(Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)
Magnolia Applebottom & Diego’s among highlights, page 22 Tips for navigating Rehoboth’s hot real estate market, page 24 Meet CAMP Rehoboth’s board president, page 26 Town’s anti-climactic election raises concerns, page 28
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D.C. urges gay, bi men, trans women to get Monkeypox vaccination
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the city’s Department of Health announced that beginning on Monday, June 27, a limited number of appointments can be made for monkeypox vaccinations and that gay and bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with D.C. Mayor MURIEL men are urged to get BOWSER on Monday urged gay and bi men and trans vaccinated. women to get vaccinated for In a statement reMonkeypox. leased on Monday, the (Blade file photo by Michael Key) mayor and health department said Monkeypox vaccinations offered by the city are free and available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays between 1-8 p.m. at the city’s health department facility at 7500 Georgia Ave., N.W. It says the appointments are for
eligible D.C. residents and can be made at www.PreventMonkeypox.dc.gov. “Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids or monkeypox lesions/rash,” the statement from the mayor and DOH says, “Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including respiratory secretions during prolonged faceto-face contact, during intimate physical contact like sex, kissing, or hugging, as well as touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox, such as bedding and towels,” the statement says. According to the statement, the initial symptoms of monkeypox often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash and skin lesions. “Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is dangerous, highly contagious, and uncomfortable,” the statement says. “While monkeypox can spread to anyone, the majority of current cases in the District are in men who have sex with men,” it says.
The DOH and mayoral statement says that to be considered eligible for the monkeypox vaccination provided by the city, persons must be a D.C. resident, 18 years of age or older and must fall within these categories: • Gay, bisexual, and other men 18 and older who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) sexual partners or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days • Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender) • Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs). The statement says upon arrival at the vaccination site, proof of D.C. residency will be required and could include an identification card with a D.C. address, a utility bill or other mail with the person’s name on it and a D.C. address, or a current D.C. lease or mortgage with the person’s name on it. LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Va. delegate comes out as bisexual
Virginia state Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) came out as bisexual on June 25 during an appearance at Hampton Roads Pride in Norfolk. “I’m bisexual,” the Virginia Beach Democrat told Pride attendees. “I just never felt like I could say that out loud.” Convirs-Fowler has represented Virginia’s 21st House District since 2018. State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) is gay and state Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) is a lesbian. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. “For those who don’t know, Del. @FowlerforVA and I are both part of the Class of 2017 #RedToBlue legislators who flipped seats that Nov. 7,” tweeted Roem on Mon-
Del. KELLY CONVIRS-FOWLER (Public domain photo)
day. “We’ve both earned re-election twice since then and I couldn’t be more proudof her declaration of Pride =).” Convirs-Fowler has represented Virginia’s 21st House District since 2018. State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) is gay and state Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) is a lesbian. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. “For those who don’t know, Del. @FowlerforVA and I are both part of the Class of 2017 #RedToBlue legislators who flipped seats that Nov. 7,” tweeted Roem on Monday. “We’ve both earned re-election twice since then and I couldn’t be more proudof her declaration of Pride.” STAFF REPORTS
Comings & Goings
Roane named COO of Lambda Legal By PETER ROSENSTEIN
The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: email@example.com. Congratulations to John Roane appointed Lambda Legal’s Chief Operating Officer. On his appointment he said, “I’m delighted and honored to join Lambda Legal and its dedicated team of lawyers, paralegals, and support staff at this critical time in our movement. The forces that oppose our civil rights are organized and formidable, and Lambda Legal is our last line of defense.” Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Roane was Vice President and COO at AIDS UNITED, Inc. He has also served in that role for the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and with the Association of American Veterinary Colleges. He was Associate Director, Program Support Services with the DC Association of American Medical Colleges. In his volunteer capacity, Roane was past chair of the board of directors, Finance and Administration Roundtable (FAR); former board secretary, Us Helping Us; and active with the Society of Human Resource Management, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Food and Friends, and Dog World Rescue. He has also volunteered with CAMP Rehoboth. Congratulations also to Jimmy Rock for being named a partner at Edelson PC, opening the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Rock said, “I’m thrilled to be joining this team helping to redefine what it means to be part of the plaintiffs’ bar.” His work focuses on consumer protection and environmental cases. He is also the lead for the firm’s Public Client Litigation. Prior to joining Edelson PC, he was with the Office of the Attorney General for the Dis0 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2 • LO CA L NE WS
TOREY CARTER-CONNEEN (Photo courtesy ASLA)
trict of Columbia where he helped to start OAG’s Office of Consumer Protection. He also served five years as an Assistant Deputy Attorney General managing OAG’s Public Advocacy Division. Rock received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for Trial of Affirmative Litigation in 2015. He has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center; and as faculty at the National Attorneys General Training Institute’s “Trial of a Complex Consumer Case.” He has presented at numerous conferences. Congratulations to Torey Carter-Conneen honored with a Business of Pride award from the Washington Business Journal. On accepting the award, he said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition and be among an accomplished group of fellow leaders, and especially as we celebrate Pride.” He is currently CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Prior to joining ASLA, he served as COO of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and previously he was the Senior Vice President and CFO for the Center for American Progress, COO and later acting president and CEO at the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute. Outside of work, Carter-Conneen sits on the executive committee of the board for Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, Md., and serves on the board of the American Immigration Council. He and his husband Mike are fathers to two children, Drew and Aiden.
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D.C. officials vow to fight any GOP effort to ban abortion in nation’s capital Without statehood, District vulnerable to congressional interference By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and six members of the D.C. Council said they were united in fighting an attempt by Congress to ban abortions in the nation’s capital following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. At a press conference on the day the Supreme Court handed down its controversial decision, the D.C. officials pointed out that unlike any of the states, D.C. is vulnerable to the authority Congress has over the city under its limited Home Rule Charter, including the authority by Congress to pass a law to ban abortions in the city. The press conference was held at the headquarters in Northeast D.C. of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., whose leaders said they would continue to provide abortion services in the District at the present time. At this time, “Nothing has changed in Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said at the press conference. “Abortion remains legal, and women and girls we know, however, are worried,” the mayor said. “We are worried because we know we are vulnerable as a jurisdiction because of our lack of statehood.” Norton told news media representatives and others attending the press conference that she expects at least some congressional Republicans to introduce legislation to ban abortions in D.C. now that the Supreme Court has given them the authority to do that. “We are subservient still to the House and Senate,” she said. “I’m calling on the Congress to immediately codify the right to an abortion in federal law,” Norton said. “That is the very least the District needs to save this city from what will surely be an attempt by Republicans in Congress to move first on the District of Columbia to make sure that
abortions are not available for women in our city.” Norton added, “We always have more work cut out for us than other jurisdictions. But I assure you I am up to the task. There is a lot to fight for here, and I’m ready for that fight.” Norton and Bowser also pointed out that Congress over a decade ago added a permanent provision to D.C.’s annual budget that prohibits the city from using any of its funds to pay for abortions either directly or through the funding of private organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion related services. With the prospect that Republicans might regain control of the House or Senate or both in the November congressional elections, D.C. officials said they were especially concerned about an attempt to ban or greatly restrict abortions in the city. D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson said he was hopeful that such an attempt would be blocked by a Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate as well as by a presidential veto if President Biden or another Democrat continues to occupy the White House. Bowser, Mendelson, and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) also pointed out that the legal reasoning used by the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially the rationale given by Justice Clarence Thomas, could be used in future cases to overturn previous court rulings establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and the right to intimate sexual acts between same-sex couples. “We are about to enter into decades of darkness with this court that we have,” Cheh said at the press conference. “And don’t be fooled. We’re told, OK, it’s just abortion,” she said. “Don’t you believe it. The very reasoning of
D.C. Congressional Del. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON vowed to fight to protect abortion access in the city. (Blade file photo by Drew Brown)
the case – and I spend a lot of time teaching constitutional law – means that many other liberties will be in jeopardy.” LGBTQ rights advocates have pointed to the concurring opinion handed down by Justice Thomas on the day the court overturned Roe v. Wade that specifically calls on the high court to “reconsider” the 2003 ruling of Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned state laws banning sodomy between consenting adults, both gay and straight. Thomas’s concurring opinion also called for reconsidering the high court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Others speaking at the June 24 press conference included Laura Meyers, president of Planned Parenthood of the D.C. area, and D.C. Council members Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), Christina Henderson (I-At-Large), and Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2).
Abortion legal in Md., Del., but Youngkin seeks ban in Va. Hogan vows to uphold state law on access By JACK WALKER & MICHAEL K. LAVERS
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the Maryland Gov. LARRY HOGAN (Public domain photo) broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level. In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions. After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act. Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a med-
ical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions. On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendment “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday. “In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jack-
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son. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin last week said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy. “Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.” Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January. His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate. “Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters. Youngkin on Friday said he supports exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.
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I’m a transgender woman and I’m part of DC. Please treat me the way any woman would want to be treated: with courtesy and respect. Discrimination based on gender identity and expression is illegal in the District of Columbia. If you think you’ve been the target of discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov or call (202) 727-4559.
Worried about eviction? You do not have to face this alone. Legal Counsel for the Elderly provides free legal services to D.C. residents 60 and older.*
LCE Legal Hotline: 202-434-2120 aarp.org/LCE @LCEinDC @LCEinDC
*Income eligibility applies. Legal Counsel for the Elderly is an affiliate of AARP. Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter.
