Washingtonblade.com, Issue 50, Volume 41, October 11, 2019

Page 1

Protests, unlikely allies as Supreme Court hears landmark LGBT cases, PAGE 12

OCTOBER 11, 2019 • VOLUME 50 • I S S UE 41 • WA S HI NGTON BL A D E.CO M

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It was an eventful week in D.C., as the Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments in three cases challenging anti-LGBT job discrimination. PAGE 12


Looking back:


Adam Rippon’s next chapter

50 years of the Blade


Blade 50th gala is next weekend


Comings & Goings


Queery: CV Viverito


3rd suspect arrested in


Arts & Culture

attack on trans woman


‘Trails don’t blaze themselves’

Gorsuch emerges as possible LGBT


Windsor’s memoir

ally in Supreme Court arguments


El Camino’s rebirth


Gerald Bostock has his day in court


Keepin’ it ‘Reel’


Grenell tapped as U.S. envoy for


Donning the cowl

Serbia-Kosovo peace talks


Awash in memory

Guam lieutenant guv criticizes


More Mika magic

trans military ban


50 Years of Queer D.C. Photos

Study finds gay men dying


Meet Pepco’s Melissa Lavinson

unnecessarily in Africa


D.C. market not as busy


19 20 23

Cannabis Culture



as previous Octobers 62




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10/3/19 2:12 PM

In January of 1999, Tammy Baldwin sworn in FROM STAFF REPORTS

Twenty years ago, in 1999, TAMMY BALDWIN sat down with the Blade after being sworn in as the first out lesbian in Congress.

Twenty years ago, Tammy Baldwin was sworn into office as a member of Congress, becoming the first lesbian in the chamber and first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. House. The historic day saw Baldwin arrive to work amid a sea of reporters and flashbulbs. Baldwin sat down with the Blade that day, telling us she was not squeamish about taking a lead role in promoting

gay civil rights. “I’ve heard the naysayers and the cynics all my life,” she told the Blade. “They’re either whispering or they’re telling me explicitly, ‘You’d be great but you’re never gonna win.’ And I guess the hopeful message that I bring is to remind people that we do live in a democracy. … In a democracy, we decide what’s possible, not those cynics.”

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Comings & Goings Bussey-Reeder to lead Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative 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. The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, landed an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. Congratulations to Orlando Gonzales who has been appointed the new executive director of SAVE, the organization that has served the South Florida LGBTQ community for more than 25 years. Board of directors chair Elizabeth Regalado said, “We feel very fortunate and proud to have Orlando back at SAVE as the organization’s executive director. His background, vision, unique experience, and passion for advocacy work are emblematic of the work SAVE has led for the South Florida LGBTQ+ community for more than 25 years.” Upon his appointment Gonzales said, “I’m thrilled to be returning to Miami, because I care deeply about the mission of the organization and the LBGTQ+ community. I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with allied organizations and individuals at local,


state, and national level to advance the cause of equality.” Prior to joining SAVE, Gonzales worked as a real estate agent with Compass, D.C. and before that he was the Operations Manager on the communications team and the chief of staff for engagement at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). He has a diverse professional experience in publishing, philanthropy, and public health industries and his success has been attributed to his ability to relate to people at all levels. Public service is an important part of his life and he has focused his involvement with organizations that promote human rights and the educational advancement of people of color and the LGBT community. He has been on the board of trustees of the Point Foundation, and an active alumnus of Georgetown University and of the National Urban Fellows program. Gonzales earned his bachelor’s in sociology from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s of public administration with honors from the City University of New York’s Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at The Bernard Baruch College in New York City. As a National Urban Fellow, he successfully completed his fellowship at the Aetna Foundation in Hartford, Conn. Congratulations also to Patrick Campbell who has a new position as senior strategic technical marketing engineer at Nutanix. According to its website, “They


make infrastructure invisible by hyper converging legacy systems into a simple and delightful platform that scales to private and public cloud environments without a lot of unnecessary overhead. Nutanix uses inexpensive commodity servers under the covers and delivers a cloud-like self-service user experience.” “After spending almost a decade in K-12 education as a high school math teacher, I transitioned to IT as a technical trainer, writer, and then technical marketing engineer,” Campbell said. “This position at Nutanix culminates the wide range of skills and experiences I’ve had into a very focused role in strategic technical marketing. I can’t wait to get to know their customers and help them get to where they need to go in their digital transformation journeys.” Prior to joining Nutanix he was with CloudBolt Software as senior technical marketing manager and before that with BMC Software as senior technical marketing consultant. Before that for 12 years he was a teacher. He worked in the Baltimore area coordinating the delivery of academic instruction for mathematics and science K-12 teachers who came to the U.S. to learn about inquiry-based and constructivist teaching paradigms. Prior to that, he worked at Drew School High School in the San Francisco Bay Area as a mathematics teacher of algebra through pre-calculus 9-12. He also directed a summer school International Program and was a volleyball and basketball coach. Campbell earned his bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from Penn State

University, and his master’s degree in Human Resource Management and Behavioral Science from The Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School. Congratulations also to Dionne BusseyReeder who began her new position as executive director of the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative on Oct. 1. The Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, Inc. (FSFSC) was formally established in April 1996 through a Neighborhood Collaborative Capacity Grant made possible through the federal Family Preservation and Support Act. FSFSC is organized as a partnership of residents, agencies, government bodies, and institutions located in and/or doing business in the Southeast community. They are a member of the citywide Healthy Families Thriving Communities Collaborative, a network of all the collaboratives, and a member in good standing of the joint policy body, the Collaborative partnership. Bussey-Reeder is a businesswoman, community organizer and nonprofit executive. Upon accepting the position she said, “I am blessed to have an opportunity to lead this great organization that began 23 years ago with the idea that giving neighbors a small hand up could change their lives forever. That spirit is evident each day as the collaborative’s employees work tirelessly to provide housing, direct services and support to the people and community organizations in Ward 8. As I follow in the footsteps of my good friend Perry Moon, we thank him for doing a great job. Together with the Board of Directors and our awesome staff, we will build on our past successes and never lose sight of the fact that our work and our mission makes a profound impact on the daily lives of residents in Ward 8.” Dionne owned a cafe in Anacostia, Cheers at the Big Chair. She is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Ward 1. She has been active in D.C. politics including having been a Neighborhood Services Coordinator in the Williams’ administration. Last year she ran against Elissa Silverman for an at-large seat on the City Council. She and her wife, whom she met more than 20 years ago, now have a five-year old granddaughter. Bussey-Reeder is a graduate of West Virginia State University.

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3rd suspect arrested in attack on trans woman

D.C. police have arrested a third suspect in connection with the robbery and attack of a transgender woman at a Northeast D.C. gas station on Aug. 2. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Police Department

D.C. police on Oct. 4 announced they have arrested a third juvenile male implicated in the Aug. 2 assault and robbery of a transgender woman by seven young men in two locations, including inside a convenience store at a Citgo gas station at 3820 Minnesota Ave., N.E. Police have designated the incident, which took place shortly after 3 a.m., as an anti-transgender bias related crime based on an account by the victim, D.C. resident Alicia Love Wood, saying the suspects “used language towards the victim which indicated a potential bias towards the victim’s gender identity/expression.” Wood described the incident in detail in a posting on Facebook and in an interview with the Washington Blade. She said a total of seven young men attacked her at first on a side street just off Minnesota Avenue., N.E., and a short time later three of them assaulted and robbed her at the Citgo gas station, where she ran seeking help. In an Oct. 4 statement, police said in pursuant to a D.C. Superior Court custody order they arrested the third suspect, a 16-year-old juvenile male from Southeast D.C., on a charge of Robbery Force and Violence. In a statement one day earlier, police similarly said in pursuant to a D.C. Superior Court custody order they arrested the second suspect, a 15-year-old juvenile male of Southwest D.C., on a charge of Robbery Force and Violence. The first suspect, the 17-year-old, was arrested four days after police released a video showing four of the seven suspects at the Citgo gas station, where Wood said three of them assaulted and robbed her. Names of the juvenile suspects are not being released by police. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

6,000 to attend LGBT Workplace Summit at National Harbor More than 6,000 people were expected to turn out Oct. 14-17 at the National Harbor in Fort Washington, Md., for what organizers say is the world’s largest conference to address issues related to LGBT people in the workplace at large and small companies and government agencies. The San Francisco-based Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, which organizes the annual Workplace Summit, says as many as 70 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies from the U.S. and abroad were expected to send representatives to the Summit. The event, often referred to as an LGBT workplace summit, is set to take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor located across the Potomac River from D.C. “This turnout – and the intensive corporate sponsorship of the conference – demonstrates that large companies understand that they need to develop workplace cultures where LGBTQ employees fully belong and can thrive,” Out & Equal said in a statement. The statement says that in addition to the large number of companies expected to participate in the event, prominent U.S. government agencies would also take part. Among them, the statement says, are the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency (NSA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each of which signed on as sponsors of the conference. On its website, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates describes itself as “the world’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer workplace equality.” The summit takes place six days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for three pivotal LGBT rights cases in which the plaintiffs called on the high court to interpret the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBT people against discrimination. “Out & Equal helped bring together 206 major businesses on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in these cases,” the statement says, referring to the businesses’ support for the argument that existing civil rights law protects LGBT people from employment discrimination. The titles of some of the numerous workshops scheduled to take place at the summit include, Transmen and Transmasculine Employees: Having Your Voices Heard; Measuring Success: LGBTQ Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace; Leading from the Bottom Up as Young, Queer Professionals; Battle for Diversity: Why You Don’t Have (Enough) LGBTQ+ Talent; and Queer Culture Project: Six LGBTQ Trends & Why They Matter. “There are people in positions of

power who want to drive LGBTQ people back into the closet,” said Erin Uritus, Out & Equal’s Chief Executive Officer. “There are people who say that transgender Americans shouldn’t serve in the military,” she said. “Those views aren’t just narrow-minded, they are non-starters for businesses who want to recruit and retain top talent,” she continued in a statement. Additional information about the Workplace Summit can be found at outandequal.org. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

LGBT Tech partners with Crown Castle in D.C. LGBT Tech, a nonprofit that encourages early adoption and use of new technologies and that engages with public policy leaders, recently announced a partnership with Crown Castle in D.C. Crown Castle is the largest provider of shared communications infrastructure in the United States, and Connected by Good is its program focused on improving public spaces where people connect. Crown Castle is supporting LGBT Tech’s PowerOn program in D.C., which empowers homeless and vulnerable LGBTQ individuals by providing devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers, allowing them to access the resources and opportunities they provide, according to a release. PowerOn works with several local organizations to accomplish its goals, including SMYAL, Mary’s House, and its own network. “We’re grateful for Crown Castle’s support of the PowerOn program, and we join others in recognizing that it does more than just connect communities with infrastructure — the company and its employees connect with the communities where it operates,” said Christopher Wood, executive director and co-founder of LGBT Tech in a statement. “We appreciate Crown Castle’s support of the LGBTQ population and share a desire to ensure the wireless infrastructure we use in our program continues to meet the community’s needs with crucial wireless expansions.” “LGBT Tech’s work in D.C. is critical as we continue to help everyone stay connected to the resources they need,” said Andrea Bradford, marketing and communication executive for Crown Castle. “Crown Castle is honored to partner with LGBT Tech to bring connectivity to homeless and vulnerable LGBTQ individuals in the District.” STAFF REPORTS

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Gorsuch emerges as possible LGBT ally in Supreme Court arguments Landmark cases could realign movement for equality By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

Hundreds of pro-LGBT protesters converged on the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

When the dust cleared Tuesday after two hours of arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on whether anti-LGBT discrimination is prohibited under federal civil rights law, U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch emerged as a potential ally for LGBT people. Gorsuch, a Trump-appointed justice who considers himself a textualist, asked many questions suggesting he’s at least considering the idea that antiLGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If LGBT rights supporters eke out a victory from the Supreme Court, they may well have Gorsuch to thank on the divided court for taking them over the finish line. Throughout the arguments, Gorsuch made several inquiries on whether the concept of sex is inseparable from anti-LGBT discrimination. At one point, Gorsuch asked, “Isn’t sex also at play here?” and gave an example of an employer firing a man for being attracted to another man as an example of sex discrimination. To be sure, Gorsuch also asked questions about whether employers could keep sex-segregated bathrooms under an LGBT-inclusive Title VII. “To what extent should we take that into account?” Gorsuch said. “And same thing with gender-specific uniform

requirements. How would you deal with those, given that at least those affected might think that they’re suffering a harm?” Gorsuch posed one question in particular to David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, that may best offer a glimpse into the justice’s internal views. “Assume for a moment that I’m with you on the textual argument,” Gorsuch said. “Should the court be concerned about the massive social upheaval that would ensue?” (With respect to transgender protections, Cole said there would be no upheaval, citing decades of case law affirming anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.) The Supreme Court agreed to adjudicate the litigation as a result of taking up a trio of consolidated cases seeking clarification on whether Title VII covers anti-LGBT discrimination. The cases are Zarda v. Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County, which seek resolution on whether anti-gay discrimination is illegal under Title VII, and EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes, which seeks resolution on whether anti-trans discrimination is illegal under the law. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, non-discrimination protections for an estimated 4.1 million LGBT people in states without LGBT civil rights are at

stake in the upcoming decision. Although Title VII relates specifically to employment, any decision the Supreme Court reaches will impact other laws barring sex discrimination, such as the Fair Housing Act, the Affordable Care Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Therefore, the decision will impact LGBT people not just in the workplace, but also housing, health care and education. Gorsuch was one of three justices who were carefully under watch during oral arguments as potential swing votes on whether anti-LGBT discrimination is prohibited under Title VII. Another was Chief Justice John Roberts, who entertained the idea of anti-gay discrimination being a form of sex discrimination during the 2015 marriage equality arguments. But four years later in the Title VII cases, Roberts was unequivocally on the side that anti-LGBT discrimination is not a form of sex discrimination. Roberts’ questions pointed out Congress didn’t intend to include LGBT people in the 1964 law. Another justice of interest was Brett Kavanaugh, but the newly confirmed Trump appointee kept his cards exceedingly close to his vest. Kavanaugh asked only one question: A legal technical inquiry on the difference between the plain and ordinary meaning of Title VII. The oral arguments on the two issues consisted of two hours with discussion on sexual orientation discrimination in the first hour and anti-transgender discrimination in the second. But the discussion on both subjects often crossed over to both sides. For example, the question of transgender people using bathrooms came during the sexual orientation portion, and John Bursch, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, brought up the idea of religious institutions being able to terminate employees who enter into a same-sex marriage. It’s certainly possible the Supreme Court could reach one decision with respect to transgender employees, and

another with respect to gay, lesbian and bisexual workers (especially considering the case law among lower courts for transgender people is significantly more developed). But justices gave no indication they’d reach two separate decisions. Amplifying Roberts’ view LGBT people aren’t covered under Title VII was U.S. Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who also asked questions about congressional intent in 1964, bathroom use and allowing transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports. “The point is that discrimination on the basis of sex in the sense that Congress understood it in 1964 is a different concept from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Alito said at one point. Alito repeatedly asked about a bizarre hypothetical situation in which an employer is aware of the sexual orientation of a job applicant and refuses to hire that person without knowing his or her gender. “Let’s imagine that the decisionmaker in a particular case is behind the veil of ignorance and the subordinate who has reviewed the candidates for a position says, ‘I’m going to tell you two things about this candidate. This is the very best candidate for the job, and this candidate is attracted to members of the same sex,’” Alito said. “And the employer says, ‘OK, I’m not going to hire this person for that reason.’” To Alito, that suggested anti-gay discrimination isn’t necessarily a form of sex discrimination. Representing the gay workers before the court was Pamela Karlan, who’s director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School. “The attempt to carve out discrimination against men for being gay from Title VII cannot be administered with either consistency or integrity,” Karlan said. “In the words of the en banc Second Circuit, it forces judges to resort to lexical bean counting where they count up the frequency of epithets, such as ‘fag,’ ‘gay,’ ‘queer,’ ‘real man,’ and ‘fem,’ to determine whether or not discrimination is based

