Washingtonblade.com, Volume 51, Issue 1, January 3, 2020

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Top 10 local news stories of 2019

Shocking violence targeting LGBTQ people in D.C. tops our list By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

Mayor MURIEL BOWSER presents Blade editor KEVIN NAFF with a proclamation declaring Oct. 18, 2019 ‘Washington Blade Day’ in D.C. at the paper’s 50th anniversary gala. Blade file photo by Zach Brien

We promise to stop writing about ourselves in 2020 after spending much of last year celebrating the Washington Blade’s milestone 50th anniversary. But we are including that event in this roundup of 2019’s top local news stories: No. 10 Blade celebrates 50th anniversary The Washington Blade on Oct. 18 celebrated the 50 anniversary of its founding in 1969 at a gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf in Southwest D.C. A number of prominent activists and public officials joined the Blade’s staff and contributors at the celebration, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 18, 2019 Washington Blade Day. Also attending and speaking at the event was U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the senior openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Broadway star Frenchie Davis sang at the gala event as did the singing ensemble Potomac Fever, which is part of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. Through exhibits and a presentation at the gala and throughout the year in its weekly editions and on its website the Blade has highlighted aspects of its 50-year history of covering the LGBTQQ

community, the LGBTQ rights movement and the societal changes surrounding the rights of LGBTQQ people in the metro D.C. area, nationally and internationally. No. 9 Town nightclub plans to reopen in former D.C. church Owners of the former LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique announced in August plans to reopen under the tentative name of Town 2.0 in a former church on North Capitol Street about a half-mile north of the U.S. Capitol. The announcement came a little over a year after the popular club closed its location at 8th Street and Florida Avenue, N.W. where it operated for more than 10 years when the building it rented was sold to a developer that has since demolished it to build an apartment complex. “After two full years of searching for a potential new space for a nightclub for the LGBTQ community, we are excited to confirm that we have found a space that has remarkable potential,” the Town owners said in a statement in August. But about two months later, opposition surfaced to the plans for a nightclub in the former St. James Baptist Church by the owners and tenants at an apartment building that abuts the former church. Observers say Town made a strong case for how it will soundproof the church building to prevent noise from

DANICA ROEM won re-election to a second term in Virginia. Blade file photo by Michael Key

reaching the apartment building and its residents at a Dec. 4 hearing before the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which is expected to decide on whether to approve a license to allow Town to open in the church building sometime within 90 days of the December hearing. No. 8 Deadlocked jury in trial of men charged in trans murder A D.C. Superior Court judge in April agreed to a request by prosecutors to schedule a second trial for two men charged with the July 4, 2016 murder of D.C. transgender woman Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds. The decision by Judge Milton C. Lee to schedule a new trial, initially set for Feb. 25, 2020 but later changed to June 22, 2020, came one month after the jury in the first trial announced it was deadlocked over the pending charge of first-degree murder while armed against D.C. residents Monte Johnson, 23, and Jolonta Little, 28, prompting Lee to declare a mistrial. No. 7 Whitman-Walker restructures, opens Liz building In what it called a newly adopted “shared leadership model,” WhitmanWalker Health announced in January that its then-CEO Don Blanchon would become the founding CEO of a newly

created nonprofit entity called WhitmanWalker System. In the same announcement, WhitmanWalker said its then-Deputy Executive Director Naseema Shafi would replace Blanchon as CEO. In an open letter to the community, Whitman-Walker said the shared leadership between Blanchon and Shafi was part of a major restructuring of its departments and divisions aimed at strengthening its wide range of healthcare programs and its ability to raise funds to sustain and expand those programs. One of the endeavors WhitmanWalker officials say the restructuring is intended to bring about was the Nov. 6 official reopening of Whitman-Walker’s Elizabeth Taylor Building at 14th and R streets, N.W. The new six-story, mixed use, multimillion dollar building is part of a joint venture development project that Whitman-Walker entered into with a real estate development company. No. 6 Grosso leads fight to decriminalize sex work in D.C. LGBTQ rights advocates were among the strongest supporters of legislation reintroduced in 2019 by D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) to decriminalize sex work in D.C. In his effort to build support for the

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The Liz building opened on 14th Street in late 2019. Blade file photo by Michael Key

decriminalization legislation Grosso has pointed out that transgender sex workers have been among those he believes are being harmed by the city’s current laws against prostitution that result in arrests rather than more productive ways to address the issue. More than 160 witnesses testified for and against Grosso’s bill, the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, during a contentious 14-hour D.C. Council hearing in October. There was insufficient consensus and overall support for the bill to bring it up for a vote in the full Council in 2019. Grosso vowed to continue efforts to advocate for the bill in 2020. No. 5 Changes in Maryland politics The announcement by lesbian State Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore) that she is a candidate for the office of mayor of Baltimore, the passing of civil rights icon and pro-LGBTQ U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and news that longtime Maryland State Senate President Mike Miller was stepping down from that position after serving for 32 years were among the 2019 developments important to LGBTQ rights advocates in Maryland. Washington’s announcement that she was entering the Baltimore mayor’s race came one year after she became the first openly LGBTQ person of color to win election to the Maryland Senate. Prior to her 2018 election to the State Senate Washington served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2011. Miller is credited with playing an important role in helping to pass LGBTQ rights legislation in Maryland despite his social conservative leanings. Although

he said he could not personally support same-sex marriage he allowed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage to advance through the House of Delegates and even took steps to prevent opponents from blocking the bill. No. 4 New Archbishop of D.C. has proLGBTQ record A comment in September by D.C.’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory in support of a transgender man at a public event appeared to confirm the optimism of LGBTQ Catholic activists that he would continue his past policies of welcoming LGBTQ Catholics into the fold of the church. In April Pope Francis named Gregory, 71, as the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, and Gregory was installed into the position on May 21. LGBTQ Catholics familiar with Gregory said he has a record of recognizing and welcoming LGBTQ Catholics during his tenure as Archbishop of Atlanta for the 14 years prior to his appointment as head of the Washington Archdiocese. No. 3 Report reveals scores of undisclosed D.C. hate crimes At least eight but probably many more anti-LGBTQ hate crimes took place in D.C. in 2018 that D.C. police and prosecutors didn’t publicly disclose, according to an August 2019 investigative report by the Washington Post. The post report, which examined police and court records of all 204 incidents designated by D.C. police as hate crimes in 2018, uncovered eight initially undisclosed cases of anti-LGBTQ violence or threats listed by police as hate crimes. One involved a Feb. 2, 2018

From left, KARL CRAVEN and his boyfriend, BRADEN BRECHT, spent several hours in the emergency room after a group of men attacked them on U Street on June 16, 2019. Photo courtesy GoFundMe

incident in which a lesbian was shot in the chest by a co-worker at an outdoor jobsite after the male co-worker harassed her over her sexual orientation. The Post found that out of the 204 reported hate crime cases in D.C. in 2018, police made an arrest in 59 of those cases involving adults. But the Post found that the U.S. Attorney’s office dropped the hate crime designation in all but three of those cases. No. 2. Danica Roem re-elected; Dems win control of Va. legislature Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S., won election to a second term on Nov. 5, defeating by a margin of 57-43 percent a Republican opponent who was backed by an antiLGBTQ organization. Similar to her first successful election campaign two years earlier, Roem emphasized in her 2019 campaign her support for the expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid program and efforts she has led to reduce traffic congestion on Route 28, a major highway in her district. An anti-LGBTQ group that supported Roem’s GOP opponent, Kelly McGinn, and the Prince William Republican Committee, attacked Roem based on her gender identity. In a development that LGBTQ rights advocates in Virginia have called a major breakthrough, Democrats won control of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly in the November election, clearing the way, according to most political observers, for the passage of a statewide LGBTQ rights law in 2020.

No. 1 Record number of violent anti-LGBTQ attacks in D.C. The year 2019 saw what many LGBTQ activists believe to be a record number of violent attacks or threats against LGBTQ people in the D.C. area. Two transgender women, Ashanti Carmon and Zoe Spears, were shot to death in the same suburban Maryland town of Fairmount Heights just across the D.C. line on March 30 and June 13. A gay man, Vongell Lugo, was stabbed to death in his D.C. apartment on Jan. 6 There were 13 separate incidents of assaults and robberies of gay men and transgender women in D.C. who police believe were targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Prince George’s County police have arrested 33-year-old Geraldo Thomas of Baltimore in the Spears murder and D.C. police have arrested 26-year-old Virginia resident Colin Potter in the Lugo case. Police say they have yet to confirm a motive in both of those cases. But in nearly all of the 13 assaults and robbery cases, with arrests made in seven of them, D.C. police have listed the incidents as suspected anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. In separate incidents, one on April 15 and the other on June 16 – both in the U Street, N.W. entertainment area where several gay bars are located – a gay male couple was attacked, beaten, and robbed by groups of male suspects who yelled anti-gay slurs. In the June 16 incident, Braden Brecht, 21, and his boyfriend, Karl Craven, 24, were attacked by a group of more than a dozen male assailants, witnesses told D.C. police, who have arrested two juvenile males and a 19-year-old male in connection with the incident.

