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custody fight district escalates agenda
Arrest warrant sought for ‘ex-gay’ parent of missing 7-year-old Va. girl. PAGE 5 D.C. Jail guards accused of beating gay inmate now in protective custody. PAGE 8
N.J. vote on marriage comes as new GOP guv prepares to take office vowing veto. PAGE 10
dcagenda.com • vol. 2, issue 2 • january 8, 2010
Council candidate provides tip in D.C. gay murder
Victim may have been target of criminal in Congress Heights
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org A gay man who was shot to death in his car in Southeast Washington last week may have been the target of a thug who’s “terrorizing” the Congress Heights neighborhood where he was killed, according to a local minister who is running for a seat on the D.C. City Council. Rev. Anthony Motley said a mutual friend told him that the murder of Anthony J. Perkins, 29, may be linked to an unidentified man believed to be responsible for a string of robberies that Perkins learned about. Motley said the robbery suspect may have thought Perkins was about to report him to police. Perkins was found dead in his car at Fourth and Oakwood streets, S.E., at 5:15 a.m. on Dec. 27. “According to my sources, Anthony received a call that morning and left his house to go meet someone,” Motley told DC Agenda in an E-mail. “It is said that the individual Anthony knew who was robbing people had become paranoid that Anthony would talk. It’s assumed that is why he was shot.” Homicide Detective John Bolden, one of the investigators working on the case, said police have no motive for the killing and had no suspects as of earlier this week. Bolden said investigators were looking forward to talking with the mutual friend that Motley mentioned in his e-mail to the Agenda, with the hope that this individual could provide an important lead in the case. Homicide squad Lt. Paul Wingate said police have no evidence so far to indicate the murder was a hate crime. Police and Christopher Dyer, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, have been distributing fliers that include a photo of Perkins to local LGBT organizations and activists, asking for help in identifying the person or people responsible for Perkins’ death. Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the homicide squad office at 202-645-9600 or the 24-hour police hotline at 202-7279099. Similar to all D.C. homicides, police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect linked to Perkins’ murder. In a statement released the day of the murder, police said they found Perkins, whom they described as a “shooting victim,” seated inside his
Photo courtesy of Metro D.C. Police
Photo courtesy of American Foundation for Equal Rights
Anthony Perkins, who’s gay, was shot and killed last week in his car in Southeast Washington. Police have no official motive and have made no arrests in the case.
Attorneys Ted Olson (left) and David Boies are representing plaintiffs in the case against California’s Proposition 8.
Prop 8 trial begins Monday
Case to overturn same-sex marriage ban may be televised
By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com The eyes of LGBT rights supporters will be on the proceedings of a California federal court case next week that could overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage — and possibly similar bans throughout the country. The trial in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger will begin Monday. Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of California will preside and has called for expedited proceedings because of the serious nature of the complaints raised by plaintiffs. During the trial, Walker will consider witness testimony, documents and other evidence and arguments from both sides over the constitutionality of Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. The amendment was approved in 2008 through voter referendum. Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies are representing plaintiff couples that were denied marriage licenses in California because of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. While it’s the first time these lawyers have worked together on a
Cast of 'REAL WORLD D.C.' returns to town for premiere party. Page 20
Don't miss first locally staged production of 'RENT.' Page 21
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The DC Council, the Mayor, and the Coalition Partners who have worked to secure marriage-equality for all DC residents. ACLU AFL-CIO, Pride at Work DC Chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality DC Coalition of Black LGBT Men and Women DC for Democracy DC for Marriage DC Young Democrats Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance Gay District Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Human Rights Campaign National Black Justice Coalition National Center for Lesbian Rights National Center for Transgender Equality National Center for Transgender Rights National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Organization for Women PFLAG National The Rainbow Families
We also thank the individual advocates and supporters who have done their part to make sure that home rule and DC’s Human Rights Act is honored and respected. The Campaign For All DC Families represents a diverse coalition of District of Columbia residents working to win and secure (civil) marriage equality. With your help we pledge to protect our hard won victory. To join the Campaign and become a part of history go to www.alldcfamilies.com and sign up today. Together we will work to win the court battles yet to come, ensure that Congress doesn’t override the votes of our duly elected officials, and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to see that the District of Columbia is a place where all people will enjoy equal rights.
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Fisette elected Arlington Board chair
The Arlington County Board, which serves as the Northern Virginia county’s governing body, elected gay Board member Jay Fisette as its chair for 2010 during a Jan. 1 meeting. Fisette was first elected to the Board in 1997 and previously served as chair in 2001 and 2005. He drew media attention at the board’s New Year’s Day meeting last week when he announced a far-reaching energy saving proposal for the county that calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by residents and businesses. “Just as we have plans for land use and transportation, we need a plan for energy use,” Fisette said in his inaugural speech. “It is the Arlington way to involve the whole community in the important decisions on our county’s future, and I hope this sets a blueprint for Arlington’s long-term sustainability and competitiveness.” Under Fisette’s proposal, which the board endorsed, the Board member will lead a 28member task force that will make recommendations in early 2011 for specific goals and strategies for reducing Arlington’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In November, Fisette won election to his third four-year term on the Arlington Board. Each member of the five-person board is elected by the residents to a county-wide, at-large seat. The county’s population is estimated at 210,000. Fisette, a Democrat, has been a longtime advocate for LGBT rights in Virginia on the county and state level. The gay-supportive Arlington County government adopted an ordinance more than a decade ago that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. Although he supported losing Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor’s race in November, Fisette said he’s hopeful that Republican victor Bob McDonnell will keep his promise of opposing discrimination against LGBT citizens. He noted that McDonnell claimed in his 2009 campaign to have broken from his record of hostility toward LGBT rights in favor of a policy of “moderation.” “I’m hopeful that he will be the one he claimed he is in the campaign,” Fisette said. “All I can say is I’m hopeful he will govern as fairly and effectively as possible.” LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Photo courtesy of GLAD
An arrest warrant is being sought for Lisa Miller, the ‘ex-gay’ advocate who is believed to have disappeared with the daughter she shares with Janet Jenkins.
