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Comings & Goings
Brian Reach joins Arlington Food Assistance Center 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 Brian Reach on his new position as Associate Director of Marketing and Communications of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Reach has more than 18 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and deep roots in Northern Virginia. Charles Meng, CEO of AFAC said, “I’m very pleased to have Brian Reach on our staff as we enter a new and very challenging year. A year when even more families suffering from inflation in food and fuel are coming to our doors seeking help.” Jolie Smith, director of development at AFAC added, “Brian will be a wonderful addition to the AFAC development team as we start our new year with a strong focus on new opportunities outside of Arlington County. Given his
experience, he’ll be a significant part of our new growth and development.” Reach previously worked at MCI USA (formerly The Coulter Companies) in a number of positions including director of Information Systems and Credentialing. Before that he was with the Interstitial Cystitis Association as its nonprofit coordinator/accounts receivable coordinator; and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Fairfax, Va., as Education coordinator. Reach is an activist and leader in the LGBTQ community. He currently serves as president and executive director of NOVA Pride, a 501c3 he founded in 2011, as well as on other LGBTQ boards and task forces. A Northern Virginia local, whose grandparents met at Fairfax High School, he is extremely passionate about the area and is personally dedicated to making an impact on the lives of his neighbors in need. He has worked on political campaigns in Virginia for Jennifer Wexton, Justin Fairfax, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, Chap Peterson, and Al Gore.
Reach is currently attending George Mason University and was a business major at Northern Virginia Community College.
SMYAL announces new executive director
SMYAL last week announced Erin Whelan will become the organization’s new executive director on Sept. 1. SMYAL’s mission is to support and empower LGBTQ youth ages 6-24. A press release that announces Whelan’s appointment notes the organization over the last five years has grown “exponentially.” Its services include affirming programs, housing support, leadership training and mental health services, designed to help LGBTQ youth develop advocacy skills and an educated, welcoming community. Whelan most recently served as the director of housing and homeless services at LifeWorks, an Austin, Texas,-based nonprofit that provides youth with housing and services. She has worked in nonprofit management for almost 20 years, and SMYAL’s press release highlighted her commitment to antiracism, equity and the LGBTQ community. “Erin Whelan is a compassionate and strong leader who I am confident is the right person to lead SMYAL,” board
(Photo courtesy of SMYAL)
chair Rob Cogorno said. “I could not be more proud of the tremendous growth in services for our LGBTQ youth and of the SMYAL staff’s hard work that made that growth
possible. Erin’s extensive experience in service to youth in need and her passion for that work will help guide SMYAL in continuing its excellent work in this challenging time for LGBTQ youth in our region and across the country.” Whelan in the press release shared her enthusiasm for stepping into leadership with this driving purpose. “I am beyond excited and honored to join SMYAL as the new executive director. My work has been committed to understanding and seeing the world through the lens of the most marginalized youth and young adults and being a fierce advocate for LGBTQ youth,” Whelan said. “I believe all LGBTQ youth deserve an opportunity to build a life they love and a chance to feel celebrated and affirmed for exactly who they are and strive to be. From the moment I stepped into the SMYAL community, it felt like exactly where I wanted to be. SMYAL creates a community for queer and trans youth where they can feel radically accepted and safe to step into their true selves.” CARIS WHITE
AIDS Action Baltimore to honor John Waters
AIDS Action Baltimore will mark 35 years of service next month by paying tribute to six people who have helped keep it in operation, including filmmaker John Waters and his friend and movie industry colleague Pat Moran. AIDS Action Baltimore’s 35th AnniJOHN WATERS versary Commem(Blade photo by Michael Key) oration, planned for Sept.18, is a cocktail reception and brunch that’s also
a fundraiser for the non-profit organization, which was started in 1987 to fight HIV/AIDS and provide a safety net for people living with HIV/AIDS and experiencing a financial emergency. “John has supported us from the beginning,” said Lynda Dee, co-founder and executive director of the organization. “All of his movie premieres benefitted AIDS Action Baltimore. Without his help, we wouldn’t be here today.” Waters has directed 16 movies and written 10 books, and he was named in June to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Based in Baltimore, he has two museum exhibits coming up, “Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection,” an exhibit of art from his personal collection that he’s donating to the Baltimore Museum of Art, at the museum from Nov. 20, 2022, to April 16, 2023, and “Pope of Trash,” a career retrospective at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles
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next summer. Moran is a three-time Emmy Award-winning casting director who has worked closely with Waters and others on films and television shows made in Baltimore. She is one of three co-founders of AIDS Action Baltimore, along with Dee and Garey Lambert, who passed away in 1987. Waters said he’s pleased to support AIDS Action Baltimore. “I’m really happy to be involved,” he said. “Pat was one of the first people that started it. I’ve been a supporter always just because I believe I’m lucky I didn’t die of it. Plain and simple. I give money as a superstition that I won’t ever get it. And Lynda Dee is a tireless AIDS warrior. The gay community owes her great, great credit … It’s an organization in Baltimore that has kept many, many people alive … I’m just honored to help them in any way I can.” ED GUNTS
Summer Maintenance and Cleaning As the weather heats up, it’s important to ensure your home is equipped to handle the heat. I’ve provided some tips and tricks on maintaining your home. 1
Remove and clean window treatments. Shake off dust or put them in the dryer for a couple of minutes. This will help freshen up your curtains and drapes and remove any allergens such as dust or pollen.
3 Keep your kitchen free of bad odors. With excess heat and humidity comes stronger odors. Be sure to rinse your garbage and recycling bins with cleaning solutions and water to prevent any lingering and unwanted smells.
Check your A/C system. Before cranking the A/C on a hot summer day, ensure your A/C is working properly. Vacuuming and dusting vents will help keep your air fresh. If your A/C is still not blowing cold, consult a licensed technician.
4 Sweep and clean outdoor areas. Sweep off dirt, pollen, and leaves from your outdoor living space. Power washing can be a great way to deep clean your deck or patio. Pro Tip: Apply vinegar to cracks and crevices to prevent mold or mildew growth.
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As monkeypox spreads, Delaware looks to expand vaccine access Those exposed to virus prioritized in limited distribution By JACK WALKER
The Delaware Division of Public Health on Aug. 4 confirmed the fourth, fifth, and sixth cases of monkeypox in the First State. Less than a month after the state announced its first case of the virus, the spread of monkeypox in Delaware mirrors trends across the country in what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has now declared a public health emergency. Three Delawarean men ages 42, 24, and 19 were diagnosed with the most recent cases of the virus — none of whom reported close contact with an individual diagnosed with monkeypox, and all of whom are now self-isolating. In an Aug. 4 press release, DPH noted that it intends to expand vaccine distribution, offering vaccines to highrisk groups with or without exposure to the virus. Currently, the state only offers post-exposure prophylaxis, vaccines implemented after an individual comes into contact with a virus. Those who have had direct contact with individuals with confirmed cases of monkeypox are currently prioritized in the state’s limited post-exposure vaccination. Groups that might be prioritized upon increased vac-
(Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
cine access include individuals who have had intimate contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox within two weeks, individuals with multiple sexual partners within three weeks, individuals who have had intimate contact through dating apps, parties or clubs, and individuals who are HIV-positive or are currently receiving pre-expo-
sure prophylaxis for HIV, according to the news release. Some researchers suggest current monkeypox cases are underrepresented in public health statistics nationwide. Although monkeypox has been declared a national health emergency, Delaware has yet to make a similar declaration on the state level. DPH noted that health officials will continue to monitor public health conditions. DPH encouraged Delaware residents and visitors to avoid close contact with those who have symptoms related to monkeypox, limiting their number of sexual partners, and cleaning their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer regularly. DPH also urged those experiencing symptoms associated with monkeypox to contact their health care provider immediately, make a list of intimate contacts in the last three weeks and self-isolate until symptoms subside. For more information, individuals can contact the DPH hotline for monkeypox-related questions and concerns on weekdays from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 866-4081899, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. Information concerning monkeypox prevention programs and resources can be found at de.gov/monkeypox.
Gay couple assaulted on D.C. street by attackers shouting ‘monkeypox faggots’ Police list Aug. 7 incident in Shaw as suspected hate crime By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two young men appearing in their late teens shouted the words “monkeypox faggots” at a gay male couple walking along 7th Street, N.W. in the city’s Shaw neighborhood on Sunday, Aug. 7, before punching the two men in the face and head in an incident that D.C. police have called a suspected hate crime. The gay men were treated and released at Howard University Hospital for head and facial bruises, with one of the two receiving stitches for a deep cut on his upper lip, according to one of the victims who spoke to the Washington Blade. The victim, an Alexandria resident who asked that he and his partner, a D.C. resident, not be identified by name, said the attackers were part of a group of four or five young men appearing to be between 17 and 19 years old and two young women accompanying them. He said the group crossed paths with the gay couple around 5:40 p.m. in front of a store on the 1700 block of 7th Street, N.W., as the couple was walking to a nearby bus stop on Rhode Island Avenue. The victim who spoke to the Blade said a nearby witness called D.C. police, who arrived within a few minutes as the two attackers and the other young men with them fled the scene. He said although an ambulance arrived on the scene, one of the police officers drove the couple to nearby Howard University Hospital, where they spent about six hours in the emergency room. The couple had spent part of that 90+ degree day at the city’s Banneker Pool and later stopped at the Kiki gay bar on U Street, N.W. before taking what the victim who spoke to the Blade said was a leisurely walk from Kiki via 7th Street on their way to the bus stop, where they
planned to take the bus to his boyfriend’s Northeast D.C. house. As the couple walked south on 7th Street about a block from their destination on Rhode Island Avenue they crossed paths with the group of teenagers in front of a store that a D.C. police report says was at 1731 7th St., N.W. “They were about 17 to 19 years old,” the victim who spoke to the Blade said. “And one of them started saying stuff like, hey, look at these monkeypox faggots and some not so nice stuff like that,” he said. “We turned around to walk away and one of them came up behind me and got my attention and then sucker punched me and then hit me again and then hit my boyfriend in the face,” the victim said. “And another person hit him in the face as well,” he said. “And then someone across the street called the cops. And then the cops came, and they scattered off. To the couple’s surprise, the two young women remained on the scene and apologized for the actions by the guys they were with. “So, I said something like thanks for the apology, but this is the kind of people you hang out with,” the victim recounted. “And one of them said their dad was gay, and they kind of walked away before the cops got there,” he said. “It was nice of them to apologize I guess for the other people.”
