobe changes. Automakers do it with clever vehicle designs and competitive prices. That’s especially true for crossovers, which continue to rein supreme on dealer lots. NISSAN KICKS $20,000 MPG: 31 city/36 highway Zero-60 mph: 6.9 seconds What’s in a name? Apparently not much if it’s the Nissan Juke. The automaker nixed its tiny competent crossover and replaced it with the all-new Kicks. To be fair, the Juke suffered from quirky bug-eyed styling that would look more at home in a Brewster Rockit comic strip than on city streets. And the Juke sure was small, which is why the Kicks is seven inches longer and has more than twice as much cargo space. The Kicks also has a bigger touchscreen and more safety features, with automated emergency braking, forwardcollision warning, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. The four-cylinder engine is perky enough, with excellent fuel economy. Handling is more controlled on straightaways than on curvy roads, but the Kicks does manage pesky potholes much better than expected. And it comes with plenty of amenities: parking sensors, exterior lighting, smartphone integration and more. As with the Juke, the Kicks can be customized with appearance packages, such as a sporty roof spoiler and coordinated colors inside and out. All in all, the Kicks has taken the best of the jivey Juke and made it more appealing to grown-ups. TOYOTA RAV4 $26,000 MPG: 26 city/35 highway Zero-60 mph: 8.5 seconds The wildly popular Toyota RAV4 gets a complete redesign this year, mixing cocky styling from the Tacoma pickup with the comfy ride of a Camry sedan. The cabin is quiet and roomy, with a cargo hold that seems to stretch forever. And the high seating and large windows give the driver great visibility. Vehicle reliability, a top selling point for Toyota, shines through with the high-quality materials, snug fit and finish and lack of annoying rattles. While most of the controls are simple to use, the infotainment system is slightly dated. And though Apple CarPlay is here, Android Auto is not. Perhaps the biggest beef is with the new engine, which gets a tad more horsepower than the previous model but

lacks any real punch. Still, this RAV4 is a superb gas sipper (the hybrid version is even more fuel-friendly, of course) and comes loaded with standard features, including LED headlights, rear privacy glass and rearview camera with optional bird’s-eye view. Toyota also throws in a suite of safety gear: adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. At this price and with all these conveniences, it’s no wonder the RAV4 has been the best-selling crossover/ SUV for more than two decades. VOLVO XC40 $34,000 MPG: 23 city/31 highway Zero-60 mph: 6.3 seconds Showrooms may be swimming in crossovers, but Volvo has parted the waters with its stunning new XC40. This fine design is both fresh and classic, shrinking the signature grille and futuristic headlights from Volvo’s larger XC60 and accentuating the raised rear so it screams Porsche Cayenne. It’s hard to emphasize just how athletic this compact crossover looks and behaves, as if it were a Red Bull cliff diver born to thrill onlookers below. There are no paddle shifters, but you don’t need them with such a strong turbo engine. And this being Volvo, the SC40 is exceedingly practical. There are cubbies molded into the backseats to store coins, snacks or cups, and a cutout on the side of the center console can hold pens or a stylus (or better yet, hide your smartphone from view). Yes, the knobby little shifter is annoying at first, but you soon learn how to toggle it back and forth to change gears. The interior is so stylish, it’s easy to forgive the faux leather trim and cheap plastic on the glovebox (these lighter materials helps reduce vehicle weight, after all). And there’s a panoramic sunroof, an iPad-like infotainment system on the dash, and a kick-ass Harmen Kardon stereo that can optimize sound to 360 degrees and individually for each seat. Volvo also added playful touches, such as a little rubber Swedish flag on the hood and some fun exterior colors (the baby blue with a brightwhite roof looks especially cheery). While the sporty front seats are well bolstered, they aren’t ventilated. And the rear seats would be more comfortable if they could be reclined. But these are minor quibbles for a crossover that more than holds its own against BMW, Mercedes and other competitors costing so much more.

