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Former Os minor
leaguer comes out
Gay man bikes across Africa
Is Caitlyn Jenner
a role model?
Gay Games, OutGames
plan merger
Mystics star
embraces ally role
And much more,
starting on PAGE 17


0 2 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


To Serve
Dont be left
Join the Metropolitan Washington Regional Ryan White Planning
Council and help plan for the delivery of services and distribution
of funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. To be eligible to join,
you must live or work in the District of Columbia, Suburban
Maryland, Northern Virginia or Jefferson or Berkley County in
West Virginia. Council members must commit 10-12 hours a month
to fulfilling Council duties including attending a monthly Planning
Council meeting and actively participating in at least one
Standing Committee meeting.


Eligible applicants will be nominated for Oct 1 2015
Get your application in now!

Questions? Contact Lamont Clark ( by email or call at


Log on to for more information!

Applications can be found at


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35 million people are living with

HIV/AIDS in the world today.
5,700 new infections occur each day.

Be a Part of the Solution...Get on a Bike!

Were riding 300 miles over 4 days

From Charlottesville, VA to Washington, DC
To raise awareness and money to benefit
Emory Vaccine Center and the UCLA AIDS Institute.
These two organizations are leading the charge in researching
new and innovative ideas to find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.
Riders, Crew and Volunteers are needed. Want to learn more?
Contact, or
visit our website at
Charity Treks, Inc., P.O. Box 321, Charlottesville, VA 22902


0 4 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


NLGJA honors Blades Chibbaro

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists
Association announced this week plans
to induct Washington Blade senior news
reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. into its Hall of
Chibbaro has written for the Blade since
1976 and covered all the ups and downs of
the LGBT movement since. He has earned
countless honors, including the Rainbow
History Projects Community Pioneers
LOU CHIBBARO JR. will join
NLGJAs Hall of Fame.
Award and Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliances
Distinguished Service Award in 2010. In
2011, Chibbaro made journalism history
as the rst LGBT press inductee into the
Society of Professional Journalists Washington Pro Chapter Hall of Fame.
This honor further cements Lous legacy as the nations preeminent gay
journalist, said Blade editor Kevin Na. Its an honor to work with him; hes a
tireless, meticulous journalist dedicated to his craft and to the LGBT community.
The other inductees are Randy Alfred, Alison Bechdel, Alan Bell, Charles Kaiser
and Armistead Maupin.
They will be honored at a ceremony during NLGJAs 25th anniversary
conference slated for Sept. 5 in San Francisco.

Kenneth Carroll Willis dies at 69

Kenneth C. Willis died in hospice care on
July 29 after a long battle with jaw cancer.
He was 69.
Willis, born June 12, 1946, had been a
Dupont Circle resident for 40 years and was
a familiar sight on 17th Street, N.W., where
he lived with his husband. He loved jogging,
reading in the circle and patronizing
the many restaurants, nightclubs and
bookstores in the neighborhood. He was
especially fond of Trio, and, in its day,
Lambda Rising. He loved the Gay Mens
Chorus concerts. He had recently retired
as an information systems specialist with
the Inspector General of General Services Administration, where he was given
an exemplary service award in recognition of 32 years of professionalism,
dedication and commitment to excellence. He walked to and from GSAs building
at 18th and F streets, N.W. all those years. During the war in Vietnam, he was
an Army MP in Saigon. He held two degrees from the University of Mississippi.
Originally from a small town in Mississippi, Willis moved to Washington in
1975 for its freedom and opportunity. He used to say that he had escaped. In
1981, he met his future husband Robert H. Wood at a popular gay bar, the Frat
House, later renamed Omega.
Willis and Wood became charter members of Partners in 1995, a group of gay
couples who sought to establish social lives apart from bars.
Willis and Wood obtained a domestic partnership on the rst day that form of
civil union became available in Washington:July 1, 2002. They were married on
May 17, 2010, the rst year that was possible, 29 years to the day after they met.
Willis enjoyed eight-10 weekends each season at bed and breakfasts in
Rehoboth Beach, Del., especially the Delaware Inn, where he and Wood were
guests from 1998 until it closed in 2013. Long days on the beach were followed
by joyful nights at places like the Boat House, the Renegade, the Strand, the Blue
Moon, and more recently, the Aqua Grill.
Willis is survived by his husband, two brothers, two brothers in law, sisters
in law, nieces and nephews on both sides, their children, and many cousins. A
memorial service will be held Sept. 20, 12:45 Foundry United Methodist
Church (1500 16th St., N.W.). His ashes will be placed at Arlington National
Cemetery. Donations in his memory may be made to Whitman-Walker Health,
attn: Development, 1701 14th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.

Ra Freedman-Gurspan


In rst, White House

hires openly trans staffer
The White House for the rst time has
hired an openly transgender person as a
member of its sta, LGBT advocates and
the Obama administration announced
this week.
Ra Freedman-Gurspan, who formerly
served in trans advocacy as policy adviser
for the National Center for Transgender
Equalitys Racial & Economic Justice
Initiative, has been appointed to a senior
position in the White House Oce of
Presidential Personnel. Shes set to
begin her new role as an outreach and
recruitment director in the Presidential
Personnel Oce on Tuesday.
Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to
President Obama, welcomed the addition
of Freedman-Gurspan to the White House
in a statement to the Washington Blade.
Ra Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates
the kind of leadership this administration
champions, Jarrett said. Her commitment
to bettering the lives of transgender
people of color and those in poverty,
reects the values of this administration.
According to the White House website, the
Oce of Presidential Personnel oversees
the selection process for presidential
appointments and works to recruit qualied
candidates for service in departments and
agencies across the government.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the
National Center for Transgender Equality,
said shes elated about the addition of
Freedman-Gurspan to the White House sta.
That the rst transgender appointee
is a transgender woman of color is itself
signicant, Keisling said. And that the
rst White House transgender appointee
is a friend is inspiring to me and to
countless others who have been touched
by Ras advocacy.
During her tenure at the National Center

for Transgender Equality, FreedmanGurspan focused on the experiences of

transgender people of color and those
living in poverty. Among her duties
was advocacy on behalf of improving
the conditions of transgender people in
prison, addressing biased policing against
transgender communities, limiting the
use of detention for undocumented
transgender immigrants and nding
solutions to address violence against
transgender communities of color.
Carl Sciortino, a gay former lawmaker
in the Massachusetts State House and
executive director of the AIDS Action
Committee of Massachusetts, called
Freedman-Gurspan a role model, recalling
her days working for the state legislature.
Among her many contributions, she
was instrumental in helping pass the
Transgender Equal Rights Law, Sciortino
said. I am proud to see her continue to
lead by example, as she takes her voice
and her passion to the White House. Her
hiring is a symbol of progress for the
transgender community, but without a
doubt I know it will be her skill and hard
work that will benet many.
appointed openly transgender people
into federal government positions
before, but no appointee so far could be
considered a White House staer. For
example, President Obama appointed
Dylan Orr in 2009 as special assistant in
the Labor Departments Oce of Disability
Employment Policy, although hes since
left the government. Another openly trans
Obama appointee is Amanda Simpson,
whos currently executive director of the
U.S. Army Oce of Energy Initiatives.
In June, Obama named Shannon
Minter, legal director for the National
Center for Lesbian Rights, as another
senior openly trans ocial by appointing
him to the Presidents Commission on
White House Fellowships.


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Ask your doctor if a medicine made by Gilead is right for you.
2015 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. UNBC1839 03/15

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0 6 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


Clinton pledges to enforce marriage ruling

2016 hopeful also
addresses ENDA
in town hall
Amid media reports of clerks refusing
to issue marriage licenses to gay couples,
Democratic presidential front-runner
Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the U.S.
Supreme Court decision on gay nuptials
needs to be enforced across our country.
Clinton made the remarks during the
question-and-answer portion of a town
hall meeting in Las Vegas in response to
a question from someone who identied
as a local LGBT business owner and
founding president of the Gay & Lesbian
Chamber of Commerce in Nevada.
According to a transcript provided by
her campaign, the Clinton supporter
asked the candidate if she could speak
to how she intends to support the
LGBT community as president, such as
by improving economic equality and
creating safe spaces for youth.
I certainly can, Clinton replied, eliciting
applause. Well, rst, as president, I will
do everything I can to make sure that

HILLARY CLINTON elded a question from a

lesbian business owner on Tuesday.

marriage equality is enforced. Its the law

of the land and it needs to be enforced
across our country.
Clinton oered no details about what
this enforcement would look like, but
made the comments amid turmoil in some
areas around the country on same-sex
marriage. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis
continues to withhold marriage licenses to
same-sex couples despite a federal court
order instructing her to give the documents
to all couples regardless of sexual

orientation. Meanwhile, a same-sex couple

in Texas won $44,000 in a settlement over
a lawsuit they led against Hood County
Clerk Katie Lang, who denied them a
marriage license on religious grounds.
The Washington Blade has placed a
call to the Clinton campaign to clarify
what enforcement of the marriage
equality decision would look like, such
as by requiring clerks to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples regardless
of religious beliefs.
During the town hall, Clinton said
immediately after making the comments
on marriage that attention should turn to
tackling discrimination, saying as a member
of the U.S. Senate she co-sponsored the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
And we have a lot of work to do
there, Clinton said. Theres just so much
continuing discrimination and bias.
ENDA hasnt been introduced this
were restricted to barring workplace
discrimination against LGBT people. The
legislation has fallen out of favor with
some LGBT advocates in favor of a more
comprehensive bill. During the town hall,
Clinton didnt mention the Equality Act,
legislation pending before Congress that
would bar LGBT discrimination in all areas

of civil rights law, but shes endorsed the

legislation via Twitter.
Clinton also spoke during the town hall
at length about issues facing LGBT youth.
In remarks that elicited applause from
the audience, Clinton noted they face a
high rate of homelessness in Las Vegas
and elsewhere in the country.
I particularly worry about young people
because there is a lot of misunderstanding
and even mistreatment still today by
families of young people who are LGBT,
and theyre hoping to be accepted and
they are not, and they nd themselves on
the street, Clinton said. I know youve got
people in Las Vegas who are homeless on
the streets, who are young LGBT people
who have had to leave home.
But Clinton said she was prepared to
address this issue as president by ghting for
more services and visibility for LGBT youth.
So we need more services, we need
more support, and we all need to be
speaking out in favor of treating these
young people with respect and dignity and
giving them a chance, Clinton said. And
I hope that as president, I will not only be
able to speak to that, but demonstrate
how we do it, and then support laws that
will make it easier for a lot of our people,
particularly young people.

RNC endorses federal religious freedom bill

First Amendment
Defense Act seen
to enable discrimination
Although the Republican National
Committee rejected two anti-gay resolutions
at its recent summer meeting, the party
quietly agreed to another measure in favor
of a federal religious freedom bill seen to
enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
Citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court
decision in favor of same-sex marriage
nationwide and concerns that many on
the Left exhibit an intensifying hatred and
intolerance for gay marriage dissenters,
the resolution calls for passage of the
First Amendment Defense Act.
The Republican National Committee
urges Congress to pass and the President
to sign The First Amendment Defense Act
to protect the rights of believers to equal
treatment by the government of The United
States of America, the resolution says.
The resolution wasnt announced or
reported anywhere in the press until
last week after its passage when the
Daily Signal, a conservative publication,

published an article on the measure. A

RNC ocial conrmed for the Washington
Blade the report was accurate.
The First Amendment Defense Act
introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador
(R-Idaho) in the U.S. House and Sen. Mike
Lee (R-Utah) in the U.S. Senate on its
face prohibits the federal government
from taking action against individuals
who oppose same-sex marriage, although
individuals is dened broadly in the bill to
include for-prot businesses.
But critics say the legislation would go
further and enable anti-LGBT discrimination
as well as potential bias against single
mothers and unmarried couples. Among
other things, it would allow government
workers to refuse to issue marriage licenses
for same-sex couples and compromise
President Obamas executive order barring
federal contractors from engaging in antiLGBT bias.
Ellen Barrosse, the RNC Chair of the
Conservative Steering Committee, is
quoted in The Daily Signal as saying the
resolution is an attempt, for those of
us who are people of faith, to protect
religious organizations.
Barrosse also reportedly dismissed
the argument the First Amendment
Defense Act would enable anti-LGBT

discrimination and is quoted as saying,

Americans abhor discrimination.
Nonetheless, LGBT advocates blasted
the RNC for passing a measure in support
of legislation they say would only serve to
undermine LGBT rights.
JoDee Winterhof, senior Vice President
for Policy and Political Aairs for the
Human Rights Campaign, drew a
distinction between the actual impact
of the bill and religious liberty, saying
should speak out against it.
The right to believe is fundamental,
but the right to use taxpayer dollars to
promote discrimination is not, Winterhof
said. Its no wonder the RNC attempted
to keep quiet its support for a reckless
and irresponsible bill that would promote
discrimination with taxpayers money and
reward discriminatory actions by federal
employees with taxpayer funding. Those
Republican candidates who choose not
to speak out against this RNC resolution
should not be shocked when LGBT
Americans choose to not give them the
benet of the doubt next November.
TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for the
Democratic National Committee, took the
Republican Party to task for adopting the

The Supreme Court ruled, love won,

its time for the Republicans to get
over it, Helmstetter said. Yet there
are county clerks who still refuse to
issue marriage licenses and the RNC
wants to tell businesses theyre allowed
to discriminate against LGBT people.
Democrats want to continue to move the
country forward, while the GOP wants to
take us back. Its that simple.
The passage of the resolution
constitutes the rst ocial response of
the Republican Party in the aftermath
of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of
same-sex marriage.
At the same summer meeting, the
RNC rules committee rejected a pair
of proposed anti-gay resolutions. One
introduced by Michigan Republican
National Committee member Dave
Agema, who was censured by the party
for expressing anti-gay and racist views,
would have urged schools with gayinclusive sex education programs to
include the harmful physical aspects
of the lifestyle. The other introduced
Committee member Ross Little would
have urged Congress to pass legislation
saying the Supreme Court ruling on
marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.


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SINCE 1923

ENDS 9/6




0 8 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


Former NAACP Chair Julian Bond dies

Civil rights icon championed
marriage, LGBT rights
Former NAACP Chair Julian Bond died
on Saturday at the age of 75.
Morris Dees, co-founder of the
Southern Poverty Law Center, in a
statement said that Bond, who was the
organizations rst president, died at his
home in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
With Julians passing, the country
has lost one of its most passionate and
eloquent voices for the cause of justice,
said Dees. He advocated not just for
African Americans, but for every group,
indeed every person subject to oppression
and discrimination, because he recognized
the common humanity in us all.
Bond in the early 1960s co-founded
the Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee while he was a student at
Morehouse College. He chaired the
NCAAP from 1998-2010.
The civil rights champion also emerged
as a prominent supporter of LGBT rights.
Bond in 2011 publicly backed marriage
rights for same-sex couples. He later
recorded an ad in support of Marylands
gay nuptials law that then-Gov. Martin
OMalley signed in 2012.
Voters later that year upheld the states
same-sex marriage law in a referendum.
Very few throughout human history
have embodied the ideals of honor,

Former NAACP Chair JULIAN BOND died at

his Florida home on Aug. 15. He was 75.

dignity, courage and friendship like Julian

Bond, said Human Rights Campaign
President Chad Grin in a statement
after the Southern Poverty Law Center
announced Bonds death. Quite simply,
this nation and this world are far better
because of his life and commitment to
equality for all people. Future generations
will look back on his life and legacy and see
a warrior for good who helped conquer
hate in the name of love. I will greatly miss
my friend and my hero, Julian Bond.
Saddened to hear Julian Bond
passed awayhis passion, courage &

commitment to ghting for justice made

an indelible mark on our world, Martin
OMalley tweeted.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to
Marry, also mourned Bonds death.
I am distressed to hear of the untimely
death of Julian Bond, an inspiring lifelong
champion of justice, wrote Wolfson on his
Facebook page. It was an honor to work
with him as he helped us move hearts and
minds and win the freedom to marry.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAulie in a statement
also acknowledged Bonds support of
marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Julian Bond helped to move all

Americans forward, creating a more
welcoming nation for all people,
regardless of their race, religion or whom
they love, said McAulie. In countless
Civil Rights marches, he was at the front,
taking the lead in the pursuit of progress.
When this country threatened to retreat
into violence and hardened prejudice, he
was the courageous voice calling us back
to the principles of equality and respect
for all men and women.
Bond is survived by his wife, Pamela
Horowitz, their ve children and two siblings.

Judge gives Ky. clerk time to appeal marriage case

Davis has refused to issue
licenses to any couple
A federal judge has given time to a
Kentucky clerk seeking to appeal an order
requiring her to issue marriage licenses
to same-sex couples but attorneys
involved in the case are split on the
meaning of the decision.
In a seven-page order, U.S. District
Judge David Bunning, an appointee of
former President George W. Bush, denied
a stay request from Rowan County
Clerk Kim Davis on his earlier injunction
requiring her to give marriage licenses at
her oces to all couples gay or straight
as litigation against her proceeds to
the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court
ruling in favor of same-sex couples,

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, enacted a

no licenses policy in her oce based
on her religious beliefs for all couples
seeking marriage license regardless of
their sexual orientation.
Bunning says hes basing his denying of
the stay on the unlikelihood that she would
succeed on appeal, dismissing arguments
Davis would be harmed if she had to give
marriage licenses to same-sex couples
before the Sixth Circuit renders a decision.
While Davis is correct in stating that a
violation of her free exercise rights would
constitute irreparable harm, she has
failed to show that she is likely to suer a
violation of her free exercise rights in the
rst place, Bunning writes. As the Court
pointed out in its Memorandum Opinion
and Order, Davis is only being required
to certify that couples meet the legal
requirements to marry. She does not have
to authorize or approve any unions on
moral or religious grounds. Absent a likely
constitutional violation, Davis is unlikely to

suer irreparable harm absent a stay.

But at the same time, citing the
constitutional issues involved, and
realizing that emotions are running high
on both sides of the debate, Bunning
decided to temporarily stay this order
pending Davis appeal of the initial order
to the Sixth Circuit.
Attorneys representing Davis on one
hand and attorneys representing the
couples suing her to issue marriage
licenses on the other had diering takes
on the order.
Dan Canon, an attorney representing
the couples on behalf of the Louisville,
Ky.-based Clay Daniel Walton Adams,
PLC, said the order requiring Davis to
issue marriage licenses remains in eect.
There is nothing in the opinion that
indicates she is relieved from the original
injunction, Canon said. I think the judge
is sending a clear message that she is
going to be expected to abide by the
injunction absent any contrary ruling by

the Sixth Circuit.

But Mat Staver, who represents the
Kentucky clerk on behalf of the founder
of Florida-based Liberty Counsel, is
quoted in the Associated Press as saying
the convoluted order essentially grants
her request for more time.
Despite the initial injunction last week,
Davis has deed the court and continues
to deny marriage licenses in her oce
at least to same-sex couples. One of the
couples, David Moore and David Ermold,
posted a video online of clerk ocials
denying them a marriage license despite
the court order.
Allison Steinberg, a spokesperson for
the American Civil Liberties Union, said
the most recent court order means Davis
doesnt have to issue marriage licenses as
the litigation proceeds on appeal.
We think the district court is condent
that the court of appeals will agree with
him in short order and it will be better for
everyone to have certainty, Steinberg said.


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1 0 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015

Gambian presidents nephew

targeted over Facebook post
The nephew of Gambian
President Yahya Jammeh says he
faces life in prison or even death
in his homeland because of a
pro-gay message he posted to his
Facebook page.
Alagie Jammeh, who is a
student at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, last
September wrote, no one should
be denied of their fundamental
basic human rights because
of their sexuality. He told the
Washington Blade earlier this
month during a telephone
interview that he decided to post
the message to his Facebook
page after becoming friends with
a gay man.
Alagie Jammeh, 25, said
members of his family in Gambia
were disappointed in him over
the post. He told the Blade they
urged him to remove it from his
Facebook page because they
worried that he would lose the
government scholarship he had
received to study in the U.S.
ALAGIE JAMMEH lost his scholarship and was
They were like You know what
living in his car.
the religion and the culture is in
the Gambia. Why are you going to
say those things? said Alagie Jammeh. It was very unfortunate.
Alagie Jammeh told the Blade he eventually lost his scholarship.
He said he had to live out of his car after his landlord last November evicted
him because he was unable to pay his rent. Alagie Jammeh told the Blade he also
had to sell his laptop and other belongings for food.
Alagie Jammeh said his mother has also left Gambia. He told the Blade that his
uncles government has requested that he return to his homeland and publicly
apologize for the post.
Im not going to do that, said Alagie Jammeh.
Alagie Jammeh told the Blade there is an 80 percent chance that I will end up
in prison if he were to return to Gambia.
Im also scared they might kill me if I return to Gambia, he added.
Gambia is among the countries in which homosexuality remains illegal.
Yahya Jammeh last fall signed a law under which those who are convicted
of aggravated homosexuality in the small West African country face life in
prison. Advocates and U.S. ocials have also repeatedly criticized the Gambian
president over his anti-LGBT rhetoric, which includes a threat to slit the throats
of gay men who live in his country.
Alagie Jammeh spoke with the Blade shortly after a Gambian court
acquitted three men who had been charged under the countrys aggravated
homosexuality law. Alieu Sarr, one of those who was released after spending
nearly eight months in custody, on Monday told Fatou Camara, a Gambian
journalist who was Yahya Jammehs press secretary before eeing to the U.S. in
2013, that he was routinely tortured and beaten.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby during his daily press brieng on
Aug. 10 did not specically answer the Blades question about Alagie Jammehs
allegations. Kirby did, however, reiterate the State Departments previous
criticisms of the Gambian governments LGBT rights record.
I cant speak to those reports, Kirby told the Blade, responding to Alagie
Jammehs allegations. What I can speak to is our strong position as weve
repeatedly made clear about the deep concerns about continued reports of
human rights abuses in the Gambia. And of course our position on LGBTI rights
we believe, as weve said before, gay rights are human rights. Nothings changed
about our position.


Ukrainian court bans Pride march

A Ukrainian court last week banned an LGBT Pride march that had been scheduled to
take place in the city of Odessa on Saturday.
The Odessa District Administrative Court issued its ruling in response to a petition
from city lawmakers on Aug. 13, based on what Radio Free Europe described as the
potential real danger and threat to public order in the city, as well as to health and
lives of participants and other citizens. The decision noted two soccer games were
scheduled to take place in the Ukrainian port city on Aug. 14 and Aug. 16 respectively
and hooligans would likely attack the Pride march participants.
Agence France-Presse reported that masked men on Saturday threw smoke bombs
into a venue at which advocates had scheduled a forum
LGBT rights advocates on Aug. 14 gathered outside the Ukrainian Embassy in D.C. to
protest the ruling. U.S. Embassy in Kiev Charg dAaires Bruce Donahue also criticized
the decision in a statement he released on Monday.
A government has no more important task than to protect and defend the
fundamental freedoms and human rights of its people, said Donahue. Thats why
we were disappointed when this weekend, in Odesa, LGBT activists were denied the
opportunity to freely assemble, faced harassment and had smoke bombs thrown
at them for advocating for expanded civil rights and equal protections. As a vibrant,
multicultural, cosmopolitan crossroads, Odesa has extraordinary potential but it
must ensure that the rights of vulnerable groups are not overlooked or ignored, and
that all people have the right to live free from violence and discrimination.

Gay Puerto Rican singer RICKY MARTIN described the mass wedding as an immense day.

Couples exchange vows in Puerto Rico mass wedding

More than 60 same-sex couples exchanged vows on Sunday during a mass Puerto
Rico wedding.
The ceremony which the Puerto Rico Tourism Company sponsored took place
in Old San Juan. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz; New York City Council Speaker
Melissa Mark-Viverito; gay Puerto Rican boxer Orlando El Fenmeno Cruz and Pedro
Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group,
were among those who attended the event that took place during what one newspaper
described as an intense rain.
This is the most important moment of our lives, Elizabeth Maza told Primera Hora,
a Puerto Rican newspaper, before she married her partner of 17 years, Mara del Pilar
Serrano posted a picture to his Twitter account that shows him hugging Yuln during
the ceremony. Gay Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin described the mass wedding as an
immense day, using the Spanish hashtag love overcame.
Arecibo Bishop Daniel Fernndez Torres is among those who criticized the event.
Today is a sad for Puerto Rican society, said Fernndez, according to NotiCel.
Motivated by love for thy neighbor and compassion it is necessary for everyone to
remember that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to
natural law.
The mass wedding took place roughly a month after same-sex couples began to
legally marry in the U.S. commonwealth.
The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 ruled gays and lesbians have the constitutional
right to marry in Puerto Rico and throughout the U.S.


A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 1 1

Keep your promise to protect each other.


12 A U G U S T 21, 2015


AG claries law on adultery for gay couples

Maryland advocates in the areas of

family law and LGBT rights welcomed a
formal opinion from Attorney General
Brian Frosh, which concludes that sexual
intimacy between a married person and a
person who is not their spouse qualies
as adultery, for purposes of Maryland
divorce law, regardless of the gender of
the parties.
The 15-page opinion, dated July 24,
comes in response to a February request
from Del. Luke H. Clippinger (D-Baltimore
City, Dist. 46), who is also an attorney. Del.
Clippinger stated, As a sponsor of the
2012 legislation that established marriage
equality for same-sex couples in Maryland,
I am very pleased with the Attorney
Maryland Attorney General BRIAN
Generals conclusion that extramarital
FROSH armed that adultery is grounds
sexual conduct should be treated the
for divorce for gay couples.
same for all married couples in Maryland,
regardless of sexual orientation.
In the opinion, the attorney general
reviews Maryland law dating back to 1650, as well as judicial decisions in other
states, to determine that the term adultery includes a spouses extramarital
sexual indelity with a person of the same sex.
The opinion explains: In our view, this conclusion is compelled not only by
the broad purposes behind the concept of adultery in the family law context,
but also by the respect and dignity owed to same-sex marriages as equal to
opposite-sex marriages under State law. We see no reason either to dene
adultery so narrowly as to ignore the sexual realities of our world ... or to deny
same-sex couples the ability to divorce on the same terms as other married
Statewide advocates applauded the opinion. Jer Welter, managing attorney
and deputy director of Baltimore-based FreeState Legal, said, This thoroughly
researched opinion will be very helpful to Maryland judges and lawyers, as well
as divorcing couples, who might otherwise assume incorrectly that Marylands
legal denition of adultery is limited to opposite-sex relations.
Were glad the Attorney General has clarified that the law applies equally
to same- and opposite-sex couples. This common-sense opinion dispels
outdated notions with thoughtful reasoning that affirms the dignity of all
couples regardless of gender, said Keith Thirion, acting director of Equality
Adultery is one of several long-recognized fault-based grounds for divorce
under Maryland law (married couples may also divorce on certain no-fault
grounds, such as a one-year separation). According to the opinion, a married
person may obtain a divorce from an unfaithful spouse on the ground of adultery,
regardless of whether their spouses indelity is committed with someone of the
same or the opposite sex.
Especially in the era of nationwide marriage equality, this opinion is an
important clarication that marriage equality means equal treatment in all
G P Rof
O marriage,
said attorney P. Lindsay Parvis, co-chair of the legislative
committee of the Maryland State Bar Associations Family & Juvenile Law Section
ISSUE DATE: 10.26.12
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couples, as Maryland has done since 2013.
any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any
copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair
The full text of the Attorney Generals July 24 opinion can be reviewed online
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3 0 1 . 8 9 1 . 2 2 0 0 S P - L aw. C o m

7 0 0 0 C a r r o l l av e n u e S u i t e 2 0 0 ta k o m a Pa r k m d

Hippo hosts last dance benet

Club Hippo will host a series of farewell parties before it ocially closes its
doors later in the year. One such event, The Last Dance Disco Party, will take
place on Saturday night, which is already sold out.
Proceeds will benet AIDS Action Baltimore, a nonprot dedicated to the
support and education of people with HIV and the prevention of HIV.


