2 washingtonblade.com • march 25, 2011
D.C. LGBT Center to be displaced again
The planned construction of a new hotel could force the D.C. LGBT community center out of itscurrent storefront location at 1318 U St., N.W., as soon as June 2012, according to Center executivedirector David Mariner.Mariner said the Center’s landlord, JBG Properties, just informed him that it could no longer renewleases of tenants along the 1300 block of U Street beyond June 2012. He said JBG ofﬁ cials cited plans todemolish all buildings along more than half of the south side of the block, including the Center’s building,to make way for the hotel.“We don’t know the exact date because we don’t know what the timeline for the construction willbe,” Mariner said. “We could be asked to leave as soon as June 2012, and that will be right beforethe international AIDS conference,” he said.The Center, among other things, will host the National Gay Men’s Health Summit set to coincidewith the international AIDS conference, which begins in July 2012. “We’re looking forward to bring-ing a lot of gay, bisexual and transgender men to D.C. to talk about gay men’s health, and hopefullywe’ll have a place to do it.”Mariner said that while the Center continues to grow it is not yet capable of purchasing its ownbuilding without help from the city. City ofﬁ cials have said the city’s current ﬁ nancial problems, in-cluding a large projected budget deﬁ cit, prevents the city from providing the Center with funds tobuy a building at this time.One proposal being discussed, according to Mariner, is for the city to give the Center free spaceor space at below market rent in the nearby Reeves Center, a city-owned ofﬁ ce building with ﬁ rst-ﬂ oor retail space. The Reeves Center is located at the corner of 14th and U streets, N.W., one blockfrom the U Street Metro Station.
— LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Rehoboth official cited for ‘conflict’ in patio crackdown
The Delaware State Public Integrity Commission has issued an opinion stating that a Rehoboth Beachcity commissioner who initiated a city crackdown against the use of outdoor patios by bars and restaurantsmay have violated a state conﬂ ict of interest law.Several establishments that cater to a gay clientele, including the popular restaurant and barAqua Grill, were among the establishments targeted in a Labor Day weekend crackdown againstlate night use of outdoor patios. A city ordinance bars use of outdoor patios after 10 p.m. for drinkingand after 11 p.m. for dining in accordance with a separate city noise ordinance. The ordinance hadnot been widely enforced prior to the crackdown.Rehoboth police arrested the Aqua Grill’s co-owner during the crackdown, even though the es-tablishment was exempt from the patio ordinance. The ordinance includes a “grandfather clause”exempting establishments in business prior to the enactment of the ordinance.The city’s police chief joined other city ofﬁ cials and the head of the Rehoboth LGBT communitycenter, Camp Rehoboth, in saying the crackdown was not aimed at gay establishments.The PIC said in an advisory opinion that Rehoboth Commissioner Stan Mills should not havelobbied city ofﬁ cials to take action against establishments thought to be in violation of the patio or-dinance because he owns a bed and breakfast business located next to one establishment with apatio – the gay bar Blue Moon.According to Delmarva Now, an online news outlet, Mills walked around the town on Labor Day week-end last year to observe which establishments were violating the patio ordinance and reported to cityofﬁ cials that about a dozen of them were in violation. He then urged police to begin enforcing the ordi-nance, Delmarva Now reported.
— LOU CHIBBARO JR.
David Michael Womack, 45
David Michael Womack died March 18 at age 45 at his home in Shepherdstown, W.Va., surroundedby those he loved. The family is not sure about his cause of death.Born in 1965 and raised in Huntsville, Ala., as an adult, Womack traveled widely, living in many placesincluding Mobile Ala., Silver Spring Md., and most recently, D.C., Palm Springs, Calif., and Shepherdstown.Womack, who was gay, was an LGBT activist and formerly worked as an accountant for the HumanRights Campaign. He retired in 2008 to focus on his health. His husband of six years, Ian Gibson-Smith,remembered Womack’s “brilliant mind and quirky sense of humor” and said Womack was, “always armedwith a joke or well-placed zinger.”“He referred to himself as a misanthropic curmudgeon and never met a stranger he did not want toget to know better,” Gibson-Smith said. “David was a passionate, life-long learner with varied talentsand interests including pottery, ﬁ ber-arts, sculpting, writing and cooking. An eclectic reader, Davidcould usually be found curled up with yet another obscure book on art, philosophy, history, or socialtheory. Even at the end of his life David was organizing the myriad of books he still hoped to read.”Womack is survived by his husband; his mother, Martha Delaney of Huntsville, Ala.; sisters Lisa Eastand Holly Snow also of Huntsville; his niece Samantha East of Salt Lake City, Utah; his husband’s par-ents, Clifford and Valerie Smith; and his sister-in-law, Julia Lam, and two nephews, Collin and DuncanLam of Shepherdstown. Womack was preceded in death by his stepfather, Frank Delaney.A wake is set for Saturday in Martinsburg, W.Va. A memorial service is planned for next month inAlabama. In lieu of ﬂ owers, Womack requested friends give blood in his memory. Or memorial con-tributions can be made to Hospice of the Panhandle, 122 Waverly Court, Martinsburg, WV, 25403 orthe IanThom Foundation, 39 Stagshead Court, Martinsburg, WV 25404.