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The D.C. police report lists the incident as having two offenses, a simple assault against the two men and a misdemeanor destruction of property related to the destruction of a pair of sunglasses worn by one of the two men that were damaged in the assault against him. The report also lists the incident as a suspected “Sexual orientation – Anti-Gay” hate crime. As in all incidents of violent crime, D.C. police call on members of the public to contact the police with information about an incident like this to call police at 202727-9099 or text a tip to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.
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Lesbian activist assaulted with barstool at D.C. lounge Police say victim’s claim of anti-gay hate crime under investigation By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
D.C. police say they are actively investigating an Aug. 3 incident in which lesbian activist and Ward 8 community leader Aiyi’nah Ford says she was hit three times in the head with the metal legs of a barstool swung by a man yelling anti-gay names at her. A police report says the incident took place at the Player’s Lounge, a restaurant and bar at 2737 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E., in the city’s Congress Heights neighborhood shortly before and after midnight on Aug. 3 and 4. Ford, who witnesses say was covered in blood when she stepped outside the restaurant after other patrons intervened, was taken by ambulance to George WashingWard 8 community leader ton University Hospital for treatment of a head and scalp AIYI’NAH FORD says she injury that required multiple stitches. was attacked in a local bar. Ford and an employee at Player’s Lounge said the man who allegedly committed the assault is a regular customer at the restaurant but is known to people only by his nickname of Black. A police spokesperson said that as of Monday no arrest had been made in the case but that it remains under “active investigation” by a detective with the department’s Seventh District in Southeast. A police report obtained by the Blade lists the incident as an assault with a dangerous weapon, but it does not classify the incident as a hate crime. “There is no indication at this time that this incident was motivated by hate/bias,” said D.C. police spokesperson Alaina Gertz in response to a question by the Blade about the police report. “Should further interviews with the complainant reveal information that suggests that this should be a hate crime, the report can be amended with the new information,” Gertz said. Ford told the Blade she believes she made it clear to the police ofﬁcers who spoke with her at the scene of the incident that the man who assaulted her called her anti-gay names, including “dyke bitch.” In a video of herself talking about the incident that she posted on Facebook Ford refers to the assault against her as a “gay-bashing.” The police report says ofﬁcers arrived on the scene while Ford was being treated by paramedics with the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. “Victim 1 stated that she was talking to a friend of hers at the location when another person who frequents the location interjected himself and began to curse at Victim 1,” the police reports states. “The verbal altercation escalated, and Victim 1 stated Suspect 1 began to assault her with a bar stool,” the police report continues. “Other patrons at the bar broke up the altercation and Suspect 1 ﬂed,” according to the report. It adds, “Witness 1 corroborated Victim 1’s story and stated that Suspect 1 frequents the area but doesn’t know his name, only his nickname.” Ford told the Blade the incident began while she and three or four Player’s Lounge customers were engaged in a conversation about local community issues, including the city’s violence interruption program. Ford said that, among other things, she expressed her strongly held opinion that the violence interruption program was not working and was a “joke.” It was around that time, she said, that the man who assaulted her approached the group and interjected himself into the conversation and indicated that he was interested in possibly becoming one of the violence interrupter program volunteers or participants. Ford said the man, who appeared to be over six feet tall, began referring to women as “bitches” and hurled other curse words. “So, we’re all going like, what?” Ford said of her and the others’ reaction to the man’s com-
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ments. At that point, most of those she was speaking with left the restaurant because it was close to its 11 p.m. closing time. “And I’m like, who are you talking to?” Ford said she recalls asking the man. According to Ford, he responded by repeatedly reciting the words “dyke bitch” in a hostile way. “At that point I immediately knew he was talking to me because I’m the only openly lesbian person in that space that frequents there regularly and who was in that room,” Ford told the Blade. She said she questioned the man’s motives, including whether he could become a violence interrupter, and the two began to argue back and forth until, according to Ford, he walked up to her and stood almost shoulder to shoulder next to her. “He continues to call me all kinds of homophobic slurs,” Ford said. “He calls me all kinds of bitches and continues to encourage the bar staff to get me to shut up before he shoots me and whatever else he will do to bring my death,” Ford said. “Before I know it, he has picked up this barstool and hit me in the head,” said Ford. “He takes a second barstool and proceeds to hit me again,” she said, adding that he hit her a third time in the head with one of the barstools, each time with the metal legs of the stool. Ford said she has learned that the man who assaulted her has told people she spit on him, which he considered to be an assault by her against him. Ford called that allegation a lie, saying she absolutely did not spit on the man. When the Blade contacted Player’s Lounge for comment, a man who answered the phone arranged for Teresa “Auntie” Smith, one of the longtime employees who was present at the time of the incident, to speak with the Blade. Smith said while she was getting ready to close the restaurant she saw and heard what sounded like a heated argument between Ford and the man known as Black, but she said she was busy doing something in another part of the room and did not see the assault take place. But she said both Ford and Black, whom she has known for a long time from their role as regular customers, were each saying “very mean things” that she had not heard either of them say before. Among other things, she said she heard Ford say to Black that he engaged in “oral sex with other men.” When asked about Smith’s claim that she raised the issue of oral sex with Black, Ford said, “Yes, after he called me a dyke bitch I most certainly did.” Ford added, “It sounds like she’s saying that I deserved to be hit with a barstool. Nothing a woman says to a man that is yelling and encroaching on her personal space justiﬁes hitting her in the head three times with a weapon,” Ford said. “We at Players had a very sad incident on Wednesday night,” the restaurant said in an Aug. 5 post on its Facebook page about the assault case. “We are mostly family here and we look out for each other. We are so sorry for what happened and hope she will be ok,” the message says. “We are still trying to sort out the details of what happened, but we know that no one here would support gay bashing or any type of violence.” Phil Pannell, a longtime D.C. LGBTQ rights and Ward 8 community activist, said he has organized LGBTQ community events at Player’s Lounge, saying it has the reputation of being an LGBTQ-friendly establishment for many years. He told the Blade that he was surprised upon learning of the assault against Ford because he was unaware of that type of incident ever having occurred at Player’s Lounge. Ford, among other things, serves as executive director of the Future Foundation, a Ward 8-based community organization that provides services to local teenagers and their families. The organization’s website says one of its programs, called LGBTQ+ You, has provided a “safe space” drop-in facility for LGBTQ youth living in the city’s east of the Anacostia River neighborhoods.
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Biden administration shifts monkeypox vaccine approach amid shortage HHS enacts emergency use authorization By CHRIS JOHNSON | email@example.com
The Biden administration, amid criticism it was slow to act on the monkeypox outbreak and still not meeting the demand for vaccines as the number of cases continues to grow, has announced a shift in guidance for implementation of the shot in an effort to enhance availability. As the estimated number of monkeypox cases in the United States reaches 8,900, top health officials announced the new move on Tuesday as part of a decision by Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra to issue a determination under Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to justify emergency use authorization of vaccines. The announcement follows up on the Biden administration’s announcement last week declaring the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. Becerra said in a conference call with reporters the 564 determination and change in approach to vaccines would “boost and strengthen” the Biden administration’s response to monkeypox, which has overwhelmingly affected gay
The Biden administration has changed its guidance on monkeypox vaccines to enhance availability amid the shortage.
and bisexual men, and “safely accelerates and multiplies our supply of effective vaccines by up to fivefold.” “Today’s action also reaffirms HHS and this administration’s commitment to using all available resources and capabilities to end the monkeypox outbreak and provide the best possible care to those suffering from the virus,” Becerra added. The new vaccine approach, which may may be considered minor to non-medical observers, would change injections of the JYNNEOS vaccine from the subcutaneous route (delivery of the vaccine under the fat layer underneath the skin) to the intradermal route (delivery of the vaccine into the layer of skin just underneath the top layer). In theory, that would allow for greater accessibility of monkeypox vaccines as it increases the number of doses from each vial of vaccine. The change was made amid criticism the Biden administration failed to meet the demand for vaccines during the outbreak and geographic inequity as certain metropolitan areas of the country have more access to vaccines than other places. As The New York Times reported last week, the Biden administration has faced criticism for not moving quickly enough in acquiring and distributing vaccines, including bulk stocks already owned by the U.S. government manu-
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factured in Denmark by Bavaria Nordic now being given to other clients. “The government is now distributing about 1.1 million doses, less than a third of the 3.5 million that health officials now estimate are needed to fight the outbreak,” the Times reported. “It does not expect the next delivery, of half a million doses, until October. Most of the other 5.5 million doses the United States has ordered are not scheduled to be delivered until next year, according to the federal health agency.” Biden officials, nonetheless, touted the numbers of vaccines and tests in response to monkeypox as a positive, acknowledging the 1.1 million vaccines being made available as well as delivery of more than 620,000 of those doses, deployment more than 15,000 courses of the monkeypox treatment and increasing the country’s capacity to administer tests on a weekly basis to around 80,000. Meanwhile, officials also promoted the change in approach in vaccines as means to allow greater accessibility to the shots. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, promoted during the conference call the use of intradermal injections and said they’re “often used for TB skin tests and have been used for other types of vaccines.” Although Walensky conceded some health care providers “may not be as familiar with intradermal administration” as they are with subcutaneous injection, she said CDC would make additional guidance materials available, including a clinician alert message to the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials, outreach to key clinician partners and an education resource video. The change in guidance, Walensky said, is for vaccine implementation in adults and children — where single digit monkeypox cases have been reported — would continue to receive vaccination in the traditional subcutaneous approach. But health experts aren’t responding with overwhelming praise to the decision to change the guidance on vaccine implementation from subcutaneous injections to intradermal injections, expressing concerns the new approach may be insufficient. Jennifer Kates, director of global health & HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, was among those saying the change in guidance on vaccine approach was a mixed bag and told the Blade more data is needed to emulate the effectiveness. “As we saw with COVID, using these authorities in the context of public health emergencies is an important strategy,” Kates said. “In this case, this step will significantly expand access to vaccines for those most at risk. However, there remain questions about the effectiveness of this approach — real world studies are needed — and challenges to translating vaccines into vaccinations.” Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research (CBER) at the Food & Drug Administration, was asked during the conference call with reporters to respond to concerns the change in guidance was insufficient and downplayed the novelty of implementing the vaccines through the intradermal route as “not at all new.” “In fact, the reason why the Bavaria part of this equation comes from the fact that in Germany, this vaccine was given intradermally originally, in an effort to replicate the original version of the smallpox vaccine,” Marks said. “It’s been given to thousands of people intradermally, so this isn’t the first time it’s been done.” Walkensky said the intradermal vaccine approach has been implemented amid policies among localities to implement a one-dose approach to the JYNNEOS vaccine through the subcutaneous route. (The D.C. government is one of the jurisdictions that had enacted a one-dose approach amid a vaccine shortage.) There is not data, Walkensky said, to support that approach and “in fact, if anything, there are data saying that that is not protective enough.” “So by using this alternative strategy of intradermal dosing, not only do we have more doses, but we actually allow people to get two doses in a way that shows immunologic response that’s superimposable from the subcutaneous dosing,” Walkensky said. “So we have more doses, and in fact, we have the ability to doubly vaccinate people so that they get the protection that they need.”
