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the lgbtq community’s news source Meet D.C.'s Point Scholars district national news news Harjant Gill
the lgbtq community’s news source
Meet D.C.'s
Point Scholars
district
national
news
news
Harjant Gill is among
local students overcoming
hardship with help from
the Point Foundation.
PAGE 39
Evidence fight continues
in Robert Wone murder
case, as May trial date
of three gay men nears.
PAGE 6
Gay candidates for
Congress, including
David Cicilline, are
raking in the cash.
PAGE 16
washingtonblade.com • vol. 41, issue 18 • april 30, 2010 • Still sharp after 40 years
issue 18 • april 30, 2010 • Still sharp after 40 years Pelosi wants ‘Don’t Ask’

Pelosi wants ‘Don’t Ask’ vote this year

Announcement comes as activists plan Sunday protest at White House

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning to hold a vote this year on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” according to her office. “It is the Speaker’s intention that a vote will be taken this year on [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’] in the House,” Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, told the Washington Blade in a statement this week. The announcement is welcome news for repeal advocates because Pelosi has yet to send legislation to the floor that lacked sufficient sup- port for passage. Michael Cole, a Human Rights

Campaign spokesperson, praised Pelosi for planning the vote. “As we’ve been saying for a long time now, the time to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law is this year, and it’s a positive sign to hear congressional leaders affirm that,” Cole said. Still, he noted that further work is necessary to make repeal happen. “We need pressure on the Congress, we need pressure on the White House, we need pres- sure across the board, and as we get into this critical period, signs like that are promising,” he said. Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said he learned last week in a meeting with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that the House was planning the vote.

Continues on page 14

To our readers:

With this issue, we reclaim and re-launch the Washington Blade, your LGBTQ newspaper of record for more than 40 years. (See related story on page 4.) But the DC Agenda remains part of our identity; the Blade is back, and tucked inside, is the Agenda, our new local A&E guide. Thank you to all of our readers, advertisers and those in the community who have supported us during the last 23 weeks. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we continue to receive. We pledge to continue the Blade’s long traditions of community service and award-winning journalism.

socialagenda Our popular Queery feature is back. Aiyi'nah Ford answers 20 gay questions. Page 40
socialagenda
Our popular Queery feature is back.
Aiyi'nah Ford answers 20 gay questions. Page 40
Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to hold
Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to hold a House vote this year on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

D.C. has marriage, so now what?

Despite successes, activists say ‘we have not overcome yet’

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

When the weddings for same- sex couples began in the District of Columbia on March 9, many in the community hailed the occasion as the capstone of the city’s decades- old LGBT rights movement. The District government’s enact- ment of a same-sex marriage law in December and Congress’s deci- sion not to stop it follows a long list of existing city laws and policies

that protect LGBT people from dis- crimination, some of which were approved more than 30 years ago. With this as a backdrop, some in the community wondered whether the same-sex marriage law marked the completion of the LGBT rights movement within the city, enabling activists to move on to other causes and endeavors. But an informal Washington Blade survey of local LGBT activists conducted over the past two weeks shows that virtually all those contacted believe a wide range of LGBT-related problems and concerns remain on the agen- da of local advocacy groups.

Continues on page 26

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key Aisha Mills, president of the Campaign for All D.C.Families,
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Aisha Mills, president of the
Campaign for All D.C.Families, said
LGBT activists cannot ‘rest on our
laurels’ despite recent successes.

2 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

2 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 3

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 3

4 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

LOCALNEWS

 

Washington Blade returns to print

Washington Blade’s commitment to

LGBT activists absent from Gray campaign kickoff

Similar to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s opening campaign event earlier this month, nearly all of the city’s well-known LGBT activists stayed away from City Council Chairman Vincent Gray’s mayoral campaign kickoff event. Activists following city politics are speculating that many LGBT city residents are taking a wait-and-see posture on the mayor’s race and are not ready to take sides. Fenty and Gray both have strong records on LGBT issues. Fenty signed the city’s same-sex marriage law in December, and Gray was a strong advocate for the measure in his role as Council chairman. Although he did not mention Fenty by name during the April 24 campaign kick- off, Gray leveled strong criticism of the mayor’s leadership style, saying the mayor’s office has alienated many city residents in his efforts to push through reforms for the city’s public schools and other programs. Gray said he supports school reform but promised to work more closely with teachers, parents and principals. Also similar to the mayor’s opening campaign event, Gray did not mention LGBT issues. He chided Fenty for being a divisive force in the city, but did not mention that both he and Fenty received an equal amount of criticism from some of the city’s ministers and socially conservative residents for allegedly dividing the city through their support of same-sex marriage. Gray told reporters after his kickoff speech before a large audience at the Historical Society of Washington that he decided to limit the topics covered in his address to broad themes dealing with his plans to unite the city. He said he would address a wide range of other issues, including same-sex marriage, in future campaign appearances and events. Among the few gay Democratic activists attending the kickoff were Paul Kuntzler, co- founder of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group; and Stein member Christopher Fitzgerald. The club’s current officers were not present. Stein President Jeffrey Richardson has said the club’s rules require the officers to remain neutral until the club makes an official endorsement of a mayoral candidate. Other out gays attending the event were Ronald Collins, the City Council’s deputy secretary; and Christopher Murray, the clerk of the Council’s Committee of the Whole, which Gray chairs. Also attending was gay activist Kenneth Borden and D.C. Nightlife Association Executive Director Skip Coburn, whose group represents gay and straight bars and nightclubs in matters before the city. Coburn said he attended as an observer and hasn’t made up his mind on which candidate to support. David Meadows, a former Stein Club president and member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, said he also attended as an observer and is neutral in the mayor’s race. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

The Washington Blade, the 40-year- old publication that served as the LGBT community’s newspaper of record, has returned to newsstands after its former parent company filed for bankruptcy and closed the paper in November. Since the newspaper’s closing, former Blade staff members had produced a new print and online publication under the name DC Agenda, which is owned by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. The new company was founded by publisher Lynne Brown, editor Kevin Naff, sales executive Brian Pitts and other former Blade employees. Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia has no connection with Window Media, LLC, the Blade’s former parent company that shut- tered the newspaper and several other

LGBT publications it owned at the time of its bankruptcy filing in November.

excellence in journalism made it a week-

ly

‘must read’ for the LGBTQ community

locally and even worldwide,” Naff said.

“This is the tradition we have tried to emu- late with DC Agenda. We are thrilled that the Washington Blade is once again owned locally.” “There are benefits to the brand recog- nition of a publication that was highly trusted and respected for 40 years,” said Brown, a Blade employee for 23 years. “The power, effectiveness and strength of the Washington Blade came from the spirit and intensity of those who wrote the stories and worked with the local community,” she said. “We now have the opportunity to both restore and refresh a powerful, venerable news gathering institution and to make the treasure trove of our vibrant gay rights and liberation movement history acces- sible to the public. “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Naff and Brown said the decision to return to the Washington Blade name fol- lowed a survey of readers, which showed

Agenda recently acquired all assets

of the Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper, from a federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta. The purchase included the Blade name, all trademarks and copyrights and the entire 40-year archive. The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 as a one-sheet newsletter distributed in D.C.’s gay bars before evolving into an award-winning newspaper and web site with a national and international readership. “For more than 40 years the

DC

solid majority in favor of restoring the Blade name. Naff said the new company is working to restore online access to the paper’s electronic archive as soon as possible. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

a

White House protesters released from jail

U.S. Army Lt. Dan Choi and five LGBT military veterans were released from jail April 21, one day after U.S. Park Police offi- cers arrested them for handcuff- ing themselves to the White House fence in a protest against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Choi and Army veteran Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, who was among the people arrested at this week’s protest, were arrested in a similar White House action on March 18.

Similar to the earlier protest, each of the six arrested April 20 at the White House fence were charged with a single misdemeanor count of refusing to obey a police order to leave the area of the fence.

At an arraignment April 21,

D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard Ringell combined the two White House arrest cases for Choi and Pietrangelo and set a trial date for July 14 after the two pleaded not guilty. The men rejected an offer by prosecutors to pay a $100 fine in exchange for ending the case in a process known as post and forfeit.

Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key U.S. Army Lt. DAN CHOI and five other
Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key
U.S. Army Lt. DAN CHOI and five other LGBT military veterans were released from jail last week after hand-
cuffing themselves to the White House fence.

The other four protesters accepted the post-and-forfeit offer and agreed to a condition request- ed by the D.C. Attorney General’s office, which prosecutes misde- meanor cases, that they stay away

from the streets surrounding the White House until they pay the $100 fine. Ringell gave them one month to pay the fine. The four who accepted the offer were Navy Petty Officers

Larry Whitt and Autumn Sandeen, Air Force Cadet Mara Boyd, and Marine Corps Corporal Evelyn Thomas. Attorneys representing Choi and Pietrangelo contested the White

House “stay-away” order as a con- dition for their clients’ release, say- ing such a condition violates their First Amendment rights to approach the White House to express their opinions. But Ringell ruled against a motion by the attor- neys to void the stay-away order. The charges pending against the six arrested protesters do not carry a penalty of incarceration in jail. But Ringell told the four who accepted the post and forfeit plea that they could face jail time if they fail to pay the fine and don’t show up for a court date he set as an alternative route to allow them seek a trial. He told Choi and Pietrangelo that they, too, could face jail time for contempt of court if they fail to show up for trial. Robin McGehee, co-chair of the LGBT protest group GetEqual.org, which coordinated the White House arrest actions, said the group plans more civil disobedi- ence actions in the coming weeks, both in Washington and elsewhere. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 5

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 5

6 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

LOCALNEWS Pro-gay life insurance bill becomes law in Virginia Evidence fight continues as Wone trial
LOCALNEWS
Pro-gay life insurance bill
becomes law in Virginia
Evidence fight continues
as Wone trial nears
Companies can
now offer benefits
to same-sex partners
of employees
The judge presiding over the upcoming obstruction of justice
trial for three gay men implicated in the 2006 murder of D.C. attor-
ney Robert Wone will issue a final decision next week on wit-
nesses and evidence admissible in the trial, including evidence
about the sexual proclivities of the three defendants.
During an April 23 status hearing, D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn
By CHRIS JOHNSON
cjohnson@washblade.com
A bill enabling Virginia compa-
nies to offer life insurance benefits
to the same-sex partners of
employees became law earlier this
month after Virginia Gov. Bob
McDonnell (R) signed the measure.
The new law, approved by
both chambers of the Virginia
General Assembly with unani-
mous votes, was enacted after
McDonnell signed it April 7.
Stacey Johnson, a McDonnell
spokesperson, said the governor
signed the bill into law because it
passed with broad bipartisan sup-
port in the House and Senate.
“In addition, it will have no fiscal
impact on Virginia’s taxpayers,” she
said. “The governor believes a
decision about who an employer
can extend life insurance coverage
to should be made by the group
policy holder and the insurer.”
Previously, state law permitted
Virginia residents to take out group
life insurance coverage only for a
legal spouse or a child under age
25. But the new statute, which
takes effect July 1, broadens that
group of people to include anyone
with whom a Virginia resident has
a substantial and economic inter-
est, including a same-sex partner.
Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria),
chief co-patron of the legislation
and the only openly gay member
of the Virginia General Assembly,
said he was pleased the bill finally
passed after it was first introduced
three years ago.
“It’s exciting that after three
years of work, GLBT people will
be able to make their partners
their beneficiaries,” Ebbin said.
“It’s long overdue, but it’s a step
forward nonetheless.”
Jon Blair, CEO of Equality
Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised
that McDonnell signed the bill
when it came to his desk.
“This is pretty much no-brainer
stuff,” he said. “Really, the only sur-
prise is that it didn’t pass earlier.”
David Lampo, vice president of
the Virginia Log Cabin Republicans,
attributed the success of the bill this
year to its Republican chief patron,
Del. Tom Rust (R-Fairfax).
“Having a Republican patron
made a very big difference, but we
all owe Del. Adam Ebbin a debt for
first proposing this bill,” Lampo said.
Leibovitz set a final pre-trial status hearing for May 5, at which time
she promised to rule, among
other things, on whether
the government can submit
evidence showing the defen-
dants used sex toys, including
restraints, at their home.
Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky
and Dylan Ward are charged with
obstruction of justice, conspiracy
to obstruct justice and evidence
tampering in connection with the
stabbing death of Wone inside
the Dupont Circle area house
Photo courtesy of Radio Free Asia
where the three defendants lived
in August 2006.
Prosecutors have pointed
Robert Wone was stabbed to
death in August 2006.
Photo courtesy of McDonnell’s office
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed into law a bill that benefits
same-sex couples.
Ebbin first introduced the bill
in the Virginia House in 2008.
The legislation failed to pass that
year and again in 2009 before it
became law this year.
Ebbin said he believes the bill
succeeded this year because the
insurance lobby worked hard to
support it and the Virginia Family
Foundation didn’t obstruct its pas-
sage. He noted that a technical
change in wording that didn’t sub-
stantively change the legislation
also contributed to the bill’s success.
Previous versions of the bill
allowed Virginia residents to desig-
nate someone from “any other
class of persons” they wanted as a
life insurance beneficiary, while the
enacted version changes this lan-
guage to “any other person” with
whom the insured group member
has an insurable interest.
The legislation notably failed
in the two previous sessions
when there were a greater num-
ber of Democratic lawmakers in
the General Assembly and a
Democratic governor. It passed
during the administration of a
Republican governor who’s not
considered gay friendly.
Upon taking office, McDonnell
renewed an executive order pro-
tecting certain classes of people
from discrimination in the public
workforce, although he left out sex-
ual orientation as one such class.
He later issued a directive saying
the state shouldn’t discriminate
against LGBT people, although this
action doesn’t have the same teeth
as an executive order.
Ebbin said he believes
McDonnell allowed the bill to
become law because he didn’t
want to oppose legislation that
provides for wider life insurance
and because no controversy sur-
rounded the bill as it progressed
to the governor’s desk.
“So, I suspect that there wasn’t
consideration for him to oppose a
bill that passed nearly unanimous-
ly,” Ebbin said. “There’s the poten-
tial for the bill to be overridden and
I’m sure he didn’t want any more
controversy — considering the
other controversies that he’s had in
his first legislative session.”
Kelly Young, an Arlington, Va.,
resident who married his spouse
Bill Reinsmith in Vermont earlier
this month, encouraged Ebbin to
introduce the legislation in 2008 so
that he could provide life insurance
to his partner through his company.
Although the issue is now moot
for Young and Reinsmith because
Young is self-employed and
Reinsmith’s company offer doesn’t
life insurance benefits, Young said
the passage of the legislation
moves Virginia forward.
“It is still important, both eco-
nomically and morally,” Young
said. “It’s a small step forward for
LGBT equality in a state that
doesn’t offer LGBT residents
much in the way of equality and
lately has sent some weird sig-
nals on LGBT issues.”
to an autopsy report saying
Wone appeared to have been “immobilized” when he was
stabbed three times in a guest bedroom at the house. They have
since backed away from an earlier theory that Wone was immo-
bilized from a paralytic drug, suggesting they may argue at trial
that he was restrained before being stabbed.
The defense has filed motions asking Leibovitz to bar the gov-
ernment from submitting evidence or witnesses showing that the
crime scene was “cleaned” of blood stains; that Wone was sexual-
ly assaulted or immobilized by a drug; and that Wone may have
been bound by “restraints.” Another defense motion calls for barring
the government from submitting evidence about the sex lives of the
three gay men, including any S&M-related sexual activities.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, say they may file a motion seeking
to bar the defense from calling as a witness a cardiologist who’s
expected to testify that a single stab wound to the heart could
immobilize a person. The defense was expected to use the wit-
ness to counter the autopsy finding of no signs of a struggle or
movement by Wone when he was stabbed.
Authorities have yet to charge anyone with the murder itself.
The trial is scheduled to begin May 10.
The men have pleaded not guilty and say they believe an
intruder killed Wone after entering the house while they were
asleep. Wone, a friend of the men, was spending the night at
their house after working late at his nearby office. Wone was
married to a woman, and his family says he was straight.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Earline Budd honored
for trans advocacy work
Veteran D.C. transgender activist Earline Budd has been
named the 2010 recipient of the International Foundation for
Gender Education’s Trinity Award, which recognizes outstanding
work on behalf of the transgender community.
“The Trinity Award honors our heroes: living transgender per-
sons who have performed extraordinary acts of courage and
love in service to the transgender community,” says a letter
announcing Budd’s selection for the award.
“I know of no one more deserving of this recognition,” Denise
Leclair, a Foundation official, told Budd in the letter.
Budd received the award at the organization’s annual conference
April 23 at the Alexandria Mark Center Hilton Hotel in Alexandria, Va.
“I am always pleased at doing something that will continue to
put the District of Columbia out front,” Budd said in an e-mail to
LGBT activists. “This award tells me that with your continued
support I am doing something right. I really appreciate each of
you being in some way a part of my life and say thank you.”
LOU CHIBBARO JR.