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‘Gay marriage, gay sex are going to fall like fucking dominoes’ Anger, fear as protesters decry Supreme Court ruling on Roe By JOSH ALBURTUS
Just moments after the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision on Friday overturning its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade that had legalized abortion nationwide for 49 years, hundreds gathered outside the court to both protest and celebrate the ruling. In a 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court found that access to abortion was not a right guaranteed under the language of the Constitution. The ruling effectively reversed the court’s 1973 decision that mandated states to allow the procedure in most instances throughout the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Immediately following the decision, a group of those welcoming the decision quickly gathered in front of the court. Anna Lulis, a member of Students for Life of America, welcomed the decision as long overdue. “I think it is a huge victory for human rights,” Lulis said. “For far too long, since 1973, human rights have been infringed upon at an egregious level.” Beside Lulis, Olivia Cowin, a member of Survivors LA, shared a similar reason for gathering outside the court. “This is a celebratory day to show our support of the unborn and of women and support both simultaneously,” Cowin said. But across the way from the court’s west side, Virginia resident Alysia Dempsey feared what the verdict in Dobbs could mean for women’s rights – including those of her four daughters. “I believe in women’s rights, and I think that our country needs to be able to start listening to each of our stories and to have empathy for them in so many different aspects,” Dempsey said. “I feel like we’re sort of going back in time with regard to so many rights.” Hailing from Arizona, a state under Republican legislative leadership where Planned Parenthood has already halted all abortion services pending legal clarity from the state, Hannah Waldrip cast doubt on the sincerity of anti-abortion rationale. “For a country about personal rights and personal freedom, we’re doing an awful lot right now to limit women’s or people with uterus’ ability to do what they want with their body,” Waldrip said. Stark divisions between the groups arose as ideological lines could be seen physically emerging between the crowds. And as the day progressed, those protesting the ruling quickly began to outnumber its supporters. Among the protesters, the color green – a symbol for abortion rights activists borne out of similar movements in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America – could be seen lining the street on scarves, shirts, stickers, and elsewhere. As the crowd grew and green began to eclipse the simmering pavement beneath the protesters, several speakers emerged at the center of the crowd. One of those speakers was Elizabeth Paige White, a civil rights lawyer working under nationally renowned attorney Ben Crump. In connecting Friday’s decision to the United States’
Hundreds of protesters gathered last Friday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (Blade photo by Michael Key)
history of patriarchal structure, White called into focus the disproportionate effect the repeal of nationwide abortion access is widely expected to have on minorities and communities of color with fewer resources to travel to abortion-friendly states. “As Black, brown, and all these women out here know, we’ve been fighting for our rights since the inception of this country,” White said. “We have been fighting to have rights over our own bodies since the inception of this country.” With the repeal of Roe, decisions on whether to legalize or outlaw abortion will now be left to each state. As of Friday’s ruling, 13 states are set to make almost all abortions illegal, having passed “trigger bans” designed to take effect in the immediate aftermath of Roe’s demise or within the next month. However, many abortion rights supporters, activists, and lawmakers still fear that the curtailing of reproductive rights won’t end with the court’s decision. Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) addressed the crowd with a message of urgency and revelation. “At the end of the day, let me just say, here’s what’s next,” Cortez-Masto said. “I’ve got some of my Republican colleagues based on this decision who are already drafting legislation to restrict abortion in this country. If they win this election, they will pass that legislation and it will preempt all of the state laws we have protecting women in this country when it comes to our right to choose.” Beyond a nationwide restriction on abortion, some
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fear even more privacy restrictions are coming. Such privacy rights have been established in other Supreme Court rulings based on the same Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment that justices used to interpret nationwide abortion rights nearly half a century ago. These cases have included those that established access in all states to contraception, samesex marriage, interracial marriage, and the right to samesex relations in the privacy of one’s home. Among the crowd gathered on Friday, such was a sobering outlook for many. “Gay marriage, interracial marriage, gay sex are going to fall like fucking dominoes if we let them,” one speaker outside the court said. Anger and fear could be felt permeating the crowd. Activists, however, were determined to turn their compatriots’ fears into action and change. “We must get out in the streets,” the speaker said. “We need millions of people all around the country because this affects every single living, breathing person in this country whether they realize it yet or not.” Among protesters’ trepidation regarding the future of women’s rights and privacy rights in America, many clung to a message of hope as speakers and activists pledged to continue fighting. “They have worked to keep us down, they worked to keep us enslaved, they worked to keep us out of the polls, they worked to keep us out of political offices, they’ve worked to keep us in the home,” White said. “But we know, as we fought for centuries, that this will not stand.”
Spruce Up Your Home this Summer We’re all excited for summer festivities, outdoor gatherings with friends and family, or simply lounging in the sun, but how do you begin to prepare your home for making the most out of summer? Here’s a checklist of helpful ideas to help you get started: 1 Clean and dry your outdoor furniture. As barbeque season approaches, it’s time to freshen up your outdoor cushions and wipe down any furniture so it’s free from pollen. Get the patio furniture looking new again and ready for hosting! 2 Beautify your outdoor space. Add your favorite summer vegetable plants to a garden space, pull out any weeds and MOBM l_BbspÛ BbM WbsodMtKO pdaO O|OøKBsKVWbU dzOopà !døTtpp summer blooming plants include daylilies, black-eyed susans, KdbO dzOopÛ BbM lOstbWBpà
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THANK YOU THE CAPITAL PRIDE ALLIANCE EXTENDS A SINCERE AND HEARTFELT
TO ALL OUR ADVOCATES, ALLIES, & VOLUNTEERS THAT MAKE PRIDE AMAZING
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LGBTQ activists alarmed over Thomas’s concurring opinion Justice calls for ‘reconsideration’ of marriage, sodomy rulings By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | email@example.com
LGBTQ activists have expressed alarm over a concurring opinion issued last week by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas calling for the high court to “reconsider” previous decisions overturning state sodomy laws and legalizing same-sex marriage as a follow-up to the court’s controversial ruling on Friday to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights. In an action that drew expressions of outrage from abortion rights advocates and strong support by rightto-life advocates, the Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 ruling on Friday overturning the fundamental right to an abortion that the court established nearly 50 years ago in its landmark decision known as Roe v. Wade. In his concurring opinion, Thomas said he supports the high court’s majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. He states that he agrees with the ruling that nothing in the majority opinion “should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” But he also states that in potential future cases, “we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” He was referring to the past Supreme Court Griswold ruling that overturned state laws banning or restricting birth control such as contraceptives; the high court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling that overturned state laws banning sodomy between consenting adults; and the 2015 Obergefell ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. “Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion is obviously concerning, but it is important to note that not one other justice agreed with him,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights advocacy group. “In fact, the majority took pains to disagree with him and clarify that this opinion relates only to abortion. Justice Thomas stands alone,” Warbelow told the Washington Blade in a statement.
“With that said, we know that if the court was willing to overturn 50 years of precedent with this case, that all of our constitutional rights are on the line,” Warbelow said. “Lawmakers will be further emboldened to come after our progress. So, we must be vigilant in protecting our hard-won rights — we’re ready.” Paul Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), said the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade would have a “disastrous effect” on healthcare for women, especially women of color. He said the ruling could also lead to future rulings that adversely impact LGBTQ people and other minorities. “We have no doubt that the conservative supermajority on the court will not stop with Roe,” Kawata said in a statement. “Justice Thomas’s chilling concurring opinion makes it very clear that the court could target other rights provided by the court — marriage equality, contraception access, and LGBTQ+ intimacy in private to name a few,” he said. Omar Gonzales-Pagan, who serves as legal counsel for the national LGBTQ litigation group Lambda Legal, said he is especially troubled that Thomas is continuing to push for ending the Supreme Court’s longstanding reliance on the so-called doctrine of substantive due process to expand the rights provided under the U.S. Constitution. “Justice Thomas’s concurrence is incredibly troubling,” Gonzales-Pagan told the Blade. “Justice Thomas has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in the doctrine of substantive due process, and he called for the reconsideration of that entire doctrine,” he said. “No other justices joined him on that opinion,” Gonzales-Pagan points out. “But, if the court were to go further than they did today and to reconsider the entire doctrine of substantive due process, it would really call into question all or a large part of the fundamental rights enjoyed by people in the United States.”
Justice CLARENCE THOMAS wrote, ‘we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.’ (Photo public domain)
Gonzales-Pagan said that potential scenario could play out for same-sex marriage rights and the right of adults to engage in consenting sexual practices if a state or local jurisdiction attempts to pass a law to once again make same-sex marriage or sodomy between consenting adults illegal. Should that happen, the laws would be challenged in the courts and those cases would likely come before the Supreme Court just like the abortion cases did, according to Gonzales-Pagan. He said he was hopeful but not at all certain that the other justices who did not sign on to Thomas’s concurring opinion could be taken at their word and they would not support overturning the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage or the Lawrence v. Texas decision declaring state sodomy laws pertaining to consenting adults unconstitutional.
Biden labels Roe ruling ‘a sad day for court’
Just after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority moved to overturn the constitutional right to abortion on Friday in a 6-3 ruling, President Joe Biden vowed to protect American women from prosecution for traveling to other states to terminate their pregnancies. Thirteen states have made or will soon make abortion illegal, some without exceptions for rape and incest, following today’s ruling. After a draft of that ruling was leaked in May, some state legislatures considered bills to prevent women from circumventing their restrictions on abortion. “If any state or local official high or low tries to interfere with a woman exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that unamerican attack,” Biden said. Delivering his remarks from the Great Cross Hall of the White House, the President looked visibly upset, particularly when discussing the extreme abortion bans in some states that will now be allowed to go into effect. “They are so extreme that women can be punished for protecting their health; that some women and girls will be forced to bear their rapists’ child,” Biden said. It was at this point that he appeared to go off-script to share
PRESIDENT BIDEN addressed the nation after last week’s Roe ruling. (Screenshot/YouTube)
his personal feelings on the ruling and its implications. “It just stuns me,” he said. “Imagine, woman having to carry a child that’s a consequence of incest, with no option” to terminate the pregnancy. Biden called for those who share his anger and outrage – many who gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court in protest – to remain peaceful. He urged Ameri-
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cans to vote to give Democrats in Congress the majority that will be necessary for them to codify the constitutional right to abortion first established by the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade and overturned today with the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Biden warned of the “dangerous path the court is taking us on,” pointing to Justice Thomas’s comments in the decision that “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Should the court revisit the precedents established by those cases, it could mean constitutional protections for the return of laws banning birth control, sodomy and same-sex marriage. Biden noted Americans’ constitutional right to abortion was affirmed in multiple decisions by the Supreme Court, endorsed by justices who were appointed by presidents from both parties. “It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country,” Biden said. CHRISTOPHER KANE
House calls for Brittney Griner’s immediate release Detained WNBA star’s trial to begin July 1 in Russia By JOSH ALBURTUS
Griner’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, welcomed In a resolution passed on June 24 by the U.S. House of the House’s passage of the resolution this past weekend. Representatives, lawmakers called on Russia to immedi“[Rep.] Stanton and many others are continuing to work ately release detained WNBA star Brittney Griner. with the White House, State Department and Brittney’s Griner was ﬁrst arrested in Russia in the days leading family to secure her safe return home,” the team wrote on up to its invasion of Ukraine. Authorities have charged her Twitter. with drug trafﬁcking after claiming that she attempted to The resolution comes after reporting revealed missteps pass through Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport while in on the part of the U.S. government in handling communipossession of cannabis oil. cation related to Griner’s detention. The House’s resolution, introduced in May by U.S. Reps. According to past reporting, the U.S. Embassy in MosGreg Stanton (D-Ariz.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and cow failed to connect Griner with outside phone calls Colin Allred (D-Texas), made multiple demands of Russia, permitted by the Russian government when Griner’s wife, including that the country “immediately release Brittney Cherelle Griner, attempted to call her. Cherelle Griner reGriner,” provide her with consular access and humane portedly called 11 times on June 18 on the couple’s fourth treatment and that the U.S. “raise the case of Brittney GriBRITTNEY GRINER remains jailed in Russia. anniversary but was unable to reach her wife due to what ner and to press for her release” in all its dealings with the (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) the State Department claimed to be a “logistical error.” Russian government. While the resolution is being heralded by its supporters, “This legislation insists on our embassy personnel havit contains no provisions intended to enforce the House’s demands for the release and ing access to Ms. Griner and restates our commitment to freeing her now,” Lee said in humane treatment of Griner and others held by Russia. With less than one percent of a statement after introducing the resolution. “We continue to pray for her family and criminal defendants in Russia being acquitted, it is unclear whether the resolution will do we will continue to work together as three members of Congress, along with others, to anything to persuade the country’s courts to permit Griner’s release. spread the message that she is held wrongfully and must be freed now.” Griner appeared in Russian court on Monday for a preliminary hearing prior to her triThe resolution also expressed support for both Griner’s family and for “all prisoners al that has now been scheduled to begin on July 1. It was also conﬁrmed by Griner’s unjustly imprisoned in the Russian Federation.” attorney on Monday that her detention had been extended for six months pending her Allred, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took to Twitter following trial. the passage of the resolution. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison. “I’m proud the House has spoken in passing our resolution and calling for Brittney “We must keep Brittney’s case on the forefront and make clear to the White House Griner’s swift release,” Allred wrote. “Every day an American is held abroad is a lifetime, that her release should be one of the highest priorities for our government,” Cherelle and I will keep working with @POTUS to do all we can to bring home every American Griner said in May. detained abroad.”