Testing for HIV and COVID-19 are easy and free ways to protect yourself and others.
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LGBTQ ally Olivia Newton-John dies at 73
In an announcement on Facebook Monday, John Easterling, the husband of singer and actress Olivia Newton-John relayed the news that she had died at age 73. Newton-John had been battling breast cancer for over three decades, her first cancer diagnosis in 1992 when she was 44. Although she had previously seen her cancer in remission, in 2017 she was diagnosed again. In October of 2020 in an interview with The Guardian the pop star and actor spoke about her third diagnosis of cancer. “Three times lucky, right?” she smiles warmly. “I’m going to look at it like that. Listen, I think every day is a blessing. You never know when your time is over; we all have a finite amount of time on this planet, and we just need to be grateful for that.” She genuinely sounds as if she means every word. The cancer’s return in 2017 was, she told The Guardian, not unexpected. “It’s been a part of my life for so long. I felt something was wrong. It’s concerning when it comes back, but I thought: ‘I’ll get through it again.’” What of her health problems? “I don’t think of myself
as sick with cancer,” she says firmly. “I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don’t like war. I don’t like fighting wherever it is – whether it’s outside or an actual war inside my body. I choose not to see it that way. I want to get my body healthy and back in balance. Part of that is your mental attitude to it. If you think: ‘Poor me,’ or ‘I’m sick,’ then you’re going to be sick.” The popstar-singer was arguably best known for her breakout role in “Grease,” the 1978 American musical romantic comedy film based on the 1971 musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, which costarred Oscar nominated actor John Travolta. Travolta paid tribute to his co-star in a post on his Instagram, writing in part, “Your impact was incredible. I love you so much.” Newton-John was an ally to the LGBTQ community who was appreciative of her LGBTQ fans. In an interview with Logo/MTV she noted: “The gay fans have always been very loyal, they are a really great audience and have always been there for me.” In addition to her husband she is survived by her
(Photo by DFree/Bigstock)
36-year-old daughter, Chloe Lattanzi. The family asked for donations to be made to her cancer organization, the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, in lieu of flowers. BRODY LEVESQUE
Graham: Same-sex marriage should be left to states
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide, said Sunday he still thinks the issue of gay nuptials should be left to the states. Graham made the remarks during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash in a rare televised bipartisan debate with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) as the Senate was in the middle of voting on amendments for the Inflation Reduction Act. When discussing the 6-3 conservative majority of the Supreme Court, Graham said consistent with the recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade justices could overturn other precedents, such as the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in favor of same-sex marriage. Asked point blank if he was saying it should be overturned, Graham said “no, I’m saying that I don’t think it’s going to be overturned.” Graham, however, had an inflection in his voice, suggesting same-sex marriage could be undone. “Nor should it be?” asked Bash. “Well, that would be up to the court,” he responded,
Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM said he still thinks the issue of same-sex marriage should be left to the states. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)
then added: “I think states should decide the issue of marriage, and states should decide the issue of abortion.” When Bash brought up another case, Loving v. Virginia, the 1965 case that overturned state bans on interracial
marriage, and asked if that should be revisited as well, Graham replied, “no.” Graham quickly moved on to tamp down any expectation the would address the issue of same-sex marriage, saying fears the court would revisit the issue are unfounded and meant as a distraction from issues such as inflation. “But if you’re going to ask me to have the federal government take over defining marriage, I’m going to say no,” Graham added. Graham’s remarks are consistent with what he told the Washington Blade in 2015 when asked about same-sex marriage as the issue was being adjudicated by the Supreme Court. However, they contrast with his support for a Federal Marriage Amendment that was pending before Congress during the Bush administration and would have made a ban on same-sex marriage nationwide part of the U.S. Constitution. Graham was not asked about his views on the now defunct idea of an amendment during the CNN interview. CHRIS JOHNSON
Biden on freeing Brittney Griner: ‘I’m hopeful’
President Biden made brief comments on Friday expressing optimism about securing the release of Brittney Griner the day a Russian judge sentenced the lesbian basketball player to nine years in a penal colony. “I’m hopeful. We’re working very hard,” Biden said in response to a shouted question from a reporter following a bill signing at the White House. Griner has been detained in Russia since February on charges of entering the country with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil and was later arrested on drug charges. The Biden administration has proposed a prisoner swap with Russia for the release of Griner in exchange for a Russian arms dealer in U.S. custody. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday the optimism Biden expressed was based on general feelings
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as opposed to a new development in negotiations. “He’s the president, he has to feel hopeful,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is something that is important to him. I don’t think — if he had said something else — it would have not, you want to be sure you zero in, he’s focused on the task that is at hand. His team is working on this, his national security team, you’ve heard from Secretary Blinken, you’ve heard from us. This is something — again, has been top of mind, bringing U.S. nationals home who are being wrongfully detained, who are being held hostage has been a priority of his. There’s no other place but to be hopeful and to do the work that we need to do to get this done.” Asked if there was any specific development, Jean-Pierre replied, “No. I wouldn’t read into it. I think as president, he’s doing what presidents do, giving hope.” CHRIS JOHNSON
GET VACCINATED FOR MONKEYPOX IN DC Get monkeypox vaccine updates by signing up at
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Colombia’s first leftist president takes office
Former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro on Sunday took office as Colombia’s first leftist president. The former Colombian senator who was once a member of the M-19 guerrilla movement that disbanded in the 1990s, in June defeated former Bucaramanga Mayor Rodolfo Hernández in the second round of the country’s presidential election. Petro’s running mate, Francia Márquez, on Sunday took office as Colombia’s first female vice president of African descent. Petro before his inauguration named Néstor Osuna, an openly gay man, as the country’s new justice minister. “I am honored and thankful to President Gustavo Petro for the appointment as Colombia’s justice minister,” tweeted Osuna on Sunday. “I commit myself to working with your team to achieve the change for which so many of our compatriots yearn.” Petro in his inaugural speech did not specifically reference LGBTQ and intersex Colombians, but OrgulloLGBT.co, the Washington Blade’s media partner in the country, published pictures that show LGBTQ and intersex people were among those who attended the inauguration. Petro during the campaign pledged to fight violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation
GUSTAVO PETRO took office as Colombia’s first leftist president on Aug. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Colombian government)
and gender identity and to implement policies “for the reaffirmation of gender and sexual orientation identities without barriers for all nonbinary and transgender people in Colombia.” Márquez noted LGBTQ and intersex Colombians after she and Petro won the election. Wilson Castañeda, director of Caribe Afirmativo, an LGBTQ and intersex rights group in northern Colombia, told the Blade after Petro and Márquez won the
election that the campaign held “various meetings” with advocacy groups. Castañeda also noted that Petro, among other things, named Tatiana Piñeros, a transgender woman, to run Bogotá’s social welfare and tourism office when he was mayor. Castañeda and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power are among those who attended Sunday’s inauguration that took place in Bogotá’s Bolívar Square. “Full squares; happy faces; the flags of Colombia, Bogotá; rural, indigenous and LGBTI communities received the president and the vice president in an emotive and historic act that inaugurated the first popular and leftist Colombian government,” tweeted Bogotá Mayor Claudia López on Sunday. López is married to Angélica Lózano, a bisexual woman who in 2018 became the first LGBTQ and intersex person elected to the Colombian Senate. Lozano in March won re-election in the country’s national elections. Colombians also elected five openly LGBTQ and intersex people to the country’s House of Representatives. Tamara Argote in March became the first non-binary person elected to the Colombian Congress. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Landmark intersex rights law takes effect in Kenya
A new law that took effect late last month in Kenya has granted equal rights and recognition to intersex people Intersex people are now recognized as Kenya’s third gender with an ‘I’ gender marker in response to the Children Act 2022. Kenya is the first African country that has granted the intersex community this universal right. The new law requires intersex children to be treated with dignity and have equal access to basic services like medical treatment and education, in addition to social protection services as a special need. It also requires the accomodation of intersex children in child protection centers and other facilities. Courts are also required to consider the needs of intersex children who are on trial — including the calling of an expert witness — before they issue any ruling. The law further stipulates that anyone can be a foster parent without restrictions of gender, age or marital status. It also protects intersex children from so-called sex normalization surgeries, and such procedures will only be done with a doctor’s recommendation. Those who violate the law will face at least three years in jail and a fine of at least $5,000.
“This is a great and major milestone globally for Kenya. We are now way ahead and can teach our neighbors and the whole globe good practices,” said Jedidah Wakonyo, a human rights lawyer and former chair of the Intersex Persons Society of Kenya. The long journey for recognition started dramatically in 2006 when some human rights organizations petitioned courts about a detainee who had been accused of a violent robbery. Authorities perceived the suspect was a man after police strip-searched him before he entered prison. This followed numerous court battles by intersex people who demanded the right to recognition as another gender in their birth certificates. Being denied birth certificates from the discriminatiory law that only recognized male and female genders further limited their access to national identity cards, passports and other crucial documents and government services. The Births and Deaths Registration Act under the new law’s Section 7 (3) “shall take measures to ensure correct documentation and registration of intersex children at birth.”