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 7

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NATIONALBRIEFS

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key Locals protest anti-gay Uganda bill Several local religious leaders
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Locals protest anti-gay Uganda bill
Several local religious leaders spearheaded a vigil Tuesday in D.C. to support
LGBT people in Uganda. Lawmakers in the African nation are considering an anti-
gay bill that could make homosexuality punishable by imprisonment or death.
About 20 people attended the vigil at National City Christian Church.

Pa. lawmaker: Opponent lying about bisexuality

PHILADELPHIA — A lawmaker seeking re-election to the Pennsylvania House reportedly said during a recent fundraiser that her opponent in a Democratic primary is lying about being bisexual to pander to LGBT voters. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, state Rep. Babette Josephs told attendees at a Philadelphia fundraiser April 15 that her primary opponent, Gregg Kravitz, is lying “about a whole bunch of stuff, including his sexuality.” “I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs was quoted as saying. “Now he goes around telling people, quote, ‘I swing both ways.’ That’s quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy’s a gem.” In response, Kravitz said he’s sexually attracted to men and women and found Josephs’ remarks offensive, according to the Inquirer. “That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves,” Kravitz said. “It’s damaging.” Josephs also reportedly called Kravitz a “trust-fund baby” who had no discernible job history and was running for a seat because he was bored. Known as a supporter of LGBT people, Josephs is endorsed by the Liberty City Democrats, an LGBT group in Philadelphia, and has worked to block passage of a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and to add sexual orientation to the state’s hate-crimes statute, according to the Inquirer. CHRIS JOHNSON

443 troops discharged last year under ‘Don’t Ask’

WASHINGTON — Data made public last week brings the total reported number of service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in fiscal year 2009 to 443, according to Servicemembers United. The figure became known April 22 by combining the discharge numbers from the Defense Department, 428, with the discharge numbers for the Department of Homeland Security for the Coast Guard, 15. The new numbers bring the total number of discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” since its inception in 1993 to 13,425. Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the numbers continue the trend of record annual lows for discharged service members under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as commanders “continue to ignore this law that is clearly outdated and which impairs their unit readiness.” “But this new number still means that 443 lives were unnecessarily turned upside down in 2009, 443 careers were unfairly terminated, and military units unexpectedly lost a valuable asset 443 times last year as two wars raged,” Nicholson said. According to Servicemembers United, the actual number of discharges is probably higher because the reported numbers don’t reflect service members expelled from the Reserve or the National Guard. “The Reserves and the National Guard have been especially active since Sept. 11, 2001, and their numbers have swelled, so it is highly probably that the discharge num- bers from these two additional activities are significant,” Nicholson said. CHRIS JOHNSON

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 9

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NATIONALNEWS

Dem senators from Dakotas, Virginias leaning ‘yes’ on ENDA

Frank says supporters must now ‘do the lobbying’

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

All but one of the Democratic senators from North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia who are uncommitted on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act appear to be leaning toward voting for the bill, according to LGBT activists. The six Democratic senators from the four states are among 16 uncom- mitted Senate Democrats that LGBT lobbyists say will play a pivotal role in determining whether ENDA will be enacted into law this year. “I’m fairly confident our sena- tors will vote for it,” said Joshua Boschee, a member of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, which advocates on behalf of gay and non-gay issues. Boschee was referring to North Dakota Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, who are both Democrats. The two, along with

Photo courtesy Warner’s office A gay lawmaker in Virginia said he has ‘every confidence’ that
Photo courtesy Warner’s office
A gay lawmaker in Virginia said he has ‘every confidence’ that U.S. Sen.
Mark Warner ‘will do the right thing and support’ the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act.

Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) are said to be good candidates to vote for ENDA. Activists from West Virginia, however, are less certain about Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who has declined to say how he will vote on the bill. If passed, ENDA would ban job discrimination based on sexual ori-

entation and gender identity in most employment situations. It does not apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees, religious organizations and the military. The Human Rights Campaign, which is coordinating formal lob- bying efforts for the bill, has said at least 53 senators were expect- ed to vote for ENDA. But the group’s deputy legislative director,

David Stacey, said it’s uncertain whether 60 senators can be lined up to defeat a filibuster, which Republican opponents were expected invoke to kill the bill. As of two weeks ago, HRC and ENDA supporters in the House of Representatives pre- dicted the bill would reach the House floor this spring. But last week, gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a strong ENDA sup- porter, told LGBT activists he was uncertain when the bill would come up for a House vote. Polis made his comments to protesters with the group GetEqual, who on April 15 interrupted a hear- ing held by the House Committee on Education & Labor, which has jurisdiction over ENDA. The protesters boisterously called on Rep. George Miller, the committee’s chair, to hold an “imme- diate” committee vote to send ENDA to the House floor. Polis, a member of the committee, motioned for the protesters to follow him outside the hearing room, where he said he would talk to them about ENDA. According to Polis, whose remarks were recorded on GetEqual cameras, ENDA support-

ers in the House want to ensure there are enough votes to kill any Republican-sponsored motion to recommit ENDA to committee. The video’s audio quality of the video is poor, and not all of Polis’s remarks to the protesters could be heard. “The congressman was saying that [House Democratic] leader- ship needs to make sure they have the votes lined up to fight off any motion to recommit, not that they don’t have the votes to pass the bill,” said Lara Cottingham, Polis’s press spokesperson. “He is confident that we will get to a floor vote, but wants to make sure it is done in the right way.” One possible motion to recom- mit the bill to committee could force the House to hold a recorded up- or-down vote on whether the trans- gender provision should stay in the bill, a vote that some House mem- bers fear could hurt them at the polls in the upcoming congression- al elections, according to some Capitol Hill observers. Gay Rep. Barney Frank (D- Mass.), ENDA’s lead sponsor in the House, told the Washington Blade

Continues on page 18

Gay Rep. Barney Frank (D- Mass.), ENDA’s lead sponsor in the House, told the Washington Blade

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 11

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California repeals gay ‘cure’ law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly this week voted unanimously to repeal a law enacted in 1950 that labeled gays as sexual deviants and demanded that studies be conducted to probe supposed ties between homosexuality and crime rates, as well as to find “cures” for being gay. The Assembly voted 62-0 for repeal, according to the Associated Press; the measure now proceeds to the Senate. Tom Ammiano, a Democratic San Francisco assemblyman and LGBT rights supporter, said, “It’s time to get this phony cure off the books.” The antiquated law was created follow- ing a string of sex crimes in the Long Beach area in the 1950s. One case involved the murder of a 6-year-old girl. At the time, gays took the blame for the crimes. Democratic Assembly member Bonnie Lowenthal of Long Beach, originally pro- posed an outright repeal, but some law- makers wanted to retain language urging research into the causes of sex crimes against children, the AP reported. “The result will be the law as it should have been written 60 years ago, but now

we’re setting it right,” Lowenthal said. “Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice any more than one’s height, and nei- ther can be changed,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of the statewide LGBT rights group Equality California.

China lifts ban on HIV-positive visitors

SHANGHAI — China announced this week that it has lifted a 24-year-old ban on HIV-positive visitors to the country, just days before thousands of international travel- ers are to begin arriving for Shanghai’s world expo, according to the New York Times. The government also lifted a ban on travel to China by people with leprosy. The move alters a 1986 law governing quarantines and a 1989 law regulating entry by foreigners, removing the ban related to HIV-positive people, China’s State Council, announced Tuesday. The council approved the changes April 19 and Premier Wen Jiabao signed decrees putting them into effect on April 24, according to the Times report. Chinese law now bans only those with infectious tuberculosis, serious mental dis- orders and “infectious diseases which could possibly greatly harm the public health.” China has temporarily lifted the ban on H.I.V.-positive travelers for major events in the past, but the revision of laws indicates that the change will be permanent, accord- ing to the Times. China Daily quoted a spokesperson for the health ministry, Mao Qun’an, as saying that the ministry had been working to permanently remove the pro- hibition since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The United States only recently lifted its own 22-year ban on HIV-positive visitors. President Bush initiated repeal of the ban, which was finalized under President Obama’s administration in January. Obama had promised LGBT rights activists that he would expedite lifting the ban.

Chicago clinic faces federal investigation

CHICAGO — Chicago’s Howard Brown Health Center is under federal investigation

for allegations it mishandled federal funds associated with a decades-long AIDS study,

the Chicago Tribune reported. The investigation by the National Institutes of Health involves research grant fund- ing tied to the Multi Center AIDS Cohort Study, or MACS, an ongoing study of HIV- infected men, the paper reported. “We recognize that the last few weeks have been wrought with questions and con- cerns,” Paul Fairchild, Howard Brown’s interim chief operating officer, said in the state- ment published by the Tribune. “We want to ensure the community that the integrity of the research surrounding the MACS or any other study at Howard Brown has not been questioned. Our staff stands ready to provide the highest quality of research and the standard of care that our community expects and deserves.” In a press release, the center says it is cooperating with the investigation and has launched an independent audit of all federal grants. In the statement, the board said it has “no reason to believe that any funds were misappropriated for personal gain or used for purposes other than the center’s mission and services.”

Photo courtesy of Amiano ‘It’s time to get this phony cure off the books,’ said
Photo courtesy of Amiano
‘It’s time to get this phony cure off the
books,’ said Tom Ammiano, a San
Francisco assemblyman.