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Mass shooting leaves 2 dead at Oslo gay bar
A gunman entered an establishment popular with the LGBTQ community in the Norwegian capital city’s nightlife district last Saturday at approximately 1 a.m. local time and opened fire, killing two people and injuring dozens more. A spokesperson for the Norwegian Police Service told the Blade in a phone call that officials are investigating the matter as an act of terrorism. According to the official, the suspect is a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran. Multiple eyewitnesses reported that the suspect entered the bar and produced a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and started shooting. Olav Roenneberg, a reporter with Norway’s largest broadcast media outlet NRK who was on scene when the shooting started, told NRK colleagues in an interview, “I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting. First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.” The police official, while not confirming the weapon used, did acknowledge that the shooter had been known to Norwegian officials in the country’s security services since
Head of Oslo Pride INGER KRISTIN HAUGSEVJE (Screen capture via Global News YouTube)
2015 as a “suspected radicalized Islamist” and also apparently had a history of mental illness. The official also pointed out that up until the incident there were no previous major criminal acts committed by the suspect. Because of the incident, organizers of the Pride parade
which had been scheduled to start hours after the shooting was cancelled. The parade was set to culminate the week long Pride festivities in Oslo. Norwegian Prime Minister Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote in a public post on Facebook that, “the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.” He added, “We all stand by you,” showing support for the country’s LGBTQ citizenry. Norway’s King Harald V issued a statement offering condolences and said he and Norway’s royal family were “horrified by the night’s shooting tragedy.” “We sympathize with all relatives and affected and send warm thoughts to all who are now scared, restless and in grief,” the Norwegian monarch said. “We must stand together to defend our values: Freedom, diversity and respect for each other. We must continue to stand up for all people to feel safe.” Oslo Pride quickly canceled its parade and all celebrations. BRODY LEVESQUE
Turkish police arrest hundreds at banned Pride parade
Hundreds of LGBTQ people, allies, and supporters took to the streets of Istanbul Sunday in defiance of the country’s government’s ongoing 2014 ban of Pride parades and Pride Month festivities. Protesters violently clashed repeatedly with police and security forces in various neighborhoods located around the Bol Ahenk Sokak (Pedestrian Plaza) and other sections of the central downtown area. Authorities had shut down the city’s transit systems hours prior to the influx of LGBTQ activists and demonstrators and flooded streets with police in riot gear who made hundreds of arrests, in some cases tear gassing participants and attacking them with clubs. Government security forces arrested more than 373 people including Agence France-Presse journalist and chief photographer Bülent Kılıç. Detainees were taken by bus to a central holding facility for processing. Photojournalist Mehmet Demirci documented the arrest of Kılıç in a Twitter post. Ankara-based Kaos GL, the largest Turkish LGBTQ activ-
ist group, documented the arrests and clashes, which occurred prior to the 5 p.m. planned parade kick-off in a series of Twitter posts. KAOS GL in a press release on Monday noted that, “the detentions experienced during the march, was among ‘firsts’ for this year. Totally 373 LGBTIs and LGBTI+ right defenders were taken into custody on the day of march! This number is a record both in the history of Pride marches and the other public demonstrations.” The group also recorded the scope of anti-LGBTQ Pride Month bans and pressure by Turkey’s governmental bodies across the country. “There were 10 ban decisions announced within the scope of Pride month events. These ban decisions were taken by Boğaziçi University Rectorate, METU Rectorate, Gaziantep Governorship, Çanakkale Governorship, Datça District Governorship, Beyoğlu District Governorship, Kadıköy District Governorship, Eskişehir Governorship and İzmir Governorship.
The detentions began with 70 people at ninth Boğaziçi Pride March on May 20, increasingly went on till June 26. 373 people LGBTQ activists in Istanbul on June 26, 2022, with a banner reads: ‘If you don’t were taken let us walk, we will open our asses.’ into custody (Photo courtesy of Kuir Mavzer/Kaos GL) in Istanbul on June 26. This number is among the highest detentions within the context of the public demonstrations in İstanbul recent years. Totally 530 LGBTI+s and LGBTI+ right defenders were detained in 37 days.” BRODY LEVESQUE
British PM backs trans athletes ban
During a break between sessions at the first summit meeting of the Commonwealth nations since the coronavirus pandemic in the Rwandan capital this past weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by a reporter about the FINA ban on transgender women athletes. The prime minster’s response was that there were “particular problems” around “issues of gender.” “Look it’s very, very important that as a society we should be as understanding of everybody else as possible. I’ve always stood for that. When it comes to, when you start to move from issues of sexuality to issues of gender, you start to raise particular problems,” Johnson told reporters. In a follow-up question the prime minster was also asked whether women can be born with a penis, he replied: “Not without being a man.” “I think I’ve spoken of three concerns I’ve had in the past. They are to do with the age at which you can deem it competent to transition, the question of safe spaces for women, and the difficulties you have with sporting com-
petitions,” Johnson continued. “These are all very difficult problems and you have to be very sensitive. But these are the areas.” Pressed on whether he backed the swimming ban, Johnson said: “I haven’t studied it in detail but I see no reason to dissent. That follows from what I’ve previously said.” British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries in a column published this past weekend by the Mail on Sunday wrote: “I have the greatest compassion for anyone who finds themselves living in a body they don’t recognize. But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t matter. Sex has biological consequences. If you’re born a male, and you go through puberty as a male, your body develops natural physical advantages over a woman’s. That makes you stronger and faster. I’m setting a very clear line on this: competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone, but unequivo-
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cally and unarguably someone who was born female. I want all of our sporting governing bodies to follow that policy.” The Guardian UK noted that Dorries, said she will make it “crystal clear” to British sporting bodies that competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex when she meets them on Tuesday to discuss their trans policies. Dorries will urge organizations representing football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics and other sports to follow the lead of FINA, the governing body of swimming, by barring from female events trans women who have “gone through male puberty.” PinkNewsUK reported Monday that since FINA announced its revised trans eligibility policy, several national and international sporting administrators have followed. The International Rugby League, FIFA and World Athletics, among others, have either temporarily banned or launched reviews into their trans inclusion policies. BRODY LEVESQUE
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is a former U.S. Secretary of Education and a Maryland gubernatorial candidate.
As governor, I will ﬁght to make Maryland an inclusive state
LGBTQ+ residents deserve prosperous, afﬁrming lives
LGBTQ+ people of all ages deserve to live safe, prosperous, and afﬁrming lives — but right now, across the country, they are facing discriminatory policies, bigoted rhetoric, and escalating violence. So why did it take until Pride month for even one of my major competitors for governor in the Maryland Democratic primary to post anything on their campaign websites about the issues facing LGBTQ+ folks? True allies in government must stand up for the LGBTQ+ community while GOP lawmakers, governors, and state attorneys general continue to push regressive and discriminatory policies. My administration will be committed to ensuring that all LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color, have the protections and support they need in Maryland. Having worked to put civil rights protections in place for transgender students as U.S. Secretary of Education, I know how important it is to not just have good policy, but follow it up with good implementation. I’m running for governor because I want to lead Maryland forward, not take it backward. As the GOP targets LGBTQ+ people and their families, I will work hard to make Maryland a safe state for everyone. There is simply too much at stake to not act. Legislators in 28 states introduced more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ laws this year alone. Ohio’s statehouse passed legislation that would subject student athletes whose genders are challenged by others to invasive gender-conﬁrmation procedures. Fifteen states have bans on health care for trans youth or are considering them, while Missouri lawmakers considered banning hormone therapy for anyone under 25. The Texas governor and attorney general are ﬁghting in court to continue investigations of families of transgender children, and Florida is considering even investigating parents who bring their kids to family-friendly drag shows. Rather than supporting their LGBTQ+ students, school boards controlled by the far right are banning library books and Pride ﬂags, while state legislatures controlled by the far right are effectively prohibiting classroom discussion about anything LGBTQ+ related. Teachers have already been ﬁred for displaying Pride ﬂags; others have resigned because they do not feel welcome at their schools. In Maryland’s Carroll County, the school board voted earlier this month to ban Pride ﬂags on school grounds. Threats of violence and hateful rhetoric against LGBTQ+ Americans have signiﬁcantly increased in recent years — just a few weeks ago, 31 members of a white supremacist group were arrested on their way to start a riot at a Pride event in Idaho, and a house ﬁre in Baltimore started by a burning Pride ﬂag is being investigated as a hate crime. Maryland has made many strides in the last few years, like banning the panic defense and making mental health care more accessible to young LGBTQ+ people. But Maryland has also failed LGBTQ+ Marylanders in many ways. As governor, I’d like to improve our state’s track record. We must do more to make Maryland a safe place for transgender people and their families. As other states continue to pass discriminatory legislation, we must in turn make Maryland a safe haven for transgender people seeking refuge, and we must strengthen the LGBTQ+ protections we already have. As governor, I will protect and expand access to gender-afﬁrming health care, pass the Trans Health Equity Act, work to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to LGBTQ+ Marylanders, and ensure that providers are properly trained to give the level of competent care that all LGBTQ+ people deserve. In our public schools, I will ensure that LGBTQ+ students have a safe place to learn and are protected by written anti-discrimination policies and an internal complaint process. I’ll ﬁght for an inclusive curriculum that teaches and celebrates LGBTQ+ stories at all grade levels. As governor, I’ll work with community members and organizations to invest in violence prevention and intervention programs focused on protecting LGBTQ+ people, especially trans women of color. I’ll protect our LGBTQ+ seniors by pursuing speciﬁc anti-discrimination policies for seniors in long-term care facilities. And I’ll invest in LGBTQ-owned businesses to promote economic opportunity for all LGBTQ+ Marylanders. My administration will also build on reforms to make our legal system both easier to navigate and more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people, like making it easier to change your name and gender marker on marriage licenses and your child’s birth certiﬁcate. It’s also time to end the criminalization of HIV by repealing outdated laws and changing discriminatory prosecutorial practices. This Pride month and beyond, LGBTQ+ Americans need more than empty allyship from politicians, governments, and corporations — they need someone who will stand with them and provide tangible support. I’m running for governor to be a real defender, ally, and advocate for LGBTQ+ Marylanders, and to make our state a safe place for all Americans to live. 1 8 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2 • V I E WP O I NT
JOHN E. LAZAR
has held leadership roles in Democratic and LGBTQ+ organizations in Florida, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and D.C. including the elected position in D.C. as Ward 2 Committeeman to the Democratic State Party.