Arrest warrant sought in lesbian parental custody dispute
7-year-old girl missing as interstate clash escalates
By Harley Dennett Special to DC Agenda An arrest warrant for Virginia resident Lisa Miller was likely to be issued this week, according to lawyers involved in her child custody dispute that has become a focal point in the nation’s same-sex parenting debate. Miller’s former partner, Janet Jenkins, came forward Monday with a plea to help find her 7year-old daughter, Isabella, after Miller failed to return her by a Jan. 1 deadline set by Rutland Family Court in Vermont. “I am so worried about Isabella. I do not know where she is or whether she is OK,” Jenkins said in a statement. Jenkins said she and Miller were involved throughout Isabella’s conception, birth and early years. But Miller, who claimed she was no longer a lesbian and became an “ex-gay” advocate after the couple separated, denied this during court proceedings to dissolve their civil union and arrange custody of Isabella. “My goal has never been to separate Isabella from Lisa,” Jenkins said. “I just want Isabella to know and love both of her parents. I just want to be with her, like any parent.” Her lawyers in Vermont, including Sarah Star and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said they were disappointed the transfer of custody did not occur as ordered. “We’ve petitioned the court to issue a bench warrant because of Lisa’s continued refusal to comply with the custody order,” Jennifer Levi, a GLAD senior attorney, told DC Agenda. “The Rutland Family Court has been very responsive to this contempt [of court] concern that Janet has raised and could order pretty quickly.” Judge William Cohen, who has handled the case from the beginning, was to rule on the bench warrant. No decision was announced before Agenda deadline. Liberty Council, which represents Miller, filed an appeal with the Vermont Supreme Court, but it was not known if that appeal would continue if Miller’s whereabouts continued to be unknown. Miller’s lawyers in Virginia, including Liberty University Dean of Law Mathew Staver, did not return the Agenda’s calls or e-mails this week. Miller previously told Newsweek: “I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with [Jenkins], and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit. There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game.” The court had awarded Jenkins full custody last year after Miller failed to comply with an earlier custody order giving Jenkins access to their daughter. Police in Virginia’s Fairfax County this week declined Jenkins’ requests to help find Isabella. Missing persons police reports were filed in Fairfax and Bedford counties, where Isabella lived and went to school. The Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Jenkins in that state’s Supreme Court case over jurisdiction of the Vermont court orders, said the issue has been settled and that Virginia law enforcement should respect the Rutland Family Court’s custody ruling. Rebecca Glenberg, the ACLU Virginia branch’s legal director, said Miller had shown herself to have no respect for the rule of law and the matter was no longer about non-biological parenting. Lambda Legal, which also has supported Jenkins throughout the case, said their main concern is the safety of Isabella. “Our client has done everything she can as a loving parent to work within the system to protect her child,” said Greg Nevins, a Lambda Legal senior attorney. “Lisa Miller has repeatedly defied court orders and her behavior has been outrageous and harmful.” Conservative and “ex-gay” groups rallied to defend Miller after the case became public in 2004, launching the Protect Isabella Coalition. Concerned Women of America and the National Organization for Marriage have, in the past, criticized the Vermont judge. But this week, Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage president, said it was a tragedy all around and didn’t blame either party. “I have sympathy for the pre-eminent claims of natural parents versus legal parents, when the natural mother is a fit parent (which nobody has denied in this case). But we have to be a nation ruled by laws, even when those laws may be unjust,” Gallagher said in an e-mail to the Catholic News Agency.
Md. retains gender change option for driver’s licenses
Equality Maryland is welcoming the Maryland Vehicle Administration’s decision to retain — at least for now — its existing system for changing gender markers on driver’s licenses. The department was considering revising its policy so that amended birth certificates were required to initiate the license update. But in an e-mail to Equality Maryland, the MVA said the policy scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 would not be enacted. “MVA believes that the current policy on gender designation, which has been in practice for almost a decade, is secure and the procedures we have adopted ensures reasonable accommodation for individuals who are making a gender transition change,” says the e-mail. “At this time, MVA is not effecting a change to that policy.” But the e-mail notes that “written legal advice” from state Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office “clearly states that MVA’s current policy does not meet all statutory requirements” and work on the issue continues. Under current state policy, Marylanders can change the gender marker on their driver’s license by providing a physician or psychologist report confirming they are in treatment. The MVA requires annual re-evaluations until the person “meets requirements for permanent gender change.” Under the proposed change, an amended birth certificate would have been required. Birth certificates can be thusly amended only after gender reassignment surgery is completed. Equality Maryland said in a statement that it was pleased the MVA halted “implementation of this dangerous policy change” and is allowing “for constructive dialogue.” “There is still work to do,” says the statement, “but for now, let’s take a moment to celebrate.” JOSHUA LYNSEN
Photo by Nancy Mulliner; courtesy of the Kennedy Center
'SHEAR MADNESS,' an audience-participation whodunnit playing now at the Kennedy Center, was the scene of a same-sex marriage proposal on Christmas. Hughesville, Md., residents Jimmy Evans, fourth from left in the back row, and Brandon Hayes, seated, used the occasion to solidify their relationship. The two have been dating since March and had talked of tying the knot. Hayes said he didn't want a cliched proposal, so Evans got the idea to work his proposal into 'Shear Madness.' Evans had seen the show several times before and knew its non-existent fourth wall might give him a chance to propose in an unexpected way. He contacted the Kennedy Center and found the show's personnel excited about the notion. The actors worked the proposal into the second act and Hayes accepted. The two are seen here with the cast. From left are actors Aaron Shields, Tierman Medorno, Bolton Marsh, Evans, Danny Devlin, Taryn Evans (Evans' daughter), Rick Hammerly, Brigid Cleary, Hayes and Chelsea Evans (another daughter of Evans'). Evans says he was a nervous wreck as the moment approached. It brought tears and well wishes from many in the audience. Evans and Hayes met on match.com. — JOEY DIGUGLIELMO
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Unfinished business as lawmakers prepare to convene
Equality Maryland exec talks marriage and more as legislative session nears
By STEVE CHARING Special to DC Agenda In the two and a half months since her appointment, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, the new executive director of Equality Maryland, has been visiting cities and towns across the state and introducing herself to the LGBT community. Now, as the 2010 Maryland legislative session approaches — with significant unfinished business as it relates to LGBT issues — the DC Agenda, in partnership with Baltimore OUTLoud, sat down with Meneses-Sheets to talk about the political landscape and the strategies her organization intends to employ to advance pro-LGBT legislation. The 2010 session begins Jan. 13 and runs through April 12. Equality Maryland’s Lobby Day is scheduled for Feb. 8 in Annapolis. Agenda: Since you were selected for the position of executive director at Equality Maryland, you have been going non-stop on a statewide tour, meeting people and organizations. How has this been valuable to you? Morgan Meneses-Sheets: I am committed to ensuring that Equality Maryland truly represents the needs and interests of Maryland’s LGBT community. Attending community events and making presentations has enabled me to start to build strong partnerships and have authentic conversations about the future of our organization and the LGBT movement. The welcome receptions have been my coming out parties to introduce me to the community as the new director. They have offered me an opportunity to emphasize that we have a strong team in place and we are ready to get it done. Agenda: You were successful in building a nationwide advocacy program from the ground up when you were with the Amputee Coalition of America. How did that experience, plus the experience gained from the other positions you held, prepare you for your role at Equality Maryland? Meneses-Sheets: From day one with the ACA, I was charged with building a strong, grassroots network that would have the ability to generate enough pressure to impact the policy making process in each of the state legislatures. We were successful in passing over a dozen different bills to enhance access to care. It was all about doing the work to engage and develop our local supporters, identify and cultivate relationships with potential partners and being strategic each step of the way. In January, we are launching the Equality Maryland Vision Task Force. The task force will be comprised of thought-leaders in various areas including development, communications, organizing and program development. The goal of the Task Force is to work with us to create a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure that we not only have the key votes, but marriage recognition for same-sex