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Gay director Tom Ford talks about marriage, movies and his debut film, ‘A Single Man.’ PAGE 18 Could Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat go to an anti-gay Republican in next week's election? PAGE 8
Gay couple walks out during bishop’s anti-gay sermon at Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church. PAGE 5
dcagenda.com • vol. 2, issue 3 • january 15, 2010
Great expectations as Congress returns from recess
Movement on ENDA, ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal could be imminent
By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org As lawmakers hash out the 2010 legislative schedule for Congress, LGBT rights supporters are anticipating a House markup for the long-sought Employment Non-Discrimination Act within the next month. Sources familiar with Capitol Hill said the House Education & Labor Committee will take up ENDA, which would bar job bias against LGBT people in the public and private workforce, shortly after lawmakers return from holiday break. Last year, House and Senate committees held hearings on legislation that would provide workplace protections for LGBT people. The next step in both committees — the Education & Labor Committee in the House and the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee in the Senate — is reporting out the legislation so floor votes can take place. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a gay lawmaker who serves on the House Education & Labor Committee, said he’s expecting a markup of the legislation either this month or in February and a floor vote soon after. “Once it’s been marked up in committee, it’s simply a matter of scheduling it for the floor, and that of course depends on what else is coming to the floor, whether it’s health care or what[ever] it is, but it shouldn’t take very long,” he said. Also expecting an ENDA markup in the House shortly is Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told DC Agenda this week that he’s expecting a markup of Employment Non-Discrimination Act this month or next.
Continues on page 10
Two D.C. ballot measures seek to ban same-sex marriage
A potentially historic effort at overturning Proposition 8 is underway in a California court. Visit dcagenda.com for updated blog reports from the courtroom.
Conservative members of Congress also entering legal fray
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. email@example.com Gay marriage opponents have filed papers with the city’s election board proposing two more ballot measures to overturn a same-sex marriage law the D.C. City Council passed and Mayor Adrian Fenty signed in December. Bishop Harry Jackson, the Beltsville, Md., minister who is leading efforts to oppose same-sex marriage in the District, filed papers last week calling for a voter referendum to block the Religious Freedom &
Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is here. A schedule of events and interview with outgoing titleholder, Page 20
Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act from becoming law. And in a separate development that went largely unnoticed, Ward 8 resident Joyce Little filed papers with the Board of Elections & Ethics on Dec. 23 calling for a voter initiative that seeks to overturn the same-sex marriage bill by banning same-sex marriage in the city. “The purpose of this initiative is to allow the citizens of the District of Columbia to vote to preserve traditional marriage as between one man and one woman,” Little wrote in a summary statement submitted to the election board. The election board scheduled a Feb. 16 public hearing for Little’s initiative. Board General Counsel
Photo by Joe Tresh
Bishop Harry Jackson
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Couple walks out during anti-gay sermon
Gay men protest Bishop Owens’ ‘homophobic rant’ at Calvary
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Mack and his partner, Michael Garrett, said their one-year tenure as members of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Northeast D.C. came to an abrupt end last week. The two gay men said they were startled and deeply hurt when Bishop Alfred Owens, the church pastor, appeared to be sending them and other same-sex couples a blunt message Jan. 3. “Sex is only pleasing to God in the marriage bed, and the marriage bed is a man and … a woman!” Owens shouted from the pulpit, with hundreds in the church pews shouting their approval, according to accounts by Mack and Garrett. Owens’ remarks are also captured on a recording of his sermon made available last week on the church’s web site. “If marriage wasn’t between a man and a woman, you wouldn’t be here because two men doing it don’t produce no kids,” Owens said. “And two women doing it don’t produce no kids! It’s all about family,” he said as members of the congregation continued to clap and cheer. “During this homophobic rant, me and my partner got up and walked out,” said Mack, 28. Mack and Garrett, 32, contacted DC Agenda about their decision to walk out on Owens’ sermon and are believed to be the first gays to publicly disclose their departure from a church that activists say has a large number of closeted gay members, mostly black. “What hurt me more than what he said is how the congregation yelled and agreed with him,” Mack said. “It showed me that people that don’t to attend Greater Mount Calvary services, despite the reports from friends and acquaintances that Owens is hostile to gays. “Since going there for the past year, I never heard anything out of the way like that,” Garrett said. “So a lot of it was inspirational up until that point. And it kind of took me aback. … And then due to the fact that Jon and I are together and we’re going to see about getting married in D.C., it really was like, ‘Why am I supporting this person? How come I couldn’t see this beforehand?’” Mack and Garrett, who live in Bowie, Md., said they now plan to worship at Covenant Baptist Church in Southeast D.C, which bills itself as an LGBT-affirming congregation. The church’s husband and wife co-pastors, Dennis and Christine Wiley, served as leaders of a coalition of clergy in support of same-sex marriage in D.C. The two men said they’re hopeful that other gays will leave Greater Mount Calvary and other churches whose pastors and congregations are hostile toward or unwelcoming of LGBT members. “I was depressed and actually thought about suicide,” Mack said. “I kept thinking, ‘What’s the point of going on if God hates me and I’m going to hell anyway?’ and ‘Why does God hate me?’ “My hope is if this is put in the paper or in the media and it deters one person from attending Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church so they never have to feel how I felt [that] Sunday, then I’ll feel as though I’ve accomplished something,” Mack said. Leaders of three D.C. Christian churches with mostly gay congregations have called on gay members of churches such as Greater Mount Calvary to consider joining their congregations. The leaders are Rev. Abena McCray, pastor of Unity Fellowship Church; Bishop Rainey Cheeks, pastor of Inner Light Ministries; and Rev. Dwayne Johnson, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Washington.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Jon Mack, left, and his partner, Michael Garrett ended their affiliation with Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church last week. even know me hate me just because of my sexuality.” Mack and Garrett said they were aware of reports that Owens had previously made anti-gay remarks during his sermons at Greater Mount Calvary, which boasts a membership of more than 6,000 people. But the two noted they were attracted to the church’s charismatic, highly animated services, which include performances by several different choirs. Owens previously drew media attention in 2006 when, in one of his recorded sermons on the Sunday before Easter, he referred to gays as faggots. “It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior,” he said in the 2006 sermon. “I’m not talking about no faggot or no sissy. … Let the real men come down here and take a bow — all the real men. I’m talking about straight men. … Praise God that you’re straight.” His references to gays in the sermon prompted LGBT activists to ask then D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams to expel Owens from a mayoral task force on faith. In response, Owens issued an apology, which prompted Williams to announce he would retain the minister on the faith task force. Garrett said his initial reaction upon hearing Owens’ hostile references to gays in the Jan. 3 sermon was to blame himself for continuing
Gay man who reported jail beating pleads guilty to reduced charge
Council member, activists seek full account of alleged Dec. 27 attack
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. email@example.com A gay man who says guards at the D.C. Jail beat him in a staircase last month pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of misdemeanor sexual abuse as part of a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney’s office. John Burrows, a 38-year-old District resident, had been held in the D.C. Jail since September while awaiting trial on charges that he allegedly stole money and sexually abused a 79-year-old man. His sister, Margaret Groat, said Burrows has denied sexually abusing the man, noting that her brother claims the sex was consensual and a dispute arose when the man refused to comply with a prior agreement to pay for the sex. Burrows’ jail beating allegation has prompted LGBT activists and D.C. City Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) to call on the city’s Department of Corrections to give a full account of the incident. Mendelson chairs a Council committee with jurisdiction over the jail. In letters sent to his mother during the past two weeks, Burrows said jail guards on Dec. 27 handcuffed him and bound his legs, then carried him down three flights of stairs while deliberately knocking his head against the walls and handrails. He told his mother he believed the guards targeted him because he’s gay. Margaret Groat told DC Agenda that Burrows suffered a concussion, two black eyes and numbness in three fingers as a result of the handcuffs being tightened around his wrists. She said he was awaiting an MRI test to determine the extent of his head injuries after experiencing severe headaches two weeks following the incident. Sylvia Lane, a Department of Corrections spokesperson, said the department was investigating the incident and had no immediate comment on the matter. “There is no further information available at this time,” she said. Groat said she and Burrows’ mother, Judy Burrows, are suspicious that the guards chose to take Burrows into a stairwell to beat him because the location was likely out of the range of the jail’s video cameras. Devon Brown, director of the Department of Corrections, told a City Council hearing last March that officials had installed more than 600 video surveillance cameras throughout the jail to help ensure “order, safety and security” in the facility. Mendelson expressed concern that jail and corrections department officials often don’t release information about reports of violence in the jail, including reports of a recent riot by inmates in the jail. “This is pretty typical of how the Department of Corrections is not responsive,” he said. “We will try to get more information.” In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office dropped a robbery charge against Burrows and lowered a second charge from felony sexual abuse to misdemeanor sexual abuse. The reduced charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Burrow’s mother, who attended a court hearing Jan. 7 when the plea agreement was announced, said her son’s lawyer was hopeful that Judge Michael Rankin would sentence him to the four months of jail time he has already served in connection with the case. Rankin scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 21.
Photo courtesy of Margaret Groat
John Burrows, who says guards at the D.C. Jail beat him, has pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor sexual abuse
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New HIV/AIDS initiative targets black gay men in D.C.
