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A gay member of Congress from the South?

Ebbin, Fisette on ‘short list’ for House seat from Va.

Ebbin, Fisette on ‘short list’ for House seat from Va.
Ebbin, Fisette on ‘short list’ for House seat from Va.

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

Political insiders in Northern Virginia have placed two openly gay elected officials near the top of a list of at least a dozen possible candidates considered qualified to run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who announced he’s not running for re-election this year. Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin, whose district includes parts of the City of Alexandria and parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties; and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, who represents the entire county, are well known and have longstanding ties to the 8th Congressional District, according to those familiar with the district. Ebbin and Fisette are both Democrats. The 8th District, which Moran has represented for more than 20 years, is a Democratic stronghold. Virtually all political observers say the candidate that wins the Democratic primary scheduled for June 10 is almost certain to win the general election in November. “The 8th District is a highly educated, progressive, engaged

district that has embraced LGBT equality for years,” said Joshua Israel, former president of Virginia Partisans, a statewide LGBT

 
 

Virginia State Sen. ADAM EBBIN (left) and Arlington County Board Chair JAY FISETTE are possible candidates for Congress.

CONTINUES ON PAGE 18

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTOS BY JEFF SURPRENANT

Renewed calls for workplace protections

Some hope Obama’s State of the Union address includes ENDA push

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

Amid expectations that President Obama will issue a national call to address income equality in his

upcoming State of the Union address, some advocates are asking him to take the opportunity to speak out against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. With no explicit federal language in place protecting LGBT workers from job discrimination, advocates are calling on Obama to incorporate as part of his speech a call to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and a pledge to sign an

executive order prohibiting anti- LGBT discrimination among federal contractors. The details of the speech are under wraps, but Obama already hinted earlier this month the address — which will be delivered Tuesday before a joint session of Congress — will seek to mobilize the country to ensure “the economy offers every American who works hard a fair shot at success.”

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said including the executive order or ENDA in the speech would fit right in with the president’s larger theme. “The president is going to spend much of his State of the Union talking about economic inequalities and

CONTINUES ON PAGE 17

about economic inequalities and CONTINUES ON PAGE 17 BODY COUNTS Activist Sean Strub recounts life on

BODY

COUNTS

Activist Sean Strub recounts life on front lines of AIDS fight.

PAGE 7

Strub recounts life on front lines of AIDS fight. PAGE 7 PUTIN’S PUTDOWNS Russian leader likens

PUTIN’S

PUTDOWNS

Russian leader likens gays to pedophiles as security concerns mount in Sochi.

PAGE 14

to pedophiles as security concerns mount in Sochi. PAGE 14 SHARING THE LOVE Two couples find

SHARING

THE LOVE

Two couples find lots of interest in their YouTube adventures.

PAGE 29

02 • JANUARY 24, 2014

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JANUARY 24, 2014 • 03

5

African Art celebrates 50 years!

Black History Month at the National Museum of African Art

Black History Month at the National Museum of African Art PERFORMANCE Earth Matters: Performance, Participation, and
Black History Month at the National Museum of African Art PERFORMANCE Earth Matters: Performance, Participation, and

PERFORMANCE

Earth Matters: Performance, Participation, and Perspective

Feb. 1

|

6:30–9:30 p.m.

An interactive, multidisciplinary celebra- tion of the exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Metaphor and Material in the Arts of Africa includes music, performances, and other events.

Earth Matters, Fashion Matters

Feb. 22

|

6:30–9:30 p.m.

Katie Rost, member of The Vogue 100, hosts this evening of music and eco- friendly fashions inspired by Earth Matters: Land as Metaphor and Material in the Arts of Africa.

WORKSHOPS

Weaving with Kwasi Asare

Sat., Feb. 8, 15 Ages: 10 and up

Space limited; reservations required,

202.633.4632

Join master weaver Kwasi Asare for kente weaving demonstration and hands-on workshop.

|

1–4 p.m.

weaving demonstration and hands-on workshop. | 1–4 p.m. Batik with Tunde Odunlade Feb. 11 | 11

Batik with Tunde Odunlade

Feb. 11

|

11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Feb. 12

|

1–3 p.m.

Feb. 13

|

10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Feb. 14

|

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Space limited; reservations required,

202.633.4646

Bowie State University, Black Box Theater

Participate in batik workshop with master artist Tunde Odunlade.

0

in batik workshop with master artist Tunde Odunlade. 0 Smithsonian National Museum of African Art LECTURE

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

LECTURE

Innovative Africa: Blue, Green, and Brown Technologies

Feb. 13

|

5:30–8:30 p.m.

Panel discussion, moderated by Lawrence Jones, explores Africa’s techno- logical innovations in water, energy and agriculture and their impact on sustain- able development. Evening also includes curator-led tour and reception.

Co-organized with Center for Sustainable Development in Africa (csda)

UPCOMING EXHIBITION

Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone

April 9–August 17, 2014

Visions from the Forests focuses on the peoples and cultures of Liberia and Sierra Leone, recognizing their rich cultural traditions and long histories of exquisitely made artworks.

traditions and long histories of exquisitely made artworks. africa.si.edu 950 independence ave sw | open daily

africa.si.edu

950 independence ave sw

|

open daily 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

|

take metro to smithsonian station

|

free and open to the public

Katie Rost photograph by Monica True; Tompienne, active 1960–80, Dan artist, Liberia, Face mask, c. 1965, National Museum of African Art, bequest of William Siegmann in memory of Philip Ravenhill, 2012-11-2

04 • JANUARY 24, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

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Kennedy Library showcases Kameny letters to JFK

Kennedy Library showcases Kameny letters to JFK ‘In 1961, it has, ironically, become necessary for me

‘In 1961, it has, ironically, become necessary for me to fight my own government, with words,’ FRANK KAMENY wrote to President Kennedy.

Pioneering activist wrote to White House from 1961-1963

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston is taking steps this month to publicize the dozens of letters, pamphlets and press releases that D.C. gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny sent to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963. In a prominent write-up on the Kennedy Library website, library official Stacey Chandler,areferencearchivesspecialist,said the letters poignantly document Kameny’s role as one of the nation’s first advocates for the rights of gay people before the highest levels of the U.S. government. Chandler said the letters and other documents from Kameny are part of the library’s archives and are available for viewing online. Kameny died at the age of 86 in 2011. “In World War II, I willingly fought the Germans, with bullets, in order to preserve and secure my rights, freedoms and liberties, and those of my fellow citizens,” Kameny told Kennedy in a letter dated May 15, 1961 that’s part of the archive collection. “In 1961, it has, ironically, become necessary for me to fight my own government, with words, in order to achieve some of the very same rights, freedoms, and liberties for which I placed my life in jeopardy in 1945,” wrote Kameny. “This letter is part of that fight.” In a letter dated Aug. 28, 1962 Kameny told Kennedy, “You have said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ We know what we can do for our country; we wish to do it; we ask only that our country allow us to do it.” Kameny wrote the letters in his role as president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., the city’s first gay rights organization that Kameny co- founded in 1961 and led through the 1960s and early 1970s.

WASHINGTON BLADE ARCHIVE PHOTO BY DOUG HINCKLE

Chandler noted in her article that the Mattachine Society of Washington came into being shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case of a legal challenge that Kameny filed against the then U.S. Civil Service Commission. In a first-of-its-kind action, Kameny contested the Civil Service Commission’s decision in 1958 to fire him from his job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service in Washington following an investigation into alleged homosexual activity by Kameny. Among other things, the Commission cited a 1953 executive order by President Dwight Eisenhower that barred from the federal workforce anyone with a history of “sexual perversion” and other “immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct.” Homosexual acts between consenting adults were considered among the prohibited conduct. “Kameny wrote an astounding number of letters throughout his lifetime of advocacy, most of which are now in the Library of Congress,” Chandler wrote in her Kennedy Library article. “The huge volume of his correspondence makes the personal nature of his letters to President Kennedy especially surprising for archivists here,” she said. “In these letters, he tenaciously argued for the right of gay Americans to work as civil servants,” she said. In the same May 15, 1961 letter in which he told of his combat service in World War II, Kameny told Kennedy, “Yours is an administration that has openly disavowed blind conformity…You yourself have said, in your recent address at George Washington University, “…that (people) desire to develop their own personalities and their own potential, that democracy permits them to do so.’ “But your government, by its policies certainly does not permit the homosexual to develop his personality and his potential,” Kameny wrote. In a Feb. 28, 1963 letter, Kameny told Kennedy about his fledgling effort to persuade the American Psychiatric

Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. “Homosexuality is neither a sickness, disease, neurosis, psychosis, disorder, defect, nor other disturbance, but merely a matter of the predisposition of a significantly large minority of our citizens.” Chandler said the Kennedy Library’s archivists could find no response from Kennedy or anyone else at the White House to Kameny’s letters. “In fact, the only response we’ve found in our archives is a brief note from John W. Macy, Chairman of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, to Bruce Schuyler, Secretary of the Mattachine Society, who requested a meeting,” Chandler wrote. In his note to Schuyler, Macy said, “It is the established policy of the Civil Service Commission that homosexuals are not suitable for appointment to or retention in positions in the Federal service. There would be no useful purpose served in meeting with representatives of your Society.” Chandler said that in a March 6, 1963 letter to Kennedy, Kameny appeared to

be referring to the government’s lack of response to his and the Mattachine Society of Washington’s overtures to the Kennedy administration. “We wish to cooperate in any way possible, if the chance for friendly, constructive cooperation is offered to us by you,” Kameny wrote, “but if it continues to be refused us, then we will have to seek out and to use any lawful means whatever, which seem to us appropriate, in order to achieve our lawful ends, just as the Negro has done in the South when he was refused cooperation.” In 1975, after several court rulings against the Civil Service ban on gay employees that Kameny played a role in organizing, the Civil Service Commission ended its prohibition on gay federal workers. In 2009, John Berry, the gay director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the successor to the Civil Service Commission, presented Kameny with an official government apology for his 1958 firing.

CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

D.C. woman gets 6½ years for shooting gay man at IHOP

A D.C. Superior Court judge last week sentenced a 29-year-old woman to six-and-a-half years in prison for the March 2012 non-fatal shooting of a gay man inside an International House of Pancakes restaurant in the city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. The sentencing by Judge Michael Ryan came three months after a jury found Lashawn Yvonne Carson, a D.C. resident, guilty of aggravated assault while armed and six additional firearms-related charges. During the four-day trial prosecutors played for the jury a video obtained from the restaurant’s security cameras that they said showed Carson, then 28, pull out a handgun and shoot Dante Thomas in the chest. Thomas has since recovered from a gunshot wound to his liver that the lead prosecutor said could have been fatal if he had not received immediate medical treatment at a nearby hospital. Police and prosecutors said an altercation leading to the shooting began when two groups of friends were eating at separate tables near one another at the IHOP restaurant about 5:30 a.m. on March 11, 2012. According to a police affidavit and testimony by witnesses, one of Carson’s friends while sitting at her table used the word “faggot” to describe one or more of the men sitting at Thomas’s table. A short time later a physical altercation erupted between the two groups when Thomas attempted to walk to the cash register to pay his bill. “Carson and a male friend inadvertently stood directly in his way,” a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office says. “The victim attempted to squeeze by and accidently bumped into Carson. Words were exchanged and the defendant’s male friend used a homophobic slur,” the statement says. Government witnesses at the trial said a fight then broke out between the opposing groups of friends and an off-duty D.C. police detective who was seated nearby stepped in to break it up. “At that point, according to the government’s evidence, Carson walked over, adjusted her hair, pulled out a firearm and shot the victim once in the chest,” the U.S. Attorney’s statement says. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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JANUARY 24, 2014 • 07

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LOCAL NEWS JANUARY 24, 2014 • 07 washingtonblade.com SEAN STRUB will read from his new AIDS

SEAN STRUB will read from his new AIDS memoir on Tuesday at Politics & Prose.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STRUB

Longtime AIDS activist comes to D.C.

Sean Strub, a longtime AIDS activist and author, will be in D.C. next week to promote his new book “Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival.” He will hold a reading at Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. “Body Counts is a page-turner with moving insight and fresh analysis told in a compelling and highly personal style,” actress Lily Tomlin is quoted as saying in a statement promoting the book. Strub has been on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic from the beginning. He was part of ACT UP, raising money and participating in the group’s notorious protests. In 1990, he became the first openly HIV-positive person to run for the U.S. Congress and later founded POZ magazine. Visit washingtonblade.com for a full interview with Strub and more on his book. STAFF REPORTS

Democrats poised to retake Va. Senate

A former Loudoun County prosecutor will succeed Attorney General Mark Herring in the Virginia Senate after she won a special election that will likely allow Democrats to regain control of the chamber. Jennifer Wexton defeated Republican John Whitbeck by a 53-38 percent margin. Former state Del. Joe T. May, who ran as an independent, came in third with slightly less than 10 percent of the vote. “It feels terrific,” Wexton told the Loudoun Times-Mirror after she defeated Whitbeck and May. Herring in a statement congratulated Wexton on her “hard-fought and well- earned victory.” “I could not be more proud to know that the citizens of Virginia’s 33rd Senate District will continue to be represented by someone who will always put problem solving over partisan politics and who will work tirelessly to strengthen our economy, improve our transportation system and who will support our public schools,” he said. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, the Human Rights Campaign and EMILY’s List are among those who also endorsed Wexton. “I look forward to working with her and the entire General Assembly to find common ground on issues that will grow Virginia’s economy and create more opportunities for all Virginians,” said McAuliffe. State Del. Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomack County) defeated Norfolk businessman Wayne Coleman by nine votes in a Jan. 7 special election to fill the Senate seat that Northam vacated. Coleman last week requested a recount.

MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Del. to recognize Utah marriages

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden last week said his state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah. “Marriage equality is the law in Delaware and I strongly believe that individuals outside our state borders should be equally free to choose whom to love and

borders should be equally free to choose whom to love and Delaware Attorney General BEAU BIDEN.

Delaware Attorney General BEAU BIDEN.

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

whom to spend their lives with,” said Biden in a statement that announced his

decision. “More than 1,300 marriages of same-sex couples were legally performed

in Utah between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, after couples received marriage

licenses by Utah authorities. It is our position that these marriages are and should be recognized as valid under Delaware law.” Biden made the announcement hours after Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman and Equality Delaware Foundation President Mark Purpura sent him

a letter that urged the Democrat “to confirm that same-sex marriages validly

solemnized in Utah from Dec. 20, 2013, to Jan. 6, 2014, are recognized as valid marriages for all purposes of Delaware law.” “The Biden family has been strong supporters of marriage — both in Delaware and nationwide,” Goodman told the Washington Blade after Biden made his announcement. “We are very happy and not surprised that Attorney General Biden would rule that Utah marriages, which we believe are and continue to be valid in the state of Utah, are valid and will be recognized as such in the state of Delaware.” The U.S. Supreme Court last week blocked any future same-sex marriages from taking place in Utah pending the outcome of an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling that struck down the state’s gay nuptials ban. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Jan. 8 announced his state would not recognize same- sex marriages performed between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 pending the outcome of his administration’s appeal of Shelby’s ruling. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder two days later said the federal government will recognize these unions. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and his counterparts in Maine and Washington subsequently announced their states will follow suit. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Monday said the nation’s capital should also recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah. Delaware’s same-sex marriage law took effect last July. It is now among the 18 states and D.C. in which gays and lesbians can legally marry. MICHAEL K. LAVERS

Defrocked Methodist pastor returns to D.C.