couples. The Court of Appeals left in place lower courts’ rulings applying New York’s marriage recognition rule to marriages of same-sex couples. According to a recent poll sponsored by Equality Maryland, for the first time a majority of Marylanders support passage of the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act. We are currently working with a number of funders and partners to launch a wide-scale plan to engage with partners in communities of color and communities of faith, as well as to build on our past successes with the Pride in Faith initiative and our strong partnership with the Maryland Black Family Alliance. We have had some setbacks this year, but we have also had some huge steps forward. It is going to take time and hard work, but we are confident that equality will win out in the end. We are fighting for civil rights. That has never been easy, but it is certainly worth it. Agenda: Besides marriage equality and transgender protection, what other legislation are you hoping to pass this year? And would you be willing to accept civil unions at this time? Meneses-Sheets: Civil unions provide no guarantee that the protections will travel with them to other states. They are second-class protections. Equality under the law for same-sex couples means equal marriage rights. The same social, legal and financial benefits currently afforded to heterosexual couples in Maryland can only be replicated for same-sex couples by granting the same marriage license. While we are still working with our legislative committee to finalize our agenda for 2010, there are a number of important issues that we would like to support in addition to anti-discrimination protections and marriage equality. The Maryland Family Medical Leave Act would allow people to utilize leave for their brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner. Family leave can be used to provide care to family members with serious health conditions or in the case of the birth of a child. Agenda: You and your wife Rae married in Vermont … with the hope that, until marriage equality is passed here, Maryland will recognize our marriages from other jurisdictions. Now our next-door neighbor, Washington, D.C., is poised to [enact] same-sex marriages. We’ve been waiting a long time for Attorney General Doug Gansler to issue an opinion on whether Maryland can recognize our marriages. What’s holding the decision up? And what is Equality Maryland doing to put pressure on Gansler? Meneses-Sheets: Many couples around our great state have made the trip to places like California, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut to get a marriage license. But when they return home, this piece of paper may be suitable for framing, but does not come with any of the 400 or so benefits provided by the state for other married couples. Equality Maryland has been working in coalition with groups like the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights to conduct research on past precedent and work with local legal scholars to submit supporting information and analysis to the Attorney General’s office as part of this process. In November, we also solicited stories and pictures from local folks who received licenses in other states to submit as part of the public comment process. There is legal precedent in the state of Maryland to honor the licenses of couples validly married elsewhere. The Attorney General’s opinion will determine the legal possibility of building on that precedent to honor the licenses from other states or countries. The decision is pending. Agenda: What are you hearing about the timing of the opinion’s release? Meneses-Sheets: In a recent interview with WTOP Mr. Gansler suggested , that the opinion would come out either before the session or early in the session. While we are all anxious to hear back, we know first hand from our recent dealings with the AG’s office around the [Maryland Vehicle Administration] issue that they are bombarded with new requests and obligations every week as part of helping to do the business of the state. The initial analysis by many prominent legal experts suggests that we are in a strong position as a state to provide legal recognition of out-of-state licenses. We are holding out for a positive opinion. Agenda: What will be the impact of the legalization of same-sex marriage in D.C.? Meneses-Sheets: This will be just one step in our journey toward full equality. Now that LGBT couples can obtain a marriage license by simply traveling to the District, Maryland must move forward in not only recognizing out-of-state marriages, but we must also pass the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act. Agenda: Let’s talk about Lobby Day, which is a significant event in the quest to gain equal rights in Maryland. There are those who have criticized the rally in the past for its declining turnout and logistical snafus, particularly in lighting and sound at the rally. Are there any steps you plan to take to remedy these concerns for the Feb. 8 event? Meneses-Sheets: We had a record turnout in 2007 as part of the push around the Court opinion. After the very disappointing ruling, some folks were quite disempowered, but in recent months we have really seen an increase in excitement and commitment from our activists. Maryland is on a short list of states that have the potential to enact true marriage equality in the next couple of years. We just received a two-year grant to support enhancing our organizing around equal protections for transgender Marylanders. We are truly on the cusp of making sweeping changes, so we have an obligation to do all we can to not only build support, but also demonstrate the strong support for our legislative priorities. Lawmakers need to talk with their
Photo by Steve Charing
Photo courtesy Maryland state government
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland also create true and lasting equality throughout the Free State. Agenda: We head into 2010 with some restrained hopes based on the experience here in Maryland over the past several years concerning the signature issue of marriage equality. Is there any reason to be more hopeful this time around and if so, why? Meneses-Sheets: We have built a strong foundation, but there is still work to be done. 2010 is a build year. We have to really invest in building a network of pro-equality activists, public officials and religious leaders through education and outreach efforts. We are working to design an ambitious and sophisticated PAC plan to ensure the election of candidates who believe in fairness and equality. This year is about building momentum and putting the plans and tactics in place to take us through the elections into a legislative victory. We are also already laying out a wide-ranging strategy to ensure that we have the necessary public support to beat back a referendum aimed at rolling back our gains. Activists must not only remain hopeful, but also be committed. We need Marylanders and all of our supporters to be in this with us for the long haul. Agenda: We had a mixed year in 2009 concerning LGBT rights, especially marriage equality. New states legalized it while another, Maine, had it stripped away at the ballot box. And in New York it was defeated in a disheartening vote by the Senate. What lessons, if any, have you drawn from these two significant defeats? Meneses-Sheets: We have certainly had our share of ups and downs over the past year, but the mere fact that our issues have been front and center in the public arena is a sign of progress. People are talking about LGBT equality. Lawmakers are really digging in on our issues in state legislatures, county councils and Congress. The loss in Maine was devastating and yet we must remember that we lost by less than 30,000 votes. That is huge! New York was a disappointment and yet the week before the loss in the Senate, New York was also the site of a big step forward in case law. The New York Court of Appeals issued a favorable ruling on
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is expected to release in about a month an opinion on whether state law should recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions constituents. They need to hear our stories — otherwise we are letting our opposition tell them who we are. Agenda: We have a Democratic governor, the leaders of both legislative chambers are Democrats, and the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly are Democrats. We have made some important progress over the past four years or so, yet we cannot seem to wrest the two remaining big bills — marriage equality and transgender protections — from committee. Is there a strategy in place to move the bills so at least there could be an up-or-down vote? Meneses-Sheets: While we should maintain perspective on the recent setbacks, we also have to realize that each loss gives our opposition another opportunity to claim a victory and gain ground. We are truly making progress, but we have to be smart about each step that we take. We have to lay the groundwork so that we can not only win on our important issues, but also protect and maintain those wins. We are taking the time to really think through every tactic, every target and every step along the way. We will work to generate pressure at the grassroots level to push for cosponsors and really ramp up support for our key issues. In many ways, 2010 will be a building year. We have work to do to continue to educate lawmakers, increase our organizing efforts and build the campaign we need to not only win, but also protect our victories. Agenda: Does Equality Maryland plan any face-to-face meetings with the governor and/or Senate and House leaders on these issues? Meneses-Sheets: We have been working with the governor’s office around the MVA issue. We have also reached out to a number of leaders in the Assembly and Senate as we work to prepare for the upcoming session. We will continue to leverage every opportunity to sit down with key stakeholders and partners as we work to advance our legislative priorities. Steve Charing is managing editor of Baltimore OUTLoud and can be reached via baltimoreoutloud.com.
