Thank you to our sponsors and partners of the Washington Blade.
ADDRESS PO Box 53352 Washington DC 20009
PUBLISHED BY Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc.
LYNNE J. BROWN firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 8075
KEVIN NAFF email@example.com ext. 8088
SR. NEWS REPORTER
LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 8079
CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com ext. 8083
REPORTER & INTERNATIONAL NEWS EDITOR
MICHAEL K. LAVERS firstname.lastname@example.org
POP CULTURE REPORTER
JOHN PAUL KING
PHOTO EDITOR MICHAEL KEY email@example.com
TINASHE CHINGARANDE, DUNIA ORELLANA, REPORTAR SIN MIEDO, PARKER PURIFOY, PETER ROSENSTEIN, MARK LEE, LATEEFAH WILLIAMS, KATE CLINTON, KATHI WOLFE, ERNESTO VALLE, YARIEL VALDÉS GONZÁLEZ, LYNARE ROBBINS, PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN, KATLEGO K. KOLANYANE-KESUPILE, KAELA ROEDER, TREMENDA NOTA, ALBERTO J. VALENTÍN, MAYKEL GONZÁLEZ VIVERO, ORGULLO LGBT. CO, ESTEBAN GUZMAN
CREATIVE DESIGN/PRODUCTION AZERCREATIVE.COM
SALES & ADMINISTRATION
DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING STEPHEN RUTGERS firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 8077
SR. ACCT. EXECUTIVE
BRIAN PITTS email@example.com ext. 8089 ACCT. EXECUTIVE
JOE HICKLING firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 8094
PHILLIP G. ROCKSTROH email@example.com ext. 8092
NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA 212-242-6863; firstname.lastname@example.org
For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC
All material in the Washington Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Washington Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Washington Blade is supported by many ﬁne advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Washington Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Washington Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C. Multiple copies are available from the Washington Blade ofﬁce only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@ washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Washington Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Washington Blade is published weekly, on Friday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $195 per year for 52 issues (only $3.75 per issue mailed to you USPS). Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing ofﬁces. Editorial positions of the Washington Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Washington Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for veriﬁcation. Send submissions by e-mail to email@example.com.
P.G. County school board settles trans teacher’s lawsuit
English teacher says she faced years of harassment and abuseBy LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Prince George’s County, Md., Board of Education and transgender former teacher Jennifer Eller have reached a set tlement agreement regarding a 2018 discrimination lawsuit that Eller filed against the P.G. school system, according to a statement released by Eller’s attorneys.
Eller’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, charged that Eller suffered years of abuse, harass ment, and discrimination at the hands of students, fellow teachers, staff, and school administrators while working as an English teacher in P.G. County’s public schools because of her status as a transgender woman.
The statement released by the LGBTQ litigation group Lambda Legal and the law firm Arnold & Porter, which pro vided pro bono legal representation for Eller, calls the settle ment a victory for her.
“The settlement agreement includes monetary compensa tion and incorporates policy and training changes to protect transgender students and staff within Prince George’s County Public Schools,” the statement says.
“I’m relieved to see this case finally come to a resolution and satisfied to see that our case led to the adoption of these policy changes and training protocols to improve the school environment for everyone, including LGBTQ+ students and teachers” Eller said in the statement. “This settlement vindi cates my pleas for help and sensitivity training on LGBTQ+ issues for students and staff,” she said.
The statement does not provide specific details of the terms of the settlement and does not disclose the amount
of monetary compensation provided by the P.G. County Schools to Eller.
The lawsuit, as originally filed, called for the court to grant Eller “declaratory injunctive relief” to legally confirm she was forced to resign due to adverse conditions imposed on her by school officials. It also called for the court to require the school system to provide her back pay, lost benefits, and a possible reinstatement as a teacher.
Lambda Legal spokesperson Samy Nemir told the Blade Eller’s attorneys were not at liberty to disclose the amount of the monetary compensation due to a confidentiality agree ment that was part of the settlement.
D.C.’s WTOP News reported that a spokesperson for the P.G. County Public Schools said the school system was com mitted to “promoting and maintaining learning and working environments that are safe, positive and affirming for all stu dents and staff regardless of sexual orientation, gender iden tity or expression.”
According to WTOP, the spokesperson said the lawsuit was “resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.”
In court filings in response to the lawsuit, P.G. school officials denied Eller’s allegations of discrimination and harassment.
In January of this year attorneys for the P.G. schools filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case on grounds that the lawsuit failed to provide sufficient evidence that Eller was subjected to discrimination and harassment that forced her to resign due to a hostile work environment.
But in a development that likely prompted P.G. school
officials to settle the case, U.S. Dis trict Court Judge Theo dore D. Chuang denied the motion to dismiss the case and ruled that Eller’s attorneys had introduced sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.
“The court found that the alleged facts and the informa tion as discovered throughout the case in the discovery pro cess is sufficient to allow a jury to find whether Jennifer Eller was subjected to a hostile work environment and construc tive discharge and retaliation unlawfully by the defendants,” Lambda Legal attorney Omar Gonzales-Pagan told the Blade at the time of the ruling in January.
“The settlement reached today is a meaningful result for our client, whose primary goal in bringing this suit was to en sure that no other individuals in the Prince George’s County Public Schools system endured the same treatment that she did,” said Arnold & Porter attorney Lori Leskin. “Our hope is that the policies and training protocols that have been and will be implemented will help foster a more inclusive and ac cepting environment for all LGBTQ+ individuals in the school system,” Leskin said.
Arlington candidates greet LGBTQ voters at ‘Ice Cream Social’
150 turn out at home of gay bar owner Freddie LutzBy LOU CHIBBARO JR. | email@example.com
About a dozen elected officials or candidates running for public office this year in Arlington, Va. and surrounding Northern Virginia areas expressed strong support for LGBTQ rights at an event organized by the Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) that drew more than 150 LGBTQ and allied residents of Northern Virginia.
The event, billed as an Ice Cream Social, took place at the Arlington home of Freddie Lutz, the owner of the Arling ton gay bar Freddie’s Beach Bar and the nearby restaurant Federico’s, and Lutz’s husband Johnny Cervantes. The two served as hosts for an event that appeared more like a meetand-greet for local politicians.
Among those who spoke at the event was gay Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), whose district includes parts of Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Ebbin, along with several of the other speakers, expressed strong opposition to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s recently proposed pol icy guidelines for transgender students in the state’s public schools.
The proposed policy, which Youngkin says will take effect after a 30-day period of public comment, rescinds the trans supportive school policies put in place by former Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration that allowed trans students to use the bathrooms, changing rooms and other facilities that match their gender identity.
Under the new policy guidelines released by the state’s Department of Education, whose leaders were appointed by Youngkin, the state’s 133 school districts must require trans gender students to access school facilities and programs that match their biological gender. They also require teachers and school officials to inform parents if their child attempts
to present as transgender in school, a development that critics say is the equivalent of “outing” trans kids in a way that could create mental health issues.
“We want to be clear that we val ue our transgender students,” Ebbin told the gathering. “The governor is bullying and endangering students for cheap political points,” he said. “And his new guidelines are in viola tion of not just federal court rulings but of the Virginia Human Rights Act, which explicitly states that there shall be no discrimination against transgender people, including in public schools,” Ebbin said.
Others who expressed similar views along with general support for LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality, were State Sen. Barbara Tavola (D-Arlington), and Virginia House of Delegates members Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington/Fairfax Counties), Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), and Elizabeth Ben nett-Parker (D-Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax).
Bennett-Parker defeated gay House of Delegates mem ber Mark Levine in the June 2021 Democratic primary. Like others who spoke at the AGLA event, Bennett-Parker urged LGBTQ residents of Northern Virginia to do all they can to support state, local, and congressional Democrats in this year’s election and in 2023, when the entire Virginia General Assembly is up for election.
“We need your help to make sure we maintain a common
wealth that will be safe and welcom ing and inclusive towards all,” she said.
Arlington County Board mem bers Matt de Ferranti and Cattie Cris tol said they and their colleagues on the Arlington Board, which serves as the county’s legislative body, would continue their strong support for the LGBTQ community. De Ferranti not ed that the board’s recent legislative actions in support of LGBTQ rights prompted the Human Rights Cam paign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, to award Arling ton a 100 percent rating among mu nicipalities nationwide on LGBTQ-related issues.
AGLA Treasurer Daniel Hays, who served as moderator for the part of the event in which the candidates or public offi cials spoke, said the LGBTQ group invited all candidates and elected officials representing Arlington to attend and speak at the event, including Republicans and independents as well as Democrats.
Among those who spoke were Karina Lipsman, the Re publican candidate running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Arlington), a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights.
“I am pro-marriage equality,” said Lipsman, who identified herself as “the only Ukrainian born refugee immigrant run ning for Congress in the entire country.”
Also speaking was Matthew Hurtt, communications direc tor for the Arlington County Republican Committee.An ice cream social took place at the Arlington home of FREDDIE LUTZ (center). (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.) JENNIFER ELLER says she suffered years of abuse, harassment, and discrimination at P.G. County public schools. (Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal)
New Homes on O! Street
ANALYSIS: Secretive Arthur Finkelstein, secret no more Gay GOP consultant pioneered slash-and-burn campaign tactics of ‘80sBy CHARLES FRANCIS
As Archive Activists, we eagerly awaited this year’s opening of Republican campaign consultant Arthur J. Finkelstein’s papers at the Library of Congress. Donated by Finkelstein’s husband, evidently to cement the man’s political legacy, the Finkelstein papers are loaded with the ideas and words of his candidates who attacked homosexuals to court the voters who fear them. Finkelstein pioneered the slash-and-burn campaigns of the 1980s, working for clients including Sens. Jesse Helms (N.C.), Bob Smith (N.H.), Don Nickles (Okla.), and Lauch Faircloth (N.C.) — senators who formed the core opposition to gay and lesbian-related legislation in the day. We recall when Sen. Nickles, in 1998 the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, declared Ambassador James Hormel unqualiﬁed to be named an ambassador because anyone who promotes “immoral behavior” should not represent the U.S.
