Washingtonblade.com, Volume 51, Issue 47, November 20, 2020

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Plans emerge for advancing LGBTQ equality as nation celebrates, PAGE 10


(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

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Troubled client arrested for smashing Casa Ruby window Trans woman became angry when asked to leave By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | lchibbaro@washblade.com

D.C. police on Nov. 11 arrested a 22-year-old transgender woman on a charge of destruction of property for allegedly smashing a large plate glass window near the entrance of the Casa Ruby LGBTQ community services center, according to a police incident report. The police report and an arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court state that the woman, identified as Skyler Collins of no fixed address, became angry after being told she had to leave the premises at Casa Ruby and could not immediately return. Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, said Collins was a client at the Casa Ruby shelter for homeless youth, which is located at the main Casa Ruby facility at 7530 Georgia Ave., N.W. Corado said shortly after coming to the shelter Collins began engaging in “violent behavior” and made threats toward other clients at the shelter, prompting the staff to issue what Corado calls a “time out,” which is a temporary requirement that someone leave the facility. “Suspect 1 did not receive this well and began to knock papers and items off of tables as well as pushing a table down a flight of steps,” the police report says. The report says the suspect, later identified as Collins, walked out of the Casa Ruby building and picked up a large metal pole from the parking lot “and threw it through the front plate glass window.” The arrest affidavit says Collins remained on the scene and when D.C. police arrived admitted to police that she

A client smashed a window at Casa Ruby on Nov. 11.

smashed the window “because it made me feel great.” Officers charged her with destruction of property valued at more than $1,000 and brought her to the Fourth Police District for booking, the police report says. Court records show she was held overnight before appearing in court on Nov. 12 for an arraignment, where she pleaded not guilty to a revised charge filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of misdemeanor destruction of property valued at $1,000 less. Judge Jonathan Pittman ordered her released on personal recognizance pending an April 15, 2021 status hearing. The judge also issued a “stay away” order, but the public court record doesn’t disclose further details of the order. Corado, who wrote about the incident in a Facebook posting, told the Washington Blade Collins had been suffering from trauma associated with being subjected to hostility and bias related to her status as a transgender woman. “She refused to see our psychologist,” Corado said. “We gave her a referral to another shelter,” said Corado, who added that the staff told Collins she could come back to Casa Ruby after she reconsidered her inappropriate behavior, including the smashing of the window that Corado said was captured on a Casa Ruby video surveillance camera. “We need this to be a safe place,” said Corado. “When youth sometimes display violent behavior we have to take action. I don’t tolerate violence. So we give them a time out.”

Delaware firefighter suspended after using anti-gay slur Lewes official insults Blue Moon drag performer in viral Facebook post By MICHAEL K. LAVERS | mlavers@washblade.com

A screenshot of Lewes, Del., firefighter William Buckaloo‘s antigay comments against local drag queen Magnolia Applebottom.

A member of the Lewes Fire Department in Delaware on Sunday used an anti-gay slur to describe a popular local drag queen. William Buckaloo, an assistant fire chief who was once the department’s chief, called Magnolia Applebottom a “faggot” in a Facebook post he wrote while she performed at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach. “The shit I get talked in to (sic) … Matt, talked us to go to a faggot show,” proclaimed Buckaloo in the post. Applebottom on Monday shared Buckaloo’s post on her Instagram page. Applebottom told the Washington Blade that Buckaloo wrote the post while he was sitting in the front row during her show. “In my eight years of performing at the Blue Moon I’ve never encountered such disrespect,” said Applebottom. Matt Sprenkle was tagged by Buckaloo in the Facebook post, but Sprenkle told the Blade that he did not invite Buckaloo to the show nor did he attend the show, as he was dining in the restaurant at the time. Sprenkle is merely an acquaintance of Buckaloo’s; the two ran into each other at the Blue Moon but were not attending the show together. “I do not agree with any of the comments he

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made and do not associate myself with them,” Sprenkle told the Blade. Buckaloo’s comments quickly sparked outrage on social media. Mitch Case, a gay man whose parents live in Lewes, on Monday emailed a screenshot of Bucklaoo’s comments to the Blade. Case said Buckaloo should be fired. “As a gay man whose parents reside in Lewes, I’m disgusted,” wrote Case in his email to the Blade. “To live in a community known for its acceptance of LGBTQ people and use language like this in the year 2020 is truly disgraceful.” Lewis Fire Department Chief Steve Evans on Monday told the Blade during a telephone interview that he has removed Buckaloo from his position. “I removed him immediately,” said Evans. Evans also said he expects the department will formally suspend Buckaloo. The Blade has reached out to Buckaloo and gay Lewes Mayor Ted Becker for comment. “It’s sad people like Bill are hiding in plain sight,” Applebottom told the Blade. “I really hope he’s held accountable for his behavior.” “I want to thank everyone in the community for their support,” she added.

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Legal rights to DC Eagle name sold to mystery buyer $32K sale authorized by bankruptcy court suggests possible reopening By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | lchibbaro@washblade.com

In a little-noticed development, an unidentified buyer has purchased the legal rights to the name, trademark, logo, and other intellectual property belonging to the DC Eagle, D.C.’s longest continuously operating gay bar that closed its doors for good in May. The sale was finalized on Nov. 12 as part of an auction authorized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia a little over four months after the DC Eagle filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 26. Rasmus Auctions, the company retained by the bankruptcy court to conduct the online auction, announced on its website that the purchase price for the winning bidder was $32,800. But the announcement did not disclose the identity of the purchaser. A company spokesperson said Rasmus Auctions has a longstanding policy of not disclosing the identity of purchasers or those who submit bids in its auctions. Bryan S. Ross, an attorney named by the bankruptcy court as the trustee for the case of Eagle N Exile, LLC, the company that owned the DC Eagle, did not respond to a call from the Blade asking if the court could disclose the identity of the purchaser of the rights to the DC Eagle name, trademark, logo, and other intellectual property. An attorney representing one of the DC Eagle’s owners informed its employees in an online staff meeting on May 4 that the owners decided to permanently close the popular leather bar after learning the building it rented was sold and it would have to move out by September, according to former Eagle manager Miguel Ayala. Ayala, who attended the meeting, said employees were informed that DC Eagle principal owner Ted Clements and part owner Peter Lloyd decided to dissolve the business rather than search for a new location. The announcement came not long after the Eagle and most other D.C. bars, restaurants, and nightclubs were ordered by the city to temporarily shut down as part of the city’s COVID-19 emergency public health restrictions. The May announcement of the permanent closing came six months before the DC Eagle was expected to celebrate its 49th anniversary as the city’s iconic bar and club catering to the leather-Levi crowd. In recent years, the club expanded its outreach to others in the LGBTQ community by hosting popular drag shows and dance parties. The DC Eagle’s building at 3701 Benning Road, N.E. was its fourth location since it first opened on 9th Street, N.W. in downtown D.C. in 1971. After being displaced by downtown development, the club subsequently moved to 7th Street, N.W. and later to New York Ave., N.W., all within a few blocks of each other in the downtown area. The DC Eagle moved into the Benning Road location, a four-story warehouse building that was by far its largest site, in 2015 not long after it bought that building. Longtime customers and supporters thought the purchase would protect the Eagle from being displaced yet again by real estate development. But Clements told the Blade last year that he and his fellow owners decided to sell the building to generate needed revenue with the intent to lease it back from the new owner and to continue to operate the club at that location. He and then part owner Herb KaylorHawkins said they were hopeful the revenue generated by the sale would help the DC Eagle overcome financial problems it was encountering at that time and lead to years of future

The DC Eagle on Benning Road closed for good in May. (Blade file photo by Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

operations. Clements and the other owners declined to comment in May at the time they disclosed the club was going out of business. Speculation surfaced that the owner of the Baltimore Eagle, a popular gay bar in that city, or possibly the Centaurs motorcycle club, a gay organization that has organized the annual D.C. Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend until the COVID epidemic forced its cancellation this year, may be one of the parties that purchased the DC Eagle’s name, trademark and other property rights. When contacted by the Blade, Baltimore Eagle principal owner Ian Parish sent a brief statement by email. “Regarding the DC Eagle intellectual property, I regret I have no information I can pass on to you at this time,” Parish said. “I can say: An Eagle bar is more than a name; fellowship, service, and community are among the leather community’s most proud traditions, and it is our hope to share with the new DC Eagle owners these traditions and all the love of the Baltimore Eagle,” he stated. Tod White, president of the Centaurs, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Stein Club elects new officers

JATARIUS FRAZIER was elected president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. (Photo courtesy D.C. Government)

Members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, D.C’s largest local LGBTQ political organization, voted unanimously at a virtual meeting on Nov. 10 to elect a slate of new officers for 2021. Among those elected was its new president, D.C. Democratic activist Jatarius Frazier. Frazier, who currently serves as the club’s Vice president of Administration, will succeed current Stein Club President Kent Boese, who chose not to run for another term. Frazier is a resident of Ward 5 and also serves as second vice chair for the Ward 5 Democrats. In his role as a D.C. government employee, Frazier currently serves as executive assistant at the Office of the D.C. Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure.