Don’t sever corporate ties at Pride celebrations We need our business allies in face of growing political attacks
As Pride 2022 winds down in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco, Wilton Manors and other parts of the country, I am compelled to address the issue of corporate support in Pride celebrations. As a leader in and a senior member of the LGBTQ+ community, I remember clearly the time when being out as a gay person in the workplace could cost one their employment. Many of my generation lived in fear of being outed at their jobs. It was a terrible place to be and contributed detrimentally to one’s mental and physical well being; living in fear of termination of your career was no picnic.
There is a segment in today’s LGBTQ+ community that voice their opposition to the inclusion of a corporate presence in Pride celebrations. Many of these voices are from a generation that have not experienced the trauma of being forced to live in the “corporate closet” in fear of retaliation from their employers. Their lived experience is very different from my generation’s experience. The past actions of employers warranted boycotts and other drastic responses by our community. These aggressive stances brought about today’s corporate changes that welcome, embrace and celebrate the diversity of our community and enhance the workplace. These changes are due to the contributions and sacriﬁces of the current senior LGBTQ+ community. We should not sever corporate ties with Pride celebrations. In the current political climate, there’s a disturbing trend by elected ofﬁcials and legislatures passing legislation and policies that target corporate support of LGBTQ+ rights and issues. One example is Florida’s legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bullying tactics toward Disney and other corporations. The governor’s bellicose actions toward corporate support of our LGBTQ+ community is sufﬁcient proof that our community should be strengthening our bonds with the corporate community and not severing them by excluding their participation and presence at Pride parades and festivals. Understanding the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights over the past decades, our younger generation can continue to build and contribute (as they already are) to the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights in our society. Severing corporate ties to our community is not the appropriate direction to take and will not be helpful battling hateful and polarizing actions directed against our community.
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a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.
Roe ruling returns us to the discriminatory 1950s For the first time, I no longer think of our nation as a democracy (Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part column.)
I love looking at photos of my grandmother in the 1950s, going out to lunch with her friends, wearing hats with combs, white gloves in hand. The 1950s had it all over us in style, I think. Until, I remember: • Black people who were discriminated against had little or no legal recourse; • Most women couldn’t get a charge card, let alone buy a home, unless their husbands got it for them; • If you were queer, you could be arrested for dancing with someone of the samesex at a gay bar, or lose your job because of your sexuality. Those memories erase my 1950s nostalgia. I’ll enjoy family pictures from that era but I don’t want to return to the 1950s. Unfortunately, that’s what the Supreme Court has done. The court’s overthrow of Roe v. Wade (in its 6-3 ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) thrusts us back to an era that threatens to be as repressive as the 1950s. The court’s reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade wasn’t surprising. Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign made it clear: If elected he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would likely rule to overturn Roe v. Wade. Trump isn’t known for his truth-telling or promise-keeping. But in this critical matter, he wasn’t lying. He kept his word. But the court’s ending nearly 50 years of a fundamental right is still gut-wrenching. We’ve known that America, though a democracy, has long had a record of denying rights and dignity to all of its citizens. Black people were enslaved. For a good part of our history only white men could vote. Japanese people were put in concentration camps during World War II. To avoid being scorned by their families, most queer people had to be closeted. Yet until the court overturned Roe v. Wade, no civil right had been taken away. Now, for the first time, I no longer think of our nation as a democracy. As I’m writing, at least 13 states have laws that will immediately or in a short time ban abortions. States where abortion remains illegal are looking to find ways to prosecute out-of-state clinics and doctors who perform abortions. In Texas, citizens are legally permitted to sue anyone (from an Uber driver to a clergy person to a doctor or clinic) who performs an abortion or helps anyone to obtain an abortion. Putting reproductive freedom into the quagmire of state legislatures isn’t enough for many Republicans and members of the religious right. They’re chomping at the bit, if the Democrats lose their slim majority in Congress and a Republican becomes president in 2024, to impose a federal ban on abortion. To add to this toxic mix, some Republicans and members of the religious right want to punish women who’ve had abortions. I am terrified for all who seek reproductive health care. I have childhood memories of my mom, who had type 1 diabetes, having an abortion preRoe v. Wade. If my mother hadn’t had the abortion, she may have died when I was 7 and my brother was 4. Though devastated by the stigma of having an abortion when terminating a pregnancy wasn’t legal, my mom was lucky. She could afford to have an abortion. Then (as now), many poor women couldn’t have afforded to have an abortion or have the means to travel out of state to end their pregnancies. One in four women have had an abortion. Now those needing reproductive health care (whether an abortion or, in some cases, treatment for miscarriage) again face stigma. Poverty will prevent many from having legal, safe abortions. People won’t stop terminating their pregnancies. If they have to, they’ll resort to unsafe, self-administered abortions. As a lesbian, I, like many queer folk, fear that the repeal of Roe will be a foreshadowing of the overturning of LGBTQ rights (from marriage equality to the right to have sex with whom we love). In post-Roe America, fighting for the rights and dignity of women, LGBTQ folk and other marginalized people will be the life’s work of our generation and of generations to come. 2 0 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 2022 • V I E WP O I NT
is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
Supreme Court, GOP are sliming our democracy Protests are fine but we must all vote for Democrats
In two decisions — one throwing out New York’s gun laws and the other overturning Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court and the Republican Party who put them there, have slimed the American public and in essence our democracy. With the decision on Roe v. Wade, for the first time, the court has taken away a constitutional right. One recognized by previous courts and upheld for nearly fifty years. Justices Thomas and Alito finally had the votes, with Trump’s three stooges, to do what they have wanted to do for decades. We now understand how far this court is willing to go to take rights away from the American people, and we should all be afraid. They proved they have the votes to attack women and we must believe the LGBTQ+ community could easily be their next target. They almost certainly are not finished with their attacks on women as they can come down on contraception and other pharmaceuticals. Then they can end affirmative action even though it was what got Thomas to where he is. Clearly, we should have listened to Anita Hill. Thomas’s written decision could even put into question the Loving decision, which allowed interracial marriage and made it legal for him to marry his wife. We must believe the court will look at all these issues. There is a sickness in the land and we will either succumb to it, or fight it. My answer is we have to fight it with all we have. We must collectively stand up and say “no more!” Allowing Republicans to continue to take the nation in this direction is unacceptable. The only way we can do something about it and stand up for our democracy is by VOTING. Every poll shows Americans are against what the Supreme Court is doing. Yet we are stuck with a court, which as Nancy Pelosi says “gave a slap in the face to women.” Justices clearly care more for an unborn fetus than a living child. A living child who could be mowed down by the guns they are allowing on the streets. As Democrats, and all decent people, mull over how to react, we must come together as never before. We can march until we are blue in the face but if we don’t vote, we lose. We need to elect Democrats to statehouses and state legislatures, and keep majorities in both Houses of the Congress. The House has already passed legislation curbing guns and codifying Roe v. Wade. We now need more senators to go along. It actually could take only two more who would agree to end the filibuster to move these issues forward. I have written before to the LGBTQ+ community that parades and parties celebrating Pride are wonderful, but if every person who participates in them doesn’t vote, they mean very little because next year we will have lost some of our rights. We must not let ourselves and future generations down and be victimized by the likes of Thomas, Alito and the three disgusting Trump judges. We must vote against the Republican Party because the right wing now controls it. Sen. Mitch McConnell has already said if Republicans take over Congress he will consider passing a law outlawing abortion nationally. We cannot allow that to happen. It is only Congress and state governments that can act to counter what the court with Republican support is doing. We must do more than show the nation with the January 6th hearings about Trump’s attempted coup. Even if through that we can put the likes of Ginny Thomas in jail for her role in it. The results of the midterm elections will show the world where America stands. These elections will play out over a range of issues. We will see if people vote more based on inflation and the cost of gas, or vote for their right to privacy and freedom. Those of us who promote the right to privacy and democracy must stand together if we are to win. We cannot fight each other, creating internal battles, rather must fight the enemy, the Republican Party, as it is constituted today. It won’t be easy but we can win this fight. We can keep the House of Representatives and win at least two additional Senate seats making it easier to move the Senate forward on a host of issues. When it comes to what the court has done to women, their decision on guns, and what Thomas is signaling they will do in the future, it really is clear we are facing life and death issues.
Celebrating diversity, supporting the community, and sharing our pride. At Kaiser Permanente, the region’s leading health system,1 we’ve always supported the LGBTQ+ community. From inclusive, compassionate care provided by physicians knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ health issues to a welcoming and safe environment, you’ll always get care that makes you feel like you belong.
kp.org/pridemedical/mas In the survey Best Health Insurance Companies for 2021 by Insure.com, Kaiser Permanente as a national enterprise is rated #1 overall among 15 companies. In the NCQA Commercial Health Plan Ratings 2021, our commercial plan is rated 5 out of 5, the highest rating in MD, VA, and DC. The 2019 Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons, granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation to the Kaiser Permanente cancer care program (extended through 2022). The Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group is the largest multispecialty medical group in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore areas and exclusively treats Kaiser Permanente members. Permanente doctors are recognized as Top Doctors in Northern Virginia Magazine (2022), Washingtonian magazine (2021), and Baltimore magazine (2021). According to NCQA’s Quality Compass® 2021, we’re rated 5 out of 5 in 29 measures, including: controlling blood pressure (heart disease), blood pressure control (140/90) (diabetes), glucose control, colorectal screening, breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, childhood immunizations, prenatal check-ups, and postpartum care. Quality Compass is a registered trademark of the NCQA.