A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 1 3

DC Walk - October 10, 2015

Commitment is something
we prove everyday.

C e l e b r at i n g 5 0 y e a r s o f s e r v i n g D e l awa r e !

Are you worried about HIV?


14 A U G U S T 21, 2015


NIH gets $5 million for trans youth study

CHICAGO The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced, on Aug. 14,
that it has awarded $5.7 million for a ve-year study that will evaluate the longterm outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth, the Windy City Times
reports. Among the co-investigators in the study is Dr. Robert Garofalo, division
chief of Adolescent Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago
and professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine.
This is one of the proudest moment of my academic career, and probably my
medical career as well, said Garofalo, according to the Times. This is the rst
study of its kind, and it really only comes after two years of very hard, diligent
and collaborative work to get this award.
According to a statement, the goal of researchers is to uncover evidencebased information on the physiological and psychosocial impact, as well as
safety, of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormone use among transgender
youth. Garofalos co-investigators include Johanna Olson of Childrens
Hospital of Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of
Southern California; Stephen Rosenthal of UCSF Benio Childrens Hospital in
San Francisco; and Norman Spack of Boston Childrens Hospital and Harvard
Medical School. The study will take place at four academic medical centers with
dedicated transgender youth clinics, the article notes.
Garofalo, who gave additional credit to the Tawani Foundation for its nancial
support on transgender health issues, added that the study came at the perfect
time and can potentially expand the scope of transgender health issues.
Theres been an explosion of awareness in transgender health, both in the
medical eld and in the media, as well as in academic circles, he was quoted as
having said. For too long, transgender health issues have been seen singularly
through the prism of HIV.
The study begins enrollment in fall 2015 and will include 280 transgender
youth. Participants will be individuals seeking medical intervention to align their
physical bodies with their gender identity and alleviate gender dysphoria and its
associated negative eects, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse,
the Windy City Times reports.

Study nds trans people postpone medical care

BOSTON A study says that discrimination in accessing health care for

transgender people can lead to postponement of needed care two to three
PrEP: A daily medication
times above normal, WGBH News reports.
that lowers your risk of HIV.
Anti-transgender discrimination in public accommodations has eects on the
physical and emotional wellbeing of transgender people, and therefor its really
The PrEP Clinic at Andromeda can
a public health issue, Sean Cahill, director of policy research at the Fenway
help you decide if PrEP is right for you.
Institute told WGBH News.
Discrimination in health care settings creates a unique health risk for gender
To talk with one of our specialists,
minority people. The passage and enforcement of transgender rights laws that
call us at 202.743.7942
include protections against discrimination in public accommodations inclusive
of health care are a public health policy approach critically needed to address
transgender health inequities, the study, written by the Fenway Institutes Sari
Reisner, concludes.
The study found that 65 percent of respondents reported discrimination
1400 Decatur St. NW Washington, DC 20011
when accessing public accommodations. The ve most prevalent areas where
the respondents ran into discrimination were in transportation settings, retail
establishment, restaurants, public gatherings and health care, WGBH reports.
in public accommodations is common and is associated with
ISSUE DATE: 07.24.15
adverse health outcomes among transgender and gender-nonconforming
adults in Massachusetts, the study reads.
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competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation,
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or to seek health care in the future. And we found that of those experiencing
discrimination in health care settings, 25 percent were less likely to seek routine
Speak with our preplanning adviSor,
care and 19 percent were less likely to seek emergent care, Cahill told WGBH.
Jamie arthurS at (202) 966-6400 or email
Researchers from the Harvard and Yale schools public health, the Heller School
for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Wagner School of Public
Service, New York University, Fenway Health and the advocacy group Massachusetts
Transgender Political Coalition published the investigation Legal Protections in
Public Accommodations Settings: A Critical Public Health Issue for Transgender and
Gender-Nonconforming People in the Milbank Quarterly this month. Some of the
studys data had previously been released in 2014, the WGBH article notes.

5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW DC (202) 966-6400


A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 1 5

1 6 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


Well take it at your pace.
Were ready to challenge you.

Chesapeake & Potomac Softball is registering players for our

Fall Ball season. We welcome players of all skills level in our
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Visit to register or learn more.

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ISSUE DATE: 08.21.15




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m eet t he
trans at h l et e s

From golf to dodgeball,

out competitors helping
to change the rules
The United States has an estimated
transgender population of 700,000 people,
according to UCLAs Williams Institute.
What this means for the sports
community is that the standards and rules
that have been put in place by the many
different sports need to include provisions
enabling transgender people to participate
according to their proper gender identity.
Organizations such as the National
Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA),
the International Olympic Committee, the
Ladies Professional Golf Association and
the United States Soccer Federation have
all adopted such policies.
Many of the policies adopted by the
governing sports bodies require surgical
or hormonal treatment verication prior
to competitions. This creates economic
barriers for the athletes due to high
surgical costs, which are rarely covered by
insurance carriers.
Interscholastic athletics are governed
by state athletic associations and each
of the 50 organizations must put in place
their own polices. To date, several have
adopted a wide range of policies, not all
of which are as inclusive as they should be.
What we have been seeing too often is
that the rules are not being followed and
the trans athletes are being subjected to
Below is a list of just a few of the trans
athletes who are competing openly and
that have received the permission required
from their sports governing bodies.
Schuylar Bailar. While he was in high
school in McLean, Va., Bailar was recruited by
the Harvard womens swim team. Now 19, he
took a year off to transition and subsequently
received an invitation to swim on the Harvard
mens team this fall. The governing body





for Harvard sports is the NCAA, which has a

recommended policy, but each individual
school adopts its own policy.
Fallon Fox. After some initial struggles
with licensing and discrimination, Fox is
competing in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, her last match
was the Prize Fighting Championship 10 in
Denver on Aug. 14. Licensing is state-run
and she has been promoted in the past by
the Championship Fighting Alliance.
Chris Mosier. Mosier is from Chicago
and is the executive director of GO!
Athletes. He is also the founder of He recently qualied to
represent Team USA at the 2016 Duathlon
World Championships in Spain in the mens
35-39 category. The governing bodies
are USA Triathlon and the International
Triathlon Union.
Gabrielle Ludwig. In 2012, in the
middle of a debate over transgender
legislation in California, Ludwig returned
to the sport of basketball at age 51 by
joining the Mission College of Santa Clara

team where she played for two years. The

66 Ludwig grew up in Wyoming and
New York and is a Desert Storm veteran.
Assembly Bill 1266 went into effect on
Jan. 1, 2014 and requires that California
schools respect the gender identity of all
students and allow them to participate in
all activities, including sports.
Ryland Whittington. Whittington is
from San Diego and was diagnosed as deaf
at 13 months old in 2009. After receiving
his cochlear implants at 19 months, he
began communicating to his parents that
he identied as a boy. Because he lives in
California, he will be allowed to play soccer
with no barriers. The sports governing body
is the California Interscholastic Federation.
Savannah Burton. Burton is originally
from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and
Labrador in Canada and rowed with
another trans teammate in the Canadian
Sculling Marathon in 2014. This year
she was one of eight women selected to
compete for the Canadian national team
for the World Dodgeball Championships

that were just held Aug. 15-16 in Las

Vegas. Her impact has affected multiple
sports bodies, including Team Canada, the
Canadian Dodgeball Association and the
World Dodgeball Federation.
Jazz Jennings. Florida-born Jennings
is a 14-year-old YouTube celebrity,
spokesperson, LGBTQ activist and athlete.
She and her family fought for more than
two years for her to be allowed to play on
the local girls soccer team. The United
States Soccer Federation stepped in and
created a trans-inclusive policy for youth
and adult recreation soccer players of
all ages that required the Florida soccer
league to allow Jennings to play.
Shane Ortega. Ortega is active duty
Army and competed in his rst physique
competition in Honolulu in June where he
qualied for junior nationals. At his second
competition this September, the Paradise
Cup, the 28-year-old will attempt to qualify for
nationals. Ortega is stationed in Hawaii and
grew up on military bases around the country
as well as with family while his mother was
deployed. His participation was approved by
the National Physique Committee.
Dr. Bobbi Lancaster. Hailing from
Chatham, Ontario and residing in the
Phoenix area, Lancaster is pursuing a spot
on the Ladies Professional Golf Association
(LPGA) tour. At age 64, she is currently
playing on the Cactus Tour, which serves
as a gateway to the LPGA. In 2011, the
LPGAs membership voted to join other
sports bodies, including the International
Olympic Committee and USA Track and
Field, in eliminating the female at birth
clause from its constitution.
Matt Dawkins. Dawkins, 17, will be a
senior at Cherokee High School this fall in
Marlton, N.J. He competed in his rst meet
on the boys track team in April and won
his heat in the 100. His time was sixth best
among 19 Cherokee boys. He is protected
by the New Jersey State Interscholastic
Athletic Associations transgender policy.
PAT GRIFFIN contributed to this report.
A list of transgender athlete inclusion
policies can be found at






ap par el c o m p an ies e xpa n d

lg b t p ro du c t l i n e s

Nike, Adidas, others

marketing to new
generation of out fans
After decades of a misconception that
the LGBT community isnt interested in
sports, the secret is nally out.
The LGBT community likes to play sports,
talk about sports and watch sports. It also
actively supports local professional teams.
All over the country, LGBT community nights
are popping up at college, minor league
and major league sports games. And, similar
to other community nights that recognize
the military and childrens charities among
others, sports apparel is starting to appear in
support of the LGBT community.
Obtaining the necessary licensing to
produce sports clothing related to teams
can be tricky. Everything down to the
design has to be checked off before items
can be produced by approved apparel
companies. 47 is a company that sees a
huge opportunity and market for licensed
sports merchandise.
Located in Westwood, Mass., 47 is a
licensed partner with Major League Baseball,
the National Hockey League, the National
Football League, the National Basketball
Association and more than 650 colleges.
47 has a niche market with its Black
Fives clothing line that honors the all-black
basketball teams and their associated
cities. The teams existed in the United
States between 1904 and 1950 until
they were integrated into the National
Basketball Association.
47 is one year into testing the market
for the response on another niche market
LGBT sports apparel.
We are still in the infancy of our LGBT
line of apparel, said Brian Maurer, a sales
rep for 47. We started on a small scale and
so far have only produced caps and shirts.

The Washington Nationals created an LGBT-themed cap and shirt; both items sold out.

47 rst reached out to Major League

Baseball, which rst approved apparel for
the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants
and the New York Yankees.
We dont want to focus on the teams logo.
Instead we want to show off the city, the sport
and the pride in the city, Maurer says. This is
about people representing their city.
Washington, D.C. is home to the popular
Night OUT Series hosted by Team DC with
LGBT community nights held annually
with professional sports teams such as
the Washington Nationals, D.C. United,
Washington Mystics, Washington Kastles
and the Washington Prodigy.
The 11th Annual Night OUT at the
Nationals was held in June and 47 was
contacted by the Washington Nationals to
create an LGBT-themed cap and shirt for
the event.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly
positive as evidenced by how quickly we

sold out of the items, says Jennifer Giglio,

vice president of communications for the
Nationals. We have heard from fans both
in person and via social media who loved
the items and asked us to stock more of
them in the store.
Due to popular demand, both of the
items have been re-issued for this season.
The shirt is available at the main team
store at Nats Park. The cap is expected to
arrive in the next couple weeks and will be
available there as well.
Beginning on opening day in 2016,
fans should expect to see more options
arriving at the stadium, Giglio says.
The annual United Night OUT event with
D.C. United will be held on Sept. 19 at RFK
Stadium and the idea of LGBT apparel was
recently proposed to their front ofce.
We dont have anything at the
moment, but we certainly support our
LGBT fans, said Craig Stouffer, director of

communications for D.C. United. Were

always listening to the community and
considering new and different ideas.
Three major sports apparel companies
have jumped into the market in a different way.
The #BETRUE collection from Nike
offers a variety of shoes and shirts that
feature rainbow colors as a reection of
the diversity in sports. At least $300,000
has been donated to groups that are
furthering the LGBT sports movement
such as GO! Athletes.
In honor of LGBT Pride, Adidas released
its Pride Pack, which re-imagined three
types of iconic footwear into rainbowthemed styles. Proceeds from the line
are being donated to Portland-area LGBT
groups, including New Avenues for Youth,
an LGBT youth advocacy program.
Converse, which is Nike-owned, released
three items in the Proud to Be line of its Chuck
Taylor All-Stars. Two designs were dedicated
to San Francisco and New York because of
their history with the LGBT community.
Perhaps the most interesting show of
apparel support is coming in the form
of minor league teams wearing LGBT
awareness uniforms during a match. In
some cases it is just in warm-ups, but others
such as the San Francisco Bulls (hockey)
and Detroit City FC (soccer) played a
complete match in those uniforms.
Its a little far-fetched to think that a team
in major professional sports would outt
themselves in LGBT apparel for games
that are part of their regular schedule.
However, a soccer team in Madrid has set
an inclusive example with the release of its
rst away kit for next season.
Rayo Vallecano has produced a rainbowthemed kit and will donate roughly $10
from the sale of each jersey to seven causes
that represent the colors of the rainbow. The
seven charitable causes are environmental
protection, the ght against HIV/AIDS,
gender-based violence, discrimination for
disabilities, and to never lose hope.






ml b s gay nigh t o u t
goe s m ain st r e a m
An embrace of LGBT fans or
a gimmick to sell tickets?


The annual LGBT Night Out at

Washington Nationals Stadium, which
began in 2003, attracted more than 3,800
participants on June 17, continuing its
status as the largest LGBT event hosted by
a Major League Baseball team.
Since the Chicago Cubs hosted whats
believed to be the rst Gay Night Out event
by a Major League Baseball team in 2001
at Chicagos historic Wrigley Field, LGBT
groups have organized similar events with
varying amounts of participants with a
growing number of teams.
An informal Washington Blade survey of
online promotional announcements of the
Gay Night events and local media reports
about them found that at least 22 of the
30 MLB teams have hosted such events in
recent years.
Larry Felzer, co-organizer of the rst Gay
Community Night with the Philadelphia
Phillies in 2003, said the event was
controversial at the time, drawing
opposition from conservative groups and
widespread media attention.
There was a lot of ak in the rst year,
he said. Some of the conservative groups
picketed the stadium.
But in subsequent years, Felzer said, the
event became routine, with the number
of LGBT fans turning out in increasing
numbers each year and ofcials with
the Phillies providing a welcoming
He said the number of LGBT fans turning
out for the event in the last few years has
declined but most observers attribute that
to an overall drop in attendance due to the
Phillies losing far more games than they
are winning.
For nearly all of the gay night events
at baseball games, an LGBT organization,
often an LGBT sports group, initiates the
event and promotes it. In return, the team
usually offers a special discounted group
price for the tickets, allowing the group to
sell them at the regular price and make a
small prot to support its mission.
Many of the teams, including the
Washington Nationals, arrange for
members of the LGBT organization to
participate in a pre-game ceremony on the
eld that includes an LGBT person being
chosen to throw the ceremonial rst pitch
of the game.

D.C.s Nats Night Out is MLBs most successful and popular LGBT event.

In recent years, the Gay Mens Chorus of

Washington has sung the National Anthem
at the LGBT Night Out games.
Brent Minor, president of Team D.C.,
a D.C.-area LGBT sports organization,
and Les Johnson, a Team D.C. ofcial,
said the Nationals this year added a new
feature to the LGBT Night Out event by
including a newly designed rainbow
colored Washington Nationals T-shirt to its
inventory at the stadium store.
I know that several of the clubs did
that this year, Johnson said. I think there
were at least eight of them that came out
with merchandise where they took their
logo and put the rainbow thing on it, he
said. So now theyre getting into LGBT
Cyd Zeigler, co-founder and editor
of, a news website that
reports on LGBT-related sports issues, said
the welcoming by Major League Baseball
teams of the LGBT Night events may
be based more on the teams desire to
push group ticket sales than an idealistic
support for LGBT rights.
Theres a reason that so many baseball
teams do this and no NFL teams do it,
he said referring to the National Football
League. Its because most baseball teams
have a lot of tickets to sell. There are 81
home games, he said, noting that baseball
teams often struggle to draw fans to their
stadiums 81 times.
And baseball, frankly, in 2015 isnt that
popular, Zeigler said. Football teams,
for example, have to sell out eight home

games per year and its the biggest game in

town. So NFL teams, for the most part, sell
out every game without blinking an eye.
Largely because of that, Zeigler and
other sports observers have said, NFL
teams have far fewer promotional nights
for any constituency groups or causes.
Zeigler noted that the New York Yankees is
among the few MLB teams that sell out most
of their games. The Yankees is among the
teams that has not had an LGBT Night event.
At this point theyre not really a big
deal, Zeigler said of the baseball gay night
events. They have nights for Irish Catholics.
They have nights for kids. They have nights
for cancer awareness. They have nights for
the Pakistani community, he said.
And the fact that we get so excited that a
baseball team might have a gay night really
tells me how low we have put the bar in sports
for LGBT inclusion, Zeigler told the Blade.
While the LGBT nights have become
routine and welcomed at most of the
stadiums where theyre held in recent
years, LGBT fans of the Oakland Athletics
were startled earlier this year by the
negative response among some to the
announcement in March that the Athletics
would host their very rst LGBT Pride Night
on June 17.
Some season ticket holders, saying they
strongly objected to a gay-themed baseball
night, told Athletics ofcials they wanted to
sell their tickets for the June 17 game. Others
who had purchased tickets also complained
that they would not have bought the tickets
if they had known the game would be

unsuitable for their children.

Things got very ugly, and quickly, the
online publication San Francisco Bay reported.
The publication reported that upon
hearing of the negativity surrounding
Pride Night, Eireann Dolan, the girlfriend
of Athletics relief pitcher Sean Doolittle,
announced that she would buy the tickets of
any fan upset about going to the Pride Night
game and donate the tickets to the Bay Area
Youth Centers Our Space program, which
provides services to LGBT youth.
In a message on her blog Dolan pointed
out that she was raised by a lesbian mom
and her moms partner and she understood
the pressures and prejudices that LGBT
people face in their everyday lives.
According to San Francisco Bay, in
addition to buying tickets, Dolan and
Doolittle created a GoFundMe account for
the Our Space program that raised more
than $36,000 in the two months leading up
to the Pride Night game. It said a number
of the LGBT youth afliated with the
program attended the Pride Night game.
For every one negative comment about
LGBT Pride Night from fans, there were
hundreds of supportive and wonderful
messages of acceptance and excitement
from the rest of the fans, Dolan wrote. We all
collectively said, okay, you dont want to go to
the game? Great, no problem, well buy your
tickets and give them to someone who could
really benet from being there with us.
Although Major League Baseballs
corporate entity, MLB, Inc., has played
no direct role in organizing or promoting
the LGBT Night games, in 2013 thenCommissioner of Baseball Bud Selig pushed
through an ofcial MLB policy banning
discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The following year Selig appointed gay
former baseball player Billy Bean as the
MLBs Ambassador for Inclusion.
Among other things, Beans ofcial
duties include providing training for MLB
teams in support of LGBT-related issues,
Selig said.
Norman Kent, publisher of the Fort
Lauderdale-based South Florida Gay News
and the lead organizer of the Miami Marlins
rst LGBT Night event, said he proposed to
the MLB diversity ofce that MLB select one
night each year for all MLB teams to hold
their LGBT Night so the events could be
promoted and marketed nationally.
But they were not receptive to it, saying
it was something they could work to but
it would need planning and coordination,
Kent told the Blade.






sluggers journey
to coming out

Former Orioles minor league

all-star Tyler Townsend
on life in baseballs closet
and nding redemption in
helping others
If not for a recurring hamstring injury, Tyler
Townsend just might have become Major
League Baseballs rst openly gay player.
Townsend, now 27, was drafted by
the Baltimore Orioles in 2010 in the
third round, opted out of his senior year
at Florida International University and
entered the minor league system.
An all-star rst baseman, he quickly
progressed through the system, playing
stints in Aberdeen, Frederick and Salisbury,
all within the Orioles operation. And
through three years of minor league ball,
Townsend played from the closet, keeping
his sexual orientation a secret from
teammates, coaches and the female fans
who followed the team and offered phone
numbers to players.
I was afraid of what would be said by
teammates and fans, he said in an interview
with the Blade from his home in Rehoboth
Beach, Del. I always had a goal of getting
to professional baseball since I realized I
had the ability to do it and I just didnt want
anything to take away from that. I didnt
want the person who didnt understand it to
not give me a chance because they didnt
want to deal with my personal life. That was
my fear. And there wasnt anybody to look
up to who was out playing sports.
Despite his apprehension, Townsend said
his plan all along was to delay coming out
publicly until he made it to the big leagues.
I would have come out if Id made it to
the pros, he said, with a hint of regret.
For someone coming out publicly in
the media for the rst time, Townsend

TYLER TOWNSEND played in the minor league system after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles
in 2010.

is relaxed and poised, reclining slightly

in the well-appointed living room of the
townhouse he shares with his partner not
far from Rehoboths beaches.
His story rings familiar to legions of gay
people who are or were out in their
personal lives, but closeted at work. He had
a boyfriend and lived in D.C. when not on
the road, living an openly gay life, though
he didnt frequent gay bars. But when it
was time to play ball, Townsend dodged
questions about his sexual orientation
and why he never called those women who
hit on him. His boyfriend at the time, who
was older, attended games as his uncle.
I was out in the off-season, so six
months of the year I was happy and out
and being myself and once spring training
came around it was back in the closet, he
said. I should have done things differently
but I feel like telling this story now makes
up for it a little bit.
Townsend, like so many American boys,

started playing baseball at age 10, joining

a Delaware travel team and continuing
through his high school years at Cape
Henlopen High outside of Rehoboth,
where he grew up. Rehoboth is a popular
beach destination for gays from Baltimore,
D.C. and Philadelphia, so Townsend
was no stranger to the sight of two men
holding hands.
I always knew I was gay, he said. And
growing up in Rehoboth, I knew what gay
was. Once I realized I was attracted to
other guys, I knew right away what it was.
After earning a college scholarship
and playing three years for Florida
International, Townsend realized every
little league players dream.
To hear your name on TV on draft
day is one of the best memories, its
what I worked for my whole life, he said.
Nothing else mattered.
But the euphoria of that moment soon
gave way to the harsh realities of a career

in pro sports long stints away from home,

injuries and, for Townsend, the pressure
of guarding his secret. After being drafted
by the Orioles and signing his contract,
Townsend played advanced rookie ball in
Aberdeen, Md., then went to Pensacola, Fla.,
for training in the off season. Thats when he
rst tore his hamstring doing sprints, which
led to continuous struggles with injury.
Thats also when he decided to start the
coming out process by telling his family.
I just couldnt live with it anymore, he
said. I thought the whole world was going
to be against me. I couldnt live with the lie
anymore so I decided to tell my family and
that was it.
His family, which includes his mother of
Lewes, Del., father of Georgetown, Del., a
sister, half brother and half sister, proved
supportive and accepting. I was in Miami
when I told my Dad and he got in the car
and drove down to make sure I was OK.