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on sex or sexual orientation.” Karlan, a lesbian, approached her task with energy and great wit befitting a representative of gay men before the Supreme Court. When U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked Karlan about congressional intent in 1964, Karlan quipped LGBT people weren’t in mind because “those were the days of ‘Mad Men,’” invoking the hit TV show. Karlan added, nonetheless, the courts since that time have expanded the definition of sex under Title VII to include sex stereotyping and sexual harassment. In response to Alito’s hypothetical about a genderless, gay job applicant, Karlan quipped that person would be like “Pat,” the androgynous character formerly seen on “Saturday Night Live.” For a long stretch into her arguments, the justices allowed her to proceed without questions. At her conclusion, she joked, “If no one has any further questions, I’ll reserve the remainder of my time for rebuttal.” Roberts responded she would have questions, and the justices peppered her with them. Cole, representing Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job from the Michigan-based Harris Funeral Homes after announcing she’d transition, made the case the anti-trans discrimination she experienced is a form of sex discrimination in various ways. “That Harris Homes would fire both transgender men for being insufficiently feminine and transgender women for being insufficiently masculine is, as the government concedes, two acts of sex discrimination, not a defense,” Cole said. Each of the four liberal justices on the bench — Ginsburg as well as U.S. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer — advocated for LGBT inclusion under Title VII from the bench. Breyer brought up several times the notion firing someone for being in an interracial or interfaith relationship would be illegal under Title VII, suggesting that should be the same for someone in a same-sex relationship. Toward the end of arguments, Breyer delivered a standout moment when he recognized Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act in 1964 to help vulnerable communities, which should lead the court to expand its scope to include LGBT people. “In the ’60s, we were only 10 years away from where people who were real slaves and discriminated against obtained a degree of freedom,” Breyer said. “And these statutes were all part of a civil rights movement that was designed to include in our society people who had been truly discriminated against for the worst of reasons. And at that time, this civil

rights statute, when it was passed, would have put in the category gay people, transgender people as people who were suffering terrible discrimination.” Sotomayor echoed that statement in her words, saying the Civil Rights Act was intended to end “invidious discrimination.” “And we can’t deny that homosexuals are being fired merely for being who they are and not because of religious reasons, not because they are performing their jobs poorly, not because they can’t do whatever is required of a position, but merely because they’re a suspect class to some people,” Sotomayor said. “They may have power in some regions, but they are still being beaten, they are still being ostracized from certain things.” Representing the Trump administration in the arguments was U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who represented the U.S. government in the transgender case and volunteered time in the gay cases. Francisco, responding to Breyer’s suggestion the premise of the Civil Rights Act calls on the Supreme Court to expand it, rejected that notion. “I actually find it troubling for courts to take that approach because I actually think it deprives the people of the ability to struggle with these issues democratically,” Francisco said. “And I think it is very important when we have these kinds of big changes, that we actually convince one another that this is the right thing to do.” Jon Davidson, chief counsel at the proLGBT Freedom for All Americans, attended the oral arguments and said in the aftermath he was “cautiously optimistic.” “It seemed clear that we have four votes to uphold federal employment discrimination protections for LGBTQ people,” Davidson said. “We only need one more and I believe that Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Kavanaugh, and especially Justice Gorsuch all remain in play.” It’s unclear when the Supreme Court will render its decision. Because justices are hearing the cases early in their term, they’re expected to issue a ruling well before June 2020. Regardless of the decision, Davidson said legislative change will still be necessary in Congress to protect LGBT people from discrimination. “Win or lose, we will need Congress to act by passing a law like the Equality Act,” Davidson said. “If we lose, that is our only recourse. If we win, we will still need that victory written into the statutes and we will still need federal protections against discrimination in public places like stores, restaurants, and hotels and against discrimination by federallyfunded programs like adoption and foster care agencies.”


More than 100 arrested at Supreme Court

More than 100 LGBT activists were arrested in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Capitol Police on Tuesday arrested 133 LGBT activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court. The activists who were affiliated with Housing Works and other organizations sat in First Street, N.E., in an act of civil disobedience after the justices heard oral arguments in three LGBT rights cases. Capitol Police said the activists were arrested “for unlawfully demonstrating at First and East Capitol Streets, N.E.” and “charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.” “We already live in a world where people who don’t fit societal conventions of gender expression are subject to stigma, discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and even being killed for who they are,” said Housing Works CEO Charles King in a press release that Housing Works issued earlier this week. “This is compounded for our transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We are mobilizing this action because we are deeply concerned and angered that the gates could be opened to losing rights and protections in the workplace, in education, healthcare, the military and beyond.” Capitol Police and the U.S. Supreme Court Police at around 8 a.m. closed the streets around the Supreme Court in response to a suspicious package. The Supreme Court remained open during the closures, but they delayed an LGBT rights rally that was to have begun at 8:30 a.m. The rally began shortly after 10 a.m. once the streets reopened. Freedom for All Americans CEO Masen Davis told the Blade outside the Supreme Court the oral arguments in the three cases “is one of the biggest days in my lifetime and career.” “[The cases] will really determine to what extent we are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Title VII,” said Davis. “The court, if it does the right thing, should be affirming those rights.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Important Facts About DOVATO

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

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

©2019 ViiV Healthcare or licensor. DLLADVT190011 July 2019 Produced in USA.

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SO MUCH GOES INTO WHO I AM HIV MEDICINE IS ONE PART OF IT. Reasons to ask your doctor about DOVATO: DOVATO can help you reach and then stay undetectable* with just 2 medicines in 1 pill. That means fewer medicines† in your body while taking DOVATO You can take it any time of day with or without food (around the same time each day)—giving you flexibility DOVATO is a once-a-day complete treatment for adults who are new to HIV-1 medicine. Results may vary. *Undetectable means reducing the HIV in your blood to very low levels (less than 50 copies per mL). † As compared with 3-drug regimens.

ALPHONSO‡ Living with HIV

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

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Could DOVATO be right for you? Ask your doctor today.


Gerald Bostock has his day in court Terminated employee a new face of the LGBT rights movement By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

GERALD BOSTOCK speaks to reporters on the steps of the United States Supreme Court building on Oct. 8. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

After enduring anti-gay comments on the job, snide remarks about playing in a gay softball league and ultimately termination, Gerald Bostock finally had his day in court. But not just any court — the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome of his case, which alleges anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, and thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, will have historic impact on LGBT rights throughout the United States. In a sit-down interview at the Washington Blade office on Monday — the day before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in his case — Bostock said being at the forefront of the gay rights movement is something he never envisioned. “It’s exciting, of course, but at the same time…it’s very surreal,” Bostock said. “You know, I didn’t ask for any of this. But what I’ve learned through my journey, and through my experience with this is that it’s so much more than just me, this is such an issue of national importance. And it impacts so many people, millions and millions of people, and somebody needed to stand up and face this head on.” Bostock, 55, began working in 2013 for Clayton County as the child welfare services coordinator for the Juvenile Court of Clayton County. Over this time, he was given primary responsibility for the Clayton County Court Appointed Special Advocates program, or CASA. The initiative oversees volunteers working to help at-risk children in the juvenile court system. Under his leadership, Bostock was given favorable performance reviews. In 2007, Clayton County CASA received

the Program of Excellence Award from Georgia CASA. In 2010, it was the first county in the Atlanta area to supply a volunteer to every neglected or abused child in the juvenile court system. Things changed in recent years. Bostock, who’s gay, became involved in 2013 with the Hotlanta Softball League, a gay recreational sports affiliation. Subsequently, Bostock alleges, his participation in the league and his sexual orientation were openly criticized on the job. In April 2013, Clayton County told Bostock it was conducting an internal audit on the CASA program funds. Bostock, who insists he never engaged in any misconduct with regard to the program funds, alleges Clayton County initiated the audit as a pretext to discriminate against him for being gay. In May 2013, during a meeting of the Friends of Clayton County CASA Advisory Board where Bostock’s supervisor was present, at least one person disparaged Bostock’s sexual orientation and his participation in the Hotlanta Softball League. One month later, Bostock was fired. The stated reason for his termination was “conduct unbecoming of a county employee.” Bostock, who insists he did nothing wrong and was fired for being gay, said he has suffered significant hardship after losing his job despite excelling in his role. “I had throughout my tenure with Clayton County, obviously, great performance reviews, again, the success that we were having, which impacted so many children that were innocent victims in this,” Bostock said. “So imagine having all that yanked away from you, and your reputation, you know, ruined within the community that you love, and where you live.” A spokesperson for Clayton County declined to comment on Bostock’s allegations of anti-gay discrimination, citing a general practice of not commenting on pending litigation. Bostock filed his first lawsuit alleging anti-gay discrimination in May 2016. But the Eleventh Circuit has precedent indicating anti-gay discrimination is not unlawful. Bostock was unsuccessful at the trial court level and before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In May 2018, Bostock filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking redress and a finding that anti-gay discrimination

in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination, therefore illegal under Title VII. In April, the court agreed to review the case along with two other cases alleging anti-LGBT discrimination. “Being successful, that means I’m able to paint my own portrait, the way it should be painted and not by somebody else, especially in such a negative light,” Bostock said. “It also means that I get to come back to the 11th Circuit in Georgia and have my day in court to not only clear my name, but to restore my reputation. But beyond that, it means that, again, nobody will have to go through this experience.” For those who say the fight for gay rights is over, Bostock’s case is a stark reminder of the work that remains unfinished. In 30 states, no law protects LGBT people from discrimination, and the federal civil rights law contains no explicit protections for them. “I say that Atlanta is a great community to live in, and I shouldn’t have to move from what I call home, which is Atlanta,” Bostock said. “It shouldn’t be based on the geographical luck of the draw.” The evidence of ongoing struggles for LGBT people, Bostock said, is not just his own termination, but the harm it has caused for at-risk LGBT youth under his watch. “What about the children in Clayton County in foster care that identify as LGBTQ?” Bostock said. “They’re probably in state care and custody, because when a parent or parents found out that they are gay, they were kicked out of their home, and were roaming the streets until they were picked up and placed into care. What kind of message does that send to those children? To me, it sends a very clear, homophobic message that you’ve lost a positive role model in your life when they fired Gerald Bostock.” Brian Sutherland, an attorney with the Atlanta-based law firm Buckley Beal LLP who’s representing Bostock, echoed the sense “the fight for gay rights is absolutely not over,” citing states with no laws against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. “And I think also, you know, something I’ve been thinking about because of what’s bit sadly been in the news lately is incidents of bullying and violence, and situations where young gay people are hurting themselves sometimes because of this,” Sutherland said. Bostock’s case is unique among

the three before the Supreme Court because a private law firm, not the American Civil Liberties Union, is taking the lead on it. Further, the case reached the court as the result of a petition from an LGBT worker, not a company accused of anti-LGBT discrimination. Although the petition to court was submitted in May 2018 just before U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy — who gained a reputation as an LGBT ally — announced he’d step down from the court, it was a risky move. After all, the resulting decision on the increasingly conservative court could either lead to an affirmation LGBT people are protected under federal civil rights law, or a decision saying no such protections exist whatsoever. Sutherland, however, said other LGBT legal groups have been “absolutely helpful” in the efforts with Bostock’s litigation. “We stand united with all the folks that are fighting for gay rights,” Sutherland said. “I, myself, well used to be an attorney for the ACLU. So I was very happy that the ACLU is part of the representation for the case that’s been consolidated with ours.” In the other two cases where the ACLU is the lead, the plaintiffs are Donald Zarda, a now deceased skydiver who alleged he was fired from his job for being gay, and Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was terminated from her job at Harris Funeral Homes when she announced she’d transition. “I think that, you know, thankfully, there are a lot of organizations that are focused on the issues affecting the LGBT community,” Sutherland said. “And we’re just very proud to represent Gerald and also to play a part in the struggle.” Now that the case has been argued before the Supreme Court, it’s time to wait until the decision comes down. It’s expected well before the court’s term ends in June 2020. Regardless of the outcome, Bostock said he’s proud of his work at Clayton County and his pursuit of justice. “I’m very proud of who I am, and I’m proud of the man I’ve become,” he said. “And I’m very proud of the hard work and successes that we were able to have under my leadership in Clayton County, especially because it impacted so many innocent lives. And you know, nobody’s going to take that away from me. Nobody, especially not Clayton County.”

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Grenell tapped as U.S. envoy for Serbia-Kosovo peace talks

U.S. Ambassador to Germany RICHARD GRENELL.

President Trump has named U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in his administration, to become the new point person for the U.S. government in Serbia-Kosovo peace negotiations. The White House announced last week in a statement Trump would tap Grenell for the role in addition to keeping him at his position as U.S. ambassador to Germany. Although most Americans were probably last aware of the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo during U.S. involvement in the war between the two in the Clinton administration, those tensions have been renewed. In May, the Associated Press reported tensions flared after Kosovo’s police raided Serb-dominated areas in the region’s north and arrested “scores of people.” “There have been clashes between Kosovo’s police and local Serbs, with several people injured, and two U.N. personnel were detained, including a Russian,” the AP reported. “Serbia raised its combat readiness and warned it won’t stand by if Serbs in Kosovo are attacked.” A White House official said Grenell won’t need Senate confirmation to assume his new role. Grenell has served as point person for the Trump administration in its global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality. President Trump brought up the initiative during his speech last month before the United Nations just before tensions grew with Congress as a result of the impeachment inquiry launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It wasn’t immediately clear whether Grenell would retain the role as point person for the global initiative. Neither Grenell nor the White House would immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to confirm that. The White House notice indicates Grenell would “serve concurrently” as U.S. envoy in the Serbia-Kosovo negotiations and U.S. ambassador to Germany, suggesting his current role will remain unchanged. Grenell was reportedly in consideration to become Trump’s national security adviser in the aftermath of the termination of John Bolton, but Trump ended up going with Robert O’Brien, who also serves as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs. At the time, several reporters said Trump was, in fact, considering Grenell for another position other than national security adviser. It may well have been the Serbia-Kosovo position for which he was nominated last week. Charles Moran, managing director for Log Cabin Republicans, said he’s “glad to see this appointment come through, and it isn’t any huge surprise.” CHRIS JOHNSON

Judge strikes down Tampa’s ban on conversion therapy A federal judge in Florida has struck down a ban on widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy in Tampa, ruling the city lacks jurisdiction to enact the ordinance. In a 41-page decision, U.S. District Judge William Jung, a Trump appointee, enjoined enforcement of the ban under the doctrine of implied preemption, asserting Tampa overreached in matters reserved for the state legislature. “The city’s ordinance creates a danger of conflict with the legislature’s broad program for the healing arts in Florida,” Jung writes. “The strong policy reasons for a statewide, uniform system of substantive healthcare regulation and discipline are clear, as is the legislature’s intent for same.” The City of Tampa passed the ban on conversion therapy, Ordinance 201747 on April 6, 2017. Former Mayor Bob Buckhorn signed it four days later. (Jane Castor, a lesbian and former police chief, is now mayor of Tampa.) The ordinance prohibits therapy seeking to change sexual orientation or gender expression within the City of Tampa, but is restricted to minor patients (not adults) and practices conducted by medical doctors and mental health professionals (so clergy and unlicensed persons are exempted.) Jung, casting a dismissive eye on the Tampa measure, writes the city is unaware of any minor being prescribed conversion therapy within its limits. Further, Jung writes Tampa has “never before substantively regulated and disciplined the practice of medicine, psychotherapy, or mental health treatment,” nor does the municipality “possess charter or home rule authority to do so.” Jung concludes the ordinance is “preempted by the comprehensive Florida regulatory scheme for health care regulation and discipline.” “The field of gender expression is especially complex,” Jung writes. “Tampa’s lay attempt at psychotherapy regulation crowds into this very complex, evolving area.” Although Jung was confirmed to the federal bench after being appointed by Trump last year, it should be noted he was

previously nominated by both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both times, the presidents nominated Jung during the final months of their administrations. The Senate didn’t act to confirm him. Jung reached the decision against the ordinance as a result of litigation filed by Robert Vazzo, a marriage and family therapist in Florida who seeks to provide conversion therapy to minors. His organization, “Voices of Change,” bills itself as offering “real change in sexual feelings through through therapy that works.” Another plaintiff is New Hearts Outrach, a Christian ministry in Tampa that seeks to refer LGBT youth to conversion therapy. Therapy aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or transgender status is considered ineffectual at best and harmful at worst. Major medical and psychological institutions — including the American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics — widely reject the practice. Mat Staver, who’s representing those plaintiffs as chair of the Liberty Counsel, crowed in delight after Jung’s decision and called it “a great victory for counselors and clients.” “Regulating healthcare is above the pay grade of local municipalities,” Staver said. “While striking down the ordinance, the court shredded the arguments used to justify these unconstitutional counseling bans. This ruling dooms every municipality in Florida and is the beginning of the end of more than 50 similar local laws around the country.” The Liberty Counsel, a notoriously anti-LGBT legal group, has filed unsuccessful legal challenges to the conversion therapy bans in New Jersey and Maryland. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the decision is “an outlier, and unlikely to have much influence.” “We disagree with the court’s analysis, which undermines the ability of localities in Florida to protect their own residents from serious harms,” Minter said. “The Tampa City Council did the right thing to protect LGBTQ youth and their families from the life-threatening practice of conversion therapy, which has been rejected as ineffective and unsafe for minors by every leading medical and mental health professional organization in the country.” CHRIS JOHNSON

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Guam lieutenant guv criticizes trans military ban The gay lieutenant governor of Guam last week sharply criticized the Trump administration over its ban on openly transgender servicemembers. “I especially get offended and protective of them because they … have volunteered to place their lives on the line for freedom and they are not going to be protected by our country,” Joshua Tenorio told the Washington Blade on Oct. 4 during an interview in Dupont Circle. “It’s unacceptable.” “It’s opportunistic,” added Tenorio. “It was a group that was targeted to maintain a base of support that doesn’t tolerate that group of people.” Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam are located on Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean that is at the southern end of the Mariana Islands. The Pentagon earlier this year announced it will move roughly 5,000 Marines to Guam from Okinawa in the coming years. Guam bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but Tenorio noted to the Blade these protections don’t apply to the island’s military bases. Tenorio also said Guam’s “pretty active LGBT servicemember community” participates in the territory’s annual Pride events. “Our constitution, including the legislative process, in many ways, protects the rights of the minority to express their view points,” he said in reference to the trans service ban and the Trump administration’s overall LGBT rights record. “In this case it’s inconsistent with what the U.S. should be.” Tenorio, 45, was born and raised on Guam. The Chamorro people have lived in the Mariana Islands for thousands of years. Tenorio is among the Guamanians who are of Chamorro descent. Tenorio has previously been director of Guam’s Bureau of Statistics and Plans and director of the Guamanian Senate’s Judiciary Committee. Tenorio was former Guam Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez’s deputy chief of staff and an administrator of the territory’s court system. The LGBTQ Victory Fund in 2018 endorsed Tenorio.