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The top national news stories of 2019 Pete Buttigieg’s popularity and Katie Hill’s fall make our list By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

President Trump surprised many by announcing a plan to beat HIV by 2030. Blade file photo by Michael Key

It was another memorable year in LGBTQ news. Here are the staff’s picks for biggest national stories of 2019. No. 10 Methodist Church faces split over LGBTQ inclusion In a disappointing move for LGBTQ parishioners, the Methodist Church this year voted the reaffirm its ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage, raising questions about whether the denomination will split. Although the U.S. delegates at the United Methodist General Conference overwhelmingly voted “no,” the proposal succeeded as a result of an alliance of conservatives from both the United States and abroad. An estimated 43 percent of the delegates are from overseas and overwhelmingly supported the anti-gay policy. After a vote of 438-384, the measure headed for ratification to the Judicial Council, which voided the measure on the basis of “irregularities” in voting. Months later, five bishops representing the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church issued a statement in support of LGBTQ clergy. No. 9 Trump announces plan to beat HIV by 2030 In a surprise move, President Trump

during his State of the Union address this year announced a plan to beat the HIV epidemic by 2030, calling on Congress for help in defeating the disease “in America and beyond.” With the goal to reduce new HIV diagnoses by 75 percent within five years, and by 90 percent within 10 years, Trump’s plan is set to target specific places with high rates of new infections with prevention and treatment services, including free access to PrEP. Trump’s budget proposal sought an additional $300 million in domestic HIV funding to implement the plan, although the request also seeks to cut Medicare and Medicaid and slashes global programs like PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Congress ended up not only agreeing to the domestic funds, but rejecting the proposed cuts. No. 8 Supreme Court green lights trans military ban The U.S. Supreme Court green lighted President Trump’s transgender military ban this year as litigation against the policy continues, allowing the armed forces to refuse enlistment to applicants based on their gender identity. In a policy known as the “Mattis Plan,” the Defense Department allows transgender people currently serving in

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Rep. Katie Hill resigned after admitting to an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a female staffer in a scandal tinged with biphobia. Image courtesy C-SPAN

the armed forces to remain in service, but prohibits in most cases transgender people from enlisting (unless they’re willing to serve in their birth sex), requires the expulsion of any service member who’s diagnosed with gender dysphoria at a later time and fosters a hostile climate for transgender troops still in service. No. 7 Anti-trans violence energizes LGBTQ movement Amid ongoing violence against transgender people, the LGBTQ movement was energized to new levels this year with anger over the perceived inaction on the issue. According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, at least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people were killed by November of 2019, many of whom were people of color. Outrage came to the fore during the Human Rights Campaign forum for Democratic presidential candidates on LGBTQ issues when activists interrupted the event to demand attention to the issue. Among them was Blossom C. Brown who grabbed the mic and blamed the media and the Democratic candidates for failing to address antitrans violence. No. 6 Rep. Katie Hill resigns amid scan-

dal tinged with biphobia Former Rep. Katie Hill, a bisexual lawmaker elected in the 2018 Democratic “blue wave,” resigned her seat representing California’s 52nd congressional district in Congress this year amid an investigation of an improper relationship with a legislative staffer in a scandal tinged with biphobia. The conservative outlet RedState reported she and her husband were involved in a “throuple” relationship with a campaign staffer during the 2018 election. As part of the reporting, RedState published a redacted nude photo of Hill combing the hair of the female staffer. Hill, who was in the process of divorcing her husband, said she was in an “abusive” relationship with him, but admitted to having an “inappropriate” relationship with the staffer. RedState later reported Hill was having an affair with her legislative staffer, which is against House rules. Hill denied the affair was taking place, but the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating the issue. But it didn’t end. The U.K.-based Daily Mail published a nude photo of Hill holding a bong. Hill resigned her seat, threatening legal action against the media outlets for posting images of her as “revenge porn.”

Millions attended NYC’s World Pride and Stonewall 50 celebrations in June. Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers

No. 5 NYC celebrates WorldPride, Stonewall 50th In recognition of the Stonewall riots that began on June 28, 1969 and ignited the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, celebrations were held throughout the country this year in recognition of its milestone 50th anniversary. In New York City, where the Stonewall riots took place on Christopher Street, a major celebration took place at the same time the city hosted WorldPride. An estimated 5 million people came from around the globe to attend. Key to the celebration was recognition of the participation in the riots of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, transgender women of color. The two were honored as pioneers with a new monument in New York City. No. 4 Trump impeached as anti-LGBT policies continue With anti-LGBTQ policies continuing to emanate from his administration, President Trump was impeached this year by the U.S. House, making him one of only three U.S. presidents in history with that dubious distinction. House Democrats impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress based on allegations he

made U.S. aid to Ukraine appropriated by Congress conditional on the country announcing an investigation of his potential political opponent Joe Biden. Meanwhile, anti-LGBTQ policies coming from the Trump administration include new regulations enabling taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse placement into LGBTQ homes over religious objections and medical practitioners to discriminate against transgender patients. No. 3 U.S. House approves Equality Act In a historic first, the U.S. House this year passed comprehensive legislation to enact a long sought prohibition against anti-LGBT discrimination in federal law known as the Equality Act, marking the first time either chamber of Congress approved the measure. First introduced in 2015, the House finally was able to pass the Equality Act thanks to a new Democratic majority put in place after the “blue wave” in the 2018 congressional mid-term elections. The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit antiLGBT discrimination as a form of sex discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, federal programs, jury service, education and credit. The bill would also expand the

Pete Buttigieg’s unexpected and meteoric rise to the top of primary polls is our No. 1 story of the year. Photo courtesy Buttigieg

definition of public accommodations under federal civil rights law and clarify the Religious Freedom Restoration Act can’t be used to justify discrimination. No. 2 Supreme Court to decide if employers can fire LGBTQ workers The U.S. Supreme Court heard major litigation this year that will either determine LGBTQ people have federal non-discrimination protections wherever they exist under federal law on the basis of sex — or no protections whatsoever. In April, justices agreed to hear two cases, Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Altitude Express, which seek clarification on whether anti-gay discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and one case on anti-trans discrimination, Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. During oral arguments in October, the Trump administration argued against LGBTQ inclusion under the law. U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch emerged as a surprising possible LGBTQ ally, suggesting he agrees with the textual argument anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, but has concerns about “massive social upheaval” that would follow such a ruling. No. 1 Buttigieg rises to top in 2020

campaign South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg rose to the top of the Democratic primary this year, drawing on his skills as a speaker and prodigious fundraiser to make history as an openly gay presidential candidate. With polls showing him in the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg — who’s also an Afghanistan war veteran and a Millennial candidate — is in the same league with Democratic contenders Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Among his plans: Medicare for All Who Want It, a “Douglass Plan” to address racial inequities, and abolition of the Electoral College. Buttigieg has emerged as a moderate alternative to more progressive candidates. On his way to the top, Buttigieg continues to face criticism for not being representative of more disadvantaged sectors of the LGBTQ community. Although Buttigieg at one point falsely blamed LGBTQ media for those complaints, he later retracted those comments. Honorable mentions: Alphonso David named HRC president; Chicago elects lesbian mayor; first National Transgender Visibility March on Washington deemed success.

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Top 10 international news stories of 2019 Plight of LGBTQ migrants, Chechen crackdown attract coverage By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com have to fight against it!” Luxembourg is a small, wealthy European country that borders France, Belgium and Germany. Bettel took office in 2015.

While some countries forge ahead on a more progressive path, others, including the United States, took big steps backwards on LGBTQ equality in 2019. Our staff picks for the top 10 international news stories of the year: No. 10 Countries grant marriage rights Taiwan and Northern Ireland in 2019 became the latest countries to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Taiwan in May became the first country in Asia to allow gays and lesbians to marry after lawmakers approved a same-sex marriage bill. A law that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland took effect on Oct. 22. Angola and Botswana this year became the latest countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations, although the Botswana government has appealed the High Court ruling that legalized homosexuality. Media reports indicate lawmakers in Gabon in July approved a new penal code that bans “sexual relations between people of the same sex.” No. 9 Anti-LGBTQ violence persists in Latin America Rates of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remained high throughout Latin America in 2019. Camila Díaz Córdova, a transgender woman from El Salvador who the U.S. deported in 2017, died on Feb. 3 after she was found at a hospital with multiple injuries. Three Salvadoran police officers have been charged with Díaz’s murder. Bruna Benevides of Associação Nacional dos Travestis e Transsexuais, a Brazilian trans advocacy group, on Sept. 13 said during an International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights event in D.C. that a trans person is killed in her country every 48 hours. The International Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) in November said four LGBTQ people are killed each day in Latin America.

Yariel Valdés González is a Blade contributing writer who is being detained by ICE under inhumane conditions. A judge granted him asylum but the government appealed the ruling, keeping him in custody. Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers

No. 8 Cuba continues crackdown on LGBTQ activists, journalists The Cuban government in 2019 continued its crackdown against independent LGBTQ activists and journalists. Cuban police on May 11 arrested several people who took part in an unsanctioned LGBTQ march in Havana. The event took place less than a week after the National Center for Sexual Education, a group directed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro, cancelled its International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia marches that were scheduled to take place in the Cuban capital and in the city of Camagüey. The Cuban government on May 8 refused to allow this reporter into the country after arriving at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Maykel González Vivero, director and co-founder of Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, is among

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the independent journalists who the Cuban government has prohibited from leaving the country. The U.S. on Sept. 18 granted asylum to Yariel Valdés González, a Blade contributor who suffered persecution in Cuba because he is a journalist. He remains in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody because his case has been appealed. No. 7 Gay Luxembourg leader addresses U.N. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Sept. 24 became the first out head of government to speak about LGBTQ-specific issues at a U.N. General Assembly. “Being gay is not a choice, but not accepting it is a choice,” said Bettel at a U.N. LGBTI Core Group event that focused on efforts to end anti-LGBTQ hate speech in social and traditional media. “Homophobia is a choice and we

No. 6 Hong Kong reaffirmed as 2022 Gay Games host The Federation of Gay Games and the Gay Games Hong Kong Management Team in November reaffirmed the decision to hold the 2022 Gay Games in Hong Kong, despite pro-democracy protests that rocked the city this year. The protests began in response to a proposed law that would allow Hong Kong to extradite residents to China for prosecution. The pro-democracy movement, which includes prominent LGBTQ activists, continues, even though Chief Executive Carrie Lam scrapped the proposal. Hong Kong was a British colony until China regained control of it in 1997 under an agreement with the U.K. Lam’s proBeijing party in November suffered serious loses in Hong Kong’s local elections. No. 5 Murders of at least 331 transgender people Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide, a project that Transgender Europe launched, on Nov. 20 published a report that says 331 “trans and genderdiverse people” were reported killed between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019. The report notes Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. had the highest number of murders. Two trans women of color — Ashanti Carmon and Zoe Spears — were killed in Fairmount Heights, Md., on March 30 and June 13 respectively. Victor MadrigalBorloz, the U.N.’s LGBTQ rights watchdog, told the Blade after Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide released its report the number of trans people reported killed is “only the tip of the iceberg.” No. 4 Brunei penal code sparks global backlash A provision of Brunei’s new penal code that sought to impose the death

George Clooney called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel after Brunei adopted a penal code imposing the death penalty for anyone found guilty of same-sex sexual relations.