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A busy July 4 weekend in Rehoboth Beach
Del Shores, Lady Bunny, Pamala Stanley and more set to entertain
As July 4 approaches, another Rehoboth Beach summer is abuzz with possibilities for in-person fun ranging from dinner downtown to live performances featuring local artists. For starters, stop for dinner at Red, White & Basil. This brand-new restaurant was scheduled open its doors to the Rehoboth community on June 29 after making the move from D.C. to Route 1, where it can be found south of Coldwell Banker and just north of Big Fish. Mark Hunker and Jeff McCracken of Eden and JAM Bistro and Coho’s Market & Grill are behind the new venture. Diego’s Bar & Nightclub (37298 Rehoboth Ave. Ext.) is entering the July 4 weekend strong. Kick off the new month with a happy hour Friday from 4-8 p.m. On Saturday, don’t miss a Splash Party from 5-7 p.m. or an Independance Party with DJ Steven J from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. all at the same venue. Come back to the bar on Sunday from 4-8 p.m. for a happy hour followed by a 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Studio 54 Party with DJ Jeff Harrison. Round out your weekend at Diego’s with the show-stopping DJ during the bar’s July 4 Independence Day Dance from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Witness the wonder of local legends Kristina Kelly and Mona Lotts as they perform in a special July 4 drag brunch at The Pines, with doors opening at 56 Baltimore Ave. at 11:15 a.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online. Come back that evening for the Flaming Pianos show featuring local favorites John Flynn and Matthew Kenworthy from 6-9 p.m. Also at the Pines is Furst Friday happy hour with the Rehoboth Beach Bears on July 1 from 6-8 p.m. That same night, the legendary Del Shores performs “The Tea is Spilled” at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Across the street at Aqua, don’t miss FireWerk with DJ Chord on Friday at 9 p.m. The Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave.) has a robust lineup of entertainment planned, including Show Tunes Sunday on July 3 and Lady Bunny performing on July 4 from 9:30-11 p.m. Tickets are $44. Also at the Moon, don’t miss the talented New York City pianist Nate Buccieri, Monday-Thursday, 6-8:30 p.m. Freddie’s Beach Bar continues its ﬁrst summer season with karaoke on Thursdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., Drag Follies show Fridays at 9 p.m., and a DJ dance party on Saturdays at 8 p.m. Freddie’s also hosts the beloved Pamala Stanley on Sunday, July 3 from 6-9
MAGNOLIA APPLEBOTTOM, who performs regularly at Diego’s, is among Rehoboth’s drag stars set to take the stage over the July 4 holiday weekend and beyond. (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)
p.m. Stick around until Friday, July 8 and you can watch local drag star Magnolia Applebottom grace the stage of the Milton Theatre, located at 110 Union St. in Milton, Del. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased for $20 online. As visitors from far and wide eagerly await a Rehoboth Beach summer with fewer restrictions, these events will be sure to make everyone’s Independence Day this year is nothing short of spectacular. JACK WALKER
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5 tips for buying property in Rehoboth Beach Local Realtors offer advice for navigating real estate boom
By JACK WALKER The pandemic has sent real estate prices soaring to unprecedented heights as more and more buyers look to secure properties. The trend has proven especially strong in beach towns and second home markets — with Rehoboth Beach, Del. no exception. The Blade spoke with five local Realtors and asked for their tips for buying property amid a boom in the Rehoboth Beach real estate market.
Tip 1: Find a compatible Realtor
The pandemic has been a period of widespread uncertainty. For buyers, this means that staying up-to-date on the real estate market’s conditions and the availability of properties is all the more important, because they can change every day, said Lee Ann Wilkinson, CEO of The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty. Russell Stucki, a Realtor with RE/MAX Realty Group Rehoboth, added that it is helpful to have a Realtor with year-round experience in the area, as they will be better informed about the market as a whole. Once you have a Realtor, it is important to communicate what you want so they can approach the market with your interests in mind, Wilkinson added. “That’s number one, find a really good Realtor who can represent you and knows what you’re looking for,” she said. That way, when “property becomes available, you are notified immediately and can be competitive with other buyers.”
Tip 2: Get pre-approved for a loan
In the current real estate market, it is important that buyers enter the process of looking for a property prepared, said Chris Beagle, a Realtor at Berkshire-Hathaway-Gallo Realty. For those not paying in cash, this includes obtaining a pre-approval letter from the start that indicates a lender is willing to provide you the funds required to close on a purchase. “Too often people wait and then find a property and go in the reverse order,” preparing their financial documents afterwards, Beagle explained. In the current market, “time is of the essence.” “Be prepared to have very few if no contingencies in your contract, like inspections and financing,” Wilkinson added. “That doesn’t mean you have to have the cash to buy the house — it just means that you have to be able to prove you can buy the house without being contingent on financing.”
Tip 3: Act quickly and decisively
With so many different people looking to buy properties in the Rehoboth Beach area, it is important to make decisions as soon as possible, said Andrew Whitescarver, a Realtor with RE/MAX Realty Group Rehoboth. “The best advice I can give a buyer is: If you see a house online you are interested in, do not wait until the weekend to come see it. The house will be gone,” he explained. Instead, “schedule a virtual walk through” as soon as you can. If you are ready to make an offer on a certain property, “make a clean offer with an escalation clause” for it to remain competitive with other buyers, Whitescarver added. “This is not a sleep-on-it market. You have to act quickly and decisively,” agreed Joe Sterner, a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty. “If you want something, you’re going to have to be a little aggressive. This is not the market where you can bid … under the list price.” While there might be some room for price negotiation on properties that have been listed for more than 10 days, “you have to go into it expecting that you’re going to be paying at least list price” for recently listed homes.
Tip 4: Keep your options open
With properties selling quickly, it is important to be flexible with what you are looking for if you are buying on a budget, Wilkinson said. By “looking outside of the box,” you can “broaden your expectations so you can have more properties that would
2 4 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2
LEE ANN WILKINSON and CHRIS BEAGLE offer advice on navigating Rehoboth Beach’s hot real estate market.
work for you,” including those that did not sell immediately and can be purchased at a better price. “It’s a seller’s market,” Stucki added, making it potentially harder to find an exact match because “we have limited inventory.” “Look at those things that maybe aren’t what everybody else is looking at, and see how you can make them work for you” without getting caught up in specific “contingencies” that might make securing a property less realistic, Wilkinson suggested.
Tip 5: Don’t lose hope
Although navigating such a heated market can be daunting, especially for firsttime buyers, Beagle noted that it is important to stay invested and focus on securing a property that works for you. “It does become frustrating for buyers … because a home purchase is an emotional process, and people become emotionally attached to a property and get their hopes up,” he said. Despite the challenges, “it’s a learning process” which “inexperienced buyers have to go through” in order to get what they want, requiring a level of commitment, he explained. While the future of the Rehoboth Beach real estate market is uncertain, Stucki pointed to some changes the city has seen over the course of the pandemic that have proven beneficial. “As far as the area is concerned, we’ve grown and diversified. We’ve experienced an influx of creative talent with all the different varieties of activities, entertainment … (and) art,” he said. Moving forward, Stucki expects Rehoboth Beach properties “will continue to maintain or exceed” their current values. But Sterner added that, although there is still a housing boom, the market is “slowing down” some, which might help new buyers enter the market. Beagle noted that this year is an election year for the state, and periods of uncertainty like election seasons are not historically “favorable for the market.” He added that he is unsure how sustainable the current market is. “I don’t know that the industry could continue to sustain itself with the rapid increases in value that we’ve experienced over the last two-and-a-half years,” he said, predicting some level of “stabilization” in the market. Beagle offered one final piece of advice: “If we’ve learned nothing else these last couple of years, expect the unexpected.”
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WES COMBS took over as president of CAMP Rehoboth six months ago and is now focused on searching for a new permanent executive director. (Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)
CAMP Rehoboth’s president talks pandemic, planning, and the future Wesley Combs marks six months in new role
By JACK WALKER Chris Beagle, whose term as president of CAMP Rehoboth preJune marks half a year since Wesley Combs stepped into his role ceded Combs’s own, noted that the experience of participating in as president of CAMP Rehoboth. In a conversation with the Blade, a search committee with the organization will “better enable him to Combs recounted his ﬁrst six months in the position — a time he said lead the process this time.” was characterized by transition and learning. Before completing his term, Beagle helped prepare Combs for Since 1991, CAMP Rehoboth has worked to develop programthe new role, noting that the “combination of his professional backming “inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities” in ground, his executive leadership (and) his passion for the organizathe Rehoboth Beach, Del. area, according to the nonproﬁt’s website. tion” make Combs a strong president. Regarding the results of the As president, Combs oversees the organization’s board of directors election, “I was extremely conﬁdent, and I remain extremely conﬁand executive director, helping determine areas of focus and ensure dent,” Beagle said. programming meets community needs. Bob Witeck, a pioneer in LGBTQ marketing and communications, For Combs, his more than three decades of involvement with has known Combs for nearly four decades. The two founded a pubCAMP Rehoboth have shaped the course of his life. In the summer of lic relations ﬁrm together in 1993 and went on to work together for 1989 — just before the organization’s creation — he met his now-hus20 years, with clients ranging from major businesses like Ford Moband, who was then living in a beach house with Steve Elkins and tor Company to celebrities including Chaz Bono and Christopher Murray Archibald, CAMP Rehoboth’s founders. Reeve. According to Witeck, Combs’s work in the ﬁrm is a testament Since then, he has served as a ﬁnancial supporter of the organizato his commitment to LGBTQ advocacy. tion, noting that it has been crucial to fostering understanding that “Our ﬁrm was the ﬁrst founded primarily to work on issues speworks against an “undercurrent of anti-LGBTQ sentiment” in Rehociﬁc to LGBTQ identities, because we wanted to counsel corporaboth Beach’s history that has, at times, propagated violence against tions about their marketing and media strategies and working in the LGBTQ community members. LGBTQ market,” he explained. By helping develop communications In 2019, after Elkins passed away, Combs was called upon by strategies inclusive of those with LGBTQ identities, Combs estabCAMP Rehoboth’s Board of Directors to serve on a search commitlished a background of LGBTQ advocacy that truly “made a mark,” tee for the organization’s next executive director. Later that year, he Witeck said. was invited to become a board member and, this past November, Witeck emphasized that, in his new position, Combs brings both was elected president. business experience and a renewed focus on historically underrepCombs noted that CAMP Rehoboth is also still recovering from resented in LGBTQ advocacy — including people with disabilities, the pandemic, and is working to restart programming paused in the trans people and people of color. switch to remote operations. In his ﬁrst six months, he has sought Looking to the rest of the year, CAMP Rehoboth hopes to host a to ensure that people feel “comfortable” visiting and engaging with larger-scale event during Labor Day weekend. In addition, the orCAMP Rehoboth again, and wants to ensure all community memganization will revisit its strategic plan — ﬁrst developed in 2019 but bers can access its programming, including those from rural parts of delayed due to the pandemic — and ensure it still meets the needs Delaware and those without a means of getting downtown. of the local community, Combs said. He added that he intends to Still, Combs’s ﬁrst six months were not without unexpected turns: reexamine the plan and other programming to ensure inclusivity for On May 31, David Mariner stepped down from his role as CAMP trans community members. Rehoboth executive director, necessitating a search for his replace“CAMP Rehoboth continues to be a vital resource in the commument. Combs noted that he would help facilitate the search for an nity,” he said. “The focus for the next two years is to make sure we’re interim director to serve for the remainder of the year and ensure doing and delivering services that meet the needs of that there is “a stable transition of power.” CAMP Rehoboth last week everyone in our community.” announced it has named Lisa Evans to the interim director role. 2 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2
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Rehoboth’s anti-climactic election raises concerns over process Incumbent Chrzanowski criticizes delay in candidate’s filing
By JACK WALKER It was an anti-climactic election in Rehoboth Beach, Del., last month, when only two candidates emerged for two city commissioner seats. Edward Chrzanowski ran unopposed for re-election and Francis “Bunky” Markert was named to fill the open commissioner seat being vacated by incumbent Susan Gay. While the uncontested races meant no official election was held in the beachside city this year, the proceedings were not devoid of controversy. In a conversation with the Blade, Chrzanowski, the sole incumbent to seek reelection, voiced concerns with this year’s election proceedings. At the beginning of the day on June 6 — the deadline to file for the election — Chrzanowski was the only candidate to formally enter the race for commissioner, motivated by his desire to see through ongoing infrastructure development plans, he said. At the time, Gay, the other incumbent commissioner whose term ended this year, had made no official statement regarding her candidacy or lack thereof, and no other candidates had filed for election. But by the end of the day, Markert — who ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2014 — filed his candidacy. The next day, Gay announced she would not seek reelection due to family health concerns. “I am not leaving Rehoboth Beach,” Gay said in the June 7 statement, but “I have decided not to seek re-election.” With only two candidates in the running, Chrzanowski and Markert were exempt from participating in an official election, given that they met candidacy requirements and were approved by the mayor’s office. Chrzanowski, who’s gay, noted he was “very glad” that he would not “have to campaign,” but criticized his colleague’s behavior surrounding registration for the election. In a conversation with the Blade, he alleged that Gay deliberately waited to announce whether she would seek reelection, which meant prospective opponents were unaware of the vacancy and therefore less likely to enter the race. He also suggested that Gay encouraged “one of her friends” — Markert — to file his candidacy in her place, without opposition. “I’m very disappointed with what my colleague who decided not to run for reelection (did),” Chrzanowski said. “I announced my candidacy pretty early on to allow the public to absorb that. If someone wanted to run against me, I’d obviously give them the chance to do that.” The idea of his colleagues “playing behind the scenes”
2 8 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2
EDWARD CHRZANOWSKI ran unopposed for re-election in Rehoboth Beach’s June election.
