Washington Blade, Volume 53, Issue 47, November 25, 2022

Page 1

Meet HRC’s Kelley Robinson

NOVEMBER 25, 2022 • VOLUME 53 • ISSUE 47 • WASHINGTONBLADE.COM Historic new leadership at a challenging time, PAGE 12
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
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©2022 BROWN NAFF PITTS OMNIMEDIA, INC. VOLUME 53 ISSUE 47 Te Only Stack Style Guide v 1 | February 2018

At least 50 or more people turned out for a candle light vigil Sunday night at the outdoor patio and on honor and stand in solidarity with the shooting victims were shot to death and at least 25 were wounded by a minutes before police arrived on the scene.

crowd stood in the near freezing temperatures hold ing lit candles.

crowd nodded in agreement and raised their arms

ing incident prompted their desire to provide a safe memorate the loss of the lives of transgender people

Day of Remembrance. dom Plaza a few hours earlier.

tim to senseless violence. resistance as well as solidarity, she and McDaniel night singing feature on Sunday following the vig patronize them.

Trans Day of Remembrance vigil held at Freedom Plaza

Activists and community members gathered at Free dom Plaza on Sunday for an observance of Trans Day of Remembrance. Despite temperatures in the 30s, about 100 people stood together at the vigil to reflect on those lost to violence, suicide, and transphobic ha tred.

other community activists and groups.

Shareese Mone of the harm reduction and advocacy A lot of these beautiful victims lost by gun violence. When are we going to stop? When is enough going to A table was set up with photos of trans people lost members placed flowers and other tributes below. trying to survive in a world that is often so unwelcom tinued.

to this as senseless violence, but it was not senseless: it was a calculated attempt to drive us underground

Following speeches, attendees read aloud the names of slain trans community members. Some also added names of those who had not been previous ly identified. Those memorialized included Ace Scott

MICHAEL About 50 patrons paid tribute to Club Q at a vigil Sunday night at As You Are. (Blade photo by Michael Key) SHAREESE MONE of HIPS speaks at the Trans Day of Remembrance vigil on Sunday. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Future Depends on Us

DC PLUG is a multi-year project that is designed to protect the District’s most vulnerable power lines by placing them underground and improving grid resiliency where you work, live and play.

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Laying the groundwork for a brighter and cleaner tomorrow
LANE HUDSON was arrested last year on drug charges. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) Rep. LESLIE HEROD has been a patron of Club Q for 20 years.

with representatives from local and national LGBTQ advo“ “as a wife, a mother, and a mem-

treatment of, respectively, LGBTQ employees, residents, “ “

The interview also came on the heels of a midterm elec-

formation, and violence and threats of violence directed at “ “ “ “

they’ll be able to love the people that they choose to love

Incoming HRC President KELLEY ROBINSON in her office on Nov. 10. (Blade photo by Michael Key) HRC President KELLEY ROBINSON takes the stage at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Oct. 29. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

“ “ ator and photographer Amber Duffy, who along with her husband Dustin were regulars

“ In a post, “ cause of “ “ “

A second transgender der woman who her sister, “ was a “ been like her mother, want got off the phone with her was a kind person, she was Bingham, 25, who is also “

“She taught me how it was to be a trans Bingham added that the two women had known each other for years, going back to “ “She was

She said the last words that she said to her friend were, “ “ “In the gay com said that Green, who was dating the daughter of the owners, was killed while he, his “

“Earlier this afternoon, President Biden had the opportunity to speak with Colorado

“He committed to continuing to press Congress for an assault weapons ban because

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, the man suspected in the mass shooting at the LGBTQ Online court records in 4th Judicial District and El Paso County Combined Courts
DANIEL ASTON was another among the victims of Saturday’s attack. (Photo via screenshot from KRDO) KELLY LOVING was among the victims of Saturday’s attack. (Photo via Facebook)
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European soccer teams won’t wear ‘one love’ armbands after FIFA threats

Seven European soccer teams on Monday announced their captains will not wear LGBTQ and intersex armbands tion them.

The captains of Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, a joint statement said FIFA threatened to sanction them if their captains wore them.

ply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitplayers in the situation where they might be booked or even are very frustrated by the FIFA decision, which we believe is

As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including

Qatar is among the handful of countries in which con-

sensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death.

noted between 2019 and September 2022 and several cases of sexual harassment

described homosexuality as an interview with a German television station.

Peter Tatchell, a British activist, on Oct. 25 protested the country’s LGBTQ and intersex rights record while standing outside the National Museum of Qatar in Doha, the

raised LGBTQ and intersex rights with the Qatari govern-

The U.S. men’s soccer team while in Qatar will have a tary of State Antony Blinken will attend their match against England played Iran on Monday. The Netherlands on Monday will play Senegal.