A Methodist minister from Pennsylvania who was defrocked as a clergyman in December for refusing to stop performing same-sex marriages is scheduled to return to D.C.’s Foundry United Methodist Church on Sunday. Ex-pastor Frank Schaefer will deliver guest sermons at a service for “hope and justice” at 9:30 and 11 a.m. on the 26th, according to a statement released by Foundry. Foundry’s pastor, Rev. Dean Snyder, is a longtime ally of the LGBT community and has performed same-sex marriages. The statement says two other United Methodist ministers who were defrocked will also participate in the services — Jimmy Creech and Beth Stroud. Church officials revoked Creech’s credentials as a Methodist minister in 1999 after he performed a holy union ceremony for a gay male couple in Chapel Hill, N.C. Stroud was defrocked in 2001 after coming out as a lesbian while assigned as a minister for a United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. Schaefer, Creech, Stroud and others will participate in a panel discussion at the church following the 11 a.m. worship service, the Foundry statement says. “Foundry is on the forefront of full inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the life of the church,” the statement says, adding that Foundry continues to push for the United Methodist Church to end the “discriminatory language” related to LGBT people in its Book of Discipline or church law. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

to end the “discriminatory language” related to LGBT people in its Book of Discipline or church

12 • JANUARY 24, 2014

LOCAL NEWS

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Hundreds turn out for ‘Out & Ready for Hillary’ fundraiser

Prop 8 plaintiffs urge Clinton to enter 2016 race

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com

More than 300 people packed the D.C. gay nightclub Town Danceboutique last Wednesday night for the first LGBT fundraiser and rally organized by Ready for Hillary, the independent committee formed last year to urge Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016. Organizers said the large turnout was in keeping with the outpouring of support the Ready for Hillary organization is receiving from the LGBT community across the nation. Guest speakers at the event included Michelle Clunie, actress and star of the television series “Queer as Folk,” and Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, the lesbian couple that became plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. “I really like Hillary,” Clunie told the Blade. “I met her. I trust her. I believe in her. She’s always the smartest person in the room. I think she’s over qualified for the job and I think she’ll make one of the best presidents ever.” Clunie said she traveled to D.C. from her home in California to attend and speak at the event at the invitation of D.C. gay Democratic activist Lane Hudson, who, along with D.C. gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein,

along with D.C. gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, Hundreds turned out for a Ready for Hillary

Hundreds turned out for a Ready for Hillary event at Town last week.

served as coordinators of the rally in which attendees paid $20.16 to attend. Lisa Changadveja, Ready for Hillary’s LGBTAmericansDirector,toldthegathering

that more than 1.5 million people across the nation have signed on as supporters

of the political action committee, or PAC,

which under federal campaign finance rules cannot have any interaction with Clinton. Changadveja said more than 35,000 people have made contributions of $100 or less to the organization as part of its outreach to small donors and potential campaign volunteers if and when Clinton decides to enter the 2016 presidential race. Perry and Stier, who are longtime partners, were married last year shortly after the Supreme Court ruling overturning Prop 8 cleared the way for same-sex marriages to

WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY DAMIEN SALAS

resume in California. “I’ve met the Secretary a few times and I’ve been incredibly impressed by her commitment to children, families, LGBT people and equal rights in general,” Perry said of Clinton. “She was amazing as Secretary of State and her leadership at the United Nations and elsewhere. I think she’s done an awful lot to prove to the community that she’s a good candidate.” Perry said she just moved to D.C. to take a job with a children’s advocacy organization called the First Five Years Fund. With their four sons “grown up” and either attending college or living on their own, she and Stier plan to divide their time between Washington and their home in Berkley, Perry said. Although Clinton herself couldn’t attend

the event under campaign finance rules, organizers arranged for a substitute that appeared to delight the crowd. A life- size cut-out photo of Hillary Clinton was propped up on a platform in front of a

backdrop with the words “Ready for Hillary” written on it multiple times.

A photographer working with the

Ready for Hillary group took dozens of pictures of people standing beside the Hillary cut-out photo. “This is incredible,” said Earl Fowlkes, a D.C. gay activist who, among other things,

serves as chair of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Americans Caucus.

“I never expected to see this many

people here to encourage Hillary to run,” he said. “And this goes to show you the kind of depth she has in the LGBT community for this many people to come out on a Wednesday night and basically give her the message that we want you to run. We’re ready for her.” Added Fowlkes, “We had a black president and now we’re ready for a woman president. I’m ready.” Gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green, who represents an ANC district in Ward 8, said he too believes Clinton is the best- qualified candidate to succeed Barack Obama as president. “I prefer Democrats with a backbone,” Green said. “And she has continuously proved that she is not afraid to stand up to these Republicans and let them know that there are people in this country that we really need to look out for and she is the right person to do that.”

Va. lawmakers kill two pro-LGBT bills

Repeal of marriage ban fails in committee vote

By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com

Virginia lawmakers this week killed two bills that sought to extend rights to LGBT Virginians. Members of the Virginia House of Delegates Civil Law Subcommittee in a 4-5 vote struck down a proposal that would have repealed the state’s statutory same-sex marriage ban. State Dels. Gregory Habeeb (R-Salem), David Toscano (D-Charlottesville), Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County) and G. M. (Manoli) Loupassi (R-Richmond) voted for House Bill 939 that state Del Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) introduced earlier this month. State Dels. Randall Minchew (R-Loudoun County), Terry

Kilgore (R-Scott County), A. Benton Chafin (R-Russell County), Jeffrey Campbell (R-Smyth County) and James Leftwich (R-Chesapeake) opposed the measure. State Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) was not present for the vote due to a death in her family. “We’re making progress in changing people’s opinion,” Surovell told the Washington Blade after the vote, noting two Republicans supported HB 939. “Five years ago I’m not sure Republicans would

have felt comfortable voting for the bill.” Members of the Virginia Senate General Laws and Technology Committee on Monday in a 7-7 vote struck down

a bill state Sens. A. Donald McEachin

(D-Henrico County) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced that would have banned discrimination against LGBT state employees. Ebbin along with state Sens. George Barker (D-Alexandria), Charles Colgan

(D-Manassas),MamieLocke(D-Hampton), J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax County), Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County) and Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester) voted for Senate Bill 248. Committee Chair Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg County) voted against the measure alongside Walter Stosch (R-Henrico County,) Stephen Martin (R-Chesterfield County), Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland County), Richard Black (R-Loudoun County), Bryce Reeves (R-Fredericksburg) and Thomas Garrett (R-Goochland County). “These senators refuse to acknowledge what the Virginia public and business community have long understood: protecting LGBT employees is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense and will contribute to the overall success of the commonwealth,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish in a statement after the SB 248 vote.

The House Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee last January killed Surovell’s proposed resolution that sought to repeal the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. State Del Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), chair of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, on Jan. 9 announced lawmakers will not consider any proposals seeking to repeal the state’s gay nuptials prohibition during the 2014 legislative session. State Del. Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria) earlier this month introduced a proposed resolution that sought to amend the state constitution to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Virginia. The Alexandria Democrat’s proposal would have also allowed the commonwealth to recognize gay nuptials legally performed in Maryland, D.C. and other jurisdictions.

CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 13

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14 • JANUARY 24, 2014

NATIONAL NEWS

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Houston mayor marries longtime partner

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her partner of more than two decades, Kathy Hubbard, married on Jan. 16.

A press release the city of Houston released said Parker and Hubbard, who

celebrated their 23rd anniversary on their wedding day, exchanged vows at a Palm Springs home. Rev. Paul Fromberg of San Francisco officiated the wedding that Parker’s mother, Hubbard’s sister and a small group of family and friends attended.

Harris County Civil Judicial District Court Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie were witnesses.

“This is a very happy day for us,” said Parker. “[Hubbard] is the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life married to her.” Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill, who is suing Parker and Houston over the extension of benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees, criticized the wedding. “This is about a bigger political agenda for her,” said Woodfill as Lone Star

Q reported.

Houston voters first elected Parker as mayor in 2009. She won re-election for a third term last November.

Marriage advocates criticize Ind. lawmaker

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) on Jan. 21 moved a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the Hoosier State to another committee after it stalled. TheIndianapolisStarreportedthatBosmamovedtheproposedamendment — House Joint Resolution 3 — from the House Judiciary Committee to the Elections and Appointment Committee. Republican leadership of the House Judiciary Committee last week declined to allow a vote on the proposal after they held a hearing on it. “We’ve followed the legislative process with an earnest expectation that legislators truly seek to represent their constituents,” said Freedom Indiana Campaign Manager Megan Robertson in a Jan. 21 press release. “We found that to be the case with the legislators serving on the House Judiciary Committee, but House Speaker Brian Bosma broke his commitment to Hoosiers to uphold the traditional legislative process.”

Mississippi city passes LGBT resolution

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Starkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved the first pro-LGBT municipal resolution in Mississippi. “The city of Starkville declares it the public policy of the city to respect the inherent worth of every person, without regard to a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, age, marital

status, sexual orientation, familial status, veteran’s status, disability or source

of income,” reads the resolution that also opposed anti-LGBT discrimination,

according to the Mississippi Press. The newspaper reported Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman thanked the aldermen and “all those involved with the equality resolution.” Starkville is located roughly 125 miles north of Jackson, the state capital. The small Northeastern Mississippi city is home to Mississippi State University.

Florida student appears in gay porn

COCOA, Fla. — A Florida school district has allowed a student who appeared in a gay pornographic film to return to class.

Robert Marucci, 18, told an Orlando television station on Jan. 20 the Brevard County School District suspended him after appearing in a Sean Cody film. Marucci told WKMG he turned to pornography to help his mother who was struggling financially.

“I feel like I have been treated unfairly and this is unjust,” said Marucci.

“This was completely legal. I didn’t break any laws, and this took place out

of the school.” Michelle Irwin, a spokesperson for the Brevard County School District, told

WKMG that Marucci was to have been allowed back to class on Jan. 22.

Putin defends Russia anti-gay law

Links gays to pedophilia as security concerns mount

law Links gays to pedophilia as security concerns mount Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN spoke to journalists

Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN spoke to journalists last week.

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin criticized Putin’s comments. “President Putin’s public interpretation of the country’s anti-LGBT law is beyond comprehension,” said Griffin in a statement. “This law was designed to do nothing less than secure second class status for LGBT Russians and visitors. It does nothing to protect children, but goes great lengths to harm families. Putin spoke with Stephanopoulos and other journalists a day before authorities detained a protester who unfurled a rainbow flag as the Olympic torch relay passed through the city of Voronezh. Putin on Friday once again sought to downplay concerns over Russia’s gay propaganda law during a meeting with Olympic volunteers in Sochi. “We aren’t banning anything, we aren’t rounding up anyone, we have no criminal punishment for such relations unlike many other countries,” said the Russian president as the Associated Press reported. “One can feel relaxed and at ease, but please leave the children in peace.” LGBT rights advocates blasted Putin’s comments. “This statement demonstrates very well how the official discourse labels LGBT people as a threat to children, instilling fear and hatred in the society,” Anastasia Smirnova, spokesperson for a coalition of six Russian LGBT advocacy groups that includes the Russian LGBT Network, told the Blade on Friday.

By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during an interview his network aired on Sunday that those who protest the Kremlin’s LGBT rights record during the 2014 Winter Olympics will not face prosecution under Russia’s controversial law that bans gay propaganda to minors. “Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things,” Putin told Stephanopoulos through a translator during an interview with him and a handful of other journalists from Russia, China and the U.K., that took place in Sochi, Russia. “They are close, but if we were to look at them from the legal perspective, then protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of sexuality or sexual abuse of children.” Putin once again sought to downplay concerns over the gay propaganda law ahead of the Sochi games that begin on Feb. 6. “It has nothing to do with prosecuting people for their non-traditional orientation,” he told Stephanopoulos. “In this country, everybody is absolutely equal to anybody else, irrespective of one’s religion, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Everybody is equal. So no concerns exist for people who intend to come as athletes or visitors to the Olympics.” But Putin defended the anti- propaganda law by linking gays to pedophilia and suggesting gays are more likely to abuse children. He added, “anything that gets in the way of [population growth] we should clean up.” The interview comes amid growing concerns about the security of athletes and tourists and new terror threats from suspected suicide bombers believed to already be in Sochi. Putin said during the interview that “homosexuality remains a felony” in some U.S. states — Stephanopoulos pointed out the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws. The Russian president also noted homosexuality remains a crime in 70 countries — and seven of those nations impose the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of same-sex sexual relations. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. “Russia does not criminally prosecute people for being gay, unlike in over one- third of the world’s nations,” said Putin.

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16 • JANUARY 24, 2014

NATIONAL NEWS

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Couples seek marriage rights in Florida

Lawsuit challenges state’s ban on gay nuptials

By MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com

Six same-sex couples on Tuesday filed a

lawsuit challenging Florida’s gay marriage ban. Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello, Dr. Juan Carlos Rodríguez and David Price, Vanessa and Melanie Alenier, Todd and Jeff Delmay, Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Díaz joined their lawyers and representatives from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Florida at a press conference in Miami Beach. Each of the couples sought to apply for marriage licenses at the Miami-Dade County Courts’ clerk’s office on Jan. 17.

The Equality Florida Institute is also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in Miami. Harven Ruvin, clerk of the Miami-Dade County Courts, is named as a defendant. “Florida is our home, it is where we are raising our child, and where we want to get married,” said Pareto, who has been

with Arguello for 14 years and with whom she has 15-month-old son in a press

release. “Karla and I wish for our family the same things that other families want. We want to build our lives together, provide a safe and caring home for our child, and share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage.” Florida voters in 2008 approved a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Equality Florida announced shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court last June found

a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act

unconstitutional that the organization was looking for plaintiffs to challenge the Sunshine State’s gay nuptials ban. “Governor[Rick]Scottsupportstraditional marriage,” the governor’s spokesperson, John Tupps, told the Washington Blade. “Florida voters amended the State Constitution in 2008 to define marriage as between a man and a woman.” Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is challenging Scott as a Democrat, in 2006 signed a petition in support of the constitutional amendment. The former Republican who has faced persistent questions about his sexual orientation late last year said he now

about his sexual orientation late last year said he now CATHERINA PARETO and KARLA ARGUELLO are

CATHERINA PARETO and KARLA ARGUELLO are among six same-sex couples challenging Florida’s gay marriage ban.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIK OLVERA/NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS

regrets his decision. “I’m proud to support the lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on marriage equality,” wrote Crist on his Twitter page on Tuesday. “It’s an issue of fairness.” Eighteen states and D.C. have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 6 blocked any future same-sex marriages from taking place in Utah pending the outcome of an appeal of a federal judge’s December ruling that struck down the

state’s gay nuptials ban. A federal judge in Oklahoma last week struck down the Sooner State’s constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage lawsuits have also been filed in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and other states. “These harmful laws are outdated and out of step,” said Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith. “It is time for all families in our state to have full equality under the law.”

Gay juror decision bodes well for marriage

Ninth Circuit applies heightened scrutiny to laws on sexual orientation

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

A ruling handed down by a federal

appeals court this week in favor of LGBT non-discrimination in jury selection bodes well for the success of marriage equality litigation, according to legal experts who spoke to the Washington Blade. Suzanne Goldberg, a lesbian and co- director of Columbia University’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, said the decision is important in and of itself, but also because of its impact on the case pending before the same court against Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage. “The ruling will make it even more difficult for Nevada’s marriage law to withstand the current challenge to it because heightened scrutiny means that the government will have to identify an ‘important’ state interest if it wants to continue to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage,” Goldberg said. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined the trial judge erred in allowing

one litigant to remove a juror because of his sexual orientation, remanding the case for

a new trial. The case — Glaxo Smith Kline v. Abbott Laboratories — is the result of antitrust, contracts and business tort claims filed against the company for quadrupling the price of its protease inhibitor booster drug used by people with HIV. During jury selection, Abbott used its first peremptory challenge to strike a prospective juror after learning he was gay. Writing for the majority, U.S. District Judge Roy Reinhardt ruled that Abbott “unconstitutionally used a peremptory strike” to exclude Juror B from the case because of his sexual orientation, but goes further by saying the court must apply heightened scrutiny in its ruling in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act. “Windsor requires that when state action discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, we must examine its actual purposes and carefully consider the resulting inequality to ensure that our most fundamental institutions neither send nor reinforce messages of stigma or second- class status,” Reinhardt writes. “In short, Windsor requires heightened scrutiny.” It’s not the first time that an appellate court has applied heightened scrutiny,

or a greater assumption a law is unconstitutional, when considering a case related to sexual orientation. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals applied that standard when ruling in favor of Edith Windsor in her case against DOMA before that lawsuit came before the Supreme Court. Several federal district courts have made similar rulings, as have the state high courts of California, Iowa, Connecticut and New Mexico. The view that laws related to sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny is also shared by the Obama administration. But the decision in the Ninth Circuit is significant because it creates precedent within that jurisdiction to apply heightened scrutiny in the numerous cases before it involving gay people and may encourage courts outside the circuit to do the same. Doug NeJaime, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the court application of heightened scrutiny to its decision “is very significant.” “This Ninth Circuit ruling will likely encourage other courts to engage with the issue of whether Windsor suggests some heightened form of scrutiny,” NeJaime said. “More concretely, it will directly influence the challenge to Nevada’s marriage law currently before the Ninth

Circuit; whether sexual orientation merits heightened scrutiny for federal equal protection purposes has been an issue throughout that case, and the district court had decided that it did not.” Still, NeJaime said the Ninth Circuit’s decision to draw on the DOMA decision to apply heightened scrutiny “will likely be proven controversial” because U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy never explicitly invoked the level of scrutiny in his ruling. Jon Davidson, Lambda’s legal director, said the ruling will have “a very significant impact” on the court’s examination of the Nevada marriage case. “The Ninth Circuit’s ruling that sexual orientation discrimination must be given heightened scrutiny is further proof of the progress we are making in convincing courts that the Constitution affords LGBT people meaningful protections against government-imposed inequality,” Davidson said. The Nevada marriage case isn’t the only lawsuit pending before the Ninth Circuit. Other cases in the jurisdiction are the recently filed challenge against Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage and the case against Oregon’s ban, which is currently before gay U.S. District Judge Michael McShane.