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Japer Bowles, the current treasurer of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C in Adams Morgan, was elected as the Stein Club’s Vice President for Political Affairs. He is a founder and current chair of the ANC Rainbow Caucus. Heidi Ellis, a former official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration and the founder and current CEO for a D.C.-based public policy consulting firm, won election as Vice President for Administration. Native Washingtonian Detrick Campbell, who has worked for the Office of the D.C. City Administrator and for the office of D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, won election as the Stein Club treasurer. He currently works as a budget assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a federal government institute charged with promoting international conflict resolution and conflict prevention. Madeleine Stirling, a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 2, is a resident of the city’s Petworth neighborhood. Biographical information released by the Stein Club says she uses her background and training in project management to work on issues related to harm reduction, access to health care, housing, and LGBTQ+ rights. The newly elected Stein Club officers will begin their term of office on Jan. 1. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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The Human Rights Campaign under ALPHONSO DAVID has laid out a blueprint to reverse Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

New ‘blueprint’ lights way for Biden to reverse Trump policies HRC plan seeks to quickly undo anti-LGBTQ attacks By CHRIS JOHNSON | cjohnson@washblade.com

With LGBTQ advocacy organizations eager for change in the new Biden administration, the Human Rights Campaign has laid out proposals lighting the way forward with a detailed guide on administrative actions to reverse President Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies. The 24-page document, titled the “Blueprint for Positive Change 2020,” lays out guidance across all federal agencies to reverse the anti-LGBTQ policies under the Trump administration and advance equality after President-elect Biden takes office. Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, pointed out in an interview with the Blade last week his organization prepares a blueprint at the start of a new administration, but this time at the end of the Trump era things are different. “These are steps that the Biden-Harris administration can take affirmatively and administratively to protect LGBTQ people and really not only put us back in positions that we were in before the Trump administration, but advance us forward toward equality,” David said. The Human Rights Campaign, David said, has been identifying policies for the past year under the Trump administration in anticipation of producing the blueprint and having the chance to reverse them if President Trump was voted out of office. Key among the recommendations is implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which found anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. David pointed out the Trump administration has never implemented the decision even though it was handed down in June. “Bostock is not just simply about employment protections,” David said. “The court clearly says if federal statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, that should also include sexual orientation and gender identity. So we have many federal statutes, housing, credit, other federal statutes that would provide protections to LGBTQ people, so a full implementation of Bostock would take us steps forward in terms of protecting LGBTQ rights and advancing those rights.” Also highlighted in the blueprint is reversing the transgender military ban, establishing an interagency working group to address anti-transgender violence, appointing openly LGBTQ federal officials, and uniform standards in federal surveys for data collection on the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign isn’t the only LGBTQ advocacy group putting out guidelines for the new administration to advance LGBTQ rights. Other LGBTQ organizations — including the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress, the Equality Federation, GLSEN, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the LGBTQ elder group SAGE — issued their own document with 10 priorities for the Biden administration. Much of the guidance is similar, including implementation of the Bostock decision, reversing the transgender military ban and restoring non-discrimination regulations for LGBTQ people. David said he has been in conversations with the Biden transition team and provided a copy of the blueprint to them and the reaction was “positive.” “They have been very hospitable, very open to receiving the blueprints, and and very accommodating in discussing any concerns or questions that may arise as we go through the process,” David said. Some of the policy changes, David said, could be done immediately, such as implementation

of the Bostock ruling, but others would take additional time because of federal law governing regulations. As the U.S. Supreme Court determined earlier this year in its decision on DACA-protections for undocumented immigrants, the Administrative Procedure Act prohibits any administration from making policy changes too quickly or without going through an open process allowing for due consideration. David identified the Department of Health & Human Services withdrawing an Obama-era rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in health care, to apply to cases of anti-trans discrimination as one Trump-era measure that would take some time to reverse. “We certainly suspect that anti-equality forces will be attacking the Biden-Harris administration in their attempts to protect LGBTQ people,” David said. “So we want to make sure that we take all of the steps necessary to implement regulations that would be appropriate in protecting LGBTQ people, so that’s one example of where we would have to go through a process.” Reggie Greer, the Biden-Harris campaign’s LGBTQ+ engagement director, spoke generally about Biden’s support for LGBTQ rights in response to a request to comment on the blueprint. “President-elect Biden has dedicated his life to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and will work to usher in the most pro-equality administration in history,” Greer said. Biden as a presidential candidate, however, trumpeted his support for LGBTQ rights and issued a detailed policy plan on the way forward on LGBTQ issues that encompass many of the same plans. The new blueprint is for administrative actions, so it doesn’t take into consideration legislative items such as the Equality Act to advance LGBTQ rights, which Biden has said would be his No. 1 legislative priority and signed within 100 days of his administration. The failure of Democrats to capture to the U.S. Senate, however, has thrown a wrench into the anticipated majority Biden would have for his legislative agenda. The Associated Press Wednesday morning called the Senate race in Alaska in favor of Republican Dan Sullivan. The Senate would be at most split 50-50, and that would be the case only if Democrats are successful in both races in the upcoming run-off elections in Georgia. Despite the lack of a Democratic majority in the Senate, David said he sees opportunities to move the Equality Act. “If we’re not able to obtain full majority in the Senate, we will expect to work both with the House of Representatives and the Biden-Harris administration to push through with the Equality Act,” David said. “You know, there are certain pieces of legislation that were passed during the Obama administration, with a Republican Senate that were progressive, proequality pieces of legislation, so we anticipate that we can do the same here.” David conceded challenges would exist in moving forward with the Equality Act, but pointed out the president-elect has a record of reaching out across the aisle. “Even if we’re not able to control the Senate, the Senate majority will need certain things from the Biden-Harris administration just in order to make sure governments function, and Joe Biden has always been someone who reaches across the aisle to make sure he can get things done,” David said. “So we anticipate working with them, and working with President Biden to make sure that we get through pro-equality legislation.”


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Trans veteran joins Biden transition team

The Biden transition team has named transgender veteran Shawn Skelly as a member of its agency review team as LGBTQ advocates are pushing the new administration to undo President Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously. Skelly, who co-founded Out in National Security, an affinity group for LGBTQ national security professionals, and served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as a naval flight officer, was named a member of the agency review team for the Defense Department in a news statement that went out last Wednesday. Ted Kaufman, a former U.S. senator and co-chair of the Biden-Harris transition team, said in a statement members of the agency review team would rigorously evaluate operations of federal agencies as Joe Biden prepares to take office as president. “Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change,” Kaufman said. “We must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration to protect our interests at home and abroad. The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day 1. The work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world.” In 2013, Skelly joined the Obama administration and was the first transgender veteran to serve as presidential appointee, according to her bio. Skelly was special assistant to the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics; coordinator of the Department of Defense Warfighter Senior Integration Group. Skelly also served as director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation during the Obama-Biden administration. LGBTQ advocates are pressing Biden to reverse Trump’s ban on transgender military service in short order upon taking office as litigation against the policy continues in federal courts. According to a memo from the San Francisco-based Palm Center, Biden could lift the ban against transgender service members in as little as 30 days. CHRIS JOHNSON

Transgender veteran SHAWN SKELLY was named a member of the Biden transition team. (Photo courtesy Skelly)

Sarah McBride prepares to join Del. Senate

“I certainly feel a responsibility to ensure that we grow Sarah McBride said she didn’t run for the Delaware Delaware state Sen.-elect SARAH MCBRIDE (Blade file photo by Michael Key) not just the numbers, but the full diversity of LGBTQ state Senate to make history or headlines, but her victory people who have a seat at the table,” she said. “But I also on Nov. 3 over Republican Steve Washington did just know that the only way that I can fulfill that responsibility that. to the LGBTQ community is to be the best state senator She is the first openly transgender person to be possible for the residents of my district. Ultimately, that’s elected to a state’s Senate and come January, will be the what I’m focused on.” highest-ranking out trans state legislator in the U.S. The coronavirus pandemic, which shut down “I’m looking forward to being able to roll up my businesses in Delaware for months, forced McBride’s sleeves and help to implement the kinds of policies and campaign to “get creative” when reaching out to voters. changes that we just spent the last year fighting for,” she She said they ramped up their phone banking efforts said during an interview. “It’s an unbelievable privilege to have conversations with people safely. McBride’s to be able to represent this community in the Delaware campaign was already focused around reforming state Senate, a community that I was born and raised in, healthcare, the criminal justice system, and providing a community that’s helped support me and sustain me paid family and medical leave for families in her district. through some of the most difficult challenges in my own The pandemic, she said, only helped to drive home to life, a community that reflects the vibrant and beautiful her points. diversity of Delaware in so many ways.” “We recognize that no one should have to give up their income in the face of a global McBride was expected to win handily in the heavily “blue” 1st Senate district that pandemic. But whether it’s COVID, or cancer, the more fundamental truth is that no one includes parts of Wilmington. The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which seeks to elect LGBTQ should have to give up their income in the face of any illness,” she said. “And so from the people to political office, declared the race for McBride shortly after polls closed at 8 start of this campaign, I was focused on health care and paid family medical leaves and p.m.—she ended up claiming more than 70 percent of the votes. COVID-19 only reinforced the urgency of those issues.” McBride previously worked as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign. Delaware voted resoundingly for President-elect Joe Biden. McBride has a close When she addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2016, she became the first personal relationship with the Biden family, having worked for Beau Biden when he openly trans person to speak at a major party convention in the U.S. was Delaware’s attorney general. McBride said she has become much closer with the McBride is part of the wave that nearly doubled the amount of trans and gender nonpresident-elect after Beau Biden died in 2015 and after her husband Andrew Cray died in conforming candidates elected to state legislatures around the country. Eight of them 2014—both after battles with cancer. were elected or re-elected on Nov. 3. “[Biden] is a decent, kind, compassionate, big hearted person and I’m thrilled that he She said the increasing number of trans legislators proves voters are beginning to look will be leading our country in just a few short months,” McBride said. “I certainly felt like so past candidates’ identities that were previously considered handicaps in politics. many people across this country felt unbelievable relief that Donald Trump had lost the “Whatever message was sent by my campaign was not sent by me but was sent instead presidency and excitement that we will have in the White House, two leaders in Joe Biden by the voters in my district,” said McBride. “Voters are looking for candidates who are and Kamala Harris, who listen to the data and the science and the experts, will approach authentic and will fight for what they believe in. I think that desire for authenticity and issues with compassion, and who have a record of delivering meaningful results for so courage in elected officials transcends geography, political ideology, and party affiliation.” many people across this country.” While she wouldn’t describe it as pressure, McBride said she feels a responsibility to PARKER PURIFOY ensure that she isn’t the last LGBTQ person who can hold a position like hers. 1 2 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 2 0 , 2 0 2 0 • NAT I O NA L NE WS




Repair our federal courts.