He, along with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, took office in January. Tenorio is the first openly gay man elected to executive office in Guam and the first out person to become lieutenant governor in the U.S. “It’s humbling,” Tenorio told the Blade. “At least for my community, I’m hoping that this kind of achievement, parents will look at and help support their kids a bit more.” Tenorio told the Blade national security, health care, crime reduction, self-determination for the Chamorro people, climate change and the island’s political status within the U.S. are among the myriad issues facing Guam’s more than 160,000 residents. “It’s complicated in this town because we don’t have a vote to trade,” he said. “The United States is not supposed to have colonies and they don’t know quite how to handle it.” Tenorio before he arrived in D.C. on Sept. 29 spoke to the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization. Tenorio is also scheduled to speak about climate change at the U.N. on Tuesday before returning to Guam. Tenorio’s trip to D.C. coincided with the impeachment inquiry against Trump after he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Tenorio told the Blade he supports ‘the process” that has been launched against Trump. “I’ve been a protector of due process and I’ve been in charge of an institution where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said Tenorio. “That’s part of my essence, but people in places of authority that have access to the information and have authority over getting the facts … have to respond to their constitutional responsibilities.” “They owe that to the entire body politic, including the body politic in Guam or in D.C. that is not as enfranchised as they should,” he added. “I want to see what’s going on. I want to know … no matter who is in front of this system, despite the nature of their personality and despite how offensive they may be to you, this system needs to treat people the same way.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS


Ed Buck indicted in death of Timothy Dean

TIMOTHY GREEN died in Ed Buck’s apartment in January. Screen grab from KTLA

The US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced Oct. 2 that a federal grand jury indicted West Hollywood resident Ed Buck for distributing crystal meth resulting in the deaths of Timothy Dean, 55, in January 2019 and Gemmel Moore, 26, in July 2017. Buck was also charged with providing methamphetamine to three other men, one of whom survived two overdoses. Buck, 65, had “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment,” the US attorney’s office said in a statement. “The criminal complaint alleging Mr. Buck caused the death of Mr. Moore is supported by a 21-page affidavit that outlines a disturbing pattern of Mr. Buck soliciting men for sex in exchange for drugs and money,” Nick Hanna, US Attorney for the Central District of California, told reporters last Sept. 19. The complaint offers a disturbing view of Buck’s apparent fetish to inject men with meth during paid sexual encounters. Investigators spoke to a man who had previously lived with Buck. “This man said Mr. Buck injected him with methamphetamine almost daily. He experienced two overdoses that required hospitalization,” Hanna said. Buck continued to solicit men for sex and drug use even after another man Timothy Dean, 55, died in January of this year in Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment, Hanna said. Buck is facing additional state charges of causing serious injury by administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, filed by LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. The federal charge against Buck allows for evidence to be introduced that was otherwise inadmissible for a firstdegree murder charge under state law, which included testimony by Moore’s mother, Lacey explained at the Sept. 19 news conference. LGBTQ and black activists have been demanding that Buck be held accountable since Moore’s death but was not charged because he was reportedly a wealthy white Democratic donor. “I just wanted to thank everyone who played a part in getting this indictment, especially the feds for taking this case,” said Joann Campbell, Timothy Dean’s sister in an emailed statement to the Blade. “My family is overjoyed with the news today. We all are crying, but with joy. Special thanks to Detective Rodriguez for his continued fight and hard work on this case. We know it was difficult dealing with us pressing you the detectives to work harder. We appreciate their hard work. And to Ed Buck, you will never hurt and cause harm to another family. We are truly grateful!” Shortly after his Sept 17 arrest by the FBI, Buck was evicted from his Laurel Avenue apartment. Additionally, Buck is now being represented by a public defender. BRODY LEVESQUE

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the adult use and retail sale of cannabis, was a “good thing,” according to polling data compiled by the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies. Sixty-eight percent of respondents endorsed the law, while only 30 percent said that it was a “bad thing.” Those respondents between the ages of 30 and 39 (81 percent), between the ages of 18 and 29 (79 percent), and self-identified Democrats (78 percent) expressed the greatest degree of support for the law. By contrast, 50 percent of Republicans defined the law as a “bad thing.” Proposition 64 was passed by voters in 2016 by a vote of 56 percent to 44 percent. Sixty-three percent of respondents also said that they favored allowing retail marijuana stores to operate in their community. That result is largely in contrast with local laws, as the majority of California’s cities and counties prohibit commercial marijuana activities. Pollsters surveyed over 4,500 registered voters. The poll possesses a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

FBI: Marijuana arrests rise for 3rd year in row The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the third consecutive year, according to data released by the FBI. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 663,367 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2018. That is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrested for the commission of violent crimes (521,103). Of those arrested for cannabis-related activities, some 90 percent (608,776) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses only. “Police across America make a marijuana-related arrest every 48 seconds,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “At a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is an outrage that many police departments across the country continue to waste tax dollars and limited law enforcement resources on arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simple marijuana possession.” The year-over-year increase in marijuana arrests comes at the same time that several states, including California, have legalized the adult use of cannabis — leading to a significant decline in marijuana-related arrests in those jurisdictions. It also marks the reversal of a trend of declining arrests that began following the year 2007, when police made a record 872,721 total marijuana-related arrests in the United States. Marijuana-related arrests were least likely to occur in western states — most of which have legalized the substance — and were more prevalent in the northeast, where they constituted 53 percent of all drug arrests.

California voters say legalizing pot ‘a good thing’ BERKELEY, Calif. — Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters in California believe that the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized

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Unregulated THC vapor cartridges often contain dangerous additives LOS ANGELES — Unregulated THC vapor cartridges often contain vitamin E oil, according to a recent investigation by NBC News. The inhalation of vitamin E oil, which is sometimes added to unregulated e-liquid products in an effort to thicken their consistency and to mask dilution, has previously been linked with incidences of lipoid pneumonia. An advisory issued last month by New York State health officials identified “very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing [vapor cartridge] samples analyzed.” The NBC News investigation reported that 87 percent of the unregulated THC cartridges they analyzed tested positive for the presence of vitamin E oil. Many of the products also tested positive for the presence of pesticides. By contrast, “Of the three purchased from legal dispensaries in California, the CannaSafe testing company found no heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like vitamin E.” Updated data released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls reported more than 800 cases of acute respiratory distress linked to the use of portable vapor cartridges used to consume e-liquids. Of the products tested thus far by the US Food and Drug Administration, about half have identified the presence of vitamin E acetate. Most of the products linked to lung illnesses have been traced to the unregulated, “informal” market, the agency reported. These findings reaffirm the variance in the safety and the quality of cannabis-related products available on the unregulated market versus those on the state-regulated retail market, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Consumers must also be aware that not all products are created equal; quality control testing is critical and only exists in the legally regulated marketplace.” In recent days, lawmakers in Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington have moved to impose bans on the sale of flavored vaping and/or e-cigarette products, while the Governor of Massachusetts has enacted a temporary ban on the retail sale of all vaping products, including the sale of state-regulated products at licensed cannabis dispensaries. Oregon’s Governor is considering implementing a similar emergency ban. Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.

Joseph Sons Joseph Gawler’ Gawler’ss Sons

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Sunday, the thirteenth of October twotasting thousand andcurated nineteen Wine and art show, by Millie Shott. Harpist Kristen Jepperson and the Adelphi from two tohorsseven o’clock String Quartet. Passed d’oeuvres. Dedication service at 4 p.m. Special guess include members of the Gawler family; Director Kristi Whitfi eld of at 5130 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development; Roger of the Washington in the Rev. City ofL. Story Washington religious community; and The Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan of the Washington National Cathedral. Dedicated to providing superior service and highly personalized life celebrations since 1850.

Study finds gay men dying unnecessarily in Africa NAIROBI — Thousands of gay men in Africa are likely dying from HIV-related illnesses every year due to homophobic laws that stifle their chances of being tested and treated, said researchers behind a study published on Monday in The Lancet HIV journal, reported on by Reuters. A study of the data of 45,000 gay men in 28 African countries including Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria found only one in four living with HIV were taking medication, Reuters reports. Half had taken an HIV/AIDS test in the past 12 months and researchers said the low rates were due to anti-LGBT laws in many African countries, which promoted stigma and discrimination and neglected HIV/AIDS programs targeting gay men. “We found countries that had more repressive anti-LGBT laws or harsher penalties for same-sex relations had lower levels of HIV testing,” said Kate Mitchell, one of the researchers at Imperial College London who was involved in the study, Reuters reports. “Some of the studies suggested that this was due to stigma. More research is required to see whether, if these laws were repealed, more gay men would be tested and treated.” According to the United Nations, about 470,000 people living with HIV in Africa still die every year because they cannot or do not get tested and gain access to treatment, accounting for more than 60 percent of all global HIV-related deaths, Reuters reports. While there are no official figures on the number of deaths of men who have sex with men (MSM), Mitchell said it would be fair to estimate that thousands of gay men who were unaware or unable to get medication were dying every year. African countries have some of the world’s most prohibitive laws governing homosexuality. Same-sex relationships are considered taboo and gay sex is a crime across most of continent, with punishments ranging from imprisonment to death, Reuters reports. A 2019 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association found 32 African countries out of a total of 54 nations criminalize same-sex relations. South Africa is the only African nation to legalize gay marriage, Reuters reports.

Featuring a wine tasting and art show, curated by Millie Shott; entertainment by Harpist Kristen Jepperson and the Adelphi String Quartet; passed hors d’oeuvres; and a dedication service at four o’clock.OCTOBER Special guests include members of the Gawler 13, 2019 family; Director Kristi Whitfield of the D.C. Department of SUNDAY | 2-7 P.M. Small and Local Business Development; Rev. Roger L. Story 5130 Wisconsin Ave. and The Rev. Canon of the Washington religious community; NW, Washington, DC National Cathedral. Rosemarie Logan Duncan of the Washington


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MSM STD rates up dramatically CDC finds NEW YORK — The number of combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the United States rose to a record high last year with gay and bi men being disproportionately affected, the New York Times reports citing figures released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 54 percent of all syphilis cases in 2018, for example, the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report notes. More than 2.4 million syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections were reported in the United States in 2018, an increase of more than 100,000 cases from the previous year, the report notes. It attributed the increase to several factors, including a decline in condom use among young people and men who have sex with men; increased screening among some groups; and cuts to sexual health programs at the state and local level, the Times reports. There were more than 115,000 syphilis cases reported to the center in 2018, a 71 percent increase since 2014. That included a 22 percent increase from 2017 in the number of newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis, which is passed from mother to child during pregnancy, the report notes. The number of gonorrhea cases last year rose 5 percent to more than 580,000, the highest number reported to the center since 1991. The number of chlamydia cases also rose by 3 percent in 2018 over the previous year to more than 1.7 million cases, the most ever reported to CDC, it said. The center said it had seen a surge in both infections since 2014, with gonorrhea increasing 63 percent and chlamydia increasing 19 percent since then, the Times reports. The number of men with a diagnosis of gonorrhea has roughly doubled over the past five years, with data suggesting that gay and bisexual men were disproportionately affected by that infection as well, the center said, according to the Times. The CDC said its figures might not capture the true scope of the STD epidemic in the United States because many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis go undiagnosed and so are not reported to health authorities, the Times reports.

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is CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world’s premier nonprofit dedicated to achieving global LGBTQ workplace equality.


is a former member of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

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


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




is CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world’s premier nonprofit dedicated to achieving global LGBTQ workplace equality.


Chamber Players Series The Lyceum

Alexandria’s History Museum 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, Virginia

FREE CONCERTS! Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 – Nov. 21 For more info, please visit our website.


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How does equality at work become a reality? In much of America, you can still be fired for being gay.You can be denied government services. You can lose your home. Ensuring our basic civil rights protections is at the heart of the cases that the Supreme Court is hearing this week. Businesses have been a key community that have stood with us in this legal effort. They signed on to a friend-ofthe-court brief in record numbers, and they are a key component of the coalition that is pushing to pass the Equality Act. There is another important way that businesses, and other large employers, are showing up for us. Next week, more than 6,000 people will be coming to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the largest gathering of LGBTQ professionals anywhere in the world. These attendees come from 38 countries and represent more than 70% of Fortune 1000 companies. And it’s not just the business sector; five U.S. government agencies are also sponsoring this conference. Summit is a forum for thought leadership. It brings together a richly diverse group who raise ideas and programs that push the envelope, who give visibility to often ignored identities, and who establish best and next practices. Summit workshops and stages are where the next iteration of LGBTQ workforce inclusion is showcased: The future is pan. It is non-binary. It is unafraid to call out racism. It openly acknowledges the significance of mental health at work. What started as a small gathering 20 years ago has grown into a powerful testament of the commitment of leaders of large businesses to further equality and belonging. What can explain this meteoric growth? First, large businesses increasingly understand that fostering inclusion impacts their bottom line. When people can show up authentically at work, unencumbered by fears – of social isolation, judgment, or worse – simply because they happen to be LGBTQ, individuals, teams and, yes, businesses and other types of organizations thrive.

This business case is particularly pronounced when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. Younger generations, Millennials and Generation Z, identify as not “exclusively heterosexual” in far higher rates than older generations. Business leaders have figured out that they need to adapt if they’re going to survive. Second, Out & Equal has transformed its approach to facilitate and support the type of interaction professionals and organizations need to succeed in these times. Our approach starts with the recognition that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. The 6,000 people who will be at the Workplace Summit will certainly have the opportunity to learn from each other. But it’s not the only such opportunity available to them. In the United States, we know that there are different religious and cultural contexts that impact what it’s like to lead LGBTQ lives. Life in San Francisco or New York is different than in the rural South. This awareness drove us to convene two forums this year in the South. By bringing southerners together to explore the obstacles they face, and the solutions that have worked in their companies, we can catalyze change. The same logic applies to our work outside of the United States. We forge partnerships across Latin America and hold summits in Brazil, India, and China. We know that the most impactful thing to do is bring together our partners who function in those regions so that they can figure out together the strategies and nuances that they need to pursue to make their workplaces ones where all people are equal, belong, and thrive. The realization that businesses are coming together to improve organizational cultures drove us to develop a new online Global Hub (in partnership with JP Morgan Chase) that gives change agents in each organization a secure portal in which they can engage with their colleagues at other businesses – anytime, anywhere.