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 13

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14 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

NATIONALNEWS

‘Don’t Ask’ protest set for Sunday at White House

Continued from page 1

“I’m delighted that [Pelosi] reaffirmed to hold the vote this year,” he said. Sarvis said the planned vote is helpful because it “under- scores to the White House the seriousness of purpose” and the importance of moving key votes in the House and Senate during upcoming weeks. “The hour for the president as well as for the leadership to become engaged is now,” he said. “The reality is — particularly in the Senate Armed Services Committee — we are still short of some critical votes. We don’t have the votes today. We’re on the brink of getting them, and we need help from leadership on the Hill and from the president himself.” As plans for the House vote emerged, pressure continued to build on President Obama to make a greater effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year. Activists were planning a White House protest Sunday to draw more attention to the issue. Heading the event are the grassroots groups Queer Rising and GetEqual. The latter organiza- tion was responsible for civil dis- obedience protests in recent months, including arrests on two occasions of LGBT former service members who chained themselves to the White House gates in protest of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Alan Bounville, a member of Queer Rising and East Coast organizer for GetEqual, said the focus of Sunday’s protest would be to press Obama to send to Congress language repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of his budget recommendations for the defense authorization bill. “We want the president to transmit to the Senate Armed Services Committee the lan- guage that’s put into the [Department of Defense] budget to repeal this ridiculous law immediately,” he said. “We want that to happen right now; we want him to do that this moment.” Activists are urging Obama to send such language to Congress soon because the defense commit- tees are expected to hold markups next month for defense authoriza- tion legislation. The Senate Armed Services Committee, which advo- cates have been pushing to take up the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is scheduled to hold its markup on May 26. “So [the protest is] really just part of the growing swell of grass- roots pressure that’s being placed on the president to take leadership on this issue because we know this window is closing for this to happen

Photo courtesy of DNC One activist planning a Sunday protest outside the White House on
Photo courtesy of DNC
One activist planning a Sunday protest outside the White House on ‘Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell’ said President Obama has failed to follow through on his
promise to be a ‘fierce advocate’ for the LGBT community.

this year,” Bounville said. The protest is set to take place Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at Lafayette Park. Bounville noted that the number of people who participate could be in the hun- dreds or more. Organizers are still working on the messaging for the protest, Bounville said, including what he called a “visual compo- nent” that “may or may not happen that would also provide a stark visual image at the actual rally.” The list of speakers planning to take part in the protest is still being finalized, but Bounville said among those taking part would be U.S. Army Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran who was among those who chained himself to the White House fence in protest of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “There’s a list of speakers that are taking the stage and just really sharing their stories, repeating this demand over and over and over,” Bounville said. “We’ll be doing a lot of chanting and just really connecting the people not just to this issue, but also to the fact we’re really fight- ing for full federal equality.” Bounville was non-committal about whether civil disobedience would be a component of Sunday’s protest. He said he had “no idea” whether anyone would break the law at the event. “I have no idea and usually those types of things would be kept under wraps anyway,” he said. “So that’s definitely some- thing we wouldn’t know until we’re actually out there.” But at least one lawmaker was skeptical about the impact of the Sunday protest. Gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), when asked about the effectiveness of the White House protest, replied, “You think President Obama is going to cave because people are demonstrating

in front of the White House? No.” “If presidents were going to change because people demon- strate, then what happens when people demonstrate in the oppo- site direction?” he said. “Do you count the number of demonstra- tors? I continue to be frustrated by people trying to take the easy way out — the way that gives them an emotional release — instead of calling senators and calling representatives.” Frank said he was willing to bet most of those participating in the protest have not lobbied their lawmakers “in a significant way.” “By which, I mean, call them and getting other people to call them,” he said. In response, Bounville said Frank and others shouldn’t dispar- age acts of civil disobedience because people are putting them- selves on the line for these efforts. “That’s disgusting,” he said. “When they say things that really condemn non-violent direct action, they’re completely out of touch, not just with this movement, but with the social movement in general.” Bounville said he didn’t think “letter writing and phone calling and $2,500 a plate dinners” have influenced lawmakers to move toward repeal, and what’s work- ing “is the groundswell of grass- roots support.” “So if there were any civil disobe- dience at this rally, if it’s well execut- ed, I think that would be a wonderful thing for the movement,” he said. While skeptical about the impact of Sunday’s protest, Frank said the White House isn’t being “supportive the way they should be” in moving forward with repeal this year. Still, Frank said the recent regula- tory changes limiting third-party out- ings and raising the rank of officers conducting and initiating reviews “made a tremendous difference.”

“I give them a lot of credit for moving as they did, but I can’t give them full credit and I’m dis- appointed,” he said. Bounville is also urging national LGBT organizations to take part in the Sunday protest and said a lack of participation would mean those groups aren’t serious about the urgency of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “If these organizations really

feel a sense of urgency of these issues, they will support rallies like this that the community is plan- ning,” he said. “It’s a rally that has competent speakers eloquently speaking on this issue, and if they’re not going to support that, then they’re really not supporting the movement, period.” Bounville said SLDN and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force would be among the organizations “looking at what they can do right now to help promote this event,” but the situ- ation with HRC is different. “HRC has been to this point unresponsive, which is interesting because the other organizations have responded,” he said Monday. “Joe Solmonese and HRC have not responded, which is not sur- prising. He’s forcing HRC to become irrelevant very fast.” Cole denied that HRC hadn’t responded to the organizers’ request to participate. He said HRC started talks Monday about getting Jarrod Chlapowksi, HRC’s military consultant, involved in the event. “He is interested in doing so and HRC is interested in having him appear,” Cole said. “Right now, Jarrod is in direct communi- cation with the event organizers to work out the details and find out more about the event, but we look forward to his participation.” Sarvis said SLDN is supportive of the protest, but was waiting to hear more details. He said he had

a meeting scheduled April 23 with

Kip Williams, a co-chair of GetEqual, but the discussion didn’t take place because Williams left town before the scheduled time. “We’re having conversations about what it’s going to look like and who’s participating and what’s the scope of the protest,”

Sarvis said. “But, yes, it’s certain-

ly something that we’re going to

be supporting … and we’ll be helping to get out information on

it and other means.” Noting Obama called for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as part of his State of the Union address, Sarvis said the challenge before repeal advocates is ensuring the president is following through and engaged with Congress to elimi- nate the statute this year. “Clearly, if he gets on the phone

and asks for votes in the two com- mittees, that’s going to make a dif- ference,” Sarvis said. “He’s working the phones on financial services reform. He did that on health care. We need that same kind of engage- ment in repealing that statute.” Sarvis said protests such as the one occurring Sunday are effective in influencing President Obama to move forward with repeal this year, but noted that there are different approaches to petitioning the president. “We have clients who are send- ing letters to the president this week individually; we’re up on Capitol Hill face-to-face with mem- bers and their staffs,” Sarvis said. “There’s a place for others to do their thing, whether it’s at the White House or Lafayette Park.” Recalling a similar protest before the White House that SLDN organized in June to mark the then-265 service members who were discharged during Obama’s term, Sarvis said his organization has taken part in grassroots activism before. “Petitioning the president at the White House is not a new thing for SLDN,” Sarvis said. “That’s something that SLDN organized almost 11 months ago, so obviously I think it’s helpful.” In addition to the White House protest, Bounville noted that activists were planning actions tar- geting members of Congress regarding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He said his organization sent fliers to senators with differing positions on the issue — Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), ranking Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) — with the message, “You’re next!” Accordingly, five activists held a sit-in protest Monday at McCain’s district office in Phoenix, Ariz., to protest the senator’s opposition to

repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The fallout of the protest wasn’t immedi- ately clear and McCain’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment. “From a non-violent direct action standpoint, yeah, we have reached out to those targets,” Bounville said. Still, Bounville said the No. 1 focal point for the upcoming

protest is Obama because he’s failed to follow through on his promise to be a “fierce advo-

cate” for the LGBT community. “I’m going to continue to pres- sure him,” Bounville said. “I’m going to continue to exhaust myself because I’m not exhausted on this. He will continue to lose political capital at an accelerated rate, probably faster than he would have if we weren’t engaged at this end of the movement.”

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 15

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NATIONALNEWS

Gay congressional candidates raking in cash

Contenders in R.I., Calif. doing well, experts say

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

Non-incumbent gay candidates running for Congress are general- ly doing a good job of raising money, according to the reported receipts the Federal Election Commission made public after the first quarter of this year. For the first quarter of 2010, David Cicilline, the gay Democratic mayor of Providence, R.I., has had marked success in fundraising to support his congressional bid. After announcing his candidacy to repre- sent Rhode Island’s 1st congres- sional district earlier this year, Cicilline has raked in $725,078 for his war chest. Comparatively, Bill Lynch, a former Rhode Island Democratic Party chair who’s challenging Cicilline for the party nomination, has raised $230,485. John Loughlin, a Republican candi- date, has raised $333,763.

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key David Cicilline, the gay Democratic mayor of Providence, R.I.,
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
David Cicilline, the gay Democratic mayor of Providence, R.I., is running
for Congress and has raked in $725,078 for his war chest.

Sean Theriault, a gay govern- ment professor at the University of Texas, Austin, said Cicilline “looks to be in great shape” heading into the election. “I would be surprised if he isn’t welcomed into the [LGBT Equality] Caucus after the

November elections,” he said. Denis Dison, spokesperson for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said the amount of money Cicilline has raised is “hugely significant.” “This is an open seat and part of the calculus about who’s going to be considered a frontrunner is the

ability to fundraise,” Dison said. For cash on hand, or the amount of money remaining after expendi- tures in the race, the margin between Cicilline and his Republican oppo- nent is even more pronounced: the Providence mayor has $713,346; Loughlin has $187,537. “That’s a sign to other donors and to the political establishment that Mayor Cicilline is prepared to fight and win this,” Dison said. Notable donations to Cicilline’s campaign include $2,400 from the Victory Fund as well as $1,000 from gay lawmaker Rep. Jared Polis’ (D-Colo.) political action committee. The Human Rights Campaign, which has endorsed Cicilline, also contributed to the campaign. Michael Cole, an HRC spokesper- son, said his organization has made $6,000 in direct contribu- tions to the campaign. “Additionally, we are likely to contribute the full $10,000 allowed by law through a combination of direct and in-kind contributions by the election,” Cole said. Cicilline’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for com- ment on his fundraising numbers.

In the race for California’s 45th congressional district, the gay Democrat running for office has also amassed a sizeable war chest, although not as much as the Republican incumbent he’s trying to oust. Steve Pougnet, the mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., has raised $867,614 in his bid to unseat Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), who’s raised $1,330,183 to hold on to her seat. Notable donors to Pougnet include the Victory Fund, which gave $2,400 to his campaign, and Polis, whose PAC contributed $2,000. Jordan Marks, Pougnet’s cam- paign manager, said he thinks the fundraising numbers place the candidate in a “great position.” In the first quarter of 2010, Marks said Pougnet raised about the same amount that Bono Mack raised for her campaign, even though she’s an incumbent. Marks noted that Pougnet raised $304,000 and Bono Mack raised around $320,000 in that time period. “This quarter is, by far, our best quarter so far,” Marks said. “This quarter proved that for certain we

Continues on page 20

is, by far, our best quarter so far,” Marks said. “This quarter proved that for certain

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 17

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18 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

NATIONALNEWS

Prospects for ENDA looking up in the Senate

Continued from page 10

this week that he remains optimistic about the bill’s overall prospects in the House. But he repeated con- cerns he raised earlier in the month that not enough people in the LGBT community are being aggressive enough in lobbying their representa- tives to vote for the bill. He said too many people in the gay community “want to play prog- nosticator and not do the lobbying.” “We are in a fight,” Frank said. “The [House] leadership is com- mitted. We have a large number of votes. What we need are peo- ple to call their representatives and tell them to vote for this and then call their senators.” He said the decision by protest- ers to disrupt Miller’s committee hearing “was about as unhelpful as could be,” and described the protest- ers as “people with Tea Party envy.” Frank also said two weeks ago that he favors holding a House vote on ENDA even if it’s uncer- tain the bill would pass or support- ers could beat back a harmful motion to recommit. He noted that it’s important for the LGBT com- munity to have such a vote.

But an aide to the House Democratic leadership, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this week that an ENDA vote would not be held if there aren’t enough votes to pass it. “We’re not going to bring it up if it will fail,” said the aide. “That would be harmful to the bill’s prospects in the future.” But Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and an active lobbyist for ENDA, said she agrees with Frank that a House vote on ENDA should be held regardless of whether its passage is absolutely certain. “We are so close, and we’re certainly over the top on the over- all bill,” she said. “Whatever bill goes to the House floor will pass. So it’s a question of how close we are to assurances on hypothetical motions to recommit. “All of them at this point are entire- ly hypothetical. And there’s no way to be absolutely positive because the motion to recommit could be some- thing we didn’t anticipate,” Keisling said. “It could be something that is not a big deal to us.” Keisling noted, however, that

if there is an attempt to delete the transgender provision from the bill, she’s optimistic that the bill’s supporters will have the votes to defeat such a motion. She said that for other bills, Democratic leaders have some- times pulled the bill off the House floor if it appears they don’t have the votes to kill a damaging motion to recommit and that the motion to recommit is deemed unacceptable. She noted that would happen in the unlikely development that ENDA supporters don’t have the votes to defeat a motion to recom- mit that’s deemed unacceptable. Amid the House uncertainty, activists are increasingly hopeful for the bill’s prospects in the Senate. Boschee of North Dakota noted that the North Dakota Senate recently passed a state version of ENDA that includes a transgender protection provision. Although the state’s House of Representatives defeated the bill, Boschee said its approval in the state Senate has generated new energy among LGBT advo- cates in the state, prompting greater support for the version of ENDA pending in Congress.