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Clever, affordable crossovers

Nissan Kicks can be customized with sporty roof spoiler, coordinated colors and more By JOE PHILLIPS

Rob Lacaze 28380 St. Michaels Rd . Easton, MD 21601 410-770-3600

Cell: 410-310-7835 • lacazerob@gmail.com

#1 Long & Foster/Christie’s Real Estate Agent on Maryland’s Eastern Shore Please call Rob if you are thinking about buying property on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

OAKLANDS This stunning 4-5 bedroom waterfront home offers open living area , including a gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances. Breathtaking water-views from almost every room allow you to feel like you’re always on vacation. Beautiful waterside pool and private pier on a lovely site located in Oaklands, one of Easton’s most sought after communities. $1,495,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

PATRICKS PLAINS, OXFORD Spectacular Coastal waterfront home with finished lower level and walk-out to the spacious waterfront and terrace. Open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Magnificent master suite with spa-like en-suite. $1,795,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

NORMANDIE One of Talbot County’s finest waterfront estate properties. Magnificent French Manor home with architectural significance on 61 acre peninsula with over 3200 ft of shoreline. $4,995,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

OXFORD, MD Perfect waterfront get-a-way! Classic Colonial home with deep water dock. Quiet beautiful town setting. $799,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

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Rob Lacaze 28380 St. Michaels Rd . Easton, MD 21601 410-770-3600

Cell: 410-310-7835 • lacazerob@gmail.com

#1 Long & Foster/Christie’s Real Estate Agent on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

If you are looking to buy on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore, please call Rob Lacaze at 410-310-7835.

MARYLAND’S EASTERN SHORE QUAIL HALLOW Pristine Martingham Condo with lovely views of golf course. New kitchen & baths. Open House Saturday 8/17 1:00pm & 3:00pm Sunday 8/18 1:00pm & 3:00pm $345,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

TRED AVON RIVER This remarkable Alan Meyer designed home offers breathtaking views of the Tred Avon River. You will marvel at the glorious sunrises and magnificent sunsets from the sprawling deck and beautiful pool. Pier with 7” water depth, cabana bath & protected shoreline. $2,195,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835

OXFORD, MD. Beautiful waterfront home set on 2 waterfront lots 2 docks one with boat lift. 2 fireplaces, Master suite with waterside balcony. Jet ski dock excluded. $995,000 Call Rob Lacaze 410-310-7835


Waterviews and access from this large 4 bedroom in town colonial with additional 2 bedroom guest house. $524,000 Call Janet Freeh 410-924-0658

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Come support the Federal Triangles Soccer Club’s Annual ExDRAGaganza Game on August 20, 9:30PM, Bell Field (3200 Hiatt Place NW) and watch the club’s fiercest Kings and Queens duke it out on the field. All proceeds go towards supporting SMYAL!

Looking to hone your soccer skills? FTSC’s hosts scrimmages and pickup games, and we always welcome new members to join one of our many teams. Our co-ed, men’s and women’s Fall teams will start up after Labor Day.

Learn more at www.federaltriangles.org www.facebook.com/federaltriangles 5 4 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • AU G U ST 1 6 , 2 0 1 9

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




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

1177 22nd St, NW #9F West End / 22West

1111 24th St, NW #67 West End / Westlight

Offered at $1,975,000

Offered at $1,150,000

1155 23rd St, NW #8F West End / Ritz Carlton

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4750 41st St, NW #502 Tenleytown / Tenley Hill

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Private Placement, Brokers Honored

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Mobile: 202-256-9595 Office: 202-448-9002 chauvinhouse@compass.com

Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 1232 31st Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 |202.448.9002

5 6 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • AU G U ST 1 6 , 2 0 1 9

Vote for us for Best Real Estate Group!

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Ready to Own, Ready to Live at National Harbor!

Only 3 remaining for this special! VA loans with $0 down and all closing costs paid*

Tom Gaffney | Senior Loan Officer NMLS ID #182206

Current Incentives**


tgaffney@fhmtg.com www.GaffneyLoans.com

• 1 year of Condo fees paid Current Incentives ** • Washer and dryer level 1 included • 2’’ faux wood white blinds - excluding the transoms • 2" faux wood white blinds – excluding the transoms • American gift card **not valid on previousExpress contracts$2500 and must settle on included or before 8/31/19.

First Heritage Mortgage, LLC 3201 Jermantown Road, Suite 800 Fairfax, VA 22030 First Heritage Mortgage, LLC | Company NMLS ID #86548 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) This is an advertisement and not a guarantee of lending. Terms and conditions apply. All approvals subject to underwriting guidelines. Prepared: 09/05/2018.

*Closing costs paid when using First Heritage Mortgage and does not include pre-paids. Pricing and terms may change, please speak with Loan Officer.