Protect marriage equality.


End policies granting “licenses to discriminate” to those opposed to LGBTQ equality.


Reverse executive orders promoting white supremacy and xenophobia.


End the transgender military ban.


Defend, don’t attack, transgender kids.


Promote LGBTQ access to affordable and nondiscriminatory healthcare.


Stop separating immigrant and LGBTQ families.


End the military’s discrimination against servicemembers with HIV.

10. Remove barriers to asylum for people fleeing persecution, including LGBTQ people. Donations made before December 31st will be matched up to $250,000. To support the fight, visit lambdalegal.org/Challenge21.

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LGBTQ hopefuls await appointments amid Biden transition Buttigieg rumored contender for Cabinet post By CHRIS JOHNSON | cjohnson@washblade.com

With the current administration winding down — despite continued bluster and refusal to concede from President Trump — LGBTQ hopefuls shut out from the U.S. government for four years are eager to reemerge amid high hopes for change when President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The process of finding those appointees is underway. Last week, the Biden team sent out interest surveys to LGBTQ people who are looking to join the Biden administration and signed up with the Presidential Appointments Project, an initiative spearheaded by the LGBTQ Victory Institute to get LGBTQ people into the federal government. Ruben Gonzales, vice president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, affirmed in an interview with the Washington Blade on Tuesday the Biden team sent emails to potential LGBTQ applicants. “Victory has received over 600 resumes from LGBTQ people from across the country who are interested in serving at all levels of government,” Gonzales added. “We’ve shared a number of resumes that we are really excited about. And we know that a lot of those folks have heard back from the administration and have been asked to submit information. So really excited that they’ve been recognized as folks that can play a role in the administration.” The Biden team will have to make a lot of appointments from the LGBTQ community if it wants to catch up to President Obama, who made a record number of more than 250 LGBTQ appointees over his eight years in the White House, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute. But the Victory Institute has specific requests in mind for Biden: the nomination of the first Senate-confirmed openly LGBTQ Cabinet member; the nomination an openly LGBTQ U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time; and appoint openly lesbian ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time. Gonzales said he’s hoping at least one part of those requests pertaining to LGBTQ ambassadors in the Biden administration would “happen in the first quarter of 2021” after the Cabinet officials are named. Will Biden make it happen? The comprehensive LGBTQ plan he issued during his campaign signaled his intent to appoint LGBTQ people to the U.S. government, as does guidance from the Biden transition team on building an administration that looks like America. One LGBTQ appointment in particular was named just this week: On Tuesday, the Biden team announced Anthony Bernal, who’s gay and served as deputy campaign manager and chief of staff to Jill Biden, would join the East Wing as senior adviser to the first lady. An adviser to the Biden family for more than decade, Bernal was chief of staff in the Office of Dr. Biden from 2017 to 2019 and served in the Obama administration in multiple roles, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Dr. Biden, and as special assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to Dr. Biden, according to his bio. Gonzales said Bernal is the first LGBTQ person named as a Biden appointment and said he’d be a welcome addition to the next administration. “We feel really good that there’s an LGBTQ person who’s been active in the community already a part of that list, and we think it’s going to continue to make history,” Gonzales said. A number of LGBTQ appointees have also been named to the Biden landing teams to review policy at specific federal agencies, including former U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai Feldblum; Jeff Marootian, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation; and Shawn Skelly, a transgender veteran who’s also an alumnus

from the Obama administration. PETE BUTTIGIEG is a rumored candidate for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key) Feldblum, who as an EEOC commissioner successfully pushed the agency to begin taking up cases of anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, comes to the role after the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton. LGBTQ advocates are pushing for the Biden administration to implement that ruling, which reached the same conclusion anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, across federal agencies in implementation of all laws against sex discrimination, including laws in housing, credit, health care and education. Skelly, who during the Obama administration was special assistant to the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics and coordinator of the Department of Defense Warfighter Senior Integration Group, comes to the position amid expectations Biden will undo Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously. But let’s face it: The big question is what job the Biden team will offer Pete Buttigieg. After making history as a gay candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, Buttigieg made an early exit and endorsed Biden, putting himself in a good spot Administration hasn’t been able to sign off on it. for a high-level appointment. The media outlet Axios “We’re very heartened by the number of LGBTQ people reported after the election Buttigieg was “near-certain” to who were named to landing teams for specific agencies,” win a Cabinet role in the Biden administration. Gonzales said. “We’re also excited by the number of LGBTQ Talk has ensued in Washington circles that Buttigieg could people who are working on the transition. But there has not get the nod as chief for the Department of Veterans Affairs, been a federal meeting, because there’s not a formal sort of which would build off his experience as an Afghanistan war transition team.” veteran. The nomination would also set him up to become Asked if Trump refusing to back down has delayed the the first Senate-confirmed openly LGBTQ Cabinet member presidential appointment process, Gonzales said “it seems in U.S. history. like it is” because Trump’s intransigence has “delayed Buttigieg, however, has also reportedly been in contention everything.” for the role of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, which Despite the anti-LGBTQ record Trump built over his would give the multilingual former presidential hopeful a tenure, defenders will point out he had significant gay boost to his foreign policy credentials in a future second appointments, most prominently Richard Grenell, who attempt to win the White House. before becoming the face of LGBTQ outreach for the 2020 Despite his ambitions for the role, Buttigieg lacks the Trump campaign was acting director of national intelligence, foreign policy background that would normally be found in making him the first openly gay Cabinet member, though that high-level appointment. According to Politico, another he was not Senate confirmed. potential pick as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is Grenell, also former U.S. ambassador to Germany, was Wendy Sherman, who helped lead nuclear negotiations with one of at least five openly gay ambassadors nominated Iran and served as the State Department’s under secretary by Trump and confirmed by the Senate during his for political affairs during the Obama administration administration. Trump named Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay Gonzales said whether Buttigieg gets an appointment to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the as secretary of Veterans Affairs or U.S. Ambassador to highest-ranking openly gay federal judge. the United Nations, he would “expect that he will have a Other notable appointments were R. Clarke Cooper, prominent role” based on the former South Bend mayor’s assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs; John work for the Biden team. Ring, chair of the National Labor Relations Board; and “We think very highly of Mayor Buttigieg and his Tyler Goodspeed, acting chair of the Council of Economic experience,” Gonzales said. “I think he’d be well suited for Advisors. either of those roles. I think he has served with PresidentWhite House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere touted elect Biden’s campaign very well as a spokesperson, really the LGBTQ appointments under the Trump administration representing [not just] himself but our community very well in response to a request for comment from the Washington throughout his campaign and throughout the campaign for Blade. president. So I think he’s well positioned.” “President Trump has hired and promoted LGBT But as more Americans are growing impatient with Trump Americans to the highest levels of government, including for refusing to concede the election — which is holding up the positions at the White House, agencies, judgeships, transition process allowing Biden to have access to federal ambassadorships and appointed the first openly gay health data to begin implementation of his coronavirus plan Cabinet member in our history,” Deere said. “While — the same holds true for potential appointees. an individual’s sexual identity is not a qualification, the Asked about any meetings or talks with the transition president’s appointments of LGBT people are significant team about LGBTQ appointments, Gonzales said that and historic.” team “isn’t officially working” because the General Services


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A Cuban couple’s ‘great gay odyssey’ Searching for a new home after harassment, arrest By YARIEL VALDES GONZALEZ