Whitman-Walker Clinic to be part of $26.4 million effort
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. firstname.lastname@example.org D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty joined health officials Tuesday to announce a new D.C. and National Institutes of Health research and treatment initiative aimed at decreasing the city’s high rate of HIV infections. The $26.4 million federally funded initiative, called the D.C. Partnership for HIV/AIDS Progress, includes among four components a study that targets black men who have sex with men to determine the best ways to curtail HIV infections among the group, which experts say is at high risk for HIV infection in the District. “Tragically, our nation’s capital has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS, where about 3 percent of adults and adolescents are infected with the virus,” said NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci at the initiative’s unveiling. “By collaborating with Mayor Fenty’s administration to establish the new D.C. Partnership for HIV/AIDS Progress, NIH will seek to answer critical HIV research questions that could positively affect the groundwork for making D.C. a national leader in the fight against AIDS. “This comprehensive collaboration will generate fresh ideas, new services and technical knowledge to enable the city and NIH to prevent new infections and improve health care services for all residents living with HIV/AIDS,” he said. Also speaking at the news conference, held at a private community clinic in Anacostia, were D.C. City Council member David Catania (I-At Large), who chairs the Council’s Committee on Health; Dr. Pierre Vigilance, director of the D.C. Department of Health; and Dr. Shannon Hader, senior deputy director of the city’s health department in charge of the recently renamed D.C. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD & Tuberculosis Administration. Catania said he was hopeful that the benefits from the joint D.C.-NIH initiative combined with the “steady progress” the city is making on the HIV/AIDS front would lead to improved numbers in the infection rate before the city hosts the World AIDS Conference in 2012. “This is a day we’ve waited for for a long time,” he said. Don Blanchon, executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, said the Clinic would play a role in the joint D.C.-HIH initiative. “This new partnership has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives, especially in how we combat HIV/AIDS in D.C.,” Blanchon said. “We are proud to be a part of this effort.” An NIH statement released at Tuesday’s news conference says the study of black men who have sex with men, is already underway in D.C. and other cities, and is being conducted by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases. Fauci heads that division. The NIH statement notes that blacks represent 76 percent of the District’s HIV/AIDS cases. Recent D.C. studies have shown that while heterosexuals make up the highest percentage of newly HIV-infected people in the city, men who have sex with men make up the highest number of overall HIV cases in the District. According to the statement, the research into black men who have sex with men includes gathering “sexual and social networking information from black men who have sex with men.” The statement said as part of the effort, “participants receive HIV riskreduction counseling and condoms; testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; screenings for substance use, mental health issues, partner and/or homophobic violence; and a peer system to help them navigate the health care system and utilize HIV services.” It says this two-year study will “assess the impact of these services on HIV incidence.” The study will enlist 2,600 men in six U.S. cities, including about 400 in D.C. Other components of the joint D.C.NIH initiative include tracking and measuring the success of HIV care; enhancing care for other HIV-related medical issues, such diabetes, Hepatitis, and cardiovascular disease; and a “test and treat” pilot program. Fauci said the “test and treat” program is part of an international experiment among AIDS researchers and physicians. He noted that its aim is to determine whether an aggressive medical treatment regimen that drastically reduces the HIV viral load among patients could be the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus. He noted that some researchers with the United Nation’s World Health Organization believe the rate of infection in a given geographical area could be reduced to a greater degree under a “test and treat” program than through more traditional prevention programs such as condom distribution and HIV prevention education. According to WHO researchers, a lower viral load reduces the chance of infection, even in instances where people engaged in unprotected sex.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and health officials announced a $26.4 million federally funded initiative that targets black men who have sex with men in D.C. District’s HIV/AIDS problem and serve as a model for programs in other U.S. cities as well,” Fauci said. Fenty said the initiative comes two years after his administration set in motion sweeping changes in the city’s AIDS office and Department of Health, which he said has laid the
Virginia lawmakers to consider 2 LGBT bills
Workplace discrimination, insurance benefits on the legislative agenda
By HARLEY DENNETT Special to DC Agenda Two key pieces of LGBT-related legislation will receive bipartisan sponsorship in the Virginia General Assembly, which began session Wednesday. Equality Virginia CEO Jon Blair said the two bills expanding workplace discrimination protections and permitting employee life insurance benefits for domestic partners were the lobby group’s top priorities with the best chance of passing in 2010. Other bills to be considered by committees, but with a more doubtful future, include extending reproductive technology access to unmarried couples. After a series of Assembly sessions where attempts were made to further restrict the rights of LGBT Virginians, including the successful constitutional amendment banning same-sex relationship recognition, it appeared to LGBT rights lobbyists that no further attempts were being planned this session. “The atmosphere is not perfect, however it is imminent,” Blair told DC Agenda. “Equality is going to happen in Virginia and the handful of people who are trying to hold it down will only be successful for so long.” Blair’s big-ticket item is passing a bill barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, enshrining in law former Gov. Tim Kaine’s executive order that incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell declined to continue. Like the executive order it will replace, if passed, the workplace protection will only cover public employees. Blair hoped, though, that step would be just the start. “Virginia is the only state in the nation where it is 100 percent legal to fire someone based on their perceived sexual orientation. Protected classes are race, gender, creed — those kinds of things,” he said. “This [bill] means every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginian should be protected in the workplace from being fired based on their sexual orientation. This is public employers this year.” The lobby group’s second priority this year is a group life insurance bill that would allow insurers and employers to mutually agree upon any group of people they’re willing to insure. “Virginia is quirky in having the Dillon Rule,” Blair said. “Right now insurers want to provide life insurance to Virginians and employers want to provide life insurance to Virginians, but they do not have express permission from the state. Until they have permission from the state, they are not able to do that because the Dillon Rule prevents that.” Virginia is the last state to have kept the court-authored law dating back to the 1860s, which limited the powers of municipal corporations to only those granted by state legislatures or where the state has not defined its own powers in that area. Local government entities are just some of the employers that have sought to provide life insurance to domestic partners, but were thwarted by state law. “Employees want it, employers want it, and insurers want it, and all we need is the General Assembly to bless it,” Blair said. “We’re not just talking about GLBT people here. Any person who has an otherwise qualified adult in their household who they want to provide insurance to, including straight couples. “I’m the perfect example. I’m straight and engaged. Until my fiancé and I are married, I can’t provide life insurance to her. If you don’t think that impacts where she chooses to work, you’re crazy.” Like the federal Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, supporters say lack of action in the matter hurts the government and the state. “This isn’t just about recruiting new employees, either,” Blair said. “There are companies here that have more than one major headquarters and they cannot promote employees from one of those offices to their main headquarters here because employees will refuse the promotion based on losing their benefits. Because when they live in Montreal or Seattle or wherever they are allowed to provide benefits to those partners and when they move here they lose them.” The task of lobbying to get both bills passed falls primarily to Virginia Equality’s chief counsel, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, a 24-year veteran in the assembly. “Given that the business community has made it clear the life insurance bill is a common sense piece of legislation and voters made it clear that non-discrimination is an issue they’re in agreement should be a policy of the Commonwealth, we shouldn’t have any problems getting these bills through,” she said. If that sounds too optimistic, Guthrie Gastañaga said she wishes it didn’t. “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen bills people have agreed to co-patron a bill they’ve ended up voting against, and they’re just as likely to come to you and say I’ll vote for it on the floor, but I’m not in a position to co-patron it. “I’m not counting any chickens before they hatch, but I’m sitting on a bunch of them and keeping them really warm in this cold weather.” The life insurance bill is similar to a previous law passed in 2005 that extended the rights of employers to offer health insurance to domestic partners. That law passed by just one vote in the state House, which Guthrie Gastañaga says validated the lobby group’s approach to working with both parties. Virginia Equality came under fire for that bipartisan approach to lobbying when it continued to endorse Del. Tom Rust, a Republican, over a Democratic candidate with strong support from the LGBT community. But the relationship building has apparently paid off. Rust’s office confirmed to DC Agenda that the lawmaker will introduce the life insurance bill again this session. Blair said the arguments already appealed to Republican principles. “When you explain the life insurance bill is revenue neutral and won’t cost employers anything, that means something,” he said. “When you can say a comprehensive non-discrimination policy is good for business and employers recruiting employees — and 88 percent of fortune 500 compa-
Photo courtesy of Ebbin
Virginia state Del. Adam Ebbin, who’s gay, said the ‘insurance industry and business community very much support’ bills that would bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and permit employee life insurance benefits for domestic partners. nies in Virginia already voluntarily have a non-discrimination policy because they on their own decided it was a good idea — that means something.” The state’s only openly gay delegate, Adam Ebbin, a Democrat, noted that he felt there would be “more than one Republican” joining him in supporting both bills. “The insurance industry and business community very much support this. If people see the advantage of this bill for a wide variety of potential policy beneficiaries, I think it can pass.”
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Could an anti-gay Republican take Kennedy’s seat?
One poll shows candidates tied ahead of Jan. 19 vote
By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com The race to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in the U.S. Senate could be tightening up as one recent poll shows an anti-gay Republican running even with the pro-LGBT Democratic candidate. A poll published Saturday by Public Policy Polling shows state Sen. Scott Brown, the GOP candidate vying to succeed Kennedy, one point ahead of Democratic nominee and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. In a poll of residents who planned to vote in the special election — which occurs Jan. 19 — Public Policy Polling found that 48 percent said they intended to vote for Brown, while 47 percent said they would vote for Coakley. Six percent of responders said they were undecided. Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement that the poll shows the special election is “shaping up to be a potential disaster for Democrats.” “Martha Coakley’s complacent campaign has put Scott Brown in a surprisingly strong position and she couples in the first state in the country to allow same-sex marriage. By comparison, Coakley supports same-sex marriage and as attorney general has been a proponent of federal recognition for married same-sex couples. Last year, she filed a lawsuit on behalf on the State of Massachusetts against the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits married samesex couples from receiving the federal benefits of marriage. The candidates’ campaign web sites also are markedly different in how they handle LGBT issues. Coakley’s site details how she supports legislation that would affect the LGBT community, such as legislative repeal of DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Her site additionally notes that as attorney general she has “aggressively prosecuted” hate crimes at the state level — including those against LGBT people — and that she in 2008 was the first statewide official to endorse state legislation that included gender expression and identity in Massachusetts discrimination and hate crimes laws. Brown’s site lacks mention of issues specifically affecting LGBT people — with the exception of marriage. The site says that Brown believes marriage is between one man and woman and says, “States should be free to make their own laws in this area, so long at they reflect the people’s will as expressed through them directly, or as expressed through their elected representatives.” Michael Mitchell, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, said helping Coakley win the special election “couldn’t be more important” for LGBT people because a 60seat Democratic majority in the Senate is needed to advance LGBT rights in Congress. “I think that things are going to be a lot worse off if there’s 59 Democrats in the Senate instead of 60,” he said. Noting that the election will determine who would succeed Kennedy — perhaps the greatest proponent of LGBT issues in the Senate — Mitchell said “it would be a strange world indeed” to replace the so-called Liberal Lion with a Republican like Brown. Mitchell said Stonewall was “pulling out all the stops” to help Coakley win the election. He noted that the organization is sending out an e-mail blast to members across the country, urging them to contribute to Coakley’s campaign and participate in phone banking activities. The local Stonewall chapter in Massachusetts, Mitchell said, is hosting an event where supporters can gather to do phone banking for Coakley. Also backing Coakley in the special election is MassEquality, the statewide LGBT organization in Massachusetts. The organization endorsed Coakley in November.