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Advocates seek LGBT inclusion in State of the Union

Advocates seek LGBT inclusion in State of the Union Advocates are calling on President Obama to

Advocates are calling on President Obama to mention LGBT workers during his upcoming State of the Union address.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 01

it’s important that he highlight those faced by the LGBT community,” Sainz said. “There are many ways to address these issues including signing a federal contractor non-discrimination executive order and calling on Congress to send ENDA to him for his signature.” The call for inclusion of the executive order and ENDA in the State of the Union is the same request that LGBT advocates made early in 2013 prior to that year’s speech. Instead, Obama made a veiled reference to gay people when he said the economy should work for Americans “no matter…who you love” and gave himself props for starting the process to secure partner benefits for gay troops. But the situation has changed this time around. The Senate last year passed ENDA on a bipartisan basis by

a 64-32 vote. The only thing stopping ENDA from reaching Obama’s desk is House Republican leadership. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly said he opposes the bill

when asked if he’ll allow a vote on it. Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said including ENDA in the State of the Union would place significant pressure on Boehner to move forward. “By explicitly calling on Speaker Boehner to allow ENDA to come to

a vote, and by explaining the current

gaps in employment law to the American people, President Obama can help build political momentum and do important public education to help correct the fact that 80 or 90 percent of Americans mistakenly think ENDA is already law,” Almeida said. “The

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

president’s words would be a catalyst for millions of important conversations around the country.” Almeida pointed to Obama’s words in his previous State of the Union speech calling for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act as “model language” for what he could say about ENDA. Following that speech, the House voted to send an LGBT-inclusive VAWA reauthorization to Obama’s desk after a version without the protections failed on the House floor. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether Obama will include a reference to ENDA or the executive order in the State of the Union address. If Obama calls for passage of ENDA during the State of the Union, it wouldn’t be the first time that a president has mentioned the legislation during the annual speech. In 1999, then-President Clinton said discrimination based on factors such as sexual orientation “is wrong and it ought to be illegal,” calling on Congress to turn ENDA as well as hate crimes protections into law. As for the executive order, Obama has recently threatened to take executive action if Congress fails to act on legislation important to his agenda. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he had no updates when asked by the Blade if the use of the pen applies to non-discrimination protections for LGBT workers, but suggested Obama would take the route only for other agenda items. Still, the lingering issue of LGBT workplace discrimination isn’t the only issue advocates want addressed during the State of the Union.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said ENDA and the executive order are part of a group of agenda items Obama should mention during his speech “to build on his stellar track record in the area of LGBT freedoms and justice.” “This includes signing an executive order that bans discrimination against LGBT people working for federal contractors and pushing

Congress on passing ENDA and fair immigration reform legislation,” Carey said. “We would also like to see him include LGBT people and families as examples in his references to domestic issues that all Americans care about such as jobs, the economy, and health care. And finally, we would like him to use use the word ‘transgender’ and to call for an end to violence against transgender people.”

call for an end to violence against transgender people.” From left: Lt. Gov. ANTHONY BROWN ,

From left: Lt. Gov. ANTHONY BROWN, DIANE STOLLENWERK, Del. MAGGIE MCINTOSH, Del. MARY WASHINGTON and Howard County Executive KEN ULMAN.

PHOTO BY SAM O’NEIL

Brown leads in Md. fundraising

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown has developed a significant fundraising advantage over his Democratic challengers in the race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley. Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, raised nearly $5.4 million between Jan. 10, 2013, and Jan. 8, according to their latest campaign finance report they filed with state officials last week. This figure includes a $250 contribution Equality Maryland’s PAC made on Jan. 6 — less than two weeks after the statewide LGBT advocacy group endorsed Brown and Ulman. Brown and Ulman, who ended his own gubernatorial bid last spring after Brown tapped him as his running mate, had slightly more than $7 million on hand at the end of the reporting period. Attorney General Doug Gansler and his running mate, state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s County), reported they raised nearly $1.7 million during the same period. They reported they have slightly more than $6.2 million in the bank. State Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) reported she and her running mate, Rev. Delman Coates, raised more than $1.1 million between Jan. 10, 2013, and Jan. 8. This figure includes slightly more than $284,359 in public funds the campaign has thus far received. Mizeur and Coates’ campaign finance report indicates they had slightly more than $747,000 on hand at the end of the latest reporting period. “I’m grateful for this tremendous outpouring of support from people who share our vision of a better Maryland for more Marylanders,” said Brown in

a statement, noting education remains among his top priorities. “With a

successful 2013 under our belt and growing momentum, we look forward to

a busy and productive legislative session to build a better Maryland for more Marylanders.”

MICHAEL K. LAVERS

18 • JANUARY 24, 2014

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Ebbin, Fisette on ‘short list’ for Congress

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Democratic group that recently changed its name to Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Virginia. Israel says he knows most of the other candidates considering entering the race and all of them are strong supporters of LGBT rights, just as Moran has been a staunch ally of the LGBT community during his tenure as a congressman. “The field will no doubt be an embarrassment of riches,” he said. Fisette became the first known openly gay candidate to win election to public office in Virginia in 1997, when he won his race for a seat on the Arlington County Board, which serves as the county’s legislative body. He has won re-election four times since then by wide margins, with his latest electoral victory in 2013. Fisette’s colleagues elected him chair of the five-member board in 2001, 2005, 2010, and again this year under a system in which the board rotates its leadership posts every year. Ebbin became the first openly gay candidate to win election to the Virginia General Assembly when he won his race for a seat in the House of Delegates in 2003 in a district in Alexandria, which is his home base. He won re-election to the seat in 2007. When a seat in the 30th State Senate district came open in 2011 Ebbin tossed his hat in the ring and won the Democratic primary in a hotly contested, three- candidate race by a three-point margin. He won the general election against a Republican opponent by a margin of 64.4 percent to 35.4 percent. Political observers note that Ebbin is the

only potential candidate for the 8th District congressional seat who represents parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax, giving him an advantage in the June primary should he enter the race. “With the 2014 legislative session just beginning, I am working hard every day for the people of the 30th District,” Ebbin said

in a statement released last week. “I am

honored that people think I’d make a good congressman, and I will give it the serious

consideration it deserves,” he said. “I hope

to have more to say about this in the future.” Ebbin told the Blade on Monday that

a report posted on Twitter by Virginia

political blogger Ben Tribbett incorrectly claimed Ebbin announced his candidacy for the congressional seat at a Jan. 18 meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

“I don’t know why he tweeted that,” said

Ebbin. “I didn’t make an announcement.” Although Ebbin told the Blade he isn’t

ready to announce his decision on whether

or not to run, Charlie Conrad, vice chair of elections for Lesbian and Gay Democrats

of Virginia said “the word is out” that Ebbin

plans to run for the congressional seat. “I’m supporting Adam,” he said. “He is very popular and very well respected.” Fisette, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, had not made a public statement about whether he was

considering running for the congressional seat as of early this week.

A spokesperson for the Virginia election

board said that if the Democratic Party decides to hold a primary, as expected, rather than a caucus to nominate a candidate for the seat, candidates must file petitions with 1,000 valid signatures by March 27 to

gain placement on the June 10 ballot. Other potential Democratic candidates for the 8th District seat mentioned by political insiders include Alexandria Mayor William Euille and former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley; Del. Charniele Herring (Alexandria); Del. Patrick Hope (Arlington); Del. K. Robert Krupicka Jr. (Alexandria); Del. Alfonso Lopez (Arlington); Fairfax Board of Supervisors member Jeff McKay; Del. Mark Sickles (Fairfax); and Del. Scott Surovell (Fairfax). Surovell and Krupicka have sponsored bills in the House of Delegates in support of same-sex marriage rights. Hope has proposed legislation to ban “ex-gay” therapy for minors. Chesterfield resident Maggie Sacra, the current chair of Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Virginia, which recently became an official arm of the Virginia Democratic Party, said the organization can no longer endorse candidates in a primary under party rules. Thus the state’s largest LGBT Democratic group won’t be able to endorse Ebbin or Fisette should they decide to run in the primary. Sacra said the group nevertheless will be “very active” in the primary campaign by reaching out to all of the Democratic candidates to discuss their positions on LGBT issues and inform them of the issues of concern to the LGBT community. “I think we will have a good group of candidates,” she said. “All are pro-equality.” She added, “It would be a great thing for the state if we were to get an openly gay congressman,” noting that such a development would be an historic first in the South. Israel, who lives in Arlington, said the LGBT vote could be a key factor in the

primary if a large number of candidates enter the race. “The biggest question is going to be how many people run and who is able to turn

out a plurality of their supporters,” he said. “Given the number of potential candidates considering this race, one candidate with

a particularly committed base of support

could become a U.S. representative for decades to come.” In August 2003, Fisette announced he would run against Moran in the 2004 Democratic primary at a time when Moran came under fire for what political

observers called a series of widely reported “missteps.” Among other things, fellow Democrats criticized him for suggesting that the Jewish lobby was responsible for persuading President George W. Bush to start the Iraq war. “Jim deserves credit for his past work, but it’s time to move forward,” the Free Republic blog quoted Fisette as saying

at the time. “I’m convinced that there’s an

overwhelming number of people looking for a change.” But less than two weeks later, Fisette changed his mind and withdrew from the race, saying that while he had differences with Moran he agreed with the congressman on most issues and didn’t want to engage in

a negative campaign. “He made the very smart decision not to run,” said Nick Benton, the gay editor and publisher of the Falls Church News-Press and an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights. “It would have been very destructive of his future ambitions to run.” Benton has been a longtime supporter of Moran.

CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

Agema responds to criticism over anti-gay remarks

RNC member ‘reflects badly on Republicans and on Michigan’

By CHRIS JOHNSON cjohnson@washblade.com

A member of the Republican National Committee who has been criticized for making a series of anti-gay comments has apparently responded ahead of an upcoming national party meeting in D.C. Dave Agema, who formerly served in the Michigan State House, issued the response via Facebook posting Sunday night, according to an individual with access to his news feed and an apparent screenshot of the message. Saying he’s been on vacation for the past eight days, Agema said his intent with

his previous messages — which have riled both gay Republicans and GOP leadership

— was to “encourage discourse.” “While I was gone it seems the same people are feeding half truths to the news within the GOP, stirring up divisiveness,” Agema apparently said. “I stand on the same issues I always have — God, family and country.” Agema, who recently called Russia’s controversial anti-gay propaganda law “common sense” via Facebook, asserts he doesn’t necessarily align himself with the views expressed in items he posted. “There are times I have posted or linked an article to encourage discourse,” Agema apparently said. “This does not constitute endorsement of that position, but some capture a controversial snippet and allege those are my words. It is an unfortunate and uncivil tactic meant to ruin a person’s reputation.”

Further, Agema apparently takes on the mantle of the victim, saying he’s faced retaliation for his remarks, including threats and vulgar messages. “The Party platform is clear and the State Constitution is clear,” Agema looks to have said. “I have tried to uphold them but have been threatened, sent vulgar T-shirts, called nasty names at all times of night and day. I have never used name calling. Political correctness is taking the place of free speech via fear and intimidation.” Agema concludes his posting by calling for “supporters and friends to turn the other cheek and not show the intolerance some of the opposition have shown.” As seen in the screenshot, Agema made the posting visible to only his friends on Facebook, so the Blade is unable to independently view it to confirm its accuracy. Agema didn’t immediately respond to the

Washington Blade’s request for comment

to verify the posting.

Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, dismissed the

notion that his postings merely fostered discourse, saying the RNC member “needs

to look in the mirror.”

“His statements go far beyond polite debate about civil marriage equality; they’re outright bigotry,” Angelo said. “When GOP leadership across your state make a point of distancing themselves or explicitly denouncing you, it’s time to rethink your role in the party.” Further, Angelo, who previously called for Agema’s ouster from the RNC, said it’s time for the Michigan Republican to relinquish his post. “If Mr. Agema was truly as serious about getting conservatives elected as he professes, he would do the right thing and vacate his seat at the RNC,” Angelo said.

BALTIMORE NEWS DIGEST

JANUARY 24, 2013 • 19

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Smooth sailing on first Equality Cruise

A total of 69 passengers participated in Equality Maryland’s first Equality Cruise Jan. 12-19. Those participating were mostly from the Baltimore- Washington region but some came from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee. They included a diverse group of LGBT people and allies. Carnival Cruises donated a portion of the group’s proceeds to Equality Maryland. Travel arrangements were made by Equality Maryland’s office manager, Vanessa Bowling, who also owns Vanessa Addrienne Travel. She, along with Doug Rose, communications volunteer for Equality Maryland, served as hosts for the group. The cruise took place aboard the aptly named Carnival Pride, which departed from Baltimore. It sailed to Port Canaveral and then on to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas before returning. Both Bowling and Rose hosted a meet-and-greet as the ship departed Baltimore. They also arranged group gatherings including pre-dinner socials and organized a “red party” in the Pride’s dance club. Tokyo Derekston of Glen Burnie, Md., enjoyed her first cruise. “I’m having a great time,” she said during its midpoint. “As long as people stop asking me to sing.” Bowling indicated that she intends to send out surveys about what people would like in the way of future cruises and ports of call. The Equality Cruise’s maiden voyage went well and there is optimism that the size of the group will increase next year.

Miss Freestate 2014 pageant

As an official preliminary to Miss Gay Maryland America, S&D Entertainment will present Miss Freestate 2014:

Anastacia Amor’s Fun House tonight at the Club Hippo, 1 W. Eager St., in Baltimore. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the pageant begins at 10:30 p.m. Hosted by Josie Foster and starring Miss Freestate Anastacia Amor, other local drag performers scheduled to appear are Tatiyanna Voche, Stephanie Michaels, Eva Couture, Tuly Fabu, Inginue, Diamond (Miss Gay Maryland 2000), Ashley Bannks (Miss Gay Maryland 2002), Michelle Michaels (North Carolina USofA-Newcomer 2013), and Araya Sparxx (Miss Gay Maryland 2013). General Admission is $8 with reserved seating priced at $10. For more information, contact Sue Nami at

410-440-3344.

Marriage rights seminar scheduled

For those newly married same-sex couples and those planning to tie the knot, a seminar covering a variety of legal and financial matters will take place on Saturday in Towson. Issues to be discussed include estate planning,

inheritance and estate tax benefits, health issues and qualification for Medicaid, tax law issues and income tax pros and cons. Pessin Katz Law estate planning attorneys Kimberly L. Battaglia and Helen M. Smith will be on hand for an informal discussion of these issues. The seminar will take place from 10 a.m.-noon, with registration beginning

WAMU

at 9:45 a.m. at Pessin Katz Law, P.A.’s Seminar Room, 901 Dulaney Valley Rd., Suite 400, Towson. The seminar is free, but registration is required. RSVP by calling Rhonda King at 410-938-8800 or email rking@ pklaw.com. Parking is available in the Sheraton garage.

STEVE CHARING

88.5Community

Open House

Saturday, February 1, 2014 2 – 4 p.m.

WAMU 88.5 Media Center 4401 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20008

Tours of newsroom, studios and community space. Meet WAMU hosts, reporters and staff. Light refreshments.

Listen at wamu.org

of newsroom, studios and community space. Meet WAMU hosts, reporters and staff. Light refreshments. Listen at
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20 • JANUARY 24, 2014

HEALTH NEWS

washingtonblade.com 20 • JANUARY 24, 2014 HEALTH NEWS “In general, LGBT people experience stigma associated with

“In general, LGBT people experience stigma associated with their sexual and gender minority status, disproportionate behavioral risks and psychosocial health problems,” said Robert W.S. Coulter of Pittsburgh Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. Coulter and his colleagues found that the NIH funded 628 studies between 1989 and 2011 concerning LGBT health. These stories accounted for 0.5 percent of all NIH studies in total during this period, the Medical News Today article said. Of the 628 studies, 519 focused on HIV/AIDS and sexual health issues, with 86.1 percent focusing on men, 13.5 percent focusing on women, and 6.8 percent of the studies focusing on transgender people. The researchers are also concerned about the low numbers of intervention studies addressing LGBT health. Just 21 NIH-funded intervention studies in this period addressed non-HIV LGBT health issues, the article said. Coulter said political pressure is behind the low number. The report notes a 2003 request made by Republican members of Congress to justify the benefits of nearly 200 NIH projects proposing to study health issues relating to LGBT or other marginalized populations, Medical News Today said.