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is a former member of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

How Trump (and the Blade) brought me out to my fraternity brothers At the age of 70, I finally spoke my heart to them

Yep. Absolutely. Donald Trump brought me out last year to my college fraternity brothers, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 48 years. Trump, along with five local religious leaders, two retired judges, Colby King, the Internet, and the Blade. It’s a story I want to share with you on this National Coming Out Day. In June 2018, those religious leaders and retired judges sent a letter to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, requesting that we hold a Fact Finding Hearing to determine whether the owner of the Trump International Hotel was eligible for a liquor license. They cited section 301 of Title 25 of D.C. Municipal Regulations that a license holder must be of “good character.” They argued in their filing that Donald Trump was not. The case made local and national news. On Saturday, July 27, 2018, Washington Post opinion page writer Colbert King wrote on the editorial page, “This is a case that the ABC Board cannot duck.” King wrote that we had a responsibility to look into the president’s “lack of character,” and that that “the spotlight is now on members of the ABC Board.” Just to make sure everyone knew he meant business, Colby published our names and brief biographies. Mine mentioned my career at ABC News and my tenure as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. I started getting e-mails at my D.C. government address: Trump is the devil. You are the devil. Leave him alone. Take away his license. Leaguer, Congratulations! “Leaguer, Congratulations?” Leaguer was my pledge name when I pledged my college fraternity more than 50 years ago. Short for “little leaguer.” My fraternity big brother was more than six feet tall. I was much shorter and into

athletics. So, to the brothers, I was then and still am “the leaguer.” The e-mail was from Bill Fuhrman, who was president of the Sigma Pi Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi at American University during my senior year, when I served as vice president. And there were maybe a dozen people copied, some with e-mail addresses that included their names. “I am writing you via the only possible communication path I know,” Bill wrote. “This afternoon, my “Little,” Russ, e-mailed me the story in the Blade about your very recent ANC election. Congratulations. “His email was on the heels of a story Len sent this morning to several of your ‘linked’ fellow AU fraternity brothers.” The Blade reference stopped me cold. There are plenty of Google references to my being an ANC Commissioner, but only the Blade refers to me as openly gay. So by referencing the Blade, Bill found a way to ask the question without actually asking the question. Bill then went on to inform me where those listed on the e-mail were living, including those who had married their pinmates. We had lost touch when the chapter was kicked off campus for a time in the mid-70’s after a hazing incident, and records were lost. He then made a request: “Give me a call if you would like to (partially) catch up on the last 48 years: (858) xxx- xxxx cell . . or . . (760) xxx-xxxx at my law office (the 1st 30 minutes is at no charge).” I called Bill and we chatted for more than an hour, and he gave me other phone numbers to call, and asked that I write a note to let the brothers know what I’d been up to for the last nearly half century. And to not be a stranger. I wrote an e-mail that began by recounting my career in broadcast journalism, local politics, and the exciting

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world of background acting. Then, it was coming out time. “Now that we’ve finished with the professional part of my life,” I wrote,” it’s time for the personal part and the big reveal. So here it is: Yep. Absolutely Tom and I have shared our lives for 38 years. He was a department store exec, and when retail started to crater, he went into human resources. I have learned that you can become Italian by osmosis and talk with your hands. I’ve also learned a lot about north Jersey, and know a lot of places that were in The Sopranos, because I now have extended family in Lodi, Garfield, and other towns that are more Eye-talian than Rome.” Words can’t adequately express how good it felt to write that. My fraternity brothers were probably the last group in my life to come out to. We shared so much during college, and yet there was that one thing back then I felt I could not share. And so, at the age of 70, I spoke my heart to them about hiding who I was during our college years. “This is awkward, because it deals with honesty. And you can’t be completely honest with others about matters in which you are not completely honest with yourself.” “I knew I might be gay in high school, but in the 1960s, the world was a very scary place to be gay. Who wants to be part of a despised and mocked minority? Have no friends? Or be shut out from your career path? I did like sports and girls and politics and beer, so I decided I would will myself to be straight and be like everybody else.” I shared with them my coming out process, and that constant fear that at least some people in my life might not accept me if they knew I was gay. And how

everything changed on Sept. 17, 1981. “Tom and I met during an endless weather delay and ground stop at Newark Airport, and we became friends. It took more than a year to move in together, but we’ve been an item for 37 years, thanks to People Express.” I closed by saying how good it was to reconnect with them this way. “I’m still me. And you’re still you,” I wrote. “I’d love to hear your voice.” It took me a week to write that e-mail, which had the subject line, “What I’ve been up to the past 48 years, or Love, Leaguer.” And then I pressed send. The responses and phone calls came almost immediately. Tom and I have received invites from as far away as Portland, San Diego, and Charleston. And there are regular phone calls and weekly lunches. Oh, and I wasn’t the only one. Russ sent me an old chapter photo, and I saw on it plenty of other....politicians. A California state legislator. A 15-term Massachusetts state lawmaker. And an Undersecretary of Interior for National Parks. All in the same pledge class. And a deputy mayor of San Francisco as well. I wasn’t the only gay brother, either. The former head of Victory Fund was also a brother, but Brian came along a few years later. The Trump case dragged on beyond my term on the board, so I was doubly blessed. First, I didn’t have to rule on it. Second, it brought some dear friends back into my life. They always knew me. Only now, they know me better. And they are still my brothers. Coming out is a process that has a beginning but lasts a lifetime. Happy National Coming Out Day, everyone!



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.

Trump a stable genius Will a court win end or an insane genius? the gay battle? Trump calls himself a ‘stable genius’ I would say if he manages to avoid impeachment and then gets reelected he would be more appropriately called an ‘insane genius.’ I don’t think that will happen. I think it is more likely we can continue to call him a disgusting pig who is totally nuts and see him defeated in November 2020. My preference would be along with impeaching Trump we put Pompeo, Barr, Giuliani and some of his other acolytes in jail and throw away the keys. Donald Trump has actually accused the Democratic House of Representatives of a coup. Instead, the coup is being accomplished by him and his coterie of cabinet secretaries and advisers. They are the ones looking to overthrow the government by riding roughshod over the Constitution. The country and the world will be well served if after we rid ourselves of Trump we go after the others. But first things first, so we need a laser-like focus on ridding ourselves of Trump. Along the way the impeachment inquiry will grab lots of others in its web of complicity proving they either helped him or tried to cover up his abuses of power. John Dean, the man who helped bring down Richard Nixon, recently suggested Trump was making Nixon “look like a choir boy.” It’s like the Nixon administration but with a dumber cast of characters including the president. Let us remember no one ever accused Nixon of being dumb, evil yes, but not dumb, but Trump has proven over and over that he isn’t smart. He is a congenital liar and bully. He has shown a total lack of understanding of how government works. He apparently believed he could run the country like he did his private company and what those voters who cast their ballots for him forgot is he ran his company into bankruptcy numerous times. Time and again he has appointed people to the Cabinet and high-level White House positions who are sleazy and in some cases just plain dumb, managing to get caught for everything including what amounts to theft of government services for abusing their travel and office budgets. He either doesn’t know or pretends not to accept the law by

threatening the whistleblower when the statute clearly protects them leading even staunch Republican Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) to defend the rights of the whistleblower. When Trump speaks about this and attacks others he simply sounds like a thug. When he suggested the Senate could disregard any impeachment articles voted by the House of Representatives even ‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell (R-Ken.) had to say if the Senate was sent articles of impeachment he would have to hold the trial. His Secretary of State recently skirted the truth and came within a hair of actually lying to a reporter about whether or not he was on the phone call with the Ukrainian president, finally admitting he was. We have since found out Vice President Pence was also on that call. We have learned Attorney General Barr is traveling the world trying to resurrect the beginning of the Mueller report in an effort to cast aspersions on the FBI, which he now oversees. The bottom line on so much of this seems to be Trump’s obsession with being seen as an illegitimate president only elected because the Russians helped him. In addition to all this happening here Trump is seeing his favorite foreign leaders failing and flailing. Netanyahu in Israel has been unable to form a new government after recently losing his election and Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom is being thwarted at every turn by his parliament, his own party, and the English Supreme Court, which ruled against his closing down parliament for six weeks as he struggles to complete the Brexit deal. Now with all this if Trump manages to win reelection we can call him an insane genius. While he rambles and blusters and lies in press conferences he does hold the headlines. The media talks about him 24/7 and only one cable network moved away from one of his press conferences telling viewers he is lying so they are not going to televise it. He has managed to hurt the Biden campaign with his lies and generally takes the Democratic primary out of the headlines. He is clearly insane but how that plays out is yet to be seen.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases that will decide whether anti-discrimination laws apply to both sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. Wise money is wagering on a win. The decision, expected early next year, will be a landmark one and, if resulting in a victory, would be a more historic ruling than that of the nine justices in 2015 who struck down all state same-sex marriage bans. The full panoply of legal precedents, judicial contexts, and cultural considerations portend celebration, perhaps to be heightened due the possible size of a favorable court majority. That the trio of cases was heard during the week of the annual ‘Coming Out Day’ on Oct. 11 only serves to sweeten the anticipated result. A win will both establish and expand federal protections for LGBT Americans in essentially all aspects of life and liberty, and for all of us. A favorable and fully comprehensive verdict would definitively declare that discrimination on the basis of either sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal throughout the nation and not dependent on where you live. Such a ruling would immediately and eventually extend legal protections across the country to include employment, housing, public accommodations, adoption and foster care, education, healthcare, credit, and every other government activity, transactional interaction, and component of commerce. An appropriate affirmative outcome would additionally reflect the sentiment and support of an overwhelming majority of the citizenry. It would also comport with nearly universal enterprise championing among the business community representing every commercial sector and company type or size. Changing hearts and minds, after all, has long proven the central component of gay community success along the way to what could be the biggest triumph in LGBT national history. It would serve as a reminder that persuasion is what has prevailed in every aspect of each advance made over a lengthy timeline – and is what roots those

equities in real change, thus securing them with more than mere language or laws. Collective humility and reflective gratitude will be required if equal treatment under the law carries the day. Measured against other movements, progress since Stonewall will have come comparatively quick for LGBT Americans. If justice does reign supreme, the question will be whether the fundamental battle is over and the war is essentially won. A ruling outlawing LGBT discrimination across the board and across the country would change everything. It is likely the reason the Human Rights Campaign announced at the HRC National Dinner in Washington that the nation’s largest LGBT organization is expanding its mission to include international issues while also focusing on the specialized and specific empowerment and employment needs of transgender Americans. Without counting on a court ruling that hasn’t yet happened, as no one should, HRC is preparing for a potentially positive post-ruling milieu. There will, of course, remain an ample agenda available to activists, including more direct service engagement to augment political activities. What HRC and other LGBT groups must avoid, however, is becoming even more of a transparently aligned adjunct subsidiary of only one political party if the organizations hope to retain community support in an equality-affirming environment. This will be especially true as LGBT voters feel the freedom to weigh a broad spectrum of issues when deciphering political affinities and casting ballots for local, state, and national offices. If the battle proves over with affirmation and assimilation the victors, a truce will be required and ideological condemnations must cease. LGBT Americans will increasingly dispense with so-called “intersectional” politics to embrace what most matters to them and policies directly affecting their lives and which are best for their families and friends. When victory comes, soon or later, that’s why the war will have been waged.

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ADAM RIPPON says the time was right for his new memoir, ‘Beautiful on the Outside.’ Photo by Peter Yang; courtesy Grand Central Publishing

Adam Rippon’s next chapter

Out figure skating star on new life, loves, memoir, ass and skating in the nude By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

We blitzed through a torrent of questions with Adam Rippon by phone last week. The bronze medal-winning gay breakout star (and self-proclaimed “America’s sweetheart”) releases his memoir “Beautiful on the Outside” Oct. 15. He and skier pal Gus Kenworthy each came out in 2015 and last year became the first openly gay male U.S. athletes to compete at the Winter Olympics. Rippon is in Washington (at Sixth and I Synagogue) Wednesday, Oct. 16 as the second stop on a 13-city book tour. His comments have been slightly edited for syntax and length. WASHINGTON BLADE: How did the book come about? ADAM RIPPON: Well, right after the Olympics, my team was saying that it might be a fun idea to write a book and I thought that this, like, really felt like a full chapter of my life sort of coming to an end and a new one was starting so I felt like it would be a really therapeutic almost experience. And I thought it would be a good thing for me to do, to kind of debrief and sort of be my moment to soak in everything that was like going on. So it was my team’s idea but then ultimately it was something that I did truly want to pursue. BLADE: How long did it take to write? RIPPON: About six-seven months. It wasn’t too long but it was a substantial amount of time. BLADE: A lot of your appeal is the way you come across on camera. Were you concerned that that might not translate to the written page? RIPPON: Totally. One thing that I really focused on was (making sure) the writing felt very in person, so that whatever you were reading felt like I could have been sitting right next to you like on a couch telling you this story and you were hearing my voice. So that was really important to me because I feel less like a writer and more like a storyteller. So I wanted to make sure, especially when I would be doing the audiobook, that it really felt like I wasn’t adding any words or saying any words that I wouldn’t say in a conversation. BLADE: You share a lot of hardwon wisdom in the book. Were those convictions about life already in your head and bones or did the process of writing the book kind of help you distill and articulate some of that? RIPPON: I think when I wrote the book, that was such an important thing for me to add into it because those are

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From left: ADAM RIPPON became famous at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang for his skating as well as his daffy live interviews Screen grab via NBC broadcast; Competing in PyeongChang last year at the Olympics. He won a bronze medal in the team event and placed 10th in the men’s singles event. Screen grab via NBC broadcast; New memoir Photo courtesy Grand Central Publishing; and on the cover of ESPN’s 2018 Body Issue.

lessons and scenarios and things that I had learned and they were just so important to me, that was something really I wanted to add into the story. … Sometimes I just laugh at myself and move along through life through different struggles and things of that nature, but I really did learn a lot about myself, it really prepared me for the bigger moments. BLADE: How often are you on the ice these days? RIPPON: Maybe once or twice a month now. Just skating for myself. Sometimes if I have a day off, I’ll go work with one of the skaters I used to train with, Mariah Bell. Working with her some makes me feel connected to skating, but I don’t skate very much on my own anymore. BLADE: Would you like to do more skating exhibition tours? RIPPON: I would, but they take so much time and energy to prepare for and I would not ever want to do one and not feel like I was giving my best. … Right now I really do want to focus on pursuing these other endeavors that are available to me now and I do want to pursue them because I do think the time to do that is right now and if there is something comes up in skating, it’ll make sense. Right now, I think I’m really focused on writing this book and that kind of hustle. BLADE: It looks like you’ve stayed in great shape. Do you feel pressure to have perfect abs? I mean the shape you were in for Olympics has to be impossible to maintain I imagine. RIPPON: Well, you know what? I’m gonna be super honest. After the Olympics, I went to the gym and I was like, “I can’t do this anymore. I’ve gone here every day of my life for 20 years and I just don’t have the motivation,” and that was OK. But I didn’t go to the gym for maybe a year. BLADE: Oh wow.