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D.C. Jail guards accused of beating gay inmate
Family members denied request to visit while in ‘protective custody’
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org A 39-year-old gay man being held in the D.C. Jail has accused jail guards of severely beating him last month, saying they carried him, handcuffed, down three flights of stairs while deliberately knocking his head against the walls and handrails. The gay inmate, John Burrows, a D.C. resident, gave a detailed account of the incident to his mother and sister, who released the information this week to the DC Agenda. “They handcuffed his hands behind his back and handcuffed his feet, picked him up and carried him down three flights of steps and in the process they were banging his head against the railings and into the wall,” said Margaret Groat, Burrows’ sister, in an e-mail. “[T]hey beat him in the stairwell and choked him,” she said. “I think they were trying to kill him. He has two black eyes, a concussion; he still can’t feel three of his fingers from the handcuffs being so tight.” A spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Corrections, which oversees the jail, said the Dec. 17 incident was under investigation and the department had no immediate comment. “Please be advised that this matter is currently under investigation by the Department of Corrections,” said department spokesperson Sylvia Lane in an email to the Agenda. “There is no further information available at this time.” Groat said Burrows gave a detailed description of the incident in two letters he mailed to their mother, Judy Burrows. She said her brother noted in one of his letters that the beating may have been triggered when he threw a bar of soap at one of the guards after the guard “harassed” him. According to Groat, jail officials have refused to allow her and her mother to contact John Burrows by phone and informed them that they could not visit him at the jail. “They said they put him in protective custody and that he can’t have any visitors until Jan. 27 at the earliest,” Groat said. Lane did not respond by press time to questions by the Agenda about why D.C. Jail officials placed Burrows in protective custody and have refused to allow his sister and mother to visit him. Mafara Hobson, a spokesperson for Mayor Adrian Fenty, said she would look into the matter. But she added, “Ms. Lane is correct in that the matter is under investigation, so we can’t comment further on the incident.” When informed about Burrows’ alleged jail beating, D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who chairs the Council committee that oversees the jail and Department of Corrections, said he,
Victim remembered as ‘very generous and kind person’
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car on the 2900 block of Fourth St., S.E. The statement says the car had steam billowing from its engine when officers responded to reports of the sound of gunfire. A nearby resident identified the vehicle as a Lincoln Towncar. “D.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department personnel responded to the scene, but could find no life signs,” says the statement. Perkins lived with his mother on the 1800 block of T Street, S.E., about two to three miles from the location where he was killed. “I have known Anthony for more than a decade,” Motley said in his e-mail to the Agenda. “Anthony would attend my ministry on a regular basis.” He called Perkins “a very good singer” who sometimes sang during church services. “Anthony was a very generous and kind person,” Motley said. “He loved people and was always concerned about his mother and her well being.” Motley said that it was through a mutual friend, who he did not identify, that he learned Perkins “was made aware of some information regarding an individual who was terrorizing the neighborhood and robbing people, especially at ATMs.” The unidentified man said to have committed the robberies “lived very close to where Anthony was shot,” Motley said the mutual friend told him. Motley, a long-time Democrat, announced last spring that he would become an independent candidate in the November 2010 general election for one of two at-large Council seats currently held by Council members Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and David Catania (I-At Large). Catania is one of two openly gay members of the Council. Veteran D.C. gay and Ward 8 civic activist Phil Pannell, who was recently elected president of the Congress Heights Civic Association, said Motley has been supportive of LGBT rights. Pannell said he did not know Perkins, but recognized him from the police photo as someone who may have patronized one or more of the city’s gay bars. Deputy Police Chief Diane Groomes told the Agenda that the police’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit was assisting the homicide squad in
Photo courtesy of Metro D.C. Police
Photo courtesy of Margaret Groat
A D.C. police official disputed claims by gay activists that the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit wasn’t contacted about last week’s gay murder case because the unit has been dismantled under a plan by Chief Cathy Lanier. the investigation into Perkins’ murder. Groomes disputed an earlier statement by Chris Farris, co-chair of the local group Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence, that the GLLU had not immediately been contacted about the case, as had been the department’s practice in the past. Farris and other LGBT activists have expressed concern that the department’s recent reorganization of the GLLU had resulted in its de-facto “dismantling.” They were referring to a plan by Police Chief Cathy Lanier to decentralize the unit by staffing it with a greater number of officers in each of the seven police districts. According to Farris and other activists, the central GLLU headquarters in Dupont Circle had been reduced from seven full-time officers to just one or two officers a year or two before the department was ready to put in place GLLU affiliated officers in the seven police the districts. “GLLU actually was notified on the night of the murder and has been assisting Homicide with said case,” Groomes told the Agenda in an e-mail. “At this time there are two full duty members, two members not full duty [at GLLU headquarters] and 25 affiliate members to assist in any matter that one may need assistance with. … [A]ll are available via the [GLLU] pager number.”
John Burrows, a gay D.C. resident, has accused D.C. Jail guards of beating him. City officials are investigating the allegation. too, would make inquires to learn more about what happened. Court records show that Burrows is being held in jail without bond on felony charges of first-degree sexual abuse and robbery of a senior citizen in connection with an October 2008 encounter with a D.C. man over age 60. The records show that Burrows was arrested for the two offenses in September while he was incarcerated in an out-ofstate prison for an unrelated theft charge, to which he pleaded guilty. A D.C. Superior Court charging document says the two charges for which Burrows is currently being held were filed against him by a man who told police he engaged in consensual oral sex acts with Burrows on Oct. 5, 2008, in the man’s Northwest Washington apartment. The man, who is listed as the complainant in the case, told police he paid Burrows $100 in cash after the sexual encounter for the purpose of having Burrows use the money to purchase marijuana for the man, according to the charging document. The next day Burrows returned. But the man said that instead of handing over the marijuana, Burrows grabbed him in a “choke hold,” bound him “by ligatures,” and forced him into his bedroom, according to the charging document. It says the man told police that Burrows then sexually abused the man before stealing $100 in cash and his ATM card. The man told police that Burrows pressured him into revealing the PIN number for the card. The charging document says police obtained surveillance video from the complainant’s bank showing Burrows making an illegal withdrawal of $500 with the use of the complainant’s ATM card. Margaret Groat, Burrows’ sister, acknowledged that her brother has a substance abuse problem and a record of arrests on drug and theft-related charges, all of which, she said, were non-violent offenses. Groat said her brother denies assaulting or sexually abusing the complainant in the case pending against him. Premal Dharia, an attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service who is representing Burrows, did not return calls seeking comment on the alleged jail beating or the criminal charges pending against her client. According to Groat, her brother said the sexual encounters between Burrows and the complainant were entirely consensual. She said her brother told her a dispute arose over a prior agreement that the complainant would pay Burrows for the sex and that Burrows may have taken some money for the payment he believed he was owed. She said the complainant had requested to be bound as part of a pre-arranged “bondage” encounter, according to her brother’s account of what happened. “Whatever he did or didn’t do in terms of his arrest, he didn’t deserve to be beaten in jail,” Groat told the Agenda in a telephone interview. “He’s had problems and issues with the law, but I can tell you that he’s not a violent person.” Groat said she contacted the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance and the D.C. LGBT community center about her brother’s allegation that he was the victim of a prison beating by guards. “We have been in touch with the family and we’re following this closely,” said David Mariner, executive director of the LGBT Center. “This raises concerns.” Court records show that Burrows was scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday, after the Agenda press deadine, for a status hearing and possible discussion of a plea bargain offer by the government.
A photo of Judy Shepard (Page 1) in the Jan. 1 issue of DC Agenda should have been credited to Joe Tresh. Also, a photo of reactions to the D.C. City Council marriage vote (Page 10) should have been credited to Tresh. DC Agenda regrets the errors.
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WASHINGTON — The nation’s 23-year-old ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants was lifted this week, winning praise from LGBT groups. “The United States of America has moved one step closer to helping combat the stigma and ignorance that still too often guides public policy debates around HIV/AIDS,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This policy, in place for more than two decades, was unnecessary, ineffective and lacked any public health justification.” As part of the reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, President Bush in July 2008 signed a provision that removed the ban from statute and returned regulatory authority to the Secretary of Health & Human Services. Obama administration officials erased the last remaining vestiges of the ban Jan. 4. “Today, a sad chapter in our nation’s response to people with HIV and AIDS has finally come to a close and we are a better nation for it,” Solmonese said. The travel and immigration ban prohibited HIV-positive foreign nationals from entering the U.S. unless they obtained a special waiver that could be difficult to secure and only allowed for short-term travel.
Same-sex couples rush to wed in N.H.
BOSTON — Same-sex couples rushed to marry in New Hampshire starting Jan. 1, when it became the fifth U.S. state to allow gays to wed. “I feel fabulous. It was wonderful, and it was historic,” said Linda Murphy, 50, a college administrator from southern New Hampshire who married Donna Swartwout, her partner of 19 years, according to Reuters. Reuters reported the two were among 150 people who gathered in the state capital of Concord, in temperatures of about 21 degrees, to witness the marriages of about a dozen gay and lesbian couples by a justice of the peace as the New Year dawned. New Hampshire passed its law in June amid an emotional national debate. The New England state joins Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa in permitting full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Washington, D.C., is also on track for approval. New York state lawmakers voted against same-sex marriage last month. In Maine, a state law that would have allowed the nuptials, was turned back in a referendum in November. A same-sex marriage bill is pending in New Jersey, and in California, same-sex marriage was overturned in a popular vote in 2008. “People focus on the setbacks, but last year there was one state and now there are five states,” said Mo Baxley, executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, according to Reuters.