Uganda lawmaker: Int’l agreement has ‘hidden clauses’ to promote homosexuality

Several LGBTQ and intersex rights groups in Uganda have sharply criticized Deputy Parliament Speaker Thomas Tayebwa’s assertion that an agreement between the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and homosexuality.

Tayebwa made the remarks during the 42nd session of (OACPS) — EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly that took place in Maputo, Mozambique, from Oct. 29-Nov. 2.

an agreement between the EU and OACPS based on three complementary pillars: Development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation and the political dimension

society that is not ready for homosexuality and we are a society that is not ready for abortion. It can never be accepted

community at large in Uganda that the deputy speaker of Parliament made such homophobic comments because the

me, he has no right to think about our own lifestyle. Everyone lives a life that they naturally want. If someone doesn’t eat meat, it does not mean that everyone doesn’t. I am in full support of donor countries to stop funding African countries that fail to legalize same sex relationships however, we

Pastor Ram Gava Kaggwa from Adonai Inclusive Christian Alliance Initiative Uganda, said sexual orientation does not have anything to do with whether one is African or not.

sires and wishes, it’s time to change the biased perspective on our sexual differences, just because you are practicing a different sexual narrative does not necessarily mean the other is wrong otherwise we are bound to see the spread of gender-based violence due to differences in sexual identity which may and can arise from hate speech spread through the heteronormative narrative which is taught in a manner that does not create room for respect of sexual differencferences, variations and diversities of the community and modern-day society and respect each other regardless of such differences for we are all human and this is what exactly bonds us regardless of the different beliefs and values

Kaggwa further encouraged lawmakers in Uganda and

speak for Africa since African countries are sovereign states with different legal systems.

Uganda can only be attributed to hypocrisy that is normalif not, it was an act of ignorance of the provisions of the Ugandan Constitution and the Article of the African Charand degrading treatment. The above provisions have laid a foundation against any enactment by the state or individual initiatives against violation of individual human rights of citi-

speak for Africa since African countries are sovereign States which are governed by different legal dispensations, and whereas some African countries have moved a notch higher to respect their citizens’ human rights, others are still slow that he speaks for Uganda where he is deputy speaker of Uganda is among the African countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.

President Yoweri Museveni in February 2014 signed into law a bill that sought to impose a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. The Obama administration subsequently cut or redirected aid to Ugan-

postponed a $90 million loan to the Ugandan government

The Ugandan Constitutional Court subsequently struck down the law.

Buwande Anthony, executive director of the Uganda
Deputy Uganda Parliament Speaker THOMAS TAYEBWA (Screen capture via Next Media Uganda YouTube) Iran plays England during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 21. (Screenshot via FS1)
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is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com

(Editor’s note: I wrote this piece in 2016 after traveling to Orlando to cover the Pulse mas sacre. Sadly, its message is newly relevant today after the horrifc events in Colorado Springs.)

A tribute to our LGBTQ bars

ORLANDO, Fla. — The world watched in horror this week as the proudly resilient LGBT community here coped with unthinkable tragedy.

Sadly, our community has a lot of experience with such things.

From the AIDS crisis in which we fought an indifferent government and hostile neighbors.

ing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans that killed 32 gay men. To enduring the play ground taunts and everyday slurs that go along with being “different” in this country.

straight counterparts. They will never know what it’s like to walk through life with a permanent target on your back. To pause before each touch; to hesitate before exchanging a hug or kiss with a partner or spouse. To calculate before coming out at work. To endure the judgmental stares when checking in at a hotel or booking a restaurant reservation on Valentine’s Day. To walk around the block, scanning the scene before mustering the nerve to walk into a gay bar. To be insulted, mocked, beaten up just for loving someone of the same sex. We’ve all been there.

shops, bookstores and, yes, newspapers, because we’re “integrated” and “accepted” now. What happened in Orlando is a heartbreaking reminder that there’s no such thing as “postgay,” and that our spaces are sacred. Where outsiders see only a bar or club, we see a com

others. Our bars and clubs have played a heroic role in supporting the community, serving as gathering places in times of triumph and tragedy and helping to raise countless dollars to

country. A place where we can let our guard down, be ourselves, embrace our friends and kiss our partners openly. We need those places because regardless of whether you live in Dupont Circle or rural Alabama, there is a risk in engaging in public displays of affection if you’re LGBT.

A look at the public response to the Orlando massacre reveals just how much work lies ahead. The Florida governor has tried to erase LGBT identity from the attack. We can’t even tweeted bic Bible verses on the morning of the attack yet somehow still has a job. Last week, before

that included discrimination protections for LGBT workers.

Even those Republicans who have issued milquetoast statements offering “thoughts and prayers” are left to reconcile those sentiments with their own voting records hostile to LGBT claims Supreme Court justices committed to overturning the marriage equality ruling.

the massacre and to those who would demonize and discriminate against us and cast us back into the closet, we should resist the urge to lash out and respond simply with love.