Choices made during pregnancy such as smoking can raise the chance of having a gay child, according to a new study.

Pregnant smokers, drinkers more likely to have gay kids: study

LONDON — A new study from an Amsterdam University neurobiology professor suggests that choices made during pregnancy such as taking synthetic hormones, smoking, drinking and stress can raise the chance of having a gay child, the Sunday Times reports. Professor Dick Swaab says smoking, drinking and taking drugs designed to combat depression during pregnancy can lower a child’s IQ, while living in an area with high levels of traffic pollution can raise the risk of autism, the Times reports. Swaab’s claims follow a survey of the latest academic studies about links between the lifestyles of pregnant women and the development of their babies. Each provides evidence of the sensitivity of the brain to outside influences, the article said. “Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children of both genders because their raised level of the stress hormone cortisol affects the production of fetal sex hormones,” the Telegraph quoted him as having said.

sex hormones,” the Telegraph quoted him as having said. Gays not widely represented in NIH studies

Gays not widely represented in NIH studies

EAST SUSSEX, UK — Just half of one percent of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health concern LGBT issues according to a new report from the American Journal of Public Health, Medical News Today reports. The percentage was considered disproportionately low according to researchers from the Pittsburgh Public Health’s Center for LGBT Health Research, the article said.

Teen prank may have skewed ’90s research

NEW YORK — Teens who thought it would be funny to fake being gay may have skewed the results of a landmark 1990s health survey according to a new research paper, Huffington Post reports. The article, published online Dec. 24 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, says that the five to seven percent of teens who identified as homosexual or bisexual in that survey is likely a huge overestimate — caused by teens who responded in jest or who misunderstood the questions, the article said. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health survey, colloquially known as Add Health, asked 14,000 teenagers detailed questions about their health, well-being and other behaviors in four waves from 1994 to 2008, the Huffington Post article said. But when the results for the first wave came out in the 1990s, researchers were shocked. Whereas just 1 percent of teens had identified as gay or bisexual previously, Add Health found dramatically higher results. Even stranger, about 70 percent of the teens initially identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual said they were straight in later versions of the survey.

Gay couples more likely to be happy in relationships

LONDON — Gay couples are more likely to be happy and positive about their relationships than their straight counterparts according to a major study by the Open University, the Independent, a British newspaper, reports. However, they are less likely to be openly affectionate toward each other — holding hands in public, for instance — because they still fear attracting disapproval, the article said. The study of 5,000 people — 50 of whom were later followed up with in-depth interviews — aimed at finding out how modern couples keep their relationships on track through life’s difficulties. “LGBQ participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer) are more generally positive about and happier with the quality of their relationship and the relationship which they have with their partner,” the research concludes.

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FITNESS

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 21

washingtonblade.com FITNESS JANUARY 24, 2014 • 21 In achieving any goals in life, one has to

In achieving any goals in life, one has to be realistic and be reminded of where you want to be and how to get there.

be reminded of where you want to be and how to get there. Figuring out the

Figuring out the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of your fitness goals is essential

and ‘whys’ of your fitness goals is essential GERARD BURLEY is a D.C.-based personal trainer. Reach

GERARD BURLEY is a D.C.-based personal trainer. Reach him via @CoachGFit or coachg@ coachgfitness.com.

We’re deep into January and I’m still seeing people living the theme “new year, new you.” I like it! Though you may have already made your resolutions, there’s no bad time to talk about the best ways to achieve your goals. I meet with new clients all the time who have goals, but haven’t gone about it the right way to be successful. Here are a few of my hopefully new tricks that will help set you up to win in and out of the gym. Start backwards — Yes when goal setting, I literally start backwards. I write out what my specific goal is and then think of the steps from my goal back to my current status. By starting from your goal and moving back it helps put a more realistic space on how long the goal will take. We can use weight loss as a great example. Instead of randomly saying, “I’ll lose 20 pounds by Memorial Day,” you can break it down like this: I’m starting at 20 pounds and healthy weight loss that stays off is about one pound per week, so I know I’m looking at 20 weeks or about five months to hit my goal. During any fitness goal attempt there will be setbacks because the body sometimes just “do what it want to do,” as my momma would say. Also, we all have travel, work and family life that can pump the breaks on our progress. Keeping this in mind, I suggest adding in a week for a slip up. Now we have an accurate time frame

to make our goals happen. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve them before this goal date, but it will help you avoid setting yourself up for failure. See it daily — A major problem people have with accomplishing their goals are that they many times forget about them. Yeah, they stay in the back of your mind, but it’s doing you no good there. Not until something drastic like a visit from the doctor comes around or you can’t fit in those tight jeans any more do you realize those goals should have been up front all along. A great tool to beat this is by using constant visual cues. I teach my clients to write their goals down everywhere. Put them up in the bathroom, in your car, at work and especially on your fridge. I also like to use something called a goal card. I got this technique from another trainer who writes his goals on a card that he keeps in his wallet. That means every time you reach for a credit or debit card, which for many of us is too many times, you see your goals. Constant reminders of what you want to achieve can help breathe new life into you, especially on those days when it gets hard. Find the whys — Whenever people talk about their goals be it fitness, career or family goals, you usually hear a list of things they want to achieve, or what I call the “whats.” The whats are great, but unfortunately in life it’s not the whats that drive us, it’s the whys. To get to the whys, we have to dig a little deeper and find out what is our true motivation. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight or pack on more muscle. Is it because you lack confidence now and this will give you more? Your why can also be a preventative. Maybe you want to stay in good health because there is a history of obesity-related disease in your family. Whatever your personal why is, it’s important that you find it. Find the why and you will find your path to success. Goals and goal setting are a big part of being successful this year in regard to fitness and well being. Make sure you spend extra time planning out your goals with a good route to conquer them and you’ll be blasting through them in no time.

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washingtonblade.com 22 • JANUARY 24, 2014 VIEWPOINT Understanding Israel in all its complexity New hope
washingtonblade.com 22 • JANUARY 24, 2014 VIEWPOINT Understanding Israel in all its complexity New hope

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22 • JANUARY 24, 2014

VIEWPOINT

Understanding Israel in all its complexity

New hope for sustained peace in U.S.-backed negotiations

By STUART KURLANDER & ALAN RONKIN

History matters. Facts matter. Both were tossed to the wind by Pauline Park in a re- cent op-ed in the Washington Blade, who assailed the American Jewish Committee and its signature Project Interchange pro- gram. Without any explanation, she assert- ed that AJC “is aggressive in its defense of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” Nonsense! AJC, of course, is a strong ad- vocate for an Israel that thrives in peace and security, and continues to support a negoti- ated two-state solution to achieve sustain- able Israeli-Palestinian peace. As a global advocacy organization, AJC has brought that message to the top leaders of many countries, including Arab nations. But Park’s baseless accusation is the foun- dation for her criticizing American LGBT community leaders who participated in an educational visit to Israel and the West Bank with AJC’s Project Interchange. For over 30 years, more than 6,000 leaders from across the United States and 84 other countries have participated in Project Interchange’s unique, weeklong educational seminars in Israel. Project Interchange’s success is rooted in

its non-ideological approach. By introduc- ing first-time visitors to a broad range of Israelis, who offer diverse narratives across the political, social and religious spectrum, seminar participants gain an apprecia- tion for Israel as a dynamic diverse society. What’s more, AJC’s Project Interchange par- ticipants travel to the West Bank, where they meet with a range of Palestinian leaders, in- cluding at the highest levels of the Palestin- ian Authority. Yes, Israel has challenges like other dem- ocratic nations, though Israel’s challenges have special significance given the history of the conflict and its neighborhood. Project Interchange is not afraid to show Israel in all its complexity, “warts and all.” What visitors find is a robust democratic nation, where, among other things, there are freedoms of speech, religion and sexual orientation. In- deed, Tel Aviv was named the No. 1 gay city in the world in a broad survey by GayCities. com and American Airlines. The LGBT delegation that visited Israel in October fulfilled AJC’s desire to introduce this important segment of American society to Israel. When it comes to understanding Israel, there is simply no substitute for first- hand, on-the-ground experience. The group seized the opportunities to engage directly with Israelis and Palestinians in open conver- sations. As part of their program, the LGBT delegation visited Ramallah, as do other

EDITORIAL CARTOON

delegation visited Ramallah, as do other EDITORIAL CARTOON Project Interchange groups, to engage with Palestinian

Project Interchange groups, to engage with Palestinian leaders. Regrettably, Palestinian LGBT groups rejected the opportunity to meet with their U.S. counterparts. Park, however, as a member of the New York City Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, offers a preconceived, politically myopic view of Israel. One has to wonder whether she or any members of her delegation met with, or even expressed a desire to meet with, any mainstream Israelis on her 2012 visit to the region. Moreover, one cannot help but wonder whether her use of the term “occupation” refers to the period since June 1967, following Israel’s war of sur- vival, or to 1948, when Israel was established as an independent country following a UN recommendation. Let’s remember that a Palestinian state could have been established at the same time. The UN Partition Plan of 1947 divided the British Mandate into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. That was the original two-state solution. But the Arabs rejected that concept. Sixty-six years later the two- state solution is still on the table. And, let’s recall Israel did not set out to gov- ern the Palestinians. Israel came to rule over Gaza and the West Bank not by choice, but in a defensive war in June 1967, when neigh- boring Arab states — particularly Egypt and Syria — threatened time and again to over- run and destroy the young country. Israel has tried relentlessly to find negoti- ating partners to exchange land for peace. Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties in 1979 and 1994. But the Palestinian lead- ership rebuffed Israel’s substantial peace offers in 2000, in 2001 and again in 2008. These historical facts are ignored by Park, her organization and other supporters of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanction) anti-Israel movement, which at its core dis- misses Israel’s right to exist. Our utmost hope is that the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, with the key assistance of the U.S., will yield an enduring agreement. Both peoples deserve to live in peace and security. Tellingly, Park and her organization don’t seem to share the same goals for one of those peoples.

STUART KURLANDER is a board member of AJC Washington; ALAN RONKIN is executive director of AJC’s Washington regional office.

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24 • JANUARY 24, 2014 VIEWPOINT Life beyond marriage equality Where the GOP and LGBT
24 • JANUARY 24, 2014 VIEWPOINT Life beyond marriage equality Where the GOP and LGBT

24 • JANUARY 24, 2014

VIEWPOINT

Life beyond marriage equality

Where the GOP and LGBT community have common ground

equality Where the GOP and LGBT community have common ground ROBERT TURNER is executive director of

ROBERT TURNER is executive director of the D.C. Republican Party and former president of the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. Reach him at robert. turner@dcgop.com or @RobertTurnerDC.

There are people both in the Republi- can Party and in the gay community who strongly believe that gays do not belong in the Grand Old Party. To my brothers and sisters in the gay community, while the Democratic Party has been much better on equality, when you step away from that string of issues, there is a wealth of policy positions where there is room for discussion and differing opinion. As Urvashi Vaid says in her book, “Irresist- ible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics,” “Beyond a shared basic rights agenda,

there is no political unity between progres- sives and conservatives in the LGBT com- munity.” This is highlighted on issue after issue with gun control, abortion, immigra- tion, tax, and a panoply of other items that comprise our daily lives. When you listen to some national gay organizations, they speak of the evils of Republicans. They often imply ALL Repub- licans. Either they are not mindful that we have a growing number of Republican allies in the House and Senate and around the country who support us on many of our core issues, or they are simply party hacks. It’s OK to be a party hack. I am. Just don’t masquer- ade as a non-partisan national LGBT orga- nization if that’s what you really are — an operative of the Democratic Party. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would not have been repealed three years ago without the six Republican senators who support- ed ending the law. Nor would the Senate have passed the Employment Non-Dis- crimination Act, which would provide em- ployment protections for LGBT individu- als in the workplace, without the votes of 10 Republicans. Fifteen years ago, those votes would have been unheard of. The Republican Party is going through a cultural shift (al-

beit slowly) as more Republican legislators consistently step up for LGBT Americans. States like New York, Maryland and Illinois

bear witness to that. Conversely, there are those in leadership positions within the Republican Party to whom it is anathema for gays to be in the GOP and, worse yet, that we exist at all. It would be dishonest to say that, for gay Re- publicans, the last 20 years have been easy. The ascension of many within the Chris- tian right into the party has often made life rough. That is, however, not a blanket state- ment. There are many good people who are part of the Christian right. The tenor of the marriage equality debate, on both sides of the aisle, has been nasty at times. Within the GOP, it uncovered the fact that there are those who see the party as a closed, inward- looking operation who view defeat in the pursuit of ideological purity as ac- ceptable. The tone of the marriage equality debate by certain members of the GOP fails to recognize that, beyond marriage, there are other issues where the LGBT community can contribute to

a winning coalition for Republicans. What the Democratic Party fails to un- derstand is that families cannot live on

love alone. As my counterpart, John Flu- harty, executive director of the Delaware GOP, often says, the GOP message of education, job creation, and economic growth and less government in our lives, are indeed the Republican Party and speak to many in the LGBT community when hate is not interjected. Sadly, it’s the David Agemas of the party, with their ecclesiastical rants, who are the squeaky wheel. And it is because of their boisterous noise that the Repub- lican Party is on the brink of shrinking in- stead of growing. RNC Chair Reince Priebus has done a great job of starting to reach out to minority groups that have not supported the party in recent elections. And while he does not have a plank in his Growth and Opportunity Project for gays and lesbians, he shows no malice toward us either. We simply can’t throw a temper tantrum and leave an organization or a political party when we don’t get our way. That’s what they want. We persevere. We engage. We lis- ten. And then we continue to change hearts and minds. We gay Republicans are here, to the chagrin of the gay left, and annoyance of the Republican radical right.

VIEWPOINT

My partner is 34 years my senior — so what?

Nothing ‘creepy’ about inter-generational couples

what? Nothing ‘creepy’ about inter-generational couples MICHAEL K. LAVERS is a news reporter for the Washington

MICHAEL K. LAVERS is a news reporter for the Washington Blade. Reach him at mlavers@ washblade.com.

The way that some have reacted to British Olympic diver Tom Daley’s ac- knowledgement he is in a relationship with a man — rumored to be Oscar- winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who is two decades older — has certainly piqued this humble reporter’s interest. “Creepy,” “strange” and “way too old” are some of the myriad adjectives and phrases used to describe Daley and Black’s rumored relationship that I have read in the media and online. I don’t find my beloved partner who is 34 years older

than I “way too old.” And I most certainly do not find the life we share “creepy” or “strange.” Sheer coincidence brought us togeth- er for the first time. I met Andrés at a Northwest Washing- ton gay bar on July 8, 2010. It was the last night of a three-day trip to the nation’s capital to visit a good friend and his partner. I was extremely happy because my father had just called me from New Hampshire to tell me that I was to be- come an uncle for the first time. Andrés and I continued to chat as we left the bar and walked toward Logan Circle on that sultry July evening. I was momentarily surprised when he told me he was 62 — I was 28 at the time, but the age difference truly did not matter. I thought to myself as I returned home to Brooklyn, N.Y. — and my summer job as managing editor of the Fire Island News — the next morning that I had just met a genuinely nice man with whom I wanted to keep in touch. Andrés and I reunited a few weeks later when he came to New York to vis- it his family and I quickly realized there

was something more to our friendship

than our daily phone calls and lengthy streams of text messages. We officially became a couple a few weeks later when

he spent Labor Day weekend with me on

Fire Island. A handful of people noted our age dif- ference when we began dating or when they saw us together. These include an airline ticket agent at BWI who asked me whether I was Andrés’ son when we were

trying to get onto another flight to travel

to a friend’s wedding in New Hampshire.