RIPPON: Yeah, I know. It was a lot. BLADE: But you didn’t gain 300 pounds or anything. I haven’t seen you lately but you look like you were in great shape on “Dancing With the Stars.” RIPPON: I’m not 300 pounds yet, but no. … I realized I just needed to find new goals at the gym because it’s something I really enjoy. So I’ve been going for like the past month and have been working out pretty regularly with my old trainer again and, of course, the workouts are totally different, because it’s no longer about trying to be as good a skater as possible. But I really love the rush you get from finishing a workout. BLADE: You make a joke in the book about your hook-ups not believing you had an office job because nobody with a desk job would have an ass like yours. What kind of currency has having that kind of butt given you in your personal life? Is it something your boyfriends have gone on and on about or it something that maybe seems more exaggerated from afar? Tell me about your ass, Adam. RIPPON: Well, here we go. How much time do you have? (laughs) No, I’m kidding. Um, the one thing I’ve noticed, now surrounding myself with people who are not athletes by profession is that everybody who works out and goes to the gym, the hardest thing for them is legs. I’ve noticed going back to the gym, that’s always been my upper hand because I’ve done only legs for so long. With my boyfriend, he’s mostly envious that I have these bigger legs and, like, a butt that really fills out my pants. Mostly he’s jealous but he does like it, which is good because I can’t really get rid of it. BLADE: At one point in the book you say you were having trouble with quad toe so you had to switch to quad lutz. Why not quad sal? RIPPON: It’s a little different with the quads. That’s why you see these Russian


junior girls and some of them won’t do triple axels but their only two quads are toe and lutz. The lutz may be the hardest because that entrance is so hard but when you have the torque just right, it really snaps the quickest into rotation. I think when you’re learning triples, the skill of how you should learn them is correct, but with quads, it’s more like which do you feel and I think difficulty sort of comes in second. BLADE: Have we hit the ceiling on quads? Is it realistic to think somebody might land a quad axel someday? RIPPON: I think so. I never thought I’d see a day where somebody has a program like Nathan Chen’s planned programs and it’s something he actually does and it’s not, like, a joke. And it’s the way he does it really effortlessly and you don’t really actually notice he’s doing all these quads ‘cause they’re so well done, which is the scariest part of his skating. BLADE: Were you more team Zagitova or Medvedeva in the ladies’ event last Olympics? RIPPON: You know, I think that I was really impressed with Zagitova, I thought she skated very well, but I do have to say the way that Medvedeva handled herself as like a two-time world champion, and then to go out and skate two clean programs, I just felt she had a lot of substance to her skating maybe her style wasn’t the I don’t know, wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea. She performed, she had everything that an Olympic champion should have and I really felt that she kind of earned it. Zagitova skated a little bit like a really excellent junior lady in her first year senior. It wasn’t as refined and Medvedeva was a two-time world champion heading into that event, she was very refined and in that moment and was incredibly young, but yet had some womanly flair to her, which I really admired. I completely see

why Medvedeva was the silver medalist and Zagitova was the gold medalist, I understand, but if I were judging I would have had Medvedeva first. BLADE: How was Tonya Harding on “Dancing With the Stars?” Did you develop any camaraderie with her? RIPPON: I wouldn’t say camaraderie, but she was super nice and she’s fun. She’s super funny, really personable. You know, I doubt Nancy (Kerrigan) would think that, but she’s super personable. I had no problem with her. She was nice. BLADE: Did you admire her skating back in the day? RIPPON: The first competition I ever watched was ’98, so I never grew up with her, but once I went back and started watching things, I’ll always remember that opening at 1991 nationals with the “Batman” theme and that mint green dress. BLADE: Did you like the movie “I, Tonya”? RIPPON: I mean Margot Robbie when she does press for the movie, she says it’s Tonya’s side of the story and I think she did a really good job of that. But I think even Margot would tell you that the truth probably lies in the middle. BLADE: So many skaters — Brian Boitano, Jeffrey Buttle, Johnny Weir — CON T I N U E S ON PAGE 3 2

Adam Rippon In conversation with Liz Dolan Wednesday, Oct. 16 7 p.m. Sixth & I Synagogue 600 I St., N.W. Tickets: $20 ticket+book: $32 two tickets+book: $45 (books will be pre-signed but photos with Rippon will be taken)

Rippon says abuse allegations, suicide rocked skating world CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 came out after they stopped competing. I’m not asking for names, but are there still closeted skaters that you know of or is that era finally over? RIPPON: I think we’re becoming past it and I really feel that like I hope that I had something to do with it, where people felt like it didn’t really matter and you could still be successful. But I do think that the pressures of someone like me and someone like Brian Boitano or Jeffrey Buttle are so different. I was never a favorite for a world title, there was no pressure like that. I was just trying to kind of make my world team and see if I, if someone’s having a bad day, could swoop in for a world medal. BLADE: Why are there so many more medal opportunities in the summer games? Can you imagine if figure skaters had the number of medal opportunities as Michael Phelps? RIPPON: I think when you get into subjective sports where it’s all based on human judging, it’s really hard to break those into different categories. And it’s part of the drama of skating that there aren’t all these opportunities. That’s one reason I love the idea of a team event, not only because I’m a medalist from it, but I love that it’s brought different stars from the Olympics forward. I mean look at Yulia Lipnitskaya from Sochi. In the team event, she was the star of the whole competition and when we think about the individual, I even forget that she competed in it. So it gives other people the chance to be Olympic stars in a different capacity. The whole point of the Olympics is to inspire people to get into sports. That really is truly what it is. And I think the team event really does that. BLADE: Were you really fully nude except for your boots for the ESPN shoot or did you have some kind of little loincloth on or something? RIPPON: I was 100 percent naked and it was actually at the rink I trained at. There are three rinks and one is all the way at the end in the corner and they blocked it off and had security and everything but yeah, it was fully nude, and for the first two minutes it was like,

“Isn’t it weird that I can see my dick and I’m skating,” but then you get going and you’re like it doesn’t really become a thing anymore and nobody’s really fazed by it because they’ve shot like a million naked athletes before so it’s a very cool experience. BLADE: Isn’t it hard to skate with your dick flopping around? RIPPON: No, because at that point, everything gets so small it’s like, “OK, this is what we’re dealing with.” It’s nothing to write home about. (laughs) BLADE: What did you think of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski’s commentary of your Olympic performances? RIPPON: They bring such excitement to skating. People tune in to watch the skating, but also to hear their opinions. They’re like Dick Button and Peggy Fleming for this generation, where you wanted to hear if Dick Button thought you were a good skater or not. They aren’t mean, they’re honest and now, being able to be more subjective, I see that. I remember there was one performance where Johnny said he thought I wasn’t interpreting the music well and I was like, “What? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” But as I watch it back now, I’m like, “No, he’s totally right.” He was just giving an honest opinion and it’s his job do to that. … They add flair to the whole competition. BLADE: Did you ever hear from Mike Pence after the Olympics or was that just a big dog-and-pony show? RIPPON: Well I knew that I never would, so I haven’t. BLADE: Do you keep the Mirror Ball Trophy (from “Dancing With the Stars”) with all your skating medals? Or they displayed? RIPPON: All my skating medals are in a container from the Container Store. The Mirror Ball Trophy is in a guest bedroom on the night stand. I have it out if somebody wants to see it, but it’s not something I’m looking at all the time. I want to focus on getting more things and — I know this is just in my own head — but not feel complicit in what I’ve achieved so far. BLADE: You don’t even keep your Olympic medal out? RIPPON: They came in beautiful boxes so I have it in the box on a side

table with the medal inside. So it’s there if somebody wants to see it but it’s not like, “Oh wow, it’s hanging on the wall.” BLADE: Any hint of sexual tension between you and (out Olympic skier) Gus Kenworthy or is that just totally a gay bromance? RIPPON: It’s very much a brotherly sort of relationship. I adore him. We don’t talk all the time, but he’s just somebody I think I’ll always be kind of close to. BLADE: You say in the book you and (figure skater) Ashley Wagner were close friends. Do you have any comment on her decision in August to say she was sexually assaulted (11 years prior by pairs skater John Coughlin, who committed suicide in January under similar allegations)? RIPPON: I think it was brave. I’m sure it was really hard for her to do it. I think it’s going to hopefully create some good conversations with people within the sport. BLADE: You say in the book you two were super close. Did she tell you about this shortly after it happened? Did you know John Coughlin? RIPPON: I did know John, I thought, pretty well. But I had no idea any of this was going on and it’s been pretty tough ‘cause I wish I could have said something to someone or said something to him, but I didn’t have that opportunity. It’s something I think a lot of skaters are struggling with because we don’t agree with it. It’s not good. So many athletes aren’t equipped to deal with the suicide of someone that they knew. So it was really something challenging for a lot of people to get through and it was just something that was still, you know, pretty raw I think for a lot of people. BLADE: What did you think of Yuzuru Hanyu’s (gold-winning) performances in PyeongChang? RIPPON: I thought he was amazing. He’s incredible. Such a legend. BLADE: Is he approachable or kind of in his own world? What’s it like being around such a great skater? RIPPON: There’s a level of respect for everybody like that that all the competitors have regardless of who they are or what they’ve achieved. He’s always been super nice and I would say that I enjoyed competing with him as both gold older. One thing that helped is since he

moved to Canada, his English got better so we could actually chat. As an adult, I enjoyed seeing him and getting to cheer for him and watch him compete. BLADE: How do you feel about turning 30 (in November)? RIPPON: I can’t wait. I’m really excited. BLADE: Why? RIPPON: I just feel like it’s perfect timing. I’m retiring from skating and starting this new phase of my life and career so the time feels really good. And I don’t know, I felt like I was 30 for a few years already anyway, so it’s all good timing. BLADE: Does (boyfriend) JP (JussiPekka Kajaala) live with you now in L.A.? How are things there? RIPPON: JP goes back and forth between L.A. and Finland. I’m actually going there Friday. BLADE: How often do you get to see each other on average? RIPPON: We probably spend about five months out of the year together. BLADE: Are you and (“Dancing With the Stars” dancing partner) Jenna (Johnson) still BFFs? RIPPON: Um, yeah. I love her. We talk, like, very often. BLADE: What do you have coming up? What do the next six months look like for you? RIPPON: I’m on the book tour for two weeks, then right after that I have a few stops and I’m working on a few other things that will be announced soon, which is cool. I also just filmed another series of Breaking the Ice, the little videos on YouTube. Yeah, just stuff like that. It’s all good, nothing super busy. BLADE: What would you like to be doing in 10 years? RIPPON: I would love to still be working in entertainment, in comedy, and be successful. Let’s see, I don’t know, I just would like to be really successful, have more awards, right? I’m an athlete, I love a good trophy. So I think I really enjoy the kind of stuff I’m doing now and just continue to be a performer but like in a different way. I’d love to still be doing all this in 10 years. CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

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Counterclockwise from left: CHELY WRIGHT plays City Winery this weekend Photo courtesy Wright; BIANCA DEL RIO plays D.C. next weekend Photo by Rene Koala; and the Superhero Underwear Party is Oct. 18 Photo courtesy Project Publicity.

Blade 50th gala is next weekend

‘Rayceen, Fix Me Up!’

SMYAL Fall Brunch is Oct. 20

The Washington Blade 50th Birthday Gala is Friday, Oct. 18 from 6-10 p.m. at the InterContinental Washington, D.C., The Wharf (801 Wharf St., S.W.). The evening’s special guests include Philanthropist Ariadne Getty, senior out member of the House Rep. David Cicilline, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Broadway star Frenchie Davis. The cocktail reception starts at 6 p.m., and the dinner and program begin at 7. Proceeds benefit the Blade Foundation’s nonprofit community work. For tickets and information, visit blade50th.com.

Team Rayceen presents the 2019 Rayceen, Fix Me Up! Autumn Mixer Thursday, Oct. 17 from 7-10 p.m. at XX+ Crostino (1926 9th St., N.W.). The public is invited to this free 21-and-up event to socialize, play ice breaker games, network and meet new people in the community. The venue’s happy hour menu is extended from 5-8 p.m. for the event. For questions, volunteer opportunities or to contribute gift bag items, contact the team at teamrayceen@gmail.com. To register for this and other Team Rayceen events, visit teamrayceen. eventbrite.com.

SMYAL’s Annual Fall Brunch is Sunday, Oct. 20 from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis (901 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.). Each year, the Fall Brunch brings together LGBTQ and allied community members, friends and families to support the youth SMYAL works with. This year’s opening registration and cocktail reception features a silent auction, Bloody Marys and mimosas, a photo booth and more. At noon, the seated brunch program includes a panel of community leaders and SMYAL youth. For tickets and information, visit one. bidpal.net. or smyal.org.

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Friday, Oct. 11

Holy underwear party Batman! La Fantasy’s Superhero Underwear Party is Friday, Oct. 18 from 10 p.m.4 a.m. at Saint Yves (1220 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). Tickets start at $30 with a three ticket limit per customer. For the D.C. event, party founder Elias Cohen has partnered with local gay party planner Q’s La Fantasy Productions to combine high-energy, progressive music and performances by entertainers such as DJ Alex Acosta. Tickets available at seetickets.us.

Bianca returns Oct. 18 Bianca Del Rio’s “It’s Jester Joke Tour” comes to the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) Friday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39.50. Known for her foul mouth and unapologetic brand of humor, Del Rio is a season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the stage persona of seasoned comic Roy Haylock. Her first standup special, “Rolodex of Hate” is available on Vimeo. Purchase tickets at ticketfly.com.

Rainbow Sparks: A Coming Out Day Celebration is tonight from 5-9 p.m. at Acorn Urban Park (8060 Newell St., Silver Spring, Md.). Montgomery Parks presents an evening celebrating National Coming Out Day in support of their LGBTQ park patrons. This free event features drag king/queen story hour, spoken word open mic, face painting and games, and a closing dance party with DJ. For more information, visit montgomeryparks.org. Grammy winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer celebrate the release of their 48th recording together “Wahoo!” tonight at 7 p.m. at Carroll Cafe at Seekers Church (276 Carroll St., N.W.). The event features special guest poet Joanne Rocky Delaplaine. Visit cathymarcy.com for more information.

Saturday, Oct. 12 Arty Queers: D.C.’s LGBTQ Art Market is today from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.). This monthly indoor event features art created by local LGBTQ artisans, including paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry and more. Visit thedccenter.org for more information. The 22nd annual Bethesda Row Arts Festival begins today at 11 a.m. and runs through Sunday at 6 p.m. This outdoor gallery features more than 200 juried fine arts and crafts from artists around the nation. For more information on this free event, visit eventbrite.com. Metro Washington Financial Planning Day is today from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Norther Virginia Center (7054 Haycock Rd., Falls Church, Va). The event offers free one-on-one personalized financial advice and free financial workshops. Topics include budgeting, credit and debt, retirement and more. Register at mwfpd.eventbrite.com. Taffety Punk Theatre Company presents Riot Grrrls “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (545 7th St., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Featuring Danielle A. Drakes as Othello,


Lisa Bruneau as Iago and directed by Kelsey Mesa. For tickets and information, visit taffetypunk.com.

Sunday, Oct. 13 Flashy’s Sixth Anniversary Party is tonight at 10 p.m. at Flash (645 Florida Ave., N.W.). The public is invited to celebrate Flashy’s milestone on Columbus Day weekend. Cover is $20. Extended bar until 4 a.m. Visit flashdc. com for more information. Washington Performing Arts presents Pink Martini at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35. This 25th birthday celebration (to the day!) features special guests Australian cabaret singer Meow Meow and “All Things Considered” anchor and Pink Martini guest vocalist Ari Shapiro. Visit washingtonperformingarts. org for details. Lesbian former gospel singer Jennifer Knapp plays City Winery (1350 Okie St., N.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m Tickets are $17 at citywinery.com. Lesbian country singer Chely Wright plays Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave., E. Vienna, Va.) tonight at 7 p.m. Christine Havrilla opens. Tickets are $15-25 at jamminjava.com.

(9570 Berger Rd., Columbia, Md.) hosts Hocus Pocus Trivia tonight from 7-9 p.m. Halloween is coming and the public is invited to this free seasonal event. Make individual and group reservations at hocuspocushysteria.eventbrite.com. An Evening with David Sedaris is at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight from 8-10 p.m. Readings by this out satirist and award-winning humor writer are followed by an audience Q&A. Tickets start at $39 are available at kennedy-center.org.

Wednesday, Oct. 16 Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, discusses “The Collected works of Joe Brainard” tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.). All are welcome. For more information visit bookmendc.blogspot.com. The Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce hosts an evening of discussion and networking tonight from 5-7 p.m. at the Frederick Innovative Technology Center (118 N. Market Street Frederick, Md.) with fellow LGBT professionals and allies in the community. Tickets are $15. Visit eventbrite.com/e/ creating-safe-spaces-for-us for tickets and information.

Monday, Oct. 14

Thursday, Oct. 17

Wicked Bloom Mondays continue tonight from 5-10 p.m. at Wicked Bloom (1540 North Capitol St., N.W.). The venue features a globally inspired menu and music by DJ Mim. For more information, visit wickedbloomdc.com. The Baltimore Job Fair is today from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sheraton Baltimore North (903 Dulaney Valley Rd., Towson, Md.). Meet and interview with hiring managers at companies ranging from small local businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Visit eventbrite.com for more information on this free event.