Yasmany Sánchez Pérez had an awakening when he read “Before Night Falls,” the autobiography of Reynaldo Arenas, a gay Cuban writer condemned by the country’s dictatorship because of his sexual orientation and political opposition. His way of seeing the reality that surrounded him completely changed and he saw his life portrayed in the pages of that book the regime banned. Sánchez, like Arenas, has been persecuted and harassed by Castroism’s homophobic minions. DIOSBEL ALVAREZ (left) and his boyfriend, YASMANY SÁNCHEZ PÉREZ, in French Guiana. Although they are separated by 50 years of history, this chronic intolerance (Photo courtesy of Yasmany Sánchez Pérez) on the part of the Cuban regime against those who raise their voices in defense of the rights denied to them as human beings prevails. his friends and placed his mother’s house in Quivicán, a town in Mayabeque province, Sánchez, 28, made himself heard on May 11, 2019, when he joined a Havana march under surveillance. that independent LGBTQ activists organized in response to the National Center for State security agents stopped him when he left and took him to a police station where Sexual Education’s decision to cancel their annual march in the Cuban capital that he underwent a second interrogation. commemorates the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. “They told me about my life with all the details: Where I worked, where I had worked, CENESEX, which Mariela Castro, daughter of former President Raúl Castro, directs, where I studied. Everything,” Sánchez said. “They told me about my condition. They said spearheads government-sanctioned LGBTQ activism in Cuba. The decision to cancel it was not convenient for me to be involved in politics, much less interact with opposition their IDAHOBiT march in Havana prompted hundreds of Cubans to participate in the figures, because I am a person with HIV/AIDS. They asked me why I had participated in independent event, which the regime interpreted as an act of political dissent. the march. Everything was in an authoritarian and threatening tone.” The march, organized through social media, took place less than three months after Sánchez in early June 2019 went to Ruíz’s farm. The two men met at the Havana march Cubans ratified their country’s new constitution. and had become friends. Sánchez stayed with Ruíz for approximately two weeks, and A previous draft contained Article 68, which would have opened the door to marriage the police summoned him for another interrogation after he returned home. for same-sex couples in Cuba, but the National Assembly removed it in response to “They tried to find information about him. They asked what kind of relationship I had pressure that various religious denominations put on the government and reported with Ariel,” Sánchez said. “I refused to answer. One of the officers spoke to me in a opposition from the Cuban people. The National Assembly instead said a referendum threatening tone and banged on the table. I remember him telling me that Ariel was on reforms to the country’s Family Code will take place within two years. a counterrevolutionary and that relating to him also made me the same. And for that “That cancellation was the last straw,” said Sánchez during an interview with the reason he could go to prison.” Washington Blade from French Guiana, a French territory on the northern coast of South The police eventually released Sánchez, but not before they threatened and America. “In the past they have imposed everything on the Cuban people. They could intimidated him and warned him they would closely follow him. and should incorporate gay rights, as they have done with everything in Cuba, without Sánchez received antiretroviral drugs under a program that Cuba’s national health the need for a consultation. That is why I joined the protests. And although I was afraid, care system runs, but he said he did not get his entire monthly supply when he went to my desire for justice was greater. I went and was there. I don’t regret it and I never will. pick it up in July 2019. Sánchez made several inquiries, and was finally told a national It was my duty to do my bit.” shortage in HIV medications was the likely reason he did not receive his full regimen. The Cuban government prohibits unauthorized demonstrations, and those who Sánchez reached out to a friend who also receives antiretroviral drugs through the publicly criticize it face arrest and even criminal charges. same program, and he assured him that he had received all of his medications. Sánchez The May 11, 2019, march took place along several busy streets near the Cuban said he began to suspect this “missing person” was another tactic the regime used to Capitol. Police officers and state security agents infiltrated the protesters. punish him for his “rebellion.” “At that time, I felt that I was free and that the world was listening to me and, above “After that, one of my HIV medications was missing in September and October. I knew all, that my country was being a little freer,” Sánchez recalled. “At the end of Paseo del it was its way of punishing me,” he said. “I have been an HIV patient since 2011 and since Prado, the march was stopped by the forces of repression.” I started my treatment I have never been short. It is a simple therapy manufactured in Sánchez began to encourage the rest of the crowd to continue marching when he felt Cuba.” a violent force drag him to the ground. Sánchez said the owner of the house in which he lived with his partner, Diosbel “They are taking me prisoner, they are taking me prisoner,” he shouted as a state Alvarez, in Havana told him that he should move because the government had decided security agent tried to separate him from the crowd. to persecute him. “Many people jumped in to stop that injustice, only Ariel Ruíz Urquiola (a well-known “She was aware of my political problems and I had to leave the house,” said Sánchez. gay activist and opposition figure) and the repressors who joined in remained glued to “I automatically knew that she had been called or threatened, because nobody is my body. We were both led into a white police car. One of those men, when I resisted removed because of simple comments. We realized at that moment that there were entering the patrol car, told me, ‘Bring your arm in because I am going to break it with people watching outside the house.” the door.’” He said an unexpected visitor arrived at his new home shortly after he moved in. It Sánchez, along with Urquiola and other march participants, were taken to a police was a state security agent who came to confirm the control the regime maintained over station and placed into holding cells. Sánchez was released after a number of agents his life. interrogated him for several hours and accused him of disturbing public order. The agent tried to discourage Alvarez from having relationships with opposition The agents tried to get him to sign a confession, but he refused. figures inside and outside of Cuba. The agent also threatened to “deport” him to his native province because he was living illegally in Havana. (Authorities require a person who lives in Havana to have an address in the Cuban capital on their identity document.) THE WITCH HUNT BEGINS Sánchez and Alvarez decided that fleeing the country was the only way to stop the siege under which they had lived since the march. They left Cuba for Suriname, a country That incident was only the beginning of what Sánchez describes as a “witch that borders French Guiana, on Nov. 20, 2019. hunt” against him, his partner, his family and friends. Agents with Cuba’s National Continues at washingtonblade.com. Revolutionary Police five days after Sánchez’s detention in Havana began to question 1 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 2 0 , 2 0 2 0 • I NT E R NAT I O NA L NE WS

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is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

Trump must exit stage right

It will take time to undo the frightening societal changes he wrought BY PETER ROSENSTEIN

The time has come for Donald Trump to face the music and step off the stage. The court cases his attorneys are bringing are all being thrown out and his own appointees at the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. No evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” No one should be surprised Trump is clinging to the presidency by his fingernails. When no longer protected from lawsuits he will find himself inundated with both criminal and civil suits and for all we know he is drowning in debt with the bills coming due. His entire family faces possible indictments in New York and potentially other states where even a federal pardon, if any were secured, won’t protect them. Trump’s crime family will finally face justice. What he is doing as he clings to the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office is endangering the national security of the United States. Refusing to allow President-elect Biden national security briefings could leave us vulnerable to foreign interference, which was made clear by the 9/11 Commission in its report. Making changes at the top of the Department of Defense is adding to the possibility that the United States is not prepared for foreign aggression. The Defense Secretary Trump named not only can’t find the bathrooms in the Pentagon but more serious is the fact he has no idea how to access the nuclear security codes. The other new top officials are also clueless. Rumors of why Trump wanted these new people are rampant but they are there to do Trump’s bidding whatever that turns out to be. This past weekend thousands of Trump supporters came to D.C. demonstrating their love of Trump and he did a drive by around Freedom Plaza on his way to playing golf to thank them. Yes we must give Trump credit for bringing out over 70 million voters and he is taking the moment to bask in that. However while there was no “blue wave,” Joe Biden

brought out even more voters and will end the election with at least six million more votes than Trump and having flipped five states. So the moment of Trump basking in the adulation of his cult will be short lived. Despite being a congenital liar who convinced himself of his infallibility he will be forced to face the fact he lost and if he doesn’t leave on his own will be escorted off the stage. Whether he formally concedes is irrelevant as that is not required by law but is rather the custom of decent presidents in our democracy. I believe the United States will be able to recover from four years of Trump. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will work to quickly to overturn many of Trump’s executive orders and will rejoin foreign alliances and international organizations like the World Health Organization. The new administration will make a strong statement by having the diversity of the nation represented in the Cabinet and when they name new ambassadors. I would hope Pete Buttigieg is being considered for ambassador to the United Nations and qualified individuals like Dr. Claire Lucas are being considered for ambassadorships. Lucas would be the first openly lesbian ambassador to represent the United States. What will take more time to undo are the frightening social/societal changes Trump wrought. He made it possible for neo-Nazis and white supremacists to feel comfortable demonstrating their hate in public. He made it possible for racists, sexists, homophobes and those denigrating immigrants to once again voice their bile in the public square. It will take much more work and time to put that genie back in the bottle than it will to change public policy. So let us see that Trump is unceremoniously ushered off the stage and with him the sycophants he installed in the White House and federal agencies. If it doesn’t happen earlier it will be done at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, when we celebrate Biden being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and Harris being sworn in as vice president.

(Image via Public Domain)

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a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

Why did so many queer voters back Trump? It’s a question we should ponder before 2022 BY KATHI WOLFE

Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan (Image via Public Domain)

I have a new hero! Her name is Cassandra. Why am I a Cassandra fangirl? Because Cassandra is an oracle. She speaks the truth, but was cursed never to be believed. Why does she repel so many? Because the truth isn’t pretty, and truth tellers too often come off as scolds. We are in the Age of Cassandra. Cassandra knows the score. She tells us the real story of what’s happening in our country. But many of us, queer and non-queer, turn away in disbelief. As I write, it’s been 10 days since Nov. 7, when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election. Yet, Donald Trump still falsely claims that he “won.” Even as his team continues to lose in its efforts to legally upend the election, Trump insists that the Democrats stole the election. As I write, Trump is tweeting that the recount going on in Georgia is “fake.” It’s alarming enough that, for the first time in our history, we have a president who appears to be unwilling to leave office after he’s lost an election. More alarming: as I write, the Trump administration has not begun the transition that normally begins when the election is over. This in itself is scary. “Trump has broken every norm of democracy and civility,” my friend George Covington, who worked for the George H.W. Bush administration told me over the phone recently. A few Republicans have acknowledged that Biden won the election and congratulated the president-elect. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) were among the Republicans who joined Bush in congratulating the president elect. But Republican leaders who have congratulated Biden are few. Most, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham have supported Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. McConnell, who must know that Biden won the election, told CNN that Trump is “within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.” Graham has gone even further, reports the Washington Post. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (a Republican) told the Post that Graham and other Republicans had pressured him to invalidate legally cast absentee ballots, so that Biden’s victory in Georgia would be reversed in Trump’s favor. (Graham has denied that this occurred.) Some of my friends have told me that I’m overly alarmed. That Trump’s legal challenges won’t come to anything. I don’t mean that I think Trump won’t leave the White House on Jan. 20. Or that after Inauguration Day, McConnell and other Republican leaders will persist in not acknowledging that Biden is president. But, as I write, the Trump administration has refused to allow the transition process to begin. Biden hasn’t yet been given access to intelligence briefings. Nor has anyone from Trump’s coronavirus task force spoken with Biden or his staff. Even more frightening: depending on the polls from 30 percent (Reuters poll) to 70 percent (Politico’s poll) believe Trump’s false claim of election fraud. They support Trump’s lie, though Fox News said Biden won. This should take the stuffing out of you! How can we have a democracy when at least 30 percent of Americans no longer trust facts? Equally disturbing: polls indicate that the number of LGBTQ people who voted for Trump nearly doubled since the 2016 election. About 14 percent of LGBTQ people voted for Trump in 2016, Nate Silver said on the 538 podcast. About 27 percent of LGBTQ people voted for him in 2020. It’s time that we, the LGBTQ press, progressives, liberals – queer civil rights activists – listen to Cassandra. Our democracy is fragile now. Increasingly, people in our community are supporting an anti-queer demagogue. We must try to better understand why some queer folks support Trump. As difficult as it will be, let’s work to fix our broken democracy. V I E WP O I NT • NOV E M B E R 2 0 , 2 0 2 0 • WA S H I N GTO N B L A D E.CO M • 1 9