A June pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy Voice of America/public domain

penalty for anyone found guilty of consensual same-sex sexual relations sparked outrage around the world. The State Department, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet are among those who sharply criticized the penal code. Ellen DeGeneres and George Clooney also called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other properties that Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah owns. The Bruneian government in May announced it had placed a moratorium on the death penalty in the country. No. 3 Anti-LGBTQ crackdown continues in Chechnya The anti-LGBTQ crackdown in Chechnya continued in 2019. The Russian LGBT Network on Jan. 14 said at least two people were killed and upwards of 40 others were detained

in a “new wave of illegal detentions in Chechnya based on the alleged sexual orientation of victims, both men and women.” The Blade in April spoke with a gay man from Chechnya with HIV who said he asked for asylum in the U.S. “It’s not safe for gay people,” he said, referring to Chechnya. The State Department in January described the additional reports from the Russian LGBT Network as “deeply disturbing.” President Trump has not publicly commented on the crackdown. No. 2 Homophobic Brazilian president takes office Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1. Bolsonaro, a former Brazilian Army captain, continues to face widespread criticism over his rhetoric against LGBTQ Brazilians and other underrepresented groups. Bolsonaro on March 19 stressed his

government’s “respect of traditional family values” and opposition to “gender identity” as he spoke alongside President Trump during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. Bolsonaro on the same day met with Pat Robertson and other evangelical Christians. Bolsonaro was scheduled to accept an award from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York on May 14. Bolsonaro cancelled his planned trip to the U.S. after LGBTQ activists, among others, pressured sponsors to withdraw their sponsorship of the event. No. 1 Trump immigration policy puts LGBTQ migrants at risk President Trump’s hardline immigration policies continue to place LGBTQ migrants at risk. Activists on both sides of the MexicoU.S. border with whom the Blade spoke in 2019 said the White House’s controversial “remain in Mexico” program that forces

migrants to remain in Mexico as they await the outcome of their asylum cases places LGBTQ migrants at increased risk of violence. Activists have also sharply criticized U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over its treatment of LGBTQ migrants who are in their custody. More than two-dozen transgender women who were in ICE custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center, a privately run facility in rural New Mexico, on June 26 signed a letter in which they complained about inadequate health care and mistreatment from staff. A dozen gay men and trans women in March said they suffered “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse” at the Otero County Processing Center, another privately run ICE detention center in New Mexico. Johana “Joa” Medina León, a trans woman from El Salvador with HIV, on June 1 died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. ICE released her from its custody three days before her death.

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Blade Photos by Michael Key

A candlelight vigil is held for Congell Lugo on Jan. 11. Lugo was stabbed to death in his apartment in Northwest D.C. on Jan. 6.

Emerson Aniceto is named ‘Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2019’ on Jan. 20.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs its show ‘Working’ at Atlas Performing Arts Center on Feb. 9.

The Washington Blade holds its ‘2019 Most Eligible LGBT Singles party at Soundcheck on Feb. 9.

A group of LGBT asylum-seekers from Central America meet with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton at Casa Ruby on March 26.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) holds a fundraiser and rally at City Winery on April 4.

Famed auteur John Waters meets with the Blade at his Baltimore home on May 2.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) speaks at a press conference near the U.S. Capitol on May 17 about the reintroduction of the Equality Act.

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Blade Photos by Michael Key

The National Center for Transgender Equality holds a rally at the White House on May 29 calling for the preservation of transgender health protections in the Affordable Care Act.

The Blade holds its second annual ‘Pride on the Pier’ celebration on June 8 with a fireworks show sponsored by Compass.

The Blade holds a panel discussion for ‘LGBTQ Enterprising Women’ at Keegan Theatre on Aug. 21.

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams celebrate their company’s 30 year anniversary on Sept. 12 at their 14th Street store in Washington, D.C.

New HRC President Alphoso David speaks with the Blade at the Human Rights Campaign Building on Sept. 24.

The National Trans Visibility March stretches along Pennsylvania Ave. on Sept. 28.

Out performer Ricky Martin speaks at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Sept. 28.

Portions of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt are unfurled at a ceremony at the Library of Congress on November 20.

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Cottonelle’s 2019 ad that included a gay couple angered some TV watchers. ‘Down there care from Cottonelle … down there because today you meet the parents,’ the voiceover says. ‘So before they sit you down, give your booty a confidence boost with cleaning ripples that remove more at once for a superior clean and make you feel like the kind of guy he takes home to mother.’


Screenshot via YouTube

Each year in late December , the Blade staff gets curious — and competitive — about which stories drew the most web traffic. This year’s list includes some obvious scoops and historic moments — and some surprises. The top 10 WashingtonBlade.com stories by traffic in 2019 were:

No. 6 Cottonelle’s gay toilet paper ad draws criticism No. 5 Transgender woman deported from US murdered in El Salvador No. 4 Police release video, photos of suspects in attack on D.C.#1 trans woman PROOF


No. 10 STUNNER: Log Cabin endorses Trump for re-election

No. 3 Brandon Flynn responds to rumors REVISIONS he’s dating Richard Madden REDESIGN

No. 9 Patti LuPone slammed for telling Lindsey Graham to come out

IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS No. 2 EXCLUSIVE: Trump comes out NO REVISIONS against Equality Act

No. 8 Why aren’t more Trump supporters embarrassed by him?

No. 1 Supreme Court sets Oct. 8 to hear whether workers can be fired for being LGBT

No. 7 New Fla. guv excludes LGBT people from non-discrimination order


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times when nothing short ofshort the bestofwill do.best A memorial ThereThere areare times when nothing the will do. A SALES REPRESENTATIVE:

service is service one of them. is a final expression, theaculmination of a lifetime the memorial isItone of them. It is final expression, culmination of a lifetime orchestrated into a singular event. What leaves a lasting impression? A ceremony that is as unique as the individual. We’ll help you plan ahead and design every detail of your own remarkable send-off.

orchestrated a singular event. Whatofleaves a lasting REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must beinto submitted within 24 hours the date of impression? proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of ceremony thattheis week as unique as the individual. the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 A pm wednesday, of publication.Brown naffWe’ll pitts help you plan omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is ahead and design every of your to ownwhich remarkable send-off. responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/ordetail any material users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to yo liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred washington blade newspaper. This includes by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. and warranties.

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


If you haven’t read author PATRICIA NELL WARREN’s essential ‘The Front Runner,’ then your gay card is in jeopardy.

VALERIE HARPER had a strong, special connection to the queer community.

Remembering the queer voices and allies we lost in 2019

Authors, artists and others who changed the world By KATHI WOLFE

Many acclaimed LGBTQ people died in 2019. They include: Carol Channing, the legendary Broadway actress, died on Jan. 15 at age 97 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was best know for her performances as Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly!” Mary Oliver, a lesbian poet, died on Jan. 17 at her Florida home at age 83. Her collection “American Primitive, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize. Harris Wofford, a Democratic senator and civil rights crusader, died on Jan. 21 at age 92. After his wife died, Wofford fell in love with Matthew Charlton. They married in 2018.

Barbra Siperstein, a transgender rights crusader died on Feb. 3 at age 76 from cancer at a New Brunswick, N.J. hospital. A New Jersey law bears her name. It permits people in New Jersey to change their gender on their birth certificates without having to prove they’ve had surgery. Patricia Nell Warren, author of the 1974 novel “The Front Runner” died on Feb. 9 at age 82 in Santa Monica, Calif. from lung cancer. The iconic book was one of the first to feature an open samesex male relationship. Hilde Zadek, a Vienna State Opera mainstay, died on Feb. 21 at 101 in Karlsruhe, Germany. She debuted in the

title role of in Verdi’s “Aida” in 1947. She retired in 1971. Jackie Shane, a black transgender soul singer who received a 2018 Grammy nomination for best historical album for her album “Any Other Way,” died at age 78 in Nashville. Her body was found at her home on Feb. 21. Giliam Freeman, the British novelist who wrote the 1961 novel “The Leather Boys” died on Feb. 23 at age 89 in London. The book was one of the first to portray working-class gay characters. Carrie Ann Lucas, a queer lawyer and disability rights advocate, died on Feb. 24 at age 47 in Loveland, Colo. She championed the rights of disabled parents. John Richardson, an art historian renowned for his four-volume biography of Pablo Picasso, died at age 95 on March 12 at his Manhattan home. Barbara Hammer, a lesbian filmmaker, died at age 79 from ovarian cancer at her partner Florrie Burke’s home in Manhattan on March 16. Hammer celebrated lesbian sexuality in “Dyketactics” and other films. Dr. Richard Green, a psychiatrist, died at age 82 on April 6 at his London home. He was one of the first to critique the idea that being queer is a psychiatric disorder. Michael Fesco, the nightclub owner who provided open spaces (Ice Palace, Flamingo and other venues) for gay men to dance when LGBTQ people couldn’t be out, died on April 12 at age 84 in Palm Springs, Calif. Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old, queer Northern Ireland journalist, died on April 18. She was killed while covering violence in Londonderry. Giuliano Bugialli, a gay culinary historian and three-time James Beard Award winner, died at age 88 on April 26 in Viareggio, Italy. Doris Day, queer icon, actress and singer best known for her romantic comedies with Rock Hudson, died at age 97 on May 13 at her Carmel Valley, Calif. home from pneumonia. Binyavanga Wainaina, a Kenyan author, founder of the magazine “Kwani?” and one of the first prominent African writers to come out as gay, died at age 48 on May 21 in a Nairobi hospital. Charles A. Reich, author of the 1970 counter-culture manifesto “The Greening of America,” died on June 15 at age 91 in San Francisco. Douglas Crimp, an art critic and AIDS activist, died on July 5 at age 74 at his Manhattan home from multiple myeloma. He wrote many articles for journals. Yet he also attended meetings of the AIDS group ACT UP. Elka Gilmore, a queer chef known for her fusion cuisine, died at age 59 on July 6 in San Francisco. The New York Times