Photo courtesy of Brown for U.S. Senate
Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown, the anti-gay GOP candidate vying to succeed Sen. Edward Kennedy, is polling even with the pro-LGBT Democratic candidate. will need to step it up in the final week to win a victory once thought inevitable,” Debnam said. Public Policy Polling’s poll speculated that Brown found strong support in an overwhelmingly “blue” state because of depressed Democratic interest in the election and because he’s favored by independent voters. The poll could be an outlier. Another poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and published Sunday by the Boston Globe found Coakley had a 17-point lead over Brown. Fifty-three percent of responders said they would vote for her, while 36 percent said they intended to vote for Brown. Neither Coakley’s campaign nor Brown’s campaign responded to DC Agenda’s requests for comment, but the candidates’ records significantly diverge on LGBT issues, particularly with regard to same-sex marriage. In 2007, Brown voted in the state legislature for a failed state constitutional amendment that would have taken marriage rights away from gay
N.J. Senate kills same-sex marriage bill
State unlikely to see gay weddings in next 4 years
By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org The New Jersey State Senate last week defeated legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage, but plans are already brewing to obtain marriage rights for gay couples through litigation. Senators voted down the measure, 14-20, following a 90-minute debate. After the vote was recorded, opponents of gay nuptials filled the Senate chamber with cheers and applause. The bill’s failure almost certainly means New Jersey won’t see the legalization of same-sex marriage through legislative means anytime soon. Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie will begin his four-year term Jan. 19, and he’s pledged to veto any marriage bill that comes to his desk. Outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine (D) in a statement Thursday expressed disappointment about the outcome of the vote, although he commended the Senate for having public debate on the issue. “Most assuredly, this is an issue of civil rights and civil liberties, the foundation of our state and federal constitutions,” he said. “Denying any group of people a fundamental human right because of who they are, or whom they love, is wrong, plain and simple.” Celebrating the victory was the National Organization for Marriage. In an e-mail blast, Brian Brown, the organization’s executive director, praised followers who “made phone calls, sent e-mails, and prayed” in opposition to same-sex marriage. “Yet again, we have witnessed a tremendous victory for marriage in a state where just a few months ago, victory seemed unlikely at best,” he said. Immediately following the vote, Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, announced in a statement plans to pursue the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey through court action. “The requirement to ensure equality for same-sex couples, established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its decision in our marriage lawsuit in 2006, has not been met,” he said. “There is enormous, heartbreaking evidence that civil unions are not equal to marriage, and we will be going back to the courts in New Jersey to fight for equality.” In a conference call following the vote, Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, said advocates of same-sex marriage have had “a seamless transition from our legislative phase to our court phase.” “It’s not a situation where New Jersey will go all the way backwards,” he said. “In New Jersey, the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that same-sex couples must receive equal treatment under the law as a state constitutional matter.” Goldstein said he didn’t yet know details about the litigation, such as who would become plaintiff couples or when the New Jersey Supreme Court might hear the case. Reflecting on the vote, Goldstein said the marriage bill didn’t succeed for one reason: the failure of Corzine to win re-election in November. “We had at minimum 22 votes in the Senate … and we were going to win this clearly in the Assembly,” he said. “At some point immediately after the election, we saw the fortunes change.” Goldstein said Corzine was “a star supporter of marriage equality” throughout most of 2009, but added “it did take him a while to get there.” “We were very honest in our statement today in saying that this bill should never have waited until sudden death overtime — the lame duck session,” he said. “And obviously we’re disappointed in that.” Opposition to the bill also increased, Goldstein said, because Christie visited Republican senators before the debate and urged them to vote against the bill. “We understand from impeccable sources that Governor-elect Christie went to the Republican Senate caucus and in the Republican Assembly caucus and told members who were going to vote for marriage equality, ‘I don’t want to see any marriage equality votes coming out of this caucus,’” Goldstein said. Even though they thought they might not win, Goldstein said advocates held the vote in the Senate because they believed it would bolster the chances of successful litigation. “We consulted and spoke with lawyers far and wide who said the New Jersey Legislature has to show its dereliction of duty affirmatively to go back to court — because they said it’s up to the legislature to act,” he said. “Today the legislature acted. It defaulted on its constitutional obligation to provide same-sex couples equality.” Noting that a number of lawmakers who voted against the marriage bill also conceded on the floor civil unions aren’t working, Goldstein said the Senate record will also help persuade the courts that civil unions aren’t adequate in providing protections for same-sex couples. Several senators gave emotional speeches on both sides of the marriage issue on the Senate floor before the vote was taken. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat and sponsor of the marriage legislation, was among those who spoke in favor of the bill. “Men and women do not have a monopoly on loving relationships,” she said. “We all know same-sex couples that enjoy the same love and trust that is shared between a man and a woman, between a husband and a wife.” Also speaking out in favor of the legislation was State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, another Democrat who sponsored the bill. Noting that 120 religious leaders sent a letter to the New Jersey Senate in support of same-sex marriage, Lesniak said the failure of the chamber to pass the legislation would
Photo courtesy of Christie for Governor
Efforts to legislatively enact same-sex marriage in New Jersey were stymied last week when state senators voted against the bill. The vote was considered a last chance to pass same-sex marriage before the swearing in of Governor-elect Chris Christie, who opposes gay nuptials. amount to religious discrimination. “Unless we vote for marriage equality, we will be interfering with the religious beliefs of many of our citizens,” he said. “Government is wrong to interfere with religious beliefs. Today, we can right that wrong.” State Sen. Bill Baroni, the lone Republican to vote in favor of the marriage legislation, said New Jersey’s current system of offering civil unions to same-sex couples amounted to discrimination perpetuated by the government.
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 9
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Results-Oriented ▼ Affordable Larry Cohen, LICSW
22 years serving the glbt community
‘Don’t Ask’ repeal may come via budget process
Continued from page 1
“We’re hopeful that it will be either January or February and we’re pushing for that,” she said. Still, it’s unclear exactly when the House committee will take up the legislation. Aaron Albright, spokesperson for the House & Education Labor Committee, said, “nothing has been scheduled yet.” Meanwhile, in the Senate, Jeff Merkley (DOre.), who sponsors ENDA in that chamber, has said the HELP Committee will take up ENDA in the spring, but Herwitt said the timing in the Senate “is a little less clear.” “I think that we’re going to talk to [Chair Tom] Harkin’s staff people, committee staff and try to figure all of that out, what’s the timeframe that they’re looking at, how will we envision the bill moving forward in the Senate,” she said. “I mean, obviously, the Senate provides us more challenges in moving legislation, especially when it is freestanding.” Advocates are committed to passing a version of ENDA that provides protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The inclusion of transgender people in ENDA has been a sensitive issue. In 2007, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) came under fire for pushing a version of ENDA that provided protections only on the basis of sexual orientation, saying at the time that Congress lacked the votes to pass an inclusive bill. This year, the situation is different. Polis said lawmakers expect to pass “an inclusive ENDA that includes protections based on gender identity.” Herwitt expressed similar optimism that the House would be able to pass ENDA with protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “I think that we’re in a really strong place in the House,” she said. “I think that, again, when we look at our vote count for final passage, it looks good for a fully inclusive bill.” Still, Herwitt said conversations are more nascent on the Senate side regarding ENDA and the inclusion of gender identity provisions. “We have education that we need to do and have conversations,” she said. “I know that Sen. Merkley and his staff have been really on top of this, and having those conversations staff-to-staff — and the senator is having colleague-to-colleague conversations. And we just need to continue some of that process and then see where we are with the vote count.” Asked whether the gender identity provisions could be a sticking point in the Senate, Herwitt replied, “I think what I’m saying is we’re still in the process of figuring all of that out. The conversations are still happening, the education process is still ongoing and obviously we want to make sure that the bill moves forward when it can move forward as a fully inclusive bill.”
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Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is lead sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act. repeal in his budget request to stay true to the promise he made to end the ban last year during a speech at an HRC dinner. “There is no good reason why this White House would pass up this opportunity,” Sarvis said. “It is the logical place to get rid of the discriminatory ban. We urge the president to make good on his words on the campaign trail as well as those said last October when he emphatically declared, ‘I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Herwitt said HRC also wants Obama to include repeal of the ban on open service as part of his defense budget request. “We have been working to make that a reality,” she said. “We are hopeful and it has been part of our plan. We think that having the White House put the policy recommendations through [the] DOD [budget request] forward is important and key.” Whether the budget request will, in fact, include language that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remains to be seen. Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, wouldn’t confirm whether administration officials would include such language in the budget request. “As we are in the midst of the policy process for the FY 2011 Budget, it would be premature to comment on its contents,” he said. Another bill pending in Congress is the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act. The legislation — approved late last year by both House and Senate committees — would allow the same-sex partners of LGBT federal workers to receive the same benefits as the spouses of straight workers, including health and pension benefits. But the timing for a floor vote is not yet clear. Herwitt said she doesn’t know when floor votes would take place and said HRC is “working with our allies in the House and the Senate to try and figure out what is the schedule, what are they looking at.” Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the sponsor of the bill in that chamber, said last month a floor vote wouldn’t take place until lawmakers receive cost offset information from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for implementing the measure within the agency’s existing budget. Leslie Phillips, spokesperson for the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation, said Tuesday that lawmakers have “not yet received the offset information from OPM.” The agency didn’t respond to DC Agenda’s request for comment.