“We are asking state senators who voted for the state bill to lobby our congressional delega- tion” on ENDA, Boschee said. And Karen Mudd, an official with Equality South Dakota, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, said the group is optimistic that Johnson will vote for ENDA, even

though he’s declined to sign on as

a co-sponsor of the bill. “Sen. Johnson’s staff has been

very receptive to our requests that he support ENDA,” Mudd said. “He has

a policy in his Senate office of non-

discrimination based on sexual ori- entation. We’re asking him to expand that to include gender identity.” In Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, signed on as an ENDA co-sponsor earlier this year. Warner, his Democratic col- league in the Senate, has so far declined to co-sponsor the bill. But LGBT activists say Warner has expressed general support for a federal non-discrimination bill covering gays, and they are hopeful that Warner will vote for

a trans-inclusive ENDA this year. “I’ve known Sen. Warner for a dozen years,” said Jay Fissette, the openly gay chair of the Arlington

County Board. “I have every confi- dence that he will do the right thing and support ENDA.” Stephen Skinner, president of the board for the state LGBT group Fairness West Virginia, said his group has been actively lobbying Byrd and Rockefeller on ENDA. “I am very hopeful that Sen. Rockefeller will vote for it and will

soon become a co-sponsor,” said Skinner. “I’m also hopeful that Sen. Byrd will do the right thing on ENDA.” Some Capitol Hill observers

think his long record of leaning toward conservative views on social issues might prompt him to vote against the bill or to abstain from voting on ENDA. He was absent from the vote last year on a hate crimes bill that included protections for gay and transgender people. But one source familiar with Byrd, who spoke on condition of not being identified, speculated that Byrd might vote to defeat an ENDA filibuster, even if he votes against the bill itself. A vote against a filibuster would, in effect, be a

vote for the bill since ENDA sup- porters believe they have more than the 50 votes needed to pass the bill in an up-or-down vote.

the bill since ENDA sup- porters believe they have more than the 50 votes needed to

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 19

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NATIONALNEWS

Gay candidates post strong fundraising numbers

Continued from page 16

will have the resources that we need to run a really credible cam- paign, talk about the differences between us and our opponent, and really give the voters an opportuni- ty to make a clear choice.” Based on the fundraising numbers, Theriault said Pougnet would “be in the hunt” to claim Bono Mack’s seat. But given the challenges that Democrats are expected to face in this year’s election, Theriault wasn’t opti- mistic about Pougnet’s chances. “If this were 2006 or 2008, Congresswoman Bono [Mack] would be in serious trouble,” Theriault said. “I suspect that the political winds may save her this time.” Support for Pougnet among LGBT groups isn’t universal. The Log Cabin Republicans is backing Bono Mack in the race and last year contributed $1,500 to her campaign. Charles Moran, a Log Cabin spokesperson, said his organiza- tion is supporting Bono Mack because the Republican lawmaker voted with the LGBT community when her support was needed. Bono Mack twice voted against the

Photo courtesy of Friends of Steve Pougnet Steve Pougnet, the gay Democratic mayor of Palm
Photo courtesy of Friends of Steve Pougnet
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raised $867,614 in his bid for Congress.

Federal Marriage Amendment and voted in favor of hate crimes legis- lation and the Employment Non- Discrimination Act. “We’ve got longstanding rela- tionships with Mary Bono Mack and she’s backed [us] up on a lot of different issues when we’ve need- ed it,” he said. “We’re proud and have no problem supporting Mary in this race. It was a no-brainer.”

Still, Bono Mack has been criti- cized for not taking a position on California’s Proposition 8 when it came before state lawmakers and for refraining from endorsing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. Noting that Bono Mack amassed more than $1 million in campaign funds, Moran said the lawmaker is “doing well” and that she’s among the best people in

the country working to raise money for her campaign. “It doesn’t really surprise me that her numbers came out so strongly in the fundraising world,” Moran said. Moran said he expects to see another contribution from Log Cabin to Bono Mack as the gen- eral election approaches — although he’s unsure of the amount — and that members of Log Cabin are making individual contributions to her campaign. HRC hasn’t made an endorse- ment in the race for California’s 45th congressional district. Another gay Democrat is run- ning to represent New Jersey’s 7th congressional district in the upcoming election. Ed Potosnak, a former schoolteacher and staffer for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), is attempting to oust Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) from his seat. The first quarter filings reveal that Potosnak has raised $81,007, while Lance has received $772,440 in fundraising. The difference between the two candidates is less pronounced for cash on hand:

Potosnak has $64,397 and Lance has $473,880.

Potosnak said he’s “extremely energized and proud” of the sup- port his campaign has received. “I project a strong showing in the second quarter to advance our positive message,” Potosnak said. “I’m pretty confident that with additional support from our community, we can and we will make up for that difference.” Noting that he’s unopposed in his Democratic primary, Potosnak said Lance has several chal- lengers in his Republican primary that would “likely deplete his cam- paign funds” as Lance progresses toward the general election. The Victory Fund hasn’t made a decision to endorse Potosnak. Dison said he couldn’t comment on the candidate’s fundraising numbers because his organization hasn’t made an endorsement. Theriault said Potosnak’s numbers don’t bode well for his prospects. “In today’s political climate, a Democratic challenger needs at least $500,000 to be even a legit- imate candidate against a Republican incumbent,” Theriault said. “Mr. Potosnak is about six times short that amount.”

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22 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

INTERNATIONALNEWS

Senate moves to address LGBT inequality abroad

Amendment to State Dept. budget would boost tracking of int’l violence

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday adopted an amendment to help address LGBT inequality abroad as part of major State Department budget legislation. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D- Wisc.), was attached to the fiscal year 2010-11 foreign affairs authorization bill. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was a co- sponsor of the measure. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said the measure passed, 12-7, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) joining 11 Democrats voting in favor of the amendment. The language urges the State Department to task more officers in the Human Rights Bureau to track violence overseas related

Photo courtesy of Feingold’s office U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold sponsored a measure that urges the
Photo courtesy of Feingold’s office
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold sponsored a measure that urges the State
Department to better track violence overseas related to sexual orientation
and laws criminalizing homosexuality, among other steps.

to sexual orientation and laws criminalizing homosexuality. Additionally, the provision calls on U.S. embassies to work to reform or repeal laws overseas criminaliz- ing homosexuality and directs the State Department to strengthen its annual human rights report with

regard to reporting on abuses against LGBT people. In a statement, Feingold said the amendment “will help counter efforts around the world” that restrict the rights of LGBT people. Adoption of the amendment comes on the heels of Senate

approval earlier this month of a resolution condemning an anti-gay bill in the Uganda parliament that would, among other things, insti- tute the death penalty in some cases for homosexual acts and require citizens to report LGBT people to the police. Feingold said in remarks to the committee that the Uganda legisla- tion “is just one example” of actions taken abroad aimed at restricting the rights of LGBT people. “Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community face increasing levels of persecution and violence in Iran and Iraq, criminalization laws remain in effect in many other countries, and homosexu- ality is punishable by death in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Nigeria,” Feingold said. At Blade deadline, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was still considering amendments to the foreign affairs legislation and had yet to report the bill to the floor. Bromley said the adoption of the amendment “is useful” because the State Department “has already, on its own accord, implemented most of these provisions.”

“This is really a recognition of the Senate and by Congress of the good work that the State Department is already doing and affirming that this work should continue to go forward,” he said. Last year, the House passed its version of the foreign affairs authorization bill with language substantively identical to the LGBT provisions in the current Senate bill. The Senate commit- tee’s adoption of the amendment puts the two bills in accord as the legislation makes its way to President Obama’s desk. Bromley said the amendment mandates the LGBT provisions, while allowing the State Department considerable discre- tion in implementation. “That is an important policy mandate and there is no discretion provided to the department, although the secretary has already clearly demonstrated her commit- ment to this work,” he said. Should the legislation reach Obama, it would be an achieve- ment not often made by Congress. Bromley said the last time Congress passed a foreign affairs authorization bill was in 2002.

not often made by Congress. Bromley said the last time Congress passed a foreign affairs authorization
not often made by Congress. Bromley said the last time Congress passed a foreign affairs authorization
not often made by Congress. Bromley said the last time Congress passed a foreign affairs authorization

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 23

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 23
april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 23

24 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

24 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010 NATIONAL NEWS Photo courtesy of Sears Former Georgia Supreme Court

NATIONALNEWS

Photo courtesy of Sears Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Sears
Photo courtesy of Sears
Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice
Leah Sears

Kagan, Sears too gay-supportive for Supreme Court?

By LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN Special from Georgia Voice

Two possible replacements for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens could draw fire from conservative organiza- tions for their stands on LGBT issues. President Obama’s short list of potential nominees holds fewer than 10 names, according to reports. The list is said to include former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Sears and U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland. Sears was known for her strong stands on gay issues during her tenure on the Georgia Supreme Court, from which she retired in June 2009. Her legal opinions, including voting with the majority to overturn Georgia’s sodomy law and her opposition to the process by which Georgia’s Constitution was amended to ban same-sex marriage, made her the target of conservatives who tried unsuccessfully to unseat her. Kagan’s opposition to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays, les- bians and bisexuals serving openly was a key issue for opponents when she was confirmed to the Obama administration post last year, and would likely surface again should she be nominated to the high court, the Wall Street Journal reported. As dean of the Harvard Law School, in 2005, Kagan joined an amicus brief that argued that law schools such as Harvard should be able to bar military recruiters, because the military does not follow the gay-inclusive non-discrimination policy the schools required of private employers who wished to recruit on their campuses. In an e-mail to law school students and faculty at the time, Kagan described “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as “a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order,” according to the Wall Street Journal. During the confirmation process for Kagan to become attorney general, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked her in writ- ing if she believed the U.S. Constitution guaranteed gay couples the right to marry. “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage,” Kagan said, according to the Wall Street Journal. Last year, the Christian Coalition of America called Kagan “dangerous to America.”

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 25

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DISTRICTNEWS

Activists cite fighting AIDS, hate crimes as priorities

Continued from page 1

“There’s still so much work to be done,” said veteran D.C. gay and Ward 8 community activist Phil Pannell.“We have not overcome yet.” Pannell and others involved with local LGBT organizations pointed to alarmingly high rates of HIV infection among D.C. men who have sex with men, the city’s unwelcome status of having the nation’s highest rate of reported anti-LGBT hate crimes, and its distinction of being one of the few major U.S. cities that fails to provide ongoing city funds for its LGBT community center. The same contingent of activists expressed caution that the fight for same-sex marriage in the city is not yet over. They noted that a lawsuit seeking to force the city to hold a voter initiative calling for repealing the law is scheduled to come up for a hearing May 4 before the D.C. Court of Appeals. City attorneys, who have already won several earlier court challenges to the marriage law, say they are optimistic the city will ultimately win its case in defend- ing a provision of its initiative and

Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. LGBT
Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key
David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. LGBT Community Center,
said the facility could take a stronger role if it were better supported by
city funding.

referendum law that bans ballot measures seeking to take away rights from minority groups. That law, which gay activists persuaded the City Council to pass in the late 1970s, has so far spared the city a divisive ballot fight over gay marriage that has rocked other states, including California and Maine.

“We still have to stay vigilant and make sure we are actively monitoring what will come down through the courts,” said Aisha Mills, president of the Campaign for All D.C. Families, one of the lead groups that lobbied for the city’s same-sex marriage law. “And we also know that Congress still has an opportunity

to get involved and intervene in D.C. in a number of ways,” she said, pointing to Congress’s authority to overturn a D.C. law at any time, including through its process of approving the city’s annual appropriations bill. “We are not going to be able to rest on our laurels and be safe and secure in having marriage at least, I would say, for another year or two or even longer,” she said. Veteran D.C. gay activist Bob Summersgill, who is credited with mapping the strategy for passing a same-sex marriage law, said he, too, is hopeful that a ballot meas- ure seeking to repeal the law will be defeated in court. However, he noted that Congress could always exert its authority to force the city to put the issue before the voters. “The Democrats will not hold both houses [of Congress] forever, and it is unlikely that any Republicans will back marriage equality in D.C. if they gain a majority,” Summersgill said. “The longer that they are put off, the safer we are, but we must be pre- pared to fight a ballot initiative.” On other matters, Summersgill and Rick Rosendall, vice presi-

dent of the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance, point to GLAA’s 21-page 2008 LGBT Agenda, or policy paper for D.C., which describes a wide range of issues that the group believes are related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans- gender city residents. Rosendall said the group is updating the Agenda document in time to present it to candidates running in this year’s mayoral and City Council races. “Marriage equality is only part of one of six sections in our poli- cy paper,” Rosendall said. In addition to addressing LGBT families, Rosendall said the docu- ment lists LGBT-related concerns over public safety, including the Police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services Departments and the Department of Corrections; pub- lic health, including AIDS; human and civil rights; education and youth; and consumer and business issues. “Even if we achieve equality on paper — and we have a long way to go in some of these areas — continued vigilance is required to ensure that good policies are put

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28 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