left him feeling “disappointed,” he added. “Given the person that is running, or now will walk in as a commissioner, I would have much preferred there be an election and that person be challenged.” But Gay and Markert both deny that they coordinated their decisions regarding the election. Gay said she had initially planned to seek reelection, but a “change of plans” caused by family health circumstances made her feel she could not faithfully carry out the position for another consecutive term. “It was actually very last minute,” she said. “In fact, I had an (election) petition all set to go.” “I realized that I could not devote the time that I needed” to the position, Gay explained. “I take the work very seriously. I wanted to be able to devote my full attention to it, and I just cannot right now.” “It was a very, very, very difficult decision,” she added. Markert said he saw a “likelihood” that someone else would run in the election, so an uncontested race did not influence the decision to file his candidacy. He added that the delay in submitting his petition was unrelated to his decision.
In 2014, Markert was appointed to the city’s planning commission. He said his experience both as a resident of Rehoboth Beach and as a volunteer in local government led him to want to serve the city further by guiding its development as a commissioner, moving Rehoboth Beach forward while also preserving its unique character and qualities. Gay said that waiting to the end of the allotted window to announce candidacy in the commissioner election was not unusual in city politics. In previous years, candidates often submitted their petitions on the very last day allowed, she explained. “There’s a tradition here, and Ed should know this because he did it himself,” Gay said. “I went and ran three years ago. There were two candidates that announced in advance, and then the last four — Ed was one of them — turned in their petitions” on the latest day possible. Gay added she was traveling when Markert submitted his petition and was not immediately aware that he officially applied. “Every year, we never know until the last minute who (the candidates are) going to be,” she said. “I don’t think anybody’s decision to run should be dependent on anybody else, and it certainly wasn’t for me. If people want to run they should step up.” Regardless of the circumstances that brought them to their positions, Chrzanowski and Markert received mayoral approval and will serve as city commissioners. Reflecting on this year’s proceedings, each expressed mixed feelings about the lack of a formal election. For Chrzanowski, who previously won a contested race for city commissioner, avoiding the “divisiveness” of a local election was advantageous. But he added that there was something lost without formal proceedings, which offer the public an opportunity to challenge candidate platforms and even enter the race should they feel their views are unrepresented. For Markert, running uncontested removed significant monetary and time constraints. Still, a formal election would have helped him connect with the local community, and their support would have granted “ a certain level of legitimacy” to his representing them in city government. “I would prefer to be up there, elected … (but) I’m a qualified candidate,” he explained. “In three years time, if I was to run again, and I plan to run again, maybe I’ll be able to be elected.”
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Friday, July 01
Friday Tea Time and social hour for Older LGBTQ+ adults will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. Feel free to bring your beverage of choice. For the Zoom link or more information, contact Justin at (firstname.lastname@example.org). SaintFridays DC will be at 1 p.m. at Saint Yves. Guests are encouraged to bring friends and dance the night away. There will be music from live DJs including the best of the ‘90s, afrobeats, R&B, hip-hop, dancehall and more. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.
Saturday, July 02 LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more information, email supportdesk@thedccenter. org. NoireNights will be at 9 p.m. at Lost Society. Guests are encouraged to come enjoy an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes. A variety of genres will be played including Afrobeats, hip-hop and soca. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.
AIB hosts the closing party for its FUTURES exhibit on July 6.
Sunday, July 03 GoGay DC will host LGBTQ+ Coffee Mixer at 12 p.m. at As You Are. This event is for those trying to meet new faces in the LGBTQ community after two years of the pandemic not allowing it. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite. Yappy Day Party with DJ MIM will be at 1 p.m. at Metrobar DC. DJ MIM will be setting springtime vibes with great music for this gathering of members of the LGBTQ community. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.
Monday, July 04 Center Aging Coffee Drop-In will be at 10 a.m. at the DC Center for the LGBT Community and online on Zoom. LGBT Older Adults — and friends — are invited to enjoy friendly conversations and to discuss any issues you might be dealing with. For more information, visit the Center Aging’s Facebook or Twitter. Not Another Drag Show will be at 8 p.m. at DuPont Italian Kitchen. This event will be hosted by Logan Stone and will also feature a rotating cast of local performers. This event is free and details are available on Eventbrite.
Tuesday, July 05 Center Aging: Women’s Discussion & Social Group will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This group is a place where older LGBTQ+ women can meet and socialize with one another. There will be discussion, activities, and a chance for guests to share what they want future events to include. To register for this event, visit this link.
Wednesday, July 06 Job Club will be at 6 p.m. in-person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community and online on Zoom. The Job Club is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-conﬁdence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants.” BookMen DC will be at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. BookMen DC is an informal group of men who are interested in ﬁction and non-ﬁction gay literature. For more information, visit BookMen’s website.
Thursday, July 07 The DC Center’s Food Pantry Program will be held all day at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. To be fair with who is receiving boxes, the program is moving to a lottery system. People will be informed on Wednesday at 5 p.m. if they are picked to receive a produce box. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email email@example.com or call 202-682-2245. API Queer Support Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for the Asian and Paciﬁc Islander Queer Community sponsored by Asian Paciﬁc Islander Queer Society DC and Asian Queers United for Action. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 0 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2
OUT & ABOUT Black nerd culture celebration coming to D.C. BlerdconDC will begin on Friday, July 8 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel at Ronald Reagan Airport. Blerdcon is an event that highlights and celebrates Blerd culture and creates a marketplace of ideas where sharing that culture can take place with proper context, attribution, and positivity in an inclusive environment. Some of the events at the convention include anime screenings, comedy show, cosplay contests, and more. Tickets are $65 per adult and can be purchased on Blerdcon’s website.
AIB to host FUTURES exhibit closing party The historic Arts and Industries Building (AIB), America’s ﬁrst National Museum, will celebrate the closing of its museum experience “FUTURES,” the ﬁrst major exploration of the future on the National Mall, on Wednesday, July 6. The celebration, “FUTURES Forward,” will be a daylong free community party from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. for visitors of all ages to inspire each other through joy, art, dance, science, performances and more.
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Queer actor on new role: ‘Playing villains is a blast’ Jaye Ayres-Brown returns as a contemptible Londoner in ‘Red Velvet’
By PATRICK FOLLIARD After a five-year absence from the stage, actor Jaye Ayres-Brown (queer, gender fluid, non-binary, and trans-femme) returns to the boards as a contemptible cisgender Londoner in playwright Lolita Chakrabarti’s “Red Velvet” at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Klein Theatre. Possessed of presence and genuine warmth, Ayres-Brown, 27, is playing Charles Kean, the smug and dubiously talented son of legendary English actor Edmund Kean. Charles is also the essential antagonist in Chakrabarti’s exploration of the life and career of renowned early 19th century African-American Shakespearean actor, Ira Aldridge (Amari Cheatom). When Aldridge is tapped to play Othello on the London stage, Charles, who’s slated to act opposite the star as evil Iago, quits the show. It’s 1833 and Charles is deeply opposed to a Black actor playing a Black lead character, and he’s even less pleased that his real-life fiancée Ellen Tree (Emily DeForest) is assaying Othello’s romantic obsession Desdemona in the production. Offstage, Ayres-Brown is Aldridge’s biggest fan: “He was way ahead of his time. A hundred years before Stanislavsky, Aldridge was introducing a proto naturalist approach to acting. In retrospect, it’s hard to disentangle the public’s reaction to him. He was something so different. But were white audiences reacting to his innovative acting style or were they showing their racial bias?” “In the play, I’m that bias,” says the New York-based actor. WASHINGTON BLADE: Joan Crawford famously said, “I love playing bitches. There’s a lot of bitch in every woman — a lot in every man.” JAYE AYRES-BROWN: Oh yeah, playing villains is a blast. Ira Aldridge was such a spectacularly heroic person, an amazingly gifted and resourceful artist, he deserves a good villain to push against, a meaningful villain who makes us admire the hero even more. And Amari [Cheatom], the actor who plays Aldridge, is a great artist who deserves a strong antagonist too.