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Activists want ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal in budget request
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military, is also a primary focus for LGBT rights supporters on the Hill. Advocates are urging President Obama to include language that would overturn the law as part of his defense budget request to Congress for the next fiscal year. The request is expected to be made public early this year. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on Tuesday published a full-page ad in Roll Call newspaper calling on Obama to include repeal in his budget request. Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, writes in the letter that Obama should include
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 11
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12 dcagenda.com • january 15, 2010
Two Senate retirements mean two losses for gays
By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org With two veteran Democratic senators last week announcing plans to retire at year’s end, the LGBT community is losing two lawmakers that have largely been allies on Capitol Hill. Media reports circulated last week that Sens. Chris Dodd (DConn.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) are not seeking re-election this year — and pundits are speculating their retirement foretells a dismal election year for Democrats. Whatever their exit means in November at the polls, the retirement of these senators means LGBT people will be losing voices that have been largely reliable in supporting gay rights. It’s particularly true for Dodd, who was an advocate for advancing LGBT rights even when such stances weren’t as politically tenable as they are today. Dodd has consistently voted in favor of hate crimes legislation, including the most recent bill that was signed into law last year by President Obama. The senator also has been a co-sponsor for the Employment Nonvoted in favor of the 1996 version of ENDA. The North Dakota senator also voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. Dodd voted against the measure in 2004, but cast no vote in 2006. The records on LGBT issues for Dodd and Dorgan aren’t spotless. Both senators voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act when it came to a Senate floor vote in 1996. Dodd seemed have to recanted that vote last year, though, when he came out in favor of same-sex marriage. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement to DC Agenda that Dodd and Dorgan would be missed. “Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan have been reliable supporters of LGBT civil rights and stood strongly in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment,” Solmonese said. “In particular, Chris Dodd has been a leader in speaking out for marriage equality and repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. They will be missed.” Who will succeed the two senators remains to be seen. In Connecticut, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, is in contention for Dodd’s seat. LGBT activists have been pressuring Blumenthal to join a federal lawsuit against DOMA filed last year by the state of Massachusetts. Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons is running for the Republican nomination, and he’s a favorite among LGBT Republicans. Before he was voted out of Congress in 2006, Simmons had been a co-sponsor of ENDA and hate crimes legislation. North Dakota is known for being a solidly Republican state. The favorite in the race seems to be Republican Gov. John Hoeven. He’s against civil unions and same-sex marriage, and spoke in favor of a state constitutional ban on samesex marriage in 2004. On the Democratic side, the Huffington Post reported MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz is considering a run for Dorgan’s seat. Also named as a contender is Rep. Earl Pomeroy, a Democratic House member from North Dakota. He’s voted in favor of hate crimes legislation and ENDA and twice voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Photo courtesy of Dodd
U.S. Sens. Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan are retiring at the end of the year. Discrimination Act since 1994 and a co-sponsor for the Uniting American Families Act since 1996. One of the votes in favor of a version of ENDA in 1996 — which ultimately failed by a 49-50 vote — came from Dodd. Dorgan isn’t a co-sponsor of UAFA or ENDA, but has been a supporter of hate crimes legislation, and
New ballot measure proposals face election board review
Continued from page 1
Kenneth McGhie said the board was in the process of scheduling another hearing sometime this month for Jackson’s referendum proposal. In a related development, two U.S. senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives — all Republicans — filed a friend-of-thecourt brief in support of an older lawsuit from Jackson that seeks to force the city to hold a voter initiative on the gay marriage question. Jackson filed the lawsuit last year after the election board ruled that a ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage would violate the city’s Human Rights Act and is therefore not allowable. The GOP lawmakers’ brief was countered by another friend of the court, or amicus, brief filed by three D.C. same-sex couples that were married in other states and another same-sex couple that hopes to marry in the District later this year. Also signing on to the couples’ brief were the local same-sex marriage advocacy groups D.C. Clergy United and Campaign for All D.C. Families. Attorneys for same-sex marriage supporters and opponents argued on behalf of their respective motions and briefs at a hearing Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Judith Macaluso, who is expected to issue a ruling on Jackson’s lawsuit in the next few weeks. The two new ballot measure proposals, including the ones filed in December by Little and this week by Jackson, come on the heels of decisions last year by the election board rejecting an earlier initiative and referendum proposal — both introduced by Jackson and his backers. A D.C. Superior Court judge last spring upheld the board’s ruling rejecting the referendum. Macaluso is deliberating over Jackson’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the board’s decision to disallow his earlier initiative proposal. Most legal observers expect the election board to reject the initiative filed this week by Little. Little could not be reached to determine whether she plans to appeal in court any board decision denying her request for the initiative. “If they keep coming back and the courts continue to rule against them, at some point the courts will throw these cases out in summary judgment,” said gay activist Peter Rosenstein, who is a board member of the Campaign for All D.C. Families. “You can’t keep going back to the courts with the same case.” But Jackson and Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Robert King have vowed to do just that, saying they believe a higher-level court will eventually force the city to hold a referendum or initiative that brings the subject of gay marriage before the city’s voters. Brian Flowers, the D.C. City Council's staff attorney, said as of Monday, the pojected date for Congress to complete its review of the same-sex marraige bill is March 2. Flowers noted that the projection was made by counting the days the House and Senate are expected to be in session between this week and the beginning of March. "The count includes 14 days in January, 15 days in February and one day in March, making March 2 the 31st day," Flowers said in an e-mail. Little, who filed papers in December for an initiative to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law, filed a motion in federal court the same month seeking an injunction to block the City Council from voting on the same-sex marriage bill at its regularly scheduled legislative session. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen KollarKotolly denied the motion Dec. 15, the same day the Council passed the bill, saying Little failed to provide evidence to support her claim that allowing the Council to vote on the marriage bill would cause the city and gay marriage opponents “irreparable harm.” Little did not issue a public announcement about her motion for the injunction, and most local activists and Council members were unaware that she had made an apparently unprecedented attempt to ask a court to stop the Council from voting on a bill. U.S. Sens. James Inhoff (R-Oak.) and Roger Wilkins (R-Miss.) joined 37 conservative GOP House members, most of whom are vocal opponents of LGBT rights, in filing the amicus brief in support of the lawsuit by Jackson to force the city into holding a voter initiative on gay marriage. “Under the United States Constitution, they serve as members
Gay weddings could boost D.C. economy
An analysis released by the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates that as much as $22 million in revenue for area businesses could be generated by weddings for thousands of same-sex couples who flock to the city from other states. The analysis calls the $22 million figure a “high end” estimate and lists a “low end” estimate of $4.5 million to be generated in D.C. and the surrounding suburbs through bookings of hotel rooms, banquet halls and other expenses related to same-sex weddings. Total tax revenue for the city from same-sex weddings over the next three years could range from a low of $14,970 to a high of about $1 million, according to the analysis. The analysis points to a U.S. Census Bureau survey tracking the years 2006-2008, which shows there were 3,896 same-sex households in the District of Columbia. “Based on the experience of Massachusetts, we estimate that 50 percent of all same-sex households in D.C. will marry in the three years following the legalization of same-sex marriage,” says the analysis. “We assume that 25 percent of all same-sex couples in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs in the D.C. metropolitan area will marry in D.C. in three years following the legalization of same-sex marriage,” it says. It adds, “We assume that 2.5 percent of all same-sex couples in the remaining states will marry in D.C.” in the same three-year period. The analysis estimates that the surrounding suburbs are likely to share a significant portion of the revenue from same-sex couples traveling to D.C. to marry. “Fifty percent is our best guess,” it says. LOU CHIBBARO JR. of the ultimate legislative authority for the District of Columbia and the very body which delegated to the District its limited legislative power under home rule,” the amicus brief states. D.C. home rule advocates, including LGBT groups that have pushed for full voting rights for D.C. in Congress, are likely to interpret the brief as a signal by the GOP lawmakers that they will seek to overturn the same-sex marriage law sometime in the future if Jackson loses his court fight. Congress retains authority to overturn any D.C. law at any time. Most political observers believe the city’s same-sex marriage law will be protected as long as Democrats retain control of Congress, but they caution that the law could be in jeopardy if Republicans gain control in the future. The same-sex couples who filed the amicus brief opposing Jackson’s lawsuit include city residents Trevor Blake and Jeff Krehely; Amy Hinze-Pifer and Rebecca Hinze-Pifer; Vincent Micone and Thomas Metzger; and Reginald Stanley and Rocky Galloway. The nationally known law firm Covington & Burling is providing probono legal representation for the same-sex couples in the case.
Marriage bill goes to Hill
Meanwhile, the City Council’s Office of Legislative Affairs sent the same-sex marriage bill passed by the Council and signed by Fenty to Congress on Jan. 5 to arrange for a required congressional review of the law, according to office staffer Ebony Henry. Henry said her office’s decision to wait more than two weeks after Fenty signed the bill Dec. 18 to send it to Capitol Hill was due to the office’s normal processing of bills that get sent to Congress for their required congressional review of 30 legislative days. The clock for the congressional review was expected to start ticking next week, when the House and Senate were to begin their 2010 legislative session.
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 13
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Vol. 2, Issue 3
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More Democratic disappointments
One year of complete control by party yields little for LGBT people
By ROBERT TURNER We are at the start of a new year. Democrats have controlled the halls of Congress for three years. Barack Obama has resided in the White House just days shy of a full year. What is there to show for the progress of the LGBT movement under Democratic control? The president spoke at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner, hate crimes legislation became law, and the Ryan White Care Act was reauthorized. But that last item had been reauthorized by a Republican Congress and a Republican president. To be sure, the GOP track record on gay issues is abysmal, to say the least. However, it was the Democratic Party that asked for gay dollars and the gay vote, both in 2006 and again in 2008 to give them complete control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. To this end, what has our community seen in terms of real progress as opposed to mere lip service? As we begin the second session of the 111th Congress, we must ask ourselves if we’ve been had. Yes, my liberal brothers and sisters will argue that more has been done in the last year to lay the groundwork on major accomplishments in the coming years. But they are forgetting the most
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President Obama has been in office for a full year and the Democrats have held commanding majorities in Congress during that time, yet progress on LGBT rights has been disappointingly slow. important tenet of politics: Senators and members of Congress have one simple goal, and that is to get reelected. As we usher in the mid-term election season, most of Congress will be focused on maintaining their jobs and their hold on power. One of the few shining moments in Congress is the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act. It has been passed out of committee in the Senate, and is expected to see floor action early this year, that is, if the Obama administration will stop dragging its feet and come up with offsets — ways to pay for the estimated $63 million per year cost. Last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi said, “not now” to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it wasn’t a high priority). The White House sat idly by as marriage equality was repealed in Maine via ballot initiative and was defeated in the New York State Senate. An immigration bill has been introduced in the House that doesn’t allow LGBT Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency. And while New York Gov. David Patterson has aggressively pushed his state Senate to act favorably on marriage equality, Obama has said in no uncertain terms that he would prefer Patterson step aside so someone who has a better chance of retaining the governor’s mansion for Democrats can run. Instead, Democrats spent their political capital on a Cap & Trade bill in the House, and health care reform that does not address health benefits for our partners. Earlier this month, The Bilerico Project asked two questions: Are we not making our voices heard? Or are our voices being ignored? I suspect that if these items don’t get moved through Congress and signed into law before the Memorial Day recess, we will not see any major legislation favorable to our community at all in 2010. Robert Turner is president of The Turner Group, a D.C.-based government relations firm. Reach him at email@example.com.