A person who is thankfully no longer a

part of my life rather foolishly concluded that I had a “sugar daddy.” Andrés and I have done many of the same mundane and dare I say boring things that I assume most couples do since I moved in with him here in D.C. in October 2011. These include kvetching over the day’s news while drinking our morning coffee; making weekly grocery lists and deciding who is going to pick up

the dry cleaning or put gas in the car. He also takes a keen interest in my work as

a reporter for the Washington Blade and

the front-row seat to LGBT history that

my colleagues and I continue to enjoy. My nephew who turns 3 in March re- cently called Andrés to wish him happy birthday. And my parents routinely ask about him when we speak and send them their love. There is certainly nothing “creepy” or “strange” about the life we share as an inter-generational couple. Our friends, family and other loved ones who knew us as single for way too long agree. Andrés and I are comfortable enough with who we are as people and espe- cially with our relationship not to worry about whether someone may have an issue with our age difference. The same argument should certainly apply to Tom Daley and his rumored boyfriend. Those who concern themselves with the age difference of two adults who have made the decision to share their lives with each other almost certainly need to spend more time worrying about themselves and assessing their own issues, insecurities, fill in the blank. It is the very simple mantra of mind your own business as those of us from New Hampshire know all too well.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 25

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26 • JANUARY 24, 2014

INSIDE LGBT WASHINGTON

The difficulties of beating an incumbent

D.C. mayoral challengers so far not generating much excitement

mayoral challengers so far not generating much excitement PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and

PETER ROSENSTEIN is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

The D.C. primary is less than 70 days away. There are numerous candidates running for office and nearly all incumbents have more than one challenger. Looking at a recent Washington Post poll it is clear that no chal- lenger in the mayor’s race has yet created enough excitement around their candidacy to stand out from the crowd. But creating that excitement is a very hard thing to do even for good candidates in races with numerous challengers. From the political perspective the problem of running against an incumbent is very difficult. From president to local school board, incumbents

have an advantage and the only way to beat them is if you can first get voters to focus on things they have done wrong and then move them to buy into what you as the chal- lenger can do right. We recently witnessed a mayoral pri- mary and election in New York where there was no incumbent on the ballot but the winning candidate, rather than focus on his opponents. ran against the mayor in office. Bill de Blasio was able to tap into an elec- torate tired of Michael Bloomberg after 12 years in office. He was able to run pitting the haves against the have-nots. That is often a way national races are run. One of the major issues in New York was universal pre-kindergarten. Instead of focusing on the issue he focused on “taxing the rich” to pay for it. It was very effective as a cam- paign issue even if he may not be able to do it now that he is in office. De Blasio was able to tie incumbent Council President Christine Quinn, a les- bian, to Bloomberg and then benefitted when many in the LGBT community at- tacked her. That election showed that voters in New York have moved beyond guaran- teeing votes to a candidate based on their being the same race, ethnicity or sexual ori- entation. De Blasio also did something hard to do and which could have backfired when

he highlighted his family in the election. De Blasio is white. His wife is African American — beautiful, intelligent and she was once an activist lesbian. His son seems to have a great personality and great natural hairstyle to go with it; he captured the interest of the press and the imagination of the commu- nity. Clearly not all candidates have such an interesting family. Now there are some candidates run- ning across the nation who look at Bill de Blasio’s campaign as a blueprint for their own. Some see it as the rise of progres- sivism and the public finally fighting back against the economic inequality that we are seeing in the nation. But I would cau- tion candidates to think twice about using New York as an example of how to run a campaign. Some think that it was former Mayor Adrian Fenty trying to model him- self after Michael Bloomberg that caused many of his problems. There are few cities with eight million people and the diver- sity of New York. More are like the District, which is comparable to a collection of just a few neighborhoods in New York. D.C. today has only 400,000 registered voters. Everyone in politics tends to know everyone else and their business. When a new mayor is installed in New York, he or she has a choice of millions of people to

place in government positions. That isn’t the case in D.C. and it is the reason many people remain in their positions from one administration to another. Challengers who generally have the same positions on the issues as the incumbent have a difficult time making themselves stand out. Challengers who are themselves incumbents in another office have the addi- tional problem of having already staked out positions many the same as the person they are now challenging. In a small city like D.C. the issues always tend to be the same. They include education, public safety, fiscal sta- bility, economic development and balanc- ing the needs of the haves and have-nots, which includes dealing with gentrification. Over the next less than 70 days, the strug- gle will be for the challengers for all offices in D.C. to make the case for how they can make a difference. First they will try to con- vince voters that the city isn’t moving in the right direction and present a believable plan to change things. If that doesn’t work they must make the case for why the incumbent can’t continue to lead. Not easy in a one-on-one challenge but made even more difficult when there are multiple candidates having to run not only against the incumbent but against each other.

OUR BUSINESS MATTERS

Fixing D.C. elections to let independent voters play

Dominant Democrats fear loss of party registrations, electoral exclusivity

fear loss of party registrations, electoral exclusivity MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and community business

MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

In D.C., independent voters don’t really get to play the game come election time. Not only that, the current system allows the dominant Democratic Party’s primary candidates to proceed to the general election winning only a plurality of votes. It will likely happen again on April 1 in the historically determinant Democratic pri- mary for mayor. These are separate problems. But there may be a single solution. Due to overwhelming Democratic regis- tration at nearly 75 percent, winners of local elections are decided in the dominant par-

ty’s primary election. The only exception is a requirement that two of four At-Large D.C. Council seats be held by a non-majority- party. This provision is intended to prevent absolute single-party control but is both easily and commonly overridden by Demo- crats changing affiliation to “independent” as if changing socks. Despite being primary participation out- casts, slightly more than 17 percent of the District’s registered voters have selected “No Party” as their political affiliation. This reduces voting eligibility to general elec- tions, being prohibited from any party’s “closed primary” election. The percentage of independent registra- tions would undoubtedly skyrocket if D.C. election rules were revised to eliminate par- ticipation restrictions. Independent voters are a fast-growing phenomenon in places with broader participation rules. In addition, nearly half of Americans now self-identify as “independents” — even if mostly in at- titude while retaining a party preference —

an all-time high in 25 years of Gallup polling. Of course, both local Democratic Party officials and incumbents are not eager for any change weakening the incentive to reg- ister with the party. Why would they? There

is no upside to surrendering the power of

a determinant process exclusively involving

party registrants or offering other parties a potential path to victory. It’s partly understandable, in reference to the “open primary” system used in Vir- ginia and other states where voters are not required to register by party and indepen- dents may vote in any party primary. Even those registered with a political party may vote in another party’s primary upon mak- ing a declaration they intend to support that party in the general election. There is an argument for letting political parties restrict primary voting to the party-regis- tered. This prevents the possibility a party would have to “associate” with a winning candidate that did not adhere to particular political positions. The rules for voting in primary elec- tions vary by state and there are differing systems in place. And, yes, various pro- tocols lead to multiple types of strategic mischief. In a fully “open” primary, for ex- ample, competing party members switch over to vote for candidates perceived weaker as general election opponents, especially if their own party’s primary is already sewn-up by a strong or single can- didate or popular incumbent. Neither “open” nor “semi-closed” pri- mary systems that allow only independents to choose a party primary are perfect al-

ternatives. Another option, determining a winner by ranking preference in “automatic run-off” primaries is also subject to strategic “gaming” by voters and introduces an un- duly complex “poker game” mentality into the process. D.C.’s dilemma might best be remedied by “non-partisan” elections. All candidates would compete in a single primary open to all voters, with the top two candidates pro- ceeding to the general election. One or both of the top two candidates might still win only a plurality. All voters, however, would have the opportunity to choose among all candidates, with a final selection available to voters in the general election. After all, no system is perfect. A non-partisan system would provide for the least political disruption in a city with single party dominance. It would yield freedom from needing to register with the dominant party to attain electoral equity while also requiring candidates to com- pete side-by-side, as we already do for special elections. It may be time to allow D.C. residents to register and fully participate in election outcomes without forcing affiliation with a political party. It could be the best possible first-step election reform most appropriate for D.C.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 27

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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

Center for the Arts GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON 2013–2014 SEASON Visit us at cfa.gmu.edu Mark
Center for the Arts
GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON
2013–2014 SEASON
Visit us at cfa.gmu.edu
Mark Morris Dance Group
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester
Joffrey Ballet
Saturday, February 22 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 23 at 4 p.m.
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$23, $38, $46 ff
Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m.
Body and Soul
Saturday, March 8 at 8 p.m.
The Center for the Arts is honored to welcome one of the world’s most
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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT • WASHINGTONBLADE.COM • VOLUME 45 • ISSUE 04 • JANUARY 24 2014

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT • WASHINGTONBLADE.COM • VOLUME 45 • ISSUE 04 • JANUARY 24 2014 • PAGE 29

R.J. AGUIAR, left, and WILL SHEPHERD, a gay vlogging couple.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SHEPHERD

SHEPHERD , a gay vlogging couple. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHEPHERD Two couples find unexpected interest in
SHEPHERD , a gay vlogging couple. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHEPHERD Two couples find unexpected interest in

Two couples find unexpected interest in their YouTube adventures

By MARIAH COOPER

In a world of stereotypes, two couples want to show gay relationships are normal by putting their own on YouTube for the world to see. Will Shepherd, 24, and R.J. Aguiar, 25, have been daily vlogging their relationship on their YouTube channel “shep689” since January 2012. It started as a month-long experiment to video every day of their lives together. Since then, their channel has expanded to more than 100,000 subscribers and almost two years worth of daily videos. “Daily vlogging happened by accident,” Aguiar says. “We decided to try it for a month and thought it would fail completely, but instead it took off. We tried it for another month and it took off even more than the first.” Shepherd started the channel as a hobby to respond to funny videos his friend posted. It grew into posting self-help advice and book reviews and eventually included

“day in the life” videos after he met Aguiar. Occasionally the two would record themselves on vacation and at the request of subscribers, they decided to try vlogging every day. From there, the channel’s focus became Shepherd and Aguiar’s everyday lives together. “I wanted to portray gay life as it should be,” Shepherd says. “We wanted to show that there are very little differences between the daily life of a heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple.” Shepherd, who works in advertising, and Aguiar, who works in marketing, have documented large parts of their lives like their move from their home state of Florida to Los Angeles and getting a dog. They’ve also recorded little moments such as going to Chipotle, being stuck in traffic and getting locked out of the house. Their channel led to the launch of their website, notadamandsteve.com, a mix of everything from advice and reviews to recipes and personal stories. Kaelyn Petras, 25, and Lucy Sutcliffe, 21, started their YouTube channel “Kaelyn and Lucy” to stay connected in their long- distance relationship, which began online. Sutcliffe had been following Petras’s Taylor

Swift Tumblr and saw that Petras posted she was ready to come out to her family. “I’d spent the springtime obsessively watching all six seasons of ‘The L Word’ and had sort of just begun accepting myself as a gay woman,” Sutcliffe says. “So I decided to send Kaelyn a quick email, just letting her know that she wasn’t alone and that I was here if she ever wanted to talk. A few hours later she responded and we just haven’t stopped talking.” Sutcliffe, who resides in England, had planned a road trip in the United States and decided to fly to visit Petras, who was in veterinary school in Saint Kitts (an island in the West Indies), at the end of her trip. Sutcliffe, a student filmmaker, filmed the trip and uploaded it to YouTube, mainly as a memento for the couple. Instead, it gained unexpected popularity. “A few months passed and then literally overnight the video had gained several thousand views,” Sutcliffe says. “People had started commenting, ‘This video saved my life,’ ‘You girls have showed me that I don’t have to be ashamed of my sexuality,’ and ‘Our daughter has just come out to us

CONTINUES ON PAGE 39

washingtonblade.com

washingtonblade.com

30 • JANUARY 24, 2014

QUEERY: 20 QUESTIONS FOR BRYCE KEYSER

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I’ve
How long have you been out and who
was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out, to everyone, for about a
year and a half now. The hardest person
to tell was myself. For a long time I didn’t
want to accept the lifestyle and the pain
that may come with associating yourself
as gay. I finally got tired of sheltering who
I really was and came out to everyone at
lightning speed.
I would applaud the scientists who
discovered it, then continue watching that
week’s Judith Ripka’s Jewelry special on
QVC. I am very proud of my sexuality and
of who I am. Being gay has enhanced my
life in so many ways.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
All the LGBT people who came before
me and helped pave the way for us today.
Without them, I’d probably still be in the
closet.
What do you believe in
beyond the physical world?
I am not a religious person by any
means, although I am a very spiritual
person. I do believe there is something
bigger than us out there somewhere. I
think you kind of have to believe that to
stay halfway sane in this world.
What’s your advice for
LGBT movement leaders?
Rhinestone the rainbow flag; it will look
better under the spotlights.
WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY

By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com

Bryce Keyser is planning to eventually get away from the salon work he does — he’s a stylist at Bang Salon on U Street — and make his drag alter ego his full-time work. Porcelain St. Clair was begun, he says, “on a whim.” “I did a costume contest at my old job and won,” the Manassas, Va., native says. “People said, ‘Wow, you’re pretty good, maybe you should do some more,’ so I got some costumes made, did some drag contests and got booked pretty quickly.” Dolly Parton is his main character, which he says he does about 95 percent of the time, but he also does Liza, Madonna and Shania on occasion. He says Parton, whom he grew up idolizing and has met several times, knows his work and has been supportive. There’s no big secret to the boobs, he says — just cotton padding mostly. He made all the foam body padding himself. Keyser starts a new show on Thursday at LivingSocial (918 F St., N.W.) where he’ll be every week. He also does Nellie’s Drag Brunch every Sunday and Drag Salute to the Divas every month at the Howard with his drag mother, Shiqueeta Lee (the next Howard show is Feb. 9). Keyser is single and enjoys reading, shopping at thrift stores and watching QVC and HSN in his free time.

at thrift stores and watching QVC and HSN in his free time. 202.747.2077202.747.2077 What’s Washington’s best
202.747.2077202.747.2077
202.747.2077202.747.2077

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? Town is my first love. It was the first gay club I ever went to and the place that I started my drag career and met my drag mother, Shiqueeta Lee!

Describe your dream wedding. Two men, holding hands, surrounded by friends and family underneath a beautiful altar covered in white roses. I’m a hopeless romantic — as long as there is something sappy and there’s love involved, I’m set!

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? This year, Beyoncé tied Dolly Parton with the record for the most Grammy Award nominations for any female artist. Oh wait — this is supposed to be non-LGBT!

What historical outcome would you change? The assassination of JFK. He gave America hope at a very crucial time.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

I’m still in recovery from Dolly not winning the Best Original Song Oscar in

2006.

On what do you insist? Love, acceptance and the pursuit of happiness.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? Announcing that I am one of three new cast members on the D.C.-based drag reality show “Drag City: DC.” This will be the third season of the show and it’s going to be a good one!

If your life were a book, what would the title be? “How to Launch a Drag Career in 30 Days”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

What would you walk across hot coals for? My family. Take care of them while you can.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That we all wear pink on Wednesdays. Everyone knows we wear ruby slipper red on Wednesdays now.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “Steel Magnolias” will always be my favorite. It’s hilarious, southern, so sad it will make you cry your eyes out and Dolly plays the town hairdresser. It’s got my name written all over it in 12 different languages.

What’s the most overrated social custom? Using the men’s restroom. I am more of a lady than half the traffic that passes through an average women’s restroom. Plus they smell nicer.

What trophy or prize do you most covet? The support of my family. No trophy or honor that I will ever receive in my lifetime will top that.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? I wish I would have known where everything was going to end up and that it all gets better. I stressed out for a long time trying to figure out what I “wanted to be when I grew up” when I actually knew all along, but didn’t want to accept it because it wasn’t what everyone else was doing.

Why Washington? Washington is like New York City’s baby sister. It has almost everything you’d ever want in a city however it’s a little less stressful than New York. The perfect place for a freelance female impressionist like myself.

washingtonblade.com

washingtonblade.com THEATER JANUARY 24, 2014 • 31 PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY Actress SIAN

THEATER

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 31

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

Actress SIAN PHILLIPS calls her current play as intricately crafted as a well-made clock.

current play as intricately crafted as a well-made clock. Stage legend relishes ‘Earnest’ role at STC

Stage legend relishes ‘Earnest’ role at STC

By PATRICK FOLLIARD

Early in actress Siân Phillips’ long and illustrious career, trusted mentors warned her that despite a charmed start in the business, it would take many years before she got what she wanted. “And they were absolutely right,” she explains in a small office in the Lansburgh Theatre basement. “It took me a long time to get where I am today. But of course, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.” The London-based Phillips is in town to play Lady Augusta Bracknell in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” staged by her lifelong friend, Keith Baxter. Makeup done, she wears a silk print robe and matching turban. Tall and slender, she moves like a woman much younger than her 80 years. It’s two hours until curtain and she’s sharing some thoughts on the part and her career before she gets into costume. When playing Lady Bracknell, many players take their cues from Dame Edith Evans, whose brilliantly bombastic take on the society-worshipping Bracknell was the highlight of the 1952 film version. Not Phillips. “Actually, I approach the part as if it were written last week. I adored Edith Evans but I don’t hear her voice when I read the lines. Not to say that doesn’t happen — when I played Miss Havisham, I couldn’t get Martita Hunt [famed British actress] out of my head.” In Oscar Wilde’s enduring 1895 comedy, two men about town — Jack Worthing and his pal Algernon — fall for a pair of fair young ladies who are inexplicably intent on marrying a man named Ernest. The men come up with an intricate deception to land their quarry. And then the formidable Lady Bracknell steps in to ferret out the truth. Jack describes the snobbish grande dame as a gorgon. “Yes, it’s true,” Phillips

says. “She is rather unpleasant, and extremely intent on getting her own way. But try as she may, it’s Jack who comes out OK in the end, isn’t it?” The part is a smallish-but-integral comedic gem in Wilde’s dazzlingly well- madesatire.“It’stheshortestpartI’veplayed

in some time. The disadvantage is you must

come on striking 12,” she says. “There’s no opportunity to work up to it. You’ve got to come on high and stay up there.”