It’s been humbling to be here in Orlando this week, watching members of our community cope with such grace, dignity and determination. They didn’t shut down the community cen ter in fear, instead they opened the doors wide to all while working tirelessly to raise money for the victims, collect donations of water and supplies for blood centers overwhelmed by and more.

treat someone?

have great victories and major defeats. And so, you know me, even if

don’t know my name — I’m you.”


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is a writer who lives in Hyattsville, Maryland.

( Editor’s note : This piece is a response to last week’s Blade cover story by David Lett recounting his suicide attempt. If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, call or one of many specifc advocacy gro ps offering support. If you would like to share your own story of overcoming isolation, depression, or suicidal ideation, email us at knaff@washblade.com.)

My suicide ideation:

Perhaps it was the grinding loneliness of the pandemic, but about two years ago my fantasies of being with women became daily distractions. I could not be fully present with my husband and felt a constant tug for something more, something outside of a life I had spent 18 years cultivat ing. I lived in a constant cycle of fantasy, guilt, denial, back to fantasy.

My supportive husband was willing to try an open marriage, but non-mo nogamy did not agree with my Christian upbringing. Then, as most stories go, I met someone. She was funny, attractive, and OK with the situation, so we gave it a shot. Each date sailed me up into unprecedented heights and hollowed out an equally deep pit of despair. “Yes! I am like this. . . Oh, dear God, I am really like this!” It was like coming home to who you knew

wicked, and despised. With each queer book we read and lesbian drama we watched, I discovered deep and integral parts of me debilitated and atrophied by shame. They started to heal.

A cascade of questions and doubts plagued me. If I was not heterosexual,

by the rules of others is that we live for no one. Without the willingness to bravely share who I truly was, no matter how broken, that primal quest for

Hence I navigated that precarious path of how out to be — how to stay honest to myself but not cause discomfort. My husband remained open, but my late nights and emotional distance took a great toll on our relation ship. I would return home to neatly folded laundry, well-prepared meals and enormous guilt. It was liberating and devastating all at once.

Staying with my husband seemed impossible, but the fear of being alone of me was destroying my life. I imagined cutting myself open and tearing out those parts, but when I looked closely I found they were inseparable — my queerness is fully entwined with my heart, head, and gut. I broke under the weight of this agony and spent weeks in and out of crying spells.

One day I found myself down by the tracks. The sound of a train thun dering by broke through my numbness. With a few steps, I could surrender and be free from this torment. I stepped through the thin line of brush that separated me from the tracks. They seductively glistened in the sunlight.

Another train raced by, the horn deafening. The blast of wind pushed me away. I collapsed sobbing. I needed help if I was going to survive this. Thanks to therapy, acupuncture, yoga, LGBTQ support groups and car ing friends and family, I am slowly opening the door to self-love. It is much harder for those of us on the margins. The love from others is no substitute, be they a long-time partner, new girlfriend or family member. Unlearn

promises of the straight life: be they heteronormativity, monogamy, gender conformity, the picket fence — you name it. I had to break my own heart. Only then I could

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

Left-wing candidates hurt Democratic Party

We are seeing time and time again how left-wing candidates are hurting the Democratic Party. While I agree with much of what some like Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Alexandria Oc asio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are supporting, we are seeing left-leaning candidates supported by them losing in the general election in most of the country.

While Trumpers are so much worse in what they stand for, the one similarity we are see ing, as we did in the mid-term elections, is these candidates also can’t win a general elec tion. The reality is, the majority of the country is moderate. In fact, in many areas the general election voter is moderate-leaning right.

We witnessed that last year in the Buffalo, N.Y. mayor’s race where a Democratic Socialist won the Democratic primary, and then was defeated in the election by a write-in moderate Democrat. In New York City the moderate candidate, Eric Adams, won the mayor’s race.

In the mid-term elections we have seen the same thing. A left-wing candidate can win a Democratic primary, then lose in the general election. James Hohmann recently wrote about this in the Washington Post in a column titled “The Democrats have a ‘candidate qual ity’ problem, too.” He wrote, “Consider the 5th Congressional District of Oregon. Leading Republican and Democratic operatives agree that Rep. Kurt Schrader would have handily won reelection if he’d made it to the general in a district Biden carried by nine points. But he didn’t. Instead, a more liberal Democrat, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, won the nomination in

Another example he uses is “Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) narrowly beat back a primary challenge from his left in the primary and then easily won in the fall. In a neighboring district of the Rio Grande Valley, however, outspoken liberal Michelle Vallejo beat a moderate by points. The GOP picked up a number of seats in New York state under similar circumstanc es.” I would propose Alessandra Biaggi’s primary against Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), supported by AOC, cost him the seat in the general election in the new 17th district in New York.

It’s good that Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who will most likely be the new Minority Leader, is a moderate. There is a story on ABC News about the potential new leadership of long been considered Pelosi’s heir apparent, rising through the ranks to land a perch in the party’s House leadership.”