Intersex people commonly have a combination of male and female gonads (ovaries or testicles) or ambiguous genitalia. Wakonyo, who also chaired the Intersex Persons Implementation Coordination Committee and was named the International Court of Justice’s 2020 jurist of the year, describes the law’s enactment as a historic moment because of its comprehensive definition of an intersex person. It defines an intersex child as “a child with a congenital condition in which the biological sex characteristics cannot be exclusively categorized in the common binary of female or male due to inherent and mixed anatomical, hormonal, gonadal or chromosomal patterns which could be apparent before, at birth, in childhood, puberty or adulthood.” Kenyan law considers anyone under 17 to be a child. “Defining an intersex from a child’s perspective while taking care of many aspects and not just the physical notion of being intersex is the best practice because in future they don’t find themselves in the state of gender confusion between males and females like the current situation,” stated Wakonyo. SAM KISIKA
Montreal Pride organizers cancel parade
Citing a lack of adequate security personnel, the organizers of the Fierté Montréal Pride Parade abruptly cancelled last Sunday’s parade. The event organizers told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation the decision was made in collaboration with Montréal police. CBC reported that other Pride events taking place at the Esplanade du Parc olympique from 2 p.m. local time, including the closing show with Pabllo Vittar, will go on as as planned. Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend the parade. BRODY LEVESQUE (Courtesy of Fierté Montréal Pride/Facebook)
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(he/him/his) is a transgender man and young professional in the D.C. area. He was featured on National Geographic’s ‘Gender Revolution’ in 2017 as a student at Yale University. Amend is also on the board of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia. Find him on Instagram @isaacamend.
Queer kids are not brainwashed Trans children are real transgender people, not trend chasers
In some conversations with progressive friends, my peers, despite their proclaimed liberal attitudes, voice concern over the fact that children can experiment with gender and sexuality. They say things like “kids are too young to question their gender…that seems dangerous” or “a lot of children are just following gender trends and are not actually trans.” Other friends state that they don’t believe that transgender children should have access to hormone blockers. All of these statements are bogus and harmful. Many people who question gender ﬂuidity in children don’t realize that they themselves have been brainwashed into thinking, from a young age, that being cisgender and straight is the norm. It should not be the norm. In fact, queerness is ever more common now among Gen Z’ers, and this is because the youth of today are feeling more and more comfortable opening up about their different sexuality and gender from an early age. Being able to safely come out as trans or gay in high school is an extremely healthy process and greatly improves the mental health of kids who would otherwise struggle. In red states, and conservative high school districts, this kind of coming out is still difﬁcult, and might even be banned in the future, if Republicans continue with their cruel agenda. But there is hope in progressive cities like Portland and New York, where students feel free to question cishet and straight standards. Much research points to the fact that trans children are who they say they are: real transgender people, and not trend chasers. Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, started running a long-term study on trans youth in 2013. Olson eventually amassed a group of more than 85 trans kids. Olson kept in touch with both the children and their parents over the years. Her team ultimately found that an overwhelming, vast majority of the children stayed consistent with the gender nonconforming identity they chose in childhood. In other words, these trans children were correct about their gender identity from a young age. The notion that children pick up trans identities as a “fad,” or are wrong about them, is outdated. We already know that Republicans are dangerous to trans children, and have already prevented them from receiving health care or playing sports in many red states. But what we need to stop is dialogue from progressive voices that discourages gender ﬂuidity in youth. These statements from otherwise liberal leaning people are contradictory to the very values that Democrats stand for. 1 8 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 12, 2 0 2 2 • V I E WP O I NT
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is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
A rare misstep for the amazing Nancy Pelosi Taiwan trip a distraction amid good news for Democrats
I have always supported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and continue to do so. She is an amazing woman. She has championed women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the rights of all minorities, and the rights of people with disabilities. She has worked -206 S 5TH AVENUE, DENTON, MD 21629 US hard to make our country a better and more equal place for all. So seeing the repercussions of her trip to Taiwan playing out, with even the South This big and beautiful home sits on an intown 1.44 acre lot. This amazing homes interior Korean president avoiding a meeting with her, she must now realize the visit may features are grand and exciting. The homes features a rare, vintage carriage house. have been ill timed. Speaker Pelosi is a smart woman and politician. I assume her The home has a pool and scads of details. insistence on the trip may have been a response to some promises she made to the Chinese community in her district and around the nation. She has always been Visit the website https://mls.truplace.com/property/1146/113073/ a strong supporter of human rights and has criticized the Chinese government in or call Martha Suss @410-310-4856 for a tour of this magniﬁcent gem. the past. She recently tweeted, “28 years ago, we traveled to Tiananmen Square to honor the courage & sacriﬁce of the students, workers & ordinary citizens who MARTHA WITTE SUSS, ASSOCIATE BROKER stood for the dignity & human rights that all people deserve. To this day, we remain Easton, St. Michaels, Cambridge and Denton, Maryland committed to sharing their story with the world. #Tiananmen30.” Come Join us in the Land of Pleasant Living - The Eastern Shore of Maryland The question some are asking is did this trip do anything for the people of Taiwan Cell: 410-310-4856 | Ofﬁce: 410-770- 3600 https://www.longandfoster.com/MarthaWitteSuss or could it potentially hurt the people there and here if China decides to restrict trade and begin new sanctions? As the Washington Post reported, “The visit lasted barely 19 hours. But Nancy Pelosi’s contentious trip to Taiwan was a deﬁning moment in the increasingly bitter rivalry between China and the United States. A fuller picture of the Chinese response will emerge over the coming weeks and months, and there are already signs it will encompass greater economic as well as military coercion. Whatever the ﬁnal shape of Beijing’s retaliation, Pelosi’s visit heralds a new phase in China’s efforts to control Taiwan’s fate — and those measures are likely to increase the risk of conﬂict with U.S. forces in the western Paciﬁc.” The New York Times said, “Ms. Pelosi’s visit was ill timed” and called it “provocative.” I would never question the speaker’s commitment to the human rights of the Chinese people. But at this time, as the third in line to the presidency, there may have been some unintended ramiﬁcations from what she did and what the implications could be. I think the very unusual may have occurred, and the speaker may not have considered everything. The trip was likely spurred on by her knowledge this is likely to be her last year as speaker and this was the last time she could arrange for such a trip having the clout she does. I think Speaker Pelosi may be thinking about what she did and if it was worth adding this to the international problems the White House is now facing. We are living in interesting and difﬁcult times. With the help of Speaker Pelosi for the ﬁrst time in a while the Biden administration and Democrats are having an incredible run of successes here at home. Passing the ﬁrst gun control bill in decades, the infrastructure bill, the chips bill, and now the Senate has passed the “Inﬂation ADV ERTISI Reduction Act of 2022” as a reconciliation package. The nation added 528,000 new PROOF: #2 ISSUE DATE: 22-07-08 SALES REPRESENTATIVE: BRIAN PITTS email@example.com jobs in July and unemployment is at the lowest it has been, matching pre-pandemic REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will times, at 3.5%. Gas prices are steadily going down and inﬂation has likely peaked. be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington Then there is the vote on the abortion amendment in Kansas, which REVISIONS the pro-choice blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that side won by nearly 60/40 in a landslide deﬁnitely not predicted in REDESIGN that very red its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as TEXT REVISIONS infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination state. So, poking the Chinese at this time, generating negative headlines, doesn’t IMAGE/LOGO REVISIONS law or regulation, or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all liability, ADVERTISER SIGNATURE NO REVISIONS make much sense. I hope it will be only a blip in time. loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred by brown naff pitts By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contra omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations and warranties. blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to This week we will see Pelosi do what she does best. She will move the House of schedule. Representatives to pass impactful legislation. She will keep her small Democratic majority together to pass the ‘Deﬁcit Reduction Act of 2022’ and send it on to the president to sign. In 2018, she cut a deal to become Speaker for two more terms. That time is now coming to an end. If the Democrats manage to hold the House of Representative much of the credit must go to her. Should she then actually leave the speakership, the next speaker will have the unenviable task of trying to ﬁll those four-inch stiletto heels. V I E WP O I NT • AUG UST 1 2 , 2 0 2 2 • WA S H I N GTO N B L A D E.CO M • 1 9
Trans inﬂuencers use platforms to promote acceptance in Asia
Indian model Sushant Divgikar has 1.8 million Instagram followers
By ANKUSH KUMAR Social media is creating new inﬂuencers each week. Some dance to someone else’s songs for viewership. Some talk about different gadgets, while others use the platform to create a powerful impact on society. The transgender community in Asia continues to become more visible, but it still has a long way to go. Trans icons in the region who have become famous online are using their inﬂuence to spread awareness of the trans community among their fans and across their respective countries. Kaede Sari, a Japanese architect, is ﬁghting to spread awareness about trans people in her country and change society’s perspective of trans people as mere entertainment. She released a documentary, “You Decide,” in July 2020 that is based on her life. The idea was to spread awareness about trans people in Japan and inspire other trans people in the country. The documentary was available in select theaters and on Netﬂix Japan. “I have continued to disseminate information, especially to students and families, as well as corporate employers and personnel,” said Sari in a statement to the Blade. “However, society is still in the process of change. Some transgender people may not be able to come out depending on their position. I want to tell them, ‘You don’t have to come out until the environment is ready. Until we change the whole society, please ﬁnd a reliable person (to whom you) can come out. And please be a person that is trusted to receive the coming out of many people.’” The trans community has been an integral and mostly accepted part of Japanese culture since the Edo period from 1603-1868. Japan in the late 1800s moved from a country that accepted gender ﬂuidity to one that adopted Western gender binary norms. The trans community in Japan now faces regular humiliation, misunderstanding, and discrimination. Japanese law stipulates a person has to show their ID — which often has a gender identity marker — when accessing education, health, transportation and other services. Authorities often ask invasive questions if a trans person’s picture doesn’t match their gender marker on the ID card. Sari told the Blade she wanted to come out after ﬁnishing school, getting a job or moving into a new home. She came out just before she began to look for employment. Sari said her trans friends either dropped out of school or decided not to come out. “In Asia, many countries, including Japan, are conservative in change, and policies for LGBT (people) are spreading only in limited areas,” said Sari. “There are two steps to changing those who disagree with LGBT. ‘The stage of understanding LGBT’ and ‘the stage of accepting LGBT.’ I think we are in the stage of understanding now, so please get the correct knowledge.” China, like Japan, has a long relationship with the trans community, but repression against it is a reality. Trans cultural icons in China are ﬁghting hard to change the narrative and situation inside the country and abroad. Fan Popo, a Chinese ﬁlmmaker and LGBTQ and intersex activist, is working to change attitudes about the country’s trans community through ﬁlms and documentaries. Popo is known for his iconic documentary “Mama Rain-