Locker room epithets

The acceptance he found off the eld
didnt translate to the locker room, where
homophobic epithets were commonplace
and where he feared coming out would doom
his chances of playing in the big leagues.
So many times, I heard homophobic
remarks in locker rooms but didnt say
anything because if I get to the position
where theyre going to call me up and
its between me and somebody else,
I didnt want the person making the
decision saying, I dont want to deal with
the publicity or the discomfort of other
players, he said. I didnt want anything to
hinder my chances and being openly gay
would have hurt.
He recalled one teammate who was
religious and read the Bible every day,
who told Townsend theres nothing wrong
with being gay as long as you dont act on
it. Another time, he said a coach called a






tr ans gender ira q ve t

c om pe t es in n ew a r e n a

Ortega moves from

the battleeld to pro
When you rst meet Sgt. Shane Ortega,
the rst things you notice are his muscles
and tattoos. They are everywhere and its
hard not to stare longer than the socially
acceptable amount of time. Ortega is
in D.C. for a series of briengs at the
Pentagon and after multiple days of what
he calls verbal ping-pong, he is ready to
relax and do some sightseeing.
As he walks along the path next to the
Reecting Pool on the National Mall, each
person that approaches from the opposite
direction takes stock of him as they pass by.
The reason they are looking isnt because
he is a trans man, they are looking at him
because he has presence.
That presence has served him well during
the past six years of quietly advocating for
LGBT policy in the military. It began with
work on the repeal of Dont Ask, Dont Tell
and progressed into policy for transgender
military service members. That advocacy
has included meeting with civilians
outside of the military chain of command
such as politicians, the American Medical
Association,SPARTA and the American Civil
Liberties Union, among others.
There is no road map for policy
change, Ortega says. The timeline has
accelerated since DADT and the people
in power have refreshed. We are not the
boogeyman anymore.
Ortega just passed his 10-year
anniversary in the armed forces and
has been deployed twice to Iraq with
the Marines as a woman and once to
Afghanistan with the Army as a man. He is
a Helicopter Flight Engineer in the Armys
25th Infantry Division stationed at the
Garrison base in Oahu, though elevated

Sgt. SHANE ORTEGA has served for more than 10 years in the military and is now an accomplished

testosterone levels have relegated him to

administrative work for the time being.
Throughout the course of this year,
each of the military services has elevated
its transgender separation policy outside
of the military chain of command to
third-party civilians. Just a few days after
Ortega nished the last of his briengs,
the Pentagon announced plans to lift the
ban on transgender people serving in the
U.S. military. After working in obscurity for
years, Ortega is now one of the faces of
the trans military movement.
The second thing you notice about
Ortega when you meet him is that he is a
ball of energy and he really likes to talk.
As he treks toward the war memorials on
the National Mall, his stories jump from
music to scuba diving to his tours of duty
to his uncles, all at breakneck speed. He is
well spoken, engaging and funny. When
he stops to admire the Vietnam Womens
Memorial, he mentions that he loves to
sculpt things with clay.
The man knows a thing or two about
sculpting other things as well.
Two months ago in Honolulu, he
participated in his rst physique

competition and placed fourth, which

qualied him for a spot at junior nationals
in March of 2016. Sports and weightlifting
had been a part of his regimen for years
but it wasnt until his body started lling
out from hormone therapy that he began
to think about competing.
Ortega was born in Maryland and moved
around a lot growing up, living on bases
with his mom or with family members
while she was deployed overseas. He
began wrestling in elementary school and
picked the sport up again in high school
along with track and eld and soccer.
After enlisting in the Marines he played
intramural soccer and rugby on the bases.
A constant pursuit from sophomore year
of high school on was weightlifting.
His high school wrestling coach started
him out with the physiology of working
out, which advanced to benching for form
and nally lifting for bodybuilding. His
heroes were the superstars of the World
Wrestling Federation.
I grew up with posters of Hulk Hogan
and Randy Savage on my bedroom walls,
says Ortega. I was into that good ole
American hero image.

throughout his military career and escalated
to a point where people were asking him
if he was competing. After contacting the
event organizers of National Physique
Competition, Ikaika and the governing
body to receive permission to enter the
event, Ortega began serious training to
compete in the mens physique Class A.
Each morning started with physical
training with his Army unit, the Hill
Climbers, and included calisthenics and
15-25 miles of running per week. After
work there were three to four sessions per
week of weightlifting, two with a trainer.
He says the hardest part of the preparation
was starting the diet two months out from
the competition and jumping to 300 grams
of protein per day.
I was really anxious the week before
my competition. As the time came for
me to compete, I realized how important
it was for me as a trans man to compete
at that level, Ortega says. Everyone was
really nice and respectful at the event
and I couldnt have asked for a better
experience for my rst competition. It was
a huge self-condence boost.
Ortegas overall goal for the competition
was to nish in the top three and qualify for
nationals. He will attempt to accomplish
that in his second competition at the
Paradise Cup in September. I believe
that you can be anything you want to be
in this country, says Ortega. If you want
to become an elite athlete, nd your
opportunity and pursue it.
As the day of sightseeing in D.C. winds
down, Ortega begins to explain some of
the tattoos on his body. He says they all
have meaning to him. There is a woman
wearing a gas mask, a grenade, nautical
stars, Hindu goddesses and an Army tank.
When asked why the tank, he gets a huge
grin on his face and exclaims, Dude, there is
an Army tank on my arm. How cool is that?
Just like Sgt. Shane Ortega, that is in
fact, pretty cool.






How long have you been out and who

was the hardest person to tell?
Thirty years. My dad was the hardest to
tell, but he took it better than I ever would
have imagined. A lot of worry for nothing,
in my case.


ne d ki el o c h
The Washington Renegades president
answers 20 gay questions
Founded in 1998, the Washington Renegades was the rst rugby club in
the United States to actively recruit gay players. Its a founding member of
International Gay Rugby, which today is comprised of nearly 60 gay and gaysupportive rugby clubs worldwide.
Members train at Cardozo Education Campus in Columbia Heights and
represent the Washington area in Division III and Division IV rugby. The team is
a member of USA Rugby, the sports national governing body, as well as of the
Capital Rugby Unions Mid-Atlantic Conference.
In 2009, the Renegades completed its rst undefeated spring season with
a record of 11-0, which included wins over Washington, D.C.s Division I and
Division II rugby football clubs. The Renegades have traveled extensively, both
here and abroad. In 2006, the club placed third in international competition
at the Mark Bingham Cup tournament, the championship of International Gay
Rugby. The club was named Best Sports Team for two consecutive years (20072008) by Washington Blade readers, and has been recognized for its community
service and athletic prowess by the D.C. City Council.
Ned Kieloch is the team president and says they have a strong tradition of
giving back to Food and Friends, holiday toy drives, youth mentoring and more.
Kieloch came to Washington in the 1970s when his father took a federal
government job. Hes single and lives in Capitol Hill. He enjoys singing with the
Congressional Chorus, theater, movies, college football and, of course, rugby in
his free time. Find out more about the Renegades at

Whos your LGBT hero?

Everyone from Frank Kameny and
Leonard Matlovich, to the crowds at the
Stonewall, to the out high school athletes
I have met through my involvement with
Team D.C. Too many to count.
Whats Washingtons best
nightspot, past or present?


Describe your dream wedding.

Halftime at a rugby match. Short and
sweet, with the post-match social and the
wedding reception combined. Epic.

What non-LGBT issue are

you most passionate about?

What historical outcome

would you change?
The rise of Hitler and the ensuing war and

Whats been the most memorable pop

culture moment of your lifetime?
The gradual move toward equality,
highlighted in the marriage ruling this

On what do you insist?

A sense of humor

What was your last Facebook

post or Tweet?
Two photos of myself and three friends.
The rst in our freshman year of college;
the second, on graduation day.

If your life were a book,

what would the title be?
Singin in the Ruck

If science discovered a way to change

sexual orientation, what would you do?

What do you believe in

beyond the physical world?

Whats your advice for LGBT

movement leaders?
It aint over till its over. Keep ghting
and leverage our allies good will and
help. No one is alone neither us nor
our opponents. Yes, that was a show tune
reference there.

What would you walk

across hot coals for?
To protect the people I love.

What LGBT stereotype

annoys you most?
Gays cant play sports. I beg to differ.

Whats your favorite LGBT movie?

Beautiful Thing. Honorary mentions: All
About Eve and Sunset Blvd.

Whats the most overrated

social custom?
Cocktail parties

What trophy or prize

do you most covet?
The Bingham Cup the championship
of International Gay Rugby, named for
9-11 hero and San Francisco Fog rugby
player, Mark Bingham.The Renegades
have placed third in the Cup completion
and second in the Plate competition at
Bingham Cup tournaments past.In 2016,
we plan on bringing the hardware home
to D.C., and putting it in a trophy case at

What do you wish youd known at 18?

That mom already knew.

Why Washington?
Im a history and politics geek.Its the
natural choice.






minor league all-stars

journey to acceptance


player a faggot because he touched his

belt. And at spring training in Florida,
Townsend said an older gay man would
often come to games and bring bubble
gum and snacks for the players. On his
birthday one year, the coaches joked
about taking a video of the team in the
shower and giving it to the man as a gift.
Little things like that always made me
realize there was no room for an openly
gay player, Townsend said. If theyre that
uncomfortable with the idea of someone
being gay, what would their reaction be
if they actually had to take a shower or
change or play or trust someone on their
team whos gay?
As a result, he never came out to anyone
on the team, though one locker room
incident brought him close. There was a
man in North Carolina, Townsend said,
who would sneak into locker rooms and
impersonate cleaning staff while spying
on players getting undressed. When
someone nally caught on and kicked
him out, the mood in the locker room
turned angry, with players using anti-gay
epithets and threatening to beat the man.
According to Townsend, one player said,
I dont care how close I am to somebody
if I ever found out they were gay I would
disown them.
The threats of physical violence
prompted Townsend to speak up,
demanded to know why he was defending
the trespasser.
I told them they were doing something
stupid it was the one time I spoke out,
he said. People are ignorant and maybe
it would have been different if I came out
but I just felt that the majority of them had
a preconceived notion of what all gay men
are and it wouldnt matter.
After battling the hamstring injuries for most
of his professional career, Townsend nally
accepted that he needed a break in 2013.

Today, TYLER TOWNSEND has left baseball behind and is pursuing a degree in hospitality

It was discouraging. It was one of the

two toughest decisions Ive had to make
leaving baseball and coming out.

Theres still a lot of hatred

Major League Baseball has never had
an openly gay active player. The NBA had
Jason Collins, who came out in 2013 and
played briey before retiring. The NFL had
Michael Sam, who was drafted but failed
to make a team and just last week quit the
Canadian Football League, citing mental
health issues. Publicly at least, Collins and
Sam were heralded in the media and
showered with attention Oprah interviews,
Sports Illustrated covers all the trappings
of a carefully orchestrated modern-day
coming out story aimed at downplaying
criticism and maximizing endorsement and
speaking engagement potential. Anyone
who tweeted their disgust with the newly
out players was quickly reprimanded and
the offending tweet deleted.
Just this week, David Denson, a
minor league player with the Milwaukee
Brewers system, came out as gay. He
told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that
his teammates on the Helena Brewers
accept him. Maybe hell make it to the big
leagues and become the rst active out
gay player, overcoming the skepticism of
many observers who see baseball as the
last frontier for gay athletes.
Sports in general has that macho
persona that you need to put out,
Townsend said. Baseball is 85 percent
players from conservative areas like Latin

America and the Bible Belt and you have

18-year-old kids whove never been
exposed to anything.
The view that baseball will be the last
major pro male team sport to have an
out gay player is common among sports
fans the Blade has spoken to about the
subject. To help address the problem
of homophobia in baseball, MLB hired
gay retired player Billy Bean as its
rst Ambassador of Inclusion. Bean
counseled Denson on coming out.
The beauty of what could come from
this is he can be an example that can help
change that perception and change the
stereotype that there would never be a
gay person on a mens professional sports
team, Bean told the Journal Sentinel.
That was something I struggled with.
Townsend said he also turned to Bean
for help with coming out publicly.
Billy Bean has been a help, but he
couldnt come out either and its the same
in 2010 as it was in the 80s, he said. The
locker room is a free-for-all, theres still a
lot of hatred and something needs to be
done about it.
So whats to be done? Townsend cites
sensitivity training for coaching staff
as key, because younger players are
emboldened when they hear coaches
using homophobic epithets. The other
solution, he says, is more out gays in the
game. We need someone like Jackie
Robinson to break that barrier.
Today, Townsend has mostly left
baseball behind, though he recently
played in a softball tournament. Hes

resumed his studies at Florida International

University, pursuing a degree in hospitality
management. He works part-time as a
bartender in Rehoboth and hopes to one
day open a restaurant of his own.
He met his partner, David Gonce, a
regional sales director for an information
document managing company, about
a year and a half ago in Dewey Beach,
Del. The two exchanged glances at the
Starboard, a bar and restaurant popular
with the straight college crowd. But Gonce
thought Townsend was checking out the
female friend who was with him.
I asked the waitress if he wanted to
meet my buddys girlfriend and she said,
No, hes gay and hes looking at you.
They started dating shortly after and
now, 18 months later, a plaque of the
Starboards logo hangs in their living room.
Its got to be really difcult to suppress
who you are in front of all these people
youve gotten to know so well for such a
long period of time playing baseball,
Gonce said. I give him a lot of credit for
doing that, its very difcult.
Reecting on his years in professional
baseball and just how close he came to the
majors, Townsend betrays some regret.
Its sad looking back now, I wish I could
have been that person but I didnt have the
courage at the time, he said. Thats not
right on my part I would do it differently
if I could. Theres that 16-year-old kid, I
want him to know not to be scared and
dont let other people steer you away from
who you are.
He added that hes still friends with
some players on Facebook and isnt sure
how theyll react to this interview but that
he no longer cares.
This is my way of letting the guilt go,
so Im doing this for me and for people
who are struggling with the same things
I struggled with to try to help them. My
regret was not coming out sooner and
being that role model for somebody but I
still have the passion to help.

2 4 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015


Saturday, September 19 | 7PM | vs Columbus Crew SC

$25 Each | $8 will benefit Team DC & Federal Triangles

Grills and Beer compliments of the Federal Triangles and Team
DC. All are welcome! Starting in Lot 8 at 4PM.

For more information, go to





The 2015 Night OUT Series is presented by Team DC and hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club.
The event is also sponsored by The Washington Blade, Metro Weekly, TD Bank and Nellies Sports Bar.


Providing an inclusive, low-cost, high FUN sports ENVIRONMENT with a focus on PHILANTHROPY since 2010
A special thank you to the DC Community for supporting us over the past five years
Nearly $250,000 donated to local charities
More than 1,000 active players in five different sports
For more information, please visit
Photos courtesy of John Jack Photography






hom oph o b ia rampa n t i n

u.s. sp o rt s: st u d y

Research shows more lesbian

athletes out than gay men

On the heels of Michael Sam being

drafted into the NFL and subsequently cut
from the league, Out on the Fields, a new
study, has found the United States to be
the most homophobic English-speaking
country in sports.
Out on the Fields billed the study as the rst
international study focusing on homophobia
in sports. People who participated in the online
survey were from various sports backgrounds
with about 25 percent of participants
identifying as heterosexual. The studys
ndings concluded that although LGBT issues
have made great strides in the United States
overall, there is still more work to be done on
the eld. The study also chose to only focus on
lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and excluded
examining trans issues in sports.
According to the study, spectator stands
and school physical education classes
were the two places that had the most
rampant homophobia. The study found
that 83 percent of participants believe
an openly gay person would not be safe
as a spectator at a sporting event. The
study also states that 78 percent of those
polled feel youth sports, for those under
22 years old, are not safe spaces for LGB
people. Susan Rankin, a senior research
associate at Pennsylvania State University,
sat on Out of the Fields expert review
panel and believes LGB children are most
susceptible to encountering issues during
physical education classes.
Youre changing, youre in the locker
room, Rankin says. Youre a little more
vulnerable there than you would be in
English class.
That vulnerability in athleticism is why
those who participate in sports can feel
trapped. The study states that 50 percent
of gay men and 53 percent of lesbians

feel personally targeted for their sexual

orientation in sports. Rankin credits that
statistic to gay men not being as out in
sports as lesbians.
Gay men are less likely to come out to their
team or coach while they are on a sports
team. Meanwhile, lesbians are more likely
to be out and identify themselves as queer
publicly. The study says that 83 percent
of gay men remain in the closet to all or
some of their team while only 63 percent of
lesbians report being in the closet to some
or all of their team. American gay men were
also more likely to fear discrimination from
their coaches and ofcials than gay men in
any other country surveyed.
Gay mens fear of coming out versus
lesbians being more open also means
lesbians are more likely to be targeted
because theyre more visible. Rankin says
she knows it to be true that lesbians are

targeted from her own personal experience.

The label of lesbianism in sports is one
that women would go to great lengths
generations ago to not come across as gay
so they wouldnt get dropped, she says.
Another large part of sports culture is
the frequent use of homophobic language.
Those who had experienced homophobia
reported 89 percent of gay men and 82
percent of lesbians had heard homophobic
slurs. Rankin says the reason homophobic
language is used often is because of the
way sports have been structured over the
generations. That structure is going to take
time to deconstruct.
Its an area where masculinity and
femininity are highlighted, Rankin says.
Its around gender and what that looks
like and not going outside of those roles
and challenging them. Its the last dash for
us to move through.

YUNEL ESCOBAR of the Toronto Blue Jays came

under re after writing tu ere maricon under his
eyes. In Spanish, it means You are a faggot.






i oc s new p ro - l gb t po l i ci e s
ca l l ed a b unc h o f fl u f f
Advocates skeptical after
Kazakhstan, Beijing
compete to host Olympics
Advocates remain largely skeptical of
the International Olympic Committees
efforts to strengthen its anti-discrimination
provisions in the wake of the controversial
2014 Winter Olympics that took place
in Russia against the backdrop of the
countrys anti-LGBT rights record.
The IOC in December 2014 amended
the Olympic Charters anti-discrimination
clause known as Principle 6 to include sexual
orientation. The organization, which is based
in the Swiss city of Lausanne, a couple of
months earlier added an anti-discrimination
clause to its host city contract.
Human rights advocates sharply criticized
the IOCs decision late last month to award
the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing. The
Kazakh city of Almaty was a nalist to host the
games, despite the fact that lawmakers in the
former Soviet republic in February approved
a bill that would ban the promotion of socalled gay propaganda.
Beijing won the games by a 44-40 vote
These policies are a bunch of uff,
said Cyd Zeigler, Jr., co-founder of, an LGBT sports website,
as he discussed the IOCs expanded antidiscrimination provisions. What matters is
the cities they choose to be the hosts and
the discriminatory countries that are allowed
to participate. The Olympics just selected a
country not just with huge LGBT issues, but
human rights violations that are massive.
They almost picked a country thats
even worse, he added.
A Russian-style bill that sought to ban
the promotion of so-called propaganda to
minors received nal approval in the Kazakh
Parliament shortly after IOC members
visited the country in February. The
Kazakhstan Constitutional Council in May
struck down the measure, but a lawmaker
has said he plans to reintroduce it.
A report that Human Rights Watch
released a week before the IOC awarded
the 2022 Winter Olympic games to Beijing
notes the Kazakh propaganda bill would
have directly contravened Principle 6 of
the Olympic Charter.
The IOC shouldnt take its eye off the
ball on ugly discrimination and human

Authorities in Moscow and St. Petersburg arrested more than a dozen people who protested the
Kremlins LGBT rights record on the same day the Winter Olympics opened in Sochi.

rights abuses for Olympic host contenders,

said Kyle Knight, a Human Rights Watch
researcher who wrote the report, in a press
release that announced it. The IOC and the
Kazakhstan government should publicly
condemn anti-LGBT discrimination to signal
that there is no place for homophobia in
global sport or the countries that want to
host Olympic games.
Zhanar Sekerbayeva of the Kazakhstan
Feminist Initiative earlier this month during a
Skype interview from Amsterdam described
the release of the Human Rights Watch
report as a very signicant moment.
Retired tennis player Martina Navratilova
and other prominent sports gures in May
expressed their opposition to Kazakhstans
bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in a
letter they wrote to IOC President Thomas
Bach. Sekerbayeva noted Almaty-based
advocates in an open letter to the IOC
noted the former Soviet republic has what
she described to the Blade as a very bad
homophobic situation.
We just tried to warn people in the
committee that it may be a second Sochi,
Sekerbayeva told the Blade, referring to
Kazakhstans bid to host the 2022 Winter
Olympics. Of course we didnt want this.
Chinese advocates with whom the Blade
spoke were reluctant to discuss whether
the Beijing games would have any impact
on pro-LGBT efforts in their country.
I have no idea about how the Winter
Olympics will do anything to improve
the overall human rights record, said

Xin Iron Ying, executive director of the

Beijing LGBT Center. We have never
heard government ofcials talk about
LGBT rights in China.
Maybe it will change in the next 10
years, he added.
questions about whether the 2022 Winter
Olympics would have a positive impact on
the countrys LGBT rights movement were
too sensitive.

Principle 6 to be
applied in Beijing

Russian President Vladimir Putin in

June 2013 signed a broadly worded law
that bans the promotion of so-called gay
propaganda to minors.
LGBT rights advocates in the U.S. and
elsewhere urged athletes to boycott the
Sochi games over the controversial law,
but Putin insisted that gays and lesbians
attending the Olympics would not face
discrimination. Bach said he had received
repeated assurances from the Kremlin that
LGBT athletes and spectators would be
welcome in Russia.
Authorities in Moscow and St. Petersburg
arrested more than a dozen people who
protested the Kremlins LGBT rights record
on the same day the games opened in
Sochi. Russian police arrested Vladimir
Luxuria, a transgender former Italian
parliamentarian, twice in the Black Sea
resort city after she publicly challenged the

gay propaganda law during the Olympics.

Sekerbayeva noted to the Blade that the
Kazakh government in its bid to host the 2022
Winter Olympics insisted that LGBT people
did not face discrimination or harassment
from the police in the former Soviet republic.
She said people blamed LGBT rights
advocates for the IOCs decision to award the
games to Beijing and not Almaty.
We see how our society decided to
blame us, said Sekerbayeva.
Mark Adams, a spokesperson for the
IOC, told the Blade in a statement that
organizers of the 2022 Winter Olympics in
Beijing have pledged that for all gamesrelated matters and for all participants,
the Olympic Charter, including respect of
Principle 6, will be fully applied.
The IOC is clear that sport is a human
right and should be available to all
regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation
as stated in the Olympic Charter, said
Adams. The games themselves should be
open to all, free of discrimination, and that
applies to spectators, ofcials, media and,
of course, athletes. This has been upheld
at all editions of the Olympic games.
Maria von Knel, general manager of
the Swiss Rainbow Families Association,
told the Blade the decision to amend
Principle 6 and add an anti-discrimination
clause to the Olympics host city contracts
shows that members of the IOC listened
to LGBT rights advocates concerns in the
wake of the Sochi games.
Its something powerful, she said
during a Skype interview from Zurich. Its
visible, but I think its a start. Now we have
to implement it.
Sekerbayeva, like von Knel, welcomes
the inclusion of sexual orientation in
Principle 6. She nevertheless questioned
why the IOC waited until after the Sochi
games to amend the Olympic Charters
anti-discrimination clause.
I always wondered why we should wait
for something very bad (to happen) and
then we decide to have some decision,
said Sekerbayeva. We did not want Sochi
to go and have the Olympic games, but it
did and we saw a lot of bad things, a lot of
hate speech.
Its better to (make these decisions)
before such big events, she added.
Zeigler made a similar point, noting
Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics
despite Chinas human rights record.
Forget about LGBT rights, they dont
care about human rights, he told the Blade,
referring to the IOC. Its irrelevant. They
have a lengthy record to demonstrate that.






gay at hl et es t a l k
rel igio n an d f a i t h
Church teachings complicate
coming out process for many
There have been a vast number of
coming out stories told recently that
share a common thread that it isnt easy to
accept your sexual identity when it is not
considered normal.
The self-acceptance process is generally
lled with shame, insecurities, fear and
often depression. Homophobia is exactly
what you dont want to experience when
you are dealing with nding your true self.
There are other identities that you are not
born with, those that are chosen, that also
come with homophobia. Religion and sports
can be extremely homophobic environments
that can add even more emotion to the inner
struggle of growing up gay.
It seems like an impossible bridge to
gap. Why not just walk away from the two
you can choose to walk away from, religion
and sports?
Meet three men who are gay, played
sports and grew up with religion. All three
of them say it is not religion that bridged
the three struggles, but rather their
individual faith.
When you speak to Josh Sanders, there
is a sense of calm that emanates from him.
He describes his relationship with religion
as being vertical and horizontal and more
of a personal journey.
The vertical is the relationship between
me and God and the horizontal is me and
the eyes of other people, says Sanders. I
should never look at myself through the
eyes of others.
Sanders grew up playing basketball and
intended to walk onto the team at Virginia
Wesleyan but ended up dropping out to
address his inner struggles. He began
coaching a local high school team and
enrolled at James Madison University.
His path led to him to work with various
Christian sports ministries and he became
the athletic director at a Christian sports
camp. After surviving six months of
conversion therapy, he came out to his
employer only to be told he couldnt return
to the sports camp position that he had
held for six years because of his sexuality.
There is an exclusive tone to the
intersection between religion and sexuality.
It is the church versus the gay community,
Sanders says. I dont separate those two
parts of myself. I can be both and there is
nothing exclusive about that. If you cant



acknowledge that I can be both, then you

are not seeing all of me.
Sanders, who is living in the Virginia
Beach area, has been getting involved
again with sports as director of external
engagement for GO! Athletes. He is also
involved in its extension project, GO!
Faith, which provides an inclusive space
for young LGBT athletes, coaches and
administrators of faith to come together
for fellowship and encouragement.
Biblical literalism is alive today but
I think context is everything. It makes
no sense to apply those writings to life
today, says Sanders. The Bible leads
the direction of my faith, but it is my own
personal interpretation.
Sanders attends a large evangelical
church on occasion that is not LGBT
friendly. He says he goes there because
of the loving friendships he has made with
some of its members.
We [the LGBT community] are the ones
that need to take the initiative to get people
from the church to step outside their own
experience and actually get to know us,
Sanders says. Once that happens, there
can be change.
Tanner Williams was so shy as a kid that
he was afraid to speak to people. He would
wait outside after track practice in hopes of
getting through a day without being called
a fag. Because of his Southern Baptist
upbringing in Ardmore, Okla., he spent
a lot of time in those isolated moments

wondering why he was gay.

In the sixth grade, his coach got him into
pole vaulting and within two years, he won a
national championship and followed that up
with two state championships in high school.
I was a really religious kid and I put all
my trust in God and pole vaulting, says
Williams. I had no friends and my time
was spent praying and talking to God.
During his freshman year at Oklahoma
University, the mother of a girl he had
been formerly promised to for marriage,
began stalking Williams through a fake
Twitter and Facebook account, threatening
to out him, he says. A police report was
led and security was increased at the Big
12 Championships in Waco, Texas, where
Williams was competing in the pole vault
for the Sooners.
I grew up with people telling me its a
choice to be gay and I fell for it, Williams
says. When things like harassment
happen, it just reinforces the feeling that
there is something wrong with you.
Williams began coming out to friends
two years ago at age 19 and is now only
occasionally attending church. He says
he feels sorry for members of organized
religion who propagate homophobia
because they pick and choose what they
believe in the Bible.
They dont study the bible like I do and
they dont look at it like I do. says Williams.
I study it and nd the content for me, what
God wants for me.