** not valid on previous contracts and must settle on or before 12/31/18.

MHBR #6755

Potomac Overlook Brownstones from the $600's 503 Halliard Lane, National Harbor, MD 20745 sales@integrityhmw.com | (703) 955-1187

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Compass: Investing in technology and real estate Using modern methods to enhance the buying and selling experience By KAUSHIK RATH Investment in technology for real estate, also known as “proptech,” has seen exponential growth in the past decade. In 2010, only a handful of companies invested about $25 million in technology; a mere 8 years later that amount had surpassed $12 billion – a 400-fold increase. Having watched technology-based start-ups upend the transportation and hotel industries for years, investors are starting to realize that there is significant opportunity and incentive to continue to invest heavily in proptech for the foreseeable future. Firstly, the sheer size of the real estate market is staggering – after all real estate is the largest asset class in the world. The residential real estate sector alone transacts nearly $1.5 trillion in sales annually, while commercial transactions contribute a hefty $2 trillion per year. While this considerable volume on its own should be sufficiently enticing for investors, the fact that real estate has not experienced the same degree of technological innovation as other industries provides an added incentive. While the emergence of companies such as Compass, Opendoor, Redfin and Zillow have served to further meld real estate and technology, there still remains ample opportunity for growth. Specifically, segments within real estate, such as appraisals, mortgages, co-working, co-living, retail space and building management have lagged behind in the race to develop and implement software

Compass is a tech-driven brokerage that uses modern means to deliver a superior buying and selling experience. Photo courtesy of Bigstock

that could enhance their efficiency, thereby providing start-ups with opportunities to incorporate technology within these real estate sectors. The concept of a technology company operating as a real estate brokerage is nothing new – in fact there are dozens of players, big and small currently in the market. Compass has distinguished itself from its competitors by ensuring that the Client-Agent relationship always comes first. To better serve its clients,

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Compass has built the first modern real estate platform, pairing top talent with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless. To maintain its technological advantage, Compass is constantly innovating and enhancing its already comprehensive suite of services. One of its creations is the “Compass Collection,” a collaborative platform for buyers and agents to review new and “coming soon” listings in real time, allowing the buyer a more integrated

experience when searching for homes. Compass has employed the strategy of utilizing its competitive market advantages, which are its technology, its people, superior marketing and access to capital, to ensure that it is able to entice the best professionals, from agents to engineers, to join its ranks. While most of its new hires are still agents, to ensure seamlessness between agents, clients and technology, Compass has significantly increased the number of technology personnel. Compass is one of only two real estate tech companies that have been able to raise over $1 billion in equity. Strategic use of these funds in technology and people has seen a substantial increase in transaction volume and consequently revenue, resulting in its meteoric rise to become the third-largest brokerage in the U.S. in under a decade. This is especially impressive when taking into consideration that the real estate sector has traditionally had a handful of big players that have retained a firm grip over the market. Compass’ modern, sleek and luxury branding, combined with its cemented status as a technology-driven brokerage has resulted in not just investor interest, but also from sellers and buyers looking to utilize modern methods to enhance their real estate experience. Compass’ rise to prominence is a reflection of the market demonstrating that real estate brokerages that invest heavily in technology will be rewarded with an increased sales volume - which undoubtedly means that technology will continue to shape the future of the real estate industry.

Kaushik Rath

has been working in real estate in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for nearly five years and is a top agent on the Jenn Smira Team at Compass. If you would like to discuss your needs as a seller, buyer or investor, please email kaushik.rath@compass.com or call 917-678-1307.



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

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


Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.*

ROSSLYN - MASSAGE low key spot near Rosslyn, Sun-Tues, Spa in DC, Thurs-Sat. Call or text Gary 301-704-1158, mymassagebygary.com. TOTAL RELAXATION Great service, in friendly, clean environment. No rush, Asian staff. In-Calls only. 9 am 11 pm. 202-658-9571.

*25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.



BULLETIN BOARD Chick Chat, a free, lesbian, age 55+ singles group, meets Sunday, August 18, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Panera Bread Restaurant (next to Aldi’s) in Beltsville, Md. (10914 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Md. 20705, 301.931.6707). An RSVP by August 15th by e-mail would be appreciated, if you plan to attend. Email: rickpepper@protonmail.com.