In a statement after Pelosi’s speech on Thursday, he called her “the most accomplished” dant of enslaved people, Jeffries could be a potential history-maker himself if Democrats tion as a capable operator inside the conference with sharp media skills to sell a Democratic However, he could face some opposition from the most vocal progressives in the House, who labeled him a centrist. “I’m a Black progressive Democrat concerned with addressing career, that’s been my journey and it will continue to be as I move forward for however long I have an opportunity to serve. There will never be a moment where I bend the knee to hard-

It could easily be concluded Democrats lost the Wisconsin Senate seat because the disgusting incumbent, Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), could tie his Democratic challenger to the ‘Squad’ and bring up his original support of the slogan ‘defund the police’. While some will say newly elected Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman was also tagged with the left, he was lucky he had such a crazy Trump supported Republican like Dr. Oz to run against, and a moderate Democratic candidate for governor, Josh Shapiro, on the ticket who won big. erate congressional candidates and a moderate to head the ticket. He/she/they can be for moving forward legislation on climate change, LGBTQ equality, choice, and a host of other issues that progressives like; but they can’t be seen as left-wing or socialist. If they are, Democrats will lose.

We will lose more elections if we nominate socialists

D.C. theaters offer something for every holiday taste

From ‘Hip Hop Nutcracker’ to plenty of Scrooge


For many Washington area theatergoers, it wouldn’t be the holidays without seeing an old chestnut or two. At the same time, newer productions are rapidly becoming yuletide traditions in their own right, and with every unfolding holiday season, the DMV scene is additionally gifted with fresh and exciting works.

It’s a lot. Here’s a sampling.

National Theatre presents “A Magical Cirque Christmas” (Dec. 16-18), an evening of varied performers and spectacular double-jointed cirque artists accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live. Mistress of Magic Lucy Darling hosts this exciting and enchanting holiday entertainment for the entire family (well, almost, children under four are strictly verboten). Broadwayatthenational.com

At Synetic Theater in Crystal City, it’s “Snow Maiden” (Dec. 1 – 23) based on a 19th century folk tale about a lonely man who creates a woman out of snow and created by Helen Hayes Award-winning choreographer and Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili. Synetictheater.org

In Falls Church, Creative Cauldron is conjuring magic with “The Christmas Angel” (Dec. 2-18). Married collaborators Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith’s musical is based on a little-known 1910 novel by Abbey Farthrough a box of old toys. Creativecauldron.org

The season now upon us offers myriad opportunities to experience Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the redemptive tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, perhaps the most celebrated Christmas character after Santa, Rudolph, and the baby Jesus.

Historic Ford’s Theatre version of “A Christmas Carol” (through Dec. 31) has been a popular Washington tradition for more than 30 years. The beautifully produced and consistently well-acted take on the Dickens’ classic (originally conceived by Michael Baron), features Craig Wallace reprising Scrooge, who after a night of ghostly visits, rediscovers Christmas joy. fords.org

At Olney Theatre, Paul Morello lovingly revisits his celebrated take on the “A Christmas Carol” (through Jan. 1). In his solo adaptation of Dickens’ ghost story (created and performed by Morello), he brings to life more than 40 different characters including Scrooge, the entire Cratchit family, the specters, and numerous celebrants.

Olney is also reviving its holiday musical success “Dis-

ney’s Beauty and the Beast” through Jan. 1, and repris-

Jones as Belle and Evan Ruggiero as the Beast. Out actor Bobby Smith plays Lumiere. Marcia Milgrom Dodge directs. Olneytheatre.org

In various books and interviews, movie star Bette Davis recounts how as a young girl, she most looked forward

Christmas tradition). Perhaps you know a youth or adult, who’d like receive tickets this holiday season? The Kennedy Center Opera House is tempting audiences with a traveling production of the Broadway blockbuster “Wicked” (Dec. 8-Jan. 22), the much-loved prequel of the “Wizard of Oz.” Kennedy-center.org

Signature Theatre adds to the holiday fun with “Into the Woods” (through Jan. 29), Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s unique musical spin on treasured fairytales and “happily-ever-after.” The large, uber-talented cast features — among other big names — Nova Y. Payton, out actor David Merino, and Maria Rizzo. Matthew Gardiner directs. Sig-theatre.org

Then there’s always “The Nutcracker.” Here are four from scores of local productions.

The Washington Ballet presents its charming version at the gilded Warner Theatre through Dec. 30. With Tchaikovsky’s timeless music and splendid choreography by Septime Weber, this 1882 Georgetown-set production

and King George III, along with the usual suspects like children, rats, fairies and a mysterious godfather. Washingtonballet.org

Bethesda’s Music Center at Strathmore presents “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” (Dec. 19-22), Tchaikovsky’s classic re-imagined with MC Kurtis Blow (“White Lines”). Strathmore.org

And Kansas City Ballet’s celebrated seasonal tradition,

“The Nutcracker,” is at the Kennedy Center through Nov. 27, so you’ll need to move fast.