JAYE AYRES-BROWN in ‘Red Velvet’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Photo by Teresa Castracane Photography)
BLADE: Are you enjoying your stay in London 1833? AYRES-BROWN: No, I hate it! But my character loves it. Charles enjoys tremendous privilege – racial and professionally. He’s a cisgender white supremacist committed to the patriarchal power structure of the time. But me, Jaye as a person, is less than charmed by it. BLADE: But aesthetically, it’s quite fine? AYRES-BROWN: Yes, You-Shin Chen’s sets are impeccable, and the period costumes are beautifully rendered by Rodrigo Muñoz. Sometimes, I do feel a little bit like a drag king in Charles’ attire. It’s a performance of masculinity. I have an expansive experience of gender in which I include masculinity and I think I have something interesting to say and a unique perspective. Language about gender nonconforming identity didn’t exist in 1833, but the people existed, getting by the best way they could. Everyone was either a man or a woman. Who knows today how any of these characters would identify? My objective is to cram as much humanity in the character as I can. The play is deeply considered with questions about who gets to play what roles. And I try to bring as much of myself to each role regardless of their gender. BLADE: Charles is very far from who you are? AYRES-BROWN: For me, the work of playing a character like this is derived largely from the racist lessons all Americans learn. The stereotypes are things that I’ve been exposed to as someone who grew up white in America. There’s the initial desire to distance and highlight contrasts, but ultimately you must mine your own experience even if it’s uncomfortable. BLADE: How is it to be working in live theater again? AYRES-BROWN: Like Christmas morning! It’s my first play in five years, and still my
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training kicks in. I re-balance on my bike and it’s like I’ve never stopped riding. But mostly, I’m trying to have as much fun as I can. BLADE: And how was working with young director Jade King Carroll? AYRES-BROWN: Wonderful! The play deals with some difficult moments, harmful language and ideas. Jade created a space in our rehearsal room where people could be playful while engaging with that. Dealing with concepts of history requires the seriousness it demands, but there’s also a need for humor and lightness, and Jade made that possible. BLADE: Any thoughts on “Red Velvet” being stuck in time? AYRES-BORWN: No, I think this play is a shockingly contemporary telling of a lost history that feels overwhelmingly resonant as it’s related to identity politics and the push for representation. I hope the audience sees a period but appreciates the present-day dynamics, discussions, and language. It’s also surprisingly human and very entertaining. To me it’s a very funny show. Anyone interested in laughing at posh British folks being stupid might agree.
Through July 17 Shakespeare Theatre Company
Michael R. Klein Theatre at the Lansburgh, 450 7th St. N.W. $35-$120 | Shakespearetheatre.org
The Marriage of Figaro A STORY OF LUST, BETRAYAL, & FORGIVENESS
A NEW FULLY STAGED PRODUCTION
Javier Arrey 7:00 PM
LOUIS SALEMNO, CONDUCTOR KAY THEATRE @ THE CLARICE
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Dorian Awards cast a queer eye on television Netflix favorite ‘Heartstopper’ nabs three nominations
By JOHN PAUL KING TV Show or the brand new “You Deserve an Award” award, the Dorians give a tip of As Hollywood gears up for the year’s second “Awards Season” ahead of July 12’s the lavender hat to the tradition of Wildean wit at their back – but they also assert the scheduled announcement of the 2022 Emmy nominations, it seems only fitting for us importance of queer perspective when it comes to taste-making and the aesthetic arts. to bring some attention to another awards organization that has already dropped its Nominees for the 14th Annual Dorian TV Awards (honoring shows which debuted picks for the year’s best in TV content. We’re referring, of course, to the Dorian Awards, June 1, 2021-May 31, 2022) are listed below. Winners will be revealed on Wednesday, which have been bestowed by the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics since 2009. Aug. 12. If you’ve never heard of the Dorians, BEST TV DRAMA: “Better Call Saul”; that’s not surprising. In keeping with “Heartstopper”; “Yellowjackets”; “Sevthe entertainment industry’s frustraterance”; “Succession” ingly persistent skittishness when it BEST TV COMEDY: “Abbott Elecomes to All Things Queer, the Dorians mentary”; “Barry”; “Hacks”; “The Other haven’t gotten much attention in the Two”; “Our Flag Means Death” mainstream press – though with a BEST LGBTQ SHOW: “Hacks”; 385-member voting body and a scan“Heartstopper”; “The Other Two”; “Our dal-free history, they are arguably more Flag Means Death”; “Somebody Somereputable than the Golden Globes. where”; “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Named in honor of iconic queer writer BEST TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES: Oscar Wilde (as a reference to his novel “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Midnight “The Picture of Dorian Gray”), they are Mass”; “Station Eleven”; “The White Loadmittedly low profile when it comes tus” to glitz and glamour, handing out their BEST NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE prizes at an annual “Winner’s Toast” day TV SHOW: “Elite”; “Lupin”; “My Brilliant party instead of a formal evening affair. Friend”; “Pachinko”; “Squid Game” Nevertheless, they’ve gained traction BEST UNSUNG SHOW: “Better as Hollywood’s attitudes toward LGBTQ Things”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag inclusion and representation have shiftKIT CONNER and JOE LOCKE in ‘Heartstopper.’ (Photo courtesy Netflix) Means Death”; “Russian Doll”; “Someed, and each of their two annual cerebody Somewhere”; “We Are Lady Parts” monies – one for TV, one for film, held BEST TV PERFORMANCE: Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”); Kit Connor about six months apart – draw an increasing number of A-listers to participate, both (“Heartstopper”); Bridget Everett (“Somebody Somewhere”); Bill Hader (“Barry”); Lily as nominees and presenters; and while the Dorians may not hold the level of prestige James (“Pam & Tommy”); Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”); Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowenjoyed by some of the industry’s other awards, at least we can be sure their voting jackets”); Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”); Jean Smart (“Hacks”); Zendaya (“Euphomembership won’t overlook queer shows and talent as often as their counterparts at ria”) the Motion Picture and Television Academies. BEST SUPPORTING TV PERFORMANCE: Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”); AnThat doesn’t mean the Dorians are exclusively focused on LGBTQ content. The Socithony Carrigan (“Barry”); Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”); Hannah Einbinder ety of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics – formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Entertain(“Hacks”); Jeff Hiller (“Somebody Somewhere”); Janelle James (“Abbott Elementary”); ment Critics Association, or GALECA – explicitly states that its awards are to honor “the Matthew Macfadyen (“Succession”); Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets”); Rhea Seehorn best in film and TV, mainstream to queer+”, while calling attention to the importance (“Better Call Saul”); Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria”) of queer contribution and sensibility within the wider culture and reminding “bullies, BEST TV MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Beyonce, “Be Alive” (94th Academy Awards); bigots, and our own at-risk youth that the world loves the sly Q eye on entertainment.” Kristin Chenoweth and cast, “Tribulation” (“Schmigadoon!”); Bridget Everett and Jeff With some state governments and the SCOTUS itself dedicating themselves an all-out Hiller, “Don’t Give Up” (“Somebody Somewhere”); Jean Smart, “You Make Me Feel Like assault on the LGBTQ community and its hard-won rights, that last point seems para Natural Woman” (“Hacks”); Cecily Strong and cast, “Corn Puddin’” (“Schmigadoon!”); ticularly resonant; with so much homo- and transphobic hate pouring its efforts into Hannah Waddingham and cast, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (“Ted Lasso”) erasing us, our visibility is more crucial than ever. BEST TV DOCUMENTARY OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES: “The Andy Warhol DiaFortunately, as the slate of Dorian nominees announced by GALECA on June 22 ries”; “The Beatles: Get Back”; “How to with John Wilson”; “Spring Awakening: Those reveals, the queer presence on television is strong. No longer segregated to a “niche” You’ve Known”; “We Need to Talk About Cosby” genre, the LGBTQ community has finally begun to appear on our screens as it does BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM: “The Amber Ruffin Show”; “The Daily Show in life – blended, alongside everyone else, into a world that has room for us all. That’s with Trevor Noah”; “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”; “Last Week Tonight with John what ideal inclusion looks like, and it’s heartening – especially now – to see that it has Oliver”; “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; “The Rachel Maddow Show”; “ZIWE” become the norm in so much of the industry’s best offerings. (Showtime) This year, HBO leads the pack in terms of nods. Two of its heavily queer-inclusive BEST ANIMATED SHOW: “Arcane”; “Big Mouth”; “Bob’s Burgers”; “Q Force”; “Tuca shows, “Hacks” and “Somebody Somewhere,” received five nominations each, while & Bertie”; “What If…?” “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” snagged 4 and 3, respectively. In total, the caBEST REALITY SHOW: “Legendary”; “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans”; ble-and-streaming giant got 24, with an additional 13 for programming exclusively on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; “Survivor”; “Top Chef: Houston”; “We’re Here” HBO Max, bringing the total to 37. MOST VISUALLY STRIKING SHOW: “Euphoria”; “The Gilded Age”; “Loki”; “SeverComing in second with less than half that number is Netflix. Among its 15 nominaance”: “Squid Game” tions are three nods for “Heartstopper,” the runaway queer fan favorite based on a CAMPIEST TV SHOW: “Diana: The Musical”; “Euphoria”; “Girls5Eva”; “Nine Perfect sweet UK webcomic about two schoolboys in love, and two each for Natasha Lyonne’s Strangers”; “Schmigadoon!” brain-twisting time travel dramedy “Russian Doll” and the already-award-winning KoreWILDE WIT AWARD (to a performer, writer or commentator whose observations an thriller “Squid Game.” both challenge and amuse): Joel Kim Booster; Quinta Brunson; Jerrod Carmichael; New series scored high among Dorian voters this year. Besides “Heartstopper” and Jennifer Coolidge; Bowen Yang “Somebody Somewhere,” ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” Showtime’s “Yellow Jackets,” and THE “YOU DESERVE AN AWARD!” AWARD (to a uniquely talented TV icon we Apple TV+’s “Severance” each received multiple nominations, with many other freshadore): Gillian Anderson; Christine Baranski; Lynda Carter; Kim Cattrall; Cassandra Peman titles picking up individual nods. terson As for the awards themselves, the Dorians feature fewer overall categories – instead GALECA LGBTQIA+ TV TRAILBLAZER (for creating art that inspires empathy, truth of being split into “gendered” divisions, actors of all genders compete for a single and equity): Jerrod Carmichael; Margaret Cho; Russell T. Davies; Kate award in each category – and set themselves apart by striking a mildly tongue-in-cheek McKinnon; Bowen Yang pose in the presentation of its “special” accolades. In presenting awards like Campiest 3 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • JULY 01, 202 2
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‘Jackie & Me’ puts a refreshing spin on Camelot
Jack’s gay pal narrates fictional take on iconic love affair
By KATHI WOLFE It is a truth that is universally acknowledged: A love story will be not only entertaining, but a moving, thought-provoking page-turner, if it has a gay best friend. “Jackie & Me” by Louis Bayard, the acclaimed gay novelist, isn’t a Jane Austen tale. But Austen would have appreciated Bayard’s witty, poignant, new novel. Unless you’ve lived under a rock, whether you’re Gen Z or a Boomer, you know about Jack and Jackie Kennedy and Camelot. Yet, Bayard, in his tenth novel “Jackie & Me,” puts a refreshing spin on this story. The novel is narrated by Kirk LeMoyne (a.k.a. “Lem”) Billings, Jack’s best friend. Lem has been JFK’s pal since they were students at Choate. Though Lem never says “I’m out and I’m proud,” it’s clear that he’s gay. Lem is JFK’s fixer and court jester. He pays for Jack’s lunch. If Jack’s in the mood, Lem drinks with him. When Jack needs advice on love affairs, Lem’s on it. “Jackie & Me” brings us JFK and Jackie before they were iconic. By Louis Bayard The novel takes place in 1952. Jackie, 22, then c.2022, Algonquin | $28 | 352 pages Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, is the “inquiring photographer” for the Washington Times Herald. Jack, 35, is a Massachusetts congressman. They don’t know each other until they meet up at a party in D.C. What makes “Jackie & Me” so enjoyable is that Lem is our fly on the wall. He takes us along as the couple date, meet the parents, and wed. Jack is from a wealthy, Irish, Catholic political family. The Kennedys know everyone from Harry and Bess Truman to Henry and Clare Luce to Joe McCarthy. Jackie’s father, known as “Black Jack,” was a Wall Street stockbroker. Her mother Janet Auchincloss was a socialite. Her stepfather Hugh Auchincloss was a Standard Oil heir. Unlike many women at the time, Jackie is well educated (with a degree in French literature from Washington University and classes at the Sorbonne in Paris). Jack loves sleeping with women, but has no love for marriage. Yet he must marry because “my father says I can’t get elected [president] if I’m not married,” he tells Lem. Knowing that matrimony is in his future whether he likes it or not, Jack thinks Jackie might be the right woman to marry. But he wants to be sure she’s not involved with other men and that, if they wed, she’ll tolerate his extramarital liaisons. He turns to his dependable buddy Lem and asks him to pal around with Jackie – to spy on her. Lem isn’t thrilled by this. “Who would I be working for,” he says to Jack, “you? Your father ‘the bossman’?” While Jack’s been busy in Congress and womanizing, he’s been escorting Jackie about town. They’ve gone to the Smithsonian, laughed at bad Loretta Young movies and gone to an amusement park. They’ve become close friends. If something happens and Jack doesn’t work out, “would you be my back-up husband,” Jackie, who’s caught on to Jack’s foibles, jokes to Lem. Billings, who lived from 1916 to 1981, maintained ties with the Kennedy family after Jack’s death. But “Jackie & Me” is, without apology, a fictional work and “an exercise in alternative history,” Bayard writes in the acknowledgments. Though a work of fiction, “Jackie & Me” feels true. In the novel, Jackie and Lem are outsiders. Jackie isn’t of the Kennedy family and doesn’t, as many women did then, aspire to be a homemaker. Lem was a closeted gay man when homophobia was socially acceptable. Lem recalls how at Choate, boys who wanted sex or tenderness from other boys, would write notes on toilet paper. “I’m not that kind of boy,” responds Jack on receiving a note on toilet tissue from Lem. “Jackie & Me” is intriguing because it’s not, at heart, about the romance of a glittering young couple. It’s an Austenesque triangle: the tale of the twists, turns, love and friendship of three compadres. It’s a charming, elegant summer read.