Magazine called her “the enfant terrible of the modern California kitchen.” George Hodgman, a gay editor, died on July 19 at age 60 at his Manhattan home. The cause was thought to be suicide. Hodgman’s memoir “Bettyville” is his story of staying in Paris, Mo. with his widowed mother who had dementia. Lee Bennett Hopkins, a gay poet who wrote and edited many books for children, died on Aug. 8 at age 81 in Cape Coral, Fla. In 2018, he edited “World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum.” Sally Floyd, one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), a widely used internet algorithm, died at age 69 on Aug. 25 at her Berkeley, Calif. home from cancer. She is survived by her wife Carole Leita. Valerie Harper, the actress best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died on Aug. 30 at age 80 from cancer. Harper was D.C.’s 2009 Capital Pride Parade grand marshal. Rip Taylor, a gay comedian known as The King of Confetti, died on Oct. 6 at age 88 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. John Giorno, a gay artist, died on Oct. 11 at his home in Manhattan at age 82. In 1969, he founded Dial-A-Poem, a communications system enabling people to hear Allen Ginsberg and other poets read their poems. Gillian Jagger, an artist whose work (installations of animal carcasses and tree trunks) wasn’t aligned with any one movement, died on Oct. 21 in Ellenville, N.Y. at age 88. “I felt that nature held the truth I wanted,” she told the U.K’s Public Monuments and Sculpture Association magazine. She is survived by her wife Connie Mander. Howard Cruse, a gay cartoonist whose comic strip “Wendel” ran in The Advocate for several years, died on Nov. 26 at age 75 in Pittsfield, Mass. from lymphoma. His graphic novel “Stuck Rubber Baby” and other work influenced other queer cartoonists. He is survived by his husband Ed Sedarbaum. Michael Howard, a gay military historian and decorated combat veteran and pioneer of the “English school” of strategic studies, died on Nov. 30 in Swindon, England at age 97. Shelley Morrison, who played Rosario on “Will and Grace” from 1999 to 2006, died on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles at age 83 from heart failure. William Luce, who wrote the acclaimed plays “The Belle of Amherst” about Emily Dickinson and “Barrymore” about John Barrymore, died on Dec. 9 at a memory-care facility in Green Valley, Ariz. at age 88. Ray Lewis, his partner of 50 years, died in 2001.

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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.


2019 marked by impeachment of Trump PETER ROSENSTEIN

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

Let’s hope next year’s headline is ‘Decent Americans reclaim their country!’ In any 2019 Year in Review, the lead must be the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. It took over the news media for months culminating in a vote of two Articles of Impeachment against the president by the House of Representatives. A Senate trial is expected in 2020, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to send the articles to the Senate before holiday recess. Much of 2019 was consumed with the disgusting policies of the Trump administration and supported by his Republican sycophants in Congress. It is clear there is no Republican Party as we once knew it; rather it is now the Party of Trump. We have a president whose tweets have taken over the headlines and reading them can make anyone with a brain and a lick of decency sick to their stomach. He and his administration kept doing things to take our country backwards and designed to make happy our enemies abroad and white nationalists, neo-Nazis, sexists, racists and homophobes here at home. So much was focused on all of this it overshadowed some wonderful things that happened. At the federal government level, the Democraticcontrolled House of Representatives

under the leadership of Pelosi passed literally hundreds of great bills moving forward progressive goals on such issues as gun control, healthcare, voting rights, climate change and education. These bills are now accumulating dust on the desk of ‘Moscow Mitch,’ otherwise known as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.). We are in the midst of a Democratic primary and while some have a problem with one candidate or another every person running for the Democratic nomination for president is headand-shoulders better than Trump. In November, Democrats celebrated great results in the Virginia legislative elections when they took over both houses of the legislature for the first time since 1995. Then there were victories in both the Kentucky and Louisiana gubernatorial elections, all this boding well for Democrats in 2020. When it came to local government in D.C. for the first time in many years people have a much more positive view of their public school system and student achievement is going up. Residents also have a very positive view of Mayor Muriel Bowser. While it was sad to see Michael Kahn retire after 33 years as artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, it was exciting when Georgetown University presented him an honorary doctoral degree. Also good news for theater lovers was the first season of shows at the STC commissioned by the very talented Simon Godwin who took over the position of artistic director from Kahn. Another highlight of 2019 was the Washington Blade’s celebration of 50 years of service to the LGBTQ community with great reporting, exciting editions

of the paper with a new cover design, culminating with a successful gala. The beneficiary of the gala was the Blade Foundation, which is offering fellowships and scholarships to aspiring LGBTQ journalists. Then I personally had the honor of writing about dozens of members of the LGBTQ+ community in my Comings & Goings column. It is fun to share information on members of the community who got new jobs, received awards, wrote books, and in general had great success. It is also the year of the next generations. Mayor Pete who is only 37 and openly gay is being taken seriously as a candidate for president. Greta Thunberg who is only 16 from Sweden was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for her activism on climate change. The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who organized the March for our Lives in 2018 have continued their fight for gun control throughout 2019 and those like David Hogg now at Harvard continue to lead this organization of young activists. As we move into 2020, it is clear the first part of the year will be taken up with headlines about the impeachment trial of Trump in the United States Senate. It is my hope it ends quickly and the focus can be returned to the 2020 elections. We know Trump will not be convicted by Republicans who control the Senate. It will be a year focused on the November elections with the first months leading to Democrats choosing their nominee to run against Trump and the second part of the year heading to the Nov. 3, 2020 election of the next president. Let’s hope the headline in a review of 2020 will be ‘Decent Americans reclaim their country!’




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

‘Out’ and ‘In’ for 2020

A short, selective, and sardonic list for a new decade Modern-day accelerating news cycles and dizzying current events would cause the late gay artist and cultural influencer Andy Warhol to revise his iconic “15 minutes of fame” duration. In that spirit, this is a short, selective, sardonic, and undoubtedly momentary list for the New Year as we barrel out of the last one and into the next decade: OUT Impeachments Equality Act Drag Queens Youth Vote Hosts Anderson Cooper/Andy Cohen on CNN ‘New Year’s Eve Live’ Republican Tax Cuts for the Rich (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) Peloton Wife Leaving Facebook Bernie Learning to Code Vaping Nicotine Socialism Popeye’s Home Deliveries Amtrak Strip Clubs Twitter Ratios The Wharf NIMBYism Climate Concern Gay Adoption Political Polling Bike Lanes Danceclub Licensing Objections Government Spying Viewers Yelling at Cable TV News Shows Public Transit Gender Gap D.C. Late Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry Income Inequality Grindr Rachel Maddow in the evening Virtue Signaling Metro Fare Hikes LGBTQWERTY+ Anti-Tipping ROC-DC/OneFairWage Deep State Two-Income Households Outrage of the Day Donald Trump Edibles Personal Pronouns Medicare for All Sex Workers Food Trucks LGBT Assimilation 2019

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

IN Elections Fairness for All Act Gender-Fluid Pre-Schoolers Geriatric Presidential Candidates Co-Host Billy Porter from New Orleans on CBS ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ Democratic Tax Cuts for the Rich (SALT Cap Repeal Bill) Peloton Husband Returning to Facebook Pete Learning a Trade Smoking Cigarettes Capitalism Chik-fil-A Leaving the House Maglev Robot Sex Brothels ‘The Purge’ Buzzard Point Liberal Guilt SPF-500 Rescue Dogs Kayfabe Wrestling Uber Helipads APPLY FOR DISCOUNTED RATES ON : Town 2.0 Nightclub Electric Natural Gas Auditing Alexa Residential Aid Discount (RAD) Program Residential Essential Service (RES) Program Cable TV News Shows Yelling at Viewers Electric Scooters RES eligible customers will Potential savings of receive an approximate Gender Gap $300-475 annually. 25% discount on total bill. A Third-Term D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Free Stuff LinkedIn Robin Roberts in the morning Water Telephone Whispered Opinions Customer Assistance Program (CAP) Lifeline Program (Economy II) ADVERTISIN Metro Fare Evasion Annual discount on Gay & Lesbian Potential discount could PROOF #1 ISSUE DATE: 171208 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: one land line service D.C. Bar and Restaurant Workers Alliance be over $500.00 annually. per household. REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of Big Government the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts REVISIONS omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is Stay-at-Home Husbands REDESIGN responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or TEXT REVISIONS Two Minutes Hate any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, Marianne Williamson or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the ADVERTISER SIGNATURE NO REVISIONS washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all By signing this proof you are agreeing to yo Bong Hits liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred washington blade newspaper. This includes by brown naff the pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach(Economy of any of the foregoing representations payment and insertion schedule. To apply for telephone Lifeline Service II),call 1-800-837-4966 and warranties. First Names These discounts are for DC residents only and are subject to income eligibility requirements. Concierge Medicine Independent Contractors Food Halls Suburban Throuples 2020