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Health care reform expected to include LGBT provisions
WASHINGTON — A recently reported decision by congressional leaders to forgo a formal conference committee for health care reform legislation shouldn’t impact the chances of LGBT-specific and HIV/AIDS language making it into the final bill, according to advocates of the provisions. House and Senate leaders are hammering out the differences in health care legislation that each chamber passed last month aimed at providing coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans. Lawmakers are seeking to produce a single bill and send it to President Obama’s desk for him to sign before his State of the Union address, which the Associated Press reported could take place in early February. Media sources reported this week that congressional leaders have opted out of having a formal conference committee for health care legislation. Instead, House and Senate leaders will hold negotiations based on the Senate bill. The Associated Press reported this strategy would allow Democratic leaders to exclude Republicans from the negotiations and prevent them DC Agenda photo by Michael Key from delaying the legislation or forcing politically troubling votes in either Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the only out lesbian in Congress, and the House or the Senate. other House and Senate members are working to pass Although negotiations will be health care reform. The final bill is expected to include LGBT based on the Senate legislation — and HIV/AIDS provisions. which lacks most of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS provisions — those supporting the provisions said the lack of a conference committee shouldn’t be problematic. Ed Shelleby, spokesperson for Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who’s sponsoring a standalone bill similar to the House bill’s tax penalty elimination provision for domestic partners, said whatever form the negotiations take “will not likely have too much an [effect] on the likelihood of the domestic partnership provision ending up in the final bill.” “We still expect significant portions of the House version that aren’t in the Senate version to end up in the final package and Congressman McDermott is working to make this very important domestic partnership provision one of them,” Shelleby said. Others also said the lack of a conference committee doesn’t mean the LGBT provisions are lost. A senior Democratic aide, who spoke to DC Agenda on the condition of anonymity, said, “with respect to the LGBT provisions, I don’t think there’s anything that can be said here yet.” The House legislation contains several provisions the Senate bill lacks that would directly address LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. These provisions would: • enable the Department of Health & Human Services to collect health data on disparate populations, including the LGBT community, and to open public health programs and grants focused on health disparities to cover the LGBT population; • bar health insurers from discriminating against people because of “personal characteristics,” including sexual orientation and gender identity; • eliminate taxes on employer provided health coverage for employees who receive coverage for a same-sex partner under an employer’s plan; • and permit state Medicaid programs to cover low-income people with HIV before they develop AIDS. The House and Senate bills share a provision aimed at helping people with HIV/AIDS. Both bills have language allowing the cost of drugs that people with AIDS receive from AIDS Drug Assistance Programs to count toward out-of-pocket costs to qualify them for Medicare Part D catastrophic benefits. Trevor Thomas, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson, said his organization would continue to advocate for the LGBT provisions during negotiations in whatever shape they take. “Negotiations between House and Senate leadership to complete health care reform will undoubtedly be complex and difficult on a range of issues,” he said. “We will continue to strongly push the congressional leadership to ensure that critical protections for LGBT people included in the House-passed bill are part of the final measure.” CHRIS JOHNSON
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Obama appoints trans woman to Commerce post
WASHINGTON — President Obama has named an openly transgender woman to work as senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry & Security. Amanda Simpson, who’s served on the National Center for Transgender Equality’s board of directors, thanked Obama for the opportunity. “I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me,” she said. “And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.”
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Have you been thinking of going
Prop 8 trial ‘a chance for people to hear the truth’
Continued from page 1
case, they have crossed paths before in opposition to each other. In the 2000 case of Bush v. Gore, Olson represented then-Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush while Boies represented then-Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore. Olson and Boies — who are litigating on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a California-based LGBT organization founded last year — are arguing Prop 8 is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and singles out LGBT people for discrimination, among other reasons. Yusef Robb, an AFER spokesperson, said, “preparations are intense” for the legal team that is arguing that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. “Proposition 8 is wrong and it’s unconstitutional, and we will demonstrate that through the testimony of our plaintiffs, expert [witnesses], evidence and arguments from an unmatched legal team,” he said. Robb said the trial should last about three weeks, but could drag out for five weeks. Supporters of the lawsuit are expecting the case to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, but first the case would have to be heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said the case is significant because “it’s a critical piece in the ongoing fight for full equality.” “We are extremely hopeful that the federal courts will strike [down] Prop 8 as unconstitutional because it clearly violates the federal Constitution, especially in light of the California Supreme Court decision that upheld Prop 8 in the California Constitution,” he said. Equality California was among the groups that filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in favor of overturning Prop 8. Kors said he’s confident Walker will overturn Prop 8 because it’s “a clear violation of the United States Constitution.” Other groups that have filed “friend-of-thecourt” briefs are the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian Rights. The City and County of San Francisco — under the leadership of City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart — are supporting the plaintiffs as co-counsel and are focusing on the negative impact Prop 8 has on government services and budgets. While the case is focused on the constitutionality of Prop 8, it’s possible that marriage bans throughout the country could be struck down if the case goes to the Supreme Court and it rules in favor of the plaintiffs. Robb said the question of whether a Supreme Court ruling would end marriage bans throughout the country “would depend on the particular issues the court chooses to review, as well as how they specifically draft their opinion.” One contentious issue is whether the judge will allow TV cameras in the courtroom to record and broadcast the trial. Opponents of Prop 8 have been urging Walker to allow proceedings to air on TV to bring more attention to the marriage issue, while supporters of Prop 8 are arguing against such a move because they feel backers of the amendment would be subject to harassment and intimidation. Walker set a public hearing for the matter on Wednesday, after DC Agenda deadline, after he reportedly received letters both for and against televising the trial. The court also is seeking public comment on the issue, which is due Friday. Robb said AFER believes it’s important for the trial to air on TV to show the harm that Prop 8 has caused same-sex couples. “This trial is a chance for the true harm of Prop 8 to be revealed through facts, evidence and the law, without the spin, slogans and
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“We are extremely hopeful that the federal courts will strike [down] Prop 8 as unconstitutional because it clearly violates the federal Constitution.”
deception that dominate political campaigns,” he said. “These proceedings should be available to as many people as possible.” Kors also supports airing the trial on TV. He said the broadcast would allow people who are undecided on same-sex marriage to learn more about why marriage rights are important to LGBT people. “It’s an opportunity for them to see us for who we really are, and for them to hear the arguments both from our side about why equality is so important and why denying us the freedom to marry harms us and our families, and to really hear what the right-wing’s justification for that discrimination is,” he said. Kors also claimed that televising the trial would reveal that supporters of Prop 8 distorted the truth during the 2008 campaign as they encouraged voters to approve the amendment. Among the disputed arguments that supporters of Prop 8 put forward was that failure of the amendment would mean that children would have to learn about same-sex marriage in public schools. “It’s different when you’re arguing in court and testifying under oath than it is when you run a 30-second television ad that tells lies,” he said. “So it’s a chance for people to hear the truth from both sides, which is why we want it to be televised and clearly why the right-wing doesn’t because it’s not an environment where they can control what they’re saying.” While predicting that the trial court would strike down Prop 8, Kors said it’s possible that the ruling could be overturned by a higher court. But if that happened, Kors said the trial court proceedings would still be helpful in persuading the public to overturn the amendment at the ballot box. Equality California has chosen 2012 as the year to challenge Prop 8 through another voter referendum. “It’s an opportunity for the public to learn more about why marriage equality is so important for same-sex couples and their families — and that the lies the right-wing told in California and more recently in Maine are nothing but lies,” Kors said. “And that, I think, is going to be really important in moving public opinion.”
