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washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 12 - march 25, 2011

washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 12 - march 25, 2011

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Elizabeth Taylor, DOMA, Murder, Trans Bill, Cherry, Tennessee Williams, Gay News, Gay Arts, Gay Entertainment, Gay Nightlife, Gay Classifieds
Elizabeth Taylor, DOMA, Murder, Trans Bill, Cherry, Tennessee Williams, Gay News, Gay Arts, Gay Entertainment, Gay Nightlife, Gay Classifieds

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on Mar 24, 2011
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04/27/2012

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Va. B&B changes policy, will allow gay couples to stay
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
In an abrupt change of policy, owners of a Virginia bed and breakfast now say they will accept res-ervations from same-sex couples, after an online report in the Blade this week revealed a gay couple’sclaims of being denied a room at the inn.Russell Williams, 56, of Hanover, Pa., said his spouse, David Schaefer, 54, tried to make reserva-tions in late February at Stafford House in Fairfax, Va., as part of a trip for the wedding of their nephew.However, they said they were denied a room over the phone on the basis of their relationship.“So they, in that conversation — they ascertained that this was two men,” Williams said. “It’s a hus-band-and-wife operation. The wife was on the phone with David, and she said, ‘Well, we don’t acceptnon-traditional couples.’”Williams, who married Schaefer fi ve years ago in Boston after being together 35 years, said hisspouse tried to “push back a bit” on the Stafford House owner, but she remained fi rm in denying thereservation. Williams, a racehorse breeder, said the owner also told Schaefer, a physician, that unmar-ried opposite-sex couples would be unable to obtain a reservation.
localnews
Transgender biasbill clears hurdlein Maryland House assession winds down.
PAGE 2
socialagenda
Spring’s arrival meansit’s time for the annualCherry Fund parties.The fun kicks off next week.
PAGE 25
the lgbtq community news source
 washingtonblade.com • vol. 42, issue 12 • march 25, 2011 • Still sharp after 40 years
Legacy lives on at D.C. medicalcenter bearing her name
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
The death of Elizabeth Taylor on Wednesday drew expressions ofsadness and admiration from AIDS and LGBT activists in D.C., whosaid they were honored that the city’s Whitman-Walker Clinic build-ing that bears her name would serve as a local legacy to the famousactress.Taylor, a two-time Academy Award-winning actress who starred inmore than 50 fi lms over a period of nearly 70 years, died at a hospitalin Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. She was 79.“She was an extraordinary personality and it’s a wonderful feelingthat we have a little part of her legacy right here on 14th Street, saidgay D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).Graham served as executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinicin November 1993, when Taylor came to D.C. for a ceremony to dedi-cate the Clinic’s main building for patient services as the ElizabethTaylor Medical Center.The building is located at 1701 14th St., N.W.Graham and Cornelius Baker, then executive director of the D.C.-
At last, room at the inn
Liz Taylor hailed for LGBT and AIDS activism
nationalnews
Advocates push Obama to advance anti-bullying legislation.
PAGE 10 Continues on page 12 Continues on page 14
viewpoint
More reaction to the failure of Maryland marriage bill.
PAGES 16 & 17Visit washingtonblade.com for a photo gallery of ElizabethTaylor’s visits to D.C.
America’sbard
Legendary gay playwrightTennessee Williams ishonored with local festivalmarking his 100th birthday.
PAGE 21
Elizabeth Taylor
had a long association with Washington, from her marriage to Sen. John Warner to her AIDS activ-ism and support of the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
Washington Blade fi le photo by Doug Hinckle
 
LOCAL
NEWS
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 ofce building with fi rst-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.
obituary
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.lchibbaro@washblade.com
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 sherst 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
clears subcommittee
 
march 25, 2011 • washingtonblade.com 3

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