Political commentary on Arthur Finkelstein is most always “de-gayed,” his homosexuality a footnote. When I ask people how Finkelstein could live with such dissonance — being gay with a husband, raising children and working for Helms, Smith, Nickles and Faircloth — one response rang most true: “Did you ever see his palatial estate?” It was not all about “compartmentalization” or “self-loathing,” just greed is good for Citizen Finkelstein?
“Arthur J. Finkelstein, Advising Leaders Around the World,” one ﬂier proclaims. “It is said that no American political consultant has been involved in as many successful Senate races as AJF,” the promotional piece says about this secretive man who lived in a Tudor mansion at the end of a quarter-mile drive through a horse farm. “In the fall, visitors park their Bentleys and Rollses in the pasture. Dressed like plump extras in a Merchant-Ivory ﬁlm gone wrong, they’re here for the annual fox hunt,” wrote Stephen Rodrick in a lacerating Boston Magazine proﬁle that famously outed Finkelstein in 1996. “In the amoral world of big league politics … Finkelstein has worked for
the chief gay-bashers on Capitol Hill while raising two children with his male live-in partner,” says the magazine’s press release. His archive, organized into 139 boxes, covers it all.
Through the anger of scrawled notes never released, Finkelstein expresses outrage at having to publicly reconcile his politics with his life. “This (Boston Magazine article) is a political hatchet job. It’s about destroying me politically. They are not after me for being gay,” he writes. “That we are gay is obvious — but they use it as a weapon meant to unleash the prejudices and hatreds that can bring me down … my strongest personal values are Liberterian [sic].” Jesse Helms, Don Nickles libertarians? He rails against the same “prejudices and hatreds” he helped his candidates unleash in scores of elections.
You can see in the archive his confusion at being confronted on the subject of “who really is this reclusive Arthur Finkelstein?” There are the handwritten scratch-outs on legal pads: “I NEVER CHOSE TO BE A PUBLIC PERSON. I BELIEVED, AND STILL DO, THAT I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY PRIVATE LIFE.” Scratched out, “I am a libertarian conservative….I have never seen Eye-to-Eye with my candidate on all the issues!” He wrote, then scribbled over, “I thought, at least I hoped, we were past the point of persecuting people for their lifestyle.” Did Finkelstein see eye-to-eye with client Jesse Helms’ direct mail? “Do you resent—as I do—the corrupting of the word “gay”? These people are NOT “gays”— they are HOMOSEXUALS. Will you help me counter these latest attacks coming from the homosexuals,” Helms asks.
In the archive is a memo to Finkelstein from Tom Ellis, described as the “architect of Senator Helms’ rise to politi-
cal power.” “People vote on fears. The AIDS [sic] offers a fear … Can we show that the Haitians who are in the group that has AIDS were part of the mixture of people that now come into the United States from Cuba? I feel like I have seen some statistics that Castro shipped in a large number of homosexuals.” People vote their fears.
In another note, Finkelstein vents, “I am a Milton Friedman Republican who believes in Lassize [sic]-faire government and not every gay person must be a Democrat or PERISH.” Milton Friedman’s bestseller “Free to Choose” was not about fears, but choice. To be fair, the archive documents reveal Finkelstein’s close working relationship with New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato who was “one of the strongest Republican voice (sic) of gays in the Military,” he writes in his own defense.
Finkelstein never “perished.” He went into international consulting for clients including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party Fidesz that viciously targets LGBTQ citizens. Working with Orban for ﬁve years, Finkelstein also helped invent the now infamous anti-Semitic “enemy of the people” George Soros. Speaking this year in Dallas to the Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC), Orban attacked Soros (“The globalists can all go to hell!”) and threatened LGBTQ citizens worldwide, “Leave our children alone,” he yelled. From Helms to Orban, this is the Finkelstein legacy.
The inﬂuence remains. There is this birthday note in 2000 to Roger Stone, then a Trump lobbyist: “Dear Roger, Have a happy next 1,000 years, and may Donald Trump be President for 900 of them. Best, Arthur J. Finkelstein.” (The author is president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.)
Bowser pledges continued support for LGBTQ community if re-elected Mayor addresses local LGBTQ Democratic groupBy LOU CHIBBARO JR. | firstname.lastname@example.org
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reﬂected on her record of support for the LGBTQ community and pledged to continue that support if elected to a third term as mayor during an appearance Monday night before the Capital Stonewall Democrats, the city’s largest local LGBTQ political group.
The mayor’s appearance at the virtual Zoom meeting took place a little over four months after Capital Stonewall Democrats endorsed her opponent, D.C. Council member Robert White, over Bowser in the June Democratic mayoral primary. The group later endorsed the mayor in the November general election after she won the primary to capture the Democratic nomination.
In a city with Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans and members of two other small parties by a lopsided margin, Bowser is considered the strong favorite to emerge as the winner in the Nov. 8 general election.
“I’m thrilled to be here and thrilled to be your Democratic nominee for mayor,” she told members of Capital Stonewall Democrats, which used to be known as the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.
“We spent many months, the better part of a year, going across all eight wards talking to people about their priorities for Washington, D.C., and what the next four years
are really about,” she said. “And I am proud of the eight years almost now that I’ve served as mayor and the things that we’ve accomplished. And more than that, I’ve kept my word about how we would pursue D.C.’s values and our goal to make our city a more inclusive city,” she said.
“I’m also very proud of the work that I’ve done with the LGBTQ community, not only as mayor but through my tenure of service in D.C. government, which now is a little over 15 years,” she said, referring to her tenure as a D.C. Council member before being elected mayor.
“In working with our trusted organization, all of my agency directors, all the way through the people I have appointed to serve in our LGBTQ ofﬁce,” she said. “We’ve been very focused on making sure that D.C. works for LGBTQ residents.”
The mayor added, “We continue to have a focus, for example, on making sure we’re protecting our trans community from violence. But more than that, creating jobs and job training opportunities inside and outside the government.”
After delivering opening remarks the mayor answered a wide range of questions that had been submitted by members of the group and presented by the group’s president, Jatarious Frazier. Among them was a question
on whether the city will partner with another organization for services for LGBTQ youth, especially trans youth of color, after the recent shutdown of the LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby.
“I think we have some work to do to replace the work that Casa Ruby was doing,” the mayor said. “And I’m quite frankly sad about that,” she said, adding, “We like when some work is done in the nonproﬁt community. And we will be looking for trusted partners to help us replace that work.”D.C. Mayor MURIEL BOWSER addressed the Capital Stonewall Democrats. (Blade ﬁle photo by Parker Purifoy)
Va. students stage mass walkout over anti-LGBTQ policies
Thousands of students in schools across Virginia participated in walkouts and rallies on Tuesday to oppose the revised “model policies” on transgender students released by the Virginia Department of Education.
VDOE policy revisions were released on Sept. 16 and differ substantially from the pol icies passed into law in 2020.
The original policies on the treatment of trans students were intended to protect LGBTQ students; but the revised “model policies” have been criticized by activists, edu cators and legislators for mandating students use school facilities for the sex they were assigned at birth and bar students from changing their names and pronouns without parental permission. Further, the policies direct teachers and staff not to conceal a student’s gender identity from parents, even when a student asks to keep that information private.
The student-led Virginia-based Pride Liberation Project responded to these policy changes by or ganizing mass walkouts and rallies in more than 90 schools from Alexandria to Williamsburg.
“These proposed guidelines are essentially tak ing that cornerstone and using it to undermine our rights. If these guidelines are implemented, it will be the single biggest loss for queer rights in Virginia in years,” Natasha Sanghvi, a student organizer with the Pride Liberation Project, said in a statement.
Gay Virginia state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexan dria) in a statement said “these new model policies, which are in flagrant violation of Virginia law, will do serious harm to transgender students. They are not based in science or compassion and will lead to stu dents being outed before they are ready, increased bullying and harassment of marginalized youth, and will require students to jump through legal hoops just to be referred to with their proper name.”
Ebbin joined several hundred students at West Potomac High School in Alexandria in a rally opposing the model policies proposed by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“The new policy drafts are only going to do more harm to trans students who are al ready at risk for being outed, harassed and harmed,” Jules Lombardi, a Fairfax County high school senior, told the Washington Blade. “These drafts will take schools, which are supposed to be safe environments for students, and make them spaces where students have to hide themselves for fear of their parents finding out about their identities.”
“This isn’t a matter of ‘parental rights,’ it’s a matter of human rights and we deserve to be treated with the same respect as cis students,” Lombardi added.
Andrea-Grace Mukuna, a senior at John R. Lewis High School in Springfield, told the Blade that “gender affirmation matters. Something so easily given to cisgender people is a right that our trans and gender non conforming youth deserve. I am walking out be cause schools will no longer be a safe place for queer students to be in if these policies get passed.”
“Requirements for teachers to refer to students by their birth name and pronouns aligning with their sex, rather than trusting our students to know themselves and who they are best, reinforces the idea that we as students have no power, no control and no knowledge over anything in our lives. Gender queer youth exist, and no policy can change that,” Mukuna said.
Mukuna continued, “making an attempt at denying them their ability to be who they are is a malicious attack on vulnerable students that could cause deathly harm.”
“I walk out for my queer community — there is no erasing us,” Mukuna said.
Several hundred students walked out of McLean High School. The walkout was led by members of the school’s GSA and organizers from the Pride Liberation Project including McLean High School senior Casey Calabia.
Calibia asked the crowd, “Do we want Gov. Youn gkin to understand that this is not what Virginia looks like?”
The crowd roared, “yes!”
“Virginia stands for trans kids. Trans and queer people are a fact of humanity. We will be accepted one way or another and to see everybody here to day is another step toward that change,” said Calibia through a bull horn.
Calibia told the Blade in a pre-walkout statement, “to call these policies in favor of respecting trans students’ rights and privacy is to call an apple an or ange. The 2022 Transgender Model policies, even as a draft, have begun to actively hurt my communi ty’s mental health.”
“Instead of focusing on academics and our future, we have to sit in class and wonder if we will be safe in school,” Calibia concluded. “To not only take away the 2021 policies, a cornerstone in LGBTQIA+ rights for Virginia, but to mock them with these replacements, is a devastating blow to myself, trans students, queer students, and the whole of Virginia’s public school student body. How can we be safe, if we can be tak en out of school-provided counseling, maliciously misgendered, and denied opportuni ties given to other students simply because of our gender? Accepting queer students in class does not indoctrinate or brainwash kids. It tells queer students like me that it is okay and safe to be ourselves in school.”