bow,” which has SUSHANT DIVGIKAR inspired many (Photo by Amit Khanna) LGBTQ and intersex people in China. The ﬁlm attracted signiﬁcant viewers on the internet in China and started a public discussion about the queer community. It has since disappeared from Youku, Tudou, 56.com and other popular Chinese streaming services. Popo launched a ferocious legal battle with China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the ﬁght resulted in a partial victory in 2015. He continues to make LGBTQ-focused ﬁlms to spread awareness in China and among Chinese people who are living abroad. Popo moved to Germany in 2017 and is now working on a ﬁctional ﬁlm debut. While talking with the Blade, he said the ﬁlm is important for him as he feels he didn’t do enough for the queer community, and he wants to contribute more to the community in the coming years. “Ever since I moved to Germany, I have been facing systematic racism. There are little resources are available for people of color,” said Popo. “What my colleagues in China have to face is also impacting me, so this makes me feel frustrated and unsafe. Another difﬁculty that I am facing right now is traveling back to China because of restrictions.” Despite all the struggles, Popo has had a huge impact with his fans inside China and around the world. His creativity and ﬁlms historically have inspired the trans community. He has made six ﬁlms, and his last ﬁlm was “Beer! Beer!” in 2020. In India, the trans community has historical ties to traditional Indian culture. According to scholars and ancient Indian texts, the trans community garnered respect, but things changed once the British colonized the country. Section 377 of India’s colonial-era penal code that came into force in 1861 criminalized homosexuality. The Indian Supreme Court in 2018 struck down the discriminatory law, but more than 200 years of British colonial rule pushed Indian society to become discriminatory against trans people. To create awareness about trans Indians, trans icons are using their social media platforms and creating a positive impact on society. Sushant Divgikar is an Indian model, actor, singer, drag queen and motivational speaker who won Mr. Gay India in 2014. With 1.8 million Instagram followers, Divgikar has
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been spreading awareness about the country’s trans community. “The transgender community has shared a very beautiful status in the context of Indian cultural history in the pre-colonial area. Things changed because the British had very narrow-minded thoughts on the queer community. They talk about how the British divided and ruled the country based on caste, but they do not talk about how British rule divided the country based on gender diversity,” Divgikar told the Blade. “Over the past 16 and a half years, I have been performing as a drag queen, actor, model, and motivational speaker, so, of course, it has been a roller coaster ride, but I have never imagined this anything else. If I had not struggled this much, I would not have known what I have today and what I did not have.” Divgikar since 2012 has appeared on many TV shows and participated in numerous competitions. They have also been using Instagram to talk about the queer community and start a public discussion. Divgikar has inspired many fans with their inspirational posts and stories. Divgikar in 2020 appeared on Forbes 30 under 30 list. “At the time when people were not ready to talk about their orientation, I was on TV, risking my life because I used to get death threats, I used to get rape threats. When I was younger, I used to get frustrated because of threats, but now I feel bad for them,” they said. “They are the ones who really need a big hug and some therapy. I don’t mind paying for their therapy.” Divgikar also talked about their appearance on the third largest billboard in New York’s Times Square for an entire month. While talking with the Blade, Divgikar said trans Indians feel represented when they see them on big stages. Divgikar feels pride in representing every Asian, and especially trans Indians, on the world stage. “When you harm another person, you are not just harming that person,” said Divgikar while talking about hate crimes against the trans community in Asia. “You are killing the whole humanity.”
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Late summer must-haves for gay beach lovers Sunglasses, beach chairs, and more to keep you stylish in the sand By MIKEY ROX
Finish the dog days of summer in style with these beach-ready requisites to enhance your fun in the sun.
Helinox Beach Chair
Standard camp chairs don’t hold a candle to Helinox’s high-back, splayed-leg beach seats that offer more than just stability in the sand: Sturdy aluminum construction allows for up to 320 pounds of weight while mesh ventilation panels, side pockets for small essentials, and an adjustable headrest for pillow placement provide comfort while you cruise the coastline. $170; Amazon.com
Triple-walled vacuum insulation, a comfortable loop cap and slip-proof base contribute to the practical aspects of Welly Bottle, but it’s the sexy minimalist design that’ll turn more heads than your teeny-weeny polka-dot bikini. $40, Amazon.com
Nomadix Original Towel
Super-absorbent, quick-drying MicroTerry fabric keep Nomadix’s lightweight Original Towels resistant to sand and lingering odor, slip-resistant when activated by moisture, and uber-stylish since the post-consumer recycled material lends itself to more than 30 dyeless prints that won’t fade like your farmer’s tan. $40, Amazon.com
Even though “Zack Morris Is Trash” – according to Dashiell Driscoll and Jason Flower’s 50ep strong “Funny or Die” series – he’s still the quintessential ’90s himbo, and you can channel his too-cool-for-school energy in Feisedy’s oversized mirror-shield sport sunglasses with lightning bolt temples that keep pointed gazes concealed on the beach and beyond. $26, Amazon.com
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PureBreeze Personal Fan
Martha and the Vandellas waxed melodic about a heat wave in the early 1960s, but it probably didn’t compare to today’s record-smashing scorchers that require reinforcements, like PureBreeze’s rechargeable personal fan featuring three speeds and an optional aromatherapy diffuser for enhanced R&R. $25, Amazon.com
JBL Clip 3
Jury’s still out on 2022’s song of the summer (and with heavy hitters like Beyonce, Harry Styles and Lizzo vying for the title, deliberation ain’t easy), but you can cast your vote by pumping up the volume through the waterproof, so-light JBL Clip 3, which makes transporting superior sound quality from the parking lot to your sunning spot a real breeze. $40, Amazon.com
Body Glove Water Shoes
Body Glove’s 3T Cinch water shoes protect your pads from jagged rocks, slimy seaweed, and the occasional crab picking at your piggies so you can sing wee-wee-wee all the way home. $38, Amazon.com
Quicksilver Straw Hat
Leave it to venerated beach brand Quiksilver to design an outdoor hat that’s not only functional but fashionable: the straw-constructed Outsider Waterman provides UV protection on your head and face while its McConaughey vibe will keep you feelin’ alright, alight, alright. $28-$34, Amazon.com
(Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels)
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By TINASHE CHINGARANDE
Friday, August 12
Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. in the DC Center in the atrium of the Reeves Center. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. For more information, contact adamheller@ thedccenter.org. Women in Their Twenties and Thirties will be at 8 p.m. on Zoom.This is a social discussion group for queer women in the D.C. area for people looking to make new friends and meet other queer women in a fun and friendly setting. For more information, email supportdesk@ thedccenter.org.
Saturday, August 13 Virtual Yoga Class with Charles M. will be at 12 p.m. online. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. You can RSVP for this event on the DC Center’s website. Universal Pride Meeting will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This group seeks to support, educate, empower, and create change for people with disabilities. For more information, email email firstname.lastname@example.org or the group’s facilitator email@example.com.
Sunday, August 14
SAMPSON MCCORMICK brings his latest comedy show to D.C. later this month.
GoGay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 6 p.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. About 20 LGBTQ+ folk will be expected, and there will be no cover charge. A drag show starts inside at 7 p.m. and there will also be a scholarship fundraiser. More details are available on Eventbrite. “Sunday Vibes! LGBTQ+ Inclusive Outdoor Event!” will be at 2 p.m. at Dirty Habit. DJs Eletrox and Jai Syncere will be playing top 40, Afrobeats, reggaeton, house remixes, throwbacks and more. Tickets are free and can be accessed on Eventbrite.
Monday, August 15 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. Genderqueer DC will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary, whether bigender, agender, genderﬂuid, or 100% not cisgender. For more information, visit www.genderqueerdc.org or check the group out on Facebook!
Tuesday, August 16 The DC Center will host “Project Leap Job Coaching” at 6 p.m. at Shuggs Place. This will be a 1-on1 job coaching for transgender and gender non-conforming job seekers. Some services that will be provided are resume review, job search assistance, and professional wardrobing help. For more information, visit the DC Center’s website. Bi Roundtable Discussion will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is an opportunity for people to gather to discuss issues related to bisexuality or as bi individuals in a private setting. For more information, visit Facebook or Meetup.
Wednesday, August 17 BookMen DC will be at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. This is an informal group of men who are interested in ﬁction and non-ﬁction gay literature. For more information, visit BookMen’s website.
Thursday, August 18 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-682-2245. Poly Discussion Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This group is designed to be a forum for people at all different stages to discuss polyamory and other consensual non-monogamous relationships. For more information, visit email@example.com. 2 4 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 12, 2 0 2 2
(Photo courtesy Kola for 510 Media)
OUT & ABOUT
Award-winning gay comedian returning to D.C.
D.C. native and award-winning comedian Sampson McCormick will perform in a series of shows from Thursday, Aug. 25 to Saturday, Aug. 27 at the DC Comedy Loft. The themes of the shows will include cancel culture and sensitivity —especially as they relate to the rise in violence against comedians — LGBTQ issues and probe many of the other current topics that have been circulating in the news and in conversations on social media and among the public. Tickets are available on DC Comedy Loft’s website.
Reel Afﬁrmations to screen new ﬁlm Reel Afﬁrmations, a branch of the DC Center for the LGBT Community that platforms LGBTQ ﬁlm, will screen “Sweetheart” on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at Landmark Theaters E Street Cinema. This ﬁlm will be screened as part of its monthly series. “Sweetheart” is a coming-of-age ﬁlm about a socially awkward and environmentally conscious teenager who meets a carefree lifeguard while on holiday with her family. In-person tickets cost $15 and virtual tickets cost $10. Virtual tickets can be purchased on this link.
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.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. 2101 E. Jefferson St. Rockville, MD 20852 2022BD0702 MAS 6/3/22-12/31/23
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New musical highlights Frederick Douglass but falls short ‘American Prophet’ needs more energy and spark
By PATRICK FOLLIARD Frederick Douglass’s brilliance didn’t blossom in a walled garden. Born into slavery around 1819, the renowned abolitionist worked the fields of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and docks of Baltimore before escaping to freedom in New York where he emerged as a famed orator, writer, and publisher. Along his exceptional journey, Douglass was supported by family, and like-minded folks including prominent progressives of different temperaments whom he both learned from and heavily influenced. In “American Prophet,” a biographical musical now premiering at Arena Stage, co-creators Marcus Hummon and Charles Randolph-Wright have intentionally relied heavily on Douglass’s written words with mixed results. In both dialogue and lyrics, the great orator’s fearless opines are present, sometimes they spark and crackle, soar and inspire, and other times they’re not enough.