Phillips says the rhythm of Wilde’s language is difficult to master.

“I’m used to Shakespeare and have done a lot of Shaw. This is harder. It’s the heightened nature of the English. But of course he writes so well. When you rehearse

it you realize what a great piece of work it

is. It’s aged so well. I’ve done Wilde’s ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ and ‘A Woman of No Importance.’ But this particular play is a

masterpiece. It’s like sitting in the middle of

a clock. It’s a mechanism. The whole thing

could collapse at any minute. It’s like being on ice skates. I find it exhilarating. It’s scary, but I don’t mind being scared.” A radio personality throughout her teens, Phillips left her native Wales to study acting at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where she was singled out for her talent and beauty in a year that included Diana Rigg and Glenda Jackson. After graduating, she seamlessly transferred to

the professional stage. Those same trusted mentors who predicted she would find professional satisfaction later in life, also advised her not to marry so early in her career. “Of course they were right again. “But what could I do? I was madly in love with O’Toole [she was married to movie star Peter O’Toole from 1959-1979]. And we had some wonderful times and two daughters. I don’t regret it.”

CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

‘THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST’ Through March 2 Shakespeare Theatre Company Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. N.W.

$20-100

202-547-1122

shakespearetheatre.org

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LivingSocial, Groupon, and other promotions do not apply. washingtonblade.com 32 • JANUARY 24, 2014 OUT &

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32 • JANUARY 24, 2014

OUT & ABOUT

PHOTO BY JENNY ANDERSON; COURTESY OF THE KENNEDY CENTER
PHOTO BY JENNY ANDERSON; COURTESY OF THE KENNEDY CENTER

‘Peter Pan’ prequel at Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the Tony Award-winning prequel to “Peter Pan.” It opens Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Eisenhower Theater. The musical, based on the novel “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, explores Peter Pan’s origins in Neverland. The story focuses on Peter and his friend Molly as they battle pirates and go on an adventure at sea. Tickets range from $55-$135. The show runs through Feb. 16. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KELLY KETTERING
PHOTO COURTESY OF KELLY KETTERING

Ndegeocello brings Simone tribute to Annapolis

Queer bassist and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello performs a dedication to Nina Simone at Rams Head On Stage (33 West St., Annapolis, Md.) Thursday at 8 p.m. Ndegeocello’s 10th studio album “Pour une âme souveraine” (“For a Sovereign Soul”) includes notable guests such as Sinead O’Connor, Lizz Wright, Valerie June and more. The track “Be My Husband” recently premiered on NPR. Tickets are $49.50. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ramsheadonstage.com.

and to purchase tickets, visit ramsheadonstage.com. By MARIAH COOPER PHOTO COURTESY OF MAME Gay/Bash returns to
and to purchase tickets, visit ramsheadonstage.com. By MARIAH COOPER PHOTO COURTESY OF MAME Gay/Bash returns to

By MARIAH COOPER

PHOTO COURTESY OF MAME
PHOTO COURTESY OF MAME

Gay/Bash returns to Black Cat Saturday

Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) presents “Gay/Bash” featuring Heidi Glum and Rumor Millz with special guest Severely Mame Saturday at 10 p.m. Mame, who is from Brooklyn, was in Sharon Needles’s music video “Call Me on the Ouija Board.” The performances will be mixed with a blend of alternative, new wave, teen-pop and punk-rock music by DJ Joshua and DJ Dean Sullivan from Cobalt’s “Bearzerk.” Performances are at 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Cover charge is $5. The event is open for all ages. For more details, visit blackcatdc.com.

Rainbow Theatre Project presents ‘Die Mommie Die!’

The Rainbow Theatre Project, a group that brings LGBT-minded theater to the District, presents a staged reading of “Die Mommie Die!” at Source (1835 14th St., N.W.) Monday at 7:30 p.m. The show tells the story of singer Angela Andrews, who murders her film producer husband with the help of her younger lover, an out-of-work television actor. The story gained cult status in the LGBT community after the movie version, starring Frances Conroy among others, was released. Gay playwright and actor Charles Busch wrote the work. Admission is free. There will be refreshments available for purchase. For details, visit rainbowtheatreproject.org.

washingtonblade.com

washingtonblade.com TELEVISION JANUARY 24, 2014 • 33 STILL COURTESY OF HBO Jimmy Beth January 26 t

TELEVISION

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 33

STILL COURTESY OF HBO
STILL COURTESY OF HBO

Jimmy

Beth

Jimmy Beth January 26 t h A Service of Hope and Justice 9:30 AM and 11:00

January 26 th

A Service of

Hope and Justice

Jimmy Beth January 26 t h A Service of Hope and Justice 9:30 AM and 11:00

9:30 AM and 11:00 AM

Panel Discussion

at 12:30 PM. Everyone is invited!

SCHAEFER

We welcome back Frank Schaefer, who was recently defrocked as a clergyman in Eastern, PA. He officiated the same gender marriage for his son. Schaefer is now a Foundry member!

CREECH

for his son. Schaefer is now a Foundry member! CREECH Jimmy Creech, who was defrocked as

Jimmy Creech, who was defrocked as a clergyman in North Carolina in 1999. He officiated a same gender marriage. He preached at Foundry in 2012.

STROUD

same gender marriage. He preached at Foundry in 2012. STROUD Beth Stroud, who was defrocked as

Beth Stroud, who was defrocked as a clergywoman in Philadelphia in 2005. She was in a same gender relationship. Beth is married and she and her partner are raising their daughter.

1500 16th Street NW (16th & P St.) 202-332-4010 FoundryUMC.org

their daughter. 1500 16th Street NW (16th & P St.) 202-332-4010 • FoundryUMC.org A Reconciling Congregation

A Reconciling

Congregation

their daughter. 1500 16th Street NW (16th & P St.) 202-332-4010 • FoundryUMC.org A Reconciling Congregation
their daughter. 1500 16th Street NW (16th & P St.) 202-332-4010 • FoundryUMC.org A Reconciling Congregation
From left, MURRAY BARTLETT as Dom, JONATHAN GROFF as Patrick and FRANKIE J. ALVAREZ as
From left, MURRAY BARTLETT as Dom, JONATHAN GROFF as Patrick and FRANKIE J. ALVAREZ as
Agustin in ‘Looking.’
Frank

New HBO dramedy follows trio of flawed gay San Francisco friends

By SANTIAGO MELLI-HUBER

At first glance, HBO’s new dramedy “Looking” may seem like a gay man’s answer to “Girls,” but if Sunday night’s series premiereis any indication, it serves as a foil to shows like “Modern Family” and “The New Normal,” complete with dated stereotypes of gay men. The pilot opens up with Jonathan Groff’s character, video game developer Patrick, at the receiving end of an awkward handjob courtesy of a stranger he cruised in a park in broad daylight. The idea that a tech- savvy 20-something would go cruising in the middle of the day in the age of Grindr seems unbelievable, as if it’s the image a middle-aged television producer has of young gay men. This suspicion is all but confirmed in the next scene when another main character is shown, without a trace of irony, sporting a Freddie Mercury mustache. The series is created by Michael Lannan, who produced “Interior. Leather Bar,” a film about the controversial 1980 movie “Cruising.” Lannan’s “Looking” is set and filmed in San Francisco, where cruising for sex is still commonplace, if mostly among older men. Most younger gay men beyond the Bay may not relate to Patrick’s mid-day cruising session. While there is the rare comment on careers or housing issues, it becomes clear that the chief concern for the three main characters is sex. This, however, is hardly surprising, considering the series’s title.

Patrick resorts to cruising and OKCupid, a far more believable approach, for his next hookup. Agustín and his boyfriend engage in a threesome with someone they just met. Dom throws himself at anyone he may be able to get into bed and, after failing, goes searching for “some blonde slut to help me regain my self-respect.” The funniest part of the pilot is the singular scene featuring Lauren Weedman, who plays Dom’s roommate, Doris. The recurring character is already tragically underused in the series. She switches seamlessly from witty and sardonic to sympathetic and back again. She is only credited for five of the season’s eight episodes, which is a blessing for the main trio, as she could easily steal every scene if given the chance. Like its sister program “Girls,” the main characters are all deeply flawed, which makes the show captivating. Bucking the trend of modern sitcoms featuring a butch/ femme, financially stable, wholesome, white gay couple adopting a baby, the three men here smoke weed, are nowhere near marriage and are unapologetic in their sexual triumphs and misadventures. “Looking” certainly tells a different story about gay men than is normally seen on television. It’s not a narrative that will play as well in suburbia as seen in family friendly sitcoms, but with a racially diverse cast and sexually liberated characters, it helps represent an often-ignored portion of the LGBT community. Until the show develops over the next few episodes and its purpose becomes clear, it’s a series to keep on the radar. Let’s hope it develops some depth as it unfolds. “Looking” airs Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

washingtonblade.com

washingtonblade.com

34 • JANUARY 24, 2014

THE GUIDE TO ARTS & CULTURE

HOT HITS & HIDDEN JEWELS

FROM CULTURECAPITAL.COM YOUR LINK TO THE ARTS IN METRO D.C.

FROM CULTURECAPITAL.COM YOUR LINK TO THE ARTS IN METRO D.C. PETER AND THE STARCATCHER JAN 28-FEB

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER JAN 28-FEB 16. KENNEDY CENTER. 202-467-4600. KENNEDY-CENTER.ORG. Winner of five Tony Awards, this innovative and imaginative prequel to Peter Pan-- based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson- -takes a hilarious, swashbuckling romp through the Neverland you never knew.

THE JAZZ/BLUES PROJECT JAN 29-FEB 2. THE WASHINGTON BALLET. SIDNEY HARMAN HALL. 202-362-3606. WASHINGTONBALLET.ORG. Americana at its finest-the iconic music of Etta James and Charlie “Bird” Parker and world-class dance come together in Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June and Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest. Along with a world premiere by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

NATASCIA DIAZ JAN 25. STRATHMORE. 301-581-5100. STRATHMORE.ORG. On Broadway, she’s played in Man of La
NATASCIA DIAZ
JAN 25. STRATHMORE. 301-581-5100. STRATHMORE.ORG.
On Broadway, she’s played in Man of La Mancha and Carousel. But this multiple
Helen Hayes Award winner is a particular favorite of Washington theater fans,
who’ve seen her dazzling performances at Signature Theatre and the Kennedy
Center.
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM REVISITED
THE ART LEAGUE GALLERY. THRU FEB 3. 703-683-1780.
THEARTLEAGUE.ORG.
The works selected for this exhibit will honor the artwork created during the great
1950s Abstract Expressionist movement.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE KENNEDY CENTER
movement. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE KENNEDY CENTER THEATRE Richard III . Jan 28-Mar 9. Folger Theatre.

THEATRE

Richard III. Jan 28-Mar 9. Folger Theatre. 202-544-7077. folger.edu. Ralphie May. Jan 25. GW Lisner Auditorium. 202-994-6800. lisner.org. Shear Madness. Thru Jun 30. Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. kennedy-center.org. Violet. Jan 24-Feb 23. Ford’s Theatre. 800-982-2787. fords.org. Tribes. Thru Feb 23. Studio Theatre. 202-232-3300. studiotheatre.org. The Best Man. Jan 25-Feb 22. Keegan Theatre. 703-892-0202. keegantheatre.com. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Jan 29-Feb 23. Olney Theatre. 301-924-3400. olneytheatre.org. American Shakepeare Center on Tour:

Othello. Jan 25. The Merry Wives of Windsor. Jan 25.The Alden. 703-790-9223. aldentheatre.org. The Old Masters. Thru Jan 26. Washington Stage Guild. Undercroft Theatre. 240-582-0050. stageguild.org. Gypsy. Thru Jan 26. Signature Theatre. 703-820-9771. signature-theatre.org. Twelfth Night. Thru Feb 16. Synetic Theater. 703-824-8060. synetictheater.org. Charlotte Blake Alston. Jan 25. BlackRock. 240-912-1058. blackrockcenter.org. One-Act Festival. Jan 24-Jan 25. Workhouse Arts Center. 703-584-2900. workhousearts.org. Dyskolos. Jan 30-Feb 2. Ambassador Theater. Anacostia Arts Center. 703-475-4036. aticc.org. Bang the Drum Slowly. Thru Feb 1. American Century Theater. Gunston. 703-998-4555. americancentury.org. Scapin. Thru Feb 16. Constellation Theatre Company. Source Theatre. 202-204-7741. constellationtheatre.org.

DANCE

Mariinsky Ballet: Swan Lake. Jan 28-Feb 2. Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. kennedy-center.org. 31st Annual Choreographers’ Showcase. Jan 25. Clarice Smith. 301-405-2787. claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

MUSIC

Natascia Diaz. Jan 25. Rob Patterson, Maria Lambros & Audrey Andrist. Jan 26. Strathmore. 301-581-5100. strathmore.org. Carrie Rodriguez. Jan 25. Artisphere. 703-875-1100. artisphere.com. Anna Lee, violin. Jan 26. WPAS. Kennedy Center. 202-785-9728. wpas.org. Fortas Chamber Music Concert. Jan 27. Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. kennedy-center.org. Sonny Landreth and Cindy Cashdollar. Jan 24. Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound. Jan 25. Maceo Parker. Jan 26. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Jan 27. The Barns at Wolf Trap. 877-965-3872. wolftrap.org. VERGE Ensemble Presents: Modern Mystics. Jan 26. Corcoran Gallery of Art. 202-639-1700. corcoran.org.

Fusion: Quatuor Eclisses. Jan 26. The Phillips Collection. 202-387-2151. phillipscollection.org. Chamber Concert. Jan 24. FMMC. Calvary Baptist Church. 202-333-2075. fmmc.org. Jews Who Rock. Jan 26. JCCNV. JCC of Greater Washington. 703-537-3000. jccnv.org.

MUSEUMS

Corcoran Gallery of Art. Recent Acquisitions: American Art from the Johns Collection. Thru Feb 9. Question Bridge:

Black Males. Thru Feb 16. NOW at the Corcoran – Mia Feuer: An Unkindness. Thru Feb 23. Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd. Thru Mar 9. American Journeys -

Visions of Place. Thru Sep 21. 202-639-1700. corcoran.org. Folger Shakespeare Library. Shakespeare’s the Thing. Jan 28-Jun 15. folger.edu. Ford’s Theatre. Abraham Lincoln and the Technology of War. Thru Jul 6. 202-347-4833. fords.org. National Gallery of Art. Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections. Thru Mar 2. The Dying Gaul:

An Ancient Roman Masterpiece from the Capitoline Museum, Rome. Thru Mar 16. Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700 - 1830. Thru Dec 31. 202-737-4215. nga.gov. National Geographic. Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Thru Feb 2. Women of Vision. Thru Mar 9. One Cubic Foot. Thru Mar 31. A New Age of Exploration. Thru Jun 8. 202-857-7000. nglive.org. Museum of Women in the Arts. New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Chakaia Booker. Thru Mar 1. Judy Chicago: Circa ‘75. Thru Apr 13. Workt by Hand: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts. Thru Apr 27. Equal Exposure: Anita Steckel’s Fight Against Censorship. Thru May 9. Making her Mark:

Publishers’ Bindings by Women. Thru Nov

1. 202-783-5000. nmwa.org.

The Phillips Collection. Van Gogh Repetitions. Thru Jan 26. Duncan Phillips and New York Collections. Thru Feb 28.