The student protests in Virginia have made national news.
“This is a president who supports the LGBTQI+ community and has been supporting that community for some time now as a vice president, as senator, and certainly as presi dent now,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in response to a question about the protests during her daily press briefing. “And he . . . always is proud to speak out against the mistreatment of that community … We believe and he believes trans gender youth should be allowed to be able to go to school freely, to be able to express themselves freely, to be able to have the protections that they need to be who they are.”
Whitman-Walker wins $280,000 grant to support LGBTQ immigrants
Whitman-Walker Health, which provides medical as well as legal services for the D.C.-area LGBTQ communi ty, was among 25 community-based organizations to re ceive a grant from the D.C. government earlier this month to provide legal support for immigrants.
Amy Nelson, director of Whitman-Walker’s legal de partment, said the $280,000 grant it received from the city for 2023 marked the fifth year in a row that the city has supported its work in providing legal support for LGBTQ immigrants arriving in D.C. from countries in Latin America as well as Asia, Africa, and Europe.
“We help people file for U.S. asylum on grounds of HIV, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” Nelson said.
“Most of our cases now are trans women from Central
America,” Nelson told the Blade. “But we also have peo ple from Cameroon, Russia, and Jamaica.”
She said Whitman-Walker currently has about 150 open cases, including cases handled by outside attor neys working on a pro bono basis.
Nelson said Whitman-Walker’s legal team has provid ed legal advice to some of the migrants arriving by bus to D.C. that the governors of Texas and Arizona have sent in recent months. But she said most of those arriving by bus from the two states plan to leave D.C. for other parts of the country.
A Sept. 16 statement released by the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the mayor’s fiscal year 2023 budget allocated a total of $3.5 million for grants from
the city’s Immigrant Justice Legal Service (IJLS) grant pro gram to 25 local organizations, including Whitman-Walk er.
“Over the years, the IJLS program has not only bene fited DC’s immigrant residents, it has also helped us ad vance our DC values and strengthened the capacity of legal services providers and pro bono attorneys,” Bowser said in the statement.
“Having a lawyer can make the difference between having legal status and living in the shadows, and I am incredibly grateful for the community organizations who have worked with us to make the IJLS program a suc cess,” she said.LOU CHIBBARO JR. MICHAEL KEY Youth activists in schools across Virginia walked out of class to rally against proposed changes to school policy for LGBTQ students. (Blade photo by Michael Key)
Nevada Dem Senate candidate faces attacks on
LGBTQ record that defy logic
Masto criticized for defending marriage ban, but GOP opponent agreed with herBy CHRIS JOHNSON | email@example.com
The race for the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada — which may decide control of that chamber of Congress in the upcom ing election — is coming down to the wire as polls shows a tight race between Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and the Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. If Republicans get their way, it will have everything to do with Cortez Masto’s defend ing her state’s ban on same-sex marriage as Nevada attor ney general — and nothing at all to do with the long record against LGBTQ rights of her Republican opponent.
basis she opposes gay rights — all while promoting her GOP opponent despite a column he wrote in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s gay ban.
“Laxalt served in our military. Catherine Cortez Masto did not,” Wolking tweeted. “She’s been in government her whole life. 4 years after Laxalt’s column & 3 years after DADT was repealed, Masto defended Nevada’s ban on gay marriage, comparing it to bigamy and incest.”
But what Republicans aren’t telling voters is that Cortez Masto’s legal position on her state’s ban on same-sex mar riage didn’t last long. After issuing a statement the next day signaling she was reconsidering her defense of the law, she later announced after the review she would reverse her posi tion and join legal advocates in seeking to overturn the law.
In 2022, Republican efforts to draw attention to Cortez Masto’s record is the latest indication that the issue of samesex marriage, which years ago was an unpopular idea that sent Democrats running for the hills, has been turned on its head in terms of its political implications. For example, Dem ocrats in the House just this year were eager to bring the floor legislation seeking to codify same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Support for same-sex marriage is so high that one-fourth of the Re publican caucus went along with them.
Cortez Masto, as Republicans want you to remember, made the decision in 2014 as Nevada attorney general ini tially to defend her state’s ban on same-sex marriage against a legal challenge in court. It was after the Supreme Court’s ruling against the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, which prompted a wave of litigation throughout the country against state bans on same-sex marriage as legal advocates saw a new opportunity to overturn them under the new precedent. Some other attorneys general at the time came to a differ ent conclusion and determined they didn’t need to defend their state bans in court, making legal conclusions the laws were unconstitutional and thus indefensible. Cortez Masto also had some choice words in her initial legal brief com paring the ban on same-sex marriage to bigamy and incest, which Republicans are now able to pounce on largely thanks to the Washington Blade’s original reporting at the time drawing attention to the language in the brief.
Matt Wolking, vice president of Axiom Strategies, is among the Republican political strategists invoking Cortez Masto’s defense of the marriage ban, rebuking her on Twitter on the
The Nevada race, however, takes public support for samesex marriage to a whole new level. Now, Republicans are crit icizing a Democratic incumbent up for re-election for defend ing the ban on same-sex marriage and her choice of words in an initial legal brief when Republicans have largely been responsible for enacting the bans in the first place. The latest Republican Party platform from 2016 continues the party’s position in favor of a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage form coast-to-coast.
As such, it would be hard for Republicans to assert they are bringing up Cortez Masto’s record out of a genuine concern for same-sex marriage and not simply as a political ploy to disaffect Democrats and suburban women, whose turnout would be necessary for Democrats to retain control of Con gress in a mid-term election with a Democratic president.
Consider the alternative: Laxalt is a conservative who is notorious for having an anti-LGBTQ record. Take, for exam ple, the aforementioned op-ed Laxalt wrote for the National Review in 2010 in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when repeal of the ban on openly gay service members was being con sidered in Congress.
Changing the law, Laxalt wrote, would make “fighting wars
harder” on the basis that men “love to have sex” and the mil itary “cannot tolerate the tensions that surround sexual rela tionships or potential ones” that would come with openly gay service members.
“To those who currently tolerate homosexuals but retain their God-given right to reject homosexuality as a practiced lifestyle — could you do the above as a leader?” Laxalt wrote. “Even for your country? It is one thing for the military to ask its members to accept
homosexuals, but another for the military to ask its mem bers to accept and live with homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle.”
That’s just one part of Laxalt’s longer record, which includes signing a legal brief in favor of allowing a Washington florist to refuse wedding services to same-sex couples based on religious objections and dubbing as “coercive” the Obama administration’s guidance on transgender students to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.
The real kicker: Laxalt himself said when running for the position of Nevada attorney general he would defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. During a 2014 interview with the Las Vegas Sentinel, Laxalt emphatically made the case the role of attorney general is to defend state law on the marriage ban.
“As attorney general of Nevada, I would follow and uphold the law as passed by the people of Nevada through our con stitutional process, and I would vigorously defend that law when challenged,” Laxalt said.
Unlike Cortez Masto, there’s nothing in the public record suggesting that Laxalt ever changed his position on samesex marriage or otherwise embraced LGBTQ rights (save for accepting the endorsement from Log Cabin Republicans and strong support from Richard Grenell). Meanwhile, Cortez Masto has sponsored the Equality Act, legislation that would expand protections against LGBTQ discrimination under civil rights law, and is now a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which supporters say will come up for a vote in lame duck after the election.
If, at the end of the day, Nevada voters decide to oust Cor tez Masto and replace her with Laxalt, they would be replac ing a supporter of LGBTQ rights measures before Congress with a voice stridently against them. One wonders if Repub licans criticizing Cortez Masto for her short-lived defense of her state’s ban will come back to criticize Laxalt for voting “no” on those measures based on their newfound standards for political candidates.Sen. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D) faces a challenge from Republican ADAM LAXALT (Photos public domain)
THANK YOU FOR NOMINATING THE JENN SMIRA TEAM, BEST REAL ESTATE TEAM IN THE DMV
As the #2 team at Compass DMV and the top 5 team in the Greater Washington Area, our team has redefined the process of buying and selling in DC, with results that speak for themselves.
Vote for the Jenn Smira Team as the Best Real Estate Team in the DMV.
At the Jenn Smira Team, we are driven to perform for our clients. We believe in thoughtful, meaningful, full-service real estate — not only to get the best result, but the best experience along the way.
Scan the QR Code to vote for the Jenn Smira Team as the Best Real Estate Team in the DMV!
VICE PRESIDENT REALTOR® DC/MD/VA
JSMIRA @ JENNSMIRA.COM 202.280.2060
Jenn Smira Team
For the latest listings and team updates, find us on Instagram!
Elton John performs at White House
After a performance from a repertoire of the best known hits from his songbook in a special concert at the White House Friday evening, Elton John was called to the podium where, accompanied by the ﬁrst lady Jill Biden, President Joe Biden surprised the iconic British singer-songwriter with an award.
The president presented John with the National Humanities Medal for his advocacy work in recognition of LGBTQ rights and tireless activism against the global HIV/AIDS crisis disease through his contributions in music and the arts.
The National Humanities Medal, inaugurated in 1997, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened its citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy and other humanities subjects.
A stunned John was moved to tears. After the president had the citation read by a military aide and hung the medal around the singer’s neck, Biden told the audience gathered, “I think we surprised him” to which they cheered and applauded.
The medal’s citation read in part that it was honoring John “for moving our souls with his powerful voice and one of the deﬁning song books of all time. An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found pur-
pose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance the simple truth — that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Visibly moved, the iconic musician and performer said: “I just said to the ﬁrst lady, I’m never ﬂabbergasted — but I’m ﬂabbergasted and humbled and honored by this incredible award from the United States of America. I will treasure this so much — I will make me double my efforts to
make sure this disease goes away. Your kindness — America’s kindness to me as a musician is second to none, but in the war against AIDS and HIV it’s even bigger and I can’t thank you enough … I’m really emotional about this — thank you.”
The special gathering held under a vaulted glass and aluminum “tent” on the South Lawn of the White House was attended by 2,000 guests including former ﬁrst lady Laura Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, his husband Chasten, as well as teachers, nurses, LGBTQ advocates and military families, who the White House had dubbed “everyday history-makers.”