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



EMPLOYMENT WHOLISTIC SERVICES, INC. Seeking Full Time Direct Support Professionals to assist intellectually disabled adults with behavioral health complexities in group homes & day services throughout D.C. Requirements: Valid Driver’s License, able to lift 50-75 lbs., complete training program, become Med Certified within 6 months of hire, pass security background check. (Associates degree preferred) For more information please contact Human Resources @ 301-392-2500. LOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS NEEDED! The Crew Club, a gay men’s naturist gym & sauna, is now hiring Locker Room Attendants. We all scrub toilets & do heavy cleaning. You must be physically able to handle the work & have a great attitude doing it. No drunks/ druggies need apply. Please call David at (202) 319-1333. from 9-5pm, to schedule an interview. TELL ‘EM YOU saw their ad in the Blade classifieds!



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


FULL SERVICE LAW FIRM Representing the GLBT community for over 35 years. Family adoptions, estate planning, immigration, employment. (301) 891-2200. Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A. www.SP-Law. com.

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

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

ELECTRICANS COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS, INC. quality work by professionals at reasonable rates, residential / commercial. Serving the DMV for over 20 years, no job too small. 301-530-1925.

HOME IMPROVEMENT PLASTERING & STUCCO Quality work, DC licensed http://www.rbullard.com. 703-845-1565.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Results-Oriented • Affordable

Larry Cohen, LICSW

30 years serving the LGBT community

202-244-0903 socialanxietyhelp.com

See website for NPR story on my work




DAVE LLOYD & ASSOCIATES Top 1% Nationwide NVAR Life Member Top Producder



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




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

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





Bathroom Sinks, Tubs, Vanities, Kitchen Sinks, Disposals, Boilers & Furnaces, Hot Water Heaters, Drain Service. Licensed, Bonded & Insured. DC Plumbers License #707. 202-251-1479.

MOVERS AROUND TOWN MOVERS. Professional Moving & Storage. Let Our Movers Do The Heavy Lifting. Mention the ‘Blade’ for 5% off of our regular rates. Call today 202.734.3080. www. aroundtownmovers.com.


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Playmates and soul mates...

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.

RENT / MD COLUMBIA HEIGHTS 3RD FL Suite $1750/mo. See pixs at www.bedandbreakfastdc. com and click on Otis Place NW. DCLarry@aol.com, Text 202-255-5527. 3rd FL Columbia Heights Suite $1750/mo. DCLarry@aol.com, Text 202-255-5527.


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.

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 / 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.



18+ MegaMates.com

WOMEN SEEKING WOMEN CHICK CHAT, a free, lesbian, age 55+ singles group, meets Sunday, August 18, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Panera Bread Restaurant (next to Aldi’s) in Beltsville, Md. (10914 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Md. 20705, 301.931.6707). An RSVP by August 15th by e-mail would be appreciated, if you plan to attend. Email: rickpepper@protonmail.com.

BODYWORK THE MAGIC TOUCH: Swedish, Massage or Deep Tissue. Appts 202-486-6183, Low Rates, 24/7, In-Calls.

North Dewey almost Rehoboth

Chesapeake is the Best Dewey location, the beach is wide and guarded & pet friendly with lake Comegys views , offering 5 bedrooms and 3 full and 2 half baths, reverse floor plan (kitchen on second fl.) screened porch, sun deck, outside access to rear yard. Off street parking for 5 vehicles, good rental income opportunity, this home is rendy for new owners. Reduced price $1,825,000

Vote for me for Best Rehoboth Realtor in Best Of! Henry McKay

302-381-5039 302-226-6648 www.rehobothdreamhomes.com

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Park Avenue is BETTER Nestled on a tree lined, second ocean block, on an unpaved road in North Rehoboth, no speeding here! Like a step back in times gone by, Serene setting @ the beach. Features: Custom open floor plan, 5 bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths, Thermador propane range, dishwasher, microwave & refrigerator, add custom lightning, first floor bedroom, drywalled full basement w/ built in storage closets, instant hot water system and much more. A Must see. Offered at $2,479,000

Vote for me for Best Rehoboth Realtor in Best Of! Henry McKay

302-381-5039 302-226-6648 www.rehobothdreamhomes.com

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AHF Wellness Centers 1647 Benning Rd NE, Ste 300 (202) 350-5000

4302 Saint Barnabas Rd, Ste D (301) 432-1071

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