— JOEY DiGUGLIELMO
Gender identitymeasure must passfull House by Mondayto stay alive
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.firstname.lastname@example.org
A bill pending before the Mary-land Legislature that would bandiscrimination in employment andhousing for transgender peoplecleared its ﬁ rst hurdle Wednes-day when a subcommittee of theHouse of Delegates voted 5-3 toapprove it.The bill was expected to comeup for a vote on Thursday or earlyFriday before the House of Del-egates Committee on Health andGovernment Operations as law-makers scramble to completework on dozens of bills.Transgender activist DanaBeyer, who ran unsuccessfullyfor a seat in the House of Del-egates last year, said the sub-committee approved at leasttwo “minor” technical amend-ments that don’t change thesubstantive language of the bill.Members of the House of Del-egates, including the bill’s spon-sors, were in session Wednes-day afternoon at Blade presstime and could not be reachedto conﬁ rm the contents of theamendments.Under a longstanding ruleof the legislature, the genderidentity bill along with all otherbills pending in the House ofDelegates must be approvedby the full House by midnightMonday, March 28, in order to“cross over” to the State Senatefor consideration. Bills that fail towin approval by the deadline areconsidered dead for the year.All Senate bills similarly mustbe completed and approved bythat date in order to survive to beconsidered by the House.LGBT activists following thegender identity measure say theyare reasonably certain it will winapproval in the Health and Gov-ernment Operations Committee.They say they’re hopeful it willwin approval by the full House.“The votes look very good,”said Morgan Meneses-Sheets,executive director of the statewideLGBT group Equality Maryland.“But of course we are keeping upour grassroots organizing to main-tain the support and are conﬁ dentit will come out of the House in timefor the cross over deadline.”Other sources familiar withthe legislature, who requestedthat they not be identiﬁ ed, wereless certain about the bill’schances in the full House. Theysaid many delegates were stillreeling over the tense debateon March 11 over a same-sexmarriage bill that was withdrawnfrom consideration and sentback to committee after sup-porters determined it didn’t havethe votes to pass.Meneses-Sheets said thatwhile opposition to the genderidentity bill is signiﬁ cant amongsome of the same groups andconservative activists who op-posed the marriage equality bill,the intensity of the oppositionisn’t as strong.“This bill comes during tougheconomic times and is verymuch viewed as a commonsense anti-discrimination poli-cy,” she said. “It’s about peopleworking and earning a living.And I think it resonates with law-makers.”Some transgender activistsare opposing the bill on groundsthat it doesn’t include protec-tions for public accommoda-tions, such as hotels, healthclubs and public bathrooms.Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk(D-Prince George’s County), theauthor and lead sponsor of thebill, said she removed a publicaccommodations provision fromthe bill after determining it couldnot clear a committee vote withthe provision intact. She notedthat the bill failed to clear thecommittee every year since sheﬁ rst introduced the measure in2007.The bill’s approval in subcom-mittee on Wednesday markedthe ﬁ rst time it has been ap-proved by any component of theMaryland Legislature.Meneses-Sheets said if the billclears the committee this week,as she expects it will, it wouldlikely come before the full Houseof Delegates late Friday or overthe weekend as lawmakers rushto complete dozens of bills beforethe March 28 deadline.She said she was also conﬁ -dent that the bill would clear acommittee of the State Senatewithin the next week or two andwould win approval in the fullSenate. All bills must be com-pleted in their respective bodiesby April 11, when the legislatureadjourns for the year.Gov. Martin O’Malley has saidhe would sign the gender iden-tity bill.
Md. trans rights bill