The beloved Puppet Co. located within Glen Echo Park presents its 34th annual “The Nutcracker” through Jan. 1. The delightful puppet show includes Tchaikovsky’s familiar music and the story of Clara and her prince, with some Puppet Co. nursery rhyme spin. (Recommended for ages 4+. Run time approximately 50 minutes.)

Running nearly concurrently at the Puppet Co. is “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” (Dec. 1-30). “Hershel just wants to celebrate Hanukkah with the community, but the Queen and King of the Goblins have forbidden the lighting of the candles. Can Hershel save the day and lift the curse for this shtetl (village)?” (Recommended ages 5+. Run time approximately 60 minutes.) Thepuppetco.org

er-ed out, Ballet Hispánico returns to the Kennedy Center with internationally renowned choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Doña Perón” (Nov. 30-Dec. 3), a truly exciting portrait of Eva “Evita” Perón. Kennedy-center.org And for something festive, edifying, and relaxed, try the National Symphony Orchestra’s “Ugly Sweater Holiday Concert” at The Anthem on Dec. 6. Go ahead, why not don something hideous and enjoy your favorite holiday songs?

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington is back with “The Holiday Show” (Dec. 3-11), an annual extravaganza that promises sparkly snow, tap dancers, and over-the-top costumes at their usual venue, the historic Lincoln Theatre in the U Street Corridor. Slated for the program are songs like “Sleigh Ride,” “Underneath the Tree,” “The 12 Rockin’ Days of Christmas,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” and “Hard Candy Christmas” performed by the full Chorus, soloists, all GMCW ensembles, and the GenOUT Youth Chorus. Gmcw.org

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents ‘The Holiday Show.’ (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
The 2022-2023 Season is sponsored by Linda Ravdin and Don Shapero. The Tempest is sponsored by Celia and Keith Arnaud, The GPS Fund, and Judy and Leo Zickler. This project is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. ON’T MISS AN UNFORGETTABLE reimagining of Shakespeare’s most enchanting romance adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller (of Penn & Teller fame). Featuring haunting music from iconic songwriter Tom Waits and mindbending moves from dance company Pilobolus— marvel in astonishing feats of magic in this dazzling LIVE performance! D


Friday, November 25

Trans Support Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This group is intended to provide emotionally and physically safe space for transgender people and those who may be questioning their gender identity and expression to join together in community and learn from one another. For more information, email supportdesk@thedccenter.org.

Women in their Twenties and Thirties will be at 8 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social discussion group for queer women in the D.C. area and is a great way to make new friends and meet other queer women in a

Saturday, November 26

Virtual Yoga Class with Charles M. will be at 12 p.m. online. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, name, email address, and zip code, along with any questions they may have. The link to the class will be sent out at 6:00p.m. the day before the event.

GoGay DC the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Admission is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Sunday, November 27

AfroCode DC will be at 3 p.m. at Decades DC. This is an experience of non-stop music, dancing and good vibes, and a crossover of genres and fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Monday, November 28

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.

Not Another Drag Show will be at 8 p.m. at Dupont Italian Kitchen. Logan Stone will host, there will also be a rotating cast of local DMV performers. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Tuesday, November 29

Genderqueer DC will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a monthly support group on Zoom for people who

“Dave Thomm & Friends’ Official Sagittarius Birthday Bash” will be at 6 p.m. at 1413 K St. There will be music performances by DJ Apollo and Mo Money, drinks, food and hookah. This event is free all night and you can RSVP on Eventbrite.

Wednesday, November 30

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seektivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email centercareers@thedccenter.org or visit www.thedccenter.org/careers.

“Queer Self-making in Neoliberal Ghana” will be at 6 p.m. at Pedro Arupe, S.J. Hall. This will be a book Queer Self-Making.” Tickets are free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Thursday, December 01

The DC Center’s Food Pantry Program will be held all day at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. To be fair with who is receiving boxes, the program is moving to a lottery system. People will be informed on Wednesday at 5 p.m. if they are picked to receive a produce box. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email supportdesk@thedccenter.org or call 202-682-2245.

API Queer Support Group Islander queer community. For more information, email supportdesk@thedccenter.org


Region prepares to mark World AIDS Day

The Washington D.C. chapter of Delta Sigma Theta will join forces with Whitman-Walker Health to commemorate World AIDS Day in a series of events on Wednesday, Nov. 30 and Thursday, Dec.1.

There will be a virtual remembrance event on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On Thursday at 10 a.m., there will be a community HIV screening at CVS Pharmacy at 845 Bladensburg Rd., N.E., and then a State of World AIDS 2022 webinar at 7 p.m., which will be hosted virtually.

All of these events are free and more details can be accessed on Eventbrite.