During a pause in his performance earlier, the singer addressed Bush, praising her husband, former President George W. Bush’s ongoing work on the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President Bush had initiated while in ofﬁce and is credited with saving millions of lives across the African continent and helping to change the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS crisis globally.
“I want to say to the ﬁrst lady, President Bush accelerated the whole thing with his PEPFAR bill. It was the most incredible thing,” he said to Laura Bush.BRODY LEVESQUE
Members of Congress call for gender-neutral travel docs
California Congressman Adam Schiff and 18 other House Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security that encourages them to make the “X” gender marker available for all U.S. passport applications and Trusted Travelers programs.
A spokesperson for Schiff told the Blade in an email: “The letter was inspired by a constituent who reached out to our ofﬁce trying to get an emergency passport appointment with an ‘X’ gender marker — right now you can only get rush passport service with the ‘X’ gender marker at one passport agency in D.C., so if they had gone through the L.A. passport agency, they only would have been able to get a passport with the M or F gender marker. Our ofﬁce was able to resolve the case successfully, but it inspired our team to ﬁgure out a legislative solution that will help LGBTQI+ individuals access these services in the future.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken in March 2021 announced passports with an “X” gender marker will be available starting April 11.
Dana Zzyym, an intersex U.S. Navy veteran who identiﬁes as non-binary, in 2015 ﬁled a federal lawsuit against the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with an “X” gender marker. Zzyym last October received the ﬁrst gender-neutral American passport.
In Tuesday’s letter, the House members noted that while State Department and the Department of Homeland Security made history by expanding the gender marker options available for U.S. passports and TSA PreCheck applications, creating a new “X” marker for individuals who identify as unspeciﬁed or another gender identity.
“The departments have yet to implement the ‘X’ gender marker for their wide range of passport services and application forms, including the rush, non-routine, and Trusted Traveler programs such as Global Entry that are currently accessible to other travelers.”
The letter also highlights: “As long as the Department of State fails to provide non-routine services to individuals seeking an ‘X’ as their gender marker, non-binary applicants will continue to face an undue and unjust burden when pursuing international travel. The State Department’s current timeline to provide these services by late 2023, with no clear date released to the public, would deny these travelers equal access for far too long. Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security’s current policy limitations simply force non-binary travelers to choose a gender that does not reﬂect their gender identity.”
The members and concerned LGBTQ and intersex advocacy groups who endorsed the letter are asking the State Department and the Department of Home-
land Security to ensure:
• Solidiﬁed and accelerated implementation of the “X” gender marker option for passport cards, emergency passports printed at embassies and consulates, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) and on Trusted Traveler Programs forms;
• A public date by which the “X” gender marker will be available for applicants for all passport services and application forms.
Schiff was joined by U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
Schiff’s ofﬁce also noted that this request was endorsed by COLAGE, Equality California, Equality Federation, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, National Center for Transgender Equality and the Trevor Project.BRODY LEVESQUE & MICHAEL K. LAVERS President JOE BIDEN awards the National Humanities Medal to ELTON JOHN for his work combating HIV/AIDS. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)
Anti-LGBTQ leader poised to become next Italy prime minister
Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, head of the Brothers of Italy party, appeared to have won in Sunday’s snap general elections according to exit polling. In a co alition with other right wing parties, Meloni’s right-wing alliance now looks to have control of both houses, with a projected 42.2 percent of the Senate vote.
This will lead to her forming Italy’s most right-wing gov ernment since World War II and Meloni is now set to be Italy’s first female prime minister. However, the final say will rest with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, a decision that is expected to take some time according to political observers in Rome familiar with the inner workings of the Italian government.
Turnout for Sunday’s elections was dramatically low — 63.82 percent by the time polls closed — said Italy’s interi or ministry, almost 10 points down on 2018. Voting levels were especially poor in southern regions including Sicily.
Meloni’s Facebook post made after the results were an nounced translates to:
“History we made today. This victory is dedicated to all the militants, managers, supporters and every single per son who – in these years — has contributed to the realiza tion of our dream, offering soul and heart spontaneously and selflessly.
“To those who, despite the difficulties and the most complex moments, have remained in their place, with conviction and generosity. But, above all, it’s dedicated
to those who believe and have always believed in us. We won’t betray your trust. We are ready to lift Italy up.”
and policies on LGBT and immigrants.”
Meloni has long displayed antagonism and intolerance toward the LGBTQ community. She has stated that she perceives LGBTQ people as menacing and threatening Western civilization.
The BBC noted that earlier this year she outlined her priorities in a raucous speech to Spain’s far-right Vox par ty: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology … no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration … no to big international finance … no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”
As LGBTQ equity and equality rights are foundation al to the European Union and its governing commission, some see Meloni as combatting the EU over LGBTQ is sues in the same vein as Orban.
On other issues Meloni doesn’t claim to “oppose” Eu rope, but rather she outlines a model of integration that may or may not go down well in Brussels, euronews re ported.
Meloni is seen as polarizing figure with some of her political stances and rhetoric on the European Union aligning her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. However, Professor Gianluca Passarrelli of Rome’s Sapienza University told the BBC he thought she would avoid rocking the boat on Europe and focus on other pol icies: “I think we will see more restrictions on civil rights
“If we had an EU more like the one we imagine, we would have developed a more effective defense policy, invested in energy security and maintained short value chains to avoid reliance on third — often untrustworthy — countries for gas, raw materials, commodities, chips and other goods,” she stated.BRODY LEVESQUE
Cubans approve marriage equality
Cubans on Sunday approved a new family code that ex tends marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Gramna, the official newspaper of the Cuban Commu nist Party, on Monday reported 66.9 percent of Cubans who participated in the referendum voted in favor of the new family code.
“Sept. 25, 2022, is already a historic day,” said Gramna. “The island has once again demonstrated that the revolu tion will never stop in its quest for more justice, indepen dent of its adversaries. The road has never been easy, but it is very worthy.”
Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro who spearheads LGBTQ and intersex issues in Cuba as director of the country’s National Center for Sexu al Education, is among those who support the new family code. Mariela Castro on Sunday posted to her Facebook page a picture of her voting for it in Havana, the Cuban capital.
“I voted yes for Cuban families, for a socialist Cuba, for the world’s most revolutionary and humanist family code, for a socialist state built upon rights and social justice that recognizes and protects all families,” said Mariela Castro after she voted.
The Cuban government in the years after the 1959 rev olution that brought Mariela Castro’s uncle, Fidel Castro, to power, sent gay men and others to work camps. Cu bans with AIDS were forcibly quarantined in state-run san itaria until 1993.
Cuba joins Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Ar gentina, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico City and several Mexi can states that have extended marriage rights to samesex couples. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Marti nique, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sint Maarten, Sint Eusta tius and Saba also have marriage equality.
Sunday’s referendum took place nearly four years after Cuban voters overwhelmingly approved their country’s
new constitution. The government’s decision to remove a marriage equality amendment that religious groups had publicly criticized sparked outrage among independent LGBTQ and intersex activists.
LGBTQ and intersex Cubans and others who publicly criticize the Cuban government also continue to face ha rassment, discrimination and arrest.
Maykel González Vivero, editor of Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, is among the hundreds of people who were arrested during anti-gov ernment protests that took place across the country on July 11, 2021. The U.S. in 2019 granted asylum to Yariel Valdés González, a Blade contributor who suffered perse
cution in Cuba because he is a journalist.
Yoan de la Cruz, a gay man who used Facebook Live to livestream the first July 11 protest that took place in San Antonio de los Baños in Artemisa province. De La Cruz subsequently received a 6-year prison sentence, but he was released on house arrest in May.
Brenda Díaz, a transgender woman with HIV who partic ipated in a July 11 protest in Güira de Melena in Artemisa province, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. The State Department has said it is “very concerned” about Díaz’s health and well-being and urged the Cuban gov ernment to release her.MICHAEL K. LAVERS (Blade file photo by Michael Key) GIORGIA MELONI speaks to supporters on Sept. 25, after polls closed in Italy. (Screenshot via YouTube)
Cruel court decision makes it harder to prevent AIDS
Just as the disease was on a glide path to extinction thanks to new drugs, HIV/AIDS got a boost from a federal court in Texas.
On Sept. 7, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the government can’t require an employer-sponsored health care plan to cover a therapy that prevents the spread of a disease that has already killed more than 700,000 Americans. The decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra is not just poorly argued; it is ﬂat-out cruel.
Perhaps the best feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, nicknamed Obamacare, was a requirement that insurance offer coverage of speciﬁed preventive care procedures and therapies, such as colon cancer screening and inﬂuenza immunizations.
In June 2019, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an advisory panel of experts, issued a “Grade A” recommendation for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a medicine that is 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission during sex. The ﬁrst PrEP drug, Truvada, had been approved seven years earlier by the Food & Drug Administration. On Jan. 1, 2021, the federal government required plans to cover PrEP with no copay, coinsurance, or deductible.
Even before the mandate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credited PrEP with helping reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 8% between 2015 and 2019 “after a period of general stability.” The CDC now calls PrEP “a key prevention strategy for ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S.,” a goal for 2030 set by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
The way to end AIDS once and for all is to get PrEP to those who need it most. Researchers are developing intravaginal rings, implants, antibodies, and long-lasting injectables. Although PrEP use has risen by a factor of eight in just ﬁve years, three-quarters of those most at risk are not using the therapy.
The success of the lawsuit by a group of self-described Christian business owners and employees will make access even more difﬁcult. The plaintiffs argued that the preventive care mandate for PrEP violated their constitutional right to religious freedom. In the complaint, Dr. Steven Hotze said that he was unwilling to pay for a health plan covering PrEP “because these drugs facilitate or encourage homosexual behavior, which is contrary to [his] sincere religious beliefs.”
Hotze, whose vitamin company ran afoul of the FDA for COVID-19 claims, was indicted in April on aggravated assault charges involving a bizarre search for ballots after the 2020 election.
In the PrEP case, Hotze’s objection went beyond gay sex. He complained that providing coverage of the drugs facilitates and encourages “sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman” as well as illegal drug use.
Judge O’Connor agreed. He went even further, ruling that members of the Preventive Services Task Force were “unconstitutionally appointed.”