Williams is coming up on his senior

year at Oklahoma University and will be
graduating with a degree in business
management and nursing. Last year at age
20 he married his partner, Scott Williams
and he is looking forward to what the
future has to offer.
I love competing but I am ready to
move on, Williams says. I will be the only
senior on the Sooners track team this year
so I will be stepping forward as more of a
leader. I guess thats my management side
coming out.
When Akil Patterson was playing
football for the University of Maryland,
his mom was commuting from Frederick,
Md., to get her masters degree and used
to pick her son up for church. He always
felt he wasnt being honest because the
black church he attended was adamantly
opposed to homosexuality. He sometimes
brought his teammates along so he would
feel more comfortable. It was during one
of those rides to church that Patterson
came out to his mom.
I was struggling during my coming
out process and I turned to my faith, says
Patterson. God doesnt get you out of
things; he just helps you get through them.
After his football career ended, Patterson
returned to the University of Maryland
campus and became involved with
coaching for their wrestling programs. The
Terrapin Wrestling Club is also a regional
Olympic training center for USA Wrestling
and Patterson began competing in GrecoRoman wrestling.
Recently retired from sports, Patterson
still attends church and says that
everything a person needs is in the Bible
and subject to ones own interpretation.
He likes going to church because of the
sense of camaraderie and fellowship and
is attending a more afrming church now.
When that black pastor says that being
gay is wrong, everyone starts screaming
and it creates a wolf pack mentality,
Patterson says. If the pastors would
stop talking about it, people in the black
community would follow. They will defend
you and look out for you, but they dont
want to hear about that part of you.
Patterson said that organized religion is
directed at a certain type of people, those
who are not secure in their faith.
Those people are not rooted and dont
understand how the book is translated.
Too many of them think that faith is what
you learned in church, Patterson says.
The church is religion but faith is beyond
that. I am a man of faith.






female coaches face double

threat of sexism, homophobia
Only 40 percent of womens
teams coached by women
Seemingly, 2014 was a banner and
historic year for female coaches.
For the rst time ever, four women
coaches met in the conference nals of the
WNBA; Becky Hammon became the NBAs
rst full-time female assistant coach as a
member of the San Antonio Spurs staff; and
Rachel Balkovec cracked the Major League
Baseball locker room, becoming MLBs
rst-ever female strength and conditioning
coach (for the St. Louis Cardinals).
But the news for women coaches isnt as
good as it appears. According to research
conducted by the NCAA, only 40 percent
of womens sports teams are coached by
women (down from 90 percent when Title IX
was introduced in 1972), and there are fewer
than 300 total women coaches leading
mens teams a miniscule 2 percent.
Add to that the recent news of Iowas
prominent eld hockey coach Tracey
Greisbaum being red or the decision to not
renew the contract of Minnesota Duluths ice
hockey coach Shannon Miller, despite her
leading the team to veNCAA championships
and developing 28 Olympians in her time,
and theres clearly a problem.
Some have questioned whether Millers
outspokenness as an out lesbian had
anything to do with her dismissal, and its
denitely a worry that has to be on the
mind of any female coach when discussing
her sexual orientation. Its why many
female coaches who are gay stay closeted
for fear of losing their jobs.
The thinking has always been for
both straight and lesbian coaches keep
your head down, do your job, win, and
youll succeed. These two coaches have
shown that that truism doesnt hold up,
says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, CEO of
Champion Women, which advocates
equality, accountability and transparency
in sports. Particularly in Shannon Millers
case, I believe she was red because she
was so successful. Her success gave her
a power base that the male coaches and
(athletic directors) wouldnt ever have.

Some have questioned whether SHANNON MILLERs outspokenness as a lesbian factored into the
University of Minnesota Duluth not renewing her contract as ice hockey coach.

Roger Brigham, who in 1982 became

one of the rst sports reporters to come
out as gay, has long championed equality
for all in sports. He feels female coaches
have been under attack for decades
and only recently are people becoming
aware of the institutional and cultural
discrimination they face.
They are routinely underpaid when their
salaries are compared with male peers
and they are held to a double standard
on conduct that essentially infantilizes
female athletes with its implication that
the female athletes are not as emotionally
tough as males and therefore need to
be protected, he says. Female coaches
also have to deal with the presence of the
male-monopoly in the massive sacred cow
that is known as football. In short, women
coaches, heterosexual or gay, are faced
with a system that is stacked against them.
Brigham says that the cases of
Greisbaum and Miller will have a general
chilling effect and may make more coaches
reluctant to leave the closet, but also hopes
both expose the built-in homophobia and

sexism in the institutions and will activate

people to ght those things harder.
I would also hope that the cases would
make closeted coaches realize the sense
of security a closet provides is false and the
greatest control they can have over their lives
and careers is by being as open and honest
about who they are as they can possibly be,
he says. Look at the support the athletes of
both coaches expressed when their coaches
came under attack. Clearly the athletes knew
the sexual orientation of their coaches and it
was a non-issue for them.
Hogshead-Makar, who is also a civil
rights lawyer, said Greisbaums case
makes it clear that lesbian coaches will be
evaluated differently, based on gender
stereotypes.Its something she is ghting
to change and she wants to start with Mark
Emmerts leadership at the NCAA.
Mark Emmert is not friendly to women;
I cannot think of a single decision that
has benetted women. In my four years
with the Womens Sports Foundation, and
almost a year at Champion Women, our
efforts to get the NCAA to adopt female-

friendly policies were regularly ignored,

she says. It was a completely different
story under his predecessor, Myles Brand.
The rst step in improving the disparity,
Hogshead-Makar notes, is recognizing the
male bias in sports.
If hiring committees receive training on bias,
theyre more likely to hire diverse candidates,
she says. I view male bias in sports as harming
both women and particularly women of color,
and the LGBT community, equally. I dont think
there can be success in one of these areas
without the other.
Brigham feels the best thing to do would
be to erase the incredible imbalance
created by football, requiring every school
that has a football team to spend an equal
amount on womens football and have one
female coach for every male coach.
That kind of nancial burden might
be enough to make athletics directors
and university presidents realize that way
too much is spent in one sport and steps
should be taken to reduce costs through
smaller rosters, smaller coaching staffs and
rule changes, he says. Of course, none
of that is likely to happen. The number of
women coaches will increase the day we
eliminate sexism in all aspects of society
and schools take proactive steps to adopt
equal opportunity employment practices.
communications for the National Association
of Basketball Coaches, understands the
problem but says not every school should
be lumped into the bias.
I have worked at a Division II school for
more than three decades with many openly
gay coaches, athletic administrators and
athletes who were extremely successful and
highly respected by me and our campus
community in general, he says. Its my
hope that our society in general will become
more accepting of all people, regardless
of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual
preference and that everyone will have
greater opportunities overall, including in
sports and the coaching profession.
According to Hogshead-Makar, theres
still a long way to go. She says homophobia
is still a driving force in the decisions
made in intercollegiate athletics and until
something changes, the number of women
coaches will continue to be small.






new k ic k b al l l e a g u e
t hrivi ng in n o rt h ca r ol i n a

Stonewall Sports
expands, nds eager
players in unlikely places
With an estimated metropolitan area
population of six million, D.C. is home to a
large and thriving LGBT sports community.
There are roughly 35 teams and clubs
competing, playing and socializing
together, usually outside of the traditional
bar scene. It seems that every time a new
league is formed, it is immediately lled to
capacity. In 2015, Capital Pride Volleyball
and Stonewall Billiards completed their
rst seasons and will have to consider
expanding for their second seasons.
The success in D.C. of these leagues can
be attributed in part to the sheer number
of people here, the transient nature of
the area and the progressive thinking of
many residents. Many of the LGBT players
are having their own sports renaissance,
nding their way back to the sports they
were bullied out of playing in their youth
and trying new sports.
But what about the rural areas around
the country where homophobia remains
prevalent and where there are still no
safe spaces for members of the LGBT
community to play sports?
Is it possible for LGBT sports leagues to
be formed that offer that safe space when
the numbers arent there and the local
community may not be ready for it?
In the smaller communities, it all begins
at the grassroots level.
D.C.-based Stonewall Sports has created
a prototype for LGBT sports leagues that
has worked well for the ve sports that it
offers locally. The structure that Stonewall
mandates includes organizational guidelines
for the proposed sport, nancial support to
local charities and community outreach.
North Carolina became the target of

Four commissioners of Stonewall Kickball in North Carolina (l-r), FRANK WOLFGRAM, JASON

the rst Stonewall expansion effort and

leagues are now in place in Raleigh,
Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington.
Even with the Stonewall prototype,
getting started and maintaining the
momentum to keep the leagues running
requires establishing a strong connection
to the community. Raleigh and Charlotte
were the rst expansion cities in 2013 and
the two smaller cities followed.
Stonewall Kickball-Greensboro started
in the fall of 2014 with 70 players on ve
teams. There were some issues at the
beginning with teams being too small and
having to forfeit, but they expanded to 107
players in the second season this year.
With the Greensboro population at just
over 250,000, to get those extra players,
kickball commissioner Will Fisher started
networking and going out and just talking
to people. They are also competing to
recruit players with a straight recreational
kickball league in the area.
There is not really a gay scene here,
says Fisher. And we dont have a lot of
options recruiting from the colleges as
most of them arent over 21.
Greensboro ended up with a diverse
group of kickball players mostly gay,
several straight players, some recovering
from addictions and a mix of ages.
This is a lot of people that didnt hang
out together that are playing a sport and
getting along ne, Fisher says.
Sponsorship for the teams in the league

has come from varied sources such as an

investment rm, a Cross Fit gym, a catering
business and a straight bar that caters to
gay clientele on Sunday nights. Even a
dinnerware replacement company is on
board. The players can be found helping
out at their sponsors events, doing setup and break-down and the nancial
benefactor of their efforts is the local LGBT
community center, Guilford Green.
The Stonewall prototype is working so
well for them, that they are considering
taking over volleyball from an old parks
and recreation league.
Fisher, who is from Sanford, N.C., didnt
play many sports growing up but was
active in eventing, an equestrian sport.
This is fun and I am really enjoying
meeting people that I wouldnt have met
otherwise, says Fisher. Actually, I think I
might know everyone in Greensboro now.
The launch of Stonewall KickballWilmington in the spring of 2015 proved to be
an even tougher challenge as the population
in Wilmington is just over 100,000 people.
There is no gay community here and
most of the LGBT people in town dont
want to go to the only gay bar, says
Frank Wolfgram, Wilmington Kickball
commissioner. Its a small town and even
though no one really knows each other,
you still hear about everyones business.
With no Pride events in the area,
marketing was a key issue and word
began to spread that a kickball league

was forming. It was decided that it was

necessary to have a few pick-up kickball
games to see if everyone meshed. There
were enough players to start a league 60
players on ve teams.
When we were rst getting ready to play,
I was thinking to myself, please let everyone
be nice to each other, Wolfgram says. And
they were; it was mind-blowing. Everyone
was clapping and being really supportive.
Wolfgram is from Rochester, N.Y., and has
been in Wilmington for ve years. He played
basketball and baseball growing up and
says he has always been a sports fan. With
the next season approaching, Wolfgram is
already starting to wonder if they will come
up with enough players to keep it going.
I probably shouldnt worry too much
about it, he says. People enjoy getting
muddy here.
The lesson from starting these leagues in
small cities was that the community plays
an extra large part in the success of the
venture. The typical game day is lled with
kickball, cornhole, kids, dogs and food.
You have to wonder if the community
is ready for 60 gays and their allies to walk
into a bar all wearing matching T-shirts,
says Martin Espinoza, co-founder of
Stonewall Sports. One thing to note is
that the new leagues in North Carolina all
have young leaders who are interested in
helping the community.
Another positive development is that
despite the physical distance between
the four cities, they are forging a new
community together. They are playing
games, holding events and offering
support to one another. This weekend they
will all come together to spend a day at the
Wet n Wild water park in Greensboro. Ten
people from Stonewall-D.C. will be there
to join in the fun.
It has been pretty amazing to watch this tight
community form from four cities, Espinoza
says. They are always trying to one up each
other. Greensboro even had the straight female
mayor come out for the rst pitch.

3 0 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015



with the men and women of DC Strokes Rowing Club,

fresh off success at Gay Games 9 and the
2014 USRowing Masters National Championship

Steve Weinberg


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sports leagues lend a hand

in fight for lgbt rights
Arizona, Indiana efforts
boosted by NFL, NCAA
As the LGBT community faces new
challenges, including religious freedom
measures seen to enable anti-LGBT
discrimination, advocates have found a
new ally in their ght: sports teams and
related organizations.
In the past two years, professional
and collegiate sports organizations
helped derail measures that would have
undermined LGBT rights in Arizona and
Indiana. By speaking out, their statements
aided efforts to combat the proposals.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, said,
Were seeing the sports landscape change
in terms of support for the LGBT movement.
Were seeing more and more
professional leagues, and collegiate
sports, actually take a stand for LGBT fans
and players, Ellis said.
In Arizona last year, the state legislature
sent to Gov. Jan Brewers desk SB 1062, a
controversial bill that would have enabled
businesses and individuals to discriminate
against LGBT people in the name of
religious freedom.
Brewer vetoed the bill after a media
restorm and opposition from Republicans
like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John
McCain and Jeff Flake. Key opposition
came from the National Football League,
which at the time was planning to host
Super Bowl XLIX in Scottsdale, Ariz.
As controversy over the measure
intensied, the Arizona Super Bowl host
committee issued a statement saying it
disagreed with the bill and voiced concerns
about its impact on Americas economy.
On that matter we have heard loud
and clear from our various stakeholders
that adoption of this legislation would
not only run contrary to that goal, but
deal a signicant blow to the states
economic growth potential, a committee
spokesperson said. We do not support
this legislation.
Catherine Alonzo, co-chair of Equality
Arizona, said the contributions from
the NFL and sports teams were really
important in defeating SB 1062.
It really was this diverse upsurge
of peoplewho werent necessarily
traditionally involved in the movement,
but stood up and said, This is wrong,

Former Ravens player BRENDON AYANBADEJO is among high-prole pro athletes whove endorsed
LGBT rights in recent years. He served as guest editor of the Blade Sports Issue two years ago.

Alonzo said. The sports teams were part

of this overwhelming diverse response.
Alonzo said its difcult to know
if Brewer would have vetoed the bill
anyway without help from the Super Bowl
organizers, but she maintained the support
of the NFL cant be overstated.
The situation repeated itself this year in
Indiana with SB 101, except this time the
restorm didnt emerge until after Indiana
Gov. Mike Pence signed the measure into
law. The controversy that later ensued
prompted him to sign a x clarifying the
law wont enable LGBT discrimination in
the state in most situations.
Among the critics of the initial law was
Mark Emmert, president of the National
Collegiate Athletic Association, which is
based in Indianapolis and was planning
on hosting the Mens Final Four basketball
tournament in Indiana that year.
We will work diligently to assure
student-athletes competing in, and visitors
attending, next weeks Mens Final Four in
Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by
this bill, Emmert said. Moving forward, we
intend to closely examine the implications
of this bill and how it might affect future
events as well as our workforce.
Another critic of the Indiana measure
was retired basketball star Charles Barkley,
who called the law unacceptable and said
ofcials should move the Final Four out of
the state. Moving the tournament would
have resulted in a loss of an estimated $70.8
million in revenue from Indiana.
David McFarland, founder of the Los
Angeles-based United for Equality in Sports
& Entertainment, said the events in Arizona
and Indiana demonstrate the power of
sports to inuence people on LGBT rights.

What we saw play out in Indiana and

Arizona is how sport can act as a universal
language and a common denominator
that has the ability to break down walls
and barriers to create social impact and
change that can help violations against
LGBT people, McFarland said.
Before Arizona and Indiana, sports
teams havent been overtly opposed
to LGBT rights, but support from those
organizations in ghts against religious
freedom measures stand out because
they provided a crucial element of support
when LGBT rights were in danger.
Other efforts on behalf of LGBT rights
include NFL players Chris Kluwe and
Brendon Ayanbadejo ling briefs in
support of litigation against Californias
Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court
in 2013. The four major mens sports
leagues the NFL, the MLB, the NHL and
the NBA have enacted sexual orientation
non-discrimination protections for players
and workers (although gender identity
protections remain omitted from those
polices). WNBA enacted a similar policy.
Five major sports leagues the NFL,
the MLB, the NHL, the NBA and the
WNBA are among the organizations
that coordinate with GLAAD for Spirit
Day, an annual event each on Oct. 15 that
encourages individuals to wear purple to
express opposition to anti-LGBT bullying.
McFarland said the atmosphere within
the sports world, however, is another
matter entirely for LGBT people.
social and political climate is becoming
increasingly accepting of LGBT Americans,
competing and participation in sports is still
considered to be an unsettling environment

for many LGBT people, McFarland said. In

fact, many Americans believe homophobia
and transphobia are more common in sports
than in the rest of society.
But just as sports organizations have
helped the general public become more
accepting of LGBT rights, LGBT advocates
have pushed the sports community.
One example is the public transition this
year of Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender
athlete and TV personality who won the
Olympic decathlon title in 1976 and this
year won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award
at ESPNs annual ESPY awards show.
Ellis, who was in attendance during the
ceremony, said Jenners speech helped
change the hearts and minds of audience
members at the high-prole award show.
It turned those people you could see
were uncomfortable and might be leaning
over talking to their seat mates and sort of
giggling and whatever people do when
they feel discomfort [and] silence them,
Jenner said. And I thought that was a
pretty profound momentum in sports for
this year, for this decade.
LGBT advocates also continue pressing
for openly LGBT players in the major
leagues to enhance LGBT visibility.
Robbie Rogers, a Major League Soccer
player for LA Galaxy, is currently the only
openly LGBT player for a major sports
team in the United States. Jason Collins,
who came out as gay in 2013, played for
a year with the Brooklyn Nets, but then
retired. Michael Sam was drafted into the
NFL, but never saw time on the eld.
Just this week, David Denson, a rst
baseman with the Milwaukee Brewers
minor league afliate in Helena, Mont.,
came out as gay, but no active player in
Major League Baseball is openly gay.
McFarland said having more openly
LGBT players would have tremendous
impact on visibility for the LGBT
community, but acknowledged sports
organizations arent yet in that place.
Unfortunately, for too many LGBT
young people the built in safety nets of
support, acceptance and caring do not
exist fully in sport, McFarland said.
Another opportunity for the sports
world to support the LGBT community may
come in Houston, where LGBT advocates
are ghting to pass an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance at the ballot in
November and the NFL is planning to host
Super Bowl LI in 2017.






gay g am es- o u t g a me s
plan t o m er g e

Leaders of two LGBT sports

groups eye One World
Event in 2022

Leaders of the two quadrennial LGBT
international sports competitions the
Gay Games and the World OutGames
signed a memorandum of understanding
in May establishing what they say is a
preliminary framework for merging the
events in 2022.
Ofcials with the Federation of Gay
Games (FGG) and the Gay and Lesbian
International Sports Association (GLISA),
which organizes the OutGames, said the
decision to move ahead with plans for
a merger was prompted by the results
of a widely distributed online survey of
members of both organizations.
According to the ofcials, the more than
2,000 responses to the survey showed
that 88.7 percent of respondents support
having a single quadrennial sports, human
rights and cultural event in 2022.
The Gay Games were rst held in San
Francisco in 1982 after gay Olympics
athlete Tom Waddell, who is credited with
founding the event, was forced to drop
the name he rst envisioned, the Gay
Olympics, after the International Olympics
Committee insisted it held exclusive legal
rights the Olympics name.
The Gay Games continued every
four years since its founding year in
San Francisco, attracting thousands of
LGBT athletes and spectators in cities in
North America and Europe as the sole
international LGBT sporting competition
until 2006, when the rst World OutGames
competition was held in Montreal.
The OutGames rst emerged two years
earlier, in 2004, when an irreconcilable
disagreement surfaced between the FGG

Its going to take a great deal of compromise, said BRENT MINOR of Team D.C. regarding the
potential merger of Gay Games and OutGames.

and the group it initially selected to organize

the Gay Games in Montreal for 2006. After
protracted and sometimes acrimonious
negotiations failed, the Montreal organizers
broke away from the FGG and announced
they would organize their own event in
Montreal called the OutGames.
The FGG then reopened the bidding
process for another city to host the Gay
Games, and Chicago was selected as the
new host city. Both events took place within
a week of each other in the summer of 2006,
and two international quadrennial LGBT
sports events have been held ever since.
Nearly all of the dual events have
attracted far fewer athletes and spectators
than the Gay Games had attracted for its
events prior to the split.
They have to come together with one
event because having two events has
really hurt both events, and the community
wants just one quadrennial event to
focus on, said Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of
OutSports Blog, a highly regarded online
publication about LGBT sports issues.
The real question is what does it look
like and what is it called, Zeigler told the
Washington Blade. And for me, it would be
such a shame to lose the name Gay Games.
Zeigler and others supportive of the
Gay Games say the Gay Games name and
brand have become an important part of
the LGBT communitys history and should
be preserved.
Among those agreeing with Zeigler is
Jessica Waddell Lewinstein, the daughter
of the late Gay Games founder Tom
Waddell. However, unlike Zeigler, who
favors a merger, Lewinstein has come out
strongly against the proposed merger as
disclosed by the two groups.
In general, Im totally open to merging
two events, if it is done properly and makes
sense, but Im not seeing anything that

tells me that this is one of those situations,

she told the Windy City Times in July.
Ofcials with the FGG and GLISA have
been cautious about publicly discussing
potential stumbling blocks to a merger
agreement, saying instead that the
memorandum of understanding is a
work in progress. Both sides have said
they are hopeful that a nal agreement
can be reached because their respective
members and supporters strongly favor a
single LGBT international sports event.
All of us at the FGG are extremely
thrilled to see things moving forward in a
positive manner, said FGG Co-President
Kurt Dahl in a statement in March.
GLISA is excited on the progress of
this vital collaboration that benets the
worldwide LGBT sporting community,
GLISA Co-President Tamara Adrian said at
the same time.
The memorandum of understanding
calls for following recommendations and
proposals established by representatives of
both groups during a meeting earlier this
year in Cologne, Germany in which a lengthy
and detailed document referred to as the
Cologne Report was drafted and approved.
Among other things, the MOU provides
for the creation of a Transition Commission,
which will steer the development of a
single organizational body to deliver
future One World Events, a statement
released by the two groups says.
Ofcials on both sides have also said that
a merger of the FGG and GLISA is just one
of several options under consideration. A
single World Event, as the two sides refer to a
merged LGBT sports competition, could also
be put together by the creation of a newly
created entity separate from the FGG and
GLISA, ofcials with the two groups have said.
A One World event could not be held any
sooner than 2022, the ofcials have said,

because plans for the next Gay Games and

World OutGames are already solidied.
The next World OutGames is set to take
place in Miami in 2017. The next OutGames
is slated to take place in Paris in 2018.
Meanwhile, an ofcial Working Group
consisting of representatives of the FGG
and GLISA has been conferring with LGBT
sports organizations in North America and
Europe to obtain input on the best ways to
bring about a merger of the two events.
We hosted a town hall meeting in June
with representatives of the working group,
said Brent Minor, president of Team D.C.,
an umbrella group representing D.C.-area
LGBT sports groups and teams.
Among those participating in the
meeting was Les Johnson, an FGG board
member from D.C.
It is clearly a desire among U.S. sports
groups to have something in 2022, Minor
said. That is the goal. A lot of people
feel that way, he said. The key is can
these two organizations that have been
estranged come together for one event? It
will require compromise.
Minor said that in addition to the issue
of what the joint event should be called,
the two sides remain divided over whether
a human rights conference should be
a major component of the 2022 event
and all those that follow. The OutGames
organizers have long favored and included
in their event such a conference.
Minor, who has been a longtime
supporter of the Gay Games, said the
Gay Games side doesnt think such a
conference is essential to a quadrennial
LGBT sports competition.
We all want it to be a sports and cultural
event, he said.
But Minor added that Team D.C. ofcials
are hopeful that the talks will be successful
because uniting the two organizations to
hold a single international event is in the
best interests of the LGBT community.
Its going to take a great deal of
compromise, he said.






lg bt i ssues in sp or t s 1 0 1

College curricula starting to

include gay athletic topics
A lot has changed in the realm of sports
in terms of LGBT athletes and the role
sports have in international LGBT politics.
The call for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics
in light of recent Russian laws making
illegal any kind of public declaration of
ones sexuality is a perfect example of the
important discussions about international
human rights happening around sports.
Not only are more and more athletes
coming out in sports, but there are out
athletes entering sport and willing to be
spokespeople for LGBT issues. Further,
many national and international sports
bodies and organizations are taking
a stand on promoting inclusion and
speaking out against homophobia.
Some colleges and universities are
now tackling the role of sports and LGBT
issues, with courses designed to talk about
the history, present and future of this
important pairing.
The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual
Diversity Studies at the University of
Toronto, will offer a course next year
called Sports and Sexual Diversity in its
undergraduate program.
This course will explore the role of
sports and wellness programs in promoting
or impeding social inclusion, as well as their
role in community building among sexual
minorities, says Scott Rayter, associate
director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for
Sexual Diversity Studies. It will consider
the ways that sexuality has been framed or
regulated in sports, as well as the challenges
to such limits from among athletes, LGBT
community activists and others.
The courses coverage will range
from local community and schoolbased programs, to national amateur
and professional sporting activities, to

International competitions such as Gay Games have helped raise the visibility of LGBT issues in
sport, leading some colleges and universities to address related issues in curricula.

international competitions.
Rayter says the course came about partly
as a way of building on the expertise at the
university in the areas of sexuality, gender
and sport, and to reect what is a growing
body of research and eld of study, plus
an increasing interest and demand from
students to study this area.
Sport is an interesting place to study
issues of sex, gender and the body, since
bodies in sport are ideal or non-normative
in the sense they do not reect what most
bodies look like or are capable of, and yet
sport is also a space that demonstrates an
extremely rigid split between male and
female bodies, Rayter says. There is also
a growing body of research about sexual
and gender violence (and hazing) in sport;
it seems every day we hear about some
new sex scandal in professional sports.
At some higher learning institutions,
there may not be a specic course, but
inclusion of the LGBT community and
sports is embedded in the curriculum itself.
Laura Burton, associate professor of
sport management at the University of

Connecticut, says she includes aspects of

diversity and inclusion in both undergrad
(Intro to Sport Management) and graduate
(Management of Sport Services) courses.
This includes sections on effectively
managing diversity in sport organizations.
I include examples of LGBT employees/
fans/participants in sport as important
constituents, she says. In our Issues in
Sport course I will include a chapter on
issues faced by the LGBT community. That
section will include the experiences of
athletes (participants), employees in sport
organizations and fans/spectators.
Burton understands that the LGBT
community has been and will continue
to be an integral part of the larger sport
community and feels its important
that they are represented in the sport
management curriculum.
Our students will work with, and some
also identify as, members of the LGBT
community, and this constituent group is as
important as any other group of individuals
with an interest in working in, participating
in, or being fans of sport, she says. We

also recognize that the LGBT community

has been a marginalized/ostracized and
silenced constituent within the domain of
sport; it is important that we give voice
to this marginalization and work toward a
more inclusive sport environment.
In the 10 years she has been including
LGBT examples in her courses, Burton
says she has never received a negative
comment from a student.
I have had numerous students (gay/bi/
straight) tell me that they have enjoyed the
openness and inclusiveness of the courses,
the course content and of the program in
general, she says.
Momin Rahman, a professor at Trent
University in Ontario, notes that in
classes he teaches on the sociology of
gender and sexuality, sport is one of the
themes discussed both because it interests
students and because it is often regarded
as one of the last institutions of gender
binaries and homophobia.
Sports are one of the biggest
entertainment industries worldwide and
an everyday experience of living and
seeing gender and sexuality, he says.
Sports are a part of the socialization of
childhood as well, so it is an important
and wide-ranging experience that needs
to be addressed seriously as a location of
gender normativity and homophobia.
Rahman says hes touching on new
topics all the time and is sure to discuss the
latest LGBT issues in his classes.
For example, trans issues have become
a difcult one for organizations such as the
Olympics, who are traditionally invested
in keeping a binary division between men
and women, Rahman says. We also look
at how homophobia operates in sports,
particularly as a normalized part of bonding
in mens sports, and how this makes it
difcult for gay athletes to come out.The
widespread community organization of
LGBT sports, and international versions
such as the OutGames, are partly a
response to this.






gender- n eut r a l
loc k er ro o ms ?