Bah, humbug! Pandemic exacerbates holiday blues Take steps to reduce, even eliminate, seasonal stress By KATHI WOLFE

Feasting on turkey with your family. Hanukkah Harry. Santa. “A Christmas Carol.” Sugar Plum fairies. Lighting candles to celebrate Kwanzaa. Ringing in the New Year! It’s the holidays! Happy! Happy! Not so much. Especially during the pandemic, and if you’re queer. There are always holiday naysayers who dread Thanksgiving, loathe “It’s a Wonderful Life” and shout, “Bah, humbug!” Yet, in the pandemic, many of us have the “holiday blues” more acutely than we did in past holiday seasons, Idyllic scenes of the holidays may not pan out this year thanks to COVID. psychologists and LGBTQ advocates told the Blade in But with some planning, you can stay positive and help others less fortunate. interviews. The term “holiday blues” is bandied about often. Yet, its meaning isn’t always clear. The “holiday blues” isn’t a Most cisgender, heterosexual people who go home for the holidays, even if they are of a mental illness, said Elaine Rodino, a psychologist in private practice in State College, Pa. different faith, are culturally similar to their family of origin, said psychologist Keely Kolmes. “It’s not a diagnosable ailment. It’s a feeling of malaise,” she said, “of anxiety – of discomfort “That’s not true for all queer folks,” said Kolmes who identifies as nonbinary. “Their families that occurs during the holidays.” often direct micro aggressions at them, leaving them feeling isolated.” But just because the “holiday blues” isn’t pathological, doesn’t mean that feelings of Sometimes, homophobia or transphobia can be physically unsafe. But, even subtle micro anxiety, stress and sadness during the holidays aren’t painful. aggressions, such as a snide comment on a celeb coming out, can be hurtful, they added. Our holiday stress is nearly always related to our childhood experiences, Rodino said. (Kolmes uses the pronouns they/them.) “For example, if we grew up with an alcoholic parent, we’ll recall how that parent would ruin “I advise clients when they go home for the holidays to have an escape plan with a friend the holidays,” she said, “it would start out fine. But, by the end of the night, the parent would or trusted family member,” Kolmes said, “for where they can go or what they can do if things be drunk, hostile – angry.” go wrong.” On the other hand, we may recall our childhood holidays as having been absolutely LGBTQ people seeking support (such as support groups or friendly religious events) perfect. “You might remember that your Mom baked 300 cookies. They were the best in during the holidays should contact LGBTQ centers and queer-friendly houses of worship in the world,” Rodino said. “You’ll feel guilty because your present doesn’t match up to your their communities, Kolmes advised. memories of past perfection.” We often hear this overwhelming, anti-LGBTQ religious voice, said Michael Vazquez, The pandemic with its restrictions, illness and financial losses adds an added layer of HRC Religion & Faith Program Director. “Yet, the intensity of that voice is disproportionate,” stress to the holidays, especially for the LGBTQ community and other vulnerable groups. Vazquez added, “the overwhelming majority of American people of faith are welcoming “One way to deal with holiday stress is to volunteer,” Rodino advised, “to soup kitchens. and affirming of LGBTQ people.” Include vulnerable people in your Zoom events.” “Going home – being with the family for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa – it’s important to Don’t be intimidated by past holiday rituals. “Create your own traditions,” Rodino said. remember,” he said, “it’s not antithetical to be both LGBTQ and a person of faith.” (For more “If we did everything like people did in the past, we’d do things like they did in the Middle information, visit hrc.org/resources/religion-faith. Ages.” Many queer people (especially trans people) are struggling to survive during the From Hallmark movies to endless holiday music playlists to ads showing families merrily pandemic, said Anneliese Singh, a counseling psychologist and chief diversity officer at gathering before the fire, we’re led to expect that the holidays will be filled with happiness Tulane University. “I think, too, with this election, during the holidays, many of us are going and togetherness. to have to set boundaries with those of our families who supported Trump,” Singh, who We experience the “holiday blues” when our holidays don’t live up to these cultural identifies as gender queer, said. expectations, said Nicholas Grant, a clinical psychologist and president elect of GLMA Sometimes Trump supporters separate their votes for Trump from their love for their (Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality). queer loved ones, she added, “but, for us, a vote for Trump means a vote against ourselves.” In addition to this stress, many LGBTQ people experience overt or subtle homophobia LGBTQ people should reclaim their religious traditions – from Kwanzaa rituals to Advent or transphobia when they gather with their family of origin for the holidays, Grant, who is services, Singh said. queer, said. “Another way to move through the ‘holiday blues,’‘ she added, “is to have a daily set of The pandemic has added layers to holiday loneliness and insecurity. gratitude boxes. Not cheesy gratitude. But gratitude that we’re queer and survived and You can take steps to reduce, if not totally eliminate, holiday stress, Grant added. “Use thrived.” technology like Zoom to see family and friends who you can’t see in person,” he said. Singh and her partner connected 10 years ago during the holidays. Be proactive about who you want to see over the holidays, Grant advised. If you feel that “Christmas Eve is a special night for us,” she said, “it’s when we first got together. Every connecting with someone in your family would be stressful for you, limit your time with them. Christmas we think: How do we want to celebrate our relationship?” “My Dad and I have no relationship as of this year,” Grant said, “because of his behavior and Even before the pandemic, the holidays were difficult for queer and trans youth, said politics. It’s brought up for me: how do I want to experience this holiday season?” Adalphie Johnson, director of programs for SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Doing something that’s enjoyable to you and in line with your values is a great way to Advocates and Leaders). “Some are homeless. Some are in unsafe spaces,” she said, “they’re cope with the holidays, he added, “whether it’s writing poetry, riding a bike, baking bread not able to express themselves as far as clothing, etc.” or volunteering.” For information on coping with the “holiday blues” or finding a therapist, Grant recommends Psychology Today, psychologytoday.com. CONTINUES ON PAGE 22 2 0 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • NOVEMBER 2 0 , 2 0 2 0 • A &E

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Trans Awareness Week goes virtual

Day of Remembrance events planned for Friday


The Human Rights Campaign held a series of events this week, including panels and film screenings, to celebrate and commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, the organization announced Nov. 13. Transgender Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 is dedicated to highlighting the progress and the continued struggles of gender nonconforming communities. This year’s events are all being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The week’s events kicked off on Sunday with the TransTech panel “A Look Ahead-The Stakes for Trans and Non-Binary People,” hosted by HRC President Alphonso David and featuring TransTech founder and “Pose” star, Angelica Ross. TransTech is a networking organization designed to give trans people access to education, support, and jobs. A film screening and panel discussion of “Mama Gloria” was scheduled for Wednesday. “Mama Gloria” tells the story of Gloria Allen, who will be participating in the discussion. Allen is a Black transgender woman who came out of Chicago’s ballroom culture in the 1960s and went on to pioneer a charm school for young transgender people. Allen will be joined on the panel by Luchina Fisher, film director and member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council; Gia Parr, HRC Foundation youth ambassador; and Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative. On Thursday, a film screening and panel discussion of the documentary “Born To Be” is scheduled for 8 p.m. the documentary follows Dr. Jess Ting, a doctor at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. The panel will include Ting, as well as Director of the HRC Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Tari Hanneman, the film’s director Tania Cypriano, and other advocates featured in the film. The panel will be moderated by Associate Editor at IndieWire Jude Dry. Also scheduled for Thursday is a Project Thrive webinar, titled “Youth Beyond the Binary: A Conversation on Non-Binary Identities”, with non-binary youth advocate Sula Malina. Project Thrive is a national campaign to support and care for LGBTQ youth. The week will end with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held every year on Nov. 20. A panel discussion is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. with Cooper, executive director of STARR, trans advocate Mariah Lopez, and Executive Director of New York Transgender Advocacy Group Kiara St. James. They will be joined by community advocate Kendall

TransTech founder and ‘Pose’ star ANGELICA ROSS participated in HRC’s Trans Awareness Week events. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Stephens, Ty Williams, a friend of Tony McDade’s family, and Clara Harris, the mother of Felycya Harris a trans woman who was murdered in October. So far, at least 36 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed in 2020, HRC said in a statement. A majority of those were Black and Latinx transgender women. According to the statement, HRC has recorded the highest number of violent deaths of gender nonconforming people this year than any year since 2013, when they began keeping track. The year 2017 previously held the highest number of transgender fatalities with 31 recorded deaths.