Live Nation presents Killer Queen with the Duskwales tonight at 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St., N.W.). Tickets start at $27.50. This U.K.-based Queen tribute band formed in 1993 and currently features Patrick Myers as Freddie Mercury. The Virginia-based Duskwales features a retro sound reminiscent of the Beatles and the Doors. Tickets available at concerts1.livenation.com. JR.’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown is tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight at JR.’s (1519 17th St., N.W.). The venue features happy hours, showtune singalongs and other events in a neighborhood atmosphere. For more information, visit jrsbar-dc.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 15 The




QUEERY CV VIVERITO Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

QUEERY: CV Viverito

The Out & Equal manager answers 20 queer questions By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Out & Equal bills itself as “the world’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving LGBTQ workplace inclusion” and it’s a mission CV Viverito is passionate about. Working as senior manager of global initiatives for the organization, Viverito is responsible for managing programs mainly focused in Brazil, China and India with some programming reaching other parts of Latin America. Through partnerships with NGOs and multinational and national corporations, Viverito and their department organize forums, roundtables and resources to “foster networking and learning spaces and promote best practices in LGBTQ workplace inclusion and belonging.” The Out & Equal Workplace Summit runs Oct. 14-17 in Washington featuring 90 workshops, discussion groups, networking mixers, receptions and more. Details at outandequal.org. Viverito will oversee global programming and content at the conference. “Around the world, there has been a nationalist backlash that threatens

LGBTQ lives,” the 30-year-old South Brunswick, N.J., native says, “as well as the lives of other marginalized folks such as immigrants and women. I feel privileged and proud to be part of the global effort to create a kinder world.” Viverito, who previously worked at the Victory Institute and Human Rights Campaign, says they proactively sought out LGBTQ advocacy work. “I’m called to social justice,” Viverito says. “And although I’m passionate about numerous issues, I fell into the LGBTQ work first because I felt most pulled to it at the time. I moved into global work because I enjoy meeting inspiring activists around the world and working in partnership to combat injustices. I’m always learning and growing within this role.” In their spare volunteer time, Viverito does small research projects on other social justice issues as well as volunteer weekends to sustainably restore hiking trails in the area. Viverito came to Washington in 2012 for work. They and fiancé Jennifer Grijalva live together in Anacostia. Viverito enjoys climbing, hiking and Netflix in their free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out as queer in 2009 and as nonbinary in 2017. Since I am very privileged to have had a mostly seamless experience, the hardest to come out to was probably myself both times. Who’s your LGBTQ hero? I think it will always be Audre Lorde. Her worked changed the way I see the world. What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? When people think gender identity and gender expression must be tied together. What’s your proudest professional achievement? It all blends together for me. I’m very humbled and proud to have worked alongside inspiring LGBTQ leaders from around the world and to know that we’ve played a part in other people’s personal growth on the issues, as well as created real structural change. What terrifies you? Climate change and the fact that we’re not doing nearly enough. What’s something trashy or vapid you love? Oh, give me ALL the trashy ’90s outfits.

What’s your greatest domestic skill? Cooking What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “Queer Eye,” more specifically Jonathan Van Ness. What’s your social media pet peeve? I don’t have social media — it’s one giant pet peeve. What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? It’s hard to envision what an “end” would entail, but definitely more queer/trans people of color in decision-making positions. What’s the most overrated social custom? Using gendered language. What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? I was raised Roman Catholic, but not super practicing. Today my religion is Beyoncé. What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem? Naked Girls Reading (it’s exactly how it sounds — Google it). What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Sam Smith coming out as nonbinary and using they/them pronouns.

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What celebrity death hit you hardest? As an adult I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that connected to a celebrity, but as a kid I did cry when Left Eye died. If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be? Although I’ve veered down some wrong paths, I can’t say I would change anything. Who are we without learning from our mistakes? What are your obsessions? I’m pretty obsessed with my Sphynx cat, Puma. He’s the most handsome boy in the world. Finish this sentence — It’s about damn time: We dump Trump. What do you wish you’d known at 18? That it’s OK to explore my selfexpression, mix it up and not follow the crowd. Why Washington? It’s queer, diverse and politically active.


This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com School Girls: or, The African Mean Girls Play. Thru Oct 13. Round House. roundhousetheatre.org. Shear Madness. Thru Nov 24. Broadway Center Stage: Footloose. Thru Oct 13. David Sedaris. Oct 15. Marc Maron. Oct 11. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. The Royale. Thru Oct 27. Cabaret. Thru Oct 13. Olney Theatre at Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab. olneytheatre.org.

DANCE West by God Thru Oct 20. Keegan Theatre. keegantheatre.com.

In a small town in the Appalachia region of West Virginia, two different families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, and with the distance and time that both unite and divide generations. A new play by West Virginia native Brandon McCoy, WEST BY GOD is a funny, heartwarming, and gut-wrenchingly honest examination of the divide between urban and rural America, and the kinds of prejudice and intolerance too often left unchallenged in our society

Double Exposure Film Festival Oct 10-13. Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium. doubleexposurefestival.com.

Double Exposure, a project of the investigative news organization 100Reporters, celebrates the finest new films inspired by the investigative instinct. It combines film screenings for the public with a professional symposium for journalists and visual storytellers.

Pink Martini Oct 13. Washington Performing Arts at Kennedy Center. washingtonperformingarts.org.

How do you say “Wow!” in 25 languages? The members of the globe-trotting “little orchestra” Pink Martini surely know, based on their multilingual songbook infused with Argentinean tango, Brazilian samba, Japanese pop, good ol’ American swing, and more. Britain’s Guardian hails them as “an international phenomenon…mixing glamour and sophisticated easy-listening.”

Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages Thru Sep 12, 2020. Library of Congress. loc.gov.

The exhibition draws from the Library’s extensive collection of comic art, which includes some of the earliest comics, including the first successful newspaper comic strip featuring Richard Outcault’s “The Yellow Kid,” early drawings of “Peanuts,” superheroes including Batman, Superman and the Incredible Hulk in modern comic books, and much more. Photo Courtesy of Keegan Theatre

Focus Cia De Dança. Oct 12-Oct 13. Dance Place. danceplace.org. Mariinsky Ballet: Paquita. Thru Oct 13. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.

MUSIC Chucho Valdés - Jazz Batá. Oct 12. Fretwork with Iestyn Davies. Oct 16. Library of Congress. loc.gov. Flamenco Legends. Oct 12. Over The Rhine. Oct 11. Pat McGee Band with Almost Everything and Kyle Davis. Oct 17-Oct 18. The Barns at Wolf Trap. wolftrap.org. Takács Quartet I. Oct 15. Takács Quartet II. Oct 16. Nat King Cole at 100. Oct 17-Oct 19. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. ASA-CHANG & Junray. Oct 17. Hill Center. hillcenterdc.org. Ray LaMontagne. Oct 15. Sergio Mendes & Bebel Gilberto. Oct 16. Strathmore. strathmore.org. Janowski conducts/ teinbacher plays Mozart. Thru Oct 12. NSO. kennedy-center.org. Melbourne Symphony. Oct 16. Washington Performing Arts at Kennedy Center. washingtonperformingarts.org. New Music for a New World with Tabla for Two. Oct 16. DC Arts Center. dcartscenter.org. Sofia Viola. Oct 11. Atlas. atlasarts.org. Tosca. Oct 12-Oct 13. Mason’s Center for the Arts. cfa.gmu.edu.

MUSEUMS THEATRE 1 Henry IV. Thru Oct 13. Folger Theatre. folger.edu. Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Thru Nov 3. Prologue Theatre at Dance Loft. prologuetheatre.org. Escaped Alone. Thru Nov 3. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org.

Fences. Thru Oct 27. Ford’s Theatre. fords.org. Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville. Thru Oct 13. National Theatre. thenationaldc.org. Life is a Dream. Thru Oct 13. GALA Hispanic Theatre. galatheatre.org. ROOM: 27 Minutes; You as empath. Thru Nov 10. The Winter’s Tale. Thru Oct 19. DC Arts Center. dcartscenter.org.

AU Museum at the Katzen. Grace Hartigan and Helene Herzbrun: Reframing Abstract Expressionism. Our World Above: Monoprints and Glass by Annette Lerner. Prints & Artists: WD Printmaking Workshop 1970-Present. Thru Oct 20. Moves Like Walter: New Curators Open the Corcoran Legacy Collection. Topographies of Life: Pam Rogers, Lynn Sures, Mel Watkin. Thru Dec 15. american.edu.

Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Right to the City @Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Thru Apr 20. anacostia.si.edu. Anderson House. French Memories of the War for America. Thru Oct 27. societyofthecincinnati.org. Dumbarton Oaks. Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion. Thru Jan 5. 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. Library of Congress. Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote. Thru Sep 1. Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages. Thru Sep 12. loc.gov. National Archives. Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote. Thru Jan 3. archivesfoundation.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction. Thru Jan 20. Live Dangerously. Thru Jan 20. New York Ave Sculpture Project. Thru Sep 20. nmwa.org. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Recent Acquisitions. Thru Nov 3. Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. Thru Jan 5. 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. Postal Museum. None Swifter Than These: 100 Years of Diplomatic Couriers. Thru Jan 26. postalmuseum.si.edu.

GALLERIES Arlington Artist Alliance. Modern Botanical Solo show by Anne Feldman. Thru Oct 31. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. Art on The Green. Olney Art Association Gallery Exhibit. Thru Nov 11. gaithersburgmd.gov. Arts Barn. Latino Art League Gallery Exhibit. Thru Oct 28. Figuratively Speaking Gallery Exhibit. Thru Nov 18. gaithersburgmd.gov. DC Arts Center. Reparations Realized. Thru Oct 13. Nano Sculptures. Thru Nov 17. dcartscenter.org. Del Ray Artisans. Art Inspired by The Twilight Zone Exhibit. Thru Oct 27. Creature Comforts Art Exhibit. Thru Jan 26. delrayartisans.org. Gallery Underground. Chaos Art Exhibition. Thru Oct 25. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. JCCNV. Rachel Braun — Embroidery and Sacred Text. Thru Oct 11. Judy Wengrovitz — A Retrospective. Oct 16Dec 2. jccnv.org.

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in the possibility of 120 variations. In a recent phone interview, Roque, 30, described their initial attraction to acting as “a search for some kind of escape; finding a way to feel free.” But was this what they had in mind?

Actor AVI ROQUE says acting appealed to them as a means of escape. Photo courtesy STC

‘Trails don’t blaze themselves’

Shakespearean actor up for herculean ‘Much Ado’ acting challenge By PATRICK FOLLIARD

Avi Roque caught the acting bug in sixth grade. The Latinx trans/nonbinary actor was cast as Benedict in a Catholic primary school version of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The San Francisco Bay-area native went on to study acting at California State University, Fullerton, and following graduation, relocated to Chicago where they began acting professionally and transitioned. Now, Roque (pronounced Rō-kay) is poised to appear in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s season-opener “Everybody,” out playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, (“Octoroon,” “Gloria”) contemporary, fun, gender-inclusive take on the medieval morality play. Staged by trans director Will Davis (“Colossal”), the plot is fairly simple: God assigns Death (Nancy Robinette) to let Everybody know their time is up. Everybody is encouraged to bring a friend along for the final journey. What’s complicated is that at the top of each performance, some of the actors are assigned their parts from a lottery resulting

WASHINGTON BLADE: Is learning “Everybody” as difficult as it sounds? AVI ROQUE: It’s a gargantuan task and it’s really challenging. I’m learning different tracks that consists of multiple roles, 10 parts in all, including (title character) Everybody. We’re in week four of rehearsal and I’m feeling anxiety and overwhelmed. But hey, what a great exercise. (They laughs.) BLADE: Does having a gay playwright and a trans director make it easier? ROQUE: Having work written by or created by other people from the LGBTQ-plus community does make me feel a little more relaxed. But I’m also entering institutions where I’m not sure where they’re at in the trans/nonbinary learning curve. Are they able to support or accommodate me? So sometimes that’s the bigger picture. BLADE: What does trans/nonbinary mean for you in terms of casting? ROQUE: Looking back on my previous works, I can see that most of the things that I was auditioning for were very related to my trans/nonbinary identity. For instance, when I did “The Crucible” for Steppenwolf for Young Adults in Chicago, they cast me as Mercy Lewis/ Ezekiel Cheever. Of course, trans can mean many things; it doesn’t look one way. Not long ago, I was considered for the role of a cisgender male. I was definitely down for this. They were seeing me as the person with the energy vibe and the essence that felt right for the character and less about other things. But to be honest, I don’t feel as much of an abundance of that kind of casting as I’d like. My last show in January was “Tiny Beautiful Things” at the Old Globe in San Diego and it was about letter writing. There were multiple letters and I played multiple characters. One of the letters was written by a trans man. I was told I wasn’t cast only because I was trans. I was told I was there because of my skill. But still, I wonder. BLADE: Is it changing? ROQUE: I do feel shifts and it’s

exciting. I think ultimately my goal is to get to a place where, yes, I am trans/ nonbinary but we’re not commenting on it or teaching about it. BLADE: Do you find yourself being a teacher? ROQUE: Sometimes. A friend said to me, ‘Trails don’t blaze themselves,’ so I feel like a trailblazer and I really care what I can do to make it easier for the next person. I want them to feel less anxiety and pressure and be able to just exist and do their work. BLADE: Any thoughts on those who don’t like your pronouns, or are slow to understand nonbinary? ROQUE: I value people who make an effort to rewire their brains. Because that’s really what it’s about. I’ve arrived a place — it’s taken time — to just meet people where they’re at. All I can do is say my piece and affirm who I am. Whether anyone else wants to get on board or not, I have no control over that. Sometime it’s hard because all I’m really asking for is respect. I’m a human being who uses they/them pronouns. Change is scary and that’s when resistance comes into play. And not everyone has the capacity to change depending upon where they are in their own lives. With our actor who’s playing Death, Nancy Robinette, I feel her desire to absorb and learn about trans/nonbinary. I’m grateful for this. BLADE: What’s on the horizon for you? ROQUE: I’m planning a big move to L.A. at the beginning of the new year. Chicago really helped me to grow. I transitioned in Chicago. I grew as an artist in Chicago. But now it’s time for a change. BLADE: And your personal life? Are you taken? ROQUE: (They laughs.) Yes, I’m in a very new relationship. It’s quite a love story. It’s long distance, but we’re together. So yes, I’m taken.

‘Everybody’ Oct. 15-Nov. 17 Shakespeare Theatre Company Lansburgh Theatre 450 7th St., N.W. $38-120 shakespearetheatre.org

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Join Friends of the National Zoo for Washington, D.C.’s favorite not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, Boo at the Zoo. With more than 40 treat stations, kids’ karaoke, and a dance party, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Best of all, it’s a great way to help us support the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s mission to save species. Tickets on sale now at fonz.org/boo. $20 FONZ members / $30 non-members LEAD SPONSOR: MARS WRIGLEY CONFECTIONERY Additional Sponsors: BIG100, Chase, Comcast, GEICO, Groupon, HOT 99.5, 97.1 WASH-FM, 98.7 WMZQ, The Washington Post, and Washington Parent



Windsor’s memoir

Photo courtesy St. Martin’s Press

An intimate showcase of music and dance featuring Potomac Fever, Rock Creek Singers, Seasons of Love, & 17th Street Dance

October 26 | 5PM | 8PM Live! at 10th & G | 945 G Street NW For tickets, call 202-293-1548 or visit GMCW.org

When Edith Windsor died at age 88 in 2017, the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court case United States V. Windsor, which overturned a key part of DOMA, left behind a memoir. Completed with help from Joshua Lyon, “A Wild and Precious Life” is now available. There was never any doubt that little Edie Schlain was fiercely adored. The youngest child of the family, Edie grew up wanting to be like her big sister, protected by her big brother and the apple of her parents’ eyes. She admits that she was “spoiled” then, not in a bad way but just enough to give her the confidence and brass a child of the Depression might need. She remembered the beginning of World War II, although not in the sense that most did: her recollections were of a houseful of boys, her brother’s friends, laughing and eating and gathering in her parents’ home before going off to war, and mourning when word arrived of those who’d never come home. Edie always liked boys and as she matured, she bantered with her brother’s friends although she occasionally thought it odd how much she liked watching other girls. “The idea that anything physically intimate with a girl could happen simply did not exist,” she writes. But eventually, it did, with a tennis partner in college, then with a female roommate she loved before realizing that there was “no other available reality” than to fall into lockstep with other young women of the 1950s, settle down and marry a nice man. The marriage lasted six months. At the end, Edie, who’d convinced her husband to adapt the surname “Windsor,” realized that she needed to tell

him the truth. Pondering how to tell him, she immersed herself in Judy Garland “fantasy” musicals, and she planned: “Guess what, Judy? I’m a lesbian.” “If you’re looking to read about Edie’s Supreme Court case, put this down,” writes co-author Joshua Lyon in his preface. But don’t be too hasty: “A Wild and Precious Life” has enough to offer, all by itself. Indeed, though he still touches upon the fight that helped achieve marriage equality, Lyon says that Windsor “desperately wanted” readers to know about her pioneering work in computers and technology (she was a tech manager for IBM), which was a “core part of her identity” and of which she was enormously proud. In her words here, which Lyon indicates that she edited herself, Windsor also woos readers with breezy wit, racy love stories and seemingly casual/ not-casual, semi-nonchalant depictions of being a lesbian in the mid-20th century, and what it was like living in the shadows but flirting hard with the light. Early in this book, Lyon says he fretted about how to finish it after Windsor died, but he needn’t have worried. Though its ending feels a little rushed, “A Wild and Precious Life” flows perfectly and entertains delightfully, making it a book you’ll want in front of you.