Issue sparks debate as trans

athletes gain visibility
In competitive sports, the locker room is
a place where access is granted only to a
few athletes, coaches and trainers. It is
a place for the athletes to be themselves
and it is vital to the health, well being and
performance of the athlete.
Over the past few years, there has been
much talk about gays in locker rooms and
whether the presence of openly gay athletes
would disrupt the locker room culture.
But what about the trans athletes? What
are the barriers facing trans athletes as
it relates to that same hyper-masculine
locker room culture?
When I rst started researching this
topic, I reached out to several trans athletes
and sources considered authorities on
transgender policy. The reaction was
surprising and included hostility from some.
The debate on the topic can get
emotional; some cisgender women
oppose the idea of trans women sharing
locker rooms.
It turns out that there really are no
authorities on the topic of the self-afrmed
gender identity locker room situation.
Last week, while competing at the 2015
Stockholm EuroGames, I attended a panel
discussion titled The Dressing Room: A
space for team spirit or alienation?
There were six people on the panel and
a moderator who are all members of the
transgender community. Finally, some
answers for these questions.
After an hour-long discussion on what
the trans athlete needs in terms of the
locker room experience, I was more
confused than ever as all six panelists
wanted something different. What they
had in common was heartbreaking fear.
What I took away from all of my research
and listening to the panel is that there

I felt isolated before my transition I missed the social part of being with my teammates, said BENT

need to be options for trans athletes.

Below are a few of the ideas that came
from the panelists.
Gender-neutral locker rooms. This
would involve a third locker room and
be similar to the family bathrooms that
are now common. Any athlete that is
uncomfortable in the gender specied
locker room could use this space.
Changing stalls. This would allow the
athlete to use their self-afrmed gender
identity locker room to be with their
teammates. If they are uncomfortable with
openly dressing in the shared space, they
would have the option to go into a stall.
Full integration. The athlete would
fully integrate into the locker room that
conforms to their self-afrmed gender
identity. This seems to be what was the
most expressed option as to what the trans
athlete is hoping to achieve.
All three of the options are not without

challenges. The gender-neutral locker

rooms could end up with people using
them that dont t the prole and could be
expensive, even impractical, to implement.
The changing stalls are just another
divider that robs the athlete of fully being a
part of their sport. Full integration involves
changing the perception of the human
mind and desexualizing people outside
the context of the situation.
So how do sports teams accommodate
trans athletes?
It seems impossible to establish a
centralized policy, therefore the change
needs to come from individual facilities.
The problem then becomes that each
trans athlete needs to address their own
facility including the venues where they
will compete when they travel.
Stephen Alexander is a trans athlete
and coach in Rhode Island and agrees
that there should be options that work for

everyone that is competing.

If teammates and coaches can create
positive language and culture in the
locker room, we can contribute to better
performances in sports at large because
of a more welcoming place for all, says
Alexander. Its a lofty goal. The world is
probably never going to be ready, but the
game changers will be the ones who step
forward to create the change.
Bent Williger, who trains with the
Stockholm Dolphins swim team, was one
of the panelists in Stockholm and was
responsible for creating the rst other
category at the swimming venue in which
he competed.
I felt isolated before my transition. I
missed the social part of being with my
teammates, says Williger. During my
transition, I didnt train at all because you
cant swim without showering afterward.
Williger took his rst steps into his locker
room by going in with his teammates. Not
being alone helped to allay his fears.
When I arrived to train at the pool at the
2010 Cologne Gay Games, I was surprised
to nd that there were no locker rooms at
the swimming venue.
Everyone was changing on the pool
deck. By the time the competition started a
few days later, they had erected tents with
showers. The European swimmers continued
to change on the pool deck throughout the
ve-day competition. The Americans used
the tents, which turned out to be a moot
point in terms of modesty as both men and
women were using the same tent.
I was a little uncomfortable with my rst
naked showering experience with the
ladies, but after the rst time it became
unimportant. The locker room experience
was still the same despite being slightly
different. The bottom line was that we were
all there to compete and we all needed a
place to shower after our races.
Trans athletes are already competing.
Athletes everywhere should accept them and
welcome them into the sports experience.






c a it l y n j en n e r :
am eric an h ero or
arrog ant dil ett a n t e ?
Former Olympians
prominence a mixed bag
for trans community
Few would argue that Caitlyn Jenner is
the most prominent transgender person in
the country right now.
The Olympic champion, who found a
second wind of fame as patriarch on reality
show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is
now in the national spotlight after coming
out in a Diane Sawyer interview on ABCs
20/20 that aired in April, a Vanity Fair
cover story and huge fashion spread in its
July edition and a new reality show. Shes
halfway through the eight-episode initial
run of her own show I Am Cait, which airs
Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on E!
For Jenner, who has publicly admitted to
shortcomings as a parent to the four children
she had with her rst two wives Burt,
Cassandra, Brandon and Brody, all of whom
have declined to participate on I Am Cait
there is early evidence that she hopes to
be a worthy unofcial spokesperson for the
transgender community. On the two-part
Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 episode, Jenner takes
a road trip with newfound LGBT allies and
discusses whether shes a suitable person
for the cause considering her new fame as
a transgender icon.
Some transgender activists have
approached the situation with a raised
eyebrow. Posing in high-end fashion
gowns and corsets in Vanity Fair, for
some, highlights the huge gulf that
exists between Jenner and the kinds of
homeless transgender women of color
Washington-based activists such as
Earline Budd at HIPS (a resource agency
for sex workers) and Ruby Corado (of Casa
Rudy, a local LGBT resource center) have
worked with for years, as well as everyday
transgender people who struggle with
health disparities, income inequality,
access to health care for various genderrelated procedures and a wide spate
of other well-documented issues. Many
agree Jenners prominence is a good
thing but could it send the message to the
straight, middle-America heartland that
Jenner is anything close to representative

Transgender visibility in mainstream culture is at an all-time high thanks to CAITLYN JENNERs

media exposure this summer.

of the trans experience?

Mara Keisling, executive director of
the National Center for Transgender
Equality, says its important to remember
two major factors: both the unsung
heroes of transgender rights whove been
working on these issues for decades she
mentions names such as attorney Shannon
Minter, activist Marsha C. Botzer, author/
artist Kate Bornstein and several others
as well as recent transgender celebrities
such as writer/activist Janet Mock and
actress Laverne Cox (Sophia on Orange is
the New Black).
While nobodys calling it a contest,
Keisling says its important to keep Jenner
in perspective.
I think Laverne and to a much lesser
extent Caitlyn has done us all a really
big favor by coming out, Keisling, a
trans woman, says. Im probably not in a
majority position on that, but I think what
Laverne and even Janet Mock have done
is in a lot of ways bigger than the Jenner
thing, which is burning really brightly right
now, whereas Laverne has had this really
ery glow for a couple years now and it
doesnt show any signs of subsiding. I just
cannot say enough about what Laverne has

done. Being a model of possibility for trans

women of color at a time when we really
needed that and in a way that could really
change some things, shes done that really
smartly and graciously and amazingly.
Dr. Marci Bowers, a California-based
trans gynecologist who performs gender
reassignment surgeries and has been an
outspoken advocate for trans rights for
many years, says she has a tremendous
amount of respect for Jenner, but says
she also has concerns.
Stepping on the stage and kind of self
anointing as the spokesperson for the
trans community and I really dont think
she does this intentionally but it smacks
of being a little bit arrogant and a little
naive to the community, Bowers says.
She must not forget the real pioneers,
people like (tennis player) Renee Richards
who came out in the 1970s now that
was difcult. Ive done hundreds of
series and documentaries and these
are things that have paved the way for
Caitlyn Jenner. She is literally standing
on our shoulders and it would be nice if
that was acknowledged. It seems painfully
obvious to me. I havent watched all of her
programming but from what Ive seen, she

doesnt seem to get it.

Bowers agrees, though, that Jenner
deserves a grace period for being new to
LGBT matters.
I hope acknowledgement will come in
time, Bowers says.
Long-time activist Dana Beyer of Gender
Rights Maryland, a trans woman and former
eye surgeon who has blogged extensively
on Jenner for the Hufngton Post, says,
I dont think theres any question that
Jenner is now the most prominent trans
person in the world and in history, an
occurrence she calls a good thing.
I just hope the point is made that she is not
everyone and we all have different stories,
Beyer says. That is true of any movement
but given the fact that there are so few trans
people in the public eye, it becomes even
more potent. I have no problem with it. I
just hope she speaks properly and gets her
facts right and learns a little history, a little
about the law and medicine and biology
and activism and legislation and all of that
stuff. I hope she gets that right. Shes really
obligated to do it and I think she will. She
seems very humble.
Possibly further securing Jenners spot
in an ivory tower, Beyer says, may be her
status as an older, white-collar, Christian
Even if this is mired in identity politics,
I think (she) could make a positive
difference as long as she knows what shes
talking about.
Is there a chance Jenner could blow it
and set the transgender movement back?
Beyer and Bowers both point to Zoey Tur,
an Emmy-winning reporter noted for her
use of helicopters for live news reporting,
who drew heat in March for statements on
Dr. Drew On Call about trans women in
locker rooms, the legitimacy of trans men
and more (Tur is trans herself).
Here you have somebody who was
a bit of a celebrity 20 years ago get on
CNN and talking about stuff of which
she knew nothing, Beyer says. The law,
legislation she was wrong about virtually
everything she said. Somebody like that is
dangerous. Shes a good example of a
recently transitioned person who is not a
good spokesperson. We tend to put the
recently transitioned in the spotlight, and
thats not always good.






new surv ey m ea s u r e s
lg b t f riendl in e s s
of c ol l ege at hl e t i cs

Campus Pride launches

sports index spin-off
Campus Pride, the organization behind
the Campus Pride Index, a national listing
of LGBT-friendly U.S. colleges, quietly
launched a spin-off in June.
The new Campus Pride Sports Index
(, in
development since 2001, is a resource that
helps colleges self assess how welcoming
and inclusive their athletic programs are
for LGBT students. The same team that
launched the main Campus Pride Index,
which averages about 80,000 unique
visitors per month, also worked on the
Sports Index and said there is a need for a
separate gauge for athletics.
Singling out sports in particular is
important because it is one of those
areas of campus life that has not been
as LGBT-inclusive generally as other
areas have been, says Genny Beemyn,
a gender nonconforming author and
academic who helped edit the responses.
On a lot of campuses, especially at very
large universities, sports are a big part of
campus life so we want to make sure that
LGBT students are treated equally and feel
welcome when they participate.
Participation is voluntary for schools.
To begin, a campus ofcial creates an
account and takes an online assessment
that involves about 50 questions that
correspond to ve different LGBT-friendly
factors. It doesnt have to be completed in
one sitting as sometimes ofcials have to
conduct research to answer some of the
questions accurately.
Once completed, the ofcial receives
a condential report of the responses
along with results and recommendations.
Each school may decide how much of
the information it wants to have posted

From left are PRIN (no last name given), SHANE WINDMEYER and ALLISON TURNER at the
Campus Pride home base in Charlotte, N.C.

online. The index measures policy,

program and practice and asks questions
such as, Is there ongoing training for
full-time staff thats inclusive of sexual
orientation? Is there a visible reporting
mechanism for responding to anti-LGBT
harassment, verbal conduct or practices?
Is there private changing space and
showers in locker rooms for transgender
participants? and so on.
The survey can be conducted at any
time of the academic year. Schools are
ranked by earning up to ve medals.
California State University in Chico, Calif.,
for instance, has two-and-a-half medals on

the index. Theres no cost for colleges to

So far just 14 schools have completed
the assessment but Campus Pride
ofcials hope to have about 100 colleges
included by years end. The June launch
was considered a soft opening. Campus
Pride workers hope to launch the new
index with more fanfare this fall, perhaps
with a tie in to a major college football
program or event.
We tend to think of colleges as
these liberal bastions that have all these
progressive policies, but only about 20
percent of U.S. colleges even have a basic

non-discrimination policy in place thats

inclusive of sexual orientation, says Shane
Windmeyer, co-founder and executive
director of Campus Pride. Its even lower
around gender identity and expression.
Unlike, for example, the Human Rights
Campaign Corporate Equality Index, an
annual report of businesses and their
LGBT policies or lack thereof, both the
Campus Pride Index and the Sports Index
are voluntary.
Its not really our purpose to rank schools
on our own, Windmeyer says. The Sports
Index gives them the opportunity to come
out as LGBTQ-friendly, just like an individual
has to live openly and come out. We dont
think its our job to go to a school and rate
them unless theyre willing to do it. And
they have to think about what message not
participating sends to prospective students
as well. If your college doesnt have the
time to participate, then why would you
want to go there?
Schools can improve over time. On the
Campus Pride Index, Windmeyer says
some schools came back in subsequent
years and about 80 percent that returned
improved in at least one area. He knows
of one college in Ohio that included
improving on the index as one goal in its
ofcial strategic plan for diversity. Although
the Sports Index is new, Windmeyer says
he anticipates it will be used as a similar
benchmark in coming years.
Windmeyer says early feedback has
been positive.
The Sports Index has been an invaluable
tool to the University of Richmond as we
continue to ensure all of our campus is
inclusive of the LGBTQ community, says
Ted Lewis, associate director of Common
Ground for LGBTQ Campus Life at the
University of Richmond. We are very
proud of our three-and-a-half medal
ranking and the beauty of the assessment
is we now have tangible next steps to
continue our journey of full inclusion in
varsity athletics and recreation sports.






c hangin g m in d s by
engaging k ids e a r l y

Athlete Ally takes inclusive

message to schools
Track and Field runner Joanna Harper
loves the rush competition brings her.
Her years on the eld have taught her
all about discipline, competition and hard
work. However, her hard work hasnt just
been about pushing her physicality to the
limit because Harper is not only an athlete
but also a transgender woman.
Harper, along with other trans athletes,
has faced opposition from others in her
sport because she is trans. She transitioned
later in life, in 2004, and was competing
with other adults. These adults, she
says, had a mindset against transgender
athletes competing in sports that would be
hard to change even if they were trained
on the issue.
There are some deeply held prejudices
against transgender women, Harper says.
Training isnt necessarily going to change
those prejudices.
Former NCAA wrestler Hudson Taylor
is trying to remake attitudes toward LGBT
athletes in sports with his non-prot
organization, Athlete Ally. The organization
educates athletic communities on LGBT
issues in sports and builds public awareness
through its professional athlete ambassadors
who work to advocate for the message.
Taylor and other campus ambassadors travel
to elementary schools, middle schools, high
schools and colleges all over the country to
educate on LGBT issues in sports.
Athlete Allys mission is aimed
specically at younger people with
ambassadors giving talks to students as
young as kindergarten. He says prejudices
are taught at a young age and become
ingrained in sports culture.
If were looking at the solution in sports,
the only way that were going to break the
cycle is if we start at the very beginning,

KYRA MCCLARY and SAM SONG have reaped the rewards of LGBT sensibility training in sports.
These Team D.C. scholarship winners say coming out to their teammates was not a problem.

Taylor says. I think by educating athletes

and coaches early we can hopefully
be proactive and prevent some of the
socialized homophobia that is a byproduct of sport at an early age.
Taylor, who served as guest editor of this
special Blade sports edition, admits that
explaining LGBT equality to young children
is a different message than it would be
talking to a college sports team. But he says
the core of the message is still the same.
There is an underlying principal of treat
others as you want to be treated and dont use
hurtful demeaning language, Taylor says. Its an
important lesson not only for a kindergartener
but even for a professional athlete.
Taylor says that more often than not,
Athlete Ally is the rst LGBT sensitivity
training a person has received. He says
people are coming out at younger ages
than ever before. LGBT people are coming
out more frequently in high school and
before instead of in adulthood. Taylor
says that means more people have a
personal connection to someone being
LGBT. Despite that, athletic departments
and LGBT centers on campus do not work
together in the way they should, he says.
Taylor says that disconnect between
athletic departments and LGBT centers is
one of the reasons sports are still behind
in LGBT equality.
Being both out and on a sports team

is more common at a younger age than

it ever has been before. Two 2015 Team
D.C. Scholarship winners, Kyra McClary
and Sam Song, are both out and say they
havent encountered any issues over their
sexual identity. Song is a swimmer who
graduated from Poolesville High School
and just completed his rst year at St.
Lawrence University. He says that when he
came out to his team, it wasnt a big deal.
They were cool with it, Song says. It
was no cause for huge panic or anything.
They said, Thats totally cool. It doesnt
affect the fact that you are part of the team
and that what you do is important.
McClary says she had a similar experience.
I think theyd all guessed, McClary says.
We go to a really liberal school. Everyone
is just like you, so no one really cares.
McClary and Song also say their schools
did not offer LGBT sensitivity training for
athletes and coaches.
Still, Song thinks that having an LGBT
sensitivity training course for coaches
and athletes in schools would still be
benecial because of how sports culture
is structured, especially when it comes to
homophobic language.
Homophobic comments are tossed
around the locker room often, Song says.
If people were at least exposed to this
and were told to take it seriously and to be
aware of the connotations of derogatory

homophobic language, then they would

be aware of what the word actually
means and its not something meant to be
taken lightly. Its not meant to be used to
describe an LGBT person as weak.
Location may also have a lot to do with
the need for LGBT sensitivity training in
sports. McClary says she doesnt see a real
need for it in her situation because she has
no plans to move to a conservative area.
Im planning to live in the North, McClary
says. If I were going to live in Mississippi or
something, then I would be worried.
Athlete Ally has worked with schools
in the South but Taylor says working with
conservative southern schools has been
more difcult.
There are more obstacles to entry,
Taylor says. I spent a week speaking at high
schools and middle schools in Florida and a
bunch of schools required every one of the
kids to have their parents sign off on having
me come and speak. Schools are making it a
lot harder for kids to receive this message.
Its a message Taylor thinks is the starting
point to healing other problems and fears
in the country. He says that athletics have
such an admired status in schools that its
a great place to start the conversation of
tolerance for not only LGBT equality but
also moving toward ending sexism, racism
and ableism as well.
You go to any high school and middle
school in the country and the hallways
are not lined with academic trophies but
athletic trophies, Taylor says. If we can
educate our athletic population on how
to be better citizens and people, how to
be kind to one another, I think the ripple
effect will be profound.
Children learning these lessons and
taking it with them as they grow older is a
goal that Harper can get behind.
Realistically anytime somebody is
different, theyre going to stand out and
theyre going to be picked on by other kids,
Harper says. But the younger one can start
with sensitivity training, the better life will be.






my stic s do l so n e mbr a ce s
str aight al l y r ol e

Lending support to
break down stereotypes

we had a really big platform to get the word

out. I think when you have that platform, you
dont have to, but you have an opportunity
to get the word out there for whatever cause.
In this case it was the LGBT community, and
to just raise awareness for the discrimination
that there is in the world and in sports
for female athletes. So I thought that was
important and I was honored that they asked
me to be a part of it.

The Washington Blade caught up with
Stefanie Dolson who is playing in her second
season with the Washington Mystics in the
Womens National Basketball Association
(WNBA). The 65 Dolson played center
at UConn and the team won back-to-back
national championships in 2013 and 2014.
She was the sixth overall pick in the 2014
WNBA draft and began playing for the
Mystics shortly after graduation.
During her college years, Dolson
stepped forward as a straight sports ally,
lending public support to help break
down stereotypes, stop discrimination in
recruiting and create positive role models
for all people, not just the LGBT community.
Washington Blade: You didnt
have a lot of transition time when you
went from college ball to the WNBA.
What was the biggest surprise you
encountered when you started playing
pro ball with the Mystics?
Stefanie Dolson:
Probably the
physicality. In college, I was denitely the
bigger of the girls. You know, stronger.
So to come into the league and play with
these girls like Kia [Vaughn] and Sylvia
Fowles, Erlana Larkinstheyre just big,
strong women. It was denitely a shock
and it is a lot harder than college was. Im
still transitioning to that part. Sometimes
Im not as strong and as big as them but
Im getting there.
Blade: In your second season with the
Mystics you are getting a lot more playing
time, roughly 10 minutes more per game,
and your numbers are looking great. What
is keeping you sharp?
Dolson: I would say, coming into this
season, I was a little more comfortable with

Blade: The WNBA seems to be still

sorting out its stance on lesbian players. Do
you think that their efforts to reach out to
the LGBT community over the past year are
going to bring about some positive change?
Dolson: Yes. I think any opportunity that
you take advantage of to raise awareness
for any cause will help out in the future
and in this case the WNBA has been doing
a great job. Nike and Adidas, in general.
Nike doing the Be True campaigning.
You dont necessarily have to be gay,
straight, bisexual or whatever to support
it and be a part of it. So to have everyone
in the WNBA to put it out there and raise
awareness for it, it will denitely help. Im
sure well continue to do it.

STEFANIE DOLSON appeared in a video at UCONN that targeted anti-LGBT bias in womens sports.

what Coach [Thibault] wanted from me,

what he expected from me. So denitely
the comfort level and doing extra reps. At
the beginning of the season I went in and
did more workouts with Coach [Stanley]
and did extra lifts. Ive just been working on
my game, making sure Im never relaxed
and complacent with where I am.

Blade: While you were an athlete at

UConn, you shot a video with three of
your teammates for the Break the Silence
Campaign to draw attention to the
discrimination that exists regarding sexual
orientation in womens sports. Why was it
important for you to speak out on this issue?
Dolson: As student-athletes at UCONN,

Blade: We still get a laugh when we see

the pictures of you falling off the podium
risers in front of President Obama at the
White House with your UConn teammates
in 2014. Do you think you will ever live that
down and did the dance-off ever happen
with the president?
Dolson: No, I will never live it down. I
mean, hopefully I will when Im older and
no one will remember it, other than my
family and friends. But hey, any publicity
is good publicity, right? It was a great
opportunity to be there and to meet the
president. I had a lot of fun but did not
do the dance-off. I was very disappointed.
But I hope to have that opportunity with a
future president. Obviously it will not be
President Obama but hopefully someone
else will dance with me.


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LGBT equality in sports

A progress report and five
steps to ending homophobia,
transphobia in athletics

HUDSON TAYLOR is executive director of Athlete

Ally and guest editor of the Washington Blade.