In a previous case, O’Connor had ruled that the entire ACA was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision last year. The current ruling draws on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which was enacted by Congress after the Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division v. Smith that the protection of the free exercise of religion in the First Amendment does not entitle anyone to a religion-based exception from a general law.
In recent years, writes Michael Dorf of the Cornell University Law School, “conservative Christians have increasingly relied on [RFRA] to obtain exceptions from laws involving insurance coverage for contraception and abortion.”
For example, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a 2014 case, the Supreme Court held that a company owned by religious Christians could be excused from an obligation to pay for health insurance that covered “forms of contraception that the owners regarded as tantamount to abortion.”
But the ruling in the Braidwood case is far more sweeping. The Hobby Lobby plaintiffs considered abortion itself immoral. In this case, it’s not PrEP that Braidwood considers immoral; it’s certain kinds of sexual activities. By substantially lowering the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, this twisted logic goes, PrEP is a facilitator of what Hotze considers immoral. And by offering insurance that covers PrEP, Braidwood says it becomes complicit.
There is a serious cost to this attenuated argument. By decreasing access to PrEP, people will needlessly become ill and, in some cases, die. The economy will also be burdened with the cost of treating a disease that can be prevented.
Modern science has developed therapies that are ending the spread of a dangerous, mortal virus. Easing access to these medicines is clearly a legitimate function of government — undoubtedly, a compelling interest. What can be more selﬁsh and foolish than to erect needless obstacles for those who want to protect themselves and people around them?
Disease gets a boost from federal judge in Texas
a former Under Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, is an adviser to health care companies and non-proﬁts.
Bi activists excited after White House meeting Sept. 20 gathering took place during Bisexual Visibility Week
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, just in time for Bisexual Visibility Week, a diverse roup of bise ual and panse ual activists met with ofﬁ cials from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including Melanie Fontes Rainer, the director of the fﬁ ce of ivil Ri hts at .
The 15 advocates comprised a wide cross-section of the bisexual community, including nonbinary, transgender, female, young, older, Black, Asian and Muslim advocates, people with disabilities and parents. We came from many walks of life: Academia, education, research, health care, advocacy, law, media and community activism. This isn’t unusual: Bisexual people comprise more than half of all LGBT people, totally approximately 12.5 million bisexual adults in the U.S. Strikingly, 15 percent of all GenZ adults — nearly 1 in 6 — identify as bisexual. People of color are more likely to identify as bisexual, as are cise ender women and trans ender people in eneral.
It has been a painful six years since the Executive Branch last met with bisexual activists (you do the math.) Those meetings, like this one, were the product of tireless advocacy from a population with zero paid organizational staff and less than one percent of all philanthropic dollars earmarked for the LGBT community. It was these stats and others that we shared at on ept. 2 .
ise ual and panse ual people face speciﬁ c disparities in mental and physical health, intimate partner violence and monkeypox prevention, treatment and care. Did you know, for example, that nearly half of bisexual women report having been raped? And did you know that federal reporting on monkeypox doesn’t disaggregate between gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men, despite evidence that bisexual men are uniquely vulnerable to MPX and other infectious diseases.
Khafre Abif is a Black bisexual educator, father and person living with . t the meetin with a enc ofﬁ cials bif shared the stor of how staff at his HIV-care clinic initially denied him the monkeypox vaccine, despite Abif being bisexual and thus in a population of special focus for the vaccine.
“This meeting has been a long time coming for the bi+ communit said bif. m loo in forward to a dialo ue with federal ofﬁ cials about solving some of the health issues we face.”
In order to begin remedying these disparities and more, we presented the administration with a set of benchmarks, including the creation of a Federal Interagency Bisexual Liaison and a Federal Interagency Bisexual Working Group. Other benchmarks included training for HHS staff on bisexual disparities and remedies thereof, fundin streams for bise ual speciﬁ c fundin and interventions and the disa re ation of data on speciﬁ c health disparities.
Robyn Ochs is a pillar of bisexual and pansexual community orani in . t chs shared more about her speciﬁ c e pertise. “Research has made clear our health disparities and invisibility. It’s time for federal interventions to catch up with what we already know through research and lived experience.”
Frustrated by years of inaction by the federal government to release bise ual speciﬁ c data tar et the bise ual and panse ual com munity with tailored interventions, or recognize the importance of bi+ health in general, we are cautiously excited by this opportunity to share critical data and remedies.is the Senior Research Analyst for LGBTQI+ Justice at Political Research Associates, and the co-founder of BiLaw and the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition. Find Greenesmith on Twitter @herong.
is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
For the ﬁrst time I actually think Donald Trump and his family may get what they deserve. They have been screwing the country for so long it seemed no one could get to them. Donald Trump is like a maﬁa don, with his family, and others like Rudy Giuliani, being his soldiers. Like many maﬁa don’s we have seen, while not going down for the deaths he caused, he will likely go down for his ﬁnancial shenanigans.
As reported in the Washington Post, “The legal dangers facing former president Donald Trump rose this week, after the New York attorney general ﬁled a fraud lawsuit that could effectively shutter the Trump Organization and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed federal investigators to continue their probe into classiﬁed documents found at Mar-a-Lago.” In addition, “other setbacks for Trump come as at least a half-dozen additional legal efforts proceed against him and his allies. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed dozens of his former advisers, and many others, as part of a sprawling investigation into efforts to obstruct the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Separately, a Georgia grand jury has been looking at allegations that he tried to obstruct that state’s electoral count by pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to ‘ﬁnd’ enough votes to overturn the election.”
While the New York State investigation is civil, New York AG Letitia James has referred her ﬁndings to the Manhattan DA, to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as well as to the IRS, for possible criminal proceedings. Many of us are keeping our ﬁngers crossed one of these many investigations will ﬁnally see Donald Trump where he belongs; not in the White House, but as a more permanent resident in other federal housing, a jail cell.
While it is important to hold Trump and his acolytes accountable for all the legal issues, we must also hold him responsible for the cultural wars he inspired and promoted. We have always known there are racists, homophobes, transphobes, sexists and misogynists in our midst. However, through hard work and many years of progress, we had seemingly reached a time in this country when people who harbored those hideous feelings couldn’t stand openly in the public square and voice them, no less act on them, without repercussions. The four years of Trump’s presidency changed that. What he did through his words and actions gave people tacit permission to spout these thoughts and even to act on them. He did this because people understood he was all of those things himself, and in most instances never really tried to hide it. He openly courted and defended white nationalists and neo-Nazis. He bragged about mistreating women. Because of Trump many members of minority groups including the LGBTQ community, African Americans, Asians and women have actually lost their lives to violence. If not losing their lives, many lost the chance to live their lives openly, freely and in safety. With all his misguided policies, lies and obfuscations, it is the cultural wars he unleashed that will take the longest, maybe decades, to counter.
We once had two relatively sane political parties, both advocating differing policies but both standing up for democracy. They seemed to understand our government was founded on the need for compromise to move forward their particular ideas. I may have disagreed with most Republican policies, and their national platforms, but I knew that if they won the Congress and the presidency, I could still ﬁght another day to have Democrats win the next time and change the direction of the country more to my liking. But either way our democracy was going to stand. Today, if Republicans take over, I am not so sure of that.
Yet for some reason I still have conﬁdence in most of the American people. I believe they will ﬁght for our democracy by voting this November to give the Democrats continued control of Congress. By doing so they will let us continue to work to shore up our democracy and to make progress on issues from climate change, to immigration, updating our tax code, and ensuring no person in our country goes without a roof over their head, food in their stomach, and adequate healthcare. I believe we can defeat both Trump and Trumpism if we can convince enough people the road to a better life for them, their children, and grandchildren, is to reject Trump’s evil and defend our democracy.
Trump family had a tough week — may it only be the beginning
Let’s hope he’s headed to prison instead of back to White House
Billy Eichner ready to make cinematic history ‘Bros’ could be ﬁrst gay rom-com to become box ofﬁce smash
Billy Eichner, the gay comedian, is usually the one asking the questions. Eichner came to fame with his award-winning, 2011-2017 truTVshow, “Billy On The Street,” where he would accost strangers on the streets of Manhattan, often with an A-list celebrity at his side. Eichner would interrupt someone in the middle of a jog, an errand, or daily commute, to ask a groan-inducing question or play a silly game. Most New Yorkers did not recognize either Eichner or celebrity sidekicks like Chris Evans, Will Ferrell, Mariah Carrey, or Sarah Jessica Parker.By TIM NASSON
another gay (and very good looking) actor; indeed, all of Bros’ writers, producers, and all of the lead and supporting actors (including Amanda Bearse) identify as LGBTQ (with the exceptions of director Nicolas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow.) “Bros” is the ﬁrst ‘almost’ all gay, lesbian or trans major motion picture.
“My day hasn’t even begun,” says Eichner who has just arrived in San Francisco, and where it’s the ungodly hour of 7:45 a.m. He’s just back from the Toronto International Film Festival, where “Bros” debuted to great acclaim.
controversial even 10 years ago. And, given the talent behind the project and the early buzz, “Bros” could be the ﬁrst gay rom-com to become a mainstream box ofﬁce smash, particularly with director Nicolas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow on board.
“‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin,’ ‘Bridesmaids,’ ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ ‘Neighbors…. Judd and/or Nick are responsible for some of the funniest movies during the past two decades,” Eichner enthuses.
One of the most charming aspects of “Bros” is a pivotal scene ﬁlmed in Provincetown, Mass., a community with deep gay roots. “Provincetown is maybe my favorite place on Earth,” says Eichner. “It’s as far out on Cape Cod, Mass., as you can get. Being able to ﬁlm in Provincetown added so much style to the classical romantic story. The town has a rich, gay history but is beautiful, sexy, and fun. It is so welcoming to everyone that Nick [Stoller, the director], who is straight, and married with three kids, takes his family there every summer. It is also the ﬁrst place that we began ﬁlming.” The production was shut down in between ﬁlming for more than a year and a half due to COVID-19.
Is there any romance going on in Eichner’s life? When I asked him for a funny story about a ﬁrst date, he laughed and said, “I’m still waiting to go on one. But, seriously, I met a guy that worked for a cannabis company. He showed up as high as he could be. And of course he was hungry. I should have just called it a night then. But we went out and all he could do was eat. There wasn’t any conversation. But I don’t know if that is funny, or just weird.”