‘A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir’ By Edie Windsor with Joshua Lyon St. Martin’s Press $27.99 274 pages


tickets and groups of 10 or more call 202-293-1548

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Be Afraid Night of the Living Zoo

October 25, 2019 • 7-10:30 p.m. • Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Step right up for an adults-only Halloween dance party featuring curiosities, grotesques and beastly good fun! Epic street performers and some creepy creatures will be on hand to thrill guests! Don’t miss the costume competition sponsored by American Association for the Advancement of Science for a chance to win $1000 grand prize! Use NOLZBladeP19 for $5 off tickets.


Menu offerings at El Camino. Photo by Marvin Solorzano

El Camino’s rebirth Bloomingdale favorite reopens under new ownership By EVAN CAPLAN

A new owner, a new chef, and a stunning pink interior: Bloomingdale’s El Camino is back in action. El Camino (108 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.), a relaxed SoCal-Mexican cervezeria-taquería, closed in September 2018 after four years in business. A favorite of residents along a small commercial strip on Rhode Island Avenue and First Street, it left a hole for those wanting a crisp margarita, heaping late-night nachos and Bloomingdale people-watching. Beyond its meaty tacos, however, El Camino was also a meeting spot: it coordinated closely with Bloomingays, an area social group. When the original El Camino closed, current owner Marvin Solorzano, who is straight, seized an opportunity. An industry vet, he moved to the area in 2012 and became a fan of El Camino. When he learned the news of the closing, he bought the restaurant, reopening it with a relaxed refresh in line with its atmosphere. Solorzano, hailing from El Salvador, is no stranger to Tex-Mex cuisine or being around LGBT people. Solorzano worked at Alero for several years when he first arrived in Washington. He then spent almost two decades in front of house positions at Dupont Italian Kitchen, the gay mainstay on 17th Street with a festive patio. At Dupont Italian Kitchen, he also oversaw operations on the second-floor bar. “I became friends with many of the patrons,” he says, “and met so many regulars. It’s with them that we shared stories about our lives. This was really impactful for me, because I saw how open Washington, D.C. was.” His work at Dupont Italian Kitchen led him to create the same kind of space at El Camino. “Now as owner, I can treat all my customers as friends,” he says. “This is why I’m excited to welcome back Bloomingays to El Camino, because the community and neighborhood is so important.” Solorzano drafted Angel Zavala as bar manager, who has been at Provision 14 and Alero for several years. Not only did Zavela craft a new bar menu, he also ensured that Bloomingays had a home at the new El Camino. After the margs, he says, “the number one point is connecting with our neighbors.”

In an effort to streamline and brighten the space, Solorzano dispensed with the heavy curtains and dark lighting. “I made it more open, lively and light. The previous colors made it seem dark and crowded,” he says. He shrunk the bar to allow for efficient movement of people from the front to back dining area and splashed new paint: pink in the front, yellow opposite the bar. To kick up the menu, chef Rodolfo Martinez is helming the kitchen. He’s been cooking at Tex-Mex spots since he, too, arrived from El Salvador. It was on trips to the Cali-Mexican border region that Solorzano found menu inspo. He fell in love with street tacos he encountered in Tijuana that now live on at El Camino, thanks to Martinez. Taco options include carne asada, mahi, chorizo, and rajas (cactus). Martinez slow-roasts the meat in a proprietary mix of spices and herbs that include clove, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, cilantro, garlic and celery. Later, in L.A., Solorzano was enchanted by a black bean-pinto bean mashup taco that’s now one of his favorites. Entrees include Puebla-style mole chicken and the Camino Steak, a 12-ounce New York strip topped with shrimp. Of course, there’s also guac, queso and nachos. For those who enjoy the wee hours, Solorzano oversees a late-night menu of tacos and burritos until 12:30 a.m. on weekends and 11:30 p.m. on weeknights; happy hour is on not only from 5-7 p.m., but also 10 p.m.-close Tuesday-Friday. The tacos, bar manager Zavala says, work well with his best-selling frozen mango margarita. Each day, Zavala blends fresh mangoes with a housemade habanero-infused syrup. He also serves mojitos and a mule made with mezcal. “I like to go out to bars and taste plenty of drinks. Then I make mine as fresh, interesting and authentic as possible,” he says. Zavala coordinates directly with Bloomingays, which just held its first event back at El Camino in September. Bloomingays plans to host its event monthly on every third Thursday. “I’m always involved with the people I serve drinks,” Zavala says, “and we’re excited to become friends with the neighborhood.”

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His deadliest enemy is his jealous heart.


Join us for the region's premiere event in support of LGBTQ youth as we celebrate SMYAL's 35th Anniversary!

Cocktail reception and silent auction begin at 10:30 am Photo by Cade Martin

October 26–November 16 | Opera House Music by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s Othello In Italian with Projected English Titles

Kennedy-Center.org (202) 467-4600

Major support for WNO is provided by Jacqueline Badger Mars. David M. Rubenstein is the Presenting Underwriter of WNO. WNO acknowledges the longstanding generosity of Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B. Casey.

Groups call (202) 416-8400 For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540 Generous support for WNO Italian Opera is provided by Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello. Additional support for Otello is provided by the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts and the Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation, Inc

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Three-course brunch and seated program begin at 12 pm

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EDDIE REDMAYNE and FELICITY JONES in ‘The Aeronauts.’ Photo courtesy Amazon

Keepin’ it ‘Reel’

Region’s fall film festivals return heaped full with LGBT programming By BRIAN T. CARNEY Now that fall has finally arrived, it’s time to celebrate the season with two of the region’s most celebrated film festivals. The Middleburg Film Festival, the annual meeting of powerbrokers from Hollywood and the Potomac, runs Oct. 17-20. Reel Affirmations, D.C.’s celebration of international LGBT cinema, runs Oct. 25-27. The Middleburg Film Festival opens with the highly anticipated “Marriage Story” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Director Noah Baumbach will be on hand to accept the festival’s Spotlight Director Award following the opening night screening of his film. Susan Koch, executive director of the festival since its founding seven years ago, is thrilled with this year’s slate of films and activities. “We really try to provide a diversity of films and voices,” the documentary filmmaker says. “We encourage people to step outside of their usual film zone.” Koch says she, “likes all of the films and for different reasons,” but she does recommend two lesser-known films. “Atlantics,” about Senegalese workers in search of a better future, was directed by Mati Diop, the first black woman to compete in the Cannes Film Festival. (She took home the Grand Prix.) Koch describes “The Cave,” a documentary

about a team of dedicated team of female doctors in war-torn Syria, as “riveting.” The festival’s queer content includes “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” a shimmering historical drama about an artist in 18th century Brittany who finds herself falling for the reclusive bride she’s been commissioned to paint; “The Capote Tapes,” a new documentary about gay author Truman Capote based on never-before-heard interviews for the Paris Review helmed by out director and former White House staffer Ebs Burnough; “Oliver Sacks: In His Own Words,” a new documentary about the openly gay writer and neurologist recorded months before his death; and “Frankie,” by out writer and director Ira Sachs and starring Isabelle Huppert (recently seen in the feminist thriller “Elle” and the camp thriller “Greta”) as an aging actress who gathers three generations of her family (including her gay ex-husband) around her during a vacation in Portugal. As always, the festival offers wonderful sneak peeks at movies that are already generating Oscar buzz. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, “Harriet” tells the story of iconic American freedom fighter Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Errivo). The cast includes Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn and Leslie Odom. Jr. “The Irishman” is Martin Scorsese’s epic crime drama with Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. “The Two Popes” is an intimate drama about the ideological clashes between Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and Pope Emeritus Benedict (Anthony Hopkins), including their differing views on homosexuality. Director Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?) turns from queer literary larceny to the life of beloved television icon Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “Star Wars” director Rian Johnson turns from intergalactic rebels to feuding family members in the star-studded modern murder mystery “Knives Out.” In “The Aeronauts,” Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne turn from the life of physicist Stephen Hawking to the lives of pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher and daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren. The festival experience also includes artist Q&As after several movies, as well as a concert honoring composer Terence Blanchard and conversations with screenwriter Anthony McCarten and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto. “The festival is able to attract the participation of these great artists because of the devotion of the audiences,” Koch says. “Filmmakers really pick up on that energy.”

The full festival schedule, along with information on venues and some of Middleburg’s fine wineries and restaurants, can be found at middleburgfilm.org. Koch also says there will be food trucks on hand this year so that filmgoers can grab a quick bite between films. Reel Affirmations kicks off with the fabulous documentary “Queen of the Capital” which follows the glamorous drag artiste Muffy Blake Stephyns as she campaigns to become Empress of D.C.’s Imperial Court. The Friday programming also includes “The Sympathy Card,” an unconventional lesbian rom-com about a dying woman who encourages her wife to find a new partner while she’s still around to approve of her choice, and “Sell By,” a smart ensemble comedy about romance in the smartphone era. Saturday’s programming at Reel Affirmations starts off with the fascinating Indian drama “Ek Aasha” about a young transgender woman named Aasha who joins a hijra, a traditional transgender community, but who struggles to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. The journey continues with “Daughters of Fire,” about an erotic polyamorous road trip through southern Argentina that changes the lives of three women; “Fabulous” about renowned international transgender dancer Lasseindra Ninja who returns to her native Guyana to offer voguing workshops to both straight and queer teens; and “Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life,” a new documentary about the famous Israeli porn star by Israeli documentary filmmaker Tomer Heymann (“Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?” and “Mr. Gaga”). Sunday’s offerings begin with “Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth,” the amazing documentary about a gay transgender man who wanted to become a parent and decided to carry his own baby. The day continues with two excellent programs of short films. “IRL…In Real Life” offers several films that playfully explore the space between the personas we create and the people behind the profiles. “Crossing the Line” presents shorts that probe the boundaries between friendship, identity, sexuality and desire. Finally, the festival closing film is the fascinating German drama “Before We Grow Old” about a straight couple who are interested in exploring polyamory. All movies screen at the Gala Hispanic Theatre on 14th Street. A complete schedule for Reel Affirmations, along with information on festival passes and volunteer opportunities, can be found at thedccenter.org/reelaffirmations.

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RUBY ROSE in and out of character. Photos courtesy the CW

Donning the cowl

Aussie actress Ruby Rose suits up as ‘Batwoman’ By SUSAN HORNIK As the Gotham City crime fighter Kate Kane in “Batwoman,” Ruby Rose’s character is one for the history books, as the first lesbian superhero in a leading television role. It’s been a fast-moving ride to the top for the young Australian actress/model, who caught everyone’s eye back in 2014 when she created “Break Free,” a short film on gender fluidity. The YouTube video has been viewed more than 51 million times. Rose had no idea the impact it would make on her career. “I honestly thought that I would do that film, that it would feel good, that it would be special to me and to maybe a couple of fans that I have accumulated over 10 years in Australia,” she told the Blade at the Television Critics Press Tour. “And that was sort of it. I just needed to get it out and maybe one person will watch it, 10 people and when it got to the point where it was 30 million, 40 million, 50 million I had no idea what even to do with that. And then obviously, that led to ‘Orange is The New Black’ and even then, I didn’t think that was going to be as much of a big deal and as well received as it was,” she said. “Since then, I’ve just been like, ‘OK cool, so what’s next?’ This is a wild ride. But yeah, that’s like one of the things I’m most proud of.” Looking back, Rose, 33, understands the cultural relevance the film has had.

“I could have made that video 10 years earlier, five years earlier, a year earlier and maybe it wouldn’t have had the same impact. It was like at that precipice point where without knowing; just timing, serendipitous, Laverne (Cox) was on ‘Orange’ that was about it. I don’t think ‘Transparent’ was even out. You know, like Caitlyn Jenner, all these conversations hadn’t been had yet. They were kind of Laverne and ‘Orange’ was what was sort of starting it. And then I put that video out and then other things were happening. Other people were becoming big parts of that conversation and suddenly it just catapulted into something much bigger than myself and much bigger than what I could have imagined. If I knew it was going to become that big, I would have done some more editing.” Rose, a lesbian who has spoken of taunts for being gender nonconforming in her youth, is grateful the film touched many. “I’ve had people even now talk about how that is what led them to either transition or take the step, come out to their family. There was a 42-year-old female to male that literally was wanting to transition their entire life. I read a newspaper article which said that video made them say, ‘That’s it, I’m doing it.’” Rose has been hard at work, creating a strong connection with her character, whom she perceives as vastly different from her. The character was introduced in DC Comics in 2006 as Kate Kane, who began operating as a similarly caped and cowled Gotham City-based vigilante. She’s a cousin to Bruce Wayne (though she works largely independently of Batman) and although not the first LGBT character in the Batman universe, she’s considered the “highest profile” queer character ever to appear in comic books. “I don’t brood as much, I really don’t,” she said. “I smile a lot. I feel like I was

more like her when I was younger, you know, the hesitation of trusting people, letting people in, feeling like I could do everything on my own, not having a big family. Being gay, obviously, but it’s not the biggest part of the show. But there’s a lot that I definitely experienced throughout earlier teens, maybe even early 20s, but that now I don’t share with her. But I can see why she feels the way that she does.” The legendary Batman city has helped inform her approach. “Living in Gotham it’s so different. When you live there and the world is like that — not that we’re far from it — it’s a heavier situation. Whereas I feel like my life is pretty well put together, unlike Kate, who is figuring it out.” Still, Rose “owns” her version of who Batwoman is. “I’m sure there’s going to be many other versions after this and different actors that play it, it’s an entity far bigger than me. But in the version I get to play, the Kate that I’ve sort of developed and love, she is a certain way. … I mean who knows when I’m 60 and I’m like, ‘Hey kids, I was Batwoman!’ And they’re like, ‘Whatever, Selena Gomez’s great-granddaughter is Batwoman now,’ I’m sure there will be many reincarnations and I’m excited about that. But it’s definitely like a legacy piece that I really think is important and I dedicate all of my time to it.” Rose drew upon the defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that’s in a lot of the comics for her role. “That was important to me that we did that in the right kind of way, just because of the gravity of that. And I believe we did and I think we probably touch more on it, we try to fit as much as we can into the pilot, but it’s not a lot of time.” While Rose is a badass, (check out her work in “John Wick” if there’s any doubt) she recently had to undergo emergency surgery from doing her own stunts. “To anyone asking about my new Pez dispenser scar on my neck ... a couple of months ago, I was told I needed emergency surgery or I was risking becoming paralyzed. I had herniated two discs doing stunts, and they were close to severing my spinal cord. I was in chronic pain and couldn’t feel my arms,” she wrote on Instagram, posting a video of the operation. “And to anyone asking why I let them video it. Did you not watch that ‘Greys Anatomy’ episode where they left a towel in a patient?” Rose said. “Also I wanted to see what happens when we go under.” This month, Rose will receive the Create NSW Annette Kellerman Award, which celebrates a screen industry figure who has been a trailblazing role model for Australian women.