Jean Meisel: 50-65 Horizon Line. Thru May

4. 202-387-2151. phillipscollection.org.

GALLERIES

Artisphere. Alicia Eggert: Everything You Are Looking For. Thru Feb 2. Lina Vargas:

Portable Places_Permanent Spaces. Thru Feb 2. 703-875-1100. artisphere.com. Gallery plan b. Figures & Vistas / Works by Gordon Binder and Joyce McCarten. Thru Feb 16. 202-234-2711. galleryplanb.com. Goethe-Institut. Linger On! Photography from Saxony-Anhalt. Thru Jan 31. 202-289-1200. goethe.de. Joan Hisaoka Gallery. A Window into the Mind’s Eye. Thru Mar 15. 202-483-8600. smithcenter.org. Neptune Fine Art. Wolf Kahn: Printmaking with Line and Color. Thru Jan 25. 202-338-0353. neptunefineart.com.

washingtonblade.com

washingtonblade.com DINING JANUARY 24, 2014 • 35 PHOTO BY GREG POWERS MIKE ISABELLA has created buzz

DINING

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 35

PHOTO BY GREG POWERS
PHOTO BY GREG POWERS

MIKE ISABELLA has created buzz with his monthly Industry Takeover Nights at Graffiatto.

with his monthly Industry Takeover Nights at Graffiatto. Monthly ‘Takeover’ nights feature rotating guest chefs

Monthly ‘Takeover’ nights feature rotating guest chefs

By JONATHAN HOWARD

Mike Isabella is a household name in Washington. Not only is he a “Top Chef” alum, but he also has three major restaurants including Graffiatto (707 Sixth St. N.W.), host of Industry Takeover Night. This monthly blowout just celebrated its one-year anniversary in style on Jan. 6 with a huge party by inviting back a few favorites from previous events like fellow “Top Chef” alum Jennifer Carroll and local luminary Victor Albisu of Del Campo. Industry Nights used to be a term that simply described a group of restaurant employees, cooks, bartenders or waiters gathering at a local watering hole to have drinks and exchange war stories. Now in D.C. and thanks to Isabella, Industry Nights means much more. The concept is simple: Chef Isabella hands over the first floor kitchen at Graffiato to one of many renowned chefs and the bar to an equally renowned bartender the first Monday of every month. Isabella then steps back and enjoystheparty.Thechefcanmakewhatever he or she wants and the bartenders will be serving their own original cocktails. For $10 (half of which goes to charity), guests can get a taste of all the food they can get their hands on, as well as enjoy $5 cocktails. The outcome of this simple concept is a mind- blowing event every month. “I like to party and I like to hang out with friends,” Isabella says. Guests have the opportunity to gather around the open kitchen at Graffiato and watch renowned chefs prepare some of their favorite dishes up close, and sometimes even chat with them as they do it. The restaurant is packed with masses of people celebrating the joys of food. It’s not only the food lovers who show up for this event, but also other famous chefs from the area, so you never know who you will be

rubbing elbows with. Last January, Bryan Voltaggio and his head mixologist at Range, Owen Thomson, were the first ones to take over, serving dishes like lamb tongue pasta, black cod with hazelnuts and even samplings of candy from Range’s candy counter for dessert. Thomson brought over a bottled tequila punch called Serpentine Overflow, which contained cranberry, hibiscus and black pepper. Since that first takeover the chefs have been kicking Isabella out of his own kitchen and packing the restaurant every month. Some of the participants last year included Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery; Anwar Morgan, head mixologist at Sbraga; Erik Bruner-Yang, chef and owner of Toki Underground; Timothy Spinner of La Calaca Feliz; and Shannon Overmiller, head chef at Majestic. On Jan. 6, Isabella decided to expand the takeover night to include the second floor of the restaurant and keep the doors

open until 2 a.m. He filled this extra space and time with some of the most popular chefs and bartenders from previous events

to please the crowd. Scott Drewno of The Source prepared

a char sui bao and a spicy chicken

dumpling. Adam Sobel, former head toque at Bourbon steak, now of RN74 of San Francisco, made his return to D.C. and prepared Burrata-stuffed meatballs for

diners. Chef Jennifer Carroll of Concrete Blonde pleased the crowd with a Shellfish Escabeche that had crab, mussels, scallops and shrimp and Angelo Sosa of Poppy Den made an Asian Borscht with Korean- style pork belly. Victor Albisu of Del Campo made some small plates for the crowd including Smoked Beef Tongue, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Tripa Tacos. Andre Mack, owner and winemaker of Mouton Noir

Wines, mixed drinks. Isabella clearly knows how to celebrate an anniversary in style. Lindsay Autry, another “Top Chef” alum and chef/owner of Table Frederick De Pue,

will take the reins Feb. 2.

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washingtonblade.com

36 • JANUARY 24, 2014

CALENDAR

E-mail calendar items to calendars@washblade. com two weeks prior to your event. Space is lim- ited so priority is given to LGBT-specific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.

TODAY

Red Knight Productions presents “The Ballad of the Red Knight,” the story of a prince who must save his kingdom from an evil villain Lord Fango, at Port City Playhouse (1819 N. Quaker Ln., Alexandria, Va.) tonight at 8 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 8 with shows on Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range from $9-$16. For more information, visit portcityplayhouse.org. The 16th annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival begins today at Dulles Expo Center (4320 Chantilly Shopping Center Dr., Chantilly, Va.) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The festival continues through Sunday. Purchase sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion and more from 250 American artists. Live music, children’s entertainment and food vendors will also be available. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the door. Children under 12 are free. For details, visit sugarloafcrafts.com. D.C. Shorts hosts “Pasties and Popcorn” at the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater (701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Watch sexually themed films from the D.C. Shorts archive, enjoy burlesque shows and see dance and comedic performances. Tickets are $20. For details and to purchase tickets, visit pasties. dcshorts.com. Women in Their 20s, a social discussion group for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and all women interested in women, meets today at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 8-9:30 p.m. All welcome to join. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

SATURDAY, JAN. 25

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) today from 8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org The Latino Queer Bilingual Writing Group hosts its monthly workshop at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) today from 12:30-2:30 p.m. The focus will be on memoirs. Open to writers of any genre and levels of experience to share creative work in Spanish or English. Workshop is free and no prior experience is necessary. For details, call 202-682-2245 or email washeg@gmail.com. Adult entertainment star Ryan Rose appears at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Rose was named Falcon Studios’ 2013 “Man of the Year.” Doors open at 10 p.m. The drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. The cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details,

WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY DAMIEN SALAS
WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY DAMIEN SALAS

Foundry United Methodist Church welcomes Rev. FRANK SCHAEFER for a special service Sunday. Despite anti-gay teaching from its hierarchy, Foundry continues to advocate strongly for LGBT believers.

visit towndc.com. Brother Help Thyself hosts its grant reception today at Ziegfield’s/Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. Brother is a community-based organization committed to providing support to non- profit organizations that serve the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community. For details, visit thedccenter.org. A benefit concert for A Wider Circle featuring the music of Ralph Vaughan- Williams, Gustav Holst and Percy Grainger is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church (9601 Cedar Lane) in Bethesda. Director Henry Sgrecci will lead the Cedar Lane Chamber Orchestra and Choir. Oboist Jeanine Reinier will also perform. A Wider Circle is a local charitable organization. Admission is free; donations will go to the charity. Open to all. Concert pianist Denis Matsuev plays Haydn, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and more tonight at 7 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore Hall (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.). Tickets range from $35-75. Visit Strathmore.org for details.

SUNDAY, JAN.26

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) presents “Service of Hope and Justice with Frank Schaefer” today at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Schaefer was recently defrocked for officiating the same-gender

marriage of his son. Jimmy Creech, also defrocked for officiating a same-gender marriage, and Beth Stroud, who was defrocked and now is in a same-gender relationship, will also be in attendance. A panel discussion follows at 12:30 p.m. For details, visit foundryumc.org. Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com. MetroStage (1201 North Royal St., Alexandria, Va.) presents “Ella Fitzgerald:

First Lady of Song” today at 3 and 7 p.m. The show chronicles Fitzgerald’s life both onstage and backstage. Tickets are $60. The show runs through March 16. For details, visit metrostage.org.

MONDAY, JAN. 27

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W ) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org. Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful

conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org. The D.C. Center presents “When Social Security and Same-Sex Marriage May Not Be Enough” at The Residences at Thomas Circle (1330 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) today from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Attorney Michele Zavos and Financial Advisor DeWayne Ellis will discuss the issues that LGBT people face when they are not fully legally protected. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

TUESDAY, JAN. 28

Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion

group at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St.,

N.W )

for anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary. For more information, visit thedccenter.org. Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) offers all drinks half price tonight until 2 a.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is free. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com. SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) provides free

at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is

and confidential HIV testingdrop-in hours today from 3-5 p.m. For more information, visit smyal.org.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540. Fresh Market (3680 King St., Alexandria, Va.) opens its new location today at 8 a.m. Enjoy chef demonstrations, food samplings throughout the store and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards. The first 1,000 customers receive a sample bag of Fresh Market coffee and a reusable shopping bag. For details, visit thefreshmarket.com.

THURSDAY, JAN 30

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Beat the Clock Happy Hour” tonight from 5-8 p.m. Drink specials start at $2 and increase by a dollar each hour. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com. Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit rudeboientertainment. wordpress.com. SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org. Whitman Walker provides HIV testing at Glorious Health Club (2120 West Virginia Ave., N.E.) tonight from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. For details, visit Whitman-walker.og. MARIAH COOPER

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washingtonblade.com BOOKS JANUARY 24, 2014 • 37 IMAGE COURTESY OF GALLERY BOOKS Gay performer writes of

BOOKS

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 37

IMAGE COURTESY OF GALLERY BOOKS
IMAGE COURTESY OF GALLERY BOOKS
JANUARY 24, 2014 • 37 IMAGE COURTESY OF GALLERY BOOKS Gay performer writes of limelight’s draw
JANUARY 24, 2014 • 37 IMAGE COURTESY OF GALLERY BOOKS Gay performer writes of limelight’s draw

Gay performer writes of limelight’s draw

OF GALLERY BOOKS Gay performer writes of limelight’s draw TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER has been reading since she

TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER has been reading since she was 3 years old. She lives in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Reach her at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

OK, pay attention. Sometimes, that’s all you need: just someone to watch you, to hear what you’re saying or understand your feelings. A little attention can be a bad mood squasher, a good mood enhancer or just validation. Yes, a minute in the spotlight can do wonders. And as you’ll see in “Ham: Slices of a Life” by Sam Harris, hogging that spotlight can be even better. From the time he was 3 years old, growing up in Sand Springs, Okla., Sam Harris, a singer and Broadway and TV actor, embraced the dramatic. For his third Christmas, he received a special overcoat that made him dance. By 10, he had talked his parents into allowing him to be baptized, the after-applause being more important than receiving the Holy Ghost. He loved putting on shows in his parents’ basement, doing local community theater and acting in school performances. He was unabashed about his love of the limelight. When he was just 15, his father lied about Harris’ age so Harris could take a summer stage job in St. Louis. A year later, though he’d known for a long time that he was “different” and though it caused him anguished guilt and family strife, Harris fell in love with a boy on another stage in Nashville. A short time in college proved to Harris that education wouldn’t make his dream

come true, so he “hunted out” his stage presence in dark, colorless, largely empty clubs. Agents and producers “occasionally came slumming,” but little happened until Harris finally found someone who

believed in him: his father hired Jerry Blatt, who was Bette Midler’s writer/director, as

a gift. Skeptical Harris figured it would be

just another disappointment, but Blatt would “become the single most important influence … and the greatest gift my dad, or anyone, ever gave me.” In this memoir, Harris writes about growing up and how his family had the misfortune to experience home fires twice. He writes of falling in love with

Mr. Wrong, then meeting his husband, falling in love again, and wanting a child so badly that he couldn’t stand seeing other children. He explains his career and his almost-didn’t-happen appearance on “Star Search.” He dishes stories of famous friends, on-stage nemeses, alcoholism, being “different” and being gay. I’m normally not a fan of books that

scramble their timelines, but in “Ham: Slices

of a Life,” that bouncing around works well.

Maybe that’s because author Sam Harris writes with bouncing-on-your-toes energy, rushing from subject to subject with the occasional lingering moment to ponder things that are important to him. His is an eagerness that’s endearing. Some of the essays in this book are funny. “Liver” will put a new metaphor in

your vocabulary. The story of Liza Minelli’s wedding is hilarious, and Harris’ memories

of his friend, Jerry, made me a little teary.

With humor, soul baring, name dropping, and just the right mix of vulnerability and snarkiness, this book is a definite pleasure to read. If you’re looking for a memoir you can enjoy, whole-hog, “Ham: Slices of a Life” should get your attention.

‘HAM: SLICES OF A LIFE’ By Sam Harris Gallery Books

$26

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38 • JANUARY 24, 2014

PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS

38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS
38 • JANUARY 24, 2014 PHOTOS BY DAMIEN SALAS THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS

THE 2014 MR. MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER CONTEST WAS HELD AT THE HYATT REGENCY ON CAPITOL HILL ON SUNDAY. JOE BIRDWELL OF TAMPA, FLA. TOOK HOME THE TITLE.

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washingtonblade.com ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 24, 2014 • 39 LUCY SUTCLIFFE , left, and KAELYN PETRAS

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 39

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 24, 2014 • 39 LUCY SUTCLIFFE , left, and KAELYN PETRAS vlogged

LUCY SUTCLIFFE, left, and KAELYN PETRAS vlogged their long-distance relationship.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUTCLIFFE

YouTube couples surprised by reaction

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

and we didn’t know how to react. We’ve just stumbled upon your video and you’ve showed us that our daughter needs nothing from us but support and acceptance.’” Now, their channel has reached more than 100,000 subscribers. They record videos of their visits together both in England and the United States and have expanded into separate vlog posts of their lives when they’re apart. They film themselves watching television shows on their laptops and going to get sushi while also filming the emotional turmoil they face when they have to leave each other. They’re the sort of situations any couple can relate to. “The main goal of the channel is to normalize lesbian/gay relationships and that it’s OK to embrace who you are and be proud of it,” Sutcliffe says. Exposing your life to thousands of people does have its downside. Shepherd and Sutcliffe, who edit their videos, both are careful not to reveal too much personal information. However, Shepherd says some viewers have been able to piece together where he and Aguiar live and have spread the information on the Internet. Sutcliffe admits that it can also be difficult for people to comment and question her and Petras’ relationship. Yet both couples plan to continue sharing their lives on YouTube. Shepherd and Aguiar recently got

engaged; both of their proposal videos to each other are on their channel. They expect to continue vlogging at least until their wedding set for 2015. They want to let subscribers share in that day as well with plans to have it professionally filmed or vlogged by friends. “Since we embarked on this as an experiment, it’s kind of difficult to know how it’s going to end,” Aguiar says. “It has to be organic the same way that it started.” Petras and Sutcliffe plan to move in together this summer. They still want to continue making videos even though they recognize their videos will change as their long distance situation changes. They hope to continue to show a gay relationship is like any other relationship. “Nothing we do or say is scripted or fake. It’s just us being our normal, sometimes boring, selves,” Sutcliffe says. “We love having people countdown with us, cheer us on when we’re together and cry with us when we leave. It sounds cheesy, but it’s like having loads and loads of supportive friends, really.” Helping young people struggling with coming out who are searching for solace on YouTube is something Shepard and Aguiar hope they can ultimately accomplish. “When I was coming out,” Shepherd says, “I thought I had to change who I was and be a magical quip machine or a ‘Queer as Folk’-type gay. The point of our videos is to show that you don’t have to change who you are.”

or a ‘Queer as Folk’-type gay. The point of our videos is to show that you
or a ‘Queer as Folk’-type gay. The point of our videos is to show that you

40 • JANUARY 24, 2014

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WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 41

REAL ESTATE

The homeowner’s guide to exercise

Surprising health benefits of taking care of your house

By VALERIE M. BLAKE

If you’re like many of us, you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape. You threw away the bags of chips in the pantry, gave the rest of the Christmas cookies to the neighbor kids and vowed never again to walk down the ice cream aisle at Harris Teeter. You even brought the treadmill up from the basement so you could exercise while watching “Flowers in the Attic.” Yes, your intentions were admirable (as were mine), but then that comfy sofa started calling your name, Jillian Michaels became even more annoying and you couldn’t resist ordering extra pizza and nachos for Sun- day’s Super Bowl game. To those of you who love working out at the gym, playing Ultimate Frisbee with your pals on a cold Saturday morning or jog- ging around the National Mall, I salute you. But if you’re like me, always the last person picked for a team from elementary through high school, the humiliation of public exer- cise and lack of sports ability still takes its toll many years later. Most experts agree that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, so it’s hard enough for people on the choco- late chip pancake diet just to stay even, but we forget about the everyday things we do that can contribute to weight loss. Here’s what I suggest. Get up in the morning. In the 10 minutes

it takes to make your bed, you burn 27 calo- ries. Brush your teeth to burn 34 more and style your hair for 20 minutes to burn an- other 72. Clean the house. Spend 20 minutes washing dishes — by hand, no cheating — to burn 63 calories, then get to the real work. Thirty minutes each of dusting, vacu- uming, mopping floors, washing windows, doing the laundry and ironing will yield a 773-calorie deficit. But also consider the ad- ditional benefit – the 30 extra minutes spent running up and down the stairs doing all this for the 245-calorie burn. Mind the kids. How much time do you spend carrying a baby on your hip? One hour equals 302 calories burned. An addi- tional hour of playing with your child at the park consumes another 327. Walk the dog. A 30-minute walk will help you and your dog burn 143 calories. Have more than one dog? Walk them individually. Go to work. Driving for an hour consumes 172 calories, so some might say that com- muting is actually good for you. Decorate and renovate. My favorite home stager is in great shape and it’s no wonder, since 60 minutes spent rearranging the fur- niture will burn 540 calories. Take an hour to paint that spare bedroom, something that’s been on your To Do list for six months, and you’ll burn 409 calories. A 30-minute home repair garners 184 more. Do weekend chores out of doors. There’s an outdoor chore for every type of weather. Take 30 minutes each for the following tasks and feel the burn: raking leaves (164), shoveling snow (245), mowing the lawn (178), tending the garden (222)

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Cleaning your house burns a surprising amount of calories.

and washing the car (184). Have a party. Go grocery shopping for an hour for a 286-calorie burn (no nibbling along the way, please) then cook dinner for half an hour when you get home for another 108. When your friends arrive, play an hour of bridge to lose 130 calories, tickle the ivories during a 30-minute sing-along for 113 more and finish off the evening with an hour of dancing to your living room Wii console for 486. Go to bed. Finally, sleep for seven hours and burn 530 calories.