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Iconic and ignominious Top LGBT pop culture ’19 moments find African-American stars in the spotlight By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com HONORABLE MENTION — “Queer Eye” guys ubiquitous (Photo courtesy Netflix) It was another huge year for the “Queer Eye” guys. Antoni Porowski (food and wine) was named People Magazine’s sexiest reality star. Tan France (fashion) released his memoir “Naturally Tan” in June. Karamo Brown (culture) released his memoir “Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope” and a children’s book; he was also on “Dancing With the Stars.” Bobby Berk (design) was the most low key while Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) exploded with the fall release of his memoir “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love” in which he revealed a history of drug addiction, childhood sexual abuse and being HIV-positive. No. 10 — Queer superheroes galore! (Photo courtesy The CW) LGBTQ superheroes are all the rage. “Batwoman,” featuring a lesbian title character (a first), debuted Oct. 6 on The CW. Her out peers are Alex Danvers (“Supergirl”), Nia Nal (“Supergirl,” also the first trans superhero on TV), Sara Lance (The CW’s “Arrowverse” franchise), John Constantine (“Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow”) and Anissa Pierce (“Black Lightning”). No. 9 — Robyn Crawford FINALLY opens up about Whitney Houston (Photo courtesy Dutton/Plume) After decades of speculation, Whitney Houston gal pal/confidante/BFF Robyn Crawford FINALLY opened up about the true nature of their relationship with her November memoir “A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston.” Having sat out for two major Houston docs, Crawford (now married with a wife and kids) writes that for a short period

before Houston was famous, they were teen lovers. Houston died in 2012 at age 48 of an accidental drowning. No. 8 — “Rocketman” (Photo courtesy Paramount) The Elton John biopic was released in May and grossed $195 million against a $40 million budget. It drew largely positive reviews and is up for three Golden Globe Awards. John and Paramount criticized a distribution company that cut out five minutes of footage for Russian release, thus neutering the film of any gay or drug content. No. 7 — Janet Mock goes big (Photo by Ted Eytan via Wikimedia) In June, Janet Mock signed a threeyear deal with Netflix giving its execs exclusive rights to her TV series and a first-look option on feature film projects, thus making her the first openly trans woman of color to secure a deal with a major content company. No. 6 — Billy Porter wins ‘Pose’ Emmy (NATAS screenshot via Fox broadcast) “Pose,” the Ryan Murphy FX period drama about queer life in the ‘80s and ‘90s, was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the Primetime Emmys. Star Billy Porter won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Emmy becoming the first openly gay black man to win (or be nominated) in an Emmy lead acting category. Porter and the show were up for 2019 Golden Globes but lost. Porter is up for another in January. Porter also made a splash in February for wearing a tux/gown combo to the Oscars.

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Lil Nas X, Porter, Mock among high-profile LGBT moments of 2019 No. 5 — Taylor Swift “You Need to Calm Down” video (Screen capture via Vimeo) “You Need to Calm Down” was a June release and the second single from Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover.” It won two of the nine VMAs it was up for at the MTV Awards and the song is nominated for a Grammy. Its video features cameos by Hannah Hart, Laverne Cox, Chester Lockhart, Todrick Hall, Hayley Kiyoko, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the “Queer Eye” cast, Adam Rippon (seen here selling sno-cones), Adam Lambert, Ellen, Billy Porter, RuPaul (and a bunch of “Drag Race” vets), Katy Perry and Ryan Reynolds. It’s amassed more than 161 million views on YouTube. No. 4 — Lil Nas X (Photo courtesy Fabebk via Wikimedia) The rapper/singer/songwriter (age 20) hit big with the country/rap single “Old Town Road,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there 10 weeks, a record. He came out in June, the only artist to have done so while having a No. 1 hit. He also became the first openly LGBT artist to win a Country Music Association Award. He’s up for six Grammys. No. 3 — Stonewall 50/WorldPride NYC 2019 (Photo by Christian Montone via Wikimedia) A massive series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall in New York in June. Madonna headlines on Pride Island (Pier 97) in Hell’s Kitchen along with Grace Jones and others. Melissa Etheridge performs at the closing ceremony in Times Square. No. 2 — Jussie Smollett attack drama (Photo courtesy Wikimedia) It started Jan. 29 when then-36year-old openly gay actor, known for his role as Jamal on the Fox drama “Empire,” told police he was attacked outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks who shouted racial and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown liquid on him and put a noose

around his neck. He was not seriously hurt. On Feb. 20, he was charged with a felony for filing a false police repot. On March 26, all charges were dropped. Smollett agreed to community service and forfeit of his $10,000 bond. The next day it was announced the FBI would investigate why the charges were dismissed. Three ensuing lawsuits are pending. Speculation varies widely on what actually happened. In late April, it was announced that his Fox contract had been renewed although there were no plans for him to appear on “Empire’s” sixth season. If it seems trivial now, recall the saturation news coverage it got all winter and into spring. No. 1 — Megan Rapinoe’s breakout year On July 7, soccer legend Megan Rapinoe put the U.S. up 1-0 in the 2019 World Cup final against the Netherlands. It was a seminal moment. In front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 58,000 people at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Rhone, France, Rapinoe scored her 50th international goal on a penalty kick in the 61st minute. After a second goal by teammate Rose Lavelle, the U.S. defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to cinch its second consecutive World Cup championship. At age 34, Rapinoe was the oldest woman to score in a World Cup final and was named Player of the Match. Several accolades followed. Rapinoe, a lesbian and LGBT advocate, was just named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year becoming just the fourth woman in its 66-year history to win it solo. Sports Illustrated said the gallant pose Rapinoe struck in her triumphant moment was “the signature sporting image of 2019.”

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Two-thousand-nineteen was the year we revamped Queery, a long-running Blade feature of more than a decade. For year in review, we revisit some of our favorite answers of the year. By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? Since college. It sounds cliché but probably myself. I was called fag in school before I really even knew what I was. Guess they were right! (Brian Pitts) Who’s your LGBTQ hero? My cousin Jamal. He came out to our entire family back in the mid-‘90s and was completely unapologetic about it. I admired and envied his courage. (Darryl Pilate) What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you? I don’t like when people believe that gay couples have to adapt to heterosexual gender norms in a homosexual relationship. There doesn’t have to be a masculine and feminine role. We’re not trying to replicate straight relationships. (Kevin Wiggins) What’s your proudest professional achievement? After receiving a request from Lambda Legal for AARP to file an amicus brief in support of Marshal Wetzel, my proudest professional achievement was the day AARP Foundation Litigation Chief Bill Rivera emailed me the brief we filed in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court. Marsha had become the subject of harassment

in an assisted living facility because she’s an out lesbian and the administrators did not act to keep her safe from harassment. I knew doing so was a consequential next step for our organization and the LGBT movement. (Nii-Quartelai Quartey) What terrifies you? Leaving the world worse than I found it. That and locked-in syndrome. (Van Goodwin) What’s something trashy or vapid you love? Candy corn and circus peanuts. (Amanda J. Hackett) What’s your greatest domestic skill? I can properly fold a fitted bedsheet! (I worked in home fashions at Sears in high school.) (Darryl Pilate) What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? “Sense 8” — I love how the LGBTQ storylines are just naturally interwoven in the story and I love the fantasy/science fiction aspect of the show. (Sharifa LaVonne Love-Schnur) What’s your social media pet peeve? The humble brag. (Kathi Wolfe) 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. (CV Viverito) What’s the most overrated social custom? Cheesy bachelorette parties with the sash, veil, all of that. (Brandt Ricca) What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today? First Pentecostal, then Holiness and now Baptist. I love church. I could never see myself not fellowshipping and getting a word from God. (Beverly “Miss Chocolate” White) What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem? The Volta pool in Georgetown. (James Taglauer) What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Seeing Sylvester walking around King’s Dominion then later watching him join Patti LaBelle onstage. (Tony Nelson) What celebrity death hit you hardest? Aaliyah. She was young and I was around her age at the time. I could not believe that something like that could happen to such a sweet person. I could

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not get out of my head how tragic the accident was and for it to happen after ending a great music video shoot. It seemed unreal. (Carlos Richardson) If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be? Not allowing fear to hold me back from who I am so long but oh well I’m here now! (Morgen Hunt) What are your obsessions? Binge watching “Charmed.” In the past five years, I’ve watched all eight seasons about 20 times. I think I’m due for another. (Nichelle Johnson/DJ Honey) Finish this sentence — It’s about damn time: We had more LGBTQ Americans in state and local elected office, in judgeships, in Congress and in the White House. We have a lot of “firsts” left to go. (Byron Macfarlane)

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What do you wish you’d known at 18? That everything passes and that your tribe is one of the most important things in life, family is what you make it. (Luke Frazier) Why Washington? Hometown Pride Tugberk)



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Tuesday, Jan. 7

Poker Face 2000s Dance Party is tonight at 9 p.m. at the DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.). Tickets are free in advance and $5 the day of for this 21-and-up event. For more information, visit dc9.club.

Jesse Valenzuela of the Gin Blossoms performs at Rams Head on Stage (33 West St., Annapolis, Md.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 on Eventbrite.

Saturday, Jan. 4

A League of Her Own in Adams Morgan hosts a Queer/Trans Fusion Dance on Jan. 19. Blade file photo


Bowie Ball is Jan. 9 Bowie Ball returns to the U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., N.W.) Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. for a one-night birthday celebration for music and cultural icon David Bowie. Tickets are $8. This event is a glam and drag dance party featuring Bowiesque sets by D.J. Heaven Malone, a Bowie costume contest, a glitter and glam makeup booth and a special “Club Bowie” D.J. set. Bowie’s career crossed boundaries and decades from 1969’s “Space Oddity,” through 1981’s “Under Pressure” Queen collaboration, to his final album “Blackstar” in 2016. For more information, visit bowieball. com.

Fusion Dance is Jan. 19 Queer/Trans Fusion Dance: Amargue Bachata Night is Sunday, Jan. 19 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at A League of Her Own (2319 18th St., N.W.). This event features Dominicaninspired music and dance led by special guest instructor Tina Cavicchio. The beginner and intermediate workshop starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $12. The open dance and social time begins at 8. QT Fusion Dance D.C. has hosted LGBTQ social partner dance events across the district since 2017 and is organized by queer women. For tickets and information, visit qtfusiondance.wordpress.com.