Safe virtual holiday events for youth

Youth are often unable to bring their partners to family holiday gatherings. “The pandemic with its social distancing adds to the social isolation,” Johnson said. SMYAL is working to create safe virtual holiday events for youth, said Johnson, who is queer. “We’re sending out gift cards so they can order food and virtually eat together,” she added. “We ensure that the young people have all the fixings and trimmings.” When young people get together with their families, SMYAL advises them to have one or two people they can call or text if they feel unsafe. During her youth, “the most difficult thing during the holidays was that I didn’t know who in my family – like my aunts – would accept my girlfriend,” Johnson said. (For more information and resources, visit: www.smyal.org. www.thetrevorproject.org. www.gsanetwork.org. www.glsen.org) The holidays can be hard for everyone of every age, including LGBTQ elders. Older LGBTQ people are more likely to feel lonely during the holidays because they’re more likely to live alone, be single and not have children, said Bill Gross, assistant director of special programs for SAGE. SAGE’s services for older LGBTQ people range from a friendly

‘With this election, during the holidays, many of us are going to have to set boundaries with those of our families who supported Trump,’ said ANNELIESE SINGH, chief diversity officer at Tulane University.

visitor program to a hotline run by volunteers trained in crisis counseling. The hotline, open 24/7, 365 days a year, including the holidays, provides free support in English and Spanish (with translation services in 180 languages). (For information, visit sageusa.org.) Richard Daniels, a performer, is a member of SAGE’s New York City affiliate. Daniels was in “Help,” a play by poet and writer Claudia Rankine. The play shut down after two previews because of COVID. “The holidays will be no different. We’ll still be in quarantine,” Daniels said. Daniels and his husband love Thanksgiving. “We’re Jewish. We don’t do much for Hanukkah or Christmas,” he said, “but Thanksgiving’s the one holiday where we love to get together with people — family, friends, out-of-town visitors — people with nowhere to go.” “We still have much to be grateful for,” Daniels added, “we don’t drink. But we’d love to share a piece of pie on Zoom on Thanksgiving.”

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By Parker Purifoy

The Congressional Chorus celebrates all things ‘90s, including Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ this weekend. (Screen capture via YouTube)


Friday Tea Time is a virtual social gathering at 2 p.m. for older LGBTQ adults via Zoom. Participants are encouraged to bring their beverage of choice while socializing with friends. For more information, visit thedccenter.org/events. The 16th Annual Downtown Holiday Market kicks off today at 12 p.m. Operated by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District and Diverse Markets Management, this year’s market will move from its typical sidewalk location and instead occupy two blocks of F Street NW, from 7th to 9th streets, N.W. The increased amount will allow for wider aisles on the street so that guests can shop safely with current COVID-19 guidance. The market runs until Dec. 23 and for more information about their hours, visit downtownholidaymarket.com

Saturday, November 21

The LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will meet at 1 p.m. to provide an outlet for LGBTQ people of color to talk about anything affecting them. For the Zoom link to the meeting, email supportdesk@thedccenter.org. South Asian LGBTQ Support Group is a virtual event hosted by KhushDC to provide a safe, confidential space for South Asian LGBTQ community members to come together and share experiences. The peer support group is an outlet for South Asian-identified LGBTQ individuals to come and talk about anything affecting them. The group session will begin at 1:30 p.m. More information can be found at thedccenter.org/events. Annapolis is holding its annual Tree Lighting event at the Town Centre. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is limited space for spectators but a $20 ticket reserves a spot and includes a complimentary glass of holiday wine. After the tree lighting at 5 p.m., families can go to a drive-in showing of the “The Grinch.” For more information, go to the Annapolis Town Centre’s Facebook page. Continue To Serve, a veterans social justice organization, is holding a March for Justice at Malcom X Park starting at 3 p.m. There will also be White Ally Training put on by DC Protests at 2 p.m.

Monday, November 23

LGBT Older Adults and friends are invited to join the DC Center at 10 a.m. for a Center Aging Coffee Drop-In. For more information visit thedccenter.org and Center Aging on social media.

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Tuesday, November 24 The DC Center is hosting its monthly support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary over Zoom at 7 p.m. Meetings are on the fourth Tuesday and third Mondays of each month. More information can be found at thedccenter.org/events

Thursday, November 26

The DC Center is hosting its annual Thanksgiving event in a virtual format this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be providing a limited number of precooked, individually packaged meals. Participants can fill out a Google form on The DC Center’s website to get the link to the Zoom meeting. For questions, email Justin@ thedccenter.org.


DCATS art sale to benefit National Binder Exchange The DC Trans Masculine Society is launching a three-day art sale starting on Black Friday to support gender nonconforming artists and the organization’s National Binder Exchange Program. The sale will include prints, paintings, jewelry, and music. Those who are interested in selling items can go to transartsale.com to register their items. Artists will not have to pay any fees to list their items. Those who wish to buy items can also go to the website during the sale. DCATS raises money by asking buyers to add donations on top of their purchases.

Congressional Chorus plays first virtual concert The Congressional Chorus is premiering its first full-length virtual concert on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. on their YouTube channel. The show, a 30-minute virtual cabaret, is titled “Vogue: Return to the 90s” and revisits the decade that came with Madonna’s “Vogue,” “Circle of Life,” and “River of Dreams.” The Congressional Chorus is a multi-generational organization that performs throughout the region and provides music education to aspiring singers. The group was founded in 1987 and now includes an 80-member adult chorus, a 24-member a cappella chamber ensemble, and the NorthEast Senior Singers. The concert is free but donations are encouraged.

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Some good luck for the Black Cat

Yes, the iconic club will weather the coronavirus storm By BROCK THOMPSON

It’s one of the last true D.C. spaces to sit along 14th Street, a corridor now home to more banks and corporate eateries than the pawnshops and laundromats that some of us might remember. And standing on the checkered floor, looking around the main stage of the Black Cat, you would have thought the last show cleared out just moments ago — drums still sat on the stage, glasses sat on the bar, the campy Centaur pinball machine still aglow. Dante Ferrando, owner, operator, and D.C. native met me upstairs and we talked all things Black Cat, the changing punk scene, 9-11, coronavirus, and the future of the club. Standing over five feet with blue hair and a convivial, upbeat attitude that may have had more to do with that coffee cup he’s hardly ever seen without, Ferrando sat at his table and me at mine. And I asked him point blank: Would the club weather this storm? “We’ll be here,” he said. The formula for success? A mixture of a timely PPP loan, robbing his own retirement fund, and the fact that they own the building. It’s not the same building they had when it all started back in 1993; that’s a few doors down. And the whole thing got started when Ferrando, himself a drummer in a band, cobbled together a group of investors, including Foo Fighters lead Dave Grohl, to start a live-music venue in the heart of the District. The year 2001 saw the Black Cat, in a three-day move, relocate to its current location. The second day of that move was Sept. 11. Ferrando told me that “was the worst year the club experienced,” adding, “until this year.” If anything is similar between now and then, it’s the fear and apprehension that’s cast a pall over the District. And live music events are squarely in the city’s Phase Four operating plan in dealing with the virus, that is, in a post-vaccine world. Until then, Ferrando said that “me and my wife are burning through our retirement money.” And practically everyone was let go; Ferrando even fired himself. At peak business, the Black Cat would be employing 20 to 30 people at a time — everyone from bartenders, door people, coat check, sound and lighting. They were all gone within a week. And then there were all the shows. Given the nature of the touring industry, his stage was booked out nine months in advance, and in a matter of weeks, hundreds of thousands of tickets had to be refunded. A second round of PPP loan applications was successful. But the limitations on what the funds can be used for are too strict, Ferrando said. It did help stave off disaster for sure. But it cannot be used toward D.C. property taxes — running about $214 a day — and the city hasn’t really given a break on that. Still, though shuttered, work continues. In 2018, the Black Cat announced plans to shrink by almost half. Why? As the Washington Post put it in 2018, “punks don’t live here anymore.” It’s just not the same D.C. that produced such famed punk groups as Fugazi. And it’s certainly not the same 14th The Black Cat has always been a safe space for quirky, underground, and queer Washington Street as in the early 1980s, when Ferrando music fans. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) would dread getting stopped at the light

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‘We’ll be here,’ said DANTE FERRANDO, owner of the Black Cat, of surviving coronavirus restrictions. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

at 14th and P, because inevitably a prostitute would jump on the back of his motorcycle. The only way to shake them was to tell them he had no money. The whole street was just “a little rougher,” he told me. Most places were boarded up, and he counted four homeless shelters within a four-block radius. But, then again, punks, and the punks who worked at the Black Cat could afford to live in the neighborhood. And the grittiness and honest texture of the club’s numerous spaces appealed to them. But by the early 1990s, businesses started filling in. And by the time the Trader Joe’s and the high-end apartments above it arrived, Ferrando no longer had staff that could walk to work. But he also saw the writing on the wall, by downsizing the club by half — closing down the cafe and the “Backstage” venue, moving the fabled “Red Room” upstairs — Ferrando is busy reworking those spaces for retail rentals, hoping the rent generated there will help bolster the Black Cat’s finances. And no, the Black Cat is not a gay space in the strictest sense. But, like any underground punk space, it can certainly lean queer. The staff of the Black Cat like to think of the space as a sort of unofficial gay bar, and as such they never shy from producing queer events with indy beats and bents. There’s Gay Bash, though that has since moved down the street to Trade. There’s the yearly Booty Rex Pride event for queer women and gender nonconformists. That’s been selling out yearly since 2014. There’s Homo-Sonic, and the old ABBA parties, those were back in the mid-90s. And there was Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer’s mega popular Mixtape. There’s also Furball and Rich Morel’s Hot Sauce and so many Babe Rainbow Pride nights that they all sort of blend together in a cloud of vodka sodas and Madonna floor-filling dance songs. And of course, The Black Cat being primarily a venue for live music, the space has hosted a number queer acts and artists, including Janelle Monae, Limp Wrist, The Gossip, Perfume Genius, Bikini Kill, Christeene, Le Tigre, and Erase Errata, just to name a few. What’s it all for? “I just like weird people,” Ferrando said. “Our goal was never to sell the most drinks, as long as we can pay the bills.” Adding, “what we do here is a bit more important.” And what they do — offering a space for the quirky, an art space, a fringe space, a safe space for the underground — is still hugely important especially now given the changing dynamics of the District. The underground was always a safe and special space for the queer community, a place where the misfits fit, here in D.C. and in all major cities. And as spaces change, let’s hope Washington will still make room for the Black Cat.