DISTRICTNEWS

LGBT residents urged to get involved in broader community

Continued from page 26

into practice,” he said. Among the specific issues addressed in the document are

bullying of LGBT youth in the city’s public schools “while adult authori-

ty figures often look the other way,”

lack of social services for trans- gender residents, and a local health care system that doesn’t sufficiently serve lesbians. The GLAA Agenda document is available online at the organi- zation’s web site, glaa.org. Lesbian Democratic activist Barbara Helmick cited a litany of issues similar to those raised in the GLLA Agenda document, but

said that local activists should go

a step further by joining others in

the community to push for changes in federal law. Of particular concern to same- sex married couples, she said, is the existing federal law barring them from obtaining Social Security spousal benefits given to straight married couples. “I think with our unique seat right here with the federal government down the street, the local community becoming active in that campaign

would have enormous benefits for many of our married couples here in the city as well as married couples throughout the country,” she said. David Mariner, executive direc- tor of the D.C. LGBT Community Center, said many of the LGBT-

related social services programs that groups like GLAA seek to improve are performed in other cities by LGBT community centers. Pointing to a call by activists in Philadelphia for “brick and mortar” projects and programs for LGBT youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations, Mariner said the D.C. LGBT Center has the ability to house or operate such programs if the city helps fund the center. “We are the only major U.S. city

that doesn’t have a permanent build- ing for our local LGBT Community Center,” Mariner said. “In our short time at 1810 14th St., N.W., we’ve seen what is possible when we have an appropriate facility. Unfortunately, we will have to leave this facility, pos- sibly as soon as this summer, and our future is uncertain.” Mariner was referring to a lease the Center has for a building formerly used by the Whitman- Walker Clinic. The building is

owned by a real estate develop- ment company that plans to demolish it to build a new condo- minium and office complex. The Washington Blade offices also are located in the building. Brian Watson, director of pro- grams for the non-profit social services group Transgender Health Empowerment, and long- time transgender activist Earline Budd, an outreach worker for the group, both said the community’s work in addressing transgender issues is far from complete. The two pointed to the organi- zation’s Wanda Alston House for LGBT youth, which provides tem- porary housing and social services to gay and trans youth. Due to city budget cuts, the Alston House lost a sizable portion of its city funding, requiring THE to reduce services to the youth staying at the house. “Homelessness in our commu- nity is mostly invisible,” Budd said. “One of my priorities for our move- ment is to find out how we can reach the social and economically disadvantaged in our community.” Gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein said an important part of the community’s continu-

ing agenda should be making sure the mayor and city agencies properly implement LGBT-relat- ed laws and policies already on the books. He noted that agen- cies such as the public school system haven’t been aggressive enough in carrying out anti-bully- ing polices, for example. “We may also need to legislate action” requiring the agencies to bet- ter carry out such programs, he said. Carlene Cheatam, a same-sex marriage advocate and longtime member of the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Men & Women before recently stepping aside from the group, called for a funda- mental change in the LGBT move- ment’s approach on the local level. Instead of working mostly within specific LGBT groups that limit their work to LGBT-specific issues, Cheatam said activists should become fully involved in their local communities and inte- grate LGBT advocacy into the broader community. “I have always thought that the community does it wrong,” she said. “I feel the community does it sepa- rate from other issues and the

broader community. … You can’t just go to the straight community and say let’s talk about LGBT.” She said a small number of LGBT people who are involved in their local communities work on broader, non-LGBT issues as well as LGBT issues. “But as an agenda, the com- munity does not get involved in something that’s not LGBT,” she said. “And yet we expect our allies to support us. … And so what I want is for the LGBT com- munity to become part of the broader community and partici- pate, support other people, other communities to establish allies.” Cheatam also said that LGBT people who take a low profile in their involvement in the broader community should be fully out and self identified as LGBT. “This also helps other people who are in the closet to see LGBT [people] who are visible, who are cleaning up neighborhood alleys with the gay T-shirt on. You can see that from your window and say, ‘Wow, they’re able to be out and in the neighborhood.’ “That’s my wish for the com- munity.”

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VIEWPOINT

washingtonblade

 

Vol. 41, Issue 18

 

HRC, Solmonese in the hot seat

Address: 1810 14th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 Phone: 202-747-2077 E-mail: news@washblade.com Internet: www.washingtonblade.com Publisher: Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc.

Criticsdemandanswers as time runs short for Congress to act

up to the HRC board. Asked by DC Agenda’s Chris Johnson if he regretted the regret- table “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rally last month featuring Kathy Griffin, Solmonese said that Griffin approached HRC with the idea and the organization felt it was bet- ter to be a part of it than not. Another kerfuffle erupted when Sarvis said he was excluded from a key White House meeting related to “Don’t Ask” repeal. Several HRC staffers reportedly attended the meeting; it appears that Sarvis wasn’t invited because he had publicly criticized the administra- tion’s handling of the issue. Americablog’s John Aravosis, who was in the audience, angrily denounced Sarvis’ exclusion from the meeting during the radio event. You can’t fault HRC for having White House access, but exclud- ing experts from key meetings smacks of either petty turf wars or appeasement and pandering to an administration looking to retaliate against its critics. HRC shouldn’t have played along and instead insisted on bringing Sarvis. There were several questions related to how closely the LGBT movement’s many groups work together. Spaulding noted that she routinely receives multiple press releases on the same issue from a slew of organiza- tions parroting the same mes- sage, something I can attest happens with regularity. The assembled leaders assured the audience that they do, in fact, work closely together. For a moment it seemed they would join hands and sing “Kumbaya.” But they all missed the obvi- ous point that the movement has too many organizations, leaders and egos chasing the same lim-

ited pool of donors. The LGBT movement is in desperate need of consolidation, something I’ve advocated for several years. Unfortunately, it’s an idea that is anathema to those in power. As for Solmonese, he and his organization often sound out of touch with the average LGBT citi- zen. There is a palpable and grow- ing anger with President Obama and the Democrats in Congress and HRC would be wise to recog- nize it and respond appropriately. Solmonese, for example, should have apologized for the Griffin rally — it was a sorry exercise in star- fuckery that had no place in the serious debate over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that has destroyed the careers of 13,000 brave American service members. We have listened to the many promises made by Democrats since 2006, supported them with money and votes and waited patiently for Obama to tackle the economy, health care and other priorities before getting around to LGBT con- cerns. But time is running out. The Democrats will lose seats in both houses come November, giving them a handy excuse to avoid LGBT issues until after the 2012 elections. And if the Republicans manage to retake the House, as some are predicting, then we’re really out in the cold again. There’s still time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to pass the Employment Non- Discrimination Act this year, but both will require public support from Obama and his behind-the- scenes lobbying of reluctant moderate Democrats. Obama needs to be on the phone with Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and other uncommitted Democrats in the

coming days and weeks, pres- suring them to act now. It’s true that the Obama admin- istration has advanced LGBT equality via various rule changes and executive orders, including the recent letter sent to HHS endors- ing hospital visitation rights for LGBT couples. It’s also true that HRC doesn’t get the credit it deserves for pushing behind the scenes for those changes. But with wide Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and a supportive Democratic president, the bar was set much higher. If ENDA dies, as many are predicting, and “Don’t Ask” repeal is delayed by endless

studies there will be a reckoning in the movement in 2011. We haven’t heard a peep about repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, something Obama repeated- ly and emphatically promised to do during his campaign. The Uniting American Families Act and other high-profile legislative priorities remain in limbo. Meanwhile, too many of our so-called “activists” are too con- cerned with currying favor, pre- serving access and pursuing administration jobs to stand up to

president and a party that take

a

LGBT support for granted. The LGBT movement is nearing a crossroads. The strategy of align- ing closely with the Democratic Party must pay off in the next few months. Otherwise, new leadership and new strategies will need to emerge and prevail.

Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com.
Kevin Naff is editor of
the Washington Blade.
Reach him at
knaff@washblade.com.

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HRC president Joe Solmonese took it on the last week at a panel discussion among LGBT move- ment leaders moderated by Sirius XM radio’s Michelangelo Signorile in Washington. In the studio with Signorile were Rea Carey from National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Mara Keisling from National Center for Transgender Equality, Aubrey Sarvis from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, blogger Pam Spaulding and former Clinton administration official Richard Socarides. Solmonese joined by phone from London, where he was stranded by the Icelandic volcano ash cloud. No one on the panel asked Solmonese the question that many audience members were buzzing about: Why was he in London during this critical period for securing the final votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? Was the Senate Armed Services Committee holding a British retreat that we don’t know about? Turns out he went to London to meet with movement leaders there and attend the Stonewall dinner — at a donor’s expense. There were plenty of barbs sent Solmonese’s way, including a pointed question from Get Equal’s Robin McGehee, who asked if Solmonese and HRC’s David Smith would resign if key LGBT leg- islative priorities are not achieved this year. Solmonese responded that his continued employment is

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Re: “Rematch in Maryland” (editorial by Kevin Naff, April 16) Gov. Martin O’Malley deserves support from Maryland’s LGBT community. As we approach the gubernatorial election of 2010, I believe the LGBT community needs to assess the progress that has been made during O’Malley’s term as governor and sup- port him for his re-election bid:

were provided with domestic partner Benefits in FY 2010 by regulatory changes implemented by the O’Malley administration. In addition, O’Malley has directed Maryland state agencies to respect and implement Attorney General Doug Gansler’s recent opinion that state law should recognizing out-of- state same-sex marriages. I ask LGBT Marylanders to review the advances made under Gov. O’Malley’s administration and sup-

went with my husband to see the movie “Precious.” My hesitation, based on reviews and synopses that I read, was my belief that the film would be too depressing and negative. The only reason I agreed to see it is that my hus- band wanted to see it and since I love my husband I went along. I disagree with Enszer’s conclu- sion that “racism, pure and simple” is the reason that those associated with “Precious” are not recognized by our national LGBT organizations. Personally I don’t have such a defin- itive conclusion for this lack of recognition but I leave open the pos- sibility that racism may be a factor. However, I do believe that your conclusion in and of itself is just too

“pure and simple” and that the real reason for this lack of recognition is much more nuanced, with perhaps one factor being the criticism that “Precious” received from some quarters that the film was racist due to its very limited and negative portrayal of African-American life. That type of criticism may just make “Precious” too hot to handle for some LGBT organizations.

Overall I enjoyed the film“Precious,” if you can use the word “enjoy” for such

disturbing piece, and recommend

a

that people make the effort to see it. Perhaps then they can draw their own conclusions regarding the lack of national LGBT group recognition of this film and its associates.— Charles Gravitz, Silver Spring, Md.

Phil

Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com.

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O’Malley signed domestic part- ner bills into law in 2008 and 2009. Without these bills, LGBT Marylanders would be without important relationship protections. Also, a bill specifically protecting LGBT students was signed into law by O’Malley in 2008. Maryland state employees

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port his bid for re-election in 2010. — Judd Vickers, Cambridge, Md.

Re: “’Precious’ deserves praise from LGBT groups” (op- ed by Julie Enszer, April 16) It was with hesitation that I

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 33

INSIDELGBTWASHINGTON

Spring is an expensive season in D.C.

Summer means the beach, flip-flops —and an end to fundraisers

By PETER ROSENSTEIN

I am ready for summer to

begin. From the time I finished my short three-year teaching career, I have viewed summer as begin- ning on Memorial Day and lasting until Labor Day. Like many others

in D.C., I often complain about the hot, humid summers but this year we all got to complain about the long, cold, snowy winter.

It seemed we went from snow

on the ground for much of March to 80-degree temperatures by Easter Sunday. It was great seeing the kids participating in the White House Easter Egg Roll wearing shorts and T-shirts instead of the down jackets they had to wear last year. But one of the main reasons that many of us in the LGBT community look forward to sum- mer is the end of the formal D.C. fundraising season. The very short season that we have here in D.C. known as spring brings

The very short season that we have

here in D.C. known as spring brings

literally dozens of invitations each

week to fundraising events.

literally dozens of invitations each week to fundraising events. They seem to multiply like rab- bits year to year. If your bank account allows, you could be out every night of the week to one or more fundraisers ranging in cost from $25 to thousands for feder- al political candidates and non-

profits. Between the politicians and all the organizations asking for donations it seems that pro- fessional fundraisers believe the LGBT community in Washington, D.C., is made of money. Today we don’t print many invi- tations anymore. You are invited to part with your money by e-mail, evite or on Facebook. Facebook has made inviting people to an event so easy. Just one click and thousands of people get your event announcement. Then Tweet about it and, if you’re Ashton

Kutcher, millions more can get it. Every LGBT candidate from around the nation has a friend in D.C. that is raising money for them. I know how important it is but there are times I think it would be nice to live somewhere like Akron so I

wouldn’t have to hear about all this.

I know who is running in San

Antonio and San Diego but am

sure they don’t have the slightest idea who is running here in D.C. They often see us only as the pot

of gold at the end of their rainbow.

I know the importance of giving money to candidates from across the nation and I follow the Victory Fund endorsement list to see who has a chance to win. Springtime in D.C. brings invites from SLDN, Whitman-Walker Clinic, Victory Fund and the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, to mention just a few. Then there

are our own LGBT candidates run- ning for office who want and need our support. David Catania run- ning as an independent for D.C. Council; Jim Graham and Clark Ray running as Democrats for the Council; and Dana Beyer running for the Maryland Legislature. This year we even have a few gays of the Republican persuasion run- ning for D.C. Council. And then there are some local and national straight candidates who will have an impact on our lives who need our money. Those of us in the LGBT community must have an aura that suggests we all have

money trees growing in our living rooms or gardens. Over the years I have been as guilty as anyone when it comes to sending out invites to fundraisers

and asking people for money. Between the political candidates I support, my ARTS in ACTION events, and other organizations it got to the point that some friends, when I reached them on the phone, would simply ask, “who or what now, and how much?” So now I have begun to limit the invitations I send out to events for organizations and candidates that

are based in D.C. and serve peo- ple here. While I will continue to lend my name to invites for a national candidate or to someone running for office from another state or city if people feel it is use- ful, I will focus on helping organi- zations like SMYAL, MetroTeen AIDS, Whitman-Walker Clinic, and Us Helping Us, among others, and local candidates like Catania, Beyer and Ray who will have a direct impact on the lives of people living here in D.C. That will have to suffice until I win the lottery. So I look forward to Memorial Day and moving into summer.Then like so many other Washingtonians, and members of the LGBT community in Baltimore and Philadelphia, I will start spending my weekends in Rehoboth Beach where I can at least wear shorts and sandals to the weekend fundrais- ers. But more on Rehoboth in another column.

Peter Rosenstein is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist.
Peter Rosenstein is
a D.C.-based LGBT
rights and Democratic
Party activist.