The Scavenger Hunt of the Smithsonians is today from 11:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. beginning at Ollie’s Trolley Restaurant (425 12th St., N.W.). The race starts at noon and first prize is free admission to an upcoming Embassy Gala. Tickets are $20 on thingstododc. com. Rewind: Request Line is tonight at 9 p.m. at Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.). This dance party is hosted by D.J. Darryl Strickland and features ‘80s and ‘90s music videos all night long. For more information, visit greenlanterndc.com.

Sunday, Jan. 5 Today is Free Community Day at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave., N.W.) from noon-5 p.m. Admission is free to explore current exhibitions and events such as “Judy Chicago” and “Fierce Women.” For more information, visit nmwa.org.

Monday, Jan. 6 Singing with the Sisters is tonight at 9 p.m. for weekly Karaoke at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.). The public is invited to join the D.C. Sisters for heavenly mayhem at happy hour prices. More information is available at greenlanterndc.com.

Wednesday, Jan. 8 Lez Read is tonight from 7-8 p.m. at Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). This group reads a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction books on lesbian and queer themes or titles that were written by lesbian or queeridentified writers. For more information, email bookgroups@politics-prose.com. Capital Classics presents “PeeWee’s Big Adventure” at 7:30 p.m. at Landmark’s West End Cinema (2301 M St., N.W.). Actor-comedian Paul Reuben’s quirky ‘80s character searches for his stolen bike in this cult classic. Ticket information is available on landmarktheatres.com. D.C. Lambda Squares offer beginning dance lessons starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th St., N.W.). Sessions will run for 20 weeks. Cost is $90. Details at dclambdasquares.org.

Thursday, Jan. 9 Thirst Trap Thursdays hosted by Venus Valhalla is tonight at Pitchers (2317 18th St., N.W.) at 11 p.m. This weekly event features drink specials and queer performers. Visit pitchersbardc.com and Facebook events for more information. “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai: Behind the Scenes of the Chinese Film Industry” author Mark Parascandola will discuss and sign copies of his book tonight at Politics and Prose (1270 5th St., N.E.) from 7-8 p.m. For more information, visit the Politics and Prose Facebook page.

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www.lutheranvolunteercorps.org by January 15/April 15 for best consideration

VOLUNTEER SERVICE EXAMPLES: Basic Needs Specialist *Food & Nutrition Asst * Shelter Asst * Community Gardener * Food Justice Organizer * Farmers Market Outreach * Community Educator * Park Liaison * Care Giver * Compliance Asst * Emergency Shelter Case Manager * Grant Writer * Medical Interpreter * Counselor * Literacy Support * Co-Teacher * Digital Literacy Instructor * High School Case Manager * Kindergarten Asst * Prevention Specialist * Citywide Initiatives Coordinator * AND MORE! Lutheran Volunteer Corps, operations@lutheranvolunteercorps.org, 202.387.3222


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This Week in the Arts provided by CultureCapital.com THEATRE Ol’ Blue Eyes: Frank Sinatra. Jan 7-Jan 18. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre. org. Come From Away. Thru Jan 5. My Fair Lady. Thru Jan 19. Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org. Eureka Day. Thru Jan 5. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org. Le Cabaret De Carmen. Jan 4-Jan 19. In Series at Source Theatre. inseries. org. Sheltered. Jan 9-Feb 1. Theater J at EDCJCC. theaterj.org. Singin’ In The Rain. Thru Jan 5. Olney Theatre. olneytheatre.org. The Capitol Steps. Jan 4. The Alden at McLean Community Center. mcleancenter.org.

DANCE Ol’ Blue Eyes: Frank Sinatra Jan 7-Jan 18. Signature Theatre. sigtheatre.org.

Signature toasts the iconic crooner in a stylish, suave and sophisticated evening flush with all of Sinatra’s famous tunes, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Strangers in the Night,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and more. Called the Voice of the Century, there was no one else like Ol’ Blue Eyes - a legendary entertainer who always did it “My Way.”

Eureka Day Thru Jan 5. Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas. mosaictheater.org.

At Eureka Day School in Berkeley, all decisions are made by consensus, diversity and inclusion are valued, and vaccinations are a personal matter. When a mumps outbreak hits the school, it turns out that not everyone in the community has the same definition of social justice. Now the board of directors must confront the central question: how do you find consensus when you can’t agree on the facts?

Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age Thru Jan 5. National Museum of Women in the Arts. nmwa.org.

The Dutch Golden Age was a period of unprecedented economic growth. A rising middle class of wealthy merchants fueled the demand for paintings and prints of still-lifes, portraits, and scenes of everyday life. Becoming an artist during this time was often part of the family business, for both men and women.

Recollection: Reinterpreting Tradition and Heritage Thru Jan 3. Korean Cultural Center DC. koreaculturedc.org.

A group exhibition of painting, photography, and sculpture works by five Korean artists who radically reinterpret a variety of classic forms into the visual language of contemporary art. Through vastly different artistic approaches, materials, and subject matter. Each grapple in personal terms with the apparent contradiction of a modern Korean society still deeply rooted in its cultural history.

Photo Courtesy of Signature Theatre

Zumba. Jan 5. Millennium Stage. kennedy-center.org.


Klezmer Brunch with Seth Kibel. Jan 5. JxJ at EDCJCC. jxjdc.org.


Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Right to the City @Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Thru Apr 20. anacostia.si.edu. Dumbarton Oaks. Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt. Thru Jan 5. Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion. Thru Jan 5. Asian Art from the Bliss Collection. Thru Jun 1. A Nobility of Matter: Asian Art from the Bliss Collection. Thru Jun 1. doaks.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. 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 Geographic. WOMEN: A Century of Change. Thru May 1. Becoming Jane. Thru Jun 1. nationalgeographic.org. National Museum of Women in the Arts. Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Thru Jan 5. 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. Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. The Great Inka Road. Thru Jun 1. Our Universes. Thru Sep 30. Nation to Nation. Thru Dec 31. Return to a Native Place. Thru Jan 1. Americans. Thru Dec 31. americanindian.si.edu. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian. Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. Thru Jan 5. Portraiture 101. Jan 7. In Mid-Sentence. Thru Mar 29. One Life: Marian Anderson. Thru May 17. Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits. Thru May 31. Storied Women of the Civil War Era. Thru May 8. npg.si.edu. Postal Museum. None Swifter Than These: 100 Years of Diplomatic Couriers. Thru Jan 26. postalmuseum.si.edu.


Arlington Artists Alliance. Color Solo Show by Rebecca McNeely. Thru Jan 4. arlingtonartistsalliance.org. DC Arts Center (DCAC). Some Things Old/Most Things New Explorations at Gravity Press by Alec Simpson. Thru Jan 12. Out of Joint Small Drawing by Karen Schiff. Thru Feb 23. dcartscenter.org. Hill Center. Hill Center Galleries. Thru Feb 1. hillcenterdc.org. Korean Cultural Center DC. Recollection: Reinterpreting Tradition and Heritage. Thru Jan 3. koreaculturedc.org. Library of Congress. Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words. Thru Sep 30. loc.gov. Pozez JCC. Open Exhibition. Thru Jan 13. jccnv.org. Strathmore. Fine Art in Miniature. Thru Jan 5. Shades of Pastel. Thru Jan 5. David Scheirer. Thru Feb 23. Del Ray Artisans. Creature Comforts Art Exhibit. Thru Jan 26. delrayartisans. org. Waverly Street Gallery. ‘A Tale of Four Cities’– New York, Paris, Venice and Washington, Photographs by Frank Van Riper. Jan 5-Feb 8. waverlystreetgallery. com. Zenith Gallery. 6@35 - Fabricating Culture. Thru Jan 18. Small Treasures. Thru Jan 25. zenithgallery.com.


Hill Center. Southern Comfort Brunch: Fried Chicken + Hoppin John. Jan 5. Beyond Basics: Pasta Making. Jan 9. hillcenterdc.org. Korean Cultural Center DC. K-Cinema: The Great Battle. Jan 9-Jan 23. koreaculturedc.org.

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

Farewell Michael Kahn

Departure of legendary Shakespeare Theatre Company founder among 2019 notable D.C. theater happenings By PATRICK FOLLIARD

Undoubtedly, the year’s big D.C. theater story was legendary director Michael Kahn’s departure. After helming the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 1986, the out artistic director packed up and headed back to his native New York City. It was an amicable parting, one that Kahn had contemplated for a couple seasons. And though he’s missed in Washington, we’re comforted by the memories and thriving company he created. Last spring, Kahn ended his tenure on a high note with his brilliant staging of “The Oresteia,” Aeschylus’s tragedy

adapted especially for STC by playwright and actor Ellen McLaughlin (the original Angel in “Angels in America”). While Kahn might have closed with something less complicated, he didn’t. In fact, when a patron with deep pockets offered to bankroll any last project of his choosing, Kahn instantly selected the Greek trilogy. According to him, it was the ultimate challenge and Kahn likes a challenge. Another prominent story in 2019 was the nonbinary actor. Of course, they aren’t new to the scene, but nonbinary actors have become increasingly visible. Last year’s standouts included rising-