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Photo by Christopher Mueller



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ANTONIO BANDERAS won the top Cannes Film Festival acting prize for his work in ‘Pain and Glory.’ Photo by Manolo Pavon; courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Awash in memory

Semi-autobiographical new Almodovar film ‘Pain and Glory’ is sublime instant classic By BRIAN T. CARNEY

“Pain and Glory” (“Dolor y Gloria”), the 21st film by out Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar, is a sublime masterpiece by a queer auteur at the top of his game. It’s a profound and effortless journey through themes that have obsessed the master filmmaker throughout his amazing career: desire and sexuality, the need to create and communicate, the blurred lines between past and present and between reality and fiction, the lure of drugs, religion, the complicated bonds between mothers and sons and the challenges of maintaining both friendships and romantic relationships. Passionate and precise, it’s a dazzling artistic achievement and a glorious collaboration between a master craftsman and his long-term creative colleagues, along with a few new partners. The semi-autobiographical “Pain and Glory” (it opens today in Washington in Spanish with English subtitles) is about the trials and tribulations, and ultimate triumph, of filmmaker Salvador Mallo. (Almodóvar says it’s part of an unintentional trilogy with “Law of Desire” and “Bad Education,” which also focus on male film directors and their artistic and personal obsessions.) Mallo is played by frequent Almodóvar collaborator Antonio Banderas, who won the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his incandescent portrayal of man in

search of redemption. As the movie opens, Mallo is at a standstill, waylaid by a variety of physical and psychological conditions. (Juan Gatti’s delightful animations accompany Banderas’ recitation of his many ailments.) Suffering from chronic back pain, he’s unable to write and fears that he will never have the physical strength to work behind the camera again. Under the influence of several drugs (prescribed and otherwise) and unable to move forward, Mallo is adrift in a sea of memories. In memory, Mallo is reunited with his late mother Jacinta, played as a young provincial woman by Penelope Cruz and as an old woman by Julieta Serrano. (Both women are long-time Almodóvar collaborators and both turn in searing performances.) Newcomers Asier Flores and César Vicente play Salvador as a 9-year old boy and Eduardo, the handyman who is the object of Mallo’s first crush. In reality, the restoration of Mallo’s film “Sabor” (“Taste”) leads to a series of reunions. He meets up with the actress Zulema (Almodóvar veteran Cecilia Roth) and with two of the most important men in his life: his former lover Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia) and the actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandía) who starred in “Sabor.” The line between memory and reality becomes porous when Alberto convinces Salvador to let him stage his short story “The Addiction” as a dramatic monologue. “The Addiction” is about the passionate relationship between Salvador and Federico during the wild period in Madrid in the 1980s following the fall of Franco. These fascinating threads weave seamlessly together as Mallo slowly gathers the strength to pull his life together and resist the allure of living

in the past. With the help of his devoted friend Mercedes (Nora Navas), he begins work on a new project called “The First Desire.” The final tableau is sublime. Almodóvar’s brave and daring work in “Pain and Glory” is simply stunning. He is in complete command of the camera and every shot displays his mastery of sound, color and pacing. His work with long-time collaborators José Luis Alcaine (director of photography) and Alberto Iglesias (original score) is amazing, as is his work with new partner Teresa Font (editor). The design of the film is exquisite. The visual contrast between his childhood in the poor provincial village of Paterna in Valencia and his present-day life in Madrid is arresting. It’s fascinating to note that the design is so deeply influenced by Almodóvar’s own life. Banderas’ hair is styled the same way as the director’s and the actor is often dressed in clothes from the director’s own closet. Mallo’s Madrid apartment is based on Almodóvar’s residence and the set was filled with the director’s own furniture and furnishings. The acting is outstanding. Banderas turns in a magnificent, multi-layered performance as the artist in crisis. This is the eighth film Almodóvar and Banderas have made together. Both men started their careers as part of the artistic resistance to the autocratic regime of General Francisco Franco. Banderas made his film debut in Almodóvar’s “Labyrinth of Passion” (1982) and was featured in several of the director’s early films. After successful careers in Hollywood and Madrid, the two men enjoyed a cinematic reunion in “The Skin I Live In” (2011). Based in part on their long artistic partnership, Banderas creates a nuanced portrait of an artist who is clearly based on Almodóvar but who is clearly not Almodóvar. Banderas captures Mallo’s physical pain and growing despair with remarkable clarity. Banderas is also at the top of his game and it’s wonderful to see him in a role that’s worthy of his talent. The rest of the cast is equally strong. Cruz and Serrano are magnificent as Mallo’s mother in different time frames. Vibrant young Jacinta blazes with her fiercely over-protective love for her son, yet also joyously breaks out in song while washing clothes in the river with the other women of the village. Frail old Jacinta is bitter, isolated in the big city and poisoned by her homophobia. Remarkably, the two wonderful actresses create one seamless performance. Likewise, Flores’ fine performance as young Salvador shows the roots of the man he will become. It’s destined to be a classic movie in the LGBT canon and is a must-see for all queer cinephiles.

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Photo courtesy Republic Records

More Mika magic

Buttery new album assembles pastiche of throwback pop polish BY JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

First, I gotta get something off my chest: despite having released a glowingly wonderful new album, Mika has irritated me. First, his current “Tiny Love Tiny Tour,” which kicked off last month and is on hiatus before resuming in November in Europe, featured a pathetically paltry three dates in the continental U.S. (there were two others in Montreal and one in Mexico City). Um, seriously? Your first U.S. tour in six-and-a-half years and you can only give us three dates? Not even a Miami show, where you actually live and recorded the new album? WTF? I toyed with the idea of trekking up to New York for his show there, but am so glad I didn’t — he only played a paltry 70-minute set and completely ignored his last album, the 2015 masterpiece “No Place in Heaven.” He admitted in a recent Rolling Stone interview he used the no-frills U.S. dates to test material to unveil in a full-fledged production for the European dates. Um, gee, thanks. I mean, yeah, he’s a way bigger star in Europe so no surprise he keeps his eggs mostly in that basket, but this was such an egregious “fuck you” to his U.S. fanbase, it’s positively insulting. It’s hard to be too upset however as his new album “My Name is Michael Holbrook” (1/2 out of four), out last week, is almost as good as “Heaven” and its equally solid predecessor “The Origin of Love” (2012). The 36-year-old openly gay pop singer/songwriter has hit an unfair sales slump. All his big hits were from his first two albums (“Life in Cartoon Motion” and “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”). They’re hook-laden ear feasts, too, but the last two albums and the new one feature a leaner, more sophisticated pop craftsman that sadly hasn’t caught on. Sales for “Origin” and “Heaven” paled in comparison to the first two records and yielded no major hit singles either here or abroad. “Popular Song,” an Ariana Grande duet, hit no. 87 on the Hot 100. His biggest hit, “Grace Kelly” was a worldwide smash in 2007 but only made it to no. 57 here. Washed up at 36? What’s going on here? Thankfully, artistically that’s not the case. Written entirely by Mika (in most cases with a bevy of co-writers) and a new

production team (Mark Crew and Dan Priddy) “Holbrook” is a lean, glistening pop gem featuring deceptively tight hooks; logical, cascading chord progressions; witty lyrical observations; tons of trademark falsetto vocals; and an overall buttery, easy-on-the-ear sonic shellac that flirts at first with an impression of slightness but ultimately so bombards you with catchy choruses you succumb to its charms even when you try to keep it at bay. Among the standouts are ‘70s-flavored “Paloma,” which starts off as a slightly out-of-tune piano ballad, kicks into a lite bossa nova shuffle, then builds into a finish with strings and choir; the Fleetwood Mac-ish “Sanremo” with its sunny, loungy vibe; and effortlessly breezy and slinky “Dear Jealousy.” First single “Ice Cream” is a sexy, catchy ear worm. The party continues with “Tomorrow” (“who gives a shit about tomorrow?”), another falsetto-soaked charmer. Opening cut “Tiny Love,” is catchy but feels a little pretentious and Beatles-derivative. Much later in the album, “Stay High” keeps the party going with a watusi groove and Monkeesesque chorus. Only occasionally does the album reveal flaws — “Cry” is a bit lame (but not horrific) and screams “B-side.” “Platform Ballerinas” gives things some unexpected rock crunch but feels jarring; Elton Johnish “I Went to Hell Last Night” is just OK and was “Tiny Love Reprise” really necessary? It’s different enough to be its own full cut but gets too big, overblown and soundtracky. A kids’ choir comes in, another character enters — it ultimately falters under its own pretentiousness. That might sound like a lot of quibbling for a three-and-a-half-star review, but the stuff that thrills works so exceedingly well, you just kind of take it and run with it. It’s the musical equivalent of delicately curated but highly accessible textile exhibit — there’s a sense that a lot of these pieces could have come from thrift store finds, but there’s just too many of them and almost no junk that you know you were falsely lulled into thinking this was easy to assemble. No single element is particularly original but it’s so expertly executed, you sense a master pop excavator is continuing work at his peak powers.

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50 Years of Queer D.C. Photos The Washington Blade held a gallery showing of a collection of archival photos at The Outrage on Oct. 4. The exhibition was presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation. D.C. Council member David Grosso served as the featured speaker. Washington Blade photos by Michael Key

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O CTO BE R 11, 2 0 1 9 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 55

Meet Pepco’s Melissa Lavinson Out SVP of Governmental & External Affairs on the importance of diversity, inclusion FROM STAFF REPORTS (Editor’s note: Pepco is powering an important example of diversity and inclusion. In this three-part series, we’ll hear from a senior vice president, an employee with a 30-year tenure, and the company’s own CEO about their unique encounters with diversity and inclusion, how they’ve seen the workplace evolve, and their hopes for the future.) Melissa Lavinson is an energy industry executive, New Jersey-born, hockey-playing mom of a 16-year-old, who has been married to her spouse Robin Kane for nearly 25 years. Lavinson is also a trailblazer in the LGBTQ rights movement, without really trying. The Senior Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs at Pepco Holdings began our conversation by remembering her wedding. “We got married before it was legal to get married,” she says. “No one could stop us.” As longtime friends of the Blade, Lavinson and Kane were featured in the publication as a lead up to their wedding. Diversity and inclusion were not topics of discussion in the workplace when Lavinson was a new professional some 30 years ago. “When I started my career, we didn’t really talk about it,” she says. “We never heard leaders talking about this. It wasn’t something that was front and center. It was something that some organizations valued, but it wasn’t a priority.” But, during her career, she saw things begin to change. “Companies began to understand that they had to have a diverse workforce,” she says. “You have to reflect the communities that you serve. This is something we subscribe to and embrace at Pepco Holdings. And that’s

Photo courtesy Pepco; Photographer Rick Giammaria; “LOVE” mural © 2017 by Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Commissioned and funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Creates Public Art Building Communities Program

fantastic, but you also need to focus on the ‘inclusion’ part of diversity and inclusion.” “You can have a diverse workforce, but if these voices are not included in the decision-making, if this is not reflected around every table, you’re not taking the power that you get from diversity and actually making your business better or making yourself better,” she emphasized. “They have to go together, and I am pleased to be a part of those efforts in my workplace.” Lavinson shares an example of the time a former employer mistakenly scheduled a major employee event during a Jewish holiday. “Had we had people with a range of backgrounds and experiences ‘at the table,’ that could have been avoided. You need people who will ask questions.” During her career, as Lavinson watches the energy industry get better at racial, cultural, and gender diversity, she is also advocating for more diversity at

the head table. “We have the people, but we need to get better as an industry at moving them up the leadership ladder.” She credits champions as playing an important role in her personal career advancement. “I worked in great places and I’ve had great bosses. I’ve had supportive colleagues and co-workers. I got married at 25 and my partner was always embraced. They were always thrilled to see her at functions. When we got pregnant, it was a whole company affair.” She was extremely happy to see Pepco’s sponsorship of the Capital Pride parade for the first time in 2018. The company became even more involved this year. “It gave people the opportunity to celebrate who they are,” she says. “I knew it would have an impact, but to see just how much of an impact it had on people within the company was really awesome. It created an even greater sense of pride.”

Lavinson is aware that people look to her as a role model, and she’s fine with that. “As I’ve progressed in my career, this has provided an opportunity for others to see you can be who you are and get promoted. When you bring your whole self, your authentic self, to work, you can relate to people on many different levels.” “We’re all humans,” Lavinson says. “And at the end of the day, there is some level of comfort in being able to talk with someone who you know has some sort of shared experience, no matter what it is. The more you have that at your workplace, and the more that companies embrace that, the more likely they are to have that dialogue and connection with the communities and the customers they serve.”

Melissa Lavinson

is Senior Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs at Pepco Holdings.

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A night celebrating LGBTQ journalism Washington Blade 50th Anniversary Gala

FRIDAY, OCT. 18 Intercontinental Hotel - Wharf

• Dinner • Open Bar • Guest Speakers • Performance by Frenchie Davis


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D.C. market not as busy as previous Octobers A few tips to help buyers weather a slower economy By DAVID BEDIZ As political uncertainty builds, recession looms and the holidays approach, how can you ensure you are selling for the absolute highest price when you prepare your home for market? Any experienced agent will tell you that the market feels a little squishier than in previous years, even from earlier this year, so to sell at the best terms possible, it will take a little more thought and a lot more strategy than in recent times. While housing sales are a little slower now, I should point out that it is still an excellent time to buy, and fears for longterm price reductions or other housing problems are unfounded. Interest rates are at record lows, and the D.C. area has a unique characteristic that protects it from long-term housing problems: jobs. As such, the city weathered the worst housing crisis the world ever saw with only 5-6% price drops in developed areas, and the whole region rebounded to pre-crisis prices within about 18 months. Therefore, even if we do face an economic slowdown (which, as of yet is still not a recession, since we are still seeing positive growth), there is no reason to believe the city and the region cannot come out of it even stronger, just as before. But in the short term, there is no denying that the market is not quite as “frothy” as it has been in previous Octobers, which is normally a busy time of year as a key month of the fall market. Normally, October is not a distracted month for selling, since there are no major holidays in the month that have the same impact as July 4th or Christmas. In addition, the cooler weather usually makes house hunting more enjoyable, and most people start thinking of nesting for the winter, preferably in a nice new abode. But this October, with impeachment talk dominating the

October is normally busier in D.C. Here are some tips for navigating this somewhat slower time. Photo courtesy of Bigstock

news cycles, and constant henny-penny economic predictions, has seen a little bit of a slowdown. So, to sell before things get even slower, or if you must sell for other reasons, you should follow a few tips to ensure success. 1. Now is the time for professional help. DIY works great in an up market. I contend that you still usually leave money on the table by doing it yourself or with a bargain or tech-only selling solution, but at least you feel like you’re winning because you may still sell for over asking price and settle quickly. In a slower market you need expert advice to repair and renovate the key parts of your home so that you delight buyers instead of scaring them off. Only an experienced, properly compensated adviser has the motivation and knowledge to help you get the biggest bang for your buck when starting these projects. 2. Now is not the time to reach on price. Overpriced listings are punished–

hard–in a slower market. Not only will they not sell in the first two weeks (the most critical time in a listing), but they will then sit, get stale and suffer from stigma: “Why didn’t it sell? What’s wrong with it?” By reaching too high on price, you actually sell for less than you could have by pricing properly to begin with. 3. Get the stuff done that needs to get done. Too often I hear sellers say “Buyers know they can just paint this a different color” or “A buyer may want to choose their own carpet”. NO. In an age dominated by image and split-second reactions, you must hand a buyer as much of a finished product as you can, even if you choose fairly inexpensive materials, rather than counting on their imagination to get the home sold. Paint the walls (visit www.Bediz.com/sellers for my goto color!) and replace the ratty carpet. If you can afford it, give your bathroom and kitchen a facelift. Then stage the property to sell with stylish furniture, a decluttered look and modern decor. If you don’t have

those three things, your agent should be honest and tell you. Paint and staging usually pay for themselves 6 to 1, so there is no reason to spend a small sum to get your property market-ready. For more tips on success in a slowing market, call or visit www.Bediz.com today or contact me at 202-642-1616 or david@ bediz.com for more advice. With 15 years of experience, I’ve seen the worst and help my clients thrive no matter the conditions.

David Bediz

has a top-producing team of agents called Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties. He has also served on the boards of directors of both local Realtor associations. You can reach David at 202-642-1616 or through the main office number at 202-243-7700. Be sure to also follow @bedizgroup on Instagram and Facebook too.

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...Stay for the fall! 35081 Zwaanendael Avenue, Breakwater, Lewes Offered at $399,900 | MLS: 148454

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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.


Well appointed 2 level, 3 BR home, fully furnished w/ 1 BR & private bath to lease. Shared home with the owner, single, professional gay male. Contact: Andrew @ andyboyx@yahoo.com.

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) 8912200. Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A. www.SP-Law. com.


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


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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LARGE FURNISHED ROOM in TOWNHOUSE. Amazing, clean, new construction 2016. Nice quiet neighborhood. Close to a metro, Target (Potomac Yards) Movie theater, fast bus lane on Rt 1, LGBT & straight friendly house. HDWD Floors throughout house, 1st Floor LR/DR & kitchen w/ a bricked back yard w/ charcoal BBQ. 3rd Floor LR w/ furnished Wet bar, beverage/wine fridge & it’s own thermostat. “Soft water” house with tankless water heater. 4th floor Roof Deck, No pets(Sorry, 1 dog house, friendly, small & does not shed), (202) 669-6972.


Playmates and soul mates...

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.



LARGE ARLINGTON HOME (6400 sq.ft.) close in w/ fully furnished large 1 BR, ground level apt. WILL PROVIDE RENT FREE in exchange for mutually agreed to duties in the house. E.G. Walking/caring for 2 Boston Terrier dogs. Applicant must have good credit rating, be employed & provide references. LGBT or straight/ gay friendly person preferred. Please respond via e-mail to ctbtrust@gmail.com

WOMEN SEEKING WOMEN CHICK CHAT a free, lesbian, age 55+ singles group, meets Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 2 - 4 p.m. at the Panera Bread Restaurant (next to Aldi’s) in Beltsville, Md. (10914 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Md. 20705, 301.931.6707). Please RSVP by Oct 15th, 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.

18+ MegaMates.com

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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