Smith, Jr., on a recent Sunday evening) is every inch the activist whose photograph is copiously featured in history books. (Having slipped into Arena’s Kreeger Theatre just as the lights went down, I didn’t realize until intermission when a strip of paper announcing the substitution fell out of my program, that I was watching an understudy. Wiley didn’t miss a line or lyric. His voice is gorgeous.) Staged by Randolph-Wright, the musical unfolds chronologically as a straightforwardly told story. Douglass is born Frederick Bailey, purportedly the son of a slave and her white owner. After his mother’s death, he’s nurtured by a loving maternal grandmother (Cicily Daniels) and taught to read by his owner’s sympathetic wife who recognizes the boy’s quick mind and ability. Soon after he’s sent off to Baltimore to serve as companion to a family relation about his same age. When that doesn’t work, he’s sent back to the farm where an overseer unsuccessfully tries to break young Bailey’s spirit. Back in Baltimore, still a slave, he works long hours as a stevedore with his pay going to his owners. Exuberant and inexhaustible, he finds time to take in some pleasures of the city. At a dance he meets his wife, a free black woman named Anna Murray (Kristolyn Llloyd). Together, they successfully flee to the free North. Once there – after changing his name to Douglass from a narrative poem by Sir Walter Scott, “The Lady of the Lake,” – his career booms. Grammy-winning composer Hummon’s score, a mix of gospel and country sounds, moves the story lucidly along while leaving room for some strong stand-alone melodies, particularly Kristolyn Lloyd’s pleasing rendition of Anna’s “I Love a Man.” In the supporting role of supporting wife, Lloyd is a standout. Going forward, Douglass finds friendship and opportunity with William Lloyd Garrison (Thomas Adrian Simpson) an abolitionist who demands absolute fealty from his colleague. He forms a true comradeship with fiery abolitionist John Brown (Chris Roberts), but when their tactics become too dissimilar, the pair part company. The second act finds us on the precipice of the Civil War, and it’s here we meet Abraham Lincoln (Simpson again). It’s not the usual hagiographic portrayal we’re used to seeing, far from it. The great savior of the Union is written as a real politician – gladhanding and strategic. Still, Lincoln evolves and benefits from his association with Douglass, even borrowing his thoughts from time to time. CORNELIUS SMITH JR. (Frederick Douglass) and the cast of ‘American Prophet.’ (Photo by Margot Schulman) Douglass was a force. Insanely ahead of his time, he called slaveowners to the carpet and expressed the hypocrisy of America at home and on tours abroad. And while the musical does lovingly put his humanness on display, I wanted more. When that jolt of The action takes place on a tiered set resembling the choir space in an unadorned energy and spirit finally comes with the show’s stirring final number “American Prophet,” church. It’s here the players congregate to tell Douglass’s remarkable story that doubles it’s too little too late. as a compelling slice of mid-19th century American history. Douglass spent his final years in Washington. He died at his home Cedar Hill in AnaStanding centerstage is Douglass with a serious but handsome countenance, that costia. He was 77. distinctive side part, dark coat and vest. The actor (Curtis Wiley stepping in for Cornelius
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For Gaiman fans, ‘Sandman’ is a ‘Dream’ come true Netflix series offers fantasy space where all feel welcome
By JOHN PAUL KING ficially reached a deal to bring it to the screen as a seFor the millions of fans who have embraced Neil ries, with Gaiman fully on board and a creative team Gaiman’s “The Sandman” and its darkly beautiful, in place that was determined to faithfully adapt the queer-inclusive mystical universe since it debuted in much-loved original for a contemporary audience. comic book form more than three decades ago, the The show that came from that decision, which prearrival of a new Netflix series based on it is a very, very miered on Netflix Aug. 5, makes it clear that the long big deal – even if, for the uninitiated, it might be hard wait was more than worth it. to understand why. After all, the streaming giant has “The Sandman” of the title refers to the story’s leadalready unleashed such a vast array of LGBTQ-friending figure – Dream (known also as Morpheus, among ly fantasy movies and shows that one more, welcome other names), one of seven elemental siblings whose though it may be, hardly seems like anything new. mystical realms overlay and intertwine with the huAs any of the above-mentioned fans will quickly man world. As ruler of the dream world, he holds hidtell you, however, “Sandman” is not just any fantasy den power over all mankind – until a human sorcerer series. Initiated by DC Comics as a revival of an older manages to trap him and imprison him on Earth for comic book of the same name, it was handed over TOM STURRIDGE makes more than 100 years. Finally freed, he returns to his to Gaiman – then still a budding writer of comics a dreamy Morpheus in kingdom to find it in disarray, and he sets out to rewith a few promising titles under his belt – with the ‘The Sandman’. store order and undo the damage done – a quest that stipulation that he keep the name but change everywill require him to enlist the aid of numerous (and sometimes less-than-willing) allies, both thing else. The comic series he came up with went on to enjoy a 75-issue original run from human and immortal, to save the cosmos from a chaotic force that has been unleashed in his 1989 to 1993, an era when an expanded literary appreciation for such works gave rise to the absence. term “graphic novel”, and it joined “Maus” and “Watchmen” among the first few comics to be Like any good myth cycle, it’s both an epic story and an episodic one, making it a much betincluded on the New York Times Best Seller List. Arguably more important, it also generatter fit for the long-form storytelling capacity of series television than for any of the one-off film ed a huge and diverse fan following, and its incorporation of multiple queer characters and adaptations that it almost became. In his sweeping, unapologetically allegorical saga of the storylines has inspired subsequent generations of comic book creators to envision new and ever-dueling forces within our human psyche, Gaiman uses broad strokes in composing his inclusive fantasy worlds of their own. plot, recycling and reinventing timeless motifs and themes while relying on our comfortable Despite that success, it’s taken 33 years for it to finally be adapted for the screen. Beginacceptance of the familiar tropes of myth and magic to get us all on board; the narrative is a ning in the late ‘90s, attempts were made to develop “The Sandman” for film, but though a massive structure, but it’s not hard to follow the basics. Where “Sandman” becomes complex few scripts initially managed to win Gaiman’s approval, creative differences inevitably led to – and exceptional – is in the details Gaiman gave himself room to explore along the way, the a dead end, and the Hollywood rumor mill began to buzz that the story was ultimately “unhuman moments caught in between the monumental cosmic drama. filmable” – until 2019, when Netflix and Warner Brothers (parent company to DC Comics) ofIt’s these parts of the story that have made his graphic novel iconic, more even than its gothic melancholy or its layered personification of primal forces into complex human archetypes; it’s there, too that he was able to explore a broad and diverse range of human experience, including many queer characters in a time when comic book literature was far from a queer-friendly space. It’s these things that made Gaiman’s comic a touchstone for a wide spectrum of fans – and they would have been the first things that would have been jettisoned had any of the potential “Sandman” films seen the light of day. Because Gaiman has held out for so long to make sure it could be done right, series television has finally given him the chance, as co-creator and co-executive producer (alongside David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg), to finally make it happen. The big-budget Netflix production values certainly help, too, allowing the striking visual aesthetic of the comic – in which even the horrific can be exquisitely beautiful – to come thrillingly alive. The show’s many baroque and gruesome deaths bear testament to that, as does a fourth episode sequence when Morpheus’s quest requires him to descend into a Hell that evokes the macabre beauty of Dore’s illustrations for Dante’s “Inferno,” the very landscape itself made up of the writhing and tormented souls of the damned. The artfulness of this show’s scenic design lingers in the memory, appropriately enough, like images from a dream. Still, it’s all just scenery without the players, and “Sandman” assembles a top-drawer cast capable of bringing Gaiman’s characters to life with the level of depth they deserve. Tom Sturridge makes for a compelling leading figure, capturing the titular character’s complex mix Sign up now at sandyspringbank.com/cdspecial. of coldness and compassion without ever losing our loyalty; he’s supported by an equally For whatever else you need, let’s talk. talented ensemble of players, including heavyweight UK stalwarts like Charles Dance, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, and Stephen Fry among a host of less familiar faces, and there’s not Call us at 800.399.5919 a weak performance to be found among any of them. As to whether the show’s writing does justice to the original, different fans will surely have different opinions. The story has been remolded to fit the modern world, and many elements of the comic have been reconfigured in the process. This is particularly true in terms of representation; though queer characters were always a part of the “Sandman” universe, the comic debuted 34 years ago, and much has changed since then. In bringing the story to the screen, the author and the rest of the creative team have brought things up to date, bringing more nuance to its queer representation even as it expands it wider, and reimagining many of its *Minimum opening deposit is $2,500. Maximum deposit $1,000,000. Deposit must originate from a non-Sandy Spring Bank account. Penalties characters to reflect a more diverse and inclusive vision of the world. Inevitably, these choices for early withdrawal may apply. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 8/10/22. The annual percentage yield assumes interest is credited monthly and remains on deposit until maturity. A withdrawal of interest will reduce earnings. The 14-Month CD Special will automatically renew for an may upset some die-hard fans – there’s already been the inevitable toxic outcry against the 18 month term from the initial and each succeeding maturity date at the interest rate then being offered by us for your type of account. For other show’s gender-swapping of characters and the decision to cast actors of color in roles origiprovisions applicable to your account, please see our Personal or Business Deposit Account and Electronic Banking Agreement, as appropriate for your account, and your Receipt if you are opening an account. nally depicted as white. Member FDIC. Sandy Spring Bank and the SSB logo are registered trademarks of Sandy Spring Bank. © 2022 Sandy Spring Bank. All rights reserved. Still, for those who loved the original for providing a fantasy space where ALL could feel welcome – exactly the way Neil Gaiman intended it to be – it’s hard to find a reason to complain.
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8/8/22 11:56 AM
GEET ET AHEAD OF THE SPREAD D. First things rst: rst: Monkeypox is an equal-opportunity virus. Gay, bi, trans, straight; every race, age and gender — it’s not picky about its hosts. Fact is though, about 98% of the estimated 10,000 cases in the U.S. so far are in the gay/bi/trans comcom munity. Data also show that more than 90% got it through sex or intimate contact. Symptoms can take 5 to 21 days to appear. An outbreak can cause rashes, blisters, scabs and unbearable, blinding pain that lasts up to 4 weeks. Stay up-to-date on vaccine availability, access to treatments, and outbreak stats via the CDC’s directory of local health agencies at the link below, or call the CDC at (800) CDC-INFO.