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The following comments were posted to DCAgenda.com. Visit our site to join the discussion. Re: “Prop 8 trial begins Monday” In bringing Prop. 8 to trial, we should remember the old Chinese proverb, “Be careful what you wish for.” While I feel as strongly as most readers here about the need for marriage to be available to us, I cannot help but think that it will hurt us if we try to bully the will of the people through legal tricks. Consider the abortion issue as an example. It was getting close to being made legal in some places and situations with general support when the courts intervened and made an edict. Now it remains a chasm in our public thought. If abortion laws had changed in most places through legislative action, and bills to change them failed several times it would be considered a dead issue in the political world. Only the “gadflies” would be pushing it. Public opinion is evolving in our favor now that more people are out of the closet, and thus more people understand us as just regular harmless folks who care about their loved ones and their country. Even basic rights for us, such as employment non-discrimination have gone from about 20 percent public support in the 1980s to 80 percent today. Almost every poll shows stronger support for our rights from younger people in both parties and of many religious traditions. We need to build on this trend and educate people and we need to be examples of solid couples and good citizens so this can all get resolved in our favor democratically. — Sam Brown Re: “Two more D.C. ballot measures proposed to ban samesex marriage” I had my suspicions so I went back in THOMAS and looked it up. Sure enough, there were three House signers on the amicus brief who were in office in 1993 when the D.C. statehood bill was voted on: Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Jack Kingston (Ga.), and Don Manzullo (Ill.) All voted NO in 1993 on the HR.51. So much for their commitment to D.C. residents getting the right to vote on important matters. — Don I find it amusing that there is at least one not-so-closeted gay Republican who signed this amicus brief and that all but one voted against giving D.C. residents a real congressional seat in the voting rights bill. The so-called GOP Big Tent continues to smell of its own elephant dung! — DC John Re: “D.C. Jail guards accused of beating gay inmate” Let me see if I understand this. An inmate of the D.C. Jail, injured in an altercation with guards on December 17, is being held in “protective custody” and is not able to have visitors (or one presumes be seen or have his injuries seen or photographed) “until Jan. 27 at the earliest”? Excuse me? I don’t care if this guy is a hustler, a drug addict, a thief or whatever. We fought to put an end to this sort of thing decades ago. It seems to me that in a lot of ways, things are going backwards rather than forwards in the District. — Michael No matter what someone’s past is or what they are in jail for this does not give them the right to beat someone. No matter what he did in the jail or to the guards once he was restrained that should have been the end of it. You do not get to break the law just because you are a prison guard. They [allegedly] did this because John is white and gay, this was a hate crime. — Dee Re: “Arrest warrant sought in lesbian parental custody dispute” Maggie Gallagher: You are deluded to think that you control the levers of a supernatural universe, as is anyone else who believes a single word from your lying mouth. Then, you meddle with the lives of innocent children like Isabella, forever helping to screw with their secure future and a loving parent. Then, you put visions of demons and fairy-tales of made-up gay conspiracies in the heads of people who don’t know any better (because they don’t know any gay people). And how is it that you and NOM claim to know more about gay issues and families, than all the gay people who say you’re full of it, like me? Could never figure that one out. — Peter the Saint Maggie Gallagher talking about unjust laws is a scream! She is one of the preeminent instigators of unjust laws against the LGBTI community. — Mykelb Re: “Two Senate retirements means two losses for LGBT people” It will be easier to have someone who is pro-LGBT in the seat without Chris Dodd running, which would have handed the seat to a heterosexist Republican. — libhomo
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16 dcagenda.com • january 15, 2010
friday, jan. 15
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. GAY DISTRICT meets tonight. The group was formerly known as the Twenties Group but has expanded its age range for gay, bi, trans and questioning men from 18 to 35. The group meets for weekly discussion from 8:30 to 9:30 every Friday at St. Margaret’s Church located at 1830 Connecticut Ave. Members dine afterwards then go dancing. The group is changing its contact information but for now, those interested can visit the group on Facebook under the name “GD: Gay District.” The D.C. Cowboys are having a new event starting tonight called BRODEO AT REMINGTON’S. It will feature country, western, disco and club music, performances, giveaways, JellO shots, an auction and the Cowboys. Proceeds benefit the group, which uses funds to facilitate its ability to provide free entertainment for HIV and AIDS charity groups. For more information, visit dccowboys.org. Remington’s is at 639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. gallery will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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. Doors open at 10 p.m. Town is located at 2009 Eighth Street, 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 Street, N.W. starting at 11:30 p.m. Visit blowoff.us for more information.
tuesday, jan. 19
A remembrance event for Martin Luther King Jr. is being held tonight by the GLBT ARTS CONSORTIUM from 7 to 9 p.m. at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church at 4th and Independence Ave., S.E. near the Eastern Market and Capitol South Metro stations. The event is free and open to the public. D.C.’S HIV WORKING GROUP assembles safer sex kits with its “packing parties” 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. HOLLABACK, a social club and support group for trans people, presented by Alpha Drugs, is tonight at 1638 R St., N.W., Suite 260. To RSVP, call Dee Curry at 202-290-0324. COBALT has “Flashback,” a retro night, every Tuesday at 10 p.m. Cobalt is at the corner of 17th and R streets, N.W.
sunday, jan. 17
REACTION, the closing night party for Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, is tonight from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the 9:30 club, located at 815 V Street, N.W., with music by DJ David LaSalle and entertainment by German retro singer Myke Lowe. Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door. They’re available at the Leather Rack or ticketfly.com.
Photo by Noah Kalina Blowoff, a monthly party featuring gay DJs/remixers BOB MOULD and Rich Morel, will be held Saturday night. 14th St., N.W., previous home of the Lesbian Services Program and Austin Center of Whitman-Walker Clinic. Visit thedccenter.org for more information. Arts and Culture Group, another local gay social outfit, for a trip to Gettysburg today. A moderate 6-mile hike is planned with some steep passages. Those interested should bring beverages, lunch, hiking shoes and about $12 for transportation fees. The groups will meet at 9 a.m. at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station. For more information, contact Craig at 202-462-0535 or email@example.com. D.C. LAMBDA SQUARES, a local gay square dancing outfit, has a community dance today with guest caller Jeremy Butler from Virginia Beach. The dance will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring, Md. Cost is $10. For more information about this or other club affairs, visit dclambdasquares.org. Several local gay social groups are joining D.C. ICEBREAKERS, a local gay ice skating group, tonight for a large social event at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. Skating will run from 8 to 9 p.m. with a social to follow at Bailey’s Pub and Grill. Other groups slated to join the Icebreakers are Zoom Urban Lesbian Excursions, NOVA Gay & Lesbian Professionals, D.C. Lesbian Singles, Burgundy Crescent Volunteers, NOVA Dynamic Lesbian Singles, the Mixed Ladies Arlington Pool League and Social Cheverly. For more information, visit dcicebreakers.org.
monday, jan. 18
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF WASHINGTON, the District’s largest mostly gay church, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. MCCDC is located at 474 Ridge Street, N.W. Visit mccdc.com for more information about the church. FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR, located at 555 S. 23rd Street in Crystal City, Va., has disco trivia every Monday at 8 p.m.
saturday, jan. 16
A new gay-owned gallery called INDUSTRY GALLERY opens tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. with “Round the Corner,” the debut solo U.S. exhibition of Jerusalemborn artist Shlomo Harush. Visit industrygallerydc.com for more information. The
wednesday, jan. 20
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 Towne at email@example.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. An HIV/AIDS SUPPORT GROUP, presented by Alpha Drugs, is tonight at 1638 R St., N.W., Suite 260. Dinner will be served but reservations are required. To RSVP call , 301-735-2805 or 301-674-8901. 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
thursday, jan. 21
D.C. LAMBDA SQUARES, a local gay square dancing group, meets every Thursday for square dancing. Those who’ve taken the group’s “Mainstream” and “Plus” classes dance on the first and third Thursdays. “Plus” and “Advanced” classes are on the second and fourth Thursdays. For more information about the group or to find out when beginner classes are available, visit dclambdasquares.org.
friday, jan. 22
A GAYSPIRITS event is being held this weekend in Annandale, Va. It’s a spiritual retreat for gay men who’ve avoided religion because many faiths condemn them. GaySpirits creators say gay men have “unique spiritual giftedness.” The events will take place at Little River U.C.C., located at 8410 Little River Turnpike, tonight from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Cost is $70. For more information, visit gayspirits.com or call 301-580-2953.
Photo courtesy of Industry Gallery INDUSTRY GALLERY opens Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. with ‘Round the Corner,’ the debut solo U.S. exhibition of Jerusalem-born artist Shlomo Harush.
saturday, jan. 23
ADVENTURING OUTDOORS GROUP, a gay hiking group, is joining the Chrysalis
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 17
CREATED & PERFORMED BY
MIKE DAISEY DIRECTED BY JEAN-MICHELE GREGORY
NOW SHOWING THROUGH FEB. 7
Direct from his triumphant performances in NYC: “ONE OF THE ELITE PERFORMERS IN THE AMERICAN THEATER” – New York Times “HILARIOUS. An incredibly ballsy and humble indictment of the banking system, American materialism, and the audience.”–Variety
ALL TICKETS, ALL PERFORMANCES
$30 OR LESS!
ACT NOW by calling 202-393-3939 or visiting woollymammoth.net to order
Celebrating the wholeness and holiness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Catholics in Washington, D.C.