The tides have turned. Eichner, in a few short years, has gone from video class clown to a polished (dare I say very good) actor, writer, and all-around mensch - and ascended to celebrity A-list status himself. In 2019, he starred as the voice of Timon in the Disney live action remake of “The Lion King.” He also voices Timon in the upcoming live-action sequel: “Mufasa: The Lion King.”
But that’s not all. Currently, Eichner is writer, producer, and co-star of “Bros,” a new romantic comedy about two commitment-phobic gay guys in a relationship—Eichner and costar Luke Macfarlane. Macfarlane—who came to fame playing in schmaltzy Hallmark Channel movies— is
“The goal was to make the funniest, laugh-out-loud movie as possible, that just happens to be about a gay couple,” explains Eichner. At 44, he is old enough to remember growing up during a time when gay-themed movies had limited releases and smallish audiences. “I went to see a lot of them,” Eichner recalls. “‘All Over the Guy,’ ‘Jeffrey,’ ‘Trick,’ ‘Edge of Seventeen,’ ‘Go.’ But it felt like it was something I did in private. It felt like it did when I was hiding a magazine [for secrecy at home].”
“Bros” is written for contemporary audiences — straight, gay, and everything in between (my words) —who are unfazed by scenes and situations that would have seemed
There’s a musical moment in “Bros” that may surprise some Eichner fans—but shouldn’t; he’s a great singer and studied musical theater in college. His love of music predates his bar mitzvah, which he describes as “Broadway meets pop music…I had a life-sized, airbrushed Madonna standee from her ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour. And a standee from [the Broadway musical] ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. I even sang ‘Lean On Me.’”
Eichner’s singing talents are displayed in “Bros,” but brieﬂy. “I don’t want people to think ‘Bros’ is a musical, though,” Eichner wants readers to know. And let me add my two cents: “Bros” is not a musical, at all. It is a comedy that is going to go down in history, in a great way.
“Bros” is in theaters Sept. 30.BILLY EICHNER and LUKE MACFARLANE star in ‘Bros,’ which debuts Friday. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures) (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)
A fine ‘Bro’-mance
Eichner, Macfarlane performances essential to movie’s appealBy JOHN PAUL KING
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that “Bros” is a history-making milestone for LGBTQ representation in the movies — the first gay romantic comedy produced by a major Hollywood studio, written by an openly gay man (Billy Eichner) who also stars in it – and that it was made with queer talent fill ing virtually every role, both on camera and off. The “Billy on the Street” writer/comedian/actor, true to his brand, has been loud-and-proud about his ef forts to foster authenticity and inclusivity throughout the mak ing of his film, and rightly so.
Still, now that his much-antic ipated movie is finally out, we can finally stop talking about all that. After all, even when a movie scores as many points for LGBTQ representation as this one does, what really mat ters is whether or not it’s actual ly any good.
When Eichner was tapped to make his film for Universal, many may have assumed it would be a showcase for his signature comedic persona — acerbic but disarmingly funny, more than a touch manic, somehow confron tational, defiant, and self-deprecating all at the same time — that would also poke fun at a heteronormative genre beloved just as often by its queer fans for its camp value as for anything else. This expectation seemed all but confirmed when Eichner announced the casting of actor Luke Macfarlane – known for playing hand some hunks in the very romcoms his movie would presumably be sending up – as his love interest.
As it happens, those assumptions were not entirely wrong. “Bros” is unabashedly autobiographical in tone, presenting Eich ner essentially as an alternative version of himself if he had been a queer history scholar and author instead of a poly-hyphenate show biz celebrity; his character, Bobby Lieber, has even got a podcast, allowing him to voice the kind of take-no-prisoners wit ticisms and shrewdly queer observations about life and culture for which both versions of himself have become famous.
While at a launch event for a new dating app, Bobby meets Aaron (Macfarlane), who – as one of the crowd of shirtless gay scenesters he’s used to being ignored by, he assumes is shallow, not too bright, and not into him at all. It turns out he’s wrong on all counts, and the two men soon find themselves drawn into a relationship, despite some serious issues around commitment and the fact that they seem to have nothing in common.
All of this is a perfect match for Eichner’s comic sensibilities –he’s built his image on calling out society for the absurdity of its assumptions, the illogic of its priorities, the depth of its shallow ness, and “Bros” gives him plenty of opportunity to do exactly that, as well as plenty of fodder for his usual zingers and pop-cul ture references. It’s very much the kind of savagely iconoclastic spoof we would expect from its creator, making fun of social conventions (both gay and straight) and lampooning everything from awards-show stunt fashion to celebrity athletes coming out of the closet to “Dear Evan Hansen” — but it’s not nearly as scat tershot as it sometimes feels. There’s a method to Eichner’s mad ness, and it hinges on reminding us that we are all, from a certain perspective, utterly ridiculous.
If that were all that “Bros” accomplished, it would be enough, but it gives us so much more. Not content to simply settle into familiar territory, he sets his sights on rising to the level of the romance classics he boldly references throughout, from “When Harry Met Sally” to “You’ve Got Mail” to “Manhattan.” With the help of director and co-writer Nicholas Stoller, whose sure-hand
ed cinematic sensibility allows the star’s broadly satirical strokes and flights of absurdist fancy to flourish while still remaining grounded, he succeeds.
In large part, this is because Eichner’s screenplay doesn’t fall into the trap of being governed by the same tropes and expec tations it makes fun of. Instead, it undermines them to take us further; unlike many romances, this one goes past the feelgood “falling in love” stuff and explores what it’s like for two adult men to build a rela tionship that works. It’s hardly a spoiler to say that’s not an easy or comfortable process, especially for a generation that came of age under the linger ing shadow of widespread ho mophobia, but “Bros” is willing to go there – and because of that, its seemingly mismatched and dysfunctional lead couple are infinitely more relatable.
That doesn’t mean Eichner and Stoller ever allow their movie to become a “bummer.” Things might get a little messy from time to time, but what relationship doesn’t? By choosing to give “Bros” the kind of maturity that’s able to weather the storm, they’ve built something deeper and more lasting – the kind of movie that’s worthy of setting a few milestones – without sacrificing any of the comedy. And despite the cynical pose that’s always been at the heart of Eichner’s persona, they’re not afraid to let it get a little sappy, too.
As for its two stars, Eichner and Macfarlane’s performances are essential elements in the movie’s winning appeal. It’s per haps not too surprising that Eichner, who’s been able to show us hints of his wider range before, rises to the occasion for his debut as a leading man; it’s the kind of work with the potential to elevate him into a whole new echelon of talent. A greater rev elation is Macfarlane, who dives way below the pretty surface of Aaron to deliver a braver and more vulnerable performance than anyone might have expected. Together, the two actors find an easy and affectionate chemistry that is not only believable but makes it easy for real-life couples to recognize themselves in their relationship. They front a superb cast that includes Monica Raymund, Dot-Marie Jones, Jim Rash, Guillermo Díaz, Amanda Bearce, Miss Lawrence, TS Madison, Bowen Yang, and Jai Rodri guez, not to mention a host of queer and queer-friendly celebrity cameos from Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, and Amy Shu mer, among several others.
It would be easy to go into detail about the many things that make “Bros” stand out as a piece of “queer cinema” — the way it weaves educational tidbits about LGBTQ history into the story as a tongue-in-cheek primer for straight viewers, or the sex-positive attitude with which it boldly and playfully depicts gay love-mak ing, or its assertion of the differences instead of the similarities between same-sex relationships and straight ones — but it’s bet ter to let viewers discover these things for themselves, along with all the movie’s other pleasures. We don’t want to give any more away, though we will tell you to watch for a scene-stealing turn by Debra Messing, who seems to be having the time of her life.
Other than that, all you need to know is that “Bros” lives up to its hype to become one of the smartest, sexiest, and yes, sweet est comedies of the year so far – the kind of rom-com that’s good enough to recommend even for people who don’t like romcoms.
And yes, it sets a lot of LGBTQ milestones, but don’t see it be cause of that. See it because it’s good.LUKE MACFARLANE and BILLY EICHNER star in ‘Bros.’ (Image coutesy NBC Universal)
Author Kenny Fries on being queer, disabled, and Jewish How the three identities formed his rather irreverent take on lifeBy KATHI WOLFE
In 1991, when he was living in Provincetown, he agreed to be a model for a guide to “gay sex,” gay, disabled and Jew ish author and poet Kenny Fries writes in his memoir “The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory.”
Fries, 62, who’s just been awarded a Disability Futures Fel lowship by the Ford Foundation, has been disabled since birth.
His medical records say that he has “congenital deformi ties of the lower extremities,” Fries said in an email interview with the Blade, “Basically, I was missing bones in my legs when born.”
Sometime later, Fries learned that the medical term for his disability is “fibular hemimelia.” “There is no known cause,” he added, “and it is nothing a pregnant mother does or doesn’t do that causes this.”
Back in 1991 in Provincetown, the local artist who was working on the gay sex guide wanted to make sure that it would correctly portray a disabled man having sex.
Fries was pleased when the artist showed him the pictures he’d taken of him and his partner in the modeling session. “I recognize the images of myself in both the photos and the drawing as very beautiful,” Fries writes.
But a week later, Fries’s feelings of pride were dissed. The guide’s art director didn’t like how the drawing turned out, Fries recalled the artist telling him. “‘He said that in the draw ing the disability didn’t read. He wants me to cut off one of your legs,’” Fries writes.
Coming out wasn’t that difficult for Fries. Though, “I’m sure at times it felt difficult,” he said. “I think it was the combi nation of being both gay and disabled that posed the most challenges.”
If you’re disabled, you’re likely to run into ableism in the form of inaccessibility, pity, employment discrimination, dis comfort, and fear. Perhaps, most hurtful, especially if you’re queer and disabled, is what Fries calls the myth of “the ideal body.” (This reporter is queer and disabled.)
Anyone with a body that is perceived as different is up against this myth, Fries said. “Everyone is affected by this myth, even straight white men. They just don’t know it as much as we do.”
Though he’s been disabled since he was born in Brook lyn, N.Y., and his disability is quite noticeable, Fries didn’t “come out” as disabled until he was in college.