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Two new political memoirs reveal how the sausage of democracy is made Top Dem, GOP spin-meisters weigh in on Trump, Buttigieg, more
By KATHI WOLFE The lilies of the ﬁeld, the Bible tells us, “neither toil nor spin.” If only, they had met Tim Miller and Lis Smith! Miller and Smith, two top-tier spinmeisters have written memoirs. Fasten your seatbelts. These aren’t the usual tepid politico’s tales. As you read, you’ll laugh out loud one minute. Then gulp down your go-to comfort food or libation while (literally) worrying about the fate of our democracy. “Next to love, the most sacred thing you can give is your labor,” James Carville says to staff and volunteers in the last days of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign in a real life Aaron Sorkin moment in the 1993 documentary “The War Room.” Miller and Smith both saw “The War Room” when they were kids. Miller would grow up to be a Republican strategist who left the party over Trump. Smith would become a top Democratic political operative. But “The War Room” instilled in both of them a love of the public service and game of politics. Miller, who lives in Oakland, Calif., with his husband Tyler and their daughter Toulouse, is a former Republican political operative. He was communications director for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign and spokesman for the Republican National Committee during Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Miller left the GOP to become a leader of the “Never Trump” movement. After calling it quits with Trump, Miller worked brieﬂy as a consultant for Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the Trump administration. Now, Miller is an MSNBC analyst, a writer at large with “The Bulwark” and the host of “Not My Party” on Snapchat. The Republican Party has a history – from Ronald Reagan’s abysmal record on AIDS to Donald Trump’s transphobic policies – of being anti-queer. You’re likely wondering how Miller, as a gay man, could stomach working for the GOP. In “Why We Did It,” Miller puts himself and some of the people who “enabled” Trump under
The soaring musical adaptation starring Nova Y. Payton and Frenchie Davis
AUGUST 16 – OCTOBER 9 Pride Night: September 16
SigTheatre.org | 703 820 9771 Photo of Nova Y. Payton by Cameron Whitman
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‘Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell’
‘Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story’
c.2022, Harper | $26.99 | 259 pages
C.2022, Harper | $22.39 | 304 pages
By Tim Miller
By Lis Smith
the microscope. “America never would have gotten into this mess if it weren’t for me and my friends,” Miller writes, “We were the ‘normal’ Republicans.” When Trump arrived, they didn’t take him seriously. They didn’t, “get off on the tears of immigrant children,” Miller writes. Nor would they have been caught “dead in one of those gaudy red baseball caps,” he adds. “Why in the fuck,” Miller asks, “did the vast, vast majority of seemingly normal, decent people whom I worked with go along with the most abnormal, indecent of men?” The ﬁrst half of the memoir is Miller’s story of how he “compartmentalized” being a gay man with being an operative for the largely homophobic GOP. Take when he worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. Though he was gay, Miller told McCain to walk it back after McCain said “gay marriage should be allowed if there’s a ceremony kind of thing.” In the second half of the book, Miller examines why people such as Elise Stefanik opted to “take the red pill” and work for “the great MAGA future.” “Why We Did It” is dishy, dark, and soul-churning. Smith, a top Democratic strategist and veteran of 20 campaigns, has worked for everyone from Claire McCaskill to Barack Obama. She was a senior communications adviser for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. Thankfully, “Any Given Tuesday” isn’t a stuffy political memoir. It’s smart, snarky, and gossipy. Smith is James Carville in high heels. “Any Given Tuesday” is about Smith’s life in politics intertwined with stories from her personal life. Due to sexism, her love life was politicized. Smith became a tabloid target when she fell in love with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, after learning of Smith’s relationship with Spitzer, ﬁred her from her job with his administration. (Though she had worked for de Blasio’s campaign.) You wonder if this would have happened if Smith had been a man. But Smith gets many digs at de Blasio. After her ﬁring, de Blasio tried to win Spitzer’s political endorsement. “Both of us had tried to get in bed with Eliot,” she writes of de Blasio’s failure to win Spitzer’s backing, “but only one of us had been successful.” (Smith and Spitzer no longer have a relationship.) Unlike Miller, Smith doesn’t have to twist herself into a compartmentalized pretzel to do her work. Like Miller, she’s hopped up on the “game” of campaigns. Though Smith doesn’t agree with everything everyone she works for believes in, she’s generally in synch with centrist Democrats. Among the most interesting chapters of “Any Given Tuesday” are those about her work on Buttigieg’s campaign. If you’re queer or queer-friendly, even if you don’t agree with his politics, you get the historic signiﬁcance of Buttigieg’s campaign. Smith’s account of being on the road with the “Buttibus” and prepping Buttigieg for the candidates’ debates is entertaining and informative. It’s moving when Smith, a seasoned, snarky hack, comes to believe Buttigieg is “the one” — the candidate who truly would serve this country well. In “Any Given Tuesday,” Smith reveals how the messy sausage of democracy is made. In “Why We Did It,” Miller makes even die-hard atheists pray that democracy will last.
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New doc illuminates Patricia Highsmith’s life and work ‘Intercourse with men is like steel wool to the face’
By KATHI WOLFE books: 1941-1995.”) If you’ve been transfixed by the amusement park scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “StrangEven if Highsmith weren’t acclaimed for her mastery of suspense, she would be a ers on a Train,” rooted for the sociopath Tom Ripley in the 1999 film “The Talented Mr. queer hero. Ripley” or been moved to tears by the love of Therese and Carol in Todd Haynes’s movie In 1952, her novel “The Price of Salt” was published under the pseudonym “Claire of “Carol,” Patricia Highsmith is etched in your DNA. Morgan.” (It was reissued in 1990 under the title “Carol” and with Highsmith’s real name.) Highsmith, who lived from 1921 to 1995 wrote more than 50 books (novels and short Then, fiction featuring queer characters had to end unhappily: they died or went to story collections). Nearly all of her books were made into movies. jail. “The Price of Salt,” a rare exception, became a lesbian cult classic. Its protagonists Recently, “Loving Highsmith,” a fab documentary about Patricia Highsmith has been end up together – alive and not in prison. released. The film, written and directed by Eva Vitija, opens Sept. 2 at the Film Forum in “Loving Highsmith” deftly uses writings from her diaries and notebooks as well as New York and Sept. 9 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles. “Loving Highsmith” interviews with her family and lovers to illuminate not only Highsmith’s life and work but premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and bowed at the Frameline Film Festival in June. queer culture in the 1950s. The film skillfully interweaves archival clips from interviews with Highsmith and famous film adaptations of her work with stories from her relatives and lovers. Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”) reads excerpts from Highsmith’s work. Too often watching documentaries of talented, deceased icons is deadly. You feel like you’re entombed in lifeless talking heads and stagnant images. You don’t have to worry about “Loving Highsmith.” Its talk and images make Highsmith’s story come alive. As the film makes clear, Highsmith was quite “loving.” She had many lovers – in New York, England, France and Germany. Despite trying to cure herself with analysis, Highsmith sexually liked women. “Sexual intercourse [with men] is to me like steel wool to the face,” she says. Highsmith’s mother, by the accounts of Highsmith herself, her family and her lovers, was a horror show. She told Highsmith that she was sorry she hadn’t aborted her. When Highsmith was 14, her mother berated her for “making noises” like a “les.” New York had many gay bars in the 1950s, we learn from “Loving Highsmith.” But homophobia was so rampant that you wouldn’t get off at a subway stop near a bar out of fear that a straight friend, family member, or co-worker would see you going into a queer bar. There is one problem with “Loving Highsmith.” It soft pedals Highsmith’s anti-Semitism and racism. It mentions Highsmith’s prejudices only once: saying Highsmith in her old age reverted to the bigotry of her grandparents. Highsmith’s bigotry grew more virulent in her old age. But, though she had Jewish PATRICIA HIGHSMITH was a complicated queer figure. friends, Highsmith was anti-Semitic throughout her life. (Image courtesy of Liveright) This doesn’t diminish Highsmith’s literary achievement or iconic role in queer history. Anti-Semitism and racism were likely common in Texas where Highsmith was born and lived before moving to New York when she was six. “Loving Highsmith” is a thoughtful, Highsmith, like Tom Ripley and many of her other fictional characters, led a double informative documentary. It would have been more insightful if more attention had life. She was a lesbian. But, because of the homophobia of her era, Highsmith had to be been paid to Highsmith’s prejudices. closeted about what she called “the ever present subject” of her “homosexuality.” Even with this caveat, “Loving Highsmith” is a must-see documentary. It will send you Except in the 5,000 pages of her diaries and notebooks. (1,000 pages of her diaries racing to read the nearest Highsmith book at hand. and notebooks were published in 2021 in “Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Note-
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Charming interior unit townhome – all updated! Backing to the Belle Haven neighborhood this four-level home has two master suites and a separate LOFT – think nursery, oﬃce, dressing room! The main level has an open ﬂoor plan with white, up-tothe-minute kitchen with quartz counters and custom cabinetry, dining area, living room and ﬁreplace. The lower level features a ﬁreplace, family room, full bath and laundry. The backyard patio has been hardscaped and this rare garage townhouse is light ﬁlled and move-in ready! Low HOA!