I came to Dignity/Washington nearly 25 years ago in search of a spiritual home where I could worship with others who affirmed the intrinsic goodness of our sexual orientation as a gift from God. I have remained because of the strong bonds of friendship and community formed over those many years. In the early 1990s, I had the privilege of leading Dignity/Washington, a task that I was more than happy to undertake because I could see firsthand the positive changes that we brought to numerous individuals. In addition to fulfilling its core religious mission, Dignity/Washington also provides critical and necessary social, educational, financial, and cultural support to many people through a variety of programs and activities. In this way, it has woven the lives of its members into the fabric of the wider community and thus aided the GLBT community’s goals of acceptance and equality. — Bernie Delia, Dignity/Washington member since 1986 Contact us at: 202-546-2235 (phone) Mass (sign interpreted) and social: Sundays at 6:00 PM 202-521-3954 (fax) At St. Margaret’s Church Visit online at www.dignitywashington.org 1820 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington
18 dcagenda.com • january 15, 2010
from fashion to filmmaking
Director Tom Ford insists ‘Single Man’ isn't a gay film
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO firstname.lastname@example.org Early promos for the new film “A Single Man,” even its trailer, don’t mention the fashion industry day job of its director. “A film by Tom Ford.” We’re not used to seeing his name in trailers. Oh, THAT Tom Ford. By now, of course, word is out and the international film community is abuzz that the legendary designer, he of the perpetually halfunbuttoned dress shirt, has practically conquered a new artistic medium in one fell swoop. “A Single Man,” which opened in Washington on Christmas at Landmark E Street Cinema and goes into wide release today, has earned strong reviews and fared well at the Venice International Film Festival in September where it was nominated for the festival’s top prize (the Golden Lion) and star Colin Firth won best actor. The film is up in three categories at Sunday’s Golden Globes. Some gay movie fans are saying they were pleasantly surprised. “I really enjoyed it,” says Rodney Shanks, a gay Seattle resident who makes it a point to see all the gay-themed films he can. “I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about Colin Firth, but I still wasn’t expecting a whole lot. I kind of thought, what does this fashion guy know about directing a movie. But it was beautifully done. The attention to detail, you really got the whole feel of the period. I was very, very impressed.” So how long had Ford, famous for his own eponymous fashion house after rescuing Gucci from near oblivion in the ’90s, been harboring moviemaking dreams? About 12 years, an affable and down-to-earth Ford says during a half-hour interview from his office in Milan, Italy. “I was very satisfied with my life as a fashion designer, but I started feeling there were things I wanted to say that I couldn’t say through clothes. I started realizing I’d really like to have a career as a filmmaker. I was in my mid-40s. I was kind of thinking, ‘OK, it’s now or never,’ so I started a film production company.” Ford has been a lifelong film buff, though he stops shy of calling himself a cineaste. He remembers his early years in New York in the ‘70s when the “young homosexual thing was to be very up on old Hollywood movies.” He became well versed in European film while living in Paris, a city Ford says is “obsessed with film.” Ultimately, though, the medium’s permanency is what appealed to him. Though film preservationists might argue, Ford says the medium has lasting impact that the more fleeting fashion world lacks. “If you design a beautiful dress, the first time you see it, it’s very powerful. You might look at it six
Photo courtesy of Ford
TOM FORD says he was partially attracted to Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 book, which he just filmed, because it dealt with a same-sex relationship in a matter-of-fact way. ‘A Single Man’ stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. months later and feel something, but not the same thing. Six months later you feel something less. Then maybe two years later you sell it on eBay. Thirty years later it’s in a museum and you might say, ‘Well, the cut was interesting,’ but you don’t feel that same emotion. When you watch a film, it could be something from the ’30s where every single person who was involved in that production is gone, yet you’re immediately sucked back in, living that moment with them. It’s sealed in a bubble forever and ever. Even 500 years from now, whatever the medium is, we’ll be able to experience those emotions. It’s incredibly powerful and seductive and appealing if you’re creative.” Though the film is about grief — it’s based on late gay author Christopher Isherwood’s book and tells of a gay Brit (Firth) mourning the death of his partner in Los Angeles in 1962 — Ford says it’s not a downer. He calls it a “celebration of life.” Firth’s character, George Falconer, considers suicide after the accident that claims his partner but is eventually seduced by everyday beauty — texture, eyes, flowers — he’s taken for granted. This beauty, Ford says, leads to epiphany. And it’s not a gay movie, says Ford, who’s openly gay and has been with his partner, Richard Buckley for 23 years. That the lead character is gay wasn’t essential to the story, though Ford concedes there are byproducts of that he found appealing. And he admits the book probably resonated with him more because its characters were gay. Ford discovered the book in his early 20s while living in Los Angeles, where he still has a home, dividing his time between there, London and Milan. “I became very attracted to the character of George,” Ford says. “He was so real and so beautifully realized, I felt I could bump into him walking down the street.” The film’s gay themes have caused a few stirs. The world, of course, is far more gay friendly than it was in the early ‘60s, but Ford conceded begrudgingly to a same-sex kiss being cut from the trailer to appease U.S. gatekeepers. Leaving it in would have constituted “adult sexual content” and prevented it from being shown before other films. It’s familiar territory for Ford. He’s had male nudity censored from his fragrance ads in the U.S. He dreams of a day when such considerations are moot. “That’s why I’ve said this isn’t a gay film, it’s not a straight film. It just happens to be a same-sex couple. I would love it if we could get to that point in the culture. It’s just about, ‘Oh, you live with someone. Oh, it’s a man or oh, it’s a woman. Oh, it’s love.’ But America is weird about these things. In ads, you can run a woman topless in Europe, no problem. In America you can but only if you remove her nipples. How strange is that? … But America is a country founded by Puritans. That’s still present.” So if Ford is so comfortable with nudity, why was he clothed on the memorable Vanity Fair cover in 2006 while actresses Kiera Knightly and Scarlett Johansson were nude? Ford says he wasn’t planning to be in the shoot at all. He was guest editing that year’s Hollywood issue and was on the set with lesbian photographer Annie Leibovitz. The plan, which Ford corroborates without naming names, was for actress Rachel McAdams to appear with Knightly and Johansson but she got cold feet so the shot was re-imagined with Ford. He says he would have been fine with taking his clothes off. “I’ve been nude in W, in Out. I’ve been nude in a few things,” he says. “I would have been fine with it but that’s just not the direction it went.” Ford says learning the mechanics of film direction — he also cowrote and co-produced the picture — wasn’t terribly hard. His years of directing photo shoots and even doing his own photography helped. He found his way quickly and says much of it was intuitive. Reviews and profiles have praised the film’s visual aesthetic. The Washington Post praised its “precise period detail, handsome actors and gorgeous outfits that capture the early 1960s in all their sartorial beauty …” Did his design background help? “I think the thing that for me is related with any creative endeavor is you have to have a vision, a point of view,” Ford says. “If you’re an architect, you need to visualize it because you can’t build it yourself. You have to convey your vision to a team. The same with fashion … and the same with filmmaking. Architects have skills not needed as a fashion designer. You’re thinking spacially and in 3-D. For fashion designers and cosmetic fashion, it’s all about draping and where you’re going to hide the seam.” More films will come, he says. He’s giving a couple of ideas time to gestate while he goes back to design. He hopes to rotate the two fields in the coming years and says the months of downtime while movies are in development and in post-production will give him time to focus his energies on fashion. Ford says he’d have been fine with casting a gay actor in the lead but would never discriminate in casting decisions. He just felt Firth was right for the part. Ford and Firth were shooting the pivotal scene where George realizes his partner is dead in November 2008 when Obama was elected but California’s Proposition 8 passed, overturning same-sex marriage rights there. Though Ford and Buckley haven’t wed, he has followed the issue closely. “It really needs to be a federal law,” he says. “This might not go over well with all homosexuals and I would love it with gay marriage, but first of all it’s about the rights. I’m worried this word marriage, people aren’t quite ready to get their heads around it.”
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 19
dcagenda lgbt nightlife guide
1639 R St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-462-6569 cobaltdc.com In Dupont Circle area; popular with men but check schedule for other events. dceagle.com The popular Levi/leather bar’s origins date to the 1960s. Features billiards, regular tournaments and other special events. Located near the convention center, two blocks north of Gallery Place Metro.
1836 18th St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-483-1483 Dupont Circle area bar and restaurant popular with both men and women.
3734 10th St. NE Washington, DC 20017 202-546-5979 thedeltaelite.com Longtime bar popular with AfricanAmerican men in Brookland neighborhood; hosts regular ladies night. Check web site for special events.
Different locations mixtapedc.com twitter.com/MIXTAPEdc Alternative dance party for queer men and women featuring electro, alt-pop, indie rock, house, disco and New Wave. Check web site for 2010 schedule of events.
1409 PLAYBILL CAFÉ
1409 14th St., NW Washington, DC 20005 202-265-3055 Logan Circle area restaurant and bar (Dupont Circle Metro) popular with the theater crowd and featuring open-mike nights, karaoke and other special events.
1637 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-328-0100 dupontitaliankitchen.com In Dupont Circle area, above Dupont Italian Kitchen.
1435 P St., NW Washington, DC 20005 202-797-9730 halodc.com Trendy Logan Circle bar and lounge popular with men features regular happy hour and other specials. Formerly known as Halo, MOVA re-launched in early 2010 as a environmentally friendly bar with an emphasis on community service.
ACADEMY OF WASHINGTON
thewashingtonacademy.com Longtime organizers of drag events in the city; most events held at Ziegfeld’s. See web site for full list of upcoming events.
2004 18th St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-265-9599 duplexdiner.com Popular restaurant and bar in the Adams Morgan area; happy hour specials and many other special events. See web site for updated schedule.
1609 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-232-0395 In Dupont Circle area; popular longtime restaurant and steakhouse with recently renovated Upstairs Lounge.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
900 U St., NW Washington, DC 20001 202-332-6355 nelliessportsbar.com Sports bar featuring poker events, drag bingo, trivia contests and other specials. Popular bar with massive outdoor deck and plenty of TVs for watching sports.
1415 22nd St., NW Washington, DC 20037 202-296-0505 apex-dc.com In Dupont Circle area; popular with men, but check schedule regularly for other events.