Now, for those of you who have been waiting for me to mention it, sex does in- deed enter into the picture; however, 10 minutes of foreplay only burns 20 calories and 20 minutes of, er, follow-up, surprisingly only burns 115, so when your best friend tells you he burned 1,000 calories having sex last Saturday night, be impressed. I know I am.

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42 • JANUARY 24, 2014

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BY 1/31/14. 42 • JANUARY 24, 2014 WASHINGTONBLADE.COM Josh hAMpshiRE is the new CEO of LEAGUE

Josh hAMpshiRE is the new CEO of LEAGUE at AT&T.

wAshington BLAdE photo By MichAEL KEy

of LEAGUE at AT&T. wAshington BLAdE photo By MichAEL KEy AT&T LGBT employee group builds on

AT&T LGBT employee group builds on proud history as workplace pioneer

By MARK LEE

When Josh Hampshire was a teenager in Michigan, he lived the life of a nerd. His fascination with technology contrasted with his earlier years growing up “almost Amish” on the small dairy farm operated by his “old hippie” counterculture father. Later developing an interest in the com- munications technology of the era, he would soon find himself rummaging through a dumpster to retrieve the discarded miscel-

lany of a closing telephone switching station near the subsequent childhood small-town home he would share with his mother. He assembled the salvaged parts to create his own two-node hard-line network linking to

a friend’s home next door. Hampshire, beginning the year as the new CEO of LEAGUE at AT&T, now heads up the 30-chapter network of company LGBT employees, engaging more than 3,300 members across the country. The or- ganization’s board of directors and chapter leadership gathered in D.C. last weekend to plan strategic priorities for the year. Established in 1987, the trailblazing AT&T Employee Resource Group, one of 11 current internal associations, became the first gay workplace support and advo-

cacy organization of its type in the country.

It would survive the multiple evolutions of

telephone industry re-configurations and re-brandings through which the company would transition. Embraced by a welcoming corporate attitude from the beginning, the novelty of such a gay employee association was a natural fit for the telecommunications giant. AT&T management and personnel had, after all, been instrumental in establishing the Telephone Pioneers of America in 1911 — now the world’s largest industry-specific organization of employees and retirees dedicated to community service. According to AT&T LEAGUE Founda- tion founder and president John Klenert, a retired Washington employee, the corpora- tion’s embrace of equal protection policies

was both immediate and organic. When the

now-named National Gay and Lesbian Task Force wrote to the late and then AT&T chair- man John deButts in early 1975 requesting that the company adopt sexual orientation employment protections, he quickly agreed — distinguishing the company as the first Fortune 500 enterprise to do so. Hampshire, who began as an entry-level customer service rep, praises AT&T “for be- ing a pioneer in LGBT workplace policies,” noting its additional distinction as “the first large company to provide employment protections for transgender employees.” AT&T is ranked as a Human Rights Cam- paign “Best Places to Work” and has long enjoyed a perfect score on the organiza- tion’s Corporate Equality Index. “There are few businesses that have celebrated diversity like AT&T,” Hamp- shire points out, noting that the company “doesn’t ‘toot its horn’ about nondiscrimi- nation policies and philanthropic activities,” that are the result “of a unique grassroots management culture from the bottom up.” Hampshire, now a Dallas-based senior program manager for the 200-city AT&T Aspire high school mentoring program, recalls how being a techno-nerd and grow- ing up gay was a dual estrangement from his peers. “At one point I thought I would drop out of high school,” he says, adding that those memories help him understand the importance of his current job. “AT&T has committed $350 million to the program over 10 years,” Hampshire notes, enthusi- astically detailing the positive impact it has for at-risk students, the educational values it instills, and the opportunities the program provides through an emphasis on science and technology skills. LEAGUE of AT&T is expanding its or- ganizational foundation’s existing college scholarship program, funded by AT&T and private donors, by providing LGBT student mentoring in affiliation with the Aspire program. For Hampshire, who is planning a New Mexico wedding with his partner of 10 years and with whom he is expecting twins in late August by in vitro surrogacy, that is a goal as clear as any modern-day mobile phone call.

MARK LEE is a long-time entrepreneur and com- munity business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @Mar- kLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail. com.

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 43

PFLAG promotes the equality and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, their families and friends through:

Support to cope with an adverse society.

Education to enlighten an ill-informed public.

Advocacy to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights.

to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights. Trained facilitators lead the Arlington Support Group and
to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights. Trained facilitators lead the Arlington Support Group and

Trained facilitators lead the Arlington Support Group and confidentiality is maintained. For further information about the Arlington Support Group, contact us at arl.pflag@gmail.com.

Our groups meet on the second Sunday of each month, from 3 – 4:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, at George Mason Drive & Route 50.

A.L.Y. is a group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning Youth and Allies in grades 7-12. Our goal is to give LGBTQ youth a safe place to gather. Trained facilitators lead the youth group. Confidentiality maintained. For more info, contact: aly.pflagdc@gmail.com.

Our Washington DC Chapter of PFLAG may be reached at 202-638-3852.

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44 • JANUARY 24, 2014

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HARD. Come to a professional massage therapist offering the best deep tissue massage available. Stretching, Swedish & Sports massage. $70-1 hr./$100-90 mins. Dupont. Marcio (202) 271-9440. www.MarciosMassage.com.

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568-6348.

COUNSElING

A MINDFUlNESS-BASED MENTAl

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lGBTQ AFFIRMING THERAPY at Dupont Circle Individuals, couples, families, adolescents. Over 15 years serving the community. Mike Giordano, LICSW. 202/460- 6384 mike.giordano.msw@gmail.com. www. WhatIHearYouSaying.com.

COUNSElING FOR GAY MEN. Individual/ couple counseling w/ volunteer peer counselor. Gay Men’s Counseling Community since 1973. 202-580-8861. gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested.

gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested. CHANGES ARE EASIER WITH HELP. Small, private practice group

CHANGES ARE EASIER WITH HELP. Small, private practice group of experienced, caring therapists. Safe, confidential setting. Offices in Woodley Park & Takoma Park near Metro. Licensed professionals. Insurance

reimbursable. Washington Therapy Guild. Call

202-483-2660. www.therapyguild.net.

EMPlOYMENT

$22/hour companion/driver/cook for old woman. See ad on Blade website for details and how to respond.

lOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS NEEDED! The Crew Club, a gay men’s naturist gym & sauna, is now hiring Locker Room Attendants. We all scrub toilets & do heavy cleaning. You must be physically able to handle the work & have a great attitude doing it. No drunks/ druggies need apply. Please call Richard at (202) 319-1333. from 9-5pm, to schedule an interview.

lEGAl SERVICES

FUll SERVICE lAW FIRM Representing the GLBT community for over 30 years. Family adoptions, estate planning, immigration, employment. (301) 891-2200. Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A. www.SP-Law. com.

ADOPTION & ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE LawAttorneyJenniferFairfaxrepresentsclients in Maryland & D.C. interested in adoption or ART matters. 301-221-9651, JFairfax@ jenniferfairfax.com.

lIMOUSINES

KASPER’S lIVERY SERVICE Gay Veteran Owned Operated Since 1987! 2013 BMW 740LI Special Airport Rates! 24 Hour Reservations. 202-554-2471 - 800-455-2471. www.KasperLivery.com. Click the rates tab!

- 800-455-2471. www.KasperLivery.com. Click the rates tab! PETS & SUPPlIES ADOPT AN ADORABlE PUPPY OR DOG

PETS & SUPPlIES

ADOPT AN ADORABlE PUPPY OR DOG All-breed, non-profit rescue. 100% volunteer run. Donations welcome & needed. www. aforeverhome.org.

lOOKING FOR THAT special someone? loving vet-checked cats & kittens waiting to meet you. Feline Foundation 703-920-8665. Application & adoption fair schedule online at www.ffgw.org.

PHOTOGRAPHY

STEVE O’TOOlE PHOTOGRAPHY Fine Art Photographer for portraits, weddings & dating photos for the internet. Call (703) 532-3031. www.steveotoolephotography.com.

WEDDINGS

CANTOR JINNY - YOUR Wedding Your Way. We’ll work together finding the right vows, blessings, & expressions to make the ceremony flow with your personal touch. Cantorjinny@gmail.com 703-282-6505.

ClEANING

TOO NEAT GUYS INC. Residential & Commercial cleaning in DC & Northern VA. Over 20 years experience, gay owned, licensed, bonded & insured. Email: tooneat@ comcast.net, (703) 622-5983.

FERNANDO’S ClEANING: RESIDENTIAl

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MAID TO ClEAN. Rated #1 in Metro DC. Gay owned. Serving DC/VA. DC & VA (703) 299-0101. Visit www.maidtoclean.com.

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guy! One-time or regular service. Responsible

& reasonable rates. Call 202-276-9272.

MOVERS

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HOME SERVICES

TWO POOR TEACHERS Kitchen & Bath Remodeling in Northern VA. Call for free estimate! Two Poor Teachers at 703-969-1179.

JANUARY 24, 2014 • 45 CONTACT US AT 202-747-2077 ENHANCE YOUR AD WITH OUR UPGRADES
JANUARY 24, 2014 • 45 CONTACT US AT 202-747-2077 ENHANCE YOUR AD WITH OUR UPGRADES
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JANUARY 24, 2014 • 45

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DEADLINES
all classified ads - including regular and
adult - must be received by mondays at
5pm so they can be included in that weeks
edition of the washington blade and
washingtonblade.com
edition of the washington blade and washingtonblade.com PJ MCTAVISH & CO. ROOFING Repairs, New Roof, Gutter

PJ MCTAVISH & CO. ROOFING Repairs, New Roof, Gutter Cleaning. Licensed - Bonded – Insured. See our display ad in this issue. 301-476-8551.

BRANCHES - FULL SERVICE Tree Expert Company. Certified Arborists, pruning, insect & disease diagnosis, treatment & removal. 301-589-6181. www.BranchesTreeExperts. com. Angie’s List Award Winner ‘09, ‘10, ‘11,

‘12.

SHARE / MD

ROOM 2 RENT $200.00 a week, utilities included. Call - 301-503-4263

SHARE / VA

FULLY FURNISHED ARLINGTON includes all utilities + cable & wi-fi, Full kitchen access & a fully equipped gym. Perfect location minutes from Columbia Pike, South Glebe Rd. & Rte. 50. Walking distance to both Metro and Art bus stops. Must like dogs. $750.00/month. Call Raymond 202-705-3727.

REAL ESTATE

GALE STORM TEAM - Realtors The Realtors you refer to your Friends & Family! Looking to sell or buy a home? Call us! 202-355-4316. www.gayrealtors.us.com. Licensed in DC, MD & VA.

SALE / MD

COLLEGE PARK METRO $344,000 4-LEVEL Brick Split-Level

! 3 Bedrooms,3 Bathrooms, Huge

Deck! Garage! Party Room! Fireplace! Gourmet Kitchen! Photos Available !

LARRY PERRIN REALTOR ® (301) 983-0601 LJPerrin@aol.com.

GAITHERSBURG $750,000

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3 - 1/2

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Party Room includes 2 Bedrooms /Full Bath ! Private Cul-De-Sac ! Fruit Trees

! Custom-Built Deck ! 2 Car Garage ! Photos Available ! LARRY PERRIN REALTOR ® (301) 983-0601 LJPerrin@aol.com

SALE / VA

SHIRLINGTON TREETOP 1BR/1BA home Bright & sunny! Updated kitchen, W/D, attic, replacement windows. Pool, tennis, pet friendly. Karina Srebrow, Nova Properties, See ad in Blade classifieds online.

A D V E R T I S E

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E R T I S E blade classifieds BEST RATES BEST RESULTS If you would like

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46 • JANUARY 24, 2014 WASHINGTONBLADE.COM MENS PERSONALS ATTRACTIVE, ITALIAN, GWM, 40’s Inshape. Seeking down

46 • JANUARY 24, 2014

WASHINGTONBLADE.COM

MENS PERSONALS

ATTRACTIVE, ITALIAN, GWM, 40’s Inshape. Seeking down to earth guy for dating & more. Have many varied interests. Serious replies only. Call 202-306-0288.

BLACK MALE TOP seeks black or latino male bottom, 50 - 65 yrs with whom to celebrate the holidays as friends with benefits. Please call

202-251-0091.

RAPE ME, BEAT me, enslave me, flog me, dirty me. Use all your sadistic lust on my body. It is why I exist. Me: pig bottom submissive, 5’8”, 5 1/2” cut, Big white butt, fairly hairy. mature. You: horny aggressive top master. Pluses: bear, black or latino, hung long and thick. Work me over in my condo. I have lots of toys. I need it bad. Jack 301-982-0690.

WM 55 240#S white hair ISO WM, 40-55 6’2”+ 250#’s+ for dating, etc call 301-503-4263.

MARK GUNNELL, ERIC Schnell, Wesley Matthews, I knew you in the 80’s and would like to reconnect. Please call 301-503-4263.

PATRICK NINE CLUB. Me, WM white hair we

chatted would like more dating etc. 301-503-

4263.

MICHAEL, YOU GAVE me a New Years Eve

kiss at the Eagle. Would like More. Please call

- 301-503-4263.

BODYWORK

Eagle. Would like More. Please call - 301-503-4263. BODYWORK WHITE HOUSE ATHLETIC CLUB masseur (former) Custom

WHITE HOUSE ATHLETIC CLUB masseur (former) Custom bodywork! Quality massage by a nationally certified masseur. Exceptional deep tissue & sensual bodywork for total stress relief in private studio.4 Handed Massage Available. (Shower & parking available, 2.5 blocks to Metro on Capitol Hill) Call Erik 202- 544-7905 or 202-285-5709. for one of the best. In calls only. $89.00 SPECIAL Reg. $130.

JUST LUCAS

Hot Latino w/ a special touch. 32 yo, 5’ 9”, 165 lbs, Offering full body release in a private atmosphere. In/out. Parking Available, hotels welcome, Silver Spring/DC area, 24/7. 240- 462-8669 brazilusa50@yahoo.com.

SOOTHING SUPERB, SENSUAL massage

by in shape attractive guy.

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comfortable massage table. 2 Metro stops

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BLONDE GI 6’ 0” , 165 lbs, Good looking, athletic, well-endowed. Sensual Massage & More. Eli (703) 599-2668.

MASSAGE SILVER SPRING est 2004.

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