VIEWPOINT

Obama biography de-gayed by author

Remnick’s 600-page ‘The Bridge’ ignores president’s ties to LGBT community

By CHARLES FRANCIS

The bridge in David Remnick’s biography of Barack Obama, “The Bridge” ( Knopf, 2010) is the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, a holy site for the Civil Rights Movement. Here, Rep. John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr. and brave marchers were gassed and beaten by Alabama troopers, decades later revisited by Barack Obama. No significant strand in Obama’s rise to the presidency is omitted from this nearly 600- page book, except one. “The Bridge” has been thoroughly de- gayed. In another decade, with another presidency, this might be a typical criticism. With this pres- idency, it is a lapse. There is no mention of the role gays, their votes or their money played in the campaign. David Geffen? He is cited in

‘The Bridge’ is a first draft of history

has been accepted. Today, perceptive

that writes gays out. In the past, this

readers ask, ‘Why the omission?’

passing, no mention that he is gay or was among the first “early money” Obama supporters. There is no mention of a gay issue in the presidential cam- paign such as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” now at a roiling boil. There is no mention of the Matthew Shepard Act signed into law by President Obama in 2009. Remnick does report Alan Keyes slimed Mary Cheney in 2004. “The Bridge” does not cover President Obama’s historic dec- laration in 2008 that he would be a “fierce advocate” for gay and lesbian Americans. The book examines the heated South Carolina primary contest between candidate Obama and Hillary Clinton. There is no refer- ence to “ex-gay” Rev. Donnie McClurkin’s role in South

Carolina Obama events. Obama said, “I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights.” Sounds like a bridge to me. “The Bridge” omits the uproar caused by Rick Warren’s selection for the inaugural invocation.

Remnick writes, “For the inaugural ceremony, Obama had invited Rick Warren to give the invocation,

a gesture to mainstream evangeli-

cals, but surely the most moving performance on the podium, besides Obama’s own somber address, was the final benedic- tion.” How do you not mention the controversy about this selection, given Warren’s support for Proposition 8 in California? Lawrence Goldyn, a professor of Obama’s at Occidental

College in 1979 is discussed as openly gay and an early influ- ence. This calls to mind Bill Clinton’s autobiography, a de- gayed classic, in which Clinton mentions an openly gay friend at Oxford in the 1960s but some- how fails to mention David Mixner, a key player in his rise to the presidency. Steve Hildebrand, the gay deputy national cam- paign director for the Obama campaign, is mentioned several times, but never identified as gay or a bridge to a vast gay commu- nity in historic transition. “The Bridge” cites James Baldwin 10 times, even in the frontispiece, without mentioning Baldwin as a black and gay voice in the civil rights movement. It

was a cruel time: according to Gore Vidal, President Kennedy joked about Baldwin as “Martin Luther Queen.” “The Bridge” is a first draft of history that writes gays out. In the past, this has been accepted. Today, perceptive readers ask, “Why the omission?” There are lots of spirits associated with Selma. One is

Bayard Rustin’s. Rustin was an openly gay founding strategist of the civil rights movement. It was Rustin who studied in India Ghandi’s non-violence. It was Rustin who counseled King before the march across the Pettus Bridge: “There is only one answer, the people who believe in non-violence are not now going to retreat.” Years later, in 1986, it was Rustin who spoke to students about the direct line from Montgomery to Stonewall. Bayard Rustin could make that connection. James Baldwin lived that connection. In remarks, Barack Obama has made the connection, too, and that is maddening for a lot of people who supported him. But David Remnick’s “bridge?” It is not there for gay Americans.

Charles Francis is the founder of the Kameny Papers Project. Reach him at ccfrancis@aol.com.
Charles Francis is the
founder of the Kameny
Papers Project.
Reach him at
ccfrancis@aol.com.

34 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

34 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 35

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 35

36 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

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arts & entertainment Project Runway’s Jack Mackenroth was in town for last week’s Whitman-Walker Clinic
arts & entertainment
Project Runway’s Jack Mackenroth was in
town for last week’s Whitman-Walker
Clinic fundraiser. Photos, PAGE 52
washingtonblade.com • vol. 41, issue 18 • april 30, 2010 • Page 39
‘The family
I never had’
Local LGBT students benefit from
Point Foundation scholarships
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO
Anyone struggling with an inferiority complex would
do him- or herself a favor by staying away from the
local Point Scholars, recipients of Point Foundation
scholarship money for LGBT young people. They’re a
group of staggering overachievers who’ve accom-
plished a lot for their age, often in the face of adversity.
India native Harjant Gill, 28, is working on a Ph.D.
at American University studying anthropology,
migration and gender. He’s gay and also a filmmak-
er who’s made a handful of shorts and documen-
taries that explore issues like cultural identity, homo-
phobia, alienation, AIDS and more.
Lesbian Kelsey Phipps spent six years working for
the late Sen. Edward Kennedy as a policy adviser but
quit to go to law school at Georgetown University.
And Los Angeles native Joe Goldman, a junior
political communication major at George Washington
University, got involved in Israeli and global warming
issues at age 12 before taking up LGBT rights causes
shortly after he came out at 14. Since then he’s
interned for Equality California, the California League
of Conservation Voters, for several elected officials in
his home state and on the presidential campaigns of
Hillary Clinton and later Barack Obama.
All three and a handful of others in the D.C. area
have benefitted from Point Foundation scholarship
money and opportunities for mentoring from the
Foundation, started in 2001 by partners Carl
Strickland and Bruce Lindstrom, the latter a gay
entrepreneurial success (he co-founded what
became Costco) who’d been exiled from his evan-
gelical family upon coming out.
There are 67 current scholars and 75 alumni. This
year’s crop of about 38 new scholars, to be announced
in June, will have been selected from more than 4,000
applicants. The Foundation, which has 10 full-time
staffers, operates with a $3 million-plus endowment
supplied from a bounty of corporate sponsors, individ-
ual gifts, bequests, benefits and fundraisers. That’s up
substantially from the initial 2004 endowment of
$100,000. Most scholars are in the program multiple
years. The average scholar receives about $9,300 per
year for tuition, books and living expenses.
“It’s really about giving them the support they
need to be successful,” says Vince Garcia, Point’s
scholar relations and selections program director.
“It’s about helping them move beyond whatever
forms of marginalization they’ve encountered.”
That varies, of course, from scholar to scholar.
For Gill, who came out at 15, just a year after mov-
ing to the U.S. with his family, it was a rough start.
“My family told me I was financially cut off if I moved
out and I knew I couldn’t live there so there
was this constant back and forth about
my sexuality,” he says. “And their
unwillingness to even discuss the
topic. High school was very bad.
I never went to class because I
was worried about getting
beaten up, so as a result, my
GPA was very bad.”
Phipps came out at 16
and had a girlfriend her
senior year of high school
in Washington state.
She’s reluctant to say
how bad it was initially
because she’s at a
point now where her
parents have come a
long way and have
even invited her pres-
ent girlfriend to their
house for holidays.
“They really are coming
along and trying to have a
relationship,” she says.
“Before my mom would just
hang up if anybody except
me answered the phone.”
Goldman says he’s
one of the lucky ones.
His parents were sup-
portive. So why does he
need the aid?
“I’ve been marginal-
ized by our laws just like
all of us have,” he says.
Continues on page 50
HARJANT GILL, 28, is one of the Point Foundation's
D.C.-area scholarship recipients.

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

40 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

QUEERY: 20 Questions for Aiyi’nah Ford Editor’s note: “Queery: 20 Gay Questions” was a popular
QUEERY: 20 Questions for Aiyi’nah Ford
Editor’s note: “Queery: 20 Gay
Questions” was a popular Washington
Blade “getting to know you” feature since
the section formerly known as “Out in
DC” launched in February 2007. Now
that the paper is returning to its former
name, we’ve revived Queery and
tweaked it with a few new questions.
How long have you been out and
who was the hardest person to tell?
I
was outed at age 13 by a mental health
professional. Hard is an understatement
when it comes to that scenario.
What’s your advice for
LGBT movement leaders?
We must stop trying to speak for everyone
and provide all-inclusive environments for
everyone to speak for themselves. We
seek empathy for our oppression but we
are often times the oppressors.
Aiyi’nah Ford had always been interest-
ed in LGBT rights but her sense of duty and
activism spiked last year when she and her
girlfriend at the time, Torian Brown, were
kicked out of Silver Spring’s Tastee Diner
after embracing. The 25-year-old lesbian
and native Washingtonian was incredulous
and says the event was a wake-up call.
“The liberation goes beyond ‘Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell,’ DOMA, ENDA,” she says. “We
have black gay youth who don’t have a
place to live. I’m just not satisfied with our
percentages. There are those of us who are
pushing our plight but so many in the local
black [LGBT] scene are invisible. I’ll be at a
social event and they’re always there, but
when it comes to leadership, it’s the same
four or five people. We see ourselves on TV
now, so we become comfortable but there
are still instances of injustice happening all
the time and we see from the lack of con-
sequence that the justice system doesn’t
see this as a problem at all.”
Ford’s activism manifests itself in multi-
ple ways — she’s in several of the local
activist groups but also gives socially con-
Who’s your gay hero?
The nameless face in Unknown, USA
who will never make a headline or
receive a single check but fights for
equality and claims their truth everyday.
What would you walk across
hot coals for?
Full federal equality!
What’s Washington’s best nightspot,
past or present?
Lace, where every night is ladies’ night.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Describe your dream wedding.
My dream wedding celebrates a mar-
riage that isn’t held under this incre-
mentalist, state-by-state approach to
marriage equality.
What gay stereotype
annoys you most?
That gays conspire against heterosex-
uality. The only thing a straight woman
can do for me is point me in the direc-
tion of the nearest employed, mentally
sane, educated, lesbian (or help me
fight for full federal equality).
scious poetry readings at open mic nights
and co-hosts a radio talk show online
(www.blogtalkradio.com/listen-up) as her
alter ego “SimplyNay,” a name she also
uses during her poetry readings. Her les-
bianism and activism have largely alienat-
ed her from her family but she has a sup-
port system of about five close friends she
relies on. By day, Ford works in internation-
al finance but she says LGBT activism is
her passion. She loves reading and giving
dramatic monologues in her spare time.
She also likes to hang out at Washington’s
lesbian nightclubs, Lace and Phase One.
What non-gay issue are you
most passionate about?
The gentrification of the United States,
particularly Washington, D.C.
What’s your favorite gay movie?
“Stranger Inside”
What’s the most overrated
social custom?
Apologies. Very few are sincere.
What historical outcome
would you change?
Can Michael Jackson get a do over?
What’s been the most memorable
pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The first time I saw Sylvester James.
He made me feel, mighty real!
What trophy or prize
do you most covet?
I still have the report card where I was
skipped from first to third grade. Does
that make me a nerd?
On what do you insist?
insist on having a role in the revolu-
tion and you should too!
I
What do you wish
you’d known at 18?
Not to take life too seriously because
I’ll never make it out alive anyway.
What was your last Facebook
post or Tweet?
You’d have to follow or friend me to find
out. I’m like Victoria — I have secrets!
Why Washington?
Because I am one of the two born and
raised Washingtonians left. But on a seri-
ous note, wherever I travel I return more
and more in love with my hometown.
If your life were a book,
what would the title be?
“Not So Simple: A Memoir by
SimplyNay”
If science discovered a way to change
sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’d suspect foul play.
What do you believe in
beyond the physical world?
Depends on what day you ask me!
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 41

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SOCIALAGENDA friday, april 30 OPEN MIC NIGHT AT THE DC CENTER, 1810 14th St. N.W.,
SOCIALAGENDA
friday, april 30
OPEN MIC NIGHT AT THE DC CENTER,
1810 14th St. N.W., at 8 p.m. for a night of
queer spoken word and poetry. Everyone
is welcome and encouraged to come pre-
pared to share your work. This event is
free and open to the public.
EQUALITY FORUM arrives in Philadelphia
this weekend with a packed schedule of
panel discussions on the LGBT movement,
parties and more. Visit equalityforum.org for
a
Photo courtesy of youthpridedc.org
YOUTH PRIDE was rained out last weekend, but is rescheduled for Saturday from
noon-5 p.m. at 23rd & P streets, N.W.

full schedule of events. Blade editor Kevin Naff joins Obama administration officials and GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios for a Saturday panel on the White House at 1 p.m. BYT PRESENTS: CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN II: A COSMIC DISCO JOURNEY with DJ Shea Van Horn (Mixtape), DJ Cale (BYT) at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St N.W., starting at 9:30 p.m.

saturday, may 1

YOUTH PRIDE, rescheduled from last weekend, takes place in the P Street Beach area (23rd & P streets) from noon-5 p.m. featuring a diverse lineup of musicians, speakers and other perform- ers. The Infatuation dance at Fly Lounge follows from 5-9:30 p.m. Visit youthprid- edc.org for more information. JAM is returning to Mova Lounge with a very special session, Cherry Jam, to ben- efit The Cherry Fund. Drink specials, prizes and music by DJ Gemz. No cover but donations accepted for The Cherry Fund. The Jam begins at 9 p.m. at Mova Lounge, 1435 P St. N.W. CODE, returns to Motley Bar above EFN Lounge, 1318 9th St., N.W., for its monthly installment. Gear, rubber, skin, uniform or leather dress code will be strictly enforced. Music provided by DJ Shea Van Horn. Admission is $10. Code is an 18+ event. There will be an open bar from 9-10 p.m. WHO’S BAD, “the world’s greatest Michael Jackson tribute band,” per- forms at 9 p.m. at Ram’s Head Live, 20 Market Place at Power Plant Live in down- town Baltimore. Tickets are $16.50; call

410-244-1131.

sunday, may 2

MAMMA MIA FLASH MOB WITH BOWEN McCAULEY DANCE AND THE DC COWBOYS DANCE COMPANY. Join the DC Cowboys for a dance “flash mob” of Mamma Mia. All you have to do is learn the steps to the Mamma Mia choreogra- phy via online tutorials. The public is invit- ed to take part in these flash mob dances that will be performed live. 1 p.m. at Dupont Circle and a second flash mob 3 p.m. at Ballston Common Mall, 4328 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA. Online tutorial of Mamma Mia can be found here on You Tube: http://tinyurl.com/yb65gks MARK KNOPFLER brings his “Get Lucky” tour to Warner Theatre, 13th Street between E&F streets, N.W., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range $75.50-105.50; call 202-783-4000.

monday, may 3

Country-Western dance lessons at Remingtons, 639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. (half block west of Eastern Market Metro) from 8:30-9:30 p.m., $5 per person, per lesson (dance class participants should wear boots or shoes with leather soles).

tuesday, may 4

Volunteers will be assembling safer sex kits and enjoying great drink specials at Motley, 7-10:30 p.m. Motley is the

Photo couresy of siamusic.net SIA performs at the 9:30 club next week.
Photo couresy of siamusic.net
SIA performs at the 9:30 club next week.

upstairs bar at EFN Lounge, located at

1318 9th St., N.W.