1318 9th St., NW Washington, DC 20001 202-341-8281 efnlounge.com twitter.com/EFN_Lounge Funky, edgy neighborhood lounge in Logan Circle with special events galore. Popular with men and women; features dancing, videos. Check web site for event schedule.
1722 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 Multi-level after-hours dance club attracts a mixed crowd but remains gay-friendly.
crowd, though welcoming to women and straight patrons.
LEON’S/ TYSON PLACE
870 Park Ave. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-539-4993 leonsbaltimore.tripod.com In business for more than 50 years, Leon’s is the oldest gay bar in Baltimore and among the oldest in the country. Friendly bar with jukebox gets especially busy on Sunday nights. Tyson Place is a restaurant bar located behind Leon’s with a separate entrance.
2122 P St., NW Washington, DC 20036 202-223-4917 omegadc.com Dupont Circle area bar and club popular with men featuring dancing, drag and other special events.
2002 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218 410-82-EAGLE Longtime Levi/leather bar not far from Mount Vernon offers friendly bar, billiards, outdoor patio, videos and a full store for your leather needs. Mostly men, but welcoming to women.
1104 8th St., SE Washington, DC 20003 202-544-1931 Longtime bar popular with AfricanAmerican men in Capitol Hill area.
1805 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-797-1122 thefablounge.com In Dupont Circle area; popular with men but hosts regular women’s events.
525 8th St., SE Washington, DC 20003 phase1dc.com twitter.com/phase1dc The Phase opened in 1970 and remains a popular lesbian bar and club. Features regular special events, including Jell-O wrestling, 80s theme nights and more. Check web site for details.
500 8th St., SE Washington, DC 20003 202-543-5906 bananacafedc.com Popular Capitol Hill area restaurant and bar (Eastern Market Metro) for both men and women. Features Cuban, Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisine.
PORT IN A STORM
4330 E. Lombard St. Baltimore, MD 21224 410-534-0014 Friendly neighborhood lesbian bar gets especially popular when the Ravens play. Features billiards, music and more.
1 W. Biddle St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-837-3906 Mount Vernon-area downstairs bar attracts men and women; friendly service.
2161 P St., NW Washington, DC 20037 202-293-1293 In Dupont Circle area; neighborhood bar popular with men.
3607 Fleet St. Baltimore, MD 21224 410-563-2617 Neighborhood bar in Highlandtown area is popular with men and women and offers billiards.
639 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Washington, DC 20003 202-543-3113 remingtonswdc.com twitter.com/remingtonsWDC Popular country/Western nightclub in Capitol Hill neighborhood with more than 6,000 square feet of space for dancing and billiards. One half block west of Eastern Market Metro.
205 W. Read St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-225-3100 Another of Baltimore’s friendly neighborhood bars in Mount Vernon featuring billiards, jukebox and welcoming service.
815 V St., NW Washington, DC 20001 blowoff.us Created by musicians Bob Mould and Richard Morel, Blowoff is an occasional dance event popular with men. Events are held in clubs around the country; D.C.’s Blowoff parties are held at the 9:30 club in the popular U Street corridor.
1335 Green Court, NW Washington, DC 20005 greenlanterndc.com twitter.com/greenlanterndc Friendly bar for men hosts regular happy hours and special events, including karaoke and shirtless drink special nights. Check web site for details. McPherson Square Metro.
1001 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-752-7133 centralstationpub.com Part of the Grand Central complex, Sappho’s attracts a lesbian crowd and offers comfy couches, outdoor patio and more in its second floor location.
1735 Maryland Ave. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-539-6965 Longtime bar and restaurant popular with African-American clientele.
2009 8th St., NW Washington, DC 20001 202-234-TOWN towndc.com Dance club and bar popular with men and women, features regular drag performances. U Street Metro.
boimarketing.com//community.html Organizes regular women’s events around town. Check web site for updated information.
1527 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20036 202-332-6767 jacksdc.com Dupont Circle area restaurant popular with men and women.
1001 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-752-7133 centralstationpub.com Large entertainment complex featuring friendly pub, lesbian bar Sappho’s upstairs and a dance club on the first floor.
1639 R St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-462-6569 cobaltdc.com In Dupont Circle area; part of complex of LGBT businesses at this address, including Level One restaurant on street level and 30 Degrees bar.
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
555 23rd St. South Arlington, VA 22202 703-685-0555 Freddie Lutz’s Virginia establishment includes a restaurant and friendly bar, regular specials and is popular with men and women. Crystal City Metro.
911 F St., NW Washington, DC 20004 ultrabardc.com twitter.com/UltraBar Large dance club with gay-friendly events and vibe located downtown near Metro Center.
1519 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20036 202-328-0090 jrswdc.com Longtime friendly Dupont Circle area bar popular with men; videos, regular special events.
1 W. Eager St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-547-0069 clubhippo.com Large club popular with men and women featuring billiards, top DJs/dancing, karaoke, videos and more. Opened in 1972, Hippo’s motto is “where everyone is welcome.”
1321 14th St., NW Washington, DC 20005 202-319-1333 crewclub.net Men’s 24-hour gym in Logan Circle area, featuring steam rooms, lounges, private dressing rooms and more.
1824 Half St., SW Washington, DC 20024 202-863-0670 secretsdc.com Featuring all-nude male dancers Wednesdays-Sundays, drag performances, large dance floor and many regular special events, contests and more. Large parking lot available; located in Buzzard’s Point warehouse district.
9855 N. Washington Blvd. Laurel, MD 20723 301-498-8202 pwssportsbar.com Restaurant and bar is popular with gay and lesbian sports fans and is known for its superb burgers.
2214 Rhode Island Ave., NE Washington, DC 20018 202-832-3888 lacedc.com Every night is ladies night at Lace; features regular special events for women in Brookland neighborhood. Check web site for details on happy hour specials.
JAY’S ON READ
225 W. Read St. Baltimore, MD 21201 410-225-0188 Piano bar attracts a mostly male
639 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC 20001 202-347-6025
20 dcagenda.com • january 15, 2010
donning the gear
Leather enthusiasts descend on D.C. for MAL Weekend
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO email@example.com Kip Hollar had no particular interest in leather. The Baltimore resident was at Baltimore Pride in 2008 and stopped at a few of the leather booths to say hi to friends he knew in COMMAND and ShipMates, two local leather clubs. One of the clubs was sponsoring a charity fundraiser. Pay $5 to let them dress you up in leather and take your photo. “I didn’t have any real interest in it,” Hollar says. “But they kept egging me on. That’s where it all began. I liked what I saw and felt.” Hollar is shocked at how quickly the leather community embraced him. He came in second in the 2008 Mr. Maryland leather contest, which qualified him to enter Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather, which he won last year. This weekend he’ll be on the judging panel to help decide his successor. Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is this weekend in Washington. Most participants stay at Washington Plaza Hotel. The contest is Sunday afternoon at 9:30 club. The weekend will culminate with the Reaction Dance, also at 9:30, which will go into the wee hours Monday morning. “I don’t even remember hearing my name called,” Hollar says. “I didn’t think I had a chance.” He also says he doesn’t know why or how he won. “Maybe it’s because I was new to the leather community. Fresh into the scene, with a younger, fresher perspective. I’m not sure, but I’ve definitely become involved in the community and have taken the ball and run with it,” the 33-year-old says. Contestants are judged in a private pre-show interview, then model jock, formal and bar leather on stage. They give a speech and talk about their community involvement. Hollar says the appeal for him is the sense of community leather offers. “It’s the brotherhood that’s in it, the camaraderie, the unity.” But let’s be real, there’s a strong sexual component as well, right? “Leather is a fetish lifestyle,” he says. “How sexual you make it is up to you. It’s what you make of it. It’s first and foremost the social, but certainly there is a sex appeal. With the love of the fetish, there’s the feel, the smell, the taste, the look. For most people there is a sexual component.”
Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend
Today through Monday Washington Plaza Hotel, et. al. leatherweekend.com Mid-Atlantic Leather, organized each year by the Centaur Motorcycle Club, is the world’s largest club-run gay leather event and is in its 26th year. Only Chicago’s International Mr. Leather is larger. Organizers guess it’s in the top five of all gay leather events in terms of size with about 1,000 people registered for the weekend. A few thousand others come for one or two side events but don’t stay the whole weekend. There are sometimes up to 5,000 participants in total throughout the weekend. The main event is leather cocktails, a social event that started in New York 36 years ago where enthusiasts don their favorite “uniforms” and mingle with each other among open bar and buffet. The Mr. Leather contest and the closing night party are the other main features but side parties are held for sub-fetish groups: sports gear, cigar smokers, uniforms and so on. This year’s weekend will not be significantly different from years past. Next year the group, realizing it’s outgrown Washington Plaza Hotel, is
Photo courtesy of Hollar
KIP HOLLAR, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2008 moving to the Hyatt on Capital Hill, which is twice as large. Involvement levels run the full gamut, but organizers such as promotions chair Larry Barat, say the ones who attend the weekend tend to take it seriously. “It attracts a crowd that’s much more committed to the community,” he says. “They’re more serious about the lifestyle. Not the sort of people who, not to be derogatory, but we don’t attract a lot who are just interested in playing dress up. It’s people who are committed to the community and the lifestyle and curious about getting into the lifestyle, rather than those hangers on who just think they look good in a harness.” And just what is the lifestyle, exactly? It’s a world, after all, that gays in many circles have come to shun. “There’s certainly a range and there are people who live 24/7 in what one would call a leather lifestyle, maybe in a sub/dom relationship,” Barat says. Though leather has gained increased acceptance as the gay community itself has made gains, Barat says there’s still stigma. Leather groups have sometimes been discouraged, he says, from participating in gay rights marches. “The attitude is changing, but it’s no coincidence that you see ads coming out from HRC with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed lesbians in polo shirts with their three kids,” he says. “The subtle message there is we’re just like you.” Actually the gay leather community is probably more “like you” for the straight world than some realize. Barat says gay leather events pale in size to those held by the straight leather community. It’s a fetish not confined by sexual orientation, he says.