“World AIDS Day 2022: Solidarity for Health Equity Breakfast” will be on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. at Silver Spring Civic Building.

This event, hosted by Montgomery County Health & Human ServicesPublic Health Services- HIV/STI, will update the community on the Plan to End HIV and honor health equity champions. Guests can enjoy breakfast,

plan to end HIV.

Admission is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

The Red Print World AIDS Fashion Show will be on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at Bowie State University. This fashion show will be for HIV awareness ing artists.

Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

World AIDS Day Candelight Vigil will be at 6:30 p.m. at Alexandria City Hall. This event will be hosted by the Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS.

Admission to this event is free and more details can be accessed on Eventbrite.

Being and Belonging: VisualAIDS Day With(out) Art DC Premiere will be on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at David Bethuel Jamieson Studio House at Walbridge.

This is a program of seven short videos highlighting under-told stories of HIV and AIDS from the perspective of artists living with HIV across the world. The program features newly commissioned work by Camila Arce, Davina “Dee” Conner and Karin Hayes, Jaewon Kim, Clifford Prince King, Santiago Lemus and Camilo Acosta Huntertexas, Mikiki, and Jhoel Zempoalteca and La Jerry.

Admission to this event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

World AIDS Day featuring AIDS Memorial Quilt Panels will be on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at 1900 St. Paul St. in Baltimore.

This event will feature four panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and stories from community members in Baltimore that will help them remember and grieve.

A suggested donation of $5-$20 is encouraged to offset the cost of bringing the quilt panels to Baltimore. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more details, visit Eventbrite.

World AIDS Day Benefit 2022 will be on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Frederick Community College.

This event includes a panel of professionals, advocates, and positive community members who will have conversations that dispel myths, tackle stigma, and share information about the HIV epidemic through diverse perspectives. There will be a question and answer session and ASL interpretation will be provided.

Light snacks and beverages are also available. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

World AIDS Day arrives next week.
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‘The Peripheral’ Alexandra Billings on increasing representation in Hollywood

Alexandra Billings has been a pioneering trans per former several times over, but she tells us that her recur ring role as Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer in “The Peripheral” – Amazon Prime’s series adaptation of William Gibson’s for her.

Created by Scott B. Smith, who co-executive produced the show alongside “Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the show is a mystery-thriller set not just in one future but in two. Beyond the depressingly prescient dystopian one inhabited by protagonist Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) lies another, from which the surviv ing remnants of humanity employ advanced computer technology to reach back and alter the past. The stakes are high – there’s an apocalypse involved — and a com plicated, “Black Ops”-style secret war going on between factions struggling for control makes them even higher. Even for someone who doesn’t look for these things, the allegorical comparison with our own world is impossible

been a prime genre for making social, cultural, and po litical commentary – and author Gibson, widely credited with creating the whole “cyber-punk” genre, knows how to do it right.

Billings recently spoke with the Blade about the show, among other things. Our conversation is below:

BLADE: It’s refreshing to see you in something like this. We’re not used to seeing such strong representation in these kinds of stories.

ALEXANDRA BILLINGS: Usually, if trans characters

cisgender characters that trans people played and then they turned trans. But Lowbeer is written as a trans wom an. That was extraordinary, and it was thrilling to me.

BLADE: She’s a very strong presence.

BILLINGS: She’s kind of a guide, and she also has great power – not mystical power, or magical, but intel lectual. And that’s one of the wonderful things about this show that I want to stress – it’s very female-centric, very female-heavy. There’s gender identity that is addressed, there are women of color that have great power and great strength and intellect. These are smart, witty, competent, capable women. No female depends on any other power except their own to be able to survive in the world of this story, and I think that matters, too.

BLADE: Did you ever imagine you would be playing a part like this in a mainstream Hollywood project?


Laverne and Trace Lisette, and a couple of other people, and that was it. Every time there would be an audition for a trans person – which was usually one of us in the hospital, or going to the hospital, or getting ready to go to the hos pital, or something that had to do with the hospital – we

tle brunch club, we were like, ‘Let’s just get together after the next audition and go out. We might as well have food.’

Back then, there was just no concept of the transgender experience, because trans people were not writing any of these shows. You can’t have someone who’s never been through a lived experience pretend that they’ve lived that experience, it doesn’t make any sense. Now, with more trans writers, more trans producers and showrunners in Hollywood, things are starting to change. But this was a shock. I was shocked when I heard about this character, and really shocked when I read the script. It really is bril liant.

BLADE: That’s just one aspect of the show that feels forward-thinking. Don’t you think the whole concept of a

chord with the rise of a younger generation that is primed and ready to take the wheel?

BILLINGS: I think what this show does is that it shines

pening politically, globally, which is the takeover of righ teousness, of our idea of what is helpful to the community – and what isn’t.