Fries saw a psychologist after he began having panic at tacks. “He did something not quite kosher,” Fries said, “mak ing a deal with me that he’d come see the musical I was directing if I went to talk with Irv Zola, a disabled professor who taught at Brandeis, where I was an undergraduate.”
In those days, Zola was one of the very few disabled fac ulty at any college. “It was sheer luck that he was at mine,” Fries said.
At Zola’s suggestion, Fries got in touch with the Boston Self-Help Center, and, for a time, joined their peer support group. After grad school, Fries moved to San Francisco. There, he met Marilyn Golden, a disability rights movement leader. Meeting Golden, his first mentor, launched Fries’s disability rights journey.
Another important step for Fries in his “coming out” as disabled was when he took part in the Contemporary Chau tauqua on Performance and Disability that was organized by Vicki Lewis at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 1994. There, Fries met creative nonfiction and fiction writer Anne Finger, playwright Susan R. Nussbaum and other disabled writers. These writers became his “comrades in arms,” he
Golden and Nussbaum died earlier this year. It was “a great personal and community loss,” Fries said.
The apartment building where he grew up was like a “ver tical high rise shtetl,” Fries said, when asked how being Jew ish fit into his queer and disabled identity.
“An ex called me ‘the Nazi Trifecta,’” Fries said, “as Jews, the disabled and queers were persecuted and killed during the Nazi regime.”
Being queer, disabled, and Jewish – being triply “othered” has emphasized his “questioning,” Fries said, “especially of societal structures and institutions.”
Somehow, he believes, these three identities combined to form his rather irreverent take on things.
The writing bug bit Fries early on. “As a child, I was always thinking of plays,” Fries said, “and wrote some silly ones.”
Fries is one of our time’s most distinguished and import ant queer and disabled writers. He is the author of “Province of the Gods,” “The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory” and “Body, Remember: A Memoir.” His books of poetry include “In the Gardens of Japan,” “Desert Walking” and “Anesthesia.”
If you’re visibly disabled, you’re stared at often by nondis abled people.
Fries has helped disabled people, queer and non-queer, to reclaim the stare. He edited the groundbreaking anthol ogy “Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out,” in which writers, including queer icon Adrienne Rich, reflect on their lived experience of being disabled.
“I didn’t realize Rich was disabled (she had rheumatoid arthritis) until I saw her using a cane at a reading in the Bay Area,” Fries said.
Fries lives with his husband, who is Canadian, in Berlin. They met when Fries was in Japan in 2005 and married in 2007.
“Living in cultures other than my own, as well as travel, has always been a foundation of my work,” Fries said.
Occasionally, Fries has encountered “direct” ableism in the queer community. Such as the time decades ago when he wasn’t allowed into a gay bar in Florence, Italy. Or the “very rare” sexual rejection by a nondisabled person. “This harkens back to the ideal body myth,” Fries said.
More insidious to Fries is the ableism of inaccessible queer spaces and events and the lack of inclusion of dis abled people on queer-related panels at readings and events.
Then, there are the apps, Fries said. “How many disabled guys does one encounter on Grindr?” he said. “Even the profile questions asked show the default is not to think of physical difference.”
Fries came to Berlin to do research for the book he’s working on “Stumbling Over History: Disability and the Ho locaust” and his video series “What Happened Here in the Summer of 1940?”
“The disabled were the first group to be mass murdered in gas chambers in Aktion T4, the Nazi program that killed 70,000 disabled persons,” Fries said.
“After T4 officially ended, 230,000 more disabled people were killed by gas,” Fries added, “as well as by other means, such as starvation, medication overdose and neglect.”
This is still a relatively unknown history to most people, even in Germany, Fries said.
Fries’s supply of energy is boundless. He has curated “Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer,” the first interna
(Editor’s Note: One in four people in America has a disability, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Queer and disabled people have long been a vital part of the LGBTQ community. Take two of the many queer history icons who were disabled: Michelangelo is believed to have been autis tic. Marsha P. Johnson, who played a heroic role in the Stonewall Uprising, had physical and psychiatric disabilities. Today, Deaf/Blind fantasy writer Elsa Sjun neson, actor and bilateral amputee Eric Graise — Marvin in the “Queer as Folk” reboot — and Kathy Martinez, a blind, Latinx lesbian, who was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy for the Obama administration, are only a few of the numerous queer and disabled people in the LGBTQ community. Yet, the stories of this vital segment of the queer community have rarely been told. In its monthly, year-long series, “Queer, Crip and Here,” the Blade will tell some of these long un-heard stories.)
Kenny Fries is the author of several books, including ‘The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory.’
tional exhibit on queer/disability history, activism, and cul ture. It opened at the Schwules Museum Berlin on Sept. 1 and runs through the end of January 2023.
The exhibit includes the work of more than 20 contempo rary queer/disabled artists.
A major theme of the exhibit is “‘the ideal body’,” Fries said, “how this fantasy has pervaded both queer and dis ability history and lives, and how queer/disabled artists have counteracted this.”
Many people know Audre Lorde as a queer, Black icon. But most don’t think of her as having a disability. Yet, Lorde, who had cancer, was disabled. She is included in the exhibit.
“Lorde was a very important figure for the Afro-German women’s movement,” Fries said.
Lorde wrote about having cancer in “The Cancer Jour nals.” She had an ahead-of-her- times view of disability, Fries said. “In an interview featured in the exhibit, she talks about a feminist book fair in London in 1984, which was held in an inaccessible space.”
It is important for all of us that such events be made avail able to disabled women, Lorde said in the interview, “and we should make sure they are announced in black women’s magazines.”
Lorde understood intersectionality before it became popular, Fries said.
For more information go to: kennyfries.com
Friday, September 30By TINASHE CHINGARANDE
Center Aging Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. For more information, email Adam at adamheller@thedccenter. org.
GoGay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Social in the City.” This event is ideal for making new connections and community building or just to unwind and enjoy extended happy hour. This event is free and more information is available on Eventbrite.
Saturday, October 01
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.
LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space the strives to be safe and judgement free. There are all sorts of activities like watching movies, poetry events, storytelling, and just hanging out with others.For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, October 02
Go Gay DC and AGLA will host “LGBTQ+ Ice Cream Social”at 3 p.m. at 2334 S. Meade St. An ice cream truck will offer several exciting ﬂavors and toppings, including Rainbow Sprinkles. The ice cream is free for current AGLA members. A small donation or AGLA membership is appreciated if you aren’t yet an AGLA member. For more details, visit Eventbrite.
Go Gay DC will also host “LGBTQ+ Coffee & Conversation” at 12 p.m. at As You Are. This event is for those looking to make more friends in the LGBTQ+ community and some new faces after two years of the pandemic. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.
Monday, October 03
Center Aging Advocacy Meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. Participants are welcome to provide guidance and feedback on programs and services for LGBT older adults here at The DC Center for the LGBT Community. For more information, email Adam at email@example.com.
Center Aging Monday Coffee and Conversation will be at 10 a.m. 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.
Tuesday, October 04
Center Aging: Women’s Social and Discussion Group will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This group is a place where older LGBTQ+ women can meet and socialize with one another. There will be discussion, activities, and a chance for guests to share what they want future events to include. For more information, visit the DC Center’s website.
Wednesday, October 05
Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the longterm unemployed, improve self-conﬁdence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thedccenter.org/careers.
BookMen DC will be at 7:30 p.m. in person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. 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, October 06
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 pm if they are picked to receive a produce box. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email supportdesk@thedccenter. org or call 202-682-2245.
“Elements DC Throw It Back Thursdaze, an LGBTQ Night” will be at 8 p.m. at Elements DC. This event will have DJs, live music, happy hour specials and more. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.
CBC to host Newark mayor for doc screening
The Congressional Black Caucus will host a screening of “Why Is We Americans” on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Planet Word.
The documentary is an intimate portrait of the family of Newark, N.J. Mayor Ras Baraka who merges art, culture, and politics in the ﬁght for social justice.
There will also be a special presentation of “The Book of Baraka,” his Audible Original audio book that recounts his journey from poet to principal to peacemaker, through his own powerful, inspiring words.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.
Ladies Tea event to beneﬁt SMYAL
“Ladies Tea: Fall Edition,” a fundraising event, will be hosted on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. at Hank’s Oyster Bar Dupont Circle.
Ladies are encouraged to celebrate fall while mixing and mingling at the Up Bar and outdoor patio space of Hank’s Oyster Bar.
Proceeds from the event will go to SMYAL DC, which supports and empowers LGBTQ youth in the D.C. region.
Tickets for the event cost $15 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.Go Gay DC and AGLA will host LGBTQ+ Ice Cream Social on Oct. 2.
Celebrate Judy Garland’s centennial by watching her movies
The dazzling force of nature made 34 ﬁlmsBy KATHI WOLFE
When the world ends, aﬁcionados will still be watching their favorite Judy Garland movies.
Queer icon Garland was born 100 years ago this year (on June 10, 1922).
Everyone knows how tragic much of Garland’s life was. MGM feeding her uppers and downers when she was a child. Bad luck with husbands. Getting ﬁred from movies because of her addiction issues. Her death at age 47.
You can’t deny that Garland’s life was often a mess. Yet, it’s too easy to encase Garland into a box of victimhood.
Contrary to the misperception of her as a sad ﬁgure, Garland wasn’t a morbid person. She was a fabulous comedian and clown, John Fricke, author of “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic,” told the Blade in 2019. Lucille Ball said Garland was the funniest woman in Hollywood, Fricke said. “‘She made me look like a mortician,’ Lucy said,” he added.
In the midst of the sentimentality and morbidity shrouding her legacy, you can readily forget Garland’s prodigious talent and productivity.
Garland was a consummate, multi-faceted, out-of-this-world talented performer. She (deservedly) received more awards than most performers would even dream of: two Grammy Awards for her album “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” a special Tony for her long-running concert at the Palace Theatre and a special Academy Juvenile Award. Garland was nominated for an Emmy for her TV series “The Judy Garland Show” and for Best Supporting Oscar for her performance in “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
Garland, a dazzling, force of nature on screen, made 34 ﬁlms. There’s no better way to celebrate Garland’s centennial than to watch her movies.
Garland was renowned for connecting so intimately with audiences when she sang. She’s remembered for her legendary musicals — from “The Wizard of Oz” to “Meet Me in St. Louis” to “A Star is Born.”