star Latinx trans/nonbinary Avi Roque who deftly played multiple roles in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s seasonopener “Everybody,” out playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ contemporary, fun, gender-inclusive take on the medieval morality play. At Round House Theatre, gifted nonbinary comic actor Moriamo Temidayo Akibu memorably played an awkward school girl in Jocelyn Bioh’s impactful teen comedy, “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play.” In spring, D.C.’s company dedicated to the LGBT experience, Rainbow Theatre Project, mounted a haunting take on the seldom produced “Clothes for a Summer Hotel,” Tennessee Williams haunting work about the last days of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. And more recently, Rainbow presented an engaging new work, “Blue Camp,” by out writing team Tim Caggiano and Jack Calvin Hanna. The story of gay soldiers awaiting discharge at the beginning of the Vietnam War, it gives a glimpse into a neglected piece of queer history. Moses Bossenbroek gave a winning performance as a southern soldier who wants it all — drag and serve honorably. Perhaps it’s the current political climate, I’m not sure, but there’s been a little surge in productions of “Richard III,” Shakespeare’s tale of a loathed, evil leader. Last winter at Shakespeare Theatre Company, director David Muse gave a deliciously gory take on the classic, starring talented Matthew Rauch as the twisted monarch. And in spring, Synetic Theater’s terrific cyberpunk version titled “Richard iii” starred out actor Alex Mills as the title villain. Helen Hayes Awardwinning actor Philip Fletcher played Richard’s older brother King Edward. Especially memorable works from 2019 include Mosaic Theatre Company’s production of Nambi E. Kelley’s sametitled take on Richard Wright’s seminal novel, “Native Son.” It’s the story of Bigger Thomas, a young black man who, in search of opportunity in Depressionera Chicago, goes to work for a wealthy white family where he unintentionally sets off a chain of tragic events. Out actor Vaughan Ryan Midder strikingly played the the Black Rat, an omniscient character who serves both as a gnawing reflection of how the hostile world sees central character Bigger as a 20-year-old black man and a survival guide. At the Kennedy Center, goldenthroated Max von Essen was terrific as Marvin, the gay dad in “Falsettos,” William Finn and James Lapine’s musical

about a complicated New York City family, and the devastation of AIDS. Out actor Nick Adams played Marvin’s cute, younger partner Whizzer Brown. Eleasha Gamble impressed audiences as the title queen in Olney Theatre’s “Mary Stuart” based on Friedrich Schiller’s widely read 1800 take on the ill-fated royal. Adapted and staged by Olney’s out artistic director Jason Loewith, the work is an exploration of the chilling rivalry between England’s Elizabeth I and her Scottish cousin. Prior to this production, I had mistakenly thought of Gamble as chiefly a singer. No longer. And at Studio Theatre, there was Jeff Hiller’s hilarious one-man tour de force “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns.” Set against an agonizingly tasteful Palm Springs same-sex wedding, it’s the story of a boozy, embittered gay guy sliding ungracefully into middle age. Things I wish I’d seen in 2019 but didn’t, include 1st Stage’s production Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding” directed by Cara Gabriel. A heartrending coming-of-age story set in a small southern town, the play — adapted from the bisexual writer’s same-titled novella — is an expression of McCullers’ enduring longing to connect. Also, sorry I missed the legendary Betty Buckley in the national tour of out composer Jerry Herman’s chestnut “Hello, Dolly!” at the Kennedy Center. This was the same revival production that famously featured Bette Midler on Broadway. Reportedly, Buckley gave a gorgeous, heartfelt performance. Out actor/directors were busy in 2019. Holly Twyford played an emancipated Nora in Round House Theatre’s production of Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (a sequel to Ibsen’s 1879 proto-feminist classic). It was a well-made and finely acted production of a play that I anticipated liking more. More recently, Twyford directed the brilliant Caryl Churchill’s “Escaped Alone” at Signature Theatre. Rick Hammerly skillfully staged Factory 449’s production of “Agnes of God,” John Pielmeier’s 1979 play about a young nun who mysteriously becomes pregnant. It featured a cast of three — Felicia Curry, Nanna Ingvarsson, and Zoe Walpole — who convincingly portrayed a trio of damaged women. Hammerly then donned his actor’s hat and a fatty suit to reprise the role of loveable Mr. Fezziwig in Ford’s Theatre’s delightfully durable production of Michael Baron’s “A Christmas Carol.” What a lovely way to see out the year.

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photos courtesy the teams; graphic by Kevin Majoros

With about 40 LGBT sports teams and clubs, Washington continues to impress with the cohesion of its sports community. The noncompetitive sports clubs offered a full list of recreational activities and the competitive sports teams had another banner year on the national and world stage. Charitable giving and community service are a staple throughout the sports community. As an example, Stonewall Kickball alone reports about 2,000 volunteer hours logged throughout the year and $150,000 in donations to local nonprofits. Below are 2019 highlights from a select few of the LGBT sports teams: The Washington Prodigy women’s full-tackle football team captured its third United States Women’s Football League championship in Tennessee. Their success is taking them to a more competitive league for 2020 — the Women’s National Football Conference. The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League hosted its largest MAGIC Tournament this year with over 40 teams participating, including their largest ever women’s division. Adventuring LGBTQ+ Outdoors Club celebrated its 40th anniversary by recreating their first outing from May of 1979. About 35 members from the past and present, including the leader of the inaugural hike, joined together for a weekend celebration. District of Columbia Aquatics Club traveled to New York City for the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics

Championships where members broke 17 IGLA world records and captured 137 medals. In July, they hosted the 28th annual Maryland Swim for Life open water event on the Eastern Shore. D.C.-based Stonewall Sports has expanded to 20 cities across the country with its latest additions being Asheville, Kansas City, Detroit and Baltimore. Members hosted their Stonewall National Tournament in Raleigh and also traveled to the Sin City Classic in Las Vegas. Locally, they run kickball, dodgeball, bocce, climbing, billiards and yoga. D.C. Gay Flag Football League maintained its two season league structure and sent multiple travel teams to tournaments around the country. In October, members sent four men’s teams and one women’s team to New York City where the Washington Generals were crowned Gay Bowl XVIII Division A champions and Delta Force won the Division C championship. D.C. Strokes Rowing Club continued with multiple rowing programs and hosted its annual Stonewall Regatta bringing about 400 rowers to D.C. The Strokes raced sprints and head races throughout the year including the U.S. Masters Rowing Championships and Head of the Charles. Athletes from TriOut triathlon club traveled extensively to compete in triathlons. In June, members hosted their annual training weekend in Lost River. Federal Triangles Soccer Club hosted another successful season of the Summer of Freedom Soccer League along with competing in other District

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Glowing year for D.C. amateur LGBT sports leagues D.C. Gay Flag Football League, Federal Triangles among high achievers By KEVIN MAJOROS leagues and tournament play. Players continue to run three tournaments per year. Locally hosted tournaments by the sports teams are run annually and draw athletes from all over the world. The teams also bid on hosting tournaments that travel and the Capital Area Rainbowlers were just selected to host the International Gay Bowling Midyear 2021 tournament in D.C. A big welcome in 2019 to the LGBT players and allies competing in Gay Hockey D.C. After a long period without having hockey as an option locally, a group reemerged and are playing at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Also offered locally are rugby, tennis, golf, sailing, basketball, roller skating, cheerleading, cycling, dancesport, darts, orienteering, racquetball, cornhole, pickleball, road running, walking, rodeo, women’s baseball, curling, scuba diving, ultimate frisbee, snowboarding, skiing, volleyball, women’s roller derby, water polo and music ensemble.

It was a solid musical year for TEGAN and SARA, who revisited their roots, and KIM PETRAS.

Photos courtesy IMP Entertainment

Billie’s breakout year Jonas Bros. reunite, Madonna returns and Ariana kills it By THOM MURPHY and JOEY DiGUGLIELMO The end of 2019 also marks the close of a decade of music to be grouped together forever as the 2010s. Over the past decade many more queer artists have come openly to the forefront of the music scene. Artists like Troye Sivan, Years & Years and Kim Petras have put a relatively young face on pop music, but the decade has also attested to the staying power of many iconic pop voices. If anything, 2019 has given us a fair sample of what the past decade had to offer, showcasing some of the newest and most exciting acts, as well as those straying toward mediocrity. Early in the year the Backstreet Boys released their album “DNA,” 20 years after the release of the hit album “Millenium.” The album was less than great, but nonetheless managed a few solid tracks. One of the pop highlights of the year was without a doubt Ariana Grande’s

“Thank U, Next,” her second full studio release in six months. The album was another massively successful charttopper, featuring singles such as the eponymous lead single and “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.” A full album following so quickly after an earlier release showcases the power Grande has in the pop world, likely to translate into staying power in the next decade. R&B singer Chaka Khan released her 12th studio album “Hello Happiness,” a delightful production that signals her return to making new music after more than a decade hiatus. One of the more disappointing releases of the year was P!nk’s “Hurts 2B Human,” which fell short of some of her best work on earlier albums like “Fun House” (2008) and even the more recent “Beautiful Trauma” (2017). Nevertheless,

the album managed to produce a few hidden gems like the song “My Attic.” Reba McEntire released her 32nd studio album “Stronger Than the Truth,” which was a major success on the country charts and serves as a testament to the indefatigable staying power of the country legend. Gay actor and singer Ben Platt (who opened as the lead in the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen”) released his first album entitled “Sing To Me Instead,” which featured the catchy single “Grow as We Go,” as well as slew of other largely accoustic-driven songs. And 2019 has continued to be a big year for Platt, who stars as the lead in the new Netflix series “The Politician.” After various solo efforts, brothers Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas reunited for their first new album as the Jonas Brothers since 2009. Their return after a decade-long hiatus showed a mature pop sound that caters to an adult audience. It is the marriage of their more recent work (think Nick Jonas’ solo album or Joe’s DNCE project) and a more classic Jonas Brothers (i.e. high school) sound. One hesitates to assume they will have much longevity as a boyband, but their futures, individual or collective, continue to look bright. The June release of Madonna’s “Madame X” album was polarizing. On one hand, it featured a handful of catchy, clever cuts (“Medellin,” “God Control,” “Future,” “Faz Gostoso”) but the price of such brazen musical experimentation (the record is chocked wth international influences) is that it doesn’t always stand up to repeated listens. Even some diehards hoped for a bit more melody and track “Killers Who Are Partying” is not only unlistenably bad, it comes off as cloying and misappropriating (“I will be gay/if the gay are burned” — “the gay?”). And though she claimed the “God Control” video (which recreates the Pulse nightclub shooting) is a call to end gun violence, it played more like a preening