We have a whole shift that is happening in the Unit ed States right now, which is a younger generation – the Gen Zs – saying ‘I don’t like the way a lot of the country talks about female empowerment, I don’t like what you’ve done to take away autonomy for female bodies or choic es, I don’t like the way you talk about gender. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t like, so I want you out.” It’s why this ‘blue wave’ happened – because of them. There was this whole conservative movement before the mid

zled out and died. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

BLADE: Let’s all hope you’re right. There’s such a dis heartening backlash in some pockets of our country over serve marriage equality.

BILLINGS: We have this whole group of people out there talking about ‘traditional marriage.’ That means

nothing. I want to tell them, ‘Nothing exists inside that container – how far back do you want to go when you say ‘traditional’, do you still want to be able to vote? Stop be ing an idiot.’

BLADE: As someone on the battle lines, what do would you like to see for the future of trans representation?

BILLINGS: We need to begin to have conversations that are so normalized about the transgender experience that we no longer talk about the transgender experience. We need to have an over-abundance of trans and non binary stories, of trans and nonbinary writers, producers, directors, creators, innovators, telling their own stories –so many of them that the cis-white-heteronormative pa happen.

BLADE: That seems like a hard sell to the people still holding onto the reins of power.

BILLINGS: When I say things like that, all of Hollywood takes a huge intake of breath. They think it’s impossible. They can’t conceive of that to be true because they think, ‘What about MY stories? What about me?’ As if there was a shortage of those.

Look at Candace Cameron, who quit Hallmark and just came out and said, ‘I’m going to honor traditional mar riage on my new channel, and those are the stories I’m going to tell.’ What she’s saying is, ‘These two heteronor mative cisgender people are the norm, that’s what we’re going to draw a circle around. Those are the only people that are going to be represented, that’s what we’re telling every single queer youth on the planet is the thing to be.’ That’s the message? so everybody else needs to move aside? That doesn’t make you a trailblazer, it makes you a coward.

BLADE: There’s another “C word” that comes to mind.

BILLINGS: (Laughing) That too.

You can watch “The Peripheral” on Amazon Prime.

ALEXANDRA BILLINGS in ‘The Peripheral.’ (Photo courtesy Amazon Prime)
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New book explores impact of family secrets

Don’t tell the children. For most families in America in the last century, that was the maxim to live by: the kids are on a need-to-know

And so what did you miss? Did you know about familial philanthropy, rebellion, embarrassment, poverty? As in did secrets between parent and child run both ways? sharp, wasn’t it?

older co-worker and, coincidentally, a serial killer loose

For nearly the rest of her life, she watched her back. out when the family imploded.

set up Skype and Zoom sessions and did one-on-one interviews with her family, to try to understand why her parents divorced, why her brother kept mostly to himself, how the family dynamics went awry, why her sister kept

And yet, it’s a ways away from the Sherlockian. Read ers know what’s ahead, we know the score before we a surprise at every turn.

one. can share with almost anyone, adult, or ally. Read it, and

‘The Family Outing: A Memoir’ By Jessi Hempel c.2022, HarperOne | $27.99 | 320 pages

For David Ambroz, 42, author of the stunning new memoir “A Place Called Home,” one of his childhood recollections is of himself and his siblings walking with Mary, their mother, on a freezing Christmas morning in New York City.

Today, Ambroz, who is gay and a foster parent, is a poverty and child welfare expert and the head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon.

But, on that morning, Ambroz remembers, when he year-old brother Alex were freezing. Mary, their mother was severely mentally ill. They were homeless.

Ambroz draws you into his searing memoir with his frightened, perceptive voice of a malnourished, shivering little boy.

As it got dark and colder, Ambroz recalls, he walked with his family, wearing “clownishly large” sneakers “plucked from the trash.”

Five-year-old Ambroz remembers that the night before his family got lucky. They had dinner (mac and cheese) at a church “with a sermon on the side.”

“We heard the story of the three kings bringing gifts

Talk about no room at the inn. (literally) worries that he and his family will die. Frozen, hungry and invisible to uncaring passersby. able to house her family in dilapidated apartments. But work. Then, her family is homeless again.

Until, he was 12, Ambroz and his siblings were abused and neglected by their mother.

games with the other kids, Ambroz likes to play “doctor” with another boy in the neighborhood.

At 12, Ambroz reports this abuse to the authorities

broz will swiftly cut through that misperception.

From ages 12 to 17, Ambroz is ricocheted through a series of abusive, homophobic foster placements.

One set of foster parents try to make him more “macho,” rent him out to work for free for their friends and withhold food from him. At another placement, a counselor watches and does nothing as other kids beat him while hurling gay slurs.

come fabulous foster parents. Ambroz has been abused that he can eat whatever he wants at their home. Through grit, hard work and his intelligence, Ambroz

intern at the White House and graduated from the UCLA

Television. But none of this came easily for him. Coming out was to reveal anything about his past (growing up homeless and in foster care) and his sexuality.

palled students, as the news comes on about Matthew his sexuality. explore his sexuality.