‘Jackie & Me: A Novel’
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“EXQUISITE...Amari Cheatom astounds as Ira Aldridge.” –The Washington Post
“STUNNING... A truly brilliant production.” –BroadwayWorld
R E D V E LV E T LOLITA CHAKRABARTI DIRECTED BY JADE KING CARROLL BY
NOW PLAYING ORDER TODAY! ShakespeareTheatre.org | 202.547.1122 2021/22 SEASON SPONSORS:
Michael R. Klein and Joan Fabry Harman Family Foundation
Jean and David Grier M Powered Strategies, Inc.
This project is supported in part by the
RESTAURANT PARTNER: ®
Photo of Amari Cheatom by Teresa Castracane Photography.
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DC Aquatics Club swimmers reﬂect on world title win Team took 125 gold medals en route to breaking 72 DCAC records
By KEVIN MAJOROS races. It was also great spending quality team with my teammates outside of the pool.” The District of Columbia Aquatics Club sent 42 swimmers to the International Gay & Olivia Kisker had competed with DCAC at IGLA Melbourne in 2020 and was looking Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) world championships in Palm Springs, Calif., in April on a misforward to traveling with her team again. sion to capture their ﬁrst world title since 2013. “Even though the days were long at the pool, we still had time for Joshua Tree, the It was a long road back to international competition for the DCAC swimmers after the gondolas and all that Palm Springs has to offer,” Kisker says. “I love traveling and doing it disruption of training and travel brought on by the worldwide pandemic. with your teammates provides a setting for bonding and getting to know people better. When the team returned from IGLA in Melbourne, Australia in March of 2020, their I also enjoyed competing against my teammate Sarah. It’s like a friendship and a rivalry.” training pools were closed, and all competitions were canceled. Craig Franz restarted his post-COVID competitive swimming at IGLA Palm Springs By May they had established a training site in the South River in Annapolis where they and went on to a training camp and open water race in Hawaii this past month. swam until November of that year. Eventually, pools began to reopen, and the team “The whole thing was faced with batabout this team is relatling for training time in tionships and sharing COVID-restricted pools. The District of Columbia swimming as a common Following the postAquatics Club sent denominator. The swim ponement of the 2022 42 swimmers to the International Gay & competitions legitimize Gay Games in Hong Lesbian Aquatics world building relationships Kong, the IGLA commuchampionships in Palm and supporting each nity scrambled to put toSprings, Calif. (Photo courtesy DCAC) other in healthy ways,” gether a competition in say Franz. “Palm Springs Palm Springs that would felt like a more relaxed be hosted in tandem by setting, and we needed West Hollywood Aquatthis meet to rebuild the ics and the Long Beach team. It provided a nuGrunions. tritional base for what DCAC’s swimmers in we are about – swimPalm Springs consisted ming and friendships.” of a mix of veterans and Sarah Padrutt had not rookies ranging in age competed since 2019 from 22 to 76 years old. and all the talk about Each swimmer was elipast IGLAs prompted gible to enter ﬁve indiher to attend for the ﬁrst vidual events and three time. relay events. “I had so much fun, With 67 teams in and it was cool having attendance, DCAC people cheering and jumped out to an early being supported by lead on day one in the teammates,” Padrutt large team category says. “It was also a nice with West Hollywood wakeup call, a reminder of how much I like competing. I like the pressure of racing and Aquatics and San Francisco Tsunami in close pursuit. being on relays with my team. It was a very positive experience.” Despite the disqualiﬁcations of two of their winning relays for early takeoffs, DCAC Charles Cockrell has been a Masters swimmer for decades and is the chair of the Legheld on to their lead over the remaining three days to claim their ﬁrst world title in nine islation Committee for United States Masters Swimming. He came out in 2019 and these years. championships marked his ﬁrst time competing at IGLA. Three DCAC swimmers, Grant Casey, Carmen Robb and Jerry Frentsos, won gold in “I wanted to compete at a swim meet that was a combination of the LGBTQ communiall ﬁve of their individual events. In total, the team won 125 gold, 66 silver and 35 bronze ty and the sport of swimming. It was a fun, accepting and engaging environment,” says medals en route to breaking 72 DCAC team records. Cockrell. “The takeaway was that everyone was enjoying themselves and it was nice to Addison Winger was a ﬁrst time IGLA swimmer and hadn’t competed in 12 years. He be gathered together in a queer space. There was an atmosphere of camaraderie, and had heard the tales from past IGLAs and wanted to join in on the fun. it was great being attached to a big team like DCAC.” “It was a great experience to compete for DCAC at an international competition. I Coming up next for DCAC is the United States Masters Swimming Nationals in Richhad never been in a championship meet before where you go through the process of mond in August. Next year, the team will travel to London for the 2023 IGLA world chamtapering, shaving, and suiting up in tech gear,” says Winger. “The relays were amazing, pionships to be held in the London Olympic Pool. and I enjoyed taking advice and feedback from our coaches to incorporate into future
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Baltimore Pride Parade and Block Party Annual LGBTQ march held on Saturday (Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)
The 2022 Baltimore Pride Parade was held on Saturday, June 25. The march was followed by a block party and entertainment.
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Wishing Everyone a Happy Independence Day, With Liberty & Justice for All!
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Higher interest rates shouldn’t deter you from buying If you have the means to purchase, then do it By JUSTIN NOBLE
One of many hard-hitting questions I get asked as a real estate agent is, “What’s the current trendy paint color.” I also get asked about the current market conditions and if it’s a good time to buy. I prefer to always answer the “is it a good time to buy” question as that is a much more simple question to answer. I know, you must be thinking, there are so many deciding factors that go into if it’s a good time to buy, some of which might be, the current supply, demand, interest rates, job security, space, etc. I would agree, there are several items that go into deciding if it’s a good time to buy – but the most important is if it is a good time to buy for you. Does it make sense for you? YOU are the one buying the piece of real estate, not the supply and demand, not the market, not the interest rates, you. If you are in a position to purchase a home then you should purchase a home. I am a firm believer in controlling your “controllables.” If you are at a point where you have an appropriate amount of funds at your disposal, you have found a home of interest, and all other things are pointing in that same direction, then buy the home. “Yeah right Justin, well what about the interest rates, going over asking and the lack of supply?” Well, to that I say — buy. If you have the means to make this purchase and it makes sense to you in this current moment – buy the dang house! Controlling your “controllables” is super important in life as well as in real estate purchases. This is not just some fly by the seat of your pants purchase. This is likely the most expensive purchase of your life. If you have the means to purchase, then do it. There are always items within owning real estate that may go up or may go down - think about it. Do you think that when your parents purchased their house 40 years ago that their property taxes have remained the same? Or that condo fee – do you think that doesn’t increase every few years? These items are out of your control. The only thing you have control over in the home buying process is your ability to say YES! The current interest rates — for sure they are higher than when you were looking to buy a home a year ago and dragged your feet and now here we are. However, what goes up must come down. These rates won’t continually rise and if you buy a home today at a higher rate and in a year the rate decreases, then refinance your loan and lock in a lower rate. Just because you buy today at a higher rate does not mean that you will have to keep that rate for the life of the loan.
If you’re in the market for a home, don’t let higher interest rates deter you.
Again, I will reiterate: The time to buy a piece of real estate is when it makes the most sense to YOU. You are the one buying the home. If you have the means to purchase a piece of real estate, make an investment in your future, instead of throwing rent money down the drain and supporting someone else’s investment dreams - control your controllables and purchase that piece of real estate you’ve
been wanting. Don’t wait for rates to go down — make a sound decision, if it makes sense for you, and refinance the rate at a later date. A year ago you were afraid of buying due to the bidding wars. Now rates are higher and scaring you off again. If you have the funds and are ready, willing and able to purchase, then do so, and do so with confidence.
is a Realtor with Sotheby’s international Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware Beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin is a well-versed agent, highly regarded, and provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243, Justin.Noble@SothebysRealty.com or BurnsandNoble.com.
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COUNSELING FOR LGBTQ
People Individual/couple counseling with a volunteer peer counselor. GMCC, serving our community since 1973. 202-580-8661. gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested.
KICK BACK & RELAX
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ADOPTION, DONOR, SURROGACY
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at Dumbarton Court with hardwood ﬂoors, built-in wardrobe, updated kitchen with stainless-steel appliances. Enjoy the beautifully landscaped outdoor gardens and the shared grilling patio. Roger Taylor Real Estate (202) 679-1750 Roger Taylor Sells email@example.com
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