DRAG BINGO at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900

U St., N.W., hosted by Shi-Queeta Lee,

every Tuesday starting at 8 p.m. Free to play. SIA performs at the 9:30 club, 815 V St., N.W., at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25; visit 9:30club.com for information.

wednesday, may 5

THE TOM DAVARON SOCIAL BRIDGE CLUB will meet at 7:30 p.m., at the Dignity Center, 721 8th St., S.E. (across from Marine Barracks) for social bridge. No partner needed. Visit lambdabridge.com. Each Wednesday at the Green Lantern is POZ WEDNESDAY. Starting at 8 p.m., POZ mixers provide a supportive atmos- phere for those who are HIV positive and those who want to help eradicate the stig- ma surrounding HIV. The Green Lantern is located at 1335 Green Ct., N.W. GENERAL PROGRAM WEDNESDAYS 7-8:30 p.m. at the Vajroyogini Buddhist Center,1803 Connecticut Ave., N.W., 2nd floor, $12. How can we learn to love with- out pain? Through these teachings, we will learn to enjoy our relationships and in turn benefit others. For more information visit meditation-dc.org, call 202-986-2257 or e- mail info@meditation-dc.org.

thursday, may 6

THE POINT FOUNDATION’S ANNUAL WASHINGTON, D.C., RECEPTION is

held from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Center,

1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W. Tickets are

$75. See related story on page 33. JOHNNY BLAZES performs live at the DC Center. Johnny Blazes’ show is an evening- length performance that blends cabaret arts with theater to create a semi-narrative series of vignettes. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the DC Center Activity Room, 1810 14th St. N.W. Tickets $10 now or $15 at the door. Light refreshments will be served. Visit thedccenter.org for more information. FINAL CAPITAL PRIDE GENERAL MEET- ING will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Volunteer sign-up, mixer and raffle. The meeting will be held at the Madison Hotel, 1177 15th St., N.W., near Farragut North and McPherson Square

Metro stations. That evening, the full schedule

of events and the headlining act for Capital

Pride’s 35th anniversary celebration, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!” will be announced. Volunteers interested in being a part of Capital Pride’s 35th anniversary celebration are encouraged to attend. Visit capitalpride.org or

call 202-719-5304 for information.

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 43

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THEATERAGENDA No lie: This play is a good time Michael Kahn directs superb cast in
THEATERAGENDA
No lie: This play is a good time
Michael Kahn directs
superb cast in ‘The Liar’
‘The Liar’
By PATRICK FOLLIARD
Through May 29
Shakespeare Theatre
Company
Lansburgh Theatre,
450 7th Street NW
202-547-1122
www.shakespearetheatre.org
Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company
Michael Kahn’s direction makes ‘THE LIAR’ a crowd pleaser.

While Shakespeare’s plays were often penned and performed for England’s elite, they were also intended for the masses. The bard’s more common contemporaries understood and appreciated his work, regularly flocking to the Globe Theatre to catch his latest tragic romance or suspenseful gore fest. How fitting then that the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s (STC) spring offering “The Liar”— David Ives’ ridiculously (in the good way) rhyming adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th century comedy — is so fabulously fun and accessible. With Ives’ jokes and Michael Kahn’s unswerving direction, the production is indeed a crowd pleaser. The quick-paced romp’s title fib- ber, Dorante (Christian Conn), arrives in Paris armed with some introductions, a bit of dash, and a whole lotta imagination. Passing himself off as a war hero (when, in fact, Dorante like his creator

Corneille is a lawyer from the provinces), he hires likable wise-guy Cliton (Adam Green) as his valet and sets straight away to wooing the city of light’s lovelier ladies — name- ly fair Clarice (Erin Partin) whom he mistakes for her sidekick Lucrece (Miriam Silverman), leading to all sorts of farcical confusion. As Dorante, Conn is convinc- ingly pathological — he lies speed- ily and with relish. And while many of his untruths are harmless, a few do land him in some very sticky sit- uations; but alas, he’s not both- ered, after all, this world class pre- varicator’s credo is “The unimag- ined life is not worth living.” And Ives’ pun and anachro- nism-filled script written entirely in verse only adds to the madness. For instance, Cliton gives Dorante the goods on Lucrece’s father “Perander. Rich as God. A Tuscan villa. Ski place in Gstaad.” Per usual, STC regular Aubrey Deeker is excellent as Philiste, a level-headed gentleman who, like the audience, isn’t fooled by Dorante for a moment. Deeker eases comfortably into Ives’ sometimes dizzying verse and plays with the language. Similarly,

Colleen Delaney is terrific as a pair of identical — but very differ- ent — twin servants, Isabelle and Sabine; and David Sabin fares well as the liar’s clueless father. Staged by STC’s gay artistic director Michael Kahn, “The Liar” is a tight, fun-loving production with a very fine, on point cast. Designer Alexander Dodge has wittily set the Parisian scene with an outsized blue and white sign (Place Royal) and enormous topiary poodle. Murrell Horton’s grand period togs succeed in flattering corseted ladies and booted swashbucklers (although the closest thing to a sword fight is an amusingly staged duel between Dorante and his handsome foil Alcippe, played by Tony Roach. It’s tempting to term “The Liar” as fun spring fluff, but the great labor that obviously went into updating the classical source material demands

otherwise. In the program, Ives describes his gargantuan task as a “translaptation, i.e., a translation with heavy dose of adaptation.” He adds that he writes what “Corneille would have written today but in English.” In addition, the comedy expresses some keenly perceived views on

the world — past and present. But mostly, “The Liar” is a good time. And while you won’t find STC’s staid audiences picnicking in the stalls or razzing the actors like the rowdy patrons at Shakespeare’s Globe, they’re definitely enjoying themselves just the same.

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46 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

THE GUIDE TO ARTS & CULTURE

 

HOT HITS AND HIDDEN JEWELS

OPENINGS

DANCE IS THE ANSWER Dance/MetroDC Various Locations Through May 2 danceistheanswer.org Dance/Metro DC celebrates Dance is the Answer 2010 with over 275 dance classes, workshops, lec- tures, open rehearsals, performanc- es and special events combusting throughout the metro region, many of which are free!

throughout the metro region, many of which are free! THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO Washington National Opera
throughout the metro region, many of which are free! THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO Washington National Opera

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO Washington National Opera at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Through May 7

800-US-OPERA

dc-opera.org The Figaro story continues in what is often consid- ered Mozart’s most perfect opera. After his marriage to Rosina—now the Countess Almaviva—the Count’s palace is filled with a tangled web of love affairs.The pageboy Cherubino courts the Countess while the Count pursues the maidservant Susanna, who is betrothed to the wily Figaro.

friday, april 30

VAUD RATS - An Original Ukulele Operetta. Reston Community Center, CenterStage. 703-476-4500. restoncommunitycenter.com.

tuesday, may 4

THE GRADUATE. The Keegan Theatre at Church Street Theatre. 703-892-0202. keegantheatre.com.

IN THE EMPIRE OF ICE. National

saturday, may 1

SUSHAMA PARIKH. Montpelier Arts Center. 301-377-7800. pgparks.com.

wednesday, may 5

AMERICAN BUFFALO. The Studio Theatre. 202-332-3300. studiotheatre.org. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. Round House Theatre Bethesda. 240-644-1100. roundhousetheatre.org. MIKVEH. Theater J at Washington DC Jewish Community Center. 800-494- 8497. washingtondcjcc.org.

Geographic. 202-857-7700. events.nation- algeographic.com.

wednesday, may 5

A COME TO CHEESES MOMENT: WINE VS. BEER. National Geographic. 202-857-7700. events.nationalgeographic.com. ART AFTER HOURS: BRAD LINDE JAZZ ENSEMBLE. Strathmore. 301-581- 5100. strathmore.org. FRANCISCO ROLDN. Arts/Harmony Hall Regional Center. 301-203-6070. pgparks.com. FREDERIC CHOPIN FESTIVAL: OPENING RECITAL.The Kreeger Museum.202-338-3552. kreegermuseum.org. ANTHONY DEAN GRIFFEY, tenor. Vocal Arts Society at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 202-467-4600. vocalartssociety.org.

thursday, may 6

thursday, may 6

TERESA OAXACA - CLASSICAL REALISM: NEW WORKS. The Art League. 703-683-1780. theartleague.org. RIFAR EL CORAZÓN / HEARTSTRINGS. Teatro de la Luna at Gunston Arts Center. 703-548-3092. teatrodelaluna.org.

 

LAST CHANCE

ARTS BIZ BALL. Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. 202-393-2161 x14. Cultural-alliance.org. THE KLEZMATICS. STRATHMORE. 301-581-5100. strathmore.org.

FREE

KAFKA’S METAMORPHOSIS Synetic Theater at Rosslyn Spectrum Through May 22

800-494-8497

synetictheater.org Guest director Derek Goldman presents his wildly imaginative adaptation of Franz Kafka’s classic tale. Plunging into the writer’s psyche and his response to “the Jewish Problem,” Kafka’s Metamorphosis explores one man’s descent into madness.Along with an innovative sound experience, Goldman’s staging brings startling new life to this grotesque classic.

with an innovative sound experience, Goldman’s staging brings startling new life to this grotesque classic.

sunday, may 2

GILGAMESH. UM Department of Theatre at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. 301- 405-ARTS. claricesmithcenter.umd.edu. THE ROBERT AND JANE MEYERHOFF

COLLECTION: SELECTED WORKS. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov.

monday, may 3

PAPER DOLLS by Fierce Sonia. The Art League. theartleague.org.

saturday, may 1

FILM SERIES: CATALUNYA: POETRY OF PLACE: L’ARBRE DE LES CIRERES. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. FILM SERIES: STILL VOICES, INNER LIVES: THE JOURNALS OF ALAIN CAVALIER: LE FILMEUR. National Gallery of Art. nga.gov. MONTPELIER FESTIVAL OF HERBS, TEA AND THE ARTS. Montpelier Arts Center. 301-377-7800. pgparks.com. OPENING RECEPTION: URBAN DECAY, A CARNIVAL OF CUSTOM VINYL AND LOWBROW ART EXHIBITION. Workhouse Arts Center. 703-584-2900. workhousearts.org.

DUKE ELLINGTON’S SOPHISTICATED LADIES Arena Stage at Lincoln Theatre Through May 30 LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

DUKE ELLINGTON’S SOPHISTICATED LADIES Arena Stage at Lincoln Theatre Through May 30

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

through may 1

202-488-3300

arenastage.org The Duke comes home to the Lincoln with Sophisticated Ladies, an award-winning musical revue starring Broadway legend Maurice Hines. With one show-stopping number after another, this stylish and brassy retrospective travels through a history of

HANS GRAF, conductor / Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano, plays Connesson & Ravel. National Symphony Orchestra at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 202-467-4600. kennedy-center.org.

ONE NIGHT ONLY

American song and dance, from Charleston to swing to virtuosic tap dancing.

The Guide to Arts & Culture is supplied by CulturalCapital.com, a program of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. Photos supplied by Dance Metro/DC, Washington National Opera, Synetic Theater & Arena Stage.

saturday, may 1

23RD ANNUAL EVENING OF COMEDY. The Barns at Wolf Trap. 703-938-2404. wolftrap.org.

tuesday, may 4

ART SONG DISCOVERY: JENNIFER EDWARDS, AUNDI MARIE MOORE. Vocal

DANCE FUSION JAZZ PROJECT & STEP AHEAD. Joy of Motion Dance Center at The Jack

DANCE FUSION JAZZ PROJECT & STEP AHEAD. Joy of Motion Dance Center at The Jack Guidone Theater - JOMDC Friendship Heights. 202-362-3042. joyofmotion.org. GLORIA. National Philharmonic at Strathmore. 301-581-5100. nationalphilharmonic.org. SWING INTO SPRING. Atlas Performing Arts Center. 202-399-7993. atlasarts.org. ANNUAL ‘POPS’ CONCERT. UM School of Music at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. 301-405-ARTS. claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

Arts Society at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. vocalartssociety.org.

thursday, may 6

CHAMBER PROGRAM. Friday Morning Music Club at Strathmore. fmmc.org.

sunday, may 9

FRAMING THE WEST: THE SURVEY PHOTOGRAPHS OF TIMOTHY H. O’SULLIVAN. Smithsonian American Art Museum. americanart.si.edu.

monday, may 3

through may 16

MONDAYS IN THE MANSION: THE ART OF THE SHADOW PUPPET. Strathmore. 301-581-5100. strathmore.org. STRANGE LOVE: FAMILIAR SONGS OF BIZARRE ENTANGLEMENTS by Will Gartshore. Round House Theatre Silver Spring. 240-644-1100. roundhousetheatre.org.