The pace at which LGBT equality is being achieved in society and under the law
has been remarkably accelerated in recent
years. Today, the average age of a person
coming out is 16, the majority of states have
marriage equality, hate crime legislation
has been passed, and Dont Ask Dont Tell
and DOMA have been repealed. These advances are the direct result of an organized
strategy across the LGBT civil rights movement, advances that would not be possible
without the sacrice and unwavering determination of those who have made LGBT
equality their lifes work.
Despite the staggering progress made in
recent years, on the road to LGBT equality
we are still forging new paths, and not yet
arrived at our ultimate destination. Across
the United States, LGBT individuals are not
afforded workplace protections and can still
be denied housing. Anti-LGBT language
is still a common occurrence throughout
K-12 education; LGBT youth suffer disproportionately from homelessness; and the
majority of LGBT young people still report
experiencing anti-LGBT bias and bullying.
Unfortunately, as we begin to assess
where our sports culture falls on the continuum of respect, inclusion and equality,
it is clear that athletics continues to be one
of the last bastions of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.
Below are what I believe to have been
successful tactics and philosophies employed by past social justice movements
and how they can be applied to sports. I
will highlight the particular challenges still
facing our work within sports and conclude
by positing some of the ways in which individuals and organizations can better
work together to maximize the impact and
progress of the LGBT sports movement.
Step One: Diversity of Approach
The LGBT civil rights movement has benetted from a diversity of approaches from
the organizations and individuals involved.
For sports culture to share similar advancements, we must have equally diverse tactics for our work. Across the movement,

It is clear that athletics continues

to be one of the last bastions
of homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism.
there are three primary areas of advocacy:
social services, information and education,
and civil liberties and social action.
LGBT social services in sports are centered on providing resources and opportunities for those that would otherwise not
have them. This includes scholarships for
LGBT athletes, creating safe spaces for LGBT
individuals, providing sports equipment and
putting in place LGBT specic systems of
support. This work is crucial as oftentimes
the perceived or actual barriers to entry for
LGBT individuals are greater than those of
their heterosexual counterparts. Unless safe
and accessible athletic opportunities are
provided, LGBT youth may forego participating in sports for other activities.
The second area of advocacy is that
of education and information. The constituents of this work are both LGBT and
non-LGBT athletes, coaches, administrators, parents and fans. This work is often
comprised of educating communities
about the experiences of LGBT individuals in sports, acknowledging the work still
needed and highlighting the steps we can
take to bring about greater LGBT equality
in sports. While there continues to be an
emerging eld of qualied and passionate
educators, the majority of athletic institutions have not yet invested in this type of
training. The divide between those who
need LGBT education and those who actually receive it, becomes greater when we
take into account differences in age, geography, sport and positions of power.
The nal area of advocacy is that of civil
liberties and social action. This work is
chiey focused on the adoption and implementation of LGBT inclusive policies and
best practices. For many institutions this
work is centered on having inclusive policies and facilities for transgender athletes,
creating appropriate punitive policies
for anti-LGBT conduct or clearly articulating an LGBT inclusive non-discrimination
policy. For some faith-based institutions,
the policy advances look quite different,
as prohibition of pre-marital sex forms the
foundation for LGBT protections, or lack
thereof. It should also be noted that the
experiences of our athletic communities
extend to life outside of sports, making the
city, state, and federal protections of LGBT
individuals equally important to the success of the LGBT sports movement.
Step Two: Diversity of Messengers

The success of the LGBT sports movement is contingent upon, in part, nding and
elevating diverse voices. While there has
never been a successful social justice movement for a minority group without the support of the majority, we must not forget that
without the visible testimony of the LGBT
community, all our work remains theoretical.
The advancement of LGBT equality in
sports is predicated upon reconciling the
perception of sports culture, with the reality of sports culture. That is, if the perception is that homophobia, transphobia or
heterosexism in sports exists, then LGBT
individuals will not be encouraged to
share their true selves with their sports
To change this, we must nd and elevate
as many LGBT voices within sports as possible, as well as nd and elevate the voices
of supportive allies. Because the perception of sports culture is dened by what
one sees, hears and experiences, the telling of positive stories will be the connective tissue between each organization and
individuals advocacy approach.
Step Three: Framing the Message
In addition to a diversity of messengers,
how the LGBT sports movement collectively frames its messaging is directly proportional to its ability to affect change. Historically, large-scale social change happens in
a very particular way. Research suggests
that the way a culture changes is not by engaging in conversations of right vs. wrong,
but instead by redening and appealing to
the dominant identity of a target audience.
Over the last 10 years, we have seen signicant changes to the culture and policies
of the majority of Fortune 500 companies.
These changes have been made possible
by clear and concise messaging articulating the business case for LGBT equality.
If we suppose that the dominant identity
of a company is to make more money, retain and recruit better talent and appeal to
more customers, then the most effective
messaging to appeal to corporate culture
is that which connects LGBT equality to
those business objectives.
Similarly, if we suppose that the dominant identity of athletics is to win more
games, recruit better athletes, appeal to
more fans and be the best possible teammate, then our most effective messaging

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within sports will be that which clearly connects LGBT equality in sports with those
same athletic objectives. In this way, the
efcacy of the LGBT sports movement is
contingent upon our ability to make LGBT
equality synonymous with athletic success.
Step Four: Understanding Our Obstacles
The continued presence of anti-LGBT
bias, bullying and discrimination in sports
is not by accident; its by design. The institution of sport suffers from three systemic
issues. First, it is one of the few environments that is segregated by gender. Second, it is a competitive reward structure
designed to rank one athlete over another,
due not to the content of their character,
but because of physical characteristics.
Third, ones ability to participate in sports
is ultimately determined by a third party.
Together, these factors create a unique
environment within sports in which conforming to a narrowly dened standard of
masculinity, femininity, sexual orientation,
gender identity and expression is not only
strongly encouraged, but often required.
In practice, and because of these factors,
male athletes who more readily conform to

orthodox concepts of masculinity are likely

given more playing time (because thats how
you need to act in order to do well). The increased amount of playing time leads to a
disproportionate improvement of skills for
those who conform vs. those who do not.
The disproportionate improvement of skills
leads to increased success, which leads to
increased popularity, which leads to an increased likelihood that an athlete will stay
with his or her sport through high school
and college. Those athletes who compete in
high school or college are more likely to go
on to become coaches only to teach the next
generation of athletes the same value system
that afforded them their success. In this way,
homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism
in sports is cyclical, intergenerational and unlikely to change unless the way in which we
think about sports is substantially redened.
The nal obstacle for the LGBT sports
movement is the perceived risk of speaking
out as an ally or coming out as LGBT, versus
the perceived reward. Because our coaches determine participation and our coachs
employment is determined by their athletic
director, athletic institutions implicitly disdain uniqueness. If an athlete or coachs
identity or beliefs overshadow their per-





formance as an athlete or coach, they are

at risk of losing their livelihood. In this way,
conforming to athletic culture and remaining silent on various social justice issues is
still unfortunately often the smart decision
to ensure longevity of ones career.
Step 5: The Path to Victory
Ending homophobia, transphobia and
heterosexism in sports can be accomplished if we work together. Whether you
are a current member of the athletic community, a casual fan or never participated
in sports, we all have the ability to help affect positive change within our communities. As the saying goes, A thousand candles can be lit from a single candle. Below
are a list of actions that if done collectively,
will bring us closer to realizing a future of
LGBT equality in sport and society.
1. Spark Conversations Personal stories
change lives. Pick up a pen and paper and
write a letter to your old coach, to the athletic director of your alma mater. Ask for a
policy to be changed or training to be implemented. Attend the next PTA meeting
and ask what your school is doing to address homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism in sports. Wear an LGBT-themed
T-shirt to the next little league game or ask

everyone you know why they think there

arent more out LGBT athletes and what
can be done about it.
2. Build Bridges Find other social justice
groups or organizations within your community, get involved with their work, and
ask them to get involved with yours. If we
are ever to put an end anti-LGBT bias, bullying and discrimination in sports then we
need to work together. Ending one form of
prejudice is connected to all other forms of
prejudice. If we can make our work intersectional, we can maximize its efcacy by
building coalitions of change agents.
3. Organize and Mobilize If there is a
policy you want to see changed, create a
petition. Get others to sign it. If you can
organize and mobilize, you have the ability to change the world. This doesnt mean
petition the largest governing bodies of
all the sports leagues, this means being
strategic. Start small. What do you want to
change about your local rec league? What
policy should be put in place at the high
school? If your community is small, the
number of people you need to organize to
make an impact becomes far more manageable. Regardless, strength in numbers
is strength in advocacy.

PrideHouse Toronto: Ensuring a place for all in sport

Inclusive venue attracts first
major corporate sponsor
This summer, LGBT athletes, coaches,
spectators and visitors to the TORONTO
2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games experienced a decidedly positive, safe, welcoming and fun environment. Thats due to the
efforts of PrideHouse Toronto, which has
been working with the 2015 Organizing
Committee and the city for the past three
years to make the TORONTO 2015 Games
the most inclusive multi-sport games in history. Central to these efforts is the PrideHouse
Pavilion, offering a safe, welcoming space for
LGBT and allied athletes, visitors and local
residents to watch and celebrate the Games.
For all the successes that we have achieved
in human rights, sport continues to be a human
endeavor that is still not accessible to everyone, particularly LGBT people. That was made
clear during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Not
only did LGBT people not feel safe, they faced
jail and persecution for being themselves as
either participants or spectators.
Eleven nations competed at the TORONTO 2015 Games that still criminalize LGBT
activity. Even in those countries where it is
legal, our communities still face discrimination on the streets, in classrooms and on
the eld of play.

Thats why it was imperative for the 14

organizations that founded PrideHouseTO
to send a message worldwide that there
can be a place for all in sport. We know that
when we make sport and recreation spaces
more inclusive for LGBT people, that they
become more welcoming and inclusive for
everyone. This is especially important for
opening doors to our young LGBT athletes.
PrideHouseTO is part of an international
movement offering inclusive spaces for
LGBT people and allies within multi-sport
games. Akin to the various national houses at such events, they are welcoming
places to view the competitions, to enjoy
the event, to learn about LGBT sport and
homophobia in sport and to build relations with mainstream sport. The rst Pride
House was organized for the 2010 Winter
Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler, with others following in
Warsaw (2012 UEFA Euro football cup),
London (2012 Summer Olympics) and
Glasgow Commonwealth Games (2014).
The next Pride Houses are already being
planned for the Rio Olympics in 2016, the
South Korean Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018, and the Tokyo Summer
Olympics in 2020. Pride House representatives from all those countries are visiting
Toronto to get a rst-hand look at the largest Pride House to date.
PrideHouse Toronto has achieved a
number of rsts. For the rst time in Pan

A group of volunteers in front of PrideHouse in Toronto.


Am history, an openly gay runner participated in the torch relay, arising from the
close partnership of PrideHouseTO with
the TORONTO 2015 Organizing Committee. Its the rst to ever receive government
funding, which in this case came from the
government of Ontario and City of Toronto. And PrideHouse TO lead partner CIBC
is the rst major corporate sponsor in the
history of the Pride House movement.
Located in the heart of Toronto, PrideHouse offered daily live feed games viewing at its licensed indoor lounge. Each
weekend of the games, PrideHouse Celebrates! offered outdoor licensed games
viewing, parties and entertainment. It took
over an adjacent street where sports organizations offered sports demonstrations
and recreational activities for families and
people of all ages.
The Pavilion also hosted a number of visits by

LGBT athletes and allies. The Canadian Olympic Committee and PrideHouseTO hosted a
reception during Pride Toronto in late June with
athletes and members of amateur and professional sports organizations including representatives from the Canadian Football League, the
Toronto Maple Leafs and Right to Play, who all
marched in the parade under the banner #oneteam. The event sent a powerful message that
the movement to welcome and embrace LGBT
athletes is growing at both amateur and professional levels of sport.
If you are going to be visiting Toronto,
you should denitely add visiting the PrideHouse Pavilion located at 519 Church Street
to your list of must do activities this summer.
LES JOHNSON is vice president of external
affairs for the Federation of Gay Games, Learn more about Pride House
International at






Who gives a Puck?

Must-read blog more than just
hot, shirtless NHL players
If hockey is a sport of improbabilities of
athletes the size of moose who skate like
Johnny Weir and ght like Mike Tyson
then PuckBuddys may well be one of the
most improbable sports blogs yet.
Born from an off-color joke (just read the
name out loud), we launched PuckBuddys
ve years ago with the modest goals posting
pictures of hot shirtless NHL players, of which
there are many, and making cheeky jokes.
To our surprise, our unorthodox hockey
blog was welcomed almost immediately
by the entire D.C. hockey scene. Somehow we lled a need that nobody really
even considered before. With time and a
healthy dollop of sass PuckBuddys quickly became, as Washington Capitals owner
Ted Leonsis called us, a must read.
And while shirtless hockey players will
always have a home on our site, in time the
hot-guy gag grew tired.
We wanted to know just how many others
like us were out there in Washington and
elsewhere. How many gay players, hit with a
locker-rooms casual homophobia, are shoved
a little deeper in their closet? How many fans
in the stands are afraid to show a moment of
affection after a game-winning goal?

And then we asked, improbably, could

PuckBuddys become a home for them?
Maybe even move the meter slightly?
Starting with the 2011-2012 season, we
recruited contributors in every city with an
NHL team. Being LGBT wasnt a requirement;
being accepting was. Our contributors were
covering all but two NHL teams, and we were
getting credentialed by the NHL to cover the
biggest events on the calendar. It was clear
for all who would see: LGBT fans were everywhere, and they loved hockey.
Players were everywhere, too, although
they were much harder to see. To date,
there has never been an openly gay man
playing in a North American professional
hockey league even though by our count
there have been four women.
But there are LGBT players at every level out
there. We know because they began to nd us.
And, perhaps most memorably in the case of
Zach, they wanted to be seen and heard.
Zach, a nom-de-rink, was a talented,
closeted high school player from a conservative Midwest family. In a ve-part series
of interviews, Zach shared his experiences
growing up in hockey, being gay and his
struggle to reconcile the two.
In the process, Zach came out as Nick
Kleidon; he came out to his team, his family and the world. In telling his story, he
not only opened up to us but provided a
role model for others who were motivated
to do the same. We know, because weve
heard their stories, too.



When you play hockey, you learn pretty

quickly that everyone plays injured. Cut
on your cheek? Get a towel. Puck to the
mouth? Back out on the ice. Broken leg?
Drag yourself in front of the net to stop a
goal if you have to. Why? Because perhaps
more than any other major sport, hockey
means team. You play for the rest of your
squad, and they play for you, whatever the
team needs and pain be damned. They
call it hockey tough.
Yet as PuckBuddys contributor Jason
Rogers recently wrote, there are all kinds
of injuries in life, and most dont involve
sutures. A hockey player knows hurt, and a
team knows how to ght it together.A former college hockey player, who also happens to be straight, put it this way: Hockeys a game of mists, on both sides of the

glass, he told us. Of course you were welcomed. Its not a surprise in the least.
And improbable as it rst seemed, maybe thats why PuckBuddys and all LGBT
NHL fans have been welcomed with nearuniversal embrace. Player or fan, straight
or gay, were just another member of the
bigger hockey family, each of us wounded
in some way, knowing that the best way
through is together.
Well, that and the sass.

DOUG JOHNSON is a professional journalist and

Capitals fan, although he will never root against
his Detroit Red Wings. CRAIG BROWNSTEIN
works in public relations in D.C. Together, they
run the PuckBuddys blog, described by the New
York Times as an important trailblazer in the
games cybersphere.

Go Johnny go!
We like skater Weir
because his character is true
The presence of Johnny Weir, that fur
clad two-time Olympic gure skater, has
always been intriguing. He is one of the
most recognizable athletes in modern
times, and yet he can wear an evening
dress to any gala and get away with it.
Johnny Weir is a pop culture icon: the
documentaries Pop Star on Ice and From
Russia with Love, his reality show Be Good
Johnny Weir, and tabloid controversies
keep the public interested. With all this
publicity its hard to believe Johnny Weir,
the gay celebrity athlete known throughout
planet earth, is an excellent reference to
defend those young athletes that disclose
their sexuality without much ado, only to
continue on with their day-to-day routine.
The idea for this article started a little over

a year ago. In search of additional athletes

for a research project I asked a few friends
for help. One question was: Will there be
any press? I begrudgingly told this contact
that this was scholarly research on former
male college athletes who are gay, and the
subjects would not be identied. I assumed
there would be no interest if there was no
recognition. And lo, I was wrong.
There was extreme interest to participate in the study and, to my surprise, a
number of athletes wanted assurance their
participation would be anonymous. But
why this aversion, I asked. And the answer
was not a modern scientic breakthrough
nor was it hidden in the classic ideology of
Freud. Un-dramatic at best, the universal
answer was its not my personality. Phrases
like Its not really me and Id feel uncomfortable its not like me to be the center
of attention kept coming up.
And then I had a realization: It doesnt
have to be front-page news when an athlete comes out, and unless its that athletes

true character, then chances are the coming out process might not be very positive.
I realized that we like Johnny Weir because his character is true. Its odd, Weir has
been out for a few years now, way before
Michael Sam or Robbie Rogers; however,
death threats over wearing fox fur get him
on the front page, not his sexuality. Over
the past few years I have moderated and/or
been a guest on numerous panels discussing identity issues within the eld of sports,
and other than Weirs appearance he is usually not an athlete mentioned. No one seems
to think Weir, an openly gay, highly celebrated athlete, will help the younger generation
come out. Honestly, Ive never heard anyone
say or never seen it written that Johnny Weir
is an out professional athlete and he will inspire other athletes to come out.
So lets face it: Even with his obvious
good looks and killer body, Weir is not traditionally masculine, nor is he the boy next
door. Its the boy next door that shies away
from the ashbulbs, but the boy next door

is strong. too. He, like Johnny, is true to his

identity, just keep life simple.
Johnny Weir, however, is anything but
simple, and perhaps somewhat difcult to
relate to, but thats who he is. And thats
why we love him. Who else would be so
bold as to tackle Russia, apologize for it,
and yet skate alongside Russian champion, Evgeni Plushenko.
So Johnny gets the press, paparazzi and
fanfare, all with no apologies, yet so many
others do not. And thats OK. For every one
Johnny Weir, there are probably a thousand anti-Johnnys out there, satised to be
themselves, living life as an openly gay athlete void of the media. And if that is their
truth then we need to celebrate it, right?
Dr. TRUETT LEE VAIGNUER, JR. is an adjunct
psychology professor and counselor at the City
University of New York.He counseled drug addicts,
homeless youth and the disabled populationbefore
working in higher education. He is researching a
new book on the identity formation of gay athletes
in the campus sports culture.






From heroin and homelessness to Cirque stardom

How gymnastics helped
save me from addiction
I have had so many athletic setbacks in my
life that you might think I would have given
up a long time ago, but something deep inside me urged me to push through it.
As a young child I trained in gymnastics.
I loved it and sensed that this was my purpose in life. When I was ipping in the air
I felt as if there was a boundless energy
inside me, like the wind, and I wanted to
chase that feeling forever.
During the beginning of my athletic career I competed and won many gymnastics competitions, and had even been invited to the Olympic Training Center camp in
Colorado Springs. I was dedicated, strong
and driven, but then, without warning, I
had a terrible asthma attack that landed
me in the hospital for several weeks. I had
suffered from asthma prior to this attack,
but had usually managed my symptoms
with medication. However, this attack was
life threatening. It set me back athletically.
I was bedridden and put on strong corticosteroids, which caused me to retain
water and gain weight. Because I couldnt
breathe, my cardiovascular system rapidly
fell out of shape. I tried exercising in the
hospital, against medical advice, once the

nurses left my room, knowing that while

I laid there in a hospital bed, other kids
were out there training. If I didnt keep up,
they were going to win.
It took a long time to fully recover, but
I fought my way back into shape. I went
to the Olympic Training Center camp and
was back in competitive action, but another debilitating asthma attack sent me
straight back to the hospital for almost a
month. By the time I recovered from this
attack, I was so out of shape that even my
teammates were shocked. A very small part
of me wanted to quit. I was embarrassed,
and I truly believed I could never get back
in shape again; however my passion for
gymnastics was louder than the self-doubt.
I trained as if my entire life depended on it.
Even though I continued to train and
compete in gymnastics, I stepped onto a
sinister path leading to substance abuse.
Like many teenagers, I used substances
recreationally, and found great comfort
in the relief they gave me. They quieted
the pressure and desire to be the best. It
was the mid-90s the height of the rave
era and it was so compelling to me that
I marched right into it and began abusing
every club drug I could nd, along with cocaine and benzodiazepines. My addiction
crushed my passion and I traded happiness for the darkness of addiction.
At 18, I didnt care about anything and I
believed I was living a life of freedom, only

to get locked into the jail cell of addiction

that ended with me becoming a homeless heroin addict, continuing to use for
10 more years. I left my inner athlete in the
shadows and never wanted to see or perform another acrobatic skill again.
Addiction isnt glamorous or fun; I tried
to get clean for 10 years and was in and
out of 12-step programs and rehabs. At 27,
I went to my fourth rehab. My counselor
suggested I do something that brought
me passion. I knew that passion was gymnastics. I was too ashamed to return to the
sport at which I once excelled; I told myself I was too old and broken to start over.
Her suggestion though blossomed into an
idea, which wildly grew into action and on
that day in rehab, I was doing pushups and
I knew I would never compete again,
but loved the sport and artistry for what
it was. I had been smoking cigarettes and
shooting heroin for years. I knew getting
back into shape wasnt going to be easy or
fun, but for some reason, that repressed,
stied, athlete deep inside me stepped
forward from the shadows, claiming its former presence.
The obsession to use slowly faded and
passion occupied the space the drugs
once inhabited. I trained every waking moment, and my body was in agony. I had always been intrigued by contortionists, and
began training with one. I had a few relaps-

es during those years, but I continued to

train. It was awful because I would become
dope sick, training in extreme, painful exibility, and it felt like a demon was braiding
my spinal column, but still I focused on the
light at the end of the tunnel.
I stayed in recovery, becoming a contortionist and gymnast on a Broadway show.
Realizing that goal was a turning point
in my life; I wasnt too old or too broken.
From there I continued on.
At 32, I embarked on the journey of a lifetime for an acrobat, performing as the Crystal Man in Cirque du Soleils Totem. The Crystal Man character was developed around my
own story, and I performed in more than
1,000 shows. While on tour with Cirque du
Soleil, I wrote my memoir Acrobaddict. I
wanted to share my experience, strength
and hope with others who may struggle with
addiction, self-doubt and depression.
As I look back at all those times I could
have easily justied giving up and giving
in, but I am reminded of how lucky I am
and continue to try and persevere. The
closest I have ever come to knowing myself, who I truly am, has been at my lowest
points in life, because it is then, and only
then, that I discover what I am made of.
JOE PUTIGNANO is a performing artist and
contortionist who has performed in more than
1,000 shows with Cirque du Soleil. He is the
author of Acrobaddict.

My 7,600-mile bike ride across Africa

And connecting with LGBT
activists along the way
During the rst four months of 2015, I
biked across the continent of Africa. I was
with a group of 30 other cyclists on the
7,600-mile trek from Cairo to Cape Town,
but my individual mission was uniqueto
nd and connect LGBT activists along
the route. With the help of colleagues in
South Africa and the United States, I raised
enough money to pay the legal fees for
more than a dozen new LGBT-focused
nonprots in Uganda, contribute to an outreach center in a township in South Africa
and offer nancial support to activists in
Ethiopia and Zambia.
The journey was one of extremes, from
the mountains of Ethiopia to the lion-lled
atlands of Botswana, but the athletic component of the project was essential to its
overall success. In many countries through

which I cycled, the activists were undercover. In Ethiopia, for instance, I connected
with a group that is attempting to offer
anonymous public health services to the
LGBT community of Addis Ababa. These
activists were understandably concerned
about revealing their identity to any outsiders, especially to a random white American.
But even if they could not see into my heart,
they could see my sweat; they could see the
scars and bruises I had accumulated on the
dirt roads of Sudan. The physical challenge
of the journey allowed me to meet people
in a more intimate and emotional way than
would have been possible otherwise.
I also learned two important lessons.
The rst was a personal journey of self-discovery. During an interview before the trip
began, a reporter asked me: For how long
have you been an athlete? My response
was knee-jerk and instinctual: Oh, Im not
really an athlete. This answer was ridiculousI dance ballet and do triathlons; I
ran my rst marathon last year in Soweto.
Nevertheless, I grew up in a football-crazy

town in the Midwest where I internalized

a stigma that gay men werent really athletes. I had never dened myself as such,
and I wasnt quite sure about my prospects
of making it all the way to Cape Town.
Some of the other cyclists were a little
skeptical too. Who was this guy who packed
a pink feather boa next to his spare cleats? I
learned, however, that athleticism is not just
about strength, and it is denitely not the
same thing as masculinity and testosterone.
Its a mental and psychological struggle as
much as a physical one, and true athleticism
requires a depth of character that goes beyond the ability to simply power through. At
the end of the trip, only ve cyclists had managed to complete the entire ride without
once needing to get on a support vehicle.
One of them was wearing pink.
The second lesson was how relatable
and inspiring athletic feats are for people
around the globeand how my external
odyssey had much in common with peoples internal journeys toward acceptance
of their sexuality. I was surprised by the

number of people who came out to me

during the trip, both former classmates
and LGBT Africans who had stumbled
across my website. I realized that the way in
which I was pushing my physical and emotional limits, and redening my identity in
the process, was similar to the way many
people eventually redene their sexuality
according to their own lived experiences,
instead of within the boundaries of what
they believe society thinks is morally right.
We put such unnecessary limits on our
lives; our view of what is possible is often
far more restricted and less beautiful than
what reality allows. The struggle to push
past these limits isnt easy, and it is lled
with metaphorical lions and dirt roads
and mountains. But my advice to people
involved in that kind of internal journey is
the same advice that I repeated to myself
every day on the road: Just keep pedaling.
NATE FREEMAN is director of Out in Africa
Ride, is a graduate of
Whitman College and Yale Law School.






Another stereotype shot to hell

Yes, gays really do
care about sports

PETER ROSENSTEIN is a longtime LGBT rights

and Democratic Party activist.

The Washington Blade has been systematically working to destroy another

stereotype: The one that holds gays arent
good at, dont like and dont care about
sports. For the third year in a row the Blade
is publishing a sports issue.
For years I believed the stereotype about
the LGBT community. It was true about
many of the gay guys I knew. They were into
clothes, good food, fancy vacations, and as
sporty as they got was maybe wanting to
sleep with an athlete. Then I got involved in

trying to bring the Gay Games to D.C. My

involvement was based on the economic
development perspective. But in the process not only did I learn my thoughts on
the stereotype of gays not liking sports was
wrong, but wrong in a big way.
The LGBT community is passionate
about sports and there are LGBT stars
in every sport and over the years with
the changing culture they are starting to
come out. We actually go to ballgames to
do more than ogle cute players. (Though
most of us still admit that is fun to do.)
I have friends who can rattle off the stats
of football and baseball players, can tell
me who is playing for the Wizards and the
Caps and how they are doing against the
rest of the league. My friends play tennis,
baseball, extreme Frisbee, soccer, golf and
cheered when Michael Sam signed his rst
football contract. While I may not do all of
that, I can now tell you what Bryce Harpers
batting average is and denitely looked at
his picture in the annual ESPN calendar.
Sports are important to bringing the
general public an understanding of the
LGBT community. Our sports stars are

heroes and its great when one of them

comes out as LGBT and others respond to
that in a positive way. That happened recently when the rst active minor league
baseball player, David Denson, came out
as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. With the help of former major-leaguer Billy Bean, who last year was named
Major League Baseballs rst Ambassador
for Inclusion, Denson reached out to the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to tell his story
in a telephone interview. In doing so, he
becomes the rst active player in afliated
professional baseball to reveal he is gay.
The positive reaction was amazing
when Caitlyn Jenner stood up at the ESPY
awards and told an audience of sports heroes and millions of viewers about being
transgender. She was introduced by Abby
Wambach, world champion soccer player
and out lesbian who in 2015 was included
in Time magazines list as one of the 100
most inuential people in the world. We
have come a long way baby.
I have been a longtime fan of this issues
guest editor, Hudson Taylor, and his organization Athlete Ally. According to its web-

site, Hudson, who is not gay, felt it was

imperative he confront the reality sports
often marginalized LGBT athletes, coaches
and others through systemic homophobia and transphobia. He decided to take
action as a straight ally to change athletic
culture for the better.
In the years since he began the organization, Taylor has had an incredible impact
on sport and young people just coming
out. In so many small towns, life revolves
around high school athletics and clearly
college athletics are always at the forefront
of the publics attention. A young person
struggling to come out and to be who they
are, which often includes being an athlete,
now has a group of people who are trying
to make it easier for them to t in.
One day it may not be shocking when
people realize their high school quarterback
is gay but we havent gotten there quite yet,
which is why Athlete Ally is so important. Today, even sports stars in the big leagues still
nd it hard to come out and keep playing.
We know there are hundreds of highly paid
athletes still in the closet. Hudson Taylor and
Athlete Ally are working to change that.

Will equality slow pace of gay athletes coming out?

Dearth of openly gay sports
figures may continue with
team, fan acceptance

MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur

and community business advocate. Follow
on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at

Milwaukee Brewers prospect David

Denson revealed in an interview last weekend that he is gay. Denson, rst baseman
and member of the rookie-level Helena
Brewers, became the rst active openly
gay professional baseball player in an
MLB-afliated league.
Only two other players in Major League
Baseball history have publicly come out,
although doing so following retirement.
One of the two, Billy Bean, was appointed
MLB Ambassador for Inclusion by thencommissioner Bud Selig in mid-2014 and
subsequently assisted Denson in the process leading to his announcement.