The Closing Party for MAL
Sunday, January 17th 10p-5a 9:30 Club 815 V St. NW Music: David LaSalle Entertainment: Myke Lowe
Tickets available at: The Leather Rack Washington Plaza Hotel and at the door
january 15, 2010 • dcagenda.com 21
PW’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
Drag bingo this Saturday to raise money for Equality Maryland
Starts at 8:30pm, cash prizes, and drink specials.
Twice voted Maryland’s Best Gay Bar
(Baltimore Outland News, Maryland R-Group)
Top Ten List Area’s Best Burgers
(WTOP Listeners Poll)
• Happy Hour All Night • Games on the Big Screen
• Trivia and 50 Cents Off Bottles and Drafts • Games on the Big Screen
• Happy Hour All Night
• Free Pool, 50 Cents Off Bottles and Drafts
• Karaoke in the Show Lounge
We Offer a Full Menu
A short drive from DC, Baltimore and Annapolis. Come see what you’ve been missing! • Alternating Weeks, 1st and 3rd DJ, 2nd and 4th Drag Show
• Karaoke • Drag Bingo 3rd Sat. of Every Month
PW’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
9855 Washington Blvd. N • Laurel, MD 20723 301-498-4840 • www.pwssportsbar.com
22 dcagenda.com • january 15, 2010
top cars for 2010
It’s a good time to buy as dealers keep prices at record lows
By JOE PHILLIPS Special to DC Agenda If Santa didn’t plop a new car in your driveway last month, fear not. The economy is inching forward, and dealers are keeping prices at record lows to entice buyers into showrooms. So what to buy? Here’s a look at the top vehicle picks for 2010. the compact Versa platform, the Cube comes with the same peppy engine, as well as six airbags and traction/stability control. Three trim levels, including a tuner-like Krom edition with rearroof spoiler, aluminum-trim pedals, and 20-color ambient lighting. Musthave options: push-button ignition, steering-wheel audio controls and Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.
HONDA ACCORD CROSSTOUR $30,000 Mpg: 18 city/27 highway The Rolling Stones couldn’t get no satisfaction, and apparently neither can Honda. Despite two popular crossovers — the midsized Pilot and smallish CUV — the automaker just added the new Crosstour. The reason: Crossovers are the fastest growing automotive segment. Honda took its popular Accord sedan, raised the rear, then added a door. And it works, sort of. This hauler is really a butch hatchback that rides higher (and is quieter) than the sedan, maneuvers like a sport wagon, and is shorter than most crossovers — albeit with a lot less cargo room. Only two trim levels, both with bolstered seats and lots of standard gear. The smallish rear window hinders visibility, but there’s a backup camera with the optional voiceactivated nav system.
BUICK LACROSSE $28,000 Mpg: 17 city/26 highway Taking a cue from Jerome Kern, GM is picking itself up, dusting itself off, and starting all over again. This includes the radically redesigned LaCrosse, with its sexy styling, sporty handling, and cutting-edge interior — much less Fred and Ginger, in other words, and much more Adam Lambert. Taut steering, adjustable shock absorbers and solid braking add to the package. And a top-of-the-line V6 puts out plenty of power, but two other engine choices are simply too wimpy. Still, the LaCrosse is full of the latest luxe options, such as power rear sunshade, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, rear-seat entertainment system with dual headrest displays, and 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo.
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NISSAN CUBE $14,000 Mpg: 25 city/30 highway It’s cute. It scoots. And it hauls like a sport-ute. Nissan’s funky Cube takes refrigerator-like styling to a new level, with pert bumpers, rounded door frames, and a wraparound window that snakes across the back and right side of the vehicle. “Austin Powers” fans will love the optional shag carpet on the dash. And “Dr. Who” fans will love how the roomy cabin is akin to the Tardis — the spaceship that looks like a British phone booth on the outside, but is as big as a soccer field inside. Built on
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VW GOLF TDI $22,000 Mpg: 30 city/41 highway Achtung, baby! After years of mediocre reliability and a lackluster lineup, VW is back in the game. This time it’s with the compact Golf, which had been renamed the Rabbit the past
three years. With this latest name change, the Golf also gets a new design, including sleeker sheet metal, reworked fascia and upscale techno cabin. But the big news is the new TDI model, with standard sport suspension and clean-diesel engine. Top speed: 130 mph, with 0 to 60 mph in about 8.6 seconds. Cornering is tight and controlled, with sure shifting and superb braking. And there’s a choice of coupe or sedan, with either a six-speed manual or manumatic transmission.
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JAGUAR XK COUPE $83,000 Mpg: 16 city/24 highway If snarky coach Sue Sylvester on
“Glee” could afford one, this is the Jag she’d drive. Available in coupe or convertible, this in-your-face status symbol gets more aggressive styling and major mechanical upgrades. There’s a choice of two new V8s, but it’s the high-test 510hp model that screams from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. The tight chassis used to be a pain in the butt — literally — but a new drive-control feature offers three different suspension settings to ease the ride. And the ritzy interior has heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, and Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound stereo. Still, it’s that macho exhaust rumble that gets your blood pumping each time you get behind the wheel.
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NORTH ARLINGTON $605,000 1818 GEORGE MASON DR N, ARLINGTON, VA 22205 THIS IS A GEM!!! S Gorgeous All Brick D in 6 DAY SOL 3-Level Spacious End-Unit Townhouse atUnbeatable Price.2 Fireplaces; New Kitchen-Silestone, Appliances, Cabinets. GREAT LOCATION, 1-mi to Ballston Metro.
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The $8,000 tax credit has been extended and expanded... but it expires in just three months! Buyers, trust us to help you maximize your investment with your local experts at Coldwell Banker. Sellers, put our tremendous track record to work for you with the industry leaders that happen to be your next door neighbors. Call 202 387 6180 today for more information or stop in and meet your local real estate expert.
DUPONT 1607 S St NW $1,595,000 Grand Victorian Townhome with modern amenities. This beautiful home features 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms in the master unit as well as a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom in the separate suite below. Includes 2 car parking space in the heart of Dupont Circle. WOODLEY PARK $185,000 2854 CONNECTICUT AV NW #11 Heart of Woodley Park, 2 blocks to Metro and Zoo, close to restaurants and shopping. Sunny efficiency with Pergo floors, stainless appliances, high ceilings and huge bathroom. Well maintained building with lots of historic charm. Qualified buyers may receive 20% no-interest loan from DC HPAP! Fee includes property taxes at $233 starting 2010
NEW LISTING Capitol Hill 1139 3rd Street NE 2br 1 bath Located only a block from red line metro and new coming Harris Teeter, this well maintained Federal offers off street parking, new carpet, and updated kitchen and bath. This perfect starter home is move-in ready, and still has room for added value with further redesign. Offered @ $364,900
DWIGHT MORTENSEN 202-361-4400 DAVID BEDIZ 202-352-8456 WWW.DWIGHTANDDAVID.COM
PETWORTH 418 Jefferson Street NW: $143,000 G r e a t Po t e n t i a l ! ! ! Priced well below market! 3br 1.5 bath town home with large year yard and full basement.
DWIGHT MORTENSEN 202-361-4400 DAVID BEDIZ 202-352-8456 WWW.DWIGHTANDDAVID.COM
16TH STREET HEIGHTS 1416 Montague Street NW: $465,000 Corporate Owned: Huge 4 level 5 bedr o o m Bungalow in need of full renovation. Fantastic Location!!
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SHAW 1415 5th Street NW #101 $201,000 2br 2bath terrace level condo in newer building. Granite and stainless kitchen, marble baths, and floor to ceiling windows.
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OPEN HOUSE 1-3 PM SUNDAY Logan Circle 910 M Street, NW #602 $399,000 1 Bed/1Ba You'll love living at the sophisticated "Whitman" with its rooftop pool, 24/7 lobby attendant, fitness center & party room. Unit is cheerful and bright. Oak floors, washer/dryer. Kit features cherry cabs, stainless appliances, granite counters. Luxury bath with soaking tub. Pet-friendly bldg. 1 car garage parking!
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***NEW PRICE*** Dupont 1701 16th St NW #436 Offered at $459,900 Gorgeous, Fully Renovated Home at The Chastleton. Open Kitchen w/Granite Counters & Stainless Steel Appliances. Hardwood Floors Throughout, In-Unit Washer/Dryer, Limestone Bathroom Floors & Shower/Tub Surround, Recessed Lights. Fantastic Dupont Location. SELLER HAS ON-SITE PARKING AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT AN ADDITIONAL PRICE!!
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FIRST TIME HOMEOWNERS AND INVESTORS! HISTORIC LEDROIT PARK 342 Elm Street NW $390,000 3bd/2ba SFH fully renovated 2007 into 2 sep metered units! Live in one and rent the other! Great opportunity for first timers or investors! Renters on month to month leases and have been notified of possible sale. W/D, CAC, Hardwood, Walkout deck...One of DC's hottest neighborhoods, HISTORIC LEDROIT PARK!! Don’t miss this one!
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LOGAN CIRCLE 1300 N STREET, NW #21 $459,000
AMAZING, UNIQUE OPEN-STYLE UNIT ON COURTYARD LEVEL! ALMOST 1000 SQFT OF LIVING AREA PLUS GARAGE PARKING INCLUDED! RARE UNIT IN CARRIAGE HOUSE ANNEX OF CONDO BLDG BUILT IN 2004. PRIVATE ENTRANCE! PLENTY OF STORAGE! GREAT ENTERTAINING SPACE! PET-FRIENDLY BLDG! LOCATED ON RARELY USED PRIVATE COURTYARD STEPS TO E-LOUNGE AND WORKOUT ROOM! FLAT SCREEN TVs CONVEY!
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SW Waterfront 350 G Street SW #N-301 $419,900 Rarely available 2br/2ba sunny corner unit, with close to 1200 Sqft. Features include: Open kitchen, great light, high ceilings, large living/dining area, washer/dryer, great closet space (California closets), Full-svc bldg w/ 24 hour concierge, business and fitness centers, pool, party room, garage parking and extra storage. Close to 3 Metro stops! COLUMBIA HEIGHTS 2311 15TH St NW #1 $550,000 Lower level unit with separate entrance. Great kit. With stainless steel and granite counters, living area is open Loft Space ! Two MBR each with own FB. Large Private terrace surrounded by stone retaining wall perfect for grilling. 2 car covered parking! Lower Across from Park, Steps to U Street.
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