INSIDE / OUTSIDE. Gallery plan b. 202- 234-2711. galleryplanb.com.

through may 22

PEPA LEON. Reyes

+ Davis

Independent Exhibitions. 202-255-5050. reyesdavis.com.

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 47

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 47 D D D HAPPY HOUR FOR D O G S
D D D
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HAPPY HOUR FOR D O G S !

(Owners Welcome Too.)

Drink Specials &

FREE Giveaways

L a r ry ’ s L o u n g e

2009 Most Pet Friendly Establishment in DC Corner of 18th & T St, NW Every Wednesday 4-8pm

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Beat Memories

Beat Memories

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The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg

The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg

The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
May 2 – September 6

May 2 – September 6

The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg May 2 – September 6 Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, 1955, gelatin
The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg May 2 – September 6 Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, 1955, gelatin
The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg May 2 – September 6 Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, 1955, gelatin
Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, 1955, gelatin silver print, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York © 2010

Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, 1955, gelatin silver print, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York © 2010 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.

1955, gelatin silver print, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York © 2010 The Allen Ginsberg LLC .
Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington Made possible through the generous support of

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington Made possible through the generous support of the Trellis Fund Additional support provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.

through the generous support of the Trellis Fund Additional support provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation,
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On the National Mall from 3rd to 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW . Admission

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On the National Mall from 3rd to 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW . Admission is

Monday – Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 11 – 6

Phone: 202-737-4215

TDD: 202-842-6176

www.nga.gov | www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt | http://twitter.com/ngadc

www.nga.gov | www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt | http://twitter.com/ngadc

www.nga.gov | www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt | http://twitter.com/ngadc

48 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

FITNESSAGENDA

Taking care of your core

Body’s ‘girdle’ maintains posture, enablesweight training

By KEVIN M. NORRIS

Core conditioning and function- al training have become synony- mous with an effective well-round- ed exercise program. Although the concept may still be new to some, a program that omits these areas is severely lacking and risks postural imbalances, injuries and pain. The core is the foundation and the center of support for the entire body. Most people historically thought the core was only com- prised of the abdominals. But the core encompasses the entire abdominal wall, the obliques — or sides of your abs — the lower back, hip flexors and pelvic region. Think of the core as the “girdle” of your body. The core includes the center of your body and provides

stability, balance and agility. A strong core allows the body to move as a fluid functional unit and leads to greater strength through- out the body including the extremi- ties. A strong core maintains appropriate posture and reduces strain on the lower back and joints. By contrast, a weak core is much like a three-legged table: It will ultimately fall over. Without the solid foundation of a sturdy core, imbalances, mechanical idiosyn- crasies and distortions throughout the entire body will occur. A weak core can wreak havoc on the body, leading to problems from poor pos- ture to lower back and hip issues to a distorted gait. Moreover, the entire spine can be affected because several muscles that sup- port the spine are compromised. Those muscles have become too weak and deconditioned to sustain holding up and stabilizing the body. Core Conditioning dictates per- forming a series of exercises that engage, stimulate and strengthen

Photo by iStockphoto.com/ryan_christensen
Photo by iStockphoto.com/ryan_christensen

the core. CC exercises are multi- muscular and involve multiple plains of motion. They are more elaborate and encompassing than isolated movements and should be per- formed after a thorough warm-up. Keep in mind CC should integrate all the major core muscles. Functional Training involves performing exercises and move- ments that are most conducive to everyday movement patterns. FT refers to useable strength — strength used to function every day and perform what is referred to as ADL or Activities of Daily Living. FT, like CC involves multiple mus- cles and muscle groups, often

times integrating many muscle groups into one exercise or com- pound exercises at a time. Functional training cannot be incorporated into an exercise pro- gram without first establishing a strong core through core condi- tioning. They go hand-in-hand and without core strength and stability, the rest of the body will crumble and any form of functional training will not be possible. It is important to acknowledge also that without a strong core, you cannot begin to do isolated move- ments. If your goal is to develop big- ger, more defined individual mus- cles, then you cannot achieve this without first building a strong founda- tion that will stabilize your body when performing isolated movements. You need the strength of your abs, lower back, hip flexors and pelvis to sling and propel heavy weights around. Where to begin? First and fore- most CC and FT should be per- formed after a full body warm-up, never a cold body. Generally speak- ing, the warm-up should be a much less strenuous mirror image of the actual workout. You should perform full body movements that focus on all your major muscle groups with- out weights and certainly not on the limited movement of a machine or isolated muscular movements. Start your routine with a light cardiovascular warm-up of 5-10 minutes to bring up the body’s core temperature. Follow this up with 5-

10 minutes of light calisthenics and multi-muscular movements.

CC and FT have been around

for longer than you think. Yoga and Pilates are classic core exercise modalities. Also, functional training equipment such as balance boards and stability balls have become the norm and are available in most up- to-date fitness centers. I have survived and prevailed over two back surgeries and now

am healthy with a relatively strong core. I believe a significant contribu- tion to my back issues came from weaknesses in my core and in mus- cular imbalances. And while I thought I had a strong core, there was room for improvement, as there always is. To date, whenever I wake up with a sore back or suffer from skeletal and muscular aches and pains, I know it’s attributable to imbalances in the strength of my core and supporting muscles.

Add core conditioning and func-

tional training to your exercise reper-

toire and you will be on your way to a solid body, greater overall fitness and a reduced risk of injury. With solid core and functional strength you will be stronger, faster, better balanced and far more stable.

Kevin M. Norris is a health and fitness columnist for DC Agenda and owner of
Kevin M. Norris is a
health and fitness columnist
for DC Agenda and owner
of Mind Your Own Body,
LLC. Personal Training.
Reach him at
kevinmnorris@aol.com.
columnist for DC Agenda and owner of Mind Your Own Body, LLC. Personal Training. Reach him
columnist for DC Agenda and owner of Mind Your Own Body, LLC. Personal Training. Reach him
columnist for DC Agenda and owner of Mind Your Own Body, LLC. Personal Training. Reach him

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 49

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DCAGENDA

Local Point Scholars are LGBT overachievers

Continued from page 39

“There are many parts of the country where safety could be an issue. It isn’t necessarily in the literal way. People might not be throwing homophobic epithets in my face but it could be, ‘Oh, he worked at Equality California, I don’t want to hire this gay guy.’” Scholars go through a rigorous application process and have to maintain a 3.3 GPA to stay in the program. There are also strict rules about how the money is spent. Gill says his need for next year will likely be $15,000. He and the Point people determine a fair amount for him to come up with on his own — maybe $2,000 or $3,000. Then they supply the other $12,000. And it’s not just about money. Connections are made through the organization. Phipps met local activist Paul Yandura through Point and got involved in GetEqual, a new queer activist group. And all the scholars have mentors they meet with regularly. Goldman says his mentoring relationship with Brian Branton,

Point Foundation

Annual D.C. reception Thursday, May 6, 6-8 p.m. Equality Center at HRC 1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W. Tickets $75 pointfoundation.org

chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (both Branton and Polis are gay), has been “unbelievable.” “Just that he would take time from the crazy, hectic, insane world of Capitol Hill and work with me has been great,” Goldman says. Gill says Point offers crucial help in multiple ways. “It’s an absolutely wonderful thing,” he says. “It’s incredibly important and incredibly needed in the gay community. These stu- dents who are Point Scholars are the next movers and shakers. They’re all incredibly brilliant and smart and it’s great to provide them now with the support and nurturing they need and also the emotional support. Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you. In some ways it’s the family I never had.”

Washington Blade photo by Michael Key HARJANT GILL, a 28-year-old Point Foundation Scholar who immigrated
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
HARJANT GILL, a 28-year-old Point Foundation Scholar who immigrated to San Francisco from India with his
family in 1994, says coming out proved rough. ‘They didn’t even understand what it meant,’ he says.
India with his family in 1994, says coming out proved rough. ‘They didn’t even understand what
India with his family in 1994, says coming out proved rough. ‘They didn’t even understand what

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 51

Urban Living in Alexandria City 615 S Royal St. (Old Town, Alexandria) 910 Prince St.
Urban Living in Alexandria City
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Enjoy the charm of yesteryear in this special Old
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52 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

SOCIALAGENDA: Whitman-Walker Spring Gala

SOCIAL AGENDA: Whitman-Walker Spring Gala
Washington Blade photos by Michael Key
Washington Blade photos by Michael Key

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 53

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54 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010
54 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 55

Old Town Alexandria 501 Slaters Lane, #1103 Alexandria, VA 22314 $539,000 Complete modern renovation! This
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56 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

SOCIALAGENDA

The skinny on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Mystique on being voted off Logo’s hit showand the need for ‘big girl’ role models

By TYRONE FORD Special to Washington Blade

Mystique Summers Madison from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” whose real name is Donté Sims, compet- ed for top queen in season two of the Logo reality series but was eliminated in the third episode. This self-proclaimed “pageant queen” from Bedford, Texas wants you to know that big girls can do everything skinny girls can and she recently made a stop in Washington, D.C. to prove it. A curvaceous beauty, Mystique Summers Madison brought her own brand of “charisma, unique- ness, nerve and talent” and left an impression on many of the view- ers that the most important part of being a performer is to stay true to one’s self. The Washington Blade talked to Mystique about RuPaul’s show, her competitors and how it feels to represent “big girls” everywhere.

Washington Blade: How did Donté Sims, aka Mystique Summers Madison, land a spot on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”? Mystique: I had been doing drag for five years and there was a casting call in Dallas for the first season but I decided to wait and see what the show was all about. Then, when there was a casting call for the second season, I went for it and submitted my paperwork and video and they got back to me about two months later.

Blade: Two months is a long time to wait, what was the next step in the process?

all applicants

Mystique: Well

Photo courtesy of Mystique MYSTIQUE SUMMERS MADISON competed on season two of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’
Photo courtesy of Mystique
MYSTIQUE SUMMERS MADISON competed on season two of
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’

need to have a psychological eval- uation before they would cast you.

Blade: What exactly was involved with that? What did they ask you to get evaluated for? Mystique: [Laughs] Well, I had to sit down with a psychologist and I guess I got the seal of approval. Although, [laughs] I still don’t under- stand how I managed to get it.

Blade: What was it like meet- ing the other contestants for the first time? Mystique: I’m used to Texas pageant drag, which is more makeup and costumes. When I met the rest of the contestants it was more female realness.

Blade: You were eliminated in this season’s third episode, los-

ing to Raven when you had to “Lip sync for your life” to “I Hear You Knockin’” by Wynonna Judd. How do you feel you handled the elimination? Mystique: After the lip sync, RuPaul needed to think about the decision so she was gone for about 20 minutes and then came back and I was the one to go. Honestly, it was [like] a big sigh of relief because I was able to get back to real life and commu- nicating with the real world.

Blade: Things got pretty heat- ed with a few of the contestants prior to your elimination. At one point it looked like the wigs were going to come off and punches thrown. Let’s talk for a minute about your “I’m from Chicago!” interaction with fellow contestant

Morgan McMichaels, as seen via “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked.” Was it as confrontational as the cameras made it appear? Mystique: It was actually worse than the viewers saw! The camera crews missed a lot of it when it was happening but at this point I don’t have any issues about it.

Blade: After your elimination, who were you pulling for to win? Mystique: Well the person I wanted to win was already elimi- nated — Pandora Boxx. I really feel Pandora should have stayed but you never really know what the judges were looking for or wanted.

Blade: Casting calls have begun for the third season and it looks like several of D.C.’s drag per- formers are submitting tapes. What is your advice to applicants? Mystique: The best advice I can give would be to stay true to yourself. Go on the show as “you” and leave the same way because you shouldn’t change who you are to try and win a competition.

Blade: The first season of “Drag Race” didn’t include the “Untucked,” behind-the-scenes show. Do you feel this was a good addition to your season? Mystique: I think they came up with the idea of “Untucked” to show how catty things behind the scenes really were. I know it was brought on for my season but I don’t know if it will be brought on for the next one. They cast such strong personalities this season so they kind of knew there would be drama and wanted to catch it on film because they knew it would bring in the viewers.

Blade: There is going to be anoth- er spin off show called “RuPaul’s Drag U.” Will you be involved? Mystique: No, the performers from my season on “Drag U” will

be JuJu, Pandora, Raven and Morgan McMichaels.

Blade: Bebe Zahara Benet won the first season yet other performers such as Ongina and Shannel seemed to get more attention. Why do you feel that is? Mystique: Well the winner really is under lock and key and has to do what the show says. It’s almost better not to win because then you can travel and get booked and just do your own thing.

Blade: How much of what the audience saw was spin created by the producers? Mystique: There is a lot of editing of course. It’s sometimes two or three days of footage con- densed down to one hour. So when it was edited, the storylines can be skewed to make the story smoother.

Blade: How much do the con- testants actually interact with RuPaul? Mystique: The amount of interaction the viewers see on TV is about how much we actually interacted with Ru.

Blade: You said on the show that you represented all the “big girls” out there. Do you feel there is a stigma attached to the full- figured drag performers? Mystique: Well, I went on the show just as myself and I was classified as representing the “big girls” because I said it once and it just caught on. I received a lot of e-mails and Facebook messages from different people thanking me for showing that the big girls can be sexy and that it took a lot of courage to compete against the skinny girls. If I’m helping other people out there then I think that’s great.

a lot of courage to compete against the skinny girls. If I’m helping other people out

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 57

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58 washingtonblade.com • april 30, 2010

april 30, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 59

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