Changing public attitudes and normalization of living

privately authentic LGBT lives may decrease the impetus
and importance of publicly coming out.
In late June, Sonoma Stompers pitcher
Sean Conroy became the rst-ever openly
gay professional baseball player. Conroy
plays in the small independent Pacic Association of Baseball Clubs league comprised of teams in Northern California. The
23-year-old Conroy, a pitcher, told the Associated Press in an interview when he came
out, I am denitely surprised that no one
else has been openly gay in baseball yet.
Why have so few gay and lesbian athletes, especially from the major sporting
leagues, revealed their sexual orientation?
Are there actually a relatively small number or have gay players been fearful or
reluctant to come out? Bean was quoted
saying after Densons public statement
regarding his sexual orientation last weekend, its not like hes conveyed to me that
he feels like there are others. Its so hard
to say Maybe theres a couple, maybe
theres more, maybe theres a lot.
L.A. Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers,
who became the rst openly gay MLS footballer in 2013, pondered in a USA Today interview earlier this year, So why am I still the

only one? Its a question I get all the time.

Among the major league sports leagues
in the U.S., now-retired Jason Collins became the rst active openly gay player in
the NBA two years ago, and Michael Sam
became the rst openly gay player drafted
into the NFL last year. Sam, however, did
not make the team and recently cited mental health issues in leaving the Canadian
Football Leagues Montreal squad.
If there is one shared observation that professional sports gures who have publicly
revealed their sexual orientation as gay or
lesbian have made it is this: My teammates
and coaches have been very supportive.
Sports fans, along with the country as
a whole and in a larger context reected
by the advancement of LGBT rights in all
areas of American life, have also become
increasingly nonchalant about such revelations. There has been more celebration
both within and outside sports by those
welcoming an athletes coming out than
consternation by an increasingly few fans
or onlookers perturbed by the news.
Expanding equality and growing accep-

tance may slow the future pace of prominent athletes coming out. Changing public
attitudes and normalization of living privately authentic LGBT lives may decrease
the impetus and importance of publicly
coming out. The sports world, as well as
American culture as a whole, may produce
fewer high-prole sexual orientation announcements in coming years.
Athletes who have come out, however,
have discovered and demonstrated that it
is both possible, even preferable, to do so.
The businesses that are sports leagues and
team franchises, like most corporate settings, have adopted employment protections and general practices, and created
work environments, that reect the overwhelmingly dominant enterprise viewpoint allowing the freedom to come out.
As Denson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in making his announcement, I wasnt
able to give fully of myself because I was living in fear. What if this person nds out? What
if somebody else nds out? Instead of going
out and just playing, I was trying to hide myself. Its a release for me to nally be able to
give all of myself to the game, without having
to be afraid or hide or worry about the next
person who might nd out.
Thats a lesson for those toiling in all endeavors and seeking to excel, whether on
a playing eld or elsewhere.






Lavish, graceful,
Exquisitely tasteful.

This initiative will educate, encourage and challenge our residents to own their personal health and
wellness, said MAYOR BOWSER.

jo i n m a yo r bowser
fo r t he f it dc
b il lio n s teps
c h a lle ng e
Participate in a Ward Walk
and enjoy a more
active lifestyle
FitDC is a citywide initiativeto encourage
DC residents to adopt healthier, more
active lifestyles. FitDC was launched
on April 11 by Mayor Muriel Bowser,
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human
Services, Brenda Donald, the Director
of the DC Department of Health (DOH),
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt and the Acting
Director of the DC Department of Parks
and Recreation (DPR), Keith A. Anderson.
This initiative will educate, encourage
and challenge our residents to own their
personal health and wellness knowing
there are resources and programs in their
city offering support along the way, said
Mayor Bowser.
To help motivate residents to get active,
Mayor Bowser is hosting Ward Walks as
part of the FitDC Billion Steps Challenge.
A 1.5-mile Ward Walk will be held in
each ward of the city anchored by local
recreation centers as a way to highlight
local resources available to residents
interested in reducing stress, losing weight
and getting involved in their community
through exercise.
The FitDC Coaches, representing each
ward of the District as well as a senior
and youth coach, were also announced.
FitDC Coaches will work to encourage and
motivate DC residents to get out, move
more and make healthier choices. This
diverse group of coaches includes tness
and health experts as well as individuals
with personal tness goals. FitDC Coaches
will help plan and co-lead Ward Walks
and serve as role models for DC residents

Retail Outlet Store

dinnerware glassware wedding

Queenstown outlet

4632 Ocean Gateway (across from the outlet stores)

around health and wellness.

Queenstown, MD 410-827-9220
Participate in an upcoming Ward Walk,
Hagerstown, MD: 240-366-2045 / Rehoboth Beach: 302-645-2525
and log your steps as part of the Billion
Steps Challenge. The next Ward Walk
is Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Rosedale
Community Center at 9 a.m. Check FitDC.
com/Events for details on additional Ward
Walks and other tness events.
Whether walking to work or school,
running, or completing other activities,
FitDCs Steps Conversion Chart will show
you how many steps youve taken. You can
log your steps with a text, a tweet, or by
visiting Heres how:
Text It: Text the following to 202-7590470: [Your number of steps taken] in
#Ward[Your Ward number]. For example:
6,500 steps in #Ward6. Your steps will be
recorded automatically!
Tweet It: Send a Tweet to @MyFitDC
with the following format: I walked [your
number of steps taken] steps #Ward[Your
Ward number] #BillionStepsChallenge @
For example: I walked 6,500 steps
in Ward 6 #BillionStepsChallenge
REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of
proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of
Be sure to tag @MyFitDC
and use the
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omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is
hashtag #BillionStepsChallenge.
responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users
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Track It: Visit on your
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By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contr
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DC residents have already logged more
washington blade newspaper. This includes but is n
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than 5.5 million steps! Right now, Ward 2
is in the lead with more than 1.5 million
steps. In second place, Mayor Bowsers
very own Ward 4 is nearing 1 million. See
how your Ward measures up and do your
part: log your steps and challenge your
friends and family to do the same.
FitDC, is a joint initiative by DOH and
DPR. For more information about FitDC,
visit Also follow/like on
Twitter and Facebook at MyFitDC.


4 6 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015






Food by Plate Catering. Open Bar, Silent and
Live Auction, 7:00-10:00 PM

The party begins at 8:00 PM with dancing
until 2:00 AM. Open Bar all night.



Atlantic Associates
Bad Hair Day?
Bayberry Flowers
Accent On Travel
Beach Essentials
Dos Locos Fajita & Stonegrill GOLD SUPPORTERS
Carol Bresler &
Bin 66 Fine Wine & Spirits
Brian Petro Art

KarenGustafson, REALTOR
Caroline Huff Studio
Imaging Zone
Cilantro Gladys Fernandez
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& Yadira Mora
Data Vision Design
Davison Comcast
CIO Federal IT
Laura Simon
Ketel One Vodka
Canalside Inn
Delaware HIV Consortium
Maplewood Dental
Gene Cavazos & Paul Frene
Ellen J. Feinberg, Esquire
Fit Well Personal Training
Morris James LLP
Franz & Franze Architecture
Mary Culley & Mark Olson
Crawford Auction House
Gallery 50
Outlet Liquors
Scott Davis & Chris Shaheen Go Fish! Go Brit!
Signarama, Inc.
Easy Rider Stable
Chris Yochim &
Holland Jewelers
Daryl Glazer
Iguana Grill
Aqua Grill
Embrace Home Loans
JDS Interior Design
Sondra N. Arkin
Pat Donovan
Washington, DC
Atlantic Liquors
J & J Administrative Services
Beebe Healthcare
2000, Inc.
Al Besse & Scott Evers
Thomas Flower
Lavender Fields at
Best Bus
Dave Gold & Jim Yiaski
Warrington Manor
Bewitched and
Dan Hicks & John McCall
Lighthouse Inn B&B
Bedazzled B&B
Loris Oy Vey Caf
Blue Moon
Tracy Limmer
Metropolitan Community
Bonnie M. Benson, P.A.
Ed Hotaling & Ed Miller
Church of Rehoboth
Cape Gazette/Beach Paper
Hotel Rehoboth
Nice Work Company
Delaware Beach Life
Steve Hoult & Rick Bane
Philip Morton Gallery
DJ Nan
Jesse & Tara Lausch
Rehoboth Beach Variety
Eden Restaurant
Royal Rose Inn
Elegant Slumming &
Lingos Market
Silver Lake Guest House
Fine Jewelry
Stephen Manos & Greg
Suzanne Landon, REALTOR
Joe Filipek &
The Beach Retreat
Larry Richardson
The Brady Law Firm
Gayla, Inc.
The Buttery
Horsts Consulting
Sandra Skidmore &
The Debbie Reed Team of
Services, Inc.
Jonathan Handy
RE/MAX Realty
In Loving Memory of
The Stepping Stone
Keith Neale
Wooden Indian
In Memory of Al Bulliner
Lana Warfield, REALTOR &
JAM Bistro
Pamela Notarangelo
Allen Jarmon REALTOR &
Robert Wiltshire, MD
Greg Albright & Wes Combs
Ward Ellinger Gallery
Robert Alexander
Amanda & Melissa Kaufman
Charlie Allen
Anne Lavigne & Rick Fischer
Keith Anderson & Peter Bish
Letters from CAMP Rehoboth
Chris Wickersham
Lewes Auto Mall
Deb Appleby
Kevin McDuffie, REALTOR Dent Farr & Erick Lowe
Murray Archibald &
Coldwell Banker DuPont
Steve Elkins
Miller & Shook Cos
Steven Groeninger &
Julie Arenstein
Bill Miller & Joe Mirabella
Stephen Strasser
Jean Philippe Aviance &
Natalie B. Moss, CPA
John Hackett & Tom Newton
John Floyd
(MD), EA
Tim Baade & Victor Kamber
Olivia Companies, LLC
Barnett & Michael Craig
Monica Parr &
Dee Speck
Don Baum & Michael Brown
Emilie Paternoster
Curtis J. Leciejewski,
Chris Beagle &
Keith Petrack &
Eric Engelhart
Michael Fetchko
Lisa S. Beske
Plate Catering
Blue & Louisa Watrel
Purple Parrot Grill
Bill McManus
Bob Bonitati
Mary Beth Ramsey
Ron Bowman
Vizual-i Art & Design Studio Maggie Ottato
Randy Overbaugh
Michael Boyd & John Wolff
Randy Gross Custom
The Honorable John Brady &
Window Treatments

Chuck Reeves
Michael Schlechter &
PDR & Associates
David Brant & Greg Estes
Kevin Sharp
Bryan K. Sherman
Bill Brierly
Jeffrey Z. Slavin
Leslie Sinclair &
Howard Brooks &
Leonard Smith
Joshua Klein
Stephan & Co. Salon & Spa
Charlie Browne & Rod Cook
Ray Swadley RCI Systems
Jon Worthington &
Tony Burns
The Breakers Hotel & Suites
Bryan Houlette
Charles & Stephen
The Gordon Porter Family
The Morrison & Foerster
Tom Carlson & Ray Michener
The Riley-Spillane Family
Scooter Shop
Jack Carver &
Uniworld Boutique River
Armando Rascon
Cruise Collection
Washington Blade
Woodys Bar Philadelphia

Katherine Cauley &

Patricia Newcomb
Anthony Chiffolo &
Rusty Hesse
Paul Christensen &
Dennis Morgan
Jim Chupella & Jim Wigard
Bill Clark
Charlie Codacovi
Mark Royal Conheady
Joe Conn & Rick Mowery
Don Corin & Tim Dillingham
Richard Coss & Mike Hull
Donald Crowl
Ken Davies
Michael Decker
Mike DeFlavia &
Tony Sowers
Frank DellAquila
Max Dick & Bob Hoffer
Rob Dick
Tony DiMichele &
Jeffrey Smith
Thomas Drymon
Paul Dwyer &
Robert Alexander
Bill Fanelli
George Farrah & Mark Myers
Joyce Felton &
Susannah Griffin
Allen Fred Fielding
Richard Frisch & Tim Kiger
John Furbush & Tom Feng
Richard Gamble &
Paul Lindsey
Joan Glass
Ed Gmoch
Jim Goodwill &
Nick Eisenstein
Bill Graff & Jeff Schuck
Michael Green &
Robert Schwerdtfeger
David Hagelin &
Andy Brangenberg
Jack Harman
Thom Harris for Brian
Steve Hayes
Linda Heisner
Muriel Hogan & Kathy Wiz
Harris Holden
Tom Holmes & Mario Rocha
Barnette Holston, Jr. &
Troy Petenbrink
Frank Hornstein
Michael Hurd, Ph D, LCSW &
Bob Yesbek
Janet Idema
Terry Isner & Adam Linder
Fay Jacobs &
Bonnie Quesenberry
Pete Jakubowski
Tom Jones
Jocelyn Kaplan &
Idalie Adams
Jon Kaplan
Marilyn J. Kates &
Laura J. Glenn
Maureen Keenan &
Teri Dunbar
Maggie Kilroy &
Rebecca Moscoso
Eric Korpon & Steven Haber
Jay Kottoff & Mark Matey
Kevin LaBarge
Duwayne Litz
James M. Lucas &
Karen C. Davis
Dana Luigard
Dave Lyons & Rick Hardy
Robert Malmborg
Tricia Massella &
Eva Monteagudo

Evelyn Maurmeyer
Bonnie Moxey Maxwell
Joe & Chuck Mayle-Rosauri
Dr. David O. McCall &
Bill Cross
David McCarthy &
Joe Ignatowski
Kathy McGuiness
Mickie McManamon
Howard Menaker &
Patrick Gossett
Marvin Miller & Dan Kyle
Linda Miniscalco &
Jeanne Drake
Judy & Norm Moore
Margaret Moore &
Sheree Mixell
Jack Morrison & Bob Dobbs
Phil Mulligan
Sandy Orapel
John J. Padden &
Howard B. Bevard
Bob Palandrani &
Jim Lawrence
Brian Powers & Chris Rinaldi
Tim Price & Jerry Sealy
Sam Profeta
Glen C. Pruitt
Mark Purpura & John Lucas
Gary Rawls & Kelly Kemper
Ken Reilly & Tony Ghigi
Jodi Renbaum & Laura Riley
Christina Richter
Tim Rodden &
Randy Clayton
Roy Rollins
Thomas Rose &
Thomas Sechowicz
Judy Rosenstein &
Elva Weininger
Michael J. Roussell
Ski Rowland & Gary Mosher
Katherine Sams
Trudy Schuyler &
Jane Greenwell
Carol Schwartz
Representative Pete &
Carol Schwartzkopf
Diane Scobey &
Jennifer Rubenstein
David J. Scuccimarra
Sal Seeley
George Shevlin &
Jack Suwanlert
Brian Shook &
Derek Thomas
John Michael Sophos
Mowry Spencer &
John Newton
Jerry Stansberry &
Leslie Hegamaster
Ben Stearn
John Swift
Mike Tyler
Jamison Wainwright
Dave Watts
Henry Weeks &
Wayne Ritchie
Kathy Weir & Lynn Finaldi
Reber Whitner &
Stephanie Manos
Stephen Whittemore
Tony Wright &
Mary Jo Bennett
Niki Zaldivar & Gail Gormley
Larry Zeigler
Lorraine Zellers &
Tom Zellers
Karl Zoric & Mark Pipkin


















Reel Armations has

weekend slate of diverse
movies planned
A steamy love triangle on New Yorks
glitzy Upper East Side. A mixed-race
lesbian couple making their way in postapartheid Cape Town, South Africa. A
male-only fetish bar in the gritty back
streets of London. A lesbian couple on
the brink of divorce meets to divide up
their possessions. A bisexual woman who
produces gay porn.
Those are just a few of the stories
that will be coming to Washington next
weekend as the Reel Armations Film
Festival returns. As program director
Kimberley Bush notes, Our annual
festival will bring three days of new and
exciting lms from all over the world to
Washington. We will screen a wide variety
of LGBTQ dramas, animation, comedies
and documentaries. There will also be
panel discussions, Q&As, lmmaker
receptions and opening and closing night
There will be 35 movies total (including
shorts) from 10 countries. Passes and
individual tickets are available. Full details
This year, the festival will take place at
the historic Tivoli Theatre at the corner of
14th Street and Park Road in Columbia
Heights. Originally built in 1924, the
Tivoli was one of the most elegant movie
palaces in Washington. After falling into
disrepair, the Tivoli was closed in 1976.
Following an extensive redevelopment
campaign, the space was reopened in
2005 and is now the new home of GALA
Hispanic Theatre.
The reborn Tivoli Theatre is a tting
backdrop for the return of the annual lm
festival. Since the last festival in 2012, Reel
Armations has been revived as part of
Center Arts, a program of the D.C. Center
for the LGBT Community that helps tell
the stories of LGBT lives.
The storytelling starts Friday, Aug. 28
with two very dierent movies. While
You Werent Looking oers a tough but
compelling look at queer life in the New
South Africa. Three couples negotiate

Stills from this years Reel Armations selections include While You Werent Looking, Queer City and Those People.

the challenging terrain between the

realities of contemporary life in Cape
Town and the progressive promises of
LGBT equality enshrined in the historic
1994 constitution. In addition to powerful
performances by a cast of South African
actors, the lm also features artwork and
music by some of the countrys leading
contemporary artists.
Those People turns to the gilded
Upper East Side of Manhattan where a
young gay painter is torn between an
obsession with his infamous best friend
and a promising new romance with an
older foreign pianist.
with a screening of the revealing new
documentary The Same Dierence by
Nneka Onuroah. The hard-hitting movie
explores gender roles in the AfricanAmerican lesbian community and
includes commentary by Felicia Snoop
Pearson (HBOs The Wire), AzMarie
Livingston (Empire), Dee Pimpin (MTVs
Catsh) and Lea DeLaria (Orange Is The
New Black). The 11 a.m. screening will be
followed by a Q&A with the director.

Queer City is a rich multi-ethnic and

multi-generational tapestry about LGBT
lives in New York City today. Directed with
incredible sensitivity and expertise by
Draper Shreeve, the feature documentary
captures the amazing lives of the queer
citizens of the ve boroughs at a time of
remarkable change.
Shreeves subjects are a lively bunch
whose stories are distinctive but whose
experiences are universal. They include
the powerful politician whose career is
rooted in the painful memories of being
gay-bashed as a young man, a bisexual
woman who directs gay adult lms, an
80-year old English painter, a Haitian
transman who spins riveting tales about
life with his family on Coney Island, a
tough working-class Latina from Queens
with a knack for falling in love, and a longterm lesbian couple from Brooklyn (and
their outspoken kids) who wonder how
they became soccer moms.
As Shreeve notes the lm cannot, of
course, represent every aspect of LGBTQ
life, and thats not our goal. Rather, we
are bringing together a selection of

stories to oer a compelling portrait of

new American lives.
The festival concludes on Sunday
night with Guidance, a Canadian lm
about a desperate former child star who
charms his way into a job as a high school
counselor despite his lack of credentials.
The weekend of lm also features
two collections of assorted shorts for
men and women including the rueful
comedy She Said, She Said about two
divorcing lesbians meeting to divide
their possessions and I Do, a Brazilian
lm about two men and the unexpected
response to a proposal of marriage. Other
highlights include Liz in September,
a moving romance from Venezuelan
director Fina Torres (Woman on Top);
Age of Consent, a graphic documentary
about the patrons and owners of Hoist, a
male-only fetish bar in London; and, Naz
and Maalik a breakout feature by rsttime director Jay Dockendorf about two
Muslim-American teens whose budding
romance draws unwanted attention from
the FBI agents who have their community
under surveillance.



48 AUG U S T 21, 2015

O U T & A BO U T





Pops Orchestra presents

80s hits at Town















Etheridge brings solo show to Strathmore

Grammy Award-winning singer Melissa Etheridge performs at Music Center
at Strathmore (1701 Rockville Pike., North Bethesda, Md.) on Wednesday, Aug.
26 at 8 p.m.
Etheridge will perform solo renditions of songs from her latest album This is
M.E. that was released last year. She will also perform her classic hits such as
Come to My Window and I Want to Come Over. Before the show, there will be
a party on the patio at 6:30 p.m. with food and drink specials.
Tickets range from $38-88. For more information, visit

The American Pops Orchestra performs

for You Spin Me Round: An 80s Prom at
Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Wednesday,
Aug. 26 at 9 p.m.
Luke Frazier, who is gay, will conduct
the live orchestra. They will perform
interpretations of popular 80s hits like
Billie Jean, Physical and The Greatest
Love of All. DJ Shea Van Horn will also
play music for the night.
General admission tickets are $30
and student tickets are $20 with valid
student ID. For more information, visit

Chenoweth plans
Wolf Trap concert



Gender-bending Wilde production opens


AUGUST 17-23
LUNCH $22 / DINNER $35

M-Th 11:30aM-10pM F-SaT 11:30aM-11pM

Sun. brunch 11aM-3pM / dinner 3-10pM

322 MaSS. ave. ne 202.543.7656


Scena Theatre presents The Importance of Being Ernest at Atlas Performing

Arts Center (1333 H St., N.E.) in the Sprenger Theater starting Friday, Aug. 21 at
8 p.m. and running through Sept. 13.
The classic play, written by Oscar Wilde, follows a man who has created an
alter ego so he can live a more exciting life. It leads to a plot lled with deception
and secrets. The cast will have cross-gender roles with men playing female
characters and women playing male characters.
Tickets range from $10-45. For more details, visit

Singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth

performs at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Rd.,
Vienna, Va.) in the Filene Center on Friday,
Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.
Chenoweth will perform a mix of
theater and pop songs. She has won
both Tony and Emmy awards for her
performances. Her latest album Coming
Home was released last year. Tickets
range from $25-60.
For more details and to purchase
tickets, visit



A U G U S T 21, 2015 49


MOLLY SMITH says theater is a powerful vehicle to advocate for tougher gun control laws.

Arena reading is benet for

gun control activist group
When 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot
20 children and six adult sta members at
Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.,
in December, 2012, the nation was shaken
and angered, Molly Smith, artistic director
of Arena Stage, included. In response to the
tragedy, Smith and her partner Suzanne
Blue Star Boy organized the March on
Washington for Gun Control that took place
a month after the shootings.
And now in continued support
of sensible gun laws, the March on
Washington for Gun Control (a march
thats morphed into an organization)
is presenting a benet reading of a
Newtown documentary theater piece
26 Pebbles by out actor/playwright Eric
Ulloa at Arena Stage. Proceeds from the
one-night-only event will go to gun safety
groups Everytown for Gun Safety and the
Newtown Action Alliance.
Smith describes the Ulloas play as
moving and transformational. She
says, It takes us into the story as if its
our town, which is important because so
many people still think it cant happen in
their town. But its happening in every
town. I think Americans are blinded to the
level of gun violence in this country.
The New York-based playwright Ulloa
recalls the national mood following the
Newtown massacre: It happened close
to the holidays. And everyone went on
celebrating as usual. It was as if nothing
had happened. But I couldnt shake the
horror. I wanted to do something about
it, but wasnt sure what.
Ulloa didnt have political connections
or millions of dollars to lobby Congress,
but as an actor and writer he knew he
had a voice, and that encouraged him.
So ve to six months after the killings,
he travelled to Newtown with the intent
of interviewing a few residents who
were aected by the tragedy, not family
members of those killed but people in
the community. Soon the number of
interviews swelled to 60 locals including
parents of students, shop owners,
religious leaders and other townspeople.

They had so much to say a lot

happens when the cameras turn o
and the vans drive away, Ulloa says.
The deaths were like pebbles thrown
in a pond, creating ripples within the
community and beyond.
My aim wasnt to be divisive, says Ulloa,
who can be seen on Broadway in October
in On Your Feet!, a new musical based
on the life and music of Emilio and Gloria
Estefan. I believe when you present the
facts people will support the right decision.
The play objectively shows what happens
when you dont have gun control of assault
weapons and background checks. The
majority of the American public supports
background checks. But to be blunt, that
doesnt put money in politicians pockets.
So the mass shootings continue.
Directed by Smith, the staged reading
(actors with scripts in hand standing
at music stands) features a stellar cast
including out actor Nicholas Rodriguez,
Edward Gero, Naomi Jacobson, Dorea
Schmidt, Lise Bruneau, Hannah Willman,
and out actor Joshua Morgan (Fiddler on
the Roof). The play consists of the verbatim
word of those interviewed. Smith promises
an emotional and powerful evening.
Im from Alaska where guns are big,
Smith says. This isnt about outlawing guns.
Its about common-sense gun legislation:
to reinstate the assault-weapons ban, to
forbid high-capacity magazines, to enforce
a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases,
to require background checks and gunsafety training, to outlaw bullets that
shatter in the body. An assault weapon
that can spray o 20 bullets in three
seconds isnt a gun that used for hunting
animals. Its used for hunting people.
Until things change, we must remain
vigilant, Smith adds. Change will come
incrementally. But there will be watershed
moments. Already Ive received inquiries
from other theaters and universities
about doing readings of 26 Pebbles.
There are dierent ways to drive social
action and theater is a powerful tool.
Monday, Aug. 24
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American
1101 6th St. S.W.


Tomato Salad
$ .95







AUG 21

AUG 28


Film & Live Music!

AUG 22

Tony-winning star
with astonishing
(LA Times) vocals





AUG 26



5 0 A UGUS T 2 1 , 2015




The Fix. Thru Sep 20. Signature Theatre.
Silence! The Musical. Thru Aug 23. Studio
Theatre. 202-332-3300.
Hoodlarious starring Cocoa Brown.
Aug 25. Howard Theatre. 202-803-2899.
The Bison Beast of Dubois. Aug 22-Aug
23. Spooky Action Theater. 301-9201414.
Dogght. Aug 22-Sep 19. Keegan Theatre.
Shear Madness. Ongoing. Kennedy
Center. 800-444-1324. shearmadness.

Step Xplosion! Aug 21. Step Afrika! at
Starburst Plaza, and Aug 24 at The Yards
Park. 202.399.7993.

Melissa Etheridge: This is M.E. Solo

Aug 26. Strathmore.


Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics, and riveting stage presence,
Etheridge shares personal stories about her remarkable journey through life
and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Aug 21-Sep 13. SCENA Theatre at Atlas Performing Arts Center
This wildly successful farce is back by popular demand featuring cross-gender
casting. Plus its reset in the decadent, roaring 20s.

Savion Glover
Aug 27-Aug 29. Howard Theatre.

For three nights Savion Glover brings his brand of dance to Howard
Theatre.The award-winning tap dancer and choreographer is known for works
like Jellys Last Jam and Bring in da Noise/Bring in da Funk.