Start the year off on the right foot — join DC Front Runners for our Welcome Newcomers Run & Walk, Saturday, January 9! Whether you’re an experienced runner looking for motivation to take you further, a beginner looking for inspiration to commit to a healthy routine, or a walker looking for the opportunity to meet new people, give us a try.
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Vol. 2, Issue 2
PUBLISHER LYNNE J. BROWN firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Editor KEVIN NAFF email@example.com News & Multimedia Editor JOSHUA LYNSEN firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editor JOEY DiGUGLIELMO email@example.com Sr. News Reporter LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org News Reporter CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com Staff Photographer MICHAEL KEY firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION Creative Director ROB BOEGER email@example.com WEB Online Creative and DCATV Exec. Producer ARAM VARTIAN firstname.lastname@example.org SALES & ADMINISTRATION Sr. Acct. Executive BRIAN PITTS email@example.com Sr. Acct. Executive ANDREW HARTSFIELD firstname.lastname@example.org Acct. Executive JERYL PARADE email@example.com Advertising Manager PHILLIP G. ROCKSTROH firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution Coordinator ROBBIE BARNETT email@example.com Accounting services provided by Martin & Wall, P.C. C.P.A. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC All material in the DC Agenda is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the DC Agenda. 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 DC Agenda is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the DC Agenda, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of the DC Agenda is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C. Multiple copies are available from the DC Agenda 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 $175.00 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Robbie Barnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Postmaster: Send address changes to the DC Agenda, PO BOX 73647 Washington DC 20056 The DCAgenda is published weekly, on Friday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $175.00 per year for 52 issues (only $3.37 per issue mailed to you USPS). Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the DC Agenda 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 DC Agenda 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. Address: 1612 U St., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20009 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.dcagenda.com Publisher: Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc.
Rehoboth, ‘Real World’ and RIP
Odds and ends as 2010 begins
By KEVIN NAFF Happy New Year and thanks for reading DC Agenda. One of my resolutions is to blog and write more in 2010 so here’s a quick update on things here as the year kicks off. I spent the New Year’s holiday in Rehoboth Beach and, judging by the crowds, the resort town remains D.C. east. There’s an unexpected New Year’s tradition that has taken off in the past few years in Rehoboth. A mixed crowd of gay men and lesbians gather at the Frogg Pond bar on New Year’s Day to watch football, drink beer and dance. It’s become an all-day affair. The fantastic band One Love played this year after a few hours of bowl games. It’s always a memorable time. Back in D.C., the cast of MTV’s reality staple “Real World” returned to town for the Dec. 30 premiere of the show. One of the roommates worked as an intern for the Washington Blade last fall and I had the pleasure of getting to know her. Callie Walker, an aspiring photographer, came to my attention after I received a call from a “Real World” producer who said some of the roommates were bringing the Blade into the house and they needed our permission to display the paper’s logo. I asked if any of the housemates were looking for internships and received a call from Callie a few days later. I won’t reveal much more just yet — be sure to watch the show. But Callie proved an exceptional intern. On the premiere of the show, Callie announced that Ronald Reagan was her favorite president. Her political views never came up in the Blade office and Callie never turned down an assignment. She’s from Texas and I told her that if she accepted the job, many people — including future employers — would assume she’s a lesbian with the Blade name on her resume. She didn’t hesitate to accept the position and her enthusiasm for the work and for getting to know D.C. and its LGBT community proved refreshing. Callie was an unlikely choice for the job, but I came to enjoy seeing the city through her eyes. I look forward to watching her adventures unfold on the show. Having MTV’s cameras roaming the office last fall brought the phenomenon of reality TV to life for the staff. We signed releases, were wired with microphones and were followed around the office whenever Callie visited. On a couple of occasions, she was able to elude the cameras and arrive solo, providing us a few rare moments to talk candidly and privately. There were no drunken brawls or sexual encounters in the office, so it’s unlikely we’ll get much screen time, but it was a positive experience nonetheless. Finally, a bit of sad news. Deborah Howell, former editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the former Washington Post ombudsman, was killed while vacationing in New Zealand earlier this month. I had several pleasant interactions with Howell during her Post tenure. She was a forceful, fair voice for equality at the Post who wasn’t afraid to stand up to editors there. I’ve knocked the paper many times during the past seven years for its coverage of LGBT issues. Most of that criticism came during the tenure of previous editor Leonard Downie. When Marcus Brauchli took over, I noticed immediate changes in the Post’s approach to covering LGBT issues. Brauchli sat down with the Blade for an interview shortly after taking over and talked candidly about his views on our issues. It was a real breath of fresh air, as Downie never returned our calls. And when he didn’t, I always knew we could turn to Howell for help. When the Post covered the funeral of Alan Rogers, an Army major killed in Iraq, and omitted any details of his sexual orientation, Howell and I were in regular contact. I protested the Post’s forcing Rogers into the closet and she ultimately agreed with me and wrote an important column that I believe has helped the paper deal more honestly with gay topics. She made a real impact on the journalism profession during her career and will be missed. Kevin Naff is editor of DC Agenda and can be reached at email@example.com.
Trouble for Democrats means gays will suffer
Now is best hope for progress as GOP seeks 2010 comeback
By PETER ROSENSTEIN The year 2009 was a mixed bag. It started out great, fizzled quickly but then came back as the year went on. There were highlights and lowlights and we need to remember them all if we are to accurately sum up the year and the decade. We celebrated a court-mandated marriage equality win in Iowa and a legislative victory in Maine. Then we lost a Maine ballot initiative. We lost in New York, but won in D.C. We now need to be vigilant to ensure we don’t lose that gain. President Obama had a rocky beginning with the LGBT community. First there was the Rick Warren fiasco, then that ugly Justice Department brief on DOMA. But he came roaring back with the appointment of John Berry at the Office of Personnel Management, the second DOMA brief, movement on giving some benefits to domestic partners of federal workers and finally the signing at the White House of hate crimes legislation. Maybe that came just in time as hate crimes against the LGBT community are on the rise across the nation. With five states now having legalized marriage equality and some movement on the Hill on upcoming legislative initiatives, 2009 has to be seen as a positive year for the LGBT community. As we look to 2010, many are asking what we can expect. I think we could have a good year. I think we can pass the bill giving domestic partners of our last hope for a while to make real progress in Congress. We need to activate our community to lobby their representatives at home and remind them that we vote and are willing to work for politicians who support us. We also need to elect more of our own. It is clear to see the impact that Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis have by just being at the table. We need more people like us at the table. I think we can do that. We must encourage young members of the LGBT community to get and stay involved. We need to encourage and support involved members of our community to run for office at all levels of government. We have to support organizations like HRC, the Victory Fund, and the Task Force even if we don’t agree with everything they do, because they are the groups that help bring our message to the broader community. We need to unite as a community and stop criticizing each other at every turn and recognize that each of us has a role to play and that role may be different for each person and each organization. Whether it is joining a march on the statehouse, donating money to an organization or candidate, volunteering for a candidate or cause, all are critical. Each person who is willing to use their particular talent to be a part of the future will together help make that future better for us all. If we continue to work and to value each other, 2010 will be a year in which we will celebrate continued progress in our fight for equality as we move into the next decade. Peter Rosenstein is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Openly