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Fla. ‘Pride Leadership’ ﬁrm survives pandemic to face anti-LGBTQ legislation ‘Are gay leaders better? Of course we are!’ By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
munity because of the Pulse [shooting] Dr. Steven Yacovelli has spent more and for other reasons. We’ve got each than 25 years delivering diversity trainothers’ back.” ing and developing LGBTQ leaders, Yacovelli said his local government but after surviving a nearly half-miland representatives have been very lion-dollar loss during the pandemic, supportive, “but it’s hard.” the “Pride Leadership” author and Top Dog Learning Group co-founder now The problem of capital fears legal repercussions from Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E. Act.” When he was between jobs in 2008, “I can go to a Florida-based client after having been terminated from an and potentially both the company and executive position without explanation an employee could now sue me as the (Florida is an “at-will” state meaning an deliverer of the diversity training,” Yaemployer can ﬁre an employee withcovelli told the Blade. “That training is out cause), he followed his friend and now potentially illegal because of the co-founder, Ruth Bond, to Paris where Act.” he had an epiphany. Top Dog Learning Group is a diversiIn a Paris cafe, he saw a simple yet ty and inclusion consulting ﬁrm based elegant logo for a French telecommuin Orlando and has been delivering nications company and decided it was training, to include leadership develtime to design a similar, simple logo opment for the LGBTQ community for his side-hustle and move it into fullsince 2002, initially as Yacovelli’s “side time reality. hustle” while a corporate executive. Years later, he now sees the comAt the height of the pandemic’s ecoforting spirit of his “fur-daughter” Ella, Dr. STEVEN YACOVELLI has spent more nomic crisis in 2020, Yacovelli said he a mini-Labradoodle who died from than 25 years delivering diversity training lost nearly half of his business earnings cancer last summer, in the friendly dog and developing LGBTQ leaders. in two weeks. They were able to survive visitors encounter on the company’s and recover mostly due to his previous website. experience with Zoom and other virtual platforms. “2008 wasn’t a good time to start a business,” Yacovelli But while they could increase their instructional capacity by said. “But there’s never going to be a good time. You’ll always going virtual, and grow through the crisis, the current impact ﬁnd an excuse not to do this, but put that aside. Whether it’s of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ legislation now threatens his small the economy, or your own limited ﬁnances – just put that all business. aside and just do it.” In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), whom conservative Access to startup capital has been a historic problem for voters in a 2024 presidential election straw poll chose over minority business owners. The Federal Reserve Banks reportformer President Donald Trump for the second year in a row, ed in 2018 that limited access to credit was a “compoundsigned the new law he dubbed the “Stop Wrongs Against ing factor that hurts the underlying health of minority-owned our Kids and Employees Act.” It took effect July 1, despite small businesses.” First Amendment legal challenges. Many, like Yacovelli, turn to personal funds to get their The Florida law, though targeting the alleged teaching of dream off the ground. critical race theory in public schools, also prohibits instruction “I was self-funded,” Yacovelli said. “But on the advice of a that “compels” employees or students to believe privilege or friend, I took out one small business loan. And thank goodoppression “is necessarily determined by his or her race, colness I did, because I had an established relationship with a or, sex, or national origin.” bank when COVID hit.” This legislation, and the popularly known “Don’t Say Gay” During the height of the pandemic, the Paycheck Protecbill passed earlier, have served to decrease Florida’s score on tion Program was administered through banks, limiting acOut Leadership’s 2022 State Level Business Climate Index, cess to the survival funding, according to a Brookings Instipublished amid a cascade of anti-LGBTQ measures pursued tute report in 2020. across state legislatures. Brookings also pointed out that closing the ﬁnancial and New York’s LGBTQ business climate ranked No. 1 for the other disparities could add millions more new small busisecond year in a row, earning 93.67 out of 100 points, while nesses to the U.S. economy and with them more jobs. South Carolina scored last with 33.63 points. The National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce states Florida, ranked 31, and Oklahoma, ranked 49, lost points LGBTQ-owned businesses contribute more than $1 trillion for their “Don’t Say Gay” bills among other anti-LGBTQ legto the U.S. economy, and in 2015 more than 900 certiﬁed islation. LGBTQ-owned businesses created more than 33,000 jobs “LGBTQ-friendly environments are business-friendly enviacross the country. ronments,” Todd Sears, Out Leadership founder, told Axios But pandemic challenges continue. in June. “In the years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” also vaguely states that an inLGBTQ+ businesses have faced severe ﬁnancial challenges dividual shouldn’t feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any othand many are at risk of permanently closing,” Zack Hasychak, er form of psychological distress” as a result of the training Director of Membership Outreach at the Human Rights Camexperience due to their “race, color, sex, or national origin.” paign, told the Blade. This “discomfort” ban worries Yacovelli as he facilitates difTo help LGBTQ businesses, HRC teamed up with Showﬁcult conversations in a currently accepting community. time to start their “Queer to Stay” initiative. For two years the “I look at this as a taxpayer and as a human who lives here,” partnership awarded funds to 30 LGBTQ-owned businesses he said. “But the good news is I live in a very inclusive comacross the country and has committed to supporting at least 3 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 12, 2 0 2 2
(Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a multi-part summer series of stories taking a closer look at how a group of diverse LGBTQ entrepreneurs survived and thrived during the pandemic. The series is sponsored by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. All installments in the series are available on our website.)
25 businesses this round. Applications are accepted via their website until Aug. 31. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also shining a spotlight on LGBTQ-owned small businesses. SBA Deputy Press Director Cecelia Taylor told the Blade about the Elevating Small Business webinar series in June that celebrated LGBTQ small businesses across the country while focusing on ﬁnancial wellness and the importance of equity and opportunity. “Equity is a top priority for me and for the Biden-Harris administration, and we believe all of America’s entrepreneurs deserve a level playing ﬁeld, regardless of zip code, race, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in a Pride month statement. “During COVID, we’ve learned how critical equitable access is to surviving and thriving, and at the SBA we are working to build better connections to and for the 1.4 million LGBTQ+ owned businesses in communities across this country,” Guzman said. Still, Yacovelli emphasized the need for the federal government to step up and make the process of procuring contracts easier. “The federal government is the largest opportunity for contracts,” he said. “Yet, the process to get them is insanely hard. That’s a missed opportunity.” Yacovelli said it took a week away from his business to complete a “dissertation-type application” only to have it “go into a black hole” without any feedback. “It was for diversity training for 911 operators,” he said, stunned by why he didn’t hear back about his application. “Coach me so I can make the application better. It took us a week to get this packet done, and that’s a week I didn’t work on any client proposals.” But despite challenges, Top Dog grew to exceed its pre-pandemic levels, making 2021 its best year to date. “Are gay leaders better?” asked Yacovelli who literally wrote the book on “Pride Leadership,” which has been widely praised as inﬂuential by multiple business and political leaders. “Of course we are! We’re fabulous. I looked at my queer siblings in leadership roles and moving our community forward in areas of equality and justice. They exercise competencies all leaders could use.” “You play with a lot of leaders in my business,” Yacovelli, a.k.a “The Gay Leadership Dude,” told the Blade. “You start to see patterns of behaviors for leaders that are crushing it and those that are crashing and burning.” In his book “Pride Leadership,” Yacovelli combines academic insights gained though his doctorate in education and his years as a corporate leader to identify six leadership traits: being authentic, leading with courage, having empathy, effective communication, building relationships, and inﬂuencing organizational culture. Yacovelli pointed out that the LGBTQ coming out process also involves using these leadership skills to navigate that tough line between being authentic and respecting the feelings and experiences of others. “You have those difﬁcult conversations. You’re having empathy for yourself and for the person receiving the news for the ﬁrst time,” he said. “That one experience can be translated into leadership courage, and those traits are the foundation for a really effective leader.” He stated that for trans siblings to live their lives authentically is powerful, and to channel that energy into a leadership role is using their “rainbow superpowers.” “And we freakin’ need it now more than ever,” he added.
Fall can be a good time to sell, but act fast before winter sets in.
Finding your footing in fall housing market Act quickly before winter arrives when selling By JEFF HAMMERBERG
Though it may not feel quite like fall weather quite yet in some parts of the country, as students return to school, we know that it means fall is right around the corner. Without question, fall is usually a wonderful season - it is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful weather, and plenty of festivals and fun. The return to school also means, for many, a return to routine – to getting organized and beginning again to check things off the to-do list after the lazy days of summer are over. You may have heard that housing inventory and activity is often lower in the fall than in the popular spring and summer seasons – and this is true. On the other side of the coin, however, fall buyers are often more serious about buying. They may be eager to buy quickly to get children enrolled in school, because of a job relocation, or due to a change in their family situation. Often, fall buyers are eager to ﬁnd a home they love quickly, and to take action once they ﬁnd it. The good news is that if you plan to list your home for sale in the fall, there are a few tips and things you can add to your to-do list that will help you market your home in the best way possible and maximize your chances of a quick and successful sale. These include:
Depending upon the area of the country that you live in, beautiful, crisp, colorful fall weather might quickly give way to less desirable winter weather. It’s often far easier to sell a home in the fall than it is to sell in December, January, or February when bad weather might make traveling difﬁcult, and potential buyers less likely to want to leave
their homes. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to sell, it’s best to make every effort to list your home quickly to take advantage of good weather and buyers on the market.
PHOTOGRAPH THE PROPERTY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE:
In many parts of the country, fall is a truly beautiful season of the year. Fall typically also offers plenty of beautiful, natural light. Take advantage of those ideal conditions by taking pictures of your property early. Don’t wait until the leaves begin to fall and the skies turn gray. Get your pictures early and use them to attract potential buyers to the unique beauty, both indoors and out, that can be enjoyed in your home.
FEATURE SOME FALL CURB APPEAL:
You may not have spring ﬂowers in the fall, but there’s abundant natural beauty to enjoy nevertheless. If you have falling leaves, make sure to regularly rake and bag them. Mow the lawn, perhaps add some new mulch, or consider adding some fall ﬂowers. These steps don’t take long or cost much money, but they can go a long way toward catching the eye of potential buyers.
LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON:
In fall, the sun begins to set early. As a result, it’s important to keep your home as bright and inviting as possible. Clean your windows, open the curtains or blinds, and encourage as much natural light to come in as possible. If you have very dark paint colors, consider having a few rooms repainted to lighter shades. This will maximize
light, and make your home appear more open and airy. Finally, if the showing is later in the day, be sure to leave plenty of lights on within the home. This will not only increase your curb appeal as potential buyers approach the home by making it look warm and inviting – it will also help buyers feel more comfortable inside your home as they envision themselves in that space. While these tips are intended to be helpful, it’s important to remember that one of the best steps you can take to truly increase your chances of a successful home sale is to hire a real estate agent who knows and loves the community and can help you truly tailor the marketing and pricing of your home to potential buyers in your area. Finding and connecting with an agent that can help you do exactly that is essential. At www.GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help. At www.GayRealEstate.com, we aren’t just passionate about real estate. We’re passionate about real estate with a purpose. Our mission is to connect LGBTQ home buyers and sellers all over the country with knowledgeable, talented, and experienced LGBTQ-friendly realtors who know their communities well and are dedicated to helping clients every step of the way. Wherever you are in the real estate process, and whatever your goals, we’re here for you, and we’re ready to help. If you’re ready to get started, connect with us today.
is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or email@example.com.
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