glam video shoot for the star than a genuine plea for action. She continues her well-received theater tour in 2020. One of the big success stories of the year was 18-year-old Billie Eilish, whose debut album “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” dropped in March to strong reviews, a No. 1 Billboard slot and by year’s end, double platinum RIAA certification buoyed by hit single “Bad Guy.” The country star Ty Herndon, still best known for the ‘90s hit “What Mattered Most,” released an album stuffed with re-recordings of his most popular songs. Notably for Herndon, “What Mattered Most” was re-recorded with masculine pronouns to refer to his love interest, a bold move for one of the very few openly gay country singers. Kim Petras — whose irresistibly catchy “Heart to Break” is mouthed in every gay bar and club in the country — finally released her first full album “Clarity” this year. Petras is one of the most visible trans performers in pop music and is headlining her own tour this year after previously touring with Troye Sivan. The sister duo Tegan and Sara came out with “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” a fulllength album composed of songs written during their high-school years. The album coincides with their new memoir entitled “High School” which chronicles their adolescence and coming out story. It’s a delightfully fun album and a wonderful breath of fresh air from the tyranny of the dance-pop single. The British pop singer Charli XCX released her third album entitled “Charli,” a solid effort with limited chart success. Lead single “1999,” featuring Troye Sivan, however, has been ubiquitous on pop radio since its release late last year. Kristin Chenoweth’s album “For The Girls,” a collection of mostly standards and classic songs, features duets with Ariana Grande, Dolly Parton and Jennifer Hudson with Reba McEntire. Two of the more bizarre phenomena in pop music this year: the rapper and producer Kanye West came out with a full-length gospel album entitled “Jesus Is King,” which does not fully succeed even taken on its own terms. And artist Brooke Candy, who could perhaps best be described as the club kid of the upand-coming-ish pop scene, released her first album “Sexorcism,” a sex-obcessed, anti-pop record, which remains a question mark. Celine Dion closed out 2019 in a strong way with the release of her studio album “Courage,” another testament to the continued staying power of the contemporary legend.

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jan. 10–12, 2020 preview night: thurs, jan. 9

lecture & luncheon with ben pentreath: friday, jan. 10 images courtesy of the mount vernon ladies ’ association and winterthur museum


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ANTONIO BANDEREAS in ‘Pain and Glory’ and ADELE HAENEL and NOEMIE MERLANT in ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire.’ Photos courtesy Sony Pictures Classic and NEON respectively

Movie milestones

‘End of the Century,’ ‘Pain and Glory’ among year’s queer film highlights By BRIAN T. CARNEY While queer cinema in 2019 may have lacked some of the sparkle and star power of queer cinema in 2018, it was still a strong year for cinematic inclusion and representation for LGBT characters. The best movie of the year (queer or mainstream) was undoubtedly Pedro Almodóvar’s magnificent “Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria)” starring the queer writer/director’s longtime collaborator Antonio Banderas. Banderas plays gay filmmaker Salvador

Mallo whose physical and psychological ailments have kept him away from the camera. Instead, his mind wanders freely through past and present as he fights his way towards an uncertain future. The Cannes screenwriting award, along with the Queer Palm, went to lesbian filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s sumptuous “Portrait of a Girl on Fire.” The richly sensuous exploration of art and romance was briefly seen on D.C. screens in 2019 (thanks AFI!) and will receive a full theatrical release for Valentine’s Day in 2020. Other queer cinematic highlights from around the globe included Lucio Castro’s excellent debut feature “End of the Century,” a smart and sexy exploration of the mysterious connection between two men whose paths cross in Barcelona; “And Then We Danced,” a portrait of romance and rivalry among the young male dancers at the elite training school for the National Georgian Ensemble; “Rafiki,” a powerful romance

about star-crossed lesbian lovers in Kenya; “Rocketman,” an exuberant fantasy version of the early career of pop superstar Elton John; and, “Downton Abbey” Julian Fellowes’ opulent return to the bygone splendors of England between the World Wars where a Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) dispenses barbed quips and the gay butler Thomas Barrow (Robert JamesCollier) visits a gay pub and finally discovers the possibility of true love. On the domestic front, gay auteur Ira Sachs helmed “Frankie” a finely observed family drama centered around a transcendent performance by Isabelle Huppert. Jillian Bell offered a richly nuanced breakout performance in “Brittany Runs a Marathon;” written and directed by out filmmaker Paul Downs Colaizzo, the film also featured fine supporting performances by Micah Stock as Brittany’s gay running buddy and Michaela Watkins as Brittany’s seemingly perfect neighbor. Bell and Watkins also played a lesbian couple in Lynn Shelton’s improvised comedy “Sword of Trust” which featured an excellent Marc Maron as a bemused pawn shop owner. Finally, the wild and witty “Booksmart” was a critical and cult favorite and a box-office failure. Despite strong work by first-time director Olivia Wilde and winning lead performances by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, a lackluster advertising campaign, which failed to promote the film’s lesbian content, left a fine movie in the shadows. On the documentary front, several fascinating movies examined queer life from a rich variety of perspectives. “Ask Dr. Ruth” offered an insightful portrait of LGBT-friendly sex therapist and Holocaust survivor Ruth Westheimer. Josh Howard’s probing “The Lavender Scare” detailed the Cold War era witch hunt that drove gay men and lesbians from government service and Matt Tyrnauer’s searing “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” presented a chilling portrait of the closeted New York attorney who helped fuel that witch hunt and who later served as a mentor to Donald Trump. Filmmakers Robert Anderson Clift and Hillary Demmon offered “Making Montgomery Clift,” a thoughtful reappraisal of the uncle, the classic film star and queer icon. Finally, “Transmilitary” profiled several of the brave service members who are challenging the trans military ban and “Gay Chorus Deep South” followed the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as they toured several southern states in the wake of the divisive 2016 election.

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In 2020, resolve to set a personal budget Gain insight into your spending habits By ALEX GRAHAM In the January 2019 “New Year, New You,” edition of the Washington Blade, I wrote about making choices to reduce debt and save money. Do I order takeout or make a quick dinner at home? Do I travel abroad for a few weeks or explore my own backyard for some deserved rest and relaxation? Personally, this was something I struggled with, but in the process I learned it is possible to not succumb to the ‘fear of missing out.’ There will always be another weekend getaway, another happy hour and another ‘flash sale.’ A key lesson I learned, and one that you may see value in, is to set smaller, attainable goals. For example, commit to spending no money for morning coffee or breakfast for a week, other than what is already at home. That usual $8 indulgence seems small at first, but over a full work week it adds up to $40 and over a year is more than $2,000. That doesn’t mean you can’t have that latte from your local coffee shop in the future, but the goal is to slowly change habits. A resolution for me in the New Year is to make one small positive change a month, but I can only move onto the next change once the previous has been accomplished. I want to spend the rest of this column revisiting the advice I gave last year: Set a budget. It is the foundation for those with the spending gene to gain some semblance of insight into our habits. One change from last year, though, is to utilize a service like Mint. com or, if you work with an advisor, they may have a platform to offer you. Most budgeting platforms offer ‘trend’ analysis

That daily latte might seem like a small treat, but over the course of a year, they add up to more than $2,000 in frivolous expenses.

that can give you immediate access to your spending history. Most services download spending activity from the last two to three months. I would make sure at least two months are fully categorized properly. For instance, Mint.com kept thinking Number Nine was a health service until I taught it otherwise. Over the past year, I have found it easier to budget with an idea of my current habits. My brain was already formulating little goals like lowering a spending category (e.g. skipping a Thursday night out twice a month) by $100 a month for three months. Now onto the technical work: First, start with the amount of money you bring in. Do not include one offs sources of income, only your salary or regular expected paychecks. If you

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work on commissions, you may want to approach this in reverse (e.g. expenses calculates your minimum sales goal), but for simplicity’s sake I would take your average monthly check over the past year, if you think you can repeat the same performance. Next, subtract ‘fixed’ or required expenses, like rent/mortgage/utilities/ health insurance, and the balance is your discretionary budget. The discretionary part of the budget is where those pesky choices come into play. Check into your budget service a few times a week to make sure transactions are properly categorized and see how you’re doing. Toward the end of the month, if you see yourself in ‘the green’ maybe reward yourself. As you start to generate surpluses

(aka ‘savings’), the advice is largely the same as last year: pay ‘bad debt’ first, especially credit cards. I still recommend making weekly payments to your credit cards to more accurately reflect your financial status. It can take months to really improve managing your money, so do not get discouraged if you ‘miss’ a goal. Once your budget is set, bad debts paid, and you’ve successfully begun to save money, you should start looking at moving this money into a long-term savings vehicle. You should always max out retirement savings like funding a Roth IRA, but make sure you open a nonqualified investment account that allows for you to save for long-term goals. These long-term goals should be those ‘dreams’ like owning a home (usually a down payment), owning your own business, or even traveling the world. The point of the goal is to be so rewarding that it will make that short-term pain seem negligible in the moment. When you open that account, maybe start with a ‘roboadvisors’ firm that offers lower fees and are largely self-service. However, if you want the more personal touch do not hesitate to meet with a formal financial advisor. It’s the mission of most financial firms to serve as many people as possible, but there can always be a cost to doing that. Do your research and confirm that you are the right match with your advisor. There is no harm in meeting with multiple advisors. On behalf of everyone at Graham Capital Wealth Management, we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

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


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PART-TIME LOAN OFFICER / PROCESSOR Howard University Employees Federal Credit Union is searching for a part-time employee to process loans. The ideal candidate will be able to interview members interested in obtaining a loan and have the abilities to work up and complete the application processes from beginning to end. Three to five years of lending experience is required. Credit union lending experience is a plus. You must have a high school diploma or equivalent. College degree is a plus. Interested candidates should email their resumes to info@huefcu.org or fax them to 202-806-4511.

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

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



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