gay Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis have a busy year ahead as the Democrats brace for a GOP comeback in November. federal employees health care benefits. I also think that we have a real chance of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by handling it the same way we did hate crimes and attaching it to the DOD authorization bill. I am less sanguine about passing ENDA, at least a fully inclusive bill, but think that could happen as well. We do know that rescinding DOMA won’t happen this year. But 2010 will be especially important in preparing for the future. The Democrats will surely lose seats in both the House and Senate. We will have to work hard to hold those numbers down and ensure that the next Congress won’t move us backwards. My reading of the country is that we are in a transition period. We are not ready to move back to the place where moral issues dominated elections, but we could end up with more conservatives winning on pocketbook issues. I rarely agree with Newt Gingrich, but he recently said something I do agree with. He talked about Republicans needing to do more than just saying “no” to have an overwhelming victory in the 2010 congressional elections. I hope that they don’t get their act together to do that. But as long as the unemployment rate hovers at around 10 percent and if health care reform passes in the way it looks like it will with the new taxes coming first and the benefits of the bill not taking effect until 2013 or 2014, then Democrats could be in trouble. And if Democrats are in trouble, then the LGBT community will suffer. So 2010 may represent
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january 8, 2010 • dcagenda.com 17
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friday, jan. 8
Supporters of Virginia Del. Adam Ebbin (D) are having a sendoff party for him tonight at the home of Ingrid Morroy and Jerry Botland in Arlington, Va. (1501 South Pollard St.) from 6 to 8 p.m. Supporters are gathering to wish him well as he heads to Richmond for the new state legislative session. For more information, visit actblue.com/page/ebbinsendoff or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-7496404. Donations are being accepted. ties” every Tuesday at EFN Lounge. Those who volunteer their time get drink discounts. The events are held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at Motley Bar, located above EFN, which is at 1318 9th St., N.W. Visit fighthivindc.com for more information. POZ, a bar night for HIV-positive men and men open to dating HIV-positive men regardless of their own HIV status, is held every Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to midnight at Motley Bar, located above EFN Lounge at 1318 19th St., N.W. The event is organized by HIV-positive party promoter Jacob Pring. Visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pozdc for more information. Towne at email@example.com. THE BIG GAY BOOK GROUP has its monthly book discussion meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at 1155 F St., N.W., Suite 200. This month’s book is “The Conversion” by Joseph Olshan, which tells of a gay American translator who moves to Paris and is attacked one night in a hotel room where he and his companion, an older poet, are staying. For more information, visit biggaybookgroup.com. LADIES FIRST NIGHT is tonight and every Wednesday at Fab Lounge, located at 1805 Connecticut Ave., N.W. For more information, visit myspace.com/ladiesfirst. THE D.C. CENTER has career development for LGBT job seekers today from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Trained counselors will offer support for job searching, interviewing skills, resume writing, etc. The program has been adapted to meet the needs of the local gay community and the D.C. job market. The Center recently moved to its new location at 1804/1810 14th St., N.W., previous home of the Lesbian Services Program and Austin Center of Whitman-Walker Clinic. Visit thedccenter.org for more information. RAINBOW RESPONSE has its monthly meeting tonight at National City Christian Church, located at 5 Thomas Circle, N.W. at 7 p.m. The group is a meeting of individuals and agencies collaborating to discuss intimate partner violence in the local LGBT community. The meeting is typically held on the second Wednesday of each month. Visit rainbowresponse.org for more information.
saturday, jan. 9
ZOOM URBAN LESBIAN EXCURSIONS is having a ladies breakdancing 101 class today from noon to 2 p.m. at the Columbia Heights Youth Center located at 1480 Girard St., N.W. It’s designed for beginners and is part of Zoom’s “Get Fit” series. Cost is $15. Visit zoomexcursions.com for more information. METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF WASHINGTON, the District’s largest mostly gay church, is having a “welcome home” service today and is encouraging former members, attendees and newcomers to meet its new pastor, Rev. Dwayne Johnson. Traditional worship is held at the 9 a.m. service. The 11 a.m. service features more contemporary and gospel music. The church is located at 474 Ridge St., N.W. Visit mccdc.com for more information.
wednesday, jan. 13
SPLIT, a gay bowling cocktail event, is tonight from 8 to midnight at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge, located at 701 7th St., N.W., on the second floor (Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop). Split, a party created by Jason Royce, Brian Lempin and Georgio Takounakis, is not a gay bowling league and isn’t for diehard bowlers. Its creators designed it to be a fun and trendy bar alternative where patrons will mingle over martinis and bowl if the mood strikes. Split is usually held every other Wednesday. It’s for ages 21 and older. There’s a $3 cover and Lucky Strike has a dress code that those attending should read before attending. Drink and food specials are available. For more information, visit splitwednesdays.com. THE NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE has weekly volunteer nights every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at its offices located at 1325 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Suite 600. Volunteers fold and stuff letters for the gay rights organization. Pizza is provided. For more information, contact Ezra
Photo courtesy of Henrichsen DJ BRETT HENRICHSEN spins upstairs at Town on Sat. Jan.16. Volunteers are needed to help with food preparation tasks such as chopping vegetables and packing groceries. The group will meet at Food & Friends’ new facility near the Fort Totten Metro Station. Group size is limited to 10 per shift. Those interested in volunteering should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit burgundycrescent.org for more information about this and other gay volunteering opportunities. A new Friday night drag show at Ziegfeld’s has started with a new hostess. THE LADIES OF ILLUSION hosted by Kristina Kelly has performances every Friday at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. BET MISHPACHAH, a gay synagogue located at the D.C. JCC at 16th and Q streets, N.W., holds Ereve Shabbat services every Friday at 8:30 p.m. followed by an Oneg Shabbat social. Morning services are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month at 10 a.m. followed by Kiddush luncheon. Visit betmish.org for more information.
sunday, jan. 10
DIGNITY WASHINGTON, a local gay Catholic group, celebrates Mass for the LGBT community every Sunday at 6 p.m. at St. Margaret’s, located at 1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Call 202-5462245 for more information or visit dignitywashington.org.
thursday, jan. 14
BURGUNDY CRESCENT VOLUNTEERS, a local LGBT volunteer group, is volunteering for Food & Friends, a local group that delivers meals to residents in D.C. and beyond suffering from AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.
monday, jan. 11
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF WASHINGTON has an HIV-positive support group for people of faith every Monday at the church. For more information, contact Matt Senger at 202-546-2159 or e-mail him at email@example.com. MCC-DC is located at 474 Ridge St., N.W. Visit mccdc.com for more information about the church. NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR, 900 U St., N.W., holds “Pokerface,” a Texas hold ‘em poker night every Monday at 8 p.m. It’s free to play and prizes are awarded. Visit nelliessportsbar.com for more information.
friday, jan. 15
NATIONAL CITY CHRISTIAN CHURCH has organ recitals every Friday at 12:15 p.m. The series, dubbed “Magical, Mystical, Musical Machine,” is led by Charles Miller, the church’s minister of music, who’s gay. Several organists in the series have also been gay. NCC is located at 5 Thomas Circle, N.W. For more information, visit nationalcity.org or call 202-797-0103. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER WEEKEND, one of the largest gay leather gatherings in the world, is this weekend in Washington at the Washington Plaza Hotel. The event is sold out but some spillover hotels have rooms available and some events are open to the public. Visit leatherweekend.com for more information.
saturday, jan. 16
Town has two events tonight. DJ BRETT HENRICHSEN spins upstairs (Town’s regular DJ WESS is downstairs). And monthly party “WTF?” is also tonight with a special Mexican installment called “Que es el fucko?” Doors open at 10 p.m. with a $5 for those 18 and older. Town is located at 2009 Eighth St., N.W. Visit towndc.com for more information. BLOWOFF, a monthly party featuring gay DJs/remixers Bob Mould and Rich Morel, is tonight at the 9:30 Club, located at 815 V St., N.W. starting at 11:30 p.m. Visit blowoff.us for more information.