But if you watch, or re-watch, her movies, you’ll see that Garland wasn’t just a singer who sang songs, and sometimes danced, in production numbers in movie musicals.
Garland was a talented actor. She wasn’t appearing on screen as herself – Judy Garland singing to her fans.
Whether she’s tearing at your heartstrings as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” performing brilliant physical comedy with Gene Kelly in the “The Pirate,” breaking your heart with “The Man that Got Away” in “A Star is Born” or unrecognizable as Irene Hoffmann in “Judgment at Nuremberg,” Garland is acting. Her performance etches these characters onto your DNA.
Picking Garland’s best movies is like deciding which ﬁve of your 20 puppies should go on an outing. But, if you’re cast away on a desert island, take these Garland movies with you:
“Meet Me in St. Louis”: This luminous 1944 musical, directed by Vincente Minnelli, has it all: Garland in top form, the Trolley song, Margaret O’Brien, along with a stellar cast, and the best Christmas song ever.
“The Clock”: This 1945 movie, also directed by Minnelli, showcases Garland as a gifted dramatic actress. Shot in stunning black-and-white near the end of World-War II, the movie is the story, set in New York City, of a young woman (Garland) and a soldier on leave (Robert Walker) who fall in love.
“Easter Parade”: Sure, this 1948 picture, directed by Charles Walters, is thought of as a light musical by some. But, who cares? It’s in Technicolor, and Judy’s in peak form –
‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ is one of Judy Garland’s iconic ﬁlm roles.
dancing with Fred Astaire.
“A Star is Born”: If you don’t know the story of this 1954 ﬁlm, directed by George Cukor, starring Garland and James Mason, you’re not a member of queer nation. There have been other versions of “A Star is Born,” some quite good, but this is still the best. Garland should have gotten an Oscar for this one.
“Judgment at Nuremberg”: This 1961 ﬁlm, directed by Stanley Kramer, will never be a date night movie. It’s long (3 hours, 6 minutes), grim (about Nazi crimes) and Garland is only in it for about seven minutes. But the story is gripping and Garland’s performance is mesmerizing. When you watch her as Irene, you won’t be thinking that’s Judy Garland.
Happy centennial, Judy!
New ACT UP book is part history, part memoir
‘Boy with the Bullhorn’ chronicles hard work, grief, angerBy TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER
The sign above your head shows what’s going on in side.
Last night, you made the sign with a slogan, firm words, a poke to authority – and now you carry it high, yelling, marching, demanding that someone pay attention. Now. Urgently. As in the new book, “Boy with the Bull horn” by Ron Goldberg, change is a-coming.
He’d never done anything like it before.
But how could he not get involved? Ron Goldberg had read something about ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Un leash Power, and he heard they were holding a rally near his workplace. It was 1987, he’d never participated in any thing like that before, but whispers were everywhere. He and his friends were “living under a pervasive cloud of dread.”
He “was twenty-eight years old... scared, angry, and more than a little freaked out” about AIDS, he says.
Couldn’t he at least go down and hold a sign?
That first rally led Goldberg to attend a meeting, which, like most, as he came to realize, were raucous and loud and “electric.” Because he was “living fully ‘out and proud’,” and because he realized that this was an issue “worth fighting for,” he became even more involved with ACT UP by attending larger rallies and helping with or ganizing and getting his fellow activists fired up. He ob served as women became involved in ACT UP, too. Mon day night meetings became, for Goldberg, “the most exciting place in town.”
There, he learned how politics mixed with activism,
and why ACT UP tangled with the Reagan administra tion’s leaders. He puffed with more than just a little own ership, as other branches of ACT UP began spreading around the country. He learned from ACT UP’s founding members and he “discovered hidden talents” of his own by helping.
On his years in ACT UP, Goldberg says, “There was hard work, grief, and anger, surely, but there was also great joy.” He was “a witness. And so, I began to write.”
Let’s be honest: “Boy with the Bullhorn” is basically a history book, with a little memoir inside. Accent on the former, not so much on the latter.
Author Ron Goldberg says in his preface that Larry Kramer, who was one of ACT UP’s earliest leaders encour aged him to pull together a timeline for the organization and this book is the result of the task. It’s very detailed, in sequential order and, as one reads on, it’s quite repeti tive, differing basically in location. It’s not exactly a curlup-by-the-fire read.
Readers, however – and especially older ones who re member the AIDS crisis – won’t be able to stop scanning for Goldberg’s memories and tales of being a young man at a time when life was cautiously care-free. The memo ries – which also act as somewhat of a gut-wrenching col lection of death-notices – are sweet, but also bittersweet.
This book is nowhere near a vacation kinda book but if you have patience, it’s worth looking twice. Take your time and you’ll get a lot from “Boy with the Bullhorn.” Rush, and it might just go over your head.
Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
A compilation of the company’s most dazzling dance and acrobatic vignettes
Virginia Opera THE VALKYRIE
Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m.
Wagner’s iconic dramatic opera from his legendary “Ring” cycle
NRITYAGRAM DANCE ENSEMBLE
Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.
A mesmerizing performance that brings Hindu epics to life
‘Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York’By Ron Goldberg
c.2022 | Fordham University Press | $36.95 | 512 pages
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
Pass It On: 60th Anniversary
Sunday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.
The iconic and exuberant “Big Easy” sound
Located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. For
on health and
Make the most of the market and keep a positive perspective Home sales are slowing and interest rates are rising
Home sales are slowing as interest rates rise, but there are silver linings.
• INVENTORY IS UP:By JEFF HAMMERBERG
Over the course of the last year, what was once a red-hot housing market has experienced a cooldown. Home sales have been slowing, and interest rates are rising as the Federal Reserve continues to try and tame inﬂation and soaring prices. Rates are currently sitting at their highest point since late 2008, and are more than double their level a year ago.
Any time interest rates rise and the market slows down, concern is understandable – but there are always silver linings, and viewing the market from a broader historical perspective is important. A few of those silver linings include:
• INTEREST RATES REMAIN HISTORICALLY LOW:
Since the end of 2021, mortgage interest rates have jumped by more than 2 percentage points, climbing above 6% as of September 2022. As a result, mortgage payment amounts have also risen. It’s easy to look at rising interest rates and higher mortgage payments and worry – but when viewed in perspective over the course of the last several decades, rates are still very low. According to Freddie Mac, over the past half-century, rates have averaged nearly 8 percent, and in the early 1980s, even reached as high as 18 percent. When considered in that context, today’s housing market is still far healthier than at other points in recent history.
Another beneﬁt of the current market is that inventory is up. For those interested in purchasing a home, this means that there is a wider variety to choose from, and time can be devoted to truly ﬁnding a home that checks all of the boxes, rather than simply rushing to make an offer on one of the few that are available.
• OFFERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTED:
The fact that more inventory exists in the current market allows buyers to potentially place a reasonable offer on a home and have it accepted. This is a stark contrast to the situation of a year ago, where buyers frequently had to rather worry about engaging in an ongoing bidding war where prices became inﬂated and offers were less likely to be accepted.
Ultimately, conditions are much better in the real estate market now, even with slightly rising interest rates, than they were the last time the housing market went through a major correction. In fact, following the subprime mortgage crash of 2007 and the subsequent recession, home values dropped by nearly half in some markets. Millions of borrowers found themselves underwater on their mortgages, and many buyers were hesitant to make purchases in such a difﬁcult and unpredictable market. Currently, many expect that while home appreciation may decline slightly, it will likely remain above the historical average.
While the market may not be as robust as it was a year ago, there are still plenty of positives. A key aspect of making the most of any market is ﬁnding a real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you reach your goals. This can make all the difference between a smooth and successful experience, and a stressful one. At www.GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help you ﬁnd the perfect agent for your needs.
At www.GayRealEstate.com – We’re Here for You
One thing is certain about the real estate market – over time, it will change and ﬂuctuate. There will be ups and downs. At times it may be ideal for sellers, at other times, more ideal for buyers. Regardless of how the market shifts, however, one thing is constant – at www.GayRealEstate.com, we’re here for you. It is our passion to connect LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with excellent and experienced LGBTQ-friendly realtors who know and love their communities. We are committed to helping you achieve your real estate goals, whatever they may be. If we can help you, visit us at www.GayRealEstate.com today to get connected and get started.JEFF HAMMERBERG
is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or email@example.com.
Residential & Commercial Cleaning, Reasonable Rates, Free Estimates, Routine, 1-Time, Move-In/Move-Out 202-234-7050 / 202-486-6183
THANKS FOR READING
Academy of Hope
Adult Public Charter School REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
Grant Writing and Support ServicesThe Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School located in Washington, DC requests proposals for Grant Writing and Support Services. Proposals are due October 6, 2022. You can ﬁnd the detailed request for proposal and submission information at https://aohdc.org/jobs/
COUNSELING FOR LGBTQ People Individual/couple counseling with a volunteer peer counselor. GMCC, serving our community since 1973. 202-580-8661. gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested.
Academy of Hope
Adult Public Charter School
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. The Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School located in Washington, DC requests proposals for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Proposals are due October 6, 2022. You can ﬁnd the detailed request for proposal and submission information at https://aohdc.org/jobs/
ADOPTION, DONOR, SURROGACY
legal services. Jennifer represents LGBTQ clients in DC, MD & VA interested in adoption or ART matters. 240-863- 2441, JFairfax@Jenniferfairfax.com.
KASPER’S LIVERY SERVICE Since 1987. Gay & Veteran Owner/Operator. Lincoln Continental Sedan! Proper DC License & Livery Insured. www.KasperLivery.com. 202-554-2471
BRITISH REMODELING HANDYMAN
Local licensed company with over 25 years of experience. Specializing in bathrooms, kitchens & all interior/exterior repairs. Drywall, paint, electrical & wallpaper. Trevor 703-303-8699
MEN 4 MEN
WHITE MALE, 6’ 3”, 200 lbs, 9” hung. ISO, short, stocky, white yuppie, professional, athletic, hung, submissive looking for pleasurable evenings. Calls only after 9 pm. 240-457-1292.
THE MAGIC TOUCH
Swedish, Massage or Deep Tissue. Appts. Low Rates, 24/7, In-Calls. 202-486-6183