Telling no one, Ambroz takes a train to Miami. There, he goes home with a man (who he meets on a bus) who rapes him.

Ambroz undergo a badly botched circumcision. At one of stairs.

of it.”

“A Place Called Home” has the power of Martin Luther


Ambroz is a superb storyteller. Unless you lack a out wanting to do something to change our foster care system.

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NGLCC National Dinner

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce held its 20th annual event at the National Building Museum (Washington

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) held its 20th annual National Dinner at the National Building Museum on Friday, Nov. 18. Honorees included Erik Day of the PRIDE Employee Resource Group, Betsy Cerulo of AdNet/AccountNet, Casey Oakes of Google, the Twin Cities Quorum and Bank of America. Speakers included NGL CC co-founders Justin G. Nelson and Chance E. Mitchell as well as community advocates Dennis and Judy Shepard. Entertainment was provided by Debbie Gibson, Pepper Mashay and the youth performers of the Be A Friend Project. Blade photos by Michael Key)
NOVEMBER 25, 2022 • WASHINGTONBLADE.COM • 41 1802 -2022 SUNDAY December 11 64th Ch stmas Cand ght Ca ls 4 pm SUNDAY December 18 B e Ch stmas: A Service of Conso on 4 pm 1328 16th St NW Washington, D.C. www.firstbap st .org Saturday December 24 Ch stmas Eve Worship with Chancel Choir 4 pm SUNDAY December 25 Ch stmas Day Worship with Chancel Choir 11 am Ch stmas Season at First Baptist a wel ming and affirming ng ga on
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What homeowners are grateful for this year

Since you’re reading this over Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to write about gratitude as it pertains to real estate, so I started by Googling “gratitude, house.”

Unsurprisingly, page after page of results were links to recovery centers and residences. Sandwiched in between was a now defunct coffeeshop and yoga studio in Bandra, Mumbai. Although I applaud people who are in recovery and I like yoga, none of that hit the target of what I was looking for, so here are some of my thoughts and suggestions.

Can you be grateful for things inside, outside, and around your home? Of course you can! It might not feel as profound as expressing thanks for the people you love, or good health, or your chosen faith, but as a homeowner, you’re making memories and experiencing ups and downs that you’re

Think about the purchase of your home and the steps you went through to seal the pete with other buyers and win? Did you pay a fair price? Did you get a great interest rate? Did the loan process and settlement go smoothly? If so, be grateful.

Where you live can also be something to appreciate. Some people want a bustling urban environment with nearby amenities, such as shopping, dining, transportation, or multiple ways to exercise. Others want the tains or on a lake, with acreage, wildlife and beautiful views of all Mother Nature has to offer. Still others want a larger, more reasonably priced home in the suburbs outside the Beltway, where they can hop on a train

So, is your home situated in the neighborhood or environment you wanted? Did the schools, if important to you, meet your expectations? Is it close to (or if you prefer, far from) family members? Is your commute to work or school manageable? If you angrateful.

If you work from home, is the space pleasant and the atmosphere conducive to ensuring productivity? Is the color scheme energizing? Peaceful? Would your décor get at least an 8 out of 10 from Room Rater when you have a conference call on Zoom?

Is your home big enough to expand into as your family grows? Small enough for downsizing? Does the layout still meet your

be thankful for HGTV, the DIY channel, YouTube how-to videos, Thumbtack, and Yelp reviews.

Living through a renovation can bring out the worst in people. Weeks or months of doing dishes in the bathtub or showering at the gym can cause friction in even the most committed relationship. Once your renovation is completed, however, be grateful that your sanity withstood the trauma of living through it.

Be thankful for the things you don’t notice or think of often. Do you love the way the dining room chandelier casts light on the ceiling at night or how the sun streams in through the skylight in the early morning?

Perhaps the feature wall you added makes you smile when you come in the front door or a favorite piece of art that

Maybe you have pleasant memories of choruses of “Score” as you and your friends watch the World Cup on your 65” TV.

If you’re like me, you’re thankful that your boiler made it through last winter, that you didn’t have to patch the roof again this year, or that you found that hole in the fence and repaired it before your dog got out.

During the year, we can lose sight of the things we are grateful for, so as Elle Woods suggested in “Legally Blonde 2,” I highly recommend keeping a gratitude jar.

Use it to keep track of what you’re grateful for by writing things down and dropping those notes in the jar. Then, when you have a home anniversary or are stressed out about a renovation, when out-of-town company stays too long or when the kids draw on the walls with a Sharpie, pull out a note from the jar and read it aloud like a mantra.

Unlike the sisters of Delta Nu, however,

after reading it.


is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate / @properties. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

needs or have your needs changed? Is what you own your dream house or condo? Could it be? If you need to make
Where you live should be something to appreciate





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