Leigh Merrill: Cloud Seeding

Thru Aug 30. Target Gallery.

Dallas-based artist Leigh Merrill assembles photos and videos to create

ctional images that are familiar, yet unfamiliar, recognizable, but not placeable, to examine the relationship between construction and control in urban,
suburban, and rural spaces.

Get Out More!

Jazz in the Garden: Seth Kibel (jazz

clarinet). Aug 21. National Gallery of Art.
NGA Sculpture Garden. 202-737-4215.
Liner Notes. Aug 21-Aug 22. Atlas. 202399-7993.
Luciano. Aug 21. Tamia. Aug 22-Aug 23.
Sunday R&B Brunch with Art Sherrod
Jr. Aug 23. Kamasi Washington. Aug
26. Howard Theatre. 202-803-2899.
Fifth Harmonys Reection: The
Summer Tour. Aug 26. Warner Theatre.
East and West of the Blues. Aug 21.
The US Navy Band Brass Quartet.
Aug 22. D.C. Legendary Musicians
Band. Aug 25. Raya. Aug 26. Ustad
Shafaat Khan. Aug 27. Kennedy Centers
Millennium Stage. 800-444-1324.
Free Art on 8th: Alphani Douki /Zumba
with Wilma Consul. Aug 21. Ernesto
Gato Gatell y Su Banda. Aug 27.
Dance Place. Arts Plaza at Monroe Street
Market. 202-269-1600.
The US Air Force Celtic Aire. Aug 22.
Cal-V. Aug 23. Workhouse Arts Center.
Disney in Concert With Wolf Trap
Orchestra. Aug 21. Gladys Knight
and The OJays. Aug 22. The Beach
Boys. Aug 23. Santana. Aug 25. Little
Big Town The Pain Killer Tour, with
Charlie Worsham and Cassadee
Pope. Aug 26. Wolf Trap. 877-965-3872.
Swing Dance with Beginner Lesson.
Aug 22. Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo
Park. 301-634-2222.

National Gallery of Art. The Memory
of Time. Thru Sep 13. Pleasure and
Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael (1566
1638). Thru Oct 4. Gustave Caillebotte:

The Painters Eye. Thru Oct 4. Recent

Acquisitions of Italian Renaissance Prints:
Ideals Made Flesh. Thru Oct 18. 202-7374215.
Folger Shakespeare Library. Ships,
Clocks, & Stars: The Quest for Longitude.
Thru Aug 23.
National Archives. Spirited Republic:
Alcohol in American History. Thru Jan 10.
Museum of Women in the Arts.
Organic Matters. Thru Sep 13. Super
Natural. Thru Sep 13. Vanessa Bells
Hogarth Press Designs. Thru Nov 13.
Prince Georges African American
Museum and Cultural Center. Patented
Ingenuity: The Art of African American
Inventors. Thru Sep 12. 301-809-0440.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community
Museum. How the Civil War Changed
Washington. Thru Nov 15. Hand of
Freedom: The Life and Legacy of the
Plummer Family. Thru Dec 27. 202-6334820.
National Geographic. Monster Fish.
Thru Oct 11. Indiana Jones. Thru Jan 3.

Strathmore. Fine AIR Class of 2015
Exhibition. Thru Aug 23. Self-Portrait as
Don Quixote by Andrew Wodzianski. Aug
22-Aug 23. 301-581-5100.
DCCAH. AFP16 Visual Arts Exhibition.
Thru Sep 30. 202-724-5613.
Arlington Cultural Aairs. Gallery 3700.
Nauck Community Portrait Exhibition.
Thru Sep 6.
The Art League Gallery. Taking Shape.
Thru Sep 7. Scapes. Thru Sep 7. 703-6831780.
Schlesinger Concert Hall. Oil Paintings
by Stanley Agbontaen. Thru Aug 30. 703845-6156.
Gallery Neptune & Brown. Summer
Splash on 14th Street. Thru Sep 5. 202986-1200.
Goethe-Institut. Justine Otto: hyder ares.
Thru Sep 4. 202-289-1200.
Washington Project for the Arts
(WPA). Lobby Project: Tang. Thru Aug 28.
Zenith Gallery. Stars & Stripes: Zenith
Salutes the Flag! at Zenith Gallery and DC
Chamber of Commerce. Thru Sep 5. 202783-2963.
Zenith Sculpture Space. Earth, Fire,
Stone - The Works of Hadrian Mendoza.
Thru Aug 23.
DCAC. 1460 Wallmountables. Thru Aug
30. 202-462-7833.
Flashpoint Gallery: CulturalDC.
Anthony Cervino: Ejecta. Thru Sep 12.
Gallery Underground. Hidden in
Plain Sight Show. Thru Aug 28. August
Members Show. Thru Aug 28. 571-4830652.
Publick Playhouse. Lynda Payton. Thru
Oct 13. 301-277-1710.


A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 5 1


5 2 A UGUS T 2 1 , 2015


E-mail calendar items to calendars@washblade.

com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-specic events
or those with LGBT participants. Recurring
events must be re-submitted each time.

Surrealist and gay magician David
London performs his Magic Outside
the Box Show at Trinidad Theatre (1358
Florida Ave., N.E.) in the Logan Fringe
Arts Space today and Saturday at 8 p.m.
The show is a mix of comedy and magic.
Tickets at $20. For more details, visit
D.C. Bear Crue hosts Stu the Horny
Pig, a charity dance party, at Town (2009
8th St., N.W.) tonight starting at 6 p.m. The
Beltway Bears will be collecting donations
for Brother Help Thyself. Drink specials
are $4 Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum
bottles, $4 draft pints and $8 draft
pitchers. There will also be free pizza at
7 p.m. Entry ends at 9 p.m. Drink specials
run until 11 p.m. For more information,
Gay District meets at the D.C. Center
(2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 8:309:30 p.m. The facilitated group discussion
covers building understanding of gay
culture and personal identity and
awareness of community events for LGBT
men between the ages of 18-35 in the D.C.
area. For more details, visit thedccenter.
org or
A LGB support group meets today
from 10-11:30 a.m. at 16220 S. Frederick
Rd., Gaithersburg, Md., for individuals
in Montgomery County. The group
will discuss coming out of marriage,
homophobia, parenting issues, nding
intimate relationships, LGB resources
in the suburbs and more. For more
information, visit

The D.C. Rawhides and the D.C. Front
Runners host a fundraiser during Town
and Country at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.)
tonight at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 with
$4 of the admission price donated to the
D.C sports team of the guests choice and
$1 donated to the Team D.C. StudentAthlete Scholarship. The dance lesson
for the night is the intermediate two-step
from 7-8 p.m. There will be open dance
from 8-10:30 p.m. For more details, visit
Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors club,
hosts a 5-mile hike for beginners today in
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The hike will begin
downtown and proceed briey along
the Appalachian Trail before walking
upstream along the Potomac River. The
hike will end back in downtown where
hikers can explore the city. Hikers can
carpool with the group from GrosvenorStrathmore
Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md.) at 9 a.m.
or meet at the Harpers Ferry Visitor


B. STEADY performs with Tom Goss at Busboys and Poets on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Center (171 Shoreline Dr., Harpers Ferry,

W.Va..) at 10:30 a.m. Bring beverages and
lunch. Total cost for carpoolers is $12 to
cover all fees. For more information, visit
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer
organization, volunteers for Food and
Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) today from
8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables
and pack groceries. To volunteer, email
more details, visit
Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Dirty
Pop, a gay dance party, tonight at 10 p.m.
DJ Drew G will play music for the night. The
drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Cover is $10
from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. For
more information, visit

Perrys (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts
its weekly sunday drag brunch today
from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95
for an all-you-can-eat buet. For more
details, visit
The D.C. Kings host their End-ofSummer Show today at Bier Baron
Tavern (1523 22nd St., N.W.) at 6 p.m.
(doors open at 5). Visit for
more information.

Where the Bears Are, a web series,
premieres its fourth season online at today. The series
explores the adventures of four gay bear
roommates living in Los Angeles who are

trying to solve a crime and prepare for

a wedding at the same time. For more
information, visit
The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..)
hosts coee drop-in hours this morning
from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT
community. Older LGBT adults can
come and enjoy complimentary coee
and conversation with other community
members. For more information, visit
Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave.,
N.W.) holds a support group for gay black
men to discuss topics that aect them,
share perspectives and have meaningful
conversations. For details, visit
Nellies Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.)
hosts Poker Face tonight at 8 p.m. Play
Texas Hold Em Poker for free. There
will be prizes. For more details, visit

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a Rap
Group today from 5-6:30 p.m. Discuss
stressful issues like school, bullying,
getting into college or nding a job in
this support group. For more details, visit
Bachelors Mill has half-price drinks all
night long from 5 p.m.-2 a.m.tonight. They
also have pool, video gaming systems and
cards. Admission is free. For more details,

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight

at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th

St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations
required and new comers welcome. If you
need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

Gay singer Tom Goss hosts a 25th
anniversary concert to benefit Charlies
Place with queer singer/songwriter B.
Steady at Busboys and Poets (2021
14th St., N.W.) today with shows at
6:30 and 9 p.m. Charlies Place works
to provide emergency services to the
homeless and poor as well as provide
employment and housing services.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25
at the door. For more details, visit
Nellies Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.)
hosts its weekly Beat the Clock Happy
Hour tonight from 5-8 p.m. Drink specials
start at $2 and increase by a dollar
each hour. For more information, visit
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts Womens
Leadership Institute, a group for LBT
women and their straight allies ages 13-21
to discuss female sexuality, relationships
and womens rights today from 5-7 p.m.
For more information, visit
Bachelors Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.)
holds a happy hour today from 5-7:30
p.m. All drinks are half price. There will
be pool, video gaming systems and cards.
Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. DJ Bling, DJ
Freaky and DJ Tim-Nice will play music
for the night. For more information, visit



A U G U S T 21, 2015 53


Upper Northwest spot

balances French and
Southern cuisine
For those of us who live in busy urban
neighborhoods, its easy to forget to leave the
connes of our own zip codes on occasion to
wander some less familiar streets.
Upper Northwest D.C. near Chevy Chase
Circle could be called albeit with tongue
rmly planted in cheek a bit of a food
desert, although only for those who look
askance at having to live without a Whole
Foods and a choice of at least 50 trendy
pseudo-ethnic eateries to choose from at any
given moment. Up above the 5000 block of
Connecticut Avenue, the natives are hungry
for choices and Macon Bistro & Larder (at 5520
Connecticut Ave., N.W.; online at maconbistro.
com) is happy to help ll the void.
In an eort to blend French and Southern
cuisine, Macon focuses on borrowing
techniques and ingredients from each
tradition, which might result in fried green
tomatoes accompanied by a chunky pistou
of fresh herbs or country fried goat with duck
fat dumplings. Chef de Cuisine Jenna Pool
started diners o recently with a summer
sip of fennel-ade, a light palate cleanser of
fennel broth with orange zest and citrus juices
which was a refreshing necessity on a humid
summer evening and would have been just
as welcome at the end of the meal.
The cocktail menu explores the overall
Southern/French theme with some subtle
twists, like the Pisco Punch, bringing together
Pisco, pineapple juice, fresh lime and herbes
de Provence or the Orange Blossom, a nice
balance of gin, aromatized wine, orange
liqueur and citrus bitters clearly designed as
aperitifs, being neither too sweet or too strong,
you can follow up with a glass of French wine
from a small but well-curated list.
Biscuits are easy to get wrong, but they
were just right on this night, with plenty of
height and a good ake, served with a salty
honey butter and spicy pepper jelly. There are
several side dishes that could certainly make
a meal, such as Spicy Kale with crispy grits,
Hoppin John, elevated with Carolina Gold rice
and Sea Island red peas, and a Frenchied
version of mac and cheese with a cheddar

Mornay sauce. The Blistered Peppers in a

preserved lemon vinaigrette are a particularly
nice example of how to meld the Southern
and French kitchens, bringing common
elements from each cuisine together.
While all the dishes are lovingly presented
with great attention to detail and the menu
reects the thought that the chefs are
putting into the plate, its a good idea to
have a detailed conversation with the server
when ordering to avoid any unexpected
ingredients. A couple of dishes on the menu
appear to be extremely vegetarian-friendly, in
particular the Southern Ramen and the Mock
Scallops. The ramen, which includes zucchini
vermicelli and a fried egg yolk, is made with
a green chili fumet that is, unfortunately
for vegetarian diners, not vegetable-based,
and the Mock Scallops which, arguably,
appears for all intents and purposes to be
designed specically for the vegan diner
contain a pistou, described by a server as
being integral to the dish, that is not actually
vegetarian because it is made with anchovies.
Although the Mock Scallops made
of tender seared turnips on a base of rich
maitake mushrooms with a carrot pure
can be served without the pistou, it is a
bit puzzling as to why this particular dish
would not be designed to be completely
vegan, as a classic pistou, a Provenal sauce
similar to pesto, is typically made without
anchovies in the rst place. These are the
kinds of small, but important, details which
sometimes separate the chef from the
diner, particularly as dietary restrictions
continue to dominate dining choices in a
city where we have a lot of options.
Overall, Macon Bistro & Larder is charming
in its design and presentation and worth the
trek to Parts Unknown. Take a stroll after you
nish your dessert of blackberry cobbler or
pineapple-coconut cake, perhaps with a takehome supply of strawberry preserves and
lemon drop cookies from Macons Larder, and
youll nd yourself half a block o Connecticut
Avenue surrounded by the sound of crickets
and the scent of tea roses blooming in the
summer moonlight. You just might start
imagining that youre in the south of France
or maybe Georgia.
Kristen Hartke is managing editor of Edible
DC and writes about food and beverages
both regionally and nationally. See what shes
cooking on Twitter: @khartke.

Charity bike rides are not new but

their history is quite interesting. Some
might remember Pallotta TeamWorks
founded by the very controversial, Dan
Pallotta. Along with the Avon Breast
Cancer 3-Day walks, Pallotta was the
founder of AIDS Ride-USA where
entrants biked from city to city. In the
early 1990s he conceived a 600-mile
bike ride from San Francisco to Los
Angeles. 478 riders participated in
the first California AIDS Ride netting
well over $1,000,000. In the mid 90s,
Pallotta expanded these rides to
include Boston, New York, Chicago,
Miami, Philadelphia, Washington,
DC and Raleigh, North Carolina.
The new thing about these thon
events was the four-figure mandatory
fundraising minimum, not to mention
the huge marketing campaigns in the
metropolitan areas. Major consumer
brands like Tanqueray sponsored
these events and AIDS Rides netted
well over $100 million, more than any
events in history.
In 2001, some social activists from
the very charities that benefitted
from the events, said that Pallottas
success came at the expense of the
charities he claimed to champion and
Pallotta was taking too big a cut of the
money raised. It became a flash point
for Pallotta when talks broke down
after the 2001 ride between the two
beneficiaries of the California AIDS
Ride, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
and Pallotta TeamWorks. Claims of
unusual charges, budget overruns
and PTWs relentless self promotion
resulted in the end of their eightyear relationship. The two non-profits
began their own ride, AIDS LifeCycle,
which will celebrate 15 years in 2016
with an amazing success rate. The 2015
ride raised over $16Million and have
become more popular every year.
Its clear to see that the Pallotta model
didnt work but what we need to

remember is that because of Pallotta

TeamWorks, and the notoriety they
brought to their causes, other rides
morphed into profitable charity events.
Charity Treks is exactly one of those
launched AIDS Vaccine Rides, which
would provide unrestricted dollars for
research at UCLA AIDS Institute and the
Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta. But in
2002, Pallotta scrubbed the Montreal
to Boston AIDS Vaccine Ride just
weeks before the event. Heres where
it gets good, several of the participants
decided to do the ride anyway. Plane
tickets had been purchased, hotel
rooms were in place, time was taken
off work, thousands of dollars had been
raised and these riders were determined
to ride, and thats what they did.
The following year, Charity Treks was
formed since AIDS Ride was a Pallotta
trademark. The two beneficiaries,
UCLA AIDS Institute and Emory Vaccine
Center were kept in place and a small
group of unpaid volunteers created
a non-profit which will celebrate its
14th year next month. Many things
have remained the same like the no
minimum fundraising requirement
and the pledge to give 100% of all
donations directly to the beneficiaries.
The ride is considerably smaller than
its predecessor but remains vigilant in
its vow to ride until theres a cure. Also,
in an effort to increase ridership and
awareness, Charity Treks has moved the
ride to the mid-Atlantic area, staring in
Charlottesville, VA and ending at the
Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
Each year representatives from the two
beneficiaries attend the event as riders
or crew and share their gratitude for the
dedication and much needed funding
the ride provides to their organizations.
To learn more about Charity Treks or to
register for our 2015 AIDS Vaccine Ride,


54 A U G U S T 21, 2015



New crossovers oer

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Size doesnt matter, except when it

does, like in metro D.C. where space is at
a premium. Thats why mini-crossovers
are perfect for urban commuters. And
just like a miniscule Ant-Man, many of
these small fry pack plenty of punch.
Mpg: 25 city/34 highway
0-60 mph: 9.7 seconds
Like honeybees, Honda is abuzz this
summer. The CR-V compact crossover
is breaking sales records, while the
Lilliputian HR-V just launched into
showrooms. Built on the Fit platform,
the HR-V is nine inches longer than that
subcompact but 10 inches shorter than
the CR-V. The result: a bitty crossover
with surprising legroom and cargo space,
as well as high ground clearance to better
handle potholes and speed bumps. The
HR-V is also light and nimble, though
acceleration is a tad pokey. A bigger
disappointment is the lack of certain
safety gear: no blind-spot, lane departure
or forward-collision warning systems. But
activate the turn signal, and a camera
shows you if theres another vehicle in the
right-hand lane. And the cabin, while not
full of high-end amenities (especially with
the somewhat clunky touchscreen/audio
system), is quiet and well-padded.
Mpg: 22 city/28 highway
0-60 mph: 7 seconds
So what to drive if you want more power
and panache? How about a stealthy

looking Lexus NX, with chiseled side

panels and a sassy front fascia. And dont
forget the F-Sport package: large 18-inch
wheels, sport-tuned suspension, paddle
shifters and performance gauges. Theres
even a menacing exhaust rumble. Sure,
the cabin is classy and full of luxury fare
(like power-folding rear seat, rain-sensing
wipers, smartphone app integration,
etc.). But the bad-boy handling is what
makes this a BMW-contender. The NX is
the smaller version of the popular RX a
crossover thats not only de rigueur for
many soccer moms and dads these days,
but also is the best-selling luxury vehicle
in the country. Yet the trimmer prole
and quicker steering of the NX belies a
millennial vibe that even baby boomers
can appreciate.
Mpg: 23 city/29 highway
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
Mercedes already took mini-crossovers
up a notch or three when it introduced
the all-new GLA class. But not content
to oer just a luxe hatchback with all
the trimmings premium pleather
upholstery, power liftgate and hilldescent control the automaker now
oers a hot-rod model as part of its
high-performance AMG line. The GLA-45
is loud and brash, with sporty steering,
solid brakes and racing Recaro seats.
And this four-wheel Rocketeer blasts
from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Toss
in the Edition 1 trim for a pterodactyllike wing on the back and smaller winglike treatments on the front bumpers.
But there are a few misses: the almost
too-rm ride, minimal stowage and a
bit of wind noise inside. Still, kudos to
Mercedes for turning what could have
looked like a 1970s Gremlin wannabe into
a sexy, top-drawer crossover.



A U G U S T 21, 2015 55






New book looks back on early

gures of LGBT movement


since she was 3 years old.She lives in Wisconsin
with two dogs and 12,000 books. Reach her at

Somebody got you started.

Thats the hard part and, oftentimes,
thats all you need: a forward-thinking
person to lay the framework so you can
roll with a project, adding, subtracting,
shaping, rening. Somebody just needed
to get you started; you can take it from
there, as youll see in The Right Side of
History by Adrian Brooks.
Like most years, this summers Pride
Parade was a raucous event. And why
not? Theres plenty to celebrate: new
laws, old friends, and a sense of better
which can make it hard to remember that
Such gains didnt occur in a vacuum
Brooks says. This book, a chorus of voices
untamed, is a collection of explanation.
To begin, Brooks writes of Isadora
Duncan, a free spirit who, when ladies
were expected to be proper, danced onstage with abandon, bared her breasts
in public and slept with whomever she
pleased, male or female.
Hayden L. Mora writes of gay life in
the early 20th century, when clubs for
same-sex attraction began to appear
in larger cities, though being caught in a
compromising situation then could result
in a loss of citizenship. For Henry Gerber,
the choice was mental institution or U.S.
Army; he picked the latter and came back
from World War I, determined to begin
organizing gay men.
The father of the gay liberation

movement and founder of the

Mattachine Society got his re from
another organizations strike. A well-liked
gay African-American boy, lovingly called
Pinhead as a child, grew up to be Martin
Luther King, Jrs right-hand man, while
a nerdy white doctor (who happened to
sleep with men) changed our notions of
male sexuality. Activists today ght for
intersex infants, asking doctors to delay
sex-assignment surgery. Conversation
launched a lesbian organization, and
people have stepped into activism roles
because of Anita Bryant, out-of-the-closet
writers, politics, personal discoveries and
a 54-ton quilt.
And that parade you marched in?If you
lived in San Francisco, you might like to
know that Pride Parade routes are exactly
the same as a funeral march walked by
strikers and their families in 1934.
Lately, it seems as though Ive been
seeing a plethora of books on Stonewall,
as if that one event is where LGBT activism
began. Its not, of course, and The Right
Side of History proves that.
Though its far from denitive, author
Adrian Brooks collected his own work
and that of several contributors to
inform and inspire readers who likewise
want to make change or to know where
change came from. I liked browsing the
short biographies here, but I noticed one
quirk: some of the proles seemed to be
a reach. Yes, they were very interesting,
and yes, they were about people who
stood their ground, but were they LGBT
activists? Perhaps not always.
Even so, what youll read here may
make you want to do something. At the
very least, itll give you understanding for
those who paved the way.
By Adrian Brooks, foreword by Jonathan D.
Cleis Press
243 pages

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A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 5 7

5 8 A UGUST 2 1 , 2015



A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 5 9


Advertising in the world of real estate

Language of the industry
continues to evolve
If u cn rd ths u cn gt a gd jb w hi pa!
So thinks a sign in the subway.
Think twice when letters disappear
Into Commoditys black hole
No turning back from that career.
This counterspell may save your soul.
This poem by James Merrill was published in The New York Review of Books
on March 3, 1983, making reference to
the School of Speedwriting that was the
rage in New York and parts of New Jersey
in the 1950s and 1960s.
Perhaps the precursor of texting,
speedwriting was certainly easier than
mastering the Pittman, Gregg or Teeline
versions of stenography that look as foreign as hieroglyphics to older folks and
cursive writing to younger ones today.
Its fair to say that nearly every eld of
work has its acronyms and jargon, yet
the language of real estate continues to
evolve as agents strive to nd dierent
ways of marketing homes for sale. Entire
books have been written on how to interpret RealtorSpeak.
Pre-Internet, when real estate agents
paid for classied advertising on a per
word or per inch basis, developing their
own shorthand was one way they found
to t a lot of information into a small
space and get the most exposure for their

Heres an example.
3/2.5, 2000 SF SFH w/3 lvls, HWF, FP,
EIK, WIC, 2-c gar, ac, fncd yd w/mat trs
& lush lndscp. Call 4 appt.
Could you tell that this advertisement was touting a 3 bedroom, 2 and a
half bath, 2,000-square-foot single family home that has three levels, hardwood
oors, a replace, an eat-in kitchen, a
walk-in closet, a two-car garage and is situated on a fenced lot of one quarter acre
with mature trees and lush landscaping?
And did you call for an appointment to
see it as instructed?
At 65 cents per word or thereabouts
you can begin to understand how using
the abbreviated version of a homes description, costing roughly half the price of
the full version, became the norm in the
world of real estate classieds.
Next came a series of meet-cute ads
featuring alliteration. For example, one
house might be described as having copious cabinets, chic countertops and custom closets and another as being an efcient embodiment of eusive elegance.
Then house descriptions began to sport
their own names or titles. A rowhouse on
Capitol Hill might be called A Capitol Affair, an apartment in Northwest, a Kool
Kalorama Kooperative and the lead-in
to a Chevy Chase detached home might
let the reader know its Built like a Brick
Some agents try their hands at rhyme
with This wonderful place in the heart
of Dupont has all that the pickiest buyer

Sid Binks, PhD, ABPP-CN

Board Certified in Clinical Neuropsychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Individual & Couples Therapy

for the LGBTQ Community
20 years experience!

could want or The bathroom en suite is

the nicest weve seen and the large master bedroom is t for a queen.
Others use imagery and appeal to
emotions by inviting the reader to Relax
on the balcony with its monument views
while enjoying a nosh and a beverage of
choice after a grueling day at the oce.
(My shoes are already o and my legs are
propped up on the railing as I watch the

sun go down over the Capitol, a Scotch

and water in my hand, a cheese platter at
my side and a Schnauzer at my feet.)
Well-read real estate agents often
echo the style of various authors in the
manner of the Washington Posts Style
Invitational, while some of the most talented among us even develop their own
elevated air, describing the bubbles of a
jetted tub as swirling like the froth of a
passionate sea.
This week we were even presented
with an advertisement where the house
described itself in the rst person, an
interesting treatment that was, unfortunately, marred somewhat by the houses
poor grammar and inability to spell.
While some descriptive remarks merely showcase the talents of the writer and
tell you very little about the house, they
still make for interesting reading. And in
a sea of gourmet kitchens and entreaties to come quick before its gone, if
the intent is to help a buyer remember
the property, then the writers goal is
So whats next on the advertising horizon where space and characters are limited? Were open to suggestions.
Perhaps if u cn rd ths u 2 cn bcm a rltr.
Call 4 appt.

VALERIE M. BLAKE can be reached at 202-2468602 or at Each

Keller Williams Realty oce is independently
owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Realtors
you refer to
your friends

3000 Connecticut Ave. NW 202.255.5187

Buying or
Selling a Home?
Licensed VA, MD, DC

The Gale STorm Team

703.304.1258 202.355.8125 301.575.6433


2- N

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All Classified Ads

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A U G U ST 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 6 1


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Representing the GLBT community
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Upper Northwest-$2,950 3BR,3BA Town-home- A MUST
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-$269,999 3 Level
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CONTACT US AT 202-747-2077

All Classied Ads

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By Mondays at 5PM
So They Can Be Included
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Washington Blade and

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