Photo courtesy of Ebbin Virginia’s sole openly gay state delegate, ADAM EBBIN, is preparing to return to Richmond for the 2010 legislative session.
tuesday, jan. 12
D.C.’S HIV WORKING GROUP assembles safer sex kits with its “packing par-
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january 8, 2010 • dcagenda.com 19
Come Home As A New Era Begins at MCC DC!
Welcome back or come visit for the first time and find your new spiritual home at DC’s original fully-inclusive church. Join us in welcoming our new senior pastor, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, as we enter a new era of spiritual growth.
January 10, 2010 Every Sunday
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The Metropolitan Community Church of Washington 474 Ridge Street NW | Washington, DC 20001 | 202-638-7373 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.mccdc.com Metro: Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center (Yellow and Green Lines)
20 dcagenda.com • january 8, 2010
socialagenda: real world premiere party @ blackfinn dc
Photos by Joe Tresh
Half the cast of MTV's "REAL WORLD D.C." was in town Dec. 30 for the show's local premiere. They joined a large crowd at BlackFinn D.C. to watch the first episode of the show's 23rd season, filmed in the District last year. The cast members who attended were Emily Schromm, Ty Ruff, Ashley Lindley and Callie Walker. The new season has a few gay angles. Cast member Mike Manning, who didn't attend the premiere, is bi, and Walker interned as a photographer for the Washington Blade, DC Agenda’s predecessor.
january 8, 2010 • dcagenda.com 21
‘rent’ gets cozy
Broadway stalwart works well in first locally staged production
By PATRICK FOLLIARD Paying the landlord — that pesky problem for Bohemians since time immemorial — takes center stage in Keegan Theatre’s vibrant production of creator Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent.” The first locally produced version of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera, the company’s take puts a powerfully intimate spin on the enormously popular Broadway blockbuster. Performed in the small Church Street Theater (Keegan’s cozy home), the late Larson’s 1996 work easily draws the audience into the extremely personal, quietly heroic stories of its characters, many of whom are dealing with HIV/AIDS. Much of the score works particularly well in this close-up setting including “One Star Glory,” a paean to immortality sung by Roger (Juan Carlos Sanchez), a hot wannabe rock star, as well as bigger company numbers like “Seasons of Love.” Based on Puccini’s opera “La bohème,” “Rent” is the tale of young artists struggling to create and get by in New York’s East Village in the early 1990s. It’s told from the point of view of
Through Jan. 17 Keegan Theatre 1742 Church Street, N.W. $30 to $40 703-892-0202 www.keegantheatre.com principle roles in Keegan’s “Rent” have been noticeably whitewashed: traditionally Mimi and Angel are played by Latino actors and JoAnne is black. The change saps the show of a little spice and strength, but isn’t cataclysmic. As JoAnne, McManus can belt (“Take Me or Leave Me”). Drown’s Angel gives drag act energy to spare (“Today 4 U”). And Emily Levey’s tough-yet-vulnerable Mimi is both well sung (“Light My Candle” and “Out Tonight”) and well acted. Acoustics aren’t always the greatest at Church Street, but nonetheless the rock band perched behind a scrim at the back of the stage and the talented, fresh-faced young cast sound great throughout the nearly three hour show. Directors Mark A. Rhea and Susan Marie Rhea have captured the gritty vitality and excitement of the pregentrified East Village. George Lucas’ grimy, two-tiered dark metal set is spot on and Kelly Peacock and Shadia Hafiz’s costumes exude an authentic mix of punk and thrift store finds. And if you still need more reasons to see Keegan Theatre’s “Rent,” there’s this: Throughout the run, the company is partnering with local organizations to promote support for AIDS research and outreach to D.C.area residents living with HIV.
Photo by Jim Coates; courtesy of Keegan Theatre
John Loughney, Michael Robinson and Juan Carlos Sanchez in Keegan Theatre’s production of ‘RENT.’ Mark (John Loughney), an idealistic documentary filmmaker, and bears witness to his community’s courage and optimism in the face of encroaching gentrification and, more frighteningly, AIDS. Among the musical’s tight core of artists and activists is a pair of refreshingly non-cookie cutter samesex couples — power dyke JoAnne (Katie McManus) and her bisexual performance artist partner Maureen (Weslie Woodley), as well as Angel (Parker Drown), a drum-playing drag queen, and black nonconformist professor and activist Collins (the beautifully voiced Michael Robinson). In addition to dealing with the stresses they encounter as lovers, all four are members of the larger group fighting for their community’s greater good. While the cast is diverse, three of the
22 dcagenda.com • january 8, 2010
closing out the holidays on ‘ice’
40 craftsmen from China create stunning frozen sculptures
By DAVID J. HOFFMAN Special to DC Agenda Folks, it's time to put your weekend on ice. What I’m trying to say is, be sure this weekend to see “ICE!” – the fabulous and spectacular artistic display of ice sculptures glistening at a constant 9 degrees at the Gaylord National Hotel’s holiday festival. The show runs just three more days — through Sunday Jan. 10 — at scenic National Harbor on the Potomac River, directly across from Old Town Alexandria near the Wilson Bridge. Nine-inch-thick walls made of foam encase a huge tent to help keep the temperatures low while the “oohs” and “aahs” inside are heard from crowds thronging the exhibit of 10 icy scenes, among them the monuments of D.C. and Santa’s workshop, not to mention carvings of animals so real you want to reach out to them as in a petting zoo. I came to scoff but remained to praise, expecting kitsch but found instead a winter wonderland to startle jaded senses. I didn’t expect it to be so cool but indeed it is — ultra-cool, not only on the thermometer inside, where visitors are issued special blue parkas to wear, but also in the sensibility. At one of the stopovers under the frosty big-top, one woman turned to me before the Penguin Village at the North Pole and declared, “We’re seniors reliving our childhood, you can write that in your story!” It took 40 craftsmen brought from Harbin — capital of China’s “north country” province of Heilongjiang (nicknamed “Ice City”) — as many as 12 hours a day in the 9-degree cold to carve the exhibit from 5,000 blocks of ice, totaling 2 million pounds in weight hauled to National Harbor on custom order from Ohio. The 400-pound blocks of ice are carved down to smaller size with chainsaws and hand saws and then picked at to chip away more of the ice. Finally, special tools are used to “score” the ice with small grooves and then parts are frozen together using water as glue. Fine details are then carved with ice chisels to create final touches and the smooth, rounded features that make the icy people and animals and objects so lifelike. The stunning, vibrant colors created with simple store-bought food coloring are so real looking you will not believe you are merely seeing frozen water. The entire exhibit cost more than $2 million and took 40 days to create.
Photo courtesy of Gaylord
A master carver puts final touches on a character carved from ice for the show at the Gaylord National Resort. You can even swoosh down twostory ice slides, but don’t try to lick the 15-foot-tall candy canes in a reenactment of the famous scene from the film “A Christmas Story.” Tickets are $24.50 for adults and $13 for children from 4 to 12. Seniors (62+) are $18 and for military with IDs adults are $18 and children are $10. Bottom line: The show is worth every penny. Be sure to close out the holidays on “Ice.”
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JT POWELL 202-465-2357 DIRECT WWW.JTPOWELL.COM
JT POWELL 202-465-2357 DIRECT WWW.JTPOWELL.COM
“I take Pride in my Team of Real Estate Professionals. As a group and as individuals they are committed to our clients and community. We have a tremendous track record with more buyers choosing the CBRB Dupont office than any other office in DC! We are pleased with our record. You will be pleased with our service. We are the local experts – backed by Global resources. Please take a moment and stop by to introduce yourself. We are your neighbor.”
Kevin McDuffie, GRI, Managing Broker email@example.com • 202.439.2435 (c) • 1606 17th Street NW
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