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HBO Max’s ‘Veneno’ a triumph of trans storytelling

Spanish import full of human truth that can help to sway hearts and minds By JOHN PAUL KING

It’s a tale with its fair share of both triumph and tragedy, November, among other things, is Trans Awareness Month to be sure, with plenty enough of each to ensure all eight and it probably goes without saying, unfortunately, that episodes of “Veneno” are packed with memorable moments. anybody who wanted to celebrate that by watching trans But one of the many things that makes the new show stand stories would have a hard time finding more than a handful out above so many other biographical dramas is that it is not of them. content to simply show us how things were – it goes a step Despite an increase in trans inclusion on television through further, tying its La Veneno’s story to that of Valeria Vegas, shows like “Pose,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” and even genre series co-author of her memoirs and another real-life trans woman, like “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” narratives that drawing the parallels between their individual journeys and explore trans experience are still fairly few and far between, thereby tracing a line between past and present that not only and if you’re looking for those that do it with an eye toward reminds us of how much we owe to the legacies of those authenticity – by using actual trans talent, both in front of and queer elders who came before us, but of how their struggles behind the cameras, for instance – the list gets even shorter. are given meaning by the benefits they have bestowed upon Fortunately for everyone, the folks at HBO Max are doing the generations to follow. their part to help change that reality. The new streaming DANIELA SANTIAGO stars in ‘Veneno.’ (Photo courtesy HBO Max) As envisioned by series creators Javier Calvo and Javier giant’s big LGBTQ docu-series from last month, “Equal,” Ambrossi, “Veneno” unfolds in a style that is equal parts flight of fancy and gritty realism, devoted considerable screen time to real-life trans icons like Christine Jorgensen and Sylvia exploding with color, passion, and humor. This fluid style, which is set up by the show from Rivera, and included among their many other offerings are trans-inclusive shows from HBO like the start with an opening disclaimer pointing out that, like all stories from memory, it’s a blend “Euphoria” and the new documentary, “Transhood.” of fact and fiction, also allows for a considerable number of creative, cinematic conceits in the Now, the platform has brought us what may be the most authentic, engrossing, moving, and series’ editing and narrative approach, ensuring that it remains a thrillingly wild ride from start yes, entertaining show of the entire crop – and it’s a reason to rejoice not only for trans people to finish. and their allies, but for anyone who loves good television. It’s also a show that, true to the spirit of La Veneno herself, delights in its own over-the-top, “Veneno,” available on HBO Max starting Nov. 19 (the final day of Trans Awareness Week boundary-pushing excesses. Thanks at least in part to its Spanish origins, “Veneno” loves to and the eve of the annual Trans Day of Remembrance), is an import from Spain, where it aired titillate us with nudity and sex, often presented with a kind of feigned nonchalance that only earlier this year on the streaming service Atresmedia Premium, and tells the story of Cristina serves to surprise and shock us more; but instead of seeming exploitative, this approach Ortiz Rodríguez, a real-life trans pioneer better known by the name La Veneno (Poison). instead translates as sex-positivity at its fiercest, and it’s just one of many ways in which the series La Veneno skyrocketed to fame in 1996 when a reporter from a popular late-night talk show authentically captures the lifestyle and attitudes of the trans characters it presents. plucked her from the streets of Madrid to appear in a segment about prostitution. Bold, brash, The thing that brings the greatest measure of authenticity to “Veneno,” of course, is its cast. funny, and fabulous, her unapologetic no-holds-barred persona made her an instant celebrity Portraying La Veneno herself are three genuine trans actresses – Jedet, Daniela Santiago, and in an era when the deeply ingrained cultural stigma around trans people was even more Isabel Torres – who each give dazzlingly honest performances; Jedet, who plays the youngest oppressive than it is today, and she parlayed her status as a TV personality into a successful adult version of the character, even went through the process of transitioning during the making career as a nightclub performer, a model, an actress (including both “legit” work and porn), and of the series. In addition, real-life trans actress, model and activist Lola Rodríguez delivers a even a singer with two hit singles under her belt. sensitive, endearing portrayal of Vargas, whose own transition is informed by the process of Like many trans stories from that era (or any other, for that matter), La Veneno’s was fraught writing La Veneno’s life story. with hardship, and her time in the spotlight did not mean that those struggles had come to an The real Vargas, incidentally, was part of the creative team on “Veneno,” bringing a pedigree end. Convicted of arson and fraud in 2003, she spent three years in an all-male prison, thanks to to the show that can only come with direct lineage from its inspiration. It’s icing on the cake, having never changed her gender on her official identity documents; despite a brief comeback really, since the show is so skillfully – and lovingly – executed that it earns its laurels firmly on its following her release, she subsequently struggled with anxiety, depression, and bulimia due own merits. to the weight gain she had incurred during her incarceration. She would eventually return to “Veneno” is a limited series – only eight episodes – but it has the potential for making a far prison again for eight months in 2014, and in 2016 – less than a month after the publication more lasting impact than most shows running 10 times that long. After all, as La Veneno’s own of her memoir, “Ni Puta, Ni Santa (Las Memorias de La Veneno)” – she died after sustaining a story proves (and as the series itself explores in considerable depth), the media have vast power traumatic brain injury in a fall at her home. The death was ruled to have been accidental, but in shaping the thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of an entire culture, and the story this proud she had allegedly received threats due to revelations she had made about well-known figures Spanish import tells is full of the kind of “warts-and-all” human truth that can help to sway hearts in the book, and not-unreasonable speculation abounded that she, like so many other trans and minds in the direction of empathy in a way that a thousand impassioned speeches cannot. women, had fallen victim to murder.

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‘Signature Vinyl’ concert replete with joy Art finds a way in filmed theatrical experience By PATRICK FOLLIARD

Prior to the pandemic, filming a rooftop concert wasn’t high on director Matthew Gardiner’s artistic docket. But tough times call for flexibility. “We knew socially distanced performances would never work in our intimate spaces,” explains Gardiner, associate artistic director at Signature Theatre in Arlington. “So, we pretty quickly pivoted to film and the outdoors, the best way for us make to art in this moment.” The inaugural result is “Signature Vinyl,” a Gardiner-conceived, 80-minute concert replete with joy while not neglecting the intense concerns of the present - pandemic and racial reckoning. Safely filmed and recorded on Signature’s roof, spots at the Wharf, and the grounds of a donor’s upscale digs, the project is inspired by Signature’s popular summer cabaret series with its celebration of retro-classics and madly talented artists. Nearly 20 of Signature’s favorite performers including Nova Y. Payton, Rachel Zampelli, Natascia Diaz, and out artists Jade Jones and Solomon Parker III, accompanied by “Mark G. Meadows and The Movement” serve up rousing, fun, and moving interpretations of old favorites like “September,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Signed Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours), and “Up On the Roof.” “It’s a gamble, we know,” says the out director. “We’re not Netflix but we believe there’s enough love for the artists in our community and for music and musical theater to engage an audience in a more cinematic film way. “And it’s not only about tiding over until Signature gets back to live performance. It’s also a way to expand what we do. These projects won’t suddenly end when the pandemic ends.” Gardiner has never worked harder. After the resignation of Signature’s longtime artistic director Eric Schaeffer in June, Gardiner’s responsibilities have increased many fold: “Essentially, I’ve been asked to put forth a season and fulfill the artistic mission of the theater in a time that is unlike anything we’ve ever had to deal with before. It’s been the most challenging time of my career – by a million.” Signature’s dubbing the film a “cinematic concert” isn’t pretentious, but rather a way to differentiate the piece from so many other streamed offerings: “We’re producing some filmed theatrical experiences and that’s our goal at this moment as opposed to virtual digital, which to me implies it’s going to be on Zoom or YouTube in the livestream world,” Gardiner says. And while filming isn’t easy during the best of times, during pandemic it requires strict adherence to the demanding safety precautions prescribed by SAG-AFTRA (the film and TV

SOLEA PFEIFFER, MATTHEW GARDINER, and EMILY SKINNER working on an upcoming Signature Theatre filmed project. (Photo courtesy Signature Theatre)

union) which include frequent Covid-19 testing and an onsite medic in addition to the usual social distancing, masks, etc. Looking forward, Gardiner knows that theater will be different, and he’s more than fine with that. What leaves him leery, however, is getting back to live performance too soon: “I’m not for a rash push to make it happen by doing it in a socially distanced way that will make people run screaming from the theater. I’d much rather see theater come back full force — whatever that may be — exciting and vibrant.” In the meantime, upcoming projects include a concert filmed inside Signature’s Max Theatre featuring an orchestra and a dozen artists familiar to Signature audiences and beyond (Broadway’s Emily Skinner, Norm Lewis, and Solea Pfeiffer), followed by a series of cabarets. “Filming inside makes filming outside look easy,” he says. Gardiner describes the times as very telling. While some theater makers are taking time to breathe and reassess, others are working harder than ever to prove that art is essential. Both are estimable camps, he says, but Gardiner identifies with the latter: “I’m more determined to create art when I’m being told that I can’t.”

‘Signature Vinyl’

Through May 6, 2021 Streaming tickets available at SigTheatre.org/Signature-Vinyl for a donation of $25 or more.



STREAMING ON DEMAND FROM DECEMBER 5 TO DECEMBER 20 TICKETS: $25 Visit GMCW.org for more information Event will be ASL interpreted

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Holiday gifts for gearheads

Something for everyone, including your dog By JOE PHILLIPS

A dog bowl from BMW.

Bomber skis for your Bentley.

For any car fans in your life who have been cooped up indoors for months, here are some fun holiday gifts to satisfy their fast-and-furious fantasies.

is battery powered and comes with remote-control access for parents. Doors open and close, and there’s even a safety belt to help kids learn to buckle up.

Land Rover Teddy Bear Talk about butch! Land Rover’s golden-brown teddy bear ($65) comes with a stylish flat cap and green overalls, in tribute to the first-ever pre-production Land Rover back in 1948.

LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender The LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender ($170) is a great way to escape from the cares of the world for a while. This detailed toy—with 2,573 pieces—has a working steering wheel, four-speed gearbox, all-wheel drive, forward-folding seats and more.

Mercedes Hand Sanitizer In a nod to how much our lives have changed because of the pandemic, Mercedes now offers hand sanitizer ($4) with its name emblazoned on the twoounce bottle. Ford Face Masks In another sign of the times, Ford has three face masks ($27) with the automaker’s logo and branding. The one-size-fits-all masks have adjustable ear loops and are made of two layers of dry-tech fabric. BMW Dog Bowl Perfect for any pooch, the BMW dog bowl ($49) is a great way to reward loving companions who have tirelessly tolerated their masters—as we work from home, get sucked into our computer screens and constantly sigh (or yell) at the latest news cycle. Includes a removable bowl insert and rubberized base. Porsche Socks To keep toes toasty, Porsche offers a set of fine-knit unisex socks in two designs, each featuring the automaker’s logo.


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Face masks from Ford.

Ford Vintage Bronco Turntable Everything is new again at Ford, which is resurrecting its rough-and-tough Bronco for 2021. But you don’t have to wait for the vintage Bronco turntable ($130), with retro styling, built-in speakers and headphone output. The teal color is a nice touch, as are the lighted headlights. With four-way music capability— belt-drive turntable, radio, aux input and USB—you can play and convert vinyl records to a USB flash drive. Lexus LC500 Kiddie Car You may not be driving much these days, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t get behind the wheel. The pint-sized Lexus LC500 ($250) has LED lights, music and—honk, honk!—a horn. This one-seater

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Cadillac Herringbone Wool Blanket Baby, it’s cold outside, but Cadillac makes it easy to snuggle up with a herringbone wool blanket ($65). Made of Australian fine wool and acrylic, the 50x60inch blanket has a twisted-fringe edge. Lexus Cookies Lexus may make some sweet rides, but it also offers other sweets: yummy cookies ($62). With six flavors, these treats were created by a chef from the renowned Culinary Institute of America and come in a basswood cookie crate that can be used later to store magazines, catalogs or papers. BMW Active Mat What better way to relieve stress during these challenging times than with yoga or some other exercise or meditation. The two-layered BMW active mat ($40) has a soft surface and comes with a convenient carrying strap. Bentley Luxe Lifestyle Most automakers offer branded baseball caps, ballpoint pens and such, but Bentley has a ridiculous number of high-end items in its luxury lifestyle collection, including premium perfumes/ colognes, chronograph watches, exquisite jewelry, designer handbags, upscale sunglasses, fine clothing, artisan furniture and even an over-the-top Buxton kitchen made of larch wood and Calacatta Gold marble. Yes, really. Some faves from Bentley this year: limited-edition Bomber skis ($2,750-$3,750), Naim wireless music system ($3,000), precious gemstone jewelry ($7,000 and up), Newent walnut bed ($12,000). Of course, you could just opt for an actual Bentley, starting at $202,500.

JOIN US FOR A DIGITAL SERIES ON WHERE WE GO FROM HERE NOVEMBER 19 Meet the LGBTQ Winners NOVEMBER 26 The next administration NOVEMBER 3 LGBTQ Non-Profits and their next fights DECEMBER 10 The Importance of LGBTQ Media

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High housing prices and low mortgage rates Balancing your interests as a buyer By JEFFERY A. HAMMERBERG

Tax deductions: Unlike those who While 2020 has been a difficult year in rent, those who own their own homes many ways, it has had its share of silver receive significant tax benefits each year. linings. Certainly, for LGBTQ sellers, the Specifically, owning your own home market has been more than favorable – in means that you are often able to deduct fact, it’s been booming. Lower than usual interest and property taxes paid each inventory and favorable mortgage rates year, which can result in significant tax have meant that in many markets across savings over the course of the time that the country, sellers are receiving top you own your home. Additionally, if you dollar for their homes. This year has also ever decide to refinance your home after provided great opportunities for those building up sufficient equity, you can looking to refinance their homes at lower open a home equity line of credit, which interest rates – and for buyers who want is also tax-deductible. to purchase a home with a mortgage at Predictability: When you own your own home and have a fixed mortgage rate, rates that are some of the lowest they’ve been in years. you are generally able to predict and plan for what your monthly housing costs will Of course, some buyers see this latter fact as somewhat of a double-edged be from month to month and year to year. While you may have fluctuating utility bills sword – true, the interest rates might be low – but often, the costs of homes are depending upon the season, and occasional unexpected repairs, you can generally high. Sometimes, they are significantly higher than they’ve been in recent years. predict what your monthly housing costs will be, as opposed to a situation in which As a result, many buyers are asking – is the benefit of purchasing a home at a lowrental prices may change suddenly and sharply depending upon the housing interest rate worth the trade-off of perhaps paying more for the home itself when market in your area. you buy it? It’s a good question and one that is certainly worth consideration. Intangible value: The truth of the matter is that sometimes in life, Certainly, low mortgage rates are an excellent incentive for buying there are things that you simply can’t put a price tag on. Much of what a home. There’s no question about that. And when one considers low is appealing about homeownership falls into this category. The home mortgage rates the savings truly have to be considered over time. is more than four walls and a roof – it is a place to make memories – a Although you may purchase a home at a price perhaps $10,000 or place to make your own. A place to share life’s ups and downs with $20,0000 more than you would pay in a non-seller’s market, you may the people that you love most. When you own your home, you are easily recoup that money and more throughout the time that you Low inventory and favorable mortgage rates have meant that in truly able to make it your own. You can add the personal touches that own the home. It’s important to realize that low mortgage rates are many markets, sellers are receiving truly make a house a home. Renting often doesn’t offer that same only one piece of the pie to consider when trying to decide whether top dollar for their homes. opportunity. purchasing a home is a sound financial decision for your family. After If you are ready to buy or sell a home, there’s no denying that it’s a all, there are a multitude of other benefits that come with home big life decision. When you make a big decision like that, you want the process to go as ownership as well. Let’s take a look at a few: smoothly and as successfully as possible. That’s where we come in. Building equity: Without question, as a homeowner, you will build equity faster At www.gayrealestate.com, it is our purpose and our passion to help LGBTQ home when interest rates are lower. Even if you don’t receive the lowest possible interest rate, buyers and sellers across the country have the best possible real estate experience. We however, it is wise to remember the fact that you’re still going to be building equity with achieve this by pairing you up with agents who know and love their communities and can every mortgage payment you make. Unlike paying rent where you realize no return on help you with every step of the homebuying process. We would be honored to have the your monthly payment, with every mortgage payment you make, your own a little more opportunity to help you too. Give us a call today. We look forward to helping you soon. of your home - and that is an investment that is typically well worth making.


is the Founder and CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or jeffhammerberg@gmail.com.

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Your Dog Friendly Realtor® HAVE YOU BEEN TO BREWSKI’S BARKHAUS?! If not...now is the time to visit this newly opened dog park bar in Del Ray! Contact me for $5 off your first visit

Whether buying, selling, or renting a home, moving with your dog can be a challenge to you and your pet. Working with someone who understands and respects your specific requirements can make a huge difference in an already stressful situation. In addition to being a dog friendly real estate professional, I have been a volunteer dog obedience trainer, and worked with several pet therapy groups with my golden retrievers. I recognize that your dogs are a member of the family and should always be considered when evaluating your real estate options. Visit www.lisagroover.com/pet-friendly-real-estate for more information!

Lisa Groover REALTOR® | LICENSED IN VA NVAR Platinum Top Producer m 703.919.4426 | LGroover@McEnearney.com | LisaGroover.com 2020

109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.549.9292 | McEnearney.com | Equal Housing Opportunity

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MASSAGE Discrete, private massage studio near Rosslyn. Text Gary 301-704-1158. Days and hours at www.mymassagebygary.com.


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


GWM ISO same to share elegant home in SW DC. Utilities, maid & parking are included. W/D, DW, Filtered Water/ice machine, cable & WiFi, garden (but no yard work), outdoor galleries for tanning, cocktails, etc. Friendly, but non- intrusive, housemate/landlord. Please call Bruce (202) 488-4888. rbrucm@aol.com. Thank you!



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.


ADOPTION, DONOR, SURROGACY legal services. Jennifer represents LGBTQ clients in DC, MD & VA interested in adoption or ART matters. 240863- 2441, JFairfax@jenniferfairfax.com.


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


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


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


at WASHINGTONBLADE.COM Must Be Posted By Monday at 5PM To Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade!

ART DECO HOME - 3 Carvel Circle Bethesda Hidden Gem on a cul-de-sac in Westmoreland Hills designed by noted architects Scherer and Patterson. It also reflects Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic design philosophy connecting the house to its natural surroundings, bringing outdoor space indoors with large expanse of glass while remaining protected from the elements. It has been expanded and updated with superior craftsmanship, thoughtful details, It features 5BRs, 4.5BAs, floor to ceiling windows, airy light-filled rooms, custom built-ins, curved staircase, 2 Fpls, gorgeous sunroom with panoramic views, MBRS with private balcony . The secluded backyard provides a tranquil setting and has a heated pool/spa, covered patio, multi terraces, lush landscaping. Ideally located-close to Westmoreland Park and Capital Crescent Trail, DC, downtown Bethesda, shopping. List Price $1,799,000. Theresa Taylor, TAYLOR MADE REAL ESTATE, theresa@taylormaderealestate.net, 301-922-5565.


WHITE MALE, 45, 6’2”, 200lbs, fairly hairy, 9”. ISO hot, horny, well endowed, submissive jock. Call or text 240-357-8628.


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

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Results-Oriented • Affordable

Larry Cohen, LICSW

32 years serving the LGBT community

202-244-0903 socialanxietyhelp.com

See website for NPR story on my work




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